Shouyou has no idea what possessed him to do it.
It’s crazy — he’s crazy. No, Kageyama’s crazy. Crazy forgetful! If Bakageyama hadn’t been forgetful, he would’ve remembered he had two back to back classes today, that he was almost failing the second one, and that his final grade of the semester depends heavily on this last paper before their final exams. If he hadn’t been forgetful, he would have also remembered not to leave his assignment on the desk in his dorm room and resort to texting Shouyou about it. Then, Shouyou would never have been stuck in this predicament to begin with. He wouldn’t have to retrieve Kageyama’s paper for him, never would have climbed in through the window and been in his room alone, and consequently, would never have been hit with how nice Kageyama smelled.
It’s Kageyama’s fault, really. One minute, Shouyou is standing in Kageyama’s room, the grade-breaking paper printout in his hand, scanning the vicinity for anything else Bakageyama might’ve forgotten, and in the next, he’s fighting a strange but strong desire that’s seized him out of nowhere upon laying eyes on a familiar white, cotton heap that Kageyama had clearly thrown haphazardly onto his bed.
His breathing, which had already been short due to the run it took to get here, grows thinner at the sight of it. His hands, still clammy from the climb through Kageyama’s window, start sweating even more.
Later, Shouyou will blame the combination of his best friend’s scent and being alone with it for muddling his brain and clouding his judgement. Now, with his heart pounding loud and fast in his ears, he approaches the bed and reaches a hand out for the sleeve of his favorite Kageyama sweater.
It’s something he’s never really been allowed to do. Whether the sweater is on Kageyama or bundled up and lying off to the side of the volleyball court, it’s out of bounds for Shouyou. After the three years it took for their competitive partnership to evolve into actually being best friends, Shouyou isn’t about to ruin it anytime soon just because he realized six months ago that somewhere down the line, his giddy feelings toward Kageyama somehow became something other than volleyball-related.
The same giddy feelings surge up again now as Shouyou pulls the sweater up by the sleeve. After years of wear, it’s no longer soft, but coarse and ruffled, just like its owner. With a small smile, Shouyou bunches it up in his hands, dips his nose into the fabric and breathes in.
The distinct, clean smell of Kageyama fills his senses, enveloping him in a shroud of pure bliss. His scent travels with Shouyou’s inhale through his nose and gathers like a ball in his chest, spreading warmth throughout his entire body.
It wouldn’t hurt, would it? If he just…
A scolding voice not too unlike his mother’s rings like an alarm in his head, That’s a crime! Pushing it aside, Shouyou takes one final glance around at the room, stuffs the sweater into his bag and hurries out the door.
Shouyou has been a lot of things in his life — a shrimp, a decoy, a cheerleader, an ace — but a thief has never been one of them.
Tobio has no idea what the fuck happened. Or rather, he has no idea when the fuck it happened.
The first week of November had been chilly, but mild, temperate. Consequently, he hadn’t been thinking too hard about wardrobe changes, hadn’t needed to wear extra clothes to keep warm. It’s only when the first snow day of the year springs itself upon them in the middle of the month that Tobio, sleepy and having just awoken, finally pulls on a pair of running tights and digs through his dresser for his favorite sweater.
Still blinking the sleep out of his eyes, Tobio yawns as he rummages through his clothes. Perhaps it’s the lethargy that comes with the beginning of winter but his head feels especially cloudy this morning. For a split second, he almost forgets what he’s looking for. It takes him another minute of staring down at the pile of clothes for him to realize why.
He shifts through his neatly folded shirts until he reaches the bottom of the drawer. It’s not there.
Straightening up, he opens the top drawer and rifles through boxers and socks, checks under the bed, upturns his blankets, takes another round digging through both drawers again — even climbs onto his desk to look over the tops of their dressers but — he comes up short. His white cotton sweater, the one he’s worn for the last four years and never lost once, isn’t here.
Tobio doesn’t understand. He is hardly a neat freak — he's not nearly as organized as Tsukishima — but he also doesn’t own enough stuff to properly lose.
Maybe he had left it in the club room or gym? Or the laundry room? Frowning, he thinks back to when he’d last worn it. Probably after practice sometime when the nights first started getting a little colder. His mother had always warned him to keep warm after working up a sweat, especially in between seasons, when the weather starts changing. He hadn’t gotten sick, so he hadn’t needed to wear it much after that. His team jacket kept him sufficiently warm after practice.
But his white sweater is the most comfortable to work out in when the days get cold and he’s had it forever. Where the hell could it be?
A loud buzz on his desk jolts him out of his thoughts. Walking over to it, he picks up his phone and checks the text.
don’t think i’d sleep in on you just cuz it snowed!!!
see u out there! loser owes five pork buns!!
The nuisance of being unable to find his sweater starts to melt away. With a smirk, Tobio grabs his team jacket instead and pulls it on, pausing only to make sure he’s got his wallet and keys on him as he makes his way out of his room.
better bring some cash then, he types as he exits the building.
He’ll have time to look for the sweater later. He’s sure it’ll turn up eventually.
The sweater does not turn up.
It’s been two weeks; Tobio has checked the laundry room, the gym, the club room, the lost and found, and has even asked his instructors for any possible clues to his sweater’s whereabouts. Unfortunately, it seems that no matter how widely he searches, the clothing item is nowhere to be found.
“You’ve had that sweater for like, five years,” Hinata tells him when he catches Tobio looking around for it again in the club room after practice. “Maybe it’s time you get a new one?”
“Four years, dumbass,” Tobio corrects. “And I don’t want a new one. That one was perfectly fine.”
“You mean you don’t want to go shopping for it,” Hinata laughs. Tobio looks up from the pile of the entire team’s mess and sees him leaning against the one of the lockers with his arms crossed.
“You could be of more help,” Tobio snaps.
“Or I could get you a new one for Christmas,” Hinata beams. Something flips in Tobio’s stomach at the sight of it.
Don’t, he doesn’t mean it that way.
