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The first time Oikawa tells Hajime to stay, they’re eight years old, still just kids with mussed hair and skinned knees looking for any adventure they can find in their surrounding neighborhood.  Oftentimes they take to the woods behind Oikawa’s house, lungs thick with the humidity of summer as they run down trails and Hajime collects bugs in a mason jar. It’s a time like this now, the air buzzing with the promise of coming rain, the hair on Hajime’s arms standing on end, as he and Oikawa take a break from playing on an old wooden log just off the path. Oikawa picks at a scab on his knee until Hajime slaps his hand away with a frown.

“Don’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Because you’re gonna make it worse.

Oikawa pouts, but complies, sticking his hands into his short’s pockets.

“I think it’s about to rain.”  Hajime lifts his hand palm-up to the sky, feeling the faint splatter of raindrops making their way through the treetops.

“It’s already raining,” Oikawa responds, sticking his tongue out to the clouds and closing his eyes.

“We should go.”

Hajime closes his hand around Oikawa’s and pulls him up from the log, dragging him down the trail as the rain comes down heavier and heavier on top of their heads. The smell of dirt rises up from the earth, the frogs begin their croaking, and Hajime steps up his pace, making sure he keeps his grasp on Oikawa’s hand. They had lost each other once in the woods, and that isn’t something Hajime wants to have repeated. He instinctively grips Oikawa’s fingers tighter when they reached the end of the trail, running out into the neighborhood’s cul de sac and towards Oikawa’s house. The rain pounds harder, coming down in sheets as they race, their flip flops hitting the pavement in loud smacks, and Oikawa whines, trying unsuccessfully to cover his face from the rain with his arm.

Hajime can feel his grip on Oikawa loosening, their hands slippery with water, until suddenly his hand isn’t there, and neither is Oikawa, and he turns on his heels to find him kneeling on the pavement, the tears in his eyes embodying the coming storm.

“Oikawa?” He shouts over the rain.  “You okay?”

The tears in his eyes spill over, mixing with the rain, and Hajime figures out a little late that no, Oikawa is definitely not okay.  “Iwa-chan,” Oikawa chokes out.

“What? What’s wrong?”

Oikawa holds his ankle in between his fist and looks down. “It hurts.”

“I— We’ll—” He gets down on his knees to look at the damage, the ankle just starting to swell.  “I’ll go get your mom!”  But before he can stand, Oikawa grabs his wrist, biting onto his bottom lip so hard Hajime is afraid it’ll start to bleed.

“Stay, don’t leave me.”

“Oikawa, we’re almost to your house. It’ll just take me—”

“No.”

Hajime sighs, the rain now soaking through their clothes. “Can you stand?”

Oikawa shakes his head, tears falling harder.

“We can’t just stay here in the middle of the street, stupid.” But the insult comes out gentler than it usually does as Hajime runs his fingers over the swelling and Oikawa flinches at the touch.

In all of Hajime’s long, eight years of life, never did he think he’d agree to what he’s about to do, but there he is, reaching out his palm to Oikawa. “Then I guess I just have to carry you,” he says. And Oikawa looks up at him through a film of tears and gives a shaky smile, blinking at Hajime like he’s a prince in all of those fairytales that he secretly loves and his older sister makes fun of him for.  “You can get on my back.”

He pulls Oikawa up to his feet, and crouches down until the weight of his friend is on his back, his arms dangling over Hajime’s shoulders.  And Hajime stands, gripping onto his friend’s thighs as they make the rest of the way to Oikawa’s house, the wet hair tickling at Hajime’s cheek when Oikawa presses his face into the crook of his neck. It only takes about another minute for them to reach the doorsteps, Hajime being extra careful not to slip, and Oikawa’s mother is already flinging the door open with concerned wrinkles on her face, her eyes going from Hajime to Oikawa on his back.

“I twisted my ankle,” Oikawa explains, his voice still scratchy but no longer crying.

