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and suddenly, we were strangers

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Oikawa's very fortunate to have an attractive visitor.

It's the third day since he's woken up from what the doctors tell him had been a coma. His name is Oikawa Tooru and he's a twenty-five year old who had been involved in a car accident. The vehicle had wrapped itself around a pole and, as Oikawa would hear over and over again, he's lucky to be alive. His entire body aches; he hardly remembers the two days after he comes out of his coma and the nurses laugh that even when he was going in and out, he was still charming. He's not sure if every patient has so many nurses checking in on him this often, but he won't complain. He does get a good number of visitors, but even with all these people coming and going, there's only one person who's consistently there. Oikawa doesn't even think to question it; he's just come to accept it.

He's usually the first person Oikawa sees when he wakes and last person before he sleeps. He's asked over and over again why he doesn't go home, insisted that sleeping in a chair can't be comfortable, but the visitor shakes his head and says it's fine. Oikawa remembers that when he'd been in and out the first few days, the visitor had been holding his hand. But ever since he woke up and stayed conscious like a normal person, the hand-holding's stopped. He doesn't ask why. He doesn't bring it up.

Mind still hazy, Oikawa smiles and thanks his number one visitor as he accepts the offered water. The coldness is a relief at the moment; it seems like his body's forgotten how to regulate temperature because one moment he's hot, the next he's freezing. But his visitor picks up on it quickly and either piles on blankets or takes them away, at one point fanning him with a pamphlet. Oikawa had laughed, really laughed, and that was the first time his visitor smiled.

They didn't talk much. Oikawa remembered being asked a flurry of questions. The visitor had seemed upset; Oikawa was nervous at the inqusition, but just as he seemed to have been about to yell, two of his other more frequent visitors came in and dragged him out. The taller one with dark hair stayed behind and asked if he was okay. Oikawa had nodded but watched through the window as the shorter, lighter haired one yelled at Visitor #1, whose head was bowed and fists clenched.

When he came back and Visitors #2 and #3 left, he more or less stopped speaking, except to answer Oikawa's questions curtly and politely or ask if he was all right.

He apologized for his outburst and Oikawa shook it off, though was a bit wary, unsure why he was attacking him with questions. They were all do you know who I am?, do you know who you are?, do you know where you are?, do you remember what we were talking about?, how do you not remember?!

Oikawa's still mulling over these questions later, slowly coming to terms with the fact that his memory is a blank slate and he's got no idea who he is, aside from his name. He doesn't remember anything. It's all empty and no matter how hard he tries, none of his memories are there. Visitor #1 comes back from a coffee run one time to find Oikawa shaking, barely managing to hold himself together as his hands pull sharply at his hair and he drops the two coffees to hold him so tightly Oikawa almost can't breathe, but that's exactly what he needed:

Something so tangible and so real it almost hurt.

Visitor #1 stops going on coffee runs and one of the nurses takes over that duty. Oikawa doesn't exactly mind. It's when he's alone that he starts thinking about how he doesn't know anything because when Visitor #1 is there, Oikawa can't stop stealing glances.

He's good looking. He's extremely good looking, with his tanned skin and strong jawline, faint freckles that Oikawa sees when he leans in close to fix his pillows. He's got an intense gaze and it's like his face is set in a permanent scowl, but it relaxes if he's looking at or speaking to Oikawa. And the rare moments when he smiles, his entire expression softens and Oikawa's heart beats just a little faster.


"Not yet. Thank you, though."

He nods and goes back to his phone. Oikawa watches his thumbs fly across the keyboard before he locks the device and sets it down on the nightstand. He smiles when Visitor #1 looks up at him questioningly. "Are you?" he asks.

Visitor #1 shakes his head. He had gone home for a few hours, leaving Visitor #2 in his wake. They'd had a brief conversation but it had trailed off because unless it was Visitor #1, Oikawa still didn't have the energy to handle a proper conversation. The aching in his body persists and the nurses, apparently, aren't allowed to give him as many drugs as he would've preferred and only Visitor #1 knows how to fluff Oikawa's pillows to give him maximum comfort. Even Oikawa can't figure out how to fluff them properly.

When Visitor #1 comes back, he smells of mint and in fresh clothes, bringing with him a bag. Oikawa's eyes brighten to see a pile of books set down on the nightstand. Visitor #1 had laughed at his expression. "…I forget how quickly you read."

Oikawa doesn't ask what he means because, by now, he's accepted something's going on with his memory and that he and Visitor #1 must have been extremely close for him to show this kind of devotion.


Oikawa's eyes flit up to meet his gaze, not at all minding being interrupted while reading.

"How are you feeling today?" Visitor #1 finishes his question, watching him.

"Aah," Oikawa closes his book and smiles. "Better than yesterday. Thank you for always being here, by the way. It must really be taking its toll on you."

"I don't mind," Visitor #1 says with a small smile, leaning back in the chair. "I took the next few weeks off from work."

Oikawa nods, eyes dropping. When he hears 'what is it?' he shakes his head and tries to relax his knit brow, but his smile drops quickly. "Sorry, it's just… you've been amazingly kind to me these past few days," he says and looks up. "…But I'm still not sure who you are."

Visitor #1 frowns and looks away, but not before Oikawa sees the glimpse of hurt flashing across his features. And yet, he feels an immense amount of guilt washing over him. Clearing his throat, he shifts a bit, hands still in his pockets. "So… nothing yet? Since you woke up?"

Oikawa shakes his head silently. "…Sorry," he offers quietly. "But I'd really like to know who you are to be able to thank you."

Visitor #1 doesn't move at first. He's taken to staring out the window, blinds open all the time because Oikawa had offhandedly mentioned he likes seeing the stars. Oikawa finds himself staring at Visitor #1's Adam's apple for a moment too long and tears his gaze away. "…Maybe if you gave me a hint—"

"Here. Maybe this'll help."

Visitor #1's deep voice catches Oikawa off guard. He looks over in time to see him reach into his back pocket and take out a folded piece of paper, handing it to Oikawa wordlessly. It's crinkled and looks a bit worn, but as soon as Oikawa's fingers touch the paper, he realizes it's thick and high quality. Tilting his head, he unfolds it and blinks at the gold lettering. "…Ah? A wedding invite?" Oikawa asks, turning it over in his hands before looking up.

"…Read it."

He frowns again but nods and looks down. "Is it yours?"

"Just… read it."

Tracing his fingers along the gold lettering and marveling at the design, his eyes fall to the event details, etched in the same font. Iwaizumi Hajime and Oikawa Tooru cordially invite you…

His eyes widen.

He tries again.

Iwaizumi Hajime and Oikawa Tooru cordially invite you…

Iwaizumi Hajime and Oikawa Tooru…

Oikawa Tooru…

Iwaizumi Hajime…

Oikawa looks up, feeling blood rushing to his cheeks and, at the same time, the color draining from his face. "…Wait. There's… there's no way—"

The constant devotion, the gentle looks, the pained expressions, the selflessness.

The way he smiles at Oikawa.

The way he frowns when he thinks Oikawa won't see.

The way he laughs around Oikawa.


Visitor #1 heaves a sigh and looks up.

"I'm Iwaizumi."

He looks away.

"…Your fiancé."

Iwaizumi still hasn't cleaned up the glass.

From the moment his cell phone rang with that life altering call, Iwaizumi had come back to the apartment for a total of five hours over the course of the next two weeks, showering and getting a fresh change of clothes only so Hanamaki and Matsukawa would let him go back to the hospital. He hadn't stepped foot in the kitchen but now that he and Oikawa have come back, Iwaizumi wished he'd taken ten minutes to sweep up the glass shards and wipe down the wine staining their counter and floor.

His eyes narrow and he absentmindedly holds an arm out to stop Oikawa. "Be careful, dumbass," he mumbles. His hand brushes Oikawa's by accident and he pulls back, but Iwaizumi guesses that's not what really surprises Oikawa. "Shit," he breathes and glances over his shoulder to see Oikawa staring. "Sorry, I didn't… I mean…" he inhales and looks away. "Just... sorry. Be careful, there's broken glass. I'll bring you some water."

Hearing Oikawa walk away, Iwaizumi glances up to see him taking a seat on the couch gingerly. Iwaizumi straightens and carefully navigates around the mess to pour a glass of water, going over to the couch to hand it to him with a wry smile. "I'll watch my tone."

Oikawa returns the smile and thanks him quietly for the glass, the way he says 'Iwaizumi-san' still chilling Iwaizumi to the core.

That's not what you're supposed to call me.

It's strange to bring Oikawa back to the apartment they'd built their life in together, but for him to not remember it.

Oikawa's discharged by the end of the week, after the doctors are satisfied with results of his tests. He'll still be sore and need help with everyday life, they say, and Iwaizumi murmurs that it's fine, he'll be there to help them. Oikawa had turned to him. "We live together?"

Iwaizumi stares at him. It takes him a moment to adjust but he nods after a moment. "Oh. Right. Uh, I can stay with someone and just be over to help you during the day—"

"No, that's ridiculous. Sorry," Oikawa had smiled. "Silly question. We're engaged. Of course we live together."

The taxi ride back from the hospital was silent; Iwaizumi didn't even answer his texts, somehow not feeling comfortable enough to do so. He'd never felt like this with Oikawa; they shared every experience together, starting from before their toddler brains were even capable of understanding what an experience was. It takes him days to accept what's happened, not fully grasping the doctor's 'we're sorry to say Oikawa-san is suffering from retrograde amnesia' until he sees it over and over again, the way Oikawa looks at him blankly or smiles that practiced way.

Because whenever Iwaizumi looks over, he sees Oikawa Tooru. He sees Oikawa's eyes, his nose, his lips, his hair, his pale skin, his long limbs, his smooth skin, his smile. But he doesn't see the sparkle in his eyes, the lilt of his grin, the charm that makes Oikawa who he is.

Oikawa catches him staring and his polite smiles are returned with equally polite ones, always looking away in time to miss seeing Iwaizumi's heart break a little bit more. Iwaizumi hands the driver a bunch of bills. He's probably more than doubled the fare with tip alone, but he doesn't care because a small part of him hopes that if he just takes Oikawa home, it'll magically be okay.

He'd snuck a hopeful glance at Oikawa when they stepped in, but his blank expression crushes him.

"So…" Iwaizumi starts, having taken a seat at the opposite end of the couch, seeing Oikawa glance over. "Does… being back here help? With your memories, I mean?"

"Ah… not really," Oikawa answers with an apologetic smile, sipping his water. It's awkwardly silent again as Iwaizumi watches him take in his surroundings, as if he hadn't been the one who meticulously decorated their entire apartment when they first moved in. "What do I normally… do?"

Iwaizumi hesitates. He forgets that, at this point, all Oikawa knows about himself and their life together is what he's told him, which, all in all, is a very condensed five minute summary of a twenty five year long story while they were leaving the hospital. "Uh… well, today's a Wednesday. So normally you'd be at work as a physical therapy intern. You… tore your ACL while in college, so when volleyball was out of the question, you decided to go into medicine instead. I called them about… what happened and they gave you the next few weeks off, or however long."

Iwaizumi steals a glance and is relieved that Oikawa's reaction doesn't change dramatically at hearing about his ACL. They normally avoid the topic at all costs because even four years later, it's still one of Oikawa's lowest moments.