He turns his face away from Hinata and stands back up to his feet.
“I just don’t understand where it could’ve gone.”
It’s not like that. Hinata only sees you as his best friend — nothing more.
“Eh,” Hinata says, and Tobio looks back up just in time to see him shrugging and turning away to walk out the door. “It’ll show up eventually, I’m sure.”
Tobio narrows his eyes. Is it just his imagination, or is Hinata’s neck tinged slightly red?
“Race you to the dining hall!” Hinata calls out before breaking into a sprint down the path back toward the main campus.
“Oi!” he calls out as he runs after him. “You had a head start!”
By the time they reach the cafeteria, the two of them sweaty and out of breath, the smell of pork katsu and curry reaches his nose and reminds Tobio of how hungry he is, driving the rest of his thoughts out of his mind.
“Ah, it’s your favorite today!” Hinata says, breathing in and letting out a contented sigh. “Let’s go.”
Reaching out, he grabs onto Tobio’s arm and pulls him forward towards the end of the line, maneuvering them wildly through students carrying trays of food walking in the opposite direction from them.
“Slow down, dumbass, you’ll hurt someone,” Tobio scolds after nearly elbowing another boy with a bowl of miso soup on his tray.
“I’m hungry!” Hinata exclaims, as though that excuses everything.
Hinata’s grip doesn’t let up until they reach the back of the line. Tobio isn’t sure if it’s just his imagination again, but he swears Hinata’s fingers linger a bit before dropping back down at his side. Even after the loss of contact, Tobio’s arm still buzzes from the heat of his touch.
He’s not sure what to think when they have little moments like this. They’ve been friends and hanging around each other’s presence for far too long for him to be able to parse out the differences. Every once in a while, whether they’re out eating with the team or just studying alone together in one of their dorm rooms, a comfortable quiet will pass over the both of them. Whenever that happens, Hinata will often meet his gaze and Tobio will feel like something inside of him has caught fire.
But in those moments, Tobio can never tell whether that charged feeling between them is mutual or just a byproduct of his own hopes and desires. It wouldn’t be the first time Tobio’s misread a social situation, except in this case, being wrong would be much, much worse than accidentally offending a casual teammate or opponent. Is it just his imagination, or is there something more beneath the surface? Given how long he and Hinata have been friends, he’s too afraid to find out.
Although there is space to maneuver, Hinata stays standing with their arms almost touching, even after letting go of Tobio. It’s stupid, he thinks, because it takes no conscious effort for Hinata to stand where he does, but after being dragged by him through the crowd of students, Tobio can’t help but feel like there's something crackling in the tiny space between them.
“Hinata-kun!” a voice cries out from somewhere to their right.
At the sound of his name, Hinata perks up and turns towards the speaker.
“Ah — Arima-chan!” he grins and waves. “Did you eat already?”
And just like that, the spell is broken. Tobio idles by, feeling a little out of place as Hinata continues engaging in conversation with a girl he recognizes as being from one of Hinata’s study groups. It’s encounters like these that remind Tobio he’s not Hinata’s only friend, that Hinata has enough room in his heart to fill a mansion of people, and he isn’t sure which part or how much of the space that he, Tobio, occupies.
Midway during the talk, the girl compliments Hinata on his kindness for having lent her his textbook a week ago. In response, Hinata blushes and laughs awkwardly, waving his hands to indicate it was nothing. Something painful squeezes in Tobio’s chest, twisting itself into knots as he looks away in an attempt to steel himself.
Hinata definitely likes girls — that much Tobio does know. He has no idea if that’s where it ends though and he’s not sure how foolish it would be to hope that there’s a chance it isn’t.
“... love to stay and talk longer but I have to go back and finish a paper. It’s a really important one and it’s due tomorrow.”
“Oh! Okay. Good luck!” Hinata beams at her. “See you later, then?”
“Yeah! Enjoy your dinner!”
Once she‘s out of sight, Tobio flits his eyes back to focus on the back of Hinata’s head as they continue moving forward in the line, thinking. Because Hinata is without question the one person he spends the most time with, it’s easy to forget that he has more of a life outside of volleyball, practice, going on runs, or studying with Tobio. For Tobio, it seems like Hinata takes up every inch of his life, which begs the question: what is the nature of the space Tobio occupies in Hinata’s mansion?
As if he can feel the heat of Tobio’s gaze on his head, Hinata suddenly tilts his neck back until their eyes meet.
“You should come, by the way,” he says, before sliding further up in line.
Tobio blinks. He must’ve missed something. “Come where?”
“What — you know!” Hinata turns around properly so he can elbow Tobio in the ribs. “The party! Arima-chan just mentioned it.”
“Why would I want to go to a party?” he asks, raising an eyebrow. The one and only time he accompanied Hinata to one, he had stood awkwardly by the wall while everyone around him grew steadily less and less sober. He had mostly only gone in the first place out of curiosity for what Hinata was up to whenever he went to one and they had met his already low expectations. There is really no need for him to go to another one again.
“I dunno!” Hinata pouts. “To hang out with me?”
“I hang out with you everywhere else,” he reasons. “Almost all the time.”
“Yeah, but…” Hinata bites his lip.
“What?” Tobio prompts, inwardly holding his breath.
“Gahhh, never mind,” Hinata huffs, shaking his head. “You’re impossible.”
Tobio is about to open his mouth to retort but before he can say anything, they’ve already reached the front of the line. The rhythm breaks, Hinata changes the subject, and he’s left to wonder what his best friend might have said.
As the weather starts to get colder, there are days Shouyou feels ridden with guilt.
There’s the one weekend when Kageyama had to take a laundry day instead of going on a run with Shouyou because after a long week of volleyball practice, he’d simply ran out of sweaters to work out in the night before, and had forgotten to throw his clothes in the dryer before going to bed. Disappointed in missing out on the time they could have spent together, Shouyou can’t help feeling the shame that follows, knowing that it’s mostly his fault this had happened.
