The Universe with the Tall Hinata
Ushijima took a framed photograph and observed it.
"Is he your brother?" He asked to the two younger young men. Both were busy arranging the stuff the youngest one brought from his home, Miyagi.
Tsukishima looked up from his sitting position on the floor. "Yes, he is my Nii-san."
"He plays basketball?" He asked again, referring to the basketball Akiteru held in the photograph.
"Yes," Tsukishima looked away, but a tiny smile was on his face, remembering his brother. "he still plays with the neighborhood association."
"Tsukishima, how about these sport magazines?" Akaashi asked, entering the moderately spacious room. A pile of magazines was in his hands.
Tsukishima stared on, contemplating it. "I think Hinata will want to place them by himself. You can put them on his bed." Tsukishima nodded to one of the beds in the room.
"I see, so this is your area." Ushijima said as he pointed toward the other side of the room.
Tsukishima nodded. "The right side of this room is mine, Hinata's is the left side."
"Because you are always right?" Akaashi joked.
"Exactly." Tsukishima smirked. They chuckled to themselves while Ushijima dragged another big box to the room.
Akaashi then looked around. The house was suddenly very quiet. Living with Bokuto and Kuroo, Akaashi had learnt to appreciate silence, since it was a rare happenstance in the house. But at the same time Akaashi also learnt to be wary of silence.
"Where is Bokuto-san? And Kuroo-san?"
Tsukishima blinked as he ripped open the box that Ushijima dragged before. "Hinata?" Tsukishima called loudly.
But no answer.
"They are going to buy food for all of us." Ushijima answered.
Sudden chill washed over Akaashi and Tsukishima. Did they hear that right?
"You mean Bokuto-san, Kuroo-san, and Hinata? Buying food for us? The three of them? Together?" Akaashi felt a headache coming.
Tsukishima groaned when Ushijima nodded a yes.
"BEER!" Bokuto opened their house front door. Hands shot upward with cans of beer.
"Akaashi, Shouyou and Tsukishima are not twenty yet, Bokuto." Ushijima said.
"I am sorry, I couldn't stop him." Kuroo put his best regretful face which didn't convince anyone in the room.
"You didn't even try, Kuroo-san." Tsukishima deadpanned. The ex-Captain of Nekoma put his hand on top his chest, feigned hurt.
"I-I have no idea he was going to buy beer." Hinata nervously scratched his cheek.
"Oh, come on, don't be a spoilsport!" Bokuto exclaimed. "Tonight is our welcoming party for our newest roommates! So go wild!"
"Yeaaah!" Kuroo joined.
"Akaashi, Shouyou, and Tsukishima are not going to drink." Ushijima decided with finality.
"Wakatoshi..." Kuroo whined.
"No." Ushijima replied without missing a beat. Kuroo groaned as he sat down beside the low table in their living room. He then put the grocery bags on the table and poured the raw food inside.
"So, what you guys want to eat?" Kuroo grinned.
The morning came and sun light peeked through the blue curtains that decorated their room. Tsukishima lazily stretched and headed toward the windows to pull them aside, but stopped himself when Hinata was still sounding asleep. He then cringed, remembering the last night. No one noticed but Hinata succeeded to drink even with Ushijima's supervision. He even got down two cans of beer before he started blabbering nonsense and Ushijima, lowkey-ly, manhandled him to the bedroom. Kuroo looked ready to flee the apartment when Ushijima came out of the room and interrogated both him and Bokuto of who let Hinata drink the beers. Both admitted guilty.
When Tsukishima exited their bedroom, the living room was dead silent. He looked to the clock on top of the TV and it was almost ten in the morning. He understood the silence then; the four older young men had morning classes in the university, whereas he and Hinata needed to go to the university administration any time of the day to get their schedule which would start the following week.
Tsukishima chuckled in satisfaction, he hoped Kuroo and Bokuto had hangover.
He went to the door, passing his brother's photograph which he was smiling, holding a basketball. He then went to the kitchen area and opened the fridge. There were some raw vegetable left from yesterday's hotpot and a tray of eggs. That would be enough for two plates of omurice.
Tsukishima heard the sleepy call from the taller boy. Hinata emerged from the door, holding his head as he squinted, searching the room for him. Obviously hangover.
"Kitchen!" Tsukishima called. He just needed to fix one more plate and the two omurice would be ready.
Hinata stumbled over to the dining area and sat down heavily. Still holding his head, his eyes moved left and right as if trying to remember something.
"You were drunk." Tsukishima said. "Go drink water." He suggested.
"I was drunk?" Hinata looked up, eyes closed and his eyebrows made an impressive frown. "Yesterday? Why? Why would I get drunk? I don't drink."
"Well," Tsukishima began, ready to stomp on whatever excuse Hinata conjured in his mind. "You did get drunk. You drank two cans of beer."
"Huh?" Hinata tilted his head to the side, still looked clueless. "Why there were beers? Did we celebrate something?" He asked again, this time his hand massaged his forehead.
