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I Feel Like I'm About to Fly

Chapter Text

As early as the age of five, Hinata had shown passion for volleyball. It wasn’t the normal “child finds something interesting and his whole life is consumed by that one thing for maybe a week and then he moves on to another thing” either, as his parents thought it would turn out to be. As weeks passed, he just seemed to grow fonder of it, practicing in his backyard until it became dark and mosquitoes started getting in the way of his personal practice.

His parents accepted it as his one true passion in life when they found a little eight-year-old Hinata Shouyou asleep on the couch hugging onto his volleyball as if he’d die if he was separated from it. His mother took a blanket and covered him, still clutching to his volleyball.

However, they worried when he came home with bruises all over his body. Hinata was nowhere near careful and so, in addition to the extent he pushes his body to get better in the sport, he makes a habit of getting hit with a volleyball or tripping to the ground regularly. It was during one of the times his mother was treating his wounds when she noticed a small symbol at the side of his knee.

“Shouyou!” She said, excited. “You got your soulmate tattoo.”

Hinata’s eyes widened. They had talked about it before, but the age people got their tattoos heavily depended on the person and their soulmate. His mother got hers when she was in her twenties and his father had his ever since he could remember.

He lifted his knee to get a better view of it. It looked like a big bruise at first, but he focused his eyes and it was actually a flower. It was built like a rose, but with ruffled petal ends and not as opened up. He stared at the pinkish purple symbol for a while, wondering what it meant and if his soulmate already had hers. Or his. He wasn’t really sure yet.

“It’s a peony, I think,” His mother offered. “Compassion and bashfulness.”

Hinata looked at it one last time before returning to his thoughts about Karasuno, his new high school. The prospect of soulmate tattoos was interesting, sure, but all Hinata wanted to do at this point of his life was play volleyball and beat that king of the court he saw in his first and last junior high competition. He must’ve been making a weird face at that thought, because his mother told him not to worry about his soulmate.

“You’ll meet her soon when both of you are ready.” She said, getting up to cook dinner while Natsu, his little sister, was whining about being hungry.

He picked her up, swinging her in the air until her shrieks turned to laughs. He knew that however much he would love his soulmate would never amount to anything close to how he loved his little sister.

“Brother, teach me how to do that ‘gwah’ with the volleyball again!” She said, her previous proclamations about dying of starvation seeming to be forgotten.

They went out to play volleyball until the smell of egg attracted them back inside. Hinata knew his mother cooked his favorite Tamago Gohan as a small celebration of finding out his soulmate tattoo and he was grateful, but he didn’t find it as that big of a deal. For all he knew, he wouldn’t meet her for another decade.

A few days later, a whirlwind of events have granted him an actual member of the Karasuno Voleyball Club and he had almost completely forgotten about soulmates and soulmate tattoos until one day when he was walking home with Kageyama, happily shoving a meatbun in his mouth.

“Is that your soulmate tattoo?” Kageyama asked, peering down at his knee.

“Oh,” Hinata said and followed his eyes although he knew what the symbol looked like. “Yep! It’s a peony. I don’t really understand it, but it’s not really a big deal, you know? Right now, I just want to play volleyball with you and with everyone in the team.”

He could’ve sworn he saw a small tinge of pink in Kageyama’s cheeks before he looked away. “Yeah.”

The next time they talk about soulmates, Hinata is the one to bring it up. Practice had been cancelled because of some gym complication so they stood in front of the gym for a good minute before racing to find a place to practice on their own. Hinata yearned for volleyball after all, and he was sure Kageyama felt the same.

“Where’s yours?” Hinata asked, when he returned with the ball he accidentally flung to a row of bushes.

“Hah?” Kageyama replied, raising his left eyebrow.

Hinata smiled. “Your soulmate tattoo.”

He noticed the other avert his gaze and mumble something he couldn’t hear. Hinata moved closer. Kageyama seemed a little uncomfortable with the topic and Hinata wondered why.

“I can’t hear you, stupid.”

Kageyama sighed, facing him. “I don’t have it.”

“Oh,” Hinata said. “Well, a lot of people don’t get theirs until they’re like twenty-five or something, so that’s not unusual.”

“I know.” Kageyama replied immediately, and that was it.

They continued with their small practice, the atmosphere returning to normal. They didn’t really talk much, aside from the “dumbass!”es Kageyama threw Hinata when the ball veered to the bushes again or almost hitting a couple talking under a tree. Hinata didn’t miss the looks Kageyama sent to his knee when he thought he wasn’t looking though. He didn’t really mind.

After that, they were too busy with practice matches to really talk about it. As time passed, they got closer and even got to the point where Kageyama would sometimes offer Hinata a box of milk because “You need the nutrition for your height, dumbass” and Hinata would sometimes walk Kageyama home despite them being in different directions because “You might scare the neigborhood children with your creepy smile, Bakageyama.” Hinata knew, though, that it was more than that, at least for him.

He liked seeing Kageyama’s small smiles when he’s thinking about something happy, lost in his small little world. He liked spiking Kageyama’s tosses and he liked looking back at him and he liked the moment they’d smile at each other at their achievement. He liked the way his hair was so flat and black and it should be really dull, but it isn’t, because Hinata really liked it and sometimes, just sometimes, he wished he was tall enough to ruffle it and he knew he would really like that as well. He liked a lot of things about Kageyama, he realized.

He was still pondering about this when Daichi called them over to have a small meeting before they leave. He walked over, trying to remember if he made any mistakes that afternoon and he couldn’t recall any aside from “accidentally” bringing Kageyama down with him when he tripped. He didn’t regret it when he saw Kageyama cheeks flush.

His eyes widened as soon as he saw the blonde girl beside Kiyoko. She was nervously trying not to look at them, but she had a determined aura around her. Hinata stared at a small spot that looked like a ballpen smudge on her forearm until he caught her gaze. Her eyes widened upon recognition.

He recalled her mother’s words that day a long time ago, ‘It’s a peony, I think. Compassion and bashfulness.’

He didn’t know how but he knew that it fit the girl perfectly. He had never felt such a strong connection to a person before, but he did with this small blonde girl. He smiled at her. She smiled back and stood a little more stiffly.

“This is Yachi Hitoka, the new manager,” Kiyoko introduced her, putting her hand on her left shoulder.

