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i.

 

Tooru is the stuff of stars, Hajime knows. He is the patchwork of freckles and scars along Hajime’s arms and legs. He is the insistent tug on Hajime’s wrist and Hajime’s heart, pulling him into wide fields so the aliens can see them and whisk them away. He's the tug pulling him to the edge of the creek at twilight to watch the fireflies flutter around them like sunken stars. He is the gentle hands padding Hajime’s black eye with an ice-pack after someone called Tooru pretty boy with a kind of scathing that cut Hajime to the bone. He is the laughter hushed and cracked with static over walkie-talkies late at night. He is the boy whose real smile is a sunrise Hajime just can’t look away from.

Tooru is everything bright, brilliant, and beautiful. Nine year-old Hajime is too young to have the words to express the twisted, almost pained affection he felt looking at Tooru but he can feel it. He can always feel it.

“Iwa-chan, Iwa-chan!” Tooru whispers, leaning over him as Hajime lays back in the shade by the creek. The sun is setting and Tooru’s colored soft in oranges, yellows and pinks.

“What?” Hajime says, even though he had just closed his eyes to relax.

“Do you think they’ll come for me?” Tooru asks, softer still. “The aliens?”

Hajime thinks about it. “Yeah, I guess so.”

Tooru brightens. “Really? You really think so?”

Why wouldn’t they? Hajime thinks. Tooru belonged up there with everything else too big and too bright for this small, earthy planet. He would fit right in swept up amongst the cosmos, laughing with nebulas twisted about his limbs and stardust clinging to his eyelashes. Hajime feels sour, thinking about being left half-sunken in roots and mud.

“They probably always pick the weirdos like you,” Hajime replies. Tooru snorts with laughter.

“Mean, Iwa-chan, mean!” Tooru says, ripping out the grass and dumping it on Hajime’s face. “Take it back!”

“Get off me, don’t do that!” Hajime laughs, sputtering out dirt and grass. He shoves Tooru away as Tooru tries to wrestle with him, grasping his wrists and Hajime rolls on top of him.  

Tooru grins, glancing up at the stars barely visible through the leaves, faint as the sun still sets. “When we’re up there and fighting evil aliens from taking over the galaxy, I’ll be sure to tell them you thought that they would only pick weirdos.”

“We? Who says I’m going with you, Stupidkawa?” Hajime asks.

Tooru blinks in surprise. “Of course you’re going with me. We have to go together!”

Hajime makes a face and pinches Tooru’s arm. “You never asked me!”

Tooru swats him away. “Well I can’t go without you, so you have to!”

Hajime’s blushing but he doesn’t know why. Tooru laughs again. “Your face looks so dumb when it’s all red, Iwa-chan!”

Hajime jabs at Tooru’s stomach. “Well your face always looks dumb!”

Tooru wheezes and bats his hands away. “You don’t mean that!”

He doesn’t. Tooru somehow always knows. Tooru mimics Hajime’s scrunched up expression mockingly and scrambles out from underneath him before Hajime can hit him again. As they chase each other home, Hajime hopes that perhaps aliens pluck people the same way one might pluck flowers. That even if one would want the best and brightest for their bouquet, they’d leave the especially beautiful ones to bloom a little longer.

 

ii.

 

By the time middle school arrives, Hajime no longer wakes up every day fearing some cosmic entity might come and snatch Tooru away. Although, sometimes the thought is tempting, he’ll admit. Especially on rough days like this.

“Hurry up, Asskawa!” Hajime roars up the stairs, backpack slung over one arm. “You’re making us late!”

“I’m not going!”

“What do you mean you’re not going?” Hajime shouts. “What? Are you sick?”

“Very sick! Very contagious, Iwa-chan!”

Hajime growls in frustration. Tooru wasn’t sick. Sick Tooru was a clingy, whiny Tooru. He would’ve been constantly texting Hajime about how awful he felt and what a terrible tragedy it was that he didn’t have any friends to nurse him back to health. This was something else.

“I’m coming up there,” Hajime says. “You better be dressed, asshole.”

