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Haikyuu!! Inferno

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Kuroo was hot. Wait.
Ok, he knew he was physically attractive - the main reason he was even on a dating show as superficial as Single’s Inferno: HQ - but right now he was an entirely different kind of hot.
As he glanced around the blinding white-sand beach, he was worried about sweating through his shirt. He’d already taken the initiative to roll up the sleeves of his button-up (an action that, unbeknownst to him, would elicit a cloud of appreciative sighs worldwide when the episode aired a few weeks later).
After giving a cursory glance to his surroundings, Kuroo sat down in the conversation pit to await the other contestants. He had a feeling that although the area was aesthetically pleasing, he and the other contestants would be spending most of their time in the shade.

When he’d signed up for the show months earlier, he’d shrugged off any misgivings, thinking what the hell. He worked for the Japan Volleyball Association, so it wasn’t like the show would give his business a much-needed boost, and it had been a while since he’d last had a serious girlfriend. What did he have to lose?
What the hell was right. This place had to be, what, 34 degrees?! “Inferno” was an apt name. He’d chuckled when they’d given him a haphazard safety training about how to treat sunstroke, but he wasn’t so amused now.
…Maybe. As he vicariously imagined being tended to by his love interest (honestly, who wouldn’t like that?), he was interrupted by movement at the top of the ridge.
A dot of color was slowly making its way down the stairs, unless it was just a heat shimmer. Torn between standing up and making the interaction more awkward or staying seated and seeming rude, he finally just shaded his eyes.
It looked like a man in a white suit. His hair, which was rather long, obscured his face at first, but as he came closer Kuroo could see that he had fine features, and his bright eyes darted unceasingly around the campsite.
A long, breathless minute passed as the man descended the stairs and skirted around the fireplace to take a seat at Kuroo’s left.
“Hello.” His tone wasn’t exactly sullen, but it sure wasn’t energetic.
Up close, Kuroo marveled. They were like night and day! If Kuroo was the average gym-going businessman, this guy was like an idol. But hopefully there’d be women who liked both types.
Realizing he was keeping the man waiting, Kuroo hastily extended his hand. “Hello. I’m Kuroo Tetsurou.” They shook hands, and the man’s eyes darted downwards.
“Kozume Kenma.”

Kenma was going to kill his publicist.
He did not need to sweat. He did not need to “maximize his public impact” (seriously, the fuck??). He did not need to compete with beautiful, perfect superpeople for the affections of other beautiful, perfect superpeople.
Most importantly, he did not need to prostitute himself for the viewing pleasure of millions of people he did not care about who also happened to live several weeks in the future.
He knew a thin parallel could be drawn to his gaming, but gaming required skill. It required grit. No one really cared about your looks with gaming, though he did clean up for the occasional livestream. In any case, he had a feeling that Single’s Inferno would try to downplay that particular aspect of his career. “CEO of Bouncing Ball Corp.” sounded much more impressive, so his publicist had stressed it again and again, with varying levels of hysteria.
“Kenma, you want to find that special person, right?” the bald man had asked, sweat beading on his skull.
Not really. “Yes.” As he watched a drop slide down the man’s forehead, he was reminded of betting on raindrops on your car window as a kid.
The thought pulled the corner of his mouth up, which the man interpreted as fond acquiescence.
“Great, great. I’m glad we agree.” He looked about to weep for joy. “So please, please present yourself in the best possible light, and do not lead with the pro gaming.”
In the present, Kenma scoffed. As if! He might not actually be trying to seduce these people, but he knew that much.
As he settled down on the seat, he darted a glance to his right. The first guy, Kuroo, was gazing languidly back at the stairs. He looked like the type ladies loved: laid-back, handsome, and professional. The exact opposite of him.
Kenma almost smiled again as he faced forward. Don’t worry, fellow contestants. You won’t get any competition from me.