Oikawa nods. "And you?" he ventures slowly, raising his water to his lips again.

"I'd be at work too. I teach volleyball."

"Did we used to play together?"

Iwaizumi feels like he's been sucker punched.

"…Yeah," he says with a nod. "We played together all through high school and a few times against each other in college before your injury took you out permanently."

"What level do you teach?" Oikawa asks, shifting his position on the couch to be able to look at Iwaizumi comfortably.

"Mostly high schoolers right now. Sometimes younger kids."

"You ever want to teach at a higher level?" Oikawa asks and Iwaizumi's breath catches in his throat. Oikawa seems to have noticed because he follows up with "are you all right?" and Iwaizumi palms the back of his neck as he nods.

"...Sometimes. Not really." He sighs. "No."

"Why not?"

Iwaizumi chews on the bottom of his lip for a moment before shrugging tiredly. "...I think it would hit too close to home for you. Because when you tore your ACL… I thought I'd lost you forever. You took a semester off and I spent as much time as I could at home, trying to talk to you, trying to make sure you were okay. I barely managed to get you back. For me, volleyball was never about the competition and being the best. Not as much as it was for you. For me, it was being able to play with you and being your ace. Playing through college was enough for me. I just wanna teach kids to spike balls towards ground, not each other, and spend forever with you."

When he manages to look up, their eyes meet. Oikawa looks away after blinking a few times, cupping his glass and Iwaizumi's about to apologize when he hears:

"You really care about me, don't you?"

Iwaizumi laughs tiredly.

"…Yeah. You're the love of my life. You mean everything to me."

He says it without thinking, but 'love of my life' weighs heavily between them. A clock ticks. Their ceiling creaks with the weight of their neighbors. A siren goes off outside. And yet, it's Iwaizumi's heartbeat that's deafening, coming second only to the thunderous silence.

And when Oikawa murmurs 'I'm sorry,' Iwaizumi doesn't need to ask what he's apologizing for.

They go back to the hospital a week later because, while it seems like Oikawa functions perfectly fine, his memories aren't returning.

He remembers everything he'd learned in school, can still somehow recite the entire periodic table. (Both he and Iwaizumi looked equally stunned when he accomplished this.) He can still cook like the Michelin-star chef Iwaizumi had once compared him to. (Both he and Iwaizumi were also impressed by this.) He somehow even knows where the clinic he works at is and the best routes to get there, he just doesn't remember anyone there or any of the patients who had grown to adore him. (Iwaizumi spent an afternoon quizzing him with maps and pictures, finally finding a practical use for knowledge derived from Oikawa's anecdotes.)

The doctors run some tests and Iwaizumi's relieved to hear that Oikawa's recovering fine, his post-accident memory appears to be fine. He's got no trouble forming new memories, Iwaizumi's told, he just can't remember his old ones. Iwaizumi asks if he'll remember his old ones. The doctor smiles sadly and Iwaizumi's hand itch to take Oikawa's but he resists, mind still replaying the way Oikawa had recoiled at his touch when they first went home.

"Unfortunately, we still cannot determine that. They may come back tomorrow. They may come back in a decade. The brain is complicated beyond our means of comprehension."

"You want a coffee?" Iwaizumi asks as they leave his office, speaking first after five minutes. He's walking without thinking at first and it's only when he almost loses Oikawa that he stops and makes sure that he's with him. After all, Oikawa's not the one who spent the hours of waiting walking around the hospital to keep from going insane.

Oikawa nods. He opens his mouth, presumably to say what he wants, but hesitates and frowns. Iwaizumi offers a tired smile. "I'll get you your favorite and see if you still like it."

Oikawa thanks him and takes a seat in the nearby waiting area as Iwaizumi heads toward the café. He's got this hospital memorized like the back of his hand by now. After Oikawa's surgery, he'd get up every so often to take a walk while he was sleeping, just to keep from going insane. He and Oikawa are both similar in that they can't stay still for too long. Iwaizumi gets fidgety and when he gets fidgety, he gets grumpy. The last thing he'd wanted was to be annoyed when Oikawa finally woke up.

When he reaches the café, he murmurs 'one black and one soy vanilla latte with hazelnut syrup and no foam' when it's his turn at the register. Iwaizumi hands his card over and thanks the cashier with a weak smile as he heads to the end of the bar to wait. He keeps his hands in his pockets and can't help but look over, seeing Oikawa distantly, still alone and flipping through a magazine.

It's strange, he thinks, because while he's Oikawa, he's also not. The first few days home have been a bit awkward. They don't seem to know how to act around each other at first, but it gets marginally better. However, there'll still be moments where Iwaizumi can't catch himself and he'll say something too comfortable, leaving both of them surprised until he apologizes and Oikawa laughs it off.

"You must've called me 'Shittykawa' a lot."

"Almost exclusively."

He's never been formal with Oikawa. Even his earliest memories are of them already teasing and messing with each other. He and Oikawa have never been strangers, and he doesn't know how to go from twenty-five years of best friends to people who don't know each other. He knows too much about Oikawa to treat him as anyone besides Oikawa, but, to him, Iwaizumi's now a stranger.

There are times where Iwaizumi feels like it'll be okay. When he sees Oikawa smile or laugh, when he hears Oikawa's dry wit or sarcasm, his heart races a little and thinks it's just a matter of time because, at the very core, Oikawa's still there. But then he'll look confused if Iwaizumi references an old memory and he'll remember that even if he's Oikawa, he's not entirely Oikawa, not without his memories.

People are shaped by their experiences and if they can't remember them, are they still that person?

"Here are your coffees!"

Thanking the barista, he picks up the two cups and starts heading back. But when he turns and sees someone approaching Oikawa, Iwaizumi's heart drops. And suddenly, without warning, he immediately ducks behind a pillar to not be seen. His heart's jumped to his throat when he hears 'hey' and can't bring himself to look.

"Hey," he hears Oikawa greet in return, sounding surprised.

They start talking and Iwaizumi hates himself for eavesdropping, but his legs feel like lead. He can't move. He's used to people flirting with Oikawa. He's charming and attractive, an often lethal combination that attracts people, even if Iwaizumi's right next to him. Iwaizumi's never found a need to step in because he trusts him, but he'll do so if he feels the guy is being a bit too aggressive despite Oikawa's clear shut downs. Sometimes Iwaizumi doesn't say anything because he likes the way Oikawa can so cheerfully bring a guy down to his knees with a few choice words, but sometimes when he's just not in a chipper mood, he'll sling an arm around Oikawa's shoulders or straight up kiss him, which tends to convey the message clearly. Oikawa's always laughed into the kiss when the person leaves, hand cupping Iwaizumi's face.

"You know," he'd murmur with a smirk, "I like Iwa-chan's possessive side a lot, actually."

Breathing growing shallow, Iwaizumi's trying to tell himself to go over in the same breath he's telling himself to stay put. They hadn't brought up their engagement since the first time Iwaizumi told him, but it's pressing in the back of his mind. Their wedding is only a bit more than month away, but Oikawa's forgotten who he is. Months of wedding planning are hanging in a limbo at the moment, but Iwaizumi can't pluck the courage to bring up the topic. They can't go through with a wedding if Oikawa doesn't know who he's marrying, he thinks, but the selfish, hopeful part of Iwaizumi wants to believe he'll remember everything just in time.

He has to remember everything, Iwaizumi thinks.

"So… can I get your number?"

Iwaizumi's blood runs cold. He knows, he knows, that Oikawa's not unfaithful. His sense of loyalty is one of his most defining characteristics, but Iwaizumi's not sure if Oikawa's still fully Oikawa. From behind the pillar, his grips on their coffees tighten a bit, unable to will himself to walk over and his heart feels like it's about to jump out of his chest as he waits anxiously for his answer.

"Oh," he hears Oikawa's voice. "Actually, I'm… I think I'm engaged."

Iwaizumi almost collapses in relief.

"You think?"

"It's… it's complicated. But… I am. So I'm flattered, but no, sorry."

Iwaizumi releases a breath he didn't realize he was holding and tries to look natural when the guy walks past him, looking disappointed. Waiting a few more seconds, Iwaizumi heads back to Oikawa, tries not to give away his relief as he hands him his coffee, playfully brushing it lightly against his cheek. Oikawa jumps and looks up from his magazine, smiling. "Thanks."

"Yeah, of course."

Oikawa studies him for a moment longer and barely hides his smile with the first sip of the coffee. "You overheard that, didn't you?"

He's still got his observation skills, Iwaizumi's relieved to find.

"I tried not to," Iwaizumi confesses. Oikawa's smirk widens but Iwaizumi looks away, licking his lips. "…You could've, if you wanted to. I know we haven't talked about the engagement, but…"

"You're my fiancé, Iwaizumi," Oikawa interrupts gently, tilting his head and smiling again when Iwaizumi looks at him. "Memories intact or not, I trust that my good taste landed me something I'd be completely stupid to mess up. By the way, this is delicious."

Iwaizumi smiles, feeling truly relieved for the first time in days as he follows Oikawa out of the hospital. When they're outside, a child running towards them at full speed has Oikawa taking a step closer to Iwaizumi. Iwaizumi laughs dryly. "He's lively."

"Bet the hospital's never seen an excited kid."

Oikawa doesn't make any motion to move away and this time, when their hands brush, he laces their finger together.

His memories don't come back.

Hanamaki and Matsukawa come over, but it doesn't help. Nothing seems to help. Iwaizumi takes Oikawa to their favorite places and it gets harder to remain smiling after every 'no, sorry' to 'anything?' Oikawa still takes his coffee ridiculously sweet and devours milk bread, but he doesn't remember the restaurant Iwaizumi proposed in or the bakery he'd deemed the best for pastries after dragging Iwaizumi on a forty-eight hour tour.

Two weeks have passed, meaning there's just a little under two weeks until their wedding. Until today, Iwaizumi had been ignoring Hanamaki and Matsukawa's voiced concerns, assuring himself everything would work out. But today, the first thing he does when he wakes up is call city hall to cancel their appointment. As soon as he hangs up, he hears the bedroom door creaking opening and sighs, knuckles pressing into the counter as he closes his eyes. "…So you heard that."

"Yeah," he hears and turns to see Oikawa standing in the threshold of their bedroom, because Iwaizumi has wordlessly and stubbornly taken the couch and given Oikawa the bed. He chews on his bottom lip and breaks eye contact, looking away. "…Thank you."

Iwaizumi's known Oikawa long enough to be able to read him even now. When he cares about someone, Oikawa's more than willing to sacrifice himself for someone and while Iwaizumi's touched, he easily picks up his hesitation at the word 'fiancé' and the way his brow knits at any mentions of the wedding. Iwaizumi keeps noticing these things until the growing knot in his stomach is impossible to ignore and he finally collects enough willpower to ignore his breaking heart and make the call.

"It's fine. I should've done this earlier. Sorry to put pressure on you for this long," Iwaizumi mumbles robotically.

Oikawa doesn't say anything. He just nods numbly again and clears his throat. "…Look, whatever costs—"

"Don't worry about it."

"No, really—"

"No, I mean we have a joint checking account," Iwaizumi answers with a tired smile and Oikawa blinks. "So, really, don't worry about it. It was a small wedding too, so it wasn't that hard. We were saving up."

