Chapter 1: Engaged
Hinata and Kageyama are 27 and 26. They’re facing each other in the finals of Japan’s top volleyball league. They’ve been dating for a while, living together for longer, so Hinata decides that if he wins the final, he’ll propose to Kageyama. Just like Heitor did with Nice.
Hinata buys a cool ring and a chain. Something dark and fancy that will match Kageyama’s sportsy endorsement-deal wardrobe. It’s sturdy, but Kageyama will probably wear it on a necklace because his hands/fingers are important/expensive.
Hinata tells one person: Natsu. He texts her every few days to freak out and she tells him to relax. “Everything will be fine.” She’ll be cheering him on from the stands, since the arena is close to her university. She’ll wear a Kageyama shirsey underneath a Hinata jersey.
Looking at Kageyama from the other side of the court is normal now, but his pre-game jitters remind him of his first year at Karasuno. Run-to-the-bathroom pre-game jitters. Pre-proposal jitters? Oh no.
But Hinata focuses on his team, and they play a brutal and intense five-set game. Kageyama’s serves are unstoppable. Hinata’s spikes are the best they’ve been all season.
In the end, Hinata’s team loses.
Hinata is sad. But his teammates are sad, too, and that comes first. He talks to every single person on his team, telling them what he thought their best play was and how they could improve in the off-season.
“Hey Hinata? Kageyama is here to see you.”
Most of their teammates only know they live together, but no one bats an eye when Kageyama pulls Hinata into a hug.
“You played really well tonight.”
“So did you,” Hinata says, and suddenly the ring in the gym bag strapped across his chest feels like it’s 100 pounds.
Kageyama says he’ll see Hinata at home and goes off the celebrate with his team. Hinata finds Natsu in the crowd (because he saw Kageyama wave to someone as he walked away) and brings her along to the team dinner. (He walks her home after because he’s a great brother.)
Hinata is on the couch eating his special cheat-day snacks when Kageyama gets home. It’s so nice to see Kageyama happy, but then he thinks about the ring in his bag. Hinata groans and shoves a pillow on his face so he can’t watch Kageyama.
“What are you doing, dumbass? You can’t hide from me forever, we live in the same apartment. How do you think I felt when you beat me two years ago?”
“I’m not hiding because I lost!”
When Hinata takes the pillow off his face, Kageyama is beside the couch, holding out a ring box.
Hinata swears (in Portuguese) and sits up to take the ring box from Kageyama. It doesn’t look like the ring Hinata bought Kageyama, it’s more shiny and bright. It’s pretty.
“Is this ... are you ... what?”
Kageyama says he always thought about Hinata’s story, about Heitor and Nice and how cool that would be. And it’s Hinata, so doing it after the finals? Awesome.
“Win or lose, I’ll always love you. Stay on the court with me.”
One month later, a huge trade brings Hinata to Kageyama’s team. After that, they win together.
Chapter 2: Hurt
Hinata’s alarm goes off at 10 a.m., later than usual after a long session at the gym the night before. His eyes are blurred from sleep, but he sees a green LINE message after he hits snooze. Hinata rubs his eyes, blinks and looks back.
“Kageyama got hurt”
Hinata sits up quickly, rubs his eyes once more, but he’s fully awake now.
That message was from Yachi, but he sees that Yamaguchi has also messaged him. Even Ushijima, who gives him more info.
“Kageyama has injured his knee. He will likely require surgery.”
Hinata frantically replies to Ushijima and his friends. Despite his training, he can’t seem to get enough air into his lungs. What happened to him? Surgery? That means he can’t play for a long time. Is his family in Japan, or is he all alone? Who will help him while he recovers??
Ushijima replies first. He went with Kageyama to see the team doctor and brought him back to his apartment. He said Kageyama was given strong pain killers and has an appointment at the hospital in the morning.
“Is he going to be OK????”
“Yes. He will be OK.”
Hinata spends his entire day in a funk. He needs time to go faster so it will be morning in Japan and people can tell him what’s going on.
Hinata doesn’t have the time or the money to go back to Japan right now, but he desperately wants to be there for Kageyama. Someone needs to.
Pedro offers to watch anime with him as a distraction, but Hinata can’t. He goes to bed and stares at the ceiling. Finally, Kageyama messages him.
“ACL tear. I’m out for the rest of the season. But I’ll be back next year.”
Feeling anxious and relieved at the same time is weird.
Kageyama says he jumped up for a block and landed on his teammates foot, causing him to fall awkwardly and twist his knee. Total accident, but one that took away the rest of his season.
(Hinata still wants to punch Kageyama’s teammate, even though it was an accident.)
The Karasuno gang visits him after his surgery and send photos of Kageyama with an outrageous amount of milk drinks. Kageyama and Hinata text a lot while he’s rehabbing, and Hinata hopes it’s enough.
Kageyama will get better. And when he does, Hinata will be there.
Kageyama can hear the sound of rain hitting the windows of his apartment as he cooks. It’s been raining all day, all week. But it’s March, so it’s probably good for the cherry blossoms.
The doorbell rings, even though Yachi has the spare key. Kageyama turns down the burners, wipes his hands on his jeans and opens the door. Hinata is front and centre. Taller, older, a bit of a sunburn on his nose. In the flesh, for the first time in years.
“We found this weird guy pacing in the lobby,” Tsukishima says before pushing into the apartment past Hinata and Kageyama.
“I didn’t know what elevator to take! This place is so fancy.”
“And that’s why dinner’s on him,” Yamaguchi says, following Tsukishima in, Yachi on his tail.
Hinata doesn’t move from his spot in front of Kageyama’s door.
Hinata steps forward and pulls Kageyama into a warm hug. He smells like sunscreen, but that can’t be right. Kageyama hugs him back and thinks about when they last hugged, right before Hinata left.
Dinner is loud, but Kageyama thinks everyone is just so happy to have Hinata back that they let him yell and carry on while he’s telling stories about Rio. It’s a happy loud. Tsukishima even smiles once, when Hinata talks about getting chased by a dog while he was on a delivery.
Yachi starts to yawn after dessert and Yamaguchi has an 8 a.m. class, so they get ready to leave.
“Are you taking the subway, Hinata?”
“Yeah,” he says from the kitchen, “but go on without me.”
Yamaguchi looks at each of them, nods and follows the other two out of the apartment.
Hinata walks toward him with a huge grin. Kageyama backs into the kitchen counter, not scared of Hinata, but wholly unprepared for whatever he has planned with that look on his face. Hinata pins him to the counter with his arms, but leaves some space between them.
“Hah?” Kageyama asks with a laugh that sounds like a hiccup.
“Kiss me, please.” Hinata is still smiling, looking right into Kageyama’s eyes. Not a fear in the world. “I had my first kiss in Brazil, but I want to know if it’s better if I do it with you.”
Kageyama has never kissed anyone. But, of course, Hinata has. People are drawn to him. He lights up an entire room. He’s great at making friends. And now he’s taller and stronger and speaks three languages. Of course Hinata has kissed people.
“OK, I’ll kiss you,” Kageyama says.
Hinata pulls Kageyama down by his shirt and kisses him instead. He tastes like daifuku and still smells like sunscreen and his lips are surpringly soft. They keep kissing, Hinata’s hands finding his, and Kageyama listens to the sound of rain hitting the windows of his apartment.
(I wanted an experienced Hinata to come on strong, but also fluff??? I don’t even know, man.)
Chapter 4: Domestic
Adult kagehina being super domestic, but super chill about it.
