Disclaimer: I don't own Haikyuu.

Happy birthday Kageyama!

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Kageyama wasn't sure what Hinata was up to, but it was something weird and probably something stupid, like usual. Hinata had been a little off during practice, and now this.

"Kiyoko-san, wait!" The idiot ran after her when practice clean-up came to an end, stuttering something out to her as she was leaving the gym. She stopped at whatever he said, head cocked. Curious, Kageyama paused to watch. Hinata kicked at the ground and avoided eye contact with her while he spoke, face bright red and playing with the hem of his shirt. What could Hinata be embarrassed about? Kiyoko nodded once in reply and walked off without further comment. Hinata punched the air, exultant, and dashed for the changing room.

Of course, that brief interaction got a dramatic gasp from Tanaka: "Who does Hinata think he is, huh? What first-year brat would have the nerve to talk to the beautiful Kiyoko-san?"

"You don't think he was confessing to her, do you?" Nishinoya replied, staring at the door where the lady manager had just exited. "That was too quick. He didn't even have a note for her!"

Tanaka gasped again. "She nodded! Did you see it? She nodded at whatever he asked her!"

"HINATA!" They both shouted with fire in their eyes.

"How could you?" Nishinoya cried as the pair rushed towards the changing room after Hinata.

Tsukishima snorted derisively at their sempais' behavior. "Puh-lease, like Hinata could sit still long enough to even think about crushing on somebody."

"Just because no one would ever put up with you doesn't mean Hinata couldn't get a girl to like him," Kageyama shot back, though personally he sort of agreed that Hinata didn't seem interested in girls at all beyond his friendship with Yachi.

I'll probably have to break up a "fight", Kageyama thought as he pushed open the door to the locker room. He braced himself for melodramatic shouting and passionate attempts at ninja battle tactics. Tanaka and Nishinoya's Nerf weapon skirmish with Hinata in the hallway three weeks ago – carried out just because they could – had had gotten so outrageously loud that the dean had appeared and banned them from club practice for two days. Daichi had been livid, but the morons continued to declare that it was almost as fun as volleyball.

There was no shouting now, though. Did they decide to duke it out somewhere else? Had Hinata snuck away from their questions? Kageyama searched the room and spotted the three crouched in a corner, whispering. He blinked. That was… unexpected.

As soon as Noya noticed him, the libero shushed the other two. Hinata and Tanaka looked up at Kageyama defiantly, like they expected him to ask what they were doing and they weren't planning to give up anything. Kageyama rolled his eyes and left them to their dumb powwow.

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Hinata was still antsy when lunch rolled around the next day. Kageyama kept elbowing him in the ribs at the table, but Hinata wouldn't calm down. Nishinoya and Tanaka's original prediction was probably wrong. Kageyama couldn't imagine a scenario where Hinata had asked out Kiyoko-san and her two most devoted followers were encouraging it.

Okay, Kageyama didn't care that much what the decoy was up to, but Hinata was babbling nonsensically and everyone else at the table was boring, so Kageyama tried to figure it out. What would Hinata have gone to Kiyoko for? Even though she was the team manager, he likely wouldn't have gone to her with a volleyball question. Those would be better directed at Suga or Daichi. What did Hinata even think about, other than volleyball? Anything?

Classes, maybe. Having bad test scores would affect his eligibility for volleyball. However, Yachi's notes had been helping with that recently. Hinata wouldn't need to go to Kiyoko for academic help.

It… wasn't entirely impossible that Hinata was thinking about girls. Kiyoko-san probably knew a lot about girls since, you know, she was one. Maybe Hinata had gone to her for help about a girl?

"-geyama! Oi, Kageyama!"

"You don't really have time for a girlfriend," he replied.

Hinata frowned. "What are you talking about?"

"I was just thinking that with volleyball practice and school, you probably don't have time for one."

"Idiot Kageyama. Were you even listening to me?"

"No."

"Hey! Meanie."

"Shut up."

"You shut up. You wanna fight?" Hinata took his lame approximation of a fighting stance, learned from manga characters and TV shows.

"No, because I'd win and then you'd be too injured to spike at practice."

"I could take you."

"I could sit on you, dumbass."

"Well, then I'd tickle you to get out."

Kageyama snorted. "I'm not ticklish."

"You totally are."

"Am not."

"Right above your hips. I got you on the bus when you were sleeping and you jumped about a mile. Remember?"

Of course Hinata didn't forget that. "Well… I'd make sure you couldn't tickle me."

"I don't think so!" Hinata launched himself at Kageyama. The argument devolved into a tickle fight and Kageyama sort of forgot what they'd been arguing about.

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Hinata turned off towards his house – which would be as usual on a weekday – and Kageyama stopped, confused. "Oi, where're you going? It's Friday."

