Suna Rintarou’s best friend came in the form of a 6.5 inch wireless communication device, alternatively known as a cellphone. The little device was essentially an extension of his own body. Instances in which it wasn’t in his hand, or at least in direct reach, were of limited quantity. If Rintarou’s phone could accompany him in the shower without getting waterlogged and ultimately destroyed, it would.
If the Inarizaki second-years were asked to participate in a poll of their greatest fears, Rintarou and his electronic limb would come second in ranking (Being scolded by Kita would forever hold first place). Any time one of his fellow teammates believed their embarrassing action had been left unobserved, Rintarou’s quick reflexes would prove them wrong every time. They would breathe a sigh of relief when they found Rintarou facing the opposite away, seemingly oblivious of what had conspired. He would let time pass, leading them to believe in their safety. And like an animal stalking his prey, he would pounce once their guard was down. The video clip would be inserted into the group chat, Rintarou sporting a wicked grin.
While some would claim Rintarou was cruel, he would have to disagree. If this was a food chain, Rintarou was at the top. He was a living-breathing catalogue of humiliating videos, blackmail material, and soul crushing secrets. Each peer was to be assigned their own folder, documenting their most regrettable decisions. It was a great honour to be immortalized within the confines of Rintarou’s precious device.
With hours of content on his side, it doesn’t come as a surprise when people start treating him as if he was a crime consultant harbouring illegal contraband. He realizes very quickly that many wish to use his skills for evil.
A pair of hands slams down on the wooden top of his desk with a resounding slap. Rintarou doesn’t bother lifting his head from where it’s cradled in his arms, maybe if he plays dead his attacker will deem him useless to his cause.
“Sunarin! Wake the hell up!” looks like playing dead isn’t going to work. Damn. Goodbye sweet power nap, you will be missed. Rintarou is starting to regret not staying home after learning Osamu was out sick. Unlike his twin, Osamu understood the cruciality of his midday nap. On any other day, he would take on the role of fending Atsumu off. With his absence, Osamu has left him vulnerable to Atsumu’s misbehaviours.
Begrudgingly, Rintarou peeks from his arms. Atsumu is looking particularly determined, which can only mean trouble. “How may I be of service?” he deadpans.
Atsumu is unaffected. Ah. Desensitization at it’s finest. Rintarou has lost his touch, how discouraging. Atsumu either lets the hint fly over his head, or has chosen to blatantly ignore it. Instead he continues to stare at him with determination creased into his face. Rintarou thinks he looks constipated.
“Send me pictures of ‘Samu, bad ones,” Atsumu finally spits out. Rintarou grimaces in response, not quite fond of the way this ‘request’ sounds much more like a demand. The optimal solution to receiving a favour was usually bribery, at least in Rintarou’s case. Even then, when it came to his beloved content, he wouldn’t budge. Atsumu’s behest did evoke interest in him. It was no secret that the twins have a disagreement at least hourly. However, Rintarou had never seen Atsumu strategize his retaliation.
“Why?” Rintarou asks in hopes of learning what his dear Osamu has done to deserve this. Their fights were always petty, and frankly pretty childish. That didn’t mean they had no entertainment value. Atsumu tilts his chin back in a poor attempt to look intimidating. He looks like an idiot.
“None of yer business, that’s what!” Wrong answer, Rintarou thinks. “Whaddya say?”
Rintarou hums to himself, tapping his chin in consideration. His portfolio of expertly crafted compilation work was not to be used for anyone else’s benefit. They were shared with the team group chat, or not at all. Hypothetically, he could make an exception. A one time go ahead for the twins he considers his greatest companions (not that he would ever voice that, especially not to Atsumu). Oh, and now he’s looking at Rintarou with those doe eyes. How could someone not cave to that? He’s obviously desperate to achieve whatever revenge he has in mind. That’s it, he’s done mulling. Suna Rintarou has made a final decision.
“No,” he clicks his tongue, “Now piss off, I’m trying to nap.”
“But why!” Atsumu shouts, looking like someone has insulted his mother, “‘s not like ‘Samu can get back at ya!”
Atsumu made a great point. For all the photos Rintarou had of his peers, one might assume they had plenty of him. And they would be so terribly wrong. Once upon a time his teammates had devised a counterattack, all in the name of feeding him his own medicine. Fighting fire with fire, right? Yet not one person managed to take a photo of him. By the time someone had pulled their phone out, Rintarou had miraculously disappeared into thin air. The only photos of Rintarou came in the form of team photos, or those he’s taken of his own accord.
Except, that isn’t the full truth. There is a person who has started collecting their own collection of photos featuring Rintarou as the subject. The only person who has successfully taken a photo of him is none other than Osamu.