Hinata packing the dinner leftovers, making sure Kags gets the one with more rice later.
Most efficient grocery shoppers, divide and conquer.
Kags texting Hinata to pick up toothpaste on the way home from the airport.
“We’ve always been a team, that’s how we work,” Hinata explains calmly before picking up Kageyama’s dry cleaning and a card for his aunt’s birthday since Kags didn’t have time to buy one while he was away on a team road trip. “It’s not THAT cute or romantic.”
Hinata gets the flu and Kageyama skips practice to help him, even if it means getting sick himself.
Kageyama picks up Natsu from the train station when Hinata’s game runs late.
Hinata cooks Kageyama’s favourite meal after a particularly bad game and then softly rubs his back.
Hinata’s mom messages/calls Kageyama so they can surprised Hinata during the holidays.
Hinata starts packing a practice bag when Kageyama walks into the room with a laundry basket of his folded, clean clothes. Kageyama sneaks an umbrella in the bag because it’s supposed to rain.
Hinata leaves sticky notes on Kageyama’s bedside table with reminders and important dates.
“Call Yachi tomorrow for her birthday! Ask her if she likes the charger I sent her”
“Ramen tonight. My treat :)”
“Clean the bathroom while I’m away? Thanks! :D”
Kageyama is resting on the sidelines before the game. He overhears two men talking in the seats behind him.
“I’ve never even heard of this guy Hinata.”
“He’s barely 5”7 and he’s a middle blocker? He’s the height of an elementary school kid. He’s no match for Schweiden.”
Kageyama turns toward them and yells before he really understands what he’s doing.
“Hey!” The men stop and stare at Kageyama. One of them is wearing Ushijima’s jersey. “Don’t underestimate Hinata. He may be small, but he’s a great volleyball player.”
Kageyama isn’t some snotty high schooler any more, so these men don’t know what to do after being scolded by a pro volleyball player, one who’s defending his opponent in tonight’s game.
A hand lands on Kageyama’s shoulder, and he looks up to see Ushijima.
“Hinata Shouyou is one of the best and most interesting players I have ever played against,” Ushijima says in his normal monotone. “Do not judge him by his height. I’m sure he learned a lot while he was playing in Brazil.”
The man in Ushijima’s jersey looks teary-eyed.
The men nod. Kageyama and Ushijima nod back. When Hinata hits his first spike during the Black Jackals’ warmup, Kageyama looks back at the men. The arena is too loud to talk to them now, but Kageyama mouths “See?” with a great deal of satisfaction.
Kageyama Tobio: Schweiden setter and CEO of the Hinata Fan Club
Touch isn’t something Kageyama enjoyed.
For most of his childhood, touch meant fighting with other kids or grabbing someone by the shirt to get in their face. Even when he was in high school, touch meant pulling hair and playful punches.
Kageyama’s family isn’t around much, and his parents aren’t the hugging type. They’re more the serious and stoic type. Karasuno taught Kageyama that touch could be nice. High fives and pats on the back after a good serve and an arm around the shoulders in a huddle.
Years later, when Kageyama starts dating Hinata, touch is still a mostly foreign concept. Sure, it could feel nice, but you’re just supposed to ... hold each other? Can you move? Isn’t it sweaty? Every time Hinata moves, and he will, Kageyama will feel it. People sleep like this?
But this is Hinata, and he’s the most patient person in the world. They start small: holding hands. Sometimes Hinata pulls Kageyama’s hand into his lap and investigates it like it has all his volleyball answers. Exploring every curve and crease with his fingertips.
They worked their way up to cuddling, but Kageyama finds he can’t fall asleep with Hinata in his arms, or vice versa. Hinata’s always moving around and he’s hotter than the mid-afternoon sun. So, Kageyama will kiss him good night and shimmy to the edge of the bed.
It’s better in the morning, when Kageyama is sleep happy and comfortable. Hinata will curl into his side for a big hug. Sometimes he’ll gently rub Kageyama’s arms or run his fingers through Kageyama’s hair.
These are Kageyama’s favourite touches. He could do that for hours.
One night, Kageyama gets a headache at practice. Hinata can tell something isn’t right when Kageyama walks in the door and tells him to go right to bed.
Kageyama is curled up underneath the sheets when Hinata walks into the bedroom with a large tea for Kageyama and his tablet.
“Wanna watch last night’s game?”
They watch it with no sound, and Kageyama finishes his tea by the end of the first set. Kageyama is as comfortable as he can be, but Hinata pokes at the tablet to pause the video and Kageyama figures out what he’s missing.
Kageyama silently moves the tablet and shifts until he can put his head in Hinata’s lap.
“Can you please ... touch my hair?”
Hinata smiles down at him and he feels better already.
Kageyama falls asleep during the third set with Hinata’s fingers carding through his hair.
(I am feeling SOFT)
Kageyama has to leave the country for some exhibition games the week of Hinata’s 29th birthday. He’s upset he won’t be around and wants to do something special for Hinata.
He bought a present, but Kageyama wants more. They’ll miss each other by a day, so he shouldn’t bake a cake or leave food (He’s also horrible at baking).
Kageyama is about to ask Yachi for help when the photo on her contact information on his phone makes him pause.
Before his next game, Kageyama goes to the store and gets almost three dozen photos printed. He spends a good hour placing them around their shared apartment.
29 photos, each with a sentence or two on the back. Ones like the group photo from third year he used as his phone background for a while. The first time his photo was on the cover of a newspaper. And the third time. One of the first selfies he sent from Rio.
Some photos don’t have Hinata in them at all, like a shot of Hinata’s shoes at the front door of Kageyama’s old apartment (Before you moved in, seeing your shoes at the door made me happy. You made my apartment feel like a real home.)
Or he’s very tiny, like a picture of a Natsu-thrown snowball mere inches away from the back of Hinata’s head when it snowed on Christmas two years ago. (I love your family. You made me enjoy the holidays again. Thank you.)
He included the bad mirror selfie Hinata sent him last year when he was on the road and feeling homesick. He’s wearing one of Kageyama’s old jerseys and his hair is sticking up in every direction. (I love when you wear my name on your back, even if you don’t brush your hair.)
Others are more obvious, like the team photo from the first time they went to nationals. The photo they asked a stranger to take when they took their first vacation together. Kageyama sneaks in one of Hinata sleeping on the train home from the World Cup, drooling everywhere.
If Kageyama couldn’t decide what to write on the back of the photo, he writes “I love you” and hopes it’ll be enough.
Kageyama ensures all the photos are set before he leaves for his flight to Europe. When he’s satisfied, he messages Hinata: “Happy birthday, Shouyou. I left you a surprise at home. Let me know when you find all 29. Talk to you in a couple hours when I land.”
When Kageyama wakes up for practice the next day, still jet lagged and grumpy, he sees a message from Hinata.
“Baka!! I can’t believe you did this!!! I’ve been crying for an hour!”
It’s followed by another message: “Come home soon, Tobio. I love you and want to kiss you!”
(I know it’s Kageyama’s birthday and not Hinata’s, but just roll with it, OK? I had this super SUPER fluffy idea, and it’s a celebration of Kageyama, so this count.)
Chapter 8: Christmas
Kageyama doesn’t even like greasy KFC, but the smell wafting through the paper container makes his stomach rumble. It was either chicken or try to make a Christmas cake, and Kageyama wasn’t going to risk demolishing his kitchen to try that.
