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bitter and sweet

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“Oikawa, no..” Iwaizumi groans as he tries to escape the other’s tight grasp. Cold hands slip underneath his shirt tickling his ribs lightly. “You’re still sick.”

They wrestle a bit, rolling around on Oikawa’s messy galaxy patterned sheets, Iwaizumi launching his counter attack, before stopping when Oikawa gets too out of breath from laughing too much. His laughter is followed by a few coughs and Iwaizumi frowns.

“But Iwa-channnn, it’s so boring here, not that you’re boring, of course, but I’ve been in this room for far too long, and I’m craving coffee. Please, please, please, can we go? I promise you will love this place.” Oikawa’s voice is a bit hoarse, running out of steam somewhere in the middle, his sickness still lingering, but his enthusiasm is so clear that Iwaizumi can’t help the fond smile that stretches over his lips, while the other pleads with him.

“Ok, fine. Going out will probably be good for you.” He relents, thinking of the past week they had spent huddled in their shared apartment. It had been a long week, right after the New Years and Iwaizumi had a feeling it couldn’t have been better even if he had tried.

Instead it had taken its own natural course, so simple.

They fell into a comfortable rhythm that probably took others years to achieve, but for them it was easy, some of it had been in place long before Oikawa’s confession and other things changed naturally. Waking up together, making food, kissing at the most random moments and spending way too much time just like this, cuddling together on Oikawa’s bed.

To Iwaizumi it seems almost too good to be true, so he holds onto it as hard as he can, unwilling for the feeling to disappear.

Iwaizumi is startled out of his reverie as Oikawa finally releases him and slips out of the bed to pad over to the massive closet in the corner of the room. The winter afternoon light spilling into the room plays with Oikawa’s caramel brown hair. He’s paler than usual, the sickness having worn him down. Iwaizumi is glad he was there to stop it from escalating, but it still has left a noticeable mark and it bothers him more than he would like to admit.

“Iwa-chan, what should I wear?” Oikawa asks in a tone that sounds remarkably like his usual light lilt, but the subject matter and the slight tremble towards the end betrays his real feelings. Iwaizumi is still learning to consider how Oikawa is doing on any particular day, whether he wants to feel pretty or secure. In the end he shrugs, still somewhat unsure of how to determine such a thing.

“Don’t be like this, Iwa-chan, it’s our first date, isn’t it?” Oikawa whines playfully, but then pauses as if realizing what he is saying. Date. They really haven’t had one yet, have they? Iwaizumi feels his cheeks color and buries his head in the pillows that smell so distinctly like Oikawa. Everything is still too new. Despite the familiarity, everything is too new.

“Wear the teal sweater.” Iwaizumi mutters, his voice muffled by the pillows. It’s a safe choice and it looks really good on Oikawa. Teal is definitely his color.

“Just the sweater?” Oikawa’s voice is suddenly next to his ear, breath tickling the sensitive skin there and a warm weight pushes Iwaizumi further into the bed. He tries to turn around, but Oikawa keeps him still, pressing soft kisses everywhere he can reach.

“I thought you were getting dressed.” Iwaizumi tries to sound snarky, but it comes out more breathless if anything. He’s so out of his depth sometimes.

“Iwa-chan, your ears are red. It’s so cute.” Oikawa comments and Iwaizumi feels even more blood rush to his face.

“Shut up and get ready.” Iwaizumi uses all his strength pushing up and holds back a laugh hearing Oikawa’s squeak as he tumbles to the side.

“I’m gonna go change. Don’t take too long, you look great regardless.” Iwaizumi says casually and his chest swells with affection and pride as Oikawa takes in the compliment realizing that there is no mocking behind it and smiles.

They really have come such a long way already.

-

Together they walk through the mostly empty campus, hands loosely entwined. The snow covered grounds are a sight to behold on any day, but it’s especially breathtaking now in the late afternoon as the sun is slowly setting between the tall buildings. Most students are away, because the winter break is still going on and Oikawa is relaxed enough not to worry about the few people that see them.

Oikawa looks pretty.

Iwaizumi feels terribly ineloquent, but there’s really no other way to say it, he’s just stating simple facts.

It’s cold outside, but not freezing.

Oikawa looks pretty.

Iwaizumi almost smiles to himself, maybe he can be a bit poetic. As a Japanese language major, he probably should take more pride in that.

He glances through the corner of his eye.

