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Nobody Knows, Nobody Sees

Chapter Text

''What are you thinking about?''

They haven't closed the curtains yet, so the streetlights and passing cars and the silver moonlight tint their hotel room in a soft range of colors. A strip of blue light runs over Ushijima's naked back and Oikawa sees his own mood reflected in the scene before his eyes.

''A past life,'' he says.

''Really.''

They both whisper, maybe because in the dark everything feels louder, maybe because they always whisper. It's intimate in a way. Not another soul on the whole floor seems to be awake anymore. Otherwise they wouldn't be here, right now, after all, lazily lying in bed, the sheets wrapped around their calves, nude from head to toe. Their love belonged in the night and it was bodacious, yes, but more than anything it was dolorous. Oikawa was tired and tired of whispering.

''Yes. You were a farmer and I was a runaway college student. We were in love then.''

''We're in love now, aren't we?''

In love. Such a simple feeling, incongruous to what was really between them. Ushijima should've said You're a runaway now, aren't you, because that would've been true, at least. They are both constantly on the run, hiding, lying, sugarcoating and hurting themselves, each other - one and the same. In love. More like clawing off each others' skin, eating hearts raw, choking and wanting and never getting enough and never stopping but breaking it off again and again until they're so broken they only have each other to keep from falling apart completely. In need would be the adequate way of describing what they have. In danger.

''It was different. We could kiss whenever we wanted, hold hands.''

''Tooru, don't.''

Ushijima has no right to sound so pained. The sadness laced with his words doesn't equal the pain in Tooru's chest, though. Doesn't compare to the headaches he has from turning everything over in his head, again and again. Doesn't come close to how often he feels like he is losing himself, like he is lost already and how he for some reason, some unexplainable reason, still accepted every touch, every kiss, and even worse longed to touch and kiss back.

''Help me forget about it, then,'' Tooru demands in hushed, needy tones.

Ushijima holds him close till the sun peaks over the horizon. While Oikawa feigns sleep, and they both know that truly he's more awake than he was the whole night before, Ushijima knots his tie, ties his shoes and puts the ring back on his finger. Before he slips quietly out of the room, he brushes his knuckles softly over Tooru's cheekbone. He can feel the cold metal on his skin and it ignites a feeling in him he's long been used to. The familiar burn of jealously has become a constant in his life. It's hard to imagine what would be left of him if the jealousy was gone.

The door closes and so do Tooru's eyes.

 

– – –

 

 

They haven't seen each other in three weeks and Oikawa is steadily growing more impatient. His call with Ushijima has ended fourteen minutes ago and he still is nowhere to be seen. There are several pairs of hungry eyes on him, Oikawa feels their urgent lust directed his way and does his best to ignore them. They're mostly closeted men who're here for the same reason he is: this motel is in a shady neighborhood out of town, far away from prying eyes. People going here are looking for secrecy.

Oikawa would've preferred meeting up somewhere else than some rundown establishment for a change but he knows he is no different than those other guys with their caps and their sunglasses indoors, looking for fast and dirty sex or an adventure that most likely ends in STDs. Then again, his secret may be even a little dirtier, a little more perverse than theirs.

Never would he have thought he'd be the Monica Lewinksi to Ushijima's Bill Cinton. Never in a million years would he have thought that he'd be twenty-eight and fucking the Deputy Secretary of State. Even worse; fall in love with him.

So, he's sitting in some dilapidated bar with a glass of water sitting in front of him and at least three pairs of eyes mentally undressing him on his back, while waiting for his lover who's currently eighteen minutes late.

They have developed some kind of sick routine; Oikawa arrives first, always, sits at the bar for some time, sipping on some sort of drink. At least the drink varies sometimes. They always book the same room. The receptionist knows their faces and Ushijima's credit card number by heart and he also knows not to say a word to them. Or anyone. Ushijima arrives a little later, taking the keys and going up to their room. Oikawa follows some time after, walking by the reception without a word. And when the door closes behind him, he's home.

Last week's meet-up got canceled last minute, though. Ushijima's in-laws paid his wife and him a surprise visit. At least to Ushijima's surprise. Tooru spent the night at the motel anyway, sulking, jealousy eating away at him.

''Hey, man, you alone here?,'' a sleazy guy approaches him from the side, one arm supporting his large frame on the bar, the other hand at the back of Tooru's chair.

''I'm not interested, bye bye.''

The man huffs in annoyance but moves away. They're not always so easy to get rid of, most throw a fit, not able to handle rejection. Tooru doesn't care, he can stand his ground. Also, his lover is one of the most powerful people in the country, he can easily let a guy vanish without leaving a trace. That thought usually manages to reassure him.

As they say, speaking of the devil and he shall appear.

Ushijima is wearing a suit. He looks very handsome and very successful. Oikawa is concerned, that's not normal. Not at all. Ushijima normally shows up in jeans and a hoodie, doing everything to blend in with the usual clientele. Not today it seems. Twenty-three minutes and a suit are reason for concern.

Ushijima doesn't look his way. He takes the keys and hurries up the stairs to their room. Oikawa is supposed to wait a couple of minutes but he moves before his brain catches up to his legs.

Just before Ushijima is about to close the door to their room, Tooru catches up to him.

''Come here often?,'' he says, playful, a little out of breath from climbing the stairs.

''Tooru,'' is all Ushijima says, taking his hand and pulling him into the room. The door closed and locked, Oikawa gets pushed against it. They're hungry, they're starving.

Ushijima's hands hold Oikawa's face tenderly, their noses touching, their breaths mingling. They've been apart way too long. They look their fill before leaning in, open-mouthed and desperate. They exchange deep kisses, Tooru's fingers buried in Ushijima's hair und Ushijima's fingers already counting Tooru's ribs under his shirt.

When they part, Oikawa gives him a smile. ''All there?''

''Every single one,'' Ushijima says.

The first time he counted Tooru's ribs, Tooru was breathless from laughing so much. He was twenty-five and he had known Ushijima for the entirety of four hours. Gone from the first time he laid his eyes on him, Oikawa was sure that Ushijima was his man.

''What happened?,'' Tooru finally asks.

Ushijima puts his head on Tooru's shoulder, breathing him in. Tooru's hands card through the short hairs on his nape, scratching the scalp soothingly.

''Nothing serious. Shiina wanted to go through next month's schedule and he took forever. I didn't want to keep you waiting any longer than I already have.''

''You mean you couldn't handle being apart from me any longer,'' Tooru teases, pressing a kiss to Ushijima's hair. That manages to make Ushijima chuckle a little. A small victory.

''I missed you.''

''I missed you, too. How are the Kuronumas?,'' Tooru asks. Ushijima stiffens and then sighs, exhausted.

''We haven't seen each other in almost a month and you want to talk about my wife's parents?'' It isn't fair to Ushijima, Tooru knows, it's childish and petty. But Ushijima is still wearing his ring. The damn golden band around the ring finger of his left hand. The same ring that also has been there when they first met.

''Take it off,'' Oikawa demands. Ushijima does it quickly, taking it off and shoving it into his pants' pocket. Oikawa won't see it for the rest of their time together, they'd both make sure of that. ''Good. Now get me naked.''

Ushijima takes him on his hands and knees, first taking his time working Tooru open with thick, practiced fingers until he's writhing and shivering and sensitive, and then he rocks into him, demanding and deep. Tooru loves him. He pushes his hips back for all it's worth, arches his back so the sweat is rolling down to where he and Ushijima are connected.

''You feel so good,'' Ushijima says.

''Fuck,'' Tooru says and shoves his face into the pillow.

