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“What’s wrong?” Hajime asks, jogging the last few meters to their meetup point. “Did the doctor's visit go okay?”

He spotted Oikawa's flashy smile as soon as he rounded the corner. Based on Hajime's own experiences, it's safe to assume that they don't have some kind of best friend telepathy, which means Oikawa must have been smiling before Hajime even came into view. The mental image of him waiting at the crossing on his own, grinning at nothing, gives Hajime goosebumps. Oikawa’s smiles always serve a purpose, seeing one that doesn’t seem to is unsettling, especially one this fake.

“What would be wrong?” Oikawa asks sunnily, linking arms with him. “Let’s see if we can find that lucky cat again.”

Hajime lets himself be steered through several side streets before he speaks up, shoulders tense with worry. “I don’t know. You’re all weird and fake. It’s just me.”

Oikawa heaves a showy, put-upon sigh. “Iwa-chan, I know you’re an uncivilized brute, but you have to know what day it is.”

Hajime surreptitiously checks his phone. “It’s February 14? Why-- oh.”

Oikawa untangles his arm from Hajime’s, swinging it back and forth and looking up at the steel grey sky. “Yeah, oh. ” 

Last year, Oikawa found two confession letters in his locker and got a virtual mountain of chocolates (it was five bags, but that was still more than anyone else got) and he would not shut up about it the entire week. He let the girls down gently, citing his busy schedule, and hoarded the chocolate jealously, not even sharing a tiny piece of it with Hajime, because he is a shit. 

Hajime has no idea what will happen today, but he is relatively certain that it won’t be this.

“What are you expecting?” he asks.

Oikawa shrugs. “I’ll just play it by ear,” he replies, smile stretching worryingly. “Here, kitty! Here, kitty, kitty!”

Hajime looks around, but there’s no cat in sight. Oikawa proceeds to make increasingly obnoxious kissy noises, as if that will lure it out of wherever it’s hiding. 

“Leave it,” Hajime says, giving Oikawa’s shoulder a gentle shove. “It’s not here. Let’s go to school. You don’t need any luck, okay? We’ve managed fine so far.”

Oikawa gives a bright laugh at that, eyelids crinkling amusedly. “You’ve got a funny definition of fine , Iwa-chan.”

Hajime shrugs. “I talked to my mom yesterday, and she’s cool with it. You can come over on Friday. I’m sure Tsugio will get a kick out of seeing us with facials.” He doesn’t mention that he also technically saw the calico before that happened, because Oikawa is stupidly superstitious and will assign way too much meaning to it.

Oikawa angles his unchanged smile at him. “That’s great, Iwa-chan,” he says, like he’s giving one of his pep talks. 

There’s something irritating about the way he treats the entire situation. Like Hajime is the one in need of cheering up, like Oikawa is the one doing him a favor. Hajime can’t put it into good enough words to get it past Oikawa’s defenses, so he decides to just drop it instead. “Mom also told me she’s pregnant again.”

“She’s what?” Oikawa shrieks, close enough to Hajime’s ear to make him jump. “Another Iwaizumi! That’s so cute, Iwa-chan! Aren’t you excited?”

Hajime can’t help the tiny smile that escapes him at the prospect. “Yeah,” he admits.

“What do you think it’ll be, a little brother or sister? Probably a sister, right? After so many boys!”

“That’s not how statistics work, Oikawa.” 

“It’s how real life works, Iwa-chan! Oh, I have to bring a present on Friday,” Oikawa prattles on. “What do you give to pregnant people? I can’t wait to see her, does she already have a belly?”

“Don’t ask her that. And I don’t know? Last time, she started really liking this one brand of white chocolate, and then she hated it again as soon as Keizo was born, so maybe that?”

“Chocolate is good! Oh, but what if she takes it badly, like I’m implying she’s getting fat anyway?” Oikawa starts walking backwards in front of Hajime as the school gates come into view, arms swinging out to his sides carelessly. 

“It’s my mom. As long as you don’t call her fat, you’re fine. Step,” Hajime instructs, and Oikawa carefully steps over the slightly raised paving blocks of the school gate without looking down. 

