To Be Free
When Kageyama made the promise to save Hinata, he knew it would take a lot of time and patience, he wouldn't be able to gather six million yen in just a month or two with just a minimum wage part-time job and with no help from his parents.
With that said, two years have passed since Kageyama made his promise and he just forked over a pretty penny to get Hinata a gift for his eighteenth birthday, the gift was well over forty-thousand yen, but it would be worth it to see Hinata smile.
"Happy birthday, Hinata." Kageyama said, handing the parcel to the small boy, "Jeez, Kageyama, you don't have to waste your money on me." Hinata grumbled, face flushed as he accepted the present. "It's not a waste if it's for you." the taller replied, a small, rare grin coming to his face as he watched Hinata begin to peel away the wrapping paper.
"As much of a sweet-talker as ever, I see." Hinata teased, earning a slight flare on Kageyama's cheeks, "Only to you..." the onyx-haired young man mumbled, but Hinata didn't seem to hear it, instead, his attention was completely drawn on the contents of the parcel. Within was a fabulous kimono that was dark blue, a deep navy that almost rivaled the shade of Kageyama's eyes. The design was feathers, white ones with black tips, and the garment included a brand new white obi. When Kageyama saw the garment, he instanly knew he had to get it for Hinata, buying it without a second thought.
After a few moments of not getting a response, Kageyama gulped nervously, fearing the boy didn't like the gift, "So... Do you like it?" A light sniffle was the first response, the second response was Hinata tackling Kageyama with his full body weight, "I love it!" Hinata cried, gleeful tears flowing down his face, "I'm glad." Kageyama replied, embracing Hinata and getting a strong whiff of his scent; ginger and sandalwood.
Hinata rubbed his eyes, drying his tears, "Thank you, Kageyama, I don't know what I did to deserve meeting someone as kind as you, but I'm glad I did." he whispered, loud enough for only the two to hear and pressed his lips to Kageyama's cheek.
The spot instantly felt hot, as if it was singed with an ember and Kageyama's face took on the resemblance of a fire hydrant; nothing has made his heart beat so fast, no one has ever made him felt this happy before, no one except Hinata. This only fueled his desire to save the boy, someone this sweet shouldn't be locked away in a cage that disguises itself as the building called Hanafurirou.
As the two relish in an embrace, a loud, obnoxious beeping fills the room and Kageyama looked fit for murder because, what the hell was that noise that dared to defile this moment for him?!
"Um, Kageyama, isn't that your alarm for cram school?" Hinata asked, face flushed from embarrassment, Kageyama blanched, having forgotten about the alarm he had set on his cell-phone, releasing the boy, Kageyama silenced the alarm, "Yeah, sorry, I'll stop by tomorrow, same time as usual." he said, standing from the floor.
A bob of orange was his answer as Hinata shyly held his new kimono to his chest, grinning madly at the sheer adorableness of the action, Kageyama leaned down, "And wear that tomorrow, please." he said and placed a swift peck at the corner of Hinata' mouth before speedily running out of the quarters, face a mess of scarlet.
Kageyama couldn't help but feel a slight twinge of guilt creep in to his heart at having to lie to Hinata. The boy wasn't enrolled in any cram school, that alarm was a signal for Kageyama to board a train, the tall young man came to realize he would never make enough money at his part-time job to pay off Hinata's ransom alone. Too young to enter gambling halls and needed to present ID if he wanted to buy lotto tickets from any dispenser in his hometown, instead, he takes the train up to the village on the mountains by his home, Yukigaoka.
Yukigaoka was a very serene and calm neighborhood with early Edo period style houses still around, it additionally had a marketplace with a lotto vendor that never asked for ID.
Kageyama walked up to the vendor and gave him a casual greeting before forking over five one thousand yen bills in exchange for five tickets. He reached into his pocket and grabbed a coin, walking to the vendor's sitting area with the power ball paper which already had a woman and her daughter in front of it, reading the results.
Taking the first empty seat he found, Kageyama sat down and went scratching away, "Junk..." he spat out, tossing the first ticket away into the small wastebasket beside him that was half-way full with other non-winning tickets. As Kageyama began scratching away at his second ticket, he couldn't help overhearing the woman's frustrated sigh, "Did you not win, Mama?" the young girl asked, "No, Natsu, Mama didn't win..." the woman answered, voice shaky as if about to cry. "Poor lady." Kageyama thought to himself as he continued scratching his tickets.
"I'm sure Nii-chan can understand it's hard to win a lot of money from these things." the small girl said, comfortingly, "I know, baby, but I can't bear thinking about Shoyo being stuck there.", "Being stuck there?" Kageyama wondered as he stuffed the second ticket into his pocket, it was a winner. "Let's just go home, Natsu." the lady said, "Kay!" the girl replied and the two walked by Kageyama, who had began his word on his third ticket, when he saw something eerily familiar.