Ushijima pulls out when Tooru's moans get higher, desperate, and flips him over onto his back before pushing back in again. Tooru throws his head back, offering his neck, not caring how needy he looks. They've done this so many times that Ushijima knows his every face, Tooru has no shame. His legs are wound tightly around Ushijima's hips, urging him on, pulling him deeper, till he only sees white and comes with an obscene, delirious moan.

Ushijima bites his shoulder, not softly, and hits his orgasm after a few hard thrusts. He sacks down onto Tooru, enveloping him with his sweaty heat, boneless.

''I love you,'' he says when he pulls out.

Oikawa's head lolls to the side. ''I love you more.''

''I love you most.''

And they sleep.

 

– – –

 

Oikawa doesn't notice Ushijima waking up. He gets himself a glass of water, the stars the only light source by now, the world eerily quiet, when he stumbles over Ushijima's pants on the floor. Kneeling down he picks it up. Before he knows it the ring is in his hand. The god-forsaken, god-damned ring, lying securely in Oikawa's open palm. The gold cool and jaded. Absentmindedly, he puts it on his ring finger. It's a little too big for him. He puts it back where it belongs.

 

– – –

 

At the crack of dawn Oikawa put on his running shoes to go for a run in the park nearby. This early in the day it was almost empty. The street lamps were still on, albeit redundant. The air was chilly but the sky clear, the first day in a while without rainclouds hanging low in the sky.

Tooru could see his breath puff out in clouds from his open mouth. There was a small lake in the middle of the park where people like him liked to make their rounds. Running in a slow pace, Tooru put on his music.

Starting his day with running managed to relax him, a habit he's stuck to for over ten years now. He's not the kind of athlete he used to be back in high school, but he's still got remarkable stamina.

He thought he was alone but after having rounded half of the lake, another jogger passed him by with quick, angry steps. Huffing a laugh at the man, Tooru continued his slower run, the other guy could waste his power all he wanted, for what he cared.

Tooru had almost forgotten about the guy when he overtook him again in the same rapid pace, shouldering his way passed Oikawa on the narrow trail.

''Hey!,'' Tooru yelled after him when he didn't apologize.

''Sorry,'' a deep voice called, the guy barely looking over his shoulder.

''Asshole,'' Oikawa muttered under his breath. Another round in that tempo and the guy would probably collapse, so Oikawa could continue his morning run alone, like he had planned.

It was when the man passed him a third time that Oikawa finally had enough. He's always been competitive in nature and hasn't outgrown his teenage blind ambition. It's a thing he was still working on.

''Oh, you won't,'' Oikawa hissed, speeding up.

The man, still running like something was after him, didn't spare him a glimpse when he ran past Oikawa. He was wearing what seemed to be the same gray hoodie Oikawa was wearing but he had the hood up, so that Oikawa had some trouble guessing his age.

Finally reaching the man, they ran side-by-side until the man noticed Oikawa next to him. His eyes were almost panicky when he looked at him. Then, turning his head to look forward again, he honest to god quickened his pace. Oikawa did, too.

They found themselves racing around the lake at ass-o'clock on a Thursday like some stubborn children, but Oikawa swore himself he wouldn't be the first to admit defeat and neither seemed the other guy.

Lungs burning and calves aching, Oikawa looked at the man's face again. He seemed unfazed, his breath was coming fast but he wasn't heaving like Oikawa was at this point. Oikawa cursed him in every language he knew. Distracted, he didn't notice the uneven ground they were running over and started stumbling ungracefully until he found himself landing on his butt in the middle of the dusty trail.

''Oh, fantastic,'' he said, rubbing his behind.

When he looked up he found the other guy crouching in front of him, looking almost worried.

''Are you okay?,'' he asked.

''I lost,'' Oikawa said, painstakingly getting back to his feet, ignoring the hand trying to support him. He felt sore all-over and he knew he'd regret this little competition the day after.

''No, you fell,'' the man said. He had taken off his hoot, his hair sticking in thick strands to his sweaty forehead. Not unfazed, after all. He was handsome, had a nice strong jawline, high cheekbones, serious eyes, thick eyebrows pulled together. He was exactly what Oikawa would like to have for breakfast.

''Guess so,'' Tooru said, and as an afterthought, ''I'm Oikawa.''

The man's face got even more serious, if possible, and a little confused maybe. Oikawa offered his hand, there was still dust on it.

''Ushijima,'' the man said. He took Oikawa's hand in his. It was still a competition between them, it seemed, because neither wanted to let go first.

 

Chapter Text

Tooru was sitting on the windowsill in his living room, Ushijima standing between his legs, when he noticed the metal against his cheek. They had been kissing, kissing for the longest time, longer than Oikawa would've thought Ushijima would kiss him. Ushijima's other hand wandered up Oikawa's leg, from his hip to his knee, kneading the flesh gently, up and down again.

Oikawa pulled back from the kiss and took Ushijima's left hand into his own. The contrast between the two of them was beautiful. Ushijima's sturdy hand around Tooru's slender one, tan skin stretching over strong knuckles, veins painting a bluish, reddish pattern other the back of his hand. And on one of the thick fingers sat a shiny ring.

''You're married?''

For a second Ushijima looked stricken, torn between running or lying or finally, finally admitting the truth for once, his eyes dark, his mouth drawn down.

''Yes,'' he says.

''Wife or husband?'' Ushijima tried to take a step back but Oikawa locked him in with his legs around Ushijima's middle. Some things were better said – easier to say – with no distance between each other. Oikawa knew that, Ushijima never learned.

''Wife,'' he said, swallowing hard. Oikawa pecked his lips gently, trying to kiss the tension away. It didn't work. This stranger in his arms, Tooru thought, was a flower he found in a field of weeds. Where any flower would've died, he still stood.

''So you're a cheater, huh? Just for the record, if you got kids I'm hightailing outta this.''

''No kids,'' Ushijima pressed out, he clenched his jaw, tense all-over. Oikawa framed his face with his hands, stroking his cheekbone tenderly.

''It's okay, I don't mind, then. Are you doing this often?'' When Ushijima shook his head Oikawa granted him another small peck. To his surprise, Ushijima chased his lips like he needed them on his. Like he needed the contact now that he knew how it could feel.

''No,'' Ushijima said, quiet, really, really quiet. He didn't meet Oikawa's eyes, refused to look up. Oikawa knew he had said the truth, no cheater would look so guilty, so ashamed.

''Are you gay?,'' Oikawa asked, voice empathetic.

Ushijima nodded.

''Am I the first man you've kissed?''

Ushijima shook his head.

''Have you ever had sex with a man?''

Ushijima shook his head, hesitant.

''Let me show you how nice it can be, then,'' Oikawa whispered. He took Ushijima's hand and pulled off the ring slowly, putting it on the side table. Then he led him into his bedroom, Ushijima pliantly following him.

Tooru sat him down on his bed, the sheets still rumpled from when he had left them three hours ago. Ushijima's eyes never looked away from his face, never straying. Oikawa's hand slowly wandered down Ushijima's torso, admiring the muscle under his thin tee. He didn't break eye contact when his hands cupped the bulge in Ushijima's pants. Something about this was so obscene, so dirty, Oikawa's mouth watered. The thought of him being the first man to ever touch Ushijima this way – Tooru was eager. And excited. It had been too long. He deliberately sunk to his knees in front of Ushijima who didn't move an inch, still only looking at Tooru's face as if hypnotized.

Oikawa undid Ushijima's fly, carefully, giving Ushijima enough time to stop him. He didn't. They were both breathing hard already, Ushijima's lips slightly parted in anticipation, in arousal, his cheeks stained red.

