Kageyama had always been a bright figure to Hinata.
Kageyama had always been shining, always been that one thing that Hinata wants to protect; not because it's fragile, but because it's so precious and dear to him, like how Natsu protects her dolls. Because Kageyama had so many promises, showed him so many things, made him experience so many emotions and brought him to where he is today.
But nothing stays; Time is constantly changing, and we change with it, fleeting and moving on, looking forward, never going down.
And they change.
They were no exception.
When I first met you, that’s what I remember. I looked up at the sky and thought, I’m going to love this person because even the sky looks different.
Margaret Stohl, ”Beautiful Chaos”
Hinata saw him while boarding a train, summer heat merciless on Tokyo. The place was packed, sweat sticking on his skin and his shirt, despite it being a light V-neck. His bag, thankfully containing a few notebooks and a couple of notes that he needed to highlight, hangs on one shoulder as he squeezed through the crowd; the plastic that covered the cactus on his hand was starting to look like it's about to fall off, and his hands immediately shuffled to clamp it down.
And still, his eyes discreetly moved back to Kageyama's form.
After getting his shit together by second year and working his ass off studying and spending his breaks tending to the school garden, he managed to get into Todai, studying agriculture and life sciences, volleyball days long gone and way behind him, tucked in the deepest recesses of his mind. College, he thought, isn't that bad. Everything's been quiet, simple and fleeting since he dropped volleyball. He learned to pay attention to things and details; things he would've never done before.
Lingering by the train's door, he took one last look at Kageyama, tall and proud, clad in his volleyball varsity jacket. Hosei University.
Hinata gets in the train.
Kageyama was still shining bright.
He was sixteen when his mom got a visit from a friend, who was then a fortune-teller. Hinata, enthusiastic and curious, asked for his fortune to be told.
They all gathered in the living room, his mom and Natsu watching the scene with curious eyes--she spoke of great college futures (Hinata, back then, immediately thought of playing volleyball with Kageyama, and he only realized years after that that's a bit childish of him), "becoming at peace with mother nature" and "getting a bit good at life". By the time she started talking about his future love life, Natsu and his mom were already drawn in, much like he.
"Ah," she said, turning over a card. "with you, if you are to marry, marry the second person you fall in love with."
Hinata blinked, then pouted, tears on his eyes and face red.
"I... I don't want that..."
They all just laughed at him, and he was left sulking.
He swore he would defy fate, if that means being together still with Kageyama.
Summer was high up when Kageyama saw Hinata in the train station. There's no mistaking that bright orange blob, and when he heard a loud, "I'm so sorry for my cactus son," despite him being a few good meters away from him, he's sure it was him.
Kageyama paused despite the heat grilling him--he wants to take off his varsity jacket, but he can barely move with the large crowd surrounding him, so he just have to make-do until he get to enter the train. His gaze, then, just followed Hinata and the ridiculous pot in his hands that's covered with a plastic.
He could still feel his heart stop.
Hinata was still radiant, perfect--the way he always does, even after quitting the volleyball club. He briefly get reminded of promises and secrets, kisses when they stay after everyone left the gym, holding hands on the way home. He shook it off, swallowed, and shifted his bag on his shoulder ever so slightly.
He pushed back the memories threatening to swamp him. It's been two years, now, since they graduated.
He saw Hinata enter the train.
He didn't move.
It's the last thing he ever said to Kageyama, and he can still remember it, clearly, because it's a memory that he simply can never forget, never push down. It's the kind of memory that comes back with every touch and feeling and emotion still intact the moment he thinks even just a bit of it.
It was January, then, snow falling and they stood on the pavement, Kageyama looking down at the cracks of the pavement, Hinata staring intently at him. He's not even crying--no, Hinata can't even cry, then. All he knew was that his chest was constricting, and he everything was suddenly a lot colder than when he first got there, called up by Kageyama. He tried to reach out for Kageyama's hand, but the latter moved away--pushed his hand off, avoiding him.
He waited and waited and waited for Kageyama to say something.
But there were no answers.
Shaky, uneven steps.
He walked away, slowly, leaving Kageyama behind.
Kageyama was a coward.
He still is, but now he knows better, but he don't know if that even matters, anymore. Back then, everything scared him--the stares Suga and the others gave, the suspicious looks his mom points at him; even the harmless teasing of Tsukishima. All of it sent him into a state of fear, because he loved Hinata, too much for his own good, and he wanted to protect him, wanted him to remain unharmed and wanted none of those judgement about people falling in love with the same sex be directed to him. He will take it all upon himself--the heartache, the bad guy image, the heartless douchebag that dumped him.
