On Monday, he tastes like peppermint. Leaned over the vanity littered with his various skincare products and Tobio’s lone deodorant, one hand holding his weight, tiny cup of his expensive mouthwash in the other. It’s the jewel-toned drop sliding down his chin that breaks Tobio. The next thing he knows, he has Tooru pinned against the counter, hand yanking at the towel wrapped around Tooru’s waist.
On Monday, he tastes like peppermint.
On Tuesday, he tastes like grape juice. Some western brand that fills their fridge to the brim every time they get their groceries delivered. It’s almost like the Gatorade that people in international matches used to offer them in buckets - the kind that Tobio now associates with having Tooru across the court from him. But this one’s fancier, and those matches are far behind, years away.
On Tuesday, Tooru tastes like grape juice, and Tobio wants more.
On Wednesday, it’s choripán—hot and spicy. Chimichurri sauce on sticky fingers. Tobio secretly thinks that Tooru chose their new house for its close proximity to the only reputable source of South American delicacies within the entire topography of Japan, in Tooru’s words, not his.
Tooru takes one look at his face and laughs. Tells him there’s empanada on the menu that Tobio can have instead, “like one of those pork buns you like”. Tobio doesn’t even have to nod and there’s Tooru walking towards the man behind the counter, Spanish rolling off his tongue like pirouettes as he gesticulates with his greasy hands.
On Wednesday, he tastes like choripán and a life that Tobio only caught the tail-end to.
On Thursday, he tastes like trouble, a bar-brawl gone wrong. Like there’s a way to go right. They never really go out to pubs, much less get into a fight, and it’s only because two of Tooru’s friends from Argentina are visiting that they’re out after ten in the evening. Tobio’s stoicism for apparently ignoring a man’s advances that he didn’t even notice sparks the fuse.
He gets a shove that knocks him back, the drinks he’s bringing to their table spilling to the ground; then Tooru’s there, launching himself into a fistfight even when it shouldn’t have been humanly possible to cross the room that fast.
Tooru never cries, even after the last stitch, thin thread tugging through his skin.
Tobio books an Uber for all of them after a quick run to the A&E and lets Tooru’s friends stay the night in the guest bedroom. Afterwards, he pours Tooru onto their bed and brushes his lips against the rapidly purpling bruise on Tooru’s cheek, the man grinning up at him all doped up and skying high from painkillers.
On Thursday, Tooru tastes like trouble — something Tobio always knew he was even when they were younger all those years ago.
On Friday, he tastes like home. Pork curry buns that Tooru had bribed Tobio’s old coach to reveal the supplier of, the brand of soy milk that Tobio had to adjust to when they both grimly found out that Tooru has low tolerance for lactose a mere two months into their marriage, and that particular brand of senbei that they used to sell in Kita-Ichi’s cafeteria. Tooru crinkles the plastic and wipes his grubby palms on Tobio’s shorts when its crumbs fall onto their laps. They stay home while Tooru nurses his injuries, his head pillowed on Tobio’s lap as Tobio gently cards his fingers through Tooru’s ‘totally-not-greying hair, I’m only forty, Tobio-chan ’ hair.
He suffers nobly through Tooru’s favourite X-Files episodes for the hundredth time and even exchanges a few lines with him as the Mulder to Tooru’s Scully. He's already memorised majority of the script by living with Tooru anyway. Might as well.
On Friday, he tastes like home.
On Saturday, he tastes like sex. Twenty seconds of "wake up", before Tooru’s all over him, mouth greedy for it. Sucking, slurping, a total fucking mess, shoving two fingers in before Tobio throws his head back and groans. Comes in a mind-numbing thrall.
On Saturday, when they kiss, Tooru tastes like Tobio.
On Sunday, Tooru tastes like he always has.
Blue skies, the vast expanse—boundless proximal energy, summer sunshine on tanned skin, and veteran hands piloting a perfect set. A sunset over the grainy hills of Miyagi, heavens blanketed under a thousand stars, the moon when it shines big and bright over the valley. The timelessness means nothing stops, nothing ever changes.
On Sunday, when Tobio kisses Tooru and pulls him into his arms, Tooru tastes like forever.