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“I’m not that into sex,” Sakusa says without regard for the public setting or the strangled noise that erupts from Atsumu’s throat. He hooks a finger through the handle of a delicately patterned teacup, arches an eyebrow, and waits.

They’re nestled in the middle of a cozy little café that Sakusa hasn’t shut up about for weeks. The place isn’t crowded—doesn’t seem all that popular, regardless of Sakusa’s high opinion—but there’s a woman two tables over who startles then buries her attention in her phone when Atsumu catches her eye. Atsumu almost hopes she doesn’t know who he is; he does hope she recognizes Sakusa, though.

Sakusa takes a sip of his tea and sets the cup down, turns it slightly clockwise. “I thought I should tell you now, before there are any expectations.”

“I—” Wow. Atsumu has no idea where to start with this. He flicks his own teacup sitting before him, tea long gone—drank in six gulps the moment it was cool enough because the idea of savoring hot tea under the sweltering summer heat is a special level of madness. “Is that my problem?”

Sakusa’s answering glare is venomous. The overhead lighting of the café does him no favors, makes him look washed out and sets the pair of moles over his eyebrow into sharp contrast against his skin. Even with little drips of sweat tracing his hairline and severe frown, Sakusa is beautiful. It’s in the way he looks like he’d enjoy tearing Atsumu apart but disregards everyone else, how he ignores the blushing woman stealing glances because his glare is reserved for Atsumu alone.

“Are you honestly going to try and pretend you’re not angling for this to be a date?”

Well if the asshole is going to put it like that, then, “No.”

“Not to mention last week when you insisted we watch that upsettingly grotesque movie together.”

This guy, Atsumu swears, is the only human being on the face of the planet who can call a feel-good buddy comedy upsettingly grotesque with a straight face. The actual upsetting part is how much Sakusa means it; he bitched about that thing from beginning to end.

“Or the three other times you’ve come here with me even though you don’t like tea?”

Fine. Atsumu’s been trying to date Sakusa for a while. Sue him. “What is your point?”

“My point is that in your caveman brain, we’re dating, yes? I am simply making this clear before you get too carried away, so you can end it before getting too attached.” Piece said, Sakusa pointedly shifts his glare to somewhere above Atsumu’s head, straight-backed and fussy as ever.

“Why would I end it?” Atsumu asks right before he puts it together on his own.

“No one wants to date someone like me.” The statement is bored and unapologetic.

This cannot be the first time Sakusa has had this conversation. He’s following an outline, making his way through a list of bullet-points he’s keeping track of in his head. That in itself is frustrating, puts Atsumu at a disadvantage that he didn’t earn, but it’s no matter. He’ll claw his way back to even ground. Atsumu’s not going to give in to some cookie-cutter, all-purpose letdown speech like some punk.

Besides, Sakusa doesn’t know everything.

“Someone like you? What’s that even mean? You talking ‘bout the thing where you’re a cynical, type-a neat freak and apparently I don’t even get weird sex out of it?” Atsumu grins at the woman two tables over and shakes his head in his best can you believe this guy impression. Why not? The woman flees, a wave of damp summer heat crawling in from outside in her wake.

Still staring somewhere above Atsumu’s right shoulder, Sakusa takes a deliberate sip of his tea. Atsumu tilts his head back far as he can to look up, see what’s so interesting back there, but it’s only a janky ceiling fan that shakes in its housing as it struggles to turn. Without moving, he stares down his nose and catches Sakusa looking at him rather than the fan. A lazy smile that always buys him a second or two to think falls over his face.

Atsumu doesn’t like most people—they’re annoying, they’re overly-sensitive, they’re scrubs—but he likes Sakusa. Sakusa stares at him over his tea like he’s an ant to be squashed and isn’t surprised that Atsumu’s fighting back. He takes no prisoners on the court or off and has the confidence to use his considerable talents to great effect. They’re similar in that way: Sakusa always reaches as far as he can, he’s always at the top of his game and is never willing to give half-measures. He’s vicious in a way Atsumu aspires to. Would kick the knees out from under a teammate for slacking off.

There is also the thing where Atsumu is horribly competitive and loathes being told what to do.

“You sayin’ I’m typical or something?” Atsumu leans forward to rest his elbows on the table. His empty cup wobbles in its saucer.

Sakusa meets his gaze and takes another sip. “In this regard? Yes.”

“Well, I’m not.” Atsumu punctuates it with a hard kick to the leg of Sakusa’s chair, enough to jolt him back an inch and buy Atsumu some time to finish getting his thoughts in order. He fails miserably, so instead he musters every bit of confidence he has, fully gives into insanity, and proclaims, “Fine. No sex.”

