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15 Minutes

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi Hajime’s temple throbbed, perfectly in time with the staccato screams of the infant to his right. It was one of those days. The kind of day that would chew him up, spit him out, and while he was still dazed and covered in saliva, throw something extra at him. Like getting hit by a bus. Or mauled by a bear. Or getting abducted by aliens while a bear was mauling him after he’d been hit by a bus.

Iwaizumi wasn’t completely sure, but as another baby started to wail, he started to wonder if Oikawa wasn’t actually right, and that being taken by aliens wouldn’t be too terrible of a way to go. At least it would save him from this hellish place populated by hard chairs, the screams of children, and the nauseating smell of cheap coffee.

Really, it only made sense that today would be terrible. For the entirety of his trip to San Francisco, things had gone unbelievably well. He had been randomly chosen to be upgraded to first class on his flight from Tokyo to California, complete with bigger seats, complimentary drinks, and free movies for the duration of the 15 hour flight. His cousin had picked him up right on time from the airport, and his luggage had been some of the first suitcases to come through baggage claim.

San Francisco had been awesome. The people were friendly, the weather beautiful, and the city vibrant. It didn’t even matter that his English was only a few steps above horrendous, as his cousins were always with him to translate.

Staying with his aunt and uncle had been a pleasant surprise. His only memories of them and their children were vague, fuzzy things born of a family reunion ten years ago. His twin cousins, Will and Andrew, had been pleasant enough, he supposed. They were a year younger than him, spoke broken Japanese, and hadn’t resisted when Iwaizumi shoved a net in their hands and told them they were going bug hunting.

Even when Iwaizumi’s annoying neighbor/best friend had spotted them outside and ran down to play with them yelling, “Iwa-chaaaaan!” Will and Andy had been gracious enough to accept him into their group and put up with his monopolization of Iwaizumi’s time.

After that his only contact with them had been a yearly birthday card, with a nice note written by his aunt with Will and Andy’s names tacked on as an afterthought, written in clumsy kanji. Despite this lack of contact, Iwaizumi’s parents had decided that the break before his third year of high school should see him shipped off to America for three weeks before he was too laden with the responsibilities of adulthood to explore the world. Iwaizumi was too intrigued to put up a fight. Oikawa, however, was not.

Iwaizumi knew that Oikawa would not be pleased that he was going to be spending the entirety of their last high school break on a different continent with a 15 hour time difference. He would pout, whine, and demand to be brought with. Trying to stave off the headache telling Oikawa would undoubtedly bring, Iwaizumi didn’t mention his looming trip until four days before he was scheduled to leave.

“Iwa-chan! My parents are leaving on a trip to visit my grandparents the first day of break. They offered to bring me with, but I’d rather spend the first days of our last break with you.”

Iwaizumi tried to keep his face neutral and not show the guilt that was bubbling beneath his skin like an itch he couldn’t scratch. They were walking home together after volleyball practice, both in high spirits over the nice weather and the end of exams. Iwaizumi was carrying both their bags (the result of a lost bet), something he didn’t really mind but complained about regardless.

“I was thinking we could see the new movie in that franchise you love. What’s it called . . . Operation: Improbable, right?”

“Mission: Impossible,” Iwaizumi said, fighting the small smile that tried to quirk his lips and squashing down the warmth that pooled in his stomach. “Don’t pretend that you don’t know the name, you’ve seen all of them. Multiple times.”

Oikawa threw his head back and laughed, the setting sun shining down on his hair, making it look like molten chocolate. Iwaizumi jerked his gaze away quickly after he realized he was staring, slightly confused about why his gaze was lingering on Oikawa of all people.

Clearing his throat multiple times, Iwaizumi tried to speak up and tell him that he was leaving, but couldn’t find the words to. Not forever, obviously. But to Oikawa a few weeks may as well be a few years. Especially where Iwaizumi was concerned.

With a start Iwaizumi realized that Oikawa was no longer next to him. A glance back revealed Oikawa stopped several yards behind him, hands on his hips, eyes narrowed, and chin tipped back. Iwaizumi knew that look. It was the look Oikawa used on the volleyball court, on opponents where he had figured out their weakness and was trying to figure out how best to exploit it.

Knowing he was caught, Iwaizumi turned to face him with a sigh. He was going to be upfront about it. Iwaizumi believed telling people bad news was best done as if ripping off a band aid; painful at first, but efficient. “I’m going to America to visit my extended family over break.”

Oikawa’s eyes widened comically, evidently not expecting that. After a pregnant pause, he walked towards Iwaizumi and slung his arm over his shoulder. “Iwa-chaaaaan, why didn’t you tell me sooner? I’m going to have to completely reorganize our itinerary now,” he tutted with a sigh.

“What?” Iwaizumi blurted. Never in his wildest dreams did he believe that Oikawa would take the news like this. Give him the silent treatment, yes. Throw a tantrum, yes. Be accepting, no.

“Iwa-chan, I’m hurt. Did you think I would prohibit you from leaving,” Oikawa pouted, hanging off Iwaizumi’s arm.

“No.” Yes.

“Besides, you’ll only be gone for a few days, right? You’ll be back for volleyball training camp, you can’t miss that. You’re our ace.” Oikawa said with such finality that Iwaizumi almost nodded reflexively.

They had reached Iwaizumi’s house. It was now or never, and Iwaizumi was desperately tempted to wave goodbye, walk inside, and just leave, dealing with Oikawa when he got back. But before he could decide on this course of action, his mouth opened and words were tumbling out without approval from his brain.

“Um, ah, actually I’m leaving in four days. Well, three and a half now. And I’m staying there all of break, so I’m going to miss training camp this year. But I promise that I’ll practice while I’m away. I’m not going to slack off.”

Oikawa’s reaction this time was what Iwaizumi had expected. He froze, with a plastic smile on his face, eyes crinkled at the corners. After a few seconds he moved, yanking Iwaizumi’s front door open and slamming it behind him. Iwaizumi scowled and followed him in, already knowing what he was doing.

“Iwaizumi-san, you can’t let Iwa-chan go to America! Imagine him amongst those giant foreigners, he’ll surely be stepped on. Poor, tiny Iwa-chan. He doesn’t even speak English. Have you seen his exam grades? They’re atrocious!”

Iwaizumi ran into his kitchen to see Oikawa giving his mother puppy dog eyes. And it was working, that bastard. His mother had always had a soft spot for Oikawa, to put it mildly. Iwaizumi was convinced that she loved Oikawa more than he and his father combined. “Oh, Tooru-chan, I thought you already knew. Hajime, did you really just tell him about your trip? If you had told him earlier he may have been able to go with you, your father has leftover frequent flyer miles that are going to go to waste now. And why haven’t I seen your recent exam scores?” Iwaizumi was unsure how he had ended up being the bad guy in this situation, but that happened a lot around Oikawa.

Having done his damage, Oikawa bowed politely to Iwaizumi’s mother and excused himself. With a fierce scowl and eyes filled with betrayal he left the kitchen without looking at Iwaizumi.


Oikawa could hold a grudge better than anyone Iwaizumi had ever met. He was also extremely passive aggressive, impressively so. Iwaizumi almost cried with relief when the day of his flight came and he no longer had to deal with biting stares, cold sneers, and the frightening distance Oikawa had kept from him. He knew it was his fault for not telling Oikawa sooner, but he had never expected him to react like a spoiled child who had been told no for the first time in his life. It was infuriating, and Iwaizumi’s hands twitched with the urge to punch something – or someone.

So when Oikawa was standing at the train platform that would carry Iwaizumi to the airport, he was more than a little shocked. He hugged his parents goodbye, promising to call, Skype, do everything that mothers expected while their precious darlings were away from the nest.

After finally shrugging out of his mother’s crushing hug, he turned to Oikawa. His mouth opened, but nothing came out. This was ridiculous. He was leaving for 3 weeks. They could Skype everyday if they felt like it. So why was his stomach twisting into knots? Why were his palms shaking slightly? Before he could say anything more than, “Listen . . .” his train arrived, saving him from blurting out something awkward within hearing distance of his mother and father.

Oikawa blinked at him before reaching down and grabbing two of his oversized suitcases and stepping onto the train. Iwaizumi blinked after him, confused. His mother’s voice trilled from behind him, “Hajime, Tooru-chan bought a ticket just to see you off to Tokyo, isn’t that sweet? He’s such a nice boy, I really must tell his mother again. Now off you go, you’ll miss your train!”

Iwaizumi leapt off the platform as if it was on fire, chasing after Oikawa. Belatedly he turned back and waved to his parents, calling out a farewell before the doors closed between them. He found Oikawa sitting down, with his suitcases by his feet. “Iwa-chan, why are your bags so heavy? It’s not like you actually care about your appearance, so what could you possibly be bringing to America?” Oikawa teased, as if he hadn’t been blatantly ignoring Iwaizumi for the past few days.

Normally Iwaizumi would have kicked him for such a comment, but he was so relieved that Oikawa was here, with him, and acting normally that all he did was clasp his shoulder heavily before sitting down next to him.

The train ride was a blur, with Oikawa’s voice in the background. “Iwa-chan, remember, America is super big, if you get lost. . . Iwa-chan, if you need to call the police, I looked up the number, it’s. . . If you ever need me, remember to call, but please keep in mind the time difference; some of us care about our beauty sleep. . . And don’t be afraid to report any suspicious activity you see at the airport, Iwa-can. Better safe than sorry. . . .”

When they arrived at the airport, Oikawa accompanied him inside. They would have to part ways soon, since nobody without a ticket could pass security. Oikawa was still rambling, dusting imaginary dust off Iwaizumi’s jacket and fidgeting with the straps on his suitcase like a mother hen. Cutting off a tirade about how to properly walk through security (Shoes, Iwa-chan! Take off your shoes or they get mad!), Iwaizumi pulled Oikawa into a tight hug, ignoring the other’s squeak of surprise.

“I’m going to miss you, you idiot. Don’t practice too hard, I’ll be able to tell. If you hurt your knee again I’ll fly back to yell at you in person.” Iwaizumi tried to sound annoyed. But his throat was a bit tight, his voice a bit gruff, his eyes a bit damp, and wow he didn’t feel like this at all when he was saying goodbye to his parents.
Oikawa didn’t say anything for a while, clutching tight to Iwaizumi’s shoulders and burying his face in his neck, bending his knees slightly. Eventually they released one another, avoiding eye contact. Iwaizumi lightly punched Oikawa in the shoulder as he knelt down and picked up his bags.

“Mean, Iwa-chan! Hurting your best friend, who you’re going to miss dearly! Who came all this way with you because they know you’re nervous of flying alone!” Oikawa punched him back, slightly harder. Iwaizumi frowned and hit him again. Dissolving into giggles, Oikawa raced towards the security checkpoint, taunting, “So slow, Iwa-chan!” as Iwaizumi tried and failed to run after him with his arms full of luggage.

“Shut up, Trashkawa,” Iwaizumi scowled as he caught up and got into the long line, Oikawa on the other side of the black tape. “You’re going to miss your train if you don’t leave now,” Iwaizumi said, giving Oikawa an affectionate head-butt.

Squawking in indignation, Oikawa rubbed his nose and ducked under the line, ignoring the hag behind them who barked, “That’s not allowed, young man!” He half turned, and gave the woman a winning smile and a lazy wink. She made a ragged noise and looked away, much to the amusement of Oikawa. Iwaizumi felt his fingers twitch again.
“Iwa-chan said he’ll miss me,” Oikawa said as he stepped closer to Iwaizumi and pulled him into another tight hug, lifting him off the ground.