"We were?" Oikawa asks.

Iwaizumi nods, doesn't look at him.

"For a house." It was your idea.

He heads into the kitchen and pulls out a cutting board. As he opens the refrigerator and starts taking out carrots, he hears Oikawa make his way over, humming under his breath. "You'll cook today?" he asks finally.

"Once in a while I do, yeah." Iwaizumi closes the cupboards a bit too loudly. I shouldn't have to explain that to you.

He takes a breath. The day's just started but he's already beyond exhausted.

"Are you good?"

"Not as good as you." You tease me all the time about this.

After washing the carrots, Iwaizumi starts slicing them, keeping his fingers folded, remembering when he'd nearly taken off the tip once because he'd thought he could cut vegetables and argue with Oikawa at the same time.

Oikawa should remember that too, but Iwaizumi knows better than ask.

"A house, huh?" Oikawa muses, resting his chin in a hand. "Were we going to move?"

"Yeah," he mutters. "It's partly why we bought a car." You brought that up.


"After we got married. You were saying a year or two." You had this all planned out.

"Ah… where—"

"How the hell can you not remember any of this?!"

He slams the knife down, feeling it slice deep into the cutting board and chunks of carrot flying everywhere. Oikawa's eyes widen; he takes a step back and Iwaizumi immediately feels bad for his sudden outburst, but not bad enough to apologize. His hands are still wet when he brings one up to run through his hair, feeling droplets tracing the length of his forearm. "You're my best friend," he manages, voice cracking. "We've known each other since before we could properly sit up. We had twenty-five years together—how the fuck does all that disappear in one night? It's all gone? Just like that?"

"I'm sorry," Oikawa says in a tiny voice. "I really am, I don't know why I can't… I'm trying, okay? I'm really trying—"

"You shouldn't have to fuckin' try to remember shit like this! Our life together, our life plan together… god, I just cancelled our wedding, Oikawa! I never fuckin' thought I'd had to do that!" he snaps. "Did our life together mean that little that you could forget it so easily?! Did I matter that little?!"

Oikawa's guilt tears him apart from the inside out, but it's too late. He can't take it back. Iwaizumi hisses another swear before grabbing his keys. Oikawa seems startled, but before he can start his sentence or take a step, Iwaizumi's walked out, letting the door slam shut behind him with such force he hears a neighbor complain.

The hallway's cooler than the apartment and Iwaizumi collapses against the door, bringing a hand to his face as he slides down until he's sitting on their welcome mat. Adrenaline's still pumping through his veins and his breathing is still a bit labored. When he pulls his hand back, he realizes it's shaking and clenches it into a fist to try and stop it.

It doesn't help.

He knows it's not Oikawa's fault, but he's just so frustrated. He's frustrated at Oikawa for not remembering. He's frustrated at himself for feeling this way and taking it out on him. He's frustrated at the universe for doing this to them. He's frustrated as hell and just wants to walk away, almost wishes he could wipe his mind clean too so he wouldn't have to feel this way.

He's frustrated and he wants to scream. He wants to leave and walk until his legs give out, until his entire body's on fire so he can feel anything besides that tiny seed of hope that he'd finally obliterated this morning. Iwaizumi wants to forget everything, the way Oikawa did, because what kind of a way to live is this? He wants to leave and never look back because he doesn't know how to live this life without Oikawa.

But instead, Iwaizumi stands and inhales deeply. He turns around and opens the door and steps back into their apartment, half-lidded eyes catching sight of Oikawa standing exactly where he'd left him, arms around himself and trembling. He looks up when the door opened and his eyes widen. "You…" he stops to swallow and Iwaizumi regards him tiredly. "…You came back."

"I didn't make it past the damn welcome mat," Iwaizumi mumbles and steps out of his shoes, feeling Oikawa watch him. He takes a few steps forward before stopping and leaning against a wall, heaving another sigh and shaking his head when he sees Oikawa start moving towards him. "Because in two weeks, I was going to vow to never leave you and always be here for you. You're my entire life. Even if you don't remember me… that doesn't change how I feel about you. I can't walk away from you. I could never, because I'd always come back," he says quietly and honestly.

Oikawa sniffles and raises a hand to wipe at his cheeks, managing a shaky smile. "Those… those would've been good vows."

Iwaizumi smiles but doesn't have to say it.

They were.

"Can we talk?" Oikawa asks softly. "I'm… I'm sorry. Maybe if you told me more about our life, it would help. I don't want to hurt you anymore, so please—"

"I love you too much to do that to you," Iwaizumi interrupts quietly. He looks up with a sad smile. "I can't keep putting this pressure on you to do something out of your control. I'm sorry for yelling, but… but maybe us being together is doing more harm than good right now," he mumbles, unable to look up at Oikawa.


"This stress on you… it can't be good for you. And I don't want to yell at you again, because none of this is your fault. I don't want to think I'm doing you more harm than good, but…"

Inhaling sharply, Iwaizumi rubs his face. "Look, I could never leave you. No matter what happened, I could never walk away from you because I can remember everything we've been through. It's different for you though, and… and in case you never remember our memories together…"

Iwaizumi looks away and swallows thickly.

"…You deserve another shot to feel the way I do about you, even if it's with someone else."

Oikawa doesn't say anything at first and Iwaizumi doesn't trust his voice to say anything else. His nails dig into his palm so deeply he's expecting blood and can't bring himself to look up when he hears Oikawa start talking again, voice wavering.

"You're… what are you saying?"

Iwaizumi inhales shakily and tries to gather himself. "…I'm saying maybe it's best if I move out. Maybe I've been crowding you. I love you to the moon and beyond, Oikawa. You have no idea how much I love you; I don't think you could ever comprehend it, but I don't want you to stay with me just because you don't want to hurt me. If you don't love me… you should move on."

"But I…"

Oikawa takes one more look at him and his shoulders slump, elbows in his hands as he nods, biting his lip. "…Okay. If that's what you want, I'll… I'll leave."

Iwaizumi pushes off the wall and shakes his head. "No. I'll go stay with Hanamaki or something. Both our names are on this lease and it's easier this way, so…"

He hears Oikawa breathe 'right' and neither of them say anything else. A clock ticks. A faucet leaks. A peal of laughter sounds from the apartment above them.

"…Are we breaking up?" Oikawa asks quietly.

Iwaizumi smiles tiredly.

"No. I'm letting you go. If you want to come back, I'll be here. But if you don't…"

His eyes drop to the floor, focuses on a wine stain from a time where they'd gotten drunk and spent the entire night reminiscing and laughing.

"…I just want you to be happy, Oikawa."

They haven't spoken in almost two weeks and Iwaizumi doesn't remember today's the day they were supposed to get married until his phone announces it. As he's turning the alarm off (undoubtedly it had been set by Oikawa), Iwaizumi remembers the two engagement rings now hidden in a corner of their sock drawer. The doctors had given him Oikawa's ring back at the hospital and after contemplating, he'd decided not to give it back to him. After he cancelled the wedding, he took his own off from the necklace he wore at all times and hid them.

Matsukawa's gone when he wakes up, but Hanamaki's there, and Iwaizumi doesn't know how he feels about waking up with Hanamaki sitting on the couch he's sleeping on, watching television. He shifts so his thighs aren't against Hanamaki, but that leaves him with very little room. "…You must really want to watch this…" Iwaizumi mumbles, squints as he tries to figure out exactly what he's watching. "…Coin documentary. Are you fucking serious?"

"Hey. Don't knock coin documentaries. Some of them are actually pretty interesting,"

"So you've watched more than one?"

"Piss off."

Laughing dryly, Iwaizumi sits up and swears when a splitting headache cripples him. But before he can lie down again, Hanamaki's offered him a coffee and aspirin, both of which he takes gratefully, still wincing. "Fuck. I don't remember drinking last night."

"That's called blacking out," Hanamaki remarks. "That's also why you eat before stealing our whiskey."

Gently shoving Hanamaki's shoulder, Iwaizumi looks around. "Where's Matsukawa?"

He doesn't say anything.

"…Oh," Iwaizumi mumbles, looks down at the coffee he's still holding. "…He and Oikawa get along well."

"They always have. Don't worry about it."

Iwaizumi's spent most of the last two weeks on Hanamaki and Matsukawa's couch, but still runs in the morning, now for both health and mental sanity. Sometimes he'll stay out, indulge in his own special kind of masochism and frequent where he and Oikawa used to go in their free time. He's abandoned bringing a book with him because he can never focus on reading and now just sits with the two drinks he always orders.

Given how infrequently Iwaizumi would stay out after his morning run, he found it unfortunately astounding how often he'd see Oikawa. Sometimes he was alone, strolling up and down the streets, Iwaizumi always ducking to avoid being seen. But he saw him with someone and after that, Iwaizumi had taken to only going out for his run.

It was a given, he thought, that Oikawa would go on a date. Iwaizumi had basically given him his blessing to do so and all he knew was that whoever Oikawa was with was tall and had black hair and probably a stupid face.

"He asks about you, you know," Hanamaki says suddenly and Iwaizumi freezes, staring at a particular crease on the cushion. "Matsukawa says that's all he really asks about. And when they go out together, Oikawa somehow always ends up where you guys would go and shrug whenever he asks him how he knew."

Iwaizumi's chest clenches. "Does he…"

"No. Sorry. But," Hanamaki turns down the volume and looks over at him, "that counts for something, doesn't it? He can't stop thinking about you."

Brow knitting, Iwaizumi lies back down and faces the back of the couch, feeling Hanamaki against the small of his back. "…I don't know. Depends what he asks."

"Let me rephrase," Hanamaki says, moving to sit on the floor, leaving Iwaizumi feeling cold, "you're all he asks about. He doesn't ask about us. He doesn't ask how we know each other. He doesn't ask about high school or college. All he asks about is you and, honestly, that's when Matsukawa realized he doesn't know as much about you as he thought. I think he misses you."

"He can't miss me," Iwaizumi says in a small voice. "He doesn't even remember me."

"Maybe he doesn't remember the Iwaizumi he grew up and got engaged to, but he remembers the Iwaizumi who took care of him," Hanamaki says, hitting Iwaizumi's back lightly. "You're a good guy, Iwaizumi. It's not that far a stretch for him to miss the guy who was dutifully by his side for two weeks."

Iwaizumi doesn't say anything. He just sighs and pulls the covers over his head. He's tried not to think about Oikawa, but he can't help it. He can't stop thinking about the person who shaped who he is today and who is still his entire world. It takes everything to not reach out and give him space to figure out what he wants, but, at the same time, not seeing him is driving him crazy.

But, at the same time, seeing him leaves him feeling hollow and shattered beyond repair.

"Iwaizumi," Hanamaki murmurs, "you know how he still likes milk bread? He could still feel the same way about you."

"…I'm not a fucking piece of milk bread."

"Obviously. You're not nearly as sweet—fuck, I'm trying to help you!"

Without his pillow, Iwaizumi's left to lie on his back and stare up at the ceiling, hands folded behind his head. "…I don't know," he says finally. "What if he doesn't? How do I know if what he feels is the same or just because I was there for him?"

