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Our city of Love can be Osaka.

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"Monsieur Miya, 

 

C'est avec un immense honneur que nous vous faisons part de votre invitation au sein de l'AS Volley-ball Club Paris: Salamandres. 

Veuillez trouver ci-joint..." ¹

 

Atsumu is staring. Staring at the words written black on white in front of him. He's staring at words he wouldn't be able to decipher if he didn't hold the Japanese translation sheet in his hand. And even now that he deciphered them, he's staring. 

Dumbfounded. Stunned. 

Unable to sort the mess of feelings storming through him right now. 

He's been invited to play for a "ligue A" volleyball club in Paris. A club as prestigious as MSBY; in a beautiful city, in a foreign country. 

His time has come, Atsumu thinks, at 22, after four years of playing pro and working himself to the bone. After being one of the main assets that brought MSBY to the top of the Japanese v-league. After everything he's accomplished... his hand in shaping the perfect six on court, especially since Sakusa joined recently. 

After years of dedication and love for volleyball that brought MSBY to victory in the league tournament, Atsumu is doubly rewarded this very week. He is offered to fly to France and play in an international club. 

He's offered to leave all he's done behind to move on to the next stage. 

Fly to Paris, and come back for the Olympics. 

Atsumu only has one tiny problem (that he is aware of at least, as he'll soon understand) to overcome.

"You've gotta help me, Omi!" 

"I've gotta do nothing, Miya. Move your ass, I can't see the screen," Sakusa drawls as he leans to the side to look past Atsumu who's standing in front of him, a hand on his hip, the other brandishing a paper sheet. 

Sakusa has seen this sheet before.

It's worn out and wrinkled from how many times it's been passed from hand to hand over the last two days, especially in this very living room. 

They even celebrated over it yesterday night and it might be sprayed with a few droplets of beer from when Bokuto wasn't careful enough.

Sakusa's nose wrinkles at the sight, probably from the thought of germs and sticky alcohol that touched the paper more than anything but Atsumu doesn't relent. 

He dangles the sheet. 

"I will owe you my life," Atsumu says. 

"Not interested, it isn’t worth much." 

"F'ck'off, Omi!"

"You're not exactly convincing me to help you," Sakusa says as his eyes shift from the screen to Atsumu to scowl heavily. 

"I'll do your chores!" Atsumu goes on, desperate. 

"I do them better than you do, still not interes—" 

"Food. I'll buy ya dinner. For each lesson, one meal." 

It's a dangerous bargain. 

First off, because Atsumu isn't sure Sakusa can be bribed with food like his gluton of a twin and second of all... because when Bokuto jokingly said yesterday that Sakusa was almost fluent in French from college and could help Atsumu with some lessons, Sakusa looked like he wanted to throttle him more than when Bokuto leaves the toilet seat up and that’s saying a lot. 

They room together in a facility dedicated to some of MSBY's younger athletes. Bokuto, Sakusa, Hinata and Atsumu share one apartment there. Sakusa joined last.

The balance is tight and the place stays tidied and clean by sheer miracle at times. But it is. And Sakusa makes sure of it the most. 

That's why Atsumu's jaw drops when Sakusa, after long seconds of consideration for his last offer, suddenly answers: 

"No takeout, no restaurant. Cook me dinner and you've got yourself a deal." 

Cook me dinner. 

Cook. 

Atsumu, cooking.

 "In our kitchen? Here?" Atsumu blurts out instantly, eyes going wide. 

Sakusa's brow arch up. 

"No, in the bathroom, seems a lot more practical, you dumbass." 

"Omi... Ya know how I cook."

Everyone does. There are two adjectives to describe Atsumu's cooking.

Succulent.

And a f ucked-up-entire-gigantic mess.

"Si tu veux vivre en France, tu dois le mériter. Les français font une fixette sur la nourriture. Je t'apprendrai si tu me cuisines des plats traditionnels." ²

Atsumu drops on the floor in a crouch, still unable to pick up his jaw.

