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Sweet Despair

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"Sorry, Kageyama, I couldn't stay for extra practice today. I have, uhm, I have stuff to do. So, uhh, yeah. See you tomorrow!"

Tobio didn't even have time to respond as Hinata rushed out of the club room in a split second.

That was the third day in a row that Hinata missed their extra practice. The first day it happened, Tobio didn't question it. Hinata sometimes had to leave early when his mother had some errands to do and needed Hinata to pick Natsu up from school. However, things started to get weird the very next day. Right after their cool down stretches, Tobio was just about to open his mouth to ask Hinata and before he knew it, Hinata was out of the gym, almost flying towards the clubroom. It only took seconds for him to come out, his canvas bag in tow. He was still wearing his practice clothes, his shirt sticking to his sweaty back. He didn't even say goodbye as he pedaled out of the school gates.

And now, Hinata didn't even try to come up with a good excuse as to why he's on such a hurry. He just has some stuff to take care of, apparently.

Some stuff.

Tobio was fuming.

 


 

A few months ago, Tobio wouldn't have cared if this happened. Okay, he would care, but not to the point of anger and hurt bubbling throughout his entire being. Because this time is completely different.

It had been a month since he and Hinata started dating. Tobio confessed to him while they were practicing receives in a park near the school and something about the way Hinata glowed with the sun behind him spurred something in Tobio to blurt out the words he's been trying so hard to bottle up inside. The moment he realized what he's done, the words 'I like you' hovered between them like a hummingbird—buzzing and palpable. And the next thing he knew, Hinata was giving him a million-watt smile, the sun almost paled in comparison, and he was tackled to the ground with short but strong, capable arms. 'I like you, too! Please take care of me!' Hinata exclaimed in reply, as he looked up at him with misty amber eyes, his chin digging through his chest and his soft hair tickling his chin. And the rest was history.

 


 

The next morning, Tobio was ready to confront Hinata on whatever the hell is going on with him. And it's not just because of the missed practices. Hinata was avoiding him for the past few days. It was subtle enough that anyone wouldn't notice. Anyone but Tobio. Hinata didn't pester him for tosses during practices like he usually would. He didn't cling to him when they have lunch together and when Tobio looked his way, Hinata would avert his gaze, looking anywhere but his face and starts babbling about random things. He flinched when they passed each other in the hallways and he always seemed to be texting someone. When he asked who he's texting, he stammered 'J-just Kenma!' his voice a few pitches higher than usual. Yesterday, while Tobio was walking towards their usual lunch spot, he found Hinata talking to someone on his phone. The instant Hinata sensed his presence, he abruptly said goodbye to the person on the other end, pocketed his phone, and smiled at Tobio while he pulled out his lunch.

Tobio was starting to get annoyed (more than usual) at Hinata and his weird (also more than usual) actions. He's getting to the bottom of this once and for all. Just as he was contemplating how exactly he's going to do that while walking towards the clubroom, he heard a distinct thud thud thud from behind him, getting closer by the second. As he turned his head, a gust of wind almost knocked him off his feet as a blur of orange whizzed past him.

"Hey! That's a false head start! You dumbass cheater!" Kageyama huffed as he chased after the laughing idiot three meters ahead of him.

By the time they reached the club room, they were both out of breath, both hands on their knees. As Tobio glanced towards Hinata, he saw a purplish small circle on his neck, peeking just above the neckline of his shirt. It looks suspiciously like a—

"That's a win for me, Kageyama! Now we're at 63-62 on my favor!" Hinata smirked at him, suddenly looking energized and not looking like he had a mad dash just a few minutes ago.

"Tsk. That's just because you had an unfair head start, dumbass."

Any trailing thoughts Tobio had for that moment suddenly halted as they went inside the clubroom, exchanging greetings with their teammates.

 


 

It's not until first period that Tobio realized that he hadn't talked to Hinata about his suspicious behavior the last few days. As Masami-sensei droned on about quadratic equations, his thoughts wandered through the events that morning and suddenly his mind zeroed in on that fleeting moment when he saw the purplish spot on Hinata’s neck.

That wasn't a hickey, right? The last time they made out was last week, when he invited Hinata over since his parents are out that day and Tobio recalled that he didn't leave any marks on Hinata. And even if he did, he wouldn't leave one where anyone could easily see. Yes, the team knew about their relationship, they both agreed that it will be too hard to hide it from the people they're around with all the time, so they told the whole team a week after they got together (to no one's surprise, which was still a mystery to Tobio. Were they really that obvious?). But outside of the club, they were nothing more than acquaintances who bicker every time they're within a meter from each other.

The hickey-or-not-hickey dilemma rolled around Tobio's head until second period, only jolting him out of it by the bell signaling lunch. By the time the last ring chimed, he made his resolve to just ask Hinata about it, along with the other things he's been meaning to ask. He pulled out his lunch from his messenger bag and made his way towards Hinata’s classroom.

 


 

He didn't get to ask Hinata about his actions the last few days nor about the hickey-or-not-hickey. He couldn't find him during the break and just ate with Yamaguchi, Tsukishima, and Yachi-san. They didn't know where Hinata was either when he asked them. They just gave him a confused almost exasperated look as if they're trying to say Why are you asking us? Shouldn't you be the one to know where your own boyfriend is? He sort of wanted to ask himself that, too. He did text him, asking where the hell are you, dumbass? his thumbs murdering the keys of his phone as he typed grumpily. He received no reply (which is very odd, Hinata always replied within seconds) all throughout the break and the rest of the afternoon classes, which only added fuel to his bad mood.

Before afternoon practice then and this time he won't get away. Tobio practically flew from his classroom towards the clubroom to get there before anyone else. He knew Hinata would be early, he always was, and it's the perfect opportunity to confront him while their teammates weren't there.

He quickly changed to his practice clothes and just as he was pulling his shorts up, he heard steps against the metal stairs, getting louder as it approached the clubroom. Tobio finished changing and faced the door, steeling himself to finally finally talk to the orange-haired idiot. The doorknob turned and started to open.

"Oi, dumbass—"

"Oh. You're here early, Kageyama," Sugawara-san smiled at him as he pushes the door open then closed it behind him.

"Sugawara-san! Uhh—I'm sorry. I thought you were Hinata," Tobio stumbled through the words, embarrassed and surprised.

"Hinata? He won't be attending practice today. I passed by him on my way here and he said he wasn't feeling well and asked me if he could be excused from practice. He was looking a bit off so I let him. I'll talk to Daichi and Ukai-san later." Then, like an afterthought, he added, "Wait, you didn't know?"

Tobio was frozen for a moment. Sugawara-san's words sound muffled in his ears and it took five seconds for him to form a response.

"N-no, I didn't see him during lunch. And he hadn't texted me or anything."

Sugawara-san was looking at him with scrutiny before answering while tilting his head, "That's odd. It can't be helped that he's not able to practice since he's not feeling well, but not telling you is just—" He suddenly cut himself off as he glanced at Tobio.

"Ah! Maybe he doesn't want to worry you so he didn't tell you! Don't think too much about it, Kageyama. I'm sure he'll text you later."

Tobio just nodded. That last statement sounded as if Sugawara-san was reassuring himself and Tobio. Deciding to follow his senpai's words, Tobio tried to get his mind off it and willed himself not to worry. But the claws of doubt and unexplained ache slowly clenched around his chest as the rest of the members of the volleyball club entered the room.

Chapter Text

That night, while Tobio laid on his bed, absently tossing a volleyball above his head, he started to play out the scenes from the first day Hinata began acting strangely. His eagerness to go home early without giving Tobio a valid reason. His sudden and uncalled nervousness around him. His subtle (but not really) attempts to avoid him. The frequent texting and phone calls. And now, ditching him at lunch and afternoon practice.

(He did receive a text from Hinata earlier that evening, apologizing for not attending practice because he's not feeling well and that he'll make it up to him tomorrow, followed by a series of obnoxious kaomojis that Tobio secretly find cute. He replied a short you'd better, dumbass, and before he changed his mind, followed it by are you okay now? Hinata replied after a minute with a yea, i'm fine now and then awwww, r u worried about me kageyama-kuuun o(≧▽≦)o. Tobio didn't reply—he was too embarrassed to admit that yes, of course, he is.)

