He was finally here. All those years of waiting, practicing on his own, and attempting to form a boys volleyball club in middle school were over. Although he had his friends, they never felt like a team. But now, he would now finally be able to be a part of a real team. He would have people to depend on, and people that depended on him. It would be everything he had wished for in middle school.
Hinata skipped towards the gym, heart racing even faster than he was, ready to hand in his application form. Maybe I’ll even become the next Little Giant! And defeat the king!!!!
Humming, he approached the door of the gym. I wonder what my coach and senpai will be like!!
He hopped up the steps. I hope we can all become close friends and do team bonding exercises together, like in the movies!!!!
Closing his eyes with his hand on the door handle, he mentally prepared himself. I hope the gym will have the smell of air salonpas!!!!! And with that last final thought, he yanked open the gym door and snapped his eyes open.
Hinata didn’t usually overthink things, but the night before, as he had stared down at his application form, he couldn’t help but imagine several scenarios. Of course he would be accepted, he worked his ass off the remainder of his last junior high year. But what if there were people better than him- not even by skill, but just by natural, birth given height-
Nope. Hinata had shaken his head violently and scratched at his head to ward off the negative thoughts. He wasn’t going to think about that now, mere hours before he would step into the Karasuno High School gym.
Pulling his blankets up to his chin, Hinata’s mind had simmered with the thoughts of having a real team, a real setter. He could already see his face- the king of the court, Kageyama Tobio, full of surprise and loathe and wonder at Hinata’s hard-earned skill. He couldn’t wait to see that face.
He didn’t know then that he would see it so soon.
Knees buckling and chest deflating, Hinata’s trembling hand pointed at the boy who stood in the middle of the court. He blinked rapidly because something’s wrong with his eyes. He couldn’t possibly be looking at Kageyama Tobio standing — is that the Karasuno gym outfit he had on? — where Hinata had imagined himself succeeding. No, certainly not. It couldn’t be.
He stood there frozen, pointing, gaping , for at least a solid five minutes before it finally registered; Kageyama Tobio was attending Karasuno with him. But… but I was supposed to defeat him…
All excitement had drained out of his body. Dread possessed its place, scratching at Hinata’s thoughts once more- what if they didn’t accept him? He couldn’t possibly compare to the King of the Court.
To Hinata, a universe where he didn’t play volleyball was a universe that didn’t exist. He’d imagined it several times before; what else was he good at? Definitely not school. Basketball? He was afraid of being crushed by the huge-two-meters-tall-I’m-better-than-you players. He preferred a net in between him and his opponents, thank you very much. Soccer? He would always instinctively grab the ball in his hands and get the whole team angry. Nope. Playing an instrument? Please, he was tone deaf. Volleyball was the one sport that had caught his attention as soon as he saw his first game on the shitty television for sale on the sidewalk. When he started playing, his skills were terrible (in fact he could argue that they still were), but when he had first hit a successful spike, a new feeling came over him: a mixture of amazement, wonder, and pride. From that moment on, he was completely hooked. He dedicated the rest of his junior high years practicing, every single free moment that he had. Hinata felt as though in place of blood cells, tiny volleyballs coursed through him. His whole being had become dependent on volleyball.
So the possibility of the sport being taken away from him was too much.
“Wh-WHY ARE YOU HERE??!??” he blurted out, without thinking.
Kageyama turned mid-jump to look over at him. As he landed, the ball bounced off of head. At this, he turned and glared at Hinata.
Hinata gulped loudly. He hadn’t meant to be so rude, it had just... slipped out.
Suddenly, a look of recognition came over Kageyama’s face. “I met you last year.”
Hinata smirked. Oh, so I was memorable.
“But I don’t know your name.”
Hinata’s expression dropped.
Throughout the next few weeks, a lot changed. The biggest being their discovery of the crazy quick attack that they were somehow able to pull off. But other than that, things became okay between Hinata and Kageyama. At first, things were a bit rocky, but then Hinata realized that Kageyama was just bad at socializing, which Hinata’s excessive socializing made up for. They weren’t exactly friends, but they didn’t dislike each other. Hinata wasn’t going to deny the fact that Kageyama was strangely hot; facts were facts. But he stopped himself from feeding that thought and developing a crush. It wasn’t worth it; he cared too much about the team and the sport. They operated in a partnership, and the mutual silent agreement that they would not associate with each other past volleyball. Hinata was fine with that. Content.