Throwing Sakusa off-balance is endlessly entertaining. His shoulders scrunch up to his ears, hands cradle his half-empty teacup, brows furrowed. “That’s not what I said. I said I’m not that into it.”

“Extremely infrequent and probably not that weird sex, then. Whatever.”

“Whatever?” Sakusa asks, eyes narrowing down as he regains his footing. “Not whatever, I think. You are being stubborn and foolish. At least pretend to take some time to think it over, so that I can pretend to believe you if I want.”

“Is it a thing where it’s too gross?” Atsumu can’t help it, he’s so curious. How can someone be not that into sex? Hating it he could wrap his head around. Loving it, of course, but ambivalence seems bizarre. “Or like, you just don’t get there? How into it is not that into it? Is there a schedule?”

Sakusa abruptly laughs into his tea. The tense atmosphere hanging above their table dissolves. “Thank you for your constant lack of tact and consideration of others.”

“Bite me, Omi-kun.” Atsumu kicks back in his chair and grins across the table. “Does this mean I win? We’re on a date?”

“That’s not what I said.” Sakusa doesn’t mean it this time. He’s too soft, too relaxed in the shoulders. Too pleased.

Yeah. This is a date.

###

From Saturday morning to Sunday night, Atsumu fixates on six different incognito windows open on his computer and another two on his phone. Each is full of questions. Answers, not so much, but the tension and nerves fade the more he reads. None of it sounds particularly like Sakusa; nothing strikes that careful, distinct balance of both not that into and touch me with those dirty hands and die that Sakusa radiates.

He closes it all out Sunday evening and refuses to think about it again. If he doesn’t, it would only be a matter of time before one of his teammates catches him and Atsumu has no desire to explain why he’s frantically researching how not to have sex. Or worse, it’ll be Osamu who catches him and then it’ll be over, Atsumu will have to murder his brother. He’ll never get the chance to brag about having the happier life or rub whatever’s going on with Sakusa in his stupid face.

So Atsumu lets it go. He ignores it. It’s not like he was getting any before he embarked on this crazy mission to date Sakusa anyway.

After slaughtering the Raijins one week after his incognito spree, Atsumu gets away with a hug. It’s an awkward thing: Sakusa keeps his arms at his sides and leans back as far as he can. A frigid shoulder pat follows, then a full day of Sakusa alternating between derisive serves aimed straight at Atsumu’s head and twitching fingers reaching out toward him. His lips pucker and nostrils flare like he’s sucking on a lemon the whole time—it’d be funny if not for the imminent threat of head injury.

They go to another movie that Sakusa hates every bit as much as the last one. Sakusa drags Atsumu back to the café with the wonky fan no matter how high the temperature climbs. The part of Atsumu constantly starved for attention is satisfied; the part of him craving affection is harder to sate. Overall, it’s not bad. It feels mostly normal, just slow. A process.

Then the next week, Sakusa flips the tables standing just inside Atsumu’s front door with his gym bag at his feet. Long arms curl around Atsumu’s waist with a loose grip and tense muscles; Sakusa grumbles as he tucks his cheek to Atsumu’s shoulder. There’s no victory high to blame it on, just the two of them saying goodnight after a comfortable evening of reviewing footage from the Deseo Hornet’s recent matches and showering each other in back-handed compliments. ‘You think you could pull off a wipe like that if you work on your positioning?’ or ‘That guy serves a lot like you, but doesn’t choke on his first floater.’ Shit like that.

Atsumu’s so baffled by the hug that he pulls away before registering what’s happened. Sakusa glances down at Atsumu’s lips and barely, barely leans in and all those offensive questions Atsumu spat out in incognito windows come clawing out of the depths.

‘Let him kiss you!’ wails Atsumu’s libido.

‘He’ll dump you if you grab his ass,’ warns that teeny, tiny part of his brain that’s actually rational.

Then, the sort of sense that usually only has a place on the volleyball court comes tumbling in with a booming, ‘This could be a fluke or a test. You’ll get points for asking first.’

“Wait.” Both of Atsumu’s hands spread before him, palms toward the floor. Sakusa jerks back a step. “Much as I hate to say it, we gotta talk about this.”

“What now?” Sakusa drawls.

Difficult is too soft a word for Sakusa. He’s the one who started this—he laid down the rules and let Atsumu settle in. Now he wants to change things up. That’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with it, but if the boundaries are moving then Atsumu needs some sort of context for where they are. Sakusa doesn’t get to spin him about every time he gets his bearings, not without explanation.