Did he have plenty of horrific photos of Osamu? Yes. Would he share them? No. Was it mostly to save his own ass? Maybe.
But under no circumstances could Atsumu find out about this. It was bad enough to have one twin holding something over his head.
“ None of yer business, that’s what ” he mimics, using Atsumu’s words against him. Hoping he gets the memo to drop it and screw off, Rintarou pillows his head back into his arms.
Atsumu has committed time theft. Leaving Rintarou with a very slim time slot for his daily nap, but he can manage. Using his arms as a shield from the light, he squeezes his eyes shut.
In the end, sleep never comes to him. Rintarou spends the rest of his lunch period trying to ignore the feeling of his stomach flipping inside out. It’s because he’s hungry, he tries to level with himself. It is completely unrelated to Osamu. Osamu who usually retrieves his lunch for him while he naps. Osamu who makes sure his sleep goes undisturbed. Osamu, who has captured unsolicited photos of Rintarou. Osamu who promised to keep said photos to himself. And Rintarou who has stopped asking him to delete those photos.
That is not what this is about.
(1) Blue Hour
Practice games left Rintarou feeling rejuvenated, as if he had been born again and was seeing the light for the first time in a long time. Manipulating blocker to play right into his hand, watching their astonished faces as he twists his torso just at the right angle, and shutting down what should have been a good play from the other side of the net. To top it off, it was all without the real stress of producing results. Rintarou would leave the court with residual adrenaline buzzing through him, itching for more despite the exhausted weight of his limbs.
That’s how it’s supposed to go anyway. Today had been the opposite of a rebirth, if it was physically possible Rintarou would have crawled back into the womb in hopes of erasing his birth all together.
Rintarou had made at least three, if not more, glaring mistakes. There wasn’t even an opportunity to push the blame onto someone else, either. Not even the twins could be held accountable. It was all his own doing. It all started with Rintarou staying up into the odd hours of the night, by accident of course. He’d started with a humorous video to cap off his night, promising himself that he wouldn’t fall down the video rabbit hole. It was only one, what could go wrong? Everything. Everything went wrong and he fell down the damn hole. At the very least, he was now very knowledgeable on the feeding habits of octopuses. Not that it had made his ball fumbling any less embarrassing.
Engrossing himself in National Geographic was only the start of his problems, of course. Realizing that sleep was not on the agenda meant that an excessive amount of caffeine was. Was drinking more coffee than humanly possible on an empty stomach Rintarou’s smartest idea? No. It might not have been the worst decision in the history of his life, but that wasn’t the point. There was no time to think of his terrible life choices when his whole body felt like it was vibrating.
Rintarou’s last, and arguably most appalling mistake, was thinking that Kita-san totally wouldn’t notice his odd behaviour. He did. Nothing gets past him, ever.
Long story short, saying the day had been bad would be a massive understatement. After being in another school’s gymnasium with limbs heavy with sleep, Kita’s piercing glare burning holes through his back, and ‘can you overdose on caffeine’ in his search history Rintarou was feeling rather defeated.
This defeat must have spoken for itself, he concluded when he felt a hand clasping his shoulder. Rintarou didn’t look away from the window he was staring out of, he knew it would be one of the twins grasping for his attention. And frankly, if it’s Atsumu he might as well gouge his own eyeballs out.
“Sulkin’ won’t do ya any good, y’know,” It’s Osamu. Rintarou puffs out the breath he hasn’t been aware he was holding.
“That’s rich coming from you,” he quips back, turning to face him when he sits down beside him. Osamu had been taking the seat next to him more frequently as of late. Rintarou had a feeling it was Osamu’s attempt to preserve the quiet. It was by no means unwelcome. Reduced twin bickering kept things peaceful enough, and with the addition of sitting with Osamu in rather comfortable silence, it made bus rides much more enjoyable.
Osamu didn’t respond to his jab, but Rintarou didn’t miss the way his lips curved upwards ever so slightly. They were settled and headed toward their destination soon after, and Rintarou had never wanted to crawl in his bed more. At some point, highway haze must have gotten a hold of Rintarou. If his head felt heavy on top of his shoulders before, now it felt like a bowling ball.
Beside him, Osamu let out a heavy sigh. When Rintarou lolls his head to look in his direction, Osamu is already looking at him. “Hmm?” He doesn't trust himself to form a coherent sentence. Osamu sighs again, leaving Rintarou pinching his brows together in confusion.
“Gonna strain yer neck if ya stay like that, c’mere,” he curls a finger toward himself for emphasis, “I can wake ya up when we get back.”
