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Tadashi is tired. It’s a few weeks into the semester, and he’s trying his hardest to stay afloat. He hasn’t missed an assignment yet, but he has missed several nights of sleep, and he’s fully aware he can’t keep living like this. He’s in his second year of uni, and he’s still got the sleep schedule of a first year. Atrocious. 

 

He can’t name how many calculus assignments have been uploaded at 11:58, with Tadashi’s hands shaking from both anxiety and caffeine. Physics assignments are due twice a week, and no matter how he plans, they never get done before the day they’re due. Therefore, Fridays and Sundays are nights that he stays awake constantly, regardless of how hard he grinds during the daytime.

 

Each passing week, Tadashi wonders how he allowed the counselor to convince him to take calculus and physics in the same semester, and how he had also been persuaded into taking sports science and anatomy, despite neither of those classes having anything to do with engineering, which is his actual major. At least he knows some athletes who can help with sports science (not that Hinata is much help), and he has a fairly good base understanding of anatomy from being an athlete himself, but it’s still two more classes of work to do. Every week, he has to juggle whether he wants to work on classes he’s a bit better at and can do faster or classes that he struggles with and take much longer. He doesn’t seem to succeed no matter what he picks.

 

So, four weeks into his second year of university, Tadashi is exhausted. Therefore, when he kicks a sandwich board sign on the sidewalk, he immediately starts sobbing.

 

It didn’t exactly hurt – it’s a damn sign – but it might have been the very thing to send him over the edge. It crashes into the cement with a thin sound, and a cursed second of silence follows it.

 

Tadashi stands there with tears streaming down his face, vision blurring at the flattened wooden sign for far too long. He can feel people staring. Great. Just what he needs.

 

He wipes some tears away with his left hand as he crouches to pick up the sign. There’s a sudden pain on his forehead when he’s about halfway to the ground, a quiet grunt, and Tadashi realizes with another bout of mortification that he really just bounced his head into someone on the street. Bringing that hand to his forehead instead, he slowly stands back up, meeting the eyes of the poor person he just whacked.

 

Tadashi freezes. He knows that face. Well, he knows someone else with the same face, so he can only assume that this is the infamous brother.

 

“M-Miya. Miya Osamu.”

 

The man regards Tadashi with a quizzical squint. “Yup, that’s me. Do I, uh, know ya?”

 

Tadashi blushes and wipes at his eyes, attempting to hide the fact that he had just been crying. “Oh, no, probably not. I’m one of Hinata -- Shouyou’s -- friends. So, I know Atsumu technically. B-but you both have the same face, so I just kind of--”

 

Tadashi cuts himself off, realizing he was rambling. A moment of silence passes as Osamu registers, and then his face breaks into a soft smile. 

 

“Well, if yer one of Shouyou-kun’s friends, you can’t be too bad. I keep tellin’ him he’s too good for my brother.” 

 

Tadashi gives a weak smile of his own as Osamu places the sign back upright.

 

“What’s your name, by the way? Can’t say I’ve seen ya around before.”

 

Tadashi sniffs, trying to will the last of his tears back in his eyes. “Oh, um, I’m Yamagachi. Uh, Yamaguchi. Tadashi.” Great going, Tadashi. It’s literally the first word you learned to write, and you can’t say it?

 

Osamu’s soft smile has yet to leave his face. “Well, Yamaguchi-kun, why’re you cryin’? Can’t have one of Shouyou’s friends upset.”

 

He steps towards the cafe to Tadashi’s right. “Come in for a bit, I’m not busy at all right now.”

 

This is precisely what Tadashi hadn’t wanted to happen. He thinks he could shrivel up on the sidewalk like a worm right there. He really doesn’t need anyone seeing him this stressed, especially not someone so...nice looking. 

 

Tadashi shoves that thought away as he accepts his fate and turns to follow Osamu into the building. Stepping inside, he realizes that the place actually looks quite nice -- a bit overly modern and gray for Tadashi’s taste, but stylish nonetheless. There’s a counter to the right, and various mismatched black stools to go with it. A few two-person tables are on the left side, also vaguely mismatched, but not enough to cause aesthetic damage. Above the counter, a chalkboard sign hangs on the wall, bearing what Tadashi assumes is the restaurant logo: a large, comic-style rice ball with MIYA written across the seaweed. 

 

Osamu turns around to face him, now behind the counter, and Tadashi realizes his hat and shirt both bear the same onigiri logo. “Ya in the mood for anything in particular, Yamaguchi-kun?”

 

Tadashi blinks, his brain still remembering the fact that Osamu owns this restaurant. He knew that, of course – Atsumu talks about Onigiri Miya all the time – but it’s not exactly Tadashi’s best day. 

 

“N-no, you really don’t have to make me anything. I’m fine.”

 

“At least sit down, then. You got anywhere you need to be?” Osamu raises an eyebrow at him, smirking. Tadashi’s blood chills, having only seen that face on Atsumu, right before he does something he shouldn’t. There’s no malice in Osamu’s smirk though; it’s more amusement. Tadashi doesn’t know if he should be more or less afraid of that particular look.

 

However, Tadashi shakes his head and takes a seat at one of the counter stools, putting his backpack on the stool to his left. He might as well, after all; he’s not one to refuse such a kind invitation, even if it is from an essential stranger. Besides, if there’s anything he can do to improve the assuredly dreadful first impression Tadashi just had on this handsome man, he’s willing to try it. “I don’t have anywhere to be for a few hours, but are you sure I’m not imposing?”

 

Osamu lets out a small laugh, a rather nice tinkling of sound. “Yamaguchi-kun, does it look like I’m super busy at the moment?”

 

Tadashi feels himself blush, another round of embarrassment. This is a restaurant; it’s not like it’s weird for him to be here, even if he’s not eating. It’s a public establishment.

 

“I think I’ll rather enjoy havin’ you here for a bit, actually.” Osamu crouches beneath the counter, pulling out a filet of some sort of fish from what Tadashi prays is a refrigerated cabinet. “You seem like the kinda guy whose company I would enjoy.”

 

Tadashi smiles lightly as he reaches to grab a binder from his backpack. The two fall into a steady rhythm of chatting and working on their respective tasks, Tadashi reading and taking (scrawling, messy) notes, and Osamu making onigiri of some sort. Tadashi doesn’t bother to ask what kind, a bit too engrossed in his textbook and, occasionally, steel-grey eyes to form a passing thought. 

 

Tadashi, at Osamu’s insistence, talks about his schoolwork. It takes a bit of Osamu prodding him, promising that the younger man won’t be a burden on Osamu’s brain, for Tadashi to ramble on about the struggles of being an engineering major. He talks about how much he hates and loves calculus at the same time, how physics is fascinating but frankly incorrect math, and how he’s somehow gotten roped into taking two unnecessary classes that he doesn’t need. Osamu listens to it all, working on onigiri absentmindedly while Tadashi takes up all of his attention. At some point, Osamu finishes his onigiri, but leans forward and rests his arms and head on the counter, slightly to the right of where Tadashi’s textbooks are taking up real estate. Tadashi pretends he doesn’t blush when he makes eye contact with the now-shorter man, who is staring up at him from the counter at an angle that can’t possibly be comfortable. 

 

Tadashi moves on to discussing his school life as Osamu passes the plate of onigiri -- tuna flavored, as Tadashi finds out -- up to the counter for them to share. Tadashi talks about sharing a dorm with Hinata, which is chaos in and of itself, and about how he spends much of his time at the library with Kei, studying calculus together. While Kei is a bit more apt at math naturally, he’s utter garbage at studying, so Tadashi ends up doing a lot of the work anyways. He occasionally meets Yachi at the cafeteria for lunch, but he rarely gets to actually relax, since they eat their lunches over their respective assignments. At least once a week, Tadashi calls his mom, but those are usually short, with his mother just making him promise to sleep better and to eat well, as she’s often quite busy. 

 

Tadashi finishes four pages (front and back!) of notes from his textbook as Osamu gives his own complaints about high school and studying, since he never attended university and had decided to go into restaurant entrepreneurship before high school had ended. He tells his stories of Atsumu tossing pencils at him across their room, and, to Tadashi’s surprise, Osamu tells him that Atsumu is actually the far more studious of them. 

 

Atsumu had always known he’d want to go into volleyball, but had recognized in middle school that he wouldn’t get anywhere with the sport if he didn’t at least graduate from high school first. Therefore, Atsumu had put an incredible amount of energy into studying so that he could pass with flying colors, appease the teachers academically, and then focus on volleyball more as the year came to an end. Osamu had tried that method at the beginning of high school, but it hadn’t gone particularly well for him, as he didn’t have the same drive that his brother did. Though they were both equally smart (not that Osamu would ever say that to Atsumu’s face), Atsumu actually got slightly better grades. However, Osamu hadn’t really had to try to get as good of grades as he had, not seeing any point in studying when he wasn’t going to continue with school anyway. Which is why he explains that he doesn’t really know how Tadashi feels right now, but that he hates seeing people upset.

 

Osamu points out that Tadashi will likely continue to be stressed throughout the semester, and Tadashi nods, grimacing at just how true the statement is. He knows this, of course; it’s a given of being a college student. Therefore, Osamu offers for Tadashi to come study in Onigiri Miya whenever he should want.

 

“Ya seem to have gotten quite a lot done there, if ya don’t mind me pointin’ it out,” Osamu muses with a grin.

 

“Yeah, surprisingly so.” Tadashi smiles as he puts his books and materials back into his bookbag. “Are you sure I wouldn’t distract you too much if I came by a few times a week?”

 

Osamu shakes his head as he takes the now-empty onigiri plate and heads towards a small sink at the end of the counter. “I’m not exactly busy on Thursdays, ya know. You seem like you could make use of a comfy study spot, and I’d be honored if that spot could be here.”

 

Tadashi feels his face pull into a huge smile. It’s a bit unusual for someone to be so nice to him right after meeting him, but if it’s someone as handsome as Miya Osamu, Tadashi supposes it isn’t all that bad. “You’ll probably have to kick me out at closing time, though. I tend to lose track of time if I’m enjoying myself.” 

 

Osamu cocks an eyebrow, a gentle smile on his own face. “Who says I wouldn’t just stay with ya past closin’ time? I do own the place, I can do whatever I want.”

 

Tadashi freezes, feeling his face heat up with Osamu’s first sentence. Is...is Osamu flirting with him? 

 

He pushes that thought down and instead forces out a painfully awkward laugh. “Yeah, I guess that’s true. I didn’t think about that.”

 

For a moment, their eyes meet, brown to grey. All at once, Tadashi takes in Osamu’s soft smile, the crinkling of his eyes, the gentle concern evident in them. Tadashi doesn’t let his gaze drift any lower, because if he looks at Osamu’s smile, he’ll get distracted thinking about how it feel to have that smile against one of his own, or how Osamu’s lips look like they’d be really nice to --

 

“Oh, um, how much do I owe you? For the onigiri?” Tadashi tears his face away from the other’s, burning as he digs through his bag to find his wallet.

 

“Just your phone number, Yamaguchi-kun.”

