Everybody here was someone else before
And you can want who you want
Osamu had seen Western movies about New York City since he was a kid. People in their 20s moved to the city to chase a big dream, crying in some park and eventually finding love with a rich man who was head of a company at only like 28. He knew for sure that wasn’t how New York was. What he didn’t expect was to have a rat scurry across his path at least once on his commute to work or for everyone to walk so damn fast. It didn’t seem to bother everyone else in the city and eventually, it became the norm for him.
When he decided to move to another country his brother thought he was crazy but supported him nonetheless. He saw him off at the airport, patting him on the back promising to visit him on his off-season. He mentioned something about one of his teammates ending his contract at MSBY and playing internationally next season, possibly in America. He rolled his eyes and told Atsumu that America was big and the chance of them being in the same state, let alone the same city, would be impossible.
He found himself in a neighborhood in Manhattan. It was pure luck he was able to get a space and be able to afford it.
He figured that business would be slow at first but eventually gain traction. What he did not expect was to be busy from day one. College students to office workers would pop into his store for a taste of onigiri. Sometimes some of the college students would congregate and study in the small store. Office workers would come in with their coworkers and sit and have lunch. Sometimes people on dates would come in.
He was so busy and preoccupied he forgot about his own social life. It didn’t hit him till one day when he was cleaning up after a group of students left. This city was so huge and there were so many people here and he still felt so lonely. He never realized how this part of the city was glowing with life.
He decided to close up early and head home. He never took the time to look around and notice the people around him. How could he fit in with them? How could he make friends here? Why did he think it was a good idea to pack up everything and move away to another country?
He missed Japan. He missed his brother. He missed his old shop and way of life. He flopped onto his bed when he arrived home. Too many thoughts and it was quite overwhelming. He considered packing up and going home at the end of the year but he knew he couldn’t do that. He was going to make it work here. Maybe one day he’d return to Japan but that wasn’t going to be anytime soon. He was determined to enjoy his life here while having a successful business. So many people were probably in his shoes before. A new city with so many new faces. It was enough to frighten anyone. The question was: how? How was he going to find someone in this city? His English was improving but maybe not enough to join community events. It would be weird to just randomly approach someone and strike up a conversation because they would probably size him up to be a creep and ignore him.
However, he didn’t expect his person to be the friend and former teammate of his brother: Sakusa Kiyoomi.
Sakusa Kiyoomi is a man of routine. Get up, go to practice, come home. Repeat. He’s not quite sure what caused him to accept an offer to play in America, in the most populated city in the country. His friends had strongly encouraged him to take this opportunity. They were all taking a new path in life so he should too. Bokuto was moving to Tokyo to be closer to his boyfriends. Hinata was also playing internationally in Brazil. Atsumu was content where he was but still encouraged his friend to seize the chance.
So he finds himself on a plane with Atsumu Miya drooling on his shoulder. If he wasn’t his best friend, he’d kick him. Atsumu had insisted on helping him get settled in New York. He may have been using his moving as an excuse to visit his brother but Sakusa decided he’d let that one slide.
The apartment he’d been offered was nice in Tribeca. A quick walk to the subway or the gym where his team would be practicing. It doesn’t feel like home yet but he’s sure it’ll feel like that in no time. He’s not a fan of the loud noises when he’s trying to sleep but there’s plenty to eat within walking distance so he enjoys that.
The week with Atsumu flies by. He doesn’t spend much time with Sakusa though. Either he’s off with his brother or hanging out with someone he knows. He’s invited Sakusa to join him but he insists he’s fine and doesn’t want to intrude on plans. He’s met Osamu a dozen times so he always regrets not tagging along.
The new season starts soon and he finds himself so busy with practice that he doesn’t have time to worry about what’s out there. He finds a new routine and he’s content with it. When his parents or Komori calls he tells them that he’s genuinely enjoying himself in the city. The busyness of his life is a great distraction from the bubbling homesickness he feels. He also chooses to ignore the growing dread he feels whenever he has to go to practice.
One day he has the day off from practice so he finds himself wandering the bustling streets. How can he feel so lonely in a city with millions of people? They’ve all had to change and adapt to the city and they all seem so content with who they are now.
He decides he also needs to change and adapt and he’ll start with making friends. Couldn’t be that hard, right? He doesn’t like to admit it but he is friends with Bokuto, Hinata, and Atsumu… despite how chaotic they can get. He stumbles across a shop with an all too familiar name written on the restaurant window: Onigiri Miya.
It's a new soundtrack I could dance to this beat, beat forevermore
The lights are so bright but they never blind me
And thus begins the reunion and newfound friendship of Sakusa Kiyoomi and Osamu Miya. Sakusa finds himself wandering over to the restaurant frequently, even if he’s not hungry. It’s comfortable, to say the least. Neither of them has to stumble through English or stand around awkwardly while everyone makes conversation too fast to understand. It’s like having a piece of home 7,000 miles away from it.
Eventually, Osamu invited Kiyoomi to hang out once he closes for the day and Kiyoomi accepts. They admit that they really haven’t done much of the touristy things since they’ve lived here. They find themselves walking through a park near the restaurant. It’s overflowing with college students. Sakusa suggests running a deal for the students and Osamu agrees since so many of the students come in every day.