Have the Gods just blessed him with a muscular grey-haired pillow? They must have. Say no more, he will take this gift. No further convincing needed. Rintarou wishes he would have held some restraint when he crashes onto Osamu’s shoulder. As stated above: muscular. Ignoring the acute pain that has shot through his cheekbone, he bats his eyelashes audaciously toward Osamu. It’s his way of saying thank you. Osamu lets out a puff of air that suffices as a laugh.
This is not the first time either of them has acted as a headrest for the other. It was the most viable option for two chronically sleepy teenage boys while commuting on a bus that was not sleep friendly. They were being innovative, that was all. Nothing weird or homoromantic about it. Just two friends nuzzling into each other in the name of comfort.
The sun is below the horizon just past the glass of the bus window, making the world around them look tinted blue. Rintarou lets his eyes flutter closed, knowing that when he is awoken it will be dark out. The walk home will be cold. He forgot his jacket. That is why, he reasons with himself, he takes this time to soak in as much warmth from Osamu as he can.
As promised, Osamu does wake him up when they arrive at their destination. Rintarou more or less peels himself off of the grey-haired boy’s shoulder, reluctant to give up the agreeable warmth. Atsumu looks just as tired as Rintarou, yet manages to assure him that he is not off the hook for his poor performance. He’ll worry about Atsumu’s ramblings tomorrow.
After bidding his farewell, Rintarou makes the trip home. It isn’t as chilly as he thought it’s be. Leeching Osamu’s warmth must have worked. Walking down the familiar streets with only the sound of his shoes against cement is soothing, each step reminding him that he is growing closer to home until he’s standing inside. The only thing on his mind is crashing into the sweet safety of his bed. He’ll brush his teeth first, just to say he did.
His phone buzzes in his pocket, and he’s surprised to see Osamu’s name. For a second he snickers to himself at the idea that Osamu was worried about him. Maybe Osamu was brewing in the bottom bunk, wondering if Rintarou had fallen in a fit of exhaustion and died in the middle of the street.
Rintarou unlocks his phone, and his blood runs cold.
Osamu: [Image Attachment]
Osamu: Try n get some sleep tn, k? :P
He thinks about throwing himself on the ground and screaming with flailing limbs, just like a toddler who has been told ‘no’. It can’t be that hard to move away cross country, can it? If he packs now he’s pretty sure he can disappear without ever having to see anyone again.
Standing a mere two steps inside the doorway, fleeting thoughts of his escape are filling his head and falling out of his ears. There must be hundreds filling the space around him. Miya Osamu has a death wish, Rintarou concludes. Why else would he have sent him this photo? A photo of none other but Rintarou himself. He feels his face flare. With embarrassment or pure unadulterated rage, he isn’t sure. The distinction is meaningless to him right now. Everything is meaningless with this photo staring him down.
A photo of him sleeping soundly while slumped against Osamu’s shoulder. Rintarou isn’t so above himself that he can’t admit that he looks comfortable in this photo. His face is relaxed, soft even, with his lips parted faintly. The lighting from outside the bus window highlights the soft contours of his face. His sharp eyes, high cheekbones and pronounced jawline.
Admittedly, it wasn’t a bad picture. So what could be the issue? Some might’ve assumed he was a sore loser. Angry he had lost this unspoken game of ‘catch Suna on camera’. The long running game he had been winning for months now.
That would be a reasonable guess, but it was as far from the truth as it got. It was bigger than that. A much bigger and much more embarrassing reason why he had a disdain for being photographed.
Suna Rintarou was camera shy.
He wants to call Osamu, and attempt to exhort him to delete the photo. But he’s with Atsumu. Even if Atsumu is asleep, he’ll wake up to the sound of Osamu’s ringtone along with his maniacal laughter. Being tortured by Osamu was enough, under no circumstances could Atsumu get his hands on this photo. Then he’d really have to move cross country.
Rintarou swipes out of the conversation, he has no words for his psychological captor. He would retaliate in the best way he knew how when it came to the Miya twins. Albeit it being the stupidest and most childish decision.
Suna: congrats. you just got promoted to favourite twin.
Atsumu: Did u hit yer head??????
Rintarou powers off his phone. Killing two birds with one stone, really. He wouldn’t have to witness the shitstorm of messages coming from either twin, and he wouldn’t fall victim to the endless hours of video content he often finds himself sucked in by.
It isn’t until Rintarou switches the light in the bathroom on that he realizes there is a jacket hugging his shoulders. On the sleeve, he finds letters embroidered to form the name ‘Miya’. He may have been stupid enough to let his guard down around Osamu, but he wasn’t dense enough to believe Atsumu would willingly lent Rintarou his jacket to keep him warm.
