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It's Only a Paper Moon

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You woke up in an unfamiliar bed, to an unfamiliar alarm. However, the body pressed against yours was rapidly becoming quite familiar to you. Iwaizumi groaned and blindly reached for his phone, turning off the alarm. Then he curled right back up against you.

“Good morning,” he grunted, lips brushing against the back of your neck.

Yawning, you stretched your sore body insofar that was possible, encapsulated in a tangle of Iwaizumi’s arms and legs. But you did manage to turn around and nuzzle your nose against his. “Good morning.”

Iwaizumi planted a soft kiss on the corner of your mouth, his eyes cloudy from sleep. “I have to get ready for work,” he said, looking thoroughly unhappy about that fact, “but don’t feel like you have to get up with me, okay? Get some more sleep.”

“Hm-hm,” you said, fighting against the urge to wrap your limbs around him and trap him here for a little while longer. It would be so easy to doze off again in his arms...

Iwaizumi had more willpower than you, sliding out of bed and padding to the bathroom. The loss drew a whiny moan from you. You clutched onto his pillow a little tighter, but it proved a poor substitute despite his musky smell clinging to the soft cotton.

By the time you heard the shower turn on, you felt so restless that you might as well get up. One of Iwaizumi’s button-up shirts hung over the chair, ready for the taking, and you also snatched up a pair of his boxers.

There was something about walking around Iwaizumi’s apartment in the early morning, rummaging through his kitchen for some breakfast and coffee. You prepared some rice, then turned on the cooker. There was an ease to the way you made yourself comfortable in his space, one that still surprised you.

Waiting for the rice to steam, you sipped on a cup of coffee.

Iwaizumi’s kitchen was cleanly organised and functional, the practical aspects of his personality reflected in his home. There was a lineup of potted fresh herbs in the windowsill, but you also noticed a framed dragonfly display on the wall, some pictures on the fridge, and a small whiteboard by the door with reminders for groceries and other chores.

You examined the pictures a little closer, chuckling at a photo of Oikawa and Iwaizumi in what seemed to be their old dorm, the latter half-blocked by Oikawa who threw up a peace-sign. The picture was stuck to the fridge with a little Godzilla magnet, a detail that made you grin. God, he was cute.

Then your attention was caught by one of a couple in wedding attire, and Iwaizumi’s close resemblance to the woman led to an easy conclusion; his parents. You swallowed as you examined the man, the angles of his face softer than Iwaizumi’s, yet there was something about his nose, his hair, that he clearly passed on to his son.

Not for the first time you debated whether to ask more about him, whether that was okay. Though Iwaizumi had told you early on about his father’s death, the subject never came up afterwards. Not that you expected him to open up about every detail of his life within a few weeks, but as the relationship progressed, you found yourself wanting to know more. Family was so clearly important to Iwaizumi, and you did not even know his father’s name.

However, this was something you did not want to push on, not overstep any boundaries or poke at wounds he wanted left alone.

So was it better not to ask and leave it to him, or was Iwaizumi waiting for you to bring it up, willing to talk but not wanting to make you uncomfortable? Were you at an unspoken stalemate?

“I was wondering where my shirt had gone.”

You jolted out of your thoughts when you realised Iwaizumi stood in the doorway, dressed for work in a suit, the tie undone around his neck. The sight left all your previous musings forgotten, a sudden heat spreading through you so suddenly it bordered on juvenile. His eyes drank you in, gaze dragging down from the shirt to his boxers.

If the sight of you in his clothes was even half as distracting for him as the suit was for you, then Iwaizumi was in big trouble.

“Hope you don’t mind,” you said, leaning back against the counter. You set down the cup of coffee, perhaps arching your back a touch more than necessary.

He sighed and walked up to you, playing with the top button of the shirt. “You’re the worst,” he said, shaking his head. “I just got out of the shower.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” you murmured, holding both ends of his tie and gently tugging him towards you.

Iwaizumi indulged you, his hands quick to squeeze your ass. You drew him close with the tie, tongue slipping inside. The taste of fresh mint greeted you, hitting you with a sudden wave of self-consciousness over morning breath. You pulled away but Iwaizumi leaned closer, trapping you between his body and the kitchen counter.

