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rose petals and dark feathers

Chapter Text

 

 

In the far kingdom of Aoba Josai, in the midst of a garden of roses, loomed a darkly beautiful castle. Tall columns surrounded sharp walls, high edges and intricate windows, grim statues scowling at intruders and protecting the innocent. Stone towers with soft moss, and alluring details.

In the unmoving night, nothing could be heard except for the gentle breeze through dried leaves, the cold smell of rain and nature.

High in the castle stood a grand balcony, with a stone ledge, a single potted rose on it. The glassy doors to the room were opened, letting the cool midnight air in. Silky curtains were blown back by the wind, silently fluttering.

A lone, black figure jumped from tree to tree, unheard. Reaching the closed, dark gate, the silhouette jumped on one of the walls of the castle, unseen by the unmoving guards posted at the entrance. A distant whirring sound was heard and with a poof a string was released from the person's belt, attaching itself to a column near the fated balcony.

The person jumped from tower to tower, just a shadow through the night. Anyone who passed by would think it was merely a bird, for the silhouette's movements made it seem like it was soaring through the heavens.

The cloaked person landed on the stone ledge, the movement causing the rose to move a couple centimeters to the right. Jumping on the balcony noiselessly, the figure reached towards its belt. Gloved hands unsheathed a sharp, detailed dagger which shone innocently in the pale moonlight.

The assassin crept closer to the room, passing the fluttering curtains which almost seemed to dance to a secret song. The room was huge, with intricate gold designs on the walls. The person didn't inspect it any further. It had a job to do.

Approaching the huge bed, a pile of quilt came into view, slowly rising and falling.

 

The silhouette stood by the edge of the bed, simply staring down at its harmless target.

 

Aristocratic cheekbones and elegant nose, long eyelashes casting dark shadows on cheeks, plump rosy lips parted open. In the darkness of the room the sleeping person's hair looked a dark brown, its edges brushing the pillow with each inhale.

The assassin felt a weird coiling warmth around his heart, but he didn't wait to see what it was.

Raising the dagger over his head, the silhouette froze when the man below fluttered his eyes open. Not taking the time to admire the beautiful shimmering orb looking up at him, the assassin allowed himself to say “Goodbye.” before thrusting the dagger down.

The cloaked person stumbled backwards when the knife went straight through the other's body, now under him.

The previously asleep man lurched forwards, one hand clutching his abdomen as if feeling the object that should've been there.

No way. This man couldn't be his-

The assassin looked at the other, wide-eyed. That was the only reason the knife could've gone straight through without leaving a scratch.

The man on the bed turned towards him, pinning him with his glinting eyes. A slow smirk formed on his face.

“Well hello to you too, soulmate.”

The assassin jumped to his feet, backing away never once taking his eyes off the brunette. The other just looked at him bemusedly, a lazy smile playing on his lips. The man gracefully pulled the cover off his body, before standing up from the bed.

He was wearing a silky white shirt, with black pants with golden detailing.

'Surprisingly fancy, for a random noble' the silhouette thought, backing even further away, towards the balcony.

The other had an aura that demanded attention, an intimidating presence commanding obedience. He stood tall, looking down at the masked assassin with something glinting in his eyes. The smirk never once left his lips.

The silhouette moved backwards, before his behind hit the balcony's ledge. He made the mistake of looking behind him, before snapping his gaze forward once more. In front of him, standing very close might he add, the noble placed his arms on either of his sides, effectively trapping him in.

The brunette leaned in, and he could see the sparks of golden and dark brown in his eyes, illuminated by the lone moon. Thin eyebrows framed his face, giving him an aristocratic feel.

How can he look this good after waking up?

“What, not going to stay and chat?” the man asked, a teasing lilt in his voice.

The silhouette roughly pushed him away, pinning him to the floor, a dagger at his throat.

The man below didn't even look scared, as he raised an unimpressed eyebrow at him, his smirk still perfectly in place.

“Haven't you tried that already?”

How infuriating.

That wouldn't stop him from trying, though. He slashed his hand downwards, hoping and hoping that he had just somehow missed the other time.

Before his very eyes, the knife went clean through the other's body, and hit the stone floor with a clang.

He flung himself backwards, as if burned. Fumbling with his belt, the silhouette finally got it right and a string was released, attaching itself to a random nearby tower. Jumping right before slender fingers clasped around the air where he had been moments before.

Reaching the tower, he grabbed the stone wall looking behind him.

The noble stood on the edge of the balcony looking at him, a single rose his only companion. His hair moved softly in the wind, the white of his shirt a pale light in the lonely night. Even from where the silhouette was he could see the kindled, shining brown eyes.

A silent moment passed the both of them, only looking at each other, the moon their only witness.

The assassin remembered where he was, and he quickly snapped his belt towards the forest. A string was released, and just like that the shadow was gone, flying over the castle.

 

 

Rose petals were blown by the wind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Swinging from building to building, Kageyama Tobio made his way towards home base.

The wind brushed against his flushed face, courtesy of tiredness, of course. Of course. It had nothing to do with the charming noble who somehow looked beautiful even when having just woken up.

His supposed soulmate.

No way. Tobio refused to believe that.

Reaching an unassuming dingy building, the assassin landed silently behind a corner, in a dark run-down alley. Checking that the coast was clear, the dark-haired man undid his mask, letting it fall at the base of his neck. Approaching a timber door, he raised his hand and knocked twice one long another short, made a pause, then one short knock one long two short, another pause, one long knock, one short and two long. That was the secret code that let the others know it was a person from the guild.

The door opened with a slight creak, and Tobio entered.

It was a large room, with rows of shelves pushed on the walls, a desk was pushed to the right, the closest to the door, with a lamp and chest on it. Spices and condiments were stacked around, multiple baskets displaying the colorful pieces in front of the entrance. The smell floating around was oriental, mainly spicy covering the others.

This was their cover story, to the unassuming eye this was the Karasuno Spice Shop, famous for their oregano and their sriracha powder. But during the night, they were the Crows, reknown assassins who killed the worst of people. They were characterized by their rapid movements and equipment that made them look like they were flying, compared to The Cats who darted through the streets, knowing every nook and cranny. On the back of their dark rust-colored capes were black crows, wings spread.

In front of him stood their leader, Sawamura Daichi, a man with short brown hair, round eyes and a fatherly face. He was smiling, looking at Kageyama expectantly.

The shop was otherwise empty, the rest of them probably in the back room where all the guild stuff was actually happening.

The two men walked towards the back of the room, where a door was. To anyone else, it was probably just the place where everything was stored. Opening the doors, they climbed up the stairs in the hallway there (where boxes were stacked onto each other, in case someone actually came in, they could say upstairs were their sleeping quarters), and opened the old trap door.

Upstairs was where the real magic happened. It was a huge circular room, with wooden walls and pillars to hold the ceiling up. A window led to the roof, now open to let the cool breeze in. Futons were pushed to the far wall, colorful quilts strewn all around. On the walls were pinned posters of wanted criminals they hadn't caught yet. Multiple green plants were pushed to the corners, some even hanging from the ceiling, courtesy of Sugawara Koushi who was fond of nature and repeatedly told them they needed oxygen. Warm, comforting light was glowing from the multiple candles and gas lamps. A table was in the middle of the room, pillows placed all around it for them to sit on. On those pillows stood multiple people.

The closest one to the door was Sugawara Koushi, a silver-haired man with golden eyes, a tiny mole under his left one, and a smile that reminded Kageyama of home and sunny days. He was the so-called 'mom' of the group, always checking that everyone was equipped adequately and scolding them if they got themselves in danger. Well, as dangerous as going after wanted criminals could be.

Him and Daichi were soulmates, always encouraging the others to make a life of their own outside of the guild.

The one on his right was a short, orange-haired man who liked expressing his emotions through shouts. Hinata Shouyou. Kageyama remembered how at first he couldn't stand the other, but over the years he warmed up to him, and together they made an amazing team, having synchronized attacks and fast movements.

Other than that, there was also Yamaguchi Tadashi, a dark brown, almost green tinted, haired man with freckles scattered across his nose. He was talking to an intimidating-looking, long-haired man, Azumane Asahi, who in reality had a big heart and was nice to almost everyone. (he could be scary to his enemies though).

A loud screech ended his train of thoughts.

"KAGEYAMAAAAAA"

Turning around, he glared at the shortie then plopped himself onto one of the pillows around the table.

Ignoring the expectant looks on the others' faces, (he was only delaying the inevitable) Tobio glanced around the room once again, saying "Where are the rest of them?"

He undid his cape, and untied the front of his vest. It was too hot for his suit.

Sugawara answered "Yachi and Kiyoko have gone to get the new cumin, Tanaka and Nishinoya haven't come back from their mission yet, and Tsukishima has just left for his own case on that dark, wild-haired noble."

Tobio nodded and an awkward silence fell.

Daichi cleared his throat uncomfortably, then said "So, how was your mission?"

Ah, heck.

Kageyama fiddled with the strings of his left cuff, eyes not moving from their spot on the floor.

"It wasn't good. I didn't manage to kill the man. I missed when I threw, then I left before he could call the guards."

It wasn't techincally a lie. He did miss. Definitely. Twice.

The others had shocked looks on their faces, then Hinata, being the dumbass that he was, spluttered and said "You? Miss?"

Kageyama slapped him on the back of his head, before mumbling "Hinata boke, I can miss too, you know?"

Sugawara smiled, patting him lightly on the shoulder, and said brightly "No matter! You'll get him another time! It's good you got out of there before the guards were alerted."

The dark-haired man nodded, then fell silent.

The others continued talking, Hinata going on about a man with pudding hair (or something like that) he had met in the plaza that day.

Sugawara glanced at him, then got close to him and whispered "Are you okay?"

Kageyama gave a sound of affirmation.

The other gave him a once-over.

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah."



Yes, everything was just dandy.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



The next morning came quickly. At some point during the night Tsukishima returned grumbling about Cheshire cats and quote 'his hair looks like he just fucking woke up, he's supposed to be a noble, what a fucker', then proceeded to tell them that he didn't manage to complete his mission for the target had been awake when he had arrived. Then Tanaka and Nishinoya returned, at least them bearing good news. And of course that meant delving into a very detailed story of their doings, with sound effects to go.

They only stopped when the blonde assassin turned around in his bed then told them to go to bed in a very deadly low voice, that was scarier than when he screamed.

Kageyama mentally thanked him, but he would never admit it.

He woke up to pleasant sunlight coming through the window, and an empty room, all candles extinguished.

Yawning, Tobio changed into his day outfit which consisted of a rust-colored t-shirt, cuffed brown pants and black boots. All of them wore the same clothing, for that was the shop's uniform.

And Suga took his day job seriously.

He went downstairs, and opened the door to the shop, a pleasant smell of condiments hitting him. The others were at random spots in the room, fiddling with the goods. The people present were Sugawara, Daichi, Tsukishima, Yamaguchi and Asahi.

He bid them good morning, then grabbed the piece of bread with cheese offered to him by a smiling Suga.

Customers were already present in the shop, looking at herbs and inspecting spices. Yamaguchi was helping a woman with a young girl who looked fascinated by all the colorful powders, Daichi was making small-talk with the old man who came every day, and Tsukishima was cleaning his glasses in the corner.

Kageyama sat down near the front desk, awaiting instructions.

The bell at the entrance jingled, and he snapped his gaze up to see who it was.

It was a man he had never seen before, dressed way too fancily to be a commoner. He had black pants and boots, and a red silk-looking, button-up shirt, a black cane with a golden handle grasped in one gloved hand. It wasn't his clothing that was the most bizarre, though. No, it was probably his face, or his hair. The man had high aristocratic cheekbones, a long thin nose, dark slanted eyes which had a glint in them Kageyama couldn't identify, and thin lips pulled back in an amused smirk. His hair was atrocious. It was a black mop of spiky hair, half of it covering his right eye.

This man was definitely not from around here.

He heard a noise from behind him, and turned around just in time to see Tsukishima darting through the back door.

Huh, is he feeling sick?

Well, whatever.

Shrugging, he turned around. The weird-looking man from before was scanning the room, eyes curious. What was he looking for?

Kageyama stood up. No matter how bizarre the other looked he was still a customer, and Kageyama still had a job to do.

Approaching the man, he said politely "Welcome, can I help you with anything?"

The other smiled at him, then replied "Yes. Do you have anything salty around here?"

He furrowed his brows. Huh, did they have anything like that? Ah, yes they did!

He led the strange man to where the herbs were. After buying a huge amount of them and casting one last searching look around their shop, the strange man smirked almost as if he knew something they didn't then left.

The rest of the day nothing out of the ordinary happened. It was at noon though, that Hinata burst through the front door panting heavily and red-faced.

"The King has ordered everyone to gather in the Central Plaza! He apparently has to say something to us regarding his soulmate!"

Kageyama furrowed his brows.

The King? He hadn't ever seen him, but he supposed he was a good ruler, considering he maintained peace and listened to his subjects before making a decision. The people loved him.

Well, anyways. They'll see what this whole soulmate shenanigan was then return to their shop.

Standing up, Tobio's mind flew back to the man on the balcony. His heart (for whatever unknown reason) started beating faster and his palms went clammy.

'No, that wasn't my soulmate.' he thought, trying to ignore the weird bitter feeling present in his stomach at that.



Opening the door, he was hit by the onslaught of noise.

 

“Silk! Silk and clothes and jewellery straight from the kingdom of Fukurodani!”

“Such a fine blade this is...”

“Are you hustling me old man?”

Pearls! Pearls for your lovely lady!”

“Have a look! Have a look!”

 

Yes, the kingdom of Aoba Jousai was bustling with the widest variety of people. Jingles and fluttering and scattering. Explosions of blue and red smoke, patterned clothes everywhere. They walked through the bustling crowd, Sugawara having to hold Hinata close as to not let him escape and marvel at anything he saw. Stands left and right, the kingdom was colorful and lively compared to the pleasant silence and empty streets, only housing drunken stragglers returning from a late night out, during when the moon was high and the sky was dark.

The Central Plaza was a marvelous place, with a round fountain in the center, and houses surrounding it. Thousands of people could fit, and yet when the Karasuno gang arrived there they were forced to sit at the end of the crowd, farthest from the wooden stage. Kageyama didn't particularly mind. He could go back to the shop anytime he wanted, but there would be no customers so it would be useless.They would see what all this was about, then return. Easy peasy.

But of course, Hinata and Nishinoya, being as short as they were, were sulking trying to glance over the crowd.

Brushing it off, Tobio leaned against a wall, then fixed a tile with his gaze, drowning the rest of the world out. He sat like that for about five more minutes, before the crowd started screaming and cheering, and looking around at the ladies and gentlemen who had flirty looks (which, Kageyama thought, didn't look particularly inviting. Well, what did he know about romance anyway?) he knew that the king had arrived.

His eyes returned to the tile. 'Well', he mentally sighed, 'let's get this over with.'

After a little time, he was brought back out of his daze by Sugawara who elbowed him and whispered “I saw you weren't paying attention. Well, the King said that he's going to go around the crowd making people make a cut on his arm, to see if they were his soulmate. He has a healer with him, anyway.”

Around the crowd? That'll take forever. There's no way he's going to finish today.

He proceeded to tell the other so.

Sugawara shrugged, then said “He'll be around tomorrow to get the rest of us.”

Tobio replied with “Maybe his soulmate isn't even from this kingdom, hasn't he thought about that?”

He wasn't really awaiting a response.

Then he returned to his thoughts. Well, he'd cut a random guy's arm then leave. All's well and ends well.

The people near him were getting more restless, even bumping into him. He glared at everything and everyone. Then he heard something.

“How do I look? How do I look??!!” came a nervous voice from his right.

 

Wait, was the King beginning with the people in the back?

That made literally no sense.

Well, what can you do?

He glanced up, trying to see who the King was. Though what he saw made him freeze. It was the man from the balcony!

Wait, that meant he was close to the King! Fuck, fuck, fuck!

 

Glancing over the others' heads, he saw a group of five walking through the crowd. Three of them were holding swords, in case the crowd got violent. Not as in they'd try to kill the King. No, everyone loved the ruler. They'd probably jump on him to smother him in kisses or something. Kageyama had heard that the King was charming and handsome (though, he thought, it was probably nothing compared to the man on the balcony)

The man from the balcony was one of the two people without swords. Next to him was an intimidating looking man with spiky dark hair and focused eyes. So this was the King everyone was so enamored with?

'I guess he's kind of handsome.' Tobio thought, looking at the spiky haired man.

Snapping his eyes back to the man he had seen last night, he saw that the group was rapidly approaching. Kageyama turned around sharply, hiding his face from view.

It was a very small possibility that he would be recognized, considering during his mission he had half of his face covered and his cloak on. But still, just to be safe, he ducked in a nearby alley, and started running towards the spice shop.



He didn't notice a pair of curious brown eyes on his retreating figure.









 









Chapter Text



 

The bells above the door jingled loudly, as Tobio slammed it shut breathing heavily.

Better safe than sorry. I'll stay here until all this blows off, and the king and that man go back to the castle.

Brushing his bangs out of his eyes, the man exhaled loudly before plopping on a colorful pillow on the floor.

Just wait it out.

He leaned against the wall, looking at the wanted criminals posters. He might have missed the last time, but at the next opportunity he wouldn't.

Though, thinking back, the case regarding the man on the balcony had been more peculiar than the rest. For the first time ever, someone had purposefully sought them out with a request. The cloaked figure had approached Daichi, and told him about all the bad things a man had done, and offered him a bag of gold, asking him to kill that man. Daichi had refused the money (they didn't do it for the riches), but asked the cloaked man where he could find the target. He had gotten the room where the man stayed, not surprisingly a noble, for he was living in the castle.

Looking back, Kageyama realized how gullible they were. Surely they didn't automatically trust a man who had only approached them just then, his face hidden, and who requested to kill the person staying in a room. He hadn't even offered a description of the target! Only the place where he could be found!

For God's sake, his exact words had been ' Kill the man living in the room with the highest balcony in the castle '!

Tobio facepalmed. How could they have been so stupid?

And, Tobio realized in horror, what if the man had been innocent?

If the man on the balcony wasn't his soulmate he hadn't missed, that guy would be dead by now!

He had to talk this over with the others, and if it was proved that the man was indeed unfairly accused he'd have to go and apologize. It would definitely hurt his pride, but he was certain of this. He might be a killer, but he did not kill innocent people.

His gaze fixed on the front desk where a fly was buzzing, he saw something out of the corner of his eyes. He slowly rose to his feet, ducking behind a pillar, and out of view from the shop window.

He carefully looked around it, and his heart jumped in his throat when he saw the familiar face. It was the man on the balcony, dressed in a light blue, almost teal shirt, the top tied with a thin string. He had dark brown pants, with black boots, and, Tobio furrowed his eyebrows at that, a long red cape with white fur lining.

' This man was close enough to the King to get a cape himself?? Well, good thing I missed then .' Kageyama thought, his eyes not once leaving the other.

His heart beat loudly in his chest as the man stopped his walk on the street, his head slowly turning around towards the Karasuno spice shop.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Tobio violently retracted his head, making sure his whole body was out of view.

He felt as if a whole cauldron of ice cold water was dumped on him when he heard the familiar jingle of the bells above the entrance. His hands were clammy, and he nervously gulped.

The wooden floorboards creaked loudly as the man took a single step inside.

Tobio didn't like not knowing what was happening, his heart was in his throat by now.

He heard the man take another step, probably towards the front desk.

The atmosphere was tense with electricity, and Tobio feared that if he moved he'd be burned. He wondered if the other felt it too.

"Weird, i could've sworn he was heading this way..." he heard the low voice of the other mutter.

(he ignored the shivers running down his spine)

"Or is he here, but hiding?" the other said louder, a hint of amusement in his voice.

Tobio grit his teeth, but held it in. The man had to leave at one point, when he saw that he wasn't here.

His prayers were answered, as he heard the bell jingle and the door close softly. He stayed in his place for three more minutes before he risked a look around. The shop was empty, and the tense atmosphere was gone.

He sighed in relief. He'd apologize tonight, then never have to talk with that guy again.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



About half an hour later the others arrived, Hinata complaining loudly about how he hadn't seen Kenma in the crowd, and Tsukishima and Yamaguchi nowhere to be seen. He opened his mouth to tell them his doubts, but closed it when he saw multiple customers piling in. He discreetly shook his head at Sugawara's questioning look, mouthing a ' later '.

The afternoon was spent normally, with people of all races and cultured walking inside. Kageyama liked observing how different people acted, and how they dealt with problems.

He was just examining a person with crazy, curly blue hair who was looking interestedly at a pot which was not for sale, when the door opened again. He slowly raised his gaze, and was met with the sight of the wild-haired man from before. The one with the Cheshire smile.

Said man was looking around searchingly, and looked almost disappointed (if he a problem with the shop Kageyama would gladly show him outside with a more than nice kick to the back) before his slanted eyes landed on Tobio. A smirk curled his lips, and he approached the front desk where he was currently leaning.

Tobio cleared his throat, then put on his best you're-a-customer-but-you're-very-suspicious smile, which he had been told looked mildly frightening.

The other's smirk only widened at that.

"Can I help you, sir?" Kageyama said, trying to keep his voice steady.

"Why, yes you can. Earlier this day, you wouldn't have happened to see a man wearing a blue shirt enter the shop, would you?"

Tobio narrowed his eyes at that.

"You'll have to be more specific than that, we get plenty of customers. At around what time?"

"When the King was doing his search in the Plaza." the other said, and Kageyama found himself pinned to the spot by the other's searching gaze.

He cleared his throat, then said "No. No, I didn't. Everyone was in the Plaza anyway."

"Everyone but you, am I wrong?"

He sent the other his best still-decent-but-you're-starting-to-get-on-my-nerves glare, before saying truthfully "No, I left early. Now if you wouldn't mind, I'd prefer if you bought something or left, you're holding up the line."

The other smiled, almost smugly as if he knes something Tobio didn't, before turning around and leaving, not after one last glance around the shop.

What a weird man.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



When the sun had finally gone down and the last customer left, they all went upstairs, talking loudly and exchanging jokes. The day might've ended, but their night job had only just begun.

Before anyone could leave (he saw Kiyoko already lacing up her black boots) Tobio cleared his throat loudly, everyone looking at him standing awkwardly near the table in the center. He gestured at them to come closer, and when they did he opened his mouth and said "Today, I was thinking about my case regarding the man on the balcony."

The others looked surprised at that, for he wasn't one to think back on his mistakes.

"We got information on that from the cloaked figure, right?"

They nodded, still looking at him confusedly.

"W-Well, don't you think we were a little dumb?!" he said, his eyes now on the floor, awaiting insults. It had happened before. (not with The Crows, but he couldn't take any chances)

A calming voice spoke up, "What do you mean, Kageyama?"

It was Sugawara.

"I mean, we trusted what that man we didn't know said. He had only given us the place where the target would be. What if we had been lied to? What if the target was innocent? Or maybe that man wasn't even the actual person we were supposed to kill? Maybe he was a lover spending the night in the other's room! If I hadn't missed there would've been the possibility that I'd have killed an innocent person!"

He was breathing heavily by the end of his outburst. What had come over him? He was never one for many words!

He winced a little when Daichi opened his mouth.

"You're right."

He looked up at that, surprised.

"We were unbelievably dumb and naive. Furthermore, I as the leader should've looked into the words deeper. We have sworn not to kill innocent people, and now if it wasn't for you missing who knows what would have happened. I'm sorry, Kageyama."

Kageyama was alarmed at that, looking up at a dejected Daichi.

"It doesn't matter now!" Suga said, one hand around Daichi and with a determined look on his face, "We'll look into this guy and see if he was a bad person, and if he wasn't then we'll leave him alone. From now on we only accept cases that we've found, alright?"

Everyone nodded, agreeing.

It would not do to make this mistake again.

Hinata turned to look at him, "Hey, Bakageyama, you never actually told us what the man looked like!"

Shooting the shortie a glare at the nickname, Tobio looked at the curious looks everyone had on their faces. Even Tsukishima looked up from where he was putting on his boots.

"Well, he was a bit taller than me from what I could see. He had brown hair and brown eyes, I think. I'm not sure it was hard to tell in the moonlight."

He didn't tell them that it had been the man walking near the King in the crowd. It didn't matter.

"Wait, did he have hair like this?" Yamaguchi spoke up for the first time that night, gesturing with his hands to the outside of his head.

Kageyama nodded. Yeah, that looked pretty close.

Daichi looked frozen at that. He slowly turned around to look at Tobio.

"Kageyama... You know what the King looks like, right?"

"Well, yeah. I mean wasn't he that man with the spiky dark brown hair from the crowd?"

They all looked absolutely horrified at that, except for Tsukishima who was laughing.

"You mean to tell me," the blonde started a smirk playing on his lips, "you don't know your fellow King?"

Tobio furrowed his eyebrows. Yes, he was called The King Of The Crows, but what did that have to do with anything?

Tsukishima's smile widened, looking positively delighted, while the others were still in various stages of shock.

"No, you ignorant fool. The King was the man near him, wearing the blue shirt."

No way.

No fricking way.

His mouth was open, his mind running faster than he could comprehend.

"Kageyama, was the man you were supposed to kill..." Suga started slowly, "Was he the King?"

He was gaping like a fish, mouth opening and closing unable to respond, so he just nodded his head.

The others had unreadable faces.

After a while Asahi spoke up, "Well, it was a good thing you missed then! And now we know he isn't a bad person. I mean, you had your face covered the entire time, right? There's no reason for us to meet him again."

Everyone looked relieved at that, silently agreeing. Kageyama had a lump in his throat.

So he wouldn't be talking to the man again?

He didn't know how to feel about that.

After a while, the rest of them dispersed, each heading on their own mission, except for Daichi, Kageyama and Tsukishima, who had stayed behind a little.

Daichi showed Tobio another wanted poster, telling him all the information he needed to know, and telling him good luck before flying into the night himself.

Tsukishima was finishing putting his mask, his contacts already on. He was grumbling something about his case, almost as if he was annoyed before he had even started.

He shot Kageyama a look before turning around and saying "Hope my target isn't awake tonight too." and jumping out the window silently.

Alone now, he tied his cloak securely, making sure his belt was fully stocked before leaping into the cool breeze himself. Even though Daichi had told him there was no reason to talk with the king (Tobio shuddered at that) he still wanted to apologize.

But before he could say anything to the man he had to kill this fucker first.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~



After an hour later (the target had been extremely annoying, running away once he had seen the wings on the back of his cloak, and leaving Kageyama to chase him, it hadn't even been an interesting chase for god's sake), the dark-haired assassin leapt from tree to tree, approaching the massive building.

Glancing at the guards carefully, he flew over them, no more than a mere shadow in the night. He was suspicious at that. Surely if the King had almost been killed there would've been more guards around?

Shrugging it off, he jumped silently from tower to tower, slowly coming closer to the looming balcony. He had just passed a tall column when he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. Stopping and standing still on the roof, Kageyama looked down closely.

It was a desolate garden, with grey stone statues and surrounded by the castle walls. Swirling vines climbed up the columns, and frozen gargoyles snarled at intruders. There was dark grass where the steps met the earth, and the only burst of color present was from the roses. Multiple of these delicate flowers were standing around the secret garden, dancing in the wind. On the far front, the farthest from where Tobio was, was a ledge where empty hills could be seen, a tiny lake reflected the moonlight.

A single figure was sitting on a stone bench, looking at the stars, its back turned towards Kageyama.

The assassin felt his heart skip a beat once he saw the familiar blue of the shirt and the brown of the hair.

It was the man on the balcony.



 





 



 







Chapter Text



 

The wind blew softly, sending dried leaves scattering across the cold stone. The moon cast the two silhouettes in a pale light. The figure on the roof gazed at the man on the bench. He made sure his mask and cloak were in place.

Looking around closely, Kageyama deemed it safe to leave his place high up. Jumping off of it silently, he landed ten meters behind the man. Staying in his crouched position, he gazed around once more. No guards were in sight.

He froze when the man on the bench stood up, and started walking towards the farthest place, where a lake was with a stone ledge, almost like a balcony, looking over empty hills.

He stayed unmoving in his position, watching as the King (!!) placed his hands on the ledge.

"I know you're there." came a clear voice, almost amused.

Kageyama tensed, taking a slow step back, ready to bolt if it came to that.

A smooth chuckle broke the frozen silence.

Narrowing his eyes at that, Tobio approached the ledge as well, keeping about five meters between him and the other. He wouldn't be laughed at!

He turned around, resting his back on the cold stone, hands grasping it tightly, feigning nonchalance.

(he ignored the amused huff that came from the man)

Feeling something burning in his side, Tobio turned around only to meet gazes with the other. Dark blue and brown clashed, not in a fight, but in a dance of colors, each one trying to figure out the other. The man had a glint in his eyes, and looked smug, a smirk pulling at his lips.

Kageyama narrowed his eyes, not liking the look the other gave him. It almost seemed like he thought of himself as superior. ( he was considering, he was the king )

A moment passed, the silence of the night enveloping them both. Their eyes never left one another.

The man's beautiful brown eyes slowly turned burning, a fire igniting in them. Kageyama coughed at that and broke their visual contact.

"Oikawa Tooru, but you should've already known that." the man said, an amused lilt in his voice.

Tobio grunted. It's not his fault he never saw the king.

He could still feel the scorching gaze in his side, and he made up his mind. What was he doing, conversing with this man like this?

Just apologize and get out of here!



He cleared his throat, then making his voice deeper, he spoke through the hot fabric of his mask, "I came to apologize."

The man, Oikawa, turned fully towards him, one hand leaning on the ledge, an amused expression on his face.

He quirked a thin eyebrow.

"Oh?"

Tobio huffed uncomfortably (he wasn't used to saying sorry), then said, "You weren't supposed to be my target, we got it wrong. You're lucky I missed."

There. He turned around, ready to leave.

An icy chuckle froze him to the spot. It wasn't a nice laugh, it was one who forced you to remain in your spot.

"' Missed '?" came the arctic voice of the other, causing a shudder to go down Kageyama's spine. It was mocking, bitterly amused.



He faced the other, but didn't meet the gaze he could feel. He nodded silently.

"That's funny," came an amused huff, that didn't sound amused at all, "I could've sworn I saw that dagger go through my chest."

"You saw wrong." Kageyama snapped, getting increasingly more annoyed with each second.

"Did I?"

Tobio froze when the man took a step towards him, and the temperature plummeted.

"Tell me, soulmate ," he spat the word out as if it was a weapon used to attack Kageyama, "Who are you?"

"That's none of your business, my King ." he said through gritted teeth, equally as vicious.

The gaze hardened, as sharp as the dagger Tobio held at his belt.

Then, suddenly, as soon as it appeared it left.

Oikawa remained in his spot, but the atmosphere was less tense. Kageyama risked a look at the other's handsome face. He seemed amused now, his eyes glinting playfully, almost like a child who knew he held the game in the palm of his hand. Tobio's head spun at the sudden change of behavior.

"Alright. I'll find out either way. I enjoy a good chase every once in a while." he said, a smile on his face, as innocent as a lion.

Tobio fixed the other with his best glare. He didn't flinch.

"There will be no ' chase '. And you won't find out anything, so you can stop now." he said as spitefully as he could.

The man raised his hands up in mock surrender, then replied in a sing-song voice, "Of course.". Kageyama didn't trust the other's words. He didn't know why the other was suddenly interested in him, but he could tell that Oikawa Tooru wasn't one to give up so easily.

He rolled his eyes, before turning around to leave once and for all.

"Wait, at least tell me your name!" came the voice of the other. It didn't even sound desperate, more bored, as if this wasn't the last time they would be talking. Tobio didn't like it.

He jumped on the ledge, crouching down low ready to jump away.

He turned towards the other, taking in the way the other was leaning casually on the stone, an expectant look on his face, like he was sure Kageyama would tell him his name.

He scoffed, then decided to humor him.

"You know me as The King of the Crows."



Then the doors on the side of the garden burst open. His head snapped rapidly towards the sound, watching in horror as multiple guards piled in, swords drawn and bows clenched.

He watched in mild panic as people appeared on the towers, every one of them fixed on him.

Fuck. This had been a trap!

"Well, this has been fun, but I'm afraid this is where your journey ends." came the voice Kageyama was growing to hate with each moment.

The assassin glared incredulously at the King, who was watching his every move with smug eyes, a superior smile on his face. As if he thought he had won whatever game they were playing.



Well, fuck him!



He wasn't one to give up easily, and he wasn't part of one of the best assassin guilds around for nothing, dammit!

The guards were slowly closing in, hands grasped tightly around their hilts.

Oikawa spread his arms, almost in a welcoming manner.

"Come on, no need for all of this! Just come down from there, and we can all hang out together!" he said, an expectant smile on his face.

Ignoring the annoying person, he rapidly took in every person's position, mentally recording them all. Maybe he wasn't good at adding and subtracting, or knowing where every spice should be even after five years of working there. But when it came to assassin business he was a genius.

Not sparing the man another glance, he snapped his belt towards a tower where two archers had bows drawn. The string released with a whoosh , attaching itself centimeters away from one of the archer's head. He swung in that direction, swooping around the air gracefully.

He landed right next to a man who was looking disoriented. The man shakily turned his bow towards Kageyama.

The assassin wasn't afraid. He knew that if the King had wanted him dead he would've been by now. No, for whatever reason, he was wanted alive.

He turned around, fixed the King with a gaze (the bastard wasn't even looking surprised, boredly looking at him), then mockingly bowed, way too low to be respectful.

Turning around, he looked unimpressedly at the archer with his bow still drawn, then faced the distant forest where he had come from and flew off the roof.



If this was what the King meant he'd have to try harder than that.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Landing inside through the open roof window, he violently pulled off his cloak and mask.

That bastard was so annoying!

No way was he his soulmate! No fricking way!



He looked around the room. Almost everyone was asleep, with the exception of Tsukishima who was untying his boots and looking at him unimpressed.

"What's got your panties in a twist, King?" the blonde said.

"Shut up! Why are you here so early, anyway? Isn't your target really difficult to approach?" he snapped.

"That's none of your business!" Tsukishima replied, now looking positively annoyed.



Rolling his eyes, Tobio settled down in his bed, not before changing in his sleep clothes. As his eyes fluttered closed, in his mind swam the blurry image of a tall man with brown hair and a smug smile.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~



The next day Kageyama woke up to the sound of rapid shuffling around the room. Rubbing his eyes tiredly, he sat up glancing at the source of noise. It was Sugawara who was opening the windows and watering the multiple plants around the room.

The man shot him a smile, then said brightly, "Good morning, Kageyama! Nice day today!"

He grunted in response. He wasn't really a morning person.

Pulling the orange shirt over his head, he trudged down the creaky stairs and into the shop.

The windows were open, letting the breeze in, and cooling the stiff atmosphere. No customers were present yet, for it was bright and early.

He plopped at the table in the corner, and begrudgingly accepted the toasted bread offered to him by Yamaguchi. Munching on it, he absently listened to Hinata rambling about some guy named Kenma, and Tsukishima complaining.

He tuned into the conversation when the orange dumbass called his name.

"Kageyama, aren't you supposed to go to the Central Plaza for the King and his soulmate business? I mean you didn't do it yesterday, I saw you leave!"

Hitting him on the back of his head, he muttered lowly, "Shut up, dumbass."

He wasn't planning on going today anyway. He didn't want to stand there in a crowd full of people fawning over Oikawa Tooru . Pushing their chests out... And batting their eyelashes at him... Giggling stupidly and twirling their hair...

He clenched his bread tightly, knuckles white.

The door opened and the first customer of the day entered.

Sighing, he finished his meal. Let the day begin.







At around lunchtime Hinata and Kiyoko left to go on with their private business. After that Tanaka, Nishinoya and Asahi left too, leaving the rest of them to deal with the customers.

Kageyama was running around from person to person, panting heavily. It was a busy day. Tsukishima was breathing raggedly too, though refused to let it show, pushing his glasses up his nose.

The dark-haired man was tending to a mother who was searching for oregano for her salad, when the door opened and he could almost hear the intake of breath the people in the room took. He didn't look towards the entrance.

After two minutes of complete silence, the customers slowly resumed their conversations, albeit a little lower.

Kageyama ignored it, and gave the woman in front of him the spice. Bidding her goodbye, he returned to his seat at the front desk.

Only then did he look around.

Scanning the room he saw nothing different. Men, women, children, elderly people were all going about their way, looking at the racks on the walls and shuffling about. Then his gaze fell upon a far corner, near their breakfast table.

He could only see the wide back of a man dressed in a red coat, who looked to be talking to Tsukishima. Said blonde was looking more annoyed than ever, his mouth moving quickly. Tobio looked closely. Something about the man's wild black hair was familiar...



He jumped when someone behind him cleared their throat.

Mentally scolding himself for his lack of attention, he turned around a greeting on his lips.

The words died in his throat when he met gazes with familiar calculating, brown eyes.

"Oik-," he coughed loudly, "I m-mean, my King!"

Fuck! What the hell is he doing here?

The man in front of him looked at him curiously, something searching in his eyes.

