Oikawa grunts, his tongue poking out in concentration. “Why—" grunt "—do they make Pringles cans—" grunt "—so freaking tiny? I am a man, with man hands. And they. Won’t. Fit.”
Hajime doesn’t look up from the sketchbook on his lap, lightly biting on his pencil. The wind threatens to disturb the paper, and he anchors it down with his elbow. “Just tip the can on its side.”
Oikawa makes an indignant noise. “Are you kidding me? I’m not a quitter.”
“Then stop your bitching, Jesus Christ. And stay still, you’re moving too much.”
“But there’s only two left! Two delicious shrimp-flavored crisps stand between me and victory!”
“If you get your hand stuck, I’m not gonna help you get out of it.”
“But Iwa-chan! You love these hands! Without them, you wouldn’t get any of my flawless tosses!”
The thing is, Hajime does love Oikawa’s hands. In fact, he loves the arms they’re attached to, and the strong shoulders that follow, and the elegant curve of his neck, and the smattering of freckles under his ear that bleed onto his sharp jaw, and—
Hajime holds his pencil between his teeth as he reaches for the eraser sat next to him in the grass, and he speaks through it. “Good thing Yahaba’s improving so much, then. He’ll be ready to replace you when you need to get your hand amputated. Hey—" he reaches forward, ignoring Oikawa’s outraged squawk, “move your shoulder back a little, kinda like…yeah, that’s good, stay there.”
—and the slightly pointed tips of his ears, and the dimple he gets in one of his cheeks when he smiles hard enough, and—
Oikawa rolls his eyes. “Iwa-chan, it’s not a natural pose if you have to tell me where to put my limbs.”
“Mmm.” Hajime begins sketching again, eyes darting from his model back the page in his lap. He’s still no good at shading, but he’s gotten better at drawing the natural folds and wrinkles of clothing. He hasn’t started drawing Oikawa’s face—saving the best part for last, a treacherously smug voice pipes up in a dark corner of his brain. He’s already finished sketching Oikawa’s crossed legs covered in the horrible checkered fabric of their school uniform, the cloth bunched up slightly to reveal a slip of UFO-patterned socks. It’s warm enough that he’s stripped off the jacket and vest, the white shirt underneath unbuttoned just past his throat. The drawing itself is mostly complete, except for the blank expanse of paper where the neck abruptly cuts off, and Hajime mentally readies himself—he begins to draw the curve of a soft cheek, light and careful, like he’s afraid he won’t be able to do it justice.
—and he loves Oikawa. He loves everything.
“…what if I like…put a lot of lotion on my hand? Do you think it’d be easier to slip inside?”
Hajime growls. “Stop moving! This is hard enough without you flailing around!”
Oikawa flops onto his back, moaning. “But I’ve been sitting like this for all of lunch, and now free period’s almost over! Normally I’m the one that gets carried away, but you’ve turned into a monster.”
Hajime blanches. Has it already been that long? His legs might be a little cramped, now that he thinks about it, and he can hear Oikawa’s back popping as he writhes around like a dead octopus being sprinkled in soy sauce. Hajime looks up at the sky—it’s blue and nearly cloudless, which is why they had decided to eat outside in the first place. And then lunch had ended, and they had just never got around to going back inside. It was a free study period now anyway, and it’s not like either of them would be able to focus knowing the sun is out, so warm and inviting that it is. There’s a secret spot on the side of the main school building, behind a large tree and a clustering of bushes near the chain-link fence that’s a blind spot from the majority of the windows. They’re safe here for as long as they want, but they have chemistry next period, and Hajime knows that’s one class he can’t afford to miss.
Oikawa makes another whining noise, and Hajime glances back down in time to watch him tugging up his shirt to scratch at his stomach, and Hajime has to look away again just as quickly. His face burning, he sets the sketchbook down to the side, knowing very well Oikawa won’t let him be in peace now.
“We have a practice match tomorrow, and it’s warm and I’m tired so let’s just…” Oikawa gestures vaguely, pulling his shirt back down to cover his skin. This allows Hajime full range of vision again, so he rips up a clump of grass, sprinkling the clippings over the strip of naked ankle showing above Oikawa’s socks.
“Let’s just get fat on Pringles and sour gummy bears?”
Oikawa gasps, bolting upright, eyes wide and scandalized. “Don’t say that like it’s a bad thing! You love sour gummy bears!”
“And another thing! I don’t like how you insinuated that even if I was fat, that I’d be anything other than the epitome of stunning!”
“I did no such thing,” Hajime deadpans, glancing away.
“I couldn’t be ugly if I tried,” he continues boldly.
“Really? I can think of more than a few instances.”
Oikawa ignores him. He crosses his eyes, irises pointing sharply towards his nose. “See? Still adorable.”
