Oikawa can’t deny how much better he feels after talking to Kuroo.
It’s not like Kuroo has any answers for him, of course, but just talking - saying out loud what happened, and what he’s feeling - it helps. Gets it off his chest a little bit so that he’s not being crushed so heavily by the weight of this.
Kuroo doesn’t even seem to mind that Oikawa hardly touches his meal either, only nibbling away at the bread brought to the table despite ordering the most expensive lobster on the menu.
Well, serves him right.
“Are you gonna be okay for the fight tonight?” Kuroo asks as he finishes up his lunch, pushing his plate to the center of the table.
Is he going to be okay?
“Yeah,” Oikawa nods. “I’ll be fine.”
Well. Fake it ‘till you make it, right?
Maybe that should be his personal motto.
Kuroo gives him a hard look, eyeing him up like he’s trying to figure out if he’s telling the truth or not. Oikawa doesn’t look away, and that must appease Kuroo as he drops his gaze with a sigh.
“Fine, but take another painkiller before the interviews, okay? This lights are gonna make it worse.” He clicks his tongue, “and drink your water.”
Oikawa laughs, picking up his glass and finishing off the last of its contents. “Okay. Anything else?”
“Yeah.” Kuroo looks back up at him seriously. “Don’t be so hard on yourself, alright? Shit happens. You’re not the only one in the wrong here.”
Oikawa watches him, nodding slowly. “Yeah,” he says, and what Kuroo is saying makes sense, but he’s still not sure if he believes it.
He just has to hope that he didn’t sabotage his chances with Iwaizumi before they even get to take their shot.
The rest of the afternoon flies by for Oikawa.
After his lunch with Kuroo, he takes some much-needed time to himself to get rid of some of the stress from last night. He turns off his phone, treats himself to a nice hot latte and some shopping. He really likes what he ends up buying for himself, too - it’s therapeutic to just take a few hours to clear his thoughts and not think about anything other than himself.
It makes things more clear, too. How he feels about Iwaizumi. How he really does want to take a shot at this - because Iwaizumi makes him feel so many things that he hasn’t felt in years.
The only question is: how does Iwaizumi feel?
Oikawa tries not to linger on it, but the question is pressing at his mind as the afternoon gets on. It’s quiet enough while he’s out, but gets louder and louder until he can practically feel it ringing in his ears by the time he’s getting ready for the fight tonight.
He buttons up his shirt while it screams in his ears, impervious to his attempts to ignore it.
He just needs to get through this evening. Just make it through the interviews, and then the fight, then the post-fight-interviews-
A sharp pain hits him just behind his eyes and he groans, pinching the bridge of his nose with two fingers.
This headache refuses to leave him be.
Oikawa sighs as he fishes out another painkiller from his bottle, downing it with a big glass of water, hoping to kill the last bit of his hangover headache. His stomach’s calmed down now at least so he doesn’t have to worry about having to bolt from the interview to throw up.
His phone buzzes while he’s smoothing out his shirt, reminding him that he needs to get moving.
Kuroo: hey, u ready to go?
Oikawa can’t put this off any longer.
I’ll be right down, he types, feeling his stomach flip and twist with nervous energy.
Okay, well, maybe he’s not as fine as he thought, but he has to do this.
He puts on his jacket and his professional smile as he leaves his hotel room.
He has a job to do, and no matter how confused and unsure and worried he feels, he’s going to make damn sure that he does the best job that he possibly can.
He takes some slow and deep breaths as he heads down to the lobby, then out of the hotel. Kuroo and Iwaizumi are both already there but there’s a car waiting out front to drive Oikawa so all he has to do is hop in the back and wait.
Oikawa leans his head on the window of the backseat as they drive, eyes catching on all the lights on the strip as they go. Everything here’s so bright, so loud, so full of life, there’s so much to do and experience-
But he can’t focus on any of it. Not when his attention is always captured by the same person.
He sighs, pushing those thoughts away for now. If he tries really, really hard to lock them away, he can keep his mind clear for a couple of hours. He just needs to push them to the furthest part of his brain and by the time they start to seep back in, he’ll be done for the night.
The car jerks to a halt and that pulls him from his thoughts, so he thanks the driver and steps out of the vehicle.
He can already see how packed it is. Fans are screaming outside the arena, arguing about tickets, about who’s going to win - people are waiting in line to get in and the atmosphere is so loud and raging and energetic that it helps force Oikawa into the right state of mind.
He straightens out his jacket and heads into the arena.
Oikawa’s not sure that he’s ever going to get used to being in the arena.
The energy he feels as soon as he enters the building is unlike anything he’s ever experienced in his life . He couldn’t describe it - it’s completely overwhelming.
It ensnares him from the moment he sets foot in the building, wrenching him from his own thoughts and into this heated and heavy atmosphere.
It’s even more intense than last time. He feels he could drown in it.
