Actions

Work Header

homecoming

Work Text:

The billboard takes up most of the inner wall of the train station, large enough that it captures the attention of even the most hurried passerby. The splash of red is the first thing to capture Osamu’s eye, followed by the slight smirk he hasn’t seen in person in years. The unnerving stare retains its intensity even through the photograph. The words Tokyo Olympics stand to the left of his former teammate, Suna Rintarou, in two-dimensional form, and somehow, that’s about the only thing that makes sense about the advertisement.

Osamu’s mind struggles to compute the rest of it. Sure, he’s seen Suna multiple times over the years—on the television, in colorful posters advertising the V. League, across the court whenever EJP takes on MSBY. He knows that Suna’s hair is a little shorter now, not quite sticking out past his ears the way it used to, and he knows that he’s a little taller now, a noticeable difference from how he barely scraped over Osamu back in high school. He knows that something has changed since Suna started his professional career—and Osamu knows that he wasn’t a part of it.

That’s the hardest piece of truth to come to terms with. 

Suna achieved his dream of being called up to the national team—scratch that, of being called to play in the Olympics. And Osamu only found this out through Atsumu, and then subsequently, a billboard in the middle of the train station on his trip back to Hyogo. 

Osamu hasn’t spoken to Suna Rintarou in years. There is no reason for Suna to reach out and share his accomplishments with him. They no longer have that kind of relationship that justifies impromptu calls for the sake of keeping in touch. The distance has grown between them, festering as neither of them attempted to break it, and so, as Osamu’s hand itches towards his phone—to call Suna and congratulate him or something—he holds himself back. 

Instead, he stands in the middle of the crowd, being jostled back and forth as people rush past. A few angry looks are thrown his way as he remains unmoving, but he can’t bring himself to move and start walking again. This is a momentous occasion, and he feels caught on the outside of it, peering in through the glass. 

That’s his former teammate. Once, he might’ve thought of Suna as his best friend. Now, Osamu’s not sure he has the right to call him an acquaintance. A stranger fits better. There is only so much he can learn about Suna through post-match interviews and one-word updates from Atsumu. To say they’re anything more would be a stretch of the truth. 

Osamu grunts as someone shoves his shoulder, and he tosses a scowl in the direction of the vanishing figure before returning his attention to the billboard. If he were a little younger and a little more careless, he might stop someone and ask them to take a picture of him in front of the billboard. If he had a little more courage, he might send it to Suna with a caption appropriately titled: look who i found today

But he’s not courageous. Not today. 

Instead, Osamu pulls his phone out of his pocket and finds his camera. Leaning back, he fits as much of the billboard into the shot as possible, but it’s still a little awkward, especially as people continue flitting about in front of him, blocking the number on the jersey. A few minutes pass before he captures a decent shot, and Osamu stares at it for a little too long before deeming it acceptable. 

With luck, he might be able to tell Suna one day that he stumbled upon an enormous billboard of him advertising the upcoming Olympics. He consoles himself with this fact as he turns away, heading in the direction of the bus station. 

Although—it would be nice to see Suna in person one day, too, rather than settling for photographs pasted to the walls of busy public stations. 


It has been a fortunate series of events that led up to his business booming the way it has. When he first graduated from high school and attempted to kickstart his business, there had been far too many bumps in the road to count. The demanding hours spent as an apprentice in someone else’s kitchen wore him down to the bones, and in the end, it had taken severe recklessness on his part—as well as a verbal thrashing from Atsumu—to encourage him to quit. 

It hadn’t gotten easier overnight. In fact, it became even more difficult, most of his nights and waking hours spent scouring for rental locations, budgeting expenses, and figuring out contracts. It took years for Onigiri Miya to come to fruition, and now he spends most of his nights hardly believing the success he’s achieved. He can’t fathom the success he achieved at twenty, much less how the chain has grown in his mid-twenties. 

What started as a fleeting idea as a teenager has transformed into a successful business chain with branches located all across Japan. Right now, there’s three currently running: in Osaka, Hyogo, and Tokyo. He splits his time equally between the three, though he favors the branches in Hyogo and Osaka for obvious reasons. Osamu has plans for more, but they aren’t concrete yet, as the opening of the Tokyo branch proved more irksome than he’d hoped. 

Still, he’s pleased with the attention Onigiri Miya has attracted. He’s proud at how his career has turned out, and the regrets he’d once harbored fresh out of high school have faded. Any doubts wash away after each long shift, equal parts exhausting and rewarding, and he’s reminded of how much he loves his work whenever a customer turns away from the counter, brimming with a smile. 

He especially likes being able to return home to the Hyogo branch. It’s a nice change of pace, and most of the regulars have known him since he was young, meaning he gets to hear quick updates on their lives in between serving. This is unique to this branch, one of its many positives including its close proximity to his family home. Although he’s staying in the apartment right above the store, he’ll only be staying in Hyogo until the Olympics.

He’s not the only one in Hyogo for the time being, a fact he’s reminded of when he takes a momentary glance at his phone in between orders.

Miya Atsumu

yo scrub

kosaku and gin want to meet up here later

Miya Atsumu has sent a link.

don’t be late

Miya Osamu

how can i be late if you HAVEN’T EVEN SAID WHAT TIME WE’RE MEANT TO BE MEETING

Miya Atsumu

oh right

i’ll check in with gin and let u know later

Miya Osamu

fine

“Kaito-kun,” Osamu calls out without looking up from his phone.

One of his newer employees, working part-time while attending university, hurries over when Osamu calls his name. “Yes?”

“I’m gonna take out the trash.” Osamu tucks his phone into his apron. If Atsumu sends him a response, he can attend to it later. “You can watch the counter while I’m gone, can’tcha?”

Kaito nods eagerly. “Yes, Miya-san.”

“I’ll only be gone a few minutes.”

Osamu ducks into the kitchen and signals to one of the employees finishing up her lunch break to head out as soon as she’s done. It’s not that he doesn’t trust Kaito’s abilities. It’s that he knows full well how overwhelming standing behind the register can be, and that kind of experience shapes a person. He’d rather have someone on standby. 

Meanwhile, Osamu finds a full garbage bag waiting to be dumped out. He hauls it up over his shoulder and kicks open the back door, letting out the bubble of heat from the kitchen. The door falls shut behind him, and Osamu marches over to the dumpster, throwing the heavy bag inside before it rips. 

“There,” he mutters, dusting off his hands. 

There’s a scuffle of footsteps behind him, and Osamu casts one look over his shoulder. It’s not like people never walk down the alley between Onigiri Miya and the electronics store next door. He does it every time he wants to climb the back staircase up to his apartment. But a shiver races down his spine at the sight of the stranger, tall and as broad as Osamu, slouched over as he shuffles along.

Everything about the stranger puts Osamu on edge—except for the bright yellow of his tracksuit. It’s familiar to him the way the spike of a volleyball is familiar. Time has passed, but his body still remembers the necessary movements. Time has passed, but Osamu still recognizes the distinct yellow of EJP Raijin.

The stranger drops his hood, and any doubt Osamu had evaporates. 

Osamu blinks. “Suna?”

It’s Suna, alright, his expression as aloof and impassive as ever. His hair is as short as it appeared on the billboard, but unlike there, his mouth is pulled into a taut line. “Osamu. Hi.”

“What—what are you doin’ here?” A series of burning questions climb to the surface, and it takes a considerable effort to shove them down and focus on the more imperative information. His eyes can’t seem to adjust to the sight of Suna in front of him, like he’s some kind of urban legend rather than the person that used to sit in front of Osamu in class, hunched over in his seat as he took sloppy notes. 

“Um.” Suna digs his hands into the pocket of his sweatshirt. “I’m visiting. Hyogo, I mean.”

“Didn’t all of yer family move back to Aichi after yer sister graduated?”

“Yeah.”

The silence that follows his answer feels thick and heavy in the air. Osamu doesn’t know how to break it. The first few times he spoke with Suna were like this, awkward and stilted, as two quiet teenagers worked to figure out how to fit into each other’s space. It doesn’t suit them now as the adults they have become.

“Oh,” Osamu says. “So what are you doin’ here? At...my restaurant?”

“Well.” Suna glances at the back door. “I thought about entering through the front. Then I got worried people would recognize me, so I decided to come through the back. But then I remembered that it would probably be locked, so I was planning on waiting until one of the employees came out and I could ask them to get you.”

“That is the creepiest thing you’ve ever done.”

Suna shrugs. “I got lucky. I didn’t have to do any of that. You came out on your own.”

Osamu’s mouth dries. “That isn’t really an answer. You haven’t explained what you’re doin’ here. I mean—” He cuts himself off. No matter the direction he takes the conversation, all roads wind back up in the same spot. We haven’t spoken in years. We’re not friends. Why are you here now? “This is weird.”

Suna scratches the side of his head. As his eyes narrow, he seems to decipher the unasked questions swimming in Osamu’s gaze. It’s been a while since either of them have tried to read the other. Osamu doubts he’d be any good at it now. 

“I’m hungry,” Suna says. 

It’s not an answer. Osamu knows this. 

But it’s a statement he knows how to respond to. He manages to do so every day. He gestures towards the back door. “I can help with that.”


The sight of Suna Rintarou sitting across the table from him in the middle of Onigiri Miya is unsettling. It’s not like Suna has never been inside the restaurant. He’d taken the time to visit the branch in Hyogo on opening day, and Osamu has several photographs commemorating the festivities. Even before then, Suna was one of the people that tasted Osamu’s food the most, spending many afternoons at the Miya family home for the sake of freshly cooked meals that Osamu prepared as practice. Most of his feedback has been instilled in the recipes Osamu uses, whether Suna is aware of this fact or not.

Still, the glimpse of him all relaxed and casual as he eats okaka onigiri doesn’t seem real. Osamu’s convinced this is all some figment of his imagination—that he’ll get up and this vision of Suna will flicker away. That’s how Suna has become over the years, fleeting and impermanent, so Osamu doesn’t have any reason to believe that this will last. 

“Is it good?” Osamu asks. He’s more than halfway through his own plate of food. His yaki onigiri sits well in his stomach, silencing the churning in his gut. Every so often, he stops eating long enough to assess Suna’s reaction to the food, but he never gives more of a response other than a hum under his breath. 

“It’s good.” Suna picks at a grain of rice that gets caught on the corner of his mouth. “You don’t need me to tell you that.”

“I don’t need it, but it’s nice to hear.”

Suna surveys the interior of the restaurant, his eyes lingering on the string of customers waiting at the register to receive their take-out orders. “Your business is thriving. You don’t need my opinion.”

Osamu resists the urge to roll his eyes. He picks up another onigiri, mostly to give himself something to do. “I heard you got picked for the Olympics. Congrats.”

A beat of silence. “Thanks.”

Osamu takes a bite. “It’s what you’ve always wanted. You should be proud. Not many athletes can say they’re where you are.”

The silence is harder to ignore this time around, and Osamu swallows before returning his attention to Suna. He’s slouched further in his seat, his shoulders bunched like he’s boxed in, and his focus on his food is more intense than it should be. “Suna?”

Suna jerks his head up. “Yeah?”

“You good?”

“I’m fine.” Suna picks up another onigiri and takes a hearty bite. The cool and collected facade doesn’t fool Osamu, but he’s not sure it’s his place to push. “Being picked for the Olympics is great. I’m not sure what they were thinking when they picked me.” He shrugs. “But it’s cool.”

Osamu’s gaze hardens. “It’s more than cool. You know you deserve it. I don’t know why you’re tryna act like you don’t. You’re the shortest middle blocker on the roster. Hell, you’re one of the shortest in the league. But they picked you cuz you’re good at what you do.”

Suna raises an eyebrow at him as he continues eating. “I’m not the same player I was back in high school.”

“I know you’re not. You’re better now.”

“I wasn’t aware you were paying attention.”

“Well—” Osamu sputters. 

It’s not like he’s devoted specific time to watching EJP Raijin, but his decision to stop playing volleyball after high school doesn’t mean that his love for the sport has vanished. He’s as much of a fan as anyone else. The walls of his restaurant are filled with V. League memorabilia. He has the league standings memorized. He’s an outside hitter on a neighborhood team with minimal commitments. His game sense hasn’t dropped, and anyone can see after watching one match of Suna’s that his skills have improved exponentially since high school.

“I watch the V. League,” Osamu finishes lamely. “I keep up.”

Before, Suna might’ve let his lips curve up in a ghost of a smile at Osamu’s apparent awkwardness. Now, he lets it slide with a nod and a blank look. He doesn’t look to tease or pester further, like the lack of familiarity between them prevents him from doing so, and Osamu almost wishes he would—just to break the tension. 

It’s odd seeing the physical manifestation of the distance that has formed between them. Osamu has known that it exists, but he could pretend otherwise. Now, the evidence that lies in front of him is irrefutable.

“Atsumu and Aran have made the roster, too,” Suna says as he finishes up. “It’s not like I’m the only person to make it.”

“Yeah, and that’s amazin’. The fact that three of you from our team have made it that far. That’s—mind-blowin’.”

“You could’ve made it if you’d kept up with volleyball.” 

Osamu reels back at that. Suna had been the first person he’d told that he had plans to quit volleyball after high school. It had been a moment of intense vulnerability for him, the first time he’d verbalized his plans for his life after graduation. 

But before he can question Suna, Suna plows on. “But you’ve made something here, too. It’s different, but still important.”

“Yeah,” Osamu says, his voice small. “It is important—to me, at least.”

The two of them lapse into another brief silence, as they’re prone to do, while they finish their meal. It isn’t until Osamu is in the middle of wiping his hands off with a napkin that he asks the question that he has barely restrained until now. “Suna?”

Suna sets his glass of water down on the table. “Yeah?”

“What are you really doin’ here? In Hyogo? I know you said you were visitin’, but, uh, who exactly are you visitin’?”

Suna shrugs, and Osamu suppresses the snarl of frustration he wants to let out. “I have a little time before training starts,” Suna says.

Osamu knows this because of Atsumu. “So?”

“I don’t know.” Suna’s gaze sweeps around the inside of the restaurant again, but this time, his eyes pause on the memorabilia hanging on the walls—on the signed jerseys and the personalized autographs and the group pictures of some of the finest players in the league. 

Osamu notices the exact moment Suna’s eyes flit towards an older photograph located beyond Osamu’s head. He doesn’t have to look at the picture to know what it is: it’s from Suna’s debut match, and Suna’s arm is slung around Osamu’s shoulders while they smile from ear to ear. It’s one of the only pieces of Suna left in Onigiri Miya.

When the two of them make eye contact again, Osamu nearly jolts.

“I don’t know why I’m here, Osamu,” Suna says. His finger traces the condensation forming against the outside of the glass. “I just decided to come. It felt like something I had to do.”

Osamu wants to know more. His restraint is on a tight thread, and it wears thinner as Suna gives him more non-answers. “Then why are you here at my restaurant?”

Suna’s focus wavers. “You were the only one I was sure I could find.”

“Really? Not Kita-san?”

“Would you show up on Kita-san’s doorstep unannounced?”

“Fine. Point taken. What about Akagi-senpai?”

Suna shrugs. “We were never that close.”

Osamu goes through the remaining options, counting off on his fingers. “Kosaku?”

“No.”

“What about Gin? Gin’s back in town, ya know.”

His gaze falls to the table. “I didn’t think about contacting Gin,” Suna says.

“Then—”

Osamu,” Suna says, his voice firm. “I didn’t think. I wasn’t thinking. You were the only one I knew I could find. Honestly, you’re the only one I felt comfortable barging in on.”

“Oh.” Osamu straightens. There is no hint of dishonesty lacing Suna’s words, though he supposes this makes sense. Osamu isn’t the only one Suna’s fallen out of touch with. As far as Osamu knows, Suna hasn’t kept close contact with anyone from Inarizaki, excluding Aran and Atsumu, who he sees whenever their teams face off. “Alright.”

Suna lets out a sigh. He drains the rest of his glass in one fluid motion before setting it down against the table with a thud.

“Do you want more?” Osamu points at the empty cup. “I can call someone over to refill it.”

“Uh. Sure.”

It gives Osamu a little more time to think of where to take the conversation. It’s not like Suna was ever much of a talker, but he’s much more tight-lipped now, only providing the necessary information. For Osamu, this is both a blessing and a curse. It’s the former, because neither of them have to unpack the baggage that sits between them, and it’s the latter, because Osamu doesn’t know how to handle a Suna Rintarou that is as closed-off towards him as he is towards everyone else.

When Kaito brings over a pitcher of water to refill Suna’s glass, Osamu doesn’t miss the unbridled wonder in his eyes as he looks at Suna. Kaito is as much of a volleyball fan as anyone else, and Osamu has forced Atsumu to give him an extra autograph for Kaito’s sake the last time they met. There’s no doubt that he knows exactly who Suna is.

“Suna,” Osamu drawls, gesturing between them. “This is Sugimoto Kaito. Kaito, this is Suna—which you prolly already know. We used to be on the same team together.”

Suna lifts his head and musters a small smile, which is a lot for Suna. “Hello. Nice to meet you.”

“Hi, Suna-senshu,” Kaito mumbles, ducking his head. He finishes filling up the rest of Suna’s glass and darts off, heading back behind the counter. 

“I thought he was going to ask for an autograph or something,” Suna says.

“He prolly wants one.” Osamu fumbles in his apron for a spare pen. It’s the least he can do. “He was just too scared to ask. Or to make proper conversation. Sorry about that.”

Suna chuckles. “It’s fine. Believe it or not, I’m used to it.”

“I’m sure you are,” Osamu says. He finds a pen tucked into his pocket, and he tosses it onto the table. “The first time he met Tsumu, he chickened out of askin’ for a photo. I had to ask Tsumu on his behalf.”

“What a great boss.”

Osamu narrows his eyes in Suna’s direction. “I am a great boss,” he affirms. He nudges the pen a little closer to Suna. “Anyway, if you don’t mind signin’ somethin’ for him, I’d appreciate it, especially since you’re not even payin’ for yer food.”

“Oh.” Suna freezes, and Osamu realizes too late that his tone has reverted to close to the line of teasing he once would’ve found easy. “I can pay.”

“What?” Osamu tries to lighten the mood, though he’s not sure it works. “You’ve been moochin’ off me yer entire life, Sunarin. You wanna start payin’ now? I can calculate how much you owe me over the course of yer lifetime, since you know, you’ve got yer fancy rich athlete’s salary goin’ on. I know you can pay it.”

Suna scowls, but the levity is there. “Yeah, I can pay it. But do I want to?”

“Hey! I kept you fed all throughout yer teenage years. And this is what I get?”

“Yeah,” Suna says. He picks up his glass and takes a sip. “You knew what you were getting into.”

“No,” Osamu protests. “I didn’t.”

Suna hides a smile behind his glass. “That’s not my problem.”

Osamu reflects his smile right back at him, and his chest loosens in response. He can do this. This isn’t as difficult as he thought it would be. Sure, he considers his words more before speaking, and he’s not as brusque as he would normally be. But this is manageable. 

“Where are you stayin’ then?” Osamu asks, leaning back. The cushion shifts beneath him.

“A hotel,” Suna says, not meeting his eyes. “Not too far from here, actually.”

“Oh.” His gut instinct is to offer Suna his guest futon, but Osamu’s not sure he wants this weird tension to follow him home, too. He can bear being around Suna for an hour, but he’s not certain he knows how to be around him day and night. “For how long?”

Suna gives him a one-shouldered shrug. “I haven’t decided. It depends on how I’m feeling.”

“Ah. The fancy rich athlete’s salary comin’ into play.”

“Bingo.”

“Then where are you headed next?”

Suna’s eyebrows lift. “Next?”

“I dunno,” Osamu says. “You’re here in Hyogo. You’re at Onigiri Miya right now. But do you have any plans? Are you meetin’ up with anyone else? Or are you keepin’ to yourself?”

“Uh.” It’s the first time since the conversation has started that Suna has been well and truly caught off guard. He chews on the inside of his mouth as his lips pull into a flat line, but it’s not enough to hide how flustered he is by the question. “I’m not really sure.”

How are you not sure? What are you doin’ here? Osamu wants to scream and shake the answers out of Suna by sheer force. 

Instead, he exhales, his shoulders sinking, and he purses his lips as he settles his eyes on Suna. Right now, Suna sticks out like a sore thumb, dressed in the bright yellow of the EJP uniform, and Osamu can’t tell whether it’s intentional. Maybe Suna wants to draw attention to himself. On the other hand, maybe he’s searching for a brief respite and he’s not sure how to get it. It’s been so long that he doesn’t remember how to stop and take a break. 

These considerations aside, one fact sticks out above all the rest: Suna sought Osamu out. Out of everyone back in Hyogo, Suna searched for him.

That makes Suna Osamu’s responsibility—whether he likes it or not.

“Well,” Osamu drawls. “I’m sure everyone else would love to see you. They all wonder how you’ve been, too.”

“Maybe.”

“Tsumu, Gin, Kosaku, and I are meetin’ up tonight for drinks and dinner. Is that somethin’ you think you might be interested in?”

A furrow appears between Suna’s eyebrows. “Maybe. I could be interested.”

“Okay.” Osamu opens his mouth to explain the details, then remembers that Atsumu hasn’t told him the specific time they’re meeting up. “Um, I can send you the link of where we’re goin’. I’m not sure what time we’re meetin’ up. Tsumu hasn’t said. I’ll letcha know as soon as I can.” He points at Suna. “Is yer number still the same?”

“Yeah,” Suna says, nodding. “It’s the same.”

“Great. I’ll letcha know the details when I have them.”

“Cool.” Suna whips out his phone and glances momentarily at the screen. “I should get going. I’ve already wasted enough of your time.”

“It ain’t a waste, Suna.” Osamu stands as Suna does, and he tries his best to convey his earnestness through his expression. This encounter might have been many things, but he wouldn’t call it a waste at all. It’s been nice seeing Suna, all awkwardness aside. “Don’t say that.”

Suna’s gaze flickers towards him briefly. “Okay. I won’t.”

“Good.” Osamu hands him the pen. “Um, if you don’t mind, couldja sign somethin’ for Kaito-kun?”

“Oh, right.” Suna grips the pen, taking it from Osamu’s hold. “I can do that. Actually, call him back out here. We can take a picture.”

This—this is new. Suna’s attentiveness. As Osamu calls Kaito from behind the counter, he watches Suna sign a clean napkin for him before he’s asked to take a picture of the pair of them. Suna makes small talk when Kaito fumbles for words again, and he doesn’t look annoyed at all. The fame is not something Suna exactly wanted when he decided to play volleyball professionally, but it looks like he’s adjusted to it. 

Suna hands him back his pen. “Here you go,” he says. “Later, then. You’ll text me the time?”

“Yup,” Osamu promises. “I’ll keep you updated.”

“You better.” The corner of Suna’s lip quirks upward. “See you tonight, Osamu.”

With that, Suna leaves out the front door, vanishing from view, making Osamu wonder if he was really there to begin with. 


When Osamu woke up this morning, he hadn’t expected to see Suna Rintarou in person for the first time in years. Furthermore, he hadn’t expected to have an actual conversation with him that lasted beyond the usual polite greetings. He certainly hadn’t expected to invite him out to dinner with a few of their former teammates, but when Atsumu finally tells him that Gin and Kosaku want to meet around seven, Osamu finds himself forwarding the time and the location to Suna. 

It’s strange how swiftly his dinner plans have shifted from being a casual outing with friends to an unexpected reunion. The rest of his shift speeds up of its own accord, the minutes on the clock ticking faster, and when it hits six o’clock, Osamu hangs up his apron and calls out his goodbyes before heading back up to his apartment to freshen up. 

The least he can do is take a shower in the hopes it’ll rid himself of all remaining traces of the smell of sesame oil. He doesn’t bother dressing up, but he does brush his dark hair to the side in its usual part after towel-drying it. 

The sun has set by the time he reaches the izakaya they’ve scheduled to meet up at. It’s a little after seven, but he’s sure that the rest of his friends are already inside, getting an early start on drinking while waiting for everyone else to show up. A few people mill about outside, scattered bits of conversation drifting through the air, and Osamu starts to move towards the front door when he’s stopped by the sound of his name.

“Osamu?”

Osamu looks back over his shoulder to find Suna hovering a few feet away, his hands tucked into the pockets of his shorts as he slouches over. The direct address itself is wrapped in uncertainty, like he’s worried Osamu has decided to retract his invitation in the past couple of hours. Truthfully, Osamu is surprised Suna decided to show up at all.

When Osamu had mentioned dinner, Suna hadn’t been super enthusiastic about it, though Osamu supposes that lack of enthusiasm towards anything is characteristic of Suna. His response to the link and the time Osamu had sent had been a simple thumbs-up, and Osamu had left it at that. He had contemplated texting Atsumu in advance, but the nagging thought that Suna might not show up made him hesitate.

Looking at Suna now, he doesn’t look all that prepared to enter. It’s like he’s been waiting outside purposely for Osamu—just so he didn’t have to go in alone and face the barrage of inevitable interrogation from their former teammates.

“Hey,” Osamu says, turning in place. “You made it.”

“Yeah.” Suna approaches him, his strides slow. “I said I might.”

“I’m glad.” Osamu jerks his thumb in the direction of the izakaya. “I’m sure everyone else is inside already.”

“Right.”

Silence falls over them again, as it’s prone to do, and Osamu leads the way inside, holding the door open for Suna. 

The warm lighting creates an inviting atmosphere, dancing along the rims of half-filled glasses, and the chatter increases in volume once they enter, rising up to the ceiling. Most of the tables are filled, with customers nibbling at the dishes while carrying loud conversations, and waiters hustle through as they take orders and bring out more drinks. The smell of cigarette smoke and fried chicken is especially poignant, and Osamu allows all of the stress of a long day of work to escape him.

Osamu doesn’t miss how Suna hangs his head forward a bit, like the simple action can prevent him from being recognized in public. All of Suna’s efforts are for naught, though, as Atsumu calls Osamu’s name loudly from a table in the back corner. 

“Samu!” Atsumu calls, waving both of his arms in the air. “Over here.”

His eyes bulge when he registers the person right behind Osamu, and he falters, dropping his arms back to his sides. Next to him, Kosaku looks up from his phone long enough to follow Atsumu’s line of vision, and from this distance, Osamu notices how he stiffens. Gin is seated in front of the pair of them, but he rotates around as Osamu and Suna near their table. To Gin’s credit, he holds back his surprise, bobbing his head as he shuffles over in his seat.

“Hey,” Osamu greets them. With his hard gaze, he attempts to communicate with everyone seated at the table—don’t make this weird. It doesn’t work, considering Atsumu’s mouth starts to hang open like a dog’s might. “Look who I ran into today.”

The situation worsens when Suna barely offers a nod of acknowledgement. “Hi.”

Osamu never would’ve described Suna as ‘awkward’ before, but he’s starting to rethink that definition as Suna’s eyes flick between Osamu and the empty seat beside Atsumu, almost as if he’s asking for permission to sit down. In the end, Osamu makes the choice for him, plopping down beside Gin, leaving Suna with no other choice than to take the chair next to Atsumu.

Gin is the first to attempt to break the strain that hangs over their table. He braces his forearms against the edge as he leans forward. “Hey, Suna. Long time, no see. How have you been?”

“Good.”

“How—uh, what are you doin’ here? In Hyogo?” Kosaku clears his throat. “In Hyogo, I mean. Not here with us. I mean—in Hyogo.”

