Tooru Oikawa was laying on his back on his couch, staring vacantly at the ceiling. He was thinking of a certain someone again; about the way you moved your fingers to gently soothe your neck after sitting at your desk all day, the way you laughed when you thought no one was looking that charmed him so, and most of all, the way you couldn't be bothered to put up with the showy side of him. Only a few of his closest friends saw through that façade of his, but you had been able to spot it from the start.
He liked it. No. He loved that about you.
True. At first, he had hated that about you. It was too much like himself. He didn't like not being the most observant person in the room.
He generally portrayed himself in a way that made him popular, and he did have a lot of those traits, but he turned to that even when there were times he would have acted much differently if no one was around. He put on airs that he deserved to be the most popular person in the room at any given time. Pompous. That was the word you'd used.
In your second year, the two of you had been partnered up for a class assignment. He introduced himself the way he always did, hand on his hip, head cocked to the side, smile so wide and so fake he was amazed at how often it worked on anyone. People saw what they wanted to see, he supposed.
You looked annoyed at his entrance, rather than swooning or excitedly complimenting him like most of Aobajousai. You introduced yourself, but after that, you did your best to communicate as little as possible. It was irritating, to say the least.
"What's your problem?" he asked the next day in the library. "I'm a likable guy. Everybody says so."
You rolled your eyes, and glanced up from the project the two of you were working on.
Huffing with frustration at being interrupted, you said, "Look. Everybody has something they don't like about themselves, but the way you cover yours up is creepy. Maybe you are a good guy, but how would anyone know with the way you act? You can be insecure and still be likable, you know?"
His smile faltered, but only for a moment, before he responded in a sickly sweet voice, "You don't know the average person very well then. Being popular follows a certain set of rules."
"Oh. I didn't say you would be popular. I said you might still be likable," you answered, looking back in the textbook you were reading as reference. "By the way, 'everyone' does not say you're a likable guy. People that have been on your bad side actually say that your personality is disgusting."
"What?" he asks incredulously. "Who says that? Besides guys on the court?"
"The people that know you best don't count?" you asked off-handedly. "That's convenient."
Oikawa noticed that he was tapping his forefinger loudly and repetitively. "What have I ever done to you to make you this disagreeable?"
"I'm not being disagreeable. I already told you that maybe you're even likable, but I can't find out if you're going to pretend to be all sunshine and rainbows."
"You're not going to find out, at all. We can finish this project, and I certainly won't bother talking to you again. You're very rude, (F/n)-chan," he said, voice low and serious, not feigning mock hurt or surprise as he normally would.
Shrugging, you answered, "I definitely can be. It's not my fault if you don't like not being the only one who sees people's weaknesses. If you need to prance around like some pompous king of the school, whatever--just don't expect me to take you seriously."
He pursed his lips and crinkled his forehead, staring at you with irritation. Pompous king of the school? Obviously, you were just a hateful person. It didn't matter if one girl at school didn't like him...especially if it was just you. He didn't give a damn what you thought.
Childishly, he flipped your book closed so that it landed on the floor.
"Finish this yourself, then," he growled. Before stalking out with his hands in his pockets, he swore he heard you giggle.
Later he complained about you to Iwa-chan.
"I don't know why you're so pissy about it. She's not wrong and you know it."
"Girls don't talk to me that way. I mean, I'm polite and talented and handsome. It's not like I'm you, Iwa-chan."
Iwaizumi raised a fist and punched him in the shoulder. After a dangerous glare, he said, "You can be a dick sometimes with that high-and-mighty shit, but you almost never let people see the best parts of you. I mean, true, I wanna punch you in the face 60% of the time...but you're also my best friend for a reason. The team respects you for a reason. You don't have to wear that Mr. Perfect mask around everyone."
Crossing both arms over his chest, Oikawa pouted.
"You can't be mad that she out-Oikawa'd you," Iwaizumi laughed.
"She didn't! I'll find out her weakness if it's the last thing I do!" he swore.
~ ~ ~ ~
The more Oikawa learned about you, the more he began liking you. At first he hadn't realized it, and when he did, it annoyed him more than anything.
The first time he really noticed it, you were sitting outside after school, reading a book as he walked to practice.