Oikawa lowered his head, mouthing Ushijima's hard cock through his underwear before pushing his briefs down enough so he could pull it out. This was crazy. Oikawa loved it. He wanted to do this for Ushijima, if only so he had this. This one time with a nameless, faceless stranger.

''Tooru,'' Ushijima breathed, his voice deep and husky.

Oikawa braced himself with one hand on Ushijima's thigh before taking him in whole. He could taste the bitter precome, could feel the swollen head at the back of his throat and the weight of his thick cock lying on his tongue. They both moaned.

And then, while opening his eyes to check if he had Ushijima's full attention and ascertaining that yes, he was all Ushijima saw, he took him deeper, deeper, swallowing him down.

''Tooru,'' Ushijima hissed.

He pulled back, Ushijima's cock wet and hard before his eyes.

''Lie on the bed, shirt off,'' Oikawa demanded, not un-kindly. He was hard in his pants, his own precome wetting the insides of his briefs. He planned on taking care of it later.

Ushijima complied willingly, pulling his shirt over his head and revealing a nice set of abs, glistening with sweat from their run. He looked like a wet fantasy coming true, and Tooru licked his lips at the thought of what a man this strong could do with a body as flexible as Tooru's.

Ushijima lay down, Oikawa crawling on top of him on all fours, swaying his hips for show.

''Feel free to touch,'' Oikawa whispered, his lips brushing the shell of Ushijima's ear. When he pulled back Ushijima reached for his face and stole a slow, deep kiss. Their kisses felt heated, desperate almost, like Ushijima had tried a forbidden fruit and couldn't get enough of the taste now.

Oikawa only ended it to let his lips explore the rest of Ushijima's body. He put his tongue in every dip and curve he found, licking a deliberate strip down Ushijima's pelvis muscles, tasting salt. With one hand he started lazily pumping Ushijima's cock, eliciting a low moan.

''You can move, I can take it,'' Oikawa promised before he sunk down over Ushijima's shaft, going down, down, down. Ushijima's hands found their way into Oikawa's hair, pulling it, and Oikawa hummed around his cock in appreciation.

He slid his tongue up and down his length, swallowing it whole until he almost choked on it, reveling in the hot burn. He alternated between hollowing his cheeks, letting Ushijima's cock spring free so he could press open-mouthed kisses to the head and shaft, and sucking in quick, hard motions. He was breathing heavily through his nose but his eyes never left Ushijima's, transfixed.

When Ushijima was getting close, he started to thrust in earnest and when Oikawa only moaned in reply, he pushed his cock down Oikawa's throat. It was one of the hottest blowjobs Oikawa had ever given.

''I'm going to come... inside,'' Ushijima breathed. Oikawa swallowed around him in reply. Soon after, he came. Thick come spilled down Oikawa's throat and he relished every drop of it, savoring the ache and the burn and the almost uncomfortable heat running down his neck.

 

After, they lay on the bed, looking at the ceiling. It should've felt awkward but it didn't. It was quiet. Oikawa understood that Ushijima needed some time to put his thoughts in order. He should've felt guilty but he didn't. He wasn't the one married.

Then, as if Ushijima had made an internal decision, he rolled onto his side, leaned over Oikawa and kissed him full on the mouth. His one hand found its way under Oikawa's shirt, feeling the soft skin. When his fingertips reached Tooru's ribcage, he nudged every single rib softly. Tooru who's always been sensitive started giggling. At first only a few giggles escaped but when Ushijima did the same thing with his other hand he just lost it.

''What are you doing?,'' he laughed.

''Counting your ribs,'' Ushijima said, a small grin playing on his lips.

Oikawa didn't understand, not one bit, what had gotten into Ushijima but he liked seeing the man looking almost relaxed. When he finally calmed down a little, his stomach hurting, Ushijima pulled him into his side.

''Can I have your number?,'' Ushijima eventually asked.

''You can have whatever you want.''

Falling, falling. He could feel Ushijima's pounding heart.

 

– – –

 

Tooru has been waiting for this weekend to come for more than a month.

He sits in his car down the street where the Ushijimas' live. From here, he could keep an eye on their front door. He's patiently waiting for it to open, for a woman to exit, for her to get into her car and drive away, not coming back until Sunday evening.

Ushijima Makoto.

He remembers the first time he met her. A year ago, in a supermarket. He spent that weekend with her husband, who was waiting for him to return in a motel room just somewhere at the outskirts of town. Officially, he was on a business trip in China. Unofficially, he was in Oikawa.

He was walking down the pasta aisle when he spotted her. She was tall, very much so, and fit, her expression stern and serious, just like Ushijima's. Ushijima had told him before that they were alike in many ways, that this was why they worked. And also why they didn't work.

Tooru couldn't look away. She was exactly how he imagined her; graceful and strong, an ageless woman of very unique beauty. Maybe she wasn't all that special to everyone else but Oikawa found himself fascinated by her. The photographs in Ushijima's wallet didn't do her justice at all.

He was trying to keep his distance but he couldn't help but follow her around. She wasn't doing anything remotely interesting but Tooru was mesmerized, still. He watched her filling her little basket with all kinds of things. The dark chocolate Ushijima liked so much, tea because she told him drinking so much alcohol wasn't healthy, fish because they both loved eating salmon on Wednesdays. It was their tradition.

When she moved to the check stands, Oikawa dared to move closer. He stood directly behind her. This close, he could smell her perfume. Her perfume really struck him the most. The short hair exposed her neck, the skin looking as soft as a peach's. He wouldn't forget that scent. He found it in Ushijima's clothing, his hair, on his hands and neck and naked body. It clung to Ushijima and he'd never really get rid of it, no matter how often Tooru kissed him, touched him, laid with him.

Back at the motel, Tooru asked Ushijima if he loved her. If Ushijima was surprised by the question, he didn't show it. Tooru never told him that he had seen his wife. He never would.

''She's my friend. A companion, in some ways, but I don't love her,'' he said. ''I love you.''

It was the first time he said it.

 

Now, he sees her walking out her front door, locking it in the hope of no stranger being able to get in, unaware that her husband had given a total stranger a key. To their home.

The car leaves the driveway and vanishes at the end of the street. That's his cue.

The house is too big for two people but big enough for a young couple with the desire to have children one day. Soon, maybe. There are several security cameras, Ushijima told him he had disabled this very morning. The windows are tinted so no one can watch them while they are living their little life together.

Tooru steps inside, closing and locking the door behind him. He takes a deep breath before turning around and seeing what Ushijima's home, his life, looked like.

Everything is beige-colored. Like whipped cream or vanilla milkshakes, like pale skin and milk tea. Everything. The floor has the darkest shade of beige, the curtains the lightest. Tooru can't say why he is as creeped out by it as he is but he can't shake the feeling off again.

Maybe it's because for the first time in three years, and after weeks of pleading and begging, he stands in the middle of his lover's home. The place he should feel save at but doesn't. His cream-colored, personal hell. And everything is quiet.

He walks up the marble staircase to the second floor where he expects the bedroom to be. When he finds it, he isn't surprised that even the sheets are fawn-colored. It's spacious and the bed is bigger than the one in the motel. There is no wardrobe, no desk, no shoe cabinet, nothing. What is there, though, is a white vanity.

It's standing next to the window and it looks old, maybe an heirloom, and perfectly ordered. The mirror has no spots on it, there are no make up utensils or hair pins lying around. Nothing but three bottles of perfume perfectly aligned in front of the mirror.

Tooru carefully sits down on the stool, touching the fine wood with hesitant fingertips. It's the first thing he touches in this house. He looks at his reflection in the mirror. The lighting is good, soft and flattering, and Tooru looks pretty here, even beautiful. Still, his eyes wander back to the bottles of perfume.

