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Iwaizumi Hajime prides himself in his ability to keep his emotions in check- he's a calm man, never one to wear his heart of his sleeve and let everyone know what exactly he was feeling; he's the exact opposite of a certain brunette he knows, who wails and whines and throws a tantrum just about every time something doesn't go his way. Hajime is proud he's not like that.
Which is why he doesn't understand why his heart sinks a little when he reads the text that popped up on his phone as he was waiting at the bus stop:

Sorry, Iwa-chan! Don't bother coming over, the team has some extra practice going on! See you when I'm home x

He sighs, pocketing the phone and lurching from his space on the bus stop bench. He'd been making a habit of visiting Oikawa at his university whenever their lunch breaks synced up, and they would spend their time sitting at one of the campus cafes, him with a strong coffee, and Oikawa with a hot chocolate. It was only for an hour, but Iwaizumi secretly adored it; he'd never tell the brunette at the risk of his already huge ego inflating further, but he missed him.

Being at different universities was harder than he'd anticipated. Sure, they shared an appointment, but very rarely did they actually get to see each other. Oikawa had Sociology classes 4 days a week, his lectures scattered across the day, and his free time was spent at the gym, or with the universities volleyball club- a top ranking group, as Iwaizumi was aware. He himself had his own classes - physiotherapy - which demanded a large chunk of his attention, his own evenings spent cramming as many notes into his notebooks as he could, desperately trying to stay on top of his workload. He didn't play volleyball anymore, much to Oikawa's chagrin, but he still went to the campus gym. After all, just because he wasn't playing didn't mean he would let his hard work go to waste.

Walking down the familiar streets as he made his way back to the university, Iwaizumi couldn't help but scuff his feet almost, hands shoved deep into his pockets. It wasn't a big deal- the team had to practice if they wanted to keep improving, he knew that, and he wouldn't expect anything less. Still, it didn't ease the knot in his stomach as he recounted that this was the third time Oikawa had cancelled on him this week.

Iwaizumi guessed he'd see him tonight.

***

When he heard the door whine as it was pushed open, Hajime held back his smile, making sure to keep his attention on the rice he was cooking. He turned around when he heard Oikawa shuffle into the kitchen, dropping his sports bag in the hall.

"Iwa-chan, I'm home!" he called lightly, rolling his shoulders a little.

"Hey," Iwaizumi murmured softly, "dinner is almost ready."

Oikawa hummed, stepping behind Iwaizumi to rest his chin on the raven's head. He grinned lazily. "Iwa-chan making dinner for me! The perfect wife."

"Oi," he scolded, elbowing Oikawa with a frown. "I'm not your wife. And stop leaning on me like that! You're heavy!"

"And you're small," he laughed, quickly placing a kiss on Iwaizumi's cheek before deftly leaning lack, avoiding the blow Iwaizumi aimed at him. He leaned against the counter instead, watching as Iwaizumi filled several small bowls up with a selection of food. "It smells good."

Iwaizumi felt his cheeks redden, and he gruffly replied. "Thanks. Go sit down already, you're making me nervous, standing there."

Oikawa laughed but complied, dragging a hand across Iwaizumi's shoulders as he walked through to the living room where their kotatsu sat. He called out, voice faint, "I wanna eat in here, Iwa-chan."

Iwaizumi sighed. He didn't mind eating at the kotatsu- it was warm, and comfortable, and close to the television. It was just that Oikawa had the most annoying habit of spilling whatever he was eating over it, some way or another. Regardless, he scooped the rest of the food into the bowls he had set out, before balancing them both on trays. Oikawa's tray always had a little bit more food than Iwaizumi's, as he had to make sure that the brunette was eating enough to keep his stamina up. Carefully, he walked slowly to the living room, the vein in his forehead straining dangerously as he tried desperately not to spill anything.

Finally, he passed Oikawa's tray into his waiting hands and set his own down on the table, quickly dropping to the floor and crossing his legs. He looked at Oikawa, who was smiling as he looked at his food. "What is it?"

"Nothing," he laughed, picking up his chopsticks. "It's just, this is so traditional! Look, I've got miso soup, rice, tsukemono, ohitashi, and yakitori! Iwa-chan really is a housewife!"

Iwaizumi frowned, shoving a chunk of pickled vegetables into his mouth. When he had finished chewing, he glared at the brunette. "Cook your own food if mine is too 'traditional' for you."

"I love your cooking," Oikawa said instantly, popping a bite of chicken into his mouth. "I mean, sure, its the same sort of stuff every time, but Iwa-chan cooks it so well I don't mind."

Iwaizumi lifted a brow, feeling a backhanded compliment in the words. "Are you trying to tell me you want me to cook something else? Because there are ways to do that without sounding ungrateful, shittykawa."

Oikawa only laughed, his hand stretching out the table to wrap itself around Iwaizumi's. They ate in silence, Oikawa wolfing down his food to the point where Iiwaizumi worried he was inhaling it instead of swallowing it. When he had finished, and he had grains of rice stuck to his cheeks and a dribble of Miso soup on his shirt, Iwaizumi risked a smile.

"Hungry?" he asked, still picking at his own food.

"Starving," Oikawa admitted sheepishly, running a hand through his hair. "Never got to have lunch."

"You had practice right?" Iwaizumi said, chewing slowly. "You need to eat or you won't be able to keep up in practice, idiot."

"I won't fall behind," Oikawa said softly, but Iwaizumi could hear the sincerity of the words. Oikawa meant it. "I promise I'll make sure to grab something next time. Practice is just crazy lately, you know? Got to keep training, keep improving, show them that I'm the best setter for the team."

Iwaizumi laid his chopsticks down, and pushed his skewers of chicken and the rest of his rice over to Oikawa, a fond smile on his face. "Well then the best setter better keep himself taken care of."

Oikawa tilted his head, staring at Iwaizumi through thick black lashes, a gentle smile on his rosebud lips. He picked up some chicken and ate it, washing it down with a gulp of the green tea Iwaizumi had sat on his tray earlier. "That's what you're here for, isn't it? Iwa-chan's always taken care of me."

Iwaizumi flushed, covering his face with a hand. "Shut up..."

"Just like a good mother should!" the brunette grinned widely, snickering when Iwaizumi immediately whipped his head up and glared, previous embarrassment gone.

"I will kill you," Iwaizumi grunted. "Don't think I won't."

"Love you too," he chucked in response, finally setting his chopsticks down.

Iwaizumi leaned forward, lips curling into a smile as he rested a hand on Oikawa's cheek. Tooru leaned into Hajime's palm with a contented hum, and looked up at him, lips parting as he leaned forward. Iwaizumi swiped a thumb across his skin and pulled back, lips tugging into a smile. "You have so much rice on your face right now."

"Iwa-chan!" Oikawa shouted, slapping his hand away. "We were totally going for a kiss and you ruined it!"

"Pretty sure your rice face ruined it," he shrugged nonchalantly, picking up his and Oikawa's trays again, less of a feat now that there weren't any liquids threatening to spill over. He saw Oikawa's pout beginning to form and leaned down, pressing a chaste kiss to his cheek. "Go have a shower and get changed into some pyjamas. I taped some Grey's Anatomy for you."

Oikawa stood and carefully wrapped his arms around Iwaizumi, squeezing him tight. "Iwa-chan is the best."

"Get off me," he grumbled, nudging the other with his shoulder. "You're like one of those clingy koala bears."

Oikawa disengaged himself and sauntered off to the bathroom, pulling off his t-shirt as he went. A few minutes later and Iwaizumi heard the spray of the shower, followed by the inevitable sounds of pop songs as Oikawa sung along, badly. Iwaizumi had always found it hilarious that for someone as talented and charismatic as Oikawa, who's looks suggested he would simply be good at anything, he was absolutely horrible at singing. His notes were off key, his timing bad, and Iwaizumi was certain that at least half the words were wrong, but he smiled every time he heard it. By the time he had finished washing the dishes and drying them, slotting them away in the correct spaces, the bathroom door opened and Oikawa walked out in flannel pyjama bottoms and an old t-shirt than hung off his shoulder. Hajime recognized it as one of his own, but he was so used to Oikawa taking his clothes that he didn't bat an eye.

"All clean," Oikawa hummed, slipping his arms around Iwaizumi's waist.

Iwaizumi tilted his head up and gently kissed Oikawa's lips, tasting the minty freshness of their toothpaste. He could smell the coconut shampoo Oikawa had used, and he tugged on one of the auburn strands. "You need to dry your hair, you're dripping water all over the floor."

"Live in the moment, Iwa-chan," Oikawa whined, tugging Iwaizumi closer. "Stop fussing so much."

"You'll wished you hadn't said that when you slip," he grumbled, but touched his lips to Oikawa's again. "Go on through and start the episodes. I'll bring you some hot chocolate."

Oikawa lit up like a Christmas tree and bounded away, and in the next few seconds Iwaizumi could hear a familiar theme tune. Later, the two of them sat on the couch, Oikawa's head pillowed on Iwaizumi's lap, cup of hot chocolate cradled in his pale hands. Iwaizumi's fingers carded through his hair softly, untangling the strands. It felt as though his bad mood from earlier had disappeared, and he could feel the relief settling. He didn't need to worry if he didn't see Oikawa during the day, because he'd always see him at night.
Or, at least that's what he thought.

***

Lunch between Oikawa and him had ceased to exist in the past few weeks. At first the other would text, letting him know that he had practice, but now it had become so routine to use lunch for practice that he no longer bothered to tell Iwaizumi. Hajime knew he shouldn't let it upset him, and he worked hard to make sure it didn't- Oikawa was a star athlete, easily twice as busy as Hajime found himself, it only made sense that he wouldn't have the time to meet up anymore.
Oikawa had told him that they had an important practice match coming up in two weeks time, one that he had to strengthen his serves for; the rival team was notoriously good at defense and receives, and it was extremely hard to get a service ace against them.

"Coach said he'll put me in as server first set, and if I can get a service ace then I can become an official member of the team!" Oikawa had gushed to him over dinner one night, smiling widely. "I'm gonna do it, Iwa-chan. I'm going to show them all what Oikawa Tooru can do."

Iwaizumi was proud of Oikawa, and he felt that pride blossom in his chest like a flower bud unfurling in summer. Oikawa was so talented, could work with any team easily, and he was the best setter Hajime knew. A part of him mourned the time they used to play together, but he brushed it away with little effort- he only started playing when they were young because Oikawa had asked him to. Whilst Hajime had the natural skill that any athlete does, it was Oikawa who had put in the hours of training, improving and honing his skill until he was the most formidable player that Aoba Johsai could ask for. His team now would be stupid not to have him as a first line member. Of course, that didn't make it any easier to deal with the loss of their lunches, and Iwaizumi continually tried to tell himself it wasn't a big deal.

Truthfully, Iwaizumi hadn't realised how different it would be not having Tooru at his side constantly. For years he'd been dealing with his constant chatter, the same timetable, sitting next to each other in class and passing notes, spending lunches together, walking home together, and meeting in the gymnasium every day for practice. He had thought it a normal, albeit annoying, part of his routine, and it hadn't sunk in that university was so much different until he realised that without Oikawa, his day was just...empty.
It wasn't as if he didn't have anything to do, though; his classes kept him busy, and he had a strict workout routine that he followed every day. He studied in school rather than at home, choosing to keep the apartment a place to relax instead.

He had people to talk to, also. There was some people he'd recognized as they walked around his university: Sugawara Koushi, who was practicing childcare and social work; Akaashi Keiji, who was learning Accountancy and business, and he was lucky enough that Matsukawa also went to the same university as him, studying English and English Literature. So, even if he was alone in his classes, he wasn't exactly alone. Matsukawa often found him in the library at lunch and, after explaining to him why he was there instead of seeing Oikawa, he explained with a shrug of a shoulder.

"That sucks, though," Matsukawa lamented, pulling out a chair next to him. "I know you loved the chance to escape here for a bit."

"Don't we all?" Iwaizumi sighed, flipping a page of his note book. "Besides, it's no big deal- every moment he's away from me is a moment he's someone else's problem."

Matsukawa gave a lopsided grin. "That's true. It's been so peaceful without him. I haven't heard you being called 'iwa-chan' in months."

"Don't even say it," he groaned. "That idiot refuses to call me anything else. You'd think now we're adults, he'd call me my full name already. It's so embarrassing knowing that if he ever mentions me to his team, it's going to be with that stupid honorific...they probably think I'm a fifteen year old girl!"

Laughing, Matsukawa shrugged. "Not much you can do, he's never going to stop calling you that. I'm not even sure he knows your real name."

Resting his head on his hand, Iwaizumi smiled and rolled his eyes. He took a breath and, almost hesitantly, turned towards Matsukawa. "I do kinda miss him though. It's really quiet without him."

Closing his book, Matsukawa blinked slowly, his half lidded eyes lined with long straight eyelashes. "I know. I feel the same with Makki. Nobody in my classes is on the same meme level, it's boring."

"How are classes anyway?" Iwaizumi asked curiously, absent mindedly highlighting a line in his textbook.

Matsukawa pursed his lips and tapped a finger on the desk. "They're okay. I miss the good old days where it was just learning about anapestic trimeter. Now, it's all about the impact of the industrial revolution on 18th century literature and the origins of the English Language in Anglo-saxon England."

"That sounds...interesting," Iwaizumi finally settled on.

"Oh yeah, it's riveting," Matsukawa rolled his eyes and nodded at Iwaizumi's textbook. "What are you learning about?"

Iwaizumi pushed the textbook towards him. "Looking at the most commonly injured parts of the body. The Acromio Clavicular joint, for example. There's also the Anterior Cruciate Ligament and the Anterior Talo-Fibular Ligament; those are the most commonly injured ligaments in knee and ankle injuries."

Matsukawa blinked at him, then pushed the book away. "Ew."

Iwaizumi laughed, and Matsukawa sniggered, and then the librarian came over and warned them that if they continued to be loud, they were being thrown out. Iwaizumi sobered up immediately, but every time he caught Matsukawa's eyes a smile tugged at his lips. Maybe things weren't as different as he thought.

***

"Iwa-chan, is this for me?" Oikawa called out as he walked into the kitchen, pulling bottles of water from the fridge and shoving them into his sports bag. He nodded at the bento that was sitting on the fridge shelf when Iwaizumi poked his head into the kitchen to see what Oikawa was referring to.

"Huh? Oh, yeah," Iwaizumi yawned, scratching his head. It was 7am, and he was barely even awake. But whenever Oikawa awoke, he did, too. It was a rule they had- Oikawa would always wake him up to kiss him goodbye. "Since you still eat like a pig when you get home, I know that you never bother to go get lunch before going to practice. So, I made that for you so you can take it with you today."

"When did you even make this?" Oikawa said gently, pulling it from the shelf and neatly slotting it into his bag.

"Last night. You were late coming home so I had some extra time to make it," he shrugged.

"Thankyou, I won't go hungry today," the brunette smiled, leaning over to kiss Iwaizumi lightly on the lips. The shorter man swayed on his feet, chest still bare as he stood in his pyjamas with an impressive bedhead. "You should go back to bed, you don't have a lecture until one, yeah?"

"Mm," Iwaizumi grunted in agreement, before leaning into Oikawa's chest, hooking his arms lazily around the other's torso. He felt Oikawa's hand splayed on his back and he smiled, taking a deep breath in. "I'll just sleep here."

"Aw, Iwa-chan is so affectionate when he's sleepy!" Oikawa rejoiced as he continued to stroke Iwaizumi's back. "How come you're never this nice with me any other time?"

"Shut up," he grumbled, and then he yawned into Oikawa's chest before stepping back, tilting his head up until he complied and kissed Hajime's lips. "Hope you have a good day."

He smiled, flashing a perfect set of pearly white teeth, momentarily blinding Iwaizumi as he squinted. "I will. Love you, Iwa-chan."

Iwaizumi watched him step out the door and walk away, hearing the click as it closed behind him. "Yeah, I love you, too."

***

Oikawa started coming home late that week. It was when Iwaizumi was making dinner that his phone lit up with a text.

I'm sorry, I'll be home late today. The team is staying back to practice and I can't miss it. I'll speak to you when I get back! x

Sighing, Iwaizumi stirred the pot of curry aimlessly and chucked his phone onto the counter. He knew he shouldn't be feeling so disappointed at the idea of Oikawa coming home later than usual, but it felt like a sour lemon in his mouth, and he frowned. Oikawa had practice, and he was bonding with his team- that was important, and Hajime knew that. He could respect that. He just mourned the fact that he had to give up those little moments of his life, little things that he looked forward to, in order for Oikawa to do those things. Briefly, Hajime wondered if he was being ungrateful; he spent every night with Oikawa, got to wake up with him and make him some tea or breakfast, got to watch episodes of his favourite shows together, got to sit down and eat dinner together, and got to slide up next to him at night when they went to sleep. Surely giving up on some of his time with Oikawa was nothing compared to that?

Feeling slightly more mollified, Iwaizumi continued to stir the curry, leaving it to simmer. He'd already begun to cook the components of Oikawa's lunch for tomorrow, and had the box sat on the counter, waiting to be filled. He tried to fill it with Oikawa's favourites: tamagoyaki, chicken gyoza and a small bed of rice. Hajime didn't mind how long the cooking took him to do. It was one of the things in his life that relaxed him, and one of the only household skills he was actually able to say he could do. Plus, he loved the way Oikawa would hum and smile whenever he came home to Hajime's food.

When the food was finished, Iwaizumi scooped it onto plates and set them in the fridge. He didn't know how late Oikawa was going to be, but he figured it wouldn't be too late- he could wait for him, and they'd have dinner together. Satisfied at his decision, Iwaizumi padded over to the couch and lay down, lethargically scrolling through channels on the television as he looked for something to watch. Finding a volleyball match between some teams in England, he left it on, and watched.

He wasn't sure how he fell asleep, but when he heard the key in the door, Iwaizumi groggily sat up and blinked, lifting a hand to rub at his eyes. He looked around him for his phone to see what time it was, but he remembered leaving it in the kitchen and groaned, lifting himself off the couch with a grunt. The tv blared on in the background, and he tutted at it before poking his head out of the living room.

He was met by Oikawa, who gave a small yelp, then placed a hand to his heart. "Iwa-chan! You gave me a fright!"

"What time is it?" He grumbled.

"It's about ten, I think."

"What? Why were you so late?"

Oikawa tsk'd. "I told you Iwa-chan, I was practicing!"

"Eh? You spent all that time practicing?" Iwaizumi instantly felt himself becoming more alert and he frowned.

"No, no," Oikawa waved his hand as if bored. "We spent an hour going over tactics and positions, and practice finished about two hours ago. I just walked a different way home because I was hungry and wanted some food, and the line at MacDonald's was huge."

"I made you food," Iwaizumi mumbled, and on cue, his own stomach rumbled. "I was gonna wait till you got home before I ate but I must've fallen asleep."

"Iwa-chan," Oikawa said softly and a tad exasperatedly. "You must be starving! Come on, let's go eat."

Oikawa took him by the hand and pulled him to the kitchen, where he opened the fridge to find two plates of curry. He took them and one by one, heated them in the microwave, waiting until the last second before he pulled them out. He smiled at the steam rising from it and took a deep inhale, looking extremely happy as he did so. "Smells amazing, Iwa-chan."

Realising how hungry he was, Iwaizumi could only grunt before grabbing his plate, cursing about how hot it was, and quickly running back to the living room so he could sit it on the couch. He dug in, eating almost as fast as Oikawa had before, and when he heard the other stride into the room, plate in hand, he smiled.
Oikawa sat down next to him and began to eat, eyes flicking to the television at what appeared to be a match of bowls, and he wrinkled his nose. "Really, this doesn't seem like your thing."

"I was asleep, idiot. I was watching a volleyball match." Iwaizumi explained.

Oikawa looked at him then, hands pausing in the action of scooping up some rice. He tilted head and, voice oddly quiet, said, "Do you miss it?"

Iwaizumi swallowed his food and frowned as he thought about it. Did he miss it? He didn't feel as though his life was any different without volleyball, if he was being honest, but he had a feeling saying that would upset Tooru, so he sighed instead. "I don't think I miss the sport itself, but I do miss our team. I miss playing with our friends, I guess. I miss playing with you."

Oikawa's lips pulled into a thin smile, and he nudged Hajime's leg with his foot. "I'll always set for you! All you have to do is ask."

Iwaizumi rolled his eyes. "You have your own team now. Focus on setting for them."

"Oh, is Iwa-chan jealous?" Oikawa teased, laughing as he took another spoonful of curry. "Don't be embarrassed about it, everyone would kill for the chance to play with me, I'm amazing, I know."

"There's the ego we know and love," Iwaizumi grumbled, too used to Oikawa's playfulness to take it to heart. "I just feel sorry that your team mates are stuck with you honestly. Here I am, delighted that I've finally gotten rid of you-"

"Iwa-chan! You don't mean that," Oikawa whined, setting his bowl down as he leaned against Iwaizumi.

"No," Iwaizumi agreed easily, "I don't. Your team mates are the luckiest guys on earth to have you, and after all this crazy practice is over and you've won that match, they'll see that."

"Thank you." Oikawa lifted his head and very gently kissed Iwaizumi's lips before drawing back, lifting himself from the couch. "Here, I'll wash the dishes since you made the food. Next time just eat! If you leave my half in the fridge I'll eat it when I get back."

Next time? Iwaizumi frowned- he didn't like the idea of this becoming a recurring thing, but as he reminded himself of the thoughts he had in the kitchen, he relented, and nodded. "Okay. Try not to stay out late every night, yeah?"

Oikawa was already out the door, but he hesitated, then turned around. "Of course, Iwa-chan."

For some reason, Iwaizumi couldn't find it in himself to trust that smile.

***

Hajime hadn't eaten dinner with Oikawa for a whole week. Every day he checked his phone for the dreaded text, and when it came, he simply tucked his phone away, and sighed. Still, he tried to stick by what he had said, and he ate his own dinner alone each night in front of the tv, watching whatever crap was on. There was an old rerun of Godzilla, and he briefly considered watching it, but decided against it- without Oikawa to shriek over the bad graphics it wasn't as much fun. His lips turned up in a fond smile as he remembered the last time they had watched it, when he'd pretended to be Godzilla and had clambered onto Oikawa, messing up his hair and tickling him and whacking him with the pillow on their couch until he was screaming and laughing at the same time. He remembered how they had both laughed so hard until Oikawa pulled him down for a kiss, and then his hands had found their way up Oikawa's chest, pushing t-shirt up and over his smooth pale skin. He remembered kissing that skin, covering it in light nips and sucks until Oikawa was gasping and clinging to him, desperate for something more.

Iwaizumi coughed as he was brought back to the present, his cheeks thoroughly red and his crotch uncomfortably tight. He groaned as he held his face in his hands, trying to shake away the trails of his arousal. He tried to rationalize that it wasn't entirely his fault- it had been nearly impossible in the past month to get intimate with Oikawa, what with their clashing timetables, volleyball practice and the amount of work that university had given them. He missed feeling Oikawa's skin under his finger tips, missed the feeling of heat curling in his belly when Oikawa would drag his hands down Hajime's body and mark it like he owned it.
Iwaizumi glanced at his phone. Oikawa wouldn't be home for another two hours at least, and Iwaizumi groaned. Deciding that he may as well pass the time enjoyably, he walked to the bath, ignoring the ache in his pants, and filled it. He even added some of Oikawa's obnoxious bubble bath, and absently swirled the water with his hand as it filled, making sure to get it to the right temperature- he liked it just short of scalding hot. When it was full, Iwaizumi stripped and gently lowered himself in, sucking in a breath at the initial shock of the heat against his skin. He submerged himself beneath the blanket of bubbles, and gently washed along his body, scrubbing away the grime and dirt of the day.

His hand skimmed across his crotch and he hesitated, before moving on, shaking his head slightly. "Hajime, get a hold of yourself- you're not desperate enough to bathe in your own cum."

That decided, he simply tilted his head back and tried to relax, trying to keep his thoughts away from anything too Oikawa centered. When the water got cold, he drained some, and then topped it up again. He washed his hair with Oikawa's shampoo instead of his own, and was surprised to see that it actually made his hair soft as well as clean. He used a mango scented body scrub that also belonged to Oikawa's beauty pile, and rubbed it all over his chest and arms, shifting so he could scrub his legs as well. When he was effectively as clean as he could be, and his fingers had shriveled up to look like prunes, Iwaizumi heaved himself up and drained the tub, stepping out onto a fluffy white bath mat. He reached over and grabbed a towel off the rack, wrapping it loosely around his waist before grabbing another smaller towel and quickly rubbing it over his head to dry his hair as much as possible. Then, he brushed his teeth, smiling widely into the bathroom mirror as he brushed, and when satisfied, he spat carefully in the sink, tapping his toothbrush against the rim twice.

Then, keys jangled in the door, and Hajime whirled walking out into the hallway.

"I'm home," Oikawa called out faintly, dropping his bag with a sigh.