"They're one in the same, aren't they?" Hanamaki asks. "You cancelled a wedding, not your feelings for each other. Even if Oikawa doesn't remember who you are… when we hung out, he still looked at you in a way different from how he looks at everyone else."

"Then why's he dating other people?" Iwaizumi mumbles, bringing his hands up, pressing the heels of his palms into his eyes right before he sees Hanamaki frown. "He's… for fuck's sake, he's out there dating other people. My soulmate is out there, falling in love with other people… how the hell did we go from being engaged to this?"

It's silent and all Iwaizumi hears is the stupid coin documentary being turned up. His stomach twists. Something hot presses to the back of his eyes. It's hard to swallow. He doesn't know if he can handle the idea of Oikawa being with someone else, but he also can't handle Oikawa being with him if that's not what he really wants.

"Iwaizumi," Hanamaki says softly, "I know you gave him space to give him a chance to figure out what he wants. But isn't it time you went back? We all know Oikawa's lost in life without you."

"He's not the same—"

"Or what if he is?" Hanamaki turns to look at him, poking his cheek, to which Iwaizumi grunts at. "He lost his memories, not his feelings."

Iwaizumi spends the rest of the day in and out of consciousness, hardly noticing Matsukawa coming back. He says something to Iwaizumi before a sneezing fit but Iwaizumi had swatted him away, figuring if it's important, he'll tell him again when he's more in a mood to talk.

He wakes up the next morning to a text from Oikawa.

From: Shittykawa

please come back

Oikawa's text leaves Iwaizumi confused, but by the time he's told himself to answer neutrally, he finds himself standing at the doorstep of their apartment, panting from sprinting over. Taking a deep breath, he inserts the key into the lock and turns, hearing a click. The door swings open and he steps in to see Oikawa in the kitchen, looking up in surprise. "…Iwaizumi?" he croaks and that's all he manages before a coughing fit overtakes him.

Any reservations Iwaizumi has disappear. Letting the door close behind him, he's at Oikawa's side immediately, supporting him as he starts coughing harder, knees giving out. Mumbling a swear, Iwaizumi slips one arm under his knees and hoists him up, carrying him back to bed. Oikawa's coughing fit subsides and Iwaizumi presses the back of his hand against his forehead, confirming his fever and frowning. "What were you looking for?" he asks gently.

"Medicine," Oikawa murmurs, wincing. "Aspirin… water…"

"Don't get up."

Going to the kitchen, Iwaizumi sees that half the drawers are pulled out and rustled through. Opening the one Oikawa likely would've tried next, he shakes a few tablets into his palm and grabs a water bottle, heading back to the bedroom. "Can you sit up?" he asks in the same soft voice after taking a seat on the edge of the bed. Oikawa nods and Iwaizumi helps him up, frowning at how warm he is, at how he winces when he swallows the pillows.

"Thanks," he mumbles, voice still hoarse.

Iwaizumi nods. He starts to stand but immediately feels Oikawa's hand on his wrist, turning to see him look up pleadingly. "Don't leave," he murmurs. "I know it hurts you, but—"

"I won't," he answers immediately, smiling slightly and ruffling his hair. "Just let me change, yeah?"

A quick shower and change into more comfortable clothes later, Iwaizumi returns into the bedroom to see Oikawa having made himself a little throne of pillows, half laying and half propped up by them as he watches television. Once he sees Iwaizumi, he tries to sit up but winces and Iwaizumi shakes his head, climbing into bed next to him without thinking much of it. "Moron," he mumbles and doesn't argue when Oikawa leans against him. "Why'd you drink if you were sick?"

He flinches and looks up guiltily. "How'd…"

"Your voice. The half empty vodka on the coffee table. But mainly, your headache. You never drink water afterwards like I tell you to."

"…I was lonely without you," Oikawa admits, resting his head on Iwaizumi's shoulder again. "But I'm glad my drunk text worked."

Iwaizumi scoffs. "It didn't have to be a drunk text. I would've come over anytime."

"Being drunk made it less embarrassing."

Iwaizumi doesn't argue with that.

As he sits there with Oikawa against him, Iwaizumi feels the sense of relief and familiarity he'd been aching for. This is what he's used to; Oikawa's always reverted to being an overgrown baby when he gets sick. He always clings onto Iwaizumi and he's never complained; despite what he'll say, Iwaizumi's addicted to taking care of Oikawa.

Everything until now has been reflex. For a good hour, he's forgotten that Oikawa doesn't remember anything. Because the moment he realized Oikawa was sick, he went into autopilot, climbing into bed and holding him close without thinking twice about it. He's missed taking care of Oikawa. He's missed Oikawa being so close to him.

"You should lie down," he says quietly, looking down at him.

Oikawa just whines. "Then you lie down too…"

Blinking in surprise at the response that he'd entirely expect from Oikawa under a normal circumstance, Iwaizumi laughs and concedes, shifting and pulling the covers over them. Oikawa instinctively curls up against him and Iwaizumi drapes his arm over him, holding him close. "Thanks for coming back…"

"Stupid," he mumbles, hugging him a bit tighter, "of course. I told you I'd always come back to you."

He feels Oikawa moving, but just as he's about to loosen his grip, he realizes Oikawa's snuggling to be closer to him. His breath hitches and he hopes his erratic heartbeat isn't too noticeable as he relaxes and plays with his brown hair absentmindedly. "How'd you get this sick?"

"Maybe I overused my head… Must be Matsukawa because I've only been hanging out with him…"

Iwaizumi's eyes widen for a moment at hearing that and the following laugh is both of amusement and relief. He sounds just like Oikawa, he thinks, and he tries not to let himself get too hopeful that his memories have returned. Oikawa can still have his Oikawa Wit without his memories.

"Go to sleep," Iwaizumi murmurs. "Get better. Don't make me worry."

"Will you be here when I wake up?" Oikawa asks, fingers curling around Iwaizumi's shirt.


"You promise…?"

Iwaizumi smiles, kisses the top of his head.

"Yeah. I promise."

Oikawa is magically much better when he wakes up and, as promised, Iwaizumi's watching a movie on his laptop next to him. Oikawa announces he's awake by gently headbutting Iwaizumi's thigh, surprising him and causing him to jerk, resulting in the laptop sliding and hitting Oikawa's head. He whines and Iwaizumi apologizes, but he can't stop laughing, at which Oikawa glares.

When Oikawa feels well enough to be up and about, they move from the bed to the couch. Oikawa's still a bit warm when he leans against Iwaizumi, but his fever's gone down significantly. And yet, Iwaizumi still uses that excuse when brushing his fingers against his forehead every now and then. The rest of the day is occupied by movies, Iwaizumi forcing Oikawa to drink tea and water in copious amounts, making sure he's fed before giving him medicine.

It's the next day when Iwaizumi finally asks:

"What's changed?"

Oikawa blinks at the question. "…Sorry?"

"Because you… you haven't recovered your memories, right?" Iwaizumi asks, setting the knife down and watching Oikawa frown and nod. "But the way you've been acting… I'm not saying I don't like it, but you're acting… you're acting like how you used to. I'm just… I'm confused, I guess." His brow knits. "What happened during those two weeks?"

Oikawa blinks and looks away, hugging the blanket tighter around him. He doesn't say anything at first and Iwaizumi just observes him. He's a lot better compared to yesterday; as usual, Oikawa gets seriously sick, but he also usually recovers quickly. Iwaizumi used to tell him it's because idiots don't stay sick and when Oikawa pointed out it was "idiots don't get sick," Iwaizumi answered that they had to make up a whole new concept just for him.

"…I didn't want you to leave," Oikawa finally says, fidgeting and eyes downcast.

Iwaizumi frowns. "Then why didn't—"

"Because, Iwaizumi, I can tell when you're sad, even if I can't remember our time together," Oikawa says with a small smile, looking at him. "When I first woke up, I was so confused. At first, having you there confused me too because I didn't know who you were and why you were always there. But… but then it made me really happy you were there constantly. I can't explain why, but having you there, being so kind and patient with me, made me so happy. It even helped me come to terms with the fact that something terrible happened to me because in what felt like an abyss of nothingness, you were still there, unwaveringly so. But when I came home, I think it was a little overwhelming. I know you didn't mean to, but you looked so hopeful, like coming home would magically give me my memories back. And when it didn't, you looked so sad and I hated having disappointed you. And I could see that disappointment every time I didn't remember and by the time you left… I couldn't ask you to stay. Not if you'd keep looking like that, because I don't want to keep hurting you. You've done so much for me and I couldn't even do this one thing for you."

Iwaizumi feels his cheeks flush with guilt and it's his turn to look away. He hadn't thought Oikawa would notice; he really hadn't thought Oikawa would be paying that much attention to him. It made his heart skip, but it also weighed on him to have been so self-involved for not noticing. Clearing his throat, he apologizes and pushes his hair back. "I thought I was crowding you and pressuring you," he says in a low voice. "If I knew you felt that way… but if you don't remember…"

"Yeah," Oikawa interjects, chewing on his lip, "I… I don't remember your birthday. I… don't remember where you were born, if you were a good student or not, what college you attended, what your favorite food is, when we got together. I don't remember you as a person, but…"

Oikawa breaks off and brings a hand to his chest. "But I can't stop thinking about you. Whenever I'm not with you, I feel incomplete and like my heart's breaking. And it doesn't matter who I'm with because as long as it's not you, it doesn't feel right. I can't sleep when you're not here. I can't eat. I can't function and it looks like when I do go out, I naturally gravitate towards places we used to go together. It's like even if my mind doesn't remember, my body aches for you. So I don't… I don't remember who you are. All I remember is that I'm in love with you."

Iwaizumi feels like he can't breathe as he's staring at Oikawa, sees his brow knit and eyes a bit swollen. Is it possible? he wonders. Can someone forget their memories of someone but not their feelings? His heart feels like it's about to beat out of his chest and it's like all of Iwaizumi's senses have tunneled in on Oikawa and Oikawa only. All he sees and hears is Oikawa; nothing else in the entire world matters except for what Oikawa's just said.

Because maybe memories don't make a person. Memories shape someone and even if they're gone, that person's still there.

And that person still wants Iwaizumi.

Swallowing thickly, Iwaizumi murmurs 'can I kiss you?' in a strained voice.

Oikawa looks up with a start, eyes glassy but gives a choked laugh and nods, sniffling and wiping his tears away. "You don't need to ask—"

Two strides carry him across the room and then he's kissing Oikawa, hands cupping his face and pressing him against the wall. Oikawa's cheeks are wet but he's kissing him just as passionately and Iwaizumi feels a smile before it gives way to a moan. Their hips press together and legs intertwine as Iwaizumi feels relief wash over him at the warm, safe familiarity of kissing Oikawa. They're panting when they pull back, though Iwaizumi can't help but steal another kiss despite Oikawa's slightly wobbly laugh. "You're still such an idiot, Oikawa…"

He hears Oikawa laugh again—it's the same laugh, he thinks, it's always been that same little laugh—and then his face is buried in the crook of Iwaizumi's neck, arms around him tightly. "But I'm your idiot, right, Iwa-chan?"

Iwaizumi laughs, returning the embrace. But as Oikawa's words echo, he hesitates. Oikawa seems to have picked up on the movement, because he pulls back with a concerned frown. "…Is something wrong?" he asks. "Did I—"

"What…" Iwaizumi's finding it hard to talk. "…What did you call me?"