Without really meaning to, he takes one of it and holds it to his nose. It smells heavy and powdery. He puts it away and takes another one, smelling at it, too. And the familiar scent of roses and something else floods his nose and clouds up his mind. It's the smell of when Ushijima held him one night, crying, confessing he had had to sleep with her, because it was their wedding anniversary and she had asked him to. It smells like the question how many kisses did you give her and their kisses after that, always at least one more than Ushijima shared with her. It smells like TV interviews and her smiling face saying she could imagine starting a family soon and Ushijima's phone call afterwards.

Without really meaning to, he sprays it on his neck.

 

In the early evening, Ushijima comes home. Tooru is in the kitchen cooking something up for the two of them.

''Hey honey, how was your day?,'' Tooru asks, smiling widely. He kisses Ushijima hello and Ushijima rewards him with an honest smile of his own, one he gets less and less often. Tooru just wants them to be happy, that's all he wants them to be right now.

''Tooru,'' Ushijima mumbles into the crown of his head. And then he stiffens. ''Are you wearing – Makoto's perfume?''

He takes a step back from Oikawa, looking at him incredulously, almost accusingly.

''Toshi. Toshi,'' Oikawa throws his arms around Ushijima's neck, closer, closer still. ''Let's pretend. This weekend, let's just pretend. That you're coming home to me every day, that I'm your husband, that it's my perfume. Let's pretend, okay?''

At first, he's still, petrified, and then Ushijima pries Oikawa's hands away from his neck, holding them gently in his own, his eyes pained. Gone is his honest smile.

''We don't need to pretend, Tooru. What I have with you means a thousand times more to me than what I have with my wife.''

Tooru scoffs. ''Then why does she get to live here with you? Why does she get to share a bed with you every day of the week? Why do I have to be hidden away in a fucking motel, like what we have is something dirty, something shameful? Why am I not wearing her ring when you love me a thousand times more than her?''

The silence stretches between them. At first, Tooru doesn't notice the angry tears, the sad tears, rolling down his cheeks. When he does, he brushes them away quickly. He feels open, vulnerable, like one word from Ushijima could cut his last strings and he'd collapse right here, right now.

''You're right,'' Ushijima whispers. ''You don't deserve this. This... this can't go on like this.''

''Are you telling me to go?'' Tooru swallows down his sobs, the pain, his pride, everything he is.

''No,'' Ushijima says, eyes wide, ''of course not. I think it's time to change things.'' And after a heavy pause, ''I think, I will talk to Makoto.''

''Do you mean it?,'' Tooru asks. His hands are still in Ushijima's, it's hard to say whether it's his own or Ushijima's hands which are shaking.

Ushijima looks at him, then, as if realizing for the first time that Tooru stands in front of him. ''Yes. Yes, I mean it.''

Tooru kisses him, kisses him with relief and salt on his lips and Ushijima kisses back. They don't pretend for the rest of the weekend. They talk about their anniversary coming up soon, about maybe, just maybe, going out for it, to a nice cozy restaurant out of town. It would be the first time for them to do something like that. They talk about the future, a thing they never dared to mention before. They take their time and make love. They sleep together on the sofa, the bedroom door closed until Tooru has to say goodbye. He feels a little lighter, when he leaves.

 

– – –

 

It was the third time they met, the second time they spent together in a motel. Every item of clothing on their bodies felt like a personal offence, they needed each other naked, raw.

''Take as much as you want, this could be the last time,'' Tooru said when Ushijima's tongue found his already sore nipple.

''Huh,'' Ushijima said, looking up from under his dark lashes, lips swollen and red from Oikawa biting them just a few moments ago.

''I don't intend on becoming your dirty, little affair, Ushiwaka-chan, I'm a free-spirit,'' Oikawa grinned, moaning when Ushijima started sucking hickeys into his collarbone.

''Whatever you want,'' he just answered.

 

 

Chapter Text

''You're late, did you kill Nanami after all?,'' Iwaizumi asked casually while reading the newspaper.

They usually met up to get something to eat after volleyball practice. That much hadn't changed since high school, they still were part of each other's routine. Even though Iwaizumi was father of one lovely daughter and husband to one lovely man, he still took the time to talk to Tooru. It was only convenient that they worked at the same university. While Iwaizumi coached the boys' team, Oikawa drilled the girls of Tokai University. It developed into some sort of rivalry between the two of them; whose team was better, won more matches, had more members getting recruited for the national team. So far, Oikawa was winning.

''Noo, but I was this close, I swear,'' Oikawa moaned theatrically, ''if she doesn't work on her anger-issues, I'll throw her off the team.''

Iwaizumi chuckled, he knew Oikawa adored all of his girls just as much as he adored his boys. It had been coincidence that they both got a job at the same university. They had agreed beforehand that they'd made the decision independent of their friendship, but ended up at the same place regardless. And so far, it was fantastic. Sometimes Iwaizumi brought his daughter along to practice and their meet-ups afterwards, and she was always fawned upon by the guys and her uncle Tooru. Sometimes he got lucky and Tooru would offer to take her in for the night, so that he and his husband could have some alone-time. Fantastic, indeed, and oh so convenient.

''How are Tamaki and Tomoe?,'' Oikawa asked, sitting down at the small cafeteria table opposite of Iwaizumi. He looked tired but he always did, at least he did for the last couple of weeks. Still, he seemed happy, fresh somehow. It was suspicious and Iwaizumi suspected a new man in Oikawa's life. Someone robbing him of his sleep but giving him something entirely different in return. He knew better than to press the matter, though.

''They still think they hate each other's guts. Kids these days are getting more and more dense, I swear,'' Iwaizumi muttered, skipping over an article about corrupted medical studies.

''They'll figure it out eventual-,'' Oikawa paused, his eyes lingering on the paper in Iwaizumi's hands, ''who. Who is that? Gimme that real quick.''

He grabbed for Iwaizumi's paper, folding it in the middle. Oikawa stared hard at the front page, squinting his eyes, his tongue peaking out between his lips in concentration.

''Someone you know?,'' Iwaizumi asked, confused. If he remembered correctly the front page covered some sort of political debate between the foreign ministers of Japan and China that occurred yesterday.

Silence. Oikawa furrowed his brows before putting the paper on the table, sliding it towards Iwaizumi. He put his finger on a blurry black-and-white photograph of some politicians shaking hands.

''Who is that?,'' Oikawa asked, eyes intense. His finger tapped on the paper right above some guy's head. Iwaizumi took a closer look. With one raised eyebrow he laughed at Oikawa.

''I knew that you aren't much into politics, but I thought you'd at least recognize our state secretary,'' Iwaizumi said.

''No no, not that old guy, the one behind him, who's that?,'' Oikawa's voice sounded agitated and Iwaizumi started to worry a little about his friend's sanity.

''Our deputy state secretary. Ushijima Wakatoshi.''

Oikawa's eyes widened, almost comically. And then – he started laughing. Hysterically.

''Are you alright? What's the matter?,'' Iwaizumi asked, cracking a grin himself at his friend's antics. This was no humored laugh, or a happy laugh, this was a manic laugh and Iwaizumi couldn't quite understand what about the state secretary could cause Oikawa to crack up ike this.

Oikawa took a minute to calm down again, wiped at his eyes for some stray tears and took a few steadying breaths. ''He's hot, that's all. He looks like he has a big dick going on in his designer pants, don't you think.''

He was still giggling and while it was in and of itself weird behavior, it was very normal for Oikawa. Iwaizumi was confused but not surprised.

