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Kageyama has always been a pragmatic person. He doesn’t need to know or understand anything that doesn’t benefit him or his job. Luckily, since he doesn’t have a lot of friends, he’s usually clear from unnecessary information. So, he knows, he knows that this information will not affect his life in any way, but Kageyama feels… surprisingly satisfied when Hinata tells him that he has managed to pass his Art History class.


After their first encounter, the irritating, bouncy short man with vibrant, orange hair has kept visiting the Art Institute quite frequently. Apparently, having learned from his previous attempt to bring in an easel to the museum, Hinata has switched to a notebook to sketch out his ideas that are inspired by various art pieces in the Institute and along the way, since he has been visiting way too much, Kageyama has become accustomed to Hinata’s wild and annoyingly bubbly presence.


Apparently, Hinata had been inspired to be an art student because of a man who had been painting wild crows on the wall of an abandoned building. He never knew who that man was but he had been so moved by the way he painted those crows, the pitch black feathers contrasting with the vivid and blooming colors in the background as Hinata recalled this memory to Kageyama many times, that he decided to have a career in arts.


At first, Kageyama had thought that it was a really stupid reason to pursue a career, and truthfully voiced his opinion several times. But as he has started to watch Hinata skillfully draw on his notebook and comment passionately on different art pieces, Kageyama has started to feel like no matter the reason behind his motivation, the orange haired man was born to be an artist. And this thought, how he truly believed in and became invested in someone else’s career, had initially freaked him out a lot –because hadn’t he once been a fool for thinking that being a setter was the reason he was born for, only to be faced with reality after his dreams were taken away from him by a knee injury?


But Hinata, the literal epitome of sunshine, although probably unintentionally, has thought him how to be somehow less cynical in his opinions. Something about this unruly, bouncy and loud university student has made Kageyama lower the walls he had been carrying for years and it actually hadn’t been as terrifying as he had originally thought. So, as the days went by and Kageyama started to get used to one annoying Hinata, he truly began to admire the man’s determination about his dreams.


And because of that, when he sees the said man run all the way from across the hall to Kageyama’s current post at the Lee Bontecou exhibition while shouting his name, yelling that he has finally passed the Art History class, Kageyama rolls his eyes (because damn, can this guy not be loud for just once?) but nevertheless, allows a tiny smile to show.


He’s glad to hear that Hinata’s efforts paid off.


Hinata is apparently so happy that he starts talking a mile a minute very loudly (“I’m finally done with this stupid lesson for life, Kageyama, how great is that!”) causing some of the visitors to fondly smile but some of them to throw both of them dirty looks. So, concerned for the comfort of the visitors (and also afraid to get any complaints about himself to his supervisor, Sawamura) he covers Hinata’s mouth with one hand and glares at him. “Be quiet, dumbass Hinata, you’re disturbing everyone!”


Hinata does get quieter but he’s still smiling and jumping around with joy and Kageyama admits that he kind of understands why Hinata is bubblier than the usual. From what he has told Kageyama, Art History really sounds like a lesson Hinata would suck at, as it’s all about memorizing stuff and writing essays. It simply lacks the whole… motion and movement and life Hinata seeks in art. So just for today, Kageyama cuts Hinata some slack and allows his hyperactive movements and failed silence.


After a while of watching Hinata's shenanigans, Kageyama's eyes catch a certain frame he knows very well. “Hey, have you finished sketching that drawing from before? That Lee Bontecou drawing you’ve been obsessed with?”


Kageyama swears he sees Hinata’s soul leave his body at that moment.


“You know I didn’t!” Hinata shouts. “I was so busy while finishing my portfolios and preparing for that stupid History final that I completely forgot it! When does the exhibition end again?”


Kageyama hesitates a little before answering. “Today.”


Hinata looks like he’s about to cry as he rummages through his messenger bag to find his sketching notebook. The one with a black cover decorated with orange dots, stripes and geometric shapes that Kageyama has seen countless times before. He throws some papers and a couple of heavy looking folders out of the bag but before he’s even finished looking, Kageyama gets that Hinata didn’t bring his notebook today.


“I can find you a couple of papers and pencils if you want,” he quietly offers.


“No! I had already sketched most of it, if I have to do the line art again, it’ll take me hours to get it right! Don’t you remember, it almost took me three days to sketch the lines perfectly –damn it, it’s not here!”


Kageyama does, in fact, remember how long it had taken Hinata to sketch most of the drawing in a perfect way. He also remembers how Hinata had kept promising that he was “almost done, Kageyama, let me just finish this part as well!” and how Kageyama had to drag the short man out of the Institute on the second day since it was time for the museum to close.