His mind kept coming back to one single detail—the hickey-or-not-hickey. The image burned inside his brain that every time he closed his eyes, the vision of that purplish spot on Hinata’s pale neck pooped out immediately. It made him feel hot and cold at the same time. It wasn't like the feeling he got when he saw the marks he left on Hinata when things got a little bit out of hand when they're alone. He knew exactly what those feelings were: affection and a sense of possessiveness. What he's feeling was almost a complete opposite of that. Anger and something else. Something hostile and feral, it made Tobio want to hit something. Or someone.

Jealousy.

The moment that word crossed his mind, he was paralyzed. He was only jolted back to his senses when the ball he tossed up fell hard on his face. Cursing under his breath with his hands on his throbbing nose, he hastily got up from his bed and wobbled towards the bathroom. He splashed water on his face, rubbing rather vigorously, and winced when he rubbed too hard on his swollen nose. He glanced up at himself in the mirror, his fringe dripping water to his face. He almost jumped by the murderous eyes staring back at him.

 



The following morning, as the lukewarm water cascaded from Tobio's head to the rest of his body, he was once again lost in thought. After the realizations of last night, he came to the conclusion that the unidentified feeling he's having was, without a doubt, jealousy. But still, he refused to believe what that feeling entailed.

He was feeling jealous because someone other than him gave Hinata a hickey.

No. He shook his head fervently, whips of water splattering the tiled walls. Hinata wouldn't do that. He wouldn't. There's no way. He couldn't be cheating on him. Maybe it's just a bug bite and Tobio's just overthinking things like he always does.

He stepped out of the shower, his thoughts still wandering. He'll give Hinata the benefit of the doubt (he silently thanked Yachi-san for teaching him that phrase) until they talked through this, even if the thought scared the shit out of Tobio. He knew he's not good with the whole communication thing, but he was willing to try to get to the bottom of this or else he's going to lose his goddamn mind.

As he walked his way to school, Tobio gathered all the mental strength he'll need when they finally talk. He desperately willed away any lingering thought of hickeys and jealousy and cheating out of his mind. He trusted Hinata more than he trusted anyone else, even himself. And he trusted that whatever this was, it'll be gone by the end of the day and everything will be back to normal.

 


 

Hinata was late for morning practice. He came ten minutes after six (not that Tobio's counting, okay maybe he was glancing at the clock every minute), huffing out an apology for being late and bowing so low his head almost touched his knees. After a light-hearted scolding from the coach and a pat on the shoulder from the captain, Hinata started bounding towards Tobio, flashing a smile so wide, his face might split.

Tobio was not amused though. He was absolutely mad when Hinata wasn't there to race him earlier. His thoughts flew from 'Oh God, I hope he didn't fall off the mountain and died while riding his bike' to 'That dumbass, if he overslept I'll make him do 100 receives penalty' and ultimately to 'He couldn't be meeting with someone else, could he? That last thought lingered in his mind longer than he  liked. Now that idiot was acting like nothing was wrong and he looked positively excited for someone who's late for practice.

"Kageyama. Hey, Kageyama. Kageyama-kuuuuun~"

He was snapped out of his thoughts by a familiar lilting voice. He glared at Hinata so intensely his brows hurt.

Like instinct, Hinata raised his arm in a fighting stance. "What? You wanna fight?"

"Why were you late?" Tobio asked, trying to make his voice sound even and nonchalant.

Hinata dropped his arms, one arm rubbing the back of his neck then smiled crookedly. "Oh. Are you mad? Sorry, I-I kind of uhm, overslept. Yep! Natsu made me watched a movie last night and it ended later than expected and uhh—I worked on my homework after and I finished up pretty late!" His voice started to get higher and louder as he talked, even their teammates from the other side of the gym started looking at them.

Tobio just stared at him and Hinata slowly lowered his hand from his neck, his smile faltering. He peaked at Tobio through his long lashes as he pouted, "I'm really sorry, okay? I'll take whatever penalty you have in mind. But that's because I'm in a good mood!"

For a second, Tobio was taken aback by the way Hinata was looking at him he could kiss him right there. But his anger reeled him back in time and he grunted, "100 receives penalty," as he turned around towards the ball cart, drowning out the voice he found endearing but now sounded like nails scratching through a blackboard.

It sounded like the voice of a liar.

Chapter Text

Tobio talked to Hinata as little as possible during the rest of practice. He mostly answered him with hums and nods, purposely distancing himself by working on his serves. Hinata stared at him with a curious expression the whole time. Tobio knew that look—Hinata was trying to read him. Every time their eyes meet, he could feel the anger surging up again and looked away.

Liar liar liar.

The words taunted him all throughout practice and it only intensified whenever Hinata laughed or yelled a cheer. Tobio couldn't concentrate, it's like his mind was filled with dark, murky water, images of hickeys and pathetic excuses drifting across the ocean of doubt.

Sugawara-san must've sensed something was off about him and he dragged him to a nearby bench, pushed Tobio to sit on it and forcibly handed him a bottle of water.

"You should take a break, Kageyama. It's clear you're not feeling well," Sugawara-san said, his eyes etched with concern.

Tobio was about to argue but Sugawara-san gently squeezed his shoulder, "Just sit for a while, okay?" He gave him a pat one last time and a reassuring smile before heading back towards Tanaka-san to continue their practice.

He leaned forward, his towel over his head. He could sense Hinata looking at him, feels the vibration of questions radiating. Tobio willed himself not to look at him and instead closed his eyes to try to clear his mind. He inhaled deeply, held his breath for five seconds, then exhaled slowly. He always did this before matches, to ease his nerves and calm his mind. It always worked and he figured it would this time.

He did this three times and he felt a lot calmer. But still, he couldn't shake the nagging feeling of anger and hurt because Hinata lied to him.

 



They're changing into their uniforms when he caught sight of it. Just as Hinata pulled his arm through the sleeves of his shirt, he saw indents on his left shoulder—indents that looked exactly like a ring of teeth marks. He lost sight of it as fast as he saw them. Hinata didn't notice that Tobio was staring, he was busy chatting with Tanaka-san and Nishinoya-san.

Tobio stood there, his shirt halfway in his torso, his hands gripping the remaining bundle of fabric on his chest. He felt like someone doused him with cold, ice water. He was blinking rapidly, still staring at Hinata’s left shoulder, now covered with his shirt. Hinata turned to face him, a smile on his face, but the second he glanced at Tobio, his smile turned into a concerned frown.

"Kageyama, are you okay? You're looking a little pale," Hinata said with a soft voice he rarely used, his head tilted slightly.

As Hinata's hand reached out towards him, he flinched and looked away. He thought he saw a flicker of hurt in Hinata’s face out of the corner of his eyes but it was gone the next second.

"Nothing is wrong. I'm fine," Tobio replied curtly, turning away from him, his hands finally found the strength to roll his shirt all the way down. He hastily grabbed his gakuran, slung his messenger bag on his shoulder, and headed towards the door.

As he was about to climb down the stairs, he felt a tug on his shirt. Glaring as he turned around, he saw a mop of orange hair, then wide honey brown eyes staring into him.

"Let's talk later, okay?" Hinata said with a blinding smile, his voice excited but jittery. He was practically pulsating, like he wanted to talk to Tobio now, but was trying to hold back. Instead, he added, "I'll wait for you at the vending machine at lunch."

Hinata’s eagerness was so infectious, Tobio suddenly forgot about his anger. It's rather unsettling, how easily he got dragged into Hinata’s orbit, how little Hinata had to do to derail Tobio out of his resolve.

He sighed as he ruffled Hinata’s hair, "Okay. Now get back inside and finish changing. Your shirt is too thin, you're going to catch a cold, stupid."

Hinata gave him a salute and grinned, then scuttled back inside the clubroom.

