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you're that alien kid

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1.

Iwaizumi can’t remember who first spoke his words. It isn’t his fault, his words are possibly the most generic things people could ever say. Who looks at those words and goes, oh, how unique? No one.

 

Not when those words are hi iwa-chan!

 

When Iwaizumi was a kid, literally everybody and their mother called him Iwa-chan. It was a term of endearment, something cute to tag to his face as he ran around the neighbourhood searching for bugs to store and keep in jars. He’s definitely heard everybody he knows call him Iwa-chan at least once.

 

It’s endlessly infuriating. Iwaizumi can’t help but think that he might have already met his soulmate, but he can’t back it up. No one has reacted with shocked eyes and inhaled breaths or joy in their voices after he introduces himself. Of course, this isn’t a movie so it’s understandable that there isn’t anyone reacting so outrageously or obviously but Iwaizumi can’t help but hope.

 

He’s already fifteen. For some reason, everyone he knows has found their soulmate at fifteen. The odds were incredible but it has somehow happened, and now Iwaizumi is a loner, watching others coo at each other and fall in love. He wants a sweet spring of love, even if his face seems to say otherwise.

 

The only one Iwaizumi knows who has yet to find their soulmate is Oikawa. And isn’t that a tragedy.

 

The silly boy has girls chasing after him with letters in hand and eyes glittering with stars as they yell for Oikawa-san to fall in love with them. Iwaizumi is very certain none of them are actually Oikawa’s soulmate even with all the gossip and rumors floating around -- Iwaizumi has known the boy for most of his life, he likes to think he would know if Oikawa found someone that important. Oikawa wouldn’t shut up about it, probably. He’s a huge romantic at heart too, even with how he strings girls along.

 

I’m waiting for my perfect match, Iwa-chan! Oikawa smiles and flashes a peace sign. I’m practicing for when I meet my soulmate, so I’ll be even more perfect than them and they’ll fall in love with me at first sight!

 

Who would fall in love with you, you bag of trash, Iwaizumi retorts and Oikawa wails.

 

Yeah, if Oikawa had found his soulmate, Iwaizumi’s certain he’ll be the first to hear of it, even before Oikawa’s own parents.

 

It’s a bit of a tragedy though, because as days pass, Iwaizumi’s noticing more and more that, well, Oikawa’s not bad looking.

 

Not that he’d say it to Oikawa’s face.

 

2.

Oikawa’s back muscles are very distracting. Oikawa’s not extremely buff, not muscular in the way wrestlers are, not in the way Iwaizumi is. He’s more lithe, muscles stretching under the expanse of pale skin dotted with the occasional mole, moving like ripples in the water.

 

They’re very distracting, especially when Oikawa just rips off his sweat soaked shirt after practice and tugs on a vaguely clean one, too tired to shower. Or rather, he loses his shirt in his locker and struggles to search for it, one hand digging deep within the pile of trash in his locker, his back out for all to see.

 

Full of trash like his soul, Iwaizumi thinks to himself and snorts, but his eyes are trained on Oikawa’s back and he’s fully aware he’s staring.

 

“Careful,” Matsukawa murmurs to him as he passes by. “You’re staring.”

 

Iwaizumi swallows and drags his eyes away. “I know.”

 

Matsukawa looks at Iwaizumi, long and steady, and Iwaizumi feels like his friend is looking through his soul. Hopefully what he finds isn’t too incriminating.

 

“It’s okay to have a fling in high school before you meet your soulmate, you know?” He seems to say it absentmindedly, but Iwaizumi knows what he means. Damn. Matsukawa always knows to hit where it hurt. “Most people have that.”

 

“Yeah.” Iwaizumi shoots another (hopefully less obvious) look at Oikawa, only to find a shirt being tugged over brown hair and beautiful muscles. Disappointed, he turns back to Matsukawa who raises an eyebrow at him.

 

“Yeah?” Matsukawa smiles, one of his rare gentle smiles that Iwaizumi has only seen when he deals with Hanamaki. “Good for you. He’ll be good for you.”

 

“He’ll give me cancer. And maybe heart attacks too early for my age.”

 

Oikawa chooses this exact moment to bump into the conversation, eyes alight with glee as he asks, “cancer, Iwa-chan? If you get cancer all your hair’s gonna fall off! And then you’ll never be as devastatingly pretty as me.”

 

“You think that’s funny? You’re going to be the one giving it to me at this rate, Shittykawa.” Iwaizumi huffs at the brunette.

 

“Iwa-chan!” Oikawa latches on to Iwaizumi, eyes filled with broken hearts as he wails about how cruel Iwaizumi is, and the latter looks at Matsukawa.

 

Matsukawa smiles, all teeth. “As I said, good for you.”

 

Iwaizumi rolls his eyes and slings his bag higher on his shoulder. If he reaches home late, Oikawa’s going to complain and insist on staying over or something. He has too much homework due tomorrow to be distracted by Oikawa tonight.

 

He cringes. That sounds wrong.

 

3.

School’s ended, there’s no practice today, Oikawa is heading to teach at the Lil Tykes Volleyball Classroom.

 

It’s a Monday, it’s blistering hot, and Iwaizumi can keenly feel the press of Oikawa’s arm against his own.

 

The idiot has dragged him along and now he’s sleeping on Iwaizumi’s shoulder in the bus. It’s intensely irritating and Iwaizumi feels a tick at the side of his head. The worst thing is, now he has a responsibility not to wake Oikawa up with all the bumps in the road and he has to stabilize his shoulder as best as he can.

 

Oikawa hasn’t had enough sleep recently, Iwaizumi can tell. There aren’t any eyebags under his eyes, because it’s Oikawa, but Iwaizumi can see the faint shake of his fingers when he writes. Oikawa’s limbs go tingly and weak when he doesn’t get enough sleep. He also slouches a lot more when he thinks no one is watching, or if only Iwaizumi is present.

 

His phone buzzes.


Matsu: hey hows the capt

 

Matsu: he seemed kinda tired

 

Matsu: at sch

 

Matsu: not that u wouldnt notice


The tick grows larger. Iwaizumi can feel a headache setting in.


Iwaizumi: he’s doing fine. sleeping now.

 

Matsu: u w him

 

Iwaizumi: he dragged me to go teach volleyball.

 

Matsu: oh

 

Matsu: so like a date


Iwaizumi will forever deny that he flushes a terrible red.


Iwaizumi: no, why would you think that?

 

Matsu: idk mb cause u like him

 

Iwaizumi: he dragged me, not I dragged him.

 

Matsu: just saying

 

Iwaizumi: it’s a pain in the ass having to not move cause the bus jerks so much.

 

Matsu:

 

Matsu: lmao is he sleeping on u or sth

 

Matsu: he is isnt he

 

Iwaizumi: shut up Matsu no one wants to listen to you speak.

 

Matsu: ouch harsh

 

Matsu: better save tht one for capt

 

Matsu: kind of weak but itll hit him p good


“Iwa-chan,” a voice mumbles sleepily from his side. “Are you texting Matsu-chan without me?”

 

“I wouldn’t text him with you around, idiot.” Iwaizumi says softly, careful not to disturb anyone around them. “It’s a private conversation.”

 

“He’s telling you how to insult me, isn’t he, Iwa-chan?” Oikawa yawns and lifts his head off Iwaizumi’s shoulder, stretching. His shoulder seems strangely bereft. A familiar weight has disappeared. Iwaizumi isn’t sure what to think of that.

