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two slow dancers

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Dame una noche de asilo
Dame un remanso
Yo te daré lo que tengo
Este amor que no me explico

Give me a night of asylum
Give me a peaceful haven
I will give you what I have
This love that I don’t explain to myself

-“Asilo,” Jorge Drexler


When Kageyama is six years old he lives with his grandfather and his sister in a small house in Miyagi with big windows and a small backyard.

His grandfather is how most grandfathers are, the type that are kind and gentle and never raise their voice. He bounces him up and down on his knee at the dinner table and holds his hand when they go to the park.

Kageyama Miwa is fourteen and listens to My Chemical Romance and cuts her own bangs on Saturdays and she trails behind the two of them, pouting.

Kageyama Tobio learns how to play volleyball on weeknights and weekends, his grandfather throws him gentle tosses and shows him how to pass and set and hit until the cicadas come out.

He runs up to his sister and pulls on her hand and his grandfather’s laughing and puts a hand on his back come on let’s go home now Tobio, thank god I have homework, and they buy popsicles on the way home.

The Kageyama house has faceless pictures on the mantle and the smell of sandalwood floating through the house.

If Kageyama Tobio closes his eyes, now, for long enough, he can remember crying and whispering, words blue-indigo floating through the walls, quiet enough and distant enough to forget but not Forget.

But he was happy.
More than anything, he remembers a home.


When Kageyama Tobio is 12 years old he comes home to Kageyama Miwa sitting at the dining table, her eyes puffy and knuckles scratched raw, and she tells him their grandfather is dying.

She sits like she is waiting for a response.

Kageyama Tobio has just started middle school and is only 24 episodes into One Piece and he stares at her, slack-jawed with nothing to offer.

She gets up and puts her hand on his head as she leaves the room.

His legs are numb but he pulls himself up and starts to make dinner as if nothing has happened, slicing scallions diagonally, the cold metal of the blade pressing into the edge of his fingers.

He’s standing over the stove, watching the water from the watercress bubble and he watches shrivel and then burn.

He stands there until 20 year old Kageyama Miwa, still a child, runs in, and maybe she’s shouting and then maybe they’re both holding each other, small and trembling and scared and children.

Kageyama rushes to the hospital after school and on the weekends and he tries his best to get there in the morning, sometimes before the sun rises.

There are good days and bad days.

On the good days his grandfather puts on the DVDs of their favorite matches on the hospital TV. It’s old and crackles with static and the nurses sneak him extra jello cups.
He tells his grandfather about the third year who can do a jump serve and how his English teacher didn’t realize his pants were unzipped, and most days his grandfather laughs.

On the other days, Kageyama sits, his knees curled to his chest, his body numb from the hard plastic of the hospital chair, and watches his grandfather’s labored breathing in a way that feels almost voyeuristic, and watches as his hands clench the bedsheets, veins green-blue purple, the door left ajar enough for him to hear crying in the hall.

Kageyama Tobio is 13 and his sister is 21 and they’re at a funeral.

He borrows a suit from Miwa’s friends’ brother because there was nothing in the house and it’s kind of weird to wear a dead person’s clothes, the same way it's kind of weird that some people pour their milk before their cereal or how some people read the ending of books before the beginning. The fabric is starchy and it sags awkwardly on his back, the sleeves falling over his wrists.

He’s standing in front of the bathroom mirror and his sister walks in.

“Tobio, you missed a button.” She reaches out to adjust his collar.

She’s shaking and something catches in his throat.

The bathroom is cold and he’s shivering, he notices the corner of the mirror chipped.

She’s telling him to breathe and he thinks he’s breathing and god they’re going to be late--

The night after the funeral Miwa is 21 so she’s an adult now and has to go sort out family business so Tobio walks home alone in the cold, dragging the heels of his dress shoes, and he stands outside the door.

The thing is, when he opens the door again, he’s going to cross a threshold in which the world he has always known will have ceased to exist in its entirety, and because he’s 13, he sits outside on the stoop until he sees his sister in her dress and heels walking toward him, even though it’s winter.

What the fuck, she says, and holds his face in her hands. I’m sorry, he almost says.

There are more pictures on the mantle this time and the house smells like jasmine and sandalwood again, the perfumes etched into the wood grooves of the table and under his fingernails.

Kageyama Tobio washes his hands incessantly, digging into his skin with lavender soap, scrubbed raw. The room is dark save for the moonlight, picking up on the incense smoke as it traipses. His eyes follow the curls until he’s not sure of what he’s seeing anymore.

Kageyama Tobio is 13 and he’s angry and hasn’t played volleyball in weeks.

He has a collection of practice balls in the corner of his room, scuffed and dirty from days in the park, memories of warm, callused hands, and burning forearms.

He is afraid to touch them, rewriting a history that should have never been history.