“That’s such good news, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa sighs. It makes Hajime wonder what about a new baby in a family that isn’t even his own is so much better than an indeterminate amount of future sleepovers being okayed with minimal guaranteed awkwardness. He decides to just take what he can get and roll with it. 

“When is the baby due?” Oikawa asks when they reach their lockers, hands fluttering around the lock of his as if he’s afraid it’ll burn him. 

“October,” Hajime relays, briskly opening his and stuffing his Japanese and math textbooks into his backpack. He gives the inside a brief scan, but there doesn't seem to be anything amiss. Not that he’d expected any confessions. He clicks it shut and locks it again, then chances a look at Oikawa, who has stilled in his peripheral vision. 

Oikawa is holding a red envelope, looking down at it with a carefully neutral expression. 

“What’s that?” Hajime asks, feeling stupid for asking but unable to reconcile Oikawa’s guardedness with the fact of the letter. It has to be a confession letter - Oikawa has shown him his last ones dozens of times and then put them on display in his room afterwards, and they all looked like this. This one is even sealed with a little heart sticker.

With one quick, decisive motion, Oikawa tears right through the sticker and shakes the contents of the envelope out into his hand. A single white page slides out, with just one word written on it in black marker so thick it bleeds right through. Hajime reads it from the backside, back to front, heart sinking: Pervert.

“It’s a fake confession letter,” Oikawa replies smoothly, nothing about his face betraying surprise. He carefully slides the page back into the envelope, closes it and tucks it neatly into his backpack between two books. When he closes his locker, Hajime is sure he is the only one who is close enough to notice the tremor in his hands. 

Hajime grits his teeth against the directionless anger welling up in his gut. He takes a tentative step towards Oikawa, raising a hand to rest on his shoulder.

Oikawa’s mouth twists for a split second like he wants to cry, then he shrugs Hajime off and starts toward their homeroom. 

Hajime stays behind, glaring at the majority of class 3-A for watching Oikawa leave. He knows they’re probably just waiting for someone to unlock their classroom, and it’s not their fault it’s right next to the lockers, but it’s not like anyone’s made an effort to be fair to them , either.

The bigger part of the double lesson passes between trying to hide the fact that Hajime forgot about the essay they had due, and composing a list of everyone he remembers lingering in the hallway. Every time he chances a look at Oikawa, his face is impassive, focused on the board. When he’s called on to read out his essay, his voice is steady and clear. 

There is no way for Hajime to show his support that won’t invite more ridicule here, so he settles for kicking Oikawa’s chair once, hard. Voice hitching on the impact, Oikawa turns toward him in the middle of his sentence, his eyebrows drawing together for the betrayed look Hajime knows doesn’t hold any actual hurt. Hajime frowns back at him like he’s annoyed, and Oikawa’s expression smooths out at once before he goes back to reading the rest of his essay with a faint smile. 

When the teacher makes the rounds to collect their homework after the lesson, all Hajime has to offer is a half-finished list of names. 

“I’m sorry, Ms Takahashi,” he mumbles. “I forgot.”

She fixes him with an unimpressed look. “Hand it in tomorrow,” she says. “I know the admission exams are over, but that is no excuse to slack off, Iwaizumi.” 

He mutters another apology and sees that he gets the hell out of there before she can think to ban him from practice. The last thing he needs is to be forced to leave Oikawa to his own devices this afternoon. 

Before he can reach the door, Oikawa manages to catch his sleeve and spin him around so he’s facing back into the classroom, where Shinoda is apparently getting the same talk. 

“Looks like Shinoda is just as clueless as you without his precious lady friend’s help,” Oikawa chirps into his ear, and Hajime snorts. 

“You’re so petty, it’s awful. Let’s go.” He turns back, startling a little when he finds Oikawa’s face right up in his space, smug and a little twisted in that way it gets when he thinks ugly thoughts. Hajime walks him out of the classroom backwards, hands on his shoulders. 

“I have reason to be,” Oikawa says haughtily, but he lets himself be steered outside without kicking up a fuss.

*

When they make it to the cafeteria for lunch break, the huddle of girls around Akiyama is already there, looking particularly conspiratorial and exclusive. Hajime has trouble imagining they could possibly want them to join, but apparently Oikawa has no such qualms, plopping down in one of the free chairs and smiling at everyone and no one in particular. 