Does one kind act mean he will forgive Osamu? Fuck no. This is not retribution by any means. Does he keep it on even after he’s curled up under the covers? No way… Okay, maybe he does. But if he does, it’s only because he runs cold at night. That’s all it is. Nothing to analyze here.
So what if he falls asleep with his face nuzzled into his best friend’s jacket.
Osamu: Sunarin u traitor
Osamu: Wont show anyone
It has been a month since Osamu had been demoted from his title of favourite twin. Not that the title had held much weight. Rintarou still found himself bathing in Osamu’s company. Atsumu was still the subject of his groading, and Osamu was still entrusted with the task of protecting his lunchtime naps.
The picture has not been brought up since, either. At times Rintarou wondered if Osamu still had the photo, or he’d just deleted it. The thought was always countered with the reminder that Osamu promised to keep it private, which shows his intentions of not deleting it.
Rintarou had not warmed up to the prospect of someone having a photo of him, but he felt a level of ease knowing that Osamu had offered him a promise. Unlike Atsumu, who was as big mouthed as they come, Osamu was noiseless in face of secrets. As long as they weren’t Atsumu’s secrets, of course. Those were kept in a mental filing cabinet, being brought out when they served a purpose. Which, a lot of the time, was to get a laugh out of Rintarou.
Osamu’s respect for confidentiality was one of the many things he valued about their friendship. Despite his favourite twin ranking, Rintarou considered them both to be his best friends (after his phone, obviously). As much as Atsumu was vain, he was equally sincere. When in Atsumu’s company, there was never a dull moment. Rintarou quickly grew fond of Atsumu’s go-getter attitude, and found himself following along in his antics more often than not.
In the presence of his brother, Osamu assumed the same excitable role. Considering Rintarou’s sleepy demeanor, their classmates stared in awe at his ability to keep up with them. Rintarou wasn’t sure how he did it a lot of the time, either. Every day felt like a poorly executed slapstick routine. Whilst this is all true, and Osamu was cut from the same cloth as his brother, being alone with him was a different story.
Sometime during his first year Osamu had suggested he come over to study. Rintarou would spend the afternoon listening to bickering, and surely fail to do anything productive. He agreed reluctantly. Looking back, Rintarou is glad he hadn’t just made up a sorry excuse and spent the night on his own. When he showed up at the Miya household, Atsumu was nowhere to be found. That day Rintarou still didn’t get any studying done, but he learned that Osamu had a gentle side to him. Which was more interesting than quadratic equations by a long shot. And suddenly, Rintarou found great comfort in this side of Osamu. Before he knew it, they’d fallen into something that could only be described as tender. Rintarou found himself divulging in the nuances of his life, things he had never told anyone, and Osamu had reciprocated.
This must have been why, after a week of silence, most of Rintarou’s worry of being exposed has fizzled. His heart rate no longer picked up whenever he saw Osamu reaching for his phone, leaving it to be nothing more than a fleeting thought. With that out of the way, he can finally go back to hanging out with the twins without feeling as if there was a stormy cloud following him wherever he went. Which is wonderful, he decides, when Osamu is emerging from the convenience store, white bag in hand.
“‘Tsumu is takin’ his sweet time,” Osamu remarks when he’s within earshot of Rintarou. He could imagine the two of them in there, bickering over the difference in chip flavours. Rintarou had half a mind not to follow them in for that very reason. Osamu must have gotten sick of waiting and left his brother to fend for himself.
Osamu is digging through the bag now, rummaging through the contents. His hands still when he finds what he’d been searching for, and suddenly there is a projectile headed straight for Rintarou’s face. Of course he catches it before it smacks him between the eyes, what kind of middle blocker would he be if he couldn’t? Rintarou doesn’t actually need to look down to know what it is, but he does anyway. Cradled in his hands, as if it were a fine piece of china, is a jelly stick. Osamu, without being asked, has given him his favourite treat (in his favourite flavour, no less).
“Marry me?” he asks when he lifts his head to look at Osamu, doe-eyed and all. Osamu’s shoulders raise, and when they fall he lets out a puff of air. Something Rintarou has come to discern as a laugh. The stray hairs that sit in front of his face lift ever so slightly from the gust before settling back into place.
“Course, anything for ya, Sunarin,” he replies with a teasing shove to Rintarou’s shoulder. By the time Rintarou manages to tear open the plastic packaging with his teeth, Osamu has made himself comfortable on the railing. There’s space in between them, enough for another person to squeeze in. For just a measly second, Rintarou considers sliding over to be closer.