“Did not, dumbass! I said . . . something else,” Iwaizumi finished lamely, half breathless from the hug and half from how good Oikawa’s hair smelled. For a second he could swear he felt Oikawa’s breath on his cheek before something soft pressed against his skin, causing him to freeze as electricity radiated through his body from the spot Oikawa had – maybe? Possibly? – just kissed.

Before he had time to wonder if it was actually possible for a brain to short-circuit (and what kind of shampoo Oikawa used because damn) Oikawa was pulling away and stepping over that stupid line again, much to the pleasure of the hag. With a final “Bye, Iwa-chan, don’t forget to practice spiking! That’s an order from your captain!” he was striding away, the crowd swallowing him up.

Going through security in a daze, Iwaizumi remembered to take his shoes off, just as Oikawa had told him to. When he was finally through the metal detectors and sitting in an uncomfortable chair, eating a shitty airport sandwich, he pulled out his phone. He had several messages from Matsukawa and Hanamaki, telling him they hoped his plane wasn’t hijacked over the Pacific and to buy them an authentic American keychain.

Oikawa had also texted him.

(2:33) Iwa-chan I missed my train because I was nice enough to stay with you (T_T) When you get back you’re buying me dinner and milk bread (・ω・)

The feeling came out of nowhere and hit Iwaizumi like a bus. Oh, he thought fuzzily. This makes sense. He liked Oikawa. Like liked him. As in he didn’t actually mind being forced to buy him dinner, and why every time he’d hit him recently had made him feel . . . guilty (even though Oikawa undoubtedly deserved it). So that’s why he’d felt frozen when they had hugged goodbye, and now that he thought about it he couldn’t have had food poising every time his stomach knotted and dropped when he said something that made Oikawa throw his head back in genuine laughter.

Iwaizumi supposed that this realization couldn’t have come at a better time, since he now had almost a month to sort through his . . . feelings. Just thinking about it made him feel queasy. Emotions were never really his strong suit, as evident by his very poor (nonexistent) dating history. But there was really nothing he could do about it, after all. The heart wants what the heart wants and all that bullshit. Even if his heart wanted his tall, dorky, beautiful, very male best friend.

Did this make him gay? Iwaizumi wasn’t really sure. Oikawa was the only . . . person he’d ever been really interested in. Guy or girl. Which, now that he’s thinking about it, was kind of odd. Oikawa certainly didn’t have his problem, Iwaizumi suddenly realized with flash of bitterness. He’d had a string of girlfriends ever since he’d gotten hot seemingly overnight when they were 14. Iwaizumi wanted to punch himself for being so oblivious. He'd fucking noticed that Oikawa had gotten hot, and he had just . . . ignored it? Suppressed his feelings so deep that nobody, not even himself, had noticed? Whatever he had done, it had evidently worked.

Iwaizumi dug his palms into his eyes and held them there until he started to see different colors. Why was he worrying about all this, anyways? He was almost positive that Oikawa had a girlfriend, anyways. Or, he had had one two weeks ago (no one could ever predict these kinds of things with him). He had a plane to catch and a new country to explore. Overall, despite the whole crush-on-your-best-friend thing, things were looking pretty good for him.

Nodding with resolve, Iwaizumi pushed the issue into the back of his mind. If there was anything he was good at ignoring, it was unpleasant thoughts. Besides, he had bigger things to worry about, such as if he would even recognize his cousins, and how he would communicate with them if they still didn’t speak Japanese (Oikawa hadn’t been lying when he’d brought up Iwaizumi’s abysmal English exam). But overall, he thought, things really couldn’t be better.

Chapter Text

Things could not have been worse. If there had been any wood in this god-forsaken place Iwaizumi would have knocked on it, gladly. He would have pounded his fist on it, half mad with frustration, anger, and exhaustion. It wasn’t even six am, and he was ready for the day to be over, ready to crawl into his bed and never come out.

His misfortune started the minute he woke up. At 3:31 in the morning. Before today Iwaizumi hadn’t been fully convinced that 3 in the morning had actually existed (it was a made up place populated by fairies, mermaids, and people like Kenma Kozume).

But, lo and behold, 3 o’clock in the goddamn morning was actually a thing, much to Iwaizumi’s distress. This was the earliest he had ever been forced to rise, even earlier than that time Oikawa had dragged him along to get a new action figure of his favorite character from his favorite movie franchise, Alien Space Predators 3: Quest for Vengeance (Iwaizumi was still unsure as to why it was called that, since there was no vengeance of any kind in the plot, just horrendous CGI and bad acting). Oikawa had been convinced that the toy would sell out in minutes, and they had to get to the store and stand in line before anyone else, or he'd, "Miss an amazing, once in a lifetime opportunity, Iwa-chan!" When they had arrived at the comic book store no one had been there. No employees, no customers, and certainly no fanboys of Alien Space Predators 3: Quest for Vengeance. Oikawa had had to forcefully restrain Iwaizumi from leaving the minute he had seen the empty parking lot (Iwa-chan, this is good! Nobody will try to take it from me now!).

But 3 in the morning was no time to think of bad memories and loud, (adorably) nerdy best friends who take advantage of your kindness (and weakness for glasses and bedheads). 3 in the morning was a time to curse early flights home and wonder why science hadn't invented a syringe that could shoot caffeine straight into the bloodstream, bypassing the need for coffee.

Iwaizumi stumbled around his dark room, groping for his suitcases. He somehow got tangled up in his blankets and crashed to the floor with a muffled curse and a dull bang. After lurching to his feet and bemoaning his shitty luck he found his bags and opened the door as quietly as possible. He tired to be gracious of his still slumbering family and tiptoed down the stairs as noiselessly as could be expected of someone who had woken up at the ass crack of dawn and was carrying two 30 pound suitcases. When he made it down the stairs he crossed the floor to the front door and opened it, peering outside. The taxi his aunt had hired to drive him into the city and to airport was idling by the curb, right on time.

Iwaizumi grabbed his bags and walked across the grass, the moonlight illuminating his path. He shivered slightly from the early morning chill. The cab driver got out of the car and took his bags, helping him throw them in the trunk. He said something, but Iwaizumi was too tired to even take a stab at translating his words, so he nodded and said, “Yes,” hoping that would be sufficient.

Apparently it was, as the next minute saw them climb back into the cab and drive off. Iwaizumi had enough sense to look behind him as they pulled away from the house he’d spent the better part of a month living in. He would miss the rickety old two story with the big porch almost as much as the people who lived in it. His aunt and uncle were surprisingly funny, and very welcoming. Will, Andy and him had become close over the short time they had spent together. They all shared a passion for sports (Will for basketball, Andy for swimming, and Iwaizumi for volleyball), and would test each other’s skills often during lazy afternoons. They’d play pickup games of basketball with Will’s friends and race each other in the ocean, much to the terror of their mother.

They did play volleyball, but Iwaizumi rapidly learned that he became quite homesick whenever he saw a net, much less tried spiking a toss that wasn’t Oikawa’s. He refused to think too heavily about the implications of that (it was too pathetic, really), and instead laughed off his reluctance to play as being tired of the sport and wanting a break during vacation.

The exception to this was beach volleyball, which Iwaizumi had never played before, having been too busy with making sure Oikawa didn’t kill himself practicing his jump serves to try it out. It was surprisingly fun, once he got used to how disorganized everyone on the court was. And he kind of (totally) enjoyed the way Will’s friends looked at him in awe whenever he was on their team, scoring and spiking point after point against people who had never played competitively a day in their lives. He couldn’t help but think about how much more impressed they would have been if they could see Oikawa play, could see how precise, beautiful, and accurate his tosses were. Iwaizumi was convinced that if any of his new friends saw how breathtaking Oikawa was whenever he picked up a volleyball they wouldn't be quite so quick to praise him. But those thoughts were dangerous, and he always pushed them aside (to be figured out when he returned to the Real World).

But the Real World was rapidly approaching. In fact, he would be back in the Real World in less than 24 hours, and was just as unprepared to face his new warm and fuzzy feelings for Oikawa as he was the day he had left. But that was fine, he’d figure this mess out during the plane ride home (right? Right!?). Iwaizumi pressed his face to the cool window of the cab, too exhausted to think about how nasty the glass probably was. It was an hours ride to the airport, and his plane was scheduled to leave at 7 (hence his ridiculous wake up time). If all went according to schedule he should be back in Japan in 17ish hours, ready (or not) to face Oikawa.


“I’m sorry,” Iwaizumi repeated for what felt like the hundredth time, “But I . . . don’t understand.” The TSA agent looked at him suspiciously, running his hands across Iwaizumi’s shoulders again and patting the area around his clavicle forcefully, as if a weapon might suddenly appear if he pressed hard enough.

Iwaizumi had no idea why he had been pulled out of line and subjected to this breach of personal space. He had put his bags on the conveyor belt, taken off his shoes, and walked through the body scanner, same as everyone else. He had thought everything was fine, until he’d been pulled aside and subjected to a thorough pat-down by a man who looked like an angry, slightly drunk Santa Clause. After another minute of excruciatingly awkward fumbling and muffled English that Iwaizumi could only half understand, he was finally released. Angry Santa held up Iwaizumi’s ChapStick, which he had evidently forgotten to take out of his pocket. Shaking his head, Angry Santa pinched the tube between two fingers, shoved it in front of Iwaizumi’s face, and started talking rapidly. Iwaizumi had never pitied himself as much as he did in that moment.

After the lecture Iwaizumi was sent on his way (without his ChapStick). And he was mad. He hadn’t been this upset since Oikawa had blown his knee out last year. It was literally fucking ChapStick, did they think he was crafty enough to blow up a plane with a canister of lip balm? Now he’d have to go home and greet everyone (Oikawa) with dry, crusty lips, all because he’d been too stupid to take it out of his pocket before going through security.

His back ached from shouldering his backpack while his arms burned from the weight of his carry-on. He finally found the correct terminal after wandering around for a good 10 minutes, and collapsed into a shitty chair with worn down padding. He closed his eyes briefly before checking his watch. He had 45 minutes until departure. 45 minutes until he’d be on his way home (to Oikawa). His gut clenched at the thought of seeing Shittykawa again, talking to him for the first time in weeks.

It was embarrassing, but Iwaizumi had forgotten his cell phone charger in his room back in Miyagi (Stupid, stupid Iwa-chan!). He’d felt too guilty to ask his aunt to use the landline for the sole purpose of hearing his best friend's voice (international calls were expensive). Which meant that outside of sporadic Facebook chats he’d had no basically no contact with anyone from Japan. He didn’t know whether he was concerned his parents hadn’t really bothered to call him during his stay or proud that they blindly trusted him in a foreign country.

Iwaizumi was roused from his thoughts by a loud ding, indicating an announcement. He leaned forward, as if that would help him better understand what was being said. “Good morning . . . flight . . . Tokyo . . . 9 am . . . thank you.” Glancing around desperately, Iwaizumi was on the edge of panic (you’d think living in the U.S. for a month would improve one’s English skills, but no) before the announcement was repeated in Japanese. “Good morning, due to weather concerns over the Pacific, today’s 7 o’clock outbound flight to Tokyo has been delayed until 9 am. We appreciate your cooperation, and thank you for flying with us.”

