Notes: I've been a fan of the Haikyuu! Fandom for over a year now and I've trawled through the depths of fanfiction and AO3 for more IwaOi fanfics but I've never tried my hand at writing one yet due to my fear of getting their characters wrong. However, this idea just wouldn't go away and… here I am.
Summary: Hajime is an earth spirit, with deep roots entrenching him to the land from which his mountain proudly rises from the earth. Tooru, however, is a water spirit, and those of his kind are flighty, coming and going with the rains, with origins in a body of water. Those of his kind are also incomparably fragile, their lives fleeting. Despite their lives being so drastically different, they can't help but fall in love, even if sorrow is all that is in their future.
Tooru doesn't want to disappear, doesn't want to leave Hajime.
Hajime just hopes that he still has infinitely more time with Tooru.
When Hajime is born, it is to unending darkness stretched out miles beyond him, yet when he reaches out his hand, he finds himself enclosed in a lightless space with fingertips skimming across rough walls.
He stays like that for seconds, days, years, maybe millennia until one day, a sliver of white appears above his head, tantalizingly close yet painfully far. A faint breeze trickles through the crack, stirring up the stale air for the first time since Hajime has gained consciousness. Gradually, the crack widens and Hajime can begin to make out bright blue and white, the softness of the sky and the clouds that inhabit it holding his attention for long stretches at times. However, he is still caught in that tiny pocket and can only look at the sky like a caged bird as that is essentially all that he is.
Recently though, he's been sensing a presence hanging around nearby. His instincts tell him that it's another spirit and the flowing calmness of the aura makes him think that it's a water spirit. Earth spirits and water spirits have always been friends, he knows from nothing but a strong feeling deep inside his core. Water and earth coexist perfectly to herald life and it is due to this natural cooperation that Hajime already has a friendly feeling towards this spirit. He wishes that he could escape this tiny hollow already and speak with the spirit that is oddly insistent on staying close to his mountain, but that's not possible so he settles himself against the wall and falls asleep to the lull of the soothing presence washing over him
Hajime finally wakes up one day to a deep rumbling that resonates deep in his chest from the rough rock beneath him. It hurts and he feels a ripping pain from deep within him and it is agonizing. With a low, pained sigh, his eyelids slip closed again and he falls back onto the ground as the mountain continues to shake around him.
Tooru is born to a spray of water and the babbling of the river. Awakening on a sandy river bank dressed in a flowing blue robe and a mist-like sash, with skin perpetually wet and hair sticking to his forehead, it is already plainly obvious he is beautiful, as all water spirits tend to be.
Even straight from birth, he knows everything around him, and he is very clear about the manner in which he will die. Quietly, without disrupting the silence of the surroundings, melting gently back to the world to be reborn once again with a different face, a different name and a blank memory, the things that he has experienced to be locked away in his soul as a form of inherited memory. It is from these inherited memories that water and fire spirits learn about the world they are born into.
His disappearance may happen tomorrow or it may not happen even in a million years. There is no way to tell when and Tooru thinks that this is the part that scares him the most.
He wonders how many times he's been reborn and how many times he will continue to be reborn.
This is part of the reason why he wants to experience everything, go everywhere and meet everyone, to make the most of his maybe-short life in the most entertaining and most fulfilling way he can.
It is also this trait that leads him to travel up the newest mountain, only several tens of millions of years old. He hears news from the other spirits nearby, particularly from one impossibly ancient wind spirit named Koushi that the mountain is almost ready to birth its spirit, and, by the height of its peak and the width of it base, the spirit will be an unusually headstrong and powerful one. With the unknown amount of time Tooru has to live, he wants to experience the birth of a spirit at least once.
So he makes his way to where he feels a condensed ball of spiritual energy, sending out steady pulses like a heartbeat that echoes with his own energy within his core.
He stays there for what may be months, the chirping of cicadas and sweltering heat already turning into the comfortable chill of winter before the mountain starts rumbling out of the blue and a split appears three-quarters up the west side of the mountain face. From it, a figure clothed only in an earthy-brown robe tied with a sash of leaves is spit out from a crevice in the mountain before the hole closes itself with another rumble of the earth and the world calms itself once more.
