It has been seven minutes, forty-three seconds, and Oikawa is sick of waiting.
He sighs heavily, thrusting his hands deeper into his pockets. He isn’t used to this. Maybe for someone as uncouth as Iwaizumi , this hold-up would be nothing more than the status quo… But for Oikawa? For Oikawa, this is unthinkable.
He’s never had to wait this long for a date before.
He’s never had to wait at all for a date before.
Normally, whichever girl he’s going out with will arrive at least twenty minutes earlier than Oikawa does- and normally, the girl will also have some sort of edible gift ready (and sometimes, she’ll even be clutching a marker-pen so that he can sign her boob). That’s what Oikawa and his near-celebrity status have grown to expect, and what his ego is beginning to tell him he deserves.
So, you know. Oikawa’s been waiting almost seven minutes now, and it’s a totally unexpected delay.
And, the thing is, Oikawa never likes to deal with surprises.
Above him, the first flake of snow peels itself from the November sky. The breeze snatches at it jerkily, the time it takes to hit the ground as prolonged and impatient as Oikawa’s waiting- and by Oikawa’s standards, he’s been waiting a long, long time. He shivers dramatically inside his oversized jersey, pouting upwards at the silvery expanse of cloud. He wishes that he could unravel all of that silver and use it to pay time to hurry up and go faster.
Oikawa’s groan rips from his throat loud and undignified. What are the chances of anyone hearing him, after all? The streets, unfortunately, are utterly deserted.
It’s been fifteen minutes, and not so much as a text from the girl who just yesterday professed her ‘undying love’ for him.
Ugh. Oikawa’s starting to wish that he’d never even bothered to ask her out. It was all only courtesy, anyway. Oikawa can’t stand refusing confessions, but he’s grown accustomed to letting the girls down gently after a date or two.
It’s not your fault, whoever-chan. It just wouldn’t be fair if we went out and then I spent all my time with the team instead of you. And then he’d blow a kiss, or something. Whatever works.
What was this girl’s name, anyway? Oikawa can’t quite remember, although it skirts around the doorway of his memory like a taunt. Noriko? No. That was the girl he took out last week. But he knows the name begins with an ‘N’. Nagisa? Not quite.
Oikawa wonders whether the cold is freezing up his brain and making him stupid.
He fumbles through his pockets to pull out his phone, searching for the girl’s name in his contacts.
Nao-chan! That was it. Oikawa’s expression sours, his shoulders hunching up to kiss his ears.
No new messages from Nao-chan. Even a ‘sorry I’m late’ would be welcome. Even a ‘sorry I’m late’ would be common human decency.
It must have been at least twenty minutes of waiting, it’s starting to snow, and Oikawa’s pretty sure these are ample enough reason to bail on a date. And even if they’re not, he’s telling himself they are. He barely even knows Nao-chan, anyway. He had to remind himself of her name.
There’s only one thing for it.
The snow is painting the pavement the same translucent nothing of words whispered by long-married couples who don’t really love each other anymore. Oikawa’s lips are blue, the hairs on his arms are standing up, and if he doesn’t find shelter quickly then his new trainers are going to be ruined.
He needs a lift somewhere warm, and quickly.
Oikawa attempts to ignore the way the frost is bleeding his fingers white and struggles to input Iwaizumi’s number.
He picks up after the second ring, and Oikawa almost feels like Atlas- only, instead of stumbling under the weight of the sky, he’s stumbling under a great big suitcase full of gratitude. Say what you will about Iwaizumi, but he’s reliable. He’s reliable, and he’s helpful, and he’s always there for Oikawa.
Sometimes, he wonders whether Iwaizumi has even noticed how much Oikawa needs him.
“What is it?” snaps Iwaizumi, and his irritated tone of voice is like the one, constant star that hold Oikawa’s whole universe together.
He takes a deep breath, and begins. “Okay, first of all, you must absolutely not breathe a word of this to Makki. Or Mattsun. Or anyone. Promise?”
Oikawa swears, he can practically hear Iwaizumi rolling his eyes at the phone. “Spit it out, Stupidkawa,” he drawls, like he’s heard it all before.
He hasn’t, either. Oikawa’s never, ever been stood up on a date before, and that’s what makes this whole thing so annoying. He hates surprises, especially the kind that come in the form of your date disappearing without a trace before she’s even arrived, leaving you freezing your butt off in the snow. It makes it seem as if Oikawa’s the one who actually cared about this date, rather than Nao-chan.
And that’s exactly the sort of thing that Makki and Mattsun would celebrate like an early birthday present. Three months’ worth of teasing, just from Oikawa waiting half an hour for a girl that never arrived.
Oikawa ruffles his hair, wondering whether he can hide his pride beneath it. “No, seriously, Iwa-chan. You have to promise. Promise you won’t tell Makki or Mattsun?”