"What's up, Snobby-chan?" he asked, addressing you with the nickname he'd given your attitude.
When you glanced up, Oikawa swore there was more red lining the rims of your eyes than usual, but he saw no traces of tears by now. He kicked your foot slightly, gesturing for you to move your legs, and then he sat beside you on the grass.
This is it! he thought. I'm finally going to find out what upsets her.
"What do you want, Tooru?" you questioned, not sounding particularly harsh or upset. You excelled at that. Then you surprised him when you asked, "Having a bad day today?"
"Me?" He couldn't understand it. He knew he'd done an excellent job at hiding how stressed he was becoming at the approaching match against Shiratorizawa. The truth was, he was having a horrible day. He'd seen that infuriating Ushiwaka the night before, and the way he spoke to Iwaizumi and Oikawa like it was just pure fact that they would never beat him...it got under Oikawa's skin more than anything else could. He'd killed himself with extra practice that evening and even more by coming to school today earlier than normal.
But he had been all smiles and jokes and politeness and flirtatious gentleman during classes. How could you possibly know he'd been having a bad day?
As if you had heard the question in his mind, you shrugged and said simply, "You seemed really off today...I don't know. You even put that 'king' face on at me-- extra cheerful and too much of that gross smile you do."
"I do not have a gross smile!" he argued. "Why are you so damn mean to me? I didn't do anything wrong and you're insulting me. I was a perfect gentleman today, and it's not fair that you're still sitting here so smug over pointing out my shitty day!"
Great. You just admitted it, idiot.
"I wasn't trying to be smug," you replied, closing your book. "I was trying to say it's okay to have a bad day sometimes. I'm not going to think any less of you just because you feel like throwing a fit."
"I do not feel like throwing a fit!" he shouted, grabbing your book and flinging it into a tree.
His eyes widened, surprised at his own outburst. Turning his head to you, he saw you suppressing a frustrating "I was right" sort of grin. You didn't look shocked or angry. You didn't look offended, and it kind of irritated him. He growled a little and it seemed to set you off. You were laughing.
"Shut up," he grumbled as he retrieved your book. He stretched his arm down and handed it to you. "That wasn't a fit," he pouted, sitting back at your side. "It was a tantrum."
Now both of you chuckled, and it was the first time he'd seen you laugh and it was mesmerizing. He turned his head with a blush once he realized he'd been staring at you a little too hard.
"What are you, a sorceress?" he muttered.
"Just very observant," you replied, knocking your knees against his. Oikawa liked that gesture more than should have been possible.
"No. I'm very observant," he retorted. "You're a witch...or maybe a fortune teller."
"That's it. You caught me," you said matter-of-factly. "Want me to tell you your future?"
He laughed and said "sure" expecting some joke in response.
He was taken aback then when you answered, "It's gonna be fine."
He knew he was looking at you like you had two heads. He could feel his mouth hanging open and he didn't seem to be able to blink. You, on the other hand, were giving him the most genuine smile he'd ever seen on your face, reiterating aloud, "Whatever it is, it's gonna be alright."
"Of course it is," he mumbled. "I know that." He closed his eyes and turned away.
He intended to sit silently or sulk off to practice, but that smile of yours seemed burned onto the inside of his eyelids, prompting him to just let everything out. So he did. He told you everything about what he had been agonizing over and about Ushiwaka and even Tobio-chan and how hard he'd been working. He didn't sugar coat it. He showed you all the disgusting parts of himself; the whining, the meanness, the pettiness, the jealousness, and even the heavily masked self-loathing.
When he was done, you looked thoughtful for awhile, before responding, "So, basically, you're kind of a big baby, right?"
He huffed out a laugh. "Yeah. Basically. Pretty gross, huh?"
"A little," you admitted, getting to your feet. He quickly followed and the two of you began walking, "but we all have something like that. It's definitely not your most attractive quality, but I think it's a lot better than your 'king' act. At least, it's honest."
Looking up, Oikawa realized that you'd walked him to the volleyball gym. Now you were just showing off, he couldn't help but think. You knew exactly where he wanted to be to fix his rotten mood.