Kageyama and Hinata got together in third year, and this is his first Christmas at Hinata’s house. Kageyama isn’t going as the “boyfriend,” they’re still dating in secret, nervously holding hands and kissing, but Kageyama’s mom isn’t around and Hinata didn’t want him to be alone.
So here Kageyama was, walking down Miyagi side streets in a snowstorm to see his secret boyfriend’s family, holding a bucket of KFC in his hands like a lifeline. It started snowing the night before and hasn’t stopped, and Kageyama is glad he wore his big winter boots.
He’s three blocks from Hinata’s house when he hits a patch of ice. Kageyama tilts to the side to fall on his butt right into a pile of snow in an attempt to save the chicken. He can feel the snow slipping in through the space between his hat and scarf, and going up his sleeves.
Kageyama walks very carefully after that, and when Hinata answers the door to a snow-covered Kageyama, all over his hat and arms and pants, Hinata laughs. He takes the chicken away from Kageyama and hands it off to Natsu so he can brush off his snowy boyfriend.
“Oh dear, what happened, Tobio?” Hinata’s mother asks as he’s shaking out his hair.
“I fell,” Kageyama says over Hinata’s laughter.
“You’re not hurt, are you?”
“No, and the chicken is fine.”
“We care more about you than the chicken,” Hinata says beside him with a smile.
“Shouyou is right, you’re more important. We’re happy you could be here with us,” Hinata’s mom says before going to the kitchen.
“I’m very happy you’re here,” Hinata says. He gives Kageyama’s hair one last soft brush with his fingers when they’re alone in the front hallway.
Kageyama looks down at him and Hinata grabs his hand for a second. He’s always so warm - Kageyama likes that.
“Me too,” Kageyama says, “but my butt still hurts from falling.”
“I’ll kiss it better,” Hinata whispers.
“You’re not kissing my butt, dumbass!” Kageyama whispers back.
Dinner is great, Hinata’s mom’s cake is better than anything Kageyama would have made, and the cookies Natsu decorated with too much icing are nice.
The storm forces Kageyama to sleepover, but Hinata doesn’t complain when he snuggles into Kageyama’s chest that night.
Kageyama's hair hangs in his eyes, still damp from the shower and held in place by his ball cap. He catches Hinata's eyes from his spot on the wall and nods, because the thought of lifting up his arm to wave hurts. It was a tight five-set match. This time, Hinata won.
It wasn't the end of the season, but it felt like it. The end of a seven-year promise. The end of a high school dream. Hinata gave one final jump when the whistle blew and the Black Jackals were declared the winners. After that, his feet stay firmly on the ground.
Hinata texted him a week ago and asked if they could go to dinner after the game. Kageyama agreed, but now he's watching Hinata walk toward him and recognizes the sleepy stagger he memorized in school. They were both exhausted. Starving, but exhausted and sore.
"Kageyama-kun," Hinata whines as he pulls his beanie over his ears. Hinata hasn't called him that in years, so Kageyama looks down at his feet so he won't see his red cheeks. "I don't know if I can make it all the way to a restaurant, I'm so tirreedddd."
Kageyama sighs and digs his phone out of his pocket. "I can call and get something delivered to my house," he says and Hinata gives him a tired smile. "My place is not far away."
"Do you have a couch?"
"Can I sit on it?"
"Why else would I have a couch, dumbass?"
They stumble to the subway on heavy legs. Hinata leans his weight into Kageyama's side with every bump on the tracks, but it's warm. Hinata's surprisingly quick to his feet when they get to their stop, and he holds out a hand to pull Kageyama to his feet.
The delivery person is already in the lobby when the arrive. Kageyama pays, hands the food to Hinata to carry and pushes him in the direction of the elevator. It feel like Kageyama uses the last of his energy to unlock the door and take off his shoes.
"Nice view," Hinata whispers in the glass as he watches the street below. Kageyama should be angry about the fingerprints he's going to leave on the window, but his brain is too busy processing the fact that they played in the same volleyball game for the first time in ages.
They settle onto Kageyama's couch with their takeout containers and eat in silence. Kageyama turns on the TV just for some kind of noise, but turns it down as soon as Hinata starts talking.
"That was such a great game!"
"You finally beat me," Kageyama says, but it's not bitter. He's sad that this chapter of his life is now closed.
"The game was so close! Everyone was so amazing, even Ushiwaka!" Hinata puts his empty container on the table beside the couch and stares happily up at the ceiling. "Yeah, I beat you, but you're going to train harder and challenge me again, right?"
Kageyama looks up from his food to see excited brown eyes staring back at him. So enthusiastic, even after a long game.
"Challenge you again?"
"Yeah, that's what partners do!"
"Fine, but you have to make the national team so we can play together again," Kageyama says, poking his food with chopsticks until Hinata laughs.
"You've got it! Besides, what did you say? 'When I'm with you, I'm invincible?'"
"You remember that?"
"Of course, Tobio!"
Their game comes on TV, and they talk through the first set. They're snoring by the second set. Kageyama turns off the TV, puts a good pillow under Hinata's head and a blanket over his body before going to his bedroom.
(This story is brought to you by tired boys)
Hinata likes kissing.
His first kiss was rushed. They were behind the shed at school in the middle of winter. Hinata felt bad that she was out in the cold in a skirt, so they kissed quickly and he took her inside. It didn’t feel like as big a deal as he thought it’d be.
But then Hinata learned how to kiss for real. Not the “awkward unmoving statue” kissing. Not the “take a break to wipe off your mouth” kissing. Not the “trying to eat your mouth with my tongue” kissing. Hinata thankfully left that behind in high school.
Nagisa taught him how nice it was to kiss slow, like sweet syrup.
João showed Hinata how amazing neck kisses are.
He didn’t know he’d like tiny bites to his lips until Lara did it and Hinata started to squirm.
He found something new to enjoy about kissing all the time.
When his feelings for Kageyama grow into something more than friendship, Hinata wonders how he’d kiss. He’s a bit rough, anyways, and who knows how much practice Kageyama had while Hinata was off in Rio.
But Kageyama isn’t the rough kid he used to be. When he agrees to kiss Hinata, it’s fast and soft and then he’s done.
“I don’t know,” Kageyama says when Hinata asks him what’s going on, “kissing is kinda weird, right? Like, wet? Whatever.”
It’s not that Kageyama doesn’t like him, it’s that he doesn’t like kissing. Hinata can help with that. He starts with very light kisses - on Kageyama’s cheek when he makes dinner, on his bare shoulder after he hits snooze in the morning, on the tips of his fingers before sleep.
Hinata takes his time and teaches Kageyama all his favourite things about kissing. Kageyama likes to kiss Hinata’s neck when he’s blushing to hide his face - Hinata lets him because it feels good. Kageyama’s not a huge fan of tongue ... until Hinata’s panting more than breathing.
Hinata falls in love with Kageyama when he says “I don’t really like kissing, but I love kissing you.”
(Is that sappy enough for you?)
Chapter 11: Texts
“I want to kiss you!”
Hinata sends this to Kageyama every so often. It can be calculated, like as soon as Kageyama won his first pro game or right after he lost at the Olympics. It can be random, like before Hinata goes to bed or when he’s on a break at work.
The messages used to embarrass Kageyama, but he’s grown to like them since Hinata left for Rio. A reminder of what he’d do if he was right there, by Kageyama’s side, like he always was and always should be. What he’ll do when Hinata comes back to his side again.
When Hinata steps off the MSBY bus in Sendai, he gets a message from Kageyama: “I’m going to kiss you.”