Mrs. Oikawa surveys them both and sighs, “You boys,” before wrapping them both in a towel, drying off their hair, and giving Hajime a change of clothes. She tends to Oikawa’s ankle as Hajime dresses in one of his friend’s many alien-themed T-shirts. His face is still cool from the rain, but inside the house it’s warm, comfortable, and he pads over to the living room just as Mrs. Oikawa finishes wrapping an ace bandage around her son’s foot.

“I already called your mother, Iwaizumi-kun, you can stay here for the night. There’s no sense in you walking back in that rain and getting sick.”

Hajime nods and Oikawa perks up from the couch, his face lit up in complete contrast to how he’d been earlier.

“Iwa-chan, let’s watch a movie.”

“Maybe I don’t wanna watch one of your stupid movies.”

But of course they end up doing just that, going through a drawer full of DVDs before Oikawa pulls one aside and says, “Let’s watch this one, it’s about aliens.”

“You always want to watch movies about aliens.”  He rolls his eyes and climbs onto his friend’s bed.  Oikawa pops the DVD out, placing the disc in the player connected to the small TV in the corner of his room that’s probably as old as they are.

“This one’s different. Mom won’t let me watch it. She says it’s too scary.”

“Then why are we watching it?”

“Because she’s sleeping.”

“Oh... Okay.”

He really should have known this wasn’t going to end well, should have known from the scary cover of the DVD that this is how things would end up: Oikawa with the blankets pulled up to his chin and closing his eyes anytime the earth invading aliens appeared on screen.

“But aliens are suppose to be nice,” Oikawa murmurs into the the sheets of his bed.

“Pfff, no they’re not, they suck out your brains.”  

Oikawa sweeps his eyes over to him and squints. “Nuh-uh, you’re lying.”

“Well, that’s what they’re doing,” he says, pointing at the television.

“Those aren’t real aliens,” Oikawa answers just as easily. “Real aliens wouldn’t do that.”

“If you’re not careful, real aliens are gonna come down and beam you up into their spaceship one day.”

“I wish they would.”

“No you don’t.”

“Yeah, I do!”  Oikawa glares at him again.  “They’d be nicer than you at at least.”

“Mhmm, nice until they suck your brains out.”

They don’t finish the movie. Oikawa turns it off an hour-in complaining about the inaccuracies of alien culture, going on about how it’s nothing like that in the alien documentaries he’s watched on daytime television. Hajime doesn’t say anything, but he knows Oikawa is really just being a scaredy-cat. He can tell by the way his face is red and sweaty, how his eyebrows pull together just as he’s about to turn off the light and hop into bed. But what really confirms Hajime’s suspicions is when Oikawa pulls the sheets over his ears and tells Hajime not to worry about getting the futon out tonight.

“Iwa-chan?” he says, voice barely audible. “Are you asleep?”

Hajime rolls over from where he’d been facing the wall. “Obviously I’m not asleep, stupid, you turned off the lights like five minutes ago.”

“Do you really think aliens are all mean like that?”

The worry in Oikawa’s voice is easy to pick up on. Streetlights filter in through the slats on Oikawa’s window and Hajime can see his fingers gripping at the sheets, too, his eyes focused on the glow-in-the-dark stars pasted to his ceiling.

Hajime can’t help but sigh. “I don’t know, I’ve never met an alien.”

“But if you did?” Oikawa presses.  “What do you think they’d be like?”

“I guess,” Hajime yawns into his fist, “they wouldn’t be so bad if they met you.”

Oikawa finally tears his eyes away from the fake night sky.  “Huh?”

“I mean,” he says, voice drifting off and closing his eyes, “you wouldn’t try to hurt them like the people in the movie right?  So I think...they’d like you…”

There’s silence for a moment and Hajime begins to think that’s the end of it when he feels Oikawa scooting in closer. “But you’ll stay here in case they don’t right? In case they want to suck out my brains?”

If Hajime’s eyes weren’t already closed he would have rolled them. Oikawa always seems to have doubts about something. “Yeah, stupid, I’m not going anywhere.”