Hajime chokes on a laugh. “Stop.”
He further screws his face up into something truly horrific. “Don’t it just make you weak at the knees?”
“You’re gonna make me throw up,” Hajime manages, laughing hard enough that his eyes squeeze shut, chest feeling light and airy.
Oikawa sounds inordinately pleased. “Ah, see. If I did that all the time, I wouldn’t have as many fans as I do. We can’t all win the genetic lottery, I suppose. My condolences, Iwa-chan.”
Hajime chooses to mercifully ignore that last comment. “I dunno, when you do that I actually think you’re cute for once. Keep it up and I’d consider joining your fan club," he teases, grinning privately at his own joke. It’s funny because he thinks Oikawa is always cute—like, all the time. Even when his eyes are red and swollen from crying; even when he’s sick and looks like actual death, lips dry and pale; even when he makes the ugliest, twisting faces as he dreams—there’s really no way to make him unattractive in Hajime’s eyes. It’s just an impossibility. An impossibility that he will keep under lock and key for the indefinable future—who knows what could happen to Oikawa’s already-inflated ego if he found out? His head would probably just explode, which is only marginally worse than the other option: unbearable teasing at Hajime’s expense, for the rest of their natural-born lives.
Oikawa makes an odd strangled noise at Hajime’s words, almost like he’d been punched in the gut and had his nose twisted at the same time, but it’s almost immediately blocked out by the sound of the warning bell ringing for the start of next period.
“Shit,” Hajime says, surprised at how unhurried he sounds. Guess that means he’ll be skipping chemistry, too. It's just that the sun feels so good and the air smells like growing things and Oikawa is sitting in the soft grass across from him. Days just aren't always as relaxed as today. And his days as a high schooler are numbered—whatever he decides to do once he graduates, he probably won't be able to spend as much time basking in the pleasure of doing nothing. And it's not like one day of missing chemistry will have any adverse effects on his future. He’ll just get Matsukawa to tutor him later, if it turns out he needs the help.
He notices then that's it's gone deathly quiet—he breaks out of his inner musings and swivels his head to look at Oikawa, who’s staring at him like he has mayonnaise erupting from his ears. He hasn’t made a move to get to class, even though it’s common knowledge that chemistry is his favorite subject.
Hajime frowns, his eyelids feeling heavy with the call to lean back and take a nice nap. "Huh? What's wrong?"
“Oh,” Oikawa breathes, turning away to stare wide-eyed and disbelieving at his lap. “Oh, no.”
“Whoa—your face is super fucking red. Are you dying?”
Oikawa waves him off, and Hajime’s brows furrow even more. “No, no, I’m fine, Iwa-chan. Just peachy. I’m only having a life-altering realization, no big deal.”
“Stop being so vague. What’s going on?”
“If I told you, then I’d have to kill you,” Oikawa replies ominously.
“Are you threatening me."
He shakes his head. “No, I’m not! Stop giving me your serial killer eyes—it’s freaking me out!”
“You’re freaking me out! Does your stomach hurt or something? Do you need to take a shit?”
Oikawa just groans, shoving his head between his knees.
“I’m gonna call an ambulance.”
“Just shut up, Iwa-chan! Just shut up and let me have, like, three whole seconds to think!”
His head doesn’t emerge from between his knees for a long while, reminding Hajime of a cartoon ostrich sticking its head below ground in a dramatic attempt at hiding from the world. Oikawa’s muttering to himself quietly under his breath, but Hajime can still hear what he’s saying clearly, even though none of it makes sense. He’s alternating between swearing colorfully and spewing variations of: “Wonderful. Just fantastic. Exactly what I needed right now.” Hajime lets him grumble to himself in silence, reopening his sketchbook—now that Oikawa’s finally being still, he can make some alterations to the wrinkles in the button-down.
Long minutes pass by, just the sound of the light scratching of Hajime's pencil on paper and birdsong permeating the quiet air. It's just as he’s making the shape of the flying saucers on the socks more pronounced that Oikawa abruptly pops back up, face purpled from a blood rush. “I’m going to class,” he declares. He begins gathering his trash from lunch, the flush not leaving his face.
“You’re gonna to be super late. Satou-sensei is gonna skin you alive.”
“I don’t care.”
Hajime rolls his eyes. “Fine. Then while you’re there, change out of your crazy pants. I don’t know what’s gotten into you, but you gotta be normal for the match tomorrow. The captain can’t be in the corner with his head between his knees the whole time.”
“I’m not wearing crazy pants!” Oikawa snaps, not quite meeting Hajime’s eyes.
Hajime sighs. “Uh-huh. Let me know if you need some pointers on how to fit into your human skin. Must be tough, being your first time on Earth.”