On other mornings, when they haven’t gone on a run together, Shouyou sometimes sees Kageyama stumble into the cafeteria with a disgruntled expression, shivering under his team jackets from both high school and now. He has a larger winter coat, Shouyou knows, but even if Kageyama had been wearing it, the guilty part of him wonders if Kageyama would be a little warmer if he was also wearing his white sweater underneath all those layers.
”What?” Kageyama asks when he catches Shouyou staring at him over breakfast one day. “Something on my face?”
Shouyou opens his mouth, prepared to apologize and come clean, but as usual, something makes him bite back the confession.
“Yeah,” he says instead. Reaching out, he presses a thumb at the furrow between Kageyama’s eyebrows. “A giant wrinkle. You look like Grumpy-yama today.”
Kageyama swats his hand away, scowling. “I stayed up late studying. I texted you about it, dumbass.”
Shouyou grins, feeling gleeful for getting a rise out of him.
Kageyama continues gazing at Shouyou curiously, raising an eyebrow.
“You’re acting strange today,” he comments.
“Am I?” Shouyou laughs nervously. Is he really being that obvious that he’s hiding something?
Kageyama narrows his eyes, then lets out a huff of exasperation. “Never mind.”
Shouyou’s eyes linger on him as Kageyama returns to his natto and rice. He imagines for a moment telling Kageyama about the sweater. What would he think? Would he scold him? Would he be disgusted with him? Appalled to the point of distancing himself away from Shouyou? The scolding would be easy to live with; after all, it’s something they do all the time. The last outcome would be the worst — Shouyou’s biggest fear. No matter what happened in life, losing Kageyama as a friend would always be the worst possible situation imaginable.
Moreover, how would Shouyou even go about telling him? Hey, so, I know this probably sounds really weird and maybe even a little creepy but, I kind of sort of borrowed your sweater — indefinitely. I just like sleeping in it. Don’t be mad, okay?
Shouyou sighs inwardly. This is all ridiculous — and completely his fault. Taking the sweater had been a spur of the moment decision, but now that it’s happened, it’s a decision he can’t take back. His only option now is to roll with it. And besides, the sweater is still infused with Kageyama’s scent, though it’s more faint now than before, and sleeping in it is one of the best feelings ever. Like falling asleep to having Kageyama’s arms around him. It’s really, really, really nice.
The guilt doesn’t become too much of a problem until the end of November. Hoping to take off some of the edge of finishing midterms before the usual lull before finals, Shouyou treats himself one Friday night to one of those parties that Arima-chan has invited him to. Of course, Kageyama doesn’t want to come with him at all, so he goes alone and, at some point down the night, loses count of how many drinks he’s had.
Would the party have been ten times better with Kageyama there? No doubt about it. But like always, Shouyou refuses to let the setter’s absence stop him from loosening up from a long week of school. He laughs and plays games with his other friends, bumps shoulders with new ones, and ends the night by lounging on the couch, feeling his head grow steadily fuzzier and fuzzier.
Shouyou remembers leaving Arima-chan’s friend’s apartment late that night, remembers stumbling with a hallmate down the path towards their dorm complex and pausing halfway while his friend threw up behind a bush. He remembers feeling a fresh bout of resentment that Kageyama hadn’t come with him as they walked the rest of the way back and is certain that the sentiment had persisted all the way up until he fell asleep, but he isn’t entirely sure when or how he finds his way into his own bed to pass out in between.
It isn’t until he wakes up a few hours later that he realizes something has gone quite wrong.
His room is still dark when he comes to, so the sun hasn’t risen yet. But something about the way the faint moonlight streaming in from the window is cast against the wall feels… off. He can’t quite put his finger on it. Head still throbbing, he turns around in bed to try and hide away from the light reflecting on his face when his nose suddenly bumps up against something warm and solid.
Brows furrowing, Shouyou blinks his bleary eyes open and frowns. Huh? Squinting into the darkness, it takes him a full minute to realize that the warm and solid thing in front of him is not only breathing, but filling his senses with a very familiar scent…
His insides freeze up at once when the realization hits. Although several details of the night remain blurry, there is nothing, nothing in his memory at all, that can explain why Shouyou is currently lying in Kageyama’s bed.
As quietly and with as little movement as he can manage, Shouyou slides an elbow beneath his ear and lifts his head to peer over at the other boy. With his usual defenses down, Kageyama looks even more beautiful when he’s asleep. Although Shouyou has grown to love the expressive twist of his mouth and the perpetual frown the setter wears, his heart squeezes at the calm and peaceful surface Kageyama displays now, knowing that underneath all that, an intense, fervent volleyball spirit full of boundless energy resided.
Fortunately for Shouyou, that intense spirit is still very much hidden under all those layers of sleep. Kageyama continues his slow breathing, unaware that Shouyou is staring down at him from his own bed.
Checking to make sure Kageyama isn’t about to wake any time soon, Shouyou carefully extracts himself from beneath his blanket and slips out from the foot of his bed. With minimal movement, he pushes down on the door handle, pulls it open, and tiptoes out, closing the door as softly as possible behind him.
He then proceeds to sprint the rest of the way up the flight of stairs and into his own room.
When he gets in, he finds his roommate fast asleep and facing away from the door. Letting out a sigh of relief, Shouyou finally climbs into his own bed and plants his face flat on his pillow.
What a nightmare. And to think what would’ve happened if he’d been caught. Shouyou is sure Kageyama would have been horrified by this clingy drunk version of himself trying to cuddle with him in the dead of night. It’s totally creepy! Even Shouyou can admit that to himself. Of course, if Kageyama had been the one who had gotten drunk and snuck into his bed, Shouyou wouldn’t have minded, but that’s totally different.
Taking in a deep breath, he lets out a huge sigh and tangles himself in his blankets, his head still throbbing with pain. Shouyou has a lot of questions for himself. How he even managed to climb in through the window in his drunken state, for one. But most of all, why did this even happen?
