"...so I found out why Oikawa's been impatient all evening - his date didn't show," Takahiro says in lieu of a greeting towards Issei and Hajime, who just managed to fight their way through the crowd of guests to where he’s standing, off to the side (and suspiciously close to the buffet). He turns towards them, hands on his hips. "He's super pissy about it, obviously."
Hajime sighs. "I knew something was gonna go wrong, honestly."
Issei nods. "And he was so eager to show his sister what a hot babe he's dating, too. I was wondering where he’d left her."
Takahiro snickers at his choice of words, but Hajime only shakes his head.
"They've been together, what, two weeks? That's way too early to spring a wedding on someone. I’m not surprised she bailed."
"...you make it sound like he proposed," Takahiro says. "Just imagine!"
"Oh come on. Context, guys! We're at his sister's wedding, you don't get to pretend you don't know that!"
But of course now that he's said it, both Takahiro and Issei gasp in surprise and exchange a theatrically shocked glance.
"We are?! Oh my goodness, I didn't bring a gift!"
Issei grabs Takahiro by the shoulder and gives him a way-too-serious look. "Don't worry, bro, I got you covered."
Takahiro lights up like a christmas tree. "Babe!"
Hajime groans into his hand as Takahiro takes the opportunity to pepper kisses all over Issei's face.
"You guys are a mess."
Takahiro stops what he's doing just long enough to shoot him a glare. "We're not. Your best friend is, though."
"...you think I should go talk to him?"
Issei rolls his eyes at him, but Hajime still looks unsure - until Takahiro whacks lightly against the side of his head. "Yes, you idiot. Go for it!"
Hajime can't help but feel like more than half of Takahiro’s enthusiasm is based on wanting Hajime to leave so he can keep trading saliva with his boyfriend - but he also hates seeing Tooru needlessly upset, so he just sighs and leaves them to it.
It's kind of a heavy cross, this friendship with Tooru... though of course he wouldn't trade it for the world. That idiot's got Hajime wrapped around his little finger, even if he doesn't know it and has been spending most of his time looking anywhere but at Hajime. It's hard, being so close but never close enough.
If he's gonna do this right, though, he can't let Tooru know that he thinks any of that. Tooru not feeling like shit is the priority here, for his own sake, but for his sister's as well - and Hajime's feelings take a back seat. He's been pining for so long, it's not really going to make a difference anymore, anyway.
So he puts on his best neutral face and walks over to where Tooru is sulking a couple tables away.
Tooru looks up when he approaches, and it looks like his mood lifts just so - Hajime almost hates himself for noticing, because he's been watching Tooru all his life, looking for these tiny signs.
Right now, he's hiding. At least he's acknowledged Hajime's presence, and he's not completely apathetic. Hajime's talked him down from worse.
"...got stood up?" he asks. Tooru huffs, avoiding his gaze, but his expression is more than enough of an answer. Thanks for refusing to explain and looking pouty during the ceremony, idiot.
"Well, she was stupid, then," Hajime says simply. Tooru looks up at him in surprise.
"You don't even know her!"
Hajime shrugs. "Don't have to. If she stood you up, she's stupid. No one in their right mind would do that."
Tooru opens his mouth, and there's a spark in his eyes, one that Hajime has missed, hasn't seen there in weeks- but then he stops himself, and the light vanishes.
"...thank you, Iwa-chan," he says, but he almost sounds sadder than before.
It takes conscious effort to not groan out loud, and Hajime settles for a small sigh. "C'mon. You're better than this." Because he is, he is. Some girl's opinion (or terrible judgement) shouldn't shake him.
Tooru just shrugs, and it hurts to see him so... listless.
"...you really liked her, huh?"
Tooru bites his lip.
"...I- I liked the idea of her," he says finally, and he can't meet Hajime's gaze anymore. "Didn't know her well enough to like her."
Ah, but Hajime can tell his pride is hurt. Cheering him up when he’s like this requires-
An idea crosses his mind, and before he can dismiss it or think better of it, he acts.
It takes a second to register - and then Tooru's lips part as he stares at Hajime like he'd just offered to stop the earth from spinning.
So this is happening.
Hajime jerks his head towards the dancefloor. It's filled with couples - this is a wedding, after all - and it looks like they're waltzing right now. Not Hajime's forte, but it'll have to do. "C'mon. I know you love this stuff."
"And I'm sick of you sulking around here on your own. Come on. You look so pouty and brooding over here and it's a real downer-" He's babbling. He should really stop talking.
Tooru still looks like the roof just caved in over his head. "But- Iwa-chan, you hate dancing!"
Hajime shrugs. "No, I don't."
"You do! And you always complain that I step on your feet, and that I'm too tall-"
Yeah, he remembers this. Tooru made him practice with him so he could impress his sister. Not like Hajime knows any more about dancing than Tooru does, but Tooru was weirdly persistent about it. Please, Iwa-chan, you know I can’t ask Makki or Mattsun to do this-
"It's fine if you don't want t-"
They both freeze, and Tooru seems as startled by his own outburst as Hajime is. Color rises to his cheeks, and he scrambles to his feet, as if he's afraid Hajime will walk away any second now. He even grabs him by the wrist, trying his best to look dignified instead of desperate.
"You offered," he says, already pouting again, "you don't get to take it back."
Hajime shakes his head in exasperation - if Tooru needs to be the one in control, then so be it. Honestly, sometimes being his friend is like being friends with a kindergartener.
"I'm not taking it back,” he says, proud that he manages a shrug. “Let's dance."
...in all honesty, he should have taken it back. He knows he's not really good at this, and they're going to be a mess - he's about to tell Tooru as much when he turns to face him as they position themselves at the edge of the dance floor, but then he stops. Because even though Tooru isn't looking at him (he's got his eyes firmly fixed on his shoes, face almost entirely hidden from view by his fringe), he's got a tight grip on Hajime's hand, and from what Hajime can see of his face-
He's doing his best to suppress it, biting his lip hard enough that it looks painful, but... he's smiling. And not one of those quiet, modest smiles - it's the loud, bright one, the one that takes over his entire face instantaneously, the one that carries up to his eyes and never fails to leave Hajime speechless.
Hajime clears his throat, decidedly swallowing the suggestion that they're going to make complete fools of themselves. He'd do anything to keep Tooru smiling like that.
"...I'm gonna lead, is that okay?" he asks instead, and he really hopes so, because it's the only way he knows how.
Tooru nods, without looking up, and steps closer ever so slightly to let Hajime place a hand on his waist, lifting his own hand and resting it over Hajime's upper arm.