They then decide to take the subway to the most tourist spot they can think of: Times Square. It’s bright and colorful and for some reason Sakusa loves it. Osamu seems a little overwhelmed on the other hand. Sakusa does another unexpected thing, he takes Osamu’s hand and leads him into the various stores surrounding Times Square. An hour and a lot of money later, Osamu has finally relaxed. They stroll away from the busy area and make idle chatter. The streets are bright and well-lit. People dash around them and into the various buildings they pass.
“Ya know I enjoyed tonight,” Osamu says.
“Me too. I’ve never been out like this before and I’m glad I got a chance to hang out with you,” Sakusa agrees.
He wants to reach out and grab Osamu’s hand again. What would he think? The first time had just been on impulse and to calm him down. But now, it was just them. He shouldn’t feel this flustered. He is a grown man and he should not be wanting to hold hands with his best friend’s brother.
Osamu can sense that Sakusa is conflicted and he takes his hand. They walk in silence for a couple moments before he stops and turns to face Sakusa.
“Do ya wanna come over to my place Friday night? I can make ya somethin’ that’s not Onigiri,” He chuckles.
“I’d like that, a lot,” Sakusa quickly agrees.
“I’ll text ya my address and what time to be over. Don’t be late!” He calls as he walks down the stairs to the subway.
“Wouldn’t dream of it!” He calls back.
He’s excited, super excited. He chews on his lips as he texts Komori.
Like any great love, it keeps you guessing
Like any real love, it's ever-changing
Like any true love, it drives you crazy
But you know you wouldn't change anything, anything, anything
The week doesn’t pass by as fast as Sakusa would like it to. Each day seems longer than the last. He doesn’t see Osamu during the week at all. Apparently, it’s midterm season at the university so he’s staying open a bit later for the students. Sakusa feels exhausted after practice. They have a tournament out of state coming up at the end of the month that’s been on everyone’s minds. However, his mind has just been thinking about Friday.
He’s never been on a proper date before so he’s a bit nervous. But it’s Osamu, it’ll be fine.
Friday arrives and Sakusa is thrilled. He doesn’t have practice so he finds himself laying on the couch in his apartment watching TV. It’s not very entertaining but it passes the time by quickly.
He gets ready an hour before he’s supposed to leave and now what’s he to do. He doesn’t want to seem desperate and show up early. Back to the TV, it seems until it’s finally time to go.
He joins the rush of people as they all hurry on the subway to their destination. When he arrives at his stop, there’s an old man selling flowers. He buys a bouquet for Osamu and hopes he likes roses.
He’s never actually been to Osamu’s apartment before. They typically just hang around his restaurant and now that one outing. Sakusa notes that if this goes well, he should buy some artwork for his living room. He wouldn’t want Osamu coming to a boring apartment after all.
Osamu’s apartment was easy to find and he knocks on the door. Osamu answers and Sakusa can feel his heart speed up.
“Hey! I got you these. Uh, I hope you like roses,” Sakusa greets.
“Awh, Hey. I love roses. Thank ya. Come on in,” Osamu smiles.
The apartment is well decorated and adorned with brick walls. It’s smaller than his apartment but it feels homier.
Osamu ushers him over to another door, he opens it to reveal a balcony. It’s just big enough to fit a table and two chairs.
“Best seat in the house. I never knew what to do with it but a dining area feels right. At least for tonight anyway,” Osamu chuckles.
“It’s really nice. You lucked out with an apartment that even has a balcony big enough,” Sakusa nods.
“I didn’t even know it was that big, to be honest. But I’m glad ya like it,” Osamu beams, “Take a seat and I’ll be back with the food,”
Sakusa takes a seat and looks around. It’s not much of a view but he enjoys it. It’s different from what he has back at his place.
Osamu returns with the food and sets down a heaping bowl of ramen in front of him. It smells delicious. He’d been craving ramen for a while now but wasn’t sure where to go to get a bowl.
“Tsumu told me ya liked ramen so I figured I’d make it,” Osamu blushes, “I hope ya enjoy,”
“That’s so thoughtful. Thank you so much,”
They eat their dinner and talk about how winter is coming up soon and that means walking in the snow. Neither of them is too excited about that. Sakusa mentions his out-of-state games and Osamu says next time he has a game in town, he’ll come to watch. Sakusa smiles and tells him about the ones he knows of.
Then it hits him. He’s not homesick anymore and feels like a new him. Sure, it’s been only a couple of months but he’s doing things he’d never do back home.
“I’m glad you’re here, in my life, Sakusa,” Osamu says, once again like he’s read his mind, “Before ya came waltzing into my store, I was lonely. I thought I had made some big mistake and wanted to move back home as soon as I could. But now? I look forward to every day in this city because you’re here,”
“I feel the same way. I guess I really denied my feelings of loneliness even after I met you. Then they just went away. If you hadn’t been so welcoming then I think I would have just quit volleyball and gone home,”
“There’s still a lot that has been determined yet livin here and all but with ya? I know I’ll be just fine,” Osamu smiles.
Sakusa smiles back and agrees. With Osamu, everything will be fine and he can’t wait for it.