The sun had already set and Suna was surrounded by the distant sounds of Tokyo, summer cicadas, and people settling into their apartments for the night. For once Suna wasn't thinking about much, just focusing on the sound of his steps on concrete stairs as he returned home with groceries.
"Good evening Amasawa-san," he said to the woman standing in her doorway with a paper fan. His neighbor sent him a quick glance before turning her gaze back out into the night.
"My, isn't it hot?" she responded. Suna silently agreed as sweat collected on the back of his neck and in the crook of his elbow curled around the paper bag of groceries he was carrying. Amasawa-san was back inside her door before he could respond, which was fine by him.
Suna shuffled the rest of the way up to his front door past grey concrete stairs and walls.
"I'm home," he entered the genkan.
"Thank you Rin. Oh and you remembered to use paper instead of plastic this time. Did you get that tea that your father asked for?" his mother said while grabbing the bag and setting it on the kitchen table before Suna had even managed to remove his shoes.
"Erm, you'll have to check the bag."
"Oh, it looks like you forgot again. I'II have to buy some right after work tomorrow," she muttered to herself. Then, "you need to pay more attention when we give you errands Rintarou. What were you daydreaming again?"
Suna had been distracted by a single light that had gone dead at the end of the dairy aisle in the market. One corner of the store darker than the rest, only lit by the artificial glow displaying the milk and cream on the shelves. There had been something about that lighting... Suna decided it wasn't worth mentioning.
"I just forgot... we still have that barley tea."
"Next time, I'll write you a list," his mother insisted. There were slow footsteps from the direction of the study.
"Hey Dad. Barley tea?" Suna asked as he began to open the fridge and grab the skinny pitcher of tea.
"I guess that's alright," his father sighed. Suna grabbed two cups from a cabinet as well.
"I'll get you the good stuff later," his mother said, squeezing his shoulder before disappearing around the corner he had just come from.
"I'm heading into work a bit earlier tomorrow," his father said over his shoulder. He took the proffered cup of tea from Suna.
"Oh, will you need lunch?" his mother asked.
"That’s alright, I'll just eat out." Suna's father shifted and settled at the dining table. Suna's mother came back to continue looking through the grocery bag. "The library is finally switching over to bar codes like everyone else, so work’s going to be hectic for a bit." Suna sat across from his father.
Suna's mother finished unloading the paper bag into the cupboards and fridge. She folded the bag and stacked it on top of the others at the bottom of the pantry. With a raised eyebrow she handed the final thing that had been in the bag to Suna: an awkwardly long and short leather bound book. He quickly grabbed it and placed it in his lap.
"Seems like a hassle to change everything over now. I don't mind the cards," Suna said, running his fingers over the curved leather edges of the book with the hand not wrapped around his cup. He stood up, tucking the book under his arm.
"Don't stay up too late," Suna's father futilely said as Suna headed back to his room.
Back in his room, Suna sat at his small, cluttered desk and opened the book: a photo album. He pulled out the library card and looked at the name above his.
You've got to be kidding me.
'Miya' is all the card said. Suna knows who Miya Atsumu is. Since Suna is the school's one and only student photographer, he attends most of Inarizaki’s bigger games and some practices too. Miya is a loud-mouthed brat on the volleyball team who's even conditioned the band section to cut off for each of his serves. Whenever Suna comes around with his school-issued camera, Atsuma gets flashier than usual, just to ham it up for him.
There is no way that I share a--habit--with that jerk. He pulls out the cards from two other albums from the library and sets them next to the first. Miya... who even checks out just using their family name.
Suna tucks the cards back into their sleeves and puts the other two albums back where he had them. It still bothered him late into the night, or really the early morning, when Suna was finally crawling into his bed to sleep. Maybe he's trying to get my attention. Suna's lip curled at the thought.
"Rintarou! Get up, I'm heading out now!” Suna's mother yelled as she knocked on the bedroom door. Suna responded with a groan and rolled over in bed, pressing his face into his pillow.
"Wash the rice for tonight, okay?" Suna heard her rushing through the kitchen.
"Bye!" he shouted back in his croaky morning voice. He grabbed his phone off the nightstand and booted it up to check the time.
Oh shit, I’m supposed to photograph the baseball team today. He turned the screen off and rolled over in bed. The apartment was still once Suna's mother's footsteps had faded down the stairs.
It feels like something nice might happen today, Suna thought while pouring himself a cup of barley tea in the kitchen.
"Stay with us Sujimura!"
Suna settled down on a bench outside the fence surrounding the baseball field. The camera, now full of photos of the baseball team still practicing on the other side of the fence, rested in his lap.
How can they stand to run around in this heat.
Suna was lost in thought, fidgeting with the buttons on the Nikon FA, when Komori Motoya joined him on the bench.
"Already done shooting?" he asked Suna, pointing at the camera in his lap.
"More or less. I'll have to visit with Kousaka-sensei so I can review the photos on the computer."
"Mmm," Komori hums, falling silent and settling his gym bag on the ground next to him. Suna knows Komori is on the school volleyball team, along with his cousin. If there's anyone I could ask about Miya, it would be him. But I would also like to maintain some sense of dignity.
"Do you know what you're going to do after graduation yet?" Komori said, eyes focused on the camera in Suna's lap. Suna set it aside on the bench.
"No mom. But I do have that catalog you asked for," Suna said. He pulled his bag closer to himself and reached beside the album to pull out the glossy pages of a thin magazine.
"Oh sweet," Komori dug into his pocket to pull out a ziploc lock bag with money in it. "Sakusa'll appreciate it... is that a photo album?" Komori was looking past the catalog he had just taken and into Suna's bag.
"Huh? Uh yeah. It's from the library. I was going to look through it more later."
"Oh can I see it?"
Suna pulled out the album and handed it to Komori. He skimmed through the pages, not really reading the captions.
"Honestly I didn't know libraries carried photo books like these. I guess ours is a bit old fashioned though."
"Mhm,” Suna accepted the album back when Komori handed it to him.
"Well I should head up to practice. Thanks for the catalog! And enjoy the rest of your day!” Komori said while hoisting his bag over his shoulder and walking away.
"See you Monday," his fingers splayed over the face of the album, until he set it aside to pick up his camera again.
Suna looked down the field and saw that the shadow of a cloud was quickly passing overhead, bathing the field in sunlight and heat once again. The wall of shade was quickly approaching and before he knew it he was standing up and preparing his camera.
Having the fence dominate the shot would be too distracting. Suna climbed on to the seat and balanced on the back of the metal bench by resting his shoulder blades on the tree behind him. Point and shoot. In the photo, the entire field was cast in shadow, sunlight only reaching the batter at home plate. Suna thought of spot lights as he lowered his camera.
"Aye Suna! Are you a photographer or a gymnast!" Sujimura called from the sidelines.