A faint hint of the same scent Shouyou had experienced upon waking up in Kageyama’s bed fills his senses again as he turns in bed and finds his nose right up in said boy’s sweater. Disappointment swells in his chest as he hugs the sweater closer to him. Compared to sleeping right next to Kageyama, this poor, faded imitation of actually doing so quite frankly sucks. Perhaps that’s why he had somehow, without being aware of it, wriggled his way into Kageyama’s bed. Now that it’s been a few weeks of holding onto the sweater, maybe a mixture of guilt and dissatisfaction had been subconsciously weighing on his mind.
Groaning inwardly, Shouyou wrings his hands in his hair and bites his pillow to stop himself from releasing the loud, frustrated noise he knows he deeply wants to make. What a mess he’s landed himself in. Not for the first time, he contemplates what it would be like to just tell Kageyama the truth about how he feels.
But the friendship! a voice warns in his head.
How many more of these moments does he need to keep secret?
Shouyou turns back onto his pillow and stares up at the ceiling. Now, in his own bed and with his mind still buzzing with unresolved frustration, it’s a long, long while before he can drift back off to sleep.
It’s the start of December and Tobio’s sweater still has not shown up. By the time finals week hits, however, he’s forced to throw in the towel. At this point, Tobio has accepted the unfortunate and likely possibility that it’s officially lost and is resigned to ask his mother to buy him a new one during Christmas break. There’s already too much on his plate to worry about anyway without the mysterious cloud of missing articles of clothing hanging over his thoughts.
There’s the matter of his grades, which, predictably based on his track record, aren’t doing so great. Although Tsukishima — though he’ll never admit it — has lent a bit of a helping hand in whipping his and Hinata’s study habits into better shape over the past two years of high school, putting forth more of himself into academics still continues to be a struggle. With three finals looming on the horizon, each one monumental for his grades, Tobio finds himself rather swamped in their last week of school.
As if his school work isn’t enough to be getting along with, Hinata seems to have decided in the two weeks leading up to finals to start acting strangely. Tobio can’t quite put a finger on what’s different or why, or whether it might even just all be his imagination, but there’s a noticeable shift in the amount of contact they’ve had when they’re hanging out together. Even when they’re just studying or sitting on the sidelines after practice, Hinata seems to always find a way to either lean on him or grab his arm or touch his wrist. For all Tobio knows, it probably is just his imagination, but he wishes there could be a way to tell him not to do these things if Hinata wanted to keep everything between them in their friendship as normal as possible. Too often, the feeling of Hinata’s hands on his back or around his waist would haunt him later when all the busyness and noise of the day falls away at night. Lying awake in bed alone, Tobio’s brain would go into overdrive against his will, replaying the sensation of Hinata’s fingertips grazing his skin and the (probably) imagined tingle of sparks that buzzes in the air between them whenever they come into contact.
Doing his best to focus on his studies and volleyball practice, Tobio continues to shove the intrusive thoughts away into the darker corners of his mind whenever they arise. Unfortunately, the whole ordeal seems to cast a cloudy layer of restlessness over him and he even finds it difficult to sleep as soundly as he usually does the week leading up to finals.
Only two days left, he tells himself after finishing his second exam the Wednesday before break.
As his luck would have it, his very last final is scheduled for Friday. By now, most of their dorm complex has been emptied out as students finish midway throughout the week and leave for home for the holidays, his and Hinata’s roommate included. The empty space in his room only adds to the pressure of working harder and ending the semester well. Although Hinata’s final is on Thursday, he had promised to wait for Tobio’s to be over before they took the train together back to Miyagi the next day.
“You look terrible by the way,” Hinata says during dinner after they’ve made their travel plan arrangements. “Pulling a lot of all nighters this week?”
Tobio scowls and turns away as Hinata leans into his space, clearly trying to inspect his eye bags. “You could say that.”
“I’ll be done by this time tomorrow!” he gloats, flashing all his white teeth as he beams up at Tobio. It takes everything in him not to melt at the sight of it.
“Dumbass, there’s no need to look so pleased about it!” Tobio retorts, falling into their usual pattern of stupid, heated arguments. “Just how prepared are you anyway for that exam?”
Hinata’s face blanches at once. “D-don’t remind me.”
Tobio smirks and returns to his food.
“Aren’t you gonna wish me luck?” Hinata nags, elbowing him in the ribs — more unnecessary touching.
“Not if you didn’t work for it.”
Hinata lets out a mock-surprised gasp. “Rude! I studied so hard this past week, even Tsukishima would’ve had nothing to say about it — which means I did awesome! It’s just a lot of material, I swear!”
Tobio snickers. “Whoever gets the worse grade on their last exam this week owes the other ice cream.”
Hinata levels him with a hard, challenging glare. “You’re on!”
He bumps shoulders with Tobio when he picks up his tray and gets out of his seat.
“Gotta go study then!” he announces before making a beeline for the trash cans to clear his plates. Grinning, Tobio takes one last sip of his milk and follows suit.
Despite a tiring four hours of studying with Hinata after dinner, the sleeplessness continues to plague him that night and even carries on over to the next. Having been freed from the clutches of fall semester, Hinata goes to a party without him on Thursday after dinner, leaving Tobio to continue studying on his own.
By midnight, Tobio decides to call it quits. His exam is early in the morning and Daichi used to always advise that at a certain point, getting good rest is more important than cramming any more information into one’s head. Setting aside his textbooks and lecture notes, he turns off the lights and gets into bed and does his best to try not to think of Hinata.
It doesn’t work. Hinata had fallen asleep on his shoulder in the library before dinner when he’d come to find Tobio studying there after his last final. Although it’s not something that hasn’t happened before, the mounting tension Tobio feels on his side whenever they have these little moments is starting to reach breaking point. It had been hard enough to focus on his notes knowing that Hinata would be finished with his exam before him but feeling his body rise and fall with his slow breaths next to him had been the worst distraction ever.
Telling his own thoughts to kindly fuck off, Tobio turns around onto his side and buries his face further into his pillow.