“If that was supposed to be an insult, you screwed it up big-time!” Oikawa sniffs, already shuffling quickly across the grass in the direction of the nearest school entrance. Hajime crinkles his brows, befuddled, as he turns back to his opened page.
He had never gotten around to drawing Oikawa’s face.
Oikawa’s quiet all the next morning, frowning like he’s thinking about something especially hard. Hajime wants to tell him that maybe he shouldn’t be wasting his only two brain cells by rubbing them together quite so hard, but whatever it is must be weighing heavily—the thinking-too-hard-face is accompanied by frequent sighs and worried glances in Hajime’s direction, interspersed by frantic scribbling in his notebook. As much as Hajime enjoys teasing Oikawa (probably as much as Oikawa enjoys teasing him), he decides to be a good friend and leave him be in peace until he's ready to get whatever’s bothering him off his chest. In the meantime, Hajime’s being careful to take coherent notes during their morning classes, because he’s sure that whatever Oikawa’s writing in his notebook won’t be helpful on their next midterm.
The weather outside isn’t nearly as beautiful as it had been the day before. The cloudless sky has been replaced by gunmetal-dark clouds, the air charged and heavy with the smell of rain. Hajime doesn’t feel the urge today to be one with nature, so he decides to stay inside during lunchtime. Matsukawa and Hanamaki drag their desks over to join theirs, and they form a square at the edge of the room. They unpack their lunches, Oikawa seeming to do so on autopilot, his gaze distant and listless. This continues until near the end of the period, the other three talking among themselves and Oikawa frowning down at his omelet rolls. The run of silence ends abruptly with him slamming his hands down on his desk, eyes flashing.
“I’ve come to an important conclusion,” he announces. Hajime looks up, eyebrow cocked.
“This oughta be good,” Matsukawa mumbles into his pudding cup.
“While it’s certainly not the direction I thought my life would go in, I can’t very well say I’m disappointed. Thinking about it now, it actually makes a lot of sense.” He’s nodding to himself with a self-deprecating sort of little smile, like his realization is somehow just so obvious and it's silly that he didn't notice sooner. The other three share a wary glance, before replying in near-unison: “We have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Ignoring them, Oikawa continues. “Regardless, I shall try my hardest. Just like I do in everything else.”
“Uh,” Hajime squints, trying to get a feeling for how he should respond. “Good…luck?”
Oikawa beams. “Your support means the world to me.” He points at Hanamaki and Matsukawa in turn. “You two! Send me your best wishes as well!”
At this point he’s mostly lost the remaining two-thirds of his audience; Matsukawa is balancing his pudding spoon between his nose and upper lip, and Hanamaki is staring out the window as he gnaws at a hunk of yakisoba bread. “Good luck,” they mumble, disinterested.
“Not heartfelt, but it’ll do,” Oikawa decides. He turns back to his bento and starts eating with renewed vigor, leaving Hajime to wonder to himself what exactly just happened.
Apparently, Oikawa’s declaration turns out to be the beginning of Iwaizumi Hajime’s Very Odd Week.
It starts the same day, after school. The two of them head first thing to the clubroom to change out of their school clothes and into the pinnies used for practice matches. They’re talking like normal, about homework and their game in an hour with Date Tech, when Oikawa lets out a soft ‘ah!’ He runs ahead, and at first Hajime thinks he’s spotted a vulnerable Yahaba and is planning an ambush, but then he stops right at the clubroom door. He pulls it open, and just…keeps it there. And stares at Hajime. Expectantly. Smiling.
“What the fuck,” Hajime whispers under his breath.
“After you,” Oikawa gestures grandly.
Hajime’s first instinct is to wrap his hands around Oikawa’s neck and throttle him—for what, he’s not sure, so he settles for awkwardly standing in the middle of the walkway, trying to decide if anything bad is going to happen to him if he steps through that door. “What the fuck,” he repeats, eloquently.
“Well I’ll be,” drawls a voice from behind them. Hanamaki scrolls right on past into the clubroom, Matsukawa close behind him, and he pats Oikawa on the shoulder as he passes. “My my, such a gentleman.”
Hajime still hasn’t moved a muscle, and Oikawa still makes no move to let the door drift shut. “I wasn’t doing it for you!” he seethes, something like the dusting of a blush beginning to color his ears.
“Yeah, see, that’s the part that’s skeeving me out,” Hanamaki replies. He heads right for his locker, effortlessly tuning in the code without looking at the numbers. “I saw someone holding the door open for Iwaizumi, so I automatically assumed it was Kindaichi wearing a really shitty wig,” he explains, pulling his shirt off over his head. “So imagine my surprise seeing none other than our chivalrous captain.”