For the first time that morning, Tobio smiled. Seeing Hinata happy and excited never failed to put a small smile on his face. More importantly, they're finally going to have that talk, and the fact that Hinata wanted to—asked for it—eased Tobio's irritation. The remaining ebbs of anger in his chest slowly faded as he made his way towards his classroom.

Maybe I was just imagining that bite mark. Maybe I'm just too preoccupied with the possibility of Hinata cheating on me that it made me see things that weren't there. Maybe Hinata did oversleep that's why he's late and I'm just over thinking all of this.

Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

As Tobio eased himself on his seat, he was feeling much better. They'll talk later, as Hinata promised, and Tobio will do his best to uphold his resolve this morning. Then all his maybes would be dealt with.

 


 

Tobio dashed out of his classroom as soon as the bell for lunch started to ring. With his lunch on hand, he sprinted towards the vending machine, snaking through the crowd, earning surprised screeches and several 'Watch it!' from the other students. He didn't bother to apologize, he just wanted to talk to his boyfriend and get this over with, whatever this was. As he drew near the vending machines, he heard Hinata before he saw him.

"I'm going to, all right? It's been so hard to keep this from him. I'm, like, nervous all the time!"

A sigh, and then, "No, I don't think he knows but I think he's unto me."

Tobio stopped dead in his tracks. Hinata was behind the vending machine, his phone held in his ear. He was at least two meters away from Tobio and he could hear Hinata clearly as he spoke to his phone.

"I've never done this before, give me a break! I've never lied before and it's making me feel guilty!"

The temperature around Tobio dropped to subzero. The sudden cold paralyzed his body, his foot rooted to the floor.

The next words from Hinata felt like a hundred serves directed through his chest.

"I—I don't think I can keep this up any longer. I'm telling him today."

He was running away before he knew it.

Chapter Text

Tobio was in a daze the rest of the day. He didn't even get to eat his lunch, he just went straight back to his classroom, burying his head between his folded arms. Anger and malice radiated off him in waves, no one dared to approach him. His classmates were circling his space like a minefield.

He vaguely heard Hinata asking for him but the bell saved him from his imminent downfall.

Tobio decided to skip his last class that afternoon. He sprinted towards the stairs and pushed the doors to the rooftop. He flopped down on the cold cement, his back against the wall. He tucked his knees to his chest and buried his head between them.

".. so hard to keep this from him"

"I've never lied before..."

"I don't think I can keep this up any longer.."

Hinata was cheating on him. There's no other explanation. He was seeing someone else and he's breaking up with Tobio to be with that person. Today.

He knew it. He knew the bliss and sense of content he felt for the last month was too good to be true, but still, he let himself indulged in the warmth Hinata brought to his life. He knew he took it for granted. All of Hinata’s smiles that Tobio rarely returned, Hinata’s public display of affections that he frequently scolded him for, Hinata’s 'I like yous' to which his only response was usually a nod or the occasional 'Me, too.' It's not because he doesn't want or disliked those things. He's just way too embarrassed to reciprocate Hinata’s affections with the same confidence that he usually ended up yelling at him or insult him to mask his nervousness.

And now Hinata had had enough. He finally realized that he deserved someone better than Tobio, someone who wasn't a total asshole to his boyfriend. Someone who was just as warm as Hinata, who could whisper sweet nothings in his ear without getting nervous or embarrassed. Someone who was open and friendly and lovable. Someone who wasn't Tobio.

Hinata found that someone and now he's leaving Tobio.

The realization dropped on him like bricks. His head throbbed—like a large screw was drilling on it. He was shaking from head to toe, the cold from earlier never left him. His chest clenched, hard and tight, he could feel his heart squeezed in on itself. Then, nothing. He felt hollow.

The last time he felt like this was during his last match in middle school.

 


 

He could feel the eyes of his teammates on him as he served balls one after another with such power and accuracy it left them stunned. No one dared to get close to him. Sugawara-san and Sawamura-san glanced his way every now and then but made no attempts to talk to him.

Only Hinata was brave (or dumb) enough to approach him, his steps firm and solid against the floor, his hands fisted on his side. Frustration was written across his face as he made his way towards Tobio.

"Where were you during lunch?" Hinata half-whispered as he stood beside him. "I thought I told you I'd be waiting at the vending machine."

Tobio's voice was passive as he spun the ball between his hands, getting ready to serve, "I guess I just forgot." He tossed the ball up, getting ready for the jump.

"You forgot."

He smacked the ball, and it whizzed past Yamaguchi on the other side of the net. "Hmm."

"I guess you also forgot what date today is," Hinata’s voice a mixture of disbelief and irritation.

Tobio cast a brief glance towards Hinata. His brows were furrowed, nose scrunched up, lips curled into a frown.

His blood boiled. How dare he get angry at him. How dare he act as if Tobio was the one at fault. And who the fuck gave a shit about what date today is?

He was about to retaliate and tell Hinata as much when the shrill sound of a whistle reverberated across the gym as the coach called for a huddle.

Tobio jogged towards the others without sparing Hinata a second glance.

 


 

The tension between them as they changed in the clubroom was so heavy and tangible their teammates wouldn't even look at their general direction.

Tobio just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. His skin itched and bristled as he felt Hinata’s movements as he changed beside him. He tried not to look at his left shoulder. He hastily put on his club jacket and zipped it all the way to his chin, picked up his bag, and murmured his excuse to leave.

Tobio was already halfway between the clubroom and the school gates when he heard Hinata called up to him.

"Wait up, Bakageyama!"

This was it. No use trying to avoid the inevitable.

Squaring his shoulders and letting out one long shaky breath, he stopped walking. Hinata was in front of him in mere seconds, his face flushed and his hair messier than usual. He must've changed hurriedly to catch up to Tobio.

"Y-you're mad, aren't you?" Hinata blurted out, huffing in between words. His hands were on his waist,  a skeptical look on his face as he tried to catch his breath.

Before Tobio could answer that, yes, of fucking course he is, Hinata was talking again. Or trying to.

"I-I know y-you are. B-because, uhhh—you know, you think I—" Hinata was looking at his feet, his hands twisting the hem of his shirt. His face was beet red from the top of his head down to his neck.

Still looking anywhere but Tobio's face, Hinata continued, "W-what I'm trying to s-say is—uhm—I—would you—"

"Let's break up."

He was hurt and annoyed and just wanted to curl up alone in his bed. He didn't want to prolong the agony, and he didn't know if he'll actually survive to hear those words in Hinata’s voice.

"Wha—what?"

Hinata finally looked at him. His mouth was agape and his eyes were comically wide, Tobio would've made fun of him if it was any other situation.

Instead, he averted his gaze and started to turn the other direction. He tried to make his voice sound indifferent, tried to mask the hurt (and the hitching of his voice).

"Don't work yourself up. Let's just break up. There. Done. Now you’re free to do whatever the hell you want."

With that, he ran at full speed, ignoring the desperate calls of his name from behind.

Chapter Text

Morning practice was awkward, to say the least. Tobio tried to project his anger by smacking the ball harder when he served, but the pain in his chest coursed to the rest of his body, numbing his limbs. His sets were abysmal—he was completely out of sync with Tanaka-san and Azumane-san. Embarrassed, he apologized multiple times. His senpais just clapped him on his back, telling him to don't mind it, and that it's refreshing that even geniuses have off days too.

Except Tobio felt the complete opposite of refreshed. He was tired, he barely slept a wink last night. Every time he closed his eyes, the image of someone that was not Tobio kissing Hinata and leaving marks showed up. He was a mess of emotions: anger, jealousy, regret. But mostly hurt, the black hole inside his chest sucking everything in.

Hinata avoided him like a plague. He didn't even call for a toss. He was the first one to arrive that morning and the moment the gym was opened, he clinged himself to Nishinoya-san to practice receives, pointedly ignoring Tobio as he made his way towards the storage room to wheel out the ball cart.

Good, Tobio told himself. I should get used to it, anyway. Even if it hurts him to the core. It hurts to even looked at Hinata, hurts to hear his loud voice making weird noises, hurts to see him smile at everyone but Tobio.