Tooru is ecstatic and he rushes towards the prone figure lying on a boulder that is cradling them like a mother holds her child. The water in the air comes together to form wavery footholds which he steps on to propel himself to the newborn spirit. As he gets closer, he sees that it is male, with black hair and sharp eyebrows, skin a light shade of bronze and features rough-hewn with a high forehead.
He isn't displeasing to the eye, Tooru supposes, not exactly beautiful or handsome but gives off an aura of dependability. It is not surprising as earth spirits are known for their stubborn temperaments and steadfastness as well as their loyalty to their companions.
It is surprising, however, when the spirit's eyes suddenly flashed open and Tooru is stunned from the sharpness of his gaze. The eyes are brown initially but Tooru can see the colours start to swirl between a muddy-brown and verdant-green. There is something youthful yet ancient in the spirit's eyes and Tooru is abruptly reminded once again that this is a spirit that has been alive for far longer than he has, despite appearing to be around the same age as himself.
Meeker spirits would have been sufficiently cowed by the stare and backed away, not willing to be near someone so obviously powerful and intimidating. Tooru, however, is no meek spirit and merely continues to study the other until he thinks that he might already have the spirit's features memorised before signing an offer for friendship and putting on a winning smile.
"Iwa-chan, welcome to this world! I'm Tooru."
Hajime opens his eyes to the feeling of cold water dripping onto his forehead and finds himself staring into a pair of wide, expressive brown eyes. The owner of the eyes reel back, surprise flashing through those eyes once more before being replaced by glee. The boy seems to be studying him, so Hajime takes the chance to observe the other as well.
He's undeniably pretty, with big eyes set with long lashes and mussed-up locks of cedar-brown hair, skin pale-white with a sheen of water covering every visible part of his skin. He's dressed in a floaty, lagoon-blue robe and the hem swirls around at his ankle like a miniature whirlpool. He has a sash wound around his arms, Hajime notes, and it seems to be made out of nothing but extremely dense mist. Just like how he knew the sky was blue or the mountain was his, Hajime knows that he is an earth spirit and the boy in front of him is that water spirit.
'Such unpredictably short lives.' Hajime finds himself thinking but is prematurely yanked out of his thoughts by the boy who it seems has decided he has seen enough and has raised two fingers to his lips, then to the middle of his forehead and finally to the centre of his chest. Again the archaic voice resounds in his soul, whispering information directly to his heart.
'Two fingers to the lips, followed by the head and the chest which has a meaning of "let us converse, let us consider and let us be companions." It is a proffer of friendship.'
"Iwa-chan, welcome to this world! I'm Tooru."
Hajime splutters in shock, wondering where in the world had Iwa-chan even come from and asks exactly that with a request to stop calling him by that name, because he doesn't particularly like it, frowning in irritation when Tooru simply pauses for a moment and gives a light shrug, replying with a cheery response and an exaggerated considering expression,
"You haven't told me your name and since you were born from the rocks, I thought Iwa-chan suited you. It's such a cute name after all!"
Hajime feels his patience snap when, after gritting out that his name was Hajime and that he would like Tooru to please stop calling him Iwa-chan, all Tooru does is let out a laugh and teasingly grins at him, shaking his head while dramatically talking about how it was such a cute nickname that fit his grumpy face so well and proceeds to say "Iwa-chan!" again and again in a sing-song voice. Were all water spirits this annoying?
Hajime lifts up a hand, clenched into a tightly balled-up fist. Chunks of rock float up around him and he selects a particularly painful-looking one before willing it to smash into Tooru's stupidly pretty face.
Tooru lets out a yelp as he only just manages to pull up a wave of water to deflect the rock and glowers at Hajime, although the expression looks more petulant than angered if anything and cries out about how Hajime was so rough towards him even though they had just met and the underlying burbling of water that always echoes Tooru's voice seemed too loud for Hajime, who can already feel a headache coming on.
Despite that though, when Hajime begins to walk down the mountain, he doesn't make Tooru leave and Tooru chooses to follow along as well.
Tooru like spending time with Hajime.