***

The next time it happens, they’re just finishing middle school. Oikawa’s taller than Hajime now, and makes sure to remind him every chance he gets. But he’s lanky in all the ways that Hajime’s already growing strong, already growing into the perfect ace for Oikawa’s tosses. He watches his friend win the Best Setter Award at the end of the school year, watches him cry with snot dribbling down to his chin, watches the fire in his eyes turn rampant as he sets his focus on a high school volleyball career.  It’s there, in the stands of his middle school gymnasium, that he realizes he’d follow Oikawa anywhere.

The end of the ceremony is filled with more tears, smothering hugs and congratulations from their parents, and Hajime feels suffocated by it all. He can tell Oikawa is too, his eyes darting to the exit, his teeth biting his lip. They find an opening in all of praise when their parents get into a conversation with each other, and they use it to their advantage, making eye contact and nodding before sneaking off behind the gymnasium where the spring air is cool on their faces.

Oikawa’s just sniffling now, the tears dried on his cheeks, and he leans back on the brick wall of the building, head pointed towards the sky.

“I have to go to nationals,” Oikawa finally says, voice squeaking at the end. “I have to be better.”

“What did I tell you about six people on the court?” Hajime kicks him in the leg. “It takes everyone to get to nationals, you’re not the only one it counts on, dumbass.”

Oikawa finally turns to him, mouth twisting in the smallest of smiles. “Yeah.” He scuffs his shoes on the ground. “Why do you always make so much sense, Iwa-chan?”

“Well, one of us has to.”

He slides down the wall to sit on the concrete and Oikawa follows soon after, sitting crosslegged, his knee bumping with Hajime’s. If only he’d known what would happen to that knee later on in high school.

“But we’ll go to nationals,” Oikawa says like a promise. “You and me.” He swallows when Hajime doesn’t answer right away. “You’ll stay with me all the way, right? No matter what, we’ll get there?”

Hajime blinks up at the sky before turning back to his friend. His eyes are wide and unyielding, staring directly into Hajime’s with a gaze as intense as the sun he’d been staring at a moment before.

“No matter what,” Hajime promises, voice firm, and Oikawa breathes, softens.

For someone that shouldn’t seek any reassurance, Oikawa sure needs a lot of it. Hajime’s noticed it more and more since their first year of middle school. As he grew into his lanky legs and girls started noticing, as he improved himself on the court, as he became one of the most popular boys in school, and even now as he wins the award for best setter, Oikawa still needs Hajime to tell him everything is okay, that of course you’ll get better, and yes that outfit looks fine, Oikawa, I don’t know why you’re asking me. It pulls at Hajime’s chest, makes the air in his lungs freeze, every time Oikawa gets like this. He wishes Oikawa knew how much he’s worth. He wishes Oikawa would get already that he’s stuck with him, that he’d follow him into hell or the edge of the universe, or even to nationals. Always. He doesn’t have to ask.

“Good,” he says, but he sounds distant, his eyes already glassy and focused on the future. “We’ll beat Ushiwaka this time for sure.”

***

They don’t beat him.  They don’t even get a chance to beat him. Karasuno sweeps in and takes away everything they’ve been working towards, what Oikawa’s been working towards, what Hajime’s been working towards since middle school before they can fucking blink.  Defeat makes itself known in the sound of a volleyball smacking a floor, the silence that follows in the moments before the crowd starts cheering for the underdogs, the “flightless crows” that aren’t so flightless anymore.

The first thing he does is turn to Oikawa with the fear that his best friend is falling apart on the court, but there’s something wrong with his vision and everything seems to blur at the edges until he can’t see at all and tears are mixing with the sweat sticking to his face. He blinks and realizes belatedly that Oikawa’s not the one falling apart, he is. Failing is something that hits you quick and hard in the gut and Hajime feels like he’s going to puke all over the gym floor.

Even after everything, it still wasn’t enough. He wasn’t enough for his team. He wasn’t enough for Oikawa, who put his physical health on the line for a game they can’t even play. How could Seijou call him an ace?