When his mother told him one night, "It's okay if you find someone, but studies first, okay?" and when Tsukishima started bearing that shit-eating grin whenever Hinata clings unto him, he couldn't take it anymore.
He practiced his words in front of the mirror, tongue like ash, throat dry, and he just stared into his reflection. The usual night phone call from Hinata took him out of his reverie, and he answered; then, he realized, his heart clenching painfully at the fact, that he really does love Hinata, because this orange-haired ray of sunshine brings so much warmth in his life, even right now, when he's simply just enthusiastically talking while playing, telling him about something and laughing and he can even see Hinata's smile through his voice. He clenched his fist.
"Ah, I gotta go," Hinata said, before pausing, then whispering to him, soft and sweet and a bit embarrassed, "I love you, goodnight!"
The line went dead, and Kageyama just stood there, holding up his phone to his ear still, staring at the mirror.
"I love you too," he replied later hours, voice muffled by the pillow, sharp pains in his chest.
He can't breathe.
"When break up," Kageyama started, the cold swirling around him. It all felt heavy and unreal, as if he's not the one speaking. "it means they don't feel the same way as before. I know I've said some things, but I don't feel the same way anymore."
Hinata stood there, unmoving, eyes wide and staring right at him.
"We can still be the duo," Kageyama continued, firmly, pocketing his hands and clenching them into fists. He's so tired, and he felt so light-headed that he just might faint. "We can still be friends. But we're not. You and I. We're not. Going to be together anymore."
He averted his eyes to look down at the pavement, examining the cracks of it. Snow was still falling. He felt colder and colder with every minute that they stand there, not saying anything.
Finally, Hinata spoke up.
"Are you sure?" He said, voice cracking, as if he haven't been using it since he was a first year. A pause, and then, "Why?"
Why do you not feel the same way anymore?; He can hear the rest of the sentence that Hinata left hanging. He bit his lip.
He didn't reply at all.
When Hinata's shaky footsteps faded, he crouched, clutching at his chest.
He can't breathe.
Hinata quit the volleyball club, after that.
They never talked to each other again.
Kageyama sees him, sometimes, spending his breaks studying, or tending to the school garden.
His chest aches.
Nishinoya dropped by Hinata's part-time job--a flower shop somewhere near Todai. He handed him an invitation.
"Akaashi Keiji, remember him? Apparently, he graduated and Kuroo organized a party for him," Nishinoya said, humming, looking at the flowers, picking three red tulips and whispering, 'Ah, Asahi would love these.'
"Ahh," Hinata inspected the invitation. "Who will be coming?"
"I dunno," NIshinoya said, handing him the red tulips to be checked out, digging for his wallet in his bag. "though most of the old Karasuno team got an invite."
There was a silence, and Hinata started wrapping up the tulips.
Nishinoya pursed his lips before saying, "You know, it's a shame that that love never got to work out properly."
There was a silence.
"He said he didn't love me anymore," Hinata murmured, taping off the package and stroking the flowers. He turned around and handed it to Nishinoya.
"Do you really believe that?"
He bit his lower lip and looked away.
It's true, he guess, that he's been hoping still, these whole time, that Kageyama didn't mean that. He never answered his question, anyway--never gave him a reply. He had many regrets, many things that he thought he should've done instead.
He looked back at the invitation and nodded, glowing with confidence and will.
Ah, if Kageyama ever tries to run away, he'll just grab him and be the one to say with utmost strength: "That's not true at all!"
Because love is love is love and he won't let any fate or any fortune-tellers hinder his feelings.
Suga went by his apartment to deliver the invitation, explaining what the occasion is about.
On the way out, Suga paused, before dropping a, "Hinata might be there."
Kageyama is a coward. He's been constantly running, hiding, lying; even now, in college, he's pining for someone that he haven't even talked to in a very long time, and only recently saw in a train station, holding a goddamn cactus that he called as his "son". And he so terribly wanted to go back on his words, to tell him what he really felt, and still feels. He wanted to go back to how they were, when they were 15 and carefree and happily playing volleyball, not yet ruined by his fear and lack of strength.
And then, he thought, why not?
He's in college now, technically almost a full-grown adult. Time changes and they move along with it.
So, he decided, that when he sees him again, he'll give him the answer he never gave to Hinata for years, even if Hinata doesn't feel the same way anymore.
It's not true at all.
They both sent back the invitation, "ATTENDING" encircled.
You were the one, and you were the only one, and you were amazing.