Tsukishima frowned. He was annoyed just as he was getting worried with Hinata. "They threw a small party to welcome us." Tsukishima explained. An inexplicable dread hummed deep in his heart. "Luckily your Senpai was there to stop you from drinking more than you had."
"Welcome party? What for? And Senpai?" Hinata stared up at him. "Which senpai?"
Tsukishima rolled his eyes. "Ushijima-san."
This time Hinata raised one of his eyebrows, as if Tsukishima just said something stupid. The Blonde was about to say something witty when Hinata snorted in amusement.
"Ushijima-san is not our senpai, Kei."
If he was not the calm and collected Tsukishima Kei, he would have let go of the two plates of omurice and would only watch them fall on the wooden floor. He put them on the table instead and looked at Hinata closely; his hands started getting cold with the unknown foreboding feeling.
"Shouyou, Ushijima-san is your senpai from Shiratorizawa Academy, your Middle School." Tsukishima said word per word slowly, as if saying an important rule to a child.
"What are you talking about, Kei? I am not from Shiratorizawa." Hinata leaned back to the backrest of the dining chair; he threw his head back when a wave of nausea hit him.
Tsukishima gaped slightly. All Hinata said mismatched with...everything. He didn't remember anything from yesterday's event. Heck, it seemed like he wasn't there with them yesterday. Like he was away in another world-
Tsukishima's eyes widened considerably. A realization washed him like a wave of Tsunami. It can't be...
Hinata looked up again, eyes squinting as another series of thumping headache attack him. The supposedly grin on his face looked like a grimace of pain.
"Shrimp? I outgrew you in the middle of our second year in high school, remember?" Hinata finished it with a chuckle.
Tsukishima shook his head. "You outgrew me since the very beginning."
Hinata frowned, confused with the whole conversation. But, the moment his eyes became suddenly clear, Tsukishima knew he understood.
"Wait..." Hinata trailed as he was slowly standing up from his seat. "Your brother, what sport your brother plays?"
Tsukishima felt his entire body grew languish. "Basketball."
And Hinata slumped back in his chair. Looked completely lost.
"NO WAY!" He cried out.
"No, it can't be happening." Hinata cried with a mouthful of rice.
"Hinata, swallow first!" Tsukishima admonished.
"But, but, what should I do?" He asked. Completely clueless.
"Relax, remember I and he switched places before?" Tsukishima reassured. "And we got back around six months later."
Hinata groaned as he massaged his forehead again.
"You should have drunk a lot of water first. I heard it helps with hangover." Tsukishima stated.
Hinata groaned again as he waved his hand. No idea.
"We'll talk after you get better." Tsukishima sighed, standing up from his chair before taking a glass full of water for the Taller Boy.
"Now, I think about it." Hinata suddenly appeared. Tsukishima was preparing his backpack. He looked up and Hinata seemed much better. "I think it's a better chance for them to, you know, say their farewell properly."
Tsukishima nodded. He watched as Hinata walked toward his bed and sat on it. "So, I reckon you and he have the same relationship with us?" The Bespectacled Young Man smirked.
Hinata grinned. "Yeah. Funny how it works on both sides."
"And you really are taller than him?" Tsukishima leaned back to his bedding.
"Yes." Hinata's grin got wider. A proud light danced in his eyes.
"I bet he was pissed off."
"You bet." A cringe was prominent behind that grin. "How this Hinata treats you, by the way?"
Tsukishima shrugged, didn't really see that question come. "He is good."
"I see." Hinata said as he looked up towards the ceiling. "I hope they can say whatever they wanted to say right then. It sucks to let my boyfriend get close to someone else, but I think Kei will feel much better if they can talk and tighten all the loose knots from their separation before."
"Yeah." Tsukishima mumbled. He looked to his bag but his mind wandered. What if... What if after Shouyou meet the other Tsukishima and suddenly his feeling for the other guy resurfaced? What if Shouyou suddenly realized that he didn't want him and all this time he wanted the other Tsukishima instead? What if he started comparing him with his other self? What if he flawed so much from the other Tsukishima and the moment Shouyou came back he didn't want to continue their relationship?
"Tsukishima? Do you hear me?" Hinata was squatting down before him and waving his hand in front of him.
"Yes." Tsukishima replied with a clipped tone. "I was just thinking of when we are going to get our schedule."
Hinata didn't react to that. Tsukishima looked up and their eyes met. Hinata's eyes were observing him, watching each flicker in his eyes.
"You know, there is nothing to worry about." Hinata said firmly. "I am Hinata too. I know how he thinks." The taller boy made a move to touch his cheek. The gesture had been done unconsciously but, Hinata remembered himself just at the moment Tsukishima flinched away from the hand.
"So-Sorry! Oh my God! I am sorry! I didn't mean to touch you! I mean, I forgot it for a moment!" Hinata freaked out. His hands flailed around, trying desperately to explain himself.