He’s not sure when he drifts off to sleep, or whether or not he’s even fully managed to do so. His mind slips in and out between consciousness and unconsciousness so often that when Tobio finds himself lying awake in the middle of the night, he’s not sure if he’s just woken up or still hasn’t slept yet. Feeling frustrated, he turns onto his back again—
Only for his shoulder to collide up against something solid and warm.
Tobio’s eyes snap open at once. Heart beating fast, he twists his head slowly and squints into the darkness.
A mess of hair rests at the spot right under his neck. Bewildered, Tobio shifts a little more until his shoulder is no longer blocking the transparent beam of moonlight streaming in from the window.
He feels as though all the air in his lungs is sucked out of him when he looks down at the face before him. There — quiet, calm, and fast asleep — lies none other than Hinata Shouyou himself, breathing next to him.
Wha — How the fuck did he—? Tobio glances over at the window and sees that it’s mostly shut, but not quite properly so. Turning back to Hinata, he mentally claps a hand to his face.
A million thoughts flood his mind as he stares down at Hinata's sleeping figure. Questions like, how is he supposed to sleep now? or why did Hinata end up in my bed? swirl around in his brain. Did Hinata mean for this to happen? Or was he just so drunk he couldn’t be bothered to climb the flight of stairs to his own room on the second floor because Tobio’s room is easier to access? What was going on in his head when he crawled into Tobio’s bed? Was anything going on in there at all? What did this mean? What did this mean? What did this mean?!
Before he can spiral any further, Tobio seizes control of himself and takes a few deep breaths. Until Hinata wakes up, he can’t answer any of these questions. But that still leaves the one pressing one that he actually needs to resolve right now.
What the fuck is he supposed to do about Hinata in his bed?
Even as the thought comes, Tobio knows what he ought to do. To ensure that there’d be no mistake at all that he hadn’t tried to take advantage of the situation in any way, he has to leave the bed, no question about it. Sleep on the floor, or something. Anything else but this. It would feel wrong and one-sided if, after waking up to this, he stays in bed without Hinata’s confirmed knowledge of it. It’s not Tobio’s fault he had woken up, but the fact of the matter is that he had. If Hinata had been drunk enough to be unaware of what he’d done, Tobio would never want to take advantage of that.
And if by some crazy miracle, Hinata did feel the same way as him and wanted to cuddle (or more), he’d much prefer engaging in those activities with a sober Hinata. At least, for starters.
Careful not to wake him, Tobio quietly extracts himself from underneath the covers and slips out of bed. He pulls the blanket up over Hinata, making sure it’ll fit more snugly around him, then slides the pillow beneath the other boy’s head. After ensuring Hinata will be warm and comfortable, Tobio allows himself a few moments of staring down at his sleeping form.
He can’t help the smile that tugs at his lips as he admires Hinata’s peaceful face. All that energy, all that fire, still radiating from beneath the calm, still surface of sleep. How they all manage to be present simultaneously in one compact body never ceases to enthrall him.
With a sigh, Tobio turns and walks towards the other side of the room. As eager as he is to know what’s going on in Hinata’s mind, he needs as much rest as he can get. Perhaps when they wake up in the morning, they can talk through everything. The prospect of their friendship possibly shifting makes his stomach squirm with both excitement and fear. It feels as though they are on the edge of a precipice, ready to tip into something either really bad or really good. Judging by the fact that Hinata has just ended up in his bed, Tobio is privately hoping that it’ll be something really good.
Feeling much calmer for the time being and hoping his roommate won’t mind too much if he borrows his bed for one night while he’s gone, Tobio slips under Watanabe’s covers and waits for sleep to claim him.
The first thing Tobio registers when he comes to in the morning is the loud, incessant beeping of his morning alarm. With a loud groan, he shoots out a hand to grab for his phone but meets only empty space and the soft fabric of bed sheets. Lifting his head, he cracks open his eyes and stares down at his pillow for a long moment.
This… this isn’t his bed.
Shutting his eyes, Tobio takes a deep breath while all the memories from last night come rushing back to him.
Once he remembers, he opens his eyes and looks over at his own bed, heart pounding fast in his ears. Over on the other side of the room, the blankets are pulled back and crumpled, with nothing left behind but the lasting impression of the small body that had slept there last night.
Hinata is gone.
Tobio frowns as the alarm continues to beep loudly in the room.
Hinata is gone. But why? Dread fills his stomach as the reality of the other boy’s absence settles in. He can’t help the nagging worry that maybe Hinata wanted to flee the situation, and by extension, wanted to flee him .
Stumbling out of Watanabe’s bed, he swings over to grab his phone. After finally silencing the unremitting alarm, he checks the time.
So much for a good night’s rest. His final is in approximately thirty minutes and he’s just found out that Hinata has disappeared without any explanation.
A mix of anger and confusion licks at the insides of his stomach. What the fuck is Hinata thinking? What is he playing at? Why the fuck would he do this? Tobio is just trying to do the right thing, trying to keep in mind whatever feels best for their friendship, and this is the predicament Hinata leaves him in. Given how little sleep he’s had, he doesn’t have the time or energy for any of this. It’s too fucking early.
Early. Right. Maybe Hinata needs time to think. Maybe he’ll text me later.
Tobio looks down at the time again. 7:30. Frustrated or not, he can’t dawdle like this any longer.
Resolving to think about it later, he shoves the feelings down his throat, hurriedly gets changed, then goes to the bathroom to brush his teeth and do all the usual stuff before heading out with his school bag to get to class on time.
Although Tobio is sure he’s done his best on the exam, thoughts of Hinata continue to plague him throughout the rest of the day, hitting him even harder the moment he sets down his pen and finishes his final. Once he’s out of the classroom, he pulls out his phone and starts typing out a text to Hinata.
officially done. meet at the canteen?
His thumb hovers over the send button. Maybe things are weird. Maybe that’s why Hinata escaped while he still could. He supposes at this point, maybe things aren’t so normal between them anymore.
