It feels like a honeymoon.
On the ride to the airport and on the long flight they didn't talk much, didn't touch at all. The atmosphere was tense between them; they both irked to get closer to the other but didn't dare to. It was just what they are used to; keeping their interactions brief and unsuspicious, act like they barely know each other, just like some acquaintances or coworkers on a business trip. Quietly, silently, they thought of walking down the promenade, hand in hand, at the crack of dawn. But during the flight, not here nor there, there were no lingering looks, no accidental touches. They perfected the play their first year together and never let slip. And now even though their happy ending was near, so close and getting closer with every minute, almost tangible, they both were still caught in the knots and ties of their secrecy. That wasn't something you could shake off in a matter of moments.
But as soon as they land in Italy, so far away from dingy motel rooms and the heartbroken but so strong almost-ex-wife, they gravitate towards each other. Ushijima reaches for Tooru as soon as they're at the bottom of the plane-stairs, kissing him softly in the afternoon sun. And it should feel significant, this first kiss where others can see them but Tooru doesn't even notice until it's over that this was their first kiss in public. Maybe, he thinks, this is the first kiss that doesn't feel like a kiss-goodbye.
The weather is mild in Florence, the sun eagerly shining down on their heads and the wind tousling their hair. From the airport in Florence they take a cap to Verona.
When they discussed where they would spend the prolonged weekend, Ushijima immediately suggested Italy. He's been there once or twice already, but never with Makoto and never for a vacation. At first they planned to stay in Florence but the hopeless romantics in the both of them convinced them to seek out a hotel in Verona, the city known for the story of two star-crossed lovers. It was too tempting, really.
Throughout the two hour drive, Ushijima never lets go of Tooru's hand for even a second. They take in the landscape that is so different from the skyscrapers and run-down businesses of their home. It's a different world. The people are tan and happy, the air is somehow drier than back home, the buildings look older and are all painted in faded colors. There are vineyards and fields upon fields of poppies and sunflowers, the colors almost clashing, almost blinding. They have a whole weekend here, on the outskirts of Verona, checked in in a nice hotel with a queen sized bed for the two of them to sleep, cuddle and make love in, a private pool, a restaurant, and a bar.
When they check in, the receptionist doesn't bat an eye at their hand-holding, at Oikawa putting his head on Ushijima's shoulder to look at the paperwork he has to sign. She simply wishes them a nice stay, says, ''you and your partner should try out our spa area''. Tooru thanks her, hiding his smile in Ushijima's shirt.
When they're finally settled in, it's early evening. Despite their jet lags, they decide to get dinner at the hotel restaurant. So they dress up a little, getting rid of their day-old clothing, getting rid of the old sweat and the tension between them in the shower. Afterwards, they make their way downstairs, lazily holding each others' hands.
The restaurant is located directly at the riverside of the Adige river. Lights low, air mild but not cold, and with Ushijima's hand in his on the table, Tooru finally realizes that this is real. They can have this. Have this even for the rest of their lives if they want it.
''Can we kiss?,'' he asks. They've kissed a thousand times since they landed here but they have to make up for every kiss they couldn't have. Instead of answering, Ushijima rises from his seat, leans over the table and meets Tooru in the middle. It's a chaste kiss, they're in public after all, but it's a kiss nonetheless.
The waiter comes and brings them their menus, in broken English he recites the chef's recommendation which they end up ordering.
“Would you and your husband like the surprise desert for after? It takes some time to be prepared but it is worth it,'' he says, a friendly smile on his face.
Ushijima and Tooru are both visibly taken by surprise, so much even that the waiter's eyes shoot to Ushijima's left hand where his wedding ring still sits, as if to reassure himself that he's seen right.
Tooru reaches with his right hand for Ushijima's left one, covering the ring effectively, and puts on a fake smile that manages to break Ushijima's heart, he can imagine. It surely breaks his.
''It's still fresh, we're both not yet used to being called husbands,'' he laughs, and the waiter relaxes.
When he leaves, Tooru takes his hand back, face carefully blank. It stings. The lie stings even more. What stings the most is that Ushijima is actually still wearing the ring.
''Tooru, I'm sorry. It's a force of habit,'' Ushijima apologizes, his eyes honest. Honest and sad. This mistake doesn't only pain Tooru, it seems.
''No, it's okay,'' Tooru says, ''I understand. You've been married for eight years, of course it's hard for you to... let go.''
Ushijima says nothing. He takes off the ring, spins it around a couple of times with his fingers and then looks up at Tooru already watching him. Tooru is sure – so sure – that it's gonna be like it's always been; Ushijima will put the ring in his pants pocket and at night when Ushijima pretends to sleep, Tooru will reach for it, will put it on his finger, and will pretend for a couple of seconds that he has a matching one.
Instead, Ushijima takes it in his fist and with one swift movement he throws it in the Adige.