Tsukishima watched with a kind of fascination as Hinata, tall and big as he was, flustered and made comical gesticulation. Tsukishima suddenly remembered how much jumpier Shrimp than his Shouyou. Tsukishima laughed lightly, which stopped Hinata's fluster.
"What are you laughing for?" Hinata asked.
"You." Tsukishima chuckled. He didn't notice the blush adorning Hinata's face. "You are, you know, Shrimp-ish."
"What does that mean?" Hinata pouted, feigned offended.
"I think, because Shouyou got his tall stature in a much earlier stage than you, he had this solid and macho air around him. You are way jumpier." Tsukishima explained, letting out chuckle mid sentences. "Don't take it wrong. You are interesting, Hinata." He added when Hinata's pout deepened.
Hinata blinked in astonishment. "Wow, you... you speak your mind in a much clearer way than Kei." Hinata frowned. "I didn't remember you were like this before."
"We were not close that time. I don't speak my mind to someone I am not really close to. We are related in this problem in more than one way." Tsukishima said. "Anyway, let's get ready to go to the campus. We need to take our schedule."
"Oh, now you mention it. What semester are we here?" Hinata asked as Tsukishima was getting up from the floor.
"It's our first semester."
Hinata whined as he put his head in his hands, wailing miserably. "He is going to fail my second semester over there, isn't he?"
"My condolences." Tsukishima casually said.
The Universe with the Short Hinata
A pillow flew over Hinata's head. It grazed his hair harshly.
"Give me my Shouyou back!" Tsukishima shouted. Never in Hinata's life seeing a Tsukishima this furious.
"Excuse me! But just so you know I would like to have my Kei back too!" He said, dodging another flying pillow.
"My Shouyou is much jumpier than you! You are less intimidated by me!" Tsukishima ranted.
"What the hell, Tsukishima?! Oh, and my Kei acts more adorable than you!"
"Like hell I care!"
"That's what I am worried about." Tsukishima said. The two young men were sitting side by side. Leaning heavily on the bed of Tsukishima's. "My other self acts cuter than me." He closed his eyes. Their breaths were still heavy after the pillow war they had.
"How about my other self here?" Hinata asked.
"He is jumpy, and easily gets scared." Tsukishima smiled.
"Oh well," Hinata released a sigh. "Kei would not mind having him around."
There was a long silence after that. Neither spoke anything and enjoying the silence that enveloped them. Their slightly ragged breaths were the only sound in the room. The previously war zone had became a still sanctuary.
"I am glad you are doing well." Hinata said after a long while. He gazed toward the windows.
"I am glad you are doing well too." Tsukishima replied.
"It took a long time, you know..."
"I know. It took me long time to completely accept the reality after that." Tsukishima elaborated for him. He then turned toward the Taller Boy, meeting his eyes dead on. "But, finally I see how it should have been. He is my Hinata Shouyou."
Hinata regarded him with a sense of swelling pride. "And he is my Tsukishima Kei." Hinata smiled. "But, I treasure the time we had together nonetheless." He admitted.
"Of course and likewise." Tsukishima smiled thinly. He looked away, afraid to show how it affected him.
But Hinata heeded nothing when he took his arm and hugged him. Tsukishima didn't need a second longer to circled his arms around the bigger man shoulders, squeezing him as all the longing and desperation that had been buried deep resurfaced again. He felt how Hinata squeezed him by his waist.
"I am really glad that you are okay." Hinata mumbled on his shoulder. "I was afraid that you couldn't move on."
Tsukishima sniffed. And no, he wasn't going to cry! He was getting flu!
"I am glad that you also moved on. I was thinking you would be too stubborn to see the reality and refused to have your own happiness."
They stayed in each other arms for ten minutes longer before awkwardly released their holds. The two stared at each other, eyes clear as the entire burden they unconsciously carried had been lifted off of their hearts.
"So, this time I am the one getting switched." Hinata said as he observed the room. "Hey, it's the exact same room with what I have there."
"I know. It happened to me that time too." Tsukishima explained. "You will be back, maybe around six months. But we can never be sure about that."
"Do you know what I think about it?" Hinata suddenly asked. But he answered it without waiting for Tsukishima's response. "That time, we had the time to be together. But now, I think it's their time to enjoy being with each other." Hinata smirked. "Because honestly, I don't see you the way I did before. I have Kei."
Tsukishima punched Hinata's upper arm. "Me too. And stop saying it, it sounds embarrassing. I don't see you as a boyfriend material now. You are not my Shouyou."
"Right. That's why I think it's actually their time to enjoy each other. We had our time so it would be unfair if they don't."
"At least they know what will happen and won't be too emotionally invested in each other." Tsukishima muttered.
"But I don't want him to touch my Kei!" Hinata wailed desperately. He put his head in his hands. Shoulders trembled as if crying.
"I don't want my other self to tease Shouyou too much." Tsukishima said. He glared at a black dot on the wooden floor of their bedroom.
And another round of argument, of what bad things their other self might do to their boyfriend, began.