The girls immediately break apart, giggling and blushing. Hajime hates the way their gazes skitter around Oikawa and him, like they were clearly talking about them and aren’t even trying to hide it. He sinks into the chair next to Oikawa, not even trying to hide his scowl.

Akiyama claps her hands together as soon as he sits down, a sharp sound that startles everyone else into stiff, polite poses, eyes downcast. “Iwaizumi, Oikawa,” she starts. Oikawa looks back at her steadily. “A few of us wanted to give you something for Valentine’s Day, as a gesture of support,” she continues, now smiling at Hajime directly. Hajime picks at the edge of the table with a fingernail. “We decided to make it a team effort, so we wouldn’t try to outdo each other.” She laughs, making a nervous little what can you do? gesture and bends down to reach into her bag.

When she resurfaces, she’s holding two cellophane packages. She hands the first one to Hajime, who carefully takes it with both hands, like it might explode.

He’s never gotten chocolates before, and as hard as he tries to remember how Oikawa reacted last year, it’s buried underneath a year’s worth of annoyance at his smugness. He’s on his own.

“Thank you so much,” he gets out, while Oikawa in his peripheral vision receives his own chocolates with the same reverence. 

Through the cellophane, he spots familiar shapes in the black-and-white swirls, and he can’t help the grin that’s spreading across his face. 

“They’re volleyball-shaped,” he says stupidly. 

Oikawa gasps and leans over to look, like he doesn’t have his own bag. “They’re beautiful!” He exclaims earnestly, putting a hand to his heart. “Thank you so much for all your support. It means a lot, especially today.”

Akiyama leans forward. “What's today? Has anyone been giving you trouble? More than usual, I mean.”

Oikawa huffs a sad little sigh, an entirely calculated sound. “I don’t know,” he starts. “I don’t want to bother you with this. You gave us chocolates! We can focus on that!” He holds up his little bag with a smile, shaking it a little as if for emphasis.

“Bullshit,” Akiyama dismisses. “Give us the story. If it’s anything we can help with, we’ll help.”

Oikawa looks unconvinced, like he wants to dither some more, so Hajime rolls his eyes and cuts to the chase. “He found a fake confession in his locker.”

Akiyama frowns. “A fake? How do you know it’s fake?”

Oikawa leans down to tug the envelope out of his backpack, setting it down on the table between them gingerly. “See for yourselves. I’d love to get back to them, but it didn’t happen to be signed.”

Akiyama takes the envelope and turns it around, starting a little at the torn-through heart sticker. 

Oikawa makes a go-ahead gesture, and she tugs out the card, laying it out on the table for everyone to see. The bold writing is somehow even more vulgar like this, between all of them, flinching back with different levels of shock on their faces. Hajime takes the list he was working on out of his pocket and smooths it out next to the card.

“This is everyone who was waiting around by the lockers, in case they stuck around to see his reaction,” he explains, catching and holding Oikawa’s startled gaze until it melts into something less brittle. 

Akiyama pulls it towards herself, skimming the names. About a third through, she halts and taps the paper. “I saw this guy lingering by your lockers after club activities yesterday. He left when I came closer.”

Hajime frowns, leaning in to see which name she’s pointing out. “Wait, how do you know where our lockers - oh, I’ll fucking kill him .” He gets up, chair scraping across the floor, but Oikawa’s hand flies out to tug him back down. 

“Sasaki?” a short girl with a pixie cut asks like nothing happened. “He sits next to me in physics, let me see.” She picks up the card, scrutinizing the harsh lines of the kanji. “Yeah, could be his handwriting,” she decides after a moment, shrugging. “I mean, it’s just one word, so I’m not too sure.”

“It was definitely him,” Hajime says darkly. He straightens up, trying to find Sasaki over the heads of everyone in the cafeteria, bent over their lunches.

“Okay, I’ll take it from here,” Oikawa pipes up suddenly, standing up. “Thank you for your help!” He must have picked up the envelope and stuffed the card back into it while Hajime wasn’t looking. His thumb smooths over the sticker slowly, as if trying to reseal it. 