''Did you just- ?,'' Tooru can only stare at the spot where the ring hit the water, most-likely lost in the stream forever.
''But- ,'' Tooru is lost for words. Can't speak at all. It doesn't happen often but when it does it usually is because of Ushijima. Whether because he does something utterly insane like throwing his wedding ring in the Adige or because Ushijima's dick lies heavy on Tooru's tongue. Tooru's unsure what he likes better.
''Now that that is out of the way, we should talk about our future, I think,'' Ushijima says in his usual matter-of-fact tone of voice. Not leaving any room for doubt, objection or uncertainty.
Tooru takes a sip of his wine. ''Go on,'' he says, voice hoarse.
''I'm going to release the statement right when we come back, so we should try to avoid the public for a few weeks, just until everything calms down. I thought maybe we could use that time to look for apartments and move in together. Only if that is a thing you'd want, of course.''
Oikawa only nods, ''of course.'' He motions for Ushijima to continue.
''Thankfully, Makoto and I have a marriage-settlement but our goods are split for the most part anyways. I won't try to get the house though, Makoto can have it. Or sell it, I don't really mind. After signing the papers, the divorce will be through in up to six months. So next year around this time I thought we could get married.''
Tooru doesn't exactly choke on his wine but he feels the liquid running down his unresponsive throat, burning itself down all the way to his stomach. He calmly puts the glass on the table and folds his hands.
''I hope that wasn't a proposal, because if so it was the shittiest proposal in the history of proposals and my answer is no.''
Ushijima chuckles and takes Oikawa's hand in his, kissing his ring finger tenderly.
''Don't worry,'' and the glimmer in Ushijima's eyes is promising; it says flowers and the most expensive ring he can find, and pure, unconditional love. Everything Tooru dreams of but didn't ever dare to hope for. It's an understatement to say he can't wait. But he can't have it just yet. The thing that puts a smile back on his face is the fact that it doesn't matter. There's no hurry, they have plenty of time.
– – –
The next day they go sightseeing. In the morning they get coffee in one of the tinier bakeries around the corner and Tooru kisses away the milk foam mustache Ushijima sports with a serious face to make him laugh. Afterwards, they take photographs on the Castelvecchio Bridge, Tooru even going so far as asking others to take their picture. Then they make their way to the other side of town, walking through the Teatro Romano, looking at the art and the stage, hand-in-hand. Tooru insists on visiting the Casa di Guilietta, where Shakespeare's Juliet supposedly lived. Tooru asks an elderly couple to take pictures of them in front of the balcony Juliet stood on when Romeo serenaded her. After a quick lunch on-the-go they drive up to the Torre Dei Lamberti, a bell-tower from which they can overlook the whole city. It would've been even nicer at night with the stars above them and the city lights below them but it's nice nonetheless. The wind causes their cheeks to redden and goosebumps to run down their spines. Ushijima puts an arm around Tooru's shoulder and pulls him closer. They easily blend in with the rest of the couples.
It feels like their honeymoon.
They're easy and carefree and so very much in love they can't keep from kissing every few minutes. It feels fresh and raw between them, mixed with the familiarity of three years of loving each other. It's a fantastic combination.
At late noon, they return to the hotel to freshen up and dress up before taking a cap to the Arena di Verona where they watch Shakespeare's most famous play performed in English. It's beautiful. The actors are phenomenal and the stage looks like a dream – creative and unique. At the balcony scene Ushijima leans over and whispers into Tooru's ear, his lips brushing the soft skin near his lobe.
''The brightness of your cheeks would shame those stars as daylight does a lamp. Your eyes in heaven would through the airy region stream so bright that birds would sing and think it were no night. See how you lean your cheek upon your hand. O that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek,'' he recites fluently and kisses Tooru's flushed cheekbone.
''And why is it you can recite whole passages in English?,'' Tooru asks quietly. Ushijima nuzzles Tooru's temple gently with his nose, smiling smugly.
''Boarding school. We had to perform Romeo and Juliet our final year. I played Romeo.''
''Of course you did,'' Tooru grins, ''what a lucky Juliet.''
It's ridiculous but they're both so lost in their romance they don't care, they don't give a damn. They have to make up for three years of hide-and-seek and backseat-love, they just don't care if other people roll their eyes at them.
They're both moved to tears at the end.
– – –
The next day they take it a little slower. The initial energy of being in a foreign country together is still present but a little tuned down by a night of almost no sleep. But Tooru isn't complaining about the sleepless night, not in the slightest.
They take a walk down the riverside of the Adige, passing a food market and many little shops and cafés. When they reach a mall closer to the center of the city, Ushijima insists on taking Tooru shopping. Whatever Tooru so much as looks at, Ushijima buys. He's acting silly and Tooru tells him as much but to no avail. Instead, when they enter a Lush shop, Tooru gets Ushijima whatever he sniffs at. When they walk out again, Ushijima has a bag full of skin and hair products, bath bombs and a body mist. He's going to be the best smelling politician there's ever been.
