"Great job in practice today, Hinata!”
The tiny redhead looked up from dabbing his face with a towel, sweat shining his forehead, just like the huge grin spreading across his face as he heard the words of encouragement from the upperclassman. "Thanks, Sugawara-san!" He beamed, legs drawn up to his chest as he sat on the ground outside the building.
"You've got some really strong hops in those legs of yours. I had heard you were good, but that's just impressive." Sugawara continued, pulling off the headband he used to keep his silver hair back and out of his face.
"I may not have the height for partnering, but I can jump!" Hinata said, sticking one leg up in the air, heart fluttering at the praise. Sugawara was one of the better students in the group, and had been nice to him since he had started, even if the other freshmen were less welcoming. He wasn't wrong, though. Hinata had already surpassed everyone in the club at jumps, even Kageyama, who was known to be a genius, a prodigy, a king, and any other word you could use to describe someone who was born to succeed. The taller, sour faced boy was a turner. And Hinata was a jumper. Very different worlds. But, at the same time, the same world. To succeed in ballet, you needed to be able to do both. Everything, really.
"Sugawara-senpai, your turns are amazing! You're just like whoosh! And shewwww! And you just keep going on and on! How does your à la seconde leg never get tired?? You make it look so easy but then on my third pirouette I'm like woooah and wooooop and then I have to land it..."
Sugawara chuckled and Hinata realized he had been rambling again. He clamped his mouth shut, and smiled up at Sugawara, who knelt down and said, gently, "it all comes with practice! I know you started a little later than the rest of us, and your first competition was pretty bad. But you're getting much better already, and I'm very impressed. You have it in you. We'll pull that greatness out of you." Hinata blushed. Those kind eyes always made him feel better.
Just then, Kageyama opened the door to the studio and poked his head outside. "Coach says we're starting across the floor now." He said, sounding bored. Hinata, startled by his sudden appearance, stared straight into his striking eyes. He intimidated Hinata, for sure, but also intrigued him. He had watched his variation at the competition last season, and had been very impressed.
His movements were precise, down to his hands and fingers, which always seemed to have the right amount of energy without looking stiff or forced. His turns were perfectly clean, and his leaps were good. Hinata's vow to beat him at the next competition had been dashed when he walked into the studio, brand new shoes in his hands, to see the black haired prodigy finish what must have been at least 5 pirouettes, landing gently back into fifth position like it had been a single. Their shouting had gotten them kicked out of the studio, it echoed horribly with the mirrors and hardwood, and they had to dance together to win their way back in. The duet hadn't gone badly, in fact, it had been captivating, so they were granted their way back into the team, but even after that they didn't believe that they made a good duo.
The moment ended when Sugawara stood up, and Kageyama broke Hinata's gaze to look at him, saying "Your center work is very clean" gruffly before looking down.
"Thank you, Kageyama-kun!" Sugawara beamed, clearly pleased. "Your turning is amazing, too. Very steady."
Kageyama blushed a little, still looking down, and muttering a polite thank you before turning around and disappearing into the studio again.
Hinata stared at the place that he had vanished from, eyes still wide and cheeks vaguely warm. Sugawara glanced down, holding his hand out to help Hinata up, and asked "You don't like him, do you? I see the way you look at him."
Hinata spluttered, "No, I don't like him! Why would you say I like him??" springing to his feet, face hot. Sugawara laughed. "I said 'don't like him,' Hinata-kun. Did you mishear me?"
Hinata looked down, rubbing the back of his neck. "Oh, yeah, I must have. Sorry." He grabbed the towel that had fallen to the floor, shook it out, and put it back over his shoulder. He didn't mind that his white shirt was splotchy with sweat, but he didn't really want to rub dirt on his face from a towel that had been on the ground, either.
"Heh, heh, well!! Let's go back to class!" Hinata said, bounding back towards the door of the studio, trying to avoid the topic at hand. Sugawara chuckled a little and dropped it. They walked back into the dance room, ready for their across the floor exercises.
This was Hinata's favorite part of class. Sure, they did jumps in the center exercises, but this was where he really shone. Beats and things were easy, but tour jetés and big leaps were his specialty. The air was easy to him, lifting him and placing him gently back down, almost silently, as he rolled through his feet and pliéd back to the floor. They didn't call him a bird boy for nothing. And there was nothing he loved more than the feeling of hitting the split in his grand jeté, the moment of weightlessness as his feet curved upwards to complete the arc.
He had been told that he looked carefree and effortless. He never looked at himself in the mirrors, however. Something about it scared him. His gaze was always fixed upwards, following the line of his fingertips to complete the lines of his leap. They were flawless, effortless, and a wonder to behold.
The class flew by, as did Hinata. Everyone watched, eyes wide, as he leaped and bounded through the across the floors. It was plain to see, however, that he needed lots of technical work. His turns were shaky, and his musicality was sometimes off. He didn't often know where his hands were supposed to be, and he stumbled through some easy steps. He was ever as enthusiastic, though, always bouncing off the center of the floor to the edges after holding the finishing pose.
He watched like a hawk, though. Clipped crow as he was, part of Karasuno Art Academy, he had a gaze like no other. He stared, bright eyed and eager, at every other student as they made their way across the floor. His eyes changed when Kageyama went across the floor. They narrowed, and his focus zoned in. His eyes flicked across Kageyama's body, following his perfect lines as his arms raised, separated, and flowed with perfect grace through a pas de bourre, making the simple step seem glamorous and fluid. His feet pointed with every step, his toes brushing just a little longer than you would expect possible before sliding off into a flawless point. Every time. His eyes never faltered, never looked down, always followed the line of his hand, past and away, almost expressionless. Just a little bit sour, or sad, or upset. Or a mixture of the three. Melancholy.
Hinata watched Kageyama because his technique was nearly flawless, he told himself. He wanted to learn from this boy, a head and a half taller than him, stronger by far and more technically correct than he could hope to be.
But he wanted to learn from him, so badly.
At the end of the combination, Kageyama finished the triple pirouette with ease (he could have done four, Hinata thought, and still made it in time,) posed, and shook off the posture to walk off the center of the floor. As he turned and made his way to the end of the line, he caught Hinata's eye. He blushed and turned his eyes away from Kageyama's, turning to focus on the next dancer. Asahi was likely the strongest on the team, built more muscular than the rest. He was tall and strong, his turns were controlled and his leaps were powerful. He was a powerhouse, and the first choice for the lead in any piece they put on. He was the ideal partner.
Hinata was jealous. He was neither tall nor strong, and would never be a good partner. Well, a good lead. He was... Surprisingly good as the follower, very light and easy to lift. He was a good partner, in that sense.
In middle school, he had trained with the girls dance class, being that there was no male class. They had been mindful of him being a boy, making him go last and even slowing down the music for his across the floor exercises so he could jump higher and longer. He had, however, learned... Some other things.
Hinata never told anyone about the pointe shoes he had, buried at the back of his closet. They were just his size, he had been fitted with the rest of the girls, and he had trained extensively with them. His legs were powerful, and his jumps landed as quietly as they did because of the way you had to land on pointe to keep it silent. His secret was hidden well, however, and he never mentioned it, as much as he almost blurted it out on a daily basis. Pointe training was a women's world, and wearing pointe shoes was almost taboo for men. He knew he would be laughed out of the class if anyone ever found out.
Training never ended. He was always stretching, he practiced relevés at the grocery store, and he did pirouette after pirouette in his kitchen, waiting for the water to boil.
Each of the boys in the class had a strong point. Sugawara and Kageyama turned, Nishinoya had the fastest, slickest beats and footwork, Daichi's musicality made him beautiful to watch, Tanaka could lift almost as well as Asahi, Yamaguchi excelled at the barre, and Tsukishima's height and flexibility made his kicks very impressive. And then there was Hinata. Tiny, tiny Hinata. The jumper.
Asahi finished the last run across the floor, and they moved on to the center combination. Hinata watched Daichi teach the moves, talking through the terms that he saw Hinata tilt his head to. He was a very good teacher, but Hinata was still a little behind. He was, luckily, positioned behind Kageyama, and watched his feet as he followed along. Kageyama, glancing at the mirror, caught Hinata at it and turned around to snap at him "Follow someone else, moron." Hinata snapped back "I was just looking!"
The rest of the class rolled their eyes, looking to one another. Even after their performance, the two couldn't get along.
After the last run of the combination, the class bowed, clapped, and walked off to the edges of the room to stretch and change shoes. There was no time for extra practice today, so they had to pack up and go immediately. Usually they stuck around to practice whatever it was they needed to, but today they were actually, for once, leaving when the sun was still up.
Kageyama sat down by his bag to pull off his ballet flats and slip on street shoes to go back to his dorm. Class was over for the day, and he was headed home. Hinata dropped his bag down next to Kageyama, and flopped down to grab his own shoes. Kageyama looked up at him, eyes icy, but Hinata kept his eyes down as he laced his tennis shoes and shoved his flats into his bag. He stood up, and felt like Kageyama wanted to say something to him, but he just turned on his heel and walked away. The two had to walk the same path to get to the dorms, but it seemed like Kageyama didn't want to walk with Hinata.
Until he walked outside, and Hinata, conveniently fiddling with his laces and watching the door of the studio, blushed. When Kageyama appeared, Hinata shot up and started to walk, hurriedly, towards the road. Noticing that Kageyama wasn't following, Hinata faltered and turned back, looking at him with a confused, hurt expression.
"You're not coming?" He asked, the cool facade faltering as he stared back, not shying away from the eye contact this time. They always walked to the dorms together. Their rooms were in the same hall, so it only made sense to walk together.
Kageyama rolled his eyes and started walking towards Hinata. As he caught up to Hinata, he jumped into the air and started to babble on about class and how Sugawara had said nice things and how amazing Asahi's jumps were, as always. The walk always went like this.
When Hinata and Kageyama reached Hinata's door, he opened the door to see his suitemate, Kenma, parked on the couch with their friend Kuroo next to them, drawing on their tablets as always. They were both part of the art conservatory, and even though Kuroo lived down the hall, he always seemed to be over.
"See you tomorrow, Kageyama!" Hinata said, watching over his shoulder as Kageyama waved and walked off to his own room. "Don't you have your own room, Kuroo?" Hinata asked, jokingly, and Kuroo answered, without taking his eyes off his screen, "Bo is at a late rehearsal, something about fixing the lighting so Oikawa will stop walking out of his spots, and I need to finish this design."
Hinata laughed, eyes bright, and pranced off to the shower.
After his shower, Hinata retreated to his room to escape the ranting Bokuto, who was shouting about Oikawa who had apparently decided Bokuto's best set piece was "not his color" and "washed him out" and was trying to get the director to make Bo repaint it. He closed his door on Bokuto's shouts of "Such! A diva!" and, after locking it securely, made his way to his closet to pull out his prized drawstring bag.
Unloading the toe pads and cut-off transition tights to the floor, he gingerly pulled out his pointe shoes, placing them in the floor in front of him. He was always careful to sit with his back to the door, so he was at least blocking the evidence with his body. Since the boys didn't wear transition tights in class, most of the time opting for just leggings and the standard white shirt, Hinata had cut off an old pair from middle school to make what were basically knee high socks. He needed the "transition" part of the toes to keep his toe pads from being destroyed, but the rest was unnecessary, really.
He rolled on the tights and took the toes off to put on his toe pads, wiggling them around until they covered the necessary parts of his foot. Then he slid his feet into his shoes, wrapping the laces around his ankles and tucking them securely under themselves to keep them from coming apart as he danced. When he had started, he hadn't known how to tie them (he tied them up his legs like ballerina dolls did, and was laughed at by everyone in he class) but at this point, he was an expert. He stood up, checking that his door was locked one more time, and grabbed the doorknob to use it as a rudimentary barre. He did this almost every day, but he still feared that Kenma would come in suddenly (had they ever come into Hinata's room? No) or that someone would be outside the window and see him (his window backed the dumpsters. Nobody would see inside.) and he was ... Scared.
He started with a gentle warmup, rolling through his feet into an elevé and pliéing over to a forced arch. His ankles were still warm from class, and his muscles felt loose and pliant from the hot shower. He continued to warm up his feet and ankles, then moved to more complicated moves, pushing the rug out of the way to practice turns in the center of the floor. His turns were getting better, but he needed help. And he knew just who he needed to help him.
If only he could get up the nerve to ask him.
Chapter 2: 2
Kageyama could feel Hinata's eyes on his back, staring intently. Then again, he could almost always feel Hinata's eyes on him when they were together. He was starting to be somewhat distracting, always watching him like that.
Kageyama just wanted to dance in peace, without Hinata staring. This time, they were all practicing in the studio after class ended, everyone in their own section of the room and in their own zone. Tsukishima was practicing arabesque penchés in a corner, hitting a perfect line that Yamaguchi, try as he might, couldn't compete with, even holding the barre. Asahi was lifting Nishinoya, who was beating through entrechats with increasing speed as he went up and down. Tanaka was practicing turning, but giving himself too much momentum and almost falling out of each of them.
Daichi was in a corner, mumbling to himself, clearly choreographing in his head. Sugawara surveyed the room from the side where he was doing gentle relevés and elevés, staring fondly out at the group and occasionally breaking out into a startlingly fast string of chaîné turns that brought him whipping from the front of the room to the back.
Hinata was hopping over and over, trying to get the third and fourth beat in his entrechats. But his eyes were fixed on Kageyama in the mirror, he could see out of his peripheries, and it was making it very hard for him to focus on his á la secondes. As he fell out of his third pirouette of the day, he looked at Hinata's eyes in the mirror, glaring.
Hinata's face turned pink and his eyes darted back to his own reflection in the mirror, quickly jumping up but tangling his feet and almost falling. Kageyama's heart jumped as he saw Hinata stumble, but he landed gently anyway, not even rolling an ankle.
Kageyama sighed and went back to his own turns. Before long he felt eyes on him, again, and turned his whole head to look at the side of Hinata's head. Hinata's gaze trained itself onto the mirror again, and he tendued a leg out to the side, brought it behind into a plied fourth to prep for a turn, and pirouetted twice before putting his working leg down in front of the other to stop himself from falling. Kageyama rolled his eyes a little and said, before he could stop himself, "try putting it behind, into fourth."
Hinata's head snapped over to Kageyama, confusion in his eyes.
"Aren't we supposed to land in fifth??" He asked, torn.