The first time he plays volleyball after Kageyama Kazuyo dies is during the Spring Qualifiers.
The ball feels both all too familiar and unfamiliar in his hands, the court too big, his footsteps wavering, grounded in nothing.

Life holds purpose and no purpose, it is precious yet worthless. Kageyama Tobio is on the court and he stares at his hands, once his own, made larger by absence.

If you get really good, someone better will come and find you.

When he’s 13 he finds himself staring across the net, at a boy, with too much hope and too much passion to be entirely real, and he doesn’t realize you’re yelling until he falls silent.

What have you been doing for the past three years?

The ball drops during the final set of his middle school career.

Kunimi and Kindaichi, the rest of them, their backs, proud and shrinking. The crowd is silent, and the ball dribbles away, taunting.

He’s benched the week after.

King of the court.

His cape, draped haphazardly around his shoulders, his crown glitters like the sea at night, he feels himself fall as the curtains close.


Kageyama Tobio lives in an empty house, the silence soaking into his skin like the rhythmic drip of an IV needle.

Kageyama Miwa works late nights now, so he makes himself dinner, the only sound filling the house is the water bubbling in the pot, the refrigerator door as it slams shut.

He’s 13 and now he’s learning to be independent.

He scrubs the dishes with more intensity than they need and he lets the water, scalding, run over his hands and down his forearms, letting it drip onto the wooden floor.

There’s a clock hanging in the corner of the living room. The hands tick and tick, time rears its head, faceless. Kageyama Tobio can’t tell if he wants to tell it to shut up or punch it. Maybe both. The clock does not give him a response, the room instead swallows him whole with its silence.


Loneliness follows him around like a ghost, passing through walls and lingers in the soles of his sneakers, in the chill of the dawn air as it filters through the window.

When Kageyama’s 14 he doesn’t pass the Shiratorizawa exams and he can’t tell whether he’s in the process of being buried or burning. He’s on the way back home and he stops at a train station kiosk and buys a bottle of water.

The old lady with a flower apron and a mole on her right check is behind the counter and smiles as she hands it to him.

“Take care!”

He forgets to smile back, and only realizes this when it’s too late, and the whole way home he’s rolling the bottle around in his hands until they get numb from the cold.

Later that night, Miwa sits across from him at their dining table, her hair tied up in a bun, strands falling out, a bowl of soup pressed to her lips, the steam obscuring her face. It's quiet, like always.

“Well, you can always just go to Karasuno. It’s nearby and they have a volleyball team, I’m pretty sure.“

“Yeah.” Kageyama shrugs his shoulders at this and swishes the bowl of soup in front of him, watching as the particles separated from the broth spin and dissolve.

He’s 13 and enrolls at Karasuno High School and it’s autumn now, so that means maybe new beginnings, and no one from middle school is in any of his classes. He’s getting along just fine, he promises.

He walks into the gym after class and he’s greeted loudly by bright orange hair.

Hinata Shoyo is 14 and spins around, his mouth falling open.

“You?!” He’s shrieking and Kageyama winces.

The first thing he thinks is what the fuck, the second thing he thinks is get me out of here, the third thing he thinks is god can’t be real.

They play scrimmages on the first day and Kageyama Tobio’s still too young and angry to be anything else, each toss he thinks of king, and then he thinks so be it.

The upperclassmen leave them to stay in the gym, until the sky becomes marbled with indigo, until neither of them are sure of where the body begins and where the volleyball ends.

Hinata Shoyo is there and Kageyama Tobio hates him, all angry and passionate and stupid and skinny and all he says is you fucking suck.

There are several things Kageyama discovers on this day.
Firstly, Hinata Shoyo is a disaster.
Secondly, he is an enigma.
Thirdly, Kageyama is inexplicably drawn to him, like a moth to the light, his wings fluttering weakly, and Hinata Shoyo burns and burns, like kerosene, hot to the touch.

Kageyama turns around before he can see Hinata’s face.

I don’t need you, I don’t need anyone.


Kageyama Miwa is 24 now and believes a little more in dreams, so she goes to Tokyo to study to become a hairdresser.

Tobio walks her to the train station.

Her train’s about to leave when she turns around and touches his face.

I’m sorry.

He frowns at this, and he wants to say to his sister, you have nothing to be sorry for but doesn’t.

“Remember to call.”
He smiles.

“And remember to read the directions on the next package of instant curry you get--”

She slaps him, gently, the way siblings do, and then she’s on the train again, her face blurred, the lights flashing.

On the way home he’s running and he ends up somewhere he’s never been before, by the water, watching the tide crash and recede. The city is bigger than he remembers.

He’s sitting there and sees a boy in the river, backlit by the moonlight. He watches as his head, dips into the water and as he emerges, laughing, to no one in particular.

He reminds Kageyama of someone.
His hands dig into the grass at his sides, the blades pressing deep into his palm.

The world feels empty, taunting with possibility, Kageyama misses everything and nothing.