“No, no, no go away!” Tooru’s voice is muffled, he’s probably still in bed. Lazykawa, Hajime thinks but as soon as he opens the door the insult is the last thing on his mind.

Tooru’s half buried under pillows, blankets, and tissues. He’s laying belly-down, his face smashed into a pillow and all Hajime can see are Tooru’s wild brown curls even more chaotic than usual. It’s dark, the shades pulled down and Tooru’s phone is still blinking with Hajime’s texts. Has he been crying?

Hajime immediately softens. “Oi, what happened?”

“Go away, I’m sick,” Tooru complains.

“No you aren’t.” Hajime brushes some stray tissues off the bed and sits. “What’s wrong? Why were you crying?”

“I wasn’t crying!” Tooru defends, sitting up and revealing an incriminatingly red, tear-stained face. “Get off!”

Tooru kicks him but Hajime doesn’t move. He looks at Tooru’s pout and sighs.

“Are you going to tell me why you were crying or do I have to make something up?” Hajime says as he lays back, across his legs so Tooru can’t kick him anymore. Brattykawa.

“Nooooo, Iwa-chan, I don’t want to talk about it.” Tooru’s squirming under Hajime’s weight, trying to get free.

“Alright, but you asked for it,” Hajime says, pausing in thought. “You looked in a mirror and it cracked?”

Tooru throws a pillow at him. “Rude, Iwa!”

“You tried to donate some of that shitty wardrobe to the homeless shelter and they told you to keep it?” Hajime tries.

Tooru’s quivering, trying not to laugh. “So mean, Iwa-chan! I have excellent taste!”

Hajime laughs. “It’s cute that you think that really.”

Tooru buries his face in his hands. “This isn’t making me want to tell you, Iwa-chan.”

“Mm, I can keep going.” Hajime grins, turning on his side to face him. “You went to help a little old lady cross the street and she screamed in terror? You couldn’t convince anyone to see that shitty alien movie with you?”

“You’re the actual worst you know that?” Tooru whines. “Why do I even talk to you?”

“Who else is going to get your stupid ass out of bed?” Hajime asks, nudging his thigh. “Come on, what is it?”

Tooru sniffs, hesitating. “You’re going to laugh at me like a huge jerk.”

“Probably,” Hajime admits.

Tooru huffs. He’s almost not pretty with his wild bed head, blood shot eyes and rumbled pajamas. It nags at Hajime’s nerves that somehow Tooru can still pull it off. Tooru’s got a steely look in his eye, trying to read him. Hajime doesn’t know why he still bothers. Hajime’s never had anything to hide.

Tooru sighs his defeat. “Okay. I, um, I got rejected.”

“What?” Rejected? Tooru?

“I confessed to Yume-chan and she rejected me,” Tooru says, curling his knees to his chest, finally getting them free from under Hajime.

Yume? Hajime feels like shrivelling. He’s scrambling to put a face to the name and draws up a sprightly girl, dark hair, dark eyes, a lot of spunk. She’s in Hajime’s English class, the other day Hajime had gotten help from her after class. She was nice. Cute even.

Hajime feels like he’s going to vomit.  

“Oh,” Hajime says. “Oh.”

“Yeah.” Tooru sniffs, looking away from him. “It sucks.”

Hajime’s used to the barrage of confessions Tooru’s so graciously endured, but not once had he heard of Tooru reciprocating someone’s feelings. Let alone having the initiative to go out and ask out a girl himself. Something about it doesn’t sit right in his throat.

“You never told me you liked her.” Since when did Tooru keep secrets? Wasn’t Hajime the first person he told about everything? A crush on someone seemed monumental, like a weight on Hajime’s chest.

Tooru shrugs. “I didn’t want to tell you until she was my girlfriend.”

Lying, he’s lying. Hajime doesn’t know how he knows, but he does. Why is Tooru lying to him? Why can’t he just come out and say it like a normal fucking human being?

Hajime gets up, tired of dancing around Tooru’s shitty problems. “Well. She rejected you. So what? You get like, seven confessions a day. Just date one of those girls.”

“They aren’t the girls I want,” Tooru mumbles, turning away from him. “You don’t get it.”