“I’m visiting,” Suna says. It’s the same flimsy answer he’d given Osamu, but Osamu doubts that the rest of them will be satisfied with such a curt response.

“Visitin’ who, Sunarin?” Atsumu finally manages to pull himself together to ask a question, but his jaw still slackens as his gaze runs over Suna, unable to process that he’s here in the flesh. This is borderline ridiculous at this point. Atsumu is the one that speaks with Suna the most, yet he’s staring like Suna has risen from the dead. Osamu is tempted to kick him beneath the table, and he would—if he wasn’t mildly concerned he might wind up kicking Suna instead.

Suna blinks. “Visiting Hyogo.”

Osamu can’t decide whether the urge to cry or laugh is stronger at the moment. “Suna’s just—around.”

“For how long?” Gin asks.

Suna shrugs.

“Right.” Gin offers a weak smile. “Well, it’s good to see ya. I’m glad you could join us tonight.”

“Osamu invited me. And I had no other plans.”

“I didn’t even know you were around,” Atsumu says, shooting an accusatory glance Osamu’s way. Osamu didn’t know Suna was around either up until a few hours ago. He’s not sure this glare is justified. “I didn’t know you’d gone to see Samu.”

“I made it here today,” Suna says. “I haven’t been here long.”

It gets even worse. The second-hand embarrassment is almost overwhelming. Osamu spins around in his seat, searching for a waiter in the near vicinity. “Didja order already?”

“No,” Atsumu says. “We were waitin’ for you cuz we’re great people.”

Osamu’s eyebrows lift. “That’s an odd way of sayin’ Gin’s a great person.”

Gin exhales loudly, his shoulders loosening. “Call someone over then instead of bickerin’.”

Kosaku hums his agreement, his focus shifting as his phone vibrates with a new notification. Suna looks between them. Back in high school, Suna might have responded to their petty squabble with eye roll or a dismissive noise. It’s like he’s holding himself back, restraining any side remark that twists the false front everyone is putting on, acting like this is another normal get-together rather than the first time any of them have spoken to Suna in a while—acting like Suna didn’t cut off all contact, slowly disentangling himself from Inarizaki and anything that kept him tethered to Hyogo. 

Osamu doesn’t know if it’ll last. He bets Atsumu will be the one to address the elephant in the room, as brash as he is. Sooner or later, the niceties will fall, and someone will ask a question Suna refuses to answer. This levity surrounding them is fragile, poised to crack at a given moment, and someone will snap. 

He’s not sure what he was thinking. It’s not like fitting Suna back into their lives like he’d never drifted apart is easy—or even fair. His first instinct has always been to be near Suna, but that’s not the case for everyone. Suna hasn’t ever given an explanation or an apology, so the rest of them aren’t required to hear him out. 

He should have thought this through more. 

A server flits past, and for a brief moment, the uneasiness lifts as everyone says their orders, and Osamu’s chest loosens.


One hour turns into two, and as the second hour tips into the third, they sit around the table, their stomachs happy and content, ordering refills when their glasses drain, and the initial awkwardness fades, too. The conversation flows smoother now, switching from one topic to the next as they rush to catch up on each others’ lives, and no one dares to question Suna further—which Osamu is grateful for.

Alcohol buzzes through his system, too, making his smile unrestrained and full, and his laugh becomes a little too loud as Kosaku recalls another story from work that makes Osamu’s insides pinch. He’s probably the most sober one at the table. Atsumu’s pretty far gone, Kosaku and Gin have had more than their fair share, and Suna—Suna has done more drinking than talking. It’s probably a blessing, but it means that it requires a certain amount of effort for him to remain upright in his seat and not drop his head onto the table. 

“That’s too funny,” Gin says, trying his best to stifle the remaining giggles that burst out of him.

“Speakin’ of work,” Kosaku says, shifting his attention towards Gin. “My birthday’s comin’ up.”

Gin stiffens. “And?”

“I want an actual good gift from you, Gin.”

“Hey! My gifts are always good.”

“Objection,” Osamu mutters, setting his empty glass down on the table with a thud. “Gin, you’ve become the worst gift-giver, and I’m includin’ Tsumu in that. Tsumu once bought me puddin’ for my birthday, and he’s still better at buyin’ gifts than you are nowadays.”

Suna raises an eyebrow. “What’s wrong with Gin’s gifts?”

“They’re always the same.” Kosaku pushes himself forward in his seat so that he can see Suna’s face from his position. “Gin used to really think about what he buys us for birthdays and shit. Now, each year, he gives me another coupon for a free personal trainin’ session at his gym.”

“They’re useful!” Gin protests. “You’re the ones that complain that havin’ a gym membership is too expensive.”

“Yeah,” Osamu says. “But it’s one free coupon. For a gym that’s all the way in Osaka.”

“Atsumu appreciates the coupons.”

Atsumu peels his cheek away from the surface of the table. “I appreciate what now?”

“Gin’s coupons.”

“Oh. I mean, I guess.”

Suna makes eye contact with Gin. His sleepy gaze has become even more pronounced the more he drinks, but there’s still an intensity to it that sends a shiver down Osamu’s spine. “You still work in Osaka, Gin?”

“Yeah,” Gin says, nodding, looking relieved at the change in topic. “I spend a lot of time in Hyogo, too.”

“Really? Why?”

Kosaku nudges Gin with his elbow across the table. “Cuz he wants to spend as much time as he can with Michinari.” Kosaku drags out Akagi’s name, putting on a sing-song voice, and it’s enough to make Osamu cackle, especially as a disgruntled look crosses Gin’s face.

“Michinari?” Suna looks between Kosaku and Gin. “You mean Akagi-senpai?”

“Yeah,” Osamu says. He drags his thumb along the outside of his glass, tracing the condensation that has formed. “He’s talkin’ about Akagi-san.”

“Why are you spending time with Akagi-senpai?” Suna’s eyebrows scrunch together, and Osamu’s chest squeezes at the sight. He almost wants to reach forward and press his fingers against the furrow. The temptation is so strong it almost leaves him winded, and he has to make the conscious effort to remain still. His feelings toward Suna are already conflicting enough, trying to understand whether he’s more overjoyed to have Suna back or upset that Suna’s allowed the distance to form in the first place. He doesn’t need this right now.

No one answers Suna’s question right away, and the silence that cuts across the table stings enough that Osamu chooses to put everyone out of their misery. “It’s cuz they’re datin’, Suna.”

Suna’s eyes widen almost imperceptibly. “Really? Since when?”

Either Suna hasn’t noticed how Gin’s shoulders have tensed up—or he’s chosen to ignore it. Osamu thinks it must be the former. A little inebriated, a little loopy, Suna hasn’t caught onto the discomfort hanging over everyone seated at their table. 

“Um,” Gin says. “We’re comin’ up on two years now.”

“Oh.” Suna realizes his mistake a little too late, but there’s no chance to backtrack. He lets out a sigh, then does what Suna always does. He digs himself a deeper hole. “I didn’t know you two were together.”

“Yeah, well.” Gin shrugs, and for a second, there’s a glimmer of hope that nothing else will be said to ruin the evening. For a second, Osamu is almost relieved. But then it all shatters. “Maybe if you were around, you might’ve known.”

Out of all the people, Osamu wouldn’t have bet on Gin being the one to tackle the elephant in the room. But he supposes he should’ve expected this—rash, passionate Gin. Of course, Gin would snap first. He’s not prone to anger, not like Atsumu or even Osamu, but he does have a tendency to speak without meaning to. It’s evident now, as he claps his hand over his mouth like he can take back what he said.

Kosaku sits up straight for the first time in two hours, a little wide-eyed. There’s a gleam in Atsumu’s eyes, like he’s been waiting for someone to break first, and he sits his chin on his folded arms as he slouches over the table. 

“Sorry,” Gin whispers, peeling his hand away. “I didn’t mean that.”

Osamu knocks his hand against the side of Gin’s head. “Ginjima.”

“It’s fine, Osamu,” Suna cuts in. He looks over at Gin again, the wariness in his gaze gone. “That’s on me. You’re right.”

“No, I shouldn’t have—”

“But you did mean it.” Suna tilts his head to the side. “Didn’t you?”

Gin doesn’t know how to respond to that.

“Don’t worry about it, Gin,” Suna assures him. “I’m not mad.”

“Clearly, Gin is,” Atsumu mumbles.

“I’m not mad.”

“Yes, you are,” Suna corrects.

Kosaku squints, his head whipping between everyone seated at the table, his brain struggling to process the exchange at hand. “Okay. What is goin’ on?”

Suna stares at Gin, willing him to speak further, and this is a little more like the Suna Osamu remembers: a bit bratty, ready to provoke at a moment’s notice. Gin almost winces, leaning back a little from the force of Suna’s gaze.

“Gin’s just callin’ Suna out for bein’ flaky,” Atsumu murmurs to Kosaku. Although he speaks in a monotone voice, there’s an edge to it that Osamu notices, and he glares at Atsumu as he sits up. 

“Oh,” Kosaku says. The pause that follows is almost painful, and everyone seems to be aware of it. “Right.”

It’s almost unbearable. His shoulders tense up, and his spine remains rigid. Osamu feels like a rubber band poised to snap, and as he looks across the table at Suna, regret floods through him. It was a mistake to invite Suna, especially without warning everyone else beforehand. Even though his intentions had been well-meaning, it’s idiotic for him to expect everything to smooth over, considering his own attitude towards Suna is so convoluted. 

Just as Osamu opens his mouth in an attempt to break the silence, Suna interrupts. 

Suna knocks Atsumu on the side of his head with a light tap of his fist. “I know I’m flaky,” Suna says, ignoring Atsumu’s protests. “You don’t have to spell it out for me. I know I’ve been shitty these past couple of years.”

“Ow.” Atsumu cradles his head and glowers at Suna. “I’ve been tellin’ you for years to reach out again. It’s not our fault you decided to miss out on so much.”

“I know.” Suna drops his arm. “I accept that. I never suggested otherwise.” Suna rests his forearms against the edge of the table. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry.”

“Then why didja do it?” Gin asks, not unkindly. 

Suna ducks his head. “I don’t know,” he says in a rare case of vulnerability. “I don’t know how to explain it other than that it just...happened.” Suna shrugs. “You get a little busier, then you miss one reunion, then the next, and by the time another invitation comes around, you overthink it. You just stop showing up at all.”

“I get that,” Kosaku says before anyone else has a chance to respond. “It’s like when you miss one episode of this show you really like, and then you forget to watch it and you wind up missin’ the next episode. Then they all pile up, and you’re there, like, ‘Do I even bother?’” Kosaku sips at his drink, ignoring the dumbfounded looks that are directed his way. “That reminds me. I recorded a show last night. I’m gonna watch that when I get home.”

“Kosaku’s bein’ dumb,” Osamu says. “But he might have just said somethin’ smart.”

“I’m smart. Occasionally.”

“Usually not.”

“Oi. It’s been known to happen.”

“Barely.” Atsumu looks doubtful, and he looks sideways over at Suna. “That doesn’t mean we forgive you.”

“Oh, shut up, Tsumu,” Osamu says. “He talked to you more than he talked to the rest of us. I dunno why you’re gettin’ all pissy on our behalf.”

“I’m bein’ a good friend! And a good brother.”

“A good friend would pick up the tab,” Gin mutters, and Osamu cracks a laugh beside him. “If you’re really feelin’ generous.”

The rest of them burst into laughter, and Atsumu makes outraged noises as no one comes to his aid. It takes a bit for them all to settle down again, and Osamu’s stomach aches as he relaxes back into his seat. 

“It’s not like we’re all gonna forgive you right away,” Gin says, turning back to the conversation at hand. “It might take us a while.”

Suna nods. “Right.”

“Especially if you’re plannin’ on distancin’ yourself as soon as you leave. That ain’t cool.”

“I—” Suna breaks off before recovering. “I wasn’t planning on it.”

“Good.” Gin jerks his head in a shaky nod, looking less like the distressed teenager Gin had been back in high school and more like the grounded adult he’d become. “Then we can work somethin’ out.” A pause. “You shoulda said somethin’.”

Suna shrugs.

“Good to know you’re as talkative as you were back in high school.” Gin pinches the bridge of his nose. “I guess you haven’t changed much.”

Osamu isn’t sure he agrees with Gin. Whenever he looks over at Suna, he becomes acutely aware of all the ways Suna has changed—from his shorter hair to his height and build. There are all of the minor details, too—like how his smiles are easier to come by and how he’s carried himself with uncertainty from the moment Osamu laid eyes on him earlier that afternoon.

“Not really,” Suna agrees. “Not everyone is like Atsumu. We don’t all have contracts with some of the biggest sports brands in Tokyo.”

“Sunarin, you’re testin’ me tonight.” Atsumu attempts to whack Suna on the nose, but Suna has the better reflexes at the moment, and his fingers wind around Atsumu’s wrist before he gets anywhere near Suna. “Lemme go.”

Suna listens, and his grip loosens before Atsumu frees himself. No one else seems to catch the faint smile that ghosts across Suna’s mouth as he hunches forward, like Gin’s words have hit their mark.

Gin is wrong. Suna has changed significantly since high school. 

And Osamu still isn’t sure what to make of it.


“Suna.”

Suna peels his eyes open, peering over at Osamu where he stands a few feet away from the outside of the izakaya, and he shifts his weight against the wall as he stands, using the building for support. The streetlamps reflect across his skin, and the smells of smoke and alcohol still cling to his edges. Even now, he’s still a little drunk, a fact Osamu is painfully aware of. 

He supposes it’s his fault. As soon as Suna fell asleep against the table, Atsumu had met his eyes and said one thing: “You brought him. It’s yer job to get him to his hotel in one piece.”

It was perfectly good logic, so Osamu has no right being annoyed with Atsumu over it. Except—that he is. He is because it’s later than he thought, the air feels thick and heavy, and he has a shift later in the afternoon. It’s not like he’s sober either, and right now, he’s craving a good night’s sleep and a lie-in tomorrow morning. The only thing that prevents him from seeing that through at the moment is none other than Suna Rintarou. 

“Suna.”

Suna’s eyelids flutter shut, and Osamu suppresses the groan building up inside of him. 

“Suna. Sunarin.

“Oh. This must be serious.” Suna speaks without opening his eyes, though his lip quirks up. “You never call me Sunarin. Only Atsumu does.”

“It is serious.” Osamu marches over until he’s close enough to catch a whiff of Suna’s breath, and his nose wrinkles. He winds his arm with Suna’s and urges him to move forward. “It’s late, and I’m tired. I wanna go home.”

With Suna’s arm tangled in his, there is no other option but to walk with their sides pressed together, their shoulders brushing against each other, and he feels every shift of Suna’s body as he helplessly follows along, matching the small steps Osamu takes. It’s the closest they’ve been in years, their elbows nestled against each other, and Osamu can’t enjoy it because he’s too focused on making sure Suna doesn’t trip over his own feet. 

“I’m tired, too,” Suna says, right as a yawn overcomes him. “I’m sleepy. I’m drunk.”

“I can tell.”

“You’re not that bad, though.”

“I didn’t drink that much.” Osamu pulls out his phone and squints at the address Suna had typed out for the hotel he’s staying in. It’s only a few blocks away, but even that distance becomes insurmountable when they’re moving at the pace of a snail. “It’s called knowin’ yer limits.”

“Hah. Funny.”

“You didn’t laugh.”

“Mm.” Suna dips his head down until he rests against Osamu’s shoulder, and Osamu stiffens without thinking about it. “Sorry about that.”

“It’s fine.” Osamu adjusts Suna’s head so that it’s more comfortable for the both of them, but after a few seconds of fumbling, all he’s succeeded in doing is ruining Suna’s hair further. “Suna. For fuck’s sake.”

“Yes?” There’s a teasing edge to it, one that Osamu feels down to the warmth gathering in his stomach, and it’s such a forgotten feeling that his first instinct is to ignore it. 

“We’re almost there,” Osamu says, guiding Suna down a right turn. Suna lifts his head from Osamu’s shoulder long enough to confirm his surroundings before dropping it back again. “Stop fallin’ asleep on me.”

“I can’t help it. I’m tired.”

“So am I. The sooner we getcha to yer hotel, the sooner we can both go to sleep.”

Suna hums in acknowledgement. “What are you doing tomorrow?”

“Me?”

“Yes, you. Who else would I be talking to? There’s no one else around.”

“Um, I have work.” 

His shift isn’t until later in the afternoon. If he’s being honest, since the end of the season, he’s spent most of his time juggling his job and catching up with his family. It’s rare that he gets to see Atsumu for more than a day at a time, and it’s just as hard for him to meet up with his parents for dinner. Whenever he’s in Hyogo, his priorities shift. He wouldn’t change it for the world, though. He likes the familiarity of it all—of being where he’s grown up since birth, of having his family so close, of being set apart from the rush and hustle of Tokyo. 

“In the afternoon,” Osamu clarifies. “I get to sleep in tomorrow mornin’.”

“Lucky you,” Suna coos. 

“Lucky me,” Osamu echoes. His eyes watch Suna out of the edge of his vision. Suna’s own eyelids keep drooping, like it requires more effort for him to keep them open, and his head falls forward. At this angle, the sharpness to his cheekbones becomes more pronounced, and Osamu traces them with his eyes before catching himself. “Anyway. Why didja ask?”

Suna shrugs. “I don’t know. I don’t have any plans.”

“This is what happens when you come to Hyogo without tellin’ anyone,” Osamu says.

“Fine. Fair enough.”

“Tsumu’s free. You can ask him to hang out if you wanna.”

“Yeah.” Suna barks out a laugh. “Right.” He falls silent after a moment, and Osamu thinks back to their evening and how Atsumu had been so frank in bringing up Suna’s absence over the past couple of years. It was harsh, and Osamu doesn’t blame Suna for not wanting to prolong that. “Maybe I’ll sightsee. Or something.”

“Sightsee?” Osamu repeats doubtfully. “You lived here for years. What do you wanna sightsee?”

“I don’t know.” There’s a trace of sadness to the statement, enough to make Osamu search for the unsaid words. He can’t find them. His mind is bogged down with exhaustion, and it’s not easy reading Suna. “I don’t know what to do.”

It doesn’t sound like they’re talking about Suna’s immediate plans for tomorrow anymore. “Suna?”

Suna swallows. “It’s fine. I’ll figure something out.” He ignores the concerned look Osamu sends his way, tilting his head back to the dark sky, and right as they cross beneath a streetlamp, he blinks against the harsh beam. “If I’m really desperate, I’ll call Atsumu.”

Osamu’s mouth twists. He wants to say something more, but he doesn’t know how to provide reassurance when Suna’s thoughts are so hidden. “You have my permission to strangle him if he’s too annoyin’.”

“He’s always annoying,” Suna says. “I’m used to it.”

“Prolly for the best.”

Osamu turns them down a left street. If the directions on his phone are correct, there’s one final block separating them from the hotel Suna’s staying at. One more block—and then he’ll be rid of all his obligations for the night. 

But on the other hand, he thinks as he tightens his grip around Suna’s arm, he has to say goodbye to Suna without knowing when they’ll see each other again. Earlier that afternoon, they had parted ways with the hope of meeting up at the izakaya, so it hadn’t been a proper goodbye. Suna said that it wasn’t his intention to distance himself as soon as he leaves Hyogo, but intentions and actions don’t always coincide. His words don’t necessarily match up with reality, and there’s a great possibility that Suna will disappear without a trace like he’s done before.

The reminder leaves a bitter taste on his tongue, one that he felt intermittently throughout dinner, especially when the rest of his friends confronted Suna on his absence the past couple of years. Osamu hadn’t been able to bring himself to join in, not wanting to worsen the situation, but he wonders if—once he gets past the initial surprise of Suna being around again—those feelings of irritation will swarm up, as potent as before. 

He doesn’t want to be angry with Suna. It’s always been hard to be angry with Suna, even back in high school when he’d steal food from Osamu’s bento or he’d lump Osamu in with Atsumu’s idiocy, murmuring, “The Miyas are back at it again.”

But he remembers the ache that resided within him whenever Kita told him that Suna wasn’t coming to another reunion or whenever his messages were left on read or whenever he realized that his fleeting glimpses of Suna were contained to EJP matches he caught. He remembers how that ache transformed into irritation—at Suna for not being around and not attempting to reach out. It came dangerously close to resentment a few times, enough that Osamu had debated deleting Suna’s contact information on occasion to make the break permanent.

It never wound up happening, but it was close. Too close. 

Now, as he looks at Suna, the familiar echoes of the ache remain, but—there’s something else, too. He’s not sure it’s irritation or even resentment. It’s a foreign sensation, but he’s toed the line of this feeling before. 

“It’s here,” Suna announces, breaking Osamu out of his train of thought. “We made it.”

“Thank goodness,” Osamu says, straightening. Reluctantly, Osamu untangles his arm from Suna’s, and Suna ambles close to the front door, bracing a hand against the outside wall of the hotel for support. “Do you think you can get up to yer room alright?”

Suna snorts. “I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about me.”

“I always gotta worry about you, Suna.” He follows behind a few paces, just to make sure Suna gets to the door in one piece. “You’re a mess.”

“Am not.”

“Are too.”

Suna twists until his back rests against the wall, and he stretches his legs out. His feet almost trip Osamu over, and he mumbles a quiet, “Oops,” before a smile ghosts over his lips. His face is still flushed, his smile a little loopy, and his eyes lose some of their sharpness as they land on Osamu. He’s in a bit of a haze, and Osamu would be lying if he said it wasn’t endearing to see Suna look anything less than put-together. 

“You should get some sleep,” Osamu says, tucking his hands into his pockets. “You look fuckin’ exhausted.”

“Thanks. Glad to know I look like shit.”

“You do look like shit.”

“Aw, Osamu.” Suna splays a hand over his heart. “Be a little more gentle, would you? That almost hurt my feelings.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Osamu sends a half-hearted kick Suna’s way, but even as drunk as he is, Suna dodges with surprising grace. “You hurt my feelings all the time. So that makes us even.”

It’s meant to be a light-hearted remark, but his voice drops and there’s a hint of severity dripping from his words, enough that Suna pauses. Osamu feels Suna’s eyes looking and searching, and regret burns at the back of his mouth. He’s danced too close to the truth tonight, and Suna isn’t stupid. He might have been oblivious to Osamu’s feelings all throughout high school, but Suna is far from stupid. 

Regardless, this isn’t a conversation he wants to have tonight. 

“Kiddin’, Suna,” Osamu says, lifting his head. 

Suna blinks, his lips parted as he simply stares, and the sight of Suna looking at Osamu with such focus for the first time in an eternity is what makes Osamu come undone. It’s a punch to the gut, and his breath wheezes out of him almost painfully. He’d thought that whatever feelings he’d harbored towards Suna Rintarou had vanished after high school, after neither of them had said or done anything to act on those feelings, and he’d been certain that they would never return after the distance became noticeable. 

If he’d known that Suna’s mere presence was all it took to make that passion surge upwards again, Osamu might have tried harder to stay away. He might have turned Suna away at Onigiri Miya, and he might not have looked back. 

It almost chokes him, and he’s grateful that Suna’s too drunk to notice anything out of the ordinary, because he feels winded. 

“I don’t hurt your feelings,” Suna says, sounding a bit miffed at the accusation. 

“No,” Osamu says, though it sounds half-hearted, even to him. “You don’t.”

Suna blinks, looking like he might say something more, but the resolve leaves him in the next instant. He pushes himself upward. “I’m tired. I’m going to sleep.”

“You should. It’s late.”

“Mm. What time is your shift again?”

“One-thirty.” Osamu raises an eyebrow. “Why?”

Suna shrugs. “Just wondering.” He glances up at his hotel and peers through the inviting light of the lobby. “Thanks again for inviting me tonight.”

Osamu winces. It wasn’t the most peaceful of evenings for sure. “Actually, I feel like I gotta apologize. Tonight was—”

“Deserved,” Suna finishes. He levels Osamu with a hard look that dares him to disagree. Osamu doesn’t. “I expected you to be angry with me when you saw me this afternoon. Gin, Atsumu, and Kosaku being pissed is...expected.”

“You want me to be angry with you?” Osamu asks.

“I don’t want it,” Suna corrects. He crosses his arms over his chest. “But I know it’d be deserved. So.”

Osamu lets out a long sigh. He doesn’t want to confront his annoyance with Suna tonight—not so soon after Osamu’s gotten him back. “I’m too tired to be angry at you today, Suna.”

Suna nods, digesting Osamu’s admittance. “Okay,” he says. “Then I guess I’ll have to see you again really soon. You can be angry with me then.”

Osamu accepts this with a slow nod of his own. His own weariness creeps through as he murmurs, “Sounds good.”

“Okay,” Suna repeats. His gaze lingers on Osamu a little longer, and Osamu flushes beneath it. He hopes Suna believes it’s the alcohol’s doing, rather than the attention’s fault. “I’m going to bed.” He drops his arms back to his sides. “Good night, Osamu.”

“Good night, Suna,” Osamu says, his voice hushed. 

Suna’s lips curve upward even more, and it’s almost a real smile before Suna ducks through the entrance and disappears into the hotel. Osamu waits a minute before starting his walk home. Meanwhile, the entire time, his stomach twists, and he can’t decide if it’s a good thing or not. 


By the time Osamu stirs the next morning, his headache is a faint buzz at the back of his skull, easy to ignore as long as he attends to the most imperative thing after a night of drinking with Atsumu and the others: his empty stomach. He takes his time cooking a spinach omelet for himself while cradling a warm cup of tea, and he lets his body reorient himself after the mental whiplash he experienced yesterday.

Part of it still feels like a fever dream. The evidence that assures him it wasn’t is a picture Suna sends him of the view from his hotel room, followed up with a text that states: Ugh.

These are the weird chats he’d missed over the years. It’s not like they’re anything special, but they’re quintessential Suna, always snapshotting the strange sights that make him laugh and sharing them with anyone and everyone. Osamu opens another group chat next, one with Atsumu, Gin, and Kosaku.

Kosaku Yuto

Fuck you guys for letting me drink so much

Ginjima Hitoshi

If anything you should apologize to us for the nonsense you spewed last night

How was your show

Kosaku Yuto

It was great, thanks for asking

It’s not like all of us have a LOVING AND COMMITTED PARTNER TO RETURN HOME TO

            Miya Osamu

pls spare us the details gin

Ginjima Hitoshi

Don’t be jealous cuz i’m getting some and neither of you are

Or is that why Suna’s back

Osamu’s still whipped?

Before Osamu has the chance to send a scathing reply, Kosaku beats him to it.

Kosaku Yuto

Oh Osamu is definitely whipped

@Atsumu confirm

Miya Osamu

i am NOT whipped

and good luck getting ahold of tsumu

he’s going to be asleep until three

so fuck you

Kosaku Yuto

Well whatever

We don’t need Atsumu to confirm the obvious

We’ve got EYES

Ginjima Hitoshi

And Osamu’s only got eyes for Suna

Just like high school sigh

Miya Osamu

you guys are the worst

i don’t even know how i feel about suna atm

so stop being dicks

Ginjima Hitoshi

You didn’t seem annoyed with him last night

You were the only one coming to his defense

Miya Osamu

yeah cuz the rest of you were ganging up on him

and i felt responsible

cuz i invited him you know

Kosaku Yuto

Hm 

Overruled

Methinks you’re just so happy to have him back cuz you never actually got over him

You just got sad he wasn’t around

And basically abandoned us

Ginjima Hitoshi

Easy Kosaku

Poor Osamu is on a rollercoaster rn

He has to figure out if he wants to punch or kiss Suna on his own terms

Miya Osamu

im leaving

and gin it took you almost a decade to realize you liked akagi-senpai so again

FUCK YOU

Miya Atsumu

what did i miss

oh yeah samu’s definitely whipped

That’s Osamu’s cue to turn off his phone. He’s finished his late breakfast, and he has an hour to spare until his shift begins. He intends to enjoy it—and it does not mean addressing his conflicting thoughts towards Suna at the moment.