 

“Not that it’ll matter. I have an alphabetized list of possible insults for you.”

 

Oikawa pouts at him, eyes still tinged with sleepiness. “Iwa-chan, mean. You should be nicer, more gentlemanly. Don’t insult me so much. Maybe then someone will fall in love with you. Maybe even me, if you’re nice. Imagine that.”

 

He yawns and drops off to sleep again, head thudding against Iwaizumi’s shoulder.

 

Iwaizumi’s breath is caught in his throat. Maybe even me, if you’re nice.

 

What does that even mean?


Iwaizumi: he told me he might like me if I was nicer to him.

 

Iwaizumi: what does that even mean.

 

Iwaizumi: why did he even say that.

 

Matsu: ok i knew i said i was gonna b here to help u

 

Matsu: thru ur crisis

 

Matsu: n mb get u to experience life b4 u find ur sm

 

Matsu: but this is a bit much

 

Matsu: good news is ur crush is prob returned

 

Matsu: bad news is ure most likely fucked

 

Matsu: thts what it means

 

Matsu: im leaving now to leave u two on ur date k

 

Iwaizumi: it’s not a date.

 

Matsu: yeah just like how u use capitalization when txting

 

Iwaizumi: ?

 

Matsu: nothing just thought we were saying stuff that wasnt tru


Iwaizumi sighs and looks out of the window. Well yeah, if he’s going to admit it to Matsukawa by accident, he might as well admit it himself.

 

He’s fucked.

 

4.

When Iwaizumi meets Oikawa, he’s four.

 

“Hi Iwa-chan!” Oikawa says brightly. Iwaizumi gets a jolt at this, because those words are etched across his wrist in beautiful messy characters. But he’s met at least three other strangers who greeted him the same way, so nothing’s set in stone.

 

“You’re that alien kid,” Iwaizumi says, scrunching his nose. He jabs at Oikawa’s shirt. The green alien printed on the top folds in on itself. The print is bad, and a bit falls off. Oikawa almost screams.

 

“Don’t kill my alien!” He shouts, arms wrapping around his chest. “He’s my friend!”

 

Iwaizumi is bewildered. It’s just a shirt. “I wasn’t going to kill it. Just wanted to poke at it.”

 

“Don’t!” Oikawa has tears in his eyes. Iwaizumi is vaguely worried. He doesn’t want to have to go home and tell his mother he made another boy cry.

 

“Sorry.” Iwaizumi’s mom always says that being polite is the best way to mend relationships. Hopefully. “Wanna come bug hunting with me?”

 

“No!” Oikawa still has tears in his eyes. He sniffles. “You’re mean, Iwa-chan!”

 

Iwaizumi looks away. He doesn’t have much, not when he’s four. The most treasured thing he has is probably his net, the long pole with soft but sturdy threads at the bottom strung up to form a trusty net that has yet to fail him in the quest for bugs.

 

“You can have this.” Iwaizumi pushes the net at Oikawa. “I’m sorry. Don’t cry.”

 

Oikawa looks at him, tearful, and launches himself at Iwaizumi. Iwaizumi topples backwards and both of them land on the grass.

 

“Iwa-chan!” Oikawa says, hands dirty and wet with sweat and tears, his face sticky as he tightens his grip on Iwaizumi. “I’ll go bug hunting with you!”

 

“Ah, okay.” Iwaizumi replies. Already, at the age of four, he can tell that Oikawa will be very high maintenance. His mother knows things like these and she whispers them to him as they walk down the street.

 

See that woman flouncing on the sidewalk? She’s high maintenance. Wants attention.

 

See that cat? Attention seeking.

 

See that boy clinging onto you? He wants your attention. High maintenance, definitely.

 

Because Iwaizumi has no tact at the age of four, he asks, “are you high maintenance?”

 

“I don’t know what that means,” Oikawa replies, wiping at his eyes. He bounces up, one hand grabbing the pole, the other grasping Iwaizumi’s hand. “Iwa-chan, let’s go bug hunting!”

 

“Yeah.” Iwaizumi dusts himself off, and dusts Oikawa off with his free hand, seeing as both of Oikawa’s hands are occupied. “Let’s go catch some bugs.”

 

It’s the start of a beautiful friendship.

 

A friendship Iwaizumi later wonders why he let bloom, when he knew right from the start, that Oikawa would become someone high maintenance. When he knew at the age of four that Oikawa would want attention.

 

He can’t stop staring at the way Oikawa’s hands move as he talks, the sharp curve of his neck as he throws his head back and laughs, the veins on his forearms, the slide of his back, the expressive eyes; Iwaizumi can’t drag his eyes away, so he forcefully turns his body around.

 

Oikawa’s just so pretty, Iwaizumi can’t stand it. The lilting curve of his lips makes Iwaizumi want to jump off a building. Maybe not so extreme, but it definitely makes him want to jump off a moving bus. He’s thought about it when Oikawa talks to him and laughs on their way back from an away game.

 

He lets a breath shudder through his body, shakes himself and straightens.

 

This time, it’s not Matsukawa who raises an eyebrow at him. It’s Hanamaki. The boy lets his eyes drag from Iwaizumi to Oikawa and back again, a smile curling at the corners of his lips.

 

Iwaizumi blanches, but he shrugs in response. He can’t argue his infatuation with Oikawa right now, no matter how stupid it is.

 

Hanamaki winks at him, and Iwaizumi grimaces. It’s never good when two of your closest friends are aware of the crush you have on the last friend.

 

4.

Surprisingly, Oikawa’s good at Mathematics. Like, really good. Iwaizumi is always slightly shocked when his results come back and Oikawa tops the year in Mathematics. Not that it should be a surprise, seeing as it’s a constant every year.

 

“Good job,” Iwaizumi says in a rare fit of generosity. “You didn’t do too badly.”

 

“Iwa-chan!” Oikawa responds. “I did very well! Not just ‘not too badly’! You won’t be able to get any girls with that kind of attitude.”

 

“Trashykawa.” Iwaizumi instantly regrets the praise he offered. Now Oikawa’s head is going to get even bigger than before, his ego growing to the size of the Seijou gym. He regrets. “You did pretty poorly on English though, surprisingly.”

 

“I just forgot a few bits of vocabulary!” Oikawa protests. “Not that you did much better.”

 

Iwaizumi offers up his paper. “I did, actually, idiot. I heard Kageyama did badly in English as well.”

 

He doesn’t say how he received that piece of information, and Oikawa doesn’t ask, too caught up in screaming about how he isn’t on the same level as Tobio-chan, Iwa-chan how could you say that.

 

To be fair, Oikawa’s ‘pretty poor’ is a 60 mark. It’s poor because Iwaizumi (and Oikawa himself) is aware that the setter can do much better. Oikawa usually gets around 80, and that’s why a 60 is pretty poor.

 

Kageyama’s ‘pretty poor’, according to a sobbing Sugawara on Skype, is a 30. If Iwaizumi tells Oikawa that, the latter will probably explode into hysterical laughter.

 

“Ah, Iwa-chan.” Oikawa suddenly says. “How did you know that Tobio-chan did badly?”

 

Iwaizumi hesitates on this. Should he tell the truth? Ah well, not like Oikawa wouldn’t notice if Iwaizumi lied. “Sugawara told me on Skype. Apparently he’s worried about Kageyama’s grades and wanted to know if I had any tips.”