“Yeah, maybe I don’t,” Hajime snaps. Why didn’t Tooru tell him first? Hajime gets updated on things like new shoes and fresh pimples, but not on things like this? What, does Tooru not trust him?

Tooru’s frowning. “Whatever, I shouldn’t have told you.”

“You should have told me sooner,” Hajime corrects. “I didn’t know I needed to prepare for you being lovesick if she rejected you.”

Lovesick. Somehow the word resonates with Hajime, deep in his chest. He wants to throw something. Lovesick.

“You know you’re pretty shitty at comforting people, Iwa-chan,” Tooru says. “Just leave me alone.”

Whatever pain and confusion plaguing Hajime is immediately outweighed by resignation in Tooru’s voice. He can feel his resolve quivering, his anger dissipating. It’s both irritating and a relief-- Hajime’s losing his touch.

Hajime sighs. “You don’t mean that.”

Tooru shuffles. “I meant it about the comforting part.”

Tooru has him on that one. Hajime shoves his hands in his pockets. “If I watch that shitty alien movie with you, will it make you feel better?”

Tooru peeks out from behind his pillows. “What about school?”

He looks hopeful. It fills Hajime with mix of fondness and frustration and a third, aching kind of feeling he can’t put a name to.

“Didn’t you hear?” Hajime says, sitting back on the bed with his own kind of resignation.  “Dumbass Oikawa got me sick and it’s really, really contagious.”

Tooru grins, small but real. “Well to be fair, dumbass Iwa-chan was warned.”

Hajime thinks about aliens and flowers and things Tooru never told him. About the way Tooru’s nose gets really red when he cries like this. About how Tooru’s already shivering because he’d thrown all his blankets and pillows at Hajime and how Hajime has the inexplicable urge to wrap Tooru up warm and keep him like that forever.

Hajime wasn’t warned. Hajime wasn’t warned at all.

 

iii.

 

Tooru wears greatness well. He always has. Naturally athletic, naturally intelligent, it seemed the world was shaped for Tooru to take. To Hajime, it seemed only natural to follow him as well. To stand by his side as Tooru conquered, to watch him lead with a smile so empowering Hajime would cross mountains if only to see it again.  

Perhaps that’s why watching Tooru fail is especially painful.

Ushijima towers over him, expression blank and unmoving. Tooru seems so small in his shadow. Almost fearful under his unrelenting gaze.

“You have should come to Shiratorizawa.” He says it like he does after every one of Tooru’s defeats. Dark, menacing, trying to fill Tooru with regret.

Hajime storms up, fully prepared to get kicked off the court for knocking Ushijima in the jaw. Tooru stops him short.

“Iwa-chan, no,” Tooru says. “Go help the team cool down stretch. I can handle this.”

Part of Hajime knows it’s for the best. They still have a chance, the spring tournament is still on the horizon, their last chance to take down Shiratorizawa once and for all. Part of Hajime knows Tooru can handle whatever brutal honesty Ushijima has prepared for him until then.

Another part of Hajime just wants Ushijima to taste Hajime’s own kind of honesty.

Hajime backs off, but keeps an eye on Tooru. He’s tense, Hajime knows. He’s trying to keep it together. Tooru remains elegant as he brushes Ushijima off, but it seems civil enough. Tooru even manages to shake Ushijima’s hand, if only briefly.

When Tooru joins the group stretch, he’s subdued.

“Oi, what did Ushiwaka want?” Hajime asks, careful to keep his eyes on Tooru as not to miss anything. A telling wrinkled nose, a squirm of his mouth as he tries not to frown.

Tooru remains expressionless. “Mm? Oh. The usual. He always wants the same thing.”

Hajime shoots a glance at Ushijima, returned to his own team. Even in victory he seems sullen.

Tooru’s laugh rings false. “Such a grouchy face, Iwa-chan! You’ll get wrinkles before Ushiwaka-chan at this rate.”

Hajime gives Tooru a long, serious look. “We’ll get him in spring, Tooru.”

Tooru starts at his first name. He looks away before Hajime can see his expression.