“What, you think you can just start this and leave me hanging?” he said, rocking his hips into yours. The increasing hardness poking against your stomach proved difficult to ignore.

“M- morning breath,” you moaned, your legs getting shaky. God, that was embarrassingly fast. Must be yesterday’s exertion still affecting you, or so you told yourself.

He chuckled, angling his head to recapture your lips. “Don’t worry, you taste like coffee,” he said, breath mingling with yours between kisses. “Mostly.”

“Oi! Bully!” you admonished him. You let go of his tie to tap him on the nose, but he just grinned at you.

“I’m still kissing you, aren’t I,” Iwaizumi said, voice lowering. He proved his point by invading your mouth again, his tongue sliding against yours. Hands slipped inside the boxers you wore, one grabbing at your ass while the other reached all the way down until Iwaizumi found the growing wetness between your legs.

You jerked against him, an undignified noise leaving you. Keen to return the favour, you undid his pants and pushed down his underwear just enough to free his cock, half-hard by now.

Iwaizumi groaned, rolling his hips against your hand. He broke the kiss, lips latching onto your exposed collarbone instead.

“How—ngh—how much time do we have?” you gasped. As into this as you were, it’d be far too embarrassing to be responsible this way for Iwaizumi being late for work.

He mouthed at your skin, lingering for a moment before he answered. “More than enough,” he said, his voice a throaty rasp. He pulled his hand out of your boxers, fingers glistening. Eyes catching hold of yours, he sucked them off, then removed them with a soft ‘pop’. “Tastes just like I remember.”

Your hand wrapped tighter around his cock, thumb playing against the head, while your other hand held the back of his head, pulling him into a hard kiss. He undid the buttons of the shirt you wore, slowly exposing your stomach to him. Once he was done, his hands drifted over your chest for just a moment. Iwaizumi groaned against your lips, thrusting in a rhythm that gradually became less steady, then plunged his hand down the front of your boxers.

The abrupt return of stimulation had you choke out a moan; Iwaizumi always balanced perfectly between rough and gentle, a care to his touch even as he wrecked you, an awareness of his own strength that made you feel safe—yet also curious to find out what’d happen if you truly put his control to the test. How far could you push him? What did it take?

Thoughts for later. Right now, a finger slid inside you, prodding and curling until you cried out. You struggled to focus on Iwaizumi, but he was so far along it did not seem to matter. His motions stuttered against your palm until he climaxed with a low grunt, releasing on your stomach.

With heavy breaths he recovered, forehead leaning against yours as he stared at your stomach, fixated on the sight of his cum on your skin. However, you still tethered on the edge. A desperate call of his name and he snapped back to attention, his thumb drawing tight circles around your clit.

High-pitched whines spilled from your lips, your body trembling as Iwaizumi found a rhythm that electrified your senses. You grabbed hold of his wrist to keep him there, oh fuck. His hand moved from your ass to your hip, pinning you against the counter to keep you from crumpling to the floor. He smashed his lips against yours as your orgasm hit, swallowing up your cries while you shook under his grasp.

Gasping for breath, you arched into Iwaizumi’s touch with every spike of pleasure. Slowly the waves diminished, and you came back to solid ground.

Iwaizumi gently massaged your hip, leaving slow, lazy kisses on your lips. “You okay?”

“Yeah,” you murmured. “You?”

He nodded, then pressed a final kiss on your forehead. “Do you want to shower? I’ll finish breakfast,” he said, gesturing to the rice cooker, which had finished without you realising.

“Ugh, I’d hoped to surprise you,” you sighed, but you really could not object to that shower in your current state.

Iwaizumi chuckled. “Trust me, mission accomplished,” he said, his eyes taking in your appearance. He fixed his pants and his jacket, any sign of dishevelment erased with ease.

Not fair.

Just to satisfy your petty need for a little revenge, you slid a finger over your stomach and brought the coated digit up to your lips, sucking it off. Iwaizumi’s eyes darkened but you kissed his cheek and darted off to the bathroom.