Suna sent him a look while hopping back onto the ground and grabbing his bag. The Nikon balanced against his hip, now turned off again.
"You should be thanking me for making you guys actually look good for once. It's hard work making dust-covered idiots look like respectable students," Suna called back while walking alongside the fence.
As Suna was making his way home, through stone alleys overgrown with vines, the Nikon bounced against his hip bone. The album in his bag was full of urban landscape photos, but Suna was only allowed to use the Nikon for school projects. Personal photos were prohibited.
I don't need a fancy camera anyways. Those are expensive.
Instead, Sun reached into his bag for his Nokia, cell phones were also expensive of course, especially the recent 7650 model. Suna had bought it at a dirt cheap price since it barely functioned as a phone. That didn't matter to him. What mattered was that the crappy, low-grade camera in the back still worked.
Why does my bag feel so light?
Suna spun on his heel and used his long legs to power walk back to the bench he had been sitting at.
It was occupied. It was unfortunately occupied by broad shoulders and fluffy black bangs swept to the side.
Doesn't he have practice right now?
Suna walked down the stone steps and stood at the end of the bench, waiting to be noticed. Miya glanced up at him, his hair falling over his left eye.
"You have my book," Suna said. It took Miya a moment to react.
"Oh," he stood and walked around Suna, handing him the book. "Here ya go Suna."
He seems more... peaceful than usual. Kinder maybe?
"Why were you looking through it?” Suna continued the conversation against his better judgement. When Miya turned around that perpetual smirk was back on his face.
"I saw ya leave it here and thought it was a personal album. Should've known that it was actually professional work."
Spoke too soon.
"And what is that supposed to mean?"
"I gotta get going, see ya 'round Suna." Miya swiftly exited the conversation and left Suna at the bottom of the stairs. For once Suna actually had to work to keep his expression neutral.
He did not manage any blurred street photos on the way home. He was too busy shoving his hands deep into his pockets and ranting in his head.
Seriously? Did I just let him rile me up with no less than two sentences? The very idea of being bothered by another made Suna clench his teeth, and when he noticed this fact his jaw only flexed harder. By the time he got home Suna was ready to kick his own bedroom door in, which he did not do. He did, however, slam the album on to his desk without a second glance.
He's doing this on purpose.
Sunday finds Suna riding the train to get off at the station near the the library so he can deliver lunch to his dad. As he's staring out the window, last night's dinner conversation echoes in his head. With his sister finally home from college, the inevitable prodding of Suna's future plans came up. His family tried suggesting some reliable paths but... I don't really feel any inclination towards any of them. I know they trust me to figure it out but... Suna knew how to read between the lines... they're really starting to get concerned.
Suna was startled out of his thoughts by a cat hopping up and settling into a loaf one seat down from him. When Suna turned to look he couldn't help his jaw dropping. The cat was a bright orange with a black and white face; paws and a tail that looked like a paintbrush dipped in black ink.
With fur like that, he looks just like a fox.
Before Suna could even think to pull out his phone, the doors to his stop were opening and the cat was leaping from his seat. Suna ran after him, grabbing his bag as well as his father’s lunch.
I have to get a picture. They ran down the stairs, out the exit, and down the busy streets of Tokyo. Is he going towards the library?
Trapped at a crosswalk, Suna lost the cat's trail and couldn't help the sinking disappointment in his chest. He headed for the library. How do you even get a cat that looks like that? What are the odds? Is it cross breeding? He was climbing the stone steps towards the library's entrance. I should have had my phone out dammit.
Then again, by a movement out of the corner of his eye, Suna saw the cat stalking along the top of a stone wall built a ways down the hill. For a moment he contemplated the paper bag in his left hand that contained his father's lunch.
It's going to haunt me forever if I don't get that picture. Suna ran around the back of the building just as the cat disappeared from sight. He followed glimpses of orange and black fur down narrow paths and up a long alley completely overgrown with vines. I'll come back here later.
Suna bursted into a clean, neat neighborhood just to see the cat round the corner. There were green leaves and red flowers in every corner breaking up the monotony of suburban style homes.
I didn't even know this neighborhood existed. Suna stumbled at the view of the city, but kept on the cat's trail.
Is this cat leading me on? Suna began to think as a stitch formed in his side climbing the last hill. He was relieved when the cat turned into an antique shop.
Suna paused at the front entrance to catch his breath. The front of the shop was painted a brick red and the roof was curved like that of a barn house. There was a white balcony over the front door and all the windows were bracketed by dark green shutters. A simplistic design was painted in white on the store font and a plaque hung next to the front door.
Granny Kita's Antiques. Didn't a Kita graduate from Inarizaki recently?
Suna followed the cat into the store. He didn't know what to focus on first. There were heavily adorned horses from a carousel ride, glass bottles, a model ship, chests, plants, and ceramic figurines. The inside of the shop was barely cooler than the outside despite the fan being on, likely because the front door was propped open.
Suna could see dust swirling through the air in lazy circles and it made him feel such a sense of comfort that he wanted to nap in one of the arm chairs by the fire.
I'd run out of film before I could even hope to photograph everything in this store. Suna's hands burned for the Nikon he wasn't allowed to use.
"Oh, hello there," Suna pretended not to jump when the face of a kind, elderly woman peeked over a desk across the room.
"Good afternoon... Kita-san?” Suna responded.
"Yes that's me, such nice manners. Feel free to look around," Kita-san says as she leaves the desk with something held in her fist. She grabs a wooden step ladder and crosses the room to set it in front of a tall grandfather clock. The steps creak as she climbs up to open the glass panel in front of the face of the clock and Suna notices the thing in her fist seems to be shiny and colorful. The step ladder wobbles and he sets down the bagged lunch to rush over and steady it.
"Oh thank you. Usually my grandson is around so I appreciate the help." He could be the recent graduate. I can't remember... Was he on the volleyball team too?
Suna is distracted from his thoughts when Kita-San opens her palm to show him what she had in the curl of her fist. It was a brass winding key for the dock as well as an enamel piece of a bearded man's side profile.
"Let's see if this does something, yes?" Kita-san said as she flipped the key between her fingers to insert it into the clock face. Suna listened to the mechanical clicks as she twisted the metal key. When she finished she closed the glass panel and waited as the minute hand, already set seconds before noon, ticked into place.
A reedy tune began to play and a compartment in the lower body opened revealing wooden dwarves mining for gems in stiff motions.
"Look back up here dear." Suna glanced back up above the clock face to see the ceramic fox get replaced by an intricate fairy. "My, so tall," she commented as he straightened his posture.
A man's face appeared in a small window of the clock, focused on the girl above.
"Are they in love?" Suna found himself asking.
"Yes, but they are separated by a curse. The fairy is a princess who lives life in the body of a fox, and can only return to her original form at midnight." She moved her finger from the fairy to the man. "This is the king of the dwarves, who is enamored with her. He watches for each night as she reveals herself. He waits forever for the fairy, but it seems with the way that the clock is set their love will never be fulfilled."
