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Trial by Fire

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi always knew that the life of a lawyer wasn’t all glamorous, but he never expected it to be like this.

“The court finds the defendant, Terushima Yuji, guilty on two counts of vandalism of private property,” the judge declared firmly. “Please return next Monday morning for your sentence hearing, Terushima-san. Court is dismissed.”

The defendant, a fierce looking thing with bleached blond hair and several piercings, balked. “But—” he started, clearly protesting, before his counsel placed a hand on his shoulder and murmured something incomprehensible to him. His attorney, a man that Iwaizumi knew as Higashiyama, stood from his seat with finality.

“Yes, your Honor,” the defense counsel said formally, cutting in before his client dug himself an even deeper hole.

Iwaizumi mirrored him and stood from his seat at the prosecution table. “Thank you, your Honor,” he echoed, glad to have gotten this ridiculous trial over with.

With something as inconsequential as graffiti, Iwaizumi expected Terushima and his counsel to settle for a fine and leave it at that, saving everybody involved the headache of going through the trial process. But the defendant insisted on a trial — for what reason, Iwaizumi didn’t know, they had security camera footage of the his graffiti tagging — and instead of a small ¥10,000 fine, Terushima likely was facing probation and a month in prison. For graffiti. A misdemeanor they could’ve settled outside of court.

Iwaizumi sighed, packing his files and notebook into his briefcase. In any case, it was a win for him and the office. He just wished he didn’t have to waste his time trying cases that didn’t need to.

Of course, a crime was a crime, and it was his job as a public prosecutor to bring criminals through the legal process and minimize damage to society. And Iwaizumi understood that misdemeanor trials were important to prosecute as well, as things like vandalism, drunk driving, and drug possession were disruptive and potentially harmful to the public.

But he wanted a real case, dammit. Putting dangerous people behind bars was why he decided to become a criminal prosecutor.

Grunting, Iwaizumi walked out of the courtroom and to the elevator of the courthouse, checking his watch. It was late afternoon, which meant that he could report back to Ushijima and maybe get started on his new case before going home for the weekend. After a day of objections and a rowdy defendant, Iwaizumi was ready to pass out the minute he got the chance.

The elevator stopped at the fifth floor with a cheery ding and Iwaizumi stepped out into the lobby to find his friend and fellow prosecutor, Sugawara, speaking animatedly to his husband, a private investigator who frequently worked with the office named Sawamura Daichi. Iwaizumi gave both of them an acknowledging nod.

“Iwaizumi,” Sawamura said, answering him with a nod of his own. Sugawara smiled warmly.

“Hey, Iwaizumi,” the silver-haired lawyer greeted. He gave Iwaizumi an appraising look. “Did you just get back from trial?”

Iwaizumi grunted. “Yeah,” he confirmed, scowling. “Vandalism misdemeanor. Graffiti.”

That got him a sympathetic wince from both Sugawara and Sawamura. "You had to go to court for graffiti?” Sugawara grimaced.

“Don’t remind me,” Iwaizumi muttered crossly. “It was fucking ridiculous. He put up such a fight, too, and he had the gall to look surprised when Judge Irihata found him guilty. I felt bad for his attorney.”

“At least it wasn’t a jury trial,” Sawamura offered.

“Yeah, that was the only good part about the whole thing,” Iwaizumi sighed, reaching for the doorknob that led to the office space where some of Tokyo prefecture’s district attorneys worked. “I got to report back to Ushijima. I’ll catch up with you guys later.”

Sugawara brightened, eyebrows lifting and a grin stretching across his lips. “We should get drinks later! First round’s on me. You look like you need it.”

Iwaizumi laughed. Sugawara was an awesome drinking partner; though he was on the smaller side, the man could drink everyone he knew under the table.

“Yeah, maybe,” he allowed, swinging the door open and walking in past the administrators and receptions, making a beeline to Ushijima’s office. Stopping right in front of his door, Iwaizumi took a moment to take a deep breath and straighten his back before knocking twice.

“Come in,” Ushijima’s voice called.

Iwaizumi opened the door to find his superior working over what appeared to be autopsy report and several other information files. As ever, Ushijima looked impeccable — navy pinstriped suit, polished leather shoes, and not a single hair out of place. Professional and collected, Iwaizumi was constantly reminded of how excellent and put-together this man was. If he wasn’t such a great mentor, Iwaizumi would probably have been outrageously jealous at his work ethic and efficiency.

“Iwaizumi,” Ushijima acknowledged, setting his pen down and swiveling his chair to face him. “Good. I wanted to see you.”

Iwaizumi blinked, startled. “Sir?”

Ushijima gestured to the empty seat across from his desk, which Iwaizumi sat down in apprehensively. “How was your trial?” his superior asked calmly.

“It went smoothly,” Iwaizumi answered. “No complications. I’m a little confused as to why we couldn’t have settled outside of court, but it didn’t matter in the end, I guess.”

“It’s all a part of the process. Of course, though it would be easier to settle such matters without a trial, it is nonetheless a good learning experience for you to deal with difficult and unnecessary defendants.”

Iwaizumi nodded silently.

Ushijima continued. “Which is precisely what I wanted to speak to you about.” He reached into a drawer at his desk and pulled out a file. “I believe that at this point, you’ve gotten the chance to learn more about how we operate as an office and how to prosecute cases. I do not wish for you to waste any more time on infractions and misdemeanors.”

It took a lot of willpower to force himself from gaping at Ushijima. “Sir,” he said hesitantly, not wanting to get his hopes up.

His superior and mentor allowed him a small smile, pushing the file across the desk and in front of a shocked Iwaizumi. “Your first felony, counsel.”

Holy shit, Iwaizumi thought. It’s finally happening.

“Thank you, sir,” Iwaizumi breathed, taking the file into his hands and opening it gingerly. But before he could skim through the case brief, Ushijima spoke.

“The charge is second-degree murder,” his boss explained. “The defendant is a thirty year old man by the name of Daishou Suguru, who killed his father in a violent confrontation in April.”

“Jesus,” Iwaizumi muttered.

“Quite,” Ushijima deadpanned, face as neutral as ever. “The deceased, Daishou Katashi, was the CEO of Nohebi Inc. Daishou Suguru was supposed to inherit the company before the deceased unexpectedly passed it onto Numai Kazuma. The defendant killed his father not a week later.”

Ushijima paused, as if giving Iwaizumi time to let the case sink in. “I trust you can handle this, Iwaizumi. You have potential. But for your assistance, we’ve assigned Matsukawa as a paralegal on the case, and you can always come to me if you have any questions.”

“Thank you,” Iwaizumi said, bowing his head in appreciation. “I will do my best.”

“See you it that you do,” Ushijima answered, not unkindly. “You’ve worked hard today. Rest this weekend, so you are prepared to start on this case come Monday.”

“Of course.” Iwaizumi understood that as his cue to leave, standing up from his seat across from Ushijima. He was about to exit his office and excuse himself, but he stopped when he saw the look on Ushijima’s face.

Iwaizumi gulped. Not once in the past six months he spent working at the Tokyo Prefecture District Attorney’s Office did he see Ushijima look uncertain.

“Sir?” he asked hesitantly.

“A warning, Iwaizumi,” Ushijima advised. “Your opposing counsel in this case is Oikawa Tooru. He’s at Seijou LLP.”

Iwaizumi blanched. “The top law firm in Tokyo?”

“Yes. I went to law school with him. He’s brilliant,” Ushijima admitted, “unfortunately. It’s a shame he uses his skills to protect criminals rather than serve justice. I defeated him in an organized crime case once. He is ruthless and charming. I don’t doubt your abilities, and I believe I’ve taught you well, but I want you to be wary of him. And,” Ushijima paused to give Iwaizumi a meaningful look, “let me know if you need any assistance.”

“Yes sir,” Iwaizumi croaked.

His first felony case, and he was going against an attorney from one of the top law firms in the country. Who Ushijima himself called brilliant.

Fuck, he thought. This job was going to eat him alive.

 

-

 

“Iwaizumi!” Sugawara shrieked when Iwaizumi told him the news. “I’m so proud of you!”

The two of them sat across from each other in the small izakaya a few blocks away from the courthouse where they worked. Sawamura, who was currently in the process of stuffing a piece of takoyaki into his mouth, sat next to Sugawara. The silver-haired attorney took the liberty of inviting some other people from the office, like Akaashi Keiji, a cool headed and sharp attorney who worked on the sixth floor, and Azumane Asahi, who mostly dealt with the juvenile cases.

“Look at you,” Sugawara cooed, flushed and grinning from the sake. Sawamura snaked a hand around his waist as if to reel him in; Sugawara tended to get flirty when he drank. “Baby's got his first murder.”

Azumane shuddered, visually disturbed. Distantly, Iwaizumi wondered how this guy got through law school.

Meanwhile, Akaashi nodded his congratulations, picking up a piece of chicken karaage with his chopsticks. “Do you know what the case is?”

“Yeah,” Iwaizumi answered uncertainly, rubbing a hand behind his neck. “Guy killed his dad after he finds out that he’s not going to inherit his company. It’s pretty straightforward, I think.” He paused, thinking about Ushijima’s ominous warning to him before he left his office. “I’m more worried about the defense counsel.”

Akaashi cocked his head to the side questioningly. “This isn’t your first case,” he pointed out. “I mean, it’s your first felony, but you’ve dealt with and gone against other lawyers before.”

“No, no, that’s not it,” Iwaizumi hesitated. “Ushijima told me to watch out for him.”

The group fell silent. Everyone knew how unwaveringly confident Ushijima was; after all, he wasn’t one of the office’s best attorneys for nothing. To this day, he had never lost a case, so if Ushijima felt wary about this attorney, then everyone else should feel downright terrified.

“Wow,” Sugawara whistled lowly. “Who is it?”

“Oikawa Tooru,” Iwaizumi recalled, apprehension swimming in his stomach as he remembered Ushijima’s worried face when he spoke about him.

Everyone gaped at him.

“Dude, shit. You’re going against the Oikawa Tooru?” Sugawara said finally, placing his cup down on the table. Even Sawamura, the steady private investigator, furrowed his eyebrows.

“Am I supposed to know who this guy is?” Iwaizumi frowned. He didn't have a good feeling about this, and apparently, neither did any of his co-workers.

“No, it makes sense that you don’t,” Akaashi mused, before taking a sip from his beer. “You haven’t been here for that long. And you moved here from Miyagi, right?”

Iwaizumi nodded, still deeply concerned at everyone’s reactions. “Yeah.”

“Okay, Iwaizumi,” Sugawara cut in. “Oikawa passed the bar at the age of twenty-three. He’s been heralded as a genius. He’s pulled off some of Tokyo’s most impossible cases — everything from protecting entire yakuza syndicates to acquitting defendants with all odds stacked against them. The only case he’s ever lost—”

“—was to Ushijima,” Iwaizumi finished, placing two and two together.

Sugawara nodded. “And even then it was through the skin of his teeth. Jury deliberations lasted two days.”

“Jesus fuck,” Iwaizumi muttered, looking down at his sake before deciding that the drink belonged in his body rather than in his cup. He threw it back in one gulp, relishing the bitter burn as it slid down his throat.

“It’s odd, though,” Akaashi wondered out loud. “Oikawa usually only takes really complicated, near-impossible cases. He’s the kind of lawyer who practices for the thrill of, ah, getting away with murder.”

“Getting away with murder,” Iwaizumi repeated uneasily, thinking about his case.

This time, Sawamura spoke up, shaking his head. “Well, he certainly isn't infallible. He lost to Ushijima. And you’re basically Ushijima 2.0,” he added thoughtfully. “Smart, effective, no-bullshit.”

Iwaizumi laughed incredulously at the compliment. He was confident in his abilities, but he was no anywhere experienced enough to be compared to Ushijima, though the fact that Sawamura thought so was nice. “Not really.”

“No, really,” Sugawara nodded furiously, agreeing with his husband. “You’ve improved a lot over the past few months, and you’ve gotten used to the flow and bustle of the office quickly. Ushijima certainly thinks so too, if he’s giving you this case. And besides,” the silver haired attorney grinned, raising his glass, “you’ve never lost a case either.”

Iwaizumi snorted. “I’ve literally only had misdemeanors and infractions.”

“So modest!” Sugawara guffawed, reaching over to grab the bottle of sake. He tilts the bottle to pour, filling Iwaizumi’s cup back up. “You’ll do great, Iwaizumi. Don’t sweat it too much. Besides, even if you lose, it’s not the end of the world,” Sugawara shrugged nonchalantly. “Take this as a learning experience if anything.”

Iwaizumi nodded, smiling, but he knew what the implications of Sugawara’s words were: take the case as a lesson, because there was no way that he was going to win this.

He grimaced. The lack of faith the normally encouraging and positive Sugawara had in him had him worried. When Iwaizumi wished for a felony case, he wanted to have one that he at least had a fighting chance of winning — not one that he was apparently doomed to lose at the start.

After all, he became a lawyer to help put the bad guys in jail. To know that his opposing counsel on his first big case was the kind of excellent, infuriating lawyer that deliberately prevented that justice pissed him off.

“So,” Iwaizumi started casually. “Any tips?”

“I’ve talked to him before,” Akaashi offered. “He’s incredibly charismatic.”

“Like, sway-juries-into-acquitting-someone-of-murder charismatic?”

Akaashi nodded solemnly. “He’s also, no exaggeration, likely one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen.”

Iwaizumi stared. “Like, sway-juries-into-acquitting-someone-of-murder beautiful?”

“Unfortunately,” Akaashi confirmed, much to Iwaizumi’s dismay.

“Make sure to select jury members who aren’t women, then,” Azumane finally added, in between bites of fried chicken.

“Gay men are very much at risk, Asahi,” Sugawara sighed in a way that could either be interpreted as frustration or dreamy. Iwaizumi looked over at Sawamura, who seemed unbothered despite Sugawara's apparent attraction to Oikawa.

“I hate him already,” Iwaizumi decided.

Sugawara snorted, reaching over to nab the last piece of fried chicken off the platter. “Godspeed, Iwaizumi,” he said, in between bites. “Bless you and your single soul. Keep us updated, yeah?”

“Sure,” Iwaizumi shrugged, the nonchalant gesture belying the mix of apprehension and determination swirling in his chest.

He was going to try his hardest to win this case. Beautiful charismatic genius be damned.

 

-

 

Iwaizumi took the weekend to rest up for the most part. Being a lawyer meant that he worked ten hour workdays, spending the majority of his time scrutinizing legal documents, watching security camera footage, and analyzing every single minute detail in his files to use as evidence. And he wasn't eager to start gathering information for his new case during his weekend off.

Rather, he spent his time researching his opposing counsel, Oikawa Tooru.

Iwaizumi breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that Oikawa Tooru wasn’t so famous as to have his own Wikipedia page or anything (lawyers, even the best and the brightest, didn’t usually have that sort of thing unless they were absurdly important) but a Google search landed him right on homepage of Seijou LLP website.

Representation that protects you, the page declared in teal baby blue.

Iwaizumi clicked on the “Attorneys” tab on the navigation, and gaped.

He should’ve known if Akaashi Keiji   gorgeous, graceful, elegant Akaashi Keiji — said someone was beautiful, then that someone was fucking beautiful.

“What the fuck,” Iwaizumi said.

Not wanting to dwell on his opposing counsel’s looks (tousled chocolate hair, piercing eyes, bone structure that seemed carved like Greek sculpture), Iwaizumi focused on reading the paragraph the described Oikawa Tooru’s background.

“Oikawa Tooru joined Seijou LLP in 2013 as an associate. He graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University with a B.A in Astrophysics and Political Science, and graduated with a J.D from University of Tokyo as the salutatorian of his class. He is committed to protecting the criminally accused and has worked on some of the largest cases in Tokyo, including the 2015 case of Tendou Satori v. The Prefecture of Tokyo. Oikawa has worked on everything from simple assaults to homicides to the sale of narcotics.”

Iwaizumi frowned. The case wasn’t ringing any bells, so he opened a new tab and searched it up.

“Shiratorizawa Freed: Yakuza head acquitted despite string of homicides in Shibuya”

He reeled back, mouth dropped open as he quickly scrolled and skimmed through the article by Tokyo Legal News.

June 5, 2015 — Spotted leaving the Tokyo Prefecture courthouse was Shiratorizawa’s leader, Tendou Satori, as an acquitted man. The trial had taken three grueling days of gruesome autopsy photos, tearful testimonies, and powerful gut-wrenching statements from both prosecution and defense alike. A high profile case, many expected the trial to end with Tendou in handcuffs and the families avenged. As it turns out, even the jurors on the case were surprised at their final verdict.

‘I don’t know,’ Yachi Hitoka, a jury member, said when asked to comment. ‘He just seemed like such a broken guy. Someone like him doesn’t deserve the death penalty.’

We reached out to Oikawa Tooru, the defense attorney in this case.

‘My client was wrongly accused, and I’m relieved to see that the jury understood that fact,’ Oikawa said. ‘To answer your question, it certainly wasn’t a surprise when we won the case. After all, the prosecution couldn’t prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt, simply because there wasn’t anything to prove.’”

Iwaizumi swallowed hard, closing the tab and squeezing his eyes shut as he felt something like unease collect in the pit of his stomach. Clearly, this Oikawa guy was good. From what he surmised from the article, everybody knew that the defendant committed the killings, but Oikawa Tooru convinced the jury that said killings weren’t justifiable as murder. As if the copious amounts of evidence were somehow tossed aside at Oikawa Tooru’s moving statements and the masterful answers he extracted from the witnesses.

That was terrifying.

At the same time, Iwaizumi couldn’t help but feel slightly awed at Oikawa Tooru’s skill. As it seemed, Oikawa had a lot of talent, and from lawyer to lawyer, Iwaizumi allowed himself to feel some respect for Oikawa’s legal prowess. As a criminal prosecutor, though, he was definitely miffed that such skill wasn’t used for the sake of putting criminals in jail.

"Take this as a learning experience," Sugawara had said.

And he might just. If he was going to lose this case — and Iwaizumi still wanted to do everything he could to win — he was at least going to take away some of Oikawa’s skills from it.

Out of habit, Iwaizumi opened his email to check his inbox before going to bed. His blood ran cold when he saw an unread email, sitting untouched on his computer screen.

 

Subject: Precursory Meetings
From: oikawa@seijou.com
Date: June 8th, 2018, 6:12PM

Dear Iwaizumi-san,

My name is Oikawa Tooru, and I am your opposing counsel in the case for my client, Daishou Suguru.

I would like to meet with you to know each other a little bit before going into the case as well as to discuss pretrial, as per ‘meet-and-confer’ rules.

Let me know if you’re available for coffee this week. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
Oikawa Tooru

 

Iwaizumi hissed. Meet-and-confer was a mandatory process where lawyers in a case had to meet and discuss points of contention. He had a sneaking feeling, however, that Oikawa was using this as a chance to size him up and try to poke holes into his character before the trial.

What a fucking asshole.

 

Subject: Re: Precursory Meetings
To: oikawa@seijou.com
Date: June 8th, 2018, 9:45PM

Oikawa-san,

Thanks for your email. Would love to discuss the case.

I am available after 5PM on most days. Does Tuesday at 5PM work for you?

Sincerely,
Iwaizumi Hajime

 

Subject: Re: Re: Precursory Meetings
From: oikawa@seijou.com
Date: June 8th, 2018, 9:49PM

Iwaizumi-san,

Tuesday at 5PM works for me. I’ll wait for you outside the courthouse.

Looking forward,
Oikawa Tooru

 

Iwaizumi groaned. This job was going to eat him alive.

But not if Oikawa Tooru ate him alive first.

 

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi went into work the following Monday with an acute feeling of anxiety prickling inside him.

After reading up a bit more on Oikawa Tooru and after having that brief but foreboding email conversation, he tried to shut the case out of his mind, attempting to relax before the brunt of the work started. But Iwaizumi was… well, Iwaizumi, and he has never really won awards for his ability to relax and not overthink things. It was why he had never lost a case so far. He was thorough, and he thought about every detail. Every detail.

I wonder what he’s going to be like, Iwaizumi thought absentmindedly as he drove to the courthouse on Monday morning. Akaashi said he was charismatic. Well, I’m charismatic too.

He winced, turning left into the parking lot. No, I’m not.

Grumbling, Iwaizumi parked his silver Audi, grabbing his briefcase and locking his car before pacing to the front door of the courthouse. He flashed his badge to the security officers that worked the entrance, walking towards the elevators and slipping in once the doors drew open with a bright ping.

I’ll get the chance to scope him out tomorrow, Iwaizumi mused again in the elevator, waiting for the car to rise up to the fifth floor. And maybe he’ll be able to extract information from Ushijima — his boss did say to ask if he had any questions.

But first, he needed to work on the case.

Iwaizumi stepped out of the elevator and into the office, heading straight for his little space he shared with Matsukawa. His co-worker was already there, hunched over what Iwaizumi assumed to be the discovery files for his new case.

Matsukawa blinked at him as Iwaizumi walked in and dumped his briefcase on his desk, hair mussed and mouth downturned in a perpetual frown as he drawled, “You're late, Iwaizumi.”

“Fuck off,” Iwaizumi retorted light-heartedly, “it's nine in the morning. I work normal people hours. No one asked you to be here so fucking early.”

“Yessir, Attorney-san,” Matsukawa said flippantly, handing him a bulky file labeled Daishou Suguru v. The Prefecture of Tokyo in black Sharpie. “The case.”

Iwaizumi nodded in thanks, taking the file and plopping down in his swivel chair next to his desk. He opened the file to find a brief outline of the case, presumably courtesy of Matsukawa, who often helped him go through the copious amounts of reading and summarized his findings for him. Iwaizumi scanned the paper, reading through the details of the felony crime that Ushijima had told him about previously.

“Holy shit,” he muttered under his breath. “He killed his dad with a wine bottle?”

“Blunt force trauma with a makeshift weapon, yeah,” Matsukawa answered, leaning back in his own swivel chair as he combed through his own files. “Which is why we’re pursuing this as a second-degree murder rather than first-degree.”

Iwaizumi grunted. “Right, it’d be hard to prove premeditation if a wine bottle was the weapon of choice.” He turned over the summary page and flinched at the next piece of paper. “Holy shit.”

“Yeah, that’s the thing,” Matsukawa cut in, obviously realizing that what Iwaizumi was looking at. “He hit his dad so hard that the bottle broke against his skull and pierced into his skull through the temple. That’s more than enough force to be considered malice aforethought1,” the paralegal hummed thoughtfully. “And there’s the issue of the victim’s company not being passed down to the defendant, which is a good ‘why-dunnit’. Pretty good start so far, and we haven’t even gone through the police tapes yet.”

“Yeah,” Iwaizumi replied absentmindedly, still shocked at the gruesome crime scene photos. The victim lied in what appeared to be a blood-soaked fur carpet, shards of glass scattered around the area where his head lay. The wrinkly temple of the sixty-something year old man was torn apart to the point where Iwaizumi could see little hints of white bone peaking out from under neat the ripped flesh. “No one’s going to look at this and think, ‘accident .’ This looks straight from a slasher film.”

“It’s fucked up,” Matsukawa said bluntly in his signature deadpan. “I think defense is going to have a pretty hard time explaining this one, but I’ll have to look at the police interviews and what not.”

“Well, I don’t know,” Iwaizumi hesitated, thinking about the article he read about his opposing counsel’s win in the Shiratorizawa syndicate case. “You know who I’m up against?”

“Oikawa Tooru, right?” Matsukawa reached into his drawer and pulled out a bag of Lay’s potato chips. He promptly ripped it open and plucked a golden crisp out gingerly. “No biggie.”

Iwaizumi frowned. “You’re the first person to tell me that. Even the internet disagrees with you.”

He snuck his hand over to steal a chip, but Matsukawa swiftly ducked out of the way, munching loudly before he spoke.

“Yeah, whatever, he’s good.” Matsukawa shrugged. “But Ushijima beat him.”

“He won the Shiratorizawa serial homicide case.”

That earned him a raised eyebrow, which Iwaizumi observed to look like an angry black caterpillar wiggling gently on Matsukawa’s face. “Doing your research?”

“Know thy enemy,” he answered, flushing a bit. He liked to be thorough.

“Ushijima took you under his wing when you came here. I think you’ll be fine,” Matsukawa said calmly. “Plus, you got me on this case. I’ll dig up whatever evidence you need to kick the guy’s ass.”

Weirdly touched, Iwaizumi grunted in acknowledgement, turning back to his desk. “Get to work, Matsukawa.”

“Yes sir, yes sir.”

The two of them worked in silence for the next few hours, the only sound the shuffling of papers and scribble of pen on desk. Iwaizumi combed through the autopsy photos, reading up on the details of the death and familiarizing himself with the physical evidence first — the wine bottle, the carpet and blood splatters, the scattered furniture in the kitchen where the confrontation occurred. Everything was useful and he committed it to memory, typing up his observations on his laptop when he noticed something helpful.

It was around his lunch break at noon when Iwaizumi started wondering about his opposing counsel again, thinking about the possibilities of how he might try to twist this case in his favor. Matsukawa was right — as far as they was concerned, all of the physical evidence in this case pointed at murder on the part of the defendant. But Oikawa Tooru had all of the odds stacked against him in the Shiratorizawa case and yet somehow won.

It seemed like the only way he was going to win was if he asked Ushijima on how to structure his case against Oikawa Tooru’s methods.

Iwaizumi stood from his desk, offhandedly mentioning to Matsukawa that he was headed to talk to Ushijima, and walked over to Ushijima’s office. He approached the door and gave it three firm knocks.

“Come in,” Ushijima called.

Iwaizumi opened the door to find Ushijima chewing on a granola bar gingerly.

How the hell is he not getting crumbs everywhere. “Afternoon, sir.”

“Iwaizumi,” Ushijima nodded, finishing his snack and looking up at him expectantly. He motioned at the empty chair across from him, which Iwaizumi took. “How goes the case?”

“Matsukawa and I are doing discovery right now. We’re going through the physical evidence,” Iwaizumi explained, before pausing. “I looked into Oikawa Tooru yesterday, and I wanted to know if you had any advice for dealing with him.”

His boss nodded again in what Iwaizumi hoped was approval. “Indeed. He is quite the formidable opponent. If only he came to the District Attorney’s office to work for the right side of the law.”

Ushijima frowned, which Iwaizumi understood he only did when something greatly bothered him. But before he could think on it too much, his mentor continued on. “What have you learned about him so far?”

“I read about the Tendou Satori case briefly. A jury member reported that they felt sympathetic enough for the defendant as to find him not guilty,” Iwaizumi deduced. “So I’m assuming that Oikawa Tooru must be a more theatrical attorney. Probably relies on emotional coercion to sway the jury’s opinion.”

“That would be correct,” Ushijima replied. Iwaizumi gave himself a mental pat on the back. “Oikawa has a tendency to pull the heartstrings of the jury and convince them that the defendant does not deserve justice because they have suffered in some way. Therefore, your job will be primarily reminding the jury that no suffering, no matter how great, justifies the defendant’s actions.”

Iwaizumi nodded, making a mental note of his mentor’s words. “That seems to align well with your style of persuasion, sir.”

“Yes. I won against him because of it,” Ushijima said, in his typical confident yet humble manner. “You must not let him whisk away the judge and jury on emotional whims. You will be using a lot of narrative and speculation objections against him to break his act. Remind the jury facts are facts. The defendant committed a murder. That’s all there is to it.”

“Of course, sir.”

“In preparation, however, I recommend that you look through the interrogations tapes thoroughly to anticipate the explanation that Oikawa will use for the defendant. He will construct a tragic backstory. Don’t let him.”

“Yes, sir,” Iwaizumi replied earnestly.

Now that he had a better idea of Oikawa’s style and a way to counteract it, he could feel his muscles relaxing a bit as he gained a bit more confidence in his next steps. But there was still one more question he had to ask Ushijima.

“How would you go about interacting with him outside of court?”

Ushijima cocked his head questioningly. “Do you have a meeting with him planned?”

“Yes,” Iwaizumi confirmed, a little wary. “Tomorrow afternoon.”

“That’s quite soon.”

“Yes,” Iwaizumi frowned. “Should I be worried?”

Ushijima looked thoughtful, gaze trained on Iwaizumi observantly in a way that always made him feel uneasy, like his soul was being strip-searched. “Worried is perhaps not the right word,” Ushijima explained slowly. “But be on guard. He is charming.”

“Charming,” Iwaizumi repeated.

“Yes.” Ushijima turned his chair slightly to face away from Iwaizumi and to his computer. “No matter what, do not underestimate him. He is dangerous, and he is good. But I have full confidence in your abilities.”

“Yes sir,” Iwaizumi said, ducking his head as he stood to leave his office.

Bring it on, Oikawa Tooru, Iwaizumi thought, determination heating his blood. Bring it on.

 

-

 

The rest of Monday was spent researching and bantering with Matsukawa, who left at around five in the afternoon. Iwaizumi stayed at the office until seven, scanning over legal documents and previous cases for inspiration and as a reference.

After buying some take-out from a small curry house near the courthouse, Iwaizumi drove home to his apartment. Kicking off his shoes, the first thing Iwaizumi did when he got home was strip out of his business suit and into a tank and some sweats. He walked over to the kitchen table and plopped down in his chair, taking out his food and a spoon.

He was halfway through his katsu curry when he suddenly thought to call Kindaichi, his junior at Tohoku Law. Being two years his junior, Kindaichi was still finishing up his final year at law school, but the two of them remained close even after Iwaizumi graduated and started working at the Tokyo Prefecture’s District Attorney’s Office.

He had totally forgot to tell Kindaichi that he got his first felony case.

Iwaizumi fished his cell phone out of his pocket, pressing three on speed dial, and waited for him to pick up.

“Senpai?”

“Hey, Kindaichi,” Iwaizumi said brightly. “You busy right now?”

He made out the sound of rustling papers from the other end of the line.

“No, not really. Just studying. I could use a break though,” Kindaichi laughed. “How are you?”

“Good,” Iwaizumi answered, taking a bite of rice before saying, “I got my first felony.”

“Seriously? That fast? Congrats!” Kindaichi exclaimed enthusiastically. “Haven’t you only been working there for half a year?”

“Yeah. But I was going through my misdemeanor and infraction cases like water and shit was getting boring, so I think Ushijima wanted to give me a challenge.”

“That’s so cool. Only senpai would get a felony case this early on in his career,” Kindaichi gushed out quickly. Iwaizumi smiled a bit at that; Kindaichi still had the stars in his eyes, it seemed. “What is it?”

“Second-degree murder.”

“Cool.”

“It’s not cool,” Iwaizumi scolded light-heartedly. “But yeah.”

Kindaichi laughed a bit, his breaths loud against the microphone, crackling against Iwaizumi’s ear. “Are you excited, senpai?”

“Excited, yeah, but a little bit nervous too, I guess. My opposing counsel is hot shit. You know Seijou LLP?”

“Of course I do.”

“Yeah, well, he’s from there. You know an Oikawa Tooru?”

“I don’t think so,” Kindaichi said uncertainly. Iwaizumi sighed out a breath of relief. Finally someone who, like him, didn’t know who this goddamn motherfucker was. Thank God for Kindaichi, bless his ignorant heart.

“Yeah, okay, so apparently he’s pretty well-known in the Tokyo legal circle. Only ever lost to Ushijima. I was feeling pretty nervous but he gave me some tips,” Iwaizumi explained, scooping up some more curry, “so I feel a bit better. Still gotta meet the guy and form my final opinions on him, though.”

“You’ll do great, senpai! I just know it. You haven’t lost a case yet and you’re not going to lose this one!”

Iwaizumi softened. Kindaichi’s unwavering faith in him never failed to make him feel better. When he had received his first case ever — a reckless driving misdemeanor — Iwaizumi had called Kindaichi the night before the trial, a nervous wreck. His junior had blubbered on about how much he respected and looked up to him to the point where Iwaizumi was afraid that he would start crying. Nevertheless, Iwaizumi hung up on that phone call a little more assured of his abilities, and proceeded to win the trial the next day.

Kindaichi was a good guy. An atrociously awkward guy, but a good one.

“Thanks, Kindaichi,” Iwaizumi said, smiling crookedly. “How are things? Enjoying your last year?”

Iwaizumi finished the rest of his dinner as he listened to Kindaichi ramble animatedly about hard classes, dickish professors, and backstabbing classmates. He laughed at Kindaichi’s complaints about the workload — seemed like nothing has changed since his time at Tohoku — but honestly, listening to Kindaichi talk about law school made him feel kind of made his heart twinge in nostalgia. Iwaizumi missed school and all the memories he made there, the carefree times before he started working full-time.

They talked for half an hour or so before Iwaizumi decided that he didn’t want to keep Kindaichi away from his studies from too long.

“Go away and learn something already, will you,” Iwaizumi joked.

“Yes, senpai!”

Iwaizumi hung up on the call feeling like a weight has been lifted off his chest. If anything, at least he had a kouhai who looked up to him.

He tossed the take-out container in the trash and cleaned up around the kitchen, quietly relishing the simple mundane task of tidying up. Iwaizumi loved the little things about living alone, like having complete autonomy over his own space and organizing everything the way he wanted it.

Still though, after years of having a roommate in undergrad and law school, and living at home for all the years before that, it was a bit lonely not having someone to just chat with idly about random things. Like with Yahaba, his roommate in law school, Iwaizumi knew he would always be down for pizza and Netflix when both of them didn’t have any pressing matters to address. His friends from the office were fun — Iwaizumi liked Sugawara’s positive energy and Akaashi’s dry humor — but he wasn’t super close to any of them in particular just yet.

Iwaizumi made a mental note to himself to get lunch with Akaashi.

Evening bled into morning and Tuesday rolled around with Iwaizumi performing his morning routine as usual: roll out of bed, take a cold shower to wake himself up, scramble some eggs to scarf down before slipping on his suit and hopping in his car. Same old, same old — walk into work, snark at Matsukawa, read through hundreds and hundreds of case law and think his head off trying to figure out every single loophole the defense could try to use to weasel the defendant out of a death sentence.

Except he had to meet his opposing counsel at five. For coffee.

The day crept by, as it tended to do when Iwaizumi had a lot of papers to get through. At the same time, Iwaizumi’s thoughts kept drifting, anticipation distracting his attention away from his incredibly dense legal reading. He tried his best to power through, highlighting and scrawling notes on the margins of his papers, making note of everything that he could see being relevant to his case.

But soon enough, Iwaizumi’s phone blared at 4:55, signaling him that it was time for him to start packing up and leave the office. Tucking in his laptop into his briefcase, Iwaizumi headed out of the office and into the elevator.

Don’t underestimate him, Ushijima had said.

Iwaizumi wondered what he could be like if Ushijima warned him against misinterpreting Oikawa Tooru’s character. Right now, Iwaizumi was predicting a character straight from a James Bond film — startlingly beautiful, sharply intelligent, and impossibly suave. Crisp suit, styled hair, knowing eyes. It was kind of impossible to underestimate someone like that, when every part of their essence screamed dangerously sexy.

The elevator opened and Iwaizumi walked out toward the entrance, stepping out the courtroom doors and looking down at his watch before —

“Iwaizumi Hajime?”

Iwaizumi whipped towards the sound of the voice to find Oikawa Tooru, complete with windswept chocolate hair and chiseled jawline, leaning against the building wall.

His first thought: Fuck, he’s taller than me.

His second thought: Is that silk?

His third thought: Damn, Akaashi really was not fucking around.

But Iwaizumi shrugged those away and replied easily, “Oikawa-san, I assume?”

“You assume correctly,” Oikawa chirped, flashing him a brilliant smile that, for some inexplicable reason, pissed him off. “I have a cafe nearby in mind, unless you have other ideas.”

I don’t actually drink coffee, by the way. “Sure, lead the way.”

Oikawa’s grin grew even wider as he motioned for Iwaizumi to start walking, which he did. As they took their steps next to each other, Iwaizumi quickly realized that he had to walk just the slightest bit faster to keep up with Oikawa’s long strides.

He clenched his jaw, swallowed his pride, and sped up his pace a little to keep in time with Oikawa.

As if sensing Iwaizumi’s frustration, Oikawa threw him another blindingly bright smile, showing off all of this pearly whites as he did so. “So,” he started casually as they waited at a stoplight. “What’s your favorite color?”

Iwaizumi stared at him. Maybe he heard wrong. “What?”

“What’s,” Oikawa pauses, annunciating slowly, “your favorite color.”

“If this is your attempt at small talk, it’s really pathetic,” Iwaizumi blurted bluntly, before inwardly cringing at himself for his impoliteness. “I mean—”

But Oikawa laughed, unoffended. “I told you I wanted to get to know you better, right?” His eyes sparkled as he spoke. “This case will go a lot faster, and frankly, easier for the both of us if we’re friends.”

“Prosecutors and defense attorneys are on opposite sides of the court. We are inherently at odds with each other,” Iwaizumi said, remembering Ushijima’s stance on the matter.

Oikawa’s nose scrunched up. “You sound like Ushiwaka-chan.”

Ushiwaka-ch— “Ushijima’s my boss,” Iwaizumi said reluctantly, “and my mentor.”

The defense attorney’s eyes widened comically. “Oh, dear. Your life must be incredibly bland.”

Iwaizumi recoiled, and — yeah, his life wasn’t great, but he lived comfortably in his apartment and had a few friends at the office and still kept in touch with some friends from school, and he loved his mom, and — “What do you mean.”

“Ushiwaka-chan isn’t the most,” Oikawa gestured grandly, seemingly unaware of how bothered Iwaizumi was by that simple comment, “exciting person in the world. You know? He’s all ‘Justice must be served’ and ‘May the truth win.’ It’s boring.”

“Ushijima is an incredibly effective and excellent prosecution attorney,” Iwaizumi retorted defensively, biting his words out, “and you of all people should know that.”

Oikawa blinked as if taken aback, and Iwaizumi’s blood ran cold, panicking. Maybe he took it too far. Of course his loss to Ushijima would be a sort point for him; Oikawa was heralded as a genius and probably was still bitter over the one black mark on his almost-perfect record of victories. And from what he gathered from his conversations with his boss, Ushijima and Oikawa had disagreements in law school as well. Silently, he cursed at himself for being an idiot; he usually was better at thinking before he spoke.

But Oikawa grinned, sharper this time, a hint of danger curling on his lips and Iwaizumi suddenly realized that this was Oikawa’s real smile, not those bright laughs from before.

Iwaizumi’s nerves prickled, and he couldn’t help but feel like he’s passed some sort of test.

“Iwaizumi-kun,” Oikawa sang, “I didn’t know you knew me so well. That’s a little unfair, when I know next to nothing about you.”

“Well, that’s what we’re here for, right?” Iwaizumi answered, still reeling from the sight of Oikawa’s sinister smile.

“Indeed,” Oikawa agreed, and stopped walking. Iwaizumi tilted his head up to see that they were in front of small, quaint coffee bakery shop called Le Petit Raspberry2, a lovely looking thing with white panel doors and cream pillows and a very quiet, intimate atmosphere.

Iwaizumi frowned. This was not very James Bond.

He glanced over at Oikawa, in his (silk?) black tailored suit and perfectly styled hair, and looked back through the windows of Le Petit Raspberry, and decided that it was probably in his best interest not to question it.

Don’t underestimate him.

Iwaizumi followed Oikawa into the cafe begrudgingly.

“Hello,” Oikawa chimed happily, “can I please get a black coffee and piece of milk bread, please?”

The barista, a young looking man with cropped strawberry blonde hair and catlike eyes, nodded. His gaze then fell over at Iwaizumi expectantly.

He blinked. “Oh, we’re ordering sep—”

“Oh, don’t be stingy, Iwaizumi-kun, let me pay,” Oikawa dismissed in a tone that said ‘I literally make triple your salary, you poor bastard.’

“Just some green tea for me, please,” Iwaizumi gritted out.

The barista gave them an odd look but didn’t question it, ringing up the prices of the two drinks and the pastry. Oikawa handed him a ¥1000 bill and walked away before the barista could say anything, even though the price on the register clearly read ¥600.

For the love of—

Oikawa sat down at a table near a window, propping his elbows on the surface and watching Iwaizumi expectantly as he approached the table himself and sat down.

The defense attorney hummed. “Iwaizumi-kun is an awfully long name, isn’t it.”

“Oh, hell no,” Iwaizumi muttered, remembering how Oikawa called Ushijima ‘Ushiwaka-chan,’ and dreaded whatever was going to come out this guy’s mouth next.

But Oikawa ignored him and hummed louder. “How do you feel about ‘Iwa-chan’?”

“I hate it,” Iwaizumi snapped, feeling a vein tighten in his temple. “Iwaizumi is fine, thank you.”

Oikawa laughed, unbothered by Iwaizumi’s clear irritation. “Well, I like ‘Iwa-chan,’” he responded light-heartedly. “Don’t worry, I won’t call you ‘Iwa-chan’ in court. You’ll always be ‘opposing counsel’ on the battlefield.”

“You are nothing what I thought you would be like,” Iwaizumi remarked shortly, completely off-put by Oikawa’s flamboyant behavior and flippant attitude.

The barista from earlier came over with Iwaizumi’s tea and Oikawa’s coffee and milk bread, setting them down on the table in front of them gently before walking away. Oikawa immediately picked up the fluffy roll and tore into it with vigor.

“Oh?” Oikawa piped up curiously after he swallowed a mouthful of bread. “And what did you think I was going to be like?”

Iwaizumi’s mind flashed back to his image of Oikawa that he has been imagining for the past few days: unrelentingly beautiful, elegantly polished, and almost cat-like with mystery. Like a James Bond character.

He flushed; no way in hell he was going to tell Oikawa that.

“I had the impression that you were going to be a lot more serious,” Iwaizumi admitted as much, cupping his tea in his hands before deciding that it was still too hot to drink. “For someone who went to an Ivy League school in America for undergrad and passed the bar at twenty-three, you’re surprisingly immature.” Then he cursed his impulsive mouth for what seemed like to be the twentieth time in the past hour. Way to insult him for the upteenth time.

But the man across from him seemed yet again unfazed by his attitude; rather Oikawa seemed rather delighted by it, as if he took pleasure in ruffling all of Iwaizumi’s feathers which, unfortunately, was exactly what he was doing.

“Aw, Iwa-chan read my bio,” Oikawa cooed, eyes glinting as he took a sip from his impossibly dark coffee. “You did research on me? I’m touched.”

“Know thy enemy,” Iwaizumi said defensively. He liked to be thorough. “And don’t call me that disgusting name.”

“Again, I’m very uncomfortable, since I don’t know anything about you.”

“What, you didn’t Google me or anything?”

“I’d rather not read through your boring LinkedIn page when you could easily tell me all the information on there,” Oikawa responded, ripping off another piece of milk bread and chewing on it with gusto. “So. If I remember right, I had my alma maters, job start date, and a, ah, fun fact about me in my biography. It’s only fair you tell me the same, no?”

Iwaizumi considered this, and after deciding that Oikawa probably couldn’t use his alma mater to poke holes against his argument in court, he said, “I went to Sendai University for undergrad and Tohoku University for law school. I started at the Tokyo Prefecture District Attorney’s Office six months ago,” he takes a sip from his tea, “and I don’t drink coffee.”

Oikawa’s gaze sharpened. “Miyagi for all your years of schooling, huh?”

“Yeah, I lived there all my life before coming to work here,” Iwaizumi conceded begrudgingly.

“Oh? I’m from Miyagi, too. What high school did you go to?”

“Karasuno.”

“Really?” Oikawa laughed, shaking his head. “I went to Aoba Johsai.”

Iwaizumi faltered in surprise. Aoba Johsai was a high school that was notoriously difficult to get into, about an hour or so away from Karasuno. Iwaizumi had wanted to go there himself, but decided that the commute from his house to Karasuno was too much, and didn’t apply. He took a good look at Oikawa again; after further inspection Iwaizumi concluded that they were probably about the same age and honestly could’ve crossed paths at some point in high school.

“I think we played Aoba Johsai in volleyball once or twice,” Iwaizumi mused.

“You played volleyball?”

“Yeah,” Iwaizumi said, swallowing another mouthful of tea. Absentmindedly, he noted that this place had a pretty good brew of sencha.

Oikawa finished his milk bread with a flourish and grinned at Iwaizumi toothily. “So did I. When did you graduate?”

“2008,” Iwaizumi remembered. “I joined the team my second year, though.”

“Damn, I graduated in 2006,” Oikawa said, looking legitimately disappointed, “which means we just missed each other. What position did you play?”

“Wing spiker.”

“Nice,” Oikawa whistled. “I would’ve loved to set to someone as strong and manly as Iwa-chan in high school.” He waggled his eyebrows.

What the fuck, is he flirting with me? “Flattery will get you nowhere, asshole. How old are you anyway? Thirty?”

“Twenty-nine,” Oikawa said, miffed. “Do I look thirty?”

“It was just simple arithmetic. You graduated high school two years before me. I’m twenty-eight,” Iwaizumi said petulantly.

“Oh!” Oikawa brightened so fast that Iwaizumi got whiplash from seeing his expression change. “Yeah, I skipped the sixth grade.”

He snorted. “What a genius,” Iwaizumi drawled, rolling his eyes into the back of his head to prove his point.

Oikawa said indignantly, “Hey, they do call me that, you know. A genius lawyer.”

“Who’s they,” Iwaizumi deadpanned, even though he already knew the answer. Anyone in the Tokyo legal circle besides him knew Oikawa was excellent, apparently. But a petty part of Iwaizumi snarled, not wanting to give him the satisfaction.

Oikawa gave him a cutting, knowing smirk. “Your research abilities must be lacking if you couldn’t find out that much.”

“I don’t listen to unsubstantiated claims. I don’t see any evidence proving that you’re a genius.”

“Passing the bar before I graduated law school wasn’t enough for you?”

“No,” Iwaizumi grunted, even though he was impressed. Japan’s bar only admitted 25% of test applicants, and to pass before he even graduated law school was definitely a testament to Oikawa’s skill, unfortunately. “I’m sure you’re not the first one.”

That earned a chuckle out of the defense attorney. “You may be right about that, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa breathed, leaning in slightly to smirk at Iwaizumi and sending shivers running down his spine. “But I’m the one they’re talking about.”

“You are one arrogant motherfucker,” Iwaizumi retorted, trying his best to shrug off the way the hairs on his arm stood on end when Oikawa looked at him intently like that.

“Ah, that’s not very nice, Iwa-chan. I’m sure you don’t talk to Ushiwaka-chan like that.”

“Contrary to Mr. Genius Attorney, Ushijima is not an arrogant motherfucker.”

Oikawa’s jaw dropped open as he gave him an affronted glare. “Ushiwaka is very arrogant, Iwa-chan.”

“What? No, he isn’t. He’s confident, not arrogant.”

The defense attorney threw his hands up in the air in exasperation. Iwaizumi idly noticed that Oikawa had long fingers — a setter’s fingers, he realized, nimble and graceful. “You only think that because he’s your senpai,” the defense attorney accused. “When I decided to go to criminal defense, he had the audacity to tell him that I was going to be wasted there.” His face turned stony in a clear imitation of Ushijima’s expressionless resting face. “‘Oikawa. Forget your worthless pride and come serve justice. You will crash and burn with the criminals you protect.’ I mean, who the fuck says that?”

Iwaizumi thought back to what Ushijima had said about how unfortunate it was that Oikawa wasn’t a prosecutor. Frankly, that sounded exactly like something Ushijima would say. “He’s just honest.”

“Are you serious, Iwa-chan? Criminal defense is absolutely essential to society! Not everyone needs to go to jail. If all the good lawyers went to criminal prosecution, we would have a tyrannical justice system.”

Iwaizumi pondered that for a second, and while Oikawa was probably right, he wasn’t about to agree with him when he himself was a criminal prosecutor.

Besides, Akaashi’s words were still clear in his mind.

He’s the kind of lawyer who practices for the thrill of getting away with murder.

Immediately, Iwaizumi grimaced, eyeing Oikawa warily. He seemed genuine enough, but that Tendou Satori case was still imprinted fresh in his mind. Especially with Ushijima’s comments about Oikawa’s argument style, Iwaizumi was still relatively certain that Oikawa had somehow emotionally manipulated the jury in some way in that case.

“Yeah, but you’re still defending people who have literally killed people,” Iwaizumi argued back fiercely, wanting to protect his honor as an attorney. “And maybe worse.”

“Whatever, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa sniffed, dismissing Iwaizumi with a wave of his hand. “I don’t expect a public prosecutor to understand, anyway. We do have this system for a reason though, you can’t deny that.” He threw back the rest of his coffee and glanced down at his watch. “Oh, it’s five forty-five. I should get going,” Oikawa said, “I got to meet some coworkers for dinner.”

“Oh,” Iwaizumi said, caught off guard, looking down at his half-full and now lukewarm cup of tea. He finished the rest of his drink in a few large gulps, reaching down for his briefcase. “Sure.”

He stood up to leave, but Oikawa was already halfway out the door by the time Iwaizumi collected his things.

“Bye, Iwa-chan!” Oikawa called. “I’ll be in touch!”

And just like that, he was gone.

Iwaizumi stood there, briefcase in one hand and empty paper cup in another, and blinked.

He tossed his empty cup into the recycling bin and thanked the barista on his way out, walking out of Le Petit Raspberry and towards the direction where Oikawa and him came, headed to the courthouse parking lot so he could go home for the day. He strolled down the sidewalk, reflecting on the past hour he spent with his opposing counsel, feeling slightly bewildered, irritated, and intrigued all at once.

Only when he was halfway back did he realize that they didn’t talk about the case at all.

Fuck.

Chapter Text

Don’t underestimate him, Ushijima had said.