But there’s a hand on his back then, fingers splayed across his spine, and they’re gone just as quick, Oikawa with his head held high walking past him as the rest of the team members follow suit and pat Hajime on the shoulder before going to lineup. His eyes stay on Oikawa’s back, and he wonders when Oikawa had grown up so much because it’s taken until now for Hajime to notice it; the difference in his step, his tone of voice when talking to the team, the strength in not only his body, but in his mind, too. And when they’re finally in the locker room and Oikawa is assuring the team that they all did their best, that he’s grateful for playing with each and every one of them, Hajime thinks about just how much he admires Oikawa.  Not that he’d ever admit that.

It’s not until much later, when Oikawa’s invites him over and they hole themselves up in his room with takeout and a stack of rental movies, that Oikawa says anything. They’re sprawled out on Oikawa’s bed, Hajime stuffing his mouth with noodles from a box, and Oikawa lying down with his legs resting on Hajime’s lap.

Oikawa toes at Hajime’s thigh, eyes coming up to meet his own with a look that almost makes Hajime drop his chopsticks.  “Hey,” he says, quietly.

Hajime quirks an eyebrow. “Hey...”

“I wouldn’t trade our last three years for anything, you know that?”

“What are you talking about?” he huffs, warmth already creeping up Hajime’s neck and lingering on his cheeks. Oikawa keeps his gaze steady, all traces of teasing and playfulness absent, and if Hajime’s honest with himself, it scares him.

Oikawa lifts himself from the bed, crawls over to sit by Hajime, and sighs. “I mean, I would rather lose with you than win with anyone else, Iwa-chan.”

“That’s stupid. I couldn’t even keep our fucking promise.”

“What—?” He squints his eyes at Hajime, head tilting just barely.

“I promised we’d go to nationals, that we’d beat Ushiwaka no matter what,” he spits, feeling anger start to rise in his chest. “I couldn’t do it— I couldn’t—”

He doesn’t notice Oikawa taking away the box of takeout from his hands until Oikawa’s sitting back down again, fingers hesitantly wrapping themselves around Hajime’s wrists, and he drops his head to Oikawa’s shoulder before the tears start to drop, heavy and warm on Oikawa’s t-shirt.

“Sorry,” Hajime breathes out shakily. “Sorry.”

Oikawa’s arms wrap around him and he can feel his fingers travelling up and down his spine. The only noise in the room comes from Hajime’s unsteady breathing and the television in the background, and Oikawa chews on his lip like he’s trying to find what to say through it all.

“Usually you’re the one doing this for me…” Oikawa mumbles into his hair.

“‘cause you’re a crybaby,” Hajime says back, his voice muffled by Oikawa’s shoulder.

Oikawa huffs a laugh. “So mean, I can’t help it.”

“Mmmhmm.”

“You don’t have to hold it in all the time, you know?”

“I don’t, shut up.”

“Sure, Iwa-chan.”

“The only thing I’m holding back is a punch at your pretty face,” he let’s out, his voice still rough and gravelly as he finally sits up to see a mischievous smirk on Oikawa’s lips.

“Awwh, Iwa-chan, so you finally admit I’m pretty?”

“Pretty ugly,” Hajime quips. Oikawa frowns dramatically and Hajime is kind of proud of himself, not able to help the small smile that pulls at his lips.

It’s not true.  Of course it’s not true. Oikawa is… beautiful. Especially like this; sitting cross-legged on the bed with an old, oversized t-shirt hanging off his shoulders, the glow of the television lighting up his face, and his eyes open and big and unguarded in the safety of his own room with Hajime at his side.  It’s not a new thought that Hajime’s had about his best friend, he’s known it since they were kids. Oikawa’s eyes were always bright and his smile always wide and perfect, especially when it was genuine, especially when it was because of something Hajime had said. Maybe it’s not normal to think that way.  If Hajime’s honest with himself, he tries not to give it that much thought.

But denying that Oikawa Tooru is beautiful is like denying that the Earth is round.

“Liar,” Oikawa finally breathes, flopping onto his back and away from Hajime. “I’m perfect.”