''Well, I know how persuasive you can be, but I think dude's married,'' he said.

Oikawa settled into an amused but cocky grin, leaning forward and with his head supported on both his hands he looked like a school boy with a secret.

''Oh, Iwa-chan,'' he said, voice honey-sweet, ''a wife might be an annoying hindrance but certainly not a problem.''

Iwaizumi could only hope Oikawa wasn't serious. But quite frankly, he knew better.

 

On his train ride home, Oikawa read the article about Ushijima and the other politicians. Iwaizumi was right, he wasn't all that invested in politics and state business but now that he had reason to, he'd at least try. Ushijima's name was mentioned twice in the short text next to the picture. One time when the participants of the meeting were mentioned and once because of his 'infallibly logic and ideas for the future'. He read over it twice and then focused on the photograph again. Ushijima looked like whenever he returned from one of his business trips to all over the world. Controlled, stiff and very, very serious. Oikawa only ever needed an hour to get him to come back to himself. To abandon the composed facial expression and his well-thought out words. The Ushijima shaking hands with another man looked nothing like the Wakatoshi he woke up to on some Saturdays. The one kissing his shoulder as a way of saying good morning. The morning grouch who preferred decaf to normal coffee. Who went on runs as early as Oikawa did. Ushiwaka-chan and Ushijima looked like entirely different people.

A little while later, Oikawa decided to make a call. Ushijima had given him his phone number for emergencies only, as he said it. He was instructed to never text him, only call. And while he at that time thought it was because Ushijima was married, he was a little smarter now.

Oikawa was walking from the train station to his apartment when his patience came to an end and he called. He had never called before. The number had sat in his contact list under 'daddy' with a heart emoji for a few months already. It was even more ridiculous now, Oikawa realized.

''Tooru? What's wrong?'' Ushijima picked up after only a few seconds.

''Oh, nothing really. Thought I'd just say hello,'' Oikawa hurried down the street, it just started raining and he hadn't thought of bringing an umbrella this morning. Some people were looking at him funny, at how he tried shielding the phone from the falling rain.

''It's not a good time, I could call you back lat-''

''Oh? What are you doing that's so important, Ushiwaka-chan? Actually that reminds me, I never asked what you did for a living, did I? I bet it's something mundane like...I don't know, deputy state secretary?''

At the other end of the line it went quiet. Oikawa thought it would be funny confronting Ushijima like this. It wasn't. It really wasn't and Oikawa was glad when he finally reached the front door of his apartment and entered the familiar space of his home.

''So you found out,'' Ushijima said, his tone uninterpretable.

''Just for the record, Ushiwaka-chan, I do not appreciate being lied to,'' Oikawa said, while shrugging out of his jacket and boots.

''I didn't lie. I don't lie to you.'' And suddenly their conversation turned very, very serious.

''Lying by omission is still lying, you asshole. Don't pull your politician-bullshit on me, okay? This was misstep number one. You have two more and then you can kiss my ass goodbye, are we clear?''

He put Ushijima on speaker while prying the wet clothes from his body. He was cold and had goosebumps all over his skin.

''We're clear,'' Ushijima's voice sounded tentative. ''Does that mean that - does that mean you're okay with my job? You don't mind?''

Oikawa hesitated. Did he mind? He hadn't really thought about that yet, too eager to confront Ushijima with his knowledge to consider his own stand on the matter.

''No, I don't,'' he said, not quite sure if he was telling the truth. Later, he decided, he would think about it later.

''Okay, that's... thank you. I'll still see you on Saturday? I'm back at noon but I told my wife I would be back late,'' Ushijima said. Oikawa wondered how Ushijima could spare some of his very important time to ask him whether they would see each other soon, even though he knew the answer already.

''Sure,'' Tooru mumbled, absentmindedly. ''I gotta go now, Ushiwaka-chan.''

''Okay, I miss you,'' Ushijima said, ''and sorry for not telling you.''

Tooru halted. He felt like they crossed a line he didn't know even existed in the first place. They weren't like that - saying I miss you and I thought of you today. They were lust and sex and night. It didn't feel right, anymore, though. Didn't feel. Fitting. Like they grew out of that without really noticing. Without really wanting to.

''You too. Have a save flight,'' he couldn't quite believe those words were leaving his mouth. Tumbling out, rather, bursting out. Not with his permission, so much he was sure of.

They hung up after that and Tooru stood in his quiet, empty apartment with his phone in hand and nothing on his body apart from his underwear. He spent the whole night thinking about whether or not he minded that Ushijima was some sort of celebrity. A boring one, sure, but still a person in the spotlight. This explained a lot of things but it also gave rise to a lot of questions. What if their little, meaningless affair somehow got out? What if it didn't? How would it influence Tooru and his job? He couldn't help but think of Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton. Would Tooru be able to handle it like Monica did? Would Ushijima?

Was he willing to put so much at risk for what they had?

Instead of dwelling on that thought, he started googling. First, he googled Ushijima. The stiff smile that greeted him on pictures was as familiar as it was concerning. Ushijima didn't smile at him like that anymore. He hadn't in a long time. The smiles he gave Tooru were genuine. Almost happy. He read through articles and political programs, about how successful and popular Ushijima was despite is relatively young age. He read about Ushijima's father, also a politician, and his mother, the CEO of her own company, their divorce in 2004 and the consequential mudslinging. There was Ushijima's entire life spread out on the internet for everyone to see, and Tooru felt almost guilty. If Ushijima had wanted him to know about these things, he would've told him.

Still, after hours and hours of research not only about Ushijima but also his family, he never found anything that reminded him of the Ushijima he learned to know. Wakatoshi. The tender heart, his misplaced honesty, the awkward metaphors and the weird ways he explained and talked about things. His gentle hands, his stiff neck, the omnipresent guilt surrounding him. His utter trust in - and adoration of anything Tooru did, was.

Tooru started to realize that he minded. He minded Ushijima being a politician. He didn't like the reasons why he minded and he swore himself he'd never ever tell Ushijima about it, but in the end he still minded. Because deep down he thought Ushijima deserved better. That he deserved better than the lie of his life becoming his legacy. Because he was selfish and wanted Ushijima for himself, and for himself only. Because despite everything, Tooru was confident that Ushijima was it for him.

The clock read 2:30 in the morning and Tooru hasn't gone further than putting on a sleeping shirt. He hasn't eaten and he hasn't done any preparations for next day's practice. He also hasn't googled yet who Ushijima Makoto was.

 

– – –

 

The restaurant isn't the fanciest one in town. It's a rather small, middle class Italian pizzeria with a cozy atmosphere and a short menu card. There are only a few tables, most prepared for two people only. It isn't exactly romantic or picturesque but Tooru loves it anyway. He's in a good mood, has been the entire week. Because today is their third anniversary and Tooru earned this, earned this evening, earned this first date of their's. Three years. That are three years more than he would've thought they would spend together. And look where they're at now.

They're in love, planning to finally come out together, maybe build something of their own. Maybe, just maybe, after everything is over, only if Ushijima wants to of course, they could get married, have a little family of their own. Tooru has been imagining it every day since Ushijima confessed he'd like to talk to his wife. Tooru sees himself in a little house in a quiet neighborhood, two kids with fancy German names, apple pie in the oven. He sees loud arguments and hand-holding in public. His girls are going to be ecstatic when they'll find out. His parents will be happy he finally found someone worth keeping, although they'll worry, too, of course. He'll worry himself. It's gonna be tough, he knows it, but it'll be worth it. One step at a time, together.