Iwaizumi wasn’t sure if he underestimated Oikawa, per se, but he most definitely let himself be swept up in Oikawa’s tempo. Oikawa, who was tauntingly infuriating and nerve-grating, completely dominated the conversation, and, unbeknownst to him, Iwaizumi completely went along with it the entire time. He hadn't even realized that they weren’t talking about the case — the very reason why Iwaizumi had agreed to meeting Oikawa in the first place.

He wasn’t sure if he should be impressed or annoyed. Presently, he was feeling both.

Iwaizumi chucked his briefcase in the backseat of his Audi and slid into the driver’s seat of his car where he sat for a few moments, conflicted. It wasn’t often where Iwaizumi completely forgot himself like that. Maybe back in high school, sure, where he didn’t need to be anything but brutally honest, but ever since he attended law school and realized that honesty was not the best policy in his industry of choice, he dialed his earnestness back and kept most things under a wry but personable mask.

But something about Oikawa just got under his skin and made him tick.

Iwaizumi dropped his head on the steering wheel and groaned. If anything, at least he wasn't nearly as nervous about Oikawa anymore. Instead, all he felt was his hair bristling on end in irritation and a persistent hum of annoyance like heat under his skin.

Iwaizumi hissed out a sigh, jabbing his key into the ignition and starting up his car with more force than was necessary. He backed out of his parking spot solemnly as he evaluated his first impressions of his opposing counsel. Akaashi warned him that Oikawa was charismatic; Ushijima cautioned him that he was charming. But Iwaizumi didn't feel charmed. Rather, he felt taunted, like Oikawa had gone in and set his nerves alight with a match, some mocking words and a cheeky smile.

Iwaizumi drove on the street back towards his apartment, turning on the radio to the classical music station to focus on the road back to his house. Once he arrived to his flat, however, he was left alone with nothing to distract him from his thoughts.

It was at times like these when Iwaizumi really missed having a roommate.

He considered calling Yahaba up, but while they were still friendly, Iwaizumi fell out of touch with his law school roommate over the past two years; to suddenly hit him up with news of his workplace drama was probably inappropriate. He thought about Kindaichi, but immediately cringed — the guy was busy enough and Iwaizumi didn’t want to tell his junior that he felt weird tension with his opponent on his biggest case yet. Sugawara would probably freak out, his impressions of a cool and wry Iwaizumi pounded to dust if he told him that he spent his entire time insulting Oikawa Tooru. Matsukawa would probably just laugh at him. And he didn’t know Akaashi, Daichi, or Asahi well enough to even think about exposing himself like that.

Iwaizumi sighed heavily, walking into his kitchen and pulling out some broccoli and chicken from his fridge after changing into more comfortable clothing. He chopped the raw meat and threw it into a wok, again trying to focus all of his attention on his stir fry, watching as the pink turned white and the broccoli wilt slightly with the heat of the stovetop. Dumping a hearty clump of leftover rice into a bowl, he didn't bother to microwave it as Iwaizumi scooped up his steaming chicken and broccoli on top of the cold rice.

He was halfway through his dinner when Iwaizumi felt a buzz from the pocket where he kept his phone. Still chewing on a piece of broccoli, he took the device out and paled when he saw the email notification on his work email account. Iwaizumi tapped it reluctantly.

 

Subject: Nice meeting today
From: oikawa@seijou.com
Date: June 12th, 2018, 7:58PM

Iwa-chan,

Sorry I had to leave so early today, pity I couldn’t talk to you more. We were getting along so well and I enjoyed our conversation thoroughly.

Most cafes close by the time we both get off work, and you don’t like coffee anyway, so what do you say about grabbing dinner next time?

Oh, and we need to talk about the case… per meet-and-confer rules.

P.S. You never told me what your favorite color was.

-Oikawa Tooru

 

Iwaizumi stared at the message, the nape of his neck prickling in trepidation as the words on his phone screen sunk in.

There were several things he could glean from this email. First of all, Oikawa knew exactly what he was doing when they didn’t talk about the case today. Secondly, Iwaizumi was fairly certain that although dinner for a meet-and-confer technically wasn’t against any rules, it most definitely was not standard. Thirdly…

Oikawa was definitely trying to bait him in some way or another.

Iwaizumi sat there at his kitchen table, broccoli floret still in his mouth as he tried to figure out what to do. Act indifferent? Clearly today demonstrated that he was likely incapable of doing that. He certainly couldn’t ignore Oikawa, as much as he probably should, because they were working on the same case, for God’s sake. And Oikawa was right — no cafes were open after 6PM, and Iwaizumi didn’t think meeting up on the weekend was any less problematic than meeting after work.

Iwaizumi’s frown deepened, thinking back to everything he had gathered on Oikawa Tooru in the past few days. There was a high probability that Oikawa was trying to figure out what exactly made him crack and what his weaknesses were in trial.

What a fucking asshole, Iwaizumi thought, grimacing.

But since he couldn’t get out of meeting and working, at least partially, with Oikawa, he might as well do the same and take this time in figuring out the defense attorney’s weaknesses. After all, overanalyzing and his attention to detail was what made him a good lawyer.

He considered the day’s events, remembering how Oikawa’s interest seemingly grew when Iwaizumi snarked back reflexively. His cutting smile when Iwaizumi bit back a little bit harder than someone ordinarily would. How his eyes gleamed when Iwaizumi surprised him.

He’s the kind of lawyer who practices for the thrill of getting away with murder.

So, Oikawa liked a challenge, huh? Fine.

Iwaizumi could play hard to get. It probably won’t even have to be that much of an act, if at all.

Resolve hardening and the pace of his heartbeat quickening, Iwaizumi opened up a reply draft to send back to Oikawa. Fortunately, it was a lot easier to control his words and emotional reactions over email. Not that it made a difference when Iwaizumi was going to be just as callous.

 

Subject: Re: Nice meeting today
To: oikawa@seijou.com
Date: June 12th, 2018, 8:09PM

Oikawa,

Don’t call me that disgusting name. This is my work email. Act professional for once, will you?

And it doesn’t seem like I have any choice in the matter, do I? We still need to talk about the case. Properly this time, no running away after forty minutes.

P.S. If you’re really a genius, shouldn’t you be smart enough to figure it out?

-Iwaizumi

 

He hit send, heart pounding in his ears in anticipation.

Iwaizumi received a reply not even two minutes later.

 

Subject: Re: Re: Nice meeting today
From: oikawa@seijou.com
Date: June 12th, 2018, 8:11PM

Iwa-chan,

Lighten up! o(≧∇≦o)

Wouldn’t dream of it. We can talk for hours, if you’d like.

We can meet at 6PM outside of the courthouse on Friday.

P.S. Blue, right? You are quite boring after all.

-Oikawa Tooru

 

Iwaizumi grunted. Blue was a good color.

 

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Nice meeting today
To: oikawa@seijou.com
Date: June 12th, 2018, 8:13PM

Oikawa,

No.

Fine.

P.S. You have a terrible personality.

-Iwaizumi

 

Iwaizumi eyed his phone screen one last time before setting it down next to his unfinished bowl of chicken and broccoli, and wondered if he was playing with fire. If anything, at least this would make his life a little less bland.

He just hoped that he wasn’t going to get burned.

 

-

 

“You look like shit,” Matsukawa pointed out bluntly as Iwaizumi dragged himself into work the following day.

“Thanks,” he grumbled in return, dropping down heavily into his chair and bracing himself for another day of hefty reading.

Matsukawa shrugged, kicking his legs up onto his desk casually, leather shoes perched high. “Case getting to you? Murders are pretty soul-sucking.”

“You could say that,” Iwaizumi said, even though honestly, the reason why he looked tired was probably because he watched Law and Order until one in the morning yesterday after his chicken and broccoli dinner. Iwaizumi derived pleasure from inwardly criticizing the Hollywood depiction of the legal investigation process; there was a lot more paperwork than those bastards are showing. And berating the show always cheered him up when he needed it. He needed a distraction from work. And Oikawa.

Matsukawa whistled sympathetically (at least, Iwaizumi thought it was sympathy; with Matsukawa it was honestly hard to tell) and reached across his desk to grab his cup of coffee. He took a deliberate sip. “Well, day three of discovery, let's talk about what we've found so far, Attorney-san.”

Iwaizumi nodded, taking a few files and documents out of his briefcase.

“So far, I haven't found anything out of the ordinary in terms of procedure,” Iwaizumi declared, running through all of the fact he’s absorbed in the past few days about the investigation process. “Daishou Suguru was Mirandized, the interrogation process went smoothly with Ennoshita-san as the investigating officer. The investigation team went in and got all the samples, photos, and I called into check with Tokyo Police and they have all of the evidence in. The defendant was released on a ¥10,000,000 bail. His girlfriend, Yamaka Mika, bailed him out. We might want to look into her for pretrial motions. Oikawa’s paralegal forwarded their list of witnesses to me after we sent ours to them, and she’s on there.”

Matsukawa hummed his assent. “You want to keep her out of the trial?”

“Yeah. She’s his girlfriend. She’s an unreliable witness. If she gave character testimony on the defendant who knows how Oikawa will spin it to emotionally manipulate the jury.”

“Oikawa, huh? You sound awfully familiar with him.”

Iwaizumi froze, shoulders stiffening as Matsukawa stared at him with half-lidded yet piercing eyes. He liked the paralegal and his sarcastic little quips, but he was extraordinarily difficult to read, and Iwaizumi felt vaguely judged whenever the conversation turned serious between them, like it was now. “I asked Ushijima on tips on how to beat him.” He hesitated, thinking about Le Petit Raspberry and Oikawa’s setter hands, curled around a coffee cup. “And I had a meeting with him yesterday.”

That earned an eyebrow raise from Matsukawa. “Meet-and-confer?”

“Yeah.” Iwaizumi was starting to feel incredibly guilty that they didn’t actually confer shit.

“Find anything useful out?”

“He’s an asshole,” Iwaizumi grunted, glancing down and away from Matsukawa’s keen gaze. “We only met for like, forty-five minutes. I think he just wanted to size me up,” he answered, deliberately leaving out the part where they talked about playing volleyball in high school and the moralities of defending a criminal and how the fact he was apparently now dubbed ‘Iwa-chan’ by Tokyo’s genius defense attorney.

“What, he ran away seeing your angry ass mug?”

And the snark was back, Iwaizumi internally breathing out a sigh of relief as he relaxed a bit, knowing he was off the hook for now. “Shut the fuck up, you have the nerve to call me out on how tired I look when you can’t even open your eyes all the way.”

“Touche,” Matsukawa said, smirking. Then he sighed, sobering. “Defense counsel’s probably going to get her in, just based on precedent. Wives testify for their husbands all the time.”

“Yeah, I know,” Iwaizumi said, “But I really don’t have anything else right now in terms of anything we need to clear up before the actual jury trial. Oikawa’s probably going to have a fuckton. We should comb through the interrogations. We have all the affidavits, right?”

“Yeah,” Matsukawa said, opening a drawer at his desk to hand Iwaizumi yet another stack of papers, which Iwaizumi took carefully. “The defendant’s on top. I looked through it already.”

Iwaizumi blinked, flipping over the page to see that Daishou Suguru’s affidavit was indeed on top of the file. “Yeah? Thoughts?”

“Well… I guess the more important thing is that he’s saying that his father attacked him first by attempting to strangle him and that his father has been abusive for his entire life.”

That got Iwaizumi’s attention, jolting up to meet Matsukawa’s gaze again. “Have you checked Daishou Katashi’s record yet?”

“I was going to do that today,” Matsukawa replied, turning back to his computer and opening a new browser.

Iwaizumi frowned. That meant that Oikawa was going to claim that Daishou’s actions were a result of self-defense under duress. Depending on whether the deceased had a criminal record of child abuse towards Daishou Suguru, this could very well be the thing that would cost them the case. Vividly, he thought back to Ushijima’s words from earlier that week: “Oikawa has a tendency to pull the heartstrings of the jury and convince them that the defendant does not deserve justice because they have suffered.”

Something like adrenaline started sparkling under his skin, and Iwaizumi couldn’t quite tell if it was from his anxiousness from having to face an excellent lawyer or the excitement of potentially being able to defeat one. Either way, his heart was pounding in his ears and all he could think about was Oikawa, the smirk tugging on his lips visible even across the courtroom, tension palpable in the air as they both searched for the best way to decimate the other’s argument.

Iwaizumi closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and began reading.

 

-

 

The rest of the week was spent researching as usual, Iwaizumi reevaluating the physical evidence to see if there was anything that could support Oikawa’s potential argument of self-defense. For all that he could observe, there weren’t signs of a struggle, which was a point in his favor, since that indicated that whatever happened between the defendant and his father wasn’t enough to warrant the absolute brutality of Daishou Suguru’s attack. Officer Ennoshita, who he had called when reviewing files, told him that though the defendant's neck was a bit red right after first responders appeared at the scene, there was no visible bruising in the hours following.

With the new information, Iwaizumi was beginning to form some claims and potential counterclaims for the trial. Ushijima had told him that Judge Nekomata had set the pretrial hearing to next Friday morning, which meant that he was going to officially cross paths with Oikawa Tooru in court in a week. But before then, Iwaizumi had his dinner with the defense attorney, where he was determined to take control of the conversation and actually find out about the defense’s position and points of contention.

Iwaizumi waited outside of the courthouse a bit earlier than scheduled, not wanting to be ambushed and caught off guard like last time. He leaned a bit against the building wall, eyes alert and scanning along the streets for a tall man in an expensive suit and carefully styled hair.

He glanced down at his watch, noticing that it was a few minutes after their scheduled time of 6PM. Frowning, Iwaizumi turned his gaze back up only to see a sleek black Mercedes convertible pull up to the curb in front of the courthouse.

Oikawa smiled, lowering his aviator sunglasses and peering at him intently over them. “Hope I didn't keep you waiting for long, Iwa-chan.”

“You are such an asshole,” Iwaizumi muttered, angrily admiring the elegant and polished body of Oikawa's car before walking up to it and swiftly hopping into the passenger seat. “Where the fuck are you taking me?”

“Ah, it's a surprise,” Oikawa teased as Iwaizumi clicked in his seatbelt.

“My paycheck can't handle something ridiculous,” Iwaizumi warned, taking a moment to glare at the defense attorney, who was wearing a midnight blue satin suit and that infuriating grin that Iwaizumi already hated.

“I know,” Oikawa said cheekily, pulling out of his parking spot at the curb fluidly. “That's why I'm paying.”

Iwaizumi stared at him. That sounded awfully like a date. Oikawa had paid last time for his tea, and though a cup of tea wasn’t a lot of money or anything, the way Oikawa dismissed him had Iwaizumi assuming that he foot the bill just to show off his wealth. And though it was possible that he might be doing that again, Iwaizumi wasn't quite sure he would go far to prove that he was loaded.

He wants something from me, Iwaizumi concluded. What exactly, he didn't know. But Iwaizumi was determined to find out, if only to quell the suspicious unease he felt at the thought of Oikawa flirting with him to gain an advantage against him during the trial.

“You wine and dine all of the lawyers you go against in court?” he asked gruffly.

“Who said anything about wine, Iwa-chan?” Oikawa returned playfully, wind threading through his hair as they rode down alongside the bustling bodies of the city. Iwaizumi glanced over at him to find Oikawa gazing out towards the road, lashes pointing downward and the profile of his face softly illuminated by the golden glow of dusk.

He turned away, oddly bothered by the sight. “You’re taking me to some bougie-ass restaurant and you won’t even buy me a few glasses of alcohol? What’s the point, then?”

“Milking me for my money, I see,” Oikawa said sadly, as if he wasn’t the one who wanted to take them to a fancy dinner and pay for the entire thing in the first place. They rolled to a halt at a stoplight and the defense attorney shot Iwaizumi a cocked eyebrow and a small little smile. “But to answer your question, no, I don’t. Only the hunks.”

And then Oikawa had the gall to fucking wink at him.

Iwaizumi stared at him unbelievingly.

Even if what Oikawa said was true, which it probably wasn’t, there was something to be said about the fact that Oikawa wanted him to believe that he was special. On the basis that he was attractive, which, well. Iwaizumi didn’t think he wasn’t attractive, but he definitely didn’t think he was particularly attractive either. He worked out, but Iwaizumi didn’t think that Oikawa could see his muscle definition through his suit. And both Yahaba and Matsukawa loved poking fun at his perpetual angry resting face, so Iwaizumi knew he wasn’t scoring points in the face category.

“I’m not going to acknowledge that,” Iwaizumi managed to get out, mainly because he didn’t know how to respond.

“Aha, Iwa-chan, lighten up, will you? I’m just saying you have the build of a wing spiker. Nothing more, nothing less,” Oikawa said flippantly.

Yeah right, asshole. “Don’t call me that.”

“Whatever, Iwa-chan.”

The two of them pulled up in front of a small Italian restaurant right on the outskirts of the Chiyoda Ward of Tokyo City, where the courthouse was. The establishment was homey but elegant, with soft yellow lighting and a cursive neon sign writing out Italian that Iwaizumi didn’t even want to try to pronounce.

Oikawa parked his beautiful Mercedes in the restaurant parking lot and stepped out of his car, motioning for Iwaizumi to do the same with a tilt of his head.

Well, here goes nothing.

Iwaizumi trailed him into the restaurant, where they were greeted by a young blonde, European-featured server who showed them to a table with broken, heavily accented Japanese. Oikawa flashed her a perfect, annoyingly bright smile and purred a “grazie” at her, which caused her to flush and hurry away as they took their seats. Iwaizumi pulled out his chair and sat down petulantly, unfolding the napkin triangle and placing it on his lap begrudgingly.

“Iwa-chan’s not very gentlemanly, is he, not pulling out my chair for me,” Oikawa pouted, but followed suit, gently putting his napkin down.

Iwaizumi jutted his chin out. “I didn’t realize you wanted to be treated like a woman,” he snarked, wondering if he was playing right into Oikawa’s hand.

But Oikawa’s eyes crinkled and he chuckled, opening the menu. “We’re in polite company, Iwa-chan,” he chastised. “Don’t be such a brute.”

Iwaizumi sneered at him, but internally his mind was racing to try to find out how to best steer the conversation in his favor. He flipped open his own dinner menu to see the half-Japanese, half-Italian writing, shrugging and picking the one dish he was familiar with.

Spaghetti.

Good enough, Iwaizumi decided, closing the menu and looking back up at Oikawa, who was staring intently at the menu, his eyes flickering from one page to another. As the defense attorney seemingly fought with himself on which pasta dish to choose (Iwaizumi never really understood that; all pasta was the same to him, it wasn’t like Japanese noodles like soba or ramen where there were distinct differences between each dish), Iwaizumi debated on how best to coerce some information out of the other lawyer. Get him drunk? Unlikely, Oikawa didn’t seem like the type to let down his guard that easily to a stranger. Subtly try to steer him into revealing information on the case? Oikawa could probably sense that from a mile away.

Option three: be as blunt as possible and hope that delights Oikawa Tooru enough into talking.

Given how Oikawa reacted before to Iwaizumi’s unfiltered personality, that was honestly and ironically his best bet.

“So,” Iwaizumi started, “the case.”

Oikawa snapped his menu shut, apparently having made his decision on what expensive ass pasta to order, and frowned at him. “Right to business, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa said in a disappointed tone. “Shouldn’t you butter me up first?”

“You should be buttering me up for running away on me last time.”

“To be fair, you didn’t bring up the case either.”

Fuck, he’s right. “That’s because I thought we would have more than half an hour to talk!”

Oikawa scoffed and flicked his hand, as if shooing away Iwaizumi’s protests. “That just means you had half an hour to ask me about points of contention,” Oikawa pointed out. “But because I am a nice and cooperative opposing counsel, I will indulge you.”

Iwaizumi let out a breath that he didn’t know he was holding as he proved himself right, opening his mouth to speak. But before he could, the Italian waitress from earlier came around with a basket of bread and butter, two glasses of water, and a notepad to write down their orders. He immediately grabbed a roll and his knife, cutting the bun open and slathering a pad of butter inside.

“The gnocchi ricci, please,” Oikawa announced. “And the cabernet sauvignon for both of us.”

“Oh,” Iwaizumi said, swallowing his bread. “I’ll get the spaghetti.” He quickly looked down to see the full name of the dish, which he honestly didn’t think to look at earlier. “The spaghetti alla carbonara.”

The waitress scribbled down their order, hurrying away to grab some glasses. Oikawa stared at him incredulously. “You come to the best Italian restaurant in the district and you order bacon spaghetti?”

“What,” Iwaizumi said, feeling oddly defensive over his choice of noodle, “didn’t you order pasta too?”

Lamb pasta, Iwa-chan, delightful soft pillows of dough covered in lamb ragu!”

“Whatever,” Iwaizumi snapped, biting into his bread roll, “I’m a simple man with simple tastes.”

“Clearly,” Oikawa muttered. The waitress came back with their wine and glasses, pouring each of them a hefty glass before placing the bottle on the table and retreating. The defense attorney lifted a glass with nimble fingers and gingerly sipped on the red alcohol.

Iwaizumi, on the other hand, gulped a mouthful of alcohol down before glowering at Oikawa straight in the eyes, not wanting to think about whatever the fuck that ‘clearly’ meant. “Anyways. The case.

“Ah,” Oikawa said. “Any chance we can settle and drop it?”

“You’re funny. No.”

“Shame,” the other lawyer said, shrugging nonchalantly, though Iwaizumi wasn’t fooled. The fucker probably wanted to go to trial. “I’m going to win, though. My client was acting in self-defense.”

“I already told you that you were funny, you can stop it with the jokes.”

“I’m serious,” Oikawa said, setting his drink down and fixing an extremely stoic stare on Iwaizumi, sending shivers down his spine at the sheer intensity of it. “My client was being abused by his father for his entire life. Even in his adulthood, he was being mistreated by Daishou Katashi. He was in the process of being strangled when he reached for the closest thing he could find to stop him.”

“Daishou Katashi was sixty-three when he died,” Iwaizumi pointed out dubiously. “You're telling me that the defendant couldn't have pushed him off or something?”

“My client was under duress,” Oikawa retaliated, passion pushing his speech to a higher speed. “If your abusive father tries to strangle you, you're going to want to try and stop it as quickly and immediately as you can. Pushing him off would just anger him more and undoubtedly make him try to strangle him again. Maybe even try another more lethal method of killing.”

Iwaizumi narrowed his eyes, silently cataloging Oikawa's words for when he had the opportunity to pick it apart. “That's speculation,” he hissed, reflexively drawing from his knowledge of court objections.

“It's common sense, Iwa-chan.”

“You're telling me that common sense is admissible in court? Don't be absurd.”

Oikawa's lips stretched into that unnervingly coy grin of his, eyes darkening as he took another careful sip of his wine. “And I'd advise you not to underestimate me, Iwaizumi.”

Iwaizumi stilled, deja vu tensing his muscles as Oikawa's words rang verbatim to Ushijima’s warning. His skin prickled, fight or flight instincts screaming at the sight of Oikawa's expression, all deathly calm and dangerously intense, stare so sharp that Iwaizumi could probably cut himself on it.

But he forced himself to quell his nerves. “I'm not,” Iwaizumi responded warily, “I'm just pointing the facts out. Not my fault that line of reasoning is easily objectionable.”

“That's cute,” Oikawa cooed, reaching over to grab a breadstick from the basket and swiftly tearing off a bite sized piece before slipping it into his mouth. “Don't worry. My case will be impenetrable. Once the judge overrules your first few objections, you won't be able to make anymore without him immediately dismissing them. And I'm going to win.”

Iwaizumi brought his glass of wine to his mouth carefully, absorbing Oikawa's words. Oikawa was certainly suave and teasing, but when it came to his prowess as an attorney, he seemed to jump at every opportunity to validate his skills. Iwaizumi drank thoughtfully. Perhaps he was overcompensating? For what, exactly? Oikawa already made it clear that he was considered a genius.

Iwaizumi filed the information for later, licking his lips to catch a few stray droplets of wine that missed his mouth when he was distracted with his thoughts. “I'm going to pierce through that unbreakable case of yours,” Iwaizumi said matter-of-factly with more balls than he currently possessed. “I'll decimate your argument.”

“Kinky, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa crooned, delighted at Iwaizumi's show of brazen confidence. “My, I didn't know you were so… aggressive.”

“Go die,” Iwaizumi said blankly, resisting the urge to throttle the defense attorney for purring around like some sort of wanton cat. Really, what was this guy's problem. Wasn't this unprofessional? Taking your opposing counsel on a dinner date and unashamedly flirting with them was probably problematic on so many levels that Iwaizumi didn't even want to begin to think about how messy this could potentially be.

But Oikawa clearly wanted him to snap back; to provoke a reaction from Iwaizumi. So no way in hell he was going to give him one, even when Iwaizumi wanted nothing more than to punch that smarmy little smirk off of his face.

The server from earlier came around with their food, placing a meaty dish in front of Oikawa and a plain looking dollop of spaghetti and bacon in front of Iwaizumi.

He stared at Oikawa's bowl.

“Those look like muddy slugs,” Iwaizumi bluntly told the other man, who reeled back in offense.

“You have absolutely no class,” Oikawa said, affronted, grabbing his fork and stabbing a lump of pasta pointedly.

Iwaizumi snorted, taking his fork and twirling it in his spaghetti. He chewed on the clump of pasta, begrudgingly admitting to himself that it was really good — creamy and salty and melt-in-your-mouth, with the right amount of bite to the actual noodle. Still though, he still much preferred a bowl of tonkotsu ramen from the stall near his apartment. There was something unbeatable about that fatty umami broth and the tender pork belly that this pathetic spaghetti could never fathom to overcome.

“Good, right?” Oikawa piped up, smug.

“I like ramen more,” Iwaizumi said simply. “I'm not impressed by this.” Which was a damn lie, but he stood by his Ukai’s ramen stall, and would die defending it to his last breath.

“So hard to please, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa sighed dramatically plopping a bite of lamb into his mouth.

Iwaizumi snorted in response. “I literally just told you I could be satisfied by a bowl of ramen. It’s not my fault you have no idea how to appeal to a normal person.”

“On the contrary, I find you the exact opposite of normal,” the defense attorney murmured, gaze half-lidded and unreadable as he leaned towards Iwaizumi slightly. On reflex, he pulled back, eyeing Oikawa warily, which seemed to make Oikawa chuckle. “Normal people don’t come to the priciest Italian restaurant in the area on someone else’s dime and order the cheapest thing off the menu. Normal people don’t insult me right off the bat. Normal people find me charming, but it seems like I’m only an annoyance to you.”

Hook, line, and sinker.

Iwaizumi wanted to congratulate himself for reading Oikawa correctly — he did seem intrigued by Iwaizumi’s resistance and outright hostility towards him — but something in him seized, an acute sense of something (unease? excitement? exhilaration?) curling in his stomach.

“I told you, I’m not impressed with the flashy shit and the whole charming genius thing,” Iwaizumi replied calmly. “I’m just here to meet my opposing counsel and win my case. The fact that I have to put up with someone like you is unfortunate.”

Oikawa opened his mouth, clearly about to respond with something ridiculous, but Iwaizumi quickly cut in, changing the subject. “Speaking of the case, is there anything you’re going to bring up in the pretrial hearing next week?”

The defense attorney smiled brightly. “Nope!”

What. “What.”

“I said no, there isn’t,” Oikawa said smugly. “I reviewed all the police tapes and each step of the investigations performed by the Tokyo Police. I didn’t see anything out of line, no excessive use of force or anything. Officer Ennoshita seemed to have acted in good faith for everything, so why bother?” He shrugged dismissively, idly scraping the sides of his bowl before placing his sauce-covered fork in his mouth. “I don’t like fighting meaningless battles.”

“So, you’re just going to let me use whatever evidence I want?” Iwaizumi asked confusedly, thinking about the brutal autopsy photos and the undisturbed crime scenes.

“You can use whatever you want, but you still won’t be able to beat me with it,” Oikawa baited, leaning back into his chair and picking up his glass smoothly.

Why you little — “You really are a cocky bastard,” Iwaizumi gritted out. “Fine. I’m going to argue against Yamaka Mika’s credibility as a witness, just to let you know.”

“Thanks for the information, Iwa-chan,” he said, finishing off the rest of his wine with a smack of his lips. “But you won’t win.”

Iwaizumi felt a vein pop in his temple as he forced himself to calm down at the sheer arrogance of this motherfucker. “Don’t underestimate me either,” he snarled, jabbing at his pasta with more ferocity than needed. “I haven’t lost a case yet and I’ve had a dozen in the past six months.”

“Scary,” Oikawa swooned mockingly, reaching over to grab the bottle of cabernet sauvignon and pouring himself another hearty helping of alcohol. He swirled the glass in his hand with a flourish before continuing, “But this is your first felony, isn’t it? You haven’t even started frying big fish and you’re already calling yourself a chef.”

Iwaizumi frowned, disturbed. He didn’t remember ever telling Oikawa that this case was his first felony. “How the hell do you know that?”

“I have eyes everywhere, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa said ominously behind his wine glass.

“Alright,” Iwaizumi declared, shoving another ball of spaghetti into his mouth, poking a few bacon bits onto the prong of his fork and plopping the little salty morsels of fat on his tongue. “that’s creepy. Did you ask Ushijima or something?”

At that, Oikawa recoiled in disgust, his features becoming distorted with utter disdain. “Hell no. Ushiwaka-chan and I don’t talk.

“What the hell happened between you guys, anyway? He’s not a bad guy.”

“Oh my God,” Oikawa said. “He is so fucking disrespectful, I swear. He called me a waste of talent and whenever he sees me he never fails to tell me that I picked the wrong side of the law, even when both prosecution and defense are essential to keeping the balance of society. Even at law school he was a piece of shit.”

“Look, he’s…” Iwaizumi searched desperately for the right word, “intense, but he just wants the best for everything and everyone. He always means well,” he said, defending his supervisor. Ushijima was certainly stern and at times, brutally critical; it bothered Iwaizumi immensely at first. But once Iwaizumi swallowed his pride and followed his advice, he improved by a considerable amount, so he definitely respected Ushijima, even though he didn’t seem like a real person at times. The man was a fucking robot.

“You think I don’t know that?” Oikawa sighed, sliding his remaining gnocchi onto his fork. “That’s what’s so frustrating. He’d always beat me out on tests, case studies, cold calls — whatever, you name it, he was always did a little bit better than me. He graduated valedictorian when I graduated salutatorian. And he was always like, ‘Oikawa, just be like me, and you’ll be better,’ and that shit’s fucking infuriating. ‘Weh weh, I’m Ushijima and I’m perfect.’ Fuck you, Ushiwaka-chan.”

Ah, Iwaizumi thought, he really is insecure.

“You seriously are the worst,” Iwaizumi said exasperatedly, finishing off the last of his pasta, satisfied with the caloric, sodium-heavy pile of food that he already knew was going to fuck with his workout routine. “Don’t be so jealous, it’s going to age you.”

“Right where it hurts, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa mourned. “You already know how to wound me.”

“You don’t make it hard.”

“Rude.”

The waitress walked up to their table and collected their empty plates, placing the check on the table when she finished cleaning the space. Iwaizumi took a quick peek at the tab out of curiosity before glancing away in horror.

¥11,000?!

What the fuck, he thought. That was nearly four times what he would usually pay for a nice dinner out, for God’s sake. But Oikawa nonchalantly placed his credit card on the tab, beckoning the server to grab it with a crook of his finger and a smile.

She blushed, and Iwaizumi scowled, downing the last of his wine.

The two of them walked out of the restaurant side by side, Iwaizumi absently noting how dark it had gotten. He glanced down at his watch, blinking in surprise when he realized that two hours had already passed since he left the courthouse.

“Ah, damn,” Iwaizumi muttered under his breath. “It’s late.”

“Iwa-chan has somewhere to be?” Oikawa asked curiously as they entered his car and pulled out of the parking lot, heading out onto the road, illuminated by the city lights of the buildings around them. “Girl waiting for you at home?”

“What? No,” Iwaizumi said. He was only thinking about the Law and Order episodes that he wanted to watch.

“I see,” Oikawa replied simply, riding out onto the streets towards the direction they came. “Where should I drop you off?”

“The courthouse is fine. My car’s there.”

The two of them spent the rest of the drive in a relative silence, which honestly surprised Iwaizumi a bit, given that the defense attorney hadn’t shut up for a single moment previous. But when he looked over at Oikawa, whose features had softened into a thoughtful expression, Iwaizumi just shrugged and leaned back into the seat, watching as yellow taxis and nameless faces passed him by. There wasn’t really much to talk about anyway — Iwaizumi had already gotten what he need to know about what to expect for pretrial next week from the dinner conversation earlier, so he just sat quietly and admired the beauty of Tokyo at night, a neverending expanse of city and so completely opposite of his hometown in Miyagi.

Oikawa dropped him off at the curb in front of the courthouse building where he had picked Iwaizumi up earlier.

“Goodnight, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa chimed, smiling as Iwaizumi hopped out of his Mercedes.

“Thanks for the meal, I guess,” Iwaizumi said begrudgingly. “I’ll see you next week.”

“Looking forward to it.”

The convertible drove off, leaving Iwaizumi as he walked towards the parking lot where his own vehicle was parked.

He had a lot to think about.

 

Chapter Text

“So let me get this right, Iwaizumi-san,” Akaashi said, nonplussed, “Oikawa Tooru took you to Puccini's, complimented your physique, insulted your palate, and then paid for the ¥11,000 dinner without a single word and drove you back?”

“Well, yeah,” Iwaizumi replied slowly, munching on a mouthful of tempura, “that, uh. Pretty much sums it up.”

The two of them sat in a small, slightly worn-down restaurant a block away from the courthouse, which was nearly completely barren save for a few banners hanging overhead written in kanji and a few potted plants in the corners of the seating area. Iwaizumi had asked Akaashi to grab lunch with him the Monday following his dinner with Oikawa on Friday night, curious to hear his opinion on what had happened. As far as he knew, Akaashi was the only person he was acquainted with besides his boss that actually knew Oikawa in person. And Akaashi — cool, composed, dry Akaashi with a crystal clear timbre in his voice and a serene grace to his movements — was nice company.

Akaashi cocked his head questioningly. “Well, the money thing doesn't surprise me,” he concluded as he took a delicate bite from his rice bowl. “I highly doubt ¥11,000 is of any consequence to him. But you said he insulted you?”

“It's more like… he spent the entire time riling me up and laughing at me when I snapped at him,” Iwaizumi recalled. “And he looked so pleased when I did.”

He left out the part about how he didn't try to hold back his irritation because he wanted to see if his hypothesis was right. He was pretty sure that Oikawa liked egging him on and was intrigued by Iwaizumi's resistance to his tactics, so he kind of just let himself snap at him. Not that he could stop himself from getting annoyed by Oikawa anyway, but that was beside the point.

“Well, I've only met Oikawa-san a handful of times,” the other attorney mused, “so I might not be the best person to ask. But he's always been polite to me. Very attentive and gentlemanly, though Kuroo-san always says otherwise.”

“Kuroo?”

“Kuroo Tetsurou,” he clarified. “He's an associate at Seijou as well. A friend of mine, and also a friend of Oikawa’s. I met Oikawa at a few networking events that Kuroo-san took me to.”

Iwaizumi paused, taking the time to slurp up a few noodles from his udon. “I see,” he said lamely. “What does Kuroo say then?”

“That he's a pain in the ass.”

He snorted. “That sounds more like the Oikawa I've met as opposed to the Mr. Suave you've been describing.”

“Indeed,” Akaashi agreed as he took a sip of his tea, the steam from the drink fogging up his glasses a bit. “He must feel very comfortable with you if he drops the act whenever he’s around you.”

Iwaizumi faltered, pondering his words tentatively as he considered Oikawa: infuriating and teasing and with a penchant for blatant flirting and cockiness. It was like Oikawa was begging to provoke him in some way; to discover what made Iwaizumi lose his cool so he could take advantage of that anger and turn it against him in court.

“Nah,” he said eventually, “I think he just wants to piss me off.”

Akaashi hummed, swallowing another bite of food before speaking. “I see. Why do you think that?”

“I think he wants to figure out what makes me tick. Or something. He called me weird for not wanting to take advantage of his money and for not being wooed by his looks.”

“And what did you say?”

“That I’m a simple guy and I don't need things like ¥3,000 pasta.”

Akaashi contemplated this, eyes turning skyward as he took in Iwaizumi's words. He blinked owlishly and lowered his head to peer at him over his thick black frames. “If you ask me,” the other man said slowly, “I think he just wants to impress you.”

That caught Iwaizumi off guard, hand stilling in surprise as he reached for his soup spoon. “What do you mean by that?”

“I mean, I don't claim to know Oikawa-san very well, but from what Kuroo-san tells me, he seems to thrive off of praise,” Akaashi said, finishing off the last of his rice bowl and gingerly patting his mouth with a napkin. “The fact that you haven't been impressed by him probably makes him want to try to impress you more.”

Iwaizumi thought about Oikawa's tirade on Ushijima, and how despite his obvious and incredible skill as a lawyer he still scrambled at the chance to prove his worth. With a small grimace, he nodded, Akaashi’s words fitting in perfectly with his experience with the defense attorney.

“You might be right,” Iwaizumi conceded. “For someone who’s heralded as a genius, he spent an awful amount of time bragging about how good he is. You’d think someone with that kind of reputation wouldn’t need to showboat like that.”

Akaashi reached for his tea again. “Yes,” he affirmed, before taking another drink from his cup. “Kuroo has mentioned his propensity to brag. Says he’s a sad, insecure man who has a massive inferiority complex for Ushijima-san.” He paused. “Well, he used ‘hard-on’ instead of ‘complex,’ but I assume that’s what he meant.”

Iwaizumi snorted. “Fair enough,” he replied, thinking about Oikawa's rant. He definitely seemed like he needed to constantly prove his worth, or something. Still though, there was something he still wondered about.

“How do you explain the whole 'hunk’ thing?”

“Yeah, that's beyond me,” Akaashi shrugged. “Maybe he just likes you.”

Yeah, right.

Iwaizumi certainly didn't like Oikawa, but he had eyes, and it was no question that the man was attractive, almost jaw-droppingly so. Someone like him — prodigious, wealthy, beautiful — could never be genuinely interested in someone like himself, who was maybe slightly above-average in most aspects of life. By the laws of the universe, it simply didn't make sense. Chances were that Oikawa was just playing around with him before he sunk his jaws into him like a predator when the trial finally came around.

But, he absently thought to himself, maybe it'd be nice if Oikawa was actually interested in him.

Wait, what.

Spluttering, Iwaizumi choked on his noodle soup, hacking as he struggled to regain his breath and composure. He pounded on his chest a bit, wheezing, and Akaashi thrusted Iwaizumi's glass of water at him worriedly.

“Sorry,” he gasped, wondering wherever the hell that thought came from, “sorry.” He coughed some more to clear his throat, gratefully accepting the cup from Akaashi and chugging the contents.

Intrusive thoughts, he reprimanded his brain, what the fuck. Oikawa is a disgusting, abhorrent little man. He is arrogant and entitled. He is bad news. I repeat: he is bad news.

After getting his shit together and giving a final, decisive cough, Iwaizumi said, “Yeah, um, no. I don’t think so.”

“Are you okay, Iwaizumi-san.”

“Y-Yeah. Yeah, just. Just caught me off guard a little with that. It’s so preposterous, haha. Ha.” Fucking Christ.

Akaashi frowned at him. “If you say so,” he said reluctantly, clearly disbelieving but letting the matter go, motioning the waiter over to grab the check, turning his attention away from Iwaizumi for the moment.

Inwardly, Iwaizumi groaned, sipping at his water morosely as he shut his eyes and tried to quell whatever feeling was threatening to leap from his stomach to his throat, not wanting to identify the emotion or even think about it at all.

He had a pretrial hearing to worry about, after all.

 

-

 

A pre-trial hearing that he spent the rest of the week preparing for, constantly reviewing his notes and creating pages of arguments and potential counterclaims in anticipation of Oikawa’s argument. He did his best to follow Ushijima’s advice while building his argument: stockpile the facts, and then use the overwhelming evidence to prove Oikawa wrong. Still though, by the time Friday rolled around, Iwaizumi was decidedly pretty nervous — and it showed.

“Dude,” Matsukawa said, “stop knocking shit over, you big oaf.”

“Sorry,” Iwaizumi muttered, reaching over to pick up his pen from the ground before his swivel chair decided to betray him and slip farther than he intended, nearly knocking him off balance before he scrambled to grip onto a nearby file cabinet. “Fuck.”

“Man, what the hell are you so jittery for?” Matsukawa frowned, looking at Iwaizumi’s fumbling form pitifully. “You’ve done pretrials before. You’ve even lost some of them, and to be honest, even if you lose this one, it’s not going to be a big deal at all. Her testimony doesn’t undermine all the evidence we’ve found.”

Grumbling, Iwaizumi straightened up at his desk, organizing his files for the fourth time that morning. “I know,” he admitted. “But it's my first felony. And I just know that Oikawa’s going to use her testimony to pull a fast one on me in trial, so I’d rather keep her out entirely. That guy gets on my fucking nerves.” Oikawa, dammit, fuck what Akaashi suggested about possibly liking him . Iwaizumi didn’t even want to think about that.

“Tell you what, man,” Matsukawa said, scooting his chair over and placing a hand on Iwaizumi’s shoulder. “If you win, I’ll buy you a drink in celebration. If you lose, I’ll buy you two drinks so we can mope. That way if you lose, at least you get extra alcohol out of it.”

“Only two? Isn’t that a little stingy?”

Matsukawa shrugged. “I’m a paralegal. I don’t get paid as much as you big shot attorneys. If you’re super emo by the end of it I’ll buy you three drinks, because I’m that nice.”

“Thanks, Matsukawa,” Iwaizumi replied, not really comforted, but at least the thought of a neat whiskey at the end of the tunnel was nice. He glanced down at his watch. “It’s almost nine-thirty. I gotta get down to the second floor.”

The paralegal moved his hand from Iwaizumi’s shoulder to his head, ruffling his hair ferociously before giving him a shove towards the door. “Break a leg, porcupine head.”

Porcupine head? Iwaizumi wondered as he walked out the door and to the elevator. That’s a new one.

As he waited in the lobby for the elevator cab to arrive, Iwaizumi tried his best to unknot the ball of nerves that were accumulating in the pit of his stomach. Matsukawa had said that Oikawa probably was going to get Yamaka Mika in based on precedent, and he was definitely right. But Iwaizumi did his damndest to scourge up previous cases he could use to support the argument that he had spent the past week creating.

The elevator doors drew open and Iwaizumi stepped in, nervously carding his fingers through his hair to fluff it back to its normal state. Pressing the button, he stared down at his shoes, focusing on the present and on his breathing, letting the oxygen relax his muscles as he concentrated. He thought of Kindaichi’s words to him on the phone the other night: you’ll do great, senpai! You’ve never lost a case before, and you won’t lose this one, either!

Once he started feeling a bit more confident in himself, the elevator chimed and rolled to a stop, the doors opening to the second floor. Iwaizumi headed out of the elevator and tread straight towards Courtroom 104, where the pretrial was supposed to be held. He approached the courtroom doors to find his opposing counsel already there in the corridor, waiting with his client.

Daishou Suguru looked so much more worn down and tired than in the photos that Iwaizumi had saw of him; there he looked sinister, with slitted eyes, abnormally wide smile, and that typical undercut hairstyle that seemed to belong to all the douches in the finance industry. Now, upon closer inspection, the defendant appeared absolutely exhausted, his snake-like eyes drooping and sagging and his mouth was pressed into a perpetual thin line.  As if the case had taken a physical toll on him.

“Ah, Iwaizumi-san,” Oikawa greeted, interrupting his thoughts, his usual lilting tone completely gone as his voice rang out clear and crisp. “Nice to see you again. This is Daishou Suguru, my client.”

Iwaizumi blinked, shocked at the stark differences between this Oikawa and the Oikawa he had met previously. Startled, he glanced over at the defense attorney, who was wearing in a navy pinstripe suit and a slight, polite smile on his face as he looked back at Iwaizumi with professional air and calmness in his perfect posture.

The one thing that hadn’t changed much was his eyes: still dangerous, still hungry. Still set every single alarm in Iwaizumi’s body off.

This is the lawyer Oikawa, Iwaizumi realized slowly, a slight chill running up his spine. Fucking hell, he even called me Iwaizumi-san.

He forced himself to pull his lips up into a polite little smile of his own and extended his arm out to shake the defendant’s hand. “Iwaizumi Hajime,” he offered, completely aware that Oikawa must have told him about himself already. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“Likewise,” Daishou said shortly, taking Iwaizumi’s hand into a brief but aggressive handshake. The defendant’s hand were cold and bony in his, almost skeletal and spindly like an insect’s legs.

“I believe we’re just waiting for Judge Nekomata, then?” Oikawa cut in.

“Yes,” he agreed, nodding, still a bit unsure how to deal with this new version of Oikawa. Clearly he should’ve anticipated that Oikawa was going to get serious for actual trial; the man didn’t earn his reputation by flirting around and being provocative in court. But this. Was this really the same guy he had dinner with last week?

Iwaizumi searched his face for any sign of familiarity — any hints of a smirk, or the tease of a raised brow, and came up with nothing.

Well, this is terrible, the quease of apprehension in his stomach unfurling into something uglier and all-encompassing, a sense of unease prickling on his skin as he turned away from Oikawa’s stare. Distantly, he heard the sound of footsteps patting on the marble floors of the corridors and silently thanked God for sending Judge Nekomata at the perfect time. Iwaizumi didn’t know how much longer he could handle standing around awkwardly and trying his best not to suffocate on the tension in the air.

“Counsels,” the older man acknowledged, donned with black judicial robes and a firm stare, “and defendant. Please come in.”

The judge unlocked the doors and swung them open, revealing an empty courtroom. The space was cozy and largely wooden, the sienna shade of mahogany lining the walls and the rows of chairs normally reserved for spectators. In the center of the room were two large desks that faced the elevated, elongated bench reserved for the judge, and in the space between the two desks was a podium for lawyers to use while presenting their arguments. A clerk, a beautiful raven-haired girl with a beauty mark on her chin, was already at a small desk at the foot of the judge’s table, clicking away at a computer before looking up and acknowledging their presence with a thoughtful stare. Judge Nekomata strolled over to the back of the room to take his seat at the bench, and Oikawa and the defendant approached the right table.

Iwaizumi squared his shoulders and took his seat at the prosecution table.

“Counsel for the prosecution,” Judge Nekomata declared, his booming voice making Iwaizumi jolt as he organized his notes, “I believe that you are bringing the case for pretrial today?”

Iwaizumi stood in acknowledgement, the movement etched into his muscle memory as he arose from his seat. “Yes, your Honor.”

“Odd, that,” Judge Nekomata said. “You are only bringing one motion to my attention, correct? And that is the matter of witness credibility of Yamaka Mika?”

“Yes, your honor.”

“And counsel for the defense.” At that, Oikawa also stood, buttoning his suit jacket closed as he straightened under the pensieve look from Judge Nekomata. “No pre-trial motions from the defense?”

Oikawa’s voice rang out, crisp like spring water, as he replied, “None, your Honor.”

“Very well. Counsel for the prosecution, you may proceed.”

“Yes, your honor,” Iwaizumi said, bracing himself as he fished out his notes and walked over to the podium. As he stepped up to the stand, he glanced over at Oikawa, who was leaning back in his chair, completely relaxed with his arms crossed over his chest. Something unreadable whirled in the depths of his eyes as he stared back at Iwaizumi with such fervor that he could feel the hairs on his arm prickle in response.

Iwaizumi inhaled sharply.

Don’t think about him, he repeated to himself. You’re just here to win your case. That’s it.

“Again, Iwaizumi Hajime for the prosecution,” he announced, making sure to make eye contact with with Judge Nekomata before launching himself into his argument.

“First, let me start off with a brief introduction to the facts of the case for your Honor’s convenience, and then I’ll speak on the defense’s decision to include Yamaka Mika in trial and why she should be excluded,” Iwaizumi started. “Daishou Suguru, the defendant, aged 30, killed his father on the night of April 11th, 2018 in a violent confrontation in the home of the deceased, Daishou Katashi. The defendant used a wine bottle to strike his father in the temple, which fractured the skull and caused a brain hemorrhage, killing the man within minutes. The defendant called 911, but by the time emergency responders arrived at the scene, the victim had already passed.”

He took a minute to let his words sink in before speaking again. “Daishou Suguru was then detained and released on bail. His girlfriend, and the woman in question in today’s pretrial, Yamaka Mika, paid the ¥300,000,000 in full from a card that is directly linked to the defendant’s bank account. That’s a lot of money, your Honor, money that Yamaka Mika only had access through from the defendant.”

“Counsel,” Judge Nekomata asked, the crease between his eyebrows deepening in thought, “how is Yamaka Mika’s finances relevant to her reliability as a witness?”

Iwaizumi paused, gaining a bit more confidence as he arrived to his main point. “Your Honor, Yamaka Mika is unemployed. Her entire life is financed by the defendant, who was employed as a managing director at his late father’s company, Nohebi Inc. Yamaka Mika’s livelihood depends on the defendant’s innocence, and should she be brought in as a witness, the risk of her committing perjury is far too great.”

Judge Nekomata nodded, satisfied with the answer. Iwaizumi took another deep breath and continued, briefly checking over his notes.

“The 1978 case of Masuda v. The Prefecture of Nagasaki provides us with guidance in how we proceed in today’s case. In Masuda, the defendant’s wife, who was financially dependent on the defendant, was later found guilty of committing perjury after the verdict on the case with her husband was already rendered. The counsel for the prosecution filed a post-trial motion to suppress her testimony and asked for a retrial, which was granted. The same can be directly applied to our case, where a financially dependent partner of the defendant is likely to lie on the stand for their partner.

“In addition, Yamaka Mika was not present at the scene of the incident, and thus would only be present to prove the defendant’s character, which, like I mentioned earlier, can immediately be called into question due to the inherent unreliability of Yamaka Mika’s position.