Being near him gives Tooru a sense of ease and calm that usually does not come by easily. Tooru's always flitting around, surfing on storm clouds to explore places far away. He has already discovered an interesting little town that he plans to bring Hajime to some time on the other side of the forest through a mountain valley where a friendly earth spirit named Daichi lives. He also suspects that Koushi is very well acquainted with Daichi, but has no real proof of that.
Right now he is simply content to follow after Hajime, floating on specks of water as Hajime makes his way down a rocky incline with surprising grace. Whenever he lands on a particularly shaky looking boulder, the boulder seems to be locked into place until Hajime moves on again, though if Tooru lands on that same boulder, he knows that it will immediately start crashing down the mountain, taking Tooru with it. Mountains will never hurt earth spirits, but any other spirit will not receive the same treatment. It is the same with rivers and oceans. If Tooru dives to the bottom of his river, he knows that he will be able to stay there indefinitely and the current will flow around him, but if Hajime were to try jumping into the water, he will sink like the rocks he is born from and the currents will sweep him away.
Hajime likes to head to the small, secluded copse of trees in the middle of a wide field. A family of foxes has set up their den there and Hajime is fond of the four tiny kits that playfully nip at his ankles and tumble all over him as their mother watches on while stretched out languidly in a warm patch of sunlight.
The foxes don't like Tooru much for some reason and he spends a plentiful amount of time moping about it while Hajime comforts him with a barely concealed smirk twitching on his lips. It is a vindictively satisfying feeling when the next time they visit a beach nearby to find a clutch of turtle eggs had just hatched, the tiny babies snap ferociously at Hajime's fingers while Tooru is allowed to stroke their heads with a gentle hand.
Now, however, Tooru is content to watch Hajime playing with the fox kits from where he is sitting on a tree stump, finger hovering over a withering rhododendron bush, directing a gentle flow of water to wet its roots. Hajime throws back his head to laugh as one of the bolder kits crawl up his arm and licks his chin, and Tooru is suddenly struck speechless with the sight.
The sun glances off Hajime's hair as a burst of sparkles that scatter into the air and his laugh is deep and rumbling, one that almost causes the earth to quake with the force of his laughter. In this moment, he looks beautiful and Tooru feels an almost uncomfortably warm sensation bubble in his chest. For once, his soul's memories have nothing to say about that.
Today, Tooru is insistent on Hajime following him, and after having known Tooru for nearly a decade now since his birth, Hajime is resigned to the fact that there is nothing that could be done to dissuade Tooru when he gets into that stubborn state of mind. Hajime thinks that it would have been more appropriate for Tooru to be born as a fire spirit or a earth spirit instead, with his mule-headed personality and astounding childishness contrasting starkly with the gentle serenity of most other water spirits.
Letting Tooru's cheerful chattering wash through his ears, Hajime studies the path they are travelling on. It is wide and well-travelled, the dirt of the ground having been packed tightly together from the force of a thousand feet pressing on it. It is different from the paths he usually traverse which take him around the forest and its surrounding areas, untouched by mankind. The ground there is usually soft and squishy, and Hajime enjoys curling his feet in the sticky clay.
A loud exclamation of, "We're here Iwa-chan!" from Tooru has Hajime tearing his attention away from the wildflowers lining the roadside to focus on the slate-grey walls rising sharply to surround a bustling town.
Hajime double takes and he whirls to face Tooru, the question practically falling off his lips,
"Tooru, what are we doing here? Humans cannot see us unless we take a solid form, and you know that strains our bodies horribly!"
Tooru pouts childishly at him, and stares with wide, pleading eyes. Despite himself, Hajime feels his resistance crumbling.
"But Iwa-chan, I've come here before, it'll be fine! Just for a few hours, please?"
Hajime stares back mutedly and Tooru seems to sense his wavering resolve as he turns up the brightness of his puppy eyes a few notches. With a deep sigh, Hajime concedes.
Walking into the town, Hajime fidgets uncomfortably, the magic of the earth that he uses to make himself visible to humans settling on his skin like an ill-fitting shirt. Tooru seems perfectly at ease beside him, humming cheerfully as he stares fascinatedly at all the wares peddled by the merchants. A man in a grubby, threadbare tunic and tattered trousers jostle against Hajime and shoots him a disconcerting glance. Hajime draws closer to Tooru, ill at ease in this human settlement.