Yachi mumbled an introduction and bowed in front of everyone, her face still nervous. As Tanaka patted her on the back and everyone started introducing themselves, however, she started to visibly relax.  Hinata thought about Hitoka, “compassion flower.” It was a perfect fit and he glanced down to look at the pink mark at knee. Before he knew it, he was introducing himself.

“I’m Hinata Shouyou and I want to be the ace!” He said, puffing out his chest and smiling. “I look forward to working with you, Yachi-san!”

“You’re being too loud,” muttered Kageyama before Yachi could reply.

Hinata turned his head to his right to where Kageyama was looking back at him with his dark blue eyes that Hinata had liked for a while now. Suddenly, he was sure that his tattoo had it all wrong. Yachi Hitoka couldn’t be his soulmate.

“This is Kageyama and he might look menacing but he’s actually a huge dork,” Hinata said, lower but still loud enough for Kageyama to hear.

Yachi laughed as Kageyama grabbed his hair and said, “What did you just say, dumbass!?”

“I’m looking forward to working with both of you!” Yachi said, bowing again.

She seemed to do that a lot. Hinata smiled at her one last time before running off to get his bike. Kageyama followed routinely.

“What do you think of Yachi-san?” Hinata asked, pushing his bike along as they walked.

Kageyama thought for a moment. “A fresh perspective will be good for the team.”

Hinata laughed. Of course the first thing he thought about was volleyball. He couldn’t disagree though. She didn’t play volleyball, and this might bring in some interesting ideas that none of them would have thought of.

“I meant, as a person, not as part of the team.”

Kageyama furrowed his brows together. “Why?”

“I don’t know.” Hinata said. “She seems interesting.”

“Interesting?” Hinata pretended he didn’t hear the strain in the other’s voice.

He hummed and poked Kageyama’s ear while he was looking off into the distance, biting his lip. In retaliation, Kageyama grabbed his head and soon enough, they were fighting again, the situation both familiar and strange at the same time. Something had changed, but Hinata decided to ignore it and just go along. Perhaps it would go away.

“You started it!” Kageyama shouted at him, pinching his nose.

“You were being weird!” Hinata countered as if it was a perfectly good argument.

“Dumbass, I was doing this thing called thinking! Of course, you wouldn’t be familiar with it cause your brain is just volleyball and pork buns, but I’m sure you’ve heard of the concept at least once in your life!”

Hinata was laughing now, slightly amused at how many words Kageyama said which was unusual and because he just jabbed into his side and it tickled. Maybe the fact that Kageyama was also smiling a little helped as well.

Hinata settled on, “You’re dumb.”

“Hah?” Kageyama retorted, “I’m the dumb one?”

“Yeah, you got a 21 in the English test last week.”

“You got a 25!”

“Doesn’t matter. You’re still lower!”

They continued on like that, Hinata slowing his walk because he had to admit, he was starting to enjoy even their constant fights. He especially liked how all his attention was focused on just Hinata and no one else. He felt his cheeks warm at the thought of possessiveness. If Kageyama noticed, he didn’t point it out.

Before he noticed, they were at Kageyama’s house and the sun was setting. He slowed to a stop. It felt strange today, suddenly leaving. He couldn’t explain it, but he felt like something was missing. He stood there, feeling awkward in front of the Kageyama household gate, looking at his shoes.

“Oi,”

He looked up. Kageyama was looking at him with a face he couldn’t discern, but it wasn’t entirely unpleasant. The softening sun was casting light on Kageyama’s face and it made him look really attractive, not that he wasn’t attractive usually. He took a few seconds to sweep his eyes over each plane on the attractive face, noting small details he never noticed before, like how his bangs barely reached his eyebrows and how his eyebrows were really thin but it still looked good. The usual black jacket over white shirt looked different that time, but different in a good way. Kageyama looked good.

“Don’t get kidnapped on the way home.” Kageyama said, giving him one last look before going inside.

“Don’t fail any more English tests!” Hinata shouted back.

Despite their usual shouts though, there was something different in the way they looked at each other and Hinata felt uneasy about it.

 

Chapter Text

The bike ride home was slower than usual. The sun had set by the time Hinata stopped his bike and hopped off, Kageyama’s face under the setting sun still in his mind. He didn’t know what to think.

He remembered Yachi. He remembered how he just knew when he saw her that she was her soulmate, even before finding out what her name was. Her blonde hair and her gentle eyes made her seem like someone always ready to help in any way she can, but there was also this determination and resolve in her movements that made it obvious that although she was kind, she was more than capable of being their manager. She was obviously humble and compassionate, traits that Hinata rarely saw with determined people.

Yachi was great as well. She was humble and tried to understand a whole sport for the sake of the team. Also, she was pretty. She had a nice face and her smiles took up a big part of her face and it shouldn’t be so endearing but it was. Yachi was great.

Unlike Yachi, Kageyama was confident at his own abilities and never denied the terms “genius” or “amazing.” Unlike Yachi, Kageyama never acted unsure, at least at the moment the decision was needed. Kageyama, however, did put everything in trying to adjust for the sake of his team now, a change that was probably really hard to go through. Kageyama always gave so much effort into the things he loves and cared for everyone on the team as well, quietly and in his own way. Kageyama was steadfast and strong and really fucking attractive and dependable and caring. Yachi was great.

But she wasn’t Kageyama.

Hinata almost choked on his water when he arrived at this train of thought, attracting the stare of his sister. She scrunched up her face at him, all cute and adorable, and she had a grain of rice stuck to her left cheek. He reached out and wiped it off. Now that he had found his soulmate, he thought his affection for other people would change to adjust for his soulmate, but as he watched his little sister smile up at him, he knew that wasn’t the case.

“Brother, can I see your tattoo again?” Natsu said, brightening up.

Hinata laughed. She always wanted to see his tattoo, because she hadn’t gotten hers yet. It wasn’t that unusual since she was still young, but she was really fascinated by soulmates and soulmate tattoos. Hinata wondered if everyone was like that as well, because honestly, it didn’t matter that much to him.

If you love someone, you love someone, right?

“After you finish your dinner, Natsu!” He said, shoving food in his mouth then realizing he shouldn’t talk while eating.

It was only the next day when he was finally able to talk to Yachi outside of practice. He was outside Kageyama’s classroom, waiting for him when he saw her absentmindedly walking through the hallway, looking out the windows.