The small girl's hair was sunburst orange, a shocking difference from her mother's brown, it looked so much like the shade of Hinata's that Kageyama stood from his seat and spoke before his brain could catch up and tell him not to, "Hinata?!"
The woman and her daughter stopped and turned back to Kageyama, who could finally see the girl's face. She was the spitting image of Hinata; orange hair, brown eyes, sunny smile, and all. "Do I know you?" the woman asked, "No but I think I know your son." he replied, the woman looked at him questioningly before he continued.
"Do you have a son who's eighteenth birthday is today and was sold to Hanafurirou six years ago?" Kageyama asked, and it all went silent. Despite the busy marketplace, it seemed the world had gone mute to Kageyama as he awaited a response; which was tears falling from the woman's face.
"You know Shoyo?"
After a brief conversation, Kageyama discovered the woman and her daughter were the mother Hinata left behind and the baby sister he never met, upon discovering he knew about her son, Hinata-san dragged Kageyama to her home, "We've been living with my sister and her husband since Shoyo was sold, our house was repossessed when I couldn't keep up with the payments. But make yourself at home, I'll make some tea, what kind would you like, hon?" Hinata-san said, meandering into the kitchen, "Green is fine." Kageyama called in response, untangling Natsu from around his leg; which she had been hitching a ride on. In the living room, pictures decorated the walls and shelves, ne in particular catching his eye, "Hinata?" he whispered, picking up the frame.
The picture was of a small boy with orange hair, wearing a light green volleyball jersey, giving a large grin as he held a small infant that had a little tuft of similar hair of his on their head. It was precious, the smile and amount of happiness permeating from the captured expression was the happiest Kageyama had ever seen Hinata; he wanted to take the picture and keep it for himself, for only his eyes to see.
"That's Shoyo on the day Natsu was born, it's the only picture I have with the two of them." Hinata-san explained from behind Kageyama, making the boy leap in shock, "The tea is ready, why don't you sit down; we have much to talk about." the woman said, the boy cast a begrudging look to the picture before setting it down and heading for the kitchen. "So, how did you find Shoyo?", "I was his mizuage partner, my uncle who frequents Hanafurirou offered me as his partner." Kageyama recalled as the two took seats at the dining table."
Hinata-san nodded her head, "I see, and why is a boy who isn't even out of high school playing the lottery?" she asked, teasingly and yet her voice was laced with parental disapproval. Kageyama wasn't sure if he should say his answer, what if she felt insulted? Or disapproved? Something within Kageyama willed him to tell the woman, despite his underlying fear, "I want to pay off Hinata's ransom. I have a part-time job, but I know I won't make enough from that alone before I graduate and go to college. The lottery was the only thing I could think of that would help me get that much money legally."
A look of recognition came across Hinata-san's face, "I see, we were thinking the same thing. Well, I hate to ask this of you, but do you think we could work together on saving Shoyo?" she questioned, "It's no trouble!" Kageyama returned, "I can tell you love Shoyo very much, enough to try to pay off his ransom, you're the only one I can ask. So please, Kageyama-kun, please help me save my son." Hinata-san pleaded, eyes beginning to stain with tears.
With a face tinged with redness and expression stern with determination, Kageyama answered, "Yes."
The following day, Kageyama followed through with his promise and was heading to Hanafurirou. Kageyama and Hinata-san had pooled their money together and with all of their savings combined, they only had 1.5 million; it was somewhat discouraging to see that with all the earnings the two have made over the years wasn't anywhere near the amount of Hinata's ransom. However, they didn't need to pay off the ransom today or tomorrow, but Kageyama would like it to be paid off in the near future.
"Patience, Tobio, be patient." Kageyama chanted to himself, trying to will himself on as he entered Hanafurirou, "I'd like to see Tsubasa, please." Kageyama requested to the Baba, having to grudgingly say Hinata's fake name. The Baba looked at the availability sheet on the counter in front of her, "He's open, regular charge of 1250 yen an hour." she said, marking down the time on the sheet, Kageyama handed the elderly woman the money and headed down the hall to Hinata's quarters; giving Daichi a nod of greetings as he passed him.
Upon reaching Hinata's room, Kageyama gave his standard greeting, "Hinata, it's me, I'm coming in!" he called, trying to open the door to find it unmoving, "Hinata?" Kageyama called, trying to force the door open, "Mmph!" a dull, muffled cry came from the room and Kageyama felt his heart fall into his stomach, fear quickly creeping into his soul.