By the time you got out of the shower, wearing your own clothes, Iwaizumi had a small breakfast ready for you. You joined him in the living room, the sun already beating down on the windows. Weather forecast had promised a nasty summer day, and already you could feel it was going to be a doozy.

Still, for now you’d enjoy a nice breakfast with Iwaizumi in the sunshine.

“Mm, are you starting a new case right away?” you asked between bites.

He made an ambiguous motion with his head. “Not really. We’re joining an ongoing case to take some of the load,” Iwaizumi said with a vague smile. “Matsukawa’s working on it, so that should be... interesting.”

You chuckled, wondering what alternative adjectives had been on his mind. Matsukawa had told you enough stories about the rest of his team that you knew ‘interesting’ would be the least of it. “I’m sure you can handle it,” you said, “but ah, good luck anyway.”

“Thanks,” he said, sarcasm dripping off the word. “What about you? Back to business as usual?”

“Russian lessons in the morning,” you said, “but that’s it. I get to easy into things today. I’m hanging out with Makki this afternoon, take some time to catch up.”

“Oh right, he said something about taking the afternoon off.” Iwaizumi finished the last of his breakfast, pushing the bowl aside.

“Evening’s free, though.”

He met your gaze but broke away quickly, shaking his head at your coy smile. His light blush was equal parts adorable and hilarious considering what you’d done in his kitchen not even an hour ago.

“What?” you said, feigning innocence. “I was just thinking we could watch a movie or something. Unless you don’t want to, I still need to make plans with Oikawa anyway. Meet those cats of his.”

“We’ll see,” Iwaizumi said, but you caught a glimpse of a crooked smile as he stood up that told you more than enough.

“You know, if you want me to stop teasing you about dating two guys at once, you really need to stop having romantic dinners with the both of them.”

Hanamaki handed you a skewer with glazed dango, then sat next to you on the park bench. Despite the shade there was a near-unbearable humidity in the air, a portend of the heavy rain that had been forecasted for the evening.

You threw up your hands. “Why do people keep saying it was romantic dinner!” Grumbling quietly, you bit off a piece of dango. “Anyway,” you said, covering your mouth, “who tattled?”

“Seriously?” he said with a flat look. “I work with those two. You think we don’t talk about our weekends?”


You shifted in your seat, an agitation buzzing under your skin that had nothing to do with Hanamaki nosing around in your love life. What it did have to do with, you were resistant to delve into.

It’s not like this was the first time your platonic interactions with someone got misinterpreted as romantic—some of your classmates back in school had been absolutely convinced you and Makki were a couple—but it never bothered you before. Yet his continued implications about you and Oikawa hit a nerve.

Why? The closest you could figure was the vague guilt that occasionally cropped up over the time you spent hanging out with Oikawa, but that was just because it cut into your limited time with Iwaizumi.

...Sure, you thought Oikawa’s kind of cute, but that was nothing more than an objective observation. Anyone would think that!

Hanamaki stared at your bothered expression and came wholly to the wrong conclusion. “Listen, I’m not shaming you or anything,” he teased with a pointed grin. “I was buddies with a poly triad back in law school, I’m cool with whatever you guys are up to!”

“Yeah yeah thanks, but it’s not like that!” you insisted, and shoved another piece of dango in your mouth. Even your chewing had a frustrated edge, though the gooey, sweet glaze of the treat soothed some of your irritation.

For a long moment Hanamaki studied you, then he nodded slowly. “Alright. I believe you.”

“How very kind of you,” you scoffed, but genuine annoyance had been replaced by the sarcasm typical of your friendship.

“That’s me, kindness incarnate.” Hanamaki grinned at you as he bit a piece of dango off the skewer. Silence fell as you both chewed, enjoying the sweet and salty combo, until Hanamaki spotted Matsukawa and waved him over. “Issei!”

Matsukawa sauntered over, hands in his pockets. “Hey,” he said, coming to a halt in front of the park bench.

“Should’ve said you’d be early, I’d have gotten you one,” Hanamaki said, gesturing with his skewer.