He has literally no idea what Sakusa just said, but he has a feeling... somehow, deep in his guts… That having to cook for Sakusa Kiyoomi will be the last of his problems. He just can't really place why.

So Atsumu extends a hand after answering an inquisitive gaze that lingers on him and when Sakusa reaches to shake it (or pinch Atsumu's index finger between his thumb and pointer to mock-shaking his hand and avoid germs)... Atsumu feels like he just made a deal with some kind of devil.

And he couldn’t have been closer to the truth. Atsumu's downfall so he can reach French excellence goes in a few steps.

 

 one. the disastrous Hachis Parmentier or when Sakusa minced him better than Atsumu minced some beef.

 

"You're not paying attention, Miya," Sakusa groans, as he taps over Atsumu's notebook with a finger. "Do it again."

"Pronouns are just whack Omi! Why do they have so many and still none that is genderless?" Atsumu complains.

"Oh boy. If you're going to start complaining about how French makes no sense and is a dumb language on day one, you're never going to make it."

There's a loud clutter as Atsumu drops a wooden spoon over the sizzling pan.

"Shit!"

"If I get even one stain of searing grease on my sweatshirt, you're dead meat," Sakusa threatens as he shifts around the table.

"Deader than this beef? I think I overcook—"

"The pronouns, Miya."

"Ugh..."

Atsumu snatches the pan off the hob and turns around, facing Sakusa with a scowl.

"Je, tu, il, elle, vous, nous, ils... elles," ³ he recites, eyes trained on the ceiling, brows furrowed.

"Nous, vous," Sakusa corrects immediately.

"Why does the order matter so much?" Atsumu asks, frowning deeper.

Sakusa gets up at that and for a second, Atsumu thinks he pushed his luck with the complaints. But instead Sakusa passes by him to turn the heat off, then reclines against the counter.

Atsumu reaches out before he can think about it, slotting his free arm at the small of Sakusa's back to pull him off the counter.

There's a long beat, two sharp intakes of breath. Both men look at each other stunned.

Atsumu lets go as fast as if the heat was still on and he'd burned himself.

"You said no grease. Counter is trashed," he says as an excuse, voice high-pitched.

Sakusa doesn't say a word, eyes trained on Atsumu as he paces toward the island to incorporate the meat to the preparation he mixed earlier.

Atsumu doesn't look back, heart hammering a little too fast. Sakusa clears his throat.

"I don't know," he eventually says.

"Uh?" Atsumu's head whips up.

"I said I don't know why. It's just the way it is," Sakusa starts again, sounding more confident.

He walks over to peek at Atsumu's ministrations, keeping some distance this time. Atsumu ignores the heat spreading along his nape.

"There's no reason for that either?" he tries to ask airily, swaying on his feet as he takes in the thick atmosphere surrounding them.

Sakusa grabs a close-by, clean knife. Atsumu's gaze follows the motion, he sprays too much salt on the meat.

"I told you. If you're going to start complaining about this language not making—"

"Okay, okay! I get it! Nous, vous, ils," Atsumu hammers too blunt for no reason. "With silent S everywhere, cause that either makes no sense. How did ya even survive during your exchange?"

"Itachiyama had the best french tutors and I wasn't lazy," he says quietly before suddenly placing a hand on the edge of the plate Atsumu is working with. "Now stop with the salt unless you took that recipe from a you are what you eat Cosmopolitan article."

Atsumu's hand freezes over the dishes and he looks up at Mach speed… just to see Sakusa's lips pull up slightly in an almost imperceptible smirk.

Humor. He just made a joke. Atsumu's heart leaps in his throat.

"Yer the salty one, Omi," he breathes out, unable to smile despite wanting to badly.

Sakusa's ghost of a smirk doesn't waver.

"Keep messing up and evading pronouns and I'll be saltier than that, understood?"

"Oui, chef," Atsumu breathes out, mouth finally curling happily.

"Good boy," Sakusa deadpans. "At the rate of 2 words per day, you can leave for Paris by the end of your pro career."