Matsukawa hums, already pulling up his teal athletic shorts. “Really? Because I thought it was Kyoutani on stilts.”
“Oh, that’s mean. Kyoutani’s only a couple centimeters shorter than Oikawa.”
“Yeah, but he’s got a short person’s rage. He’s short at heart.”
Hanamaki snickers. “True.”
Hajime finally allows his legs to un-stick from the walkway, and he strides past a red-faced Oikawa, more than a little confused himself. “Makki, if you lifted weights half as much as you talk outta your ass, maybe you could’ve finally beaten me at arm wrestling by now.” He sets his gym bag down on the floor by his locker and begins stripping off his white school jacket. Hanamaki glowers and Matsukawa doesn’t even bother trying to hide his delighted laugh.
“Cute, Iwaizumi. That’s real cute. Defending your maiden’s honor, are we?”
Hajime struggles out of his vest. “Just stating the facts. Your arms are lookin’ pretty scrawny today. Good thing Oikawa was holding the door open—I’m not sure you could’ve done it on your own.”
“You,” Hanamaki points menacingly, “and me. After the practice match, right here. Duel to the death.”
“Whoa, whoa, Makki, put your arm down. Wouldn’t want you pulling a muscle.”
Matsukawa laughs so hard he snorts and Hanamaki snarls wordlessly. Oikawa finally lets the door drift shut and heads for his own locker, frowning sourly and giving the other two obvious stink eyes. Even though he was the last third-year into the clubroom, he’s the first to finish getting dressed; he’s already tucking his jersey into his shorts by the time Hajime’s working his school shoes off, and he’s quick to leave—“I need to help Coach set up, see you in there!”—and then he’s gone, leaving Hajime with an odd tickling sensation, like he's missing something important.
Hanamaki seems to share his sentiments.
“He’s acting…weird,” he determines slowly, face screwed up, tying the last bow of his shoelaces.
“Suspicious,” adds Matsukawa.
Hanamaki snaps his fingers. “Yeah, yeah, that’s it! Suspicious!”
Matsukawa glances over at Hajime curiously. “Did something happen yesterday?”
Hajime pauses to think about it—they walked to school together (as usual), had morning practice (as usual), went to class (as usual)—the only deviation was how they chose to eat lunch and spend the free study period outside. Oikawa didn’t seem to have eaten anything odd (though he did drink four cartons of milk, which may have been a bit excessive), and he had been acting perfectly normal as Hajime drew his portrait. He only started acting strangely towards the end of free period, but Hajime can’t pinpoint an exact cause no matter how much he mulls it over. He frowns, shaking his head with a defeated sigh. “No, I don’t think so.”
Hanamaki stuffs his bag in his locker and slams it shut with a metallic clang. “You two were gone for forever. And Oikawa was hella late to chem. Satou-sensei made him stand out in the hall for fifteen minutes.” He tilts his head to the side. “He was normal before you two went outside. You must have done something.”
Hajime frowns indignantly. “What could I have done?”
“I dunno, but you should think about it. He’s become a bona fide Looney Tune. Next we’ll see anvils dropping on people’s heads. Oikawa will be painting tunnels into cliffsides.”
“You’re so dramatic,” Hajime mutters, shaking his head. But he takes Hanamaki’s advice to heart, and begins to think closely about yesterday afternoon, combing over each and every second in excruciating detail for some pivotal moment he might have overlooked.
He can’t do it.
There just isn’t anything. Unless this is some sort of weird response to Hajime’s attack on sour gummy bears, then this behavior is unprovoked. Was it some sort of hormonal imbalance? Did the sleepless nights suddenly catch up to him in one fell swoop? There were too many possibilities, each less likely than the last, and the only way to know for sure was to ask. But like hell Hajime was going to do that.
He’s probably not paying as much attention as he should to the practice match—and it’s not like Date Tech has ever been a team to just roll over and take a beating, even with their third years now missing. But he’s doing well for only having a little more than half his mind in the game—it would take someone who knows him especially well to notice the difference. And, lucky for Hajime, the only one perceptive enough seems to be off in another world himself. Oikawa’s tosses are impeccable as always; it’s just that his reaction time is a bit slower than usual, and he scrapes through several plays by the skin of his teeth. When Hajime turns to scope out the bench, he sees Coach’s eyes narrowed in perplexed irritation, but he doesn’t say anything, nor makes any move to sub either of them out.
They make it through three sets and an extra one just for kicks, winning all but the second. Hajime is effectively exhausted by the time they’re finished, and he slogs his way to the clubroom with the rest of the team, Oikawa staying behind for a few extra minutes to chat (antagonize) the new Date Tech captain before joining them.
“How do you guys feel about grabbing some celebratory crepes?” Yahaba suggests, pulling a long drink from his water bottle and wiping his mouth off on his wrist.