Osamu’s shift at Onigiri Miya is a welcome distraction from the messages that have been on the back of his mind since this morning. He can lose himself in the quick conversations he shares with customers and co-workers alike. He can pretend that he isn’t hopelessly confused as long as he’s making onigiri in the kitchen and blending in with the rest of the staff. 

He can pretend—so long as Suna doesn’t storm through and ruin all of his sensibility. Which he does, three hours after Osamu’s shift has started. 

The traffic within Onigiri Miya has slowed after lunch, as it does when the afternoon tips closer to the evening, and Osamu usually relishes the easy pace that demands less of him. It’s different now, because the lack of customers begging for his immediate attention means that Suna can single him out behind the counter, and Osamu is powerless to do anything except come closer.

“Okay,” Osamu says, plucking his cap off his head to run a hand through his hair. “What are ya doin’ here? I thought you went sightseein’.”

Suna’s eyebrows lift. “I did,” he says. “I went on a morning run—”

“—so you went runnin’ around noon?”

Suna breaks off to glare at him, and Osamu can’t even hide his snicker as he drops his cap back on his head, adjusting it so that the front is straight. 

“I stopped by that convenience store we used to go to all the time after practice,” Suna continues. “I didn’t know the previous owner passed away.”

“Yeah. Not that long ago. Three years, maybe.”

Suna nods at the confirmation. “I tried going to Inarizaki, too,” Suna says. “But the gym was locked.”

Osamu pauses. He makes direct eye contact with Suna, his gaze hardening. “You went to Inarizaki? And you expected to be able to get into the gym?”

“Um. I mean, I’d hoped—”

“I’m shocked you actually got that far,” Osamu says. “School just started back up, you know.”

He’s been to Inarizaki a few times since graduation, mostly to visit old teachers or participate in career fairs. Usually, he stops by at Akagi’s request, but he spends quite a bit of his time catering to Inarizaki High School events, too. He’s created a bit of a reputation for himself as the local onigiri man, and it precedes him enough that swarms of students stop by Onigiri Miya after classes finish and pick up takeout meals for their walks home. 

There are many that he recognizes by name, just because they’re around so often, and he’ll talk to them about Nationals and his experience on the volleyball team when he has the spare time. He talks about Atsumu and the rest of his former teammates. He talks about Suna sometimes, too, when the pain isn’t as present. 

“Oh.” Suna purses his lips. “I forgot.”

“You forgot.”

“It’s been a while.”

“Why didja wanna get into the gym, anyway?” Osamu asks. A customer strides up to the register, and Osamu subtly motions for Kaito to take care of it. Osamu takes a step to the side to give Kaito the space he needs to take the order, and from the other side of the glass, Suna mirrors him. 

Suna shrugs, but the gesture isn’t as nonchalant as all of the previous times. Osamu doesn’t know how he’s aware of it. But he is. 

“Kurosu-sensei doesn’t coach anymore,” Osamu says. “So it’s not like you’ll be allowed in, anyway.”

“Oh.” Suna’s shoulders sag. All of the little details that he’s missed because of his absence must pile up on him, and Osamu doesn’t know how to lessen the weight without omitting the information completely. But if Suna had enough courage to come back at all, Osamu has faith that he can withstand all of the changes since. “I didn’t know that.”

“Oomi-san coaches now,” Osamu says, referring to their other coach during their high school careers. “If you still wanna get in.”

Suna straightens with renewed interest, and Osamu squints at him. The gym is important to Suna for some reason, and he can’t fathom why Suna is so insistent on getting in. “Is he?”

“Yeah,” Osamu says. “But you could just ask someone else for the keys.”

Suna raises one eyebrow. “Who?”

“Well.” Osamu flattens his hands against the surface of the counter. “Oomi-san is one of the coaches. Akagi-senpai is the other.”

“Oh.” Suna blinks. “Oh.” 

“If you really wanna get into the gym, askin’ Akagi-san might be easier. ‘Course, he’ll prolly ask questions.” Osamu gives Suna a meaningful look, but Suna, as per usual, chooses to ignore it. “He ain’t gonna give it to you just cuz you asked for it. You’ll have to explain yourself.”

“Mm.” Suna’s features smooth out, like he’s reached the resolution he’s needed. “We’ll see about that.”

“Hm.” One of his staff members nudges Osamu out of the way as she passes through, taking her place next to Kaito, and Osamu steps forward. “So are you gonna explain yourself to me at least?”

This time, Suna visibly hesitates, and the physical reaction reminds Osamu that no matter how much he wants to cross the gap between them, it won’t disappear overnight. It’s a continuous process, and it’s worsened with the fact that he and Suna might be out of sync. He also doesn’t know how much Suna wants to cross that gap—if he even wants to at all. 

For all Osamu knows, this might just be a thing of convenience for Suna. The two of them were close back in high school, and so, out of everyone still living in Hyogo, it makes sense that Suna would seek out Osamu first, like he said yesterday. 

“Um,” Suna says. “It’s kinda stupid.”

“Really?”

“It isn’t anything serious,” Suna says. “You don’t have to worry or anything. I just wanted to walk around.”

It’s not the full answer. They’re both aware of it, and Osamu is also aware of the fact that there’s a limit to how much Suna is willing to divulge. Suna is not the kind of person that likes being pestered repeatedly. If anything, the more he’s bothered, the more resistant Suna is to whatever suggestions or questions are asked of him. He’s stubborn that way, as Osamu knows best. 

He can’t push as hard as he’d like, especially considering he doesn’t know where the lines are drawn.

“Okay,” Osamu says. “Then Akagi-senpai prolly won’t mind. You’ll hafta ask him.”

“I will,” Suna says. 

Osamu shoots him a doubtful look. For all of Suna’s insistence in wanting to enter the gym, Osamu can’t imagine Suna seeking Akagi out on his own. “Will you?”

“Yeah. I will.”

“Do you even know where he lives? Do you have his phone number?”

“I—” Suna stammers, then breaks off with a scowl. “No. I thought I could just show up at Inarizaki.”

“While he’s at work?” Osamu demands, an incredulous trace to the question. 

He can visualize how poorly that would turn out—successful alumnus and future Olympian Suna Rintarou barging in during Akagi’s PE classes demanding to be allowed entry into the specific gym set aside for volleyball practice. He thinks Akagi would laugh it off, as he does everything else, only to get silent once he realizes that Suna is being serious. It’s as absurd as it is ridiculous, and it’s a true testament to Suna’s one track mind if he doesn’t see that, too. 

“Clearly I didn’t think it through,” Suna says, eyeing Osamu like he’s reading his train of thought. “Where does he live?”

“Not far from here. Gin’s livin’ with him now, too, so it’ll prolly be less awkward to just show up out of nowhere. I can text you his address if you’re still keen.”

“That’d be nice.” Suna’s gaze drifts downward towards the glass display, and he peruses all of the available options laid out in front of him.

“You hungry?” Osamu asks, following his line of vision. “I can getcha some.”

“I’m not really hungry,” Suna admits. His mouth twists. “I thought maybe it’d be nice to take some back with me to the hotel. I don’t know if I’m in the mood for room service.”

“Well.” Osamu spreads out his arms. “What can I getcha then?”

It takes Suna a minute to decide on his order, and while Osamu prepares it especially for him, as he’s done several times over the course of their lives, he pictures the gym in his mind. It’s been a while since he’s stopped by, and even longer since he stepped into the building as a team player. But he recalls the smell of rubber and sweat like it was yesterday, and he wonders if his footfalls would sound the same if he went back now. 

Suna isn’t ready to reveal why he’s so determined to enter again, but for a brief second, Osamu recognizes the appeal. Maybe it’s the nostalgia talking—or maybe he’s thinking that it would be nice to retrace his steps with Suna in a place they spent countless hours inhabiting—but he gets it. 

It’s why he surreptitiously takes out his phone once he hands Suna his order over the counter, and he shoots a quick text message to Gin.

Miya Osamu

you busy later?

Ginjima Hitoshi

Dude I’m on vacation

I’m not busy

Ever

What’s up

Miya Osamu

can i come by a little after dinner

Ginjima Hitoshi

You don’t have to ask

You can barge in whenever you’d like

Within reason 

Is Suna coming too

Miya Osamu

no 

Ginjima Hitoshi

Trouble in paradise? 

Miya Osamu

            you’re on thin ice ginjima

see you later


Akagi’s apartment isn’t far from Onigiri Miya, set apart from the busier streets and located closer to the high school for convenience. If he’s being honest, it’s less Akagi’s apartment and more Akagi-and-Gin’s apartment as time passes, and Osamu can’t even count the amount of times he’s dropped off onigiri orders to Akagi or spent the evening lounged across the couch as Gin recalls the last embarrassing dinner he had with his co-workers. He’s followed the route to their apartment enough that it’s ingrained in his memory, and as he buzzes the intercom to let himself into the building, he waits for the telltale chime. 

Gin still looks a little weary when he opens the door, offering a pleasant smile. He’s dressed in a sweatshirt that has the kanji for ‘Akagi’ embroidered on the breast pocket. “Hey.”

“Hey,” Osamu greets, kicking off his shoes in the genkan. His feet find the slippers set apart for guests. “Sorry for stoppin’ by on short notice.”

“Dude. I don’t care.” Gin tucks his hands into the pockets of his sweatpants and leads the way down the hall. “You know I’m not doin’ anythin’.”

“Still.” Osamu follows behind. “I feel weird not warnin’ you in advance.”

“It’s fine. Seriously.” 

Gin brings them into the kitchen, where the apartment overlooks the living room. It’s a cozy and homey place to live, but it’s evident that its intention is that it suits one person, not two. It’s practical for now, as Gin isn’t around nearly often enough that it warrants buying a bigger place, and the location puts Akagi in a convenient spot in order to get to work as quickly as possible. 

The interior is not as tidy as it often is, which is fair considering two people are occupying the small space at the moment. The pillows are left askew across the cushions, the dishes are starting to pile up within the sink, and several fitness magazines are spread out across the counter. If it were anyone but Osamu, Gin would probably be more embarrassed about the current state of the place.

As it is, Gin merely shoves the magazines aside, and he taps the teapot resting on top of the stove. “I was makin’ some Hojicha. You want some?”

“Yes, please.” Osamu slides into a stool on the other side of the island, and he props his forearms onto the surface. “Thanks.”

Gin nods and pours out enough for two cups. While he saves one for himself, he shoves the other one beneath Osamu’s nose, and Osamu takes it from him gratefully.

“Thanks,” Osamu repeats again. 

“No problem.” Gin rests back against the counter, blowing gently on his drink lest he burn his tongue. “So. What made you wanna stop by?”

Instead of answering, Osamu twists his head around, looking in the direction of the connecting apartment that leads to the bathroom and the single bedroom. “Is Akagi-senpai here?”

“Um, yes. He’s nappin’ right now, though.”

“Oh. Okay.” He supposes he can wait a little longer. It’s not worth rousing him from sleep. “I wanted to ask him somethin’, but it’s fine.”

“Wow. You come here to talk to Michinari—and not me. You’re a great friend.” The teasing lilt to his voice is difficult to miss, but Gin purposely says it so deadpan that Osamu hesitates. “Kiddin’. He should be wakin’ up soon, anyway. Otherwise, he won’t sleep when it’s actually time for bed.”

“Don’t wake him yet,” Osamu says. “Leave him a little longer.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Gin takes his first sip, and he smacks his lips together. “How’s Suna?”

A jolt rushes through him. It’s not like much time has passed since this afternoon, but it’s odd how easily it’s reverted back to how it once was. Suna is connected to Osamu, and Osamu is connected to Suna, and no matter how far apart they are from each other, their teammates always assume that wherever one is, the other isn’t far behind. They follow each other to practice, to class, to the convenience store near their school.

The problem is that they haven’t followed each other beyond that. They didn’t follow each other through their careers. Osamu doesn’t think it’s fair lumping them together so soon, but he supposes Suna is shadowing him, reminiscent of how they used to orbit around each other all the time. 

“Suna’s...Suna,” Osamu says lamely. He lifts his cup to his mouth and sips. The tea is still hot, but unlike Gin, he doesn’t mind it. “You know how he is.”

“Have you seen him today already?”

“Yeah.” Osamu sets his cup down. “He stopped by the restaurant while I was on my shift.”

“Oh?” Gin quirks an eyebrow. “Ain’t that interestin’.”

Osamu presses his eyes shut for a brief second before peering at Gin again. “It’s not interestin’. He’s just bored. Doesn’t know what to do with himself.” 

“Yeah, I see that. It’s his fault for comin’ to Hyogo without a concrete plan.”

“I don’t think he has any sort of plan at all. I literally think he came here on a whim.”

“That sounds like him. I’m surprised he’s here at all, considerin’ he’s been absent these past few years.” Gin takes another long sip, slurping at the edge. “Still. How do you feel about that?”

Osamu pauses. “About him bein’ here now?”

“Sure.” Gin shrugs. “Whatever. How do you feel about him at the moment?” Gin twists his hand in the air. “Are you happy that he’s back? Are you upset with him? Angry?” A pause. “You still whipped for him?”

Osamu snatches the nearest magazine and tosses it over the island. It hits Gin square in the face, and it’s only due to his quick reflexes that he manages to avoid spilling his tea. He places his cup on the table and reaches down to retrieve the magazine from where it fell onto the floor. 

“That was uncalled for,” Gin says, placing it on top of the others. “I invite you into my apartment, and this is how you treat me.”

Osamu grips the edge of the island. “I am not whipped.”

Gin looks over at him then, and if Osamu doesn’t know any better, he’d say Gin almost looks sorry for him. “Osamu.”

“What?”

“You were so—” Gin trails off, searching for the right word. “Smitten? Yeah. You really did have a thing for him back in high school. I mean, everyone knew it, except for Suna himself.” Gin’s voice drops into more of a whisper. “Isn’t that why his absence hit you harder than it hit the rest of us?”

His grip tightens. The wave of emotions threatens to drag him under again, but he refuses to let it happen. Not here in front of Gin. “Shut yer trap, Gin.”

“Sorry.” Gin holds up his hands in faux surrender. He’s not like Atsumu, who kept teasing Osamu over his crush for years, even after they’d graduated and it seemed like nothing would happen. Atsumu doesn’t recognize the points at which he should stop. Gin does. “I’m just askin’. I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“I’m not upset.”

“Sure. Well. Are you still whipped?”

Osamu thinks back to last night, when all it had taken was a single look all for him, and that affection nearly crushed him. But—he’s not sure if it’s the same feelings of longing or some kind of nostalgia that seeks to rewind the past. The truth is that he doesn’t know this new version of Suna, who’s changed in many ways and who’s stayed the same in others, and he doesn’t want to believe himself in love with a version of Suna that doesn’t exist.

He knows for certain that he was in love with Suna Rintarou back in high school. He doesn’t know if he’s in love with Suna Rintarou now.

“I—” Osamu releases his hold on the table. He winces. “I dunno.”

Gin gives him a hard look. “You don’t know.”

“Gin, do I gotta remind you that it took you nearly a decade to realize you liked Akagi-senpai? How many fuckin’ times did we have to listen to you say that, if you had to fuck one of our senpais, you would choose Akagi-san? And you still thought you two were platonic.”

This brings on a scowl, and deservedly so. “Okay. I get it. I’m just sayin’—I’m older and wiser now, and you’re the clueless idiot this time around, so I get to make fun of you.” Gin takes a long gulp of his tea until the rest is drained, and he sets it back on the island with a clatter. “Do you wanna yell at him for bein’ gone so long?”

Osamu thinks about it. It hadn’t been his first instinct. “Undecided,” he says.

“Do you wanna kiss him?”

This question brings up unwanted memories of Suna’s mouth, all of the curious thoughts of whether his lips were as soft as they looked. If Suna asked to kiss him today, Osamu can’t see himself turning Suna down. “I mean, I wouldn’t be opposed.”

“Are you angry with him?”

“A little.”

“Is he frustratin’ you at the moment?”

“How?”

“You know.” Gin gestures vaguely, like this is meant to mean something to Osamu. “With his incomplete answers.”

Yes, Osamu wants to say. So he does. “Yeah. I wish he’d be completely honest about everythin’ instead of bein’ vague as shit.”

Gin nods along. He scratches at the side of his nose. “You do realize that Suna’s always vague as shit, though. He’s always been. The only way you get to know what he’s thinkin’ is by figurin’ it out on yer own.” He drops his hand. “And you used to be real good at that.”

“Yeah.” There’s a bitter aftertaste to the word after it springs off his tongue. “I’m not good at it anymore, though.”

“You’ll get there. If Suna does stick around like he claims he will, you’ll have the time to figure it out again.”

“That’s the thing.” Osamu follows Gin’s lead and finishes the last of his tea. He slides his empty cup over the island. “What if he doesn’t? Stick around, I mean? What if this is just his pit-stop before he decides he wants nothin’ to do with us anymore?”

Gin grabs both cups and drops them into the sink. For a moment, he seems to have a crisis of his own as he stares at the ever-growing pile, but in the end, he decides not to address it. Instead, he returns his attention to Osamu. “You mean before he decides he wants nothin’ to do with you?”

“Uh.”

“That sounds a lot like you still care, Osamu.” Gin chews at the inside of his cheek. “I mean, I can’t say anythin’ about whether he’s tellin’ the truth or not. He might say he’ll stick around and then decide not to. If you’re so worried about it, then that’s somethin’ you gotta bring up with him.”

“How? How do I even bring it up when he’s so closed-off already?” Osamu demands.

“He ain’t always this closed-off,” Gin says. “At least, not with you. But there’s no use in makin’ yourself miserable wonderin’ whether he’s gonna ditch again. You might as well ask him straight up.”

It’s sound advice. But hearing it and following through with it are two separate things. Osamu tilts his head back, a groan leaving his mouth. He can already imagine how this might go, with Suna’s constant blank stares and the underlying frustration within himself that continues to build over the course of the conversation. 

“This sucks,” Osamu says, because it’s the truth. “Honestly, I just wanna get back to how we were before. I wish I could pretend like we’ve been in contact and we’re still as close as we were cuz that would make all of this shit so much easier.”

“Yeah.” Gin shrugs, and this, at least, comes out of sympathy. If Osamu had to have this conversation with anyone, he’s glad it’s with Gin. Gin owes him, anyway. Osamu had to sit through too many ranting sessions as he tried to figure out his relationship with Akagi. This is poetic justice at its finest. “But you can’t. Not if you wanna start out on decent terms. You can’t just let it slide under the rug. Don’t be a coward.”

“I’m not,” Osamu insists. His hands form closed fists, and he rubs at his eyes. It eases his frustrations—at least a little. “I know, okay? I hafta say somethin’. I’ll do it.” His arms fall back against the surface of the table. “I dunno when I’ll see him again, though.”

“Knowin’ Suna? I’d say you’ll see him again tomorrow. Even if he had stuff to do, I’m sure he’d still wind up stickin’ with you.”

Osamu makes a noncommittal noise. 

“Is he still at the hotel?” Gin asks.

“Yeah.”

“You’re not gonna let him stay at yer place? That’s ice cold, Osamu.”

“What?” Osamu frowns. “I just toldja I still don’t know how I feel about Suna. If I invite him to stay at my place until he leaves, that’s gonna be even more confusin’.”

“Confusin’?”

“Confusin’ for me,” Osamu clarifies. “I’ll hafta see him all the time.”

“Still,” Gin says. “Ain’tcha kinda seein’ him all the time already?”

Osamu scowls, and his mouth opens to snap back a retort when the shuffle of footsteps alerts him to another presence in the room. Akagi wanders out of the hall and into the kitchen, rubbing at his eyes. The remnants of exhaustion still cling to him, his dark hair in disarray, but as soon as he spots Osamu sitting at the island, he offers up a grin.

“Hey, Osamu,” Akagi greets him. “I didn’t know you were here.”

“Hi, Akagi-senpai,” Osamu says with a nod. He smiles back. “How was yer nap?”

“Refreshin’.” Akagi stretches his arms up until his back cracks, and he laughs when both Gin and Osamu simultaneously wince at the noise it makes. “You two are weenies.” He strides over to the stool next to Osamu’s and plops down. “So what’s up?”

“I wanted to ask you somethin’,” Osamu says. There’s no better time to bring it up. He doesn’t want to wind up forgetting the whole reason he’d stopped by in the first place. It was not to have an existential crisis over his feelings towards Suna. “You think you can give me the keys to the gym the volleyball team uses so I can go in after you’re done?”

At this, both Akagi and Gin give him matching looks of puzzlement. 

“Huh?” Gin asks. “Why do you wanna do that?”

“I don’t,” Osamu corrects. “Suna does.”

“Suna?” Somehow, Akagi’s eyes bulge even more. “You guys are in touch with Suna?”

“Yeah.” Osamu gives Gin a weird look. He thought it would be the first thing Gin brought up when he returned home last night. It’s not everyday that their former absent teammate shows up out of the blue again. “He’s in Hyogo. He came yesterday. Um, we met up with him at the izakaya last night.”

Akagi’s head whips towards Gin. “Suna’s back in town, and you didn’t tell me?”

Gin blinks, unfocused and hazy. “I forgot to mention it.”

“This is grand.” Akagi pouts, and it would almost be comical if he didn’t sound genuinely upset. “I letcha have yer little bondin’ night cuz you were all insistent that it was a reunion for yer year, and I said that it was fine. Now, I’m hearin’ that our teammate came back from the dead, and you couldn’t remember to tell me that important bit of information.”

“Um,” Osamu says unhelpfully. “Suna didn’t die.”

Akagi ignores him, focusing all of the blame on Gin. To his credit, Gin looks a little ashamed that it slipped his mind. “Sorry,” Gin says. 

But it’s impossible for Akagi to remain upset with Gin, especially when Gin looks so remorseful that it hurts, and he glances sideways at Osamu. “How is he?”

“He’s—” Osamu wonders when he became the relayer of all information pertaining to Suna. “He’s fine. He’s Suna.”

Akagi bobs his head. “Aran’s comin’ by train tomorrow, too. It’s like a whole big reunion.” There’s a flash of a grin, one that Osamu fails to reflect, because as far as he remembers, he can’t pinpoint the last time all of their team were in the same place. “I think Ren said he was droppin’ in to visit his folks soon, too. Maybe I should check in on him.”

“Yeah, well.” Gin scratches at the nape of his neck. “You know how Suna is. Don’t get too excited.”

“I’m not. I’m just thinkin’.” Of course, when Akagi thinks of something, he envisions the endpoints and not all of the ways it can go wrong. He’s the only one of his year that rarely thinks ahead before doing something. Kita, Aran, Omimi—they all operate by weighing the pros and cons to any situation they encounter. Not Akagi. He’s the most flexible out of all of them. “Shinsuke will be happy to hear Suna’s back.”

Osamu makes a noncommittal sound. He doubts Suna will be as enthused. He shoots Gin a pleading look.

Gin, once again, steps in. “You’re gettin’ too excited, Michinari. You’re gonna scare Suna away. Honestly, he’s like a stray cat at the moment. Super wary.”

Akagi’s shoulders drop a little. “Fine,” he says. “I get it. I’d like to see him, though.”

“Akagi.” Osamu draws Akagi’s attention back over to him, and he raises his eyebrows meaningfully. “The keys.”

“Right!” Akagi says. “I could work somethin’ out. When do you want them?”

“Um.” He has to confirm with Suna. He doesn’t want to set out a date only for Suna to turn around and tell him he’s busy that day. Suna’s schedule isn’t packed at the moment, but that can change any day now. “I’ll hafta ask him. But you can do it?”

“Sure. I trust you. I can give you my extra set, and you can return them the next day. I’d rather give them to you the day of cuz I don’t like bein’ without my set of keys.”

“That’s fair,” Osamu says, nodding. “Thanks.”

“No problem.” Akagi eyes him. “It’s a weird request.”

“It’s Suna,” Osamu says, like that’s any explanation. 

Somehow, Akagi accepts it. “It’s Suna,” he echoes. “I still can’t believe he’s back. Wow. It’s been so long. I’ve been thinkin’ about him a lot lately, since it’s come out that he’s on the roster for the Olympics.”

Osamu knows the feeling well. He used to go days without thinking of what Suna was up to, but now it’s like he can’t get rid of him. Everywhere he looks, there’s a rerun of an EJP match or an advertisement for the Olympics. Everywhere he looks, Suna is either two-dimensional or complete and tangible in front of him. 

“He’s killin’ it,” Gin agrees.

Akagi twists his head back toward Osamu. “Didn’t you used to have a thing for him?”

“For fuck’s sake.” Osamu presses his eyes tightly together as he brings up his hand to pinch the bridge of his nose. “Even you know?” 

“I mean,” Akagi says, “it was pretty obvious.” He spares one look at Gin, and that’s enough for Osamu to put the pieces together himself. “And Hitoshi tells me all about the shit you guys got up to back in high school.”

Osamu mimes putting his hands around Gin’s throat. “Are you tryna kill me?” he asks Gin. Without waiting for a response, he continues on. “Next thing you’re gonna tell me is that Kita-san knows. I’ll actually disintegrate then.”

“Hm.” Akagi considers this. “He might know. He’s pretty observant.”

Okay.” Osamu stands up. It’s getting late, and he doesn’t want to overstay his welcome, especially if it means rehashing his embarrassing crush that hasn’t faded like he’d hoped. He’s had enough of this. He’s gotten the answer he wanted, which means he’s free to go. “I’m leavin’.”

“We’re just kiddin’,” Gin says. “Kita-san doesn’t know. Prolly.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Osamu pats his pockets, confirming that he has his keys, his wallet, and his phone. “It’s cool. I gotta go home, anyway. I just wanted to see if it was possible for us to get into the gym.” 

“Yeah, no worries,” Akagi says. “Just lemme know when you wanna do it, and I’ll stick around later after practice to hand them off to you.”

“Thanks.” 

“Lemme walk you out,” Gin says. As he follows Osamu down the hall, he drops his palm onto Akagi’s head in a fleeting but tender gesture, and the sight of it makes Osamu’s chest squeeze. He watches Osamu take off the slippers and put his shoes back on in the genkan. “So.”

“So,” Osamu echoes.

“Thanks for stoppin’ by,” Gin murmurs. “You gonna do somethin’ about Suna’s current housing?”

Osamu resists the urge to growl. Now that Gin’s let that seed of doubt plant itself, it continues to grow, making Osamu feel worse for letting Suna continue to pay for an expensive hotel room when he has a perfectly good guest futon in his own apartment. He might not know where they stand, but it takes little to be a decent human being. Right now, Osamu doesn’t feel very decent. “You’re a dick, Ginjima.”

“I’m just pointin’ out the obvious,” Gin says. “I’d offer him our couch, but—”

“The quickest way to drive Suna out of Hyogo would be if he had to listen to the two of you go at it like bunnies in the next room.”