Kageyama Tobio has a dream.
In this dream, he’s holding his grandfather’s hand and they’re walking in a nameless world. He’s acutely aware of the weight and his warmth, pressing into him, and he feels maybe as if he is floating.

In this same dream, his grandfather’s body begins to sink, and he’s helpless, watching the skin sinking and dragging his skeleton down and down and down.

The hand in Kageyama’s hand sinks into his skin, and he feels bone on bone, and he’s plummeting now, from the warmth of this world, to the core of the earth, his being melting, indistinguishable.

In this dream, he is no one.

In this dream, he is reaching, reaching, reaching —


The body is a home and a home is the body.

Kageyama Tobio makes sure to eat three meals a day, each one laid neatly out in front of him. He keeps a journal with tables of missed serves and percentages of quick sets and his run times in his jacket pocket.

Every night he sits at the dining table filing his nails, running his thumb over the ridges.

He cleans out the cobwebs under the cupboards with enough urgency to bleed into compulsion.

Hindsight is 20/20.


Kageyama and Hinata don’t know how to stop arguing.

Nishinoya and Tanaka make fun of them for it, and Daichi and Suga might ground them in the clubroom until they figure it out, but they argue.

Incessantly, really. About anything. The weather. Molten or Mikasa. The right way to tie your shoes (obviously loop and under). Whether blue raspberry is a real fruit (this one goes on for far too long, with Hinata arguing that if blue raspberries are real, then that means green apples should be too, and this is when they drop the argument).

Hinata tells Kageyama he’s a flat earther and gets punched.

The two of them race from practice, to practice, from the clubroom to school in the mornings and from the gym to the track in the afternoons.
At some point it turns from annoyance to routine to a gentle, warm, familiarity, blooming in Kageyama’s chest.

Every time they’re together on the court, something in Kageyama grows larger and comes alive with electricity.

Every time Kageyama does the quick and Hinata’s flying to meet the ball and him halfway, he feels thunder and lightning in the pit of his stomach, the gym lights dim in comparison to the shivers of his fingertips and the red-raw stinging of his palm after Hinata’s hits land, solid and final.

One night it‘s raining.

One of the tires on Hinata’s bike gets blown out and well, Kageyama might be an asshole but he’s not enough of an asshole to watch Hinata drag it through the mud back home.

The both of them are drenched and shivering and Kageyama’s house is the closer one, anyway.

Kageyama hesitates, just for a split second, before pushing the key into the lock.

“Kageyama, I’m going to die.”

He turns the key and pushes the door open.

For a split second, Kageyama thinks, stupidly, about whether Hinata will like it.

Hinata drops his bike in the mud and runs in, leaving his shoes outside, and he’s dripping all over the dining room table. He rushes to the stove and holds his hands over the flame like he’s some kind of caveman who just discovered gas.

“You look like a rat.”

Hinata looks affronted.

“If I get hypothermia and then die, who’s going to beat Ushiwaka?”

Kageyama sprints to his room and grabs a Dragon Ball Z shirt from elementary school and throws it at Hinata, and he looks at Kageyama in mild disbelief, only for a second, before he changes.

They put a pot of boiling water on the stove and it’s still pouring outside.

Kageyama turns on all the lights in the living room (not because he’s afraid of the thunder, he swears) and rolls out one of the tatamis stacked in the corner, and the two of them lie on the cool straw, their bodies exhausted from practice.

Hinata’s looking around and his eyes land on the mantle with the picture frames and the incense pots and he’s quiet.

Kageyama shuts his eyes.

Hinata’s hand reaches out, quietly, too gentle to be entirely real.

“Hey, Kageyama.” He’s whispering, god knows why.

Hinata Shoyo is warm and squeezes Kageyama’s hand, his finger wandering over his knuckles, and they’re lying there, shrouded by downpour and quietude, curled together, like small children.

The refrigerator buzzes and Kageyama can hear his own breathing and he’s not sure for how long they stay there.

Kageyama’s eyes shoot open.

“Fuck, the water.”

He has one less pot.

The next morning it’s humid and muggy the way it always is after a storm, and Hinata thanks him for the shirt and says he’ll make sure to wash it before he gives it back and then he’s gone again, dragging his bike with his busted tire and he turns back once to wave before he disappears into the morning fog.

The house falls back into a certain kind of familiarity, perhaps even more taunting now, an incessant confirmation of loneliness.


I’ll hit any set you give me, Hinata says with an unusual solemnity.

Kageyama Tobio is 14 and Hinata Shoyo is staring at him with a certain kind of intensity that he’s probably not even aware he possesses.

His lungs are burning.

What do you want?

More. I want more.

To be wanted is one thing. To be wanted in your entirety is another.

Two boys are standing on a volleyball court and one of them is looking at the other like he’s carrying the whole fucking world in his hands.

Each set is a promise, and they’re both flying.