He could tell that the team noticed something was off, judging by the concerned looks at their direction every time they passed each other without so much as a glance. Even Tsukishima had the tiniest knit between his brows when Tobio caught him looking at them. He just glared menacingly back and the blond bastard (thankfully) just sighed as he walked away.

They couldn't sync up for any of their quick attacks. Maybe it was because he hesitated for a second to toss to Hinata, or maybe Hinata was the one who was reluctant, judging by his timing that's a breath too late than usual, the spring of his jumps lacking. Ukai-san was yelling at them to ‘get a grip already’ and they both answered with a half-hearted affirmation.

Oh, God. What if they couldn't sync like they used to? Like ever? What if the connection they had on the court was also severed along with what they had off of it? Tobio didn't think his heart could crumble any further but it did. It was pulverized at this point.

 


 

Sugawara-san approached him during the water break, pulling Tobio outside the gym.

"Sugawara-san, wh—"

"Okay. Is something going on between you two? Were you two fighting again? Not the usual pointless bickering, that's normal, but, you know—about your relationship. And don't lie to me, Kageyama. I'm your vice-captain and it's my responsibility that each member of the team is in tip-top condition, but I am more worried as your senpai and as your friend, " Sugawara-san huffed, his hands on his hips, staring at Tobio with a concerned yet aggravated look.

He saw no point in lying. "We broke up," his voice low and raspy. Saying it out loud, the reality of it, brought a sharp pang in his chest and stomach he had to stop himself from doubling over.

Sugawara-san's face slacked and the hands in his hips slowly fall on his side. "Wh-what?"

"We broke up. Yesterday." Saying it again, he felt a sting in his eyes and no. No. He was not going to cry.

"Yesterday?" Sugawara-san suddenly had a confused look as he tipped his head sideways. "But yesterday Hina—"

"Suga, Kageyama, break is over."

Both of them was startled by the sudden voice of Sawamura-san calling from the door of the gym. Sugawara-san looked like he was about to say something but the pointed look the captain gave them was enough for the both of them to scramble back inside.

 


 

Sugawara-san tried to talk to him again after practice but Tobio darted out of the club room as fast as he could, not even bothering to say his excuse to take his leave.

During lunch, Tobio momentarily forgot himself and before he knew it, he was already in the doorway of Hinata’s classroom. Cursing under his breath, he was about to turn around when he noticed that Hinata wasn't at his desk nor anywhere inside his classroom. At first, he felt relieved that he didn't have to face Hinata with humiliation burning in his face. Then a sudden thought crossed his mind, he stumbled backward awkwardly, bumping on other students.

He must be eating lunch with that person. He couldn't even wait for at least a day, huh? He must be so relieved to finally get rid of Tobio, to be able to be with that person. Another sharp twinge of pain throbbed inside him as he walked back towards his own classroom, and sat hastily on his seat. He shoved his lunch back to his bag, his appetite lost.

(He remembered his mom packing him extra tamagoyaki that morning. “They’re the sweet ones. Hinata-kun seemed to like them the last time he came over for dinner. Give him some okay?” Tobio didn’t have the heart nor the courage to tell her to don’t bother.)

Tobio felt a sting in his eyes, the tell-tale signs of tears pricking at the corners. He groaned in frustration as he rubbed his face roughly—like hell he's going to cry in front of his classmates. He stood up abruptly as his palms slammed the desk, rattling his chair backward, and earning a startled yelp from his classmates and a few irritated scowls. He stared back with the deadliest glare he could muster—which isn't hard—and they turned away quickly.

He stalked out of the classroom, out into the hallways and the school grounds. He was half-walking, half-running aimlessly, not really caring where his legs were taking him. He just wanted to be alone. Which was how it’s going to be from now on—he thought—now that he won’t be spending his lunch breaks with Hinata. No more trading his carrots for Hinata’s pickles; no more stupid race on who can finish their lunch faster; no more roughhousing that ended in kissing; no more casual tossing of a volleyball if they still got time.

(It still baffled Tobio, when and how exactly had he gotten used to Hinata’s constant presence. How he always expected Hinata to just simply be there—brown eyes burning with passion and determination as he stared back at Tobio. How annoyance shifted to affection; how their bickering and arguing became playful—their insults sounding more like endearment rather than offensive. How their morning races turned into a routine, something he looked forward to every day, loving the feel of exhilaration coursing through his veins, how it made him feel alive. It’s like Hinata’s boundless energy somehow flicked a switched in Tobio, waking him up from his dull, monotonous life. He’s gotten so familiar with it, he can’t even remember the time when he used to be content being alone. He can’t even imagine going through the day without even a glimpse of wild orange hair and blinding smiles. Hinata may be reliant on Tobio on court, but Tobio knew, as much as he hated to admit it, that he relied on Hinata on pretty much everything else.)

Instincts took him at the back of the shed close to the gym—it was their usual lunch spot. No one but them came by here during this time—its why they picked this place in the first place, to have some kind of privacy and away from prying eyes. He slumped against the wall, stretched out his legs in front of him and sighed a long drawn out breath as he closed his eyes.

When he opened them, he caught sight of a familiar red and green object on his periphery. It was a volleyball. Their volleyball, the one they used for practice during that first week, and now for impromptu drills during lunch. It was fitted in a small cranny, with just enough space to tuck it in—an ideal hiding spot. He scooted over and hauled the ball out. He held it against his palms, turning it over. It was dirty, scratches littered all over it and bits of mud and grass stuck on its ridges—evidence of how much the ball has gone through. Tobio couldn’t help but relate this inanimate object to the seamless progression of his relationship with Hinata and all the things that they've been through; how they started as reluctant teammates to partners; from being sort-of-but-neither-would-admit friends to definitely friends; from best friends to boyfriends. He continued to turn the ball over until he found it. A writing in kanji, almost faded, but still legible. He ran his fingers over the black ink, a small smile crept on his face as the memory played out.

 


 

“What are you doing, dumbass? Aren’t we gonna practice? Break’s almost over.”

Hinata was crouched on the ground, holding the ball between the crook of his left arm. He brandished a marker from his pants pocket and flashed Tobio a grin. “You’ll see.”

“Weirdo.”

After a minute, Hinata suddenly stood up, intensely looking at the ball, then nodded. He turned to Tobio, thrusting the ball towards him.

Confused, Tobio tilted his head on one side, “Are you asking me to toss to you?”

“Noooo, Bakageyama. Just take a look at the ball,” Hinata replied with an exaggerated roll of his eyes. He thrusted the ball forward again, eyes sparkling with excitement.

Tobio took the ball reluctantly. “So, what am I supposed to be looking at?”

“What I’ve written! It’s right there!”

“Tsk. You’re so fucking weird.” Still, he rolled the ball between his hands, looking for whatever Hinata wrote in it. He caught sight of it immediately, the black writing in Hinata’s messy penmanship was hard not to notice. It was written on one of the green stripes, following the curve.

His brows knitted in concentration as he read the kanji. The characters look strangely familiar though. “Hi…shou?”

“Oooooooh! You can read it!” Hinata spread his arms wide as he beamed at Tobio.

“Of course, I can, dumbass. I got a perfect score on kanji on the last exam!”

“Do you know what it means then?”

“…”

Tobio was expecting Hinata to laugh at him and berate him. Instead, Hinata smiled slowly, almost bashful—a dusting of pink slowly spreading on his cheeks. “I didn’t either. It was Yachi-san who told me. Apparently, when you combine the first character of our given names, they form that word. It means ‘things in flight’ or ‘soaring’. Seems fitting right?”

He blinked at Hinata. Twice. Thrice. Then, his face started to heat as a blush slowly forms on his face. He stared at the writing again, mouthing the word under his breath.

Hishou.

“It’s like we’re destined to be partners! Isn’t it awesome? I think it's awesome! We’re awesome!”

Tobio glanced up at Hinata and he suppressed the need to squint his eyes. Hinata was literally glowing; his hair was like a fiery halo, his eyes shone like garnet, his smile wide and positively radiant. He’s like the sun personified—no, even the yellow blob on the sky seems to pale in comparison. He looked achingly beautiful.