"That must be why they look so sad.” They watched as the clock returned to normal and the minute hand ticked to 12:01. "I'm not sure you could take a picture of something like this," Suna said out loud without meaning to.
"Oh are you a photographer?"
"No... nothing like that," Suna said as he stepped back from the clock. "Wait, is the time on this clock correct?" he asked in alarm.
"I'm afraid it's about ten minutes slow."
"Shi-I have to get to my father at the library, I have his lunch," Suna helped Kita-San dismount the ladder and then started toward the front door. "Is it...alright if I come by again later?" Suna paused at the doorway and asked.
"Of course” Kita-san’s face bunched up into a smile. “Go left!"
Suna raced down the hill with the bag of albums he'd been dragging around with him. He'd never really been one for running but right now his feet feel lighter than air. He fought a smile as he saw the city view again, placing imaginary lines and frames as he went.
He climbed the stone stairs again until he heard a voice call "Suna!" He turned to see Miya on a bike with his paper-bag lunch in hand.
"This yer's isn't it?" Suna walked down the stairs as leisurely as he could manage while in a rush and took the bag from him. His hair must have been a mess from running up and down hills all day and he suppressed the urge to run his fingers through it. "I didn't peg ya as the forgetful type."
So he has been paying attention to me.
"How did you get this?"
"Take a wild guess," Miya said as he pulled away on his bike. The fox-like cat sat on the back rack watching Suna.
"That cat... is it yours?" Suna called after him. Miya curved his bike around in a u-turn to go back the way he came.
"Not even'a thanks" Miya says. "M' not sure if what you're holding is meant to be lunch or abstract art. It's a mess!" he called back louder as he disappeared around the corner.
I didn't even get a photo of the cat. Suna fumed as he climbed back up the stairs, his good mood ruined. He walked between the shelves to find his father.
"Ah Rintarou, you brought my lunch... why the long face?"
The misfortune of being raised by people is that no matter what they can read you.
"It's nothing, bad day."
"Are you checking out some more albums while you're here?"
"And returning the ones I have."
"Did you eat before you came?"
"I'll grab something on the way back. I had a late breakfast."
"Alright, thanks for the food."
Suna made a beeline for the section where they kept photo albums and grabbed enough books to stack in his arms until he could comfortably tuck them under his chin. He carried his hoard to an empty seat and began checking library cards.
More than half of them said Miya on the most recent check out lines. Whatever face Suna was currently making made the people at his table adjust their seats further from him.
I'm going to make him regret ever looking in my direction the next time he talks to me.
A storm rolled in over the hills and mountains as Suna walked home.
It was raining on the way to school Monday as Komori came jogging up behind Suna. His smile is bright as ever beneath his horrific neon yellow umbrella. Suna knew he had decent fashion sense, so that umbrella must exist for the sole purpose of handing out headaches.
"Suna!" he called as he slowed down to walk next to him. "You're going to be in Kousaka-sensei's room for lunch right?"
"Yeah, I have to do a final review of the school photos before I send them off to the administration faculty for good."
"Awesome, I'll be there too," Komori smiled. But he doesn't walk ahead like Suna expected. "You're really into photography aren't you Suna."
"I guess you could say that. Taking pictures is a habit I inherited from my older sister. Blackmail and all that."
"Mhm. Suna Rintarou: black mail extraordinaire. The guy who knows the D-L on everybody worth knowing."
"Speaking of intel..." Suna hesitated. Komori had been Suna's gossip buddy for a while now. They exchanged information all the time, but Suna also knew it ran both ways. It was likely that anything he asked would get spread by Komori himself.
Oh how the mighty fall.
"I wanted to ask what you know about Miya Atsumu."
"Miya Atsuma? You mean our setter?" Komori asked with a raised eyebrow and a laugh building in the corners of his smile. "Why would you want to know about someone like him?"
It is man's destiny to live life burdened by regret. They had arrived at the front entrance of the school.
"Ah, you know what I should get to class. Forget I asked anything. See you later."
"See ya!" Komori said with a wide weasel grin. Suna would need to prepare his poker face before lunch.
The minute Suna entered Kousaka-sensei's office, he knew he was in for it. Everyone sported their own signature shit-eating grin.
This is the first piece of dirt they've had on me in a while’; I suppose it's karma isn't it.
"Sooooo, Suna. Komori here tells us that you were inquiring after one Miya Atsumu," Sujimura starts.
"Did you seriously fall for the jerkiest jock on campus?" Seiji asked with a raised eyebrow, Sujimura responded with a mock offended 'hey'!
"I am no—you're all jumping to conclusions. I asked about Atsumu because he's been insulting me every opportunity he gets." They burst into laughter. "I'm serious! First he has the nerve to act the way he does every time I come around to take pictures." They laugh harder at that as Suna went to plug the camera in and boot up the computer in the corner of the room. "But now he's pestering me outside of school."
"Oho? Someone finally managed to get under the great unbothered Suna Rintarou's skin? You guys are perfect for each other," Seiji said.
"Finally! After years of watching the great setter through a camera lens, Suna Rintarou finally fell for the man in frame!" Sujimura added.
"It's love!" they proclaimed in unison. Suna felt his eye twitch.
"So do you guys want to see these photos or not?" Suna asked in hopes of derailing the conversation. It worked as they all rushed over to hover over his shoulders and watch him flip through the photos and point out his favorite bits.
There is no remorse in the way Komori smirks around the straw stuck in his juice box, but even he seems to be intently focused on Suna's photos.
After school, Suna was drawn back to the antique shop. He had informally promised Kita-San that he would be back and there was a chance that he would run into that cat again. But when he arrived at the shop the doors were closed, the white lace curtains drawn, and the lights off. Plus, a 'closed' sign sat in the window.
I hope Kita-San is doing alright. Suna found a gap in the curtains to squint around inside the shop. It looks beautiful, even when the lights are off.
Suna startled at the squeal of a bike tire, but turned around only to see a woman in a sun hat passing by. There was no cat in sight.
Suna glanced left and started again when a boy around his age turned the corner and started heading right for him. There was something unsettling in his black and white hair and wide-eyed stare. Not that Suna can really talk when it comes to bizarre eyes. The boy looks to be around his age.
"Can I help you with anything?" he asks.
"Uh, I just wanted to have another look around the shop. I came here yesterday and met Kita-san, the woman who runs the shop."
"I’m her grandson, you can just call me Kita".
"We're closed today, but yer welcome to come back tomorrow."
"I will, thank you," Suna said before nodding his head and taking his leave.
He wandered around the neighborhood, taking photos on his Nokia 7650's camera. Nothing turned out right.
