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The Secret Omega

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Iwaizumi is twelve years old and his life is over.

He’s halfway through his first year at Kitagawa Daiichi and already some of his classmates have presented. For the most part, he couldn't be more indifferent—what did it matter, if it had no impact on how well he could play volleyball? But too often he catches his teammates or classmates speculating in hushed tones or casually gossiping in the hallways, which never fails to get on his nerves. A favorite question among first years, desperate to prove themselves even if it means turning on each other, is do you think he's going to be an omega?

Of course, it's never asked with any positive connotations, and as a result Iwaizumi unintentionally finds himself gaining a reputation for his no-nonsense attitude, part of which he blames on Oikawa for inciting public displays of violence due to his antics. Not that he ever goes so far as to beat anyone else up, but the mere possibility seems to be good enough motivation for some.

Yet he had never actually questioned what his own orientation would turn out to be. And now this was coming back to bite him in the ass, because when he did present, he had been caught wholly unprepared.

The problem is that, for a first year, it can really only mean one thing, because twelve is far too early to present for an alpha.

But not for an omega.

Iwaizumi Hajime, tall for his age and far more likely to be called rough, stubborn, or such a grumpy brute, Iwa-chan! rather than pretty and demure, is the exact antithesis of the stereotypical omega. But somehow, fate has managed to screw him over in this completely unexpected way.

And yet as much as he’d never even considered the possibility before, fresh from three days of torturous hell where he sweated through his sheets, bit curses into his pillow attempting to stay quiet, and tried his best not to think about anything at all, he has no choice but to face the facts and deal with them accordingly.

Which he has done, by lying to his thankfully beta parents, holing up in his room under the pretence of being sick, and then running to the store to buy the strongest grade of scent blocker he could afford without needing a prescription. Now, staring down at the cheery label which promises no regrets, Iwaizumi ironically but sincerely regrets every decision which lead him here.

In particular, his annoying as fuck best friend. Who absolutely, definitely, no matter what, cannot find out that Iwaizumi is an omega.

There are a few reasons for this; the first of which being that Oikawa is the shittiest liar in the world. Last week he’d tried to convince Iwaizumi to play more volleyball by pretending he’d left his knee brace in the gym, even though less than an hour beforehand Iwaizumi had been the one to give it to him.

(It never occurs to him that Oikawa might actually be an excellent liar, just not when it comes to Iwaizumi.)

Secondly, Oikawa is pathologically incapable of keeping a secret. If he doesn't tell Iwaizumi immediately after being informed of something, regardless of how personal the information is, with the preface ‘don't tell anyone I told you this, buuut’, then it's because he's decided to loudly drop the bombshell in public at a time purposely chosen to inflict the maximum amount of humiliation in his target. Sometimes, they might even deserve it.

It isn't like Iwaizumi is ashamed of being an omega. Or would be, if he’d known about being one for more than three days. He’s certainly not one of those radicalist bigots who think second gender really determines someone’s worth, and doesn't honestly believe for a moment that Oikawa would treat him any differently; not in any way that matters, at least.

No, the defining feature of this fucked up situation is that, as an omega, Iwaizumi would never be allowed to play on the same volleyball team as Oikawa ever again.

And that could not be allowed to happen.

Maybe it hadn’t meant the same thing at the time, but a younger, gap-toothed Iwaizumi had once vowed to follow Oikawa wherever he went so he could protect him and fight all the monsters and aliens if Oikawa was too scared. Almost a decade later, he was still keeping that promise. Not that the aliens ever actually came to steal Oikawa away, despite the brunet’s fervent wishes to the empty night sky.

The real kicker is that Oikawa is almost definitely going to be an alpha. While he had been small and prone to ugly bawling as a child, the current Oikawa is already one of the tallest players on the team and, shitty personality aside, one hundred percent leader material. Although he submits easily enough to the current third year captain, occasionally Iwaizumi can’t help but notice the slight uneasy hesitation before Oikawa willingly follows instructions, as potential alphas are wont to do.

As long as Oikawa avoids causing too much friction before gaining his own captaincy—a sure thing, without a doubt—then he will easily outshine even their seniors soon enough. Iwaizumi can hardly imagine a world where he isn’t a regular on the volleyball team.

No, he's going to be amazing on the court and Iwaizumi wants to be there next to him and feel the sting on his palm knowing that Oikawa is the one serving the ball to him, wants to spend hours alone together in the gym even if it means having to stop Oikawa from overworking himself, wants with every bone in his body to share that overwhelming feeling of triumph after a hard game. Sometimes he wants it so badly he can hardly breathe.

If that means lying to him and everyone else so that they can play together then that’s what he has to do.

Decided, Iwaizumi opens the cap and smears the scent blocker under his nose. Within seconds, the world becomes a little duller and smells wafting in through the window from the street below that had been sharp and stinging seconds before quickly fade into nothingness. The stink of his heat-soaked bedding vanishes and he is left with nothing but determination and an uncomfortable dampness beneath him.

His phone beeps next to him on the bed.

iwa-chaaan u comin 2 school 2moro?? dont bother if ur still sick i dont want 2 catch ur gross gorilla disease (ノ^ヮ^)ノ*:・゚✧

Sighing, he types out a quick reply, yeah dumbass now get some rest it’s late, and begins the arduous process of stripping the bed, scrubbing down his room, and spraying anywhere his scent might have lingered.

Aching all over and feeling pretty upset at the world for making his life so goddamn difficult, he prepares for what is already going to be far too little sleep. Before climbing under the covers, he reflexively checks his phone one last time. He drifts into a dreamless sleep, smile tucked into his pillow.

kaaay but gasp iwa-chan now i no u were up too!! how will u get better if u stay up late doing things without ur bff (๑◕︵◕๑)
u better be at ur best so we can win!

I missed you too asskawa

“Did you see him? I heard his name is Hanger Tooru, the captain of the volleyball team! Isn’t he so cool? Hey, what do you think…”

Iwaizumi twitches, catching part of a loud ongoing discussion among a cluster of girls as he passes by in the hallway. For a moment, he lingers on the disbelief that the hanger thing is apparently still going around. Really, something like that could only happen to someone equally as ridiculous.

Distracted, he only overhears one more snatch of conversation before they’re out of earshot.

“He’s an alpha, right? Have you had the chance to scent him yet? You never know, he might even turn out to be your true mate! How romantic would that be?”

Frowning, he mentally dismisses their words and continues heading to practice, only to be ambushed from behind a minute later, the annoying assailant squeezing his chest tightly.

“Iwa-chaaan! There you are; I tried to find you but the teacher said you left class early for some reason,” Oikawa says, pouting. “Did you leave to go and find your brain again? I keep telling you that you don’t have one in the first place—ow!”

“Shut the fuck up, you idiot,” Iwaizumi growls, lowering his fist. “I was going to go to the bathroom but the one in that end of the building is under maintenance. Sorry if I don’t wait for you in case you’re scared to go by yourself like you were in elementary school.”

“Wow, that was way too mean, Iwa-chan! There’s no need to try and cover up your embarrassment with such filthy lies,” Oikawa declares, arm falling to rest on Iwaizumi’s shoulder. He shrugs it off and scowls.

“What do you mean, lies? I was fucking there, you dumbass.”

“Even if that was the case—which I’m not saying it is!—then it would be just as insensitive to bring up the long distant past like that to your oldest childhood friend,” Oikawa says loftily, their elbows bumping as they walk side-by-side.

“I’m your only childhood friend, jackass.” The words taste familiar on his tongue but he says them again anyway, as if they haven't done this song and dance a million times before.

Oikawa looks far too smug. “Then it’s your responsibility to be nice to me.”

“It doesn’t work like that. And anyway, shouldn’t that be your girlfriend’s responsibility, not mine?” Iwaizumi asks, rolling his eyes. Something twists uncomfortably in his stomach, but he ignores it.

“Well, it would be, but as it happens we broke up this morning. It just didn’t work out, and it’s not like we were expecting much anyway.” Unconcerned, hands behind his back, Oikawa radiates nonchalance for all that he was talking about the end of a romantic relationship.

Once upon a time, Oikawa talking about his current fling might have made Iwaizumi struggle to hide his jealousy, but by now this has become well-trodden ground and instead he only feels a vague sense of pity and perhaps a little sympathy for the likely heartbroken girl.

“You decided to go out with her even though you knew it wasn’t going to turn out well?” Iwaizumi asks, frowning.

Sensing the disapproval in his voice, Oikawa laughs lightly. “Neither of us smelled right to each other, but we were in a lot of the same classes and had similar interests. You don’t need to worry, either,” he adds, “It was for the best, since she found her true mate anyway. Really, she was lucky to have a few moments with me before she was stolen away by someone much less amazing.”

Ah, so he was upset about it. And there was that topic again, for the second time this morning.

“So she found her true mate, huh? It’s not exactly the beginning of the school year, though, that’s kind of unusual.”

“Apparently, some people manage to go to the same school for years and still never meet until one of them is already in a relationship with someone else,” Oikawa drawls, eyes fixed firmly forward.

Iwaizumi looks over at him, worry tugging on his heart. “Oi, you know that you couldn't have done anything about that, right? Even married couples have broken up because one of them ends up meeting their true mate.”

Unfortunate but true, however rare the occurrence. Though it was mostly sensationalised and turned into crappy television dramas more than anything else.

Oikawa brushes off his concern with a too-bright laugh. “There's no need to be so serious, Iwa-chan! Though I am touched by your heartfelt concern,” he teased. “I’m not the kind of ungracious person who can’t be happy that she found love. After all, what greater joy is there than to find the person you’re destined to be with? I am a kind and sensitive guy who understands the inner workings of a pure maiden’s heart.” He gestures grandly, practically sparkling with a mixture of beauty, charm and obnoxiousness.

Iwaizumi feels something pop from the effort of trying to restrain from hitting him.

“Anyway, I mean it when I said it wasn't really serious. We were both in the same place at the same time, so it just sort of happened.”

"'It just sort of happened,’” Iwaizumi parrots back, dubious. “Really, with logic like that you’ll end up paying child support in your first year of college.”

Oikawa sputters.

“Iwa-chan, how could you say something like that?! I would never—! I mean, I, for one, am a caring and above all, responsible person, who would never even think of betraying the trust all of my beloved supporters have in me,” Oikawa rambles, his voice scolding, but Iwaizumi’s eyes catch on the upward tugging at the corner of his lips.

Iwaizumi blocks him out for a bit, allowing him to yammer away some of his steam. Honestly, he didn't doubt that Oikawa was telling the truth about his relationship, since for all that he could be vicious and spiteful at times, he had never been anything less than a perfect gentleman to his fans. In fact, though every moment Oikawa spent with a girl hanging off his arm felt like a lifetime to Iwaizumi, truthfully Oikawa could boast only a small handful of relationships, each one lasting at most a few weeks before the girl inevitably realised the enormous mistake of dating someone so high maintenance.

So his behaviour isn't exactly unexpected, but Iwaizumi can't help but notice that he had been acting just the slightest bit off, a touch more serious than his regular bouncy self. While it is entirely possible that he’s just projecting his own feelings, it had seemed like talking about mates in particular had bothered Oikawa for some reason, too.

