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Appreciation

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Graduation is coming up soon.

Tooru has been avoiding the subject since before the beginning of their third year. He hasn’t even asked Iwaizumi if he’s going to university, and Tooru usually asks him any question that crosses his mind. He’s only been agonizing about their inevitable parting ever since he realized that they might separate after high school. Tooru has a whole stack of scholarship offers for volleyball, and he ignored them for weeks before finally accepting the best offer.

He’s tried dropping about a thousand hints about it, but as always, Iwaizumi bulldozed right over all of his subtle hints with a dismissive comment of ‘if you want to say something, just say it’.

The brute.

After their loss to Karasuno, even Tooru has to admit that he’s basically glued himself to Iwaizumi’s side. He knows he’s being annoying. He’d stop (...well, no he wouldn’t) if Iwaizumi said anything about it, but he just took the chance to force Tooru to do his end of term assignments days before he’d normally think about starting them. This extra time together should give him the chance to ask Iwaizumi the important questions, but every time he goes to ask, the words catch in his throat. He's been too nervous about the answer.

The thing is, he knows how crushed he’s going to be when they part ways. For his entire life, he’s always had Iwaizumi by his side. When they were little and the other boys teased Tooru for being too girly, it was Iwaizumi who stuck by his side and defended him. When they were in middle school and Tooru injured his knee, it was Iwaizumi who carried him all the way to the nurse's office, scolding him the entire time. When his first girlfriend dumped him, it was Iwaizumi who held him when he cried, even though Tooru was getting tears and snot all over his favourite Godzilla t-shirt. It’s Iwaizumi who’s constantly pushing him to do better and be better.

Tooru doesn’t know who he’d be if he hadn’t grown up with Iwaizumi as a rock by his side. Probably a shittier person, if he’s being honest with himself. He doesn’t make much of a habit of being honest with himself.

As it turns out, Tooru doesn’t even have to bring the subject up himself. He and Iwaizumi are sitting beside each other with their desks pushed together for lunch, and Iwaizumi is digging into his bento with his customary gusto, his tie slung over his shoulder. He looks up when he notices Tooru staring at him, and frowns. His eyes go down to his untouched food and nudges it towards him with a pointed look.

“Eat your lunch.”

“You really are like my mom Iwa-chan,” Tooru comments. “Hey! Iwa-chan stop! Watch the hair!”

Mattsun and Makki arrive back from the cafeteria while Iwaizumi is still pressing his fist into Tooru’s head to give him a harsh noogie. The sight is common enough that they don’t even flinch when Tooru begs for them to rescue him. The two of them start chattering away while Iwaizumi defiles his perfectly tousled hair.

It’s when Tooru tunes into their conversation that he feels his heart start to beat faster against his chest.

Makki is saying, “Yeah moving away from home will be weird, but like I don’t want my mom breathing down my neck all of university, you know? You know what she’s like, dude.”

Mattsun holds his hands up. “I’m just saying, moving to Tokyo is pretty far to just get away from her.”

Makki waved his chopsticks in betrayal. “You’re going to Tokyo too! We’re literally going to room together!”

Iwaizumi finishes his bento and says, “Aren’t you also going to Tokyo, Oikawa? Keio?”

Tooru gapes at him. He’d never mentioned that! How did he know that?

“How do you know that?” Tooru demanded.

“You left your acceptance on your desk and you never hid it,” Iwaizumi shrugs.

“You literally never stop talking about it,” Mattsun says.

“And you bragged about getting a scholarship there,” Makki added. “You’re like, super obvious.”

Mattsun nods. “Yeah bro we’ve known for months.”

Tooru pouted. Okay, maybe his subtle hints weren’t as subtle as he thought. “Fine! You got me! I’ve got a great scholarship for volleyball and I want to be in a city. I’m going for marketing.”

Mattsun hums as he stabs his straw into his strawberry milk carton. “You know, I know where everyone is going but Iwaizumi.”

They all turn expectant eyes on him, and Tooru feels his heart racing. He’s not ready for this. He’s not prepared to hear this answer.

Usually, it’s pretty hard to tell when Iwaizumi is embarrassed. On his darker skin, it’s hard to notice a blush if one isn’t already looking for it. But it’s never hard for Tooru. He always knows because Iwaizumi has a tell. He usually takes gleeful joy in causing the blush to appear, but he’s too anxious to do anything more than note its appearance.

Iwaizumi scowls and rubs the back of his neck. “I’m going to Tokyo,” he says. “Keio too.”

Tooru fills with elation, a bubbly feeling that starts from the pit of his stomach and makes him feel like he’s about to burst. The same university! They won’t be far apart at all. He won’t have to go without his Iwa-chan.

He tosses his arms around Iwaizumi and cheers, loud enough that the whole classroom looks at him. “We’re going to the same university! Iwa-chan! I knew you could never be apart from the Great Oikawa!”