"Usually, yeah, but you're clearly not good enough to land in fifth yet" Kageyama snapped, annoyed that he had said anything, "so try landing in fourth to give you a more stable base." He looked away again, embarrassed, and glared at himself in the mirror. He probably made a fool of himself again, like he did every time he spoke to Hinata. He watched out of the corner of his eye as Hinata prepped, pirouetted, and landed smoothly into fourth. As he had expected, the wider stance had given him a better landing and had let him complete the turns.
Hinata turned, eyes sparkling, towards Kageyama, but he didn't want to embarrass himself again, so he quickly went into fifth position and started a series of left pirouettes from fifth, only touching down to plié before springing back up into another turn. As always, his right leg was stronger, and he stopped well before he would have had he picked right turns.
He cursed himself silently; Hinata hadn't been thrown off and was still staring at him with bright eyes. He continued to ignore the tiny redhead and opted to try something he hadn't done in a while, since middle school, turns á la seconde with a changing spot. As he moved his spot from straight ahead to the side, away from Hinata, he realized too late that after switching to the back, his spot would be to the left of the classroom, right at Hinata.
His head whipped around and he made eye contact with Hinata, suddenly using his shining brown eyes to spot his turns. He didn't want to look away, and ended up turning many more times than planned, before losing his balance and falling out of the turn, sliding on his heel and putting his back foot down hard to stop himself from falling. The rest of the class turned to look at him, wondering what the sound was, and he flushed hotly.
Hinata bounded forward, looking concerned. "Are you ok, Kageyama? You fell down, kind of, does your heel hurt? Those turns were so cool! You were like one way and then you were spotting there like BAM and then you were looking at me and you did so many! Then you fell though! Oh, right, are you ok?" Hinata bubbled, darting around Kageyama and looking at his legs and feet, looking for signs of an injury.
Kageyama bristled at the inspection, embarrassed that he had been caught staring, and then fallen, and now Hinata was on tiptoe peering into his face nervously, and Kageyama felt like his heart was going to burst.
"I'm fine. Go away. You threw me off. Don't do it again." He snapped, unable to take the closeness anymore.
Hinata's shoulders fell, and he took a step back.
"Oh. Sorry." He faltered back another few steps, then turned around and jogged lightly to the side of the room, pulling off his flats and shoving his feet into his shoes as he grabbed his bag. "I'm off, then. Thank you for practice, everyone." he called over his shoulder, walking out the door and heading towards the dorms.
The class was still for a moment, then everyone went back to what they were doing, muttering amongst themselves. Sugawara was staring at Kageyama with intent in his eyes, trying to say something. Kageyama stared at the door, feeling Sugawara's eyes on him, but didn't look over. Then, after a moment of silence, the guilt overtook him.
He dashed out the door, chasing down the path that Hinata had undoubtedly taken, still in his ballet shoes. Skidding to a halt on the walkway to the dorms, he stared, wide-eyed and slightly panicky, out at the empty sidewalks. There was nobody out at this time, not even Hinata.
Kageyama realized when his eyes started to sting that he had been staring for too long without blinking. He blinked, turned, and walked back to the studio without looking up from his feet. His shoes were probably going to be ruined. At least it wasn't raining.
Yamaguchi gave him a soft look when he came back in. Perhaps it was sympathy in his eyes, and Kageyama flushed again. He took his place in the center of the room again, and shook his limbs to get loose again, ready to repeat his turns. Changing spots was more jazzy than anything, but he wanted to show the rest of the club he could do it.
After the first three turns, he suddenly remembered the look in Hinata's eyes as he'd yelled at him, and spun out of the turn, arms floating loosely at his sides as he lost momentum. He tried again, spun out again, tried again, spun out again, getting more frustrated every time. He would get it.
Shimizu came in on his third, or fifth, or tenth try, to clear the room for the girl's dance class to use for practice, and Kageyama pulled off his shoes in a huff. He hadn't been able to focus on his turns. He was distracted and upset with himself. He grabbed his bag and walked out hurriedly, not wanting anyone to try talking to him as he left. He could feel Yamaguchi trying to stop him, watching him walk out, but he didn't turn. He just wanted today to be over.
Walking past Hinata's room was tough. He wanted to stop, wanted to knock on the door and apologize, but he didn't. He felt like he was being choked by emotions, regret and anxiety, mainly, so he just stared, wordlessly, at the door before walking by.
His own room was dark and empty, as usual. He threw down his bag, frustrated with himself, and sat back on the couch with a sigh. He knew he needed to shower and make dinner, but he was upset. Maybe a break wouldn't hurt.
The walk had felt longer than usual, in the silence.
Chapter 3: 3
Hinata avoided eye contact with Kageyama for what felt like the millionth day in a row. Reasonably, he knew it had only been a little over a week since Kageyama had snapped at him, but he was still feeling a little bit torn up about it, and didn't know how to approach Kageyama. Did he apologize? Did he wait for an apology? He didn't know, so he just... Avoided him.
Class went smoothly, up until it was free practice time. Kageyama was, as usual, turning. Hinata tried to watch surreptitiously, copying his movements in an attempt to turn like he did. For some reason, he couldn't seem to stay upright as long as Kageyama did, no matter what he tried.
He could tell that Kageyama was staring at him from the corner of his eye as he fell out of turn after turn. He should be able to do these by now. Kageyama was doing 5 and 6 pirouettes. He could only do 3 on a good day, and they were shaky at best.
While glancing at Kageyama out of the corner of his eye again, he noticed... Kageyama, glancing at HIM out of the corner of his eye. They caught each others' gazes and Hinata blinked fast, embarrassed, and looked towards the side of the room, where Tsukishima and Yamaguchi were partner stretching, clasping each other's elbows and taking turns leaning onto each other to pull their split further. Yamaguchi looked up and caught Hinata's gaze, then looked meaningfully at Kageyama. Hinata looked over his shoulder. Kageyama had stopped, and was staring at Hinata. He looked back at Yamaguchi, confused, and Yamaguchi gestured towards Kageyama with his head again.
Hinata turned, staring at Kageyama. The look in Kageyama's eyes was indescribable. Hinata took a few steps towards him, not knowing what to say but needing to say it, but before he could say anything, Kageyama was turning on his heel and walking over to the side of the studio. He grabbed a water bottle and drank from it, not turning around. Hinata ran over, light as always, and bowed deeply.
"Please teach me how to turn!!" He shouted, eyes squinted tightly shut, still facing the ground.
Kageyama turned, confused, and looked down at the back of Hinata's head.
"How can I teach you to turn when you don't even do basic footwork right? You'll have to learn those first."
Hinata opened his eyes, shocked. Was that... An offer? Or had he been turned down?
He looked up at Kageyama, who was standing above him, one hip cocked and arms crossed.
Hinata shot up from his bow and straight up into the air. "Really??? You'll teach me how to turn?"
The whole class was looking at them at this point, some more surreptitiously than others, and Kageyama glanced around, icy. Everyone quickly went back to what they were doing, pretending not to be paying attention as Kageyama stalked back to the center of the room and stood there, waiting for Hinata, who bounded over at full speed.
"Are we gonna do pirouettes en dedans or en dehors first?? I like en dedans, they're fun, but I usually can't do that many! Except pique turns, I can do lots of those! Can we do those too?" Hinata babbled, feeling like happiness was going to boil over in his chest. He couldn't believe that Kageyama had even said yes.
"We're starting with the basics. You'll do tombé pas de bourres until I think you've done them well enough, and then maybe we can move to chaîné turns."
Hinata stopped, astonished. "But those... Those are beginner moves?"
"Then why don't you do them right?" Kageyama snapped, and Hinata stopped talking, crushed.
His tombé pas de bourre could use work, it turned out. And it did. After almost half an hour of just working on the feet, gliding and pointing and pliéing through step after step, Kageyama told him that it was time to work on his port du bras.
"What's wrong with my port du bras??" Hinata asked, indignant, "My arms look fine!"
"You're stiff, your lines are all off, and you tend to flutter your fingers when you're trying to do fast steps. Your hands won't help your legs to faster, you know."
Hinata hadn't noticed the finger thing.
"Again. Be careful with your arms. If I say freeze, you freeze."
Hinata's eyes widened. Kageyama was... Commanding.
And then he straightened, crossed his feet into fifth, and slid one foot out while raising the other arm into what he thought would be a good position. It looked good in the mirror, at least. As he started to fall onto his right foot, Kageyama said "Freeze!"
Hinata froze, wobbling a bit. "What? What's wrong?"
"Almost everything. Where are you lifting your arm from?"
".... My arm?" Hinata responded, confused.
"Do you even feel these muscles??" Kageyama asked, poking Hinata in the back part of his ribs. Hinata squeaked and pulled away from him. "Hey!" he said, indignant.
"Use those to lift your arm. Try it again." Kageyama looked a little pink, but he didn't mention it.
Hinata lifted, trying to engage the muscles that Kageyama had just poked. He still had a trace of the goosebumps it had left. He hoped Kageyama wouldn't tickle him again like that.
Tightening the muscles behind his ribs and lifting his arm brought his arm up to a different position, but it felt more stable there. The other arm was out to the side, but he engaged the muscles all the same, and felt his shoulder stabilize in place. He did feel a little stronger here. Maybe Kageyama was on to something.
But, as always, it was hard to focus on his arms and his legs at once. After all the work he had spent on his footwork, he didn't want to lose any of it, and quickly felt the focus leaving his arms. Almost the moment he felt his arms loosening, Kageyama commanded him to freeze again. He walked around behind Hinata, placing gentle fingers onto his arms to correct them, then bringing his hands back down to Hinata's ribs. Hinata stiffened, almost pulling away, but Kageyama stopped before touching him.
"Relax, I'm not going to poke you again. You just need to engage these." Hinata took a breath and engaged the muscles again, trying to focus on them as he started over. Halfway through, again, he lost them and Kageyama stopped him.
"Can I touch?"
Hinata stopped still, trying to act normal, and said "oh, uh...? Mmhm" glancing at Kageyama in the mirror. He placed his hands, gently, on the back of Hinata's ribs again. "This will remind you to keep them strong" Kageyama explained. "Let's try it again." He felt his heart race at the touch.
Hinata could feel eyes on him again. He knew that the rest of the class was staring at him, but he ignored it and watched only himself in the mirror. Kageyama moved with him, also doing the tombé pas de bourre to keep the flow moving, but keeping his hands firmly around Hinata's sides.
The steps were perfect, and Hinata had kept the muscles engaged the whole time.
He turned around, exuberant. "Did you see that?? I did it! My arms looked great!!! And so graceful!"
"It was better. Practice it a few more times. Do you need me to hold again or can you do it without?"
Hinata flushed a little, to his embarrassment. "I dunno. Probably best if we do... Both?"
Kageyama nodded, lined himself up behind Hinata again, and raised his hands, feather light, to his sides. "Let's go."
After two almost flawless reps, Hinata tried it on his own. The muscles were getting easier to control, and it wasn't as much of a struggle to keep them engaged. He was actually doing it!
Kageyama seemed satisfied after he ran the step a sixth time.
"Do you think you could hold those while you chaîné turn? It's harder for me to follow in a traveling turn like that." Kageyama asked, looking elsewhere in the room. He won't make eye contact with me right now, Hinata thought. Was he really so bored?
Hinata prepped for his turns, saying "I got it, ok?" as he did. Maybe it was a little snippier than he had intended, but he was feeling had about his dancing now. Had he been doing it wrong this whole time?
Hinata was nothing if not fast, though. He was a quick learner, and he knew it.
The turns were almost perfect. He held his arms perfectly steady, head whipping around and feet keeping themselves under him to carry the turns in an almost straight line.
He finished 8 turns, posed, then turned to Kageyama, excited. "They were good! You were right! Using my arms like that is better!"
Kageyama looked away, saying "Yeah. They were." to the wall.
"Are you... Are you mad at me?" Hinata faltered, shoulders falling."
"No! No! Of course not! You're doing really well. You're picking it up fast." Kageyama mumbled, looking down. Hinata bounded over and stood close to stare up at him from right underneath his face. He was short enough that he could do that. It hadn't seemed like a good thing until just now.
Kageyama blinked, realized what Hinata was doing, and jumped away, spluttering.
Hinata laughed, a deep laugh that shook his whole body. "Gotcha, Kageyama!"
Kageyama, now blushing obviously, yelled back "What were you doing? I think we're done for the day. And maybe forever."
Hinata laughed again, not intimidated. "You want to go home already? Fine."
Kageyama stalked over to his bag. It was a reasonable time to leave, thought Hinata, following him. They got their shoes on, then stood up together to leave the studio.
"Thank you for a good class!" Hinata called, enthusiastic as ever. The rest of the boys called things back, like "Good work, Hinata!" and "See you tomorrow, shrimp!"
Hinata danced lightly out of the classroom, looking over his shoulder to make sure Kageyama was coming. He was glad he wasn't walking alone again. It was sad, and lonely. He hadn't realized how much he enjoyed Kageyama's presence. The two of them walked to Hinata's door, and he hesitated. Kageyama looked at him, tilted his head, and said "See you tomorrow?"
Hinata hesitated again, then asked, suddenly shy, "Do- do you want to come in? We could... Study together, or play Kenma's video games?"
Kageyama turned his head sharply away from Hinata's gaze, said a short "No, thanks" and started to walk away.
Hinata stretched a hand out towards him, unconsciously, and cried "Wait!" before he realized what he was doing. As Kageyama turned around, he bowed and said "Thank you for teaching me today."
Kageyama paused, and Hinata peeked his head up to look at him. "Thank you for your hard work" he said, kindly, and bowed a little back. Then they both stood up straight, looking at each other. Hinata felt himself go a little pink, and thought he saw Kageyama do the same. But it was dark in the hallway, he was probably imagining it.
After a long moment, the two broke eye contact, and Hinata ducked into his room. He closed the door and leaned his back against it, leaning his head back, closing his eyes, and heaving a heavy sigh.
"What's that about, Shouyou?” Kenma asked from the couch, actually looking up for once. Hinata jumped and responded "N-nothing! Just tired from class. I'm gonna go take my shower now."
Kenma laughed a little and shrugged, going back to their tablet and zoning back in.
Alone in the shower, Hinata pointed his face directly into the stream of the water and just thought about class today. He wasn't really sure what had happened, but things felt different now.
Chapter 4: 4
Kageyama hadn't realized his much he had missed walking with Hinata. He hadn't realized how much he missed Hinata, if he was being honest. The walk was slow, Hinata babbling about the new things that Kageyama had taught him.