Instead, he pulls his phone from his pocket. Rintarou will marvel within the quiet company Osamu brings before it is too late, Atsumu will make a decision within the next year (probably). It’s six-thirty in the evening, his phone reads. The world around them feels hushed against the breeze that rustles the trees. Rintarou inhales through his nose, breathing in the sweet smell of the air. A smell that used to feel foreign to him, but can now only be detected if he’s trying. It makes Rintarou wonder when the last time he’d felt homesick was. Rintarou can only vaguely remember what it had felt like to be unfamiliar with these streets, with these people. He had carved a place out for himself at Inarizaki, and it had carved a place within him too. It wasn’t just the school. It was the bending streets of Hyogo that led him back home, it was the sweet old lady that worked at his favourite ice cream parlour, and it was the person who was sitting right next to him.
Rintarou is compelled to look to the right of him, to sneak a glance at Osamu. Osamu who knows his favourite treats, who knows how to read his infinitesimal range of emotion, who retrieves his lunch for him when he’s too tired, who is trying to take his photo right now.
Osamu is trying to take his photo right now.
Rintarou does not have time to consider his actions when he surges forward, arm extended with intention of snatching the device from his friend’s hand. His whole body is buzzing with urgency. Rintarou needs to retrieve the phone now, and worry about whether he will smash the device or simply kill his friend later.
He’s too late. Rintarou realizes when suddenly he’s being blinded by a flash of bright light. The world is shut out for a moment, the only thing filling his senses was the sound of Osamu’s soft chuckling. In any other situation, Rintarou would have melted into the sound. Right now, it sounds equivalent to metal utensils against dishes.
A million emotions go through Rintarou when his eyesight is no longer spotty, even if none of them show on his face. All he can do at first is gawk at Osamu in disbelief, wondering if that had really happened. Rintarou is starting to think his friend might do well in the paparazzi business, if he survives the rest of today that is. Mentally smacking himself back into reality, he fixes Osamu with an oppressive glare. Osamu looks back at him with a sickeningly innocent look, so innocent that it has to be evil.
“Osamu,” he starts, stern like a parent would be. Osamu looks at him with a sickeningly fake innocent look, it makes Rintarou’s blood boil. He says his next words carefully, “Give me your phone.”
Rintarou is aware, before he’d even started, that this wouldn’t get him anywhere. Rintarou’s glare might have worked on Atsumu, but against the likes of someone who knows about his unhealthy obsession with shitty soap operas, he’s screwed. This is only further cemented when Osamu bats his eyelashes at him, and Rintarou hates that he finds it charming. He considers pouting, but quickly decides against it when he remembers there was nothing appealing about a sixteen-year old boy, who stands at an impressive six-foot-one, pouting like a child. And Rintarou would know, he’s seen Atsumu do it more times than he could count.
Maybe he takes his loss too easily, but winning against Osamu is like trying to tip a cow. Stupid. And impossible. It was basic physics. Rintarou feels himself deflating, the bitter taste of defeat coating his mouth. His eyebrows are pinched together when he says, “I’m taking my proposal back.”
Osamu barks out a laugh, and Rintarou has to bite his lip to suppress his own. “Oh how ya wound me,” Osamu’s voice drips with sarcasm as he wipes away a fake tear from his cheek. This is followed by a beat of silence between them, Rintarou’s bottom lip still caught between his teeth while he fiddles with his hands. Then a heavy sigh leaves him, giving in to Osamu is all too easy. It takes one stride to position himself beside Osamu, slumping down on the railing.
“Let me see it,” it was supposed to be more of a demand, but it comes out like a suggestion. Osamu looks at him apprehensively, like it’s some sort of trick. Rintarou can’t blame him, either, he’s quick witted when he wants to be. Rintarou rolls his eyes, then hooks his chin over Osamu’s shoulder, “Well?”
Osamu relents, pulling his phone away from his chest. Admittedly, Rintarou isn’t even sure if this ‘photo’ even has the ground to be called as such. He’s pretty sure he’s seen mud clearer than this, actually. It’s blurry, most likely from the shift of when Osamu hit the button to when Rintarou was reaching out to try (and fail) to snag the phone from him. One might even be able to argue that it wasn’t him at all, just some other guy with a mess of dark brown hair.
The strangest part of it all, is that Rintarou doesn’t hate it. Sure, it’s reminiscent of the photos he sees other teenagers post when they are being particularly rebellious and want proof that is clear enough for them to be identifiable (to show off, of course) but not enough so its incriminating. The chewed wrapper shown in Rintarou’s mouth is a far cry from rebellious, of course, but it’s about essence.
“You can keep it,” he says softer than he intended too, as if Osamu had any intentions of deleting it in the first place. Regardless of this only being Rintarou’s way of granting his friend permission to keep an unsolicited photo, it somehow feels like some sort of confession. And when Osamu turns to get a better look at him, his eyes are soft and searching.
