Tobio doesn’t know the color of his eyes until a week after his first year at Kitagawa Daiichi. He looks at his twin sister and he understands what his newest friend-- no, his soulmate-- Kindaichi means when he says Tobio has beautiful eyes.
They meet in Homeroom during introductions. Tobio meets Kindaichi’s eyes and the world bleeds. There is a soft “oh,” that Tobio doesn’t hear slip out of his own mouth. An hour later sitting in the counselor's office Tobio doesn’t even think before he stops her in pointing out colors on the color chart. “That’s the same color. Your green swatch is the same as the orange one.”
Half an hour later after being lectured he walks out with a pamphlet in his pocket. Poly Bonds for Kids weighs more than a simple sheet of paper should.
Volleyball is something Tobio has been doing since second year at elementary school. He learned it with Aki. His sister wants to be a libero, but she’s too tall according to their coach. Tobio doesn’t like seeing her frown. He walks until they’re brushing shoulders and paints a picture of being on top of the world side by side. “You’ll be the best middle blocker ever. You’ll shut out any spike that comes your way.”
Aki laughs, “I hope your soulmates play volleyball.” She doesn’t mention that they will never be able to play on the same team.
After school on the second day the Volleyball club meets in the largest of Kitaiichi’s gyms. Kindaichi walks through the double doors with Tobio and Tobio thinks that Aki will be so happy to hear that his soulmate plays volleyball. He ignores the nagging thought of what about our third? Until he is face to face with another first year, Kunimi Akira, and his world bleeds again.
The dam finally breaks halfway through his second year at Kitagawa. Tobio’s parents have been divorced for a year and a half, but their arguments only grow worse. When they cut contact with each other emails are the only way for Tobio to talk to Aki. The only way for him to keep in touch with his twin.
Tobio smiles with Kindaichi and Kunimi. The first time it happened he was laughing at a joke of Kindaichi’s two months from the end of their first year, Kunimi and Kindaichi stare mouths hanging open until Tobio stops.
Aki gets made captain of Shinzeki Junior High girls’ volleyball team during her third year. She shares this with him during the quiet of the night while both their parents are too deep into dreamland to find out and start another argument. Tobio tells her that he doesn’t want to be captain, he just wants to play.
Kunimi starts skipping practice middle of second year. Tobio always asks why and the response is always the same. “I was studying, Kageyama.”
Tobio doesn’t say it aloud, but the Kageyama hurts more than the skipping.
Shinzeki wins nationals. Tobio hasn’t seen Aki in person in a year. She smiles at him over a bad Skype connection. He promises to see her at nationals before the year is up.
Tobio works harder, but not enough not to notice his soulmates giving him a wide berth. He successfully gets through an extra practice without getting his jump serve out of bounds once when he runs into Kunimi and Kindaichi outside. He ducks behind the corner and listens as Kindaichi declares him a tyrant to the captain with Kunimi agreeing.
When he next talks to Aki he lies. It is the first time he’s ever lied to his twin, but when she asks him what’s wrong he replies, “nothing.”
He didn’t think they’d actually go through with it. Or maybe he did, either way it leaves the ball hitting the ground and his team making no move to play. He wants to think that it’s being pulled of the court that hurts, but he’s relieved not to see the ugly glare on Kindaichi’s face.
Tobio cries when they lose. He doesn’t know if he’s crying because they lost, because he won’t get to see Aki, or because he overhears Kunimi call Kindaichi, “Yuu.”
Tobio rips up his acceptance to Aoba Johsai the second he finds out that is where Kunimi and Kindaichi are headed. When the bench setter approaches him-- when Fumihiko apologizes, Tobio tells him about over hearing them that night. He doesn’t care if it gets back to Kunimi and Kindaichi, but he walks away with his head held high.
Aki offers to serve a fast one into Kunimi and Kindaichi’s faces, but Tobio shakes his head and holds up his other options for high school. Aki smiles and picks Karasuno. “I like the name. Besides if that school can fall and rise again, so can you.”
Tobio laughs and promises to meet her at nationals.
Everytime he sees Hinata it reminds him of Kunimi and Kindaichi, not because he is anything like them, but rather he is so bright it is impossible to ignore the colors that refuse to fade back into black and white.
Tobio knows that the colors won’t fade and yet he tells Aki that it is like a cruel game of false hope. Aki doesn’t say a word when she catches sight of the blanket on the end of his bed, the specific shade she has learned to associate with Aoba Johsai or when he sends her a screenshot of his computer screen open to a google chrome tab of a new joke. Three of the other tabs are labeled Aoba Johsai and a fourth is labelled Miyagi VBC tournament.
Winning against Aoba Johsai isn’t what Tobio thought it would be. Then again, maybe it’s seeing Kunimi and Kindaichi cry that hurts. He buys toppo from a convenience store near his house and stops to cry in an alley. Karasuno won, but every moment he stops he remembers seeing Kunimi laugh during Inter-High. Then he remembers Kindaichi and Kunimi crying. Tobio doesn’t realize how long he’s been there until someone taps him on the shoulder. He starts, apologies spilling out his mouth before he’s even finished standing. He freezes. “Iwaizumi-san.”
Perched on his bed he tries to ignore the stare burning into his back. Iwaizumi opens his mouth to speak, but is cut off by the rush of words out of Tobio’s mouth. “I’m sorry for bothering you Iwaizumi-san, I’m home now so you really don’t have to stay.”
Iwaizumi keeps coming back.
“Congratulations on winning against Shiratorizawa. Oikawa went y’know. So did I.”
“Who’s this?”...“I didn’t know you had a twin.”
“Is that why you changed in third year?”...“Oikawa interrogated everyone from Kitaiichi about you during the beginning of the year.”
“What is this?”
Tobio is used to the random questions, but this time it is different. Iwaizumi is holding torn paper and the top right drawer of Tobio’s desk is open. His stomach sinks.
“Why did you go to Karasuno if you were accepted into Seijoh?”
Tobio mumbles, but Iwaizumi only raises an eyebrow, waiting. “I knew. I overheard Kindaichi tell Hashikami-san that they should purposefully miss my toss a few days before it happened. Kunimi agreed.”
Aki smiles when Tobio tells her about Iwaizumi’s visits.
Conversation with Iwaizumi sent: They’re my soulmates and they didn’t want me
sent: Aki says thanks for stopping Oikawa-san from punching me back at Kitaichi
Aoba Johsai shows up at nationals to watch Karasuno. After the match against Inarizaki, Oikawa grabs Tobio by the jersey. Daichi yells, but the only thing Tobio hears is Oikawa, “Why?!”
Daichi wrestles Tobio from Oikawa’s arms and Tobio doesn’t stick around to hear Oikawa tell them all he was accepted into Aoba Johsai.
Tsukishima finds him twenty minutes before they have to be on the court to face Nekoma. “You’re junior high friends didn’t believe you got accepted into Aoba Johsai. Their ace-”
“Iwaizumi-san told them that you overheard them decide to miss your toss. Oikawa looked pretty shocked at that, but Iwaizumi-san dragged them all away.”
Conversation with Kunimi
received: Why. If you knew then why were you so surprised
sent: because you smiled
Group Conversation with Kunimi and Kindaichi
sent: I’m sorry