"Hello, were you at the Plaza yesterday?" Oikawa said a polite smile on his lips.

Kageyama wasn't fooled by that smile. He knew that behind that nice front was a smug bastard, who believed he held the world in the palm of his hand. ( he did though )

Instead, he cleared his throat, then shakily said, "Y-yes, you already had me cut your hand. I was near the short, blonde lady."

He was spewing nonsense, of course.

The King nodded, but gave him a tight-lipped smile. He wasn't convinced. His burning brown eyes scanned Kageyama from top to bottom searchingly, an inquiring expression almost unnoticed behind his casual expression.

"What's your name?" Oikawa questioned.

Gritting his teeth, Kageyama rounded the desk and stood in front of the other.

"What can we help you with today, Your Majesty?"

Subtle, Kageyama, very subtle.

The man probably noticed the abrupt avoiding of the question. He had a glint in his eyes.

Congratulations, Kageyama. You probably made yourself even more suspicious.

Well, he couldn't tell him now . He had already changed the subject.

Sometimes your stupidity blows my mind.

Shut up, inner me.

The King didn't ask again. He revealed his sharp canines to Kageyama in a shining smile that no doubt had people falling at his feet. (Tobio most definitely did not think about how those teeth would feel on his neck)

"Well, what do you recommend?"

He was just leading the man towards the more popular spice racks, when the door slammed open, hitting the wall with a loud bang. In the entrance was Hinata panting heavily, one hand holding the door open.

The shortie looked around the room, and his eyes fell on Kageyama. A huge smile broke on his face. Tobio tried to tell Hinata through his eyes to look around. They weren't alone, and more importantly, there was a certain someone behind him.



No such luck.



"KAGEYAMAAAAAAAAAA" came the shout of the orange-haired man who was running across the shop, and launched himself at the dark-haired man.

Tobio stumbled back at the sudden weight, the shortie's hands on his shoulders and his legs wrapped around his waist. He clasped Hinata's hands in his own, looking at him searchingly.

"Oi, Hinata boke! What the hell's your problem!?"

Said man was buzzing with barely concealed happiness, a huge grin positively blinding Kageyama.

Someone cleared their throats behind him.

Tobio turned around, Hinata still attached to him like an octopus.

He froze. He forgot the King was here.



How the fuck do you forget The King is there?



The man had an unreadable look in his eyes, his smile looking slightly forced. The atmosphere shifted a little.

Hinata turned around to see what happened, and his mouth hung open at the sight of the man in front of him.

He quickly jumped off of Kageyama, brushed his clothes, and bowed a little, muttering a low, "my King".

Tobio looked at Oikawa. His eyes were icy, colder than the coldest of waters. The man nodded. He turned to look at Tobio, and his eyes warmed up slightly.

Maybe he was imagining things.

"Kageyama, then?" the man said, a natural smile now on his face.

Tobio huffed a little, but nodded.

He could feel Hinata buzzing on the spot with barely contained energy. He had something to tell Tobio.

Shifting his attention back towards the King, he didn't meet his eyes and said, "Would you please excuse us for a second." then turned around and gestured at Hinata towards a silent corner.

"I didn't say you could leave."

The atmosphere was icy cold again, chilling Kageyama to the bone. But he wasn't having it. Sure, this guy was the King and all, but he could wait five minutes.

Clenching his fists to stop from lashing out, he flashed Oikawa a sickly sweet smile that he had been told looked mildly disconcerting, before saying "It'll just be a minute, I'm sure Sugawara can take care of your request until then."

The conversation wasn't being paid any attention, for it was spoken in low voices so as to not attract other people.

He turned to leave again.

"Excuse me?"

Those two words were spoken calmly, as if one was simply asking about the weather.

The people still moved around them, not noticing the silent battle. It felt as if the brown eyes were gazing straight into his soul, unraveling all of his carefully built walls.

Then someone shifted between them.

It was Sugawara.

Thank God for him.

"Can I help you with anything, Your Majesty?" the silver-haired man said politely.

Kageyama took this opportunity to slip away, grabbing Hinata's forearm and heading towards an empty corner.

He got all up in the shortie's face, gritting out a "what."

Hinata shook off the threatening gaze the other had on him, then started rambling about his day and how he had been asked on a night's out by some random pudding-haired noble.

Even though he had heard the shortie ramble about this man thousands of times before, Kageyama still listened, offering snarky remarks at points. He was a good best friend after all.

Thirty minutes later Hinta finally stopped, allowing them to return to their respective jobs.

Kageyama returned to his spot at the front desk, having completely forgotten about the King.

He heard the bell above the door chime, and looked towards the entrance. There stood Oikawa Tooru in all his glory, the wild-haired man from before behind him, already outside. Now Kageyama remembered! The black-haired noble was the one who had asked him about his leaving from the Plaza!



Oh, wait. Fuck!

He knew that Kageyama had left early! And standing there near the King, he was no doubt a close friend of his!

He panickedly looked at the man, and saw that his slanted eyes were already on him. He smirked mockingly, and raised his hand, covering his mouth. He wouldn't tell. Still Tobio couldn't help but sweat nervously.



His attention was quickly back on Oikawa.

He was smiling cheekily, and he looked positively delighted. Kageyama narrowed his eyes at that. What the hell is he so happy about ?

Every single person in the shop had their eyes trained on him. He was practically a magnet, you couldn't be there and not look at him. Tobio saw two guys pop their chests out and giggle with red faces.

Tch .

The King raised his hand, and suddenly Tobio found himself pinned under the brown gaze.

His smile somehow widened.



"See you next time, Tobio-chan!"

Then the man was gone, the door closing behind him.

Kageyama's mouth hung open. He rounded up on Sugawara, an accusing look in his eyes. The man chuckled sheepishly, rubbing his neck.



Not only did the man know his full name now, he also used his given name without asking for permission!



What an asshole!



Then Tobio's stomach plummeted.



What did he mean by 'next time'?











Chapter Text



Kageyama swiped his sweaty forehead.

Dunking the old tattered rag in the bucket of ice cold water, he violently scrubbed at a dark spot in the floor, willing it to disappear.

After the King had left yesterday, Suga rounded up everyone and told them they had to do a thorough cleaning of the shop. It had been a long time since this had last happened, and the silver haired man was rudely reminded when the posh royals had come.

Thus, here they were the second day, the shop closed to customers, mops and buckets in hand.

He focused back on his work and glared at the stain, as if his gaze was scorching enough to remove it. All around him he could hear various noises: muttered curses from Tsukishima, loud cackles and thunks from Nishinoya,Tanaka and Hinata no doubt, faint humming from Yachi and Kiyoko.

He turned his head to the right, hearing Suga laugh. He was leaning on the front desk, wiping at it. To his right, Daichi was standing, bent at the middle, one hand offered in front of him and the other behind his back, as if offering the other a dance.

Kageyama could see the way Sugawara's eyes warmed up all the way from his spot on the other side of the room.

Something ugly reared its head within him, as he saw the two blush and exchange hushed whispers.

Tch. Soulmates.

He didn't want to think about how much he ached for that kind of connection to another person as well.

Sugwara took the other's hand and Daichi pulled him to his chest, both sporting huge smiles. The taller spun the other around, everyone's eyes now on them. Nishinoya laughed and grabbed Asahi's hand and they started twirling around the room too, to a secret music hidden in their gazes.

Soon enough everyone was dancing, stupidly pirouetting and giggling, Kageyama somehow roped into this too.

But he found he didn't mind.

It smelt like oregano and lost songs, the warmth enveloping them all like a hug from a dear friend. Tobio found himself laughing along too, spinning around the room, going from one person to another, hands grasping at each other. Even Tsukishima was dancing. They all somehow settled in the same dance, twirling around a person, then changing to the next, all in a whirl of colors and glinting eyes.



In all the commotion no one noticed the door opening, or heard the silent ching of the bell.



Kageyama reached the end of the line, where he'd go around and start back from the top. The last person in the row was Hinata, who grabbed his hand and spun him around, Tobio having to bend down because of his short height. The orange-haired man let go of his hand, and Tobio still moved, about to turn to the left to go back to the start.

He closed his eyes and let his feet move to a hidden melody that spoke of distant hills and secret gardens.



His back hit a warm, soft thing.

Something clasped around his wrist.

The scent of forests and roses invaded his nose.



His eyes shot open, and he turned around to catch a glimpse of who it was that caught him like this.

His gaze slowly went over the man's (probably) chest, having to tilt his head upwards to see his face.



And once he did, he froze completely, the sound of laughter fading away until the only thing he could hear was his heart beat loudly in his ears, and the sharp inhale he took.



Standing right in front of him was none other than the King of Aoba Jousai, wearing an amused smile on his face, his eyes, for whatever mysterious reason, looking warmer than usual.

Tobio slowly took in the other's appearance. Today, Oikawa was wearing black boots with dark pants, a white shirt that had a deep cleavage and showed plenty of his pale chest (Kageyama quickly averted his eyes), a blood red coat secured comfortably around his shoulders. On top of his head of fluffy, soft-looking brown hair sat a golden crown, its edges sharp and deadly.



Realizing he'd been staring like a blabbering fool, Tobio quickly ripped his hands out of the other's grip and stumbled backwards, his leg barely missing an abandoned bucket of water on the floor.

Every sense came back at once, and suddenly he could hear the singing of his friends and smell the redolent scent of the spices around them.

The sounds abruptly stopped, the others having no doubt noticed the imposing presence now in the room with them. Someone coughed loudly behind him.



The familiar amused voice spoke up.



"Nice dancing."

It was so silent you could hear a pin drop. And then suddenly everyone sprung into action, gathering the buckets on the floor, and stashing mops in closets. Suga stopped near Tobio, looking at the tall man.

"I'm sorry you had to see that, my King. You see, we were cleaning and..." he trailed off unsurely. Kageyama took a what he hoped was discreet step back. "What can we help you with today?"

"It's no problem at all! I, myself, quite enjoy some dancing every once in a while." the smooth voice said.



Tobio took another step back, behind Sugawara, slowly inching further and further away from the conversation. Once he deemed it far enough, he spun around quickly, and took a step towards where the others were, talking and trying to appear nonchalant to the intimidating man there.



Just a little mo-



"In fact, I'm here today to talk with Tobio-chan."

Said man whipped his head around so fast, he momentarily saw black. Suga looked equally as shocked.

"Oh? Alright, then... I'll be back there, if you need anything don't hesitate to call me."

Tobio watched in horror as the silver-haired walked past him, patting his shoulder when he reached him. Slowly, he gulped, and looked back towards the waiting man.

Oikawa wasn't looking at him, instead inspecting the colorful racks as if this was his first time here.

Kageyama grit his teeth, and started making his way to where the King was.

'No need to lose your cool, he won't be arrogant. Surely, that time was a one-time thing. You can do this, just don't get angry and he'll soon leave anyway.' Tobio mentally told himself, fists tightly clenched.



Stopping in front of the man, several feet away, maintaining a safe distance, he patted down his dusty apron and cleared his throat.

"You wanted to talk to me?" he said, then added as an after thought, "Your Majesty."



"My, my. Not just talk to you, but rather hold a conversation. You know, in which both parties parttake."



He clenched his hands, knuckles turning white. The man still wasn't looking at him.



"Alright." it took everything Tobio had in him to keep his voice leveled, "What can I help you with?"



Those eyes turned towards him, the sharp brown pinning him to his spot. They were dark and deep, and they were cloaked carefully, not allowing anything to pass through.



"I saw you and your acquaintances dancing earlier."



Acquaintances??



"Yes, and what about it?"



"Well, I couldn't help but be entranced by the way everyone moved." Even though Oikawa was talking about everybody, Tobio somehow had the feeling he was actually referring to one person in particular.

"So," the man reached into his chest pocket, bringing out a white envelope, "I wanted to give you this."

Kageyama slowly grabbed the offered item, careful not to brush his fingers against the other's. (he was scared burns would appear where the man's hand had been previously clasped around his wrist)



He furrowed his brows. He glanced up at the man questioningly, but the other had already averted his eyes again.

He slowly undid the royal seal, and brought out a white paper.



Were they arrested or something?



He wasn't particularly fond of reading, but he could appreciate good writing when he came across it. And the one present on this paper was beautiful, with looping curls and sharp edges.



Don't just admire the writing, read it!



Focusing back, his eyes slowly trailed down the paper.





You have been requested to make an appearance at the Royal Masquerade Ball, hosted by His Majesty, King Oikawa Tooru. It will be happening at the Royal Palace, three days from when the moon is at its lowest. You are required to wear a mask. At the entrance, please provide the guards this letter as proof you have been invited. Thank you, and have a pleasant morning/day/evening!





'make an appearance'? So, have a show prepared? But he didn't know how to play any instruments, nor dance in any way! What did that mean?

And 'three days from when the moon is at its lowest'? That would be... Two days from now! How is he supposed to get a show together by that time??!!

He looked at the other disbelievingly.

"How am I supposed to learn a dance, or how to play an instrument by the day after tomorrow??!" Tobio said incredulously, his eyes pinned on the other's aristocratic features.



The man looked surprised, his eyes moving towards his face.



"Excuse me?"



He was The King but he couldn't just demand anything from anyone and expect it to be delivered no questions asked. ( he could )



"You barge in here, while the shop is clearly closed," Tobio started, shoulders shaking with strained anger, "Thinking you can just prance around making ridiculous requests such as this one!" he forcefully shoved the paper towards the other's chest, "Well, I say no! I am not able to put together a show in two days for your mere entertainment!"

 

Laughter.

Loud, hearty laughter, unbefitting of a King but more specific to a drunken person on a night at the pub.

Kageyama risked a look, and did a double-take when he found out that it was , in fact, the King who had started cackling like a maniac.

Is he... crazy?

The man looked like he was trying to catch his breath, but then his eyes met Tobio's questioning ones and he cracked up again.

Tobio stood there awkwardly, wondering if he should get him a glass of water. He shakily raised a hand and bunglingly patted the bent man's shoulder.

“Uhm... There... There...” he said uncomfortably.

Then, just as soon as it had come, the laughter abruptly ceased and in a mere second Kageyama found himself pressed to a firm chest. Huh.

His nose was almost pressed to the man's front and his hand were awkwardly placed in front of him, the only thing separating their two bodies. A warm arm snaked around his waist.

This brought back flashbacks of rose petals and secret moonlight.

He craned his neck upwards a little, to look at the man. His body was humming pleasantly where he was in contact with the other, and something warm settled around his heart comfortably. This felt nice and... safe...

The other had an unreadable look on his face, his eyes boring down into his own blue ones searchingly. Tobio broke their visual contact. Whenever he met gazes with Oikawa he felt as if the man could see straight into his soul, simply passing all his carefully built walls without any problem.

He unsteadily took a step back, out of the King's weird embrace. He slid out of there easily, the brown-haired man having an unfocused, faraway look in his eyes, his arms falling limp at his side.

The warm thing was ripped violently from Kageyama's heart, leaving in its wake a cold and icy emptiness.

“I-” the man in front of him started, that vague glint still in his eyes.

Then it was immediately gone, the King straightening up and his eyes regaining that usual burning feature, though it somehow felt different this time. It was not unlike the one he had had on their fated meeting on the balcony.

“You really are dumb, aren't you, Tobio-chan?” Oikawa said bemusedly, and Tobio wondered if he had ever had that lost glint in his brown depths, “You think 'appearance' means you have to put together some ridiculous act for the Royal Court?”

Kageyama grunted unhappily. The man in front of him looked more amused with each moment that passed, a smug grin on his face. Tobio desperately scrambled his brain in search for whatever other meaning that word could have. He didn't like not knowing things, furthermore, people laughing at him. And that is exactly what was going on right now.

“Dear, you are stupider than I thought!”

Tobio mentally bared his teeth, but something stopped him from doing it on the outside. The man didn't sound as if wanted to be mean. He almost sounded... fond, dare Kageyama say.

“No, it means that you have to come to my ball.” the man said bemusedly.

Oh.

Ooooh.

He really was unintelligent sometimes.

Instead of acknowledging the wolfish grin the other had on his face, eyes lazily trailing over his features, he chose to snap, “I don't have to do anything.”

Oikawa took a step towards him, and it took everything he had to not move back. He wasn't acoward, goddammit! (though, the King really did look quite threatening right then, eyes half-lidded dangerously, the candles in the shop painting deep shadows across his face, his canines glinting like those of a predator)

The distance was lessened again, and now they were close enough that Kageyama could feel the sweet scent of the other's warm breath. His brown eyes dropped further down, looking at Kageyama darkly amused.

The man tilted his head, and pouted mockingly, “Oh? You want to make me sad? How cruel, Tobio-chan.”

Now Kageyama was frightened, for the man didn't look like a spoiled brat, as what his words told. His whole face was shadowed, his eyes somehow still burning from the darkness. The corners of his lips were turned down in a pout that didn't look childish at all. The inky orbs were trained on him, a silent command in them. Answer me.

The sounds faded away yet again, and Tobio found himself unable to look at anything else other than the imposing man in front of him.

A shuddered breath left his lips.

Having mercy on him, the King took a step backwards, towards the door.

“Also, I can go wherever I want, whenever I want.” the man said arrogantly, the atmosphere shifted back to something light and comfortable.

Tobio exhaled deeply. He preferred the pompous attitude Oikawa normally had, compared to that monster he had just seen.

(it was hot)

The man was now halfway towards the entrance.

“You are coming to the ball two days from now.”

It wasn't a request, no matter what the letter had said.

Wait.

The letter!

Oikawa still had it! If he left now, taking the paper along with him, Kageyama could just say he hadn't had the invitation, therefore wasn't allowed to enter the party. Genius!

“Oh, before I forget!”

And the letter was placed on the front desk.

Ah, frick, there goes that plan.

“And Tobio,” he looked towards where the King was halfway out the door, his head the only thing turned towards him. Tobio noticed he dropped the 'chan'. “Don't ever speak to me like that again. You may be cute, but you are still below me. You'd do best to remember that before something should transpire.”

And the man was gone, with a swirl of his red cape, bells above the door jingling loudly.

Kageyama should've been angry, cursed his name for being arrogant. Instead, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't erase the image of Oikawa's thin lips moving with the command, a calm expression on his face, his eyes demanding respect and obedience, as a good king should.

He was a little turned on.

 

 

Just a little.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alright, a lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 















 



Chapter Text



 

You can imagine how his colleagues reacted to the invitation.

After the King had made his exit, Hinata obviously had to butt in and attack him with all kinds of questions, ranging from are we arrested? to did you sleep together? which prompted Kageyama to turn a very deep shade of red.

He awkwardly gave him the paper, and watched as their eyes widened more and more. To his great displeasure nobody understood wrong like he had, not even dumbass Hinata.

All of them started cheering and planning their outfits, at which Tsukishima commented that they didn't have enough money to buy expensive clothes for all of them. Kageyama replied in a small voice that he could stay at home. Sugawara violently shook his head and told him that the King gave the paper to him on purpose and he had to show up, shooting him a motherly glare when he saw that he opened his mouth to protest.

So here they found themselves the next day, strolling through the busy market filled with glittering fabrics and savory smells. Tanaka had stopped a while back at a fruit stand to flirt with a quiet, plain-looking guy who did not seem amused with him. Kageyama had tried to escape multiple times, which led to Sugawara having to stand near him, a stern look on his face.

They had only just started their 'quest', if it could be called that, and Tobio was already bored out of his mind, his legs hurting, and not in the pleasant kind of way.



'Stupid King and his stupid demands.' he bitterly thought, kicking a pebble.



They were at a seamstress, for Asahi's suit. He had no problem accompanying his friends as they bought their clothes. But he really did not want to do that. He was already feeling sick to his stomach as he thought of all the fancily dressed people flaunting their stuff, and trying to catch the King's attention.



His frown deepened.



His train of thoughts was brought to an end as something orange and spiky entered his line of vision. He craned his neck downwards, looking at a determined-looking Hinata, with his eyebrows furrowed and hands on his hips.



"Oi, Bakageyama. What's going on?"



"Nothing." he grumbled, avoiding the other's searching gaze.



Damn it, he knows me too well.



"Who was it, huh? I'll fight them!" he heard the shortie say intently, his fists brought up in front of him as if protecting himself from a hidden opponent.



He scoffed, and bitterly replied, "I'm not sure fighting the King is such a good idea."



He froze. He hadn't meant to let that slip.

Damn it!



He could practically feel the confusion coming off of his best friend in waves. "The King? What'd he do?"



He unhappily grunted a "Nothing."

Two hands landed on his cheeks, the shortie bringing him down to his eye level.

"Oi. Tell me."

"This is a trap!" he blurted out before he could register it, and now that he had started he couldn't stop. "He thinks I didn't miss during the mission and that I'm his soulmate. And now he knows my real identity and I think he suspects me!"

Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!



“You? His soulmate...?" Hinata replied thoughtfully.



It was honestly terrifying to see Hinata Shouyou lost in thought. It could only end badly.



The orange eyes landed back on him, and suddenly his best friend had one of his very, very rare serious looks on his face.



"Kageyama..." he began slowly. The dark-haired man noticed he used his actual name. This was grave. "Did you actually miss?"



"I-" he started, "Well, you see-" , he coughed, a drop of sweat rolling down his neck, "i had to- Uhm..."

 

Stop fumbling around goddammit!

 

But it was too late. Hinata's eyes flashed knowingly, and a small smile was starting to pull at his lips.

 

Kageyama ripped his face out of the other's grip, his face red. He grumbled a way too loud, "Your hands are sweaty!" before turning around.

"Kageyamaaaa~~" the man said in a sing-song voice.



"Shut up! Dumbass Hinata! I'm not his soulmate!"



He mentally face-palmed when he noticed how loud he had been. Sugawara spun around faster than lightning, his eyes immediately honing in on him.

 

Ah, heck.

Maybe he didn't hear.

 

That proved to be worng when the silver-haired man placed the clothes he had in his hands on a rack, and started speedily making his way towards them. Tobio wanted to move, but he couldn't. It felt like he was a child waiting to be scolded by his mother.

Said man stopped in front of them, hands on his hips and back straight. Hinata at least had the decency to look a little ashamed, but Tobio could still see the lingering smugness in his features.

 

"What's this I just heard?" Sugawara said, a serious look on his face.

"Nothing, Hinata was just being dumb." he replied, praying and praying that the man would buy it.

No such luck. In fact, it seemed to have made it worse, Sugawara's eyes now narrowed. It wasn't very often that you could see an intimidating Sugawara, but when you did, well, it was pretty scary. Probably learned from Daichi.



Wavering a little under the gaze, he averted his eyes and unwillingly said, "Fine, this dumbass here thinks I'm the King's soulmate because I missed." He was careful to keep his voice down, not wanting other people to hear this ridiculous conversation they were having.



"So you are, then." Sugawara calmly said, completely ignoring the disbelieving look Kageyama sent his way. "You know he's searching for his pair, why are you hiding?"



He decide to go along with this absolutely absurd discussion. "For one, do you think he'd appreciate that our first meeting was under the pretext of me having to kill him?"



He saw that Sugawara had something to say but he continued.



"Second of all, I'm an assassin. The only reason I'm doing this is because his guards are pretty useless in front of the sharp, silent and deadly movements that hired killers have. Sure, they're talented and strong and they could hold their own against a usual fighter, but these people play dirty." He was going a bit off-track by now.



"Third of all, I'm pretty sure you have to be smart to rule a kingdom. And do you see me possessing any particular brain skills? No, because I don't! This kingdom, and he, need an intelligent person at their side." he finished, shoulders slumping down unhappily, and voice growing silent.



There really were so many cons. The King should find someone smart and willing, not boring, old Kageyama. His heart hurt a little.



A hand landed on his shoulder, and he looked up through blurred eyes.



Why are they blurry??!! Stop it, damn it!!



His gaze met the cool and calm of Sugawara's.

"First of all, knowing you, I'm pretty sure during your first meeting he gave you a sign that meant he wasn't bothered of your trying to kill him." Tobio racked his brain for answers. Had he?

"Furthermore, have you ever seen his soldiers in action? We have plenty of criminals to choose from, but not an immense amount. That is because the only ones left are the most difficult to catch. Did you think the guards do nothing? This kingdom is huge, you think we deal with all the criminals?"



He made a good point there.



"And lastly, you aren't dumb at all. Sure, you can be ignorant and you don't possess an out of ordinary brain prowess, but you have a good heart and you know how to lead. Those are both qualities a good ruler should have. Remember, the universe paired you two for a reason." he glanced towards where Daichi was being pushed into a dressing room by Nishinoya, his eyes growing fond.

"Give him a chance. Who knows what could happen? What you could find?"

Sugawara turned to leave, patting him on the arm.

"And, Kageyama," Tobio looked at him, "Don't worry, I won't tell anybody. This is your decision to make."

Kageyama nodded slightly, mind running about.



"Now, get here! We have people to impress."



Tobio noticed the way he accented a single word.



Grumbling a little, he marched off towards where the racks of colorful fabrics were.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

That night, after a whole day of strolling around the busy market, baskets full and feet tired, almost everyone fell asleep the moment their head hit the pillow.

Kageyama stood up from his bed, unable to doze off no matter how hard he tried. He grabbed his cloak and belt, and tied up his boots. He could go out for a stroll and try to clear his head.

He slipped out through the roof window, perching on the tiles and looking at the stars. It truly was peaceful when the moon was high. The wind blew softly, the breeze cooling his flushed cheeks. The streets were quiet, devoid of the loud people of Aoba Jousai. It smelt like dried leaves. Gas lamps were strung around, bathing everything in a golden haze.

Checking once again that the streets really were empty, he snapped his belt towards a tower to his right. He honestly had no idea where he was going. He vaguely realized he had forgotten his mask.

Well, there's no one around anyway, it would be alright.

He spoke too soon. As soon as he had landed on a street next to a carpenter's shop, he instantly felt watched. He silently cursed under his breath. He could've sworn this alley was empty from where he had looked from the safety of a nearby roof.

He could feel eyes almost burning holes in his cape, and the distant sound of a cricket chirping was the only thing disrupting the tense silence. His heart settled comfortably.

What the hell? Am I not supposed to be scared right now?



The person behind him didn't move, and so he didn't either. He couldn't look behind him to see who it was, considering he had been dumb enough to leave his mask at home. And if he turned around, the other person would know the identity of one of The Crows, and they couldn't have that.



His palms were sweaty, and his breathing was shallow, but his traitorous heart still refused to get alarmed too.

Weird.



Suddenly, he heard a silent swoosh and before he had any chance to react, a weird feeling spread throughout his body. Had that knife been poisoned?

A coiling warmth spread around the inside of his knee, no pain present. He heard a clatter in front of him, and he quickly looked in front of him, only to see the knife that had been thrown lay there innocently on the cold pavement. He cursed, looking down at his leg, ready to see blood pouring out.



Daichi's gonna kill m-



Except there was no gash, no wound, no nothing. But he could've sworn that the weapon hit him, the aim had been perfect. It was as if it had went straight through his leg.



"Of course. You didn't miss. Or maybe you did, but right now, I sure didn't."

Fuck. He knew that voice. He knew the lazy, smug drawl, a smirk no doubt present on the owner's lips.

It was Oikawa.

"What the hell were you thinking? Seriously, what the fuck is your problem?" he harshly replied, voice deeper, not moving from his spot, panickedly searching for a way out that didn't end with him revealing his face.

"Oh?" the voice replied bemusedly, and Tobio really wanted to turn around and punch him. (with what, he didn't know)



"How the hell did you even know it was me? What if it was someone else, and you shot a knife through their leg." he said, stressing each word disbelievingly.



"I'd have had my healer fix them, obviously." Tobio could practically see the nonchalant wave of the other's hand.

"Now, then. You can't deny what happened right now, no matter how much you want to. So why don't you come back to the castle with me, yes?" he sounded arrogant and self-assured, as if he was sure Tobio would agree with his proposition.



He heard the other man take a step towards him, and he hurriedly took one too, desperate to maintain whatever distance they had.

"Come on~" the man said in a sing-song voice, and it was nothing like Hinata's earlier that day. This felt threatening and predatory. "I'll even let you wear your mask until we reach our destination."



Tobio grunted annoyedly, "How generous of you."

But on the inside he was panicked, no matter how patient the King was right now, no doubt he'd get bored at one point and then it would get bad really fast.



"You had no problem before, what changed?" the man said, and Tobio heard the step took in his direction. He took one too.



"Shouldn't you be at the palace with your guards or something? What the hell are you doing strolling around the streets at night with no protection?" he was trying to buy time.



The man ignored him, continuing with, "Or could it be..." he paused, and Kageyama could hear the way realization dawned upon the other man, a smile no doubt forming on his face. "Did my litte King forget his mask~?"



Punch him, please!



He clenched his fists until they were white, and snarled, "Don't call me that, bastard."



Oikawa chuckled from behind him, "So aggressive, Tobio-chan.~"



The assassin froze, then gulping deeply, he put on his best actor shoes and muttered a, "Don't call me that asshole's name."



What the hell are you doing?

Why did you make it seem like you know each other?



"Oh? You know little Kageyama Tobio?" the man said bemusedly.

Tobio didn't know if he had been fooled or not. He was hard to read.

He ignored the comment probably made to rile him up, and decided to go along with the lie, honestly wondering what the hell he was doing. "Everybody knows the spice shop."



He desperately wanted to leave, this meeting was turning out to be horrible for him, having already been proved that he was Oikawa's soulmate, and now supposedly knowing his true identity.



"Of course they do." the man still had that playful lilt in his voice.



A moment of silence passed between them, Tobio's eyes flashing from his belt to a near tower, wondering if he could make it, his face unseen.



"Well, let's get going then." the other said, a tone of finality in his voice, as if he expected everybody to obey his orders.

Kageyama snorted, and replied, "Goodnight, then, Your Majesty." He took a tentative step in front of him, bewildered that the man thought he'd be joining him.

The atmosphere instantly chilled, and Tobio wondered what was going on. He took another step in front of him, eager to get out of there.

"That means you too." The voice was sharper than the sharpest of icicles, and his eyes were like two molten orbs in his back. Kageyama visibly shuddered, glad he couldn't see the other's face. No doubt, it was the same monster he had seen in the shop.



"I-I'll be going. Have a nice evening!" he hated his stutter, as he quickly shot a string from his belt to the nearest tower. He felt fingers clasp around the air where he had been a second ago. He sighed in relief as he landed safely on the roof. He didn't look backwards, one hand holding his hood up, as he swung from building to building, heading in the opposite direction of the spice shop to throw him off.







That was close.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Chapter Text



 

 

 

 

It was the fateful day.



The Masquerade Ball would be held that night, and all around him people were fussing about. The kingdom was bustling with activity, glittering fabrics everywhere. It seemed as if the whole realm wanted to attend the festivity. Which, Kageyama thought looking at two girls tugging at the same dress violently, was probably what was happening.



He had decided that he'd go that night. Even though he could never be with the King (ignored the sharp pain in his chest at that), he could still have some fun, maybe mingle with other people.



Yeah, no.



He was going for the food, and because his best friend was nervous around his crush ( “It's not a crush, Bakageyama!” ) and he couldn't leave him on his own. Plus, it couldn't hurt to look at the King from the distance...



Tobio mentally gulped. Shut the hell up!



He was snapped out of his ridiculous thoughts when a gentle hand patted his shoulder. He looked up and met eyes with the warm ones of Sugawara. The man had a bright smile on his face, a dark grey mask in his free hand.



The man was already dressed, his body clad in a dark grey suit that matched his mask, a crisp white shirt underneath it.



"Come on, Kageyama." the man said lightly, "You have to get dressed too."



Looking around the room, Tobio realized that he was the only one still not ready.

He quickly dressed himself, flustered that he was keeping people waiting. With a lot of wrestling and grunting on his part, Sugawara had chosen him dark pants, and a light cream, almost white, shirt. A dark mask was placed on his face, more black then blue. The only thing he actually was fond of, was the black piece of fabric he tied around his neck. He wasn't one to wear accessories but tonight he'd have to make an exception.



"Alright. I'm ready." he said, turning around.



The others nodded, and they all left for the castle. All around the kingdom there were steady trails of people, all making their way towards the ball. Tobio could see extravagantly dressed men everywhere, and smooth gowns adorned ladies. Common people had gone out of their way, and this night everyone looked the same.

Surely, once they arrived at the ball you would be able to tell who was noble and who was not, but still, tonight everyone looked fancy and beautiful.

As they neared the castle, Tobio started fidgeting. Maybe this hadn't been such a good idea after all... Yeah. I should leave right now...



But he didn't have time to do what his mind suggested, for, as if Hinata knew what he was thinking, he was pushed forward, up the grand stairs and into the castle. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Daichi showing the guards that darned invitation.



Once inside, he found out he was in a large entrance hall, ceiling high. He moved towards a corner, so as to not block the entrance, and admired the room. This wasn't even the main room, and yet it was stunning in its beauty. Tobio mentally shunned the people that simply ignored the place, instead heading towards the far corner, where two grand doors stood open.

He admired the light walls held up by golden pillars, but didn't have much time to do so, as he found himself being pulled forwards to where all the other guests were heading.



He snatched his hand out of the shortie's grip, narrowing his eyes at the sunny smile the man had on his face.

He opened his mouth to say something, probably insult him, but his eyes were pulled in front of him.

He could feel his jaw dropping.



They were at the top of two grand staircases, on a joint platform. To his right and left were corridors which overlooked the humongous room. The steps led towards a massive glittering floor, filled with couples dancing and mingling. He looked towards the ceiling, and wasn't surprised to see it reached high, multiple chandeliers hanging and shimmering like stars. Multiple long tables were pushed to the edges, but not many people hung about them.

Tobio could stand there and gawk at the room the whole day, but he was rudely pushed in front by a man behind him. He glared at the guy, then slowly stepped down the stairs. He stopped about halfway down, and listened to the polite chatter and clear sounds of clinking glasses. He turned around towards his friends.



"Alright, if anything goes wrong, we'll meet here?" he said, looking everyone in the eye, making sure they got it.



They all nodded, some more distracted than others, and suddenly their little crowd dispersed. He blinked in surprise, and saw that it was only him and Hinata left, who was jumping up and down excitedly.



He rolled his eyes, and let his best friend pull him towards the fancily dressed sea of people, hiding an amused smile behind his hand.