“Yeah, Hajime,” he replies, sounding soft and far away. “Spring.”

 

 

Hajime finds the flier next week.

He isn’t snooping, it’s left out, unfolded on Tooru’s nightstand. Tooru’s in the shower, taking his time, humming and singing to himself. Iwaizumi’s toweling his hair dry when he spots it.

It’s for a European college and a prestigious one at that. Hajime recalls hearing the name of it in passing with the words topnotch and excellent volleyball program mixed in. Hajime frowns. He and Tooru had been looking at a few colleges in Tokyo as possibilities, but he hadn’t mentioned scoping anything out in Europe.

Hajime flips through a few pages, curious. The campus is gorgeous, wide and well furnished. It’s got an elite feel to it, something that would appeal to Tooru. There’s a page dedicated to it’s Olympian alumni filled with pictures and short blurbs about each of them. Hajime can see where Tooru’s highlighted quotations. “If you’re going to hit it, hit it until it breaks” and “Don’t settle for anything less then your biggest dream.”  And on the last page there’s--

Hajime drops the pamphlet.

“Iwa-chan,” Tooru sings, finally emerging from the shower. “Did you want to play that video game Mattsun lent me? He’s been bothering me about returning it but I haven’t actually tried it out yet.”

Hajime’s shaking, he can feel his heart in his chest and it hurts.

“Iwa-chan? Iwa--” Tooru turns the corner, flushed and pink from the hot water. “Hey.”

Hajime kicks the pamphlet under Tooru’s bed. “Hey.”

Tooru smiles but there’s something unsure about it. “Everything alright?”

“Yeah,” Hajime says gruffly. “Yeah… Actually, um. My mom texted me. I have to go.”

“Oh.” Disappointment. “Right away?”

“Yeah,” Hajime says, packing up his backpack. “Sorry. Next time I promise.”

“Alright.” There’s a pause. Tooru looks hesitant. “Everything is okay though, right?”

Hajime doesn’t have the heart to confront him. It hurts too much. When Oikawa wants Hajime to know, he’ll let him know, Hajime reasons.

Whenever that is.

He’s still shaking as he responds. “Yeah. Don’t worry about it.”

Hajime wonders when he picked up Tooru’s habit of lying.

 

 

They never get their revenge against Ushijima. They don’t even make it past Karasuno. It only makes the defeat more crippling to know that simultaneously they’ve lost to Kageyama and their last chance to defeat Shiratorizawa. Hajime feels hollowed out. Of all ways for it to go wrong, this had to be the worst possible outcome.

He covers his face with his hands, curling inward. This is it, this is the end. This was his last game with Tooru and he failed. How could he have failed?

He’s crying as Tooru approaches him. “What kind of ace am I?”

Tooru wraps an arm around him, reassuring. “The best one, Hajime.”

Hajime wants to reach back. He wants to deserve Tooru’s comfort. He wants to believe him. But he saw the flier. He saw what was written in big black ink, tucked in between the margins. Hajime slinks from Tooru’s touch.

“Haj-Hajime…” Tooru’s call is weak, drowned out by the rest of their team swarming in. Matsukawa, Hanamaki, Kindaichi, even Kunimi crowding him, murmuring their own sympathies and condolences. We did our best. You were the best we could have asked for, Iwaizumi. Thank you, Iwaizumi-san. Thank you.

Tooru hung back, away from the huddle, hand still stretched out.

“Iwa…. Iwa-chan.”

Hajime doesn’t look back.

 

 

Tooru follows him home, because, of course he does. Hajime’s silent, still crying, but he can’t pretend he wants to push Tooru away. Tooru holds the edge of Hajime’s coat to keep him close.

Tooru doesn’t say anything until they’re in Hajime’s room, backpacks thrown in the corner, door closed behind them. Tooru’s moved to clutch Hajime’s wrist.

“Ha-Hajime,” Tooru says it like it’s hard to say. As if it isn’t a name well practiced on his lips. “I… I don’t have any regrets, okay?”

Hajime’s sick with failure. He’s sick with these weepy, sticky kind of endings.

