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Love It If We Made It

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Iwaizumi Hajime is about to fucking lose it .

It is his first day of his last year in high school, and for some reason he is still lounging outside the Oikawa household instead of being on his merry way to school for one of the last times ever. He kicks at a little dirt mound on the sidewalk, glaring at it as though it had personally offended him.

Hajime likes to think he is a patient man. One should be, if one is friends with a certain Oikawa Tooru who is taking his sweet goddamn time to get ready for the first last day of school and by god if he doesn’t show his stupid pretty face in the door within the next minute, Hajime is going to ring the doorbell again and politely ask Oikawa-san permission to kick her son’s face in. Hajime thinks she would allow it.

“Iwa-chan!” he hears, and he looks up to see the idiot pretty face beaming at him from the door.

“Hurry up, Shittykawa, or we’ll be late,” he growls, standing straighter. Oikawa makes a tsk tsk sound at him.

“I’m only a few minutes behind schedule!” He huffs, stepping into pace with him as they begin to make their way to the train station. “I had to look extra special today! My fangirls only have months until I leave, and I need to make sure I look great for them!”

“You look the same as always,” Hajime grumbles, giving his best friend a brief once-over. And it’s true. Oikawa still holds himself like he did in middle school, tall and relaxed and aloof and so self sure, too young to know failure and the bitter tang of regret not yet something he would be familiar with. But behind the honeyed words and the outer projection everyone knows Oikawa as, Hajime is familiar with all that lies underneath. He would be a terrible best friend if he didn’t.

“Mean, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa says with no heat, and they slip back into the regular routines of going to school and training and hanging out on weekends and idly wishing that this year, they would go to Nationals.

“Tobio-chan went to Karasuno,” Oikawa says one day, as they do their customary spiking drills and while Hajime is slamming every single ball past the net. It’s late, and they are the last ones in the gym, Hanamaki and Matsukawa having left a few minutes earlier with a serious reminder to not stay too late (Hanamaki) and a teasing reminder to not have too much fun (Matsukawa). 

It’s still a few weeks into the school year, early enough that there have been no practice matches scheduled so far so the team practices against their own, sizing up their new recruits and training the ones who have been here ever since. Hajime recognizes some of the new first years, Kindaichi and Kunimi among them who had hailed from the same middle school. He had wondered where Kageyama was. 

“Really?” he says, only half-interested. Kageyama’s hero-worship of Oikawa had definitely deteriorated into something akin to hate when they had left the halls of Kitagawa Daiichi, and Hajime is privately sorry for him. Sorry for letting Oikawa get out of hand. Sorry he couldn’t have been a better role model for him. Sorry he could not help him become better as well, for others.

Oikawa stops setting, hands wrapped thoughtfully around the volleyball he’s holding. Hajime raises an eyebrow, but says nothing. He’s used to the lapses of silence where Oikawa keeps his thoughts to himself, and usually Hajime would press him to say it, but along the years of their friendship he has learned to keep his mouth shut. Oikawa will share what he feels comfortable sharing. Hajime has no right to ruin that. 

“You know, I wonder if Coach will agree to a practice match with them,” Oikawa says, dropping the volleyball back with the others. 

“Scheming, are you? Don’t pressure Kageyama too much,” Hajime replies.

Oikawa chuckles then, but Hajime hears the tinge of darkness in it. “I just want to see how he’s doing with his new teammates, you saw how he fucked up last year, remember?”

Hajime rolls his eyes, moving to dismantle the net and to begin the gym clean-up. They go home a little later, sitting side by side, knee to knee in the train and Oikawa’s head dips onto his shoulder, snoring softly. Hajime lets him, staring at the night that falls over Miyagi outside.

“Stupidkawa. Idiotkawa. Shittykawa.”

“Insulting me isn’t going to make my knee any better,” Oikawa huffs, pulling the white bedsheets of the clinic up to his face.

The windows in the clinic give a grand view of the school’s courtyard, and Hajime busies himself by leaning out to look at it. He watches the water in the fountain, the students milling around and having their lunch. He hasn’t eaten yet himself, abandoning his bento in the classroom in favor of checking in on his dumbass friend who had landed himself in the clinic after falling wrong during morning practice, and injuring his right knee. Oikawa had been moving more sluggishly that morning, Hajime reflects. A result of too many nights staying up to study, to check college applications, to watch games of other schools and to take notes on their play styles, to practice on his own with the little volleyball court that’s set up in the backyard of his house. Hajime wants to scream.

“If you cut yourself some slack,” he says, not looking at him but rather outside still, “This wouldn’t have happened.”

A beat of silence, then,

“I know that better than anyone else.”