“And we are off to a great start!”
Back in the studio, Tanaka Saeko led everyone in a round of celebratory applause. As the most outspoken of the commentators, she’d been given the crucial job of jumpstarting discussion, a task she conducted with equal parts good nature and vigor. “Welcome to the hottest inferno in the world, Single’s Inferno: HQ.”
She turned gamely to her fellow panelists. “Takeda, what do you think about the contestants so far?” She leaned forward and waggled her eyebrows at the gentle-looking man sitting to the far left.
“It’s not too early to tell?” Takeda Ittetsu laughed. “I like them. They introduced themselves right away and even shook hands. Very civil.”
On the far right, Ukai Keishin nodded. “Kenma seems like the glum type, while Kuroo seems like the cheerful type. We’ll probably have a good range of attitudes. But I think we’re all tiptoeing around the elephant in the room - what is up with Kuroo’s hair?!”
Here, the camera zoomed in on his disheveled head as he waited obliviously.
“Seriously, a stylist saw to him, right? Or is it because of a stylist that it’s like that?”
Haiba Alisa intervened to save the poor crew member. “Ukai. They’re quite different in looks, but both are very refreshing.” She looked thoughtfully at the screen. “I think the designers tried to reflect that in their dress. Kuroo’s all in dark colors while Kenma’s in white.”
“That’s a great observation! Maybe their interviews will confirm our feelings.” As soon as the words left Saeko’s lips, the footage transitioned seamlessly.

Kuroo spoke confidently from his perch on a stool. “I’m Kuroo Tetsuro. I was originally interested in the show because I wanted to see if I could click with someone. I’m pretty outgoing, so it can be hard for me to differentiate between romantic and platonic feelings. My charms include my humor, my height, and this.” He indicated his hair. “Unfortunately, it’s natural. Kind of. If you consider bedhead natural.”
“In my free time, I like playing volleyball - hm, that’s not too big of a hint, right? - and DIY projects. My ideal type is someone who I can joke around with and who can surprise me.” He nodded as the video faded to black.

“Cute,” was the only comment uttered by Alisa before they launched into Kenma’s.

While Kuroo had sat stiff-backed on the chair, highlighting his already formidable height, Kenma slouched much more comfortably. He looked a bit, Ukai realized, like a stand-up comedian about to launch his routine, which gave him a slight sense of foreboding.

He began right away. “I’m Kozume Kenma. I came onto the show because I was bored. My charms include my bluntness and my hands.” In response to this sudden declaration, he held one up to the camera to demonstrate. Indeed, it was quite nice; in any case, the panelists couldn’t find any fault with it, and he continued on.
“In my free time, I enjoy gaming and trading stocks. My ideal type is someone who I have common interests with and who isn’t boring.”
The screen faded to black on his angelic smile.

Weeks later, this interview would garner a fair amount of controversy from die-hard Single’s Inferno fans scandalized by his flippancy and Kenma’s own fans, who shot back, How much realer could you get on reality TV? Nevertheless, endless Twitter posts captioned to the tune of, “Wish I had this guy’s confidence,” and “Single’s Inferno accepts refreshing new personalities” solidified his popularity on the show. If Kenma had known what affect this declaration would have on the world, he might not have done it.
But in the present, it was just the biggest F U he could think of to his publicist.

In the panelist box, Ukai was sweating. Crap! He’d been right! After a long silence, Ukai cleared his throat and suggested, “Why don’t we move on to the other contestants?”

Back on the beach, the first female contestant was approaching.
Kuroo shaded his eyes again, and despite not wanting to appear too interested, Kenma found himself unconsciously leaning forward.

Whoever it was, she was wearing a long black skirt and matching top, and her strides were smooth and confident.
“Hello.” She greeted them as she emerged from the end of the wooden tunnel, and both men inclined their heads to acknowledge her.
As she settled on the last section of unoccupied bench to Kenma’s left, the camera lingered on her elegant face a touch longer than anyone else’s (either before or afterwards) before finally cutting to her interview.