Gin bursts into laughter. Meanwhile, Osamu straightens and undoes the lock on the front door, letting himself out. Gin catches it before it can close, and he flashes a mischievous smile in Osamu’s direction.

“This could be you if you wanted, Osamu,” Gin says. 

Osamu makes gagging sounds before turning in the direction of the elevator, lifting his hand up. “Night, Gin.”

“Night, Osamu,” Gin calls before the door to his apartment falls shut. 


When Osamu returns back to his apartment, weary and exhausted, he has enough awareness to send off one text message before collapsing into his bed. 

Miya Osamu

suna stop paying ridiculous amounts of money for your hotel room and just sleep on my guest futon

That’s it. There’s no easing into it, nor is there any smile or teasing remark to soften the blow. He falls asleep before he gets a response, but when he wakes up the next morning, there are new notifications.

Suna Rintarou

My bank account thanks you for your service

No, but seriously

If you mean this I would appreciate it

Osamu turns over on his pillow, squinting at the bright screen. There’s no time to regret it or have any second thoughts.

Miya Osamu

of course i mean it

Suna Rintarou

Good because I’m on my way rn


Suna isn’t exaggerating.

When he sent that text, he had to be either in the process of checking out or halfway to Osamu’s place, because within the next fifteen minutes, he’s lugging his suitcase into Osamu’s apartment. For someone who claimed to have no concrete plans upon returning to Hyogo, he’s packed a decent amount. His suitcase is filled with clothes and other personal belongings, and it’s dense enough that Suna breathes heavily as he drags it into the living room. 

“So are you stayin’ permanently in Hyogo?” Osamu asks from where he leans against the counter of his kitchen, holding a mug of steaming coffee. “What’s with all this?”

Suna hefts the suitcase behind the couch, where it’s hidden in case anyone makes an unexpected stop by. As soon as it’s hidden, he scowls at Osamu. “I didn’t know how long I was staying.”

“So you packed enough to last you six months?”

“It’s better to be prepared than not.” Suna kicks the suitcase one last time, and he ambles over to the counter where Osamu stands. He’s not as put-together as the previous two days. His plain yellow shirt is stretched out, revealing his collarbone beneath, and his worn sweatpants drag against the floor as he walks. His hair is more disheveled, too, like he didn’t get the chance to properly brush it before rushing out of his hotel room. It’s not as unmanageable as it was back when he kept it longer, but it’s still a noticeable mess. His eyes track the mug in Osamu’s hand. “Can I get some? I haven’t eaten today yet.”

Osamu points at the coffee machine. “I said you could stay on my futon, but I ain’t providin’ premium room service. You can do it yourself.”

“Fine.” 

Suna props one hand on the coffee machine, squinting at the various buttonsIt doesn’t take long for Osamu to nudge him aside before his coffee machine winds up broken because of Suna’s incompetence. Osamu thinks he spots a smile before Suna walks around him to reach the stove. 

“Can I make myself cereal?” Suna asks. “Or are you scared I’ll break your bowls?”

“I think you should be competent enough to do that much.” Osamu taps on the cabinet above Suna’s head. “Bowls are in here. Milk’s in the fridge.”

“Thanks.” Suna follows his instructions, picking out a bowl before retrieving the milk from the fridge. He doesn’t have to ask Osamu where the cereal is before he locates it in Osamu’s open pantry, and Osamu tries not to wince as Suna pours the milk in before adding the cereal—as chaotic as he is. 

Osamu tries not to let his attention stray. Instead, he focuses on the hum of the coffee machine as it warms up, and he takes his time pouring out an identical mug to his own. Meanwhile, Suna chomps on his bowl of cereal behind him, his loud crunches distinct in the otherwise quiet apartment. 

Osamu was right. Being around Suna at Onigiri Miya with witnesses around is simple. Even being around Suna while he escorts Suna back to his hotel in the dead of night without anyone around is simple in comparison, because of the simple reason that it comes to an end eventually. But with Suna crashing at his place, there is no break. He’s around all the time, his presence spreading throughout the small space, and even though only a few minutes have passed since his arrival, Osamu feels it. 

His body tenses up of its own accord, and his movements are more calculated than usual, all because he doesn’t know how to act around Suna. His initial instinct is to act as relaxed as he did back in high school, but his actions tell a different story. He can barely even look over at Suna without feeling like he’s been caught doing something wrong. He’s not doing anything wrong. Suna’s sitting here, eating breakfast, and it’s the most normal thing in the world.

Except—that there’s nothing normal about the erratic thump to his heart as his being struggles to fit Suna into his space.

“Here.” Osamu thrusts the mug over at Suna, avoiding eye contact as much as possible.

If Suna finds it strange, he doesn’t comment on it. He takes the mug with a grateful nod and lifts it to his mouth to take a long sip. “Thanks.”

“No problem,” Osamu says. He hesitates before striding around the island to stand opposite Suna. “By the way, I spoke to Akagi-san last night.”

“Oh?” Suna’s eyebrows lift. “Did you? Did you ask about the gym? What did he say?”

“He said it was fine. He’ll give us his keys so we can go inside if you still wanna.”

“Yes,” Suna blurts. At Osamu’s questioning look, he softens his voice like his outburst never happened. “Yes. I still want to.” He slurps on his coffee some more. “You don’t have to come if you don’t want to.”

It’s not like he has any intentions of abandoning Suna now—not like he abandoned Osamu. Besides, Akagi said that he trusted Osamu with the keys. The circumstances might not be the same if Suna shows up alone. “It’s fine,” Osamu says. “I’ll come.”

“Okay.” Suna nods. “When do we get to go?”

“When do you wanna go? He said we just hafta let him know in advance. I wasn’t sure when you were available, though.”

“Are you kidding? I’m always available.”

“Sure,” Osamu says. “Then pick a day, and I’ll let him know.”

“Okay.” Suna fishes out his phone, his fingers flying across the screen as he pulls up his calendar to decide on the day that works best. His coffee and cereal sit abandoned for the time being, set aside for this task instead. “Can we do Monday?”

Osamu’s evenings are free after he’s done with work. All he has to occupy his time otherwise is Suna. “Sure. I’ll let him know.”

“Cool.” Suna picks up his mug and takes a mouthful of coffee as he continues scrolling on his phone. “What’s your schedule looking like today?”

“I have a shift later today. Around noon.”

Suna nods without looking up. He puts his coffee back down.

“What are you up to today?” Osamu asks. 

Suna frowns and turns off his phone, dropping it back into his pocket. “I don’t have any plans.”

“Not desperate enough yet to call Tsumu to hang out?” Osamu teases, and sure enough, it gives him the expected response. Suna’s face scrunches up.

“Not yet,” Suna confirms, bringing another spoonful of cereal to his mouth. Between his words, the pauses are balanced with crunching noises. “I’ll probably just relax and take it easy.”

Despite the whirlwind of emotions Suna must be undergoing since returning to a place he hasn’t called ‘home’ in years, Osamu thinks Suna hasn’t done much besides relaxing and taking it easy. He hasn’t gone out of his way to visit anyone, other than the one dinner Osamu invited him out to, and any exploration has been completed on his own. It’s not that Osamu thinks that Suna shouldn’t have time to himself, but if that’s the aim, there’s not much of a reason to come to Hyogo. 

There’s not much of a reason to upend Osamu’s life, if all he intends is to sit around and disappear at the end of his stay. 

“Right,” Osamu says, ducking his head. “Well. You’re free to do that. I’ll prolly get ready for work in a little bit, and I might head down early.” His apartment feels constricting all of a sudden. “If you leave at any point, remember to lock the door please.”

“Will do,” Suna says. “I might come down for lunch if that’s alright.”

“That’s fine.” 

“Okay.”

“Okay.” 

Even though there’s no outward indication of it, he feels like their conversation has hit an invisible wall. Any levity has evaporated over the past minute, and all attempts to pick it up with another topic seem senseless. He should consider himself lucky that they haven’t run into more awkward blocks since reuniting, but it serves as another reminder that he’s never felt so out of touch with Suna as he does now. 

Osamu doesn’t bother saying anything else before leaving Suna to his breakfast and disappearing into his bedroom. He’s never counted down the minutes to a shift as he does today.


True to his word, Suna descends to Onigiri Miya a little after the lunch rush, and he doesn’t bother approaching the encounter before finding himself a seat. He has the easy assurance that Osamu will find him when there is a moment to spare, and when that respite arrives, Osamu takes it. The time he spends with Suna while he’s at work feels simple in comparison to the tight bubble that suffocates them within his apartment. On the slight chance that Suna’s company becomes overwhelming, he has work to rely on as an excuse to leave. 

“Thanks,” Suna says as Osamu hands him a plate of tuna mayo onigiri. It’s fresh out of the kitchen, prepared by Osamu himself, and he doesn’t miss the content hum Suna makes under his breath as he puts the plate down in front of him and starts to eat. “How are you?”

“I’m good,” Osamu replies. “Were you bored or just hungry?”

“Bored,” Suna answers. “And hungry.”

Osamu chuckles under his breath, only for his attention to drift at the sound of one of his employees calling his name. When he raises his head, he’s met with the sight of a familiar individual stepping out of the kitchen and ambling into the restaurant from the back entrance. 

It’s almost electrifying how quickly Kita’s presence manages to fill the space. It’s not like Suna, who manages to become imposing based on build and attitude alone. Kita doesn’t need size or height for his influence to be felt, and even though it’s been years since he’s been their captain, those natural leadership qualities aren’t brushed away overnight. Even now, Osamu feels himself straightening in his seat, focusing all of his attention on Kita, and for a moment, he’s so caught off guard by Kita’s entrance that he almost misses how Suna stiffens across from him. 

“Kita-san,” Osamu says by way of greeting. He moves to stand up, only to pause when Kita motions for him to stay put. His hair is cut a little shorter than it was in high school, and he’s dressed in his usual uniform: a pair of light blue overalls. It’s clear that he’s come straight from work. “What are you—”

“Just droppin’ off a new shipment,” Kita says. “No need to worry.”

“Right. Well, sit down if you’ve got the time.” Osamu pats the spot at the table beside him. “Take a seat. I’ll getcha somethin’ to eat.”

“I’m really fine,” Kita says. “Thank you, Osamu.” But he does heed Osamu’s request to sit down, and a realization hits him a second later when Kita regards Suna with a quick look. This isn’t an impromptu visit. Kita’s here specifically to drop in on Suna. 

If Kita knows that Suna’s around, it means Akagi blabbed. Osamu tries to keep his expression clear, even as Suna seemingly shrinks on himself across the table. It doesn’t matter that Suna hasn’t seen Kita in years. Apparently, the pressure Kita exudes doesn’t disappear with distance and time. He tries not to be upset on Suna’s behalf, considering that these kinds of awkward reunions have become something of a common occurrence since Suna’s arrival, but his gut twists all the same. 

“Hello, Suna,” Kita says, folding his arms on top of the table. “It’s good to see you.” Coming from Kita, it’s a genuine sentiment.

It’s not exactly well-received. Suna avoids meeting Kita’s eyes at all costs, a near impossible task when Kita almost sits in front of him. “Good to see you, too, Kita-san.”

“I was surprised to hear you were back,” Kita says. “Frankly, it was a shock. I thought Akagi was kiddin’ when he told me.” Suna’s attention drifts to Osamu, and Osamu mouths sorry. “But it is good to see you, regardless of the circumstances. It’s been a while.”

It’s a factual statement. It’s been a while, because it has. But its directness seems to make Suna uneasy, and Osamu questions whether it’s preferable on Suna’s end to receive blatant annoyance from Atsumu and Gin or to receive sincere interest and concern from Kita. 

“Yeah,” Suna says. “It has been.”

“I heard you got called up for the Olympics. Congrats.” Then, the most shocking thing of all happens—Kita smiles. Osamu’s own mouth parts in surprise. It’s not like it never happens, but Kita’s smiles are rare and must be earned. Osamu has found these smiles occurring at a higher frequency with time, whether it’s Onigiri Miya’s opening ceremony and he’s smiling as Osamu unlocks the front door or whether it’s the third round at Nationals in the twins’ third year and he’s beaming down at them while they snatch the victory from Karasuno. “That’s an achievement.”

Suna appears as mystified as Osamu feels. Suna was perhaps the only member on the team who was never outwardly moved by Kita’s speeches of praise—never choked up on his own tears as a result. But this time, the compliment leaves an impression, noted in how Suna’s jaw slackens and all he manages is a slow blink in response.

“Thanks,” Suna says. “Um. Yeah. It’s—great.”

“It’s more than great,” Kita says. “It’s incredible.”

“Yeah. Definitely.”

“You should be proud.”

Suna’s voice grows small as he says, “I am proud.”

“Good.” Kita affirms this with a nod of his own. “I’m proud of you, too.”

Somehow, this happens to be the most staggering thing Kita could say. Suna’s eyes widen imperceptibly, but the biggest change is how he sits up straight, like the acclamation has lifted an invisible weight he didn’t know he was carrying. It looks impossible for him to meet Kita’s eyes now for another reason entirely, though Osamu can’t blame him. Having Kita state so plainly that he’s proud of you is enough to shift your world off its axis.

“Thanks, Kita-san.” The words come out scratchy, and Suna clears his throat. “That means—that means a lot.”

“I always knew you were a monster, even when you didn’t realize it yourself.” Kita taps his fingers against the surface of the table. “I’m glad cuz I now get to watch all of you on the big screen, even if I’m a little further away than I used to be.”

“That’s—” Suna cuts himself off with a cough, and Osamu shoots him a knowing look. It’s rare to see Suna all choked up, not knowing what to do with himself, and Osamu thinks he has the answer to his earlier question. The sincere interest and concern is harder to bear. “Thanks, Kita-san.”

Kita doesn’t need to hear more than that. “I’m not gonna give you a hard time about bein’ gone for so long, and I’m not gonna ask you any questions.”

At the slight switch in topic, Suna recovers. He raises an eyebrow. “You’re not?”

“No. You’re here now, and that’s a deliberate choice on yer part. I hope you find whatever it is you’re lookin’ for, Suna.” Osamu thinks he’s imagining how Kita’s eyes flit over to him for the briefest of seconds. “I’m not even gonna ask if you plan on stayin’. That’s up to you. All you gotta know is that we’re watchin’ over you, regardless. The entire team. So you don’t gotta feel like you’re alone at any time.”

Suna shakes his head slowly, almost as if warding off all of the thoughts and questions Kita’s aimed at him. “I don’t feel like that.”

“No?”

“No.”

“That’s good. The further away you were, the harder it was to watch over you, so I was worried.” 

“You were worried?” Suna asks, a crease forming between his eyebrows.

“Well, yeah.” Kita flattens his palms against the table. “It’s harder to watch over someone when you’re not sure they even want you to. When you kinda ignore all of our attempts to reach out, it makes it seem like you wanna be left alone. All I got to go on is what I see on television screens and magazines.”

“That’s—I didn’t mean—”

Kita holds up a hand to stop Suna’s explanation before it even begins. “I already said I ain’t askin’ any questions. You don’t gotta explain yourself to me.” He drops his arm. “You might hafta explain yourself to the rest of the team, but ultimately, that’s up to you.”

Suna’s shoulders slump. “Right.”

“How long are you back in Hyogo?”

“Undecided.”

Kita nods, like this is the answer he’d expected. “Fair enough.” He flicks his gaze over to Osamu, the first time since his greeting that his attention hasn’t been solely on Suna. “I was thinkin’ we should all have some kind of reunion, now that Suna’s around. Aran’s arrived today. I could call Omimi and see if he could come for a weekend, too. It might be short notice, but it’s worth a shot.”

“Oh.” 

It’s not any different from the reunion at the izakaya the other night, except for the fact that it’s no longer limited to their year. It includes several members of their former team, and most of the focus will inevitably be on Suna. Gin and Atsumu might have had their bitter spats the other evening, but it’s likely they haven’t forgiven Suna yet. Osamu doubts that his senpais intend on giving Suna a hard time, but not everyone will be as forgiving as Kita. 

“That sounds nice,” Osamu says. “You think Omimi-san could make it?”

“I’ll call him.” Kita looks between the two of them. “Let him know. Unless, you’re not interested, Suna?”

“Hm?” Suna’s gaze drops to the indents in the wood, tracing them over with a single finger. From an outsider’s perspective, he looks disinterested in the conversation at hand. But Osamu suspects that it’s Suna’s attempt to adjust and reorient himself, especially when up against the force of Kita’s gaze. “Oh. I mean, that sounds nice.”

“It would be nice,” Kita agrees. “I thought about doin’ somethin’ to congratulate all of the teammates who are now goin’ to the Olympics, but it wouldn’t have felt right withoutcha, Suna.” Again, it’s an innocent remark that manages to strike the heart, and Osamu watches as Suna’s lips flatten into a tight line. “If you’re willin’, I’d like to get everyone together.”

Suna swallows. “I’m willing.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah.” His voice wavers—only slightly. “That sounds nice.”

“Good.” There’s a brief pause in which Kita glances over at Osamu again. “How have you been, Osamu? It’s been a while.”

“It has,” Osamu says. Most of his correspondence with Kita has been over brief phone calls or short text messages. They haven’t had much of a chance to sit down in person and catch up. It’s been too long, since Osamu hasn’t been in Hyogo for a while. “I’ve been good.”

“How long are you plannin’ on bein’ in Hyogo?”

“I’m thinkin’ until the end of summer.” Osamu gives him a one-shouldered shrug. “I dunno. I haven’t thought about it too much. I wanna at least stay in Hyogo until the Olympics are over.” He shakes his head with no small amount of fondness. “Tokyo’s nuts to be in right now, what with all the preparations and everythin’.”

“I can imagine.” Kita’s eyes crinkle around the edges. “That sounds relaxin’. Akagi and I were talkin’ about doin’ some kind of Olympics watch party. Is that somethin’ of interest to you?”

Osamu perks up. He has to work without a doubt, but he’s already planning on having the television in the restaurant set to the games at all times. “Yeah! That sounds like a plan. I have work, though.”

“Yeah, I know,” Kita says. “I figured we’d watch here, if that’s alright with you.”

Osamu nods along eagerly. “That’s definitely alright.” He starts counting off on his fingers. “Me, you, Akagi-san, Gin…”

“I’ll convince Omimi to come.”

“You think Kosaku might be workin’?”

“You’ll hafta ask.” Kita pulls out his phone to check the time. “Oops. I’ve been here longer than I thought. I really did just mean to drop in and out. I should go.”

Kita stands up, and Osamu does, too, feeling the urge to walk Kita out. “No worries,” Osamu says. “You know you’re always welcome.”

“Mhm.” Kita looks sideways at Suna, who kept silent during Kita and Osamu’s exchange. He looks caught between deciding whether he should stand up as well or whether he’s too comfortable to do so. Still, something about his expression looks different, and Osamu wonders if Kita’s honesty managed to dig right beneath Suna’s rib cage and uncover something Suna isn’t ready to face yet. “It was good to see you, Suna. I’ll be in touch. You’re staying with Osamu, I assume?”

Osamu wants to say something along the lines of—Why on earth wouldja assume that, Kita-san? But he refrains, only because Suna beats him to the response with a simple: “Yes.”

“Good.” Kita smooths away the invisible wrinkles on the front of his overalls. “Then I’ll be around.”

“Lemme walk you out, Kita-san,” Osamu says.

“No, it’s fine.” Kita’s mouth forms a faint smile, paling in comparison to the one he offered Suna before, so full of pride and joy. He lifts a hand in farewell. “I’ll show myself out. It’s good to see you both.”

“Good to see you, too,” Osamu and Suna murmur.

With that, Kita takes his leave, disappearing through the back door, and his departure leaves a storm in its wake. When Osamu looks back down at Suna, crouched on the floor, his features contort. Suna doesn’t meet his eyes, the first indicator that Kita’s managed to undo the semblance of composure Suna’s built up around himself since he arrived a few days ago. 

“You can go back to work, Osamu,” Suna says. “I’ll probably head back up to your apartment in a bit.” Without waiting for Osamu’s answer, he pulls out his phone and starts scrolling through his social media, effectively dismissing Osamu.

Whether the disregard for Osamu’s feelings and intentions is intentional, it leaves Osamu irritated when he returns behind the counter. He isn’t the one that barged back into Suna’s life without warning. Suna sought him out. The least he can do is remember that he’s hurt Osamu, too. The least he can do is try not to do so anymore. 

One thing is for certain, though, Osamu thinks as he rings up another order behind the register, his eyes straying to Suna as he taps away on his phone with a frown—Kita has started to pull apart the shield Suna holds up in order to protect himself. 

It makes Osamu wonder whether Suna is hurting, too. 


Suna is uncharacteristically silent when Osamu arrives back at his apartment with takeout curry for the two of them. It’s silent even by Suna’s standards, and the only sound that breaks through the quiet is the hum of voices radiating from the television screen as they eat. Osamu doesn’t know what to say, and it appears Suna has nothing to say to him either. Even when they settle down on the couch after dinner, an empty cushion sits between them, along with the conversation neither of them is willing to address. 

It feels like they’ve fallen three steps backwards. It’s not so much the silence that’s puzzling; it’s the fact that both of them know it has to end, and neither of them work up the courage to do it. For a moment, it makes Osamu question what they’re even doing. Are they repairing a broken friendship or merely waiting for it to fall apart again?

Suna’s presence in his apartment is suffocating, and now, it appears that Osamu is suffocating Suna, too. Osamu knows it’s started because of something Kita said to Suna this morning, but Suna won’t bring it up. Like everything else, he wants to brush it aside with vague answers and one-word responses.

Osamu hates it. 

He never minded Suna’s lack of elaboration when he was younger, when he knew Suna and could read him without the additional explanation. But now, he feels like he needs a roadmap, or at least a compass, to understand the direction Suna’s heading. It’s bothersome.

He imagines the situation in reverse isn’t much better. He imagines Suna’s mind is overflowing with nagging thoughts over whether it was worth it returning to Hyogo and whether it’s better to leave or to stay. He imagines Suna’s having as much trouble reading him as he’s having reading Suna, and that in itself is a problem, because neither of them want to admit that the block is there.

The silence stretches for hours until it’s nearly midnight. The lights are ticked off, and the curtains are drawn, preventing the streetlamps from reflecting inside. The only brightness comes from the television screen, and the illumination is just enough that Osamu can see how Suna’s hunched over at the end of the couch, his legs pulled against his chest, his chin resting on his knees. His head faces straight ahead, never turning towards Osamu for a second, and it’s infuriating that—despite the fact that they’re less than two feet apart for the first time in years—he’s never felt further apart. 

Meanwhile, Osamu sits with his legs stretched out, his right arm stretched over the armrest, and the first hints of exhaustion seep in. The urge to yawn is stronger than it was an hour earlier, and his eyes slide sideways. Suna hasn’t given any indication that he’s tired, but Osamu would rather set up the guest futon for him before he tucks in for the night. Which should be soon, since he has work tomorrow morning. 

But—he can’t.

He feels like he can’t go to bed without confronting the space between them. He’s been waiting for Suna to do it these past couple of hours, and it’s apparent enough that Suna won’t. If anyone’s going to do it, it has to be Osamu. 

His left hand digs into his knee. “Suna.”

“Yes?” Suna doesn’t tear his eyes from the screen. Osamu can’t even remember what they’re watching. He’s not sure Suna knows either. It’s some old film.

Suna.

“Yeah? What?”

Osamu forces himself to recall what Gin had said to him yesterday. But there’s no use in makin’ yourself miserable wonderin’ whether he’s gonna ditch again. You might as well ask him straight up.

He has to ask him. 

Kita didn’t ask any questions, but Osamu needs to for his own peace of mind. Otherwise, he’s not sure he can be around Suna anymore.

“I needa ask you somethin’,” Osamu says, ignoring how his voice shakes.

The seriousness of the statement comes across, because Suna—for the first time in hours—inclines his head toward Osamu. “Oh.” A pause. “Sure.”

Osamu draws in a sharp breath. It’s now or never, and although the answer terrifies him, it’s a question he has to ask. He can’t bear not knowing. “You told Gin that you didn’t plan on distancin’ yourself again when we were at the izakaya. Were you tellin’ the truth?”

For ten seconds, Suna doesn’t give any indication that he heard the question at all. He remains absolutely still, turning away from Osamu, but then he reaches forward and mutes the television—and Osamu knows that he has Suna’s full attention. 

“Why are you asking?” Suna asks instead. He doesn’t look over at Osamu again, but his response is enough. For now.

“Cuz Kita-san might be fine with not knowin’ the answers about why you stayed away for so long and whether or not you plan on stickin’ around, but I’m not. I’m not fine with it, and I think I deserve some kind of answer.” Osamu’s jaw clenches. “Is this just a pit stop for you? Some way of soothin’ yer self-guilt? Cuz if that’s the case then I want no part in it.”

“It’s not—” Suna breaks off. When Osamu looks over at him, he notices that Suna’s shoulders are tense, coiled up with unreleased tension. “It’s not that. This isn’t a pit stop.”

“Then what is it?” Osamu demands. “Do you actually even want to be here?”

Yes.” The bite in the word makes Osamu withdraw. Suna—who never appears as anything less than cool, calm, and collected—looks like he’s breaking at the seams. “I—it’s complicated. It’s so complicated, and I don’t know how to explain it yet, because the problem is that it isn’t complicated at all, and I’m making it worse.”

Suna’s—Suna’s rambling.

“What are you makin’ worse?” Osamu asks, his voice softer. 

Suna shrugs, and Osamu manages to hold back his huff of frustration when he spots how Suna winces. “I just—” He shakes his head. “This isn’t a pit stop. I promise. I don’t really know what it is yet.”

That’s fair enough, Osamu supposes. It’s not an answer, but he can tell Suna’s being earnest, judging by how his voice sounds like it’s on the verge of falling apart. He’s never been like this before—never this vulnerable. Osamu isn’t sure if it’s because of today and he happens to be a witness—or, as a traitorous voice whispers at the back of his mind, if it’s because Suna feels comfortable enough to be this vulnerable around him.

“Okay.” Osamu lifts his hand to reach towards Suna, then thinks better of it. “That’s fair. I won’t ask again. But I needa know this: are you plannin’ on ditchin’ us again when you leave?”

There’s a long pause. “No,” Suna says finally. “That wasn’t the plan.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Well. It might’ve been the plan if I’d come back and you’d all hated me.” Suna adjusts himself, sliding his legs over to the right on the empty cushion. “I mean, I know Atsumu isn’t happy with me. Gin’s undecided. I have no idea how our senpais feel, except for Kita-san. You—”

Osamu whips his head towards Suna so quickly it nearly gives him whiplash. “What about me?”

For the first time since the conversation began, Suna glances over at him. Osamu can’t pick out his expression through the low lighting, but somehow, he tenses Suna’s eyes trailing over his face, searching for something. “I don’t know,” Suna says. “I don’t know how you feel about me at all. That’s the worst part.”

“I—” A strangled noise leaves his throat as he considers Suna’s response more. 

How does he feel about Suna? 

That is the question. On a bad day, Suna’s name drags up surges of irritation and resentment that consumes him, and he’ll pretend Suna doesn’t exist—like he didn’t spend three years back in high school with a teammate that he once called his best friend. On a decent day, he watches Suna’s matches on the TV with traces of wistfulness, longing for a phone call that never comes from a friend he no longer has. 