 

“Refreshing-kun!” Oikawa exclaims, delighted. “Give me his Skype too!”

 

“You have to ask him yourself, I’m not going to invade his privacy by giving you his number.” Iwaizumi snorts. “You’d probably spam him with emoticons, the way you spam me. If you send me an emoticon one more time, I’ll block you.”

 

“Iwa-chan, no!” The setter leans forward, face uncomfortably close to Iwaizumi’s. It’s making his heart beat a little faster. “Did you have any tips for Tobio-chan?”

 

A safe topic. Iwaizumi relaxes. “Not really, but I gave him some ideas on how to memorise vocabulary, I guess. It’s surprising that Kageyama did badly since he maintained pretty good grades in Kitagawa.”

 

“Maybe he’s distracted by that cute number 10,” Oikawa grins, leaning back. Iwaizumi relaxes even more at that. Now Oikawa’s citrusy scent isn’t right in front of him. “Setters get easily distracted by their spikers, you know?”

 

“They do?” Iwaizumi isn’t aware of this, not at all. Possibly because Oikawa has never been easily distracted by him. Oikawa is always in his own world. Iwaizumi gets distracted by Oikawa, not the other way around. Everybody gets distracted by Oikawa. It’s a character flaw.

 

“Yeah!” Oikawa seems to count on his fingers. “I know at least five pairs of setter-spiker relationships. They’re all involved, if you know what I mean, Iwa-chan.” He drags out the last syllable, voice dripping with sexual innuendo and Iwaizumi stiffens.

 

“Oh my god, Stupidkawa.” He sighs and turns away. “First you demand attention, next you invade others’ privacy? I knew I made the right decision to not give you Sugawara’s number. Who knows how you’ll harass him.”

 

“I wouldn’t!”

 

Iwaizumi looks at Oikawa, deadpan, and Oikawa hits him. “Mean, Iwa-chan!”

 

Iwaizumi laughs and hits him back, gently at the back of his head. He’s not angry or irritated right now. It’s just the two of them, in his room, comparing results and letting the conversation derail into something else altogether.

 

It’s just normal friendship and Iwaizumi’s less harsh today, eyes closing as he leans his head back on his bed. Both of them are sitting on the floor, Oikawa’s legs entangled in his.

 

If Iwaizumi’s heart ticks upwards whenever Oikawa speaks, whenever Oikawa’s legs link tighter against his, whenever Oikawa taps him in the touchy-feely way that Oikawa always has, Iwaizumi doesn’t say anything.

 

When Oikawa isn’t looking, he sends off a quick text to Matsukawa.


Iwaizumi: I’m fucked.

 

Matsu: finally u reach self awareness

 

Matsu: thts the first step to getting in a relationship

 

Matsu: if thts what u want

 

Matsu: r u on a date again

 

Matsu: not that im glad for ur self realization but what brought this up

 

Iwaizumi: he’s over at my house.

 

Matsu: study date

 

Matsu: damn vice capt u move fast

 

Iwaizumi: what the fuck Matsu?

 

Matsu: just calling it as i see it


5.

Oikawa has never had a girlfriend. That is the one thing that keeps Iwaizumi awake at night.

 

Okay, that’s a lie. There are many things about Oikawa that keeps Iwaizumi up at night, including and not limited to Oikawa’s stupid hair, his lips, his neck, his arms, his back, those legs, and Oikawa in general.

 

But Oikawa has never had a girlfriend, and currently that’s the most pressing issue. It gives Iwaizumi hope that Oikawa is, well, not so straight. After all, it’s not like the girls who chase after him are ugly; Iwaizumi may not like them but even he can admit that most of them are pretty cute. They’re not unattractive. There’s a reason why so many boys are jealous of Oikawa; he has pretty girls chasing after him.

 

And yet Oikawa doesn’t date any of them. He takes all their Valentine’s Day gifts in stride, he gives back presents on White Day to those he knows gave him presents, but he never dates anyone.

 

Iwaizumi’s pretty sure that this is false hope, but it makes his heart beat a couple times faster and it’s so irritating it hurts. This must be what drowning feels like, the knowledge that you sort of have the ability to surface and avoid your imminent death, but you’ve been struggling for so long that your muscles are tired and achy and you just want to let go and suffocate.

 

Oikawa is going to be the death of him, he can feel it. It’s almost tiring, thinking about it. Just the thought makes his muscles ache.

 

His phone rings. It’s Oikawa. Iwaizumi sighs and lets his finger hover over the ‘reject’ button. He’s immensely stupid, calling Iwaizumi and incurring telephone bills when he could just as easily come over. Their houses are literally next to each other.

 

He hits ‘accept’ and lifts the phone to his ear.

 

“It’s late.” He starts, when Oikawa doesn’t seem to be saying anything. “What did you call me for?”

 

“Nothing, Iwa-chan.” Oikawa replies. Is his voice shaking? Iwaizumi sits up in bed, alert. “What are you doing?”

 

“Listening to you ramble on the phone.” Iwaizumi says. “You okay?”

 

“I’m fine!” The setter laughs. No, Iwaizumi thinks. He’s not fine.

 

Iwaizumi settles back against his bed, aware that this conversation will be long. “You had another bad dream? Did Kageyama defeat you again or something?”

 

“That’s not a bad dream, Iwa-chan! That’s an impossibility!” Oikawa retorts, but quietens down soon after. “... Just got a bit worried.”

 

“Was I abducted by aliens and left the Earth while you were stuck here?” Iwaizumi asks. “That one always makes you cry because you didn’t get to go with the aliens, I remember.”

 

“Iwa-chan, we promised never to speak of that again. That’s shameful.” He can hear Oikawa’s pout across the phone.

 

“Your knee injury acting up again?”

 

There’s a telling silence. It seems to stretch across oceans. Iwaizumi sighs, throwing a hand over his face. “Hey, you need me to go over?”

 

“I’m fine, Iwa-chan. It just hurts a bit. I got worried for a second. It’s nothing!” Oikawa says brightly.

 

Iwaizumi rolls his eyes. “I’m coming over.”

 

He hangs up and rolls off his bed, dressed in a shirt and sweatpants. It’s pretty late, almost one in the morning and his parents are fast asleep. Oikawa’s parents are probably fast asleep too, if he thinks about it.

 

He brisk walks over to Oikawa’s house and lets himself in. With the amount of times he’s over at Oikawa’s house or vice versa, their parents have deemed it fit to gift each of them a set of the other’s house keys. It’s dark and silent.

 

Iwaizumi sneaks up the staircase to Oikawa’s room, praying that the stupid fourth step won’t creak as usual and wake Oikawa’s parents up. It gives him a chance today and is blessedly silent.

 

He turns the door knob of Oikawa’s door and is greeted by a bundle on the bed. Rolling his eyes, he closes the door behind him and strides over to the bed.

 

Iwaizumi grabs one end of the blanket and flips it into the air, revealing a red eyed Oikawa curling in a foetal position. He is very tempted to throw the blanket to the side in a fit of anger, but he sighs and sets it at the end of the bed.

 

“Oikawa.”

 

The boy on the bed refuses to respond.

 

Iwaizumi sighs. “... Tooru.”

 

“Yes, Iwa-chan?” Oikawa mumbles into his bedsheet. “Why did you come over?”

 

“Let me see your knee.”

 

Oikawa reluctantly uncurls from his position and Iwaizumi winces at the state of his knee. It’s swollen and the skin is slightly reddish. It looks painful.