"Remember how it goes?"
Tooru lets out a little sound that might have been a shy laugh - but Hajime isn't quite so far gone as to let himself believe that Tooru is honestly embarrassed. They're just going to dance. It's not a big deal.
"...you're gonna have to help me, you know I'm shit at this."
At this, Tooru shakes his head. "You're good, Iwa-chan. J-just lead. It'll work out."
And damn it, why does that reassure him more than anything else?
"Fine. But don't laugh at me."
He can tell Tooru is preparing a retort, and he doesn't really want to hear it - he can feel himself already wanting to back out again, so before he can do that, he counts down the steps in his head in time with the music, increases the pressure on Tooru's waist and starts moving.
Tooru lets out a little gasp, but it's not enough to completely startle him, and though his first step is a little off, he catches up right away.
Hajime is so surprised that this is actually working, they're doing this, that he almost leads them to collide with a couple to their left. He swerves narrowly to avoid them, and Tooru stumbles a little - not that he could fall far, with Hajime holding on to him like that.
"Sorry," he mutters, and Tooru is still looking at their feet, getting them back in sync. It's... kind of adorable. "...hey."
"Hm?" Tooru says, without looking up.
"...remember the first rule, though? Don't look down."
If Tooru was hiding his blush earlier, he definitely can't now. He lifts his head, and Hajime realizes that it probably wasn't such a smart idea to tell him to look up - because now their faces are dangerously close to one another, and there's nothing more distracting than seeing Tooru's eyes (and his lips) up close.
Hajime is the first to look away, and he hides it under the pretense of changing their direction and not bumping into any more couples, but they only get two or three more turns in anyway before the song ends.
He moves to step away, but Tooru's grip suddenly tightens. He's still afraid Hajime will run away, huh?
"...could have been worse," Hajime says with a sheepish grin, and Tooru meets his gaze, almost a little startled. Then he snorts, and they're both laughing. Hajime pulls him a little closer - not even on purpose, really, it's just because there's people pushing past them - and Tooru's eyes widen ever so slightly, before he feels someone brush against his back and understands the situation.
Hajime almost sighs out loud, and wishes he didn't have to look for an excuse to be close to Tooru like this.
"Wanna try another one?"
Tooru seems to have caught himself, because he bats his eyelashes at him with an expression that's almost coy and says "...if you insist...?"
Hajime rolls his eyes. "...'least you're not sulking anymore. Idiot."
Tooru hides his honest smile under a smirk. "Just because you look so dumb, Iwa-chan."
"Sure, sure. Stop insulting me and pay attention - it's starting."
The second song is a little faster than the first, and Hajime finds that a lot easier to manage, somehow. Also, it gives him an excuse to be too busy guiding them across the floor to actually have a lot of eye contact with Tooru. That doesn't mean that he can't feel Tooru's gaze, though, like physical heat dragging over his skin.
He’s still not sure if this was such a great idea - it seems to have cheered Tooru up, which was the original plan, but… Hajime hadn’t accounted for the way his heart would be hammering in his chest, or how close they’d be together, especially since more and more people seem to be joining them now.
He steers them away from the center of the action with a couple of larger steps, careful not to trip over his own or Tooru's feet in the process.
"Sorry," he says, steadying them again. "Got too full."
Great, Hajime. Eloquent. Charming.
He's not even sure what he's trying to do, at this point.
That's the problem with Tooru - he blurs the lines, all the damn time. How is Hajime supposed to know what he wants, if at one moment Tooru is draping himself over him, or cuddling way too close under the sheets when he decides to stay over, and the next he's proudly announcing his newest girlfriend?
It's hard to tell, really, and Hajime has the growing suspicion that he's something like a stepping stone for Tooru - an anchor, sure, but one he only comes back to when his other relationships fail. Because he knows Hajime won't drop him. He couldn't.
The worst part of this is that Hajime doesn't even really... mind all that much. Truthfully.
He should, probably.
This limbo is not the best place to be in, because it means he's always waiting for Tooru to come back - and he can never move on. It means living in constant fear of this being the last time, of Tooru finally finding whatever he's looking for and settling down.
If he’s honest, he sometimes hopes Tooru will never find it - because that’d mean that Hajime doesn’t have to move on. Their stupid, dysfunctional, unspoken arrangement would stay, and Tooru would come and curl up around him after each breakup, and either rant away all his anger or drench Hajime’s shirt in his tears - but either way, Hajime would wake up with Tooru’s arms wrapped tightly around him, and, more often than not, his breath warm over the skin of his neck, lips pressed in close like Tooru had fallen asleep kissing him.
It doesn’t cost him anything to dream.
Hajime drags himself back into the present, back to the boy whose face is way, way too close still and whose fingers are clenched tightly around his own.
It’s dangerous to let himself drift like this, given the situation he’s gotten himself into.
He takes a breath, working up the nerve to look up and into Tooru’s face.
“...you’re quiet,” Hajime observes. Everything alright?
Tooru shrugs, in the most unconvincing attempt at nonchalance that Hajime has ever seen. His first instinct is to call him out immediately, because that’s what he’s conditioned himself to do. Tooru seems to think so too, because when Hajime opens his mouth, he’s already flinching in apprehension.
“...are you okay?”
Tooru meets his gaze again, surprised. He catches himself quickly, though, shaking his head dismissively. He doesn’t answer the question, leaving the next couple of steps to silence before he finally opens his mouth.
“...Iwa-chan, why are we dancing?”
Hajime frowns. “Because I asked and you agreed…?”
He’s almost waiting for some sort of trick question, but Tooru’s disgruntled expression tells him he’s wrong.
“Why’d you ask?”
Hajime almost misses a step, and takes a second to get them back on track, increasing the pressure on Tooru’s waist. He probably didn’t notice.
“...because you were alone and looked sort of... down? And I know you like dancing, so-”
“So you’re doing this out of pity?”
Hajime’s eyes, which had been drifting again, snap back to Tooru’s face.
“-because you couldn’t stand seeing me upset? Or- for my sister? To not let me ruin her wedding day with my mood-”
“No,” Hajime cuts in. What the hell are you thinking?! “I… I suggested it because I thought it’d cheer you up, okay? Because I actually care if you’re miserable. It’s called being a decent person.”
Tooru scoffs, and Hajime almost believes this conversation is over - but Tooru wouldn’t let him have the last word like this, especially since he still seems like something is bothering him.
“Would you have offered if Haruka-chan hadn’t cancelled?”