Spirits were not meant to be so close to humans, they were meant to remain unknown to the mortals, gently shaping the world around them, keeping peace with nature. It discomforts Hajime greatly to have humans touching him as he attempts to follow Tooru through a crowd.
He also can't help but notice the sheer multitude of girls staring at him and Tooru, hiding their faces behind their hands as they giggle to each other. When he brings this up to Tooru, Tooru laughs in amusement and Hajime feels the urge to send a rock flying at him. Just because Tooru spent so much time with other spirits and in human towns while Hajime prefers to wander around looking after the wildlife and speaks only with a few spirits who he is more familiar with does not allow Tooru to...
"It's because of our appearances, Iwa-chan," Tooru explains as they weave past a cart pulled by a single, bony-looking horse. The horse tosses its head at Hajime as they pass by and Hajime scratches the horse's ears. Tooru waits patiently for him to be done. When Hajime moves away from the horse, which looks healthier for some reason, Tooru continues on, "As spirits, we are born from the world itself and generally have better looking features than the mortals. Even though Iwa-chan has such a grumpy face and bushy brows, when compared to human men, you are already better looking than almost all of them. Of course, needless to say, I am truly exceptionally handsome when compared to them, and it is no wonder why the girls are so enraptured by me."
Hajime lets that comment slide for just this once, much more interested in considering this new piece of information. Does this mean that Tooru himself is the subject of many girls' affections? For humans are fond of pretty things, and Tooru is certainly pretty. Hajime discovers he doesn't like that thought, and when he sees a shy girl approaching Tooru, a blush on her face, he can't help but cause the ground around her to tremble slightly, just enough to cause her to lose her balance and fall over. He ignores Tooru's questioning look and walks on.
Tooru realises that he loves Hajime when he overhears a group of young girls whispering about some of the town's young men. He hears how love is when you feel possessive about a person, and doesn't want to let them go; he hears how love is of feeling happy when the other person is around and of wanting to be with them, make them happy, protect them and he comes to a startling realization - Tooru loves Hajime.
After that, not much changes, Tooru still annoys Hajime and Hajime still hits Tooru out of annoyance. The only difference is that Tooru catches himself staring at Hajime more often, memorising the way Hajime's hair tickles his cheeks and how his eyes glow a brilliant green when it catches the sunlight. He also finds himself wanting to hold Hajime's hand, wanting to lie his head on Hajime's chest and feel his rumbling laughs echo through his body, it is a good thing that Hajime is so dense and doesn't notice Tooru's increased affections.
Until one night, of course.
They are lying in a field of long grass late at night. It has been nearly twenty five years since Tooru met Hajime and they're watching the fireflies dance around in the night sky. Tooru is feeling sleepy, so he snuggles into Hajime's side while Hajime's arm comes around Tooru's shoulder almost instinctively. Although spirits are manifestations of nature, they have emotions and they also need to recharge as well, and the best way to do that is by sleeping.
Hajime strokes Tooru's head Tooru lets out a sigh of contentment, eyelids slowly slipping close.
"Go to sleep Tooru, you spent a lot of power today redirecting that flood after all."
Tooru smiles drowsily at Hajime, breathing out something that leaves Hajime stunned as he falls into a deep sleep.
"Yeah, night… love you."
Ever since Hajime has told Tooru that he reciprocates his feelings, Tooru has become almost unbearably clingy, though it is not an unwelcome clinginess. Tooru is also much more affectionate and Hajime finds himself surprised by Tooru jumping out from a tree or the river in a great splash and tackling Hajime, planting kisses on his cheeks.
Koushi, the wind spirit, is often seen giggling with Daichi as they watch Hajime and Tooru, though it is not often that they actually say anything. One of the times leaves Hajime feeling extremely disquieted from Koushi's subtle warning.
Koushi turns around to face Hajime as Hajime pulls himself up the side of a large rock. Hajime is standing on the sharp point of the boulder while Koushi floats in the air, carried by the breeze wafting around him."Koushi, did you want to talk about something?" Hajime asks and a troubled expression flits across Koushi's face. He murmurs quietly,
"Hajime, you know that Tooru is a water spirit, right?"
