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in the end it doesn't even matter anymore

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"Mm look at those thighs."

"Please don't make that sound in public again."

Oikawa reaches over and pokes the thighs. "Look at 'em Sawa-chan. They're so squishy."

Daichi's face scrunches up. "Don't poke the merchandise Oikawa. We need to move on."

Oikawa sighs and steps away from the thighs. He moves along the shelf and points to something else. "What about those breasts?"

Daichi immediately starts shaking his head. "We came here for one thing and one thing only. We have plenty of breasts—and thighs—at home. Now can you hurry up and help me find the ribs?"

Oikawa pouts. "You never wanna have any fun with me in public."

Daichi slips past him, his arm weighed down with vegetables and fruits, his eyes scanning the shelves for ribs. He doesn't know exactly what he's going to make for this dinner party, but at least he'll have the basics. "That's because your idea of public fun is a form of lewd behavior I don't like to broadcast."

His other arm gains weight as Oikawa latches onto him and pushes his face in close. "That's not what you said last night."

Pausing, Daichi stops browsing the shelves and turns to Oikawa, giving him a blank stare. Oikawa flutters his eyelashes, his supposed lustful pout turning into something a little more flirty.

"You're right," Daichi starts to move again, Oikawa sticking to him like glue. "It's not. I'm pretty sure I said something like 'Oh god put some pants on before the neighbors call the cops again.' Right?"

The weight is gone from his arm as Oikawa slides off him. Daichi doesn't need to look back to know Oikawa's mouth is wide enough to catch flies. He smirks, and heads to the end of the aisle where he finally spots the ribs.

He's not even a foot away when Oikawa asks, "Are you forgetting why my pants were missing?"

Daichi coughs into his hand, forcing himself to keep moving, to act like everything is okay. "I was not the one who started that fire," he simply says, unsure if Oikawa can even hear him.

Oikawa catches up to him, not giving up. He walks backwards in front of Daichi so Daichi can see his face. It's annoyed.

"You know I don't use the stove and yet you forced me to last night and I lost my favorite pair of boxers."

"You're the one who said he could handle a little boiling water. How the hell was I supposed to know you'd use your shirt to wipe up a stain on the stove while it was still on?"

"You know I can't stand dirty surfaces!"

Oikawa throws his hands in the air as he shouts. Daichi chokes on another cough, realizing then where they're at and that they've stopped in the middle of the aisle. A few people stare at them, one a woman who's on her phone, one hand covering her mouth. Daichi wonders what kind of a story she's telling the caller.

Oikawa remembers where they're at, too. He lowers his hands and crosses them high on his chest, his shoulders hunched in his ultimate pouting stance. His lips move, but Daichi can't hear anything.

"Come again?" He asks.

Oikawa just mimics talking.

"Oikawa," Daichi warns. Oikawa looks up at him, his expression devoid of emotion.

"I hope you overcook the ribs tonight."

Daichi's mouth drops open in a gasp, but before he can reply, Oikawa spins on his heel and starts to walk up the aisle, his back straight and head held high as he struts away. Daichi watches him disappear, slowly realizing that people are still staring at him.

When he's finally able to compose himself, he forces himself to ignore the people around him. He starts for the ribs again, and he spends an extra five minutes debating what brand and size he should get. And then he buys a second rack just to make sure he'll have plenty for the party tonight. For extras, in case Oikawa somehow cursed him.

He doesn't find Oikawa near the registers, or waiting for him outside. He grumbles the entire way home about having to carry four heavy bags by himself, but he knows the weight isn't the actual issue.

Oikawa isn't at their apartment either. There's no sign that he even came home. Daichi grumbles some more about making the food all by himself and idiots who can't cook.

It might actually be a good thing that Oikawa isn't around. Daichi can cook and clean quicker without the distraction. Lord knows he needs the food to be perfect if he wants to impress his friend. His career is riding on this party. Though, his friend never checked in at all today, so whether the event is even still on remains to be seen.

He gets both racks of ribs seasoned, marinated, and into the oven in record timing. He dices potatoes and sets them in a pot of water to boil on the stove. His mind flashes over the incident from last night. It wasn't that bad a fire. Oikawa's shirt did catch flame, and as he stripped out of his clothes, it caught on his boxers and before Daichi could fully put it out, there was a giant hole in the side of Oikawa's boxers. Oikawa practically held a funeral for the lost pair of undergarments while Daichi made sure the rest of their food was salvageable. It was, and they ate in silence in a dim living room, both on opposites side of the room. Sleeping was tense, but Daichi had pleasant dreams. He figured today would be better and he'd have Oikawa cut the veggies while he did everything else. But now, all he has left to do is make a salad and dress the appetizers, with an hour left until the party begins.

