It’s around 5:37 AM that Tooru decides trying to sleep without being blackout drunk isn’t going to happen.
He pushes the alien print blankets off of his body, making a mental note to change them later – given how shitty the day has already been, he knew he would be coming home with a companion for the night. He grabs whatever clothes are in his vicinity and he crinkles his nose a bit when he notices they smell kind of weird. He shrugs and pulls them on anyway, making his way to the kitchen to find alcohol to poison himself with. When he reaches his liquor cabinet, he heaves a heavy sigh at the dog curled up in front of it, the Pomeranian’s eyes glinting dangerously.
“Kaiju, shoo,” he crosses his arms, attempting to look threatening, “I am so not in the mood to fight right now.”
Kaiju growls at Tooru and stands up to appear bigger. He begins barking and Tooru covers his ears, groaning. “Oh my god, fine! I won’t drink, fuck.” He didn’t know if Kaiju was just defending what was his sleep spot for the night, or if he did, somehow, know about Tooru’s alcoholic tendencies, but he did not want to deal with it at 5:30 in the morning.
He stumbles around the house for a bit, looking for something to do. The only thing on TV at this hour is infomercials and the news, so that’s ruled out. The house is clean – well, save for laundry, but he doesn’t want to do that. There’s no food to eat, either. After about 10 minutes of mulling around, Tooru decides he’ll take Kaiju for a walk and a bite to eat.
Once Tooru grabs the leash, Kaiju is, of course, perfectly obedient, lining himself up by the door and sitting down, peering up at his owner with beady, innocent eyes.
“I don’t know who you’re trying to fool, dog.” He says, attaching the leash after pulling on a pair of worn sneakers and a ratty hoody he’s had for as long as he can remember. Kaiju snorts excitedly as he reaches for the door and he remembers why he keeps the thing. The little demon is cute as fuck.
Tooru is glad he put on the hoody as he steps into the surprisingly cool spring morning, the wind blowing his bed-tousled hair away from his face. He didn’t bother fixing his hair as it was still dark outside, and he wasn’t going to pick anyone up at this hour. Plus the only people out at this time were joggers. He used to be one of those people, he muses, staring up at the slowly brightening sky, but is pulled out of his thoughts as Kaiju begins peeing on someone’s petunias.
The air smells surprisingly clean for being in the city, which is one of the things Tooru likes about the morning. He wishes he were more of a morning person, but people his age rarely were. He only knew one person his age who likes mornings and – his heart clenches painfully as he quickly aborts that thought. Today, of all days, to think about something like that…
Kaiju stops walking, suddenly, pulling Tooru out of his thoughts. The Pomeranian sniffs the air and so does Tooru, smelling the food of a nearby café. Without warning, Kaiju begins yapping loudly, running in circles around Tooru’s legs.
“W-What is your problem?” He demands, struggling to keep himself from getting wrapped up in the leash, but Kaiju’s speed outmatches him, and eventually the dog gives up on trying to get Tooru to do what he wants and pulls himself free of the collar that once held him.
“Kaiju, wait!” Tooru yells. He tries to unwrap the leash from around his legs while trying to keep an eye on his quickly escaping pooch.
Kaiju runs into a nearby alleyway, and Tooru figures he saw a cat or something and went to chase it. He lightly jogs over to the mouth of the alleyway, stopping dead in his tracks when he sees Kaiju excitedly licking the face of a laughing man. The alleyway is dark but Tooru doesn’t need to see to recognize the voice. He would know that voice anywhere.
Because Kaiju is currently on the lap of Iwaizumi Hajime.
Immediately, it feels like someone lit his blood on fire and relocated his heart to his lungs, because he can’t breathe and the once cool air feels like a blazing inferno.
“Oikawa.” He says Tooru’s name like it’s his last breath, like someone just punched the wind out of his body. Tooru knows how he feels.
Almost on instinct, Tooru wants to call him ‘Hajime’ but thinks better of it halfway through and so it comes out as “Hajiwa-chan.”
They don’t break eye-contact, even as Iwaizumi stands with Kaiju in his arms, dropping the trash bag he held with his other hand. “Wow, haven’t seen that hoodie in a while.” He remarks.
Tooru looks down dumbly to the hoodie he’s wearing and is suddenly very aware of how run down he looks with his sweatpants and sneakers, both of them threadbare and worn. And, oh god, his hair isn’t even styled, it probably looks like shit. He self-consciously runs a hand through his brown locks, smiling nervously. “Yeah.”
It’s silent as Iwaizumi scratches Kaiju behind the ears, squinting a little at Tooru. “What a coincidence, huh?”
The unspoken ‘what a coincidence we’re meeting on our anniversary’ rings even louder in Tooru’s ears than if Iwaizumi had said it aloud. “Sure is.” He says awkwardly, his heart throbbing painfully in his chest for every millisecond of awkward silence they have between them. “I thought you moved out of town?”
Iwaizumi nods, adjusting Kaiju in his grasp so that he’s holding him in one arm and grabbing at the trash bag beside him. “Yeah, it was, uh, family business. I moved back about 7 months ago.”
“You never told me.” Shit, shit, shit, he didn’t mean to say that. Tooru wishes he could grab the words from the air in between them before they reach Iwaizumi’s ears.
He looks a bit shocked, but recovers quickly. “Sorry,” he offers, the tension between them strengthening even so. “Listen, Oikawa, I gotta get back to work.” he walks to Tooru and they make an awkward trade-off for Kaiju.
His arms are still strong and tan. He smells the same. For a second, Tooru wonders if it would be weird if he just closed his eyes and pretended like they were still close. But just as quickly as he came, Iwaizumi backs off and throws the large bag into the dumpster.
“I’ll see you around,” he says before entering the door beside him, “Tooru.”
Tooru is so flustered that his words fail him. He just bows his head quickly, and when he looks back up, Iwaizumi is gone.
“I still can’t fuckin’ believe you met Iwaizumi again and you didn’t fuckin’ tell me immediately!” Kuroo gushes, almost knocking over his shake, which Kenma coolly pushes back to a safe distance without looking up from his phone.
Tooru grunts into his cheeseburger. “I believe my silence was totally justified! You can’t blame me.” He says, mouth full of food.