Chapter 12: Girlfriend
It’d been in the works for weeks — a high school volleyball reunion in the form of team dinner. As soon as they knew when and where they were playing, Hinata booked a reservation at an izakaya big enough for both teams.
The Black Jackals were on a high, and the Adlers were hungry enough to forgive and forget the loss over a hot meal and beer. Hinata, though, he was on another planet. He won, fulfilling the first goal in a years-old promise. It should feel like success, but he feels hollow.
Hinata knew he’d be a little ... empty after beating Kageyama after all these years. He hoped the shy kisses from high school could now become something real, a new kind of challenge for Hinata and Kageyama.
Instead, Hinata was glaring across the table at Kageyama’s girlfriend.
She’s one of those pretty types. She has perfect hair and her clothes are fashionable but sophisticated and even her name sounds elegant. She doesn’t know much about volleyball, but her interest in Kageyama seems genuine.
That’s not the problem, though.
Kageyama is paying her absolutely no mind, almost completely ignoring her to lean over the table and talk to Hinata and Atsumu. He’s still polite, helps her stand up, passes food, orders for her, but it’s like he wishes she wasn’t there.
Hinata definitely wishes she wasn’t there.
Hinata is fine until she latches onto Kageyama’s arm when she’s laughing and never lets go. Hinata stands abruptly to go to the washroom. He barely makes it into one of the stalls before the washroom door opens behind him.
“What did I do?”
“What did you do? Kageyama, she’s sitting right across from me.” Hinata’s surprised he’s this calm. He guesses that’s the hollow feeling.
“You know I don’t like her. I’m just-“
“What is it this time? Will there be paparazzi at dinner? Need to look like a happy couple?”
The crease between Kageyama’s eyebrows deepens and he frowns like he’s 15 again.
“It’s appearances, there’s an Nike deal-“
“So endorsement deals and money mean more to you than me feeling like shit while you parade your fake girlfriend around?” Hinata isn’t calm any more. He can’t seem to stop himself. “Selling fancy running shoes as a straight volleyball player is really important, right?”
“Don’t you dare!” Hinata shouts. When his words echo in the small washroom, he takes a deep breath. Kageyama hasn’t moved an inch.
“You know how I feel about you,” Hinata starts in a quiet voice. “You know that didn’t change when I left and it hasn’t changed since I’ve been back. I was so excited to see you today, and now,” he sighs and scuffs his shoe on the floor, “I have to watch her hang all over you.”
“She’s not hanging all over me,” Kageyama says, sad and hollow like the feeling in Hinata’s chest.
“She is. It hurts.”
“Tobio, if you were really sorry, you wouldn’t let your agent set you up with a fake girlfriend so no one finds out you’re in love with a boy.”
Kageyama stays silent, and Hinata pats his arm on the way out of the washroom. Hinata won — his dreams came true after all these years — but he feels like crying.
Chapter 13: Numbers
It’s all over TV and trending on Twitter in Japan: Kageyama Tobio changed his number from 20 to 21.
Some fans didn’t care, some were angry the Kageyama jersey they bought now has the wrong number, some accepted the rumours it was punishment for last season.
When the season begins, it was always the last question TV reporters would ask him: “So why did you change your number, Kageyama-san?”
His answer is always the same, said with a tiny smile: “I was ready for a change.”
Kageyama decides to play in a pro league in Spain. Only for two years, and then he’ll come back to Japan. They ask him what number he wants, and he says 21 without hesitation. Kageyama has the highest number on his new team, but he doesn’t mind.
When he comes back to Japan, the stars align and he’s picked up by Hinata’s pro team. They can’t wait to play on the same team again, not just for a couple national games, but an entire season. Kageyama’s so excited that he forgets they’ve both been using the number 21 for years.
“What are we going to do now?” Hinata asks one night over dinner.
“About our numbers! We can’t have the same number on the same team.”
“Oh,” Kageyama says, frowning at his curry.
“I really liked having the same number,” Hinata says smiling. “Way better than rings or something. It was like we were playing together even when you weren’t here.”
Kageyama smiles at Hinata, because he liked having the same number, too. A promise, their version of togetherness.
In the season opener two months later, Hinata keeps 21 and Kageyama goes back to 20. Kageyama can hear the flurry of camera shutters behind him when they take off their jackets to reveal the matching “Hinata-Kageyama” on their jerseys.
Chapter 14: Distracting
Hinata can feel the sweat rolling down his face. He looks through the net to Kageyama and lightens at the smile on his face.
Hinata’s in a tired daze when Kageyama pulls him in for a hug. They’re covered in sweat, but the hug restores some of Hinata’s energy.
Karasuno graduates and all their volleyball friends meet for dinner after the game. Hinata catches a ride with his Black Jackal teammates, but is stopped at the front door by Kageyama.
“Can I talk to you for a minute?”
Kageyama can’t look Hinata in the eyes, and that’s nerve wracking.
“You were amazing.”
“You were so much better than I thought you’d be,” and when Kageyama glances up, he’s making the same happy face he made before the first serve of the game.
Hinata’s brain stalls under the heavy weight of Kageyama’s compliments, so Kageyama continues.
“I was so excited to play against you, but I was distracted by ... you. The way you move now, the way your short hair sticks up. Your ... arms. It was distracting.”
“Are you saying that’s why I won? Because-“
“No. I played as well as I could and you beat me, but I’ve wanted to kiss you for hours.”
“I wanted to kiss you after the game, even though you were all sweaty-“
“You were sweaty too, bakageyama!”
Kageyama doesn’t reach for his head like he did in high school. He stays still, looking down at Hinata with a softer version of his usual smirk.
“So can I?”
“Can you what?”
“Can I kiss you, dumbass?”
“Oh,” Hinata says, oddly charmed by the old insult. “Sure.”
It’s a quick kiss, and Kageyama pulls him into a rib-cracking hug. Hinata laughs and pats Kageyama’s back.
“You have to let go, they’re waiting for us inside.”
“I’m afraid if I let you go, you’ll leave again,” Kageyama says, squeezing tighter before reluctantly letting go.
“I’m not going anywhere, Kageyama. I promise,” Hinata says. He jumps up to kiss Kageyama’s nose and drags him into the bar. They hold hands under the table, and if any of their friends notice, they don’t say anything.
Chapter 15: Morning
It’s the morning after the big match. Hinata, sleeping in his childhood bedroom, can hear his family members in the kitchen. Soft, distant noises that he could no doubt sleep through.
He’s nearly asleep again when his phone rings from underneath his pillow.
Hinata’s eyes are mostly closed, but he pokes at the screen to accept the call.
“Practise with me.”
He quickly sits up in bed, looks his phone and puts it back to his ear.
“Yes. Practise with me.”
“Of course, we will-“
“No, I mean now, I’m at your house.”
By the time Hinata puts on pants and leaves his room, Kageyama is taking off his shoes and talking to Natsu about the last night’s game.
“We saw Tobio at the front door and Natsu invited him to breakfast,” Hinata’s mom says from the kitchen. “It will be ready in 5 minutes.”
Hinata tells his family about the Karasuno reunion dinner they had after the game. Kageyama and Hinata are sitting next to each other, except this time there’s more space between them.
Last night, Hinata thought the place where their thighs touched would set on fire.
When they finish eating, Hinata brings Kageyama up to his room.
“You seriously want to go practise right now?”