“Crepes?” Kindaichi perks up.
“I’d be down,” Kunimi shrugs, slinging his bag over one shoulder.
“Sure,” Hajime agrees, using a towel to wipe the sweat from his hairline. He glances to the side. “Oikawa?”
“Sorry fellas, but I am just plumb-tuckered-out~” Oikawa stretches his arms over his head with a drawn-out groan, adding on a yawn for good measure. “I need to get to sleep early tonight. Not that I need more beauty sleep, mind you. Now, Iwa-chan, on the other hand—"
“I swear to God, Oikawa. Finish that sentence and you are a dead man.”
“So I’ll see you all bright and early tomorrow morning!” he concludes, smiling radiantly at all of them before he skips to the door, peeking over his shoulder long enough to add, “Have a fun evening!” He more-or-less directs this at Hajime, who narrows his eyes in response, and then he’s ducking back out of sight without another word.
The clubroom becomes eerily quiet, the only sound Kyoutani muttering a sour “gross” under his breath in the far corner.
Yahaba stares at the door oddly, his face pinched. “Since when does Oikawa-san worry about sleep?”
Hanamaki snorts. “Since he started chasing roadrunners and investing in mass quantities of shitty explosives.”
Yahaba doesn’t seem to know what to make of that.
“He’s the worst,” Kyoutani grumbles again.
Hajime doesn’t know what to make of it either.
I’m no closer to figuring it out than I was five hours ago, Hajime mulls to himself idly on his way home, strawberry-chocolate crepe in hand. He hasn’t had a good opportunity yet for really delving into it—there had been school, and then the game, and as much as Oikawa commands attention on the court, Hajime can’t invest all of his time staring at only one person. And then he had politely declined the promise of dessert with his team, which was abnormal for a whole host of reasons. First, Oikawa would normally never pass up a chance to mingle with his teammates, people he treats more like family than friends. And secondly, Hajime knows that under sane circumstances, there’s no way Oikawa would ever turn down the opportunity to shove his face into something drowning in whipped cream. His teenaged-boy metabolism was the only thing saving him from having to be rolled from one end of the street to the other at this point, and Hajime knows Oikawa plans on exploiting that fact for as long as his body lets him get away with it.
He passes Oikawa’s house on the way to his own, looking up at the bedroom window dark except for the flickering glow of what is undoubtedly the TV—watching Bigfoot documentaries again, then. So much for ‘going to bed early’, Hajime thinks with a derisive snort. It’ll be late by the time the show ends, and they still have piles of homework to finish—one of the drawbacks of having practice matches is that they end up staying at school hours after the final bell rings. Let him suffer. See if anyone cares.
You do, pipes his ungodly crush.
Hajime smothers it down.
“I’m home," he grumbles, finally opening up the front door to his own house and pulling his shoes off with probably a bit too much violent force. Maybe a couple hours of peace and quiet and a nice night’s sleep will do the trick, and Hajime will wake up refreshed, his mind alight with understanding.
“Welcome home, Hajime!” sing-songs a voice from the kitchen. It’s still April, but Hajime can hear Christmas music playing from the little radio tucked into the shelf above the sink. Must be a special occasion, then.
“Sounds like someone’s in a good mood,” Hajime calls back, his lips quirking up at the corners. He takes more after his dad, temperament-wise; meanwhile, his mother is rarely seen without a smile splitting her round face, her eyes always dancing when her limbs aren’t. But the smile Hajime sees when he walks into the kitchen doesn’t comfort him—it’s so broad it’s bordering on deranged, and Hajime feels a pang of genuine fear.
“Hi, my sweet boy,” she chirps, hips swaying to the beat of Jingle Bell Rock. “How was school?” Her face screams false innocence, her tone suggesting that Hajime has some sort of news that she already knows about, but wants to hear it from him anyway.
“It was…good? I’m…gonna go get changed out of my practice clothes before we eat,” he says slowly, edging away.
“That’s good,” she grins, sashaying to the stove and stirring whatever’s there with a flick of the spoon. “By the way, there’s a surprise waiting for you upstairs,” she continues cheerily.
“Will I…like it?”
“I guess you’ll just have to find out,” she replies loftily, and oh. This is probably going to be very bad.
He takes the stairs two at a time, slamming his bedroom door open and fully expecting to find his bed covered in saran wrap or petroleum jelly coating everything he owns. What he actually finds is ten times more confusing.