Atsumu slaps his hand away from the plate with the nearest spatula. Sakusa squints.

"Fuck off, Omi."

"I said good boy," Sakusa says in a false threatening tone.

Atsumu's heart leaps again and he's horrified to notice the warmth is spreading to his face now.

"Fuck off harder," he mumbles.

Sakusa scoffs, Atsumu does too, a second later.

They both chuckle over the overcooked meat and Atsumu promises himself he won't be lazy either, since he might have found the french tutor the best suited for his messy self.

"How do you say fuck in French?"

"Shut up, Miya."

 

two. is the day Atsumu learns the literal translation of "croque-monsieur" and starts to question the whole arrangement.

 

They've been at it for two weeks now, and Atsumu feels like he's making no progress with the tedious language.

Sakusa is, once again, sitting at the kitchen table, bundled up in another sweatshirt and a scarf he hasn't taken off since they came back from practice. Said he couldn't get warm and Atsumu better have found a recipe for something that is going to help with that.

Atsumu had already settled on croque-monsieurs so he's turning his back to Sakusa while he prepares the bread and ham and cheese to go in the pan. It's as easy as ABC. Way easier than...

"Dix, vingt, trente, quarante, cinquante, soixante, soixante-dix, quatre—Nah, okay stop. Now be honest Omi-kun," ⁴ Atsumu whines as he turns to face him, pointing an accusing butter knife at his teammate.

"I don't need to learn numbers but you picked that for the lesson 'cause it's so fucking funny to see me do maths in french. D'ya realize their numerical system is full of shit? There's calculus in the names," he rants dramatically.

The smirk on Sakusa's face that barely pokes past his scarf tells Atsumu everything he needs to know.

"Okay, fine. You got me. Just wanted to hear you struggle. You should still learn them though."

"You're a terrible person, Omi-kun," Atsumu deplores.

"I'm literally helping you so you can live your best life under the Parisian sun while my reward is to stay and freeze to death in Osaka. Try again," Sakusa drawls.

Atsumu has no idea why his stomach churns at the jab. It shouldn't. Is it because of the jab?

He looks briefly at Sakusa who's hiding in the soft cashmere around his face and neck and processes the words a second time.

He is going to live his best life there. Without Sakusa Kiyoomi.

"I'll facetime you when it rains," he says, going for mocking and realizing belatedly it sounds absolutely nothing like a joke or a tease and a lot like comfort.

He's not the only one who's stunned by it, he notices when Atsumu's eyes meet Sakusa and he sees him staring, eyebrows arched delicately.

"You won't have time for that," Sakusa finally clicks his tongue and gets up to come inspect his cooking.

Atsumu's stomach drops a little, despite how nonchalant Sakusa sounds, how nonchalant it should all be, and he scoots over to make room for him.

Sakusa leans with interest while Atsumu cuts the ham in pieces.

"Il pleut sur Paris, aujourd'hui," Sakusa suddenly says as he leans back.

Atsumu startles and almost lets go of his knife. The words roll so beautifully on Sakusa's tongue; Atsumu i's nowhere near that yet, especially with his natural thick accent.

"Means it's raining in Paris," Sakusa says with a shrug.

Atsumu takes in the melancholy of the sentence, tries the words in turn: "Il pleut sur Osaka." ⁵

Sakusa's smile is nothing like melancholic. It's rewarding.

"Right. Except you're wrong. Il fait beau, aujourd'hui." ⁵

"Pretty," Atsumu blurts out without thinking.

Sakusa's expression doesn't change but Atsumu's gaze doesn't linger to see if it will. Too bad Sakusa is also pretty all bundled up like this. But Atsumu probably inhaled toxic smoke if his train of thoughts is there. Meaning he's doing something wrong with his cooking. He focuses back on the dish instead.

"Illogical but pretty. You have funny ways to qualify that language."