On a good day, he remembers all of the weekend practices and the school lunches and the bus rides to matches. He remembers how Suna always used to roll out his futon next to Osamu’s for away games and how he used to take pictures of Osamu at the most inconvenient times. He remembers how Suna’s knees used to bump against the bottom of his desk, how he’d say a quick sorry, then slump back down in his seat as he drifted off in class again. He remembers how Suna’s tongue occasionally presses against his teeth as he smiles and how when he laughs—really laughs without restraint—it bursts out of him like it’s been a long time coming and how his eyes gleamed the night he told Osamu he’d decided to pursue volleyball professionally. 

Those good days don’t come often, but when they do, they bring the erratic thump of Osamu’s heart within his chest, racing beyond his control. 

But he can’t admit that. He can’t admit that even now—amidst the swirling storm of conflicting emotions—all he really wants to say is: I miss you.

“Um,” Osamu stammers, fumbling for a response that’s close enough to the truth without revealing the song to his heartstrings. “I—” He tears his eyes away from Suna’s, even as his heart starts to race.

“Osamu?”

“I don’t know,” Osamu says feebly, his face warming. 

“You don’t know how you feel about me?” Suna’s question is wound in disbelief, and Osamu doesn’t blame him. He’s here demanding answers from Suna when he has none to give himself.

“I don’t know,” Osamu repeats. “All I can tell you is that I saw a fuckin’ billboard of you the other day, and I couldn’t just walk by it. I had to—I had to fuckin’ take a picture of it, even though I didn’t think we’d ever wind up speaking again, and I don’t know why.”

Suna blinks. “You took a picture of me on a billboard?”

“Yeah. It was a fuckin’ huge billboard. Yer face was ginormous.”

“Oh.” Suna sounds like he’s laughing, and when Osamu looks up at him again, he finds that Suna’s shoulders tremble, like he’s trying to hold himself back. “Can I see?”

“Ugh.” But Osamu pulls his phone out of his pocket, taps in his passcode, and clicks onto his photos. “You’re just gonna make fun of me.”

“No. I want to see my face on a billboard.”

“Like you haven’t seen yer face on a thousand billboards.”

“Still.” Suna shuffles closer, leaning in towards the screen. “Let me see.”

“Wait.” It doesn’t take much scrolling, and when Osamu finds it, he taps it and hands the phone over to Suna. “See.”

Suna peers at the screen. He zooms in a bit, focusing in on his face, and he smiles as he returns the phone back to Osamu. “So,” he says. “You took a picture of me on a billboard.”

“How could I not?” Osamu’s face feels warm, and he’s thankful that the lighting doesn’t allow Suna to see how he blushes. “Yer face took up half the wall. It was obnoxious.”

Suna rocks backwards. “Yeah, yeah. At least my face is prettier than Atsumu’s. You know how many ads I see on television with his face?”

“His face is my face, jackass.”

“No, it’s not,” Suna says quickly. Too quickly. Osamu regards him curiously, but Suna doesn’t look willing to meet his eyes. 

When Suna doesn’t speak again, Osamu figures that he owes Suna a bit more. Showing a picture of a billboard isn’t enough. It’s not an answer. If he wants more elaborate answers from Suna, Osamu needs to provide them himself.

“I don’t know how I feel aboutcha, Suna,” Osamu says, his voice soft. “It’s complicated.”

Suna digests this with a nod. “So you’re not ready to be angry with me yet.”

“I don’t know,” Osamu says, “if I’ll ever be ready to be angry with you.”

That makes Suna look up at him, and the jolt that runs down Osamu’s spine at the eye contact is electrifying. 

“Cuz most of the time,” Osamu continues, “when I think aboutcha, I am angry. I’m pissed and irritated with you, but—” He grits his teeth, forcing himself to keep speaking. “I think I’m mostly just sad. So.” His gaze drops down to his hands, turned upwards in his lap. “I don’t know what to do about that.”

That’s the end of his self-resolve. It falls apart like a skein of yarn pulled apart too rapidly, and he stands up, the abrupt movement making Suna jump. His hands clench into fists at his side, the tension running through his entire body, and it almost makes him dizzy as he heads in the direction of his bedroom. 

“Osamu?”

“The guest futon is in the hall closet,” Osamu says. “There should be an extra pillow in there and another blanket if you get cold.” His fingers wrap around the knob on the door to his bedroom. “I don’t really wanna talk about this anymore. Thanks for answerin’ my question.”

“Osamu, wait—”

But the rest of Suna’s sentence becomes muffled as Osamu shuts the door behind him. When he throws himself onto the bed and buries his face into his pillows, all he can hear is a loud roaring in his ears.  


Suna’s still fast asleep when Osamu leaves his apartment the next morning for his shift at the restaurant. His chest still feels a bit tight after the turmoil of last night, but the knots don’t feel as unmanageable anymore. He consoles himself with this knowledge as his eyes latch onto Suna sprawled across the guest futon, his legs twisted around the covers, an arm draped over his eyes. 

As always, work is a welcome distraction from the concerns and thoughts brimming in his mind. There’s a relief in the calm monotony of taking orders, working in the kitchen, and serving customers until the end of his shift. He’s long since become accustomed to his job, no longer needing to dedicate so much focus, but today, he doesn’t mind paying more attention to the conversations that flit between customers and engaging with his staff. 

By the time lunch rolls around, he’s done for the day, and Osamu’s almost tempted to extend it for the sake of avoiding the apartment—and the person within it—a little longer. He can’t forget what he’d admitted in the spur of the moment—that when he thinks of Suna, he’s mostly sad. It sounds awfully pathetic, and it’s worsened by the fact that he didn’t even wait around for Suna’s response. Instead, he’d shut himself in his bedroom and buried his face in his pillow, willing himself to sink into the floor. 

But the other part of him acknowledges that he’s not sure he wants to know Suna’s response to that. He hopes Suna will forget about it, pretending it never happened, and while that would crush some part of his soul, Osamu almost thinks it would be preferable to the wariness he expects from Suna now. 

Regardless, he doesn’t get to extend his shift. He’s shoved out the door by one of his employees. When he glances up at the apartment, he comes to the firm resolution that he wants to hold off on this conversation for as long as possible. Instead of going home, he gets into his car, and while the engine rumbles, alive and waiting, he decides that there is someone else in Hyogo who is potentially as hopelessly bored as he is.


“What?” Atsumu demands as Osamu enters the genkan, kicking off his shoes. “Sunarin ain’t with you?”

Atsumu doesn’t look as unentertained as Osamu expected. He’s dressed in an MSBY tracksuit, like he just came back from a run, and his blonde hair is more tousled than usual considering Atsumu spends most of his time around their parents’ home without anyone barging in. He regards Osamu with a flat expression, his hands tucked into the pockets of his hoodie, watching while Osamu pulls on his own pair of slippers.

“No,” Osamu says. It comes out snappier than he’d like, and he tries to amend it. “Why wouldja think that?”

“Isn’t he stayin’ with you?”

“He toldja he was at a hotel.”

“Yeah.” Atsumu bobs his head. “But I’m assumin’ he’s stayin’ with you now?”

“I mean,” Osamu says, straightening, “you’re not wrong.”

“I knew it.” His lips curve up in a smug smile, and Osamu wants to punch it off his face. “I told Gin it was only a matter of time.”

“Whatever.” Osamu steps further into the house, and he ushers Atsumu along, not wanting to have this conversation near the entrance. “I have a futon, so it makes sense.”

“Yeah.” Atsumu leads the way into their dining area, where their low table sits before their television. The house is more quiet than usual, since their father’s at work, but Osamu is surprised to not hear the cheery voice of their mother chiming through at the sound of his footsteps. It seems Atsumu really is all alone at home. He takes a seat at the table. “And you’re still in love with him, so it makes sense.”

“I am not—” The protest falls apart, and Osamu scowls. He doesn’t even need to look at Atsumu to see the smirk he wears. Osamu takes a seat opposite Atsumu at the table. “I’m not sure if I’m in love with him. I used to be. I don’t know if I am anymore.”

“Mhm.” Atsumu uses his palm to hold up his cheek. “That seems like somethin’ you gotta figure out.”

“I’m workin’ on it.”

“Then work faster.”

Osamu looks over at the kitchen, but there’s no indication that anyone else is in the house. “Where’s Mama?”

“Grocery shoppin’,” Atsumu says. “She’s gettin’ somethin’ for dinner. You wanna stick around?”

It’s tempting, especially when he considers that it gives him another excuse to avoid seeing Suna longer. “Maybe. Do you know what she’s makin’?”

“No idea,” Atsumu declares. “Does it really matter? But, wait, what about Suna?”

“What about Suna?” Osamu tries not to react to the mention of his name. He keeps completely still, but that only seems to make Atsumu more suspicious.

“What’s he gonna eat?” Atsumu asks, his eyebrows lifting. “You know Sunarin can’t cook for shit.”

Atsumu has a point. Osamu doesn’t even trust Suna to stand in the middle of his kitchen without potentially breaking one of the appliances there. Still, Osamu doesn’t like the way Atsumu words it—like it’s Osamu’s responsibility to worry about whether Suna’s eating habits. “He’ll figure somethin’ out,” Osamu says with a pinch of annoyance. “He’s an adult, and I ain’t his keeper.”

If Atsumu was suspicious before, that doesn’t compare to the way he looks at Osamu now, a little baffled, a little bewildered. “That doesn’t sound like you,” Atsumu says. “You used to take extra food in yer bento cuz you thought Suna didn’t eat enough. Now you’re sayin’ you don’t care whether he gets dinner or not?”

“We were kids back then. He’s an adult now.” Truthfully, it had slipped his mind. He used to do that. He used to wake up earlier and take a little more food for Suna, and when his mother asked why he’d take so much, he never gave a straight answer. He’d forgotten about that. “I don’t gotta worry about him.”

“Sure. I guess.” A furrow appears between Atsumu’s eyebrows. “But you do anyway.”

“I don’t—”

“Cut the bullshit, Samu. You do, and you know it.”

Osamu sits back, glowering at Atsumu. Atsumu isn’t wrong, but he hates that Atsumu can bring this up so easily, like Osamu hasn’t been purposely shoving down his natural instincts that urge him to look after Suna. “Shut yer trap.”

Ignoring him, Atsumu asks, “So what about Suna?”

Osamu grunts.

“You wanna invite him over?”

“I dunno,” Osamu says. It’s one thing to invite Suna to reunite with their old friends at an izakaya one evening. It’s another thing to invite Suna to dinner with his family. It feels awfully domestic. “You think it’s a good idea?”

Atsumu shoots him an incredulous look. “Do I look like I care?” he asks. “I’m askin’ whether you wanna invite him or not.” When Osamu doesn’t respond right away, he regards Osamu a little more carefully. “Did somethin’ happen between the two of you?”

“No,” Osamu says. “I mean, not really.” It feels like a lie the second it slips off his tongue. Yes, somethin’ happened, he thinks, and I don’t know how to look at him without feelin’ like I’m bein’ crushed. He’s not ready to admit any of it to Atsumu. 

“That sounds like somethin’ happened.” Atsumu jabs his finger in Osamu’s direction, and Osamu’s nose scrunches before he bats Atsumu’s hand away. “C’mon. Tell me. Wait. Unless it’s sexual. Do not tell me if somethin’ sexual happened.”

“No!” Osamu cries out, aghast. “Why would—why would anythin’ like that happen?”

“I dunno,” Atsumu says. “You said somethin’ happened.”

“I said nothin’ happened.”

“Which is the same thing as somethin’ happened.”

“Whatever,” Osamu says, tearing his gaze away from Atsumu for a brief moment to clear his head. “It was stupid. I asked him if he was plannin’ on ditchin’ us all again, and he said no, which somehow turned into him askin’ me how I feel about him.”

“Oh, wow.” Atsumu leans closer, more curious now that Osamu’s pride is on the line. It’s safe to say Atsumu’s been waiting a long time for Osamu to get his shit together with Suna, though any hope might have temporarily evaporated when it became evident that Suna didn’t seem to want anything to do with them anymore. “So you finally told him?”

“He wasn’t askin’ like that,” Osamu clarifies. He rests backwards on the palms of his hands, arranged on either side of him. “He just wanted to know if I was angry with him or not.” 

“Oh. Are you? Angry with him, I mean?”

Osamu shrugs, deciding not to elaborate. It was bad enough admitting it to Suna. He doesn’t need to be mocked by Atsumu as well.

Atsumu realizes that Osamu has no intention of explaining further, and he rolls his eyes. “Alright, fine. Loser. Next time you want advice, find someone else to vent to cuz I won’t bother.”

“Well. Whatever.” Osamu stares up at the ceiling. It’s much easier than meeting Atsumu’s inquisitive stare. “It was weird. I was weird about it. I don’t really know how to talk about it with him.”

“You mean you haven’t seen him since then?”

“No,” Osamu says.

Samu.

“What?”

“You’re an idiot,” Atsumu says. He almost sounds irritated, even though he doesn’t grasp the full scope of the conversation he and Suna had. “You’re almost as big of an idiot as Suna, and that’s sayin’ somethin’. I think you’re even worse than Gin when he was tryna figure out if Akagi sayin’ that he was hot meant somethin’.”

“Do not compare me to Gin.” Osamu refuses to let that comparison slide. Gin had been a clueless mess while trying to figure out his feelings for Akagi. It’s a relief that it all worked out for them. “I’m not that bad.”

“Yeah, you are.” Atsumu smacks his palm against the table. “Put it this way. You talk to Suna, and you mess things up. You two never talk again, which is pretty much how it was a week ago. Here’s the alternative. You talk to Suna, and you put together enough brain cells to have a coherent conversation. It works out.”

“It ain’t that simple.”

“Sure, it is.”

“No,” Osamu insists, his eyelids fluttering shut. “I mean, I don’t think I wanna mess it up at all. I don’t wanna go back to how it was. So I can’t fuck it up, and I’m worried that I did.”

Atsumu falls silent, digesting Osamu’s words, and Osamu can’t bear to open his eyes and decipher his reaction. Instead, he focuses on how his hands flatten against the floor, ignoring the tension in his fingers. 

It feels like an eternity passes before Atsumu speaks up again. “What—exactly—did you say to him?”

Osamu inhales through his nose. “I told him that, when I think about him, I feel—sad.”

The silence returns, as potent as before, but this time, Osamu needs to have some kind of response. He peels one eye open, and out of the edge of his vision, he watches Atsumu blink rapidly, his mouth parted as he gapes at Osamu.

“What?” Osamu demands.

“You are still in love with him.” Atsumu’s voice is laced with disbelief—mixed with a pinch of wonder. “Oh, Samu.”

“Don’t say that,” Osamu says, trying to fight back against the panic that surges upward because of Atsumu’s words. You are still in love with him. “Don’t say oh, Samu like it’s a fuckin’ hopeless situation. And I’m not in love with him. How many times do I gotta say it?”

“Yeah. Keep tellin’ yourself that.” This time, when he looks at Osamu, his look is pitiful, like the situation is entirely hopeless. It’s enough to make Osamu’s insides twist. “You’re a terrible liar. And you can’t lie to me.”

“I can.”

“You can’t.”

“I can.

“You can’t,” Atsumu insists. “Especially not about Suna.” He brings one leg forward so he can rest his arm on his knee as he sits up. “And I never said it was a hopeless situation.”

“You made it seem like it was.”

“It’s not.” Atsumu purses his lips. “For what it’s worth, I don’t think Suna woulda bothered comin’ back to Hyogo if not for you.”

“Huh?” Osamu straightens, and it’s embarrassing how the simple sentence seems to wake him up. It startles him into full awareness, and judging by Atsumu’s pinched expression, it’s obvious. “Wadaya mean by that?”

“I mean,” Atsumu says, “that Aran-kun and I have been tryna convince Suna to reunite with everyone for years, and he’s never bothered. Then, he shows up, and who’s the first person he visits? Oh, look, it’s you. Not me. Not Aran-kun. You.”

“Well, that’s—uh—” Osamu stammers. “I’m easy to find! And Aran-kun wasn’t around yet.”

“Easy to find, my ass.” Atsumu rolls his eyes again, and Osamu definitely feels like he’s the punchline to a joke now. “You coulda been in the middle of nowhere, and Suna still woulda looked for you first.”

“What—”

“The point is,” Atsumu cuts in, his voice sharp, “that’s he’s prolly only stuck around this long cuz he likes spendin’ time with you. He prolly missed you—as much as you missed him.” He holds up a hand. “And don’tcha dare even try to deny the fact that you missed him, Samu. I might fuckin’ light the both of us on fire if you try.”

Osamu clamps his mouth shut. The rising objections die as quickly as they’re formed. It’s not that far removed from the truth, he decides. He did miss Suna. It doesn’t matter how he chooses to approach the situation. If he’s being honest with himself, it was impossible not to notice the gap between them. Still, it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that Suna might have missed Osamu as much as Osamu missed him, considering that Suna was the one leaving Osamu on read.

“How can you be sure of that?” Osamu asks.

“Cuz he used to ask aboutcha all the time,” Atsumu says, like it’s obvious. “Every time we had a match, he’d come up to me after and ask a few questions about you—How’s Osamu doin’? Is he okay? How’s his business comin’ along?” 

Osamu’s head feels like it’s spinning. He never knew about any of this. “What?”

Atsumu blinks a few times, and it would almost be comical if Osamu didn’t feel like he’d been put through a blender. “Oh. Did I never tell you?”

Osamu lunges over the table, aiming to grab Atsumu by the collar, but Atsumu anticipates it, shoving another foot of space between them as he shuffles back from the table. 

“Hey, hey,” Atsumu says, wincing. “Sorry! It slipped my mind. I didn’t think it mattered, since you told me all the time that he ignored yer calls and texts. We never talked all that much. I would just try and convince him to meet up with everyone again, but it never amounted to anythin’. He never did.”

“Yeah, but—” Osamu gnaws on his lower lip as he falls back into his initial sitting position, his legs curled beneath him. “That’s somethin’ I woulda liked knowin’.”

“Well. You know now.”

“I didn’t realize he asked about me.”

“Not much,” Atsumu admits. “Just enough to know that you were doin’ alright. Comin’ from anyone else, that’s basic manners.” A pause. “From Suna, that’s actually a lot. He never asks how anyone’s doin’ unless he’s really interested.”

“I know,” Osamu says. He’s well aware that Suna doesn’t engage in small talk for the sake of it. Anything he says is considered pertinent to the conversation at hand, and if he doesn’t feel like his input is valuable, he won’t speak up at all. “That’s why I’m sayin’ you shoulda told me.”

“I know, I know,” Atsumu says. “Alright. I got it. I shoulda said somethin’. Honestly, I thought I did. I forgot.”

Osamu harrumphs.

“Don’t make that sound,” Atsumu says. “I said I was sorry.”

“Sorry ain’t good enough.”

“Well, would it have changed anythin’? Would it have made you reach out to Suna more?”

Osamu thinks about this. “No,” he says after a few seconds. “Not necessarily. But at least I woulda known that he actually gave a shit.”

When Osamu takes a peek at Atsumu, Atsumu’s look is almost pitiful. “He does give a shit,” Atsumu says. “Or else he wouldn’t have come back at all. I think it’s because he cares more than he lets on that it’s all so hard for him. Remember when we first met him? He was cold as ice.”

“He wasn’t cold.” He keeps rising to Suna’s defense without meaning to, but he stands firm on this. Suna hadn’t necessarily been cold. Atsumu might have seen it that way, because Atsumu is as loud as he is bold, so anyone that doesn’t fall into that categorization is easy to look over. Suna had been quiet, yes. Osamu remembers this well. It had taken almost a month into the school year to pry an actual conversation out of Suna, and even then, it had been a hard-fought battle. “He was quiet. That’s all.”

“He was real standoffish,” Atsumu continues, like Osamu hadn’t spoken at all. “I thought I wouldn’t get along with him cuz he’s such a slacker.”

“Suna ain’t a slacker.”

“Yeah, I know that now. That little shit is the kinda person that does things well without even tryin’ that hard.”

Osamu sighs. This trip down memory lane isn’t doing him any favors, especially with the sharp punch to the stomach Atsumu delivered him with. You are still in love with him. 

Thankfully, all endeavors to reminisce come to a close when the front door slides open. They stop talking long enough to listen to the patter of footsteps, and their mother comes into view in the doorway to the dining area, her arms laden with grocery bags. “Oh, Samu!” she greets cheerily. “I didn’t know you were here.”

“Here.” Atsumu leaps to his feet, hurrying over to her to relieve some of the weight. “Lemme help.”

“Oh, thank you, Atsumu,” their mother says, letting Atsumu take a few of the heavier bags and bring them into the kitchen. “That makes it easier.”

“No problem.” Atsumu’s voice fades as he wanders into the kitchen, but a few loud bangs follow as he fits the items into the cabinets and fills up the fridge. 

Their mother ambles into the dining area, offering up a bright smile, and she looks down at Osamu seated on the floor. “So what made you wanna stop by?”

“I was bored,” Osamu says, grinning. “Figured Tsumu would be just as bored. So I came here.”

“Hey!” Atsumu cries out from the kitchen. Osamu ignores him.

Their mother chuckles. She sets her wallet down on the table and flips her phone so that it’s face-down on the surface. “Wanna guess who I saw at the store?”

A furrow appears between Osamu’s eyebrows. “Who?”

“Guess.”

“Kita-san?”

“Nope.”

“Gin?”

“No.”

“Aran-kun.”

At this, their mother brightens. “Aran-kun’s back in town?” she asks. She always did like Aran, especially as he took the twins under his wings, albeit reluctantly. “You shoulda told me. I’d like to have him over for dinner sometime.”

“He only got back yesterday.” Osamu tugs at her sleeve. “Okay. Who was it then?”

Atsumu returns to the dining area, having finished organizing the groceries. “What are we doin’?”

“Mama said she saw someone at the store. She’s makin’ me guess.”

“Ooh!” Atsumu perks up. “Was it Kurosu-sensei? Or Kosaku?”

“Nope.” She drops a hand onto Osamu’s head, placed at an easy level when he’s seated as opposed to how he towers over her when she stands. “Neither of them.” She pauses for dramatic effect. “I saw Rintarou. I didn’t even know he was back in the prefecture.”

“Oh.” Osamu sits up. He should’ve guessed that there had to be a reason their mother would mention it at all. “He is.”

“Yeah,” Atsumu says. “He’s stayin’ with Samu.”

“He is? Osamu, you shoulda said somethin’! It’s been ages since I’ve seen Rintarou. He’s gotten even taller. He’s even more handsome in person than he is on television.”

“Yeah,” Osamu says, almost absentmindedly. “What didja say he was doin’?”

“Oh.” Their mother lets go of Osamu’s head. “He was buyin’ stuff for dinner.”

Osamu’s eyebrows lift of their own accord. He doesn’t know what Suna’s doing buying food, especially when his skills in the kitchen are poor at best. Osamu pulls out his phone, but to his surprise, his inbox is devoid of any new messages from Suna. There’s nothing asking him about what their plans for dinner are or when Osamu plans to return. 

Is Suna buying food under the impression that Osamu doesn’t plan to return to the apartment tonight at all? 

That question alone makes his stomach sink, and his mouth twists as he puts his phone away. 

“He looked a little lost,” their mother continues with a fond laugh as she recalls the memory. “He doesn’t seem to know what to do with anythin’, bless him.”

“Yeah,” Osamu agrees. Atsumu’s stare burns into the side of his skull, but Osamu doesn’t acknowledge it yet. If he does, he has to admit that Atsumu had a point. Osamu might not be Suna’s keeper, but he does care. Suna doesn’t deserve to sit in an empty apartment while he struggles to make himself something to eat in an unfamiliar place. “He’s a terrible cook.”

“Samu,” Atsumu says, drawing Osamu’s attention to him, and the way he speaks almost sounds like a challenge. “Are you gonna stay for dinner?”

“Oh, we have more than enough,” their mother reassures him. “I’m makin’ teriyaki salmon, if you’re interested. Feel free to stay.”

“Thanks, Mama.” Osamu stands up, dusting off his jeans. He already knows his decision. He’s known since their mother said that Suna was buying ingredients for dinner. “But I’m gonna head home and see what Suna’s makin’. Otherwise, I’ll come home to find my apartment burnt down.”

Their mother laughs, a bright and bubbly sound, and she reaches up to pat Osamu’s shoulder. “Alright, Samu,” she says. “You tell Rintarou hello from me. Please invite him over for dinner sometime. I miss him.” 

“Yeah.” Osamu lets out a breathy laugh, and he notices Atsumu making a face at him over their mother’s shoulders. “I’ll do that.”

“I’ll walk Samu out,” Atsumu announces before anyone else gets the chance to say anything. 

Osamu sends him a weird look, but he follows after Atsumu to the genkan, offering a final wave at their mother before disappearing from view. Their footsteps soften the further away from the dining area they are, and Osamu swaps his slippers back for his shoes while Atsumu hovers over him.

I’m gonna head home and see what Suna’s makin’,” Atsumu mimics in a poor imitation of Osamu’s voice. “You can’t fool me.” 

“You know that if I don’t go back he’ll burn down my kitchen.”

“Yeah,” Atsumu says with a dip of his head. “I also know that if you don’t go back, he’ll be eatin’ dinner alone. If he’s competent enough to make somethin’ edible at all. And you don’t like the image of it.”

Even the verbal confirmation sends a pang through Osamu. He straightens as he finishes tugging on his shoes, and he glares at Atsumu over his shoulder. “So?” he asks. “Am I supposed to stay here?”

“Nah, ‘course not,” Atsumu says, crossing his arms over his chest. “You can always stay over for dinner some other time. But Suna’s prolly thinkin’ you hate his guts right about now, so if you don’t wanna mess things up like you said, you should go back.”

“Thanks.” There’s a sardonic note to the word. 

“You’re welcome.” He says it completely seriously, like he missed Osamu’s attempt to mock him. He studies Osamu further as Osamu reaches for the door, looking like he’s caught between wanting to say something and wondering if it’s worth it. 

“What?” Osamu demands.

“Nothin’.” Atsumu sighs. “I’m just sayin’—”

Osamu groans.

“—that you’re prolly not the only one that gets sad when you think about Suna.”

Osamu freezes, lifting his head to get a better look at Atsumu. “Huh?”

“I’m sayin’ that Suna prolly gets a little sad when he thinks about you, too.” Atsumu shrugs, as if he didn’t just tear the rug out from under Osamu. But before Osamu can question him further, he shoves Osamu out the door. “Say hi to Rintarou for me!”


His apartment doesn’t reek of smoke when he returns. It doesn’t smell of anything in particular, and that’s enough in itself to put Osamu on edge. As he yanks his key out of the lock and turns the knob to the front door, his steps are hesitant as he lets himself inside. 

“Suna?” he calls out.

Suna stands in the middle of the kitchen, a knife in his hand as he stares down at his cutting board. A wide variety of ingredients are arranged beside him on the counter, but he looks at them like he has no idea how they make up the meal. He looks up at the sound of his name, his eyes widening. 

“Oh,” Suna says. “I didn’t think you’d be back so soon.”

“Hm?” Osamu tosses his phone and wallet onto the island, emptying his pockets. He can’t quite meet Suna’s eyes yet. “Wadaya mean by that?”

“I just—” Suna’s gaze falls back to the cutting board. “I wasn’t sure you would be back at all.”