Instead, he ignores it. He pulls the best (and cleanest) silverware out of a drawer and lays it on a hand towel, hoping the arrangement looks slightly decent, then picks out brown and green checkered placemats to set on the table.

Shortly after moving in with Oikawa, Daichi thought ahead about what kind of furniture he wanted, and the two had pitched together to buy a table that pulled apart in the middle so a third piece could be attached, making their square table more rectangular. It has the kitchen/dining room ending a little cramped, but with good people and good food, no one's had any complaints so far.

"The ribs smell delicious."

Daichi glances over his shoulder towards the entrance, his fingers stilling on a placemat, not letting Oikawa's presence disturb him too much. Oikawa slips out of his shoes and empties his pockets, discarding the contents into a bowl near the door. He smells the air as he steps closer, a hum filling the room when he's done.

"Where the hell have you been?"

Oikawa shrugs, suddenly a picturesque version of nonchalance.

"Imighthavegottenlostinthestore."

"What?" Ignoring the placing, Daichi turns to Oikawa.

"I might have--" Oikawa coughs, "I might have gottenlostinthestore."

"Oikawa," Daichi's voice takes on a warning tone.

"I got lost in the store, okay! I got lost." He doesn't look at Daichi when he says it, but Oikawa's face starts to pinken.

It takes a moment for the words to sink in, but when they do, Daichi sputters out a laugh. He has to place a hand on the table behind him to steady himself.

"It's not that funny," Oikawa mumbles.

"How'd you get lost? I saw you walking away; you were heading straight for the exit."

"I might have... run into an old friend and got turned around..."

Trying to hold back his laughter, Daichi nods and takes a step towards Oikawa. "Okay, but the store isn't that big. It's been two hours. Did you end up in their maze of inventory rooms or something?"

Not looking at him, Oikawa steps around Daichi and starts to fiddle with things on the table, moving placemats around and setting up silverware differently. "I forgot we don't need to ride the bus home, and I had to jump lines to get near enough that I could walk back."

"How--?" Daichi can't finish his sentence. Laughter fills their apartment. Oikawa makes a beeline for the bedroom so he doesn't have to face Daichi anymore, but it doesn't really matter. Daichi follows after, his face hurting from laughing so hard.

He finds Oikawa face down on the bed, his head buried underneath a pillow. Daichi manages to compose himself and crawls in beside Oikawa.

"There there," he says, awkwardly patting Oikawa's back. "I'm--I'm sure people get lost in grocery stores all the time." Daichi snickers, but Oikawa just groans and grips the edges of the pillow, pulling it tighter around his head.

After he's calmed down, Daichi leans back and sighs, studying Oikawa's form. He's flat on his stomach with his head tucked under the pillow, the rest of his body splayed out innocently. A thought strikes Daichi.

Daichi starts to scoot to the edge of the bed. "Come on, I can use your help in the kitchen." Oikawa moans again and starts to say something, but Daichi chooses that moment to smack Oikawa's ass as hard as possible. He bolts off the bed with a laugh as Oikawa yelps, throwing the pillow against the wall and jumping into a sitting position, his eyes searching wildly for Daichi.

"What the fuck?!"

Schooling his face, Daichi shrugs and tries to mimic the nonchalance Oikawa showed earlier. He knows it doesn't work, but plays past it. "The guests will be arriving soon and I need your help. Plus, you should get cleaned up. You smell like exhaust and garbage."

Oikawa's mouth drops open. Daichi retreats to the kitchen and checks the food, happy that everything is fine. He organizes the vegetables ready to be cut and tossed for a salad. The appetizers are moved from one plate to the next.

When Oikawa joins him 30 minutes later, his clothes are different, he's clean smelling, and his towel dried hair is combed to the side. Daichi swallows, never liking the effect Oikawa's combed hair has on him. He averts his eyes from his roommate and focuses back on the food.

"You never did tell me who this party is for. Do you even know this person?" Oikawa puts the checkered placemats away and pulls out plain navy blue ones, these cloth instead of plastic.

Daichi dips his head to hide his grimace. At first, he almost didn't help his friend out. But when he suggested Daichi could cook, Daichi agreed immediately, and added an additional thing for them all to discuss tonight.

"You'll see," he simply replies. He starts to clean the kitchen, sweeping the counters and clearing the sink of dirty dishes. Oikawa joins him, picking at the salad and moving utensils and dishes where they need to be moved.