Hajime hesitates, getting them a little out of rhythm again. He speeds up his steps, throwing Tooru a look. The one he gets in return tells him that he did notice.
Ah, what the hell.
“...honestly? I… don’t think so.”
Tooru’s expression is practically unreadable - or it would be, if Hajime hadn’t spent his entire life searching that face for the tiniest of signs.
Right now, though he’s trying to mask it -
“Why not?” Tooru asks, and if Hajime didn’t know better, he’d say he sounds… disappointed?
“Because…” Hajime hesitates, searching for words, for ways to say this that wouldn’t completely give him away. “...because I wouldn’t want to get between you and your date.”
Tooru looks down. “...so you weren’t… I don’t know. Thinking about… asking me, at all?”
He sounds hurt, definitely. It makes no sense. Unless...
“It’s not like you would have been available? I can’t very well take you away from your date, can I?” Hajime defends.
“You could, if you really wanted to,” Tooru says, almost defiantly.
“...so now you’re mad at me for… not being a jerk to your girlfriend?”
At this, Tooru huffs. “She wasn’t my girlfriend.”
“Potential girlfriend. Love interest. Whatever.” Hajime waves their joined hands a little in a throwaway gesture.
“...yeah, whatever,” Tooru echoes. Hajime just wishes he’d look up at him again.
“Look, just… I don’t know, okay? I don’t know what would have happened if things had gone differently today.”
“It is pity,” Tooru insists, eyes fixed on the front of Hajime’s suit. “Because if she hadn’t ditched me, you wouldn’t have offered. You offered because you thought I needed cheering up.”
Hajime frowns at him again. “That’s not-”
“So you’re an opportunist, then.”
Hajime clicks his tongue. “Really, Oikawa?”
And he’s kind of lost his patience now. “Okay, fine. Yes, I was trying to cheer you up, okay? And yeah, maybe I saw a chance and took it.”
He doesn’t mean to snap, and Tooru flinches, ever so slightly. Hajime sighs, forcing himself to calm down, to breathe. “Maybe I seem like someone who plans everything through, but honestly I’m not, and you know that. I don’t get what you’re so upset about. We’re here now, aren’t we?”
There’s a brief silence, and Hajime realizes that the song has stopped.
Tooru mutters something under his breath that sounds like “maybe I wanted you to have thought about it.” He’s not letting go.
“...if you wanted to dance with me, you could have just asked me, though,” Hajime points out, trying not to dwell on what he thinks he just heard.
Tooru scoffs. “Now how would that look, huh? Me leaving my date to go dance with you.”
“Oh, but when I’m the one suggesting it, it’s fine? Oikawa - you sound like you would have wanted to ditch her, so why even invite her in the first place?”
A new song is starting, but neither of them pays it any mind. It’s a little surreal, standing still when there’s movement all around them - but Hajime can't seem to bring himself to care.
He watches Tooru, and it’s almost like he can see the cogs churning in his brain.
“...cause I didn’t think I’d get what I want anyway,” he says finally, quietly.
Hajime hesitates, and becomes acutely aware of how his heart is hammering against his chest. What I want-
“So… you didn’t want to bring her. But... you invited her, and bragged about it to literally everyone?”
Tooru doesn’t say anything, and he’s still not meeting Hajime’s eyes.
Maybe it’s time to push.
“...Oikawa, if you want something to change, you should let people know you’re available. Unless… unless you think the person you want to notice you is the type of person who’d break up a relationship in which you seem happy.”
Tooru smiles sadly. “...still hypothetical, Iwa-chan? Even now?”
Tooru pushes against his arm, lightly, and steps forward to get them moving again. Hajime complies, taking the lead. This song is slower, and it doesn’t require much movement at all, but there’s a strange sense of relief that comes with letting himself be swept along with the music and the people around them. It’s not enough to drown out the unease that Hajime feels, though, because he knows they’re nearing some sort of breaking point.
“...I thought I was plenty obvious with who this is about,” Tooru continues. “But you’re still… still talking like you don’t know.”
Like you don’t want anything to change, is what Tooru doesn’t say - but Hajime hears it in the tone of his voice, sees it in the resigned set of his shoulders and that heartbroken smile that he wishes he’ll never have to see again.
Before he can think of what to say, of how to do this (at the culmination of years and years of chasing Tooru, of doubting his own worth, of fearing rejection), Tooru seems to have made his decision.
He looks up, finally meeting Hajime’s eyes, and it’s like he can hear him think it.
"Iwa-chan, I... have a confession."
Hajime doesn’t know what to do with the sudden surge of emotion he feels as he looks up and Tooru is right there to meet him, and though Hajime can feel that he’s nervous - can tell by the way his grip has tightened and he’s shaking, just so - his gaze is certain. Like there’s no going back.
...until it breaks, huh?
"I have one, too," Hajime says finally.
Tooru gives him the tiniest of nods, almost too small to notice - but Hajime knows him, knows what to look for.
This next move is on Tooru.
He doesn’t seem to want to talk just yet, so the music playing overhead fills the silence between them as they keep dancing. The movements are subconscious by now, secondary behind Hajime’s thoughts and his heightened awareness of Tooru, of the breaths he draws and of the heartbeat he feels against his palm.
There was bound to be an end to their lifelong game of back and forth, but Hajime hadn't expected it to be today.
He doesn’t know what he expected when he offered to dance with Tooru - in hindsight, he might have wanted to think this through-
The song transitions into a more subdued bridge, and Hajime is caught off guard by Tooru pulling himself closer, stepping up until there's no space left between them and resting his head on Hajime's shoulder. He runs his hands up Hajime’s back and holds on, fingers digging into the fabric over his shoulders.
It’s not a huge thing, this closeness, nothing they haven’t had before. But given the context, it feels monumental.
It’s like Tooru is making an offer. He should be the first one to speak, and Hajime is sure he will be - but he needs to be sure, first. He needs to cross the line in more ways than one. That’s what this is.
Before he can second-guess himself, Hajime exhales and draws him in, his grip tightening around Tooru’s waist as he adjusts to this new position.
Tooru stiffens, ever so slightly.
“Iwa-chan,” he whispers.
Now that they’re this close, Hajime is losing sight of everything and everyone else - the only thing that really matters is the boy in his arms. He lets himself breathe in Tooru’s scent, something he hasn’t had the courage to do except in moments of vulnerability for the both of them, when they’re curled up around each other with no space left between them, and Hajime wonders if maybe, maybe Tooru feels something similar.
“You’re not pushing me away.”