But then he overheard a conversation. He was starting to bike home, when he realized that he forgot his phone in the clubroom. Typical Hinata. Sighing, he turned his bike around to head back.
As he climbed the steps to the clubroom, he heard hushed voices coming from inside. He stopped in his tracks. He liked to think of himself as a morally good person, but his phone was in the room, and he also lived for gossip. Quietly creeping near the door, he started to identify the voices speaking.
“OOOH!! You should tell him on Valentine’s! He would love that!!” The person saying this was trying to be quiet but evidently couldn’t keep his excitement in. Hinata chuckled. Noya-senpai. He could relate.
“Don’t feel pressured to tell him. Only when you think you’re ready,” a soothing voice assured someone else in the room. That was Suga-senpai.
“AHAHAHHAHA VALENTINE’S DAY??? THAT’S SO CHEESY AHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHA!” The third voice didn’t even try to be quiet.
“Tanaka-kun! Don’t be rude!” Suga reprimanded, followed by a faint smack, a grunt, and a ‘Suga-san, that hurt!’
“Well I for one think that it’s very cute, and you’re brave for doing so,” yet another person commented. The encouraging and fatherly tone could only belong to Daichi-senpai.
Hinata leaned in to hear better, his mind racing with thoughts. Valentine’s day? What could they possibly be talking about? Were they actually going to perform the male stripper act they had ironically planned for Kinoshita’s birthday? But his birthday was the day after Valentine’s day and they were only joking when they thought of the idea —
“Are you going to confess?” Noya asked. “You should!! Awe you guys would be cute together.”
Pieces were forming in Hinata’s mind but he couldn’t quite string them together. Valentine’s day, cute, brave, cheesy confessions — what could possibly connect them together?
“How are you going to say it?” Hinata was snapped out of his thoughts by Suga’s inquiry and his attention once again turned back to the conversation.
There was a stretch of silence. Even though he couldn’t see what was going on, Hinata could feel everyone in the clubroom anticipating the answer. He himself was straining his ears as well, hanging onto every word. The silence was thick and demanding.
Finally, a new voice spoke up. Hinata could instantly tell that this was the person that was the main subject of the entire conversation. The voice was shy, unsure, and eerily familiar. “Um... I-I don’t think I will.”
He was shocked, unsure if he had heard correctly. Kageyama?? Insecure??? Somehow those words didn’t fit together. But when the voice spoke again, Hinata confirmed that it was definitely Kageyama’s voice.
“He is…silly...cheerful, and… so easy to be comfortable around.” Kageyama sounded uncomfortable and had trouble getting the words out. “He makes friends instantly. Everybody loves him. He is lovable.” He paused. “But I am… I’m just Kageyama: controlling, resting bitch face apparently-” he paused at this new vocabulary that had been given to him by his classmates “-and egotistical. And abnormal. Apparently I talk abnormally formally.” Another pause. “And when you take volleyball out of the equation, I am quite boring to be around. I am...not much for conversation either.” Yet another pause. “I don’t know… there’s no way that someone like him could possibly find interest in someone like me. At least in the way that I find interest in him.”
The hesitance in Kageyama’s voice was unsettling. His voice trembled with doubt and vulnerability. Hinata was so used to his biting remarks and scowls — they were what made him Kageyama. But Hinata knew he had more depth than that; Kageyama used his bitterness as an outlet because he was just simply bad at expressing his feelings. His thoughts were mercilessly rapid, overpowering his control over what he said, resulting in angry words. He scowled not because he was narcissistic but because he was thinking; he made the same face while he was trying to read, when he was watching a volleyball game, and when he was choosing which milk he wanted from the vending machine.