"I don't like the sound of that," Oikawa groans. Daichi offers a reassuring smile, then claps Oikawa on the back.

"It'll be fine. Now, excuse me while I go change." Before he can disappear into the bedroom, he calls out, "Please don't touch anything!"

Oikawa mocks Daichi's words, hand already picking up an appetizer.

All Daichi does is wash his face and change his shirt, knowing he looks fine in whatever he wears. Oikawa's bitched and moaned about how decent Daichi always looks, and even though he always shrugs off the comments, he appreciates them. Living with Oikawa has given his confidence a boost, and he doesn't know how to feel about that.

Shaking his head, he leaves the bedroom, just in time to hear a knock on the front door.

"I'll get it!" Oikawa's feet patter across the floor as he speed walks from the kitchen to the entrance, passing by Daichi but not bothering to look at him.

Daichi goes to check on the food again. The potatoes are done; he strains the water and tosses the potatoes into a bowl, then grabs some seasonings and gets to work on mashing them.

He hears the front door open, and then--

Oikawa screams.

The door slams shut.

The bowl of potatoes hits the floor.

Oikawa runs into the kitchen wheezing and pointing at the door. Daichi just stares at the mess of half-mashed potatoes spread all over the floor.

"It's him—it's—how—oh my god Sawa-chan how could you invite him to our home?"

Daichi swallows the lump in his throat as he bends down to scoop the potatoes into the bowl, resigning himself to give up. They're already too mashed to be saved. He doesn't have any more potatoes lying around to make another batch. Plus, there's no time.

"Just go let him in," Daichi sighs. The bowl itself goes into the trash. It's just a plain plastic mixing bowl; he can buy another one tomorrow.

"Hell no!" Oikawa flings his arms around. "I am not letting the actual devil into this apartment. He will suck the life right out of us if we're not careful."

Daichi rolls his eyes and scoffs, moving past Oikawa and towards the front door. "He's actually a good guy once you get to know him. Which, you've never bothered to do." He opens the door and finds Ushijima standing there, eyes staring straight ahead. He blinks when he recognizes Daichi, his lips turning up slightly at the corners in his version of a smile.

He holds his hands out. "I hope this will be a sufficient addition to the meal you have planned."

Daichi just closes his eyes and nods. "Yes, thank you. We could all use it." He takes the bottle of wine and moves aside, inviting Ushijima in.

He met Ushijima the same day he met Oikawa: at a café he frequented to work on his college papers. Oikawa interrupted his day with the most absurd question he'd ever been asked, and shortly after, Ushijima appeared, asking Oikawa an equally absurd question.

Oikawa screeches again when he sees Ushijima enter the apartment. He keeps the couch between him and the other two. Daichi shakes his head and ushers Ushijima to follow him into the kitchen. "Make yourself at home," he says. Ushijima slips out of his shoes before following Daichi, his gaze sliding over everything in the apartment.

"I thought you would have lived more modestly, Sawamura."

"I do live with Oikawa, you know. Half the stuff you see is his."

Daichi catches Ushijima nodding like it makes perfect sense. Which it does. There's a few pictures lining the walls of the living room that belong to both Daichi and Oikawa, but the posters, the bookshelves filled with alien figurines and books on UFO sightings and conspiracies, all belong to Oikawa. Daichi has his own bookshelf in the bedroom, filled with all his personal things too. But the bedroom is also covered in glow-in-the-dark stars that don't work anymore, more posters of b-rated horror films, and pictures of Daichi and Oikawa together. Their closet is a mess, and Daichi sometimes thinks about buying an armoire just for himself, but they'd have no where to put it. Plus, Oikawa would just throw his clothes in anyways.

"Everyone else should be arriving shortly. I wanted to be early. I hope that isn't an inconvenience."

"It is!" Oikawa reappears, edging around Ushijima and going to stand behind Daichi. Which is more difficult than it seems considering Daichi is facing the stove and he doesn't budge when Oikawa grabs his arm. "What are you even doing here?"

Ushijima waves a hand towards Daichi as he speaks. "I needed to discuss a few things with my associates. Sawamura also had something to share with me and the others, so it seemed optimal that the meeting take place in an area large enough to fit us all. Plus, Daichi could cook, per his request."

Daichi pushes Oikawa out of the way enough so he can pull the oven open and check the ribs. Oikawa hardly budges.

"What."

Shrugging, Daichi ignores the look Oikawa gives him and shuts the oven door. The ribs still need a few minutes. He picks up the salad bowl and utensils and heads for the table to set them down, placing them in the center. The ribs will go at that end of the table and at the other... Daichi sighs. The potatoes would have gone there.