"…'Iwa-chan'?" Oikawa echoes after a moment of contemplation. "Sorry, I hadn't realized… do you not like that or—"

"Who told you about that nickname?"

"Nobody," Oikawa answers slowly, brow knit.

Iwaizumi swallows again. "…How did you know it?"

"…I don't know," Oikawa says slowly. "It… just slipped out. That's all though, I'm really sorry, I can't remember—"

"No. Don't apologize," Iwaizumi breathes, leaning in to kiss him again and feels Oikawa smile in relief. He brushes his thumbs over Oikawa's high cheekbones and touches their foreheads together, still smiling and feeling a warmth in his chest he was afraid he'd lost forever.

"Being called 'Iwaizumi' was way too weird."

Oikawa doesn't remember much else, but Iwaizumi realizes he doesn't mind as much.

His heart aches to think about all the things Oikawa might never remember again. But, he reminds himself the way Oikawa reminds him, they'll make new memories. They're only twenty-five; they still have a lifetime together. If Oikawa still wants to be with him, even without his memories, that's all he needs.

Because if Oikawa's at his side, he's invincible.

"Iwa-chan," Oikawa says one morning when they're at the table eating breakfast, "can I ask something?"

Iwaizumi nods, still skimming the paper.

"…What happened the night of the accident?"

He freezes. Iwaizumi can see Oikawa start reaching for his hand but he draws back and drops his eyes. "…Uh, you got into an accident."

Days pass, maybe weeks. Iwaizumi's asked for more time off, but he tries to go in at least once a week regardless, not liking the idea of neglecting his students. They don't know what's going on, but they, especially the younger ones, point out he looks happier recently. Iwaizumi smiles and is relieved that he can honestly assure them he is happier recently.

Oikawa's question leaves him feeling cold on the inside and grips the paper so hard a page tears.

"Did I drive often?" Oikawa asks, brow furrowed.

Iwaizumi shakes his head. "Not… not at all. That was probably the third time ever you took the car."

Oikawa nods, but the way his gaze lingers makes it obvious he wants to keep asking. Iwaizumi watches him chew on his lip as he focuses his gaze in a blank corner of the paper, ultimately sighing and running his fingers through his hair. "You didn't like driving in the city," Iwaizumi continues finally in a quiet voice, avoiding looking at him. "You were fine in the country, so when we went away for a weekend, I'd drive out of the city then switch so you could take over. It was annoying because that was always the fun part, but... you looked really happy. So it was worth it."

"Is that why we had a car?" Oikawa murmured.

Iwaizumi shook his head and shifted a bit. "No. I wanted one because of work and just because it made getting around a lot easier. You only took it in, what you called, "life or death" situations. Mainly if a new bakery opened and then you'd make me drive. But that night… it was raining and you took the car just… just to blow off some steam."

Iwaizumi stops talking. His throat feels like it's closing and Oikawa leans forward, brushes his fingers against Iwaizumi's wrist lightly. "…Did we have a fight?" he asks gently.

Not trusting himself to speak yet, Iwaizumi nods and clears his throat, willing back the hotness against his eyes. "Y-yeah," he says, voice strained. He lets go of the newspaper and rests his elbows on top of it, index fingers on either side of his nose as he struggles to keep his breathing steady. "It… it was about my job offer to coach at the university level. You found out about it because of a voicemail and asked why I didn't tell you… I said I liked where I am now, but you figured out it was because you couldn't play anymore. You said you didn't want to be the reason I was limiting myself and I said you weren't… and we just started yelling at each other about everything. I honestly don't even remember most of it, all I remember clearly is you storming out, grabbing the keys and slamming the door behind you."

He doesn't realize tears are streaming down his cheeks until a tear hits the paper. Jolting, he wipes at his eyes roughly, unable to look at Oikawa. "…It's my fault," he says in a strained whisper, "if I'd told you—if I'd stopped you—fuck, it was raining and I even thought about that on the way home. If I just didn't let you go, if I'd gone after you, you wouldn't—none of this would've—"

Breaking off when a choked sob wracks his body, Iwaizumi brings both hands up to his face, rounding his shoulders. It had been the first time Oikawa walked out; during their fights, it had always been Iwaizumi who walked out, and stayed out the entire night only one time. He'd always come back after a few hours and had figured Oikawa would be the same, not even looking over when the door closed.

He'd tried to calm himself down by watching television or reading, ultimately unable to focus on either activity. He didn't so much glance at his phone, and he wanted to kick himself for being so uncaring. He didn't even think to reach out, not even when hours had passed with no signs of Oikawa returning. In fact, it was until Iwaizumi poured himself a rare glass of wine when he thought to even flip his phone over. He was finally thinking about texting or calling while he took his first sip when his phone rang. He didn't even bother to read what caller ID was displaying, just answered with a gruff 'what?'

But any lingering annoyance with Oikawa disappeared the moment he heard:

"Iwaizumi-san, we believe your car was involved in an accident."

Oikawa was in surgery by the time Iwaizumi reached the hospital, drenched from the downpour he'd sprinted through. A nurse had sat with him as the surgeon continued to come out and give him updates. Their friends came one by one and stayed with him, but Hanamaki and Matsukawa accompanied him the longest. The moment Oikawa was allowed to have visitors, Iwaizumi was at his side, day and night, refusing to budge. His body ached from nights of hunching over on the bed, falling asleep holding Oikawa's hand, and the first time he'd left the hospital was because he fell asleep and Matsukawa had carried him home, told him they would only let him go back after he showered and ate.

He'd repeated 'I'm sorry' until his voice was hoarse, unsure if Oikawa could even hear him. Iwaizumi didn't think he could feel any worse until Oikawa woke up a week later, looked at him and asked who he was.

So maybe, he thought blankly, this was his punishment. For letting Oikawa go. For not chasing after him. This was his punishment and maybe he deserved it. Maybe he wasn't ever supposed to forgive himself for ruining their lives.

"Iwa-chan… hey, Iwa-chan. Come on… listen to me, okay?"

Oikawa's voice is gentle, touch just as soft but firm as he coaxes Iwaizumi's hands away. He's smiling when Iwaizumi looks at him. "Iwa-chan… I'm not mad. What happened was an accident. It's not your fault. Don't think that. You couldn't have controlled it."


"It's not," Oikawa repeats firmly, his hands framing Iwaizumi's face. "Don't blame yourself for this anymore. Memories or no memories, I forgive you. You're the love of my life. When I first woke up, you were just the really nice and good-looking guy who never left my side and, honestly, I thought you were a nurse at first. And then when you told me you were my fiancé, I was really surprised… but also really happy. And afterwards… I could see how much you were hurting, but you tried your best for me. You were so patient and so kind with me. Being with you was the only reason I wasn't terrified all the time because even if I wasn't sure who you were, I was sure of what I felt for you. Doesn't that say something? I don't know you, but I still trust you? That's how much you mean to me, Iwa-chan."

Oikawa's smile widens and he brushes a tear away with his thumb. "Besides… even if I don't remember our past, we can still make new memories, right? And how lucky am I to be able to fall in love twice with someone as amazing as you?"

Oikawa has a special way of looking at people, Iwaizumi thinks, and right now he can't help but be lost in his eyes and his smile, feel like everything else in the world has disappeared except for the two of them in this precise moment. Iwaizumi inhales and this time instead of his chest burning, he feels an immediate sense of relief pervading his entire body, his exhale coming out as a shudder. "You…"

"Please forgive yourself," Oikawa says softly. "Because if you're hurting, then I'm hurting. I want you to be as happy as you've always made me."

His breath hitches; some things are so cheesy and cliché they aren't meant to be said, and yet Oikawa's able to voice them as naturally as breathing. Iwaizumi pulls him into a crushing embrace with shaking hands and buries his face in the crook of his neck, hearing Oikawa laugh and wrap his arms around him. "You're such a fucking idiot, Oikawa…"

Oikawa hums, presses a kiss to Iwaizumi's temple.

"Yeah, but I'm your idiot, right?"

"Iwa-chan, something terrible has happened."

Iwaizumi opens his eyes, looking up to see Oikawa hovering over him. "What?"

Oikawa frowns sadly.

"We're out of milk bread."

Days pass. Maybe a bit more than a week, Iwaizumi doesn't know because he's stopped keeping count of how many days it's been since Oikawa's forgotten and starts focusing on the fact that Oikawa's here.

Iwaizumi goes back to sleeping in the bed; he's apprehensive at first and tried to sneak back to the couch when he thinks Oikawa's fallen asleep, but then one day he wakes up with Oikawa asleep on the floor next to him. Iwaizumi yells at him, but ultimately promises to sleep in the bed, and Oikawa grins because he's won, like he almost always does.

He wakes up with Oikawa curled up against him, usually stirring because Oikawa's fidgeting or because of the soft kisses he leaves against his jaw. He'll be cooking and feel Oikawa come up behind him, wrap his arms around his waist and rest his chin on his shoulder. He'll be reading on the couch when Oikawa lies down, makes him move his hands so he can rest his head in his lap.

Everything's returned to normal and as each day passes, the aching in his chest from a forgotten past starts getting smaller as his heart swells with the potential of their future.

Maybe it's okay, he thinks. Maybe it's okay that Oikawa doesn't remember their past, because Iwaizumi can fill in any gaps they come across. Oikawa now knows the gist of some of the most significant stories in their lives, mostly courtesy of Hanamaki and Matsukawa. The important moments in just their lives, though, haven't been disclosed. Oikawa hasn't asked and it leaves Iwaizumi with an ache to remember that Oikawa doesn't remember their first kiss, first date, first 'I love you's. But, he thinks, that's okay. They'll have new firsts.

"You wanna go out for more?" Iwaizumi asks, rubbing his eyes tiredly as he sits up. Oikawa beams and nods. Iwaizumi laughs softly. "You look like a dog."

Oikawa huffs.

Swinging his legs over the side of the couch, Iwaizumi smirks and leans in to steal a kiss that effectively immobilizes Oikawa for a few good seconds. Iwaizumi's slipped into his coat and shoes and is waiting by the door by the time the Oikawa catches up, cheeks still a faint pink. "You used to react like that too," Iwaizumi notes as they step out.

"Like what?" Oikawa asks, looking at him with bright eyes as he laces their fingers together.

"Stupid. Frozen in the middle of the room."

"Must be because Iwa-chan's rarely the one to kiss me first," Oikawa teases and Iwaizumi raises an eyebrow.

"Ah? And how'd you know that?"

Oikawa blinks, but smiles immediately. "It's easy to guess!"

Iwaizumi frowns a bit but he relents. Oikawa's jabbering on about something and Iwaizumi responds enough to keep him from complaining; as usual, most of their walks together consist of Iwaizumi making sure Oikawa doesn't walk into anything or get run over because he's too engrossed in whatever he's decided to rant about that day. He pulls Oikawa closer when it's crowded, but even when there's plenty of room, Oikawa walks so close their arms brush. The only times he pulls away is to point something out, but their hands never separate.

Glancing up, Iwaizumi murmurs 'we're here' just as Oikawa is starting his analysis on the most recent episode of a drama. He'd started watching before the accident, so Iwaizumi's been subject to his binge rewatch, hearing the same theories and the same analyses over and over again.