“Hajime, look at me.”

Hajime does. Tooru’s an ugly crier, all patched in pink, slick with tears, his nose running. Hajime’s glad to know that this, at least, wouldn’t change.

“We can try again,” Tooru offers. “We’ll find a university together, try again.”

Hajime shakes his head. “Oikawa--”

“I saw a couple in Tokyo that looked pretty good,” Tooru says. “I mean, we’d have to go see what a couple others have to offer but--”

“Oikawa, stop,” Hajime says. “I know. Okay?”

Tooru blinks. “Know what?”

“About that European school. You got accepted,” Hajime says. “I saw the flier, it had a talent scout’s number on it. You got accepted to that European school didn’t you?”

“What? What flier?” Hajime sees the moment it clicks. “Oh.”

“I mean, it’s great. It’s a great school,” Hajime’s suddenly aware of how selfish he’s being. He should want this, he should want Tooru to be pursuing his dreams but-- “Ushijima picked it out for the two of you, right?”

Tooru’s chewing on his bottom lip, looking confused. “He did.”

Somehow the confirmation makes it worse.

“I just don’t get you,” Hajime snaps. “Why are you always leaving me out? Why are you always telling me things after it’s too late? Why are you always leaving me two steps behind?”

“Hajime--” Tooru tries.

“No, just, stop!” Hajime says, backing away from him. “I would have supported you, okay? I am always going to support you. And I’ve been waiting for you to tell me but-- But you’re doing this in secret and it makes me feel like-- feel like--”

He struggles, abandoning that trail of thought completely. “I mean, when we’re you planning to tell me, Tooru? You had so many chances to tell me. I asked you what you had planned, we looked at schools together but you never-- you never told me but I knew. What were you going to do, tell me the day before? Right before you got on the plane to leave? It’s like you’re hiding it so I don’t feel bad but-- But fuck-- Tooru this is worse, okay? This is so much worse.”

“Hajime, no,” Tooru says rushing towards him, hands outstretched. “Hajime, I’m not replacing you.”

Tooru’s hands are cupping Hajime’s face, pressing their foreheads together. “I meant it. No regrets. You’re the best I could ever ask for.”

Hajime shudders out a breath. He wants to pull away, he wants to keep feeling angry and betrayed and not let any forgiveness leak into him, but it’s difficult when Tooru’s so warm and so close.

Hajime struggles. “I’m not looking for compliments, Oikawa, I’m--”

“Hajime, stop, okay. Stop,” Tooru says, his fingers digging into the thick roots of Hajime’s hair. “You’ve got it all wrong.”

Hajime sniffs. “What?”

“I didn’t tell you about the European school because I wasn’t planning on taking it,” Tooru says, almost exasperated. “Did that thought ever cross that thick skull of yours?”

Hajime does pull away now, but Tooru keeps a grip on Hajime’s hands. “What?”

“I’m not interested in following Ushiwaka-chan to some weird country, why would you think--” Tooru shakes his head. “Yeah. It’s a great opportunity and I thought about it, but I don’t want to go. I'm not taking it.”  

Hajime’s cheeks are burning, embarrassed at his own emotional outburst. To Tooru it might seem ridiculous, but Hajime’s always been prepared for something grand and fantastic to sweep Tooru away from him.

“It just… wouldn’t be the first time you-- didn’t tell me something,” Hajime says, voice gravelly. “I was worried, okay?”

“Worried about getting rid of me?” Tooru grins, having the nerve to tease even if he’s still snivelling. “That doesn’t sound like you, Iwa-chan.”

Hajime pinches his sides. “I can still call Ushiwaka and beg for him to take you back.”

Tooru laughs. Really, really laughs.  It’s kind of shaky, kind of close to crying, but his smile is real and it makes Hajime smile too.

“He can try.” Tooru rests his forehead against Hajime.s “But I’m not going anywhere without my Hajime.”

 

 +1

 

Hajime’s surprised to find him and Tooru fit Tokyo easily.

