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from your mortal enemy (with love)

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1.

“So,” Mattsun drawls lazily. He pokes his straw into the lid of his chocolate milk, and then sips at it in an obnoxiously loud manner. Mattsun’s daily pre-practice chocolate milk tradition has to be one of the weirdest things about him, but Tooru has habits that are just as weird, probably, so he resigns himself to accompanying Mattsun to the vending machines every day without complaint.

Also included in Mattsun’s long list of weird habits is his tendency to be annoyingly cryptic whenever he starts up a conversation. 

“So?” Tooru prompts, a bit distracted, not daring to look up from his phone because the preview for the sequel to his favorite alien-monster movie is supposed to be coming out momentarily, and he absolutely needs to watch it as soon as it drops. He keeps refreshing the Twitter page every two seconds, but nothing happens. He huffs in frustration. “What is it?”

“So, don’t look — and I mean it, Oikawa, seriously — but the captain of the baseball team is totally checking you out right now.”

Tooru very nearly drops his phone. “What?” he wheezes. It takes every single bit of willpower in his body to stay facing Mattsun instead of turning around immediately and making direct eye contact with the captain of the baseball team in question. He pockets his phone, preview forgotten, and squirms in place. “What could that brute of a man possibly want with me?

Mattsun stares at him like he’s an idiot. “Did you not hear what I just said? He’s checking you out, it’s kind of obvious what he wants.” His eyes widen as they flit to a spot over Tooru’s shoulder. “Oh, no… He’s heading over right now. And his sleeves are rolled up so his muscles are just out there. Yeah, I’m gonna dip.”

“Mattsun,” Tooru hisses, frantic. He reaches out quickly and latches onto Mattsun's arm, digging his nails into his skin. “Don’t you dare leave. I need you here.”

“For what?” Mattsun asks, indignant, doing his best to wriggle away from Tooru; he vaguely resembles a worm on a string.

“Emotional support!”

“Yeah, not doing that. Bye.” He somehow manages to weasel his way out of Tooru’s grip and also immediately vanish into a nearby group of chatty second-years. Another one of Mattsun’s quirks: he can quite literally disappear and reappear whenever he damn well pleases. Tooru thinks that it has to be a superpower, what with Mattsun’s looming height, which should render his little disappearing act near impossible.

All in all, Tooru is envious. His own superpowers seem to be limited to the ability to attract stupid hunky angry baseball captains, but only at the worst possible times. Tooru is supposed to be watching a preview for his favorite movie’s sequel right now, dammit. Plus, he’s having a dreadful hair day.

“Hey,” a familiar voice sounds. Tooru curses beneath his breath and messes with his fringe for just a second before turning around to see the one and only Annoying Asshole Baseball Captain standing right behind him. His impossibly thick arms crossed over his impossibly wide chest, hair as wildly spikey as ever, face all sharp and hard lines. Tooru detests him. Why did the all-powerful beings that are in charge of this sick and twisted world have to make Tooru’s mortal enemy so damn hot?

“Oh, hello, Iwaizumi,” Tooru greets, making sure that his tone is as snide as humanly possible. “How are you doing today? Well, I hope.”

Iwaizumi’s eyebrows pull downward and his forehead wrinkles. It’s extremely unattractive. “Why do you sound like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like you’re constipated.”

Tooru gasps indignantly. “What — you — shut up!

Iwaizumi has the audacity to laugh. “What, got no fancy comeback ready? Thought you were quicker than that," he says, and his eyes crinkle at the corners. I really do hate you, Tooru thinks, and he definitely doesn’t eye the exposed skin of his well-muscled forearms below the folded cuffs of his pleasantly disheveled button-up shirt. 

“I’m quicker than you’ll ever be, Iwa-chan,” Tooru claims, and watches as Iwaizumi’s eyes flash with something unidentifiable as the nickname leaves his mouth. “What do you want with me, anyway? Class just let out and I really should be getting to my practice. We have tournaments to win and other teams to humiliate, after all.”

Iwaizumi blinks slowly, unimpressed. “I actually came to talk to you about something important,” he says, which is a first. Usually they just pass each other in the hallway and glare. Well, Tooru glares. Iwaizumi tends to roll his eyes or just straight-up ignore him.

Tooru, in turn, ignores the reluctant excitement building in the pit of his stomach. He cocks a brow, puts a hand on his hip, and waits.

“Seriously, it’s important.” Iwaizumi says. He rubs at the back of his neck awkwardly. “Look, I kinda hate to do this, but we’re scheduled to use gym two in the morning. For conditioning.”

Tooru blinks. “We?” he repeats.

“The baseball team,” Iwaizumi clarifies.

Tooru laughs. It’s obnoxiously fake and causes Iwaizumi’s face to screw up in distaste. “Sorry, but it seems as though there’s been a horrible case of misinformation, Iwa-chan. The volleyball team always uses that gym for morning practice, and we certainly would have been informed if this were no longer the case.”

“Okay, well, I talked to the Athletic Director just this morning about it, and she said that the baseball team gets it, too,” Iwaizumi says, clearly not budging on this. “So we’re gonna have to split it, or something. You use one half of the gym, and we’ll use the other. Easy compromise.”

The thing is, Tooru is a really, really stubborn person. Especially when it comes to the things he cares about. And, in order of least to most importance, his top three priorities at this very moment happen to be his nightly skincare routine, the damn preview for the sequel of his favorite alien-monster movie which may or may not have dropped during this ridiculous and unnecessarily long conversation, and the first is, of course, volleyball.

And there’s no way that Tooru will be made to share the gym that his volleyball team uses for morning practice.

“No fucking way,” Tooru protests, tone immediately sobering and turning sour. “Just use your court!”

“Field,” Iwaizumi corrects. “It’s literally just until the spring showers let up and the field isn’t so wet in the mornings. Two weeks at most. And you’re saying you’re not going to let us use your gym with you? Are you really that selfish?”

“I don’t care how long it takes. Gym two has always belonged to the volleyball team, and that will never change. Your baseball conditioning is not volleyball, therefore your team will not step foot into my gym,” Tooru tells him. Iwaizumi’s eyes flash again, this time in something akin to annoyance. Tooru doesn’t care; the only thing he cares to gain from this stupid conversation is Iwaizumi’s irritation. If he also ends up fist-fighting him, then that would be okay. Tooru would possibly even accept a little make-out session, as well. That thought is proceedingly banished from his traitorous brain.

He takes a step closer to Iwaizumi and says, “You’re going to have to pry this gym away from my cold, dead hands if you really want it, Iwa-chan.”

Iwaizumi leans in and grins without any humor. “Bring it on, Pretty Boy.”

 

 

1 ½.

As it turns out, Iwaizumi doesn’t have to do much prying in the first place. In the middle of afternoon practice, Aoba Johsai’s very own infamous Athletic Director — an ancient woman by the name of Hagiwara who is generally avoided by the majority of the student population on account of her perpetual annoyance at the incompetence of the sports program — shoulders her way into the gym. Never a welcome sight, everyone stills and watches in trepidation as she pulls both Irihata and Mizoguchi aside. The three of them then proceed to have the world’s most intense two-minute long conversation, during which both coaches look down at their shoes like they’re being scolded by their mother. After she departs with a final glare sent Tooru’s way, Irihata beckons him over with a wave of his hand. The cold sensation of complete and utter dread washes over Tooru. 

This is really not looking good.