Back at the hotel, they get dinner and a couple of drinks at the bar. They stay until most of the other people leave and it has turned dark outside.
''I'm not even tired yet,'' Tooru says, as they're making their way upstairs. Ushijima walks behind him, one hand at Tooru's lower back. Always touching, always in contact.
''Then how about we go swimming?,'' Ushijima says, making Tooru stop and turn around. With a step between them, he's taller than Ushijima and he greatly enjoys him having to look up at him.
''Swimming?'' Tooru cocks his head in amusement.
''The pool is heated,'' Ushijima says, eyes twinkling.
''Let's go swimming, then.'' Tooru wraps his arms around Ushijima's neck, leaning down to give him a kiss. Ushijima hugs him close before lifting him off of his feet, spinning him in a half-circle before putting him back down on the ground, detaching from the kiss.
They sneak outside. The pool area officially closes around ten pm, so the gate is locked. They help each other climb over the low fence, pulling and pushing, not giving up a chance at feeling each other up. It's ridiculous; the deputy foreign minister and his lover acting like reckless teenagers, drowning in the feeling of young love, first love even. The outside world is dark but there are lights in the pool.
Looking around and not seeing a single soul, they strip down to their boxers, feeling too old for skinny dipping. Tooru puts his toe in the water, testing if it's still warm, when Ushijima hauls him up by the waist and jumps with him into the pool, splashing water everywhere. Together they dip underwater, kicking their legs until they feel solid ground beneath their feet again.
''You asshole!,'' Tooru slaps Wakatoshi on the arm, shaking his head to get his hair out of his eyes. Ushijima just laughs, letting go of Tooru's waist to brush away droplets of water from his eyes. His laughter warms Tooru's heart. He can't help but reach up only to tug him down to his level.
They kiss and splash each other with water and even manage to swim for a bit. Sometimes Tooru forgets how young the both of them are. At least Tooru hasn't found his place in the world yet. It could be his volleyball team and his tiny flat or the motel room or maybe right here in this lukewarm water with Ushijima staring at him with the sky and its stars and hearts and the whole world in his eyes.
Wakatoshi leans back against the pool wall with a relaxed face, fondly watching Tooru swim around. When Tooru has had enough, he swims over to him, knotting his legs around Wakatoshi's hips, wrapping his arms around his neck, burying his hands in his wet hair, scratching the coarse hair on his neck. Wakatoshi hums appreciatively, slowly closing his eyes.
''I love you so much,'' Tooru says quietly, smiling at Wakatoshi's relaxed face, the faint lines around his eyes and the tan he's gotten over the last two days. Wakatoshi looks at him then through his thick lashes, sleepy and content.
''I love you most,'' he says.
''That's not how this works, Ushiwaka-chan,'' Tooru laughs, the tip of his nose brushing Wakatoshi's. Tooru touches his forehead to his.
''We're being reckless,'' Tooru murmurs. Wakatoshi kisses him. They kiss and kiss, sometimes delving underwater just for the fun of it, and they kiss. Soon Tooru starts nibbling on Wakatoshi's bottom lip, urging him to open up his mouth. They kiss with teeth and tongues, heated and hungry. It's a back and forth, hands wandering over wet skin and teasing fingertips crawling their way under the last bits of fabric. Tooru keeps pushing his hips into Wakatoshi's, seeking friction.
''Toshi,'' Tooru moans, demanding, his lips plush and slick against Wakatoshi's. He shoves his tongue back inside Tooru's mouth, sliding wetly against Tooru's. He groans deeply and Tooru is practically purring.
''Upstairs, upstairs,'' Tooru says, breathless, ''I don't fancy being indecent with you in public.''
Wakatoshi sighs, looking stricken, his eyes glued to Tooru's mouth. Then he nods, swallowing thickly.
They get out of the water, shivering slightly when the chilly night air touches their moist skin. They dress half-heartedly, hurrying inside and upstairs, barely able to keep their hands off of each other. The wetness of their skin dampens their clothes but they aren't wearing them for long. As soon as the room door is closed and locked behind them they're clawing at each other again.
In no time they get rid of their clothing, scattering them all over the room. Wakatoshi bites at his neck, his collarbone, surely leaving bruises. Tooru wants them, wants every single one of them. He yearns to leave some marks of his own but he knows he can't. Not just yet. Not until next week. Finally Tooru feels like he can fully enjoy what they have. Their intimacy, their love, their unyielding lust. As Wakatoshi sucks hickeys into his pale throat, Tooru laughs quietly. Wakatoshi looks up at him, finding Tooru happy and antsy so he continues his work down Tooru's neck.
They're sitting on the bed, Tooru in Ushijima's lap, lights low and quiet apart from their hard breathing and the smacking of their lips. This, possibly, is the most romantic, most intense sex Tooru's ever had.