If he was being honest with himself, all he could feel was the tingling in his fingers from where he had held Hinata while he was guiding him. They had moved together so fluidly, so well, he had almost wanted to lift him like saw Asahi do with Nishinoya, time and time again. The spring in Hinata's step would carry him into a beautiful grand jeté, with Kageyama lifting him high into the air...
He snapped out of it as they got to Hinata's room. Hinata stopped, and hesitated, and Kageyama could swear he could see the question written all over Hinata's face. He would ask him to come inside, and Kageyama would say yes, and he wouldn't be able to forget this feeling that was bubbling up inside him. He couldn't say yes.
He turned, sharply, and tried to walk away.
The desperation in Hinata's voice stopped him dead in his tracks.
He turned back as Hinata bowed, and his heart filled with warmth. He did what came to his mind first, bowing and responding with a "Thank you for your hard work," before looking up and catching Hinata's eyes again. They stared, a second longer than usual, and Kageyama blushed lightly. He imagined Hinata was blushing too, but he couldn't be.
He walked to his room and opened the door to the usual waiting darkness. Living alone was depressing.
He already missed the warm glow that radiated from Hinata's smile.
Why was he thinking like that?? Kageyama leaned against the closed door and slammed the back of his head against the door, a little harder than intended. He winced and squinted his eyes, but didn't move. What was this? What did it mean? He was getting out of control.
He dropped his bag on the floor and stalked over to the shower. The cold water would snap him out of this mood he was in.
The cold water didn't snap him out of the mood he was in. He found himself looking forward to class tomorrow, ready to work with Hinata again. He was... Unreasonably excited. He flopped back on his bed, not in any state to work on homework. Maybe he would go to bed early, he could wake up early and work on his homework then.
He ended up laying awake for most of the night. So much for sleeping early.
The next few days passed in a blur of classes and homework and just waiting for the final bow at the end of practice so that Kageyama would be free to look over at Hinata, already bounding over for their "usual" practice time. The rest of the class would split up, and Hinata and Kageyama would take the center of the floor, practicing step after step together until Hinata mastered it. Today, Kageyama thought, he would let Hinata turn. Today was the day.
Hinata seemed to sense it too. He was bouncing on the balls of his feet, shaking his arms out and breathing in and out with his eyes closed.
"We're going to turn today." Kageyama said, looking down at his friend and smiling when Hinata's eyes shot open and he leapt into the air excitedly.
"Really?" Hinata gasped, still jumping around, and Kageyama couldn't help but let out the laugh rising in his chest as he said "Yes, really. Come on, calm down."
Hinata stopped jumping immediately and turned to face the mirror, feet in a steady fifth position and arms low but at attention. He looked so good. Loose and gentle but strong and wiry, ready to spring into whatever movement he needed at a moment's notice.
Kageyama shook the thought out of his head and looked at Hinata in the mirror.
"You remember the preparations we've been practicing. It's just like that. Tendu out side, bring it to fourth, spring to a passé, and land back in fourth. Only difference is push to the side and SPOT as you come around. Just like we practiced."
Hinata nodded, eyes bright but face serious. He kept his arms steady, pulling up from his navel and stabilizing from the muscles he had just discovered, and pulled himself up and into a perfectly clean single pirouette. Kageyama felt like his heart would overflow with pride.
Hinata finished the turn and turned to him, face lit up by a huge grin once again, and asked "Did I do it??"
Kageyama felt a rare smile come across his own face as he replied with a satisfied "Yes, you did!"
Hinata was beaming. Again. Kageyama's heart was fluttering. Again.
He had to cover this up. Hinata would see right through him.
"Do it again. Try your left afterwards, then we'll see if you can go to more turns. That might have to wait, but we'll see."
There was that tone again. That cold, clipped tone of voice that came out when he was trying to shut down his own emotions. Why couldn't he just let himself feel? Why did he always shut down, ignore his feelings, keep them locked away?
Too late. Hinata had lost some of the light in his eyes, again. Why was he always like this? He felt awful.
"Come on, it was good! Let's do left." Kageyama forced himself to say, putting a hand on Hinata's shoulder. He brightened visibly and turned back to the mirror.
Hinata's turns were going well. His singles were almost flawless, now that he knew how to stabilize. Kageyama called for a break and Hinata bounded over to where Asahi and Nishinoya were practicing. Kageyama watched him jump in the air, high as he could, trying to give Nishinoya, who was seated on Asahi's shoulder, a high five. Nishinoya was leaning forward, Asahi's arms strong and protective around him, and Asahi was laughing at Hinata's feeble attempts to reach Noya's outstretched arm.
Kageyama took a long swig from his bottle and grabbed Hinata's, walking it over to him as he laughed lightly and leapt for Nishinoya's hand over and over. Bending his knees and springing up, Kageyama slapped Noya's hand with just the end of his fingertips, and he landed softly behind the startled Hinata.
"You might have the best jumps, but I'm still taller," Kageyama bragged, handing the water bottle to Hinata. "Now come on, take a drink, we need to get back to it."
"Actually, Kageyama-kun, we were all planning on heading out soon..." Asahi said, scratching the back of his neck with the hand not actively wrapped around Nishinoya.
"Ah! Well! We'll just..."
"Catch up later!" Hinata finished, interrupting Kageyama. That was... Not what he was going to say, but... If Hinata wanted to stay, how could he say no?
"I guess we'll stay until this one gets tired" he said, turning away and walking back to his bag to drop off his water before making his way back to the center. Sugawara and Daichi were both already gone, and Nishinoya, Asahi, and Tanaka were almost out the door. Yamaguchi trotted after Tsukishima, casting a glance over his shoulder at Hinata before he left, closing the door.
They were alone.
This was a terrible idea, Kageyama thought belatedly. Nowhere to hide. He was alone with Hinata and his heart was beating harder than it ever did from across the floors.
"Ok, well, let's see how your doubles are?" He called, trying to hide his uncertainty and anxiety. Hinata bounded towards him, excited as he always was. He stopped in front of Kageyama, staring up at him with those warm brown eyes, and Kageyama had to stop himself from holding perfectly still and just staring into them for a while. Hinata had the smallest splash of pink on his cheeks, and he looked... It didn't matter. Get a hold of yourself, Tobio! he thought to himself.
It turned out that just because he did flawless singles did not mean he could do flawless doubles. He was making the turns, but not well. He kept losing his balance or listing to one side or another.
"Hmm..." Kageyama mused, staring at the ground by Hinata's feet. "There has to be a way to stabilize you a little better so you can make it around and stop at the right time..."
Hinata blinked at him, not offering any help.
"Maybe... No, you wouldn't want to..." Kageyama said, quieter still, and Hinata's eyes widened. "Want to want? I'll do it! Will it help me turn?"
Kageyama flushed, embarrassed. "Well, of course it will. But it's..." He stopped, scared to continue.
"I'll do it!"
Hinata looked enthusiastic and ready. Kageyama looked down at him, the gears of his brain in high gear.
Could he even do a finger turn?
No time but the present to find out. He brought Hinata's arm up, holding his right fingers with his right hand.
"Now, push off from fifth and just turn. Hopefully my hand will stabilize you."
Hinata looked... Disappointed.
"I failed..." he said, staring at the ground.
"You didn't!" Kageyama interjected, "Not at all. You did great today."
"Isn't there anything else?? Anything at all!!!" His hands were balled into fists, and he looked very determined.
Kageyama's brain suddenly supplied him with a scene from a grand pas de deux between some of his favorite dancers. He couldn't possibly partner turn with Hinata, though. No way. He would be too embarrassed! But... At the same time, he realized just how valuable that would be to Hinata.
Stepping back to the boy was simultaneously very comfortable and extremely nerve wracking.
"What if we do partner turns?” He asked Hinata, hands lifting to his hips and floating there, asking with his eyes.
Hinata's look of excitement was enough to make the decision worth it. He placed his hands, light as always, onto Hinata's hips, feeling the electricity run from his hands to his feet.
"Let's see you prep like always, then go for a double. I'm here to stabilize you."
Hinsta's muscles tensed like they always did, and Kageyama imagined he could feel his heart beat faster.
The turns were beautiful. Flawless. He made his two turns, slowed to a halt facing back to the mirror. He landed gently in fifth position, then grabbed Kageyama's opposite hands and swiveled himself so he was facing him and jumping up and down, clearly elated. Kageyama was so surprised by the sudden hands holding his that he almost dropped his cool and aloof demeanor to jump up and down with Hinata.
"I-uh- yes! Good!" He said, withdrawing an arm to scratch the back of his head. Hinata did the same, letting go of Kageyama and looking down, blushing.
Kageyama was filled with butterflies now. That had been.... Unreal.
"Um... Can we try the left now? It's harder, so..." Hinata looked flushed. Was he sweating from working hard?
"Eh? Yeah." Kageyama was trying not to blush again.
Hinata faced the mirror again. Kageyama hesitated before putting his hands on Hinata's hips again. He felt warm.
The prep was stable, and Hinata turned, wobbling a tiny bit, and landed again. He looked back at Kageyama, said "Again!" and prepped to turn again before Kageyama could realize how close their faces had been.
They practiced back and forth, Kageyama stabilizing Hinata and giving tips, Hinata getting more and more tired.
"Do you want to stop? We've been doing this for a long time now. You probably have homework" Kageyama suggested as Hinata doubled over, hands on his knees, breathing heavily. "No!" Hinata gasped in response. "I just need... A break. To catch my breath."
Kageyama looked at him, a little worried, but Hinata raised his head and met his eyes with a determined look. "They're going to be perfect."
He stood up, staring at Kageyama, and turned back to the mirror. "I'm going to get them this time. I can feel it."
Kageyama positioned himself behind Hinata and lay his hands on his hips again, ready for another go. He prepped and started to turn. This turn felt steady, and Kageyama took his hands off of Hinata and stepped back as he turned, a perfect three pirouettes into fifth position. He realized that Kageyama's hands weren't on him, turned around, and practically jumped onto him. He caught him in his arms, trying not to let him fall, and laughed with him as Hinata celebrated his success.
The moment passed, slowly, and Hinata let go of Kageyama and backed up. His eyes were shining and he was flushed pink. Kageyama realized how beautiful he looked. He couldn't take his eyes off of him, try as he might.
"I told you I could do them." Hinata said, still grinning. Kageyama couldn't help the smile that spread across his face as he responded with a soft "I never thought you couldn't."
Hinata grinned wider, his eyes squinting closed. Kageyama's heart raced. "That was so cool! I was turning like before but then you weren't there and I was turning all by myself! Like FWOOSH! And I didn't wobble even a little bit! It was amazing!!"
Kageyama bit back a "Yes, you were amazing" opting instead for "Are you satisfied now? Do you want to leave?"
Hinata laughed, loud and clear, and said "Yeah, let's go. You look tired!"
Kageyama gritted his teeth and spit out a "Why, you..." before Hinata spun around, chasseing off to his bag, grabbing Kageyama's too and holding it out to him. "Come on, Grumpyama! Let's go!"
He made a show of grumbling at the name, but secretly he was pleased. He took his bag from Hinata's hand, their fingers brushing as he slipped his hand under the straps Hinata was holding. He felt his heart lurch again. This shouldn't be happening.
He walked to the door of the studio, pushing it open for Hinata before stepping out into the evening. It felt good to be out of the stuffy studio, and he took a deep breath of fresh air. Hinata was already prancing ahead, chattering on about his turns, occasionally turning to walk backwards and look at Kageyama as he talked. Kageyama was really starting to enjoy these walks together.
Hinata reached his door and unlocked it before Kageyama caught up to him. He stood, hand on the doorknob, looking at Kageyama steadily. There was no hesitation in his voice when he asked "Do you want to come in?" this time. And as much as Kageyama wanted to say yes, he politely declined again.
Hinata's face fell and his shoulders slumped. "Why?" he asked, almost whining, and Kageyama laughed, saying "I know you have homework, and I do too, and we won't do it if we're hanging out here with Kozume and Bokuto."
Hinata scrunched his face up, but he nodded. "Yeah, I guess so. See you tomorrow?"
"See you tomorrow."
Kageyama thought about the time that they had bowed to each other that night he had agreed to teach Hinata to turn and laughed, bowing a little and saying "Thank you for your hard work" before walking away. It might have been over the top, but Hinata's laugh followed him as he walked down the hallway.
Safe in his room, he turned on the light and stared at himself in the mirror on the wall. "Get a hold of yourself, Tobio. This is out of control."
Shaking his head, he turned from the self pep talk he was about to launch into, knowing it was pointless. He couldn't hide his feelings for Hinata from himself. But could he hide them from Hinata?
He hoped so. He couldn't lose their friendship. It was all he had.
Chapter 5: 5
Hinata practically flew to practice after school was over. Yesterday had been so perfect, so so perfect, he could hardly wait to get to dancing today. He would show everyone his turns, and they would be impressed, and Kageyama would smile at him again, and everything would be perfect!
Suddenly, Hinata was hit with uncertainty. What if he couldn't do it? What if that was a fluke? Or, worse, that he would be able to do them perfectly, and Kageyama would never teach him again? He doubted it would happen but... What if it did? What if that was the excuse Kageyama would use to stop talking to him again? Hinata was nervous, suddenly.
But class would go on, regardless of Hinata's nerves.
And there was Kageyama. Hinata pretended he didn't feel his heart jump when he walked into class and saw Kageyama, seated on the floor to pull on his shoes. Kageyama looked up to see who had walked in, and a smile spread across his face as his blue eyes saw Hinata's brown ones. He didn't try to hide the blush that came to his cheeks as he grinned back at Kageyama, bounding in to sit next to him to put on his own flats. They didn't speak, but sat together in amiable silence, getting ready for class.
They were always next to each other on the barre, but today felt a little different. Hinata could swear he felt warmth coming from behind when they were facing left, and he watched the back of Kageyama's head when they were on the right. He was overthinking things again, he knew it, but he didn't want to stop overthinking it. If it made him feel this warm inside, he would continue to pretend that Kageyama could, possibly, maybe, like him. A little.
Class went by slower than it ever had. Hinata could feel himself dragging his way through barre, and even though his turns were improved, he was still antsy and found himself hopping up and down silently on the balls of his feet as he waited for the next round of exercises. And the next. Tsukishima shot him an annoyed glare, but Yamaguchi put a hand on his arm and he turned back, scoffing a little. Hinata ignored it, but tried to calm himself.
As anxious as he was for class to end, he couldn't help but enjoy the across the floor exercises. Leaping made him feel like he was soaring. The floor disappeared and he bounded, light as a feather, up and away. Muscles tensed and he sprang into the air, time and time again.