“You’re going to have to share the gym with the boy’s baseball team for morning practice,” Irihata informs him, tone completely no-nonsense, which unfortunately leaves very little room for argument. “It’s been raining almost every morning and they need somewhere warm and dry for conditioning. You can split the gym in two and use one court instead of two.”

“But Coach—”

Mizoguchi huffs out a sigh because much like Hagiwara, he’s literally always exasperated with the volleyball team’s uncompromising hopelessness. He butts in before Irihata is given the chance to respond. “Listen, Oikawa. We don’t like it either, but it’s in our best interest to let them use our gyms for a couple of weeks until the rainy season finishes up. Then we can just go back to normal. It’s just for morning practice, anyway. You can deal.”

“I don’t like the baseball team,” Oikawa mutters, and he says the same thing to Mattsun and Kunimi later on, when the three of them are supposed to be in the middle of a spiking drill. Tooru has been not-so-subtly sulking for the whole practice. Kunimi looks about as tired of Tooru's antics as his permanently bored expression allows. Mattsun is sitting on the floor, picking stray strings off of the hem of his practice shirt. Tooru pays neither of them much attention as he continues to lament. “Why did it have to be the baseball team? They’re a bunch of egotistical, pigheaded, obnoxious children who don’t practice acceptable human hygiene and their arm muscles are so stupid. Who cares about big biceps, anyway?”

Kunimi says nothing, which is to be expected. Tooru thinks he’s probably just glad that he’s not being forced into practicing. Mattsun snorts. “You know, they probably say the same thing about you. Well, maybe not your arm muscles, since yours are pretty scrawny, but still. Hey, how do you manage to do your crazy jump serves when your arms are built like that?”

Mattsun is obviously exaggerating, Tooru’s arms are absolutely above-average in both size and definition, but anyone’s arms would look like twigs when compared to Iwaizumi’s. His arms always seem to be permanently flexed, even when they’re lax at his sides, and he sometimes rolls his sleeves up all the way to his shoulder and Tooru knows he does it on purpose so that people stare at his stupid muscles. Tooru probably stares, too, and Iwaizumi definitely knows it. Tooru hates him.

“He’s thinking about Iwaizumi’s biceps right now,” Mattsun stage whispers to Kunimi, who just sighs tiredly in response. “You can tell because he looks frustrated, both mentally and sexually.”

“Oikawa! Why the hell aren’t you setting!” Mizoguchi bellows from across the gym. Mattsun laughs at Tooru’s expense because he is an asshole. “You too, Matsukawa, I better see your ass off the floor in two seconds!” 

Tooru shoots him a smug grin, to which Mattsun casually flips him the bird.

Kunimi sighs again. “Can we just get this over with? I wanna go home.”

 

 

2.

The following day is practically the same as always. Tooru gets up in the morning, washes his face, mourns the appearance of dark circles beneath his eyes after a meager three hours of sleep, and tries his best to cover them up with an old tube of his sister’s cakey concealer. He brushes teeth, then his hair, and styles it to perfection. He changes into his school uniform, shoves his practice clothes into his volleyball bag, and says goodbye to his sister and Takeru, who are both eating breakfast at the kitchen table. “Smell ya later, Tooru!” Takeru says, because he’s at that age now where he says weird and somewhat-crude things for no reason other than he can. Tooru scowls at him and leaves.

It’s raining outside, a light drizzle with fog that clouds the morning light, so Tooru takes out his umbrella. He likes it when it rains, and he hums as he steps around small puddles. The air smells sweeter, too.

Of course, the downside of this is that all of the fields on Aoba Johsai's campus are muddy with puddles. By extension, this means that all of those sports teams have to move their morning practices indoors. And, of course, the only conclusion to be drawn from this observation is that the baseball team has to seize half of gym two without Tooru’s permission because Hagiwara hates him for literally no reason at all.

All of this is to say that Tooru had forgotten about yesterday's debacle, up until the moment that he leaves the clubroom and gym two itself comes into view and stupid fucking Iwaizumi is there, leaning against the door. He’s grinning, a bit smug, and his face is annoyingly handsome. He looks like a total asshole with his dumb arms crossed over his dumb chest and Tooru hates him. He really does.

“I need a key,” Iwaizumi announces as soon as Tooru is in earshot.

“Take that up with your best friend, Hagiwara-san, you jerk,” Tooru says, shoving past Iwaizumi to unlock the gym door. He anticipates that Iwaizumi will try to push his way in, so Tooru attempts to seal it shut behind him as quickly as possible. Iwaizumi, who had in turn anticipated Tooru’s pettiness, is already there, inserting his entire body in the crack and shoving back because he’s a huge, giant asshole. They squabble for a few moments, slapping at each other and pushing against the door from either side, eventually yelling incoherently at each other before someone who is decidedly not Iwaizumi clears their throat. Tooru lets go of the door; Iwaizumi, who had been leaning all of his weight against it, almost falls flat on his face.

Mattsun is standing just behind him, and right next to him is a guy with pink hair. Tooru thinks he’s seen him sitting with Iwaizumi at lunch before, but he’s honestly not completely certain. They’re both under the same umbrella which Pink Guy is holding above their heads. Him and Mattsun have the same eyes, heavy-lidded like they’re tired in every way imaginable.

“Captains,” Pink Guy greets. Mattsun nods at them in acknowledgement. “Are you two busy? Should Issei and I run our respective practices today so that you can work through your extreme case of sexual tension? We’re both vice-captains, you know, so we totally could.”

"Yeah. Hiro and I are more than capable."

Tooru huffs, indignant. “How do you two know each other?”

“We don’t,” Mattsun answers, at the same time that Pink Guy says, “We’re best friends.”

“Why are you on a first-name basis?” Iwaizumi asks, face screwing up.

“Mind your business, dude,” Pink Guy says good-naturedly, and he pushes past Iwaizumi to get into the gym.

Mattsun turns to Tooru. “I forgot my umbrella this morning, but I ran into Hiro on the way to school so he let me huddle under his umbrella with him. It was pretty romantic, not gonna lie. Think I’m in love.”

“Gross,” both Tooru and Iwaizumi say, noses scrunched in mutual disgust.

Mattsun snorts. “Jinx. You both owe me a soda.”

Tooru lets his head thunk against the cold metal of the door.

 

 

3.

Tooru is supposed to be organizing the paperwork for the upcoming training camp that Irihata had arranged with a few nearby college teams; instead, he is watching old volleyball videos on his phone. It’s well past the end of practice, and it’s a Saturday. He should be home by now. He is not.

The lights in the clubroom flicker. He sighs, pulling his earbuds out of his ears, and lets his forehead rest against the skin of his knees. The door has been propped open to air out the clubroom because it smells like dried sweat and dirty socks and Tooru cannot recall the last time he’d seen his underclassmen wash their kneepads. He’s lucky that Mattsun doesn’t wear kneepads anymore because he'd always refused to wash them, citing some bullshit about luck and superstitions. Tooru thinks they ought to get some scented plug-ins, or even just a diffuser, at the very least.

The steady beating of the rain outside and on the roof is comforting, in a way, a calming cadence of tapping. He has an umbrella, so he’ll have no problem getting home, but it feels nice to stay here, to listen to the rain and feel the brisk, refreshing chill in the air, spreading its sweetness further into the clubroom. 

Tooru closes his eyes.

“Hey,” a familiar voice calls. “...You okay?”