 

“Have you iced it?”

 

The setter avoids eye contact and Iwaizumi wants to hit himself. “Sorry, stupid question. I’ll get an ice compress for you.”

 

He makes it down and up in a matter of seconds, ice bag in hand and dripping with water.

 

“Come on,” he coaxes Oikawa. “Straighten your leg a bit.”

 

“Iwa-chan, it hurts.” Oikawa whimpers, and Iwaizumi murmurs in understanding. “It hurts, Iwa-chan.”

 

“Just a bit more, okay? We’ll ice it and after a while I’ll work on your stretches. There’s a reason I asked the doctor how to help you stretch at home.”

 

The swelling goes down, bit by bit, and Iwaizumi can see the tension leaving Oikawa’s shoulders. His grip on the bedsheet loosens. Water is dripping everywhere and Oikawa will probably have to change his bedsheets in the morning, but all Iwaizumi can think about is Oikawa’s hand curled around his wrist, a warm steady grip that distracts Iwaizumi to no end.

 

“Feeling better?” Iwaizumi asks after silence stretches between them for a while. “Your bed’s really wet.”

 

“Ew, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa says in a breathless laugh. “Don’t say something like that. My knee feels better.”

 

“You shouldn’t keep it to yourself,” he reminds Oikawa, pressing the ice bag down a bit harder in punishment. Oikawa inhales sharply. “I’ve told you time and time again to tell me if you think your knee hurts. Don’t be stupid and think you can handle it.”

 

“Ah, Iwa-chan, your words are as cruel as ever.” Oikawa smiles at him, grip tightening around Iwaizumi’s wrist. “How will you ever get a girlfriend?”

 

Iwaizumi raises an eyebrow at him. “You’re so high maintenance; with you around, would I even have time for a girlfriend?”

 

It’s the first time he’s ever said something along those lines, and Oikawa’s eyes grow wide.

 

“Iwa-chan.” He says in a small voice. “Do you want a girlfriend? Am I too distracting?”

 

Iwaizumi considers this. Honestly, he wants Oikawa as a boyfriend. And Oikawa is distracting to no end as well. Does that mean both statements are true? No, the first is false. Iwaizumi wants a boyfriend. Specifically, Oikawa.

 

His hesitance to answer must seem as consent to Oikawa who looks away, eyes half lidded. “Ah, Iwa-chan,” he says. “You don’t have to take care of me so much.”

 

“I don’t want a girlfriend.” Iwaizumi says immediately. It’s the truth.

 

Oikawa looks surprised. “You don’t? Ah, Iwa-chan must be the romantic type, waiting for their soulmate!”

 

Iwaizumi blinks. Oh. He’s actually… he’s actually forgotten about waiting for his soulmate, being so caught up in Oikawa.

 

“Just waiting for the right person.” Iwaizumi tells him. “It doesn’t really matter if he’s my soulmate or not, if we’re both dedicated to each other.”

 

Oikawa’s eyes widen even further. Iwaizumi thinks back on what he said. Is it that surprising?

 

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa mumbles. “You said ‘he’.”

 

Oh.

 

Iwaizumi shrugs. “Yeah, well, I guess.” Inwards, he’s panicking. Is it too obvious? Will Oikawa notice that Iwaizumi likes him now?

 

“You like boys, Iwa-chan?” Oikawa’s eyes light up. He sits up, throbbing knee forgotten as he leans forward. “Iwa-chan, you don’t like girls?”

 

“Yeah.” Iwaizumi replies, eyes steady on Oikawa’s. “I like boys.”

 

He likes the sharp angles of elbows, the curve of the Adam’s Apple, the glint in the eyes, the bony fingers, the lithe muscles curving underneath skin like ripples, the hard chest he can press his palm flat on.

 

He likes Oikawa.

 

Kiss him, a stupid voice in his head whispers. It sounds suspiciously like Matsukawa. He’s close enough to reach. And then-

 

“Wow, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa says to the air as he flops back against the bed, moment ruined. “You sure picked a good time to come out. I was in pain and you decided to turn the topic onto yourself! Rude, Iwa-chan. I should always be the topic of discussion.”

 

Iwaizumi forces Oikawa to stretch in revenge, pushing his thigh against his chest and stretching the ligament at Oikawa’s knee.

 

“Iwa-chan, ouch!”

 

“You can take it, you idiot.” Iwaizumi answers. If Oikawa really couldn’t, Iwaizumi would know. And he’d stop immediately. “If you’re too loud, your parents will hear.”

 

“You make it sound so bad, Iwa-chan.” Oikawa grins up at him, breath pushed out of his chest with every push Iwaizumi presses on his knee.

 

Iwaizumi sincerely hopes that the darkness of the night will hide the red tinge on his face.

 

6.

It’s nothing shameful. How can it be, when it’s the words your soulmate first speaks to you?

 

Yes, it’s nothing shameful, but Iwaizumi hides it nonetheless, underneath a black wristband. He doesn’t want others to look at it, to see the words that should mean the world to him but have long lost their significance with the way he’s heard them so many times.

 

Oikawa does the same. Iwaizumi has never asked to see Oikawa’s words, and Oikawa has never asked to see Iwaizumi’s words, though Iwaizumi has seen Oikawa catch himself before asking, the words curling in his throat and on the tip of his tongue. Oikawa wants to know.

 

Frankly, Iwaizumi would like to know as well. It’s entirely too rare, but there is a slim chance that Oikawa’s words might be written on Iwaizumi’s wrist, and vice versa. He remembers clearly, after all, how Oikawa first spoke to him like they were friends, with a scarily friendly hi, Iwa-chan!

 

But surely, if Iwaizumi remembers, Oikawa does too. And though Iwaizumi’s words are vague and generic, Iwaizumi remembers telling Oikawa you’re that alien kid.

 

Surely, surely those words are startling and unique enough that if Iwaizumi is Oikawa’s soulmate, Oikawa would have realised.

 

Who tells others you’re that alien kid in their first conversation? Iwaizumi willingly admits that he has no tact.

 

If Oikawa isn’t his soulmate though… Suddenly, Iwaizumi can’t breathe. He chokes down a gasp of air, forces it into his lungs. It’s never really occurred to him, but it hits him that he’s never truly considered having a soulmate that isn’t Oikawa.

 

Oikawa’s been by his side as long as he can remember. Honestly, Iwaizumi can’t remember anything before the age of four. Even the pictures in his house are always of him and Oikawa, together. What happens when Oikawa finds his soulmate, and Iwaizumi finds his?

 

It’s going to be strange if Oikawa stops being so clingy to him. It’s going to feel weird if Oikawa stops coming over in the middle of the night, or stops calling Iwaizumi and asking him to come over. It’s going to be wrong if Iwaizumi has to dedicate his time to someone other than Oikawa.

 

Shit, he thinks. He’s in deep. This doesn’t even brush the thought of a high school fling; it has thrown that thought out of the universe altogether.

 

Iwaizumi cringes. His mind has betrayed him; his heart has left him. He’s in love with Oikawa.

 

If Oikawa isn’t his soulmate, Iwaizumi’s going to slap someone. Probably himself.

 

7.

 

Iwaizumi: what if you fell in love with makki but it turned out he wasn’t your soulmate?

 

Matsu: my makki

 

Matsu: not my sm

 

Matsu: impossible

 

Iwaizumi: just answer the what-if question please.