Deciding that a sufficient amount of time had passed for Oikawa’s ridiculousness, Iwaizumi tries to interrupt the flow of words.

“Hey, I think we’re almost—”

“—And I wouldn't be on my own, anyway! You’d help out with my hypothetical child too, right, Iwa-chan?”

Okay, now he had gotten way too far off track and somehow managed to stumble onto topics Iwaizumi hadn't ever wanted to consider.

“Shut up. Stop spouting nonsense, we’re at the gym already.”

Having had a chance to vent, Oikawa cools down and focuses his attention on volleyball instead. It’s infuriating how good at it he is even when he’s such an annoying little shit.

Being in love with Oikawa is like a disease that flares up at the most inopportune times, leaving him breathless and sick with longing. Every movement on the court feels right, poetry in motion, each moment connecting in frames like a film reel stitched together under Oikawa's careful direction.

Of course, he still gets pissed off by all the stupid shit that he does. Nearly the entire session goes by without any major disruptions, but Iwaizumi should have known better than to think such a thing was possible.

“What does my scent smell like to you, anyway, Makki?” Oikawa demands during a brief lull in routine.

Hanamaki hums. “You know that's kind of subjective, right? Well, if I had to put a label on it... maybe burnt rubber?"

Oikawa's jaw drops. "No way! Makki, that is the meanest thing you've ever said to me!"

"No, no, it's more like rotting seaweed," Matsukawa says thoughtfully. Oikawa rounds on him with a look of betrayal.

"Actually, senpai," Yahaba adds, passing nearby on his way to get a drink, "you do smell kind of spicy, but... not in a good way?" He has the decency to at least look a little apologetic.

Oikawa does not seem at all pleased by this response.

"Um, excuse you, your vomeronasal organs are just plain broken. I'll have you know my scent profile is much better than that! Right, Iwa-chan?"

“Dumbass, as if I’d know. I’m a beta, remember?”

“…Right.” Is it just him, or did Oikawa sound kind of odd?

"Actually," Hanamaki contemplates aloud, "given everyone's opinions so far, wouldn't it be fair to say that Oikawa really does smell like trash?"

The sheer dumbfounded look on Oikawa’s face has Iwaizumi wiping tears from his eyes even after they finish packing up the net.

The mood is a little subdued despite the lingering snickers, everyone sufficiently worn out and ready to start heading home when a group of giggling girls gather at the entrance of the gym, obviously anticipating Oikawa’s departure.

Predictably, Oikawa immediately abandons his duties to flounce over to them, apparently ready to once again spread his charm now that he has been freed from the constraints of romantic commitment.

“Iwaizumi,” their coach orders, not bothering to look up.

Grunting an acknowledgment, he strides swiftly over to yank Oikawa back by the collar of his jersey. He grumbles a few half-hearted apologies over Oikawa’s yelping and the girls quickly disperse.

While dragging Oikawa back to finish his goddamn job, a gust of cool air blows into the gym through the open door and he shivers a little at the uncomfortable sensation of sweat cooling on his skin.

He ignores Oikawa grumbling and rubbing his neck one step behind him and only notices the change in atmosphere once he's rejoined the main group. Something feels a little off and he realises Oikawa has stopped following him halfway there, a peculiar look on his face.

It’s not a mystery for very long.

Kindaichi, with the tact of someone who had only just presented a few weeks ago, blurts out, "Wow, that's never happened before. They weren't even here that long and the place already reeks of omega."

Iwaizumi falters, struggling to hide his reaction. No, this had nothing to do with him. It’s not like Oikawa’s fangirls had a reason to hide what they are like he did.

Hanamaki hums contentedly, "Now that is a halfway decent scent profile. Sweet things like flowers and fruit… omegas really do get the best scents. Sometimes life just isn’t fair.” He receives several nods in agreement.

A discussion breaks out about the best kind of scent to have, the first and second years who had yet to present chipping in to add their two cents despite their inexperience. Freshly baked pastries and citrus tie the impromptu vote, though none of them can actually name someone who has either specific scent.

Iwaizumi stays silent. With the blocker on, he is as incapable of scenting pheromones as a true beta would be. Saying anything at all would just be a mistake.

Once they’d finished and started heading home, Iwaizumi nudges Oikawa to try and snap him out of whatever funk he’d been sent into after being separated from his fans. Thinking about it, he’d been almost eerily mute for the last few minutes of practice, similarly not adding a word to the debate, though Iwaizumi had hardly noticed at the time due to his own frantic attempts to try and seem unfazed.

“What’s got you so worked up?” He questions, noting the rigidness of Oikawa’s shoulders uneasily.

Oikawa tries to laugh it off, “Nothing, nothing, Iwa-chan! It’s just been a long day, you know? I couldn’t help but think of my ex-girlfriend’s scent, too, and it wasn’t exactly pleasant. Makki knew about what happened, too, so it was kind of insensitive of him to bring the subject up in the first place, that jerk.”

His words are light but spoken just a tad too fast. Iwaizumi narrows his eyes. Oikawa never surrenders the truth that easily about emotional hardship.

“Stop that. What is it, really?”

“I don’t know what you mean,” Oikawa says, and he must be trying hard to cover up his feelings because any other time Iwaizumi might have taken pity and dropped the subject or decided to take his words at face value, but gut instinct tells him that this is complete and utter bullshit. More worryingly, it seems Oikawa really, really doesn't want to tell Iwaizumi about whatever is wrong.

Not a chance. “Was it that omega’s scent? Flowers and fruits or whatever?” He guesses, and Oikawa flinches noticeably.

“Ha, well, yes, but—but only because it smelled just like her and I didn’t want to see her again today,” Oikawa explains hurriedly.

Another lie. He was desperate if he really thought that playing the ‘just got dumped’ card would get Iwaizumi to take pity on him. Enough was enough.

Iwaizumi simply glares at him and says lowly, “Oikawa. What’s wrong?”

Oikawa comes to a halt. It’s late now and the sun is already starting to set, the shadow of a telephone pole stretching directly between them. The boy standing before him, framed by an ethereal golden glow, should look glorious and resplendent like he usually does, no matter what stupid pose he’s fallen into. Instead, shoulders slumped and head low, he is the picture of defeat.

“…That omega. They’re my true mate.”

Iwaizumi goes cold.

It’s not like he hadn’t considered the possibility before. He’d been avoiding thinking about it all day, but he knew there had always been a chance that Oikawa would find his true mate eventually, especially with the sheer number of people that latched onto him.

At first, he’d dreaded each new school year as Oikawa attracted the attention of girls he’d never met before, sure that this time one of them would have a scent that Oikawa would find irresistible. Even if they hated each other and fought at first, history had shown that the connection would simply be too strong to resist and inevitably, Oikawa would leave him behind for some faceless, perfect omega.

But it never happened, and at some point, Iwaizumi had relaxed and been lulled into a sense of security that it wouldn’t be happening any time soon.

Clearly, that had been a mistake.

“That’s—um. Congratulations?” Iwaizumi tries, voice rough. He clears his throat and says more firmly, “I’m happy for you. I don’t know which one it was, but I guess she already likes you, anyway.” Each word feels like a shard of glass being forced out of his throat, leaving behind a sharp, burning ache in his chest. He wonders if heartbreak is meant to feel this unbearably painful for everyone.

“I’m not going to find her.” Oikawa sounds hollow, broken. “I can’t. I don’t… I don’t want a true mate.”

A small pause.

“I don’t understand,” Iwaizumi says hesitantly, completely lost. “I thought that’s what you wanted? To… ‘find the person you’re destined to be with’, or whatever.”

“I’m fine with other people finding theirs, but I don’t want one. I don’t need one,” Oikawa insists, eyes wild. His fists are clenched at his sides, visibly trembling.

Trust Oikawa to make this so much more difficult than it should be. He should be the miserable one here, damnit.

“It’s not just about you, idiot,” he argues, trying to put a bit more effort into appearing chastising or encouraging like a best friend should be.

He swallows the bitterness creeping up his throat. “You have to consider it from her perspective. If she’s the one for you, then you’re the one for her, too.”

“I don’t want to be the one for her,” Oikawa bites back, viciously. His eyes are dark with emotion. “Whoever she is, she’s not. I couldn’t love her. It’s just not possible.”

“What are you even talking about now?” Iwaizumi snaps. “This is the person you’re going to be spending the rest of your life with, of course you’re going to love her!” He’s practically shouting now, his heart a lead weight in his chest. The world feels like it’s spinning but he can’t look away from Oikawa’s gaze.

“I refuse! I won’t let my life be dictated like this for me. I have a right to make my own decisions and I can’t just allow someone to walk into my life and change all of that!” Oikawa yells back, stormy and wild.

“Stop being so selfish! How many times do I have to fucking tell you, it’s not just about you! There’s someone else involved in this situation, and you’re not even thinking about how your decisions are going to affect them. God, I feel sorry for the girl who’s stuck with you if this is how you’re going to treat her because there’s no way she deserves this from someone like you,” Iwaizumi hisses, all the emotions he’s tried to hold back spilling over into overwhelming frustration.

It fucking figures that somehow he’s ended up being the one who has to help Oikawa with his love life.

“Fine! Well, at least I’m not a beta who won’t have a true mate at all!” Oikawa shouts and freezes in shock at his own words. Iwaizumi observes the look of devastation on his face impassively and turns away.

“Iwa-chan, I—”

“Don’t,” he cuts Oikawa off, and begins to stride down the path as fast as he can without running. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” he throws back over his shoulder, and turns the corner, not bothering to look back.

Later, rummaging through his bag for notes to start working on his assignment, his hands still as a small, nondescript container falls out and Iwaizumi stares at it, realising that for the first time in years, he'd forgotten to reapply his scent blocker after class. Naturally, it was all Oikawa's fault, he reflects resignedly.

Really, he should've expected something like this. Time and time again, it didn't matter how important whatever it was he was doing; any time Iwaizumi had reason to worry about Oikawa, without fail, the rest of the world just fell away and his entire being became focused on a certain idiot's welfare.

And look where that got you, a voice pipes in bitterly from the back of his mind.

Well, one time probably wouldn’t hurt, he reasons to himself. At least it had only been scent blocker and not his suppressants. That would have been one hell of a disaster, not to mention infinitely harder to explain.

Physically and mentally exhausted, he resigns himself to not getting any work done tonight and drops onto the bed, asleep seconds after his head hits the pillow.

The next morning dawns bright and early to contrast Iwaizumi's foul mood. As expected, the day doesn't get any better from there.

Losing to Shiratorizawa year after year was one thing, but this is a new kind of excruciating.

After breakfast, he'd waited a full fifteen minutes outside of Oikawa's house before realising he was either waiting for him to go or had already left on his own. Walking to class by himself for the first time in years had been an unpleasant experience, allowing him far too much time to reflect on just how badly things had gone the day before.

By the time lunch rolls around, he still hasn't managed to get a hold of Oikawa at all, even if he had no idea what to say. He'd been exceptionally slippery at morning practice, managing to dodge every single attempt at catching him on his own. Oikawa's previously excessive presence seemed to have disappeared from his life so suddenly and completely that he might as well have ceased to exist had it not been for a few fleeting glimpses between classes.