He knew the class wondered how he landed so quietly, but he could never tell them why. Something about keeping landings quiet in pointe shoes had taught him to land softly, even more so than just rolling through his foot and pliéing his knee as he landed. That would have to stay his secret.
Finally, Daichi declared the class over, and everyone split up to thieir respective corners. Hinata looked to Asahi and Nishinoya, who got the message and Nishinoya jumped into Asahi's waiting arms, holding his hand up for a high five. Hinata ran, bounding into an assemblé and springing up as high as he could to try to reach it. Even his best jumps didn't seem to make it. He turned, laughing and exhilarated, and remembered that Kageyama was waiting for him. His eyes were trained on Hinata, and he looked... Warm. Hinata wanted Kageyama to lift him as comfortably as Asahi did Nishinoya.
Pushing the thought out of his mind, he pranced over to Kageyama and stood in front of him at attention, ready for whatever he threw at him.
They went back to turning, (solo, to Hinata's disappointment) and before long, the rest of the class was packing up again. They filed out as Hinata turned, over and over. Kageyama was letting him do inside turns today, even though he couldn't do quite as many. "A clean single was better than a messy double," he had said, and didn't offer partner turns this time. Until the classroom was empty again.
They were alone and Hinata's heart jumped into his throat, thinking of Kageyama's hands on his hips again. He didn't say anything, but he was thinking about it. Kageyama looked a little nervous, but he didn't say anything until Hinata fell out of his third turn in a row.
"Do you want to..." He said, uncertainly, and Hinata jolted up with a "yes!"
That had been a little too enthusiastic. He blushed and looked away, embarrassed. "I mean, it'll help. I think. So, maybe. If you want."
Kageyama looked away and responded with "yeah, I think it'll help you. Too bad we can't do á la secondes, I've seen yours and they're shaky..."
Hinata ignored the jab. His brain was going a million miles an hour. Could he possibly tell Kageyama that he could do fouetté turns?? How could he, without revealing that he studied with the girls. Fouettés, like pointe shoes, were a pretty exclusively feminine thing to do.
He kept his mouth shut.
"A-anyway! Do you want to..." He trailed off, looking at the ground. Kageyama replied with a short "Yeah" and they lined up facing the mirror, both looking awkwardly away from the other.
The turn was a disaster. Hinata gave himself too much momentum, and it was clear that Kageyama was avoiding putting his hands on Hinata, so he spun out of control almost immediately and put his foot down, tangling his legs and throwing him off balance.
Luckily, Kageyama was there and noticed him falling, and clamped his arms, strong and sure, around Hinata's waist. Hinata ended up with his face crushed into Kageyama's chest, arms folded in front of him, both feet tangled under him. He was shook up from the turn. He hadn't messed up a turn like that... Ever. If Kageyama hadn't been there to catch him he probably would have gotten very hurt.
Kageyama's chest rose and fell as he breathed heavily. Hinata clamped his eyes shut, trying to calm down as well. He lifted his feet and put them back down under himself, standing up steadily. He was still shaky and upset, but Kageyama's strong arms around him made him feel... Safe. He slowly snaked his own arms around Kageyama's shoulders to complete the embrace. He was taller, but the hug felt secure and safe and warm, and as sweaty as they both were, they stayed like that for a little while longer.
When Hinata fully wrapped his brain around what he was doing, he stiffened suddenly and pulled away from Kageyama, breaking his grasp. He jumped backwards, bowing deeply and stuttering "I'm- I'm so sorry! Please excuse me!" to the very red Kageyama, who had turned his head away from Hinata and was staring at the wall.
"No, I'm- the one who should be sorry! You were falling, it was my fault. I'm sorry." He said, quietly, embarrassment audible in his voice.
"I- I'm sorry I couldn't do the turns! I wound up too much. I'll try harder next time." Hinata responded, standing back up and pleading with Kageyama with his eyes. Kageyama wouldn't look at him.
"I think we should probably go home for the night." Hinata heard Kageyama say as he walked towards the door.
"But... Shimizu-san said there was no practice tonight... We can stay..." Hinata said, trying to sound casual and... Probably failing.
His heart dropped.
What did he mean, no?
"Let's just go."
Hinata takes a few steps towards Kageyama, ready to protest again, but stopped himself. He had probably weirded out Kageyama with.... That hug... Thing.
He would be lucky if he still wanted to be friends with him after that.
He walked to his bag and pulled off his shoes in silence. Kageyama waited for him at the door, but didn't say anything either. He stared out the doorway, looking out into the night. Hinata could see his silhouette, hair blowing just a little in the wind. He felt awful. He had messed up the one good thing he had.
They walked together, and Hinata went into his room without saying anything. Kageyama didn't stop.
Hinata walked into his room without stopping. Kenma didn't say anything to him. They knew when Hinata needed space.
He grabbed his pointe shoe bag and threw it into his ballet bag. The room would be empty for at least a few hours. Pointe would make him forget the way that he felt.
"Back to the dance room" Hinata said, whooshing past Kenma in a flurry and slamming the door behind him. He wanted to look towards Kageyama's room, but he didn't. He just ran, almost panicked, back to the dance room. His heart was racing as he dropped the curtains and sat down, hard, on the ground to put on his shoes.
He couldn't stop thinking about how safe it had felt in Kageyama's arms, and how absolutely taboo it was for him to feel that way. Kageyama had just... Left. So suddenly. Why did he just drop everything to leave? Was he that uncomfortable around Hinata now?
Fully convinced he had ruined his friendship, Hinata fumbled the laces of his pointe shoes more than once. He blinked hard, feeling the sting of tears start in his eyes. He plugged in his phone to the stereo system and turned on the loudest music he had.
Pointe would take his mind off of it.
He was still warmed up from class, but did a few careful elevés and relevés to make sure his ankles could take the pressure. He stared down, instead of in the mirror. He didn't want to see his face.
Satisfied with his ankles and ready to suffer, Hinata jumped straight from barre to turning across the floor. Chaîné turns were easy, now that he had steady arms (thanks to Kageyama, he thought bitterly) and he practically floated across the room on his toes, hair whipping around and around as he spotted. Maybe he would do some jumps instead.
Opting for a series of sauté arabesques, Hinata threw himself across the floor with energy he didn't think he still had. The way back, he put in the beat to make cabrioles. He had never done them this well before. Maybe it was frustration.
If there was one thing he didn't know if he could do, it was fouetté turns on pointe. But he had to try, to prove himself, to prove Kageyama wrong, to show himself he could be strong without Kageyama interfering. He took a breath, prepped for the turn, and launched himself into the turns just as the door to the dance room flew open.
Chapter 6: 6
Kageyama realized that he had made a mistake. He closed the door to his room and dropped his bag, staring blankly at the wall. He cursed, turning around and punching the door. Short swing, closed fist. It hurt.
He had been THERE. He had been holding Hinata. And Hinata had put his arms around him back. That had been a hug. Hinata had been warm, and steady, and Kageyama felt like he was flying, but anchored down in Hinata's arms and the smell of his soft hair.
He had hugged him back.
But then he backed up. He was uncomfortable. He clearly hadn't liked it. Why else would he have acted so strangely? And then... Kageyama had done what he always did. Snapped. Pushed him away. He had been embarrassed, but that was no excuse for the way he had behaved. Not at all.
He needed to apologize. And tell Hinata. He needed to confess, get it off his chest, out of his mind. He needed Hinata to reject him, once and for all, formally, so he could move on. Get the false hope out of his mind.
He grabbed his bag again and walked back out into the hall. His hand hurt. Good, he thought, I deserve it.
Working up the nerve to knock on Hinata's door took... Longer than he wanted to admit. Standing there, bristling and bright red, Kageyama waited while he heard footsteps approaching the door. As it opened, he dropped into a very low bow and practically shouted "I'm very sorry!" at the ground. He heard Kenma's tiny voice say "Huh?" And snapped back upright, even redder than before.
"Ah! Kozume-san! Um... I'm sorry, but is Hinata here?" He stammered, embarrassed. Kenma shook their head, saying "No, he ran back to the dance room. He seemed pretty upset, you might want to wait a bit to ask what's wrong. He'll come back though, he always does. Do you want to wait?"
Kageyama's heart leapt. He couldn't wait. He needed to go now, while the adrenaline was still flooding his body. He shook his head and bowed again, responding with "No, thank you, have a good night." and sprinted off towards the dance room. He had to go now.
Throwing open the door to deafening music and someone small, lithe, and redheaded turning over and over, fouetté turn after fouetté turn, was not the biggest shock Kageyama got. The biggest shock was realizing it was Hinata and, belatedly, that he was wearing pointe shoes and doing fouetté turns like it was nothing. He finished what looked like his eighth turn and pulled tight into a double pirouette before landing, softly and smoothly, into fourth position, just as Kageyama had told him, so many weeks ago.
Hinata turned to the door, clearly noticing the draft of cold air that swirled in after Kageyama, and froze in his tracks. The music, something classical, hit a dramatic swell as they stared, both frozen, at each other.
Kageyama took a step towards Hinata. He didn't know what to say, or think, or do, but he wanted to be closer to Hinata. As he stepped forward, Hinata stepped back, almost stumbling over his feet again. Kageyama didn't break eye contact with him, and stepped forward again, feet propelling him towards Hinata without stopping this time. Hinata looked completely panicked. Kageyama was close now, standing close enough that he could have touched Hinata if he wanted to. Hinata was staring up at him, eyes wider that he had ever seen them, and the song finished as they stood there immobile. Kageyama opened his mouth without thinking, but all that came out was "Hinata..."
Hinata, eyes wide and panicky, didn't say anything. The silence between songs stretched on.
The next song started, slow and almost mournful. (Gymnopédie, Kageyama recognized vaguely)
"Dance with me" Kageyama blurted out, before he knew what he was saying.
Hinata's eyes didn't move, but his mouth opened just a little. Kageyama took a step back, ready to admit that he had overstepped a boundary and go, but Hinata closed his mouth again and nodded, pliéing and stepping forward into a perfect pique arabesque into Kageyama's hands. He raised both arms, leaning back towards his outstretched leg, and Kageyama extended a leg behind himself into an arabesque a terre. He had never really partnered before, especially not with a boy, but he knew the basics. And they were improvising.
This would be a nightmare.
The music was slow, but they hit the major notes and flowed with it together. Hinata's bourre took him away from Kageyama, who stepped backwards in the opposite direction to watch him move, arms flowing and feet moving so fast it looked like he was gliding. Kageyama turned, an easy double, even in his shoes, and Hinata followed suit.
The two of them simultaneously started a chasse, towards each other, and they hit perfect grand jetés at the same time. Hinata landed, gently, and turned around himself to meet Kageyama in the middle. Kageyama grabbed his waist with one hand, and gently pulled as he started a tombé pas de bourre. Hinata, realizing what he wanted to do, caught up with him and let Kageyama grab his waist for a springy glissade into what he had been waiting for.
Kageyama lifted up and held up as Hinata grand jetéd up and over, holding the split as he was raised up into the air. He couldn't hold the split forever, he had obviously never done this before, and started to fall. Kageyama lowered him as quickly and gently as he could, but didn't take his hands off of him, just in case he lost his balance. Hinata flashed him a look in the mirror, and turned to the mirror to prep for a turn. Not knowing what to expect, Kageyama instinctively took the position he would need to help Hinata turn.
The single pirouette he had been expecting. The fouettés that came after were more of a surprise. Kageyama tried not to lose control of Hinata as he turned, but I was harder than it seemed. He fumbled a little, and Hinata pulled in to a pirouette to end the turns, putting his other toe down into a sous-sous.
He rotated a little, extending a leg out behind him into another arabesque on pointe, and tilted forward, doing the seem penché arabesque he had seen Tsukishima practice a hundred times, but this time on pointe. Kageyama used his hands to keep Hinata stable and safe. His eyes never left his tiny body, knowing that it was his responsibility to keep this tiny boy from getting hurt.
Back leg lowered back into sous-sous, Hinata closed his eyes and leaned back over Kageyama's arm. His feet stayed still, but Kageyama lunged to the side, slowly, and Hinata extended his arms over his head towards the ground, languidly. Kageyama could hear the music come to a close. He straightened his legs and came back to fifth, pulling Hinata up to his steady sous-sous. He had never seen him dance like this. This was beautiful, fluid, gentle.
The music lifted and carried Hinata, and the shoes seemed to make his dancing lighter, as opposed to heavier, as he had expected pointe would do. He was exhilarated, and from the flush high on Hinata's cheekbones and the way his eyes shone, he wasn't the only one.
The two stood there, together, and Hinata turned half of a turn to face Kageyama. He was much taller on the tips of his toes, Kageyama realized, and their faces were close. Very close. He wanted to close that tiny gap and kiss Hinata.
He couldn't kiss Hinata. But, he realized, Hinata could kiss him.
Craning his neck up a bit, Hinata threw his arms around Kageyama's neck to pull him down and kissed him, gently but firmly, eyes closed. Kageyama closed his own eyes and wrapped his other arm around Hinata's tiny waist, pulling him a little closer. The shoes helped, he noted; they were close enough that it wasn't even a stretch to kiss him. He had thought about it, he admitted to himself. Hinata started to wobble, and pulled back. His face was flushed, and Kageyama imagined his was too. Hinata laughed, softly, and asked, hushed but loud enough to be heard over the music, "Can I go back to flat now?"
Kageyama realized that his arms were holding Hinata up and tightened, lifting Hinata a tiny bit off the floor. Hinata kicked, laughing louder, before Kageyama leaned down and placed him gently back onto the floor. Hinata said "Sorry, I can't stay on my toes forever, you know." and Kageyama wasn't sure if he meant standing on his toes or waiting for the kiss. He would like to think it was the latter.
They stood there for a while, Hinata's arms around Kageyama's shoulders, Kageyama's around his waist. They just looked into each other's eyes, blushing, catching their breath. Kageyama closed his eyes and rested his forehead on the top of Hinata's head, savoring the moment.
This shouldn't have happened, he thought. He shouldn't have come, Hinata shouldn't dance like this, and they definitely shouldn't have kissed. But they did. He couldn't have foreseen any of this.
The moment passed, and Hinata loosened his arms from Kageyama's shoulders. Kageyama let go of him and stepped back. The next song was quiet, thankfully, but Hinata pranced over to the stereo and turned it off. He turned around and walked back, heels first (to keep his pointe shoes from clicking, presumably) and stood in front of Kageyama, close enough to touch. Kageyama's heart was beating fast again. He could lean down and kiss Hinata again, but... What if he didn't want that?