They’d been close before, but now with Osamu’s head turned to the side, they were inches apart from each other. Osamu’s warm breath is tickling his face. Rintarou’s gaze flickers from half-lidded eyes, down to plush lips, and back again. Osamu still doesn’t move away, and neither does he. Rintarou can feel his heart hammering, basking in being Osamu’s center of attention. Taking a leap of faith, Rintarou lets his eyes flutter closed.
“The hell are ya doin’?” a rather unimpressed sounding voice cuts through. Rintarou’s eyes fly open in an instant, jerking away from Osamu like he’d been burned. Osamu looks just as shocked as he is, but much redder. Rintarou can feel the tips of his ears singing. Atsumu stands in front of them, he must have finally settled on what snack to buy. He’s looking between the two of them suspiciously, a brow arched. Then he sighs, running a palm over his face, “Y’know what, I don’t wanna know,”
Atsumu doesn’t wait for them when he walks off in the direction of his home, leaving them to themselves again.
“Why didn’t you eat him in the womb?” Rintarou finally asks after a few beats of silence.
“Believe me, I ask the same question daily,” Osamu answers.
When Rintarou laughs, Osamu follows suit.
With Atsumu away at All-Japan, life at Inarizaki is hushed. Atsumu’s absence can feel off putting at times, in the way a dark hallway might be. Eerie almost, like everyone is waiting for him to jump out from the shadows. He doesn’t, obviously, but the thought is still there. Despite lacking someone to badger, Rintarou finds himself basking in the finer things life brings.
Finer things being Osamu. Rintarou feels as content as a kitten lapping up a bowl of cream. Except the cream is actually Osamu’s company. Their lunch time dynamic has shifted.
Instead of keeping watch, Osamu has taken to taking midday naps alongside him. Rintarou’s knight gets a much deserved break from his Atsumu patrol. Another benefit of Atsumu’s absence comes in the form of Osamu’s minimal understanding of portioning. What would usually be Atsumu’s share, was now Rintarou’s.
The day before Atsumu is scheduled to come back, Osamu walks up to him like a man on a mission. After a long practice, Rintarou is sluggish, he cites that for the reason he just narrowly misses getting smacked in the face with Osamu’s phone when it’s shoved into his face.
“Make this with me,” Osamu demands, in that tone that tells Rintarou that ‘no’ is not an acceptable response. Rintarou has to squint at the screen (which is still a smidge too close to his face) to see what Osamu is so adamant about. Moist Vanilla Cake, the article reads. Rintarou’s gaze shifts from the phone to Osamu, who is still looking at him insistently.
It wasn’t like Osamu trying new recipes was unusual. Really, that was one of the many beauties of this friendship. Osamu likes to cook and eat, and Rintarou isn’t impartial to a free meal. Except for how many times Rintarou has been deemed as the ‘official taste tester’, the closest Osamu ever got to sweet was teriyaki. Rintarou takes a long swill from his water bottle.
“Why?” he asks after wiping stray droplets from his chin with the back of his hand. Osamu suddenly looks like he’s been caught doing something he shouldn’t have, and in true Rintarou fashion, he latches onto it, “You miss your brother enough to celebrate his return, didn’t realize you were such a big softie, ‘Samu.”
“No!” judging by his reaction, it was louder than he’d meant it to be. A few of their teammates' spare a quick glance, but ultimately decide the ordeal is unimportant to them, “I mean--m’ doin’ this for you! Y’know! ‘Cuz--’Cuz ya like sweets!”
Rintarou tries, and miserably fails, to bite back a laugh. Osamu hunches his shoulders in, presumably as an attempt to try and make himself small enough to disappear. Rintarou doesn’t miss the way that Osamu’s cheeks tinge red, “Yer makin’ fun of me,” his lip is poking out now.
“Me? Make fun of you? Never!” Rintarou clutches his chest in faux offence, like Osamu’s words have shot him. When he makes his way up from the bench with the intention to head for the changing rooms, he knocks his shoulder against Osamu’s, “You’re doing all the work.”
Rintarou tries to ignore the squirmy feeling in his chest when Osamu flashes a toothy smile at him.
Life works in a twisted way sometimes. If karma is real, then Rintarou is rummaging through the filing cabinet that is his brain to decipher exactly when he fucked up. After the third time running through every choice he’s made, he comes up empty handed. Which would make sense, as far as Rintarou is concerned he’s a goddamn saint. So yeah, life is a cruel beast that gives no fucks about personal feelings.
“Sunarin,” a voice puts a literal meaning to the phrase ‘speak of the devil’, “Wouldya quit bein’ a drama queen, it’s a damn hand mixer.”