And he sounds so… small. Hopeful. Hajime tightens his grip, just a little bit.
Tooru moves closer still, hiding his face like it would hide him from the world. His fingers slip up to the back of Hajime’s neck, brushing against the hair at the nape.
And Hajime says it, then, because it’s so easy to forget who they are, who they’ve been, the unspoken rules he’s set for himself. It slips out. “I’ve got you.”
Tooru inhales sharply, and his fingers still.
There’s a tiny, terrible moment when he thinks this is it, he’s gone too far - and then Tooru chuckles.
“...you always have,” he says, quiet and soft.
“...’course,” Hajime says, automatic, gruff.
“You’re too good for me, Iwa-chan.”
Hajime lets out an incredulous sound. “Bullshit.”
He doesn’t answer that, but he doesn’t need to. Tooru is pulling back, so he can give Hajime the smallest, the most honest of his smiles - the one that has Hajime’s insides melting, throat constricting around his next breath. How, how does Tooru keep doing this to him?
“Come with me,” Tooru says, and he steps out of Hajime’s arms to take the lead.
The song’s not over yet, but it seems that he’s done with waiting. Tooru doesn’t let go of his hand as he guides them through the crowd of gently swaying people towards the end of the room, where there’s less people, less noise - less interference.
Hajime lets himself be tugged past a cluster of tables until they reach one of the pillars supporting the wide room, large and ornate and definitely enough to hide them from view and give them some feeble semblance of privacy while the party continues behind them.
They step around the pillar, into the shadows behind it - and before Hajime can even open his mouth, Tooru has caged him in, fingers clenching over Hajime’s arms.
It’s almost the same as on the dancefloor - except it isn’t, not at all. Hajime is acutely aware of his own heartbeat, even more so than he’d been before, and of how heavily each breath he draws seems to rattle inside his lungs. And Tooru is so close, so much closer than necessary. And without a good excuse.
Hajime realizes that he doesn’t have an excuse either, for bringing his arms up around him, for holding on and hoping this will last. Damn this.
Tooru is the first to speak.
“Thank you,” he says, voice quiet, guarded.
“...for what?” Hajime asks, and he can’t help the soft smile on his face, despite the anxious energy coursing through his veins. Tooru isn’t quite looking at him, nervous eyes flitting across the room over Hajime’s shoulder - but they’re bound to flit back to Hajime soon enough. He always finds him, somehow. Always has.
“For… for doing whatever it takes to make me hate myself less,” Tooru says. “And, just... for everything, really.”
Hajime shakes his head a little. Something doesn’t sit quite right with him. “I don’t-”
“...for saving me from that beetle when we were five,” Tooru continues, fingers clenching over the fabric of Hajime’s suit. He’s smiling, but it’s tight now, pressed. “For taking the blame for so many of my stupid ideas. For… always following me to make sure I didn’t hurt myself. For… for catching my tears and saving me, every single time.”
And oh, his voice breaks, crumbling away as he pushes out a sob - he’s crying. Tooru is crying.
Out of everything he could have said or done, this hits Hajime the hardest. He’s always hated seeing Tooru cry, and he’s always done everything in his power to make it better.
Now is no exception.
Hajime reaches up, on instinct, and wipes away Tooru’s tears with his thumb. He’s not sure if he’s supposed to speak just yet, so he waits, and manages the smallest of smiles. He hopes it’s reassuring.
“...you’re s-still doing that, even now,” Tooru says, hunching over, shoulders shaking. His fingers are digging into Hajime’s arms. “...you’re always t-there. I’ve never… I’ve never thanked you for that.”
And it’s too much.
“...Oikawa, you don’t need to thank me for that. Not ever.”
Why, why does it sound like he’s saying goodbye?
Tooru is pulling back, looking up to meet his gaze, and the pain in his eyes makes it feel like Hajime has been stabbed in the chest. His tears have stopped, but there’s tracks tracing his cheeks.
“You’re… you’ve been my everything, Hajime, for way, way too long. I don’t know how to exist without you - so… I’m sorry.”
And like he can’t hold on anymore, like this is too much for him, too, Tooru crumples, falls forward, and Hajime does what he has always done - he gathers him up into his arms, pulling him close and squeezing tightly, hoping, praying that Tooru can feel the pounding of his heart, the screams in his mind, I love you, I love you.
“Tooru- Tooru, hey. Hey. You don’t have to- don’t cry, don’t- ...you think I have any more of an idea who I am without you there to show me? We’ve been through everything together. My life makes no sense without you in it.”
Instead of reassuring him, that seems to only harden Tooru’s resolve. He pulls back, forcing back the fresh tears that are welling up in his eyes.
“I know,” he says. “And I’m sorry I’m… I’m going to break us.”
“Oikawa- there’s nothing you could say-”
“I love you.”
It’s like everything just… stops. Hajime hears the words, but this-
He’d seen it coming, he thinks dimly. It shouldn’t be a surprise. There’s nothing else Tooru could have been leading up to. And yet-
“I love you, Iwa-chan. Always have. And… I know this isn’t… this isn’t how we should be. I know we’re friends. Best friends. We grew up together, no one knows me like you do - I know we’ve been like family-”
“No,” Hajime says, and Tooru actually gasps.
“I mean- yes,” he corrects, willing Tooru to understand, fingers clenching around his waist, “but- not just that.”
He braces himself for what he’s about to say - not something that he would, under normal circumstances, but this is Tooru, for Tooru, who just said he loves-
“Not… not just that. You’re… the person closest to me. ...we’re partners.”
And then, forcing himself to hold Tooru’s wide-eyed gaze, he says: “I trust no one more than you. And… I’ll also never love anyone more.”
But there’s a voice calling out suddenly, drowning out his voice before he can finish, before he can fully grasp what’s happening.
Tooru turns, startled, pulling away from Hajime to see his sister bounding towards them.
She's gotten rid of the large, flowing gown she'd been wearing for the ceremony - now she's in a slim, elegant, golden dress that looks a lot easier to move around in. Miyu has always, like Tooru, had a presence that commanded a room, but now she's practically dazzling. Hajime is pretty sure it's her smile - she looks positively ecstatic, even as she glances over her shoulder at something before refocusing on him and Tooru.
"Oh, Miyu, hey!" Tooru says, trying to sound pleasantly surprised, quickly brushing his sleeve over his face to get rid of any trace of his tears. It comes out a little squeaky, unnatural - but Miyu is excited, bubbly, and if she hears it, she doesn’t mention it.