Deciding not to go to their usual meeting point for once, he buys food from the canteen, fingers lingering over the milk bread for only a few seconds, and heads back to the classroom. Eating without any company is unexpectedly lonely, though, and he finds himself unable to stomach more than a few bites.

With a sigh, Iwaizumi pushes the food out of the way and drops his head onto his arms.

"Excuse me, are you okay?"

He raises his head slightly, eying the dark-haired girl who had addressed him. She looks vaguely familiar so they probably shared one or two classes together, though he couldn't recall ever talking to her.

"I'm fine," he replies shortly and lays his head down again.

"Are you sure? I mean, I know we haven't really met properly before, but my name is Hondou Hidemi, I sat behind you last semester? A-Anyway, if you're feeling down I was wondering if I could be of any help to you, Iwaizumi-san?" She blushes prettily and twiddles her fingers.

He isn’t exactly in the mood to deal with anyone at the moment. "No, it's okay. You probably have other stuff you should be doing." Was she looking for Oikawa, maybe? It was an unfortunate fact that most of the female student body knew him as 'that guy always hanging around Oikawa who occasionally beats him up'.

"Oh, n-not really. Could it have something to do with Oikawa-kun, though? I mean, you usually eat together, so..." Great, so that is the case. Good to know that no matter what happens, Oikawa will always manage to find a way to annoy him, even when he isn't physically there.

But wait. With dawning realisation, he notices that she does look familiar, and not because they were in the same class. She had been there, outside the gym just before the incident that caused everything to go downhill.

Not only is she one of Oikawa's admirers, there is a very real possibility she is his one true mate.

Any feelings of kind-heartedness he'd felt towards her shrivel up and die immediately. "It's nothing," he bites out tersely. "You should go now." He doesn't bother holding back the harshness in his voice.

She looks taken aback, and stutters an apology before fleeing. He watches her trip out of the room with satisfaction.

What makes him stop is the sight of a tall figure looking in from the doorway. Before he can say anything, Oikawa vanishes down the hall without a sound. He closes his eyes and bangs his forehead on the table, cursing inventively in his mind.

At morning practice, their disconnection had managed to slip beneath the radar, but by the time afternoon arrives it seems everyone has figured out that they're no longer on speaking terms.

"Mom and dad are fighting," Hanamaki remarks woefully from the sidelines. Matsukawa fakes sobbing into his shoulder.

"Makki, why don't you go and pick up the ball," Oikawa says sweetly, gaze hard and unforgiving. Without giving Hanamaki a chance to ask which one he’s talking about, Oikawa serves a ball dangerously close to his face.

Wide-eyed, no one makes another comment within range of Oikawa, the blockers on the other side of the net appearing a little nervous, each serve from Oikawa smashing into the ground with excessive force.

After a short while under Oikawa's ruthless command, a few teammates sidle up one by one to Iwaizumi to ask what’s wrong with their captain. He tries to ignore them but is less than successful.

"Iwaizumi-senpai, is the captain feeling okay today?” Kindaichi squeaks anxiously.

“Whatever happened, please for all of our sakes, fix it,” Matsukawa pleads seriously.

Kunimi just gives him a disapproving stare, and Kyoutani mutters something gruff that Iwaizumi can't quite catch, though he watches in dark amusement as the rebellious second year’s hackles visibly raise whenever Oikawa gets too near, like a wild animal sensing a larger predator.

“Okay, seriously, whatever you did, just apologise and be done with it,” Hanamaki demands when Oikawa leaves the room briefly to relay something to their manager.

"Nothing happened," Iwaizumi snaps. He gets a number of incredulous looks in return.

“Was it Oikawa's fault, then? Because I don't get the impression that he's going to be apologising any time soon either,” Matsukawa adds.

“It's gotta be Oikawa, doesn't it? It's usually him causing the drama,” Motomu, another third year player Iwaizumi knew only by name, cuts in unconcernedly.

Even when he's so angry at Oikawa he can't bear to look at him, some things just can't stand. “Don't disrespect your captain like that,” Iwaizumi growls.

He has no idea what kind of facial expression he has on, but evidently it's quite intimidating if even Kunimi looks slightly unnerved.

"Whoa, don't look at me. Oikawa's the one pissed at you, right?” Motomu takes a step back, arms raised placatingly.

"Don't. Test me," Iwaizumi snarls menacingly, his fingers curling into a tight fist. His annoyance has curdled into a black rage. Kyoutani looks rather impressed.

Motomu pales rapidly and stumbles over a feeble excuse.

“What the fuck just happened here,” Hanamaki asks no one in particular, eyebrows raised incredulously.

The next day goes much the same way, Iwaizumi’s mood souring further and spilling into his regular school time as well. Twice he nearly snaps back at a teacher scolding him for not paying enough attention.

"Is it just me or is Iwaizumi-senpai more... intimidating when the captain isn't around?" Kindaichi asks worriedly. Kunimi, who probably wouldn't be fazed if a tornado swept through the gym, can't help but nod in agreement.

For once, Oikawa actually addresses him by his full name, but after years of trying to get him to stop with the cutesy nickname, the stiff way he says Iwaizumi-kun feels like a slap in the face.

It all comes to a head when at the end of practice, Oikawa and Iwaizumi are the last to finish changing and are about to head out separately when their way is blocked by Hanamaki and Matsukawa.

"We represent the entire team when we say that this is getting ridiculous,” Hanamaki drawls, his tone serious. Matsukawa, stone-faced, swings around the key to the clubroom in his hand, whistling whimsically. “Stay here and sort your shit out, we need a functioning captain and vice-captain if we're going to win the Spring Tournament. Seriously, you guys better be back to normal by tomorrow or we'll have to bring out the big guns."

The door slams shut followed by the ominous sound of a lock clicking into place.

Silence fills the empty room and Iwaizumi tries not to feel disappointed at the way Oikawa carefully avoids looking at him.

“They're right, this is stupid,” he says suddenly, trying to break the building tension.

Oikawa's eyes snap towards him and his skin turns hot under that intense gaze.

“I said some things I didn't mean,” Iwaizumi forces out stiffly. “And you did, too,” he tacks on, trying to level the field.

Oikawa smiles blandly. “It's hardly a real apology if you're going to say it like that. And you're not meant to bring up the other person’s faults straight away just for the sake of your own ego.”

He voice is brittle and lacking enthusiasm, a poor imitation of his usual self. The polite formality shouldn't sting so much.

“That’s not what I was doing,” he snaps, then forces himself to relax. “I just… I need you by my side, alright? We're a team, after all.”

Oikawa’s eyes glimmer, the first crack in his armour.

“Iwa-chan, I...”

They startle a little, and share a small commiserating smile.

"I'm sorry," they both blurt out at the same time. Oikawa cracks a shaky grin.

"I'm sorry," Oikawa repeats, "I shouldn't have said what I did. It was uncalled for. I'd never forgive myself if our unbreakable bond was lost because of something like this."

"What unbreakable bond, Trashkawa," Iwaizumi grumbles, but relief washes over him, relaxing the muscles that had been tense for the last two days. "I'm sorry, too. I was out of line and I let my emotions get the better of me." Though hopefully Oikawa would never find out what emotions, specifically, had driven his actions.

He reaches out tentatively and Oikawa grasps his hand, trembling slightly. Iwaizumi stares into his eyes, memorising that particular shade of brown, and lets out a slow breath.

It's not enough and they both let go at the same time, collapsing forward into each other, chests crushing together and arms wrapping tightly around neck and waist.

He breathes in fresh, shower-dampened skin and feels something finally settle inside of himself. Warmth unfurls from where their skin touches and spreads slowly through his body, liquid and tingling.

"Tooru," slips out involuntarily, a quiet prayer into the crook of his neck. It feels right, like finally coming home.

Oikawa lifts his head from where it was resting on his shoulder, eyes once again sparkling with a brightness that had been absent for too long.

"You called me Tooru," he says, sounding absolutely delighted, cheeks tinged a light pink. "You haven't done that since we were kids."

"It's not like it means anything, asshole," he grumbles but averts his eyes nonetheless.

"Oh, yes it does," Oikawa grins, his usual self-confidence returning as he straightens up reluctantly and lets his hands drop to his sides, "when you said there was no way I could get you to call me that ever again."

"That was when we were kids. And using first names makes us sound like we're both still in elementary school." Or dating, he doesn't add.

"But don't you remember, Iwa-chan," Oikawa croons, "You said that if you ever went back on something you'd said, you'd give me anything I wanted. Are you or are you not a man of your word?" He looks positively devilish now, the full change from a few minutes ago as sudden as it is foreboding.

Iwaizumi shudders. He can only guess what kind of torture Oikawa has in mind. Despite that, being able to hear his teasing voice again is such a welcome relief that he nearly acquiesces then and there.

"I don't remember saying that," he lies, "but if you insist on a reward for encouraging good behaviour like a dog, I guess it wouldn't be that much different from usual."

Oikawa looks shocked for a second then bends in half laughing. "You're so mean! You really are the worst..." His shoulders shake in his hunched position, hair obscuring his face from view.

Iwaizumi sighs. "Come on, there's no need for that. You're always such an ugly crier," he mumbles, searching his pockets for a tissue.

"I'm not crying," Oikawa sniffs, but accepts the tissue anyway and blows his nose loudly. Iwaizumi rolls his eyes.

"Yeah, yeah. It's getting late, we should go home now."

For most people, there would probably be a great deal of awkwardness following the reconciliation after a major fight; a hesitation as boundaries are re-established and a lot of worrying over how not to screw up again.

Not for the two of them who had known each other almost as long as they'd known themselves. Iwaizumi knew Oikawa, could tell just from his posture or the way he walked that what he really needs right now is concrete reassurance that nothing has changed.

And so, they head off together, shoulders touching, and he marvels at the lightness in his chest. Oikawa's presence at his side is a soothing balm and he struggles to keep an uncharacteristically dopey smile at bay. Even the things he'd usually find annoying are instead a comforting reminder that everything is back to normal, and though he reflexively snaps at Oikawa's incessant chattering, his tone is less harsh than usual.

They walk together the entire way, sides bumping occasionally, unable to stray more than a few inches from each other. Oikawa seems equally torn about splitting up to go their separate ways, despite the fact that they barely live more than a few houses from each other.

This is ridiculous, he thinks to himself, fighting away the bone-deep yearning and curses his weak will when it comes to Oikawa.

At home, he tosses and turns in bed, sighing frustratedly, then gets up, scribbles a quick note to his parents, and heads over to Oikawa’s.

The front of the house is dark, lit only by the luminescent glow of street lamps, but he knows his way around by heart and lets himself in with the spare key hidden under the flower pot.

He quietly pads his way to Oikawa's room, carefully opening the door and shutting it behind him, mindful of the inevitable creak. He doesn't bother to turn on the lights and is greeted by a quiet “Iwa-chan?” from the darkness. Oikawa doesn't sound the least bit tired either.

Figuring they had the same thing in mind, Iwaizumi murmurs a quiet confirmation and steps over to the bed, lifting the cover just enough to slide in beside his best friend’s warm body.