It was safe to guess that he did. It was a safe bet. But he didn't want to presume.
But he didn't want to ask, either.
Hinata blinked at him, brightly, and asked "Can I kiss you again?"
Kageyama blushed and nodded slightly. Thank goodness Hinata was forward like this, because he certainly wasn't.
Hinata put his hands on either side of Kageyama's face, rolled through his shoes into an elevé, and gently kissed him. He pulled back, hands still on Kageyama's face, and opened his eyes.
"I can't believe I just did that." Hinata said, sounding amazed. Kageyama blushed again but didn't look away.
"I'm... I'm so sorry." he muttered.
"What? Why? What are you saying?" Hinata said, falling back down to his heels and drawing his hands back slightly. Kageyama caught them and brought them back to his face, leaving his hands on top of Hinata's smaller ones. "I mean I'm sorry. For the way I've been acting. I've been treating you badly because I was too afraid.... Too afraid to accept my own feelings. And I was afraid you would reject me. So I-"
"I was afraid too!" Hinata cut in, brightly. "I was afraid too, because I didn't want you to not like me. But you do, right? ...Like me?"
Kageyama let out the breath he had been holding. "Yes, of course I like you. Obviously. Would you let me finish apologizing to you so I can kiss you again?"
"What if you just... Kiss me anyways? You know you're forgiven."
"No. Let me grovel first."
Hinata snorted. "I'd like to see that, honestly."
Kageyama dropped to a knee, holding Hinata's hands and bowed his head.
"Hinata-san, please, I beg your forgiveness for my horrible behavior. I never meant to hurt you and I hope that you can someday come to forgive me."
Hinata laughed, hopping on the balls of his feet, and pulled Kageyama's arms up to try to get him to stop kneeling. He resisted, pushing down as hard as he could. He was making a point, and Hinata's laugh was too cute to resist.
"Come on, get up! I was joking! Get upppppp!" Hinata cried, still laughing and pulling Kageyama up. He was jumping now, full on hopping off the ground. Kageyama timed it well. If he moved his hands when Hinata was down and stood up as he jumped he would be able to...
Swoop Hinata off his feet and up into the air, legs dangling and arms coming down instinctively to grip Kageyama's upper arms, bracing himself. He was laughing still, eyes shining. Exhilarated. Again.
Kageyama spun around, not taking his eyes off of Hinata, who was looking up and over him at the mirror. "Look at us!" he shouted. "I feel like I'm flying! And you're so strong!" Kageyama didn't want to look at himself. He wanted to keep looking at Hinata. But his arms were getting tired very quickly, no matter how he tried to lock his elbows, and he lowered Hinata down, gently, to the ground again.
"That was sooo cool! Can we do it again?? You're amazing, Kageyama!" Hinata jumped up and down, toes clicking on the ground as he landed.
"You need to tell me about those, first." Kageyama said, seriously.
Hinata's face fell. He looked away shyly.
"It's amazing, what you do. Why did you never tell me? This is incredible!"
Hinata peeked back up. "What... What do you mean?"
"Exactly what I said. This is incredible."
His face was covered in confusion. "You're not.... Mad?" he asked, emotions written all over his face. Confusion, anxiety, hope.
"I'm a little mad you never told me. But this is gonna SHOCK the rest of the team! We have to dance for them. We'll choreograph something for the final showcase, they'll never see it coming."
Hinata sprang back, fear overriding everything and tinging his voice. "No! No. We can't. No way. You can't tell them."
Kageyama didn't even have to ask why. He tilted his head and opened his mouth and Hinata was already responding.
"They'll laugh me out of the class! Pointe is for girls, I can never tell them about this. About how I studied with the girls team. I got fitted with them when they all got their first pair of shoes! I wore tights! I was basically a girl with them for years, and I can't let the guys know that. They'll just laugh! Pointe isn't cool to them, I bet! I need them to like me." he rambled, pacing and throwing his hands in the air. Kageyama let him speak for a while, trying to comprehend what he was saying, then he grabbed Hinata's hand and pulled him into his chest, effectively shutting him up by pressing his face into his shirt.
"Hinata. Do you really think that you having a skill that sets you apart from, honestly, most male dancers in the country, is something that you would get laughed out of the class for? Tanaka-senpai maybe will laugh, sure. But you're talented, Hinata! You've got a gift! None of us could do this. Nobody. And you're amazing! Incredible! Wonderful!" Kageyama grabbed Hinata's face and pointed it up at his own, so he had to look at him.
"I'm not lying. I believe all of those things. And if you want to keep it a secret, I respect that. I won't tell anyone. But just know that this is something that you should share. An important part about you."
This time, it was Kageyama who bent down to kiss Hinata. A light kiss under each eye, then one on his lips. He looked down and saw Hinata, eyes closed but teary, smiling weakly.
"I... I don't know." he replied, trying to look calm but not opening his eyes still. "We could... Maybe try to choreograph something. But no promises. I'm not Daichi-san!" Hinata opened his eyes and looked right into Kageyama's heart, it felt like. "Thank you, though."
Kageyama nodded and acknowledged Hinata with a "hm."
"Now do you want to dance more or do you want to take those things off? They look painful." Kageyama glanced down at the tiny shoes on Hinata's feet. He hadn't realized just how small this tiny boy was until now.
"I'm... I'm gonna take them off. I should get back." Hinata looked sheepish. "I kinda ran out on Kenma, they might be worried."
He ran back to his bag, clicking, and sat down heavily to pull off his shoes. Kageyama followed him over, still in his street shoes, and stood against the wall on the carpeting that lined the sides of the room.
Hinata untying and untangling his laces, pulling off the toe pad, and unrolling the sock-tights was fascinating, and Kageyama couldn't help but watch in awe and confusion. Hinata looked up, laughed brightly, and asked "What, never seen someone take pointe shoes off before?" jokingly. Kageyama shook his head. "Honestly, no. I haven't."
"It's not that interesting!" Hinata laughed, a little uncomfortably, and wrapped the laces around his shoes, over the elastic bands that Kageyama hadn't even noticed before. He tucked the toe pads into the toes of the shoes and stuck them into the bag, pulling closed the drawstring and jammed it into the bottom of his dance bag. "Don't... Don't tell anyone though, okay?" Hinata said, shyly, looking up at him.
It struck Kageyama how small Hinata was, sitting cross legged on the floor. He reached a hand down to help him up, and felt a rush of sparks through his body from their touch.
Hinata grabbed his bag off the floor and the two headed off, Kageyama grabbing his own bag where he had dropped it on the way in. As they stepped out into the night air, Hinata slipped his hand into Kageyama's. It felt natural, but his heart jumped a little anyways. It felt good, and he didn't ever want to let go.
Hinata was exhausted, physically, but mentally, he was going a million miles an hour. Despite his exhaustion, he practically pranced down the hallway, pulling Kageyama a little as they walked together. He was chattering, talking about dance stuff, so that his brain couldn't think too much. That would wait, he had decided.
Kageyama wasn't taking his eyes off of him, Hinata noticed. He felt a little embarrassed, but the warm look in his cool blue eyes was enough to make Hinata blush and tighten his grasp on Kageyama's hand. Was it ok that they were holding hands? It was dark out, but people might still see them.
"Kageyama are we... Is it... We're holding hands, and..." Hinata stopped walking, looking down. Kageyama blinked and stopped, looking somewhat hurt. "Is this... Not okay with you? You don't want people to see?" He asked, tilting his head and looking down at Hinata.
"No I...! I don't mind! I just didn't know if you didn't, I don't know, want to... Keep it secret or something. If you do, it's ok. I'm happy with just us knowing." Hinata paused for a moment, then continued, thoughtfully, "and Kenma. They probably need to know. And they'll probably tell Kuroo and Kuroo will most likely tell Bokuto. You know how they are. But-" Kageyama cut him off, saying "I don't mind if the whole world knows, Hinata. I really don't. But I think... I think if we're gonna dance for the rest of the boys, that's when we should tell them."
Hinata jumped up, excited. "Yeah!!! That's a really good idea!!! You're so smart, Kageyama!"
He pulled Kageyama's hand and kept walking towards their dorm rooms. The rest of the walk passed in silence. Hinata was just enjoying Kageyama's company and the warmth of his hand.
When they reached Hinata's door, he stopped and looked up at Kageyama. The hallway was well-lit, and there was always a possibility of someone coming out of their room. This was much too public of a place for them to kiss, but Hinata wanted to kiss him anyway.
"Do you want to come in?" He asked, hopeful, but Kageyama shook his head, again.
"No, to be honest I want you to come to my dorm, but not now. You need to talk to Kenma and we both need to shower." Hinata was a little disappointed, but he laughed. He definitely did need to shower.
"Will you walk with me tomorrow?" he asked, taking Kageyama's other hand. Kageyama laughed as he said "I thought that was a given." Hinata squeezed his hands and responded "I was just making sure! Meany," sticking his tongue out.
Kageyama let go of Hinata's hands and took one hand and placed it on top of Hinata's head, ruffling his hair softly.
Hinata opened the door to his room and ducked inside, Kageyama still watching him. He looked at him one more time and blinked, slowly, like a cat. Kageyama smirked and turned around, walking towards his room. Hinata watched him go for a moment before closing his own door. He hesitated turning around, not knowing what to say to Kenma.
Their voice piped up behind him, asking "Do you feel better?" gently.
"Yes! I do! It's all going to be perfect now, Kenma!" Hinata enthused, turning around and meeting Kenma's eyes with his own sparkling ones.
"What happened?" Kenma said, still holding their tablet, but not looking at it.
"Well... It's... Uh..." Hinata mumbled, suddenly embarrassed. "I'm sorry I ran out on you before. A lot was happening, but I was rude. I'm sorry."
Kenma chuckled a little, putting their tablet aside and patting the couch next to them. "It's all right, I knew you needed to go. Come sit, tell me what's going on."
Hinata toed off his shoes and walked over to the couch, flopping down dramatically. "It's a long story." Kenma looked at him and replied "Well, Shouyou, I have plenty of time."
"Okay! Well. So." Hinata launched into the story. "So Kageyama and I are in class together! And recently, we've been dancing together after class so he can help me learn to turn so we were partner turning and it was really helping but I liked him! And he was touching me! And I was like WOOOOAAAAH and my heart was like fwoooosh but I didn't know if he liked me and it seemed like he didn't because anytime we would get too close he would just leave! And I was like whaaaa???
But then I was trying to turn today and I was falling and he caught me and we were basically hugging! And then I don't know what I was thinking but I kinda hugged him back! And it was so nice but then he stepped back all like embarrassed and stuff and I was like oh noooo and then I was trying to play it cool and all and be like ok let's keep dancing and then he was all NO and walked away and I thought I had messed it all up!!! And then I came back here and I got... Uh..... Um.... I got...."
Kenma looked at Hinata, eyes kind, and said "You don't have to tell me, if it's a secret."
Hinata blushed and looked down. "It is, but... I guess the cat's out of the bag now. I wear... Pointe shoes?"
Kenma blinked, clearly not understanding. "Pointe shoes? The toe shoes, right?"
"Uh, yeah. They're... Well, they're only for girls, really. It's kind of taboo for boys to wear them. I was allowed to because I trained with the girls in middle school, but I keep it a secret, because... It's not really allowed. But I brought them to the dance room so I could dance, but then, Kageyama showed up while I was dancing and I was scared!!! But then he asked me to dance with him and I did it because... I don't know. I wanted to. And it was really good! We turned together and then the song ended and I turned and I was on my pointe shoes so I was up tall and then we... Uh... We kissed." Hinata blushed furiously, looking away.
"Ok, a couple of times. And he apologized for how he was acting. Turns out he was being like that because he was embarrassed he liked ME! And he wants us to dance together for the class. And we held hands all the way here! So I think... I think he's my boyfriend now... You won't stop being my friend, right? Because I'm dating a boy?"
Kenma laughed. "Shouyou, you know who my best friend is, right? I wouldn't stop being your friend because you're dating a boy. That would be kind of... Hypocritical." They beamed at him, and continued with "I'm happy for you! You seem happy, too. Are you going to tell the rest of them? Or try to keep it a secret?"
Hinata cringed. "We're going to tell them when... When we dance together. For everyone."
Kenma patted Hinata's head. "You'll have to work hard to keep your mouth shut during class! Are you going to be able to restrain yourself and act normal?"
Hinata hadn't thought of that. He wasn't sure if he was going to be able to. He was, well, enthusiastic.
"I'll do my best!" he replied, a little grumpy, thinking about class tomorrow and not being able to kiss Kageyama.
"That wasn't as long of a story as I expected, you know" Kenma said, taking their hand off of Hinata's head. "But you should shower, Shouyou. You have homework too."
Hinata jumped up, realizing how late it was. "You're right, Kenma!! I forgot! Thanks for listening!"
They chuckled as Hinata went into overdrive, running to the shower. "Anytime."
He showered quickly, still thinking about Kageyama and the way it had felt when they were together. He was hopeless, it seemed.
Even after his shower, he was distracted. Kenma tried to help him with his homework, but he couldn't seem to get him to focus. Some of his studying got done, but nowhere near all of it.
Finally, Hinata slammed his pencil down. "I give up!" he moaned, throwing his head back. "I'm never gonna get this done!"
Kenma laughed. "Go to bed, then. You can work on it tomorrow with Kageyama."
Hinata stood up, decided. "Alright. Goodnight, Kenma. You're the best."
They smiled at him, a big, wide grin, and said "Goodnight, Shouyou. Good luck."
The next day was... Awkward. Kageyama showed up at Hinata's door before he had even put on his uniform, and had to awkwardly sit on the couch with Kenma to wait for him to be ready. Once they got outside, Hinata jumped up to smack Kageyama on the head, shouting "STUPID! Why did you come so early??"
"I don't know how early you leave!" Kageyama raged back. "I didn't want to be late!"
They walked together, Kageyama huffing angrily and Hinata looking at the opposite wall, embarrassed. Hinata wasn't really sure what to say, or how to talk to Kageyama, now that they were... Together. He didn't want to say anything stupid.
They arrived at their class in silence. Classes went by slowly, and Hinata fidgeted through every minute. His teacher was used to it by now, he was always a little antsy, but even his classmates noticed the tiny dancer was having a hard time sitting still today. When they were finally released for conservatory, he sprang out of his chair, all energy. Kageyama followed him, slower, and the two made their way to class.