 

Tadashi freezes again, a full-body action this time. Osamu is definitely flirting with him. Tadashi slowly turns to face Osamu again, rigidly, as if his body no longer knows how to move. He thinks his mouth is opening, but there’s no sound coming out. Tadashi doesn’t remember the last time he blinked.

 

Osamu’s eyes widen, a tinge of pink dusting his cheeks. “Oh, uh, that is--only if you want to. Ya--ya don’t, uh, have to. If you don’t want.” 

 

He takes his hat off, running a hand through his dark hair, and Tadashi annoyingly feels his heart skip a beat. No one should look that attractive when they’re embarrassed. 

 

‘Uh, no, I--it’s fine. That works,” Tadashi replies equally awkwardly.

 

They exchange phones in heavy silence, the ticking of the clock above the counter ringing through their ears.

 

“Um, you’re sure you don’t want me to pay?” Tadashi asks again as Osamu hands his phone back. “For the onigiri, I mean.”

 

Osamu keeps that gentle smile, the blush seeping away. “Absolutely not. As long as I see ya learnin’ and studyin’, that’s more than enough payment for me.”

 

Tadashi blinks as he stands up, gathering his backpack from the stool. “Oh. Um. Okay, then. If you’re sure.”

 

“Trust me, Yamaguchi-kun, I’m sure.”

 

Tadashi nods, ignoring the flip in his stomach when he hears his name on Osamu’s lips. He’s been saying his name all day, why is this any different?

 

They both call out quiet goodbyes as Tadashi exits the store, having gotten a text from Hinata begging him to come open some jar back at the dorm. Besides, Tadashi had been cutting it a little close, having to be home to submit his sports science assignment in an hour.

 

If Tadashi had turned over his shoulder as he left and squinted through the evening dusk, he might have seen Miya Osamu standing at the same spot at the counter that he had been when Tadashi had stood up, and he might have noticed Osamu put a hand over his mouth as his face warmed up, and he might have heard the excitement in Osamu’s voice as he picked up his ringing cellphone and began eagerly telling his brother of what had just occurred. 

 

--

 

Within a month or so, Tadashi becomes a regular sight at Onigiri Miya. He comes on Thursdays and Sundays, and occasionally Tuesdays if he’s particularly tired. He almost always does physics while there, but he will sometimes ask for Osamu’s help with sports science; they had both played volleyball in high school after all. If neither of them can figure it out, they’ll turn to the internet, but usually one of them can find the answer in Tadashi’s textbook or messy notes.

 

While Tadashi isn’t usually the only person in the restaurant (except for Thursdays, when he typically is), Osamu never neglects to give him special attention, including making him free onigiri every time, despite Tadashi’s protests. Osamu may be overly nice to other customers, as the job requires, but immediately after he finishes with a customer he’ll come talk to Tadashi again with a giant smile on his face. He often refuses to leave to take an order until he manages to make Tadashi laugh. A few jealous female customers have approached Tadashi and bugged him about whether or not he was dating Osamu (always vehemently denied with a red face), and that he should learn to share. Osamu had thought this was particularly hilarious and proceeded to ban those girls due to them ‘harassing other customers.’ 

 

When midterms roll around, Tadashi spends nearly all of his free time sitting at his spot at the counter. He looks more and more haggard with each passing day, and Osamu sends him regular texts reminding him to eat or take a break. Tadashi rarely responds (as he rarely checks his phone, intent on studying) but when he does, he responds with perhaps a few too many heart emojis, thanking Osamu for worrying about him.

 

Kei joins Tadashi every once in a while, and Osamu decides he does not much like the icy blond. Kei essentially ignores Osamu the entire time, just mooching the free snacks with his nose glued on their calculus homework. When Osamu asks Tadashi what he did to Kei to make him so frigid, Tadashi only laughs, saying that Osamu will probably have to wait several more months before Kei even speaks to him. He tells Osamu of his and Kei’s childhood, growing up together and having been each other’s best friends for over a decade. Tadashi talks about Kei’s older brother Akiteru, and how he’s pretty sure Akiteru had been his first crush and Tadashi’s realization of also liking boys. Tadashi continues to mention how he’s an only child, and how growing up with Kei had felt like growing up with the brother Tadashi had always wanted. 

 

At that, Osamu laughs. “Brothers aren’t all that, Yamaguchi-kun. ‘Specially when the only brother ya got is ‘Tsumu’s dumb ass.”

 

Tadashi smiles softly, looking up at Osamu over his twelfth page of physics notes. “You know, I think I could even handle Atsumu as a brother. It’d give me an excuse to punch him.”

 

That’s another thing Tadashi and Osamu can do together: dunk on Atsumu. As much as they both love Atsumu and want only the best for him, it’s just far too easy to tease him. Tadashi has in fact noticed that teasing Atsumu around Hinata results in Hinata reassuring Atsumu, and therefore improving the blond’s self-confidence. Osamu has also mentioned that Atsumu seems to be doing better and better, both mentally and physically, since he met Hinata. He’s had less of his self-deprecating sobs on the bathroom floor, and he’s honestly bullied Osamu far less. That doesn’t mean Osamu will stop teasing him – they’re brothers after all – but it does mean that Osamu can do it a little more light-heartedly.

 

When Tadashi gets his midterm grades that Saturday, the first thing he does is excitedly text Osamu. Within moments, Tadashi’s phone is ringing, and his heart skips a beat before he answers.

 

“Congrats, Yamaguchi-kun. Straight A’s are pretty damn good. Proud of ya.” Osamu’s voice drawls over the speaker, and Tadashi feels a pit of heat drop into his stomach, because no one should sound that alluring on a damn phone call. 

 

“It’s the only straight thing about me, that’s for sure,” Tadashi laughs lightly.

 

A sound that’s somewhere between a choke and a laugh comes from the other end of the phone. Osamu clears his throat before saying, “I’ll make sure to remember that.”

 

Tadashi feels his face warm as he realizes what he’d just said, and sucks in a deep breath to remind himself that he can’t exactly unsay something. Doing great, Tadashi. Just keep reminding the essential stranger that you’re not straight and potentially interested in him. Awesome. That sure won’t make him uncomfortable.

 

“Anyways, how’d Shouyou-kun do? If he also did pretty well on his midterms, why don’t both of ya come over to the shop to celebrate?”

 

Tadashi feels a smile creep across his face as he leans back in his desk chair. “Can I finally at least pay you for all the onigiri I’ve eaten in the past month?”

 

“Absolutely not.”

 

Tadashi rolls his eyes with a grin, knowing that was the answer he was going to get. He’s not sure how, but he’ll pay Osamu back eventually. 

 

“What if Hinata did badly on his exams, though? I haven’t told anyone except you how I did, so I haven’t talked to him yet.”

 

“Hmm,” Osamu hums on the other end, contemplating. “If Shouyou-kun did badly, have him come anyway. I’ll call ‘Tsumu and he can handle his own boyfriend.”

 

“True,” Tadashi agrees. “I wouldn’t want to be Hinata if that’s the case.”

 

Osamu laughs, a joyous sound to Tadashi’s ears. “Trust me, everything ‘Tsumu’s learned about regiments and punishments, he’s learned from me. Be careful, if ya get a bad grade while studyin’ with me, I just might smack ya.” 

 

Osamu’s tone is teasing and light, and Tadashi feels a swell in his chest. He’s actually flirting with me. 

 

“Hmm, maybe you should. Maybe I’m into that, Miya.”

 

Osamu actually chokes this time, a cough echoing through the line as Tadashi wishes he knew how to think. 

 

“Um. I’ll let you know about Hinata.” Fucking incredible, Tadashi. “See you later.”

 

He hangs up without a second thought, desperate to experience his shame alone.

 

He should really start thinking before he opens his mouth. That’d save him from a lot of uncomfortable situations that he almost always creates.

 

Well. There’s not really anything Tadashi can do about that; he really can’t take back something he said out loud. 

 

He figures he might as well check on Hinata.

 

--

 

That night, Tadashi has perhaps the best dinner he’s ever had. He and Hinata join the twins at Onigiri Miya for a celebration meal, as Hinata had done better than he had expected on exams, and hadn’t actually failed any. Atsumu pulls Hinata into a tight hug and spins him around the very second he opens the restaurant’s front door, peppering his face with kisses at any given moment. 

 

Tadashi and Osamu exchange disgusted faces as they watch the incredible amount of PDA occurring right next to them, and then proceed to descend into their own giggles at the silliness of it all. 

 

Tadashi continues to stifle his laughter as he helps Osamu carry out tray after tray of food from the kitchen.They end up leaving much of it perched on nearby tables, as there’s a distinct lack of space on their own table.

 

Tadashi takes a seat next to Hinata and across from Osamu. He and Hinata get a front row seat to all the bickering that the brothers do, and both are told equally embarrassing stories of each brother in their childhoods. In return, Tadashi responds with his favorite stories of Hinata in high school, like the time he tripped over a mat in the storage closet and knocked down almost everything in a domino effect, or the time he practiced serves for so long he started to fall asleep standing up and served straight into the ground, hitting himself in the face, or the time he tried to learn how to set and Kageyama got annoyed at him and spiked the ball straight from between Hinata’s hands into his face. Hinata in turn tells stories about Tadashi falling asleep with a pork bun in his mouth, or drooling on Kei’s shoulder on the way home after a game, or accidentally tripping Yachi by sitting with his legs straight out in front of him outside the gym’s door.

 

Not to mention, the food Osamu had made was absolutely spectacular. Lots of different cooked meats, seared vegetables, and too many flavors of onigiri to count. They’ve been snacking all throughout their story-telling sessions, with Hinata eating a bit faster than he probably should. Tadashi thinks perhaps it’s the best dinner he’s ever had, and he tells Osamu so.

 

Osamu’s eyes light up, and he looks up to greet him with a giant smile. Atsumu rolls his eyes and tells Tadashi not to boost his brother’s ego too much. Hinata sends a raised eyebrow towards Tadashi, who badly winks back at his friend. The table collapses into laughter at that point, and Tadashi feels his shoulders lift a few inches, a large amount of stress removed.

 

Osamu offers to drive both of them back to their dorm, and they accept. Tadashi is allowed the front seat because Atsumu does not want to sit next to his brother and he also very much wants to sit next to his boyfriend and do things he assuredly shouldn’t in the back seat. Tadashi finds himself enamored with Osamu’s side profile in the dim light of the streetlamps, and with how he drives with his right hand on the wheel and his left elbow on the center console. He doesn’t think about how very easy it would be to wrap his fingers around Osamu’s, or how easy it would be to rest their hands together on the center console, or how Osamu’s arm is much closer to Tadashi’s side than his own. He can’t think about that, after all. Osamu’s just a very nice friend that Tadashi is lucky to have met.

 

They say their goodbyes in the parking lot, with Atsumu giving more puppy eyes than necessary. Tadashi thanks Osamu for the dinner as Hinata shakes off his clingy boyfriend. Osamu stays in the parking lot until he watches them enter their dorm safely, Tadashi giving a small smile and wave as he pulls away.

 

Tadashi doesn’t even get the chance to close the front door before Hinata pounces on him.