Back when Suna had been in middle school, and his sister was still a third year, she won a J-SH04 cell phone, the first phone camera. Why the hell a school gave out a cell phone as a book reading prize, Suna doesn't know. Suna doesn't even know why they would hold a reading contest for a bunch of near graduates.
Since his sister had no friends with phone numbers to message, the only usable feature was the camera. She absolutely abused her power and created a vast collection of blurry embarrassing photos of her friends.
Suna was taught the wonderful ways of visual blackmail from then on. When Suna found the used Nokia 7650 his first year, she gave him stacks of her childhood fantasy novels to sell so he could buy it. The camera had been the only reliably functional feature when he bought it, but that's all that mattered to Suna anyways.
Now though, the muddled colors and blurred frame were a hindrance to Suna. Theoretically, I could invest in a camera but... I haven't really let on how often I take photos with my phone to anyone close to me. I'm not sure if it's something really worth investing in. Knowing me, I could lose steam fairly quickly. Then it would just be a waste of time and money.
The next day when Suna was finally able to make the long pilgrimage up concrete steps and hills to the antique shop, it was much later in the evening. So maybe Suna shouldn't have felt surprised when he again encountered the closed sign in the front window.
He then debated whether or not to just head home or travel a bit through the city, when the cat suddenly made a reappearance. It sat next to the plant in a barrel pot at the front door and tucked it's limbs beneath itself, resting its head on its black paws.
Suna pulled out his phone and took a photo. Then he sat next to the cat, who didn't flinch, and observed the results. Hand in one pocket, back against the wall, and knees bent before him, he studied. It was a shitty picture,
This is a shitty picture. It’s grainy and the colors are way off. The corners of the image are smudged like a bad computer effect.
"The phone doesn't really cut it anymore, does it cat?" Suna said out loud. He reached over and scratched the cat between the ears. He did not notice Miya climbing the hill on his bike. Just as Miya did not notice Suna until he had rolled to a stop beside the store.
"Suna Rintarou.” Miya stood in front of where Suna was sitting on the ground. This must be great for his ego, me looking up at him. “I'm surprised Shobo let's ya pet him. You don't like anyone, do ya Shobo?" Miya says after the cat as it walks away,
"His name is Shobo?"
"Uh, yeah. It's a joke between me n’ my brother."
They called their cat lame.
"I've heard him called a few other names though," Miya says.
"You mean he isn't yours?"
"Nope, he just wanders ’round the neighborhood begging off all these houses."
"That must have been why I saw him on the train the other day."
"He was riding the train?" Miya finally dropped his neutral expression to look shocked.
"Yeah. He sat right next to me and got off at my stop. I followed him all the way up here because I had kind of wanted to take a photo..." here Suna slipped his phone back into his pants pocket, an action that was not unnoticed by Miya. "It was almost like he lead me here,"
“Yeah, there's a lot to see in the Kitas' store.” They both watched Shobe walk away and hop a neighbors gate. “I've always wanted ta ask ya..."
"Why do you always take photos with yer phone? Don'tcha have a better camera?"
"You mean the school camera? I'm only allowed to photograph approved events with that, and I'm done for the year. They're getting a professional to handle graduation."
"So you're telling me that you don't have a camera of your own?"
"Why would I?" Suna was going on the defensive.
"I mean it's obvious that ya like taking pictures. Are you really trying ta say ya don't wanna camera of your own?"
"I don't care about photography that much," Suna grumbled.
"Obviously ya do! Ya even called it photography!" There was something weirdly earnest about the way Miya was speaking to him now. Suna had never been addressed like this before. He had never seen Atsumu act like this on or off the court.
There was an awkward silence after Miya’s outburst.
"So I-" "Do you-" They both paused. They were both sporting pink cheeks and neither were attempting eye contact.
"Are the Kitas doing alright? This is the second day I've come to a closed store, but I met the grandson yesterday."
"Oh yeah they're doing more than fine. I think they're on a grocery run right now."
"Ah, I had wanted to take another look inside but,"
"With that phone camera?"
Suna shot Miya an exasperated look but he was already heading around the corner of the building.
"I have access to the back entrance. I can let'cha into the shop that way."
Suna followed Miya but stopped at the top of stairs that lead down to the back entrance. From up here he could see the rooftops of hundreds of houses. If he jumped forward he wasn’t sure if he would fall or if he would fly.
"This way," Miya said, grabbing Suna's attention. There was a smile much softer than his usual smirk on his lips. Suna followed him down the stairs and on to the sheltered balcony. "The view from here is especially nice at this time of day. Come on."
Miya lead Suna through what seemed to be a darkened workshop and up another wooden flight of stairs.
"You can 'look' around here as long as ya like. I'II be working down below," Miya said as they entered the same antique shop Suna remembered from days ago. He headed straight back downstairs leaving Suna to his own devices.
Suna tried taking photos with the Nokia, but the quality still bothered him. No matter how flat he lowered his torso to the ground or how awkwardly he balanced on bent knees, nothing ever turned out right. He twisted and danced anyways and was glad that Miya wasn't around to see any of it.
There are so many interesting shots here, but I just can't capture them. It would almost be a shame if I tried. Suna sat at a round, wooden table with a white lace table cloth and basked in the relative silence. He watched the room turn from gold to blue as the sun set outside. He felt more than a little lost.
Then the smell of cooking food came drifting up the stairs.
Suna came downstairs to find the previously dark workshop bathed in yellow light and the warm smell of rice in the air. Miya was standing at a stone countertop in the corner with his sleeves rolled up, forming rice into perfect, round triangles.
He can cook? Miya Atsumu can cook? And it smells amazing? I really should have had dinner before coming here.
Miya was broken from his intense concentration when he noticed Suna behind him. He'd been staring. Miya must notice how he was looking at the food because he offered some to Suna,
"I could just head home now. It’s late."
“Ah, come on. I'II give ya some fresh made onigiri if you let me peak at the photos ya just took," Miya says as he wiped his hands on a towel.
It does smell really freaking good. Suna took a seat on the stool across the table from Miya and handed him his phone, already open to the first picture as he received a plate of fresh food. He meant to watch Miya's reactions to the photos but was quickly distracted by how good the food was. When he looked back up at Miya, he was already setting the phone down on the table and returning to his work. He tried to not let it bother him.
"This food is amazing. I'm convinced you've added something a little extra to it."
"Oh, anyone could make food of this caliber. Even my brother. I'm not nearly good enough.” Miya was no longer looking at Suna as he said the last part. Huh, that’s some heavy self deprecation for someone who could probably out cook most of the graduating class.
By the time Suna was sinking his teeth into his second, warm onigiri with an equally warm, rare smile, the Kitas were returning home with two bags of rice and some other groceries.
"It seems that those other suppliers won't be returning to the fresh market. We'll have to switch over to a different brand of rice. Oh, hello Suna."