"Hey," Iwaizumi said, walking over to him. "You tired?"

"Exhausted," Oikawa admitted, before looking up. His eyes widened, and roamed over Hajime's body. "You look hot."

He rolled his eyes, but could feel his cheeks darken nonetheless. "Shut up, I was just having a bath."

"Oh, no, Iwa-chan, this was no ordinary bath," Oikawa smiled, folding his arms. "You used my shampoo, and my body scrub. This is a seduction attempt. Iwa-chan's been waiting for me to come home so he can lure me away with his lewd ways."

Iwaizumi felt his lip curl and he scoffed. "When you say it like that it just sounds weird."

"So you were trying to seduce me?" Oikawa raised a thin eyebrow.

Embarrassed, but refusing to show it, Iwaizumi kept his head high. "Maybe. Depends on if its working or not."

"It's working." Oikawa's voice was low.

When strong arms looped around his waist and pulled him flush against a built chest, Iwaizumi shivered, tilting his head back. Oikawa met his lips easily and kissed him teasingly, sucking on his bottom lip before nipping it gently, the way Hajime liked. His hand gripped Iwaizumi's waist tight, and his lips moved to the tan boy's jaw, kissing it softly, all the way down his neck, where he scraped his teeth ever so slightly- not enough to mark, but definitely enough to send a shudder down Iwaizumi's spine.

"Oikawa," Hajime groaned, the heat in his stomach flaring to life again. His hand were clutched in Oikawa's jacket and he pulled, a little desperately. "Oh my God, Oikawa..."

"Bedroom," the brunette gasped, pulling Hajime by the hand into their bedroom as fast as he could.

The moment the door shut behind them, Iwaizumi pounced on Oikawa, immediately slotting their lips together. He nudged his tongue against Oikawa's bottom lip before delving in, stroking lightly against his own, swallowing every moan that the brunette offered. Oikawa's hands had pushed off his towel and were raking down the muscles of his back, wrapping around the curve of his ass before squeezing, hard.

Iwaizumi, feeling a little abashed at being the only one naked, impatiently tugged at the zipper of Oikawa's jacket, pulling the offending piece of clothing off as past as possible and chucking it aside. He pulled at the hem of Oikawa's t-shirt, his voice a growl. "Off."

Oikawa complied, quickly shucking the shirt off and casting it aside. Finally having access to the pale perfectly sculpted chest that stood in front of him, Hajime groaned, pulling Oikawa onto the bed with him, their lips continuously meeting each other again and again. Hajime ran his fingers down Tooru's chest, stopping only to tweak a nipple. Hajime's mouth followed soon after, leaving Oikawa's lips only to latch onto a nipple instead, sucking on it and rolling it gently between his teeth.

Oikawa gasped, his hips bucking, and twisted his fingers in Hajime's hair. "H-hajime!"

Deft fingers made quick work of Oikawa's belt, and he flipped the brunette onto his back to pull the jeans off, sliding them down the slender milky thighs which parted automatically for him. He wrapped his hands around Oikawa's knees and leaned down, pressing open mouthed kisses to Tooru's inner thighs, smirking as they began to shake in his grasp.

"Hajime, we can't- we can't have sex tonight," Oikawa gasped as Hajime's mouth ghosted over his erection.

"What? Why not?" Hajime asked immediately. He wasn't sure where that had come from- everything in the currant situation looked like it was leading to sex, and although he wouldn't protest if Tooru said no, it was still confusing.

"Practice," he said breathlessly. lifting himself up on his elbows. "I can't be sore or I won't be able to play well."

Ah. Practice. Iwaizumi closed his eyes for a second, then opened them with a smile. "We don't need to have sex to come."

Oikawa's eyes were blown wide and he groaned, his hips automatically rising to draw Hajime's attention again. Iwaizumi went back to the task at hand, nudging the bulge one more before slowly pushing Oikawa's bright blue boxers down, his dick springing free. Hajime blew cold air on the tip and laughed when Oikawa jumped, but before Tooru could complain he sucked the head into his mouth, swirling his tongue around it delicately. Oikawa let out a wanton moan and spread his legs further, one of his hands finding Hajime's hair and twisting in it again. Hajime pulled off to lick a stripe up the underside, followed by many sloppy kisses on the sides, lavishing Oikawa with attention until he was begging for Hajime to take him already.

"Come on, Hajime, please!" he whined, "Please!"

"Please what?" he replied in a gruff voice, lifting his head to meet Oikawa's eyes.

"Please suck me," he whispered, his cheeks blown a bright pink, his swollen lips parted and glistening with saliva. His breaths came in deep heaves, and his elbows shook as he tried to hold himself up.

Fuck, Hajime loved him. He dipped his head and took as much of Oikawa as he could get into his mouth and sucked, pushing his tongue roughly against the slit, tasting the salty beads of pre-cum as they formed on his tongue. He wrapped a hand around the rest of Oikawa and pumped him in time, sucking as hard as he could when he reached the head, loving the way Oikawa's thighs would shake and a whine would be ripped from his throat each time. Shifting onto his knees, Iwaizumi took his other hand and wrapped it around Oikawa's balls, fondling them softly. Oikawa's body began to thrash and his thighs tightened around Hajime's head, his free hand gripping onto the headboard.

"I'm gonna cum," Oikawa puffed out, his eyes fluttering to stay open. "I'm so close, I'm so close-"

Iwaizumi took a deep breath, removed his hand and sunk down on Oikawa's dick, until his nose brushed against the soft patch of curls. He breathed through his nose, desperately trying not to gag, and although it was painful he felt a deep sense of accomplishment when Oikawa nearly screamed and thrust his hips once before he came. Quickly, Iwaizumi pulled back until his mouth was just around the head, and he swallowed as much as he could, his hand still working Oikawa until he was completely finished. With a tremble, Oikawa's body sank into the mattress and he let out a huge breath, his eyes focused on the ceiling. Hajime would laugh if he wasn't so focused on getting himself off. Groaning, he pumped himself a measly five times and then he was cumming, Oikawa's name on his lips. He stood up afterwards, padding back to the bathroom to get a washcloth, and wiped himself up before returning to the room. He gently cleaned up any mess left on Oikawa and, after deciding he was clean, planted a kiss on his slack lips.

"How you feeling?"

Oikawa could only manage to groan in response, apparently a hundred times more tired than he was before. He flung an arm out, searching for Hajime, impatiently hitting the bed when he couldn't feel him straight away. Laughing, Iwaizumi lay down next to him and pulled the covers up over them. He turned off the lamp on his bedside cabinet, and flung a leg over Oikawa, pulling him close.

"Night, babe," he said quietly, his own tiredness catching up with him.

"Night," Oikawa mumbled, eyes closed.

A few beats of silence passed before Oikawa spoke again.

"Hajime?"

"Yeah?"

"Think you can make like...pizza, and cannolis for dinner sometime? I like Italian food."

"What? No, I'm not a fucking chef, Tooru. Go to sleep."

"Hajime?"

"Oh, my God. What?"

"I love you."

"Well...I love you too. Now go the fuck to sleep."

***

Oikawa's practice game was in three days time, and Iwaizumi felt like he hadn't had an actual conversation with Tooru for years. He came home late and exhausted, either going straight to bed or carefully shoving Iwaizumi away, claiming he had to study and catch up on some work. Iwaizumi didn't push, knowing how easily Tooru could be derailed, so he swallowed up his worries and nodded every time Oikawa would ghost past him. It was one am when Iwaizumi woke up for some water, and found Oikawa was still not in the bed next to him. Confused and mildly panicked, he padded through the apartment until he found him at the kotatsu, slumped over his laptop, watching videos of the rival team in action. Feeling a horrible sense of de ja vu, Iwaizumi sighed and settled next to him, voice soft.

"Studying, huh?" He mumbled, before scooping Oikawa up and, straining as quietly as he could, standing up. Oikawa was a dead weight in his arms, and Iwaizumi shook his head. "Idiot. Do this again and I'll kill you."

He'd put Oikawa to bed and tucked him in, still furious but far too tired to do anything about it. Settling against the other, Iwaizumi decided he'd deal with it in the morning.

The morning never came, because by the time Iwaizumi woke up, Tooru had already gone. Checking his phone, Iwaizumi saw that it was already half eight, and he knew that by now Oikawa would already be at his gymnasium for some practice before his lecture. Pulling the covers up to his head, Iwaizumi shut out the light and shut out his own thoughts, far too tired and confused to deal with them right now. Normally, Oikawa always woke him up before he left, just to say 'I love you'. Or he made so much noise that Hajime had no option but to wake up. So waking up on his own for once, completely absence of Oikawa, made the stirrings of anxiety in his stomach take root, their claws digging into him. He gulped and scrunched his eyes shut, willing it to go away. Oikawa wasn't ignoring him.
He was just busy.

"Just busy," Iwaizumi mumbled to himself, before he finally fell asleep again.

***

Hajime was waiting for him when he came home. He sat on the couch, arms folded and brow furrowed, unsure of what he was even going to say when Oikawa stepped into the flat. He heard the door squeak open, and he took a deep breath.

"I'm home," Oikawa called quietly, as if expecting nobody to answer.

"Oikawa? You wanna come in here a second?" Iwaizumi asked, proud of his voice for not shaking despite his nerves.

Oikawa trudged his way in, brows piqued in curiosity. "What is it, Iwa-chan?"

"You wanna tell me why I had to lift your heavy ass from the kotatsu to our bed last night?"

Oikawa blinked, then schooled his features into one of understanding. "I must've fallen asleep whilst I was studying. Thankyou for taking me to bed."

"Studying? You mean staying up all night to watch videos of that other team, right?" He asked, lips thin.

"Odaiba," Oikawa said quietly.

"What?"

He cleared his throat. "They're called Odaiba."

"I don't give a shit, Oikawa. Why were you up so late?"

"I told you that I was studying. It's not my fault if you thought I meant for my classes," Oikawa said dismissively.

Iwaizumi's eyes narrowed and he gritted his teeth, standing up in one fluid motion. "Enough. You can't keep doing this! It's exactly high school all over again, staying up all night to watch these stupid videos, being exhausted the next day and working yourself to the max, or overworking yourself, and then you come back here to start it all again. You have to take better care of yourself."

Oikawa sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Stop mothering me! I'm a grown adult, Hajime, I know how to take care of myself. And, in case you haven't noticed, I'm about to make the team as a permanent player okay? But that can only happen if I do my best, which I can't do if you're breathing down my neck every second."

"Oh, I've noticed all right," he grunted.

Oikawa's eyes flashed dangerously. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing."

"No, go on, you obviously have something to say," Oikawa lilted, an almost amused tone to his voice.

Was that bastard enjoying this? Hajime grit his teeth. "Only that all you care about recently is this fucking game and this team. You've barely looked at me the past few days, it's like I don't even exist."

"Oh, my God," Oikawa runs a hand through his hair. "Iwa-chan, can you stop with this jealousy? Of course I'm invested in my team- they're my team! I put as much effort into them as I did with Seijoh, and the only reason you can't take it is because now, you're not there to share it. So what if you miss practicing, or spiking? You had so many chances to take up volleyball yourself, fuck- to even come to the same university as me! You blew it yourself, so stop blaming me!"

"You didn't wake me up!" Hajime shouted, and he can feel the crack in his voice as tears began to flow down his face. He sucked in a breath, trying again, shocked at himself for getting emotional so quickly. "You didn't wake me up to tell me you loved me. You always wake me up. Why didn't you wake me up?"

His lip was trembling now, his chest beginning to heave as his sobs got bigger, stealing the air from his lungs as they forced tears down his cheeks at an impossible rate. He could feel his anger dissipate like mist, and instead his sadness settled over him like a blanket, wrapping around his limbs and choking him.

Oikawa looked at him in shock- he had only seen Iwaizumi cry once after all, when they lost their chance at nationals, and suddenly his own face creased up. He took two long strides towards him and wrapped Hajime in his arms tightly, kissing the top pf his head. "I'm sorry, Iwa-chan, I didn't want to fight, I'm sorry for upsetting you."

"I don't care about not being on your team," Iwaizumi hiccuped, clutching onto Oikawa. He knew his tears must be staining the fabric, but he didn't care.

"I know, I know, I'm sorry. I said that out of anger," Oikawa hushed him, pulling Iwaizumi's face against his neck as he held him. "I'm sorry for not waking you today. I was just running so late because I stayed up last night. I barely had time for a shower! I promise I'll make sure to wake you next time."

"Don't forget about me," Iwaizumi mumbled against his skin, his voice small and vulnerable. He can't remember the last time he and Tooru had a fight like this. It scared him.

"Never," he said, before stepping back and wiping a thumb across Hajime's wet cheeks. "C'mon, let's get to bed. It's been a long night."

Not one to argue the truth, Hajime let himself be led to bed, and only let himself relax when Tooru's arm wrapped around his waist.

***

When he woke up, it was just after 9am, and the sunlight had streamed in through his window and landed exactly on his face. He scrunched his eyes and sat up, turning his head away from the offending glare, only to see that the bed still had a lump in it.

"Oikawa?" He asked, carefully poking the lump.

"Who else would be in your bed?" A grumbling voice said from underneath the covers, before a wild bedhead poked out. Oikawa smiled. "Unless you have something you want to tell me?"

"Why the hell are you here?" He stuttered, so unused to the sight of Oikawa next to him in the morning that he wondered if this was a dream.

"Jeez, Iwa-chan, 'good morning' to you, too," he scoffed, before emerging fully from the cocoon of covers. "I don't have any classes today, and practice is gonna be scattered about anyway. I'll go in later for a bit. For now, it's just you and me."

Iwaizumi's face was blank, and then it stretched into a wide smile. He was also free of classes today, and the prospect of having a near full day of Oikawa was almost too good to be true. "You want American pancakes for breakfast?"

"What's this?" Oikawa teased, Iwaizumi's smile infectious. "The great Iwaizumi Hajime, strict cook of only authentic Japanese foods, is offering to make worldly cuisine?"

"Shut up and answer my question," Iwaizumi said as he flicked Oikawa in the head.

"Of course I want them," he laughed brightly.

When Iwaizumi shifted, the light spilled onto Oikawa's face, and he looked absolutely resplendent; the auburn in his hair was shining through, a multitude of deep reds and mahogany browns, his pale skin looked a light gold, like an ode to King Midas; the shadows of his eyelashes were long and curved, stretching across the bridge of his nose and the edge of his cheekbones, and he was so utterly stunning that Iwaizumi thought his heart would burst. "You're so beautiful, Tooru."

"Eh? Where'd that come from?" Oikawa joked, but his pale cheeks were beginning to warm. "I have horrible morning hair. And my eyes are crusty. Pretty sure I might also have dried drool on my other cheek."

"Don't care," Iwaizumi snickered, standing up. "Still beautiful."

"I suppose only a brute like you would think I'm beautiful right now," he rolled his eyes. When Hajime reached the door, he called out. "Iwa-chan?"

"Yeah?"

"I love you." He blew a kiss at him and laughed when Iwaizumi vehemently beat it out of the air.

"Love you too, weirdo," he grumbled, stomping away. He hoped Tooru hadn't caught his smile as he left.

After he'd made the pancakes, and Tooru had covered his in a sickly amount of cream, syrup and strawberries, Iwaizumi checked the wall clock. It was nearly half past ten, and he nudged Tooru.

"What do you want to do today?" He asked.

"Whatever you want," Oikawa said easily. "I can hold off going to the gym until like four, or something, if you want to go out."

Surprised, Iwaizumi nodded. "Sure, that should be fine. What are you thinking? Movie, shopping or ice skating?"

Oikawa smiled, but his tone was apologetic. "No to the ice skating. I'm not taking any risks with hurting myself with the match happening tomorrow."

Iwaizumi nodded understandingly. "Okay, that's fair. You nervous about tomorrow?"

"A little, but I have their whole team memorized," he said softly, trailing a finger around the edge of his cup. "I know their weaknesses, and the best ways to exploit them. They're good on defense, but their offense relies too strongly on the same two players. Take them out at set change, or put them in disadvantageous positions at rotation, and they're gonna find it a lot harder to score points. The captain is too fond of number three, also. Too many times he sets for him instead of the other wing spikers, it's an easy loss of points. If we keep number three marked, then he'll be blocked easily, I think."

"You're going to do amazing," Hajime said with complete sincerity, bypassing the statement about the captain's favouritism- it sounded much too familiar. "I'll come cheer you on."

"Really? You'd skip class to come see me?" Oikawa asked, lips pulled into a smile.

Iwaizumi nodded. "I've already moved onto the next chapter of my textbook anyway. I wouldn't be missing much. Besides, I wanna see all that practice paying off. If you don't win I'll be so pissed I'll delete your Grey's Anatomy re-runs."

Oikawa trilled a laugh. "Oh, honey, you aren't that brave. But I appreciate the motivation."

"So, shopping? They opened up that new centre in town, we could check it out?" Iwaizumi mused, picking up their empty plates. He began to wash them, warming his hands under the hot water.

"Sure, Iwa-chan," Oikawa said, standing fluidly and stretching. "I'm going to have a quick shower first, okay?"

"And by 'quick' you mean forty-five minutes," said Iwaizumi, putting the dishes away. "Then you'll need an extra twenty to blow dry your hair, another fifteen to style it, and then ten minutes to do all your skin routine stuff. Plus, choosing an outfit. I'll see you in like, two hours."

Oikawa only laughed, calling out a quick, "You know me so well!" as he bounded off to the bathroom.

As Oikawa began to get ready, Hajime moved around the flat aimlessly and tried to tidy it up, clearing it of Oikawa's late night snack wrappers and picking up the stray sock or two that had escaped from their laundry pile. He found his schoolbag and picked it up, shifting through it to make sure his notes were in order. Sitting down on the couch, he crossed a leg and closed his eyes in concentration.

"Muscles in the back. You can do this, Hajime," Iwaizumi said as he thought. He couldn't remember them all, but if he could get up to six he would be happy. "Latissimus dorsi, Erector Spinae, Levator Scapulae, Triceps Brachii, Romboid Major, and...and-fuck, what's another one?"

"Soleus," a familiar voice said, as Oikawa stepped into the living room, towel tight around his waist.

Iwaizumi looked at him in surprise. "How the hell did you know that?"

"Iwa-chan is a loud studier," Oikawa said jokingly. "I swear I hear you go over this stuff in your sleep."

I'm surprised you've even been here enough recently to notice. Iwaizumi startled himself with the venom of his own thought, and he shook his head as if to clear it out. Yes, Oikawa had been distant lately, but Iwaizumi knew it wasn't fair to be angry about it when he'd deliberately put this day aside for just the two of them. Immediately, he felt ashamed, and dropped his head.

"Well, thanks. You were right," he said, scanning through his book again. "I'll go over them again whilst you get ready."

Oikawa flashed him a peace sign and walked towards their bedroom, humming a song under his breath. Iwaizumi wished he could settle, but he felt a little jumpy after the fight last night and his own brain this morning. He didn't like not knowing where he stood with Oikawa, and it always threw him off, like suddenly every piece of furniture has moved an inch to the left. Deciding that he could force his anxiety away if he focused, Iwaizumi stared back at the textbook.

"What the hell? How am I supposed to remember a word like semitendinosus?" He muttered, dragging a hand down his face. Maybe he needed more studying that he thought.

As if on cue, his phone lit up with a text from Matsukawa:

Hey, how's the situation with Oikawa?

Iwaizumi's fingers ghosted over the keys before he finally typed.

Better, and worse. I see even less of him now, when he comes home he goes straight to bed or stays up all night. We had a fight last night. But he's taking the day off to go into town with me, so I guess he's trying.

The reply came not a minute later:

Ah, that sucks, man. You know what he's like when he's got a goal, though. I'm sure he doesn't mean to blow you off.

Iwaizumi sighed and locked his phone, head tilted back on the back of the couch. He wasn't sure how he should deal with the situation anymore. He knew that, if they were still on a team together, he would pull him out of the gym when he was supposed to go, would practice with him so he could watch him carefully, would beat him over the head for staying up so late. He would force him to sit out for breaks, would always carry extra food in case he got hungry, and would always double check his knee, just to be safe.

But they weren't on a team together.

Oikawa had his own team mates now, older and more experienced teammates who need him to win. Team mates who put in the same amount of training that Hajime had once scolded Tooru for. Team mates who would push Oikawa to the best of his ability, and not ask him to sit out or to go home. He had team mates who wouldn't mother him, as Oikawa had put it.
Iwaizumi groaned. He never meant to act like an overbearing mother, it's just- isn't that what a partner does? Worries and cares about you to the point of it being annoying? He wishes he could watch Tooru come home late and stay up far too long without feeling a deep anxiety in his stomach, but he couldn't- he wanted to keep the brunette safe, wanted to check on him and tell the team to watch out for the tell tale signs that Oikawa's in pain, because God know's Oikawa wouldn't say anything himself.
Hajime wasn't sure how to keep Oikawa safe and happy at the same time.

Finally, Oikawa was ready, and he stepped into the living room. His skin was dewy, his brows had been filled in, and his hair had fallen into its natural pattern of curls and flicks. He was dressed in tight pastel blue skinny jeans, with white converse and a large white sweater, decorated with a sew-on patch of a pineapple that Oikawa had bought at the fair the last time they went. He had his backpack slung over his shoulder, and his phone was tucked neatly into his pocket.

"I'm ready!" He grinned.

Iwaizumi felt his lip turn up a little. He looks cute. "You look like you're about to join a K-pop band."

"Uh, only in my wildest dreams," Oikawa scoffed, flattening his hand against his heart. "I'm coming for you, Namjoon."

"Who the hell is Namjoon?" Iwaizumi muttered as he stood up, ready to go change himself.

"He's my favourite member of BTS! He's pretty, but not prettier than me, he can dance and sing, and he's fluent in English, so he can tell me I'm beautiful in two languages."

Hajime rolled his eyes and pushed past Oikawa to get to the bedroom. Quickly, he changed into some new boxers, and picked up a pair of jeans off the floor. Half way through pulling them on, he realised he couldn't feel his legs from his knees down, and he looked at the jeans. Of course.

"Oikawa!" he yelled, trying to pull the super skinny jeans off, despite their desire to stay glued to his legs forever. "Stop leaving your clothes on my side of the room!"

A delighted laugh followed soon after. "Did you put my jeans on again? Hah! You did!"

With a grunt, Iwaizumi ripped the jeans off and panted hard, the feat taking more effort than he'd imagined. He picked up a pair of light brown slacks he knew were his, and pulled on a white t shirt. He slipped on his vans, and picked his wallet up from where it lay on the table, sliding it into his back pocket.

"I'm ready, let's go," he said, snatching up his house keys from the bowl on the counter.

The two of them walked into town, Oikawa mindlessly chattering the whole way there, until they reach the shopping centre. It was big, with numerous clothing stores and beauty shops suited to Oikawa's taste, and a gaming and comic book shop for Iwaizumi. After debating on where to go first, they decided that they would simply walk around, and go into anywhere that catches their eye.

"This is nice, I guess," Iwaizumi decided, craning his head to look around. The centre had only two floors, but shops were packed in tightly like sardines, and there were plenty of stalls for food.

"Hm? Oh, yeah, it is," Oikawa said distractedly, his foot tapping on the floor. "What time is it?"

Iwaizumi checked his phone. "Nearly half-one, why?"

Face creasing in what looked like disappointment, Oikawa pouted. "Oh, okay then."

Iwaizumi stared at him a little, before deciding that he probably had something to say. And there was no easier way to get Tooru to speak then to butter him up with many, many sugary goods. He grabbed Oikawa's wrist and pulled him forwards, towards a cafe. "Look, let's sit in there for a bit. I want a coffee."

Tooru let himself be led without complaint, and they walked through the open doors of the cafe, choosing to sit at a table near the window. Tooru always said he loved to people watch, and frequently he and Iwaizumi would have a game where they would pick people, and come up with the most ridiculous backgrounds for them. First one to laugh looses. Hajime smiled a little as they sat down, squeezing Tooru's hand once before letting go.

"You want a hot chocolate?" Iwaizumi asked him, spotting the waitress making their way towards them.

"Depends on whether you're buying or not." Oikawa grinned at him, but his voice remained oddly flat.

Iwaizumi frowned as he contemplated this, but then the waitress arrived, and he smiled. "One hot chocolate, whipped cream and tiny marshmallows on top, please, and one black coffee. Oh, can we also get some milk bread?"

"Of course, I'll bring it over when it's done," she smiled at him, before flouncing away.

Once again, Iwaizumi could feel himself becoming unnerved with Oikawa's unusual behavior. He nudged the other's foot under the table. "What's up with you? You normally flirt with the waitresses wherever we go. She was pretty, why are you silent?"

"Iwa-chan, it's almost like you want me to annoy you!" Oikawa said, his lips quirking at the sides. "Maybe I'm just trying to give you my undivided attention."