Tooru startles, then looks up, bleary. He can’t make out the person standing in the doorway, because he'd had a late start this morning and hadn't been able to put in his contacts, forced to settle for his back-up glasses instead. (The image of Oikawa Tooru in nerdy browlines had regrettably been a huge talking point in gossip circles all throughout campus; Mattsun himself had made sure of it.) Currently, the glasses are shoved somewhere in the depths of his backpack because they were giving him a headache during practice. He’ll have to rummage around to find them, which is a whole mess on its own. 

He squints. He still only sees a distorted blob of a person. “I’m okay,” he answers hesitantly. Then flashes a winning smile for the stranger. “I was just leaving.”

“Okay… Why are you squinting like that? You look constipated again.”

Oh. It’s Iwaizumi. Tooru is almost angry at himself for not recognizing the lilt of his voice and the vague outline of his spiky hair. He sniffs, then turns to feel around for his bag. “I didn't wear my contacts today. I have to put on my glasses and then I’ll be good to go.”

Iwaizumi, the asshole, snorts. “You wear glasses?”

Tooru turns toward him and scowls. “What’s so weird about that? And why are you even still here? Shouldn’t you be home already, Iwa-chan?”

“Had stuff to take care of with my managers,” Iwaizumi says, and there's still humor in his voice. “You need help?”

“Absolutely not.” Tooru’s hands finally close around the case. He takes it out of his bag, slides them out of their case and onto his nose. His eyes adjust to see Iwaizumi standing in the middle of the club room, blinking at him and looking struck dumb, for some reason. There’s a brief silence.

“Cute,” Iwaizumi says, sounding a bit like it’s a revelation.

Tooru sputters and stares at Iwaizumi for a long moment that is probably way past the socially-acceptable three-second limit. He then tries to distract his rapidly beating heart from Iwaizumi’s admission by talking at him in a nonsensical panic. “Are you just here to make fun of me, Iwaizumi? Huh? Believe it or not, I’ve already gotten the message. You’re superior to me because you can flex your giant muscles and get the Athletic Director to give you half of our gym, so whatever. I don’t need you to come into my club room and tease me, too. I’d prefer it if you left me alone now.”

Iwaizumi laughs out loud, the asshole. “What the hell are you even talking about?” Then he pauses to actually think about Tooru’s words. “You think my muscles are big?”

Tooru gapes at him. “You've tricked me,” he accuses after a beat, thoroughly mortified. “I hate you.”

Iwaizumi laughs again. He stands up straight and hefts his backpack and baseball bag up onto his shoulders. “Sure. I’ll see you around, Oikawa.”

“Whatever,” Tooru mutters, a bit belated as he watches Iwaizumi turn and head back to the open door. Of course, because Iwaizumi is one of the world’s worst people (right up there with stupid Ushiwaka and annoying Tobio), he turns to see Tooru watching him and grins. And he winks. Then he leaves, just like that.

Tooru remains on the gym floor for a bit longer than he’d actually planned. The stupid rain and chill in the air do nothing to cool down the heat in his cheeks.

 

 

3 ½.

“The captain keeps looking at you,” Kyoutani informs Tooru bluntly.

They were supposed to be doing butterfly drills, but ever since the baseball team commandeered half of the gym in the mornings, they’d been forced to keep the drills to a smaller scale. Most of the team members have had no complaints, but Tooru actually likes butterfly drills. It’s better than standing in a line and attempting to receive Mizoguchi’s spikes, which are always aimed at their faces. Why Mizoguchi even opts to show up to morning practice is beyond Tooru — probably just to yell at them a bit more.

Tooru blinks and looks at Kyoutani, who is apparently one hundred percent serious.

“Shut up!” Tooru tells him loudly. Then he pauses and says at a lower volume, “Really?”

Kyoutani levels him with a resigned look. “You’re so damn annoying.”

“That’s no way to talk to your captain!” Tooru says, scandalized.

Mattsun appears just behind Tooru. “It’s truly amazing how you notice everything except when the hot baseball captain is checking you out.”

“Stop saying that he’s checking me out!” Tooru hisses. 

“But he is,” Kyoutani grumbles. “Just look at him. Jesus.”

Tooru huffs, but steels himself and glances over at the baseball team’s side of the gymnasium.

Sure enough, Iwaizumi is looking at him. When Tooru makes eye contact, Iwaizumi shoots him a grin, like they're sharing an inside joke or something, and then turns back and resumes guiding the team through their conditioning reps.

“Wow, your face just got like, super red,” Mattsun marvels. “Do you... Hold on, do you like him?”

“No!” Tooru exclaims, much too quick to not be suspicious. “That was — he was provoking me, just now. He was most certainly not checking me out. We’re enemies!”

“Enemies to friends to lovers,” Kunimi mutters as he passes by. Mattsun reaches out to give him a high-five. Kyoutani has to hide an ugly snort-laugh into the collar of his shirt.

“I hate you all,” Tooru tells them, and receives a spike to the face from Mizoguchi for not paying attention. 

 

 

4.

For all of his supposed obliviousness when it comes to certain hot baseball captains showing apparent interest in him, Tooru isn’t stupid.

He’s aware of the effect that his smiles and fancy hair has on people. He knows that he probably receives more confessions than the average third-year student. So it’s really only fair that he accepts the occasional confession every now and then. After all, his sister told him that that’s what people do in high school. And there’s nothing wrong with accepting gifts and agreeing to hang out with people he thinks he may be able to like, eventually. First dates are fun. They’re awkward and uncomfortable and new, but fun all the same.

He has never actually been stood-up on a date, though, so this is certainly a first.

It’s quite depressing, if he’s being honest. It’s a Sunday night so the interior of the family restaurant is crowded with kids and friends and other couples on dates, and Tooru is very obviously and glaringly alone. He can feel their eyes flitting to him every now and then, making him unnecessarily self-conscious. And if the waitress gives him the same damn sympathetic look she’s been giving him all night one more time, he seriously might just lose it.

He should’ve known better than to trust Ishida from the tennis team, because although he did ask Tooru out, and although he is relatively popular and handsome and well-liked, he is known by many within the Aoba Johsai student community to be a bit of a flake. Well. A huge flake, really. Like, it's practically his defining quality. Shame on Tooru for not predicting this outcome.

He sighs for probably the hundredth time, sipping from his second glass of water. He has little hope of Ishida showing up at this point, so he rests his head on his hand and considers his options. Would it look pathetic to leave now, or to wait it out a bit until the other patrons leave? Maybe he can escape out a nearby window when nobody's looking. Or pretend to go to the restroom when he’s really leaving through the back door. He fiddles with the straw wrapper, tearing it into tiny, even pieces.

Tooru honestly can’t believe that he’d been daydreaming about this date earlier that day. Now that his daydreams have been well and properly abandoned because common courtesy very clearly does not exist, he’s thinking about all the better ways that he could be spending his time. He could be reviewing old Shiratorizawa volleyball videos and watching that new UFO documentary that’s supposed to be airing, and he could be in bed and catching up on sleep, too. He sighs and buries his head in his hands, and almost allows himself to succumb to the feeling of complete and total mortification when suddenly he hears someone slide into the seat across from him.

Tooru looks up and blinks in surprise at the sight that awaits him. “Iwa-chan?” 

“Sorry I’m late,” Iwaizumi says, and he grabs a menu and begins to peruse the choices for appetizers as if nothing here is out of the ordinary, as if he’s actually meant to be Tooru’s date. Tooru doesn’t really process what is happening at first. Iwaizumi is sitting across from him with his dumb face and thick eyebrows and big muscles. He’s wearing a worn denim jacket over a faded t-shirt and Tooru wonders if he always dresses like that outside of school, because it certainly isn’t a bad look. He keeps talking as if Tooru isn’t just sitting there and staring at him like a complete idiot. “I got a bit caught up. The train was delayed.”