“You know what now, stop being shitty just to be shitty.”

“You say as if you are not perpetually shitty.”

“See?” Atsumu points a finger at Sakusa’s chest, then pokes him in the sternum for the hell of it. “That’s what I’m talkin’ about.”

“Get on with whatever this is, please.” Sakusa takes another step back so he’s within reach of his bag.

“Say I have questions. How many can I get away with?”

“Two.”

“Five.”

Sakusa hefts his bag over his shoulder and starts leaving.

“Three and one follow-up.”

“Fine.”

The bag hits the floor with a thud. Sakusa turns on the spot and crosses his arms over his chest. Atsumu creeps forward a step and crosses his arms, too. Might as well be all wound-up and on edge together.

“You weren’t upset when I was trying to date you and I know you just tried to kiss me, but I also spent last week dodging concussions. So, question one: where’s the line? And I don’t mean some hypothetical thing, I mean right now, between you and me, where’s the line?”

“So you can keep a toe over it, I assume.”

Try and be a nice guy one time and get nothing but shit for it. Atsumu gathers up every bit of restraint in his bones and growls, “Other way around.”

Waiting for Sakusa to formulate an answer he doesn’t want to give is an art form. Pushing too hard will backfire every time; retreat too easy and he’ll steamroll anyone and anything in his way. Atsumu keeps his arms over his chest and a pissy look on his face while he entertains himself by imagining how thoroughly Sakusa is losing his shit. On a scale of one to ten, it probably clocks in somewhere around duck.

After a long moment of quiet, Sakusa says, “I feel more comfortable initiating things. Kissing is… nice, sometimes. Felt like it might be nice now until you opened your mouth and started talking. All of it is nice, sometimes. I could do it if I had to—”

“But you don’t.” It feels important to make that clear. What the hell, Atsumu will be a good guy twice, today. “You don’t have to do anything, stop talking like you do. Where’s the line, Omi?”

“Is that your follow-up?”

“Sure, if it makes you stop being a baby and answer the fucking question.”

It is painfully obvious that Sakusa wants to do no such thing. He stands over his bag, stance wide and chin thrust out in defiance, looking at Atsumu like he’s a nuisance he isn’t sure he wants to be rid of.

“You gonna make me waste questions two and three on this, too?”

Finally, Sakusa spits, “I don’t know,” like he’s ready to throw down over it.

Maybe it’s the look on his face. Sakusa has his teeth buried in his lip and arms folded so tight that his muscles look monstrously strong. His body is rigid, fingers scratch at his forearm in a steady tempo. There’s a crease between his brows, a scowl more defensive than angry, and Atsumu just… he can’t. He can’t push this anymore, not when Sakusa looks torn between lunging for Atsumu’s throat or bolting out the window to avoid dealing with any more of this shit.

No one should want to fight so hard over something they’re not sure of.

“Question two: you gonna punch me if I kiss you?”

“Right now?” Sakusa asks. At Atsumu’s nod, he replies, “Yes.”

“You can kiss me whenever you want, you know. You just surprised me this time.”

“Noted.”

Sakusa is still ridiculously tense. He’s held steady by his stubbornness and nothing else, determined not to let Atsumu have the last word. It fucks Atsumu up a little bit and it’s with that specific way of putting it—of recognizing that Sakusa just fucks him up—that he realizes holy shit these are actual, real feelings because apparently all the rest wasn’t a big enough clue.

“What’s your third question?” Sakusa asks, oblivious to Atsumu’s private meltdown.

Swallowing back every bizarre and unwelcome torrent of emotion destroying his composure, Atsumu speaks around the lump in his throat. “Can I take you to dinner tomorrow night?”

Tomorrow because tonight is a no go. Atsumu needs some space to deal with this. He has to sort through it, grieve the death of his sex life. Hold a funeral for his wrists, maybe.

Sakusa angles his head to the side. Little by little, he starts to back off. “No.”

“Seriously? Are you seriously bein’ difficult after I was just so fuckin’ nice and understanding? You know what? Fuck it. You give me a list, asshole—”

“We have a match tomorrow, ‘Tsumu.”

That just about stops Atsumu’s heart for a hundred reasons.

“I’m leaving now. You can have your third question back.” Sakusa hauls the strap of his bag over his head to rest on his shoulder. For a moment he stares at Atsumu like he’s seeing something for the first time, too. He might be, who knows; Sakusa’s never called him ‘Tsumu before.

There’s an opportunity to fight about it, to press for clearer answers and demand some sort of guidance—but this moment is softer, a different stubbornness settling in. Atsumu will win this by letting Sakusa walk away.