 

Iwaizumi: it’s serious

 

Matsu: its always srs btween u and capt tbh

 

Matsu: but ok

 

Matsu: id still love him duh

 

Matsu: after really thinking abt ur ques i dont get it

 

Iwaizumi: I mean, if you two were never meant to be together, what would you do?

 

Matsu: id still love him

 

Matsu: and date him

 

Matsu: and mb try to convince him tht we r tru sm

 

Matsu: if u love him u gotta go for it

 

Matsu: capt isnt gonna wait forever

 

Iwaizumi: but he probably isn’t my soulmate? I don’t know what to think about that.

 

Iwaizumi: what if I find a soulmate and he finds a soulmate and we drift apart?

 

Iwaizumi: I can’t even imagine that.

 

Matsu: Hey Iwaizumi.

 

Matsu: I’m going to give you some solid advice, so listen up.

 

Matsu: Your life is always going be full of what-ifs.

 

Matsu: It’s never going to go your way. Life sucks, that’s the way it is.

 

Matsu: It’s like why we’ve never won against Shiratorizawa. Life sucks.

 

Matsu: But you don’t see us just giving up against them.

 

Matsu: When we win against them, it’s going to be the sweetest thing ever.

 

Matsu: And you’ll never know that feeling if you don’t go for it.

 

Matsu: High school isn’t going to wait for you to get off your butt.

 

Matsu: Neither will Oikawa.

 

Matsu: It doesn’t matter if you’re soulmates or not.

 

Matsu: If you love him, you have to go and get him.

 

Matsu: It’s better to enjoy life now rather than worry about whether you guys aren’t soulmates or will separate in the future.

 

Matsu: You have to milk life for all its worth and take all the sweet stuff.

 

Matsu: And honestly, if you ask Makki and I, we think you’re soulmates.

 

Matsu: Or at the very least, he’s in love with you.

 

Matsu: ok im done w all the emo stuff

 

Iwaizumi:

 

Matsu: i know im out of character lmao

 

Iwaizumi: that was strangely inspirational.

 

Iwaizumi: … but thanks. you’re pretty good at this stuff.

 

Matsu: im a guy in love. we r def gd at this stuff

 

Matsu: if u two get tgt i s2g u better make me ur best man

 

Matsu: or ill release to the public ur texts when u were in crisis

 

Iwaizumi: you wouldn’t.

 

Matsu: im a guy in love

 

Matsu: we do stupid stuff

 

Matsu: try me lmao

 

8.

Iwaizumi furrows his brows. He’s a bit at a loss as to how to tackle this problem.

 

Oikawa is fast asleep in Iwaizumi’s room, spreadeagled across his bed, stomach down. The blanket is tangled in his legs and his hair is even fluffier than usual, standing up at odd ends, arms hugging the pillow.

 

Iwaizumi swallows tightly. Oikawa may not know this, but he really does test Iwaizumi’s patience in more ways than one. Like this.

 

He pokes at Oikawa’s foot and the body on the bed shakes, twitching as he draws in his foot to hide it beneath the blankets. Iwaizumi lets his fingers trail lightly up the calf muscle of the other leg in retaliation, watching smugly as goosebumps follow. He’s always known where Oikawa is the most sensitive.

 

Oikawa shudders, turning in bed to face the ceiling. “Iwa-chan…”

 

“Get off my bed.”

 

“But I’m tired,” Oikawa complains, rolling over. There’s a bit of space left on the bed. “You can fit there. I wanna sleep.”

 

“Sleep in your own room,” Iwaizumi replies, but he sits on the bed nonetheless. “What are you doing here?”

 

Oikawa pulls his hand out from underneath the pillow and throws it across his face. Iwaizumi inhales sharply, because he can see the curve of letters beneath the black wristband. It’s moved up along his wrist, pushed by the force Oikawa used to drag it out from below the pillow.

 

“Hey,” he says as he leans over Oikawa. The setter must really be out of it to not notice something like that. Oikawa mumbles out something unintelligible and moves his arm away from his face, pupils dilating when he sees Iwaizumi’s face above his. “Be more careful. If you don’t want people to see, don’t be so careless with it.”

 

Iwaizumi drags the wristband down, letting his fingers rest against Oikawa’s covered wrist. He stares at it for a moment, wondering if Oikawa would let him peek beneath.

 

“Iwa-chan?” Oikawa asks, breath curling against Iwaizumi’s lips and he leans back.

 

“Yes?”

 

“You’ve been kind of different lately.” Oikawa sits up, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. “Care to explain?”

 

“It’s nothing big.” Iwaizumi tilts his head back, looking at the ceiling. Matsukawa has more or less solved his dilemma for him. Now it’s a matter of when Iwaizumi will confess. “Just something that bothered me for a while.”

 

“Can you tell me?” Oikawa presses his shoulder against Iwaizumi’s, eyes wide. “I wanna know, Iwa-chan. As a captain.”

 

“As a captain?” Iwaizumi repeats amusedly. “You never cared for Kageyama when you were his captain.”

 

“Che.” Oikawa mutters. “As a friend,” he says, pressing back harder. “Tell me, Iwa-chan.”

 

Iwaizumi looks at Oikawa, with his stupid brown hair and bright brown eyes, lips curling up in that infuriating smirk, and the only thing running through his mind is to get that smirk off Oikawa’s face.

 

He leans in and presses his lips lightly against Oikawa’s.

 

It takes him at least five seconds before Iwaizumi realises what he’s doing. He pulls back immediately, eyes blown wide with panic and worry. He’s ruined their friendship, hasn’t he? Their beautiful friendship of thirteen years, of midnight visits and huddling under blankets and twitching at horror movies and staying up late together. Of playing in the yard, catching bugs, trying to spot UFOs in the sky, struggling with science.

 

Iwaizumi’s throat is clogged. He can’t speak, can’t breathe, can’t think. This is how he dies, he’s sure of it. From shame. Oikawa’s going to hate him.

 

Oikawa looks like he’s been through a disaster, lips parted and eyes wide in shock, hair tousled and fingers clenching the blanket. He looks like he’s in shock. He might have stopped breathing.

 

Iwaizumi launches himself off the bed, prepared to run out of the room and the house and preferably the entire neighbourhood in general. But the breathy whisper of “Iwa-chan?” stops him in his tracks. He turns back, and Oikawa is reaching out for him, butt still firmly on the bed.

 

“Iwa-chan?” He repeats, utterly confused. Iwaizumi’s cheeks are burning red, a bright red that he can’t control. “Iwa-chan, come back.”

 

“No thanks.” Iwaizumi replies, eyes sliding away from Oikawa’s and onto the floor. “I’d rather not.”

 

There’s a silence. “Iwa-chan, you like me?”

 

Iwaizumi doesn’t respond. He doesn’t know how to respond. Isn’t it obvious by now? Does Oikawa need him to spell it out?

 

“Iwa-chan, do you like like me? In that way?” Oikawa’s voice is getting louder, and Iwaizumi toys with the thought of Oikawa calling him disgusting and meaning it. It makes him want to retch.

 

“Yeah.” He replies, voice shaky. He doesn’t want to face rejection, but Oikawa’s on his bed and Iwaizumi is in the hard place between his door and his bed. “I do.”

 

“How long, Iwa-chan?” Oikawa asks. Iwaizumi hates this; it feels like an interrogation. Does Oikawa like making him sweat? Yeah, okay, stupid question. Oikawa loves making everybody sweat.