In the studio, she took a deep breath and smiled. “My name is Shimizu Kiyoko. I was interested in this show because while I’ve had the opportunity for several relationships, none have really sparked my interest. I hope to change that here. My charms include my decisiveness, dedication, and this mole.” The camera lingered on it as she continued. “I can appear cold at first, but I don’t want to spare anyone’s feelings only to hurt them more later along the line. In my free time, I like to read and go on runs.”
Ending with a flourish, she declared, “I like men who are confident and open about their feelings.”

“It’s refreshing that people are staying away from physical descriptions and focusing more on emotional factors for ideal type,” Alisa commented. “I feel like if you’d asked this question on a dating show even five years ago you’d get a vastly different response.”
Takeda’s ears perked up.
“Alisa, what’s your ideal type?” he asked politely.
“Oh, that’s easy. Hot.”
Only after the hysteria had quelled were able to return to the beach.

She got her wish. The next contestant was, by his own admission, extremely easy on the eyes.

Oikawa loved making an entrance. Arrive late, leave early (with somebody) had always been his personal motto, and he wasn’t about to break it now.
Indeed, he wasn’t the first contestant (poor soul sweating out eight other entrances), and he wasn’t the last, who would have barely sat down before having to get up again. In fact, he was relatively early, so he still had his pick of seats.
Oikawa was confident he could deliver the innate mystery and flair accessible only to those who’d lived abroad. He couldn’t wait until he made it to Paradise so that he could finally disclose his stylish foreign citizenship for an admiring audience. The producers had made an exception for his romantic foray back to Japan, and what girl wouldn’t love a man who would cross oceans for love?
Ok, he was talking out of his ass. His last relationship had come to a shocking, yet somehow anticlimactic end when his girlfriend had dumped him for focusing too much on volleyball and not enough on their future together.
The memory still stung like a fresh slap even months and continents later. (Seriously, where the fuck were they? He hadn’t even been told the island’s location.)
However, he couldn’t dwell on any of those melancholy thoughts now! He had to be “on” for the next nine days, starting now. And it would definitely behoove him to be, especially when he saw who was already there.
He was glad he’d chosen the full suit. So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, so long lives reality TV, and it gives life to thee…or something, right? Basically, there was a total babe on the bench.
Don’t mind if I do…Oikawa slid right next to her on the very end. After an initial “hello,” she immediately turned her gaze back to the stairwell again, but that was all right. He had plenty of time.

“Hello! My name’s Oikawa Tooru, and I came onto the show because I’m looking for my soulmate.” He smiled in response to a muffled laugh offscreen. “Don’t laugh! I’m serious. I’m going to try my best, so please believe me. Anyhow, my charms include my cute face, my sense of humor, and my dedication. But I can be serious, too, especially when it comes to competition. I hate losing, and I love volleyball.” Did he just wink?
Meanwhile, a furious exchange was happening behind the scenes.
“Should I cut that out later?” an editor wondered, but the producer just shook her head.
“Nah. He’s- I mean, it’s cute.”
He continued his introduction obliviously. “Other than that, I often find myself crying at crappy movies. My ideal type is a woman who I admire and has a lot of determination. If she has high standards, I’m not worried. I’m willing to prove myself if I need to.”

“What a confident declaration!” Takeda marveled.
“Hm. I know what I as a guy think, but what about you?” Ukai turned to his fellow panelists.
“What do you as a guy think?” Alisa quipped.
“I think I’d be jealous.”
Takeda nodded. “Me, too. Confidence is very sexy.”
Saeko sighed. “Well, I can agree with that. Despite what he said about wanting to find his soulmate, he could be a player. His speech seemed very tailored, that’s for sure.” She suddenly grinned. “Whether he’s genuine or not, I think we have a very exciting season on our hands.”