Hinata had the pleasure of seeing that face he made often. He noticed the little crease between his eyebrows when he squinted, the sharp focus of his eyes, and when he pouted, his lips were faintly more pink and looked soft and-
Hinata opened his mouth to scream but immediately clamped his hands over his mouth. If he hadn’t remembered the situation he would’ve screamed at his intrusive thoughts. Was he just thinking about Kageyama’s lips? Certainly not, he couldn’t have been…
Hinata shook his head in an attempt to clear it. He doesn’t like Kageyama in a romantic way, right? They’re volleyball partners, nothing more.
And besides, Kageyama liked… someone else… a lot apparently. Enough to confess.
Hinata sighed inwardly and began to walk away. He couldn’t afford to have an existential crisis outside the club room in public. Having fully forgotten his phone, Hinata quietly trailed off, thinking.
“Aw Kageyama, you should be more confident in yourself! Everyone on this team likes you and considers you a close friend, especially Hinata!” Suga assured him. Hinata stopped in his tracks. Never in his life had the sound of his name made his blood run cold.
“Yeah, you can tell how much he admires you; he always looks at you like you’re the second Little Giant.” The sound of Tanaka broslapping Kageyama’s back rang clearly.
Hinata almost screamed again. Why were they talking about the Little Giant?
“If I’m being honest, I’d say Hinata likes you back.” Noya cheerfully adds.
“I agree. So yeah, you should definitely confess.” Daichi says.
Hinata didn’t think as his feet carried him forward. The pieces finally fit together in his head — the confessions, the insecurities, the encouragement — why was he so stupid to not see it before?
The sensation of his heart racing faster than his feet was familiar; he had felt it on his first day bounding to Karasuno. The excitement of the unknown made his chest and heart betray his thoughts.
“— aahhh!” In his excitement to barge into the room, he didn’t notice a bag right next to the door.
Maybe he was just being dramatic, but Hinata watched it happen in slow motion. The floor rushing up towards his face, his sneakers losing stability, and his arms windmilling frantically. His life flashed before his eyes. He closed them and thought hard about what the last moments of his life should be. I hope mom and Natsu know I love them.
Everything was in slow motion but he wasn’t; he always defied the rules, the limits, it’s why he was called the king. As suddenly as he tripped, he was stopped, mere centimeters from the ground.
He slowly opened his eyes and blinked a few times. I’m not dead…?
As he looked at the hands supporting his body weight, he noticed their familiarity. In his still half-delirious state, he thought about how much he liked those hands, how strong they were, how dependable they were. How he loved when those hands sent him the perfect set. How carefully clipped the nails were. How much he had always wanted to hold those hands.
His gaze travelled to the arm connected to the hands. They were strong and capable, just like the hands. They held him easily, without straining. There was the perfect amount of muscle, with faint veins running through through the forearms. Without thinking, Hinata touched the arm, fingers coming to a rest on the wrist. Maybe he was imagining it, maybe it was his own pulse, but he felt a rapid heartbeat.
His eyes, still wide with confusion, skimmed past the shoulders and neck, landing on the smooth skin of a nose that was strangely close to his own. Hinata thought about how cute it was when it wrinkled up when its owner was studying or trying to pick which milk to buy from the vending machine.
And then, the eyes. Calm dark blue reminded Hinata of the deep ocean. Hinata loved his eyes the most.
It was the little things like this that Hinata had grown to be fond of.
Kageyama was also the only person who matched Hinata’s own intensity and passion towards volleyball. The only person who matched his level of competitivity. The only person who was able to dig out Hinata’s elementary school days of squabbling.
Hinata thought back to what Kageyama had said about himself. Sure, he was weird, but so was Hinata. He would go so far to say that he was even more weird than Kageyama in many ways.
He also understood that Kageyama was a quiet person, and that he thought of himself as boring. But with him, Kageyama wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. Always brutally honest. Sometimes unfortunately.
And he wasn’t controlling and egotistical. At least not on Karasuno. He had just wanted the best for his team in junior high and was misunderstood by his teammates. But now that had changed. He was at Karasuno now, and had become someone who understood the importance of a team.