“I sure as hell can blame you! You’ve been moping around for what? 2 years? And now the object of your affections for practically your entire life is back and you’re not gonna do anything?” Kuroo shakes his head disbelievingly. “Kenma can you believe this?”
Kenma’s attention is glued to his game, but he lets out a small noise of affirmation, almost drowned out from the music of Love Live playing from the speakers.
Kuroo swivels his head back to Tooru. “See, Kenma can’t believe it either!”
“Whatever! I’m not doing anything because we broke up for a reason. It’s over between us.” The words hurt, but he knows they’re true.
“Okay, sure, the relationship part is over, but you guys have been best friends your entire lives. Surely that means something. Plus, it’s obvious you miss the hell out of him.”
“When have I ever said I miss him? I’m fine with what I have now.” Tooru says.
“Oikawa Tooru, I don’t care about what people think about you, but you are not the kind of guy who likes sleeping around with strangers. You’re the kind of guy who likes sleeping around with Iwaizumi. And sure, you haven’t said that you miss him – out loud – but there’s no way you haven’t thought about it.” Kuroo retorts, sipping his shake with finality.
“Kuroo, stop.” Kenma whispers with some warning to his voice, and Kuroo immediately deflates and leans back in his seat, face apprehensive.
It was too late, however, as Tooru’s face screws up. He grabs his things and slides out of the booth, stopping only to drop a few bills on the table. “I’ll see you guys later.” He grumbles, storming out of the restaurant and into the rain.
“I don’t know why you keep pushing him.” Kenma says.
Tooru goes directly to the club he frequents on days like this. The dirty hole-in-the-wall establishment in the shady part of the city perfectly represents his heart at this moment and so he makes the decision to spend the rest of the evening there until he finds someone to take home and fuck him senseless.
The club is usually thriving at this time of day – full of people getting off of work and seeking release from their busy schedules. When he arrives and sits down at the crowded bar, it’s not long until someone is buying him a drink. He’s delighted to find a companion this quickly, and is about to turn around and suggest to the stranger that they find somewhere more quiet to be when someone catches his eye and makes him double-take.
There’s a man with tan skin, dark hair, and large arms that reminds Tooru’s helpless heart of someone he doesn’t want to think about. His staring alerts the man, who nods at him from across the bar. He nods back and gives the stranger beside him a pat on the back.
“Thanks for the drink,” he mumbles, walking determinedly towards the man across the bar. He sits beside him, crossing his legs elegantly. “What’s your name?”
The man smirks at him confidently, eyelids shading his dark blue eyes. Tooru can’t help but think that it's the wrong color. “Iwasaki.”
Tooru feels like fate mocking him at this point, and he fights the urge to let out a frustrated scream. “I’m Oikawa.” He says, regardless, allowing his hand to crawl up Iwasaki’s bicep.
Iwasaki’s smirk grows wider as he stands up, leading Tooru out of the club. They call a cab but the ride to Tooru’s apartment is a blur as they make out in the backseat, bodies meshing so tightly that it would be impossible to discern which body parts belong to whom.
When they reach his apartment, Tooru thanks his past self for locking Kaiju, who is growling viciously at the intruder, up in advance.
Iwasaki looks and feels apprehensive as Tooru remembers belatedly that most people do not automatically block out the sound of small dogs yapping. “I, uh, don’t like dogs.” Iwasaki says by way of explanation which makes Tooru not like him a little. But instead of fighting Iwasaki on the greatness of dogs, he relocates them to his room, where they continue their proceedings.
Tooru hates that he has to repeat in his head, like a mantra, not to cry out the wrong name as he imagines someone else taking him.
It isn’t until one week later that Tooru admits it.
He’s sitting around his apartment, watching The Fifth Element and petting Kaiju with one hand, nursing wine in a coffee mug with the other. It’s horribly reminiscent of the weekend back in their 3rd year at Aoba-Johsai where he and Iwaizumi are cuddled up together, Kaiju on his lap. Except instead of room-temperature wine, there’s hot chocolate – specially made by Iwaizumi – warming their bellies and their smiles.
It’s then that the silent tears drip down his face slowly as the TV in front of him begins to get blurry.
“I miss Hajime.” He says aloud, to no one, small, drunken sobs escaping his trembling lips.
When he calms down and sobers up, he sends Kuroo a selfie of himself looking pissed with the caption ‘come help me decide what to wear when i go see iwa-chan’.
He gets one in return, depicting a blurry Kuroo and a slightly shocked Kenma captioned ‘FUCK YEAH BOI’.
“Okay, Oikawa, what’s the mission for today?”
“Urgh, I don’t know! I didn’t sign up for this.” Tooru whines and pulls at his hair, but taking special care not to actually mess it up.
Kuroo tsks impatiently, somehow reminiscent of any PTA mom ever. “Repeat after me: ‘I will talk to Iwaizumi and find out if he’s still single.’”
“I’m not saying anything. Kenma, tell Kuroo he can’t make me do anything.”
“Kenma, tell Oikawa I’m trying to get him to do what’s best for him.”
“Kenma, tell Kuroo that I am an adult and that I can think for myself.”
“Kenma, tell Oikawa that his big boy panties got revoked when he decided to mope for 2 years.”
“Kenma, where are you going-“
“Kenma, you can’t run forever-“
“I can’t believe he left.”
The sky is a deep orange when Tooru reaches the back alley where he last saw Iwaizumi. He feels like a small hummingbird his trying to escape out of his chest. Belatedly, he realizes he should have brought Kaiju, as if the small demon spawn could somehow bridge the awkward gap that formed between the two men.
Making note of the numbers painted on the door that Iwaizumi had entered, Tooru walks around to the front of the strip mall. He’s shocked to see that the corresponding building was actually a rather quaint looking café that has a disproportionately long line leading out of it. Immediately he recognizes the café as a new up-and-coming restaurant that he had read about in a magazine. He never knew he lived so close to it; he would have tried it if he had known. And more surprisingly, Iwaizumi is working here?