Wakatoshi's hands wander down Tooru's sides, caressing and kneading the skin and flesh under his fingertips. He's mapping the expanse of Tooru's body, he's sure. Tooru does the same with his mouth. Kissing and licking his way over Wakatoshi's pecs and shoulders, tonguing his earlobe and sucking on his lips whenever he can.
Tooru likes being opened up slowly with Wakatoshi as close as possible, chest to chest. His fingers slip in one after another, easily after last night and the morning after. Tooru feels a little raw but it's a good feeling, he thinks. Wakatoshi kisses and fingers him as if he wants to unravel Tooru. And he does. He definitely does. Then he's sinking lower. Kissing over his throat and chest, playing with his nipples before kissing his abs, tonguing his navel, until he nuzzles the coarse hair leading down to Tooru's throbbing erection. With his fingers still deep in Tooru's hole, he sinks down over his cock, taking him deep, deep. Tooru throws back his head, moaning loudly at the double stimulation.
''Toshi, fuck, yes,'' Tooru hums.
Ushijima licks up the shaft before taking him in whole again, sucking at the tip with his tongue flat on the underside all while his fingers thrust in and out of Tooru's slick hole. It's almost too much. Tooru arches his back, pushing back against Wakatoshi's fingers, fucking himself on them, fucking into Wakatoshi's willing mouth. With his arms above his head, desperately clinging to the headrest, Tooru descends into pleasure.
''Toshi, s- stop, I'm so close,'' he moans, his legs around Ushijima's shoulders.
Wakatoshi lets Tooru's cock spring free, his lips swollen and deliciously red. ''I think you can give me two,'' he says, voice dark, a smirk playing around the corners of his mouth. Then he ducks down again, swallows Tooru down. Three of his fingers stroke against Tooru's prostate and Wakatoshi hollowing his cheeks is enough for him to let loose. With an obscene moan he comes down Ushijima's throat. He opens his eyes just in time to see Wakatoshi swallowing, his Adam's apple bobbing, once, twice until Tooru is spilled. Spent, Tooru relaxes all his muscles at once, letting himself sink into the mattress.
Wakatoshi pulls free and kisses the insides of Tooru's thighs lovingly before crawling upward. He takes Tooru's arms and pries his fingers off the headrest, putting them around his neck instead. They make out languidly until Tooru regains awareness and feels Wakatoshi's heavy erection lying thickly on his stomach.
''Can I help you with that?,'' Tooru asks lightly, taking Wakatoshi's cock in his hand, pumping it teasingly, not nearly fast enough to actually get him off.
''First we got to get you up again, don't we,'' Wakatoshi murmurs against his forehead, adjusting himself so he can take Tooru's and his own cock in hand, gently enveloping Tooru's hand so they can pump them together. Their faces so close they can count lashes, they look into each others eyes. Tooru reaches up to press a slow kiss to Ushijima's lips that grows deep, unhurried. It's intimate. Tooru feels himself getting hard again, helpless against Wakatoshi's intense eyes and the skilled hand, the feel of his thick cock rubbing against his own.
''I'm good,'' Tooru says, ''I want you.'' Wakatoshi groans but obliges. After giving Tooru another deep kiss he reaches for the bottle of lube again, slicking himself up before lining up with Oikawa's clenching hole. When he slowly pushes in, Tooru blacks out for a moment. Sometimes he forgets how thick Ushijima is. He loves the stretch. The slight burn. The sound that leaves him borders on perverse and he feels Ushijima throbbing inside him.
''Fuck, Tooru,'' Wakatoshi groans when he's fully seated. He gives Tooru some time to adjust before leaning back so he's sitting on his knees with Tooru draped over his lap, head still on the pillow. Like this, Wakatoshi is able to fuck into Tooru beautifully. With the first long thrust Tooru can feel his blood starting to pump through his veins, thick with adrenaline from the anticipation of being thoroughly fucked.
''Look at me when I fuck you,'' Wakatoshi demands calmly and only then Tooru notices that he closed his eyes. He opens them slowly, his lids heavy, breathing through his mouth, puffy lips parted. Ushijima grabs his hips with both hands, brushing over Tooru's hipbones with his thumbs before going to town.
He rolls his hips into Tooru's, his cock sinking in deep, filling Tooru to the brim. Tooru practically screams at the feeling. Wakatoshi snaps back until his cock almost slips free before thrusting in again, hard.
''Yes,'' Oikawa sighs. He can feel droplets of sweat rolling down his temples, his hair plastered to his forehead.
''Look at you. You're a mess already,'' Wakatoshi says, voice deep and dirty. He pushes into Tooru when he tries to respond but the only noise leaving him are loud moans and high screams muffled by his own hand.
When he tilts his head to the side, Wakatoshi stops moving entirely. Tooru makes a disturbed noise, furrowing his eyebrows. Wakatoshi's big hand moves his head gently by the chin so Tooru's looking at him again.