Kageyama Tobio is 14 when he decides, right then and there, I’m going to give you everything.


Let’s say this.

Let’s say that fate exists. Two people, bound together, by a red string.

For non-believers, let’s say that there is no red string. There is nothing to be tied together. There is nothing romantic about a body that is bound, be it by chance or by obligation.

Instead, let’s say this: the body is made of building blocks. An intricate puzzle.
An IKEA assembly gone wrong. A ribcage. Blood and sinew and muscle. A spirit.

For some of us, it wanders, meandering, over multitudes of people, searching for something more. Sometimes a piece of you breaks off and buries itself into the architecture of another, quietly shaking the foundation, and sometimes it festers and sometimes it blooms.

And wait, last thing: let’s say that the most important thing is being free.


As long as I’m here, you’re invincible.


“We’re watching the Lego movies.” Nishinoya announces.

Daichi rubs his temples. He has gone through too much at the old, old age of 17.

Nishinoya holds the remote up like he has just conquered the entirety of Earth and also God.
He looks like he is willing to fight, possibly even die, for his cause.
His pajamas are a matching set patterned with Goku heads. No one bothers to mention this.
Sugawara is splayed out on the couch, looking mildly amused.

“Okay,” he says.
He pauses for a moment, and then smiles.
“Only if we start with the Batman one.”

They all watch the Lego movies, piled on the carpet in Daichi’s living room, spilling stolen snacks from Daichi’s cabinet.

Hinata cries when Cloud Cuckooland gets destroyed.

“Stop crying into my shirt.”

Hinata blows his nose into Kageyama’s sleeve.

Tsukishima looks torn between laughing and looking at Hinata in complete, utter disgust.

Tsukishima is also crying.

Kageyama falls asleep somewhere between Barbie Mariposa and Barbie in a Christmas Carol.

Tanaka and Noya are the only ones still crowded around the TV, Noya’s sobbing and Tanaka’s crying too because they’re both just so proud of Barbie, what a hardworking woman- Ennoshita slaps both of them with the DVD case.

It’s almost winter now, the morning air crawling under the front door.

Kageyama feels his back ache from the hardwood floor.
He’s the only one up now and he turns-- Hinata has fallen asleep next to him, his hands curled loosely to his chest. The thin fabric of his shirt falls loosely on the angles of his back, his shoulder blades peeking, his body rising and falling. The light filters gently in through the blinds, catching on the houseplant in the corner.

Daichi’s snoring from the next room, Suga’s taking a video on his phone.

Kageyama’s smiling and somewhere in him, there’s a fleeting wish for forever.

When Kageyama Tobio is 13 a boy in front of him makes a promise.

I’m gonna be the one to beat you.

He’s not aware it’s a promise. At least, not yet.

The last match of the first year.
Hinata Shoyo collapses at Nationals and Kageyama looms over him.

Kageyama’s looking at his face and he sees the sun, waning, the tide receding at dusk.

I’m going on ahead, he says.
I’m going on ahead, because Kageyama Tobio is 14 and filled with hope and maybe some stupidity and he has never doubted once that Hinata Shoyo would follow.

Those summer nights we spent dreaming
In the tall grass
Was it wise to imagine
Our future home?

-“Cynicism,” Bella Porter



When Kageyama Tobio is 18 he gets recruited to the V. League and the Japanese national team and Hinata goes to Brazil and they both leave the quiet and rolling hills of Miyagi behind.

His teammates are nice enough.

Yaku from Nekoma is there and he shittalks Kuroo sometimes during water breaks.

Kageyama learns that Ushijima is actually kind of lightweight for how big he is and that when he’s drunk all he talks about is gardening.

The national team goes out for drinks after Saturday practices and sometimes they get themselves getting kicked out of the establishment for being “too unruly,” something their captain refuses to believe.

Kageyama Tobio spends most of his time overseas and he’s kind of grateful.
His body floats between countries and oceans and hotel corridors, nestled safely in anonymity. He’s never in a city long enough to know the ins and outs, but now he’s brave enough now to kiss strangers in winding alleyways and under flickering street lights, the aftertaste of alcohol and bitterness rising in the back of his throat as he pulls away.

He plays in the Olympics.
He gets four service aces in a row against France, the cheers of the stadium deafening and his teammates smile and jump on him and ruffle his hair.

Somewhere, beyond the white lines of the court, deep inside his bones, Kageyama Tobio still aches for something more.

Home is not a place, but an abstraction.

It is someone he misses too deeply to say so, it is something he has forgotten because it would have been too painful to remember.

Kageyama’s taking down the net one night during second year and Hinata’s lying on the endline, tossing to himself.

“Are you going to fucking h-”

Hinata cuts him off, sitting up.

“Hey, Kageyama.”


“Where do you wanna go?”