Oikawa is wearing his favorite light brown coat and matching winter boots. The collar of the teal sweater peeks out a bit, but the most distracting are definitely Oikawa’s legs clad in gray tights, the shorts over them invisible because of the length of the coat.

Iwaizumi has to stop himself from staring several times.

Oikawa, of course, notices and only smiles wider, humming as they head towards their destination.

-

“Oh, Oikawa-kun, haven’t seen you for a while.” A quiet but enthusiastic voice greets them as they step inside the cozy coffee shop. It hadn’t looked like much from the outside, with the building a bit run down, paint peeling, but the inside is a whole another story.

It's warm and Iwaizumi already feels comfortable, the atmosphere filled with the scent of coffee grounds, almost reminding him of early mornings back home.

“Hey, Yachi-chan!” Oikawa returns with equal enthusiasm, Iwaizumi zeroes in on the small blonde behind the counter, in an apron that seems a bit large for her tiny frame. “Can you get me my usual?”

Oikawa then turns to Iwaizumi expectantly, who fumbles looking over the menu, but decides to go with what he always orders in coffee shops. “I’ll just have an Americano.”

“Iwa-chan, at least get regular black coffee. Americanos are terrible.” Oikawa chastises him while shaking his head in disappointment. Iwaizumi ignores him, their tastes in coffee are too different to get into this argument. Instead he, after paying, looks around, taking in the place which had captured Oikawa’s attention so much.

It suits him perfectly.

The interior is done in warm earth tones, brick walls and wooden floors, plants littering every possible surface. Bookshelves cover the wall opposite to the entrance and give the place a more sophisticated air.

“It’s amazing, isn’t it?” Oikawa settles leaning against the counter they’re standing next to, his smile lighting up the whole room as he looks around proudly.

“Yeah, I can see why it’s your favorite.” Iwaizumi admits a bit gruffly.

“Gosh, Iwa-chan, at least pretend you don’t stalk my blog.” Oikawa’s teasing voice is tinged with laughter. Iwaizumi, instead of humoring him, opts for asking a question. He’s curious.

“So what is your usual? Is it another over the top sugary latte?” At that moment the small blonde Yachi, as if called, presents them with their order. Iwaizumi’s eyes widen taking in the stark difference between their cups. Oikawa’s is covered in whipping cream, caramel and what looks like cinnamon, whilst Iwaizumi’s is a simple stark black.

“It’s a caramel mocha frappe.” Yachi says in Oikawa’s place and Iwaizumi flashes her a small smile in gratitude. It seems to embarrass the girl as she flushes slightly.

“Thanks, both for the coffee and taking care of Oikawa before. I’m Iwaizumi Hajime, his roommate.” Iwaizumi introduces himself finally and startles a bit when he notices the sudden change in Yachi’s expression.

It’s far too knowing and sweet for his taste.

“Oh, so you’re the roommate.” She finally says. “Well I hope you like your Americano, Iwaizumi-kun.”

“Yaaaachi-chan, what about me?” Oikawa pouts, but Yachi has already turned away to serve other customers.

“What was that about?” Iwaizumi tugs on Oikawa’s sleeve, he's still stuck on the barista’s strange comment which had been coupled with a stranger expression. Oikawa only laughs eyeing him nervously.

“Let’s go sit down, Iwa-chan.” Oikawa swipes the drinks from the counter and walks away fast to a quieter corner of the café. They end up sitting down near a window, sinking into soft armchairs, a table in between them.

“So?” Iwaizumi prompts again once seated. Oikawa unbuttons his coat trying to get more comfortable, but ends up only fidgeting with the buttons. 

“Yeah, I used to talk a lot about you with her.” He finally admits. "You already know I frequented this place, well she was one of the people I trusted enough to really talk to."

“I feel like you talked a lot about me with everyone except me.” Iwaizumi mutters to himself, half-pretending he’s upset, until Oikawa distracts him yet again.

The younger takes a small sip of his coffee and moans in apparent pleasure.

“Ahh, this really is the best. I’ve been missing this coffee for so long, Yachi always gets the sweetness right.” Oikawa smiles and stretches out on his chair reminiscent of a cat and Iwaizumi feels his mouth dry as his sweater rides up slightly revealing a small strip of pale skin.

He coughs and takes a sip of his Americano.

It’s the perfect amount of bitter.