“What are you doing?” Akiyama asks, looking between Hajime and Oikawa with something like guarded anticipation. 

Oikawa smiles, all teeth. “The right thing to do when you receive a confession from someone you don’t like is to reject them gently.” He gives the lunch crowd a quick scan, spinning his chair out of the way with one hand. “My mother raised me well. Just because I didn’t like the content of this one doesn’t mean I can just ignore it.” 

His eyes lock on something halfway across the room, and he raises the envelope over his head in goodbye, already starting to make his way there.

Akiyama watches him go, something like awe in her eyes. “I want to be there for that,” she says, just loud enough for Oikawa to still catch.

“Oh, don’t worry,” Oikawa calls back over his shoulder. “You’ll hear.”

Stunned, Hajime stays where he is while Oikawa weaves his way between chairs and tables, drawing a solid amount of attention in the process.

At their table, nobody is even making an attempt to hide that they’re watching Oikawa, scrambling to get a better viewpoint. Hajime, who has to stretch to see over the heads of three girls shamelessly getting up on their knees, remembers the uneasy feeling of being the center of their attention earlier, and viciously hopes Sasaki will feel the same. 

Oikawa comes to a halt in front of the table Sasaki shares with a few of his friends, all of whom are sneering at him. Sasaki refuses to look up from his meal, even when Oikawa gently sets down the envelope on the table in front of him, flap sticking up into the air. 

“Sasaki,” Oikawa starts sweetly, pitching his voice to carry. About half of the pupils in the cafeteria are turned towards them, now, listening. Oikawa inclines his head, just enough for anyone to infer, this is where a bow would go . “I am very sorry, but I can’t return your feelings.”

“What the fuck,” Sasaki snarls, looking down at the table and then finally in Oikawa’s general direction, “That isn’t mine, why would--”

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Oikawa cuts him off, even more loudly. “Don’t worry, Sasaki, just because I am not the right one for you doesn’t mean you won’t find anyone.” 

Sasaki flushes a blotchy red, visible even from their distance. “You disgusting piece of shit, I didn’t--”

“There’s no reason to get defensive,” Oikawa calls out over him, and Hajime can hear the placating smile in his voice. “There is nothing wrong with who you love , and you deserve someone who is just as devoted to you as you are to them .”

Akiyama stifles a giggle with her hand. Around her, her friends are less successful trying to keep their laughter down.

Sasaki seems to have realized that the louder he gets, the louder Oikawa gets, and the more people hear him. He gets up instead, crowding into Oikawa’s space.

Oikawa backs up a few polite steps. “Ah,” he says, still loud enough for most of the room to be heard over the hush that has fallen over the cafeteria, “Please respect my boundaries. I understand that you want to be close to me, but I think it would be better if we kept a little distance for the time being. It’ll make it easier for you, too, to get over me.”

By now, the giggles have spread throughout the entire room, and Sasaki is standing across from Oikawa, chest heaving and fists clenching at his sides. Hajime realizes with a start that there is nobody around to stop him from punching Oikawa.

“How can you say we are terrifying,” Akiyama whispers to him, “When you’re best friends with this guy.

Hajime shakes his head, eyes still glued to Sasaki. "That's different, I've known him since we were five, I know he's an idiot." He exhales a sigh of relief when he spots a teacher moving in on Oikawa and Sasaki, directly in Sasaki's line of sight.

After what feels like an eternity in which Oikawa stands his ground, smiling his polite smile, Sasaki finally breaks, hissing something at Oikawa and packing up his lunch to flee the room. 

Oikawa shrugs and makes his way back through the absolute silence of the cafeteria, until he reaches their table and everyone at it breaks out in whoops and giggles. Akiyama welcomes him back with a slap on his back, and he sinks into his chair with a wide grin that’s wobbly from adrenaline. 

“Good show,” the girl with the pixie cut says, appreciative. Oikawa gives her a mock-bow, which earns him a round of belated applause. When he comes back up, his eyes are on Hajime, bright and expectant.

“You better not go anywhere alone after this,” Hajime manages.

Oikawa scrunches up his face. “Iwa-chan, at least let me revel in my victory for a few minutes!”