Tooru gapes at him. “Um?” he says, unable to say anything else.

Iwaizumi glances up at him, raises a brow, as if challenging Tooru to call him out. Tooru does not, instead looking down at his own menu which he’d been staring at for the past half-hour, and tries not to audibly sigh in relief when the rest of the patrons begin to lose poorly-concealed interest in Tooru’s near-disastrous situation. 

“Date didn’t show?” Iwaizumi eventually asks at a lower volume, but he’s not looking up.

Tooru’s pride is still wounded but he owes it to Iwaizumi to actually be nice, considering the fact that he swooped in like some sort of hero and made Tooru look less like a pathetic loser. Tooru grits out, “No, he didn’t.”

“He?” Iwaizumi repeats, eyes finally flicking up.

“Yeah, he. Hope that’s not a problem,” Tooru says, voice cold. In reality, if he got that vibe he’d already be out of the door, but self-preservation is always important.

To Tooru’s surprise, Iwaizumi grins. It’s lopsided but it stretches across his face in the most appealing way, damn him. “Not at all. In fact, it’s kinda nice knowing that I have a chance.”

Tooru chokes on his own spit, and the coughing fit prompts Iwaizumi to push his glass of water towards him without looking up. “What — what did you just say?”

Iwaizumi ignores him in favor of flagging down the waitress who is now all pleasant smiles when she takes his order. Tooru is almost too shocked to be able to recite his own, but then she’s gone with the menus and now there’s no more pretenses of a barrier between the two of them. Iwaizumi’s eyes are piercing as he sits there and looks at Tooru; so is his dumb handsome smile. “I said, it’s nice knowing that I have a chance,” Iwaizumi repeats bluntly. “And, for what it’s worth, whoever stood you up is a moron.” 

Tooru blinks. “Well, it would take a lot more than this to bruise Oikawa-san’s unwavering ego and impenetrable sense of self-confidence. But… thank you,” he says, quiet and genuine. He sends Iwaizumi a small smile.

“Jesus,” Iwaizumi mutters, and he crosses his arms over his chest and pointedly does not look at Tooru’s face.

“What?”

“You just — your smile.”

Tooru frowns. Does he have something in his teeth? “What about it?”

“I don’t know if I’ve seen the real one, before now. It’s… You’re beautiful,” Iwaizumi says, and he’s seemingly completely serious too, which. What the hell.

“What the hell,” Tooru hisses, and covers his face with his hands so that Iwaizumi can’t see how tomato-red he'd undoubtedly just gone. “How can you just say things like that!”

“‘Cause it’s true, dumbass,” Iwaizumi grunts. “I’m sure your fanbase tells you that on a regular basis.”

“Well, yes, but — ”

“But?” Iwaizumi raises an eyebrow.

“They don’t — it’s not — you’re supposed to be my mortal enemy!”

Iwaizumi stares. “You’re still hung up on that shit?” He leans forward. “Listen, I know you were upset about the whole gym thing, but we're really only using it until the rainy season ends, which should be within the next couple of weeks. I thought we were getting along, actually.”

“We are,” Tooru hastily amends. “At least, I think.”

Iwaizumi raises that damn brow again.

“Kyouken-chan said you were staring at me during practice,” Tooru blurts. Then he feels like a dumbass. “Well, he and Mattsun said that you were checking me out, and Kunimi-chan agreed, but I don’t believe that for a second.”

“You should, ‘cause I was. But I’ll stop if it makes you uncomfortable.” Iwaizumi says. “And Kyouken-chan?”

“The ace on our team,” Tooru supplies, now thoroughly embarrassed, blush intensifying the more Iwaizumi talks. He’s trying very hard not to focus on the fact that Iwaizumi openly admitted to checking him out. It is a difficult feat. “His name is Kyoutani but I call him Kyouken-chan. I like to give my teammates nicknames.”

“Oh, I know Kyoutani,” Iwaizumi says. He rests his head on his hand. “He challenges me to a lot of things, for some reason. Like arm wrestling competitions and that kind of shit.” Tooru does not let his gaze flit to Iwaizumi’s biceps, as much as he may want to check them out. “You know he joins our practices on Monday, since you guys have the day off.”

Tooru’s jaw drops. “He joins baseball practice? That traitor!” he exclaims. “Monday is supposed to be our rest day!”

Iwaizumi actually laughs. “Don’t be so hard on him. He’s a good kid. Although he does keep getting into fights with our pitcher.”

“Your pitcher?”

“Yahaba,” Iwaizumi answers. “You know. Tall, scrappy, got hair that's kind of like a creampuff.”

Tooru, oddly, knows exactly who Iwaizumi is talking about. Yahaba is actually in student government along with Tooru, but they’ve never formally met because the second-year gets into quite a lot of fights which result in quite a lot of detentions, meaning he hasn’t been to their meetings since the very first one at the beginning of the school year. Another overeager second-year with a shaved head and puppy dog eyes fills in for him. “I know Yahaba-chan, kind of. He’s quite the character.”

Iwaizumi laughs. “Yeah. He’s a huge pain in my ass, since he has to miss so many practices for detention — you know, because he's always trying to start fights with people. But he’s a damn good pitcher. When he’s in detention, Kindaichi takes over.”

Tooru hums again and then there’s a few beats of silence in which Iwaizumi looks completely at ease, which kind of pisses Tooru off because he should be sweating just as much as Tooru is, dammit. First dates are fun but they’re also awkward and uncomfortable, especially when they’re with people like Iwaizumi Hajime, who doesn’t seem like he should be a natural conversationalist but is anyway

“So,” Tooru begins, awkward. “Baseball.”

Iwaizumi sends him an amused look. “Yeah.”

“Yahaba-chan is your pitcher, then? What position do you play?” he asks. He knows nothing about baseball but doesn’t want to ask about any of the rules or specifics because he doesn’t want to come off as an idiot any more than he already has.

Iwaizumi shrugs. “Depends. I’m the third baseman for our team, but I’ve been a catcher before. Played outfield, too. Was never all that good at pitching, as much as I tried.”

“Ah, yes. Catcher. Outfield.” Tooru prays to the gods above to please let him die at this very moment so he no longer has to be acquainted with the feeling of overwhelming embarrassment.

Iwaizumi just snorts. “You don’t have to pretend to be interested in baseball for me, you know.”

“Oh, thank goodness,” Tooru says, slumping. “I don’t know anything about it.”

Iwaizumi laughs again. “Don’t expect you to, since you're the star of the volleyball team.”

Tooru preens. “My reputation precedes me, I see. Well, Iwa-chan, let me tell you a little bit about my sport. I play the position of —”

“Setter,” Iwaizumi interrupts. “I know.”

Tooru blinks.

“I play volleyball too,” Iwaizumi says. Then frowns. “Or, I did. Mostly on club teams, but in high school I fully transitioned to baseball. I guess I haven’t played in a couple years.”

“Iwa-chan played volleyball?” Tooru gapes at him. “You’re ten times more interesting, now! Why wouldn’t you tell me that from the start? And why would you ever even settle on baseball ?”

Iwaizumi rolls his eyes. “I like baseball. Plus, height is not as much of a factor in baseball as it is in volleyball. If I had gone for volleyball, then I doubt I would’ve been scouted for college teams. I want a good scholarship, you know.”

Tooru nods sagely. “Iwa-chan is pretty short.”

He sighs. “You’re making it really hard not to yell at you.”