Iwaizumi's eyes narrowed. He knew that wasn't the reason, because even as he was speaking to Oikawa, he could see the other fidgeting, his fingers drumming against the table, his leg bouncing up and down, and his eyes flitting to look at his backpack, which he'd placed on the floor by his feet. He snapped his fingers, tilting his head when Oikawa looked at him in surprise.

"Wanna play the people game? I'll start," Hajime said as he scanned the room for a victim. Finally, his eyes rested on a man whose short brown hair was split completely down the middle, tufting out at the sides. "That guy over there? His friends call him 'Mushroom head'. He was part of a horrible government experiment that left him almost irresistible to women, so much so that he was destroying families wherever he went, with his brazen good looks and incredible hair. The government were forced to give him a new haircut, one unparalleled by any other in terms of sheer horrifying power...to keep the woman at bay, for the greater good of Japanese families everywhere. Also, he's a Gemini."

Oikawa chuckled slightly, nothing in comparison to the ugly snort Hajime knows he would usually do. He was about to reply when the waitress came back, and he accepted his drink with a polite thank, and took a small sip. "Okay, uh...That woman over there, with the butterfly clip in her hair. She owns a disco bar, and uh, she's got a crush on the barista, so she comes here every day hoping to invite him to her disco bar, where they can boogie the night away."

"That was lame," Iiwaizumi scoffed. "Yours are normally so much better. How's your hot chocolate?"

"Hm?" Oikawa said, then realised he hadn't drunk any more. "Oh! It's fine, thankyou. For the milkbread, too."

Iwaizumi watched as Oikawa picked at the treat, breaking it up into many small pieces and placing the smallest chunk into his mouth. He pushed the rest around on the plate, his leg jiggling so much that Iwaizumi could see the rim of Oikawa's hot chocolate threatening to spill over.

"Hey, what time is it?" Oikawa asked again suddenly.

"Its 1:45," Iwaizumi said, his brows drawing together. "Oikawa, what's up?"

"Nothing!" he said, much too quickly.

Iwaizumi fixed with a stare. "Oikawa. Spill."

"Okay, it's just, I know I said this day was for us- and it is!- but, the guys are all at the gym now and they're getting some good plays in, ones I'm a little rough on," he said quietly, biting his lip. "I know I said I'd go at four, but I'm not sure how many of the guys will still be there...or maybe they'll all still be there, because they've been practicing all day and I've not!"

Practice. Big fucking surprise. Iwaizumi felt his mood sour immediately, and he let out a long tired sigh. "Just go, Oikawa."

"But I promised you I'd stay with you today," he whined, shifting in his seat.

Then don't make promises you won't keep. Iwaizumi drank his coffee and shrugged. "It's not exactly a treat if you don't want to be here. Just go, it's okay."

Oikawa hesitated, and then stood, quickly firing a text on his phone before scooping his bag up and flinging it over his shoulder. He leaned down and pressed a kiss to Iwaizumi's cheek, either not noticing the slight flinch, or choosing to ignore it. "Thankyou, Iwa-chan, I'll make it up to you. I'll text you later, yeah?"

"Yeah," he mumbled, drinking more of his coffee.

He's not sure if its real or his imagination, but it suddenly tastes extremely stale.

***
His phone buzzes three hours later, when he's back at the apartment, arms sore after lugging home an impulse buy of two new Spider-man annuals. He looked down at the screen.

I'm sorry about leaving. Meet me at Hiro's in an hour? x"

Hiro's was a small ramen shop that Oikawa and he would often frequent, because it was cheap, and served big enough portions to satisfy their huge appetites. Also, the old woman who ran the show reminded Hajime of his own grandmother, and he liked visiting her. He texted back a few minutes later.

Yeah, sure. See you there.

Hajime wastes the majority of the time by flicking through his annuals, reading through pages of extra information about the superhero, and original sketches. Halfway through, his phone started ringing. Hoping it wouldn't be Oikawa cancelling on him, Iwaizumi answered with a nervous, "Hello?"

"Hey. How you doing?"

Oh. It was only Mattsun. Slightly relieved, Hajime relaxed. "I'm good. I bought these two Spider-man journals today, so I've just been looking through them now."

"Spider-man, huh? I would have thought Captain America would be your thing, with all that strong dependable righteous bullshit. Or Wolverine. You know, because of the cool claws."

"I do like Wolverine," Hajime admitted, "but I mean...Spider-man is literally part bug. That's pretty awesome."

"You sure it doesn't have anything to do with the fact it means Andrew Garfield in Spandex?" Matsukawa chuckled.

Iwaizumi scrunched his nose. "Don't be gross, dude."

"Oh, I see. Tom Holland in spandex then," he amended, laughing at Iwaizumi's frustrated growl. "I'm only messing with you. You'd totally be Hulk, though. I'd be Storm, obviously. Hanamaki would be...hm, I think he'd be Loki. Who would Oikawa be? Deadpool?"

"Nah, he's superficial, vain, obsessive, jealous and refuses to show his real feelings or let anyone break down his emotional walls, but he's not really into Mexican food. Or killing people," Iwaizumi added, a smile playing on his lips. "I'd say that he's Tony Stark."

"Agreed. Total people schmoozer, loved by millions, an absolute asshole, I could go on," Matsukawa laughed, and then went quiet. "How was the date today?"

Iwaizumi closed his eyes. "He left nearly as soon as we got there. Wanted to meet the guys to go over some moves, apparently."

Matsukawa whistled lowly. "Okay, bit of a dick move, but not something I'm surprised by. I'll wager that after this game, he'll cut back a bit. They don't have any more games coming up, right? That should mean that he wont spend as much time with them, especially once he's secured his place. You know Oikawa, he just wants to prove himself. He doesn't mean to upset you. Why don't you talk to him about it?"

"Nah, I can't. Oikawa and I...talking isn't ever something we've had to do, you know? We always just knew how to be with each other. We were always on the same page. Now that we're not, I feel like I'm walking on eggshells around him...I don't want to take away something he loves, and I know bringing it up is just going to end in fights. I'm not sure how to do that without ruining everything."

Matsukawa listened patiently, and hummed. "Whatever you decide to do, I hope it works out. I'll check in with you later, yeah? Have fun."

"Thanks, Mattsun," Iwaizumi said gratefully as he hung up. He wasn't used to having these swirls of doubt and anxiety when it came to Oikawa- he had always been so sure of them and their relationship, the idea of them being together so cemented in his brain that now, when it became clear that might now always be the case, he felt as though he was falling of a very high ledge with nothing to hold onto.

After lazing around for another few minutes, Iwaizumi pulled himself from his thoughts and set off on the fifteen minute walk to Hiro's. It was a cold night, and he should have brought a jacket, but he didn't complain, only huffing and forcing his arms deeper into his pockets. He still wasn't used to the huge city life of Tokyo; back in Miyagi, he was a part of a neighbourhood where everyone knew each other, and the trees were thick and overhanging; the shop clerks would know you by name, and there was an abundance of small animals, both woodland and domestic, casually strolling through the streets. In Tokyo, everything was alive. There was always noise, and a sense of stress which settled over him every time he went out, as if he didn't speedwalk, he would never get where he needed to be. Instead of animals there was a large amount of cars, and the streets were littered with bars and clubs catered to the nightlife.
Hajime missed home, sometimes.

Looking up, he realised he was standing outside the restaurant, and he checked his watch. He was about five minutes early, but it was no big deal, he'd just wait outside. There was a small two seater bench, and Hajime plopped himself down, jiggling his legs to keep himself warm. Almost immediately, an old woman with grey hair cut into a soft bob poked her head out, a smile on her thin lips.

"Hajime-kun, it's been a while since I saw you!" she crooned sweetly.

Hajime stood briefly to bow, and sat back down, his voice warm. "Matsubara-san, nice to see you. I'm sorry I haven't been over more, life's been a bit...busy at the moment."

She waved a hand at him. "It's fine. As long as you still visit me sometimes. You know I love seeing your face in here!" She patted his cheek affectionately. "Not a person in all of Tokyo who loves my Agedashi Tofu like you."

He grins at her and laughs. "Nobody makes it better than you! It tastes just like my grandmother's."

"Thankyou, sweetheart," she said, before tilting her head. "Now, why are you sitting inside? Don't you want to come get some food?"

"Thankyou, but not yet. I'm waiting on someone, and I don't want to take up a table before I'm ready to order," he explained.

She nodded, and moved to step back into the restaurant. "Just come in when you're ready then."

Hajime agreed that he would, and then leaned back, trying not to shiver every time a gust of wind blew by. Oikawa was late by about five minutes, but Iwaizumi wasn't bothered by that- the brunette liked to show up fashionably late to everything. But soon enough, five minutes turned to ten, and ten stretched to twenty. Hajime was absolutely freezing, and as he rubbed at his arms furiously, he decided that he was going to kill Oikawa.
Eventually, twenty-five minutes since Hajime sat down, a shrill voice called out.

"Iwa-chan! I'm here, I'm here," Oikawa called as he jogged up the hill, a slight sheen of sweat on his brow. "Listen, I am so-"

"You're late," Iwaizumi said simply.

"I know, I thought we were done, but then Coach wanted to try mixing up some of our combos last minute, and-"

"It doesn't matter, Oikawa," Hajime said tiredly, standing up. "Let's just get inside. It's cold."

"Iwa-chan, you'll catch a cold going out without a jacket," the brunette tutted, before beginning to shrug off his jacket.

Hajime held a hand out. "Stop. You need to keep that on whilst you cool down or you'll get sick. If you were on time, I wouldn't have been out here in the cold for so long."

Oikawa's brows furrowed. "Iwa-chan, I told you, practice ran late. I'm sorry I didn't make it here on time, I ran as soon as I seen what time it was."

"Practice always runs late," Iwaizumi mumbled as he walked in, quickly spotting an empty booth. He smiled at Matsubara-san before sitting down, schooling his features into a blank mask. "Surprised you even bothered to come at all, really."

Oikawa set his back down and crossed his arms, eyes narrowing. "What's that supposed to mean?"

Why can't Hajime control his damn mouth? Sighing, he looked at Oikawa tiredly, his voice small. "I get you to myself for the first day in weeks- yes, weeks, Oikawa- and then, not only do you blow me off less than an hour into our day out, you're also extremely late to the dinner you promised me to make up for how shitty it was of you to leave."

Oikawa rubbed at his eyes. "I can't just stop going, I need to keep practicing, okay? I'm not as integrated with them as I was with Seijoh. It frightens me."

"I just...I miss you, Tooru," Hajime admits, not lifting his eyes from the tabletop.

"Hey," Oikawa said softly, tilting Iwaizumi's face up. "I'm here now, and I'm sorry for making you wait. I really did try to get away in time. I promise that once this match is over, and I've proved myself to the team, I'll lay off a bit, okay? Truthfully, I need some time to study my sociology- I don't have a clue what's going on in that class."

Iwaizumi felt his lips pull up despite his mood, and he nudged Oikawa. "Idiot, you need to balance it. I'm not there to take notes for you anymore."

"Trust me, I know," Oikawa pouted, before standing up. "I'm gonna go order for us. Agedashi tofu?"

Iwaizumi nodded, and Oikawa sauntered away, still looking every bit as amazing as he had in the morning, despite the fact Iwaizumi knows that his knee will be aching, his palms stinging, and his muscles crying from the exercise. Sighing, Iwaizumi wondered how he was ever supposed to stay angry at this asshole when he was so tightly wrapped around Tooru's little finger.

He wondered if Tooru had the same thought.

***

The game was exciting, as far as practice matches go. Technically, there wasn't many people there, but some drifter-by's of the university had stopped to watch, and Hajime and some others stood along the sides of the large hall, enthralled. Odaiba were good, for sure, with a tall smirking captain with short sandy blonde hair who's movements were influenced by basketball- erratic, flighty, and hard to track. Their ace was about Hajime's height, so short by volleyball standards, but he was thick and built, and his spikes were so blunt and forceful that blocking them was proving difficult. Their libero was, strangely, a tall gangly boy with wavy black hair that curled around his ears, who defied Hajime's expectations by flinging himself impossible distances, hitting the ball and keeping it in play. He wasn't quite on Karasuno's level, with Nishinoya, but he was good. But then, there was the captains favourite. He was a tall boy, built slim and lithe, with curled golden hair. His face was so impressively blank, his body so under his control that nobody on Oikawa's team knew if he was going to spike or feint.

However, Oikawa's strategies were working. They kept blockers on the golden boy at all times, effectively tiring him out, and when the captain switched to the ace, their captain was there to catch the block, sending it flying back enough for Oikawa to reach. He was as beautiful playing as ever, Hajime realised. The ball hit his fingertips and, almost instantaneously, it was back in the air, flying in a perfect arc towards a large man who's spiking arm looked so big, he could probably kill Hajime with a punch. The spike hit the floor with a deafening smack, and Iwaizumi and several others cheered. Oikawa caught his eye and smiled, and Iwaizumi nodded at him- his way of saying, I'm proud of you.

Oikawa continued to impress him. He was like lighting, continuously sending out perfect tosses, suited to everyone on the team, and even surprising his own team when he simply tapped it over the net himself, smiling when it bounced on the floor. He made a perfect set from the back of the court, and he was as intimidating as always, his confidence oozing out like a perfume, palpable to everyone in the room.

Oikawa was a King on the court, and they knew it.

"That setter is really something," a small voice said.

Hajime looked around and saw the voice had come from a girl next to him. She barely reached his shoulder, and was very thin, her chestnut hair falling in gentle waves down to her waist. A pair of glasses were perched upon her nose, and her arms were crossed as she watched, watching the ball fly.

Hajime nodded. "Yeah, he's got some serious skill. He's not all great, though."

She raised a thin eyebrow. "Oh?"

Hajime smiled. "Yeah, he leaves his socks everywhere. And he can't cook for shit. Also, he sings terribly in the shower."

The girl laughed loudly, and brushed her hair behind her ear. "And you know this how?"

"Unfortunately, I made the choice to live with him," Iwaizumi sighs. "Fantastic volleyball player, rotten housemate."

She grinned at him, a dimple in her cheek. Sticking her hand out, she said, "My name's Chihoko Kumi, nice to meet you."

He took her tiny hand in his and shook it gently. "Iwaizumi Hajime. You play volleyball yourself?"

She shook her head no. "I have some friends who do though, so I understand the game. I feel like I'd be too short anyway."

"Tell me about it," Hajime grumbled. "I used to play in High school, and I was the shortest there, bar some first years."

"You're giant!" she squeaked, and then began to laugh. "Any taller and I might be afraid of you."

Hajime laughed again, and he continued to talk to her as they watched the game. He swore he could feel a gaze burning into his head, but every time he looked up Oikawa was deep in play, and nobody else was watching. Shrugging, he continued to watch the game, listening as Chihoko told him that she was studying physiotherapy too.

"Really? That's awesome! What branch? I'm doing sports," Hajime grinned.

She smiled at him, about to answer, when suddenly there was a loud yell from the court. Iwaizumi looked up and saw that heading towards them was a volleyball moving at incredible speeds, and even faster (and more worrying), Odaiba's bulky ace was charging after it. Iwaizumi had about two seconds to move before he was crushed. Grunting, he wrapped his arms around Chihoko and flung himself to the side, making sure to land on his back as they fell. She landed on top of him with a small 'oof!' and lifted her head, dark hair spilling over Hajime's chest.

"Oh my God, I'm not dead!" she rejoiced. "You saved me!"

Iwaizumi laughed a little and shifted, his hand still around her waist. He sat up as people began to run towards them, the game temporarily halted. "It's fine, don't worry about it."

"Did I hurt you when I fell?" She asked worriedly, pressing her hands to his chest to check for pain.

Iwaizumi shook his head. "Nah, you're lighter than a feather. Don't worry,"

"But I-"

"He said don't worry about it," a new voice seethed, and Iwaizumi looked up to see Oikawa, arms crossed and jaw locked.

Sighing inwardly, Hajime pulled himself to his feet and helped Chihoko stand, and then checked her over. She seemed completely fine, so he waved to the referee, and then looked back at Oikawa. "You need to get back in the game."

Oikawa's eye twitched. "I just wanted to check you were okay." Reluctantly, he added: "That both of you were okay."

"Ah, Oikawa-san, we're okay! Thankyou for checking," she said, bowing to him. "Hajime-san kept me safe. You're lucky to have such a good roommate!"

If possible, Oikawa's eyes looked ready to bulge out of his face. Any second now, Hajime was expecting his fingernails to turn to claws, and an unholy shriek to escape his mouth. Instead, Oikawa whirled on him, voice rising in pitch. "Oh, yes! Hajime-san is a perfect roommate! Although, sometimes, he touches things that aren't his! Isn't that strange?"

Iwaizumi had no time for this. He skelped Oikawa on the head, voice low. "Be mad later. Right now, you have a game to win. Show them what you can do, and hit them with the best serve you've got."

Reluctantly, but with fire still in his eyes, Oikawa sauntered away, catching the ball as it was thrown to him. If he won this point, the game was his, and he had a permanent place on the team. Hajime could feel his heart thudding in his chest as he waited in anticipation, falling silent as Oikawa bounced the ball twice, and then twirled it in his hands. With a deep breath, he raised the ball to his face and closed his eyes, breathing on it, before taking a few steps back, holding the ball in one hand. He then threw it high into the air, a perfect arc, and then he ran.

Oikawa was always beautiful when he served. He launched his body into the air, his shoulder and knees thrown back, putting as much of his body weight into the swing as he could. Then, he snapped like a rubber band, and his body curved forward, his hand hitting the ball with the a crack loud enough to deafen the whole stadium. The ball moved so fast, Iwaizumi couldn't even see it. One moment it was in the air, and the next it smashed down on the court, bouncing before it rolled quietly along the hall.

The referee moved the scoreboard, and blew his whistle. "Game won by Meiji university club."

Silence, and then deafening cheer.

Oikawa's team mates crowded around him and hugged him, nudging his shoulders and clapping him hard on the back, hollering and whooping.

"What the fuck?" the captain screamed, hugging him. "Why did you not do that serve in practice? Like damn, I already thought you were amazing, but that shit nearly broke the floor!"

Oikawa blushed and grinned widely, soaking up the praise. His eyes drifted to Hajime and his lips quirked. "I had some motivation."

Following his gaze, the captain looked curiously. "Who's that?"

"That, gentlemen," Oikawa said with dramatic flair. "Is Iwa-chan."

Grinning, the captain hollered, "Oi! Iwa-chan! Get over here."

Iwaizumi had never in his life been called that stupid nickname in his entire life from someone who wasn't Oikawa. He stood and gaped stupidly like a fish out of water, before remembering his manners, and walking over, nodding at the guys and groaning inwardly when he realised he was the shortest one there. "Hey, uh...I don't know your name, sorry. Also, my name is Iwaizumi."

"Well, Iwaizumi-kun, it's nice to finally meet you! My name is Onodera Takano," the man grins, then he nudges Oikawa. "This one tells us about the infamous Iwa-chan. You're the one who makes him those amazing bentos!"

"Oh my God, yeah, please cook for me," another boy joins in, grinning wildly. "Oikawa's lunches always smell perfect."

Iwaizumi's face darkened to the shade of a tomato, and he coughed out a reply. "Uh, t-thanks, I guess? Oikawa's really bad at cooking, so like...yeah."

"Seriously," Onodera whines, "I wish my best friend would cook me bentos. All he does is fart near me and blasts country music. You've set the bar too high for friends everywhere, Iwaizumi-kun."

Oikawa looked around him quickly, and interjected himself into the conversation. "Yep! Iwa-chan is a really good friend, he cooks for me all the time! A-anyway, I'm beat so I'm going to head home now. You coming?"

The question was directed at Iwaizumi, and suspiciously, he nodded, if only to follow Oikawa and see what was going on. There was something unsettling about the conversation, but he didn't want to think about it.

"Yeah, let's go," he said wearily, and then halfheartedly waved to the rest of the team. He spotted Chihoko and waved to her as well, his smile more genuine this time. "See you later, Chihoko-kun."

"Bye, Hajime-san! Thankyou again for saving me," she said walking up to him. Then, she very shyly held out some paper, and forced it into his hand. "That's my number, if you ever want to drop me a call. Can even be just if you want me to smoke your ass with my knowledge of back muscles."

Iwaizumi actually laughed, and although he had no interest in her the way she probably did in him, he still could appreciate her as a friend. "Thankyou. I'll speak to you later."

Oikawa dug his nails into Iwaizumi's arm and pulled him harshly, his smile all too wide and all too fake. "Time to go! Don't be expecting a reply, Chihoko-chan, Iwa-chan's just awful when it comes to girls!"

With that, Oikawa forcibly pulled him from the club and let go of him, stomping off in a huff. Iwaizumi grunted and caught up with him, wrapping a hand around his arm. "Hey, can you stop trying to run away from me?"

"I'm not. I'm just walking home," he said, pretty face pulled into a scowl.

"Oikawa, hey, just stop," Hajime said, holding onto him and digging his heels into the ground. "I'm not interested in her like that, okay? You know I'm not."

"Do I, now? Because not only were you talking with her instead of watching me play, you were laughing and giggling! Giggling, Iwa-chan! Since when did you giggle!?" Oikawa nearly shrieked.

"We both study physiotherapy," he explained calmly, rubbing his hand along Oikawa's arm comfortingly. He was no stranger to Oikawa's jealousy. "We were talking about that, and volleyball. She liked watching you play. She thinks you're amazing."

Oikawa huffed, but he turned more towards Iwaizumi, his anger thawing. "Well, that's because I am. Still, that doesn't give you and excuse to pretty much fuck her on the floor!"

"Oh my God, Oikawa, I didn't fuck her! We were going to be hit by a volleyball and a big ass dude! Did you want either one of us seriously injured?"

Oikawa pouted. "I guess not. I just don't like seeing girls all over my boyfriend, okay? You're not supposed to look at anyone else but me."

"I don't," Iwaizumi said, and his heart gave a painful pang at how honest that statement was.

"Are you keeping her number?" He asked petulantly as he moved to hug Oikawa, wrapping his arms around the other's waist.

Iwaizumi splayed his hands on Oikawa's broad back and laughed a little. "She might actually be able to help me with my studies."

"Iwa-chan!" he whined.

"I promise I'll tell her we're together, okay? She won't make a move on me then," he said diplomatically, finally calming Oikawa down. "Honestly, you're such a baby. I would never have gotten through highschool if I acted like this every time I saw you flirting with girls."

"Iwa-chan is stronger than I am," Oikawa sniffed, before touching their foreheads together. "We won, Iwa-chan. We really won."

"You did it, Tooru. I'm proud of you- there's no way they wont be putting you into the official lineup now," Hajime smiled, but then it faltered, and he hesitated. "Can I ask you something?"

"Yeah," he replied softly.

"Your team doesn't know we're together, do they?" He asked, already knowing the response.

Oikawa sighed and pulled Iwaizumi closer, his voice small and sorrowful. "No, they don't. I was going to, and I was waiting for the chance to, but.. I just don't know."

"What don't you know?" His voice cracked.

"I'm not sure if sports is quite ready to accept me yet, Iwa-chan," he said quietly, his breath fanning over Iwaizumi's face. "Japan is still so behind in some ways. Me being gay isn't protected by national civil rights laws, and if I come out and the team is against it, I can be dropped immediately. I could even be dropped from university, if they chose to pursue it that far."

Iwaizumi gulped and nodded once, knowing that Tooru was right. He didn't want to stay a secret, but Tooru had put too much work into the team to be dropped. "Just, promise me that when you know the team better, and know you can trust them, you'll tell them, okay? I don't want to be hidden away like some dirty little secret, Tooru. Don't make me do that."

Oikawa kissed him softly; just a press of lips. "You're not a secret Hajime. You're my biggest accomplishment. I'll tell them when I know I can trust them, right now it's just too risky."

As Oikawa bent his head to kiss him, Iwaizumi drank him in, his insecurities manifesting in his desperation. He clutched to Oikawa, tried to stop tears from spilling from his eyes, and couldn't help but wonder how Oikawa could somehow put volleyball before Hajime again, and still make Hajime feel like his heart was so full it could break.

Iwa-chan is stronger than I am.

For the first time, Hajime thinks that no, he really isn't.

***

When Oikawa told him that things would wind down after he secured a place on the team, Iwaizumi foolishly believed him.
Oikawa was out just as long, working himself to the bone and spending hours training the rest of the team on how to do jump serves, and showing them all the new plays he had thought up the previous night. In the morning, he would grab the lunches Hajime made and would quickly scurry out the door, but always remembering to quickly peck Iwaizumi on the lips if he hadn't already done so earlier in the day. He would text Hajime sometimes, but they were never anything substantial, usually just reminding him he would be home late. When he came home, he was exhausted, but would sit himself down at the kotatsu, and spill notes out in front of him. Most of the time, it was for Sociology, as Oikawa desperately tried to catch up with his lectures.

On those days, Hajime would sit with him and study himself, because sitting in the silence was a lot more comforting when Hajime knows that at least Tooru was home, with him.