Tooru smiles, but his hand tightening in Hajime's - he didn’t let go? - tells a different story.
"There you are," she says as she reaches them, practically throwing her arms around Tooru's neck and hugging him tightly. "Ah, I'm so happy you're here! Mom is driving me nuts - if she asks, you have no idea where I went, yeah?"
Tooru gives her a grin as she pulls back, and she beams at him. "Knew I could count on you. Oh, also - congratulations?"
Hajime sees Tooru's eyes widen ever so slightly - a telltale sign of dread - as Miyu's eyes flicker down to their joined hands. "You know, I thought you were just bragging when you said you had an amazing date - but this is even better than I would have expected! Finally got yourselves sorted out, did you?"
"Ah,” Tooru says, already dismissing the idea with a shake of his head as his cheeks turn a brilliant red, “we're-"
But Hajime squeezes Tooru's hand, firmly telling him to shut up. "Guess we did. Thank you for always letting me tag along, Miyu-nee."
She frowns briefly before waving her hand at him. "Nonsense, Hajime, you're family! You know the team is always welcome, but you especially!”
He smiles, and it doesn’t feel so forced anymore, even though Tooru’s iron grip on his hand is not doing helping his nerves at all.
“Ah, but I'm glad it's you,” Miyu says, taking a step back to look at the two of them. “I don't need to give you the Talk, do I? If you hurt my baby brother, you know you'll regret it."
Hajime increases the pressure on Tooru's hand, but it doesn't seem like he's going to interrupt anymore - so he grins at Miyu and recites: "You will find me, and you will kill me. Got it."
She laughs - and then her eyes catch on something over Hajime's shoulder. "Oh shit, that's her, gotta run! Talk to you later!" And with that, she ducks past the next table, into the nearest group of people and out of sight.
Hajime lets his eyes linger on the spot where she disappeared, before he turns his attention back to Tooru, who still has Hajime’s hand grasped tightly in his own.
“Iwa-chan,” he says, barely a breath, barely audible.
“...hey,” Hajime whispers back.
He’s got this complicated, torn-up look on his face and Hajime isn’t sure he likes it.
“She’s got some pretty bad timing, huh?” he says, managing a small smile. Tooru tries to return it, but he’s too tense. There’s too much uncertainty left, and Hajime needs to fix this, now.
“You can forget about what I said,” Tooru blurts, too fast and with his eyes suddenly fixed on the floor. “If- if you- if it bothers you- ...you know our friendship is the most important, I know it is to you, too, so if you want to just-”
Hajime waits, but Tooru doesn’t look up, and his free hand is clenched into a fist. Hajime reaches for it, carefully prying Tooru’s fingers apart to fit his own between them, forcing him to unclench.
“...maybe listen to what I have to say first…?”
And finally, Tooru is looking at him again, eyes wide and so hopeful.
“Y-you just... told my sister we’re dating,” he whispers. “Did- did you-”
“...I kinda did, huh?” Hajime smiles sheepishly. “Guess I was being a bit optimistic there.”
“...optimistic,” Tooru echoes.
“Mhm. I didn’t get the chance to ask first.”
Tooru’s grip on Hajime’s fingers is bordering on uncomfortable, and he’s staring, holding his breath-
“...but I do. Uhm. Want to, I mean.”
“Date me...?” Tooru asks, tiny and breathless.
And he’s still staring, disbelief all over his face. “You- you want to- date. Me.”
Hajime lets out a little laugh. “...well, yeah. That’s… that’s usually what happens after a confession, or not? You- you get rejected, or you date.”
When Tooru doesn’t respond, he tacks on, “...not that I’m the expert here. But- you know. If you want, we could- yeah.”
It’s kind of hard to keep eye contact because Tooru still isn’t saying anything, and Hajime doesn’t understand; this was supposed to be the part where it gets easier, where the pieces fit together-
“...you want to date me,” Tooru whispers, and oh.
There’s more tears, this time, silent and heavy as they slide down Tooru’s cheeks. “You want. You want to date me.”
Hajime can’t take this. He lets go of Tooru’s fingers in favor of cupping his face in his hands, making sure that he’s looking at him.
“...’course I do. Shittykawa. Who else would I-” He stops, chuckling weakly. “I’m not good at this, okay, but- everything you said just then? I’m- I feel the same way. So, yeah. I wanna date you. I wanna hold your stupid hand and be your stupid boyfriend.”
Tooru chokes on a sob, lips pressed together tightly to prevent any sound from coming out. Still holding his breath. Still waiting. Hoping.
“I’d like to keep… being the person beside you,” Hajime says, offering a small smile. “And maybe… do it properly now. ...is- is that okay?”
Tooru allows himself a small breath, lips parting, and a nervous chuckle bubbles out of his throat. “Does- does that mean y-you- you love-”
“Yeah,” Hajime says. Because screw being careful. Screw all the waiting and hoping and longing. This is happening, and though he sort of can’t believe it, there’s also no way Tooru doesn’t deserve everything.
...despite everything, he stutters a little, not used to the name. Tooru’s eyes go even wider.
“...Tooru,” Hajime says. It feels right. “I love you, too.”
Tooru’s lip is quivering, like he’s not sure whether to laugh or cry, and he’s reaching out, hands finding Hajime’s waist and grasping the fabric of his suit, bunching it up as he holds on.
Hajime smiles, and he feels like flying. “Yeah.”
Tooru hesitates, another fraction of a second, before his breath hitches and he throws himself into Hajime’s arms.
It’s hard to stop smiling, after that.
Tooru cries, and Hajime lets him, because who cares about his stupid suit when he’s got the entire world pressed up against his chest, shaking and blubbering, an incoherent mess of words and sounds. Tooru is just... hopeless, and Hajime’s absolute favorite thing in the universe is when he hiccups over Hajime’s first name and it’s not because he’s sad, or scared, or lonely. It’s because he finally has what he wants.
So Hajime lets him cry, lets him get it all out, pulling him as close as he can and running his hands over Tooru’s back and into his hair. He’s taller, but at that moment he seems small, and Hajime doesn’t mind protecting him now. He never has.
Not that Tooru needs protecting, most of the time - only from himself.
Hajime will gladly do that, too. He’ll be whatever Tooru needs him to be. And the best part is that he knows Tooru will do the same for him.
“...hey,” he says, when Tooru’s sobs fade to heavy breaths, and he’s calmed down just a little bit.
“...hey,” Tooru croaks back, sniffling a little.
Tooru manages a wet sort of half-laugh. “I’m with you.”