Iwaizumi shoves him away, the tips of his ears faintly colouring red. “Dumbass! They got a good program, it’s got nothing to do with you! Trashykawa!”

He’s so happy that he doesn’t even care to point out that Iwaizumi avoided saying his major, but that doesn’t stop Makki and Mattsun. They trade a look and start circling like sharks who caught the scent of blood.

“And what are you going for?” Mattsun prompts, leaning his head on his hand.

Makki mirrored the action, saying, “Anything you wanna tell us, bro?”

Iwaizumi scowls even more, now obviously flustered even to people who don’t know him as well as Tooru does. His blush has spread down his neck. He mutters something too quiet to hear.

Tooru leans closer, cupping his hand to his ear just to be extra. “What’s that, Iwa-chan?”

“I’m going in for nursing,” Iwaizumi crosses his arms and gives them all the stink eye. “I don’t want to hear-”

At once, they all start talking. Makki is hooting, “Don’t you get enough of looking after Oikawa?”

“Wow you are a mom, Iwa-chan,” Tooru grins.

Mattsun makes a kissy face and says, “Will you look after the rash I have on my-”

In quick succession, Iwaizumi hooks his foot around the leg of Tooru’s chair and pulls hard. Tooru crashes to the ground in an ungraceful heap with a yelp. He points at Makki and Mattsun. “Run.”

Makki and Mattsun burst out of the classroom like the devil is on their heels, but Iwaizumi doesn’t bother running after them. Instead, he steals their abandoned food with a grin that’s nothing but satisfied.

Mean Iwa-chan!” Tooru exclaims. “I’m taking this as payment for your neanderthal ways,” he says, delighted as he takes part in Makki’s dessert. He also deserves it for his comment! Tooru knows how to look after himself.

“Hey, Trashykawa,” Iwaizumi says as he polishes off Mattsun’s strawberry milk. “Are you going to stop sulking now?”

Tooru gasps. “I was not sulking! Obviously, I was gracing you with my wonderful presence before you went off to some horrible place without your best friend! But now that I know we’re going to the same place, I’ll let you room with me so that I can bring joy to your dull and boring life!”

Iwazumi just snorts and says, “Okay,” like he never expected anything less.

He feels a rush of contentment. He gets to keep his best friend, and Makki’s dessert was delicious.

Today is a good day to be Oikawa Tooru.


Basically, that’s where all of Tooru’s problems started.

They get an apartment in student housing. It has two bedrooms, one small enough to be mistaken for a closet. Tooru is preparing an entire speech in his head about why he should get the bigger one, but Iwaizumi takes one look at him and rolling his eyes, volunteers for the small room by throwing his suitcase on the bed.

The rest of the apartment isn’t that much bigger. They manage to fit an old, lumpy, couch and a table in the tiny living room, and less said about the kitchen the better. The most charitable thing Tooru has to say about it is that it can fit all their groceries (Tooru’s snacks) after a struggle. The walls of the apartment are paper-thin, and Tooru is frequently lulled to sleep by Iwaizumi’s monster snores. He’s lucky he got used to it years ago, otherwise, it would keep him up all night.

In short, it’s a tiny, crappy apartment and there hasn’t been a day that went by that Tooru hasn’t found something to complain about. Iwaizumi seems happy enough, though he bitches constantly about Tooru using up all the hot water, or how he always wakes him up making popcorn at four AM, or how long he takes in the bathrooms every morning. So unfair! No consideration for Tooru’s needs. But right now, Iwaizumi is sitting at the table in their living room, all of his notes spread out. He has a midterm and an essay due on Wednesday, both for different classes, and he’s been working on them all week.

Normally on a Saturday night, Tooru is out and flirting with one of the pretty girls that usually follow him around, but on Monday he has a huge essay due, and Tooru hasn’t even started yet. So there he is in the living room, spreading out his long legs on the couch and squinting at his laptop as he tries to focus on economics.

The problem with economics, he thinks crossly, is that it is just so boring. So really, he thinks he can be excused for slipping into his group chat with Makki, Mattsun, and Iwaizumi. Iwaizumi left his phone charging in his bedroom, so it wasn’t like it was going to bother him, and there was the added bonus of him not seeing Tooru procrastinating and starting to nag him about it.

He takes a quick picture of Iwaizumi for the group chat. He runs through his best friend photo checklist before sending it. Is it humiliating enough? Check. Iwaizumi’s hair is pulled in every direction, his t-shirt is mussed, and he’s reaching his arm towards his coffee cup - and totally missing because he’s highlighting a part in his textbook at the same time with his other hand. There’s a smudge of ink on his cheek from when he absent-mindedly scratched his face with his pen. Is it ugly enough? Another check. Iwaizumi has his usual grumpy scowl going on and his face is so close to the textbook he’s basically going cross-eyed. He hasn’t shaved since yesterday morning because he usually didn’t bother if he isn’t going to leave the house. He also looks exhausted. Tooru makes a mental note to force him to take a break sometime tomorrow. They could watch the new Space Invaders movie!