Before Hanamaki could react, Matsukawa snatched up the dango and popped one in his mouth. “This works, too,” he said, smiling lazily as though Hanamaki wasn’t giving him a murderous glare.

“Thief!” Hanamaki yanked back the skewer. “And a food thief at that! That’s the worst kind of theft!”

You chortled at Hanamaki’s needless drama, and just to further empathise his pettiness, you offered Matsukawa your last piece. “Here, take this one.”

“Nah, you enjoy that,” Matsukawa said. “They taste better when stolen.”

Hanamaki continued to splutter as you laughed, but the buzz of your phone distracted you from their squabbling. A quick check showed you Hana was calling, which gave you pause. Usually she was quicker to text.

“It’s Hana, you guys mind if I take this?” you asked, already standing up from the bench.

“Yes!” Hanamaki sneered at the same time Matsukawa said, “Go ahead.”

You rolled your eyes at Hanamaki and shoved your skewer of dango in his hands. “Here, to make it up to you,” you said, then walked off and answered the call. “Hana? What’s up?”

“Hana? What’s up?”

That was all Hanamaki could catch of your conversation. He watched your back as you talked to your second-best friend, however, things other than your hierarchy of relationships were on his mind. He nudged Matsukawa, who had taken your place on the park bench.

“So,” he said, “remember back in law school, how we were convinced Iwaizumi and Oikawa would hook up at some point?”

“Rings a bell. What about it?”

Hanamaki scratched his chin, still not taking his eyes off you. “I wonder, maybe Oikawa just has that effect on people or something. I’m getting almost the exact same vibe with him and the squirt over there,” he said, pointing his thumb in your direction. “Just less fighting.”

With a deep frown, Matsukawa studied his boyfriend. “Surprised to hear you say that. You think she’d-?”

“No, no,” Hanamaki said, waving a dismissive hand, “she says nothing is going on and I believe her. Besides, she wouldn’t do that to Iwaizumi, it’s just... weird. Massive déjà vu.”

Matsukawa shrugged. “Oikawa might just be that kind of person. I mean, he does have a habit of getting flirty with his friends.”

“He doesn’t get flirty with me.”

“Maybe your friendship isn’t as strong as you think.” Matsukawa chuckled at Hanamaki’s insulted glare. “Relax, he just knows you’d never stop roasting him for it.”

“Like Iwaizumi does?” Hanamaki sneered, crossing his arms.

An affectionate smile spread on Matsukawa’s lips as he rubbed Hanamaki’s shoulder. “Nah, Iwaizumi scolds him. Entirely different thing. Pretty sure he enjoys it.”

“...It’s moments like this I remember why we thought they were gonna bang.”

“Still not convinced it’ll never happen,” Matsukawa deadpanned. “Hey, how’s Hana doing?”

You pocketed your phone as you walked back to them. “She’s fine now, just needed a quick vent. Scoot over!”

Hanamaki did just that, giving you enough space to sit down next to him. He held out your skewer to you, and you gratefully took it.

“Thanks! You didn’t even eat it,” you said, sounding slightly amazed.

“Your lack of trust in me is hurtful, you know.”

You gave him a pointed stare. “What, are you really going to pretend it’s not wholly deserved?”

“I thought you believed in second chances.”

“We’re way past that!”

“Issei, stick up for me here, will you?”


“Ugh, you guys suck.”

You once said one of the nicest perks of dating Iwaizumi was the private pillow that it came with; his chest.

Iwaizumi assumed it’d been a playful exaggeration, but here you were, lying against him in the summer humidity—only worsened by the downpour outside. The warmth coming off his body must have been uncomfortable, but you showed no intentions of moving.

Your cheek rested on his shirt, a finger tracing over the material and firm planes underneath. Pressed close against him, he could feel the soft thump of your heartbeat, a soothing rhythm that helped him rejuvenate from a long day at work.

There was a specific pressure that came with joining an ongoing case; the feeling of being one step behind everyone who had been involved from the start, playing catch-up until he had properly delved into the material. Iwaizumi had done some reading up in the weekend, but he still found himself consulting Matsukawa more often than he’d like.