“I might kiss you,” Sakusa says like it’s a threat. “Not now but later, maybe. Probably nothing more.”

“I already agreed to no sex, I don’t know what else you want from me.”

Sakusa chuckles and leans his shoulder against Atsumu’s on his way out the door for a five-second beat before stepping away. “Rest well. If we don’t destroy the Hornets tomorrow, I will be displeased.”

“Uh-huh,” Atsumu says because at this point, he’s lost. He’s lost and he has to get Sakusa out the door before he spins Atsumu in another direction again. So, quiet and firm he says, “Night, Omi.”

###

Two months in and it is official: this is the weirdest relationship Atsumu’s ever been in by magnitudes, and he can hardly call any of them normal in the first place. Honestly, Sakusa should be proud of himself.

There was the girl with the biting thing and the guy with the feet thing. There was the other guy who desperately wanted to shave Atsumu from the neck all the way down and, well, Atsumu kind of let him. It ended up being a good time, so who’s he to talk about any of it? What gets people off isn’t something he thinks too hard on and he’ll try anything two or three times so long as it won’t get him thrown in jail or kicked off the Black Jackals.

None of it compares to the buzzing simplicity of Sakusa with the back of his head resting against Atsumu’s shoulder, their bodies a jumbled mess of too-long limbs that can’t fit on the couch or surrounding furniture. Sakusa has one leg thrown over Atsumu’s and the other kicked up on an ottoman. There’s some bullshit documentary about making glue on the television that is—somehow—more acceptable than comedy, drama, action, romance, and children’s movies. The fan stays on Atsumu’s side so he gets the brunt because Sakusa prefers to be too hot. Now and then Atsumu thinks about trying to get a leg up on the ottoman, too, but he’d wind up twisted into what seems like an unpleasant position.

It works for them. It’s nice. Atsumu couldn’t describe why it’s intimate if pressed, but it is and he’s not going to try explaining it at all.

At the commercial break, Sakusa leans his head back and catches the edge of Atsumu’s bottom lip with his, stretches his whole body to reach better just as a schoolgirl starts dancing in a container of the same brand of cup noodles tucked away in the kitchen cabinets. Atsumu’s lips are chapped but Sakusa’s are warm, inviting. Sakusa’s hand comes up, palm slides along Atsumu’s skin to grip his neck—and Atsumu just goes with it. He gladly lets Sakusa lick his way into his mouth and dig his nails into his neck.

Ninety percent of the time they behave as they did before that day at the café. There are little differences in the nuance or slight adjustments to make room for timid displays of affection, but largely, as a whole, their dynamic hasn’t changed much. The other ten percent is mostly split between Atsumu’s cold showers and this: a slow descent into something quietly passionate and heart-racing. Sakusa’s such a shit, acting like Atsumu’s going to push the boundaries; he’s the one prone to randomly abandoning self-control.

Atsumu’s arm snakes around Sakusa’s waist, he presses closer and gets away with it. Little half-crescent imprints sting on his nape and make his breath stutter.

Sakusa ends it. He’s probably always going to have to because Atsumu can barely ever find the presence of mind not to chase. Backing off is impossible.

“S’that for?” Atsumu asks with what feels like a dopey grin to go along with his gravelly voice.

“Third question?” Sakusa’s been goading Atsumu over it for weeks.

“No way, I’m saving it for something good.”

“Should have let you waste it.” Sakusa comes back, kisses him again—this time more restrained.

The ninety percent slides back in. Sakusa settles under Atsumu’s arm; the wretched glue documentary comes back from commercial break. Atsumu mentally maps out how fast he can get into a cold shower.

Sakusa likes to kiss. Not all the time and not usually for long, but frequently enough that it’s a pattern, something to look forward to. When it happens, it yanks Atsumu in, demands his attention. Sets him on fire and singes his restraint. It wreaks havoc on his wrists, but that part he was expecting. The surprising part is how Sakusa is still there even if he isn’t there—his presence permeates every touch, every shallow breath, every drowsy imagining of teeth pressed to his bottom lip and the slow, deliberate way Sakusa moves his mouth and tongue.

Six months ago, Atsumu would have laughed at anyone who told him he’d wind up in a chaste relationship with an abrasive and extraordinarily flexible teammate. He’d be loud about it, too, boisterous and uncaring of what anyone—including Sakusa—thought about it. Even two months ago when this whole thing started, back in that café with the janky fan, Atsumu was running half on stubbornness and half on delusion.