“You’re like a six year old,” mutters Iwaizumi, but he grits his teeth and gets on with it. “Fine. Fine. I promise, okay?”
“Okay,” says Oikawa, and takes a breath. “Nao-chan stood me up on the date.”
“Who?” Iwaizumi’s tone is incredulous. “Wait a second, wait a second- a girl stood you up? On a date?”
Oikawa moans. “Do I need to tell you twice? It’s embarrassing.”
“No, it’s brilliant. What does she look like? I need to find her at school tomorrow so I can ask her for her autograph.”
“Iwa-chan,” whines Oikawa, but the familiar patter of insults is already cheering him up. “May I remind you that you’ve literally only been on three dates in your life, and one of them was with a volleyball?”
“I was drunk. That was one time.”
“Excuses, Iwa-chan.” Oikawa laughs, and then remembers why he phoned. Conversations with Iwaizumi have a habit of spiralling rapidly off track- and Oikawa likes that, usually, but right now he has to concentrate all his persuasive skills into this request. “But, whatever. There are more important matters to attend to- like, I’m freezing, and it’s snowing, and I seriously could do with a lift.”
“Ugh, Shittykawa. I’ve only just got out of bed.”
“At half-eleven? You’re a savage, Iwa-chan.” Oikawa shudders without meaning to, the cold sinking underneath his skin. “Please?”
Iwaizumi sighs. “A lift where? Home? Or do you want to come over my house for a bit?”
Oikawa pauses, just for a second. “Um… Actually, Iwa-chan, I was thinking of finding myself another date.” He can feel himself blushing, and he hates himself for it. “I don’t- you know, I just don’t want to arrive home early and have my parents find out that Nao-chan ditched me so heartlessly.”
“Trashykawa, seriously, where the hell are you planning to find a date? It’s Saturday and snowing and everyone with a brain is still staying warm and sleeping. Which, by the way, is exactly what I was doing before you decided it’d be a great idea to come wake me up.”
Oikawa pouts for the five seconds it takes for an idea to come to him, at which point his expression eases out into a smirk. “Unless…”
Iwaizumi’s answer is slicked back in wariness. “I’m warning you, if you’re suggesting we do something stupid again like-”
Oikawa’s grin is now fully formed, splintering across his face with the same reckless abandon as if the sun was blistered and smashing forwards against the sky. “So, Iwa-chan,” drawls Oikawa, suddenly feeling the cold just a little less, “how would you like to be Nao-chan’s stand-in and go on a date with me?”
There’s a long silence.
“Um. I don’t. I don’t have to dress up as her or anything, right?”
“Nope,” says Oikawa. “Come as yourself. We can just imagine that you’re Nao-chan.”
“Right. And. If we go somewhere to eat then you’re buying all of it, and it can’t be milk bread.”
“But-” starts Oikawa. “Come on, that’s cruel, Iwa-chan! I’m sure that Nao-chan eats milk bread.”
“Then she’s disgusting and has no functioning taste buds. Like you.” Iwaizumi laughs, just a little. “Come on, Shittykawa, the no-milk-bread rule is my big condition.”
“Fine. But you totally owe me.”
“Um, no. You owe me,” says Iwaizumi, and then he laughs and then Oikawa laughs and if they were face to face instead of on the phone, Oikawa thinks he might have hugged him there and then from relief.
“Makki and Mattsun absolutely cannot know though, okay?” reminds Oikawa.
“What’s there to know? Nao-chan bailed on you – finally taking a stand for all the girls you’ve toyed with over the years – and now I’m filling in for her. As a joke. Right?”
“Right,” says Oikawa, though something inexplicable inside of him had thought, for a second, that it was maybe a little bit more than just a joke. “We can watch a movie together, and go out for not-milk-bread, and-”
“You know what?” says Iwaizumi. “The thought of a date with you is starting to make me feel a bit sick, Trashykawa.”
“Joking, joking.” Iwaizumi speaks again, and his voice is just a tiny bit gruff. “I’ll pick you up in a couple of minutes. Just text me the name of the street.”
“Iwa-chan,” sighs Oikawa. “My saviour.”
“Alright, alright. Just text me the street name.”
“Seriously, Iwa-chan, I could easily fall in love with you,” Oikawa tells him, and it’s too loud and too ridiculous for Iwaizumi to ever believe it.
And though it’s fleeting and too-quick and if he blinked, he’d miss it, Oikawa wonders for a second what would happen if Iwaizumi really took him seriously. If Oikawa said that he loved him, and Iwaizumi said it back.
They’ve been best friends for years and years and years, and they’ve never ever seriously said the words.
I love you.
I love you.
I love you.
The letters jumble and scatter and go round and round and round in Oikawa’s head, dancing to a tune that he only halfway recognises.