With a sigh, he selects the entire message and deletes it. There’s no way he can fathom what’s going on in Hinata’s brain and technically, the ball is in Hinata’s court. As much as he — especially the not-so-well-rested part of him — wants to grab Hinata by the shoulders and shake him for answers, he’ll have to wait for the other boy to text first. Until he does, Tobio heads towards the cafeteria to eat an early lunch by himself.
Still, it doesn’t stop him from wondering what the fuck last night was all about. Throughout the rest of the day, there are a lot of things he thinks of texting Hinata, but Tobio can never bring himself to hit send.
what’re you doing right now
are you still hungover
what’s the plan for tomorrow
want to go off campus for dinner
did you get your scores yet
are you in your room
what’re you doing right now
Each time he types them out, he ends up deleting it again. He can’t tell what the fuck Hinata needs. Time and space to think? A direct confrontation? What is he doing and thinking right now?!
During the afternoon, Tobio goes on a run to take his mind off things, drops by the mostly empty gym for lack of something better to do, and ends up taking a bus out into the city and loses himself in the crowd of Christmas shoppers. When dusk falls, he stops at one of his and Hinata’s usual hangout spots for a meal then tries to text him again.
can i come over
With a sigh, he erases the message once more and stuffs the rest of his curry pork bun into his mouth. It feels like cardboard between his teeth. As stupid as it sounds, the triumph he should be experiencing from eating five pieces of his favorite snack for a celebratory dinner doesn’t quite taste as good without Hinata by his side, but his best friend still hasn’t texted him yet. Even by the time Tobio gets back to his room, takes a shower, and lets midnight roll around, Hinata doesn’t say a single peep, not even about their travel plans for tomorrow. They’ve already bought tickets for the 13:47 train though, so if by morning Hinata still remains quiet, Tobio figures he can just show up and meet him there.
He spends the entire evening packing away his things in silence before finally deciding to go to bed and try and fall asleep.
Now, however, with his head on his pillow, lying awake in bed only prompts the questions to start haunting him again. Why did Hinata do it? What was he thinking? Why hasn’t he reached out to him about anything? What was he doing now? Are they still friends? What the fuck is going on? Why hasn’t he said anything? What the fuck is going on?
The anger that had arisen earlier that morning suddenly flares up in him again. Flipping around in bed, he turns to face the wall, skin prickling with rage. After an entire fucking day, it’s still been radio silence from Hinata. He wants to punch something. Hard. Preferably a giant sandbag with Hinata’s face on it. Tobio just doesn’t understand. They’ve been friends for so long now — best friends, even. Why would he just leave him in the dark like this when it’s something so goddamn important? If he had thought it’d been weird and wanted to cut Tobio off, then he might as well just burn that bridge now rather than later. Anything is better than keeping him in this frustrating limbo of fucking uncertainty. All this obscurity is driving him crazy.
Tobio turns onto his back and glares up at the ceiling.
Dumbass dumbass dumbass dumbass DUMBASS—
Annoyed and fed up, he kicks the covers off and sits up in bed, feeling fired up. His phone lies next to him, as still and as blank-screened as ever. As he stares down at it, Tobio fights the urge to shout endless profanities into the night. He can’t keep checking his phone and waiting around forever. He’s been plenty patient enough. It’s time Hinata owes him answers.
Without sparing another thought to his decision, Tobio hops out of bed, pulls some sweatpants on, grabs his keys, and wrenches his door open.
Thankfully, at half past one during the tail end of finals week, the hallway is empty and devoid of any noise or human bodies. Tobio marches straight down towards the stairway and climbs up to Hinata’s floor, fist at the ready. The second he reaches the door, he bangs on it three times, prepared to shout. It takes everything in him to not yell directly in the halls.
For what feels like an eternity in his impatient state, he hears nothing on the other side of the door. His stomach goes cold with the idea that maybe Hinata had gone home without him. It’s a possibility he’s unwilling to accept right now but even as he thinks it, surely there’s no way Hinata would purchase another ticket so last minute and just lose out on the money he paid for on the original one — unless he really wanted to avoid Tobio that badly.
A sense of urgency rises in his chest and he raises his fist again, ready to knock. Before he can do so, the door handle finally starts to wobble and turn. Lowering his arm, Tobio leans back as the door creaks open to reveal a sleepy Hinata rubbing one of his eyes and squinting beneath the brightness of the hall.
“K-Kageyama?” he asks, his body still partially hidden in the darkness of his room.
Despite the rage that had flared up in him right before knocking on Hinata’s door, a huge wave of relief washes over Tobio at the sight of Hinata and the sound of his voice, sleep-filled and a little higher-pitched than usual.
He’s still here. It’s more than enough to calm him a bit.
“We need to talk,” he says, charging straight into the conversation at once. “I don’t know what the hell is going on or what happened with you at the party last night but ever since this morning, you’ve been absent and gone all day. It’s obvious you’ve been avoiding me and don’t even try to deny it! Whatever the reason, if it’s got something to do with what you—”
Tobio cuts off and stares down at Hinata as the half-asleep boy leans against the door frame. It’s clear he’s still not fully awake and possibly hasn’t registered a single word of what he’s just said, but that’s not the hang-up that distracts Tobio from his speech.
He blinks once. Then twice. Then once again for good measure.
“Wait a minute — is that my sweater?”
As though hit with a bolt of lightning, Hinata’s eyes snap open at once and he goes ramrod straight. The longer Tobio stares at him, the more unmistakable the vision gets. White, wrinkled, and trailing all the way down past Hinata’s thighs, his favorite sweater hangs like an overly large gown over the smaller boy’s frame. It’s… incredibly adorable. But—
“How did you—”
“Goodnight, Kageyama-kun!” Hinata shouts automatically before stepping back inside his room and slamming the door in his face.
Tobio blinks again. So not only has Hinata slipped into his bed last night while drunk, he’s also had his sweater this entire time and has been sleeping in it?
For all intents and purposes, Shouyou is dead.