Tooru uses his height advantage to look over the line of people. He eyes lock on Iwaizumi immediately and a dopey smile finds its way to his face. The man is walking fast, winding his way in between people with a tray of food balanced in his hand. Even from here, Tooru can see the sweat lining his forehead. He was always such a hard worker, Tooru muses.
“Hey, you trying to cut?” A voice asks from in front of Tooru, knocking him out of his Iwaizumi-induced trance. “Because we’ve been here for an hour and a half and you obviously just got here.” It’s a teenager, he notices, backed up by several others of their kind. He sneers at them childishly but backs off, making his way to the end of the line a couple of doors down.
Within 10 minutes he’s already tired of waiting. The line didn’t seem to be moving at all and he’s hungry. He wishes he was at least toward the front where he would have Iwaizumi to look at. The line finally moves slightly around the 30 minute mark, and he envies that group of teenagers at the beginning of line. His feet hurt, but he refuses to admit his expensive designer shoes are anything but the height of comfort.
At one hour, Tooru finally reaches the windows of the café. Any sensible person would have left by now, his common sense tells him, but he brushes it off when he sees Iwaizumi. He’s still working as steadfastly as when Tooru had seen him earlier. It warms his heart to see him after all of these years, the initial shock leaving his body and the pure adoration taking its place. The surprising warmth in his body relaxes him and he takes a seat on the recently emptied bench, crossing his arms and leaning his head back against the window.
Did he…did he fall asleep?
That wakes him up.
“Wuh!” He exclaims intelligently. His eyes adjust in the darkness – when had the sky gotten so black? - and focus on Iwaizumi’s face.
“As ugly a sleeper as ever.” He says, his arms crossed and his foot tapping on the ground. “Some things never change, I suppose.”
Tooru squawks indignantly, “I’ll have you know I am a beautiful sleeper. Always have been.”
“Yeah, tell that to someone who hasn’t shared a bed with you before.” He smirks, but then a car driving up behind them catches his eye. “That’s my ride.” He says, lifting a hand in goodbye.
Tooru’s disappointed that he’s leaving so fast after they finally get to talk a bit but he just waves back. Once Iwaizumi touches the door handle of the car, however, Tooru works up the courage to call for him. “Wait!”
He turns around, an eyebrow raised inquisitively, customary frown on his face. “What?” He calls back.
“Uh…” He stands up and walks a little closer to Iwaizumi. “Did you change your number?”
One of the corners of Iwaizumi’s mouth softens a bit. “No, I haven’t.” His voice is more gentle than usual and it makes the hummingbird in Tooru’s chest return. He waves goodbye again as Iwaizumi gets in the car, letting his hand fall only when the vehicle is out of sight.
He figures he should consider this a wasted evening, having spent most of it outside of a building, but seeing Iwaizumi – even for a little bit – made him feel better. Didn’t make his stomach feel any emptier, though, Tooru thinks as he ponders what to eat for dinner.
He picks up a frozen dinner from the convenience store next to his apartment and some more dog food for Kaiju. By the time he gets home, his body fully registers how tired and hungry he is. He makes sure to feed Kaiju first, even if the dog is yapping at him so loudly that Tooru feels like he has a hangover. When he sits down with his food, he pulls out his phone and contemplates it, before his brain makes decisions without his permission and suddenly he’s going through his contacts and highlighting Iwaizumi’s contact information.
He used to hate himself for never deleting it, but now it remains as a reminder of the past 2 years and how much he’s suppressed his emotions of the entire ordeal. They’ve had an entire 2 years of absolutely no contact and Tooru feels the same, if not stronger for his childhood friend. But he loves how easily they fell back into their rhythm for that short conversation – even if Iwaizumi was mostly responsible for that. Tooru used to pride himself in his conversational skills, but the separation from Iwaizumi changed him terribly.
Kaiju jumps onto his lap, bringing him back to the present. The dog seemed perceptive, at some points, even though Tooru knew he just wanted to catch any food that Tooru dropped while eating.
In the end, he sets his phone down, leaning back, closing his eyes, and letting Kaiju eat the rest of his cold beef and broccoli.
Eventually – and of his own volition, definitely not at Kuroo’s insistence, may he add – he calls Iwaizumi. He tries not to be nervous as the phone rings, remembering how easy being with him was the other day. It was only natural – they had spent most of their lives together, 2 years was nothing.
Except it was something.
Tooru has the misfortune to let out a frustrated yell right as Iwaizumi picks up the phone.
“If anyone should be yelling, it’s me. You woke me up, you bastard.”
His heart sinks, but he soldiers on. C’mon, Tooru, you’ve been yelled at by Iwa-chan before. This is nothing. “Iwa-chan, so uncivilized! I call you for a friendly chat and you call me a bastard, tsk tsk. Also why are you asleep at 11 am? So rare for you.”
Iwaizumi laughs, but it’s a little bitter. “Not lately, no. Been having to work more shifts at work.”
Tooru frowns at that, but doesn’t push it. Apparently he’s silent for too long, and Iwaizumi sounds a little impatient. “What did you want?”
“Oh, uh,” the straightforward question catches him off guard and he struggles to hold onto his wits. “I was actually wondering if you would like to grab a bite to eat. Maybe catch up a little…?”
This time there’s silence on the other end and Tooru’s fight or flight begins to kick in, ready to retract his statement.
“…Are you free right now? We could get lunch.”
“Yes! I mean, yeah, yeah I’m free.” He doesn’t think his heartbeat could go any faster at this point.
“Do you still live…”
“Yeah, same place. Do you want to…come over? And, I don’t know, see Kaiju? Then we could go together. For lunch.” He’s sweating bullets as he wishes he could just tease Iwaizumi like he used to, but he doesn’t want to mess this up.
“Sure, that’d be great. I can be there in an hour?” He sounds far more awake now, and Tooru wants to believe that’s happiness he hears in his voice.
“See you then, Iwa-chan!”
The instant Tooru hangs up, he panics. Oh god I need to shower, the house is a mess, I have nothing to drink, Kaiju needs a bath too, oh my god what should I wear? He cleans the house first, collecting the laundry and dirty dishes strewn everywhere, then he scoops up Kaiju – who begins growling – and rushes them both into the shower. The Pomeranian surprisingly doesn’t fight it and Tooru seriously wonders if Kaiju knows Iwaizumi is coming.