“I’m here, aren’t I?” Kageyama replies. He looks around Hinata’s room, eyes catching the photo from nationals that Hinata printed and put on his wall in third year.
“It’s weird, right?” Hinata says while digging around in his bag for clean clothes.
“Being in here makes me feel like I’m 15 again.”
“But you’re not,” Kageyama replies, leaning against Hinata’s desk.
“Nope,” Hinata sighs, “I feel like I’m a completely different person now.”
“You are,” Kageyama says, and when Hinata looks at him, his eyes go wide. “Not in a bad way! In a good way. Like, you’ve been places and you’re bigger and way better at volleyball.”
Hinata smiles at Kageyama. He won’t get used to Kageyama’s praise. Ever.
“Let me change first,” Hinata says. When he comes back from the bathroom, Kageyama is closely inspecting the photo from Hinata and Heitor’s last game together.
“Please let me toss to you,” Kageyama says with bright eyes and a smile.
Hinata is so happy.
Chapter 16: Journal
Kageyama learned a lot while Hinata was in Brazil.
Sure, he had team trainers, but he taught himself how to cook proper meals and kept a strict training regimen. He logged all this information in his volleyball journal. (Well, at 24, it's his fourth volleyball journal.)
After years of sharing closet space and forgetting things at "my place," Hinata is finally moving in.
He learned A LOT in Brazil. He was researching and reading and learning. The food he makes now, it's amazing. It's very healthy and nutritious. Kageyama wants his secrets.
When it's Hinata's turn to cook, Kageyama stays in the kitchen to watch. He pulls out his journal and asked Hinata very specific questions in between Hinata's rant about Sakusa's new fixation.
He's ready to take the meat out of the oven when he notices what Kageyama's writing.
"Are you writing down this recipe?"
"Yes, in my journal."
"Your volleyball journal?"
"Yes? Where else would I put a recipe that's ready in 30 minutes and has 40 grams of protein?" Kageyama is confused when Hinata gives him one of his big mushy smiles.
"Kageyama," Hinata says. "You're using me as a reference in your volleyball journal. ME! I'm allowed to think this is a big deal!"
"It's smart. You're smart, Hinata. Also, what if you're busy and I have to make this for you, I should know how. Isn't that a good thing?"
"Tobio!" Hinata gives him the mushy smile again. "You can't use all your praise and romance in one sitting! Save some for later!" Hinata dodges the pen Kageyama throws at him, but he can't hide from the tickling and his laughter echoes through the apartment.
Their dinner burns.
Coach is mad about the losing streak, so the Adlers have an extra long practice.
Hinata’s been living with Kageyama for a couple days now, and sending a quick “I won’t be home for dinner” message seemed like the polite thing to do.
By the time Kageyama leaves practice, he’s a sore and grumpy man. His limbs ache and his muscles burn. He almost scowls at an old woman on the way home and puts in his headphones to avoid any other unwanted attention.
Kageyama opens the door to his apartment and stomps into the kitchen, but there’s Hinata, wearing Kageyama’s old Adlers sweater, putting a hot plate of food on the table.
“Hey, Kageyama! How are you feeling?”
“I’m tired ... what’s this?”
“Well I figured your extra practice would be tiring, so I had dinner ready, and I’m going to run you a bath. I got more of that bath salt stuff you like.”
“But,” Kageyama says, “why?”
Hinata pauses, tilts his head back to laugh, and keeps going.
“Kageyama, we live together now! I’ll help you on bad days and you’ll do the same for me.” Hinata pulls out the kitchen chair and refuses to leave until Kageyama sits. “I just want you to be happy.”
“Thank you, Shouyou.”
“You’re welcome, Tobio. I’m going to fill the tub.”
Hinata kisses Kageyama’s hair before heading off to the bathroom. After a quiet meal and bath, Kageyama joins Hinata for his daily meditation and Hinata offers to rub his sore leg muscles.
Kageyama is pretty lucky, he has the best boyfriend in the world.
[Kags: You know I didn’t ask you to move in just to massage my muscles at the end of the day, right?
Hinata: of course not
Hinata: ... I also do your laundry
Kags: that was ONE TIME-]
Chapter 18: Valentine's Day
It feels too cold, even for late January.
Hinata and Kageyama are walking home together like they always do, only it’s been two weeks since Hinata figured out he has a crush on Kageyama and he can’t think about anything but ears tinted pink from the wind.
Hinata’s still thinking about those red-tipped ears as he bikes over the mountain. It was very cute, especially on Kageyama’s mostly grumpy face, but also ... cold. Why doesn’t Kageyama have a hat? It’s the middle of winter, and he’s not allowed to get sick. That would suck!
When Hinata gets home, he digs through his bedroom in search of the bright orange toque his aunt knit him for his birthday a few years ago. He finds it in his closet and puts it in his school bag — he’ll give it to Kageyama. Just to borrow. Or maybe to keep? He wasn’t sure.
January quickly turned to February, and every time Hinata tried to give the hat to Kageyama, his heart felt tight in his chest. What if he thought it was stupid? What if he never wore it?
Hinata kept the hat in his bag for days. Until Valentine’s Day.
Hinata wasn’t trying to be romantic with the hat, he really wasn’t, but he had a crush on Kageyama and watching all these girls confess made him feel like he had to beat them for Kageyama’s attention.
As they left school, Hinata pushed the hat into Kageyama’s hands.
“A hat,” Hinata says looking down at the sidewalk. “Your ears always look cold, and I’ve got my earmuffs, so ...”
“Oh,” Hinata looks up to Kageyama pulling the bright orange hat over his head. “Cool, thanks.”
“My aunt made it.”
“It’s warm, but now I look like you.”
“It’s a nice orange!”
“I didn’t say it wasn’t, but it’s an in-your-face orange. Like you.”
“Gimme the hat back if you’re gonna be an ass about it!”
“No,” Kageyama pulls the sides down over his ears. “It’s warm and soft.”
Hinata can feel himself blushing, but he doesn’t care.
Kageyama wears the hat every day, until it’s the weather is too warm. Tsukishima and Tanaka-senpai make fun of Kageyama for it, call him an orange or Hinata’s twin, but he doesn’t seem to care and keeps wearing it.
For the rest of second year and all winter in their third year.
Hinata’s leaning against the back of a restaurant in downtown Rio while he waits for his next delivery. He pulls out his phone and replies to Yamaguchi before checking Instagram. One of the first posts he sees is from the Schweiden Adlers.
“Ready for the Valentine’s Day match!"
Kageyama and his teammates are filing off the team bus. Kageyama is wearing fancy headphones and Hinata’s bright orange toque. It looks as soft as it was years ago. He likes the photo and opens his chat with Kageyama.
“That old hat matches your new team colours! I can’t believe you still have that hat at all.” It’s early in the morning in Japan, so Hinata doesn’t get a response until he gets home that night.
“You thought I’d get rid of the hat??”
“I dunno, I guess?”
“I wouldn’t get rid of it, dumbass.”
Hinata rolls his eyes, but he laughs and says hi to Pedro on his way to his room. A couple hours later when Hinata is in bed for the night, he gets another message.
“I wouldn’t get rid of it because you gave it to me and it reminds me of you.”
Hinata smiles at his phone.
“I think you might like me.”
He can see Kageyama typing and that always makes Hinata happy. Half a world away and still talking to each other.
“I love you. I miss you. Go to bed, it’s late over there.”
“Love you jerk. Goodnight Tobio!"
Hinata is planning a vacation.