 

Iwaizumi looks up, looks at Oikawa. “A long time. Couple months. Almost a year.”

 

When Oikawa relaxes, the tension flowing from his body like rain water sliding off his skin, Iwaizumi tenses even further. A relaxed Oikawa is a dangerous one. Those half lidded eyes does things to Iwaizumi, and he’s not prepared to be rejected with those eyes.

 

“Iwa-chan, come here.” Oikawa says in a breathy voice, laughter catching at the edges.

 

Iwaizumi swallows. He can’t say no to Oikawa.

 

He goes.

 

Oikawa places his hands on the sides of Iwaizumi’s face, looking at his eyes like he’s searching for something. Whatever it is, he must have found it, because he looks strangely satisfied. He pulls Iwaizumi down to sit on the bed and presses his lips against Iwaizumi’s.

 

Iwaizumi’s pretty sure he makes some sort of dying animal noise.

 

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa laughs when they separate for air. “I’ve loved you since forever. I never thought you’d love me back.”

 

Iwaizumi’s so startled he almost falls off the bed. “Seriously?”

 

Oikawa grins at him. “Yes, Iwa-chan, seriously! But Iwa-chan’s stupid and never noticed. Even Makki and Mattsun noticed!”

 

Traitors, Iwaizumi thinks. Matsukawa knew all along. I’m going to slaughter him.

 

“Are you thinking about killing Matsu-chan?” Oikawa asks. “Iwa-chan, that rudeness of yours is going to have to change. I’m not having you think about someone else when in bed with me!”

 

Iwaizumi chokes. “Stop.”

 

“Never, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa replies playfully. “I’m in love with you, so it’s fine.”

 

Iwaizumi groans, draggins a palm over his eyes. It’s what he deserves, really, for falling in love with someone like Oikawa.

 

But his heart is beating so fast he’s fairly certain he’s high on adrenaline, and Iwaizumi feels like flying. This is probably what love feels like, constant jittery butterflies whizzing around in his stomach.

 

It’s nice.

 

They kiss and laugh and talk in bed until it’s time for dinner. Their lips are swollen and there are a few incriminating marks on necks, but they’re falling over each other while laughing and they swear they’ve never grinned so much in one day since they were children.

 

9.

Nothing much has changed, honestly. They still go to school together, eat lunch together, go for practice, come home together, do homework together, sleep. There’s just handholding, kissing and quiet murmurs between the two of them when they think others can’t hear.

 

Looking back, Iwaizumi thinks he can understand why most people thought they were dating.

 

But Iwaizumi and Oikawa can’t really hide anything from Matsukawa and Hanamaki, the other half of the third year quartet. They raise eyebrows at the new pair and give them saucy grins, making Iwaizumi’s fingers itch to smack them over the heads.

 

“I’d knew you’d get together,” Matsukawa tells him smugly during stretches one day, smirk firmly in place. “Makki and I knew all along.”

 

Iwaizumi snorts. “Yeah, because a certain someone told you.”

 

“Makki and I knew, way before Oikawa told us.” Matsukawa’s lips curl up even further. “We knew there was something going on between the vice captain and captain. Oikawa’s never that good to anyone.”

 

“Good? To me?” Iwaizumi frowns. Try as he might, his only memories of Oikawa are the setter irritating Iwaizumi. It’s an exasperated sort of irritation, but it makes Iwaizumi annoyed nonetheless. “Since when?”

 

“He’s always given you his undivided attention.” Matsukawa says. “He keeps on looking at you when you aren’t looking at him. He trusts you the most in the entire team. If you talk to someone for too long, he comes over and butts into the conversation, most of the time while slinging an arm around your neck to maintain touch.”

 

Iwaizumi blinks. He looks around to make eye contact with Oikawa. Oikawa is laughing brightly at something Kindaichi has said. He turns to look back at Matsukawa. “You sure?”

 

“Very sure.” Matsukawa stretches, his spine popping. “I can take a video for you, if you’d like. See how much he stares at you with affection in his eyes. It used to be sad, since he didn’t know if you liked him. It’s much stronger now. Almost suffocating.”

 

Sure enough, if Iwaizumi concentrates, he can feel eyes on his back. Oikawa is still talking, loud and cheerful, but after hearing what Matsukawa has to say, he’s pretty certain that if he turns back quickly enough, he’ll catch Oikawa staring at his back.

 

It makes him smile, for some weird reason. It’s pleasing to know that Oikawa is as infatuated with him as Iwaizumi is with Oikawa; that this love Iwaizumi has harboured for Oikawa is returned just as much, for just as long. It makes him feel slightly better, that he hasn’t been  pining stupidly after someone who’s terribly out of his league.

 

Someone drapes himself over Iwaizumi’s back and the weight is familiar; not that anyone else in the team would do something like that. Oikawa slings his arms around Iwaizumi’s shoulders and grins at Matsukawa.

 

Coming up behind Matsukawa, Hanamaki makes a retching face and turns around, hand pressed to his mouth. “Blergh,” he says. “You two have become more disgusting than usual. Is this what romance has done to you? Undo please, vice captain deserves someone who doesn’t make so many peace signs.”

 

Makki,” Oikawa whines, arms tightening around Iwaizumi. “We’re in love, like you and Mattsun!”

 

“Our love is full of sin, which is okay.” Hanamaki winks at Matsukawa, who smirks back. “Yours is some icky pure first love that is too much to take in. Your PDA is going to make people cry.”

 

Iwaizumi can’t help but laugh at this because it’s true beyond belief. Oikawa likes skin to skin contact and Iwaizumi likes the feel of Oikawa’s skin on his; they’re going to hold hands and press their shoulders together, press their shins together, lean on each other’s shoulders and kiss so much. They’re going to make up for the lost time of one year in which they could have been doing all of that.

 

Oikawa pecks Iwaizumi on the cheek twice before leaving to start serving balls; once, because he wants to; the second time, to spite Hanamaki. Hanamaki rolls his eyes at Iwaizumi, who’s too focused on watching his boyfriend’s back muscles move beneath his shirt as he walks away and doesn’t see Hanamaki laugh with Matsukawa.

 

Boyfriend. Iwaizumi’s lips curl up of their own accord. He likes the sound of that, likes the way his tongue curls around the word, likes the way the word leaves a warm feeling in the bottom of his stomach.

 

Oikawa’s his boyfriend. Iwaizumi watches him serve a ball into the net and watches him cry out in dismay.

 

Yeah, Iwaizumi thinks. This is what I was looking for. My love.

 

His thoughts are so cheesy that he flushes a bright red, making Kindaichi stumble when he passes Iwaizumi.

 

10.

It’s a Sunday afternoon, Iwaizumi is safely within the confines of his air conditioned room, and there is an ice popsicle in his mouth as he flips through his homework.

 

Oikawa walks in without knocking on the door and sits down at the table opposite Iwaizumi. He doesn’t say anything, no loud greeting, no kisses, no touching, and Iwaizumi looks up, homework forgotten. Something’s up.

 

Oikawa’s eyes are red-rimmed, and Iwaizumi is instantly alert. It can’t be his knee; if Oikawa’s knee was acting up, Oikawa couldn’t possibly have walked into his room. He drags his gaze down Oikawa’s body and stops at-

 

His boyfriend isn’t wearing his wristband. The strip of skin there is paler than the rest of Oikawa’s body, and Iwaizumi can see words lining up and tracing over the wrist. It’s a bit hard to read, when Oikawa places his other hand above his wrist.