''I said,'' he murmurs lowly, ''eyes on me.''
Tooru nods and moves his hips upward, urging Wakatoshi to continue moving. He does. He does so good. He fucks into Tooru as if he had something to lose. As if this was their last time and he had to prove something to him. It was the dirtiest love making. The filthiest fuck laced with tender eyes and careful fingertips. It was what Tooru imagined heaven and purgatory felt like combined.
''Harder,'' he says, voice husky. He tries to meet every of Wakatoshi's thrusts, pulling him deeper with his legs around Wakatoshi's hips. That's when Wakatoshi starts to fuck him in earnest.
Tooru keeps his eyes locked with Wakatoshi's. He knows his cheeks must be red and splotchy and his hair all over the place. Hickeys all over his neck and chest he must look like a fuck-fantasy. Ushijima licks his lips and Tooru knows he likes to pretend he's in control. Tooru will bend for him whichever way but they both know Wakatoshi is weak when it comes to Tooru. He'll listen to his every demand. Tooru gives him a smug smile.
''Turn over,'' he says.
Ushijima halts and turns over so he's lying on his back with Tooru perched on his hips all without pulling out. When their eyes meet again, Tooru starts rolling his hips, giving a little show, riding him for all it's worth, with all he's got. His skin is glistening in the low lights and the way Ushijima splays one hand on his stomach, as if trying to feel himself in Tooru, the other hand steady on his hip, he knows Wakatoshi will forever look at him like this. Like he's his everything. Like he couldn't imagine a more beautiful thing in the whole world, even if he tried. Tooru ravels in this knowledge. He feels he same.
As Tooru pushes down, Wakatoshi thrusts up. They meet halfway every time.
''Come for me,'' Ushijima says when he notices Oikawa losing his rhythm, moving more frantic, seeking after pleasure. Wakatoshi makes sure to hit his sweet spot every time, abusing it.
''Fuck me,'' Tooru says and Wakatoshi quickly flips them over. Tooru crosses his legs behind Wakatoshi's back. Wakatoshi fucks him deep and hard, just the way Tooru likes it, with no space between them.
''I'm gonna come inside, yes?,'' Wakatoshi says and it doesn't sound like a question at all. Tooru nods eagerly nevertheless, he wants it. He wants Wakatoshi's come filling him up. He wants to feel it oozing out after, the feeling of thick droplets rolling down his thighs.
After a few more desperate moments Wakatoshi tenses, rocking erratically into Tooru. And then he stills. Tooru can feel Wakatoshi twitching inside of him and it's enough to bring him over the edge, as well so that he comes all over his own stomach while Wakatoshi comes inside him, his cock pulsing.
Breathing heavily, Wakatoshi kisses his temple, his hair, his eyelid before murmuring ''I love you'' into the side of his face, his lips brushing his cheekbone.
''You, too,'' is all Tooru manages in return, breath rasping out through his mouth.
They stay close together for a moment before Ushijima slowly pulls out. He kisses Tooru through it, though, trying to distract him from the uncomfortable feeling. Exchanging soft kisses and words and touches, they cuddle with the blanket around them, shutting the world out. Tooru feels warm and heavy, content with Wakatoshi draped around him. He can feel Wakatoshi's come starting to leak out of his used hole a minute later. Wakatoshi has his eyes closed and his arms are secure around Tooru's middle, his fingers counting Tooru's ribs, they could just fall asleep like this but Tooru knows they got to clean up so to not feel gross in the morning. Tooru kisses Ushijima's nose, the soft skin under his eyes and the corner of his mouth to wake him up a little. After a few more kisses Tooru gets Wakatoshi out of bed and into the shower where he gets even more kisses while Tooru washes his hair. After sex, Wakatoshi usually is dead on his feet, insists on cuddles and gets pouty when Tooru complains it's too warm to be the little spoon.
Despite the light mood, everything still reminds Tooru a little of how it was before; there's the hotel and the darkness and the passionate sex. Before he'll be able to forget all that, some time has to pass, probably. But at the same time he notices all the small things that differ and his heart swells everytime he notices more. Wakatoshi will not put his ring back on, for one. They don't enter their room seperately, either. They can walk around the hotel area hand in hand without having to fear that anyone will recognize Wakatoshi. They kiss and laugh and are happy and no one bats an eye at them. And the thing that makes Tooru's heart swell the most is the fact that this is only the beginning; soon he can tell Iwa-chan about Wakatoshi, he can rub it in Kageyama's face that his boyfriend is even beafier than his husband, oh how he'll enjoy that. They'll live together, too. In the mornings Tooru will be able to poke Wakatoshi's grouchy face, pillow lines on his cheek and all. They can have coffee together and dinner in the evening. There will be everyday problems like one of them forgetting to do the dishes or change the sheets or walk the dog. Anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas and New Year's Eve will be spend together, maybe with family, maybe with friends. Tooru can introduce Wakatoshi to his parents. Finally, finally. He really can't wait.