He wraps them both in towels when they’re done and he sits down and blow-dries both of their hair. Kaiju barks at the blow-dryer as Tooru chases him around the bathroom with it, and he can’t help but laugh. The dog’s yappy barks calm him down a bit and he giggles at Kaiju’s poofy little body. Finally, he opens the door, letting the excited dog out so Tooru can groom himself.
When he gets to his closet, it’s then that he reaches his conundrum. What should he wear? He wants to look nice, but Iwaizumi would know if he was trying too hard.
He doesn’t get the opportunity to think about it any longer when there’s a knock on the door and Kaiju explodes into noise. Shit, why is he early, shit! Tooru panics and grabs the first thing he sees in his closet and pulls it on. “Coming!” He calls, rushing to the door and pulling it open, but immediately turning on his heel and rushing back to his room. “I’m indecent!”
“I literally just fucking saw you, you look fine.” A voice yells back, but it’s tinged with amusement.
Tooru thanks the gods that he has a mirror in his room, and that his bag has his makeup because there’s no way he’s going to let Iwaizumi see him with anything less than perfection, not when he’s trying to woo him. He goes back through his closet and quickly, carefully, picks out the clothes he will wear. He pulls them on in record time, and then rushes to the vanity. He pulls the foundation out of his bag and swipes it on his face quickly, making sure to get the bags under his eyes. He dusts his face with several other products and then steps back to ensure the flawlessness of his visage. He figures that that’s as good as it will get with so little time, then grabs his things and walks out into the hallway.
He hears laughter, and is welcomed to a beautiful sight in his living room.
Iwaizumi is laying on his back on Tooru’s couch, Kaiju standing on his chest, excitedly licking his face, tail wagging so furiously that Tooru fears he might take off into some sort of canine-helicopter flight. Nonetheless, Iwaizumi is laughing. The sound brings back memories of their childhood, the kind of honey-soaked summer memories that end with cicada-catching and staring up at skylight filtered by trees.
He’s pulled out of his reverie when the laughter stops, and Iwaizumi is sat up, staring questioningly at Tooru. “What are you staring at?”
“Wow, I forgot how ugly Iwa-chan looks when he’s laughing.” Dammit! Tooru, you’re supposed to be wooing! This isn’t wooing!
Iwaizumi gets up and sets Kaiju carefully on the couch. “I forgot how ugly you look in general.” He sneers, “Distance makes the heart fonder, I guess.”
Tooru shakes his head and leads them to his door. “Don’t be jealous, Iwa-chan. Not everyone is born perfect, I’m just a rare beauty.” He shakes his head wistfully as he locks the door. “Sadly, I have the misfortune of being subject to such bouts of envy, like the one you always have in my presence.”
Iwaizumi guffaws and roughly pats Tooru on the shoulder. “Yeah, keep telling yourself that buddy.”
“Hmph!” Tooru pouts, but lets Iwaizumi win this round. “Where are we going to eat, anyway?”
“Anywhere but that godforsaken café. I’m there more often than I am at my own apartment.” He complains, falling into step beside Tooru. “To be honest, I could really go for breakfast food, since I’m never really awake or free at that time to eat it, anymore.”
Tooru feels bad for him. He’d always loved breakfast, especially as they got older. What caused such a change in lifestyle? “Mm, I think we have a good breakfast diner a few blocks from here?” He pulls out his phone and finds directions, memorizing them as Iwaizumi continues to talk.
“Been low on money, so I’ve had to work double shifts, closing, overtime, you name it. It’s worth it though. I do love food on my plate.” He stretches his arms back and grunts a little. “Could use a nap.”
Guilt piles up in Tooru’s stomach. “Sorry for waking you.” He says, probably more serious than the situation called for.
Iwaizumi shrugs, then puts his hands in his pockets, a familiar habit that Tooru recognizes from when he becomes embarrassed. “S’fine.”
The awkwardness is back, like the ease of conversation and playful banter decided to elope and leave the men. It’s silent, painfully so, until they get to the diner. When they enter, Tooru notices a few gruff guys sitting at the bar, but not many other people. As Iwaizumi picks a booth on the other side of the restaurant, Tooru can’t help but feel a certain intimacy form, like there’s a curtain around them, blocking them from the other people in the restaurant. He feels his body heat up a bit and he hopes to god he’s not blushing. It’s only after the bored sounding waitress gets their drink orders that the silence between them is broken.
“You still drink your coffee completely black.” Tooru notes, sticking his tongue out in disgust.
Iwaizumi laughs, “Remember when you thought my coffee was your hot chocolate that one time? Your face was so funny.”
Tooru’s nose wrinkles, “Wow, way to bring up a repressed memory.”
Iwaizumi laughs even harder and all of the awkwardness floods out of the room.
“So,” Tooru begins, leaning forward a little, “what has the elusive Iwa-chan been up to since,” he chokes a bit here, “since we last spoke?”
“Well,” Iwaizumi begins, looking a bit grim, “After, y’know, I just kind of stayed with my mom a bit. I kept her company, which is why we were together when we heard the news.” He pauses here, sipping his black sludge. “My father died.”
What? “Oh my god,” Tooru reaches across the table and grabs Iwaizumi’s hand. He doesn’t know what to say.
“You know I don’t care about the bastard, but mom did. And the support money he was sending us was cut off. With all her medication, and the house payments…” He pauses again, but is still. He’s staring at their joined hands. “I dropped out of college, and I got us out of there. My mom was pissed, of course, but I couldn’t let her go back to before. I’ve had a lot of jobs since then, but this café one has been good. Allowed me to move back here.” He sighs, and then pulls his hand out of Tooru’s grasp. “That’s basically what my life has been like since then. And wipe that look off your face, it’s not that bad. Just a little more work.”
Tooru can’t believe he forgot how strong Iwaizumi is. To go through all of that… “You went through all of that alone.”
Iwaizumi shrugs, fiddles with a sugar packet. “I had my mom, and a few other people.”
Wait, wait, wait. “Have you…been with anyone? Since – y’know?”
“Er, yeah. Just one. I’m, uh.” He gulps visibly. “Still with them.”