Whispers remain of that buried insistence that Sakusa doesn’t get to win this, doesn’t get to chase him away, doesn’t get to be the doom-sayer validated. There’s still a tenacious voice in his head bitching that Sakusa doesn’t get to make all the rules, but it’s hard to take it seriously when they’re curled up on the couch like this. Sakusa’s not even paying attention to the television—he’s staring down at Atsumu’s hand as he traces semi-circles with his fingernails over Atsumu’s skin.

Someone else wouldn’t bring him coffee for no reason and press their nose against his jaw in a quiet, contented nuzzle. Atsumu’s never been with anyone who kisses him so languid, with their whole body and fingers tugging on his hair like Sakusa does. There’s never been anyone who looks at Atsumu in this particular way—not like Atsumu’s the center of the universe but more that there isn’t anything interesting enough to steal attention away from him.

It’s worth refusing to be typical over.

###

“Do you think about me when you masturbate?” Sakusa asks in that out of the blue way he does—this time, thankfully, in the privacy of his apartment.

Atsumu always needs a moment to process these sorts of questions. “What kind of question is that? ‘Course I do.”

“What do we do?”

Atsumu’s never given much thought to it, but the answer is the same as it is in real life. It’s pathetically tame. “Nothing, much. Make out.”

“Can I watch sometime?” Sakusa asks, and all the air is sucked from the room.

“Watch, like… watch me? Jack off?”

“Yes.”

The phrase emotional whiplash has never made sense until this moment. Atsumu stares at the television trying to parse the situation. This week’s documentary is about fishing—also somehow not grotesque which is a total lie, it is disgusting—and Atsumu can almost smell that boat if he tries hard enough. He glances at Sakusa out of the corner of his eye.

What would it be like is the first reasonable question. Sakusa won’t want to do anything more than watch, but even the idea of that, the thought of Sakusa enraptured with all his attention focused on Atsumu pleasuring himself, having it be entirely about him in that way…

Yeah, Atsumu’s narcissistic enough that he could be into that.

Sometime means right now. Atsumu’s dated Sakusa long enough to know that. It means right now for him, too; he’s not shy and he isn’t a prude, but this is still a rip the band-aid off situation. If Atsumu doesn’t do it while it’s hot and spontaneous then he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to work up the nerve later. Anyway, Sakusa asked, so unless it’s a hard no he shouldn’t put it off.

“Yeah, sure, but can we turn this off first?” Atsumu’s an easy sell, but he’s not going to jack off to a backdrop of fish guts.

“Now?”

“Yeah, now. I can go now.” This is a whole new level of brazen, so far past where Atsumu thought his line was that he never even fathomed being here. It’s no different than standing on center court, though, just smaller and more personal. Instead of giving in to the nerves jolting through his stomach, Atsumu stands up and pulls his shirt over his head.

“Maybe not here,” Sakusa says, clicking the power button on the remote before setting it aside and standing. He heads to his bedroom without looking back; Atsumu can only follow with his t-shirt gripped in his fist and stomach churning.

Walking into Sakusa’s bedroom is surreal, Atsumu’s never been in here before. It’s neat, as expected, a little bare. The bed is done up in shades of red with black accents, some sharp geometric pattern sewn into the blankets in the same beige as the curtains. Each side of the bed has little dark-stained end tables, a lamp on one with a book lain next to it.

Sakusa reaches out to the lamp before thinking better of it and leaving it alone. Almost as an afterthought, he tugs the curtains mostly across the window before sitting at the edge of his bed. Both Sakusa’s feet are planted on the floor; he folds his hands in his lap as he stares expectantly at Atsumu.

With shaking hands, Atsumu undoes his belt and the button on his jeans—and then it’s a long exhale and the forceful release of anything nervous or unsure. If Sakusa were anyone else this would be part of the foreplay. The slow, sensual removal of clothes, all those little touches and hungry, wandering eyes would be part of the build-up, the kindling. Doing that sort of thing in front of Sakusa seems unnecessary. It’d be self-indulgent in a way that’s just a little too far over the line, even for Atsumu.

Under Sakusa’s clinical eye, Atsumu strips out of the rest of his clothes without fanfare. Why subject Sakusa to something that he didn’t ask for and won’t appreciate? Despite everything this thing they’re doing still involves Sakusa, it’s still for his benefit, even if it isn’t in a way Atsumu is familiar with. Shouldn’t he do the same as for anyone else and try to make it good?

“Do you want to lie down? You can, you know.” Calm as if he’s talking about the weather, Sakusa says, “Just want you to be comfortable.”