“Yachi-san!” Hinata greeted, jogging up to her.

“Oh, Hinata-san, hello.” She said, smiling.

He smiled back. “How have you been?”

“Well, I found out that volleyball is way more complex than not letting the ball fall on your side of the court.” She laughed, waving at the air.

His eyes followed her arm as it moved. “Is that your soulmate tattoo?”

Yachi’s face got serious and she protectively covered her forearm with her hand. “Uhm, yes. Yes it is.”

“Can I see it?” He asked, trying to be as polite as possible.

However, he still wanted to know. Sure, he didn’t really think the tattoos were a big deal, but he wanted to be sure before he did anything. He didn’t want anyone getting hurt, after all. Yachi hesitated, averting her eyes.

“Look, I’ll show you mine.” He said, lifting his leg up so she could see the tiny pink flower on his knee. “It’s a peony.”

Yachi’s eyes widened. “A peony...could symbolize compassion, right?”

Hitoka. When he nodded, she let go of her arm and showed it to him. It was an orange outline of some type of bird flying toward the sun. It was small, smaller than her hand, but the image was clear. The meaning was also clear. Flying, sunshine. Shoyo.

“Are you? Do you think—“ Yachi didn’t finish her sentence, just stared behind Hinata.

Hinata followed her eyes to see Kageyama scowling at them from a few meters away. Hinata quickly said his goodbyes and dashed to him and jabbed at his face, successfully removing the sour look on his face. Hinata laughed as they both headed to the rooftop, but it wasn’t the same.

“What was that about?” Kageyama asked when they were all settled in and stealing each other’s food. “The one with the new manager. And you were asking about her yesterday as well.”

Hinata stared down at his food. He didn’t know what to say. ‘I think she’s my soulmate because our soulmate tattoos fit each other perfectly, but I really, really, really like you and I don’t want to accept the fact that you’re not my soulmate’ didn’t sound quite right. Instead, he tried not to look Kageyama in the eye as he picked up his chopsticks and continued eating.

He could still feel Kageyama’s eyes beside him, though, unrelenting. His eyes probably looked really scary right now, but even when it was scary it was still really attractive and god Hinata really liked him.

“It’s nothing,” He said. “She was just asking me about volleyball, since she doesn’t really know how it works.”

He knew Kageyama probably say her showing him his arm and the look on his face showed that he knew Hinata was lying, but he won’t push it.

Kageyama muttered something that sounded like, “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to,” but then Hinata stole another one of his dumplings and had shoved it in his mouth before Kageyama could protest. The atmosphere went back to something close to normal, but not quite.

It made him feel weird and uncomfortable, this tension growing between them. He didn’t know what to do, because his own feelings were already a mess and he didn’t want to mess up Kageyama’s as well. He imagined that would just make the situation worse than it already was.

He tried to approach Yachi before practice, but apparently Tanaka and Noya had accidentally splashed some paint on Tsukishima’s face for reasons yet to be known and there was no way he would miss seeing an angry Tsukishima with green splatter on his face. He tried to stifle his snort as the paint victim glared at him, but it was just too much.

“Hahahaha! Tsukishima, you look so ridiculous right now!” He said, collapsing to the floor to laugh some more.

He swore he saw Kageyama smiling at him from the side.

“Hinata-san!”

Hinata turned around to see Yachi walking toward him. They had been dismissed and Tsukishima still had a light green tint to his face which Hinata pointed out as much as possible. Hey, it wasn’t every day he was given a reason to make fun of Tsukishima Kei on a silver platter.

“Hello, Yachi-san,” He greeted politely, silently dreading the eventual conversation.

“I think you’re my soulmate,” She blurted out, then seeming to regret that decision, covered her mouth with both hands. “I mean, uhm, with the tattoos. And when I saw you, I just kind of knew, you know?”

Hinata nodded. “I know. I felt it too.”

She sighed in relief. “It’s weird, saying it like this. I’ve had it since I was five and I never thought it’d be so coincidental...If Kiyoko-san hadn’t recruited me, we would have never met.”

“Yeah, it’s kind of weird,” He agreed, chuckling.

“Well, I’ll see you around then?” She said.

Hinata was confused. ‘That was it?’ He thought she would insinuate that they start a relationship so they can live happily ever after and maybe get their soulmate tattoos engraved in everything they own, like his parents’ weird friends. This was completely different than what he had expected, but then, that meant he didn’t have to deal with his conflicted feelings. He was relieved in a way. Yachi seemed to understand and smiled at him as she left.

Kageyama was waiting for him outside of the gym, because they walked home together all the time. It was a routine Hinata needed to appreciate more. Hinata slowed down his walk to stare at him, appreciating how he looked. He was facing away, so he could only see his back and his legs and his butt, but he wasn’t complaining. Kageyama always looked good.

“What are you thinking about?” He said, and Kageyama slightly twitched.

“None of your business,” Was the crass reply.

“Kageyamaaaa! Tell meeee!” He whined as they went to get his bike. “Hey! Okay. I’ll tell you one of my secrets if you tell me.”

“No thanks,” Kageyama said, but his face looked softer now.

However, Hinata wasn’t having it. He pleaded with him, even to the point of volunteering to buy him one meat bun.

“Okay, wait, if I buy you one meat bun, I’d have to buy one for myself as well.” Hinata said, mostly to himself. “But then I should buy myself two for treating you and being such a generous human being.”

“You don’t need to stress your little mind about it,” Kageyama said, rolling his eyes. “Like I said, it’s none of your business.”

“Ugh!” Hinata shouted, jumping forward. “Why are you so moody these days?”

“You’re the one throwing a tantrum like a toddler.” Kageyama replied. “Besides, it’s not something you need to concern yourself about.”

Hinata muttered, “That just makes me want to know more.”

They walked in silence for a few minutes, which wasn’t really unusual. Spending so much time with each other exhausts people of topics sometimes. This time though, it wasn’t that Hinata had nothing to talk about. It’s that he was confused and didn’t know how to say anything. In result, the atmosphere was awkward and made him uneasy.

It had been like this for the past few days, ever since Yachi arrived in their lives. Yachi Hitoka, the great soulmate, who was really great and nice, but Hinata didn’t like her. He didn’t like her the way he liked Kageyama at least.