He’s immediately greeted by a contented hum and hands curling around his side and threading through his hair. Facing Oikawa but unable to see him in the pitch blackness, he twists a hand in the material right over his heart and closes his eyes, listening to the soft thump of life, imagining just for a moment a world where he gets to go to sleep like this every day.

They arrive together the next morning, Oikawa's arm slung over his shoulder. Their teammates visibly sigh in relief, which Iwaizumi chooses to pointedly ignore.

He tosses a glare at Hanamaki and Matsukawa, who look both proud and a little guilty for only remembering to come back and free them after well over an hour had passed the night before.

The air fills with light chatter and the clang of lockers opening. Iwaizumi is halfway through putting on his shirt, still pulling the neck over his face when Hanamaki casually remarks, “So can we take this to mean that mom and dad have stopped fighting?”

Iwaizumi curses and struggles for a moment, fumbling. He frees himself and turns to face him fully, eyes narrowed. Hanamaki stares back, unabashedly amused.

“Which one’s which, though?” Matsukawa contemplates. “Iwaizumi does the whole mothering thing, but Oikawa is way more of a drama queen.”

“I’m going to hit you both,” Iwaizumi threatens.

“Save that for your partner. Wait, is this an abusive relationship?”

Oikawa beams. “That's what I’ve been saying for years! Luckily for him, I understand that violence is the only way Iwa-chan knows how to express his true feelings for me.”

The troublesome twosome have a good laugh at his expense.

Iwaizumi has his face buried in his hands when Oikawa’s smile slides into a smirk and he says slyly, “So, did you remember to do it for me?”

As if he was allowed not to. “Yes, shut up. I didn't forget.”

“Good,” Oikawa purrs, “I’m so looking forward to your efforts. It's a rare occasion that you do something like this for me so I’ll make sure to treasure it properly.”

Hanamaki and Matsukawa’s eyebrows have shot up, and Yahaba, a few lockers down, suddenly experiences a coughing fit.

Iwaizumi frowns. “You’d better not be thinking of recording this on your phone.”

“Never, Iwa-chan. I don’t want to share the moment with anyone, this precious memory will be mine alone,” Oikawa announces with relish. There's a loud bang as Kindaichi somehow manages to close the locker door on his own head and then proceeds to practically run out of the room, face aflame.

He makes a mental note to talk to him later and make sure he’s okay. Even the lightest of head injuries can be dangerous.

“Oh, but I guess Mattsun and Makki will be there too,” Oikawa adds, mock sadly. “What a pity.”

“Whoa, what are we talking about here?” Hanamaki interrupts, seemingly unnerved for a reason Iwaizumi couldn't quite discern.

“It's nothing,” he tries to say, but Oikawa talks over him and replies, “Iwa-chan, here, has finally been defeated. By me. I’ll be collecting at lunch so just wait until then,” and dances out of the way of Iwaizumi’s swing, slipping out the door just in time.

"What did you lose at?” Hanamaki probes, turning on Iwaizumi with wide eyes.

Resigned, he simply replies, “Life choices.”

“Holy shit, is that what I think it is?”

A few moments earlier, Iwaizumi had stalked up to where Oikawa, Matsukawa and Hanamaki had gone to have lunch on the roof as part of their weekly routine of changing locations at random to avoid Oikawa's overzealous fans. He’d broken demeanor very briefly to look around nervously and double check nobody else was around, then slammed a package down in front of Oikawa, much to their shock.

The surprise wears off quickly though, and a smile tinged with just a hint of evil intent spreads across Oikawa’s face. “Iwa-chan, did you really…? Ah, I can’t wait to see what you managed to do! You know only a cheater would try to poison their best friend just because they lost a bet, right?”

“Wait, so you lost a bet?” Hanamaki looks inordinately interested.

“Yes. No, I’m not talking about it,” Iwaizumi grinds out, staring a hole in the floor. He kicks Oikawa without looking up, eliciting a yelp. “And neither is he. Open it already, dumbass.”

From the look on his face, it's pretty clear to them that what he is really thinking is something along the lines of, please, for the love of god don’t open it, definitely DO NOT open it.

“What exactly was the forfeit?” Matsukawa asks, seeming moderately concerned and poking at the angular, boring-looking package. Oikawa bats his hand away and picks up the wrapped box reverently.

Without a word in response, blatantly trying to build up some suspense, Oikawa very carefully undoes the knot and removes the material covering the similarly plain container, and then slowly, slowly lifts the lid.

Iwaizumi considers covering his face and instead turns his head to stare intently at the wall, crossing his arms in front of him.

Maybe he can just leave and not have to deal with any of them, he thinks wistfully. This was going to be absolutely unbearable. No, it was a matter of honor to stick it out and withstand their undoubtedly insufferable reactions.

Unable to bear it, he glances up, noting the three shocked faces staring at the open container in Oikawa’s hands. He looks away again and forces himself not to blush through sheer force of will.

Another moment passes and he clears his throat awkwardly, “Well?”

The quiet calm is broken by a cacophony of noise, Matsukawa and Hanamaki both howling with laughter and clutching their stomachs, neither managing to utter anything except near incomprehensible exclamations.

Oikawa merely gapes.

Fucking idiot, Iwaizumi thinks, embarrassed beyond belief. It's not like Oikawa didn't know he could cook in the first place.

“Is, is that—” Hanamaki chokes out between gasps for breath, “Is that a loving wife bento?”

“Holy shit,” Matsukawa repeats, having been the first to exclaim his surprise. Then, deciding on a more important question, “Did you really go to the trouble of making him croquettes just for a bet?” He sounds awed and maybe a little envious.

Iwaizumi feels heat creeping up his neck. Damn it.

“No, it’s not, for fuck’s sake. I just promised that I’d cook him lunch,” he bites out, seething.

“I think this goes a bit past a normal lunch, even for childhood friends,” Hanamaki remarks in disbelief. He eyes the crispy golden fried potato longingly. “You could’ve just done rice and fish or something. Or repackaged a convenience store bento.” Matsukawa nods in agreement.

Oikawa looks absolutely stunned. “Iwa-chan, I-I—” Iwaizumi wonders for a moment if he's actually going to burst into tears. If he does, he’d get the punch of his life.

Instead, he gets an oddly serious look on his face. “Marry me.”

Iwaizumi chokes.

“What are you even saying, Trashkawa?!”

“That’s not fair,” Hanamaki cuts in, “You can’t just horde Iwaizumi’s cooking like that. Sharing is caring,” he insists, already reaching for a piece of rolled egg with his chopsticks. Oikawa combats with his own pair.

“Iwa-chan lost the bet, so he has to cook for me for the rest of his life,” Oikawa declares, taking one last moment to admire the perfectly prepared meal before digging in.

“That was NOT the deal, you piece of shit,” Iwaizumi growls, and internally curses the fact that he apparently lives up to the stereotypical omega housewife in one respect. What the actual fuck.

“This is amazing, Iwa-chan’s cooking is always so good,” Oikawa gushes, eyes shining tearfully. There’s rice stuck on his cheek and Iwaizumi absolutely does not think about licking it off. The blush which had finally started receding flares back to life.

“Look, it’s not that weird, okay?” He manages, glaring at Matsukawa and Hanamaki’s identical looks of dubiousness. Instead of denying that he’ll ever do it again like they’re probably expecting, he decides on a different (and slightly more truthful) approach. “I’d have done it before if I thought it’d get you to eat healthier, but the school lunches are fine as is and there’s never time before morning practice, anyway.”

They seem appropriately mollified and he knows that this is the point where he should stop and start on his own food. There’s something else, though, and it slips out before he can think about the consequences.

“And if I buy lunch the combo for milk bread is cheaper.”


A sliver of carrot slips from Oikawa’s chopsticks and falls back into the container, which drops to the ground as Oikawa tosses his head back and swoons dramatically. Matsukawa instinctively goes to steady him but Hanamaki grabs his hand, preventing it in the transparent hope that Oikawa will overbalance. Both look slightly disappointed when Oikawa recovers.

(Not a single grain of rice spills and later, Iwaizumi will wonder if that was by pure chance or if Oikawa somehow made sure of it, however unlikely.)

“Oh, Iwa-chan, my hero! Going so far as to make me a real home-cooked meal, I’m forever grateful for this day!” Oikawa continues to wax poetic. It was a bit much even for him, especially since it lacked his usual barbs, but a tinge of pink on his ears behind the hand raised to his face in his mock-swooning position belies his true intentions.

“Ah,” Matsukawa says thoughtfully, “So Iwaizumi is the wife.” He and Hanamaki share a meaningful look.

Beyond mortified, Iwaizumi says nothing. He abruptly turns and hurries away, slamming the door to the roof behind him.

“Did he just… leave?” Matsukawa asks bemusedly after a momentary pause. “He hasn’t even eaten anything yet.”

Oikawa opened his mouth to reply—

—and Iwaizumi returns, a basketball in hand, obviously having borrowed the nearest spherical object he could find from someone. He looks at Oikawa with an expression that promises true pain and misery beyond words, and says calmly, “You have five seconds.”

“No, Iwa-chan, don’t throw it at me! You’ll ruin the perfect loving wife lunch that you put all your heart and soul into!”

“Nevermind. You had your chance. Die.”

The rooftop fills with high-pitched shrieks.

“No! Anywhere but the face!”

“Absolutely go for the face, Iwaizumi.”

“Don’t aim anywhere but the face.”

Eventually, lunchtime ends. The empty box is returned and Iwaizumi squashes down an odd sense of satisfaction that Oikawa ate everything, refusing to share a single bite with anyone.

Only sporting minor bruises, Oikawa continues to be in high spirits that afternoon. Despite Iwaizumi's efforts to keep him quiet (mostly involving volleyballs and the back of Oikawa's head), he's unable to prevent him from loudly professing his superiority, now the only person who could claim victory over Iwaizumi in a set challenge.

Thankfully, Oikawa had at least a few remaining brain cells as he maintained some prudence as to what the conditions were.

Iwaizumi highly suspected that was for Oikawa's own sake; he’d lose the wide-eyed admiration from the first years—not to mention the faint glimmer of respect he’d finally pried out of Kyoutani—if they knew it was only getting his childhood best friend to call him by his first name.

Iwaizumi could appreciate small mercies, nonetheless.

Oikawa is still busy entertaining when their manager beckons for him with a clipboard in hand. Iwaizumi passes him by, clapping him on the shoulder as he goes.

“I’ll handle it, so you finish up your jabbering and do those exercises you wanted to get done.”

“Ahh, I can do it,” Oikawa protests, mildly surprised.

“No, it’s fine. You’ve been busy today so I’ll do the work just this once. I mean, you're not satisfied yet, are you?” Iwaizumi points out calmly.

Oikawa watches him go, open-mouthed. As Iwaizumi converses politely with their manager, he hears from behind him, “Did I just lose to Iwa-chan right after winning?” and snorts.

He shakes off a question of concern and agrees to deliver a quick message to their advisor, borrowing the notes to relay. It takes longer than he thought it would, though, and he gets stuck standing outside the advisor’s office while the greying teacher mutters to himself and sorts through various forms.