“You’re a dumbass.” Hajime leans himself down beside him, and his voice isn’t shaky anymore, but there’s still a lump in his throat that won’t go away no matter how much he swallows and a voice in the back of his head that says yeah, you’re fucking perfect.

Oikawa’s eyes flicker from the ceiling and then to Hajime. “I really am glad you were my ace.”

The television continues to play in the background and Hajime’s suddenly thankful for the cheesey raygun sounds filling the silence between them. “Don’t you mean the team’s ace?”

Oikawa doesn’t say anything, just returns his eyes to the ceiling filled with dozens of glow-in-the-dark stars, and Hajime can feel something shifting between them; something subtle in the air.

“Iwa-chan?” he says after a while.

“Hmm?”

“I’ve been thinking about next year a lot, and…”

“And?”

Oikawa turns on his side to face him.  “And I know you haven’t decided on a school, but I’ve been looking at this apartment in the city and, Iwa-chan, I think you’d really like it. And it’s close by several school and even has it’s own balcony for my plants and the rent isn’t too bad for a two-bedroom and—”

“You’re asking me to stay with you?”

“I just thought it made sense.”

Hajime glances down at the bedspread, the same one he and Oikawa have slept under for years, deep blue and worn, and knows that a life without Oikawa is one he doesn’t even want to imagine.  “Another four years of looking after your ass?”  He rolls his eyes.  “ I guess someone has to do it”

Hajime hears a shuffling on his right and suddenly Oikawa is on top of him, leaning onto his chest with a grin stretched over his face. “We should get a dog.”

“No! Ugh,” he half-heartedly pushes at Oikawa’s shoulders, “get off me, stupid. Like you could take care of a dog.”

Oikawa flicks him on the forehead. “What should we name him, Iwa-chan? I’ll be nice and let you decide.”

“We’re not getting a dog.”

Hajime tries to glare him, but there’s a small smile on Oikawa’s lips and his eyes are roving over Hajime’s face in a way that makes his palms sweat for reasons he isn’t quite sure. Oikawa’s hands casually hold onto Hajime’s biceps as he continues to hover over him, gaze lingering for a just a second too long on his lips before he laughs quietly, throwing himself off Hajime and back onto the bed.

“Well,” Oikawa sighs.  “Maybe one day.”

“Yeah,” Hajime relents, breathless and unsure if they’re talking about the dog anymore. “Maybe.”

***

They’re in their second year of school at Tokyo University, and the volleyball team isn’t the same as it was in high school, but they make friends, they make it work. Practice is excruciating, the hours are long and hard, and the freetime they have is mostly spent studying or lounging around their apartment in pajamas as they let their muscles heal. But Oikawa was right those couple of years ago, it is a nice apartment. The light filters in through tall windows in the living room, and Oikawa has a balcony with different kinds of flowers spilling over the railing depending on the season; it’s nice, it’s home.

The changes between them have been small, slow, taking their time in the moments when neither of them are paying attention. They come in the form of falling asleep on the couch together, the way Oikawa will let himself stare when Hajime walks out of the shower, and the feigning of ignorance Hajime plays when he catches him. It’s in the way they exist, the way they touch, the way that they pretend not to notice the subtle changes getting stronger every day. Most of the time it’s easy to ignore, but sometimes Hajime thinks it’s only a matter of time until one of them breaks; he wishes one of them would just fucking break.

Because living with Oikawa has become a continuous game of limbo, neither of them quite sure where they stand, and between this and volleyball practice Hajime is fucking exhausted. It’s a problem that’s been getting worse in the recent months, especially with Hajime’s parents seemingly breathing down his neck with every phone call, starting to wonder if their son will ever bring a nice girl home to meet the family. He always skirts around the question, dodging it carefully once again when they called this morning, assuring them that he’s just really busy right now and maybe when this semester is over.

It’s not that he enjoys lying to his parents, but he doesn’t see any other choice. He’s not sure how well they’d take I’m gay and in love with my best friend, when his father is ready to meet his future daughter-in-law and his mother is already pushing for grandchildren.