He wants to help Hinata, he truly does, but he also knows that in the best case scenario, it would take Hinata about forty-five minutes to get his notebook and come back if it’s in his school –and at least an hour if it’s in his flat. But the museum will be closing in half an hour anyway.


Kageyama offers Hinata a more rational solution. “You can always take a picture, you know.”


(He kind of wants to punch himself in the face for being so awkward and sounding like a total jerk. Way to go, Kageyama.)


“I told you infinite times before, Kageyama, digital pictures don’t do the original piece justice and it doesn’t feel the same trying to sketch from them! God, how can I be so stupid –why did I leave it at home in the first place?!”


“Hey,” Kageyama calls out with a gentler voice. He puts a hand on Hinata’s shoulder to somewhat soothe the shorter man. “Calm down, Hinata. Maybe we can talk with my supervisor and try to arrange something.”


Hinata’s eyes momentarily stop moving anxiously to focus on Kageyama’s face. “For real?”


“I –” Kageyama leans back a little under Hinata’s intense and hopeful brown gaze. “I can’t promise you anything, but I can try.”


He calls Sawamura from the walkie-talkie and quickly explains the situation. A couple of minutes later Sawamura comes to the Lee Bontecou exhibition to hear the story from Hinata in person. He doesn’t really say anything certain to the still hopeful student but Kageyama has worked with Sawamura long enough to understand his expressions. He makes a couple of phone calls, occasionally telling them who he’s talking with, but in the end, he sighs and looks at Hinata with genuine dark eyes.


“I’m sorry young man, I contacted everyone I can but we’re simply not allowed to keep visitors after hours unless they have special permission.” He puts a hand on Hinata’s shoulder in a sort of fatherly way. “I understand why you want to sketch from the original source but there isn’t anything I can do.”


After Sawamura leaves, Hinata basically collapses on one of the benches and just stares at the ground. Kageyama doesn’t know what to do, he’s not really good with people, let alone a sad Hinata (which is probably the most unsettling thing he has ever witnessed) and he doesn’t really get why but he wants to do something, even if it's small–


At that moment, Kageyama gets an idea –a very weak, very stupid idea which definitely wouldn’t work at all, so he hesitates to voice it out. But a look at Hinata’s expression, which would probably look better if the world was actually ending, makes him think twice about it. Realistically speaking, Kageyama knows that Hinata’s art career isn’t over because of a single drawing and he’s almost positive that Hinata understands this as well. But in that moment, Hinata’s dropped shoulders and almost lifeless brown eyes reminds Kageyama of something from years ago –the memory of an ambitious, dark haired high school boy who had just been told that he can’t pursue a professional career in volleyball with an injured knee.


So, he takes a breath, walks up to Hinata and captures his gaze, offering his plan in a silent, almost shy voice. He knows that he’s probably embarrassing himself, that Hinata would laugh at him and say no, because of course he’d prefer to sketch it from a picture rather than try to understand Kageyama’s stupid-ass descriptions of that damn drawing he’s been staring out of boredom for months.


But of course, as always, Hinata surprises him by jumping up to his feet, almost headbutting Kageyama in the process, and starting to yell with excitement. “Really?! That’d be so exciting and so much better than staring at a screen! I’ve never drawn something out of descriptions before but it sounds so cool –a little like improv, y’know! And you’d really do that for me? Like, for real?!”


“I– I offered, didn’t I?”


And that’s how Kageyama finds himself in Hinata’s flat, looking at the picture of the drawing on his phone without showing it to Hinata and trying to convey the rhythm of the original work by his weak (and very lame) descriptions.


He asks Hinata at least a dozen times how that’s going to work any better than Hinata seeing the original work but Hinata tells him that even though he’s not looking at the drawing, he feels like he’s drawing it right.


“But what if I’m not describing it in the way you want to draw?”


Hinata shrugs nonchalantly. “That would be okay, because I trust you, Kageyama!”


Kageyama can’t find any answers to give to that statement –because why the hell and how the hell would anyone trust Kageyama with something they care about a great deal?!


“Your descriptions feel really on point and they match with the general flow of what I had already drawn. Besides,” Hinata adds cheerfully as he puts one pencil in his mouth to keep drawing with another pencil, “even if my sketch turns out to be different than the original, I would like this one better than me sketching it by staring at a digital picture. I’m feeling the soul of the drawing better than ever. Like, whoosh and shloop –y’know!”