 

“Sooooo, when are you gonna ask ‘Samu out?” Hinata asks as he flops onto his bed, across from Tadashi’s.

 

Tadashi huffs, changing into pajamas. “I’m not. He’s just a friend. I enjoy being his friend too much to want to ruin it.”

 

Hinata stares at him. “Are you dumb, Yamaguchi?”

 

Tadashi turns to face him, pants only half on. “Excuse me?”

 

“Are you actually blind? That man is so into you. Like, insanely so. According to Atsumu, I’m dense as bricks, and I still managed to notice how he looked at you.”

 

“You can’t be serious, Hinata. He flirts with everyone.”

 

Hinata rolls his eyes, cackling. “You are dense, oh man, ‘Tsumu’s about to have a field day.”

 

Tadashi can do nothing but stand completely still. Is he being serious? Has Osamu genuinely been interested in him all this time, and Tadashi’s just been brushing it off out of fear? Could he have been dating this steal of a man this entire time?

 

Tadashi snaps upright suddenly, tugging his pants the rest of the way on and crossing his arms in what he hopes is an authoritative pose. 

 

“Hinata. Are you positive?”

 

“One hundred percent, bro.” Hinata wipes a tear from his eye dramatically, despite the fact that he wasn’t laughing nearly hard enough to possibly be crying. “‘Tsumu and I have spent an incredible amount of time talking about how absolutely disgusting ‘Samu looks when he’s looking at you. Like a lovesick dog.”

 

Tadashi ignores the heat in his face, refusing to move from his position. “Prove it to me. I’ll give you one week. If you can prove it, I’ll ask him out next Saturday. If not, we’ll just pretend this never happened.” 

 

It’s a gamble, a stupid one, and Tadashi knows it. He’s fully aware of the embarrassment he’s about to be subjected to if Hinata agrees, and how much he’ll risk embarrassing the hell out of Osamu. But, if there’s even a small chance that Osamu feels the same...he might just be willing to take that gamble.

 

Hinata sits up, his eyes sparkling when they meet Tadashi’s own.

 

“Deal. Yamaguchi Tadashi, you’re going to have a boyfriend by the end of the week.”

 

--

 

Day One: Sunday

 

On the first day of their bet, Hinata joins Tadashi for his usual physics study session at Onigiri Miya. They walk in together, but Osamu only greets Tadashi before making a quick nod to Hinata. Hinata in turn waggles his eyebrows at his friend, counting that as ‘evidence.’ They stay in there for several hours, with Tadashi trying his best not to smack Hinata for talking constantly, to the point where it seems like he’s drained Osamu of his energy. When Tadashi bugs the redhead to stop badgering Osamu, apparently a ‘stupid look’ comes over Osamu’s face, according to Hinata. When Osamu brings out the now-regular tray of assorted onigiri just as Tadashi’s struggling with a particularly hard physics problem, Tadashi almost hugs him. Instead, what comes out of his mouth is, “You might as well just kiss me next time I come in.”

 

Hinata freezes, holding his plum onigiri in midair, and Osamu’s face goes nearly as red as the red pepper he’s slicing. Tadashi wants to scream. He’d just told himself that he would start thinking before he speaks, instead of just letting words out with no filter. Off to a spectacular start.

 

Instead, he makes eye contact with Osamu, and immediately regrets it as the latter opens his mouth.

 

“I mean, that can be arranged, if ya want.”

 

Tadashi really wants to scream now. Instead he lets out a half-hearted laugh, averting his eyes. What the hell is he supposed to say now?

 

“‘Tsumu, they’re doing it again,” Hinata’s voice rings out, a little louder than necessary. Tadashi whips his head around to his friend, and sees Hinata with his phone pressed to his ear, speaking to his boyfriend. A strangled sound comes from the speaker, loud enough that Tadashi can hear it from several feet away.

 

“They’re flirting and pretending they don’t understand. It’s painful, ‘Tsumu. Help me.”

 

Osamu moves now, attempting to grab Hinata’s phone from the other side of the counter, shouting curses at his brother. Hinata’s laughing, mischief glinting in his eyes as he holds the phone just slightly out of Osamu’s reach. Tadashi finds a laugh bubbling in his own chest as he watches the hilarity of the scene in front of him.

 

He thinks that perhaps this week won’t be as bad as he had been fearing.

 

Day Two: Monday

 

Come night time, nothing has happened. A suspicious amount of nothing. Tadashi finds himself on edge as he goes to take his shower, feeling like he’s missed something. He’s known Hinata for years; there’s no way he’s going to give up after one day, and he’s fully aware that Hinata can be sneakier and more cunning than first expected. He tries not to think about it as he washes his hair in the steamy warmth of the hot water.

 

Leaving the bathroom, still towel drying his hair, he is greeted with Hinata sitting on Tadashi’s side of the dorm, staring back at him with wide, mischievous eyes. He’s sitting suspiciously close to where Tadashi’s phone has been charging on his bed, and Tadashi feels his eyes narrow in suspicion immediately.

 

Hinata grins. “Aww, come on, Yamaguchi, I’m not allowed to call a friend?”

 

Tadashi regards him with a side eye as he heads towards his bed, Hinata dancing around the taller boy as he bounces back to his own side of the room. “I suppose you are.”

 

Hinata’s giant grin gives him away as Tadashi unlocks his phone and checks his call history. Right at the top, where he knew it would be, is Osamu’s name. Tadashi glares at his roommate through his eyelashes, resisting the urge to take his wet towel off his shoulders and whap him with it. Before Tadashi even gets the chance to ask why exactly Hinata had used his phone, the criminal in question speaks.

 

“He was super busy, you know. Apparently he’s in the middle of catering for some giant business dinner. At least, that’s what ‘Tsumu said.”

 

Tadashi blinks. “So you...decided to call him when he was super busy?”

 

“Yup.” Hinata crosses his legs, sitting on the edge of his bed. “‘Tsumu told me that he must turn his phone off or something when he’s slammed, because he never answers for anyone when they call. He thought that maybe you would be an exception, and he was right.”

 

“But...I could have just called him? I don’t know why you had to do it?”

 

“Sure, you could have, but the second I explained to you that he was busy, you wouldn’t have.” Hinata cocks his head. “I know you too well, Yamaguchi.”

 

Tadashi puts his phone down, still confused, slightly offended because he knows Hinata’s right. “But.. why? Why did you want to bother him at all?”

 

“To prove that he’s interested in you. Or, at least, he cares enough about you to answer your phone call even when he’s so busy he can barely think. That’s pretty concrete proof, right there.”

 

Tadashi feels his heart skip a beat. “Or, it could be that I literally never call him, so he would be scared I was hurt or something?”

 

“Dude. That’s even more proof if that’s the case. Literal proof that he’s worried about you because he cares, Yamaguchi.”

 

Tadashi can’t argue with that. He’s not fully convinced though, and refuses to give in to Hinata this early in the week.

 

“Sure it is. We’re friends, Hinata. That’s not unusual.” Tadashi leans back on his bed, not caring about how horrid his hair’s going to be if he falls asleep with wet hair. 

 

Hinata hums in response, jumping off his bed to take his own shower. “Keep telling yourself that.” 

 

Tadashi rolls over to face the wall, hiding a smile, pulling the blanket up as he does. He will indeed keep telling himself that, because he’s too stubborn to admit otherwise. And besides: there’s no way Osamu feels the same way. He one hundred percent cares about Tadashi as a friend – maybe a good friend, even. Absolutely nothing Hinata does will convince him otherwise.

 

Day Three: Tuesday

 

After a particularly rough day of classes, Tadashi comes home to find a rather large takeout box on his desk. He regards it curiously, not remembering having ordered any takeout of any sort in the past few days. That means it’s Hinata’s, and the dumbass actually left it out instead of putting it in their shared minifridge. Not to mention, he had been eating on Tadashi’s desk, breaking the number one rule of their unspoken roommate agreement.

 

Tadashi approaches the box with a sigh, leaving his backpack on the floor by his desk chair. The takeout box has no particular marking, giving nothing away about the contents of its inside. 

 

Opening the lid, Tadashi is greeted by several familiar sights in the form of rice balls, primarily the salted salmon that he loves. Tucked into a corner is a messily hand-written note on a napkin and Tadashi pulls it free.

 

Hey Yamaguchi! Shouyou-kun wanted to get you something for turning in that hard assignment last night. 

 

I don’t usually do takeout, hence the ugly box, but you’re a special exception. 

 

Enjoy.

 

Yours, Osamu

 

Tadashi can’t stop the smile on his face as he finishes the note. He can’t believe Osamu actually took the time to write one, as busy as he is on Tuesdays. Hinata must have worked some serious magic for this one.

 

Three things remain in Tadashi’s mind as he snacks over his textbooks: one, Osamu has finally learned Tadashi’s favorite flavor after all this time; two, he dropped the “-kun” from Tadashi’s name that he usually includes, and considering he kept it on Hinata’s name, that has to mean something; and three, most noticeably, Tadashi thinks about the way Osamu had signed the letter yours. 

 

Day Four: Wednesday

 

Tadashi’s leaving from his lunch with Yachi when Hinata texts him.

 

[from Hinata] yamaguchi!!!!!! i forgot my water bottle in the dorm can u pls bring it to the gym asap

 

Tadashi thinks that’s a bit unusual for Hinata to forget his water bottle, as he never forgets volleyball necessities. He figures that this can’t really be one of Hinata’s master plans for proving just how much Miya Osamu likes him though, since Osamu wouldn’t be anywhere near the gym.

 

He decides he at least owes Hinata a water bottle, since the redhead is doing so much work on Tadashi’s behalf. Tadashi may be stubborn, but he’s not ungrateful.

 

He returns to the dorm within a few minutes, since it’s not very far from the cafeteria. Sure enough, Hinata’s water bottle is perched in its usual spot on Hinata’s desk. Tadashi drops his backpack on his own side of the room before grabbing the bottle and leaving once more.

 

The gym isn’t particularly far from the dorm either, since they had been lucky enough to get a dorm in right about the middle of campus. It’s straight north of the cafeteria, and across a street. He waits patiently for the traffic to clear before crossing that street, already able to hear the familiar noise of volleyballs on a wooden floor.

 

Tadashi has yet to reach the front door when he hears someone hiss his name. He catches Atsumu’s eye, the blond standing around the corner of the gym, not far from the front door. He motions for Tadashi to come over, and he hesitantly does. Atsumu holds a finger over his lips, and Tadashi nods lightly, suspicious. Within moments, he hears Hinata shriek with laughter.

 

“No no no, I don’t think he much likes crab. I’ve never seen him eat it, not here and not back in high school. I wouldn’t make a huge feast of something you don’t know he likes.” Hinata’s voice is quieter than his laugh, assumingly having moved farther from the door.

 

“Good point.” A much deeper voice, and one that Tadashi knows quite well. His eyes widen and he sucks in a breath as Osamu keeps talking.

 

“I can’t just do a buncha salmon though, he’d get tired of that. You can’t name one other kinda food he likes?” There’s a tinge of exasperation in Osamu’s voice. Tadashi wonders who exactly Osamu is making a feast for, and why. Is he catering again? How is he not going insane doing so much work? Does his back hurt from leaning over that prep counter all the time?