Sufficiently pleased with his checklist, he sends it to the group chat.

7:24 PM
the truth is out there: nerd.jpeg

thing 1: hot damn
thing 1: biceps

thing 2: same on hot damn biceps
thing 2: but also hot damn sex hair

the truth is out there: wtf

thing 1: repurposing this photo to send to iwaizumis arms appreciation club

the truth is out there: ????
the truth is out there: first of all, iwachan’s mean face would make babies cry!!
the truth is out there: second! u guys made a fan club for iwachan but not the Great Oikawa? u have terrible priorities
the truth is out there: thirdly,,, u started an iwachan appreciation club without adding ME?? his BEST FRIEND?????

thing 2: u havent passed initiation

thing 1: initiation is required

the truth is out there: what initiation??? ive been friends w iwachan since i was BORN ive definitely passed initiation!

thing 1: no u havent

the truth is out there: do u even KNOW how many times ive been beaten at arm wrestling. even i cant keep track

thing 1: mattsun do you hear? oikawa thinks that the appreciation club is about arm wrestling

thing 2: thats cute.

the truth is out there: well then whats it about!??

thing 2: well i dont know if we should tell u. obviously u dont get it

the truth is out there: ill buy u ramen

thing 2: deal

thing 1: mattsun you cheap whore. make him buy me some too

thing 2: ugh fine. no deal unless u buy makki some too

the truth is out there: FINE but were not going to the expensive place

thing 1: its like a support group for people with unrequited gay crushes on iwaizumi
thing 1: but mostly its a place where we all share hot pics of him

thing 2: hes caused so many gay panics u dont even know

the truth is out there: wh

thing 1: looks like we gotta give him some time to process this

thing 2: poor oikawa is so self absorbed he didnt even notice iwaizumi is hot

thing 1: rip

the truth is out there: HEY
the truth is out there: thats not tru because iwachan isnt hot. u guys are just weird
the truth is out there: ...how many gay panics has iwachan caused??

thing 2: the entire volleyball club

thing 1: and some of the other dudes from school. plus some other dudes who are in other volleyball clubs. but iwaizumis arms apprecation club is just for the bros

the truth is out there: no way
the truth is out there: even yahaba and kunimi???

thing 1: are u kidding me did u not notice kunimi staring at him like all the time
thing 1: or how yahaba was always looking at anything but iwaizumi in the dressing room

thing 2: he would always go so red if he caught a glance lmaooo
thing 2: why didnt u ask about other people tho. like kindaichi or kyotani

the truth is out there: oh everyone knew that they had crushes on him. they werent subtle at all

thing 2: lmao

the truth is out there: wait even u guys have crushes on iwachan?

thing 1: i got a crush on him as i wish he would crush my head with his thiccy thighs
thing 1: ive never seen him with a beard before tho

the truth is out there: ur literally so gross. also he didnt shave because hes a neanderthal

thing 1: i want him to give me beard burn all over

the truth is out there: ewww

thing 2: soft same
thing 2: but also i wish he could pick me up and cradle me in his large and protective arms

the truth is out there: thats... surprisingly wholesome

thing 2: as he holds me against the wall and fucks me

the truth is out there: BYE

Tooru slams his phone down and decides not to look at it at all until he’s partway through - no finished! - his essay. It’s about ten seconds after making the title page that he figures he deserves a break. He doesn’t want to look at his phone again, so he settles for staring at Iwaizumi until he notices. This is a favourite break activity of his because it involves distracting Iwaizumi, so they can both take a break together.

It’s meant to take no time at all because Iwaizumi usually feels him staring and looks up, but he’s really absorbed in his assignment this time. He notes with some amusement the large coffee stain all over the bottom of Iwaizumi’s shirt. He could go back to his essay except, well, now that Tooru’s really looking at him, he can’t help but notice the things that Makki and Mattsun had pointed out. Iwaizumi does have a really really nice body, strong and sturdy. Dependable, just like he’s always been. His biceps are quite big, but not big enough to be gross and veiny. With his hair all mussed like that, it looks like somebody else has been fisting their hands in it, so they weren’t wrong about the sex hair. He doesn’t really look bad with the stubble, he supposes, more mature.

Somewhere along the line, he thinks, Iwaizumi really grew into himself while Tooru wasn’t looking. He doesn’t like that thought, so he starts wondering about the other things that Makki and Mattsun were talking about. Like holding his head in between Iwaizimi legs, his thighs squeezing the sides of Tooru’s head as Tooru…

Furiously blushing at the mental images, he slams his computer shut and storms into his room. For revenge for being so distracting, he doesn’t bother to tell Iwaizumi about the coffee stain on his favourite t-shirt.

Tooru does not get any work done on his essay that night. He has a lot to think about.


11:07
mom: You guys are all the biggest dumbasses I’ve ever met. I have no idea why I keep hanging out with any of you.
mom: Also whoever changed my name to mom is a dead man.