It was then that Tobio realized he was deeply, hopelessly in love with his best friend.

Tobio gripped the ball tighter as he threw his arm back, and aimed the ball straight at Hinata’s (pretty) face.

“S-Shut the fuck up, Hinata, you dumbass!”

 


 

Tobio's fingers were still grazing over the writing when it came—drop by drop. Slowly at first, tracing a line down his cheeks, then splattered at the ball, directly over the faded characters. He couldn’t hold it in any longer—all the pent up emotions from the last few days unceremoniously spilled over, overflowing in the form of salty tears. He pressed the ball against his forehead as he let himself cry in silence.

Fuck destiny.

Chapter Text

As much as he dreaded a repeat of morning practice, Tobio dragged himself towards the clubroom. This might be the first time in his life he considered skipping, but immediately regretted the mere thought of it. No, he won't allow this, this stupid thing to get in the way of volleyball. He'll channel his anger to become stronger, to surpass Oikawa-san, and become the best setter there is.

(Still, he couldn't help but imagine Hinata beside him when that happens—the both of them conquering the court in every stage. Because that’s what they promised to do—together— no matter what or how long it takes.)

He was already running a little late since he was on class duty—cleaning up and running errands was always such a pain—but today he was grateful for it, that way he wouldn't have to deal with Hinata in the close confines of the room, with their teammates’ eyes boring questioning looks at them. Fortunately, there was only one person changing in the clubroom.

Unfortunately, it’s that bastard Tsukishima.

He tried to ignore him as he quickly changed into his practice gear, and thankfully, Tsukishima paid him no mind. At least for the first five minutes.

Tobio was tying his shoes when Tsukishima broke the silence with that irritating monotone voice of his.

“So, King, it looked like you and Hinata had some kind of lover’s spat.”

Tobio tugged his shoelaces a bit too tight as he scowled. “What’s it to you?”

“I couldn’t care less about your relationship. But I am a bit worried about the consequences that could inadvertently affect the team. We’re heading for the Spring High Nationals in less than two months, you know.” The bastard was casually leaning against the wall, hands folded across his chest, a small smirk threatening to form in his mouth.

“You don’t have to tell me. Mind your own damn business. If you’re worried about nationals, why don’t you work on your subpar blocks and improving your weak stamina instead of being a nosy asshole?”

The smirk finally emerged with a shake of Tsukishima’s head. “Ah, there it is. The classic ‘kingly’ deflection tactic. It’s a real mystery why Hinata even likes you. You’re an emotionally constipated jerk who uses second-rate insults and needless anger as armor the moment you display even a speck of vulnerability.”

Tobio’s blood boiled, feeding the curled up fury in the pit of his stomach. He stood up abruptly, and closed the distance between them and in one swift motion, he grabbed the front of Tsukishima’s shirt and growled, “What did you say?! Are you trying to pick a fight, bastard?”

Tsukishima just stared at Tobio, completely unfazed. That only fueled his anger even more and he tightened his grip on Tsukishima’s shirt. Tsukishima just quirks his brows in response. “Proves my point even more. A little bit of advice: it won’t hurt to step down from your high pedestal once in a while and listen to what us commoners have to say.”

“Haaaa?!”

“I saw what happened yesterday.”

Tobio was momentarily startled by Tsukishima’s sudden declaration, his hold on him slackened and Tsukishima took that opportunity to forcefully shove him off. Tobio stumbled backward with a jolt but he managed to steady himself before he humiliated himself in front of this jerk. Tsukishima tried to smooth out the crease on his shirt and adjust his glasses with a click of his tongue. He glanced back at Tobio, face still indifferent, but his eyes held a glint of disdain.

“It was agonizing to watch. Hinata trying to talk to you and you just dropped the bomb just like that. How kingly of you, your majesty. Doing whatever you like without even considering to listen to what your boyfriend wanted to say. Oh, sorry, ex-boyfriend.” He said the last word mockingly, but his face lacked any sign of amusement or arrogance like he normally would.

“You don’t know a damn thing—”

“Maybe. But I don’t need to be a genius to tell that Hinata was absolutely wrecked after you ran off. He kept calling your name even after you’re long gone, it was so annoying, by the way. Then he just stood there, not moving for a good ten minutes. Like he broke or something.”

He…did not know that. But he did remember hearing Hinata call him after he turned away. His heart clenched at the thought of Hinata motionless—it felt wrong and unimaginable somehow. Hinata was a bundle of energy and perpetual motion; always moving, always gearing forward. And the fact that Tobio made him that way only tightened the knot in his chest even harder with guilt and shame. But the anger and resentment he’s harboring dispel any lingering concern or empathy as quickly as it came.

He spat his next words like venom. “So what? He was going to break up with me anyway. He’s just probably mad he wasn’t the one who gets to do it.”

Tsukishima stared at him with a dumbfounded look, his mouth opening and closing like a fish. Then his expression darkens, his eyes radiating pure hate and disgust and they’re looking straight at Tobio’s. For a moment, he thought Tsukishima was going to punch him, judging by the way the blonde bastard was clenching his fist tightly on his side, shaking, and Tobio braced himself.

They exchanged menacing glares, then Tsukishima looked away and shook his head slowly, his mouth pressed in a thin line, then he sighed as he slowly unclenched his fists. He grabbed his towel and started walking towards the door.

Just as he passed by Tobio, he deliberately bumped his shoulder against his, and whispered, his voice laced with contempt and ironically, a hint of concern, “I just hope you made the right decision, your majesty. Hinata may be stupid and annoying but I doubt you’ll find anyone with a heart big enough that can understand and accept your kingly attitude and still like you as much as he does.”

Tobio let the words sink in as Tsukishima closed the door with a loud bang.

 


 

Trying not to let Tsukishima’s words rattle him, Tobio half jogged his way towards the gym. He could already hear the squeaking of shoes against the wooden floor and the shuffling of the equipment being set-up. He jogged faster, he’s late enough as it was and he just wanted to direct all his excess emotions into volleyball.

He was about to slide the metal door open when he heard hushed talking voices inside. He jolted at the sudden mention of his name, and his hands stopped halfway.

"... Kageyama did."

Hinata. He sounded deflated, nothing like the cheerful voice he usually had.

"He did?!" Three voices at once. He knew his teammates enough to recognize them: Sugawara-san and Yamaguchi. And the high pitch squeak could only be Yachi-san.

"I don't know where it went wrong. I thought we were happy. That he was happy. I guess not."

A sniffle. Tobio was clenching his fist so hard his blunt nails dug into his palms. What the fuck is Hinata talking about? He knew exactly what was wrong. You fucking cheated on me, you think I'd be happy?

"He was happy. Hinata, the only times I saw Kageyama smiled genuinely is when he's playing volleyball and whenever he's with you."

Sugawara-san's reassuring voice, although not directed at him, calmed Tobio, but partly because what he said was true. He found he was happiest when he was with Hinata and when he played volleyball. With Hinata. And that was before he even realized his feelings for his partner. There’s this sense of content and belonging whenever they’re together—an undeniable connection that only they can understand.

"That's right." Yachi-san exclaimed, her voice encouraging. She continued, "It's obvious that he really likes you, even before you told the team that you were dating. I noticed it right away when I first joined as your manager. Just by the way he looks at you..."

A dry humorless laugh followed with a sigh. It was disconcerting to hear Hinata this way, it's almost like he sounded hurt—which doesn't make sense because why would he be? This was all making Tobio’s head spin, and not in a good way.

"Maybe. I just don't understand why he didn't give me any reasons. He just flat out said ‘Let's break up’ and that I’m free to do whatever I want. What does that mean? You all know he's a very straightforward person. He says what he means and he always gives a reason no matter how trivial. But this time he just—"

He couldn't hear the rest of what Hinata said because now Tobio was angry and confused. What the actual fuck was he talking about? He doesn't know the reason? What difference does it make if Tobio was the one who said it? Wasn't he planning to break up with Tobio in the first place?

He was about to push his hand against the handle of the metal door to slide it open and demand why the hell is Hinata pretending like this whole mess wasn't his fault when the next words from Hinata's trembling voice stopped him cold.