Oikawa had never been good at studying, even in their high school years. He loved to have stimuli, be it a friend, or music, or a background noise, but would always find himself unable to focus because of that. So, when he started sitting in silence as he studied, Iwaizumi knew he was really trying to get his grades up, and he plopped himself down, too, focusing on his own notes. Oikawa raised a brow when he saw him, but said nothing, too busy mouthing over some concepts in his textbook.

Iwaizumi himself had begun to doodle a leg in one of his notebooks, drawing a circle around the knee. Next to it, he carefully wrote out the parts, and potential problems:

Chondromalacia Patella- Abnormal softening of the articular cartilage of the knee cap. Pain at the back of the knee.
Posterolateral Corner Injury - An injury to the PLC of the knee. PLC consists of lateral collateral ligament, popliteus tendon, the popliteofibular ligament and the posterolateral capsule.
Superior Tibiofibular Joint Sprain- The peroneal nerve wraps around the top of the fibula and can also be implicated if there is an injury to the superior tibiofibular joint.
Pes Anserinus Bursitis/Tendonitis- inflammation of the gracilis, sartorius and semitendinosus tendons. Pain, inflammation, weakness of joint, limited movement and swelling. Oikawa's injury

"My injury, huh?" Oikawa said, breaking the silence. He had moved Hajime even noticing, and had settled behind him. He pointed a well manicured finger at the page, tapping it slightly. "Look at that. Seems so weird to see it written down like that."

"It's a lot more complicated than a note in my textbook, Oikawa," Iwaizumi reminded him softly, turning his head to nose along Oikawa's neck.

Absent-mindedly, Oikawa threaded his hand through Iwaizumi's hair, and hummed. "Trust me, I know. It likes to remind me every now and then that it's still in control, not me."

"Please be careful," Hajime says, even though he knows its useless. Oikawa has always lied to him about this. "I know you're training a lot, so just watch out okay? You gotta put yourself first, Oikawa. Not volleyball."

Oikawa laughed. "One of these days, you'll stop mothering me."

Iwaizumi punched him lightly. "Don't count on it. My job is to make sure you don't be an dumbass your entire life."

"And what's my job?" He smiled, beautiful and soft under the light of their lamp.

To stay with me, forever.

"To keep being a dumbass so I have something to do," he said instead, smirking.

Oikawa laughs, and kisses Iwaizumi's temple. "Deal."

They didn't have many nights like that, if Iwaizumi was being honest.
He wished they did.

***

Oikawa doesn't come to bed until the early hours of the morning most nights. He sits down, pulls out his laptop, and hunts for videos of rival teams, spends hours agonizing over the footage, writing messy scrawled notes in his journal for each player. He relays the same clips over and over, seeing things Hajime can't, and he stares so intensely that Iwaizumi isn't even sure he blinks. He has detailed power charts for each player, marking them out of 5 on what he classes their power, speed, game sense, stamina, technique and jumping.
When Hajime finds him one night, headphones on and knees drawn up to his face, he sits down next to him.

"Hey," he said after Oikawa had taken off the headphones. He was wearing his glasses, and Hajime wished that he would wear them more- he looks so...normal.

"Hi," Oikawa whispered, setting his pen down. He checked the clock on his laptop. It's past 2am. "Why are you not asleep?"

"Why aren't you?" Iwaizumi countered, and even though his eyes were burning with the need to close he forced them to stay open.

"Strategising." He explained. "Got a game coming up soon. Formidable team."

"You're not the captain anymore, Oikawa," Hajime said softly. "You don't need to do this anymore. Please, just...come back to bed."

Oikawa looked at him and sighed, the smile bleeding from his face, but never fully leaving. It looked small, and tired, and Iwaizumi hated it. "Go to bed, Iwa-chan. I'll be in soon. I'm almost done."

Hajime turned his head away, trying to hide the disappointment on his features. "You always say that. I can't remember the last time we went to bed together. Or ate dinner together. Or even really talked to each other...you're always just here, tucked away, pretending as if life outside volleyball doesn't even exist."

"Hajime," Oikawa growled.

It was a warning tone, one that Iwaizumi was used to hearing by now. He used to counter back, his anger flaring to life instantly, but it had only resulted in fights, the two of them yelling over nothing until they'd stomped in different directions, slamming doors so hard the whole place rattled. Iwaizumi never liked fights with Oikawa. It was easier to just hold his tongue.

"I'm not taking it back," he said quietly. "We've had this talk a lot of times, Tooru."

"Then we don't need to have it again."

"Then listen to me," Iwaizumi almost pleads. "I miss you, Tooru. I miss cooking dinner and being able to eat it together. I miss you coming in only an hour after me, and waking up together when mornings aren't so rushed. I miss us watching movies together, and having stupid pillow fights, and I miss just hearing about your day! I miss hearing your stupid stories about girls in your class and people who confessed to you, and I miss being able to tell you about my day, too. I miss just being with you, Tooru."

By the end of his torrent, Iwaizumi's breath came in sharp pants, and he could feel his hands shaking. He kept his face turned away, eyes boring into the carpet. The words tumbled around in his head every day, desperate to be heard but so easily swept under the carper at the slightest touch of Oikawa's hand. He knew that he'd said it before. He knew that Oikawa had heard it before. He just hoped that this time, he would listen.

"Hajime, look at me," Oikawa cooed softly, as if speaking to a child.

"I can't...I don't know how to do this without you," Iwaizumi admitted, his voice small."I never really told you before, but always being around you- it was just how I'd gotten used to living. I liked it. And I thought that even when we moved, I'd still have you by my side, because I'd always be coming home to you. You've never been distant with me before Tooru, I don't know how to deal with that. I don't know how to deal with any of this."

"Hajime, baby, please look at me."

The pet name was one he hadn't heard in months. Oikawa first started saying it when they were teenagers, just so he could embarrass him, but as they got older it became reserved for tender moments, hushed softly, like the last word of a prayer.

He looked at Oikawa. "Come back to me."

Oikawa gathered Iwaizumi in his arms and laid his legs down enough to pull Iwaizumi over them. He weaved his fingers into Hajime's thick black hair, which had grown a little longer the past few weeks, and held his head to his chest, rocking slightly. He hummed for the first minute, doing nothing but holding him until Hajime stopped shaking.

"I know that it feels like we haven't seen each other at all," he began, voice hushed. "After all, you forget that I was with you the majority of my life, too. Being without you, it's strange, but Hajime, the point is we're not in highschool anymore. You always told me that I shouldn't be afraid to go to different universities, because you were always going to have my back, and I'd always have yours. I spend a lot of time away from home, and I'm sorry for that. But you and volleyball are the biggest things in my life right now. I know that you'll always be there, but volleyball might not be, so I have to take my chance now. I have to do for my team what I couldn't do for ours. This is my chance to be the best I can be, Hajime. I've got to make my mark on this sport, show all of Japan what I can do- all of the world, even! I'm going to make it Olympian, you'll see."

"I know you will, Tooru. But I need you to make a compromise with me, please," he begged, clutching to Oikawa's shirt. "All I want is to to be able to fall asleep with you. Please, come to bed with me every night from now on. Stop staying up so late to watch these dumb videos, okay? Just give me this."

Oikawa closed his laptop, a resigned but exhausted smile on his face. "Okay, I will. If that's what you want, then okay."

Iwaizumi wished Tooru didn't have the ability to make him feel guilty, as if he were asking for something impossible. It made him question himself, question them, and Hajime was tired of thinking. He just wanted to sleep. So, standing and tugging Oikawa along with him, he fell into bed, body tense until he turned over, and sank against Oikawa's form.

Quietly, he said, "I love you."

"Yeah," Oikawa replied, "love you, too."

***

Things felt awkward between them the days after that. Hajime swore he could feel the blame radiating off Oikawa every time he tugged at his shoulder, claiming it was time for bed. There was always those few seconds when Tooru would simply look at him, searching for something that he evidently couldn't find, before closing the laptop, and heading to the bedroom. He could feel the pin prick of Oikawa's stare as they were getting changed, and when he lay down next to him at night, the brunette's breaths were even, yet forceful, as if trying to take his anger out on Hajime without actually using violence.

Of course, Hajime realised that it could easily be his paranoia making him feel these things, and somehow, it was easier to believe that, than accept the possibility that maybe Oikawa was becoming fed up of him. If he entertained that thought for too long, his mind became an ugly place.

He picked at his dinner, his appetite waning rapidly, and pushed the rice around with his chopsticks. He had already stored Oikawa's lunch in the fridge, and he found some solace in the fact that, even if he was mad, Oikawa was still eating his food. Deciding that he didn't want any more, Iwaizumi binned it, and instead went through to the living room, seeing Oikawa's laptop sitting on the couch. Hesitantly, his fingers skimmed across it before he opened it, watching as it came to life. The home screen was a picture of Oikawa and him after a match, and Oikawa had his arm slung around Hajime's shoulders, a huge smile on his face. Hajime himself was grinning widely, his hand tangled in Oikawa's hair, and the sense of victory was so strong that he smiled, fingertips touching the screen.

Inspired slightly, Iiwaizumi scrolled through the files he knew were downloaded on Oikawa's computer somewhere. He found them easily enough, under a document saved as 'seijoh', and he scrolled through them, clicking some open at random. They were the official videos of Seijoh's matches, back when Oikawa and he were in their third year. Hajime watched fondly as his name was announced and he stepped onto the court, the image of himself offering the barest of smiles before taking his position. He watched as the full team made their debut, from Matsukawa's lazy stride and Hanamaki's peace sign, to Yahaba's shy grin as he bowed. And then, he came on.

Oikawa was as beautiful as ever, but God had Iwaizumi missed seeing him like that. Oikawa walked onto the court and the cheers were incredibly loud, girls screaming his name and boy's clapping and whooping for him, the stadium suddenly alive. His face was collected and cool, his lips pulled into a smirk, and his wide brows eyes were half lidded as he took his place, eyes roaming all over his team. He turned to them, and although the camera's hadn't caught what he'd said, Iwaizumi already knew; it was the same words he said every game- the words that electrified the atmosphere and forced Hajime's head into the game. They were the words that made him excited to play.

I believe in all of you.

There was something thrilling about Oikawa saying those words. It was the exact moment when the shivers would slide down Iwaizumi's spine, and suddenly everything was brighter, bigger, and more real. It evoked a trust between them that was completely solid- Iwaizumi could have complete faith in Oikawa and his tosses, could trust that he would do what was best for the team and bring them to victory. He had always said that the team with the better six is the strongest, but he would be lying if he said that having Oikawa didn't give Seijoh an advantage; he was a a lightning strike on the court, his every moment fast, precise, and powerful. He kept the other team on their toes, his face stretching into the competitive grin and furrowed brow that used to make Hajime's pulse spike.

Grinning as he watched himself and old team mates play, Hajime passed the time easily that night, watching game after game. He eventually got to the first Interhigh game against Karasuno and sighed as it started. However, he found himself having an immensely good time as he watched, laughing at the first set when the shrimpy one served into Kageyama's head. He felt his cheeks go red as he watched himself shout after every spike, and he groaned.

"Jeez, am I really that loud?" he wondered aloud, a smile tugging at his lips as he watched Oikawa gain three service aces in a row.

"Yes, you are," a voice said from the doorway, and Oikawa stepped forward, looking exhausted but smiling nonetheless. He sank down next to Iwaizumi, greeting him with a kiss. "What are you doing watching these?"

"Just having fun," Iwaizumi said, watching as his spike was blocked. "Damn, I made a lot of mistakes in this game."

"Don't beat yourself up- you made mistakes in every game," Oikawa teased.

"Oi, watch it, Crappykawa" Iwaizumi muttered, nudging him none too lightly.

Snickering, Oikawa leaned his head against Iwaizumi's shoulder and watched as the second set played out in front of them. He hummed every time Watari dived in time to save the ball, and pursed his lips every time he watched the ball come into his own hands. It wasn't hard to see that he was thinking over his decisions, wondering what play he would make if he could go back and do it again.

When the third set began, and Watari leaped into the front line to set for Oikawa, Iwaizumi watched with wide eyes, his lips pulling into a smile. He loved to watch Oikawa spike, knowing just how much power it had, and the way their opponents would scramble as it raced towards them. When the ball landed and they won the point, Iwaizumi grinned, letting out a small, "Yes!"

Oikawa chuckled. "Iwa-chan, you've literally played in this match! What are you so excited for?"

"I love watching you play," Iwaizumi said truthfully. "Playing next to you is amazing, but getting to take a step back and actually watch you? I love it, it makes me so proud."

Oikawa stared at him for a second and then grinned, sucking his head into the crook of Iwaizumi's neck. "You stupid softie. What have you done with my Iwa-chan? The one that calls me names and hits me all the time?"

"I will headbutt you."

"Just like old times," Oikawa winked, and then he pointed at the screen. "Oh! Look, you're about to spike!"

Iwaizumi watched as the ball soared towards the net, looking bound for Karasuno's hands. And then, in the last second, Oikawa leaped into the air, and with the tips of his fingers, sent the ball flying to Hajime, who grunted and whacked it, sending it smashing onto Karasuno's court, untouched.

Iwaizumi could remember the sting in his palm from that spike. "That looks so awesome on camera."

They continued to watch as Karasuno wracked up more points, their #10 hitting quicks that they couldn't stop even if they tried. Iwaizumi watched himself jump with Matsukawa and yell as he did so, and groaned as he watched himself drop back down, the ball not even tossed to the redhead.

"Jeez, that's embarrassing. I really need to stop screaming during games," he muttered.

"You think that's bad? Look how weak my block was! Their ace blasted me aside like I weighed nothing," Oikawa huffed, the air blowing his fringe about. "However, look at that backwards dump I just did. Now that was cool."

Iwaizumi smiled, because he knew what was coming next. Oikawa's serve hit the net, just barely making it over. He huffed a laugh and shook his head. "Best setter in all of Japan and that's the serve you gave? Weak, Oikawa, weak."

Oikawa only smiled, turning his face up to kiss Hajime's lips softly. "I'm happy to see you watching these. I'm glad you're still into volleyball."

"How could I not be? Even if I don't play anymore, it was a huge part of my life. It's a pretty huge part of my life with you, too. We spent six years on that court together- I could never let go of something like that," Iwaizumi said, splaying his hand across Oikawa's cheek.

"You want to go to bed now?" Oikawa asked softly, and stood when Iwaizumi nodded. He shut the laptop and hummed, pulling Iwaizumi by the wrist as he walked through the hall, flicking off light switches as he passed. When they reached their bedroom, Oikawa began to peel his clothing off, wincing as he tried to lift his arms above his head.

"Hey, what's wrong?" Iwaizumi asked, tone worried. "You okay?"

"'M fine, Iwa-chan," Oikawa said, hands now moving to pull down his shorts. His back twinged in protest and he sighed. "Peachy, even."

"Oikawa, what's wrong?"

"Just muscle pain. It'll go away with sleep, and a shower tomorrow," he said, trying to smile reassuringly when Iwaizumi looked at him through drawn brows.

"Idiot, I told you to watch yourself!" Iwaizumi started, before walking to his bedside cabinet. "Strip and lie on the bed."

Oikawa's eyes widened and he spluttered. "Iwa-chan, even for you that's blunt!"

"Shittykawa, get your ass on the bed. I'm going to massage your muscles," he explain with a roll of his eyes. He pulled out a vial of liquid, and at Oikawa's interested look, he waved it around. "It's oil."

Slowly, Oikawa pulled of the rest of his clothes and knelt on the bed, blush colouring the apples of his cheeks. He stared at the covers, and picked at them. "What shall I do?"

"Lie down on your stomach first," Iwaizumi said, his voice calm and professional- he'd picked up on Oikawa's nervousness. "Relax. I've been learning this in class for so long I can do it with my eyes closed."

"I trust you," Oikawa smiled into the pillow, unaware of how deeply his words had affected Hajime.

"Longitudinal massage first," Iwaizumi murmured, pouring some oil on his hands. It was nifty self heating stuff he'd bought after using the same stuff in class, and it smelled like jasmine. "Administered in the direction of blood flow. Useful in relaxing tight muscles. Start at deltoid."

Hajime set his palms on Tooru's broad back, and began to move them, dragging them down across the shoulder blades and out to Oikawa's arm, following the bumps and curves of his muscles. He pulled his arms down over Oikawa's bicep multiple times, applying a little more pressure each time. "Stimulate the biceps brachii, then the triceps brachii, and bring it down to the Brachioradialis."

His hand slid down from elbow to wrist, which he massaged gently, rotating the joint also. "Bring it to the Extensor carpi radialis longus, and repeat."

Iwaizumi started again, and Oikawa stayed silent through his mumbling, content to lie there with his eyes closed. Then Iwaizumi moved to the other arm and painstaking repeated the process, only stopping for more oil. He pushed and pulled at Oikawa's muscles, just enough to get the blood flowing, and eventually, his hands found their way to Oikawa's back again.

"Start at the trapezius," Iwaizumi said as he thumbed at Oikawa's neck, bringing his hands down in gentle swooping motions as he passed by the shoulder blade, his palms pressing in. "Massage the Levator Scapulae, and the Rhomboid minor and major."

"You're remembering so many muscle names," Oikawa said softly from beneath him. "I'm proud of you."

"It helps to have hands on experience," Hajime smirked, before pulling his hands down to Oikawa's side. "Latissimus Dorsi, first. Pull down into the lower back, to the thoracolumbar fascia at the base of the spine."

Hajime dragged his hands down with a little pressure, his palms ghosting over the knobs of Tooru's spine as it curved in a beautiful arc to his ass, pert and full after so any years of squats. Grinning, he dragged his hands over Oikawa's ass, kneading the flesh in his hands. "Gluteus maximus."

Oikawa yelped a little, but he smiled into his pillow, voice drowsy. "If this is what you're going to be doing to attractive athletes all day then you need to find a new job."

Hajime only laughed, his fingers moving onto the top of Oikawa's thighs. He brought his hand down the outskirts, leaving his fingers so light it was almost like a tickle, his voice low. "Start at the illotibial tract, and bring it to the biceps femoris and the semitendidosus muscles, centre thigh."

Iwaizumi put more pressure into his touch now, feeling the tight muscles beneath the skin; Oikawa had been practicing jump serves tonight. He dug his thumbs in, coaxing the muscle to relent and relax, the deep tension it had been holding onto slowly bleeding away, like water down a plughole.

Oikawa groaned, his fingers fisting in the bedsheets. "Hurts...but feels good."

"It's supposed to hurt," Iwaizumi said gently. "Just relax. Get the blood flowing in the gracillis muscle, all the way down to the knee, and the sartorious."

Hajime was extra careful when massaging the sides of Oikawa's knee, knowing just how fragile it truly was.

"Then," he said again, "bring it to the gastronemius."

Iwaizumi's hands slid down the back of Oikawa's calf, and he pulled and rubbed at the muscles, his determination paying of when he could feel them give way under his ministrations.

Oikawa sighed in pleasure as he felt the muscles loosen up. "Feels really good."

Iwaizumi thanked him with a kiss on the back of his knee, and moved to the other leg, repeating the whole process again, humming slightly as he coerced the muscles to comply. He hadn't realised how therapeutic it would be to sit and let his hands roam across Oikawa's perfect skin, pressing deep into the muscles and letting his hands drag back and forth rhythmically, like a wave at sea, but it was extremely calming- there was no noise but Iwaizumi's hushed medical ramblings, and the occasional whine Oikawa would omit when a particularly tense muscle gave way. He also didn't anticipate how arousing it would be to have Oikawa so pliant under his fingertips, and the reality that he was actually here, in bed with Oikawa, and there hadn't been any awkwardness or fight, hit him like a freight train, and he groaned. His body yearned for Oikawa in a way he'd been trying to hold back for weeks, and he cursed at himself.

"Iwa-chan?" Oikawa murmured, his voice hushed and soft.

It took all Iwaizumi had not to growl. "Turn over."

Oikawa's cheeks darkened, and he ducked his head, but slowly twisted his torso and shifted onto his stomach, his breaths speeding up. He looked up at Hajime through long lashes and licked his lips, voice saccharine sweet when he said, "Take care of me, okay?"

Iwaizumi tilted his head back and groaned, seeing that between Oikawa's legs was an erection. He knew it was common for them to happen during massages, but the fact that Oikawa had felt so good under Iwaizumi's hands drove him crazy. He leaned forward, his lips pressed against Oikawa's neck.

"Sternocleidomastoid muscle," he murmured, before pressing an open mouthed kiss to the skin, shiny after his hands had touched it. Oikawa gasped beneath him and tilted his head to the side, giving Iwaizumi more access. His lips marked a trail down to Oikawa's chest, where he nudged a hard nipple with his nose. "Pectoralis major."

Hajime took the nipple in his mouth and lavished it with his tongue, letting his teeth scrape it every so slightly, the way Oikawa liked. Oikawa's hands fisted in the bed sheets and he moaned, chest rising to push itself more into Hajime's mouth. "Oh, God, Hajime!"

Detaching himself, Iwaizumi kissed his way down Oikawa's well defined chest, stopping only to nuzzle a sharp hipbone. He let his hands follow after his mouth, still rubbing along all of the muscles, the oil leaving Oikawa streaked and illuminated by the moonlight. Iwaizumi moaned into Oikawa's skin desperately.

"I need you," he whined, eyes flitting to meet Oikawa's. "Please, Oikawa, can I?"

It took a minute for Oikawa to come to his senses, but he shook his head and ran a hand through his hair. "I have practice tomorrow, Iwa-chan. I can't go in sore-"

"Then I'll bottom!" Hajime blurted, lifting himself up over Tooru. He leaned forward to nuzzle his neck, breathing hard when their crotches brushed against each other. "You can top me, Tooru. I just- I need this, I-I need to know that you're here with me. I need to know that things are going to be okay."

Oikawa raised a hand to Hajime's face and brushed it softly, his voice so gentle Iwaizumi had to strain to here it. "Okay, Hajime. Okay."

It had been a long time since Hajime had bottomed. Tooru had only topped him three times in the course of their relationship, and although it wasn't his favourite, he was so delighted at Tooru's words he could cry. He craved Tooru's affection like a drug, and he supposed that was only fitting; he had been in withdrawl stages for what seemed like years, but could only be months. His body yearned for more than a quick routine peck on the lips in the morning, and he missed the way Tooru would always lightly touch him as he walked by- a brush of the shoulder, a ruffle of his hair, even a pinch of his butt was better than the distance that had formed between them lately.

Iwaizumi wished he could open his mouth and tell Tooru these things, tell him that he needed to be touched and loved and talked to, but every time he opened his mouth all that spilled out were ugly words and insecurites, and it only served to drive them further apart. He felt touch starved, aching to be held by the only body he's ever fit so perfectly against at night.

The burn of the stretch takes him by surprise, and he squeezes his eyes shut, grunting. Tooru's fingers are long and stretch him wide, and he whines hopelessly.

"It's okay, Hajime. It'll fade in a second, you're alright," Oikawa murmured, nipping along Iwaizumi's ears and neck as he spoke, his fingers still pushing impossibly deep inside of Iwaizumi.

Then, they curled, and brushed against something that sent a shiver up Hajime's spine. His legs opened naturally and he curled an arm around Oikawa's neck. "Again."

The brunette did not laugh. Instead, he curled his fingers again and pushed deep against Iwaizumi, kissing his shoulder when the tan boy shuddered and began to move restlessly, trying to fuck himself on Oikawa's fingers.

"Easy, Hajime," he said gently, slipping his fingers out slowly. "We have all the time in the world."

Oikawa dribbled some of the oil onto his palm, and he slicked himself up with it generously. He held himself in his hand whilst Iwaizumi prepared himself for what was to come. He hushed Hajime's pleas with a soft kiss against his hungry lips, and then placed a hand on his thigh, squeezing hard. Iwaizumi steadied himself with his hands on Oikawa's chest, and slowly, he sunk down until the head of Oikawa's dick was against his hole, pushing against it every so slightly. He grunted and pushed down further, gritting his teeth as he felt the head breach. It was still a shock, despite the preparation, and he groaned against the pain.

"It's okay, baby," Oikawa cooed, hair spilled out around him on the pillow like a halo. "You're doing so good for me, Hajime."

Gasping, Hajime sunk down until the full head was in, and he bit his lip. It took a minute for the sting to be replaced by a dull ache instead, and he leaned back, eyes shut. "Talk to me."

"Beautiful," Oikawa said immediately, slightly breathless as Iwaizumi used his weight to sink down further on his cock. "You're so fucking beautiful, Hajime. You're perfect."

Iwaizumi rolled his hips and took Tooru further, biting his lip against the sense of fullness he was beginning to feel. He knew he still had over half of Oikawa to go, and the realization made his head tilt back. "Jesus, Tooru, you feel so fucking huge. I can feel you inside me."

