HInata leaned into Tobio’s side, and Tobio was too tired to shake him off. The festival evening was winding down, or winding up, depending on who you asked. The various stalls were closing in favor of the fireworks show about to begin. The warm, orange evening had given way to a dark night. Above the glow of the festival, only the brightest stars could be seen.
They sat under one of the massive trees growing at an awkward angle on the slope leading to the river the fireworks were scheduled to shoot out over. Tobio had been hoping Hinata would wear a yukata, if only to laugh at him for whatever obnoxious pattern he selected.
Instead, Hinata had shown up in a trim set of black pants and a solid black button down.
“You look like a damn yankee,” Tobio had told him. The black on black did stand out amongst all of the colors of the festival.
“Good,” Hinata had responded, “we match.”
“Match?” Tobio had thought the blue polo he was wearing looked fine.
“Yeah, I match your face,” Hinata had explained.
With a frown and shove, the pair had begun their loop around the different booths. Over the course of the evening, they had amassed three goldfish, four different masks, and had eaten so much takoyaki, Tobio had begged to sit down on a bench for a few minutes until his momentary nausea had passed.
Now, he watched people set up their blankets and tarps in anticipation of the fireworks. The music floating to the riverside from the main thoroughfare switched to something slower, softer, and decidedly Western. He was worrying about the future of the goldfish when Hinata suddenly said, “Kageyama, do you know how to waltz?”
Hinata sat up from Tobio’s side and scrutinized him carefully. “You don’t,” he decided without waiting for Tobio’s answer. Hinata threw a hand to his forehead. “You’re so uncultured,” he lamented.
Tobio punched the side of Hinata’s leg and felt slightly vindicated when Hinata let out a small cry.
“Why would I need to know how to slow dance, idiot,” he asked.
Hinata smiled his gremlin smile and said, “who else is here? To dance with me of course! You’re getting too sleepy, I can see it in your eye bags.”
Tobio crossed his arms as Hinata stood up and shook the grass from his body. He watched as Hinata stretched, the hem of his button down rising. Tobio looked away quickly.
“It was you who was just leaning on me a couple minutes ago,” he shot back.
HInata swayed to the song as it neared its end. The shoreline of the river crowded and noisy, the festival helpers were in the process of finally setting up the fireworks.
The song on the speakers changed, the bass line worming its way into Kageyama’s chest. He watched Hinata turn to him, excitement dust his cheeks pink in the limited light.
“Kageyama, get up.”
“Why? The Fireworks are gonna start soon.”
HInata shook his head and threw out his hands to haul Kageyama to his feet.
“Hurry up, this one’s short,” Hinata commanded.
Tobio felt the heat of Hinata’s hands where they clung to his wrists. He shook him off and stood up on his own.
This time, Hinata grabbed Tobio’s hand and waist.
“What are you doing?” Tobio felt the tips of his ears warm without his permission. Hinata’s hand felt solid against his back, though much too warm for the summer night.
“Shh,” Hinata spat, “I’m teaching you how to slow dance.”
“I’m taller, shouldn’t I-”
“Stuff it, I’m the one that knows how to do this,” Hinata countered.
“This is so stupid.”
Hinata removed his hand from Tobio’s back. He grabbed Tobio’s free hand and put it on his shoulder.
“But you haven’t said no,” Hinata said, smiling at Tobio, knowing he was wrapped around his finger.
When Hinata put his hand back on his waist, Tobio had a passing thought that he had missed that hand while it was away.
“You said we had to hurry,” Tobio redirected, embarrassed that Hinata could always see right through him.
“Okay, it’s just like stepping in a box. When I step forward, you step back. And then we’ll step to my right,” Hinata instructed.
Tobio watched Hinata step forward, and he tentatively took a step back.
“Good, now this way.” Hinata guided him, but Tobio felt off beat, always a second too late. He stepped forward with the wrong foot and stepped on Hinata’s shoes.
“It’s fine, Kageyama,” Hinata assured him, “I’m actually surprised you haven’t pulverized my feet.”
“Shut up.” Tobio kept his eyes fixed on their feet, though that hadn't prevented him from stepping on Hinata before.
“Hey, dummy, you’ll step on me again if you keep looking at our feet,” Hinata said.
Tobio scrunched up his mouth, a weird kind of frown. Then where was he supposed to look? If he didn’t watch, he would really smash Hinata’s feet this time. And then Hinata would feel even more smug and superior, and Tobio could not allow that to happen.
Suddenly, Hinata’s face was in front of him, blocking Tobio’s ability to see their feet. His body was bent at an awkward angle, and they had stopped “dancing.”
“You should look at me,” Hinata told him. The light from the festival stalls filtered in through the tree’s branches, turning Hinata’s hair and eyes into flickering flames.
The song came to an end as Tobio lifted his head. Hinata hummed in disappointment, but didn’t let go of Tobio yet. Neither of them moved, still holding on to each other.
The next song came on, the guitar whining. It seemed that Hinata knew this song, too, as he began to sway the two of them back and forth. The movement was less deliberate than the waltz Hinata had been guiding them through. His eyes were staring somewhere behind Tobio, but far away.
“How do you know all these songs,” Tobio asked. He watched as Hinata refocused his eyes on Tobio’s.
“My mom still uses her record player a lot,” he explained. “This one’s called Sleepwalk, it’s been a favorite recently.”
It was a sad and lonely tune. The guitar sounded like it was crying, and the background instrumentals looped hypnotically.
“Okay, let’s try again,” Hinata instructed, “this time look at me, okay?”
Tobio nodded, convincing himself that at least after this he would know how to slow dance. If it ever came up. Does dancing come up often in life?
Tobio felt Hinata push him slightly with their joined hands. He locked eyes with Hinata. Quickly, Hinata’s eyes darted to the side and back again. The hand on Tobio’s waist slid him to the left.
As the guitar cried, Tobio wondered if this was how his spikers felt when he led them on the court. Plays on the court looked more exciting than this slow dance, but Tobio’s heart was racing like he was two sets deep into a game. He wasn’t used to this feeling, on or off the court. He wasn’t a conductor. With every subtle push or pull, Tobio felt like an instrument under Hinata’s hands.
Tobio had another thought.
“Why is this song your favorite, right now?”
Hinata’s eyes darted away again. “It’s dreamy. Summer always feels like a dream, I guess.”
“I think it’s lonely,” Tobio mumbled.
“Summer can be like that, too, I guess.” The amusement that had been painted so brightly against Hinata’s face was fading as the song finished. The first firework shot up into the sky.
“You don’t have to be lonely,” Tobio said, hating the far off look in Hinata’s eyes.
“What was that,” Hinata yelled over the din of the show.
Tobio shook his head, not willing to repeat himself.
Hinata turned to look at the fireworks as they danced across the sky, one after another. He let go of Tobio’s waist, but as they separated, he kept a hold of Tobio’s hand.
He continued to sway to the beat of the finished tune.