"Sounds like there's only one thing for this Ushiwaka guy," you said, and he nodded, still not entirely sure you didn't have some kind of magic. "Do your best."
He let out a quiet laugh in agreement, as you wished him goodbye and started walking away. He couldn't seem to stop staring again and it was then that he remembered something else you'd said. "Hey, wait a minute, Snobby-chan...I mean, (F/n)."
When you turned your head back, he smiled at you...but not the "king's" smile. He called out, somewhat teasing, "You think I have attractive qualities?!"
"Shut up, Tooru!" you called back blandly, not giving anything away.
Still, Oikawa was suddenly feeling invincible. Even his teammates were floored by how much he excelled at practice that evening.
~ ~ ~ ~
"Oi! Oikawa! Are you in there?" Iwa-chan's voice finally registered, now that he was flicking Tooru in the forehead repeatedly.
He'd completely forgotten that Iwaizumi was playing video games in the floor at his house. Rubbing the sting on his head, he said, "What was that for?!"
"You were daydreaming again! I was asking what you're gonna do about tomorrow."
"About what?" he asked, feigning ignorance. He knew perfectly well that you'd been the topic of their conversations for a week straight.
"About (F/n), stupid," he groaned. "You invited her to come as your friend, but you and I both know you want something more than that."
"Girls confess to me all the time, Iwa-chan. How hard can it be?" It was impossible to miss the glare that comment had garnered from his best friend.
"It's not as easy as you make it sound or you would've done it already."
"I think she likes me, too. I really think it's possible I have a chance. Is that dumb?" Oikawa couldn't hide the insecurity behind his assertion.
Giving him a softer look than he usually would, Iwaizumi said, "I've seen how you are with her. You're really yourself. You put a lot of effort into the time you spend with her...in a good way. I do think that's gonna pay off for you, man."
Like all the effort I put into volleyball paid off this year? he couldn't help but think, deep frown etched on his features.
"Don't do that," his friend commanded. When Tooru looked at him with a puzzled expression, Iwa-chan continued, "Don't get stuck in circles in your own head. You always do that to yourself. It won't help you here."
After Oikawa agreed slowly with a nod, Iwaizumi added, "Just don't do the king thing. You know she hates it. Be yourself."
"I know that! I'm not a total lost cause!" he shouted, more than a little miffed.
He knew why Iwa-chan had warned him of that specifically, though. It was because there would be a large number of people at this party; people that would make his insecurities rise and his habits hard to break. Not playing the Grand King in front of a crowd of volleyball peers would be difficult, indeed.
Already fretting, Oikawa was beginning to wish he hadn't invited you. There could have been other opportunities to confess, but he knew you were interested in seeing some of the people he was always whining about. He wanted to share that with you-- kind of. He could only hope things wouldn't get ugly.
= = = =
You, Oikawa, and Iwaizumi had barely made it through the door to the ballroom before the King was swarmed by fans. You rolled your eyes, and kept walking to the refreshments, missing that he'd called after you over the chatter of the party.
Stopping at the table and pouring a drink, you surveyed the room, taking in the different people in attendance. Of course you recognized all the boys from Aobajosai, but you also wanted to meet some of the people that Oikawa had spent the last two years complaining about to you, so you took the initiative to move about the room and introduce yourself here and there.
When you stopped in front of a boy with orange hair, you knew he must be the "Chibi-chan" Oikawa had raved about, which meant that one of the guys standing next to him was--
"Yahoo! Tobio-chan!" You flinched at the sugary sweet voice and didn't miss the slight glare of a stern looking boy in front of you. Oikawa was next to you now, hand on his hip, the other around your shoulder, but he didn't acknowledge you first. He was too busy glaring at the pair in front of you.
"So this is where you've been, (F/n)?" he asked in a way that some other girl might have felt was adorable. You just found that it made your stomach churn. You thought he had learned not to treat you like an idiot.
Ducking out from under his arm, you said, "Guess I'll leave you boys to catch up," before walking off again.
"Wait," he tried, but the boys laughing at your dismissal of him was more important it seemed, as he stayed to defend himself.