His hand lay on your shoulder, squeezing in a slow massage. A conversation about movies to watch had dwindled down as the rain started to pour down, the tapping on the window almost hypnotising.

“Hey,” you said, your voice soft as though not wanting to disturb the peaceful ambiance, “can I ask you something?”

Iwaizumi’s hand stilled. A harmless enough question, but something in your tone stood out to him. Usually you’d just... ask. “Sure,” he said, threading his fingers through your hair.

You rolled onto your stomach, leaning on your elbows as you looked at Iwaizumi. A flash of hesitation crossed your face and for a moment he thought you’d change your mind. Then you pressed on. “Does it bother you when I hang out with Oikawa? And when he joins us for stuff, like dinner yesterday?”

Blinking, Iwaizumi stared back at you. Wait what?

“What? Why would it?” He turned to his side, brushing a strand of hair out of your face. Out of all possible subjects his brain had thrown at him, this one had not made the list.

“It’s just-” You sighed, making a vague hand-gesture. “Look, I know you’re not the jealous type. I... I want to make sure you’re okay with it. We don’t have that much time, plus I know plenty of guys who’d have mixed feelings about their best friend and their girlfriend spending a lot of time together. Okay, no, that sounds like I do think you’re jealous, hang on I can phrase that better-”

At that point you were rambling, only trailing off when you noticed the pleased smile on Iwaizumi’s face.

Groaning, you hid your face behind your hands. “Please don’t make fun of me,” you said, voice muffled.

Iwaizumi chuckled, tugging your hands down. “So, you’re my girlfriend, huh?”

You rolled your eyes at him. “I don’t know, am I?” you shot back, deflecting your obvious embarrassment.

“Guess you are,” he said, leaning in for a gentle kiss. “To get back to your point; no, doesn’t bother me. If I’m entirely honest, I did get a little jealous at the start, but I’m over it. I like that we can hang out together.” Another kiss, longer this time. “As long as I get you to myself every now and then.”

Indulging himself, Iwaizumi continued to kiss you, his lips moving against yours lazily. You surrendered to his affection, brushing your fingers over his jawline.

Your moments of self-doubt started to come as less of a surprise, though they still caught Iwaizumi off guard. You usually carried yourself with such a that made it all too easy to forget, but Iwaizumi tried to make a point to keep it in mind.

However, the uncertainty had faded away now Iwaizumi had given you an answer. You broke the kiss and tapped his chin, a smug grin on your face.

“So you did get jealous, huh?” you said, thumb playing with the indent between his lip and chin. “Wasn’t expecting that.”

Iwaizumi held still, letting you caress his face at your leisure. For just a moment he closed his eyes, relishing your ministrations. “It’s not that I thought anything would happen, you just got along so easily,” he said. “I guess I got a little envious he can talk with you about things in a way I can’t.”

You chuckled, your hand running through his hand. “Yeah so uh, I wouldn’t worry about that if I were you.” A little smile curled around your lips. “Sure, I love talking about space with people, but it’s.. different when you let me just ramble about dorky stuff.” You leaned in, your kiss laced with warmth. “When you listen, I feel heard.”

There was a beat of silence as Iwaizumi struggled to maintain control over his facial muscles between the conflicting surges of self-consciousness and self-satisfaction. Happiness that you felt that way, pride that he made you feel that way. He settled on a crooked smile, stroking his fingers up and down your arm.

“So, where did that come from?” he asked, curious to just poke at that brain of yours and figure out what set off that insecurity, to understand you a little better.

You rolled onto your back, looking up at Iwaizumi with an arm resting underneath your head. “Eh, Makki’s been making fun of me,” you shrugged. “I know he didn’t mean anything by it, but I guess it got to me a bit.”

“Making fun of you? Because you hang out with Oikawa too much?” Iwaizumi’s face bunched up in confusion but almost immediately cleared up. Yeah, that tracked actually.

“Something like that,” you said with a laugh. “But enough about him. You ‘got me all to yourself’ right now.”

You stared up at him, a challenge in your smile.

“So what do you want to do?”