The admission rips at his insides. He’s been so concerned about Suna hurting him that he hasn’t accounted for the pain he might be causing in return. There was no excuse for abandoning Suna without letting him know that Osamu didn’t plan on sticking around the apartment today, especially after the bomb Osamu had dropped on him yesterday. It’s because Osamu understands that anguish like the fresh wound that it is that he refuses to be the cause of it.

“I’m sorry,” Osamu says honestly. “I shoulda letcha know where I was. After work, I went to visit Tsumu. But I shoulda toldja.”

Suna shrugs, but Osamu suspects that the lack of communication on his end bothered Suna more than Osamu originally thought. “You don’t have to explain yourself to me,” Suna says. “I was just worried.”

“I know. I’m sorry.” 

“It’s fine.” Suna weighs the knife in his hand. “You don’t have to babysit me. I can take care of myself. I interrupted your life, anyway.”

Perhaps Suna has a point. But Osamu thinks that this interruption might be a welcome one—even with all of the bumps and obstacles it creates. He would have rather gotten a chance to speak to Suna again than forgo the opportunity to see him at all. 

“I don’t mind,” Osamu says. He walks around the counter as he watches Suna hold a knife against an onion, and he decides to put Suna out of his misery. He bumps him with his hip, effectively moving Suna out of the way. “Lemme do that. What are you makin’?”

“Yaki udon,” Suna says, handing off the knife with minimal protests. “Are you sure?”

“Suna, you look like you might chop yer fingers off. Lemme do this.”

The reassurance appears to be enough, and Suna takes a step back. Meanwhile, Osamu begins chopping up the onion into individual slices. He’s made yaki udon enough times that the movements are almost reflexive. He’s surprised Suna would go to such lengths when it comes to dinner for himself.

“How didja expect to do this if I didn’t come back?” Osamu asks. 

“Uh,” Suna says. “I would’ve figured somethin’ out.”

Osamu chuckles under his breath.

“Or I would’ve ordered takeout.”

“That sounds more like you,” Osamu says as he moves onto cutting the cabbage. 

A few minutes pass while Osamu chops up the ingredients in assured motions, and the apartment is silent save for the impact of the knife against the board while he works. Behind him, Suna hovers, his hands twitching like he doesn’t know what to do with himself, but he doesn’t say anything to disrupt the flow Osamu has fallen into. He’s respectful of the focus Osamu uses, and while it looks like has something to say, he keeps quiet.

Osamu is secretly grateful. The robotic task of making dinner distracts him enough from the other problems at hand—like the fact that Suna stands so close that Osamu can smell his cologne or the fact that his heart rate is picking up inside of him. It gives him a chance to clear his head—to reacquaint himself with being around Suna while pretending that everything is normal. 

In the end, Suna sets two plates up on the island and cracks open two beers. He occupies himself with picking chopsticks and napkins for both of them, and while the ingredients cook in the frying pan, Osamu lets himself watch Suna out of the edge of his vision. He doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary, but Osamu does catch Suna looking over at him more often than he did yesterday. 

When it’s finished, Osamu serves two plates, sprinkling bonito flakes across the top, and he slides one over to Suna as he plops down on a stool. Osamu opts to stand across from Suna, sifting through the noodles as he blends it all together.

“Here ya go,” Osamu says, opening one beer. He dips his head back as he takes a long sip. “Yaki udon.”

“Thanks.” Suna presses his hands together. “Thanks for the food.”

The meal starts off in silence, the soft sounds of them chewing seeking to fill it, but it isn’t the avoidant kind Osamu remembers from yesterday. He finds himself looking over at Suna while he eats more than he’d like, and he’s sure he feels Suna’s eyes on him, too. It’s odd, dancing around each other like they are, unable to connect at the same time, but it doesn’t make his body feel like it’s dragged down under the weight of rocks. It’s odd, but manageable. 

“So,” Osamu says. He’s the one who’s made things awkward between them, so he feels a responsibility to try and smooth things over. “What made you decide to cook?”

“You wound up cooking, anyway,” Suna says, putting a piece of pork in his mouth. “I didn’t do much.”

“It’s the thought that counts.” When Suna doesn’t respond, Osamu tries an alternative route. “Mama told me she saw you at the store.”

“Mmhmm,” Suna hums. “She was buying salmon. She’s always nice. Super chatty. She invited me over for dinner.” Suna lifts his head, and Osamu tries not to flinch when their gazes meet. It’s the first time they’ve made direct eye contact since they started eating. “I’m guessing she doesn’t know that I’m staying with you.”

“She does now.” Atsumu made sure of that. “And she said hello. Again. She’s serious about the dinner offer, by the way. She wants you to come over and catch up.”

Suna pauses with his chopsticks halfway to his mouth. He catches himself when Osamu notices, and he continues eating like he hadn’t frozen at the mere mention of ‘catching up’ with someone. “Oh,” he says. “Yeah. Maybe.”

The two of them fall quiet again, and Osamu wants to wince at the lapse in conversation. It’s not unusual for them. He’s not Atsumu, who fills the quiet for the sake of it, but when they barely know how to act around each other, each break in the conversation feels jarring. 

“Didja worry I wouldn’t come back to feed you, Suna?” Osamu teases.

“Um.” Suna bites down on a mushroom. “I mean, I did think about that.”

“I woulda come back.”

“I wasn’t sure if you would,” Suna mumbles, chewing. “You were pretty upset.” When Osamu doesn’t respond, Suna continues. “I thought that, if you did come back, it might be late. So I thought I’d try to make you something to eat.”

Osamu stares down at his plate. Although Suna didn’t progress past the collecting-the-ingredients stage of cooking, his intention had been to attempt a full meal. It warms his heart that Suna—who finds it impossible to navigate his own kitchen, much less Osamu’s—considered trying at all. 

“You mean you wanted to make me dinner?” Osamu asks. 

“Well.” Suna’s grip tightens around his chopsticks. “I was going to try. I don’t think it would’ve gone well. If I had messed up, I might’ve had to call the fire department. I would’ve had to apologize to you for burning down your apartment instead.”

“Yeah, but—” Osamu lifts his head. “That’s—that’s pretty nice of you, Suna.”

Suna’s face pinches. “It wouldn’t have turned out well. Your apartment might have been nothing but rubble in the end.”

“But it’s the thought that counts.”

“Yeah, until you’re choking on smoke.”

Osamu laughs. It’s still a little hesitant, but it’s more than a half-hearted chuckle. He can’t stop picturing Suna standing at the grocery store, searching up the ingredients for yaki udon before stumbling through the rest of the process. It’s more endearing than he’d like to admit. “You can’t hide the fact that you tried doing somethin’ nice for me.”

Tried is the key word. I didn’t wind up doing anything.”

“I’ve never had someone try to cook me dinner before. It’s sweet.”

Osamu.” Suna hides his face behind his can of beer as he holds it up to take a sip. “Stop.”

Osamu does, but he can’t contain the pleased smile he wears as he clears off the rest of his plate. He continues taking slow sips of his beer while Suna finishes, but when they’re done, Osamu drops the dishes into the sink to be washed later. 

“Osamu.” 

Osamu glances over at Suna. “Yeah?”

Suna hunches over the island, his shoulders tense, his gaze glued to the surface of the table. He holds onto the edge with one hand as he adjusts himself in his seat. “You—” Suna swallows, and Osamu follows the motion with his own eyes. “You said last night—that I made you sad.”

Like that, the light atmosphere shatters, and the hairs on the back of his neck stand to attention. He’s been waiting for this since he arrived home. Dinner was a temporary distraction, but there’s nothing to stop them from addressing the block anymore. He can’t help the surprise that floods through him at the fact that Suna is the one to bring it up first. 

“Yeah,” Osamu says, his voice small.

“And the other night,” Suna says, “at the izakaya, you said that I hurt your feelings. You said you were kidding, but you weren’t. Were you?”

Osamu’s even more surprised that Suna remembers his words. Suna had been so drunk that Osamu had been confident that the specifics of their conversation would wash away with a good night’s sleep. “Um,” Osamu stammers. “Maybe not.”

Suna nods. He still hasn’t looked Osamu in the eye, but it’s probably for the best. It’s hard enough seeing Suna verbalize the problem. Suna—terrible and awkward when it comes to talking about feelings—is trying his best to extend a branch of his own. “I’m sorry,” Suna says. “That’s—that’s never been my intention.”

“Well.” Osamu braces his forearms against the table. “That’s what happened.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“But why?” It’s the golden question he needs to know the answer to. He’s not satisfied with the excuse Suna gave them at the izakaya. He’s aware that the distance that forms after graduation is often inevitable, but he can’t understand why Suna willingly allowed it to grow. He can’t understand why Suna allowed it to fester between them. “Why wouldja do it at all?”

Suna lets out an exhausted sigh. He sounds—tired. Now that Osamu is looking at him, Suna looks like he didn’t sleep at all last night. “I don’t know. It just...happened. It felt awkward. I didn’t know what to do.”

“That ain’t an answer, Suna.” He tries to hold back his impatience, but it colors his words regardless. “We tried reachin’ out to you. All you had to do was say hi or somethin’. Not just ignore all of us.”

“I—” Suna whips his head to the side. “I know that. I should’ve said something. I know that now.”

“But—”

“I know it doesn’t change anything. I can’t take back what I did, and I can’t reverse time to make myself act differently. The bottom line is that I messed up.”

“Okay.” 

Osamu takes a calming breath. He can sense Suna’s distress building up, etched in how he struggles to even look in Osamu’s direction. The lines of his body are taut with tension, coiled so tightly that Osamu worries Suna might break. But he can’t help wanting to push further. It’s not that he feels like he’s owed an answer from Suna. It’s that he wants Suna to give him that answer of his own accord, because he wants to make amends.

Right now, Suna acknowledges that he let the disconnect form, and he’s apologized for it. But he can’t seem to face whatever block exists in his mind that made him feel so awkward with the team he might have considered family at one point in time.

“What about me?” Osamu asks.

This time, the question startles Suna so much that he can’t help but twist back in Osamu’s direction. “What about you?”

“You said you felt awkward with everyone else.” There’s a sharp intake of breath. “Didja feel awkward with me?” His voice wavers as the rest of the question falls from his tongue, and Osamu knows without a shadow of a doubt that the answer frightens him. 

Suna’s eyes bulge. “I—” His focus drifts, and he stares at some unknown point beyond Osamu, like he can’t bear to look directly at him. “That’s—that’s not it.”

The pit in the center of Osamu’s stomach grows until it’s almost painful. It’s poignant enough that he feels a lump form in this throat. It’s not a straight answer from Suna, not the kind he’s looking for, and Suna can’t even meet his gaze while saying it. “Right,” Osamu says, clearing his throat. “Then what is it?”

Suna’s lips press together, and he almost looks like he’s pleading with Osamu to understand beyond what his words tell him. But Osamu can’t understand. Suna is, in many ways, the same person Osamu knew, but he’s as different in many others. Osamu can’t read into the deepest recesses of his mind with the same assurance that he knows exactly who Suna is.

“Suna.”

Suna lets out a shaky breath. “It’s not awkward, I promise. I wanted to say something. I almost did.”

“Then why didn’t you?”

Suna’s shoulders slump, and it’s such a pitiful image to see Suna so anguished that Osamu almost regrets asking. Almost. But he needs to know, and if Suna can’t give him some kind of explanation, Osamu has no idea what Suna expects from him—what Suna wants from him. 

“Well.” Osamu pushes himself away from the island. He can’t force a response Suna isn’t willing to give, but he can’t wait here for Suna to find the words himself. It’s as excruciating sitting across from Suna while he struggles to explain why he couldn’t stretch across the distance between them as it was listening to Suna’s voicemail over and over again on every single one of Osamu’s unanswered calls. “I guess that’s my answer.”

“No.” Suna shakes his head. “Osamu—”

But every nerve in Osamu’s body wants to flee the scene as quickly as possible. It’s not enough that Suna fails to come up with an explanation. It’s that he can’t even form a half-hearted answer that eases Osamu’s distress. It’s so much worse having Suna in front of him when he can’t explain himself. It’s the physical reminder that, no matter what Suna says, things are stilted between them.

“It’s okay, Suna,” Osamu says, although it’s not, but Suna’s face continues to fall the more time passes and Osamu hates that he’s the cause of it. “You—you can think about it. You can tell me when you’ve got it figured out.”

“But—”

Osamu strides to his bedroom, the one place in his apartment Suna has yet to permeate, and he misses the quick patter of footsteps behind him as he slips through the door. Suna’s hand grabs the edge of the door before it can close behind Osamu, and Osamu whips around as Suna follows him inside. 

It’s impossible to ignore now. Suna has the same wild and frantic look he did when he’d rambled yesterday, and Osamu doesn’t know what to do about that. Suna has never broken down like this, like he’s hanging off a thin precipice with every ounce of strength he has. Suna looks—as sad as Osamu feels. 

“Osamu, please,” Suna pleads, and it’s even more rattling because Suna has never begged for anything in his life. “I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do.”

“You don’t hafta—” 

“It’s not awkward. How can it be? It’s you.” Suna’s arms jolt by his side. “I just—” He cups his elbows instead. “Please don’t lock yourself in your room again. I hate it when you don’t even want to look at me.”

“Oh.” Osamu has to sit down. He’s starting to feel lightheaded, and he decides to plop himself down at the foot of his bed. Suna moves forward a few inches, but nothing substantial, opting to give Osamu his space. “Sorry.”

“Even now, you’re not looking at me.”

Osamu rubs at his temples while he raises his head. For once, Suna seems to have no qualms about looking him in the eye. “I just wish you would give me an actual answer,” Osamu admits. “It’s hard runnin’ around in circles with you. I don’t like the fact that you’re dancin’ around it.”

Suna frowns. “I’m not trying to.”

“Yeah, but you are. How am I supposed to think that shit ain’t awkward between us if you can’t even talk to me?”

“It’s not awkward,” Suna insists, moving closer. He’s closed enough of the gap between them that his shadow falls over Osamu, illuminated by the light from outside the door, reflected against the darkness of his bedroom. He’s much taller from this position, and Osamu almost gulps. “It isn’t.”

“Suna—”

One of Suna’s hands rises to rest on the nape of Osamu’s neck, and Osamu is thrown off by the abrupt movement that a choked noise leaves his throat. 

“Suna,” Osamu repeats, his voice fraying at the end. 

“It’s not,” Suna says again, but at this point, Osamu can’t tell who he’s trying to convince. 

When Suna’s legs bump against Osamu’s knees, a jolt rushes through him so quickly that he barely registers it. Suna’s other hand falls against Osamu’s shoulder, as though reassuring himself that Osamu is here and present. But what captures Osamu’s attention is how Suna’s face keeps pressing closer, that desperation more noticeable as he leans in. 

All invasive thoughts disintegrate within seconds as Suna’s mouth finds Osamu’s, and Osamu doesn’t have the time to think about how this is Suna—Suna is kissing him—before he finds himself kissing Suna back.

Osamu doesn’t even remember what they were talking about. His brain empties itself as he focuses on one thing and one thing only. He notices how Suna’s grip tightens on his shoulders, how his fingers curl into the buzzed hair along the back of his head, how Suna’s mouth is as full and soft as he’d always imagined, back when he was young and stupid and foolish. He’s still foolish now, Osamu thinks, because although there’s the fleeting reminder that, while it’s a terrible idea to kiss your best friend, it’s even worse to kiss your best friend-turned-stranger. He can’t bring himself to care though, as he meets Suna back with equal force and passion, his hands cupping Suna’s hips as Suna eases his weight more onto Osamu.

Osamu falls back against the mattress as Suna topples over him, and he scrambles up along the sheets, kicking off his slippers, finding the room for Suna. Suna braces himself over Osamu, his face pink, a few stray hairs falling against his forehead. But—he no longer looks like he’s breaking down. That desperation from before replaces itself with something softer, more affectionate, and his left hand brushes against Osamu’s cheek before he leans again.

This time, the kiss reflects the change in urgency. It’s slower and lulling, making Osamu want to sink further into the bed as he discovers all the ways Suna likes to be kissed. It isn’t until Suna slides a hand along the lower part of his stomach that Osamu realizes Suna still hasn’t given him an answer. 

He makes an incoherent sound against Suna’s mouth, noticeable enough that Suna pulls back. “What?” Suna asks, his voice dripping with concern. “Something wrong? You want me to stop?”

No, Osamu thinks before he can help it. He doesn’t want to stop, not when he’s finally had a taste at what he’s dreamed of for years, not when Suna feels like this. He doesn’t want Suna to revert back to his distress from a few minutes ago. He prefers Suna like this, soft and smiling and carefree. He decides that he doesn’t need the answer right away, not when he gets to have Suna like this. 

“No.” Osamu urges Suna closer. “Don’t stop. Please.”

Suna softens. “Okay,” he whispers before bending forward to kiss Osamu again. Osamu smiles against his mouth, letting all of his unease unwind itself. It’s easy, especially as Suna runs his hands against Osamu’s torso, yanking Osamu’s shirt up and over his head. 

Suna becomes Rintarou when Suna trails kisses down his stomach, lingering to press his mouth against Osamu’s collarbone, and Rintarou becomes Rin when Suna grazes his hands over the front of Osamu’s jeans. His heart pounds until it overwhelms his eardrums, and his chest tightens with affection as Suna meets his lips again, his tongue soft and teasing. 

By the time Suna undoes the buttons on his jeans and shimmies them off in the least seductive way possible, Osamu thinks that he might like this version of Suna, too. There’s no chance to mull it over before Suna’s hands dip beneath the waistband of Osamu’s underwear. The first touch alone is enough to draw out a full shudder from Osamu, and he’s not sure how to feel about how easily his body reacts to Suna. 

“Rin,” Osamu murmurs, the nickname foreign on his tongue, his eyelids fluttering shut. 

When Suna grins up at him, Osamu decides he can always get his answer tomorrow. For now, he lets himself indulge, ignoring the traitorous voices that whisper, You are still in love with him.


His alarm blares the next morning, grating against his eardrums until it’s impossible to ignore, and Osamu fumbles for his phone left on his side table. He doesn’t even glance at the screen while he shuts off the alarm, and his body slowly reorients itself with his surroundings, registering the stream of sunlight that reflects off the surfaces of his room. A yawn overcomes him as he sits up in bed, the sheets pooling around his waist, and Osamu raises a hand to rub at his eyes. 

He knows what to expect when he turns his head to the left, but the sight of Suna’s head of hair spread out on the other pillow still manages to surprise him. His shoulders are left bare, the covers reaching halfway up his torso, and he faces towards the window, away from Osamu. Osamu winces when he spots the hickey on the lower part of Suna’s neck. 

He might have been in too much of a daze last night to run through all the reasons why sleeping with his former best friend-turned-stranger was a terrible idea, but he’d lost all sensibility the moment Suna’s mouth had met his. He became weak at the sight of that rare smile, bright and beaming all for Osamu, and he’d been powerless to stop it even if he’d wanted to—which he hadn’t. Not at all. 

It still feels like a fever dream, even though he can recall how Suna’s fingertips had felt ghosting along the dips and curves of his body, tracing the stretch marks gathered at his hips, and how Suna had delighted in kissing Osamu everywhere, not just his mouth. It hadn’t mattered that they didn’t know each other as well as before; Suna had enjoyed coaxing the most out of Osamu anyway. 

It’s the aftermath that hits the worst. It’s been a while since he’s done something this painfully stupid, hitting like a punch to the gut, and he doesn’t even want to think about the inevitable repercussions. It’s his fault for not thinking with his head, but he couldn’t help it. He’s always been weak for Suna. 

Osamu’s hand reaches over to brush Suna’s hair against the pillow before he stops himself. This isn’t a relationship. This isn’t anything. It was a lapse in judgment, and Osamu is paying the price for his childhood nostalgia. He’d insisted to Atsumu yesterday that he wasn’t in love with Suna, and he’s doing the exact opposite of what his words suggest. He’s sleeping with Suna, which is almost as bad as recognizing that he’s in love with him.

Osamu grits his teeth. He can’t do this. 

Against the stillness, Osamu rushes to get dressed. It’s hard moving around his room without trying to disrupt Suna’s sleep, but he doesn’t have the time to address whatever this is. He has a shift to work, and he needs to distract himself from anything and everything regarding Suna. His efforts are all for naught, though, when Suna lifts his head from the pillow and watches him tug his uniform shirt over his head.

“Osamu?” His voice is still groggy with sleep, but his eyebrows furrow as he registers that Osamu is getting dressed. “What are you doing?”

Osamu finds it difficult to look Suna in the eye. “I gotta work,” he says, smoothing out the front of his shirt. “Early shift.”

“Oh.” Suna yawns. He doesn’t look as off-kilter as Osamu feels, and Osamu envies him for how swiftly he’s managed to fall back into cool composure like anything they did last night was typical for them. “Oh. That makes sense.”

“Yeah.” His face feels warm all of a sudden, even though he’s pointedly avoiding looking at Suna. “I’ll be back later.”

“Um.” Suna’s mouth twists. “Sure.”

“Right.” Osamu strides back over to his side table to retrieve his phone, then stares at his bed. He usually makes it right before leaving for work, but he can’t do it when Suna is still tangled in it. “So. Uh. I’ll see you later.”

“Right.” It might be his imagination, but Suna’s face looks more flushed than usual. “Yeah.” 

He doesn’t have time to process what that means, nor does he have the time to mull over Suna’s one-word replies. Work demands his attention, and he’s not in the mood to forgo his shift to sit in this tense bubble as they fumble for something to say. Hopefully, when he returns later, they’ll be in a better position to address the elephant in the room, but until then, Osamu shoves it to the back of his mind.

“I gotta go,” Osamu says hurriedly. He puts his phone in the front pocket of his jeans. “Bye.”

Before Suna gets the chance to respond, Osamu dashes out of his bedroom and out of his apartment. Guilt burns at the back of his throat, but it’s not as present as the regret that fills him the further he gets away from Suna, the consequences of his impulsiveness setting in.


Miya Osamu

GIN

I DID SOMETHING STUPID

Ginjima Hitoshi

I had to double-check this message to see if it came from Atsumu

Lol

I guess he’s holding onto the brain cell for now then

What’s up

Miya Osamu

where are you?

Ginjima Hitoshi has shared a location.

Ginjima Hitoshi

There

Why

Miya Osamu

see you in five minutes

Ginjima Hitoshi

WHAT

I DON’T GET A CHOICE?


Gin is seated on the middle of a bench overlooking a local park in their area when Osamu catches up with him. His face is bright red, sweat gleaming against his skin, and he’s dressed in a light tracksuit with the sleeves of his hoodie pushed up to his elbows. It’s evident within seconds that Osamu’s inane messages interrupted his daily run, but at this point, Osamu is too frazzled to be that remorseful about it. He’s in the middle of a crisis—namely, the fact that he’s too afraid to go back to his apartment.

His shift didn’t take his mind off of Suna as much as he’d hoped. It was the first time in a while that he’d made so many mistakes while working to the point that one of his long-time employees pulled him aside and asked about his well-being. He tapped orders into the register incorrectly, he spilled two drinks, and he accidentally broke a plate in the kitchen. It’s not something he can ignore, he realizes, and if that’s the case, then he has to confront it. The problem is that he doesn’t know how. 

How is he meant to ask Suna—who can’t even give him a full answer as to why he broke all contact with Osamu for the past couple of years—what last night meant?

Gin might be a disaster himself, but at least he’s in a stable relationship. He’s gone through the toils and troubles of figuring out a rocky dynamic. Other than Gin, Osamu’s other option is Atsumu—and he’d rather boil himself alive than admit what he’s done to his dumb twin.

“Gin,” Osamu says as he approaches him. He’s still dressed in his work uniform, minus the apron that sits around his waist. He came straight here after his shift, not bothering to head upstairs and change into something more suitable for the outing, in case he ran into Suna. “Hey. Thanks for showin’ up.”

“You didn’t exactly give me a choice.” Gin’s gaze slides past him to stare out at the playground. There are a few children running around the monkey bars, their shrieks bursting out, and two mothers sit on a bench on the other side of the grass, talking animatedly. There’s enough of a path that Osamu can see the occasional runner jogging past, but for the most part, they’re far enough removed from anyone else that it’s the perfect location for Osamu to divulge the events of last night. “What’s up? You’re kinda scarin’ me.”

“What? How am I scarin’ you?” 

“Well, first off, what are you wearin’?”

Osamu drops down onto the bench. “I just got here from work.”

“Why didn’t you change?” Gin demands. 

“I can’t go back to my apartment.” It’s such a vague response that it garners a dumbfounded look from Gin, and Osamu admits that it sounds pathetic out loud. “I didn’t wanna risk runnin’ into Suna.”

“God.” Gin drags a hand over his face. His temporary vacation has done him good, erasing the shadows beneath his eyes and making his smiles more genuine. Any kind of break away from work is welcome, and for someone like Gin, who stresses so much about doing his job right, the lull breathes a little life back into him. Part of it is likely because of Akagi, too. Gin always looks happier the closer they are to each other. “What is it now?”

“So.” Osamu rotates around so that he faces Gin. He clasps his hands in front of him. “You know how Suna is crashin’ at my place.”

“Yeah. I know. Atsumu told me.”

“Okay. Do you guys have some fuckin’ group chat or somethin’ that I’m not a part of? How the hell are you keepin’ each other so up-to-date?”

“We have a group chat.” Gin drops his arm, his lips quirking up in a smile. “Atsumu, Kosaku, and I. We made it after the night at the izakaya.”

“What? Why?”

“Well.” Gin looks hesitant all of a sudden, biting down on his lip, turning in the direction of the trees to their right. “Um. You see—”

“Spit it out, Gin.” His patience runs thin. He already feels like a ticking time bomb, though the countdown is more to his upcoming meltdown than anything else. “I ain’t gonna be mad.”

“Atsumu’s gonna kill me.”

“Not if I kill you first. Just say it.”

“Fine!” Gin shuts his eyes while he speaks. “I’ll say it. Don’t tell him I toldja, though. He’ll gut me.”

“I won’t.” Osamu isn’t in the mood to seek out Atsumu after their chat yesterday. It’s not like Atsumu did anything wrong, but he can’t stop hearing Atsumu’s voice in his head, becoming more and more like a pompous taunt the longer it repeats itself. “Tell me.”

“Well.” Gin still hesitates, but at Osamu’s fierce glare, he acquiesces. “Um, we set it up to keep each other updated…” He gestures vaguely at Osamu. “On any progressions.”

“Progressions?” Osamu repeats. “Like—on me and Suna?”

“Yeah.” Gin’s voice sounds tight, like he’s waiting for Osamu to snap. “Just to—you know—chat without you bein’ spammed with all of our messages.”

“Right.” A pause. “I expected this crap from Tsumu. I expected better from you and Kosaku.” He probably should be more annoyed, but he sounds weary instead. He rubs at his temples with his fingers. A headache looms at the back of his skull. “Whatever.”

“So.” Gin kicks Osamu’s foot gently. “What’s the crisis?”

“Hm?”

“What didja do?”

“Ugh.” Osamu’s shoulders slump. It’s bad enough coming to terms with his poor decision-making himself, but verbalizing it for Gin is like reliving the brunt of his rashness. His stomach churns. “It’s bad, Gin.”

“I know. I got that from yer text.”

“I’m such an idiot.”

“I already knew that.” Gin kicks him again. “C’mon. I don’t got all day. I’m sweaty and tired, and I still gotta run back home. Out with it.”