Tooru shouldn’t be surprised, but he is. “Oh. Well that’s,” His fingers knot up in his pants. “That’s good. That you had someone. To help you through stuff.”
“Yeah, she’s the one who helped me land the job.”
“She?” Hold the fuck up. Tooru explicitly remembers a conversation they had in 3rd year, where Iwaizumi had confessed he only liked men and Tooru had said he was down with anyone. “You’re gay.”
Iwaizumi shrugs – he sure is doing a lot of shrugging these days – continuing to fiddle with the sugar packet. “Things change. Anyway,” he begins, but is interrupted by their food being brought out.
Anyway?! He drops several devastating, very dramatic bombs on Tooru’s sanity and he says “anyway”?! Okay, calm down Tooru, Iwa-chan is being very calm about this. Maybe this is one of those situations where you’re overreacting again? Yeah. That’s it.
“Anyway,” He says again once the waitress leaves, “Shimizu-san and I became fast friends, eventually dating. She insisted on helping with some financial burden, so she got me a job at her father’s café and paid for a place for us to stay. My mom refused, and she got a place of her own in the suburbs. Of course I fought Shimizu-san tooth and nail about it too, but I know when I need help. Doesn’t mean I won’t try and pay all of the money back when I get a stable job.” His smile becomes gentle here, and Tooru has never wanted to not see that look on his face before this moment. “Shimizu-san has helped so much.”
“That’s,” Tooru’s appetite is gone, this food is useless, what’s the point, “That’s great!”
Tooru and Iwaizumi turn their heads to the entrance, and there’s a surprised looking woman standing in the doorway. She’s got a head of silky looking blonde hair, that still somehow manages to look a little messy, and a rather adorable skirt on. This must be Iwaizumi’s new girlfriend. She’s cute, goddammit.
“Yachi!” Iwaizumi is up in an instant, pulling ‘Yachi’ into a large hug that has her little legs dangling a bit.
She’s giggling – and wait, did he say “Yachi”? Not Shimizu-san?
“Iwaizumi-san, I haven’t seen you in so long.” She says as Iwaizumi sets her back down. What’s with him and his affinity for small beings? Tooru adjusts his long limbs self-consciously.
“We saw each other the other day.” He informs, but there’s a soft smirk on his face.
She’s flustered now, eyes on the ground. “Err, you’re right. Oops.” When she looks back up, her eyes lock with Tooru’s. “Is that…?”
“Oh, right, yeah. That’s Oikawa Tooru.” Iwaizumi says, walking them over to where Tooru was sitting.
He flashes a grin, the one reserved for strangers. “That’s me. And what is your name?”
She bows quickly, narrowly missing hitting her head on the corner of the table. “I’m Yachi Hitoka. Pleased to meet you!”
“You don’t have to be pleased to meet him. He’s pretty unpleasant once you talk to him for more than 10 seconds.” Iwaizumi sits down, and motions for Yachi to do the same. “She works for Shimizu-san as a live-in maid at her house.”
Yachi laughs nervously, “I, uh, I’ve heard a lot about you, Oikawa-san.”
Tooru fixes her with The Look. “I would have loved to hear a lot about you, Hito-chan.” She giggles nervously even more.
Iwaizumi looks ready to admonish him, but Yachi beats him to it, quickly changing the subject. “Oh, Iwaizumi-san, Kiyoko-chan was wondering if you could come over for dinner today.”
He nods. “Yeah, of course.”
“Oh, that’s great! I’ll make agedashi tofu, then.”
“I have no complaints.”
Tooru stands up. “Sorry, I forgot I have some business to attend to. Thank you for accompanying me during lunch, Iwa-chan!” He collects his things quickly, so the urge to stay doesn’t overpower him.
“What?” Iwaizumi is frowning, the space between his eyebrows creasing. “Okay. I’ll see you, I guess.” Tooru doesn’t know if it’s wishful thinking, but Iwaizumi seems a little forlorn.
“Bye, Hito-chan, Iwa-chan.” He says, and walks out of there as quickly as he can.
The last thing he hears is Yachi saying, in a small, confused voice, “He didn’t even touch his food.”
Tooru doesn’t want to admit it, but finding out that Iwaizumi is in a relationship really messed up his whole idea of their possible future together. But really, why is he surprised? Iwaizumi is a handsome man, it’s completely understandable for him to have someone else. The concept was still so foreign to him, though. They had been together all of their collective life, and Iwaizumi had even told him that he liked him for a large portion of it.
Had Tooru been holding him back, forever filling the place beside him? He feels selfish and disgusting. Iwaizumi doesn’t deserve being held down, but Tooru had been unknowingly doing it for a majority of their lives.
So he’s tentative to force himself back into Iwaizumi’s life. He wouldn’t be able to take his previous pedestal, he’d be doomed to a supporting role. Is that really any better than nothing?
Desperate to find the answer, Tooru doesn’t text or call Iwaizumi for the next week. It’s torture to not respond to his texts, but he doesn’t want to pull him back into a mess.
He tells Kuroo this much, genuinely at a loss.
“Wow. This is truly pitiful,” Kuroo shakes his head, “What happen to the Oikawa I knew in high school? This one’s a baby. It’s like the confidence blew right out of you.”
“Hey, I didn’t come here to get judged. You have to help me.” Tooru whines, pressing his forehead against the table.
“You know that if you come to me for help, you’re gonna get made fun of. It says that on our friend contract.”
He sits up and fixes Kuroo with a glare, then turns to Kenma. “You’re the sensible one; what should I do?”
Kenma glances up from his game, looking slightly uncomfortable from the attention. “Well, you could talk to him.”
Tooru groans loudly, “I want to but I can’t!”
“You heard the man. He has spoken!” Kuroo announces, crossing his arms. “Stop avoiding Iwaizumi. You guys have had almost 3 years apart already. Or did you want the big gap of despair between you two to get any bigger? Because that’s definitely a thing that’s happening.”
“What do I even say?”
“What do you guys normally talk about? You two were friends long before you ever got romantically involved, y’know.”
