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it's 6:00 p.m.

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It's 6:00 p.m., and Oikawa Tooru can't focus.

It's terribly frustrating, really, because he usually has such a one-track mind. But no, no, not today.

For some reason, today has to be different. He just has to keep staring distractedly at Iwa-chan, the big jerk. He just has to keep watching his easy expression, the dying light painting his caramel skin with shades of pink and gold, like he's the incarnation of a sunset, just has to notice his sharp forest-green eyes and how soft his spiky, usually-coarse hair looks after his post-practice shower. Oikawa is so sick of being distracted by Iwaizumi.

It's not that this is the first time he's found his friend attractive. This walk home isn't some big awakening, isn't an 'oh no, I'm pining silently for my best friend! What ever shall I do?' moment. He's known he was in love with Iwaizumi Hajime since the third year of middle school, when said best friend literally knocked some sense into him after a practice that.. hadn't gone as planned, to say the least.

But it hasn't been this bad in a while. He's always managed to push it down or force his feelings into a corner. It isn't that hard, not with volleyball and school to focus on. Changing his mindset from tapping that sweet Iwa-chan ass to crushing Tobio-chan into the ground certainly helps to strengthen his resolve.

Besides, it's not like there's any shortage of attention, what with the unceasing crowd of girls to provide him with the same longing stares he constantly directs towards his spiker (the only hard part about his fans is the confessions, which always makes him feel just the slightest bit guilty for leading them on, and the slightest bit more guilty when Iwaizumi asks him how it went afterwards because that's the only attention Oikawa wants).

Yet here he is, staring like he's incapable of doing anything else, which is really, really annoying, because it isn't like Iwa-chan even feels the same way, and he's so sick of wanting something that he knows he'll never have, and-

"Oi, Shittykawa, you've been unusually quiet this whole walk. What's wrong?" Iwaizumi asks suddenly. His voice is rough, but his eyes are glinting with concern, and Oikawa tries his best not to find the spiker's tsundere act endearing.

"I was just wondering Iwa-chan could show he cared without using violence. I guess I was right," he answers instead, grinning smugly until Iwaizumi slams an elbow into his side.

"What was that?"

"Nothing! Iwa-chan, you're such a brute," Oikawa mumbles, rubbing at the space below his ribs. It's not even injured, just a little sore, but that's nothing out of the ordinary. Iwaizumi's never malicious, not really. "You're so rude, maybe that's why you're still single." The afterthought's added almost absently, but it's a cheap shot. And although Oikawa knows it, he can't help the words that slip out in a vain attempt to quell his earlier emotions.

Iwaizumi stiffens next to him. "Ever think that maybe I'm still single because I've never been interested in anyone that confessed to me?" The question's mumbled, quiet, and maybe just a little angry, but Oikawa's eyes still open wide enough that they threaten to bulge out of his skull.

Iwaizumi's been confessed to. Oikawa knows this- expected it, even. Iwaizumi's handsome, not to mention supportive, and even kind (when he wants to be, of course). But neither of them have ever brought it up. Neither of them have ever wanted to bring it up. Yet despite the jealousy that bubbles in Oikawa's gut, he wants to know more. "Oh? Does Iwa-chan already have a crush?"

Iwaizumi shoots a glare at the setter, his eyes narrowing. "Shut up, Asskawa."

"Or maybe he just needs the help of a professional such as myself to talk to this crush?"

"I'm serious, Trashkawa, shut the hell up."

"Iwa-chan, I am trying with only the sincerest of intentions to help you! Don't you think you need the assistance of someone more experienced?" Oikawa inquires, trying not to sneer at his friend's adamance. Why does Iwa-chan even care about it so much, anyway? Aren't they the best of friends? Don't they tell each other everything?

"Don't be such an asshole. You don't even have that much more experience with relationships, anyway. Probably because the only person you fucking care about is yourself."

Oikawa can tell that Iwaizumi regrets the words the moment he says them, sees the realization and immediate regret that overtake his friend's expression.

But it's too late now- there's no possible way Iwa-chan can take it back, because that isn't how arguments work.

"Is that so? Then I guess I better be going, because I only care about myself and can't possibly have time for a best friend, isn't that right, Iwa-chan?" Oikawa half-snarls. He's also half-trying to stop himself from sobbing, because the one person who's always been there for him has just told him the one thing he never thought he'd hear, but that's not important.

Ignoring the hand that pleadingly reaches for his, Oikawa storms off down the street, pulling his backpack just a little tighter over his shoulder.

It's 6:15 p.m., and Oikawa Tooru feels something like heartbreak.

 

---

 

It's 8:03 p.m., and Oikawa Tooru's head hurts.

He spent most of the afternoon in his room, alternating between drying his eyes, doing his homework, and convincing himself that he wasn't as selfish as everyone- and now he knew it was literally everyone- else seemed to think.

He wasn't. He knew he wasn't he had a whole team that he took care of, that he genuinely wanted to bring to Nationals; a team that respected him. He loved his parents, he loved his sister and his nephew, he loved Iwaizumi (platonically and romantically, though there was no way in hell that he'd ever admit that now).. he cared about them. And he cared about volleyball, and had some sort of respect for the other teams he'd played, and he knew- he just knew- that he couldn't possibly be a horrible person. Could he?

Now he wasn't so sure.