 

“Oh! Are you talking about Yamaguchi again?” A much louder voice this time; Bokuto, Tadashi assumes.

 

“Ya really gotta yell it, Koutarou-san?” Osamu again.

 

Tadashi feels his heart skip a beat. Talking about him? Again? Does Osamu come to talk about him to Hinata? Why?? And if so, how often?? Bokuto’s tone makes it sound like it happens regularly--

 

“Oh! You are! Well, Kenma likes sweet things, like apple flavors or fruit ones or sometimes chocolate and candy. I think he also likes the fish ones, especially the salmon, or sometimes coconut, or mango, or sometimes umeboshi, or--”

 

“I really don’t give a damn. Kenma’s yer boyfriend, not mine.” Tadashi can hear the annoyance in Osamu’s voice from where he hides with Atsumu.

 

Bokuto splutters. “I--he’s--he’s not my boyfriend!”

 

Hinata scoffs. “He might as well be, with how much you two talk about each other.”

 

More spluttering from Bokuto, and then a loud smack. “Besides, Kenma’d be lucky to have you. You’re super cool, Bokuto-san!”

 

A pause, Bokuto assumingly registering Hinata’s words and realizing their truth. Hinata speaks again, to Osamu this time. “Anyways, Yamaguchi’s not your boyfriend either. You’re both taking entirely too long and skating around the fact that you both like each other.”

 

Osamu sucks in a breath. “I just don’t believe ya, Shouyou-kun. There’s no way that friend of yours doesn’t already have someone in his life. Lookin’ like that? Bein’ that sweet? No damn way he’s single.”

 

Oh my god. No fucking way. They’re talking about me. Tadashi’s eyes are wide, and he does everything in his power to keep his eyes away from Atsumu’s knowing smirk.

 

Hinata barks a laugh. “Dude. You have no idea. I live with the guy. First day we moved in, I told him he was free to kick me out any night, since I knew he’d be having people over all the time. And you know what? It hasn’t happened once. Not once. I don’t get it. If I didn’t already love ‘Tsumu so much, Yamaguchi might have been in danger from me.”

 

Atsumu feigns offense out of the corner of Tadashi’s eye. Tadashi hasn’t moved for the past few minutes. He can’t. How is he supposed to function?

 

He does function though, because Atsumu shoves his shoulder lightly.

 

“You should get movin’.” The blond mouths to him.

 

Tadashi feels himself nod, brain blank. He presses the water bottle into Atsumu’s hands, and takes a few shaky steps away from the gym. He turns when he hears Hinata scream.

 

“Oh my god, I don’t know, ask him yourself. Jesus Christ. I don’t just ask people if they’re a virgin. Gross, ‘Samu!”

 

There’s a bark of laughter from Atsumu, as well as another voice from inside, and Tadashi wants to scream again. Did Osamu really just ask that? He actually wants to know? Does it matter to him whether or not Tadashi is a virgin? Will it turn him away if he finds out --

 

“Ya really don’t have to just yell shit! There are some things the whole damn team don’t need to know! Damn. I’m leavin’. Screw y’all.”

 

Another howl of laughter, and Atsumu throws open the gym door. The last thing Tadashi sees before it closes is Atsumu throwing an arm around his brother, cackling loudly, with the back of said brother’s neck being incredibly red.

 

Tadashi knows his face matches that shade, and turns, walking as quickly as he can without looking suspicious. If he’s lucky, he’ll make it across the street and far enough away that he won’t have to speak to Osamu today. He’s really a bit afraid of what he would say anyways; the whole “think before you speak” thing has not been going well for Tadashi, and he knows damn well the first thing he’d say to the older man if he saw him right now would be “OH BY THE WAY, I’M A VIRGIN” at the top of his lungs. Tadashi really doesn’t think he can handle that. He doesn’t ever want to handle that. Especially not on the public campus. He would actually shrivel up and die if that ever happened.

 

Luck must be on his side today, because Tadashi makes it back to the dorm with no issues. He screams into his pillow when he gets there, releasing all of his frustrations and anxieties into the soft down. He needs to get it out somehow, he’s got several assignments to work on; he can’t be distracted by Miya Osamu wondering what it would be like to date him. He refuses.




When Shouyou gets home after practice, Tadashi throws as many pillows as he can find at the redhead, who is smirking with success.

 

Day Five: Thursday

 

True to his study schedule, Tadashi opens the door to Onigiri Miya that afternoon only to get a chest full of orange hair. He staggers backwards with a grunt, barely staying upright. 

 

What could Hinata have possibly been doing here? Oh man, please not bothering Osamu with this dumb bet -- I hope Osamu doesn’t know about it -- god, that would be so embarrassing --

 

Before he can even catch his breath, Hinata somehow jumps backwards and skips to the side in one motion. He catches Tadashi’s eyes and winks at him as he sprints away, leaving Tadashi suspicious. His gaze stays on Hinata until the smaller man disappears from sight, and then Tadashi takes a deep breath, sighs, and accepts whatever fate is lying in wait for him behind those glass doors.

 

What he wasn’t expecting was for the lights to be dimmed, and the storefront to be seemingly empty. The chairs are stacked upside down on the tables, and there’s a stray broom off to the right, as if the place was in the middle of being closed. He checks the time on his phone -- 3:34, not anywhere near the usual closing time of 8pm. Tadashi freezes, letting the door close softly behind him, a bit scared to step further in.

 

What’s going on?

 

“Osamu-san?” Tadashi steps forward anyways, curiosity winning over the anxiety. “Are you here?”

 

His steps ring hollowly, a pit of unease growing in his stomach. Osamu would’ve told him if the store were closed, or getting cleaned, or something...right? He didn’t forget Tadashi was coming, did he?

 

“Tadashi-kun!” Osamu yells from the kitchen. 

 

Tadashi freezes again, feeling his heart skip a beat. First name basis now? Does that mean something?

 

He’d been pushed into switching from ‘Miya’ to ‘Osamu' when saying the other’s name, as Osamu had whined about ‘Miya’ nearly always meaning his brother. This had taken Tadashi a bit of time to get used to, but now it felt strange to call him ‘Miya.’ Does that mean he’s been having the same reaction as I do whenever I call him by his name? Oh man, I hope not. It really does send a shock.

 

Osamu emerges from the kitchen, wiping his hands on a dish rag, and Tadashi feels his heart seize up for a different reason. Osamu is dressed not in his usual Onigiri Miya uniform, but a dark green t-shirt and grey sweatpants instead. He’s clearly here to relax, and Tadashi strongly wishes his heart could stop pounding so that he could join the relaxing mood.

 

As he approaches Tadashi, a huge smile forms on Osamu’s face. “Leave yer stuff out here, you aren’t gonna need it today.”

 

Tadashi’s brow furrows. “Aren’t you closed?”

 

“Sure, for regular people. Yer not exactly regular people, Tadashi-kun.” 

 

His heart skips a beat again; why is it that hearing his own name sends his nerves into overdrive? He wills his face to maintain a normal color.

 

“Um, thanks? I guess? But I’m here to study, so I kind of need my stuff for that.” The lilting question in Tadashi’s voice is evident, and Osamu only grins wider.

 

“Not today, yer not. You can study in the dorm all you want. Today, yer gettin’ cooking lessons from yours truly.” Osamu gives a cheesy bow with the last statement, getting a chuckle out of Tadashi.

 

“Now, come on, no sayin’ no.” Osamu straightens back up, and Tadashi ignores the way that green t-shirt hugs the man in all the right ways. He places his hands lightly on Tadashi’s shoulders, sliding the bag off more slowly than necessary, and steering him towards the kitchen. Tadashi protests lightly, but Osamu just shushes him and shakes his head.

 

“Shouyou-kun told me you were stressed lately, so I thought I’d try to help out.” Osamu tosses an apron at Tadashi, who catches it badly, one of the waist straps coming up to smack him in the face. He clicks his tongue as he pulls the apron over his head.

 

“I mean, I guess I am a little stressed, but that’s kind of Hinata’s fault anyway,” Tadashi mutters, tying the straps behind him. 

 

Osamu cocks an eyebrow as he pulls on an apron of his own, the store uniform one that Tadashi’s so used to seeing. 

 

“Why’s that?” 

 

Tadashi rolls his eyes, if only to not look at the incredibly form-fitting apron in front of him. “Because even though I love Hinata dearly, sometimes he just makes crazy bad decisions.”

 

“Tell me about it. How stupid can ya get to date my brother?”

 

Tadashi smiles, the familiar banter welcoming. He hadn’t noticed it until now, but the air had indeed been a bit awkward. That’s unusual for the two of them, but he supposes it must happen to everyone at some point. That smile stills when he looks up and notices Osamu staring. The older man’s hands are frozen behind him, and his eyes are wide, fixated on Tadashi’s chest. Tadashi feels immediately uncomfortable, unused to being scrutinized, and particularly unused to this level of attention from such a handsome person.

 

“‘Miya’ looks good on you.” 

 

Tadashi chokes on air. He hadn’t even realized he was wearing a matching uniform apron. Not to mention, what the hell? Who just says stuff like that?

 

Osamu laughs, a deep-bellied sound that bounces off the tiled walls. Tadashi knows his face is flushed, but he also knows that Osamu is for sure flirting with him now. Maybe Hinata’s right.

 

He’s not about to let Osamu have all the fun, though. Tadashi has to strike back just as hard. He marches back up front, ripping a page from the order pad as he goes. Osamu yells to him from back in the kitchen, probably afraid that he just scared him off. Tadashi takes a pen from the jar that is always full of them on the corner of the front counter, and writes his own last name on the page. Whirling back around, he grabs a label sticker from a roll right inside the kitchen door, and slaps it against the page, which is in turn pressed into Osamu’s broad chest. 

 

“Oh yeah? I think ‘Yamaguchi’ looks better on you.”

 

It’s Osamu’s turn to be speechless. Tadashi feels his own smirk get bigger as Osamu’s face gets progressively redder, the man unable to hide a grin behind his hand. Honestly, Tadashi’s pretty proud of himself for that one; he’ll have to brag about it to Kei later. Right now though, all Tadashi cares about is making the man in front of him shrivel and squirm. It’s unusual that Tadashi gets the chance, so he’s absolutely going to milk the situation.

 

“That’s, uh, bold of ya, Tadashi,” Osamu mutters from around his hand. Tadashi’s bold moment almost cracks, put off by the first name with no honorific. It really shouldn’t affect him like it does. He refuses to let it, not when he has the upper hand.

 

“Says the one who started it.” 

 

A moment passes, and they both maintain eye contact with their respective smirks. The tension is so thick that Tadashi thinks he could cut it, but he can’t bear to dwell on that. After all, he’s never really been in this position; he can’t make a fool of himself just yet. 

 

With a giggle, Tadashi turns and grabs a spatula from the counter. He brandishes it towards Osamu like a sword. “Anyways, Osamu-san, I thought I was supposed to be getting cooking lessons?”