The news didn’t really sink in for a good 30 seconds. When it finally hit him that he wouldn’t be leaving for another 3 hours, Iwaizumi leapt to his feet in a panic and ran to the front desk where the announcement had come from.

Several minutes later, after speaking to the nice lady at the gate, Iwaizumi walked to the row of dingy payphones, tucked away in the back of the terminal, as if the airport was embarrassed to own such an antiquated device of communication. After shoving several dollars’ worth of quarters into the slot, Iwaizumi dialed the code the lady had told him to, and then his home phone number. Nobody answered, of course (it was the middle of the night, after all). He left a message anyways, telling his parents what had happened, and not to expect him home until later.

After hanging up and shuddering at the thought of how many other ears had touched that particular phone, Iwaizumi paused. His finger hovered over the numbers, twitching to dial Oikawa's cell phone, if only to hear his (horribly obnoxious) voice mail. He shook his head several times before standing up and walking back to his chair. He’d resigned himself to getting home slightly later than he’d anticipated, and closed his eyes, hoping for a quick nap (he had a terribly difficult time falling asleep on planes).


Iwaizumi was woken from his light doze by what sounded like a stampede. He shot up and swiveled his head around, slightly disoriented and still half-asleep. He had to rub his eyes several times to make sure what he was seeing was real, and not something left over from his sleep-addled mind (which was unlikely, as Oikawa did not make an appearance).

Men carrying huge cameras were walking backwards into the seating area where Iwaizumi had parked himself. In front of them was a . . . small army of people, really. A few adults carried squirming infants and held the hands of drooling toddlers. Every single one of them had a huge, plastic smile plastered on their face as they strode across the stained, dingy carpet.

There had to be at least 20 of them, ranging in age from few months old to his age and older. Iwaizumi felt as if he was in a horror movie as they swarmed around him and his suitcases, laughing too loudly, smiling too brightly, and talking with too much gusto to be anywhere close to genuine. Their appearance had caused a ripple of excitement in the airport. Iwaizumi heard bits of poorly hushed conversations, but hadn’t been able to follow any until someone behind him had spoken up (in Japanese, thank god). “Mom, that’s that famous family from the show "Goin' For One More!" The people who have, like, 30 kids. I love their show, I watch it all the time! Do you think they’d mind if I asked for an autograph?”

Ahhhh, a famous family. No wonder he hadn’t recognized them. Iwaizumi prided himself on his lack of awareness about pop culture trends (much to Oikawa's dismay). But this whole situation made sense. Of course they’d be on his 15 hour flight to Japan, too, because he had actually been having a pretty good streak of luck during his stay in America, and it was bound to run out sometime.


Iwaizumi couldn’t take it anymore. For two hours he’d been subject to the screams, wails, and sobs of the brats of that stupid family. Who had exactly 23 children, he had learned by eavesdropping. He had tried to count them, but the task proved to be impossible as they were literally everywhere (like ants). It might have been bearable if the parents had even attempted to calm their offspring down, but clearly no one gave a shit what anyone was doing when the cameras weren’t rolling.

At least everyone else around them were just as annoyed as Iwaizumi. The girl who had been so excited to see them before had cranked the volume of her headphones up loud enough for Iwaizumi to hear the J-Pop she was listening to. Unfortunately, he had forgotten his earbuds at home (right by his phone charger), and had to listen to this bullshit without the dulling effects of music.

He couldn’t really pinpoint when exactly he’d snapped. He supposed it was probably during a break in the screams, when the camera men started filming again. All he knew was that the mother was being interviewed and she just looked so god damn fake. Fake smile, fake hair, fake laugh, fake caring attitude towards the baby currently clutched in her talons. It made Iwaizumi livid.

He was standing up and striding over to her before his thoughts could catch up with his actions. He was so pissed. First they come in and take everyone else’s seats with their excessive amount of people. Then they proceed to be as loud as a goddamn zoo, not even trying to quiet down the youngest members of the party when they had started to scream. And finally they gave loud interviews for their stupid show as if everything’s just perfect and peachy, as if they had perfect control over everything and weren’t inconveniencing anyone (him).

But what made Iwaizumi see red were the cameras. The stupid cameras that were made of metal and god knows what else. The stupid cameras that got past security just fine when he had been practically stripped searched because he had ChapStick in his pocket. Fucking ChapStick. He could feel his face twisting into the expression that always caused Oikawa to cry, “Scary, Iwa-chan! No wonder nobody loves you!” His eyebrows slanted low over his narrowed eyes. His mouth tightened and turned down into the fiercest scowl he could manage. Iwaizumi assumed he looked impressively angry, as everyone tripped over themselves to get out of his warpath.

He stalked up to just behind the woman being interviewed, about to explode and ask what was wrong with her – what was wrong with her family when he realized he didn’t speak English well enough to properly chew her out on live television. He stood behind her for several seconds, amazed at his own stupidity, before shooting her the most withering glare he could muster and stalking back to his seat, the camera man starting after him in dubious confusion.


An hour into the flight and Iwaizumi was glancing at the windows, attempting to figure out how difficult it would be to break one and jump out of it. He hadn’t been upgraded to first class again. Not that he’d been expecting it, but . . . it would have been nice. He was stuck right by the plane's engine in a middle seat surrounded by two strangers, one of whom overflowed his own seat and spilled into Iwaizumi's. The cherry on top, however, was the child behind him who kept up a continuous set of kicks to his seat, and the kid in front of him who would let out a periodic shriek every 20 or so seconds. Not to mention the remnants of that family, sprinkled throughout the plane and making enough noise to warrant the flight attendant's constant shushing.


The toilet drain was too small to fit down, Iwaizumi realized with a numb feeling of disappointment. He’d been on this tin can hurtling through the sky for 10 hours. He finally couldn’t take it anymore, and had locked himself in the airplane bathroom, looking for any way to escape. If he could survive the fall he was confident that his 2 months of swimming lessons when he was 8 would be sufficient enough to carry him to shore. Anything would be preferable to spending another second in close quarters with the shrieker and kicker at this point. Maybe even contracting some unknown STD due to standing in a tiny airplane bathroom for an hour.

When he looked at himself in the small, streaky mirror he almost didn't recognize himself. His eyes were bloodshot and rimmed with dark circles. His hair was greasy and sticking to his scalp in clumps. Overall he looked how he felt: like shit.


Iwaizumi would deny it later, but he was definitely crying. The day had just been so horrendously awful that when the plane had finally – finally – landed in Tokyo and his friends and family were literally within walking distance he just kind of lost it. Running the back of his hand over his eyes roughly he gave a small sniffle before physically crawling over his seat mate to get himself into the aisle and out of the god damn plane before he did something drastic (like wring the neck of the shrieker). He pushed people out of the way as he awkwardly sprinted down the narrow aisle, hitting seats and people with his backpack in his haste to get the fuck out of there. He mumbled a low thanks to the flight crew that bid him farewell and was gone.

He jogged lightly through the airport, past the countless seats full of sleepy passengers waiting for their flights, past the coffee shops and fast food chains, past the security checkpoint and out into the large open area where dozens of people waited with welcome home signs and balloons to distinguish themselves from the herd. Iwaizumi darted around the room, desperately looking for someone, anyone he recognized, hoping that his parents had received his message and were still coming to pick him up. He really, really didn’t feel like trying to convert dollars to yen in order to buy a train ticket.

After several laps Iwaizumi came to the conclusion that nobody, in fact, was here to meet him. He stared down at his feet with an angry scowl, eyes burning in frustration. This was his fault, after all, he’s the one who had forgotten his stupid cell phone charger. Besides, he hadn’t really been expecting anyone to pick him up. It was fine. He was fine.

The voices around him started to blend together into a confusing blur. Baggage claim, he thought blearily. All he had to do was get his two oversized suitcases, and then he could figure out how he was going to buy a train ticked with American money. It was fine, he reassured himself again. The babies (Satan) were gone. No one could hurt him anymore.

Trudging to the conveyor belt laden with black bags that all looked the same, Iwaizumi leaned down (or briefly passed out but caught himself, he wasn’t really sure) and started looking. Several agonizing minutes later he saw his bags, somehow (miraculously) side by side. He lunged for them quickly, and dragged them off the claim.

Iwaizumi was standing against the wall again, rifling through his wallet when a body collided forecefully with his, knocking the air out of him. Fluffy brown hair obscured his vision as Oikawa buried his face in his neck, his arms twining around Iwaizumi’s waist. “Iwa-chan, Iwa-chan, Iwa-chan! You’re back. You’re finally home!” Iwaizumi sagged under Oikawa’s weight, immediately hugging him back, throat tight.

He didn’t say anything for a minute, just squeezed Oikawa to his chest forcefully, convinced that he would never be able to let go. Oikawa’s weight was heavy and reassuring against him, somehow acting as a balm against all of the terrible things that had happened to him today. Oikawa moved slightly, causing him breath to tickle Iwaizumi’s cheek, making him erupt in goosebumps.

“Iwa-chan, I missed you so much. You’re never leaving without me again, these past weeks have been awful. Nobody buys me milk bread without me even having to ask like you do, Iwa-chan. And nobody wants to watch my movies with me, either! Can you believe that? I, the gorgeous Oikawa Tooru, having nobody to watch films with. Oh, and don’t worry, I didn’t see Alien Space Predators 4 without you. I know that you secretly love it, even if you won’t admit it. . . .”

Iwaizumi knew Oikawa was talking, but he wasn’t exactly sure about what. His head went fuzzy as he realized how warm Oikawa was, how he felt electricity crackle from the places where they were touching each other. All he knew was Oikawa’s arms were around his neck, their faces were very close together, and Oikawa’s eyes were the biggest, warmest pools of milk chocolate he had ever seen.

“. . . And I can’t believe you left you charger at home! I thought you were ignoring me until your parents told me about how stupid you were, Iwa-chan!” Iwaizumi realized with a start that he had unconsciously been leaning towards Oikawa, eyes glazed and face red. Freaked out by his actions, Iwaizumi let go of Oikawa as if he were on fire. He gruffly grabbed his head (touched that soft, amazing smelling hair) and pushed him away, desperately grasping at normalcy.

“Let go of me, idiot. If you’re going to get that sentimental I’m going back to America.” Iwaizumi played it cool, hoping that Oikawa wouldn’t be able to hear how loud his heart was pounding.

Oikawa squawked slightly (“Not my hair, Iwa-chan! Such a brute!) but backed up a few steps regardless. They stared at each other for a minute before Oikawa gasped theatrically, grabbing Iwaizumi’s elbow. “You’re so tan, Iwa-chan.” Oikawa rolled up the sleeves of his sweater and thrust his arm next to Iwaizumi’s.

“You know I tan easily,” Iwaizmi grumbled, looking down at Oikawa’s pale arm next to his. Ignored the slight flex of his forearm and the long, graceful fingers. “Not all of us are pasty snowmen year round. And that’s my sweater, you little shit. Where’d you find that.”

“In your room,” Oikawa said breezily. “It’s not like you had any use for it in California. Besides, what are you wearing? Did you even get dressed this morning, I know that those are your pajamas. Really, Iwa-chan this is a new low, even for you.”

Iwaizumi scowled. “I had to get up at 3 in the morning to catch my flight, which ended up getting delayed. I've been up for almost 20 hours. Do you think you would’ve put on jeans or something?”