“Please grant the prosecution’s motion to suppress Yamaka Mika’s testimony from the trial,” Iwaizumi concluded, feeling his muscles relaxing as he finished his initial argument, returning to his seat at the prosecution table.

“Very well,” Judge Nekomata said. “Response from the defense?”

Oikawa, in one fluid motion, got up, buttoning his suit jacket as he did so. But instead of approaching the podium with his notes like Iwaizumi did, he simply stood by his desk, no papers to be seen. Actually, now that Iwaizumi could take a good look over at him, Oikawa didn’t have anything prepared on his desk — not files or even a briefcase.

All Iwaizumi could think was what the fuck before Oikawa opened his mouth.

“Your Honor,” his opposing counsel declared smoothly, voice echoing out in the largely empty chambers of the courtroom, “Yamaka Mika’s credibility as a witness should not be even a question in today’s trial. First, let me refute all of my opposing counsel’s points, and then I will offer reasoning of my own for your Honor’s consideration.”

Iwaizumi stared at Oikawa, empty-handed, his posture screaming confidence as he gestured along with the cadence of his speech naturally.

“In regards to the case of Masuda v. The Prefecture of Nagasaki that opposing counsel mentioned, let me be clear that the possibility of perjury occurring is next to none. We have cases every single day that allow the partners, family, and other people of close relation to a defendant to testify on the grounds of offering character testimony for the defendant. To exclude Yamaka Mika’s testimony would be to call a ban to all partners, family, and friends from ever testifying in trial.”

Iwaizumi’s jaw dropped. That was not what he said at all. He nearly protested, but jammed his mouth shut after he remember that objections weren’t allowed in pretrial. Fuck.

“In the Japanese legal system, we have a core principle that defines all of our actions in pursuing all legal matters in good faith: the presumption of innocence. I’m sure I don’t need to explain it to you, Your Honor, but for the sake of my argument and for opposing counsel,” Oikawa shot a condescending look at Iwaizumi that was so powerful he flinched, “I will go into further detail on how this core value is being grossly violated by opposing counsel’s argument.

“You see, your Honor,” Oikawa continued, shifting his attention from a stunned Iwaizumi back to Judge Nekomata, “by comparing Yamaka Mika, who hasn't even testified in trial yet, to a woman who blatantly lied on the stand we are to automatically assume Yamaka Mika guilty of perjury. Opposing counsel is expecting that Yamaka Mika will commit a felony, and on what grounds? On the grounds that she is in a committed relationship with my client, who may be wealthier than she is? With all due respect, your Honor, it is ridiculous to even acknowledge such an unacceptable line of reasoning when it is so inherently against our legal system.”

Oh my god.

Iwaizumi felt so thoroughly roasted that he didn't even know how to react. Oikawa didn't even bring up any facts or any case law that would supplement his argument — he straight up just told Judge Nekomata that Iwaizumi was a shitty lawyer. And he did it in a way that completely decimated Iwaizumi's character, which he didn't even know could he called into question as a prosecution attorney. He wasn't the one on trial, so why did it feel like he was the one being cross-examined and scrutinized under the eyes of law?

If Iwaizumi hadn't felt so fundamentally fucking insulted, he'd be impressed.

Oikawa, however, wasn't done. Taking a step towards the Judge bench, he lowered his voice from loudly passionate to deadly calm and serious, the timber of his voice deepening. “In addition, like I mentioned earlier, we can look at countless cases where people of close relation to the defendant were able to testify as character witnesses even despite their presence at the incident in question. For starters, I can list a handful for your Honor to consider, including the 1895 case of Watanabe v. The Prefecture of Osaka, the 1943 case of Shiro v. The Superior Court of Japan, and the 1997 case of Shirabu v. The Prefecture of Hokkaido. If your Honor would like me to proceed, I can explain how each of these cases negate opposing counsel’s argument.”

“No, that's alright,” Judge Nekomata said shakily, clearly shocked by Oikawa's impassioned tirade that completely obliterated Iwaizumi to shreds. Even the clerk, the bespectacled young woman who had been transcribing all of the court exchanges, seemed startled by Oikawa's words. “I am familiar with those cases.”

Mentally scrambling, Iwaizumi desperately ran through his memory for possible ways to respond to Oikawa's speech. But Iwaizumi didn't prepare for this at all — he prepared to respond to case law, like the ones that Oikawa just mentioned but didn't even talk about because apparently Judge Nekomata thought that Oikawa's renouncing of his ability as a lawyer was enough for him.

But he had to say something, for God's sake, if not only to defend his pride as a prosecutor, even if it was just a little.

Clenching his jaw, Iwaizumi pushed himself up off the desk, feeling the humiliation bubble inside his chest as he looked up at Judge Nekomata. “Response, your Honor?” he gritted out through his teeth.

Judge Nekomata just gave him a pitiful look. “Proceed.”

This time, Iwaizumi didn't even approach the stand. He knew this was going to be short. “Although I appreciate opposing counsel’s lively speech,” he said, trying his best to throw some shade back at Oikawa and protect his dignity, “I would like to remind your Honor that we didn't actually hear any factual reasoning from the defense. In addition, I was neither accusing Yamaka Mika of perjury or insinuating that she certainly will, I merely was suggesting that it was a definite possibility considering her position and relation to the defendant.”

With cheeks burning, he ducked his head and lamely finished, saying, “Thank you, your Honor, and please suppress Yamaka Mika's testimony,” knowing full well that his response was absolutely pathetic.

Judge Nekomata grunted, and looked over at Oikawa, who was more or less lounging back in his seat at the defense table. “Response from the defense?”

Oikawa stood up with finality. “No response needed, your Honor,” he said simply, not even dignifying Iwaizumi's last attempt with an answer.

Iwaizumi fought the urge to cup his face in his hands and hide away from the world, overheating with embarrassment and shame. Yeah, he had lost some pretrial motions before, but he had never had his ass so thoroughly handed to him like that in such a frighteningly quick and efficient manner. Again, Iwaizumi would be awed if it happened to anyone but himself.

But here he was, resolve crumbling quietly in the mahogany walls of the courtroom, and Oikawa Tooru, genius defense attorney extraordinaire, did exactly what he said he would: he beat Iwaizumi in pretrial, and he didn't even break a sweat doing it.

“The court has reached a verdict,” Judge Nekomata announced after taking virtually no time to consider what has been presented. “The testimony of Yamaka Mika will not be suppressed for the trial of Daishou Suguru. Are there any other motions to consider?”

At the confident quiet of Oikawa and Iwaizumi's own humiliated, fuming silence, Judge Nekomata slammed his gavel down, the loud sound ringing throughout the room. “Court is dismissed,” he declared. “The trial date will be decided at the earliest convenience of both prosecution and defense counsels.” And with that, Judge Nekomata retreated to a back door where the judge's chambers were.

Iwaizumi, with trembling hands, scooped his unused case law packets together and shakily tucked them away into his briefcase. He briefly glanced down at his watch, and to his abject horror, realized that the entire ordeal took less than half an hour. It wasn’t even ten in the morning yet. Feeling even worse, he stood and brushed his suit off, whipping around when he heard steps approaching him.

“Save it, Oikawa-san, ” Iwaizumi hissed at the defense attorney, not caring that the defendant was right behind him and the fact that his professionalism was in the process of being severely compromised. “I get it. You're good. But don't you dare get cocky about this,” he snapped, heat creeping from the nape of his neck to his ears, flushing the skin there pink with chagrin, “and you're really a massive asshole.”

Oikawa, for the first time that day, dropped his lawyer mask and stared back at Iwaizumi in surprise. He opened his mouth, as if to say something, but Iwaizumi stormed out of the courtroom, not wanting to hear any more of Oikawa’s bullshit.

He had never been so thoroughly humiliated in his entire life.

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi walked back into his office gripping the handle of his briefcase so hard that the entire bag trembled in his hand.

Yes, he went into the pretrial that morning knowing he wasn’t probably going to win, given that preceding cases set a standard of allowing character witnesses in the trial. Matsukawa had warned him of such, and Iwaizumi completely recognized the fact. He just wanted to at least try to get a key character witness out of the trial.

Still, though, he didn’t expect to be so thoroughly decimated. Oikawa didn’t even give him a chance — he went straight for Iwaizumi’s jugular and tore his neck through his teeth without any mercy. The defense attorney didn’t even fucking respond to his rebuttal, which was hands down the worst part of the entire thing. Like his response was so bad that Oikawa didn’t even want to acknowledge its existence.

One thing was for certain: whatever Akaashi said before about Oikawa actually liking him? Yeah, that was utter bullshit. After tearing him a new one in today’s pretrial, there was no way in hell that the man was interested in him. He just wanted to drag Iwaizumi through the mud and mess with his head while he was at it, and Iwaizumi couldn’t believe, even if only for a brief second, that he was so stupid to consider the possibility that Oikawa might actually like him.

He forcibly swung the door open to find Matsukawa, who jolted at the sudden sound of the door nearly being slammed off its hinges. “Iwaizumi, what—”

“You’re buying me four drinks.”

“—the fuck,” Matsukawa finished. “What the fuck. That fast?”

Iwaizumi threw his briefcase on the ground next to his swivel chair and sat down so hard that his chair slipped dramatically and scooted a foot away from his desk. “He didn’t even use case law,” he roared, the embarrassment from earlier darkening to anger. “He questioned not only my ability as a lawyer, but my sense of morality, saying that I didn’t fucking understand the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ I’m a fucking trial lawyer, of course I fucking know what ‘innocent until proven guilty’ means!”

“Woah,” Matsukawa said, his thick eyebrows jumping to his hairline. “Slow down there, buddy.”

“No,” Iwaizumi snarled, fuming in rage and shame, “do you know how fucking embarrassing that was? I made my initial argument and Oikawa took everything I said and used it against me. I didn’t even say that much, because I was planning on using my time to refute the case law that he didn’t even fucking use.

“Iwaizumi—”

“Matsukawa, I didn’t even know what to say! I had nothing to say! I had prepared all of these responses to the potential cases that he could’ve used and he goes and undermines my fucking law degree. And he made it make so much sense that Judge Nekomata believed him and ruled only based on his insults and nothing else .”

Matsukawa placed a hand on Iwaizumi’s shoulder, patting it in attempts to get him to calm a bit. “Iwaizumi, listen to me,” the paralegal insisted, talking him down, “it’s fine. Remember what I told you earlier? Yamaka Mika’s testimony doesn’t matter that much anyway, the jury’s going to know it’s impacted and biased. It doesn’t discount all the other evidence and testimony that we have.”

With that, Iwaizumi slumped in his swivel chair, his form crumpling against the soft cushions of the seat. “I know,” he grumbled, “but that doesn’t make it any less terrible. I’ve lost pretrial motions, but I’ve never lost anything that badly. He kicked my ass in like, fifteen minutes. And he did it by insulting me!”

Sighing, Matsukawa removed his hand from Iwaizumi’s shoulder and rolled away slowly in his own swivel chair. “Look,” he said, trying to focus on the positive side, “maybe this is a good thing, you know? You’re right, Yamaka Mika was suspicious. Maybe we can look into her a little bit more and see if we can cross-examine and impeach the shit out of her, now that she’s for sure going to be in the trial.”

Iwaizumi exhaled loudly, rubbing his temples to abate the stress that was threatening to give him a headache. “Yeah,” he muttered, squeezing his eyes shut. “But how the fuck am I supposed to beat him during the actual thing if I couldn’t even put up a fight today?”

“What do you think made him so effective against you during the pretrial?” Matsukawa asked in a softer tone than usual.

“I don’t know. I tried to do what Ushijima said, and remind Judge Nekomata of the facts of the case. But Oikawa seemed to know exactly what I was going to say — hell, he didn’t even prepare anything — and just shut me the fuck down. I mean, I already knew that he was the kind of attorney that played on emotions and reasoning instead of hard facts,” Iwaizumi said, defeated, “but I really did not expect to be rolled up and tossed aside like that.”

“I see. Do you think Ushjiima’s strategy will work for next time?”

Iwaizumi didn’t even need to think before answering that. “No,” he said lowly, “probably not. I don’t know what Ushijima did to beat him, and even if I did, I don’t think I could replicate it.”

Matsukawa nodded, opening the bottom drawer of his desk to pull out a bag of chocolate. He offered a piece to Iwaizumi, who accepted it gratefully, unwrapping the sweet morosely. “So what’s your strategy for the actual trial?”

Iwaizumi bit down on the candy, savoring the temporary bliss that the sugar brought him, the chocolate melting on his tongue as he considered the paralegal’s question. “I think,” he replied slowly, “I’ll need to use his own tactics against him.”

“What do you mean?” Matsukawa asked, chewing on a Hershey’s himself.

“With an argument style like Oikawa’s, there’s no way in hell I’m going to beat him with pictures and testimony,” Iwaizumi said, thinking out loud, eyebrows pulling together as he spoke. “I’m going to have to coerce the jury back to our side after he attempts to seduce them into his lies and emotional manipulation.” Determination lighting his blood, Iwaizumi turned to level a hard stare at Matsukawa, who visibly stiffened under his gaze.

“We’re going to research the shit out of Yamaka Mika and Daishou Suguru,” Iwaizumi growled, “and we’re going to use whatever we find as best as we can. I’m going to win this fucking case.”

 

-

 

After his outburst, Iwaizumi threw himself back into work, and by the time a few hours passed since the pretrial this morning, he had more or less cooled down. Apparently, news of Iwaizumi’s pretrial loss had somehow spread around the office, because Sugawara knocked on the door of Iwaizumi and Matsukawa’s office around two in the afternoon with a warm, sympathetic smile on his face and a matcha latte from the cafe across the street, which Iwaizumi accepted gratefully. (“I was doing a coffee run and decided to pick something up for you,” the silver-haired attorney had said cheerfully, which Iwaizumi quietly called bullshit on because who the fuck did coffee runs at two in the afternoon. “We should grab a meal sometime next week!”) And when Iwaizumi went to go recycle his unused pretrial arguments, he ran into Akaashi at the paper shredder, who gave him a nod in acknowledgement and a meaningful glance that said don’t mind it too much.

He appreciated everyone’s sympathy, he really did. But honestly it just stung a bit, like rubbing salt into a fresh wound, reminding him of how badly he did earlier. Iwaizumi had been the talk of the office in the past few months, rumors saying that one of the office’s rising prosecutors. To have everyone know that he went up against the one and only Oikawa Tooru and got his ass handed to him on a golden platter really did not make Iwaizumi feel great.

Iwaizumi sighed, reanalyzing Yamaka Mika’s police statements when he received a desktop notification, the pop-up on the bottom corner of his computer screen reading that he had one new email from Ushijima Wakatoshi. Grimacing, he hovered his mouse over the notification and clicked.

 

Subject: Pretrial
From: ushijimaw@tokyodistrictattorney.gov
Date: June 19th, 2018, 3:54PM

Come see me in my office.

 

Iwaizumi gulped, the remaining frustruation ebbing away to queasy anxiety plummeting in his stomach instead.

“Ushijima’s going to chew me out,” Iwaizumi told Matsukawa as he got up to leave. “If I survive this you’re buying me top of the shelf whiskey tonight. I’m talking scotch, not that Jack Daniels shit.”

“Whatever, bitch,” Matsukawa snorted, any trace of sympathy from before completely gone.

Iwaizumi hurried over to Ushijima’s office down the office corridor, approaching it hesitantly and giving the door a tentative knock.

“Iwaizumi,” his boss’s voice rumbled from behind the door. “Come in.”

Iwaizumi twisted the handle and cracked the door open, quietly walking in to Ushijima’s space, where the other man was working diligently over a stack of papers as usual. Ushijima glanced up at him and immediately set his pen down, motioning for Iwaizumi to take a seat.

“I heard you had your pretrial hearing with Oikawa today,” his boss said, levelling an unreadable gaze directly at Iwaizumi as he slowly sat down in the cushioned chair at Ushijima’s desk.

He winced. “Yes,” he replied, unable to keep out the embarrassment in his voice.

“What are your thoughts on how you did?”

At that, Iwaizumi let out a little sigh, rubbing his forehead tiredly. “I did my best to follow what you said, sir,” he admitted, “but it didn’t work out for me.”

Ushijima cocked his head questioningly, though his expression didn’t change. “How so?”

“I did everything as I usually would’ve,” Iwaizumi recounted. “I summarized the facts, I presented the argument, I backed it up with case law. For all intents and purposes I stuck to the simple fact and logic that I’m used to using in trial. Sir,” he said, tensing, “I’m thinking that maybe I should approach this case differently.”

His boss’s gaze hardened and one of his eyebrows lifted in curiosity.

“I believe that after today, I need to counteract his style with one similar to his own,” Iwaizumi continued, eyeing Ushijima apprehensively as he rejected Ushijima’s advice. “I don’t think that my form of argumentation will be effective with the jury once the actual trial rolls around. Oikawa’s pathos is much too effective otherwise.”

“You are fighting pathos with pathos ?” Ushijima repeated, frowning slightly.

Don’t fire me, Iwaizumi prayed silently. “Yes.”

“Iwaizumi,” his boss said in a calm tone that still managed to sound disapproving, “you are letting yourself become caught up in his rhythm. This is exactly what I tried to warned you against.”

He faltered, blinking at Ushijima’s words. “What do you mean?”

“This is exactly what Oikawa does,” he explained, definitely looking concerned now as he leaned in towards Iwaizumi to make his point. “He disrupts your pace, throwing you off. And then when you scramble to try something new, something that you’re not used to, that’s when he strikes the final blow when you are unguarded.”

Iwaizumi was really getting tired of Oikawa’s bullshit. “Seriously?”

“Seriously,” Ushijima confirmed, disgruntled. “Stick to what you know, Iwaizumi. It will not fail you.”

It failed me today, Iwaizumi pointed out inwardly, but didn’t say out loud because he wasn’t masochistic enough to talk back to his superior. Instead, he found himself itching to ask Ushijima about his side of his apparent tension with Oikawa. He could use whatever he could get to beat this motherfucker.

“If I may, sir,” Iwaizumi said carefully, “can you tell me more about Oikawa Tooru? After our meet-and-confer, I can't help but think that he's putting up a front.”

“Hm,” Ushijima said simply. But he relaxed a bit and appraised Iwaizumi approvingly, as if his suspicion of Oikawa had granted him a brownie point. “I mentioned that we were classmates at law school, correct?”

He nodded.

“I was better at him in everything,” Ushijima said bluntly. “And he held it against me. He'd always be second place to me, and out of spite, he would do everything opposite of me. He was the editor-in-chief of the law review that rivaled the one I was in charge of. He crafted his style of argument to be the exact opposite of mine. He went to criminal defense after I received my offer at this office, even though he mentioned previously that he wished to go into criminal prosecution.”

That took Iwaizumi by surprise, jaw dropping open. “Really?”

“Yes,” Ushijima confirmed. “I believe his main reason his animosity towards me is that I already had an excellent reputation. I attended University of Tokyo as an undergraduate as well, and I was in the pre-law program. I had already done research with the law professors there and I had my thesis published, so when I attended University of Tokyo for law school I already was somewhat established among the community. Meanwhile, Oikawa came from an American university with virtually no connections to the law industry in Japan with a degree in astrophysics. He had to work for his reputation.”

“I see,” Iwaizumi said, thinking back to how Oikawa bragged about being a prodigy. “So the whole genius thing…”

“Yes,” Ushijima replied, following Iwaizumi’s train of thought. “He is not actually a genius, I would say. I don't believe that there are such things as geniuses in law,” his boss said thoughtfully. “Law isn't exactly a field of study like mathematics, or a sport. It is a practice. In law, there is just hard work and those who are willing to do it.”

Iwaizumi nodded, having heard those exact words from Ushijima countless times in the past half-year he had been working at the Tokyo District Attorney’s office. “I understand.”

“Indeed,” his boss stated. “What are your impressions of Oikawa Tooru?”

Iwaizumi stiffened, unsure what to say but completely certain that he should not bring up the fancy Italian dinner that Oikawa paid for last week. “Well, pardon my language, sir, but I think he’s a total asshole,” he offered, figuring that it was a safe bet.

He proved himself right when Ushijima let a small smile pull the corners of his lips up. “Quite,” the older man agreed. “Do you feel as if you can finish the case strong now that you’ve had this setback?”

Iwaizumi straightened as Ushijima’s eyes sharpened on him again, hitting him with that unwavering and all-knowing stare. “Yes,” he replied firmly, a need to prove his worth both to himself and the people around him fueling his determination. “I can.”

“See that you will,” Ushijima said.

 

-

 

Matsukawa and Iwaizumi wrapped up the workday in relative silence, the two of them both hunched over their desks, scribbling on papers or typing furiously on computer keyboards. Iwaizumi reviewed the police tapes on Yamaka Mika's interrogation, trying to find a weak link in that chain of armor that he was sure Oikawa helped build.

 

Officer Ennoshita: What do you know anything about Daishou’s work life?

Yamaka: Well, um… he never really talked about that kind of stuff with me, you know. I majored in communications, so I don't understand all this banking stuff. [Laughs nervously.]

Officer Ennoshita: Did you know that Daishou was supposed to inherit the company?

Yamaka: Um, yeah. He's mentioned it a few times. But he's never had a great relationship with his dad.

Office Ennoshita: What do you mean by that?

Yamaka: Well… it wasn't great, you know. Suguru mentioned that he would hit him, sometimes, among other things. It really frustrated him. And he always felt a lot of pressure growing up, being the heir to such a big company.

Officer Ennoshita: Frustrated? Did he ever show inclinations for violence?

Yamaka: No, of course not! He just got a little angry sometimes. But not with me, of course. Never with me.

 

“Alright, fucker,” Matsukawa declared, interrupting his reading. “It's time. Let's get the hell out of here and get some alcohol into your system.”

Iwaizumi shoved his papers away as quickly as he could, beyond relieved to hear Matsukawa’s words. “I like old fashioneds. Sake is okay too if you're feeling cheap, but only after you've bought me at least two whiskeys.”

“You are so fucking high maintenance,” Matsukawa grumbled, slinging the strap of his bag over his shoulder and twisting the door knob open. But Iwaizumi just huffed, grabbing his own briefcase and rushing out the door with his coworker as they hopped into the elevator and rode it down.

“Where are you taking me?” Iwaizumi asked as they stepped out of the courthouse and onto the street.

“There's a place near here,” Matsukawa said vaguely as they turned onto another block. “I go there with my partner a lot.”

Iwaizumi frowned. “Partner?”

“Yeah.”

He racked through his brain to see if he could remember any mention of a partner in his conversations with Matsukawa. They didn't talk about their personal lives much, but surely Iwaizumi would've heard about him at least once?

“Uh, sorry if I'm intruding or something…” he started tentatively, “but I literally have no idea who you're talking about?”

“Oh,” Matsukawa said as they continued walking, steps falling into sync as their paces matched each other. “My fiance. He's also a paralegal.”

“Seriously?” Iwaizumi blurted, completely caught off guard by the information. He didn't have the slightest idea that Matsukawa was gay, much less engaged to be married. “Whe—”

“Would you look at that,” Matsukawa interrupted, halting. “We’re here.”

Iwaizumi stopped in his step as well, craning his neck to peer up at the establishment that they’ve arrived at. It was a modern looking thing, built with impossibly black, matte wood and decorated with a softly glowing neon blue sign that lit up the windows with Blue Castle written in elegant script. Overall, it screamed polished, bourgeois, and way out of a paralegal’s price point.

He frowned, suspicious, but when he looked over at Matsukawa the other man was already halfway through the door. So Iwaizumi followed him inside, noting that the interior was just as sleek as the outside: the same black wood, smooth white marble for the countertops and hazy, aqua lighting that gave the bar a calming yet alluring ambiance. It wasn’t too crowded, despite the fact it was around happy hour, and the patrons that were there seemed similar to the two of them — younger professionals coming from respectable work, complete with the work suits and the bags under their eyes.

“Oi, Kunimi,” Matsukawa called to an apathetic bartender with the ugliest center-part hairstyle that he had ever seen, “get me an old-fashioned for this guy and a cosmo for me.”

“Who’s the bitch now,” Iwaizumi said as they both settled down in the stools at the counter. The bartender started on their drinks, pouring vodka and cranberry juice and dumping ice in a shaker.

Matsukawa scoffed derisively. “Shut up, princess,” he retorted, propping his elbows on the table. “Do you want me to buy you drinks or not?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Iwaizumi shot back. “So, you're engaged?”

“Mm,” the paralegal hummed.

“I didn't know that.” And Iwaizumi had worked in the same office with this guy for the past six months.

“I like to keep my work life separate from my private life,” Matsukawa said simply, as if that explained everything. Which, Iwaizumi considered, was fair. He didn’t necessarily share his personal life with his coworkers either, but that was mainly because he didn’t have much of one in the first place.

Kunimi the bartender slid their drinks in front of them, a stout glass of brown liquor for Iwaizumi and a clear red drink in a martini glass for Matsukawa. The paralegal immediately picked his up swiftly and took a long, deliberate sip without even looking down.

“You, uh, come here a lot, then?” Iwaizumi surmised awkwardly, wondering how much alcohol Matsukawa had to have consumed to have drinking etched into his muscle memory.

Snorting, Matsukawa lowered his drink. “Careful, Iwaizumi,” he taunted, swirling the liquid around in the glass nonchalantly, “that sounded a bit like a pick-up line. Don’t be a homewrecker, I just told you I was getting married.”

“Sorry, you’re really not my type,” he deadpanned. Iwaizumi lifted his own glass and tasted it, the earthiness of the bourbon and the caramel sweetness of the syrup mixing together nicely with the hint of orange that lined the glass. “Shit, this is really good. How the fuck can you afford this?”

“I’m a sugar baby.”

Iwaizumi stared. “Stop that.”  

“I’m not kidding.”

“Okay,” Iwaizumi said. “Sugar baby. To a paralegal sugar daddy? Somehow that doesn’t make sense to me.”

“Is that complaining I hear?” Matsukawa drawled. “I don’t have to keep the drinks coming, you know.”

At that, Iwaizumi knew to shut the fuck up and turn back to his drink, which he took another hearty swig of, relishing the burn that flared in his throat and the rush of warmth the alcohol brought him. He sighed a little in relief, muscles relaxing as he drank the whiskey, happily letting go of the day’s mistakes and stress.

“And I thought I was an alcoholic,” Matsukawa said, impressed as Iwaizumi drained his glass. “Uh, Kunimi, another one for this guy.”

The apathetic-looking bartender nodded, collecting Iwaizumi’s empty cup and reaching for a new one. Matsukawa sipped at his cosmopolitan again before saying, “So, enough about me. How about you? Anyone special in your life?”

“Uh, no,” Iwaizumi replied awkwardly.

“No?” Matsukawa repeated, peering at him curiously. “What do you do when you’re not working, then?”

“Nothing, really,” Iwaizumi said lamely. Kunimi pushed another old fashioned over in his direction again without a word, which he took another drink out of. “I think about work. I watch TV. Sometimes I’ll call my mom and my kouhais from school.”

“Iwaizumi,” Matsukawa intoned blankly, “that’s the saddest shit I’ve ever heard.”

Iwaizumi flushed, a mixture of embarrassment and alcohol turning the tinge of his cheeks pink. “Look, I know, okay. I’ve only lived in Tokyo for half a year, and I’ve spent most of the time trying to get used to being a lawyer,” he defended, hackles raising.

“So, like, no hobbies? Nothing?”

“Well, I mean — watching TV counts, doesn’t it? I go to the gym a few times a week.”

“Iwaizumi,” Matsukawa repeated with a sigh. Then he raised his cosmo and gave him an expectant look, so Iwaizumi clinked glasses with him tentatively and they took a second to drink in silence. “Go get laid.”

Iwaizumi choked on his bourbon as soon as he heard those words leave Matsukawa’s mouth, coughing a bit to clear his airways as the alcohol burned even more than usual because of his undignified wheezing. He gulped the rest of his drink to force away the cough. “What do you mean.

The paralegal stared at Iwaizumi’s finished glass and motioned Kunimi to make him another, apparently making good from his promise from earlier. The bartender placed another old fashioned down in front of Iwaizumi, which he was thankful for, because no way in hell he was talking about sex with his desk partner sober .

“Listen, man,” Matsukawa said. “I’ve been your office partner for the past half a year, and like no offense, but you’re pretty high strung. You’re great at your job, and I respect that. You’ve won a dozen cases in six months, which is like, insane. But now that you have your first felony I can tell you’re cracking under the pressure a little bit.”

“I told you,” Iwaizumi sighed. “It’s not the case, it’s who I’m against.”

“Oikawa? Trust me, I know he’s a dick, but you’ve gone up against other asshole defense attorneys in the past. Remember Fukatuchi? Oh man, now there’s an asswipe.”

There was something about that statement that piqued Iwaizumi’s interest but honestly, those drinks were starting to kick in and his mind was a bit too glazed over to address it. “Something about him really just ticks me off,” he muttered, starting on his third whiskey of the past maybe half an hour. Iwaizumi had no idea what that Kunimi guy did to make these so smooth and delicious but so fucking strong at the same time. His vision was starting to get a little hazy.

“Why?”

“I don’t know,” Iwaizumi exhaled, letting his breath and his words tumble out of his mouth as he stared down at the block of ice floating in his glass. “He’s annoying and whiny and pretty and still manages to completely whoop my ass. That’s pretty irritating to me.”

“Pretty?”

Iwaizumi blinked, because though he definitely heard that, Matsukawa didn’t move his mouth and the voice that said that was definitely a lot less monotone than Matsukawa’s voice was. He swiveled his head around, searching for the origin of the voice dazedly before he froze.

“You think I’m pretty, Iwa-chan?” Oikawa Tooru, the bane of his existence , said toothily from behind him, looking absolutely tickled by his words.

Iwaizumi frowned, taking a look at his drink confusedly and glancing over at Matsukawa. “Are you seeing this too, or did that Kunimi guy spike my drink?”

“I know you have a low opinion of me, but even I wouldn’t take you to a place that would roofie you,” Matsukawa replied. “What are you doing here, Oikawa? You’re not a big drinker.”

Wait, what, Iwaizumi wondered sluggishly. What.

“Mattsun,” Oikawa acknowledged. “Wanted to celebrate my pre-trial win from earlier today! You know the one.”

“I do,” Matsukawa said neutrally. “Hey babe.”

Only then did Iwaizumi notice the man standing slightly behind Oikawa, a lanky man with cropped salmon pink hair and what would be a nonchalant facial expression were it not for the little smirk on his lips.

“Iwaizumi,” he heard Matsukawa saying, “this is Hanamaki Takahiro, my fiance.”

He frowned, familiarity itching at him in the back of even his alcohol-muddled brain. Then he realized, remembering a few emails that he had received from the same name. “Fuck, you’re Oikawa’s paralegal at Seijou,” he bursted, glaring over at Matsukawa, betrayed. “What the fuck, Matsukawa?”

“I told you,” he answered, already expecting Iwaizumi’s outburst, “I don’t mix my professional life with my personal life. Both Hiro and I are working on the same case, but rest assured that we don’t talk about it at home. We just find the evidence and file the paperwork for both of you, that’s it. Everything else is up to you lawyers. He does get paid much better than me, though.”

Iwaizumi snapped his jaw shut after belatedly recognizing that it had dropped wide open. “It’s nice to meet you, I guess,” he said gruffly, holding out the hand that wasn’t gripping onto his old-fashioned.

“Likewise,” Hanamaki answered, shaking Iwaizumi’s hand and looking far too amused with the situation than Iwaizumi personally thought was appropriate. Really, Iwaizumi was still a bit ticked, but Matsukawa looked so undisturbed that he honestly didn’t know how angry he should be. Instead, he opted to take another swig of his whiskey.

“I don’t know how to feel about this,” Iwaizumi concluded, liquor heating him up from the inside out. He finished the remaining alcohol in his cup and beckoned Kunimi over for a refill.

“To be fair,” Matsukawa offered, eyeing Iwaizumi warily as he ordered another drink, “I had no idea you guys hated each other so much until this morning.”

“Hate’s quite the strong word,” Oikawa chirped, walking over and plopping down to the stool to Iwaizumi’s left, sitting close enough to him that their elbows brushed. “Kunimi, some Moët, please.”

“What are you doing here,” Iwaizumi hissed lowly, clenching his teeth. “You are literally the last person I want to see.”

“Oh? But you called me pretty, Iwa-chan. Surely you want to see me a little bit if you think I’m so pretty ,” the fucker laughed, bringing the flute of champagne to his lips.

Distantly, Iwaizumi heard Matsukawa questioning, “Iwa-chan?” and his fiance answering with “don’t mind it, he hasn’t shut up about him,” but he brushed those comments off because none of them mattered when Oikawa was right fucking next to him smirking like a smug little bitch.

“What the fuck is your problem?” Iwaizumi snarled, the alcohol fueling his anger and completely stripping away any restraint he might have had if he was sober. “Did you stalk me here just to rub your win in my face? I get it, asshole.”

“Woah there,” Oikawa said, raising his eyebrows and pulling back. “Coincidence, I swear. Also, I wouldn’t have beaten you so badly if you had picked something better to argue about. Seriously, I have no idea why you decided to go for Mika-chan, she’s not even one of our key witnesses. I know she’s unreliable.”

“Motherfuck,” Iwaizumi hissed, putting his elbow on the counter so he could palm his forehead with his free hand. “I hate you, I really do.”

(Iwaizumi thought he heard Matsukawa asking, “Should we do something?” and Hanamaki answering, “Nah, let’s go to one of the booths,” and some rustling, but honestly he couldn’t care less. Fuck Matsukawa anyway.)

“I don’t believe you,” Oikawa said, leaning in towards Iwaizumi with a glint in his eye. “If you hated me you could’ve walked out of this bar as soon as I came in. But you didn’t. And you won’t.”

“Who said I won’t?” Iwaizumi snapped, his heartbeat pounding in his ears as the alcohol — or the adrenaline, or the anger, or something — rushed through him.

“You’re not getting up,” Oikawa pointed out. “Leave right now if you hate me.”

Iwaizumi reeled back, squinting at Oikawa’s smug smile. If he left the bar, he would be playing right into Oikawa’s hand and confirming that Oikawa got under his skin. If he stayed, he would have to deal with Oikawa’s yapping. Also he still had an unfinished drink in his hand and if he left he would be missing out on more alcohol on Matsukawa’s (or, rather, Hanamaki’s) tab.

“I can’t leave, Matsukawa’s buying drinks for me,” Iwaizumi gritted out eventually. “You think I’m going to give up free alcohol just because of you? Hell no.” And to drive his point home, he took a pointed swig of his old fashioned, refusing to breaking eye contact with Oikawa as he did so.

Oikawa chuckled. “Such an alcoholic, Iwa-chan. Is this what you’re like off work? My, I must say, when you asked me to buy you wine last week I didn’t realize I’d be indulging your addict sensibilities.”

“Screw you, I’m not an alcoholic,” Iwaizumi denied, setting his glass down and fixing a glare at Oikawa, that same cutting smile curled on his lips.

“You’re swaying,” Oikawa told him.

“No, I’m not,” Iwaizumi said petulantly, stilling his body as best as he could.

“Anyone ever tell you you’re a terrible liar? No wonder you’re such a bad lawyer.”

“Anyone ever tell you you’re an asshole?”

“Yes,” Oikawa said, “got that this morning, actually.”

Iwaizumi snorted. “Whoever told you that must be a great person.”

“Definitely,” Oikawa agreed sarcastically. “Kunimi, can you get this brute some water?”

The bartender poured out a glass of water for him and placed it in front of Iwaizumi, who fumbled for it for a good five seconds before lifting it to his lips and gulping the liquid down. He relished the feeling of the taste of alcohol on his tongue being washed down.

“You’re drunk,” Oikawa said, stating the obvious.

“Can you just leave me alone,” Iwaizumi sighed, still angry but mostly just tired from the whirlwind of the day and the absolute tornado that was Oikawa Tooru.

“No,” Oikawa replied gleefully. “Actually, I want to ask you some questions.”

“Will you leave me alone after you ask me your stupid fucking questions.”

“Scout’s honor,” Oikawa promised, which Iwaizumi didn’t believe for a damn second but what could he do? His limbs were starting to feel like lead and all he could focus on was the defense attorney’s face that seemed to be getting closer and closer to him. Iwaizumi blinked, shaking his head, trying to regain his senses. “Why do you dislike me so much?”

“I’m too drunk to deal with your insecurities,” Iwaizumi said flatly.

Oikawa frowned. “What are you talking about?”

“Your insecurities,” Iwaizumi repeated slowly, as if Oikawa was the drunk one. “You reek of inferiority complex.”

This, for whatever reason, seemed to shut the other man up, his mouth slightly ajar as he gaped at him.

“Your whole suave thing,” Iwaizumi began, completely running his mouth as he took another sip of water. “You’re transparent as hell. I didn’t even need to talk to you twice to realize that you just feel really bad about yourself despite being a good lawyer. Stop overcompensating and just be honest for once.”

Oikawa, completely quiet, sipped at his bougie champagne. “I didn’t realize you know me so well,” he said, tone icy.

“I don’t need to. It’s obvious.”

“I see. What does this have to do with you being so hostile towards me?”

“Do you really think you don’t deserve it?” Iwaizumi blurted out unthinkingly, tongue loose from the alcohol. “You parade into my life and take me out to coffee, which I don’t even drink, and then you take me out to this expensive ass dinner, and then you come around the next week and humiliate me in court. You’re kind of giving me mixed signals over here. I don’t appreciate that.”

“Mixed signals?”

“Well… yeah. You don’t actually wine and dine all of the opposing counsels you go against, do you?”

“No,” Oikawa said, a grin creeping up on his face for some reason. “Is Iwa-chan jealous ?”

“Fuck no,” Iwaizumi scoffed immediately, picking up his whiskey again, “but don’t fucking toy with me. So do me a favor and kindly fuck off. Other than in the trial, I don’t ever want to see your face ever again.”

“What if I made my signals clear?”

Iwaizumi frowned, unsure if he heard him right through the fog in his brain. “What?”

“I said,” the other man echoed, leaning in so close that Iwaizumi could count his eyelashes as Oikawa’s eyelids lowered and his pupils darkened, “what if I made it crystal clear exactly what I wanted.”

Iwaizumi stiffened, and despite the whiskey that was clouding his senses, he was completely hyper aware of Oikawa’s proximity to him and the palpable tension that made the air so thick that it was honestly hard to breathe. “You can’t be serious,” he croaked, not even recognizing his own voice as it came out strained.

“You’ll find that I am,” Oikawa replied, smile wiped off his face as he gazed at Iwaizumi intently, drilling Iwaizumi with a burning stare that shot shivers down his spine that he knew weren’t from the alcohol.

“I’m not interested,” Iwaizumi protested, trying to pull away. But Oikawa grabbed his shoulder, forcing him to hold painful, intense eye contact with him.

“Oh please,” Oikawa dismissed immediately. “I already told you you were a bad liar. Don’t tell me that I’m imagining this.”

And then he slid his hand down from Iwaizumi's shoulder, dragging his fingers (the setter fingers, the fucking setter fingers) across the curves of his tricep so deliberately that Iwaizumi could feel the goosebumps raising everywhere that Oikawa had touched.

“Stop fucking with me,” Iwaizumi tried one more time, but even to his own ears it sounded weak.

“I told you, I’m not.” Oikawa rested his hand on Iwaizumi’s elbow, the defense attorney’s fingers radiating heat on his skin. “But I’m not so much of an asshole to take advantage of you when you’re so obviously drunk. You should go home.”

Iwaizumi gulped as Oikawa finally pulled away and removed his hand from his arm. His head spun, scrambling to process what the fuck just happened, the goosebumps on his skin refusing to go away. Trying to gather his bearings, he reached for his water again, and as soon as he finished drinking, Oikawa hauled him up, curling an arm around his waist and helping him out of the bar.

“I’ll call a cab for you,” the defense attorney said firmly. “You can get your car in the morning. And for what it’s worth,” Oikawa started, an unsure look fluttering across his face, “I’m sorry for this morning.”

What, was all Iwaizumi could think before he was herded into a taxi, the door shutting on him as the car drove off.

Chapter Text

Well, this is terrible, Iwaizumi thought first thing in the morning as he woke up to the worst headache in the world assaulting every inch of his brain.

Groaning, Iwaizumi mustered every bit of effort in his body to haul his ass out of bed, stumbling to the kitchen in a desperate search for water. Once he downed a glass and a few pills of aspirin, he reluctantly recounted about yesterday's events.

Terrible pretrial, Matsukawa has a fiance, whiskey, Oikawa Tooru. His eyes widened. Holy fuck .

How much did he even drink last night?

Iwaizumi stumbled back to his bedroom, throwing himself on the bed before fishing out his phone, cringing when he saw that it was six in the morning. And then he saw the email notifications.

 

Subject: Bruh
From: matsukawai@tokyodistrictattorney.gov
Date: June 19th, 2018, 8:36PM

Oikawa told me he sent you home in a taxi when we weren't looking. You're not dead, are you? Sorry about Oikawa, he can’t be helped. But he's not a bad guy.

 

Iwaizumi cringed.

 

Subject: Re: Bruh
To: matsukawai@tokyodistrictattorney.gov
Date: June 20th, 2018, 6:12AM

I want to die.

 

He got a response within a minute, which, what the fuck, Matsukawa, it's six in the morning.

 

Subject: Re: Re: Bruh
From: matsukawai@tokyodistrictattorney.gov
Date: June 20th, 2018, 6:13AM

lol

 

Fuck this guy.

Iwaizumi took a deep breath and opened the other email.

 

Subject: Let me know when you see this
From: oikawa@seijou.com
Date: June 19th, 2018, 9:05PM

I guess Mattsun didn't warn you.
(909) 747 - 61XX

 

Iwaizumi stared at the phone number that Oikawa had written out, clearly an invitation for Iwaizumi to text him. Briefly, he considered ignoring it, but then he thought back to last night and realized that really wasn't an option at this point. Not when Oikawa acknowledged whatever was in between them and Iwaizumi let him. Drunk or not, he couldn't deny that Oikawa was infuriatingly attractive, as much as he wanted to. And apparently, Oikawa had at least some passing interest in Iwaizumi.

Like Akaashi predicted.

He shut his eyes, questioning his decisions that he had made for his life to end up at this point. Oikawa, no question about it, was an asshole. He flaunted his money, he insulted Iwaizumi's ability as a lawyer both outside of the court and inside of it. He was arrogant, he was annoying, and he pissed Iwaizumi the fuck off. But God was he hot. And he was smart, exceedingly so, he kept Iwaizumi on his toes, and despite the frustration and anger that burned inside him whenever he interacted with Oikawa, there was something else there as well. Fascination, maybe. Attraction, definitely.

So against his better judgement, Iwaizumi copied the number from the email and opened his contacts app. Shittykawa, he typed in, saving the number.

Besides, he wanted answers.

 

To: Shittykawa
Sent at 6:20AM

what do you mean, Matsukawa didn't warn me?
and why did you apologize to me yesterday

 

Iwaizumi stared hard at his phone screen, the messages sending with a ping. After waiting for a few minutes, he decided that Oikawa (like most sane humans at this hour) was probably asleep and wouldn’t be replying to his text messages for a while. Sighing, he got himself out of bed, changing into a tank and shorts and grabbing his earphones from his nightstand. He filled up his water bottle and slipped on his running shoes, jogging down the stairs of his apartment complex to reach the building’s gym. The fitness center was more or less empty, as he expected to be at six in the morning, with only an old lady walking on a treadmill and some guy on the rowing machine.

He plugged in his headphones, playing an upbeat electronic music playlist to get himself in the zone. He spent twenty minutes jogging on a treadmill himself, working up a sweat and his heart rate elevating as he ran. After he felt sufficiently warmed up, muscles loosened and endorphins running high, Iwaizumi opted for the free weights, rotating between squats, deadlifts, and curls as he went through the motions of his usual routine. The workout forced his attention to concentrate on the exercises that he was doing rather than the other shit that his mind would think about.

Iwaizumi cooled down with some more jogging on the treadmill. He grabbed a towel from the shelf of clean towels that the gym staff kept stocked near the exit and wiped his sweat down as he walked back up to his apartment. He dug his phone out of his short pocket and realized that sometime in his workout, Oikawa had texted him back.

 

From: Shittykawa
Received at 7:14AM

Iwa-chan! You’re not dead, I see. Congratulations.
Blue Castle is known for their sneaky drinks. Those old fashioneds probably have double the amount of alcohol you’re used to. I think they have something like two or three shots in them. Considering you had four of them in like an hour, it’s no wonder you knocked yourself out yesterday. Also considering that you knocked yourself out, I’m surprised you even remember that.

 

Iwaizumi groaned again. He could handle his alcohol, but if he really drank ten shots worth of whiskey in an hour, of course he would get fucking hammered at eight o’clock. That was unfortunate. He hadn’t drank that much since undergrad.

He headed into his kitchen and opened his fridge, taking out some berries and a banana that he kept in his freezer for smoothies. He dumped the fruit into his blender along with some protein powder and turned the machine on.

 

To: Shittykawa
Sent at 7:32AM

answer my question

 

Once the fruits were pureed to his preferred consistency, Iwaizumi poured himself a glass of smoothie and took a straw out from his drawer. He slurped on his drink and slabbed some peanut butter on his last piece of sliced bread. Frowning, he cleaned the butter knife off on his tongue, licking the leftover spread off. He would have to go grocery shopping soon.

 

From: Shittykawa
Received at 7:37AM

I mean, it’s my job to argue against you of course, and I’ll attack any openings that I find. I expect you to do the same, as my opposing counsel. And you did leave quite a gaping hole in your argument for me to pick at, Iwa-chan, think before you speak next time. I didn’t mean to insult you, though.

 

Iwaizumi paused, chewing on his toast slowly as he sucked the sticky peanut butter off his teeth as best as he could. That was honestly a lot better than he was expecting; hell, he wasn’t expecting an apology in the first place. He didn’t quite know how to respond to that. It didn't do anything to nurse his hurt pride as a lawyer, but at least there was hope for Oikawa yet as a person. Maybe.

 

From: Shittykawa
Received at 7:38AM

I'll make it up to you.

 

Iwaizumi frowned.

 

To: Shittykawa
Sent at 7:39AM

can you sound a little bit less like a b rated porno

 

From: Shittykawa
Received at 7:40AM

That really was not what I was going for. Someone's mind is in the gutter this morning.

 

He snorted, sucking through his straw, relishing the sweet and tart smoothie on his tongue.

 

To: Shittykawa
Sent at 7:42AM

k

 

From: Shittykawa
Received at 7:43AM

???????? “k” ???????? That's it???? C’mon Iwa-chan I deserve more than that

 

To: Shittykawa
Sent at 7:45AM

well, how are you going to make it up to me then

 

Iwaizumi cringed right after pressing send. Now he was the one sounding like a B rated porno. He finished his bread and dusted the crumbs off his fingers.

 

From: Shittykawa
Received at 7:50AM

Since you seem like quite the alcoholic, we can do drinks again, if you promise not to go overboard like yesterday.

 

To: Shittykawa
Sent at 7:53AM

then don't give me a reason to
and you're paying

 

From: Shittykawa
Received at 7:58AM

When do I not?
How does next Friday sound? A little later maybe, like 8?

 

Iwaizumi got up to tidy up his dishes, rinsing out his cup and the blender in the sink.

 

To: Shittykawa
Sent at 8:02AM

only if you promise to pick me up in that mercedes of yours

 

From: Shittykawa
Received at 8:03AM

Done.

 

Iwaizumi sighed, walking back to his bedroom and setting his phone down on his nightstand. He peeled off his shirt in preparation for showering, tossing the sweaty cloth into his hamper absentmindedly as he thought about what to do. He still didn't trust Oikawa, reluctant to believe that the defense attorney was interested in him without any ulterior motives. There was still something undeniably dangerous and predatory about the man when he was in a courtroom. Oikawa treated cases like they were little games, figuring out the best way to take down his opponent in the most brutally efficient way possible, and Iwaizumi still was a little insulted that his dignity as a prosecutor was what Oikawa chose to attack yesterday.

But he would be lying if he said that he didn’t want to know more about how Oikawa was outside of the courtroom, and take a peek at his brain a little bit. The man was fucking irritating but it was incredibly easy talking to him — too easy in fact — and maybe, maybe Iwaizumi felt a bit intrigued by this clearly insecure, intelligent asshole who happened to be so pretty that Iwaizumi found himself relatively okay with the fact that he was breaking every HR code in the book right now.

It's for the case, he told himself, stripping down in the bathroom. Meet-and-confer. I'm not charmed at all.

But even to his own ears that sounded weak, and Iwaizumi groaned, stepping into the shower.

Play with fire, and you're going to get burned.

He was so fucked.

 

-

 

“So,” Matsukawa started as Iwaizumi came into work that following Monday.

“I don't wanna hear anything from you,” Iwaizumi warned.

He had taken a taxi to work because he had left his car at the courthouse parking lot last Friday. Grumbling, Iwaizumi flopped down in his swivel chair, zipping his briefcase open and taking out his files, preparing himself for a long day of work.

And a long day of dealing with his paralegal, apparently.

Iwa-chan.”

“Shut the fuck up, Matsukawa.”

But the other man just smirked, kicking back in his chair. “I didn't know you were so familiar with Oikawa. I thought you said you hated him, Iwa-chan.”

“I didn't know you were so familiar with Oikawa,” Iwaizumi deflected, still a little heated that the paralegal didn’t clue him in at all. “And you’re marrying his paralegal? I’m going to sic HR on your ass.”

“HR only deals with internal matters,” Matsukawa said flatly, clearly expecting Iwaizumi’s response. “And besides, I already told you that Hiro and I don’t like to talk about work when we’re at home. It’s terrible foreplay.”