He already knew he liked Kageyama, but the other had never done any actions that could even so much as slightly clue in Hinata with his feelings. He didn’t know if Kageyama liked him or harboured this deep-set loathing for all his being or maybe if Kageyama was just irritated by his presence. Kageyama kept himself locked up and quiet. It was frustrating, Hinata knew, but he also knew that it was part of him and honestly he wouldn’t be Kageyama if he was all open. He hated it.

‘Stupid Kageyama’ Hinata thought to himself, pouting. ‘You and your weird habit of not telling me anything ever. Do you think it’s cool huh???? I want to fight you for being so stupid.’

“We’re here.” Kageyama stated, standing stiffly in front of him.

It was the second time that week Hinata hadn’t realized they had arrived at Kageyama’s house while he was busy mulling over things in his mind. He was sure that was a bad thing.

“Stop being so rigid, Bakageyama!” He said, trying to give him a big smile but managing for a normal-sized one.

He guessed it wasn’t that obvious, but Kageyama frowned at him. ‘Does he know what’s up? No, it can’t be. He might be a genius in the court, but he’s pretty dumb.’

“Dumbass.” Kageyama said, “Well, you better run off. It probably takes double the time to get to your house than it would take me since you’ve got such short legs.”

Hinata considered putting him up to that challenge, but then realized he only had one bike and Kageyama didn’t really own anything even slightly technological aside from a cellphone, so he doubted he had a good bike. He smiled at the thought. It was endearing.

“Bye, Kageyama!”

He groaned in the couch half an hour later. He had spent most, if not all, of the ride home thinking about how nice it would be to touch Kageyama’s hair or boop his nose with his own or hold his hands and he wanted to cry because they all sounded like really good ideas, but stupid Kageyama was stupid.

Of course he was afraid he didn’t feel the same way. Maybe they did walk home together and eat lunch together, but Kageyama wasn’t exactly affectionate with Hinata. At most, he would grab his head during an argument and even though it was an excuse for Hinata to touch his hands as he pulled them away, it wasn’t actually a gesture someone would consider romantic.

“Stupid, stupid Kageyama,” He muttered to himself, walking up to his bedroom.

After changing, he noticed the symbol on his knee again. He brought it closer to his face, inspecting it. It was the same as always, petals folded over each other like a rose but with kind of feathered ends and with a center. He couldn’t help but want it gone.

He didn’t think he’d ever like Yachi like that or anyone, for that matter. He could only see himself with Kageyama when he imagined his future, among many, many volleyball victories and maybe even a meeting with the Little Giant. He imagine them winning match after match and after they would find time to go on movie dates in the cinema or even at home where he could cuddle up to him and they won’t pay attention to the movie anymore but that was okay because Kageyama’s lips would probably feel really soft against his.

“Ughh!!!!” Hinata exclaimed. “This is stupid. Why am I thinking about this?”

He tried to distract himself with schoolwork and doodling volleyballs on the margins of his notebook, but when he fell asleep that night, the last thing in his mind was ‘Would Kageyama let me kiss him while he carries me?’

The next day, Kageyama was acting really weird. He had eyebags in his eyes when he arrived in morning practice and he looked irritated with the world. Sure, Kageyama was irritated a lot of the time, but it was mostly just directed at him and not everything in a five feet vicinity. He was sure he saw him scowling at a bench in the changing room at one point.

Daichi approached him of course, all concerned but still captain-like while Suga stood beside him and smiled supportingly. Hinata realized that they really acted like the team’s mother and father, Daichi unrelenting with his rules but caring for everyone at the same breath and Suga encouraging everyone and assisting them in any way he could. Hinata smiled as he remembered seeing Suga give him a small peck on the cheek when Daichi got pissed and looked like he was about to yell at Asahi for getting his hand injured that one time. He remembered watching Suga look around first and then leaning in and he remembered Daichi’s face visibly reddening with a blush instead of anger and how he immediately deflated beside Suga.

Hinata remembered how he had wanted that, to put your trust in someone so much that they could get you calm with just a small gesture. He looked over at Kageyama, who was walking away from Daichi with a still pissed look in his face. He seemed slightly calmer though, but Kageyama didn’t look like he was going to return to being only slightly irritated at the world anytime soon.

Hinata sighed, walking over to him. Kageyama stepped back when he went near and Hinata couldn’t say it didn’t hurt.

“What’s wrong with you, get sick?” He asked.

Kageyama repeated the same thing he said yesterday, only with a lower voice this time. “It’s none of your business.”

Hinata couldn’t understand why he couldn’t just tell him. Was he afraid he’d make fun of him? He’d never make fun of anything that meant a lot. Obviously this did with the way he was acting on guard all the time. He pressed his lips together to fight away the hurt sound his body wanted to make.

“Fine.” Hinata replied with more anger that he meant to put in, but it didn’t even matter because Kageyama deserved it.

Apparently it had its effect because Kageyama tensed for a moment and then looked away. He was biting his lip as he glared into the floor.

‘Stupid Kageyama! Why doesn’t he trust me?’ He thought to himself, walking away. ‘Can’t he just give me a small clue? I bet Daichi-san and Suga-san tell each other all their problems.’

He closed his eyes, which were getting more watery every second he thought about the fact that Kageyama refused to tell him something that was obviously bothering him, even pushing him away when all he wanted to do was help. It hurt to think about and he walked out of the gym before thinking about the consequences.

He was already past the courtyard near the gym when he heard someone calling his voice. He didn’t even look back, just stopped and collapsed against a wall. Tears were freely dripping down his face now and he was sure it looked ugly but he could really care less when he recalled how Kageyama looked at him. It was as if Kageyama never wanted to see him again.

‘How am I supposed to deal with that?’ He felt his breathing get shaky. ‘The person I have a massive crush on, maybe even the person I’m in love with doesn’t want anything to do with me?’

“Hinata-san!” Yachi crouched down beside him. “A-are you alright?”

Hinata looked at her, aware of the wetness on his face. He was appalled by how thoughtful she was, following him all the way here despite the practice ongoing.

“Did Kageyama say something mean to you?” She asked and he must have made a weird crying sound, because she put her hand on his shoulder. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Hinata looked away. She was his soulmate. Was he supposed to talk to his soulmate about his sad romantic life? Did people do that? Is Kageyama the person that would make him realize that Yachi really was his soulmate? His breath hitched in his throat at that thought, making a weird liquidy sound.

