During his time at Karasuno High School, Kageyama Tobio made a startling amount of self discoveries.
He learned that he actually enjoyed playing with his teammates, and that they weren't so bad outside of volleyball either. He learned that Tsukishima frequently baked, and that Yamaguchi dreaded ordering at restaurants. When they weren't pissing him off, Kageyama would even call them his friends.
He learned that he was hopelessly in love with Hinata Shoyo, a realization that caused him to skip volleyball practice for three days before he could come face to face with Shoyo again. He learned that love felt best when reciprocated (a shocking realization in itself), and that he was lucky enough for Shoyo to love him back.
Finally, Kageyama Tobio learned that being alone; on the court, in life; was not all that he thought it to be. He learned that the best way to move forward, the best way to keep climbing to the top, the best way to be invincible, was with another person right beside him.
Tobio realized he was in love with Hinata during an unassuming practice in second year. It was like any other day: they had morning practice, went to classes, ate lunch, went to more classes, had afternoon practice, and walked home together. Tobio can pinpoint the exact moment his brain caught up with his heart.
He made a toss to Hinata, one for a new quick they were perfecting. It had worked a few times, but Tobio wasn't confident enough to try it in a match yet. This toss, however, was perfect. Tobio rarely applied the term to his sets or serves, because they could always be improved, but this one truly was impeccable. He watched, seemingly in slow motion, as Hinata jumped, arm back to prepare for the spike, with his knees bent. The sunlight filtering in through the windows cast Hinata in a golden light that Tobio couldn't take his eyes from. The entire gym seemed to go quiet. The ball curved towards him, and Tobio watched as Hinata's eyes brightened before he sent the ball to the other side with a powerful swing of his arm. All Tobio could hear was the squeak of Hinata's shoes landing on the hardwood floor, and then all of the chaos and mayhem of practice was back. Hinata turned towards him, smile as bright as the sun, and Tobio felt an ache in his chest.
He bolted out the door, not even bothering to change out of his practice clothes, and didn't stop until he was home.
He was so fucked.
After his three day absence, Tobio returned on a Friday, knowing that if everything went to hell, he would at least have the weekend to get his shit together, change his name, and move to another country. That fact carried him through an awkward morning practice spent avoiding the eyes of his teammates and avoiding Hinata altogether. His stress induced solitude lasted him until lunch, when Hinata bounded up to him like a tornado of energy at their normal lunch spot.
Tobio was pissed that he didn't think of moving to a different spot for lunch.
"Have you been sick? You didn't answer any of my texts or my calls, so it must have been really bad. Are you okay? Were you in the hospital? Did someone die?" Hinata's questions were endless and exhausting, but Tobio knew this couldn't be avoided.
"No, I haven't been sick. I'm sorry I didn't answer my phone, I didn't answer anyone. I'm fine. I wasn't in the hospital. Nobody died."
Hinata cocked his head to the side like a puppy. "Why were you gone for three days, then?"
Tobio sighed. He wasn't really sure how to answer. "I just wanted to stay home for awhile."
"Liar! You ran out of practice and then went MIA on me for three days! Something was wrong!"
Damn Hinata and his stupid conclusions. "I don't know, I just didn't feel good."
"But you said you weren't sick."
"Shut up, dumbass! Why are you so worried about it anyway?"
"Well, I missed y-, your tosses. You weren't here and so I missed your tosses. Yeah. That's the only reason." A slight blush had risen to Hinata's cheeks, making Tobio smirk.
Sure, that was the only reason.
Just because his feelings were all fucked up didn't mean he couldn't make fun of Hinata's.
"You missed me."
"No! No way, Baka-yama! I just missed your tosses! I would never miss you!"
Ouch. That one kinda hurt. Oh well. Tobio would win this one.
"And that's why you're blushing? 'Cause you missed just my tosses, nothing else?"
"Shut it, Shitty-yama! I just said-"
"Oh, I know what you said, but you're lying. I can tell. You missed me."
"Fine! You want to know the truth? I'll tell you the truth!" Hinata's cheeks were so red, Tobio knew that whatever he said next was going to be perfect blackmail material in the future. "The truth is I did miss you!"
Hinata was now shouting loud enough for the whole courtyard to hear. Tobio couldn't be bothered to shut him up. At least he was admitting it. He waited for Hinata to continue.
"I missed you! A lot! Not just your tosses, but everything! I even missed you yelling at me! You're my best friend, and you didn't answer any of my calls or texts, or anyone's calls or texts, and I was worried! You ran out of practice after we finally got the quick and you disappeared! So yeah, I missed you, because I love you!" Hinata quickly slapped his hands over his mouth, and Tobio's jaw dropped. Surely, Hinata didn't mean that. It probably just slipped out.
"I love you, Kageyama. I didn't mean to tell you like this but obviously I can't take it back. I was gonna confess and everything! And it's fine if you don't like me back or anything, I've never even heard you talk about-"
"Shut up, dumbass. Of course I love you back." Now it was Tobio's turn to blush. He was sure his cheeks were a dark shade of scarlet and that the entire courtyard was watching them with baited breath. He grabbed Hinata's wrist to pull him around the building, not stopping until they made it to the clubroom. Hinata protested the whole way.
"Shut up, Hinata! I'm going to the clubroom, everyone was watching us."
Tobio pulled the door open and sat on one of the benches. Hinata stayed by the door, eyes wandering. Tobio could tell he was anxious.
"So, we like each other. Are we dating now?" Hinata's cheeks went red again.
"You can't just say things like that, Kage-" Tobio stood up suddenly and caged Hinata against the wall.
"Just answer the question."
Tobio pulled back. "Okay."
"What do you mean that's it? What else do you want me to say?"
"Well, you could-" Hinata looked away and the blush appeared once again. Or maybe it had never left. "You could kiss me."
"Stop saying that!"
"Well what do you want me to say inst-"
Tobio's words were cut short by Hinata grabbing his tie and pressing his lips to Tobio's. Shoyo's lips were cool and soft against his own. Tobio brought his hands to Hinata's hair, gently running his fingers through the soft orange locks.
It was sloppy and unskilled, but in the moment, Tobio had never experienced anything that felt so right.
Afternoon practice was perfect, with both of them perfectly in sync with the other.
Tobio had never really thought much about love. It seemed to be something that he could push to the background and reevaluate when he wasn't so busy with volleyball. His mother and father divorced when he was young, and his sister was constantly telling him about the unsuccessful Tinder dates and immature college boys she went out with. He didn't think love was necessary, just something that would be nice if he happened to stumble upon it.
He was wrong. Being in love with Shoyo taught him that while love wasn't necessary, it made life a hell of a lot better. He would almost consider it as essential as sleeping or breathing now. Loving Shoyo was easy, loving his best friend was easy.
Having someone to share life with was something Tobio never once considered in all of his thoughts about love, but it was by far the best part. They still bickered, but Tobio thought that was part of what made them special. They shared a passion for volleyball and each other, there were bound to be small disagreements.
Love was simple and beautiful, and once he experienced it, Tobio never wanted to let go.