“That doesn’t really answer the question,” Hajime says, but damn, he can’t help the grin and he knows Tooru can hear it.
“Sure it does,” Tooru says stubbornly. He lifts his head, sniffs again, and then lets out another laugh. “...I’m a mess, huh.”
Hajime shrugs. “What else is new.”
Tooru gasps. “I feel so betrayed!”
They look at each other for a moment, before they both burst out laughing.
Hajime shakes his head, then holds up his hand, telling Tooru to wait as he ducks out from behind the pillar (how on earth did Miyu spot them back here, anyway?) and grabs one of the fancy, unused napkins off the nearest table.
“Let’s get you cleaned up, then,” he says, and Tooru huffs, but lets Hajime wipe his face anyway.
“...are you gonna take care of me?” Tooru asks, eyes fluttering closed as Hajime works at making him presentable again.
“...even after today?”
Hajime snorts. “I’ve been taking care of you my whole life.”
Tooru doesn’t respond to that, and Hajime slowly lowers the napkin. “...this should do.”
He turns, looking for a place to put it, when suddenly something slams into his back. He staggers under the new (familiar) weight, managing to stay upright somehow, and wheezes: “...Oikawa, what the hell-”
“Carry me~,” Tooru trills, wrapping his arms firmly around Hajime’s neck and securing his position with his legs.
“Get off me-”
“Carry me, carry me!”
“I swear to God, Oikawa-”
“Iwa-chan, Iwa-chan,” Tooru says, happy and breathless, “I love you, Iwa-chan - carry me?”
Hajime can’t help but laugh, tugging at Tooru’s arms where he’s draped them across his shoulders. “You think saying that is gonna make me do whatever you want?”
“...but I do love you,” Tooru says, almost a little dejected.
“Aw. Come on, don’t be like that. I’m not gonna carry you around just because you’re cute.”
Tooru gasps, somewhere by his ear, and Hajime can just picture how his entire face lights up.
“You think I’m cute?!”
“...maybe,” Hajime allows, and relishes in the elated little laugh he gets from Tooru in response. It feels warm. Right.
“You wouldn’t drop me,” Tooru says, with certainty.
“Probably not, no.”
“So if I just say here” - he hoists himself up a little more, legs locking together around Hajime’s waist - “you have no choice but to carry me.”
Hajime huffs, still smiling. “This is ridiculous. We can’t walk around like this. It’s your sister’s wedding, dumbass, and you’re gonna embarrass us in front of everyone.”
The thought seems to sober Tooru a little, and he loosens his grip, lowering himself back onto the floor.
“...you know- I understand if you- if you don’t want everyone to know,” he says, and Hajime already hates the uncertainty with which he’s left his hand on Hajime’s shoulder, barely even touching it. Ready to pull away.
“Idiot,” Hajime says, and reaches up to lace their fingers together. “...you’re stupid if you’d think even for a second that I want to hide this.”
Tooru bites his lip - for a moment Hajime thinks it’s because he’s nervous, but then he sees the corners of Tooru’s mouth twitch.
“...so… you’re saying you will carry me?”
Hajime snorts, and the grin that spreads across Tooru’s face is literally everything Hajime could ever have wished for.
“I’m not carrying you,” he says, firmly, because honestly. “This is okay though.” And he holds up their joined hands. “Oh, also? I feel like we could have a bit of fun with Makki and Mattsun. Don’t you?”
Tooru’s eyes are shining. “I thought you’d never ask.”
They don’t have to search for their friends for long. Takahiro and Issei have always had a knack for showing up with perfectly (in)convenient timing, and now is no exception. Sometimes Hajime thinks they must have some kind of sensors, or impeccable intuition - or, honestly, just a lot of dumb luck. That seems like the most feasible option on most occasions, anyway.
Tooru has let go of his hand and linked their arms together at the elbows, putting more weight on Hajime than is probably necessary. He’s not complaining, though. It’s kind of nice to not push him away, to not have to hide the small smile that brings to his lips as they make their way through the crowd, eyes searching for their friends’ familiar frames. Hajime doesn’t miss how Tooru snatches up a glass of champagne from the buffet as they walk (not his first one that evening, Hajime’d seen him sulking and sipping at one earlier, too) and empty it quickly before depositing it on the next table they pass.
He just shakes his head at him, and Tooru shrugs. “I’m allowed to enjoy myself, Iwa-chan.”
“I didn’t say anything.”
“Ah, there he is!” says a voice to their left, drawn out in exaggerated surprise.
“The Grand King,” a second voice joins in. “Looking grand once again!”
Hajime rolls his eyes, and Tooru tightens his grip as their two teammates (...basically former teammates, now - it’s still kind of hard to grasp that it’s over) step up beside them. Issei raises his eyebrows at them (specifically at Hajime, who is tolerating Tooru’s overly clingy behavior), and Takahiro grins widely.
“You’ve stopped sulking! There’s the vice captain’s healing power once again…”
“...though it really is a shame we couldn’t meet your hot date, Cap’n. I’m disappointed,” Issei adds, tearing his gaze from Hajime’s face to grin at Tooru as well.
Tooru puts on his most convincing, placid smile and says: “Well, any girl would have panicked in her situation… it’s okay, she was just overwhelmed. After all, getting invited to a wedding by the great Oikawa-san can be daunting-”
“God, you're so shitty,” Hajime says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she never contacts you again.”
Tooru is basically hanging off his shoulder at this point, leaning heavily on him, and Hajime doesn't flinch.
“There it is,” Issei says, and Hajime swears he sees him glance over at Takahiro, who is sporting the same grin. It’s like a well-rehearsed game, at this point.
“You love me,” Tooru says, with confidence. (Like always. But this time, the tiny hint of doubt that he usually carries, in posture and tone, is gone. Hajime wonders if the others can see it, too.)
Takahiro snorts - but this is Hajime’s cue. So he just shrugs. “Yeah.”
Tooru smiles, the real one, and Hajime starts fiddling with Tooru's fingers on his arm. Takahiro and Issei stare.
“Don't tell me.”
Tooru idly fixes his gaze on his and Hajime’s joined hands, eyebrows raised in his best feigned disinterest. Hajime has to bite the inside of his cheek to suppress the laughter that’s already climbing in his chest.
Takahiro’s mouth drops open. “...oh my god. Oh my god, Mattsun…?!”
And honestly, they couldn’t have timed this better if they’d planned for it - overhead, the song changes, and Tooru perks up, letting Hajime's fingers drop.
“Ooh, it’s a fast song, Iwa-chan, dance with me!”