The shock of the whole thing starts settling down, anticipation welling in its place. Atsumu stops for a moment to wiggle his hips on his way around to the other side of the bed. Out of reach is good. “Yeah? You want some of this, too?”

“No, not really.” Sakusa tilts his head and follows Atsumu’s movement with his whole body, pulls his left leg up on the bed so his foot’s dangling off and the other’s on the floor. “Looks nice, though.”

“Breakin’ my heart, Omi. Nice?

“Yes. Nice. Or does your ego demand majestic or awe-inspiring?”

Atsumu grumbles and sits on the bed. “Not like it’d kill you to compliment me.”

“Sorry. I forgot you don’t value sincerity.”

The lighting is dim, only a narrow ray coming from the window behind Sakusa. It warms him up, makes him look softer as he sits at the far corner of the bed waiting for Atsumu to get situated and comfortable. Atsumu shoves two pillows behind his back and props himself up on his left elbow, too. He’d prefer to lay down, arch his back and stretch into a full-body shiver—but he wants to watch, too. Wants to watch Sakusa watch him. That part comes as a bit of a shock, but Atsumu’s always had a thing for being the center of attention.

“You look like you should be wearing glasses.” Atsumu’s voice catches in a thick whisper. He clears his throat. “Scribbling in a notepad or some shit.”

“I assumed you wouldn’t want notes or photographs.”

“Definitely not.” This time, anyway, not that this is ever going to happen again but the thought is there now.

They’re stranded in a vacuum. Blood roars in Atsumu’s ears. He inhales as deep and long as he can, runs his fingers down the planes of his stomach and concentrates on the sensations. Lets the spotlight wash over him instead of trying to ignore it—shifts his hips to angle a little more toward the middle of the bed—and it is exciting in a familiar way. That same huge, worldly thrill that shakes him head to toe on center court focuses down to a pinpoint: just them, this one afternoon, Sakusa’s eyes flicking between Atsumu’s face and his dick while he struggles to keep an impassive face.

It doesn’t take much, it never does. Atsumu tugs on his shaft a little, runs his thumb over the head of his dick once, twice. The pads of his fingers trail along his skin as lingering nerves keep swirling away. He takes his time—stares at the light trailing around the curtains and marvels at how it makes Sakusa glow.

Sakusa is beautiful like this. Turned and sitting fully on the bed, cross-legged with elbows resting on his thighs, he props his chin in one hand while the other hangs idle. Dangling fingers curl and release in an unconscious movement that Atsumu’s brain decides to latch onto in its last attempt at rational thought. It’s like how Sakusa will rub his fingers together sometimes when he’s weighing his options or preparing to abuse his boundaries.

The exposure is thrilling: like being on television. A delightful craving settles into Atsumu’s muscles. He wants to play it up, to preen and show off—drag Sakusa along for the ride and break his oh, so steady composure. There is a sense of showmanship to be embraced here. It’s always more fun to cater to an audience, after all.

Besides, Sakusa asked for this; he wouldn’t have if there wasn’t some sort of appeal.

Atsumu throbs, impossibly loud breath echoing in the space between them. He’s warmed up and properly jerking himself while staring at Sakusa’s fingers twitch. It’s nice. Another intimacy Atsumu can’t bother to understand.

“Is it different when I’m actually here?”

Sakusa’s eyes are dark, such a deep shade of brown that Atsumu can pretend his pupils are blown. They could be making these breathy sounds together from the slight part of Sakusa’s lips, from the pressure building and sweat beading on Sakusa’s forehead in tandem with a drop slipping its way down Atsumu’s collarbone.

“Yeah.” Atsumu’s heart is fucking racing; his skin burns. This is something he never thought to imagine in all those nights sprawled out in his bed, tame memories of Sakusa’s lips and nails on repeat. Sakusa’s presence has always been a powerful thing, but the sound of his voice, that he’s asked a question and has become involved—Sakusa may as well be torching him alive. He rasps, “Will you keep talking?”

“Is that your third question?”

Atsumu means to give him a piece of his mind. Something involving the words cheater and fuck off and over my dead body, but instead he groans an indistinct complaint that sounds vaguely like, “Fine.”

Sakusa’s gaze flicks to Atsumu’s face again. “You like hearing me talk?”

“I like that you’re here.” Jesus, that’ll be embarrassing later but Sakusa doesn’t seem fazed so he stops trying to keep it in. “Like that you care. Don’t need you involved, just want you around.”

“Hmm. I like your neck. When you swallow, or when you get a good dig.” Sakusa pauses. Lower, he says, “Tilt your head back.”