The café's crowded and Iwaizumi instinctively steps in front, grip on Oikawa's hand tightening. Oikawa dutifully follows, other hand lightly holding onto the back of Iwaizumi's shirt until they find the end of the line and he rests his chin on Iwaizumi's shoulder. "Iwa-chan would make a good bulldozer."

"Fuck you."

"You want to?" Oikawa teases, voice a little too husky and a little too close to his ear for Iwaizumi's comfort in public. A blush threatens his cheeks, but Iwaizumi manages to keep his composure enough to look over with a dry smirk.

"Don't make me hit you in public, Shittykawa."

Oikawa just raises his eyebrows suggestively but he pulls back when they get to the counter, standing next to Iwaizumi and charming the cashier with his smile. Iwaizumi orders an Americano and a hazelnut latte (with Oikawa chirping his modifications). "Do you have milk bread today?" he asks as he pulls out his wallet.

"Yup! Freshly made!"

Iwaizumi can feel Oikawa radiating with happiness.

They loiter by the end of the counter, but the wait's much shorter than Iwaizumi expected. Their orders are ready almost immediately and Oikawa, holding his stupid bread, gives another charming smile that Iwaizumi's sure is the reason their drinks are prepared so quickly. He thanks the barista and watches as Oikawa adjusts the bag on his wrist so he can hold his drink, leaving his other hand free for Iwaizumi. He looks at Iwaizumi expectantly when he's done and Iwaizumi scoffs, but takes his hand without question.

"Iwa-chan, you didn't have to come with me, you know," Oikawa says as they start heading back, this time opting to take a longer but more scenic route through the park.

"Wasn't sure if you remembered this was your favorite place and didn't want to risk you getting lost."

Oikawa's 'oh' is a bit delayed and quiet. Iwaizumi doesn't think much of it until he feels a kiss against his cheek that catches him off guard, causes a blush that he knows those stupid kids are giggling at. He wants to glare at them and tell them to go back to playing, but he's got a feeling their watchful mothers from the bench wouldn't appreciate that. "That's sweet of you," Oikawa says softly, squeezing his hand.

"It's nothing."

They keep walking for a few more steps until Oikawa stops and Iwaizumi's arm jerks back. He blinks in surprise and looks over his shoulder to see Oikawa standing still and looking down. "What's wrong?" Iwaizumi asks with a small frown, taking a step back.

"…Are you really okay with this?" Oikawa asks quietly and they step aside to let a biker through. "I might never remember. You're okay with that?"

Iwaizumi's eyes narrow. "Hah? What's brought this on?"


His eyes narrow but Iwaizumi ultimately sighs, shrugging and looking around, making sure no one's watching before he leans in to kiss the corner of Oikawa's mouth briefly. He seems surprised, but the action's enough to coax a lopsided smile.

"Yeah," Iwaizumi answers honestly. "I'm okay with it. Because even if those memories mean a lot to me, you mean more. And all that matters to me is that I have you. You're my life, Oikawa. Sharing past memories isn't as important as being able to make new ones with you."

He watches the way Oikawa's eyes widen before it's his time to blush, laughing and taking a small step closer, tracing a small circle on the back of Iwaizumi's hand with his thumb. Iwaizumi's smile softens and this time he doesn't bother checking if anyone's watching before kissing his forehead briefly. "Hey, Iwa-chan," Oikawa murmurs, glancing behind Iwaizumi, "can we go behind that tree?"

"Huh?" Iwaizumi looks to where Oikawa gestured. "Why?"

"Because," Oikawa answers easily, "I really wanna kiss you right now."

Blinking in surprise, Iwaizumi laughs, leans in and kisses him, wanting to linger much longer than he actually does because they're in the middle of a park laden with kids. "Moron," he says quietly. "We don't have to go there."

"But Iwa-chan doesn't like PDA… when I tried to kiss you in high school, you got mad and headbutted me and gave me a nosebleed…"

"That was different. There was a teacher and you were drunk—"

Iwaizumi stops.

"Wait. How did you know that?"

Oikawa blinks and stares at him for a moment before laughing easily. "Oh, Mattsun told me. He told me a lot, you know. Iwa-chan might consider it too much, but, you know, I've got a whole arsenal of blackmail I need to build up again."

Iwaizumi eyes him carefully; his gaze lingers on Oikawa for another moment before he leans in and kisses him again. When he pulls back, he still lingers close, feeling Oikawa's hot breath against his lips with his sigh. "…Might have to kill Matsukawa."

"He also told me Iwa-chan cried when I spilled apple juice on his favorite blanket."

Iwaizumi scoffs. "First of all, that was kindergarten. Second of all…"

He lifts his drink and touches it to Oikawa's cheek, smirking in satisfaction to watch him yelp and recoil from the cold.

"You technically still haven't apologized for that. Let's go, your stupid drama's going to start soon."

Oikawa's cross-legged on the couch when Iwaizumi comes home. The furniture's been rearranged so Oikawa's facing the door and Iwaizumi's first thought is how he'll have to move it back after an already physically tiring day at work. But he decides to humor him, asks "what's with the redecorating?" as he closes the door. Iwaizumi doesn't get an answer, which he doesn't think much of. He starts heading into the kitchen but stops when a sharp glint catches his attention and he looks over to see Oikawa playing with the ring in his hands, sliding it on and off. But when he sees Iwaizumi looking, he takes it off entirely and offers a smile.

Iwaizumi's heart leaps.

"...What are you doing?" he asks slowly, brow knitting as he sets his duffel bag down. Oikawa doesn't answer. Iwaizumi's finally gone back to work full time, a combination of Oikawa's urging and his kids somehow getting his number and leaving pleading messages, once in a while a high schooler even chiming in. The first week had been the hardest; Iwaizumi felt like an overprotective parent, constantly texting Oikawa and having his phone on full volume to avoid missing a call or text. But slowly, he began to get reaccustomed to the life he'd had before the accident, even though a part of him had never believed he'd be there again.

Oikawa doesn't answer and Iwaizumi looks at the ring again.

"...Where did you find that?"

Oikawa smiles slightly and Iwaizumi follows his gaze, watches Oikawa unfurl his fingers to see the second ring pressed into his palm. "I mean, it's mine, right?" he asks quietly. "Iwa-chan's always hiding stuff in the sock drawer. You hide it in the same sock too, you know. Have you noticed the little heart I drew on with Sharpie? That's so I know which sock to check. Iwa-chan has a lot of socks."

Brow knitting, Iwaizumi scoffs. "Why the hell are you drawing hearts on-"

Iwaizumi stops, breathless and watches Oikawa's smile widen. His face suddenly feels flushed and he squares his shoulders as he faces him.

"...How did you know that?"

"Iwa-chan, your proposal also wasn't that out of the blue," Oikawa continues, tilting his head and eyes glinting. "I saw it, you know. The ring box. It's pretty obvious when you put it in a sock. I mean, I was surprised when you asked, but… I kind of knew to expect it. I was really, really happy, though. Every time you asked me to dinner or, well, to anything, really, I got excited. But turns out, Iwa-chan did just want to feed ducks in the pond. The romantic part of me thought you'd trained a duck…"

Iwaizumi feels like he's about to cry, but he manages a choked laugh, bringing a shaking hand up to his face. "Are you fucking stupid?"

"Stupid crazy for you, yeah," Oikawa chirps and Iwaizumi's breath hitches to see Oikawa's eyes glassy. "Anyway… by the time Iwa-chan asked me to the fancy seafood restaurant, I'd gotten so excited for no reason so many times I'd kind of forgotten to expect. Then Iwa-chan proposed… but I guess he was nervous too, because he thought it was in the creme brulee and was scared I'd eaten it when it was actually in the champagne glass. Silly Iwa-chan."

Taking a moment to steady himself, Iwaizumi takes a slow step forward, watching Oikawa wipe at his eyes with the heels of his hands, shoulders a bit rounded. He sniffs and whines quietly about having told himself not to cry. "You…" Iwaizumi swallows thickly. "...Do you…"

"There are still blanks," Oikawa admits softly and this time when he looks up, he laughs and Iwaizumi sees a tear escape from his eye. "But I probably remember as much as Iwa-chan, though that's not saying much with his terrible memory. Our first kiss was with each other in eighth grade, because girls had cooties but we wanted to know why people on television kept smashing their mouths together. In fact, we were inspired by one particular drama scene that included rain, so we held a hose over our heads and kissed. It was really stupid and really embarrassing and I still can't believe you actually did that for me.

"We didn't date, though. We never even talked about it. I went on my own dates, Iwa-chan went on his, but nothing came out of them. Then our last year of high school, just two weeks before we were going to graduate, we'd gotten stupid drunk with the rest of the Seijou volleyball team at the send off party. Naturally, Iwa-chan and I walked home together, since we lived in the same direction. And then as you were about to drop me off, I kissed you right there on my front porch."

Oikawa stops and smiles, laughing quietly and rubbing his nose while Iwaizumi's still trying to remember how to breathe. "Well… I'm sure Iwa-chan remembers what happens next. We woke up together in bed with god awful hangovers the following morning and after agreeing that it was just a drunken, stupid mistake, we never brought it up again. I was in love with you by that time but since we were going to different colleges, it just made sense to not pursue anything. But I was really glad that my first time was with Iwa-chan."

Iwaizumi's feeling lightheaded. Stumbling until his shoulder hits the wall, he falls to the floor, staring at Oikawa, feeling overwhelmed but clinging onto every last word. He'd thought that Oikawa had been a bit off during the day and even stopped by the store to bring home his favorite sodas. But they're now more or less forgotten in his bag and Iwaizumi pushes his bangs back.

There's heat pressing to the back of his eyes; he's still in disbelief. Everything Oikawa has said is right so far, but the dubious part of Iwaizumi's wondering if Matsukawa or Hanamaki have just told him all this in detail. He wants to believe it so badly, but he can't let himself, because hope was paralyzing at one point.

"...What's next?" he rasps.

"Testing me?" Oikawa challenges quietly but doesn't argue it more. "Mm... well, then we went to college. And for the first two years, we were just friends who went to each other's games without fail, who visited each other over long weekends. But then my last year of college, when I tore my ACL…"

Iwaizumi's listening so intently he realizes he's stopped breathing. Oikawa doesn't talk about his knee. He only says anything if someone brings it up, and even then, he makes sure to switch the topic quickly. Having lived through the experience with him, Iwaizumi's also not one to bring it up because just remembering how distraught Oikawa had been breaks his heart. He'd hated feeling so helpless when his best friend was going through something like that.

Oikawa's voice trails off and his eyes focus on a loose thread of one of the pillows surrounding him. "...I never told you this," he murmurs, "but if you weren't there, Iwa-chan, I wouldn't be alive right now. Because that utter hopelessness and despair… it was overwhelming. I felt like I'd lost everything. I wanted to die every single day and the only reason I could even think about surviving was because you were there. You couldn't take the semester off, but you damn near failed all your classes because you kept trying to be there for me. Having you there… knowing you cared… watching you try so hard for me kept me going because I couldn't let all your efforts go to waste. You were the only person who never gave up on me. There aren't enough words in the world for me to thank you for that."