"Did you bring them?" Kageyama asked as they walked towards the studio.
"My shoes?" Hinata blurted out, confused, "Of course! We're gonna practice. When everyone leaves, though. Right?"
Kageyama put a hand on Hinata's shoulder. "Of course."
Hinata blushed. What was he worried about? Why was he acting so nervous around Kageyama? It was the same Kageyama as always.
Yamaguchi and Sugawara seemed to be the first people to notice the difference. They shared a look, then Sugawara approached Hinata during a break.
"Ah! Sugawara-san! Hello!" Hinata said, nervously straightening his back and trying to lean casually against the barre at the same time. He almost lost his balance and fell. The barre was farther away than he expected.
"Hinata... What's going on? You're acting funny." Sugawara said, leaning towards Hinata looking suspiciously into his eyes. Hinata knew that Sugawara was intuitive, but he hadn't realized he would pick up on it that fast.
"N-nothing! Nothing's going on. What would be going on? Hah, hah..." Hinata turned his head away from Sugawara's suspicious stare and found himself looking right at Kageyama.
Oh, no. He couldn't be looking at him! He whipped his head back to Sugawara and laughed nervously, forcing a weak smile. Sugawara followed where his gaze had just been as Kageyama turned around and met his gaze. He turned away quickly, and Sugawara laughed, looking back to Hinata. "So it is Kageyama! What's going on there? You realized you like him yet?"
Hinata panicked, stammering back "N-no! I don't l-like him! He's just-just teaching me to turn! That's all!"
Sugawara laughed again. "Alright, alright, fine! Sorry I asked!" and took a long drink from his water bottle. Hinata followed suit, but squeezed the bottle too hard. Water ran down his chin and he choked, coughing loudly. The class all turned to him, half of them concerned, the other half laughing uproariously. Sugawara patted Hinata on the back, trying to hide his own laughter.
Finally, Daichi grabbed his bag and pulled a protesting Sugawara out of the classroom, encouraging the boys not to work too hard and to make sure they got their homework done. Finally alone, the two waited another few minutes before pulling down the curtains and putting their bags in front of the door so it wouldn't be easily openable. Then Hinata sat down slowly and opened his pointe shoe bag. He knew that Kageyama knew, but he was still a little nervous about it. He had hidden these shoes from everyone but the girls class for years.
Kageyama walked over and put a gentle hand on Hinata's head, saying "if you aren't comfortable, we don't have to do this." Hinata looked up at him, eyes shining, and replied "No, I want to! I'm just... Nervous."
Kageyama crouched down next to him and planted a kiss on his cheek. "Whenever you're ready then."
Hinata blushed and put his shoes on his feet, lacing them up quickly. "Born ready."
He hopped up and Kageyama stood up with him. Hinata pulled out his phone and plugged it into the stereo. "Does this song work?" he asked, putting on the same song as before. "I thought it would be... I don't know. Meaningful."
Kageyama nodded, looking a little choked up.
And then, to the slow, soft notes of Gymnopédie, the two started to dance.
This is the song they're dancing to! One of my very favorites.
Chapter 8: 8
It turned out that creating a pas de deux was harder than it looked, especially when it was two people who were neither choreographers nor had ever done a pas de deux before. They fell out of lifts, stumbled over each others' feet, and Hinata got tired quicker than he usually did, complaining of numb toes and cramping arches.
"Isn't it better if your toes are numb??" Kageyama asked, frustrated. "Then you can't feel them hurting."
"No it is not 'better' when my toes are numb! Then I can't get up to my full pointe and I can't feel the floor. How am I supposed to get onto them when I can't feel them? You wouldn't get it."
Kageyama sighed. "Yeah, I guess I wouldn't." He slumped to the floor. This wasn't as easy as it had seemed, and they only had a few weeks to perfect it. "It's a good thing the song is short. I don't know how much choreography I have in me."
Hinata massaged his foot a little, then put his shoe back on slowly. "It's been an hour... I think we should run what we have one more time and call it quits. I have homework."
They stood back up, walked to opposite sides of the room, and Hinata started the song over.
After running through the rough 30 seconds of choreography that they had, Hinata flopped down to the ground, sliding out of Kageyama's hands and laying flat on the floor. "I give up! I quit dancing!"
Kageyama sat down beside him, looking at the tiny boy's sweaty, bright pink face. He brushed Hinata's sweaty hair off his forehead and smiled down at him softly. This was good. This felt good. Comfortable and right. He continued to stroke Hinata's hair, watching him relax into his hand and close his eyes.
"This can't be comfortable. You still have your shoes on, and the floor is hard." Kageyama muttered, staring at Hinata's small frame, splayed across the floor. "Come on, let's go." he continued, making no effort to stop petting Hinata on the head. Hinata mumbled "Yeah, okay" but didn't move either.
After another minute of not-moving, Kageyama finally opened his tired eyes and said "No, really, come on" letting go of Hinata's head and grabbing his hand. Hinata grumbled and protested, but let himself be pulled up to a sitting position.
"Take them off, come on. We gotta go."
Hinata blushed a little bit, smirking, but didn't say anything as he untied the satin laces and pulled his pointe shoes off, rolling the toe pads off of his toes. Kageyama looked at his feet curiously and gasped. They were almost entirely white, and he could see the tips of his toes were flattened. As the blood rushed back into his toes, Hinata winced, hard. Kageyama was completely aghast.
"What the hell, Shouyou??" He said, hushed but clearly upset. Hinata blushed pink, whipping his head up to Kageyama, who didn't take his eyes off of Hinata's feet. "Are you okay? This looks terrible!"
Hinata looked at his feet, pulling them under his knees to sit cross-legged. "It's nothing. They were worse, when I would do entire classes on pointe. They're not even bleeding. It's fine. Stop... Looking at me like that."
Kageyama realized his mouth was open. He shut it with a snap and shook his head a little, trying to calm down. "Shouyou... This is hurting you... We don't have to keep doing it, you know."
"I like it, Kage- Tobio." Hinata said, looking away and blushing brighter.
Kageyama realized he had called him "Shouyou." Twice. It had just felt right.
"I... I didn't mean to call you Shouyou! If that's not ok, it's fine, I can call you Hinata still!" He bowed his head a little, asking forgiveness silently.
"No,n no! It's totally fine... I like it. And I... Can call you Tobio?"
He blushed a little. "Yeah, of course." Then, after a moment of thought, "Maybe we should... Not? In front of the rest of the boys. I watched you babble on in front of Sugawara-san. That would be pretty obvious." Hinata groaned and slapped his hands over his face, rolling backwards onto the floor again. "How are we going to keep it a secret until the performances??"
"I don't know. You need to work on subtlety, Shouyou."
He rolled back up to sitting, standing up in the same movement. "Come on, let's go. I'm super tired."
Kageyama stood up, slowly, bending and straightening his arms. They would be sore tomorrow. Hinata was light, but not that light. Hinata had already grabbed his shoes and pranced over to his bag to stow them safely away, and Kageyama walked over after him.
Scooping his bag onto one arm and Hinata's waist into the other, he pressed a gentle kiss to the side of his head, then let go. Hinata whined and grabbed his arm with both hands, pulling him down so he could kiss him properly. When they separated, Kageyama took a breath. He was still exhilarated. If someone had told him six months ago that he would be dating Hinata Shouyou, he wouldn't have believed them. But now here he was, bright red and embarrassed, breathing hard after a chaste smooch from the tiny redhead.
They walked together out the door and Hinata slipped his hand into Kageyama's like it belonged there. He wouldn't want it any other way, he thought.
They reached Hinata's door, but Kageyama didn't stop. Hinata, confused, pulled back a little. "My door is here." he said, looking at Kageyama.
"I want you to come study with me, moron" Kageyama responded, blushing but steady. Why hadn't he gotten the message?
"Can I... Can I shower first? And change?" Hinata asked, looking a little nervous. Kageyama took a few steps back to him and pressed his lips to the top of his head.
Whoops. He wasn't supposed to be doing that in public, was he?
"Yes, of course. I should probably shower too." He sighed heavily. He didn't want to be apart from Hinata for that long. Or at all.
He really was head over heels, wasn't he?
"Okay! I'll be super quick! You better hurry too!"
"I'll leave the door unlocked. Let yourself in."
Hinata bounced up and down, dashed into his dormitory, and slammed the door behind him. He could hear him throwing his bag against the wall and shouting "I'M GONNA TAKE A SHOWER, KENMAAAA" before he turned and walked down the hallway to his own room and shower.
Shutting the shower door and walking out into his warm dorm room, pajama pants on and hair still too wet and messy for a shirt, Kageyama looked out to the small figure sitting on the couch, hunched over a stack of papers on the table, and took a massive double take.
Why was Hinata here already???
He stopped dead in his tracks and Hinata looked up, mouth dropping open, and clapped his hands over his eyes.
"I-I'm sorry, Tobio! I didn't realize... I can go until you get dressed!!!" Hinata stumbled over his words, the blush reaching his ears. Kageyama's face burned too, and he stared at Hinata, still not moving.
They had seen each other change in the changing rooms behind the dance room, of course. They had all seen each other changing, and it wasn't a big deal.
"No! I mean, it's... Fine. You've seen me change, it's... Fine. I'm fine. With it."
Hinata was very pink. Kageyama probably was too. Hinata took his hands off his eyes and, clearly, struggled to keep his eyes on Kageyama's face.
"I was just... Gonna start doing homework?" Hinata said, still blushing.
"I'll... Come too."
Kageyama walked over to the couch. He was committed now, he guessed.
He sat down next to Hinata, grabbing his school bag from under the table and pulling out his own homework. He was farther ahead than Hinata, but only a little. They worked together in silence for a while, occasionally helping each other with problems, before Kageyama finally finished his last exercise and threw down his pencil. Leaning back onto the couch, he closed his eyes and put his arms behind his head. "Finally."
He was tired. His body was exhausted. It couldn't be all bad to take a little break.
He could feel himself dozing off a little as he sat there, Hinata still working silently, making tiny noises of frustration every so often.
After a particularly long stretch of silence, Kageyama suddenly felt something warm and soft snuggle up next to him. He suppressed the urge to jump, and opened his eyes, looking down. Hinata had scooted back on the couch, drawing his knees up to his chest, and was leaned against Kageyama's side, eyes closed and head nestled into Kageyama's shoulder.
He lowered his arm to place a comforting hand around Hinata's back, rubbing his fingers back and forth softly. Hinata hummed a little and shifted closer, and Kageyama smiled. He was kind of like a little cat, snuggled into him like this. He closed his eyes again and leaned his head back. They could afford to take a little time before Hinata went home for the night.
When Kageyama opened his eyes again, his head hurt and he was stiff. He blinked blearily and looked at the clock on the wall. It was 11:30. They had slept for almost two hours.
"Shouyou!" He hissed, trying to wake him gently. "Shouyou, wake up. You need to go back to your dorm. We have class tomorrow. Shouyou."
Hinata shifted a little, making little grumpy sounds, but didn't wake up.
He couldn't stay here, Kageyama thought to himself. No way would that fly.
But how would he get him to his own dorm?
Shifting his arms under Hinata, Kageyama shuffled back so he could lift Hinata straight up off the couch, and his small arms wrapped themselves around Kageyama's neck almost automatically. It was a good thing he was tiny and light, Kageyama thought.
Almost dropping him about a hundred times in the process, Kageyama stood outside the door of Hinata's dorm and prayed that Kenma would be up to let him in. It was cold out in the hallway with no shirt on.
The door opened, and Kenma stood there, looking red-eyed, tablet pen still in hand.
"Oh. Kageyama. Why is Hinata... Why are you...?"
"Kozume! I'm glad you're awake. He... He won't wake up, he just keeps grumbling and refuses to wake up, can I just... Bring him in? I didn't want to keep him on my couch... I didn't want you to worry or anything."
Kenma blinked slowly, then took a few steps out of the way and held the door open so Kageyama could shuffle in, sideways, to keep Hinata's head from hitting the doorframe. He toed off his shoes on the way in, and followed Kenma further into the dorm.
"His room is that one, let me... Open the door for you." Kenma pointed at the left door, then walked over to it and opened it up to let Kageyama through. His room was small, like Kageyama's, but messier, and, somehow, brighter. He moved the blankets with one hand, bending carefully to keep Hinata curled safely in his chest, then put him down softly and covered him with the blankets. Noticing the stuffed bunny tucked into the top corner, he decided to offer it to Hinata by pressing it softly against his hands. Hinata accepted it immediately, curling his arms around it and settling down a little into his bed.
Kageyama was struck by how small Hinata really was. He had carried him pretty easily, and now there he was, curled up around a stuffed bunny... His heart felt warm and soft, and he wanted to protect this gentle boy for the rest of his life.
He kissed Hinata gently on the forehead, whispered "Goodnight, Shouyou," and turned off the light on his way out.
Kenma was standing outside the door. They probably had seen the entire display. Kageyama flushed pink, but didn't say anything about it. He wasn't ashamed.
"You really like him, don't you?" Kenma said, looking a little glum, but interested.
"Yeah, I... I guess I do." Kageyama didn't break eye contact, as much as he wanted to.
"I know he really likes you too. He's never been this happy before, believe it or not." Kageyama nodded. He couldn't ignore the swell of happiness that threatened to burst in his chest at the words. "And just so you know, you can keep him overnight. I'm not his mom, I won't tell anyone.
"No it's... It's not like that..." Kageyama stuttered, embarrassed.
"I know it's not like that. Hinata's too ace for that, you know that. But you can still, you know, share a bed. He'd love that, I think." Kenma smiled a little and walked towards the door. "You can keep his shoes and books for the night, I'll tell him where they are. Expect him in the morning. But not that early!"
Kageyama unstuck his feet from the floor and walked out, slipping on his shoes and walking out to the hallway. "Thanks, Kozume. I owe you one."
"Make him happy, and I'll call it even. Goodnight, Kageyama."
Back in his own dormitory, Kageyama gathered Hinata's papers together, being careful to keep them separate from his own, and packed everything back into the bag that Hinata had left next to the table. Then he packed his own things away for school the next day, pulled his pajama shirt over his head, and headed off for bed.
Chapter 9: 9
Waking up in his own bed snuggled up to his bunny was normal for Hinata. He didn't realize anything was wrong until he turned over and opened his eyes a little, and realized his night light wasn't on. Had he forgotten to turn it on?
His bag wasn't on the floor either.