Oikawa stood next to Matsukawa by the doorway, both staring at the scene in front of them, their arms crossed and wearing identical expressions of confused vexation.

Inside the office, Iwaizumi stood over Kyoutani’s desk, going over a transcript together.

“Just so you know, I’m going to ask Irihata-san to reassign Iwaizumi to our team,” Matsukawa said, kneading his brow as he watched Kyoutani be the most demure he’d ever seen in his years of working together.

“Don’t you dare!” Oikawa said, trying to look threatening but too startled to succeed.

Matsukawa gave him a flat stare. “You’re seeing the same thing I am, right? I’m doing it. I’ll bribe him if I have to.”

“You’re just jealous he can handle Kyoutani better than you do,” Oikawa sniffed, flipping his hair.

“Hell yeah I am,” Matsukawa said. “Why do you think I’m stealing him from you?”

Shaking his head, Oikawa continued to watch them. “Did we miss something? Are they old friends? Gym buddies? Did Iwa-chan beat Kyouken in hand-to-hand combat?”

“You know it’s because of shit like this that he hates you, right? Kyoutani doesn’t have our angelic patience for your nicknames.”

Oikawa hmpfed. “He just needs more time to warm up to my charms.”

“I’m sure that’s it.”

“Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about,” you said, stroking the Siamese cat cuddled up in your lap. Valentina chirped up at you. She bumped her head against your stomach, purring loudly. You grinned at Oikawa, who walked up to you with drinks.

“I gotta be honest, I’m surprised she took to you so fast,” Oikawa said, putting down the drinks before he made himself comfortable on the couch, one leg folded underneath him. “Usually Val needs at least an hour before she gets this way with new people.”

Oikawa usually had mixed feelings about his cats quickly warming up to other people, taking it as a point of pride how much they liked him, but you smiled so brightly with Valentina in your arms that he could not help but be infected by your enthusiasm.

Besides, Princess had hissed at you for even daring to offer her to sniff your hand, so that made up for it.

“Oh, so you like me?” you asked Valentina, the pitch of your voice going up just the slightest, probably not even aware you were doing it. Val meowed back at you, and you nodded as though fully understanding her. “Yeah, I like you, too.”

Oikawa smiled at your antics, glad you properly appreciated his cats.

“So hey, can I pick your brain on something?” you asked, scratching Val underneath her chin.

“Sure.” He took his glass of ice tea and sipped at it, all the while watching you closely. You tried to play off your question as casual, but the way you suddenly avoided eye-contact spoke volumes.

“...It’s kind of... personal, in a way? Not for me,” you added quickly. “Not my personal, uh-”

“Come, spill!” Oikawa encouraged you, grinning widely. This ought to be good.

You bit your lip, brow furrowing. “God, I should’ve found a better way to ease into it. This is going to come out of nowhere.”

“Out with it!” he said, gesturing you to continue. Seriously!

Sighing, you met his eyes. A deep breath, and then you said, “It’s about Hajime’s father.”

He blinked back at you.

Alright, okay, so you managed to catch him off guard with that one. Point to you. He recovered and made another gesture for you to continue, though his demeanour turned serious.

“Just to be clear, I’m not asking you to tell me all about it. That wouldn’t be okay.” you said, your hands coming to a halt. Valentina chirped indignantly, but you did not seem to hear her. “I guess I’m a little... insecure about asking him directly. I don’t want to step into something off-limits, poke my nose where it doesn’t belong without taking his feelings into consideration.”

“But you do want to know,” Oikawa said. Not a question, just a statement. He studied you, though it barely took any effort to read your expression.

So you liked him that much, huh. Wanted not just the good, but the bad as well; the intimacy that came from sharing one’s bruises with another person.

He wondered whether you loved him, but something inside jerked painfully at the thought and Oikawa pulled away from it. Once again the pressure around him seemed to close in even further, burying him deep.

“Yes,” you said. “That’s not selfish of me, is it?”

He thought he’d be okay tonight.

He also thought you wouldn’t be asking these kinds of questions.