Tooru cries out and falls back onto his couch. Kuroo just doesn’t get it! “It’s not that easy.” He whines again, covering his face with his hands. He just wants to sleep and forget about all of this. He feels tears of frustration prickle his eyes.
Someone’s pulling his hands from his face, and he’s surprised to see it’s Kenma. “Kuro and I need to leave, but listen to what we said, okay? Whatever you do, your end goal is to talk to Iwaizumi again.” Kenma says, voice soft, and lets go of his wrist. They leave in silence.
The pudding-headed boy didn’t normally get physical with other people, so his words held more weight. He knows he needs to talk to Iwaizumi. But it’s hard.
He covers his face with his arm and lets out a long, suffering sigh. Cuddling the pillow beside him, he allows himself to fall asleep.
He’s awoken not long after by the loud blasting “EYO GG” that makes him spring up in alarm, only to look at his phone buzzing on the floor beside him.
The screen is illuminated to show an old, blurry picture of Iwaizumi smiling next Tooru, who’s pouting. He remembers when he took that picture, Iwaizumi had refused to smile until Tooru had frowned, causing Iwaizumi to smile. Tooru swears he’s some kind of sadist or something.
The phone stops ringing and Tooru panics. “I was supposed to pick that up!” He yells at himself, lunging for the phone and pressing the call back button. He waits nervously as the phone dials the number, clutching the throw pillow to his chest. Iwaizumi picks up almost immediately and Tooru thinks his heart jostles dangerously in his ribcage.
“What made you decide to pick up this time?” He says, straight to the point.
His voice confuses Tooru in that it both calms him down yet makes his heart speed up. Has it always been like that? “Iwa-chan! Some people have lives,” he admonishes playfully, or at least he hopes so.
“Didn’t use to stop you before.” Iwaizumi grouses.
“Uwah, does Iwa-chan miss me?” Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes -
“O-Of course, you shitty asshole,” He sounds embarrassed. “It’s been a long fucking while, you know. There’s a large, trashcan shaped hole in my life now.”
Tooru swears his heart is soaring. “I’m at least a recycle bucket.”
“Let’s call it even at a dumpster.”
“How is that even?!”
“There, that should keep it settled until you can call a plumber.”
“Iwa-chan, you’re so dependable.” Tooru croons from on the couch, hanging over the back to watch Iwaizumi collect the mess around him. “Where would I be without you?”
He lets out a tired sigh. “In a slightly damp house.”
“Thank you, thank you,” Tooru says, all smiles. Why can’t he stop smiling?
“Since I’m here anyway, do you want to come back to Shimizu-san’s with me and have dinner? Yachi’ll be there too.”
And there goes the smile.
Tooru gives a heavy sigh that he hope says “I’m busy but I guess” and smirks. “If you really can’t live without me then I suppose I have no choice but to.”
Iwaizumi curls his lip, “Invite rescinded.”
“No, no, Iwa-chan, I’ll go, I’m sorry!” He whines, standing up on the couch, causing Kaiju to start yapping at him.
“Mm, I don’t know. I think I’ll take Kaiju instead,” Iwaizumi says, picking up the small demon and kissing the top of his head. “He’ll be nicer.”
“He’s a small yappy dog.”
“My point exactly.”
After Tooru gets ready – he takes longer this time because now he has competition – they head out, Kaiju in tow.
The weather is cooler, after all the rain that had been pouring down on the city in the week earlier. The sky is still a dark, gloomy grey, and the wind blows through the newly formed leaves, the chill loosening their hold. Tooru pulls his cardigan closer and shivers.
Suddenly the leash handle is tugged from his hands. He looks over to Iwaizumi, surprised. “What was that for?”
Wordlessly, Iwaizumi offers his arm.
Tooru’s blushing, he must be. He wants to tell the man that this is not platonic, not at all, not when they had done this so many times in the past, but his heart is in his throat. He reaches out and holds onto Iwaizumi’s bicep, the feel of it warm and firm. It brings back memories that he’d really rather not think about while walking to his ex-boyfriend’s girlfriend’s house.
So he just presses his body to Iwaizumi’s side and relishes the everlasting warmth emanating from his form. The walk is a bit long, compared to Tooru’s usual walks, but he doesn’t complain. It gives him a chance to be near Iwaizumi, the closest he’s been to him in a long time. That little hummingbird is back in his chest, beating rapidly, and he struggles to remember if this was how it felt being in love with Iwaizumi the first time. It’s hard to focus when they’re walking so in sync with each other. His mind is so clear yet so fogged, so calm yet so hectic. This kind of unrequited love was one Tooru had never felt before. Before, there was no one in his way.
“What are you looking so constipated about?”
Tooru jumps and pulls away from Iwaizumi’s arm, feeling somehow guilty. “Can’t remember if I locked the door,” He lies.
Iwaizumi raises a brow, “You did.”
It’s silent after that. Tooru mourns the loss of Iwaizumi’s warmth and barely conceals a shiver.
“Here.” Iwaizumi is holding out his jacket, face stubborn.
“So gentlemanly!” Tooru teases, and Iwaizumi immediately shoves a hand into his pocket.
When they reach Shimizu’s house, Tooru’s counted at least 10 separate times that he’s wanted to hold Iwaizumi’s hand. Right now, all he wants to do is scream in frustration.
The house is huge, seeming like a castle, but still very home-y looking. The bricks are a dark, rich red and the roof is black, making it stand out among the rest of the houses. Iwaizumi knocks on the wooden door, and Tooru struggles to not admire the way his muscles work as he pulls away from the door.
“Iwaizumi-san, Kiyoko-chan’s father has left – Oh, hello Oikawa-san!” Yachi is at the door, looking surprised. “I didn’t think you would be coming.”
“Sorry, I forgot to tell you guys I invited him. Is there enough food?” Iwaizumi looks uncharacteristically sheepish, and it makes Tooru feel weird.
“Yes, of course.” She suddenly looks embarrassed, “Ah! Where are my manners, come in, come in!”
The two walk in and take off their shoes. It feels strange in such a Western-looking house.
“Hitoka-chan, is that Iwaizumi-san?” Calls a voice from further in, sounding very elegant. It’s one of those voices that demand to be heard at any volume, the kind you immediately stop to listen to. Tooru’s already intimidated.