Tapping his foot impatiently, he nearly misses a snippet of conversation which flows towards him through the open door of the next classroom over.

“So you went and saw him on Tuesday, right? Isn't he the coolest?”


“Nah, I didn't really go in and get to see him… The volleyball team had already finished practicing and it makes me kinda nervous to be in the middle of so many alphas, y’know?”

Oh no.

"I get what you mean. Like, what if being near so many of them causes an early heat? That’d totally freak me out.”

“That’s not how it works, though. My mom said the only one who can de-regularise your cycle is your true mate. Hey, Hidemi-chan, you went too, right?”

He recognises the next voice.

“I did,” a soft voice chimes in, “and my heat was… You don't think…?”

A few squeals of girlish excitement are quickly muffled as they must realise the door is open, shutting it only a moment later.

Iwaizumi is still reeling. So that girl who tried to talk to him was…

He can't even finish the sentence in his own mind. Knowing that Oikawa had a true mate at their school was bad enough, actually knowing their identity was something entirely different.

He tries to recall Hondou’s face and fails miserably. Had she been pretty or plain, tall or short? It didn't really matter; Oikawa was going to love her regardless. Iwaizumi swallows, his throat suddenly dry.

His chest feels like it's being crushed from the inside, painful and unforgiving. How many days did he have left before Oikawa stopped spending time with him to focus on his mate?

He jumps when the teacher finally calls for him and nods his way distractedly through a one-sided conversation.

However much time he has left, he knows it won't be enough.

It takes a few days to sort his thoughts into coherency, squashing the overwhelming grief every time it wells up on him with ruthless efficiency. He spends the weekend mostly by himself, assuring Oikawa by text that no, he's not still mad at him, he just needs a bit of space for a day or two. He doesn't cry, but he does waste an untold number of hours staring listlessly out the window and mourning something that was never going to happen anyway.

It’s Friday again by the time he finally manages to gather his resolve, and he stares down at the two tickets to some absurd science fiction film Oikawa had been badgering him about incessantly before this whole mess had started. Emotionally drained, he shoves them into Hondou’s locker with one smooth motion, along with a note explaining part of the situation and encouraging her to invite Oikawa to see the movie with her.

He’s only just finished and stridden back to his own locker when a hand suddenly clamps down on his shoulder, startling him. He whips around to see Oikawa wearing a strained smile on his face.

“What are you doing over here, Iwa-chan? Waiting for a love confession? You’re never going to get one looking like that.” Despite his words, Oikawa is the one who looks more off than ever, dark circles faintly visible beneath concealer.

Guilt threads through his reflexive annoyance and he realises it's probably because he's been neglecting Oikawa this past week, too embroiled in his own emotional turmoil.

“Don’t be stupid,” he reprimands gruffly, and lightly cuffs him on the head. “Hey, if we hurry we can get to that ramen place you like before it closes for the night. If they’re still open, I’ll treat you,” he offers.

“My family's having hotpot tonight, so I’m afraid I’ll have to miss out on your rare act of kindness,” Oikawa declines, but his cheer is oddly hollow.

Iwaizumi lets out an exasperated breath.

“Look, I’m sorry I’ve been ignoring you. I had some stuff to deal with but it's over now,” Iwaizumi states, sighing internally. If only it were that easy.

“Really? I’m so glad everything's worked out for you!” Oikawa laughs a little shrilly. “I can only wish you the greatest happiness in your future.”

Iwaizumi stops. “What's that about? Is something else wrong?” he asks warily.

“Ha, nooo. Nothing’s bothering me at all,” Oikawa denies quickly, eyes wild.

“Out with it. What is it this time? You know you can't lie to me.”

“A pity that you don't seem to have the same problem,” Oikawa snaps bitterly. He turns away, entire frame jittery.

“I know what’s been going on with you.”

Iwaizumi heart stops for a moment. No, there's no way.

“What do you think is happening?” he questions warily.

"You like her, don't you? That girl,” Oikawa spits.

Iwaizumi rears back in surprise. “What girl?”

“Don't pretend you don't know what I mean, I saw you with her! The girl you had lunch with. The girl you just gave a confession letter to,” Oikawa barks out a hysterical laugh, “I didn't know you had it in you, Iwa-chan! It's usually the girl that confesses, you know?!”

It doesn't take a genius to tell from the redness of his eyes and the hurt painted across his face that Oikawa is extremely upset. Over what, though, he has no idea.

“Huh? I don't recall any of that happening, Shittykawa,” Iwaizumi retorts, “Besides, she’s not- you-” He shuts his eyes and sighs heavily.

“It's not what you think. I… I think she might be your true mate.”

The words ring painfully in his own ears.

“What, so you were asking her out on my behalf?” Oikawa asks disbelievingly. Iwaizumi’s answering silence must be telling, because he looks stricken.

“I told you, I don't need help with that! Stop interfering, this true mate shit is my business!”

“All you want to do is run away and avoid the issue! It becomes my business when you refuse to do the right thing!” Iwaizumi shouts and grabs Oikawa by the collar. “You deserve to be happy, damnit!”

He feels sick. This isn't how it's meant to go.

“I don't want happiness if it comes from her!” Oikawa screams petulantly, and smacks away Iwaizumi’s hands.

Blinded by rage, Iwaizumi shoves him, sending Oikawa stumbling backwards.

Oikawa’s hands flail out and grab at Iwaizumi’s bag, ripping it from his shoulder, but he manages to maintain a grip on the strap. With a loud snap, the handle tears and Iwaizumi’s books, pens, and papers sprawl onto the path.

Then it starts raining.

“Fuck,” Iwaizumi says blankly, and they both scramble to gather everything up before it gets soaked.

A lot of his notes are unusable, ink splotchy and running. It's a real testament to how bad his life is right now that a failing grade or two probably wouldn't make that much of a difference.

“…Sorry. Again,” Oikawa mumbles forlornly, clutching a damp notebook as they hurry home. His hair droops limply from the rain, eyes and nose tinged red, yet somehow he still looks breathtakingly beautiful.

"It's fine," Iwaizumi says awkwardly, then huffs a laugh. "Geez, we haven't fought this much since you fell off the roof trying to look for UFOs.”

“Hey, that's not fair,” Oikawa protests, smiling tentatively, “I was plenty mad at you for trying to raise beetles in my room. Especially after they escaped from the box.”

They share a pleasant moment of reminiscence and silently agree not to bring up the subject of mates again.

Despite the fact that they just had their second biggest fight for the first time in years, the atmosphere is relaxed and peaceful as they continue home, the sudden downpour subsiding to a light drizzle.

They chat casually about a few safe topics and Iwaizumi pretends to be reluctant about agreeing to spend all of Sunday with Oikawa to make up for lost time, since they have a practice match scheduled for Saturday as well.

Just as Iwaizumi splits off to go to his own house, Oikawa inquires hesitantly, “Did someone spray you in the face with perfume, Iwa-chan? I can't blame them if they did, but I wouldn't exactly call it an improvement and that's saying something,” he teases, exaggeratedly wrinkling his nose.

“Are you trying to tell me I stink, Shittykawa?” Iwaizumi grumbles, too tired to be overly annoyed.

“No more than usual,” Oikawa snickers, “Well, I wouldn't say stink, but you do smell kind of odd. Don't forget to shower, ‘kay? See you tomorrow!” He blows a kiss and skips off. Iwaizumi shakes his head in fond exasperation.

When he finally sorts through all the materials that had fallen out of the remains of his bag, though, he realises with growing horror that he must have missed picking up the most important item of all.

His suppressants.

There's no need to panic, he tells himself firmly. Rationally, a few days without a dose won't matter. He has the whole weekend to restock, and there's no practice on Monday, too. All he has to do is walk down to the pharmacy, though he’ll have to go to the one that's a fair distance from his neighbourhood so there won't be any chance of someone recognising him while he purchases medicine exclusively for omegas.

He has plenty of time.

He's out of time.

How could he have forgotten the overdue assignment he'd had buried on his desk? Of fucking course he'd dumped the wet notebooks on top without realising it for days and subsequently had to rewrite everything by hand, and by that time there was no way the pharmacy was still going to be open for business.

He hadn't had a single opportunity on the weekend. Saturday had flown by, the entire scope of his existence narrowing down to the rhythm of the match. Once again, Oikawa had categorically outclassed everyone on the court even though it had only been a practice match. Ruthless but fair, he pointed out holes in the other team’s defence to their faces and still crushed them with a final score of 25-13.

The way he looked and moved when he was playing volleyball took Iwaizumi's breath away. Nothing could match the focus and drive on his face when he was set on decimating the opposition.

After that, he’d barely had a second away from Oikawa, who had stuck to his side like glue, appearing magically next to him every time he thought he might finally get a moment alone.

In any other circumstance he'd be happy, hell, overjoyed to have Oikawa's full attention for once (not that he'd outwardly show it, of course, lest Oikawa's ego explode), but that meant he'd had to bank on going for a supply run last night, which he hadn't been able to do because of schoolwork, of all things.

But none of that matters anymore, because he starts feeling strange as soon as he wakes up.

His dreams had been filled with half-formed sensations of silk-smooth skin and quiet mewls of pleasure. They might have been his. At some point he'd woken up, overly hot and aching with need, only to look over at the clock and realise something with horrifying clarity.

It’s Tuesday, and he hasn’t had any suppressants for four full days. The blocker might mask his scent profile for a while but if he went into heat, his body would burn through it faster than he could reapply without seeming incredibly suspicious.

And it certainly feels like his heat is approaching. He dozes fitfully for a few more hours, wading through fever dreams of Oikawa holding his hand at a church altar and saying solemnly, “I should have gone to Shiratorizawa,” before serving a bouquet of tiny colourful volleyballs into the crowd.

The last disgraceful amalgamation is Oikawa again, this time whispering, “Nice receive,” as he licks agedashi tofu off of Iwaizumi's stomach.

He wakes up in a pool of sweat and feels a crushing shame on behalf of his own subconscious. Not even that is enough to quash his persistent erection, the mere existence of which makes him briefly consider a voluntary lobotomy. Being a weird fetish addict would still probably be preferable to liking Oikawa, though.

In the shower, he wraps a hand around his cock, stroking hard and fast and comes quickly to the lingering wisps of sensation from dream-Oikawa's touch.

Glumly, he can only watch as his dignity swirls down the plughole.

Life, he learns, is an exercise in futility.

After his less than spectacular morning, he braces himself for a day that he fully expects to be the worst experience of his life.

Somehow, it's worse than he ever anticipated.

It starts off small, a kinder word here or there from alpha classmates he had barely talked to before. He's hyperaware, dreading each interaction, knowing that he must look like a nervous wreck, and frantically doing everything he can to cover up his agitation whenever Oikawa is near (which is all the goddamned time). For once, Oikawa's presence only unnerves him more.

The smell of an oncoming storm crops up halfway into class even though the sky is clear and shining outside, the first sign of his approaching doom.

Alphas rarely smell of sugar or plants like omegas do; true to the stereotype, they tend towards heavier, earthier scents to both entice their partner and warn off competitors. Iwaizumi starts smelling alpha scent again for the first time since he presented years ago, and knows it's only going to get worse.