Maybe this wouldn't be so bad.





~~~~~~~~~~~~




Scratch that. SCRATCH THAT.



It was not going very well indeed. Thirty minutes had passed since they entered the eccentric room, and Tobio already found himself three people to stab in the eye. He had given all his energy into a pep talk to Hinata, convincing him to ask the pudding-haired man to dance. (yes, this was a masquerade ball, but anyone could recognize that hair from a mile away) Then, after his best friend had left, he found himself a nice corner to spend the night, near a potted plant that partially hid him from view. Not too bright, not too dark, just right.

Of course, not a single night could pass by normally in his life.



A noble, judging by his fancy dark suit and black mask, had asked him to dance. The man thought he could flip his blonde hair around ("is that an undercut?" Tobio thought looking at the smug, brown-eyed man), and he'd be gone.

So he politely refused, (he did have manners, after all, just not around arrogant pricks that got on his nerves) and returned his gaze towards his water glass, giving off his best vibes of leave-me-alone-now, and hoping the man would scarper.

But nooooo.

The man had to introduce himself as Miya Atsumu, and flash him a smile, as if that was all it took to get people to fall at his feet. So Tobio bitterly replied with a "Good for you" and pointedly looked at the crowd, signalling that he was done with this tiring conversation.



The man just wouldn't leave though, and he found himself actually having to get up and say "excuse me" before going into the crowd. His hiding spot had been compromised. It was time to find a new one.



He found an empty spot at a table in the far right corner, and a relieved sigh escaped his lips once he saw Yachi sitting there, her white dress folded underneath her. They met eyes across the room, and the blonde smiled widely, waving at him to come over.

He made his way along the walls, not braving the horde of people. He was about ten meters away from the table, when he saw Kiyoko arrive near Yachi, two plates filled with food sitting precariously on her arms. Even from where he was standing he could see the dangerous way a knife was dangling over the edge of the plate. He opened his mouth to warn Kiyoko, and everything turned to slow motion.



He saw the sharp blade finally slip off the ceramic, and plunge through the air, straight towards Yachi's right leg. He grit his teeth, ready for the onslaught of blood.

Except it didn't come.

 

Right in front of his disbelieving eyes, the knife disappeared through the blonde's skin, and out of view.

He could see the furrow of Yachi's brows, as she stood up and confusedly looked underneath her. There stood the knife, glinting innocently, no speck of blood in sight.

He saw the way Kiyoko bent down, looking at the sharp object herself, wide eyed and lips open parted slightly in shock. The two women met eyes, and Tobio was sure in that moment they could only see each other.

How had they been colleagues for over five years, and only now discovered they were soulmates? How???

He was brought back from his daze when he heard a smooth voice from his right speak.



"Soulmates. A magical thing, are they not?"



Tobio looked towards his right, not sure if the man was speaking to him. The mysterious man was clad in white pants and boots, a dark dress coat hugging his wide shoulders. Kageyama could see an equally light shirt from underneath it. He let his eyes trail over the man's face, but could not make out any distinctive features, except for thin rosy lips, for they were hidden underneath a light blue mask, wisps of reddish-brown hair framing it.

The man was clearly a noble, not only from his distinctively nice clothing, but also from his straight posture, head held high, shoulders pulled back.



This man felt familiar, but Tobio for the life of him could not place who it was that he was reminded of while staring at the man in front of him.

The noble wasn't looking at him, his head turned towards where Yachi and Kiyoko were.



Tobio awkwardly cleared his throat, before glancing at the women himself. It felt as if he was intruding on a private moment, watching them embrace lovingly.



"Yes, I suppose they are." he chose to say carefully.



Out of the corner of his eyes he saw the mysterious man turn to face him. Tobio did not meet his eyes, ignoring the burning gaze he could feel in his cheek.

"So," the man said, a playful lilt in his clear voice (Kageyama swore he had met this man some other time), "Are you waiting for His Majesty, The King?"



He lightly snorted, surprisingly enjoying the noble's company.



"Yes, I am waiting for him to come sweep me off my feet." he said bemusedly.



He heard the noble's clear laugh, not too loud, not too forced, just right. As if the man was actually finding him tolerable. That had not happened in a while. He felt a smile of his own form.



“Well,” the man said, “Until he arrives, would you grant me this dance?”



Tobio wouldn't lie and say he expected that. He didn't find himself to be particularly enjoyable company, and even less people had actually wanted to dance with him. Usually, he somehow attracted only the attention of arrogant pricks.





But he found himself not wanting to refuse the noble's offer. So, with a nod, he placed his hand in the other's outstretched one. Only now did Tobio notice the man was wearing dark gloves. His hand felt as if it was burning from the touch, and he was now certainly glad for the fabric dividing their skin. Their palms fit like puzzle pieces.

Kageyama didn't know what to make of this. The warm thing in his chest had nothing to do with the crowd around him.

An absent thought flittered through his mind.



Was it possible to have multiple soulmates...?



He let the gentleman in front of him lead him towards the center of the room, hands still tightly clasped around one another's. The band was playing a soft waltz, couples dancing all around him.



He felt his hand being gently tugged towards the front, and a hand snaked around his waist, holding him close. He let his left hand drape across the other's shoulder, and clasped his right hand with the man's left one. He still didn't look the other in the eye, instead opting to focus on their shoes, which looked to be standing very near one another indeed.



Only now did he realize, that they were, in fact, standing terribly close. He tried to shove down the mortified blush threatening to rise to his cheeks.



The sounds of violins being rearranged and papers shuffling flew to his ears. Multiple other people joined the floor, while others left. A new dance would be starting.

He cleared his throat, looking towards his left. Then did a double-take.



Was that... Tsukishima?



He squinted his disbelieving eyes. Yes, it was, in fact, the salty blonde who had an affinity for insulting him. The man was looking uncomfortable, wildly turning hiz gaze around the room.





Tobio thought he heard the faint mutter of, “that darned Yamaguchi” coming from him, but didn't have time to dwell on it as the band picked up a tune, and a mane of wild black hair invaded his view, poising itself in front of Tsukishima.



His own attention was brought back to his partner. He had to do this before they started dancing.



“You never did tell me your name.” he said, finding the other's black jacket fascinating. (seriously, though, was that gold thread?)





“I didn't?” came the amused huff of the man.



He gently shook his head, but the man did not answer his question, instead taking a step to the right in tune with the melody. Tobio hurriedly took one too. The man in front of him led the dance, but he found himself not minding, admiring the elegant way the other moved, all in tune with the song being played. He found himself actually keeping up with the other, hand in hand. He was twirled around at a particularly deep note, and found himself bent backwards, the arm around his waist the only thing keeping him upright.

The man in front of him leaned down, and his minty breath hit Tobio's face. Though it was only a second, to him it felt like ages. Ages spent laughing secretly, years of lovingly kissing, countless nights of roaming hands and flushed breaths, beds creaking and hushed whimpers. The mysterious man held them all.



His own breath hitched when he, at last, met eyes with the other.



Deep brown orbs stared back at him, flecks of light rust in them. Those eyes that seemed to hold the secrets of the entire world, gently picking apart his defenses, leaving him bare.



Those eyes. He was certain they were owned by someone very important to him. But he could not yet tell who.



The atmosphere almost instantly shifted towards something else, no longer light and innocent.



He was pulled back upright, the man continuing to lead the dance around the room, steps carefully treading each note played. Tobio found himself unable to take his eyes away.

He somehow felt more alive right now than ever before. He could feel each breath mingled with the other's, each cord plucked by the band, each step took around the room. It all felt somehow, vividly more real than anything else up until that moment. He clutched the other's hand tighter.

He did not want to let this moment go. He wanted to hold it in his heart forever, hidden and unable to be seen by the rest of the world.

Then suddenly the man in front of him smirked, thin lips revealing rows and rows of white teeth, canines almost too sharp to be human.



And it hit him.



“Well,” the noble in front of him said, still twirling him around the room, yet keeping his voice down as if they were two lovers sharing hushed whispers during the night, “Regarding your previous question. My name is Oikawa Tooru, and yours?”



He felt cold shivers run down his spine, and his stomach dropped low. He swallowed dryly, then scrunched up his nose, feeling the comforting fabric of the mask. Right, this was still a masquerade, and while not many would take a random noble saying he was the king seriously, Tobio knew better. That smile would continue haunting his dreams for many years to come.



“I don't think it has occurred to you, Your Majesty, that this is in fact a masquerade. The whole point of this is so we can keep our identities secret.” he said, removing his eyes (not with small difficulty) from the other's.





He mentally cringed, hoping he did not give himself away, then quickly banished that thought. The kingdom was huge, and it was impossible for Oikawa to recognize him. Neither as Tobio Kageyama from the spice shop, nor as The King of the Crows.



He faltered a step once he heard the man chuckling lowly. It thankfully wasn't the bone chilling one.



“Very well, then. Now might I ask what you do, or is that too much of an expectation as well?” Oikawa said, but Tobio was relieved to find the words were amused, not at all angry. Though, he hadn't seen the man downright angry. Yes, the monster was terrifying, but he could tell that a pissed off Oikawa Tooru was downright heart-stopping. (in what way, he did not know)



“I guess I could allow you.” he said humorously, finding himself enjoying his time with the King when he wasn't being a prick and making ridiculous demands, “I work at the Nekoma bakery, right next to the central Plaza.”



Good cover up story, if he did say so himself.



He felt a cold sweat drop down his neck, as the man in front of him raised an eyebrow, an amused smile on his lips.



“Oh, really? The bakery, you say?”



Tobio nodded, not liking the glint in the man's eyes.



“Funny, I could've sworn my dear friend owned that place. And I don't recall him ever telling me anything about a black haired man with stunning dark eyes. While I could be wrong, and he simply hasn't told me about all the workers there, I've a feeling he would've told me about you, considering I find you to be particularly memorable.” the man said smilingly.





He felt his bones chill, and swallowed around the lump in his throat.



“I could continue questioning you until you find yourself compelled to answer me,” Tobio had no doubt the man could, feeling something dark lying under the man's smiling features, “But I'll let you keep your secrets.”



Tobio sighed, relieved. Well, looks like this man wasn't such a royal pain in the ass after a-



“On one condition.”



Kageyama snapped his eyes towards the other's. Figures. It couldn't have been easy, he should've seen this coming.

The man had a glint in his eyes, the now rapidly-becoming-familiar look that showed he knew something other people did not.



“You'll grant me your next dance as well.”



Tobio would have tripped if not for the man's firm hand around his middle.



He cleared his throat, then nervously said, “Y-your Majesty, I am not a very good dancer, as you can tell. Surely, other people would be much better cho-”



“I know what I said.”



Seriously, what was up with this man and interrupting him?

He grit his teeth, violently shoving rapidly rising insults down.



The song faded away into silence at just the right moment, leaving people lightly talking waiting for the next waltz, which would surely be starting in a moment or two.



He ripped his hand out of the other's, and stepped to the right, and out of the man's grip.

The man did not look pleased that he had left his hold, and he held an expectant look on his face. It reminded Tobio of the self-assured expression Oikawa had had the times they have met during his guise as the King of the Crows.



“Ehrm...” he looked around wildly, scrambling his brain for ideas.



He had to find a way out of there, and somehow rid himself of the warm feeling in his chest whenever he was in close proximity with the man. It would only hurt him so much more when the man would eventually find himself a beautiful spouse, and get married.



He heard the other take a step towards him, and his eyes suddenly honed in on a group of colorfully dressed people, all talking about how eager they were to meet the King. You could almost see the way the idea dawned on him, and a mischievous smile overtook his features.



He made sure to make eye contact with the other, viciously taking pleasure in the way the man seemed to know something bad was about to happen, taking another step towards Tobio. He could hear the violins starting to pick up a tune.



He let his eyes drink over the man's features one more time, before pointing an accusing finger in his direction ,opening his mouth and loudly declaring, “It's him! It's His Majesty, The King!”



And it had the desired effect. Multiple people crowded around them, all chattering loudly and rapidly speaking towards Oikawa. An while maybe not everyone believed the man in the dark suit was the King, it was still a possibility, and so the area was quickly flooded with peasants and nobles alike, all wanting to catch a glimpse of the ruler.



Before the crowd completely obstructed his view, though, he met eyes with the King over the people.

It seemed the man had been searching for his gaze as well, as dark blue and brown clashed.

Those eyes were glinting predatorily, looking downright murderous and Tobio honestly feared for his heart.



HIS LIFE!



He had meant his life!!


Those eyes drank in his features hungrily, and Kageyama was unnerved to see the man did not seem angered at all. Looking at him the whole time, the King opened his mouth and licked his lips.

The crowd quickly came in between them, but the damage had been done.



Tobio could feel his whole face be flooded by red, the cause being that sinfully lewd act. He ignored both the twitch in his pants and the powerful clench of his heart, instead opting to rapidly fan his face, hoping it would lessen his red problem.



He quickly scampered away, ducking between dancing couples that had no idea of the turmoil his heart was going through.

He plopped down at a table, sinking low and breathing heavily. That thing the King had done back there should be illegal. He heard someone ungracefully sit down in the seat to his right, the chair screeching a little at the powerful movements.

He glanced towards the newcomer and was surprised to see Asahi, his two top buttons undone, and his hair slightly out of place of its usual pony tail, the black string hanging off. The brown haired man exhaled deeply, and Tobio saw that the man was sporting red on his face, not unlike him.

Asahi redid his ponytail, and flashed a smile at Kageyama, pulling at his shirt collar.

“Nishinoya really knows how to keep you on your feet, doesn't he?”, the man had a fond tone in his voice while saying that.



Tobio nodded, even though he had no idea what the man was speaking of.



“Oh no.” he heard the other lowly mutter, before a short body moved between him and Asahi.

The owner of the dark brown pants and cream shirt was none other than Nishinoya, hands on his hips and facing the taller man.



“Come on, Asahi! You tired already?” he said loudly, grabbing the other's hands and pulling him towards the dance floor. It did not seem to matter if Asahi was tired or not.



Though, Kageyama could see the way Azumane was smiling fondly at the shorter man, letting him lead them towards the dance floor. He was shot a look by the other, who said “Duty calls.” before they disappeared into the sea of dancing bodies.



Soulmates. They really were something else entirely.



He was brought out of his absent daze when he felt someone tap his shoulder. He raised a hand that meant wait, before finishing his glass of water. Gulping the liquid down, he finally turned around and froze.

Blue met brown and Tobio feared for his life.



Oh no.



“That wasn't very nice, now, was it?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Kageyama swallowed hard.



In front of him stood the King, back straight, shoulders squared, hands behind his back. His head was tilted upwards a little, looking down at Tobio, who still had the empty glass in his hand.

The man's mask glinted in the candlelight, and his eyes equally so.



"I..." Tobio started, but trailed off. He didn't know what to say. After all, he had been kind of rude to Oikawa.



One thin eyebrow went up, lips looking as if they were fighting back a smile. The man seemed to be enjoying stretching this out, unbothered by the lingering silence.

Tobio coughed awkwardly. What did this man even want with him?

Their tense silence was broken when a familiar head of orange hair plopped in the seat to his left. The shortie let out a loud groan, not noticing the man standing behind Tobio.



"Man, I screwed up!" he moaned, eyes closed.



"Hinata." he hissed under his breath, trying to make his best friend notice the intimidating presence. But the man was as observant as ever.



"Kageyama, I ruined it so so so... I don't even have words!" he continued whining, one hand wrapping itself around Tobio's shoulders and pulling him down to the shortie's eye level. Kageyama's back hurt at the weird position.

"Later, you dumbass! Look behind me!" he whispered lowly, watching Hinata's eyes open. The man in front of him blinked in confusion.



"Bakageyama, have you been drinking ale again? There's no one there."



Tobio whipped his head around, but there was no King there. He should be relieved, but he couldn't shake off the feeling that something bad was about to transpire. Why would he leave so suddenly?

 

"Anyway," he heard the shortie say, "As I was saying-"

Before he could continue, Tobio placed a hand over his mouth, effectively silencing him. Only then did he realize that the mingling and chatter in the ballroom had lessened considerably. They both looked around confusedly, Hinata's mouth still covered. The people were all turned towards a staircase near the one they had gone down when entering, and Tobio saw that this one was bigger and wider than the others, and had golden railings at its sides.



He couldn't see what was happening, for he was still sitting in his chair, and could not look over the crowd.

But he could hear hushed snippets of conversations.



"Did he..."



"I heard His Maje-"



"I hope it's me-"



Alright, he couldn't make out anything understandable, but it seemed as if they were waiting for something.

A deep hush fell over the crowd almost in a single moment. Tobio could practically hear the deep inhale every person in the room took.

He did not stand up.



A clear, deep voice spoke up.



"Ladies and gentlemen! We hope you are enjoying this evening thus far, and maybe even have found your soulmates amongst the people present!"



Tobio saw multiple people look at each other fondly, and holding hands. He settled down in his chair, exhaling deeply.



"And now, it is time for the King's dance!"



Kageyama lifted his head at that. He had forgotten about it.

The King's dance was the only thing that all of the kingdoms in all of the realms had. The ruler, regardless of whether it was a Queen or a King, would walk around the room, and dance throughout the night with people that had caught their attention. It was said that the first person picked by the ruler would be their future spouse.

Tobio only scoffed at that. Nonsensical romantic fairy tales.

That was probably why Oikawa had left so out of nowhere.



"Presenting His Majesty, King Oikawa Tooru!"



Tobio went temporarily deaf. The entire room cheered so loud Kageyama feared the detailed glass windows would shatter. The roaring of screams lasted for another moment, before deadly silence fell over them like a blanket. Tobio held his breath.



Then he shook his head at his ridiculous thoughts.



'Relax,' he told himself, 'There's no way he'd come way over here just to dance with you. He was probably only bluffing before.'



Soft footsteps were the only sound present. It felt as if it lasted for a lifetime, sitting there listening to the soft patter of shoes, like hiding from a killer and waiting for them to pass your hiding place.



When he heard the footsteps grow a little fainter, Tobio turned his head back towards Hinata. He hadn't even noticed his hand was still keeping the other from speaking. He didn't remove it. God knows Hinata would start talking loudly, attracting attention to their table.



He could see the way the shortie was fidgeting, a restless shine in his eyes. Tobio prayed the King would choose someone already, so that Hinata could tell him his story.



Then, Hinata went stiff as a board, and his eyes were blown wide. Tobio would think it was hilarious how much they looked like twin moons if he wasn't concerned for his best friend.



He furrowed his eyebrows, whispering as low as he could, "What's wrong?"



He saw Hinata look at something behind him, and then raised one violently shaking hand, finger pointing.



Tobio turned his head around, and he froze as well.

Standing in front of him was Oikawa, one hand behind his back and the other offered in front of him, palm open. A golden crown glinted dangerously from its spot on the man's head.

Kageyama stood there, one hand still over Hinata's mouth, eyes comically wide. The entire room held its breath, and Tobio could see every single person there was looking at him.

He snapped his eyes back towards Oikawa. The man did not look bothered by the lack of sounds, nor by having everyone's attention on them. He looked down at Kageyama, a glint in his eyes. The rest of his face was carefully stony, not letting anything pass through.



With a trembling hand, Tobio pointed at himself.

He couldn't be meaning him, right?


The King nodded, unrelenting.



That bastard! He knew he couldn't refuse while everyone was watching them! He saw the man's eyes glint bemusedly, seeing the way realization dawned on Kageyama.

Tobio saw his eyes flicker to Hinata, turning deadly poisonous, something nasty in them. He felt his best friend shudder.

He dropped his hand from the other's face, and shakily stood up. He hoped not many could see the way his legs visibly trembled.

Placing his palm inside Oikawa's, he heard the entire room exhale deeply, then shuffle around for dance partners.



Those fingers curled around his own possessively, and he was harshly pulled forward from near the table, and into a warm chest.

He shakily raised his head, meeting eyes with the man. He felt a hand snake around his waist, this time feeling different than before. He placed his left hand over the other's shoulder, and tangled his right hand with Oikawa's left one.



The violins picked up a romantic melody, the sound echoing pleasantly around the chamber.



His partner leaned down until his breath was ghosting Kaageyama's ear, and whispered hotly, "Payback."



He shuddered and pointedly avoided looking at the other's smug face. What was he so pleased about anyway?



They moved around the room, their graceful movements courtesy of Oikawa, of course. Once again, Kageyama thought that something was different about this dance. He could not figure out what.



"You know," the man in front of him started lowly, forcing Tobio to look at him as he spoke. They were still moving around the room elegantly. "It was dreadfully boring to humour all of the people who wanted to dance with me."



He spun them around, fingers tightening their grip on Kageyama's back.



"Especially when the one I actually desired to partake in a waltz with me was nowhere to be found."



Tobio silently gulped, looking anywhere but the man, those hot fingers scorching.



"I'm... s-sorry?" he said, but it came out as a question.



As usual, the man completely disregarded what he spoke, as if he never opened his mouth at all.





"And then," they narrowly avoided colliding into another pair, "As if that was not enough," Tobio was spun around at a high, sharp note, "I find my supposed dance partner speaking with another man."



The man accentuated those words viciously, something dark hidden behind them. It no longer felt as if they were talking about a simple waltz.

He cleared his throat, watching the other's elegant shoes.



"I-i don't see how that has to do with anything." he replied, refusing to meet the man's eyes. He feared he'd lose all his bravado if that should happen. Quickly, he added, "Your Majesty."



Oikawa let out a sharp, nasty laugh that to other people probably looked as if Tobio had simply said something particularly amusing.



He shook like a leaf at that sound.



"Stupid, so very stupid." the King said mockingly, almost as if he was a teacher reprimanding a particularly imbecilic student.



"Y-you-!" he started, but was dipped low, effectively making the words in his throat fade away. They stood there for a second, time frozen completely.



"Right now ," the man murmured, eyes scanning the entirety of Tobio's face, "You're depending on me to not let you fall."



Kageyama opened his mouth to protest, but the man moved his hand a little, making him drop further towards the floor. His hands instantly shot up and wrapped themselves around Oikawa's neck, watching the way the King's eyes flashed warningly.



Then they were up again, as if nothing had happened.



Tobio's head spun at the fast pace of the conversation, mixed with the quick movements of the dance. He could not understand anything that had just transpired.

Dizzily, he opened his mouth and said, "You know... This is the first waltz of the King's dance?"



He saw the way Oikawa's face turned light and bright again, his usual cheeky smile back in place as if it had never left.



"Yes, I do."



"Uhm.." he started, keeping up with the man's movements, "Why are you here with me, then?"



Those eyes flickered towards him, an amused smile in them.



"Because I want to," he said, then continued in a teasing voice, "Seems like you're not such a bad dancer, mystery man."



Tobio raised an eyebrow at the nickname, but did not say anything. So his identity, both of them, was still safe. Of that he was sure, for he was absolutely certain that if the King somehow worked out his identity, he'd waste no minute rubbing it in his face.



"You know what I me-"



His words left (again) when he was spun around, steps hitting each note just right.



"You want to meet someone?" the man said suddenly, and because of the distracting way they were still twirling, Kageyama could not think straight. He found himself nodding, then wondering what he had agreed to.



The man flashed him a bright smile, that showed he knew his diversion had worked.

Damn him!



Just in time, the music ended with a high note, and the people started chattering.

Oikawa grasped his right hand, and started walking towards somewhere, dragging Tobio behind him. Kageyama blushed at all the stares they were receiving, most of them filled with jealousy. No doubt to them it seemed unfair. Here was the King who had to choose a partner for his second dance, and instead was pulling an ordinary guest behind him, to god-knows-where, to do god-knows-what.

Tobio flushed an even deeper red, suddenly overwhelmingly grateful for the mask protecting his identity.



He was snapped out of his daze when the man slowed to a stop, making Tobio bump into his firm back. He stumbled, but Oikawa did not let his hand go.



He peered around the other, slowly taking in where the man had brought them.

He hadn't even realized they had walked up some stairs. They were now at a wide, long table, which stood near a stone ledge, keeping people from falling to the floor below. Kageyama could see the whole room from here.



Ah, so that's how he found me so easily.



He looked back towards the grand table, and saw multiple people sitting there. No one had noticed their arrival yet. No one was wearing a mask.

Suddenly, someone plopped ungracefully in an empty chair. Tobio recognized him as the black-haired man he had seen at the shop multiple times. Said man groaned dramatically, then leaned back in his seat.



"I," he started, placing a hand on his forehead like a damsel in distress, "Have fallen in love."



Tobio snorted a little at the theatrical behavior the man had. It seemed royals were normal people too.

Everyone stopped chatting at once, multiple heads turning towards where Oikawa was standing, his hand still clutching Kageyama's.



The black haired man straightened up, a wide smirk forming on his face.

"Oho?" he said.

Then, to his right, a man with hair not unlike an owl's leaned forward with the same expression on his face.



"Ohoho?"



...Um, okay?

Kageyama cleared his throat awkwardly, not knowing what to do.



"Erhm... Hello?" he said timidly. Not! He wasn't shy! No way!



Then multiple people jumped up from their seats, and by multiple, he meant the two men that had spoken before. The two other men present were gazing at Kageyama curiously, not looking the least bit surprised at the other's behavior.



"Hello, yourself!" the dark-haired man said, coming to stand right in front of them, and looking at Tobio with a knowing glint in his eyes.



This man knew who he was.



Oikawa spoke up, gesturing vaguely towards them respectively, "Kuroo Tetsurou," then, "Bokuto Koutarou,"



Only then did Tobio notice the shiny, golden crown perched on top of the gray hair.



Another King? As if one wasn't enough!

 

Nevertheless, he bowed a little, and murmured, "Your Majesty."



Oikawa, ever the bastard, laughed loudly patting Tobio's back with his free hand. (he still hadn't let go of his palm)



"Look at him, all polite and respectful, as if he hasn't gotten rid of me in one moment!" he said bemusedly.



It was... different. It was nice, seeing the man relaxed and in the company of his friends.



"That's right!", the owl-man-dude-whatever said enthusiastically, "I'm the one and only King of Fukurodani! Hey, hey, heeeey!"



Tobio was honestly scared of the unconventional behavior the noble, furthermore King, had. And who even said 'hey, hey, heeeey'??



One of the other two people stood up, and walked closer. As he approached, Kageyama noticed that this man was very beautiful, in fact. He had short, wavy, blue almost black hair, and sharp eyes, indigo in color. Something about him seemed familiar. Kageyama was sure he had seen the man before.



"Not so loud, Bokuto-san." the newcomer said, placing one hand on the owl-haired man's (now Kageyama saw) very wide shoulders.

The King of Fukurodani perked up, eyes glinting happily. Tobio squinted his eyes at them.



Are they-?



"I'm his soulmate." the man said calmly.



Bokuto brightened visibly, mouth forming a wide smile, and eyes shimmering.



Is he- crying?



"AGHASHEEEEEEE!!!!!" the King exclaimed loudly, (Kageyama fought the urge to place his hands over his ears) and threw himself around this 'Aghasheeeee' (??) character. He looked as if he still didn't believe he had been lucky enough to snatch the beautiful man up.



The man patted Bokuto's shoulder, and said, "My name is Akaashi Keiji."



Realization dawned on him. A few years ago, before he had joined the Crows, he was playing around with the idea of becoming a knight. One summer's evening, he went to a tournament held in the middle of his tiny town. He gasped and fawned at every movement the fighters made. And one of them caught his attention in particular. It was a man with a dark helmet on his head, who moved gracefully, successfully beating every opponent in his way.

The mysterious man had won that tournament,and Kageyama was surprised when the man took of his helmet. The boy looked to be around his age. The screeching commentator announced him as "Akaashi Keiji" and crowned him winner of the tournament.

After that, Tobio was sure he had seen the man leave with the generals who came in town to gather people willing to become knights.



Someone cleared their throat in front of him, almost imperceptibly. He snapped out of his daze, and looked in front of him, where a shorter-than-him man stood. He was dressed in black pants and boots, a red tailcoat hugging his figure, golden buttons glinting in the gentle light.

Tobio examined him. Sharp, but tiny, nose, slanted calculating eyes, and thin eyebrows. He did a double-take when he reached his hair. It was a vibrant yellow, dark at the roots. He absently wondered if this man was the pudding-haired guy that had ensnared Hinata's heart.



"I'm Kenma. Kozume Kenma." he said lowly, eyes watching his every move.



Tobio pointed a finger at him.

"You! You're the one Hinata told me about!"



Then, he mentally face palmed. If he hadn't given himself away before, it was sure now.



"Shouyou talks about me?" Kenma said, in the same disinterested tone, though it somehow seemed slightly warmer now.



Tobio risked a look at Oikawa. The man was chatting with the Kuroo guy, a relaxed smile on his face. He didn't look as if he knew it was Tobio.



He nodded at Kenma, opting to act as if he didn't see the faint pink on the shorter man's cheeks.

"So," Akaashi started, "Who are you?"



Before he could make up some half-assed lie, Oikawa jumped into the conversation.



"He won't tell you~!"



Akaashi raised an eyebrow at that, but did not say anything.



He was just abut to open his mouth to ask something, when a high-pitched voice came from behind.



"Your Majesty!"



He turned around curiously, seeing it was a girl dressed in a poofy blue dress, bowing lowly on the stairs.



He somehow could feel the way Oikawa tensed up in icy anger, but from what he didn't know. Surely, it wasn't because he was interrupted, right?



Acting without thinking, he placed his free hand on Oikawa's shoulder. The man stiffened, but then relaxed almost immediately. Tobio honestly didn't know what just happened.



The man nodded sternly, looking at the girl still bowing.

An awkward silence lingered, before Kageyama gathered up his courage, and pushed the King in front of him a little, whispering in his ear (embarrassingly, he had to stand on his toes), "She wants to dance, Your Majesty."



He pointedly avoided the other's heated gaze, looking literally anywhere else. He smugly smiled, knowing that Oikawa had to invite the girl to dance, considering this was proper etiquette. The man chuckled lowly, and let go of his hand, trailing it across his back on the way. A shiver racked his body.



Damn it!


Just when he thought he had the upper hand, Oikawa somehow caught him off guard.



The King bowed in front of the girl, then offered one arm.

"Would you grant me this dance?" he said, all smiles and politeness, but Tobio could hear the mocking behind it. The girl stood up, face shining with happiness, and Kageyama honestly wanted to punch Oikawa.

The two walked down the stairs, not before Oikawa shot him a fleeting look, lips pulled back in a threatening smile.





Tobio looked back behind him, wondering if he should stay here or not. He did not want to impose. Especially on royalty. He met eyes with Akaashi, who had a knowing glint in them.

He had no reason to be afraid. Almost instantly he was pulled into the conversation by Bokuto, and from there on it went smoothly, almost naturally. It was like talking to people he had known for forever.





He found himself even laughing along, which never, ever happened with strangers.



They had somehow found themselves sitting at the table, rather than standing. He felt someone lightly touch his arm, and he glanced up.

It was Kuroo, who looked as if he had something important to say. The man tilted his head to the right, and Tobio stood up, slightly worried.



Once they were at a safe distance from the table, Kuroo leaned close to him, almost conspiratorially.

"I know you're his soulmate, Kageyama, was it?" he whispered lowly, and Tobio felt as if a bucket of ice cold water had been dumped over his head.

Kuroo seemed to notice the change in his behavior, and laughed a little.

"Don't worry I won't tell him. That's up to you."



Tobio sighed in relief, and let a grateful smile form on his face.



"If you can tell me some things about a person."



Figures. Royalty always wanted something in return.



















 

Chapter Text



 

"As you know, I've been at your shop multiple times up til now."



Tobio nodded, wondering where the man was going with this.



"Those many times I have been, I've noticed that there are a lot of people who work there."



Kageyama raised an eyebrow.



"Yes, of course there are."



"Yes, well," Kuroo said, fidgeting on the spot a little, "Might I ask you to give me their names?"



He narrowed his eyes. "Every single one of them? You know, there's many of us. And some of them might not be pleased with me giving out their names to random strangers." he said, thinking about how Tsukishima would lose it.



"Just give me the names of all of the blonde people, with green eyes, I think."



His expression soured even further. The only one who barely fit that description was Tsukishma when he was wearing his contacts. And he only did that when on missions.



Surely, this man couldn't be a failed target?

If he was, what was he doing, being friends with the King?

What if he was only getting close to the man to be able to kill him without challenge?



Kageyama's heart clenched, and he took a discreet step back from the man, who he now realized he knew nothing of.



"We have many people with those features," he said casually, "You'll have to be more specific than that, I'm afraid."



Kuroo's eyes narrowed, and he examined his features closely.

A tense moment, or two, passed, before the man leaned back a little, a small smile forming on his face.



"You're stubborn, just like him." he said fondly.



Tobio furrowed his eyebrows confusedly, wondering who the man could be comparing him to.

Seeing his dazed expression, the noble threw is head back and chuckled.



"He did say you were pretty stupid."



A wave of white, hot anger washed over him.



"H-hey! Who are you-!"



"No matter," the man interrupted him (what was up with nobles and not letting him finish his sentences?), then patted him on his head. "I'll figure it out myself."



Then, Kuroo took a step to his right, and returned to the table where King Bokuto was chugging a humongous glass of water to the horror of his soulmate. Kageyama felt the confusion seep into his bones, as he stared at the elegant, white tiles.



Couldn't they just give him a straight answer for once?

Suddenly, the golden entrance door were blown wide open, effectively silencing the crowd.

Kageyama leaned on the ledge, looking towards the stairs. Three late-comers were standing there, dressed from head to toe in black, with dark masks to go. He could not make out anything from that distance, except that two of them had brown, wavy hair, maybe siblings, and the one in the center had straight, black hair, which looked peculiarly close to his own.



Seriously, he squinted his eyes at the man, that was practically his own hair right there.



As the three people walked downstairs and joined the crowd, the chatter resumed. He was brought back out of his daze (he really did quite enjoy spacing out) by someone tapping his shoulder, and by the shivers that racked his body he concluded it was probably Oikawa.



Gosh, what the hell is he doing, getting used to the idea that this was his soulmate?



Snap out of it!



He cleared his throat, and turned around.

Oikawa stood in front of him, no mask on his face (he had not had it during the King's dance either). His elegant features were illuminated by the golden glow coming from the candles, making his whole expression softer. Or maybe that wasn't from the light.



"So," he said leaning casually on the ledge, "How was your dance, Your Majesty?"



Oikawa scoffed bemusedly, shaking his head a little, but his eyes were glinting with mirth.



"Seems you can be sly, mystery man." the man replied, smiling.



Tobio averted his eyes.



"Did you see the new guests?" he changed the subject, "Quite the entrance they made."



Out of the corner of his eyes he saw the man nodd, before looking over the crowd as well.



"Yes, one of them looks similar to my soulmate, though I was far away. I should go get a closer look." Oikawa said, as if simply talking about the weather.



Kageyama froze, feeling his stomach run cold. He gulped drily.



"Y-your soulmate? I was not aware you had met them." he said, feeling his every nerve shake.



The man waved a nonchalant hand.



"Yes, I did." he squinted at something in the sea of people, before leaning over the ledge even more. "Yes, I'm positively sure that's him. Would you excuse me, I have to go woo my soulmate with my devilish charms."



Then, with a roguish smirk, Oikawa turned around and gracefully walked down the stairs, his tall figure getting lost between other people.



Tobio stood frozen in his spot, his whole body feeling weird. It was like he was empty on the inside, and his carcass had been dunked in the coldest of waters.

In his shock, he completely missed two pairs of mischievous eyes watching his every move, with wolfish smiles to match.





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





After that incident Tobio excused himself from the noble's table, instead opting to search for his friends, and trying to hide the way his heart was squeezed painfully by an invisible grip.

Pushing between people, he tried to clear his blurry eyes. What was he even crying for? He should be glad the man would be off his case!

Spotting his best friend's easily recognizable hair in the middle of an animated chat with Tsukishima who did not seem amused at all, he quickly started making his way there. Movement from his right caught his attention, however, and he glanced in that direction.



He took a trembling step back as he was met with the sight of Oikawa swirling the late-comer around.



That's my soulmate.



He turned around faster than ever, and practically ran towards Hinata. He did not get very far, as he wasn't paying attention and stumbled straight into someone's chest.

Muttering an apology, he raised his head to see who it was.



Ah, luck really is not my side tonight.



Dark brown eyes stared back at him bemusedly from under golden hair. It was that noble from before, Miya whatever.



“It's quite alright.” the man said, before raising a hand. “Would you dance with me, now?”



Tobio's head was still reeling, and with his heart pounding painfully against his throat, he found himself nodding along to what the other had offered.



“Excellent.”



The man positioned them in the typical position, and they started moving around the room. Kageyama couldn't help but think about how unnatural the man's hands felt on his hips, and how he did not feel any sliver of excitement in the air.



They were barely halfway through the song when someone placed a hand on Miya's shoulder, making the both of them stop. He furrowed his eyebrows confusedly, silently cursing who had disrupted his daydreaming of running along empty hills.

He peered around his dance partner, and was surprised to see it was the King who had his head directed towards the floor, his fringe painting a shadow over his eyes, and hiding his eyes from view. His golden crown glinted dangerously.



Tobio could see the confusion swirling in Miya's eyes, and he did not blame him. He, too, was befuddled. Nevertheless, his dance partner turned around, letting one hand drop from Tobio's waist, and bowed low, muttering a, “My King.” Kageyama followed suit, bending down and fixing his eyes on the fancy black dress shoes Oikawa had. He did not understand what the man wanted with them.



They both straightened up, and gazed at the King curiously, whose eyes were still not to be seen.



The King raised his head, and Tobio froze at his expression. His features were stony and unreadable, but his eyes. God, his eyes.



They were colder than the winters in Fukurodani were, sharper than the sharpest of swords crafted in Johzenji. Tobio was glad the man was not looking at him, but he could feel the way Miya's right hand (which was still on his waist) froze, along with his whole body stiffening up.



The King looked down his nose at Miya, almost superiorly. He seemed to think of the man as nothing but a slug to crawl at his feet, before ultimately being squashed under his fancy heel.



The man nodded curtly, in a sign of greeting.



A quiet moment passed, Tobio feeling his dance partner growing tenser and tenser with each second under Oikawa's unbothered stare.



The man finally broke the silence.



“Might I talk privately with your dance partner?” He said it in a way that was more of a command, than a question, as if he really did not care what Miya had to say and Tobio was coming with him either way.



“Of course, Your Majesty.” the man bowed, then left, and Tobio fought the urge to go after him himself.



He cleared his throat, looking around at all the dancing couples.



“Um, yes?” he said hesitantly. He really had no idea what Oikawa could possibly want.



“Who was that?” the King questioned, eyes fixing themselves on Tobio's face.



“Miya Atsumu, sir.”



Sir? What in the world...?



“Yes, I know. I meant what is your relationship with him.” the other said, keeping his voice leveled even though his words were agitated.



“Frankly, I don't see how this concerns you,” he started, seeing the way Oikawa immediately tensed up, “But, for your information, I met him this night when he invited me to dance.”



He didn't know why he had told him that, but something in him compelled him to assure the other, to clear the furrow of his brows and make his face relax.



“Anyway,” he continued, not really wanting to hear what the other had said. The late-comer was still imprinted clearly in his head. “Shouldn't you be with your da- soulmate right now?”



The King waved a nonchalant hand as he liked to do.



“He's excused himself. Probably went to relieve himself.”



Tobio gaped at that. It was incredibly impolite to mention one's hygiene and bathroom habits, furthermore coming from the King himself!


Oikawa chuckled at his expression, his own face clearing of iciness and settling back in that warm smile Tobio saw was reserved for his friends.

He opened his mouth to continue the conversation, when he suddenly remembered what had happened only moments ago.



This is it, Tobio.



This is your chance to get him off your back completely.



He cleared his throat.



“I'll leave you be. Your date probably won't be happy to see you chattering about with another person. Goodnight, Your Majesty.” and with a bow, he turned around and ducked underneath a couple, ignoring the calls coming from behind him.



He sat down at an empty table, and grabbed one of the milk-filled glasses, swirling the liquid around. He fixed his gaze on the table, silently appraising the potted flowers present. It's a pity not many people appreciated the décor and effort put into events like this. Roses truly were the most beautiful flowers, in Kageyama's opinion.



(he forgot there was a table from which you could oversee the entire room, from where two brown eyes were watching him appreciating the flower closely)



Someone came huffing from behind him, and he turned around to see who it was. Sugawara stood there, one hand over his middle like it hurt to inhale. He was breathing heavily, his face red.



“We have to go! Yamaguchi's found the ale!”





And that was all it took for Tobio to jump to his feet, and gulp down the milk in one swift movement. Slamming the empty glass on the table, he quickly dashed through the crowd, after his silver-haired friend.

Yamaguchi was a light-weight and he definitely did fancy himself a cup or two of beer. During his inebriation, he got overly emotional, spilling his heart out to anyone willing to listen. And anyone not willing to listen, too.

They had to leave before the man would spill any secrets about them.



They reached the top of the stairs, and quickly passed the entrance hall. He could see the rest of them already outside, Tsukishima holding his best friend upright. Tobio really did admire the blonde in that moment. Even if said man was salty and frequently liked to make fun of them, he did actually care about those close to him.



Someone caught his wrist, and Tobio saw the way Sugawara stumbled without the added weight of his arm. He whipped his head around quickly.



“You're leaving already?” said Oikawa, a bizarre look in his eyes.



“I apologize, Your Majesty. Something important came up and,” he was interrupted by a loud groan of “whoshe thee-?” coming from Yamaguchi. He gently pried his hand away from the man's burning fingers. “We really have to go.”



Oikawa probably had seen that he was being honest, and so nodded his head curtly.

“Well, then, you best be on your way. I'll see you at the shop, yes?” he said it in a way as if challenging Tobio to not be at work. Kageyama snorted, before allowing a small smile to cross his face.



“I wouldn't dream of other.”



Then he turned around, quickly helping Tsukishima keep Yamaguchi on his feet, and, as fast as they could, left the castle's surroundings.



Brown eyes watched them until they were out of view.





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



The next day was greeted with a groaning Yamaguchi who was clutching his head. Tobio saw Asahi pat him sympathetically on the back, which propelled the younger man forward and into his bowl of porridge.



Their breakfast was interrupted by Daichi entering the shop, multiple packages and papers in his hands. No one stopped eating as the brown-haired man went around the table, stopping at three people.



The first was Tanaka, who groaned as he saw the letter was from his older sister, Saeko, who had left out of a sudden to, quote, “go on a mind-numbing adventure!”. The second was an envelope with a red seal on it, Tsukishima's name written on it in sharp curls. The third was a thin, long box, made from dark, elegant wood. This box was placed gently in front of him, and he furrowed his eyebrows questioningly at Daichi.



The man shrugged at his confusion, telling him to look at it, before going to get the rest of the boxes outside.



Tobio looked back down at the unassuming box, seeing something slightly glitter. He peered closely, seeing it was his name engraved in golden shine.



He narrowed his eyes, wondering who would be over-the-top enough to send him a box with his name actually dug into the wood.



He carefully lifted the top, wondering whatever could it possibly be.



He delicately unfolded the silk-looking, dark material, feeling it cold and pleasant against his skin. He silently gaped at the now uncovered box.



Inside stood a single rose, its crimson petals shimmering in the golden candlelight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text



 



Three days passed and spring was over, and with the arrival of summer came blistering hot days and stifling nights.



The rose Kageyama had received was still in its case, but it had been long wilted. Still, he did not throw it out, instead glanced at the box from time to time. He did not figure out who it was that had sent it. The King did not come around the shop during those three days, but Kageyama heard he was busy signing a peace treaty with the Shiratorizawa Kingdom, which was something, considering their two kingdoms had been rivals since forever. Obviously, it was bound to take some time.



One such hot night, he woke up due to the heat, and stumbled out of the room. He pulled a white shirt over his head, tied his belt around his middle, and only grabbed his mask. That was very stuffy already.



Opening the shop door, he glanced around the street. It was empty, and Tobio could feel the heat radiating from the ground, even if it was night. Breathing heavily, (he was already drenched in sweat, the white material of his shirt clinging to his back), he trudged down the alley, wondering where he was going.



He let his legs take him wherever he wanted to go, as he simply kept his gaze fixated on his shoes. Swiping at his forehead, he looked up at where he had stopped. He did a double-take once he saw that he was actually near the royal castle, where he usually started using his belt to move.

His mind was screaming at him, asking him what he was doing, and to turn back when he still had the chance. And he agreed with it! It just that something in his chest was annoyingly pulling him towards that place, and making his feet move without his permission. Soon enough he was flying over roofs, high above where the guards could see.



He closed his eyes in pure bliss, feeling the wind cool his flushed cheeks. The castle was a perfect place to use his belt. He could get used to it!



He felt his feet hit the ground, and he opened his eyes to see where his instinct had brought him.



Tobio was in a garden, dark grass brushing against his ankles. Grotesque statues were looming over him, but he did not find them frightening. He quite liked them, actually. Rose bushes were scattered around, but no flowers were present. They weren't in bloom in summer. Kageyama glanced to the front, and saw the stone ledge where he had had his second meeting with the King during his guise.



He leaned on it, feeling the cool stone beneath his fingertips, and gazed at the wide, empty hills stretching out in front of him.

In the garden it wasn't hot at all. Instead, it was pleasantly cool, making Tobio grin slightly at his situation. Here he was, inside one of the royal gardens when he wasn't allowed to be, and he was admiring the atmosphere!



He could see the horizon's line, and the green hills were calling out to him. Sometime, he'd have to go running along that wide empty expanse. Sometime.



He felt his eyelids grow heavy, as his tiredness finally hit him. He wasn't foolish, though. He would not fall asleep in the garden, no matter how comfortable the stone bench from behind him looked. He leaned further on the wide ledge.



He heard a faint creak from his left, and then something softly sliding shut. Tobio did not glance around. He wasn't worried. He had his belt and he could get out of there whenever he wanted. And he really wanted to look at the green stretching out in front of him for another minute. Or five.

 

He heard the patter of shoes across the ground, slowly walking towards his place. He sighed, displeased. He'd have to go.



"You don't have to leave."



The voice was clear, but filled with the same tiredness Tobio could feel in his own bones. It still had the same effect on him, though. He found himself unmoving, and his mind was screaming at him, 'I told you! I told you!'.

He felt the presence behind him move to his left, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw the figure lean on the ledge. The man was gazing in front of him as well.

Tobio took a step to his right, putting some distance between them. He did not leave.



"I can stop if you want, you know." Oikawa said casually, but his hands tightened into fists. "Just tell me, and I'll stop. I'll cease my chase for you."



Tobio remained silent.



At this, the man turned towards him, one eyebrow raised. His eyes had regained that playful glint in them they so often had, and his lips formed a half-smirk-half-smile.



"Oh? Come on, tell me~" Oikawa sing-songed, his expression widening into a grin as he took in Kageyama's silence.



"Aw, how cute~" his soulmate cooed annoyingly. "My little king refuses to come with me, but at the same time, he does not want my pursuing of him to stop. Truly adorable."



Tobio flashed him his fieriest glare, gritting his teeth under his mask.



The stars glittered wonderfully above them.



"But, why, I wonder." the other continued, one finger tapping his chin mockingly. "Why won't he join me, get rid of his ridiculous mask?"



"That's none of your business!" he snapped. The man had hit a sore spot. He knew he wasn't enough, he didn't need his soulmate telling him that too.



"Oh yes, I've noticed you quite enjoy saying that to me. This time, however, it is quite my business." he said, his gaze adopting that feature that made Tobio unable to control his limbs.



Kageyama moved his gaze back towards the hills.



"You wouldn't understand." he muttered, hoping the man would drop it.



"Oh? Try me." he saw Oikawa out of the corner of his eyes stare at him while saying that, his eyes adopting a fierce determination in them, as if challenging Tobio.



He averted his eyes once again.



"How did it go with Shiratorizawa?" he said instead.



The King laughed bitterly, like a snake ready to pounce.



"You think I can't see how you're changing the subject? Why do you refuse to tell me what I want to know?" the man said, taking a step in his direction.



Tobio sighed fondly at the stubbornness of his soulmate. It was time for him to take his leave.



He turned around, and snapped his belt towards a nearby tower, sailing through the air. Once perched safely on the roof, he turned around.

Oikawa stood there, one hand on the ledge, the other at his side. His back was straight, eyes glinting with a fire in them that Tobio could see from his place all the way up there.



"You know I won't stop chasing you, do you?" the man said, and the breeze carried his words to Tobio. "I'll run after you my whole life if that's what it takes for you to be with me."



"Just..." he started, feeling his heart beat fast at his soulmate's words. His face flushed and it had nothing to do with the heat. "Just... Forget about me, alright?"



The King glared at him.



"But why? Why?"



When he saw that Tobio wasn't going to give him an answer, but wasn't going to leave just yet, he pulled his shoulders back.



"Well, soulmate, I think you've forgotten that I'm the King." a predatory smile overtook his features. "And Kings don't take orders from anyone."



Tobio exhaled a shuddered breath, feeling his pulse quicken even more. He chose to shake his head in amusement, trying not to let it show how much the man was affecting him.



“Goodnight, Your Majesty.” he said instead, before glancing around that oh-so-beautiful garden once-more, and releasing a string in the opposite direction.



They both smiled when the other was far enough to not see.





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Tobio woke up, his shirt clinging to his body. He disgustedly peeled the material off his skin, then flicked his bangs back, hoping that would keep them out of his face. He begrudgingly stood up, then took a deep breath.

Wrong move. The warm air entered his senses, making him even dizzier. He stumbled towards the window, throwing it open.

The air outside was the same temperature, if not even hotter, but at least it was fresh and did not smell like stale sweat.



He leaned on the frame, feeling the morning sun's rays on his back. No one was awake except for him, but Tobio could see that everyone was having an uncomfortable sleep.

He sighed deeply, remembering all those hot summers from before.

In about three minutes everyone was up and in a mildly bad mood. Tsukishima's glasses were fogged up, and his owner was saltier than ever. That was definitely bad. Sugwara clapped his hands together, offering them a tired smile.



“Alright, everyone! As we all know, summer's arrived!” , the blonde grumbled something under his breath, “I think we should start it off on a strong note, so I propose we go to the lake and have a swim. The one we always go to.”



Tobio heard murmurs of agreement coming from everybody, before they all piled out of the small, stuffy room, a change of clothes at the ready.



The streets only housed early risers, who were all setting up their stands, though slower than usual. Kageyama felt the still low sun prick at the back of his sweaty neck.

After a five minute trek through the kingdom, they finally left the wooden houses behind, stepping on grass instead of stone. The pathway was made of dirt, exactly three trees present. One on one side, two on the other. An early bird started singing, the only one able to wake up.



The group finally reached the edge of the lake, its surface glinting attractively in the light. They all left their things on the ground nearby, in the shade of a tall oak tree. Soon enough, the lake's calm exterior was disturbed by ripples of moving bodies. The boys were only sporting shorts and the girls had bandages wrapped around their chests. Tobio really did not envy them right then.



The atmosphere turned pleasant, the echoes of their laughter filling the silence, small waves crashing around whenever Tanaka and Nishinoya wrestled around.



Tobio inhaled deeply, closing his eyes. His legs were moving around slightly, keeping him floating. Then he felt something terribly solid brush against his right ankle. He screeched whipping it upwards, but did not have time to get out of the potential danger, as he suddenly found himself underwater, eyes open, bubbles floating all around.



He turned around and was met with the sight of Hinata with his eyes closed, a wide smile on his face like he was laughing. Kageyama glared at him, before lunging forwards. Two can play at that game!




An hour later they were trudging back towards the kingdom, still wet but with huge grins on their faces. Tobio could already feel the water drying under the sweltering sun.



When they finally reached the shop, his body was completely void of the cool liquid, instead sweat was starting to form. He groaned, before opening the door. He did not put a shirt back on, and neither did the rest.



Each of them grabbed as many spice baskets as they could, before heading back out in the oppressive heat. In the summer every shop had a stand in the Central Plaza, selling their goods there instead of their usual place.

Tobio could see multiple people already coming out of their houses, all red-faced.



He grasped his basket tighter, immensely glad they did not have to wear shirts.



Once they finally reached the Plaza he was glad to see not many people were around. They could choose a nice spot, then, and that would be where they would be selling their spices the whole season.



Sugawara opted for a place near a relatively big house, which offered shade from the sun at its point at lunchtime. It was smart, considering that was when it would be the most unbearable. They were also near an alleyway, so they could easily make their way out of the crowd if they had to leave. Everyone agreed with the suggestion.



By lunchtime they managed to sell a lot of their products, even sending out street vendors (Tanaka and Hinata).



Then, the shortie stopped in front of their stand, hands on his knees and breathing heavily.



He started spluttering something incoherent, his arms flailing wildly with each word said.



Sugawara raised a calm hand. “Calm down, what is it? What happened?”



“I- huff – dropped the – huff – cassia – huff – near the fountain!” he said, still catching his breath.



Sugawara and a nearby Tobio shared a look. They could not send Hinata out to clean it, considering he'd just make the mess even worse.



Sighing heavily as a moment of understanding passed between team, Kageyama reluctantly filled a wooden bucket with water from a nearby spring, grabbed an old brush, and braved the heat.



He ducked between people, slowly making his way towards the fountain. He could already see the red powder spilled on the ground. Thankfully, there weren't many people near the fountain, and so he could move freely. He turned his back on the distant castle that could be seen over the houses, then plopped on the burning stone.





He let his knees hit the ground, wincing a little at the scorching heat, before leaning forwards on his left arm. With his right hand, he dunked it into the bucket, before violently scrubbing at the stain on the ground.



He was breathing heavily, his hair stuck to his neck, sweat rolling down his bare back. He was so concentrated that he lost track of what was happening around him. So much that he did not notice the way the up-until-then very loud chatter stopped. Nor did he heard the sound of a pair of footsteps slowly walking around.



He just kept wiping at the powder with one hand, then with the other at his forehead.



He inhaled deeply, leaning back a little, his legs folded underneath him. Only then did he notice a shadow over him.



He wiped his forehead again, feeling his bangs stick to his face. Then he glanced up.



In front of him stood a tall person, and he had to crane his neck up a lot to see his whole body. The man was standing right in front of the sun, so his face was darkened.



Tobio dunked the sponge in the bucket again, before flicking his hands out of his face with his free hand.



He cleared his dry throat. “Can I help you?”

He saw the shadowed man move slightly, before his gaze fell on the top of the person's head. He felt like he was dragged under the cool water all over again.



Oikawa shuffled around Tobio's still on the floor form, before sitting on the fountain's wide ledge. Kageyama looked at him, now able to see his features. The man was dressed in a flimsy white shirt, tied at the top with a string. He had dark brown pants and lace-up boots. His golden crown reflected the sun threateningly. The man looked composed, and not a the least disturbed by the heat.

He propped on long leg over the other, before glancing around disinterestedly. Soon enough the market resumed its usual chatter, though people shot the King curious gazes every now and then.



Tobio still sat on the ground, his legs growing stiff under him. He looked at the spilled cassia, then at Oikawa. He froze when he saw the man's eyes were already trained on him. Kageyama looked up at the man, who sat on the fountain above him, his eyes glinting in pleasure.

He was gazing down at Tobio, his head raised slightly, lips showing his threatening canines.



Kageyama averted his eyes once he saw the fire in the man's features.



He cleared his throat awkwardly, then settled back on his hands and knees, eager to get this over with and get out of there. He heard a sharp inhale from behind him.



He scrubbed violently at the stain, willing and willing it to disappear so he could leave. The sun was burning his back, but it was nothing compared to the stare drilling holes in his side.



He exhaled in relief once he saw the red finally go. He shakily stood up, his legs stiff from such a long time being folded underneath his body. He brushed his dusty trousers, then bent down to retrieve his bucket and sponge.



Suddenly, a loud clatter came from in front of him, and blue filled his vision. Right in front of him was a huge splatter of dripping liquid, a man with an empty tray standing thee, a shocked and slightly scared look on his face. Tobio glanced at where the man was looking and saw Oikawa was still sitting on the fountain, but now had two tiny drops of color on his shoes.

The man was shaking like a leaf, looking as if he was ready to drop dead right there. The people in the close vicinity stopped what they were doing, all ready to see what would happen.



The King did not stand up, instead waving a nonchalant hand.



“It's no problem. It wasn't your fault you dropped it.” he said casually.



Tobio suddenly heard whispers coming from all around him.



“Yes... that guy tripped him!”



“I saw it with my own two eyes...”

“Yes, yes, you're right...!”



Kageyama shook a little, as he saw everyone point fingers at him. What were they saying? He didn't do anything!



He looked back towards Oikawa, a desperate look in his eyes. He felt his world tilt a little as he was the smirk the man had on his face, eyes glinting.



What the hell is he doing?



Why is he not saying anything?


He saw what happened?



Right in front of his very eyes, the King turned back towards the crowd, and his features schooled into a stern expression.

“It's alright everyone. I would hate to disrupt your business with this tiny problem. This young man right here can fix it, considering he was the cause.” the man said seriously.

Kageyama saw the people around him nod in understanding, before quickly dispersing. Tobio pointed a shaking finger at himself. Oikawa nodded, his pleased smirk coming back, hidden from the others' view.



“Come on, Tobio-chan.” the man murmured, only for Kageyama's ears to hear. “We'd hate to make a scene in front of all these people.”



Tobio glared at the man incredulously.



Why was he doing this?

What did Tobio do?



Still in shock, he dropped back down to his knees, crawling towards the blue puddle which seemed to be winking at him. That sharp intake of breath came again.



He scrubbed violently at the liquid, imagining it was Oikawa's ugly face. He grit his teeth, muttering curses that would have sailors jumping overboard.

Once it was finally done (he had felt something burning his back the whole time, and it hadn't been the sun), he jumped to his feet, eager to leave before the man had anymore ridiculous ideas for god-knows-what reason.



He turned around, bucket clenched tightly, when the clear voice he so hated came from behind.



“Aren't you forgetting something?”





He whipped around so fast, wondering if he would be hanged for punching the King. (he would) The man still sat on the ledge of the fountain, looking down at Tobio with that infuriating smirk.



What.” Kageyama hissed, knuckles white in tension.



Oikawa merely moved his right leg a little, forcing Tobio to look at his shoes. The two drops were still there. He raised his eyebrows so high they might as well be flying.



“Seriously?” he asked, wondering if the King really was that much of a bastard. (he was)

The man merely looked at him, before murmuring once again only for Kageyama to hear, “I'd hate to make you look back in front of the crowd.”



Tobio grit his teeth so tight, he thought he heard his jaw snap. A tense moment passed, with only the two of them gazing into each other's eyes.



Then Kageyama dropped to his knees.



He pointedly ignored the pleased look the man had, instead focusing on his sponge which was scrubbing at the man's shoe.



Why are you doing this?” he spoke softly, still looking at the black boot.



He had to quickly turn his head to the right to avoid the nudge of the shoe towards him.



Less talking, more scrubbing.” he heard from above him.



He made sure to leave the man's boots with plenty of water, enough that it wouldn't seem incriminating.



Once he was done, he spun around like lightning, quickly dashing through the crowd and back to his stand.



Behind him, a man sat on the fountain's ledge, an amused smirk on his lips, pulse tight and fast against his skin, an empty bucket at his feet.

























Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

"Mama, mama!" a little boy called, running across the grass towards were a beautiful woman was standing, looking over wide hills. The woman turned around, a smile making her features light up. The boy jumped in his mother's arms, laughing loudly.



The woman stumbled a little under the weight, taking a seat on the stone bench. She ruffled her child's brown hair fondly, eyes crinkled at the corners.



"Tooru-chan, did you run from your riding lesson again?" the boy's mother scolded him affectionately, "Look at your clothes, all ruffled and dirty!"



The little boy batted his parent's arms away, and crossed his arms petulantly.



"It's all so boring! I know how to ride a horse already!" the child said, a stubborn look in his eyes. The woman smiled, thinking about how much her little Tooru was like her husband already.



"Tell me," the boy turned serious, grasping his mother's hands in his own tiny ones. "I heard the others talk about something called 'soulmate'? What's that?"



Ah, so it was time.

She settled him on her knee better, brushing a few wisps of hair out of his eyes.



"Well dear, you know how locks have keys which open them. Your soulmate is the person who holds the key to your heart, and you to theirs. It's someone who will unlock all your secrets, one who'll make you smile when the skies are gray. It's the person, or people, who will love you with all they have."



"But mama, I already love you and papa and Iwa-chan. What do I need another person, or people for?"



"That is different." she said, smiling, "but Tooru, pay close attention to me now," she looked him in the eye directly, "When you find him, or her, or them you love them wtih all you have, you hear? Don't be scared," she added once she saw the boy's mildly frightened face, "They'll take care of your heart. And you best do the same for them, young man!"



Tooru laughed at his mother's tickling, swiping at her hand.



"Oh? Are we making fun of Tooru-chan?" a deep voice came from the right, and a tall dark-haired man appeared through two huge doors.



The boy jumped to his feet, hiding behind a stone gargoyle. He wasn't getting tickled again!



The two adults laughed, hands wrapped around each other, eyes fixed on their child. Tooru blinked once or twice, before opening his mouth and asking, "Mama, is papa your soulmate?"



The two exchanged fond looks, before nodding at the boy.

"I," he started, in his serious voice, "Will try to give my soulmate a try. For you!"

His parents flashed him brilliant smiles, but he was not done yet.



"But how will I know who it is?"

He did not miss the glance the grownups exchanged.



"Well, you see, your soulmate is someone who is not able to hurt you, intentionally or not."



Tooru furrowed his brows. Why would he want to hurt his soulmate?



"So, does that mean they are going to be from an enemy kingdom? But, we do not have any enemies!"



His dad took a step towards him, his crown glinting prettily in the candlelight. The boy liked that crown.



"It might not be intentional at all! Maybe they tried to carry a bucket full of water, and dropped it on your foot!"



The boy put his hands on his hips determinedly.



"Then I'll help them carry it!"



His parents laughed again, before heading towards the doors leading out of the garden, and towards the main dining hall. Tooru followed, his gaze fixed on the red petals of the rose he was fiddling with in his hands.



Hearing his mother and father's laughs, fond looks, hugs, and even kisses, Tooru felt something he then did not know what was.



Soulmates did not sound bad at all.