There are flowers on his desk. He doesn’t know what kind they are, but there’s a whole lot of them, and nearly all of them are some shade of purple. The smell of them has saturated his room in a cloud of perfume, sweet and heady, and he feels nearly drunken as he stumbles over to take a closer look. Besides the flowers, there’s several other gifts—what looks to be a large rolled-up piece of coffee-stained paper is placed beside his laptop, and smoothing it out Hajime finds it to be a vintage Godzilla poster, proclaiming the return of the “King of the Monsters!” Next is a toy capsule like one would get from a vending machine, inside a tiny figurine of the red Power Ranger, Hajime’s favorite growing up. There’s a baby food jar filled to the brim with colorful paper origami stars; a plain pastry from Mister Donut.
Hajime picks it up off his desk, utterly mystified. The yellow peel is written on with broad streaks of black Sharpie, one side happily telling Hajime that I’m BANANAS for you! the other side suggesting Let’s never split~<3
“Isn’t he just the cutest?”
Hajime jumps, whipping his head around. His mom is sagging into the doorway, a dreamy look on her face. “He came right over and asked to be let into your room. Well, of course I can’t say no to Tooru-kun, but then he had his arms full with the flowers and that banana—" she chokes on a laugh, covering her mouth with her hand.
“Oikawa did this?”
She just smiles, which is answer enough. “So what’s the occasion? Best friend-iversary? Or should I be congratulating you two for…something else?” she waggles her eyebrows and Hajime feels half the blood in his body rush to his face.
“Mom?” he wheezes. “Can I change now, please?”
Her smile this time is softer. “Sure thing, hon. Take a bath and then come down for dinner.” Her charitable parting words are soiled somewhat by the exaggerated wink she sends him on her way out, and Hajime doesn’t know if his face will ever return to its natural color. It burns.
“Am I on TV?” he asks the air. “Am I being punked?” He glances around for the telltale gleam of a camera peeping into his bedroom window. “Oikawa?” he pokes his head into his closet, gets down on all fours to look under his bed. Nothing. It doesn’t rule out the possibility of a prank completely, but it’s enough that Hajime is slowly coming to terms with what this could mean.
He still doesn’t know what’s going on inside his best friend’s head. But whatever it is, he’s starting to think it might have something to do with himself.
He doesn’t say anything about the gifts during the walk to practice the next morning, and neither does Oikawa. Hajime picks him up on his way to the school just like normal, and Oikawa looks like he spent all night in a dark room with his retinas being liquefied by a brightly lit screen (which they probably were). But he’s stupidly cheerful, a bounce in his step and a smile on his face.
But Hajime doesn’t take this for face value. Oh, no—he’s on guard now. He’s on the lookout. It doesn’t even have to be suspicious, because any and all behavior is free game for over-analysis. He feels almost like one of those paranormal investigators that Oikawa idolizes—the ones that hear a floorboard creak and immediately claim the sound came from some poor, misguided ghost named Pamela. Meaning, Hajime is looking for things he normally wouldn’t even think twice of. Longer glances, lingering touches, a bit too much pink at the tips of the ears—Hajime is going to take note of them all, not letting a single interaction be swept under the rug. Because he has a hunch. A small one, but a hunch none the less. Either Oikawa feels very, very guilty about something and is kissing Hajime’s feet as a form of penance, or…
Hajime doesn’t let himself finish that thought. Or. Or is good enough for now.
The day progresses smoothly this way, half of Hajime’s mind on the vase of flowers sitting on his desk the entire time. So far, nothing has been out-and-out strange. At least, nothing that Hajime can safely call Oikawa out on. There’s a few mentionable instances— the minute hitch in his breathing when Hajime grabs his shoulder as balance during a quad stretch, the permanent dreamy smile when they play on opposite sites of the net, the reluctance to look Hajime’s direction when they change in the clubroom. Oikawa tries to hold the door open for him again when they head in for morning classes, but ends up keeping the door open for the entire team, and he spends the walk to first period sulking.
Since they can’t very well talk during class, and the passing period is barely long enough to run to the bathroom for a piss in-between lectures, Hajime isn’t able to make any more observations throughout the morning. But once again, it’s during lunchtime that things finally take a turn for the weird.
When the teacher eventually releases them, there's a collective breath of relief from the entire class. Hajime lets his pen fall from his cramped hand, stretching out his hunched back. Matsukawa cracks his fingers, his stomach audibly rumbling. “Mmm…I’m feeling in the mood for cafeteria food," he says, and Hanamaki nods, already rummaging in his bag for his wallet. Matsukawa cocks a huge brow at the other two. “You guys wanna come with?”
With all of the hubbub from last night that bled into the morning, Hajime hadn’t had the thought to pack his food. And the cafeteria lunches weren’t half-bad—given the choice, he'd choose his mom's cooking any day, but it wasn't a terrible second option. He shrugs. “Yeah, sure.”