Fuck.” The ragged word has him choking on it for a second before it goes down. Atsumu cocks his head to the side, presses his face into the pillows so Sakusa gets his view and Atsumu still has an eye on the other side of this scene.

“I like the way you taste after you’ve had one of those dreadful orange-flavored sports drinks you like so much. Somehow doesn’t taste as bad on you.”

This is just the weirdest sex. Atsumu was so sure that was off the table, too, that his infatuation with Sakusa wasn’t going to result in some crazy, kinky tryst that’ll make him blush for years to come because the terms were basically no sex ever. No matter how much Sakusa insisted that’s not technically what he said, that’s what he meant.

Except—did he really? Sakusa likes this, Atsumu can tell. He’s enjoying himself in some private way that’s impossible to understand. This could be the not that into part, the middle ground between hating and loving that Atsumu couldn’t comprehend before. Maybe he likes it well enough, just from afar and with a different appreciation.

If it were the other way around, if Atsumu was the one watching—

If Sakusa—

He’d palm himself through his jeans. Wouldn’t undo them, wouldn’t expose himself. Wouldn’t make much noise either, just a soft, needy keen. Like Atsumu’s, right now, but quieter. Less frantic. Surprised and indignant, like such a reaction should be beneath him instead of strangling his whole body. Sakusa would bite his lip so hard there’d be blood.

The picture erupts in his mind, full-color: Sakusa with his head thrown back, curls plastered to his face, palm rubbing his crotch. There’d be a sedate vibe to it because Sakusa wouldn’t close his eyes or give in entirely. Atsumu will, though, his eyes fall closed and he stops trying to hold himself up. His fist tightens; a guttural moan drains his lungs of air.

“I…” Sakusa trails off.

Atsumu already knows what he wants to say. His eyes slip back open. An easy smirk falls over his lips as he stares down the bridge of his nose.

“Yeah.”

“Gonna kill me, Omi.”

For a wild, desperate moment, Atsumu thinks to slow down, try and make it last, but he’s the only one on this ride. He can be as selfish as he wants—and fuck, fuck, he just wants a kiss and long fingers running through his hair but also for Sakusa to not move a muscle. He wants Sakusa to stay right there and keep calling him out every time he closes his eyes. Just sit, stock still, the afternoon sun lighting him up and throwing curly shadows over his forehead as he devotes all his attention to watching Atsumu shiver as sweat drips down his neck.

The heat weighs on them. It’s probably the reason Sakusa’s face is a little flushed, but Atsumu wonders because his lips are half parted on one side and half sucked between his teeth on the other. One of his hands is curled into a fist at his side shifting as his shoulders rise and fall. His eyes are zeroed in on Atsumu fucking his hand. Even through blurry vision and worked into a frenzy, Atsumu knows that for Sakusa, this is coming undone.

Flexing hips. A shudder. Chest heaving with an empty twinge no matter how much air he pulls in.

“You look nice like this, ‘Tsumu.”

The gasps escaping his lungs are enough for them both. Every muscle in his torso clenches, his arm shakes. He’s coiled so tight, racing to snap and let go of all the tension spreading through his abdomen into his burning chest. There’s too much pressure in his lungs, at the base of his spine, in his thighs. He doesn’t exhale—doesn’t notice he needs to—until he’s spilling over his hand, muscles twitching with spots dancing in his vision.

Sakusa’s quiet voice calling him ‘Tsumu loops through his head. His muscles are jelly.

There is a bump in the paint on Sakusa’s ceiling. It’s the first thing Atsumu notices once he’s capable of noticing things again. Then, several more important matters in rapid succession: he’s naked, sweaty, and has jizz on his hand; his shoulder is suffering from laying half on top of his arm; and Sakusa is still staring, coming down a little rough from whatever high he got out of the experience.

“You look freaked.” It’s not the best thing to say, but it’s far from the worst, and in the end doesn’t Sakusa always get what he means anyway?

“I’m good.” Sakusa’s face is burning but if he’s going to pretend it’s not happening Atsumu supposes he’s too tired to bring it up. Ever prepared, Sakusa adds, “There are tissues next to you and towels in the bathroom if you want to shower.”

The words barely register beyond go clean up. They’re a distant hum. So instead of teasing Sakusa for trying to kick him out of bed already, Atsumu embraces that he’s not currently capable of thought or comprehension and answers, “I can’t believe I got weird sex out of this. Was awesome. Fuck, I’m gonna fall in love with you.”

It all comes out in a garbled slur as Atsumu blindly reaches over his body for the tissues and only almost falls off the side of the bed when he finds them on his second try.

“You’re still an asshole, though,” Atsumu adds because he’s not a total sap.