When Iwaizumi's half lidded eyes met Tooru's, the brunette groaned himself, hips stirring impatiently. "Come on, Hajime, just a couple inches more and you got it."

"Hurts," Iwaizumi gasped as he took another inch, screwing his eyes shut.

"I know, baby, but you're perfect. You're doing so well for me, you were made for me, Hajime," Oikawa's voice was nothing but a long drawn out whine, but he managed to smile at Iwaizumi, lips pulling back to reveal a flash of white teeth. "Always so perfect, just for me."

With a grunt, Hajime finally sank down on the rest of Oikawa, his heart racing. He could feel himself burn with stretch and he dug his finger's into Tooru's chest, waiting for it to pass. "I'm so sorry I ever put you through this."

Oikawa laughed loudly, fondly cradling Iwaizumi's face. "Iwa-chan always takes the best care of me, though."

Oikawa rubbed his back patiently as he waited for Hajime's burn to fade to an ache, and when Hajime looked at him and nodded, he experimentally rolled his hips. Iwaizumi finally felt some release of the pressure that had been building in his abdomen, and he nodded quickly, letting Tooru know that he was okay to move.

Tooru did so, but it was gentle, just little lifts of his hips that had Iwaizumi moving restlessly, needing something more. "Set the pace, Hajime- I want you to take control. Ride me."

A lewd shiver ghost over Hajime's skin and he whined, bracing his hands on Oikawa's chest. He raised himself slightly, his breath stuttering as Oikawa dragged along his inner walls, and the plopped back down, biting his lip. He found the confidence to raise himself higher, letting his instinct take over so that for once, his head could be free of thoughts he didn't want to hear. He could feel the burn in his thighs as he moved, raising himself higher each time until he was eventually at the head, and Oikawa was almost out of him completely, and them slamming himself down again, moans ripped from his throat every time their bodies met again.

"Fuck, Hajime," Oikawa grunted, his hands on Iwaizumi's hips as he steadied him, his own hips beginning to thrust up to meet Hajime.

Iwaizumi growled and slammed himself down quicker, relishing in the burn of his thighs and the feel of Tooru's impossibly tight grip on his skin. Tooru might not look at him any other time, but here, now, in this room, he was clutching to Hajime like a lifeline, calling his name like a mantra, and it was the best feeling in the world. He felt wanted- no, needed, and it set his blood aflame.

Tooru sat up, hand wrapped around Iwaizumi's waist as he began to earnestly thrust hard and deep, and Iwaizumi sobbed, gripping onto Oikawa's hair so tightly he was vaguely worried it would fall out. Every few thrusts Tooru would hit his prostate and it sent a flush of heat to his groin every time, a deep pull in his gut. "Jesus, Tooru, so deep- so fucking deep, I can feel you- don't stop-"

Oikawa latched onto Iwaizumi's neck and sucked hard, his hips pounding furiously. There was the lewd sound of skin smacking off skin, and Tooru's deep grunts, contrasting to Iwaizumi's whines and pants, high and breathless. The brunette scraped his teeth across Iwaizumi's salty skin, breathing raggedly. "So good, Hajime, so good...can't stop."

Iwaizumi threw his head back and slammed down before grinding down hard, his hips rotating in tight circles, squeezing just enough to give Tooru a tightness that bordered on painful.

"Fuck," Oikawa gasped, his fingers holding Hajime flush against his chest. His hips thrusted forward, faster and faster until he could barely breathe, his body shaking. "H-hajime, I'm gonna...fuck, I'm gonna come, gonna-"

"Come in me."

The words left his mouth before he'd even realized what he'd said. Hajime had never let Oikawa come in his ass before, but he needed everything Tooru would give, yearned for it with an obsession that frightened and thrilled him; he had so much love for this boy that it was filling up his body, overflowing and drowning his brain, so strong that he ached when Tooru wasn't looking at him.

Oikawa pounded into him with renowned vigor, his thrusts becoming erratic as he reached his climax. He sobbed, eyes screwed tight. "Fuck- Hajime, oh God, l-love you so much-"

Then, he was coming, grinding into Hajime as his dick spurted four long times, and Hajime shuddered. He could feel himself fill with warmth, and he milked it out of Tooru, slamming his hips down to meet the last desperate few thrusts. Quickly, his hand found his dick, and he leaned right back to feel Tooru inside him, thick and long and so wonderfully deep inside him, twitching. With two strokes, he was coming, and the breath was knocking out from his lungs. His eyes rolled to the back of his head as he strained, his grip almost painful, until finally he came back to himself, panting hard.

He slumped forward onto Oikawa's chest, limbs like noodles, and groaned, exhausted. "Damn, that was...fuck."

"Yeah," Oikawa agreed simply, before a smile stretched his face. "I haven't cum that hard in ages, I thought I was going to die."

You haven't touched me in ages.

Iwaizumi frowns and feels a crashing sense of hope- he had hoped that somehow, he would remain blissfully spaced out after the sex. Unfortunately, he was proven wrong. Still, he nuzzled Oikawa's neck. Maybe if he ignored his problems, they would go away. "It was good."

"Good? Really, Hajime? We just had a brilliant fuck and you wanna label it as 'good'?"

"Okay," Hajime said, and tried again. "Really good."

Oikawa just laughed, and then tapped him on the shoulder. "I'm gonna pull out now, sorry if it hurts."

It wasn't sore, but it was definitely uncomfortable, and he winced. Then, as if the discomfort awoke his senses, he looked at the drying cum on his chest, and the cooling cum in his ass, and threw a disgusted look at Oikawa.

"This is fucking gross, I'm never bottoming again," he shuddered. "Go get a cloth."

Grinning, Oikawa rolled off the bed and plodded to the bathroom, coming back a minute later. He gently wiped himself down and then turned to Hajime, gently cleaning him. Somehow, Hajime felt it was almost more intimate than the sex.

"Thanks," he murmured, slightly embarrassed. He would have done it himself, but already he was feeling a weird ache of emptiness, and a pain in his back that he knew would be worse in the morning. "It was better than 'really good', you know."

Oikawa slid down on the bed next to him, easily pulling Hajime's lax body on top of his own. He kissed Iwaizumi's forehead, and then yawned. "I know. You were perfect."

Not in the heat of the moment, hearing the words had a very different effect on Hajime: he sucked in a breath and closed his eyes, savouring them like a fine wine, filing away the taste they left on his tongue. Then, he let himself listen to Tooru's heartbeat, ticking like a metronome. "You mean that?"

"Course I do," Oikawa mumbled quietly, eyes fluttering as sleep called to him.

Hajime closed his eyes and wished that tonight was a sign that things were finally looking up.

***
He was proven wrong the next day.

Still on a high from the night before, Iwaizumi had indulged a thought he'd had when Oikawa gently roused him in the morning to kiss him goodbye. He'd remembered Oikawa asking him to make different food for dinner, and he also remembered turning him down. But he wanted to keep the good mood between them going, hoping that with gentle persuasion, he could coax their relationship back to what it used to be.

Excitedly, he texted Oikawa.

Be home for five tonight. I have a surprise for you. DON'T be late!!

Two minutes later he got his reply.

Iwa-chan, I have practice. Is it really important? x

He'd expected that, so didn't panic.

Please? x

If the kiss didn't guarantee him a win, then nothing would. He deliberately never sent them so that whenever he wanted something, he had to schmooze Oikawa into allowing him to buy it (He'd used two kisses AND a heart emoji when a 4ft remote control Godzilla had been released). Most of the time, it worked like a treat. This seemed to be one of those times.

Okay, okay, I'll be home in time. Better be a good surprise though! (*≧▽≦) x

Iwaizumi stared at the concoction at the end of the text in confusion- what the fuck was that? Sniffing, he disregarded it, his lips quirking up at the rest of the reply. For the first time in weeks, Tooru would be home on time.

He started his mission with a trip to the grocery store. Flour, eggs, yeast, tomato puree, cheese, chicken, seasoning and vegetables were first on his list. He wasn't sure what type of Pizza Oikawa wanted, but he couldn't ask him without ruining the surprise, so he decided to go with what he knew Oikawa would eat-mozzarella cheese, spicy chicken, bell peppers and mushrooms. Hajime himself didn't like mushrooms, but he figured he could just cut them up small enough to not be tasted.

Then, he searched for the cannoli ingredients: powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, ricotta cheese, whipping cream, flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and some brandy. He walked around the supermarket for at least two hours trying to find every item on the list, ready to tear out his own hair as he stared at his impossibly long list. Eventually, a kind clerk had walked over to help him, presumably wondering why he wad spent the past twenty minutes walking round the same two aisles, and together, they checked out every item in the list. As he went to pay, Hajime had to physically force himself to slide his credit card down, tears welling in his eyes as he looked at the total the food had come to.

He never wanted to see a number like that again in his life.

Carrying the bags all the way back to the flat, Hajime set them on the counter, eyes on the clock. It was just past one, so he had four hours to have dinner cooked and ready. A little giddily, Iwaizumi washed his hands and pulled his apron on, pulling out his phone as it started to buzz with a facetime call from Matsukawa.

Iwaizumi placed his phone against the wall and unpacked his groceries, smiling at the camera when Mattsun's face came into view. "Hey, man."

"Hey," he said, thick eyebrows raised in interest. "What you doing?"

"Preparing dinner." Iwaizumi looked around for his vegetable knife, finally spotting it in their cutlery drawer instead of hanging on the knife rack.

"What are you making?"

"Spicy chicken pizza, and cannolis," he said, looking at the piece of paper he had written the recipe down on. The cannolis took longer to make, so he'd start with them. "Oikawa asked me to make them for him a while ago and I said no, but since he's been compromising, I thought I'd surprise him. Even got him to agree to come home at five."

"He's compromised?" Matsukawa said, surprised. "That's great! What's he done? Did he cut down the days he trains to just the days he's in uni? Or agree to leave practice a bit earlier?"

Iwaizumi's smile faltered a little. "No, he just agreed he'd come to bed whenever I asked him to."

Matsukawa's brows drew together and he frowned. "Iwaizumi, I don't wan't to seem rude, but is that really a fair compromise? That's something he should be doing anyway, especially since you're his boyfriend."

Iwaizumi slowly mixed flour, sugar and salt in a bowl, then shrugged a little. "I don't know. It's all I know I can get out of him right now, I guess. Anything more than that and we'd have just fought again. I already pushed him to keep waking me up to say goodbye in the morning, and it was really weird after that."

"Weird how?"

"Don't know. Just...forced." He cut up chunks of butter and added them into the bowl with the eggs. "Oikawa's not easy to sway when he has hit heart set on something, you know that. He keeps accusing me of being jealous that he's playing and I'm not."

Matsukawa's voice was calm. "Are you?"

Hajime shook his head. He poured the brandy in a tablespoon at a time until the dough bonded together. "No. Mostly, I'm just worried. It sucks not being able to keep an eye on him."

"You wouldn't have been able to do that for all his life, you know," Issei said gently. "Although, you're a lot stronger than I am."

Iwaizumi rolled his dough into a ball. "What do you mean?"

"If Hiro was treating me like that, I'd be devastated," he admitted. "Especially if, even after we've fought and I told him what's wrong and how I feel, he still continued to do the same shit that made me mad in the first place. I'm not as stoic as you, man- I need to know that Hiro wants me. I need stupid stuff like him holding my hand to believe that he still wants to be with me. If he stopped doing those things, I have no idea what I'd do."

Iwaizumi rolled his dough paper thin, lips thin. Then, with a humourless smile, he looked to the camera. "Good thing I don't need that stuff."

They both know it's a lie- Hajime can feel it from the depths of his bones, and he knows the crack in his voice betrays him to Matsukawa. But his friend, thankfully, only smiles.

"You must be making some progress, though. You got him to agree to leaving training, and that's pretty huge. I'd say you're still just as important to him as you were before." Matsukawa said, kindly.

Iwaizumi began to press a glass into the dough, marking out little circles. He knew Matsukawa was trying to cheer him up, and he was so desperate to believe it that he found himself nodding. "Yeah, I know. He told me that the two most important things in his life are volleyball and me. The only reason he's putting volleyball first right now is because he has to focus on it, because it won't always be there, but I will."

Matsukawa's relaxed face twisted into something laced with discomfort, and Iwaizumi tilted his head as he watched Matsukawa's troubled expression. His voice was careful when he spoke. "You sure you're okay with that?"

Iwaizumi didn't want to think about what he was 'okay' with anymore, because it opened up a can of worms he was doing his utmost to shove away. "Yeah."

Matsukawa didn't push him for an answer, and for that he was grateful. They settled into an easy but nondescript conversation as Iwaizumi carefully wrapped his circles around a cannoli tube. When they were all wrapped, he turned to his fryer, and carefully dropped them in, two at a time for a minute each. They turned a deep golden brown, and he plucked them all out, setting them on kitchen roll to dry up the grease. As they cooled, he leaned on the counter, huffing a sigh.

"I'm nervous this is going to taste like shit," he admitted.

Matsukawa laughed, a rich deep sound. He waved his hand. "You'll be fine. You've always been good with cooking."

"Yeah, Japanese food. I don't have a clue how to do European food. This stuff is so greasy and fatty looking, it makes me nervous."

"Have you ever even seen how good pizza looks? No wonder the European's love it," he defended.

Hajime raised a thick brow. "No wonder Japan has one of the highest life expectancy rates; we eat shit that actually helps keep us alive, not clogs our arteries."

"Tell that to Hiro, he won't stop eating cream puffs," Matsukawa sighed, but his smile was fond. "Keeps asking me if I'd still love him if he got fat, and of course I have to say yes otherwise I'm a huge dick, so I think he's taking that as his chance to get himself to the size of a house by the next time we meet up."

Iwaizumi laughed loudly, fingers busy pulling the now cooled metal tubes from his cannolis. "It wouldn't be all bad. You could roll him places, I guess. Plus, if he gets a mobility scooter, I'm pretty sure that you could ride in the basket."

Matsukawa fanned himself. "God, talk dirty to me. Who needs a motorbike when you can race four miles an hour down the aisles of Tesco with your obese boyfriend?"

Hajime snickered again, shoulders shaking so much he accidentally broke a cannoli. "Shit, you made me break my cannoli!"

"Filing that away under 'list of things I never thought I'd hear Iwaizumi Hajime say'"," Issei grinned.

Iwaizumi shook his head, carefully pulling out the rest of the cannolis. "Nothing funny about a broken Cannoli, you monster."

Eventually, all nine of his intact cannolis were in place, and he moved them aside to cool more whilst he made the filling. He mixed the cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla into a bowl, mixing fast enough to blend it together. In a flash of inspiration, he added some chocolate chips, figuring that if Oikawa liked them in pancakes, he would like them in a cannoli. He added the whipping cream and carefully mixed it until it was stiff and sticking to his spoon. He set it in the refrigerator.

"When are you seeing Makki next?" He asked out of curiosity. Matsukawa and Makki had gotten together in their second year of high school, and it was no surprise- they were always together, easy humour bouncing back and forth, personalities so similar they were easily compatible.

"Next week, I think," Matsukawa said, popping a grape into his mouth. "We usually meet up one every two weeks if our schedule allows it. He was over two days ago actually, but we deliberately cleared our schedule for our anniversary. Got a nice date planned, apparently. He won't tell me anything."

"Oh?" Hajime's eyebrows raised. "That sounds nice, but I'm also worried; Hanamaki's surprises always end up in bodily injury, somehow."

Matsukawa snorted suddenly, and slapped his thigh. "Oh, my God, remember that time he surprised you by hiding in the cupboard when you were sweeping? And he was all like 'Boo!" and slapped your ass, and you straight up punched him in the face."

Iwaizumi smiled in embarrassment. "I didn't mean to! It's my reflex action for being scared! And also my reaction to dudes hitting my ass!"

"Poor fool had a black eye for a week," he snickered again. "I told him not to do it to you. Even he, the great prank Lord, would not make it out unscathed if he went after you. If you didn't get him, Oikawa would've, for touching his man."

"Pranks are dumb anyway." Hajime clicked his tongue.

"Hey, it's your anniversary soon, too, isn't it?"

Iwaizumi counted the dates. "Yeah, you're right. Nine days."

"How many years will it be?"

Hajime hated this question. There was never really a time when he hadn't considered he and Oikawa together, so she just shrugged. He supposed it became a real thing in middle school. "Around seven, I guess. We never really count the years, it makes it all muddled. We've been together for a long ass time."

"Aw, how sweet. I heard when you make it to the 'long ass time' mark you unlock the rainbow anniversary," Issei hummed teasingly.

"Shut up," he said, rolling his eyes. "You know what I meant."

"What are you thinking of doing for your anniversary anyway?"

"I haven't thought about it, but I want it to be good, you know? Make up for all the fights and stuff we've been having recently. Oikawa loves a chance to dress up and be flashy, I think we'll go to that fancy club in town."

"Le Bleu Chat? That's some expensive shit," Matsukawa said, then whistled in appreciation. "That's going to blow your wallet."

"I usually put some money away for these types of things. Oikawa frequently likes to wine and dine. Says something about how it makes us 'real adults', whatever that means." Iwaizumi grumbled. His wallet knew all too well how Oikawa liked fancy things. "Like, he can spend over ¥1500 on a fucking cocktail just because it has a sparkler, but when I ask for a measly ¥4000 for a remote control Godzilla, it's like I've asked him for his entire life savings just so I can shred it up and shove it up my ass."

Issei's shoulders were shaking with laughter, and his laugh was a high wheeze, eventually settling down for him to speak. "Iwaizumi, I don't know how anyone call call you grumpy. You're fucking hilarious."

His lips quirked, but he rolled his eyes. "It's because the only person who calls me grumpy is Oikawa. Surprise surprise, I'm only grumpy when he's being annoying. Which is basically every second of the day."

"I'll get you that Godzilla for Christmas," Issei promised.

Iwaizumi looked very seriously at the camera. "Don't say that lightly. Those words mean something, you know. If you say that, you better fucking pull through."

"If you open a gift from me that is anything but a remote control Godzilla, the dishonour will kill me," Matsukawa said gravely. "Seppuku is the only means of atonement."

Iwaizumi pursed his lips. It didn't get any worse than seppuku, really. "Alright, then. Oh, my filling is chilled! Time to fill these."

Matsukawa watched as Iwaizumi scooped his filling into a piping bag, hands steady. Carefully, his tongue poking out a little, he began to fill them. The first one didn't have enough, so he added a little more, but then that was too much. He grunted, and swiped the excess off with his finger, deciding to even it out with a small blob on each opening. It was a little ugly, but that was okay.

"This is hard," he muttered, trying again with the second one.

"It's like the culinary equivalent of trying to get your eyeliner even," Matsukawa commented idly. "Hiro never struggles with his, that bitch. Sharp enough to kill a man every time."

Iwaizumi shrugged distractedly. "Not my thing. Oikawa's the one into all that beauty shit."

"Remember when Hiro scraped out all his expensive face cream and filed it with bunion cream? Oh man, I've never seen him so angry before. Stormed right into the training camp room with his hair in one of those little headbands, his hands full of bunion cream, screaming his head off. You'd think with his hands full he'd be less threatening, but he roundhouse kicked Hiro into next week. It was fucking beautiful to watch, like a lion taking down a gazelle. A big, bunion-cream covered gazelle."

"One day," Hajime said quietly, "Makki will die from taking a prank too far."

"That's how he wants to go," the taller boy said with a lopsided smile. "I think he was born without the ability to sense dangerous situations. Once, he broke up a drug deal because one of the guys had a cute dog and he really wanted to pet it. Straight up fucking picked up this tiny dog and started kissing it whilst two dudes traded cocaine beside him. He's a fool."

Iwaizumi could only sigh in exasperation. "I don't know how you deal with that. Oikawa's annoying, but he's not particularly dumb. I'm never worried about him being out at night, because I'm completely convinced members of his fanclub take shifts so that one of them is always watching him."

"Google maps..." murmured Matsukawa, "...always watching."

"What?" Iwaizumi looked up in confusion, but at seeing only Matsukawa's teasing smile, he rolled his eyes. "Whatever. Look at my cannolis."

When Hajime flipped the camera and showed Issei nine cannolis, all in line and filled, he approved. "You have a beautiful family."

"They're not my family, you weirdo," he muttered.

"You're right, I wouldn't want to be related to that one on the right, either."

Iwaizumi was quick to the strange cannoli's defense. "Hey, leave him alone. That was my fault, he didn't ask to be made wonky. That's just life."

Laughing, Iwaizumi switched the camera back around to his face, eyes scrunched up as he smiled. "I'm gonna make my pizza now, you're free to watch that if you want."

"Thanks, but I gotta go. I've got scheduled skype sex with Hiro in ten minutes."

"You schedule your sex?" Hajime asked incredulously. "That's like...the least sexy thing ever."

"Punctuality is sexy, Iwaizumi," Matsukawa deadpanned, before slipping into a smile. "See you later, man."

"Bye," Hajime said as the call was ended, sitting his phone down back on the counter.

He put the finished treats into the fridge, and began to tidy up some of the mess he had made, wiping down the counters and sweeping the mess from the floor. He had about two and a half hours until Tooru would be home, and the pizza wouldn't take more than an hour, so he decided he would make it, but wait for a bit before putting it into the oven. Making a well in his flour, Iwaizumi added the yeast and warm water, crinkling his nose up at the smell as he sprinkled some salt and sugar in. Carefully, he added in the oil, and then mixed it all together, grimacing at the sticky wetness of his hands.

Quick enough, the dough bound together, and Iwaizumi's hands didn't feel quite so disgusting. He covered the lump in more oil and then rolled it out thin, again unsure of how Oikawa liked his crust. Once it was roughly in the shape of a circle, he slathered on some tomato puree, and over it he sprinkled the finely cut mushrooms, and long thin strands of bell peppers. He found some garlic and onion in the refrigerator, and figured that could be sliced and placed on, too. Then he scattered some of the chicken over it, gently covering it all with circles of mozzarella.

"There," he said, hands on his hips. "That wasn't so awful. Good job, Hajime."

Still left with some time, Hajime again cleaned the kitchen the best he could, before setting the table. He put out two wine glasses and sat a bottle of sake that he'd splurged on when out shopping on the table, then laid out the cutlery he'd also bought for the occasion- no chopsticks with this meal. Running to get a candle from their room, Hajime sat it on the centre of the table and decided he'd light it just before Oikawa got home, to make sure it didn't burn out.

Wiping the sweat from his brow, Hajime opened the fridge and pulled out a beer, take a grateful sip after opening it. He wasn't one to drink, and he never drunk big (his alcohol tolerance was incredibly low- two shots and he was making out with a chair), but he could appreciate a beer every now and then. And he rather thought he deserved one.

Sitting his apron over the chair, Hajime wandered through to the living room, spending the next hour watching some old episodes of Takeshi's Castle. He laughed as they all failed horribly, either being swiped out by giant moving objects, or simply loosing their battle with gravity, and tumbling away.

"I bet I could do that," he said to nobody in particular. In fact, he was going to make sure he applied to be a contestant for the next series. He could imagine Tooru's reaction if he were the one to play instead, and fell into the giant mud pit. He could already see the meltdown it would cause- Oikawa on a muddy rampage, demanding compensation for the damage to his hair.

In all fairness, he did have nice hair. Iwaizumi wasn't sure how he got it like that. Even when he woke up and it was messy, it was still all tousled curls and soft waves, just in a bit of disarray. It was kind of cute, actually.

However, he decided to ponder that later, because he had to get changed, and then put the pizza in the oven. He changed into some of his nicer clothes that didn't exactly scream 'date', but didn't scream 'slob' either. A long sleeved v-neck khaki t-shirt and a pair of slim fit black jeans, and he was good to go. He ruffled his hair a little, and spritzed on a bit of the cologne Oikawa liked.

Then, he raced downstairs and put the pizza in the oven, setting a timer. He filled up the glasses with sake, tidied up, and dimmed the lights a little- a little bit of ambiance never hurt anybody. He wanted to make this perfect for Oikawa, and the thought of seeing his face light up when he came home and saw what Hajime had done was stirring up his insides with butterflies. When the pizza was ready it was just before five, and he lit the candle, and carefully set some slices on each of their plates. Then, he sat down on the seat, fingers drumming on the table, and waited.

And waited.

...and waited.

Hajime felt a sinking feeling in his gut when he checked his watch and saw it was 5:45. Where the hell was Oikawa? Clenching his jaw, Hajime took a few large gulps of his sake and closed his eyes, resisting the urge to bang his head on the table. He hadn't eaten a bite of his food, planning on only eating it when Oikawa was there to share it with him, and besides- it was cold now anyway. He checked his phone for any texts to explain why he was late, but none were there. Growing a little worried, Hajime decided that if there was no message by half six, he would text Tooru himself.

Half six came and went, and still no message.

Hajime pulled his phone out.

Oikawa, you said you'd be home for five. Where the hell are you?"