 

Osamu huffs, somewhere between a sound of disbelief and a laugh. “I did say that, didn’t I?” 

 

Osamu grabs a wooden spoon, taking up the same pose as Tadashi. “We should probably get goin’ on that, huh? We’re gonna need time to eat it when we’re done, before it gets too dark out.” 

 

Tadashi laughs, whapping Osamu’s spoon with his spatula. “We probably should. Don’t need Hinata making fun of me for coming home late.”

 

Osamu parries, sending a jab to Tadashi’s side, who dodges easily. He bounces to the left, grinning at Osamu with a smile that could light up a city. They continue with this silly sword fight as Osamu moves them to the prep table, on which he already has several ingredients laid out. Tadashi recognizes most of them -- he comes here too often not to  -- but he can’t say he’s ever truly paid attention to how Osamu creates the onigiri. Sure, he knows the basics of making onigiri, it’s not particularly difficult, but there’s something different about the way Osamu makes his. Something that Tadashi can’t quite name. 

 

They put their utensils down as they near the table, not wanting to accidentally knock over any ingredients. Tadashi remembers a story of Atsumu doing that with a volleyball that he wasn’t allowed to have in the kitchen in the first place, and he remembers how terrifying Osamu had sounded as he recounted that story. If Tadashi can avoid making Osamu upset, he’s sure going to try.

 

“Wash yer hands real quick. You never want the chance to put somethin’ nasty in food yer makin’ for someone else.” Osamu heads toward the utility sink, which is certainly not Tadashi’s first choice for where to wash his hands. The water spray is usually a little stronger than he likes, and besides, there’s a hand-washing sink right there. Why would Osamu not use that one?

 

Tadashi joins him anyways, watching with amusement as Osamu’s brow furrows at the utility sink, seemingly not meaning to go there in the first place. He watches the older man shake his head lightly before washing his hands there anyways. Tadashi struggles a bit, sending water all over his apron at first, again reminded of why he doesn’t like utility sinks.

 

Once done, Osamu grabs two large bowls of rice, handing one to Tadashi and heading back to the utility sink.

 

“It’s a little after the normal harvest season, ya know,” Osamu says as he runs a generous amount of water through the bowl of rice. His hands sift it around with years of practiced expertise, and Tadashi finds himself unable to look away to clean his own rice. 

 

Tadashi hums in response, forcing his eyes away, running water into his own bowl.

 

“Kita-san decided he’d send some by anyways, thankfully. It’s not like it’s bad quality or anything, jus’ maybe not as special as the harvest from two weeks ago. It really makes a difference, ya know.”

 

“I didn’t, actually. That’s kinda cool,” Tadashi finds himself answering, for once focused on his rice. 

 

“I usually do this four or five times when workin’ with fresh rice. Can never be too careful.” Osamu strains the excess water, collecting it in a separate bowl.

 

“Why do you keep the water?” Tadashi asks as he follows suit, ever the attentive student.

 

“I take it home for ‘Tsumu’s plants. He has a surprisin’ amount all around the apartment, and this water’s super nutritious, so he likes to use it for ‘em.” 

 

Tadashi knew Atsumu kept plants at his apartment from Hinata and his growing collection of plants, but he hadn’t considered rice water to be particularly nutritious. He supposes it makes sense, though, when he thinks about the fact that: this is fresh, recently harvested rice, and that it’s Kita’s rice, who uses only the best natural growth hormones.

 

Osamu pours his rice into the rice cooker as he finishes his several rounds of washing, throwing some umeboshi paste in on top. He starts it and moves on to prepare a separate rice cooker for Tadashi.

 

“I figured we’d have a little contest when we’re done. Whoever’s onigiri ‘Tsumu likes better gets bragging rights,” Osamu quips over his shoulder, his back currently to Tadashi.

 

“Oh yeah? Well, I’ll have to aim for that. I just have to make it obvious it’s mine, because we both know Atsumu-san would vote against you for any reason at all.” 

 

Osamu feigns offense, whipping a slightly damp towel towards Tadashi. “Unbelievable. Thought you were on my side.” 

 

Tadashi laughs softly as they pour his fully washed rice into the second cooker. Osamu hands him the container of umeboshi paste, telling him to put in as much as he wants. Not a fan of that instruction, Tadashi puts in just a dab, not knowing how to tell if the flavor would be overwhelming. 

 

They move back to the prep table, and Osamu lifts a lid to reveal four very tasty looking salted salmon fillets. “We’re gonna be makin’ two kinds, your two favorites. Salted salmon and tuna. I made this set of salmon yesterday, so we’re still good to use it. I was gonna just use it for the store, but...I’d say you’re a better opportunity.” 

 

Tadashi nods, deciding to ignore the blatant flirting in order to actually learn something. He had been wondering how Osamu had made salted salmon in under a day. 

 

“I’ve already set out everything, we’re really just waitin’ on the rice to cook. Figured you’d wanna do that part, since it’s kinda fun. But, we can go ahead ‘n take the skin off this fish.”

 

Osamu takes a pair of chopsticks and begins to pull the soft meat away from the skin, starting with the salmon. Tadashi follows along, struggling a bit more than Osamu is. Once they separate the strips of scales from the salmon, they move on to the tuna. To Tadashi’s surprise, it’s fresh tuna fillets, not canned with mayonnaise like he’s used to his mother making. There is a bowl of material that looks a lot like that mayonnaise filling, though, so he assumes it’ll be added later.

 

As they finish skinning the fillets, the salmon and tuna both shredded into small bits, the rice cookers beep. Osamu scoops his rice into a large bowl, and grabs two smaller, almost teacup-sized bowls.

 

“One of these is for you, don’t worry ‘bout grabbin’ another,” Osamu calls, setting his things down at the prep table with the rest of the ingredients. Tadashi nods, using the same rice scoop to put his own rice in the bowl.

 

He carries it back to where Osamu stands filling the tiny bowls with a decent amount of vinegar water. Osamu motions to two small side dishes full of salt, and Tadashi brings them closer.

 

“I’m sure ya know how to do this part, right? Just dip yer hands in the water and the salt before touchin’ the rice?” 

 

Tadashi nods. His mother taught him that much, at least: cover your hands in vinegar water to make the rice stick together, and then dip just your middle finger’s tip in the salt to season throughout. His mother tended to also dip her pointer finger in the salt, as Tadashi usually liked his saltier.

 

Osamu scoops about a palmful’s amount of rice into yet another small bowl, and Tadashi does the same. 

 

“You’re probably gonna want about this much salmon in yours,” Osamu demonstrates using a small amount of salmon. “This is the amount I usually use when I’m makin’ ‘em for you.”

 

Tadashi feels a bit like a toy, with how much he’s nodding. This is precisely what makes him a good student, though: watching intently, taking notes (albeit mentally at the moment), and doing everything with maximum effort. He notes with small surprise that Osamu puts sesame seeds on top of the salmon, instead of on top of the onigiri itself. Osamu then proceeds to put a drizzle of some kind of brown sauce. When Tadashi inquires about it, the older man just winks.

“That’s a Miya secret, Tadashi-kun.” 

 

With that, Osamu scoops another bit of rice, covering the salmon and sesame seeds, and begins molding the onigiri into the typical form. Tadashi follows along as well as he can, tossing the triangle lightly as Osamu does. Glancing back and forth though, Tadashi notices that he’s still not getting something quite right. He hears Osamu laugh lightly, and feels his face flush. He feels the rest of his body flush, however, as arms wrap around him, a pair of hands covering his own. 

 

“Try it like this,” Osamu nearly whispers in Tadashi’s ear, low and warm. He tries his best to ignore the way that small action sends blood rushing absolutely everywhere in his body, including places he wishes it wouldn’t; he’s in the middle of a commercial kitchen, possibly the least sexy place ever, why can’t his body understand that? 

 

He certainly can’t ignore the way Osamu’s hands move his, tossing the onigiri at an angle Tadashi never would have thought to try. It’s a bit uncomfortable, frankly, but he’s noticing the difference in the triangular form. It’s a bit sharper than normal onigiri, the corners a bit more pronounced. He knows that inside the triangular shape the rice is actually lightly packed, and deliciously fluffy once a bite is taken. Tadashi is, of course, used to seeing this by now, but it’s another new step in the creation process that he’s not exactly used to. 

 

After finishing that single rice ball, Osamu’s hands linger perhaps longer than they should. This doesn’t escape Tadashi’s notice although he really doesn’t need to think about Osamu more than he currently is. He sighs and moves on to making the next one, as he knows Osamu is the type to put the seaweed on at the very end.

 

Neither of them really says anything as they finish their next three rice balls, Osamu apparently ashamed and Tadashi pretending nothing happened. They sprinkle the sesame seeds on the salmon in silence, and move on to making the tuna. The steps are almost exactly the same, but they mix in the aioli with the tuna, instead of adding it on top like sesame seeds or a dressing.

 

The silence is pulling on Tadashi more than he wants to admit. It’s different than it was before, Tadashi thinks. Before, silence had been comfortable. It had been almost a welcome respite from how much they talked to each other. Now, though, it’s more like a lead weight on the ankle of someone sinking. Dragging down, further and further, until there’s no coming back up. Tadashi knows this feeling well; it’s a rather common one for him to experience. He’s used to feeling so incredibly awkward he can’t breathe, can’t move, can barely think. Right now, though, he can’t afford that. Osamu is too important to Tadashi for them to not speak to each other. He’ll do everything he can in order to keep their friendship-maybe-more alive. Therefore, Tadashi opens his mouth to speak at exactly the same time Osamu does.

 

“So, uh --”

 

“Okay, now ya--”

 

A moment of poignant silence. A brief glance of eye contact, adorned with matching pink cheeks. 

 

The moment breaks as Osamu laughs awkwardly. “Um. The nori.” He gestures to the end of the prep table closer to Tadashi, who reaches for it with his face burning.

 

“Okay, so, yer gonna wanna wrap it like this.” The awkwardness begins to dissolve as Osamu demonstrates his method of wrapping the onigiri: tightly, cutting the sharp rice corners even sharper with the sheets of seaweed, yet somehow not tight enough to squeeze the fluffiness out of the lightly packed rice. It looks way more complicated than Tadashi had been expecting, and he feels his brain overheat at trying to wrap a triangle in a circular motion. 

 

Another laugh sounds to Tadashi’s left, and he mentally prepares to deal with Osamu’s hands over his own again. Instead, he’s greeted with a quiet “Tadashi-kun.”

 

Looking over, he catches the glint of amusement in the taller man’s eyes. Tadashi’s eyes move downwards to the other’s hands, which are once again demonstrating how to wrap the nori, at a tediously slow pace. Tadashi feels his face flush, but knows he can’t even say anything snarky in return, because he really does need the help. 

 

With much embarrassment, Tadashi finishes wrapping his onigiri with mild success. The corners aren’t as sharp as Osamu’s, and indeed some aren’t sharp at all, and one of them is even a bit deformed because Tadashi had accidentally broken it while wrapping. Even the toppings identifying the flavors aren’t too shabby looking. All things considered, Tadashi’s pretty damn proud of himself. Osamu sings his own words of encouragement to Tadashi, hugging him tightly and nearly knocking over a plate in the process.