Literally, he’s died and ascended into the afterlife and has gone to meet his maker. He is more than dead. Isn’t that what happens when someone’s soul leaves one’s body?
It’s official. Here lies Hinata Shouyou, star ace volleyball player, a promising young talent that would’ve surely gone on to play for the future world stage — if it weren’t for the fact that Kageyama Tobio has just murdered him on the spot .
Back against the door, his heart pounds a million miles a minute. On the other side of it, Kageyama looms near, now in the know.
This isn’t happening this isn’t happening this isn’t happening this isn’t happening—
It totally has just happened.
Kageyama has seen him. In the sweater. In his sweater. Shouyou could evaporate on the spot.
“Hinata!” Kageyama shouts, followed by three loud bangs at his door. “Open up! I just want to talk!”
No. No no no no no no no. Talking is the very last thing Shouyou wants to do right now. He did not spend his entire day wandering around the city by himself to try and stave off the potential awkwardness of facing Kageyama head on while the events of last night were still fresh only for something like this to happen in the end. He had been hoping that after all that space apart, he could simply meet back with Kageyama at the station for the ride home and feel like everything has reverted back to normal.
Holy crap, he is so fucked.
The banging on his door starts up again, and this time, Kageyama doesn’t stop at three.
“Seriously, Hinata. I’m not mad! Whatever you think I might be, it’s not that!”
The pounding finally stops again. Shouyou feels a soft thud on the other side of the door that presumably means that Kageyama has also just slumped up against it.
“I don’t know what you’re thinking.”
Kageyama’s voice feels nearer this time, more subdued and a little — dare he say it — pleading. It comes out like a deep, muffled sound traveling through the crack in the door by his ear, warming his heart as he stands still in the dark.
Sinking down to the floor, Hinata clamps his mouth shut and buries his face in his knees. Judging by the sliding noise on the other side, Kageyama’s just done the same thing.
They sit there for a long moment, neither saying a word to each other. Shouyou has no idea what to do or say. His heart pounds loudly in his chest and for the first time in years, he feels too afraid to open the door and run smack dab into Kageyama’s scary presence. They’ve come a long way since that bathroom meeting during their first match in middle school, but although Kageyama has long since stopped being scary to him, Shouyou still can’t stop the anxiety that rises in his stomach at the idea of facing him now.
After a few minutes, Kageyama finally speaks up again.
“Hinata, please. I’m not leaving until we talk. I’ll sleep here if you don’t open up.”
That’s fine, Shouyou thinks. Then he can just stay stuck in his room forever until he dies. It’s a perfect plan. Good thinking, Kageyama-kun.
“Seriously, what do I have to say to get you to open the door?”
Shouyou keeps his mouth shut. Even if he wanted to speak, he has no idea how to answer that. Their friendship as they know it is over and there’s no way around that. Even if Kageyama isn’t mad and does want to remain friends, Shouyou now knows it can never be the same again. Not after everything Kageyama’s seen.
He hears a heavy sigh from the other side.
“Okay, fine,” Kageyama huffs. “I was mad earlier, you know. Not really anymore, but I was. I was so angry I wanted to hit you. Obviously, I don’t actually want to, but you were being infuriating! You can’t just not talk to me for a whole day after… you know, and not expect me to be mad.”
You know. Shouyou’s stomach turns to ice. It’s a whole different matter hearing Kageyama acknowledge it. Shouyou had spent the day off campus in the hopes that Kageyama would just put it behind them and never talk about it. In fact, he’d been counting on it. Kageyama just sees him as a friend, right? Surely he’d just shrug it off as Shouyou having some sort of weird drunken night and never feel the need to speak of it again, wouldn’t he?
“I just don’t know what you need,” Kageyama continues. “I thought maybe you wanted space or something, so I gave that to you. Time isn’t an issue. I’ve already waited so long, I can wait some more. I just want to know what you’re thinking.”
Wait, what?! He says he’s “waited” ? For what? What does that mean ??
Kageyama lets out another deep sigh. “It’s fine if you don’t want to talk about it, but at least give me something to help me understand what’s going on. Not being able to talk to you all day has been the worst.”
Not being able to talk to me is the worst?
In spite of himself, Shouyou finds himself smiling a little. Damn it, he really likes Kageyama. He really likes him a lot.
“Just tell me what you’re thinking. I don’t care if you’d rather not talk about it, but just tell me. ”
What Shouyou’s thinking? What is he thinking anyway?
“Do you at least still want to be my friend? Honestly, at this point, I think I’ll take anything.”
Yes, of course Shouyou still wants to be friends! But does Kageyama want to be more?
Shouyou hugs his knees to his chest and props his chin on them, thinking. Kageyama has basically just laid out his heart before him so Shouyou knows he has to say something, but he doesn’t know what he could possibly say to top what Kageyama’s just done to him. He feels strangely stripped and bare, emotionally.
“Still nothing?” Kageyama asks. There’s a thump somewhere right over Shouyou’s head that suggests Kageyama’s leaned his own back against the door in defeat.
Come on, Shouyou, say something, he urges himself, but his throat feels clogged and backed up, his mind wiped blank. Although it means more than the world to him to be able to hear all the words Kageyama’s just spoken, Shouyou still doesn’t know how Kageyama really feels about him. And no matter how you look at it, Shouyou is the one who’s constantly been found in compromising situations this past week and it’s been highly embarrassing. Especially in this moment, all of that just makes him feel ten times less inclined to come out and face him.
Kageyama sighs again. The next thing he says comes out so quietly and more mumbled than the rest of his speech, that Shouyou almost misses it.
“You look cute in my sweater.”
Shouyou’s eyes snap open. Blood rushes to his ears as his heart swells in his chest, pounding faster and faster until it’s about to burst.
You look cute in my sweater.
You look cute in my sweater.
You look cute in my sweater?!?!
Before he can properly think about what he’s doing, Shouyou is up on his feet with his hand on the door knob. Pushing the handle down, he pulls it open and hears a loud yelp as Kageyama falls onto his back with a thud.