“It’s a talent.”

Iwaizumi grins again, and does it again over food when Tooru’s nerves finally ease up and it becomes infinitely easier to just sit and… talk to Iwaizumi. Which is what he does. He sits at a small table in the middle of a crowded restaurant where he’d just been stood-up by some flakey asshole on the tennis team, and Iwaizumi is sitting across from him and laughing about the story Tooru had just told about Mattsun and how he’d accidentally locked himself in one of the storage closets during last year's summer training camp and fallen asleep on a stack of dusty old gym mats. Iwaizumi then proceeds to tell him about his friend Takahiro on the baseball team and how he’d not-so-accidentally shaved his own eyebrows off during a team bonding sleepover; they apparently have yet to grow back.

After they’re done eating, Iwaizumi hastily shoves a bunch of bills at the waitress as soon as she drops by with the check because he’s a brute with no manners. He doesn’t even ask Tooru if he’s alright with him paying, or if they should split the check. He just does it, which should be annoying, but really, Tooru just finds himself blushing.

“Let me walk you home,” Iwaizumi tells him as they exit. It’s not even a question.

Tooru is usually the one that makes all of the moves on dates like these. He is not at all used to people offering to do the same; he finds that he really, really likes the feeling. He says, “Okay.”

And Iwaizumi does. Apparently he lives in the same neighborhood as Tooru anyway, so it’s not like he’s going out of his way. Or that’s what he says on the train ride back, arm behind Tooru’s head to hold onto one of the above handles. And when Tooru suppresses a shiver at chilly night air when they step back outside, Iwaizumi is quick to shove his jean jacket at him. It’s big in the shoulder area and Tooru quickly burrows into it, even if the hem is a little short.

And then Iwaizumi insists on walking Tooru up his street and to his front door, and Tooru realizes, very belatedly, that everything about this night was literally just like a date. Like, almost textbook. Accompanying this thought is the sudden realization that Tooru actually enjoyed it — enjoyed spending time with Iwaizumi, even if he is more blunt than suave and could probably stand to brush his hair every now and then.

And despite the fact that Iwaizumi Hajime is kind of his mortal enemy, Tooru thinks that he looks really, really good when he’s backlit by the lamps on the street Tooru grew up on.

“Um,” he starts, fiddling with his keychain. He has a brief moment to ask himself what the fuck am I doing? but by then the words are already leaving his impulsive mouth. “Do you want to come inside? We could watch a movie, or… Or something.”

Iwaizumi’s eyes are on his fingers. “You like Godzilla?”

“What?”

“Your keychain,” Iwaizumi reaches out and touches it, the tiny Godzilla figure strung on the ring, right next to the alien head and the volleyball. His keys jangle.

Tooru blinks. “Well, I like all kaiju. Mothra’s my favorite, though.”

Iwaizumi stares at him with a weird expression on his face.

“What?” Tooru asks, fighting his own self-consciousness. 

Iwaizumi shakes his head. “It’s nothing, you’re just, like…  Really stunning. Probably the most gorgeous person I’ve ever seen. Also, you have great taste in movies.” Tooru gapes at him, face on fire. Iwaizumi continues anyway. “I can’t stay, because we’ve got an early practice tomorrow morning to prep for next week’s practice match, but I want to. Maybe another time, if that’s okay with you.” Because Iwaizumi remains a total mystery to Tooru, he leans forward and brushes his chapped lips against Tooru’s cheek. Tooru, too stunned to do or say anything, just nods dumbly when Iwaizumi says, “See you on Monday.”

And then Iwaizumi just… leaves.

All thoughts of his shitty day and being sort of stood up forgotten, Tooru stands on his front doorstep and proceeds to lose his entire mind. He doubles over, hands on his knees, heart pounding with adrenaline, and thinks he may very well throw up. He then recognizes the odd sensation in his stomach to be butterflies, and this is terrible. This is awful.

This is amazing. He just went on a kinda-not-really-date with Iwaizumi Hajime. That guy’s his enemy, and he's rude and annoying and he stole half of the volleyball team's gym for his dumb morning baseball conditioning, and Tooru went on a date with him.

The front door bursts open and Takeru is right there, looking vaguely miffed. “Who was that?”

Tooru yelps in surprise. “What — Takeru, what are you doing? Isn’t it past your bedtime?”

Takeru, the brat, has absolutely no verbal filter, so he just comes out and asks, “Did you make out?” at full volume, voice echoing down the empty street. Tooru watches as a light flickers on in their neighbor’s house and he wants nothing more than to sink into the earth, dragging Takeru down with him.

“Were you watching the entire time? You creep!” Tooru whisper-shouts. His face is burning yet again, although this time his embarrassment is tinged with annoyance and not the contentment that has been a welcome recurrence throughout the night.

Takeru turns back into the house, yelling, “Mom! Tooru went on a date and he was making out with some guy on our doorstep!”

“Snitch!” Tooru screeches, chasing him inside, only just managing to kick off his shoes in the genkan. Takeru tears up the stairs on all fours like he’s a wild animal or something, and Tooru stands at the base and yells up, “We were not making out! Mind your own business, you gremlin!” And then he turns and yells, “Nee-chan, can you please tame your brat of a son?”

“Stop antagonizing him, Tooru,” Tomoko’s tired voice sounds. Tooru stumbles upon her in the kitchen, wiping down the counters with a rag. The cleaner smells fresh; the entire room smells like lemongrass and mint. Tomoko looks up at him, giving him a once-over. “You didn’t tell me you were going on a date.”

“I got stood up,” Tooru protests, voice sour as he leans against the fridge.

Tomoko’s eyebrow quirks. “So who was kissing you on our front doorstep?”

Tooru’s head falls into his hands. “We weren’t — Nee-chan, why the hell are you listening to Takeru? Iwa-chan just kissed me on the cheek, is all. After... After walking me home from dinner.”

“Iwa-chan? Dinner?” Tomoko raises a thin brow and suppresses a smile.

“That’s just what I call him,” Tooru explains. “I am not justifying myself to you, of all people —”

“Is that even your jacket?”

Tooru opens his mouth, then closes it.

Tomoko actually laughs. “Yeah, that’s not really helping your case, Tooru. At least your new boyfriend is a gentleman, though. Maybe chivalry isn’t dead, after all.”

“We’re not dating, it just — we were — this was a one time thing.”

“Yeah?” Tomoko turns and levels a skeptical look at him. “Why’s that?”

Tooru huffs. “He’s my mortal enemy.”

There’s a good, solid five seconds in which Tomoko just stares at him with the most tired expression plastered all over her face; then, she turns around to go back to wiping down the counters. Her hand travels in rhythmic circles; her bracelets tap one another and they sound like windchimes. “I hope you know that you’re literally living out the plot of a shitty dorama.”

Tooru sputters but can come up with no good response to that; instead, he beats a hasty retreat, stomping up the stairs. Takeru laughs at him from behind the safety of the locked bathroom door. Tooru kicks at the door, then does it twice more for good measure; and then he stalks into his room and flops onto his bed and sighs.

And he thinks about Iwaizumi.

Iwaizumi’s arm just behind his head on the train, and Iwaizumi’s steady laugh, and Iwaizumi’s grey-green-brown eyes trained on his while Tooru tells a dumb, meaningless story. 

Tooru’s heartbeat picks up. He grabs the nearest pillow and screams into the cotton.

 

 

4 ½.

Of course, because Tooru’s luck is fickle at best, the moment he stumbles into the clubroom on Tuesday morning, he’s slapped in the face with Mattsun’s knowing smile.