"Evening Kita. Kita-san."
"Really?" Miya said. "But the stuff they had was so good. And more locally sourced, I hope their farm is doing okay."
"Mmm, I thought the same."
"Oh, I'm happy to see that you two have met, Osamu," Kita-san said as she placed the groceries on the counter.
"Osamu?" Suna turned to Miya.
"Isn't your name Atsumu?"
"You mean my brother,” Miya's eyes widened in alarm. Suna was more confused. "My twin brother?!" his voice raised an octave.
"Did you-did you seriously think I was Atsumu this whole time!?" Osamu looked beyond horrified at the thought.
"Are you telling me there have been two Miyas this whole time?"
"This is the worst day of my life."
“Wait, which one of you has been in my class all year?"
Suna had witnessed a Miya Atsumu temper tantrum before, so he recognized the absolute rage and embarrassment building on Osamu's face at this moment. Well the family resemblance is just uncanny.
"God, now I know why he was bitchin ‘bout hair dye a while back!' Osama muttered as he buried his red face in his hands, which he hadn't wiped off since touching his food. Osamu slowly disappeared past the counter as he sank to the floor. "Yer killin’ me Suna."
The Kita's watched the whole ordeal play out with their heads turning back and forth and fox eyes wide. Suna quickly finished his food. Osamu kicked the cabinets hard enough to rattle the kitchenware on the countertop. The Kitas chuckled, then kicked the pair out for the night.
It was as they were walking to Suna's that Osama explained that the Kitas allow him to use their basement kitchen for practicing his culinary skills in exchange for well-cooked meals.
"Your food really is good. You're not at all professionally taught?"
"I'm not," Osamu said as he gripped the handlebars of the bike he was rolling between them. "Everything I've properly learned has been from my mother, Granny Kita, and cookbooks. The rest is trial, error, and experimentation."
He’s way better at cooking than your average high schooler. He’s clearly passionate about it, I wonder if it’s what he wants to study. As much as I hate this question, I really am curious...
"Are you going to study at a culinary school after graduation?"
"Yeah, but not locally. The best place to go is this university school in Italy."
"Traveling that far? What about your brother?"
"He wants to go pro with the volleyball thing so he'd be staying 'round here. Our parents are really unsure ‘bout us takin' such unconventional paths."
"Yeah, I could see that..." Suna trailed off. I'm not—he's already kind of mentioned it—but it's a bit—well... "You're lucky you already know what you want to do. I'm weeks away from graduation and I still don't have a clue..."
"I may know what I wanna do, but I don't know if I'II get to do it. I fight with my parents about it every day. And even if I do make it ta' Italy, there isn't any guarantee I'll be any good when I get there. I'll just haf’ta try my best."
Could I ever even think of doing that? Looking into the face of uncertainty and baring my teeth right back? Suna stops them at a street corner. The sky was a deep clear blue as the light pollution from the city blocked out the stars above. The street lights cast a soft white glow along bushes, trees, and the sidewalks. There was the noise of night bugs and cars passing in the distance where they stood, but otherwise they were alone. A strange feeling latches on to Suna’s heart, like a sense of nostalgia for the now. Will Osamu remember this moment for as long as I will?
"I can walk the rest of the way."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, I'm just around the corner."
"Alright, see ya in class," Osama mounted his bike as Suna turned to walk away. He only got a few steps before Osamu was calling again, "Oh, Suna?"
"I really did like the photos you took of the shop, even if they were kinda shit. You should get yourself a better camera. It's not a waste of time.”
Presumptuous. But I guess I get the significance of something like that coming from Osamu now.
"I'Il think about it...thanks,” Suna responded.
He didn't hear Osamu pull away on his bike until he had rounded the corner.
Suna was laying on his back, arms folded behind his head, already in bed with his sleep clothes on. The lamp at his desk was still on and it was too hot to be under his covers. He had been resting with his eyes closed until his sister entered the room.
"Are you actually going to bed at a decent time? Do I need to take a photo to document this moment?"
"I'm thinking, shoosh." His sister sat on his desk chair, turning it to face him.
"Don't hurt yourself," she said. What she really meant was ‘spill’.
Suna shifted slightly to get more comfortable, but still looked at his sister when he asked, "When did you know what to do with your life?"
She laughed. "Well when I went off to college, I still wasn't really sure. That's why I went where I went, to find out. I guess all those literature classes ended up being hint enough."
Suna clearly wasn't satisfied, so she continued, "In the end, it was about what made me content, not happy. What could I see myself doing for the rest of my life without coming to hate it? Then it was just a matter of studying the right stuff to get there."
Suna couldn't really find a response to that.
"Did that help?" she asked.
"I'II have to think about it more I guess."
"Alright," she said as she stood up. "why not give your poor body a little break and sleep early tonight." The clock read 11:32 pm. "Good luck little Rin," she reached over and ruffled his hair in the way that she knew he despised. It was thick enough to stick up any way that it was manipulated, and his sister always used that against him.
She turned off the desk light and shut the door on her way out. Finding something that I care enough about to follow through with... Suna watched the ceiling fan in his room spin.
Suna was running late to school the next day, and was lucky to slip into the first study period unnoticed by teachers. He learned that the hot topic amongst students that morning was that Miya Atsumu had impulsively dyed his hair a near-white blonde last night. Suna glanced over and the Miya sitting two rows away from him still had natural black hair.
I can't believe I didn't know all this time. How did something as noticeable as a pair of obnoxious twins slip past my radar? Osama offered him a small smile before the teacher stood at the front to finally take roll. He bounced his leg beneath his desk.
Classes passed, and when the break period began Suna's friends, including Komori, arrived with their lunches to chat. Osamu walked up to Suna and asked, "Hey could I talk to ya for a moment?"
Suna was very, very aware that all his friends had begun mentally recording this conversation. This is not happening right now. "It's about Italy,” Osamu says.
"Yeah, come with me." Suna stood and abandoned his lunch at his desk to walk out of the classroom. Osamu dutifully followed. Suna heard his friends break into excited whispers the moment they thought they were out of hearing range.
“Where are we going?"
"To the roof." It was still raining when they got there, so they kept under the overhang sheltering the door.
"So?" Suna prompts Osamu.
"My parents finally agreed to let me go to Italy, but there is a catch."
"Seems like a lot happened at the Miya house last night. What's the catch?"
"I have to study with a chef that teaches at the university I was looking at. Apparently my parents knew someone who knew someone, but they didn't wanna tell me until they were sure. It'll be kinda like an apprenticeship, but I've got two months to prove myself. If he decides I don't have potential, he'II send me back home and I'II hafta figure somethin' else out." Osama fiddled with his pockets as he rambled.
He's nervous... no, terrified.
I've heard this guy is really tough on the kids he teaches, and this is the only shot my parents are giving me. It’s the best opportunity I have, so I'm going."