The next participant was another woman, and all of the seated contestants subconsciously perked up.
She wore a blue dress that showed off her long legs to great effect, and she smiled as she approached the pit. “Good afternoon.”
Like the first woman, she wore her black hair in a bob, but everyone immediately knew they’d have no trouble telling them apart. Even though they were sitting and she was standing, the newcomer looked to be about six feet tall!
With everyone’s eyes on her, she felt like a latecomer to the party, though she could see she was roughly in the middle of the pack. But there was a difference between knowing something and believing it, and as she looked for a place to sit, her cheeks flushed faintly.
Kuroo found the action along with her friendly demeaner incredibly endearing. As she settled next to him, he smiled, suddenly realizing that after Kenma, no one had stated their name yet.
“It’s nice to meet you.” As they shook hands, she beat him to the punch. “I’m Amanai Kanoka.”

In her personal interview, she blushed again. “I was interested in the show because I have a hard time meeting people in person,” she explained. “I don’t know if people are turned off by my height, but I think they may also expect me to be different than how I look. Height doesn’t matter a lot to me on my end, though. My charms include the fact that I’m a good listener, my arms” – a muffled request came from offscreen, and she smiled and flexed, eliciting some less-muffled oohs and aahs – “and my determination. I really hope I can find someone I get along well with here. My hobbies include hiking and painting. My ideal type is someone who has a lot of drive and who can make me laugh.”

The video had barely ended when Alisa clapped, eyes shining.
“Looks like someone already has a favorite,” Takeda laughed.
“She looks so sweet!” Alisa paid him no mind. “If there are men still shallow enough to refuse because of height, I’ll teach them otherwise! And if all else fails, we’ll call Lev.”
“To teach them a lesson?” Saeko said in alarm.
“No, not that! To court her! His height won’t be the problem, but his personality…oh, Levochka.” She sighed.

More than half of the contestants had arrived.
Kenma looked around dispassionately. Kuroo, Amanai, himself, the first female contestant, the playboy…had the last two said their names and he’d just spaced out? Had they? Did he care if they had? Well, yeah, if he didn’t ask now it would be even more awkward later…
He’d just opened his mouth when Oikawa seized the opportunity to make a good first impression.
He put on his best showman’s smile. “It’s hot today, isn’t it?”
After such a long silence, almost everyone immediately jumped to assent: yes, it was hot, they’d been surprised, hadn’t they said it 34 degrees? Kuroo even contributed something about sunstroke.
When the murmurs died down, Oikawa presented his pocket square to Kiyoko, indicating it gracefully. “Please, take it.” You see? Chivalry wasn’t dead, elegant mystery lady! He, Oikawa, would personally take it upon himself to prove it!
Her mouth opened soundlessly, and that mole seemed to wink at him. She looked on the verge of accepting, but at that moment everyone’s eyes swiveled back to the ridge. She took the cloth quickly and nodded her thanks.
Inwardly, Oikawa cursed. What the hell, his opener interrupted by a new arrival? This better be good. When he looked back, his jaw almost dropped.

Swaggering downhill was a man in sunglasses, but not just any man in any sunglasses. It was a man in a gold suit wearing sunglasses that not only caught the light, but hurled it back at them. His blonde hair was slicked up in a smooth wave.
Oikawa wrinkled his nose. He could practically smell the gel from here.
The newcomer only removed his hands from his pockets at the bottom of the stairs. “Yo,” he drawled.

“And what did you think of him?” a producer prompted.
At this point in the interview, Amanai hesitated. She’d been pulled off to the side to give her first impression of the other contestants, but she hadn’t expected this particular contestant right out of the gate. Honestly?
After a long pause, she admitted, “I remember thinking I’d never seen anyone like him. I thought I was looking at the sun.”

Oikawa was less complimentary. “I thought he looked like a goldfish,” he said carelessly. “The gold on gold was a bit much. He practically blinded those of us in the fire pit. And the sunglasses? Probably just to protect him from himself.”