"It's that complicated language that's funny. Not meant in a nice kinda way. I only like their food, I think," Atsumu mumbles to try and diffuse his own embarrassing thoughts.

"Well I can see. You picked something really easy to make today," Sakusa scoffs.

"Yeah well complicated doesn't mean cool or fancy. They should learn. I'm making some croque-monsieurs. Heard it's fuckin' delicious!" Atsumu brags fiercely, stabbing a piece of ham with his butter knife.

Sakusa snikers quietly as Atsumu brings it up in front of their faces.

Atsumu isn't ready for what comes next and will mark it as one of the reasons for his downfall when his brain is done rebooting. Probably three to five business days from that moment; from the moment when Sakusa Kiyoomi leans again, this time in his personal space and, just like that, bites the bit of ham off the tip of Atsumu's knife.

His teeth click on the metal shortly before he withdraws, leaving Atsumu completely frozen in place and agape.

Sakusa doesn't seem fazed but quickly replaces the scarf over his mouth as he chews on the food and swallows it down.

"Oi, Miya," he then says without a beat, perfectly calmly.

Atsumu feels oddly calm too, to his defense... Because he's completely out of it, still staring at the place he knows Sakusa's mouth is hidden.

"Do you know the literal translation to croque-monsieur?"

Atsumu is asked a question he can't make out but unconsciously goes for the negative when he shakes his head.

"Croquer," Sakusa starts, tilting his head to the side. "That verb means to crunch. To bite, nip."

Atsumu's breath gets stuck in his throat. Sakusa eases a finger in his scarf to free his mouth again. Atsumu is completely mesmerized.

"Monsieur means sir. You know that already," he says or so Atsumu thinks he hears as he watches his lips moving. "So you're basically making a dish that means biting a guy. Pretty silly, the French, aren't they?"

"So freakin' silly," Atsumu breathes out.

"Right. You'll do great there, dumbass," Sakusa punctuates that with a jab of his index in Atsumu's chest before he steps back and gets away from the counter.

Atsumu imagines he could, if Sakusa isn't there to render him so speechless.

 

three. is the day Atsumu learns poetry rhymes with "poulet rôti" and he wonders if French is what does the trick for him, or if it's the way words drip out of Sakusa's mouth like honey.

 

And especially it's the day Atsumu realizes there is a trick at all and that he might be in trouble.

 

"... Quand la ville s’appelle Paris

et la Seine c’est comme une personne

Des fois elle court elle va très vite

elle presse le pas quand tombe le soir

Des fois au printemps elle s’arrête

et vous regarde comme un miroir

et elle pleure si vous pleurez

ou sourit pour vous consoler."

Atsumu recites most of the words without getting their meaning but he's gotten better at pronouncing them. That's the whole point of the exercise.

Sakusa teaches him practical French and slang, generic sentences he can use on the daily and vocabulary but he also picks pieces of beautiful poetry to help Atsumu familiarize himself with the wordflow. 

Atsumu messes up a lot but he enjoys repeating the words late in the night in his bedroom or under the shower.

And he enjoys even more when Sakusa catches him around the flat and corrects a word or his tone.

 

"Comme le fleuve Amour

vous l’entendez la belle

vous l’entendez roucouler

dit un grand seigneur des berges

un estivant du quai de la Râpée

le fleuve Amour tu parles si je m’en balance

c’est pas un fleuve la Seine

c’est l’amour en personne

c’est ma petite rivière à moi." 

Atsumu goes on as he mechanically checks on the chicken through the oven door.

Sakusa hums behind him at times.

The poem is titled "La Seine a rencontré Paris", the Seine river met Paris, and was written by Jacques Prevert.

Sakusa explained how it speaks about the poet's love for this city.

And the word "Amour", love, rings around every corner of the text. Atsumu loves this text, loves the meaning he can’t really get yet.

Sakusa told Atsumu to look up some translations of the piece and search for the places named in it on a map. That it would be charming.

Atsumu did last night, after memorizing for good the poem.