The two sit in a comfortable silence sipping their beverages for a while. Iwaizumi is still looking around the interior of the café and Oikawa takes out his phone at some point. He then spends the next ten minutes taking artistic shots of their coffee for his public social media. It’s only adorable for the first five. Iwaizumi shifts restlessly and pulls out his own phone to pass some time while the other finishes up.

It’s really become habit by now, he pulls up the Tumblr app and stares at the new reblogs Oikawa had made just before they decided on their little impromptu date. Well he definitely has been thinking about this for a while. The coffee related posts make him nostalgic, not too long ago it was exactly that which made him realize the blog was Oikawa’s.

Iwaizumi stares at the posts for a while, before an idea strikes him.

He smirks and scrolls down to Oikawa’s last personal post and opens the tag for them. He slowly clicks ‘like’ on them one by one. It doesn’t take long. Oikawa’s phone vibrates as the notifications come in one by one.

Oikawa sputters, his cheeks glowing a lovely cherry red. “Iwa-chan, what are you doing?”

“Probably something I should have done a while ago.” Iwaizumi says and his lips curve up in a smirk, the teasing material is just too good and he has Oikawa’s attention again.

“You know you don’t have to resort to such methods for me to look at you.” Oikawa pouts, but Iwaizumi can tell that he’s secretly pleased. He immediately tries to deflect it back to Iwaizumi as per usual. “On the subject of Tumblr.. Your blog! We really should work on it, there’s still nothing there.”

“Oikawa, you know, I only made it to follow you.” Iwaizumi says slightly exasperated that it’s being brought up again and sips more of his coffee, determined to enjoy it while Oikawa is still sitting calmly across from him. He knows from experience that it usually doesn’t last long. He's slightly surprised they picked seating which doesn't put them in direct contact immediately.

“Yeah, I know, but you wouldn’t have gone through so much trouble if you didn’t care at least some for it. I mean you even named it appropriately. It could’ve been something dumb like notyourroommate or something.” Iwaizumi snorts. He wasn’t far from the truth there, Iwaizumi had considered a lot of names and Hanamaki and Matsukawa hadn’t been helpful in the least.

"notyourroomate?" Iwaizumi runs the words together just like Oikawa had done and laughs again. Oikawa's imagination is something else.

“But you actually chose something that represents yourself.” Oikawa continues, disregarding him. “It was a dead giveaway to me, of course, but I still think that says something.”

“Ok, so maybe I got a little interested.” Iwaizumi admits finally. “I think you’ll have to teach me though, I know the basics, but you’re the expert here.”

It seems that’s all the invitation Oikawa needs, since he jumps up from his seat and before Iwaizumi can say anything, half drapes himself over the armrest, half squishes himself in Iwaizumi’s seat, limiting any movement the other could make. Iwaizumi stares longingly at his now abandoned coffee on the table between their seats. Well it was good while it lasted.

“Let me see that.” Oikawa snatches Iwaizumi’s phone away. He hums along to the song quietly playing in the background as he checks it. Sounds like Troye Sivan, Iwaizumi notes vaguely as he tries to calm his racing heart. Oikawa's scent lingers, the flowery perfume somehow overpowering the coffee aroma that permeates the air of the cafe.

“Well, you could just do what I do, follow a few blogs that match your interests and reblog from them. Is there anything you want to post yourself?” Oikawa asks staring down at the phone while biting his bottom lip and Iwaizumi enjoys the moment when he can finally stare unabashedly. Oikawa’s lips are pretty, just like everything about him. Cupid shaped and covered in traces of lip gloss.

“Iwa-chan?” Oikawa turns to him and Iwaizumi forces himself to look at the phone instead.

“Yeah, I like taking pictures. I guess I could post some, not that I think anyone would care.”

Oikawa immediately opens the phone’s photo gallery and scrolls through it. He hums in approval at the selfies the two had taken over the past week, most at his own insistence. Iwaizumi thanks the universe he had the foresight to store the candid photos he had taken of Oikawa in a different folder.

He reaches for the phone and gently pries it back from Oikawa. “Here, these are the pictures I took when I went back to my hometown.” He scrolls to the appropriate place and pauses on his favorites. “Though I definitely have better ones on my Canon.”

“You own a camera?” Oikawa tilts his head in curiosity, curling hair tickling the sides of Iwaizumi’s face.

“Yeah, it was collecting dust back in Sendai, but I took it back to Tokyo during the last break.” Iwaizumi can practically feel Oikawa vibrate in excitement.