Scrambling up to his feet, Kageyama rubs the back of his head in pain and glares down at Shouyou.
“Seriously?” he scowls. “ That’s what gets you to—”
“Say that again,” Shouyou commands, stepping forward and staring right up into Kageyama’s face.
“W-what?” Kageyama flusters, holding a hand up to cover his face. Shouyou feels a stroke of courage at the visible embarrassment Kageyama displays. “Say — say what again?”
Shouyou almost wants to laugh but he doesn’t. Instead, he keeps his expression serious and full of challenge.
“Say that again,” he repeats in a quiet, daring voice.
“What? No — you heard what I said, I don’t need to—”
Kageyama scowls again, raising himself up, and Shouyou can sense that familiar rising at his challenge bubbling up to the surface.
“You are the last person that gets to make that sort of demand from me right now,” Kageyama retorts.
Feeling an immense satisfaction at his victory, Shouyou grips the door handle and makes to close it again.
“Okay, okay!” Kageyama yells, slamming a palm out against the door to stop Shouyou from closing it completely. “God, you are such a dumbass!”
Shouyou raises an eyebrow, expectant.
Kageyama glowers down at him for a moment, then groans and looks away. Shouyou can see dark red blotches staining his cheeks.
“Ugh,” he grunts, dropping his hand back down to his side. “It was easier to say when I couldn’t see you.”
“C’mon, Bakageyama,” Shouyou goads, a smile twitching at his lips. “You said you wanted to talk.”
“I cannot believe you’re doing this to me right now,” Kageyama mutters, glaring back at him.
“Well?” Shouyou says, leaning against his door frame.
With a sigh of defeat, Kageyama clenches his fists and looks him straight in the eye.
“You look cute in my sweater. Happy?”
Shouyou can feel his grin growing wider and wider.
“Yeah?” he says, taking a step closer to him. “Anything else you wanted to talk about?”
“How about the fact that you’re a dumbass ?”
But even with all the insults, Shouyou can’t stop smiling. It feels like they’re officially back to normal. Reaching out, he grabs Kageyama by the wrists and pulls him into his room. Completely caught off guard by this, Kageyama stumbles in with a surprised look on his face right before Shouyou shuts the door, plunging them into darkness.
Shouyou walks over to his desk and switches on the lamp on his shelf.
“You were saying lots of nice things before,” Shouyou says as he turns back to Kageyama. “You should keep going.”
“What — You stole my sweater!” Kageyama throws his hands up. He gestures to all of Shouyou. “And you’re sleeping in it! It’s your turn to talk!”
“Never mind the minor details,” Shouyou says waving a hand away. He crawls into his bed and pats at the space next to him. With a visible swallow, Kageyama follows suit.
“You like me,” Shouyou states, grinning as he watches Kageyama’s face get dark again. “I like you, too, Kageyama-kun.”
This seems to shock Kageyama momentarily out of embarrassment.
“You do?” he asks, his expression filled with wonder.
“Isn’t it obvious by now?” Shouyou tilts his head with a frown.
Kageyama shrugs. “I don’t know, I didn’t want to assume.”
“Well, I do,” Shouyou beams. “A lot. Have for a while now.”
Kageyama is looking down at his hands in his lap. Shouyou’s heart aches at the sight of it. No matter how genius of a volleyball player Kageyama is, it endears Shouyou to know he’ll always be a little stupid and awkward about these things.
Reaching out, Shouyou takes one of his hands in his and interlaces their fingers. Kageyama looks up at him, barely breathing.
“You wanna know why I stole your sweater, Kageyama?” he asks.
Kageyama narrows his eyes. “Is this a trick question?”
Shouyou laughs. “No trick! But if you wanted to know, it’s because I just… I didn’t think I’d ever be able to actually cuddle with you.”
Kageyama looks away, cheeks burning again.
“Stupid,” he mutters. “You could’ve just asked.”
Shouyou shakes his head. “Well now I know. But before, I didn’t want to risk it. If we ever stopped being friends for whatever reason, that would’ve been the worst.”
Kageyama strokes Shouyou’s hand with a thumb, mulling his words over.
“Well I guess it doesn’t matter now,” he mumbles, looking down at their intertwined hands.
“Nope, I guess it doesn’t,” Shouyou grins. He falls back onto his pillow, pulling Kageyama down next to him. Kageyama is warm and big around him as he drapes an arm over Shouyou’s shoulder. Wriggling closer, Shouyou plants his nose in Kageyama’s chest and lets out a contented sigh.
If Shouyou had thought sleeping in Kageyama’s sweater had been amazing before, it’s nothing now compared to this . With his arms wrapped around Kageyama’s torso, legs tangled in between his, and face buried in his warm chest, through which Shouyou can hear Kageyama’s nervous heart beating fast, the act of merely sleeping in his clothes is pretty awesome, but doesn’t even begin to come close to how amazing this feels.
“I’m sorry I avoided you all day,” Shouyou finally says into his shirt. “And for stealing your clothes.”
Kageyama snorts but brings a hand up to run his fingers through Shouyou’s hair.
“You’re a dumbass, what else is new?”
“Mean, Kageyama!” Shouyou says, lifting his head up from his chest to stick his tongue out at him. “I’m apologizing, baka.”
Kageyama smiles. From the dim glow of the lamp behind them, Shouyou can see the steady darkening of his eyes.
“You can keep the sweater, dumbass,” he murmurs before leaning in and kissing him on the corner of his lips.
Shouyou blinks up at him, eyes wide with surprise. His skin buzzes with the ghostly impression of Kageyama’s mouth brushing against his and he can no longer rest until he feels more.
He had been wrong. Sleeping in Kageyama’s sweater, cuddling — they both fall away as he grabs Kageyama’s shirt and pulls him in for a deeper kiss. This is it. This is the most amazing feeling in the world. But if stealing his sweater is what it had taken to get here, then — well.
Being a thief just this one time? Totally worth every bit of it.