''Can I get you another glass of water? Or maybe something else?,'' the waitress asks, she's college-age and judging by her defined arms she would fit right in with his volleyball team. Her smile is friendly and open, not flirtatious, which Oikawa appreciates today. He looks at his watch, it's ten after eight already. Ushijima's late.

''Sorry, but I'm still waiting for my boyfriend, I'll stick to water for now if that's okay.'' It sounds weird saying it out loud - boyfriend - and Oikawa's heart beats violently in his chest. But they agreed that they would be a little less careful today. Only today. Ushijima doesn't get recognized that often in spaces like this, anyway, so it's okay. A little risky, but everything they do is.

''Sure, no problem. If you want anything, just wave and I'll come around'' she gives him a smile and moves along.

At 8:15 Tooru gets a little jittery. He takes out his mobile and puts it on the table next to his glass of water. No texts, no missed calls.

At 8:20 he's worried. He thinks about car accidents, about plane crashes, acts of terror, poison, alien abductions – it only gets more and more absurd from there. The end of it is, though, that Tooru expects a good reason for Ushijima to be late on their anniversary. There are some other couples sitting at the tables around him. He eavesdrops on their conversation and watches them a little. One couple is holding hands on the table top. He'd like that. Another couple obviously plays footsie behind the table cloth and even that Tooru finds weirdly endearing.

The nice Italian waitress throws a few concerned glances his way and he musters up a smile every once in a while. It gets a little harder at thirty minutes of waiting. He's wearing his sex-pants because he knows Ushijima can't help but take them off of him anytime he wears them. They're tight and made of a very soft material. He's also wearing a nice, close-knitted sweater because the weather has gotten a little chilly lately. Winter is just around the corner, after all. He wonders what Ushijima'll wear tonight but in the end it wouldn't matter. As long as it smells like him and not like. Her.

And finally the door opens and Ushijima enters the restaurant. He dressed up but isn't wearing a suit. No work clothing. His hair looks ruffled and his cheeks are flushed from the wind. Or maybe because he was running here. Tooru has already forgiven him when his eyes lock with Ushijima's. His shy smile freezes though, when he notices Ushijima's furrowed brows and his tight-lipped mouth.

Ushijima looks away a moment after, asking the a waiter something Tooru can't quite hear. Unease and confusion spread through Tooru's whole body.

And then Ushijima starts walking in his direction. And walks by Tooru's table. And sits down at a table for one in the back.

Tooru's stomach drops.

Has he done something? Said something? Has something gotten to the news? Did Makoto find out? Has Ushijima finally, finally decided the thing they had wasn't worth the risk after all? No. No, that can't be it, Tooru decides. Ushijima loves him. He loves him. They love each other.

His phone buzzes.

 

Daddy <3, 8:34 pm

 

 

 

i'm sorry tooru, some guys recognized me and followed me with their cameras. i'm sorry. you look nice. i'll make it up to you.

 

Tooru reads over the text not once, not twice, but three times and the words still don't make sense to him. His breathing quickens and he feels something coming up. Hurt? Worry? Desperation? Anger? He swallows it down. He swallows down everything, all that he is, his pride, his love, his hope. He swallows it down, down, down.

And then he stands up, grabs his coat and throws a couple of bills on the table. He doesn't answer the text and he doesn't look at his lover.

The waitress approaches him, the friendly smile on her lips replaced by a confused down-pull.

''Is your boyfriend not coming?,'' she asks and she seems to care more about him than-.

Tooru composes himself, puts on a blank expression, pulls together whatever strength he has left. ''Oh no, it just so happens that I don't have a boyfriend anymore,'' he says, loud enough.

He leaves.

He leaves behind the restaurant and the nice waitress and his half-empty glass of water and the man he loves. Hope, he decides, is something he should've left behind the first time he googled the name.

 

Chapter Text

It was at night - of course it was - when Tooru decided to memorize everything about Ushijima's face. Every pore, every wrinkle, every last eyelash. The thin lines between his eyebrows and at the corners of his eyes. Not from laughing, Ushijima only learned how to laugh because Tooru taught him how to and he prided himself in that knowledge, but because of his tendency to overthink, overanalyze, overdo.

Next, he ran down the straight line of Ushijima's nose with his eyes, only for his Cupid's bow to draw his attention. The soft curve of his upper lip, inviting and so often kissed by him, morphing into his fuller, softly pink bottom lip. It was chapped and dry from Tooru nipping and biting at it.

His hands found Ushijima's jaw, strong and stubbly, and he used it as a path for his fingertip leading up to his ear. Ushijima once confessed that he had pierced his lobes as a teen, a tame act of rebellion against his parents. The holes have long closed shut but the thought alone of Ushijima once having them amused Tooru.

Ushijima started moving under his exploring hands and eyes. He blinked up at Tooru sleepily. His eyes unfocued but trusting.

''I'm leaving you tonight,'' Tooru said, gently. His hand found the back of Ushijima's neck, he casually stroked the short hair there.

Ushijima exhaled tiredly. He reached for Tooru and pulled him into his arms, tucking Tooru's head under his chin, so that Tooru's nose brushed against Ushijima's pulse point. Tooru pushed closer, closer aligning their naked bodies underneath the thin sheets.

''Please don't,'' Ushijima whispered into his hair.

Tooru closed his eyes, his lashes tickling the thin skin of Ushijima's neck. Ushijima held him tightly, so tightly Tooru could feel Ushijima's blood rushing through his body, could smell his sweat, could feel the tremor of his hands on his lower back.

''Okay,'' he said and they slept.

 

– – –

 

If only he had left that night.

 

– – –

 

One week of no contact. One week without any one-minute-long calls to just drop an I love you. One week of no pleasant anticipation for the weekend, instead dread. One week of watching the news and searching the newspaper and the internet for an appearance, any sign of heartache on his face or in the way he holds himself. One week of disappointment because he does not find those signs. One week of sadness, sadness and tears and hurrying through the day until he can climb back into his bed and hide under his blanket like a frightened child.

It's pathetic and Tooru knows it. But he keeps telling himself how he is allowed to mourn. He got dumped on their anniversary. His high hopes for their relationship - for one to actually call it what it was at its core; not an affair, they're not star-crossed lovers or the cheater and his mistress. A relationship. Tooru refuses to take it anymore, refuses to keep his mouth shut and his eyes closed. He is allowed to mourn because he had to give up the love of his life but he can be proud, too, for having the guts to leave.

Iwaizumi notices of course, the lack of energy, the red-rimmed eyes. He notices but he doesn't ask. He doesn't talk about his husband and daughter either, as if he knew that it would be salt in Tooru's wounds. Tooru almost misses Iwaizumi's anecdotes about how bad Kageyama is handling the teacher-parents conferences, or how he fails at braiding their daughter's hair.

The sad thing is that Tooru is used to hiding his feelings. The happiness that clouded his mind when Ushijima and he made weekend trips to foreign places where they could actually show their love. Or the disappointment when Ushijima canceled their plans. The wariness he felt when they talked about their future the night before. Tooru is used to swallowing it all down, not letting it show, go about his day like the happy single he pretends to be. He can't kid Iwaizumi of course but Iwaizumi has always been the smarter one of the two of them. Iwaizumi cannot know the truth but he can keep the secret.

Still, Tooru wishes he could actually talk about it. To anyone. Just once. Just once talk about how their love destroys him and keeps him going at the same time. He would like to talk about the sex, their little talks, their fights and their makeups. Tell his mom about this weird, awkward man that stumbled into his life. But he can't. Not even now. Because of course Tooru could go and tell the press, tell them their story, show them some pictures- if only they had pictures. It stings. The thing is, though, that Tooru really can't do it. He can't bring himself to do it, no matter how mad he is, no matter how hurt he is, because he may be able to hate Ushijima but never their time together. Forget Ushijima, but not the time.

