I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
- Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
“I’m gay, Tōru.”
“I’m glad you’re happy, Makki.” Tōru let his legs dangle from where he sat on the dock of their local pond, enjoying the warmth of the sun on his skin, like a lazy cat.
“No, Tōru, I’m gay gay. You know. I like boys. I like boys a lot. I’m very gay for boys.” Takahiro stood there in his trunks and T-shirt and didn’t know what else to say. I hope it doesn’t bother you. I tend to crush on friends a lot.
“Well, what do you expect me to say now?” Tōru squints up to his friend, expression unreadable. “Like ‘Oh no! Don’t watch me strip in the club room!’ ‘Don’t make stuff weird between us!’ ‘Every remotely gay thought will be 100 Yen in the No Homo Jar.’” His voice was mocking. “Seriously, I’d be so poor after a week, so how could I expect you to keep that up.”
Takahiro squinted, letting himself fall next to Tōru, his naked toes barely gracing the water surface.
“So you’re gay too.” He stared into the distance. He didn’t know whether he’d expected that.
“Well, I like boys too. I think.” Tōru pulled his long legs up again, hugging them with his arms, resting his face on his knees and following Takahiro’s gaze over the pond into the distance.
“So you’re… bi, then?”
“I’m just very gay for my best friend,” Tōru whined, hiding his face in his curled up body.
“Iwaizumi.” That was that really well-built kid that mocked Tōru all the time. They were childhood friends, even. Takahiro didn't have anything like that.
“Hmhmm.” Tōru nodded slightly.
“But you still like girls?” Takahiro couldn’t quite grasp the concept, but he was glad he wasn’t entirely alone with his situation, even if it was just gradual.
“I guess. Well, I don’t remember liking anyone beyond Hajime, but if he were a girl that’d be also fine, I don’t even know what that makes me.” It was the first time that Takahiro saw Tōru so helpless, so confused. It was endearing.
“What about the girls that always run after you?” He didn’t know why he was so curious about Tōru’s preferences, maybe because it distracted them from their original topic.
“I always feel bad for ruining everything to them. They deserve better.” Tōru chewed on his cheek. “But now, Makki, why did you come out to me? You don’t need to do that, y’know. If you feel uncomfortable.”
Tōru’s big brown eyes were weirdly comforting, the empathy woven into his gaze, and Takahiro felt oddly warm and fuzzy.
“You’re the only one I could tell. You are, like, my only friend here. You seem like someone who doesn’t judge people, but always drag out their best. That’s how it feels on the curt. I don’t know, I just couldn’t shut up about it, I’m sorry.” Takahiro’s shoulders slumped down, his head hanging low as for an apology.
“It’s ok, you know.” Tōru elbowed him softly with a warm smile. “But really, I’m not that reliable. I’m stupid, and childish, at least that’s what Iwa-chan would say. Also, I thought Matsukawa is, like, your best buddy? You always hang out together.”
“In practice. I can’t practice receives alone, y’know. We kinda just always get paired up together. Is all.”
“Oh.” Tōru seemed surprised.
“I don’t know, it just felt right to have you know. And maybe it’s a warning because I’m very bad at keeping my cool. And you’re cute. Like, the cute hot. Hot cute. And I don’t want it to become awkward between us because I might actually crush on you. Which isn’t the case yet. But.” Takahiro stopped. He noticed he was rambling again, awkward, his thoughts overthrowing themselves and everything blurted out, and it became embarrassing.
“It’d be ok, you know. If you’d crush on me. You’re not as gross as Iwa-chan.”
“But I thought you liked Iwaizumi.”
“But he’s gross! He’s biting on his fingernails, I don’t even know if he has something like nail scissors! I know him since we were, like, four, and I still don’t know if he owns nail scissors.”
Takahiro snorted at that.
“Don’t laugh at me,” Tōru pouted, and it was so dorky and cute that Takahiro had to laugh even more. This was okay. He was okay. It was almost summer, and he was okay.
“Makki, you wanna come get some snacks from the vending machine?” Matsukawa Issei, fucking Matsukawa Issei asks with high raised eyebrows as he peeks into Takahiro’s home room. Takahiro shrugs, slowly getting used to the fact that Matsukawa Issei had piqued an interest in Takahiro’s company. After realising they took the same train to school, they went together after volleyball practice, grabbing unhealthy stuff from the small shop only two streets from the station. Bonding over snacks was a great thing. Not great was that Matsukawa fucking Issei had gained more muscles during training camp. He got thighs, he got ass, he got everything to cling to like an incredibly horny koala baby, which, in Takahiro’s mind, seemed very pervert.
But he could keep his cool and get snacks from the vending machine.
“The First Years of the volleyball club wanted to have a movie night,” Matsukawa Issei said nonchalantly, while pressing the buttons to get his chocolate milk and a something that seemed like a protein bar, “you wanna come too?” His dark eyes searched in Takahiro’s face for an answer. Cute.
Why the hell were there so many cute boys on this fucking volleyball team?! Takahiro was internally screaming.
“Yeah. Yeah, why not. When and where?” Takahiro entered the code for his scented water.
“If I can bully my brother into staying at his girlfriend’s, we could do it at my house.”
Takahiro hummed, taking his bottle, and they went upstairs to their home rooms.
“What movies will we even watch?”