“Ohh, we absolutely have to go somewhere and take pretty pictures.” Oikawa’s voice breaks on the last word and he has to clear his throat.

“You just want a personal photoshoot,” is what Iwaizumi wants to say, but instead a more concerned “Not before you get better, idiot,” comes out.

Oikawa gets even closer to Iwaizumi, now almost sitting in his lap and Iwaizumi is intensely grateful that they had picked a more secluded spot in the coffee shop.

“Once I am all better, we’ll do so many things.” Oikawa says his eyes glinting with a peculiar light as he leans in and pecks Iwaizumi on the cheek. Iwaizumi is ready to pull the other in for a proper kiss, when Oikawa freezes. It’s so sudden that Iwaizumi doesn’t really have much time to react properly. He cranes his neck trying to see what had caught Oikawa’s attention, but there’s nothing. That he can tell, at least.

“I’m going to the bathroom, entertain yourself for a bit, Iwa-chan.” Oikawa’s voice is airy, light and oh so fake. Iwaizumi frowns as the other gets up and walks away with fast and measured steps. He hasn’t seen much of this side of Oikawa lately and it feels really jarring somehow.

Iwaizumi is about 98% sure Oikawa didn’t go to the bathroom, but he settles in to wait anyway. He fiddles with his phone and takes sips of his now slightly tepid coffee. It’s still tastes good. Oikawa’s coffee sits abandoned on the table, almost full and Iwaizumi frowns.

Maybe he should check on Oikawa?

He sits for five more minutes, tapping his foot against the floor nervously, before getting up and searching for his date. As predicted there’s no one in the bathroom, Iwaizumi almost heads back to Yachi at the counter, but he spots Oikawa’s tall figure by the entrance. He’s not alone. The guy next to him is even taller and Iwaizumi already feels pricks of jealousy surface watching them talk.

Though that’s probably unfounded, because Oikawa’s face is scrunched up in disgust and the other’s is a monotone blank as they converse. The taller one suddenly bows deeply in apparent apology and if Iwaizumi was confused before, now he really can’t wrap his head around the situation.

He approaches the two. “Is there a problem?” He asks in his most threatening voice and smirks seeing the taller one flinch slightly and move back away from Oikawa slightly. Good.

“Oh, Iwa-chan, no problem here. Just catching up with my old roommate, Ushijima, here.” Oikawa’s voice is dripping in poisonous sweetness.

Old roommate. The one who’s friends had hurt Oikawa. Iwaizumi feels the anger rise, his fists clenching automatically. He doesn’t want to cause a scene, but the suffering Oikawa had gone through almost makes him want to do it. The image of Oikawa lying on the apartment floor still hasn't left him.

“I’m sorry again, Oikawa. I’ll make sure they apologize to you too.” The one Oikawa had called Ushijima finally speaks up and Iwaizumi feels the anger recede a bit. He seems sincere.

“Yeah, I don’t need their apology. Just like I didn’t need yours.” Oikawa crosses his arms across his chest and looks away. Ushijima looks at him for a moment, before seemingly giving in.

“Fine. It seems like I am intruding upon something, so I’ll see you in practice after the break.” Ushijima’s face is still blank, but Iwaizumi can sense how uncomfortable he is. Iwaizumi’s anger has completely deflated by the time the other has exited the coffee shop.

“He’s on your team too?” Iwaizumi asks, turning back to Oikawa, who is still wearing a disgusted expression. When their eyes meet it immediately softens and the younger nods tiredly.

“Yeah, he’s the team ace and I absolutely can’t stand him.” Oikawa drags Iwaizumi back to the table by the sleeve of his hoodie. “He always ruins everything. Even this..” Oikawa’s voice is small now, the encounter having sucked out all of his previous energy.

“Let’s go home. I’ll make us dinner.” Iwaizumi offers. He’s not sure what to do exactly, but he wants Oikawa to show him the same smile as before. And somehow it works, it’s a bit weaker than before, but Oikawa quirks his lips upwards in a soft smile.

“Ok, Iwa-chan, let’s do that. But let me finish my coffee first.”

-

It’s not quite the way he had imagined his first date ending with Oikawa. But he has come to accept every side of the younger and it's fine.

Yet, he still wonders if this is how it will be every time they leave the apartment, their haven, Oikawa seems to be prone to trouble that Iwaizumi can't protect him from. 

In the end Iwaizumi pushes it to the back of his mind and lets himself be filled with a sense of contentment as they walk back home together.

They are together after all.