Now, he just has to ask Kageyama to come. He doesn't want his brand new boyfriend to hate the idea of going on a trip to Brazil, but he REALLY doesn't want him to hate the idea of going on a trip with only Hinata.
Hinata brings it up while they're getting ready for bed the next time he spends the night at Kageyama's.
"A couple weeks before we start training for the season. I want to see Nice and Heitor's baby! And Pedro!"
"And you want me to come with you?"
"Only if you want to."
"I never got to vacation as a kid," Kageyama says as he puts toothpaste on his toothbrush.
"It'll be so much fun!"
"OK, I'm in."
"YEAH!" Kageyama smiles with his toothbrush still in his mouth and Hinata laughs at him.
The long flight is better when you have good company. They agreed on which old games they'd watch the week before, and Kageyama remembers to bring the gum to stop their ears from popping. Hinata fell asleep and Kageyama doesn't even complain about the drool stain on his shoulder!
They spend their first night with Heitor, Nice and little baby Sophia.
She's not as little as Hinata thought she would be from the photos, but she still can't talk. Nice asks if Kageyama wants to hold her and his eyes go wide like someone asked him to play libero instead of setter.
"I don't know ..."
Nice says something to Hinata and calls him over.
"Have you never held a baby?" Hinata asks, and Kageyama shrugs. He adjusts Kageyama's arms and gently places Sophia in them.
He's too busy telling a story about baby Natsu to see Nice take their photo.
Hinata takes Kageyama for a run every day, showing him different routes he perfected during his time here. They always race on the beach at the end, but they'll sit silently in the sand and watch the sunrise together. After a couple minutes, Kageyama will reach for Hinata's hand.
They go to Pedro's apartment, Hinata's old place, for dinner. Pedro freaks out over Kozume Kenma's signature and Kageyama doesn't get it. Kageyama is thrilled to meet someone that speaks a decent amount of Japanese, since Hinata has been forced to do most of the talking.
Kageyama tells Hinata this when they're walking back to their hostel.
"Does it bother you that you can't talk to people?"
"No," Kageyama says, "Because it's cool to watch you speak another language. You're smart, dumbass."
Hinata takes a swing at him and Kageyama laughs.
Hinata secretly signed them up for a charity volleyball tournament. Hinata stresses that Kageyama can say no if he's worried about a potential injury this close to the new season, but Kageyama waves him off.
He'd never pass up a chance to play with Hinata.
(Hinata jokes with the tournament organizers in Portuguese that, yes, while they are both professional volleyball players, Kageyama has played beach only twice and that should be enough of a handicap for their team. Kageyama, not knowing he's being insulted, smiles at Hinata.)
They spend all day in the sun, playing teams of all ages. They come in third, but they're not mad because they get to hang out with the kids and teach them some tricks. Hinata works as a translator as Kageyama describes his shoulder and arm stretches to a pack of 9-year-olds.
There's one little setter, and even though Kageyama barely speaks any Portuguese, he stays with this girl for hours going over moves and miming out plays. Like a parent at the park, Hinata has to fetch Kageyama when it's time to go home. The girl hugs Kageyama's leg goodbye.
"Hey," Kageyama says while Hinata is rubbing aloe on his shoulders the night before the flight back to Japan. "I had a lot of fun, thanks for planning this."
"I'm glad you had fun! I think this might be my favourite vacation," Hinata says as he lightly kisses Kageyama's cheek.
When their plane lands in Tokyo, Hinata squeezes Kageyama's hand.
"We have to split up now," Hinata says.
"Yeah," Kageyama says, and he squeezes Hinata's finger back. "But we wouldn't have to split up if we lived together."
Hinata moves in to Kageyama's place three months later.
(Kageyama gets so overwhelmed with all these random strangers calling his bf “ninja” and talking about how awesome he is that Kageyama starts to cry. He pretends it’s brain freeze.)
(I swear on my LIFE I wrote that before the latest chapter came out.)
Chapter 20: Comfortable
There are a lot of reasons why Kageyama loves Hinata. It’s actually a little overwhelming. But one reason is that Hinata is so good at making sure Kageyama is comfortable, awkwardness and all.
Kageyama has the tendency to start fights for no reason with insensitive comments, but Hinata’s always spoken fluent Kageyama. He’s there to say “What Kageyama meant was ...”
Hinata is almost always right, and when he’s not, he’ll understand Kageyama’s explanation.
Kageyama likes to hug Hinata, but not really anyone else. Hinata politely tells people when the situation comes up.
“Kageyama, are you a hug person?”
“He’s not, but I am!” Hinata says cheerfully, leaning in to hug the person himself. They’re never offended when Hinata explains it.
“I’m not feeling so great, I think we’re going to head home,” Hinata will say after dinner with his teammates or hanging out with old classmates. When they’re out of earshot, Hinata will nudge Kageyama’s arm. “How ya doin’, bakageyama?”
“That was a lot of talking.”
“That’s why I said I didn’t feel good,” Hinata says, “So we could leave. You got real quiet after dinner.”
Hinata leads them to the subway. He finds two seats and pulls Kageyama’s head onto his shoulder.
“I’m tired,” Kageyama whines.
“I know,” Hinata whispers.
For someone who gets along with everyone and loves meeting new people, Hinata is very considerate about how much Kageyama can handle and when he needs to go home to reset.
Kageyama is a very lucky person.
Hinata’s head is poking out from behind the gym door and he’s waving him over in the most suspicious way possible. Atsumu sighs and walks over anyways.
“Atsumu-san! Hello, you’re looking great-“
“Oh no,” Atsumu puts his hands on his hips and smirks. “What did you do?”
“Uh,” Hinata starts, but when Atsumu steps out into the hallway and gets a good look at him, he doesn’t have to say anything else.
On top, Hinata is wearing his black and gold Black Jackals jersey, with the brand new sleek design that hasn’t been released to the public yet.
On the bottom, however, Hinata is wearing white shorts with the number 20 on them. He’s wearing Kageyama Tobio’s white Adlers shorts.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“OK, I can explain-“
“Shouyou-kun! It’s media day! We’re taking the team photo in 25 minutes!”
“Then help me,” Hinata says with the pout that always works on Atsumu no matter what.
“I’ll help you, but I want answers.”
“Why did you take your fancy new uniform home?”
“Because,” Hinata starts to blush, and that’s when Atsumu knows he’s got him. “Kageyama wanted to see what it looked like.”
“And you couldn’t wait until today? The day you’re having your photo taken for 8 whole hours?”
“No, it was way too cool!” Hinata pumps his fist and smiles. “But-“
“Oh, is this when we get to the point?”
“Atsumu-san, please,” Hinata pleads. “What do I do?”
“I think you should leave them on. Tell the whole world about your beautiful romance with star setter Kageyama Tobio.”
“Stop torturing the kid, you asshole,” Sakusa says from behind them. He stops 10 feet away since media day and cameras means he can’t wear a face mask. “PR team has extra shorts. Go find Kaori.”
Atsumu rolls his eyes. He was going to help Hinata eventually!
“Thank you, Omi-san!”
They keep him in the white shorts long enough to take a photo. Hinata with the whole team and his head thrown back in laughter. Atsumu asks for it and sends it straight to Kageyama.
“It’s a good thing he’s cute, Tobio-kun.”
Kageyama replies: “Cute and good at volleyball.”
When they move in together, Kageyama prints that team photo and hangs it beside the front door to serve as sleepy Hinata’s reminder to make sure he has the right shorts. Especially on media day.