*

When they arrive in the club room after school, Sasaki isn’t there, but the news must still have reached everyone else, all of them eyeing Oikawa with a mixture of awe and fear as he strides in.

“If you try to pull this shit on me, I’ll hire a hitman, so don’t get any ideas,” Nakano finally breaks the silence. His eyes are narrowed like he’s only half joking.

“I won’t reject anyone who didn’t confess,” Oikawa replies evenly, “So unless you were planning on doing that, there’s no reason to worry.”

There’s a flurry of whispers and incredulous looks exchanged, and one of the second years asks, “He really confessed to you?”

Well,” Oikawa starts, “he definitely snuck a red envelope into my locker. I might have been a little nicer in my rejection, had the content been less rude .”

It’s a warning, and everyone receives it as such, that much is evident in the brief silence that follows. Hajime catches Kunimi giving Oikawa an impressed look before he goes back to changing, which is definitely worth noting, since Hajime hadn’t thought Kunimi capable of that kind of expression before.

When Sasaki hasn’t shown up by the time they're warming up, Hajime lets himself relax a fraction. Without Sasaki there, he doesn’t need to worry about Nakano, which means he can almost have a normal practice session. 

He works on his new mouse trap spike, trying and mostly failing to give it any kind of accuracy, then grudgingly practices his receives alongside the second years, and finally ends up giving Kindaichi some tips on his form. Kindaichi, as per usual, is a quick study, eager to please and excited, and Hajime notes with some relief that his discomfort from yesterday seems to have evaporated over night. 

He catches glimpses of Oikawa flitting about throughout practice, his gestures and smiles and plays as showy as ever. Hajime doesn’t sense any hostility from the people he talks to at any point, so he cautiously marks the practice down as a success. Oikawa seems to feel the same way, even allowing himself to fall back into bad habits like telling Kageyama to refold the net five separate times, until Hajime smacks him between the shoulder blades with a well-aimed volleyball.

“Cut the crap, Trashykawa. Kageyama, the net is fine, he’s just torturing you.”

Clutching the ball he’s managed to catch after impact either because he has freaky reflexes or because he just knows Hajime that well, Oikawa sticks out his tongue at him. “Just because a brute like you can’t see a difference doesn’t mean there isn’t one, Iwa-chan! And besides, it’s a learning experience. First-years should have a certain amount of humility.”

Kageyama, wisely, flees the scene while Oikawa’s back is turned. 

“Then you're the one who needs to start practicing, right? We’re gonna to be first-years again in like, two months.”

It’s been on his mind for a while now, the half-fear of how things might be if the people whispering behind their backs weren’t their peers or underclassmen, but older students, people who know more than them and have more friends. People who are bigger and stronger than them. Oikawa doesn’t seem to share this fear, because he just smiles like he always does when Hajime brings up the prospect of high school.

“Can you believe it?” he asks almost longingly as he brushes past Hajime, leaving the net in its allegedly rumpled state. “I can’t wait to shed all this responsibility and have people pay for my meals again.”

Hajime snorts a laugh. “God, your personality is so shitty. Don’t you think our upperclassmen will notice?”

“Don’t worry about me, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa says over his shoulder with a genial smile, laying a hand on his own chest. “Humility comes easy to me. Unlike some people I know.”

Hajime kicks him in the back of his good knee and beats him to the clubroom, letting the door slam shut in his indignant face for good measure. Everyone startles at the sudden noise, falling silent until Oikawa whisks the door open again to berate Hajime for his bad manners, and their teammates go back to their own conversations, used to tuning them out.

It’s a routine Hajime hasn’t realized he missed until now, when the relief of having it back leaves him almost weak-kneed, smiling at Oikawa like an idiot.

It’s completely out of context, Oikawa shouldn’t know what he’s smiling about, he shouldn’t be able to hear the implied we did it , but he only raises his eyebrows as if to say I told you so , and somehow, Hajime knows he feels the same way.

*

Since neither of them is very good at restraint, they open their chocolates on the way home - well, they open Hajime’s chocolates and share them.