 

Tadashi can’t say he hasn’t been wondering what it would feel like to be hugged like this, but he also isn’t expecting it, and ends up a blushing mess no matter how hard he resists it. Strong arms are wrapped around his own, crushing them between the two men. Tadashi doesn’t even care about the blush; his brain is more focused on oh my god I’m hugging Miya Osamu and he hugged me first. He wanted to hug me. Tadashi manages not to inhale deeply now that he’s practically nose-deep in Osamu’s hair, because he figures that would be far, far too creepy. 

 

He only lets go of Tadashi when his phone rings -- Atsumu, Tadashi finds out seconds later when Osamu answers the phone roughly. He doesn’t move very far away though, and instead throws an arm around Tadashi’s shoulders, tugging him closer. Tadashi pretends he isn’t leaning into the other body as he listens to Osamu gripe at his brother for being late. He can hear Atsumu’s garbled -- but loud -- response, and feels Osamu’s body rumble with a laugh. 

 

“Well hurry up, ya lard. Yer both makin’ Tadashi-kun wait.”

 

A shriek from the other end of the phone, and there’s a moment of Hinata’s voice yelling “TADASHI?!” loud enough that even Tadashi can hear it. Hinata’s yelling and Atsumu’s protests are cut off as Osamu hangs up with an eye roll.

 

“What’s up with them an’ bein’ late?” 

 

Tadashi turns to face the voice, and immediately regrets it. Osamu has turned back to him as well, and their heads are much closer than either of them had been expecting. It should make sense -- Osamu hasn’t removed his arm from Tadashi’s shoulders yet -- but it sends them both into a long second of silence. Amber eyes meet grey, and they don’t move. 

 

Tadashi doesn’t want to move.

 

He wants to run.

 

He wants to ignore the grey eyes searching his own, raking over his face with care. It’s like the owner of those eyes is trying to figure out Tadashi’s own feelings through his face; like he’s trying to ask for permission.

 

Permission for what?

 

Eyes are the windows of the soul, but are they also a door to the soul?

 

It’s not like Osamu can read his mind. 

 

But, then why is it that those grey eyes keep getting bigger and bigger?

 

Wait, was it permission to kiss h--

 

The front door slams open, the bell jangling loudly. The pair jump apart like they’ve been caught, despite the fact that there wasn’t anything to be caught doing.

 

“Ya just left the shop open all day? Despite bein’ closed?” Atsumu announces his arrival loudly, with the door jangling a second time as Hinata bounds in behind him. 

 

There’s a brief silence as Atsumu regards the pair, who are now standing farther apart than they probably should be. 

 

“What, ‘Samu, you get so distracted talkin’ to Yamaguchi-kun that you forgot to lock the door?”

 

The dark haired twin sucks in a deep breath as his brother hits the truth square on the nose. 

 

“It’s my store, not yours, dingbat. Don’t tell me how to run it,” is Osamu’s only defense. Tadashi tries to ignore the lack of denial in that response. Hinata winks at him from behind Atsumu, peeking his head out just enough that Tadashi would see him.

 

Osamu tosses his uniform hat at his brother, smacking him in the chest and earning him a betrayed whine. Tadashi feels his breath get stuck in his throat when Osamu shakes his hair out, falling straight across his forehead instead of to one side or hidden beneath the cap. He also sees Hinata grin wider in his peripheral vision, unable to tear his eyes away from the strangely-attractive sight in front of him.

 

“Aren’t ya here to eat some rice balls, anyway? I wouldn’t go bullyin’ the host if I were you,” Osamu reminds his brother and his brother’s boyfriend. 

 

Atsumu grumbles, putting the cap crookedly on Hinata’s head, deciding it looks far cuter on him. Tadashi thinks that perhaps Atsumu just didn’t want to look like his brother at that moment.

 

Tadashi follows Osamu back into the kitchen, once again bringing food out to the excited couple seated at one of the few four-seaters; the same one as last time they all ate together, Tadashi realizes. It probably shouldn’t warm his heart like it does that he can have these familial meals with his best friend, his best friend’s boyfriend, and his...very close friend. 

 

Actually, what are we?

 

Tadashi ponders this as he adjusts his hand under his tray of onigiri, trying not to move it too roughly and have the one half-broken one fall apart. It’s true that he and Osamu are friends, certainly. Close friends, perhaps. They spend a lot of time talking to each other, and it’s not as if Tadashi would keep coming if he didn’t enjoy his time at Onigiri Miya. It’s just...is Osamu genuinely flirting with him? It does tend to be a Miya thing to flirt as a personality trait and not ever mean it; that had happened to him with Atsumu several times, even though he had been dating Hinata the entire time Tadashi had known him. It’s just how Atsumu is, and Hinata loves him regardless. So, it makes sense that Osamu would be similar.

 

Although, hadn’t Tadashi technically been flirting back with him? He supposes he can be a bit of a general flirt sometimes; growing up with Kei does that to someone. He and Kei had been throwing stupid pick up lines at each other for years, until Yachi had forced them to sit down and talk about it at the end of highschool. At that point they had tried to be more than best friends, a couple of awkward kisses and strained hugs, before deciding that this was perhaps not how they felt. Tadashi and Kei had decided they liked being best friends more than anything, and so they were. They never really forgot about that particular week in their lives, but they didn’t really need to; they knew where each other stood on the matter, and they shared that opinion. So, why is it different with Osamu?

 

Tadashi is fully aware that he has a crush at this point; he’s not that hopeless. But he’s still unsure, because does he actually want to date Osamu or does he just like the idea of it? Does he just like the idea of belonging to someone, and having someone to call a boyfriend, despite the fact that he has absolutely no idea if he could emotionally commit to that? How does he know he won’t get tired of Osamu, or Osamu get tired of him? How is he supposed to base any trust in feelings?

 

Approaching the table, and somehow having made it the entire way there while deep in thought, Tadashi shakes his head lightly, desperate to come back to the present and out of his head.

 

Hinata immediately launches into a barrage of praise towards Tadashi as he sees the plate, his face lighting up. Atsumu joins in as well, making snide but heartfelt comments such as “That’s only ‘cause ‘Samu taught you,” to which Osamu responds “Oh, you think I’m good at this or somethin’?”

 

Tadashi and Hinata watch with amusement as the brothers jump into yet another squabble. Hinata snacks as he does, devouring his two rice balls with vigor. He proclaims Tadashi the winner very quickly. This is what drags Atsumu away from smacking his brother, and he immediately snatches the mostly broken tuna onigiri Tadashi had made. It promptly crumbles in Atsumu’s excessively strong grip, making the blonde scream in anguish. Hinata laughs, Osamu smirks, and Tadashi feels a bit embarrassed as he grins at Atsumu’s expense. He really could get used to this: watching Hinata, lovestruck as ever, having fun; Atsumu getting clowned from every direction while simply existing; Osamu treating Tadashi like he was already part of the family.

 

Tadashi’s heart jolts at that; he basically is part of the family at this point. Osamu cooks for him without his asking, he has paid enough attention to learn Tadashi’s favorites and preferences, he’s been there to cheer Tadashi up when his grades weren’t what he hoped. Osamu had been the first to congratulate him for passing his midterms, and he had been the first (even before Kei) to push him to study, and gave his free and not-free time towards Tadashi in order to help him be the best he could. Without Tadashi even noticing, Osamu had become an acting boyfriend for the past month. He’d been trying to tell Tadashi how he felt this entire time, and Tadashi somehow hadn’t made that connection until now.

 

He can’t stop the giant smile that crawls across his face, overwhelmed with how comforting that fact is. He hides it behind his hand, trying desperately to reach Hinata’s gaze. When the redhead finally looks away from his dramatically distraught boyfriend, he nearly spits out his rice when he sees Tadashi’s face. They share a long look, with Hinata’s face glowing brighter every second as he understands.

 

Tadashi knows. He knows exactly how Osamu feels about him, and he frankly should have seen it all this time. It’s not that he’s dense exactly -- he had noticed -- he just hadn’t let himself believe it. 

 

He has no choice but to face the realization that Osamu likes him head on, because Tadashi certainly won’t be thinking about anything else for the next few hours.

 

That cheesy grin doesn’t leave his face even after Atsumu and Hinata leave, giggling disgustingly about their ‘movie night’ that was most certainly not going to involve movies. 

 

As Tadashi and Osamu clean up and wash the many dishes they used, Osamu turns on the main room’s speakers, blaring some horribly cheesy classical waltz. Tadashi is not immune to a three-step, and obliges Osamu in clumsily dancing around the dining room, ignoring the still soapy dishes in the sink. They’re giggling, for once in their lives, hugging each other and trying not to step on each other’s feet like a pair of high schoolers. Tadashi can’t think of a time he felt happier, and he owes Hinata endlessly for it.

 

Perhaps, if they had been less inclined to look at one another, Tadashi and Osamu would have noticed a certain blonde and a certain redhead peeking into the glass windows. The pair outside watched as the not-quite-couple held each other at slightly less than arm's length, spinning awkwardly behind the counter, illuminated by the low-lit lamps in the dining room. They watched as their smiles grew, and Hinata sighed with joy when Tadashi got twirled, and returned it by twirling Osamu into a counter stool. A loud crash was heard as Osamu nearly fell, only staying upright when Tadashi grabbed him and threw him against the counter. Atsumu had to slap a hand over Hinata’s mouth to keep him from squealing when Tadashi poked Osamu’s cheek and turned away, appearing to have said something particularly sassy. He realized that Tadashi couldn’t see the deep shade of red on Osamu’s face with his back turned to him. 

 

Atsumu had had to drag him away before he gave their position away, but the last thing Hinata remembered seeing from that night was Miya Osamu giving his best friend a love-filled stare, and Hinata had felt his heart soar at knowing his plan had been successful.

 

Day Six: Friday

 

Friday arrives, and Tadashi’s heart couldn’t be lighter. Hinata had been practically bouncing off the walls when Tadashi had gotten home from his not-date, and he’d been more than happy to oblige Tadashi’s rants of just how very whipped he was for Miya Osamu. It had been amusing, honestly; Tadashi never talked about his crushes, not even to Kei, because he rarely had them. Therefore, Hinata had been over the moon when Tadashi had spent over an hour with a blushy smiley face talking about just how much he liked Osamu and how much he believed Osamu liked him. He remembers how Hinata had matched Tadashi’s excited energy in their dorm, and how he had clapped like a seal when Tadashi had admitted he knew how Osamu felt. There had been a lot of “I told you so!”s in the room that night, and Tadashi hadn’t even minded.

 

However, Hinata had reminded him that the bet technically wasn’t off yet; it wasn’t off until Tadashi had made a boyfriend of the older man. This realization had given Tadashi a spur of adrenaline, and he had pitched quite possibly the worst and best idea he’s had yet to Hinata: a double date.