“Yes,” Oikawa huffed, his eyes growing softer the longer he stared at Iwaizumi. Abruptly he brought his hand up, cupping Iwaizumi's jaw, thumb ghosting over the circles under his eyes gently. “Poor Iwa-chan, you look so tired. And cranky. Come on, let’s go find Makki and Mattsun, they’re around here somewhere. I swear I can't take them anywhere, they always run off.” He reached down and picked up both of Iwaizumi’s suitcases, ignoring his half-hearted protests.

Iwaizumi lurched forward and pressed his forehead to Oikawa’s shoulder briefly in a wordless thanks. Oikawa smiled at him tenderly, eyes filled with something, before turning around, arms full of bags. “C’mon, let’s get you home, Iwa-chan.”

Dumbass, Iwaizumi thought, staring longingly at Oikawa’s retreating back. I already am home.

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi slept for 14 hours. He’d nodded off on Oikawa’s shoulder the whole train ride home, until Matsukawa and Hanamaki decided to liven things up by betting who could slap Iwaizumi the hardest until Oikawa threatened them with bodily harm if they dared to wake “precious, sleepy Iwa-chan.” Iwaizumi woke up at his declaration (Oikawa didn’t really know how to use an inside voice) and chewed him out for the remainder of the ride home. After biding Matsukawa and Hanamaki goodnight and handing them their 100% authentic American key chains, Iwaizumi started to walk home, Oikawa lagging behind.

It took them double the normal length of time to walk home from the station because Oikawa absolutely refused to let Iwaizumi carry any one of his three bags. “You’re tired, I got this – put that down! Let me, you’ll probably collapse from exhaustion, stupid Iwa-chan.” Oikawa had that look in his eyes, the same look he got when looking at an obstacle he planned to overcome, no matter the costs. It was the look he gave Ushijima. 

Iwaizumi knew he couldn’t win against Oikawa when he got like this, so it was with minimal grumbling that he relinquished control of his luggage. “Fine. But you better tell me the second your knee starts to hurt and I’ll carry everything.”

“I promise, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa beamed, shrugging on Iwaizumi’s backpack and carry-on over his shoulders, wheeling his two other suitcases behind him.

The walk home was quiet, neither wanting to recant the stories of their three weeks apart just yet. Iwaizumi basked in Oikawa’s presence, feeling at ease in a way that had been missing ever since he’d left. About a block from home Iwaizumi saw Oikawa starting to limp slightly under all the weight. Immediately he ripped his bags off Oikawa’s back and grabbed the rolling suitcases.

“No, Iwa-chan, I tripped, that’s all. Give them back,” Oikawa lunged for the bags, catching one and tugging it out of Iwaizumi’s grip.

They spent a solid 5 minutes arguing over who would carry the bags the rest of the way. “We can literally see our houses, let me carry them!” Oikawa whined.

“No, you’re going to hurt your knee again, stubborn dumbass,” Iwaizumi spat back. Eventually they split the bags 50/50 and walked the remaining 100 meters to Iwazumi’s house in much lighter spirits.

“I’m home,” Iwaizumi yelled as he opened the front door. His mother bolted out of the kitchen, wrapping him in a bear hug before he was all the way inside, talking a mile a minute. His father appeared a moment later and pried the two apart (“We’ll hear all about his trip later, look at the kid; he’s dead on his feet”).

Muttering thanks and giving both of them a quick squeeze Iwaizumi trudged upstairs to his room, leaving his bags abandoned by the front bench. He didn’t realize Oikawa was still behind him until he mindlessly closed his door on him. “IWA-CHAN,” he cried dramatically, clutching his nose.

Iwaizumi didn’t turn around, choosing instead to flop face first onto his bed, fully clothed, and immediately fall asleep. “No, Iwa-chan, you have to change. You smell like an airport and you’ve been in those nasty clothes all day.” He woke with a start when Oikawa slapped his ass, hard.

“What the fuck, Shittykawa!” Iwaizumi tried to sit up and hit Oikawa back, but his bed was so warm and soft and his pillows smelled so good . . . like Oikawa’s shampoo. His eyes flew open, body jolting away from his pillow. “What were you doing in my bed?” he asked, eyes huge, suddenly wide awake.

If he didn’t know better, Iwaizumi would say Oikawa was blushing. “Don’t look at me like that! Your parents took an overnight trip a week ago and asked if I would house sit. I, being their only son’s closest and most trusted friend, accepted. Where else was I to sleep?”

“At your own house? When you house sit for someone you don’t have to stay over when you live across the street, idiot.” Iwaizumi tried to sound exasperated, but he had already laid back down and buried his face in the pillows, discreetly inhaling Oikawa’s scent like a complete psycho. 

He heard Oikawa’s light footsteps move around his room, opening and closing drawers. “Iwa-chan, raise your arms.”  Iwaizumi did so without thinking. Cold air rushed over his back as Oikawa changed him into a new shirt quickly, like he was a toddler. Iwaizumi resolutely stayed facedown, knowing his face was burning from the light brush of Oikawa’s fingers over his back and shoulders. Pathetic. “I can’t get your pants off without your help, Iwa-chan.” Oikawa’s voice sounded slightly strained behind him. Due to his body’s weight, Iwaizumi figured.

“I got that,” Iwaizumi slapped his hands away and shucked his sweatpants off. Staying in his boxers, he crawled under the blankets and murmured a quiet goodnight. He heard a low chuckle as he was drifting off followed by, “Silly Iwa-chan, it’s 5 in the afternoon,” before he felt a hand slipping into his hair. It was immediately yanked back. “Ewwww, your hair feels disgusting, don’t they have showers in America?”


Iwaizumi was rudely waken the next morning by what sounded like a gunshot (It was Oikawa slamming his door open). “Holy fucking shit, Iwa-chan,” he gasped, sounding completely out of breath and slightly hysterical. A shiver of cold made its way down Iwaizumi’s spine at his words, waking him up more effectively than a bucket of water could. Oikawa rarely swore, only when something big happened, good or bad.

“What’s wrong,” he demanded, trying to squash his panic and disentangle himself from his blankets. His effort was in vain when Oikawa threw himself down on the bed, talking a mile a minute.

“You have to see this. You have to see this. This is the craziest shit I’ve ever seen in my life, oh my god. I’m in shock, I can’t believe this is happening to you of all people, honestly. . .” Iwaizumi wasn’t quite sure what Oikawa was talking about, because his brain had short circuited when Oikawa had thrown himself onto his bed, his face inches away from Iwaizumi’s, looking inhumanely gorgeous in the early morning light. Wait, what time is it?

“Oi, it’s barely 9! Why am I not asleep? And why are you here?”

Oikawa didn’t rise to the bait, instead shoving his phone under Iwaizumi’s face. The screen was bright on his sleep-sensitive eyes and he tried to bat it away while Oikawa was squawking in his ear, “LOOK AT IT, IWA-CHAN, looooook at it!”

Grabbing the phone and keeping it a safe distance from his face, Iwaizumi looked down and saw a picture of . . . himself? He recognized the San Francisco airport in the background of the photo, so it must have been taken yesterday. He physically cringed when he saw himself. Was that really what he’d looked like yesterday? His hair was sticking straight up, more so than usual (whenever he’d gotten the urge to punch something he’d pull on his hair, and well . . .), and his outfit. Iwaizumi mourned that he’d never be able to wear his most comfortable sweatpants and paint stained sweatshirt together again, now that he actually knew what they looked like together (he never realized both were slightly different shades of gray and looked horrendous together). But the real kicker was his face.

Never in his life had he made a face like the one he had plastered on in the picture. His eyebrows were slanted low over his narrowed eyes. His mouth was tightened and turned down into a scowl that looked puckered, as if he’d just sucked on a lemon. And his murderous gaze was directed towards someone he knew well. The screaming baby from his flight.

“Oikawa, what’s going on? Why am I on Facebook?”

Oikawa made a distressed noise in his throat, moving to lay his head on Iwaizumi’s shoulder. “This is Twitter, Iwa-chan. You’re so lame oh my god.” Iwaizumi silently agreed, marveling that he could still hear Oikawa’s voice over the blood thrumming in his ears, tinting them pink. “But scroll down, you have to see this.”

Iwaizumi scrolled down and saw a caption. It was one word in English, simple enough for even him to understand.


His eyebrows drew together in confusion. “I don’t understand,” he said slowly, wincing at how stupid he sounded. “I mean, why did someone take a picture of me at the airport?”

“Because it’s funny, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa answered breezily, as if he knew Iwaizumi would ask that exact question. “And it’s blown up. I’ve never seen anything like this, except maybe that Damn Daniel kid.”

“Who’s Damn Daniel?” The only social media Iwaizumi had was a Snapchat that Oikawa occasionally made use of.

“Nobody, nobody. Gah, of course this would happen to you. Look how many likes you have! This is insane, literally insane.” Iwaizumi squinted at the small blue numbers. He had over 300,000 retweets. Huh.

“Is that a lot?”

Oikawa gave him a look, not dignifying him with a response. “Apparently this blew up last night. Is your phone charged yet, I bet it’s on fire.” His phone was tucked away in his backpack, where he’d left it last night, phone as dead as it had been for the last few weeks.

Bouncing off the bed, Oikawa ran towards his door in a whirlwind. “Okay, you need to shower and change, we have a meeting with Makki and Mattsun about what to do with your new fame in half an hour and we can’t be late. I’ll be back up if you’re not down in 10 minutes. I need to go tell your parents what’s happening, holy shit . . .” Iwaizumi’s head already hurt, from lack of sleep or Oikawa he couldn’t tell.           

After scrubbing his body down three times he dressed quickly and was bounding down stairs with a minute to spare. He barely had time to greet his mother, cleaning the kitchen table, before he was whisked out the door with Oikawa’s excuses lingering in the air behind them.

They met Matsukawa and Hanamaki at a coffee shop close to their high school. When they stepped through the door with a jangle Hanamaki immediately waved them over. He thrust a hat at Iwaizumi, barking at him to put it on. “You’re famous now. You need a disguise or something, or else the paparazzi will find you, and, by extension, me.”

“Ignore him, he just wishes the paparazzi would hound him,” Matsukawa said dryly. “It’s true,” Hanamaki wailed, burying his head against Matsukawa’s shoulder in despair.

“I’ve been trying to get internet famous since 2009, and this bastard comes in and overnight destroys all my efforts! I’m giving up, Mattsun.”

Matsukawa lightly petted Hanamaki’s head. “Don’t worry babe, you’ll always be my meme queen.”

Iwaizumi looked between the two for a minute, gaze lingering on Matsukawa’s hand in Hanamaki’s hair, Hanamaki’s arms around the other’s shoulders carelessly, as if it was a habit. His eyes widened suddenly as realization hit him. He leaned towards Oikawa and whispered, “Do those two . . . like each other or something?”

Oikawa almost spit out the latte he’d just ordered. He had a brief coughing fit before throwing his head back and howling in laughter. Iwaizumi shifted uncomfortably in his seat, staring at how Oikawa had latte dripping out of the corners of his mouth. He looked adorable, damn it.

“Iwa . . . Iwa-chan just asked me if you two ‘liked each other’ oh sweet Jesus I am so gone,” he eventually gasped out, collecting himself enough to take the napkin Iwaizumi had thrust in his face. Iwaizumi’s face heated up as everyone started laughing again, drawing the attention of the whole café.