Osamu releases a heavy sigh. It’s not going to be any better whether he puts it off, so he might as well save them both the trouble and spit it out. “Fine,” he says, a muscle ticking in his jaw. “I had sex with Suna.”

Gin chokes on his own spit. He keels over at the waist as he coughs, trying to clear his throat, and the noise is loud enough that it makes everyone in the near vicinity look over at them. Osamu ignores how his ears burn at the unwanted attention and focuses on patting Gin’s back until he recovers. It takes Gin a minute, and when he sits up again, his eyes still water. 

“You—” he sputters. “You fucked Suna?”

“Well—”

“Osamu.” Gin’s voice turns deadly serious, and it’s enough to make Osamu shift back a few centimeters on the bench. Gin rarely acts stern, but it happened a few times back in their third year, whenever Gin insisted that it’s time to stop foolin’ around, what the hell would Kita-san think of you losers. It worked wonders every time, managing to remind them of their personal responsibility to the team and their kouhai, and it’s as intimidating now as it was then. “You said you did something stupid. Not someone stupid.”

“Suna ain’t stupid.” It’s a feeble protest, and Osamu knows it. 

“He sure is if he agreed to have sex with you,” Gin says. He shakes his head wildly, as though willing himself to forget Osamu’s admission. “I cannot believe this shit. I cannot believe you two. Are you outta yer mind?”

“Hey.” Osamu points a finger in Gin’s face. “I came here lookin’ for a judgment-free zone. I don’t like yer tone, Gin. It’s not like you’ve never had an impulsive one-night-stand.”

Gin flounders for a moment. “Maybe!” he admits, his voice nearing a frequency beyond what Osamu’s ears can take. “But at least I’ve never fucked one of my—” He breaks off suddenly, and Osamu gives him a self-satisfied grin. “Oh, shit. I have.”

“Yeah, you have,” Osamu says. “That’s why I’m comin’ to you, Gin. I need yer experience. Yer wisdom.”

“What fuckin’ wisdom do I have? I was a fuckin’ wreck back then. It was a disaster. You told me that yourself while it was happenin’. Now you’ve gone and done the same thing! Except it’s worse.”

“How is it worse?”

“Cuz at least Michinari and I were friends at the time.” Gin throws his hands in the air. “You’ve been goin’ on and on all week about how you and Suna aren’t on the same page. Instead of talkin’ to him about it—you know, like a normal human being—you decided to get into the same bed, which is decidedly worse.”

“I—” Osamu knows that Gin has a point. That’s why the regret kicks in during the aftermath, and he can’t figure out how to proceed from here. “I know that. I fucked up.”

“No. You fucked Suna.”

“Okay, I can do that and fuck up at the same time!”

“Clearly.” Gin braces his hands on his knees. As the minutes continue, his face returns to its usual color as his body recuperates from the exertion of his run. He looks less like his head might explode and more like he wants to throttle Osamu. “What, exactly, were you thinkin’?”

He wasn’t thinking. Osamu acknowledges this. “I went home,” Osamu says. “Found him tryna cook me dinner.” He stops when he notices how Gin’s eyes have hardened. “What?”

“Nothin’. Go on.” 

“Anyway. I wound up cookin’ instead, cuz Suna can’t cook for shit. Then I wound up askin’ him—or tryna ask him—why he stayed away for so long. I wanted to know why he didn’t feel comfortable comin’ to any reunions or answering any messages. He said that he felt awkward about it, so I asked him if he felt awkward around me.

Gin encourages him to continue with a jerk of his chin. “And what did he say?”

“He said no.” Osamu chews on the inside of his mouth. “Then he kissed me.”

Gin buries his face in his palms. “You two are so stupid.”

“Hey.”

“I mean it. I’m seriously considerin’ that Atsumu might be the smarter twin.”

“Okay. That’s just mean.”

Gin peels his hands away, but it’s almost worse seeing the aggrieved expression he wears firsthand. “I’m serious,” he says. “Why wouldja do that? Why wouldn’t you demand answers?”

That’s the golden question, and Osamu lacks a proper answer. He knows that the honest truth will earn a bark of laughter. He distracted me. Instead, Osamu shrugs. “Suna’s never kissed me before,” he admits, his voice soft.

Gin must pick up on the traces of warmth in his tone, because his features smooth out until Osamu feels like he can bear to meet Gin’s eye. “Alright, fine,” Gin says. “So he kissed you. Then you had sex.”

“Yes.”

“What happened this mornin’ then? Did either of you bring it up?”

“I had to leave early for work,” Osamu says. “Neither of us really said anythin’.” A pause. “Do you think I should?”

Gin blinks, and he looks caught between wanting to cry or scream. “Are you kiddin’ me? Is yer head only meant to hold yer fuckin’ hair, Osamu, or do you got a brain in there, too?” 

Huh?”

“‘Course you gotta say somethin’!” Gin says. “You think Suna will?”

“Uh.”

“Suna hasn’t even given you a straight answer as to why he was so distant for the past couple of years. You think he’s gonna say, ‘Wow, we had sex last night. What the hell does that mean?’” Gin levels him with a hard look. “No. You gotta say somethin’.”

“Fine.” Osamu acknowledges this much, at least. “How?”

“Wadaya mean—how?”

“I mean how,” Osamu insists. He can’t visualize his return back to the apartment in a scene where he sits Suna down and they discuss last night in a calm and professional manner the way adults should. He imagines the silence will be as poisonous as always, infiltrating every corner of the apartment, and neither of them will know how to free themselves from it. “How do I bring that up?”

“Well, I don’t know, Osamu,” Gin says, looking back out at the playground. He stretches his arms along the back of the bench. “I think if you can fuck each other, you can have a mature conversation about it.”

“Jeez, Gin. Calm down.”

“I am calm. I should be freakin’ out more cuz of yer stupidity. But I’m not.”

Osamu resists the urge to point out that one of Gin’s eyebrows hasn’t stopped twitching. “Right. Okay.” His voice lowers. “How do you imagine that goin’?”

Gin winces. “Not well. You two are stupid.”

Osamu rolls his eyes. “C’mon, Gin.” He hits Gin’s hand a couple of times where it rests beyond Osamu’s back. “Tell me what to do. I’m—” He bites the inside of his cheek again. “I’m worried I fucked things up.” 

“You did. Literally and figuratively.”

Gin.

The desperation must come across in Osamu’s voice, because Gin regards him with a wary look and brings his arms back to his sides, hunched in a position that looks far more serious than his attempt at appearing relaxed. “Just ask him what it means,” Gin suggests. “I’m assumin’ that if he’s willing to have sex with you, he’s gotta like you a little.”

“Are you sure?” Osamu hates how breathy his voice sounds, like he’s sixteen all over again and Suna’s opinion of whatever he did at the time meant more than anyone else’s. “What makes you say that?”

“You’re overthinkin’ it. I don’t have sex with people I’m uninterested in.”

“But I don’t know if Suna is.” Osamu scoots against the back of the bench, his spine forced upright. “I don’t know him anymore. Not like I did.”

“I don’t think he’s as different as you think he is,” Gin says. “If anythin’, he’s as weird as always.”

“Weird?”

“Well, he had sex with you, for starters.”

Osamu swats the back of Gin’s head, his patience reaching its limit. Gin anticipates it, though, and he leans forward out of reach. 

Okay,” Gin says with an exasperated huff. “I’m sorry. I’m kiddin’.” 

“No, you’re not.”

Gin runs a hand through his sandy-brown hair, damp with sweat, and he reaches for his water bottle that went unnoticed until now. He undoes the cap and tips it back to take a long swig. When he finishes, he wipes his mouth off with the back of his hand. “I don’t know what to tell you, Osamu,” he says. “There ain’t gonna be an easy solution. You did somethin’ serious. That means you gotta approach it seriously. Look, if Suna slept with you, then he’s gotta have some kind of feelings aboutcha. That’s a positive, right?”

“Right,” Osamu echoes, though his heart isn’t quite in it. 

“You tell him about yer feelings. He tells you about his. It ends happily. There. See. I fixed yer shit for you.”

Osamu blinks. “What do you mean—my feelings?”

“I can’t do this anymore.” Gin waves him off with a flap of his hand and scrambles to his feet. With his water bottle in hand, he towers over Osamu, hunched over on the bench. The sun glistens off Gin’s skin, and Gin holds a hand over his eyes to ward off the strong beam. “If you can’t admit that you like Suna—at least a little—I can’t help you. You’re not gonna get any answers from me. If you want some kinda clarity, there’s only one person that can provide that.”

Osamu sighs. He’s being stupid. He remembers how that affection had blossomed last night in the form of gentle smiles and lingering kisses. That rush of emotions made itself known when he’d walked Suna back to his hotel from the izakaya, hitting him like a strong punch, and while he doesn’t want to admit it out loud, he knows that whatever happened between him and Suna goes beyond a meaningless fling. At least on his end.

That’s the issue. He doesn’t know how it looks on Suna’s end. Only Suna can tell him that. 

“Ugh.” Osamu lowers his head. “It’s gonna be awkward.”

“You already made it awkward.” Gin watches Osamu stand up, tossing his water bottle back and forth. “You can’t make it even more awkward.”

“Fine. I’ll talk to him.”

“Good. Put me out of my misery.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Osamu follows Gin as he starts towards the lone path, but his footsteps start to split in the direction of his car as they reach their crossroad. “Don’t forget how much crap I had to listen from you when you were workin’ out yer shit with Akagi-senpai.”

“I know.” Gin winces at the reminder. “Why do you think I keep tryna guide you? It’s not my fault if you don’t listen to my advice.”

“I’m tryin’.” It’s not his fault that his intentions dissolve the second he winds up in the same room as Suna. “I’ll work on it.”

“You better.” Gin offers him a mock salute before turning in the direction of his apartment, setting off at a light jog to start. “Good luck!”

Osamu waits until Gin’s figure fades in the distance before retracing the steps to his car. Each one becomes more sluggish the closer he gets to the vehicle, dread sinking into his bones while he unlocks the door. It isn’t that he wants to disregard Gin’s advice. Not at all. If anything, he wishes he could follow it down to a T. The problem is that he’s sure all rationality will desert him the second he steps back into his apartment. 


The key jangles in the lock while Osamu lets himself into his apartment, and it takes him a second to recognize someone’s voice while he kicks his shoes off in the genkan. Suna speaks in a low voice, unhurried and calm, and when Osamu steps further into the space, he finds Suna seated on the couch, his cell phone propped against his ear as he files down his nails. 

Suna looks up briefly at the sound of footsteps, and while he still looks a little tentative, his mouth curves up in a wry smile as he listens to the person on the other end of the call. When Osamu lifts his eyebrows in a silent question, Suna mouths, My sister.

Osamu nods and resumes his process of dropping his phone and wallet onto the island. It’s still a little early to think about dinner, but his mind runs through the items he has in his fridge. He’s due a grocery trip soon, especially since he’s feeding two, but they’ll last another two days. He’s not in the mood to cook tonight, anyway, considering the mental whirlwind he’s been stuck in. Anything he’d concoct would turn out mediocre, and even though Suna would never complain, Osamu would never be satisfied with a lackluster meal. 

“Right,” Suna says, stretching out his legs. “Uh-huh.”

Osamu stops at the kitchen sink and washes his hands. He’s never washed them so thoroughly, but the longer the phone call continues, the more his nerves bubble up. He can already sense Gin’s thoughtful advice slipping between the cracks, and he’s certain his courage will fail him the more time passes.

“Okay. Yeah. Listen, I’ll call you again soon.” Osamu can hear the smile in Suna’s voice, often involuntary whenever he catches up with his younger sister. “That sounds good. Okay. Bye.”

Suna tosses his phone to the other end of the couch, and Osamu turns around, steeling himself with a calming breath. 

“Hey,” Osamu says, inflecting as much casualness into his voice as possible. “How was yer day?”

“It was good,” Suna says. He stretches out his arm, reaching until his fingers touch his toes, as easy as it always is for him. “I didn’t do much. I went out for lunch, and when I got back, my sister rang. I’ve been on the phone with her for like an hour.”

“How is she?”

“She’s fine.” Suna regards Osamu as he lifts his head, and a jolt runs down Osamu’s spine at the direct contact. “How was your day?”

“It was good. I went to work. Talked to Gin.”

“Ah. How is he?”

The first memory that comes to mind of their conversation earlier that day is Gin calling the two of them stupid. He swallows. “Uh. He’s fine.” 

Osamu waits, but all Suna does is nod before falling back against the cushions. Suna doesn’t look inclined to mention anything that happened between them last night. In fact, he looks like he always does—composed and collected. The only thing that gives him away is the hickey that rests on the bottom of his neck, prominent against the rest of his skin. 

Osamu scratches at his chin. “Suna.”

Suna raises an eyebrow. It’s almost infuriating how he manages to stay so calm about all this. “Yeah?”

Osamu clears his throat. “About last night—”

“We don’t have to talk about it,” Suna says in a rush, and the stream of words burst out of him like they’ve been sitting on the tip of his tongue all day. It’s enough to make Osamu fall silent, despite all the questions that climb up his throat. “We don’t have to say anything about it at all. I mean, it was fun. Right?”

“Yes,” Osamu says slowly, unable to follow where Suna’s going with this. “It was...fun.”

“Right.” Suna’s features smooth out, like Osamu’s verbal confirmation was all he needed. “And it’s not awkward between us.”

“No.”

“So everything’s fine.”

“Uh.” Osamu’s not convinced of that. In fact, he has the distinct thought that everything is far from fine, that his feelings for Suna are starting to overwhelm him, and it’s enough to give him a headache when Suna proves even more elusive and aloof than he did back in high school. Suna might have a lot of things to say, but he’s terrible with spitting them out, making Osamu’s head feel like it’s been in a blender. All he wants is a straight answer, but each time, without fail, Suna turns flustered instead, and Osamu never gets the response he wants. “Suna.”

“What?”

“I don’t think everything is fine.”

“What do you mean?” Suna scrambles up from the couch in an abrupt movement that makes Osamu’s eyes widen, but he doesn’t get the chance to process it before Suna darts over to him, tugging him by the wrist and leading him back to the couch. 

Osamu lets out a surprised huff when Suna gently pushes him onto the cushions. His hand doesn’t leave Osamu’s chest, steady and firm, and Osamu can only stare up at Suna with wide eyes as Suna moves closer. 

Osamu already knows that he’s not following Gin’s advice. He’s deviated so far from the script that there’s no chance of readjusting. He has to get answers tomorrow—if he still wants them. 

“Suna.” Osamu raises his hand to Suna’s face, brushing the stray strands of hair out of his eyes. Suna seems touched by the considerate gesture, and his eyes brighten as he stares down at Osamu, a small smile dancing across his lips. “Sunarin.”

“Rin,” Suna corrects, slotting his knee between Osamu’s legs. 

Osamu almost lets out an embarrassing noise at the sudden escalation, but he holds himself back in time. He has enough sense to brace his hands around Suna’s waist before Suna dips down to kiss him.

It’s different, Osamu decides, kissing in the light of day. He gets to witness how the sunlight catches along Suna’s face whenever he breaks off to smile at Osamu, and he revels in the unhurried pace as Suna’s mouth meets his in full force, soft and playful. There is no cover of darkness to shield them from their irresponsibility, but neither of them care enough to put an end to it. Osamu certainly won’t—not when Suna’s presence knocks all sense out of him.

Suna’s hands run along his shoulders, urging Osamu closer, and his brain empties itself when Suna pulls away, his mouth shiny with spit.

“Rin,” Osamu croaks.

It would be embarrassing if it were anyone but Suna, but Osamu knows that the deepest corners of his heart trust Suna even now with every fiber of his being. Even as Suna lowers himself to his knees in front of Osamu, it’s with absolute trust in each other, and that alone sends jitters through his stomach. 

“Rin,” Osamu repeats as Suna undoes the button on his jeans. He waits for Osamu to lift his hips before easing them down his thighs. “Hey.”

Suna pauses, looking up at Osamu. “Yeah?”

Part of Osamu thinks he might say it. He might ask something he’ll later regret—that’ll break the sanctity of the moment until it’s unrepairable. He might demand answers—all the answers that Suna owes him. But his resolve crumples when Suna’s eyes crease with worry, and he decides he can wait. He’s waited years for Suna. Another day is nothing.

“Nothing.” Osamu shifts his underwear down as Suna’s hand slips beneath his waistband to find that he’s already half-hard. “It can wait.”

“If you’re sure.” There’s no missing the relief that taints his voice, and for once, Osamu is glad he didn’t ruin the moment. “Okay.”

Suna kisses along the insides of his thighs, sending shivers up through Osamu’s body, and that alone makes his heart skip along. He’s barely aware of anything at all, except for Suna and how good he feels, and this fact is supported when Suna slips his mouth over him, burying all the questions for another time. 


Ginjima Hitoshi

So how did it go?

Miya Osamu

i don’t want to talk about it

Ginjima Hitoshi

You didn’t

Tell me you didn’t

OSAMU


Miya Osamu

hey does monday work for us to go into the gym

Akagi Michinari

Sure that’s fine

Miya Osamu

thanks 

Akagi Michinari

I think you broke my bf

He keeps muttering to himself

I can’t believe you had sex with Suna btw 

How irresponsible of you

Miya Osamu

            great to know gin can’t keep a secret

Akagi Michinari

Gin tells me everything

If you tell him something, you tell the both of us

It’s a two-for-one deal

Miya Osamu

            i see that

any advice?

Akagi Michinari

Use protection

Miya Osamu

.


Unsurprisingly, Osamu ends up following Akagi’s advice before Gin’s. He’s not sure how sex with Suna before work has become the norm, early enough that his alarm has yet to go off, but he’s not mad about it. If anything, it puts him in a better mood, easing his nerves and soothing his anxieties until he lies back against the sheets, stuck in a state of pure relaxation while his chest rises and falls in quick succession. 

Suna’s stuck in a similar position on his right, sputtering as he forces the hair off his face. Unlike Osamu, he drags the covers up until they cover him completely, at ease with the reassurance that he doesn’t have a morning shift to wake up for or any other responsibilities that might pull him away from the comfortable bed. 

Osamu needs to shower. The sweat starts to dry the longer he stays here, and there are enough fluids glistening across his body that remind him that he needs to give himself time to wash before work. But frankly, he doesn’t want to move. In the aftermath, exhaustion sets in, almost enough to convince him that this was a bad idea—more so than it already is—but along with that weariness comes a warmth he hasn’t felt in a long time. It’s enough to ward off the aches for the time being, and Osamu is thankful he can sit in the moment without his brain drawing up all the reasons he’s messed up. 

Like clockwork, his alarm blares, and Osamu reaches over for his phone. He turns the noise off with a single tap, but his eyes catch onto an unread message sitting in his inbox.

“Rin,” Osamu says, holding up the phone closer to his face. “Didja get a message from Kita-san?”

Suna looks over at him, the edges of his eyes pink. “What makes you think I’ve checked my phone? Going through my text messages during sex would be a new low.”

A soft chuckle leaves him, and he squints at the screen, skimming the contents of Kita’s text.

Kita Shinsuke

I hope you’re free for a reunion this Saturday around 2PM at Onigiri Miya.

I’ve managed to convince Omimi to come from Osaka for the weekend, so I hope you and Suna are available. 

“Ah.” This is the reunion Kita’s been planning. It’s not unexpected, though Osamu is surprised he managed to pull something together so fast. He shouldn’t be, though. This is Kita he’s talking about. “Kita-san’s askin’ if we’re free Saturday.”

“Oh.” Suna blinks slowly. “Sure. What for?”

“The reunion he talked about. Remember?”

“Oh.” This time, the word comes out quieter, and it’s noticeable enough that Osamu slides his eyes over to Suna. “Right. That.”

“Suna.” When Suna stays silent, Osamu tries again. “Rin.”

“Hm?” His gaze is unfocused, staring at the bedroom walls rather than meeting Osamu’s eyes. The shift almost makes Suna as guarded as he had been back when Kita had dropped in for his unexpected visit—as he had been at the izakaya and again the night Osamu had tried to ask why he’d abandoned them. 

Rin.

“Yeah?”

Osamu tries to suppress his frustration, but there’s an edge to his voice all the same. “You’re doin’ it again.”

“I’m doing what again?”

“Shuttin’ down. Closin’ yourself off. I dunno.” Suddenly, he’s hit with the impulse to leave the room. The mattress no longer feels comfortable, and his mind reminds him that he has work to get to, anyway. It’s bad enough that Suna gets by on his half-hearted replies; it’s worse when he doesn’t acknowledge that he’s doing it. “You’re doin’ what you’ve done since you’ve gotten here.”

“Osamu.” Suna stares at him, his gaze unwavering.

“I just—” Osamu sits up abruptly, the sheets falling into his lap, and he swings his legs over the side of the bed. “I gotta go.”

“Osamu—” Suna reaches for him, but his hand wraps around thin air as Osamu hurries into the bathroom. 

It’s not how he wants to leave things between them for the time being, but disappointment guides his actions. It burns at the back of his throat, lingering even after Osamu leaves the apartment, and it sits in the pit of Osamu’s stomach all day. 


Miya Atsumu

so how are things going with suna

Miya Osamu

piss off


Any hopes that his mood would lift after his shift fade by the time he’s done with work. His body is still too tense, his mind too worked up, and the last thing he wants is to return to his apartment on the verge of a meltdown. When he faces Suna again, he wants to do it with a clear head. He can’t continue like this, facing Suna’s impassiveness when all he wants is an answer that silences the storm in his thoughts. If Suna isn’t ready to provide him with that, then Osamu isn’t ready to see him again. 

Instead, Osamu retrieves an old volleyball from storage and treks in the direction of the park Gin had led him to the other day. There’s a brisk breeze piercing the air, but it’s not uncomfortable as he walks in his uniform shirt, the sunlight gliding along his bare arms. His hands wrap around the familiar rubber of the volleyball, and every so often, he’ll bounce it against the pavement until it springs up beside him again. The sensation is still soothing, even after all this time—even after Osamu stopped playing. It’s like muscle memory kicks back in again, remembering how it had felt to dedicate himself to this sport for a large portion of his life, walking him back through the motions like it’s effortless.

It doesn’t take long before he reaches the edge of the park. Like the last time, there are a few kids darting around, their parents perched along benches while they keep a watchful eye, but instead of finding a bench for himself, Osamu puts himself far from the playground and settles on a patch of grass separated from everyone else. 

He doesn’t hesitate before lying down on his back, the blades of grass prickling his skin, and he braces the volleyball on his stomach. He used to watch Atsumu perform his setting drills, as meticulous with his tosses as he is with every other aspect of the sport, but it’s been a while since he’s done them himself. The volleyball settles between his hands, and he steels himself with a breath before starting. 

He sets it upwards from his face—once, twice, then over and over again. The rhythmic motion calms him, slowing down the erratic beating of his heart, and it is a relief to only have to focus on one thing at a time. There’s no one else around to interrupt him. It’s just him and the ball, and his fingertips and wrists fall back into the process of setting like he never stopped. 

The sun cuts into his vision on occasion, but it isn’t unbearable. In the background, his ears pick up on the shrieks of the children some distance away, but he hones in on the soft sounds of his fingertips against the rubber as it flies upward without fail. It doesn’t take much out of him, especially since his control is steady, and he never has to reach to reorient the ball. It’s simple. Straightforward. Everything that Suna is not.

Osamu scowls and catches the ball on its next downward fall. The last thing he needs is to think about Suna when he tries his best to forget him. He resumes his drill, setting with precise tosses, and he’s not sure how long he stays there. He becomes so lost in his focus that he doesn’t hear the footsteps treading towards him, and he only realizes that he’s not alone when a shadow casts over him and a hand reaches out to catch the ball mid-toss.

Osamu squints against the harsh glare of light, and a second later, his stomach sinks. 

Suna stands over him, juggling the ball with one hand, and his stare is forceful as he peers down at Osamu with a pinched expression. 

“What are you doin’ here, Suna?” Osamu asks. “How didja know I was here?”

“Atsumu tracked you.” Suna drops the ball, and Osamu’s reflexes react fast enough to snatch it before it nails him in the face. “He said you were here.”

“What? Why was he trackin’ me?”

“I asked him to,” Suna admits. He hesitates, rocking in place, but then he lies down on the ground a foot away from Osamu. He lets out an exhale through his nostrils as he makes himself comfortable. “I was worried.”

“How did he track me in the first place?” His mouth twists. He thinks that the last thing he needs is for Atsumu to have full knowledge of his whereabouts twenty-four-seven. 

“He said you have some kind of family app.”

“That’s for emergencies.

“Sorry.”

“I was gonna come back later tonight.”

“I know. But I didn’t want to wait that long.”

Osamu doesn’t look over at Suna. He’s not sure he can bear to. He focuses on the volleyball cradled between his palms instead, pressing his fingertips into the rubber. “Why was that?”

This time, Suna blows out a puff of air from his mouth. “Because I owe you an apology,” he says, “and an explanation.”

Osamu stills. His chest tightens a hair, bracing in anticipation for Suna’s next words. “Yeah?”

“Yeah,” Suna says. “I’m sorry for shutting down. I didn’t realize that you took it that way.”

“How could I not?” His voice falls apart near the end of the question, fraying at the edges, because he remembers each instance, clear as day, when Suna’s would respond with a blank stare and one-word replies instead of offering the answers Osamu wanted. The answers he needed. “I just—I wanna know if we did somethin’ wrong. If I did somethin’ wrong. Cuz every time I run through it in my head, I got nothing. I don’t understand, and that’s all I want.”

A few beats of silence follow his admittance, and for a moment, Osamu worries that Suna won’t speak up. But when he does, his level voice breaking through, Osamu breathes a little easier. 

“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Suna says. “Neither did the rest of the team.” He sighs. “I wasn’t lying that night at the izakaya when I said I didn’t mean for it to happen. I didn’t. Pursuing volleyball professionally was a rocky ride. I was in the middle of a place I was unfamiliar with, I had no friends nearby, and my family was far away. It was scary.” His voice drops. “Terrifying.”

“I didn’t know all that.” Osamu remembers all of the phone calls at the beginning, right when Suna had signed onto EJP. His recollections of his day hadn’t been detailed, and his tone had remained neutral the entire time he explained his practices. Now that Osamu thinks about it, Suna had always preferred to hear how Osamu was doing. “I mean, I know it was hard. Tsumu had a tough time, too. But you never said how lonely you felt.”

“I don’t regret my decision to play volleyball,” Suna says. “Not at all. But those first few months were—hard. I kept wondering if it was even worth it. I mean, I wasn’t a starter yet, and everything felt like a mess. I felt like a mess. I hate feeling like that.”

Osamu remains silent, sensing that this isn’t the kind of conversation he needs to interrupt all that often. Suna needs someone to listen, and Osamu has been waiting to hear him out.

“I think the distance was there from the beginning,” Suna says. “I don’t think it started only a few years ago.”

“Wadaya mean?”

“I mean, I always was the outsider, wasn’t I? I’m the one recruited from outside the prefecture. I’m not originally from Hyogo. I wasn’t born and raised here.”

Osamu’s head whips to the side. “Suna, you know we never thought that—”

“I know,” Suna interrupts. “But some days, it really felt like that. Then, after graduation, I was even further away. Everyone wound up staying close together. Even Aran-san and Atsumu lived close to each other. I was the odd one out.”