“You’re disgusting. I can call HR for my office partner’s utter lack of professionalism, right? Talking about your choice of foreplay is sexual harassment, you know.”

“You wouldn’t,” Matsukawa cooed, reaching into his bottom drawer of snacks to pull out a bag of kettle chips. “I bought you four drinks. Those were expensive, you know, I got you that top shelf bourbon shit just as you requested.”

He held his bag out to Iwaizumi, offering him a chip, which Iwaizumi begrudgingly accepted. He munched on one with a satisfying crunch, noting that they were his favorite, salt and vinegar.

“You mean your fiance bought it.”

Matsukawa gave him a look as if Iwaizumi had just said the stupidest thing in the world. “We’re combining finances in like half a year. Don’t be daft.”

“I didn’t know you knew what daft meant,” Iwaizumi muttered under his breath, slumping down in his chair. “You didn’t warn me how strong the drinks were,” he accused, knowing full well that his drunkenness was on his own head. “And you ditched me!”

“Uh-huh,” Matsukawa replied, unimpressed. “You’re in one piece, that’s all that matters. Now can we get to work please?”

Iwaizumi huffed, inwardly sighing in relief at the fact that despite catching Oikawa’s nickname for him, Matsukawa didn’t seem to notice anything else that happened between them last Friday. Probably because he was too busy making out with fiance as some sort of foreplay or something.

He grimaced. Gross.

“I was reviewing the police tapes again,” Iwaizumi said, pulling out the transcripts from his folder. “And I think Yamaka Mika is being abused by the defendant.”

Any trace of playfulness immediately vanished from Matsukawa’s face as they got down to business. “That’s a pretty bold claim, Iwaizumi. Do you have any evidence?”

“Not really,” he admitted, which was something that he wasn’t used to. Ushijima had always taught him to have facts and hard evidence behind everything. “I guess I just have a hunch. I mean, I don’t think I’m going to base my whole case around it. With the amount of physical evidence we have, plus the testimony from the expert witness, I don’t think it needs to be a big part. But I’ll be able to ask a few questions and if he’s abusive, I can pry it out of her and derail the defendant’s character with their own witness. And honestly, I don’t think Oikawa knows.”

“What do you mean by that?” the paralegal probed, frowning.

“Last Friday, at the bar, he said that he didn’t know why we tried to go after Yamaka Mika, and that she wasn’t one of her key witnesses. That probably means that Daishou’s mother and coworkers are. I think she’s only there to be another person to verify their whole abusive dad argument. If he knew that the defendant was abusive to her, I don’t think he would’ve included her in the trial at all,” Iwaizumi concluded, frowning. “I mean, maybe that just means he isn’t abusive. But I definitely want to ask a few questions, try to get it out of her.”

Matsukawa nodded, turning around in his chair to pull up Yamaka Mika’s profile again. “What made you think that she was being abused?”

“Intuition, mostly,” Iwaizumi confessed. “Her entire life is being financed by him? Controlling finances is a form of abuse. She seemed really skittish in the police tapes, which we might chalk up to nervousness from being interrogated, but look at this.”

He held out the page of the transcript that he had marked and highlighted.

 

 

Officer Ennoshita: Frustrated? Did he ever show inclinations for violence?

Yamaka: No, of course not! He just got a little angry sometimes. But not with me, of course. Never with me.

Officer Ennoshita: How was he angry?

Yamaka: [A beat of silence.] Um, he’d lock himself up in his room sometimes. Yell to himself, I guess. Throw things around in his room, yeah. The pressure from his dad to be the next CEO really got to him, you know. Having to work in that environment really wasn’t good for him, I think, when he came home from work he’d - he was always… stressed. Because his dad had opinions on everything in his life. Even me.

Officer Ennoshita: Even you?

Yamaka: Yeah… I don’t have a job, you know? Daishou-san didn’t like that. I mean why would he? [A laugh.] And Suguru tried to resist him, he did, but sometimes it got to him, I guess. And when the company got passed down to someone else, he just… cracked. Everything he had suffered his whole life for was all for nothing.

Officer Ennoshita: He cracked?

Yamaka: [More silence.] He wasn’t happy.

Officer Ennoshita: What do you mean by that?

Yamaka: I… maybe he knew that his dad was going to do something bad to him. I don’t know.

 

“I don’t know about you,” Iwaizumi said, “but this doesn’t sound like the testimony of a loving girlfriend for five years. She seems a little too unsure. Like she’s trying to convince herself of something.”

“Well, okay,” Matsukawa replied, skeptical. “Remember that this case isn’t all about her, though. It’s about Daishou Suguru killing his dad for revenge when he didn’t inherit the company. Not his girlfriend.”

“I know,” Iwaizumi sighed. “It’s just something I want to cross-examine her on, that’s all.” Because if Daishou was abusive, I could throw it in Oikawa’s face and get revenge on how he humiliated me last Friday.

Matsukawa nodded, satisfied with this answer. “Okay. I’ve corresponded with Judge Mizoguchi and your trial date is next Friday, so you have a little less two weeks to write out your final arguments and questions and what not.”

Iwaizumi grunted in acknowledgement, turning back to his notes. He thought back to the way Daishou Suguru looked that day of the pretrial: sullen, with wariness etched in his every movements. He glanced back down at his case files, the defendant’s mugshot on the very top of the pile, his face much fuller and healthier looking than the weary and worn out expression that Daishou wore last Friday. Clearly, this case was doing a number on the man.

But Iwaizumi steeled himself. Stressed or not, Daishou Suguru still killed his father. And under the eyes of the law — which, as a prosecutor, was his to execute — if the defendant had a single malicious thought towards his father in the moment he struck to kill, he was a murderer. Facts were facts. And on top of that, Yamaka Mika’s skittish behavior and hasty denial pointed to signs to a toxic relationship.

Still though, what Oikawa said still got to him. If Daishou really was abused…

Iwaizumi shook his head furiously. He couldn’t let what Oikawa said sway his views on the case; he’d be playing right into his hand if he did. No matter what, he had a job to do, and a murderer to lock away.

Iwaizumi exhaled and got to work.

 

-

 

As always, Iwaizumi spent the rest of the week at work in building his case. He had a pretty good idea of what questions he wanted to ask his witnesses to hammer in the fact that Daishou used too much force and that he had wanted to kill his father in the moments leading up to Daishou Katashi’s death. He was going to ask Officer Ennoshita, the investigating officer, much of the foundational questions to build a scenario for the jury, following up with testimony from Dr. Takeda, the pathologist who performed the autopsy, who would say how the physical evidence pointed to excessive use of force. Finally, he had various witnesses from Nohebi Inc. who observed Daishou Suguru’s standoffish behavior after the victim passed the company on to someone else. Overall, he had pretty solid direct examination questions, and he had a suspicion that Oikawa was probably going to focus more on his direct examination of the defense witnesses rather than spend a lot of time cross-examining his witnesses because most of the parental abuse evidence came from the defense side, not the prosecution’s.

Iwaizumi had to figure how to best destroy Daishou Suguru’s character on the stand, and all signs pointed Yamaka Mika: a meek, unemployed, uncertain girl who jumped too fast at the chance to defend her rich boyfriend. It was suspicious on all accounts, and Iwaizumi hoped that he was able to convince the jury of the same next week.

But for now, Iwaizumi thought as he stared at his pathetic excuse of a wardrobe, he had to figure out what to wear to drinks with Oikawa.

“Is this a date?” he muttered lowly as he held up a white button-down and scrutinized it. It had to be a date, right? This was the third time Oikawa was paying for him. And with the way that he had touched him last week, and the tension…

Iwaizumi swallowed, mouth suddenly dry as he hastily hung the shirt back up in his closet. It’s for the case, he told himself, opting for a leather jacket and a white t-shirt instead. He pulled the garment on over his head, cursing lowly to himself. Right. For the case. I’m gathering intel on opposing counsel.

Goddamnit, he was so fucked.

Why was he doing this again? Iwaizumi shimmied on his jeans, the fabric sliding on over his legs. Ah, right. In Matsukawa’s words: he needed to get laid. That much was true, he knew that; shame rising heat to his cheeks to even remember that the last time that he had sex was in law school, practically a year ago. But his opposing counsel? If Ushijima ever caught wind of this, his ass would be so fucking fired.

Groaning, Iwaizumi threw himself onto his bed, checking his phone for the time. It was five minutes to eight, which meant that Oikawa could be coming to pick him up at anytime now, rolling up in that beautiful, luxe Mercedes convertible of his. That was one hell of a specimen. Honestly, Iwaizumi would fuck him for his car. Wait, what.

Oh my god, Iwaizumi thought as he threw an arm over his eyes. I’m going crazy. This guy is driving me fucking nuts.

And as if on cue, his phone started ringing.

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa’s voice chimed over the muffled speaker, “I’m outside.”

“Aren’t you a little early?” he wondered out loud, grabbing his wallet and keys before slipping on his shoes.

“I figured you’re the kind of man who likes timeliness.”

Well, Oikawa wasn’t wrong about that.

“Whatever,” Iwaizumi muttered lamely in response, closing the door and locking it behind him as he hung up on him, too antsy for the elevator as he jogged down the stairs and out the apartment complex. Sure enough, there it was: the gorgeous, elegant, beautifully sleek car that dropped Iwaizumi’s jaw the first time he saw it.

“Honestly, I think your car is better looking than you,” Iwaizumi said as he hopped into the passenger seat, glancing over at the defense attorney. Oikawa, similar to himself, was dressed a bit more casually than their normal dress, opting for tan slacks and a cobalt V-neck sweater that led Iwaizumi’s eyes to trail downward.

Oikawa flashed him a toothy grin, smug. “She’s a beaut, isn’t she.”

The two of them headed out onto the road, pulling away from Iwaizumi’s apartment building and towards the highway that he usually took to work. The two of them sat in a slightly tense silence, Oikawa looking onto the road in front of him and driving silently as Iwaizumi fluctuated between watching cars pass by him out his window and shooting Oikawa apprehensive glances.

A few moments passed before Iwaizumi blurted out, “I don’t like you.”

The words got Oikawa to crack a smirk, but he kept his gaze straight, focusing on driving. “Still going on about that?”

“You insulted my intelligence and my work in trial,” Iwaizumi said petulantly, arms crossed over his chest in begrudgingly, not willing to completely let the matter go yet. “You’re an annoying guy and you spend too much time trying to prove your worth.”

Oikawa’s eyebrow twitched. “I said I was sorry,” the man muttered lowly.

“Yeah, why’d you do that, anyway?”

Oikawa finally shifted his attention from the road to Iwaizumi, giving him a meaningful look with a cocked eyebrow and a pointed glance before turning his head back. “I don’t want any bad blood between us,” he said simply after a pregnant pause.

Well, he had no idea what the fuck that meant, but Iwaizumi slumped a little into his seat with a heavy sigh. He shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts, opening his mouth to try asking Oikawa about something else that was bothering him. “This isn’t a good idea.”

They exited off a ramp, Oikawa swiftly switching lanes and turning right into what Iwaizumi recognized to be the Shimbashi district, the region of Tokyo known for its nightlife and business clientele. The defense attorney cracked a little smile before answering, “What isn't a good idea?”

“Don't play dumb,” Iwaizumi grumbled. Drinks with your opposing counsel a week before the trial? Surely Oikawa knew how bad of an idea this was. Well, Iwaizumi supposed he was an idiot too, for agreeing to this. He cursed under his breath, rubbing his forehead exasperatedly, before glancing over at Oikawa again, whose lips were still curled into a serene curve that softened his features as the orange-red lights of the road highlighted the sculpture of his face, like the illumination of a warm hearth.

“Well,” Oikawa said as they drove past impossibly tall skyscrapers and crowds of salarymen on the sidewalks. “You’re interesting.”

“I thought you said I was boring.”

“Not everyone has the balls to accuse me of having an inferiority complex and calling me insecure,” the defense attorney said matter-of-factly.

Flushing, Iwaizumi ground his teeth and cringed. “I was drunk,” he said defensively.

“Clearly,” Oikawa deadpanned before relaxing his shoulders a bit. “That’s a very rude thing to say, you know. Iwa-chan needs to learn his manners,” he teased, his voice returning to the taunting lilt that grated Iwaizumi’s nerves.

The two of them pulled up in front of a bar, warm and nicely lit, contrary to the sleek and dark atmosphere of Blue Castle. It looked much more like a traditional Western bar with its wooden walls and yellow lighting, and Oikawa parked his Mercedes deftly into a small lot right behind the establishment.

Iwaizumi huffed and unbuckled his seatbelt, apprehension prickling in his chest as the two of them clearly danced around the elephant in the room. The tension was almost suffocating; the silences in the car were clearly charged with something, and Iwaizumi wasn’t stupid enough to not recognize it as sexual. Not when Iwaizumi couldn’t help himself from glancing over at Oikawa, sharp and clean and elegant; not when Oikawa looked back with half-lidded stares and secretive smiles that belied something darker, heated.

This was such a fucking bad idea.

But if Oikawa wasn’t going to address it, he wasn’t either, and so the two of them got out of the car and headed into the small, cozy bar. Oikawa walked in with the familiarity of a regular, briskly pacing past the main bar and to the back where a few small round tables and chairs were set up. Overall, the bar was intimate, the only sounds being the rustling of servers, the quieter murmurs of patrons, and the soft melody of a piano ballad playing.

Oikawa sat down first in a cushioned chair at a table and Iwaizumi followed suit, settling down in the seat directly in front of him. A server swiftly made his way over, peering at them expectantly.

“An old-fashioned for you, I’m assuming?” Oikawa inferred lightly.

“Ah…” Iwaizumi started, thinking back to the alcoholic bombs that he had at Blue Castle. It probably wouldn’t be smart to get shitfaced alone with Oikawa Tooru. As attractive as he was, Oikawa still had Iwaizumi on edge every single time his attention focused on him. “A stout is fine.”

“Cheap alcohol on my tab, Iwa-chan?” Oikawa chuckled. “You really are too considerate. I’d like a White Russian, please.”

The server rushed away to the bar, presumably to instruct the bartender on what to make, and Oikawa relaxed into his chair, levelling Iwaizumi with an unreadable gaze. “So,” he started, a serious expression on his face, “what did you mean by that?”

It didn't take a genius to guess that Oikawa was referring to the inferiority complex comment he made carelessly last week. “Well,” he began, frowning. There was no point in taking the comment back, so he just shrugged, hoping that Oikawa wasn’t too bothered by it. “I guess I meant what I said.”

“I see,” Oikawa said simply, crossing his legs and drawing Iwaizumi’s eyes to the motion. The pose suggested that Oikawa was casual, relaxed; but Iwaizumi met the other’s eyes and automatically knew he was anything but. “You think I’m dishonest about my abilities as a lawyer even after pretrial last week?”

Iwaizumi felt his eyebrow twitch at the memory, but he ignored it in lieu of answering. “I’m not saying you’re bad,” he explained slowly. “But I guess I can tell that you’re too preoccupied with your reputation. I mean, everyone sings praises about you,” Iwaizumi admitted begrudgingly, “but from meeting you I can tell that a lot of that is manufactured.”

The server came back with their drinks, placing a pint of dark ale on the table in front of Iwaizumi and a lowball glass of a creamy, cloudy drink in front of Oikawa. The defense attorney took the beverage swiftly and raised it to his mouth, not breaking eye contact with him as he drank.

“I’m curious,” Oikawa murmured after lowering his drink, “what do you think about me, Iwaizumi Hajime?”

Iwaizumi frowned, opting to take a swig out of his own alcohol when Oikawa used his full name instead of that stupid nickname that he had bestowed upon him. They were erring into dangerous territory — rather, they were entering Sexual Tension territory. He gulped and gripped the frosty glass of his drink. “See,” he attempted, “too occupied with what other people think of you.”

“It’s cute that you care,” Oikawa cooed, “but answer the question.”

“You’re a good lawyer,” he grunted in response, tearing his eyes away from Oikawa’s insistent stare and focusing on the bubbles in his beer instead. “You’re annoying.”

“Rude,” Oikawa muttered, but said nothing else, as if waiting for more.

Iwaizumi inhaled sharply, refusing to look at Oikawa. “I don’t know what else you want from me,” he said into his beer. “That’s it.”

Despite not seeing it, he could feel Oikawa’s smug little smirk as the other taunted, “You forgot pretty.

“Can you shut the fuck up?” Iwaizumi snapped, heat rising to his cheeks, glaring back at Oikawa who lounged across from him with a shit-eating grin on his face and a glass full of alcohol in his right hand. “God, with a reaction like that you’d think no one has ever called you attractive before.”

That got Oikawa to chuckle, throwing his head back in mirth before shifting forward and leaning towards Iwaizumi intently. “On the contrary, plenty of people think I’m attractive.”

“I’m sure,” Iwaizumi drawled sarcastically, although he knew it was true. “Now, can we talk about something else now?”

“You are so cute,” Oikawa laughed. “Has anyone ever told you that you’re a tsundere?”

“I am not a fucking tsundere,” Iwaizumi hissed, reeling. “I don’t like you!”

“You seriously are not helping your case here, Iwa-chan.”

“Oh my god,” Iwaizumi said, drinking more of his beer before he actually throttled Oikawa. “You are so fucking annoying.”

But Oikawa just giggled, chestnut eyes squeezed shut as his face lit up in delight at Iwaizumi’s red-faced irritation. Oikawa had dimples, Iwaizumi noticed idly, slight smile lines that appeared when he laughed without consequence, a complete contrast to his alluring but serious expressions that Oikawa seemed to put on when he was trying to actively charm Iwaizumi.

Yeah, he thought, he looks better like this.

Iwaizumi cleared his throat, suddenly a bit flustered. “So,” he started, trying to change the subject, “what do you do when you’re not at work?”

Oikawa’s smile widened. “Trying to get to know me better, Iwa-chan?” He takes another sip out of his cocktail, his tongue darting out to catch the stray drops from his lips. “I’m really involved with the Tokyo chapter of my alma mater’s alumni association, so I do a lot of things for that. Networking, organizing events, allocating funds, all that kind of thing.”

“That sounds boring as hell.”

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa chided, “networking is important. Maybe you’d have better pay at a better firm if you did more of it.”

“I like my job,” Iwaizumi defended. “I believe in what I do.”

“Ah yes,” Oikawa nodded, “justice. Very noble.”

“Don’t be so condescending,” Iwaizumi countered, taking a swig from this stout. “I like knowing what I’m doing is significant. I’m keeping dangerous people off the streets and preventing harm from coming to other people without being in the line of fire, so to speak. What’s it to you?” he asked, thinking about how Ushijima told him that Oikawa wanted to go into prosecution before. “What do you like about criminal defense? The challenge?”

Oikawa hummed, gently swirling his drink again and watching the creamy liquid slosh around the side of his glass. “I guess. It is challenging. But no.”

He paused, nailing Iwaizumi again with that intense stare that he reserved for speaking about being a lawyer.

“When I defend somebody,” Oikawa continued, “I like to look at things holistically. No offense, but you prosecutor types are very one-track minded. You’re always looking at the evidence, things that can prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt, because you have an agenda. You’re always going to be biased against the accused, and as you’re hired by the state, you take on all cases. Meanwhile, I get the chance to pick what cases I want to take up, who I want to defend. I’ll defend murderers, yakuza, thieves, because I find that they nearly always have a reason for doing what they did. Like for Daishou, his dad was abusive; he was suffocating under the pressure to inherit a multimillion dollar company. I’ve defended thieves who need to steal to afford a loved one’s treatment, yakuza members who were threatened with execution if they didn’t push the drugs they were asked to.” He took a sip out of his alcohol. “I don’t defend rapists, though. That’s the one thing I won’t do.”

Iwaizumi blinked, absorbing Oikawa’s words quietly. Well, that made sense for the most part. “Ushijima told me that you wanted to do criminal prosecution before, though.”

“Did he?” Oikawa asked crossly, eyebrows knitting together. “Fucking Ushiwaka. Bet he told you it was because of him, too.”

Iwaizumi shrugged because he did.

“Self-important bastard,” Oikawa muttered. “ Fuck him. Yeah, I was considering it for a time in law school. But I talked to some amazing professors and just thinking about it, I don’t think I would enjoy prosecution. There’s just something about defending the underdog, and giving them a second chance.” He cracked a mischievous grin. “And I won’t deny that it’s fun beating you hoity-toity prosecutors.”

“Cheeky bastard,” Iwaizumi returned.

“Well, who doesn't like winning?”

“Fair enough,” Iwaizumi concluded; he had to admit that he was competitive too, even though he was never one to fight tooth and nail to win for the sake of winning. Though, if what Oikawa was saying was true, he wasn't either. Still, Iwaizumi couldn't forget that hungry look in Oikawa's eyes that gleamed before he promptly ripped him apart in pretrial.

Let it go, Iwaizumi chided himself internally, he apologized. It's not personal. Probably.

And then, I'm still going to destroy him next week though.

Exhaling, Iwaizumi leaned back in his chair and opened his mouth to change the subject. “Anyway, how do you know Matsukawa?”

The look on Oikawa's face brightened from his serious demeanor, eyes sparkling and expressive as ever. “Oh, Mattsun! We've known each other since Makki started working at Seijou a year and a half ago. He's a dear.”

“Fraternizing with the enemy,” Iwaizumi grumbled, mostly to himself.

But Oikawa tutted, clearly picking up Iwaizumi's snide. “Don’t be like that, Iwa-chan,” he replied. “It’s purely business. Makki and Mattsun have been dating for a good six years, so that's way before Makki went to Seijou and Mattsun went to the DA's office.”

“Still,” Iwaizumi sighed. “I don't like it.”

“You don't like anything, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa said bluntly. “I don't think I've ever heard you talk about something you actually enjoy.”

“I like plenty of things,” he retorted. Then paused. “I like food.”

“You are such a gorilla. Protozoan.”

“Shut up, I'm not done,” Iwaizumi replied, heat flushing his cheeks. He took another gulp of his beer to try and cool his face down. “I like working out. And I like watching crime shows.”

Oikawa's grin widened. “Ever watch How to Get Away with Murder?

“Typical defense lawyer,” Iwaizumi grunted. “But yeah. Annalise Keating is pretty cool, even though her morals are questionable at best.”

Oikawa waved his comment away with a dismissive hand. “It's drama, Iwa-chan, it's for the show. We all love a little bit of lying and sex and alcoholism.”

“And murder?”

“And murder,” Oikawa agreed.

They both took a moment to sip at their drinks, Iwaizumi bathing in the atmosphere of the bar and the gentle piano playing in the background. He brought his beer to his lips, feeling the bubble prickle in his mouth as he finished the pint off.

“Want another?” Oikawa murmured as he drank the rest of his own alcohol.

“Don't you have to drive?” Iwaizumi frowned.

Oikawa waved the server back and asked for some French shit that he couldn't quite catch. Iwaizumi handed over his empty pint glass and motioned for a refill with a nod.

“Relax, Iwa-chan. I'm just going to have a glass of wine. My blood alcohol isn't going to be anywhere high enough for it to actually affect my driving.”

“Sure you can't just let me drive?”

A snort. “Nice one. I definitely have not had enough alcohol for you to take Betty for a ride.”

Well, he tried. “Betty?”

“Named after my ex-girlfriend at Columbia who dumped me because I was too dedicated to my schoolwork,” Oikawa answered cheerfully with a sharp, toothy smile. “A good old ‘fuck you, I studied hard so now I have a ¥8,000,000 car.’ Revenge is so sweet.”

“You are the pettiest man I have ever met.”

“Betty is an ugly name for a girl anyway,” Oikawa shrugged. “It's much cuter for a car, don't you think?”

The server came back with a glass of white wine for Oikawa and the same stout for Iwaizumi, placing it down on the round table in front of them before taking his leave. Iwaizumi grasped his glass and stared blankly at Oikawa, who plucked his drink up by the stem of the glass. “You are a horrible human being.”

“Don't be dramatic,” Oikawa said, as if naming an expensive car after an estranged ex-girlfriend wasn't the very definition of dramatic. “It's fine, it's all in good fun anyway. Last I heard she was working some boring corporate job in San Francisco, so it's whatever.”

Iwaizumi swallowed some of his beer, shifting in his seat. “What's it like?”

“What's what like?”

“America.”

“Oh,” Oikawa said, a surprised look flitting across his face as he stopped twirling his glass. “You've never been?”

“Moving to Tokyo was the first time I left Miyagi,” Iwaizumi admitted, glancing away from Oikawa.

“Oh. Well, America itself is not that great. I mean, there are just some cultural things you'll never get used to, as a Japanese person. But I adore New York,” Oikawa sighed, face relaxing into a dreamy look as he looked up in reminiscence. “It's so lively, you know. It's not too different from Tokyo, actually, other than how dirty it is. It really is very dirty.”

He wrinkled his nose, as if remembering the smells of New York City physically disgusted him.

“I see,” Iwaizumi said quietly. He thought of Miyagi and its cicadas, hot summer nights and dirt roads. He remembered what it felt like to walk Shibuya crossing for the first time, and see all the tiny flickering lights of the metropolis out of his apartment window. “I'd like to go one day.”

“Yeah? If you do, let me know. I can tell you all the places to hit — the non-touristy places, that is. I'm a great tour guide.”

Iwaizumi's eyes widened in shock as he whipped over to Oikawa, who was sipping at his wine nondescriptly as if what he said was nothing. Opposing counsels didn't give each other itinerary ideas, right? That would imply that they would be in contact after the trial was over.

Iwaizumi honestly didn't expect Oikawa even wanted that.

I don't want any bad blood between us, he had said.

Oh.

Maybe… Oikawa genuinely liked him.

This is such a bad idea, Iwaizumi thought for the millionth time that night, staring at Oikawa as his mouth closed around the rim of his glass, drinking the rest of the wine, his Adam's apple bobbing up and down with his gulps. Oh God. This is such a bad idea.

“That'd be nice,” Iwaizumi said after a few beats of silence, his mind racing a mile a minute. He glanced down at his watch to find that it was almost ten.

Oikawa noticed Iwaizumi checking the time and set his glass down, rising from his seat. “Want to head out?”

Iwaizumi nodded absentmindedly, still thinking about the implications of the fact that Oikawa might like him without ulterior motives.

Oikawa paid the tab and made his way out of the bar, Iwaizumi pacing right behind him as they walked out of the bar and to the parking lot.

“You sure you don't need me to drive?” Iwaizumi attempted on last time, hand resting on the door handle of the passenger seat.

Oikawa gave him a look. “Iwa-chan, please.”

They chatted idly about an assortment of things on the drive back to his apartment. Iwaizumi learned that the Kuroo Tetsurou Akaashi mentioned was his best friend at Seijou (Oikawa let slip that Kuroo had his eye on some intern at the firm — Tsukishira or Tsukihima or something); that despite Oikawa's sweet tooth he drank black coffee because it added to his intense lawyer persona (“Shut up, Iwa-chan, you gotta do what you gotta do to let the people know you are not to be fucked with!”); that he was helping plan Hanamaki and Matsukawa's wedding (“It'd be so ugly otherwise. They have no taste.”) and that Iwaizumi could get an invitation to it, if he wanted. (Iwaizumi said he'd think about it.)

The drive halted abruptly when Oikawa pulled up in front of his apartment building, Iwaizumi blinking in surprise as he looked out his window to find that they were at his place.

“Well,” he said awkwardly, heart leaping to his throat as he fumbled for his seatbelt, “thanks for paying.”

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa murmured softly, “look at me.”

Iwaizumi swallowed, unclicking his buckle and turning to face Oikawa —

— when he was suddenly being jerked forward by the lapels of his leather jacket, breath stolen from his chest as Iwaizumi's lips were enveloped by something wet, warm: Oikawa's lips, a small voice in the back of his head shrieked, my God. What have you done, Hajime? But almost subconsciously, Iwaizumi's mouth moved back in turn, kissing Oikawa back in mind-numbing disbelief.

Oikawa pulled back, panting through spit-shiny, swollen lips. Iwaizumi could feel the little puffs of breath on his own mouth and he resisted the urge to lean in again. “Iw—”

“Are you free tomorrow?” Iwaizumi blurted before he could stop himself.

Oikawa stared at Iwaizumi dumbfoundedly. “Um.”

“I mean,” Iwaizumi scrambled, trying to find the words to say in the fog of breathlessness, “I can't pay for some expensive dinner or anything. But I guess… I could cook?”

“Are you inviting me over?” Oikawa said, almost as surprised as Iwaizumi himself was as he spluttered out the offer.

“I—”

“Yes,” Oikawa cut in before Iwaizumi could embarrass himself more. “I'm free tomorrow.”

Iwaizumi could only nod. “Seven work?”

“Yeah,” Oikawa agreed, still wide-eyed.

“Okay,” Iwaizumi said, opening the car door to get the fuck out of there before he said something stupid like Iwaizumi tended to do when he was around this man. “Okay.”

He fastwalked the fuck away from Oikawa and his Mercedes and his stupid mouth and hands and eyes, barging into the apartment building and racing up the stairs to his apartment. Iwaizumi stumbled in and upon slamming his front door shut, he immediately slid down the wall and dropped down to the ground in shock.

Good God.

He was so fucked.

Chapter Text

“Senpai, you did what?

Iwaizumi groaned, hiding his face in the hand that wasn't clutching his cell phone. Under his fingers he could feel the heated skin of his cheek as he flushed in slow burning regret at his decision to call his junior. He sunk in further into his bed, taking solace in the fluffy comforter as he took a deep breath.

“Look, Kindaichi, I can make stupid decisions sometimes too. You remember the pizza incident.”

An extended silence from the line indicated that yes, Kindaichi did indeed remember the pizza incident, much to Iwaizumi’s misfortune.

“But… senpai, couldn't you have waited until after the trial?”

“Well…” Iwaizumi trailed off, swallowing. “Technically, I guess. But the trial's next week, so it's fine. Yeah.”

Nevermind that Oikawa was coming over to his flat tonight, Iwaizumi was going to cook for him (god, fuck, what was he even going to make? Why did Iwaizumi even offer that?), and with the speed to which things have been progressing between the two of them, the night was probably going end, um, physically . A part of Iwaizumi (namely, his dick) was pretty excited about the whole thing, but another part (his brain) agreed with Kindaichi that this indeed was a bad idea.

Matsukawa is right, something (his dick) whispered, you haven’t gotten laid in a long, long time, Hajime.

“God help you, senpai,” Kindaichi said earnestly. “How did this even happen?”

That was a good question, Kindaichi. Actually, funny you ask that. Iwaizumi had no fucking idea himself.

“Well, I went to dinner with him,” he said.

“Senpai...”

“That’s not even it,” he continued. “I also went to drinks with him twice. Though the first time was an accident.”

Iwaizumi could hear Kindaichi’s frown over the phone. “How do you accidentally get drinks with someone?”

“I ran into him at the bar,” Iwaizumi sighed, thinking back to the electricity between them and the goosebumps that raised on his skin whenever Oikawa got close to him. “And he paid for my cab back.”

“And then you kissed him?” Kindaichi asked, a bewildered lilt to his voice.

“He kissed me,” Iwaizumi corrected.

“Just like, out of the blue?”

“Well, no,” Iwaizumi admitted begrudgingly, rolling over in bed so he could bury his face into his pillow. “There’s just something there. Like, he deliberately goads me to the point where I don’t know if I should be angry or turned on.”

Kindaichi went quiet for a few moments, and then piped, “No offense, senpai, but that seems like a very singular experience.”

Iwaizumi groaned again. He called Kindaichi for moral support, not judgement. If even his most supportive kouhai wouldn’t back him up, then maybe he really was making a mistake. “Sorry about this, Kindaichi.”

“No, no!” his junior hastily yelped, verbally scrambling to try and make Iwaizumi feel better. “I’m happy that you’re talking to me about this! Don’t apologize! I completely understand, senpai!”

Do you? “Thanks for listening as always.”

“Of course, it’s my pleasure,” his junior blurted, the sound so loud that Iwaizumi had to pull the phone away from his ear to avoid ear drum damage. “Though, Iwaizumi-senpai… I’m a little worried. You’re usually pretty good at self-control.”

Iwaizumi winced.

“It’s just something about him,” Iwaizumi defended. “I don’t know. I’m trying to figure it out, myself. It shouldn’t be a problem.” And then for good measure, he added, “It won’t affect the case, I promise. I’m planning to defeat him thoroughly.”

“I believe in you, senpai,” Kindaichi affirmed. “And once the case is over, you’ll be free to do what you want.”

“Yeah,” Iwaizumi said with finality, worn out. “Thanks again, Kindaichi. I’ll catch up with you when the trial is over.”

He slid the end call button on his screen, hanging up and sighing heavily. Before yesterday, Iwaizumi thought that all Oikawa wanted was to string him along and maybe some casual sex. Oikawa certainly wasn’t merciful during the pretrial, and it didn’t seem like he was going to be at the actual trial next week, either. But then Oikawa said one thing about maybe being friends in the future, and Iwaizumi’s perspective shifted drastically — maybe Oikawa didn’t just want to fuck around during the trial and play with his food before he ate it, so to speak. Maybe he was actually interested.

Oikawa, with his piercing smolders, beautiful hands, and cutting tongue; an enigma of a man, wrapped up in a blue pinstripe suit and a bright smile. Iwaizumi felt a little bit like standing in the middle of a hurricane, the storm that was Oikawa Tooru sweeping him up and away, and all Iwaizumi could do was enjoy the ride.

Really, he had no idea what the fuck Oikawa wanted. Even worse, he had no idea what the fuck he wanted for himself. All Iwaizumi knew was that Oikawa was as beautiful as he was dangerous. And in the end, he was just a little bit of adrenaline junkie, living in the confines of a stable, bland office job and looking for fires to burn.

I got to go grocery shopping, he thought to himself as he dragged himself out of bed. I hope Oikawa likes curry.

 

-

 

They had agreed on seven, so Iwaizumi had started cooking at five thirty. The methodical preparation of ingredients always relaxed his nerves when he was overthinking or panicking, so he focused his attention on slicing and dicing the carrots and potatoes for his curry. There was something calming in repetition; cooking and working out were his favorite hobbies for a reason.

After taking some time to get everything ready, Iwaizumi tossed the vegetables into a pot with spices, meat, and stock, letting the mixture simmer. Now having nothing to do, Iwaizumi sat down in a seat at his kitchen table, mind wandering to his conversation with Kindaichi. He had told him that no matter what happened between the two of them, Iwaizumi was still determined to win the trial in the end. Because for all that Iwaizumi was attracted to Oikawa’s fleeting smiles and meaningful glances, the ugly, competitive part of him refused to lose the trial next week. Just like the chemistry between them, the trial was like a game. Iwaizumi, by losing the pretrial, had lost the battle, but he still had a war to fight.

Iwaizumi wondered at what point did he stop thinking Daishou Suguru as a criminal to put away but rather a chess piece to defeat Oikawa.

He’s both, he reminded himself. He committed a crime, and Oikawa’s playing a game with me. I can play the game and serve the law at the same time.

He swallowed hard, repeating the phrase again in his head.

Iwaizumi became a lawyer to put away dangerous people, to protect society from criminals that did harm. But it was easy to get lost in the paperwork and the analysis, and because of that, it was easy to forget that his work is meant for the safety of Tokyo’s streets. And now that Iwaizumi was knee-deep in first felony, he began to wonder. What if Oikawa was right, and Daishou Suguru had been abused by his father after all? What if Iwaizumi’s hunch was completely off the mark and Daishou Suguru wasn’t abusing Yamaka Mika?

Distantly, he remembered Ushijima’s repeated warnings to him, that Oikawa harnessed emotions and charm to throw people off and force them question everything logical and sound. Oikawa could just be messing with his head, stringing his emotions along and making him question his morals and reasoning. They had so much fucking evidence after all with the photos, the expert and witness testimonies, so Oikawa’s words were just that — words with little to no hard evidence to back it up. But no matter how much it made sense, Iwaizumi didn’t want to believe that Oikawa was just fucking around with him; after all, Oikawa seemed so damn earnest when he spoke about his reasons for being a defense attorney.

“He’s defending criminals, ” Iwaizumi told himself out loud, trying to stamp down on the uneasy that quaked around in his stomach. “He is a criminal defense attorney. Just because he’s hot and we kind of get along does not mean that my work is invalid. I work for justice.”

But somehow, he wasn’t so sure anymore.

His phone vibrated in his pocket against his pant leg. Iwaizumi dug the device out and checked the screen, first noticing the time. He hurried over to check on his pot of curry before opening Oikawa’s message.

 

From: Shittykawa
Sent at 6:29PM

Will be there a little earlier, probably at like 6:50.

 

Iwaizumi sighed deeply, turning the stove off and unplugging the rice cooker. He dragged his feet out of the kitchen to his room, staring mournfully at his closet for the second time that weekend. Oikawa wouldn’t mind if he just stayed in sweatpants and a tank, right? Iwaizumi briefly remembered that he had called him hunky at one point. His biceps were pretty clearly on display in this particular shirt. Maybe Oikawa would like that.

He stared at himself in the mirror, scrutinizing as he took in his general appearance — black hair in its usual spiky tufts, a slight five o’clock shadow coming in on his jawline, black drawstring sweats slung over his hips and a thin white tank that he had worn so thoroughly that it hung off of his torso in the way well-loved cotton tended to do.

Goddamn, he looked boring. Not that he looked all that much better on a daily basis with his standard black suit, white shirt, and black tie get up.

Well, in any case, he should probably shave.

Iwaizumi had just finished rubbing aftershave across his face and admiring the new smoothness of his jaw when the chime of his doorbell rang out throughout his entire apartment. Cursing, he dried his hands, rushing out of the bathroom and to his front door.

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa chimed cheerfully, a bottle of wine tucked under his arm and his usual Charming-Juries-and-Waiters-and-Women smile stretched upon his face.

But his face immediately went slack as Oikawa looked Iwaizumi up and down, eyes lingering on his arms as his gaze darted across Iwaizumi’s body and eventually made its way back up to Iwaizumi’s face. Unguarded. Like the sight of Iwaizumi in a sleeveless top had completely thrown him off his rocker.

I wonder if I can wear this to court, Iwaizumi mused, silently patting himself on the back for not changing into another pair of clothes.

“You look like a college student,” Oikawa said finally, strained. His face scrunched up in a way that suggested that he was somewhere in between being constipated and trying to get his shit back together.

What does that say about you, Iwaizumi thought to himself. Then, I’m glad I made dinner because you look fucking ravenous.

Oikawa took a small step forward and Iwaizumi let him inside, kicking off his shoes and eyes scanning over all of his furniture and interior design choices, Iwaizumi was sure. Oikawa was judgemental like that. He had opted for a thin baby blue button down, rolled up to his sleeves, and white khaki shirts — looking a bit like he walked straight out of a yacht or something. Primped and asshole-y as usual.

Then, exactly like what Iwaizumi was expecting, Oikawa piped up, “Wow, Iwa-chan, it’s like you’ve never heard of IKEA or something.”

Iwaizumi scowled, trailing behind Oikawa as the other poked at his living room couch experimentally. “I have what I need.”

“Ah yes,” Oikawa snorted. “A couch, a TV, and a rug. You live like a caveman. This couch is fucking huge, by the way, where the fuck did you even get such a monster?”

Iwaizumi frowned, because he also had a lamp and a coffee table , for god’s sake. What else did people have in their living rooms?

“Can you at least get some better pillows for your couch?” Oikawa sighed, as if the prospect of Iwaizumi's bare sofa fundamentally insulted him. “And you have nothing on your walls. Where's the decor?”

“I'm not spending my money on shit paintings and 'bless this mess’ plaques,” Iwaizumi grumbled, taking the initiative to step the fuck out of his spartan living room and into the kitchen and dining room, where he spent most of his time anyway. “They don’t have any functionality. If I wanted to be entertained I’ll just turn on the TV.”

Oikawa followed him out, placing the wine bottle down on the dining room table, eyes still darting around as if evaluating the state of this room as well. “I know you work for the state, but surely you’re not paid that badly?”

And then, after a dramatic inhale, “Is that curry?”

“Yeah,” Iwaizumi admitted, the tip of his ears flushing red as he turned away from Oikawa to plate up. He opened his cabinet with more force than was probably necessary and searched for some wine glasses. “Sorry I don’t know how to make snails or liver paste or whatever kind of expensive Western food you probably like.”

A delighted laugh and the sound of chair legs dragging on carpet rang out from behind him. “Not at all. I’m excited to see if your curry beats out my mom’s. You did make it from scratch, right? Because if you used the boxed stuff I’d be very disappointed. Since you did claim you could cook yesterday.”

Iwaizumi let out a strangled noise he didn’t think he was capable of making. He slammed the cabinet shut and stalked over to the table, clinking two empty wine glasses down on the wooden table. “Of course I made it from scratch. What am I, an animal?”

“Could’ve fooled me,” Oikawa shrugged, reaching over to fiddle with a glass. “Do you have a corkscrew?”

Iwaizumi pulled out the drawer and handed it to him, grabbing two spoons and two pairs of chopsticks as well. He put the utensils down and went back to the kitchen to plate up, dumping some rice and curry into two bowls before staring down at his food anxiously. He was pretty confident in his cooking, but maybe he should’ve put in more effort into making fancier food? He really wasn’t the kind of guy who made three course meals or some shit. But maybe he should’ve made some katsu too? Or would that be trying too hard? He had to get the pickled radish out for this, right? Since they were eating curry?

The pop of an uncorked wine bottle startled Iwaizumi out of his thoughts. After taking his jar of red pickles out of the fridge and tucking it under his arm, Iwaizumi took a deep breath and walked back to his doom: the kitchen table, where Oikawa sat pouring out red wine with a flourish of the wrist. Iwaizumi dropped down in the only other chair he had at the table and set the two bowls and the jar of pickles down. He nudged a bowl in Oikawa’s direction. Oikawa passed him a glass of wine in return.

Iwaizumi swallowed and took the drink.

Oikawa slid his bowl closer to him.

Iwaizumi popped the jar of pickles open and fished some out with his chopsticks. “Uh. Do you want fukujinzuke on that?”

“Yes, please,” Oikawa said mildly, pushing his bowl back towards Iwaizumi’s direction.

Iwaizumi plopped the radish down on his bowl of curry, and then dug back into the jar to put a few heaps in his own bowl. He capped the jar of pickles.

“This was your idea,” Oikawa reminded him unhelpfully, taking a sledgehammer to the weird tension that had fell over them since they entered the kitchen.

“Yes, I know , ” Iwaizumi snapped back. Like he needed to remember the very outburst last night that had gotten him into this weird position.

Oikawa just smiled slightly in that absolutely terrible way of his, before pulling his bowl closer to him again and picking up his glass by the stem. “To awkward dinner dates,” he announced, raising his wine in the air.

“Fuck you,” Iwaizumi replied immediately, but meeting him halfway anyway with his own drink, the glasses clinking together in cheers.

They both took a few seconds to sip at the wine, Iwaizumi noting that the alcohol tasted sweet on his tongue. “This tastes like grape juice.”

“It’s port wine,” Oikawa explained, seeming more than happy to impart knowledge on the bourgeois liquor of the West. “It’s known for being pretty sweet and strong.”

“I see,” Iwaizumi said, because he didn’t have anything else to say. Well, it tasted good, and he supposed that was all that really mattered.

He put his drink down, not taking his eyes off of Oikawa as he tried Iwaizumi’s food. Oikawa scooped up a spoonful of curry rice and blew on it gingerly before slipping it into his mouth, chewing at it experimentally.

“So,” Iwaizumi asked, feeling vaguely like he was awaiting a verdict.

Oikawa said nothing, still chewing slowly. He finally swallowed after five seconds of deliberation. “It’s good.”

Iwaizumi let out an exhale he didn’t realize he had been holding, taking his own utensil to eat from his bowl. “Damn right.”

“It’s a lot more spiced than my mom’s,” Oikawa continued, as if Iwaizumi said anything at all. “What do you put in yours?”

“Like I’ll tell you,” Iwaizumi snorted after swallowing a bit of food. “That’s a government secret.”

Oikawa smiled widely, dimples creasing into his cheeks and crinkling with amusement. “Oh look, he has a sense of humor after all.”

Iwaizumi let out a strangled noise. “What do you mean?”

“Well, you know,” Oikawa said, placing his bowl down to take another drink. “You’re so… serious. All big muscles and resting bitch face and always down to business. Though I suppose,” he gave a meaningful look at Iwaizumi’s bare arms, “you’re not very lawyer-like right now. Did you know you have the fashion sense of a broke undergraduate?”

“And you look like you walked out of a J. Crew catalog,” Iwaizumi returned, also putting down his curry to sip his wine, “and not in a good way. You wore boat shoes to my house. And besides,” he paused for dramatic effect as if giving a particularly suspenseful speech to a jury, “I thought I remembered you saying that you like my big muscles?”

Oikawa choked on his alcohol, hurriedly shoving the glass away as he spluttered into his hand.

“Oh, shit,” Iwaizumi muttered — he had wanted to throw Oikawa off but he hadn’t wanted for him to suffocate — and got up to go get a glass of water. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, um,” Oikawa coughed out after clearing his throat loudly a few times, “sorry, think I got some rice stuck in my throat or something.”

Iwaizumi handed the water to him blankly. “You were drinking wine.”

I had rice stuck in my throat, ” Oikawa hissed, a hint of pink dusting over his cheeks as he snatched the glass from Iwaizumi’s hand and gulped it down. “Anyways, I didn’t know you were so vain, Iwa-chan.”

Iwaizumi watched as Oikawa set the glass down gingerly and straightened, as if recalibrating after that unflattering stunt. Nice try, asshole. Inwardly, Iwaizumi tallied a win for himself.

“I told you, I like staying fit. It’s good for you and it keeps you healthy,” he shrugged, scraping the edges of his bowl with his spoon. “Anyways, you’re the one who called me a hunk.”

“Well, for all intents and purposes, you are a hunk,” Oikawa sniffed, obviously still recovering from choking on his alcohol. He reached for his glass and drank some more wine.

“Doesn’t that mean you just like my muscles?”

“Oh my fucking God, Iwa-chan, you are so crude. Must I remind you that you are in polite company ?”

Iwaizumi huffed between mouthfuls of rice. “You are anything but polite.”

“Wow,” Oikawa said, eating his curry indignantly. “You really treat all your dinner dates like this?”

“No.” Because honestly Iwaizumi didn’t really invite people over often if at all, but Oikawa didn’t need to know that. “You’re just especially annoying.”

Oikawa’s eyes rolled so hard into the back of his head that Iwaizumi could only see the whites of his eyeballs for a brief moment. “You can stop with the tsundere act, you know. Again, this dinner was your idea.”

“Well, yeah. I felt bad for draining your wallet. Consider this a repayment for that Italian place you took me to.”

“Curry doesn’t even compare to Puccini’s gnocchi. I’m offended that you would even suggest that.”

“Can you just appreciate my goddamn cooking, thanks.”

“Yes, yes,” Oikawa said between sips of wine. “Iwa-chan is so good at housewife duties. Maybe you should quit your job and live at my place as a maid. I’d pay you better than the Tokyo’s DA office, I’m sure.”

Iwaizumi squawked a little, jaw dropping before snapping it shut and grabbing his own wine glass. “What, can’t take care of yourself?”

“Oh, please. Of course I can. But if I have the money to have someone else do it, why bother?” Oikawa reached for the bottle of wine and refilled his glass, raising an eyebrow in question before Iwaizumi nodded, giving him the cue to pour into his glass as well. “Cheers to that. Iwa-chan, will you be my maid?”

“I’d rather die,” Iwaizumi replied promptly, clinking glasses with Oikawa nevertheless.

The two of them ate in a few beats of silence, occasionally pausing to drink at their wine. Iwaizumi couldn’t help but notice some of the little quirks in Oikawa’s movements — the flick of his wrist as he reached for his wine, the curl of his fingers around the spoon, the way Oikawa’s tongue would dart out to catch any remaining sauce on his lips. The way his eyelashes looked, long and fluttering, against his cheek.

Fuck this guy, Iwaizumi thought angrily, why did he have to be so damn pretty.

As if reading his mind, Oikawa looked up from his curry and flashed Iwaizumi a disarming smile. “What’s wrong, Iwa-chan?”

“Nothing,” Iwaizumi said petulantly, drinking the rest of his wine and pointedly staring away from Oikawa and the fluid grace to his movements. Then, changing the subject to shift his attention to other things, he asked, “How good were you at volleyball, anyway? Since you mentioned that you played in high school.”

“Oh, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa laughed, cheeks flushed from alcohol — or from cheerfulness, Iwaizumi couldn’t tell, “You played Aoba Johsai in high school, right? We won the prefecture in my third year, and came damn near close to winning it two years before. And the captain of the team was yours truly.” Oikawa dramatically placed a hand over his chest, looking mighty pleased with himself. “I played throughout college, too. Division I volleyball.”

Iwaizumi grunted. “I see,” he muttered, slightly impressed. He supposed Oikawa looked athletic, with his long, strong limbs and definite muscle definition underneath the rolled-up sleeves of his linen shirt. He didn’t look like Iwaizumi by any means (just being honest — Iwaizumi took care of his fitness routine, you see) but it was clear that Oikawa hit the gym at least once or twice a week. Defined, but not cut . Iwaizumi’s eyes drew down to his hands, fingers curled around his fork. “A setter, huh.”

“Yep,” Oikawa said proudly. “I was good at it. Honestly, if I wasn’t so set on my lawyer career and moving to America to study, I would’ve considered going pro.”

“Seriously?” Iwaizumi gaped, because Oikawa was such a lawyer that he couldn’t imagine him in any other career. Though being a setter, like being a lawyer, required analytical skills, emotional communication and connection, hard work and determination. He supposed it wasn’t an outlandish idea.