“Um. Home? If you’d maybe get off your ass maybe I would have time to go to the grocery st-”

“No, I mean like,” he’s tossing the volleyball between his hands now. “After school.”

Kageyama’s back is to him still, and he’s staring at the volleyball net in front of you, the mesh sagging. He’s 14, almost 15 now, and afraid of where this conversation is going.
He turns around anyway.

“I dunno. I’ll try and get recruited or something, I guess.”

Hinata smiles crookedly at this.

“Yeah, you’ll get recruited.”

He’s not looking at Kageyama anymore. He’s not really looking anywhere.

“I wanna go...I wanna go somewhere else, you know.”

No, Kageyama doesn’t know.

“I’ve been talking with Ukai-san about playing beach.”

Kageyama was still dumb then, so he asks, in Japan?

Hinata laughs at this, even though there’s nothing that funny.

“Probably not.”

There’s a bit of frustration in his voice, and Kageyama doesn’t know whether it’s new or he hasn’t paid enough attention.

Hinata Shoyo looks at Kageyama now, with a gaze different from his immediacy on the court, the blinding brightness of his urgency.

Everyone has their own skeletons, Kageyama realizes.

“I have to --“ he bites his lip. “There’s gotta be somewhere outside of Miyagi, right?”

Hinata gets up and he finally, thank god, opens the supply closet.

“And I don’t know. I gotta beat other people before I can beat you.”

On graduation day Hinata and Kageyama and Tsukishima and Yamaguchi and Yachi sit on the school roof until the sun sets and take an excessive amount of photos on Hinata’s crappy disposable camera. Half of them end up pitch black and in the other third of them someone’s either sneezing or blinking.

It’s for the memories, Hinata had shouted, after Tsukishima complained.

The summer breeze sneaks up on the nape of Kageyama’s neck, five bodies splayed out on the warm asphalt, the pounding of his heart washed out by the hum of the evening, the drift of laughter.

Back then, everything was in reach.

Yachi tries her best to hold back her tears and ends up crying into Hinata’s shirt for the better half of an hour.

See you later, Kageyama.

He smiles.

Kageyama is 18 when he gets a phone call.

Hinata’s in Brazil and his cell connection is shitty so the only thing is crackling of static and quiet breathing on the other end of the line, silence hanging heavy in the air, reminiscent of confession. The ceiling fan whirrs.

Sorry, he whispers. I didn’t know who else to call.

It’s okay. Kageyama doesn’t say it out loud.

In the darkness of his room, Kageyama presses his phone to his year, the heat uncomfortable, and he tries his best to imagine Hinata, halfway across the world in Rio.

Lean lines of muscle and seafoam, dissolving as it washes to shore.

He shuts his eyes and tries to imagine Hinata jumping in the sand, his back to the sun.
His skin, electric-hot.

Kageyama feels like he’s almost possessed, he’s reaching out to touch Hinata and his fingers recoil immediately, the skin left red and raw.

Kageyama still sees his urgency and wonders if Hinata feels lost, in the enormity of Rio, the ocean and the concrete swallowing him whole.

Kageyama has his first kiss when he’s 15, Hinata Shoyo when he’s 16.

It’s in the stairwell of school, a week before the season starts.

Kageyama’s lips brush up awkwardly on Hinata’s teeth.
Hinata tastes like bubblegum (“I use Natsu’s anti cavity mouthwash,” he explains later) and smells like clean linen, Kageyama’s hand clenched on the front of his shirt.

They pull apart, and the two of them sit in stunned silence until Hinata bursts out laughing.

“Shut up,” Kageyama’s pressing his hand over Hinata’s mouth, his voice low, “someone’s going to find us-“

Hinata’s still laughing and he pushes Kageyama’s hand off and now, he’s genuinely wheezing.

“One of us needs to Google how to do this,” he says, his laughter echoing in the corridor.

Kageyama Tobio is 15, and god, he’s fucking embarrassed.

Hinata freezes.

“No wait, Kageyama, I’m joking, I promise,” and he’s being pulled in again.
This time it’s better. And the next. And the next.

The both of them will remember the dust floating through the air and the crickets outside the window and the heat of Hinata’s skin and his hand on Kageyama’s chest, both of their hearts hammering, the summer heat trickling lazily.

The both of them will remember this, all of it, for all the years to come.

Kageyama’s an adult now, so he goes out drinking with the team on weeknights.

On one of these nights, he ends up in a train car with Ushiwaka at 2 in the morning. rocking back and forth, his shoulder pressing into Kageyama’s body as the subway rockets through the tunnels, shaking.

He smells of sake and the din of a crowded bar and like asphalt after rain and some kind of fucked-up desire.

Kageyama has half a smile on his face and wonders what Hinata would say if he could see him now.

The amber of Ushijima’s eyes looks almost emerald from the dim fluorescence of the train car, and Kageyama Tobio is 19 and a man now, so he says, come over.

Kageyama has a shitty apartment but at least he pays the rent on time.