Blinking blearily and rubbing his eyes, he sat up and slowly remembered last night's antics. He had been early to Kageyama's, he had come out of the shower looking very pink and very... Shirtless... And Hinata had put his head onto his chest (feeling like his heart would beat out of his own chest, if he was being honest with himself) and, apparently, fallen asleep there.
He didn't remember waking up or walking back to his dorm.
Had Kageyama... Carried him??
He stumbled out of bed and into the main room. Kenma was already up (or still up? Hard to tell, with them) and looked up when he meandered in.
"You're awake! I was hoping I wouldn't have to come in and get you, Kageyama didn't set your alarm."
"So... He did bring me home last night??" Hinata blushed.
"I told him next time not to bother. He has your shoes and your bag, so you'd better go over before you go to school."
"N-next time??? Who says there's going to be a next time??" Hinata was bright red.
They chuckled. "Me, silly. You sleep through everything, he couldn't even wake you up. Plus, why not? You don't mind cuddling, right? Well, clearly you don't." They smirked a little, looking at Hinata with soft eyes. They understood him pretty well.
"I... I guess I should... Go get my stuff." Hinata avoided eye contact, still blushing.
"Maybe get dressed first, silly. And eat breakfast. Then you guys can walk together."
"Right! Yeah." Hinata brightened at the prospect of walking together. He made breakfast as fast as he could, ate while getting dressed, and showed up at Kageyama's door much earlier than he was expecting.
What if he's not even awake? thought Hinata, belatedly. That would be... Well, not as embarrassing as falling asleep on your very shirtless boyfriend and being carried back to your own room, he guessed.
He knocked, very conscious of his socked feet against the cold concrete. It was chilly in the mornings, nowadays.
Kageyama opened the door, looking a little sleepy but dressed. "Shouyou! You're, well, early."
"I hurried... Maybe I hurried too much? I can go..." Hinata looked down at his socks, curling his toes a little, uncomfortable.
"No, don't be an idiot. Come in."
It was too early to leave for class, but Kageyama appeared to be done getting ready, and was just sitting on the couch. Hinata followed him, sitting down next to him and curling his knees up to his chest again.
"Don't fall asleep." Kageyama smirked a little, and Hinata blushed angrily. "I won't!" He said, pouting and turning his head away.
"I know you won't-" Kageyama said, taking Hinata's chin and turning it towards him, kissing him soundly for a few seconds "-because I'm not gonna let you."
Hinata's eyes widened, briefly, before he closed them and fell forward onto his knees on the couch, hands in Kageyama's hair. From here, he was taller than him, which was... A change. Kageyama held around his waist, head turned towards Hinata, who was still to his side on the couch. They kissed, gently at first, but as Hinata got more comfortable with the position, Kageyama slowly deepened the kiss.
Apparently not satisfied with the position, Kageyama lifted Hinata just enough to shift him over to where he was straddling Kageyama on the couch, seated on his lap comfortably.
Very red, but definitely enjoying himself, Hinata continued to grip Kageyama's hair, soaking in the feeling of Kageyama's hands on his hips, holding him steady. Suddenly, however, Kageyama's hands moved from Hinata's hips and crept up his back, under his shirt, running short lines up and down his freckled back. Hinata pulled back, eyes wide and pupils dilated, gasping "T-Tobio!"
Kageyama opened his eyes and stopped moving his hands immediately, leaving them flat against Hinata's skin. He could feel his heart fluttering, and was fairly sure Kageyama could feel it too.
"Is this... Not okay? I'm sorry! I thought..."
"No this... This is fine, it just... Startled me. But I don't... I don't want to go any farther... Is that... Okay?"
"Yeah. I understand."
Hinata laughed, a little bit bitterly. "You do, do you?"
Kageyama squinted a little. "Yeah, I do. Kenma said you were "ace" last night, the internet told me what that meant in about a second. I understand. Very well."
Hinata went very red. "Kenma said... And you're... That's ok?"
"Yeah. I think I'm... Kinda... The same?"
Today was just getting weirder, Hinata thought.
He put his forehead against Kageyama's, breathing slowly and closing his eyes.
There were no words. He didn't need to say anything, really. Hinata started to gently kiss Kageyama, all over his face. He pressed his lips to his forehead, his cheekbones, the bridge of his nose, his chin, his cheeks, followed his jaw down to his neck, and nuzzled his head into his collarbone, breathing slowly.
Kageyama slowly relaxed into the position, stroking Hinata's back again. The two sat there, a comfortable silence surrounding them, until Kageyama sat up straight suddenly, knocking Hinata back a little.
"What? What's wrong?"
"We're gonna be late for school, moron!"
Hinata scrambled up, realizing that he was right. "Shoot, shoot! Where's my bag? And my books?"
"By the door, come on."
The two boys pulled their clothes back to a slightly less rumpled state and dashed out the door, stuffing their feet into their shoes and walking as fast as they could without looking too suspicious.
Stumbling into class just in time, breathing heavily, got them a dirty look from their teacher, but they were there and sitting and ready for the day, if not somewhat flushed.
Hinata didn't expect to have such a good time in ballet class that day, but he was definitely mistaken. He stood taller than usual, jumped higher, and turned longer. Kageyama's lessons were definitely impacting his dancing, but more than that, he was feeling better about himself. He payed more attention during the choreography at the end, taking mental notes for things they could do. During breaks, Yamaguchi and Tsukishima stood by Hinata and Kageyama.
"You're doing a really good job today, Hinata! Having a good day?" Yamaguchi asked, smiling softly at him.
"Yeah! Very good! And class today is really fun! I love ballet!" Hinata hopped up and down, beating through entrechats as he talked.
Yamaguchi smiled, laughing a little as he responded with "Good! I'm glad. You seem much happier recently."
Hinata blushed a little, glancing at Kageyama quickly, then grinned at Yamaguchi again. "Thanks!! I am happy!" Tsukishima snorted a little, and Yamaguchi turned to chastise him as Hinata took a big swig from his water and turned to beam at Kageyama who blushed and looked away.
Tanaka finally shuffled out, glancing suspiciously at the two as they very casually danced, close but not too close, and Hinata scampered to his bag to grab his pointe shoes again. This time, he thought, they would make progress.
It turned out that both of them had forgotten most of what they had choreographed the night before.
After an hour or so of choreographing and re-choreographing, Hinata flopped to the ground again. He was trying to hide it from Kageyama, but his feet were cramped and tired, and he couldn't feel the ground. He kept falling off of his shoes. Balancing was hard, but even things like turning and easy steps were getting harder as his feet tired out.
"Can we just... Video it maybe? That way we don't forget?" Hinata said, eyes closed, arms limp in his lap. Kageyama crouched down and lifted Hinata's chin so they were making eye contact, and Hinata leaned forward and kissed him lightly.
"That's what I was going to do, you thief!" Kageyama smiled a little, and stood up, grabbing Hinata's hands and pulling him up. "Yes, let's film it."
It was choppy and ungraceful, Hinata was falling off his shoes and Kageyama's arms were too tired to lift him all the way, but they did their best, and after the dance was over, Hinata stood in front of Kageyama, up on his aching toes, and kissed him soundly. He hadn't intended it to be more than a quick smooch, but Kageyama had other ideas, wrapping his arms around Hinata's waist and lifting a little to take some of the weight off do his toes. (He was learning, Hinata thought)
Hinata took his hands and slid them into Kageyama's hair, marveling in the softness of it, and gripped suddenly. Kageyama gasped a little, but didn't pull away.
Just then, the door to the studio opened and they broke apart, turning to the door. Hinata's hands in Kageyama's hair, Kageyama's arms wrapped strongly around Hinata's waist, and Sugawara standing in the doorway, all of them with eyes wide, not moving.
Sugawara was the first to speak, taking a step into the room and closing the door behind him, not taking his eyes off the two younger boys.
"I just forgot something in the cubbies, I didn't mean to interrupt your... Practice..." There was a little blush on his cheeks, and he scratched the back of his head nervously as he, finally, broke eye contact and looked away.
Hinata wobbled and fell back down to his heels, wincing a little as he let go of Kageyama's hair and dropped his hands to his sides. Kageyama had loosened his grip, and his balance was a little off. Kageyama snapped his head back to Hinata, grabbing his hands and saying "Shouyou! Are you ok? I'm sorry, I..."
"I'm fine!" Hinata replied, still looking at Sugawara. "I... Sugawara-san...?"
"I would say you have some explaining to do, but clearly you don't want people to know. If you don't want to tell me about... All this-" he gestured to their hands together, and then down to Hinata's feet "-you don't have to. I understand wanting to keep some things a secret." He chuckled a little.
Hinata looked swiftly into Kageyama's eyes, asking silently. Kageyama nodded a little.
Hinata pranced over to his phone to turn off the camera, which was still videoing the room, and sat down to take off his shoes. Sugawara cocked his head, staring at Hinata again.
"It's not really that long of a story. I got these when I was training with the girls team in middle school. I haven't told anyone because I figured everyone would make fun of me. And Kageyama and I are dating, obviously. We were gonna tell everyone during the final performances, which is why we keep staying after to practice for it, but we're... Not good choreographers. So it's kind of a mess. But we're doing our best."
Sugawara looked to Kageyama, who crossed his arms and looked away, embarrassed.
"So you've been staying late to practice? To keep this all a secret?"
Hinata nodded enthusiastically. Kageyama looked over with his eyes, but didn't move.
Sugawara burst out into loud, but gentle, laughter. (Everything he did was gentle, thought Hinata. With his headband off, his hair fell around his face and he looked, well, kind of angelic.)
"You boys... You have no idea how to choreograph, do you?"
Hinata blushed. "Well, we've seen Daichi-san do it before..."
"I'm staying with you to help next time. You'll have to keep your hands off each other, but-"
"Wha???" Hinata gasped, cutting him off. "You're going to help??"
"Of course I am."
Hinata's eyes opened wider and he sucked in a slow breath. "Wowwww..." he said, staring at Sugawara's soft face.
"You won't tell anyone?" Hinata heard from the middle of the room. It wasn't a question, really. Kageyama was facing them now, arms crossed and feet planted firmly into the ground. He looked... Intimidating.
"Stand down, Kageyama. I can keep a secret. Yes, even from Daichi. I see that question in your mind, don't bother asking."
Kageyama relaxed a little and walked over to Hinata, who was now shoeless and sitting on the ground, loose-limbed and tired. He put a protective hand on Hinata's head and asked "Do you need help up?"
Hinata gathered his legs under him and stood up slowly, Kageyama's hand still on his head.
Sugawara smiled warmly at the two and said, more to himself than anything, "Ah, I remember those days."
"What do you mean? With Daichi-san? You're in love, right?" Hinata said, bouncing a little as he stuffed his shoes into his bag. Sugawara choked a little, blushing bright red.
"H-how- why do you say that?" He said, looking up towards the corner of the room, fidgeting with his hair again.
"Oh, it's obvious!" Hinata beamed, shoes in bag, grabbing Kageyama's hand. "Everybody knows!"
Sugawara stuttered out "O-oh! W-well. Cat's out of the bag now, I guess. We've been together since we met, I guess. We were just like you two. Still are, a little. A-anyways! We should go! Get some sleep, now. We'll meet for practice tomorrow before class starts."
Hinata groaned a little, thinking about getting up even earlier on his precious Saturday. "Okayyyyy, fine." He pulled Kageyama with him and they left the studio, closing the door behind them. Sugawara lived in a different dorm building on the other side of campus, so he waved goodbye to the two of them and jogged off into the darkness.
"Are you okay, Tobio? Did that bother you, that I told him? You didn't talk much. What's wrong?"
Kageyama squeezed his hand a little, turning and smiling softly at him. "Nothing's wrong. I was a little anxious. That's just... How I get when I'm anxious. I'm fine now though."
Hinata squeezed his hand back and jumped up to kiss his cheek. He bumped his face a little too hard on Kageyama's cheek, and rubbed his nose as he landed. "Your face is hard, Tobio." he whined. Kageyama laughed and swooped down to kiss him lightly on the nose.
"Hmm... I guess...."
Kageyama pulled him against one of the large trees that lined the walkway, out of the light, and kissed him firmly, holding his head with the hand that wasn't still holding his own.
"How about now?" he said, breathlessly, after drawing back.
Hinata opened his eyes, pupils huge in the darkness, and breathed back a soft "Yeah, better."
Chapter 10: 10
The practices were going well. Sugawara had real experience partnering, and had some very good advice for how to make the piece not only more cohesive but, well, longer. The piece they had chosen was over three minutes, and they had to make their limited choreography last that long.
Sugawara gave good pointers, helped add in moves that would not only impress the class but also showcase Hinata's pointe abilities, and even threw in his own two cents about costuming that they might want to use. They didn't have all the time in the world, and had to finish their choreography quickly before the rest of the class started working on their pieces as well, as the two had to keep their choreography a secret so as not to ruin the surprise.
"You know, we're all paired up for this dance. It won't be surprising that you two are dancing together. You could just, you know, hide the shoes and rehearse when everyone else does." Sugawara mused one afternoon, as the two cursed through another failed attempt at a rehearsal.
"We only have a few days until the rest of the class starts their rehearsals and no, we can't let them see this. It's way too intimate. We need to keep it a secret. But we'll get it." Kageyama pulled Hinata's arm to pull him closer. "Again."
"Tobioooooo... I'm tired. Can we call it a night? Please?" Hinata looked up into Kageyama's eyes, and Kageyama could see desperation and exhaustion tingeing his usually bright brown eyes.
"How can I say no to that face?" Kageyama sighed, resigned, and kissed Hinata's forehead lightly. "Fine, go take off your shoes."
"Are you guys going to do this every night? It's been weeks, and you've done it every time." Sugawara teased, mostly joking. Kageyama flushed and didn't say anything while Hinata laughed and duck-walked over to his bag to take off his shoes. (Kageyama had noticed that Hinata did that more and more often as he got more tired, and finally asked Hinata why he did it. "The duck walk?" Hinata had responded, laughing. "I do it when my feet hurt! It takes some pressure off my toes, so it's more comfortable than walking normally.")
"What are you and Daichi-san gonna dance to for the performances?" Hinata asked, bright and bubbly as always, and Sugawara laughed a little and responded "I don't know yet! We're looking for something that'll showcase both of our talents, and Daichi is very picky when it comes to choreography. I'm letting him decide." The two continued to chatter, musing on music choices and dance styles, as Kageyama ran through his half of the choreography again.