Their apartment is small, sure. They eat take out more nights than not, classes are hard and volleyball practice is harder. Most nights Hajime crashes halfway through studying on the kitchen table, Tooru slumped against him, both too exhausted to even move to their bedrooms. But they’re together. Tooru’s there. He’s draped across him while he studies, or curled up beside him on the couch watching movies, or stealing bits of ham from his ramen and giggling when he gets caught.

Hajime’s ridiculously, deliriously happy.

He can feel something's missing though and he knows Tooru feels it too. Tooru will hold his wrist as they navigate Tokyo’s crowds. Hajime will brush the curls from Tooru’s eyes, telling him it’s about time he gets a trim. Hajime would catch their banter de-railing, falling into long, sweet kinds of silences. They watch one another carefully, waiting to see which would break first.

Hajime,” Tooru whines. “Can we please get the landlord to look at our shower? The water pressure is fucking awful.”

“I told you to wait,” Hajime lectures, not looking up from the cookbook his mother had so generously mailed him. All that take out food is going to rot your bones, Hajime! “The water pressure is always shitty when Akane-san gets home.”

Tooru emerges from his room, toweling off his hair and shooting their upstairs neighbor a dirty look. “Akane-chan's so selfish!”

“That’s rich, coming from you,” Hajime teases halfheartedly, flipping the page. “How long were you in there? Twenty minutes?”

Tooru drops his chin on Hajime’s shoulder, watching him read. “I need to smell nice otherwise Iwa-chan will kick me out.”

Hajime leans into Tooru’s touch. “It shouldn’t take twenty minutes for you to clean yourself properly.”

“Perfection takes time,” Tooru responds idly. “What are you doing?”

“Trying to find a recipe that looks reasonable to try for dinner tonight.” Hajime scowls, thirty-seven ingredients his ass.

“Ooh, learning how to cook? That’s hot,” Tooru says.

Hajime blushes and shoves Tooru off. “Shut up, Asskawa.”

Tooru laughs, plopping himself on the couch and wriggling up to Hajime to see the pictures. “Ooh forget dinner, let’s try that cake recipe.”

Tooru points and Hajime snorts.

“Have you ever even made a cake?” Hajime asks, raising an eyebrow.

Tooru’s got a determined gleam in his eye. “No, but I want to! How hard could it be?”

Hajime scans the list of ingredients. “I don’t think we even have a pan to bake it in.”

“We can borrow one from Akane-chan, he owes us a few favors,” Oikawa says and Hajime laughs.

“You realize this the exact opposite reason my mom bought me this book, right?” Hajime asks, watching Tooru bubble with excitement.

Tooru leans in, whispering dramatically, “Rebel with me, Iwa-chan.”

Hajime swallows, absolutely not staring at Tooru’s pretty pink mouth. “Alright fine but you have to do the dishes.”

Tooru cheers, pulling Hajime to his feet by the elbow and leading him into the kitchen.

“My Hajime’s so soft, so easy,” Tooru teases, rubbing his nose into Hajime’s cheek.  

“I can still back out of this,” Hajime threatens, even as he props the cookbook up so they can get a good look at what they need.

“Mm, but you won’t,” Tooru decides, opening every single cabinet they have. He inspects their canisters of flour and sugar casually as he says, “You love me.”

It’s a line Tooru’s used about a thousand times. An excuse meant to dismiss Hajime’s empty threats again and again, but this time it strikes Hajime. He can feel it like a shock through his body, stinging in his cheeks, prickling in his mouth.

“What?” Tooru asks. Hajime’s staring. “This is our flour canister right?” Tooru examines it with a frown and pulls at the lid. It’s stuck shut. “God, I don’t think we’ve ever opened it. We really do need to eat in more, eh, Iwa-chan? Iwa--”

Tooru doesn’t get to finish because for once-- for once-- Hajime’s the one two steps ahead.

Hajime kisses Tooru soft and affectionate, the way first kisses should be. Tooru tastes clean and cold from his shower. Hajime can smell his own shampoo in Tooru’s hair, even though Tooru spends a ludicrous amount on his own goddamn hair products, he still insists on stealing Hajime’s things, the bastard. Hajime doesn’t have it in him to be angry about it now though, not when Tooru’s lips match Hajime’s achingly perfectly. It’s all Hajime can do no immediately deepen the kiss, desperate to see how deeply they match.