Tooru is done first and goes to dress himself in briefs and a shirt for bed. He lies down and buries his nose in the fluffy pillow. He would've liked clean sheets but it's too late for that, he guesses.
When he opens his eyes again he sees his phone blinking wildly. He grabs it and needs a moment to adjust to the brightness of the screen. He's got a couple too many texts for a normal night. None of them from Iwa-chan. And way too many missed calls. He's put his phone on silent before going down to eat, so he hasn't noticed anyone calling him. It's an unknown number.
He opens the first text message curiously and is awake in a matter of seconds.
Hello Oikawa-san, it's Makoto.
The first one says.
I got your number from Wakatoshi's assistant, he doesn't pick up his phone. Please give me a call.
What concerns him are the third and fourth messages.
Oikawa, call me ASAP.
You or Wakatoshi have to call me. It's very, very urgent.
He hits call before he can think too much about it. Wakatoshi is still in the shower, probably asleep on his feet. Makoto picks up after the third ring.
''Oikawa,'' she says, sounding serious.
''Hello... Ushijima-san,'' Tooru says, mind all over the place.
''Please. Makoto is okay,'' Makoto says, and then, ''Oikawa, sit down if you're standing.''
Tooru closes his eyes, breathes, ''what happened.''
There is a heavy sigh on the other end of the line. Whatever it is Makoto's got to say, Tooru has a feeling it'll change everything. He can feel the tears coming, already. He should've known. People like Ushijima and him don't get to have happy endings, they never do.
''Some photos appeared on the internet of you a couple of hours ago,'' Makoto says.
''Of you and Wakatoshi. In. In a pool,'' she pauses, maybe to give Oikawa a moment, maybe because she needs one herself. ''Photos of you and him kissing in a pool. Among others. They're very... conclusive.''
How. How is this possible? There was nobody there. They checked. They were alone there, definitely. But the truth was, the brutal truth was that they've been reckless. Tooru even said so. They've been careless and stupid. Naive. Blind.
How is he supposed to tell Wakatoshi? It'll change everything. It already has. It's too late.
''..kawa? Oikawa are you still there?,'' Makoto says.
''Yes,'' Tooru swallows down the tears, ''I'm still here. Thank you, Makoto. For telling us. And... and I'm sorry. I'm so sorry you got dragged into this... this mess.''
''Oikawa,'' Makoto says. ''Listen to me. You have done nothing wrong. Nothing. You enjoyed your first vacation, you're in love. They did something wrong, not you. Yes, you and Wakatoshi wronged me, you have. But you had your reasons, I understand that even though it's hard. What you two have, though, is not a mess. Everything around it is. It's going to be tough, yes, but you'll survive. We'll handle it. Come back tomorrow and we'll handle it. Do you understand me?''
Tooru chokes back bitter sobs. ''Yes. Yes, okay. Thank you, Makoto. I don't know how you can... be so strong.''
''Tell him and then come back. I'll see you soon, bye.''
And with that she hangs up. Tooru feels a little lost sitting on the large bed in his sleeping shirt. The tears stream down his face and he can't help it. He needs a minute before Wakatoshi comes out the bathroom and he'll have to deliver the news. Before, he wants to know how bad it is. He googles Ushijima's name and clicks on 'news' and surely there they are.
Him and Ushijima playing around in the water. Them kissing. Them getting out of the pool and walking back inside the hotel together, giggly and happy. Their most intimate moments displayed on the web for everyone to see. Ushijima isn't world famous, he's not. But it'll have serious impact on his career nonetheless. It has the potential to end it. People who haven#t known him before will soon. They'll spread this. They'll draw this out as best as they can.
The bathroom door opens and there he is. Smiling softly and toweling his wet hair. And then his face drops when he sees Tooru sitting on the bed, crying.
''Tooru? What's wrong?,'' he says and rushes over, not hesitating to pull him into a hug. Tooru inhales deeply before pulling back.
''Makoto called,'' he opens. Wakatoshi's eyes widen significantly. ''She called to tell us that there are photos of us on the internet.'' With that he hands him his phone, the photos still opened. Ushijima takes it and looks at the screen. His face unreadable.
For a minute he clicks through the photos and then a second time, a third. Tooru watches him with leaking eyes. Wakatoshi's face is closed off completely. He looks at the photo of them walking up the stairs back to the hotel the longest. The way they lean into each other, all happy and teasing smiles. Then he throws the phone to the other side of the bed.
He leans down, putting his head between his knees, his arms folded behind his head. He takes three deep breaths – one. two. three – before sitting up again. He turns his head to look at Tooru and leans forward to kiss away his tears.
Then he just looks at him, calm. Eerily so.