~~~~~~~~~~~~~





The next time he heard about soulmates was when he was thirteen. Skipping down the palace halls, he came to a stop in front of the music room. He thought he had seen his best friend's familiar figure.



He opened his mouth to greet him, but promptly closed it as he saw the boy was not moving. He looked to be gazing at something in the room. Tooru took a discreet step back, trying to see at what the other was looking. He caught a flash of blonde, almost white, hair and he felt a huge smile form on his face.



Well, well, Iwa-chan's got a girlfriend!


He snickered under his breath, but turned and left. He did not want to intrude on a private moment. There would be time to pester his friend later.



And later it was, when he found Iwa-chan near the stables, bending down and looking at something out of view. Tooru snickered under his breath, and moved behind his friend.



"Whatcha doing, Iwa-chan~?" he said loudly, his smile widening as Iwaizumi jumped three feet in the air, a nearby horse shooting him a disapproving look. His friend turned around, red-faced and with his hands clasped behind his back.



"Stop doing that!" the boy hissed angrily, and Tooru smiled, recounting the many times he had scared his friend in this way. He raised a curious eyebrow at the hands which were still hidden out of his view.



"What're you hiding thereeeeeee~?" he said, leaning close and trying to catch a glimpse.



Iwaizumi stepped violently stepped back, his face getting even redder.



"It's none of your bussiness, Trashykawa!" (Tooru had a feeling that would not be the last time he'd hear that saying, though he did not know back then.)



"Oh, come on! I'm your best friend! Is it about your girlfriend?" he smiled in victory, as Iwaizumi's face got even redder, a feat which seemed impossible.



"Shut up! She's not my girlfriend, you horse dung!" but Tooru heard his next mutter, "at least not yet."



He wrapped an arm around the man's shoulders.

"Well, let me meet her, if she's so important to you! She has to get the Tooru stamp of approval first!" he said, raising a finger up, as if he was passing an important law. He heard his best friend snort under his breath.



"She's not just 'important'. She's my soulmate." and Iwaizumi said those two words filled with so much love and fondness for another person, that Tooru was momentarily stumped. His friend only had that tone with him once he was sleepy enough to not remember it the next day. (he did, but Iwaizumi did not need to know that)



"OH?" he said, a grin practically splitting his face in two. "Now I want to meet her even more! She has to be some kind of super human to deal with your grumpiness!"



He casually ducked underneath the punch aimed his way, and stuck a glance at Iwaizumi's hands. He was holding some round, orange flowers. Tooru thought he had seen those flowers somewhere before.



"You bringing her some flowers?"



"Oh-?" Iwaizumi glanced at his hands, then narrowed his eyes at Tooru's cheeky smile, "Yes, she was painting something and told me she was missing a flower. She told me to get the arbutus. I only know what they look like because my mom likes them too.



I actually knew she was my soulmate because she was so surprised to see another person in the drawing room, that she dropped the boiling water she was holding. It did not hurt me! It was like magic!"



Tooru glanced at his friend's happy face, and prayed the girl would take care of his hopeless ass.

He suddenly remembered where he knew the flowersfrom. A wide grin formed on his face.



"Oh, Iwa-chan~. You better see what those flowers mean!" he said happily, then skipped away from him.



He wondered what his own soulmate was like, or if it even was just only one person.



~~~~~~~~~~~~




He stayed at his mother's bedside, her hand clasped in his own. She was shaking with dry coughs, each more powerful than the last.



Seventeen year old Tooru looked into her pale eyes, cursing fate for having this in store. His mother clutched his fingers tighter.



"Tooru," he leaned closer, "Listen to - huff - me."

He blinked back the tears in his eyes and nodded.



"I know you're scared, my dear" she patted his cheek fondly, as she had done all those years ago, "But open your heart. That's all you have to do." she coughed, her free hand coming to her middle. "The rest will come..."



Her hand went limp. The storm continued to move on outside, the raging of the rain nothing compared to the sound of Tooru's heart breaking.



"...to you."



















Chapter Text

 

Kageyama trudged back towards their stand, fighting the urge to punch the first person he saw.

As the familiar arrangement of colorful spices came into view, he decided it would be best to just forget what happened. It’s not like he could do anything against the King. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t sulk about it!

He muttered a greeting towards Yamaguchi, who was weirdly the only one at the stand. He received a nod in response, before the man went back to conversing with some random lunatic with metal driven into his face.

He not-so-gracefully plopped down in one of the beanbags they had brought with them and huffed, awaiting a customer to approach. If Sugawara were there he’d no doubt scold him for ‘driving away potential buyers with his moody aura’ and tell him to smile.

But he wasn’t here so there was no reason to do that.

He could spend his time looking at the people, like that man who was wrestling a cow, or maybe Oikawa coming towards him, or that gi...

Wait.

He squinted his eyes against the sun, and saw the easily recognizable figure of his soulmate approaching. He helplessly glanced towards Yamaguchi, but he was looking completely absorbed in whatever joke that other guy was telling. He was supposed to be doing his job! (he was one to talk)

A shadow fell over his face, and he really did not want to raise his head. Remembering all those encouragements Daichi told them before a mission, he gathered what was left of his courage (which was not much), and gazed upwards.

Oikawa smiled at him innocently, as if he hadn’t ripped his dignity to shreds, before raising an object up with his right hand. Tobio glanced towards it, and saw his forgotten bucket shining in the daylight.

“In your haste, you forgot this.” the man said, before gently placing the bucket on the makeshift wooden counter.

He grunted uncomfortably, before forcing an apology.

Oikawa merely nodded, before gazing sideways at Yamaguchi.

He inclined a head towards him, before saying. “Your friend, Yamaguchi, I presume?”

He stiffened up, then narrowed his eyes in suspicion.

“How did you know his name?” he questioned, now wondering just how much the King actually knew.

Oikawa waved a nonchalant hand at his expression, before replying, “I have a friend who’s interested in him, and he keeps going on and on about him. In fact,” he gazed at the customer who had stolen Yamaguchi’s attention, “That’s him right there. Fancy seeing you here, Terushima!”

The man with the metal in his face glanced towards them in surprise, before a smile overtook his features. He took a step towards them but Tobio noticed he was still turned slightly towards Yamaguchi.

“Oikawa, hey!” (‘Oikawa’? Who was this guy) “Sorry I missed your ball!”

And he spoke so freely too, Kageyama had never heard such ways of speaking before.

His soulmate smiled at him, the real one, before patting the Terushima guy on the shoulder. Tobio glared at that hand with fervour.

“It’s no problem at all! I knew you had that thing to take care of.” and he not-so-subtly glanced towards Yamaguchi, who was now silent and gazing between the two of them with a confusion that rivaled Tobio’s own.

He looked at them closely. There was something going on here.

As the two men settled in a conversation as if they weren’t driving away potential customers with their fancy presence (Kageyama saw multiple people turn around and head elsewhere, avoiding their stand as if it was the plague), Tobio side-stepped discreetly, before turning around and heading off into the alleyway near their spot. Just to clear his head and try to figure out what Terushima wanted with Yamaguchi. He might not be the most intelligent person around, but even he had seen the pointed look Oikawa had given his friend.

He glanced in front of him and saw the street was empty, save for three men who were leaning against a wall, one of them holding a bottle that was definitely empty. Tobio could still hear the loud noises of the crowd, but they were faded, as he had walked some distance.

He kept his head down as he passed the men. He now saw that they were drunk, laughing loudly and stumbling from one side to the other. He could feel his heart pound loudly in his ears, and his breath come out in short puffs.

“Hey, that guy stole my money!” came a loud shout from behind, and he turned around. His eyes widened as he saw the man that had spoken was pointing at him.

He felt his horror increase, as the three men started walking towards him, accusing looks on their faces, and fists slightly raised. He took a step back, raising his arms in a show of innocence.

“I-i didn’t!” he said shakily, feeling his breathing increase with each step he took. This was just like that ni...

His back hit the stone wall, and the men were right in front of him. He could’ve held his own against them, but flashes of images from that night kept invading his vision, and he couldn’t concentrate on anything, much less take on three grown men.

He vaguely realized he had started crying as the men were right in his face, their smelly breaths hitting his face. He raised his arms trying to protect himself from invisible punches he could feel would be coming.

Then the air was cleared, and he could finally breathe. Everything was blurry and he couldn’t grasp what was happening, except two warm hands were placed on his shoulders. He should’ve swiped them away, but they felt safe. He didn’t want them to be removed. A slightly worried voice filled his ears, and he basked in its familiarity.

He-“, the world turned white then back to a blur of colors, “-ou alri-“

He slid down the wall, bunching his knees up. He burrowed his face down, trying to rid himself of white spots. His whole body shook as tears streaked down his face.

He raised one shaking hand and placed it above the warm wrist still on him.

Tobio-!”

The world turned white.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Fifteen year old Tobio walked down the alley in his hometown holding his bouquet of roses in one hand, the other throwing an apple up and down.

He was whistling a tune he had known for forever, one he couldn’t recall where he knew it from.

He had just passed the bakery from where he got bread everyday, when he heard a slightly strangled sound come from a side street. Furrowing his eyebrows, he slowly walked towards there. Maybe someone was injured and they needed help!

He took a step in the darkened alley, placing down his bouquet. He couldn’t see anything.

“H-hello? Are you hurt?” he called out in the dark, trying to see what was going on.

He screamed in shock as a hand suddenly shot out from the darkness, catching him by the forearm. He dug his heels into the ground, trying to stop the movement the hand was creating. But to no avail.

He was pulled into the shadows, the hand clasping his wrist painfully. He blinked rapidly, his eyes getting used to the lack of light quite easily.

There were five people: a man and a woman were held back by two people, and a woman was the one clutching his wrist in a vice-like grip.

Now he looked closer, the two people being held back were looking horrible, and he felt his gut lurch at the sight. Even in the next-to-none lighting he could make out bruises coloring their skins, the man’s right eye was completely shut, swollen and an angry red. Their legs were bent at grotesque angles, that made his stomach roll disgustingly.

He didn’t have time to inspect their state more, as the woman holding him pushed him in front quite roughly, making him stumble and go sprawling against the stone.

“I found this one snooping around.” she grunted, a venomous sneer on her face that made Tobio quite nervous.

“Hold him back while I finish with these.” one of the other two men said, spitting something dark on the ground

He was pulled back, his back flush against the woman’s front. He could feel each breath she took against his neck. His heart pounded loudly in his chest, and his eyes blurred.

In horror, he watched as the first punch went. The man being held back lurched backwards, and Tobio could see blood hit the stone ground. The woman screamed and sobbed, but she was no match for the restraints against her.

He started sobbing as the man took hit after hit with no reaction. His ears were filled with the sound of grunts and liquid being spilt, and he blinked rapidly trying to look away. The woman holding him didn’t let him, instead pushed his head forwards, forcing him to look at the gruesome sight.

The woman’s screams were so loud, pleading for the man’s life.

“Hold her back while I finish her soulmate.”

And so she was silenced, one hand placed over her mouth.

Finally they were done with the man, leaving him looking like a limp doll, but Tobio could still see the way his chest was slowly rising and falling, meaning he was still alive.

And they did things to the woman. Things he hadn’t ever wanted to see. The most painful had to be the wails of agony coming from the man, who had not said anything during his own beating, but was sobbing his heart out at the other’s torture.

And they killed the two. Easy as one would count. They had done their horrible things, before ultimately just ripping their stomachs open.

Tobio took in shuddered breaths, the world tilting on its axis. He felt his whole lunch come to his mouth, but his neck was dry as sand.

The monsters turned towards him, and they said such horrible things. They called him pathetic and useless, and how he would never be anything more than a nuisance to his soulmate. He didn’t know what a soulmate was, but the words plunged deep into his gut, and he felt himself choke on his tears, as they laughed, and laughed, and laughed .

And the first one of them unzipped his pants and his whole vision turned white, his own screams fading to silence.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

He now stood on a wide hill. And it was green, oh so green. Nothing was to be seen, except a distant building with tall columns and elegant balconies. But he couldn’t see that. He just had a feeling it was there, like how you would know a good friend had your back.

He turned around, feeling a presence near him. A man stood near him, looking towards the building as well.

He was tall, and he held himself proudly, chin up and shoulders pulled back. A golden crown glinted on top of his beautiful brown hair. Tobio liked that crown.

The man turned towards him, and he saw that his eyes were a beautiful brown, like the earth after a rainstorm.

The man smiled at him, eyes closed, features warm.

And all was right in the world.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

He gasped deeply, eyes opening. He quickly took in his surroundings, and calmed down.

Colorful powders stood around him, along with multiple people he somehow felt like he knew.

He blinked back the remaining white spots, squinting at the blurry figures.

It was Sugawara, Hinata and Oikawa. He jumped up, trying to get off of what he was laying on. A hand landed on his chest, pushing him back slightly. He fell back, gazing at his soulmate’s hand.

Pathetic. Useless.

He glanced towards his best friend, and found his expression filled with worry.

He cleared his throat awkwardly, “Uh...”

“You passed out and I brought you here.” Oikawa interrupted him, looking him right in the eye.

“Oh, okay. T-thank you.” he said, before standing up. The hand came again, but he batted it away.

“You didn’t have to do th-“

“Was it that dream again?” came the voice of Hinata, and Tobio closed his eyes.

“Dream? What dream?” Oikawa questioned, and he sounded both accusing and worried. Though why he could be worried surpassed Tobio.

You’re nothing.

“You should go back to your duties, Your Highness.” he started, wanting someone to hug him. He saw his best friend take a step forward. “Thank you for bringing me here, I apologize for being such a nuisance.”

And he wasn’t sarcastic. He gazed at his clenched hands, sensing that Oikawa had no intention of leaving.

Sugawara gently led the King towards the door, muttering something that Kageyama could not hear. But he could feel his soulmate’s displeasure.

“Fine.” the man said icily, opening the door, “But I’ll be back.”

The door shut softly behind him.

And Tobio started crying like the pathetic nothing he was. Those people had been right. He really should not hope to have any kind of future at his soulmate’s side.

And as Hinata and Sugawara hugged him, he thought back to his dream. He got it every other year, but it was always the same. The same painful memories coming back.

But this time it had been different. There had been someone there.

A man. A beautiful man.

But Tobio could not grasp the fading dream back, and the mysterious person disappeared.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Oikawa Tooru was not a man reknown for his patience.



That's why that night found him pacing in the dining hall, one hand rubbing his chin, his companions watching him. He just could not sit and wait while Tobio had some other fucking dream! What had that even been about? He shouldn't be here, but rather at his bedside making sure he gets enough sleep!



In fact, he had just turned around to head out of the room, when a voice interrupted him.



"What are you so restless about anyway?" Kuroo said, looking at him in amusement from his seat near the table, "Did that man from the spice shop do something again?"



He would've snarled at the other to shut up, but he knew his friend held no blame. He hadn't told them what happened, so how should they know what to say that would not set him off?



"Yeah, Shittykawa. The only time you had had this much energy was when I told you you'd be meeting Aika."



He turned around and saw Iwaizumi lean on the table, his chin perched on his hand. A smile was on his face as well, but it immediately fell once Oikawa's expression came into view.



"Are you all right?", he said, standing up, a concerned look on his face. "What happened?"



Oikawa saw the way his mind slowly caught up, a spark of recognition flashing in his eyes.



"Did something happen to that Kageyama Tobio?"



He grit his teeth, mind flashing back to the way the brunette was cowering in on himself, body racking with sobs, not seeming to be aware of anything going on around him.

He looked at the far end of the room, where two guards stood stoically.



"That's what I'm trying to find out." he murmured, clutching the back of a chair tighter.



Multiple sounds of wood scraping across the floor, and he saw all of his friends stand up. The ones present then. Akaashi stepped forward, and placed a hand on his shoulder, mouth set in a grim line. He seemed upset, and an upset Akaashi was terrifying. Not to mention that an angry Bokuto would soon follow.



"Don't worry." the man said, a serious look on his face. "We'll help you get to the bottom of this."



He saw them all nod, eyebrows furrowed. It warmed his heart that they were so willing to protect someone they didn't even know personally, all for Oikawa.



He gave a firm nod of his own, and his golden crown glinted prettily across the stone walls.



"Thank you."



He received a whack to the back of his neck by Iwaizumi who called, "Don't be all stupid now, Trashykawa!"





~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Tobio woke up to orange hair in his face, and a wet spot on his shirt. Not the most pleasant way to greet consciousness.

He gently peeled away a still sleeping Hinata's arms from around his waist, and stood up. The room was dark, everyone probably sleeping. He didn't check the beds, instead walking down the stairs carefully, trying not to let out any sound and disturb the other's rest.



Once on the ground floor, he gently pushed open the door and headed outside. It was pleasant, a cool breeze caressing his flushed cheeks. A cricket was singing somewhere.



"Hey."



He jumped slightly at the voice, and turned to see Sugawara leaning on the wall to his left. His head was angled towards the sky, and the stars were reflected in his eyes, making him seem all-knowing.



He nodded in greeting, awkwardly standing there. He was not much of a people person, but he could tell something was wrong with the other. So he gathered his courage and spoke up.



"A-are you all right?"



The man turned to look at him, and his face was cast in shadows.



"Me? Yes, I'm fine." But he did not seem. Kageyama cleared his throat, waiting for the man to elaborate, and he did. "I just... I just hoped you trusted me. Why would you not tell me something so important to you?"



Because Tobio just had to go and ruin something again. That's all he seemed to be good at. He coughed in his palm, hearing a crow start a melody.



"It doesn't matter that much to me. I didn't see the point of telling the people I care about something that doesn't even bother me anymore." Something that would make all of them look at him differently, probably with disgust. He had built a life here, and he didn't want to destroy it.



Sugawara had noticed his hesitation, and turned fully towards him.



"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to know, but just know, that I'd never look at you in a different way. No matter what anyone says."



Tobio felt his heart skip a beat at the other's fierce determination, and he only now realized how glad he was to have such good friends. He nodded slightly to himself.



"All right. Just...", he hesitated, wondering if he really was doing this, "Don't tell anyone else."



The affirmation he got back was steely and serious. He trusted Sugawara.



And so he told the story of what had happened to him, something he had only ever done once before, to his closest friend.