Hajime rubs at his tired eyes, sitting on the couch and staring into space with a textbook in his lap that he stopped paying attention to twenty minutes ago. The sound of the door rattling is familiar and he closes his eyes, sighs, and pushes himself off the couch just before Oikawa swings it open.

“I’m home!” Oikawa calls in time with the door shutting behind him. “Iwa-chan, I picked up another bottle of advil because I saw you were out and—”

“Thanks.” He takes the bag from Oikawa’s hands.  “Dinner’s on the stove.”

Oikawa frowns.  “What’s wrong?”

“Huh?  Nothing, I’m just tired.”  He settles back onto the couch and switches on the television, but Oikawa’s eyes still burn on the back of his head, and Hajime bites his lip before saying, “I swear I’m fine. Get something to eat.”

There’s a pause before he can hear Oikawa gathering a plate of food, obviously not content with Hajime’s answer. He lets himself space out in front of the television, thinking back again to the phone call he had with his parents that morning.

It’s almost the end of your second year, Hajime, the clock is ticking!

You’ve grown into such a nice, handsome man, I don’t understand why you don’t have a girlfriend yet. Has anyone shown interest?

You can’t live with Tooru forever.

“Hajime?” Oikawa waves a hand in front of his face before sitting down beside him, knocking their knees together.  “What happened?”

He looks up at the use of his first name to Oikawa’s concerned, brown eyes, and gives in (he always gives in when it’s Oikawa), and runs a hand through his hair before replying. “Just my parents getting on my nerves.”

“Mmm, what’d they say this time?”

“That they’re ‘worried’ about me,” Hajime huffs, flinging his textbook from his lap to the coffee table.  “That they’re afraid if I don’t get a girlfriend now it’ll lead to a life of unhappiness and misery or some bullshit.” He scowls down at the floor. “Well, maybe I don’t want—”

“You have time, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa cuts in.

“What?”

He exhales slow and steady, putting his dinner aside and pulling his legs up on the couch, knees to his chest, chin coming down to rest on his knees.  “I mean, aren’t you just waiting until your Dream Girl shows up? That’s why you’ve turned down all those girls these last two years?” Oikawa turns his head towards him, laughing quietly. “You’re not that ugly, your parents shouldn’t worry so much. Neither should you, Iwa-chan.”

For someone who can spit out volleyball trivia like a champion, has memorized the strategies of all of their team’s opponents, and who is most likely the #1 alien expert in Japan, Oikawa can be really, really fucking stupid. Hajime stares at his idiot friend in a way that’s probably starting to resemble a glare, and rolls his eyes.

“I don’t want a girlfriend, Oikawa. Fuck. It’s not like you’ve had a girlfriend since high school either.”

“That’s different.”  He raises his head from his knees.

“How is it different?”

“It just is!” Oikawa’s presses his lips in a tight line. “You’re suppose to find a girl and have a normal life and I’m suppose to be the best man at your wedding, right? The one looking after your eight kids when you want a break?”

“Oikawa, what the fuck are you talking about?” he sighs, exasperated, fingers coming up to rub at his temples. “Have I just been imagining all of this?”

He means to say it to himself, but it comes out louder than he intends and Oikawa squints his eyes, confused and searching Hajime’s face for answers that he’s tired of hiding. “All of what?”

“This.”  Hajime motions between them. “Whatever this has been.”

Oikawa blinks, and Hajime can feel the cracks starting to form in his own skin, his body starting to break.

“Fuck, Tooru, I love you, but you’re so goddamn oblivious sometimes.” He let’s it out in one rush of air, the back of his neck hot, his palms sweating, and Oikawa just stares and stares like he’s a kid again observing the night sky. “God, I don’t want a girlfriend, I just want this. Us.

“You,” Oikawa breathes, “love me?”

Of course he zoned in on those three words.

Hajime swallows. Well, if he’s gone this far, he might as well go all the way.