Went on a google map tour and texted Sakusa from his bedroom about his discoveries with pictures attached to the texts and stupid comments to hear Sakusa snort through the wall between them.

Atsumu didn't tell him he imagined walking these streets and places with Sakusa but he did. Dreamed about it too.

Atsumu thinks it's weird that they barely hang out in Osaka together out of practice because they barely have the time to hang out but he can picture himself going around a city he never set foot in with Sakusa.

It's weird.

Weird.

"These potatoes look weird," Sakusa pokes the oven's glass door once Atsumu has closed it.

"... il était une fois

il était une fois l’amour,

il ét—Omi back off I told ya already! Don't judge a book on its cover," Atsumu gets derailed, shoving him aside.

Sakusa ducks away from the jab and looks back with malice sparkling in his deep dark eyes.

"They honestly look in worse shape than Shion at the end of practice on Monday," Sakusa points out.

"He threw up after the last drill on Monday! Dammit I hate ya," Atsumu yells, battling the air with a spoon.

"Said what I said," Sakusa shrugs with mischief.

"Ya sure flap your stupid tongue a lot but I don't hear much French comin' out of ya. Only bullshit," Atsumu complains.

As if he doesn't wake up in the morning looking forward to these moments where they banter together in their own bubble.

As if Atsumu’s been looking forward to anything else for the past two weeks... Atsumu suddenly realizes he's stopped looking forward to going to France along the way and wonders when did he start only looking forward to using France as an excuse to spend time with Sakusa.

Oh.

"How about this. If you can repeat that in French I'll lay off."

Atsumu's face contorts as he releases a suffering sigh. Sakusa chuckles.

"Okay, raising the stakes. If you can repeat that in French, you don't have to cook on Thursday. I'll take you somewhere to practice your french better instead."

"You'll take..." Atsumu's words die on the tip of his tongue.

Sakusa sits back at the table with a serene expression and, not for the first time, the setter with the usual nerves of steel wonders how the absolute fuck can Sakusa Kiyoomi look so calm when Atsumu i's having an internal crazy meltdown himself.

It's not a date! It's weird that Atsumu even needs to tell himself that.

They're partners. Teammates in a volleyball team. For another couple of months since Atsumu is expected to leave for France for the beginning of the next season.

Sakusa is Atsumu's partner with whom he spends almost all his free time lately. Learning french...

To go to France.

Without Sakusa.

Something doesn't work in the equation. It stopped working some time ago now.

Everytime Atsumu does the maths, instead of studying languages and literacy... it doesn't add up.

It's jammed, wrong, odd.

Weird.

Bizarre, étrange, anormal, are a few french adjectives Atsumu learned the other day to qualify strange things. He remembers them vividly from the way Sakusa repeated them, working the rough Rs on his tongue like Atsumu can't.

Sakusa, Sakusa...

The equation is fucked and so is Atsumu.

It's fine, really okay. Atsumu has no idea how to repeat that sentence in French anyway so there won't be any no-date, nor date, he'll play it safe. 

He'll just mop in the shower later at the missed opportunity. Opportunity to what? Atsumu wishes he’d know.

"You're a really bad student. But I admit I don't know how to say "flap your tongue" in French either," Sakusa says as he reclines in his chair.

He doesn't wear a sweatshirt today, the weather got better over the weeks.

Atsumu can see his collarbones peeking from the hem of his t-shirt. Can't recall when he started stealing these kinds of glances...

"So to apologize, I'm still taking you out on Thursday. I'll drive us from practice, so bring clothes there for when you're done showering. I'm not taking you anywhere in a fucking tracksuit."

Atsumu flips his middle finger, his heart jackhammering against his ribcage.

"Can't wait."

And he really can't.

 

four, five... if Atsumu had to look back and count again, he would have to talk about so many moments, a myriad of them, that actually led him there.

 

Led him to lose twenty extra minutes in the lockers to get himself ready and try to look like the hot shit he knows he is despite the intense practice.

They quit late because they're practicing a new quick with Bokuto that makes Atsumu want to stay on court for hours.