 

Hinata and Atsumu regularly eat with Tadashi and Osamu, since the brothers are so close and Hinata and Tadashi are already friends. Therefore, it wouldn’t really be weird for the pair to invite Osamu and Tadashi along. Tadashi, however, will be treating it as a real date, and he tells Hinata he’ll put it on thick. So thick that Osamu would have to ask him out by the end. Tadashi refuses to be the one to ask Osamu, as a matter of principle. There’s absolutely nothing stopping him, but still. It’s the principle.

 

So, Tadashi feels an incredible amount of anxiety as 4 o’clock approaches. The time for their double not-date had been set for an early dinner, as Tadashi still had a bit of school work to do before midnight. The closer it got, the more Tadashi was worried; he’s not the kind of person to do well on purpose. The more he practices and prepares for something, the more anxious he gets, and the more likely he is to fail. Therefore, he had yet to practice ‘laying it on thick’ as Hinata called it, too afraid to give himself further chances to mess up. But, now he was overthinking the opposite direction: what if he ends up doing nothing, and Osamu gets bored of him? What if his plans to be flirty and cute aren’t at all, and Osamu laughs at him? What if Atsumu laughs at him and Hinata nearly spills the whole plan?

 

He really can’t let himself dwell on thoughts like that, but he’s not able to focus on his homework. He’s trying. He’s been trying for the past hour. His brain refuses to comprehend physics right now, full of grey eyes, strong hands, and a low timbre of a voice. He’s been staring at the same page in his textbook for about forty minutes now. He looks to his right, checking the digital clock that’s always there: 1:13. Fuck.

 

Tadashi swirls in his desk chair a few times, debating his options. He could keep trying to study like he currently is, he could call Kei and be forced into an awkward silence because Kei will only want to study and not talk, or he could call Yachi and see if she’s busy. Hinata and Atsumu are at practice thankfully, so Tadashi doesn’t have to deal with their shenanigans at the moment. 

 

Calling Kei doesn’t really feel like something he wants to do right now; as much as he loves his oldest and closest friend, Kei has always absolutely sucked at discussing feelings. Tadashi doesn’t think he has it in him to deal with talking to a brick wall of emotion right now. 

 

Calling Yachi isn’t exactly preferable either, considering how stressed she currently is. Tadashi doubts she could give him her full attention, and then would feel horrible about it when she’s no longer buried under school work. Tadashi doesn’t want to make Yachi feel even worse, so he decides that probably wouldn’t be a great idea.

 

So, he’s stuck with continuing to study and watch the time click by ever slower. There are worse things he could be doing; he could be taking a two-hour-long shower and wallowing in the bathroom until the water goes cold, or he could be running around campus screaming, which is frankly looking more and more appealing.

 

Tadashi sighs, dropping his arms on the desk dramatically. He checks the time again: 1:15.

 

Here’s to another three hours of not reading physics.

 

--

 

Tadashi ends up at the arranged restaurant about an hour earlier than he’s supposed to be there. Just past 3pm. Great. He’d been hoping the university’s bus system would be behind like always and take a bit of the time away, but unfortunately it had been exactly on time. At least that means Atsumu and Hinata would be on time from practice.

 

Luckily, the street the restaurant is on is pretty busy, surrounded by various different shops. Tadashi wanders through them aimlessly, not really looking to buy anything. There’s a crystal store, full of very pretty rocks with meanings that go far above Tadashi’s head, but he thinks Yachi would like this store very much. Next he meanders through a used bookstore, feeling drawn by its musty charm and discovering he might have a new study place. That is, if he ever feels the need to leave Onigiri Miya for some reason, which he wouldn’t because it’s not like Osamu is going to say no. 

 

There’s a variety of fashion stores, ranging from tourist-trappy college town style to the fancy suit tailor Tadashi had always wanted to check out. He doesn’t think he or anyone he knows could ever afford to go in there, but the idea is fascinating nonetheless.

 

He finds himself in one of the tourist-trappy stores, laughing at the horribly cheesy shirts one can always find in those. There’s the expected amount of school spirit shirts he had known would be there, since it is indeed a college town, as well as a well-known university. Tadashi feels his eyes drawn to a wall of cute character shirts. Popular ones that he recognizes, such as Hello Kitty or other various Sanrio shirts. 

 

Tadashi’s always loved cute things, and that has absolutely carried over into college. He thinks of the many Gudetama plushies he has shoved on his dorm’s bed at the very moment. It was particularly great that Kei had loved dinosaurs, because their parents had been able to find endless amounts of adorable matching dinosaur clothes. Whenever he sees those childhood pictures he smiles, remembering how much he had loved the clothes even then.

 

Raking his eyes over the wall of display shirts in front of him, he freezes on a particular one: a deep maroon with a cartoon-style onigiri dancing on the chest. It’s very childish, frankly almost ugly, and Tadashi has never felt a more immediate need to buy something. 

 

He considers sizing, decides on a large, and then practically books it to the checkout counter. What he’s just done doesn’t hit him until he’s halfway down the sidewalk, in exactly the wrong direction to the restaurant.

 

He just bought a shirt for Miya Osamu. On a whim. Not even planned. Osamu didn’t even ask for it or make any kind of mention of wanting a gift from Tadashi. What if Osamu didn’t want it? And he laughed in Tadashi’s face when he tried to give it to him?

 

Standing in the middle of the sidewalk like a fool, Tadashi shakes his head, refusing to think about that. He’s got nothing to worry about, after all; he’s already realized how Osamu feels about him, and it seems incredibly out of character for Osamu to laugh at him. He never has before. Tadashi can’t let himself get caught up in fears with no basis.

 

He sucks in a deep breath and spins on his toes, eager to get out of the middle of the walkway. Checking his phone for the time, he sighs a bit: 3:46. Still too early, but better. He maintains a leisurely pace as he retreats back to the restaurant, unable to find anything else to do to pass the time.

 

He snags a table for four when he gets there, and takes the side of the booth that faces the door. It’s an unspoken rule of being the first to arrive; you have to face the door to be able to see all other members of your party.

 

Unfortunately for Tadashi, though, he’s going to be waiting quite a while. If Osamu’s anything like his brother, he’ll be exactly on time to just slightly late. 

 

Tadashi looks over the menu in the meantime, reconsidering the fact that he let Hinata pick the restaurant. The menu consists of a variety of American-style diner foods, complete with probably greasy burgers and overly sweet milkshakes. He orders a strawberry one while he waits, not wanting to spoil his appetite. He takes in the classic decor in the dining room: framed family portraits of the restaurant’s owner, obnoxiously large frames obscuring more of the yellow walls than they probably had to; random newspaper clippings framed, advertising nothing and everything; random neon signs that certainly didn’t belong hanging where they didn’t really fit. It’s a messy sort of comfortable, like the kind one experiences in their childhood bedroom.

 

His milkshake arrives at the same time Osamu does, just before 4 o’clock. He waves at the other, who breaks into a warm smile when he catches Tadashi’s eye. He slides into the booth across from Tadashi, and once again Tadashi feels his heart skip a beat.

 

Osamu’s dressed casually again, sweatpants and tight-fitting t-shirt and all. It’s a black shirt this time, with a couple random designs strewn about in a pattern that Tadashi has yet to discern. He’s not wearing a hat this time either, his grey hair flopping into his face in a way that is certainly not attractive, even though Tadashi’s brain refuses to admit that.

 

“How you doin’ today, Tadashi-kun?” Osamu asks, his chin propped in a hand, the gentle smile Tadashi has come to love ever-present on his face.

 

Tadashi grins, stirring the whipped cream into his shake, ignoring the way the anxiety pools in his stomach. “Pretty good, honestly. I’ve been looking forward to this dinner all day.” 

 

Osamu cocks an eyebrow. “Oh yeah? Why’s that?”

 

Moment of truth. Let’s see if I really do make a fool of myself. Tadashi takes a long sip of his milkshake as he holds Osamu’s gaze. “Been looking forward to eating with you again.”

 

Osamu’s face gains a tinge of pink, but he doesn’t look away. “We just ate together last night?”

 

Tadashi swirls the straw in his mouth. “Yeah, but I was thinking of you all night anyway.”

 

Osamu inhales sharply and finally tears his eyes away, looking at the table. Tadashi feels the burst of adrenaline at actually being successful and lets out a shaky breath as Osamu chokes on his words. He figures he won’t ever have to tell Osamu that he’s just saying whatever comes to his mind, regardless of how true it is. That’s how Hinata told him to ‘lay it on.’

 

“That--uh, that’s good. Cool. That’s cool, I mean.” 

 

Tadashi giggles, unable to resist the stuttering mess in front of him. He hums in agreement, catching Osamu’s eye once again, sending the latter into another round of blushing.

 

Before he has a chance to say anything else, Tadashi’s phone rings.

 

“Hinata? What’s up?” He answers with slight concern, not expecting a call from someone who’s supposed to be meeting him shortly.

 

“Uh, hey, Yamaguchi.” There’s a lot of background noise, including Atsumu’s ringing laughter. 

 

“Yes…?” 

 

“Uh. ‘Tsumu and I won’t be able to make it. We gotta stay after practice, and help coach with some stuff.” Atsumu snickers, setting off Tadashi’s bullshit alarm.

 

“...Uh huh. What kind of stuff?”

 

“Uhhhh…” Hinata’s cut off as Atsumu takes the phone, yelling in Tadashi’s ear.

 

“Ah, fuck it, just go on a date with my brother. Also, Shou’s not comin’ home tonight, he’s stayin’ with me. Keep ‘Samu with you if he knows what’s good for him.”

 

With that, Atsumu hangs up, leaving Tadashi staring blankly at his phone. A beat of silence passes as Tadashi sits there, unsure of exactly what to tell Osamu.

 

Hey, sorry, Hinata and Atsumu decided they’d rather not watch us suffer through a first date. They made up the worst possible excuse to try to get it past me, and then panicked when it didn’t work. Oh, also, you certainly don’t want to be home tonight and have to hear your brother moaning all night so you should probably stay at my dorm. 

 

“You okay?” Osamu inquires with a tinge of worry. For whatever reason, Tadashi finds this absolutely hilarious, considering just how many times Osamu’s seen him break down and sob at the Onigiri Miya counter. 

 

Tadashi lets out a noise that’s somewhere between a huff and a laugh, and rolls his head to the side a bit, mirroring Osamu’s position.

 

“They’re not coming. They’re...doing something for the coach. I don’t know what exactly.”

 

Osamu blinks, trying and failing at hiding his joy, which only spurs Tadashi’s adrenaline more.

 

“Oh. Okay, then. I guess it’s just us.” 

 

“I guess so,” Tadashi muses, reaching for his milkshake again. “Is that okay with you?”

 

“Yeah, of course.” Osamu responds in a way that makes it painfully obvious to Tadashi just how nervous he is. He’s nervous around me now, that’s so cute.

 

“Anyways, you should probably check out what you want to eat. This place isn’t exactly, uh...known for their food, so you should probably choose something that can’t be messed up. Like a cheeseburger.”

 

Reading through the menu, Osamu cocks an eyebrow. “Do you know how easy it is to mess up a cheeseburger, Tadashi-kun?”