Kageyama seriously doesn’t, but somehow, even with his practically meaningless descriptions and Hinata’s constant nods as if he actually understands, they make it work. Well, Kageyama doesn’t really know how well it works because Hinata doesn’t let him look until he’s finished, just like he isn’t looking at the drawing himself, so Kageyama feels sort of hesitant to keep going and telling Hinata how to proceed. Sometimes Hinata lifts his notebook in the air and stares at it in different angles and Kageyama contemplates between trying to steal the notebook from Hinata or telling him to stop bending his neck like an owl because it truly looks like it’s about to snap.


After a couple of hours of Hinata working diligently, he announces that he’s finished. When he gives the notebook to Kageyama so that he can finally see it, Kageyama just stares at it. The black and white sketch looks very similar yet still distinctively different than the original drawing and Kageyama doesn’t know how to feel about it. He honestly marvels at how Hinata managed to understand the things he described as “this one looks like a small planet with two lines of perfect, rectangular teeth but no face and that other one looks like a round sticky sewer monster with an open mouth” and sketched it in a very similar way to the original one.


But after a while, when he’s done figuring out what looks similar or different, he starts feeling something very strange and unfamiliar. He knows that it’s just a drawing that literally means nothing to him, a drawing that won’t put food on his table or pay his bills, a drawing that he didn’t even draw himself, but somehow, he’s been a part of it and he’s helped it being made. And he doesn’t know why, doesn’t understand why, but that makes Kageyama feel light as a feather.


So, he smiles.


“It doesn’t look like the original at all.” He raises his head, ignoring Hinata’s shout of “dude, you’re smiling, holy cow!” and giving him his phone for comparison.


Hinata takes the phone and the notebook, putting them side by side and making noises of comprehension. “It really doesn’t. But, you know what?” He smiles more radiantly than ever and Kageyama feels like covering his eyes or putting on a pair of shades. “It’s even better because we created it together! And I couldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for you, Kageyama! You really are amazing!”


Kageyama’s face fucking fails him as he tries to pull up an expression other than bashful. “W-what the hell are you talking about, y-you dumbass Hinata...”


As Hinata keeps telling him how “awesome” he is, Kageyama feels like internally screaming and dying at the same time because how can one person trust someone else this much and compliment them like it’s nothing at all?! What kind of a freak was this orange haired ball of energy and why couldn’t Kageyama bring himself to be pissed at him for, well, existing and coming into his life?!


And as if Hinata hasn’t already said enough, he says that he’s incredibly grateful and wants to return the favor. So, when Hinata talks him into revealing his work schedule and invites him to have some coffee, Kageyama tells himself that he's only (very begrudgingly) accepting because of free coffee and not because of this annoying person is actually someone he wants to spend more time with.


Then out of nowhere, Hinata asks for his phone number because “friends have each other’s numbers, right?”


And it takes Kageyama a beat to fully comprehend what Hinata just said. “We’re friends?”


“Well, aren’t we?” He looks like a small, orange Pomeranian as he tilts his head to the side. “I thought we were?”


He did? Why? Also, when was the last time someone had called Kageyama their friend? What the hell? “I… I guess we are.”


(And just as he’s expected, giving his number to Hinata turns out to be a horrible decision, really, as Hinata texts him all the time and for no reason at all because apparently friends don’t need a valid reason to casually talk to each other or something.)


Two days later, after Kageyama’s shift at the Institute is over, he is even more humiliated by none other than his own supervisor, Sawamura, as the older man notices that he’s “dressed more carefully than the usual” and tells him to have fun on his “date”. And no matter how many times he’s tried to deny that no, this isn’t a date, Sawamura doesn’t seem to get the memo and tells Kageyama to say hi to that “energetic art student” while laughing quite loudly.


As Kageyama enters the café they’ve planned to meet, Hinata gets up, hugs him like it’s the easiest thing in the world and tells him that he looks good in his usual security guard suit but he looks even better and more pastel (what?) in a sweater like it’s the most basic fact in the entire world, completely ignoring (apparently not really, as Hinata reveals later on) Kageyama’s flaring cheeks and flailing arms.


And they start to figure out how to move on from there. First as friends and later on as… something more, they carve their weird, unfamiliar and unique road all by themselves. And even if it doesn’t pay his bills and even if it may someday crumble just like his previous hopes and dreams, for the first time in years, Kageyama tastes the complete joy of creating something from scratch –just like practically improvising a drawing with unseeing eyes.