"When?" Suna asks.
"The day after graduation."
"Wow that soon, huh? Well I'm happy for you. It sounds like you're finally getting what you want, taking steps towards your dream."
And what am I doing? Suna turned his face away.
"Would you—" "So—" They look at each other, then away again, in unison. Awkward.
"Hey, it stopped raining," Osamu said as the sun began to peak out from behind the clouds.
"Oh, look at that view," Suna stepped out from beneath the awning and headed towards the railing. There were still a few stray drops from the sky landing on his head and shoulders. He felt one hit his cheek.
"Look at that," Osama pointed towards the clear bright sunbeams breaking through the clouds over the city.
"I'm sure you'll get to see some amazing views in Italy. I'm almost jealous."
"The city itself is pretty old. I'm sure there's a lot to look at. maybe I'll take some photos, just for you," Osama teased with a sideways glance.
"I'II be sure to write back detailed critiques of your technique then," Suna teased back. I hope at least that wasn't too obvious.
"And will you send me photos?"
Suna felt the weight of many other questions behind that one. Will you finally do it? Will you get a real camera and take the pictures you really want to? Will you allow yourself what we both know you want? Will you take steps towards your dream as I do? Can you?
"You're doing so much more than me. You’ve been working so hard to get what you want for such a long time." Suna took a breath, and spoke, "Isn't it too late for me?"
Will you do all that with me? Walk forward with me?
I don't know. Can I even catch up? It seems like so much work.
They watched the city. They did not hear the footsteps climbing the stairs behind them.
"Ya know, I've been watchin ya for a long time Suna, I first spotted ya reading one of those photo albums in the library. I didn't even know they kept photo albums in the library."
Suna turned to look Osamu in the eyes. His gaze was steady.
"I must have walked past ya hundreds of times in the library, the halls, your desk in class, but you never even noticed me, didya? I even sat in the chair right across from you at the library, and you didn't even glance up." Osamu's cheeks were turning slightly pink, and Suna was sure his ears weren't fairing any better.
"In my defense, I was probably half asleep in most of those situations, and thought you were your brother in the others." Osamu groaned at that.
"That’s why you wouldn’t give me the time of day. I started checking out half the gallery section just ta get my name on the checkout cards before you. That worked didn't it?"
"But you never signed your first name."
"I was a little timid."
"You made me think I had something in common with Atsumu of all people." Osamu's face turned redder and he broke eye contact to let out an embarrassed chuckle.
"But now I have to take off and go to Italy. That's some pretty lousy timing don‘tcha think?"
These twins are as identical in passion as they are looks, if about different things. They give it their all, steadfast and aggressive. Hungry and focused. Simple as single-celled organisms: single-minded.
But Osamu's purposefully the quieter of the two. He's still a jerk but he prefers control and discretion.
How did he recognize all of that in me so easily? Out of all the people I know? We're similar I suppose. He's just better at it.
"Lousy indeed. But we still have a month don't we?" Suna responded.
"Yeah, but you've got a lot to do before graduation," Osamu smiled.
"I suppose I do."
Neither heard the shutter click behind them.
It had been some days later when Suna was knocking at Komori's front door. His mother was the one who answered, and greeted him with a, "Suna-Kun, how nice to see you."
"Would you two like some tea and cookies?"
"That would be great mom!" Komori said, meeting Suna at the bottom of the stairs.
They sat at the low table near the center of Komori's room, books, papers, and cookies strewn before them. Suna has a pillow in his lap and his hands around a warm cup of tea. They weren’t really studying for finals at this point.
"So what is it you really wanted to talk about?"
Komori knew that Osamu and Suna had been hanging out these past few days. Suna had been the one to suggest tonight's study session, and Komori had readily agreed. Of course he knew something was up.
"He'll be gone for two months right after graduation, and if everything goes well, he'll stay there to study. For ten years." Suna tried his hardest to not sound like he was complaining.
"You guys probably won't see each other much well into your twenties then."
Suna pressed his elbows harder into the pillow until he could feel the points of pressure in his thighs.
"But you two work so well together. I'm sure you can figure something out." Suna prepared to drag the words out of himself.
"How can you say that with such certainty? We've barely started talking to each other and he's—he's so much better than me!" Komori’s round little eyebrows shot up as far as they could go. "He's been working hard to develop himself for years now. What have I been doing other than slinking around taking tunnel-vision pictures on my phone?"
“Suna...I never thought I'd hear you get so down on yourself. He said he liked you, don't you believe him?"
"I do but- "
"You guys can work with the distance, making calls or writing letters. You could be encouraging each other."
"How would someone like me encourage someone like him?" The room was quiet and it was getting late.
"That's it then right?" Komori asked. "Just because you haven't decided on what you want to study, you don't think you're good enough. Suna, just because you feel a little lost doesn't mean you can't fall in love." Suna sighed and set his half empty tea down. He interlocked his fingers on top of the pillow in his lap.
"I heard the coach talking with someone from the administration and they said they loved your photos," Komori continued, "especially the ones of the team. They're going to use them to advertise the school online, and they were even talking about making posters for the volleyball team. Everyone around the school thinks you're some cool, mysterious photographer because they’ve seen the lengths that you'II go to for any photo when you have that camera in hand."
"Well I don't have that camera any more."
Komori stands up so suddenly that Suna startles. He crosses the room and picks up a cloth case from his wardrobe. He returns to the table, and pushes Suna's books and tea aside to set it in front of him.
It’s a camera case, Suna knows almost immediately. There's even a strap for hanging it over your shoulders. He sets the pillow to the side.
"You already have everything Suna."
"Komori I- "
"You haven't even opened it. That thing's retro and it's been collecting dust in our storage forever now. I already got permission from my parents to give it to someone who can get some use out of it.
Suna carefully opens it to pull out the old camera, Leica M5 he reads at the engraving. He doesn't know nearly enough about camera models for that to mean anything to him.
“I know it's old but it'll function. I've tested it out once already, you'II find the photo on there. I've been meaning to give it to you for some time, but just didn't find the right opening. So please, use it?”'
"Why?" Why me of all people.
"You're the first person I thought of when I found it."
"Okay..." Suna studied the camera more. Began to familiarize himself with the shape and buttons and compartments, even if he didn't know what they did. It's nice I guess. He tried to suppress his elation. Who am I kidding. I think I might just fall in love with this camera instead. Or better yet...
"You know, maybe I should just start dating you instead, giving me such fine gifts."
Komori dropped the serious mood and laughed hard at that one. "There he is! And I think you know I value my life. I don 't want to find out what the twins would do to me if something like that happened."
Suna was smiling as well. Osamu doesn't think he's good enough either, huh. so he was testing himself. He has two months to prove himself after graduation. I've got one month before.
Suna stood up and said, "I think I've got an idea of what I'm going to do."