“You know, I’m not a stranger to tears.” She said, “Sometimes, when I’m the only one home, I feel like I’m not enough, because of a low test or a fight with a friend and it makes me really sad. I sit there, crying my eyes out. It’s not a very good feeling, being sad about failures.”

Hinata listened quietly, still sobbing. He didn’t know what the point of Yachi’s story was, but listening to her made him feel better somehow.

“But one time, my mom saw me.” She said, smiling, “She had pulled me in a hug and told me that I didn’t have to explain and that being sad was normal. It always helps to have someone with you, though, not really to give advice or anything, but just to be there for you. Don’t you think so?”

Hinata gave her a little smile, no longer questioning the symbol on his knee. Yachi was patient and didn’t try to force him to do anything he didn’t want to. At the same time, she stayed with him without any other motivation than to help him get through something she didn’t even understand. Maybe she couldn’t cheer him up like Suga can to Daichi, but they weren’t Suga and Daichi, and her presence beside him was more than enough to help. Soulmates.

And yet, as Hinata looked at her, with all her tenderness and concern beneath her bright eyes, he couldn’t look at her as anything other than a friend. A really close friend who was connected to him by the universe and looked out for him more than any other friend would, but still a friend. His eyes widened.

“Yachi-san,” he said, facing her. “Do you think you could think of me in a romantic context?”

Yachi flushed, but it was more a result of his straightforward question than anything else. “O-Oh. Uhm. I don’t think so? I mean, I’m really sorry. I really care about you a lot, but not in that way? Does that make sense?”

Before she could think about the fact that she used “really” and “a lot” in the same sentence, Hinata said, a little louder, “That’s great!”

“It is?” She looked at him with a confused look on her face.

“Yachi-san, hear me out, okay?” He said.

However, before he could start explaining, he spotted Kageyama walking around. He saw him look over until he saw them, then Kageyama just stared. He had a weird look in his face, similar to the face he makes when he gets hit on the chest with a volleyball. Hinata saw his mouth opening and closing but he was too far to hear. Hinata stood up, but when he looked up again, the other was gone.

“Hinata-san?”

“Kageyama,” He said, unconsciously.

He felt his throat squeeze and he breathed out.

“Huh? Was he there?” She asked, turning to look at the empty space Hinata was staring at.

‘Was he looking for me?’ He clutched the front of his shirt close to his chest and breathed out. ‘Why would he if he was so mad at me?’

Hinata sighed. “I think Daichi will get mad at us if we stay out any longer.”

Yachi looked confused, but followed him back anyway, not speaking. Hinata entered the gym, and stared at everyone who were, instead of doing practice like he expected,whispering quietly to each other in a huddle. Even Tsukishima and Yamaguchi were there. Another thing he noticed was that Kageyama was nowhere to be found.

“Oh, Hinata, Yachi-san!” Suga greeted, walking toward them. “We were worried when you suddenly walked out.”

Hinata couldn’t stop himself from asking, “Where’s Kageyama?”

Suga gave him a sad look. “He wasn’t feeling very well, so he asked to be excused for today.”

Hinata remembered seeing Kageyama already holding his bag earlier and before he could think about it, he ran out again, wanting to see if he could find him. Hinata still hadn’t forgiven him for being so locked up, but he was less angry now and the look Kageyama had given him when he was with Yachi was still in his mind. He saw a familiar tall person and dashed toward him.

“Kageyama!”

Kageyama turned around just as Hinata stopped in front of him. He didn’t say anything, just stare at him with those dark blue eyes. Hinata realized how much he missed talking to Kageyama normally, even though it had only been today that Kageyama refused to talk to him. Unconsciously, he smoothed his hand over his hair, although it did nothing since the locks just popped up again.

He swallowed, but his throat was still tight. “I just...wanted to tell you that I won’t force you to tell me anything. I’m sorry for getting mad, but I just thought that I was someone you trusted, because I trust you. I shouldn’t have assumed—Uh, I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but yeah, I hope you get better soon. Why’d you get sick anyway? I still need you to toss to me, Bakageyama.”

Kageyama stared at him, lips pursed and eyes squinted. He didn’t look mad, but instead, he looked conflicted. More importantly, it seemed unlikely for him to start talking, since the conversation had been one-sided the whole time. Hinata opened his mouth to speak again when Kageyama pulled him by his collar and he felt softness press against his lips. His eyes widened when he realized it was Kageyama’s lips.

Before he could do anything though, the pressure was gone and after a rustle of leaves, it was quiet and he was alone. His heart was thudding against his chest. Hinata raised his hand to press his fingers against his lips, remembering how it felt, and growing warm at the thought. Realizing that Kageyama had run away, he groaned and buried his head in his hands.

‘What does this mean?’ Hinata thought, getting slightly dizzy at the implications. ‘Does Kageyama actually like me? What?????? Okay, wait, I can’t jump into conclusions. Fuck. What if he does like me? Does this mean he’ll buy me meatbuns and candy?’

He couldn’t think clearly as he jogged back to practice. He didn’t think he could even play properly after that, but only the touch of a volleyball could even come close to helping him clear his mind. Since he left twice, Daichi scolded him and after apologizing profusely, he went to join the others. It wasn’t the same, as he expected, without Kageyama’s loud scolding and perfect tosses, but it did distract him from thoughts about the setter.

He still wasn’t sure what to make of Kageyama suddenly kissing him then leaving, especially after Kageyama had been refusing to talk to him seriously. It was confusing, liking someone, he realized. It made him feel light-headed sometimes and sometimes it made him feel like he’s been hit with a volleyball. Except it was directed to his heart. Metaphorically.

‘Geez. This isn’t making any sense.’ He thought. ‘Kageyama, can you stop being a dumbass for a minute and just talk to me!!!!’

He must have been making a weird face by then, because Sugawara and Daichi were walking toward him, appearing to be in a low argument.

“Hinata, are you alright?” Sugawara said sweetly, giving him a small smile. “It seems like something happened between you and Kageyama.”

Hinata twitched. He had never been good at keeping himself composed after all, so it was inevitable that someone would notice. He looked up at the two looking at him, giving him time to answer. They were so nice to him. It wasn’t necessary that they help him, since they could have just told him to forget about his problems in the court, but that’s just not how they worked in Karasuno. They helped each other, whether the problem was inside the court or outside.