While before, Kuroo had been somewhat confident that Single’s Inferno wouldn’t outright plant someone, in light of recent events, he was willing to negotiate. However, he certainly hadn’t thought that they’d be so obvious about it. Either the producers had a low opinion of their IQs (despite the extensive personality, physical, and situational testing they’d been put through), or this guy was for real.
He was scared to consider this last possibility.
“Yeah, I thought he looked like an interesting guy,” he said vaguely. “Very…shiny.”

That “yo” rocked the pit (and later, the world) into silence. No one said a word even when the man disregarded numerous empty seats to squeeze in between Kenma and Kiyoko.
Kiyoko recovered just enough to put on a polite smile as the man slowly removed his sunglasses. She noted uncomfortably that his eyes were fixed only on her. “Terushima Yuuji.”

The camera transitioned to the studio, but after a moment of silence where Ukai looked at Saeko, Saeko at Alisa, and Alisa at Takeda, they broke into incredulous laughter.
“We assure you that Single’s Inferno is entirely unscripted.” Takeda adjusted his glasses as if he wasn’t sure they were working. “Although after that introduction I’m not sure I’d believe it myself.”
“That was practically a declaration of war,” Ukai interjected. “He looked straight at Kiyoko, saying, ‘I’m interested in you,’ and warned off anyone else.”
“Do you think he’ll cause problems with the other contestants?” Alisa wondered.
No one had to answer.

His self-introduction only reinforced their worst fears.
“Yo. I’m Terushima Yuji. I came on the show just to see what’s what. If I don’t find the one, I’m not gonna be too torn up about it. My charms include my muscles, sense of style, and this.” He lazily flicked his tongue out to reveal a silver tongue piercing. (“Oh my,” Alisa said quietly.)
“I like to work out and trade stocks. I also dabble in some YouTube on the side, just practical joke type of stuff. I always look for physical attraction first, if there’s no spark then it’s a waste of time. Other than that, I guess I like sexy women.” He tugged at his collar, already bored.

Everyone was relieved by the arrival of the next, female guest.
As she floated down the steps in a round, pink dress, more than one contestant was reminded of a bubble. She waved a little as she approached the bench. “Hi, hi.”

In truth, she could barely contain her excitement. For two small, fleeting minutes, she had everyone’s attention, and she was determined to make the most of them. She could already see some of the men’s faces as she approached, and they did not disappoint. How handsome and refined! Their fashion taste, on the other hand…well, with a little help from your friends...
The other two women were beautiful, but she could already tell their stylists had tried too hard to frame them as the innocent one and the sexy one respectively. No, no, no! In her opinion, you should always emphasize someone’s natural beauty over anything else. It was almost disappointing.

Her interview started off like a shot. “Hello! My name is Aoki Miu. I wanted to be on Single’s Inferno because I’ve been unlucky in the past with my romantic endeavors, and I want to find the one! I’m here to find love. My charms include my petite body and my smile, and a lot of people have told me that I’m the cute type. My hobbies include baking, dancing, and sunbathing. My ideal type is a man who’s tall and strong, probably because I’m so small.”
Indeed, when she stood next to other people in her video clips, she only came up to their chests.
She looked straight at the camera before her final statement.
“I’m looking forward to my experience here!”

“So we’ve got our first very feminine contestant,” Alisa noted. “I can see why she’d be the cute type.”
“Do you think she’ll be popular with the boys?” Saeko wondered. After a moment of thought, Ukai tilted his head.
“Quite a few men do like the small, adorable type.”
“So you think she’s adorable!”
He laughed. “I won’t say she’s not! She is pretty different from the last two female contestants. Kiyoko and Kanoka are more the quiet, dignified type.”
“Really? I thought Kanoka was the friendly type,” Takeda piped up from the other side of the panel.
“Is friendly a type?”
Saeko veered them back on track. “All this talk of types is getting us too distracted.”