~~~~~~~~~~~



The next day found him downstairs, eating buttered toast. He felt good, like a weight had been lifted off his chest and he could finally breathe all right. True to his word, Sugawara had listened without interruption, and Tobio did not remember when he fell asleep, nor how he got in his bed. The silver haired man did not act any differently around him, and it did not seem to be an act.



Kageyama was glad.



"Morning."



And Tsukishima even greeted him that day. It was settled. It was bound to be a great day.



He stuffed the rest of the toast in his mouth, before ignoring the look of disgust he received from the blonde. He stood up, brushing off the crumbs. It was probably around midsummer, so they'd have to start preparing the festival.

 

Every year the townspeople would put together a festival to celebrate Aoba Jousai, and be thankful for everything they had. It was tremendous work, but it was definitely worth it in the end. People from all across the realm would gather in their kingdom, nobles would stop by, and everyone would hopefully have a good time.



He rubbed his palms together. This was one of his favorite things, and he greatly enjoyed even the process of preparing it. It definitely would not take long, as they were not part of the ones with stands. So, all right, technically his help wasn't needed. But an extra helping hand couldn't hurt, could it?



He bid the rest of them goodbye, none of them surprised. He did this every year, so they were used to it by then.



Walking down the streets, Tobio rolled up his shirt, feeling the sun beat harshly down his neck. People greeted him as he passed, and he did the same. It was lovely, the way they all seemed to be friendlier during the festival's period.



Finally reaching the plaza, he could see his friend was struggling to tie one of the kingdom's flags up. He snickered under his breath, watching her jump up and down uselessly, hands on her hips in aggravation. Tobio walked across the town square, nodding in hello at everyone he passed. Once he finally reached her, he gazed down at her messily tied bun of blonde, almost white hair.



"Hey." he said, watching her jump in surprise. She glared at his smile, before one formed on her face as well. He was enveloped in a hug, before hit on the arm quite painfully.



"Where the hell have you been?" she hissed, and Tobio was scared about how much she seemed like Tsukishima right then. "I've been jumping my ass off here, trying to tie this thing up."



He rubbed the bag of his neck sheepishly, before plucking the fabric out of her hands and easily tying it to a stand.



"Sorry, Aika."



His friend glared at him playfully, before bending down to get something from the ground. He stared at the long skirt the girl was wearing, and disbelievingly said, "The heat isn't killing you in that?"



She looked at what he was gazing, and a smile formed on her face. Her almond-shaped eyes shone in the daylight, her shirt rolled up to show her arms (which looked frail, but could pack a mean punch, as Tobio so personally knew).



"I can't stand trousers, they make my legs all itchy." she said, matter-of-factly, "And they're disgusting to peel off after a day spent in the sun."



She had a point, he though, looking at his own regretfully.



"Now, are you going to just stand there, or will you help me?"



He jumped into action, Aika's laughter filling his ears.





Thirty minutes of setting up stands later, they finally sat down on the ledge of the fountain, splashing their sweaty faces with cool water. Memories flashed in his head, but he shoved them down as forcefully as he could. He didn't want to think about the fact that he had oh-so easily forgiven Oikawa for his assholish behavior.



"So," he said, closing his eyes and letting the harsh rays of the sun wash over him. "Have you painted anything lately?"



"Yes, I have." came the voice of his friend, seeming light for all the work they had done until then, "In fact, I've found a beautiful meadow that I just can't seem to get right. And you know me, I always do love a challenge."



He snorted out a laugh, remembering when they had been seventeen, one year after they had met, and Aika was going on about how she just had to impress some guy, before, quote, 'that girl steals him away from me, and I swear, something's going on there with his best friend.' That all worked out in the end, though. That reminded him.



"You painted that husband of yours as well?" he said smilingly. He hadn't been able to attend the wedding, because he was sick in bed with the flu. But who cared that he could die? He just wanted to see one of his closest friends being sent off! (though Sugawara had managed to convince him to stay, when he pointed out that he'd make everybody sick)



"Maybe." she replied, and Tobio could hear the grin in her voice. He was happy she was happy.



He was broken out of his reverie once he felt a shadow being cast over him. He cracked one eye open, and saw the silhouette of a man, outlined by the sun. It couldn't have been Oikawa, considering his soulmate was taller.



He saw Aika still had her eyes closed, and the unknown person in front of him lifted a hand and placed it over his mouth, as if shushing him. He watched in confusion as the man stepped closer to his friend, but he did not stand up. If the man tried anything suspicious he'd be on his feet in no time. Now he could see the man clearly. He had dark, spiky brown hair, and thick eyebrows. He had a feeling he had seen him before, but he couldn't recall where.



He quickly stood up, fists at the ready, once the man stretched his arms, and pushed. Aika fell into the fountain, sending water all around. He had just started making his way to beat this guy, when his friend popped out of the water, wiping at her eyes. But she was laughing. He awkwardly stood there, wondering what he should do.



It was decided for him, as the girl reached out a hand, and Tobio could see the way the man's eyes widened, and pulled. The man fell into the water as well, almost over Aika. She was laughing her heart out, as the guy's head appeared as well, spiky hair sticking in every direction despite all odds. He had a scowl on his face, but that was quickly lightened when he took a glance at Aika, who was still guffawing.



He stood there watching the two, until his friend noticed him. She raised one hand out of the water, towards him.



"Kageyama, what are you doing just standing there? Come help a lady out!"



He quickly rushed to the side of the fountain, ready to aid. He did not expect to be pulled in as well. His head broke the surface, and he spluttered, hearing that traitorous Aika still laugh. He glared at her, but it held no fire.



He looked around and saw that the few people present's heads were all turned towards the commotions, all of them having huge smiles on their faces. Courtesy of the festival, of course.



He turned back to look at the other two people, his whole body having space in the fountain. It was deep enough that if he stood on his feet, the water reached his neck. He could see the man was holding Aika up, her arms wrapped around his neck, a smile on her wet face.



"Tobio Kageyama, Iwaizumi Hajime." she gestured towards them with her free hand.



Iwaizumi?



He gazed at the other curiously.



Ah, so this was Aika's soulmate and husband.



He shook the other's hand, but it was all so awkward while they still stood in the fountain. He couldn't help but start chuckling as well as the ridiculousness of it all. He saw Iwaizumi crack a smile as well.



Five minutes later they were out of the fountain, but their clothes were drenched. It was pleasant, for the sun was still as harsh as ever.



He took off his shirt, and squeezed the water out of it, pretending not to notice the closeness of Aika and Iwaizumi as they hushed about something. His friend flashed him a smile, before grabbing a bucket.



"Kageyama, I'll be back in about ten minutes, I have to help Mary over there." and with a wave, she skipped off to where a redhead was struggling with an apple pie.



"So," he started, looking at the man in front of him, who somehow seemed respectable even in wet clothes. "You're Aika's husband?"



The man nodded, and raised an eyebrow at him.



"You," he said, taking a step closer to the man. He might not be so good with words, but he could hold his own against anyone when it came to his friends. "Better be taking care of her, right?"



Iwaizumi had a serious look on his face, as he smoothly said, "Of course. I wouldn't dream of other. It's nice to know Aika has such devoted friends."



And that was all it took for him to go back in his weird shell.



"Yes, well... What do you do?" he changed the subject instead.



“You could say I work at the castle.” the man said, and he had a secret smile, as if he was remembering something amusing that had happened sometime.



He furrowed his brows, but Iwaizumi didn't elaborate. Well, if Aika was doing well, then the man had to have a good job, right?



“All right.” he replied, letting the man keep his secrecy.



“What do you say you come visit the castle sometime?” Iwaizumi said suddenly, an idea sparking in his eyes. Tobio had no idea what plan the man could possibly have.



“Um, all right. Could I bring my friend with me? And, what would we even be doing?” he questioned, feeling as if he'd be more at ease with Hinata there.



“Of course someone can accompany you, I'm thinking two days after the festival, does that work for you? And I was thinking we could spar, you look like a man who knows his way around a sword.”



Tobio nodded, that worked for him. Though he wasn't very good at fighting with a long sword (he was much more used to the daggers from his missions), he did enjoy doing it. And the man seemed nice enough.



As for his other doubt, well.



What would even be the chances of him bumping into the King in a huge castle?





 

 





Chapter Text

 

 

 

The stars shone beautifully overhead, candles sparkling at streets corners, bathing everything in a golden glow.



Kageyama pulled his shirt over his head, before grabbing Hinata's hand and pulling him towards the entrance. The others had already gone before them, and they had stayed behind, as his best friend was doing who-know-what with his hair.



"Dumbass Hinata! It looks fine, come on, let's go!" he said impatiently, pushing the door leading to the outside open. The shortie whined something but he couldn't find it in himself to listen. He could already hear faint voices coming from the Plaza, and he could tell there were already many people there, regardless of the fact that the night had just started.



As they ran down the empty alleys (more like Tobio), the sounds gradually got louder, until he could distinguish the telltale melody of harps and flutes. He felt a grin pull at his lips. He really found himself smiling more often these days. Why, he couldn't possibly guess.



As they rounded the last corner, he stopped, drinking everything in with pure satisfaction.



Multiple stands were piled around, smiling people tending to them, offering food and drinks at anyone who wanted. Vines were all around, climbing up the walls, and heading across the Plaza, up above their heads. Many candles illuminated the place, so much that if not for the stars glittering above, you'd think it was day. Bands stood all around, holding musical instruments, and creating wonderful songs. People were dancing all around, holding beers and laughing.



And he and Aika had helped in creating this beautiful scene!



As he ventured towards one of the stands he had seen was giving out apples, he plucked grapes from left and right, moving in tempo with the music. He laughed as he passed a group and twirled around them, receiving cheers.



He reached his destination, and pulled out a wooden chair to sit. He only then realized he had lost Hinata along the way. Oh, well.



He gave the woman tending the drinks a grateful nod, before grabbing the stein of ale placed before him. He took a sip, glancing around. It was sweet, but a little sour. He liked it.



He spotted Daichi and Suga in the crowd, dancing and both having flushed faces. You'd think they only met just then, and hadn't been together for more than two years, Tobio thought bemusedly.



He felt someone tap his shoulder, and he turned around to see Aika, who was smiling. She was wearing a long dark skirt, and a white shirt with poofy sleeves, tied at the top with a string. Her hair was pulled back in an intricate braid that Tobio liked.



“What are you doing, sitting around?” his friend said, hands on her hips, which reminded him both of a mother and of Sugawara. “Come on, let's dance!”



And he grabbed his hands and pulled him up, forcing him to set down the alcohol. It had already created a warm feeling throughout his body, making him looser. He chuckled slightly, before allowing himself to be brought near the center of the Plaza, where a dance was taking place. He laughed at Aika's face, before stepping into the rhythm as well, hands behind his back, and legs moving fast.



Time passed as he spun around and danced some more, sometimes with Aika, other times with Hinata, when he wasn't mysteriously absent. He sipped some ale as well, but nothing that would make him unable to think. He ate some fruits as well, along with bread and cheese. It truly was pleasant out, the skies clear and the wind cool.



As he sat down to catch his breath, he saw his friend do the same, wiping at the hair sticking to her forehead. They were sitting near the edge, and at a table.



“We really outdid ourselves this year, didn't we?” Aika said, watching the people smilingly.



“Yes, we did.” he replied, because they really had. There was such a pleasant atmosphere around that he never wanted this to end.



“By the by,” he saw Aika lean on the table a little, body turned towards him. “You seemed more... determined this year, let's say. Any particular reason for that?”



He furrowed his brows in confusion. He always worked hard at the preparations, and this year he hadn't done anything differently. He had no idea what the girl was talking about.



She saw his confusion, and a smile formed on her face. Her brown eyes glinted in the candlelight.



“To be clearer, a person? Someone special you wanted to make this great for?”



A face flashed in his mind, but he quickly shoved it down. Yes, nobles did come down for the festival, but he hadn't ever seen the King or his friends other years. Granted, he was kind of unobservant.



Snapping out of his daze, he quickly shook his head, but it was too late. Aika's smile widened into something downright eerie, and she rubbed her hands together, leaning even closer.



“Oh? Who is it? Is it your soulmate? Wait, did you find them and not tell me?” she said, looking at him accusingly. She didn't seem all that upset, more amused. He couldn't tell her about the situation with Oikawa, considering she didn't know his reasons for staying away. (Pathetic, you'll never b-)



A hand landed on his shoulders, and he looked up at his friend. She had a smile on her face and her eyes were closed.



“You don't have to if you don't want to, you know? Who can tell what goes on in that head of yours?” she said.



Tobio was dumbfounded staring at her. He saw something head towards them, and a body appeared near Aika. He glanced up and saw it was Iwaizumi, who was dressed in brown pants and a cream shirt. The man gave him a nod in greeting, before poking his friend's cheek, who had yet to notice the man's arrival.



Her eyes flew open, and she jumped to her feet.





“Oh, you're here already?” her eyes glinted powerfully, a blush splattering across her nose. “Did you... take care of that thing you wanted to?”



Tobio had a feeling he hadn't been supposed to hear that last part. He brushed it off, seeing the man nod.



“In the meantime,” Iwaizumi offered a hand in front of him, and the crimson on his cheeks mirrored Aika's own, “Would you... You want to dance?”



And so his friend was stolen away, leaving him eating grapes alone, his feet aching slightly from all the dancing done.



Someone cleared their throat, and he looked up to see Yamaguchi gesturing vaguely towards the empty chair. He nodded, and his friend sat down. He was fidgeting slightly, eyes fixed on his fumbling fingers.



“There's someone here I... I want to dance with,” the man started looking nervous, “B-but, you see, we don't know each other all that well, and...”



As the man trailed off, Tobio coughed and spoke. “Doesn't matter. You go and invite this person, and if they refuse you, well,” he let a small smile come onto his face, “You can always blame it on the ale.”



That did the trick, as Yamaguchi relaxed slightly, a grin of his own on his face. He stood up, and such a resolute expression he had. He tugged his shirt in determination, before saying, “You're right. Thanks, Kageyama!”



And the man left, leaving Tobio to sip from his stein.



Someone plopped ungracefully in the chair that Yamaguchi had left unoccupied, and judging by the groan that escaped the person, it was probably Hinata.



“Man, he's here already!” his best friend moaned, one hand on his head. He straightened up, and fixed Tobio with wide eyes and raised eyebrows. “And he looks so good!”



And he hit his forehead on the table. Kageyama raised a hand and patted him awkwardly, wondering why everybody was asking him for advice, before asking, “Who are we talking about?”



Hinata once again appeared into view, and his whole face was flushed pink.



“Kenma, who else!” he huffed, crossing his arms.



“Uh huh.” Tobio said unimpressedly. “Then why are you here chatting with me, and not sweeping him off his feet?”



He was fixed with a pleading gaze. “That's the thing! I saw him and I dashed before he could notice me! Bakageyama, you don't understand! He looks so perfect, I- I can't talk to him! It'd be like a mortal talking to a god!”



He grabbed Hinata by his shirt, pulling him up and making him lean halfway across the table. With his free hand he pointed at his face.



“You. Go, now. Or,” he tightened his grip on his best friend's clothes, staring him dead in his frantic eyes, “I'll beat you to death.”



The shortie squealed once he was released, before dashing off shouting curses at Tobio. He snorted bemusedly. He knew Hinata wouldn't take it seriously, and that it had been just what the man needed to hear.



He grabbed some ale, and felt the warmth invade his limbs. After a gulp, he set it down and stood up. What was this, a sitting festival?



He made his way into the crowd, someone bumping into him along the way. He turned to say sorry, but the words die in his throat as he saw the black-haired noble smiling at him. The man waved, before getting lost in the sea of people. Gears slowly started turning in his head, and they had not been used in such a long time that they creaked at the movement.



Wait a second. If Kenma was here... And so was Kuroo... Did that mean...?



He didn't have time to finish his thought, as the people went silent, the song still being played in the background. (the people in the band would probably keep making music even if giant people came to eat them all)



He whipped his head around, seeing everybody turned towards some alley. The King really did like making dramatic entrances, didn't he?



Tobio watched as the man came into view, figure illuminated by the candles burning. He was wearing dark pants, and a pearly white shirt. It was like a beacon through the night, standing out from the sea of browns and reds the crowd was wearing. He didn't have his crown, nor his cape.



The people waited as the man took a step forward, then another. Kageyama could see all the way from where he was how he raised his eyebrows, and everybody returned back to their business. Obviously, almost immediately a flock of fans surrounded his soulmate. He scoffed, before taking a seat at an empty table.



He had wanted to dance, but first he had to make sure the man couldn't see him.



He fixed his gaze on the splinters the wooden surface had, before distinctively hearing footsteps near.



“You.” came a voice, and he turned around, only to be met with the sight of Oikawa standing about six meters from him, back and arm straight, finger pointed directly at him. So dramatic.



“Me?” he said, feeling something crawl under his skin. The last time he had seen the King was when the man had carried him back to the shop.



“I challenge you,” and Tobio immediately narrowed his eyes. He liked challenges a lot, and he wouldn't back down, no matter if the guy was highest royalty of all. “To a dance.”



He felt the cold dump of water. Alright, he liked challenges. But dancing with his soulmate was too much, even for him!



He stared at the other, seeing the way his eyes were glinting, expression looking certain. Tobio took it as the man thinking he was too afraid to accept his proposition. (it was quite the opposite, actually)



He brushed off his pants, before standing up. He took one step, then another. He saw the people in the vicinity were all looking at them, and he could've sworn he heard an old lady murmur, “Ah, to be young and in love!”.



“I, Tobio Kageyama,” he raised his head, gazing directly into the man's brown eyes. He had a mischievous smile on his face. “Accept your challenge. “



He placed one of his hands in the other's.



And perhaps that was the turning point of their relationship, the moment when nothing would ever be the same from then on. Perhaps Tobio should've never accepted the invitation. Perhaps rose petals did look great paired with dark feathers.



The man led them towards the center of the Plaza, never once taking his eyes off of Tobio.



Once at their destination, Kageyama raised an eyebrow as they stood there. The music went on, the smell of something sweet in the air. A silent moment passed, just the two of them looking at one another, as if they were holding the key to each other's heart.



Then Oikawa grabbed his hands and they started twirling. He let his feet go with the melody, the warm hands around his wrists feeling comforting and safe. They moved beautifully, the strings of the lutes and the chirping of crickets creating the most special of melodies.

He let himself get lost in the feeling, closing his eyes and grinning wildly. And so he missed the fond look someone had while gazing at him.



They whirled and pirouetted, the couples laughing along with them, some even clapping. And so they found themselves near the fountain as the song reached its climax. They spun around one another, hands clasped behind their backs, eyes fixed on one another. Oikawa's hair was blowing slightly from the breeze, his face flushed a beautiful rosy color from the dance. He truly looked otherworldly right then.



His soulmate grabbed his hand and pulled them on top of the ledge of the fountain, feet still moving in time with the music. Tobio had no idea how he was doing that without falling in the water. As the song reached its end, they hit the ground with their feet twice, one hand behind their backs, the other in front, angled towards one another.



He smiled, breathing heavily, and watching Oikawa. The man did the same, and the stars reflected in his eyes.



He glanced around, seeing multiple people look at them, laughing and clapping. Of course, there was the occasional jealous glare or two, but it was nothing compared to the cheers they received. He laughed from the bottom of his soul, before turning to see Oikawa was mockingly bowing, as if he had completed the most difficult of feats. The man straightened up and looked at him.



Tobio literally could not hear anything except for the loud sound of his heart beating in his ears, and his slow breathing. Everything was moving in slow motion, his soulmate's blinking taking up to ten seconds.



He didn't know what came over him then, but he found himself walking towards the King, pulse fast. He most certainly did not know what possessed him to place his hands on either man's cheeks, bringing him down. He released a shuddered breath, and somewhere in his mind a voice was shouting at him to get away, and what was he doing?



He felt his lips touch something soft and warm, and a current of electricity zapped all the way down to his toes, his hands tightening their grip.

It was perfect, as if he'd finally found his home after spending three hours wandering through the woods, having strayed away from the path.



What was he doing?



As if he was being hugged by all the people he held dear to his heart, the fireplace roaring and warming them up after a long day in the cold.



And what was he doing?



His eyes snapped open, and he took a step back so quickly he almost fell into the fountain. The kiss had probably not been longer than two very short seconds, but it felt as if he was still holding the other's perfect lips to his own. And, oh God, what was he doing, thinking about his lips?



His whole face was molded into an expression of pure mortification, as he took another step back, one shaking hand covering his mouth. He wasn't looking at the man in front of him, instead opting to stare in discomfiture at his white shirt.



He stumbled off from the ledge, and didn't even care about the wide-eyed gazes he was receiving from everywhere. He started running, pushing past the silent crowd. Nobody stopped him. What was he doing? He had... He had assaulted someone. He... He deserved to -!



In his pure and utter chagrin he failed to notice the way no guards were running after him swords ready to take off his head, nor the blinding grins two bizarre- haired nobles had.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~


A silent moment passed, everyone turning to look at the King who was still standing on the fountain, even after Tobio Kageyama's fleeing. The people all held their breath, one mother clutching her child to her chest, wondering if she'd have to shield her daughter's eyes away from an execution, or if the man would simply be thrown in the dungeon to rot with the rats.



No one had expected what came next.



The man threw his head back and laughed from the depths of his very being, heart beating a wonderful melody against his chest, stars glittering marvelously up above them all.







 

 

 

 

 





Chapter Text



 

The next night



Kageyama pulled his cloak over his head, making sure his mask was securely in place. Reaching for his legs, he felt for the two daggers he had hidden there. He held five knives on his person.

Two in either of the black boots, one at the back of his belt, and two wrapped around his arms. He held a special one in his hand.



Tobio could be somewhat of a poet, sometimes. He had chosen the dagger he had held at his soulmate's throat to be the one to snuff the light out of his almost killer's eyes.



Yes, Kageyama was going after the cloaked figure they had so naively believed. After his fiasco he never wanted to think about again, he had spent the next day in his room. Sugawara let him, patting his shoulder comfortingly, letting him stay inside his miserable blanket tower. Once he was alone, he had stared at his shaking hands, before wrapping them around his body, sobbing quietly.

He always had to ruin the best things that happened to him.

He did not know what he'd do tomorrow when he'd inevitable have to face the reality of his utterly imbecilic actions. He could always blame it on the ale, right? Considering he had had so much time to ponder, he'd realized how no guards had gone after him. Which , he wondered, chin perched on his arms, glaring at the flower pot across his sleeping spot, probably meant the King had had no problem with that. For whatever suspicious reason.

So, yes, he'd have to face sneers and insults thrown his way, maybe even some actual actions taken against his person, but that was absolutely nothing compared to an actual executions. It's not like he hadn't dealt with those kinds of things before. He could do this, and hopefully after a while it'll blow over.



And as for Oikawa, well, he'd just have to make sure to never talk to him while being Tobio

Kageyama from the spice shop again. Though that definitely did not sound great at all to him it'd have to do. There was always the option of meeting him as the King of the Crows.



But until then, he had to take care of something. Finally he understood how the couple in the alley that one night had felt. Anyone could do anything they wanted to him, but who dared to lay a hand on Oikawa's hair had practically left the land of the living already.



And so he was here, fully suited and with determination that compared to nothing he'd felt before.

What he was doing was terribly foolish of him, considering he hadn't notified any of his colleagues where he was going, but it was better this way. They'd only worry, and some of them might even get hurt. Tobio didn't want that.

He didn't want to put them in any danger, and if he died, well... What's a better way to go than protecting one's soulmate?



He placed his ear against the door, and heard them still going at it. Turning around, he headed for the window, shooting once last glance around the room. If he were to die, wouldn't it be better to leave a note?



He caught a glimpse of parchment, and he decided to grab it, along with a quill and ink. He scratched what he had to, and then jumped, the strings at his belt making a pleasant, discreet sound.



As he swung across the alleys towards where they had met the cloaked person, millions of thoughts flew threw his head. Most of them related to one person in particular. Really, had that night been the last time he would ever see Oikawa? He remembered his eyes which held the stars, the soft pink on his cheeks, the little smirk he had as he raised one eyebrow at Tobio, the whole town cheering them on.



He shook his head. He had reached the place.



It was a musty old intersection of alleys, where only one candle was lit, giving off an eerie light.

The blacks were long and deep, and if an average person entered them they'd no doubt get lost. But he was a creature of the shadows. He now understood why the Cats liked to skitter across the streets. It was definitely a different view from up above, way high up from wooden roofs and stone pathways.



"Surprised it took you this long."



He did not jump at the scratchy voice that filled his ears, and immediately noticed where the man was standing. He was at the far end, a dark green cloak pulled over his head. He didn't look like he had seen where Tobio was hiding, but neither did he seem bothered by that fact.



He said nothing, merely keeping his gaze trained on the man at all times. To anyone who saw him then he'd look emotionless. His face was covered by the mask, and his eyes were a like a solid wall. You could not see anything through.



The man stepped forward, and in the pale light of the candle Tobio could see a nose peek out from under the rough material. The person blocked the glade thrown his way with a mere swipe of his hand, his clothes moving elegantly behind him.



Kageyama jumped on the ground with no sound, watching the man turn towards him. He straightened up, watching the criminal take off his cloak and throw it to the side.



The man was unclear in the dim night, but Tobio could see the peculiar red and blue from all the

way over there. He’d never forgot the way Daichi had returned after his meeting with the man, speaking in wonder of his unique eyes. There was no doubt the person standing in front of him was Oikawa’s attempted murderer.



Kageyama said nothing, and neither did the man. They merely stared at one another, not even the crickets daring to breathe in the face of their silent standoff.



Then he lunged.



They met halfway through, knives clinging loudly in the empty air. Tobio abruptly threw his head down, avoiding the dagger that had gone precariously close to his cloak. He sidestepped throwing one pale glade which the man neatly dodged, jumping over to the side.



They tumbled in their respective spots, Tobio not winded for breath at all. The man was crouching low like an animal, and liked to move fast on his feet, more than with his hands. His swipes were fast, but that made up for the lack of direction and tactic. He also seemed to be more comfortable using his left hand than his right, though that was very hard to tell.



Tobio’s sharp eyes glinted. This was a difficult fight, but not an impossible one. And, thinking back to the smiling faces of the ones he held dear, he wanted to return alive.



The only thing Kageyama could see was the man’s mouth who was widened in a grin that was disgusting. It gave him shudders and it spoke of ill-intent.



He lunged again, but the man hadn’t expected his feint. He slid under the outstretched arm, grabbing it and snapping it. He had to give it to the man; he didn’t scream, merely grunted.



So the man’s left hand was unusable now, which should make this all easier.



The stranger ducked fast, throwing one of his own daggers at him. Tobio expected that one, but did not see the leg coming. He was pushed back slightly, making him trip.



He scattered across the dirt, the man landing on top of him. One, two punches he got in, before Tobio got his arm free and socked him a good one. His whole nose was pounding harshly, and he could feel liquid whenever he batted his eyelashes. Damn bastard had broken his nose.



Ignoring the sharp pain, he threw himself forward, punching the man to the side of his head, then swiped a leg under his feet. The guy fell with a grunt, his teeth grit in pain.



He raised his hands over his head, the special dagger in them. He slashed it downwards, then cried out to the pain that sliced his side. He stumbled off the man who was choking on his own blood, the blade shining crimson in the moonlight, its handle all elegant like a certain someone’s movements.



He stretched his legs out with a heavy exhale, right hand clutching at the large gash in his side. He gazed at the corpse. It was done.



His wound was not a deadly one yet, but still very dangerous. If not treated the right way then Kageyama would be off to the big sleep.



He clutched the cloak to his body even tighter, watching the material turn red. He shakily stood up, one hand leaning on the wall. He inhaled once, twice, then stumbled towards the dead man.



He didn’t spare him one glance as he plucked the knife out, turning back around. With a hiss the strings from his belt were released, covering his own sounds of pain.



He swung through the night, head feeling light and airy, a numb sensation filling all throughout his body. His fingers were warm, but hurt to move.



He let the wind carry him where he wanted, and it really did not come as a surprise to him when he found himself near the castle.



He gasped silently at the pounding of his blood against his wound, before fumbling with his belt a little.



His movements now were not all that graceful, as he was slightly bent over to try to lessen the pain.

He almost dropped to his knees once he landed on solid ground.



His mask was hot and wet, and he wanted nothing more than to remove it. He could feel the dry blood smeared across his face and down his front, reminding him he had a broken nose as well.



He sluggishly leaned towards one side, almost missing the stone bench. He hit it with a thump, having to lean on one of his hands. He buried his face in the crook of his elbows and inhaled the smell of roses. Autumn was going to start soon.



“Oh, look!” came a voice in mock surprise, “And here I thought my soulmate had forgotten about me!”



He scrunched up his eyes, feeling tears prickle at the corner. Stupid, stupid, stupid!



He heard steps heading towards him, and he still could not find the power to lift his head up. His vision was swimming now, white waves crashing across his eyes.



“You...” Oikawa’s voice trailed off, and Tobio noticed the footsteps had stopped far away from him. “You...”



He couldn’t handle this anymore. He discreetly wiped his eyes with the hand that was out of view, before standing up.



The man in front of him jumped, his eyes widening. Tonight he was wearing a dark red shirt and black pants. How fitting.



Tobio knew he really must look the sight quite then. His upper face caked in dried blood, dubious smears across his shirt, one hand clutching his side, bent slightly downwards as a runner catching his breath.

He saw Oikawa opening his mouth to say something so he did first.



“I... huf ... brought you this.” he exhaled, each breath feeling like he was stepping on thousands of needles. He raised the dagger up with his free, shaking hand, watching the man’s eyes snap towards the object.



“What is that?” his soulmate murmured, his features as a blank parchment.



He waved the knife around, feeling himself start to stumble. He quickly steeled himself, watching the man raise his hands almost as if to catch him.



“Your ki... The person... who... who hired us to kill... you...” he barely managed to get out, feeling something burning crawl up his neck.



“I guess... huf ... if I were to throw this... at you. You... I guess you... wouldn’t be able to catch it, huh...?” he actually joked, but his voice started sounding pained even to his own ears.



Only then did Oikawa let something pass through his stony facade. He smiled soft and small, but his eyes were glinting with worry and maybe, just maybe, a tiny flicker of anger.



“Very funny.” the man teased, before leaning on the ledge. Silence pertained, and Tobio managed to stumble towards the stone as well. It took about an entire minute, as he continued swaying off too far to one side or the other.



Finally, his hands grasped the cool ledge, and he breathed in deeply. Well, as well as he could through a thick layer of blood and mask.



Oikawa was glancing at him. Kageyama faced him and placed the knife down on the space between them. He brougt his hands back to his own person, watching his soulmate delicately pick the weapon and inspecting it. A flicker of something across his eyes, then a smirk.



“Isn’t this that dagger you so desperately wanted to stick in my throat?” he asked bemusedly, but his eyes were growing ever so angrier.



Tobio had no idea why the man could be furious.



He nodded, gazing at it himself. The man placed it on the stone, which forced Kageyama to look at him.

“Why are you hurt?” he asked, and his eyes were drinking in every one his twitch, maybe trying to see if he would lie.



He grasped at his side more. Brown eyes flickered towards it.



“I... Went after the guy... You know...” Tobio had a feeling he knew, “And so it turns out... huf ... we were not the best of friends.”



Oikawa raised his eyebrows but Kageyama could see he was amused.



“You don’t say.”



He cleard his throat and his whole body shook with painful spasms.



“I... huf ... Have to get going.” he said and turned to leave.



A hand landed on his wrist, and he stiffened. He had only touched the King during his guise when they had first met. He turned around and saw the man was looking straight into his eyes, his whole demeanor serious.



“Thank you.” Oikawa said.



Tobio blinked blankly at him, watching his soft hair blow in the night, far green hills stretching wide.



“I... I...” he didn’t know what to say. His soulmate offered him another smile, then took his hand off. Tobio missed his warmth, but he really had to take care of his side. He fumbled with his belt more than usual, always taking short breaths.



He heard his soulmate call out a, “Rest well! Don’t think you’re off the hook!”, and he smiled, eyes glinting happily in the night sky.



Oikawa watched him leave, but this time it was not like the others.



Their past meeting had always ended with the King chasing the assassin who was running away.

This time he trusted his soulmate would be back. He had a feeling he would.

























Chapter Text

 

 

 

It turns out Tobio was right. Sugawara was definitely terrifying when angered.



Standing there in the shop's entrance, hands on hips, even the night seemingly holding its breath in the face of his silent fury which had yet to be unleashed. His hair moved jerkily up and down with his shallow breathing, promising of a talking-to.

The lights from inside painted over him, and Kageyama could see the others were all silent. It truly felt like he was a child awaiting to be scolded by a parent right then.



"C-could we do this later...?" he huffed out, wincing slightly at the pain which was still coming in waves. He was treading on thin ice here, but, really, he'd prefer to actually be alive while Sugawara was calling him reckless and irresponsible, thank you very much.



The entire world seemed to freeze as the man in front of him glanced at his side, his eyes widening almost imperceptibly. He rushed forward, gently pulling Tobio inside.



"You're not getting out of this so easily." Sugawara whispered, one finger pointed directly in his face.



He inhaled deeply before replying, "I know."



And he did. After his wound would be tended to the best of everyone's abilities, he'd most certainly would be getting a harsh reprimand.



The people present gathered around, and after a disapproving glare, Kiyoko stepped forward and gently peeled the shirt off his bloodied skin. He hissed but didn't say anything.

