They had their shrine ceremony in spring. Aligned with the last day of the Spring Tournament, naturally. Shouyou wore the bride’s kimono in order to keep the nice balance of white to Tobio’s black. Shouyou’s parents and brother were there, and Tobio’s parents, and his sister and her wife. Shouyou’s mother had been crying for weeks leading up to the day, and on the day itself she was joined by her husband and her son through nearly the entire ceremony. On the Hinata side, it was only Hitomu who smiled and didn’t shed a tear. On the other hand, none of the Kageyamas cried.
While they were changing into suits before reuniting with their family for the meal, Tobio had mentioned, not teasingly but with a satisfied seriousness, that Shouyou took after his parents and would be the crier of their coupleship, and Tobio would balance them out because he rarely cried. Now, while that had been proven to be true, at the Olympics medal ceremony, graduation, and even their very first meeting, Shouyou didn’t exactly take it as a compliment to himself. They would be having a second ceremony in just another week, in Brazil, so Shouyou devised a plan to be the victor at that ceremony.
He’s sure it won’t fail. He’s been wearing his pale grey suit around his friends’ hotel room for an hour now, and he’s feeling more handsome by the minute. When Yamaguchi pins on his orange flower (in ode to Karasuno), Hinata thinks he looks swell, whatever Tobio always says about too much orange. Yes, his fiancé is the kind of effortlessly beautiful that’s unachievable by much of the general population, but Shouyou can always stand next to him with pride when he’s looking his best too.
Tobio is having the slightest bit of nerves, putting his hands in and out of the pockets of his dark grey suit as Ushijima works carefully to put his flower on. Tsukishima snips something at him for fidgeting. It’s not Tobio’s fault; his fiancé has been giving some very unsettling smiles leading up to today. And there are over four hundred guests here that will be listening to him say the vow to Hinata Shouyou that he wrote himself. Ushijima finishes with the flower and gestures for Tobio to inspect himself in the mirror. He looks nice. Shouyou will think so, he thinks Tobio is handsome in his curry-stained pajamas.
Shouyou walks the aisle first, with his parents on either side of him. He hugs them both, even though they’re not helping at all in his mission not to cry. Hitomu stands up from the front row so he can hug him too. Then he joins Takeda-sensei up on the little platform overlooking a sea of guests. Four hundred and two people is a lot.
Four hundred and two friends is a lot.
Takeda smiles widely at him, but his face looks blotchy already, so Hinata doesn’t look at him for long.
Tobio walks the aisle second. He hugs his mother and shakes his father’s hand, and gets hugs from his sister and sister-in-law. He steps onto the platform, giving a little bow to Takeda-sensei, then turns to face Hinata, cool and relaxed. He’s still not used to Shouyou looking at him like this when they’re not on the court, and he hopes he never will be.
Takeda gives the guests a short greeting, and the couple a short introduction that gets a grip on Hinata right away, but he shakes it off by reminding himself that Tobio is probably a bit nervous to speak. When he’s handed the mic, Shouyou smiles the smile of faith in his sets, chin high and ready to accept Tobio’s vow.
There’s a few long moments when the mic is in Tobio’s hand and he doesn’t say anything, only scans over his paper. Shouyou grins.
“Can you read your writing?”
The mic picks up his words and broadcasts them, and the crowd cracks up. Tobio gives him a look, pulls back his shoulders a little and begins.
“Shouyou.” His low voice thumps through the sound system, but Shouyou is close enough to hear it without any effect, even but thrilling, familiar but astounding. Tobio looks up once more before starting.
“I want you to be my husband. Because you’re brave, and you never quit. Because you never forget your promises, even ones you made twelve years ago. And you don’t let people look away from you until you understand each other.”
He shifts his paper up higher through his fingers.
“And I want to be your husband. Because I can trust that you’ll take good care of yourself, even if I’m gone, and because you can choose so easily between milks, but always choose the best kind, somehow.”
Everyone laughs at him, except Shouyou. He teeters. Over the milk, of all things. Tobio pauses, put off for a moment.
“—And because sometimes,” he continues, a little quieter, “You already know what I’m going to say, and you smile without me having to say it. I can’t make other people smile so easily.”
He gives a tiny smile of his own. Shouyou tries to smile back while biting down on his lip.