"Shut up, slut!" Kageyama heard an unfamiliar voice quietly yell and was followed by a sharp thwack sound and an indistinct noise immediately proceeding. Anger bubbled up in his core, someone hit Hinata, that meant he was in danger. "Hinata!" Kageyama shouted, throwing his shoulder into the rice paper door, effectively tearing through and entering, the first thing he saw was Hinata, gagged on the floor, pinned beneath a man, the kimono Hinata had been wearing -the one Kageyama asked him to wear- was pushed aside and somewhat torn, revealing most of the boy's body; his face was smeared red from tears and one cheek was starting to swell from being struck.
The second thing Kageyama saw was red.
With all of his strength, Kageyama threw the man off of Hinata, "Don't touch him!" he threatened, the man was quick to get back up, but Daichi and the Baba, along with a few other employees had arrived. Kageyama quickly ungagged the young boy, pulling him tight against him, using his body to shield Hinata from the man.
"...Kageyama..." a delicate whisper voiced, small hands gripping the material of Kageyama's shirt, he could feel Hinata shake in his embrace; feeling the need to take him somewhere private to calm down, Kageyama scooped Hinata into his arms and carried him towards the lobby. In the sitting area, Kageyama took perch on a bench, setting Hinata on his lap, the boy latched onto him; if it had been any other time, Kageyama would've blushed and fawned internally over the cuteness, but this was different.
Holding the other tightly, Kageyama soothed Hinata with light kisses to his forehead, cheeks, nose, ears, anywhere his lips could reach, except for Hinata's mouth. "How did he get in?", "I don't know, he snuck in, he grabbed me and... It all happened too fast." Hinata explained shakily, "I'm sorry, the kimono you gave me is ruined." he added. Kageyama's eyes flared, "Who cares about a silly kimono?! All I care about is if you're safe and he didn't hurt you!"
Hinata's face brightened, "Kageyama..." he said in awe, "Are you?", "I'm fine, I mean he slapped me, but nothing else. It was just... Scary..." Hinata said, thoughts about what could've happened had Kageyama not shown up in time played through both of their minds. Kageyama was thankful that nothing too serious had happened, yet he feared the damage had been done. "Kageyama, thank you for saving me." Hinata said, cheeks flushed crimson.
Suddenly his face seemed too close from Kageyama's perspective, as if a gravitational attraction was between them, faces growing closer until Kageyama could feel Hinata's breath against his lips...
"Let go of me!"
A loud yell forced the two to snap away to see Daichi and two other employees escort Hinata's assaulter out, "Don't be ridiculous, you're lucky we haven't called the police on you!" one of the employees shouted, "I want him!" the man cried, trying to fight his way out of the grip of the three subduing him. "What?" the Baba asked and Kageyama pushed Hinata behind his back in protection, "I want to buy him!" the man clarified and a look of recognition came to Daichi's face, "Hey, you're Saruhiko Mitsugawa, the politician that just got let go for funneling money from the federal bureau into you personal bank account." and Kageyama once again felt his heart fall into his stomach.
"Six million is nothing, I can buy him right now!" Saruhiko insisted.
"If he has the money, I can't tell him he can't, we'll be fined for malpractice of policy." the Baba bit out.
"No!" Kageyama cried, "What?" Saruhiko hissed, "I'll pay off his ransom!" Kageyama stated. "Do you have the money?" the Baba breathed, "No..." Kageyama spat out, "Then I can't allow..." the Baba started before Daichi interjected, "Grandmother, I can't allow Tsubasa to go with this man; not after what he just tried to pull!" The Baba mulled this over, "Alright, Tobio-kun, you have a month to gather the rest of the money. If you don't have it, we'll have to let Tsubasa go with Mitsugawa-san." she said.
With nothing else, Kageyama nodded his head in understanding, his hand lacing with Hinata's in silent defiance.
A long, grueling month soon followed Kageyama being assigned the deadline. The first thing he did after learned of it was running to find Hinata-san and tell her of the sudden change in plans. Kageyama's visits to Hanafurirou had to sto for the month so he could save money and pleaded with his boss to give him more hours. Not seeing Hinata for a month had allowed loneliness to slip into Kageyama's heart, but he knew it would be worth it to see Hinata out of that cage.
However, despite his and Hinata-san's best efforts, even little Natsu offering the small amount of money she had saved in her piggy bank, the two did not make enough to cover the ransom and the day of reckoning had arrived. Kageyama made the trek to Hanafurirou alone, he couldn't bear to see Hinata's crushed face of being reunited with his family just to be separated again.