A pang echoes through Osamu. The idea that Suna could feel like he didn’t belong even after their three years together fills him with incredible sadness. The thought had never occurred to him. How could it—when Suna had fit into their lives like he was meant to be a part of it?

“Anyway,” Suna says, folding his hands over his stomach. “I didn’t come to the first couple of reunions because of a few reasons. I really was busy, and I felt guilty coming to Hyogo for even a weekend. Any time away from the team made me feel like I was doing something wrong. Then there was the fact that I didn’t want to hear all about how Atsumu and Aran-san’s careers were going. It would’ve made me feel even worse, like I was falling behind even more.”

Osamu can imagine how that would have felt. He knows how difficult it had been to sit through countless conversations with strangers asking him what he planned to do with his career, only to receive blank stares in return when he admitted that he wanted to start his own business from the ground up. He knows how difficult it had been to listen to all of his classmates’ achievements when he didn’t have anything to show for himself yet. 

“Suna,” Osamu murmurs. “I wish you had told me.”

Suna shrugs. “You had a lot going on. I didn’t want to make things worse.”

“I woulda understood.”

“I know,” Suna says, frowning. “I told myself that so many times. Osamu will understand. Tell him. But I felt so helpless every time I almost did. I couldn’t.”

“Then you stopped answerin’ calls. You stopped respondin’ to my texts.”

Suna presses his eyes shut, and Osamu resists the urge to smooth out the crinkles that emerge along his skin. “I could tell that the distance was there,” Suna says. “I didn’t know how to fix it. I wanted to.”

“I could feel you slippin’ further and further away,” Osamu admits, pulling at a blade of grass. “I didn’t know why, though. That was the frustratin’ bit. I thought I’d done somethin’ wrong.”

“No, no.” Suna shakes his head without opening his eyes. “You could never do anything wrong. I was the one that got in my own head. I overthought everything. Even when I finally started settling into EJP and I made the starting line-up, I didn’t reach out. I didn’t know if you’d want me to.”

Of course I wanted you to, Osamu wants to scream. I checked my phone so many times hopin’ you would.

“I didn’t think I could fix it,” Suna says, the painful admission burning Osamu’s ears. It sits in the air between them, and Osamu holds his breath. “Aran-san and Atsumu insisted that I come home to visit, and every time, I didn’t know what to say. I thought they must have been kidding when they said everyone missed me.”

“Why would they be kiddin’?” Osamu asks. “Why wouldn’t we want you around, Rin?”

At the use of the nickname, Suna’s eyes crack open, and his head twists until he makes eye contact with Osamu. He doesn’t speak, but his lips press together like he’s willing himself to respond. 

“Rin.” Osamu settles his head against the grass, his smile gentle. “We chose you. Inarizaki chose you to come all the way to Hyogo and play with us. So what makes you think we would stop wantin’ you around after graduation?”

“I—” Suna’s voice catches. 

Osamu drops the volleyball until it stops between them. He reaches out, his movements slow so as to not frighten Suna off, and he brushes a strand of hair behind Suna’s ear. It’s not nearly as long as it was back in high school, but Osamu doesn’t mind. “What makes you think,” Osamu asks, “that I would stop wantin’ you around?”

Suna doesn’t respond. His eyes widen almost imperceptibly, and he fidgets like he might sit up and move away from Osamu’s touch. But in the end, he relaxes, and Osamu’s fingers dance along his cheekbone. 

Osamu decides to blurt it out, because he won’t be able to summon the courage again, and he’s inspired by Suna’s show of bravery and vulnerability. His chest loosens. “Rin,” he says. “I’ve been in love with you since I was sixteen.”

A strangled noise leaves Suna’s throat.

“I didn’t even really know what love meant back then,” Osamu says with a wry chuckle. “But I figured it out the older we got. I thought about you a whole lot, even when we weren’t speakin’. I missed you. I’ve missed you for years.”

“I’ve missed you too,” Suna whispers. His eyelids drift shut. “I think that I might’ve stayed away longer if it weren’t for you. I talked myself out of all the overthinking shit because I wanted to see you.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.” Suna laughs, and it’s the most wonderful sound Osamu’s heard all day. “Osamu, I kissed you. I had sex with you. I think it’s pretty obvious that I have strong feelings for you.” 

“Well,” Osamu says with a tinge of disbelief. “I wasn’t sure! I had to be sure.” He bends his head closer, drawing a slight gasp out of Suna. “I don’t even know if those strong feelings are positive.”

“Mmm.” For a second, Osamu witnesses a flash of the Suna he remembers from high school: equal parts teasing and aloof. But then it disappears, replaced with the Suna in front of him, a little older, a little wiser, a little more in love with Osamu. “Who knows? Maybe I strongly feel that you’re annoying.”

Osamu shoves him away, ignoring the peal of laughter on Suna’s end, and Suna rolls through the grass. When Suna sits up, his eyes crinkle with unbridled affection, and the realization dawns on him a second later that it’s aimed at him. Suna braces his arms around Osamu, still lying down on the ground, and his face leans in close—close enough that his nose brushes against Osamu’s.

“What do you think, Osamu?” His breath tickles Osamu’s face, but Osamu wouldn’t trade the closeness between them for anything in the world. He’s wanted Suna to be this near for so long. His heart is ready to burst at the proximity. “Are those feelings positive?”

“I hope so,” Osamu says, curling a hand into Suna’s hair. “Cuz I’m positive I like you a lot.”

Suna hums. “I guess I’m positive I like you a lot, too.” 

Osamu’s chest squeezes, and his hand urges Suna to bring his head closer until their mouths find each other. It’s even better than their previous kisses, because it isn’t necessarily a lead-up to anything in the next couple of minutes, like their moments before sex had been. It’s a promise, a fateful return, and a long-awaited homecoming all in one.


Miya Osamu

            kita-san suna and i will be there on saturday

Kita Shinsuke

I’m glad to hear it.


The inside of Onigiri Miya is quiet for a Saturday afternoon. Without the familiar chatter of customers, the scattered orders of the staff, and the hum of the television, the restaurant is left with a distinct emptiness that permeates the space. It would be a lot lonelier—if Suna wasn’t around, too. 

He stands with his hands digging into the pockets of his sweatshirt, surveying the length of the wide wall where many of the tables lean upon, and his eyes roam upwards, lingering on all of the pieces of volleyball memorabilia Osamu has collected throughout the years. Osamu doesn’t miss how his gaze remains on the pictures he’s in a little longer, but instead of the wistfulness that used to sweep over Osamu whenever he was reminded of the existence of those photographs, a newfound affection takes its place. 

He’s wished for so long for a chance to speak to Suna in person again. Now, he knows better. He would have never been satisfied with pieces of Suna. He could have never returned to the gaping distance between them after one brief conversation. There isn’t a vision of his life in which Suna returns without returning for good. He has now, and it’s a fact Osamu hasn’t gotten used to yet. Sometimes, he wakes up in his apartment, and there’s a momentary burst of surprise when his mind registers the other person sharing his bed, but once he recalibrates, his body relaxes, like this is how it’s meant to be all along.

Osamu stands a little ways off, a package held between his hands. It arrived on the doorstep to the restaurant this morning, and he can’t remember what he ordered. With a knife clutched in his hand, he tears his attention away from Suna to glide it down the tape in the middle.

“What’s up, Rin?” Osamu asks, flipping the flaps open.

“Nothing.” Suna’s footsteps echo against the stillness as he ambles over to where Osamu stands. “I hadn’t gotten the chance to look at everything fully.” He pauses. “What’s that?”

“I dunno,” Osamu says. “Can’t remember.”

His hands piece through the plastic wrap before they enclose around three neat packages, all of which are light in his grasp. Osamu extracts them all from the box and sets them aside, but not before his eyes latch onto the splash of red that fills his vision. Every nerve in his body stands to attention.

“Oh,” Osamu says. Suna leans closer, and Osamu undoes the wrapping around the first, confirming what he already suspects. When he draws the fabric out of the plastic, it glides along his fingertips, and he shakes the cotton material out before holding it up. “I forgot I ordered these. It’s been a while.”

“Oh.” Suna’s eyebrows flick up. “National team jerseys.”

“Yeah.” Osamu flips it over to the other side, where OJIRO stands out printed along the back, bold and noticeable. “I wanted to hang them up for the Olympics.”

“How many did you get?”

“Well, I got Aran-kun’s and Tsumu’s, of course—” His voice cuts off as another realization dawns upon him. He had almost forgotten the second-guessing and fretting that resulted in this complete purchase, in which his cursor had hovered over the delete button for one of the items in his cart, debating whether or not he should buy it. Without speaking, he tears open the package near the bottom, the plastic ripping beneath his strong grip, and like before, the fabric unfolds gracefully. 

Suna’s voice is softer as he registers the name printed along the back of this particular shirt. “Oh.”

Osamu holds his breath as he turns it over in his hands, his eyes sliding over the SUNA that covers the jersey. He’d submitted this order long before Suna had stepped back into his life. It had been a spur-of-the-moment decision to add Suna’s shirt to the cart, and he had deliberated over it in the aftermath, wondering whether it was worth the money and the heartache that followed. It wasn’t like he owed Suna his support. 

But it didn’t matter. Suna has always had Osamu’s support, whether they’re part of each other’s lives or not. 

“I forgot I ordered yer shirt, too,” Osamu says over a breathless laugh. “Guess that was pretty lucky, huh?”

Suna isn’t laughing. He watches Osamu, a mixture of wonder and sadness hidden there, but he offers up a small smile. “Thank you,” he says. “Really.”

“There’s nothin’ to thank me for.” Osamu busies himself with organizing the package all together, dumping the jerseys back into the box to put behind the counter. It’s easier than witnessing the full-fledged gratitude Suna aims at him. “I ordered it cuz I wanted to.”

“I know, but—”

The front door bangs open, and Osamu knows who it is before he hears the loud voice that accompanies it. “Samu! We’re here.”

“Not so loud, Atsumu,” Gin chides him, stepping inside after Atsumu. 

Atsumu hurtles through the entrance, his blonde hair tidier than Osamu’s seen it the past couple of days, wearing a windbreaker pulled over clean jeans. He makes his way towards them without pause, Gin and Akagi following behind at a much leisurely pace. 

“Wow, we’re the first ones here,” Atsumu announces, like it isn’t obvious. Osamu thanks his luck that he managed to seal the package again before Atsumu’s arrival, otherwise he never would’ve heard the end of his brother’s satisfaction. “Hey, Sunarin. Glad to see you haven’t run off yet.”

“Glad to see you still have your sense of tact, Atsumu,” Suna replies smoothly. Over Atsumu’s shoulders, he regards Gin and Akagi with a nod. “Gin. Akagi-senpai.”

“Yo.” Akagi holds up his fingers in a peace sign. “Good to see you, Suna. Been a while.”

Osamu seems to be the only person that notices how Suna momentarily stiffens at the harmless remark, but then the moment passes, and he relaxes again. It hasn’t been that long, but pride shoots through Osamu whenever he notes how Suna’s body language has changed since that day in the park. He no longer tenses like an animal preparing to flee; the second of hesitation is still there, where Osamu’s sure the doubt creeps in like an old friend, but Suna pushes himself through it. It’s a big difference, and every time, it’s extraordinary to witness.

“It has,” Suna says. “It’s good to see you, too.”

Akagi grins, as if Suna’s passed some kind of test. 

Gin clears his throat, placing a hand on Akagi’s shoulder as he leans over him. “Glad to see you two have got yer shit worked out. You were a mess.”

“Mhm,” Suna hums, ducking his head to hide his smile. 

The next ones to arrive are Kita and Aran.

“Sorry we’re late,” Kita says, as though he hasn’t arrived ten minutes earlier than the scheduled meet-up time. “Aran kept me waitin’ as I went to pick him up.”

Aran shoots Kita a look of betrayal. “Jeez, Kita,” he says. “I wasn’t that behind schedule.” 

Kita’s lips press together as if to disagree, but his focus is sidetracked when he notices Suna. Kita steps forward, and everyone averts their gazes except for Osamu. He tracks how Kita keeps moving until he’s in front of Suna, and even despite their difference in height, it’s clear within seconds who the junior is. Suna’s features smooth out, but Osamu doesn’t miss how his fingers twitch as he hides them away in his pockets. 

“Suna,” Kita says, his voice soft. “I’m glad to see you here.”

Suna swallows. “I’m glad to be here.” It’s not forced at all, and it makes Kita smile in response. It leads Osamu to believe that maybe the reason Kita never gave Suna a hard time about missing all those reunions and being distant is because he knew exactly why Suna had done so. It provides a sense of clarity as to why he never pestered or asked further questions when Suna did return. 

Aran squeezes Suna’s shoulder when he passes, a silent gesture that speaks louder than words ever could, and Suna understands the message, clear as day. 

Omimi and Kosaku are the last to appear, joining a few minutes apart from each other. Somehow, Omimi looks even taller than the last time Osamu saw him, which couldn’t have been more than a few months prior, but his presence still offers steady assurance. He gives Suna a slight smile that looks borderline out-of-place on his face, but Suna doesn’t seem to mind. He returns one of his own, awkward in its own way, though the intention behind it is well-meaning.

Kosaku trails behind, but his mouth curves into a smile at the sight of them all huddled together. “Sorry I’m late,” he says. “It’s been a while, huh?”

“It has,” Kita says. 

They all spread out around a table, and Osamu brings out the tray of fresh onigiri he’d prepared before everyone arrived. As expected, it disappears within seconds, greedy hands taking as much as they can before it’s empty. Even though it’s been years since they’ve all reunited together, whatever awkwardness Osamu had feared is absent. Everyone splits into their own conversations, though people cross into others’ as they please. 

Aran comes over to ask Osamu how the business is going, Osamu winds up agreeing to a two-on-two volleyball match couples-edition with Akagi and Gin to be held next week, and everyone places their bets on who is going to score the first service ace at the Olympics out of the three athletes. 

Osamu spends most of the afternoon apart from Suna, but whenever he looks over to check on how he’s doing, Suna appears at ease, chatting with Kita or Gin or Aran, and it’s a relief whenever Suna returns his stare with a reassuring smile of his own. 

Suna finds him towards the end, gathering at Osamu’s back as he slumps over him, his arms wrapped around Osamu’s shoulders. “Hey.”

Osamu leans his head backwards. “Hey.”

“Ugh.” Gin scowls from across the table. “You two are so in love that it’s gross.”

Atsumu blows a bubble of saliva. “At least now you know how we all feel when we see you with Akagi-san.”

Gin opens his mouth to protest, but whatever words meant to come out of his mouth become unsaid as Akagi reaches over to urge Gin to rest his head on Akagi’s shoulder. Gin quiets in an instant, his eyelids drifting shut, and he leans heavily on Akagi. Akagi doesn’t mind one bit, shooting Gin an affectionate smile before returning to his conversation with Omimi. 

“Gin has a point, though,” Kosaku says, his chin propped up against the surface of the table. “It’s kinda sickenin’.”

“Stay mad about it,” Suna says, tightening his grip around Osamu.

His response garners a few laughs, even from Osamu, who places his hand over Suna’s in a comforting gesture. It’s the start, Osamu thinks as he looks around at the full table of his former teammates, but it’s a step to filling the hole he’s noticed in his life over the past couple of years, and he wouldn’t change their progress for the world.

When Suna smiles down at him, Osamu smiles back.


The sun has long set over Inarizaki High School, and the property appears abandoned in the night hours. There is one building with the interior lights beaming outward, and Osamu lets his gaze drift there momentarily before he drives his car into the otherwise empty parking lot. Beside him, Suna stares out the window, his chin propped against his hand. He straightens while Osamu finds a spot near the path that leads to the set of gymnasiums along the outside of the school, and he waits until the car is parked before yanking off his seatbelt.

Osamu pulls his key out of the ignition, dropping it into his front pocket. “You ready?” 

It’s an unnecessary question considering that Suna has been waiting to step into their old gymnasium since arriving back in Hyogo. Since this morning, he’s been brimming with anticipation, moving restlessly around the restaurant, enough that Osamu told him to wipe down tables if he was going to pace. 

There’s something momentous for Suna about returning to their old gym. He hasn’t elaborated much, and Osamu hasn’t pushed for an answer. He figures that Suna has told him the important bits, and Osamu doesn’t mind waiting for Suna to open up about the rest. However, now that they’re here, Osamu’s heart clenches, too. 

“Yeah,” Suna says. “I’m ready.”

The two of them clamber out of the car. Their footsteps resound against the pavement as they trace the path up to the gymnasium, the route imprinted in their memories, and his legs guide him without a second thought. A lone bird cries out in the distance, and the outdoors is dark enough that the streetlamps reflect light around them. Other than the crunch of their steps, all is silent.

The closer they get to the gymnasium, the more the familiar sounds start to return. His ears pick up on the smack of skin against rubber, the sharp whistle that breaks through sporadically, the loud voices that call out for the ball. When they walk around the edge of the main building, the light from the gymnasium drifts downwards onto the ground in front of them. At this distance, he can see the players performing their final drills for the night, sliding across the hardwood to make a quick receive or stepping to set. All at once, nostalgia knocks into him, and he understands why Suna had been so intent on coming. 

“Ah.” Suna stalks over to the steps that lead inside, and he crouches down. “It feels like it was yesterday.”

“Feelin’ nostalgic, Rin?” Osamu joins him, perched on the stairs while they peer in. He’s grateful for the darkness that obscures them from view, otherwise they would be at risk of being noticed. “I didn’t think you had it in you.”

Suna hums in acknowledgement. In a wistful tone, he murmurs, “I always think about high school. It was a totally different league, you know? Some people were playing for fun, but then you had the monsters that wanted more.”

“Hey.” Osamu nudges him. “Didja forget that you’re one of those monsters?”

Suna’s grin is piercing against the dark. “I could never.” 

Akagi’s voice cuts through the commotion, announcing the end to practice, and Osamu pulls Suna out of the way. A few minutes tick by before the first of the students filter out of the gymnasium. Scattered pieces of their conversations flit over to them, but the crunch of their sneakers over the dirt blocks out the rest. None of their eyes slide over in their direction, and relief courses through him when the last of the students dashes out of the gymnasium.

It takes another minute for Akagi to exit, and his head whips back and forth as he does.

“Akagi-senpai,” Osamu greets, tugging Suna by the elbow as they emerge into view. “We’re here.”

“There ya are.” Akagi tosses the keys, and right when Osamu prepares to catch them, Suna snatches them in mid-air. “Here. Nice catch.”

Osamu sends Suna a dirty look, but Suna is unfazed. “Thanks again, Akagi-san,” Suna says, juggling the keys in his hands. “It’s appreciated.”

Akagi waves them off with a flap of his hand and descends down the stairs. “I don’t mind,” he says. “It’s a little weird.” He jumps down the last one, the impact reverberating through the dirt before he stands upright. “But you know. I need them back as soon as possible.”

“Yes,” Osamu promises. “I’ll get them back to you right away. I’ll leave them with Gin tomorrow.”

“Cool.” Akagi shoots them a thumbs-up. “Then we’re all good here, right? Everythin’ is cleaned up, so all you gotta do is turn out the lights and lock up when you leave. Please remember to lock up. I wasn’t sure if you came here wantin’ to play volleyball, but if you do, you know how to set up the net.”

The truth is that Osamu doesn’t know Suna’s intentions. Suna isn’t paying much attention to the conversation at hand, his focus averted inside. 

“Yeah,” Osamu says. “That’s all. Thank you.”

“No worries. I’ll see you both around.” With that, Akagi strolls in the direction of the parking lot, whistling under his breath. Suna climbs into the gym before Akagi’s figure fully fades from view, but once it does, Osamu is right behind him. 

Osamu isn’t sure what he expects Suna to do. Fetch a volleyball, maybe—or sit against the wall while he looks out upon the court. The last thing he expects is for Suna to stride out into the center of the gymnasium, plop down on the floor, and lie on his back facing upwards.

“Uh.” Osamu hesitates near the door. “Rin?”

Suna withholds any explanation. Instead, he pats the spot on the floor beside him. “Lie with me.”

There isn’t a reason not to, so he does. His feet lead him to the center where Suna is, and he looks down at Suna momentarily, relishing in the prickle across his skin when Suna stares up at him, his eyes dark and unwavering. With a sigh, Osamu falls to his knees and lies down right beside Suna. The floor is as hard as it appears at first glance, and it knocks against his skull while he tries to make himself comfortable.

“Why are we lyin’ here?” Osamu asks. The overhead lights shine into his vision, making his eyes water. 

Suna lets out a long exhale. “Not for any particular reason,” Suna says. 

Osamu folds his hands over his stomach. “Then why didja insist on comin’ to our old gym? There’s gotta be a reason, right?”

“Yeah. I mean, it’s more for sentimental reasons.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.” Suna’s shoulders shift. “I’m about to play in the Olympics and represent Japan. That was something I never would’ve considered when I started volleyball in middle school. I was such a slacker then.”

Osamu chuckles. There are a few distinct memories that stand out of Kita mentioning that Suna’s inclination to slack off during matches was a liability. Thankfully, Suna’s grown out of that over time, though he still reverts to deliberating over which plays require most of his energy. “Uh-huh.”

“I didn’t even know if I wanted to continue volleyball after high school,” Suna admits. “There were a few points when I thought, ‘This is just a sport. This is just for fun.’”

Osamu thought that more and more towards the tail end of his career. It’s an unexpected reversal for the two of them that Suna was the one that stepped away from that mindset to approach the sport through a serious lens in that it could become his career. Growing up, local news reports had always predicted that the Miyas would continue to become a setter-and-spiker pair in the first division. He hadn’t paid attention to most of the outcry that followed when he announced that he intended to stop post-high school, but as the months went on, the regrets fell away from his shoulders. 

He knows without a doubt that this is the right path for him. 

On the other hand, Suna—who had initially been indifferent as he’d sunk out of the spotlight of the team—started to change. Osamu can’t name the catalyst, but it started around the match with Karasuno in their second year. Suna could no longer hide his ambition behind straight faces and blank stares. Osamu knew better. It had been both a surprise and a natural progression when Suna told him about his plans after graduation. 

“And now?” Osamu prompts.

Suna clears his throat. “Well,” he says. “It’s a bit more than that now.”

“Yeah.” Osamu pokes a finger into Suna’s side, relishing in how Suna jolts away at the sharp touch. It’s the first time he’s glanced over since lying down, and he rolls over onto his side to face Suna fully. “You’re sellin’ yourself a little short there, aren’tcha? You like volleyball a lot more than you expected to. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you smile more than you do when you’re playin’.”

Suna snorts. “That’s because you haven’t gotten used to me being around yet. I smile all the time.”

“Yeah.” Osamu acknowledges this fact better than anyone. He’s aware that Suna is not the most expressive of individuals, but he’s seen firsthand how that impassiveness crumples into pure excitement when the moment strikes. “But you’re gonna be beamin’ when you’re playin’ at the Olympics. I can’t wait to see it.”

“Because it’s the Olympics,” Suna says. “Why wouldn’t I be happy to be there?”

“I dunno.” Osamu jabs Suna’s cheek, and this time, Suna’s gaze shifts over to him, a hint of amusement hidden there. “You didn’t seem all that happy when you got to Hyogo.”

The next sigh Suna lets out comes through his entire body. “Yeah,” he says. “That’s because I wasn’t. I think that’s part of the reason I did end up coming back. I’m at the highpoint of my volleyball career. It’s never going to get any better than this. But—” A pause. “Something was still missing. I wasn’t completely satisfied.”

Osamu digests this with a nod. He holds himself up on his elbow, hovering over Suna’s frame. “Really?”

“Yeah. I thought I should come back to the place where it all kicked off for me. I figured if I couldn’t remind myself why I wanted to continue playing volleyball in the first place, then I was always going to be discontent with how things worked out.”

“How are you feelin’ about it now?”

“I’m—” Suna’s chest sinks, and a warm smile curls on his lips. “I’m happy. I’m happy about—everything, really. It’s been a while since everything felt like it was all working out.”

His heart flutters at the confession, and Osamu’s hand cups Suna’s cheek, tilting it towards him. Osamu meets Suna in a chaste kiss, lasting for a few seconds, but it sends warmth swimming through his stomach all the same. “So,” Osamu teases when he pulls away. “You came back for nostalgia. Not cuz you missed me.”

Suna scoffs and rests a hand against Osamu’s chest. “You think I would’ve come back just to lie down on a sweaty hardwood floor and reminisce about being a teenager? You’re nuts.”

Osamu starts to laugh, but then Suna’s grip on his shirt tightens, and Osamu sobers up right as Suna kisses him again, lasting a little longer. 

Suna trails his fingertips along the column of Osamu’s neck. He smiles, and it steals the air out of Osamu’s lungs. “I wanted to come home,” Suna says, and it might be the most beautiful sentence Osamu’s ever heard. 


It’s disorienting to see Suna through a television screen in a new light. The splash of red still captures Osamu’s attention first, reflected through the crowd surrounding the team as the cheers soar upwards in an ear-piercing roar. But the next thing he notices is that Suna’s lips aren’t in the smirk Osamu remembers. They’re lifted upward, but this time, the gesture is warmer. More genuine.

Onigiri Miya is packed, the customers circling around the television as the first match prepares to begin, and the level of chatter almost matches the volume of the broadcasters. Around him, people lean forward, their eyes alight as they note some of the V. League’s most prominent players, and some even point out those they recognize in the jerseys and photographs lining the walls. There’s a unique kind of pride to have customers ask him directly about his brother—just this once—and the other players Osamu had the honor of competing with. 

Whenever people ask him about Suna, that tight coil around his lungs isn’t there anymore. It’s vanished since Suna’s return, a fact that Osamu is grateful for, because it means that the distance has been closed. The reminder that it existed in the first place always stirs a dull ache within his system. Their relationship is still a work-in-progress for sure, but it’s something Osamu doesn’t mind building up day after day.

Omimi points forward. “Look. There’s Aran.”

Akagi cackles. “He looks like Atsumu’s gettin’ on his nerves already.”

“Of course he is,” Gin says. “Look at how giddy Atsumu is. He can’t contain himself at all.”

“Let him enjoy himself,” Kita murmurs. It should be alarming that Kita hasn’t stopped smiling all day, but it’s understandable. There must be a special fulfillment in having three of your former teammates that you captained at the Olympics. “It’s a special day. It’s the chance of a lifetime. Everythin’ he’s worked so hard for has come to fruition.”

Osamu hums in agreement. 

The camera pans over to Atsumu’s right, and there Suna stands, Komori on his other side. Suna stands up straighter than he usually does, his chin lifted upwards as he surveys the crowd. He looks over at Aran and Atsumu briefly before nudging Atsumu to get him to settle down. His smile might pale in comparison to those around him, but Osamu knows well that this is the most excited Suna has ever been. 

“Suna looks happy, too,” Kita observes, sliding his eyes over to Osamu. 

Osamu beams without glancing at Kita. “He is.”

He doesn’t need to hear Suna say it to know. He can tell, because even after the time and distance that’s come between him, he knows Suna’s soul better than anyone else. He understands the depth of Suna’s ambition—and that for Suna, this is another homecoming: the chance to play with the rest of the monster generation, including his former teammates. It’s an opportunity Suna savors, and Osamu cannot properly express his gratitude at being around to witness it. 

Win or lose, it doesn’t matter. He smiles to himself.

Suna is at the height of his professional career, and Osamu is finally a part of it.