Rintarou will choose to ignore that in favour of sending Osamu a pointed look through the corner of his eye, “Isn’t putting your guests to work considered rude? Your mother would be disappointed.”
The hand mixer sits on the counter mocking him. Rintarou glares down at it like it’s personally insulting his family. There’s a resounding sigh from beside him, and suddenly Osamu has abandoned the batter he’s been pouring to fall beside Rintarou. He watches while Osamu picks up the bane of his existence from the counter, puts it into the bowl, and flips the switch. The mixer turns on with a gentle ‘brr’.
“Now just mix it until it’s smooth, can ya handle that?” Osamu throws his head to the side to look at Rintarou, who is still staring down at the mixer. Rintarou scrunches his nose up, “I’m not a kid.”
Leaving the mixer in Rintarou’s hands, Osamu pulls away with the promise of being right back. Rintarou can’t say he’s particularly fond of being left alone with something that can rip hair out of people’s heads, and he would know better than anyone (he’s seen hundreds of videos), but he’s on a mission to prove he’s capable.
The more he sifts through the glass bowl, the more at ease he is. The threat the appliance carries fades to the back of his mind while he watches the whisks fold the mixture into a palatable consistency. Rintarou is starting to understand why Osamu loves cooking so much. Making something tasty is rewarding, he comes to realize. Not as rewarding as volleyball, but rewarding nonetheless. Osamu isn’t back by the time he would normally request a second opinion, and with ‘smooth’ being fairly vague, he’s going to have to make his own judgement.
Guided by the desire to taste, Rintarou decides it’s thoroughly mixed. Now, let it be known that there were multiple reasons why Rintarou kept a healthy distance between the kitchen and himself. First, he was lazy. It was a lot easier to be fed than to do the feeding. Second, Osamu was a great cook. Why wouldn’t he take advantage of that? Last, and arguably the most important, Rintarou was clueless to all things cooking related. This, of course, includes appliances.
He’d almost managed to forget his dysfunction, too. That is until disaster hit. And it hit it right in the face. When he pulled the mixer from the bowl, Rintarou was actually beginning to feel proud of himself. Until excess icing shoots from the spinning whisks, coating every surface within a meter radius. Including Rintarou. His whole body freezes in disbelief, and the gentle ‘ wrr ’ coming from the mixer starts feeling condescending.
There is barely enough time for Rintarou to switch the mixer off and process what the everloving fuck just happened when there’s a click from the left of him. This has to be some sick joke, what other explanation was there. Rintarou turns to face him, the movement is choppy and robotic. He can feel one of his eyes twitching. Osamu stands just outside of the kitchen, his cheeks are puffed out. He’s trying not to laugh.
Rintarou thinks it makes him look like a chipmunk. A really stupid chipmunk that finds joy in taking advantage of Rintarou’s most vulnerable states. For a second, Rintarou considers clubbing him to death with the mixer. He decides against it when he realizes that would mean having to pick that death trap back up.
“Pffft,” Osamu finally exhales the breath he’s been holding in, sounding as if he was a balloon escaping from the grasp of some grubby birthday kid’s hands, “Did I forget to mention you gotta turn it off first?”
“Fuck you,” Rintarou shoots back, grimacing when he catches his reflection in the microwave window. It’s in his hair too. Rintarou most definitely has the right to sulk right now, if Osamu hadn’t disappeared and left him unattended, this never would have happened. Leave it to Osamu to abandon a guy who is clearly inept with the fucking mixer. The grin he flashes Rintarou is slap worthy, he notes.
“Sit,” Osamu instructs after pulling out a chair from the dining room. Rintarou blinks at him once, but has no real energy to push the matter. He takes a seat with some reluctance, but turns his attention to the growing stickiness of his hair. He runs his fingers through a clump of hair in a futile attempt to wring it out.
“Quit it, yer just rubbin’ it in,” Osamu reigns his attention back to him, now holding a washcloth in his right hand. He utilizes his left to tilt Rintarou’s face toward him, dabbing the cloth against his skin. Rintarou lets his neck go slack, giving control of his movement to Osamu. While Osamu focuses on wiping the stickiness away from his face, Rintarou finds himself immersed in the warmth emitting from Osamu’s hand. Without so much as a second thought, Rintarou lets his eyes flutter closed. He can’t help to feel as if he’s being doted on. Osamu’s hands cradle his face as if it was breakable. The same hands Rintarou has seen smack a volleyball with immeasurable strength is treating him so softly. A soft sigh leaves his lips.
The movement stops suddenly. If it weren’t for Osamu holding up his chin, Rintarou would have thought he had walked off. “‘Samu?” His voice is smaller than he intended it to be. Rintarou is preparing to crack his eyes back open to investigate when there is a barely-there touch against his lips. At first, he considers that it could’ve been an accident, it was just Osamu’s thumb. But Osamu’s thumbs were rough and calloused.