And Hinata was at the top of his game after a week off spent in Brazil with old friends.

So maybe Atsumu is wasting time making himself pretty for Sakusa but these additional minutes won't kill him. He knows Sakusa is still in a shower stall somewhere.

He needed to scrub himself raw after they sweat so much, but Sakusa seemed happy about it.

Atsumu loves, and he can't stress it enough, loves the way Sakusa genuinely feels happy getting dirty for volleyball. Sakusa loves volleyball as much as Atsumu does. And he doesn't mind getting dirty for it and seeing it is honestly so good.

They had a blast, Atsumu realizes.

They've had a blast for weeks. Months. Since Sakusa joined MSBY even more.

Atsumu has had a blast with this team for ages now. For so many reasons. 

They're good. The best in Japan currently. They're getting even better.

And Sakusa only adds up to it all.

Atsumu shuts down the metallic door of his personal locker, not sparing a glance to the faded French letter he stuck to the inner wall for motivation.

But his motivation is elsewhere.

Atsumu wonders why the hell would he train that hard to play with people he doesn't synch with like he does with his perfect team.

Why he'd dress to the nines for another guy than the dude who's supposed to only be a teammate and his temporary tutor.

Why does Atsumu bother learning a fucked up language with so many complicated and twisted rules when the only person he wants to hear it speak and twist his brain with lives in Osaka, Japan.

It doesn't sound as beautiful in the 101 audios Atsumu listens to in the subway for extra practice than when Sakusa speaks it.

Atsumu knows their lives as professional players are a succession of individual choices made for themselves as one. It doesn't mean another individual can't weigh in the balance.

In Atsumu's case it would even be many individuals. His twin brother. Each of his precious teammates.

Kiyoomi.

Atsumu never cared for people's opinion but he's full of love, full of dedication and he cares too much about others once they make their way into his life. Into his life. And these feelings are as important to him as his passion for volleyball.

They drive him.

Atsumu grins to himself.

Well, he's going to have to face another problem now it seems.

He can still go to France if it's unbearable. If he’s rejected.

But it seems like he's in for a lot of personal trouble.

Feelings. Pinning.

It took him a month and a half of learning the language of love to get it.

When Atsumu steps out of the facility, Sakusa is waiting under a lamp post, scrolling on his phone near the entrance of the parking lot.

He's not wearing a tracksuit nor any sweatshirt or pants.

He's dressed nicely. Nicely enough that Atsumu rekindles with the date thought.

It's not a date, though...

"Ready for your next lesson?" Sakusa asks as Atsumu approaches.

Atsumu did dress up. Sakusa eyes his outfit whole, but doesn't comment on it.

At least Atsumu isn't too off the mark, then.

He feels nervous like it's his first date. When it's neither a first or a date. It's all too stupid.

"Je suis prête Omi-kun," he says with a grin. ⁶

"Prêt . Last time I checked, you were a guy," Sakusa answers as he walks toward his parked car.

"Oh, last time you checked, uh? Someone's been peepin' in the showers?" Atsumu teases.

Sakusa's roll of eyes keeps Atsumu's ego in check.

"Yeah. By pure bad luck. Had to rinse my eyeballs with holy water after that," he deadpans as he unlocks his car.

"C'm'on, I've been told I've got a greek god's body," Atsumu sighs dramatically.

"You've been mistaken. They probably meant mythological creatures like the cyclop or the minotaur."

"Oof. Stick to teachin' me French, it's a lot less fuckin' rude than ancient history," Atsumu says, faking a blow to the chest.

The car doors open.

Sakusa glances at him over the roof of the car.

"I can insult you in French as well."

Atsumu can't explain to Sakusa why he blows a fuse and turns crimson on the spot. He can't even explain it to himself.

"Kinky, Omi," he squeals before ducking inside the car.

Sakusa joins him a few seconds later. The conversation dies.

"Remember how to ask for a table for two?" Sakusa asks after almost ten minutes of silence.