Tooru drops the flour canister and they’re engulfed in white.

“Oh my god, Oikawa,” Hajime coughs, breaking away in a cloud of flour. “Really?”

Tooru’s bright red under a coat of white powder. “You’re the one who kissed me, dumbass!”

Hajime’s laugh quickly dissolves into more coughing. “I guess I’ll warn you next time.”

Tooru bristles as he shakes the flour with his hair. “You ruined my hair! This is why you’re supposed to confess before you just start kissing people, stupid! These were my only clean sweats too!”

“You can borrow some of mine,” Hajime offers. “They’ll be short on you but--”

Tooru groans, covering his face with his hands. “This is the worst confession I’ve ever gotten, Iwa-chan!”

Hajime shuffles awkwardly, picking up the canister of flour and setting it on the table. “Will you accept it if I buy you more flour?”

Tooru sputters and for a horrifying moment Hajime thinks he’s about to cry. Tooru takes a fistful of flour from the counter and throws it in Hajime’s face instead.

“You were supposed to buy me real flowers, Iwa-chan!” he snaps.

Hajime wipes his face, nearly choking. “What the fuck, Shittykawa?”

Hajime arms himself with his own fistful of flour, dumping it down Tooru’s shirt. Tooru gasps and makes a run for it, trailing flour and coughing all the way. He trips as their tiled kitchen floor merges to carpet and Hajime wastes no time pinning him down.  Tooru, ever a coward under Hajime's wrath, immediately resorts to begging.

“No, no, no, Iwa-chan, don’t!” Tooru flails, as Hajime holds a handful of flour over him. “Mercy, have mercy!”

“Are you going to respond to my confession or what, Shittykawa?” Hajime asks.

Tooru moans. “Why are you such a brute, Iwa-chan? Why can’t you just confess like a normal human being?”

“What do you want me to say? I love you? You already know that,” Hajime asks, blushing. "Don't you?" 

Tooru props himself up on his elbows. “Don't I?”

“Well you do now,” Hajime says. “I love you. I love you, be my shitty boyfriend, Asskawa.”

Tooru rolls his eyes, but Hajime sees the way his lips purse, pleased. “Fine. I accept your shitty confession. Can we get back to making cake now?”

Hajime feels like glowing. He leans in. Tooru reaches up to meet him, carefully brushing against each other. Hajime hesitates, waiting for Tooru to close the gap this time. Just to be sure.

As he does, Tooru’s hand coming to rest on Hajime’s breastbone, Hajime takes his fistful of flour, and mashes it into Tooru’s hair.

“Hajime-chan!” Tooru screeches. “You absolute dick, oh my god.”

Hajime roars with laughter, hurrying to his feet. “Oh my god, your face.”

“I’m going to fucking murder you, oh my god,” Tooru says, but he’s laughing as he gets to his feet. “My godawful boyfriend has a death wish.”

Hajime laughs harder as he lets himself be captured by an angry Tooru, who jabs his sides, taking the whole canister of flour and dumping it on his head. Through the cloud of flour and the chalky taste in his mouth, Hajime still manages to kiss Tooru briefly.

“My boyfriend loves me anyway,” Hajime says.

Tooru hooks his arms around Hajime waist, grumbling, “You’re lucky he does.”

I am, Hajime thinks, kissing him again. I really am.

 

Tooru’s the stuff of stars, Hajime knows. He’s the whispered kisses on lazy Sunday mornings, the constellations of hickeys on Hajime’s neck, chest, and thighs. He’s the strong hands bandaging Hajime’s bruised fingers before volleyball practice, the warm voice coaxing him to come home after studying at the library deep into the night. He's the steady, even breathing that lulls Hajime to sleep, and the lanky body curled around him as he wakes. 

Tooru’s everything bright and beautiful, and Hajime doesn’t know how he got so lucky as to kiss someone who tastes like starlight and hold someone who glimmers like the Milky Way but he is.  He's the luckiest of them all.