“How was your date with Iwaizumi?” He asks, and he waggles his stupid big eyebrows. Everyone else looks up, expressions ranging from vaguely-interested (Kyoutani) to politely-uncaring (Kunimi).

Tooru glares at him. “Who told you?”

Mattsun grins. “Oh, I have my sources. It’s top secret stuff, dude. Couldn’t tell you even if I wanted to.”

“It was Hanamaki-san,” Kunimi informs Tooru as he makes his way out of the clubroom, already dressed. “He saw you two eating at a restaurant together and laughing and then he told Matsukawa-san about it because they’re dating but not really.”

Tooru and Mattsun watch, stunned, as Kunimi walks away. Mattsun sighs. “I can’t even be mad at him for spying on me. Our underclassman is just too cute. Plus, we could probably use his powers of observation for evil.”

“Oh, definitely,” Tooru begrudgingly agrees, before whirling back around and declaring, “It was not a date.” He begins to change out. “We just hung out and talked.”

“At a restaurant. Over dinner. And then he walked you home. Hey, is that his jacket in your locker?” Tooru slams his locker door shut. “Did he kiss you at your front doorstep?”

Tooru’s face goes bright red. “No,” he lies weakly. When Mattsun raises a judgemental eyebrow, Tooru explodes. “Just on the cheek! And you’re one to talk! Kunimi-chan said you’re dating Hanamaki!” He doesn’t really even know who that is but it’s leverage against Mattsun and his terrible ruthless interrogation.

“Well, he’s right. And jeez, Oikawa,” Mattsun huffs. “I mean, I was just joking about the whole kissing you at your front doorstep, but you know what? This is great. I think he'll be good for you. Seems as though he can put up with your endless amounts of bullshit.”

“I loathe you,” Tooru tells him. “He wasn’t even — I didn’t plan on going on a date with him. I was stood-up and he came in pretending to be my date so that I wouldn’t look like a total loser.”

Mattsun’s eyes widen and he whistles. “Pretty fucking nice of him, if you ask me. If that were me, I’d probably just leave your sorry ass to suffer alone.”

“I love my best friend Mattsun. I’d love him even more if he were nice to me,” Tooru says. Mattsun raises one of his eyebrows. “And it was so embarrassing, but yes, I suppose I do sort of appreciate Iwa-chan’s tireless sense of misplaced chivalry. It did get me a free dinner, after all.”

“Uh-huh,” Mattsun deadpans. “Listen, Hiro told me that they have their first practice game coming up this Saturday.”

“Hiro?”

“Takahiro. Hanamaki Takahiro, pink-haired second baseman on the baseball team, the boyfriend of yours truly. Please keep up.”

Wait. “Wait. Hanamaki is that pink-haired baseball guy with the jokes and the wisecracks? That’s who you’re dating?”

“Who the fuck did you think we were talking about?” Mattsun asks incredulously. “Yes, him. We text a lot. I was going to go to the game anyways, ‘cause practice always ends early on Saturday. You should come, too. I’m sure Iwaizumi would be delighted to see you.”

Tooru hesitates. “I don’t know. He’s still my rival.”

“Oikawa — no, Tooru — are you honestly telling me that you’re still stuck on that shit? You two are like, romantically involved now. Lives helplessly entwined. You’re soulmates, probably. Red string of fate and all.”

“Will you shut up!” Tooru yells. He stalks out of the club room, Mattsun not far behind, attempting to stifle his snickers into his knuckles.

 

 

4 ¾. 

That very same day, Iwaizumi marches into Tooru’s classroom during lunch, drops a bento with a Godzilla furoshiki down right in front of him, and then beats a hasty retreat. Tooru stares, stunned, as Iwaizumi’s back disappears through the doorway. Mattsun is completely silent for a moment, and then he laughs out loud.

“He’s, like, courting you. Do you realize that? This is a wooing. He’s wooing your sorry ass,” Mattsun says the following day, when Tooru is gifted with a box of chocolates shoved directly into his arms right after class ends. Tooru rolls his eyes, pops the lid open, and eats one. They’re homemade; they’re divine. How Iwaizumi found the time to do this, and then the bento yesterday, in between practices and school and homework, is beyond him. 

He thinks, probably a bit later than he should, that he ought to get Iwaizumi things in return. When he expresses this to Mattsun, however, he’s met with a look. “If you do that, then that’s basically admitting that you feel the same way, dude. It's like accepting a confession. Sure you're ready for that? You still seem pretty in denial about everything.”

Tooru does not mention it again. 

But when he’s walking back to the club rooms after Friday’s afternoon practice, and Iwaizumi is there, too, Tooru says, “So you have a practice match tomorrow?”

Iwaizumi nods slowly and hefts his baseball bag up higher onto his shoulder. “Yeah.”

“Okay. Do your best.”

Iwaizumi looks at him. “I will,” he says. “Your middle blocker is coming, right?”

“Mattsun? Yes,” Tooru confirms.

“So,” Iwaizumi trails off, and of course, now he has the nerve to look all bashful, which is annoyingly cute. Tooru wonders where the hell this face was during their kind-of-not-really date. “I mean, if you want — you don’t have to, but I think —”

“Iwa-chan,” Tooru interrupts. “The whole stumbling over your words thing doesn’t suit you.”

“You make this so difficult,” Iwaizumi tells him.

“This?” Tooru repeats.

Iwaizumi’s eyes soften. “Yeah. This.”

Tooru just looks at him.

“So, I don’t know. You can come tomorrow or not, but I think I might just play better if I know there’s someone in the bleachers cheering for me.”

Tooru tuts and picks up the pace. “And who said that I’d be cheering for you, in this scenario?”

“Nobody. Intuition. Instinct.” Iwaizumi pauses. “I’ll score a home run for you if you do.”

“How romantic,” Tooru says. They climb the stairs. “I’m swooning.”

“So you’ll come?”

“I’ll think about it.”

“Okay. You should, though.”

"Maybe."

“Fine.”

“Fine.” Tooru pauses in front of his clubroom door. “See you then.”

“Alright,” Iwaizumi says, stupidly, and Tooru feels the impression of his gaze on his back long after he’s retreated into the club room.

 

 

5.

One of the first things that Tooru learns about baseball is that their actual uniforms are different from their practice clothes. Very, very different. Instead of shorts, Iwaizumi is wearing pants. Baseball pants. They’re stark white, which Tooru imagines will be a pain to deal with in the wash after all of the diving and sliding in the dirt. They’re also form-fitting. Very form-fitting.

“Mattsun,” Tooru says, slapping at his arm, eyes trained on the field. “Their pants. Why — why do their pants… Why do they look like that?”

Mattsun grins wickedly. “Baseball pants, man. You know what they say.”

Tooru doesn’t know what they say but he’s past this conversation now, and is instead staring at Iwaizumi, who jogs over to his spot to the left of where the pitcher is. His jersey is light blue, the number four emblazoned proudly on the back. He has a cap on backwards, and eye-black high on his cheeks. A couple of girls in the bleachers cheer for him, but he either doesn't hear them or intentionally pays them no mind. He looks like a true captain, standing tall, casually warming-up by throwing to Hanamaki (who plays second base? Tooru still doesn’t really know) before the inning finally begins. 

It turns out, Iwaizumi’s arms aren’t just for appearances. His throws are powerful. His arms are big underneath the sleeves of his jersey, and they ride up when he cranks his arm to throw to first. He fields a couple of what Mattsun calls grounders, light on his feet yet sturdy and strong all the same. The top of this inning ends all too soon, and then it’s Seijoh’s turn to bat and Hanamaki is up first.