"Kageyama, stop marking through your dance and get ready to go. This one's getting antsy." Sugawara said, placing a hand on Hinata's head. Kageyama looked over, felt a tiny flash of jealousy, and ran over immediately to reclaim his boyfriend from the older dancer. Being the tallest, but youngest, was slightly disconcerting. He shoved on his shoes and Hinata took his hand, as always. The two separated from Sugawara, as always, who said "Goodnight!" as they parted ways.
Hinata pulled Kageyama back as they walked past his door. "Come on, won't you stay over with me tonight?? Pleeeease??" he asked, holding both of Kageyama's hands and stretching up onto his toes to stare right into his eyes. Kageyama blushed. "What would Kenma and Kuroo think?" he stammered, uncomfortably shooting a glance towards the door.
"Come on, you know they know. They won't think anything of it!" Hinata looked too cute, bottom lip pouting out and eyebrows drawn into the saddest face he could pull. Kageyama kissed Hinata's pouting mouth and said "Fine. But I'm taking a shower first, and bringing clothes for tomorrow. And we have to do homework before anything else." Hinata jumped up and down, excited, and said "Yaaaay! Just come in when you're done, okay?! I'll shower fast!"
Kageyama patted his head and smiled. "I'm still gonna knock. Don't want to surprise anybody."
Kageyama ended up coming back well before Hinata finished his shower. He sat awkwardly on the couch, listening to Bokuto complain about the latest nonsense that Oikawa was getting into (apparently this time, he was having trouble playing the romantic lead alongside a younger student named Iwaizumi, for whatever reason). He was a little stressed, his anxiety not letting him relax as he stared at the older teens as they chatted comfortably on the couch.
Finally, Hinata bounced out of the shower, a little damp, hair sticking up randomly, and threw himself on the couch next to Kageyama, basically on his lap. He kissed his cheek and said, brightly, "Homework time? Or can we cuddle first?"
Kenma laughed a little as Kageyama's cheeks flamed. "You'll fall asleep, Shouyou, you know that. Do your homework first." Kageyama nodded in agreement, grabbing his bag. Hinata grumbled a little, but jumped up to grab his own bag. He danced back, light as a feather, and hopped back up onto the couch, feet first. He careened into Kageyama's shoulder, and he winced a little from the impact of Hinata's head on his bone. "Shouyou, please." Hinata giggled, eyes almost closed. "Sorry, Tobio."
The rest of the group laughed a little, Kenma finally glancing up from their tablet and saying, jokingly, "Come on, Shouyou, you'll hurt him. That big head of yours could crush anything."
Nobody laughed louder than Hinata.
Homework finally done, Hinata snuggled back up against Kageyama, laying his legs over Kageyama's and settling his head on his shoulder. Kageyama wrapped his arms around the small boy, rubbing tiny circles in between his shoulder blades. Hinata appeared to like this almost as much as he liked when Kageyama scratched down his back when they kissed, and he liked THAT almost as much as he liked when Kageyama bit down right under his collarbones.
Before long, the two of them were near sleep, and the rest of the boys were hooting and hollering (mostly Bokuto, really) to make fun of them.
Kageyama extricated himself from the grumpy, sleepy Hinata and carefully packed their bags for the next day. He then scooped up the tiny redhead and carried him to his bed, plopping him down on top of the covers.
"My ni-ligt" Hinata mumbled sleepily, and Kageyama leaned down to get closer. "What, Shouyou?"
"Night light. Plug in. Please." he pointed towards the door, not opening his eyes. Kageyama followed his hand, saw a tiny, butterfly shaped light on the ground in front of a plug. He picked it up and plugged it in, and it lit up with a soft blue light. Kageyama turned off the light in the room, calling a quiet "Goodnight" out to the rest, still sitting on the couch chatting amiably. A chorus of "Goodnight"s followed him into the room as he closed the door onto the room, now lit by a soft blue glow. Kageyama walked over to the bed, suddenly a little nervous. "Scoot, Shouyou. And get the blankets out from under your butt."
Hinata wiggled a little and lifted his hips so Kageyama could pull the blankets out from under him. Kageyama climbed into bed and set an alarm on his phone, tucking it under the pillow so he wouldn't lose it. He scooted himself closer to Hinata, who turned over and pressed his back into Kageyama. He lifted his head, and Kageyama tucked his arm under Hinata's head. He pressed a kiss into the back of Hinata's head, and closed his eyes, breathing in the smell of Hinata's shampoo. He drifted off to sleep.
The days passed, quickly, and before long, the rest of the class was being informed that yes, now is the time to start working on your pieces, no, you can't put it off any longer. Kageyama shot a glance towards Hinata, then to Sugawara, who was staring back at him. They had discussed this before. Hinata and Kageyama would dance a bit, then leave, and when Sugawara and Daichi left for the night, Sugawara would text the boys to tell them the room was vacated, so they could come back.
This, of course, gave them ample time to do homework. And they, of course, didn't do that at all.
Kageyama wanted to know all the places to bite that made Hinata melt in his arms, and Hinata was on a quest to find every spot that made Kageyama jump and gasp, and they spent their afternoons holed up in Kageyama's apartment doing just that. Then, when their phones would buzz with a text from Sugawara, they would straighten up their clothes, grab their ballet things, and walk back to the studio to rehearse.
The piece was coming along nicely. The extra time that they had meant that the piece was becoming very clean, and Hinata was improving steadily, Kageyama noted, a little blossom of pride in his chest. Sugawara eventually stopped staying the entire time they were rehearsing. "You've got it, kiddos. I do need to study, you know." he said, waving a hand carelessly over his shoulder as he walked out, to Hinata's complainints. Kageyama didn't mind, though. It gave him more chances to steal kisses from his tiny boyfriend, who protested, but didn't really mean it.
The week of the performances came. Hinata was in something of a panic, stretching too much and overstretching almost every day. Kageyama had to drag him back to his dorm and force him to take Epsom salt baths (it wasn't that hard, Kageyama thought, all he had to do was join him) to relax his muscles so he wouldn't damage them during the performance.
The rest of the class seemed stressed, but not like Hinata. To them, it was just another test. They would do their best, get a good grade, and move on.
For him, it seemed, it was something of a confession. They were revealing something very sacred and precious to themselves, and Hinata was unsure how the class would take it. Kageyama was indifferent, but worried about Hinata.
"Do you need to talk about it? I'm here for you, you know." Kageyama murmured into Hinata's hair, two nights before the presentations.
Hinata just shook his head and pulled himself closer into Kageyama's chest. Kageyama rubbed the back of his neck with two fingers, earning a purr of happiness from Hinata.
The night before the showcase, however, it became clear that Hinata needed something. Smashed as tightly as he could into Kageyama's chest, arms curled in front of himself and head tucked down, Hinata seemed to be making himself as small as he could be, as if maybe, if he squashed himself small enough, he would cease to exist. Kageyama hugged him as tightly as he could, pressing kiss after kiss into his hair, and noticed when his breathing got ragged and his shoulders shook. He let him stay there, crying into Kageyama's pajama shirt, stroking calming lines up and down his back.
He kept up a steady stream of "It's ok, Shouyou, I'm here, you're ok, it's fine, it's all ok, I love you, it's ok" as Hinata's breathing evened and he calmed a little. Finally raising teary eyes to look at Kageyama, he whispered "What if... What if it's not? Ok?"
Kageyama kissed his teary cheeks and said, softly, "I'll still be here. They can't take this away from us."
Hinata buried his face back into Kageyama's chest. "I love you, Tobio."
"I love you too, Shouyou. Always."
The two had conspired with Sugawara to convince Daichi to place them last in the performance order, even though they were freshmen. That meant they got to watch the rest of the class first, and gave Hinata time to sneak off and put on his pointe shoes. He warmed up his feet quietly, peeking his head around the doorframe so as not to miss anyone's pieces.
Asahi and Nishinoya went first, bounding through an upbeat piece from La Bayadere. Asahi lifted Nishinoya like he weighed nothing, and Nishinoya's feet moved so fast they blurred through hops, beats, and runs around the stage. They finished strongly, bowing to cheers from the rest of the class, and grinned at each other, still holding hands and breathing heavily as Ukai dimmed the lights. There was, of course, no curtain in the studio, but they made do by turning on and off lights to set the mood.
Yamaguchi and Tsukishima danced next, a stunning contemporary piece set to a Florence and the Machine song that showcased Tsukishima's flexibility and Yamaguchi's emotion-filled movement. They turned, developéd, and moved gracefully through the piece like they were dancing in water, leaving the class breathless and in awe. The lights went down, and the two quickly let go of each others' hands, blushing, and made their way back to the wall to sit down.
Daichi had somehow convinced Kiyoko to partner with Tanaka, and the two did wonderfully in a mournful piece from La Sylphide. Kiyoko was a beautiful dancer, Tanaka a powerhouse that rarely managed to pull out as much emotion and character as he did during this piece. Her pointe work was clean and beautiful, and even though it was the partner's job to keep their eyes on their partner, it seemed like Tanaka stared maybe a little more than necessary. When they finished their last lift, he hesitated to take his hands away from her waist for their bows. She stepped away quickly, however, effectively breaking the contact. As the applause died down, she shot him a dirty look. He looked, starry-eyed, back at her, then to Nishinoya, who gave him a big two thumbs up and a grin.
Sugawara and Daichi were absolutely captivating, dancing together beautifully to the haunting melody of "Once Upon A December." Sugawara turned and leaped, but never strayed too far from Daichi. It seemed like the two were pulled together by gravity, orbiting around each other, never looking away for too long. The piece was beautiful, and almost the entire class was wiping tears out of their eyes as the two bowed at the end of the song.
And then, it was time for Kageyama and Hinata to dance.
His heart pounding, Hinata walked to the top corner of the room, still in the darkness between pieces. He was walking on his heels, as quietly as he could.
The music started.
Kageyama's slow steps into the center of the room were followed by Hinata's quick prance to him.
The class gasped in unison. Hinata looked to Kageyama, steady and sure as ever, and he nodded a little.
His hands stretched forward, ready to catch the smaller boy around the rib cage so he could hold an arabesque. Hinata stood, steady, on the top of one shoe, the other leg extending back. With Kageyama's support, he leaned his head up towards the ceiling and stretched both arms back. The back leg bending into an attitude, Hinata stood, shaking a little as Kageyama wrapped an arm around his waist and walked around him in a circle, pulling him around as well.
Hinata lost his balance and started to lower down just as Kageyama leaned back, drawing his bottom foot off the ground. His hands came forward to brace themselves on Kageyama's shoulders, and his bottom leg pointed up towards his back knee as the back leg straightened again. Kageyama put him down, slowly, and the two launched into a series of slow, almost lazy pique turns away from each other and up to the top corners of the room.
The class was a sea of wide eyes. Nishinoya reached over and closed Asahi's mouth for him.
They turned towards each other, starting luxurious preps for huge identical grand jetés, crossing in front of each other. They set into turns, Kageyama twice as fast as Hinata, both leaping out of them to roll on the ground. They turned to each other, rolling towards the center, and Kageyama raised to one knee, hands out to lift Hinata above his head as he jumped into a huge split. (He called this his shark move, because he said it looked like his foot was a shark fin coming above the water. Kageyama had scoffed, but smiled whenever Hinata did it.)
As they whirled and spun, lifted and jumped, Hinata started to feel his anxiety melt away. This was just like every other rehearsal. This was when he ran and jumped onto Kageyama's shoulder, here was where he slid up into a sous-sous, this was the part with the fouetté turns that they had practiced so much. He could hear the class gasp again as he turned, again and again, supported only by one foot and Kageyama's strong hands on his waist, but he didn't break his spot to look down. This was all that mattered, right now.
Finally, the music started to dwindle and Kageyama lifted Hinata for one last, huge leap. Setting him down to pose for the last note, Hinata was suddenly struck by the urge to do something, well, stupid. He turned to Kageyama, still standing in a steady sous-sous, wrapped his arms around his neck, and kissed him without thinking about it. Kageyama was surprised, Hinata could tell, but just wrapped his arms around Hinata's waist, braced his foot against Hinata's feet so they wouldn't slide, and dipped him back luxuriously, not breaking the kiss.
The class was silent for a moment, then broke out into whoops and hollers as the song ended and the two straightened up and broke apart, flushed and breathing hard from the exertion. Nishinoya wolf-whistled as the two bowed, holding hands and grinning like idiots, and Tanaka yelled "FINALLY!" from the back of the room.
Hinata looked at Kageyama, who looked down at him and said, fondly, "Moron."
"It felt right, in the moment. I'm sorry." Hinata responded, smiling up at Kageyama, not looking the least bit sorry.
Life was good, and that was the way it should be.
Noya and Asahi are dancing to this! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7boHPDkS4gM
Tsukki and Yamaguchi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EIeUlvHAiM
Kiyoko and Tanaka's piece starts at 54:00 and ends at about 56:45 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiGY2d65r7I
Daichi and Suga: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bs2VL_HYG9Y
Chapter 12: Epilogue
Chatting after final bows, the class swarmed Hinata and Kageyama, asking how long they had been together, and how long Hinata has danced on pointe. Hinata did most of the talking, chatting away while Sugawara stood reassuringly next to the stiff Kageyama. He understood this anxiety, and kept him silent company, keeping the rest of the class from crowding the freshman too much.
Kenma, Bokuto, and Kuroo cheered for the two as they came in, Hinata jumping and punching the air triumphantly as he entered his dorm. "I told you it would be alright, Shouyou." Kenma said, gently, smiling with their same melancholy eyes as always.
As the end of the year competition season approached, Sugawara and Daichi approached Kageyama and Hinata about their piece. "We'll work on it some more, but it's beautiful. You have to promise me you won't kiss at the end, though. That might lose you some points." Hinata laughed uproariously while Kageyama stared at the ground, bright red. "Okay, okay, I won't, I promise!" Hinata choked out, tears of laughter rolling down his cheeks.
Nishinoya and Asahi were caught kissing in the changing rooms a few weeks into the new semester. While Asahi stammered an apology, Tanaka and Nishinoya high fived so loudly the rest of the team winced.
Tsukishima and Yamaguchi started showing up to class holding hands, which seemed to embarrass poor shy Yamaguchi, but didn't bother the unshakeable Tsukishima. It was never mentioned.
None of the duets or solos won anything substantial at the competition, the boys taking home bronze and silver, but Hinata ended up with one more point from the pas de deux with Kageyama, which he counted as a win and gloated about all the way home from Tokyo. Kageyama smacked him around his head, gently, but still held Hinata gently when he fell asleep on his shoulder a few hours later.
All was right in the world of the Karasuno Art Academy.