“Yeah. Well, in the end, I knew I always wanted to be a lawyer. And I wanted to get out of Japan, especially Miyagi. There are just so much more things to see out there, you know? And what better place to start than in America?”

Iwaizumi considered this, quietly chewing on a bite of curry rice. “Did you do it? See a lot of things, I mean.”

“Did a bit of travelling after college, right before law school,” Oikawa said after swallowing some food. “Went to Europe. Loved it. Big fan of France, though Paris is a bit overrated.”

“You going to do more?”

“Sure,” Oikawa said dismissively. “But I love what I do at Seijou. I’m definitely focusing on my career right now.” He glanced at Iwaizumi meaningfully. “This has been my dream, you know.”

Yeah, Iwaizumi did know. He wanted to be a prosecutor for a long time too. And now that he’s here at the Tokyo District Attorney’s office, he was grateful for all the sacrifices and work that he had put into getting here. But Oikawa pulled him into this tense, tantalizing mind game of his, and now Iwaizumi was having trouble which one he should prioritize — his career or his conversations with this beautiful man and his beautiful hands.

Clearing his throat, Iwaizumi finished the rest of his food and glanced back at Oikawa’s bowl, noticing that he was almost done as well.

Oh, hell. What was he going to do now? What were they going to do now?

Iwaizumi stood up abruptly and took his empty bowl to the kitchen sink, heartbeat racing as he turned away from Oikawa and tried to figure out what to say next. Maybe they should watch something on TV? Oikawa had mentioned liking How to Get Away with Murder so he’d probably enjoy watching Law and Order with him? Right? People watched TV shows together on dates, right? Netflix and chill? That was something people did, right? Even though most lawyers didn’t invite their opposing counsels over and cook for them. Holy hell. His head was starting to spin, and Iwaizumi honestly couldn’t tell if it was because of the alcohol or because the sexual tension between Oikawa and him was building up so much it was starting to suffocate him.

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa’s voice rang out from behind him, jolting him back into the present, “are you just going to stand there?”

Flushing, Iwaizumi set his dish down and briefly rinsed it out and soaked it in water. “No,” he said gruffly, spinning around and stalking back to the table, where Oikawa sat placatingly with his own empty bowl in front of him. Iwaizumi took it and returned it to the sink along with his own, and then walked back to grab his wine glass wordlessly and head into his living room.

Rustling from behind him signaled to Iwaizumi that Oikawa did the same, so he plopped down on his pillow-less sofa and set his wine down on the coffee table, watching as Oikawa sat down next to him and sipped on his port silently.

What the fuck, Iwaizumi thought, this is so awkward.

But Oikawa just slung his arm on the couch and crossed his legs, still drinking from his glass in silent expectancy. He slid his gaze over to Iwaizumi, half-lidded and suggestive in the way that all of Oikawa’s stares seemed to be, running a shiver down his spine.

Iwaizumi reached his hand out to snatch the TV remote and to turn on some news broadcast or something to try and dispel the heavy atmosphere between the two of them, but Oikawa darted his free hand out and grabbed Iwaizumi’s wrist tightly before he could, fingers gripping around his forearm. And just like last time at the bar, the touch of Oikawa’s hand on his arm sent shockwaves up his arm and kicked his heart rate into overdrive.

“What—”

“You didn’t invite me over to watch TV, now did you, Iwa-chan?”

Iwaizumi’s heart spluttered into an even faster pace and his shoulders stiffened. Oikawa’s eyes were burning and his grip was unrelenting, steady and tight around his own wrist. “To be honest, I don’t even know why I invited you over.”

“Well,” Oikawa murmured, so low that Iwaizumi had to strain his ears a bit to hear it. “I certainly didn’t come over to watch TV. No offense.”

Oikawa slammed his wine glass down and pushed Iwaizumi down on the sofa.

Iwaizumi may or may not have let out a squeak in surprise, but it was swallowed anyway by Oikawa’s mouth, his soft and plump lips prying Iwaizumi’s open as Oikawa pinned Iwaizumi’s shoulders down with his hands, hips slotted right in between his. Greedily, Oikawa slid his hands from his shoulders down to his elbows, hands brushing over the bare skin of Iwaizumi’s triceps. The sensation, coupled with Oikawa’s firm kissing, shot shivers up his spine and Iwaizumi inhaled sharply through his nose, bringing his own arms around Oikawa’s waist almost subconsciously.

Oikawa drew back, lips shiny with spit and red with the blush of a desperate kiss. If Iwaizumi thought Oikawa looked suggestive before with his lidded glances and smirks, it was nothing in comparison to him like this: breathless and desire clearly painted across his face, rather than buried deep behind sly remarks and sultry looks.

Iwaizumi swallowed hard. “Do you really hate Law and Order that much?” he whispered breathlessly, feeling slightly stupider after Oikawa kissed all the oxygen out of his lungs.

Oikawa huffed. “Shut the fuck up, Iwa-chan,” he muttered, and proceeded to do just that.

He surged back down to meet Iwaizumi half-way, sliding his lips against his and taking Iwaizumi’s bottom lip between his teeth, tugging enough to hiss at the pain but reel at the pressure. Oikawa’s hands drifted over the skin of his arms again before reaching under Iwaizumi’s baggy tank, cold fingers caressing upwards across the planes of Iwaizumi’s stomach and drawing a gasp from his mouth.

Iwaizumi tugged Oikawa’s stupid blue linen shirt out of his pants. “Take this fucking thing off.”

“Touchy, touchy,” he said, smirking, but took his hands out from under Iwaizumi’s clothes to unclasp the buttons of his shirt. But he paused after the third button. “Maybe I should give you a striptease.”

“Does it look like I have the fucking patience for a striptease, ” Iwaizumi growled, curling a hand around the nape of Oikawa’s neck, feeling a rush of immense amount of satisfaction as Oikawa shivered a little bit at the touch.

Oikawa deftly obeyed, shrugging the shirt off. He lifted Iwaizumi’s tank up as well, prompting Iwaizumi to raise his arms over his head so Oikawa could take the top off of him. Now both half-naked, Oikawa went straight back to kissing Iwaizumi, moving his lips against his as if his life depended on it. He pressed his bare chest on his, heated skin grazing across heated skin and making Iwaizumi dizzy with pleasure as all of his blood rushed out of his head and down his body.

“Fuck,” Iwaizumi gritted out as Oikawa started tracing his lips across his jaw and down his neck, taking the skin there in between his teeth and sucking until Iwaizumi was sure that there were going to be a bruise peppered on his throat. “Dammit, don’t leave marks, are you a fucking teenager ?

But Oikawa just chuckled, low and dark and like fire into the crook of his neck, and brushed his lips across Iwaizumi’s skin, scooting down Iwaizumi’s body and dragging his mouth lower and lower until he was kissing the hem of Iwaizumi’s waistband. He tugged the fabric with his teeth, pulling it back until releasing it so it snapped against Iwaizumi’s hips, the sharp pang like a slap and a reminder of what exactly was going to happen next — holy hell, Iwaizumi thought to himself as Oikawa yanked his sweatpants and boxers down with his fucking teeth, that’s a lot hotter than should be humanly possible, and Oikawa looked up at him through his eyelashes, a prayer and a question and a demand in his eyes all at once. He nudged his nose against the heat of Iwaizumi’s skin and whispered: “What do you want, Iwa-chan?”

“Don’t call me that,” Iwaizumi said, the usual irritation in his voice completely gone in place of reverent lust, and he carded his fingers through Oikawa’s perfect, styled hair and pushed his face in between his legs. Immediately, Oikawa moaned, the sound vibrating against the bare, too hot skin of Iwaizumi’s cock and then all Iwaizumi knew was the wet, sinful heat of Oikawa’s mouth, wrapping around him like a vice. And Iwaizumi was moaning too — couldn’t help it, with the bob of Oikawa’s head and the slip of his tongue around him like he was sucking a fucking lollipop, vigorous and hard, lapping him up like candy.

Iwaizumi felt drunk, and at this point he couldn’t tell if it was the actual alcohol or just the sheer amount of adrenaline and heat and lust pumping through his veins, the pleasure fluttering his eyes shut and stuttering his hips forward to push down Oikawa’s mouth, hitting the back of his throat. But Oikawa wasn’t phased; instead, he leaned forward, forcing Iwaizumi down his throat even more and humming around his cock. Iwaizumi could feel Oikawa trying his best not to gag, feeling the muscles spasm around him and driving him closer to the edge.

It was almost too much, so Iwaizumi yanked on Oikawa’s hair hard and pulled Oikawa off of him. Oikawa gasped, panting, tears gathering at the corners of his eyes, from deepthroating, no doubt, a mixture of spit and precome covering his lips and a flush at his cheeks, and the sight almost made Iwaizumi lose his fucking mind.

“Fuck,” he muttered for the hundredth time that night, “you are too good at that.”

“Iwa-chan and his stupid fucking college student clothes,” Oikawa breathed. “You should be glad that you look good like a homeless man.”

“Shut up,” Iwaizumi growled as Oikawa climbed back up until they were both eye to eye on the couch, Oikawa pushing his nose into Iwaizumi’s neck as he fished out a small tube of lubricant and a condom before shucking off his shorts and throwing them aimlessly across the room. The sight of the items made Iwaizumi falter a bit. “So, uh—”

“Iwa-chan should be glad,” Oikawa cut him off, flushing as he uncapped the bottle and squeezed some out onto his fingers. “That he looks so good that it makes me want to ride him until I come.”

“Oh my god,” Iwaizumi said, unable to look away as Oikawa stood on his knees over Iwaizumi’s body. He reached behind and slipped one, two fingers inside of himself, his expression going slack and mouth falling open as he stretched himself open, kneeling over Iwaizumi’s hips and arching his spine forward as he fucked himself on his hand.

After a few minutes, Oikawa fished his lube-slicked fingers out, overwhelmed but eager, shallow breaths leaving his parted lips in desperate huffs. In premonition, Iwaizumi sat up against the arm of the couch, watching as Oikawa ripped the condom wrapper open and rolled it over Iwaizumi, impossibly hard. Oikawa lowered his hips down and Iwaizumi’s vision went white.

It pained him to admit, but it really had been a long time since he had sex, and he’d almost forgotten the feeling of being completely wrapped up in heat and pressure and everything surrounding it — the flush of skin, the pants and moans, the sheer, unrelenting need to feel, touch. But even if he did remember what sex was like, Iwaizumi was certain his college girlfriend and dizzy one-night-stands in law school couldn’t even try to hold a candle to this : the song of Oikawa’s gasps as he rocked down, deep and tight and hot and god, this was a bad idea but Iwaizumi had never felt more than he did now, clutching at Oikawa’s hips hard enough to bruise as Oikawa rolled with rhythm over him. He could feel himself inching closer to the edge, pleasure building upon itself as Oikawa fucked himself like he was made for it, their bodies sliding on top of each other like puzzle pieces — a perfect fit.

“God damn you,” Oikawa got out, voice strangled and strands of hair sticking to his forehead with sweat, “Damn you and your nice arms and those stupid fucking sweatpants. Look what you’ve done to me.”

Iwaizumi didn’t have anything to say to that, so he just bit into Oikawa’s shoulder to stamp out his groans, pressure and pleasure emanating throughout his body as Oikawa continued bouncing up and down on his cock. Oikawa’s hands skimmed all over his torso, arms, chest in heated frenzy, as if searching for something on the map of Iwaizumi’s skin, fingertips like little flames, scorched him from the outside in. Oikawa writhed on top of him and Iwaizumi burned for it, the feeling making Iwaizumi sink deeper and push harder.

He thrusted up in time with Oikawa’s movements, causing him to groan and pick up the pace. He could tell that Oikawa was getting close too, his speed jerky and erratic and his hands gripping at Iwaizumi’s shoulders tightly as he fucked himself on Iwaizumi, and suddenly Oikawa’s movement stuttered and then stopped completely, legs spasming and quaking as he undoubtedly came, eyes fluttering shut and brows knitting together as he let out one of the most erotic sounds Iwaizumi had ever heard in his fucking life.

That did Iwaizumi in, and soon enough he was coming as well, squeezing his eyes shut and grasping at Oikawa’s hip bones tightly as he lunged forward one last time, riding the waves of his orgasm, hot and forbidden.

He inhaled sharply and opened his eyes to find Oikawa, completely spent, naked, and fucked out, collapsed next to him.

“See, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa cooed, attempting to be suave but just ending up satisfyingly exhausted, “aren’t you glad I made my intentions clear?”

“Shut up,” Iwaizumi grumbled, sitting up on the couch and grabbing his tank from off the ground. He wiped Oikawa’s come off of his chest and pulled the condom off of him, tying it into a knot and tossing it in the wastebin that he kept right near his coffee table.

“I hope you know that any declarations of hate towards me are now completely invalid,” Oikawa said lazily. “Because you came so fast.”

“You came first,” Iwaizumi snapped, affronted. He hadn’t had sex in like a year, give him a break.

“Well, yeah,” Oikawa shrugged, rolling over onto his side. “Iwa-chan’s dick is too big not to.”

“Oh my god.”

“Seriously, you are hung. Do you work out your dick, too? How am I supposed to go against you next week when I know exactly how your cock feels when its stretching me out?”

Oikawa shook his head disapprovingly, but his words were like an electric jolt through Iwaizumi's body, reminding him of exactly what he had just done.

Iwaizumi just had sex with his opposing counsel on his couch.

“Fuck,” Iwaizumi said. “I can’t believe that just happened.”

As if sensing Iwaizumi’s impending existential breakdown, Oikawa shot up out of his lying position and bore an irritated gaze at him. “Well, I did. And if you don’t want it to affect the trial, then it won’t.

“You can’t tell me this doesn’t affect anything,” Iwaizumi retorted, sinking into the plush of his couch.

“Look, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa sighed, leaning over to idly thread his fingers through the tufts of Iwaizumi’s hair, “the trial is next week. It’s fine. We can go through that and pretend like today never happened during it. No hard feelings, yeah? Work is work. This is… this. They’re different, and you should treat it like such.”

“And what is this, exactly?” Iwaizumi grumbled, because yeah, he had his fair share of hookups in school, but he was getting a little too old for that, which is why he stopped doing them. He wouldn’t say he was looking for a relationship, but well. Maybe he liked Oikawa and his beautiful hands a little more than he liked to admit. Not that you would ever hear him say that out loud.

“It’s whatever you want it to be,” Oikawa said silently, as if it were such a simple thing.

But Iwaizumi didn’t believe him.

Because he still wanted to beat Oikawa into the ground during next week’s trial. And if — when, he told himself, when — he did, Iwaizumi knew that he would enjoy the rush of a victory and the sense of pride that always came after a guilty verdict.

After all, he was a prosecutor first and foremost, and this lawyer game he was playing with Oikawa was one he was determined to win.

No matter what. 

 

Chapter Text

After their probably ill-advised fuck on Iwaizumi’s couch, Oikawa had taken a quick shower in Iwaizumi’s bathroom, leaving Iwaizumi to awkwardly stew in his conflicted panic on the very sofa they had sex on. Oh my god, why couldn’t he have waited until after the trial? Kindaichi was right, this was so uncharacteristic of him, and honestly he still couldn’t believe himself. But Oikawa completely and utterly swept him up in his rhythm — metaphorically and physically. And despite his rational brain telling him that he had just made a very bad decision — distantly Iwaizumi wondered if there were any actual legal repercussions of sleeping with your opposing counsel during an outstanding case — he couldn’t help but feel exhilarated. Maybe that was just the post-orgasm haze, but still. Iwaizumi couldn’t say he didn’t want it, and Oikawa, no matter how much of a seducer he seemed to be, would definitely have stopped if Iwaizumi showed any signs of not wanting it. And, oh Iwaizumi had wanted it. Unfortunately.

Oikawa had dressed and left Iwaizumi’s flat within five minutes of showering, but not before kissing him gently on the cheek before stepping out which. What the fuck, Iwaizumi’s heart lept to his throat and stayed there before he took a few deep breaths and chugged whatever wine was left in his glass.

After stewing in confusion and conflicted feelings for a good hour, Iwaizumi did what he usually did after a bad decision — he hit the gym, trying to sweat off his oncoming anxieties. At least he only had a week before the trial, and for all that it was worth, he was pretty confident in the case Matsukawa and he had built against Daishou Suguru. The witnesses for the prosecution were all very professional and resolute, holding up their own against Iwaizumi’s practice cross-examination questions, which he tried to emulate Oikawa’s style and thinking as best as he could: emotional, hard-hitting, and soul-crushing. He just hoped he had prepared them enough.

And despite how unsubstantiated his hunch was about Yamaka Mika, he at least had a trump card that may or may not work against Daishou — a line of questioning that might throw Oikawa off. Hopefully.

Fuck.

The week trekked on with Iwaizumi throwing himself back into work; the days leading up to the trial were always hectic ones. Last minute gathering of evidence, setting up slides and materials, revising and rehearsing speeches. Matsukawa, for all his snark and absolute headassery, helped him piece together the remaining parts of the case, making sure all the affidavits and warrants and other legal documentation were in order.

It was Thursday noon, the day before the trial, and Iwaizumi was sitting at a small table with Sugawara and Akaashi in a cozy family-owned udon shop for lunchtime. Sugawara, with his bright toothy grin and hearty pats on the back, had practically dragged Iwaizumi out of his desk, chirping along about how Iwaizumi should eat well the day before his big trial and ignoring Iwaizumi’s protests (he brought the leftover curry to work for lunch, but Sugawara clearly didn’t give a fuck). And Akaashi, in typical Akaashi fashion, just shrugged and went with them, clearly just there for the ride.

Akaashi slurped up a mouthful of soba calmly before saying, “So, how are you feeling about Oikawa?”

Iwaizumi thought back to Oikawa’s moans as he rode him like a goddamn cowboy. “Fine,” he said eventually, trying to keep his voice level.

“Is he still hitting on you?” Akaashi said.

Sugawara choked on his mouthful of food and pounded on his chest to clear his airways, completely taken aback. “ Oikawa Tooru is hitting on you?”

Iwaizumi swallowed, diverting his attention away from Sugawara’s dumbstruck look to his glass of water, feeling very uncomfortable. “Well.”

“Oh my god, Iwaizumi,” Sugawara bemoaned, rolling his eyes into the back of his head in what Iwaizumi assumed to be lust. “Oikawa Tooru is hot. Please tell me you tapped that.”

Well — Iwaizumi did, but he wasn’t going to tell his co-workers that he fucked his opposing counsel. He rather liked having a job, thank you very much. “Aren’t you married?”

“Just because I’m married doesn’t mean I don’t have eyes,” Sugawara chided. “Well, did you?”

“No,” Iwaizumi lied. “I can’t fuck my opposing counsel!”

“True that,” Sugawara nodded, relaxing into his chair in acceptance. He sighed before eating a spoonful of his donburi. “What a shame. I’m mourning your loss. Condolences.”

“That aside,” Akaashi cut in, always the one to ground the conversation back to reality, “how are you feeling about the trial ?”

Iwaizumi exhaled heavily, swirling his chopsticks in his bowl of udon and watching the broth whirl around in his bowl. “As good as I can, I guess. There are few things I want to try.”

“Oh?” Akaashi prodded.

“Yeah, I don’t know. Just some line of questioning to hopefully derail the character witnesses.”

“That doesn’t sound like your style,” Sugawara pointed out.

“Yeah, about that. Ushijima really wants me to stick to his style or whatever, and usually it works for me. But I don’t think it’ll work against Oikawa — especially because he’s probably used to the way Ushijima structures his arguments and what not. And because when I tried it in the pretrial, he completely destroyed me.” Iwaizumi paused to sip some of his noodle soup. “Hopefully it doesn’t backfire horribly on me.”

“Wow, good luck with that,” Sugawara said, impressed. “If I was going against Oikawa Tooru I would probably shit myself.”

Iwaizumi snorted. If Oikawa heard that his ego would quadruple, the asshole. “He’s not that bad.”

Akaashi frowned slightly, chewing pensievely. “I thought you said he destroyed you.”

Fuck— “Well. I meant as a person. He’s terrifying in court.”

Sugawara’s eyes sparkled in a way that made Iwaizumi want to back away slowly out of fear of his life. “You seem awfully familiar with him.”

“We had a few meet-and-confer meetings,” Iwaizumi defended, really hoping his cover wouldn’t blow over. Sugawara seemed pretty unassuming, but all lawyers were essentially the same — incredibly good at detecting lies and getting down to the truth. Snakes, the lot of them. Iwaizumi hoped all those years of playing poker in law school to build up his bullshit abilities provided him with a strong enough defense under Sugawara’s prying, searching eyes. “Can you please calm down? I won’t let you live vicariously through me because you’re thirsty for Oikawa.”

“Are you going to stay in contact with him after the trial is over?” Akaashi asked innocently, cocking his head to one side and staring at him. Iwaizumi briefly noted to himself that both Akaashi and Sugawara were terrifying people.

“I don’t know,” Iwaizumi said truthfully, looking down at his udon, “up to him, I guess.”

“Are you interested in him?” Sugawara prodded.

“If you want him so bad, why don’t you talk to him yourself?” Iwaizumi asked exasperatedly.

Sugawara shrugged and held up his left hand, his golden wedding band glistening as the sunlight bounced off of it. “Happily married, remember? But you’re single.”

“So is Akaashi!”

Akaashi cleared his throat. “Well—”

“Oh my god, you’re not?” Iwaizumi cried out, betrayed.

“Even if I was, there’s no way I would want to be with Oikawa-san,” Akaashi replied, raising an eyebrow at Iwaizumi as he finished off his soba. “Too high maintenance.”  

“Why does everyone know Oikawa Tooru but me?” Sugawara grumbled, stabbing his rice with his spoon.

“Mutual friends,” Akaashi supplied helpfully. “Also, I’d feel weird about dating someone that beautiful. I’d kind of feel threatened.”

“Akaashi,” Iwaizumi gaped, “look, don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re also beautiful.”

“Not what I meant,” Akaashi snorted softly, “but I appreciate it. He probably has men and women left and right trying to spend a night with him. That would make me nervous.”

Sugawara whistled, scraping the rice off the sides of his bowl with his spoon. “Didn’t take you for the possessive type, Akaashi.”

But Iwaizumi could feel something cold curling in the pit of his stomach at Akaashi’s words. He was right — Oikawa probably did have people scrambling to sleep with him. How could they not? It didn’t take long for Iwaizumi himself to succumb to his lust, against his better judgement. Oikawa had it all: money, brains, beauty. He would be hard not to want.

Iwaizumi wondered what Oikawa’s past (or present — Iwaizumi gulped at the thought) lovers were like. Were they also rich? Talented? Stunningly beautiful? Were they gold-diggers, young beautiful girls with soft hair and softer touches and an eye on Oikawa’s wallet? Or were they also lawyers, with sharp tongues and sharper minds, maybe a little older with salt-and-pepper hair, silver foxes. Women, maybe? Oikawa mentioned a previous girlfriend. Or maybe he preferred men more. He clearly knew what he was doing that night when he was over at his place.

With cold creeping down his spine, Iwaizumi identified the feeling in his gut: jealousy.

Fuck.

He liked Oikawa.

Sighing, Iwaizumi returned to his food, trying to ignore the envy twisting and turning in his chest. Well, that was fast, he thought mournfully, slurping up noodles idly. It had been a while since he liked someone. Hell, the last person he was seriously involved with was his girlfriend from law school, who he had broken up with when she accepted a job offer in Miyagi. Figures he would develop a crush on someone like Oikawa — someone who, despite sleeping with him, was completely and utterly out of his league. Unattainable in the most metaphorical of ways. The kind of guy that you could maybe have sex with, go on a few dates with, all the while completely aware that he could probably do way better. A model, maybe. Or an actor.

“Iwaizumi-san,” Akaashi’s voice quipped, bringing him back to reality, “are you okay? Are you still hungry? You’ve been staring at an empty bowl.”

“Oh,” Iwaizumi said, blinking. “Just thinking about the trial, I guess. We can go.”

They paid and left, heading back to the courthouse together, but all Iwaizumi could think about was Oikawa — what he wanted, what he didn’t. If Oikawa actually wanted him.

He sighed and went back to work.

 

-

 

But it didn’t seem like Oikawa would leave him alone. Shortly after Iwaizumi returned from his lunch with Akaashi and Sugawara, his phone lit up with a text message from Oikawa, asking him to meet after work. He was hesitant to accept, because fucking right before the trial was probably a very bad idea, but curiosity got the better of him and Oikawa was scheduled to meet him at a small cafe close by.

Just wanted to talk, Oikawa’s text had read.

Packing his things together, Iwaizumi rubbed his eyes tiredly. We need to talk was the universal panic message, wasn’t it? And though Oikawa hadn’t said that verbatim, it essentially meant the same thing.

“You feeling okay?” Matsukawa piped up, legs propped up on his desk and a hand in a bag of chips as usual. “Not having the heebie-jeebies or anything, right?”

Iwaizumi rolled his eyes as he zipped up his briefcase. “Honestly, I kind of want to get this over with.”

“Where’s your fighting spirit?” the paralegal snorted, munching on his kettle chips loudly and sucking off the salt and flavoring from his fingers. “You’re not the Iwaizumi I know.”

“Shut the fuck up,” Iwaizumi replied, resisting the urge to reach over into Matsukawa’s snack drawer and pull out something for himself. “I do still want to win. Believe me, I really want to kick Oikawa’s smug little ass. But I’m also kind of tired of this trial. Felonies are so fucking unwieldy in comparison to misdemeanors.”

Matsukawa shrugged. “You’re a big boy now. This is going to be you from here on out, you know. Unless you want to go back to misdemeanor trials.”

“Nah,” Iwaizumi sighed heavily. “I still want to sleep for like five hundred years, though.”

“Hm,” Matsukawa hummed in agreement. “Oikawa’s ass isn’t small.”

I know. “See you tomorrow, shithead.”

Iwaizumi walked out of the office with his briefcase in hand. Really, what did Oikawa want to talk about, anyway? They weren’t going to have the relationship talk, were they? That would be really awkward before the trial. Iwaizumi hoped Oikawa had better judgement than that, but considering that Oikawa was the reason why they were in this weird situation in the first place, Iwaizumi knew better.

Though maybe that was inaccurate, he thought, frowning as he turned the corner and continued walking down the street. Iwaizumi was just as compliant as Oikawa was in getting to this situation. Sure, Oikawa was the one who stormed into his life with flippant flirting, sultry looks, and first kisses, but Iwaizumi was the one who kicked the bucket and invited him over to his apartment.

He sighed as he approached the small cafe that Oikawa had sent him the location of, turning the door handle and entering to see that Oikawa was already sitting at a table, tapping away at his phone intently before looking up and catching sight of him. A smile fluttered across Oikawa’s lips and Iwaizumi’s stupid heart skipped a beat in response.

Oh my fucking god, he thought to himself. Oh my fucking Christ.

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa said, standing up from his seat as Iwaizumi approached him. “Let me buy you something. Oolong tea sound okay, you old man?”

“If you keep buying me shit, people are going to talk,” Iwaizumi grumbled, leaning over and resting his briefcase against a table leg. “Unless you want to be my sugar daddy.”

Oikawa’s smile crinkled into something wider, brighter. “Funnily enough, out of all the gold diggers I could be wining and dining, the only person I’m actually interested in doesn’t even take advantage of my money. Curious, isn’t it?”

Iwaizumi stilled at the sound of only person I’m actually interested in. And then he squeezed his eyes shut and took a long, drawing breath, willing away the high school girl crush feelings as best as he could. He plopped down in the seat across from where Oikawa had sat. “Oh my God, I get it, you’re rich,” Iwaizumi said, settling into his chair. “Oolong is fine.”

Oikawa gave him a small, satisfied smile before turning away to give the barista their orders — hot tea for him and something posh for Oikawa. Even from across the room Iwaizumi could see Oikawa’s eyes scan across the shelves of pastries, cakes, and sweets displayed beautifully near the counter. His gaze landed on a particular slice of cake and Oikawa raised a finger to point at it, clearly indulging the sweet tooth that Iwaizumi had become familiar with in the past month or so. The barista smiled and handed Oikawa two paper mugs before opening the glass panel to fish out the slice of matcha mille crepe cake.

“Stop spending money on fancy food,” Iwaizumi said to him as he returned to their table, placing a steaming cup of tea towards Iwaizumi and sitting down with his own steaming cup of black coffee. The barista followed suit, setting down the dessert in front of Oikawa with two dainty forks, one of which Oikawa picked up immediately to dig into the thin layers of the cake.

“Whatever, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa scoffed, before licking off the cream between the prongs of the fork.

Iwaizumi tried not to stare and turned his attention to his drink, which he sipped at experimentally. “So, what did you want to talk about?”

“You’re really not good at this,” Oikawa said, frowning, before lifting another bite of cake to his mouth. “You can do with some lessons in Subtlety 101. Learn how to steer a conversation gently instead of being so brutish with it.”

“Okay,” Iwaizumi snorted, picking up the other fork and gently cutting a bite-sized piece with the utensil. “How was your day.”

“It was great, thank you. I went to work, I scared some interns, and I’m pretty excited to win a case tomorrow. How are you?”

“That’s funny, actually. I’m pretty excited to win a case tomorrow myself.”

“How precious,” Oikawa said, before sobering. “Actually, that’s something I wanted to talk to you about.”

Iwaizumi’s hands stilled, setting the cup down slowly. “Okay,” he said, trailing off and frantically trying to get a read on Oikawa’s expression, which settled into slightly sympathetic but otherwise neutral, his eyebrows relaxed and eyes soft with intent.

“Yeah, so,” Oikawa started. “Well, let’s address the elephant in the room, shall we? We slept together.”

Like I’d forget something like that.

“And,” he continued, “let’s not ignore the facts. You like me.”

“Well,” Iwaizumi said, distinctly aware that Oikawa was quickly slipping into Lawyer Mode. “No one ever said that was a fact. Who died and made you God.”

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa deadpanned, “please.”

“Do you have a point here?” Iwaizumi tried desperately, not wanting to dwell on the fact that he did, at some point, develop an attraction to his opposing counsel, who was currently harping on it as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Actually, yeah. Whatever happens tomorrow…” he trailed off, hesitant. “No hard feelings, right?”

Iwaizumi frowned. “What do you mean.”

“When… whoever wins, I don’t want it to affect anything. Whatever this is.”

“So,” Iwaizumi said slowly, trying to will away the nervous fluttering in the pit of his stomach, “we’re… something.”

Oikawa rolled his eyes so hard his pupils disappeared into the back of his skull for a brief moment. “Oh my god, that’s what you dwell on? I thought we already had this conversation.”

“Well, excuse me,” Iwaizumi snapped, reeling back. “You gave me an inconclusive as fuck answer.”

“Look, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa sighed, shifting his gaze away from Iwaizumi and to the cake, which he poked at using his fork. “If nothing else I want to be friends after this. So I don’t want you to be offended or hold it against me if I win tomorrow, alright? I meant what I said. No hard feelings.”

“This is the reason why we have HR, isn’t it?” Iwaizumi grumbled lowly, regretting everything.

“HR is internal company affairs only,” Oikawa said idly, before shaking his head. “Anyways, do you understand me? A case is a case, and we both have jobs to do. I have no expectation other than that we’ll both go into the trial determined to win, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, of course. But once the verdict is rendered, it’s over, and it shouldn’t have any long-term lasting effects on non-professional matters.” He paused to look back up at Iwaizumi, eyes full of expression yet unreadable at the same time. “What do you think?”

Iwaizumi gulped, because this was it — confirmation that Oikawa wanted to be something even after the trial was over. That he wasn’t just some fling on the side, that Oikawa wanted insurance that if Oikawa won (though Oikawa was definitely operating on the assumption that he would win, which irked the hell out of him) that they would still remain in contact after the trial. That he was thinking about the long-term, too.

“Of course,” he sighed, taking his cup into his hand again. “No hard feelings. Just professionalism.”

Oikawa beamed, grin stretching across his face and wiping any trace of uncertainty from his expression. “I’m glad you understand. Though it’s going to be weird referring you to as opposing counsel rather than Iwa-chan. Maybe I can use opposing counsel Iwa-chan instead?”

“I would rather die before you call me that,” Iwaizumi said honestly.

“That’s funny. You said the exact same thing about me calling you Iwa-chan , but when I called you that during sex, you didn’t seem to min—”

“Alright,” Iwaizumi cut in loudly, heat prickling on his cheeks, “can you please not.”

“Whatever, opposing counsel Iwa-chan.”

Iwaizumi made a strangled noise in his throat before drowning it out with his oolong. His biggest concern for tomorrow was honestly probably just figuring out how to not completely associate Oikawa with sex during the trial. And with the way Oikawa walked in a suit, radiating charisma and sensuality, Iwaizumi wasn’t sure he would be able to forget the way Oikawa looked when he didn’t have a suit on. And Iwaizumi would really rather not start thinking about sex and end up with a hard-on during trial.

Well, he just hoped that he’ll escape tomorrow unscathed. He didn’t want to disappoint Ushijima again. Iwaizumi had lost pre-trials, but he had never lost a real trial, and he didn’t want to start by losing against Ushijima’s biggest rival from law school.

I’m going to win, Iwaizumi thought, and no matter what happens, Oikawa still wants to be something with me. Even though I have no idea what that something is.

Iwaizumi looked back at Oikawa, humming happily around the last few bites of his mille crepe cake, tongue darting around his lips to catch the matcha powder and cream.

Fuck this guy. He was ruining Iwaizumi’s life.

And worst of all, Iwaizumi liked it, and had willingly allowed it to happen.

He sighed and drank his tea.

Chapter Text

There were a few things that Iwaizumi knew certain in life: he loved his mother something fierce, he liked autumn but spring was nice too. He thought food was one of life's greatest pleasures, and despite living in Tokyo City, he loved the countryside’s viridian charm and the sound of cicadas in the summer. He had decided to become a lawyer instead of a pediatrician or a police officer in his sophomore year of college and to this day he still thought it was probably the best decision he has ever made.

That being said, however, Iwaizumi also knew for certain that he did not always like being a lawyer. Especially now, as he combed through the pages of his notes for the seventieth time, in the moments before the actual trial.

He was really regretting being a prosecuting attorney just about now. These nerves were decidedly not worth it. Why didn’t he go into patent law or family law or something a little less contentious than fucking patricide? Quietly, Iwaizumi mourned his life choices as he stared down at the files, Daishou Suguru v. The Prefecture of Tokyo printed in black bold font on the top of the page, a glaring physical reminder of his impending doom.

“Iwaizumi,” Matsukawa’s voice rang out from behind him. “Can you please breathe.”

On command, Iwaizumi inhaled sharply through his nose, exhaling loudly in a heavy sigh. “I’m fine.”

“Yeah, okay,” Matsukawa snorted, swivelling around in his chair dramatically a few times before stopping to face him. “I don’t have anything else to do today since my work on this case is done. I’ll come down and watch the trial. You look like you need the moral support.”

“Thanks,” Iwaizumi drawled sarcastically before running a hand through his hair. “You know what? I don’t give a fuck anymore. I’m not going to lose my job if I lose against Oikawa. Honestly, I think I’d rather lose to him than some other random person. Ushijima would understand; he went to law school with him. He’s even complimented him multiple times. Unwarranted. He doesn’t do that with anyone! He only gives me a morsel of praise after I’ve worked myself to death for it! So if I lose against him, at least I can go down with dignity. Everyone loses sometime, right? Might as well start with someone worth losing to. Right?”

“Please shut your mouth,” Matsukawa sighed, rising from out of his seat. “Also, move your collar to the right a little bit. Although I must say, I’m glad you took my advice.”

Wait— Oh fuck. After Iwaizumi and Oikawa left the cafe yesterday, Oikawa may or may not have had dragged Iwaizumi into that shiny Mercedes of his and heavily suggested, em , that they engage in some… heavy petting. And Iwaizumi may or may not have let Oikawa’s mouth wander a little bit in the heat of the moment.

He flushed and shifted his shirt collar higher.

“Who was it?” Matsukawa drawled knowingly, an evil glint in his eye.

“Mind your own goddamn business,” Iwaizumi muttered, stuffing the papers into his briefcase. “Are you coming or not?”

He didn’t even have to look at Matsukawa to know that there was an absolute shit-eating smirk on his face. Grumbling, Iwaizumi took his bag and pushed open the door, pacing to the elevator where he waited as Matsukawa slinked in to the lift just as the doors were about to close. The two of them both leaned against opposite walls of the elevator, Iwaizumi resting his head against the metal and inhaling deeply.

“You ready for this?” Matsukawa said softly.

Iwaizumi let out a small huff of laughter. “No,” he answers, shutting his eyes and feeling the elevator float down to the second floor. “But that’s life.”

“You’ll be fine,” the paralegal murmured, his voice devoid from the usual teasing, sarcastic lilt. “Don’t let the nerves get to you. We’ve worked through this case together and I know you can be confident in what we’ve done this past month and a half.”

Iwaizumi took a deep breath in, feeling the air rush through his lungs, in and out. “Thanks, Matsukawa,” he said finally, genuinely grateful at his coworker — and friend, honestly, at this point, they were probably friends first and desk partners second — and his words of comfort.

The elevator doors opened, revealing the hallway of doors and the courtrooms behind them. Matsukawa stepped out first, his leather loafers clicking on the floor, and Iwaizumi followed suit, focusing on squaring his shoulder and straightening his spine. The two of them stopped in front of room 104.

Iwaizumi cleared his throat. “Here goes nothing,” he muttered, grabbing the handle and pulling the heavy wooden doors open.

Considering Oikawa’s knack for punctuality, he honestly shouldn’t have been surprised to see him already at the defense table, combing through his notes calmly and fingers hovering at the corners of the pages. The defendant sat stiffly next to him, clearly worse for wear: his suit clung onto his frame oddly, and dark lines carved into the skin under his eyes. Especially compared to perfectly groomed, not-a-hair-out-of-place Oikawa, Daishou Suguru looked like he needed a beer and some sleep.

Speaking of which... Iwaizumi could only gulp. Oikawa looked fucking fantastic. He had opted for a pure, traditional black suit today, a stark contrast to his usual blues, and it only sharpened his appearance and emphasized the elongated elegance of his limbs. Crisp white button down, slim tie — and what’s worse was that Iwaizumi knew exactly what Oikawa looked like under all that fabric.

Fuck, was the only thing Iwaizumi could think. Um.

Oikawa, noticing their arrival, glanced up from his papers to meet Iwaizumi’s gaze directly. He stood from his seat, offering a hand as he approached them. “Iwaizumi-san,” he said neutrally, eyes flickering meaningfully over Iwaizumi’s own figure before settling on his face. “So nice to see you here.”

Well, where the fuck else would I be?  “Likewise, Oikawa-san.

“Alright, I don’t like this,” Matsukawa announced, denoting his presence. “Please drop the formalities, it’s scaring me.”

“Matsukawa-san,” Oikawa replied pointedly, grin stretching across his face. “Fancy seeing you here as well.”

He snorted. “Yeah, whatever. You are such a bitch.” He looked over at Iwaizumi meaningfully, nodding towards the direction of the rows of spectator seats. “Go do your thing, son.”

“Thanks, dad,” Iwaizumi grunted in response as Matsukawa ditched him to sit comfortably away from the trial proceedings, leaving them to awkwardly stand in the middle of the courtroom. Grimacing, Iwaizumi tried to look anywhere but at Oikawa, because if he did, he might literally combust. That suit was fucking illegal.

“So,” Oikawa said casually, invoking a vague sense of deja-vu, “the trial.”

“The trial,” Iwaizumi agreed, shifting slightly out of lack of anything else to do. “Well, here we are.”

“Indeed,” Oikawa said.

Could someone kill him already? Iwaizumi coughed into his hand lightly. “Thank you for your cooperation in these past few weeks. I really appreciated it. It made discovery a lot easier for me.”

“Oh, it was no problem at all,” Oikawa dismissed. “It was my pleasure.

Iwaizumi tried to ignore the way Oikawa hesitated before his voice dropped around the word pleasure, like slow honey and sin. You know, he was really starting to regret that they had sex. Not for the sake of his job or the integrity of his work, but because he couldn’t stop thinking back to the way Oikawa’s lips looked as he moaned his name. Wait, what. Fuck.

“Well, I’m,” he said, wanting to die, “going to start prepping for opening statements.”

“Of course,” Oikawa answered smoothly. “It was lovely working with you, even though we’re on different sides of the court now. Good luck.”

This is terrible, Iwaizumi thought. “Yeah.”

He shuffled the fuck away from Oikawa and to the prosecution desk, sliding down in his seat a little as he took out his papers. Usually, Iwaizumi would have written out an entire speech for his opening statement, but after his complete annihilation at pretrial, he felt maybe it was a better idea to just have a few bullet points on hand and think the speech up on the spot, reacting to every change in emotion of the jury and responding to the atmosphere of the room. Oikawa was an enrapturing, engaging speaker; to not compete with that same level would be an instantaneous loss.   

The jury filed in a few moments after, twelve people of various backgrounds and ages entering the room and into the jury box across the room. He recognized all of the faces, of course, from jury selections a couple weeks back. Once the crowd had settled in, the bailiff’s booming voice echoed throughout the trial chamber, calling the court to order.

“All rise!”

This was something that he was used to: the rhythm and beat of this routine, the calling to order and introductions, everything that preceded that actual storm that was questioning and objections. Iwaizumi stood, straightening out the wrinkles in his suit jacket as he did so, tuning out the bailiff’s tirade. He relaxed his shoulders and closed his eyes.

This was it.

“Iwaizumi Hajime, for the prosecution,” he recited after the bailiff’s announcement.

Oikawa followed suit, speaking in that melodious voice of his: “Oikawa Tooru, for the defense, sir.”

“I understand that the prosecution has brought forth a case today,” Judge Irihata commented from the bench. “You may proceed with opening statements.”

“Of course, your honor.”

Iwaizumi rolled his shoulders, inhaling deeply before shuffling his papers, placing his bullet notes on top of his stack of materials. He stepped out into the wells, facing the jury box and meeting the expectant gazes of the crowd.

Here goes fucking nothing.

“The facts of this case are simple,” he began, rolling his shoulders back and doing the best he could to hold a steady, level gaze at the jury. “Both the prosecution and defense have come forth today with the stipulation that Daishou Suguru killed Daishou Katashi. In other words: we already know that the defendant, in one swing of a wine bottle to the temple, killed his father.”

Slight murmurs buzzed from the crowd from such a bold statement. Iwaizumi focused on their reactions, satisfied that they were already reacting, and tried his best not to glance over at Oikawa. He couldn’t afford to get distracted.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, what you are here today to determine is that whether this killing constitutes murder or not. In formal terms, Daishou Suguru, the defendant, is charged with the second-degree murder of Daishou Katashi, which is the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought, or in the alternative, voluntary manslaughter. You must deliberate the facts and determine whether Daishou Suguru had malintentions when making that final swing at his father’s head. And simply put, after all the witness testimony and presentation of evidence, you will find that Daishou indeed murdered his father.”

Iwaizumi took one step back from the jury, deliberate.

“Let me set the scene for you. Daishou Suguru, aged thirty, was working at Nohebi Inc, an independent firm with over ¥300,000,000 worth of assets under management. Despite his young age, he was already placed as a senior manager in the investment division. He was being groomed to be the next CEO and president of the company, to follow his father, Daishou Katashi, aged sixty-eight, then CEO and president of Nohebi.

“However, on April 5th, 2018, the Board of Directors picked Numai Kazuma, a portfolio manager at the firm, to be the next CEO. You will hear from witnesses, coworkers of the defendant’s at Nohebi Inc, that upon the announcement, the defendant became extremely withdrawn, snapping at his employees and becoming hostile. The defendant clearly didn’t take the news well.”

He paused, assessing the room the room again, noticing that all eyes were trained on him as he crafted the story of the case.

“In fact, the defendant was so bothered by this announcement that less than week later, on April 11th, Daishou Katashi was found dead in his home.”

Complete silence. Bated breath.

Iwaizumi thought to himself, now this is why I’m a prosecutor.

“The defendant and the deceased were having a dinner at the deceased’s home until the situation turned violent. After a physical altercation, Daishou Suguru grabbed the wine bottle from the dinner table and swung so hard that it broke and pierced through the deceased’s skull, and he fell to the ground immediately after impact.”

A few members of the jury glanced over at the defense table where Daishou sat, as if already passing judgement on him.

“The defendant called 911 and explained to emergency responders that he and his father got into a fight that turned violent and he grabbed the nearest thing he could find and swung. However, when responders showed up the scene seven minutes later, the deceased was pronounced dead. And you will hear from a responder that will testify that the deceased actually died on impact.”

Iwaizumi took a deep breath, preparing himself for the climax of his speech.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, when you hear all the facts presented today, remember this one fact. You do not swing a bottle hard enough to kill on impact if you were just trying to stop a fight. You especially do not swing a bottle that hard against your sixty-eight year old father unless you had a good reason to do so. And it’s plainly obvious what the reason is: Daishou Suguru wasn’t able to obtain his father’s powerful position at the firm, and out of rage, he murdered his father with so much force that he died on impact. Whatever opposing counsel will have you believe, this is not the story of tortured boy who couldn’t stop a fight with his father. This is about a man who couldn’t handle the idea of not inheriting his father’s company and acting on that emotion to kill the very person responsible for that decision.

“At the end of today I will ask you to return a verdict of guilty, because that is the only verdict that makes sense. Consider all the facts as they are laid out for you, and you will draw the same conclusion as I have: that Daishou Suguru is guilty of second-degree murder. Thank you.”

He walked back to the prosecution table, shoes clattering on the tile, tense with anticipation as he finally, finally glanced over at Oikawa, whose neutral poker face was seriously freaking him out. Iwaizumi tried searching his expression for any muscle twitch, any grimace of the mouth — any semblance of what he could possibly be thinking and came up with absolutely nothing.

Oikawa stood, and it seemed like everyone inhaled a sharp breath at the motion, all eyes trained on the defense attorney as he stepped out into the wells.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” Oikawa’s voice echoed, timbre clear and piercing, “picture this. You grew in a household where your entire life has been dictated for you. From the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the friends that you make — everything you’ve ever known has been planned for an agenda.

“You’ve never known choice.

Oikawa paused, as if letting his words sink into the audience. Iwaizumi focused his gaze on Oikawa’s neck so he could force himself to not let his eyes wander across Oikawa’s body, but even this guy’s neck was distracting. Wait, shit — Iwaizumi’s eyes widened — was that a hickey? He thought back to yesterday and… yeah, that was definitely because of him, fuck

Unbeknownst to Iwaizumi’s crisis, Oikawa continued with his speech. “Picture this: you are living a predetermined fate, all dictated the heavy hand of your father. You go through life resigned to this fate, knowing that you’re going to work in an industry you’ve had no love for. That your father’s company was going to be passed down to you, and you had to pour your blood, sweat, and tears into maintaining your father’s vision and wishes. What’s worse? Your father has been beating you and emotionally abusing you ever since you could remember, even as you’ve done everything he’s asked for, and even in adulthood.”

Fucking Christ, Iwaizumi thought, Kindaichi was right. Why did I think fucking him before the trial was a good idea?

“You see, ladies and gentlemen,” Oikawa said, taking a few steps forwards towards the jury, “this is exactly what Daishou Suguru went through. My client was stuck in a lifestyle he didn’t want and in a job that he’s never had any passion for. He was stifled and suffering under the immense pressures and expectations that his father consistently reinforce on him through blows and cutting words.

“So when his father announced that the company that he’s worked so hard  inherit was passed along to someone else, Daishou Suguru felt defeated. Hopeless. But most of all, he felt angry — has his thirty years of suffering been all for naught? Why did he live the past three decades for this goal, only for it to be stolen from him?”

Iwaizumi frowned. Oikawa was really hammering in the whole tortured young boy idea, as expected. He preemptively mentioned it at the end of his own speech, so hopefully the jury was already beginning to doubt Oikawa’s story.

“Opposing counsel mentioned a physical altercation that occurred during the night of the incident. What he failed to mention, however, is that the person who started this very altercation was Daishou Katashi himself. At dinner, when my client decided to confront his father about why he wasn’t appointed to CEO, Daishou Katashi began screaming at him, just like he had done so many times before. And then?”

Another dramatic pause.

“Daishou Katashi struck my client across the face and began strangling him.”

Unmoving, Oikawa stood in front of the jury box, waiting for them to digest his words. Which, well. That statement likely looked bad on his part, since Iwaizumi didn’t mention the fact that the defendant didn’t start the physical confrontation. And if Oikawa pushed that point enough, the jury could be swayed into thinking that Daishou was acting in self-defense instead of using an unreasonable amount of force.

Iwaizumi sat back in his seat a little, thinking. He did have pictures of the scene of the crime as circumstantial evidence, and there were minimal signs of a struggle. However, he wouldn’t put past Oikawa to suggest that Daishou tidied things up or something ridiculous like that.

Seriously, this guy was so troublesome.

“What my client did was reasonable for anyone in that situation. As he was being strangled by the abusive father that had constantly belittled, threatened, and harmed him throughout his life, Daishou Suguru reached for the thing nearest to him that could potentially save his life. So, blindly and quickly on the verge of losing consciousness, he picked up the bottle and tried to get his father off of him. Unaware of the force he was using, the next thing he knew, his father was on the ground.

“My client, understandably, panicked. He had no love for his father — hated him, even — but in no way did he ever want to kill him. And so he called 119 immediately, explaining the situation. But by the time the responders arrived at the scene, Daishou Katashi had already passed.”

Oikawa took one step backward and tilted his head towards Daishou, directing everyone’s eyes to the sickly looking defendant, his slit-like eyes heavy and undermarked with dark shadows. A perfect victim, eaten up by guilt so strong it showed on his body. And as if in response, Daishou dipped his head slightly, turning his gaze downward in the ultimate gesture of shame.