If he'd just treated you like you knew he hated Kageyama, you would have gladly stayed by his side to defend him, if necessary. Instead, it was back to phony smiles and treating you like a groupie. It hurt your feelings when he didn't give you the respect that he normally would. You were very fond of Oikawa and had liked that honest side of him from the start. You knew he was just acting out his insecurities, but it still didn't make it okay for him to forget you were on his side. Especially in front of others.
You hadn't made it very far away when you bumped into a very large form. "Oh, I'm sorry about that," you said, looking up to a stoic looking guy, with kind of olive brown hair.
"You must be Ushi--" but then your hand was pulled and you were whipped the opposite direction of Shiratorizawa's Ace.
"Nope. Not him," Oikawa scolded, pulling you out towards the lobby of the building.
"What the in the world, Tooru? I was just going to introduce myself," you pointed out, stunned at his behavior.
"I don't want you to talk to him...anyone but Ushijima...or Kageyama," Oikawa said sternly, with a concerned frown on his face.
"You're being weird. That's why you brought me, isn't it? I just wanted to see what they were like. Those guys didn't even have time to do anything to piss you off tonight," you complained, digging your feet in and stopping the pair of you from walking further.
"Didn't do anything to piss me off? They took everything away from me! Don't you remember?" he questioned, hands gesturing wildly.
You opened your mouth to yell at him, but then closed it. It wouldn't do any good with him in this kind of mood.
Of course, you remembered. You had been there for him when he had cried, after telling you all about that last loss. You'd ached right along with him and would have done anything about the hurt he was feeling. When his shoulders shook from the tears, you had laid his head over on you and stroked his hair. There was nothing else you could do in that moment. It was something that was going to hurt no matter what. When he left your house afterwards, he had thanked you with a genuine, almost timid sort of smile.
You wanted to keep him from that kind of pain again, but it didn't seem he had any intentions of letting you. Instead, he was just going to get himself all worked up and do something stupid. Then he'd go find some girl to tell him what he wanted to hear about himself; not what he needed to hear. There were certainly plenty there that night for him to choose from, you thought dejectedly. Pointing that out probably wouldn't help right now, however.
Still, you suggested, "You're being a little dramatic, don't you think? Just go back in there and enjoy all the fangirls you have that they don't. They'll be jealous and you win or whatever. Problem solved."
"How does that solve my problem?" he asked, looking completely offended at the suggestion. "You don't even know what it is."
"Well you're acting like you want to gloat. Go do it, if that's what you wanted tonight. You didn't have to bring me just to humor me, Tooru. You know I don't want to be that kind of friend. Call me tomorrow, and tell me how it goes, if you want." You thought maybe he'd throw one of his little fits and things would go back to normal.
"Seriously? That's not what I want at all." You saw a different kind of look cross over his face then--a desperate sort of look you had never seen from Tooru.
"Then what do you want?" you questioned. You were surprised at how quickly the other two guys had gotten to him that evening...and even more surprised at how quickly he answered the question.
"You! I want you, (F/n)," he blurted out. There was silence and he didn't mean to, he would tell you later, but out of nervous habit that stupid fake grin of his took over his face. He didn't need to see your reaction. He could feel how insincere he looked.
Now wasn't a good time to start one of his acts. If he was testing you, it wasn't funny. "Don't be a dick, Oikawa! You can't just distract me from your issues by trying that crap on me. I'm not a fangirl."
"It doesn't matter what I say or do anymore, or how hard I try, does it? It probably never did. You'll never believe that I'm being sincere...and why would you? You've seen too much of the real me. I don't blame you."
You loved the real him. Why would he say that? Why did he think you always pushed him to be himself? You grimaced at his accusations. This night wasn't going how you had hoped at all. With hurt in your voice, you ordered, "Stop it. It's not funny anymore."
"Damn it all!" Tooru growled and turned, punching the wall repeatedly. "Useless! Useless! Useless!" He let out a loud guttural yell and punched the wall again, when his fist reared back this time you could see red smeared across the painted surface. He was bleeding.
"Oikawa, stop! What are you doing?! Tooru, you're hurting yourself! Stop that, please!" you'd been shouting. As you did, you could hear fast approaching footsteps and felt relief as Iwaizumi's hand shot out and gripped Tooru's fist, restraining him with his other arm. He seemed to have a sense for when Oikawa was getting himself into trouble, and you were grateful.