"Thanks for the tea and food. And everything else of course. I owe you."
"Careful saying stuff like that. But what are you going to do?”
"First, I need to build a portfolio."
"Go get 'em tiger," Komori grinned wide. He walked Suna to the front gate, who hurriedly said goodbye to Komori’s parents, and watched as Suna walked down the street until he disappeared over a hill.
When Suna was finally able to see the picture Komori had already taken on the camera it was the only on the film roll: a shot of him and Osamu leaning against
the rooftop railing overlooking a city bathed in water and fresh sunbeams. Their backs were to the camera, but from the angle they had both turned their heads it was easy to see they were smiling at each other.
Suna made two copies of that photo.
The next day happened to be a Saturday so Suna set out at noon. The antique shop was open, and Kita's grandmother was occupying the arm chair next to the unlit fireplace.
The air conditioning was working better with the closed doors today.
"My little old shop inspires you? With how cluttered it is?"
"The stuff you have here is beautiful Kita-San," Suna insisted, "but since they're your things I wanted your permission to photograph them first. I'll be using these pictures for my portfolio."
"Oh, well that's just fine by me. But promise me this first."
"I'd like to be the first to see your portfolio once you have it completed."
"Really? I'm not sure how good it will be, since I'm just a beginner."
"No one expects perfection when one first starts out. Do you know how many inedible meals Osamu had to offer up when he was younger?"
"I guess you're right. Thank you Kita-San. Your kindness means a lot to me."
"I'm happy then dear. I look forward to seeing what you can do."
Next he was headed towards the library. There were so many things that suna didn’t know. He needed to do research. They should have some books on lighting-and angling techniques, I'm sure I've seen them. I just avoided them because they didn't have many pictures.
Suna was near speed walking down the hill, head down as he thought. I need to learn more about my camera too. What kind of film and care it needs. I don't even know what the hell a Leica is.
His slouch was terrible as always as he climbed the front steps. Then I'II need to find places to apply. No use in having a portfolio if you have no where to send it. They may have some tips on developing one too.
When Suna finally sat at the library table he had half a shelf worth of books sitting with him. He got a little more than halfway through when someone sat across from him.
For the first time in history, Suna Rintarou noticed Miya Osamu sitting across from him. Osamu smiled as he looked up from the book he also had in his hands.
"Granny Kita said you'd be down here still. Thought I'd say hi. Thanks for noticing." Osamu teases as he places his thumb in the fold of his book. Suna kicked him under the table. "Ow!"
"That's for being a little shit," Suna says. That just made Osamu grin harder.
"Go on, you can keep working. I'll wait." Osamu opened his book and turned his infuriating smile back towards the pages. Suna fought his own smile as he looked back down at his notes.
They sat there for two more hours, both working silently. By the time they exited the library and stood at the bottom of the steps it was already getting dark out.
"Man if we only dedicated our time like that to our studies," Osamu says, "finals are in a week."
"Don't remind me, everyone else already has."
"We could... study together?"
"And would we get anything done?"
"I'll try my best not to be too distracting," Osamu winked.
"Har har. You Miyas are so full of yourselves.”
"Do not compare- "
"But yes, I would like to try studying together."
Anything to spend time together. Anything before you go.
Finals week passes in a blur of exams, photo albums, rolls of film, and stress. At one point, Suna cuts himself on the Leica—somehow—and he'd been more concerned with getting blood on his camera than the fact that he was bleeding. He sports the healing wound of a new scar on his left thumb to prove it.
Suna wasn’t sure he could have gotten through it all without the steady presence of Osamu's shoulder to serve as his napping pillow during breaks. But finals week ended and eventually, so did school.
He's grateful for graduation too. There are arms around him at every opportunity as he and his friends cheer for their survival. Relief and joy are in the air and it is easy to forget the separation soon to come and get lost in the celebration.
If any one noticed Suna and Osamu missing their second buttons, they said nothing of it.
"Anything else I can take with me?” Osamu asks, leaning in.
Suna pushes him away by his face and hands him two photos. The one from the rooftop and another from one of their many study sessions.
Suna's parents are skeptical of Suna's pursuit in photography. His sister had to sit the family down at the dinner table so they could finally discuss everything.
"I've seen you working hard in the library these past weeks," his father starts, "and I've frankly never seen you so invested in taking notes. Whatever you're working towards is important to you, and I truly respect that."
"You've been running around the city doing God knows what, but I've never seen you so... so passionate about something before. We want you to follow your dream, but we also want you to be careful."
"Rintarou, it's never easy when you do things differently from everyone. With what you're doing we want you to keep working hard, always. This is not something you can slack off on."
"I understand,” Suna said. He knew his parents weren't wrong to be skeptical of him.
I can't allow myself to lose steam. Not with this. Even when the end is in sight I have to push forward.
"We should all head off to bed now I think," his sister spoke up. Before Suna closed his door she stopped him to say, "Mom and Dad are happy to see you care so much about something. I am too. I've seen this photography thing developing from its roots. I know you're afraid that you won't be able to go all the way but remember that you've stuck with it for this long. I think your chances are pretty decent."
Suna's sister gave him a rare, wide smile, their shared thin eyes narrowing even further. He smiled back, softer.
Suna is at the top of a mountain overlooking the city, but there is a mist so heavy that only the vague shadow of roofs and skyscrapers are discernable. Up here there is a wind that is brisk and wet, like a drizzle that blows in sideways.
A Fox leaps out from behind Suna and starts racing down the mountain. Suna chases after it. He has to be careful to dodge around trees as he goes down but the fox is running faster and faster so he has to go faster to keep up but as he speeds up he loses control and suddenly he is hurtling down the hill barely keeping on his feet and swinging his arms wildly to keep his balance as he narrowly avoids trees but the leaves on the ground are slick with rain and his feet start to slide and he is only going faster and faster and faster and finally his foot slides back and out from under him and he pitches forward top heavy his torso slams into the railing of a rooftop and his momentum pitches him over head first and Suna feels his stomach drop to his feet and-
Then he woke up.
He wasin bed and his face and neck were dewy with sweat, not mist, and the room was warm, not cold.
Suna crawled away from the covers tangled around his legs and lay in the center of his bedroom floor. He pressed his cheek into the tatami mats and breathed.
Finally, Suna arrived at the shop with a thick paper envelope full of glossy photos. He has a second copy of them all at home, blown up to paper sized proportions each stored in a pocket of his brand new portfolio. This smaller stack he had printed for himself to show people.
He slowly opened the door and stepped inside. Kita's grandmother was sitting in one of the armchairs, but rose when she noticed him.
"Oh, Suna-kun," she said. "Come in, come in."
"My photos were finally completed today. Nobody else has seen them but me of course."
"Oh, you should be so proud," she grabbed the envelope from Suna.
"You'll be the first to see them, just as promised," Suna noticed Kita climbing up from the basement, drawn by the noise.