This was the reason Hinata gathered the courage to breathe in and tell them entirely what the situation was. He was aware that practice was still on, but Daichi waved it away when he mentioned it, saying that everyone was a mess anyway and they could just work on it next time. Hinata had smiled at him then, understanding that that was only one of the reasons they took time to listen to him.

“Well, okay, I think everything started with this,” Hinata said, gesturing to his knee.

Chapter Text

After his rendition of the story featuring statements like “It felt like gwah! against my chest” and “He’s really dumb and stupid, but he’s also really cute okay,” Sugawara and Daichi looked at each other and nodded. Hinata was amazed at how they could communicate without words, but then again, it was Sugawara and Daichi. He yearned for that as well.

“I think you should tell him how you feel,” Sugawara said, a serious look on his face.

“Whaaaat??” Hinata shouted. “But the entire story is the reason why I shouldn’t tell him ever! Sugawara-san, I can’t! Plus NOOOOOOOOO!!!”

“But Hinata,” Daichi reasoned, “Nothing will happen if you don’t do anything.”

Hinata huffed. “Kageyama should just stop being a dumb baby.”

He realized he was behaving similar to a baby at that moment as well, but didn’t care to dwell on it.

Daichi said, “We all know that Kageyama can be a little...unreasonable and that’s precisely why he won’t do anything unless you start. He can also start jumping into conclusions if you don’t clear everything up. It’s better if you just tell him straight up. I’m sure it’ll turn out well.”

“Yeah, and also because everyone knows you both—“ Suga started, but Daichi nudged him on the shoulder.

“Suga!”

“We both what?” Hinata tilted his head.

“Nothing, nothing,” Suga said, but he was smiling.

“Seriously, though, just tell Kageyama how you feel.” Daichi said. “So that there are no more misunderstandings. You think you can do that?”

‘Yes dad’ Hinata smiled at the thought. Instead, he just nodded.

He mulled it over, trying to think about what he was gonna say and when he was gonna say them and how he was gonna act, but it made his head hurt, so he just went to help the third years take down the net. Walking to class, he realized that it had been a while since he walked to class alone, because he always walked by Kageyama. It just made sense, since they were in practice together and their classrooms were in the same direction anyway.

Today was different though. He was alone, no shouts about how milk was definitely better than orange juice or how bad his posture was during receives that morning. There was nothing to distract him from the anxious thoughts in his head and the turbulence of feelings in his heart. He thought about how pained he’d feel if Kageyama told him he didn’t feel the same way, or how confused he’d be if Kageyama didn’t talk to him at all. It made him sad and a little angry and a lot anxious. He felt his eyes sting at the thought of Kageyama turning away soundlessly.

However, images of Kageyama standing in front of him, a shocked look in his eyes but a smile on his lips made his heart skip a beat. The other side of the coin made him feel so pleasant that it cancelled the negative feelings and surpassed them tenfold. If he was a bird, this was probably the feeling that would make him sing in the morning. If he was a dog, this was the happy relaxed feeling he’d have at the end of an exciting walk. Perhaps he really did love Kageyama. It wasn’t usual that a crush would make you feel things to this extent.

He sat down and prepared for class, trying to drive out thoughts about Kageyama, but it was simply not possible. They permeated his flimsy excuses for walls around his mind and made themselves known by repeating flickers of imaginary moments again and again in his mind, like a broken cd full of hypothetical circumstances. Kageyama giving him a small smile, Kageyama holding his hand and squeezing, Kageyama sitting beside him in front of a sunset, quiet but happy.

“Hinata, would you like to share something with the class?” His teacher had called out to him and a murmur of giggles was shared among his classmates.

“N-no, teacher!” He said, trying to hide his red face.

“Well then, I guess you wouldn’t mind solving problem number three on the board.”

The laughs grew louder as Hinata wrote some symbols on the board that kind of looked like it might sense. His teacher sighed, then asked him to sit down, erasing everything Hinata wrote and writing the correct answer. Hinata would have felt embarrassed, but he was too busy thinking about how it would feel to run his hands along Kageyama’s lower back.

Kageyama wasn’t in the rooftop when lunch break came and he wasn’t in his classroom either. It made him feel frustrated, since he had used up the last two periods to come up with confrontation strategies and it saddened him that his greeting of “Good afternoon, your highness! How is the kingdom today?” would not be used. He tried to ask Tsukishima and Yamaguchi but they just teased him about his height before dashing off.

Hinata sat down by himself in the rooftop, painfully aware of how alone he felt without Kageyama. Sure, he could have eaten with some of his classmates, but it just didn’t feel right. He would feel like he was replacing Kageyama then, and he didn’t want to do that. Besides, no one could ever be able to replace what Kageyama was to him.

 At the back of his mind, he wondered if Kageyama had already replaced him. He shook his head.

‘Kageyama wouldn’t do that.’ He thought to himself.

He heard some steps from the stair way and he stood up. “Kage—“

Yachi stood in front of him, looking embarrassed. She had her arm in her hand, as if it hurt. He furrowed his eyebrows, confused as to how she found him. He was sure he didn’t tell anyone where he was going, but then again, Kageyama and he had been eating together on the rooftop for a while, so perhaps it was inevitable that someone would know.

“Oh. Hi, Yachi-san,” Hinata greeted smiling, but he didn’t miss the disappointment in the pit of his stomach.

“Are you alright?” She said, rubbing at her arm.

“Uhm , yeah, yeah.” He answered. “Is there something wrong with your arm?”

She directed her gaze at the ground. “My symbol—it was hurting.”

Hinata looked at his knee. “Is it supposed to hurt when your soulmate is sad?”

He wondered if Yachi felt him hurting yesterday as well. That was probably why she was worried yesterday. He recalled his knee throbbing at times, but he had blamed it on his athletic activities. He looked up at Yachi.

“I don’t think so,” Yachi said. “But then again, you’re supposed to fall in love with your soulmate.”

Hinata widened his eyes at her, remembering what he wasn’t able to say this morning. Is it true then? Is it possible for the soulmate tattoo to be completely platonic?

“Yachi...Are we platonic soulmates?” He asked, straight to the point.

Yachi thought about it. “It’s possible. I mean, I’m sure I won’t ever be able to regard you romantically. Haha. And besides, I have another one? Another—symbol on me I mean.”