Class could have been about a giant tennis ball causing the dinosaurs to go extinct for all he knows. Time ticks by with his thoughts stuck in an endless loop, wondering when the shoe is really going to drop; if all of his efforts have been for nothing.

For nearly six years he had kept his status a well-guarded secret, and in less than a week he'd gone and fucked it all up.

Afternoon practice arrives. If his teammates had acted a little weirdly that morning, it’s incomparable to the way they’re behaving now.

Kyoutani is the first to break routine, which was only to be expected. A lot of his attitude problems could be attributed to an excess of alpha hormones, after all, which only served to make him more sensitive to Iwaizumi's situation, however unknowingly.

Mid-exercise, Kyoutani turns to him and rumbles, “Iwaizumi-san.”

A few feet away, Yahaba does a double-take and murmurs “Iwaizumi-san?” to himself skeptically. Watari shakes his head in sympathy.

Kyoutani glares fiercely. “I’d like to challenge you to a wrestling match.”

For once Iwaizumi is dubious at accepting a challenge. “Right here? We're in the middle of practice, you know.”

“A private wrestling match.”

He hesitates. ‘Maybe later’ is on the tip of his tongue, but if this is what he thinks it might be, a stronger refusal is in order. “…I'm going to have to say no.”

“Why?” Kyoutani growls.

Fuck. Okay, he could do this. If only omega instinct didn't keep interfering, dragging his attention away to highlight the rich fragrance of wood and copper.

Oikawa interrupts for him, “Iwa-chan’s awfully busy with me lately sorting out our entry to the Spring Tournament! Why don't you help by working on your form more for it too?” He steers Iwaizumi away with a hand on his forearm.

He notices Oikawa looking back at Kyoutani with an expression he can't read from this angle, but it seems to have miraculously cowed him into reluctant submission.

Hanamaki is next. Thankfully, though he seems flirtier than usual (something Iwaizumi never wanted to associate with him at all), he chatters normally for the most part and doesn't seemed too off-put by Iwaizumi's cautious replies.

He's only vaguely aware of Hanamaki’s stone and flour odour, glancing out the window for the hundredth time, expecting to see storm clouds. God, whoever’s scent that is, it's driving him crazy.

He blunders his way through declining several more unsolicited proposals from a range of team members, some of whom he'd honestly forgotten were alphas in the first place.

But somehow, his cover doesn’t seem to have been blown just yet. Three separate times his teammates comment on the omega smell in the gym, even though he’s purposely avoiding anything too exerting, worried that sweat would just make it more obvious. No one seems to have been able to detect where the scent is coming from so far, thank god.

Pretty much the only one acting normally is Oikawa.

Curiously, Oikawa has consistently seemed unaffected all day, though every time Iwaizumi excused himself and escaped a conversation with a too-interested classmate, he'd glimpsed Oikawa talking to them quietly afterward, the other person appearing alternately disconcerted, concerned, or outright terrified by whatever he had to say.

He doesn't know how to feel about that. Happy that he's less likely to figure out his secret, or upset that he isn’t attracted in the slightest?

"He's just so goddamn frustrating,” he bursts out with a non-sequitur and drops his face into his hands.

Hanamaki doesn't even have the decency to be confused. "Right, right, Oikawa. So anyway..."

He's almost survived the whole session in one piece when he's stopped by a tall, spiky-headed first year.

“Iwaizumi-senpai!” Kindaichi shouts, flustered. “I, I just wanted to thank you for giving me advice today. You're a really good teacher.” His voice cracks on the last word and he turns red as a tomato, bends over in a deep bow, then scurries off to hide behind Kunimi.

Well, at least Kindaichi is acting normally, he notes absently.

He waits for everyone else to get in the showers first, putting it off for as long as possible and waving ahead a mildly curious Matsukawa with a mumbled excuse.

He has trouble coming across as convincing to Oikawa though, and they end up staying back together. He experiences great difficulty in tearing his eyes away from how Oikawa’s shirt sticks to his torso and is unable to prevent the sudden flush of heat when he peels it off, revealing miles of smooth, toned skin.

It’s at this point that he realises things have gotten really bad, really fast.

Arousal burns low in his stomach as he fumbles the controls to the shower, the icy water doing nothing to cool his burning skin.

The smell of alpha, hot and dark like spiced coffee, wafts from the next stall over. It's easily the best thing he's ever smelled even dampened by the flow of water, and in that moment all he wants to do is roll in that scent until he's absolutely covered in it.

Teeth gritted, Iwaizumi reminds himself that there is no way he could possibly get any relief with Oikawa less than a meter away. Or rather, it would be far too easy, but it would only kick-start the heat fully and leave him a complete mess, unable to so much as leave the shower stall. Oikawa would definitely notice that.

Ignoring the growing ache, he focuses on washing himself thoroughly in the vain hope that he can mask his own scent long enough to get home with Oikawa none the wiser.

Fuck, there is no way this is going to work. The heat is setting in and not even Oikawa could possibly be that oblivious. If only there were something other than soap and water to hide his scent…

His train of thought stutters to a stop. Well, there is one option. This is going to be tricky, and it’ll only make things more difficult in the long run. He hears the sound of the other shower being turned off.

Hurriedly, he grabs a towel and pads to his locker.

“Oi, Shittykawa,” he clears his throat apprehensively, “I need to borrow your jersey. I split juice while I was changing and it got fucking everywhere.”

Iwaizumi winces at his own terrible explanation. Could he be more obvious? As if he’d ever put an open drink in his locker in the first place, let alone somehow manage to get it on his jersey, shirt, and blazer all at the same time.

“Uhh,” Oikawa falters, “like, to wear home?” Weirdly, he sounds almost as nervous as Iwaizumi feels.

Iwaizumi turns his face to the side to hide his own embarrassment and to avoid looking directly at Oikawa while he gets changed. “Of course, idiot, what did you think I meant?”

“Um, nothing!” Oikawa coughs once, and smiles brightly. “Sure, Iwa-chan, it might be a bit big on you though,” he says with a practiced leer.

Iwaizumi scowls.

He is well above the average height for a Japanese male. Just because he's one of the shorter members on the team, only barely taller than Kyoutani, whose attitude makes up for it, and Watari, who is a libero, it does not mean he's actually short.

He grits his teeth and says in the least angry tone he can manage, "I’m sure it won’t be."

At least it had gotten his mind off of… other things.

“Sure, sure,” Oikawa laughs genuinely. He hands over his jersey and finishes packing up all of his belongings. “You want to take the usual route, or head through the park? I heard they’ve built a fountain there, it could be nice to go and see.”

Iwaizumi considers the question, mulling over how to turn Oikawa down without appearing like he was trying to put distance between them again.

He pulls the jersey on in the meantime and the breath is knocked out of his body. How could he have possibly missed this? Spicy, electric, this was the scent that had been following him around all day. From this close, the overall scent profile is incredibly powerful and he finds himself unable to avoid breathing in the scent he is now literally covered in. His mind clouds with dizziness at the intensity of it.

“Either’s fine,” he answers unthinkingly.

Shit, shit, shit.

“Alright, the park it is,” Oikawa chirps agreeably.

The walk there seems to drag on forever. Oikawa’s jersey helps to keep his own scent from being too noticeable, he assumes, since Oikawa has yet to say a word about it, but it also stirs up the feelings that he’s trying so hard to tamp down on. He’s practically dripping with the scent of an alpha, specifically the alpha he’s in love with, and it’s causing his body to go haywire with instincts and hormones telling him to do something about it.

Oikawa is quieter than normal as well, too busy staring at the number on the jersey Iwaizumi is wearing for some reason, a light blush on his face. It must be strange to see the number he’s coveted for so long on someone else.

Distracted, he nearly missteps when they finally reach their destination, coming to a sudden stop.

“Whoa,” Oikawa breathes.

Iwaizumi nods wordlessly in agreement.

The newly built water feature isn’t exactly huge, as befitting a town like Miyagi, but the centerpiece has an unusual curved shape like warped metal which arcs elegantly outwards while maintaining the presence of the traditional foamy white spray on top.

It’s weird and beautiful, one of a kind, allowing for a special instance of discovery even though it’s nothing more than a small, insignificant moment compared to the entire scope of their lives.

Iwaizumi knows what he needs to say.

“Do you remember,” he starts, then stops to think his words over carefully.

“Do you remember when we used to play here when we were kids?”

“Well, yeah,” Oikawa grins. “You used to climb all the trees looking for bugs and get stuck because you couldn’t get down.”

“And you used to cry like a baby because their legs were ‘so gross and wriggly’,” he retorts, imitating Oikawa’s whine.

Iwaizumi ignores Oikawa’s indignant huff and says, “This is the place where we played volleyball for the first time.”

“It was, wasn’t it?” Oikawa remarks fondly, caught in reminiscence. They pass through here often, but it still feels kind of momentous to stand at the place where it had all began, knowing what they did now.

“This place has changed a lot, but it’s still important. To both of us.” He stares at the rainbow of light collecting in the motion of water droplets, unblinking. God, why is this so hard?

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa says slowly, “What exactly are you trying to say?”

"This is also," he takes a shaky breath, "the place where I lied to you for the first time.”

Oikawa openly stares at him, bewildered.

“You asked me if I thought aliens existed, and I said maybe.” He swallows, mouth dry. “I didn’t believe in them, but I knew you did and I wanted you to be happy.”

Oikawa cuts in suddenly, voice clipped, “I thought we weren’t going to talk about this anymore. This is about her, isn’t it?”

Iwaizumi closes his eyes and nods.

“I know you have your reasons, but I still want you to try for your own happiness, for your sake and for mine. Because the truth is, I—”

“She’s not my true mate.”

Iwaizumi stops. Stares. “What?”

There’s a bland smile on Oikawa’s face again, his real emotions hidden behind a mask once again. It used to be that the fake, cheerful persona was used exclusively for other people, but never for Iwaizumi.

“She asked me out like you told her to. But we both knew when we met, and she ended up giving back the tickets.” His eyes soften, the sunlight reflecting off of the fountain and illuminating his irises with an amber glow. “It’s not me she likes anyway; the one she likes has always been you.”

“What, that’s not,” Iwaizumi voice stumbles, off-kilter. A few missed connections suddenly make sense. “Oh.”

“So you see,” Oikawa spreads his arms, “Everything is the same as always! I’m a free bachelor alpha, and you are the ever-recalcitrant beta.”

This was it, this was the moment that everything changes.

“That’s the other thing,” he says roughly, “I’m not a beta.”

Fear makes his blood race, but at the same time a great weight lifts from his chest.

Oikawa’s arms drop and he gapes, perplexed. “Yes you are?” comes out as a question more than anything else.

“No, I’m not,” Iwaizumi responds, reminded of the arguments they had like this when they were still children, and watches as understanding slowly dawns across Oikawa’s face. His heart thuds heavily at double-time. “I’m an omega.”

The words resonate in his ears, final and absolute. No take backs.

“You’re. You’re an omega? You?” Oikawa stammers, dazed.