 

Tadashi takes another swallow of milkshake, already subjecting himself to the assured teasing to come from ordering the chicken tenders, since those are absolutely impossible to fuck up. “I guess not. You’ll just have to keep teaching me more about cooking, I suppose.”

 

Osamu gives a genuine smile at that, immediately warming Tadashi’s already toasty heart. Maybe I’m doing better at this than I thought.

 

They place their orders and catch up on everything that they could have possibly missed in less than twenty-four hours, which was apparently quite a lot. Osamu had opened at his normal time, 9am, but he had closed early in order to make it to this dinner. He’d been unusually swamped with customers today too, and he had yet to figure out the reason why. Tadashi suggests that maybe someone put out an ad on campus, which is entirely possible. He mentions that he’ll keep an eye out for an ad next time he’s on campus, to which Osamu quickly reminds him that he does not mind the extra business one bit. 

 

Tadashi laughs, and continues to lament about his physics woes. He doesn’t have classes on Fridays, but that hadn’t stopped him from studying anyways. He talks about how utterly bored he was while waiting for this dinner time to arrive, and how he’s pretty sure he read the same page four times. Osamu laughs at this, telling Tadashi he should be careful not to overwork himself. Tadashi had flung his milkshake cherry at him for that, with a “Is that worry I hear?”

 

Osamu had managed to eat the cherry despite his raging blush, though, so Tadashi couldn’t tease him too hard. That was pretty impressive, honestly.

 

Their food arrived, and Tadashi had busted out laughing when he saw Osamu’s face. He was practically glaring at a plate of pasta, which looked far greasier than Tadashi had thought possible. It was literally just spaghetti and tomato sauce, and somehow it made Tadashi’s stomach churn.

 

“You don’t have to eat that. In fact, please don’t eat that.” 

 

Osamu huffs with disgust and pushes the plate towards the end of the table with only his index finger, seemingly too disgusted to even want to touch it. Tadashi hands him a chicken tender, which Osamu begrudgingly accepts. They split the barbecue sauce, pouring some on an unused corner of Tadashi’s plate for Osamu to use. Tadashi eats with a smile on his face, ever amused by Osamu’s growing disappointment. He’s for sure tearing Hinata a new one when he sees the little asshole again; he can’t believe Hinata willingly chose this horrible restaurant. He also can’t believe Hinata had the audacity to choose this shitty American restaurant and then not show up. Absolutely ballsy of him.

 

Tadashi insists to pay for the both of them, even though Osamu hadn’t touched his spaghetti. He says it’s payment for the hundreds of free onigiri he’s eaten as well as starting his repaying Osamu for the probable heaps of money he’s lost by giving that onigiri for free. Osamu had of course resisted, but had been surprisingly easy to subdue when Tadashi had simply taken his hand. They’d stood like that, Tadashi fumbling with his wallet with his left hand while his right hand remained clasped in Osamu’s large one. He doesn’t even register the total, his head too full of thoughts about Osamu’s hand.

 

It’s strange, because technically he’s had Osamu’s hands on his before, when they were making onigiri yesterday. He’d been a bit too overwhelmed with the act rather than the experience of it, though. Now, Tadashi could focus on the feeling of Osamu’s hand in his: the skin a bit rougher than expected, far larger than his own, warm. Tadashi would consider his own hands to be wide, maybe a bit short even, but somehow Osamu’s are even bigger. It’s not uncomfortable, though; quite the opposite. It’s nice to be the one whose hand is engulfed for once. Tadashi thinks brazenly that he could even get used to the feeling.

 

They leave the restaurant still hand in hand, Tadashi’s smile growing by the second. 

 

“You gonna be okay getting back to your dorm, Tadashi-kun?” Osamu asks as they near the bus stop.

 

Only then does it occur to Tadashi that he forgot to tell Osamu perhaps the most important detail of the night. “Oh, uh, I think you should come with me.”

 

“Sure, no prob. I’d want ya gettin’ home safe anyway.”

 

Tadashi takes a deep breath. “No, I mean, um. Stay with me. Overnight. Please?”

 

Osamu freezes on the sidewalk, eyes wide when he turns to Tadashi. He opens and closes his mouth, saying nothing, just staring at the other.

 

“Um, Atsumu -- I promise this isn’t coming out of nowhere -- Atsumu told me you shouldn’t go home tonight. He said he’d, uh, be busy and you really wouldn’t want to go home.”

 

Osamu blinks. Twice. Three times. He bursts into laughter. “Tadashi-kun, if ya wanted to sleep with me, you coulda just asked. You don’t have to make up some shitty story about my brother.”

 

“Oh my god, I didn’t even make that up.” Tadashi practically yells back, unable to resist laughing through his embarrassment. “And second of all, how was I even supposed to know you’d say yes if I had asked?”

 

“Have I not been obvious enough?” Osamu looks exasperated, a ridiculous expression with his laughter. Tadashi feels his heart swell with the volume of his laughter. “Man, I’ve been flirtin’ with you forever, Tadashi-kun, I thought you woulda noticed.”

 

There it is. Finally. “Who says I didn’t notice?” Tadashi asks through his laughter. This is perhaps the silliest situation he’s ever been in, and he’d have it no other way.

 

The even more confused face Osamu gives him sends Tadashi even further into stitches. The way Osamu splutters over his words makes the tears start streaming down Tadashi’s face from laughing so hard.

 

“What do you mean you noticed? Tadashi-kun. Why the hell didn’t you act if you felt the same?”

 

“I don’t know! I have no idea! It doesn’t make sense to me either!” Tadashi hollers once again. He’s telling the absolute truth, he realizes; he doesn’t know why he went along with Hinata’s stupid bet this whole time. He’s known how Osamu’s felt for over a day, and suspected it for far longer, otherwise he wouldn’t have taken the bet in the first place. But, honestly, he can’t explain why exactly he’s been so hung up on Osamu being the one to ask him out; there’s no reason he couldn’t have asked Osamu out. 

 

Maybe it’s some underlying anxiety he hadn’t been aware of; like he was secretly afraid that he’d been reading things wrong and Osamu hadn’t been into him. He had known on a surface level that this was ridiculous, but the more he thinks about it, maybe that really had been the problem. He’d wanted affirmation that he wouldn’t be rejected; that he wouldn’t be heartbroken.

 

Osamu grabs his forearms, still standing in the middle of the sidewalk. They stand like that for a moment, blocking walking traffic horrifically, eyes locked on each other. Somewhere in his brain Tadashi thinks that this is the moment he’s been waiting for the whole time; this past week has been entirely about learning how Osamu felt, how he would react, how hard it would be for Tadashi to make him his boyfriend. Turns out, it wasn’t all that hard. As it is though, Tadashi doesn’t feel anything besides joy and maybe a bit of anxiety because he knows what’s coming next. Even though he’s fully aware of what he’s going to say, the anxious energy doesn’t care.

 

“Tadashi--”

 

“Osamu-san, will you be my boyfriend?”

 

Before Tadashi can realize that he just blurted out possibly the most important sentence in his university life, he’s pulled into a tight hug. Osamu’s chin fits perfectly into his shoulder, his arms are the perfect weight around Tadashi’s waist, and he thinks perhaps that Osamu’s body is the perfect size for hugging. 

 

“So, Osamu-san, when should I expect our second date?”

 

Osamu pulls back at that, leaving his hands on Tadashi’s shoulders. “Second date? We haven’t had a first date?”

 

Tadashi deadpans at him. “This was a date. Hinata set us up on a date.”

 

It’s nearly comical how fast Osamu registers this fact, and even more comical that he hadn’t realized it sooner.

 

With a giggle, Tadashi grabs Osamu’s (his boyfriend’s!) hand again. “We’re gonna miss the bus if we don’t hurry. We can talk about this back at the dorm.”

 

“You want to talk in the dorm? I was kinda thinkin’ we wouldn’t be doin’ much talking.”

 

They settle onto the bench a little too close for being in public, but there’s not one ounce of Tadashi that cares. 

 

“And just for that, you’re sleeping in Hinata’s bed. Good luck with that, I don’t remember the last time he washed his sheets.” 

 

The look of absolute despair on Osamu’s face was perhaps worth the entire week of dancing around each other, Tadashi thinks.

 

Day Seven: Saturday

 

When Tadashi wakes up that morning, he’s greeted with a raging gurgle from his stomach. He doesn’t even get the chance to open his eyes before he hears Osamu laugh from across the room. They had indeed ended up sleeping in separate beds, because it’s not exactly easy to fit two mostly grown men in a single dorm bed. 

 

“You hungry this early, huh?”

 

Tadashi groans, rolling over to face the wall, not feeling like waking up just yet, no matter how hungry he may be. 

 

“Since you don’t have a kitchen of any sort nor any food, you wanna go get breakfast somewhere? I promise I’ll let you pay this time.”

 

Tadashi screws up his face as he considers this. He is quite a fan of breakfast food, especially from the French cafe down the block. It’s not too expensive either, which is certainly a bonus for his college-student wallet. Hmm. Maybe that will be worth getting up for.

 

He flips back over again, watching Osamu through his eyelashes. Osamu’s evidently been up for a bit, lounging against the corner where Hinata’s bed lays. He’d slept in the shirt Tadashi had bought him, which had thankfully been a perfect fit. His hair is a little tangled and Tadashi wants to do nothing more than run his hands through it and fix it for him. 

 

“You want crepes?”

 

Osamu’s eyes light up, the smile on Tadashi’s own face appearing at once.

 

“Okay.” Tadashi secedes, pushing himself to a sitting position. Osamu immediately hops off Hinata’s bed and joins Tadashi on his, tugging him close as Tadashi struggles to wake up.

 

They stay like that for a bit, Tadashi rubbing his eyes while his head rests on Osamu’s shoulder. Osamu absent-mindedly runs a hand up and down Tadashi’s back, slowly giving Tadashi’s muscles a chance to wake up. Tadashi thinks that perhaps he could get used to mornings like this, although he can’t deny it’d be better if Osamu were the one doing the cooking. 

 

Osamu stirs as Tadashi sits up suddenly and reaches for his phone. He can’t believe he forgot to tell the most important person about this new relationship.

 

Hinata picks up on the first ring, and Tadashi has a sneaking feeling that perhaps Hinata had been waiting for this call. 

 

“Yamaguchi, how’d it go?” he answers in a sing-song voice.

 

“Congrats, Hinata, you were right for once. I guess you won this bet.”

 

A squeal from Hinata’s end, not from Hinata himself. Both Atsumu and Hinata start talking at the same time, overlapping each other and hollering.

 

“Hinata, Hinata.” Tadashi’s attempt to calm the others goes largely ignored. “Okay, well, I’ll talk to you about your so-called ‘prize’ when you get home.”

 

The noise just gets louder over the phone, and Tadashi rolls his eyes. “I have to go on a date with my boyfriend now, please get home safe.”

 

As he hangs up, he smiles fondly at his phone, and then at Osamu, who presses a soft kiss to Tadashi's forehead with a grin.

 

He wonders if Osamu knows how long Tadashi’s waited to say those words. How long he’s wanted to be able to call Miya Osamu his boyfriend.

 

He supposed he’ll just have to tell Osamu over another date.