Atsumu has rarely been in a car with Sakusa but on the bus, yes. They've shared silences a lot and usually he really enjoys them.

Right now he couldn't be more grateful for Sakusa to break the ice.

"Yeah I think. I mean ya taught me how to ask for one," Atsumu answers as Sakusa engages the car in a parking lot.

That was a short ride.

"In the event French girls find you too loud and you can't secure a date, yes. Put that brain of yours to use and imagine what you'd say if they do accept a date with you," Sakusa taunts him as he pulls over.

Atsumu swallows loudly. He forces a smug smile but is glad to be sitting so his legs don't feel too weak.

"No need to imagine, ya said you were takin' me out, no backpedalin' Omi-kun."

Atsumu suddenly stiffens all over. Sakusa just leaned toward him fast, eyes narrow as slits, lips pressed in a tight grin.

"Get out of the car and walk out there before accusing me of backpedaling, Miya. And I insist if you want to secure this date, speak French or they won't get it."

Atsumu's whole body thrums with sheer excitation, his stomach doing annoying backflips. Even the most oblivious man (that would be his own twin brother Osamu) would notice the thick atmosphere, the electricity in the air...

"I'm gonna show ya."

"C'est ça, fait moi rêver," ⁷ Sakusa says and Atsumu is mad at how unfair it is for him to be able to use French on him like that.

Holding his chin high up, he gets out of the car and once Sakusa is by his side, Atsumu walks up to the restaurant front door.

It's a lovely place with a French name.

With French everything; including the waitress Atsumu has to speak French to so they're led to their table. A reservation under the name of Sakusa and a table with a candle.

Atsumu feels dizzy but has the wits to mock Sakusa as they sit down.

"You did tell them it was a date, right? Just sayin', when you propose I can't guarantee I'll take your name. Ya should make a reservation under my name next time and see if ya don't like it better."

Atsumu runs his mouth further away from what he intended but he stays collected through it, despite how hot his face feels.

Sakusa takes it well. Too well, Atsumu realizes when it backfires in his face.

"That simplifies things up. Not about the proposal, dumbass," he's quick to correct when all the blood in Atsumu's face fucks off and leaves him white as a sheet. "I meant the date part. Figured since you're leaving soon, I should do it and we're both professional enough to keep playing on the same team for a few months until you leave if I misread all your stupid signals during our lessons."

Atsumu has to grip the edge of the table literally to not fall off his chair.

The blood comes back rushing to his face violently.

"You're joking," he asks, feeling faint.

Sakusa drops the napkin he was in the middle of unfolding to place it on his knees, expression darkening.

"So I did misread," he says quietly.

Atsumu's mind is reeling, internal alarms going off, words stuck and stuffed in his mouth.

He blurts out a single word with the least grace possible but Atsumu feels like he has to rush when he almost shouts "No!" , bending over the table slightly to reach for Sakusa's wrist.

Not that Sakusa showed signs of wanting to leave but it was a risk. Atsumu is not taking it.

Sakusa stops moving altogether, returning Atsumu's gaze with the same unsettling intensity it's been a few times in the kitchen.

Atsumu can't believe it's real or it's happening but he fried his brain over these possibilities enough over the last couple of weeks. In Japanese as well as when he was studying French.

He doesn't let go off Sakusa's wrist when he keeps vomiting words: "Je veux faire du volleyball avec toi. Je veux jouer avec toi, Kiyoomi." ⁸

Sakusa's eyes widen slightly and, for a second, Atsumu wonders if he said it wrong or if it was ridiculous... Shame takes over; battling with determination and so many other feelings.

But...

"Fuck, Miya. I only jumped on the opportunity to tutor you in French to try and make a move. You can't turn my trick against me, that's not fair," Sakusa breathes out, noticeably blushing.

Atsumu's heart might be on the verge of exploding but he couldn't care less. The giant smile spreading on his face right out hurts, and he’s mad happy about it.

"Talk about unfair, ya sneaky bastard. We do need to talk about unfairness!"