“I’m sorry I lied to you for so long. I didn’t think… we never would’ve been able to play together if everyone knew, so I hid it. But high school is almost over and,” he bites his lip, “and I don’t think I’ll be playing with you anymore after the tournament.”

All the shock that Oikawa is experiencing is clearly pushed to the side to concentrate on that last statement. “What do you mean?” he asks shakily.

“I know you’re going to continue playing in university, and I will be too, but the thing is… I don’t think I’m good enough to go pro, omega or not. But you are,” he stops to take a deep breath, “So I wanted to stay by your side on the court until the very last moment, but chances are we won’t even be going to the same university.” At this, he chokes up, throat tightening from the tears that are threatening to fall. He wipes his face roughly and continues, “I just wanted to, to let you know before- before- fucking say something, Shittykawa—”

Warmth envelops his front and he’s left speechless as Oikawa embraces him tightly, chin bumping the side of his head as he breathes out, “Thank god.”

“What?” he croaks out, lost.

“For a long time, I thought I was broken,” Oikawa confesses, voice similarly rough, “because there was no way you could possibly feel the same way I do. As a beta.” His hands twist in the worn fabric of his own jersey on Iwaizumi’s shoulders.

It takes a moment to digest what Oikawa’s saying. He knows vaguely that the fountain must still be running, birds still chirping, trees rustling quietly in the background, but all he can hear is the silence of the void resonating in his own ears, that one phrase repeating over and over again. There was no way you could possibly feel the same way I do, feel the same way—

Impossible. Was Oikawa really saying that he…?

Oikawa inhales nervously, eyelashes fluttering lightly against his skin. “It took years before I realized that it had nothing to do with you being a beta, or an omega. I think…” His arms tighten around Iwaizumi, trembling. “I think I've always loved you, even when I thought it was impossible and wrong and tried my best to stop feeling this way.”

He pulls away only to look Iwaizumi directly in the eye from a few scant inches away. It feels like a dream. “You're my best friend, there are so many ways this could have—could still—go badly. But there was never any other option for me.”

Oikawa leans his head in close until they’re resting their foreheads together and whispers like he’s five years old again, telling Iwaizumi his biggest secret. “I think about you all the time, and I miss you even when you're right next to me. You are the one who completes me.”

Whatever Oikawa sees in his face must be answer enough. The world feels like it’s ending when Oikawa finally, finally closes the gap and kisses him. They fall into each other, clutching desperately as if worried they’ll be torn apart. They stay that way for what feels like hours, learning each other’s taste, hardly daring to believe this is really happening.

Their lips finally break apart and Iwaizumi exhales unsteadily, “Even if you weren't an alpha, I'd still be in love with you. I wouldn't even care if you smelt like the worst trash in the world,” he grins, but adds somberly, “I know there are better people out there for you. But I can't stop feeling this way either. You're… you’re everything to me.”

It feels so fucking good to finally say it out loud, to have it all out in the open, knowing that somehow, impossibly, Oikawa feels the same way.

“Iwa-chan, you’re such a closet romantic,” Oikawa’s eyes sparkle, a healthy flush high in his cheeks. “You don’t need to worry about that stuff. I wasn’t sure before, but… you’re my true mate, aren’t you?”

Iwaizumi startles. “What? No, that was…” He thinks back and realizes that, if it wasn’t Hondou, then that could only mean…

“Oh,” he says in a small voice, “You really think so?”

Then he pauses to investigate a niggling thought and yelps, “Wait, I do not smell like fucking flowers!”

Oikawa laughs, joyous, like a bell ringing with a clear, beautiful sound, “Can’t you tell? I thought you smelled like flowers, but it's actually the woods behind your house that we used to play in when we were kids," Oikawa says dreamily, "and you taste like the berries we found behind the old yew tree and ate until we were sick."

Iwaizumi swallows hard. “You’re the cheesy one,” he croaks out.

Oikawa looks expectant, and probes, “So what do I smell like? And don’t say trash!” he adds hastily, pouting.

"You smell like lightning, and salt, and fire. You smell like... Like a challenge." He thinks of sweat slicking his grip as he slams down an opponent's arm onto the table, the electric humming in his bones as he watches Oikawa get ready to unleash his serve, standing on the court and breathing in the tension, muscles aching as the game-winning goal is scored. "You smell like victory."

Oikawa crushes their mouths together, pulling him into a deep, greedy kiss. Iwaizumi responds in kind and instinctively lets him in, a hand raising automatically to fist in Oikawa’s stupid, perfect hair. Oikawa licks into his mouth slowly, savoring the taste, biting down on his lower lip and letting it go again, soothing away the hurt with a soft lick.

Heat builds up between them until he thinks he might burst, pulling back only to pant harshly against Oikawa’s neck. His body is overheating, bad enough by now that he swears he can smell his own aching need. The copious amounts of anti-scent soap he'd used in the shower have just about worn off already.

Iwaizumi grits his teeth and orders into Oikawa’s collar, “We need to go home. I’m… I’m going into heat.” He shudders, a bolt of desire shooting down his spine.

Oikawa’s breath hitches and he begs, “Can I…?”

His voice is strained. Iwaizumi wets his lips, accidentally tasting the side of his neck, and feels Oikawa’s pulse jump against his cheek.

He drags his body back, stumbling a step away, drawn to Oikawa like a magnet. Oikawa likewise struggles to keep his hands to himself, fingers reaching up to graze Iwaizumi’s jaw reverently. His eyes are dark and pleading.

“Fine. Yes. This is such a bad idea,” Iwaizumi grinds out, struggling to regain his composure. “My place.”

“Iwa-chan,” Oikawa murmurs breathlessly. Need rushes through his body at the sound of that dumb nickname. He gives Oikawa a hard look, trying to puzzle out what he’s really thinking.

He goes beet red. “We’re in public, idiot. Take responsibility.”

With one last lungful of that intoxicating scent, he turns and strides away on wobbly legs. Oikawa wails behind him, “Ugh, Iwa-chan, now is not the time to be so adorable! Oh, shit, did I just steal your first kiss?! You haven’t done it with anyone else, have you?”

He waits for Oikawa to catch up and quietly mutters, “Of course not, dumbass, I haven’t had a heat since I presented.”

“Not having a heat doesn’t mean you can’t kiss someone else,” Oikawa points out. His smile is bright but a hand comes up to rest on Iwaizumi’s lower back possessively.

“I told you, didn’t I? There’s no room for anyone else,” Iwaizumi grumps, averting his gaze. “In more ways than one. Your ego could fill an entire room.”

“No, stop ruining the moment!”

They stagger through the doorway in a mess of hands and lips and teeth. Iwaizumi's heat is unbearable now, a constant ache between his legs, fire in his blood. They stumble through the entryway, bodies pressed together so closely it’s impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins.

Iwaizumi breaks away, taking greedy gulps of air and says, “We didn’t lock the door.”

Oikawa lets out a groan of frustration and thunks his head backwards onto the hallway wall. “Is now really the time?”

His voice is less of a whine and more of a strangled plea. It probably has something to do with the way Iwaizumi can’t seem to stop grinding slowly against his thigh.

“Do you want someone to walk in on us? Not even my parents know I’m an omega in the first place,” Iwaizumi snaps, embarrassed. He yanks himself away with monumental effort and hurries back to the door. When he returns, Oikawa has migrated to the kitchen and is holding a note ripped from the fridge.

“You didn’t tell me your parents were out tonight,” Oikawa states, voice strained. Hair mussed and clothes askew, he looks absolutely ravaged.

Iwaizumi fights a blush. “My dad left for a business thing so they’re gone until the day after tomorrow.”

“That’s… convenient,” Oikawa hums, stepping closer and bending his head to lick a long line up to Iwaizumi’s ear. “Did you plan for that?” he whispers huskily, sucking an earlobe into his mouth.

“No,” Iwaizumi sighs out. That was meant to come out more confidently and less desperate, damnit.

“So responsible,” Oikawa murmurs fondly.

The trip to his bedroom is just long enough for his nerves to reawaken. What if this goes horribly wrong and they can’t stand to do it with each other?

This is his first time, so why doesn’t this feel awkward?

The answer comes to him in bursts as they enter the room and Oikawa turns around, slamming him against the door, half because he can’t restrain himself anymore and half to obviously make a point that yes, this door is very much closed now too, you jerk.

Each hot, demanding kiss lights a bright spark of memory reminding him that this is Oikawa, the boy he grew up with, the boy he tripped into puddles, the boy he fell in love with before he knew what the term even meant. It could never be awkward with the person he had shared every moment, every secret, every hope and dream with.

Iwaizumi leans up into the hot press of Oikawa’s mouth and curses the suddenly much more noticeable height difference in this position. Fucking hell, five centimeters shouldn't feel like such an insurmountable distance. He stretches upwards, knocking his head lightly on the wood behind him. Oikawa’s jersey slips lower on his collarbone, displaying the scent glands on his neck. A low whine escapes when Oikawa breaks away to nuzzle there gently.

His boxers are soaked through. Uncertainly, he takes Oikawa’s hand in his and slowly tugs it down until its cupping his ass. Oikawa moans and his fingers twitch involuntarily over the wet patch of slick dampening his pants.

“Iwa-chan, can I… will you let me…” Oikawa struggles to voice his request, but his fingers rub slow circles into the spot. Iwaizumi’s body clenches instinctively and he grits his teeth.

“I don't… I'm not sure if I can submit. Not even to you,” he admits, voice low with regret. It was a worry he’d had for a long time, born as an unfortunate side-product of his efforts to live as a beta.

Oikawa bursts into laughter.

Iwaizumi tries not to be offended and ends up crossing his arms over his chest in the small space between them. The role switch of being the insecure one in need of reassurance is extremely unpleasant. Oikawa's chuckles die down.

“I don't need you to submit. I just need you to be mine.” He reaches out for Iwaizumi’s hand and turns it gently, placing a delicate kiss against his pulse, eyes locked onto his, steady and serious. His other hand rises to rest his own wrist on Iwaizumi’s lips to create a mirror image. “Just like I'm yours.”

Iwaizumi shudders. He whispers hoarsely against Oikawa's pulse, “Take me to bed, Shittykawa.”

Oikawa’s eyes are blown wide as he walks them backwards to the bed. The back of his knees bump into the side and he tips over slowly, pulling Iwaizumi on top of him, thighs on either side of his hips.

“Stop worrying, Iwa-chan. Don't you see? We're in this together,” Oikawa says softly, leaning up softly to capture his lips in a leisurely drink of a kiss. He guides Iwaizumi's hands to his shoulders and strokes the back of his palms adoringly.

"Don't call me that while we're doing this,” Iwaizumi grouses, clenching his hands nervously, sweat causing them to slide a little.

“Fine, fine, but just this once! Tonight, you're the captain.” Oikawa beams and wriggles his eyebrows suggestively.

Iwaizumi looks at him in disbelief for a long moment, then grabs a pillow and shoves it in his face. He holds it there for a moment, listening to Oikawa's muffled complaints, then lifts it away and leans in to press their lips soundly together.

“Thanks,” he says gruffly. Oikawa just smiles in response.

They trade kisses, the atmosphere turning heated once more, touches growing rough and urgent, desire a constant thrum under his skin. Oikawa's hand slips underneath the hem of his jersey, and he pulls back to lift it off completely.