“Yeah…I...”  He looks anywhere that isn’t Oikawa. “Yeah. Somehow I managed to fall in love with your stupid, alien-obsessed, annoying ass.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah, oh.

The look on Oikawa’s face isn’t the one that Hajime expects when he finally glances up at his best friend. It’s not mad, it’s not serious or devastated, or uncomfortable even. His lips seem to wobble like he’s trying to hold something back, and then there’s the tiniest hint of a smile before it seems to break free, spilling over his entire face up to the crinkles in his eyes and scrunch in his nose. Oikawa laughs.  

“You always act tough, but you’re really a softie, aren’t you?” He bites his lip, holding in the laugher, and Hajime is frozen.

“What do you mean?”

“Hajime…” Oikawa starts, softer now. He ignores Hajime’s question and rests his eyes on his knees, taking a deep breath before letting one of his hands find Hajime’s wrist and gently wrap his fingers around it. “I want this, too.”

Hajime looks down at his wrist and feels like his skin is buzzing. He guesses he hadn’t been imagining it after all. He guesses he was just the first one to break.

But despite the fact that Oikawa’s answer isn’t exactly a surprise, Hajime can’t help but let out a, “Really?”

And Oikawa just nods, still smiling and nudging in a little closer on the couch.

It’s Hajime’s turn to laugh. “What are we going to tell our parents?”

“Nothing. For now.” Hajime doesn’t miss the way Oikawa’s tongue darts out and wets his lips. His heart feels like it’s screaming. “We still have time.”

Oikawa looks at him from under hooded eyes, and Hajime forgets to respond, getting lost in Oikawa, getting lost in everything that’s happening, and in everything that’s going to happen. He wants this. He wants this life together here with his best friend. He can’t imagine anything else. He doesn’t want to. And more importantly, he doesn’t have to.

“Hey, Iwa-chan?”

“Hmm?”

“I’m going to kiss you now, okay?”

“Okay,” Hajime breathes just before Oikawa presses against his mouth, lips tasting like cherry chapstick, and all Hajime can think is that is so Oikawa as he brings up his palm to rest against Oikawa’s cheek. The kiss is light on his lips, but heavy in his chest, and he doesn’t realize that he’s closed his eyes until Oikawa pulls away the slightest bit and Hajime has to open them to see where he’s gone.

“Am I that good?” Oikawa asks to the dazed look on Hajime’s face.

And Hajime doesn’t bother with rolling his eyes or jabbing him in the stomach, just mumbles out the word “stupid” as he pulls Oikawa back to his mouth to kiss the teasing smirk off.  

There’s something about kissing your own best friend, Hajime thinks, that’s simultaneously the most exhilarating and natural thing he’s ever done, the push and pull of Oikawa’s mouth on his own, the hesitant swipe of his tongue over Hajime’s bottom lip. It makes him think about everything it took to get them here; thinking back to holding hands in the woods, their little feet running in the rain, the promises they made to each other, the promises they broke, and wondering just where in between everything Oikawa managed to crawl under his skin.

“Oikawa,” he whispers into his mouth, their noses bumping against each other.

“Hmm?”

“I want this with you,” he sighs as Oikawa kisses him again,  “for the rest of my life.”

He can feel Oikawa smiling against him before he breaks away, hiding his face in Hajime’s neck.  “Never knew you were so sappy, Iwa-chan.”

“I’m not being sappy,” he huffs, resting his chin atop Oikawa’s head. “Just want you to know I’m not going anywhere.”

“I know,” Oikawa says into his skin. “I know that now.”

“Good.”

Oikawa kisses the jut of his collarbone, his fingers trailing up the front of Hajime’s t-shirt. “I think it was always supposed to be like this.” His hand stops at Hajime’s chest, just above his heart.

Hajime grins. “Who’s being sappy now?”

“Shut up,” he responds softly between kisses. “I’m serious.”

“Mmm, so like fate?”

“Maybe something like that.”

Hajime slips his fingers into the hand that’s not on his heart, and can’t help but silently think the same. “Yeah,” he says, “something like that.”