“I have no idea. Just bring your favourites?” Matsukawa shot him an fond smile and Takahiro was beyond dying.
“Nice.” Matsukawa disappeared with a fist bump. Bro. This was basically what it was saying. Good. Matsukawa was off-limits, then. It didn't stop the butterflies, though.
It became bearable after Takahiro discovered that Mattsun laughed at dump internet jokes. He would send him screen caps at four in the morning, making Takahiro wonder when that kid actually slept, but he had to laugh every time, trying to convince himself that he wouldn’t want such a person as his husband anyway.
They didn’t know how often they had postponed their Team Movie Night because there was always one who didn’t have time, but Oikawa really wanted them to have one together, as a team experience.
At some point, Matsun asked if they’d just do it anyway, even if it was just the two of them. That was the day when Takahiro learned that Matsun really liked period drama and nature documentaries. Dork.
They decided to binge-watch all Harry Potter movies the next time. They fell asleep in the middle of Part 3, the next morning having them tangled in each other, and it didn’t even matter because it was comfortable and they were just sleepy and drowsy and this was just like home. This was how it ought to be.
The more Takahiro realised that Mattsun is a horrible dork, the easier it got. Mattsun dragged him into liking internet humour. Takahiro didn’t quite know how it happened, it just did, and it was nice to have such a nerd as friend. When they won practice matches for the newbies, Mattsun became the first who was tackling Takahiro down with a hug still on the curt, all sweaty and beaming, radiant like the sun. They never played as regulars in official matches, unlike Oikawa, but that’s okay because they could shout from the stands together.
The evening of the Prefecture Final, they decided to finally have the movie night. Oikawa was still shaky, and they watched the entire Alien series. Takahiro fell asleep on Mattsun’s shoulder. He felt at home, with Mattsun’s warmth seeping through his clothes.
Spring tournament made their lives feel like a broken record. Tōru failed another time. Mars Attacks was involved. This time Takahiro fell asleep with his head in Mattsun’s lap.
Their first year passed, some members left, others joined, and there was still Mattsun who shared stupid internet memes and was an awful dork without even caring. Mattsun had his first official match when they lost against Shiratorizawa. They had ice-cream and watched a video of a Russian singer from the 70s on loop. It was old but it still helped. Matsun was smiling again.
Training camp was hard, but they managed in the heat. Takahiro harboured crushes on nearly every member of the team by the end of the week. He saw how Tōru kissed one of their kouhai, and wondered how it’d feel to be in his place. Wondered if Tōru would feel the same if he was kissing Iwaizumi instead. Probably not.
They have cute kouhai. They have hot sempai. Takahiro had a fantasy for almost everyone.
Except for Mattsun.
Maybe he didn’t want to know. It would be too much. He was off-limit. He was his best friend.
Mattsun sighed a lot on their way back home, almost wistfully. He fell asleep on Takahiro’s shoulder this time. Takahiro was happy for that.
They both lost against Shiratorizawa in the Spring Tournament. Takahiro was angry, and Issei wrapped him into his arms, tears tickling down his own face, and it became hard to breathe. Tōru didn’t cry. He just stared and stared, until Takahiro wasn’t sure if he was even alive at that point. The bus ride felt horrible.
Issei asked if they could study together for exams. They did.
They still didn’t turn up in the same class in their third year.
A lot of it felt like a record on loop. Issei actually cried a little when the Russian singer died. Spring turned into summer of their final year, and again, they cracked under Ushijima and his team. Takahiro wondered how they managed, and he didn’t know. He didn’t remember their therapy against that loss, maybe it was a film, maybe it was ice-cream, but it didn’t work. Maybe it wasn’t their mountain to climb. Tōru wanted it to be, but maybe it wasn’t. It was just a club, after all.
Issei laid half on top of Takahiro, his head placed in the curve of Takahiro’s waist while he munched popcorn obnoxiously loud as they tried, once again, to binge-watch Lord of the Rings.
“Makki?” Issei muttered between hands full of popcorn.
“I love you.”
Takahiro ruffled Issei's locks at that.
“Love you too, nerd.”
“I probably have the weirdest crush on Legolas since I’m like, seven.”
“That sounds gay, Mattsun.”
“You are gay, Makki.”
“How did you find out?” Takahiro gasped in played affront.
“It’s kinda obvious how you ogle everyone of the team. Except me. Plus your browser history is very informative. Am I not attractive to you?” Issei was pouting and playing with the rim of Takahiro’s shirt.
“Well you are hot. Kinda cute. I can ogle you more in future if you want. Just make sure to put on a good show.”
“Aww, you would do that?” Issei’s eyes were crinkling with a smile. Cute.
“Anything for you, my love,” Takahiro said with an affectionate smile, and without thinking he leaned down and perked on Issei’s lips.
“That was gay, Hiro,” Issei said amused as Takahiro pulled away in irritation of his own action. His heart was beating faster.
“I am gay, Issei.”
“Are you gay for me, Hiro?”
“Maybe a little bit.”
“Will you ogle me then? Like, in the club room, or at training camp? I mean like, in a really gay way.”
“Hmhmm,” Takahiro hummed, “I can try thirsting over you just like in our first year.”
“Can I have another kiss?” Issei purred.
“Don’t push your luck.”
“I love you.”
“Love you too, you nerd.”
[Of course Issei got another kiss.]