"Maybe he was projecting. M-maybe he was telling that...to h-himself—that he's f-free...to do whatever...h-he wants n-now." Hinata was very clearly crying, his voice muffled by hiccups as he talked.

"M-maybe this whole t-thing was...one-sided all along. Maybe h-he got...s-so fed up with all those...g-girls that keeps c-confessing to him...h-he thought if he d-dated someone…they would g-go away... "

What?

Tobio felt light-headed, his vision started to blur as he processed what Hinata had just said. One-sided? For the hundredth time today, what is Hinata talking about? He thought Tobio dated him to get rid of those annoying girls? Didn't he tell him that he liked him? Was he not clear on that part? He wouldn’t hold his hands and, for fuck’s sake, kiss him, if he didn’t like him! He was so confused; his brain is going haywire with all the chaos going inside.

"But didn't he confessed to you?" Yamaguchi's question barely registered while Tobio tried desperately to make sense of what the fuck is going on right now.

Hinata seemed to have calmed down a little, his breathing still hitched and voice brittle, but the crying stopped, now reduced to sniffles.

"Because I was c-convenient. Or maybe he knew what I f-felt for him all along and he knows I'll say y-yes anyway when he asked me out."

Convenient? Since when is dating Hinata a matter of convenience? Tobio was gripping the door’s handle so tightly; his knuckles were turning white.

"I was actually going to surprise him yesterday. I know he noticed that I'm avoiding him and getting nervous around him. But I can't help it! I'm scared that he would find out I was surprising him! Yesterday—I thought he was just mad because he thought I forgot. I didn't think he would break up with me exactly one month after we got together..."

Hinata started crying again and he could hear some shuffling, maybe their teammates trying to comfort him. Tobio grip on the door’s handle loosened as realization dawned into him.

Yesterday marked their first month of being together. That was what Hinata tried to tell him. That and the supposed surprise. But what about—

"I just—I k-know he always...yells at me a-and makes f-fun of me...but I didn't think he could be so cruel…trampling and—and t-toying all over my f-feelings. He could've at least—"

Tobio had had enough. He couldn't stand there for a second longer; he wanted clear answers and he's getting them. And he can no longer stand hearing Hinata cry—it’s like someone was twisting a knife in Tobio’s gut, deeper and deeper with every heaving sob, and there’s a loud voice in his head screaming your fault your fault all your fault.

He slid the door open with more force than necessary, startling the people inside—Yamaguchi let out a strangled yelp and Yachi-san screeched, accidentally throwing the box of tissue she’s holding. Sugawara-san was gently rubbing Hinata’s back as he sobbed, his palms pressed against his face, trying to stop his tears. For a second none of them moved as they stared at Tobio on the doorway. Then Hinata looked up at him—eyes red and misty, cheeks blotched and tear-stained—and that was the last straw.

He yanked Hinata's arm and uttered a hasty 'excuse us' as he dragged him outside.

Chapter Text

Hinata was squirming against his hold but Tobio had him in a vise-like grip.

"Ka-Kageyama! You’re hurting me! Let me go!"

"No." He's not letting him go. He's never letting him go again. His body tingled at the contact of his fingers on Hinata’s skin. It’s been so long since he’s able to touch him and his hold on him tightened, feeling a bit possessive.

Eventually, Hinata stopped struggling and just let Tobio dragged him until they stopped at the back of the gym and Tobio loosened his hold at Hinata’s arm but still tight enough to not let him get away.

"I'll let you go, but promise me you won't run away."

Hinata glared daggers at him despite his puffy eyes, then as if all the struggling earlier had drained him, he just sighed then nodded. "Fine. I won't."

Slowly, Tobio released his arm. There were red lines where his fingers had been and Hinata rubbed at it with his other hand. He was looking at his side, pointedly avoiding Tobio's general direction.

Tobio knew he needs to start talking but his throat closed up. No, not now. He understood what he had to do, knew what he had to say, but his mind and vocal chords can't seem to function at the same time. He took a deep breath.

"I'm—"

"What do you want, Kageyama?" Hinata’s voice low and gruff, nothing like his usual chirping, vibrant voice. He's still not looking at Tobio; his eyes were trained on the ground as he scuffed his shoes against the dirt.

It took a moment for Tobio to start again, "Hinata, I—"

“If this is about morning practice, then I’m sorry. I—I know my timing was off. I promise it won’t happen again."

“That’s not—”

"Practice is about to start. We better go, the captain will probably be mad if we're late and—"

"Would you shut up for just a fucking second and let me talk?"

Tobio knew that's not how the way he should be talking right now, but as usual, his temper got the better of him. It’s times like that that he’s aware how much of a jerk he’s being, and the realization that he’s probably like this to Hinata most of the time was enough to drown him in guilt even further.

Hinata finally looked up at him and gave him a stare down. The stare down. The one he used when he got intense in court or when challenging other players. But this was different. Hinata’s pupils were like slits and the warm amber of his eyes was gone, replaced with something murky, like mud. They look lifeless—like all the warmth and energy was leached out of it—and his red-rimmed eyes only added a certain menace, sending shivers down Tobio’s spine.

Hinata’s expression was blank as he cocked his head sideways. "Talk? What is there to talk about? You sure as heck didn't let me yesterday."

"Hinata, please. Yesterday was—I'm—" Fuck. Why was it so hard to form coherent sentences of the things he wanted to say? This isn't going in the direction Tobio expected and the way Hinata was looking at him—vacant yet intimidating—was making his resolve weakened.

Hinata blinked and the look was gone, but his eyes remain cold and uninviting.

"Don't stress yourself out, Kageyama. I don't want to hear whatever reasons you have," he let out a long sigh then looked away again. "I figured it out anyway. Let's just go."

"Hinata, I'm—I'm sorry". Tobio winced inwardly. He hated how he sounds—disjointed and uncertain, the exact opposite of how he wanted the words to come out and he’s mentally cursing himself and his inability to express his emotions into words.

Hinata looked at him again, and he just stared at Tobio with those blank, glassy eyes. Then, a small smile crept on his face but it was far from happiness or even relief. If anything, he looked even more dejected than before. Well, no wonder—that apology was shitty as hell.

"Don't apologize. It doesn't suit you." Hinata turned around, then looked over at his shoulder, his voice small and brittle. "And don’t give me your pity. It’s the last thing I need from you.” Hinata started to walk away, his shoulders hunched and small hands fisted at his sides; he’s trembling like he’s going to cry again.

If words were going to be useless to get Hinata to listen to him, then he’ll have to do this with actions—a thing Tobio actually knew how to handle. With an irritated groan, he grabbed Hinata’s elbow and tugged him back towards him.  Hinata yelped and let out a muffled 'ompff' as he crashed into Tobio's chest. He circled his arms around the smaller body, holding him tight, pouring all the affection he can muster in the embrace, and desperately hoping that Hinata got the message.

Apparently not, with the way Hinata was wriggling against him, trying to break free from Tobio's hold. "Wha—What are you doing? Let! Me! Go!" Each word was punctuated with a small fist pounding at Tobio’s chest.

He only squeezed him tighter, not an air of molecule between them. "No," his voice adamant. "Not until you listen to what I have to say."

"I told you, I don't want—"

"I thought you were cheating on me." Tobio let out a long sigh as he gripped the back of Hinata’s jacket. He didn’t realize how heavy those words were and finally letting it out feels like a huge weight was lifted off of him.

Hinata stopped struggling and shrieked, "Huh?! What are you talking about?"

It’s like all the things he wanted to say came rushing out like a broken dam and his voice can’t keep up, sounding a little whiny as he blurted the words out, "You were acting weird this whole week! You were avoiding me and didn't want to do extra practice with me! You even have a hickey and a bite mark!"

Hinata visibly gasped. "A hickey?! Wha—? Oh. That wasn't a hickey! And the bite mark isn't what you think!"

"Then what?"

"Let me go first then I'll explain."

He only tightened his hold on Hinata and shook his head. "No."

"Geez. I won't run away! Its just—you're holding me really tight and it's getting hard to breathe..."