By now, if Iwazumi had been here with him, he probably would've head-butted him and told him to quit wallow in in self-pity. Oikawa has to suppress a smile at the thought, because they're clearly not friends anymore. Not even one apology text has graced his phone since the incident. He can't help feeling like such indifference is extremely rude on Iwaizumi's part, but he tries to remain impassive about it.

He's working on a math problem, nothing particularly difficult, and still wiping away snot from ugly-crying when something hits his window. He looks up, glaring at the interruption. Silence meets his gaze, dusk falling outside his window in hazy blues and purples. And then it happens again. Oikawa catches a glimpse of something that looks like a pebble and rises to investigate.

And there, outside his window, is Iwaizumi.

Oikawa glowers down at him, still not quite willing to be forgiving. "What are you doing here, Iwa-chan?" he asks, voice cold as he spits out the nickname like an insult.

"Oikawa.. I'm sorry. I didn't mean what I said earlier. It was shitty of me- I was out of line."

Now Oikawa's interest has peaked. There was no rude name-calling, no 'Trashkawa' or 'idiot'. He cocks an eyebrow. "Oh? And why's that?"

Iwazumi's face looks pinkish, or maybe that's just the sun's dying light, as he responds. "Because you do care. You care a lot, more than anyone I know, about the people close to you. Hell, you work yourself to the bone trying to be the best settle you can possibly be. And it isn't just volleyball- you're nice, when you're not holding a grudge. You're nicer than people give you credit for, including me.

"And I understand if you don't want to talk right now, but I really am sorry. I just.. I couldn't tell you who I liked. And I wish I could, believe me, but I can't." Iwaizumi's voice is quiet, barely drifting up through Oikawa's window, but his voice is so repentant, so sincerely apologetic, that Oikawa pulls back from the window. He hears Iwaizumi mutter a quiet obscenity upon losing sight of his best friend's face.

This only serves as motivation for him to move faster as he heads through his house and out the front door. The minute he gets outside, he practically flings himself into Iwaizumi's arms. "You're late," he mumbles, "But I forgive you."

He feels Iwazumi's strong arms tighten around him. "I'm sorry," his friend- his best friend- whispers again, over and over like a mantra, and Oikawa hugs him tighter and forces himself not to cry again.

"Iwa-chan, there's something.. something I need to tell you," Oikawa whispers. It's now or never. If he's going to confess to Iwaizumi, he should probably do it at a point in time where his best friend has realized they should stick together even if one of them is super gay for the other.

"No, I have to tell you something first," Iwazumi counters boldly, pulling back from the hug. He looks up at Oikawa, his face set in the same look of determination he gets before particularly difficult matches. "I couldn't tell you before who I have a crush on, because I was scared of what you'd say. I.. shit. This is harder than I thought." He rakes a hand through his spiky hair before mumbling, "I'm gay."

Oikawa's eyes widen. He's about to tell Iwaizumi that it's no big deal, that he himself is bi, that if this is why he wouldn't tell him about his crush earlier then he needs to learn a thing or two about how friendship and trust work, all the while his heart sinks. Because, while he almost knew he’d lose his best friend’s romantic affections to someone else, he never thought that that someone else would be another guy.

But Iwaizumi’s not finished yet, because he adds, a little louder this time, “And I’m in love with you.”

Oikawa’s head shoots up so fast he’s sure it gives him whiplash. “What?”

“I.. I’m in love with you.” Iwaizumi’s voice almost sounds guilty, but it doesn’t falter, his jade-hued eyes never leaving Oikawa’s. “I have been for a while now.”

Oikawa is speechless. He almost thinks he’s going to cry again.

But Iwaizumi’s staring at him expectantly, and now he’s starting to fidget, and Oikawa knows that if he doesn’t do something soon his friend- well, with the confirmation of mutual feelings, does something as light as ‘friend’ really work in reference to Iwa-chan anymore?- is going to leave or he himself is going to spontaneously combust, so he reaches forward and pulls Iwaizumi into a hug. “You’re late again, Iwa-chan.”

Iwaizumi’s arms wrap around Oikawa, holding him close even as he mutters, “I have no idea what the hell that’s supposed to mean, you dumbass.” The words are benign; there’s no venom. If anything, there’s just a slight undertone of nervousness in the ace’s voice. Oikawa knows exactly how to quell that.

“Iwaizumi Hajime, I have loved you since fucking middle school. That’s what I mean by that.”

There’s a split second of realization before they’re sharing their first kiss.

 

---

 

The next day is different.

It isn’t a bad difference, nor is there even that much difference. They’re still perfectly in-sync, a duo never to be torn apart despite light name-calling and soft punches every now and then.

But something has changed between Oikawa and Iwaizumi, something that’s evident to the entire team as they go through the day. There’s more shared glances, more smiles, more turning away in embarrassment, more light touches.

The new relationship is more than Oikawa had ever hoped it would be, and he can’t shake the feeling of happiness during the day. Iwaizumi shoves him playfully, telling him that the whole dating thing is no big deal, but there’s a blush bright on his cheeks even as he says it, and they both know that this is it- this is what they’ve waited for.

They’re heading home from school when Iwaizumi takes Oikawa’s hand into his, lacing their fingers together almost hesitantly.
It’s 6:00 p.m., and Oikawa Tooru can’t focus (but this time, the reason is entirely different).