“Iwaizumi, we’ve been dating for like . . . 3 months,” Matsukawa finally said. Hanamaki immediately turned to him. “No, it’s been 4 months. It started after that festival, remember.”

Matsukawa looked confused. “No, it was when I confessed after I beat you at paintball, right?” Hanamaki crossed his arms stubbornly, looking ready to argue.

Oikawa looked at Iwaizumi in amazement. “Iwa-chan, how have you not noticed they’re going out? We literally walked in on them doing it in the locker room that one time. Not even you can be that oblivious.” Oh, that’s what that was, Iwaizumi remembered with a flash of understanding. No wonder they had both been suspiciously close together clad in nothing but boxers when Iwaizumi and Oikawa had shown up early to practice one time. Feeling his face heat at his own stupidity, Iwaizumi stood up and pointedly made his way to the counter to order something.

“I’ll take a small coffee and a chocolate muffin,” he told the girl at the register. The muffin was a congratulatory present for the apparently happy couple. He scowled over at the table, seeing Oikawa waving his arms around wildly. His attention was brought back to the cashier when he heard a sharp gasp. She was looking at him intently, trying to peer under the edge of his baseball cap.

“Sorry, this probably sounds crazy, but I was wondering, are you that guy? The angry baby guy?” she asked, eyeing him with excitement.

“Um, I guess?” Iwaizumi said. Was he henceforth going to be known as “the angry baby guy?” The thought depressed him.

“Could you, um, take a picture with me? It’ll be really quick, like two seconds, I promise. Please, this is so cool, I’ve never met someone famous before!” Iwaizumi stared at her for a moment, confused. Why on earth would anybody want a picture of him, Twitter famous or not.

“Ah, sure. I guess that’s fine,” he said uncertainly, glancing at his friends. They were absorbed with seeing how many straws Hanamaki could balance on his nose. He was up to 5, which was getting close to Iwaizumi’s record of 7. He itched to get back, sit down, and show them who the real champion was.

“Okay, just let me move forward a bit,” the girl said, leaning leaning over the counter, very close to Iwaizumi. Her hair tickled his cheek and he could smell her perfume, light and flowery. “Okay, say cheese” she said, batting her eyes at him and pressing her cheek against his. Iwaizumi managed a weak smile as she pushed the camera button rapidly.

“Thank you so much,” she gushed, not moving back. “Oh, this one’s good, want a look?” He didn’t, but the phone was pushed into his hand anyway. It wasn’t particularly great, just a normal selfie. But he didn’t want to crush her dreams so he nodded and threw her another smile.   

"So what's your Twitter handle? The whole Internet's been trying to figure it out but no one can find you," she laughed, nudging her shoulder against his. 

Out of nowhere a heavy weight draped itself across his shoulders and yanked him away from the barista. He fell sideways into Oikawa’s chest, who had appeared out of nowhere and was now giving the girl his full blown supermodel smirk. She looked star struck, immediately forgetting about Iwaizumi (he didn’t blame her).

“What was that for, dumbass?” Iwaizumi frowned at Oikawa but made no move to get away from his arm (he was but a slave to his hormones, after all).

“I’m sorry Iwa-chan, but when I saw you talking to such a pretty girl I got jealous and just had to come over and say hello,” Oikawa said, smiling a smile so wide and fake and plastic Iwaizumi wanted to physically remove it from his face. His eyes were cold as ice and looked sharp enough to pierce steel.  

The barista blushed, stammering out something neither heard, since they were too busy having a stare down. Eventually Oikawa broke away first, turning to address the girl. “Oh, how rude of me, I didn’t introduce myself! I’m Oikawa Tooru, Iwa-chan’s best friend and unofficial publicist. And who are you?”

Iwaizumi stood there awkwardly, his frustration and hurt growing exponential each minute Oikawa stood flirting with the barista ("Can you believe Iwa-chan doesn't have a Twitter? I know, he really is an old man!"). Finally having enough he shrugged out of Oikawa’s grasp and reiterated his order, a bit sharp. The girl gasped, apologizing profusely before running off to fill his order.

Iwaizumi waited for his order without looking at Oikawa, who was still standing beside him, closer than usual. A few times he thought he heard Oikawa open his mouth and start to say something, but nothing audible ever came out. When the barista returned with his coffee and muffin she handed it to him hesitantly before flashing him a smile and telling both of them to come again and have a nice day.

When they made it back to the table Hanamaki and Matsukawa were elbows deep in straw wrappers, looking like idiots as they leaned back in their chairs with straws strewn haphazardly over their faces.

“Iwaizumi, please remember us, the little people, when you eventually vault to international superstardom,” Matsukawa said, wiping a pretend tear from his eye, straws showering the table and bouncing off the floor. Iwaizumi laughed lightly and shoved the muffin towards the couple, muttering, “Happy belated anniversary. You two are great together.”

“Iwa-chan is so sweet!” Oikawa whispered, looking at Iwaizumi with a carefully guarded expression. It pissed Iwaizumi off.

“What was that back there, anyways? You can't let me have a normal conversation for more than 2 minutes with anyone before feeling the need to butt in.” he snapped, taking an angry sip of his coffee before wincing at the temperature. He definitely burned his tongue.

Oikawa looked slightly shamefaced. “I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me. I just got jealous of the attention you were getting. Grumpy Iwa-chan flirting with a girl, now I’ve seen everything.” He tried to laugh, but it came out sounding like a grape was lodged in his throat.

Iwaizumi rolled his eyes, playing with the sleeve on his cup. At Matsukawa’s dramatic gasp he looked up. “She gave you her number!” he cried in delight, clutching Hanamaki’s hand like an excited mother.

“No she didn’t,” Iwaizumi sighed before rotating his cup and looking under the sleeve. Call me, Iwa-chan <3 followed by messily scrawled numbers greeted him. “Huh. Weird,” Iwaizumi said, looking as excited as an inmate on death row.

He quickly finished his coffee before tossing it in the garbage can next to their table. Oikawa watched him with wide eyes. “Iwa-chan, you’re not . . . you’re not going to call her?” he asked shyly, looking at Iwaizumi with big brown eyes that were so not fair.

“Nah, why would I,” he replied, staring at Oikawa intently. I already like someone else, stupid.

He looked over at Hanamaki’s loud clap. “Okay, so we have a lot to discuss. We have to fill you in about the new first years, and you have to tell us all about your fabulous trip to California, of course. But first things first, this whole picture thing.”

Matsukawa picked up flawlessly where his boyfriend left off. “We have our last practice match of the break tomorrow, and school starts back up two days after that. So we have to create a strategy for what happens when things like that," he gestured to the counter, "happen. Because I guarantee you, that’s just the beginning.” He wasn’t looking at Iwaizumi anymore. His gaze was leveled at Oikawa when he asked, “Do you think you can handle that?”

Iwaizumi said, “Yes,” even though he wasn’t sure if he was the one being addressed. But why would Matsukawa be talking to Oikawa? He wasn't the one with his face plastered all over Twitter.

“Great, that’s enough of that talk,” Hanamaki said cheerfully. “Tell me, Iwaizumi. Are you that tan everywhere right now? Because hot damn.” For the second time in less than 20 minutes Oikawa choked on his latte.

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi yawned widely, swaying on his feet. He was still incredibly jet lagged, and getting up at 8 am on a Saturday was not helping. Neither was Oikawa’s incessant babbling. The entire walk to Seijou’s gym for their practice match against a random team from Tokyo was filled with Oikawa’s chatter. He filled Iwaizumi in with information about the new first years on volleyball scholarships who had already started practicing with the team, and how much he was enjoying watching Naruto for the sixth time in a row.

“Really, Iwa-chan. The more I watch it the more I’m able to enjoy the subtle details, you know? The stuff not everyone sees. I can take in the foreshadowing and background animation so much easier after numerous viewings . . .”

Iwaizumi tried to ignore how cute Oikawa’s obsession with a TV show for kids was as he took a sip of coffee from his thermos. He supposed he underestimated just how hot the coffee was when it immediately burned his tongue and slid down his throat like molten lava. Spitting it out, he gagged as tears rushed to his eyes, frantically searching for the water bottle in his sports bag.

“IWA-CHAN,” Oikawa shrieked, startling a bird out of a tree. Iwaizumi turned to him, gulping down mouthfuls of deliciously cold water. Oikawa had unfortunately been standing in the line of fire, and his shirt was covered in Iwaizumi’s coffee (and spit). Iwaizumi tried to quiet Oikawa down when he started to wail.

“Oh shit, sorry. Didn’t realize you were standing there. Don’t worry, I can fix this, hold on.” Iwaizumi uncapped his bottle and started to pour the remaining water over Oikawa’s already ruined shirt, thinking that the brown stain might magically wash away (it didn’t). “Stupid, stupid, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa said once he calmed down (and stopped screaming). He tugged his wet shirt away from his body, face twisted in disgust. “My only other shirt is in my locker.”

Iwaizumi immediately started rummaging through his bag, and pulled out an old sweatshirt, unwashed and wrinkled. It had been sitting at the bottom of his bag since before break. “Here,” he thrust it towards Oikawa, “Put this on until we get to school.”

Oikawa gingerly took it between his thumb and forefinger, nose scrunched in disgust. “When did you last wash this?” Iwaizumi didn’t answer.

Sighing, Oikawa peeled his wet shirt off, flinging it at Iwaizumi. He quickly pulled the sweatshirt on, mussing his hair. “You’re carrying my nasty, wet shirt the rest of the way, Iwa-chan. And washing it.” Iwaizumi grunted and started walking towards the gym again. If he kept moving forward he could ignore how good Oikawa looked wearing his old, dirty sweatshirt.

By the time they arrived (out of breath from running the last few blocks), most of their teammates had already changed and were making their way to the court. “Iwa-chan, we’re late! I’m the captain now, I’m supposed to be setting an example!” Oikawa hissed, eyes wide. He changed in record time, running out of the door before Iwaizumi had even opened his locker.

When Iwaizumi finally meandered out of the locker room and into the gym he saw Oikawa leading stretches. He walked over to his coaches, slightly chagrined that he had missed three weeks’ worth of practice and then showed up late on his first day back. To his surprise they were understanding of his tardiness (he played up the jet lag a bit), and asked him a few questions about his trip before dismissing him to start laps with everyone else.

“How’re you still in shape? Weren’t you on vacation in America, land of the Big Mac,” Hanamaki gasped, attempting to keep up with Iwaizumi.

He shrugged. “I kept active. My cousins were into sports, and they let me practice with them so I wouldn’t end up like you.” Ignoring Hanamaki’s offended squawk, he moved up in the pack of runners to catch up with his other teammates.

Oikawa eventually called them to attention after a few minutes, gathering the team in a loose semi-circle. “Okay,” he said, clapping his hands together enthusiastically, “I have some exciting news. After pleading with and begging me to let him back into the club after his extremely rude and unnecessary vacation to America during peak practice time, Iwa-chan is rejoining the club.”

Iwaizumi scowled and stepped forward, kicking Oikawa in the shin. “Don’t say it like that,” he barked. “But I’m glad to be back, I missed the team. I promise to work extra hard to make up for my absence,” he said, bowing.