“It doesn’t make any sense opening both at once,” Oikawa wheedles even as Hajime is already undoing the bright blue bow and holding the bag out for him to take one, his hand striking out lightning-fast as if Hajime will change his mind. 

Hajime picks one with only the faintest white swirls. Up close, the seam between the two halves is visible, and he bites along it, splitting the chocolate in half in his mouth. The filling melts on his tongue, sweet and creamy, and he hums his approval at Oikawa, who has his head tipped back in apparent pleasure.

“We owe them so many gifts for White Day,” Oikawa says after the frankly indecent amount of time it takes him to finish the one chocolate, and Hajime nods his assent, licking his fingers clean of his forth one.

When Oikawa meanders off course again, Hajime assumes he’s looking for the cat and follows along with only a few token protests. 

But then Oikawa stops at the display window of an optician, scanning the glasses laid out among the (weirdly, nautical themed) decor, and Hajime abandons his search in favor of shoulder-checking him away from the shop. 

“Get a move on, dumbass, I still have an essay to finish!”

Oikawa doesn’t look up from the display, only stumbling a few steps to the side. “Well, Iwa-chan, if you’d done your homework when you were supposed to, you could have gone shopping for glasses with me!” 

Hajime blinks. “Since when do you need glasses?” he asks.

Oikawa makes a show of checking his non-existent watch. “About twenty-four hours?” He shrugs, somehow managing to make the gesture look sheepish and careless at the same time. “Turns out you get headaches when your brain tries to compensate for your weak eyesight all day. Now I just need Iwa-chan to help me find the cutest pair of glasses in the shop and I’m good to go!” He flashes a peace sign, angling a winning smile at Hajime.

“That was the only problem?” Hajime asks, incredulous. “You had these headaches for like a year, and you could have just - not, the entire time?” 

In response, Oikawa only pushes open the door, stepping inside to the jaunty jingle of a bell. Hajime only notices then that he’s been following him towards the entrance as they were talking, so he wipes his sticky fingers on his uniform and takes the single step leading into the shop, unwilling to leave the conversation there.

Unfortunately, Oikawa is in the optician’s clutches as soon as he sets foot inside, and it’s all Hajime can do to sit down in one of the chairs lined up along the wall as Oikawa recounts his tale of woe to her professional sympathy.

He flirts with her the entire time, the way he seems incapable of not doing when he’s around young women. The optician seems more amused than enticed by his advances, and Hajime realizes that of course, at the bottom of it all, Oikawa is still a fifteen-year-old boy, and probably sounds ridiculous to adults no matter how hard he tries. It’s weirdly eye-opening, for something this simple: of course, Oikawa isn’t ageless. Hajime was there when he was five and lost and crying for his mom, nine and babbling on about aliens, twelve and afraid of losing their first official junior high match. He’s here now, with Oikawa trying to act smooth and failing. It’s almost reassuring.

The optician beckons Oikawa into a different room to measure his eyesight again, and Hajime settles in for a long wait with a sigh, sending off a text to his mother so she won’t worry. 

He’s just gotten started on his essay, notebook poised awkwardly in his lap, when they emerge again, Oikawa giving him a broad smile.

 

“Iwa-chan, I’m going to look so good with glasses! Ms Shimada says so, too!”

It’s her job , Hajime doesn’t say, settling instead for a nod and scrawling another sentence. He doesn’t particularly care at this point, and it’s not like Ms Takahashi can give him detention for not giving enough of a shit. 

When he looks up again, Oikawa is sporting a ridiculous pair of thick-rimmed angular glasses, and Hajime can’t stop himself from snorting. 

“So mean, Iwa-chan, at least try to be nice about it!” Oikawa seems to agree with his opinion, though, because he takes them off again immediately, trying a thin gold frame with round glasses instead. 

Hajime blinks at him. The glasses make him look years older - not in a bad way, just a sneak preview of the man he might become, and Hajime abruptly has trouble focusing on his homework. 

Thankfully, Oikawa decides against this pair as well without consulting Hajime’s opinion, muttering something under his breath as he sets them down and picks up a different pair, this one completely frameless. Hajime ducks his head into his notebook and manages to scribble down two more sentences before Oikawa taps his foot loudly enough for him to give in and look up again.