"I probably should have told you earlier that I wanted to change the school's lunch menu. Ushijima's never had any of my food, so I wanted to show him I can cook, and hopefully he'd be happy and give me free reign of the kitchens."

"You really should have told me earlier," Oikawa mumbles. And then, to Ushijima, "Does it work like that though? He cooks, you like it, the kitchen is all his?"

Ushijima shakes his head. "I would have to discuss it with the school board, but I'm sure, if the outcome is positive, that they'll grant Sawamura access."

Oikawa tips his head back in understanding.

There's a knock at the door.

"I'll get it," Oikawa says.

"My associates, I'm sure."

"Why do you keep calling them that? You're not a lawyer or anything." Daichi can practically hear Oikawa's nose crinkling up in annoyance.

Daichi hears Oikawa greet the newcomers, hears him chide them to take off their shoes and jackets, then ushers everyone into the kitchen. Daichi glances at the group, recognizing them all: Tsutomu, the energetic gym teacher; Kenjirou, the cranky, solemn librarian; Oohira, a math teacher Daichi talks to quite frequently between breaks; Tendou, the crazy science teacher everyone mostly stays away from; and Semi, the only literature teacher the school has.

It's starting to get crowded in here...

As Ushijima pulls out of a hug from the gym teacher, the timer goes off. Everyone stops moving to glance at it. Daichi sticks his hands in some oven mitts and pulls the first rack of ribs out of the oven.

It immediately has Daichi's mouth watering, the savory scent of the rub he'd used making his cheeks tighten in anticipation. Judging by the intake of air through multiple nostrils, followed by contented sighs, Daichi has a feeling the others find the smell appetizing as well.

"Alright everyone," Daichi starts. "Give it a few more minutes and they'll be ready. Oikawa, help everyone get seated."

"Aye aye captain," Oikawa salutes, then throws his hands to the side to corral the others towards the dining room. "You heard the man!"

To help keep the waiting time minimal, Daichi reaches for the appetizers to pass to Oikawa so the others won't starve and hate him for not feeding them sooner.

But his hand goes to an empty tray.

"They were just there..." He whispers. Looking around the kitchen proves that the little sandwich appetizers are nowhere to be seen. He can hear Oikawa pointing out which chair he will be sitting in, and which chair Daichi will be sitting in, and how "Ushiwaka, you can have that one in that corner" and the sound of chairs scraping against linoleum. Daichi is still spinning, wondering if he ever even made the appetizers when--

"Oof!" There's a crack, metal shaking and chairs scraping followed by "are you alright"s and "are you hurt"s and Daichi is running into the dining room to see Semi's head at table height, one hand rubbing at his back while the other blindly reaches up for help.

"What happened?" Daichi goes to the side where Semi fell, the chair he was sitting on broken in multiple places and beyond any DIY repairs

"It just broke as soon as he sat in it," Tsutomu says, wringing his hands together in front of him.

Tendou clucks his tongue as he helps Semi stand, even going as far as patting the other down to rid him of an dirt or chair splinters. "Told you to cut back on the sweets."

"Piss off, Tendou," despite the angry tone of his voice, Semi doesn't push Tendou away.

Daichi tries to collect himself. He can feel a headache forming between his eyes. "Oikawa will get you another chair. Let me clean this up and I'll get the ribs out here. Everyone just... enjoy." Daichi tries for a reassuring smile, but no one looks reassure. Ushijima looks impassive but that's usually how he looks. Semi looks a little angry, Tendou amused, Tsutomu looks ready to crap his pants, and Oohira is--digging into the salad.

Cleaning up the chair is easy. Replacing it is not. The only thing Oikawa can find for Semi to sit on is an ottoman.

"So sorry Semi-chan," Oikawa whispers to the other male. Semi doesn't say anything as he scoots the ottoman practically under the table, just so he can reach everything okay. Tendou snickers enough for everyone.

Daichi retreats to the kitchen and starts to cut the ribs. They look... really done. No pink whatsoever, though maybe it's just the lighting. Or the rub just, darkened the meat. Yeah, that's it.

He piles two plates high with cut ribs, hoping everyone won't mind the bones and will enjoy fingering their food.

Back in the dining room, Semi is glaring over the table at Kenjirou, but with him sitting on the ottoman, the sight is more hilarious than threatening. Tendou is picking at Tsutomo's salad and Oohira has his chin resting in his hand, his eyes closed. Oikawa is pushing pieces of lettuce around his plate and Ushijima is simply just, watching.