“Nice place,” Ushijima says.

“Could use more plants,” he adds, as an afterthought.

Kageyama pulls him down, the bedsprings creaking. His apartment looks out onto a busy street and on late nights there’s always a man squatting on the stoop of the convenience store, smoking a menthol cigarette.

Ushijima’s hands are gentle and hesitant as they reach under Kageyama’s shirt and he presses into his ribs and then Ushijima’s kissing Kageyama again, deeper this time.

Kageyama is drunk and warm and young, and Ushijima is too, and the city underneath seems so far away, Miyagi maybe even a lifetime ago.

Kageyama Tobio is 19 and acts as if this night will rewrite the memory of his body, as if the act of trying so hard to forget is not in itself an act of remembrance.

Ushijima tells Kageyama about all sorts of things.
The first thing Kageyama learns is that Ushijima’s father lives in America and that he flies to California at least once every year.
That he thinks American potato chips taste better and that he likes the fact that it never snows where his father lives.
He tells Kageyama about how, once, someone offered to pierce his ear at a party and how he almost said yes, and this makes him laugh, because Ushijima with an earring--
and he tells Kageyama about the beaches and how sweet the raspberries are in the summer.

The next time, at his house, he ends up playing Kageyama a Chet Baker record.

“Jazz,” he says, as if this explains all of it.

I Get Along Without You Very Well drifts through Ushijima's apartment with high ceilings and big windows.

But I’ve forgotten you just like I should.

He kisses Kageyama, and they both sink further into the soft-white mattress, the record player spinning.

The both of them know they’re not in love, and will never be in love, but this doesn’t matter.

Kageyama Tobio is 17 when Suga and Asahi and Daichi drop by for a visit.

It was snowing that day and he remembers this because of the bright red of Hinata’s cheeks and how the snowflakes got caught in his eyelashes and how he unwrapped his scarf in the gym doorway.

Daichi compliments Yamaguchi on the first years and now they’re both laughing, probably, about captain things. Asahi’s talking to Hinata because he’s the ace now (self-nominated) and Hinata wants to hear all about what it’s like in Tokyo with all the cool fashion people---

Suga and Kageyama are in another corner of the gym, off of the court, and he’s letting the first years run drills by themselves, and they’re tossing back and forth.

Kageyama asks Suga about the class he’s assistant teaching and he tells stories about how this one kid got stuck on the monkey bars during recess once and how another one bit the head off of his gingerbread cookie and couldn’t stop crying because he’d just killed someone.

Kageyama laughs at this, and Suga does too, as he’s retelling it.

Kageyama hears a solid thwack and he knows someone’s been hit in the back of their head with a serve. He apologizes to Suga as he jogs to the first years, and promises he’ll talk to him later.

Suga smiles and looks too much like a proud father to be 20 years old.

It’s almost 8 o'clock and the third years have all left by now, and Kageyama’s locking up the clubroom when he sees Suga at the base of the steps, waving at him.

“Wanna walk with me? I have to drop something off at my mom’s house.”

Kageyama shrugs. They walk.

“You know, Kageyama, you kind of look like one of my kids after someone else gives their crush their favorite snack.”

He frowns deeply at this.

“I wouldn’t give away my snacks to anyone.”

Suga laughs.

“How’s Hinata?”

“I mean, he’s a lot better at receiving now and at least he can kind of serve, he’s still annoying but at least he can scare the first years when he needs to--”

Suga listens to all of this, nodding and laughing quietly, his eyes crinkling.

“Has he hit anyone else in the head with a serve yet?”

“Yeah, Tsukishima.” Kageyama smiles to himself, remembering the five seconds of shell-shocked silence that followed.

“Oh my god.”

It’s still snowing. A comfortable silence settles between the two of them until Suga sees someone making snow angels in their front lawn and this reminds him of something.

“Hey, Kageyama, have you talked to Hinata recently?”

Suga’s choosing his words carefully, a gentle weight placed on talked and his mouth downturned enough for anyone to understand what he means when he says talked and to this-

“No, not really.”

It doesn’t matter. --

“Are you going to?”

--- I’m staying here and he’s going to Brazil -

“We’re here.” Kageyama stops abruptly, kicking up a bit of snow.

Suga’s house is small but on a bright part of the street and Kageyama can see his parents through the front window.

Suga gives him a funny look.

“Thanks for walking with me, Kageyama.”


He looks like he wants to say something else before he goes in, but he doesn’t.

It’s snowing harder now, piling on the sides of the road.
The sky is deep purple and bright indigo and Kageyama’s walking now, not even going home, passing by houses with all the lights on inside.
His feet are cold and his shoulder aches and he wonders if someone’s cooking dinner and whether some kid is setting the table and rushing back upstairs to do his homework. Something like sadness stirs in his chest and he’s blinking faster now. His teeth are chattering and he jams his hands further into his coat pockets, the road silent save for the quiet drift of snow and a small wind.