"What," Sakusa drops on the defensive, blush spreading and spreading. "Gonna tell me I ruined your life? You're so dramat—"

"No. Gonna tell you..." Atsumu scrunches up his nose in concentration, thinking for a second about practical sentences he read and Sakusa taught him, about the audios he listened to.

"Je tombe amoureux de toi," ⁹ he breathes out suddenly victorious. "Not sure about the tense use but... Yeah."

There's a beat.

Sakusa's hand jolts in Atsumu's grasp. His eyes are slightly, just slightly shining. Atsumu can see everything in them.

"It'll do, Atsumu," he finally answers, as breathless.

His voice is completely uneven, even more messed up than Atsumu's, which is a nice change after weeks of seeing him being so cocky and confident.

And sexy.

And Sakusa called him Atsumu .

Head out of the gutter, Atsumu needs to remember.

"Je suis amoureux de toi," ¹⁰ Atsumu presses on, remembering at once all the poems about love Sakusa made him learn and look up.

A sneaky bastard, indeed.

He grins, overjoyed especially because of the way Sakusa seems to melt in his seat.

"I like ya, and I like volleyball too much. I like playin' here with our bunch of fools. I want ya to keep teachin' me French so I can't live apart from ya."

"It’s not a waste. The next Olympics are set in Paris," Sakusa croaks out.

"Dude, could you be romantic one sec’ and return my confession maybe?" Atsumu chuckles half nervously, half seriously amused by Sakusa's loss of composure.

Sakusa clicks his tongue.

"I like you too, idiot."

Atsumu dies to lean further and kiss him. He craves that so much. He craves Sakusa's lips to touch his.

They're still in the middle of a restaurant.

"You won't regret it?" Sakusa asks, looking suddenly insecure and breaking the spell.

Or so he thinks. Atsumu is still on cloud nine. Won't go down for the night. The week. The next months. Maybe years.

"Aucun regret. Wanna be where I'm happy. If you'll have me."

His eyes go very wide all of a sudden as a pair of lips crash against his. Sakusa pushed himself up and is pressing his mouth to Atsumu’s lips. It's chaste and doesn't last but Atsumu chases after it when Sakusa falls back in his chair in a clatter of cutlery.

"Fuck. Omi," he barely whispers.

Sakusa's eyes are gleaming. As they always do. That spark Atsumu fell for.

"What. The French are pretentious enough to pretend they invented kissing," Sakusa deadpans, blunt as ever.

"And what's the French's stance on making out in the parking lot?" Atsumu asks barely containing a chuckle.

"They probably would try to copyright it if they heard of it."

"Damn the French. I'm tempted to ditch the Coq au vin to go and show them how it's done in Osaka, though," Atsumu tells him.

Sakusa eventually smirks at that but instead of getting up, he reclines in his chair and makes himself comfortable.

That's hot, Atsumu thinks.

"You said you were staying though. Enjoy the French dish tonight because you're not going near another French restaurant any time soon."

"Wow. Yer saying you only took me out to woo me and I'm gonna sit on cute dates like that now?" Atsumu says as he drops in his own chair with an equally smug grin.

"You don't need to learn French that much now," Sakusa tells him.

"No. But I think it's customary no matter the country to take your boyfriend out occasionally, Omi."

"Boyfriends," Sakusa repeats.

"A problem?“

They're both smiling.

"No," he says while folding his arms over the table to get closer. "Just thinking how absurd the French translation of boyfriend is. Petit-ami. Short-friend."

"I've got nothing short. But ya know that already if you peeped in the showers," Atsumu is delighted to taunt him.

"You're so crass," Sakusa sighs. "But I reckon you're right."

A surge of arousal spikes as well as happiness. Atsumu needs to breathe.

"Oh, right. 'cause that was classy, Omi."

"Toujours."

"Pour toujours," ¹¹ Atsumu corrects.

Sakusa smiles. Yes. Forever sounds about right.

 

Fin