"Don't be stupid," Iwaizumi mumbles, feeling awkward and looking away. "Of course I did that. You're my best friend and, by that time, the love of my life."

"Still. But also… as horrible as that was, as much as I wanted to disappear, that event changed me. It was also a catalyst for us," Oikawa asks quietly, looking up to meet his eyes. "Because the guy who spent countless nights holding me as I cried, who never even flinched when I'd yell and scream and throw things at the wall… how could I not fall even harder for him? When my voice was hoarse and when I couldn't even see the point of living, you'd be there, always knowing when and what to say or just being there with me, reminding me wordlessly that I've never been alone. That was sort of a turning point because until then, I'd convinced myself that I could handle just being your friend. But after that, I realized I had to try for more because you mean so much to me. I want you to be happy and I wanted the opportunity to be the one who made you happy. Of course," Oikawa clears his throat, "I had to confess at an appropriate time. I couldn't tell you that I loved you too soon, when I was still obviously an emotional wreck. But it was so hard to wait because that was, you know, the moment. That was when I knew that even if things got bad, you'd never leave me."

Oikawa's voice cracks and he covers his face, laughing shakily. Clearing his throat, Iwaizumi stares at the way he gently pats his face and brushes his bangs back, inhaling deeply. He's seen it often; during their time at Seijou, Oikawa had been the fearless captain. But even the fearless captain had his doubts and only the vice captain would be there to see him when he'd show a crack in his otherwise perfectly put together composure. He'd listen to Oikawa mumble how he didn't feel like he was good enough, how people put so much faith in him but he was scared to disappoint. How Iwaizumi would slap him on the back, yell at him. How Oikawa would always stare but laugh, slap his cheeks and then be ready. It was to refresh himself, he'd say. To, literally, slap some sense into himself.

Iwaizumi offered to do it for him in a deadpan tone and Oikawa politely declined.

This time Oikawa stands from the couch and walks over, taking a seat in front of Iwaizumi on the floor and crossing his legs again, rings still in hand and catching the light again for a moment. "I've been remembering ever since I remembered 'Iwa-chan.' Fitting, right? That that was what I remembered first? But I was scared to tell you because I didn't know how much would come back and sometimes it was a lot at once, but most of the time it was a little. Like when Iwa-chan made me an omelette, I remembered the time when we were messing around with the kitchen at your dorm in your first year of college and I set off the fire alarm and everyone had to be evacuated into the rain. Or when Iwa-chan kissed me goodnight on the forehead, how you did that when we first started dating and looked so embarrassed when you realized I was awake."

Iwaizumi remembers both of those times and feels sick to think of how much Oikawa's memory had returned, but can't fault him for not telling him. But to think it had been ever since he'd remembered 'Iwa-chan' left his chest burning to realize that all this time, when he'd more or less given up, Oikawa had been slowly remembering.

Closing his eyes for a moment, he bites the inside of his cheek and looks up. "Then…" Iwaizumi croaks, clearing his throat. "...How much do you remember now?"

"Honestly, I… I don't know," Oikawa admits, chewing on his bottom lip, playing with the rings again. "Because I don't know what I don't remember. Does that make sense? Maybe I remember 50%. Maybe more. Maybe less. It feels like I remember a lot, but who knows how many memories we have together? We have twenty-five years worth. That's why it was hard for me to tell you because I had no way of knowing how much I knew," Oikawa murmurs with a shaky sigh. "But… but I told myself, ever since I started remembering, that if I could remember the exact moment I fell in love with you, then I'd tell you. We have so many pivotal moments in our life, but that moment… that was the one that changed everything for me."

Oikawa trails off and if Iwaizumi's legs worked, he would offer to get him water when he sees him lick his lips. Oikawa's always been one who talked a lot. Iwaizumi tended to ignore a lot of what he said, using a specially developed Oikawa Filter to listen to only the bare minimum. But right now, he's clinging onto every single word he's saying.

Oikawa's nose wrinkles and he looks up, smiles in a way that makes Iwaizumi's heart forget it's supposed to beat in a steady rhythm. His smile had been one of the first things Iwaizumi fell for. Even as toddlers, Baby Oikawa's smile is still so illuminating and captivating that Baby Iwaizumi made the brave decision to forego his Godzilla toy to stare at Baby Oikawa instead.

It's the smile that not many people get to see. Most people see the perfectly symmetrical, toothpaste-commercial-worthy smile. But even if this smile is a little more crooked, shows more gum than a modeling campaign would want, it's Iwaizumi's favorite. Because this is the smile that has Oikawa's eyes crinkling and the one that really means he's happy. It's his most natural smile, and it's the one Iwaizumi finds the most beautiful.

"I never told you, right? When I fell in love with you?"

Iwaizumi shakes his head, unable to formulate words.

"Well, I know when Iwa-chan fell in love with me," he boasts with a little grin. "I bet you don't remember, but it was when you were drunk after Hanamaki's birthday. Because I had work the next day and for once, I decided to be responsible and made sure to drink two glasses of water for every shot or beer I had, so I, unlike you, was fine. Anyway, as I was tucking Iwa-chan into bed, you told me the moment you fell for me was after we lost to Karasuno. Because-"

"-that was when I realized you were stronger than anyone, even I, had ever imagined," Iwaizumi interrupts and Oikawa's smile widen but he smiles warmly. "Because strength isn't only about working hard. It's about keeping your head up after a failure, recognizing that even if you try your hardest, sometimes it's not enough… and that's okay. You held the team together that day, even though you were probably falling apart on the inside and that… was amazing."

Oikawa hums happily. "Drunk Iwa-chan phrased it much less eloquently, but, basically, yeah."

Iwaizumi's eyes fall to watch Oikawa play with the rings, tracing over the band and the inscriptions on the inside, one for Iwaizumi's birthday and another for Oikawa's. Whenever Oikawa would proclaim he was a sweet summer child, Iwaizumi would mumble 'then aren't I too?' and Oikawa would be shocked into a sullen silence for the rest of the day.

He looks up in time to see Oikawa lick his lips again and Iwaizumi swallows thickly. He wants to kiss him. Iwaizumi always wants to kiss Oikawa, but the urge right now is almost unbearable. But as much as he wants to grab Oikawa and kiss him until they're both out of air, he's also frozen, unable to move even a single limb.

He remembers, Iwaizumi thinks numbly, and even though he's been thinking it over and over again, it's still unbelievable. He remembers. Oikawa remembers; it's been something Iwaizumi hadn't allowed himself to even hope for because as happy as he is, their forgotten past would always be something he'd ache for.

"When we were little… you know how we always played together?" Oikawa asks and Iwaizumi manages a nod. "There was one time where you picked a flower for me. Actually, I think it was a dandelion… so really, it was a weed. The point is, I think you saw some teenager do that for his girlfriend or on a drama and wanted to do the same for me. And ever since then, I had this tiny crush on you. But naturally, the crush grew as we grew up and even though we were best friends, what I felt for you was never purely platonic. Then came middle school when girls started noticing us and that was fun until they started noticing you and I'd get crazy jealous."

He takes a deep breath and smiles at Iwaizumi again. "...And then one day… it hit me. Like, up until that point, it was just light snow, sometimes a blizzard. But it builds, right? One day, it was this giant… giant fucking avalanche when I realized that I was in love with you. And you know what it was? What made me realize it?"

Oikawa swallows.

"...Do you remember when your parents told you they were getting a divorce?"

Iwaizumi nods; he remembers it clearly because he still can't look at the video game he'd been playing then without feeling a tinge of sadness. He'd realized things had been tense in the weeks, even months, leading up to the Wednesday afternoon and he'd found out only because he had come home early to them yelling. A special Friday night dinner had been to tell him in a more controlled and calm setting, but it didn't really matter to Iwaizumi, not when the message was still the same.

"You always tell me that I shut down whenever something big happens, but you do the same," Oikawa says with a small smile, swaying a little. "You don't talk a lot to begin with, Iwa-chan, but this silence was different. You… you were sad. I could tell. And I had no idea what it was and I didn't want to ask because if you wanted me to know, you'd tell me, right? All I knew was that I was sad if you were sad. I tried telling Mattsun and Makki about it too, but they'd brushed me off. And then when Makki asked how I could possibly pick up on something as small as that, I told him because you'd do the same for me."

Oikawa falls silent and stares at a spot on the carpet as calm as can be while Iwaizumi's about to hyperventilate.

"...I… didn't realize until at that point how far you went for me. Or how far I went for you. There are some people who ask for my notes but because I had a test in a few days I hadn't studied for, I wouldn't lend them, even though I don't study until the night before. But then if we had the same test that we both forgot, I'd give you my notes an hour before the exam in a heartbeat. If you were sad, I'd drop everything to help you. If you killed someone, I would hide the body for you. And you'd do the same, right?"

Iwaizumi laughs dryly, rubbing his eyes. "...Well, first I'd yell at you about killing someone, but… yeah. Of course I would."

Oikawa smiles serenely, eyes half lidded. "...Like I said, what I felt for you was never purely platonic. But a little kid can't know what true love is. Little kids know favorite food love, family love, friend love, favorite toy love. But unless you've got something worth losing, you'll never understand what sacrifice really is. And it's when I realized that even though I'd do anything for you, if there came a day where you wanted to leave… I'd let you. Because I don't want to keep you where you aren't happy. I mean it's easier said than done but-"

"...Is that why you let me go to a different college?"

Oikawa looks up sharply and stares at him. He laughs, mumbles, "it's not that I let you" but Iwaizumi feels like all the air's been knocked out of him. He and Oikawa had applied to mostly the same schools; as Seijou's ace and setter, they were both recruited by top schools that had hoped to keep them together. While Oikawa had always known he wanted to keep playing, Iwaizumi had branched out and applied to a school that wasn't as much a powerhouse school but known for its physics program. Unlike Oikawa, Iwaizumi knew he didn't want to keep playing after college.

When he got his acceptance letter, his heart had dropped because not only had he not told his best friend, who may have been expecting them to go to the same college, but he also had to tell him he was going to go to this school instead. He still remembered taking him to dinner (as if a fancy meal would soften the blow) and he expected Oikawa to look upset or get angry, but as soon as Iwaizumi told him, he'd just smiled.

"Congratulations! That's great, Iwa-chan! You know, you were always really good at physics, which was weird because you seemed to hate chemistry. Do you know what you want to do with a physics degree? Research? Teach? Iwa-chan the teacher… scary…"

"Wait-" Iwaizumi had stopped him. "...You're not upset? I was honestly expecting you to fight me on this."

Oikawa had smiled, tilted his head. "Playing professionally has never been your dream, Iwa-chan. A lot of people don't even know what they want to do, so for you to have an idea and an opportunity like this, it's amazing, yeah? Iwa-chan's looked more excited and animated talking about this program than any other one I've seen so far. If it makes Iwa-chan happy, it makes me happy."

"I wasn't going to fight you because I knew that if I made a big enough fuss, you'd acquiesce," Oikawa shrugs halfheartedly. "You're kind. You're always taking care of me, and I know I can be a selfish brat, so I always try to be aware of when I'm taking advantage of that. Was I sad? Of course. We were starting a new chapter of our lives and I wasn't ready to be apart from you, but…"

He shrugs.