After a generous amount of herbs and balms that Tobio knew nothing about, a pearly white gauze was wrapped around his middle. He released the breath he didn't know he was holding.





"Now, now."



Oh no. He glanced upwards, seeing Daichi and Sugawara stand in front of him. They truly did look like parents then.



"Would you mind recounting your fantastic night escapade with us?"





~~~~~~~~~~~~~





He pushed the tray of chili on its respective shelf, careful not to stretch his arm too much. The shop was bustling with activity, people of all kinds finding themselves in their quaint little establishment.



Last night hadn't been so bad. He had seen Daichi furrow his brows in confusion, when he said who he had gone after. Tobio never cared much for the King (hence, why he didn't even know what he looked like), so why was he suddenly going after an attempted murderer?

Sugawara had saved him then, shooing the others off with some ridiculous excuse. He could see the others wanted to know as well, but none of them said anything in the face of Sugawara's maybe-still-fury.

After that it hadn't been much of a problem. He agreed to everything the silver-haired man had said. Of course he wouldn't go after anyone else as well. Even Oikawa couldn't be that helpless, could he?

Wait... Could he?



Anyway, here he found himself the next day. The bandages he had wrapped around himself that morning were holding tight, hidden beneath his uniform. They had tried to stop him from working, commenting about how 'Kageyama, you were nearly stabbed to death! You have to rest!' Pish posh. What's a little knife to shake up your ribs a little?



He was brought out of his reverie by a finger softly tapping him on the shoulder. He turned around and saw it was a girl.



She was shorter than him, and her eyes were glued to the ground. He squinted at her. Something about this girl seemed familiar. It clicked. It was the girl from the masquerade! The one with the blue dress, he thinks.



"Excuse me." she said, fidgeting with her skirt a little. She seemed of upper-class, but not necessarily a noble. "You were the one who kissed His Majesty, were you not?"



He could feel his face heating up, probably looking like a mortified tomato. With all the panic surrounding his mild injury, the events of the festival had completely slipped his mind. He always did seem to forget the most important of things.



He cleared his throat, then schooled his features. "Yes, I was. A drunken mistake, I'm afraid."



The girl didn't seem convinced at all, as she now met his eyes. A finger was pointed in his face, smelling of sweet perfume. Too artificial in his opinion. "Why did you run away, then?"



Inside he was freaking out, outside he was the perfect mask of impassiveness. "Well, you see. I'm afraid I confused His Majesty with someone from my past. And, you know, a little bit of ale can make anyone confuse faces."



Tobio didn't know why he felt the need to explain himself to the girl, but, seeing the small group of people watching their every move like hawks, she would probably tell her friends everything. Better clear this up. Gossip could sometimes be useful.



The girl seemed relieved at his answer, but before she could ask something else, he intervened. "Alright, what do you want to buy?"



She fidgeted around, her plan having obviously been ruined.



"Uh... Uh..." she quickly pointed at the spices he had been stacking a moment ago. "A handful of those, if you will."



After taking care of her order, Kageyama made sure to watch the girl until she was out of view. They didn't need anyone snooping around their very average, very normal, shop.



He slapped his forehead with an audible noise. Few heads turned around, but he paid them no mind.



Gosh, oh gosh, how could he have forgotten?



No. No.



The festival had been two days ago... So that meant today he'd have to meet up with Iwaizumi at the castle. And face him in a sword fight. With an injury in his side.



Well, this certainly wasn't turning out to be a promising day.



He quickly walked towards Sugawara, telling him all about his plans for that day. He completely ignored the glint the other had in his eyes, as he gave Tobio permission to grab Hinata and go.



He also disregarded the man's request of changing out of his work clothes, instead flying out the door. He glared at the sun's harsh light, running down the streets. It was about one or two, he figured. When was he even supposed to head over there. Had the invitation been for the morning, noon, or evening?



This was all too stressful for him, and he felt a wave of relief wash over him when the wooden sign of Nekoma Bakery appeared into view.



Pleas be here, please be here, please be he-



"Bakageyama, what are you doing way over here?"



He closed the door behind him, immediately spotting Hinata standing near the counter, one hand leaning on it. Another person was present, near his best friend. It was the beautiful soldier, Akaashi. His smart eyes focused on him almost instantly, and Tobio shuddered when they fell on his side, where the bandages were wrapped, and refused to move.



He nodded in hello at him, then glanced at the shortie.



"Can I talk to you? It's important." he huffed out in a breath, before the both of them headed out.



His friend faced him, hands on his hips. "What's going on?"



He subtly brought a hand up to his aching middle. This was no good. If it hurt like this only after a mere jog, how could he hold his own in a fight?



"I forgot to tell you." he inhaled, feeling each breath like water to a drowning man. "Iwaizumi, Aika's soulmate, invited me to the castle. I... Could you accompany me?"



Hinata's eyes brightened almost immediately. He took a step forward, nearly nudging Kageyama's chin with his head.



"Gwah, the castle?!" his eyes practically sparkled. Then they turned teasing, his smile widening into a full-blown grin. "Oh, Kageyama~ Any chance you'll see you know who there?"



He narrowed his eyes at the other's snicker.



"Maybe even give him another s-"



"Finish that sentence, or so help me." he threatened, watching Hinata put up his hands in mock surrender.



"Alright, alright, oh high-and-mighty King of the Crows." and he bowed ridiculously low. He straightened up almost immediately, grabbing his sleeve and pulling him. "Oh, hey! When was this invitation for? Aren't we late?"



He snatched his arm out of the other's grip, before speedily walking towards the castle, paying no heed to the amused glances thrown his way from everyone.



"He didn't specify a time, only said that we'd be sword fighting."



He saw his best friend falter a step, but he continued his own fast pace. The shortie quickly caught up to him.



"Huh-? Kageyama, you can't fight with a wound in your side! That's dumb, even for you!"



"Shut up, dumbass Hinata." he hissed, not looking at the other. He made a point. This was scheduled to be a disaster.







~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



They reached the gates, and, strangely enough, were let to pass through. See, this is why Oikawa had close dates with death. If they just let everyone flaunt past security, no wonder killers were left and right.



That stupid idiot. I better not have to kill someone else for him.



They had only just stepped into the entrance hall, when Iwaizumi appeared. He was wearing dark brown pants, and an olive shirt. An elegant blade was strapped to his side. Tobio gulped at the sight,subconciously brushing a hand against his side.



“Good day!” the man greeted once he was near enough. Tobio could see Hinata silently freaking out beside him. He cleared his throat.



“Hello. I apologize if we are late.”



Iwaizumi waved a nonchalant hand, which seemed to highly contrast with his serious-looking exterior.

“It's alright. In fact, I should be saying sorry, as I did not specify the time we were to meet.”



Kageyama's head spun at all the nice behavior. He wasn't used to being so polite.



“Oh,” the man in front of him now glanced at Hinata, who had yet to say a word. “Kenma has asked for you, I hope you don't mind separating from your friend for a little while.”



Tobio could feel the change in Hinata's mood, the dreary awkwardness replaced by poorly-concealed excitement.



“N-no, it's fine by me!” he heard his best friend say. Kageyama mentally slapped his forehead. He had wanted Hinata to come with me so he'd feel more at ease. Though, really, he couldn't help but be happy, seeing his friend all excited about meeting his crush (“It's not a crush, Bakageyama!”), even if he had to spend stressful time alone with Iwaizumi.



The man in front of them nodded, before gesturing towards a person that had not been standing there two seconds ago, telling Hinata to follow them.



Suspicious. That person had been way too quickly ready, almost as if they had expected Iwaizumi to call them to lead Hinata away. Was this a trap of some kind? Had they led his best friend away so that he could be executed in privacy, no witnesses present?



He was brought out of his daze when Iwaizumi stepped a little to the right, gesturing with his head. They walked down the long hall, stopping before a door with intricate detailing, a door which Tobio had not noticed before.



The man placed a hand upon the golden door-handle, and Tobio gulped, fingers barely ghosting over his bandages.



“Oh,” Iwaizumi said, making Kageyama look up. “I almost forgot.”

“If it isn't that much of a bother, I'd rather we not sword fight.” he said almost casually. Tobio thanked all his lucky stars above, before nodding at the man. He didn't question why the sudden change of heart.



“And so I figured we could go for a nice ride.” and then he pushed the door open, bringing them into open air. They seemed to be near stables, horses neighing and birds chirping. But even the harsh sunlight faded away into the background. His fingers tightened painfully into his side, but he paid them no mind.



The chances. The sheer chances.





There, on an elegant bench, stood none other than-



“Oh, what a nice surprise seeing you here, Tobio-chan. Would never have guessed we'd meet at the castle of all places. Do you fancy a cup of tea?”





 

 

 

 

 

 



Chapter Text

 

 

As always, Tobio's limbs refused to answer his commands. He just stood there, frozen. Oikawa didn't mind the silence, smiling at him. He didn't seem the least bit perturbed, a white cup in front of him.



He opened his mouth to say a greeting, but all that left was air. He swallowed dryly, about to give it another try. Someone patted his shoulder, and he saw Iwaizumi halfway turned away from him.



"I'll go check the horses. I'll be back in a minute." and with that, the man started walking towards the stables, leaving him standing there awkwardly. He cleared his throat, looking to the left, ignoring his soulmate who was still staring at him.



"I apologize." he blurted out, bowing in front of the King. He swore this was the only time he'd be doing this. "You see... I-i had a bit too much to drink, and so I confused you with someone else."



A tense moment or two passed, before he straightened up. The silence lingered on, as their gazes met. Why was he not saying anything?



The man's smile suddenly widened, and he stood up, gently placing the cup back down on the table. Tobio glanced up, again noticing the fact that the other was taller than him.



"It's fine." Oikawa said, his smile a touch too nice. Something was off, but Kageyama could not figure out for the life of him what it was. He opened his mouth dumbfounded, the man placing a hand on his shoulder, patting him.



"Uh-uh... Alright...?" he replied, wondering when the hand would leave. It did not, even as they stood there in silence, one smiling, the other worried.



And that's how Iwaizumi found them, holding two reins in his hands. He raised an eyebrow, but he almost seemed amused for some reason.



"The horses are ready."



Oikawa finally removed his arm, instead grabbing one of the two Iwaizumi was holding.



"H-hey, Oikawa, give that back!" the man said angrily, trying (and failing) to reach the taller of the two, who was laughing like an asshole.



"No I don't think I will!" said person sing-songed, heading off towards the stables. They both stood there in shock wondering what the hell just happened. Had Oikawa just high-jacked their meeting?



They were brought out of their daze when the sound of hooves across stone filled their ears. The drama bitch appeared, sat on a white, massive horse. He smiled at them, then waved a hand around.



"Aren't you coming?"



"We can't, Shittykawa!" Iwaizumi said pointing an angry finger in his face (Tobio gasped, how close were these two?), "As you took one of the two reins we had!"



"Uhm..." Kageyama started, watching the both of them turn towards him. "D-don't you have others?"



The two men stared at him, then shared a furtive glance Tobio wasn't sure he had been meant to see.



"Nevermind that, we'll waste to much time going to grab them!" Oikawa said sunnily, the perfect picture of innocence.



"Iwaizumi grumbled curses under his breath, but exhaled in resignation. Tobio had a bad feeling.



"Fine. Oikawa is as stubborn as they come, so Kageyama you take the other horse." and he pointed at a dark brown one still near the stables, tied to a tree.



He started spluttering, but that was quickly silenced as Aika's soulmate raised a hand.



"You two go ahead, and I'll catch up."



Tobio groaned inside. This was just what he wanted! To spend time with Oikawa!



"You heard the man." came a happy voice that had Kageyama wanting to punch its owner. "Let's go, Tobio-chan!"



Fucking-!



He stomped towards his own horse, carefully swinging on top of it. If he was careful, riding wouldn't be too bad on his ribs.

He didn't meet the other's eyes, as Iwaizumi bid them goodbye and they headed through two open doors Tobio hadn't seen before.



"Her name's Spot."



He almost jumped at the sudden voice, but he nodded. He was probably referring to the horse.



He glanced up from Spot's mane, and his mouth fell open. They had exited through a door he hadn't seen ever before, and in front of him stretched wide, wide, green hills. The ones he so admired every time.



Their pace was a slow one, but glancing at Oikawa, he saw him speeding up.



"You think you can catch up?" his soulmate said cheekily, before he was off. Tobio muttered a few insults but they had less fire than he would've preferred. He steered Spot to hurry up as well,enjoying the wind on his cheeks.



He had to be careful to not sit fully, as that would jostle his wound too much.



He opened his eyes, looking all around. It was just as it looked from the stone ledge. It was completely devoid of civilization, instead grass expanding far and wide. To the left he could see the horizon, not another object in sight. In front, though, very, very far away seemed to be a forest.



"My mother loved this place." came the voice of his soulmate, who he now saw was near his side, both of them galloping towards nothing.



He nodded, listening attentively. It didn't cross his mind why the King would be sharing private information to a commoner he should have nothing to do with.



"We'd go on walks here, then stop at... that tree!" he continued, pointing towards where a single figure rose towards the sky.



"Let's go there, then." he replied, oddly feeling at ease, as if he could say anything.



Iwaizumi found them sat under that tree, Tobio having definitely not fallen asleep on Oikawa's shoulder.





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~







“Bakageyama, are you smiling?”



He shot a scowl towards the shortie who was not taking care of customers, instead coming near to annoy him. Hinata was vibrating on his spot, his face radiating excitement he was not even trying to conceal. A finger was pointed in his face.



“Ha! I knew it! I knew it!” his idiot of a best friend exclaimed jumping from one foot to another. “Soooooo, what happened?”



Pointedly ignoring the wiggle of eyebrows aimed his way, he focused back on stuffing oregano in packs.



“Nothing, as you would've known if you didn't go running off to Kenma. Speaking of,” a mischievous smile formed, “You spent quite a long time alone with him. Have you got anything to share?”



Red blossomed on his friend's face and he mentally cheered in his head.



“N-nothing!” Hinata started spluttering, but his demeanor contrasted his words.



As he was about to actually say something, someone clearing their throat made them pause. Tobio glanced around, and saw that girl from the ball and earlier that week. She had her hands clasped in front of her, a resolute expression on her face.



She nodded in greeting to Hinata, who just stared at her as he always did.



“I apologize for interrupting, but I have to discuss something with this man here.” and she gestured to a mildly surprised Tobio. Whatever could she possibly want with him?

He placed the spices back on the counter, then followed the girl towards a corner where they could speak privately.



“So, what do you want with me?” he questioned, leaning on the wall.



The girl did not bat an eyelash, as she said, “I know it was you near His Majesty at the Masquerade Ball.”



He stumbled, one hand coming up to push against the wall to keep him from falling flat on his face.



“W-what?” he asked, horror dawning upon him. No way, she had to be bluffing, she just had to.



“Don't think of pretending, I know it was you.” she continued calmly, as if Tobio's whole world was crumbling around him. If she ran her mouth to Oikawa... Maybe he wouldn't believe her, but the thought would still be planted in his mind, and once planted, a thought could grow along with doubts.



“D-don't-!”



“I won't tell anyone.” she interrupted him, glancing disinterestedly towards the side. He felt relief flood his whole being. Seems nice people still existed in this-



“I won't, if you do exactly as I tell you.” came her voice. Kageyama felt shudders run across his spine. He felt light-headed. Was this... blackmail?



What?” he said in mortification, blinking rapidly at her.



“You'll do as I say, and I'll keep this little secret between the two of us, got that?”



He just stared at her. Surely, this couldn't be true. Was this a joke? Was Hinata pulling something on him?



“I think we'll get along quite well. I'll come by later to speak with you.” and she turned around with a flourish of her blue dress. She stopped short, though, turning back around.



“Oh, be a dear and keep your trap shut about this whole ordeal, would you?” she smiled sweetly, before leaving the shop.



He was left staring at the ground, wondering what the girl would make him do to keep his secret.













Chapter Text



 

"Tobio-kun."



Oh no, he knew that voice. It was airy and elegant, a facade hiding the snake under it.



He cleared his throat, then turned around. In front of him stood the girl, dressed as before, though this time she held a golden cane in her left hand, on which she was leaning.



"You know why I'm here. So, why don't we take this somewhere more... private." With shaking hands, he gestured towards the other to follow him, until they were outside the shop, across the street. He didn't want to turn to face her, instead staring frozen at the wall. What was she going to do?



"I don't have too much to ask of you." the voice started, almost casually, unhurried. "Just this one simple request, really."



"Stay away from His Majesty, the King."



With hindsight, Tobio really should've seen this coming. Of course she was one of his fans, trying to keep him away from Tobio. Which was all well and fine by him! Heck, if he could, he'd stay away from his soulmate as well! But that wasn't the problem here! The thing was that Oikawa annoyingly always found a way to talk to him!




And how was he supposed to explain that to the girl? She didn't know he was Oikawa's soulmate, but rather just a simple commoner who happened to be seen multiple times near the King.



"You don't seem particularly intelligent, so I'll give you some pointers."



He didn't even have it in himself to get angry at the insult, his heart beating loudly at the prospect of not seeing his soulmate anymore, even though the alternative was even worse.

He nodded resignedly through blurred eyes.



"If you so happen to-"



And so she trailed on for many minutes. Tobio listened attentively to all she had to say, the lump in his throat growing bigger and bigger with each moment that passed. Basically, the girl told him to stay out of the King's sight for as long as possible, and if it so happened he conversed with the other, he'd have to make out an imaginary partner to hopefully drive the other away.

It didn't help that she also asked him to put in a nice word or two about her to his soulmate, speaking in a sweet and dreamy voice as if she was the most innocent of beings.



"I don't even know what he finds so interesting in you." and she left with an upturned nose, cane clacking across the stones.



He stood there frozen, head resting against the wall. He could see something fall from his face, and was surprised to see it was tears. He took a deep breath, putting up the walls he so carelessly let down.



He sniffled one last time, then turned around and entered the shop.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



"Hey, are you alright?" asked Sugawara, leaning on the counter a little.



"Yes. I'm fine." Kageyama replied.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



It was the next day, around noon, when something finally happened. He watched from his corner as Oikawa strolled into the shop, a charming smile on his face. He averted his eyes back to the basil he was fixing.



He didn't look up as steps moved around the room, loud, enthusiastic chatter accompanying it. He did stand up as the noise moved towards him.



He stared at the man's blue shirt, as he asked, "Good morning, Your Majesty. What can we help you with?"



As impersonal as possible, his voice sounded void of life even to his own ears. He should be thanking that girl, really. He clenched his fists. This way he wouldn't have to be involved with Oikawa at all, and never have to wonder what could've been if he wouldn't have been rejected.



A moment of silence passed, and Tobio internally winced. No doubt the man was shaken off is trail by the different behavior. Kageyama wasn't even acting as if he was a normal customer, biding them a rare smile, or cracking a joke. No, he was acting as how you should with a king.



"Are you alright?" came his voice, and something inside him painfully squeezed at the almost hurt tone.



"Yes, I do not deserve your concern, Your Majesty." he replied, still not looking directly at him. Remembering the girl's words, he quickly repeated, "What can we help you with?"



"...Some ginger, please."



He nodded and fetched the spice. As he was packing it up and raising his hand to accept the coins in front of him, he suddenly found it trapped. Darn soulmate and his habits of taking his hand!



"What happened." Oikawa said lowly, not even a question, more of a demand to answer him.



He tugged on his arm a little, still looking at the counter. "Would you please let me go, Your Grace." It hurt him to be respectable to smug bastard Oikawa, but he had to protect his secret.



His hand was released as if burned. A crack in the ground.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~



He returned back to his spot in the corner, hearing hushed voices come from his left. He subtly glanced and saw Sugawara and Oikawa exchanging words. He focused his ears a little and managed to catch the tiny snippet of '-on't know. Yes." from his silver-haired friend.



He returned back to his basil.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~



He was waiting for Hinata outside of Nekoma Bakery when he saw Oikawa again. Leaning on the wall, he saw the tell-tale of the white shirt, paired with the golden glint of the crown rested atop his head.



He turned around and left, heart pounding painfully, a pair of worried brown eyes on his back. The rift grew.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~



And so the last days of summer found him near the well, bucket of dirty clothes near his legs. He dunked the shirts in the water, finding it ice cold. That was not good. If the water's temperature was already this low, then that winter was bound to be a very harsh one.



He scrubbed at the orange material, turning around once he heard steps. He froze when he saw Oikawa and Iwaizumi, one of them gleeful, the other with an unreadable expression on his solemn face.



"Tobio-chan!" his soulmate exclaimed, coming closer and staring at him from above. He couldn't find it in himself to get up and bow as he should, so he just inclined his head a little.



"Alright, tell us what's going on." came the voice of Aika's husband, causing Tobio to wince. The two nobles didn't miss it.



"I-i- Nothing's happening." he replied, averting his eyes towards the ground. A tense moment passed, and Kageyama wondered. Why were they questioning him like this? Alright, for some reason they had gotten almost closer, but he was still just another commoner in their eyes. Why were they trying so hard? It's not as if they knew he was Oikawa's soulmate...





"Shittykawa here doesn't have the guts to be so direct right now, but I do!" Iwaizumi exclaimed almost angrily, "So tell us!"



That was definitely a command. He kept forgetting they were higher than him in rank, and therefore could punish him anytime they wanted. It was foolish of him to become more comfortable with them in the first place. Who did he think he was?



"I-just-" he stuttered, racking his brain for answers.



"And if anything should transpire, invent some secret lover you dare not wrong."



His whole body recoiled at that thought, almost as if it was poison it was trying to drive out. He grit his teeth.



"I-" he cleared his throat, wondering if he really was doing this. "My husband's returned from the Kingdom of Shiratorizawa."



His very soul seemed to retch at his own words, a disgusting feeling coiling around his stomach. It seemed to be screaming at him, a steady chant of 'wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wro...'

The whole world seemed to silence, and the cold water on his hands was nothing compared to the frigid air around him.





"What." and that single word was so different than everything Oikawa had ever said. It seemed almost like something animalistic was hidden behind it, slicing directly through his heart. And it was deep, so deep it had Tobio wondering where it began and where it ended.



"I-i said," and he discreetly rubbed at the goosebumps on his skin, "M-my husband's b-back from the Kingdom of Shiratorizawa."



It seemed to hurt even more the second time, pure white pain showering over his very bones, as if burning him on the inside. He rubbed his legs subtly, feeling invisible flames prickle at his skin.

Something shifted, as when you were lost in the woods, and you finally noticed the creature lurking behind the bushes, ready to pounce on you. He dared not raise his head, even as the lack of sound went on.



“You...” Iwaizumi started slowly, and Tobio got the feeling he should be looking at them, facing death when it came, but he was too much of a coward to do so. “Have a husband...?”



He could feel the words 'no, I'm not!' growing in his throat on their own accord, but he swallowed them down. Instead, he nodded.



The ice cracked, and hot lava poured out, burning him if he should even think about moving.



No, you're m-!” Oikawa downright roared, but his words were quickly muffled by his best friend's hand.



Only then did Tobio glance towards them, and what he saw frightened him. His soulmate was struggling like a caged animal, a predator about to sink its fangs into their prey. Iwaizumi was holding him back as well as he could, but even then they seemed to slowly be heading over towards where Tobio sat, courtesy of Oikawa.



Aika's husband was looking at him with shocked eyes, gritting his teeth at the effort it took to keep his soulmate somewhat still. Kageyama fell backwards, watching the King's hands stretch towards him, his eyes devoid of any polite mask, pure and raw, and dangerous.

 

G-go!” Iwaizumi shouted towards him, having to duck under an arm flung his way. Tobio couldn't understand anything, as he scrambled to his feet and grabbed the bucket of still wet clothes. He glanced towards his soulmate, and something inside him was urging him to go and...



“I-i...” he stopped, looking at the fighting pair. Even though he was in a way scared of Oikawa's behavior, the need to go and find out what happened overwhelmed it.





GO!” the shorter of the struggling pair shouted towards him, and that was all it took to send him running down the streets, wondering what happened to his soulmate, and what he was going to say.



Moronic? Married? Mad?





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





“I'll let you go now, but I swear I'll deck you in the face if you try anything.” Iwaizumi warned, slowly removing his arms from around Oikawa, who seemed to have calmed down somewhat. Though the fire burning in his eyes would last for a long while to come.



He watched as his best friend prowled around the empty alley like rabid animal, clenching and unclenching his fists, as if grabbing something invisible.



“Stop being an idiot for a second and listen to me.” he said calmly, the images in his mind flying by, from when they first saw Kageyama with their back to them, washing clothes in the well, up until he stood in front of them awkwardly, somehow not seeming all that frightened by a crazed Oikawa.



“He was lying.” he continued, two blazing brown eyes fixing him on the spot almost immediately, “He wasn't wearing a ring, and don't you think we would have heard if he was married?”



His friend still seemed angry, but somehow it was different. Iwaizumi had observed him carefully throughout his outburst. He wasn't angry at someone, but rather it was as if something primal and instinctive had taken over, making him be furious for a reason he did not know.



He shuddered. He hadn't ever seen him lose it like that, and he never wanted to again. He wouldn't admit it, but for a second there he had been terrified.



“The question is,” he pondered, watching Oikawa calmly fix his hair as if nothing had happened, “Why is he doing this?”



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 



Tobio sat on a chair near the counter, looking down at his hands. Three hours had passed since the incident near the well, and he still couldn't figure anything out. Why had Oikawa acted that way? What was the cause of it?

He retraced everything he had said, but nothing seemed disrespectful to him, or anything like that. Why? Why? Why?



The bell above the door jingled and he stood up. But as his eyes caught a deep blue, the signature of a specific girl, he felt sick to his stomach. What now?



He watched in horror as she smiled, glancing around as if she was a mere customer. She finally reached him. Tobio noticed she didn't have her cane with her.



“Why don't you and I go outside for a nice, little chat, hmm?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Sugawara watched as Kageyama left the shop, looking as if he was following the girl with the blue dress. He squinted at them. He had a feeling he had seen that girl before, but he could not for the life of him remember when, nor where.

If she was his friend, then why had Kageyama not introduced them to one another. He felt slightly hurt, though it was not his choice to make whether they met or not.



And frankly, there seemed to be something suspicious about her. He didn't want to jump to conclusions, but there was something about the way they had last spoken in a corner far away from the others that felt off.



He snapped out of his thoughts once he heard the entrance bell ring, and saw it was the King, along with his close companion, Iwaizumi Hajime, if he recalled.

He furrowed his brows. Based on the past happenings, he had no doubt Kageyama's soulmate would stop outside to annoy his friend a while. So how had he missed him standing outside the shop, chatting with that girl?



The two nobles approached his counter, both of them having casual expressions, but Sugawara could tell they were stone rigid under the mask.



"Good day." the King nodded in greeting, him doing the same. "I'd like to have a word with Tobio-chan, if that isn't too much of a trouble."



At that, confusion took over. He frowned. "He's just outside, how did you miss him?"



It was their turn to look bewildered. "What?" Iwaizumi Hajime finally spoke up, shooting a sideways glance towards Oikawa, a glance Sugawara did not miss.



"Yes, he went outside exactly one minute before you entered the shop." he continued, racking his brain for answers. Surely, even if they had left the establishment's vicinity, they'd no doubt would have made it about twenty meters down the street, if they were walking fast. And even then, they'd still be spotted. What was happening?



"Was he alone?" Oikawa wanted to know, a concentrated look on his face, leaning forwards and maintaining intimidating eye contact.



"Uhm, no." he answered, scratching his head a little. "He left with a girl with a blue dress, if I remember correctly."



The King whipped around, and Sugawara could see the way his shoulders were tense, hands clenched tightly at his sides. Wait a second... He ran his eyes over the nobleman's posture. Did he know he was...?



"...Has she come around here often?" Iwaizumi started, face carefully masked to not let anything through. He was thinking hard and long about something.



"Yes." he scratched his chin, pretending not to notice the way Oikawa's head swung around as fast as lightning at the affirmation. "Just yesterday she dropped by, exchanged a few words with Kageyama, then they both left."

 

(The King's nostrils were flaring as if smoke was rising out of them.)

 

"About five minutes later only he came back, and my friend acted a little odd, I'll admit. I asked him if he was alright, and he said he was. But I'm not so sure..." he leaned back in his chair a little, carefully examining Oikawa's concentrated expression, looking as if his every word was a matter of life and death. He chose to trust Kageyama's soulmate.



"You see... Kageyama's the type of person to hold everything in himself, not wanting to bother anyone. And if he did actually open up, it'd just be something you wouldn't expect, like lashing out. "



Something flashed across the King's face, and his eyes glinted powerfully in the faint lighting of the shop. Iwaizumi tapped the corner of the counter, nodding.



"Alright. Thank you. And... Keep an eye on the girl, please." he said, both of them turning around to leave, looking tenser than they were before.



"Your Majesty!" he stood up before the two of them could leave. Their eyes met, and Sugawara saw something in them. Something trustworthy. He bit his lip. If he was making a mistake, then no doubt Kageyama would have his head on toast.



"...Take care of him, would you?"



Oikawa's eyes flashed for a single second, a roguish smirk appearing for one moment.



"Wouldn't dream of other."







~~~~~~~~~~~~~







"There's something going on with the girl, I'm sure of it." Iwaizumi said as they were walking down the alley, searching left and right for Kageyama.

He stopped short at the sight in front of him, quickly slapping a hand over Oikawa's mouth when he opened it to protest. He tugged his best friend around the alley corner, slowly peeking around it.



"What-?" his companion started, but clamped his mouth shut as well.



In front of them, in a corner of the street, stood Kageyama Tobio with his back turned towards them, shoulders hunched up. Iwaizumi noticed a pair of dark shoes in front of him, another person, presumably the girl Sugawara Koushi had mentioned.



He watched closely as the two seemed to exchange words, carefully taking notice of the man's rigid posture, head hung low, as if he was expecting a blow to come upon him.



"What are they doing." Oikawa hissed from near him. He shushed him.



Though his mouth did fall open once Kageyama was suddenly pulled into what looked to be a hug. The deadly aura rising around him made the hair on his arms stand up.



He decided this was it. He stood up, his best friend doing the same without a word. They both walked towards the pair, now definitely seeing the arms wrapped around Kageyama. Oikawa was as stiff as a board near him. They stopped about three meters away from this, almost loving scene, Iwaizumi clearing his throat.



He did not miss the way the black-haired man startled, fingers clenching around air. The girl quickly removed herself, and finally peered around him. She had a round face, with a pointy chin. Wide dark eyes framed by long eyelashes. Her thin mouth was pulled back in a surprised, but not displeased smile.



"O-oh! H-hello, My King." she bowed, and Hajime noticed her infamous blue dress.



("He never says, 'My King'! Iwa-chaaaaaan, I'm exactly his King! This is so unfa-!")



They both nodded in greeting, and Iwaizumi noticed her glancing towards Oikawa who had yet to say a word, not-so-subtly keeping his eyes on Kageyama, who hadn't turned around and faced them.



He didn't miss the tug the girl gave Kageyama's orange shirt, before he, too, faced them. His face was as readable as concrete, his eyes hidden beneath his bangs, bending down as well.



The man cleared his throat, before straightening up, and gesturing towards the girl who was still staring at them.



"This is Akui-chan." he said in a hoarse voice, scaring Iwaizumi in how lifeless it sounded.



There was something going on here, and they had to be careful and smart about it.



Noticing the way Oikawa didn't seem to have any intention of responding, he replied, "Nice to meet you. My name is Iwaizumi Hajime, and this is Oikawa Tooru."



Well, she definitely knew who they were, but it still was polite to introduce themselves, was it not?



"Can I talk to you, Tobio-chan?" his best friend finally spoke up, looking completely transfixed by the man. Then, Kageyama did something he would've never expected. He shook his head, wrapping an arm around the girl's shoulders.



"It's alright. Anything you could have to say you can say in front of Akui-chan too." he said, his tone as dead as before.



"What." Oikawa snapped, but Iwaizumi harshly pulled on his arm. A sign not to be an idiot as he always seemed to be around Kageyama, and be the intelligent ruler he was generally.



"I just remembered," Iwaizumi said, feigning recollection, "We have important matters to attend to! Excuse us!"



And he pulled his best friend off, even though he seemed to weigh ten times more than he usually did.



~~~~~~~~~~~~





The next two days were spent following Kageyama around whenever he wasn't in the shop, and while that might seem like a breach of privacy, well... It was a breach of privacy.



They had tried talking to Kageyama, but he just seemed devoid of any emotion, making them worry like never before. And a worried Oikawa was very, very annoying. That day the black-haired man had avoided them completely, not even sparing a glance. They were royalty for everything's sake!



As the hours passed he seemed more and more tired, eyes blinking emptily at his surroundings. His movements were sluggish, and even his short best friend seemed to be more aggressive, jumping at anyone who bothered Kageyama.



Akui and Kageyama seemed to be simple friends, though her pulling him out of work was a bit bizarre. Just as they were about to give up on following them around, and rather try a different approach, finally something happened.



The young man was getting water from the well, when a figure sneaked up on him. He jumped three feet in the air, causing the owner of the blue dress (this time a light shade) to laugh. Something wasn't right. It wasn't a nice laugh, but rather as if she was mocking him. It was mean and high, as if she was ridiculing the other.



Kageyama, who had seemed so tired and devoid of energy, now seemed jumpy and ready to bolt at any given second. Was she doing...?



“Finally!” Akui groaned, leaning on the edge of the well, looking at the other. “It took you longer than usual! Oh, and by the way...” she turned towards him, nonchalantly picking at her nails, “Don't think I didn't notice you and His Majesty chatting earlier today.”



He could sense Oikawa's growing confusion, and he too was stumped. What did the girl mean by any of that? Iwaizumi had a bad feeling creeping upon him.



“I-it was nothing, I swe-swear!” the young man hurried to reply, hands coming up in front of him. His eyes were wide and panicked, jaw stuttering each word out.

Kageyama, who was usually so full of life, even it be shouting at his best friend, or arguing with Oikawa, now seemed as scared as a bunny who was already in the jaws of the wolf. He seemed weak and frail too, as if a simple gust of wind would make him fall over.



The girl raised a finger and ran it across his shoulder, casually looking over at it. Iwaizumi could see the man was stiff, looking very uncomfortable. His best friend near him was silent, eyes watching with deadly carefulness.



“It didn't seem like that to me.” Akui sing-songed, and Hajime was now certain she was doing something to him. It didn't seem like a mere conversation between friends.



“Al-alright, alright! Ju-just... Don't tell him!” Kageyama replied, closing his eyes, lips trembling.



Tell who what...?” Oikawa murmured from near him, one hand placed upon his lips.



The girl seemed satisfied at that, straightening up, and grabbing the basket of clothes Kageyama was just washing.



“Oh, and next time... Don't forget my red pa-”



She stopped short, almost having run into Oikawa's chest. She gazed up into his eyes, and they were so, so, so black it made goosebumps run along her back.



“Pray tell, what would you have him do next?” his best friend mocked, and Iwaizumi shivered at the tone. Oikawa could be the meanest person alive if he so wanted to. It wasn't a nice sight to behold.



“Y-your Majesty!” the girl squeaked, bowing in front of them. He could see Kageyama slowly inching away from them, as if he was trying to make a subtle escape.



“Stop.” and so the man stopped, looking like a deer caught in front of the carriage, the King's eyes fixed on him. Oikawa marched over to where he was standing, and he seemed to be a deadly kind of angry, one which had even Iwaizumi not intervening.



Kageyama stiffened up once he was close enough, eyes darting from the well, to the girl, and back again.



“You're being blackmailed.” his best friend pointed a finger in the dark-haired man's face, watching him wince.



“N-no, I-i don't know what yo-” he started, and his stutter only served to fuel Oikawa's fury.



“Shut up.” and he whipped his head around, eyes blazing fixing Akui on the spot, and making even him shudder.



“Blackmail is against the law in Aoba Jousai.” he said, looking like the king he was, back straight, words sure and precise. “I'll see to it you never step foot in my kingdom again.”



“B-b-but-!” she started, eyes widening. That's what you get.



“Oh?” Oikawa turned to look at her, voice masked in mock curiosity, “You have something to add? Pray, do tell.”



She stayed silent, hands clenched around her blue dress.





~~~~~~~~~~~~





The walk until the outside of the kingdom's gates wasn't a long one, but it was tense. His best friend hadn't even let her gather her things before leaving. He really seemed to be mad, saying he'd have them left at the entrance of Aoba Jousai.



Kageyama hadn't been let to leave, instead having to walk behind them, hands grasping at his shirt nervously. He was fidgeting around, a nauseated look on his face. He was probably still worrying about his secret getting revealed, whatever it was.



The gates opened with a loud creak, a dirt road stretching far and long in the distance, a kingdom not very far away if you decided to go on foot. Oikawa stood straight, completely ignoring the looks the girl sent his way. She was lucky she had only been exiled, really.



As she passed the threshold that marked the beginning and ending of Aoba Jousai Kingdom, she shot one last look around her shoulder. It was a venomous glare sent no doubt towards Kageyama, who Iwaizumi heard flinch quite loudly.