There are people everywhere; fans clamouring to get a look at their favourites, reporters trying to get the best shot and maybe a few words from one of the fighters. Oikawa still has his badge from Kuroo, so he flashes it at the back access and is ushered in by security. He’s swept along by the crowd of people moving down the hallway, talking and arguing and yelling so quickly that it’s hard for him to focus on what they’re saying.
“Tooru!” Kuroo’s loud voice gets his attention in an almost commanding way, and Oikawa looks over to where it came from to see Kuroo waving him over. Oikawa walks over and is pulled into a room by Kuroo that Oikawa recognizes must be like a waiting room for the fighters, as Iwaizumi’s inside talking to an official as he’s weighed in.
“It’s pretty crazy out there, isn’t it?” Kuroo says with a grin. Of course he’s thrilled - this is amazing publicity for them, regardless of the outcome of Iwaizumi’s fight.
“Yeah,” Oikawa answers, watching curiously as Iwaizumi’s weighed on the scale. The official carefully moves the scale until it stops on Iwaizumi’s current weight and he seems satisfied, jotting down something on a clipboard before leaving the room. “It’s… it’s something else.”
Kuroo slaps Oikawa on the shoulder and laughs. “In case you’re wondering, no. You don’t ever get used to it.”
“That obvious?” Oikawa laughs, wondering if his heart is going to be beating this fast all night.
“Yeah,” Iwaizumi says, stepping off the scale and turning to face them. “It’s only your second fight, though, and this one’s sure bigger than the last.”
Oikawa nods, his attention drawn elsewhere now. Damn. He’s pretty sure that he’ll never get used to the sight of him shirtless, especially when he’s only a meter in front of him.
“About ten minutes until the interview, okay?” Kuroo says, checking his watch. He’s dressed sharply for the evening, and straightens out his jacket as he approaches the door. “I’ll be back in eight. Hajime, maybe prep Tooru a bit?”
Iwaizumi eyes Kuroo carefully, but nods. “Okay.”
Oikawa can’t help but feel that Iwaizumi and Kuroo must have exchanged some words before he got here, but he doesn’t get the chance to ask before Kuroo leaves and slams the door behind him.
He takes a deep breath and looks up to face Iwaizumi, who is watching him closely.
“Relax,” Iwaizumi says, reaching out to knock Oikawa’s shoulder gently. “Don’t forget to breathe.”
Oikawa laughs and with it his shoulders relax. “You’re the one about to go knock some shit or get the shit knocked out of you… shouldn’t I be giving you the pep talk?”
He smiles with ease, but freezes at the predatory grin that Iwaizumi gives him. A shiver runs down his spine. Iwaizumi’s on the hunt, and with the confidence emanating from every inch of his body Oikawa feels for the poor soul that he’s going to be facing tonight.
“I’m more than ready,” he says, and steps closer to Oikawa. His expression falters, and he puts a hand on Oikawa’s shoulder. “But first… are we… you and I... “ he pauses, “are we okay?”
Oikawa looks up to meet Iwaizumi’s eye. They’ve said what they needed to - the air is clear, and they’ve both apologized. Oikawa’s ego might be a little bit bruised, but he’s not harbouring any ill will towards Iwaizumi.
The only one he’s having a hard time forgiving is himself.
“Yeah,” Oikawa says and reaches up to lie his hand on top of Iwaizumi’s and squeeze it. “We are.”
Iwaizumi looks relieved as he smiles at him. “Good.” He lets his hand sit for a moment before pulling it away, stepping back and stretching his arms up. “Don’t worry about the interviews. It’ll be the same as the last ones, but there might be some more reporters trying to get your attention. If it’s not booked through Tetsu, we don’t have to do it though, so you can just ignore them.”
Oikawa nods confidently. “Got it.”
“Just stay close to me, too. You saw how crazy things can get out there,” Iwaizumi says.
“Okay,” Oikawa says. He smooths out the front of his jacket, spinning around to look for a mirror.
“Hang on, here,” Iwaizumi says, stepping closer and reaching up to tuck a piece of hair behind Oikawa’s ear. He smooths out a few strands until he’s satisfied. “You look great. Ready?”
Oikawa nods anyway though, calming himself down with a smile. “Yes.”
But he knows he’s not ready. Not really.
Not ready for the energy, for the excitement, for the way the screaming crowds make his heart race and blood run cold.
Not ready for the way his instinct is to let himself be swept up in it and carried away.
Oikawa stays focused, though. He keeps close to Iwaizumi, as instructed, and the interpreting helps distract him and give him something concrete to anchor himself to.
The interviews only serve to hype Iwaizumi up further, who is filled with raw, visceral energy by the time it’s his turn to fight.
When Iwaizumi steps out into the ring, Oikawa can’t fight it anymore. The energy washes over him and this time, he lets himself be pulled into Iwaizumi’s world.