''I'm sor- ,'' Tooru starts.
''When I was a kid, I've always wanted to live on a farm, you know. I always wanted to do something with plants. And animals. I think if my parents hadn't been so adamant of me becoming a politician I would have become a farmer,'' Ushijima says. Tooru looks at him with big eyes. Has he lost his mind?
''I feel like I've been working my life away. Like I've given everything to be where I am today but my job has never given me anything back. I've known that I'm gay since I was fifteen. Maybe earlier. I married a woman because that's what politicians do. I've always wanted to have a dog but I didn't have the time to care for one. I want to have a family but why would I have kids if I could never spend time with them. I don't want kids only for photographs in newspapers and magazines. I guess I finally have the chance to live the life I've always wanted to live. I won't let this ruin us, Tooru. I won't let this hurt us. Me.''
Tooru reaches for Ushijima's face instinctively, maybe to check for tears, maybe just for the contact. But Ushijima looks calm. Steady.
''This doesn't have to mean the end of your career, Toshi. You'll manage somehow. I don't know- but there has to be some kind of solution, maybe-''
''Tooru,'' Wakatoshi says, putting his hands on top of Tooru's. He's smiling a bitter smile. ''I've cheated on my wife of eight years with a man. I was spotted kissing and fooling around with him in a pool in Italy after we broke into it. I'm gay and I didn't come out on my own terms. No political career survives this.''
''No, no, Toshi, I never wanted- I'm so sorry,'' Tooru sobs.
''Tooru, love, this is not your fault,'' Wakatoshi says, hugging Tooru close. ''It's okay. We'll find a nice house somewhere. Maybe you'll have to find a new job, though, if you want to work that is. I have enough money to last us a while. We can have a comfortable life, everything we always wanted. We'll get married and adopt a dog and a few years down the road we can have some children to play with the dog. We'll be fine. This won't ruin us.''
''But your parents and the press and-''
''My parents will have to deal. Or not. I'll speak to the press next week. I will make a statement and then we're gonna have to disappear for a while. I let my lawyers handle the rest. I promise we'll be fine, Tooru.''
They hug on a dirty hotel bed that smells like sex and sweat in the middle of the night in a land far away from home. And everything is a mess. The world is a mess. And Tooru knows they'll try their hardest to make what they have look ugly. But even sitting on a dirty hotel bed that smells like sex and sweat in the middle of the night in a land far away from home, even then and there, Tooru's heart flutters when Ushijima kisses his forehead and he knows they can't change this. They will not ruin what they have and what they are. They do not have the power.
''Are you gonna wear denim overalls and gumboots?,'' Tooru eventually asks and Wakatoshi ruffles his hair, laughs wetly and hugs him closer. Closer and closer and closer.
– – –
''Ready?,'' Makoto asks. She wears approximately the same outfit Ushijima is wearing. That definitely was not intended but they can't help it now. In a matter of seconds Ushijima will give his official statement to the 'political scandal'.
''Yes,'' he says and kisses Tooru quickly on the cheek before walking towards the stage with Makoto going ahead of him. They agreed to making the statement together. Makoto looks a little better than the last time Tooru has seen her.
They took a flight the very next day in the early morning. Makoto picked them up from the airport looking thin and gray. She had bags underneath her eyes that spoke of sleepless nights and stressful days.
They planned their next steps together for a couple of days. In those days nobody spoke to the press whatsoever. Tooru only talked to Iwaizumi and Kageyama about it, explaining what has been going on the last three years of his life. It felt good to finally talk about it. Tell them about this guy he was seeing, with whom he fell in love with. They listened to him intently, sucking in every last word he said. They talked long into the night. And the next day they met him for the first time. Iwaizumi and Ushijima were checking each other up and down, a silent battle of dominance, Tooru mused. Ridiculous, really, but he was enjoying the normality of it all.
And they found a nice house outside town they'd like to buy. It's cozy, not too big but with two extra bedrooms, just in case. As soon as they can move in, they'll look for a dog, too. Until then, they hide out in Tooru's apartment. It's a squeeze with two people but neither of them minds the proximity.
Everyone involved agreed they wouldn't watch TV or search the web for the time being. It was for the best, really, if they ignored the shitshow that would be going down for sure. But now they had to do this. This one thing.
Tooru patiently waits backstage, a TV screen showing the empty stage and the army of news reporters waiting to pounce on Ushijima. As soon as he and Makoto enter the stage there are camera flashes and shouts from all directions.
''Thank you for coming today,'' Ushijima opens, clearing his throat. Makoto stands next to him, eyes ice cold, daring anyone to do anything stupid.
''The last several days were very eventful for Makoto and I. As you all know, photos of me appeared on the internet some time ago. They show me involved with another man. First and foremost, I'd like to say that yes, it is true, I am gay and I am not ashamed of that. The man you see on the photos with me is my partner. He is not a public person so I enquire you to respect his privacy.''