"What the hell is wrong with you, idiot! Don't scare her like that! Calm down!" Iwaizumi scolded, glaring hard at his best friend.
Oikawa apologized quietly, but didn't meet your stare. His eyes were wide and he was shocked at himself, staring at his injured hand completely dumbfounded. Iwaizumi pulled the handkerchief out of Oikawa's jacket and draped it over his knuckles.
You had seen him mad at himself and disappointed in himself plenty of times before, but this was the first time you'd seen him that angry. This wasn't his normal petty tantrum. This was something else. It was startling to see someone like Oikawa that worked up about anything. You knew it was likely a side to the popular setter very few people had known.
Hajime turned to face you, still holding onto Tooru even though he'd relaxed. "Excuse us, (F/n). He's sorry for that, believe me. He's sorry."
Then with a growl at his friend and a tug from the loose chokehold he had on him, he said, "Get over here right now, dumbass! What are you doing?!"
They disappeared around the corner at the far end of the lobby, opposite the entrance to the dance hall. You weren't sure why, but you followed quietly behind and stopped to lean against the wall on your side, eavesdropping and out of sight. It wasn't polite, but you couldn't resist the urge.
"...did you think that was going to go, Shittykawa?" you heard Hajime whisper.
You didn't hear a response from Oikawa. Finally, Iwaizumi asked, "You did that thing you always do, didn't you? That fake ass smile and voice that works for your groupies, but you knew she wouldn't believe you if you did that! You're the one who said she would think it was weird. You told me yesterday you would just be honest. What happened to that?"
"I chickened out. I panicked. Those guys were making me feel like a joke. They weren't even trying, I know that! No one has to tell me."
"You need to calm down more," you heard Hajime urge.
"I'm trying, but I ruined it. I put too much effort into everything. I want it too badly...she's going to think I'm some creep."
"You are a creep!" For a moment you wanted to laugh the tension away.
"That's rude!" he exclaimed just above a whisper. Then you could here his voice cracking, "What do I do, Iwa-chan? I just ruined it. Not only did I lose my nerve, I showed her an even uglier part of me."
His nerve for what? you wondered.
"That was pretty disgusting back there. Why did you lose it like that?" Hajime wondered.
"I can't tell her I have feelings for her. I can't tell her I know her favorite songs or books or flowers. I can't say that I recognize her by the smell of her shampoo, or that I love that cute face she gets when I manage to irritate her. I'm not going to say I know exactly what face she makes when she's happy-- that I can see it clearly, even when we're just on the phone or texting...or even when I'm by myself and lonely."
Your heart was pounding out of control. He was actually trying to confess?! Why would he do it in the middle of your argument about two guys he hated? Your mind was swimming, trying to grasp onto the answer.
"Why the hell not? Damn, Oikawa! Even I might want you if you said those kinds of things," Hajime taunted. "Why can't you just tell her?"
"Because then she'll know what she means to me and maybe I won't be enough. I've never been this honest with a girl. If she rejects me, it's not that phony part of me she's rejecting. It's just me."
Iwaizumi started, "You don't know that she doesn't have feelings for you or you wouldn't be acting like such a baby right now. You said yourself that you thought you had a chance. Why did you change your mind?"
"You don't understand, Iwa-chan. I want this as badly as I've ever wanted anything, and you know better than anyone else what it means for me to say that. It's easier to be that guy that can't get hurt. It's easier just to be the asshole when I'm afraid." Oikawa's voice was smaller than you had ever heard. The fact that he was this worked up over you was something you couldn't quite fathom.
"Easier?!" Iwaizumi actually shouted now. "You've never done things the easy way in your life! You're gonna do this if I have to hold you down and make you say it."
You came around the corner to Hajime gripping tightly to the collar of his best friend's suit jacket, about to jerk him back down the hall towards you. "That won't be necessary. You don't need to go that far, Hajime. Right, Tooru? The Oikawa I know would never quit without putting forth his best efforts...until the last possible second."
Both of the boys' faces were frozen in surprise, like two kids caught doing something they knew would get them into trouble. Oikawa asked, "How much did you hear?"
"Not enough," you said.