"Oh." He loosened his grip, slowly, but the space between them still nonexistent. If Tobio had his way, he'd rather talk with Hinata like this, pressed close against him, relishing in the warmth radiating from his small body. He sighed and muttered in his orange locks, "Promise you won't run?"

He could feel rather than see the roll of Hinata’s eyes as he nodded against his chest. "Yes, I promise, Bakageyama. Now let go."

Reluctantly, Tobio released his hold on Hinata, but his hands are still on his shoulders. He's afraid to let go completely, he's scared that the second the contact between them was gone, Hinata would run away despite his assurance. Tobio stared at his eyes, and he almost collapsed in relief to find that the color and life was back from those big orbs. They were again warm and amber, the afternoon sun reflecting the gold in his irises.

Hinata placed his hands over Tobio's own and gently removed them. "I won't run, Kageyama." He then took a step backward, inhaled deeply and let out a long drawn out breath, like he's preparing for a speech. Or maybe he was.

"I was babysitting our neighbor's five-year-old kid. That's why I didn't stay late for extra practice. Which was really hard for me, just so you know!" He emphasized his point with a pout, arms across his chest. He continued, "Ayu-chan is a rowdy kid and likes to rough house and one time he got a little carried away and he bit me!"

It took him a full ten seconds to process everything Hinata just said and the moment comprehension dawned on him, Tobio released a lungful of air he didn't know he was holding.

Hinata was just babysitting, not fooling around getting bite marks behind Tobio’s back. Instantly, his chest seems lighter and relief flooded throughout his body.

"Oh," he replied dumbly, the only sound he’s able to form at that moment. When the gears in his head settled, he continued, “Then what about the hickey?”

“I told you it wasn't a hickey!” Hinata puffed his cheeks and actually stomped his foot, clearly frustrated, and it’s annoying how, despite the situation they’re in, Tobio found it terribly cute. “He was playing with the vacuum and thought it would be funny to use it on me.”

“Oh.” That seemed to be his word for the day, goddammit.

“Yeah. So—"

“What about those texts and phone calls? And why were you babysitting anyway?”

As soon as the question left his mouth, Hinata started fidgeting and he averted his gaze away from Tobio. He pulled and twisted his jacket, and—and was that a blush creeping on his cheeks? Tobio had this weird feeling of déjà vu, like he’s seen this before, and he started to frown, and, oh

It’s familiar because that’s how Hinata was acting yesterday when he called up to him after practice.

“Um, that's because—" Hinata let out a small frustrated whimper as he scrunched his eyes shut, then he deflated, quite literally, with his head lowered and shoulders slumping. Even his unruly hair seemed to wilt in resignation. Then he sighed, loud and heavy, and tried to straighten his body as he finally looked directly at Tobio.

“Okay, I might as well tell you since it wouldn't matter anyway."

“What wouldn't matter?”

“I was texting and calling Kenma and Kuroo-san for a favor. For, uhm, for—uhh—,” Hinata cut himself off as he pulled something out of the pocket of his jacket, two strips of paper with something printed on it. He held it out in front of him as he continued, “It was for this. And I took that babysitting job because the pay was good and my savings wasn’t enough to buy two. I just got them yesterday. Kenma mailed it to me and I waited for it to arrive yesterday morning. That's why I was late.”  Hinata thrusted the pieces of paper forward, gesturing at Tobio to take it with a nod of his head.

Confused as to how those pieces of paper seem to be the answer to everything, Tobio took them from Hinata a bit hesitantly.

“And I was avoiding you because I was nervous and I wanted to surprise you and I thought you would figure out that I was planning something.”

Tobio finally looked at the two pieces of paper. They’re rectangular, a bit thicker than writing paper. He realized he’s looking at it backwards, and he fumbled to flip it over. He furrowed his brows as he scanned over what was written on the paper and his eyes widen as he finally got what these papers were.

For the millionth time that day, he’s lost for words, so he said stupidly, “This—these are tickets.”

Duh. Yeah, they are,” Hinata said with a roll of his eyes. He continued, his mouth spewing the words as fast as their quick, “The national team is having a practice match next Saturday and they made it into a big event and Kenma told me about it and apparently Kuroo-san knows one of the organizers and I asked Kenma if he could get Kuroo-san to secure two tickets and I would pay him once we get there and I asked Tanaka-san if he could get Saeko-neesan to drive us to Sendai so we can ride the Shinkansen to Tokyo and she said yes and—”

Tobio was staring at him in shock as soon as the words ‘national team’ and ‘practice match’ left Hinata’s mouth. The rest of it sounds garbled in Tobio’s ear but it didn’t matter—he understood perfectly what Hinata was trying to say and how perfect the yammering idiot in front of him was.

If he let Hinata continue babbling, they’ll be here all afternoon. He pocketed the tickets before he took a step forward, pulled Hinata closer to him and wrapped his arms around his shoulder, the rest of his words muffled in Tobio’s sweater, effectively shutting him up. Tobio buried his head on the crook of Hinata’s neck, inhaling his sweet, summery scent, as he hugged him tighter. He could feel Hinata tensed but slowly relaxes into his hold, his arms hanging limply on his side.

“You—you, dumbass,” Tobio finally managed to say.

“What now?”

“I'm so stupid. So, so stupid.” He pressed his face further on the collar of Hinata’s jacket.

“Haaaa?!? Kageyama, are you all right? First, you apologized, now you're calling yourself stupid? That isn't like you.”

He let out a small chuckle at that. “I know. You make me do things I normally wouldn't."

“Uhm—”

Slowly, he unwrapped his arm around Hinata and pushed him gently by his shoulders. Tobio looked straight into Hinata’s eyes and held his gaze. It surprised Tobio, how relaxed and confident he felt as he said the words that had been stuck on his throat this whole time; how certain and sincere he sounded, and this time, he knew for sure, he won’t be misunderstood.

“I'm sorry. Really, really sorry. I assumed you were cheating on me because of how you were acting and—and when you wanted to talk after practice yesterday I thought you were going to break up with me and I couldn't bear to hear that from you so I went ahead of myself and broke up with you instead.”

Hinata looks stunned, his eyes widen as Tobio talks. His mouth started to open to say something, but Tobio isn't finished.

“And I know I must have been a real jerk to you and I really hurt you and I made you cry. And that's the last thing I want.”

"You constantly grind my head down and throw me across the room and always tell me how I suck at volleyball.”

It was Tobio’s turn to gape at him. He just bared his soul out and that’s his response? He could feel his fury rising, bubbling under his skin and he’s one second away from actually throwing Hinata across the yard when a small hand fisted the front of his sweater, directly over his heart. Hinata looked up at him, eyes wide and searching.

“Do you really mean that?” his voice small, almost like a whisper, golden gaze piercing—Tobio could see his reflection in Hinata’s eyes.

His response was immediate, no hesitation. “Yes, I mean it.”

Hinata laughed as he tackled Tobio back into a hug, slightly sending him off-balance but managed to steady them both before they crashed into the ground. Hinata’s arms were circled around his waist, his face buried in his chest. Tobio looped his arms around him, pulling him closer.

“You really hurt me you know.” Hinata’s voice is stifled by his sweater, but he could hear the pout in it.

“I know. I’m sorry. And—and I take it back…”

Hinata gasped, his arms around Tobio loosened and shoves him hard at his chest, his face scrunched in a mixture of confusion and anger. “What?! You said you mean it!”

Oh shit, that came out wrong. “No!” he exclaimed, his voice a bit high-pitched. He cleared his throat. “I mean, yes. I do mean it. What I'm trying to say is–I—uhh—yesterday—”

Now he’s nervous. Not of the prospect of him admitting that he’s wrong—his pride was already brutally murdered and buried about fifteen minutes ago anyway—but at the possibility that Hinata wouldn’t even want Tobio back. He did hurt him, made him feel insecure, and though his apology was acknowledged, that didn’t mean that all of that would simply go away.

But Tobio had always been selfish anyway, so he took a deep breath, and allowed himself to be selfish, allowed his ‘kingly’ personality to take over, to take what he wanted, because goddammit, he wanted this so bad.