He stared at the phone as if he could pressure it into giving him a response, but then his head began to hurt and he looked away, letting out a very large breath. The cannolis were sitting on a plate on the counter, meant to have been eaten by now. The candle flame grew higher as it melted, until eventually, Hajime just blew it out, watching the smoke drift away into the air. Maybe if he was lucky, the fire alarm would catch it, and the sprinklers could soak through everything and finish up his night on a real positive note.

Iwaizumi swirled the sake in his glass, holding his head in his hand. His stomach was rumbling, but he couldn't stop the stubborn side of him from refusing to touch the food. It was for when Oikawa got home.

7:15, and still no sign of Oikawa. Iwaizumi isn't sure what triggers him, but one second he's standing, fixing the plate of cannolis, and then the next it's in his hand, and he's hurtling it across the wall. The plate smashes, and the cannolis go everywhere, flying onto countertops and rolling onto the floor, their fragile shells shattering. He looks at what he's done, and then curses, rubbing his eyes viciously. Then, he drops to his knees and carefully gathers the fragments of the desert in his palm, scooping up what he can to put it in the bin. He does the same with the shards of the plate, until most of the mess is gone. All that remains is a stain on the wall, but Iwaizumi decided that he could deal with that tomorrow.

He turns the light off, and sits in the chair with his hands clasped. Slowly, he takes his phone out, and texts Matsukawa. It's short and brief.

He didn't turn up. I'm an idiot.

The reply is immediate.

You need to talk? You want me to come get you?

Hajime thinks about it, but declines.

No. I want to be here when he gets home.

It isn't until half eight that Oikawa stumbles in, and he's not alone. Flanked on either side of him are members from his team, laughing, but holding him up. They were all drunk, but Oikawa clearly most so, his eyes glassed over, and a stupid wide smile on his face.
Iwaizumi wanted to punch that smile away.

"Oikawa," he said tightly as he opened the door, holding out a hand to hold him away when the brunette lurched towards him. "You're drunk."

Takano laughed a little, his cheeks a healthy pink. "Sorry sorry, that was our fault. This guy said he had to go at five, but a few of us were leaving practice early to hit up Rin's house since his parents are gone. We ended up playing never have I ever but with shots, and damn, Oikawa has done a lot of shit! Dude's a player."

Iwaizumi's face was stone cold. "Clearly. He stayed the full three hours at the party?"

"No~" Oikawa drawled, pawing at the hands holding him up. "I went out and got you something!"

When he pulled out a single squashed flower from his pocket and offered it to him, Hajime had to control his breathing. He knocked the flower out of Tooru's hands, ignoring his cry of protest. "Just get inside, Oikawa. I don't have time for this tonight. Thanks for getting him here, guys."

With that, Iwaizumi roughly yanked Oikawa in and shut the door, immediately pushing the brunette away from him. Oikawa stumbled and turned around, a pout on his lips. "Hey! I could've fallen, don't be so rough, Iwa-chan."

"Oikawa," Iwaizumi said quietly, walking back into the kitchen. He knew Oikawa would follow him. "What time did I ask you to be home by today?"

Oikawa blinked at him, leaning against the doorway. "...Five."

"Right. It's past half past eight now. I asked you to be home at five, and you're over three fucking hours late," Hajime's voice breaks, and he steels himself with a deep but stuttering breath. "I only asked this one thing of you, something you promised me you could do, and you fucking cast me aside, again."

Oikawa stumbled towards him, arm snaking around Hajime's neck. "'M sorry, Iwa-chan, thought I could go to the party for a bit and then come home...brought you flowers, but I think I squished them in the car. They're still yours, though, don't worry."

Iwaizumi shoved Oikawa off and whirled on him, eyes glossy. "I don't want your stupid flowers, Tooru! I wanted you to be home on time!"

Oikawa cradled the arm Iwaizumi had shoved and blinked at him, his head tilting to the side. "Iwa-chan...Iwa-chan is sad. Why are you crying?"

"I'm not," he said, but he could feel the tears already down his cheeks.

Oikawa went to wipe one away, but Iwaizumi moved his head, and the brunette's brows furrowed. "You are. I'm sorry I was late, I promise I won't be late again."

"Stop making promises!" he begged, rubbing at his eyes angrily. "You never keep them Tooru, drunk or sober, so just stop. You wanna know why I'm upset? Because I planned all this for you, and you didn't fucking come home."

Iwaizumi turns the lights all the way up, and reveals the kitchen set up to Oikawa. Their table is still set, pizza untouched and cutlery clean. Tooru's glass of sake is full, Hajime's missing a gulp or two, and the candle sits in between them, melted wax now cooled. Oikawa's eyes widen, and he takes a step forward.

"You made dinner for us?" he asked, voice small and still a little slurred. "You said you'd never make Italian..."

"That was your surprise, you asshole," he whispered, wishing he could control his emotions. "I spent all afternoon in here making you pizza, and cannolis, and you couldn't follow through just once to even try it. Jesus, Tooru, I can't-"

Oikawa wobbled on his feet, but walked towards Iwaizumi, arms outstretched. "Love you, Hajime, 'm gonna eat it now with you-"

"No you're fucking not," he growled, and shoved the other aside as he picked up the plates and dumped them in the bin, feeling a hint of satisfaction when Oikawa's face went slack in shock. "If you wanted to enjoy this meal, then you should have been here on time. Simple."

"Hajime, don't-don't throw that away..." he lamented, hand stretched towards the bin. His hair fell in front of his eyes, and when he tried to turn he was hit by dizziness and swayed dangerously on his feet, hastily grabbing onto the counter to steady himself. He tried to train his unfocused eyes on Hajime. "Don't be mean to me. I don't like it."

"You've clearly had enough to drink too, so you wont be needing this!" he said seethingly as he poured the sake down the sink. Roughly, he flung the glasses aside, feeling a tiny bit better when Oikawa flinched at the harsh noise. He picked up the cutlery, and dropped them into the bin. "Definitely won't need these again."

"S-stop it!" Oikawa yelled, much too loudly. His face was red as a tomato, and hid brows were furrowed together. "I'm sorry...What-what do you want me to do? I can...I can make it up to you, Hajime."

Iwaizumi hated hearing his name slurred like that, almost unintelligible. He faced Tooru, exhaustion and anger piling up inside him, and let out a small sob, which he immediately tried to rein in. "Do whatever you want, Oikawa. I really couldn't care less tonight. You really hurt me."

Oikawa's face crumpled and he reached out a hand, looking close to tears when Hajime batted it away and turned around, walking out the room. "Baby, please-"

"Don't you dare," Hajime choked out in warning, eyes red and narrowed. "Don't you fucking dare try to sweet talk your way out of this. You, Oikawa Tooru, are a real fucking asshole, you know that? Good luck sleeping on your own tonight, because I sure as hell don't want to be near you right now."

Iwaizumi stormed away then to their bedroom, his eyes leaking furiously. He slammed the door behind him so hard he knew he would get a complaint from the neighbours, but he didn't have it in him to care. He felt the dam inside him break, and he flung his fist into the wall so hard he made a dent, and his knuckles began to bleed from the scratches. Resting his forehead on the wall he sucked in shuddering breaths, trying to calm his runaway heart, but it wasn't as easy as it looked. Why couldn't things go their way? Why couldn't he find a balance? Why couldn't he keep things good between them? Questions burst through his head and he simply sobbed, because he really had no other answer.

A tentative knock on the door sounded, and Oikawa called out, just as quiet: "Hajime?"

"Go away, Tooru," he said tiredly, slumping down to the floor.

"Please let me in, Hajime," Oikawa said mournfully, and he sounded so pitiful that Hajime just sighed and stood, slowly opening the door.

He was immediately met with 6ft of falling Oikawa, who had flung himself into Iwaizumi's arms, immediately pulling Hajime tight against his chest. "I'm so sorry, Hajime, so sorry...I promise I'll make it up to you. We'll...we'll do anything you want. We'll fight Godzilla."

Iwaizumi couldn't help but snort a laugh at that one, but his tears still fell fast, and he trembled. "Oikawa, please stop. I can't do this tonight when you're not even going to remember it tomorrow."

"I always remember Iwa-chan," Oikawa said softly, and then he began to card his hands through Hajime's hair, stopping only to lean down and kiss his head numerous, and rather messily, times. "Don't cry, please...don't like seeing you cry."

"Then stop making me cry, you idiot," he said, his voice cracking.

"What do I have to do?" Tooru asked earnestly. "I'll make you feel better. I'll fix it."

He felt like tearing his own hair out in frustration. "I've already told you everything you should do! I've told you so many times, and each time you've ignored me! I'm so sick of you ignoring me, Tooru!"

Oikawa looked down at him and blinked, looking confused. "But I wake you up every morning, Iwa-chan, like you wanted. I...I go to bed with you, too."

"I shouldn't have to ask for those things, Oikawa," Hajime said, pushing Oikawa off him. He crossed his arms, trying not to look into Oikawa's huge doe eyes, staring at him as if he knows he hasn't done anything wrong. "You're supposed to want to come to bed with me. You're supposed to want to say goodbye to me in the morning. You're supposed to want to come home for dinner, and eat with me. Dammit, Tooru, you're supposed to want me."

"I do," Oikawa nods frantically, taking another wobbling step towards Hajime, his eyes beginning to tear up also. "Of course I want you!"

"Then why can't you put me first?" Hajime asks simply, his voice sounding weak and tired even to his own ears. "Why can't you come home earlier, or take days off from training, or actually spend a full fucking day with me for once before running back off to them? Why am I always pushed to the side? Because I'll always be here, yeah? Fuck that, Tooru, because I won't. I can't, not if this is how it's going down."

"Hajime, volleyball is..." he began, then frowned, his addled mind unable to think up the right words, leaving him yanking on his own hair as he tried to formulate a sentence. "Volleyball is all I've ever wanted! It's what we've only ever wanted, since we were kids-"

"No, Tooru, it hasn't," he snapped. "You're the one who wanted volleyball that whole time. I only ever wanted to be with you, on court and off. Seems you can't stand to be around me when I'm not there to hit your toss, huh? Prefer your stupid teammates who know nothing about you, nothing about the ugliness that you keep locked up inside yourself, over me?"

"Shut up, you don't know anything about them!" Oikawa yelled, his temper flaring to life. Oikawa was quick to fluctuate between emotions when he was sober, but with alcohol in his system he was like a dangerous bomb, ticking down to an outburst or a breakdown.

"And they know nothing about you! They don't know what a vindictive petty asshole you can be; they don't know just how ugly your jealousy is and how deep in runs; they don't know about your constant need for attention, this stupid complex that you have to be loved by everyone, have to be better than everyone; they don't know that you tried to punch your underclassmen-"

"I was fifteen!" Oikawa seethed, spittle flying from his lips.

"And he was twelve!" Iwaizumi roared, breathing heavily, before shaking his head and giving a disbelieving laugh. "They don't know you, not like I do. And you can't keep up this charade anymore Tooru, because when you break- and you will, trust me, when that knee gives out, or you've hit so many serves you can't see straight-who are you going to call? Because the way you're acting, it won't be me. Not anymore."

"Why are you doing this? Why are you making me choose?" Oikawa grabbed two handfuls of his hair and whirled on Iwaizumi, his face twisting into a horrible sneer. It marred his beauty. "Is it b-because you're jealous? Or are you just intent on me giving up on volleyball so you can be selfish? You were always jealous of me, Iwa-chan, I know you were-"

"For the last time, I don't fucking care about any of that shit!" He forcefully shoved Oikawa back until he hit the doorframe. The tears in his eyes had gathered so much that it was a little hard to see, but he could make out the muted blurs of Oikawa's face, red and twisted. He felt more spill over. "I never wanted you to quit volleyball, kusokawa! I just wanted you to fucking remember that you have me in your life, too! I just want you to put me first, why is that so fucking hard for you to do?"

"I really thought you were gonna be different, but you're just like the rest of them," Oikawa slurred, disbelievingly. "I thought that you, of all people, would know what this game means to me and what I have to give to it. You know how important it is to me-"

"Is it more important than me?" Hajime asks quietly, catching Tooru's eye and holding it. "Than us?"

Tooru faltered, opening his mouth and closing it several times before settling on saying, "Hajime...I-"

"Just answer 'yes' or 'no'. Is volleyball more important to you than our relationship?" Hajime's voice didn't crack, but he could feel his heart jump into his throat, choking him with a terrible anticipation. He felt like he was being kicked in the stomach by his own nerves as he awaited an answer.

Tooru appeared to have no answer to give.

A wall comes crashing down in Iwaizumi and he sobs, clutching at his heart, which immediately seemed to ache from deep within. Every breath felt like inhaling nails, and he caught a sob on his lips, shaking as a sad whine escaped his throat. "Okay then, t-that's it."

"Hajime, please," Oikawa mumbled quickly, pale fingers closing around Iwaizumi's wrist. His bloodshot eyes were unfocused and buzzed about Hajime's face like a fly, finally settling when Iwaizumi looked at him, lip trembling like a leaf in the breeze. "Wait, I was thinking-"

Hajime's voice is impossibly quiet when he says: "You shouldn't have to think, Tooru. You're supposed to know the answer straight away, and...you don't."

"What does this mean?" The brunette asked, and he looks uncertain, his brows furrowed.

Hajime pried his hand away and used it to wipe at his eyes. "It means that I'm breaking up with you, Tooru."

"You're...wha-" Oikawa mumbled to himself, a range of emotions flickering over his face. Melancholy, humiliation, hurt, shock, anger, until he settled on disbelief, and began to shake his head profusely. "No, don't-don't go. Please, don't go. "

"I need to," Iwaizumi said quietly, and then he grabbed his sports duffel bag and filled it with whatever clothes he had lying around, stuffing them in messily. He could hear Oikawa pleading behind him, and Iwaizumi knew that his resolve would crumble if he stayed too long, knew that he would pull Oikawa into his arms and tell him to just forget everything and move on and start the cycle all over again. It was dangerous. "I need to get out of here."

"Don't you love me?" Oikawa asked him, standing with Iwaizumi's back to his chest. He clumsily flung an arm around Hajime and pulled him tight.

"Don't you love me?" Iwaizumi asked right back at him, hurriedly wiping at his eyes as he shoved Oikawa's arm from his chest. He couldn't be this close to him right now. Not when his body was already screaming to take him back. "Get off me."

"I love you," Oikawa breathed against his ear, swaying as he scrabbled at Iwaizumi's back."I love you, Hajime, so please stay with me..."

The alcohol on Tooru's breath shattered the illusion, and Hajime cringed, throwing the bag down to push Tooru, hard. He fell. "Enough! You had your chance to love me, you had your chance to put me first, and you blew it. You can't have me back Tooru, not like that."

The brunette was still lying on the floor of their bedroom, his legs sprawled out. He grunted and pushed himself up at Hajime's words, his face twisted in a scowl of bitterness. "Maybe I don't want you back, then."

Hajime scoffed, and then shook his head, standing back. "You know what? Whatever, Tooru. I'm not doing this. I'm not going on this emotional roller-coaster with you, not anymore."

Hajime stormed towards the bathroom, flinging in his toothbrush, his breaths coming in short fast pants.He couldn't even see what he was picking up, only aware that he was shoving anything his hands came to contact with. He found his wallet on the coffee table, and he swiped it, shoving it deep into his pocket. He heard the slow uncoordinated steps of Oikawa as he followed, his back against the hallway door, face ashen. "Don't go, Iwa-chan. Don't leave me. D-don't leave..."

Iwaizumi picked up his phone with shaking hands, and called the only person he could think of. Matsukawa picked up on the second ring.

"H-hey, it's me," Iwaizumi breathed, voice quiet. He tried to raise it, and winced when it cracked. "Can you please c-come and get me? I need out of here. Okay, okay thankyou."

"Hajime, why are you going?" Oikawa yelled at him when he'd hung up, tears over spilling from his eyes and snot dribbling from his nose. His cheeks were blotchy and his hair messy, but he paid no attention, only reaching out a hand to Hajime. "You're not supposed to leave!"

Hajime grabbed Tooru's hand in his and squeezes it tightly. "Call me when you decide what you want."

Then, he dropped Tooru's hand, and sank to his knees, sucking in a quivering breath when he met Tooru's watery gaze. "I really fucking love you, you know that?"

Oikawa was desperate. "Then stay."

"I can't," Iwaizumi cried, his mouth ghosting over the words. "I can't."

Then, he heard a horn beep outside, and quickly, knowing that if his lips stayed longer he wouldn't leave, he pressed his lips to Oikawa's for a single second, and then ran out the door, bag held tight in his hand. He was aware of Oikawa sitting numbly on the floor watching him as he left, but he couldn't look back, wouldn't look back.
Sliding into the passenger seat of a familiar black car, Hajime tells himself that he made the right choice, even if it didn't feel like it yet.

***

They sat on Matsukawa's couch in silence. It'd been forty minutes since he's left their apartment-he supposed it's Oikawa's apartment now- and he can't find it in himself to speak. It seemed that even his tears had dried up, but his eyes still furiously blinked, as if they hadn't noticed that Hajime had nothing left to cry.

Matsukawa sat next to him, and handed him a mug of hot milk. "Normally, I'd give someone hot chocolate, but you don't really like sweets."

Hajime took a sip. "You put honey in it...thank you."

"Do you wanna tell me what happened?" he asked carefully, taking a sip from his own drink. "Do I have to beat him up? Because I will- seriously. Say the word and I'll go Liam Neeson on his ass."

Iwaizumi's lips trembled into a smile, but it faded almost as quickly as it arrived. "He was late to dinner. Three hours late."

"Fuck...didn't he message you to let you know?"

Iwaizumi shook his head. "Said his phone was out of battery. Shows up on the doorstep with two guys from his team, completely drunk. Stupid idiot could barely stand without falling over. He said he 'lost track of time' at a party one of the guys were having."

Matsukawa's mouth thinned in disappointment. "Surprising he had the audacity to show up at all, the way he's been treating you these past few weeks."

"He had this stupid rose," Iwaizumi started, his voice cracking, "in his pocket, all squashed and shit, and he handed it out to me with this big smile, and I wanted to punch and kiss him at the same time. I mean, he tells me the team doesn't know about us, but he was out with them buying roses for me? I feel like I have no idea what's even going on between us anymore because he never just sits down and talks to me...I miss knowing about his day."

"Wait," Issei stopped him, "he didn't tell the team you two were together? Why?"

"He didn't feel comfortable yet," he said simply. "It hurt, but I understood it, at least- sports is a pretty dangerous place to be gay. Especially if you're someone like Oikawa, you know? He loves physical contact and generally just being around people, it would kill him if team mates started shying away when he hugs them or if they don't trust him enough to work with him."

"I see," Matsukawa said, and then he placed a hand on Iwaizumi's back. "So, he shows up and, what-? How did it end like that?"

"I just...I was so angry," Iwaizumi whispered, leaning against Matsukawa's side. He could feel the hand on his back begin to rub soothingly. "He'd ignored me again, and I'd put so much effort in and it was just all for nothing...and he just couldn't get it through his thick head that it was the last straw and that saying sorry wasn't going to fix it. I binned the food and we ended up having our biggest fight yet."

"How did he take that?"

Iwaizumi gave a mirthless laugh. "About as well as you can imagine. He accused me of being jealous of him, jealous of the team, which I guess I am, if I'm being honest-just not in the way he thinks. I don't hate them because they're bad people, or because they're playing volleyball and I'm not, I just...I'm jealous that they get to see that side of him and I don't. Not anymore. He was almost his most alive when he was playing volleyball, he just loved the game so much, loved the challenge. I love seeing that look in his eyes when he figures out his opponents- it's fire, you know? He's just tired when he gets home to me, now."

"He's always had an addictive personality," Issei murmured quietly. "When he logs it into his mind that he needs something, he's immediately doing everything he can until it's his- be that attention, praise, girls...volleyball, he becomes so wrapped up in it that I think he forgets that other things need his attention, too."

"I know," Iwaizumi agrees, taking another drink of his milk. It's sweet, but not overly so, and it warms him up a little. "I just never thought that it would be like this, I guess. I've never had a moments peace from him, and yeah I complain, but I don't actually mean it! It's so quiet without him by my side all the time, and trying to talk is just so...awkward- he wants to talk about the team, but he knows that I won't want to hear that, and I'm too selfish to even make myself ask about them. I feel like we just fell out of sync, and I don't know what to do about that. I don't know what to do, Mattsun."

"Firstly, you're going to drink that milk, and then eat something, since you've not touched any food tonight," he said gently, pushing a small pate of biscuits towards him. "Iwaizumi, why did you let it go on for this long?"

His words were not cruel, only genuinely curious, and Iwaizumi looked at him with a hopeless smile. "Because I love him, probably a lot more than he loves me. Some-sometimes, when it was bad and I was thinking that I had to leave, had to end it, he would kiss me on the cheek, or he would tell me he loved me, or lie with me the way he used to, and that was always enough to reign me back in."

"So he wasn't distant all the time?"

"No, that's the worst part," Hajime said as he shook his head, burying his face in his hands. "He would always catch me unaware, right when I needed to know most that he still wanted me. We stopped...being intimate for a while, but when we did get together it was like old times, we connected, even just for a bit. A-and I know I felt how much he loved me, too. Loves me, I should say. Should I? I have no idea what he's really feeling..."

"There's no point in agonizing over that right now," said Matsukawa wisely, pulling Iwaizumi into a hug. "The only way to know what Oikawa is thinking is to ask him, and right now I don't think even he has an answer for that. What you need to do is get some food, some rest, and let him come to terms with it on his own. I know Oikawa, and I know he'll need to see you, sooner or later."

"Yeah, I guess so," the raven whispered, feeling absolutely exhausted.

"And Iwaizumi?" Don't let him skip by what he's done- you're hurt, and he needs to own up to that. You need to love yourself as much as you love him," Issei said, his voice calm but forceful. "You can exist without Oikawa, you don't exist solely for him, and you're your own person. The sooner he realizes that, the sooner he'll see that he's been taking you for granted, and the sooner you guys can figure this out."

A little taken aback by the statement, Iwaizumi felt the cogs in his brain turn as he thought it over. He knew what Matsukawa was saying- don't forgive him just because he tells you he loves you. Iwaizumi would be angry at the insinuation he was that weak, if he hadn't already proved to himself numerous times that yes, yes he was. It had always been Oikawa and Iwaizumi, never really one without the other, and always expecting to see them as the dynamic duo. Always Hajime people would ask for Oikawa's whereabouts, always Hajime to be the first one there when he fell. But Mattsun was right- he was his own person outside of Oikawa. He wasn't just Oikawa's childhood best friend, or Oikawa's boyfriend, or Oikawa's ace; he was Iwaizumi Hajime, and he was a medical student, a Gemini, an athlete, a son, a good cook and a damn good friend.

He could exist outside of Oikawa, as painful as the thought was.

Nodding, Iwaizumi sent a small grateful smile to Issei. "Thank you."

He was answered with a kiss to his forehead. "Get some rest, I'll see you in the morning."

Iwaizumi didn't know which God was taking pity on him, but he was thankful for them when he fell asleep the moment his head hit the pillow, dreaming of nothing.

***

Four days had passed, and Iwaizumi had received no word from Oikawa. He tried not to let it show, but each hour that passed and the doorbell didn't ring, and his phone didn't buzz, he felt the depression rise higher and higher, getting ready to slam down and wipe him out in a tidal wave. He was panicking- was this it? Did Oikawa really not want him back? Why wasn't he texting, or calling?

Iwaizumi wondered if he should call first, but quickly decided against it. He'd already told Oikawa to call him when he'd decided, so it just made him look desperate if he phoned now. He expressed as much to Matsukawa, who nodded in agreement.

"It's possible that Oikawa's actually taking time to think about this," he said. "You told him to call you when he knew what he wanted, so I think you should just wait for that. I don't think he'll go much longer without talking to you- he's not very equipped to surviving without you."

"You'r right, you're right. I just hate this not knowing," he grunted. "I don't know where I stand or what I'm doing or where we are, and its driving me crazy."

"Look, Iwaizumi," Issei began. "You broke up with him. You've made your move, and now the ball is in Oikawa's court. You have to let him come to the realization on his own- forcing it or going back before he's realised his mistakes won't fix anything."

Iwaizumi sagged as the truth of Issei's words sunk in.

"That being said," the calm man continued, "I hate seeing you moping about here like this. There's one thing that everyone has to do after an awful breakup."

Hajime looked at him warily. "What?"

"Get black out drunk." Matsukawa smiled.

"Mattsun, no, I don't feel like it-" Hajime began.

"That's exactly why we're going out tomorrow night. I don't feel like seeing you trudging about here every day, it's weird and it's not you. You need to just get drunk and forget your problems for a while, man- trust me. It beats sitting here on this couch in the same outfit you've worn for the past three days."

Iwaizumi blushed with embarrassment. "I changed my underwear!"

"Means nothing if you don't even shower, dude," he said with a good natured smile. "What do you say?"