“Yeah, it’s me.” Iwaizumi says back, and they all file into the dining room.
There’s a beautiful woman sitting in a chair, almost nose-deep in a large textbook. She has long, silky, midnight black hair and startling eyes, her glasses only serving to magnify their essence. Tooru’s really intimidated; she seems like Iwaizumi’s type.
You used to be his type, his brain helpfully supplies. “I assume you’re Oikawa Tooru.” She says, standing and holding out a hand. “I’m Shimizu Kiyoko.”
He can’t say anything in response, just nods and shakes her hand. She’s ethereal.
“Wow, that’s the most silent I’ve seen him,” Iwaizumi muses, upper lip curled.
“Yes, he does seem to be quieter than you’ve described him.”
The idea of Iwaizumi talking about him to other people makes him a little happy and so he manages a frown. “Iwa-chan, rude! I have manners, unlike a certain bullheaded barbarian in our midst,” He mumbles childishly.
“And there he is.”
Yachi giggles and then gestures towards the table. “Please, sit, and help yourself! I made plenty of food to go around.”
Tooru is more than happy to follow her directions, taking in the sight of the food with greedy eyes. “Looks delish, Hito-chan!”
“Ah, thank you!” She’s blushing happily and Shimizu looks a little sour.
It’s silent until Tooru decides he’d do some digging. “So, Kiyo-chan, Iwa-chan told me your dad is loaded. Do you work?”
Now she looks especially sour. “No, Oikawa-san, I am a student. I’m going to get my degree and then take over my father’s business when he retires.”
Tooru nods, and decides to ignore the fact that she very pointedly doesn’t like how informal he is. “Nice, nice. How long have you known Iwa-chan?”
“Almost a year.” She replies coolly, setting her fork down primly.
“How long have you been dating?”
“Almost 8 months.”
What. That’s about how long Iwaizumi had been back. Did he move back for her? There’s something that settles in Tooru’s stomach like a pile of coal.
“Have you lived here long?”
“My whole life.”
“Hm, same with me,” Tooru says. They could have been childhood friends, the three of them. He hates that it doesn’t sound as bad as he wants it to. He lets his voice drop a register “You’re something, aren’t you, Shimizu-san.”
“So!” Yachi stands suddenly and mumbles nervously, “Who wants dessert? Kiyoko-chan, will you help me?” Shimizu stands with her and they wordlessly walk into the kitchen.
Once they’re out of earshot, Iwaizumi rounds on him. “What is your problem?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Tooru says, nonchalantly.
“Cut the shit, dumbass,” He’s scowling so intensely that Tooru backs away a bit. “You’re doing it. The thing.”
This time he’s genuinely confused. “What ‘thing’?”
“You know what.” Iwaizumi looks like he’s one moment from standing up, “That stupid concentration thing you do before competitions, where you get to know people and then psyche them out.”
Shit, how could he forget how Iwaizumi could read him? Still, he tries to play it off. “Iwa-chan, I’m not trying to psyche out your girlfriend.”
Iwaizumi lets out a heavy sigh through his nose, reminding Tooru of an angry ox. “So you say, but you’re asking a lot of questions. I may not be as perceptive as you, but I do know that you do that when you’re threatened. You like to know as much as possible about the person. And for whatever reason, you don’t like Shimizu-san.”
Tooru feels embarrassed, like he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He feels his body heat up and he wants to run away. But he stays, for Iwaizumi. “I don’t not like her. I just want to know about her.” He doesn’t want to admit it, he’s too ashamed.
Sighing again, Iwaizumi rubs his eyebrow with a knuckle, looking tired. “Look, you can ask her whatever, but don’t be a dick. I know you know how to be nice.”
The air is awkward. Tooru stands up on instinct but is too embarrassed to sit back down. “You’re not my mom, Iwa-chan. And look, I’ll go help them out in the kitchen; they have been taking a while.”
He feels Iwaizumi’s eyes on his back, following him all the way into the kitchen.
When Tooru feels his body relieved of the heavy gaze, he lets out a shaky breathe. He’d forgotten how intense Iwaizumi got sometimes. The man was always straight to the point when Tooru had been doing something wrong, and normally that was fine. But not now. Not while Tooru is trying to get back in his good graces after what had happened those years ago.
He presses his back to the wall as fast as he can. What was he about to walk in to? Why did Yachi sound so out of breath? Sucking in a breath of his own, he ventures around the corner, neck craning to see everything.
Yachi was leaning back against the counter, face red. Shimizu’s arms caged her on either side, but Tooru couldn’t see her face. “Kiyoko-chan, I love you,” Yachi says breathlessly, eyes skirting around Shimizu’s face, soaking up every detail. Shimizu grasps her freckled face and dives in, kissing her –
Tooru swooped back around the corner, heart racing. Was Shimizu cheating on Iwaizumi? That’s worse than dating him! Rage and confusion wrap around his brain, making his limbs shake. Shimizu really didn’t seem like the kind of person to cheat. And worse yet, should he tell Iwaizumi? Would he even believe Tooru, after what had just happened? Should he confront Shimizu and Yachi?
He thought for too long, however, as Yachi came walking out. Her face was still flushed beyond belief. He wonders how Iwaizumi hadn’t caught them before, but then again, this is Iwaizumi we’re talking about. “Oh!” She exclaims, genuine surprise evident on her face. “Sorry, Oikawa-san, did we take too long?”
“Ah, no, it’s fine, I just wanted to help out is all,” He says coolly, hoping not to convey that he just saw what they were doing.
“Thank you for the thought, but we’re fine.” Shimizu comes out of the kitchen behind them, holding the desserts.
Tooru nods robotically and follows them back into the dining room. Iwaizumi, who had been playing with the previously neglected Kaiju, looks a bit brighter than he was previously. It makes him feel ridiculously better about the situation, yet somehow worse.
They sit down and eat their purin, which looks so cute that Tooru almost doesn’t want to mess it up, but his fury he feels at Shimizu and Yachi causes him to brutally stab the jiggly substance with his spoon. They all carry on their conversation naturally without Tooru butting in, and he feels like an outsider. But more importantly, he’s concerned about what he just saw.