“He’s our leadoff,” Mattsun says proudly, as if that means anything to Tooru, but then Hanamaki hits the ball — a line drive, is what Mattsun says — and it flies past the other team’s third baseman and into the left side of the outfield. Hanamaki makes a run for first base, and he’s fast as hell. The ball is thrown to the first baseman but the ref calls him safe; Hanamaki then proceeds to stand on the base proudly and pop a bubble because apparently gum is allowed on the baseball field. Tooru is beginning to find this sport more and more intriguing. 

Two more people bat, one of whom gets on base, the other striking out. “Where’s Iwa-chan,” Tooru complains. He attempts to peer into the dugout where all of Seijoh’s team members are congregating, but something — someone — catches his eye, and Tooru stops short. His jaw drops. “Mattsun,” he says carefully, pointing directly into the dugout, right at a familiar head of bleached blond hair that resembles a fuzzy bumblebee. “Is that — is that Kyouken-chan?”

Mattsun follows his gaze, blinks for a moment, and then bursts out into laughter. “Dude, is he on the baseball team, too? This is fucking hilarious.”

Tooru gapes. “This is terrible, Mattsun! This is absolutely not allowed! I knew he was going to their practices, but this? How can he! He’s a traitor!”

“Chill out,” Mattsun tells him. The fucker is still trying to stifle his giggles. “He looks so happy down there.”

“He should be looking that happy playing volleyball, too, then,” Tooru grumbles. His attention is drawn away from the situation at hand when he sees Iwaizumi finally stride out of the dugout, wielding a bat in one hand and a helmet in the other, which he slides on over his cap.

He doesn’t really walk with swagger, just steady self-confidence. Before he steps into the batter’s box he looks up into the crowd and waves to the spectators — and his eyes catch on Tooru. He blinks, surprised, and then grins, toothy and genuine. He waves. Tooru flushes, then waves back.

“Wow,” Mattsun says. “You two are way more gross than me and Hiro.”

“We’re not dating, Mattsun, we can’t be gross,” Tooru protests, distracted as he watches Iwaizumi step up into the box at home plate.

Before Iwaizumi gets ready to swing his bat, he turns one last time and points it directly at Tooru in the bleachers. It’s as if he’s saying this one’s for you.

Tooru thinks he’s dying; this feeling only intensifies when Iwaizumi turns back around, brings his bat up, swings at the pitch, and makes hard contact on the first try. So much power goes into the hit — the ball arcs fast and high, but not too high — and it’s travelling through the air at the speed of fucking light, apparently, only to land just outside of the fence behind the outfield. 

Tooru gapes as Iwaizumi tosses his bat to the side and leisurely runs the bases. The rest of Seijoh’s team is spilling out of the dugout to crowd around home plate, and they cheer loudly when he finally makes it to home, slapping his helmet and patting him on the back. Before heading back into the dugout with the rest of his team, he looks back up to Tooru and grins again.

“Motherfucker just scored a home run for you,” Mattsun says, tone awash in awe. “You are definitely dating.”

 

 

5 ½. 

After the game, the visiting team heads to their bus, and Seijoh gathers in a circle in the outfield while their coach talks at them. They have two managers who seem to be pros at this whole baseball thing — they take a weird looking broom to make the dirt on the field even again, and then gather up all of their players' equipment into their bags. Tooru watches, fascinated, and when the team breaks off Hanamaki immediately appears.

“Yo,” he says. He’s still moderately sweaty in his uniform.

“Hey,” Mattsun says. “Good game. You still on for ramen?”

Hanamaki scoffs. “Obviously. And the bet was that you pay if we win. I’m gonna get the deluxe bowl with all the works, Issei. You,” Hanamaki points at Oikawa. “Dude. Iwaizumi played stupid good today. You should come to all of our practice games.”

Tooru scoffs. “As if I could do that! Being a captain for a different team means I also have responsibilities, you know.”

“Sure thing, dude. Still managed to come to this game, though. Hey, Kyoutani, great job.”

Kyoutani had batted wonderfully as a follow-up to Iwaizumi; he is also a liar and a traitor, and Tooru absolutely needs to chew him out right at this very moment. He whirls around to see Kyoutani attempting to sneak his way out of the dugout. The minute they make eye contact he freezes, as if he's a child caught with his hand stuck in a cookie jar. 

“The sheer amount of audacity,” Tooru begins. “That you must have to be double-teaming with two different sports! I’ll be having some words with you right now!” Kyoutani stays rooted to the spot for the briefest of moments, eyes wide like a deer caught in headlights, before he breaks into an all-out sprint. Yahaba, who had been standing right next to him, starts to laugh and jeer at him loudly.

“Damn,” Mattsun whistles. “Didn’t know the kid could run that fast.”

“Doesn’t matter. I’ll give him the lecture of a lifetime on Tuesday’s practice. Does he always bat for your practice games?”

“Yup,” Hanamaki confirms. He takes a swig from a sports drink that had just been wordlessly pressed into his hands by one of their managers. “He’s technically on the roster, although he only ever comes to Monday’s practices and our games. Mostly bats after Iwaizumi, but he can be put in as a pinch runner for our catcher, too. You know. Because of how fast he is.” They all peer after Kyoutani, who now appears to be about halfway across campus with no sign of slowing down.

Tooru grumbles something bitter under his breath, too busy looking off after his dumb underclassman and thinking about the scolding he’s going to give on Tuesday to even notice that Iwaizumi had appeared until the captain in question flicks at Tooru’s forehead and says, “Hey.”

The protests that had just risen in Tooru’s throat quickly die. A cursory look around confirms that both Mattsun and Hanamaki had fled the scene because that’s just what they do, apparently. The rest of the team has filtered out of the dugout and is walking away from the field. Only the managers are left, filling up big bags of equipment to lug back to the gym.

“Hi,” he says weakly. “You — you played good.”

Iwaizumi’s eyes crinkle in amusement. “Helps when I know someone is here supporting me.”

Tooru huffs and looks away, face burning. He crosses his arms over his chest petulantly. “You had plenty of girls in the stands cheering for you. Especially whenever you went up to bat. They were screaming their heads off.”

Iwaizumi rolls his eyes. “That’s different.”

“Why?”

“I don’t care about them.” Iwaizumi’s gaze trails up and down Tooru’s figure, unhurried. “You’re wearing my jacket.”

“You left it with me, so technically it’s mine now,” Tooru says. The wearing of the jacket was a calculated move on Tooru’s part, and he thinks it was probably a good one. He likes the stupid worn jean jacket, anyway. It smells like Iwaizumi, like pine and sweet rain.

Iwaizumi hums. “Not quite sure if that’s how it works, but I guess it’s okay. Looks good on you.”

Tooru can only take so much in one night. “Iwa-chan,” he whines, then pitches forward and leans down and hides his face in Iwaizumi’s chest, his hands clenching at the fabric of Iwaizumi’s jersey. Iwaizumi makes a noise of surprise, but tentatively puts his hands on Tooru’s back; they’re really wide and warm. “You’re so embarrassing. Stop complimenting me.”

“You seriously want me to stop?”

Tooru pauses. “No,” he answers reluctantly. “But you’re not allowed to compliment anyone except for me.”

“As if I’d do that,” Iwaizumi rolls his eyes. He takes off his baseball cap and places it on Tooru’s head, gentle so as to not mess up Tooru’s curls. 