When their eyes met, Hinata felt like the new and clueless person he was a few weeks prior. No matter how much time they spent together and no matter how much Hinata would get used to Kageyama’s antics, he would never get used to his eyes. At times they could be sharp and calculating, but other times they could be excited and overjoyed. Now they were unreadable, serious.
Kageyama’s forehead bumped against his own. He touched his nose to Hinata’s. Hinata’s eyes stayed wide open until he realized what Kageyama was trying to do. Kageyama had stopped halfway, almost as if too shy to close the gap. “Dork.” Hinata whispered before pressing his lips against Kageyama’s.
It was hesitant at first and the awkwardness was bold and screaming in both their minds. Neither had closed their eyes, so they both watched the other’s every move. It was less of a kiss and more of really awkward contact. The position of their noses were equally uncomfortable. Hinata could feel every shaky exhale out of Kageyama’s nose.
The clubroom erupted into cheers and wolf whistles. Fuck, Hinata thought. In the heat of the moment he had forgotten the room full of people. Judging by the way Kageyama inhaled sharply and scrunched his nose (Kageyama was suddenly ten times cuter), he forgot as well.
As hesitant as they kissed they pulled apart, the ghost of Kageyama’s lips still impressed on Hinata’s. From a distance Hinata could tell how red Kageyama’s face was. There was no doubt that his face was just as flushed.
Ignoring their teammates, Kageyama continued to maintain eye contact with Hinata. “Did you really mean what you said?”
A look of confusion passed across Hinata’s face. “Wait... what?”
“About…” Kageyama coughed and finally looked away. “what you said about me...”
Hinata squinted. From behind Kageyama he heard his teammates snicker.
“I like his hands,” Noya began to recite dramatically, “how strong they are, how dependable they are. How I love it when his hands send me the perfect set. How carefully clipped the nails are. I really want to hold his hand…”
Somehow Hinata grew even more red. Dread flooded his body and his knees felt weak. He crumbled to the floor, a mess of embarrassment.
Kageyama cleared his throat, saving Hinata from his misery. “But also… what you said about how you were okay with my personality...did you mean that?” His face was tinged pink.
Hinata groaned and lay down. If he could melt into the floor and die, he would. Looking up from his place on the floor, he could see all his teammates smirking at him. He really wanted to spike a volleyball at all their faces. He turned to Kageyama. “Could we maybe do this in private?” He then stared at his teammates, urging them out the door with his eyes.
They got the idea and filed out of the clubroom. As each of them passed, they whispered many good luck s and use protection s, the latter said by Tanaka and Noya.
Once the door shut, they were plunged into an awkward silence. Kageyama looked expectantly at Hinata.
“Y-yeahImeantit,” Hinata half-whispered, not making eye contact.
Hinata didn’t dare look up at Kageyama, afraid to see a look of taunt. He almost expected someone to jump and say that Kageyama was lying and it was all an elaborate prank to make fun of Hinata.
No one did. Plus, Kageyama wouldn’t do that to him.
Hinata ignored the small squeak of relief in his mind for now.
“Could we…maybe… do that.. again…?” Hinata asked uncertainly.
Kageyama nodded fervently, and in one swift movement he positioned his face to Hinata’s so that their noses weren’t uncomfortable and kissed him softly. This time, both of their eyes were closed and they weren’t hesitant and awkward.
They pulled away, breaths soft and quiet. Without hesitation, Hinata laced his fingers around Kageyama’s fingers. His hands were, as he said, strong, sturdy, dependable, and Hinata discovered, warm.
“T-That one was better.” Kageyama stuttered. Hinata’s bubbly laughter filled the clubroom.
Kageyama scowled and it took everything in Hinata’s power to not kiss the little pout. He really didn’t have to suppress it now though, he thought.
“How about we forget about that first one,” Hinata smiled.
Kageyama scoffed. “It was totally your fault. You’re bad at kissing.”
Hinata softly tapped Kageyama’s cheek. “Bakageyama.”
And then he kissed him again.
It only occurred to Hinata as he was hugging his pillow and recollecting the day’s events that he had forgotten his phone in the clubroom.