“I would also like to address Iwa-chan’s recently acquired internet fame,” Oikawa said, staring at Iwaizumi smugly. The team immediately erupted in hoots, jeers, and a wolf-whistle (Matsukawa). “We must remember that underneath his prickly exterior and hard outer shell lies a delicate heart, embarrassed by attention and public interest. Let us all strive to treat Iwa-chan as a normal person today.” Iwaizumi kicked Oikawa in his other shin with scowl, ears red as his teammates cheered wildly behind him.

He moved back into the crowd when Oikawa segued into the business of the day and started to brief them about their practice match against the school from Tokyo. It would start in about an hour, and until then they were to practice as normal. Oikawa interrupted Iwaizumi’s reunion with Kindaichi and Kunimi (“How are you guys? I can’t believe you both got scholarships here, that’s awesome!”) with an arm slung around his shoulder. “Iwa-chan, do you want me to toss for you? I bet you missed my tosses more than anything else in America.”

“Idiot,” Iwaizumi growled, making no move to remove Oikawa’s arm or dispute his claim. He had actually missed Oikawa himself more than anything while in America, not his toss. But that information was on a need to know basis, top secret.

“Where’s Kyoutani,” Iwaizumi asked on the way to the net, scanning the court. “I want to see if he’s managed to get his cross spike down.”

Oikawa’s face twisted, eyes narrowing. “Mad Dog-chan has been missing since the end of last year. He hasn’t been to practice once. Nobody’s heard from him, not even Watari or Yahaba.”

Iwaizumi tugged Oikawa to a halt, concern washing over him. “Haven’t you at least tried to get in contact with him? You’re the captain!”

“I know, Iwa-chan, I know! But there’s not much I can do. He doesn’t have a cell phone, nobody knows where he lives, and it’s not like school's in session, so we don’t know if he’s been to class or not.” Oikawa stared at the ground, jaw clenched. Iwaizumi immediately felt guilty for accusing him of negligence, and tugged on his elbow, leading him over to the court Matsukawa and Hanamaki were goofing around on.

“Hey, idiot, it’s not your fault and I’m not blaming you. If he doesn’t want to be found, no one’s going to find him, not even you. So shut up and toss to me, I gotta show you the moves I learned on the beach.”

Oikawa immediately perked up, catching the ball Matsukawa lobbed at him. “Careful Iwa-chan, I don’t know if my heart can take the thought of you working with a different setter.” Iwaizumi, grunted, ignoring Hanamaki’s loud swoon.

“Shut up and come on, the other team will be here soon and I still need to warm up.”

Time always passed quickly when it was just him and Oikawa practicing together. It almost scared Iwaizumi how wrapped up in another person he allowed himself to become. But then he remembered that the other person was Oikawa, and that kind of behavior was only natural when it came to him. So when the coach blew his whistle 45 minutes later and announced that their opponents had arrived Iwaizumi didn’t question why the minutes had slipped by so quickly, but rather secretly enjoyed that he’d been able to monopolize all of Oikawa’s free time at practice for once.

“Why are they coming all the way from Tokyo to play with us? That’s pretty far, especially this early in the morning,” someone asked as they were lining up to great the other team by the doors of the gymnasium. 

“Our coaches are old friends,” Oikawa replied, “I think they were on the same university team or something. That’s why this was so last minute, too.”

When the other team finally entered, Oikawa led Seijou in a bow, thanking them for traveling so far to participate in a practice match. The two coaches stepped aside, talking quietly to each another, leaving the captains to greet one another as everyone else dispersed in the gym, warming up for the  match.

A thin, serious boy with dark hair and a baggy t-shirt stepped toward Oikawa with purpose, obviously the captain. He bowed politely, and introduced himself. “Hello, my name is Akaashi Keiji, and I am the vice-captain of Fukurodani Academy. I look forward to our game.”

Oikawa returned the greeting with a wide smile, asking, “Oh, is your captain indisposed today? Our vice-captain was gone until yesterday, so we understand,” he gestured to Iwaizumi quickly, who nodded in greeting.

Akaashi ignored Oikawa and looked at Iwaizumi for a minute with a vaguely sleepy look on his face before straightening up and squinting. “I’m sorry, Iwaizumi-san, but you look very familiar. Have we perhaps met before?”

Before Iwaizumi could run as fast as he could in the opposite direction, Oikawa was beaming, clapping him on the shoulder roughly. “Oh, yes! You’ve probably seen Iwa-chan on Twitter; he’s gotten quite famous over the past few days. He’s the angry baby guy in the airport.”

“Oh yes, that’s where you’re from,” Akaashi said, looking like he’d just seen an interesting new type of insect. Before he could say more the doors to the gym slammed open, a tall figure silhouetted in the doorway.

“HEY, hey, hey, Akaashi. Whatcha doin?” The silhouette darted over to Akaashi, bending down to throw an arm around him. His sudden appearance was startling, to say the least. His hair stuck straight up, like he had stuck his finger in an outlet, and was streaked black and white (Iwaizumi wondered how he had managed to get it to be actually white and not a dirty blond). He had thick eyebrows that sat upon big, round gold eyes and above a mouth stretched into a huge smile. Iwaizumi was quickly overwhelmed.

“Bokuto-san, you missed our introduction,” Akaashi intoned, turning his head towards Bokuto slightly.

“Sorry! I was talking to the bus driver about his grand daughter’s birthday party, and it sounded so awesome I couldn’t leave before he told me how it ended. She got a ton of stuff, Akaashi, you wouldn’t believe it . . .”

Iwaizumi could tell that Oikawa didn’t know how to handle the situation. He wasn’t used to not being the immediate center of attention. Iwaizumi cleared his throat lightly to get Bokuto’s attention. It had little effect, until Akaashi seemed to come to his senses, elbowing his captain in the ribs before bowing in apology. Bokuto shut up abruptly and peered at Oikawa and Iwaizumi owlishly before gasping theatrically and taking a big step towards Iwaizumi, who rapidly backpedaled.

“You’re the angry baby guy! Oh my god, I can’t believe it’s actually you, I’m like your biggest fan!” Oikawa and Akaashi were between the two of them in a flash, lightly pushing Bokuto away from Iwaizumi. Before either could respond their coaches were yelling at them to warm up. Iwaizumi had never been this indebted to his coach before.

“What do you think of him?” Iwaizumi asked while Oikawa was helping him stretch.

“The official captain? It looks like he’s a simple minded idiot who somehow snagged the captain’s position on popularity or luck.”

“But . . .” Iwaiumi muttered under his breath, trying to ignore the way Oikawa’s hands seemed to sear his skin through his shirt when he reached toward his toes.

“But I think that appearances are deceiving. Everyone in the prefecture has heard of Fukurodani; they’re one of the top schools in Tokyo, for crying out loud. There’s something about him that doesn’t add up,” Oikawa looked over his shoulder at the other team, who were gathered in a huddle, listening to a (very loud) speech given by their captain. “A school like that wouldn’t give someone like him the captain’s position unless he was capable of leading his team to victory.

"Well, let’s get on the court! You better not have forgotten how to spike.” Oikawa slapped Iwaizumi on the back and raced over the court, intent on shaking Bokuto’s hand and starting the game.

The coin toss determined that Seijou would serve first. “Don’t fuck this up,” Iwaizumi called back to Hanamaki, who would have flipped him off if he wasn’t holding a volleyball. Iwaizumi almost screamed when he turned towards the net again and came face to face with Fukurodani’s captain, eyes huge and shining and golden.

“HEY,” he said loudly, even though they were standing two feet away from each other. “If we win this match, can I get a picture with you?”

“Erm, yeah, I don’t care,” Iwaizumi said, glancing briefly at Oikawa. He looked annoyed, staring at Bokuto with narrowed eyes as Bokuto told Akaashi about his bet (“We all heard, Bokuto-san”). When he turned to Iwaizumi, he didn’t say anything, only gave him the look. Iwaizumi nodded in response, clenching his fist. They were going to crush them.

Iwaizumi realized he was more out of shape than he realized. He was panting, drenched in sweat, and desperately dehydrated (he used up his water trying to clean Oikawa from his coffee that morning). He wasn’t sure what his teammates (except for Hanamaki) had been doing while he had been laying on the beach for three weeks, but he was positive that it involved cardio. Lots of cardio.

“Okay, one more!” Oikawa said during their break between the second and third match. “I know we can beat them, we just need to break their ace.” Bokuto was a monster, jumping higher, moving faster, and spiking harder than anyone else on the court. Iwaizumi watched helplessly as he scored point after point, smashing through their defense like they weren’t even there. Fukurodani won the first match with ease, leaving Iwaizumi and his teammates almost dumbstruck at their (Bokuto’s) overwhelming power.

It was during the second match that an exploitable weakness emerged. When Oikawa and Iwaizumi tied up the score at 20-20 with a combo they hadn’t practiced in ages, something shifted in Bokuto. He seemed to wilt. Everything from his hair to his shoulders to his smile sagged. Akaashi immediately moved forward, touching him softly on the shoulder, whispering something in his ear. It had no effect on Bokuto’s mood, who hung his head dejectedly, hands buried in his hair.

Bokuto’s temperament evidently effected the rest of his team, as Seijou claimed victory 5 points later, much to the distress of everyone on Fukurodani (“AKAAAASHI! I’m the worst! Never toss to me again, I’ll just screw it up for everyone!”). Iwaizumi had never seen anything like it.

Trying to follow Oikawa’s advice, Seijou attempted to keep Boukuto in his funk, loudly congratulating each other on each point they scored, loudly praising Oikwaw’s tosses and Iwaizumi’s spikes. For a while it worked; Bokuto skulked in the back of the court, Akaashi tossed to other people, and Iwaizumi kept scoring.

When Seijou was leading by 6 points Akaashi abruptly turned around, pinning Bokuto with his sharp gaze. “Bokuto-san, I thought you made a bet with someone over the outcome of this match.” Bokuto immediately perked up, running towards Akaashi and picking him up.

“You’re right, Akaashi, I do have to win, don’t I? Leave it to me!” Akaashi regained his footing, pink dusting his face. He didn’t address the snickers coming from his team and instead faced the net again, getting into position. Iwaizumi briefly wondered what would happen if he were to pick Oikawa up in front of his team, but immediately dismissed the thought after imagining Hanamaki and Matsukawa’s taunts and smug faces.

Bokuto didn’t regain his previous power instantaneously, but rather grew stronger from every compliment hurled at him by his teammates (“You can do it, captain! No one beats our ace!”). Fukurodani eventually won by two points. You’d think they just won nationals, Iwaizumi thought tiredly as Bokuto led his team in some kind of victory chant and elaborate high five. He didn’t know how Akaashi could keep up with Bokuto’s energy; even Oikawa was incredibly low maintenance when compared.

“I understand why he’s the captain now,” Oikawa said thoughtfully as they walked off the court. “When he’s strong, his team is strong. Even when he’s not they can pull him along until he’s ready to play again.” He shook his head as he walked to the locker room, smiling ruefully.

Iwaizumi was just sitting down on the bench, taking a long swig from Oikawa’s water bottle (“Rude, Iwa-chan!”) when Bokuto was upon him.

“This is going to be so great, I’m gonna post it on Twitter and Snapchat, I think. I’ll have to ask Akaashi to come up with a funny caption, he’s really good at those even though he doesn’t do the whole Internet thing. Do you mind if I call my best friend right now? He doesn’t go to our school, but he plays volleyball, and he’s the captain, too. It’s so awesome, if he were here he'd think this was so cool.”