"...But our friendship isn't defined by physical proximity. It's defined by years of being with each other and growing up together and I knew that even though it would be hard, we could survive college. Actually, part of me thought it was good because I was ridiculously in love with you and maybe being apart would help with that. It didn't, by the way. It made me want to jump you every time I saw you again."

Despite his racing heart and sweaty palms, Iwaizumi can't help but laugh, though the sound is shaky. He brings a hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose and finds that as he expected, it doesn't help with his inability to breathe. "Honestly, you could've at any time," he muttered. "I wouldn't have minded at all."

"You can't tell me that now. Why didn't you tell me before?"

"Why didn't you?"


Offering a smile, Oikawa bites the inside of his cheek and digs the ring into his finger, watches the imprint it leaves behind fade in a few seconds. "...I think most people live their entire lives not feeling even a fraction of what we have," he says quietly. "People spend their whole lives searching for what we have and I was lucky enough to have been born with you by my side. I can't-"

Oikawa shakes his head because they both know Iwaizumi's first instinct when he starts crying is to hug him. He wipes at his eyes but it's futile and he manages to smile, sniffling. "You love me so much and I'm so lucky to have you. As I started remembering things… it actually started hurting. When I first woke up from the coma, I was confused. But then I realized that being with you made me feel safe and happy and warm. And then the memories started coming back and I realized… just how much I loved you. How deep my feelings for you were, how loving you is almost painful, how what we have is so ingrained into our existences that being without you is like missing a part of myself. And so I couldn't even imagine how you could stand it, how much it would've hurt. But still, you never left.

"Even as I remembered, as much as it hurt, it left me feeling exhilarated. Loving you makes my entire life better."

Iwaizumi doesn't even try to stop the tears streaming down his cheeks, though he does mumble, "you're crying" to Oikawa, who just laughs and sniffles again. Reaching a hand out, he wipes away Oikawa's tears with a thumb but makes no move to do the same for his own. His hand remains cupping his cheek and he smiles slightly. "...You're such an idiot, Oikawa."

Oikawa laughs and mumbles a soft apology. "But you know what else, Iwa-chan? As I started remembering, I realized how scary how close I came to not remembering how amazing you make me feel. How I don't want to spend another single day without you because you're my entire life, Hajime. I don't want to exist without you. I don't know how to. So…"

Hiccuping, Oikawa reaches for Iwaizumi's hand. His heart drops and he brings his other hand to his face, managing to laugh despite his tears, shoulders rounding. "God fucking damnit… son of a bitch, at least I didn't make us cry. You're an ugly crier too…"

"Hajime," Oikawa starts and stops to hiccup with another sob. "Hajime, will you-"


Oikawa laughs again. "You didn't let me fi-

Iwaizumi shakes his head. "Yes."

"Will you ma-"

"Yes, yes, a thousand times fucking yes," Iwaizumi breathes, leaning forward to kiss him, hands cupping his face. Oikawa laughs; he mumbles something against his lips but Iwaizumi doesn't care. All he cares about is kissing the person he loves more than everything else in the world put together, kissing him until both of them have gone beyond the point of oxygen deprivation. Panting when he pulls back, Oikawa grins as he slips one of the rings onto Iwaizumi's fingers before doing the same to himself, looking up at him with sparkling eyes.

"Iwa-chan had a nice speech too," he murmurs, nose wrinkling when Iwaizumi gently headbutts him. "A good effort."

"Piss off… at least I didn't ramble on and on…"

Their lips are numb and buzzing, sure to be bruised. But Oikawa leans in and kisses him again, so sweetly and tenderly that it leaves Iwaizumi lightheaded. "I love you," he says quietly and Iwaizumi feels shivers run down his spine. "Even when I didn't remember my own name, all I knew is that what I felt for the person sleeping next to me wasn't just anything. That has to mean we're soulmates, right?"

Iwaizumi clicks his tongue but it's weak and he holds Oikawa close, burying his face in the crook of his neck.

"You're such a moron…"

Oikawa grins, hugs him back even tighter.

"As long as I'm yours."

"Oikawa! Get your ass out here! I'm not rescheduling cake tasting just because you woke up late!"

Looking back at his phone to finish answering Hanamaki's text, Iwaizumi laughs dryly at the response (leaving Oikawa stranded on top of their apartment again does seem tempting) but looks up as soon as the door opens. Oikawa has a towel around his neck and wanders out in boxers and an unbuttoned dress shirt, still drying his hair as he smiles at Iwaizumi. "Beauty takes time, Iwa-chan."

Iwaizumi looks him up and down once.

"More time for you, I guess."

Oikawa looks aghast.

Iwaizumi smirks as Oikawa turns dramatically on his heel and goes back into the bedroom. Picking up his phone, Iwaizumi's scrolling through his emails to double check their appointment. Wedding planning the second time around is much less stressful, mainly because they still have their old contacts, some of them being understanding when Iwaizumi explains the cancellation and then the cancellation of the cancellation. A few of them seemed overjoyed at how everything had worked out, subjecting Iwaizumi to many hugs he hadn't been mentally prepared to receive.

He can tell Oikawa's behind him by the waft of his cologne. Iwaizumi feels an arm wrap around his shoulders; Oikawa's fingers dance along his arm, leaning in to kiss him right as Iwaizumi turns to face him. He smiles slightly and slips his hand under Oikawa's shirt, palm skimming over his waist. "You're going to make us late."

"It's okay," Oikawa answers, grinning when he pulls back. "I already know which cake I want anyway."

Iwaizumi stares at him.

"Then why-"

"It's free cake, Iwa-chan!"

"It's not free, dumbass-"

"It was after called them again after you!"

"...We have actual things to do and you want to spend the afternoon getting free cake and champagne?!"

"Yes?" Oikawa looks so incredulous that Iwaizumi could possibly want to be productive on a Saturday afternoon.

Iwaizumi's about to yell some more but Oikawa's long ago figured out that he can be kissed into silence. Sometimes it's dangerous, but because Iwaizumi's always annoyed about something or another, he's easy to ameliorate. Oikawa's once tried this tactic when he was genuinely angry and quickly learned to never try it again.

Grumbling when Oikawa pulls back and smiles, Iwaizumi sighs, mumbling "fine." He'd expected Oikawa to smile or show some other sign of his victory, but he just stares. Iwaizumi stares back, eyes narrowing.

Oikawa blinks and leans in to kiss him again, pulling back without saying anything. But just as he's about to do that for the third time in ten seconds, Iwaizumi raises his hand to cover Oikawa's mouth, effectively stilling and surprising him. "What are you avoiding telling me?"

Oikawa says something but it's muffled, so Iwaizumi removes his hand. "How'd you know?" Oikawa repeats.

"You only start kissing like some woodpecker if you're nervous."

"I'm not a-"

"You wanna be that stupid bird that keeps bobbing up and down to drink?"

Oikawa frowns and Iwaizumi just smirks, leaning back against the counter, arms crossed as he watches Oikawa expectantly. Oikawa shifts a bit under his gaze and scratches the back of his head, clearing his throat. "...Iwa-chan," he starts finally, "do you know about America?"

It's quiet for ten seconds.

"...I've seen a map. Yes, asshole."

Oikawa smiles but it fades and he's back to staring at the ground. Iwaizumi stares at him for a few more moments before exhaling slowly. "...You want to move there," he says slowly.

Oikawa nods and clears his throat, looking up quickly. "I mean, not if you don't want to. There's just this research opportunity and it seems like it would be cool and if my attending hadn't recommended me, I would've never thought about it. But they offered me the position and I just… but, like I said, if you don't want to, I love the people here and the work I've been doing, so-"

"I'll go."

Oikawa stops and Iwaizumi wishes he had a camera to take a picture for blackmail.

"...What? Just like that? But you haven't even…"

"I'll go," Iwaizumi repeats, giving an amused smile and tilting his head. "I haven't seen you this excited since you found out we could get a cat if we paid the deposit. Are we going to do that anytime soon?"

"But… but I haven't even told you that I asked around and there are plenty of gyms and schools in the area who would probably love to have someone as good as you as a coach!"

"...Is that supposed to make me want to go less…?"

"But… the main one I found was for the university that's there," Oikawa says slowly and Iwaizumi blinks.

"Oh," he says shortly, fidgeting. "…That's why you kept asking. I thought it was just some phase, like collecting fish key chains…"

"I sent them tapes of you-"

"Wait, what?"

"And they were really interested. But you don't want to teach at that level so-"

"Hey," Iwaizumi interrupts. "Stop. Breathe. It's one thing when you ramble because you're excited but if you're nervous I'm always afraid you're going to forget to breathe."

Oikawa inhales and Iwaizumi waits.


Oikawa exhales.

Laughing breathily, Iwaizumi reaches out, fingers brushing along Oikawa's waist as he pulls him close, resting his hands on his hips. "Like you said, there are plenty of opportunities for me there. You don't have to worry about me. Besides, who knows, maybe I'll want to go back to school at some point. Maybe a fresh start is the motivation I need. There are schools there. Good schools."

Oikawa looks hesitant, teeth worrying his lip as he absentmindedly fixes Iwaizumi's collar for him. "But… I can't make you uproot your life-"

"Didn't I tell you?" Iwaizumi interrupts gently. "You're my entire life. As long as I'm with you, I'm happy. Besides, I've never lived abroad. This could be exciting."

"But so much has happened," Oikawa presses, "don't you want things to go back to normal? This isn't normal."

"And with everything that did happen, I realized that I wanted to stop wasting time. I almost lost you and when that happened, all I could think about was everything that I'd wanted to do with you that I never had a chance to."

He smiles again and can tell Oikawa's trying not to cry, teeth still on his bottom lip and eyes glassy. "Life plans change all the time. All that's important to me is that you're with me. So we're going to get married. And then we'll talk about this, yeah? It sounds like an amazing opportunity and I've never been there."

"Stop… stop being so accommodating," Oikawa mumbles, hands covering his face and Iwaizumi just laughs again. "God, Iwa-chan, you're… you're so flexible and perfect it's actually really annoying…"

"Shut up," he mumbles, reaching up to coax Oikawa's hands away as he leans in and kisses him again. "Nothing's set in stone. All I've said is that I'm open to the idea. Stop being a stupid drama queen."

"Don't call me stupid…"

"Then stop crying at any given moment."

Oikawa sniffs and Iwaizumi smirks, ruffling his hair. Oikawa wipes at his eyes and then stares at Iwaizumi, giving in and smiling as he hugs him, face buried in his neck. Iwaizumi's arms wrap around him and he kisses the side of his neck, sighs and tangles his fingers in his hair, wonders if Oikawa can feel his heart racing.

"Like I said," he murmurs, feels Oikawa smiling. "You're my soulmate. I'd follow you to the end of the world."

Oikawa laughs and when he pulls back, Iwaizumi brushes his thumbs over his cheeks to wipe the tears away. "Hey," he murmurs, "stop crying. You're going to make me feel like it's my fault."

"Would you have followed me if I'd never remembered?" Oikawa teases.

Iwaizumi smirks. "Of course."

Oikawa's eyes widen but then he laughs and leans in to kiss him.

"Memories or not, you're Oikawa Tooru. I've got to be there to keep you from singlehandedly infuriating the world into oblivion."