Pulling himself together, or at the very least putting on a convincing mask, Oikawa shook his head. “Of course not,” he said. “I think he’d appreciate you asking. Don’t worry about it.”

You took his words in with a serious expression, frowning as you processed it. Oikawa smiled at the sight, and he only had to fake it a little.

“You two make a nice couple,” he said, reaching forward to scratch the poor neglected Valentina behind her ears. “Take good care of him, okay?”

“What, you’re gonna make me do that all by myself? I figured you’d help me out with that,” you teased, trying to inject a lightness into the weighted mood your question had created.

Oikawa flipped his hair dramatically, playing along with your intentions. “Oh, obviously. That man’s at least three handfuls worth of trouble, I’ll be gracious enough to lend you one. You haven’t seen him yet when he’s sick, then you’ll know what I mean.”

“Thanks,” you laughed, running a hand through your hair. “It’s nice to have you in my corner. He’s really important to you, huh?”

For a moment Oikawa hesitated, then just nodded. “Yeah.”

A sudden wave of exhaustion hit him and though you gave him nothing but a simple look, Oikawa felt the danger of exposure. Like if he’d even give an inch, you would see straight through him.

And your patient silence nudged at him, encouraged him to continue. No bad intention in your body, but that did nothing to decrease the risk to him.

He shouldn’t.

Really shouldn’t.

He should just keep his mouth shut, change the subject, leave under the false pretence of ‘dragging Princess out for a second try’, anything.

He opened his mouth.

“Back in law school... he kind of saved me,” Oikawa said, focusing on Valentina as he pointedly avoided eye-contact with you. “Everyone’s always pushed me to do my best, to do more. Two times I busted my knee trying to live up to others’ expectations, burying myself in homework to maintain my grades. Relationships got messed up whenever they realised for me to be the gifted prodigy they thought I was, I had to put them in second, no, third place.”

Oikawa took a deep breath, then exhaled slowly, physically stopping his word-flow.

“Sorry, I’m putting a downer on our lovely time together.”

You let out a little chuckle. “Pretty sure I beat you to the punch when it comes to downers. Please,” you said, your eyes soft and filled with a terrifying kindness, “talk to me.”

And he couldn’t help himself.

Unfortunately, Oikawa never was the person to half-ass anything.

“Iwaizumi saw straight through it. Through me. Called me a self-destructive dumbass and he was right. Not just that, he actually tried to stop me from going on like I always had.” Oikawa made a noise somewhere between a chuckle and a scoff. “I don’t think he even liked me back then. I was just the annoying roommate he got stuck with. But that’s Iwa-chan. He can’t help but care. He’ll tell you it’s because I’d be more of a nuisance otherwise, but he never was a very good liar.”

Oikawa blinked, feeling like he was coming out of a trance. He looked at you, as though only now remembering you were in the room with him. He smiled, though he was fully aware this attempt was not as convincing as the last.

“So, please take good care of him too.”

You hesitated, visibly struggling to find the right words. Oikawa couldn’t blame you; he never intended to blabber on like this. His talk with Kuroo obviously set a bad precedent (god, this better not become a habit).

“I will,” you finally said, your smile a mixture of sadness and warmth—and for all of Oikawa’s skills at reading people, it was dangerous how easily he could fool himself into thinking there was more than friendly affection in your eyes. “I’m glad you two have each other. You’re a good friend.”

Oikawa rolled his eyes. “Iwa-chan would fight you on that.”

“Well, we both know what a horrible liar ‘Iwa-chan’ is sometimes.” You grinned at him, then finally returned your attention back to Valentina, who purred gratefully as you rubbed underneath her chin.

“I’ll tell him you said that,” Oikawa said, eager to leave the conversation behind for pleasant banter instead. “You know what? I should go find Princess. Maybe she’ll be nicer a second time around.”

“Oh, you don’t have to-” you started, but Oikawa already stood up and walked away from the couch.

His back safely turned to you, Oikawa rubbed his eyes as he went to find his other cat. On the bright side; the stabbing feeling in his abdomen was still absent.

It’s just that he started to have doubts on whether this weight on his chest really was the better alternative.

It’d pass. It always did.