When Daichi enters, the ribs held in front of him, everyone turns to stare.

"Finally!" Oikawa shouts, not bothered by the glare Daichi tosses him. Oikawa just raises a fork in the air. "We're starving here Sawa-chan. Feed us!"

"That's it? Just ribs?" Tendou swivels in his seat to look around Daichi, as if he somehow has another arm behind him holding more food.

Daichi sighs. "Just ribs, and you can all thank Oikawa for that."

A few pairs of eyes turn to glare at Oikawa. He shrinks in his seat. Daichi places one plate of ribs at one end of the table and hands the other to Ushijima at the other end.

"Be right back," he says. In the kitchen, he grabs the bottle of wine Ushijima brought, then digs in the fridge for the beer he knows is stashed in there. It's not as classy as he would like, but the tense atmosphere could most definitely be lightened up with any sort of alcohol.

He enters the dining room, the two beverages held high, brandishing them like trophies, a smile on his face as his body prepares itself to eat and drink.

Except, there are ribs on plates that aren't being eaten. Nobody looks at Daichi as he rounds the table and pulls out his chair, setting the wine and beer on the table.

"What?" He asks. He turns to Ushijima, looking for an answer.

Ushijima won't even look at him.

The principal of their school who never shies away from anything, who's the most straight-forward person Daichi knows, won't even look him in the eye. It feels like his heart is being ripped out.

"Sawa-chan," Oikawa pipes up. Daichi's head whips to face him, his eyes wide as he waits. "The ribs are..."

"No," Daichi interrupts.

"kind of..."

"NO--"

"overcooked." Oikawa finishes with a grimace.

"NO!" Daichi slams his fist on the table, but it doesn't just hit the table. His knuckles slam against the side of the plate holding the ribs, and they all go flying through the air. Tsutomu, Oikawa and Daichi get the brunt of the meat sticks; one even flies into Daichi's eye but he's so angry he just grits his teeth and digs his nails into his skin.

Tendou bursts out laughing, the action jostling him so hard he falls out his chair. Semi scrapes pieces of ribs off his arms and tosses the one on his head to the floor. Kenjirou looks ready to murder someone, his head flinging from side to side as he makes sure none of the meat is in his hair. Oikawa flies from his chair and down the hall leading to the bathroom, gone as soon as everything stops.

When Ushijima stands from his chair just enough to reach across the table and grab the wine bottle, everyone stops. He uncorks the bottle and pours himself a glass. Daichi watches, waiting for Ushijima to stop pouring after the usual amount.

But he doesn't. He keeps tipping the bottle, tipping it more and more upside down, until the entire glass is full of wine. He corks the bottle, setting it near Oohira, before he starts to chug the wine.

When there's barely an inch left in the glass, Ushijima finally pulls his lips from the glass with a gasp and sets it on the table. He looks straight ahead at Daichi, who still hasn't moved. His eye is starting to burn.

"There's a restaurant nearby that does takeout. I can pay for most of it."

Everything in Daichi deflates then. His chance to prove himself is gone. His one chance to rule the kitchens, just, gone. He nods solemnly and sits in his chair. A rib gets squished under his left butt cheek, but he doesn't even bother to remove it.

"I'd rather eat overcooked, completely inedible ribs Sawa-chan made then eat anything associated with you."

Everyone turns to watch Oikawa walk into the dining room, his hair wet again and his body covered in clean clothes. Daichi's mouth drops open, wondering how the hell Oikawa managed to shower so quickly. He's known Oikawa for years, and he's never showered under 30 minutes.

Oikawa moves around the table and stands behind Daichi, placing his clean hands on Daichi's... not clean shoulders. He feels Oikawa brush away some rib.

"That's fine," Ushijima replies. "You don't have to have any of the takeout. More for the rest of us."

The gasp Oikawa elicits is just the thing to break Daichi's resolve. He laughs, the sound small at first, until it shakes his shoulders and has his head lolling back, hitting Oikawa's chest. Oikawa stares down at him in confusion.

"Look at that, you broke Sawamura." Tendou says, pulling himself up off the floor. Semi and Kenjirou are still flinging meat out of their hair and Tsutomu is still trying not to cry. Oohira picks at his salad.

Ushijima cocks his head to the side. "We can all clean this up together, order takeout, and maybe by then you will be able to try for another round? Dessert, maybe?"

A glimmer of relief courses through Daichi. Chuckling, he wipes at his face. "Yeah, that would be nice." Oikawa squeezes his shoulders. "I hope you guys like cake."