Iwaizumi’s head was starting to spin there were so many words coming at him so quickly. “Do you really want the picture now? We both look pretty terrible.”

Immediately Bokuto looked offended. “I look great, and so do you, how could you say that?”

“Sorry,” Iwaizumi mumbled before looking into the camera on Bokuto’s phone. “Do you want me to smile?”

“Of course!” Bokuto beamed and pulled a peace sign for the camera while Iwaizumi tried to look like he wasn’t dying of exhaustion. When Bokuto had taken no less than 20 selfies he turned to Iwaizumi again. “Thanks, man, I appreciate it. I don’t think I actually got your name before, hah.”

“I’m Iwaizumi, and don’t mention it. You won, after all.”

“Bokuto!” A loud voice called from directly behind them, causing them both to jump and almost fall off the bench. A girl came into view, saying, “Akaashi wants to talk to you before we get back on the bus.”

“Really?” Without another word Bokuto sprang to his feet and bounded off in search of his vice-captain.

“I’m sorry about him, he can be a handful when you first meet him.” The girl sat down next to him, smiling. She had reddish-brown hair and a nice smile. Iwaizumi supposed that she would be pretty if he was capable of feeling attraction to people other than Oikawa. “My name’s Shirofuku Yukie, and I’m the manager for Furkurodani Academy. You can call me Yukie.”

“Iwaizumi,” he said, desperately trying to figure out if he smelled as bad as he thought he did. His mind whirled as he tried to figure out what she wanted. A picture? A shout out on his nonexistent Twitter? An autograph? He almost snorted at his last thought. As if someone would ever want his messy signature.

“You played really well today, Iwaizumi-san,” she said, scooting closer to him. He hoped that she couldn’t feel his sweat against her arm, that would be so gross. “I just wanted to come over and meet the person indirectly responsible for bringing Bokuto out of his mood.”

“I didn't do anything, it was all thanks to that setter,” he said bluntly, nodding to Akaashi across the gym. She giggled lightly and placed her hand on thigh. His eyes shot open and he sat upright, shooting her a bemused look, which she either didn’t notice or deliberately ignored.

“That’s beside the point. I just wanted to come over and say hi, get to know you a little better. Get to know the man behind the meme.” Iwaizumi burst out laughing when she said that. He couldn’t help it, she sounded so serious. When he calmed down and realized her hand was still on his thigh he decided to get serious about rebuffing her advances.

“Listen, I’m flattered, but there’s nothing to learn. I’m a pretty simple guy. But I’d take a picture with you if you want.” He inwardly cringed over how self-centered that sounded and opened his mouth to say more, but was rendered speechless when Oikawa appeared in front of them, silent as a ghost. He was clutching a towel between his hands so tightly his knuckles were white and shaking slightly. His eyes were wide and glassy, hair still a mess from the game.

“Iwa-chan, can I talk to you for a minute, please?” His voice was several octaves higher than usual, and his eyes were trained on Yukie’s hand on Iwaizumi’s thigh. “Alone?” he nearly shrieked when Iwaizumi merely nodded and stayed seated.

Rolling his eyes at Oikawa’s antics, Iwaizumi turned toward Yukie and excused himself with a shake of his head and a grin. Oikawa immediately grabbed his wrist and dragged him towards the door, looking back at Yukie with an ugly, pained expression.

They burst into the empty locker room in a flurry of Iwaizumi’s curses. “What the hell was that?” he spat, jerking out of Oikawa’s loosened grip. “I was in the middle of a conversation, what’s so urgent that you have to speak to me alone?”

Oikawa said nothing, just stared at his feet before sinking onto a bench. Iwaizumi ignored the way his heart stuttered in his chest and kept going. “Were you jealous again? Can’t you go one day without trying to steal attention away from me? You already have so many girls falling all over you, why do you always have to take the ones that are interested in me, too?” Iwaizumi couldn’t care less about girls being interested in him, but he got a sick sense of satisfaction releasing all his pent up feelings and insecurities onto the object of his affections.

Oikawa buried his face in his hands before mumbling something to himself. He finally raised his head, hands clutched in his hair. His face went blank for a minute before twisting into the perfectly composed mask he knew Iwaizumi hated. “You’re right. I’m jealous,” he finally said.

Iwaizumi was about to explode. Before he could, Oikawa stood up, grabbed his gym bag, and took a step closer to Iwaizumi, dangerously calm. “I’m so jealous I can’t think straight. I’m a mess right now, Iwa-chan. I want to lock myself in my room and scream into a pillow. I want to run 10 miles without a break. I want to punch a locker. And you still don’t get it, still can’t see it.” He closed his eyes, took a shuddering breath, and allowed his mask to slip.

“You’re so dumb, Iwa-chan, so incredibly stupid.” Iwaizumi couldn’t find words to say anything, not when Oikawa looked like that. He started to reach out to him, but Oikawa suddenly jerked back, eyes flying open. His face was anguished, mouth quivering. Iwaizumi had no idea what was going on, but he wanted that look off Oikawa’s face, immediately.

“I’m sorry, Oikawa, I didn’t mean it,” he blurted. “Please, just forget about it, we don’t have to talk about this anymore.”

That was the wrong thing to say. Oikawa grabbed his jersey and yanked him up, so they were nose to nose. Oikawa’s eyes were slightly damp and filled with exhaustion as they burned into Iwaizumi’s. “Let me finish. I need to finish. Because you’ve got it all wrong, Iwa-chan. I’m not jealous of you. I’m jealous of her. Do you get it now, you idiot?”

Iwaizumi went limp when the words finally made their way to his brain. Oikawa let go of his shirt and strode over to the door, leaving Iwaizumi rooted in place, unable to say anything. 

Chapter Text

Iwaizumi stared at the blue lockers across from him until his eyes burned and the chipped paint started to blur together. When he finally blinked he simultaneously collapsed onto the bench, hands forcefully gripping his hair. Stupid, stupid, stupid, he thought to himself, briefly contemplating how much it would hurt if he ran headfirst into the lockers he’s just been staring at.

I’m not jealous of you . I’m jealous of  her

The words replayed over and over in his mind as a mocking jingle. The way Oikawa looked was seared into his brain; his damp eyes, the determined twist of his mouth. How vulnerable he’d appeared, shoulders hunched forward and hands searching for nonexistent pockets as if to make himself smaller. Not even their devastating loss to Shiratorizawa last year had made Oikawa look so defeated and pained.

Do you get it now, you idiot?        

Regardless of what Oikawa claimed, Iwaizumi wasn’t stupid. He was dense as a brick and completely hopeless when it came to matters of the heart, but he wasn’t dumb enough to second guess Oikawa’s blatant confession. He wouldn’t disrespect Oikawa’s feelings by brushing them off and pretending like he hadn’t said anything. As soon as Iwaizumi’s legs were able to hold his weight again he’d be out the door, chasing after his best friend to say . . . something.

What did Oikawa want him to say? Was he expecting Iwaizumi to ask him out? Did he want a grand confession in the woods where they played as children, complete with roses and a picnic? Or would he be okay with a simple act of romance, like chocolates and a sappy letter? Iwaizumi’s head swirled with all the possibilities.

He grew more giddy with every second that ticked by. Oikawa liked him. Like liked him. He felt vaguely nauseous, but in a nice, tingly sort of way. His heart belatedly started to pound so fast it seemed like it would burst from his chest.

Would they be boyfriends now? Would they go out to dinner and the movies and do gross coupley things? Iwaizumi always complained about PDA, but thinking about holding hands with Oikawa in public made his face heat up and a smile tug at his lips.

The door to the locker room opened with a bang, jolting Iwaizumi out of his lovesick daydream. Hanamaki and Matsukawa loudly entered before stopping to stare at him, mouths wide open. Iwaizumi suddenly realized that he was staring off into space, smiling like a loon. Iwaizumi quickly schooled his features into his normally indifferent expression, immediately biting his cheek to keep the slightly crazed grin off his face.

“Alright, we’re going to pretend like you weren’t just staring at that locker like you wanted to marry it. What’s wrong with Oikawa?” Matsukawa asked, looking slightly concerned. Or confused. It was hard to tell with him.

Iwaizumi’s stomach dropped, and he sprung to his feet in a panic. “Have you seen him, where is he? Did he look upset?”

Hanamaki shot him a strange look. “He ran right by us making out behind the school and he didn’t even stop to say anything, which is really strange. Normally he'd at least whistle. I think he was missing his right shoe, too.” Iwaizumi looked over to Oikawa’s locker and sure enough, there was his shoe, dangling by its lace from the shut door.

Iwaizumi leaped to his feet, ripped the shoe from the locker, and slung his bag over his shoulder. As he ran out the door he thought he heard one of the two yell, “Go get ‘em, tiger!”

Thoughts flitted through his mind quicker than he could process them. Where is Oikawa? Home? The park? Their favorite Ramen shop? Iwaizumi decided to try his house first. When Oikawa sulked it was normally in his room, away from the public eye.

It only took Iwaizumi 5 minutes to reach their neighborhood. Bypassing his own house, he sprinted up the front steps of the Oikawa residence and rang the doorbell three times, his sneaky code to let Oikawa that it was him at the door and not a Jehovah’s Witness.

The door flew open and he was immediately engulfed in a huge hug. “Oikawa-san!” Iwaizumi yelled, dropping his bags and wrapping his arms around Oikawa’s mother, lifting her off her feet.

“Hajime-chan!” she squealed, sounding exactly like her son. She cackled wildly before tapping his arm to be put down. “How was your trip to America, sweetie? The house has been so quiet; Tooru barely left his room for days after you departed. His pouting isn’t nearly as cute as it was when he was little.” Iwaizumi personally disagreed, but laughed loudly nonetheless as he was ushered into the small, bright kitchen.

“Would you like some tea, dear? And you’ll be staying for dinner, I’d imagine. I’ll have to make your favorite, your homecoming is a special occasion, after all!” Iwaizumi knew he didn't really have a choice; he was staying for dinner, whether he wanted to or not.

“Of course, Oikawa-san, that sounds wonderful, thank you.” Iwaizumi adored Oikawa’s mother almost as much as he did Oikawa. Half the reason he spent so much time at the house was to see her. He wasn’t exactly sure why he and his best friend’s mom were so close, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. It was probably because they shared so many common interests: volleyball, good food, and Oikawa, to name a few. Iwaizumi was also very good at talking to middle aged women (it was a gift).

All thoughts of finding his best friend and asking him out were put on the back-burner as a cup of tea was set on the table and question after question was thrown at him. Oikawa-san was enchanted by the idea of traveling, and had him recant every detail of his trip. Iwaizumi was glad to have an audience, and told her everything about his vacation from the minute he first arrived in San Francisco to his departure back to Tokyo.

The hours slipped by in a warm blur, eased by boisterous conversation and delicious desserts and tea. It wasn’t until the shadows started to darken the room that they moved. “Oh my, where did the afternoon go? I’ve got to start dinner soon if we want to eat before midnight. Would you like to help, Hajime?”

Nodding enthusiastically, Iwaizumi grabbed a cutting board and allowed her to slip a frilly, sky blue apron on over his clothes. He started to chop vegetables while Oikawa’s mother turned the radio on, dancing and singing along to “the songs of my youth, Hajime.”