(Atsumu: but why wouldn’t you just put your pants back on? why wear the wrong shorts while you walk around the building?
Hinata: putting on the shorts and running here was quicker than putting my jeans back on
Atsumu: OK fair)
Chapter 22: T-shirt
Hinata tries to get his attention, but it's no use. Kageyama's lips are practically glued to Hinata's neck.
"Kageyama!" Hinata pulls away, leaving Kageyama hovering in front of him with puckered lips. He opens his eyes and pouts.
"Don't worry," Hinata reassures him, cupping Kageyama's cheek with his hand. "We can go back to that. I only want to know if I'm spending the night here."
Kageyama straightens up, but keeps one hand on Hinata's hip.
"Oh. I figured you would stay here tonight, yeah."
"Because we're kissing?"
"No," Kageyama says as he rolls his eyes. "You've got practice in the morning, and it's closer to my apartment. Why wouldn't you sleep here? It makes sense."
Hinata thinks Kageyama is still making up for those two years apart. Hinata loves it.
"I'd love to spend the night, if you're OK with it."
"Why wouldn't I be?" Kageyama asks, diving back in to kiss Hinata's neck like nothing happened. "You left a toothbrush here, didn't you?"
"Oh yeah!" Hinata smiles and brushes Kageyama's hair with his fingers.
"Oh," Hinata pauses, "I don't have anything to wear tomorrow, but I'm going to change into my practice uniform anyways, so I can just wear what I've got on."
"You can borrow a shirt," Kageyama says, kissing along Hinata's jaw. "Actually, I have something for you."
Kageyama gets up and walks to the bedroom like it didn't take Hinata minutes to pull him off his neck and get his attention. He's shaking his head when Kageyama returns with a small bag, throwing it on Hinata's lap.
"I saw it a couple weeks ago and got it for you."
Hinata pulls the soft cotton out of the bag. It's a T-shirt, and he holds it up to read the front.
"I know you steal mine sometimes, but you've been setting in games for a while and you're really good at it, so I think you deserve your own setter shirt."
Hinata smiles so hard his face hurts. He drops the shirt on his lap to look at Kageyama, but his boyfriend is too busy staring at the corner of the rug with pink cheeks.
"You're so romantic, Kageyama! Is this for our three-month anniversary? You should have told me!"
"It's not for some dumb anniversary," Kageyama says, sitting back down beside Hinata. "I saw the shirt and thought of you, so I bought it. It doesn't matter what day it is, or whatever."
"Oh, you've got it bbbaadddd, Kageyama!"
"Shut up, dumbass."
When Hinata gets to practice the next day, he shows everyone his new Setter Soul T-shirt. Everyone. Even the cleaning staff.
Chapter 23: Sister
“Do I look OK?”
“Hinata, you look the same as the last time you asked me that. Why are you so nervous?”
Hinata stops stirring the salad to stare at Kageyama.
“Why is your boyfriend nervous to meet your mysterious older sister? I wonder, Kageyama!”
“It’ll be fine. She’s kinda like me.”
“Yeah, and how long did it take us to become friends?”
“Hinata, come on-“
“And I’m making dinner! In our new apartment, the one we bought together!”
“... Do you want me to call Miwa and cancel?"
As if she was summoned, Kageyama’s phone lights up between them. Miwa says she’ll be here in 15 minutes.
“Hinata, you’ll be great. Treat her like Natsu.”
“No way-“ Hinata stops when Kageyama squishes his cheeks with his hands.
“I love you,” he says. “So Miwa will love you.”
Hinata went through all the photos Kageyama had of his sister, but it didn’t prepare him for the real deal.
Miwa is absolutely beautiful. It’s scary knowing there’s one more person in the world with eyes so blue that Hinata can’t say no to them. That’s way too dangerous.
Kageyama told his sister that he and Hinata were dating before she came over. As a courtesy, although Hinata doesn’t think she needed it. She’s a little standoffish like Kageyama used to be, but she doesn’t stare at them like a science experiment. She doesn’t ask weird questions.
Miwa happily listens to the two of them talk about volleyball, and she tells Hinata stories about little Tobio playing volleyball in the yard until his cheeks were bright red from the cold. Hinata asks Miwa about her job and asks to see the coolest makeup work she’s done.
When Miwa and Hinata are alone, she gives him a hard look.
“I wish he met you in middle school,” Miwa says, playing with the last bite of her dinner with her fork.
“Technically, we did,” Hinata says. “At the very end of middle school.”
“I wish Tobio had you for all three years.”
Hinata’s mouth falls open.
“He needed someone,” Miwa continues, “and I haven’t seen him this happy outside of volleyball in a very long time. I wish you could have been there for him.”
“Me too,” Hinata sighs.
“But,” Miwa says, waiting for him to look up at her, “you’re here now.”
They share a smile before Kageyama comes back to the table.
Before leaving, Miwa pulls out a box of nail files out of her purse.
“I get a discount through work. Thought you’d like some-“ Tobio pulls her in for a hug and Hinata enjoys both Kageyamas awkwardly blush.
“See?” Kageyama says as he shuts their front door. “I told you it’d be fine.”
“She’s so pretty,” Hinata says in a daze, only to find his 24-year-old boyfriend pouting. “She’s pretty in some of the same ways you are! You have nice genes!”
“Stop, dumbass, you’re making it weird.”
Chapter 24: Robot
Hinata waits for a response, but he doesn’t get one.
Weird, he thinks, Kageyama should be home by now. He finds his boyfriend shuffling through papers and notes at the kitchen table. Hinata catches his eye quickly and he takes off his big headphones.
“What’re you doing?” Hinata asks as he drops his bag onto the floor and runs to the fridge for a snack.
“Ad? For what?”
“For a new Power Curry thing.” Hinata snickers before he can stop himself, and that makes Kageyama mad. “See?! I don’t want that!”
“Want what, Yamayama?” Hinata moves to hug him from behind, reading Kageyama’s notes over his shoulder.
“Everyone makes fun of my commercials.”
“Because you talk like a robot?”
“I’m just talking! I’m not a robot!” Kageyama shouts and drops his forehead onto the table.
“I don’t know how to sound normal,” Kageyama whispers into the wood.
Hinata rubs his shoulders and thinks about how he can help his big, sad robot of boyfriend. An idea strikes and Hinata pulls up a chair and sits beside Kageyama.
“Tell me you love me.”
Kageyama lifts his head. He gives Hinata a little smirk, and says it full of feeling.
“I love you,” Kageyama tells Hinata, putting his hand on Hinata arm and giving it a gentle squeeze.
He might be biased, but Hinata’s heart squeezes in his chest.
“See, that was amazing! Now say,” Hinata leans over to read one of the sheets on the table, “Power Curry is a service ace.”
“Power Curry is a service ace,” Kageyama says, but Hinata whines and shakes his head.
How can he explain this to Kageyama?
“When you tell me you love me,” Hinata starts, “it’s warm, and heavy, and it comes right from your chest.”
“But when you read those scripts, it’s like you’re reading a sign on the street. Or a menu! ... No, you’d be happier if it was a menu.”
“So I should say the Power Curry thing like I’m saying I love you?”
“It wouldn’t hurt to try?”
Hinata shrugs and Kageyama shrugs back. He re-reads the line, staring right into Hinata’s eyes and gripping his hand.
“That wasn’t awful!” Hinata cheers, but Kageyama rolls his eyes.
“I’ll try it, but it’s weird,” Kageyama says as he flips through his notes. “I love curry, but not the way I love you.”