“Huh!!???” Hinata almost shouted. “Another tattoo?? Another soulmate? Is that—Can that happen?”

Yachi laughed softly. “Well, it did! It’s a seedling and it’s at the arch of my foot. It’s difficult to see, so I don’t really remember when I got it, cause I might have just not seen it all that time.”

Hinata was amazed at the thought of two tattoos. The concept only made his idea of platonic soulmates more plausible. Did he have one too? He frowned when he remembered looking over his whole body the other day for bruises from volleyball and seeing nothing.

“Is it—“ Hinata paused, thinking about what he wanted to say. “Is it possible to have a soulmate but then you don’t, uh, you don’t get a tattoo for them?”

“I haven’t heard of it,” Yachi said, tapping her finger on her chin. “But I haven’t heard of two soulmate tattoos either, so anything’s possible now that I think about it.”

Hinata smiled. Somehow, it made him feel better. The possibility that Kageyama was his romantic soulmate was something that made him feel better even by just a little bit.

“Thanks, Yachi-san!” He said, taking her hands and shaking them.

“You can call me Hitoka! We’re platonic soulmates after all.”

“Uwohh!!!” Hinata exclaimed, “Then—then, call me Shouyou, Hitoka!!”

Yachi laughed at his sudden enthusiasm. Hinata knew somehow that the tattoo on her arm was still throbbing lightly, however.

“Kageyama ditched me without any explanation.” Hinata said, his voice significantly lower than earlier. “He kissed me and then, he just left and now he won’t even show himself to me. Ughhh he’s so dumb!!!”

Yachi patted his shoulder and he prattled on about how frustrating Kageyama was. She smiled as she caught the fondness in his eyes as he recalled previous memories with the taller setter.

“He just makes me feel so nice sometimes, but then he does things like that and it’s just so gurhhh!” Hinata said, making exaggerated hand gestures. “It’s just...I don’t even want him to like me back at this point. I’d be happy if things went back to normal. As weird as it sounds, I want him to call me dumbass again and say something like if you mess up that spike one more time I’ll bury you in the ground.

Yachi laughed softly as Hinata’s impression of Kageyama, but he knew she understood.

‘Duh, soulmates.’ Hinata thought to himself.

At afternoon practice, the atmosphere was uncomfortable. Everyone greeted him when he entered, but it felt awkward. He directed his attention at the black-haired setter talking to Tsukishima, of all people. He tried to send him some sort of mental message by thinking as hard as possible and staring at Kageyama’s back.

‘Ah, it doesn’t work that way, huh?’ Hinata thought glumly. ‘Then how are you supposed to find out your soulmate without the tattoo? UGHHHH!!! This is probably all Kageyama’s fault for being a dumbass.’

“Oh, Hinata!”

Hinata turned around to see Yamaguchi walking toward him, which was weird because they didn’t really talk unless they were making of his height or puking tendencies.

Yamaguchi scratched the back of his head. “I kind of have a favor to ask?”

“Oh, what is it?”

“Can you take over my turn for cleanup duty later?” He asked. “I have to babysit my brothers and I completely forgot.”

Hinata decided it might help clear his head, so he accepted. Nothing like cleaning the sweaty floor to distract him from his thoughts about a certain confusing setter. That made perfect sense. He looked forward to mundane tasks, for once.

What he didn’t expect was for Kageyama to be on cleanup duty as well. At first, he thought he was just staying behind because he wanted to savor being in the court as much as possible, but when everyone had been gone for the last fifteen minutes and Kageyama was still there, Hinata began to panic. Sure, he had been wanting to talk to Kageyama for hours, but now that he looked at the focused expression he had while putting down the net, Hinata felt nervous.

It wasn’t as if nervousness was unfamiliar to him either, what with that time he puked on Tanaka’s pants, but it was different with Kageyama. With Kageyama, he felt like anything other than what Kageyama expected was just going to lead to pain, both physical and emotional. Physical because Kageyama would probably grab his head too hard and emotional because he never wanted to disappoint Kageyama, whether in volleyball or in life. Hinata sighed as he imagined Kageyama looking at him with disapproving eyes and pursed lips. It scared him more than any daunting volleyball match would.

He walked up to the setter and swore he saw him jolt as he stopped behind him. “Kageyama,”

Kageyama seemed to take a breath then turned around. He looked nervous as well, with his eyes not focusing on a single spot for more than three seconds and his feet quietly shuffling underneath him. He wouldn’t meet Hinata’s eyes, more importantly.

Nevertheless, Hinata bit his lip, realizing how much he missed talking to him, even though it was one day damnit. He didn’t realize how clingy he had become, but then he had been realizing a lot of things since meeting Kageyama. He realized that he didn’t have to do everything by himself, because he has competent teammates, and he realized that he could care for someone so much more than he thought he ever could, and he realized he had given so much power over him to the extent where a single word could lead him to burst into tears or smile like it was the only thing he knew to do. Despite the fear that Kageyama could hurt him though, he pushed through because Kageyama was Kageyama and he was more caring than Hinata had first thought.

“Hinata,” Kageyama finally said, still not meeting his eyes.

“I, uh, have something to tell you, er, somethings?” Hinata said, as if it was a question. “Yeah, somethings.”

Kageyama breathed out and wow Hinata really needs to appreciate those lips more.

“Me too.”

They moved together, walking to take down the net, just like they were used to, synchronized. He missed this too.

Hinata started, “Remember when I told you about my soulmate tattoo? Yeah, well, uhm. I found her.”

Kageyama didn’t say anything, just stared at the ground. Hinata felt his chest clench at the sight.

“But it turns out that we were never meant to be romantic soulmates,” He continued, staring at Kageyama and trying to urge him to look at him. “Hitoka has another one, as well, and we both agreed that we were never meant to see each other romantically—“

“Wait, what?” Kageyama said. “You and Yachi-san aren’t dating?”

“No! Why would I date Hitoka if I—“ Hinata stopped himself before he could continue, his mind reeling at the direction this conversation was going.

It was too soon. He was supposed to explain about his tattoo and Yachi’s tattoo and Yachi’s other tattoo, but Kageyama had steered it completely away from that. He stepped back out of habit than fear when Kageyama moved closer. He looked up and saw that Kageyama was finally looking at him and practically trembled when Kageyama opened his mouth.

“If you?”