The rest of the evening carries on without fanfare. Iwaizumi and Tooru say their goodbyes and they step out into the cool air with Kaiju. This time he gives Tooru the jacket preemptively with a slightly worried look.
“Why’re you looking at me like that?” He asks.
Iwaizumi frowns but Tooru thinks it’s just habitual at this point. “I’m worried that I made you feel bad, earlier.” He rubs his chin and Tooru notices there’s a bit of stubble there. “Which, I mean, I meant to make you feel bad about being a dick to Shimizu-san, but I didn’t mean for you to stop talking altogether.”
“Aww, you’re worried about me!”
“Yeah, I just said that, dumbass.” Iwaizumi’s scowl is for real this time. “Look, I know you have a filter somewhere in that brain of yours and that you know how to use it. So I wasn’t telling you to shut up, just to use the filter.” He looks sour, which Tooru recognizes is because he’s talking about feelings and social interactions. They aren’t really his strong suit, not if they’re not involved with volleyball.
Tooru gives him a shit-eating grin. “Don’t worry, Iwa-chan, you didn’t hurt my feelings.” Then, it sinks into his chest just why he wasn’t talking. He didn’t want to tell Iwaizumi, though. Not while he looked at Tooru with soft eyes and a stubborn mouth that Tooru would pay to kiss. He wanted to go into a private bubble with Iwaizumi and never leave. But he supposes that’s what got him into this mess to begin with.
It’s not long until they reach a fork in the road, and Iwaizumi stops walking. “I, uh, have to go this way.” He explains. Tooru feels stupid, assuming he was just going to come home with him. Like they lived together.
“Listen, Iwaizumi,” He was going to do it. Iwaizumi deserved to know.
“What?” He’s turned around, facing Tooru, noting the seriousness in his tone.
“When I went to go help Kiyo-chan and Hito-chan,” it felt weird to call them that when really he just wanted them to stop being a thing in Iwaizumi’s life, “I saw something I shouldn’t have.” He thinks he sees recognition light Iwaizumi’s face, but he trucks on before there’s any misunderstandings. “When I walked in, they were,” his face screws up, “Kissing.”
He can’t look at Iwaizumi’s face, can’t look up when he hears a sigh.
He can look up, however, when Iwaizumi chuckles breathlessly.
“Thank god, I thought it was something serious.”
What the fuck.
“What the fuck?”
Iwaizumi’s laughter gets louder. “Ah, sorry,” he apologizes, attempting to catch his breath. “Whew.”
Tooru waits with an incredulous look on his face.
“Okay, so,” He begins, wiping a tear out of his eyes. “I guess I should explain this. Want to go for coffee?”
“Iwa-chan, I can’t take it, please tell me why you decided to laugh your ass off when I told you your girlfriend is cheating on you.”
Iwaizumi sits down with two piping hot cups of coffee, settling into chair beside Tooru. “Shut up, I’ll tell you when I’m damn good and ready.” He says, sliding one of the coffees towards the upset man.
“Well can you be good and ready any faster?” Tooru whines, throwing his head back.
“Fine, fine,” Iwaizumi takes a sip out of his cup and then gives a sigh. “Shimizu-san and I are,” He pauses, face scrunching in thought, “Yachi and Shimizu-san are going out.”
“I’m not done.” He glares at Tooru and then continues. “When Shimizu-san and I first met, we became really fast friends, like I told you. Eventually, she came to me with a dilemma. She had started a relationship with her girlfriend, Yachi, but no one could know. I don’t know if you know this, but the Shimizu family is watched in the food industry because her father owns and manages a lot of different restaurants. If Shimizu-san is to inherit the family business, then she would have to be socially acceptable. Being a lesbian is not under that list, according to her father, so,” Iwaizumi takes in a large breath here but does not leave Tooru enough time to comment. “Shimizu-san asked if I would fill in the spot as her pretend boyfriend to throw off the scent on her and Yachi. I said yes, and now she insists on throwing money at me in payment, even though I would just do it as a friend.”
So many feelings roar through Tooru’s veins at once. The emotions make his body erupt yet shrink up, flower yet die. “Why didn’t you tell me?” He hates that he feels so entitled to know everything about Iwaizumi. It makes him feel gross.
Iwaizumi shrugs a shoulder, “I don’t know, Shimizu-san said that we should keep this as small scale as possible.” He looks slightly apologetic as his scratches his face again. “I know you wouldn’t tell anyone – you’re responsible where it counts – but Shimizu-san was really nervous. Honestly, though, those two are so deeply in love that I’m surprised someone hasn’t found out sooner.”
Tooru feels a rush of relief clean out the unrest in his body.
It’s all he can think to say.
“I’m sorry for lying to you.” He absently strokes Kaiju’s ears as the Pomeranian sits in his lap.
He’s. Really fucking relieved. Giddiness surges his throat and he can’t fight the smile that tears across his face. “It’s fine, Iwa-chan. Who knew you were such a good friend?”
Iwaizumi slaps the back of his head. “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”
Tooru laughs, and it comes out so easily it surprises him. It’s like the storm inside his brain was alleviated just by a few words.
A particularly strong wind blows, cutting through Tooru even with Iwaizumi’s jacket on.
“C’mon, we should head back. I know you don’t do well in cold weather; knowing your luck, you probably already have a cold.” Iwaizumi lets Kaiju jump off his lap before he stands up, picking up his coffee.
Tooru grins at him, “Thanks.”
As they walk back to the fork in the road they were at earlier, Tooru muses on how different the circumstances were last time they were here just an hour ago. The sky had gotten darker, and the fork was illuminated by a single yellow streetlight. They stop, just like before, and Iwaizumi faces him. “I’ll see you around.”
“Oh,” Tooru says, about to take off Iwaizumi’s jacket and return it, but there’s a hand on his.
“Keep it, you can return it later.”
His face flushes, body feeling warm as Iwaizumi presses Kaiju’s leash into his hand. “Bye, Tooru,” he says, sounding breathless in the cool air.
“Bye, Hajime,” Tooru replies, his heart pounding like a drum.
As they part ways, Kaiju begins to whine pitifully.
“Yeah, me too buddy.”