 

Oikawa avoids Iwaizumi’s gaze, eyes darting away to look at the ground when Iwaizumi looks at him. Iwaizumi spends a few minutes waiting for Oikawa to say something, say anything, before he goes back to looking through his homework. There’s a silence in the room, with just the noises of Iwaizumi flipping pages and the occasional pop of the ice popsicle as Iwaizumi slides it out of his mouth and in again.

 

Iwaizumi knows Oikawa. If he came here, he wants to say something. Iwaizumi’s played this game before. Oikawa doesn’t always know what he wants to say, or how he wants to say it, but he will always go to Iwaizumi first and foremost before he says it to anyone else. Iwaizumi can wait. He has all the time to wait for Oikawa. His homework, on the other hand, is due tomorrow.

 

He’s scribbling something on a page when Oikawa says his name. The ice popsicle almost falls out of his mouth when Iwaizumi looks up. He’s scrambling to stuff it back in his mouth before it drips over his homework when Oikawa mumbles something unintelligible.

 

“Tooru?” Iwaizumi says, popsicle out of his mouth to ensure he enunciates properly. This situation seems rather delicate. It’s been a long time since the word Oikawa passed through his lips, when there were other options like Shittykawa and Trashykawa, and this situation calls for something more familiar.

 

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa says, suddenly all teary-eyed. Iwaizumi leans back against his bed and subtly takes his homework off the table, in case Oikawa throws himself across the table to hug Iwaizumi, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. “I need to tell you something.”

 

Iwaizumi has watched enough shows to know that statement either means something really good, or something that can break their entire relationship. But he trusts Oikawa. “Go ahead.”

 

“A-About soulmates,” Oikawa starts, blinking furiously to rid himself of the tears gathering on his eyelashes. “You know I’ve never really searched for mine, right? I’ve never been th-that interested in it.”

 

“Yeah.” Iwaizumi knows. Oikawa tries to act like he’s waiting for his perfect match, but Iwaizumi has never seen him lose any sleep over it, unlike how Iwaizumi has on some nights.

 

“Th-that’s because, I… I’d already found him.” Oikawa says in a shaky voice, eyes filled with tears as he looks at Iwaizumi. “I didn’t tell you because… I-I didn’t know h-how you would re-react,” he stammers, fingers shaking.

 

Iwaizumi can feel his throat closing up. He’s seen this play out in the movies, he’s seen it too many times, the girl has found her true soulmate and she leaves to pursue love with him while her boyfriend is left stranded. But he doesn’t say anything. Oikawa is his friend before he is Iwaizumi’s boyfriend, and Iwaizumi will listen until the end.

 

Oikawa’s voice hitches. “I-I wanted to tell you, I wanted to tell you so much , b-but I was s-so scared, Iwa-chan, so scared that you’d make fun of me.” He’s choking, hiccuping over certain words. Iwaizumi can hear the sobs in his voice. Iwaizumi’s tearing up a bit too.

 

It hurts to see the boy he loves hurt so much.

 

“I wouldn’t make fun of you over your soulmate.” Iwaizumi says after a pause. “Never. I’d never do that to you.”

 

I know, Iwa-chan, and that- and that makes it hurt too,” Oikawa replies, inhaling a shaky breath. “I did-didn’t, didn’t really li-like soulmates because it meant we, we had to love someone, someone that was already ch-chosen for u-us. I want-wanted to fall in love by my-myself.” He forces out. The tears are coming out now, dripping down his face and onto the table. Oikawa looks like he’s tearing himself apart. Iwaizumi wants to tear himself apart as well.

 

“And-and then, I, I met my soul-soulmate, and, and, and I fell in love and I hated th-that I did, for a long while, but then I-I just couldn’t stop love-loving him, and Iwa-chan, I didn’t know how to tell you,” Oikawa sobs. Iwaizumi can feel tears stinging at his eyes. The popsicle in his mouth is the only thing stopping him from saying anything. He doesn’t think he can say anything, at any rate. He has prayed that by some incredible turn of events, Oikawa would turn out to be his soulmate, but it looks like- it looks like-

 

It looks like Iwaizumi’s holding on to dreams.

 

He doesn’t say anything for a while, and he blames it on the melting popsicle in his mouth. Once he finishes it, Oikawa has calmed down a bit, breath still hitching at points and face left sticky with tears. Iwaizumi draws the stick out of his mouth and dumps it in the trash can near his table. There’s a picture of Oikawa on the trash can, a visual joke Iwaizumi made when they were fourteen. Trashykawa. It was the most hilarious thing he had ever thought of back then, and even though Oikawa huffed and protested for a while, the two of them ended up laughing.

 

He looks at the stupid face fourteen year old Oikawa is making on the trash can, and forces himself to look at the one sitting before him in the eye.

 

“And so?” Iwaizumi asks, steeling himself. It might be someone he knows. Oikawa jolts. “Who is he?”

 

Oikawa looks shocked, like the breath has been punched out of him, eyes wide and mouth hanging open. He quickly gulps in more air, eyes darting away from Iwaizumi. It’s a bit surreal, to see the boy who had barely calmed down dissolve into another breakdown.

 

“D-don’t cry!” Iwaizumi stammers, hands out, trying to grasp Oikawa by the shoulders. “I didn’t want to make you cry! I just wanted to know who it is!” His voice goes higher and higher, shaking with worry.

 

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa murmurs, lips breaking apart in something that resembles a pained smile. “Iwa-chan, why don’t you read my words a-and see for yourself? Only one, one person has ever said those wo-words to me.”

 

Iwaizumi scrubs at his eyes, forcing down the tears that threaten to blur his vision. He holds Oikawa’s wrist, turning it up such that the words are in the correct orientation, and pauses. He doesn’t really want to read the words. The words one’s soulmate will first speak to them are sacred, after all. Oikawa wanting to show them to Iwaizumi is strange.

 

He blinks, focusing on the words etched across Oikawa’s wrist.

 

 

 

 

The more he reads, the more he wants to slap Oikawa.

 

You’re that alien kid. The words are on Oikawa’s wrist, curling around the skin like a bracelet. It’s a mark of two halves coming together as one, the words that lead people to their other half, their soulmate.

 

Iwaizumi- Iwaizumi’s been living in constant unease all his life because his words are so generic and as he grows older, fewer and fewer people will call him Iwa-chan hence the chances of meeting his soulmate at his current age is terribly low, and what if he’s one of those sad soulmate pairs that met in their childhood but were forcibly separated by external circumstances and would never realise they were soulmates?

 

And to think, and to think, his soulmate has been here all along, by his side, falling desperately in love with him but trying to stop himself because he refuses to follow the whole soulmate shebang, because he wants to fall in love all of his own accord.

 

Iwaizumi’s torn between laughing and crying. He’s fairly certain a seventeen year old boy shouldn’t have such strong emotions welling up inside of his chest, making his heart throb, making his eyes tear, making his fingers shake.

 

“Iwa-chan?” Oikawa says, voice soft. He’s scared; that’s the voice he uses after the two of them huddle on Oikawa’s bed, watch horror movies, and no one is willing to walk the distance to switch the light off.

 

Iwaizumi sets Oikawa’s wrist down on the table and leans back against his bed. He needs to think. He needs to reorganize his thoughts. He needs to review everything flying through his mind before he does something he regrets, like crying or slapping Oikawa or kissing him until his mother calls them down for dinner.