The two of you stood staring at one another, watching for minute signs of the other's mood. You saw the rise and fall of his Adam's apple, as he took a thick and nervous swallow.
Forgetting Hajime had been there, you only noticed again when he cleared his throat loudly. Clapping Tooru firmly on the back for encouragement, he excused himself to return to the party.
The both of you still stood staring, unable to think of what to do now. You had to do something, though. The silence was maddening.
"Come on," you called, pulling him along by the sleeve of his suit jacket until the two of you were outside and sitting on some grass, near the large event building, in the dim light of evening.
"Why did you get upset when I tried to talk to those two?" you asked finally, sitting close enough that your right side touched completely against his left.
He shrugged, but said, "I didn't want you to see they were okay guys. It's stupid, but I thought maybe you might like them more than me."
"That is stupid," you responded simply, knocking against him in an effort to tell him you understood.
"You like it when people are sincere. No one's more sincere than Ushijima...and Kageyama's too dumb to be anything but honest," he said quietly. You couldn't help but snicker at the jab.
"So...what? I thought we moved past you putting on your shows with me. Have you been lying to me for two years then?" you joked.
"Yes," he said shortly. You didn't have time to feel ambushed or voice disappointment before he was saying, "I love you. I've known for such a long time, but I kept it from you. You make me feel invincible and insecure at the same time. I feel strong and weak around you. So I kept it from you, and I lied because I was afraid you couldn't want someone like me."
"Someone like you?" you repeated. He was exactly the person you wanted. You had liked him as he was from the moment you'd gotten under his skin and made him throw his little hissy fit in the library. You stared at him in awe. For someone who most people saw as so put together and so confident, he really could be blind when it came to himself.
"I can't believe you've had all this time and never figured out my weakness, Tooru," you marveled.
He gave you a curious look, and you smiled softly before grabbing him by the face and crashing your lips into his. There was a muffled noise of surprise from Oikawa, before he melted into the soft caress of lips. One hand braced himself beside you on the grass and the other had his long, beautiful fingers tracing over your cheek and chin and the soft new hairs at the base of your neck.
"(F/n)," he said between kisses trailed down your neck, neither of you pulling away or opening your eyes. "You like me?" You could feel the smile he couldn't conceal against your throat as he asked.
You pulled his face back to yours and kissed his cheeks and beside his eye. "For so long," you laughed with the little breath you could spare.
He growled low, like an animal finally capturing its prey, and dove back in for your lips. Your hummed response sounded as if you were quenching a long held thirst, and you parted your lips as he leaned you back against the grass.
Delving into your mouth, your tongues worked together, hot and thick, and there was so much sensation you weren't sure how to process it. Draping your arms loosely around his neck, you leaned up to kiss down his long, beautiful throat and the top of his chest, before laying back on the grass and allowing him to taste your lips once more.
You were trying hard not to get carried away, and you could tell he was, too. None of his weight was rested against you, even though you almost felt pain from the longing. You smiled to yourself, thinking it was amusing that his lips tasted like the honey-covered words he so easily fed to people. This wasn't an act, though. It wasn't a lie. This was Oikawa touching, tasting, inhaling your breath like it was the last air he'd ever receive. You could feel the breathing between to two of you began to shudder excitedly.
When the kiss finally broke, he looked truly like a king, but not that false one he pretended to be. He looked sure of himself and confident and sexy with those chocolate brown eyes studying every moment of your breathlessness. His darkened form hovering over you, lit only vaguely with the nearby glow of the building, made him look every bit the part of a demon tempting you to your end. Your lipstick smeared dark and seductively across his person certainly did nothing to derail that image.
With a devilish smirk, voice husky and raw, he said, "You shouldn't have said that. I'll never let you live that down, you know?"
"Live what down?" you questioned, trying to remember what it meant to breathe.
"You're weak for Tooru Oikawa," he gloated.
You let out a short laugh. It was true. Any girl would be weak for Oikawa as he was right this second...but his heart was yours and yours alone, flaws and all. He was phenomenal, and as far as you were concerned, he could rub the fact that you wanted him in anytime.
Still you taunted, "You were weak for me first."
"Too true," he purred before need took over and he was leaning in to your lips again.