Admittedly, getting so drunk he could perhaps forget Oikawa sounded a lot better than lying agonizing over him. Rubbing at his eyes, Iwaizumi sighed and gave in. If he didn't like it, he didn't have to do it again, at least. "Okay, fine. But I'll need clothes."

"I can swing by your place and get you some clothes and anything else you need," Issei said instantly, clapping Iwaizumi on the shoulder. "You're gonna be okay, Iwaizumi. This'll work its self out somehow. For now, just focus on how many embarrassing videos I'm going to take of you when you're drunk."

Punching Matsukawa on the shoulder lightly, then drawing his fist back because the motion was all too familiar, Iwaizumi gave a forlorn smile, nodding once. "Thanks."

"What are friends for?"

***

Matsukawa had taken Iwaizumi's keys and dropped by their apartment, all too familiar with the route- whenever they were all miraculously free, Oikawa, Iwaizumi, Makki and him would meet up and crowd in the tiny livingroom, cans of beer littered about and a monopoly board upturned after Oikawa ran out of money and decided the game was stupid. He smiled fondly as he parked on the pavement, twirling the keys around his finger.

Iwaizumi had told him that Oikawa should be at practice, so he was free to take his time and pick up whatever he needed. Opening the door, he stepped in and looked around. The place was a little dirtier than he remembered. The skirting boards were gathering dust, and the windows definitely needed a wipe down from the hand prints he knew were Oikawa's. There was socks strewn across the floor, and cups of instant ramen were littered across the counter tops.

Matsukawa wrinkled his nose; it was clear who had done the cleaning before. "Ew."

"Iwa-chan?" Came a familiar voice, and stumbled out his room, eyes wide. He saw Issei and deflated a little. "Oh, it's just you."

"Nice to see you too, Oikawa," he said mildly, walking by him to Iwaizumi's room.

"Why are you here? Where's Iwa-chan?" He asked, following him, a furrow in his brows.

Matsukawa slyly looked him over, lips pursing. He was still clean, but he assumed that was because he was required to shower after practice. He looked tired, though, with smudged of purple underneath his wide eyes, and his cheeks lacked their usual flush. "I'm picking up some clothes for Iwaizumi."

"So he's with you?"

Issei nodded once, and began to open Hajime's drawers, placing several bundles of underwear and socks into a bag he had brought with him.

"Why isn't he here doing this himself?" Oikawa frowned, arms crossing. "Is he too chicken to come see me?"

Matsukawa ignored him, and moved on to packing t-shirts. "He's at class, obviously. Besides, you're the one that hasn't even messaged him once- he's not making a move until you do."

Oikawa stared at the floor, lips twisting. "You're angry at me."

He packed in some jeans. "Yes."

"You always side with him, you know that?" Oikawa said quietly, still not meeting his gaze. "You've always liked him more than you liked me. Why is that, huh? Do you like him? Do you want him? Want to steal him away from me so you can fuck him-"

"Enough," Matsukawa said, rising. He stared Oikawa down with a hard stare, unrelenting. "We're not doing this, Oikawa. Iwaizumi is my best friend, and he's hurting. Not everything in the world is about you, okay? Not every action is a move designed to hurt you, no matter how much your mind makes it seem so. I have Takahiro- I'm not trying to take Iwaizumi. He came to me, because you fucked up and he needed someone. So instead of trying to fight with me, or argue over this, why don't you just grow up for once?"

Oikawa stared at him in silence, before he ducked his head, biting his lip. A tear slipped down his cheek, and he hastily wiped it away. "Sorry."

"I'm not the one you should be apologising to."

"Mattsun, I...I don't know," Oikawa said, shaking his head. "I know what Iwa-chan's asking of me-"

"Do you?" Matsukawa questioned. "Because he's not asking for much from you, Oikawa. He's asking for what he deserves- what the relationship needs. He's never asked you for anything before in your entire time together, so why are you being so stubborn about it? Does he mean that little to you?"

"He's everything to me, but-" the brunette began.

"'But' nothing. There shouldn't even be any confusion," he sighed, before walking to the wardrobe where Iwaizumi kept his nice shirts. He sifted through them. "When you wanted to play volleyball, Iwaizumi learned with you. When you were frightened to play on an actual team, he turned down numerous offers from clubs he would like more, just so you wouldn't be alone. When you blew out your knee, he was the one there to get you to the hospital. When you were overworking yourself, he was the one who stopped you and took you home. When you felt like you were inferior to Kageyama, he was the one who built you back up and told you off for thinking so little of yourself. When you lost to Karasuno, he was the one who shouldered the blame. He's never not been there for you Oikawa, and the one time he needs you to come through for him, you don't."

Oikawa is silent, eyes closed. His fingers tremble.

"You have no place being angry at him for not being here, or me for siding with him. You fucked up, Oikawa. Big time," he sighed, settling on a tight black v-neck t-shirt and shoving it into the bag. "Until you grow up and talk to him, don't expect sympathy."

"I'm scared to talk to him," the brunette whispered. "I don't know what to say...what if he doesn't want to talk to me? Or if I lose him for real?"

"That's a risk you're going to have to take," he said finally, bag fully packed. He'd shoved in a few DVD's, too, and a book he found on the bedside cabinet. "You don't get anything you want without taking risks. So stay here, and think, and make your mind up. Because once you make your decision- you better stick to it. If you break another promise to him, Oikawa, I can guarantee I'll personally make sure you never get a chance to hurt him again."

Oikawa's face twisted, and he looked at the bag. "How long is he staying for?"

"As long as he needs to," Issei replied simply.

"Mattsun, how can I do this?" Oikawa asked, suddenly looking terrified. "How can I give up on volleyball? How can I risk missing out on my dream? I love Hajime, I love him so much, but if I slack off even a little I could loose my chance to be scouted! I can't fail at volleyball, Mattsun...it's all I've got."

"No, it's not," he sighed, moving to stand in front of Oikawa. "You've got your classes, your friends, your family...maybe Iwaizumi, too, if you stop being an idiot."

Oikawa's silence spoke words- that wasn't enough. They weren't enough.

Closing his eyes in exasperation, Issei spoke. "Let me ask you this: how good is your dream going to feel when you're on that court, and there's an empty seat in the stands? How good is it going to feel when you score, or you win, and he's not there to congratulate you?"

Oikawa simply blinked at him, mouth opening, but no noise coming out.

Matsukawa stepped back and shouldered the bag a little higher. "I'll see you later, Oikawa."

He made it half way through through the hall before a choked call stopped him.

"Wait," Oikawa said, walking back out the bedroom, holding a book in his hands. "H-he likes this one. It's his favourite."

Matsukawa took it gently, and looked at it. The Green Mile. He put it in the bag. "Thanks."

Oikawa nodded once, cheeks wet with tears again. He sniffed loudly, and offered Matsukawa a wobbly smile as he left the apartment, walking back down to his car. Slinging the bag into the passenger seat, he rested his forehead on the steering wheel, and sighed. "Fuck."

***

"How do I look?" Iwaizumi said tiredly, tugging at the shirt. It was thin and stretchy, the material clinging to his torso like a second skin. The black worked well against his tan skin, and the v-neck showed a slather of his chest, freshly shaved. He pushed the sleeves up to his elbows to show off his wrists, one of which had a watch, and the other a few woven leather bracelets. His jeans were deep blue and ripped at the knees- the only pair of skinny jeans he actually owned, and he felt as though they were so tight he could barely move. Black boots were loosely laced up on his feet, and his hair had been washed and dried, settling in its usual spikes.

Truthfully, he felt like it was a bit much for going out, but Matsukawa smiled at him, dressed in black skinny jeans, black high tops and a purple button down shirt. "You look great. So much better now that your face has been shaved, too- I wasn't digging that stubble."

"Shut up," he laughed, dragging a hand across his smooth face. "I feel like I look stupid, though. I haven't dressed up like this in a while."

"That's why it's important that you do it now," Issei said, spraying some cologne over them both. "We're gonna have a good time, and we're gonna look good doing it. C'mon, it's time for pre-drinks."

"Do we really need pre-drinks if we're going out for drinks?" He asked with an eyebrow raised.

Matsukawa laughed, deep and soft. "Absolutely. I want to be at least tipsy before I get in that club. Drinks are expensive, if someone's not buying them for you."

Iwaizumi laughed, and picked up one of the shot glasses Matsukawa had poured out. "Alright. Bottoms up."

They both shuddered as it went down, Iwaizumi frowning and Matsukawa rubbing at his chest. "Man, the Polish weren't lying when they said their vodka was tough shit. I feel like I just melted my oesophagus."

Iwaizumi laughed and wiped at his mouth. "Same. Fill up the hip flasks and we can drink on the way there."

"I like your thinking," Matsukawa said, pouring the clear liquid into some hipflasks. "You at least a little excited for tonight?"

"I'm excited to get drunk and not care for a while," he said, shoving his flask into his jeans. "It's been a really long time since I got black-out drunk though- Last time, Oikawa said I...never mind."

"Hey, don't think about him right now." Issei said sternly.

"I know, I know," he mumbled, rubbing at his eyes. "Alright, let's do this. I wanna get so drunk I'm chatting up a chair."

"That's the spirit!" Matsukawa smiled, and then the two of them headed out to the streets of Tokyo.

Fifteen minutes later after a quick tube ride, they found themselves in a darkened club, where the only means of light was the wild colour changing strobe lamps, spinning around so wildly that Iwaizumi blinked, feeling dazed. The vodka they had sipped on the way over was already taking affect, and he could feel his limbs ease up a little, some tension bleeding out of them. Matsukawa slapped him on the back, and pushed them towards the bar, crowded with people.

"Man, it's busy as hell," Iwaizumi muttered, felling himself being pushed against people he didn't even know.

"It's Saturday at eleven, we couldn't have picked a busier time," he chuckled, before taking his phone out. "C'mon, lets get a snapchat of us before we get so drunk we embarrass ourselves enough to move country."

Iwaizumi normally hated photos, but he rolled his eyes and quirked a smile as Matsukawa took the picture. "There, now leave me alone."

Issei laughed, and shoved Iwaizumi forward. "I'm gonna try and gets drinks round the other side. You stay here."

Iwaizumi nodded and Matsukawa sauntered off. He turned his attention to the bar again, squeezing into a small spot that had opened up, muttering apologies even though the people around him were too drunk to hear over the loud music. He waited for the bartender to finally make his way over to their end, but so many hangs reached out and grabbed his attention that he never strayed too much from the centre.

Iwaizumi sighed. "Looks like I won't be getting a drink tonight."

Someone chuckled beside him. "Me neither."

Iwaizumi looked over, and his eyes widened. "Akaashi! Wow, you look...you look amazing."

"Thankyou, Iwaizumi-san," the boy smiled softly.

Iwaizumi raked his eyes over Akaashi, drinking him in. He was tall and lithe, his slender body packing a long wiry type of muscle, and it could be seen beneath his skin tight black skinny jeans and black crop top, accentuating his slender waist. His hair was curled beautifully, the black waves curling around his heart shaped face, and they glinted with what seemed like glitter as the strobe lights bounced over them. His eyes were lined with kohl, a sharp black wing making them look even more narrowed than usual, and he was so beautiful that Iwaizumi's heart leaped into his mouth.

He'd always known Akaashi was pretty- it wasn't something that could be denied. But, he'd never paid attention to his looks before. His beauty was different from Oikawa's; where Oikawa's forte was charm and soft beauty, exuded through his full lips and fluttering gaze, Akaashi was a sharp beauty, his angles and haughty gaze almost giving off a sense of danger. Where Oikawa's beauty stole his breath away, Akaashi's was enough to intimidate him, that cool gaze enough to cut him. Now, as he finally finished his exploration of Akaashi, he looked up at met his amused gaze, delicate brow arched.

Iwaizumi flushed. "Sorry, I didn't mean to stare."

"It's fine," he said softly, before tilting his head. "What brings you here?"

Iwaizumi grimaced, pulling out his hipflask. Technically drinking your own alcohol was prohibited, but he didn't think anyway was even paying attention to them. "Bad breakup. Trying to forget my own name. What about you?"

Akaashi actually smiled- flashing a brief glimpse of his teeth, and Iwaizumi stilled, noting how it was so different to Oikawa's. It was much shorter, falling off his face almost as fast as it had arrived, and it didn't quite meet his eyes the way Oikawa's did, but nonetheless it was still genuine. Akaashi shrugged. "The same reason."

"Oh," Iwaizumi said, and then he held out his hip flask. "Want some vodka?"

Akaashi's lip quirked, and he took a deep swig. He licked his lips once, and nodded. "That's quite strong."

"And you drank it like it was nothing," Iwaizumi said in awe, laughing as he took another gulp himself. He couldn't help but shudder, pulling a face at the harshness of the drink. "God, it burns."

Akaashi laughed, and he laid his head on his hand, eyes trailing up and down Iwaizumi's body. "You look good, Iwaizumi-san."

"Just Iwaizumi is fine," he said, his cheeks heating up at Akaashi's gaze. "And thank you."

Akaashi leaned forward, his bright eyes half lidded in a sultry gaze, and he reached out to let his fingers trail across Iwaizumi's hand, dancing past his wrist. "Can I buy you a drink?"

Iwaizumi gulped. There was something fluttering in his chest at Iwaizumi's touch, and he couldn't quite pin it down yet. The swirling of residual guilt was hard to ignore, but the thrill of being touched and being noticed from someone as beautiful as Akaashi was making his heart stutter. He wasn't quite the same as Oikawa, but Iwaizumi figured that might not be such a bad thing.

Taking a deep breath, he nodded once. "Sure."

Akaashi raised a hand, and clicked. Almost immediately the bartender slid towards them, his most charming smile in place. "Reconsider my offer, baby?"

Akaashi turned his nose up, gaze haughty. "No. However, I do want two vodka's and coke's. Make them doubles, please."

The bartender scowled but turned to make their drinks, and Iwaizumi snickered. "Take it he asked you out?"

"Something like that," Akaashi said as he waved a delicate hand. "He's not my type though."

"What is your type?" Iwaizumi asked curiously.

"Tonight? Guys who can make me forget about shitty ex-boyfriends."

Iwaizumi's lip curled into a smile, and he picked up his drink when the bartender slammed them down, and clinked it against Akaashi's. "I'll drink to that."

And they did. The vodka burned, but Iwaizumi was feeling the buzz and it didn't even hurt anymore, instead settling into a comfortable warmth in his chest. Everything seemed fuzzy, as if he were in his own bubble, with only Akaashi in front of him. He could feel the thump of the bass, see the sparkle of glitter and shift of shadows as the lights danced across Keiji's face, and he leaned forward, lips against the other's ear.

"Dance with me?"

Akaashi stood and took his hand, pulling him onto the dance floor. They weaved in-between the bodies, Akaashi tugging him along until they were in the centre, crammed together, their bodies flush against one other as the music played overhead. The crowd was moving, pushing them with the beat of the music, and it was so loud Iwaizumi's chest buzzed with the vibration, thumping like a second heart. He felt as if everything else around them was blurred, the only clear thing in front of him Akaashi's face, and he laughed, his hands finding their way to the other's bare waist.

He gripped it appreciatively, eyeing Akaashi one more time. "You really are fucking beautiful."

Akaashi simply smiled, and then his gaze sharpened, narrowing as he fluttered his eyelashes, hands looping their way around Iwaizumi's neck. "Dance."

Iwaizumi did. He normally didn't dance, too conscious of his body and its stockiness, but he was drunk, and the music was good, and Akaashi was staring at him like he was going to eat him up. Iwaizumi sort of hoped that he would. Keiji felt different in his hands than Oikawa did. He was shorter than Oikawa, just a little, and his waist was trimmer, a bit less muscle and softer under Iwaizumi's fingertips. His face wasn't as far away as Oikawa's was, so Iwaizumi didn't have to tilt hid head to look into his eyes. His gaze was different but oddly similar- it held that same sultry gaze that Oikawa's used to, only this time the iris' were a beautiful stone grey-green, and framed with a line of kohl and thick straight lashes, and when he stared into Iwaizumi's eyes he felt a rush of butterflies in his stomach, a twisting in his gut.

Then, the song changed, and Iwaizumi heard the familiar beat of Chantaje. He pulled Akaashi closer, his hips beginning to shimmy to the beat, lips ghosting over the words. They were in Spanish, but Iwaizumi had learned them anyway, his body beginning to roll as the tempo picked up. His hands were roaming of their own accord, one strong on Akaashi's waist and the other drifting down the curve of his spine, briefly gripping his ass to pull him closer.

He wasn't even sure if it was possible, but Akaashi's body was pressed even further against him, and the raven began to roll his delicate body against Iwaizumi's in time with the beat, his fingers clutching in Iwaizumi's hair.

Iwaizumi pulled Keiji's face down to his, lips ghosting over the shell of Akaashi's ear as he murmured the lyric in English. "Pretty boy."

Akaashi's hands went to his jaw, and then they were kissing. The first thing Iwaizumi realised was different was that Akaashi was kissing him as someone completely new. He didn't know exactly what Iwaizumi liked, didn't know which parts to suck and nibble to make his knees weak, not like Oikawa did. The though flitted in his mind, disheartening him, but he pushed it away and focused on chasing the taste of vodka of Akaashi's tongue. It was also different being the one to lead- Oikawa was the more dominant one when they kissed, preferring to lead Iwaizumi, and he was fine with that. Brushing his tongue across Akaashi's was a whole new sensation, and while it wasn't any match for how he felt when he kissed Oikawa, it was a warm attractive body pressed against his, a tongue that chased his, and an easy way to forget. Which he intended to do, until a voice screamed loud enough over the music.

"Get your hands off my boyfriend!""Oikawa shrieked, his eyes impossible wide and utterly furious.

Akaashi pulled his lips off Iwaizumi's and looked Oikawa up and down, before shrugging. "He's not your boyfriend anymore."

Iwaizumi could see it happening in slow motion. Akaashi's lips brushed past his, and behind him, Oikawa had lunged, teeth bared in a snarl and arm raised, fist coming towards them at an alarming speed. Quickly, he twisted their bodies, and before the fist could make contact with Akaashi's face it slammed into his own, and fuck that hurt.

He sprawled to the floor, and could immediately taste blood in his mouth, his face aching. The punch had made direct contact with his nose, and blood streamed down past his lips at an alarming rate. He figured if he wasn't so drunk, he would be a bit more frightened at that.

Then Akaashi's gentle hands were pulling him up, and Oikawa was screaming in his ear.

"Oh, my God! Iwa-chan, what the fuck did you do that for? You idiot, that wasn't meant for you! Are you okay?" he fussed, his face much too close to Iwaizumi's intoxicated one.

He looked nice. A bit tired, though. He'd have to shout at him for that.

Akaashi bared his own teeth, sliding an arm around Iwaizumi's body. "What the fuck is wrong with you?"

"Wrong with me?" Oikawa yelled, hands clenched. "What the fuck's wrong with you? Going after my boyfriend like some slut-"

"He liked it," Akaashi bit out, voice venomous.

"Oikawa...'nuff..." Iwaizumi slurred, his head suddenly hurting a lot more than it had before. He groaned, but batted off Oikawa's hands, trying to scowl. "Don't touch me."

"Iwa-chan?" he asked, suddenly sounding scared. Iwaizumi could barely hear his voice over the thrum of the music. Or his own heart, for that matter.

He was torn upon seeing him; he wanted to fling himself into Oikawa's arms, kiss him again and again and just feel what it was like to be held in those arms again. But the alcohol amplified his anger, the fury stored down deep inside him that he'd been waiting so long for Oikawa to call him and let him know what was going on, and instead he shows up out of nowhere, destroying Iwaizumi's one attempt to feel better.

Then, Mattsun was stepping through the crowd, with a face like thunder. "Jesus, Iwaizumi," he said taking him from Akaashi's hands. "Are you okay?"

Iwaizumi groaned, spitting out a mouthful of blood onto the dance floor. He knew it was gross, but it was getting pretty hard to breathe. "Hurts. Idiot punched me."

"I know, I saw," Matsukawa forced out through gritted teeth, his head whipping to face Oikawa. "What the fuck is wrong with you? Do you have to be so fucking crazy all the time?"

Oikawa looked like he'd been slapped. "Mattsun, what the-! He was all over him, what else was I supposed to do?"

"Nothing! He's not your boyfriend anymore!" Issei yelled impatiently, stretching a hand out to shove Oikawa's chest. "Jesus Christ, Oikawa, do you have to ruin everything for him? You haven't talked to him once, you ignore how he's feeling, and then when he's trying to enjoy himself you can't just leave him the fuck alone?"

Oikawa shook his head, trying to clutch to Matsukawa's wrist. "No, Mattsun, wait-"

"We're going home," he said curtly. He kept a firm hold around Iwaizumi, who was thankful as he felt like he could fall at any moment. "I'm so sorry, Akaashi-san."

Iwaizumi lifted his head and tried to smile at the raven, who was standing, arms crossed and looking far too tired to deal with this. "'M sorry. Wasn't supposed to turn out like that."

Akaashi sighed, but leaned down and kissed Iwaizumi's cheek, ignoring Oikawa's growl. "Thankyou for taking the hit for me, Iwaizumi. Please get home safe."

"Stay...stay drunk," he murmured, managing to laugh a little. "One of us has to forget this happened."

Then, Matsukawa was pulling him from the club, Oikawa hot on their heels. The cool night air hit Iwaizumi like a wall and he swayed dangerously, black spots covering his vision.

"Woah," he mumbled, clutching onto Matsukawa tightly. "Shit, God that hurts."

"Let me see," Matsukawa said gently, taking the sleeve of his shirt to wipe away gingerly at Iwaizumi's nose, apologizing when he was too harsh and Iwaizumi hissed. "There's a lot of swelling, man. That's going to bruise really badly."

"Is it broken?" he asked, voice bordering on a whine. His nose was the one part of his face he actually thought was okay. Fucking Oikawa.

"I don't know, we'll ice it when we get back to the flat and see when the swelling goes down," Issei promised, already taking his phone out to call a taxi.

Oikawa bit his lip, standing in front of Iwaizumi, his hands moving uselessly. "Iwa-chan..."

"Don't, Oikawa," he groaned, holding onto the railing. "Not tonight. I don't want to see you tonight."

"Please," Oikawa whispered, his voice sounding desperate. "I'm so sorry, I never meant to hit you, I'm sorry, okay?"

"You meant to hit Akaashi, that's just as bad," Iwaizumi lifted his gaze to Oikawa's wincing. "He didn't do anything wrong, Oikawa."

"He had his hands all over you," he growled, clenching his jaw. "He was kissing you-"

"Because I wanted him to, Oikawa," Iwaizumi grumbled, feeling very exhausted and far too drunk. "I wanted him to, okay?"

"Iwa-chan..."

"I wanted to kiss him. I wanted to feel him against me, I wanted his body against mine, I wanted to grab his ass, I wanted it all," he snapped out, beyond the point of caring. "You know why?"

"Why?" Oikawa whispered, tears dripping down his cheeks. His lip quivered.

"Because I can't stop fucking thinking about you," Hajime said simply. "I can't stop thinking about what it feels like to kiss you, and lying next to you in bed, and what it's like when you hug me in the morning, and the way you cuddle into me when we watch movies. I can't get it out my mind, and it's driving me fucking crazy. So yes, I wanted Akaashi. I wanted to forget, for just a second, what it's like to miss you."

Oikawa was silent, his mouth falling open slightly, gaping.

Iwaizumi continued. "It wasn't the same. It wasn't the same as when I'm with you. I know that's what you really want to hear, isn't it? Because some part of you just loves to make me miserable. I know you didn't come here to tell me you've decided what you want, did you?"

"No," the brunette said quietly, avoiding Hajime's gaze.

"So why are you here?"

"I...I saw you on Matsukawa's snapchat," he admitted. "I saw you, and I thought...well, I didn't think. I just wanted to see you."

"You had plenty of chances to see me," he sighed. "What you meant is that you wanted to see how I was doing without you. You wanted to see if I'd get with someone tonight, because even though you wouldn't give me the time of day, you can't stand when someone else does. You're selfish, Oikawa, you know that? I'd give anything to have you tell me I'm what you want, and even though you won't, you still come after me just to make sure I can't be happy without you. Why the fuck are you doing that? If I can't be happy with you, and you won't let me be happy without you, then when the fuck am I meant to be happy?"

Oikawa's chest heaved, and he choked out a sob, shaking his head back and forth. "I-I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

"I don't care," Hajime whispered, the words almost carried away by the breeze. "Oikawa, I really can't do this. You have to tell me what you want soon, or this is really over. I'm not going to wait for you anymore, not this time."

"Hajime, I-"

Matsukawa walked back over and cut in. "Taxi's here. Let's go, Iwaizumi."

Iwaizumi walked over to the taxi, holding his fingers under his nose. He slid into the seat and watched as Oikawa stood, the wind tugging at the curls of his chocolate brown hair, blowing them across his face, some of the strands sticking to his wet cheeks. His heart gave a particularly strong throb and Iwaizumi clutched at his seat belt, blinking away tears before they could fall.