 

He looks at Oikawa and sees how his boyfriend, his soulmate, looks like he’s about to cry, and Iwaizumi sighs.

 

Oikawa stiffens at this, tears welling up in his eyes. Iwaizumi runs a hand through his hair, visibly frustrated. He can’t deal with so much emotion; Iwaizumi isn’t built to work that way. He runs through everything in his mind and-

 

He crooks a finger at Oikawa.

 

The setter flings himself at Iwaizumi, clutching at Iwaizumi’s shirt and sobbing loudly. There are muffled apologies mixed in, loud declarations of love, and even more muffled apologies with excuses littering his words. Iwaizumi has a hand on Oikawa’s back, rubbing soothingly; the other hand is in Oikawa’s hair, just laying there, a steady weight to ground the crying boy in his arms.

 

Iwaizumi’s a soft crier, so Oikawa’s sobs drown out his soft gasps for breath as he looks at the ceiling and lets the tears run down his face. It’s an emotional release; crying, that is. It’s scientifically proven to help one release tension and relax. It makes people feel better afterwards.

 

Iwaizumi cries for quite a while, letting all his frustrations over not knowing his soulmate was right there, over Oikawa lying to him, over- over- over anything he can possibly be angry at. He sits there, leaning against the bed as his shirt is soaked by the tears of his boyfriend.

 

It’s at least ten minutes before both of them calm down, breaths slowing to something resembling normality. Their voices are hoarse and flailing in their throats; both can feel how they won’t be able to talk properly for a while. Oikawa’s hair is out of its perfect arrangement, his eyes are bloodshot and his face has tear streaks. Iwaizumi doesn’t look much better with similar bloodshot eyes, tear streaked face and drenched shirt.

 

He offers tissues to Oikawa. Oikawa takes them and blows his nose. Iwaizumi retrieves more tissue and does the same. They’re both messes right now.

 

Iwaizumi takes in a deep breath. “Tooru,” he says, eyes softening as he looks at his boyfriend. “You’re an idiot.”

 

“I-Iwa-chan.” Oikawa mumbles. “I-I’m sorry, I-I didn’t, I didn’t mean-”

 

“Hey now, calm down.” Iwaizumi wraps Oikawa up in a hug, hand pressed against the base of Oikawa’s neck. “Don’t go crying on me again. I don’t think you have that many tears, do you?”

 

“I’m sorry, Iwa-chan.” He hiccups. “I didn’t know how you would react. And I hated myself for falling in love with you. I didn’t want to love you just because we were soulmates. I want to love you because you’re my best friend for so long and you’re so nice to me and I love you but I didn’t want it to be because of the soulmate thing. But I just love you so much, and you told me you liked me, and I was so happy and-”

 

“Wait, Tooru.” Iwaizumi cuts him off, brow furrowing. “What’s the issue here now? We’re boyfriends, we’re soulmates, that’s great, why are you still so worried?”

 

Oikawa looks like Iwaizumi just slapped him. “Iwa-chan?” He asks quietly. “You aren’t mad?”

 

“Of course I’m mad,” Iwaizumi says matter of factly. “Why wouldn’t I be? I’m pissed beyond belief.”

 

His boyfriend stills.

 

“But I’m always pissed beyond belief at you,” Iwaizumi continues. “You make me so mad all the time, with your stupid peace signs and letting your throngs of fans into the gym and your shitty attitude and rudeness to everybody you think is below you and your constant selfies and your legs and your neck and your back and- well, in general, you drive me mad. It shouldn’t be surprising.”

 

“You like my legs? And my neck? And my back?” Oikawa repeats, eyes wide. He seems to have forgotten his previous emotional breakdown. It’s pretty amazing, how Oikawa filters out everything but Iwaizumi sort of confessing he really likes Oikawa’s legs, neck and back. “Iwa-chan, I never knew.”

 

“Shut up, I’m not done.” Iwaizumi frowns at him. “I’m mad at you, yes, but I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve been next to you all my life, I know you. I know why you never liked the idea of soulmates that much. I don’t blame you. I’m just angry that we could have gotten together much earlier and be safe in the knowledge and security that we were meant for each other. That’s pretty much it.”

 

“Wow, Iwa-chan. You’re so practical. And straightforward.” Oikawa smiles, leaning forward to press his forehead against Iwaizumi’s. “I really, really love you.”

 

“I know,” Iwaizumi replies, reaching down to twine their hands together. “I love you too. And now I finally know we’re soulmates. That’s a big relief.”

 

“Iwa-chan!” Oikawa laughs, kissing Iwaizumi like tomorrow doesn’t exist.

 

Iwaizumi’s so deliriously happy.

 

+1.

“So you two really are soulmates?” Hanamaki asks, inspecting their wrists. After one’s soulmate has seen them first, it’s alright to show others the wrist marks, Oikawa practically forced his wrist (and Iwaizumi’s) into Hanamaki and Matsukawa’s faces. He’s that happy.

 

“I can’t believe the first words you said to Oikawa were, ‘you’re that alien kid.’ That’s gold,” Matsukawa mutters, grinning. “Hilarious. You really captured his entire character in four words.”

 

“Mattsun!” Oikawa huffs. “You’re so mean. Iwa-chan’s so much nicer.”

 

“Oh?” Matsukawa leers. “Nicer? Since when do you think Iwaizumi is nicer than any of us?”

 

Oikawa flushes. His hands tighten around Iwaizumi’s arms, pouting at Matsukawa. “Don’t say it like that!”

 

Hanamaki offers his own wrist up for Iwaizumi’s inspection, lips curling up. “Matsukawa’s first words to me are hilarious. So cheesy. Embarrassing.”

 

Nice hair, you’re pretty good looking.

 

Iwaizumi bursts out laughing. “Is he trying to pick you up?”

 

Matsukawa looks away and Hanamaki laughs. “He was dared to, yeah. And then he found out we were soulmates. He was smirking and so sure of himself when he said those words to me, but after I replied, he just froze. I was worried for a moment that he’d died on the spot.”

 

“It was embarrassing, okay? I mean, less embarrassing than Iwaizumi and Oikawa’s- I’m sorry Iwaizumi, but your words to Oikawa are hilarious and embarrassing. Hanamaki was terrible.” Matsukawa protests.

 

What, you want to take me out?

 

Those words are printed on Matsukawa’s wrist, sliding up his forearm instead of curling around like Oikawa’s. They are pretty embarrassing. Oikawa laughs, snickering at Matsukawa’s face.

 

Hanamaki soon draws Oikawa into a conversation about their stupid soulmates and Oikawa gladly complains about Iwaizumi to no end. While Iwaizumi listens to Oikawa complain about stupid things like how Iwaizumi values ice popsicles more than kissing Oikawa and the tick on his forehead grows larger, Matsukawa walks over.

 

“You happy?” He asks.

 

Iwaizumi looks at Oikawa, sees his pale wrist with the letters, wristband nowhere in sight, sees Oikawa throw his head back in laughter and traces the curve of his neck with his eyes, sees Oikawa’s eyes light up and shine and-

 

“Yeah.” Iwaizumi says unthinkingly. “I’m happy.”

 

Matsukawa places his hand on Iwaizumi’s shoulder. “Better make me your best man,” he whispers as he passes, walking towards Hanamaki.

 

Iwaizumi grins.

 

He’s happy.