Entering the establishment with a face of sullen gloom, Kageyama took in his surroundings; the Baba was stationed at her counter with Daichi by her side, as usual. Hinata was by the counter, waring the kimono Kageyama had given him, it having been patched up; Saruhiko was a mere foot away from the boy and the closeness made Kageyama feel nauseous. Surprisingly, three prostitutes were additionally in the lobby, those who Kageyama learned to identify as Haihana, Shizukatani, and Johinogawa.
"Well? Do you have the money or not?!" Saruhiko demanded, the Baba sent him a silent glare before turning to Kageyama, "Do you, Tobio-kun" she asked. Hinata stared at him with eyes of hope and it made Kageyaama want to cry, he had to tell the boy he loved that he failed him, "I... I have three million..." Kageyama replied, unable to watch Hinata's expression collapse in sadness. "That's only half! He's mine!" Saruhiko proclaimed, harshly grabbing Hinata's thin arm, placing an envelope of money on the counter.
"Let go of me! Kageyama! I don't to go with him, Kageyama!" Hinata cried, tears pooling down his face as he was dragged by Saruhiko, a hand desperately reaching for Kageyama. He wanted nothing more than to take his hand, but there was nothing Kageyama could do, this was how things operated around here; as much as he hated it, Kageyama had to respect it. A tear slipped down his face as he had to stand by and watch Hinata be taken.
All looked to the sudden outburst. It was Haihana.
"Baba-sama, please transfer my earnings to Tsubasa's ransom." he asked, "Mine too!" Shizukatani added, Johinogawa rubbed the back of his neck, "Mine as well, I like this job too much, he can take it." The Baba immediately did the transfers, "With Tobio-kun's three million, altogether there's approximately eight million." she said, a smile on her face. "Wait, then who gets him?" Saruhiko shouted, "That's up to Tsubasa." the Baba said.
Without a moment's hesitation, Hinata exclaimed, "Kageyama!"
The Baba wrote out the definite on the ransom paper she had prepared, "Alright, Tsubasa is officially off the market. I wish you the best of luck." she said, handing the paper to the boy, who had finally been freed from Saruhiko's grasp, "Thank you!" he cried. She then turned and returned the envelope to Saruhiko, "It's been a pleasure doing business." and the man stormed out.
Hinata pounced Kageyama not even a second later, "Thank you..." he whispered, "Don't mention it." Kageyama said, he then turned his attention to the three who had helped, "Thank you very much!", "No problem." Haihana said, "Anything for Tsubasa!" Shizukatani followed. "It wasn't anything special." Johinogawa muttered before all three were engulfed in Hinata's arms, "Thank you." he said. The three flushed before returning the gesture.
"You ready?" Kageyama asked, "Yeah." Hinata replied, and the two left Hanafurirou, hand in hand.
"Where are we, Kageyama?" Hinata asked, "My house." Kageyama said, leading the boy into his dwelling, taking him up to his bedroom, Hinata sat down on the other's bed. "Stay put, I'll be right back." Kageyama said, leaving the room and returning a few minutes later with scissors, a comb, a towel, and a trashcan, "Sit here." Kageyama pointed to his desk chair, and Hinata took perch there.
Wrapping the towel around Hinata, Kageyama went to work with the scissors, chopping off lock after lock of sunny orange, ten minutes later, most of Hinata's hair was on the floor, the hair on his head stopping right at the conjunction where his scalp met his neck. "Alright, hold on for a sec." Kageyama said, combing out the fresh cut and taking off the towel, putting it in the hamper and putting the cut off hair into the trashcan. Heading to his dresser, Kageyama found an old t-shirt he never wears and a pair of athletic shorts that are now too small for him, "Put these on, I'll be in the hall." he said and left.
Some time later, Hinata walked out of the bedroom in the new clothes, Kageyama blushed, "Cute." he thought. Hinata fiddled with the hem of his shirt, face red, "Do I look weird?" he asked, Kageyama immediately enveloped him in a hug, "I've never seen you look more beautiful." he replied and clasped his lips to Hinata's.
Hinata silently gasped, but immediately welcomed the kiss, pursing his lips against Kageyama's, slowly, the two pulled apart, "I love you." the two whispered in unison. Both flushed before breaking into a laugh; finally, Hinata could be happy.
"Where are we going, Kageyama?" Hinata asked impatiently, Kageyama's hand was covering his eyes and guiding him somewhere, "Secret, anyway, we're here." Kageyama replied, knocking on a door; Hinata guessed. Not long after, the door open and Kageyama removed his hand from Hinata's eyes, "Shoyo..." a voice whispered in shock, Hinata opened his eyes and tears began to flow as he flung himself onto the person in front of him.