“You’re so sweet, Tobio,” Hinata says plainly and pats Kageyama on the head. “I hope that helps, someone has to pay the rent!”
“Hinata, we’re both pros, why-“
Chapter 25: Whistle
It's a total accident. His teammate tries to dig the same ball and clocks Hinata right in the mouth.
Practice ends 45 minutes early when Atsumu-san finds the bottom half of Hinata's front tooth on the gym floor.
"Do we have to end early?" Hinata asks with a whistle.
With the help of the team doctors, Hinata books an appointment to get his tooth fixed on the weekend with a local dentist. He was sulking his way back to his and Kageyama's apartment, but he whistles while retelling the story to Yamaguchi on the phone and he starts smiling again.
Kageyama jumps up from his spot at the kitchen table when he sees Hinata's bruised face.
"How do I look?" He smiles, and Kageyama goes straight to the freezer for an ice pack. He wraps it in a cloth and presses it lightly to Hinata's lip.
"Are you feeling OK? Does it hurt?"
"Kageyama, it's only a tooth! I'm having it fixed in two days, it's not the end of the world."
"But you hate the dentist," Kageyama says with a look. "Did they make you leave practice early, too?"
Kageyama pulls Hinata in for a hug and kisses the top of his head.
Kageyama has a packed schedule that weekend — practice, TV interview, ad photo shoot — but he promises on his life that he'll be there when Hinata gets his tooth fixed.
"I'll show up after the shoot, maybe my agent can drop me off-"
"Kageyama, it's OK-"
Kageyama is gone long before Hinata wakes up on the day of the appointment, but there's a text saying "I'll be there, I promise" and that Hinata can wear Kageyama's favourite blue hoodie, the one he normally steals anyways.
Hinata does, because it's like wearing a Kageyama hug.
Hinata is barely in his seat 20 seconds before the front door flies open and there's Kageyama. In a full suit. Wearing eyeliner?
"I told you!" Kageyama shouts, until the woman at the front desk shushes him. He apologizes, sits beside Hinata and starts to rub his back.
"You look very fancy."
"Are you wearing eyeliner?"
"It's very pretty."
"No, this is helping, I'm not nervous. Tell me about your photo shoot." Kageyama talks and talks and talks until he yawns and puts his head in Hinata's lap.
He hears it, but he's too busy brushing Kageyama's hair while he sleeps. It's so soft. The photo shoot people must have put something in it.
"Hinata Shouyou?" He looks up at the dental hygienist and waves her over, much to her annoyance.
"That's me, but I can't move."
"My boyfriend is asleep, so I can't-" The woman coughs, apparently not in the mood for jokes. "Right, let me move him."
Kageyama sleeps in the waiting room while Hinata gets his tooth fixed. When it's over, they go home to curl up in bed and watch volleyball together.
Hinata is organizing the closet in his tiny new apartment when his phone chimes with a text.
“Hello, this is Ushijima Wakatoshi. Tobio gave me your number.”
Ushiwaka? *Tobio?* This is a prank, right? Hinata’s phone chimes again.
“We should go out for tea.”
Hinata’s been back in Japan for a while now, and he’s seen all his friends ... except Kageyama. That’s fair, Hinata thought at first, he’s a busy pro athlete.
But now Hinata’s on his own team, and he totally has time to meet his crush and main rival at least once!!
And Hinata is not jealous. Sure, Ushiwaka and Kageyama are on the Adlers, teammates now for almost as long as Kageyama and Hinata, but Tobio? No one calls Kageyama by his given name.
Hinata is NOT jealous.
He texts Ushiwaka back and agrees to meet him on the weekend.
On Saturday, Hinata spots Ushiwaka in the back of the quiet café as soon as he walks in. No one here will recognize Hinata, he’s only been a Black Jackal for a week, but Ushiwaka is volleyball royalty in Japan and he’s trying his best to hide. It’s kinda sweet, Hinata thinks.
“Hinata Shouyou, it is nice to see you.” His tea cup looks comically small in his hand, and it’s the first time Hinata’s seen him in anything but a track suit or a volleyball uniform.
Hinata orders his drink and Ushiwaka asks him about his tryout while they wait.
“So what’s this about? Why did you want to meet up?”
“Ah, yes,” Ushiwaka says, gently putting his tea cup down to give Hinata his full attention. “I need you to ask Tobio out.”
Hinata stays quiet and they stare at each other. Hinata almost forgot how intimidating Ushiwaka can be!
“Do you need me to repeat myself?”
“Yeah,” Hinata’s voice cracks when he answers, but he barrels on. “Because I thought you said you want me to ask Kageyama out on a date.”
“That is exactly what I said.”
Ushiwaka’s stare doesn’t move an inch. He’s really serious!
“I believe Tobio has feelings for you. He’s been talking about you non-stop since you’ve returned to Japan, but he’s nervous to see you and it’s hurting his game. If you have feelings for him, and I think you do, please ask him out.”
“Uhh,” Hinata starts. Ushiwaka still stares.
“OK wait,” Hinata says, hoping Ushiwaka doesn’t notice the way he ignored his crush being called out. “Kageyama? Letting some ... crush get in the way of volleyball? No way.”
“I didn’t think it was possible, but it’s true. He cares for you greatly, Hinata Shouyou.”
Hinata takes a long sip of tea and hopes it covers up his red face.
“I care about him, too. A lot! But that jerk hasn’t come to see me once since I got back. We’ve been apart for two years, Ushiwaka! I’m mad!”
The larger man nods, reaching across the table to grab his shoulder.
“I am here because I don’t want my teammate to suffer on the court because of personal issues off the court,” Ushiwaka says. “I’m not the only one on the Adlers that’s ... concerned.”
Hinata frowns down at the table, but then a snort sneaks out. Bakageyama is such a big baby.
“But I am also here,” Ushiwaka continues, “because I’d like to think Tobio and I are friends now. I want him to be happy, and I don’t want his stubbornness to get in the way. I am certain he will thank me later.”
Ushiwaka lets go to pick up his tiny tea cup and Hinata laughs.
“Thank you, Ushijima. You’re a good friend.”
“You’re welcome, Hinata Shouyou.”
They sit in comfortable silence for a minute, letting it all sink in. Of all the people to put him and Kageyama together, he never thought it would be Ushiwaka. Nevertheless, Hinata is grateful.
“I guess I’ll ... call him?”
“I have a plan,” Ushiwaka says and Hinata tilts his head in confusion. “I asked Tobio to watch game tapes with me tomorrow after our team meeting. It is a cover. Come to the gym and ask him to dinner in person instead.”
That might work, but ...
“Kageyama will be mad if he doesn’t get to watch the tapes, though.”
“We will have time to watch them next week. Don’t worry.”
“Hmm,” Hinata nervously taps his fingers on the table. “You really think this will work?”
“Tobio can’t say no to you in person, Hinata Shouyou.”
Ushiwaka’s plan works. Hinata shows up at the gym. After meeting Nicolas Romero (!!!) and saying hello to Hoshiumi, Hinata wants to ask Kageyama to dinner, but all that comes out is “toss to me!” They play for three whole minutes before they’re making out on the gym floor.
Kageyama: *sets to Hinata*
Kageyama: I’ve missed this so much
Hinata: Me too! You know ... I can set now
Hinata: *sets to Kageyama*
Kageyama: *spikes the ball as hard as he can before stomping over to pick Hinata up and kiss the heck out of him*