“Can I sit here?”
As she pointed to the empty space next to Kuroo, Kenma finally realized what her dress was shaped like: a badminton shuttlecock. Stop it, he told himself. Play nice. But he couldn’t get the image out of his head, so he turned away.
The movement caught Aoki’s eye, and she filed it away for later. Kuroo nodded, and she sat down with a floof, a piece of her skirt touching his pant leg.

They didn’t have long to wait before the final female contestant appeared.
Unlike the others, who’d seemed a little sand-blind, shading their eyes as they came out, she looked neither to the right nor to the left as she wound her way down. While her expression couldn’t be described as haughty exactly, it was a vast change from the previous contestant’s bright smile, and she wore a suit with a lacy top peeking out.
As she came down to their level, she took the initiative and introduced herself first. “Yamaka Mika. It’s nice to meet you.”

When asked about her motivation for joining the show, she paused. “I know very clearly what I like and don’t like in a man. I won’t lie, I am looking for a partner, but if no one here meets my expectations I won’t force myself. My charms include my honesty, organization, and humor. In my spare time, I like to rock climb and spend time with my dog, Biscuit. My ideal type is a man who’s pretty similar to me, and who I can practice my comebacks on.” The corner of her mouth quirked up, so she couldn’t have been completely serious, but Ukai still joked, “Is she looking for a man or a victim?”

“How dignified and sexy!” Alisa was deeply impressed. “Just look at that suit!”
“No one can take their eyes off her,” Takeda chuckled. It was true. While before the contestants had been frozen to stone at Terushima’s borderline rude entrance, here the silence was one of quiet appraisal and respect.
Although there was no way the woman couldn’t not feel their gaze, she looked straight ahead, the same cold expression on her face. She settled at the far right of the bench to Oikawa’s left, and as he gave her a once-over Oikawa began to reconsider his strategy.
“She’s certainly the most glamorous one there, and being the last female contestant couldn’t have hurt,” Ukai noted.
Saeko noted everyone’s shifting gazes. “I can see all the men switching sides,” she sighed. “Well, that’s just it – ‘young men love not with their hearts, but with their eyes,’ huh?”
Even Terushima had been forced to take notice of her, but after making such a show with Kiyoko there wasn’t much he could do. Had he made a mistake placing his bets? Whatever. The first chick hadn’t looked that interested in him anyway.

Meanwhile, Aoki frowned. Her entrance was already rapidly being forgotten, though she’d only come out the moment before. Wasn’t it a little unfair to have two of the four women come out one right after the other? Had they really thought she was that bland?
But when Yamaka glanced her way, she settled her features back into a smile.

Everyone turned back to await the final contestant. If it hadn’t been Terushima, surely it must be someone even more exceptional. Maybe someone in a silver suit?

Personally, Kuroo was overjoyed. As the one who’d been sitting in the sun the longest, he was definitely sweating through his shirt now (and him surrounded by two women, damn it!). The problem had only worsened as each contestant was dragged back to the beginning of the path so that the cameras could get every possible angle of their approach. By the time they’d actually come down close enough to see, the feeling of curiosity had become more of frustration.
Just let us see your beautiful face already!!

“Someone’s coming.” Everyone hushed, anxious to spot their savior from the hot sun.
And he was hot.
They saw his muscles before they saw him, in a tight black polo shirt much more casual than anyone else. However, upon spotting his veins any former complaints disappeared.
Despite his imposing figure, he smiled as he emerged from underneath the wooden trellis. “Good afternoon.”
He was met with a chorus of “hello’s” as he took his place on the last available section of the bench to the far left. Aoki smiled to accommodate him.
All nine participants had arrived.