Oikawa watches with hooded eyes. “I like you in my shirt,” he purrs, “You look good with that number on your back.”

Iwaizumi tilts his head. “I wouldn't take this position away from you,” he offers, bemused.

Oikawa chuckles. “It's not that. You look good in it, like you belong to me.” After clarifying, he takes a moment to suck a long, open-mouthed kiss into his abdomen, tracing the number on Iwaizumi's back even with the jersey gone.

“Mmm, I like you without it too, though,” he says, giving Iwaizumi's toned stomach an appreciative look, lingering on the red mark left by his mouth with satisfaction.

“Possessive bastard,” Iwaizumi rasps huskily.

“I am, though. Just the thought of you with someone else makes me want to hunt them down for daring to put their dirty hands on you. I'm selfish and jealous and I want you all to myself. I want everyone to know you're mine.” Oikawa croons his words into Iwaizumi's skin like a benediction, trailing kisses from his abdomen up to his throat.

“Idiot, I already knew exactly how shitty your personality is. It doesn’t change how I feel about you,” he gasps out, blushing heavily.

Oikawa stares up at him, awed. His expression slides into something darker, hungrier, and he clasps Iwaizumi’s sides, flipping them over neatly. He gives him one last, devouring kiss. “Are you ready?”

He reaches for the bedside drawer but Iwaizumi traps his wrist, stopping him. “I don’t need it,” he mumbles, flushing even more. Oikawa gives him a searching look, then goes red himself. “Oh. Oh! Right.”

“You thought I’d need lube because of the beta thing?” Iwaizumi intones curiously, eyes half-lidded. Oikawa shrugs, a little embarrassed. “I forgot.”

“You’ve thought about this before, huh?” Iwaizumi manages in between hitched gasps as Oikawa plunges a finger in up to the second knuckle, slowly sliding it in and out at a leisurely pace. He’s so fucking wet.

Oikawa’s eyes are blown wide with desire, glittering black. “I think about it all the time. The way you look, the way you move… you’re sexy, Hajime.”

Iwaizumi whines, back arching. “Say that again.”

“You’re sexy?”

“No, the- the other part.” Lewd squelches sound impossibly loud and erotic in the quiet of the bedroom. His toes curl into the soft sheets, legs spreading wider.

A sly grin spreads across Oikawa’s face and his voice drops into a low growl, “Only if you call me Tooru again, Hajime.”

The world blurs for a while after that, delirious with need, Oikawa’s visage fading in and out. He’s only vaguely aware of the whimpers and pleas spilling from his mouth, drool escaping onto the pillow.

He gains just enough coherency to warn Oikawa, “I’m not gonna get pregnant this soon after using suppressants. I want… I want to feel you,” and clenches down hard on the three digits thrusting earnestly into him.

His breath hitches at the sudden emptiness, but only for a second before Oikawa pushes into him, finally, a long, slow glide that sends sparks racing up his spine. He breaks eye contact to throw his head back in ecstasy, fingers scrambling at the bed to get a grip on something, anything.

Oikawa stills and he feels like shouting move, Asskawa, but instead Oikawa drops his head to Iwaizumi’s neck, panting, and says, “I’m sorry,” before biting down.

Everything explodes into a myriad of colors, fireworks bursting behind his eyelids and shattering into a million pinpricks of pleasure. He hears himself cry out, followed by Oikawa’s babbling, “Hajime, I’m sorry,” and “I just couldn’t hold back anymore,” and “You’re mine.”

His vision swims back into focus as Oikawa starts moving. Iwaizumi tightens his legs around his waist, holding on for dear life as he rides out the waves of pure sensation.

“I like you like this,” Oikawa pants, “If only your heat lasted longer with an alpha, I’d keep you here for days,” he slams into Iwaizumi’s prostate, an involuntary keening noise forced out of his throat. “I’d tie you up so you can’t touch yourself and lick you open, make you come on my fingers and then again on my cock.”

“Holy shit, Tooru,” Iwaizumi sobs and comes. Oikawa’s knot swells inside him, the scent of a raging storm so thick in the air he can taste it. With one last thrust, Oikawa buries himself inside Iwaizumi and stills, collapsing next to him on the bed.

“That was, uh, something,” Iwaizumi says hoarsely, squirming. Oikawa shudders behind him, locked into place, knot gradually deflating.

“You don’t know what you do to me,” he murmurs, arms sliding around Iwaizumi, lips brushing the back of his neck.

“Um.” That familiar hot, liquid feeling gathers at the base of his spine again, spider-webbing outwards.

Iwaizumi gulps.

Oikawa licks his lips.

“Is it just me, or is the captain acting differently than usual?”

Kindaichi raises the question, drawing the attention of Kunimi and a few other nearby players towards Oikawa, who is hanging off of Iwaizumi like he always does. It’s the first time he’s taken up residence in Iwaizumi’s lap on the bench, though.

Kunimi squints suspiciously. “I’m not sure.”

Hanamaki pipes up, “If you mean the lovey-dovey routine, they’re currently exhibiting an eight out of ten, higher than their usual six. What’s more interesting is the complete lack of violence.”

Matsukawa joins in as they all watch Iwaizumi get progressively redder until he finally snaps and yells at Oikawa without ever so much as raising a hand to push him off.

Hanamaki frowns briefly in thought. Wasn’t there something about Iwaizumi that happened last week? …Nah, must be his imagination.

“Are the captain and vice-captain dating?” Kunimi asks suddenly.

Hanamaki and Matsukawa turn to each and reply simultaneously, “Nah.”

“I think we’d know if something like that finally happened.”

“Please, they’re both way too oblivious.”

Kunimi frowns. “I could have sworn they were already in a relationship during middle school…”

“Wait, what?!” Kindaichi exclaims loudly. Hanamaki pats him on the head.

“Don’t worry, kouhai of mine, you’ll get better taste eventually.”

Kindaichi just looks baffled and somewhat discomfited. “So then, this is normal?”

“Well, Oikawa sits in Iwaizumi’s lap all the time,” Matsukawa reflects.

“And Iwaizumi sometimes feeds him home-cooked food, too,” Hanamaki adds, remembering.

A beat of silence as they all continue to stare in contemplation a moment longer.

“…It’s going to be hard to tell when they do finally get their act together,” Matsukawa concludes.

“I got the popcorn! Yours is without butter, right?”

Oikawa climbs down the steps to the lobby of the cinema, snacks in both hands and drinks tucked under his elbows. Iwaizumi nods, accepting his share to lighten the load as they head towards the electronic screens flicking through various advertisements to wait.

“This is the one you wanted to see, isn’t it? Alien Zombie Ninjas VS Space Pirates From Space?” Iwaizumi asks, wrinkling his nose in obvious distaste.

“It’s the sequel! Alien Zombie Ninjas 2: Revenge of the Space Kraken,” Oikawa announces cheerily. He crunches on a handful of popcorn contentedly, dropping kernels carelessly to the floor.

He presses buttery lips to Iwaizumi’s cheek, which immediately turns pink.

“Trashkawa, we’re in public,” he grumbles lightly.

Oikawa smirks. “If you’re worried about that, you should be thinking about other things first.” He presses a finger to the side of Iwaizumi’s neck where a love bite has blossomed a brilliant purplish red.

Iwaizumi yanks his collar up with his free hand, reddening. “Idiot, how am I supposed to hide that at practice?!” It’s hard enough hiding the previous assortment of scratches and marks, not to mention the mating bite which was too large for anything but an adhesive bandage.

Oikawa pouts. “That’s why I put it there! It’s annoying having to deal with people who don’t know where they stand.”

“What do you mean?” Iwaizumi asks, brow furrowing.

“Oh, nothing,” Oikawa hums, shovelling more popcorn in his mouth. Iwaizumi frowns.

“So you got your acceptance letter for Toukai, huh?” he mentions, casually playing with the straw on his drink.

“Yeah. You got into your first choice too, right?” Oikawa replies, with only a touch of bitterness. They’d talked about this, after all.

“Uh huh. Nittaidai, for sports medicine.” Oikawa looks at him. “No, shut up, it’s not like it’s for your sake or anything,” Iwaizumi splutters in denial, refusing to meet his eyes.

Oikawa grins mischievously. “Sure, sure. So where are you going with this?” he asks, fiddling to look up the film schedule with his phone.

“Well. Uh. You’re going to the Tokyo campus in Takanawa?” He waits for confirmation then says, “I’m going to Tokyo too, um, Setagaya. We could…” he mumbles the rest in an inaudible rush.

“What did you just—”

“I said, do you. Do you want to get an apartment. Together. To save money,” Iwaizumi blurts out. His palms are sweating and the drink slips down a bit.

Oikawa gawks. “Are you asking me to move in with you?”

“No! Yes. Maybe,” Iwaizumi barely has a chance to say before Oikawa drops his popcorn and leaps at him, nearly making him lose his as well.

After a passionate kiss that leaves him feeling dazed, Oikawa pulls back and asks, a little nervous as the thoughts occurs to him, “Are your parents okay with that? I mean, you told them you’re an omega, so how did they take everything?”

“They were fine with it. They’re betas so none of it made much sense to them anyway,” Iwaizumi waves away his concern. “We can tell the team, too, if you want,” he adds on the end, unconcerned.

Oikawa blinks at him in astonishment, voicing a soft, surprised noise. “You’d be all right with that?”

“Why not? It’s not like I’m ashamed of you. Much.”

Oikawa smacks another quick kiss to his cheek and bends down to grab the half-split bag of popcorn. He straights up again and goes to speak but is interrupted by a boisterous, “It’s the Grand King!”

Oikawa can only look on in open-mouthed horror as one of his least favourite people awkwardly walks towards them, half-dragged by his bouncy, spiky-headed teammate.

“Grand King, have you come to steal back your crown?! We won’t allow you to go to Nationals in our place!” Hinata declares dramatically. Kageyama bops him on the head.

“Dumbass, that’s not how it works! Sorry for disturbing you, Iwaizumi-san,” he apologises hastily, giving Iwaizumi a rueful nod of respect. Iwaizumi returns the gesture.

Oikawa sulks, annoyed. “How dare you ignore me, Tobio-chan! And to rub the defeat in our faces, so rude,” he rants, but Iwaizumi can tell he isn’t nearly as upset as he sounds.

“Is the Grand King here on a date, too?!”

Iwaizumi and Oikawa both choke. Kageyama’s face turns an abnormal shade of puce.

Hinata is completely oblivious. “We’re here to see the alien ninja movie! I heard from Noya-senpai that it’s really cool, with lots of ‘gwaaah’ and ‘fuwa!'”

For the first time in his life, Oikawa is utterly speechless.

Iwaizumi just laughs. “Come on, Tooru, the movie’s starting,” and grabs his hand.

They head into the darkness, a galaxy of stars reflecting on the polished floor, a faint echo of “So they are on a date?! I knew it!” and an even fainter “Hey, hey, hey!” in the distance.

“You called me Tooru again, Hajime,” Oikawa beams, hand curling to grip his just as tightly.

Iwaizumi rolls his eyes and they step forward into the future.