Iwaizumi grimaced. Either Daishou was a stellar actor and Oikawa had trained him for the part well, or something was seriously wrong with his own side of the case. He scribbled down a note in the margins of his legal notepad: guilt for actions or only for the consequences?

“Earlier, I mentioned choice. And Daishou has never known choice. Not when he was five and whip lashes on his back, not when he was twenty-one and pipelined into a job he never loved, not when he was thirty and had to fight for his life. Remember this: Daishou Suguru didn’t have a choice when he stopped his father from strangling and killing him.”

Iwaizumi pursed his lips, already knowing exactly where Oikawa was going to speech next.

“And now the choice falls on you all today, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. You have a choice to wrongly condemn my client for something he had to do, or let him have a second chance at life. Daishou was forced into a situation where he had to save his own life over his father’s. But you all have a choice, and after all the evidence and witness testimony today, I have faith that you will pick the right one.”

Oikawa strode back to the defense desk, shoulders loose and expression confident as he took his seat. Iwaizumi let a slight hiss escape from between his teeth — though his opening statements weren’t nearly as devastating as his pretrial arguments were, it was still clear as day that Oikawa felt unshakeable, charisma radiating off of him in waves as the jury was swept up in his crafted drama and strategic pauses.

The thing about trials was this, however: no matter how amazing of an orator you were, the bulk of the trial came down to what evidence and testimony was presented to the jury. And Iwaizumi had always been better at questioning and finding little holes in the witness’s story. Maybe Oikawa had both — he probably did — but Iwaizumi’s expertise was in the good cop, bad cop of direct and cross examination. He hadn’t won all of his trials for no reason.

He just hoped he was good enough at it to figure some way to secure all of the jury. Criminal trials were decided on an unanimous vote, after all.

Must be nice to be so attractive, Iwaizumi thought, slightly bitter, looking over and briefly catching Oikawa’s eye. Though his expression remained still and neutral, Iwaizumi knew Oikawa well enough at this point to notice the glint in his eye, determined and daring. As if he was saying, your move now, Iwa-chan.

Iwaizumi felt something in him burn.

“Does the prosecution wish to bring forth any witnesses?”

Well, Oikawa threw down the gauntlet. It was high time he picked it up and rose to the challenge.

 

-

 

“Thank you, your Honor, Numai-san,” Iwaizumi said, looking back at Judge Irihata in acknowledgement as he finished his re-direct examination. “May the witness please be excused?”

Judge Irihata nodded, and the bailiff came forth to escort Numai Kazuma out of the courtroom.

“And with that, the prosecution rests our case,” Iwaizumi announced, dipping his head in acknowledgment and turning back to his seat at the prosecution table.

With that, Iwaizumi exhaled deeply, done with questioning all of his witnesses a couple hours after opening. He had started out with Officer Ennoshita, who had laid out the foundation to build his case on, providing all the factual details of what actually happened at the scene. Officer Ennoshita, with that kind and calm face of his, had explained to the jury exactly what the severity of Daishou’s actions were. He had described the broken wine bottle, which Iwaizumi had presented as an evidence exhibit for the trial, and his questionings of the defendant.

Iwaizumi then asked the crime scene investigator questions on the significance of the blood splatters, the state of the dining room after the incident, and how he ultimately came to the conclusion that the defendant deliberately used enough force to severely injure and, ultimately kill, Daishou Katashi. After that, Iwaizumi brought in character witnesses — Daishou Suguru’s senior manager, Omizo Kiyoshi and Takachiho Yoshiya, who both commented on how he had noticed the way Daishou snapped at his co-workers and turned increasingly irritated and angry after the announcement was made.

The hardest part about prosecuting this particular case was that there were no lay witnesses to the crime — that is, the only two people present when Daishou Katashi died was the deceased himself and the defendant. That meant that the defendant’s testimony was the only one in court today that could actually lay out what happened at the scene, giving him absolute authority on the events that occured. Iwaizumi’s best bet was to completely derail his credibility — which he made sure all of his witnesses did — and hope that the jury was convinced that Daishou Suguru was a terrible person.

Oikawa, surprisingly, wasn’t too intense with the objections and cross-examinations, which perplexed him for a bit before Iwaizumi realized that he probably wanted to portray himself as the nice defense attorney who was just standing up for a tortured young defendant.

Speak of the devil.

“Your Honor, the defense calls Daishou Suguru to the stand.”

Oikawa rose from his own seat, immediately commanding the entire room’s attention to him as he stood, Iwaizumi included. There was something to be said about the way Oikawa controlled a room, a little bit like a maestro to an orchestra, all bodies in the room taut and eager at his every movement.

And there was also something to be said about the way Oikawa’s eyes flickered over to him, a quick, unassuming glance to any ignorant observer, but this was Oikawa Tooru here, every single movement of his had purpose. Their eyes met for the briefest of moments and Iwaizumi knew —

Oikawa was just getting started.

Adrenaline raising his hair on end and the confidence from his direct examinations swelling inside him, Iwaizumi shifted forward in his chair, eyes trained on Oikawa’s every move. Well, he was only getting started, too.

The bailiff escorted the defendant from his seat at the defense desk to the witness stand, holding out a bible for him to place his hand on. “Daishou Suguru, do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”

With a brief nod in acknowledgement, but otherwise completely composed and neutral, the defendant replied, “I do.”

“Introduce yourself to the court, please, Suguru-kun.”

Suguru-kun? Well. That simple gesture implied that Oikawa was familiar and friendly with the defendant, and as Oikawa established himself as the handsome, samaritan defense attorney, it was obvious what his intentions was here. Oikawa was really pushing the tortured young soul thing here.

Surely the jury wouldn’t fall for that? This was a grown ass man, for God’s sake.

“My name is Daishou Suguru, as you all probably know by now,” the defendant said with a hopeless little smile that was completely devoid of any genuine happiness whatsoever. “I’m thirty. I used to work at Nohebi Inc., but I resigned because of everything… that happened. I like long walks on the beach.”

A nervous chuckle from someone from the jury. Iwaizumi nearly winced at the attempt to lighten the mood. But Oikawa rolled with it, as he did.

“Why’d you resign?”

“Well, I mean. I was put on trial for murder. Can’t exactly work at a company when I’m under criminal investigation.” Daishou huffed a little. “But well… on top of my father dying, I’ve always hated working there. The long hours, the boring work. The intense backstabbing that went on behind the scenes, very typical finance stuff. It’s never what I wanted to do.”

“What did you want to do, then, if it wasn’t working at an asset management firm like Nohebi?”

Iwaizumi saw his chance, and stood up fluidly. “Objection, your Honor, on the grounds of relevance?”

“May I respond, your Honor?” Oikawa said calmly, eyes trained on Judge Irihata at the bench, who nodded. “I’m laying foundation for Daishou Suguru’s character, which is in fact, very relevant for this case, as it is what in question today. Daishou Suguru’s character will help the jury determine whether he killed his father with malice aforethought.”

Iwaizumi frowned. “Your Honor, if I may? The defendant’s dream job isn’t what is in question today. Opposing counsel is correct in saying that testimony on Daishou Suguru’s character will help the jury determine the malice aforethought in this case, but should opposing counsel shed light on his character, surely there must be more effective ways to question the defendant rather than asking what a younger version of him wanted to do when he grew up.”

Judge Irihata pondered that for a moment, then nodded. “Objection sustained,” he decided, “please be concise, counsel.”

Iwaizumi caught the sight of Oikawa’s fingers twitching slightly at his side. “Yes, your Honor,” he conceded. Then, in a subtle, concise little fuck you to Iwaizumi and Judge Irihata, Oikawa asked, “Suguru-kun, why did you kill your father?”

He raised an eyebrow. That was ballsy.

“I mean — I didn’t —” the defendant faltered a little bit, neutral mask slipping slightly in panic. “I didn’t have a reason. I just… he attacked me, I just grabbed whatever I could to stop him. I didn’t mean to kill him. I swear.”

“Suguru-kun,” Oikawa said softly, “can you take me through the events of April 11th?”

“My father told me to come over for dinner. He said we had things to discuss. ” The defendant laughed bitterly. “And in the Daishou household, you never disobeyed Daishou Katashi. Unless you wanted to get a backhand to the face. So I went to that mansion of his and we had dinner.”

Iwaizumi leaned in closer, jaw tightening. A part of him wanted to object again, but he knew that Oikawa was doing everything he could to portray himself as the nice attorney — it would be playing right into Oikawa’s hands to object so quickly and to cut off the defendant’s apparently heartfelt testimony about his abusive past. Oikawa clearly wanted to paint him the asshole. Not today, Oikawa.

“And you know what the first thing he said to me? He said that this was all my fault, that all of his time and money investment into me was wasted. That in the end, I wasn’t good enough to inherit the company, even after all the hell I went through growing up and even as an adult. I wasn’t his perfect son and that I will never be. That my life was worth nothing, the three decades that I had lived trying to do my best to live out his wishes.

“Well, that was when I started getting angry. And keep in mind this is first time I’ve ever talked back to my father — every single other time I’ve taken it — but I’ve just about had it with him. I mean, he monopolized my entire life just to tell me that everything that I went through for him was for absolutely nothing. So I started yelling. Told him to fuck off and everything. And then he reached over the table, grabbed my neck, and screamed at my face.”

The defendant paused, looking at Oikawa as if waiting for permission to continue. Oikawa gave it to him. “And then what happened, Suguru-kun?”

“And then he started squeezing my neck so hard I couldn’t breathe. I tried punching him off, but he wouldn’t budge. My vision was getting blurry and my brain was getting fuzzy. I knew I had to do something.” He took a deep breath, as if bracing himself. “I felt around for something I could use to get him off of me, and I guess I grabbed the wine, because the next thing I knew he was on the ground and I had the bottle in my hand and h— he was bleeding.”

Oikawa pursed his lips, and then with pity practically dripping from his voice, he asked, “What did you do next?”

“I freaked out,” Daishou pleaded, “I didn’t want to kill him, I swear, God, I hated him but I didn’t want to kill him, please. I didn’t want to kill him.”

That’s not answering the fucking question, Iwaizumi’s lawyer brain screamed at him, itching to object. But he sat put, waiting for Oikawa’s next move and not wanting to prejudice the jury against him.

“What did you want?” Oikawa pressed gently.

“I just — I just wanted him to stop. I was scared for my life — I could feel myself about to pass out.”

“And then you stopped him.”

“Objection, your Honor,” Iwaizumi said finally, standing up. “This question — no, this statement — is asked and answered. Not only did the witness already state that he struck the deceased, clearly the defendant stopped him; otherwise we wouldn’t be in court today.”

“Objection sustained,” Judge Irihata ruled. “Move on, counsel.”

Now Iwaizumi could clearly see the way Oikawa’s jaw tightened. He felt a surge of immense satisfaction watching that — watching Oikawa get tripped up by him. Iwaizumi wondered if there was anything better than this, anything better than being the one responsible for Oikawa unravelling a little bit at the seams, both in the court and out of it.

He supposed he was a little bit of a sadist, wasn’t he.

“Yes, your Honor,” Oikawa said smoothly, recovering. “Suguru-kun, what did you do after you saw your father on the ground?”

“I called 119,” the defendant answered. “I told them that we got into a fight and I hit him too hard and that he was on the ground, bleeding, and I didn’t know what to do. They told me that they were on their way, and that I was to absolutely not move his head and I had to try to apply gentle pressure onto the wound. So I did that.”

“When did the responders arrive to the scene?”

“Felt like an eternity, but it maybe took them five to ten minutes.”

“What happened when they did?”

The defendant fell silent. “They pronounced him dead at the scene,” he eventually said quietly. “And then the police took me for questioning.”

Oikawa nodded in acknowledgement. Officer Ennoshita already talked the jury through the questioning, and there was no foul play there, so it seemed like Oikawa was just going to leave it as that, moving on to a different topic. “Earlier you mentioned you resigned. When did you resign?”

“As soon as I got bailed out. The only thing tying me to that company was my father. And now that I had… now that he was dead, I wanted nothing to do with it anymore, formally or otherwise.”

Oikawa cocked his head to the side. “Suguru-kun, something that came up a lot in court today was your desire to climb up the ranks at Nohebi. What steps did you take to do that?”

“Nothing,” the defendant hissed. “Absolutely nothing. I got placed at the company as an associate and immediately got bumped up to VP less than a year later. Soon enough I was senior manager, which is unheard of. Seems like my father wanted to accelerate the process as much as possible; he was getting old and wanted me to inherit the company soon, I guess. But I didn’t have the experience I needed to be the CEO because of the fact that he accelerated my process. Of course the board would pick Numai-san — he’s twice my age and actually has that experience! I wanted nothing to do with the company, so I resigned.”

“Thank you, Suguru-kun,” Oikawa concluded, shifting his gaze over to Judge Irihata. “No further questions at this time, your Honor.”

That was Iwaizumi’s cue to stand. This was it. “Cross-examination, your Honor?”

The judge nodded. “Proceed.”

“Good afternoon, Daishou-san,” he started, before pausing and taking a gamble. “Thank you for your presence in court today, I’m sure this all has been very overwhelming for you.”

This, for whatever reason, made the defendant falter, his eyebrows knitting together in confusion. Iwaizumi watched as several expressions flickered across his face; he guessed that maybe an acknowledgement like that was contrary to what Daishou was expecting from him. Maybe Oikawa told him that Iwaizumi would be a stereotypical angry prosecutor — which, granted, he could be, but there was no way he was going to damn himself to that in this kind of situation, not when Oikawa was clearly expecting him to.

Two could play this game, after all.

“For the sake of time, I’d like for you to answer all of my questions with a simple yes or no, and I will follow up if I feel that I or the jury needs clarification on anything. Is that alright?”

Not having a choice, Daishou nodded and said, “Yes.”

“Thank you. Now, you said that your father was abusive to you growing up, is that correct?”

“Yes.”

“But you never went to the police about his behavior towards you, is that correct?”

“Well, when your father has enough money to fund political campaigns, nothing can really touch him, including the police—”

“A simple yes or no, Daishou-san,” Iwaizumi reminded him.

“Objection, your Honor,” Oikawa declared from behind, an edge to his voice. “Opposing counsel is not allowing the defendant to answer the question.”

He expected this. “Your Honor, the defendant agreed to answering my questions with a yes or no. This witness is non-responsive, I was just reminding him to answer the actual question.”

“I’ll allow it,” Judge Irihata said, “he can justify his answers briefly, but do try to be concise, Daishou-san. Objection sustained.”

Concise, concise, concise. Good thing Iwaizumi has had Judge Irihata preside on his case previously — he knew what how he liked to run his court. Iwaizumi thought he would overrule Oikawa’s objection, honestly, but brief explanations shouldn’t hurt him. If anything he could just remind the jury that the defendant was being difficult.

“Yes, your Honor. Let me repeat the question for you again, Daishou-san; you never went to the police about his behavior towards you, correct?”

“That’s correct,” Daishou admitted.

“And neither did your mother?”

“My mother was complacent about it. She died when I was seventeen.”

“Please answer the question, Daishou-san,” Iwaizumi said again.

The defendant gritted his teeth. “No, she didn’t.”

“Thank you. Now, you never went to the hospital for your father’s alleged abuse, right?”

“No. But I still had injuries.”

“Indeed, Daishou-san,” Iwaizumi agreed. “But nothing serious enough that you had to seek medical attention for?”

“No,” the defendant said begrudgingly.

“Nothing serious that would prompt your teachers, professors, classmates, or anyone around you to call the police?”

The sound of a chair scraping on the tile rang out from behind him as Oikawa made his next objection. “Your Honor, this question calls for speculation; my client has no idea what the people around him were thinking.”

“I’m asking a question about whether the people around him performed a definitive action or not, your Honor, the defendant does not need to speculate whether someone called the police on his father or not.”

“Overruled,” Judge Irihata announced. “Please continue.”

“Yes, your Honor. Would you like me to repeat the question?”

“No,” Daishou grunted. “No one called the police.”

“Because you didn’t have visible injuries for people to inquire about, isn’t that right?”

“I mean, I didn’t come to school with a black eye or anything,” Daishou said incredulously, “my father was smarter than that; he knew not to hurt me where it would put him in a position that would arouse suspicion.”

Iwaizumi cursed a little internally; that was a good answer. He decided to move on. “Let’s go back to a question I asked earlier. You answered that you never sought out medical attention for your father’s actions towards you. Does this include your father’s actions after the incident?”

“...Yes.”

Checkmate. “But you said your father nearly strangled you to death, correct?”

“Well, he did—”

“But you thought your injuries were life-threatening?”

“They were.”

“You didn’t think to check with the medical responders at the scene and make sure that you were okay after a life-threatening incident?”

“I was kind of busy with the fact that my father was dead.”

“Right. Because you were fighting him off after he tried to strangle and kill you, correct?”

Oikawa’s voice again. “Objection, your Honor, this question has already been asked and answered.”

“Sustained,” Judge Irihata said, looking at Iwaizumi expectantly.

“I’ll move on,” Iwaizumi said in response. Oikawa was right; he only asked that to make a point, anyway, but it would’ve been nice to have the defendant damn himself again. “So, let me get this straight, Daishou-san — you completely forgot that you were in a life-threatening situation and to check that you didn’t sustain any immediate injuries even though you were facing the very consequences of that supposed life-threatening situation?”

“Again, my father had just died, and I had caused it. So yeah, I guess I forgot, ” the defendant spat, “because you know, I just had killed someone without meaning to.”

A simple yes would’ve worked, Iwaizumi thought to himself, but didn’t push the issue lest it become redundant. Time to switch topics. “Your father was sixty-eight when he died, right?”

“Yes.”

“And you weren’t able to push him, for all intents and purposes an elderly person, off?”

The defendant flushed. “My old man worked out a lot.”

“Is that a yes, Daishou-san?”

“...Yes.”

“But you somehow had the strength to break a bottle over his head when you were close to passing out?”

“He wouldn’t budge when I pushed him — I had to do something by force —”

“Let me get this straight, Daishou-san, you had the strength to break a wine bottle against his skull but not enough strength to push a sixty-eight year old man off of you?

“I… that is—”  

Yes or no, Daishou-san,” Iwaizumi cut him off sharply as the defendant scrambled to find some sort of explanation to the question. He did hate it when witnesses bullshitted on the stand so transparently.

“Objection, your Honor!” Oikawa said loudly from behind him, “Counsel is antagonizing the witness and not allowing him to answer the question.”

Iwaizumi gritted his teeth, frustration burning as Oikawa cut him off at his most important question, and turned towards Judge Irihata. “Your Honor, the witness is again non-responsive.”

“Allow the witness to answer the question, please, counsel,” Judge Irihata said, furrowing his eyebrows as he looked warily at him. Iwaizumi rolled his shoulders and took a deep breath; maybe he went a little overboard.

“Of course, your Honor. You may answer the question, Daishou-san. Let me repeat it for you; you had enough strength to immobilize your father in one hit but not enough to push him off?”

The defendant, shaken and maybe a little bit indignant, straightened his back. “Yes, because I was on the verge of passing out and honestly I just grabbed the first thing I saw and swung. I wasn’t thinking about how much strength I was putting into it. I was just focused on stopping him.”

Iwaizumi hissed inwardly, that wasn’t the answer he wanted, and clearly Oikawa had objected to buy the defendant some time for his answer. But he made his point to the jury — the entire situation was a little ridiculous. “Thank you, your Honor, no further questions at this time.”

He turned back to walk back to his seat, meeting Oikawa’s eyes as he passed the defense table. There was a little cold fire behind Oikawa’s eyes, there, just like the time Iwaizumi had insulted him at the bar, an answer to a provocation, and a rise to Iwaizumi’s own challenge. Oikawa stood and asked, “Re-direct examination, your Honor?”

“Proceed.”

“Let me make this brief, Suguru-kun. Why did you swing that bottle?”

The defendant’s expression immediately fell from tense to ashamed. “Listen, I didn’t have a choice. He was strangling me, and I tried shoving him off but he just wouldn’t let go. I wasn’t even thinking about it, I just grabbed the first thing I touched and swung wildly. I could barely see.”

“I know, Suguru-kun,” Oikawa said softly, placatingly. Then, turning to Judge Irihata, Oikawa said, “May my client please be excused to the defense desk?”

“The witness is excused,” Judge Irihata agreed, and the bailiff stepped to escort him back to the table.

“The defense calls Yamaka Mika to the witness stand,” Oikawa then followed, and waited for the bailiff to make his announcement.

Iwaizumi immediately tensed. Yamaka Mika, girlfriend of Daishou Suguru, character witness for the defense, potential domestic violence abuse victim. He had tried so hard to get her out in the pretrial only for Oikawa to say that she wasn’t even that important of a witness.

Did he even want to chase that thread? Or should he just question her normally?

Iwaizumi couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something more to this girl, even if both Matsukawa and Oikawa didn’t think so. Something was all too suspicious about the way she answered the interrogation questions, as if she knew something more about Daishou Suguru but was unwilling to divulge what exactly it was. It was unsubstantiated as fuck and probably unwise, but…

At this point, Iwaizumi couldn’t tell which way the jury was leaning. Oikawa made quite the impression on opening, and those tended to stick; he remained the nice, good-looking attorney for most of his cross and directs so far. And though Iwaizumi himself did a good job with his directs, he knew he had to be careful with the objections and stern crosses before the jury turned against him.

Maybe it was time for Iwaizumi to take a little bit of a risk. He needed an edge for sure.

He leaned forward in his seat and waited.

Chapter Text

“Yamaka Mika, please approach the witness stand.”

Yamaka Mika was a beautiful girl with doe eyes and perfectly trimmed, sleek brown hair. She carried herself with a meek elegance that was present in the way she moved, fluid but muted as she walked to the front of the room.

She placed one hand on the Bible and raised the other.

“Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”

A voice, soft but clear. “I do.”

“Thank you,” Oikawa acknowledged as the bailiff moved back to his position next to Judge Irihata. “And good afternoon to you, Yamaka-chan.”

“Afternoon, Oikawa-san.”

Iwaizumi grimaced. Oikawa was back to being smooth and sweet even though it almost seemed like he riled him up during his cross examination of the defendant.

Iwaizumi knew he did well, he definitely had to tone it down for Yamaka — she was so small and pretty, so if Iwaizumi went off on her it would definitely alienate the jury.

Be careful, Hajime, he told himself.

“Introduce yourself to the jury, if you please.”

“My name is Yamaka Mika,” she answered, eyes darting over to the jury box, “I’m twenty-three. I graduated from college less than a year ago… so I’m still looking for work, unfortunately.” She rubbed the back of her head in embarrassment, a charmingly shy gesture. Iwaizumi didn’t trust it one bit. “I’m Suguru’s girlfriend.”

“When did you start dating?”

Iwaizumi twitched at the irrelevant question, but stayed put.

Yamaka thought on it for a brief moment, and then answered, “Two and a half years ago, maybe?”

“And how did you meet?” Oikawa asked, cocking his head.

“We were family friends, kind of. I got introduced to him by his cousin, who I met in college, and we just sort of hit it off, I guess! We both really loved art, so we started going to museums together, and… yeah, here we are now.”

She said the last sentence with a solemn look on her face.

“Could you describe for the court what Suguru-kun is like?”

Yamaka cracked a grin. “Do you want the long or short version?”

Oikawa flashed a disarming smile back, eyes sparkling in that way of his that Iwaizumi knew was a ploy to win the jury’s hearts. “I would love to hear the story of how you two fell in love, but for the sake of time, I’d prefer the short version.”

“Well, despite all of the bravado he puts up—” Yamaka made a vague hand gesture towards the defendant, smiling slightly as she looked at him— “he’s actually a very soft guy. He pretends to be super macho and snarky, but he’s genuinely a very sensitive soul, and I really love that about him. I think he tries to act super manly or whatever because of his dad.”

“Why do you think that, Yamaka-chan?”

This whole Yamaka-chan thing was really weirding Iwaizumi out. It sounded way too much like Iwa-chan for his comfort. Fucking Oikawa.

“Suguru never had a good relationship with his dad… he was just so stressed all of the time because of it. His work, specifically. It always put him in a bad mood, and I just knew he wasn’t happy working at Nohebi. And his dad… well. He’s manipulative and controlling. So that was never healthy for him.”

“What do you know of Suguru-kun’s relationship with his late father?”

“Well, it wasn’t good. I know he got hit a lot growing up. And that he would threaten to kick Suguru out of the house or disown him if he didn’t follow his wishes—”

“Objection, your Honor,” Iwaizumi interrupted, standing up. “This testimony is hearsay, and this witness has no direct knowledge of the words spoken by the deceased.”

As if expecting the objection, Oikawa turned his body towards the judge and responded fluidly, “Your Honor, this is an exception to the hearsay rule: it regards the deceased’s reputation, and as the deceased cannot be present in court today, we must solely rely on witness’ perception of his reputation to put forth all of the facts of this case.”

Iwaizumi cursed a little bit internally. That was Oikawa’s win, and Judge Irihata knew it too, because he answered, “Overruled,” and Iwaizumi sat back down gingerly and took in a deep, slightly shaky breath.

For what he could tell right now, both of them were on equal ground in terms of their questions and objections. But in terms of sheer charisma, Oikawa was beating him by a long shot: there was just something about the way he moved and spoke. If this continued, the jury would likely swing to Oikawa since criminal trials were decided on an unanimous vote. Even if only one person was convinced by Oikawa's charm, he was done for.

“Please continue, Yamaka-chan. What would Daishou-san do to Suguru-kun?”

Iwaizumi gritted his teeth.

“Suguru told me that growing up, he would use his belt and whip him… and though he stopped doing that once Suguru got older and moved out, he still slapped Suguru around when Daishou-san wasn’t pleased. It didn’t help that Suguru was forced to work for his company.”

“What do you mean by forced?”

Yamaka’s face fell and her gaze turned downward, fiddling with her hands. “To put it simply… I know Suguru felt a lot of guilt when it came to his dad. He hated him, but he also paid for everything he’s ever had. School, post-grad, his house… I never understood it, but I always felt like Suguru felt obligated to do whatever his dad asked him to. Even when he was getting hit, even when Suguru wanted nothing more than to quit and fly to a different country to get away.” The young woman exhaled, squeezing her eyes shut as her voice trembled. “That was really hard for him, and for both of us. All I ever want is for Suguru to be happy, and he never will be, not when his father haunts him in every aspect of his life.”

“That’s horrible,” Oikawa murmured, soft but nonetheless audible in the dead silence of the courtroom.

If he was honest, even Iwaizumi couldn’t help but believe Yamaka, who looked so utterly defeated that it was hard not to pity her. Shoulders tensed, expression crushed — Yamaka Mika was the perfect picture of a poor girl who was dragged into a mess she had no control over.

But he couldn’t afford to feel pity. Not now.

“Yamaka-chan, where were you on the night of April 11th?”

She pursed her lips. “My apartment.”

“Did you hear from Suguru that day?”

“Yeah… he told me he was going to see his dad,” she answered. “Imagine my surprise when I get a call from him telling me he was in jail.

“What did you do when you found out he was detained?”

“Nothing. I couldn’t do anything until his bail was posted. So I had to sit in my apartment, waiting, praying that he was okay. God.” Another shaky breath. “That was one of the most terrifying times in my life. I had no idea what was happening to him. I could only hope he was alright.”

“What did you do then, once his bail was posted?”

“I bailed him out, of course. And he came home to me.” Yamaka looked close to crying now, her lip jutting out and her eyes welling up. “I have never seen him so shaken. So… broken. In my entire relationship with him, even with all the ups and downs of his job and his dad, I have never seen him cry so much. And I never want to again.” She turns her gaze to the ceiling, trying to hold back the tears that threaten to fall. “But you know, this will follow him forever. His father’s abuse, which already left so many scars on him, but now also the guilt he feels from causing his death. No matter how terrible he was, Daishou-san was still Suguru’s father.”

Iwaizumi bit down his lip from physically preventing himself from hissing. Oikawa had said that Yamaka wasn’t a key witness. Clearly he had been fucking lying. Yamaka was the perfect character witness, speaking to why the defendant never went to the police growing up for the alleged abuse and wrenching the jury’s hearts.

He had to do something, but what? Can he even accuse Daishou of domestic abuse at this point? If he made Yamaka cry on the stand, Iwaizumi could kiss his win goodbye.

“How has this case affected your relationship with Suguru-kun?”

“Suguru has kind of… fell into a really deep depression. He doesn’t eat, and he’s lost a lot of weight because of it. He barely sleeps, and when he does, he wakes up in the middle of the night from horrible nightmares. He won’t tell me what they’re about, but I’m almost certain they’re about his father. I’ve tried to get him to go see a therapist, but…” Yamaka shakes her head, shoulders slumping, “… he has a lot to worry about. I’ve just been trying to be there for him.”

“Has he talked to you about his depression, Yamaka-chan?” Oikawa murmured, gentle and soothing.

“…No. He doesn’t like talking about it. And I don’t want to push him. Not when he’s already suffering so much.”

“I see.” Oikawa stepped forward. “And in his fragile emotional state, has Suguru-kun ever hurt you?”

Iwaizumi’s blood ran cold.

Oikawa knew what Iwaizumi was suspecting. Oikawa knew that Iwaizumi was going to accuse their relationship of being a toxic, abusive one, and was taking measures to nip that line of questioning in the bud before Iwaizumi even got the chance to ask anything about it.

It made sense – of course Oikawa knew what Iwaizumi was thinking. He had access to the same affidavits, the same interrogation tapes. He had probably talked to both the defendant and Yamaka to prepare them for cross-examination questions about it.

Fuck — what did he even have left to ask —

Maybe he should’ve listened to Ushijima, sticking with just the pure material fact of the case and not relying on emotional, dramatic theories to sway the jury.

This is exactly what Oikawa does, Ushijima’s voice echoed out in the back of his head, he disrupts your pace, throwing you off. And then when you scramble to try something new, something you’re not used to, that’s when he strikes the final blow.

Fuck you, Oikawa, Iwaizumi thought, gritting his teeth. And honestly, fuck you too for being right, Ushijima. Fuck this entire case.

“No,” Yamaka replied, raising her head to look Oikawa straight in the eyes. Then she faced to the jury, and her next words were loud and clear. “Of course not. Suguru would never use violence on me. Or anyone. Not unless he had no choice.”

There it was again, that word — choice — the motto of Oikawa’s defense, it seemed.

Iwaizumi balled his fists in his lap.

“Thank you, Yamaka-chan.” Oikawa turned to Judge Irihata, ending his direct examination on that final statement. “No further questions at this time.”

What was he going to do? Iwaizumi mentally scrambled to find some sort of string he could pull, some hole he could poke. The only thing he could think of was the bit about money — Yamaka’s unemployment, the defendant’s affluence. Or he could keep on with his original plan and try to drag the defendant’s reputation through the mud with the evidence that he did have. He would just have to ask and see; he had no more time at this point.

All he could do was wing it and hope he was right.

He forced himself to take a deep breath. It’ll be fine, he told himself. The evidence he found before wasn’t baseless. If he spun it right — it could still work.

“Cross examination, your Honor?” Iwaizumi called, sounding a lot more confident than he felt. He walked towards the witness stand, deliberately avoiding looking at Oikawa as he passed by the defense table, and stood in front of the girl.

“Proceed.”

“Yamaka-san, I’d like to address some of the things you said in your statement to Officer Ennoshita,” Iwaizumi started, thinking back to the police report on his desk. “The officer asked you whether the defendant had inclinations for violence, correct?”

“He did, yes.”

“And you said that ‘he just got a little angry sometimes,’ correct?”

“He was just stressed,” Yamaka defended hastily, frowning.

That wasn’t an answer, Iwaizumi thought, raising an eyebrow at her quick defiance. “Indeed, Yamaka-san. You said he would lock himself up in his room?”

“Yes, I said that,” she answered, eyes darting from Iwaizumi to what he could easily guess was Oikawa behind him.

“You said he would yell to himself?”

“Yes.”

“That he would throw things around in his room?”

“Yes, but he would never hurt me—”

“No, Yamaka-san,” Iwaizumi cut her off, finding his footing. “Maybe he didn’t physically hurt you, but he screamed and threw items against the wall. And in his job, he was stressed often, wasn’t he?”

“It’s the nature of the work he’s doing. I don’t know much about banking, but he’s working at least twelve hours Monday through Friday and sometimes even on Saturday…”

Iwaizumi waited as Yamaka trailed off, looking at her expectantly. “So would it be accurate to say that he was stressed nearly every day of his job?”

“He had a rough work life.”

“That is to say, he would come home stressed every day?”

Yamaka hesitated. “I suppose. Maybe not every day.”

Iwaizumi paced forward, nodding to himself as he thought of his next question. “So almost every day, the defendant would yell and fling things at the wall — throwing a tantrum, if you will. This made for quite the hostile living environment, didn’t it?”

“It wasn’t all bad,” the young woman protested weakly, “and it’s totally understandable that he’s always so wound up like that. I-I always tried to help him relax, after he comes back from work.”

Iwaizumi stopped in his tracks. “What did you do?”

“I—”

“Objection, your Honor?” Oikawa’s voice rung out from behind him. “This question is irrelevant to the facts of the case. How my witness... helped my client… relax... has nothing to do with whether or not my client acted in self-defense or not.”

Iwaizumi winced. Oikawa made it sound so dirty — go figure, since that’s not even what he had in mind. “Your Honor, if I may? On the contrary, how the defendant acted on the daily basis can give us insight to his disposition. The witness asserted that he may not be physically violent, he very much could have an inclination towards anger, and it’s pertinent for the jury to understand how that would manifest in a day-to-day situation.”

“Your Honor, to preserve the professionalism of this court, I ask you to strike this question from the record,” Oikawa replied petulantly.

Iwaizumi nearly tugged his hair out. “With all due respect, your Honor, there is nothing about this question that is unprofessional, and no foundation to suspect that the answer would be so.”

“I’ll allow the question,” Judge Irihata announced. “Overruled.”

He took a deep inhale — the little victories were everything, especially in a neck-to-neck case like this. “Yamaka-san, if you may.”

“Well, I mean… I would cook for him, most of the time. He calmed down the most when he had something to drink, though.”

That made Iwaizumi’s eyebrows jump up to his hairline. “You would give him alcohol to calm down?”

“Yeah,” Yamaka said, fidgeting a bit in her seat. “Said it relaxed his muscles, or something.”

“Would he still throw tantrums after he drank?”

“I guess they would lessen somewhat,” Yamaka hesitated, frowning. “Look, I realize this is making him sound really bad, but you have to understand that Suguru was going through a lot. Has been his entire life.”

“I know, Yamaka-san,” Iwaizumi said, forcing a neutral expression to mask his waning patience, “but I'm just trying to gather as much information as possible as to understand Daishou-san’s situation. So you're saying that he needs alcohol in order to destress?”

“I mean… who doesn't drink to chill out, you know?” Yamaka laughed, scratching the back of her head sheepishly.

“Yamaka-san, does Daishou-san did anything besides work or drink at home?”

“We eat dinner together, and we'll chat and watch movies sometimes,” the young woman said, looking a bit affronted, her eyes narrowing defensively.

“Right. But he doesn't hang out with friends?”

“Suguru isn't a social person, per se…”

“You two don't go out for dates?”

A pause. “...We used to.”

“Pardon me for being presumptuous, Yamaka-san, and correct me if I'm wrong, but did you two stop going out on dates when Daishou started getting promoted?”

Oikawa's voice again — “Objection, your Honor, the frequency of my client's date nights has no bearing on the incident on April 11th.”

“Your Honor, this again goes to demonstrate the defendant's behavior,” Iwaizumi explained swiftly, turning his attention to the judge's bench. “As his romantic partner, this witness can testify as to any changes that the defendant might have gone through that may have ultimately affected his disposition on the night of April 11th.”

“I’ll allow the question so long as you prove this point, counsel.”

Iwaizumi nodded. No big deal. “Would you like me to repeat the question?”

“No, it's fine — I mean, yeah, I guess we stopped going out as frequently when Suguru starting climbing up the hierarchy, since he was getting so stressed out…”

“Makes perfect sense. And did you notice his drinking getting worse as he got more stressed?”

“I mean, yeah. But it's not like he drank a lot, or anything… it wasn't like he was chugging vodka out of the bottle or something crazy like that.”

“But he would drink nearly everyday, correct?”

“Excuse me,” the woman said, crossing her arms over her chest in a deliberate move of defiance, “but I don't see how this relevant to Suguru's innocence?”

Aha. “Let me explain for you then, Yamaka-san.”

Silently, Iwaizumi praised whatever god out there for his luck. A response like that was any cross examining attorney's dream, since it allowed them to explain their reasoning and argument to the jury while making the witness look like a damn fool.

Oikawa must be pissed, he mused idly. But even he couldn't do anything about the opening that Yamaka Mika created for herself. There were no objections he could make against him.

Thank God for small victories.

“If what you're saying is true, then Daishou-san would fall under what we would consider an alcoholic. What you've attested to is antisocial behavior observed in his frequent binge drinking. Alcoholic behavior can have result in violent and angry behavior. And seeing that you've testified that Daishou drinks heavily while stressed, we can only conclude that Daishou-san's reliance on alcohol and antisocial behavior worsened when the CEO announcement was made.”

The blood drained out of Yamaka’s face as she realized the implications. “I—”

“Now tell me, Yamaka-san, for the sake of the integrity of this court. Did you solemnly swear that you would tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

“...I did.”

“And did you do so today?”

“I...I did. But…”

Iwaizumi waited.

“... I just want Suguru to get some help and be happy,” she said softly, hanging her head low and slumping her shoulders in defeat.

“Thank you, Yamaka-san,” he concluded, a slight pang of guilt in his chest as he wrenched his eyes away from Yamaka Mika's crumpled form. “No further questions at this time, your Honor.”

With that he allowed himself to exhale slightly, silently — not the best cross examination that he could've pulled off, but certainly not the worst. If Oikawa didn't preemptively shut down the domestic violence idea, Iwaizumi probably would be in a better position right now.

But, he thought to himself as he walked back to his seat, not bad, considering everything.

He spared a quick glance over to Oikawa, who stood from his own seat at the prosecution desk, back straightening languidly as he rose.

They were treading the same waters now, standing on level ground. Confidence was critical at this stage — whoever could sell the argument the hardest would win the jury.

Oikawa squared his shoulders and declared, “Redirect, your Honor?”

“Proceed.”

“Yamaka-chan,” he said softly to the dismayed, doe-eyed girl on the stand, “did you ever understand Suguru-kun to be untoward or abusive towards you?”

“Of course not. Never.”

“Why is that?”

“Suguru's been through a lot, alright? He's only human. He gets stressed, he drinks, he keeps to himself. That doesn't make him a bad person. And it especially doesn't mean that he'd murder his father in cold blood.”

“And did Suguru-kun's drinking ever concern you?”

Yamaka shook her head vigorously. “No. I didn't think there was anything weird about it. I mean, I know some real alcoholics, like people who've needed rehab, and they drink so much more than Suguru does. You know? It could be so much worse. I’m glad it’s not.”

The barest twitch of Oikawa's finger at his side confirmed Iwaizumi's own thoughts — that was a shit answer. Yamaka Mika wrote herself off as a dense girlfriend with good intentions but ultimately had no real idea of what was going on.

An unreliable witness.

Oikawa ended the redirect with a standard, “No further questions, your Honor. May this witness please be excused?”

Yamaka stepped out of the witness stand with the click of her heels hitting the floor, hands fidgeting with the hem of her shirt. Bailiff in tow, she walked out —

but not before shooting a guilty, helpless glance over at the defense desk, mournfully apologetic as she left.

 

-

 

The other two witnesses, a coworker at Nohebi and Daishou’s cousin, acted again as character witnesses to the defendant. The coworker testified to his work ethic and attitude on the job, which he said was ‘diligent, but ultimately reluctant, like he didn’t really want to be there’ — serving as evidence to Oikawa’s claim that the defendant didn’t want the CEO position. Which honestly, was whatever, since Iwaizumi had already brought on two witnesses from Nohebi Inc that talked contrarily about the defendant’s attitude on the job. Two witnesses corroborating each other was always stronger than one dissenter, so Iwaizumi considered that a win for himself.

Daishou’s cousin, however, was a bit harder to navigate. Daishou Izumi lived with the defendant and the deceased for a couple years when he was attending university in Tokyo, and laid down testimony to the abuse.

“Look, Suguru and I never got along amazingly,” the witness had said, “we didn’t become brothers or anything. But it was plain as day that his father — my uncle — put him through hell. I introduced him to Mika in order for him to maybe find some love in his life, to cheer him up a bit. It was the least I could do.”

Begrudgingly, Iwaizumi marked down a mental tally for Oikawa. There was nothing he could’ve really done to win that one; Daishou Izumi was relatively unbiased, for a character witness, and didn’t have substantive connections to the defendant for Iwaizumi to actively attack.

And so Oikawa rested his case with, perhaps, a slight edge over Iwaizumi. The questioning was pretty equal on both of their parts — something he felt quite proud of — though Oikawa’s questions were more smooth and flowed a bit like a story, whereas Iwaizumi’s questions were explosive and directly to the point. Different fighting styles that parried each other in a duel of wits, ending with a stalemate.

But in the end, you never really knew what the jury was thinking. So things were often left up to the closing statement, the summary argument of all the evidence presented during the course of the trial. In a close case like this, the final arguments — the last impressions — were everything.

And prosecution goes first, of course.

“Closing arguments, your Honor?” Iwaizumi announced after scanning through his notes one last time, reviewing all of the key points he wanted to hit in the last speech of his.

“You may proceed.”

A deep breath in, an exhale out.

Iwaizumi straightened his back, relaxed his shoulders, and lifted his chin.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you’ve heard a lot of evidence and testimony today surrounding the death of Daishou Katashi. Some of it was contradictory, and after a long day of direct and cross examinations, I’m sure you’re trying to figure out what to believe, what to trust, and what to consider in your final deliberations. So let me start off which the facts that both opposing counsel and I agree on — facts that we all know to be true.

“Number one: Daishou Suguru killed his father.”

Iwaizumi took a step forward, eyes sweeping across the twelve members of the jury, making sure to meet the gaze of each and every person.

“This is an indisputable fact. When you consider all the evidence in today's case, remember that above all else. Daishou Suguru, with one hard swing of a wine bottle, killed Daishou Katashi in their family home on the night of April 11th, 2018.”

He shifted his attention from one jury member to another.

“Number two: the defendant and the deceased had a tense relationship that only worsened as time went on. The defense has brought forth testimony today about Daishou Katashi's alleged abuse. Without documentation, we today are unable to confirm or deny such allegations, especially without Daishou Katashi available to testify today. But we are able to gather the nature of their father-son relationship — which was poor, to say the least. We know from testimony from both the prosecution and defense that the defendant harbored resentment for the deceased. Resentment that had been left to fester over the past thirty years. Resentment that led to Daishou Katashi's death.”

He paused, gathering his thoughts.

“You all have an important task here today. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you all are responsible for looking at the evidence presented to you today and making a final decision. I'm here to make that decision easier for you, and I'm going to tell you how all the evidence presented — not just the prosecution's — prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Daishou Suguru is guilty of second degree murder.”

Iwaizumi inhaled deeply, rolling his shoulders back.

“If you believe that the defendant held malice for his father before striking the killing blow, and if you believe that the defendant used an unreasonable amount of force to defend himself, then you must find him guilty of second degree murder. Let's move on to how the evidence presented today prove these two ideas.

“The only testimony you heard about the crime scene was from expert witness Kita Shinsuke, a crime scene investigator who pointed out that all the physical evidence pointed to second degree murder. There simply isn't enough evidence of a struggle to indicate that the amount of force the defendant used was justified. You also heard from prosecution witnesses from Nohebi that testified to the defendant's antisocial behavior that only worsened after the CEO announcement was made. The only contrary testimony you heard from the defense was from an employee that didn't even work on the same team as the defendant, and thus cannot accurately testify to the defendant's behavior at work.”

Iwaizumi took a step back, suspending the jury in bated silence before launching into the most important part of his argument.

“Opposing counsel's only argument for the defendant's innocence is the fact that he was abused. But let's look at the facts. The defendant is thirty. Abuse and maltreatment has long lasting effects, but if the defendant truly hated his job as much as he said he did, he could've easily quit. He is no longer financially dependent on his father, and it simply doesn't make sense for the defendant to stay at Nohebi unless he had some desire to stay there.

“Am I arguing that Daishou Katashi didn't mistreat the defendant? No. It's very likely that the defense is accurate in accusing the deceased of child abuse. I don't doubt for a second that the deceased mistreated the defendant growing up. But ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that is not the question of today's trial. We are not speculating on the past. The question is whether Daishou Suguru used an unreasonable amount of force against his father, and whether that force was used in malice aforethought.”

He took a few seconds to pause and evaluate. All eyes were on him, a few members even leaning forward as he spoke. A good sign.

“If we wanted to talk about the details of Daishou Katashi's relationship with Daishou Suguru, we would hold a different trial on accounts of assault and abuse. If we wanted to properly punish Daishou Katashi for his maltreatment of the defendant, we would do so in a separate trial. But we can't, for the simple reason that Daishou Katashi is dead. Frankly, there were much better ways to go about addressing Daishou Katashi's behavior than outright murdering him.

“That's what this case is about, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. If this was just about Daishou Katashi's behavior, we wouldn't be in trial today. But we're here because the defendant's resentment and violence enabled him to finally enact revenge on his estranged father. We're here because Daishou Suguru, overcome with resentment, used an unreasonable amount of force with malice, breaking a bottle over his father's head so hard that it killed him within minutes.”

Nearing the end of his argument, Iwaizumi dropped his tone and timber and said his next words slowly and deliberately, just like Ushijima taught him to do —

“No matter what the defense will tell you, that's not what self-defense looks like. And that's an indisputable fact. I urge you to return a verdict of guilty, simply because it's the only one that makes sense.”

Silence hung over the crowd as Iwaizumi took a step back and turned around to walk back to his table. That was the worst of it; after Oikawa's closing statement, the two of them would be done arguing for the day and hopefully put this trial behind them.

Oikawa's voice rang inside his head, an echo of their conversation —   No hard feelings, right?

“Closing arguments, your Honor?”

Oikawa rose from his seat gracefully, lifting his chin to meet Judge Irihata’s gaze.

“Proceed.”

Iwaizumi watched with bated breath as Oikawa took his position in front of the jury box, allowing himself to fully appreciate how damn good he looked in that clean, pressed suit of his. Not a hair out of place, perfectly groomed — Iwaizumi honestly couldn’t blame them if the jury ended up falling for Oikawa’s sheer presence. It was an unfortunate advantage.

But, well. He tried his best.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, abuse doesn’t make sense.

Well, fuck me, Iwaizumi thought.

“Abuse, especially long-term abuse, is constantly proven to inhibit a victim’s decision making. We can take a look at domestic abuse victims in society who stay in loveless, violent marriages, suffering every day under the hands of their partners. Yet many times they do not file for a divorce, a restraining order, or press charges. Why is that?”

Oikawa paused, almost as if waiting for an answer.

“It’s because they are afraid, ladies and gentlemen. Perhaps irrationally, they fear of the consequences that might befall them if they oppose their abuser. They do not think about leaving because they are traumatized. For those of us have never been in that situation, we may never be able to truly understand how that feels. But surely you can sympathize with these victims — and after the evidence presented to you today, I’m sure you can sympathize with Daishou Suguru.”

Oikawa gestured to the defendant, sitting alone at the defense desk with his head hung low.

“Daishou Suguru is an abuse victim. Opposing counsel even agreed that this is true. Abuse doesn’t stop simply because one reaches the age of adulthood; perhaps the classification of child abuse does, but just because my client is thirty does not mean he cannot suffer from the effects of harassment, violence, and intimidation. My client endured decades of physical, mental, and emotional abuse at the hands of his father. So on the night of April 11th, when those hands wrapped around his throat to kill, Daishou Suguru panicked and reached for the first thing he could find to save his life.”

Oikawa’s arm dropped back to his side as he spoke in earnest, taking a few steps toward the jury, his shoes lightly tapping on the tiled floor for emphasis.

“Today, you heard from the people who know my client best: his girlfriend and his cousin. Both of them testified to the pain and suffering that he went through his entire life. Both of them pointed out how that abuse warped his personality with stress and depression. Yamaka Mika specifically told you all how his life was mostly spent in the office, working under the man that has coerced and mistreated him for his life. Of course Daishou Suguru is going to crack and crumble under that pressure. He wouldn’t be human if he didn’t.

“Opposing counsel will have you believe that Daishou Suguru wanted to climb the corporate ladder and actually seize that CEO position for himself. But does that make sense to you, ladies and gentlemen? Given that both of us agree that my client is an abuse victim, it simply doesn’t add up. Daishou Suguru may have worked at Nohebi because his father wanted him to, and maybe he would’ve even taken that CEO position as well. But by no means did he ever actively wanted to take that position for himself. You heard from my client today that if it weren’t for his father, he wouldn’t have worked at Nohebi at all. He wouldn’t have attended business school or even graduated with the degree that he did. He would’ve devoted himself to art and a happy life with the love of his life, Yamaka Mika.

“But he didn’t. Because he couldn’t. If it was really as simple as opposing counsel will have you believe, my client would have made the choice to leave his father and his company years ago. Abuse just isn’t that simple.”

The defense attorney’s voice lilted to a louder and clearer timbre, indicating that he was nearing the end of his speech. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I urge you to look beyond the facts and think about the person behind this case. Yes, opposing counsel is right in that you all have the duty to consider the facts and evidence that was presented to you today. But at the end of the day, you all are dealing with someone’s life. You are deciding if whether a person who suffered decades of abuse deserves to be sentenced for life for a split-second reaction made in self-defense. Think hard about the choice you’re going to make, ladies and gentlemen. Think about the person beyond the facts and testimony. Think about Daishou Suguru.”