The side interviews were buzzing.
“I thought, this guy is so fit it’s insane!” Aoki exclaimed.
“Isn’t that your type?” a producer asked offscreen.
She blushed and waved her hands. “I did say tall and strong, but being asked so directly is a little embarrassing!”
Even Yamaka concurred. “He was very impressive.” As she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, she said almost to herself, “I think this season could be very interesting.”
Terushima rolled his eyes. “He wasn’t that great. Don’t know why everyone’s drooling over him.”
“We were all on the edge of our seats to see the last person,” Oikawa explained. The camera lingered on him as if prompting him to say more, but he seemed lost in thought. After a moment, he added, “He looks fit.” He declined to comment anything else.

“What?” Alisa noticed that everyone in the studio was looking at her.
“We’re respectfully deferring to you,” Ukai said cheerfully. “We want insight into the female gaze.”
“Well, I can hardly-”
“I can start.” Saeko swooped in to save her. “He’s gorgeous. And friendly. He’s the whole package. The women seemed very responsive to him.”
“You got all of that just from ‘good afternoon?’” Takeda laughed.
Saeko shrugged. “When you know, you know.”
“Well, I will respectfully withhold my opinion until we’ve watched his clip,” Alisa said, and after that her lips were sealed.

The man squirmed on his stool. “My name is Iwaizumi Hajime. I joined this show because I haven’t had a lot of time to date in the past, so I’d like to put myself out there. My charms include…um…” He floundered, and the footage skipped ahead to a moment later. He was laughing, his hands over his face. “Ok, I’ll just say it. Ok. Um…” When he looked up, his face was red. “My charms include my fit body, my openness, and determination. In my free time, I like to read and work out. I also like to cook. My ideal type is someone who is very relaxed and fun.”
Before the last words were out of his mouth, the camera was already transitioning to gratuitous footage of him working out. Push-ups, squats, curl ups, battle ropes…This went on for almost an obscenely long time before the camera reluctantly returned to the panelists.

“You know, you’d never be able to tell his hobbies from the way he looks,” Alisa said immediately. “Reading and cooking, I mean.”
“Is that an insult or a compliment?” Ukai asked.
“It’s a compliment. The discrepancy is quite sexy. Makes you wonder what else you don’t know.”
“Ah.” Everyone hm’ed for a while.
Saeko looked over and noticed that Alisa’s ears were unusually red.
“You’re still thinking about that one posterior shot, huh?” Saeko grinned, and Alisa wailed, “Yes!”

Iwaizumi had never thought he’d be on something like this in a million years. While he admittedly didn’t have a lot of dating experience, he always thought he’d get around to it. Until he never did.
But was forcing himself to stay on a deserted island for nine days with total strangers really the solution? He felt like there were a few steps he could have taken beforehand, but he wasn’t sure what they were. Definitely ones that didn’t involve a camera crew filming his ass, though.
Anyhow, the other contestants looked friendly, nothing too crazy. The gold man looked like a whole other story to himself, but he’d get the full picture later. The women were beautiful, as could be expected. The other men weren’t bad either. Even under the blazing sun, he felt a bit conscious of the fact that he was the only one wearing just a T-shirt, his arms fully bared to the world. But if he’d seen the group’s conflicting outfits without any context, he wasn’t sure what event he would have thought they were all gathered for.
“Hello. I’m Iwaizumi Hajime.” He shook hands all around and desperately tried to remember the proferred names. Aoki, Kuroo, Amanai…his memory got hazier the farther away they sat from him. One man in particular – Oikawa? – was looking at him strangely, but Iwaizumi tried to shrug it off. It was probably just his imagination.
He settled back on the bench, and everyone immediately burst into well wishes.
“I’m glad we’re all here!”
“It’s nice to meet everyone.”
“Let’s have a good show!”
Oikawa would bet his ass (and good money, though his ass was probably enough) that he knew that face from somewhere, but he shook himself out of it to agree. “Yeah, let’s have a good season.”
His words were almost cut off by a chime sounding from the speakers, and everyone looked around expectantly. Excitement, unease, fear, and hope danced around their faces.

Single’s Inferno: HQ was just beginning.