The next morning, Kageyama walks with the three of them to the train station.

Suga buys him a pork bun from the convenience store on the way there, and presses the wax paper bag, still warm, into his palm.

Before he gets on the train he turns and says, take care of yourself, and Kageyama nods.

Then they’re gone again.

Hinata Shoyo comes back to Japan and makes it to the V. League on his own.

Kageyama Tobio is 21 and sees him and his smile in his black jersey and the first thing he wants to do is slap Hinata Shoyo across the face, really hard, and then the second thing he wants to do is kiss him.

The Adlers have the first serve, and he brings it up and he’s flying.

Adrenaline and longing and happiness and Kageyama Tobio feels like he’s imploding on the court in Sendai City, the crowd surges, the lights glare, omniscient.

When Kageyama’s 7 years old and his life is made of volleyball and Doraemon, his grandfather tells him with a smile that if you get reaaallly good, someone better will come and find you and when he is 13 the boy in front of him says, I’m gonna be the one to beat you someday.

And when Kageyama Tobio is 22, a boy who’s no longer a boy smiles at him from across the net as he shakes his hand.

“That’s 1096 wins and 1100 losses.”

Remember what we said about fate?

When Kageyama Tobio is 13 he’s angry and hurt and scared and he thinks he’s falling in love with a boy.

When he’s 14 he realizes that Hinata Shoyo is larger than anything he could have ever imagined. Kageyama realizes that Hinata Shoyo is Icarus without the whole dying part, and that the entire world calls to him, ocean to ocean and he wants the expanse of the sky to wrap him up and carry him, as if the clouds are saying welcome home.

When Kageyama Tobio is 17 he learns how to let go, with an understanding that letting go does not mean the end, but an understanding that even endings that are not quite endings can leave an open wound, a bitter, aching melancholy.

When Kageyama Tobio is 21 he realizes the sanctity of his grandfather’s words and when he’s 22 he realizes what a promise is. When he’s 22 he realizes he’s in love, he’s always been in love.

When he’s 22 he thinks, well, where the hell am I supposed to go from here?

All the Karasuno first years end up at dinner that night, in a rundown bar in the center of Sendai.

Tsukishima really does only drink Kahlua and milk now.
Yamaguchi and Yachi are talking about something to do with her pretty coworker and Yamaguchi’s laughing and Yachi’s face is flushed deep pink, which she insists is from the alcohol (it’s not).

Hinata’s describing the entire game play-by-play.

Yamaguchi laughs as he does this and says, “Hinata, we were all there,” and to this Hinata says, “I know, but it’s just in case you missed something, I really have to make sure, you saw the ball go fwahhh and then boom and then how Atsumu-san’s serve went whoosh,” and the restaurant comes alive with laughter, glasses clinking and knees bumping underneath the table.

The sunset drifts toward late evening and then Yachi says she needs to make sure she gets a project into her boss by Friday and Yamaguchi has work early tomorrow and Tsukishima needs to catch a train, and then they’re saying goodbyes even though they know they will all see each other again soon, and now it’s just Hinata and Kageyama, standing on a stoop outside the restaurant, wincing from the cold.

It’s starting to snow.

“Let’s get out of here.” Hinata nudges him gently.

Kageyama’s shivering, maybe not entirely from the cold, and he wraps his jacket tighter around himself.

The two of you are walking and walking because it’s Sendai, it’s not like you don’t know where you’re going.

“There’s a place by the river,” Hinata offers. “If you want to, we can sit there.”

Kageyama makes a noise of agreement, too cold to pull down his scarf.

It’s entirely too cold to be sitting on a bench by the river and watch the boats drifting, the people on them masked by the evening, but then again, it’s not like either of them were ever leaders in the common sense department.

Kageyama’s trembling and his knee is almost touching Hinata’s and he’s 22 and maybe still a coward and maybe he’s afraid of silence again so he’s running through his brain in search of another Ushiwaka story or maybe he hasn’t told the one about how Hoshiumi got separated from the rest of the team on the train in London--

“I missed you.”

His eyes look like citrine.
Hinata Shoyo has always been like this, a bit too honest, and it makes Kageyama’s chest ache with something he doesn’t know the name of.

Hinata’s hair glows, amber under the streetlight, the rhythm of the boats and the cars and the city is so loud, it’s so loud.

I’m in love with you.

Kageyama is 22 and stupid and Hinata Shoyou is 23 and not a boy anymore.

Move in with me.

Kageyama’s hands go numb and the earth has nothing to offer but a shuddering sigh.

When Kageyama Tobio is 24 he’s in Tokyo.
He’s wearing 9 and Hinata’s wearing 10, this time on bright red jerseys, on a court where everyone is watching.

The world is not only a place, but a person.