With the wireless glasses, he looks distinctly more nerdy, even when he strikes one of his poses and winks at Hajime. 

“You look like I should be taking your lunch money,” Hajime says, biting down on a fond smile. 

“You’re already bullying me all the time, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa complains, checking his reflection again and shaking his head at himself. 

The bell jingles again as an older lady comes in, and the optician leaves them to it with an apologetic smile, hurrying to her side. Oikawa ends up trying out nearly all the frames that are on display, even the ridiculous ones that Hajime is sure he only puts on to get a laugh out of him, and very nearly ends Hajime in the process.

With glasses, Oikawa looks less like a weapon and more honest, softer, kinder, or more refined by turns. The sight whittles away at Hajime’s defenses until he’s left giving away snatches of a truth he didn’t mean to share. 

Which is how, when Oikawa turns to him sporting a half-frame model, the angular upper rim giving him more of a serious look while the rounded edge of the glasses beneath his eyes adds something playful, he finds himself saying, “That one brings out your cheekbones,” and promptly wishing he could somehow take it back.

Oikawa, whose personality has not miraculously been cured by the addition of a pair of glasses, pounces immediately. 

“Oh, Iwa-chan? You think about my cheekbones?” he prods, plopping down next to him and bringing his face in close. “Tell me more! Do you think I have a pretty face? You know, it wouldn’t hurt you to compliment me more, it leaves me all parched for validation and I have to resort to asking other people!”

Hajime drags a hand through the stiff spikes of his hair. “I will literally stab you in the eye with that tiny anchor from the display if you don’t shut up right now.”

Oikawa sticks out his lower lip, glasses sliding down his nose until he’s looking at Hajime over the rim. It should look ridiculous, but unfortunately doesn’t. “You know,” he says, sounding a little hurt, “After a week like that, I could really use a compliment. Don’t you think so?”

“I’ve had the same week,” Hajime snaps. Oikawa doesn’t let up on the pout until Hajime finally adds, “Your face almost makes up for your personality. Is that what you wanted to hear?”

Embarrassed, he immediately looks down at his essay again, rereading his last sentence and deciding that it doesn’t make enough sense even for a half-hearted attempt. He crosses it out, pen almost poking through the paper. 

“Alright, I’ll graciously ignore the insult, because I am easygoing as well as beautiful, and since I am also magnanimous, I’ll even add a compliment of my own! After all, you had the same week as I did, as you pointed out,” Oikawa drawls, still close enough for Hajime to feel his breath on his cheek as he desperately tries to come up with a sentence that makes more sense. Oikawa, impossibly, gets even closer, like he’s about to tell him some kind of secret, and pitches his voice low to match.

“That thing you have where you get really protective of your friends is cute. Misguided, but cute.”

Hajime abruptly sits up, staring straight ahead and accidentally catching the eye of the optician, who must see something like despair in his expression and immediately swoops in.

“Oh! These look very good on you. Very flattering, a good choice!” 

Oikawa jerks back in surprise, hands flying up to the temples of his glasses as if he’s only just remembering he’s wearing them. Hajime busies himself packing away his notebook, but he thinks he can spot a blush on Oikawa’s cheeks when he looks back up to where he’s negotiating the details of his order with Ms Shimada.

*

 

Only when he turns into his home street does Hajime think to question why Oikawa chose him of all people to go pick out glasses with. Oikawa knows he hates shopping, he was there when Hajime was told to hand in his essay tomorrow, and he constantly teases Hajime for his lack of fashion sense. He could have asked literally anyone else - anyone from Akiyama’s friend group, his mother, his sister - and gotten better advice with less effort. 

But he didn’t. He asked Hajime, even after spending the better part of the week with him by circumstance, even though he’s going to sleep over at Hajime’s place tomorrow. He asked him for his opinion, and then he picked a pair of glasses Hajime told him he thought made him look good.

He told him he likes it when Hajime gets protective with only the barest hint of a prompt.

Hajime knows his mother was right when she said that it’s not a good thing Oikawa is relying on him so much, but a guilty little part of his brain still feels good at the realization. He smothers a stupid little smile in his fist, and fishes out his keys to let himself in.