Hajime frowns, but nods, "Of course I do, he's trailing water wherever he goes after all. What's the problem?"
Koushi seems to be wanting to say something, but decides against it at the last moment and shakes his head.
"Nothing… just, remember that, alright?"
Hajime doesn't want to think about it, but he can't help but go back to that conversation. He doesn't know what Koushi means with his comment but somewhere inside himself, Hajime does.
One day when Hajime wakes up, Tooru isn't beside him.
He panics, a bad feeling settling in his gut even though he tries to tell himself that Tooru has just gone off to swim in his river and talk to the fishes or something. He gets to his feet and sprints to the river, the earth trembling to propel him forward.
When Hajime reaches the river, there is no sight of Tooru, and he can't sense his presence anymore. That worries Hajime the most as after over a century of being with Tooru, they have become so attuned to each other's presences, they are able to recognise each other from afar, and be able to track each other down with just the slightest trace of aura left behind.
There is no trace of Tooru's aura left behind, and Hajime doesn't want to face the truth, carved in neat writing on his mountain's side.
I love you, Hajime. Goodbye.
He doesn't see Tooru ever again.
Tooru wakes up that morning with an airy feeling coursing through his body. Hajime is still sleeping calmly beside him and he smiles fondly, leaning over to press a kiss to Hajime's forehead before standing up and stretching. For some reason, he wants to go to Hajime's mountain today.
The climb is oddly more difficult than usual, the water not responding to his urges as well as they usually would. He perches himself on top of the rock that Hajime was born on so many years ago, staring up into the clouds. Inside his soul, he knows why he is feeling so sentimental today. His soul's memories have told him about this from the experiences of his past incarnations.
Today, Tooru is going to die.
Tooru wants to wake Hajime up and say goodbye, but something stops him from doing so. He is selfish, and he doesn't want to see Hajime cry for him, so he decides to engrave his final words to Hajime on the mountain side. With a stream of water that takes all of his concentration to control, he carefully writes out,
I love you, Hajime. Goodbye.
He releases his control on the stream, watching it splash to the surface of the rock and wetting the surface. The sun is almost fully risen now and as the edges of the sun slowly climb above the horizon, Tooru stares in the direction where he senses Hajime's presence begins to stir. Tears trickle down his cheeks and he mouths out the words,
I love you.
With the light catching the ends of his hair and turning it a flaxen gold, Tooru bursts into a mist of water that hangs in the air for a moment before dispersing. Without a sound, without a trace, Tooru disappears.
It has been sixteen years since Tooru's death.
Hajime still regularly visits Tooru's river to sit by it and talk to the water. When he trails his fingers in the water, he fancies he can feel Tooru's gripping back and it is the only thing that comforts him. Koushi and Daichi stop by every now and then to check up on him, but Hajime always replies with short sentences. He sees the pity in their eyes and he doesn't want that. Koushi seems to understand, and they eventually leave him alone.
He stands up and makes his way down the river in the direction of his mountain, like he usually does as part of his daily routine. As he nears the base of his mountain, he sees a slight figure, dressed in flowing blue robes collapsed by the side of the river. The river has birthed a new spirit, and Hajime feels a flash of illogical hope that it is Tooru, though he knows it's not possible.
As he nears, he sees that the figure is smaller than Tooru, and with black hair instead of Tooru's brown. He sits by the newborn spirit and shakes his shoulder gently until the spirit stirs. As the previously-closed eyes flicker open, he can see that they are a hard, flint-black and the spirit sits up silently. Hajime looks at the spirit and feels a sense of protectiveness well up in hin. Though he knows that the spirit has inherited the memories of his previous incarnations in his soul - 'including Tooru's,' his heart whispers - and will be perfectly fine taking care of himself, Hajime can't help but want to teach and help this young spirit. Maybe it's because he used to be Tooru and Hajime can still sense Tooru in him.
"My name is Hajime. What is yours?"
The spirit looks up into his eyes and replies,
A/N: Done with this! DONE! Tried writing angst and this turned out longer than I expected wow. Note, not IwaKage! If you have anything you are unsure of in this story, feel free to review or leave a PM or something. Thanks!
Have a nice day!