Hinata usually invited himself over to Kageyama's house on the weekends for extra practice in the back yard, even during the winter (like now) when they wouldn't actually be practicing outside. Kageyama usually put up token protests about Hinata being rude, but it wasn't like he didn't want to hang out too.

Today Hinata shrugged. "I'm busy."

"You've been busy the whole week." Hinata had left straight from practice since Monday, claiming to have things to do. Kageyama definitely wasn't disappointed. Definitely not.

"I promised my mom I'd do extra chores. Next week, okay?"

"Fine." Kageyama watched him roll the bike away and frowned deeper. He kept his phone on all weekend, expecting a text full of exclamation points asking to come over and practice or go to a movie or play Pokémon or something. The mobile device remained silent.

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Kageyama woke up on the 22nd feeling about as grumpy as usual. On the upside, it was his birthday. On the downside, it was a Monday. He would get to have volleyball practice, which was a plus, but Hinata was probably still being a butt about hanging out with him. So the day could go either way.

There was a birthday card from his parents at his spot at the kitchen table. Kageyama's frown shrank. His mom had doodled a smiling volleyball in the corner, her usual signature when she left him notes. His father wasn't an artist, but he wished Kageyama a happy birthday and included a postscript to their joint message. It said that the two of them had made tentative plans for his birthday dinner, but if he wanted to spend the day with friends, things could be rescheduled.

The same postscript had been written on Kageyama's birthday card every year since he could read, but this was the first year that he might take them up on their offer to reschedule. The team probably didn't know it was Kageyama's birthday, but he wouldn't mind dragging Hinata somewhere after practice to eat, Hinata's chores be damned.

That thought put him in a better mood, and he walked to school with less of a scowl than usual. As he closed his shoe locker, he heard a familiar "Oi, Kageyama!" He turned around to see Hinata dashing up the main hall with a box in his hands. It was covered in a bizarre combination of Christmas wrapping paper and tissue paper with pictures of candles that were colored on by hand. Hinata had clearly run out of the former material before he was done with the box.

"What are you –?"

Hinata shoved the box at him. "This is for you, idiot. Happy birthday."

"For me?" Kageyama asked stupidly.

"You know any other morons who were born today?" Kageyama decided not to retort in favor of tearing the wrapping paper and opening the brown box. He pulled out a pair of socks. He looked at the socks, and then at Hinata, and then at the socks again. "They're new, I promise!" Hinata defended, even though Kageyama could see the tags on the two-pair of black and orange footwear.

"Thanks," Kageyama mumbled. He wasn't going to tell Hinata, but they were sorta awesome, being Karasuno's colors and all.

"There's more in there, goof."

Kageyama handed Hinata the socks and reached into the box again to pull out a small contraption with two parallel cylinders connected by a spring. "Uh. What is it?"

"It's one of those squeeze things for strengthening your hands. I dunno, it was in the sports store and it looked cool. And 'cause you're a setter and use your hands a lot, it could maybe help."

"O…kay." That was a thoughtful gift too. He stuck his hand in the box and pulled out the last item. It was a keychain, which was useful, but the charm was a bright yellow rubber duck wearing a royal crown. It was such a Hinata thing to get him. Kageyama stared at the crown for a long moment before saying, "I swear I'm going to kick your ass, Hinata."

"But you're the king! It's perfect!"

"Hate that nickname," he growled. Then, more calmly: "How'd you even know that today was my birthday, dork?"

Hinata blushed furiously. "You mentioned once that it was in December, but I didn't know the day, so I asked Kiyoko-san if she could find out. She's got the information for all the players, since she's the team manager, and that includes birthdates and stuff. Since your birthday was in a week and a half and I basically had no money left, my mom said I could get next week's allowance early if I helped out more around the house."

Kageyama felt himself flushing in reply. That was almost cute. In retrospect he felt horrible that he'd been cranky about Hinata's behavior the past week and a half. "Thanks. You're kinda cool, I guess," he muttered.

Hinata's grin widened. "What was that, Kageyama?" he prodded.

"I said you're a jerk and I'm going to smack you!"

"Hahaha!" Hinata jumped out of the way of Kageyama's swing and stuck his tongue out before smiling ear to ear. "You're welcome, dumbass."

"Yo, Kageyama!" he heard, and Tanaka and Nishinoya waved wildly as they passed. "Happy birthday!" Their wide grins and knowing looks bordered on sinister rather than pleasant.

"They look like they're plotting something," Kageyama observed with a shiver.

"No, they're definitely not! And even if they were, I wouldn't tell you!" Hinata declared.

Yeah, Kageyama was going to take up his parents on their offer to reschedule celebrating with him. This year, he probably had plans with friends.

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From Meri: The rubber-duck-with-a-crown key chain is a real thing I found by searching "key chain crown" on Google images. It was literally so Hinata that I couldn't resist :P I can't paste the link here, but if you find me on AO3 (I'm MeridianGrimm there too), I've posted the link in the notes for December 22nd.

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