Tooru takes in a deep breath at that and holds it in far longer than necessary. He internally prepares himself for the lie Ushijima is going to feed to the press. They all agreed that it would be better for everyone involved to change the facts a little.
''Makoto and I have been separated for quite a while for the reason that I discovered the nature of my sexuality. I've been raised, as everyone else, in a heteronormative world in which non-heterosexual politicians and public personalities in general are still a rarity. Those who are out are faced with brutal homophobia and disrespect. So I chose to not come out publicly. And that, I dare say, was my personal choice and should've been respected. Yes, I lied to the public about my private relations. Yes, I broke into a pool to have a late night swim with my partner. Yes, that was not acceptable and I will live with the consequences. For that I'd like to apologize.''
Now, Tooru thinks. Now, it's Makoto's time to speak.
''But,'' she starts, her voice resonating in the deadly-silent room, ''Ushijima being homosexual does not entitle anyone to spread information or photographs of his private life on the internet. It does not entitle anyone to force him to come out in a world where being anything but heterosexual is still seen as a flaw. What the person taking the photos did is non-excusable. Our private lives do not belong to anyone but us. Yes, Ushijima made a mistake. But in all seriousness, nobody, absolutely nobody was harmed by his and his partner's actions. Look at the harm those photos caused. Three lives were drastically changed. But I'd like to take this moment to say one thing; no matter what's going to happen in the future, no matter what headlines there might be, just know that Ushijima, his partner and I will be happy and content. Thank you for your attention.''
With that she walks backstage. Tooru can't help it, he rushes forward and gives her a hug.
''Thank you,'' he says, close to tears yet again.
Makoto grows stiff in his arms, awkwardly patting his back before extracting herself from the embrace. She gives him a thin-lipped smile. No matter what she does or says, it still is hard on her. Whether she lets it show or not.
''… I'm resigning. Thank you,'' Ushijima closes his speech.
As soon as he leaves the stage he loosens the knot of his tie. His face his hard and closed-off, he's been nervous for days. Tooru jumps him as soon as the curtain closes behind him. Ushijima catches him, of course he does. They hug for a long moment, raveling in their new-found and hardly fought freedom. Now the world knows. They surely would've preferred not the whole world knowing but that can't be helped now. They have to deal.
''You did it,'' Tooru whispers into his ear.
''Yeah,'' Wakatoshi says back, he hugs Tooru closer, burying his nose in the juncture of Tooru's neck and shoulder. They have to deal. They've already started to. Sort out their lives. Pack bags, talk to bosses, sign papers. This was forced on them but they won't let it break them.
''So,'' Tooru says, his voice full of mirth, ''are we going shopping for gumboots now, or what?''
Ushijima looks at him for a moment. Then his eyes brighten and he squeezes Tooru's waist, tickling him and making him giggle.
''Let's buy matching ones,'' Wakatoshi says and the prospect of matching gumboots manages to make Tooru's heart feel a little lighter.
– – –
''What are you thinking about?''
Their curtains are open. The moonlight falls into the room and illuminates it just enough for Tooru to be able to see Wakatoshi looking at him. He's lying on his stomach, naked back glowing in the half-dark, his face half-buried in a pillow.
''Tomorrow,'' Tooru says.
Their voices low so they won't wake anyone up. Murphy, a brown lab already getting a little gray around the chest area, sleeps just across the room. Their bedroom door is slightly perched open so they'd be able to hear the padding of chubby feet on the floorboards or distressed noises coming from the room across the hall.
''Really. Why?,'' Wakatoshi asks, eyes droopy. It's not even that late in the night but they've had a long day. They always have long days and that's by no means a bad thing.
''Don't know,'' Tooru says and grins. He rolls over so he can snuggle up to Wakatoshi. He's always warm, always opens his arms for Tooru. Wakatoshi cards his fingers through Tooru's hair. A strand catches and the pull makes Tooru bow his hand.
''Ouch, '' he says, pulling away. Wakatoshi's hand falls back on the mattress, his eyes apologetic. Tooru takes the hand in both of his. Inspecting it.
''I don't know how you can sleep with the ring on,'' Tooru says, shaking his head. His own lies in the bathroom on the highest shelve so no sticky hands are able to reach it. They've been there. Searching for the damn thing a whole day only to rush to the ER in the evening and finding it in the diaper the next day.
''Do you want to know a secret?,'' Wakatoshi asks in a hushed tone. Tooru raises one eyebrow at him questioningly.
''I can't get it off anymore,'' Ushijima admits. Tooru laughs quietly, patting his stomach tenderly.
''Gained a little weight, have you?,'' he teases.
''You still love me,'' Wakatoshi says, his eyes warm.
''That I sure do.''
They're warm under their shared blanket. Murphy snores softly from his little dog bed. Everyone's asleep and it's quiet. The light around them is silver.