“Before I leave.” she started, and he heard the young black-haired man inhale sharply. “Kageyama Tobio is--”



“I don't need to listen to anything you have to say.” Oikawa interrupted her calmly, staring in front of him. “Take your leave.”



“B-but he's-!”



“Anything he wants to tell, he'll tell when he's fin- comfortable. Leave and don't come back.” he continued, hands clasped behind his back.



She turned around and sat on a tree trunk about twenty meters away from the gates, awaiting her bags to arrive.





“Now that that's taken care of,” Oikawa turned around sharply, and his smile was a tad maniacal and eerie to be normal. “How've you been doing, Tobio-chan? Probably missing me, no do-”



“Thank you.” and Iwaizumi averted his eyes, coughing awkwardly into his palm. He definitely had not expected Kageyama to hug his best friend. Oikawa patted the shorter one's head, smiling widely, a subtle hand sneaking its way around Tobio's waist, a hand Iwaizumi wasn't sure had moved on command.



“What's with all this affection lately? You want another ki-”



“Shut it! You said we wouldn't speak of that again!”



“Oh, really? I can't seem to recall~”



“You-You! Under the tree, you-!”



“Oh, right~ Under the tree you fell asleep on my shoulder. “



Oikawa's laughter followed Tobio all the way back to the shop, floating like an annoying bird around his red ears.

























Chapter Text





 

"Close the windows, quick! Quick!"



Shouts from everywhere filled Kageyama's ears, as the people who were late ran, mostly towards the castle. A harsh wind blew, howls like those of wolves echoing throughout the empty streets. Blue crept up at the houses corners, a thin layer of white already on the ground.

Tobio rubbed his cold arms, looking up towards the sky. Thick dark clouds were looming over them, a sign of what was to come, the beginning of it having already arrived. He exhaled a shuddered breath, watching the white mist float in front of him.



He focused back on his road, watching the few people who hadn't been fast enough hurry towards the castle. He had been out on the field when the first snow fell, and so hadn't been ready for it. Remembering what Sugawara had told him to do in situations like this, he grabbed his basket of apples, running towards town.



His fingers already felt a little numb, as he hadn't expected the cold season to arrive so soon. He now seemed to be the only one still outside, the wind's melody having picked up the tempo. It now made him slightly sway from side to side, feet stumbling at any rock.

It was eerie and lonely, and he felt something wet slither across his back, as if someone was watching him. He blinked sluggishly, seeing the castle gates in the distance, two guards looking as if they were watching for any other people to come. He was just about to make his way over, when a cry caught his attention.





"M-my boy! My baby boy!" came the voice of a woman from nearby, sounding desperate.



He didn't spare the castle another glance, as he hurried over towards the source of the noise. A middle-aged woman stood in the middle of the street, glancing hopelessly around, clutching her shirt to her chest as if it was difficult to breathe. He recognized her as Riku, the smiling lady who always gave them bread when she made it.



"H-hey!" his teeth chattered with every word, his toes aching in his boots. "Wh-what are you wai-waiting around f-for? G-go!"



"It's my b-boy, Kageyama! He's go-gotten lost!" she cried, tears running down her almost purple cheeks.



"Ju-just go! I'll lo-look for him!" Tobio hissed through frozen lips, watching her sniff. He knew she trusted him, and he'd find her boy. He would, and they'd both come home alive.



"Th-thank you! Th-thank you! I- I-!" she trembled from the cold.



"G-go already!" he said loudly, watching the woman run towards the castle with the last bits of her energy.



"If a dangerous situation should arise, please don't try to be a hero, Kageyama." Sugawara smiled, patting his head. He grumbled under his breath, taking a large bite of his buttered toast. "Just come back home safe, alright?"





He tightened his hold on his shirt, inhaling deeply. The wind howled louder, warning him to turn back before it was too late. Riku's smiling face flashed through his mind. He ventured into the coming storm.







~~~~~~~~~~~





"Have you seen Kageyama?" Hinata asked Yamaguchi, who was huddled under a blanket with a man with metal in his face. He furrowed his eyebrows, then shook his head.



"I-i though he was wi-with you?" his teeth clattered, even if he was near warmth. The Grand Hall was filled to the brim with people, all huddled around the fireplaces, seeking comfort from the bitter storm. Many were gazing out the windows, staring in fear at the dark clouds steadily heading towards their kingdom.



"No, he isn't!" the shortie said in worry, pushing past people, calling for his best friend left and right. Kageyama had to be inside, he just had to!



He found Tanaka sitting with the plain-looking guy who owned a stand in the market, and with whom Hinata had seen him flirting multiple times.



“Hey, where's Kageyama?” Tanaka asked before he could do so, a questioning look in his eyes.



“What? You haven't seen him?” he shouted, numb hands grasping at his hair. His friend stood up, placing a hand on his shoulder, and shooting him a comforting smile.



“I'm sure he's alright. Not even he could be that reckless. The castle is a big place, and the whole kingdom is here. It's normal to not be able to find him so quickly. I'm sure he's somewhere around here, probably glaring at the meat stew or something.”





Hinata exhaled, watching the town turn whiter outside, the wind rattling the windows.



“I'm not sure. I just have a bad feeling. I'll continue looking for him.” Hinata said, turning around, and ducking between people. He called and called, but no grumpy response specific of his best friend came back.

He ended up near the food tables, where people gathered around for hot broth or tea. He leaned on one of them, gazing at the ground.





“Hey, where's Tobio?” came the voice of Sugawara, and he glanced up to see the man, blanket wrapped around his shoulders, bowl of steaming soup in one hand.



“You mean you haven't seen him either?” Hinata said tiredly, thinking of the worst. What was going on? Where was he?





“No, I have not.” the other said, and the shortie was glad to see the same worry reflect in Sugawara's eyes.



Someone stopped near them, trails of frozen tears on her cheeks. Hinata recognized her as the lady who brought them delicious bread sometimes. She was clutching her hands in front of her, her fingers shaking.



“He's gone after my boy!” she wiped at her face, sniffing loudly. “I ju-just- I don't want him to die, either! I-i didn't know what to do, and he just seemed so su-sure of himself...! i'm so so-sorry! If he doesn't co-come back, then it's my fault!”





The two exchanged glances in horror, before the silver-haired man enveloped the woman in a hug, patting her head comfortingly.



“It's alright, it's alright. I'm sure they'll come back safe. Kageyama's too stubborn to let himself be killed by snow.”



Hinata met his eyes over the top of the lady's head. They both glanced towards the window, where white had already crept up at the edges. The doors of the houses outside slammed, the wind knocking and howling against the castle doors, as if it was begging them to let it in.



He hoped.





~~~~~~~~~~~





“Yuto! Yu-Yuto!” a black-haired man called out, one hand wrapped around his middle.



Somewhere far from the castle a person tumbled through the snow, cold fingers clutching at their clothes. The man, for it was indeed a man, swayed with the wind, steps certain and determined. He had just reached the edges of town, and no young Yuto to be found.



But a distant shout rang out, the voice of a boy. Kageyam's head whipped towards the sound, eyelids blinking heavily. It seemed to come from near the field, and so he headed that way.

He blew hot air into his palms, rubbing them together. The snow was now at his ankles, heavy and freezing. Maybe he could just...



No. He's finding that boy and returning back home safe!



He parted his purple lips, squinting his eyes towards the dark field. He couldn't see much, only what was reflected in the glimmer of the snow. “Yu-Yuto!”



“He-here! I- HERE!”



He stumbled forwards, legs moving quick. He could faintly make out the form of someone lying on the ground. He blinked twice to rid himself of the haze, before jogging towards the boy. Yuto was on the snow, hands reaching forward towards one of his legs.



“It's stu-stuck!” the young boy said, voice trembling, tears running down his face. He was scared.



“It's alri-alright. I-I'm here. You're f-f-fine.” Kageyama trembled, bending down to see why he couldn't move. A huge piece of wood had fallen over his leg, the part of a cart. He inhaled deeply, smiling faces of his friends flashing through his mind. The ground seemed to move under his feet, millions and millions of knives prickling at his skin.

The blanket of white, (Was it a blanket before? Kageyama couldn't recall) seemed to be inviting him. He should probably take a short nap, then he'd have enough energy to pull Yuto out! Yes, yes... Seemed like a good idea...



No, NO!





He shook his head, shadow seeming to carve themselves around him. He reached for the piece of wood, and pulled. It seemed to weigh more than anything. His arms felt like they would be ripped out, his knees knocking into one another. He dropped it once he vaguely saw Yuto had pulled his leg out. Kageyama fell forward on the snow, deciding it was better to take a breather.



To anyone who'd see them there, they'd look like two objects forgotten in the middle of the storm, unmoving and blending into the background.



Tobio exhaled loudly, he stood up. His feet were rock hard.



“Co-come on.” he said, feeling something warm suddenly coil around him. Huh, that was sudden. He swore just only five seconds ago it had been frigid.



Seeing the boy struggle, Kageyama bent down, and carefully told him to get on. With the added weight of Yuto, it felt almost impossible to move. Really, why was he walking again? Why wasn't he sitting down and letting the storm to pass?



He glanced around, and the terrible ball of horror dropped. All around was white. Pure, unadulterated white. Where his footsteps had been five minutes ago now sat a blanket of snow. He turned his head from left to right slowly, his hands becoming more and more numb. The wind howled a melody around the frozen field.



Where had he come from, again?





~~~~~~~~~~~~





“We have to stay calm.” Sugawara said, hands placed on either of Hinata's shoulders. He glanced around at where most of the Karasuno Spice Shop workers were. “I'm sure he's alright.”



“How can you say that?!” the orange-haired man cried, swiping at the arms on him, “The storm's getting worse by the minute! There's no way he'll get back here alive at this rate!”



“Maybe you're right.” Tsukishima surprisingly spoke up from underneath a red coat, “But us freaking out over here will not help him in any way.”



Sugawara nodded, a resolute expression on his face. “Until then, if the king should so approach you with questions regarding Kageyama, just say he's around here somewhere.”



Everyone murmured an agreement, even though they knew not why the man had asked this of them. Their small crowd dispersed.



“Why don't you go talk to that man over there.” Sugawara tried to lighten the mood, nudging his head towards where a noble with blonde and dark hair was sitting, gazing at the fire. Hinata glanced towards Kenma, then gulped silently. He nodded, and slowly walked over towards the man.



Sugawara startled once someone tapped his shoulder. He turned around and came face to face with the King, who was standing with his arms behind his back, a serious look on his face. It was in times like these that he was glad Aoba Jousai had a good ruler.



“Hello,” the man said politely, inclining his head a little. “Have you seen Tobio-chan around here?”



Sugawara casually nodded, but on the inside he was trembling in fear. Hopefully he had a good mask, and the other wouldn't be able to tell he was lying.



“Yes, he just passed by here around ten minutes ago. I think he was searching for Hinata.”



The King nodded, visibly looking relieved. “Thank you.” Then he left, steps certain and determined.



Sugawara hadn't told him the truth because that would just make the man worry, and they didn't need more of that. He nervously bit his nails, glancing out the window.



Come on, Kageyama. Just get back home.





~~~~~~~~~~~~

 





Kageyama looked down at his free hand. A light blue met his eyes. He stumbled forwards, the heavy added weight of Yuto making it more and more difficult to walk. Had they made any progress? He wasn't sure.



He glanced around.



Huh. Were they in a forest before?



He sniffed. It was dead silent except for a rapid thumping sound, as if someone was punching something. Wait, that meant someone was in trouble! He had to go help them! He craned his neck to the right where the noise had come from.



It was him. He needed help.



He watched as fifteen year old Tobio took punches to his stomach, blood painting the previously beautiful snow a vivid red. He furrowed his brows. Wait, no... That couldn't be right... He was standing there, doing something... How could he be... in front at the same time...?



One of his attackers' head turned towards him. The man sneered viciously at him, jagged teeth visible from underneath his smiling lips. The person stomped towards them, and Kageyama couldn't move. Wait, no...



“You'll never be anything, useless brat.”



He shakily took a step back.



Worthless, worthless, worthless, worthless, worthle...



“Your soulmate will probably want to kill themselves when meeting you.”



Never be anything. Never be anything. Never be anything. Never be anything.



He fell over, vaguely registering a high-pitched cry. Wait, that wasn't him...? Who was screaming...?



“Tobio.”



He blinked sluggishly, the blurry image of the ugly man in front of him never once leaving.



Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic, patheti...



“Tobio, just look at me.”



He craned his neck, feeling something cold prickle against his legs, cooling his bones. Cold...? Since when...?



In front and above him stood a man, seeming to shine golden in the dark forest. Kageyama squinted his eyes and manged to make out brown-red hair and bright eyes. Huh... The permanent voice inside his head telling him he was nothing ceased. It was silent. Blissfully silent for the first time in the past five years.



Who...?



“You fell asleep on my shoulder again.” the man said, smiling brightly at him. Wait... Again...? He was sleeping...?



The cold felt like a warm bed, paired with the smell of roses. Why should he not take a nap...? He deserved one restful sleep after all... The stars did shine pretty that night...



Through closing eyes, the image of the man in front of him trembled. He sprang up, suddenly feeling the tiny hands clasped around his neck. He pushed and pushed at the ground, willing it to let him get up. It was warm, oh so warm, but he had to get up.



The golden man in front of him just smiled at his struggle, making him grit his teeth.



Even if he had to leave the warmth of the snow, he wanted to go home. He wanted to see Hinata and Aika, and everybody else again. He wanted to be there and wipe the smug grin off Oikawa's face, godammit!



So yes, he'd fight through the freezing weather if the others would be standing on the other side.



~~~~~~~~~~~





“Hinata, I can't find Tobio anywhere!” Aika cried out in desperation, tears prickling at the corner of her eyes. The orange-haired man looked up from where he was playing a game with the blonde noble, face shining in the candlelight.



“What do you mean?” his voice almost cracked at the last word. It was painful to lie. Though Sugawara had told them just to bend the truth for the King, Hinata had to do the same for Aika. He feared the girl would run off into the storm to find Kageyama if she knew the reality. “I just saw him before I started playing this game with Kenma.”



The girl seemed relieved, a tear even slipping out of her eye. “Oh, I'm so glad!” she gasped, bringing one hand up to her forehead, sinking tiredly into one of the free armchairs. Shouyou gulped in guilt.



“Did I ever tell you how he and I met?” Aika said, smiling secretly towards the fire.



“N-no, you didn't.” he said, not noticing the intelligent eyes of Kenma following his nervous face. The noble narrowed his eyes.



“Well, it so happens...”





~~~~~~~~~~~

 

It was a hot summer, one that made you want to hide in a lake and never come out. One that would return a few years later.



A young lady strolled down the street, biding good morning left and right. She loved her peaceful kingdom, where people smiled and still stopped to smell the roses. The blonde-haired girl grabbed one of the breads offered to her by Riku, the woman who owned one of the bakeries around.



Save some for your father, would you, Aika?” the bakery owner said, grabbing her basket of pastries.



Alright! Thank you very much!” the girl said, before skipping towards the garden she liked to visit.



She pushed the small wooden gate, careful to close it behind her. She stopped though, once she noticed someone else was already there. It was a boy, about her age it seemed, who was gazing at an apple tree.



She grinned. “Hello!” she waved at the other, who startled and turned towards her. He had black hair falling over his eyes, and he was tall. Taller than her, at least.



A silent moment passed, before the boy replied, “Good day.”



Aika skipped over towards where he stood, glancing up at what he had been looking at before. Ah, yes. The flowers apple trees made were truly beautiful. Well... Every flower was beautiful in its own way to her!



She looked back at the boy who was gazing absently at her. She offered her hand. “My name's Aika Takahashi, and yours?”



The other looked surprised at that, flinching slightly. He hesitated, biting his lip. Then he shook her hand.



Tobio Kageyama.”





~~~~~~~~~~~



Tobio, what the heck are you doing over there?” the girl exclaimed, dropping the flower crown she was holding, and hurrying over to where her close friend was fumbling around with a ribbon.



I-I'm tying this! You asked for it!” the boy exclaimed, looking absolutely done with the piece of fabric he was fumbling around with.



Oh no, oh no!” the girl moaned in panic, quickly taking the ribbon out of Kageyama's hands. “I meant that one!” she exclaimed, pointing towards where a green one was. “This is Oka's ribbon!”



No...” the boy said in horror once realization dawned upon him. It was his first year planning the festival and he had somehow managed to screw up bad!



Oh yes! She'll have our heads if she-”



TAKAHASHI, KAGEYAMAAAAA!”



EEK! SHE'S HERE!” Aika screamed, grabbing his hand. “RUN!”



I'M GONNA EAT YOU ON TOA-!”





~~~~~~~~~~~~~





So...” the boy started, gazing at the flower he was fiddling with. “How was your first time visiting the castle?”



Aika laid down on the grass, arms underneath her head. The petals tickled her cheeks, and so she giggled. A beautiful face invaded her memories, and an involuntary blush rose on her cheeks.



It was fine...”



Why are you blushing then?” Kageyama said smugly, poking her nose. She batted him away, then fanned discreetly at her face.



Fine, fine. I'll tell you.” she sat up, leaning back on the tree as well. “I escaped that boring dinner my parents had to go to, and went to find the drawing room.”



Of course you did.”



Shush.” she slapped her friend playfully on the arm. “Anyway, they had everything you would need to make an amazing painting! So... I thought maybe I could help myself... I know! I know! I should've asked but I was just completely mesmerized by the oils, and the charcoals, and-”



Aika.”



...Yes?”



You're getting a bit off-topic.”



Oh, oops! Anyway, I started sketching out a bouquet, but something was missing. I heated up some water, and... someone came.”



After a moment of silence Kageyama nudged her. “Come on, continue! You can't just leave it there!”



Yes, yes, fine!” she said laughing, batting his arms away. “I was so surprised to see another person that I dropped the hot water.”



Tobio gasped in horror. “Oh no, did you run away? Are we going to have guards after us from now on?”



She whacked him on the head. “No, idiot.” her eyes had a faraway look in them. “It was... It was like magic. Where a normal person would've been burned, the boy was intact!”



He furrowed his eyebrows. “Wait... I didn't know people could do that. Why can't I make things not hurt me?”



She hit him again. “Utter dumbass.” she hissed fondly. “He's my soulmate.”



Tobio got really quiet then, something flashing across his eyes. “Oh.”



Hey, are you alright?” she placed one hand on his shoulders.



Huh- what? A-ah, yes, I'm fine. So what happened next?” he replied.



She wasn't convinced, but continued anyway. “I told him to get the arbutus, then I ran away.”



Kageyama, such a nice friend, was laughing at her. He wiped away his tears, gazing at her embarrassed face.



Oh my-!” he gasped, trying to catch his breath. “Do you think he knew what they meant?”



I hope not.” she said grumpily, pulling up her legs and resting her chin on top of her knees. The handsome face of the boy would not leave her mind at all. What a first meeting to have! And she had run away! She let her forehead hit her knees, groaning in mortification.



Tobio continued laughing, making even her smile.



~~~~~~~~~~~~



“Yeah...” Aika said, gazing at her shoes. “He's the best friend I could have ever asked for.”



Hinata jumped up at that, whipping a finger towards himself. “Wait a second! I'm Bakageyama's best friend!”



He glanced at the girl in front of him who had shared her story with them. He bit his lip. He rubbed his arm.



“I... lied.” he said, eyes fixed on the floor. Two heads turned towards him, one shocked and one knowing. “Kageyama isn't here. In fact...”



He gazed at Aika's worried face, who was now clutching the sides of her armchair tensely.



“He's out in the storm looking for Yuto.”



What.”



He whipped his head around and came face to face with the King, who was gazing at him with wide eyes, hands clenched at his side.



Uh oh.























Chapter Text

 

 

“He's out in the storm looking for Yuto.”


What.”

 

 


He whipped his head around and came face to face with the King, who was gazing at him with wide eyes, hands clenched at his sides.

"Uh...Uh..." Hinata stumbled over his words in the face of the noble's expression. He had just done exactly what Sugawara had told him not to. Now His Majesty knew.

The shortie took steps back, watching the King approach him fast. His whole posture screamed 'furious', and Hinata wondered what would become of him. Though as the face of his best friend appeared in his mind, his resolve steeled.

"What did you just say." the imposing man hissed, eyes blazing quite threateningly. He gulped, his own hands forming fists at his sides.

"He-he's not here."


The King threw his hands up in his hair, spitting curses, whole aura like a black cloud of death. Hinata had never once seen the man lose his composure, so this was completely shocking, and
frankly quite terrifying.


"Why would you let him leave?" the taller man shouted at him, head whipping around in his direction. "Do you want him to die?"


"I-it's not my fault!" Hinata trembled, hands coming up in front of him. "He never even came inside the castle!"


The wind rattled the windows, but it was nothing compared to the barely-restrained anger emanating from Aoba Jousai's ruler. He was thankful for the thunder that covered the loud swear
that left the man.

 


He was even more grateful when Hajime Iwaizumi came running towards them, a serious look on
his face.


“What is going on?” he said once he reached their small group, eyes darting from Kenma whose gaze had never once left Hinata, to Oikawa who had his head tilted towards the floor, a shadow covering the upper part of his face.

“H-he's not here.” the King said, and it scared Shouyou down to his core when his voice cracked on the first word.

“What...?” Iwaizumi asked, his face having quickly morphed into one of horror. It was amazing how he seemed to already know who they were talking about. “Who the hell let him leave? And why would he do it anyway?”

“He went on his own accord.” came a voice, and Hinata felt like a bucket of relief had been dropped over him. Sugawara stepped forward, eyes determined and steely. “He has gone to save Riku's boy.”

“You. You fucking lied to me.” Oikawa hissed lowly, fists trembling. Sugawara blinked at him calmly, Shouyou wondered how he could do that.

“I apologize, I only wanted to wait until he came back, so no one would be worried even further.” he explained, but Hinata saw his hands slightly move.

A tense moment passed, wondering what the King would do. The snow whipped at the frozen
glass.

 

Oikawa sank in an armchair, hands coming up to cover his face. With a loud sigh, Iwaizumi sat down as well. A crack of thunder shook their bodies.

 

 

 

 

“Just... come back to me...”

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 


Kageyama coughed in his palm, feeling thousands of nails scratch at his frost-bitten cheeks. He squinted around. He had somehow managed to find a place where the snow didn't seem to be as violent, nor the ground as cold.
He patted at the boy's arms, blowing hot air into them.


“Y-you al-al-alright?” he asked, trees blurring together.


“F-f-f-fine.” came a small weak sound, and his determination built up all over again. He brushed off what he could, fingers not moving. He couldn't bend them at all, neither his toes.

Gazing at the identical trees, he somehow managed to find a spark of familiarity. There! The path he and Hinata had met on!

He placed one foot in the deep snow, this time it reached his knees. He had to hurry, otherwise
they'd be buried under.

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~


“Kageyama and I...” Hinata started, flinching as two pairs of eyes immediately focused on him. He
glanced as Aika's warm hand took his own. Bakageyama could use some warmth right then...
“We met many years ago...”


~~~~~~~~~~~~

 


“Ouch!” a short orange-haired boy exclaimed, hands coming up to pat at his slightly scratched leg. He glared at the guilty branch, then brushed his clothes of dust.

A sound caught his attention, making him immediately raise his hands up for protection.


“Who's there!” he shouted, eyes nervously darting from each bush. Finally, one of them rustled, making him jump a little. Not. He wasn't scared, of course.

He cautiously took two steps in that direction, then screeched when a body appeared. He darted far away, keeping his eyes on the mess on the dirt. He squinted, then gasped.

It was a boy who seemed to be about his age, but he looked so different from him. His clothes were torn to shreds, blackened and bloody. And when the stranger raised his head, Hinata noticed his whole face seemed to have been bashed in. Purple bruises scattered across his cheekbones, and one of his eyes was fully closed. A steady trail of blood poured out of his eyebrow and nose.

He gasped, then hurried over to the boy, hands coming up as if to help him. The stranger's eyes widened, and he violently threw himself backwards, into a tree. His whole body shook with tremors, as he said, “D-don't touch me! St-stay away!”

 

Hinata furrowed his brows. He wasn't going to do anything to him! He was a good person!

 


“Hey, I'm not going to hurt you.” he tried to reason, showing his empty hands devoid of any weapon.


The boy didn't seem too convinced, as his eyes darted from Hinata, towards the dirt path, then
back again.


“It's alright.” he reassured the other boy. He wondered what had happened to him. “My name's
Shouyou Hinata. What's yours?”


“Ju-just stay away!” the boy gasped, as if his whole body hurt. Hinata had no doubt it did, seeing
his legs bent at weird at angles.


“Fine, then! But I'm not leaving until you tell me your name!” he huf ed. He wanted the boy to trust him, so he'd be able to get him back tot he shop where the others could fix him up.


And so passed a long time, both of them too stubborn to move. Well, Shouyou was too stubborn to move. The stranger didn't look as if he could.

“It's To-Tobio Kageyama.” the boy stuttered out after a while. Hinata wasn't sure that was his real name, but it'd have to do. At least they were making some progress! And that was definitely something, considering he had no idea what to do in situations like these.


“Nice to meetcha'! I hope we'll become friends!”

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 


“Bakageyama, who is that?”


Tobio glared at the shortie from where he was giving out packs of oregano. He looked up from where Hinata was tugging on his shirt, and to where he was pointing. He squinted his eyes against the sun blazing down on the Plaza, finally finding what the other was referring to.

It was a man with black, chin length hair, who was fiddling around with a curious wooden machine about the size of his palm.

“I don't know.” he shrugged, noticing the red tailcoat the man was wearing. “Maybe a noble, or something?”

He watched in amusement as his best friend gaped at the stranger, his job having been completely
forgotten.


“Go talk to him.” he suggested, and Shouyou's disbelieving gaze turned towards him. He couldn't possibly talk to someone so beautiful!

“N-no! I-I can't!” he exclaimed, darting gazes towards the stunning specimen. He wanted to ask the man what he was working on, and why he seemed so interested by it.

“Go or I'll beat you.”


“EEK! Fine, fine! I'm going!” Hinata screeched, walking quick towards the man, not wanting Bakageyama's fury to be unleashed upon him.

He pulled on his shirt's collar nervously.

 


~~~~~~~~~~

 


“What the hell? Where'd he go?” Hinata whispered, eyes darting towards the empty streets, were just a second ago a killer had been running.

“What's going on?” came the voice of Kageyama from near him on the rooftop.

“I lost him!” he exclaimed angrily, pulling at his dark gloves. He saw his best friend gaze at something to his right, then suddenly he was flying that way, shouting a “This way!” over his shoulder.

Hinata grinned under his mask, then released his strings after the man.

 

Ah, to be part of The Crows and sail through the night sky.

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Everyone stayed silent as he finished his story. They gazed at the floor, people's chatter filling their ears. Somewhere outside a tree crashed.

“Please, Kageyama...” Hinata whispered, tears prickling at his eyes, fingers grasping at the blanket

Aika had placed over him.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Wait, no... That tree looked familiar... Had they been here before...?


Tobio shook his head, blurry spots starting to creep across his eyes. The howl of the wind across tree trunks made the hair on his arms stand up. Damn it! Even if he didn't know where they were, he had to keep moving!

With great difficulty, he manged to take his leg out of the deep snow, taking a step in front of him. If this was the path, then all he had to do was go right and then in front... He'd end up right near Nekoma Bakery. Shouldn't be too hard now... Just four more steps...


Come on, co-come on...” the wind stole his whispered encouragement, sending it flying high above.

 

It felt as if hands were pulling at his clothes, dragging him back. A myriad of voices shouted at him invitingly, each one urging him to go a different direction. They took his friend's tones, Hinata's impostor telling him to go back, Aika's lulling him towards the left.


Nevertheless, he continued forwards to where he knew he had to go. Near the tree glimmered the golden image of the tall man, the image who had never once left him. He wanted to sneer at the smug face the figure had, but had no energy to do so.

“Sh-shut up... St-st-stop mocking m-m-me...” he hissed at the familiar smirk. He didn't realize he had already reached the path, as the image had already moved forwards. This was all it seemed to be. Was he ever going to catch up to his soulmate...? Was he...?


He continued his heavy trek through the snow, each step leaving him more numb.


~~~~~~~~~~~~


Wait... That was it... Wasn't that...?


The golden image fluttered in front of him, as if scolding him for stopping. He couldn't move his head, his eyes halfway closed.


“Already tired, Tobio-chan?” the golden man grinned in superiority at him. Kageyama vaguely registered he had fallen to his knees. Something moved around his neck, shifted over his back.

“Sh-sh-sh-shut...” he hissed viciously, but the snow removed the words from existence, leaving them a mere whisper of the breeze.

“That's too bad. Guess I'll just have to marry Akui, then...” the shining man said casually, leaning on one of the frozen doors. Wait, door...?

He grit his teeth, then shifted his arms as best as he could. He got to his feet as slow as he could, his whole body bending at the harsh wind.

“And on we go~! Come on! Hop to it!” his soulmate smirked at him, straightening up and stuffing his hands in his pockets. He casually walked near Kageyama who was shaking like a leaf, and watched as he struggled to take one step after another. It seemed as if the ground was moving with him.


The man was walking circles around him, whistling a tune. “Oh boy, it is taking you a long while!”

He closed his eyes, frozen bangs scratching at his forehead.


“Oh, look!” came the cheery voice, and he only barely managed to crack his eyes halfway open.

“Isn't that where we're headed?”


He stumbled forwards, the weight on his back suddenly coming back. Everything came back.


Suddenly, he could feel the wind biting his cheeks, the mind-numbing pain scratching at his bones, the faint breathing of Yuto on the back of his neck.


He gazed towards the castle doors. The golden man grinned at him, hands coming up to ruffle his hair. Except his hair never once did move, but for the wind blowing against it.
Through blurred eyes he saw the gates being pulled open, shouts barely coming through the wind.


He saw multiple tiny figures heading towards him, but only one was clear.


The golden man beamed at him from above. Wait, when had he laid down...?

“Ah, that's too bad.” the person snorted, amused smile never once leaving his lips. “And you were almost there~”

He grit his teeth, barely choking out, “Shut u-u-up.”

He felt multiple hands across his body, but darkness had already enveloped him, a single shining smirk following him.

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~


“Your Highness!” came the voice of a guard, multiple alarmed shouts from people accompanying it. Oikawa looked up from where he was gazing at the floor. The man was covered completely in snow, the edges of his mustache white.


“What is it.” he replied tiredly, hand coming up to rub at his forehead.


“We found him!”


His hand froze halfway up. He stood up as quick as lightning.


“What? You- you found him?” he stumbled over his words, hurrying towards the man.


The other nodded, then bowed a little. “He was nearly dead, Your Majesty. If we hadn't found him then...”


Oikawa didn't want to think about it, instead straightening up and looking intimidating as the King he was.


“Well, what are you waiting for? Lead the way!”

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~


Kageyama opened an eye, finding the action not as difficult as he remembered it being. He yawned, one hand coming up to cover his mouth. He winced, though, when millions of tiny knives seemed to impale him.

He painfully rubbed his arms. Was it just him, or was it freezing in there...?


He felt something on his cheek, and turned to see someone sitting in a chair across from him. He suddenly realized this was definitely not Karasuno Spice Shop. Tobio exhaled tiredly, but smugly once he saw who it was.

“I ma-made it. You weren't ri-right, golden man.” he whispered, finding great difficulty in doing so. He closed his eyes, content. Take that.


He welcomed sleep like an old friend, not taking notice of the only other person in the room shaking and covering his eyes silently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Tobio’s eyes fluttered open, immediately falling on the lone rose in front of him.

He stood up and glanced around in confusion. He was on a wide vividly green hill, under the shade of a lone tree.


“You made it.” he glanced up at the voice, and saw it was the shimmering image of the tall man.


The tall man he now recognized as Oikawa.

He narrowed his eyes. That explained the smug expression the other had had at his struggling.

“To be honest,” his soulmate continued, sitting down on the grass. This time he looked almost as the actual Oikawa, but for the thin golden outline around him. “I didn’t expect you to make it.”

He scoffed, sitting back down and leaning against the tree. The other did the same.

“Shut up.” he replied, watching the many forms the clouds took.

“Why won’t you tell me you’re my soulmate? Have I done something wrong? Something to make you not trust me?” the other suddenly asked, fixing his distracting eyes on Tobio.


Kageyama exhaled loudly, faintly rubbing at his arm. It was pleasant, a cool breeze brushing against his cheeks, not enough to be cold.


“You...” he trailed off. Why? Why couldn’t he do this? Because you’re pathetic, that’s why.

“Look, we both know I’m just a mirage right now. This is all happening in your head, so why can’t you be honest even with yourself?”

Tobio brought his hands up to his face. He blinked quickly, surprisingly finding it quiet. No voices yelling insults at him, no invisible hands pulling at his clothes. Just the rustling of the leaves, and the warmth of Oikawa’s arm near his own.

“I’m afraid.” he admitted. “Afraid you’re just going to realize how horrible I really am. Afraid I won’t be able to rule by your side. Afraid because I want to be enough for you, but I know I’m not.”


He sighed deeply, leaning back.

“Alright.” Oikawa’s eyes sparkled, a grin forming on his face. “Alright.”

He furrowed his brows, glaring at the man in confusion. “What the-?”

But the image blurred, colors mixing together creating an odd painting.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Tobio shot up from his bed, gasping deeply. He rubbed at his eyes tiredly, feeling his bones ache.

What had happened yesterday? He couldn’t remember anything, really. The only thing he knew
was that he was cold, terribly so.

He pulled the fluffy covers even tighter around him, sighing in content.

 

Wait a second. They didn’t have blankets that comfortable.

 

For the first time, he gazed around. Tobio now saw this was definitely not Karasuno Spice Shop, as everything was very, very fancy.

He shot up from the bed, posture tense. Had he been kidnapped? Maybe his abductors had hit him on the head, and that’s why he didn’t remember anything.

He rubbed at his chin, brain running fast. How could a random kidnapper be this wealthy? This seemed to compare to the riches of the nobility! And why the hell was it so cold?!

Alright, he’d better make a plan. First, he should listen if anyone was coming for him. He checked.

Clear. Second, he should glance around the outside corridor and see if there was someone guarding him.

He didn’t have time to do so, as the door opened suddenly. He jumped back as fast as he could, almost knocking back into the bed. He shakily raised his hands up in front of him for protection Against the newcomer.

A woman entered the room, dressed in a long black dress, a white apron wrapped around her waist, a headband holding her hair out of her face.

She smiled kindly at him, incling her head. Tobio narrowed his eyes. Why was she acting nice?


Was this some new kind of manipulation? To make him trust them?


“Good morning, sir.” the woman started in a peaceful voice. Kageyama startled a little. “His Majesty has requested your presence in the morning hall as soon as possible.”

Wait, wait, wait. Oikawa kidnapped him? Was it considered kidnapping if it was the King? Had he gotten drunk yesterday and did something bad?

He coughed awkwardly as the girl continued smiling pleasantly at him. It didn’t even seem a fake one. “Uh-Uhm... Why am I here?”

The other seemed confused at that, thin eyebrows pulling together. “Excuse me?”

“I-I didn’t do something bad yesterday, did I?” he asked nervously scratching at his cold arms.

Seriously, nobles were supposed to be wealthy! They didn’t even have fireplaces around here?

That’s when she smiled almost in relief, then a secret twinkle appeared in her eyes. “You didn’t, I assure you. Now, please follow me.”


Kageyama was still skeptical, but he couldn’t refuse this nice-looking girl. It would’ve been like he was kicking a puppy!

He nodded faintly to himself, then slowly stepped after her. He now realized he was definitely not wearing his usual clothes. Tobio found himself wearing a silky white shirt made from quite thick material (which should be keeping him warm, but for some reason he was still freezing), and black comfortable pants. His own boots were nowhere to be seen as well, instead dark ones adorning his feet.


What the -


He snapped back from his train of thought, seeing they had reached two large doors. The nice lady smiled at him again, then put up a finger in front of her as if she had remembered something.

“Oh, I almost forgot!” and then she brought out of literally nowhere a huge cream blanket, which she then placed around his shoulders. He sighed pleasantly once he realized it was just the right temperature now, which should be weird considering he was wearing so many layers.


“Thank you.” he said, looking deep into her blue eyes. That was nice of her. He wondered how she knew he was cold. “What’s your name?”


“S-Shen, sir.” the girl blushed prettily. Tobio wondered why she was calling him sir. He didn’t seem to be older than her.

“Now, please go through here.” and she softly pushed open the doors, glancing at him. He gazed at her in confusion, but unwillingly took a step forward.

Shen smiled demurely at him again, then closed the doors. He jumped at the sound, then looked around. The room was huge, with the right part of it made of windows, which let the morning light in. He could see a tiny table with two chairs outside.
In front of him stood a long, long table, at which...

He froze, pulling his blanket tighter against his body as if that would protect him.


Oikawa stood at the end of the table, gazing directly into his eyes. He had to remind himself this was real, and he shouldn’t go spewing off his darkest secrets.