When there is another hesitant press to his lips, Rintarou is certain that this isn’t a ligament. Worried Osamu might withdraw, Rintarou presses forward blindly. Their lips find each other clumsily. And just like everything else when it comes to Osamu, they sync together. Osamu’s hand drifts from his chin to cup his cheek, and kisses him tenderly.
Rintarou thinks about the time in front of the convenience store, how close their faces were, how his eyes had fluttered closed instinctively. How this had been what he wanted that day. He thinks of the times they shared Osamu’s bed, curled in toward each other. He thinks of all the times he gazed into Osamu’s eyes far longer than platonically inclined people did. It’s not like he believed in fate or destiny, but embracing Osamu like this had been a long time coming.
When they break apart and Rintarou finally opens his eyes, Osamu is swiping his tongue over his bottom lip. He hums in thought, and then smiles that dopish smile Rintarou knows so well, “Icing is pretty good, Rin,”
Confusion comes in the form of Rintarou narrowing his eyes, but when he runs his tongue over his own lips to find a lingering sweetness, he rolls his eyes.
“You’re such an idiot,”
“So I can’t kiss ya again?”
“I didn’t say that,”
And Rintarou didn’t think he ever would. Accepting Osamu’s affections was second nature to Rintarou, and he couldn’t help but lean in when Osamu beckoned for him. Even while they scrubbed icing off the cupboards. Even after he watches Osamu shove a whole slice of cake into his mouth. Rintarou will still lean in.
It isn’t until after Rintarou gets home that he remembers Osamu’s photo op. And for whatever reason, it seems unimportant in comparison to everything else that had conspired.
Atsumu: Samu n Sunarin r being fucking gross
Atsumu: theyre CUDDLING on MY couch
Kosaku: uh huh sure
Gin: pic r didnt happen
Atsumu: U know i cant get pics of THE sunarin
Kosaku: bc its not happenin
The chuckle that erupts from Osamu jostles Rintarou’s head. All things considered, the Miyas’ family couch was a tight fit. Certainly not crafted to hold two teenage boys standing at six foot. Rintarou is squished in between the cushions, and Osamu’s side. For being mostly muscle, Osamu turns out to be an adequate pillow. He has one arm thrown over Rintarou’s shoulders to grip his phone, the other lazily dangling off the couch, “They don’t believe ‘Tsumu,” he comments.
“Can you blame them?” Rintarou cranes his neck to flash Osamu a suave smile. Osamu makes a noncommittal noise, drawing his eyes from the ceiling to meet Rintarou’s gaze. He grins, “Ya make a good case.”
“I know,” Rintarou mumbles when he settles into the crook of Osamu’s neck, nuzzling his nose against the soft skin. Osamu ditches his phone, his arm falling to lazily drape over Rintarou’s waist. He grunts in distaste when Osamu squeezes his hip bone, only receiving a chuckle in response. Atsumu had kicked up a fuss after finding them intertwined, but had since retreated to his bedroom. Leaving them in the comforting silence they often find themselves in. Quiet trust danced around them. It reminds Rintarou of when he’d originally let Osamu invade his life. How he hadn’t had a second thought about airing out his vulnerabilities. How Osamu kept all his promises, and how Osamu would never go out of his way to make Rintarou uncomfortable.
“Let’s take a picture together,” Rintarou suggests, lifting his head to look at Osamu. When he is faced with a quizzical look, he adds, “To prove it to them, of course.”
Osamu’s face softens, reaching up to card his fingers through Rintarou’s hair. Osamu’s thumb grazes his temple, and Rintarou leans into the gentle touch. Osamu understood the subliminal messaging in Rintarou’s request. Just like he always did. He still carried some level of sheepishness about allowing Osamu to capture photos of him, but hiding his face in his hood was enough to alleviate that. Osamu coaxes him down into his neck again, keeping one hand steady on the crown of his head, “Okay,” he mumbles softly.
Osamu: [Image Attachment]
Kosaku: oh shit
Atsumu: Gonna lose my lunch
Osamu: shut up tsumu
Gin: So all we had to do to get a pic of him was….
Gin: Romance him?
Rintarou would never be comfortable with having his photo taken. It was awkward. He never knew what to do with his hands and ended up looking stuff as a board. He knew he should smile, but when he did it looked forced. Suna Rintarou did not do photos, and would avoid them like the plague at all costs. Yet, when Rintarou watches Osamu smile with fondness he comes to the conclusion that photos can’t be too bad. As long as Osamu is his photographer.