“I take back what I said yesterday."

“You said a lot of things yesterday, how was I supposed to know exactly what?” Hinata huffed, his hands on his hips as he glared at Tobio.

“You're really making this difficult.” He exhaled, his breath drawled out, as he composed himself before saying his next words, “I take back when I said I'm breaking up with you.”

“Re-really?”

“Yes, really.”

Hinata just stared at him for what seems like a century, his head tilted to the side, his brows furrowed and lips pursed, like he’s thinking hard about something.

“So, I'm not just a repellant from all the girls harassing you?”

Tobio bristled, “No! How can you even think that? Do you really think I would do that to you? Am I really that a horrible person that you think I would use you like that?”

“I—I don't know! I was going out of my mind thinking of all the various reasons why you would break up with me and that's the most likely one I could think of,” Hinata whined, then pointed an accusatory finger at Tobio, right under his nose, “And you're one to talk! I can't believe you think I'm cheating on you of all things!”

Tobio slapped his finger away with an irritated click of his tongue, “What would you think if you saw a hickey and bite mark on me?”

“I would ask first, idiot! Maybe you were babysitting and the kid is a little devil who likes to inflict pain!”

“Are you fucking serious right now?” Tobio retorted as he inched his face closer to Hinata, “We both know that's not what you would be thinking if you were in my shoes!”

“W-well y-your shoe size is two times bigger than mine, so my foot wouldn't even fit—”

The rest of Hinata’s words are swallowed when Tobio crashed their lips together, both of his hands holding Hinata’s cheeks to lift his face upward. His lips are puckered against Tobio, firm and unmoving, or maybe because he’s squishing Hinata’s cheeks a bit too hard. He loosened his hold, and Hinata’s lips relaxed and a second later, his lips are moving gently against Tobio’s.

Then, as quickly as he responded, Hinata pulled away, and Tobio chased after him, his hands still on his cheeks. Hinata pushed against his chest lightly, stopping him from getting closer.

Oh.

An avalanche of stone dropped in his stomach and his heart clenched. There it was. That was a clear rejection. Tobio was about to pull his hand away from Hinata’s cheeks, and his mouth started to mumble out an apology, when Hinata placed his own hand over Tobio’s, cradling it against his cheek. He looked up at him, a bit bashful, his honey eyes soft and gleaming.

“So does this mean we're still, you know, together?”

Tobio’s chest felt like bursting, whether from relief or happiness, or a mixture of both, he really didn’t care. A small laugh burst out of him and Hinata gawked at him like he’s grown an extra head. He stared back at those annoyingly big (irresistible) puppy eyes for a moment then he closed the gap between them once again.

Their lips met gentler this time. Hinata’s lips are warm and soft, and so very pliant against Tobio’s. They move slow, savoring the feel of each other and it hit Tobio that he hadn’t kiss Hinata for almost a week. The realization flipped a switch and he’s filled with an overwhelming desire and need—a sudden desperation. His one hand moved from Hinata’s cheeks to the back of his head, tangling his fingers in the soft curls, his other hand lowering to circle at his back, pulling him closer, deepening the kiss. Hinata let out a small whimper but not of protest, not by the way his hands move to rest on Tobio’s shoulders for support. He took that as permission to run his tongue on Hinata’s bottom lip, gently prodding, and almost instantly, Hinata was parting his lips and Tobio wasted no time to flick his tongue inside. The moment their tongues made contact, electricity ran down Tobio’s spine—like every nerve on his body came alive all at once.

More. He tilted his head, pushing harder, slipping his tongue further, and when Hinata moaned, soft and breathy, Tobio answered with a low, husky sound of his own. He poured everything into the kiss— all the things he didn’t or couldn’t say, all the affections he wanted to show but couldn’t, all the love he felt for his best friend.

When they pulled apart, their chest was heaving as they filled their lungs with air (if oxygen wasn’t necessary, Tobio would never have stopped), their foreheads resting against each other. Tobio peered at Hinata—his eyes are closed. When his lids fluttered open, his eyes are hazy, his pupils blown wide, then he stared straight at Tobio, and smiled tenderly. Tobio could feel his heart melt into a puddle, but he still managed a small smirk.

“Was that enough confirmation for you?"

Hinata giggled and the sound was music to his ears, like angels singing.

“Yeah, it was.”

It was Tobio’s turn to smile, a real genuine one, because his whole body was exploding with pure ecstasy and his mouth seemed to have a mind of its own as it formed a physical manifestation of what he felt inside.

He started to lean forward and Hinata was meeting him halfway when a loud cough emanated from behind them. They whipped their heads in unison towards the sound and Sugawara-san was standing a few meters from them, a small smile on his lips, his eyes sparkling with amusement.

“Hinata, Kageyama, practice is about to start.”

They scrambled away from each other so fast there are at least two meters of distance between them when a second ago they were practically sharing the same space. Tobio’s insides churned with embarrassment. His face was burning, he could literally feel the heat radiating and when he glanced at Hinata, his neck and face was the same color as his hair. He tried to say something, anything, but his tongue felt like it's made of lead and seeing Hinata flustered, trying to hide his blushing face in the collar of his jacket, only added to the mortification slowly eating Tobio alive.

Sugawara-san chuckled with a slow shake of his head. “Seriously, you two. I’m glad you sort things out and I love to leave you alone to…sort more things out,” he paused to wink obnoxiously (Tobio was dead at this point) before continuing, “but Daichi is gonna blow a fuse if our genius setter and ultimate decoy missed practice.”

That last statement seemed to have woken Hinata from his squirming, his face now only tinge with pink around his cheeks. He straightened up, flashing a wide grin at Sugawara-san then turned to Tobio, not quite looking at his face.

“R-right! Practice! L-let's get going, Kageyama!”

His movements were mechanical as he nodded multiple times, making his head hurt, and managed to get his tongue to work again, “Uh, right. Practice.”

They started to walk towards Sugawara-san, and with a satisfied nod and another knowing smirk, their senpai turned to make his way back to the gym.

Hinata jogged to keep up with their vice-captain, Tobio trailing behind him. Then Hinata stopped walking abruptly; he almost ran into him.

“Oi, what are you doing, dumbass?”

He looked back up at Tobio, grinning. “Toss to me?”

Tobio gazed back at brown eyes burning with passion and fiery determination, and realized for the first time how grateful he was to have met those eyes, to have that look trained on him, the very thing he yearned to see from his previous teammates, and how lucky he was that everything he ever wished and hoped for, and a little bit of more, have been embodied into someone by the name of Hinata Shouyou.

Maybe someday, he’ll be able to say all the things he wanted to say—all the things he’s thankful for, without reducing himself into a mumbling mess. Maybe someday, he’ll be able to unabashedly show his affections without getting nervous. Maybe someday he’ll be able to hold a proper conversation, baring his soul as he did earlier, without the need for misunderstandings and hearts being broken.

Maybe someday he’ll be able to tell him how much he loves him.

But for now, he settled for this.

“Dumbass. I always do.”

 


 

“We’re still going to Tokyo next Saturday right? To watch the practice match?”

“Of course, dumbass. Do you think I’m going to pass that opportunity? Andyouwentthroughallthattrouble.”

“What’s that?”

“N-nothing! Where are the tickets anyway?”

“Huh? I gave them to you didn’t I?”

“What? But I don’t have them.”

“Bakageyama, that’s not funny.”

“No seriously, I don’t have them!”

“I swear to god, Kageyama. Don’t screw with me right now. That was a week worth of hellish babysitting and about half of my life savings!”

“Uhhh. Let me check my pockets. It’s not here. It’s not in my bag either.”

“I think I’m gonna faint. Check again.”

“They’re really not here. Oh.”

“What? What? Did you find them?”

“I might’ve stuffed them in the pockets of my uniform pants when I changed after practice. Let me check.”

“Please be there please be there please be there—”

“Ha! They’re here! Although it’s a little bit crumpled now. I found it dumbass, now let’s—Hinata? Oi, Hinata! Wake up, idiot! We’re in the middle of the street!”