Hinata’s flying, the ball arcing up to meet him halfway, Kageyama’s fingertips white-hot and tingling.

The world is ours, it’s always been ours.

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

-{somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond], e.e. cummings


They’re both 25 now and have an apartment on the outskirts of Kyoto.
It’s on the second floor and there’s no elevator and even though they're both pro athletes and make too much money they haven’t figured out how to fix the top lock on the door.

Hinata says that the both of you are going to get murdered and he buys one of those electric fly swatters for safety.

Too many people help them move in for how much stuff they have.

Atsumu shows up with Sakusa and glares at Kageyama the entire time and says flat out that the place is ugly, and that Shoyo can move in with him any time he wants, really, he has a whole house with the laundry machines inside and a stainless steel refrigerator--- Sakusa slaps him, and hands Kageyama four canisters of Lysol wipes in a plastic bag.

Kageyama offers his thanks.

Kenma drops by and ends up buying an entire dining table.
It arrives in 20 boxes on the doorstep, with no warning the next week, Kenma conveniently having forgotten to tell anyone. Kageyama waits until Hinata comes home just in case someone was actually planning to commit murder and this was the beginning of an ambush plan.

The both of you agree to stop watching Criminal Minds.

Ushijima brings a snake plant.
“Good fortune,” he explains.
Kageyama is 25 and dumb and looks frantically through Wikihow on whether a plant needs to be pet to be happy (it doesn’t) and where to put it (no, you can’t leave it in the kitchen cabinet) and how much to water it and oh god, oh fuck is that a bug--- Hinata screams, loud enough to wake the neighbors.

Hoshiumi comes and he jumps when he sees Hinata, and he slams his head on the door frame.

He leaves with an ice pack.

Bokuto and Akaashi take the train from Tokyo one weekend to visit. Bokuto and Hinata are yelling.


He’s holding them in the air.

One of them says “With man.”
The other says “I’m he.”

“So cool, Bokuto-san!”

Akaashi smiles and leaves a bag of takeout on the table.

Tsukishima and Yamaguchi and Yachi come by to visit the weekend after and they bring a stack of film photos from high school.

Hinata cries when Yachi hands them to him and doesn’t speak for the next ten minutes.

Tsukishima hides a smile behind his hand and Yamaguchi steps on his foot, but he’s smiling too.

They’re all 24 or 25 and they’re on the living room floor half-drunk on soju, playing some board game Hinata got from Pedro, the room filling up with laughter even though the walls are bare.

Tsukishima takes off his glasses in frustration.

“Hinata, you have to be cheating.”

He points his finger.

“Hey! You’re just jealous--”

“Hinata, the instructions are in Portuguese. None of us know what’s going on,” Yachi says quietly, and for some reason this makes them all laugh until they are holding their sides, and they all know that they will remember this, when they are 80 and old and dying, the golden rhythm of the night filling the apartment and their bodies, buoyant with joy.

Today, the winter air wakes Kageyama up.
His eyes are blurry from weariness and he’s 25 so he’s old now, and he feels the beginnings of tiredness settling in his joints. He stares up blankly at the ceiling, and he doesn't realize he’s been clenching the sheets until he remembers lets go and his palms are raw.

It’s been months since they’ve moved in, the apartment settled in a state of bare disorder.
Some mornings Kageyama is reminded of the kind of loneliness that swallows people whole and leaves them gasping for air and other days he feels a certain warmth emanating through his ribs.

He lies there, the room blue and cold and melancholy, the walls entirely too large, until he hears Hinata’s voice floating from the bathroom over the running water, and he’s holding back a laugh. He drags him out from the warmth of the sheets, his feet hitting the cold wooden floor, and he finds Hinata brushing his teeth, the bathroom filled with steam.

Hinata Shoyo is 26 and happy and he smiles and turns around when he sees Kageyama in the mirror.

“New Taylor Swift song,” he explains, flailing his arms, his mouth still full of toothpaste.

Kageyama pulls him into a hug from behind, his head falling onto Hinata’s shoulder.

He’s humming softly now, the water from his hair dripping down his collarbone, the morning light beginning to stream in.

There’s a picture of him and the Black Jackals taped to the mirror, Sakusa barely in the frame, the top of Bokuto’s head cut off, Atsumu shouting at Thomas in the background. Inunaki’s in the back, laughing, unhelpful, and Meian looks distressed yet enthused, Barnes clapping him on the shoulder.

He’s still brushing his teeth. “We - should go -- buy --- a new pot for Ushijima’s - plant.”

Kageyama Tobio is 25 and has never understood what it means to belong to a place or a person or let alone, what it means to have a home.

But now, his cheek is pressed to Shoyo’s collarbone, and his warmth is radiating, and his free hand is on Kageyama’s hair, and he can feel the hum of Shoyo’s chest, pressed tightly to his ribcage.

Kageyama Tobio is 25 and he thinks he is beginning to understand.