He wouldn't only destroy Ushijima's life, but also a lot of other people's. While it feels like it's only ever been the two of them that's not quite the reality of things.

Ushijima Makoto. The name sits heavy on his tongue.

Tooru hates her. Everything about her. Her entire being. But he can't do that to her. She deserves a talk. Reasons. Affirmations that it's not her fault, that it never ever was about her. She deserves Ushijima confessing everything to her, she deserves to hit him, just once, and to scream at him. Time to think about everything, to make arrangements, to process that her whole marriage was a lie and that her life is going to change dramatically from now on. That she will be ridiculed by the press, victimized, blamed.

He can't do that to her.

So when Friday comes around, Tooru doesn't make his way out of town to hide in a cheap motel. He goes to the supermarket to get something to eat for later. He browses the aisles for nothing in particular because there is no hurry in getting home, getting ready. His apartment needs tidying, so he does that afterwards. There's nothing good on TV so Tooru decides to ask Hanamaki for movie recommendations. They talk on the phone for a while before Matsukawa gets back home with take out and Hanamaki hangs up.

There are loads of pillows and blankets on his couch but still Tooru can't get comfortable. The movie is bland and Tooru shuts it off after forty minutes. Apparently he forgot to turn on any lights because as soon as the TV screen blackens, Tooru sits in complete darkness. Maybe sleeping on the couch wouldn't be such a bad idea, so Tooru closes his eyes and pretends it isn't 9:12 pm. He's always been good at pretending anyway.

 

He's woken up by his doorbell. At first he thinks he imagined the sound but at the second ring, he begrudgingly gets up. He gropes his way to the light switch and flicks it on. The reflection of himself in the mirror hanging over his shoe cabinet tells him that he looks like Iwaizumi's pit bull had chewed on him after playing with him for hours. It doesn't matter though.

When Tooru opens the door he isn't surprised. There's a feeling in his gut, an inkling that tells him who is waiting for him on the other side of his door. He doesn't even bother looking through the door viewer.

Ushijima looks like a shadow of himself. His hair unkempt, wearing a simple hoodie, sneakers, worn pants. He looks immensely younger, too. It's almost eerie how Ushijima looks nothing like the powerful man Oikawa sees on TV now and then, with his confidence and his strength. With his suit and tie it was easy to forget how young he actually is. In front of Tooru stands a boy.

''Tooru,'' Ushijima says quietly, and Oikawa starts crying. And just like that, Ushijima is crying too.

They stand there quietly crying for so long that the hallway lights go out and Ushijima is only illuminated by the soft light coming from Tooru's apartment. That's when Tooru starts sobbing. He hasn't really cried before. Watered eyes, a small tear escaping here and there, but never losing control completely. Now he is breaking, falling apart at the edges. Having Ushijima so close but not having him - that's what pain feels like. Ushijima is quick to reach for Tooru but in the last moment he catches himself and freezes, his hands hovering over Oikawa's arms, only a breath away from actually touching, from comforting.

And Oikawa is weak. So, so weak. He closes the distance between them and buries his face in Ushijima's chest, inhaling the painfully familiar scent of Ushijima's home that burns his lungs every time he inhales it. Ushijima's arms envelop him, pull him closer and closer, his hands rubbing up and down his sides like he cannot believe that Tooru is real, real and in his arms.

''I hate you, I hate you so much,'' Tooru sobs. ''I wish I never met you.''

''I'm sorry, I'm so sorry,'' Ushijima chants, pressing his lips to Tooru's head.

Aren't they tragic, clinging to each other in the half-dark. Tooru comes back to himself first. People could see them, recognize Ushijima and make the connections. He takes Ushijima by the hand and pulls him inside, locking the door behind them. In the kitchen, Tooru sits Ushijima down on one of the four chairs all differing in color around his small kitchen table, and Ushijima only lets go of Tooru's hand reluctantly so that he can boil some water for tea. He doesn't ask Ushijima if he wants some, he doesn't have a choice, they're going to sit down like grown-ups with tea and talk this out. That's the plan, at least.

When the tea is done, Tooru changes his mind. He takes the two mugs and leads the way into his adjoined living room. They can still talk without half a kitchen between them.

Together they sit down on the couch, Tooru cross-legged on the one side, Ushijima stiff on the other side. And they say nothing for a long time before Tooru decides he can't do this. They're not strangers and he knows, he just knows that they're far from being over. What they have has always been and always will be something like love. Only more complex.

''Okay, this won't do,'' Tooru finally says and changes positions. He crawls towards Ushijima, takes his arm and puts it on the headrest, so that he can snuggle in. The closeness helps a little, the beating heart beneath Tooru's ear eases his nerves for the tiniest bit. He hates how natural this feels, how much he missed this.

''I'm so sorry, Tooru. I panicked and I shouldn't have. I ruined our day, I ruined everything, I'm so sorry,'' Ushijima says and there are tears in his voice, and exhaustion, a whole week of silence.

This is the moment in which Tooru has to make a choice. And it's not easy and no matter what he chooses it definitely won't be easy either way. The truth is, however, that Oikawa is not stupid. He knew from the very beginning that something like this could and would happen, anytime, sometime. And he made the decision in the same moment he kissed Ushijima even though he knew his wedding ring lay on his side table.

''Wakatoshi, are you ever going to leave Makoto?''

They aren't looking at each other and it helps somehow. Like some things have to be said in the dark, some things have to be said with closed eyes or while holding hands or with no room between their lips.

''It's not that easy,'' Ushijima says.

''That's not what I asked,'' Tooru says, empathetic.

He feels Ushijima exhaling heavily. 

''There is no openly gay politician in our country. Coming out most likely means the end of my political career. I'll have to start from zero again,'' Ushijima says, explaining the obvious.

''Okay,'' Tooru doesn't know what else to say. What can he possibly say to the man he loves but whom he isn't allowed to love? Who isn't allowed to love him? He would never force Ushijima to come out publically. Or at all. He knows what risks it brings to be out, he's experienced them first-hand since he was caught kissing another boy behind the gym when he was sixteen. Tooru just wants Ushijima to himself.

''But last Friday, when you left. I- I was so disgusted by myself. I puked for an hour in the restaurant's restrooms. It was pathetic,'' Ushijima continues, he turns Tooru in his arms so they can look at each other. He frames Tooru's face with both his hands, carefully, gently, not in a way that makes Tooru feel fragile, but valued. ''Tooru, losing you is not an option. It's not an option and if it means I have to end my career so that I can be with you, so be it. I'll find something else. I let this go on for too long already. I keep hurting you and that is not okay because I love you and I want you to feel loved.''

This was most likely the longest declaration of love Tooru has ever gotten. Hearing the words feels like the tension that has creeped into his bones over time slowly starts pouring out of him. Tooru is relieved, worried, hopeful- the breath he's been holding for three years now, finally leaves his lungs.

''So,'' Tooru finds his voice, ''we're gonna do this. Together.''

''Yes,'' Ushijima kisses him, ''together.''

 

– – –

 

Every minute feels like a thousand years. Tooru's been sitting in his car for at least half an hour already and there are no signs of Ushijima coming back anytime soon. In the car's trunk are their bags, packed for a spontaneous trip to Italy. Not for fun but as a necessary escape. It'll give Ushijima's wife time to deal with everything and decide what she wants to do, wants to keep, wants to give up. It's only fair. And Italy is far away enough for them to not be pressured into hiding in their hotel. Again.