Hajime leans back in quickly, staring at Oikawa, who won’t meet his eye. He feels something churning unpleasantly in his gut, something suspiciously like guilt. He’d been too harsh, he supposes.

The bell rings, signalling the end of lunch period. Oikawa had been ordered to stay in the clinic the whole day, to catch up on his much needed rest and to let his spent knee recover a bit more. Hajime knows his father will be coming to pick him up later, but he will come back to see him off before he goes to join night practice. 

When Oikawa notices Hajime still isn’t leaving, he says, “Well, go on Iwa-chan. You might be late to your next class.”

“Just. Take care of yourself too please,” Hajime stands, and exits the room, feeling Oikawa’s eyes on his back.

I don’t know what I’d do if you don’t play volleyball with me anymore.

They go to Interhigh. They lose to Shiratorizawa.

There is no practice the next day, and Hajime drags a sulking Oikawa out of his house to go walk around downtown Sendai. It is sort of a tradition for them, going around the shops and fast food restaurants and playing in the arcade until they’re laughing from something stupid Oikawa did or their stomachs cramp from all of the food they ate to forget their upset loss. Losses to Shiratorizawa are normal now, and if Hajime is being honest, expected. They are just simply too powerful to beat.

But this loss is different, Hajime notes, as Oikawa still walks around with a smile on his face and chattering his ear off about some new gossip that a first year girl had confessed to Kindaichi and the boy had been so embarrassed and flustered he’d left her with her chocolates by the vending machines in the courtyard. Hajime gives a small chuckle when he hears that, but he also sees the pain in Oikawa eyes, and in the way he walks slower than normal and shoulders not straight as they usually are. This is their first official loss with Oikawa as captain.

Hajime buys him a mint chocolate ice cream, double scoop. He buys him a small alien keychain even as he says Godzilla is obviously better, I don’t know why you like these things and the twinkle in Oikawa’s brown eyes gradually returns. 

It’s later at night, when Hajime is safely under his covers and getting ready to sleep when Oikawa texts, the string of kaomojis hurting his eyes as he tries to discern what they’re supposed to be, but he gets the gist of it. 

Stupidkawa: thanks for today and the keychain, iwa-chan! sleep well!

Iwa-chan: Goodnight.

And the realization comes to him, but not like a volleyball received in the face or Hanamaki and Matsukawa shouting at him with a megaphone. He simply sits up in his bed and stares outside his window to the house across the street, to the window with a soft light emanating from it that he knows belongs to the same boy he’d used to scare with the bugs he caught when he was younger, the same boy who started playing with a volleyball when he was 8 and was now the boy he’d stuck by for years. They have tasted the yellow of progress and success. They have tasted the black and blue of bruises and loss. Somewhere along the way, Hajime had given his heart to him.

Iwaizumi Hajime is in love with his best friend, and he slips easily into a calm sleep.

They train more, after that. They learn to balance the necessities of academics and their love for volleyball. They get better. Oikawa has always been a leader, bringing out the potential in his teammates and himself. And sometimes, he would think of how maybe this was all for naught, maybe this all isn’t worth it. But Hajime has always been his rock, reminding him on the days where it felt bad that there would always be tomorrow. Reminding him that he was in this with him, always, together.

Spring High Preliminaries come. They beat Karasuno again, Oikawa sneering a Well Tobio-chan, there’s always next year, and I won’t be there, but Hajime mumbles to him, You’re getting better too, don’t worry. Kageyama just gives him a wide-eyed look, and Hajime follows his captain into a match against someone they’ve always expected to lose to.

After five sets of gruelling play, of feeling like their training had been for nothing and Shiratorizawa was once again simply too strong, they win. Against all odds, Hajime had briefly locked with Oikawa’s eyes during the match point and slammed the set he was given past the annoying red haired, wide-eyed blocker with all the speed and might he could give, fight power with power and it hits home, landing on the wooden gym floor with a resounding slap.

A beat of silence, then,

His teammates surround him, engulfing each other into a hug and cheers and their classmates in the stands are cheering as well. The shouts ring in his ears, but Hajime doesn’t care, he’s smiling in the middle of all those sweaty teenage bodies and he looks into Oikawa’s eyes again, face inches away from his. His best friend is also smiling, that smile that says he is Tooru and he is Hajime and he can’t think of anything else he’s wanted more than this. They are going to Nationals, finally, but Hajime is staring at his best friend’s smile that is so genuine and so bright and he wants to give him more reasons to smile like that.

“We did it,” Oikawa tells him then, hands coming up to press against his back into a proper hug. They fall into each other, joining the choruses of cheers and Oikawa is beaming, beaming so happily. Hajime thinks he won’t ever get enough of it.

“We did it.”