A silent moment passed, before Tobio cleared his throat awkwardly.


“Uhh... Why am I here?”


The King offered him a smile, before pushing the chair near him. Kageyama glanced at the empty seat, then back at his soulmate. His eyes twinkled.


Tobio, with as much dignity as he could possibly muster when wearing a blanket five times his size, walked towards the chair, knowing Oikawa wouldn’t offer him anything if he didn’t get something back.

He plopped down with baited breath, immediately pulling the chair as much to his left as he could.
A silent snort escaped his soulmate.


“So... Will you tell me now?” Kageyama asked again.


“You don’t remember yesterday?” Oikawa returned with a question of his own, hands lacing themselves together in front of him.

“I-“


“No, it’s clear by your face you don’t.” he interrupted Tobio. Fucking -


“Well, there was a snowstorm, and-“ they both glanced up when the doors opened again, and in entered three people, amongst which Kageyama recognized Shen. They were carrying plates of food which made Tobio’s mouth drool.

 

And imagine his surprise when those were placed in front of them, his newfound acquaintance smiling at him. Oikawa thanked them with a shining grin, and the three people left. Kageyama wanted to go with them.


“Please have some, I know you haven’t eaten anything in a while.” he offered, pushing a plate of pastries towards him. Tobio glared at the croissant like it had personally offended him, which it hadn’t, then at Oikawa, who had.

“Come on,” his soulmate encouraged as if he were speaking with a child. “You do want to know what happened the other day, do you not?”

His eyes twinkled in victory, and Tobio realized he was being manipulated. He scowled darkly at the smug smirk.

The golden man had a superior look on his face, as he watched him struggling to get up from the...

The memory was lost as soon as it came, and he found himself having to take a bite out of the apple offered to him. He was not happy about it, though. Even if it was very delicious... Fuck Oikawa.

“Yesterday you were more of an idiot than usual.” the King started casually, picking up a piece of bread of his own. Tobio stabbed at his toast. “A snowstorm arrived, and you,” he darkly chuckled at this part, making him sink slightly into himself, “Didn’t come inside. No, no, of course you couldn’t possibly have, instead just having to save a woman’s boy.”


Kageyama glanced up at him, lost in his thoughts. Well, of course he did! He couldn’t just leave someone like that!

“I thought you had died.” Oikawa said quietly, eyes on his hands. Tobio stared at him.


“Even if I had, there would’ve been no difference.” he muttered, focusing back on his own breakfast (which was quite delicious, what the heck did they make these with?).

He looked up when he heard the sound of something banging, and saw his soulmate had dropped his fork (and possibly his jaw) in his plate, and was looking at him with wide eyes.

“...What?” Kageyama asked, completely befuddled. Did he choke on his food, or something?

“You... You...” This was the first time Tobio had seen the man at a loss for words, and it terrified him. What the hell happened?

“How can you say something like that?” Oikawa said, his voice rising a few pitches. He noticed the man’s knuckles were white with tension.

“What? How can I say the truth?” Tobio scoffed, gazing at his palms sadly. “It’s quite easy, you see, you open your mouth and-“

Two hands placed themselves on either of his cheeks, and suddenly he found himself gazing into those hypnotic brown eyes, much closer than they had been a second ago.

He inhaled sharply, and then immediately regretted doing so. He was enveloped in the smell of roses, but fresh rain as well. His cheeks were squished slightly by those hands again.

“W-wh-“ he barely could stumble something out, as his voice capabilities were limited.


Oikawa furrowed his eyebrows seriously, then leaned in a little. Tobio wanted to lean back but found he couldn’t. He had to get away, otherwise he’d do something crazy, like-

“How can you be so dumb?” his soulmate muttered lowly, eyes running along the entirety of his face. Kageyama wanted to bare his teeth. “Tell you what, I’ll make you a deal.”

Tobio looked at him in confusion. The hands on his cheeks tightened. “Whush ken oh deah?”

He sincerely glared at the grin that overtook the man’s face.


“I’ll make you say the opposite of that sentence, and actually believe it.” Oikawa said, eyes twinkling like stars. He removed his hands once he saw Tobio had something to say.

“What the heck?!” he quickly remembered his place, and added, “Your Majesty, a deal is in advantage for both sides. And frankly, I don’t see how this helps me.”

The hands returned on his cheeks again as soon as he had finished his sentence. Oikawa adopted an air of self importance, as he said, “Easy. You get to spend more time with me. And would you please stop calling me ‘Your Majesty’ as if we were simply King and subject?”

“Buh we arf-“


Oikawa booped him. He blinked once, twice, then murdered him violently in his mind. And then he bashed his own head in, because he couldn’t help but complain at the thought of the King dying.

“Just call me Oikawa~ That is my name after all.” he smirked, then let his face go.


Kageyama furiously wiped at his cheeks even though nothing was there (except for an involuntary blush, perhaps), then glanced around frantically. An idea sparked in his head.

“And how will you do this? What, by spending time with me, or something like that?” he mocked, a sense of victory filling his veins.


“Yes.” Oikawa smiled at him, eyes crinkling at the corners. Tobio almost dropped his toast.


"B-b-but don’t you have a soulmate?” he asked in panic. (What didn’t occur to him then was that technically only the masked man at the Masquerade Ball knew of the supposed soulmate - Wait, but... Hadn't he -?! )

“I do.” the King grinned at him, sharp canines glinting.


“B-b-but-!” Tobio spluttered. He couldn’t spend more time with Oikawa, the situation was horrible as it was! “We-well, I have a soulmate, too!”

“You do.” the other continued grinning, offering no further explanation to his confused face.

Just my luck , Kageyama thought, staring in disbelief at him, I got stuck with a lunatic for a
soulmate.

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~

 


They had just finished eating (well, more like Kageyama felt like he had overstayed his welcome way past the point of politeness, considering who he was), when Oikawa turned towards him with a smile that promised nothing but trouble.

He squinted his eyes suspiciously. The man had been bizarrely quiet during the course of their meal. Only now did it hit him that he could have been planning something.

“...What?” Tobio asked, finally fed up with the smug smirk.


It did not seem possible, but his soulmate’s grin got wider. “Do you know how to play Hide and Seek?”


He furrowed his eyebrows, tapping his chin lightly. What was that again...? Oh, wait!


“Yes, I do. Why do you ask?” he questioned, oddly feeling like he was being outplayed.


“I say, you hide and I seek. I’ll give you a one minute head start. Try to not let me find you, would you?” he wickedly smiled, seeming excited.

“W-wait, wait, what?” he stood up, trying to wrap his head around the lunacy that seemed to follow Oikawa at all times. What the hell was he even talking about?

“One.”


“ What ? Stop! What the hell are you doing?”


“Two. Better start searching, Tobio-chan.”


“Your Majesty, what is going on? And why should I not let you find me?”


“It’s Oikawa. Three.”


“Your Ma- Oikawa-san, this isn’t funny!” but he was already inching away from his soulmate who had stood up, and was now gazing at him with a sadistic gleam in his eyes.

 

“Four.”

Tobio flew out of the room, blanket fluttering behind him like a cape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Tobio panted heavily, head whipping from side to side, eyes searching for a place where he could hide.

What did Oikawa mean? What was going on?


He wasn’t sure he wanted his soulmate to find him, considering what he had said.


“Try not to let me find you.”


A violent shudder racked through his body.


He ran and ran, until he came across a junction in his road, one door leading to the left, the other to the right. He could feel the seconds passing by.

He darted through the door to the left, heart pounding so loud he couldn’t hear anything else.

Tobio glanced around, and noticed he was in some kind of saloon, with many armchairs placed around. He wasn’t as cold anymore, so he dropped his blanket. He didn’t dawdle around for a moment longer, jumping towards one of the doors there. He furrowed his eyebrows once he felt his bangs flutter, and he turned around to find he was on a balcony. When he had left the dining room he should’ve gone right. Instead, he had chosen the route with the least deviations.

Well, it was done already.


Tobio exhaled heavily, then turned around to glance at his admittedly unwilling hideaway.

How ironic it was that he was hiding on a balcony, the very place he and his soulmate had met. It was quite large, with two white chairs at the very end, an elegant table placed between them.

He couldn’t help but wonder who had wooden doors leading to the outside, and not transparent ones.

To his left was a huge bush, and in front of it was another one of those fancy chairs. He walked forwards, wondering if he could squeeze between the plant and the wall.

It turned out he could, though it was with great difficulty, and not a small amount of sucking in his stomach. Once he was as comfortable as he could while practically smushed, he realized his minute had to be up by then.

He retraced his steps, satisfied in finding he had not left any clues hinting to his hiding spot. He had closed all the doors he had gone through, and he had not touched anything in the saloon. Though...

Wait a second.

He was outside, and only now did he realize it was kind of chilly. He had completely forgotten it was winter.


Kageyama shivered slightly even though it wasn’t all that cold yet. He went to grasp at his blanket tighter, but with horror he found it was definitely not there.

He gulped, glancing around him. No. It wasn’t around there. He slapped his forehead, eyes closing in mortification. That means he had dropped it somewhere along the way.

Well, he couldn’t go fetch it. He’d just have to stay hidden and pray Oikawa went the other way.

How long did he have to stay hidden anyway? His soulmate hadn’t mentioned that. He’d stay about seven minutes or so, and then he’d head back to the dining room.

He settled down more, ears craned to hear any sound. It was eerily silent, except for the slight blowing of the wind. He couldn’t see anything over the bush, and he waited with bated breath. It was kind of terrifying.

He huffed, eyes running over the dark leaves. What did he even mean...?


His entire heart stopped once he heard something like faint banging from somewhere far away, though not far enough in Kageyama’s opinion. He gulped, but there was no way it could be Oikawa.


He felt something poke at his back, and he turned his head around a little, wondering what it could possibly be. It turned out it was a tiny black door, that Tobio could wedge open. He measured it with his gaze, and found he could definitely fit through there. An escape route if so the situation should arise.

He focused back on his situation, and found the atmosphere was lacking of sound just as before.

His breath was too loud in his own ears, and he thought he preferred when the banging sound rang out.

Kageyama heard a door open.


He froze up completely, realizing it was the door to the saloon he had come through. There was noway Oikawa had found him already... It just wasn’t possible! There were too many variables and routes! He couldn’t have been found that easily except if there was some kind of mysterious force leading Oikawa to him! Which there wasn’t!


But just to be safe, he pulled the secret door open, then went through it. It was awkward, as he had to bend at the waist, then go through with his back, using his legs to push at the bush.

He had only just gotten his head in, and went to close it, when a melody rang out.

“Tobio-chaaan~”

It was a voice he knew, and knew well. It was terrifying, hearing his name said like that, with him hiding from Oikawa like this. And it was definitely close. So, somehow, his soulmate was the one in the saloon.

He shut the door softly, darkness enveloping him. Now it was completely silent. It was as if time itself had frozen, and the atmosphere had been sucked out.

His head was bent awkwardly and his neck even more so. Keeping his eyes fixed on the tiny door, he started crawling backwards on his hands and knees.

His bottom hit something, and so for only a second he glanced behind him and saw an entrance just as the one he had gone through. He kept his coughing at the dust in, slowly pushing the door open, thanking everything and everyone when it didn’t creak at all.


He jumped out of the secret tunnel just as the door on the other side opened, and light flittered
through.


“Hmm.” the voice filled the dark corridor, a strange, almost unearthly echo in its amused tone.


Tobio slammed the door shut before his soulmate could say anything, taking off running across the
hallway he had ended up in.

Behind him a loud laugh appeared, and somehow, regardless of how utterly terrifying everything seemed to be in that moment, he found himself smiling too.

He completely disregarded all the hallways that appeared at his sides, always keeping on running forwards. It didn’t seem like a game of hide and seek anymore, but rather tag, with him having to not let himself be caught.

He finally stopped at the very end of the hallway, where two large doors were. Somehow he felt drawn to this place, and so he darted through them, wondering how long it’d take Oikawa to head on to that hallway.

Surprisingly, he found himself in the garden he always ended up in while his guise as the King of the Crows. It seemed he had found another entrance, not the one the guards had entered through what seemed to be forever ago.

He jogged through the plants, and found no snow was on the ground, even though, according to Oikawa, there’d been a storm the night before. It seemed someone had wiped it away.

Tobio continued running until he was near the ledge overlooking the hills, the ledge he loved so much. He darted to the side, hiding behind one of the rose bushes, which were not in bloom.

He clenched his eyes tightly. How had Oikawa found him so quickly? He’d been hidden on the balcony for about two minutes, so that left him five to survive in the garden. Just five. Alright, he could do this!

He realized he could definitely not do it, as he heard two large doors open, hitting the wall.


“Tobio~” Kageyama noticed he dropped the ‘chan’. He shivered. “Why are you hiding from me~?”


He held his breath, hearing the footsteps of someone walking around the garden at a leisurely pace.

“Do you want to make me sad?” the voice continued, and Tobio could hear the pout present on Oikawa’s face. A mocking pout, but one nonetheless. He suddenly had the urge to jump out and hug his soulmate. Stupid bo -

The laugh came, and with it his skin was taken over by goosebumps.


“No, no.” Oikawa tutted, not just a hint of amusement in his voice. “You’re being smart for once, aren’t you?”


He clenched his fists, as the King continued his walk around, not even trying to be discreet. Just two minutes...

 

The leaves in front of him were parted, two hands with slender fingers appearing. A wide grin was on the other’s face, and he looked terrifyingly close to a wolf in that moment. His fringe painted shadows across his face, his eyes lowered and darkened. Kageyama’s heart might have stopped.

 

 

“Found you~”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

"I can't believe this is what you want me to do." Tobio said, completely ignoring the marble doors Oikawa was pointing to with an air of self-importance.



"Come on, Tobio-chan. Don't be such a sore loser." his soulmate said, crossing his arms. Kageyama didn't look at them.



He huffed, kicking at invisible pebbles on the fancy floor. "But, really? Do I rea-"



"Yes." Oikawa stopped him from continuing, his shit-eating grin perfectly in place. He nudged his head towards the doors. "Go on, unless you want me to call someone else to help you."



Tobio narrowed his eyes at his shoes, then pushed the doors with a little more force than necessary. When he closed them he pretended not to notice the smugness the King was radiating.



He glared at the pile of clothes from where he was standing by the entrance, wondering if he could burn them with just his gaze. It turned out he could not, and the fabric remained intact, practically winking at him.



He groaned once or twice for good measure, then walked (definitely not stomped) towards the bed. Tobio grabbed the light blue shirt, and almost fell over himself at how soft it was. What the heck is this? Some kind of cotton?



His frown deepened even further once the clothes were on, and found they fit him perfectly. In reality, he had no problem with dressing up elegantly, even if it was Oikawa's doing. No, what really bugged him like no other was the fact that his soulmate had found him so easily.

Seriously, though. How in the world had he been discovered so quickly?



"Are you finished?" came a voice, accompanied by a knock on the door.



Tobio huffed, brushing a hand over the shirt which now seemed to him suspiciously close in design to the one Oikawa often wore. He wished he could see how he looked dressed like a royal.



With a single regretful glance towards his previous clothes which now were a slump on the white mattress, he opened the doors.



He did not even indulge in the thought of his soulmate looking differently at him, even if it took Oikawa at least a minute to start speaking.

The man cleared his throat, then faced forwards, offering an arm towards Kageyama. "You look good."



"Uh..." Tobio hesitated, then settled back in his familiar frown which let him conceal his true emotions. "Thank you."



A moment or two passed with neither of the two saying anything, Kageyama too stubborn to accept the arm offered his way, Oikawa too stubborn to be refused.



The assassin scoffed in resignation, before placing his left arm over his soulmate's right one. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Oikawa smile.



"Alright. Let's go."





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





Tobio glanced around the room, from the huge, completely noticeable counter powdered in flour, to the tiny packs of sugar almost hidden under the table. He could see Oikawa buzzing with barely-concealed energy near him, his hands clasped behind his back.



He kind of looked like a puppy.



"I can work with this." Kageyama hummed, pushing his sleeves to his forearms. He glanced to his side, seeing Kuroo lean on the wall, arms crossed, an amused smile on his face.



He looked back to his soulmate, who now had tied a cream-colored piece of fabric around his waist, and had his hands on his hips, the picture of determination.



Tobio's eyes glinted, and barely a hint of a smile appeared. Oikawa stiffened up.



"The question is: can you?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text



Oikawa could, he definitely could.

Tobio snuck a glance at his soulmate, who was molding dough with a huge smile on his face. His sleeves were pulled up to his forearms, crown resting about three meters away from the mess that was the counter.

Kuroo had left a short while ago, once Oikawa had become particularly enthusiastic; evidence of this being the glob of flour on the wall on which Kuroo had been leaning not too long ago.

It was just the two of them battling for the title of Best Bread Maker.

There was absolutely no way Oikawa could possibly beat him at bread-making out of all things. But, Kageyama eyed his excited soulmate warily, he could probably give Tobio a run for his money.

“How's it going, Tobio-chan?” his voice brought Kageyama out of his daze, coming face to face with one Oikawa Tooru leaning far too close to him. Tobio wanted to move, but he did not.

“Good,” he replied, making sure the other knew he was not going down without a fight. Oikawa's grin had only widened.

Oikawa hummed in response, before promptly knocking over a bowl of flour over Tobio's bread. Moment in which he jumped and squawked in indignation. Too much flour!

“Hey!” he barked out, whirling around to face Oikawa with his hands on his hips. His soulmate was cackling.

Tobio might've responded in kind, if not for having remembered just exactly who Oikawa was.

He just settled on grumbling and secretly adding the butter he'd noticed Oikawa had forgotten to add to his bread.



~~~~~~~~~~~



When Hinata entered Nekoma Bakery the last thing he'd expected to be met with was two grown men lunging towards him screeching about closing the door.

And because of this he was found startled, dropping the heavy blanket he'd brought with him, and bumping into the door, thus closing it in the process. At least that made the pair back off a little.

Hinata watched the two turn back around towards the counter, exchanging words he could not hear. He might've peed himself a little.

Did they even know ...?

Tobio watched his short best friend with furrowed eyebrows. He was as white as milk, pressing up against the wall as if he were facing a terrifying monster or something.

He opened his mouth, but his eyes fell on the huge blanket in Hinata's arms. Only now did he realize that, according to Shen and Oikawa, there'd been a storm the other night.

He jumped towards Hinata, grabbing his shoulders tightly, not letting go even if Hinata looked so very scared.

“Are you alright? Did everyone make it in time to the castle last night?” he furrowed his eyebrows, gazing right into Hinata's eyes, not caring for the fact that Oikawa was in the room with them.

Hinata seemed to break out of his daze, blinking in confusion at Kageyama. “Last night? Bakageyama that happened three days ago.”

Tobio stared at something beyond just Hinata's face. What did he mean, 'three nights ago'? Both Shen and Oikawa had said...

Then again, when he'd been hiding from his soulmate he'd not met a single person. But, he turned around to gaze at Oikawa who was conveniently not meeting his eyes, he'd said...

He looked back at Hinata who had seemed to regain some of his composure. He released his grip on the boy's shirt, and cleared his throat awkwardly, oddly trying to save face. (his, or Oikawa's he did not know)

“Yes, of course. Did they?” he asked yet again, changing the subject to one he both used as a diversion and was actually interested in.

“Yes, Bakageyama.” Hinata grinned widely, before frowning exaggeratedly and poking Kageyama in the chest. “Except you! Don't frighten us like that ever again!”

Tobio nodded obediently, even though they both knew he'd do anything in his power to save someone in danger. His friend smiled yet again, then glanced at something – or rather, someone – over Kageyama's shoulder, before leaning in conspiratorially.

Plus,” Hinata whispered once Tobio had leaned forwards as well, “Oikawa was really scary.

Someone poorly stifled a snort behind Tobio.

Kageyama rolled his eyes, before walking back towards the oven, where his soulmate was gazing at the baking breads with his hands crossed and wide grin on his face he wasn't even trying to hide.

“Oooh, what are you making?” Hinata wanted to know, plopping so heavily in one of the chairs near the counter that Oikawa's crown almost fell to the ground. That seemed to remind him that he was in the same room a Aoba Jousai's ruler, as he meekly added, “Your Majesty.”

Oikawa waved a nonchalant hand at Hinata, still gazing in the oven. “None of that. You can call me Oikawa. That is my name after all.”

Kageyama looked back at Hinata who might as well have had stars in his eyes. Then back at Oikawa, who seemed to be radiating smugness. Tobio narrowed his eyes. Just a couple of weeks ago Oikawa had been acting all cold and distant to Hinata, and now he was suddenly friendly? Suspicious.

“We're making bread,” Tobio finally said, gesturing towards the ovens, where multiple pieces of dough were currently becoming nice and golden.

Hinata jumped to his feet, pointing towards Tobio dramatically. “You're making bread?!”, Tobio nodded while Oikawa turned to raise an eyebrow at the excitement almost palpable in Hinata's voice. “Why'd you stop making bread at home then?! It was so delicious!” he pulled his hands together, almost as if he were praying.

Tobio fidgeted in his spot, rubbing at his right arm. “We can't afford flour,” he muttered as low as possible, pointedly ignoring the way Oikawa's eyes shifted from Hinata to him.

The shortie released an inhuman screech that accurately conveyed his elation. He'd only just entered the bakery and he was already grabbing his blanket again, zooming out the door yelling about getting everyone together.

Whatever that meant.

Tobio turned around, raising his eyebrows in question. He didn't have the guts to ask Oikawa directly about what he wanted to know, but maybe he'd get it from his look.

Why did you lie and say it was only a day?

Oikawa seemed to understand what his unspoken inquiry was, and he shrugged. “I have my reasons.”

Well, yes. That helped a lot, didn't it?

Tobio rolled his eyes once his soulmate's back was turned, looking back at the oven and gesturing at Tobio to come forwards. He warily approached, and they both gazed inside.

They'd made multiple, and Tobio had decided that after they tasted each other's breads (wow, did that sound wrong) he'd go around giving them out; mainly to Riku.

He patted at his originally-white-but-now-a-suspicious-cream apron, not knowing what to do with himself. This was the first moment he actually had a minute to talk with his soulmate, without the pretext of near-assassination, or weird dance-challenges, or hide and seek requests -

Wow, they really were quite the odd pair, weren't they?

“I-” Oikawa started to speak, but was immediately interrupted by the door to the shop being slammed open by one hyper-active shrimp who had only just left and was already back, this time with multiple people behind him like some sort of bad clique.

Oikawa frowned disapprovingly at having been interrupted, but the people piling in the bakery did not pay him any mind. Tobio stared as Sugawara and Daichi entered with friendly waves and candles propped under their arms, then Iwaizumi and Akaashi, each carrying some weird rectangle-shaped packages Tobio had yet to know the contents of.

They just kept piling in one after the other; Tanaka and Nishinoya each making their presence known with a loud yell, Aika and Yamaguchi, both offering vague smiles and sharing the weight of a basket between the two of them. The train of people went on and on (Tobio might've even noticed Yachi back there, hidden behind Iwaizumi's wide shoulders), until finishing off with a flourish; Bokuto and Kuroo carrying a huge wooden barrel (the former of the pair exclaiming a loud ' Hey! Hey! Hey! ')

The last two to come in were Hinata (who'd let the others pass through first) and Kenma, the latter of the two only having eyes for his counterpart, who was closing the door with the hugest grin on his face.

What in the...” Tobio heard Oikawa whispered, and had to nod. Yes, that accurately conveyed his emotions in this moment.

He snuck a glance at Oikawa, who was gazing at the people moving around, and taking seats at the wide tables which had somehow appeared seemingly out of nowhere. His lips were pursed in a thin line, eyes an unreadable storm of rusty browns.

He blinked, scratching at the back of his head and looking at the crowd. It was such a wide array of colors – from warm oranges and reds to royal blues and greens – that it made his head hurt. What did they want?

Oikawa seemed to break out of his daze, before starting directly for his best friend, who'd just been sitting down next to his wife.

Tobio watched as his soulmate dragged Iwaizumi to another room, before turning around to face the problematic group with a confused sniff.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~



“What is everyone doing here,” Oikawa ran a hand through his hair once he'd successfully closed the door, not even bothering to make it seem like a question. “I wanted to get some time alone, but it seems the world itself is conspiring against me!”

Iwaizumi frowned disapprovingly at his best friend who'd quite unceremoniously pulled him out of his conversation with Aika to act like a brainless, lovesick fool once again.

He sighed, mentally slapping himself for the slip of fondness he'd let through that frown. He put a hand on Oikawa's shoulder, and said, “No, Shittykawa, it isn't. Out of everything that you've told me, I make out this is the first time you'd have had a proper conversation with him, would it have not?”

He accepted Oikawa's grumpy nod, trying very hard not to think about the fact that he looked very much like a third year old who'd not gotten what he wanted in that very moment.

“I couldn't let you have so much time alone, you see. You tend to come off a bit...” Iwaizumi hesitated, wondering what the best wording was. “Intense, let's say. You should take it slow, not immediately jumping into heavy topics. That's exactly what you'd wanted to do , isn't it?”

The third-year-old nod came again. This time paired with crossed hands. Iwaizumi's frown softened, and he rolled his eyes.

“Don't worry, there will be an eternity for all the rest. You can wait for that a couple more months, can't you?”

“I could wait for all eternity if that's what it took,” Oikawa bit out, glaring at something in the corner. He was probably still feeling disgruntled about the 'intense' comment.

“Then there we go. Good talk.” Iwaizumi then whacked his best friend across his head, King or not. “And stop pulling me away from Aika, damn it!”

Oikawa's cheeky grin came back as if it had never left. It sometimes scared Iwaizumi how easily Oikawa could drop his frowns and adopt smiles. It felt as if even if Oikawa was truly upset, he'd have no way of knowing.

“You love me, Iwa-chan!” Oikawa stated as-a-matter-of-factly. Iwaizumi grumbled an 'Unfortunately I do.”, which it so happened his best friend caught.

Iwaizumi stomped towards the door, ignoring the smug grin Oikawa had now pasted on his face. He opened the door, before turning around to face Oikawa one last time.

“Oh, and Oikawa?”

An inquisitive nod.

“I came for the good bread as well.” and with that, he was out the door, bounding back to where pretty Aika sat.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



“They want food.” Tobio bluntly said once Oikawa had returned.

Oikawa offered him a quick smile, which caused him to recoil violently. “So it seems they do. What do you say, Tobio-chan? Let's be good cooks – or should I say bakers -, eh?”

Kageyama rolled up his sleeves (he didn't quite remember when they'd fallen back down), before nodding at his soulmate, who, contrary to his words, seemed very content just sitting there leaning against the counter. He even looked as if he wanted to say something, before he was interrupted by a loud “FOOD!” from Bokuto.

His head whipped around, eyebrows pulling together in the subtlest frown, lips pursing.

Tobio bumped his elbow in Oikawa's shoulder, raising one wooden tray filled with bread and pointing at Oikawa. “Let's get going.”

He turned around, face burning once he'd realized the fact that oh my God, he just elbowed Aoba Jousai's ruler, which was not such a big deal considering he'd also kissed him, but he'd still -

“You've an unfair advantage!” Oikawa exclaimed from behind him, but Tobio was relieved to hear the distinct smile in the other's voice.

They divided the breads to everyone evenly (seems there would've been none left for Riku if Tobio hadn't stashed one away), and Tobio leaned back against the counter, wiping a hand across his forehead. He was just about to go get some water when a shout caught his attention.

“Bakageyama, where are you going? Sit down!” It was Hinata, who had stood up from his seat to wave him over enthusiastically.

Tobio hesitated for one second before reluctantly making his way over to his best friend's table. Or rather, everyone's table, for they'd pushed the two huge tables into one ginormous one.

Most of them were occupied, and just as he wanted to take one near Tsukishima, of all people (desperate times call for desperate measures, alright?) a black-haired man slithered into that seat. Kuroo smugly grinned at him, gesturing with his head towards the side.

Tobio followed his line of view, finding himself gazing at Oikawa, who was joking around with... Terushima Yuuji, was it? On his right side was an empty chair.

He didn't bother glaring at Kuroo, who'd no doubt somehow been scheming against him this whole time. He didn't know how or why, but he was just certain he did, alright???

He stomped towards his soulmate, whose eyes had jumped to his own in the short moment he'd spent thinking of Kuroo's undoubtedly-there hidden plans.

Oikawa smiled widely at him while Tobio begrudgingly walked towards him. Without looking at him, he took a seat. Someone had lighted the fireplace he'd not even noticed was there before.

He hesitated for about one moment before reaching for the bread and cheese, and absentmindedly sharing them with his neighbors.

The wind howled outside and the snow fell softly to the ground. But Kageyama Tobio did not mind. He was warm and surrounded by the people he cared about, and if he subtly brushed his elbows against his soulmate's from time to time, well... no one had to know.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~



The door jingled behind Tobio as he shut it softly. He exhaled, watching the puff of mist form elegant swirls. It was amazing how not too long ago he'd been fighting for his life due to the cold and now he was standing here admiring it.

“Gwaaah!” His reverie was broken by Hinata's exclamation from near him, and he turned to stare bemusedly at him. The shortie was looking at the sky as if it were some sort of beautiful mythical being, and he opened his mouth widely, trying to swallow the huge snowflakes.

“You're going to get sick, dumbass,” he rolled his eyes, pulling his blanket tighter around his shoulders. This was just what he needed; some cold, fresh air before returning to the warmth and smell of the bakery.

Hinata shot him an exaggerated pout, before a grin snaked its way onto his face, as he did next to Tobio. “Bakageyama~, I see you're making moves,” his best friend said, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.

Tobio refused to get flustered. Instead, he lightly punched his friend in the shoulder.

“Not that you need to,” Hinata continued, unperturbed by the casual show of violence from his companion. He'd gotten used to it by now. “You've done plenty of that during the Masquerade, haven't you?”

Tobio snorted, brushing a hand through his hair and remembering how Oikawa'd looked dressed so elegantly. “That doesn't count.” he said, exhaling once again. “He didn't know it was me, so it doesn't even matter.”

Hinata barked out a laugh, then wiped away his eyes. “Funny.”

Kageyama blinked at him in confusion. “I wasn't joking.”

Hinata seemed to freeze in that moment, and not because of the weather. “Uh... What?”

Tobio had a bad feeling creeping up on him. Something was definitely off here. Way off.

“Obviously, you were making actual moves on him,” Hinata slowly told him, as if he were speaking to a child. (which kind of annoyed Tobio because, come on, this was Hinata they were talking about here). “Because he knew that you were under the mask.”

Kageyama blinked rapidly in confusion. What was this dumbass speaking of? Oikawa didn't know that had been him, did he? Wait, did he...?!


“What – “ Tobio started, horror dripping down his back in long, cold waves. “What do you mean? How could he have known?”

“Wait, you- you're actually being serious right now?” Hinata sobered up from his awkward laugh immediately, adopting a confused – and slightly worried – look on his face. “He – I was there when he told you he'd see you at the shop! Or something like that anyway!”

Kageyama froze.

His head started pounding, and he distantly registered Hinata was still talking. His word were blurry.

What...

He had...

He had... hadn't he?

Oh my God.

Tobio's legs gave out from under him, and he raised a shaking hand against the wall to soften his descent to the frozen ground. Hinata had exclaimed loudly, jumping towards him in concern. Kageyama could not hear his words.

How... How the fuck had he missed that? How the actual fuck had he forgotten that?

The memories came to him in a flash, and with each word he remembered, his mortification grew.

You're leaving already?” said Oikawa, a bizarre look in his eyes.

I apologize, Your Majesty. Something important came up and,” he was interrupted by a loud groan of “whoshe thee-?” coming from Yamaguchi. He gently pried his hand away from the man's burning fingers. “We really have to go.”

Oikawa nodded his head curtly.

Well, then, you best be on your way. I'll see you at the shop, yes?” he said it in a way as if challenging Tobio to not be at work. Kageyama snorted, before allowing a small smile to cross his face.

I wouldn't dream of other.”

Then he turned around, quickly helping Tsukishima keep Yamaguchi on his feet, and, as fast as they could, left the castle's surroundings.



He was going to be sick.



Oikawa had known this entire time, and he'd not said anything. Why hadn't he said anything? What would he even say? Had he been laughing at Tobio this entire time?

Had he?

Had he...?



He pushed Hinata away with one hand so as to not get him dirty, turning his head towards the ground and heaving empty bile on the snow-covered ground. Out of the corner of his blurred vision he could see Hinata jumping to his feet, probably to get help.

His hand shot out on its own accord, grabbing Hinata's arm to prevent him from leaving.

“D- don't...” he murmured, throat burning from the fact that he'd eaten so much and yet barfed up nothing but acid. “Just... stay here.”

His friend dropped to his knees, and Tobio found himself facing Hinata's face with two warm hands on either of his cheeks. Even in his deplorable state he still managed to lightly push Hinata's face away with a muttered, “Your breath smells,” even if he were probably the one whose breath smelled.

“What happened?” Hinata asked once they'd both slumped against the wall – even if their butts were freezing because of the snow -. Tobio turned around to see his friend with his chin propped up on his knees, a wide-eyed stare fixed on Kageyama.



Tobio sat in silence, lips pursing at the heavy yet light feeling in his lungs. They both turned to stare towards Nekoma Bakery, where they could see people laughing and exchanging jokes they could not hear. The hued window made their faces look softer and warmer.

“I don't know how,” he began, and even he could hear how emotionless his voice sounded. “But I forgot he knew I was the one with the mask. How, I do not know.”

Hinata shifted slightly, putting his hands underneath him no doubt to keep the cold away. “Alright, but why does this matter?”

Tobio didn't know. Why did it matter so much? He didn't know, yet the way Oikawa had acted at the Masquerade made Tobio think that the King knew the masked man was his soulmate. And if he knew Tobio was the masked man, then that meant-

He burrowed his face in his knees, trying so very hard to keep his lips from trembling.

Hinata put a hand around his shoulders, and they both turned to gaze at the people inside. Oikawa was laughing particularly loud at something Kuroo had said (while Tsukishima sat a little further behind with a pained look on his face).

He'd gotten so caught up in his lie that he didn't even realize when something was off. Just because he knew he was Oikawa's soulmate that didn't mean the other should also know.

“I can't... Do you think he knows?” Tobio asked Hinata, fingers trembling on his own accord. Please no, please no, he didn't want -

“I'm not sure, 'Yama. I saw Sugawara talking with him and Iwaizumi multiple times, but I don't think he'd tell them. I really don't know.”

Kageyama exhaled heavily, feeling his heart like a huge rock that would fall through his rib cage at any given moment.

He nodded, and shakily pushed himself to his feet. Hinata startled at his sudden movement, slowly scampering from the ground as well, hurriedly patting at his snow-covered clothes, never once taking his eyes off Kageyama.

“I- I think I'm going to go now,” he said, turning around to avoid looking at Hinata. His best friend seemed both understanding, and yet a little hurt.

Kageyama clenched his fists.

That's all you're good at, isn't it? Hurting the people you care about -

“Yeah, I understand. At least I'll see you tonight. And, Bakageyama,” Hinata pointed a finger in his face. “If you get lonely do not hesitate to come find me, or so help me.”

Tobio rolled his eyes, and slapped Hinata's head affectionately. His slightly teary eyes were because of the cold.

“Yes. I will.”

Hinata grinned widely then turned to bound towards the bakery, all while waving at Tobio. Him hitting a pole was entirely his fault.

Tobio turned to leave, just as Hinata opened the door.

“-ere is he going?” Oikawa's voice said, slightly muffled.

“-ome business to take care of -” Kageyama couldn't help but roll his eyes at Hinata's poor excuse. There was no doubt that it would bite him in the ass later. Well, it'd have to do.

He glanced back towards the bakery, instantly locking gazes with deep brown eyes. He felt that soft prick at his conscience, the tug his heart always gave when he was around Oikawa, as if to say 'that's him, that's the one,'.

Tobio turned around and started walking, puffs of white air surrounding him.

Oikawa might know, huh?

Tobio pulled his blanket as closely as possible, imagining they were warm arms keeping him safe from the biting cold.

He did not know what to make of that.



 

 





Chapter Text

 

Kageyama sat on the wide tree branch, looking over the kingdom, his kingdom. He brought his knees up to his face, burrowing his chin in them.

He racked his brain for answers, memories coming and going in flashes so fast it made his head hurt.

He tried to remember all that had happened, every single thing he'd said to Oikawa, how they might've led his soulmate to realize he was , indeed, Tobio's soulmate.

 

The ball

 

The meetings

 

The nights

 

The evenings

 

The meals

 

The dances

 

A sharp pain drove through his brain, making him wince and grasp it tightly. The pounding did not stop, and surely him crying did not help it.

 

He knew, he knew, he knew, he knew -

 

Didn't he ?

 

What had Tobio said?

 

He couldn't remember anything at all -

 

As if someone had taken

 

A white stamp

 

And

 

Covered

 

Them

 

All

 

Up.

 

Heknewheknewheknewheknewheknewheknew -

 

Yes. Tobio looked back towards the sun. Oikawa knew.

 

 

And he'd been a fool.