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it's not a competition

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Tobio checked his pocket for the fifteenth time since leaving home. His insides were in knots, and the takoyaki he'd eaten sat uneasy in his stomach.

Hinata was skipping ahead, making excited noises about the fireworks, which were already starting to bloom overhead. Somehow they'd avoided the rain that had been forecast to fall that afternoon, which was just as well since neither of them had remembered to bring an umbrella. Tobio wondered if that was a problem; surely, if they were right for each other, one of them would have remembered an umbrella. Or did the fact that they'd both forgotten make them soulmates after all?

"Come on, Kageyama!" Hinata shouted, dancing on his toes as he turned to track Tobio's slow, thoughtful progress. "Hurry up, we're going to miss it!"

Lifting from his daze, Tobio picked up his feet and hurried after Hinata. They started to climb the hill, and Tobio reached out to snatch Hinata's hand as they ascended. Hinata glanced back at him, frowning but obviously pleased.

"I don't want you getting lost in the dark," Tobio told him sternly, which was true, but also not the reason he wanted to hold Hinata's hand.

Hinata laughed and squeezed his fingers tightly. "Don't lie, Kageyama, you just wanted to hold my hand."

Tobio opened and closed his mouth again, annoyed and pleased in equal measure that Hinata knew him well enough to see through the excuse. "Whatever," he muttered eventually, and Hinata laughed.

They kept climbing, and finally after a few minutes they crested the top of the ridge, where they could look down on the lights of the town below. Fireworks burst in the sky above, and Tobio's mouth fell open as he looked up at them; explosions of blue and green, red, silver and gold. The sight of fireworks always made him feel eight years old, but tonight the thrill in his chest had nothing to do with the crashes and bangs of brightly coloured explosions.

Hinata tugged on his arm, and they sat down on the scrubby grass, leaning back on their hands. There was a faint breeze, which cooled the sweat on their skin, and lifted Tobio's hair from his forehead and the back of his neck. It reminded him of school, of endless summers and sweltering training camps; the squeak of their shoes in the gym, the smell of a dozen boys crammed together in a room, damp skin and hurried meals and the feel of a worn leather ball between his fingers.

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, then turned to watch Hinata's face, thinking back to those hazy, golden days at Karasuno. Hinata always there: chirping in his ear, or arguing with him, or falling asleep on his shoulder on the bus. Hinata's eyes were wide with delight as one colour after another painted his cheeks. Tobio forgot after a minute that he was supposed to be watching the fireworks. It was almost better, watching Hinata's reaction to them, than watching the actual show.

When there was a lull in the explosions, Hinata turned to him, his eyes wide in the dark. "What is it?"


"What're you thinking about?"

Tobio blinked back at him. "The fireworks," he said, which wasn't what he'd meant to say at all.

"You're not even watching," Hinata accused lightly, although he was grinning.

"I am," Tobio said, even though he clearly wasn't.

Hinata rolled his eyes. "You're all weird and distracted."

That much was true. Tobio put his hand in his pocket, fumbling for an excuse. "I—"

Another burst of sound and colour interrupted him, and Hinata squawked with delight, turning his face back to the sky. "Look!" he yelled, pointing needlessly. "Kageyama—!"

"I can see it," Tobio said quietly. Hinata was absurdly beautiful; falling sparks reflected light on his throat, threw his thin collarbone into sharp relief. Tobio knew that he could place his mouth there and Hinata would taste of salt, that he would smell of citrus shampoo. He swallowed; his mouth was suddenly dry. He fumbled in his pocket, closing his fist around the warm, smooth little band of metal. "Hinata—"

"I just had an idea," Hinata said, not even noticing that he'd spoken over Tobio. "Why don't we get married?"

Tobio stared at him. "What?"

"Get married," Hinata said slowly, enunciating each syllable, as though Tobio was the stupid one. "We could have fireworks at the wedding, as many as we want."

For several moments, all Tobio could do was stare, as weeks of worrying, saving, planning and hoping, all crumpled in on him like a house of cards. He'd tried to make sure it would be perfect. He'd known exactly how he wanted it to go. And, as usual, Hinata had come stomping through his carefully laid plans and scattered them everywhere. Tobio wondered, not for the first time, why he'd fallen in love with someone as stupid as Hinata.

He didn't know what to say, and so he fell back on what was familiar; he exploded. "Hinata!" he yelled, throwing his hands in the air. "You idiot!"

Hinata flinched. "What?"

"You ruined it!"

"Ruined what?" Hinata snapped, hunching his shoulders. "If you don't want to, just forget it."

"No," Tobio said desperately. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the ring, shoving it in front of Hinata. "I was—and you—you messed it up!"

Hinata looked down at the ring in Tobio's hand. "What's that?"

"It's a ring, stupid!"

"Idiot, I can see that," Hinata sighed. "Why do you have a ring?"

Tobio barely resisted the urge to throw it at him. "I was going to propose to you!"

"Then...why are you angry?" Hinata asked, tilting his head to one side. "I already asked you, now you don't have to do it."

"But I—I wanted to do it!" Tobio protested.

For several moments, they stared at each other. Hinata looked like he couldn't decide whether to laugh or not. Finally, he started to smirk.

"I beat you."

Tobio scowled. "No, you didn't."

"I beat you to it," Hinata crowed, sitting up on his knees. "I win at proposing."

"It doesn't work like that!" Tobio said, uselessly, as Hinata shuffled over to him.


Tobio turned his head away, scowling. Hinata moved to straddle his thighs, putting his arms around Tobio's neck.

"Tobio, look at me."

"No," Tobio muttered.

Hinata huffed. "Ask me."

Despite himself, despite his annoyance, Tobio's chest tightened, and his heart fluttered behind his ribs. "Ask you what?" he said petulantly, not yet ready to play along.

"Idiot," Hinata said, but fondly. He touched his forehead to Tobio's. "Ask me to marry you."

Sighing, Tobio put his hands on Hinata's hips. He still had the ring clutched in his right palm. More fireworks were erupting overhead, but neither of them turned to watch. Tobio lifted his head, looking up into Hinata's warm gaze. Pink, purple and green washed over his face before fading back to darkness.

"Here," he murmured, raising his hand, holding the warm silver band between them. "Put it on."

Hinata cackled. "That wasn't romantic at all!"

"Neither was yours," Tobio pointed out, and grabbed for Hinata's left hand.

"You didn't even ask me!"

"Neither did you!" Tobio pointed out, and made another grab for Hinata's flailing wrist. "Keep still."

Miraculously, Hinata held his hand still and allowed Tobio to slip the ring onto his finger. It caught the light, shining pink and gold and blue. Hinata flashed it this way and that, and then he flung his arms around Tobio's neck, bowling him backward onto the grass. Tobio yelped as his back hit the ground, but as the surprise wore off, he wrapped his arms tightly around Hinata's waist and pulled him closer.

"Do you really want to?" he whispered.

Hinata laughed. "Yes," he said, putting his hands beside Tobio's head and pushing himself up. "Do you?"

Tobio nodded. "Yeah."

"And we'll have fireworks," Hinata said, leaning down to kiss him. "And cake—mmf—and—"

Tobio rolled him over, and kissed him to shut him up. It felt as though fireworks were bursting in his chest. He laughed, and kissed Hinata again. "I'm going to marry you," he said.

Hinata cackled. "Don't make it sound like a threat!"

"It is," Tobio said, giddy and stupid with happiness. "I'm going to marry you so hard."

"Not if I marry you first," Hinata promised, grinning up at him.