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of stardust and life

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It was the 4th of April when they met, strong calloused hands meeting soft skin in a firm handshake, the taller man had given him a quick smile while his eyes roamed Iwaizumi’s body.


“Yeah, he’ll do.”


That was all he had said before turning back and flashing people his blinding smile. How had Iwaizumi ended up working for JAXA? He was not sure, all he knew was he had a degree in mechanical engineering and an specialization in aerospace engineering, and that he was a fucking nerd who loved rockets. So naturally, since he was a kid he had dreamt of building a spaceship like the ones he’d seen in many sci-fi films, one so fast that could get you wherever you wanted in just an instant, and resistant enough to travel through a wormhole into another dimension. 


Applying for JAXA wasn’t necessarily the first thing on his list, mainly because as he grew older it started to become more like a fantasy rather than a goal to reach but it didn’t take much from his coworker to convince him to send his curriculum anyways. He definitely hadn’t expected a call back, offering him an interview for the job, and even less another call back with a new interview offer, the process repeating itself for almost five times until he ended up getting the job. His family cried, his friends got drunk with him, but Iwaizumi still thought it was all just a dream. Until he met him, that day the dream turned into a nightmare. 


It took him a few weeks to finally find out what his job there truly was, he had thought JAXA would’ve been a very organized place but it was, well, a disaster. Maybe it was the department he was working for, or maybe he was just lost and not capable of following his boss’ erratic rhythm. He had assumed he was gonna help some important, older, higher rank engineers build a rocket, or fix an engine, maybe even get to mess with the control sistem. Thinking about the countless possibilities made him giddy, like a kid waiting for a big cone of ice cream.


When he was offered astronaut training, just in case they said, he thought about declining but got a feeling it wasn’t gonna look well in his resume. It’s not like I'm gonna end up inside a spacecraft on a mission to space though, it’s just basic training . So he agreed.


Maybe it was his good stamina that he had built throughout the years, always being into sports and following balanced diets, what caused him to stick out from the rest of the trainees during every gravity test. Maybe it was something to do with his perfectly healthy vital signs or surprisingly good eyesight that had caught his superiors’ attention. Maybe it was his annoyingly smart brain combined with his strong muscles and stupidly fast reflexes that had ended him up in that situation.


Iwaizumi was a space nerd, obsessed with engines and anything that would get grease on his hands, he didn’t mind having the lives of people in his hands because he trusted himself enough not to fuck things up. He wasn’t scared of causing a disaster, he knew he could ruin his life by making a simple mathematical error but it didn’t move a single hair in his body.


Talk to him about aliens though, he was out of the room and buying plane tickets for the next flight out of the country. So when he was told he had been selected as a crew member for a special joint mission with NASA, when he was given the honor of accompanying one of the most recognized astronauts in all of Japan, he did shit himself a little. 


It all happened so fast, it was so unexpected, he couldn’t even get the chance to say thanks and bow for the “oh so great opportunity” he had been given. He didn’t even know who this so admired and worshiped guy was, Oikawa Tooru? Never heard of him, after all he had never been interested in space itself or the people that dred travel there, he only wanted to build great stuff. But go out there? Nope.


It's not that he didn’t feel safe, he trusted his and his fellow engineers’ work more than anything, but to be inside a spacecraft for days or even months, without normal food or just simply the fact of being surrounded by nothing yet everything at the same time? No, hell no.


His internal crisis only took place inside his dorm, after a few hours of silently agreeing to get his ass flown out of the surface of the Earth next to a random guy he didn’t even know and for god knows what amount of time. 


Iwaizumi cursed his need to go past his own limits, his perseverance and determination, because those were the things he was told had gained him the spot he was filling now.


Apparently this mysterious astronaut was the pilot and commander of the ship, his co-pilot had an accident right a few months before the date of their mission that had left him with no other option but to retire, having to reschedule it for the following year. If they had a whole fucking year to find a new astronaut why were they choosing him? The new guy with 14 months of training that still had no clue what he was doing working for the fucking JAXA. 


“Our pilot is very… demanding. He really liked his last co-pilot and refused any other we’d suggest, so we had to comply and search for one he deemed uh… worthy enough to travel alongside him.” That’s what his boss had told him. 


So the guy is a fucking asshole, and egotistical prick but somehow a genious who can’t be replaced. Shit. 


But Iwaizumi had seemed worthy enough. He had met that guy’s standards and with only 14 months of training, being 18 months the average needed. Was that legal? He had no idea, but he was sure there was no way out of it. 


He did end up completing the 4 months left of training, mostly focusing on physical test and piloting lessons, his science and spacecraft knowledge being an advantage that made the process more bearable.


Every flight simulation left him exhausted and the psychological tests would drain all energy that was left afterwards, he hadn't signed up for that yet he was doing it anyways and the dick that was supposed to go out there with him didn’t even bother to show up, not even once, during his training months. Or so he thought. 


It was the 4th of April when they met. 


“Iwaizumi, I’d like you to meet your crewmate.” When he finally heard those words all he wanted to do was punch the guy straight in the face. He behaved. 


“Nice to meet you, I’m Iwaizumi Hajime, mechanical engineer specialized in aerospace structures.” He introduced himself and held up his hand, waiting for the tall man in front of him to shake it. He did, but he didn’t introduce himself.


“Yeah, he’ll do.” 


Iwaizumi didn’t know what divine force had prevented him from snapping the brunette's long neck right there and then. Every positive thought about being friends with a cool astronaut guy vanished the second he closed his mouth and turned around, leaving him with nothing but the image of a pretty brown eyed man and a shit eating grin plastered on the back of his mind.


“Uh, yes Mr Oikawa doesn’t tend to introduce himself, he’s used to people already knowing who he is, I’m sorry Iwaizumi.” He couldn’t believe his boss was the one apologizing instead of the idiot in front of them. 


Before he could reach the exit door down the hall, Iwaizumi grabbed him by the shoulder and stopped him right on his tracks. 


“Oh, Iwaizumi right? Is there anything I can do for you?” 


What the fuck was he thinking? Playing nice and acting all superior. If that was how he played this game, Iwaizumi was gonna be the one winning.


“Yeah, sorry I didn’t catch your name back there. Who are you exactly?”


The cocky grin on the man’s face faltered, for a second his mask risked falling but he managed to compose himself quicker than Iwaizumi would’ve liked. With a knowing look he fixed his eyes on the engineer and bit the inside of his cheek before letting out an audible sigh.

“Pardon my manners, Iwaizumi-san, of course I thought you had already been informed of my identity. Maybe my people aren’t doing their job right, I’ll make sure to let them know some of their aspiring astronauts are a bit confused and hopefully they’ll be able to fix this problem.” His words alarmed the shorter man, guilt settling in. But he probably was doing it on purpose, he was just messing with him, right? These people weren’t gonna get in trouble because of his petty behavior, right? “My name is Oikawa Tooru, Oikawa is fine though. I’m the pilot in charge of the Patroclus. It’s nice to meet you.”