“Noted.”

If he stays any longer he’ll keep talking. Atsumu has never been good at shutting up and if he doesn’t listen to his instincts he’ll wind up in territory that will turn Sakusa into a flight risk. With a groan, he swings his legs off the bed and rolls his shoulders. He’d prefer a nap—he’s always tired after—but Sakusa will feel better if he goes and showers first. Between the drying sweat and ineffectual tissues, Atsumu feels pretty gross anyway.

He shakes his ass on the way out and smiles at the little sputter from Sakusa. Mostly because he can, because it’ll make Sakusa laugh even if he waits until after Atsumu leaves.

Sakusa has a nice shower. It’s a fancy one, with lots of pressure settings. Atsumu spends longer than he cares to admit trying them all out and relaxing under the varying sprays as he considers the three different soaps lined up on a little shelf in the corner. He smells them, thinks about how they’re different from how Sakusa always smells and considers for a moment why that’s so odd before seeing a bottle of the shampoo he uses at the gym off to the left.

All at once, with no warning it hits him: unusual and unfamiliar as it is, this is enough. This crazy thing they’re building here is enough for him. It’s an odd revelation to have in the shower.

The blankets are stripped off the bed by the time Astumu’s done. After approximately half a second of thinking about it, he falls face-down into the sheets. Fuck it, he’s taking that nap. Sakusa comes back right as his eyelids are getting too heavy to keep open.

“Really, now,” Sakusa says.

“M’tired. It happens. You come, you sleep. Time for sleep.”

“At least let me remake the bed.”

“If you think I’m anywhere near willing to be under a blanket right now, you are insane. Leave it. Get in.

The bed dips. Atsumu pries an eye open to see Sakusa sitting like he was earlier, one leg bent before him and the other off the side with his head turned toward the open bedroom door, the hint of a frown evident in his profile.

“Was that—” Sakusa swallows. “Was it really that weird?”

Atsumu’s sort of a dick. He knows this about himself and Sakusa knows it, too. He also knows that Sakusa is insecure about steps—worries they’ll cross some line that will mean what they have isn’t enough anymore and everything will fall apart. Even wrapped up in sarcasm and an abundance of personal space, Sakusa can’t pretend he’s completely unaffected. He cares more than he lets on; there’s a whole bunch of evidence in the bathroom.

“Never done it before, so weird seems to fit. Doesn’t mean anything bad. Just means it was weird. New. For fuck’s sake, Omi, do we have to do this now? I liked it and I like you and the line ain’t moving.”

Sakusa turns his head and stares for a long, indecipherable moment, then calmly picks up the remaining pillow from his side of the bed with both hands, turns his body fully, and brings it down on Atsumu’s back with a wicked thwap that would sting like a mother, except it’s only a pillow.

“Stop treating me like I’m fragile.”

“Stop being such a pain, then! ‘Sides, didn’t I just say you’re an asshole? I’m pretty sure it was like, less than half an hour ago. I’ll say it again, too. You’re a fucking asshole.”

“Yes, but this is getting nauseatingly sweet by your standards, and apparently you also love me so what am I supposed to think?”

“That’s not what I said.” Atsumu slides an arm under his pillow and grunts.

In that calm, soft, bitchy way that is so Sakusa, he asks, “Are you actually thinking about sleeping?”

“Oh my god, Omi, just change and get in.” Atsumu reaches around to find the edge of the sheet and wriggles his way beneath it. The fabric only covers one leg and half his ass, but it’s there to get the rest of the way under if he wants. “Never in my fucking life have I had to work so hard for a nap.”

There’s movement when Sakusa stands, then the sheets rustle sooner than expected. Atsumu pries his eyes open to see Sakusa climbing into bed, stripped down to his boxer-briefs. He settles on his back then lets out a long-suffering sigh and turns onto his side, hand coming to a rest on the mattress as his curls fall over his forehead and into his eyes.

“You’re gonna sleep like that?” Atsumu asks, drowsy and sated, but not enough so that he’s not curious about it. “In your underwear?”

Sakusa rolls his eyes. “I trust you can restrain yourself for one afternoon.”

If that isn’t the sweetest thing anyone’s ever said to him, Atsumu doesn’t know what is.

Atsumu leans in, presses a kiss to Sakusa’s bare shoulder. He doesn’t get away with it, so he relaxes back into his side of the bed and reaches out with his right hand to clasp Sakusa’s left laying between them and closes his eyes. Little huffs of laughter sound against the pillowcase. “Good weird. This is a really good weird.”

Ever in need of the last word, Sakusa mutters, “Noted.”