Tooru and Ushijima both agreed that they would not postpone the talk any longer. The time would never be right, so Ushijima decided he'd go talk to his wife a week after their night in Tooru's apartment, on Friday afternoon. It was quite considerate but at the same time it makes Tooru cringe a little; Friday means Makoto doesn't have to go to work the next day and has the entire weekend to get over the fact that her husband cheated on her with another man. Not once, not twice, but for three entire years. And what's probably going to hurt the most; it isn't about sex, it's love.

So they packed their bags and drove the way to Ushijima's house where Tooru is currently waiting outside of for Ushijima to return. By now, he is slightly worried. Of course this ''matter'' can't be dealt with in five minutes but half an hour seems a little long for that kind of conversation. Or maybe it's Tooru's mind playing tricks on him.

Someone tapping on the passenger window pulls Oikawa back to reality. It's only Ushijima. He unlocks the door and Ushijima gets in, his face not giving away a thing. What's disconcerting though, is that he doesn't close the door.

''How did it go?,'' Tooru asks breathlessly.

Ushijima looks like he's bracing himself for something when he says, ''She wants to meet you.''

He could've said she wants to kill you and it would've felt the same. Meeting Ushijima Makoto is the last thing Oikawa ever wants to do and still here he is, stepping into the Ushijimas' home for the second time in his life. And hopefully the last.

It's exactly how Oikawa remembers it. After all, it hasn't been that long ago that he went upstairs and put on Makoto's perfume in the hopes of getting closer to being like her. The difference is though, that now it doesn't only look like a cream-colored hell, it became one.

Makoto is waiting for them in the kitchen. She sits at the kitchen table with her face in her hands, not trembling, not sobbing. She's as composed as she looks in the photographs. A strong woman who does not lose control even after she loses everything else. It's hard to decide whether Oikawa hates her a little less or a little more because of it.

''Makoto,'' Ushijima says, making her look up and at them, ''this is Oikawa.''

Her eyes wander from Ushijima to Tooru. She doesn't look him up and down, she just looks at his face. Tooru tries desperately to not let his nerves show but Makoto's composed and almost disinterested gaze doesn't seem judgmental, instead it just seems very, very tried. But there is no way that Tooru can pity her, people like Makoto don't need pity, when they fall down they not only get up again, they take flight. Still, Tooru knows she's older than Ushijima is but in this moment she looks a million years old.

''Sit,'' she says and it's not a question. Ushijima nudges Oikawa to move and so they take slow steps towards her, approaching her like they would a sleeping lion. Under the table, Ushijima reaches for Tooru's hand.

Makoto straightens up, her hands lying folded on the table, and finally meets Oikawa's frightened eyes.

''I know you,'' she says and there is not a thing in the world that scares Tooru more. ''You're Oikawa Tooru, you coach my niece's volleyball team. Kurosaki Risa.''

Oikawa nods, taken aback. ''She's brilliant.''

Makoto smiles half-heartedly. ''I think she's got a crush on you. There must be something about you that draws in my family.''

Tooru would have preferred a punch to the face to this. Every word digs its way under his skin, clawing at his bones, leaving scars. The guilt he feels is almost unbearable.

''Tell me, Tooru,'' she says, ''was there one moment you considered ending it for my sake?''

Tooru's instincts tell him to run, to lie, to let go of Ushijima's hand and deny everything.

''Yes,'' he admits, stubborn, ''and no. In the beginning I didn't. When I fell in love I considered it, yes.''

Tooru hears Ushijima's breath hitch. He ignores it.

''Once? Twice? As often as I considered leaving Wakatoshi?,'' Makoto asks and Tooru is not at all surprised.

He always understood Makoto as an incredibly smart woman. Ushijima, however, looks like he is in physical pain, as if slapped. Tooru hates how right now he has to be strong for the both of them and puts his hand on Ushijima's thigh in quiet reassurance, while his own rapid pulse makes him feel dizzy.

''How long have you known?,'' Ushijima asks timidly. Makoto smiles tiredly.

''Your weekend absences weren't subtle, Wakatoshi. One call and I knew you weren't on a business trip to Shanghai or at a conference in Kyoto. I could smell him on you every time you came home. I could see the guilt in your eyes, and noticed the way you evaded my touch. Granted, I didn't know for sure it was a him. That indeed was a surprise.''

''I'm sorry, Makoto,'' Ushijima almost whimpers. He's at his limits and Tooru knows if they don't leave soon, Ushijima will crumble and fall. He himself isn't much better.

''I'm not as mad as I should be,'' Makoto says and stands up, walking to the kitchen counter to heat some water. How she could possibly think of making tea at a time like this, Tooru doesn't know, it might be the businesswoman in her. ''I understand that it wasn't easy for any of us. And it won't get any easier. We have to think about how we want to proceed. Clearly, we will have a divorce and the press will notice sooner or later. I agree on making a statement regarding our separation but the rest is up to you. I know it doesn't concern me but I'm curious what you are planning on doing. You'll have my support.''

Tooru regrets every single time he ever thought he hated her. This woman knew her husband was cheating on her, and now sits in her own home with the man her husband loves, talking about how her marriage was a lie, and still she remains calm, collected, is fair and respectful. Weirdly, Tooru has the urge to hug her. Instead, he looks at Ushijima and sees the little relief spreading on his face.

''I'm coming out. We don't want our relationship to be a secret anymore.'' When he says it, he sounds sure, confident. As if no matter what might happen or what lies he has told in the past, this is the only truth.

Makoto nods. ''Talk to your PR team. Let Oikawa check in with his boss first, he could lose his job over this. Maybe it would be better if we held a conference together. Oikawa should be there, too, we have to be a unit in front of the press so that they can't make a scandal out of this. You shouldn't tell the whole truth, though. We should talk out the details after you come back from Italy.'' With that she stands up, their cups only half-empty. ''Now I'd like you to leave.''

They at least owed her that. A minute to mourn, another to lose control, and one to find back to herself.


– – –

 

They're sitting in the car, too shaken to start driving yet. Their flight is in two hours, they need forty-five minutes for the way to the airport. But right now, they're quiet. Ushijima doesn't cry but neither does he look relieved or happy. Not yet, at least. He needs time to let everything sink in, really. But Tooru is buzzing with excitement and guilt.

After they closed the door behind them and made their way to Tooru's car, Ushijima took Oikawa's hand in his. The touch was familiar, comforting, but it was the first time they were holding hands as couple. A real, open, normal couple. After next week's press conference they won't have any secrets left. No playing hide-and-seek, no hushed talks at night, not hidden away in cheap motels. They can look for apartments now. They can move in together. Get a cat and plants and a shared wardrobe. They can have photographs. Tooru can take how many pictures he likes, can print them out, frame them, put them on a wall for everyone to see. He can call his mom - he could do it right now - and tell her Mom, I am in love. He could send her a photograph of them being happy together. She could frame it and put it on her wall.

''Wakatoshi,'' Tooru says and reaches for Ushijima's face. Ushijima bows willingly, kisses Tooru tenderly, lovingly. They don't deepen the kiss, they have time for that later. They part and press their foreheads together instead.

''I love you,'' Ushijima says, every syllable swollen with honesty. They have a future.

''I love you more,'' Tooru says with a happy little smile forming on his lips. They have a future.

''I love you most,'' Ushijima says, and they could argue about it, they have before, but Tooru is distracted. For the first time ever, his and Ushijima's little exchange doesn't leave a bitter taste in his mouth.

The first war is won. The second will be tough, maybe tougher, but Tooru has tasted blood.

Chapter Text

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.

''I did.''

''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.

 

And

 

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.

''What photos?''

''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.