It was during an impromptu dance break that Oikawa finally walked in, looking absolutely wretched. His hair drooped, his eyes were red, and he was still missing a shoe. “Tooru! Where on earth have you been? I’ve been worried sick,” his mother tutted, spinning Iwaizumi around one last time before going to fuss over her son. "You look horribe, honey, what happened?" Oikawa stood frozen in place, eyes wide as he took in Iwaizumi standing in the middle of his kitchen, wearing a girly apron and clutching an unpeeled potato loosely in his hand.

He immediately bolted for the stairs, ignoring his mother’s worried questions.

“Hajime, what’s wrong with him? Why is he missing a shoe? Where was he all day, did you have a fight?”

Iwaizumi tried to think of a delicate way to say that Oikawa had confessed to him that morning, ran away to god knows where, and that Iwaizumi had fully intended to find him and ask him out, but had been completely sidetracked by the woman in front of him.

Unable to think of a cohesive way to get his messy thoughts across, Iwaizumi merely grunted. “No, we didn’t fight. Oikawa just . . . he just said some . . . things I think he regrets now. That’s why I came over today, I thought I’d find him here and be able to sort all of this out, but we got talking and I kind of forgot,” Iwaizumi said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck.

Oikawa-san looked at him with a gleam in her eye. Iwaizumi shuddered slightly, very familiar with that look and the mischief that would inevitably follow. “Oh, Hajime-chan, you go upstairs and talk to Tooru now, I’ll finish up supper. I think you two need to clear the air.” She took the potato that he forgot he was holding and pushed him towards the staircase with a sly smile and a wink.

Vaguely concerned about that wink, Iwaizumi made the familiar trek upstairs to Oikawa’s bedroom, staring at the well-worn carpet as he tried to think of what to say. He found himself outside Oikawa’s door, pounding on the wood with his fist before he could come up with a halfway decent plan.

“Oi dumbass, open up,” Iwaizumi said gruffly, twisting the locked knob forcefully.

There was no answer from inside, which was to be expected. When Oikawa felt hurt or insecure he locked himself away from others, unwilling to be seen as something less than perfect or strong.

Iwaizumi let his head thump against the door. “Please, Tooru,” he said quietly, tapping rhythmically against the worn wood, smoothing his fingers along the scratches that he and Oikawa had carved into the frame when they were children. He smiled when he remembered how furious both their parents had been.

“I’m going to get the lock pick if you don’t let me in,” Iwaizumi threatened. After waiting for a moment and not getting a response Iwaizumi stormed downstairs, grabbed the pin from a smiling Oikawa-san, and marched back up. After poking around for a moment Iwaizumi heard the telltale click of the lock being undone. He smiled in triumph and slammed the door open, expecting to see a mopey Oikawa sprawled across his bed.

Iwaiuzmi scowled when a quick survey of the room didn’t reveal Oikawa. After checking to make sure he wasn’t hiding in his closet (honestly, such a child), Iwaizumi zeroed in on the open window, suddenly knowing where Oikawa was. Steeling himself, Iwaizumi gripped the frame of the window before sticking his head out tentatively and looking to the right. Sure enough, Oikawa was laying on the roof, eyes closed and hands behind his head.

“Hey, Shittykawa,” Iwaizumi called out, keeping a death grip on his ledge. It was comical how fast Oikawa’s head popped up and swiveled to look at Iwaizumi. “We need to talk,” Iwaizumi said, trying to keep his voice steady. “Come inside right now, or I'm gonna kick your ass.”

Oikawa laid his head back down and rolled over, turning his back to Iwaizumi. “No, Iwa-chan, there’s nothing to say. I’m sorry about this morning, but I won’t take back what I said. You should go, I want to be alone right now.”

Iwaizumi knew it would come to this. Nothing was ever easy when dealing with Oikawa. Taking a huge breath and saying a quick prayer to whatever god was listening, he started to crawl at a snail’s pace onto the roof. He finally lugged himself onto the roof and started to make his way over to Oikawa. Damn, why was the idiot so far away? Couldn’t he have picked a closer section of roof to cry on?

Hearing the scuffling from behind him, Oikawa turned around and let out a shriek loud enough to almost make Iwaizumi lose his grip and send him tumbling to the ground. “IWA-CHAN WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” he screeched, sitting upright like he’d been electrocuted.

“What’s it look like, dumbass? You wouldn’t come in so I had to come out.” Iwaizumi tried to keep the tremor out of his voice and failed miserably. He made the mistake of glancing at the ground, which looked so very far away. Iwaizumi immediately gulped and screwed his eyes shut, trying not to think about how high up the roof was.

“Iwa-chan, you’re terrified of heights. You need to go back inside, now.” Oikawa was by his side in a flash, reaching for him.

Iwaizumi immediately latched onto Oikawa, clinging to him like a baby monkey. His eyes were still shut, but his breathing started to even out. Iwaizumi gripped Oikawa tighter and pushed his face into the crook of his neck, inhaling slightly. Surrounded by Oikawa’s smell, engulfed by his arms, Iwaizumi almost forgot that they were sitting on a ledge 20 feet above the ground. Almost.

They sat in silence for a long minute, Oikawa rocking them back and forth. Both of them could feel the strain between them, the lingering hint of awkwardness from that morning. The moment was too sweet to ruin with conversation; both sensed that something was about to change irreversibly in their relationship. It was heavy in the air. Instead of rushing to address it they sat quietly, enjoying the lingering moments of familiarity.

Eventually the pressure between him and Oikawa became too much, and Iwaizumi breathed in deeply, ready to finally confess. Before he could say anything Oikawa was talking softly into his ear, the deep rumple of his voice sounding like home.

“Iwa-chan, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m possessive and jealous and have a terrible personality sometimes. I’m sorry I can’t control my emotions and that I insert myself into situations I have no right to be in. I’m sorry for putting my selfish desires above other people's feelings. But I’m not sorry that I have feelings for you. And I’m not sorry that you know about them, because it’s such a relief, Iwa-chan. I’ve loved you for so long, for years and years now. Isn’t that pathetic? I’ve dated all these girls and broken their hearts all because I was too big of a coward to tell you how I felt.

“Iwa-chan, I understand if you need space. But please, I’m begging you, please let us still be friends. This doesn’t have to mean anything, things can go back to the way they were. Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine. All I need is your friendship, Iwa-chan, honestly.”

Iwaizumi felt hot all over, almost feverish. His heart pounded heavily, blood rushing in his ears. I’ve loved you for so long. The confession hung heavily between them. He tightened his grip on Oikawa when he felt him trying to pull back. Iwaizumi wasn’t about to let him go, not now. Not ever.

“You’re just as stupid as I am, dumbass,” Iwaizumi mumbled into Oikawa’s shoulder before lifting his head. He grasped Oikawa’s face between his palms and leaned in, pressing their lips together gently.

They stayed like that for a long while, long enough for the sun to completely set and for the mosquitoes to come out. Long enough for Oikawa’s father to come home from work and walk into the house, completely oblivious to them. Eventually they broke apart, mouths swollen and red, panting lightly. Oikawa stared at Iwaizumi in wonder, eyes filled with tears.

“What are you doing? Don’t cry you idiot,” Iwaizumi said fondly, butting their foreheads together.

“So mean, Iwa-chan! I’m not crying, I’m just upset by your fashion sense.” Iwaizumi looked down, and realized for the first time since leaving the kitchen that he was indeed still wearing the frilly, light blue apron.

“Shut up, if you hadn’t been such a drama queen I would have had time to take it off.”

“Still so mean to me, even after I confess my undying love to you, Iwa-chan! What’s a man to do – ” Oikawa was momentarily silenced by Iwaizumi’s lips against his.

When they pulled apart for the second time Iwaizumi leaned back and looked at Oikawa. His cheeks were flushed, his eyes were bright, and his hair was a complete mess from Iwaizumi’s hands. He looked breathtaking.

 “I love you, too. It took me a while to realize it, but when I was in America all I could think about was how even though I was having a great time, it would have been so much better if you were there with me.” He paused to roll his eyes at Oikawa’s overdramatic swoon. “What I’m trying to say, if you’ll let me finish, is that I like like you, a lot. Tooru, will you go out with me?”

“Iwa-chaaaaaaan,” Oikawa sobbed, throwing himself into Iwaizumi’s arms. Iwaizumi immediately let out a high pitched squeak when they started to slide down the incline of the roof, fingernails clawing at the rough shingles to steady himself and the overgrown child clinging to him.

“Of course I’ll go out with you, Hajime. I’ve always wanted to date a celebrity.”

“I’m not a celebrity, idiot,” Iwaizumi gasped, painfully aware that he was 20 feet above the ground.

“Yes you are, you’re Twitter famous, remember? That’s basically better than being actually famous, nowadays.” Oikawa released Iwaizumi and pulled him into his lap, stroking his hair lightly to calm him down. Iwaizumi growled but let him continue, secretly enjoying the sensation.

They stayed curled around each other until they heard Oikawa’s mother yell, “Boys, dinner’s ready!” through the open window. Untangling himself from Iwaizumi, Oikawa led the way to the window, keeping a steady hand on his boyfriend’s back.

When they were on solid ground again Iwaizumi collapsed to his knees and ran his fingers though the carpet, promising to never leave the floor again. Oikawa immediately laughed at him and called him a scaredy cat, but Iwaizumi didn’t care. He was finally safe again, away from the treacherous ledge Oikawa somehow loved.

Oikawa knelt down and picked him up, ignoring Iwaizumi’s shouts of protest and desperate squirming. “Look how cute and little you are Iwa-chan, you fit in my arms so nicely,” Oikawa cackled, kissing Iwaizumi on the nose.

“Oi, let me go,” Iwaizumi thrashed, “You’re like 5 centimeters taller than me, big deal.”

Eventually he dropped to the ground, but only after distracting Oikawa by licking his neck. “Ewwww Iwa-chan, save that for tonight, will ya,” he said, raising his eyebrows up and down suggestively.

Iwaizumi turned a dark red and immediately lunged for his throat. Oikawa shrieked and flung his door open, running towards the staircase. “GET BACK HERE,” Iwaizumi shouted, hot on his heels. They chased each other down the stairs and around the house, jumping over chairs and side tables, ignoring the protests and defeated sighs of Oikawa’s parents.

When they calmed down enough to be seated for dinner, Iwaizumi looked at Oikawa across the table. Beautiful, beautiful Oikawa, who had rice stuck on his cheek and sauce dripping down his chin. How could that idiot think that things between them would change for the worse after confessing? Couldn’t he see how head over heels Iwaizumi was for him? When their eyes met across the table they shared a shy, secret smile full of excitement and promises.

Iwaizumi couldn’t believe it, but he owed a world of thanks to that damn baby on that damn airplane. Without the literal spawn of Satan catapulting him to internet fame, Oikawa would never have gotten jealous, would never have confessed to him. Who knows how long it would have taken Iwaizumi to get the balls to do it himself.

It was because of that baby that he sat across the table from his new boyfriend, and quite possibly the love of his life. He supposed that the least he could do to show his thanks was watch the reality TV show the baby’s family starred in. Hell, he’d make Oikawa watch it with him too, just for fun (and great make out opportunities). Besides, anything would be better than watching Alien Space Predators 3: Quest for Vengeance for the 20th time, Iwaizumi thought with a small smile, looking at his boyfriend adoringly before reaching across the table to wipe the sauce off his stupid (yet adorable) face.