Akaashi never really stood a chance, not against him.

***

He gets a text the next day.

I'm sorry. I love you.

Hajime hates how much it affects him. His face still hurts and his nose is bruised, the flesh swollen and tender. He'd been telling people in his classes he got into a fight at a bar, carefully leaving out names, but on the plus side it didn't look like it was broken. Which was surprising really, for how hard it had been hit. He sighs and chucks his phone away, carefully rubbing at his eyes. He really had been a mess lately; his nights were filled with aimless tossing and turning, he'd been slacking in class, his notes deteriorating until he wasn't taking any at all, and if Matsukawa didn't cook then he didn't bother to eat anything substantial- he'd been surviving off noodles for days.

The text played over in his head. What did it mean? Was it a goodbye, or a sign that he was thinking of changing his choices? Iwaizumi grunted and weakly punched a cushion- he seriously hated not knowing, especially when it came to Oikawa. For so long he'd just assumed they had some form of telepathy, for how easily he could tell what was playing on Oikawa's mind.

He moved around Matsukawa's apartment aimlessly, making some effort to tidy it up a little. He was lucky to have a friend that had let him stay such short notice with no qualms about how long he would be there, or how much energy it took to deal with him; Iwaizumi knew he hadn't been easy to be around the past week, his sour mood and utter resistance to do anything hanging like a big black cloud over his head. He could try to make it up to Matsukawa somehow.

After he was cleaning, he decided that he would make Matsukawa's favourite food as a way of saying thankyou, considering that he really didn't know what else he could do. It only took a quick stop at the grocery store, and then he was back in the kitchen, following along a cooking video as he tried to make a cheese filled hamburger. It was greasy, and fatty, and so utterly american Iwaizumi wanted to cry, but it was Matsukawa's favourite, and he would try his best to make it delicious.

When he'd finished, it was only two minutes later that Matsukawa walked in from uni, looking exhausted. "I'm home."

"Welcome home," Iwaizumi called back, a smile quirking at his lips.

"What's that smell?" Matsukawa's head poked into the kitchen, and he grinned. "Is that-? No way, Iwaizumi, did you make-"

"Yes, I did," he said, and pushed the plate towards Issei. "Thanks for being such a great friend."

Issei took a bite, and let out a filthy moan. "Oh my God, please, marry me. Feed me and never leave me."

"And let you and Makki get fat? No way," he scoffed, but he couldn't help be secretly happy that Matsukawa liked it. He really wasn't confident on his worldly cuisine.

"If we're both fat, you can stay fit by pushing us around Tokyo. Or lifting our fat rolls every day," he laughed, taking another bite of the burger and squealing when the cheese strung out and melted from the middle. "This is fucking beautiful."

"Mattsun, can you not look like you want to fuck the burger? It's making me uncomfortable."

"I do want to fuck this burger," he readily agreed, taking another bite. "Who wouldn't want to fuck this burger?"

Iwaizumi laughed, moving some dishes into the sink as he began to wash them. "I mean it though, you've been really great with me this past week. I...needed that, thank you."

Matsukawa slapped him on the back. "I'd do it again in a heart beat. Especially if there's food involved."

They laughed, and then Matsukawa finished off his burger, his face suddenly twisting into something else. He reached into his pocket, and sat something on the counter. "Oikawa gave these to me today. They're tickets for his live game against Kogane university, pretty good seats. Front row."

Iwaizumi looked at the tickets, his mouth suddenly dry. "Oh."

"He literally cornered me on my lunch break," the raven sighed, hands in his pockets. "Didn't even say anything, just shoved them into my face and said 'for Iwa-chan'. Are you gonna go?"

"When is it?"

"Four days from now," he answered.

Iwaizumi tensed. "That's our anniversary."

Thick brows raised. "Oh."

"I...I need to think about it," he shrugged quietly, putting the plate on the drying rack.

"Of course," Matsukawa said as he nodded. "Don't do anything you don't want to do, man."

Iwaizumi nodded and gave Issei a tight smile in response. He had a lot of thinking to do.

***

Iwaizumi can't do it.

He stares at the tickets, clutched so tightly in his hand they're crumpled, but he can't make himself move, can't make himself put on his shoes and get out the door. He's terrified. He doesn't know if he wants to see Oikawa on the court again, doesn't know if he can even see him without breaking down and embarrassing himself in front of everyone. It's too much pressure boring down on his shoulders, making it hard to breathe, and he sits on the couch with his head in his hands, trying to force his lungs to regain control.

If he goes, is he losing? Is he giving in, showing Oikawa that he will always be there, no matter how he's treated? Is he showing Oikawa that he's all talk, and no action?

His head buzzes with questions, and he rubs at his eyes, once again feeling exhausted. Keeping himself away from Oikawa feels like ripping himself in two, and he fucking hates it.

"You won't go crawling back to him, Hajime," he whispers to himself, forcefully. "You'll stay away, and you'll show him you won't always be there."

He felt pathetic sitting there, murmuring to himself like an idiot, but he knew he couldn't stomach seeing Oikawa look more alive than he'd been with Hajime the past month. He couldn't look into those honey brown eyes and see a fire that used to be directed at him. He can't.

Hajime throws the tickets in the bin.

But, weak as he is strong-willed, he turns the television on, his finger ghosting over the button before he clicks it onto Oikawa's game. Hajime is a coward, and decides he can watch Oikawa from the comfort of Issei's home, where he doesn't have to actually see him at all. His conscious nips at him, tells him there isn't any point not going to the game if he's just going to watch it at home, but Iwaizumi grunts and shuts it out, allowing himself the small slice of torture that is watching Oikawa Tooru in action.

It starts off normally. Oikawa stands on court, tall and proud as he always is, eyeing up the Kogane team. Hajime has to admit, they look intimidating, almost every player 6.3 and above, but he knows Oikawa will not be deterred by such a thing. He wonders if his heart is thrumming as he stands on the court, whether he can sense all the eyes on him, the cameras following his every move, or whether he's already shut them out, focused and in the zone. He's beautiful, his elegant hands setting the ball with the lightest touch of fingertips, his jumps impossibly high as he snatches the ball right out from their opponents fingertips, and he moves with a fluidity on the court that Hajime had never noticed quite so strongly before. And then, there's a panoramic view of the surrounding crowds, and Iwaizumi immediately sees two empty seats in the full arena.

His guilt hits him like a truck, and it makes his stomach ache like its just been punched.

It's Oikawa's turn to serve now. He throws the ball up in a perfect arc, and he runs, body bending back before shooting forward, hitting it with a grunt and a slap of his hand, landing with a victorious cheer as it slams into the other side of the court, untouched. He jumps up, fists pumped, and turns towards the stands, his eyes wide and smile huge. That is, until his gaze lingers on the empty seat in the front row, and suddenly there's no smile left on Oikawa's face. He simply stops, staring at the stalls despite the proud pats on his back, and then dazedly turns back to the court, vaguely aware he has to serve again.

He bounces the ball, but Iwaizumi can tell the shift in his attitude immediately. "Oikawa, focus, damnit!"

Of course, Oikawa cannot hear him. The setter presses the ball to his forehead, and breathes. Then, he throws it into the air, a perfect arc...and it falls, bouncing on the floor. Oikawa hadn't moved at all.

"What the fuck?" Iwaizumi shouted, standing up as he watched the television, disbelief making his mouth fall open. "What the fuck are you doing?"

There's commotion on the court; Oikawa's team mates are incredulous, and his opponents are just confused, all of them murmuring as they stand in front of Oikawa, nudging him. Then, Oikawa simply turns to the camera, which had zoomed up on him. His face was slack, but there was a spark of excitement in his eyes, and he spoke quickly.

"I'm sorry, I have to go. I have somewhere to be."

Then, he ran off the court.

Iwaizumi couldn't fucking believe it. He sat in shock, running his hands through his hair as he scoffed. He had no idea what he'd just seen, but he was torn between being furious at that idiot for leaving in the middle of the game, and laughing at the utter implausibility of Oikawa Tooru, leaving in the middle of a match. The crowd was in uproar, every talking and calling and chanting, and Oikawa's team huddled quickly before sending out their pinch setter, still shaking their heads in disbelief.

"He's fucking compromised the whole game!" Hajime hissed, hand covering his mouth. "The team is going to be all jumpy now, how are they meant to deal with that curveball?"

As Hajime watched the team struggle to regain their balance and confidence, he suddenly felt a surge of pity for them- regardless of how much they had taken Oikawa away from him, they were still just a bunch of guys, trying their best to succeed in something they loved. He couldn't even imagine the panic they must be feeling on the court, with all the pressure of the cameras, and he sighed.

"I'm going to fucking kill him," Hajime decided.

Then, the doorbell rang frantically, not even finished before a furious chapping on the door started. Iwaizumi rose hurriedly, walking towards the door.

"Alright alright, I'm coming! Calm down, Jesus," he murmured, before opening the door wide. "Can I help y- oh."

Oikawa stood in front of him, face a deep red and panting heavily, sweat all over his face. He was doubled over, struggling for breath, but when Hajime opened the door he looked up, his eyes wild and face stretching into a stupidly wide smile. "I pick you."

"What?"

"I pick you, Hajime." Oikawa stood, resting a hand against the door frame. "You asked me to choose, and I have. I pick you."

Hajime stepped back to let Oikawa in, and he blinked, before roaring, "You idiot! What the fuck are you doing? You're meant to be at a match!"

"Iwa-chan, didn't you hear me?" Oikawa yelped, lifting his hands up. "I had an epiphany at the match, and I realised that I want to be with you. I want you more than anything. More than volleyball, more than a-a stupid match, okay? I want you."

Iwaizumi felt the dam inside him break, and he sucked in a breath before he started to cry, real full earnest sobs, his chest heaving. He surged forward and punched at Oikawa's chest, his voice choked up. "You-stupid-fucking-idiot-I hate you!"

"Iwa-chan, why are't you happy?" Oikawa asked in panic, securing his hands around Iwaizumi's wrists and stopping the barrage of punches. He looked bewildered, searching Iwaizumi's tearful face, before he dawned on something. "Wait...do you not want to be with me any more?"

"Idiot!"Iwaizumi screeched, lunging forward with another sob. "Of course I want to be with you. I fucking love you!"

Oikawa blinked and let go of Iwaizumi's wrists, not fully ready for the other slamming into him and wrapping his arms so tightly around his torso that it was hard to breathe. He buried his face in the crook of Iwaizumi's neck, patiently brushing his fingers through his spiky black hair, waiting until Iwaizumi had calmed down.

"Iwa-chan, I'm so sorry for everything I did to you," he began, tearing up himself. "I was a fucking awful boyfriend, and I took advantage of you- I took advantage of the fact that you were always there for me, and I used that as this stupid excuse to convince myself that it was okay to spend another hour at practice, to miss out on a movie with you, to come home late. But it was never okay- I pushed you aside, and I didn't treat you the way you deserved. I was just so...caught up in my own mind, you know? I kept telling myself, if I could keep pushing myself, keep improving, I would be good enough to show everyone that I could be an official on the team. I even hoped that I would be good enough to be noticed by the scouts at the bigger tournaments, and then I could make it to the Olympics, and make you proud. I wanted so badly to just-just make up for the way I failed you in high school, Hajime. I wanted to be a setter you could be proud of."

Iwaizumi clutched at the fabric of his jersey, sobbing quietly. He pulled back enough to be heard, though just barely. "I don't fucking care if you're a bin man, Tooru- I'm always proud of you. You didn't have to hurt me so fucking much just to prove a point to yourself, you know I'd never judge you on how far your volleyball career goes."

"I know, and that's why I wanted so badly to be the best," Oikawa admits sadly. "I knew you wouldn't care, but that just made me more determined to show you that I can be someone that deserves you. I just wanted so badly to be better, better than my old self, better than Ushiwaka, better than Tobio-chan...I'm afraid, Hajime. I'm fucking terrified that I'll never get to their level, or my knee will give our before I go pro, and the thought that all of this, all of those years would be for nothing...it made me so fucking petrified that I didn't know what else to do other than throw myself into practice."

"Why couldn't you just have told me this?" Iwaizumi asks desperately. "Why did you keep brushing me off, and turning me away? Why did you make me think like I wasn't worth your time?"

Tooru's face crumples, and he pulls Hajime closer, chest shaking as he cries. "I'm so sorry, Hajime. I'm sorry for not talking to you- I was sacred that you would be disappointed in me. In my head, there was this voice that was telling me that if I talked to you, I'd let it all out and I'd just stress you out and upset you, and make you even more disappointed in me-"

"I was never fucking disappointed in you, Tooru!" Hajime yelled, shaking him roughly. "Why do you decide my own thoughts for me? Why do you get to choose how I'm going to react, without giving me a chance to, myself? I was desperate for you to talk to me, Oikawa. I was so fucking lonely without you, and then you stopped-you stopped wanting to be near me...you barely kissed me, barely touched me, barely looked my way...do you know how awful I felt, knowing you couldn't even spare a glance my way?"

"I'm sorry," Oikawa whispered weakly, fingers reaching out to wrap around Hajime's. "I was ashamed of myself, Iwa-chan. Part of me felt that I was such a failure, that I was doing so bad, messing up so much with you that I didn't have the right to hug and kiss you like everything was okay- because it wasn't, and it isn't. I...I have some real self-esteem issues, and I made the mistake of letting them have a bigger part in the relationship than you, and for than I am so, so sorry."

Hajime ducked his head, not even bothering to wipe away at the tears. Oikawa's hand was still curled around his, and he wove their fingers together, sniffing. "You really hurt me, Tooru. You made a lot of promises, and you broke them. That kind of trust can't be fixed again in an instant, it can't just be swept away with an apology."

The brunette nodded, face red and blotchy, fat tears on his cheeks and nose running so hard he had to wipe it on his sleeve every minute. "I know, and I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to win you back, Iwa-chan. I've texted the coach- I'm taking a break from volleyball."

This surprised Iwaizumi, and he looked at Oikawa sharply. "You are? For how long?"

Oikawa shrugged gently. "However long it takes you to love me again."

Iwaizumi could strangle him. He surged forward, pressing his lips against Oikawa's harshly. "I never stopped, you idiot."

Oikawa laughed, crying again as he cradled Iwaizumi's face, brushing away the tears. "I love you, too, Hajime. So fucking much. I really can't live without you, you know that? I was a mess every morning, I never had anything to eat for lunch, I couldn't eat a proper meal in days, and I could never find any of my clothes. I had nobody to talk to, and coming back to that empty house...it made me realise how much I love having you in my life. How much I love just being able to talk to you...it's really lonely without you in my life, Iwa-chan. Please don't leave again."

Iwaizumi laughed, fingers slipping into Tooru's hair. "I'm glad you can't live without me, but Tooru, you have to be serious about this. I mean that- you need to mean this. If there's one more slip, one more broken promise...it's over, for good."

"So you'll take me back?" Oikawa breathed, holding Hajime's face in between his hands. He looked on the very precipice of hope, a tremulous smile waiting for the chance to grow, and Hajime felt his heart surge.

"Of course," he whispered. "Being without you makes me feel like shit."

"Iwa-chan is never getting rid of me now," Oikawa said, before pressing their lips together.

It was like all of his old memories and feelings slammed into him at once; he was holding Oikawa, and they were kissing, not just a peck but the way they used to, and it was enough to make Hajime melt. He molded himself against Oikawa's chest, gripping handfuls of his hair roughly as he parted his lips, roaming his tongue across Oikawa's bottom lip until it hurriedly opened for him, their tongues meeting in the middle. Oikawa sucked on his tongue, making Hajime moan, and then the brunette pulled back, panting harshly.

"If I ever see your hands on Akaashi Keiji again I will rip them off and shove them so far up your ass you'll choke on your own fingers," he gasped, catching Iwaizumi's bottom lip between his teeth.

Iwaizumi couldn't help it- he laughed. "Someone sounds jealous."

"Of course I'm jealous, you can't look at anyone prettier than me," Oikawa murmured against his lips.

Iwaizumi's brow furrowed slightly. "He's not prettier than you, Tooru."

The brunette blanched. "Iwa-chan, you don't have to lie- I mean, I have eyes. Akaashi is beautiful. And he thinks you're hot, so I'm going to have to request that you stay 100 metres away from him at all times."

Hajime grinned a little, but then he kissed Tooru softly. "He's pretty, but he's not you."

Oikawa blushed, and then flung his arms around Iwaizumi's neck, covering every inch of available skin in a barrage of tiny kisses. "I love you so much, did you know that?"

"I know."

"Also," Oikawa said quietly against his ear. "If you don't dance like that with me, I'm going to be seriously disappointed."

"I thought you said I was awkward at dancing?"

"You used to be, but God, you looked so hot," Oikawa whined helplessly. "You have got to wear those jeans more often- if I wasn't so pissed at seeing Akaashi I would've dropped to my knees and sucked your dick then and there. And please, please God, do the hip thing."

Iwaizumi raised an eyebrow.

"You know," Oikawa waved a hand. "The rolling hip thing. Shakira hips."

Iwaizumi couldn't resist a smile at that, and he lightly cuffed Tooru on the back of the head. "I missed you, idiot."

"I missed you, too," Oikawa said, and then he pulled Iwaizumi flush against his body, bringing his hand down to rub against the bulge in his jeans. "Really missed you."

"Oikawa," Iwaizumi breathed, and then he shook his head. "We can't. Not here- this is Matsukawa's place, that's not right."

Oikawa hummed. "You're right. Let's go home."

***

They're barely in the door before Oikawa is mouthing at his neck and tugging at his clothes. He yanks at Hajime, pulling him towards the bedroom whilst undoing the belt on his jeans, tugging impatiently at his shirt. He trails his lips along Iwaizumi's neck, sucking and kissing every part of flesh that's revealed to him, all the while muttering underneath his breath about how beautiful Hajime is.

"God, I missed you," he moaned when Iwaizumi palmed him through his jeans. "I missed touching you, and feeling you beneath my fingers...I missed you being inside me."

"That can be fixed," Iwaizumi huffed, shoving his own jeans and boxers down before reaching out to grab at Oikawa's.

The brunette lifted his hips to allow them to shimmy off easier. "I didn't even realise how much I needed you until you weren't there."

Iwaizumi threw the jeans away and leaned over Oikawa, their lips brushing against each other's. "I'm here now."

"Yeah, you are," he gasped as Iwaizumi latched onto his neck. "I'm so fucking glad I picked you. How could I not pick you? You're everything."

"Tell me," he whispered, and then suddenly he was on his back, Oikawa on top of him.

"Hajime, you are the most important thing in my life," he murmured sweetly. "You're more important than university, more important than any job, and definitely more important than volleyball. You're my number one, and I'll prove it to you every day."

Hajime didn't let him speak after that. Their mouths found each other and they kissed deep and hard, pouring weeks worth of emotions into one moment. Their bodies were flush and naked, hard cocks grinding against each other, and Tooru's hand deftly floated across his body, twisting a nipple to make him arch, ghosting up the inside of his thigh just to watch them part. He broke the kiss, ignoring the string of saliva between them, and reached to the beside table, pulling out the lube. He passed it to Iwaizumi.

"Finger me."

Iwaizumi didn't need to be told twice. He coated his fingers and, after rubbing them together to warm it up, gently pulled Oikawa towards him with a hand on his hip, until the brunette was basically straddling him. He let his hand wonder between Oikawa's cheeks, running along the cleft of his ass before dipping in, fingers circling round his entrance without pushing in.

"Hajime, hurry," he whined, hips canting. "I need you."

Carefully, Iwaizumi pushed his finger in to the first knuckle, lightly stroking it against Tooru's walls before pushing further. He kept his mouth on Oikawa's neck, sucking and kissing and scraping his teeth across the sensitive skin, distracting him enough that he could pump his finger easily with no resistance. Feeling confident, he nudged a second finger in with the first, going extra slow not only to minimize pain, but also so Tooru could really feel him, stretching and scissoring inside him.

"H-hajime," he gasped as Iwaizumi's fingers curled, rubbing against a small bundle of nerves.

Iwaizumi only hummed, licking a stripe up Oikawa's neck before sucking hard, easing a third finger in. Tooru whined in pain, and Hajime cooed at him, kissing along his skin and nuzzling into the crook of his neck as his fingers moved ever so slowly, Oikawa's body finally accommodating the stretch. He sucked one of Tooru's nipples into his mouth and rolled it gently between his teeth, biting back a grin when his chest pushed further into Iwaizumi's mouth.

Fingers clutched in his hair, and Iwaizumi lazily pumped his fingers, feeling the drag against Tooru's walls as he curled them and spread them, pressing just enough against his prostate that Oikawa's thighs were shaking, his head throw back.

"Please," he begged, "I need more."

Iwaizumi withdrew his fingers, and almost immediately Oikawa's hips canted, looking for something to fill it again. Iwaizumi flipped them over gently and lay Oikawa down, shielding him with his body, and rested his forearms on either side of the brunette's face. He leaned down slowly and gave a soft gentle kiss to Oikawa's lips, feeling the other's legs lift up and wrap around his waist.

"You ready?" Hajime asked, letting one of his hands drift down to grip himself at the base.

"More than ready," Oikawa agreed, and then he smiled Hajime's favourite smile- wide, and real, with crinkled eyes and deep dimples.

Fuck, Hajime loved him. He said as much, and then gently, nudged the head of his cock against Oikawa's ass, remembering just how painful it had been for himself when he tried it before. He bit his lip, and slowly, so slowly, he pushed into Oikawa, holding his breath until the head was in.

As he exhaled, Oikawa gave him a small smile of adoration. "You can move, if you want to."

"Let yourself adjust first," Iwaizumi said breathily, lifting his hand back up to Oikawa's face, brushing his dark curls away from his face. "We don't need to rush, Tooru."

"I know, I just missed this so much," he says, and then he loops an arm around Iwaizumi's neck, his hips thrusting a little. "I'm ready, move."

Carefully, Iwaizumi pushed in further, gritting his teeth with the force of holding back but refusing to move until he could see it in Oikawa's eyes that it wasn't sore anymore. When he was finally seated in Oikawa, he lay his forehead against Oikawa's pale chest, his arms trembling.

"See? I told you Iwa-chan always takes care of me," Oikawa said softly, a gentle smile on his face.

Iwaizumi pressed a kiss to his skin, just above his heart, and felt the pulse on his lips. He then pulled his hips back, and painstakingly slowly, thrust back into Oikawa. It wasn't a quick fuck this time- no, this time, it was slow, and soft, and full of words that neither of them could say. It was Oikawa's breathy moans, and the slow deep thrust of Iwaizumi's hips, hitting all the right places. It was the drag of Iwaizumi against Oikawa's walls, the indescribable mount of pleasure that built just a little more with each thrust, not creeping up on him but instead growing within him, from the depths of his core to the tips of his fingers.

It was Oikawa's fingers scrabbling at Iwaizumi's skin, marking it with long red lines as his back arched, his groan swallowed up by another's mouth; it was Iwaizumi's tight grip on Oikawa's hip as he plunged deeper into him, not moving back out but instead just rubbing the tip of his dick against Oikawa's prostate; it was two bodies becoming as close as they possibly could without merging into each other.

Oikawa wasn't sure how much time had passed before he came. He clung to Hajime, his entire body shaking with the effort of dealing with his impending orgasm, thighs quivering and chest heaving and fingers scratching as it rose within him, the intense need to just let go. The wall grew higher, and then it slammed into him, drowning him in wave after wave of pleasure. He cried out as he came, hot tears falling down his cheeks, hands searching for Hajime.

They met him, and Hajime's fingers slid right next to Oikawa's holding him tight. He was still thrusting into Oikawa, who was rich with sensitivity and shuddering with every thrust, but then, when Oikawa tightened, and his hand gripped Iwaizumi's face and kissed him so sweetly he thought he could taste sugar, he came.

His wanton groan was swallowed by Oikawa, and he pulled out and flopped down next to him, immediately bringing the brunette into his arms. He could feel Oikawa's tears on his chest, the taller boy wrapping his body around Iwaizumi's line a vine up an old house. He rubbed at Oikawa's arm, and pulled the covers up over both of them, pressing kisses into the fluffy brown hair that tickled his nose.

"Are you okay?"

Oikawa sniffed, and then chuckled. "I'm amazing. Perfect, even. I just...I didn't know I could feel like that. It was as if I was feeling everything at once, like my body was just a thousand times more sensitive...it was really overwhelming, but in a good way."

Iwaizumi smiled. "Yeah, it was pretty amazing for me, too."

"Really? Amazing? Not even just 'really good'?" Oikawa teased, trailing his fingers across Iwaizumi's chest.

He laughed, a deep rumble. "Amazing. You're always amazing."

Oikawa tilted his head up, and brushed his fingers across Iwaizumi's jaw. "Things are gonna be better now, aren't they? I can feel it."

"You know what," Iwaizumi said, an amused grin on his face. "I think for once, you might actually be right."