Hinata dropped his gaze and muttered, “If I wanted to date this jerk who had been ignoring me the whole day.”

He watched Kageyama’s shadow come closer and it made him more nervous than he already was. A thousand thoughts raced through his mind all at once as Kageyama stood there for a few seconds. Hinata tried to prepare himself for the blow, despite knowing that it will hurt anyway.

‘Just do it. Just tell me you were avoiding me cause you realized and didn’t want anything to do with me again,’ Hinata thought in his mind, trying to convey his feelings to Kageyama.

Instead of that though, he felt a hand cup his cheeks—when did he start tearing up?—and make him look up. Kageyama was looking at him with a soft expression on his face, as if he had been relieved of a heavy burden.

“Thank god,” Kageyama said, and wrapped his hands around Hinata’s small frame.

It was an awkward position because of the height difference, but Hinata really couldn’t care less at the moment. He buried his face in the space between Kageyama’s shoulder and neck and was overwhelmed by how Kageyama smelled. He was sweaty and it was a little gross, but there was this trace of vanilla and milk from him and it made Hinata smile because it was so much better than he could have ever imagined. He closed his eyes, pulling Kageyama closer and wondered how long he had been thinking about doing this exact thing.  Kageyama seemed to have no intention of letting go soon either, so they stayed like that for a while.

“What does that mean?” Hinata muttered softly but loud enough for Kageyama to hear.

“It means I love you too, dumbass.” Kageyama said, slowly removing his hands from around Hinata’s waist.

“Did I say that?” Hinata said teasingly and laughed when Kageyama looked away, red. “Idiot, I do love you. I didn’t—I really hoped you felt the same. Oh my God. You’re so dumb. Were you avoiding me because you thought Hitoka and I were dating?”

Kageyama nodded slowly. Hinata loved the way he looked right at that moment. He loved how Kageyama looked all the time, but right here, alone on the volleyball court where no one else would see his face or hear what he said, Kageyama seemed to act more of his own volition than for the sake of the team, and Hinata loved that it was all just for him, that he was the only person who could see it.

“You’re so stupid. We just met!”

Kageyama quickly said, “I don’t know! You were being really close and—it seemed like you really knew each other. And I didn’t miss the fact that her first name matches your soulmate tattoo perfectly and how you were so curious about her when you first saw her. It just...made sense for you to be interested in her. That dumbass Tsukishima didn’t help either.”

Hinata was taken by surprise. He didn’t even consider the fact that Kageyama had just been jealous the whole time. He thought maybe Kageyama hated him or something, but he didn’t think it was because of Yachi. He didn’t even realize he had been talking about her so much, much less how Kageyama would possible had thought about it. He remembered Kageyama’s face when he saw them together when Hinata had been crying about Kageyama for being a jerk and Kageyama’s face after that walk home when he was asking some questions about Yachi, purely out of platonic curiosity.

Kageyama had misinterpreted it all. He had thought that Hinata was interested in Yachi. Romantically. The thought made Hinata redder.

Then he thought about Tsukishima and how he probably just made things worse. And then he felt a little irritated from thinking about the stupid grin he would have if he was here.

“...You just went through three different emotions in five seconds,” Kageyama spoke up.

“I was thinking!!” Hinata said, “About how you’re stupid and could have just talked to me and not have gone to Tsukishima!”

“I didn’t know what to do!” Kageyama said then added softly. “I’ve never loved anyone before. I didn’t think...I could.”

Hinata had to admit he sort of got distracted at that moment, seeing Kageyama suddenly soften in front of him after shouting. He looked really pretty with his eyes lowered to the ground, looking sheepish. It wasn’t a look Hinata often saw on him. It wasn’t a look Hinata ever saw on him. Except for at that very moment.

“I don’t have a tattoo, Hinata.” Kageyama said like the thought physically hurt him. “I never had one and I don’t think I’ll ever will. I thought I’d stay alone forever, because hey that’s what it means when you don’t have a soulmate tattoo right? That you don’t have a soulmate either? I don’t know what changed, but I started thinking about you and how I wanted you to be my soulmate.”

Hinata stared at him, unable to form words, but his mind a huge jumble of thoughts and emotions like hundreds of stray volleyballs.

“I used to, uh,” Kageyama hesitated, but continued. “I used to look all over myself, wishing to see any sign of a symbol or anything related to you. I wanted it so bad. I guess it was kind of stupid.”

“Yeah, you’re pretty stupid,” Hinata finally said. “You’re stupid for thinking that you have to have a tattoo to love someone...or to be someone’s soulmate. Who cares, Kageyama? Who cares about tattoos? We love each other, right? And it’s not the same with anyone else, right? If the universe never meant us to be soulmates, well the universe is dumb because we obviously are made for each other.”

He reached out to intertwine his fingers with Kageyama’s bigger ones. They weren’t soft, calloused and bruised over time from playing volleyball so much, but Hinata wouldn’t have it any other way. He smiled at Kageyama, encouraging him without really knowing what he was encouraging him to do.

“Yeah. It’s pretty dumb.” Kageyama agreed, smiling softly.

Hinata pulled down his hands, forcing Kageyama to lower his face and gave him a small peck on his cheek, still smiling against it. Apparently, Kageyama was having none of that because he separated his hand from Hinata’s to push them closer and come together in a real kiss, a clumsy and inexperienced one, but it was with each other, so it didn’t really matter all that much. Hinata realized at that moment that he’d be willing to do anything with Kageyama, however inexperienced they both were, because he trusted Kageyama with his whole life, maybe more.

He could see them sharing ice cream and then trying to steal each other’s just for the sake of it. He could see them having midnight “breakfast”s at Mcdonald’s and having a great time despite the early hour and obvious tiredness. He could see them playing volleyball, older and more experienced, but never far apart from each other. He could see them fighting over television channels in their own place as if it was the most natural thing in the world. He could see them trying to dance in the middle of their living room, laughing as Kageyama keeps stepping on Hinata’s toes and finally giving up to cuddle on their couch, calling it a defeat when really it wasn’t a defeat at all, because Hinata can feel Kageyama’s heart thumping loudly against him, mirroring his own and he feels so safe and loved at that moment that he felt like he could achieve anything in the whole universe.

‘If that isn’t sign enough that we’re soulmates,” Hinata thought, pulling away to look at Kageyama’s face, all soft and beautiful. ‘I don’t know what is.’