“But you don’t have to be like that all the time. I don’t expect you to be.”
Shouyou gets out a few giggles with everyone else as Tobio gives a leveling glance over his paper.
“When you’re not brave, I will be. When you do feel like quitting, I won’t let you. If you forget a promise, I’ll remind you. That’s what a partner does.”
He pauses again, and Shouyou, standing right in front of him, is the only one who sees the careful breath he draws in and out of his chest.
“When I was young, I was told that if I got strong, someone stronger would find me. Watching you become the stronger one was fun.”
Tobio swallows down the weakness that crept into his throat, on that one last word. Shouyou holds his breath, holds everything. Tobio raises his eyes.
“And I want you to be strong always,” he rushes. Breathes. “I promise that as long as I’m here, you will be the strongest.”
And he nods to Shouyou. Shouyou has worked the tears back down, and can smile at him, though his cheeks are in actual pain by now. Tobio hasn’t lowered the mic.
“That’s my line,” he adds firmly, “So you better not use it.”
Their guests roar as Tobio hands the mic back to Takeda. He takes the silver band with ten stones, takes Shouyou’s hand when he offers it, and puts it on his finger, now looking barely short of smug. His almost-husband only smiles, and takes the mic.
Maybe this isn’t going to make Tobio cry. But it’ll let him know once again that Shouyou loves him, and that’s probably more important.
His heart skips forward. He wonders if that happened for Shouyou too.
“I didn’t ask for Yachi-san’s help writing this, and I would hope you didn’t either.”
The guests laugh. Tobio smiles while narrowing his eyes at him.
“I’ve felt everything a person can feel when I look at you. I’ve looked at you, and felt small and weak. I’ve felt stronger than I actually was. And hopeful. And I’ve felt amazed.”
Someone near the front of the crowd sobs, and Tobio knows it’s Tanaka-senpai.
“I’ve felt stupid, and I’ve felt frustrated when you’re stupid.”
He grins. Tobio smiles.
“I’ve felt annoyed, and bothered, and aggravated, and outraged!”
“I’ve looked at you and felt defeated,” Shouyou says quietly. “I’ve felt left behind. I’ve felt desperate. I’ve felt as tired as anyone can possibly feel. Like I couldn’t make even one more effort.”
Tobio feels himself looking surprised.
“But then I’ve felt like I could.”
Shouyou’s breath shakes in the mic.
“I’ve looked at you and felt brave. I’ve felt like I’d never stop laughing. And like I had way more beers than I could handle, when I hadn’t drank a single one,” he grins. “I’ve felt on top of the world. I’ve been on top of the world.”
Tobio can’t feel the tears on his cheek, but knows they’re falling there.
“I’ve looked at you and felt my best even when I hadn’t made the best spike, or cooked the best meal, or looked the best I could. It seems like whenever I’m not doing my best, if I look at you I still feel like I am. Even if you’re in the middle of telling me flat out that I’m not.”
He giggles. Tobio chokes, and the tears are hot enough to feel now.
“And I wouldn’t trade a single one of those feelings. Since you gave them to me, I accept all of them. I want to work hard for the rest of my life to make you feel all those ways too. And hopefully at the end, I get a chance to hear how I did.”
There his partner stands in front of Shouyou, tears pouring out of his blue eyes. Shouyou takes the ring with nine stones and puts it on his finger. His own eyes weaken, and his smile quivers around the edges. While he still can, he turns to the guests to announce:
Tobio wraps his arms around his waist and attempts to kiss him.
“No!” he cries, pushing him away by the chin. They’re laughed at as they turn back to Takeda to do the proper I dos. Takeda hands Tobio a handkerchief; he wipes his eyes and hastily folds it away in a pocket, so he can take Shouyou’s hands.
“Do you, Kageyama Tobio, take this man to be your husband?”
“Yes! I do.”
“Do you, Hinata Shouyou, take this man to be your husband?”
Takeda smiles broadly and starts nodding. Tobio grabs his waist and Shouyou grabs his shoulders and they kiss. They can hear the cheering; they’re used to that sound, and love it. But it’s muted, like the two of them are underwater. It’s a moment just for their team of two.
Tobio wins the reception, because Shouyou has too much champagne, and Tobio’s hands are way bigger and better for smashing small faces with cake.