Takahiro stares, and Issei is faring no better, though he’s slightly better at hiding how utterly shocked he is. Hajime deliberately lets his gaze linger on each of them before giving Tooru a smile - one that both of them can see, and that has Tooru’s eyes shining with excitement.
"Okay,” he says. “Sure."
Tooru actually giggles, bubbly and light, and grabs Hajime’s hand again to start pulling him away. “Come on then!”
Their friends don’t move, watching them leave, and Hajime doesn’t give himself the satisfaction of looking back (and revealing that maybe they’ve been using this new opportunity to mess with their chaotic duo).
And honestly, that’s the best decision he could have made - because not a second later, he and Tooru get to hear Takahiro’s shrill, incredulous cry of "DON'T YOU WALK AWAY FROM ME?!"
Issei must have stepped in because there’s no more yelling after that, though Hajime could swear he hears a confused and betrayed Takahiro say “I can’t believe this? Are they serious? What the fuck?”
Ahead of him, Tooru has his hand pressed over his mouth to muffle his laughter.
Hajime tugs him back, joining in when he meets Tooru’s gaze. “Oh my god, Makki’s face-”
Tooru tugs him closer, finds his other hand, still chuckling. “Come on, let’s dance, they’ll lose their shit-”
“You don’t think they saw us before? I’m sure they did.”
“No idea, and I don’t care. C’mon Iwa-chan, please?”
Hajime snorts. “Fine, if that’s what you want-”
“Hold it!” a new voice chimes in, unexpected but familiar, and Hajime feels someone take hold of his arm. Tooru’s eyes widen.
“Kaa-chan!” he exclaims, surprised and maybe a tiny bit terrified.
“I demand a dance, Hajime,” Tooru’s mother says, grinning up at him. Miyu was probably right to run from her - she’s practically radiating energy, and Hajime knows her too well to believe it’s all innocent.
“Come on,” she says, tugging his arm. “I haven’t seen you all evening and I refuse to believe you don’t know how. You boys have been practicing.”
Tooru looks like he’s not sure if he should laugh or be embarrassed, letting go of Hajime’s hands - but when his father steps up (because where his mother is, he’s never far behind) and chuckles, he joins in.
“Okay, okay,” Hajime manages, a little overwhelmed. Tooru meets his gaze, and then his eyes dart away.
Tooru’s mother beams, and Hajime lets himself get dragged out onto the dancefloor.
She’s shorter than Tooru - the only person he’s ever danced with - by almost a foot, and Hajime is a little thrown off at first because dancing with her is different - but she’s calm and patient with him (she always has been, though she can be a hurricane, just like her son) and soon enough, Hajime is leading her through the crowd in an up-tempo waltz.
“So, Hajime,” she says, and the smile she wears has her eyes crinkling in amusement. It’s almost ominous.
He frowns a little, not quite sure where she’s going with this and feeling the same familiar trepidation that he recognizes from when his own mother gets that knowing look - in many ways, his and Tooru’s mothers are very similar, and he’s spent enough of his childhood around Tamako and Satoru Oikawa to consider them family too, though right now that’s not helping the ominous feeling building in his stomach.
She seems to notice this right away - mothers - and her smile twists into a smirk that rivals Tooru’s. Oh, this is definitely where he gets it.
“Miyu tells me you’ve been keeping something from us…? You and Tooru are finally dating!”
Hajime almost trips over his own feet.
Tamako laughs, clear and kind. “Oh, don’t worry. I’m not here to give you the Talk about taking care of my son. I know you’ve been doing that for years,” she says, winking. “I just want to make sure everything’s okay - he’s not been taking advantage of you, has he? I know Tooru gets carried away a lot…”
This conversation is all kinds of uncomfortable already, and Hajime knows there’s no way for him to get out of it - they’re in the middle of the dancefloor, in the middle of a song, and there’s nowhere he could run. She’s planned this well.
“...ah, but you’d know, wouldn’t you?” she’s saying, and he blinks down at her, definitely blushing and embarrassed. “Tooru cares about you a lot, and I do want you to know that you’re family to us, Hajime. So if there’s anything you need, please don’t hesitate to talk to us.”
He manages a nod, and she pinches his arm, startling him and making him miss a step.
“Don’t look so worried. I’m happy for my boys! I’m sure you two will be just fine. Tooru has his quirks, but you know them - and you make him want to be better. Even when he was younger, he’d always tell me he had to be faster, stronger, smarter, to keep up with Iwa-chan.”
At this, Hajime snorts. He can’t help himself - that’s so Tooru, so typical of him - and already knows a fond smile is spreading across his face.
“...that idiot should know by now that I’m the one who has to keep up,” he says, and Tamako mirrors his smile.
“It’s not a race,” she says. “...besides, you’ve both always been more than willing to help each other out.”
There’s truth in that statement, and it must show on Hajime’s face, because her expression softens even more. Somehow, seeing her features relax calms him more than he’s willing to admit. It feels like everything’s gonna be okay, like he’s seven years old again and Tamako is patching him and Tooru up after they’d fallen off his bike.
“...’course,” he says. “If I let him run off too far, he’d just get himself hurt, anyway.”
Tamako laughs softly. “...you really love him, don’t you?”
He holds her gaze - and in that moment he’s grateful that he knows her, that she’s been a constant in his life, her and her family of incredible, caring people. He loves all of them - and most of all, he loves Tooru.
It’s not a trick question. It’s a statement of fact, indisputable, and it doesn’t really even require an answer.
He gives her one anyway.
“...yes,” he says, and admitting it feels so, so good, even though he knows he’s probably blushing furiously and he might regret saying it so openly after today. For now, it just feels like finally.
Yes, I’m in love with Tooru. Yes, I will do anything to make him happy. Yes, he’s everything.
Her smile widens. “Good.”
“...did she intimidate you, Iwa-chan?” Tooru asks, latching onto Hajime’s arm as soon as his mother lets go of him.
Tamako laughs. “Of course!” she says with another wink, and Hajime shakes his head a little, smile stretching across his face. Tooru makes a face at her, and she sticks out her tongue.
“Ah, Tooru, just a moment,” his father says, reaching for his son’s arm before they can part ways. “I haven’t given you the keys yet.”
Tooru frowns a little, not quite keeping up, and Hajime gets caught for a second, looking at where he’s clutching his arm, warm and very real, leaning into his side. “...keys?”
Satoru pulls a small keyring (with an alien keychain, undoubtedly put there by Tooru) out of his pocket and is about to hand it over when Tamako reaches out and plucks it from his fingers.