"Actually," Oikawa interjects loudly, and in a moment of pure premonition Hajime recognizes this one word as The Moment. This was the gateway into where things finally Got Weird, and that he should pay close attention to the next few moments. He watches with hawk-like focus as Oikawa removes the lid from a boxed lunch, but instead of digging in himself, he passes it off and sets it gently on Hajime's desk. “There's no need for that, Iwa-chan! This is for you.”
Hajime takes one look at the stupidly nice-looking lunch, and his heart does a flying cartwheel right into his ribs. A bed of rice with pickled plums arranged into the shape of a heart, lightly blackened fish, vegetables organized by color and wieners cut to look like little octopuses. This is it—this is what he'd been waiting for all day. The last nail in the metaphorical coffin, the final piece of incriminating evidence that was going to force Oikawa Tooru to take responsibility for his crimes against humanity.
Hajime glares at him to mask the way he feels like he might be dying. “What are you doing.”
Eyelashes bat at him innocently. “What do you mean, what am I doing? I’m giving you your lunch.”
“You bought this, right?” It looks handmade, but there’s just no way—
“No, I made it.”
This can’t be happening. “What?”
Oikawa huffs impatiently, speaking his words loudly and deliberately like Hajime is particularly slow. “I. Made. This. For. You.”
“You made me lunch?”
“What’s so weird about being nice to someone who’s important to me?” Oikawa replies loftily.
Hajime is rendered utterly speechless.
Hanamaki whistles lowly. “Soooo….you’re definitely seeing this too, right, Mattsun?”
Matsukawa nods. “Yeah.”
“Good, ‘cause I took some heavy-duty cold medicine this morning and I’m only like eighty percent sure that this isn’t a dream.”
“Okay, that’s it.” Hajime grabs onto Oikawa’s wrist and bodily pulls him out of the classroom, Hanamaki and Matsukawa hooting obnoxiously behind them. He yanks Oikawa down the nearest set of stairs, ducking into an open broom cupboard on the second-years’ floor and slamming the door shut. There’s a singular wavering orange lightbulb, and it casts Oikawa’s face in an unflattering light. Well, unflattering for him. He’s still unfairly handsome for someone who looks like the victim of a botched spray tan.
Hajime crowds Oikawa against the door, his eyes narrowed accusingly. “Okay, Oikawa. Be honest with me. What did you do? Did you crash my bike?”
Oikawa sighs, his eyes rolling heavenward. “Iwa-chan, you are being needlessly difficult.”
“I promise I won’t be mad—okay, well, I can’t promise that I won’t be mad, but I promise I won’t hit you. Deal?”
“But I didn’t do anything!”
“You made me lunch!”
“I didn’t realize making my best friend food was something so horrible that I need to be interrogated! Where’s my good cop, huh? I’m tired of talking to Bad Cop Iwa-chan!”
Hajime groans, turning to thunk his head against the dry wall. “I just don’t get it,” he mutters, feeling his head beginning to throb. “It’s just…why? And the thing from last night—the gifts and the flowers and that goddamned banana. Why are you treating me like I’m your girlfriend?”
Oikawa’s skin interestingly becomes darker, and he splutters. “I—I am not—"
Hajime frowns at him. “You’re buttering me up.”
“Then what is this? It’s like…” he searches desperately for the right word. “It’s like you’re trying to woo me!”
Hajime notes that Oikawa’s skin has become a very interesting color—the orange of the lightbulb is mixing with what must be a brilliant red, because it’s become some salmon-like hue that almost makes Hajime want to laugh, if he didn’t feel like ripping his hair out. He’s just so embarrassed and so confused and trying trying trying to stomp out the hope that’s growing like a fresh sprout from between slabs of cement. He doesn’t want to let himself feel anything more than he already does—he doesn’t know if he’d be able to handle that. He doesn’t want to know what it feels like letting himself believe, even for a moment, that his feelings are reciprocated, only to have them smothered the next second.
His words, though not yelled, are still uncomfortably loud in the small space, and the silence that clouds around them straight after is permeated by a distant ringing. Hajime’s still glaring up at Oikawa, preparing himself for the denial, for the immediate rejection. Oikawa is staring down at him, eyes wide, lips parted on a soft exhale. He blinks, taking a deep breath, and Hajime readies himself.
“Are you saying,” he wets his lips nervously, “I’m not doing a good job?”
Hajime feels his stomach flip. “Don’t mess with me.”