The gesture is oddly touching; Tooru’s heart seizes in his chest. “Why do you keep giving me your clothes? At this rate, I’ll have your entire closet by the end of the school year.”

Iwaizumi pulls away and shrugs. “I think you look cute wearing my clothes.”

Tooru groans and covers his face. “Okay, that’s enough. I’m going to explode.”

Iwaizumi laughs, pulling back and leaning against the fence, and he just looks at Tooru. Which is a lot. Tooru’s afraid that his head might combust, what with all of the blood currently rushing to it.

He scrambles to fill the silence. “Seriously, though, you hit really well, today. You got a home run!”

Iwaizumi shrugs, humble as always, and stuffs his hands into the pockets of his pants. “I just practice a lot. It’s not that hard, once you’ve gotten a sense for it.” His eyes glint, suddenly. “Wanna try to bat?”

“What?” Tooru shakes his head. “Oh, no, no way —”

But Iwaizumi is already reaching out to grab Tooru’s wrist, and then he drags him over to the side of the fence on the other side of the dugout. There’s a pitching machine sitting there, a bit rusty and unused. Iwaizumi grabs it, and then the bat that was sticking out from his giant bag before heading back to the field.

“Um,” Tooru says, from his spot at home plate. “What are you doing?”

“Setting up the pitching machine.”

Tooru tilts his head, confused. “I thought you’d just throw me a few balls, if you wanted me to hit some.”

Iwaizumi laughs. “I told you, I suck at pitching. Seriously. Yahaba keeps telling me I’m a lost cause.”

So Tooru says nothing and waits for Iwaizumi to finish setting up the machine. He feels incredibly out of his element and a bit awkward but then Iwaizumi flashes him a winning smile as he presses a few buttons. He jogs over to where Tooru is standing and hands him the bat.

“Okay, so. Proper batting stance. You wanna crouch a bit — you’re a righty, yeah?” Tooru nods. “Okay, so you’ll be in the left box. And you face this way,” Iwaizumi has no problem manhandling Tooru into the correct stance, “And you hold your bat up like this, with both hands. Make sure your knuckles are aligned. And you wait for the ball to come and then you swing at it.”

“Shit,” Tooru swears. The machine beeps. “Iwa-chan, why are you making me do this? And why are there so many steps?”

“Ball’s about to be pitched. Better get ready.”

“Iwa-chan, I can’t,” Tooru whines, and then he yelps as the ball comes hurtling toward him, swinging much too late. He manages to get a bit of contact, because his hand-eye coordination has always been pretty great, but then the ball kind of plops onto the ground sadly and it’s not even halfway to the bases. The hit is really more of a bunt than anything.

They both stare at it for a few stunned moments of silence. Then Iwaizumi is laughing embarrassingly loud. 

“Iwa-chan! This is my first time batting, you’re not allowed to make fun of me!”

“I’m not, I’m not. Just, your face was really funny. Actually, that wasn’t that bad. I was fully prepared to watch you swing at nothing for the next fifteen minutes.”

Tooru scowls. “So you just set me up for failure, is what you’re saying. You wanted to watch me fail. You jerk.”

Iwaizumi shakes his head. “You know, for someone with a self-proclaimed indestructible ego, you sure do take a lot of offense to, like, everything. Here, let me help this time.”

And then Iwaizumi is stepping up into the box behind Tooru, and reaching around his body to grasp at the bat over Tooru’s hands. Tooru is not small by any means, and has always been one of the broadest and tallest in his class, but he certainly feels small in this moment. He’s also reminded that while five centimeters in the world of volleyball may be significant, it really doesn’t make all that much of a difference outside of it. Another thing that occurs to Tooru is that Iwaizumi’s arms are big. They’ve always been big, of course, but they feel especially large wound around Tooru’s body like this. And his chest is super broad, and he’s packed with so much solid muscle pressed up against the length of Tooru’s back it all just feels pretty damn overwhelming.

Everything about this situation is dangerous for just the smallest of moments, and then Iwaizumi’s whispering, “Get ready,” in his ear and his breath is warm and so is his skin on Tooru’s but then the machine is pitching at them and Tooru’s terrible reaction time combined with Iwaizumi’s slippery grip over Tooru’s hands means that they swing and miss spectacularly. The ball zooms right past them, colliding into the backstop. 

There’s a moment of silence before they’re both laughing, loud and hard, and Iwaizumi is still pressed up against Tooru’s back, arms around him. Tooru wants to change that.

He wriggles his hands out from under Iwaizumi’s grip on the bat but Iwaizumi doesn’t let go so Tooru has to turn around in his arms in order to get a proper look at him. 

“This is stupid,” he tells Iwaizumi, but the statement is undermined by the smile on his face.

Iwaizumi smiles back. “Yeah, it kind of is. I just wanted an excuse to get close to you.”

The tally for how many times Iwaizumi can make Tooru blush within a single night is steadily increasing. He may very well break the record. “Iwa-chan is way too honest about his feelings,” Tooru says quietly, tone shifting. “You must make all of the girls swoon.”

Iwaizumi looks at him, then shakes his head. “You keep saying shit like that. I don’t care about them. Just you.” He drops the bat to the ground and lets his hand rest on Tooru’s back. The pitching machine goes off and a ball whizzes past them, hitting the backstop again. They don’t pay it any attention. Iwaizumi is leaning in, eyes and voice unwavering in their intensity when he says, "I like you, Oikawa. Even though you're ridiculously self-absorbed and dramatic and you think volleyball is better than baseball, I really, really like you. I think about you all of the time. I look for you whenever I walk into a room. I want to take you out on dates and buy you things and hold your hand. I want to make you swoon, too."

Tooru's mouth goes dry. His heart pounds erratically. Iwaizumi is not only blunt and overly-serious, but also apparently a closet-romantic, too; this legitimately feels like a scene straight out of a doroma, and Tooru internally curses Tomoko for always being right.

“You should prove it, then," Tooru is saying before his brain can even catch up to his mouth. His voice is just above a whisper. "That you only care about me.”

“Oh?” Iwaizumi leans in a bit. “And how should I do that?”

Iwaizumi’s eyes are grey-green-brown and kind of really beautiful, and so are the dustings of freckles on both of his cheeks, and so is his skin and his hands and his muscles and his hair and it’s really not fair. All Tooru wants to do is run his hands all over Iwaizumi, especially his face. He has a really, really nice face, striking and ridiculously pretty up-close like this.

“Well. You could always kiss me,” Tooru breathes. Iwaizumi doesn’t give him a single moment to doubt himself because then his lips are right there, cutting off the end of Tooru’s words. Tooru kisses him back, brings his hands up to cup Iwaizumi’s face and his thumbs are ruining the eyeblack, getting all over the pads of his fingers but Tooru can’t bring himself to care, not when Iwaizumi is kissing him hard enough to knock the cap right off of his head. He smiles into it, too, all teeth and gums, and Tooru smiles, too. His real smile, just for Iwaizumi.

Iwaizumi pulls back again just to look at Tooru and say, “You’re beautiful,” and Tooru quiets any more overly-honest admissions that might’ve spilled from his lips and swallows them whole until they’re forgotten.

 

 

+1.

There’s flowers on Tooru’s desk, white and pink and soft reds, too. He stares at them, then looks around the classroom for the culprit.

Tooru approaches his desk and picks them up. The paper they’re wrapped up in crinkles in his touch. There’s a note strung to a piece of twine wrapped around the entire bouquet. When he picks it up to look at it, it reads, From, your mortal enemy (with love).

Tooru smiles.