“Sorry, dear, but Tooru’s been drinking a little too much to drive, wouldn’t you say?”
She gives Hajime a grin before extending the keys towards him, and he can’t even think to ask how she might know this. She probably has eyes everywhere. “I trust you’ll get him home safely, Hajime?”
Hajime’s eyes widen. “Aren’t you-”
“Oh, we’re staying for a couple more days,” Tamako says with a smile, “somebody’s got to take care of business here after Miyu and Ryouta leave for their honeymoon.”
“We’ll be extending those duties by a short vacation,” Satoru says, “and we’re flying back. You can take the car home, and pick us up from the airport in six days - that’s the deal.”
“Oh,” Hajime says. “Uhm- are you sure it’s okay for me to-”
“Of course,” Tamako cuts in, still smiling widely. “Just don’t let him drive.” She jerks her head in the direction of her son, and Tooru whines.
“Mo-om, that’s so rude-”
“I trust he’s in good hands. As is my baby, of course?” Satoru says, ignoring Tooru’s protests.
“Dad, you care about that car more than me-”
“Don’t worry,” Hajime tells them, but he squeezes Tooru’s arm - as an apology for talking over him, and as a reassurance. It’s an unexpected responsibility, maybe, but one that Hajime is willing to take on. The prospect of driving home with Tooru is… kind of nice, actually.
“I can drive just fine,” Tooru insists - and immediately proceeds to yawn. Tamako just clicks her tongue at him, and levels her gaze at Hajime.
“Definitely not,” she says, and Hajime nods his understanding. Not like he’d let Tooru risk anything more than necessary, anyway.
If Hajime’s honest, the rest of the evening passes in a blur - though there’s not much left of it to begin with. He’s roped into a dance with Miyu when she shows up again (right after she’s danced with Tooru, definitely deliberately stepping onto his feet with her heels at least twice - once an Oikawa, always an Oikawa) and though she’s seems merciful on Hajime’s feet, she does confront him about his relationship with Tooru.
Hajime is pretty sure he can’t worm his way out of it, and is also fairly certain Tooru has already told her everything, because as much as they bicker, Tooru couldn’t keep secrets from his sister if he tried. Not that he’d want to, and Hajime has, through proximity and lack of better options or judgment, adopted the same policy. It’s actually nice, having someone around who knows him so well and whom he knows can trust. She’s as much his sister as she is Tooru’s, really.
Come to think of it, Miyu also definitely knew about his crush on Tooru, even though he’d only ever indirectly (and not-so-subtly, probably) asked her for advice.
These realizations are starting to become a little much for one day, and at this point Hajime is kind of exhausted, so there’s no way he could come up with a cover story that’d overlap with Tooru’s anyway. So, instead of trying to meet his best friend’s (boyfriend’s?) eye for confirmation, he swallows his pride, and he tells her the truth.
“We’ve… actually only been together since… today.”
Miyu’s first reaction, he should have known, is to dig the heel of her shoe into Hajime’s toes.
“Ow,” he yelps, stumbling out of rhythm. Miyu yanks him back, forcing him to keep dancing.
“Serves you right for lying!” she hisses, punching his arm. “I want all the real details, now!”
Hajime squirms, wiggling his toes inside his shoe to make sure he can still feel all of them. “Tooru’s told you everything already anyway, hasn’t he?”
At this, Miyu grins - and it’s the exact same grin, again. It really must be a family thing.
“I want your perspective, not a serenade to ‘how perfect Iwa-chan is.’ I wanna know what really happened, dumbass.”
“Uh,” Hajime says, and is immensely grateful when another couple bumps into them from behind and gives him an excuse to interrupt the conversation, stammering out an apology and maneuvering them out of the way.
“Ha-ji-me,” Miyu says as soon as they resume their dance, tapping his arm impatiently. “Come on. Details. Please. Did he cry? He totally did, didn’t he? Good god, if you had any idea how much pining I had to sit through from both of you-”
Mercifully (and at this point Hajime believes fate herself must have taken control of his incredible luck, because honestly), someone catches his arm and he finds himself facing the groom, who politely but insistently asks to have his wife back, for the imminent departure on their honeymoon.
Miyu actually grimaces at him, darkly, muttering: “I was just about to hear the best news of the day, Ryouta,” to which he replies: “Did you hear that you’re now officially my wife?”
Hajime coughs, more than just embarrassed at this point, and Miyu lets go of him in favor of throwing her arms around her husband’s neck.
“Aw, babe, you’re the best,” she exclaims, and he spins her around, laughing.
“We really gotta go, we can’t miss our flight!”
She disentangles herself to beam up at him before turning back to Hajime with a wicked sort of grin on her face.
“Okay, fine. But Hajime - I’m gonna get my hands on you as soon as I get back. You’d better prepare yourself.”
“Duly noted,” he says, and takes a step back for good measure, in case she decides to try and break his toes again.
She doesn’t - she just winks.
“C’mon,” she says, tugging at Ryouta’s hand, “let’s leave before mom finds us. I don’t need her bawling all over me.”
Hajime watches them go, forgetting for a moment that he’s actually still in the middle of the dancefloor. The song changes, and someone brushes past him as he tries to figure out why he’s suddenly so exhausted - and then, suddenly, he finds himself face to face with Tooru.
“...Oikawa,” he says, blinking.
“...if mom finds out you let Miyu run off without saying goodbye, she’ll be furious.”
Hajime nods, still a little absent-minded. (And also maybe a bit transfixed by a strand of hair that’s slightly out of place, falling into Tooru’s eyes. He reaches up and brushes it away, and Tooru smiles.)
“I think we should get out of here, too,” he says. “Preferably before mom finds us. Also, I don’t want you falling asleep while you’re driving me home, Iwa-chan.”
Hajime snorts in spite of himself, refocusing on Tooru. “Yeah, right. As if you aren’t gonna be singing pop songs at top volume for the entire duration of the drive.”
“Are you saying my singing isn’t entertaining to you?”
Hajime lets himself laugh, like he wants to, and feels some of his fatigue fall away. He’s really got it bad, huh? But maybe some things don’t have to change. Maybe he can love Tooru and still laugh at him for being an idiot, for cranking up his level of annoying just to hear Hajime chuckle behind his hand.
Maybe he can keep the best parts of the Tooru he knows (the ones he’d been terrified to lose) and actually… also have all the parts he hasn’t been able to see yet. Like the smile Tooru is giving him now from underneath his bangs, soft and content.
Maybe he can keep all of him.