“Was there something you didn’t like? I asked your mom, and she said you liked your fish a little bit seared—I tried, really, but it might taste more burnt than you’re used to—"
“Was it the banana? Oh god, it was the banana, wasn’t it? I knew that was a lame idea, but there were just so many puns—"
Hajime never thought he’d live to see the day where he’d be able to, with full confidence, shut Oikawa Tooru up with a kiss. But here he is, and here’s Oikawa, and then there’s their lips—pressed full together, Oikawa’s already wet from the incessant nervous lip-licking, Hajime’s probably a bit too dry. It’s a complimentary system, just like how they are with everything else. The gates of heaven don't open and angels don't come fluttering down strumming harps, but it's close enough. It's enough to make Hajime feel like he has his own personal fireworks show bursting behind his eyes, little trails of gunpowder setting off consecutive explosions throughout his body, and a tiny part of him is embarrassed to realize that, yes, he feels literally weak in the knees. God, he's just wanted this for so long.
There’s a moment of mutual hesitation, the both of them a little stunned by this development—paralyzed, each nerve overloaded and firing. And then just as suddenly, the both of them are pushing and pulling, both trying to get the other closer, both trying to get a better hold. Hajime hates that he has to tilt his face up so much, but he loves the way Oikawa is holding his jaw—his beautiful setter’s hands, big and warm and firm in their desperation. He’s quick to back Hajime up until his calves hit the mop bucket—he makes a noise of complaint, and Oikawa accommodates. He pivots to Hajime’s other side, pushing him into the wall instead.
Hajime breaks his mouth away, gasping as Oikawa immediately latches below his ear onto the soft skin there. “You never had to do all this,” Hajime whispers, “You don’t have to try and win me over. I’m already…” he lets himself trail off, his breath hitching as Oikawa ducks in to kiss him again.
“You said I was cute,” Oikawa breathes in-between sucking Hajime’s lower lip into his mouth and pressing an open-mouthed kiss to his cheek. Hajime exhales shakily, his heart feeling too big for his chest, too full.
“The day—" a kiss below his eye “—before—" one above his brow “—the practice match.”
“I was making fun of you,” Hajime says weakly, and Oikawa laughs, out-of-breath.
“I know. But it still gave me butterflies. And that’s when I figured it out.”
“Figured out what?”
His mouth is claimed again then, and Hajime doesn’t care that his question ends on an open thread—he kisses back, with all that he has. His fingers are twisted probably a bit too tightly in the soft hair at the nape of Oikawa’s neck, and the noises he’s making sound so happy he's slightly mortified at his shamelessness. But his head is buzzing pleasantly, drinking in everything that Oikawa has to give him—the taste of his mouth, the heat of his body pressed so close, the feeling of his hands (beautiful, perfect) framing Hajime’s face.
The sound of the lunch bell comes and goes, and neither make a move to leave. They just kiss, something that slowly simmers down from their frenzied beginning into something slow and sweet. Hajime takes his time—he takes careful note of Oikawa’s smell, the soft plushness of his lips, the slick wetness of his tongue; everything that he never thought he’d get to touch the way he is now.
What feels like too soon Oikawa pulls away, just for a moment, just long enough to pant against Hajime’s swelling lips, just long enough to finally answer his question: “That you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and I’ll be damned if I let the best thing to ever happen to me be with someone else.”
Hajime shuts him up again, letting the way his mouth slides against Oikawa’s do the talking for him.
I love you, too.
The thing is, Hajime doesn’t mean to snoop. He’s not an overly curious creature by nature—he figures that someone else’s business is someone else’s business, and in no way concerns him. Secrets can stay secrets, and he won’t pry. He respects that some things aren’t meant for his eyes or ears, and until he has permission, he just doesn’t care enough to meddle into something that he shouldn’t.
But the notebook had already been open on Oikawa’s desk, and then the cat had jumped up, intent on gleefully ripping the paper to shreds. Oikawa was downstairs getting the both of them drinks, and Hajime was the only one around to do anything—
So he hadn’t meant to read anything, honest. But he knows Oikawa likes that notebook—it’s the one that he’d been scribbling in nonstop these past few days, and Hajime would hate to see the look on his face when he realized it’d been reduced to confetti. So he doesn’t intend to see anything. It’s just that in-between scooping Callisto back onto the floor and smoothing the wrinkled pages back out, he happens to catch a glimpse of his own name. And curiosity urges him to peer closer at what appears to be the most recent entry.
Pros and Cons of Dating Iwaizumi Hajime
- same haircut for past fifteen years
- Refuses to duet with me
- Doesn’t like anything with frosting
- Ugly shirts
- Spikes every toss I send him
- Ugly shirts (makes me look better in comparison)
- Cute butt
There are several blank lines, and then at the very bottom in perfect, careful print, surrounded by a flock of little hearts:
- The best friend I’ve ever had
When Oikawa comes back upstairs with two glasses of milk and several packages of melon bread to split between them, he barely gets the chance to set the snacks down before he’s tackled. He doesn’t ask questions as Hajime makes quick work of kissing him into a stupor.
And that’s just one of the tens of thousands of things that Hajime loves about him.