Oikawa took a step back and shifted his gaze in the direction of the defense table, leading the jury’s eyes to the defendant.

“I urge you to return a verdict of not guilty, because Suguru-kun deserves a second chance. He deserves a choice. And now choice falls on you — the choice to make the right decision.”

“Thank you,” Oikawa finished, dipping his head in a slight bow, before returning to his seat.

Judge Irihata nodded with finality. “Thank you, counsel. I believe we are finished with arguments and can now move on to jury instruction. Counsels, if you would?”

Iwaizumi let out a small breath that he didn’t realize he had been holding before murmuring, thank you, your Honor. He tucked away his papers in his briefcase, zipping the bag shut and heading to the door. Meeting Matsukawa’s gaze — fuck, he honestly forgot that they had an audience and that the paralegal was even there — the two of them stepped out of the courtroom and into the empty lobby down the hall.

“Congrats on finishing,” Matsukawa said, clapping a hand on his shoulder. “That was damn good, Iwaizumi.”

“Thanks,” he replied, shrugging off his blazer and hanging it over a chair. Then, “I could use a drink right about now.”

That prompted an open, carefree laugh from Matsukawa, a welcoming sound after the stuffy legal procedures of that day. “Let’s get your verdict first. Then we can either celebrate or mourn over. Either way, we can definitely drink tonight.”

“Sounds like a similar situation, don’t you think?” Iwaizumi snorted, stretching his arms high over his head and popping a few of his joints in place. “Let’s not do a repeat of last time.”

“Nah. Last time you were bitchy since Oikawa whooped your ass. It’s definitely a toss-up this time.”

“You think?” Oikawa’s voice rang out. Iwaizumi whipped his head to find him standing in the lobby doorway, leaning a shoulder against the entrance with a smirk on his mouth. “Good job today, Iwa-chan. I’m impressed.”

“Oikawa,” Matsukawa acknowledged with a nod. “Cute hickey you got there. Y’all matching today or something?”

Oh my god, Iwaizumi thought, a hand flying up to his own neck. I’m going to die.

Oikawa, the fucker, just beamed. “What a coincidence, don’t you think?”

“Both of you, fuck off,” he grumbled in response, scratching the back of his head and willing the flush in his face to cool down. “Don’t either of you know the definition of professionalism?”

“If you’re worried about us finding out, don’t worry. Makki and I made bets on you two already. I’m happy to announce to you that my pockets are now five thousand yen heavier than they were yesterday.”

Iwaizumi could only blink. “Wait, what,” he said.

“You guys wouldn’t shut up about each other — it was only a matter of time,” Matsukawa shrugged, as if that fucking explained anything at all. “Makki bet that you guys would fuck after the trial. I was not one to be so foolish.”

“Um?” was the only thing Iwaizumi could get out.

“Fun,” Oikawa contributed. He loosened his tie slightly, fingers digging into the knot and pulling it away from his neck. “Anyways, Iwa-chan is scary when he’s on the job like that. You really are Ushiwaka’s protege. Same energy.”

Grateful for the switch in conversation, Iwaizumi turned his attention to Oikawa, who now lounged in a seat, legs crossed. “Watch out, then,” he teased, “I’m coming for your win streak.”

“That’s cute. Unfortunately, you don’t have the years of experience that Ushiwaka has. I must admit that the bastard is good.” Oikawa picked at his nails nonchalantly, but a bitter grimace on his face belied his distaste for Iwaizumi’s mentor. “Maybe one day, Iwa-chan.”

“Fuck off,” Iwaizumi retorted without heat. “We’ll see soon.”

“Indeed we will,” Oikawa agreed. “Anyways, Mattsun, tell me more about this bet.”

 

-

 

The three of them chatted for another two hours or so, Iwaizumi and Oikawa bickering back and forth as they were now been accustomed to and Matsukawa watching them amusedly. Iwaizumi was proud and a little bit touched when the paralegal extended him an informal invitation to his wedding (‘C’mon, man, of course I was going to invite you. We’ve suffered in the same cubicle for too long for you not to come’) and affronted when Matsukawa admitted that he and Hanamaki theorized extensively on their sex life (‘I thought you were a bottom, Iwaizumi — kudos!’). Matsukawa asked about Oikawa’s coworkers and mutual friends that they shared, and Oikawa blabbered on about office gossip that Iwaizumi couldn’t be bothered to actually listen to.

Iwaizumi was happy to find their dynamic unchanged after the whole legal debacle. Though they haven’t heard the verdict yet, it was clear to him that their relationship was back to normal. If Iwaizumi lost, then he would be okay with accepting that, moving on and getting serious with this beautiful bastard of a defense attorney. He could deal with a slightly wounded pride if it meant losing to a lawyer so universally accepted as brilliant.

No hard feelings, right?

Right.

A rapping on the door turned all of their heads to the doorway, where the clerk from earlier stood expectantly. “Excuse me, I believe that the jury is ready to deliver the verdict for the case.”

Iwaizumi grabbed his suit jacket from the chair and threw it on, buttoning it up and smoothing down the fabric. He tried to quell down the beginnings of anxiety that was starting to build in the pit of his stomach, taking a deep breath and squaring his shoulders.

This was it, then.

The verdict to his first ever felony trial.

“Lead the way, miss,” Oikawa prompted, giving a dazzlingly bright smile to the clerk, who stepped out into the hallway without so much a blink and headed down to the courtroom where they were earlier.

Oikawa led the defendant, who was waiting outside of the courtroom with Yamaka Mika, to the defense table where they took their seats. Iwaizumi walked over to his own table and tried his best not to slump down when he sat down.

A deep breath in, a deep exhale out. This was it.

“Order!” Judge Irihata declared, gavelling down twice to gather everyone’s attention. “In the case of Daishou Suguru v. The Prefecture of Tokyo, the defendant has been charged with second-degree murder with malice aforethought and an unreasonable use of force in the killing of Daishou Katashi.”

Judge Irihata cleared his throat, leveling his gaze to the jury box before continuing. “What say you, Madam Foreperson? Is the defendant guilty, or not guilty?”

The jury spokesperson, a middle-aged woman with clear eyes and straight back, stood.

Iwaizumi could hear his heartbeat roaring in his ears.

Seconds ticked by as the woman folded out a piece of paper, the crinkling noise thunderous in the deathly silence of the court.

“We the jury, duly empanelled and sworn, and above in entitled action upon our oaths do find the defendant…”

This was it, this was it, this was it —

no hard feelings, right?

“... guilty of second-degree murder.”

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi stopped breathing.

“Signed, foreperson,” the jury spokesperson concluded, who looked up at Judge Irihata after she finished. A brief beat passed, the words of the verdict sinking in, the courtroom deathly silent — either in shock or in the struggle to comprehend the weight of the verdict.

Iwaizumi remembered to breathe, glancing over at Oikawa standing to his right, face completely unreadable and body stiff.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the next phase of this trial will continue next Monday at noon. We will be deciding on the sentence for the defendant." Judge Irihata concluded. He raised the gavel and slammed it on the wood, the bang echoing throughout the chambers of the court. “You are excused.”

The rustle and shuffling of the people around him meant that the audience was getting up to leave, and the jury was being excused back to their room. Iwaizumi rolled his shoulders back and reached a hand up to rub his face, muscles suddenly exhausted and energy sapped from every fiber from his body. He had really hoped to win this case, but now that he had, he was feeling more overwhelmed than anything else. As if all of the stress and the countless hours that he had spent on this case was finally catching up him now that the adrenaline has ebbed away.

But he won. He won. Ushijima was going to be so proud, even if he didn’t necessarily show it, and he can’t wait to call Kindaichi and tell his kouhai about the news. And he can finally prove to Suga that this case wasn’t just something he could learn from, but something he could win, as well.

A hand on his shoulder jolted him out of his thoughts, and Iwaizumi whipped his head to find the widest smile he has ever seen on Matsukawa. The dopey smirk he usually wore was replaced with genuine excitement — for him, Iwaizumi realized, for the both of them for winning this case.

“Iwaizumi,” Matsukawa said, pride evident even as he drawled out the name, “congratulations, counsel.”

A rush of warmth washed over him as Iwaizumi spluttered out a laugh of a relief, feeling the corners of his lips quirk up. “Couldn’t have done it without you, man.”

“Am I hearing correctly? The Iwaizumi Hajime complimenting humble ol’ me, a mere underpaid, overworked paralegal slave to the government? It must be my lucky day.”

“Shut up,” Iwaizumi grinned. “You’re buying me drinks, right?”

“Just don’t get sloppy on me, you bitch.” Matsukawa’s eyes flickered past Iwaizumi before focusing back on his face. “Anyways, I’ll leave you to it. I’m sure Ushijima will want to talk to you before you leave today, so I’ll hang out in the office until you’re done. We’re getting food.”

“Right. I’ll see you then.”

Iwaizumi braced himself, already feeling Oikawa approach from behind him before even turning around. He shifted to face the defense attorney, who had a placating, gentle smile on his face.

“Iwaizumi-san,” Oikawa said politely, “congratulations on a successful performance. I must say, your closing statement was excellent.”

“Oh,” Iwaizumi said, scratching the back of his head awkwardly. This again, huh? The fake formalities felt so weird between them. “Thanks a lot. You did great, too.”

“No need to be humble. You did well, especially for your first felony trial. I understand the pressure of a felony is much greater than a misdemeanor. Ushijima really trained you well, didn’t he?”

He frowned, remembering Oikawa’s constant slander of Ushijima in private. “Well, I guess. He is my mentor, after all.”

“Indeed, indeed.” Oikawa looked away, the smile still stretched on his face. “You really are his protege.”

“Ah, well — I don’t think — I wouldn’t say I’m his protege, but he’s definitely a big inspiration to me,” Iwaizumi said slowly, nerves prickling at the back of his neck. “Seriously though, you were the hardest opponent I’ve ever had to go against in court. I’m really honored to have faced and learn from you.”

Oikawa’s smile faltered for the briefest of moments but Iwaizumi caught it nonetheless, and the cold feeling tickling up his spine only grew. “Learn from me, huh? I’m glad.”

The way Oikawa said that triggered something in him, so Iwaizumi opened his mouth to protest before Oikawa cut in again, saying, “Well, I’ll see you next Monday for sentencing then, right?”

“R-Right,” Iwaizumi stuttered immediately, and then before he could stop himself, he blurted, “No hard feelings, right?”

Oikawa’s smile slipped for real this time, an expression of genuine shock fluttering over his face for a few seconds before it was replaced by a tiny smirk. “Of course, Iwaizumi-san. I meant what I said. Till next week, then.”

And then he fucking walked off.

Iwaizumi couldn’t help but stare after him in shock. At the cafe yesterday, Oikawa had clearly said that nothing between them would change. That whatever happened in the trial was business only, and that their personal relationship would be unchanged no matter what happened. But Oikawa seemed so… cold just now. Off.

Maybe he was overthinking it? Though the trial was over, they were still in court and in the public eye. He definitely would be different in private — Iwaizumi made a note to himself to text Oikawa asking him to dinner this weekend. And then they could talk about whatever this weird tension that lingered between them was.

Yeah. That was a good plan.

Iwaizumi slung his briefcase over his shoulder and shuffled out of the courtroom and towards the elevator, pressing the up button and waiting for the car to arrive. He really hoped Oikawa wasn’t actually upset about losing. It was inevitable, he supposed, that he would be a little bothered by losing to Iwaizumi — he was Ushijima’s mentee and new to prosecuting serious felonies. Someone as prideful as Oikawa would bound to suffer a blow to his ego at another loss.

The elevator dings and he steps in, watching the doors slink closed and the car surge upwards. Honestly — Oikawa was a little immature, all things considered. He still held that grudge against Ushijima for law school, which was kind of juvenile, if you asked him. Iwaizumi wouldn’t put it past Oikawa for Iwaizumi to be upset with him.

Another chime of the elevator doors signified that Iwaizumi was back on their office floor level. He made a beeline for Ushijima’s office, breezing past the administrator’s desks and winding around the corners of the corridors to end up Ushijima’s office door.

Seriously, he really hoped Oikawa’s frustration was temporary. He was the one who told him no hard feelings, after all. It’d be a little hypocritical of him to actually hold Iwaizumi’s win against him.

He lifts his fist to rap on the door a few times before Ushijima called, “Come in,” prompting him to reach down and twist the door knob open to find his boss at his usual seat in front of his wooden desk.

“Ushijima-san,” Iwaizumi acknowledged, dipping his head slightly.

“Sit,” Ushijima answered, gesturing at the empty seat directly facing him. “How did it go?”

Iwaizumi took the seat, settling into it gingerly and clearing his throat. “I won, sir.”

“Congratulations. I knew you were capable of such. But to do it against a formidable opponent is even more impressive.” Ushijima cracked a small smile that Iwaizumi knew was reserved for only the rarest occasions. “Well done, Iwaizumi.”

“Thank you, sir,” he murmured, pride bubbling in his chest.

“Tell me more about the actual trial. What do you think was the most effective in convincing the jury?”

“I do think I won the case mainly because Matsukawa and I spent so much time on creating the best arguments with the material fact that we were presented. Certainly I don’t think I could’ve won if it was just a matter of wits,” Iwaizumi admitted, thinking back to Oikawa’s enrapturing words and incredible dramatic flair. “Or sheer theatrics. Opposing counsel certainly works to coerce the jury emotionally.”

A snort from Ushijima. “Indeed.”

“But I do think it was also my use of some theatrics that helped bolster my case towards the jury — had I presented the facts without measuring up at least somewhat to opposing counsel’s drama I don’t think I would’ve won the case either. In combining the two styles, I believe I was able to procure the guilty verdict.”

“Interesting,” Ushijima murmured, looking skyward towards the ceiling. “Before the trial I warned you against the idea of using pathos as a basis of your style of argument. I still hold that to be true.”

Iwaizumi swallowed.

“But you have always been stellar at adapting and learning quickly, Iwaizumi. If combining what I have taught you with what have you observed from Oikawa Tooru, an incredible lawyer in his own right, is what delivered you the verdict in your favor, then I have no objections to it.”

He blinked, stuttering a little. “Sir?”

“Your career is just beginning, Iwaizumi. I have no doubt that you can continue this trajectory and become an incredible lawyer with even more time.” Ushijima’s smile got even wider, and Iwaizumi almost wished he could whip out his phone and take a picture of this moment. “You’ll be a fine attorney yet.”

Holy shit, Iwaizumi thought. This means he’s going to give me a bonus, right? “Thank you very much, sir. I’m thankful for everything this office has taught me in this past year.”

“We’re happy to have you.” Ushijima said, before his eyes flashed down to his watch. “It’s ten til five. Go and debrief with Matsukawa. And congratulations again on the win.”

“Sir,” Iwaizumi acknowledged, pleased as he picked up his briefcase and walked out of his boss’s office and headed towards his own. That was honestly the highest praise he had ever received from Ushijima.

It felt fucking good.

Iwaizumi opened the door to his shared room to find Matsukawa lounging on his swivel chair, a box of Pocky in his hands and legs propped up on his desk as he watched some baking show on Netflix.

Bitch,” he said with a chocolate stick in his mouth, grinning.

“Chew with your mouth closed,” Iwaizumi shot back affectionately.

“You a Mister Hotshot now, huh? Fuck, dude! Beating Oikawa. I mean I knew you could do it, of course. Makki owes me even more money.”

“You and your fiance need to stop fucking betting on my life.”

“That’s no fun.” Matsukawa pouted, then took another piece of Pocky and crunched down on it. “But seriously, that’s no small feat. Also you’re undefeated, man. Legend.”

Iwaizumi huffed, sitting down in his own chair and finally allowing himself to relax. “I’ve only been a lawyer for so long, it’s not too early for me to break my win streak.”

“Always so negative,” Matsukawa muttered, reaching over his desk to press pause on the Netflix show. “How are you feeling? What did Ushijima say?”

“Tired,” Iwaizumi admitted. “He just told me I did a good job, basically.”

“Yeah, because you did. Your crosses were great. Especially of the defendant, you made him look like a right asshole.”

Iwaizumi faltered.

Maybe it was just the effect of Oikawa’s speeches, but a part of him didn’t really believe that Daishou Suguru was truly guilty. As a prosecution lawyer, he had done his job in securing the verdict and taking steps to punish those who have harmed others and can potentially continue to do so.

But if the defendant really had been abused that badly — and so many witnesses corroborated that fact — Daishou Suguru may not actually deserve the punishment that the judge may give him, which would be fifteen years to life at least.

In arguing to win a case, Iwaizumi knew that sometimes he didn’t necessarily have to believe the story he was pushing to convince the jury; as long as he presented the facts in a certain light, he was still telling the truth. Iwaizumi presented Daishou as an unstable, antisocial alcoholic who was overcome by emotion and recklessly killed his father.

But did he believe that?

“Iwaizumi?”

Startled, he flinched. “Y-Yeah.”

“Something up?” Matsukawa was frowning, now, putting down his Pocky and swivelling his chair to face him directly.

He hesitated, lips parting, before saying, “Do you think he actually killed his dad with malice? Like, do you think he actually meant it?”

“Are you… are you feeling guilty ?”

“I mean—” he supposed what he was feeling was guilt, but that didn’t feel right either… just unsettled, perhaps. “not really. There were just a lot of things that Oikawa said that made sense.”

“Iwaizumi,” Matsukawa sighed, the sound jolting his attention from the floor to the paralegal’s face. “You know all the facts of the case. We discovered them together, and we pieced together the story that you used to deliver justice.”

He nodded slightly. That was true.

“There are always multiple sides of a story. Even beyond the prosecution and defense, the two opposites, there often is a third side that isn’t told — the story that actually occurred on the night Daishou Katashi died,” Matsukawa said, joking expression wiped off his face with a furrowed eyebrows and a slight frown. “And we’re never going to know what actually happened then. We weren’t there. All we could have done is used what we know to provide a case that made sense.”

“Isn’t that kind of fucked up, though?” Iwaizumi replied softly, slumping in his chair a bit. “This is stupid.”

“Your first existential crisis as a prosecutor, huh?” Matsukawa smiled a bit. “You didn’t do anything wrong. And honestly, at this point, it’s out of your hands. He’s in the system, now, and the system will give him what he deserves. When it’s time for parole, he may very well cut his sentence short and get to live his life again.” He scooted his chair forward to ruffle Iwaizumi’s hair, scruffing it out of his combed-down state back to its unruly spikes. “You did your job honestly and to the best of your ability. I think you can be proud of that.”

He swatted Matsukawa’s hand away, grunting a bit as he ran his fingers back through his hair, fluffing it up. “Is it always going to be like this?”

“Pretty much. You’re never going to know if you truly right. That’s just the way the world works.”

“Fuck, dude. What is Oikawa going to say? Despite his reputation—” Iwaizumi gestured at the air vaguely, thinking back to their previous conversations over food— “I think he genuinely believes in what he’s doing. He seems very passionate about the whole criminal defense thing. Equitable system and balance of rights and all that.”

The paralegal laughed. “I knew this was about your boyfriend.” Matsukawa picked up his snack and began munching at it again. “He’ll get over it. Don’t worry.”

“He’s not my boyfriend.”

“Isn’t he?” Matsukawa grinned knowingly. Then he stood up and threw his jacket over his shoulders, eye twinkling as he shrugged it on. “Come on, counsel. Let’s get you some drinks.”

 

-

 

Iwaizumi! ” Sugawara shrieked at the top of his lungs, thrusting his glass up in the air with so much force that the draft beer splashed dangerously against his cup and threatened to spill on the table. “Congratulations on winning your first felony!”

“Suga, please ,” Sawamura sighed, exasperated as always as his husband sloshed his drink around and clanged it with Iwaizumi’s own bottle of Asahi. Nevertheless, he lifted his own glass. “But yeah, congratulations are definitely in order. You did great.”

The couple was invited by Matsukawa, who had taken them all to an izakaya farther away from the courthouse and deeper into the Minato ward. Akaashi and Asahi had also come along, and the six of them clinked their drinks over yakisoba and other assortments of snacks that they had ordered.

“How was it, if I may ask?” Akaashi said, sipping on his beer. “You seemed a bit nervous before.”

Iwaizumi cleared his throat, thinking back to their most recent conversation that was definitely centered around his private relationship with Oikawa, and not their professional one. He averted his gaze down towards his agedashi tofu and jabbed a spoon into the soft bean curd. “It was definitely a really intense experience. I don’t think I’ve ever went against another lawyer that’s kept me on my toes like that.”

“That’s usually what happens when you face a defendant who has the funds to afford a defense attorney from Seijou,” Sawamura supplied. “He was pretty wealthy going into it, right?”

“Yeah — high level executive of an asset management company,” Iwaizumi replied, cutting into the tofu and dipping it into the dashi broth. “All of the misdemeanors and infractions I had before were pretty weak in comparison to Oikawa for sure. Most of those cases had court-appointed lawyers, so.”

“But clearly you held your own against him,” Sugawara pointed out, resting his chin on his hand, elbow propped up on the table. “That’s incredible, Iwaizumi. You’re definitely like Ushijima. Only nicer.”

“I don’t think that I’m that much like Ushijima.”

“You guys definitely have the same energy,” Azumane said, scratching the back of his head. “Makes sense that you beat him.”

“That’s definitely true. I mean, I don’t know if I can ever stand that kind of heat,” Sugawara chimed in, plucking a few edamame beans from a little bowl in the center of the table. “That’s why I stick to truancy court for the most part. The kids are cute.”

“I mean, I guess. I wanted to be a lawyer because being an officer was too dangerous.” Iwaizumi levelled his gaze at Sawamura, who had straightened up immediately at the word officer. “Cheers to you, dude, none of us prosecutors can do the work we do without you. To the force.”

“To the force,” Akaashi, Matsukawa, and Azumane echoed, raising their drinks in the air.

“To my man in uniform,” Sugawara amended, completely and wholly embarrassing.

They all clink glasses once again, pausing for a second to drink before Sugawara wiped his beer foam off of his mouth and said, “So what’s he really like?”

“Oikawa?” Iwaizumi stalled, picking at the agedashi tofu again. He cut off another piece with his spoon, watching tawny broth ripple at the motion and tried his best not to panic.

“Yeah. I mean, out of the people in our office only you and Ushijima have gone against him and won. Is he really as viciously ingenious as he sounds?”

Iwaizumi let out a huge breath that he didn’t know he was holding, rolling his shoulders back. “I don’t think I would call him a genius at being a lawyer. He’s definitely a genius at using his words and emotions to direct a jury in one way.” He slurped up the tofu and thought back to this afternoon. “He’d be a good actor or something.”

“Wow,” Akaashi said, raising his eyebrows. “That’s unexpectedly savage of you.”

Iwaizumi frowned, then spluttered— “No, God, I didn’t mean it like that. He’s definitely an excellent lawyer. Don’t get me wrong, I shat my pants going against him and I lost spectacularly in the pretrial. I just don’t think the idea of a genius lawyer exists. No one’s born being a good lawyer. I guess some people can be naturally good at analyzing facts, thinking on your feet, and public speaking — but that’s not necessarily all that goes into being a lawyer. Those things you can train, by constantly speaking in front of crowds, or constantly putting yourself in situations where you need to think fast and well. A lot of being a good lawyer is a matter of adequate preparation and being careful to detail… which are all qualities anyone can have, and aren’t specialized to a prodigy lawyer or something. Things like that aren’t real.”

Everyone looked at him strangely after that, so Iwaizumi followed up with a “... what.”

“I feel like I should clap,” Akaashi said.

Matsukawa, the asshole, started clapping, loud and dramatic. “I think you just mansplained being a lawyer to people who have literally been a lawyer longer than you.”

Iwaizumi looked over to Sugawara, who was thirty-seven and had been at the office for six years, and Akaashi, who was thirty-one and had been at the office for four. Heat rising to his cheeks, he buried his face into his drink, muttering, “... You guys asked.”

“Don’t take it the wrong way,” Sawamura said, laughing. “I can definitely tell that this trial has made you grow a lot as a lawyer. I mean, it was your first felony, right? So it makes sense that you’re finally gaining some confidence in your abilities.” He flashed a toothy grin at Iwaizumi and raised his beer. “Cheers to that.”

“Cheers,” Iwaizumi repeated, lips curving up as he clicked his drink with Daichi’s, the sound sharp and clear even among the bustle of the patrons in the izakaya, the smile on his friend’s face wide and bright.

 

-

 

So they might have drank a lot. The six of them got through three more rounds of beer before Azumane wiped out and said he couldn’t drink anymore because he had to meet someone back at home. That left Sugawara, who despite his slimmer frame everyone already knew was a fucking tank, Sawamura, who was about two-hundred pounds of sheer muscle, Akaashi, who was deviously good at holding his liquor behind his long sips and judgemental stares, and Matsukawa, who was fucking laughing at it all.

Sugawara asked for sake, saying it was on his tab, and Iwaizumi, despite knowing his low tolerance, agreed to another few rounds like the stupid bitch he is.

Two hours passed and they decided finally to get their asses out of the pub, Sawamura and Sugawara covering their portion of the tab and Matsukawa and Akaashi covering the rest, much to Iwaizumi’s protest. They all split, the couple heading back to their apartment that was apparently walking distance and Akaashi calling his boyfriend to pick him up.

“You getting home okay?” Matsukawa asked, perfectly sober.

“I hate it when this happens and I have to leave my fucking car at work,” Iwaizumi mumbled, everything a bit hazy from the last sake shot.

“I’ll call you a cab,” Matsukawa said, waving his arm out until a taxi pulled up to the curb. Gently, he pushed Iwaizumi towards the car after opening the door. “Let me know when you get home.”

“I’m getting invited to your wedding right?” was the only thing Iwaizumi could think of as he buckled in and told the driver where to go.

“You’re so fucking needy. I already told you I was going to invite you. Expect a paper invitation in the mail soon.”

“Thanks, Matsukawa.”

“Leave already.”

Iwaizumi grunted, waving his goodbye as the taxi pulled away from the side of the road and started driving away from the restaurant and towards his house.

He slumped back in the car seat, settling on the headrest. He had a good group of coworkers. Sugawara was… boisterous when drunk, but he was definitely the sweetest guy he’s met in a while. Azumane was definitely the friendly giant of the group, and Akaashi was great as always with his deadpan and smooth, dry humor. Matsukawa was quickly becoming his best friend in the office, especially after this case.

Before this case, Iwaizumi felt a bit lonely here in Tokyo, removed from Miyagi and everything that he’s ever known, but over the past couple of months he was content to find that maybe he did have a place in the Tokyo Prefecture District Attorney’s Office after all. Feeling weirdly soft and embarrassed, Iwaizumi scrubbed at his face haphazardly. He was always an emotional drunk.

The case, overall, had been a great experience then — it had brought him closer to the people at his office, he worked hard to improve a lot as a lawyer, and he met Oikawa.

Iwaizumi jolted, sitting up abruptly, spine stiffening.

Oikawa.

He had forgotten to text him asking to talk — Iwaizumi bumbled for his cellphone, vision blurring a bit as he pawned his pant pocket and fished the device out —

 

 

To: Shittykawa
Draft created at 7:49PM

he y, arw e ok

 

Iwaizumi frowned a bit, tapping the backspace button and clearing the draft of his typos. He didn’t want to fuck this up.

 

 

To: Shittykawa
Draft edited at 7:51PM

hey, do you want to get dinner this weekend? i kind of want to t—-

 

He hit the backspace again, deleting the last sentence and revising the text before finally sending it.

 

 

To: Shittykawa
Sent at 7:52PM

want to get dinner this weekend?

 

Casual was always best, right? Iwaizumi turned the screen off and waited in the car as it sped down the highway towards his house, suddenly wracked with queasiness that curled in his stomach.

Maybe he was just being stupid about this whole thing. Deep breaths, Iwaizumi, he wasn’t a fucking high school student anymore desperately texting his cold-shouldered boyfriend about an argument. They hadn’t even gotten into an argument.

Actually, wait. They argued in court.

Iwaizumi heaved out a heavy, deep sigh. Oikawa wasn’t even his boyfriend. They were just friends… fuck buddies, anyway. Weren’t they going to figure out their whole relationship status after the trial?

Right, that’s why they need to talk.

Iwaizumi fucking hates this.

The taxi finally rolls to a stop in front his car after ten minutes of him staring out the window practically jittering with anxiety, waiting for his phone to vibrate with a new text message. His phone didn’t buzz, however, which made Iwaizumi very concerned, since Oikawa was usually very speedy about his texting back. He had even joked once that Oikawa was glued to his phone because of his incredible response time to emails and texts.

Iwaizumi gave the driver his fare and stepped out of the car, walking into his apartment building and towards his floor. He unlocked the door to his flat, chucked the keys onto the table, and flopped down on the couch.

He opened his phone to his text screen.

 

 

To: Shittykawa
Sent at 7:52PM

want to get dinner this weekend?

Read at 7:54PM

 

Iwaizumi felt his jaw drop. Oikawa left him on read? Feeling definitely a little bit like a high school student desperately texting his cold-shouldered boyfriend, Iwaizumi’s fingers hovered over the screen, uncertain as to what to do.

He might just be busy , Iwaizumi told himself. But Oikawa was never busy enough to not answer his texts. Was he ignoring him, then? Pointedly, at that?

Before he could regret it, he tapped out a message and pressed send:

 

 

To: Shittykawa
Sent at 8:21PM

we should talk

 

Iwaizumi chucked his phone as hard as he could into the corners of the couch and groaned.

He had a bad feeling about this.

Chapter Text

Reluctantly, Iwaizumi snatched his phone from the far end of the couch and dialed. The phone rang twice before the other line answered, the voice coughing out a greeting— 

“Iwaizumi-senpai?”

“Kindaichi. Is now a bad time?”

“Oh — of course not.” There were some scrambling and rustling on his end, the noise crackling through the phone speakers. Iwaizumi waited for a few beats before Kindaichi came back on the line, sounding slightly breathless. “Hi, what’s up?”

“Nothing much.” He picked at a loose thread on the stitching of his couch’s armrest. “How are you?”

“I’m good, just. Finals season. And I have to study for the bar soon.”

Iwaizumi nodded slightly to himself; Kindaichi was close to graduating, he must be getting busier and busier as he prepped for post-grad. “Everything okay? You studying alright?”

“Yeah.” Another weighty pause. “How goes the case?”

“I won.”

Kindaichi honest-to-god squealed , the shriek octaves above his normal speaking voice. “Congratulations! I knew you could do it. What happened?”

Iwaizumi felt a part of him soften; his junior believed in him so wholeheartedly that anytime he spoke to Kindaichi was a confidence boost. “I think it was a really close call. Oikawa really is a very good attorney.”

“You’re just being modest, senpai. I’m sure of it.”

“No, no. I’m serious. If I hadn’t done some serious introspection after he handed my ass to me on a silver platter, I’m certain I wouldn’t have won. I somehow managed to change strategies during the trial.” Absentmindedly, he rubbed his fingers over the smooth corduroy of his sofa, feeling the soft fabric under his fingers. “But the jury found the defendant guilty, so I guess it worked.”

“That’s amazing, seriously. How did you do it? It sounds really hard to just change your argument on the spot.”

Iwaizumi’s hand goes to the back of his head to scratch his hair, a little flustered. “Just did. I watched how Oikawa spoke and tried it out. And it worked, thankfully.”

“I see,” Kindaichi breathed. Iwaizumi could practically see his junior nodding furiously, eyes twinkling. “I really want to intern at the Tokyo District Attorney’s office so I can shadow you.”

That pulled a chuckle out of him. “Intern? Kindaichi, you’re going to be a full-time lawyer soon after you pass the bar. You’ll be a practicing attorney with a license; you can forget about coffee runs and printing documents.”

“I know — I just want to see you work.”

“You really flatter me too much.”

“If I ever visit Tokyo, I’d love to pop by the courthouse there. It must be so much nicer than the one here in Sendai.”

“It’s not that special, really. Honestly, it looks like any other office building.”

“Oh.”

Iwaizumi snorted. “Yeah.” He got up off the couch, walking over to the kitchen to grab himself a glass of water. “Anyways, are you still interested in patent law?”

“Yes. I don’t think I would be a good fit for criminal prosecution. I think it’d stress me out.”

He hummed, taking a sip of water before speaking. “You would get paid more than me, that’s for sure. Government has reasonable hours though, so I got that going for me. Don’t work too hard, Kindaichi.”

“Ah,” Kindaichi laughed a bit, a touch awkward. “Thank you. I’ll try, senpai.” 

Both of them fall silent for a little bit, and Iwaizumi downed the rest of his drink in anticipation before Kindaichi blurted out, “You said you, uh. You kissed your opposing counsel. Right?”

“I think he’s mad at me,” Iwaizumi said, sidestepping the question entirely.

“Oh.”

A few moments passed before he decided that he couldn’t handle Kindaichi’s awkwardness anymore, cutting the silence by saying, “We talked before the trial, and decided that no matter who won, it wasn’t going to make things weird between us. But he hasn’t texted me back, and he was weird after the verdict was announced.”

“I mean… that makes sense, senpai.”

Iwaizumi frowned, blinking. “Huh?”

“You said he was a good attorney, right? He almost beat you. Someone like him probably has pride. Of course he’d be upset if he lost.”

“But he told me that the case was a professional matter only. That it wouldn’t affect our personal relationship.”

“... Maybe he said that because he thought he was going to win?”

Iwaizumi already assumed that, but hearing Kindaichi say it out loud brought the heat of frustration to his cheeks. He poured himself another glass of water. “Yeah.”

The line fell silent again. Then, “What are you going to do?”

Good fucking question, Kindaichi. “No idea. He’s not responding to me.”

“I don’t know exactly what your relationship to him is… but maybe you should consider giving him space? Maybe he needs to cool down.”

“That’s a good idea,” he said slowly, testing out the idea in his head. Giving Oikawa space — not texting him, not grabbing dinner and drinks, falling off the grid until Oikawa texts him first…

The idea felt weird to him. But— “I’m seeing him on Monday anyway, for sentencing.”

“So leave him alone until then? And be professional when you see him after the weekend… maybe he’ll bring it up. Maybe he’ll have time to process things.”

I already drunk texted him , Iwaizumi thought to himself silently, a little embarrassed. “That’s a good idea. Thanks, Kindaichi.”

The crackle through the phone’s speakers sounded like Kindaichi’s huffing laughter. “I didn’t think you would ever talk about your dating life with me, senpai, but I’m glad we’re close enough for you to be comfortable doing just that.”

Iwaizumi frowned so deeply he could feel the corners of his lips droop. “Dating? We’re not dating.” 

“Alright, well. Maybe you’re not, maybe you won’t. Good luck regardless.” Kindaichi’s smile, toothy and ever so bright, was audible in his voice. “And congratulations on winning your first felony trial! I hope your next one is as fruitful as well.”

“Thanks.”

The line died and Iwaizumi was left to look at his phone screen, opened to his address book app. Oikawa wasn’t quite his number one most contacted person, but he was the third — tailing his mother and Matsukawa for first and second place, respectively. 

That was telling, at the very least. At the same time, he didn’t really want to think about it. Especially due to the fact that he might not even be on Oikawa’s most contacted people — that would be quite depressing, wouldn’t it— 

Iwaizumi got up from the couch, shrugged off his jacket, and went to fetch himself a glass of water. He was so pathetic.

 

-

 

The weekend passed uneventfully; he had met up briefly with a friend from undergrad who was in the city for lunch on Sunday, exchanging the typical niceties of oh how are you and how are you liking your work and wow, you’re engaged? Congrats that were pleasant but ultimately drab. The rest of his two-day reprieve from the courthouse was spent on his couch watching whatever cooking show or cliche summertime romance Netflix offered him, complete with his fuzziest blanket and his favorite salt and vinegar kettle chips. A part of him remained acutely aware that this was something someone did if they were pitifully single or getting over being dumped, but. He tried not to think about it too much. 

Monday came in like a storm and Iwaizumi found himself yet again repeating his morning routine: jumping into his Audi, waiting in rush hour traffic for much too long for his liking before parking his car in his usual spot and making his way up to the office. 

Opening the door, Iwaizumi was greeted by Matsukawa, hands invisibly deep in a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos, legs propped up on the desk. “Hey.”

“Hey,” he offered back, placing his briefcase down on his own desk and shuffling through his papers. “How was your weekend?”

Matsukawa made a face, scrunching his nose in what seemed to be disgust. “Fine. Boring. Stayed in and watched movies. Did some wedding planning. Seriously, when you’re old, it’s the same shit every week.”

“Fucked up,” Iwaizumi said.

“Never get hitched, my boy.”

“Don’t be like that. I know you secretly like it; you’re whipped as fuck.”

Matsukawa snorted before gingerly plucking a Cheeto out of the bag with two bright red dusted fingers. He plopped it in his mouth and chomped. “Over my dead body.”

“Yeah, you’re going to be dead if you keep eating those.” Iwaizumi stuffed a few documents in his briefcase that he found in his desk drawer and slipped a pen in his jacket pocket. “I gotta run downstairs. Sentencing.”

“Ah.” His paralegal sat up a little, the back of his swivel chair straightening along with him. “You talk to Oikawa?”

“I texted him on Friday.” Iwaizumi grimaced. “He left me on read.”

“Yikes.”

“I know.”

Matsukawa, apparently having decided that he had enough sodium for now, licked off his fingers and rolled up the bag of chips, setting it on his desk. “Good luck. He’s fickle.”

“That’s one way to put it,” Iwaizumi sighed, twisting the doorknob to leave the office. “I’ll see you in a bit.”

He makes his way towards the elevator, trying not to drag his feet as he went, anxiety swirling in his stomach for reasons entirely unrelated to the case. Iwaizumi pressed the button to the ground floor and held onto the railing of the elevator car as it dropped down sluggishly to his destination.

He had no idea what to expect. 

The doors slinked open with a familiar chime and Iwaizumi stalked towards room 104, Judge Irihata’s room, where he had his trial last week. As he approached, he pushed open the broad, wooden doors to find Oikawa already seated at the defense table, Daishou Suguru next to him. The convict spared an unreadable glance towards him, eyes a perplexing mix of apprehensive, cold, and respectful as he observed Iwaizumi walk into the courtroom. In the audience sat Yamaka Mika and Daishou Suguru’s cousin, who was a defense witness, and a few other people Iwaizumi didn’t recognize. Iwaizumi beelined straight towards the prosecution’s desk.

Oikawa, however, did not so much as twitch at the sound of Iwaizumi entering the room. He watched as Daishou leaned over slightly to whisper in his attorney’s ear, eyes never leaving Iwaizumi as he did. 

Again, like some immaculate statue, Oikawa did not move, opting only to open his mouth in a deliberately brief, inaudible murmur, saying something only for Daishou to hear. 

Iwaizumi tried his best to not fidget in the uncomfortable, tense silence that settled over the courtroom. Instead, he tried to focus on what was at hand: the sentencing, which was entirely up to Judge Irihata, who evaluated the evidence at hand and could even ask further questions to Daishou regarding the circumstances of the murder, any criminal history, or anything else he deemed important to determining a punishment. That meant there really was little Iwaizumi could do today; there weren’t really any arguments to be made since he already won the case. 

That also meant he had a lot of time to do a whole lot of nothing today. 

Hopefully, this will be fast, Iwaizumi thought to himself, taking the pen out of his pocket and fishing a legal pad out from his bag. He just needed to take notes and focus on what Judge Irihata was saying. 

He uncapped his pen and wrote the date at the top of his sheet. Then, for good measure, he underlined the date. Upon further deliberation, he drew a box around the numbers instead, staring solemnly down at the page when he lifted the inky tip off the paper.

Oikawa, still, was completely silent.

A few beats passed before Judge Irihata finally swept into the room from the judge’s chambers, settling down at the bench and grabbing the case file. His eyes darted over the paper, scanning it over briefly before peering over his glasses to look at both Oikawa and Iwaizumi expectantly. The two of them, in addition to Daishou, rose to their feet, waiting for the judge to begin. 

“Thank you both for your timeliness,” Judge Irihata declared neutrally, folding his hands together. “Both parties are present, I see. Counsel from the state, do you have anything to bring forth before I begin determining the sentence for the convicted?”

Iwaizumi didn’t. He trusted in the evidence and the work he did in the trial last Friday. “No, your Honor.”

“Counsel for the defense, would you like to present anything to the court?”

Unsurprisingly, Oikawa affirmed, saying, “Briefly, your Honor. In your decision, I would like for you to consider a few things, that of which have already been discussed in the trial last week. Reiterating for your attention, I would like to emphasize a few mitigating circumstances: my client has no criminal record, was under great personal duress during the act, and genuinely is regretful of the actions that took place on the night of April 11, 2018.”

Taking his seat, Iwaizumi wrote down those three bullet points in his legal pad.

Judge Irihata nodded. “Noted. If there is nothing else from the wells, then I will proceed.” He flipped through a large binder of what could only be the penal codes determining the range of punishments for second-degree murder. He paused, then leveled a look at Daishou, who looked just about like death warmed over. “The most extreme sentence I can give you is life without parole. I think this is unreasonable for the factors that your attorney just listed.”

The convict grunted and nodded a bit, as if in thanks.

“Per sentencing guidelines, the minimum sentence I must give you is 15 years, and the maximum is 250, given that you do have a clean record. You used an improvised weapon, which I think works in your favor here, especially with the argument that you are genuinely regretful of your actions, which I was able to bear some witness to last Friday.”

Judge Irihata evaluated Daishou’s appearance again, scanning. Iwaizumi did the same; the guy looked pretty sickly, if he was honest. He felt a twang of sympathy in his stomach as Judge Irihata continued. 

“I find myself sitting between prosecution and defense’s arguments. Unlike the jury, who believed beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the killing of your late father with revenge and malice, I do not think there was sufficient evidence to prove malice aforethought on your part. Though it certainly may be a possibility, we all know here that the possibility due to a preponderance of the evidence is not enough to prove guilt, as it were. It must be beyond a reasonable doubt; that is to say, the likelihood of Daishou Suguru killing Daishou Katashi with ill intentions must exceed an estimated ninety-nine percent. In my opinion, it does not.”

Iwaizumi cringed. That… stung a little.

“I also, however, did not necessarily buy into the defense’s argument that you were affected by abuse so heavy that it drove you into a fearful corner on the night in question. Here, I believe the counsel of the state is correct in saying that as a fully grown adult at the age of thirty with your own autonomy and limited, it seemed, interactions with your father, that was not a sufficient defense for a not guilty verdict.”

In the corner of his eye, Iwaizumi saw Oikawa stiffen his shoulders, clearly tensing at the judge’s criticism of his performance as an attorney.

“As it is, I do find myself comfortable giving the minimum sentence to you, here. The minimum sentence is intended to deliver justice as required by the deed, and I do believe there has been wrongdoing on your part. 15 years in prison, with the chance to apply for parole at the 5-year mark, is sufficient as a sentence for your crime.”

Daishou Suguru bowed his head in what either seemed like shame or gratitude. Quite frankly, he could’ve gotten a lot worse — some convicted of second-degree murder get life without parole. Iwaizumi supposed that was Oikawa’s intention at this point: damage control. Maybe he wanted to appeal the verdict.

Iwaizumi frowned. That would be a pain in the ass. There also didn’t seem to be anything the opposing counsel would appeal on, though he wouldn’t be surprised if Oikawa came up with something. 

Iwaizumi turned his attention back to Judge Irihata, who was still speaking: “... and in regards to appeals, you have another two weeks to gather a case for an appeal if you so choose. Otherwise, the case will be closed and you will be processed for the punishment as so deemed. Any remaining statements?”

He rose to his feet to murmur, “No, your Honor,” and after hearing Oikawa do the same, he sat back down. 

The judge nodded, and then slammed his gavel down on the bench once, the bang echoing through the chambers of the courtroom. “Dismissed, then. Thank you.”

Iwaizumi sighed, rolling his shoulders to try and relieve the tension that had been building up in his muscles in the past half an hour or so. He couldn’t help himself — he glanced over at Oikawa, muscles taut and straight as he gathered his materials off of the defense desk, movements restrained and purposeful. Daishou Suguru slinked away from Oikawa’s side and off to console to Yamaka Mika, who was sobbing into her boyfriend’s chest. He stroked her hair in a way that made Iwaizumi cringe in sympathy.

Absentmindedly, he shook his head and began sorting through his own papers to pack so he could return upstairs to the office. Kindaichi was right — Oikawa clearly needed some space. Iwaizumi drunk texting him on Friday probably didn’t help since there was little other reason for him to have been drinking other than the fact that he had won his case. Iwaizumi was going to be mature about this and let Oikawa have the time he needed, hoping to hell that Oikawa was going to be mature about this too.

“Iwaizumi-san.”

Fuck, he thought, jolting. “Yes, sir,” he said on instinct, snapping his head up and then immediately regretting everything in his life that had led him to come to this point. Iwaizumi felt his cheeks flush with prickling heat.

Oikawa, clearly noticing his embarrassment, cracked a brief smile before sobering and reaching a hand out to him. “Congratulations again. It was a pleasure working as your opposing counsel. I do hope if there’s a next time we face each other in court, we will not be so harshly ridiculed by the bench.”

“I don’t think he was ridiculing us. Judge Irihata’s just like that, I reckon.” Iwaizumi paused and then shook the hand that Oikawa offered. “I… I appreciate that, though.” Why didn’t you text me back? 

“Indeed. Well, I suppose you must be more intimately acquainted with the court judges than I am, seeing as though you work in this building.” Oikawa turned his attention skyward, as if looking through the ceiling and up at the office that Iwaizumi sat in every day. “But you must excuse me. I must head back to our office with my client and his loved ones to discuss matters further.”

Iwaizumi stammered. “Oh- Of course. I don’t want to keep you.”

The smile that Oikawa offered him was a mix of coy and curt. “Til next time, then.”

He could only watch as the other walked off and to Daishou and Yamaka, interrupting an emotional moment to coax them out of the courtroom. Uncertainty swirled in the pit of his stomach and Iwaizumi could only grimace to himself as he zipped up his bag to head back up. 

That felt bad on many levels. The humbling that he received from Judge Irihata didn’t feel very great for his ego, but it was definitely going to be more productive in the long term. Ultimately it had no effect in regards to the results of his performance. Still, though, he knew he wasn’t a particularly fantastic trial lawyer yet — hell, this is his first felony case — but Iwaizumi would be lying if he said it didn’t affect his self-confidence at all.

At least Oikawa talked to him. But… he was so sterile. Cold. Like he was after the verdict last Friday. Obviously, there was an air of professionalism that needed to be maintained given the circumstances, but Iwaizumi just wished that Oikawa threw him a fucking bone, here. Like, he could analyze every word the other lawyer said just now but that probably wasn’t going to get him anywhere meaningful.

After riding the elevator back up to the office, Iwaizumi walked past the reception desk and swung the door open to his office to find… Matsukawa eating Cheetos, again. 

“Hey,” the paralegal said.

“Do you ever fucking stop eating those?”

“We have a new case,” Matsukawa piped, completely ignoring Iwaizumi’s question. “Arson.”

He sighed so fucking hard he felt his lungs sink into his stomach. “What does a man have to do to get a break around here?”

“I don’t think you’ve taken PTO in your time here, dude. You are perfectly capable of taking a break. You just don’t take it.”

“Fuck,” Iwaizumi hissed, slumping down in his chair, wheeling it away with a push with his legs off his desk. “Whatever. What’s the case.”

Matsukawa furrowed his eyebrows and stared at Iwaizumi. “Are you okay?”

“What? Yeah.” He frowned. “Actually, I don’t know. Sentencing was fine. I don’t really care how much time Daishou serves; it’s gonna suck for him anyway. Judge Irihata said my argument was shit but he couldn’t do anything about it. I have no idea what Oikawa wants from me.”

“Sorry about Irihata. You know he can be pretty brutal.” He resumed munching on his chips. “As for Oikawa, did you ask?”

“You think I’m going to ask him about our relationship in the middle of a courtroom in front of his client?”

Matsukawa rolled his eyes. “Text him, you motherfucker.”

I did, Iwaizumi thought to himself begrudgingly, before fishing his phone from his pocket. The screen was lit up with a text notification from Shittykawa. He cursed. “Oh, hell.”

He swiped up from the lock screen and tapped on his messages.

 

 

From: Shittykawa
Sent at 11:49AM

Hey, sorry I didn’t reply earlier. Dinner not looking too great this week. Office has been pretty busy.

 

Iwaizumi grimaced. Then his phone vibrated again, and another text slid up on his messaging screen. His eyes darted toward the words immediately.

 

 

From: Shittykawa
Sent at 11:53AM

If you want to talk, though, I’m sure coffee wouldn’t be a problem. Or you can just give me a heads up if you want to call me. 

I think a conversation would probably be helpful. 

 

“Good?” Matsukawa asked, the crumple of the now-empty Cheetos bag grating on the ears as he balled the plastic up. “Earth to Iwa-chan?”

“Don’t call me that,” Iwaizumi retorted.

 

 

To: Shittykawa
Sent at 11:54AM

what’s your night looking like, in terms of a phone call?

 

“I’ve known you for longer. I feel like I have the right to call you Iwa-chan.”

“Damn it, Matsukawa, shut the fuck up. No one has the right to call me that.”

Matsukawa, the absolute shithead, just laughed. 

 

 

From: Shittykawa
Sent at 11:55AM

Late night in office … but should have availability from 10PM onwards to slip out for a second and talk. Anytime after that and before 4AM should work. 

 

Four in the morning? The hours for the private sector really were a different beast. Suddenly, Iwaizumi was very glad that he worked the job he did. Arson case be damned.

 

 

To: Shittykawa
Sent at 11:56AM

sounds good… don’t push yourself too hard

it was nice seeing you today, regardless. 