"Come sit by the fireplace dear, while I take a look through these."
"Actually if you don't mind, I think I'll just go downstairs while you look. I'd rather not watch your reactions. Kita, you can look as well," he said to both of them.
"That’ll be fine, go ahead." Suna headed down the wooden stairs.
The kitchen seemed much emptier than it was when Osamu was here. The counter they had sat at was bare now. Suna headed outside.
It is Kita who stepped out to get him.
"We finished looking through yer photos. Gran really liked 'em, and I thought they were lovely as well."
"Lovely... they weren't at all lovely," Suna stood from where he had folded himself up in front of the view. How can he try to say that with such a straight face. "They look like stock photos you could find on every 10¢ postcard. There's hardly anything original about them! They're completely amateur as well. I bet anyone could look at them and tell that I've never used that camera before!
"Yeah, they are a bit rough and inexperienced," oh thanks, "but it's clear that’cha have talent." oh... thanks. "Isn 't that the purpose of this portfolio? Ta prove to these schools that ya have a good eye. Ya are an amateur, they’re the ones that’re supposed ta give ya experience. Yer technical skills'II improve once ya start studyin’.”
"Now come inside and let my Gran fawn over and feed ya. Ya deserve it after workin’ so hard."
Inside, Granny Kita put out three bowls of warm Udon. She told Suna how much she loved the pictures and that she thought he really was gifted. Kita complimented him on his hard work, again. Half way through the bowl Suna was already smiling and talking like normal.
"Osamu went through the same self doubts when he first started takin’ cookin’ seriously," Granny Kita told Suna.
"Once, he even burnt onions," Kita added.
"The first time Osamu had ta toss a bad meal, he was a lot more upset than you are. It took four batches of noodles to calm ‘im down."
This made Suna smile. I can certainly see how that played out. He'd eat three on a good day.
Suna thanked them for the meal and bid them farewell just as the sun had begun to set. As Suna stepped outside the shop he found Shobo lying on the front porch, stretched out in a graceful sprawl, looking golden in the sunlight.
I never did get that photo. Suna retrieved the Leica from his bag and set up to take a shot. He crouched low to the ground and centered Shobo in the frame. With eyes closed and face lifted, Shobo was the picture of a smiling fox. That will be a nice gem for my portfolio.
Suna tucked the camera away and headed home.
Suna had managed to go to sleep earlier than twelve for once, but this did not last since he woke up before the sun had started to rise. Suna rolled out of bed and opened the window to see only the first light of dawn touching the sky. Now there’s something I don't see often, stupid circadian rhythms.
Suna looked down at the street below to see Osamu sitting beneath his window, on his bike. Suna blinked and rubbed an eye. Am I dreaming? Osamu waved and then pointed towards the building exit.
Suna ducked back inside and then got dressed as quickly as he could. He rushed down the stairs and out the front door. Osamu rode back towards him and circled him once before coming to a stop.
"Good morning sleeping beauty," he said with a smile and a nod towards Suna's bed head. Suna grimaced and began running his fingers through his hair to calm it down. "Hop on the back, there’s somethin’ I wanna show ya."
"This early? Wow you’re really a man after my heart," Suna grouched.
"Not a morning person, I'm shocked. Astounded." Osamu started pedaling as hard as he could with twice his body weight now on the bike. Suna gripped the back of the seat Osama wasn't using to steady himself and thought, we're both way too tall for this.
"When I came back I wanted ta see ya as soon as possible. The facilities that we were usin’ had a huge gas leak and the whole place had ta be fixed and sanitized. I convinced my teacher ta send me home for a few days since he wasn’t gonna be training me anyway."
"Here, I’m flattered."
"I'm serious. Then I got at yer place and I was like there's no way he'll be up at this hour, unless he's pullin’ an all nighter, which at that point I would’ve made ya go to bed. So I kinda sat beneath your window for a moment and hoped that ya would show yer pointy mug and low and behold."
My pointy mug, huh? He's rambling again ... I'm way too tired for this.
"Ya came to the window all bleary eyed and slouchy just when I wanted ya. So I think we were meant for each other or somethin’." Sap.
"Tha’s nice," Suna yawned. Osamu had stopped pedaling as hard and was actually sitting on the bike seat as they cruised down a flat road. Suna took his chance to rest his head in the space between Osamu's shoulder blades and shut his eyes.
He straightened up again when he noticed cars passing by.
"So how was it in Italy?" Suna asked.
"Working in a kitchen is much different than the basement of the antique shop. Everythin’s made of stone and metal instead of wood. The language barrier is a bit awkward too.” Osamu had to swerve and correct the bike when they leaned too far. Suna grabbed awkwardly onto Osamu’s hip to stay on.
"But I've only been there for two weeks and there's already so much that I've learned. There's a lot more that I have to learn. It's only made me want to study more and work harder."
They slowed significantly as Osamu started climbing a steep hill. While Suna did admire the strength of those legs, he was a little skeptical they’d make it.
"Want me to hop off for a second?" Suna asked with a smirk.
"No - huff - I decided I was - huff - gonna ride up this steep hill - huff - carrying you with me," Osamu kept pedaling. He's ridiculous.
Suna rolled his eyes while hopping off the back of the bike and began to push.
"You're ridiculous. If we're going up this hill together then I'm pushing with you."
"Fine," Osamu huffed. Suna was suddenly thankful that many of his friends were athletes to keep him fit enough to do stuff like this.
Once they made it to the top, Suna hoped back on to the back of the bike. Osamu rode the rest of the way to their mysterious destination.
On foot Osamu led Suna to a concrete outcrop with a grassy lawn and a few small, planted trees. There was no railing and they were high above the city. Everything was covered in a thin layer of mist as far as the eye can see. It looked like a wispy grey ocean but the shape of mountains and skyscrapers could still be seen through it all.
"Just wait and watch,” Osamu said, pointing towards the horizon. Over the tallest, farthest mountain the sun began to rise. The clouds quickly turned golden and broke the light into streaks and rays. The city was outlined in light through the mist.
"I wanted to show this to ya. Thought ya would 'preciate it."
"Man... it's too bad I already sent my portfolio in. This looks amazing."
"The Kitas told me about all the work ya did for that. I'm sorry I didn't do more to support you. I was off thinking ‘bout myself."
Sund shook his head and smiled. "Don't be. You're the reason I was able to to push myself at all. You did more for me than you think." Osamu smiled back at Suna. "Yeah, don't let it go to your thick head."
Suna's smiling as well, and he knows whatever face he's wearing must be horribly love-sick. He turns back to face the view.
Suddenly a pair of arms were wrapping tightly around him, pinning his arms to his side. Osamu was laughing about something and his smile was pressed into Suna’s jaw, so Suna laughed with him.
He didn’t need a picture to remember this moment forever.