 

“Ah, fuck,” Iwaizumi muttered, cupping a hand over his eyes. Apprehension, dread, excitement all bubbled up in his chest at once as he thought of talking to Oikawa tonight. He was getting — no, he got — way too attached to him, way too fast. Hell, Iwaizumi didn’t even know what Oikawa wanted from him at this point, be it friendship, a romance, or the chance to never speak to him ever again. He needed to calm down. 

“What?”

“Nothing,” Iwaizumi said, shaking his head. He turned off his phone and slipped it into his pocket. “So, what’s this about arson?”

 

Chapter Text

The arson case, from what Iwaizumi could tell, seemed just like a pair of young, dumb hotheads who built a bonfire and were way too reckless about it. Compared to the murder case he just had, this seemed relatively straightforward and stress-free, as the two suspects were being represented by the public defender’s office, which the District Attorney’s office has a working professional relationship. It was always just the private, hot-shot firms that were harder to navigate and negotiate with. Yamaguchi Tadashi, the opposing counsel for this case, was a nice, if not slightly overeager, guy. Iwaizumi had met him at a charity event hosted by the DA’s office. 

The rest of his workday was pretty uneventful. Matsukawa called it quits at around six, leaving Iwaizumi to himself as he compiled the beginning paperwork for his new case. After working on that for an hour or so after his partner’s departure, he headed back home on his usual route on the highway.

By the time Iwaizumi got back into his apartment, it was just slightly past eight, which meant he had two hours to kill before he called Oikawa and talked about… whatever they needed to talk about. The trial. Their relationship — or lack thereof. So to kill both the time and his nerves, Iwaizumi distracted himself first by stripping down from his suit and changing into sweats in order to hit the treadmill downstairs for an hour. Having sufficiently worked up a sweat and an appetite, he cooked dinner, hacking up a chicken and chopping some aromatics into a frying pan. He ate, showered, drank some water, and then sat on his couch.

9:58PM.

Iwaizumi sighed, scrolled through Instagram looking at photos of unnecessarily opulent trips and meticulously angled pictures of girls until he felt sufficiently disappointed in the world. He checked the time again.

10:04PM.

He grimaced, staring at the Shittykawa contact screen for a few seconds before sighing and tapping the call button. Here goes nothing. 

The phone rang for a few seconds, before— “Hello.”

“Hey,” Iwaizumi said, feeling oddly small. 

A pause stretched for a moment before the sound of Oikawa clearing his throat crackled over the speaker. “I… didn’t get the proper chance to speak to you today, at the courthouse. How have you been?”

“Fine, more or less. I already got assigned a new case.”

“Did you, now? That was fast.”

He closed his eyes, leaning back on the couch and letting himself enjoy the small talk. “Yeah, well, it’s arson. Nothing particularly compelling. You’re busy too, it seems.”

“That’s what happens,” Oikawa said neutrally, “when you lose a case. Evals, feedback, and all that are tougher on the private side, especially at Seijou. There’s much more money on the line since clients are paying a pretty penny to have representation from the top firm in the city. If, for example, a client has a large network, our name and reputation could be dragged through the mud. I’m doing a lot of damage control right now, for both myself and the firm.”

Ah. “I… see.”

“That, and I took on another client.”

Iwaizumi frowned. “That’s kind of a lot of work for you—”

“It’s not,” Oikawa interrupted, a sharp edge to his voice, hostile enough to cut. “It’s not a lot of work. I can handle this.” 

“What? No, be reasonable, stupid,” Iwaizumi retorted back, unthinkingly. “That sounds like a lot to juggle—” 

“Don’t condescend me, Iwaizumi, you wouldn’t understand,” Oikawa snapped, sounding so furious that Iwaizumi stiffened in his seat at the sound of the sheer anger in the other’s tone. 

Speechless, he sat, blinking and clueless as to what to say. A few beats passed, and he opened his mouth to murmur quietly, “Sorry. I guess I don’t.”

“No, wait—” Oikawa sighed heavily, and Iwaizumi could just picture him running fingers through his hair, tense and irritated. “I’m sorry. I’m pretty high-strung right now. It is a lot of work, yes, but I can handle it. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to do this, after all.”

Iwaizumi thought of Ushijima and winced. “... Right.” 

“Anyways. We should talk. You said you wanted to, last Friday.”

“Yeah,” he said. Then he realized he never really thought of anything concrete to say. Iwaizumi nearly slapped himself in the face for being so stupid. “Uh—”

“You really did do well. Congratulations.”

“That’s… not what I wanted to talk about.” Iwaizumi sucked in a deep breath, the air rattling his lungs. “You had said there was going to be no hard feelings between us.”

Silence. Then, another sigh. “I know.” Oikawa stopped again. When he continued, his tone was terse. “...I had underestimated you.”

“So you thought you were going to win,” Iwaizumi said slowly, confirming what he, somewhere in the back of his mind, already knew to be true. Resentment crept into his throat, slow and steady. “You were saying that for me.”

“Of course I thought I was going to win. I have a near-perfect record, and you’re new to the scene. The case in my favor wasn’t particularly strong, if I’m being completely transparent. But I was fairly certain I could pull it off, especially considering how you did in the pre-trial.” Another tense pause stilled between them, as if it was difficult for Oikawa to admit all of this. “But you’re Ushijima’s protege. I should’ve known better. I let myself become distracted. I let my guard down.”

That made Iwaizumi clench his jaw. “What are you saying?”

“You were right, in the beginning. This was a bad idea. Us, getting involved with each other was a bad idea.”

“Yeah, no shit,” he muttered, half to himself. Then louder, Iwaizumi pointed out, “But there’s nothing we can do about it now. The case is over.”

“It is,” he agreed. There was a sound of a small inhale, as if Oikawa was hesitating, or bracing himself before speaking. “You know, Iwaizumi, I really do have a lot of respect for you. You’re honest to the point of brutishness, but you’re a genuinely good person. I can see that, even though all things considered, we don’t know each other that well. I had taken that brute honesty of yours and mistaken it for a lack of tact, especially in the courtroom. But you proved me wrong. You’re a good lawyer. You’re only going to get better, too. I’m glad we got to know each other over this past month or so.”

Iwaizumi spluttered at the finality of Oikawa’s tone. “Wait— are you saying goodbye to me? Like, forever?”

“I don’t think we should stay in contact, Iwaizumi. I don’t think that’s smart. We’re busy people, and—”

“No, no, no, wait, shut the fuck up,” he cut in, heat rising to his cheeks and fury curling in his stomach. He can’t believe Oikawa has the gall to say this. “After all the shit you said about being friendly, about having no hard feelings and no bad blood between us, you’re telling me to fuck off forever? What did you even want from me, huh?”

“Iwaizumi…” 

“Did you just want to fuck around with me and then fuck me? What was up with dinner and drinks and all of that then?” he spat, the volume of his voice rising louder and louder in his ears along with the burning anger that bubbled in his blood. “Were you going to tell me to fuck off even if you had, won, then? You were fucking with me the entire time, weren’t you!”

The noise Oikawa made was choked, but it barely registered in Iwaizumi’s brain before he was opening his mouth again, chest tightening as he said, “You know, I should’ve listened to myself. I knew you were no good. I knew you were arrogant and entitled; I knew you were bad news. Maybe this is my fault too, maybe it’s my fault that I let my guard down and dealt with your bullshit as much as I did.” 

The line was silent. But Iwaizumi didn’t even care if Oikawa was listening anymore. His hand ached and throbbed at how hard he was clenching his phone, and he had to remind himself to roll his shoulders back to release the tension in his already-tight muscles. Something in him had snapped. Iwaizumi grit his teeth then swallowed, squeezing his eyes shut before continuing. 

“You used me, Oikawa Tooru. You used me to nurse your inferiority complex, you used me for sex, and hell, you probably thought you could use me to send a message to Ushijima since you were so confident about winning. You probably thought you could get back at him with this case, using me as if I’m just some sort of tool in your little rivalry with my boss.”  Iwaizumi inhaled a shuddering breath before saying his own farewell. “Well, fuck you. I really wish I had known better, too. And I really wish I could hope that you feel a little bit of remorse for being a manipulative shithead, but I’m not that delusional. So goodbye.”

With that, he jabbed a finger at his screen to end the call, hurled his phone as hard as he could into the couch and tried his damn hardest not to scream. 

Iwaizumi had been played for a fool. Plain and simple. Worst yet, he couldn’t even blame him for it. Oikawa, with his shiny car and expensive suits, could have only wanted him for his own enjoyment, a little plaything to pass the time. Iwaizumi knew — warned himself, even, reminded himself whenever Oikawa got too close for comfort — that he was playing with fire. That Oikawa, as suave and charming he was, burned hotter than the bluest of flames, and Iwaizumi had no business trying to touch and know something that was just going to hurt him. 

Oikawa, with his fancy Ivy League degree from America, his praise-singing headlines and his hefty paycheck. Oikawa, with his dangerous smile with teeth that flashed like knives. Oikawa, with his lulling coos that seduced Iwaizumi to come closer, closer. Oikawa, with his dimples that show only when he laughed in earnest, and the teasing playfulness when he called him Iwa-chan.

Iwaizumi, with a heavy stomach, realized that Oikawa didn’t call him Iwa-chan once during their conversation, and wondered quietly to himself when he had stopped hating the nickname. 

 

-

 

“You look like shit,” Matsukawa observed the next morning after Iwaizumi dragged himself into the office and to his desk, hair unbrushed and yesterday’s suit slightly crumpled on his form. 

“Matsukawa,” he sighed, far too tired for the paralegal’s antics today. “please. Can we get straight into work? I can run you up to speed on the discovery that I did last night after you left.”

The look Matsukawa gave him was somehow incredulous and deadpan at the same time. “No, what the fuck? What’s wrong with you?”

Matsukawa .”

“Listen, Iwaizumi,” he said, not a hint of his trademark light, monotonous humor in his voice. “We’re friends first and co-workers second. But beyond that, I don’t trust that you’re able to do your best work when you’re clearly off your game. Talk to me.”

“I don’t want to,” Iwaizumi replied bluntly, petulant.

“Okay, fine. If you don’t want to talk to me, whatever.” Matsukawa scooted his chair closer to his desk, turning his attention to the large screen of his work computer. “But you have to talk to somebody. You can’t just mope until you don’t. If not me, then talk to Akaashi.” 

Akaashi? Iwaizumi thought of the impossibly calm attorney and his objective, yet not unkind, advice. Regardless, however. “I don’t have time for that. We have work to do.”

“Damn it, Iwaizumi, it’s a fucking arson case. Besides, you can get lunch with him.” The sound of a keyboard clicking rhythmically filled the room. “I’m pinging him right now.”

Iwaizumi exhaled sharply, then ran a hand through his hair, combing out the tufts as best as he could with his fingers. He rubbed his eyes until he saw stars, pulled out his papers from his desk and breathed, shaky and deep into his lungs. “Sorry.”

“Don’t apologize. Shit happens.” Matsukawa’s typing stopped for a moment, a quiet few seconds suspended in the air, before resuming. “I can’t have my big shot attorney falling short of expectations because of some cocky asshole, right?”

That caused him to bark out a laugh. “Yeah, well. If anything I’m going to go above and beyond expectations. I’m feeling vindictive.”

“Ooh, scary. Akaashi’s going to come down at noon. Talk about your emotions then, but if you’re so inclined to work right now then get me up to speed, you workaholic.”

“Right,” Iwaizumi said, reorienting himself. “About Nishinoya Yuu and Tanaka Ryuunosuke…”

The morning passed with Iwaizumi doing what he knew best: throwing himself into the monotony of his work routine to quell the noise of anxiousness in his head. He walked Matsukawa through what he had extrapolated from the interrogations and evidence of the two suspects so far: two twenty-one-year-old delinquents who both hold criminal records of vandalism and evading arrest. Both Matsukawa and Iwaizumi agreed that the best scenario out of this particular case was a plea bargain since there was so much damning evidence against the two defendants. Iwaizumi would meet up with Yamaguchi at some point this week to discuss the possibility of both Nishinoya and Tanaka pleading guilty so they can work together to settle and find a solution without going to trial.

So there he went, drafting emails and scanning through huge stacks of legal documents, scribbling occasionally and focusing his attention purely on the task at hand. Soon enough, the clock struck noon, denoted by a quick, firm rap on their office door.

“Iwaizumi-san,” Akaashi said, neutral and polite.

“I don’t need a babysitter,” he grumbled peevishly, mostly to Matsukawa, who was flipping through his own fair share of penal codes. 

“I’m not your baby sitter,” Akaashi reassured. “I’m just getting lunch with you. As we do, every so often.”

Iwaizumi sighed, standing up and brushing the wrinkles out of his suit as best as he could with his hands. “Right.” 

The two of them made their way out of the courthouse, and Akaashi worked to fill the silence by talking about what he was currently doing on the sixth floor. Having a former background business, Akaashi mostly worked on cases regarding white-collar crime, like fraud, tax evasion, or insider trading. He found himself listening intently to how Akaashi seemed to make the dullest of topics, like old rich business people taking advantage of the stock market or leaking private information to make money, stimulating to think about. As they spoke, the two of them walked out towards a small, hole-in-the-wall donburi joint, where they sat in a small two-person table by the window.

“So,” Akaashi said as he picked up the menu, eyes focused on the little images of rice bowls on the laminated sheet, “what’s on your mind?”

Iwaizumi pursed his lips and stared at a particularly appetizing bowl of beef and rice. He debated for a second whether to tell Akaashi everything but then decided that fuck it, It’s Akaashi. He’s a goddamn angel. “It’s about Oikawa.”

A nod. “I figured.”

“You know— I just absolutely hate how he got under my skin so quickly. I shouldn’t be affected by him. He’s one opposing counsel in one case. I have better things to be worried about.”

Another nod. Akaashi beckoned a waitress over with a lift of his palm, and then pointed out which item he wanted. Iwaizumi did the same, jabbing a finger at the beef bowl, and then squeezes the bridge of his nose. 

“He called me yesterday and told me never to talk to him again,” he rambled on, “who the fuck does that?”

“Mm,” Akaashi hummed in affirmation, taking a sip of his water.

“We slept together,” Iwaizumi admitted. “He came over to my apartment and we slept together. I told you about how he took me to some fancy Italian restaurant, yeah? And that he took me a cafe twice and to drinks another time? All in the past month? Like that has to mean something, right? And then he tells me to fuck off right after he loses. He told me some shit about me being a good person or whatever and that he’s glad to have met me.”

He paused, scrunching his face in indignation before frowning at Akaashi. The other attorney sat unmovingly, hands folded in front of him on the table. Distantly, Iwaizumi felt like he was speaking to a therapist of sorts. Akaashi’s expression was completely placid, blinking only occasionally. 

“And the funny thing is that the entire time before the trial he was telling me that he wanted to be friends and that there was going to be no bad blood between us, no matter what the outcome was. Obviously, that was a fucking lie. He only wanted to be friends if he won. Probably because he wanted to rub that win in my face as long as we knew each other. Like a fucking shithead.”

Iwaizumi paused to breathe. 

“Clearly he forgot that our whole situation was his idea in the first place! He made the first move! He was the one who wanted this! And now he’s called it off like my opinion never mattered. Maybe it didn’t.”

Akaashi pursed his lips and knitted his eyebrows together ever-so-slightly, neutral expression shifting into a concerned one. “I see,” he said. “And you feel angry.”

Rubbing his temples, Iwaizumi groaned. “Yeah, I’m angry. I think most of all, I feel insulted. He told me that he underestimated me — he didn’t think I could win the trial. He essentially used me as a good time after taking me out to dinner. He could have anyone, but he picked me for some sort of… power trip derived from fucking his opposing counsel who is, as a bonus, his rival’s employee.”

“If he was just using you as a one night stand,” Akaashi pointed out, “he wouldn’t have asked to stay friends after you two had sex.”

Iwaizumi wanted to rip his hair out. “The power trip, then.”

At this point, Akaashi sighed and shifted in his seat, perking up slightly as the waitress returned with two steaming bowls of rice topped with meats and sauces. The other attorney broke his wooden chopsticks apart deftly. Iwaizumi, on the other hand, ripped the utensil apart with more force than was probably necessary and started stabbing into his beef immediately.

“Iwaizumi-san,” Akaashi articulated slowly, in between bites and gulps of his own tempura bowl, “I won’t deny that doing something purely for the power trip isn’t out of character for Oikawa-san. In fact, it seems entirely in character. I, however, think that maybe you should be giving him the benefit of the doubt.”

“What do you mean,” Iwaizumi muttered, fixing his stare at the layers of dressed beef on a bed of fluffy rice. Watching the steam rise out of the bowl was, strangely, comforting. 

“I mean that Kuroo-san texted me this morning, and asked me why Oikawa-san was completely cold and stony today, and if it had anything to do with you. I see now that it does.”

Iwaizumi paused his chewing for a moment, mouth full of food. He swallowed, then asked, “What else did Kuroo say?”

Akaashi placed his chopsticks down and tugged his smartphone out of his pocket, swiping up to unlock it and tapping a few times to Kuroo’s text messages with him. Akaashi tilted the phone screen towards Iwaizumi, who stretched his neck out to read.

 

Kuroo Tetsurou, 8:21AM:
oikawa’s being a little bitch today. ice princess with her panties in a twist and all. elsa from frozen style, shutting everyone out and shit. i don’t think i’ve ever seen it this bad in my three years of knowing this s.o.b

You, 8:30AM:
I’m sorry to hear that, Kuroo-san.

Kuroo Tetsurou, 8:31AM:
think it has anything to do with mr. iwa-chan?

You, 8:38AM:
Unconfirmed, but not unlikely. I haven’t heard about their relationship since before the actual trial hearing, which I’m sure must have changed their dynamic, and may have a substantial impact on Oikawa-san’s mood and behavior.

Kuroo Tetsurou, 8:40AM:
oikawa’s a real piece of work. for all that he’s good with charming people, i don’t think he knows a single thing about relationships. think his last one was betty from columbia, which was like what, seven years ago? he named his fucking car after her. not even because he missed her or anything, but because he thought it would be funny and would send a message. who does that? 

honestly, he probably fucked up and doesn’t want to admit it.

You, 8:46AM:
What are you going to do?

Kuroo Tetsurou, 8:47AM:
well, what is iwa-chan going to do?

You, 8:50AM:
I don’t know. I’ll speak to you later. Getting into the office now.

 

Upon reading the conversation, Iwaizumi exhales a long, deep breath, puffing his cheeks as he did. “What is this supposed to mean?”

“It means,” Akaashi said, drawing his phone back and setting it down gently on the table, “that I don’t think Oikawa-san is nearly as disaffected as you might think he is, or he’s as cruel and heartless and manipulative as to only use you for a power trip.”

Iwaizumi fell silent, letting Akaashi’s words settle in as he chewed slowly on a mouthful of beef and rice. Focusing on something else entirely, Iwaizumi grumbled, “Does Kuroo even know my real name?”

Akaashi’s lips quirked into a gentle but knowing smile. “He’s never called you by anything else if that’s what you’re asking. To be honest, I’m not even sure. At the very least, Oikawa-san called you that so much it stuck for him.”

Iwaizumi stared down at his bowl of food, mind racing about all the things Oikawa could’ve said about him to Kuroo. He blinked, swallowed nothing in particular, and said, “Do you think I could talk to Kuroo?”

The smile on Akaashi’s face turned toothy as he picked up his phone yet again, pulling up Kuroo’s contact information. “I’m sure he’d be happy to talk to you, Iwaizumi-san.”

 

-

 

Iwaizumi texted Kuroo as soon as they got back to the courthouse, offering a simple greeting and introduction along with the idea that he would like to hop on a quick call at some point tonight. Kuroo had responded politely and indicated that he had an availability after 6PM.

After Iwaizumi had returned to the office after his lunch, Matsukawa simply studied him for a few moments, cleared his throat, and told him to get back to work.

He was… a good friend, Iwaizumi thought to himself, a little bit of a startling revelation. 

It was easy to forget the unease of his personal life when he was knee-deep in work. Iwaizumi and Matsukawa went right back into the swing of things, bouncing ideas and information off of each other as the paralegal combed through federal, state, and city laws on arson when he sorted through mountains and mountains of evidence. Yamaguchi had replied to his email saying that he would be happy to meet and discuss the case at some point this week, so Iwaizumi could begin discussions in regard to plea bargains for the two defendants. Nevertheless, he still had to construct a compelling enough argument that Nishinoya and Tanaka should plead guilty instead of going to trial, so Iwaizumi poured himself over the tapes, the interrogation, the criminal records — all of it.

The sun dipped below the sky and Matsukawa left the office, a chocolate bar in one hand and a can of sour cream and onion Pringles in the other. Iwaizumi checked his watch as he left; the hands read 6:13PM.

He had absolutely no idea what to expect from Oikawa’s best friend from work. The only thing Iwaizumi knew about him is that he wants to fuck some intern at Seijou and is somehow friends with both Akaashi, the most decent man possibly ever to ever exist, and Oikawa, who was quite possibly the least decent man to ever exist. In fact, he had no idea what Kuroo even looked like.

He was quite the enigma, it seemed. Iwaizumi grimaced and pressed the call button.

“Kuroo Tetsurou,” a deep, husky voice crooned unexpectedly. Iwaizumi choked slightly, coughing, before clearing his throat.

“Kuroo-san,” he tried, the name heavy and awkward in his mouth, “it’s good to meet you over the phone.”

“Ah, Iwaizumi-san, was it?” Kuroo replied, tone pleasant. “Good to meet you as well. Pardon me if I’m a little blunt, but you didn’t quite explain what you would like to talk about when you texted me earlier. What can I do for you?”

Iwaizumi cursed internally and gulped, feeling vaguely uncomfortable. Kuroo, with his impossibly chocolate-smooth voice, felt dangerous to him. He worked at Seijou, after all. “Yes, I’m friends and coworkers with Akaashi. I understand you are as well.”

“Yes, Akaashi and I have known each other for a handful of years. We clerked at the same court.” Kuroo fell silent for a moment. “Were you, perhaps, interested in considering opportunities at Seijou? I may certainly speak to my experiences at the firm if you would like, and can certainly refer you to associates at the firm who may specialize in business lines that you may be interested in. I, for example, litigate international arbitration, but I understand that may be quite different than what you may be used to.”

Motherfucker— Kuroo was playing dumb, there was no doubt about it. Iwaizumi looked to the heavens and prayed to whatever deity that was up there for mercy. “Oh, no, thank you. I actually only just started working at the DA’s office half a year ago, and I want to gain a bit more experience and development here before I consider a change.” He shifted uncomfortably, leg shaking vigorously in anticipation. “I… actually wanted to ask you about your coworker, Oikawa Tooru.”

“Oh, I see.” The inflection of Kuroo’s voice, unnoticeable unless one was specifically looking for it, shifted higher into a more mischievous tone. Iwaizumi, of course, was specifically for it. “Right, I understand you just wrapped up a case against one of the firm’s clients, to which he was defending as your opposing counsel.”

He was getting tired of this shit really fast. “Excuse me if I sound too familiar, Kuroo-san, but Akaashi mentioned that you two were quite close.”

“I am. However, I don’t see how that’s relevant to the case, and I’m wondering what my personal relationship with Oikawa Tooru has anything to do with y—”

“With all due respect,” Iwaizumi gritted out, reigning in his irritation as best as he could. Seijou be damned, danger be damned, Iwaizumi just wanted some fucking help. “I would appreciate it if you dropped the act. I’m not calling you for your amusement. I just want to know what the fuck is up.”

The line fell silent. Then, Kuroo erupted into hysterical laughter, the sound even more grating through the speaker of his smartphone. “Oh, man. Oiks did say you were straightforward, but I didn’t realize you’d be quite this bold. You’re an interesting one, Iwa-chan.”

Iwa-chan , Iwaizumi repeated to himself, pissed. “I saw your texts to Akaashi this morning. You know exactly who I am.”

“Should’ve said that in the beginning, then. Or when you texted me. You would probably hate me less right now. Oh, well.” Whatever Kuroo looked like with a smirk, Iwaizumi had no idea, but a smirk was loud and clear in his voice regardless. “Now, we’re on the same page. What can I do for you, then?”

“I’m not entirely sure I trust your information anymore,” Iwaizumi said bluntly.

“Oh, come on. You saw my texts to Akaashi. I’m tired of Oikawa being a little bitch for no reason. I mean, he’s usually a little bitch, but today was exceptional. Usually, his bitchiness manifests in being a cocky, good-for-nothing asshole who goes around charming unsuspecting victims into thinking he’s the shit. Recently he’s just been all Ice, Ice, Baby. I want it to stop.”

The frustration that had bubbled up in Iwaizumi’s stomach had quieted down now that Kuroo’s diction matched more of the texts he had seen from Akaashi, indicating some increased inclination towards honesty. Kuroo’s statement was the best he could get right now and he was going to milk it for what it was worth. “Why do you think he’s been all—” Iwaizumi refused to repeat the words Ice Ice Baby in his office— “cold recently?”

“Well, he lost. That’s a hefty blow to his pride. Oikawa is nothing but a haughty guy.”

Iwaizumi sighed deeply, scratching the back of his head. That was nothing new to him — if that was it, then this call was pointless. “I knew that already. If that’s all there is to it, I thank you for your time.”

“Wait, wait, wait.” Kuroo’s voice suddenly cut in. “Are you just going to hang up like that?”

He frowned. “I’m not calling you to hear the obvious.”

“Alright, sheesh,” Kuroo said, a little indignant, before sighing himself. “Well, I don’t think that’s all to it. Oikawa tends to retreat when he’s feeling particularly embarrassed or ashamed, but he also tends to lash out if he’s feeling particularly regretful. I haven’t had the chance to talk about whatever he’s going through with him since he’s been so hostile. When he lost to Ushijima, it wasn’t nearly this bad. He was furious, but he wasn’t quiet about it.”

“I see,” Iwaizumi said, not really seeing anything at all.

“What I’m saying is… maybe it’s not that he lost, just that he lost to you.

Iwaizumi felt himself bristle at the implied insult, but Kuroo continued before he had the chance to say anything in response. “I think he wanted to impress you, by winning. He liked you.”

The way Kuroo said it sounded… so simple. Iwaizumi inhaled, sharply and deeply, letting the statement sit for a second. “I’m not so sure,” he rejected, refusing to believe it just yet.

Kuroo snorted. “I am. He never shut up about you. It was always Iwa-chan this, Iwa-chan that, Iwa-chan’s such a good cook, Iwa-chan can’t hold his liquor, Iwa-chan’s so cute. I know much more about you than you do about me, I reckon.”

“Oh,” he said, gulping. Iwaizumi thought back to his phone call with Oikawa last night. “He told me to never talk to him again yesterday.”

“Huh? Why?”

“Wish I knew. He just said I was a good person and that he was glad to have met me. Then he told me that we shouldn’t stay in contact ever again.”

 A heavy sigh crackled through the phone. “God, he’s fucking stupid. What’d you say?”

“Um.” Iwaizumi swallowed again. “I basically called him an asshole.” 

“That’s it?”

“Well, no, not really. It was... much more strongly worded than that.”

“Ah,” Kuroo said, understanding. “That’s probably why he’s sulking. You should apologize, probably.”

“He told me to never speak to him again,” Iwaizumi pointed out. “I’m not entirely sure he would respond to me if I reached out.”

“That’s true,” Kuroo admitted. “Show up to the office, then. Surprise him and say that you’re sorry.”

He nearly retched. “Why?”

“Because I’m not quite sure how you’re going to mend your relationship with him otherwise, and you wouldn’t be calling me if you didn’t want to fix things.” 

Iwaizumi, sounding a little bit like a broken record, repeated, “He told me not to talk to him ever again.”

Kuroo snorted again, exasperation clear in the sound. “Yeah, well, he’s a fucking idiot,” he muttered. Then, in a clearer, louder voice, he said, “Look, all I know is that he likes you, that you probably like him too, and that both of you fucked up and got yourselves into a complicated situation. Oikawa’s too much of a bitch to reach out especially after you, presumably, chewed him out when he pushed you away. The decision is ultimately on you as to whether you want to try to make amends with him. If you don’t think it’s worth it, then fine. If you do, and he says no anyway, at least you tried. If you do, and it works out, well… it’s about time Oikawa finds someone patient enough to deal with him.”

“I’m not patient enough to deal with him.”

“You’re patient enough to call me and ask for his side of the story. Patient enough to want him after everything that’s happened. That’s pretty damn patient.”

“I don’t want him,” he denied weakly.

“Drop the act, Iwa-chan.” Kuroo laughed, echoing his own words from earlier. “You’re not fooling anyone, not even yourself.”

Iwaizumi went quiet. He didn’t have anything to say to that.

“It was good talking to you. Feel free to text me if you have any further questions or want additional advice on our resident shithead,” Kuroo concluded, finality in his voice. “Have a nice night.”

“Have a nice night,” Iwaizumi parroted, hanging up. He leaned back in his chair and sighed. 

 

To: Kuroo
Sent at 6:38PM

what’s the address of the office?

Chapter Text

He could not believe he was doing this.

After speaking to Kuroo, Iwaizumi had texted him asking for more details on where and when he should surprise (ambush?) Oikawa. Kuroo informed him of Oikawa’s schedule — he had client dinners on Tuesday and Wednesday and otherwise would be staying late at the office on the other days. Although Friday nights were usually reserved for grabbing drinks with their circle of friends at Seijou, Kuroo hazarded a guess that Oikawa probably wasn’t going to go out with them this week, and there would be next to no one else in the office other than him.

I’ll give you guest access, Kuroo messaged him in rapid succession. Iwaizumi had a feeling he was enjoying this far too much than was necessary. Just tell them that you’re seeing me and they’ll give you a pass. We’re on the 34th floor. He’s got his own little office — the room number is 127. 

I’m not bringing him flowers, Iwaizumi responded.

You sure? Do you want to date him or not? Kuroo replied. 

He didn’t respond to that. 

Iwaizumi still couldn’t believe that he was truly going through with this. Mainly because… well, Oikawa basically said goodbye to him. For all intents and purposes, Iwaizumi should just take that and fuck off out of his life and move on. He’s not some lovestruck college student winning over an ex-hookup… the two of them were fully grown adults with real responsibilities and lives to take care of. 

At the same time, he didn’t want to believe that what they shared — whatever it was — meant nothing. Life was dull before Oikawa, and he had found himself looking forward to every single time they had planned to see each other. 

That had to mean something, right? Iwaizumi hoped it did.

The week passed without hiccups. Yamaguchi was easy to work with, especially considering they were, technically, opponents, reminding Iwaizumi that some defense attorneys legitimately want the same thing that prosecutors want: to serve as the mediators of balance in society and to deliver justice when it is deserved. He had to admit that Daishou’s case had knocked him off his resolve a bit, his affair with Oikawa aside. It was hard to truly believe what he had been arguing in. Of course, every defendant has his reasons, and there’s a side to every story, including the misdemeanors that Iwaizumi was litigating before his promotion. It was just that the lines seemed to blur even more with cases as extreme as homicide. 

Packing up for the weekend, Matsukawa tucked his papers into his bag and brushed off ambiguous snack crumbs off his suit. “Have a good weekend, sucker.”

“Sure,” Iwaizumi said, unthinkingly. Then, “I’m seeing Oikawa today.”

“Oh boy,” Matsukawa replied, pausing in his tracks. “I thought that was over.”

Iwaizumi did not remember ever telling Matsukawa about the recent status of their situationship. Or any details about it, really. Iwaizumi thought he should be annoyed, but somehow, he’s just wired. Regardless: “Honestly, it might be.”

“What does that mean?” Matsukawa asked, bewildered, before a look of realization fluttered across his face. “Holy shit, you want to win him back.”

“I want to have a serious, adult conversation about our relationship.”

“Bro,” Matsukawa said, clearly deriving some kind of sick enjoyment from Iwaizumi’s half-stony, half-embarrassed expression, “go get ‘em, tiger.”

“Thanks.” He paused, suddenly anxious. “Did Hanamaki tell you anything?”

“Apparently he’s being a little bitch,” his coworker said, after a thoughtful pause. “Then again, he’s always a bitch. You don’t really have the best taste, do you?”

Iwaizumi grunted. “I don’t want to hear that from you, of all people.” Remembering what he was about to do, he straightened his back and exhaled. “Wish me luck.”

“Already did,” Matsukawa’s voice called out from behind him as Iwaizumi stepped out of the office and turned the corner on his way out. 

The first order of business, Iwaizumi supposed, was flowers.

Iwaizumi had only bought flowers on two occasions in his entire life: the first was when his ex-girlfriend bitched him out for not doing enough for Valentine’s Day, and the other time was for when his childhood best friend graduated from graduate school. Both times he just got roses — the easiest and most generic bouquet possible. Somehow, Iwaizumi felt in his bones that Oikawa would want more than that. 

He hopped into his car and searched for florists around Seijou LLP’s office on his phone, managing to find a small little shop a few blocks west from the building. Iwaizumi stepped on the gas and drove.

Second order of business was preparing what to say.

“Hey,” he said out loud to himself lamely. Clearing his throat, he repeated, “Hey. Oikawa. Sorry if this is sudden, but I wanted to come by and say hi.”

A car honked at him from the lane over and Iwaizumi winced, shaking his head and refocused his attention on the road for a few moments.

“Hey,” he tried again. “I wanted to say sorry for yelling at you over the phone the other day. I didn’t mean any of it. I was just frustrated. The trial meant a lot for my career, and I guess I just felt that…”

He cut himself off before he finished his sentence. He took a deep breath, thinking hard to himself for a few moments as his car strode along the highway, hands gripping the steering wheel.

“I wanted to say sorry. For all the things that I said. Can we start over?”

Iwaizumi groaned. That was good enough, he supposed. A good start. He’d wing it as he went along — as Oikawa reacted. 

He parked his car in a lot near the florist’s shop, a dingy, quaint thing on the side of the road that sold a modest assortment of bouquets and arrangments. Iwaizumi must’ve walked up to the florist looking quite forlorn because as soon as the woman running the establishment saw him, she flashed him a smile and said, “Did you get dumped?”

“Not quite,” Iwaizumi said miserably. “There wasn’t … really anything to dump in the first place.”

“Oh,” she said, tucking a lock of blonde hair behind her ear. She was pretty, he thought. “You kids and your lack of commitment.” She sauntered toward a corner of the small shop, before peering over her shoulder and asking, “You in a rush?” 

Iwaizumi looked down at his suit. He wasn’t, really, but he wanted to get this over with. “I mean… yes. They work at an office nearby. I’d like to catch them before they leave for work today.”

“I see.” She scanned over her pre-made bouquets, resting in buckets filled with water. “You trying to win your lover back?”

“Something like that, I suppose.” Iwaizumi glanced at his watch.

“Did you fight?”

“Yeah.”

“You love them?”

Iwaizumi choked. “Not… quite.” He thought of Oikawa, lounging on his couch with a glass of wine and a languid, satisfied look on his face. “But I could, probably, if we dated.”

“I see,” the florist hummed, nonjudgemental. She picked up a bluish-purple bundle of flowers and hands it to him. “This should do the trick.”

“I have never seen these kinds of flowers in my life,” Iwaizumi said, taking the bouquet from her and fishing out his wallet from his pant pocket. 

“Trust me,” she said, laughing as Iwaizumi signs the receipt, “and if they don’t like it, you come back and tell me and I’ll refund you. Scout’s honor.”

Iwaizumi cracked a smile, nestling the flowers into the crook of his arm and bowing out. “That won’t be necessary, but thank you.”

He stepped out of the store and took a deep breath — only blocks away from Oikawa, now. He tried not to rehearse his few prepped lines over and over again in his head in fear of psyching himself out, only to do that exact thing anyway up until he found himself right at the entrance of the Seijou LLP office building. The building was sleek and black, with the company name engraved in silver metal near the entrance door: fully fitting for a prestigious company. 

Fully aware he looked like some married husband, Iwaizumi made a beeline for the receptionist as soon as he walked in through the doors and croaked out, “I’m here to see Kuroo Tetsurou.”

“Iwaizumi Hajime, was it,” the receptionist answered, not even blinking twice at the bouquet of flowers. “34th floor — the elevators are to the left.”

“Right,” he said, a little dumb, remembering Kuroo’s texts. “Thanks.”

Off like an idiot he went, trying to avoid the scrutinizing gaze of every potential future opposing counsel that walked by. For all intents and purposes, there weren’t too many people there; it was a Friday evening, after all. There seemed to be only just a few analysts and paralegals scurrying around, desperately vying for attention from their bosses to move on up in the big corporate legal ladder that was Seijou LLP.

He pressed thirty-four on the elevator and waited as the low hum of the elevator vibrated underneath his feet, propelling his upwards towards what might possibly be the most dramatic romantic encounter in his life. 

The elevator doors slinked open. Iwaizumi stepped out, clutching the flowers to his body. He scanned the office doors, pacing down the hallway quickly until he found the number 127 on a little plaque outside of the glass room. 

A figure, hunched over papers, sat at the desk. His face was hidden behind a few computer monitors, but Iwaizumi could recognize Oikawa’s cowlick after seeing it untamed a couple of times at the bar and after it. That was him, alright.

Iwaizumi frowned. He looked stressed. 

Then he remembered why he was here, in front of Oikawa’s office, and remembered that he too was stressed.

“Ah, fuck it,” Iwaizumi muttered, before rapping on the glass door twice. Oikawa’s head shot up in shock, his eyes wide before narrowing to a deadpan, almost hostile stare. Iwaizumi’s hackles rose a bit, but he pulled the handle on the door anyway and invited himself in. 

The two of them stared at each other for a few beats before Iwaizumi opened his mouth and said, “Hey.”

“What are you doing here,” Oikawa said, before dropping his gaze onto the bouquet that Iwaizumi had cradled in his arms. His eyebrows only knit a deeper crease into his forehead, confusion bleeding into his disgruntled expression. 

“Wanted to say hi,” Iwaizumi replied, completely off-script. At a loss for what to do, he thrust the flowers at Oikawa, feeling increasingly stupid by the second. 

Oikawa smiled slightly, though Iwaizumi couldn’t really tell if it was more of a grimace than anything. Really, his lips only turned up a bit. There wasn’t really any joy in that smile. “Hello, then. Did Makki put you up to this?”

“No, it was Kuroo, actually,” Iwaizumi answered, shifting awkwardly. Oikawa hadn’t offered him a chair, or even gave an indication that he wanted him here, so he just kind of… stood there like a dumbass. 

“I didn’t know you knew Kuroo,” Oikawa said mildly. He set the flowers down gently on the shelf next to his desk. 

“I don’t. Akaashi does.”

“Ah, right, Akaashi. I always do forget that he works at the DA. Shame, that.” Oikawa sat back in his chair, broadening his shoulders and peering at Iwaizumi in a barely-neutral gaze.

He decided not to humor the dig and took a deep, shaky breath instead. “Look, Oikawa, I wanted to say that I’m sorry. I fucked up. I shouldn’t have said all those things the last time we talked — I wasn’t thinking.”

Oikawa raised an eyebrow at him, but otherwise silent, which Iwaizumi took to mean to keep talking. 

“When you told me not talk to you again, I guess I just... felt hurt. And lashed out. I wasn’t being mature about it, I’m sorry, and I— “ He rubbed his eyes, gulping— “I don’t know. I’ll respect if you never want to talk to me again, like you said you wanted to. Obviously. I’m not that stupid.”

He couldn’t look at Oikawa anymore, so he stared at a spot on the wall.

“I didn’t want to just accept it, though,” Iwaizumi admitted. He felt a pit in his stomach weigh down with defeat. “Maybe I am stupid… but I thought we had something. If you don’t think that we did, that’s fine. But I guess I just wanted to double-check.”

Iwaizumi grimaced. Nothing could’ve prepared him for this: standing in a tense, stifling glass room trying to woo someone he had sex with once. Though, he corrected himself, he wasn’t really trying to woo Oikawa. Iwaizumi just wanted to be honest, and give this a second chance. The bottom line was that he ended up catching feelings, and Iwaizumi didn’t want to be the type of person who runs away from that. And so he won’t be. 

“... Up to you, obviously, but we can start over.”

Iwaizumi glanced back over at Oikawa, who looked tired now as opposed to hardened. Oikawa rubbed his temples, before gesturing at the open seat across from him at the desk.

“Sit down,” Oikawa offered.

Iwaizumi did.

“The thing is about what you said that night is that… in part, they were true,” Oikawa admitted, casting his gaze towards the ceiling contemplatively. “I didn’t take this case seriously. I picked it up because I wanted to see what Ushijma’s new underling was like. I mean, I wouldn’t go so far as to brand it as some manipulative scheme for me to enact revenge on an old classmate. I really have better things to do, you know.”

Damn, Iwaizumi thought, pursuing his lips.

“I also wouldn’t say I used you to nurse my…  inferiority complex, as you call it. The case was well-paying considering the scale of the issue. And I thought it could’ve been a good break from some of my heavier, more complex cases. I had just finished a huge international securities fraud debacle that took over a year to settle.”

Oikawa sighed then, running fingers through his usually well-kempt hair, appearing a bit worse for wear. Iwaizumi noticed a deeper crease and shadow between his eyes, and wondered how long he had stayed in the office the day previous. 

“So yeah. I didn’t take this seriously as I might’ve, considering I lost. It didn’t get much better after pre-trial. I thought I had a surefire victory. But you?” Oikawa’s lips quirked into a weary, tired smile. “I just thought you were fun and cute. Yeah, I wanted to mess around with you a little bit. The first two times we met — well, I had no intentions other than to sniff you out. But I didn’t plan on eating your cooking or taking you out as much as I did. That much I can say.”

Iwaizumi shuffled in his seat a little bit. “So… why’d you tell me to fuck off, then?”

“You won the case, Iwaizumi. I was going to be busy for at least the next month. I couldn’t afford any distractions.”

He winced. “Distractions,” he repeated.

Oikawa went silent for a little bit, before saying, “And I couldn’t shake the chance that you were just messing around with me, too. You seemed really unattached, sometimes. I know maybe it’s just how you are, but… you are a little hostile. Sometimes it was cute. Other times… not so much. I couldn’t be sure if you wanted anything else, even after I told you not to hold anything against me should I have won.”

“I see,” Iwaizumi said, staring down at Oikawa’s mess of papers. Oikawa’s handwriting was rushed and a bit illegible, but the script was nevertheless elegant. The documents were covered in pen marks, scribbles and circles along the margins. Iwaizumi tried desperately to ignore the prickling in his stomach and stay calm. “Does this mean you still want me to fuck off?”

Oikawa’s laugh was bright and sudden. “Did you get these flowers from Alisa? Around the corner? They’re quite aggressive and direct.”

“I hope they didn’t offend you or anything,” Iwaizumi half-joked, half-panicked. Oikawa was just the fucking person who would know the local florist by name.

“No, but I figured you didn’t know what they meant.” He picked up the bouquet from the shelf where it rested and traced a finger through the blue buds and purple petals. “Purple hyacinths for sorrow and repentance, purple lilacs for the first emotions of love. White lilies for sincerity and purity. With this, you’re saying sorry I fucked up, I’m starting to fall for you.

Iwaizumi, silently, thanked Kuroo for his cocky and apparently extremely sound advice on how to deal with Oikawa. “I didn’t know you knew so much about flowers.”

“My mom likes them,” Oikawa said simply. He regarded the bouquet softly, lifting it to his nose ever so slightly. The petals brushed the tip of his nose gently as Oikawa closed his eyes. “Thank you. They’re beautiful.”

“Yeah,” Iwaizumi murmured, watching Oikawa admire the bouquet. “Least I could do.”

He looked back up from the flowers and to Iwaizumi. “I accept your apology,” he said slowly, “but I mean it about the distractions. I’m not just here because I want to push myself. I legitimately am drowning in work — things are different in the private sector, you understand.”

“I know,” Iwaizumi replied. Feeling a little bold, he said, “We can take it slow.”

“Change of pace from the past month or two, I see.”

“Don’t give me that. You exacerbated the problem. In fact, you started the problem.”

“Ah, yes,” Oikawa smirked, mouth curling into a familiar place. “The problem you came running back to.”

“Fuck you,” he said mildly, unthinkingly. Iwaizumi stopped himself, surveying Oikawa: his eyes were softer, and his smile — however mischievous — was back. He must have spent longer than he would’ve liked looking at Oikawa’s mouth because suddenly it was open with laughter.

“You’re such a teenager,” Oikawa snorted. The smirk, if anything, was even wider. “It’s not like we haven’t kissed before. Although this is my office — a space of utmost purity.”

“Fuck off. You probably have liquor somewhere in here. I wouldn’t believe anything about you was pure if my life depended on it.”

Iwaizumi faltered, however, as Oikawa’s arm reached over his desk— suddenly he was being tugged forward gently with the pull of his lapel, back arching to follow the force of movement that drew him to the other, like magnets. Oikawa held him there, inches away from his face, the puffs of their breaths synchronizing as the air tensed between them.

“You’d be right,” Oikawa murmured, voice low. “Though you already know that.”

“Is this whole seduction act necessary?” Iwaizumi said as stonily as he could.

“No.” A laugh, and the sound was low and loud and hung in the space between them. “But let me have some fun, will you? You were mean to me.”

Iwaizumi, despite himself, felt a pit curl again in his stomach in guilt, and he almost apologized but Oikawa closed the gap between them, lips softly slotting in between his. It was an ordinary kiss — plain and dry, only lasting a few seconds — but Iwaizumi savored the tender pressure, completely different from all the other kisses they’ve shared before. For the better, really; this felt like a kiss that meant something, not just one exchanged out of sheer sexual tension.

Iwaizumi pulled away from the kiss first, eyes immediately dropping to Oikawa’s mouth as they parted, slightly breathless. He still felt bad for being a dick. “In all seriousness… I’m sorry about how I handled all of this. I wasn’t expecting you.”

“It was both of our faults, really,” Oikawa sighed, drawing back himself. “Neither of us seriously considered the repercussions of having such… close relations with opposing counsel. I don’t know how Makki and Mattsun do it, to be honest.”

“They don’t go to trial,” Iwaizumi pointed out. 

“Regardless,” Oikawa insisted, waving a hand back and forth with a flick of his wrist. “It’s still a bit of a PR disaster, if not an HR one. Though I guess they’re not important enough to really warrant a PR scandal.”

Iwaizumi snorted. “And you are?”

“Don’t tell me you haven’t seen the articles about me. I know you did your research before we met.”

He grimaced because it was true. “I’d like to think that the people of Tokyo have better things to worry about.”

“You sure? Me, handsome bachelor lawyer of the most prestigious law firm on this side of the country, entangled in a love affair with opposing counsel? It’s quite scandalous if you ask me.” Oikawa rested his chin on his hand, inching closer to Iwaizumi over his desk. “Though I suppose the drama has died a little bit. We just can never be on the same case again.”

“That’s fine with me,” Iwaizumi said, eyes tracing over the outline of Oikawa’s face: the curve of his know, the slight wrinkle in his brow, and a crooked curl on his lips: ever so charming. “You were a pain in the ass to deal with.”

“That’s my job, Iwa-chan.”

Ah, Iwaizumi thought. “... Shittykawa.”

Oikawa’s expression distorted into something indignant. “What did you just call me?”

“Oh,” he muttered, realizing that he hadn’t actually ever called him that out loud before, in lieu of supposed professionalism. “You’re saved as that on my contacts list.”

“I’m now considering revoking my decision to forgive you, you piece of shit.”

“Ah,” Iwaizumi said, frowning. “Don’t do that.”

“Find a cuter nickname for me, then.”

He couldn’t help but laugh, the nerves from before settling into a warmth in his stomach. “I’ll try.”

 

-

 

Subject: (untitled)
From: matsukawai@tokyodistrictattorney.gov
Date: July 27th, 2018, 8:03PM

How’d it go?

 

Subject: Re: (untitled)
To: matsukawai@tokyodistrictattorney.gov
Date: July 27th, 2018, 8:35PM

gonna need advice about keepin it on the dl

 

Subject: Re: re: (untitled)
From: matsukawai@tokyodistrictattorney.gov
Date: July 27th, 2018, 8:49PM

Fuck, I owe Akaashi ¥10000

 

 

From: Akaashi
Received at 9:28PM

Congratulations, Iwaizumi.
Kuroo sends his regards and Sugawara is extremely envious of you.
Though I’m sure you already knew as such.
In all seriousness, I’m glad everything worked out.
I certainly think the ordeal was quite stressful for you.
I wish you luck and happiness.

 

-

 

And that was that.

… But not really. Oikawa wasn’t lying about how busy he was — not that Iwaizumi ever thought he would — so the weekdays and Saturdays were spent apart. They made it a point to grab a coffee every Sunday at the very least, and occasionally Iwaizumi would cook for Oikawa if he wasn’t too tired to come over. They didn’t text too frequently, and neither did they call, but eventually Oikawa started freeing up over the next few months. Besides, it was probably good for them to have some space and gradually work up to spending more time with each other, for Iwaizumi found himself looking forward to every Sunday he got to see Oikawa.

Oikawa was a bit of a complicated person, no doubt. But Iwaizumi was pleasantly surprised to find that he was actually quite a domestic kind of boyfriend: it was probably due to all the hard work that Oikawa does for most of the waking hours of his week that caused him just to want to slump down on the couch and drink a glass of wine. On the nights where Oikawa would stay for dinner and maybe the night, they would pass the time talking about everything from their past lives and what makes a sandwich a sandwich. Iwaizumi found that Oikawa had an opinion on everything — everything. Though he supposed that shouldn’t be a surprise, either.

They played volleyball together a couple of times. They were both out of practice. They started making cocktails at home; Oikawa kept quite an extensive bar and finally had an excuse to crack into it fully. They watched How to Get Away with Murder and Criminal Minds together and scathingly ripped into the writing, all the while admiring the drama.

Iwaizumi, just as he told the florist, wasn’t in love with Oikawa at first. But the process was inevitable, and it came slowly, deeply, unshakeably—

And that, Iwaizumi supposed, was that.