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Suna Rintarou is late.

He had called Osamu just over an hour ago, instructed him to meet him at the konbini by the train station, and told him absolutely nothing else. Osamu had tried to get more information, but Suna just hung up without another word.

So Osamu sits. He sits on one hand, legs swinging aimlessly against the wall as he sucks on his sugary blue ice pop, the warm Saturday summer sun attempting to reduce it to a thick syrupy mess at his feet before he has a chance to eat it. Clearly it doesn’t know who it’s up against.

He’s lazily entertaining thoughts of wrestling sticky blue nectar from the hands of a golden god, when Suna’s voice calling, ‘Samu’ breaks though. He turns, ensuring any mild irritation he may have is magnified and made evident in his face, and finishes the last of the ice pop in one go, leaving the wooden stick in his mouth to extract any remaining flavour.

Then again, maybe the irritation is unwarranted considering any time away from Atsumu is always time well spent.

Then again, maybe knowing what, or who, is at the end of the wait justifies the torture of having to do so.

Suna jumps onto the wall beside him and unsurprisingly folds in on himself again, hands going to his trouser pockets and shoulders hunching without another word. He sits just close enough to Osamu that he can almost feel him, the hair now standing on Osamu’s arms as if it's reaching out, attracted to him like metal shavings to a magnet.

“Ya gonna apologise?” Osamu asks.

“Wasn’t planning on it no.” He replies simply, not a hint of remorse in his bored voice.

They sit, watching the people pass by in a familiar, comfortable silence that comes only through continued and persistent exposure to it.

The heat of the day is almost stifling, should anyone else have asked to hang out, Osamu would have most definitely told them no with a derisive snort, and returned to lying under the air conditioning, eating slices of watermelon while attempting to ignore the unrelenting whines of a brother he most definitely would sell for a stronger air conditioning unit. Or just an extra slice of watermelon.

But it had been Suna.

So he sits, feeling heat radiating from both above and beside him as he chews on the popsicle stick long devoid of flavour, and watches the people around them move along their own tangents, inconsequential to the sun and to them.

Eventually, Suna pulls out his phone, checks it, jumps down and begins to start walking. Osamu wordlessly follows, matching Suna’s looping gait.

“So,” Osamu starts, “gotta plan?” He is entirely and utterly aware that the answer really does not matter. No, he asks the question because, while they are comfortable in silence, he rather enjoys talking to him, hearing him talk.

But Suna remains elusive, only offering a nod and a question of his own, “Do you have money?”

“Why?” He says the word slowly, dragging out the sounds, letting all the colour of his confusion, now more prominent than before he asked the question, lace and entwine within it.

The thing is, the situation is somewhat odd to Osamu. Though they are friends and often spend time together, he tends to feel that their friendship, and therefore acts of socializing, are facilitated by, and sometimes depended upon, the ease of proximity. They play on the same volleyball team, are in the same class, and share a mutual distaste in the people they share it with. As a result, they tend to happen to hang out both during and after school - whether it is eating lunch together, choosing each other for group projects, fitting in extra practise, working on homework. It had almost become more normal to be in each other's company than not. So Suna choosing to spend the first day of summer vacation with him, without any clear reason, seemed just a little odd, there was usually a premise for these things. Though it is not unwelcome.

They reach the train station, and Suna uses this as an excuse to let the question remain unanswered. He’s never been much of a talker, sure, but Osamu is nonetheless perplexed by his blatant avoidance - his not even offering a sarcastic reply.

Instead, Osamu is told what station to buy a ticket to, and they sit opposite each other on the train in relative silence; Suna on his phone and Osamu staring out the window, cheek mushed into his hand, still chewing the nearly disintegrated popsicle stick. When their station is announced, he follows Suna’s sure steps, which lead them to the doorway of a tattoo parlour.

Only then does he get the simple explanation, “I’m getting a piercing.”

He moves to walk inside, but Osamu catches his elbow. Suna isn’t reckless, sure he is prone to the odd degree of spontaneity and can be quick with a remark, but he always carefully analyses a situation. Even in a moment of what could be considered carelessness, there was always some degree of reasoning behind it.

In fact it had been Osamu’s and Atsumu’s own foolhardiness and general unpredictability that had him hesitant to form any alliances with them in their first year, only relenting and becoming careful friends in their second year - only becoming close with Osamu in the latter half of it. Now in their third, Osamu supposes Suna had run the risks and calculations and deemed them, and him, sane and safe enough to become friends with, because despite the easy situations that allowed them to become friends (teammates, classmates), Suna still made careful decisions. That said, he still always remained a safe distance from him and his brother, purposefully taking a step back (and often a camera out) when it appeared they were going to do something stupid. Which is more often than not.

Still, he knew the risks and had clearly come to qualify when and how to be their friend while dealing with the possible consequences. Obviously there is something in the friendship that must outweigh the negatives.

So his clear declaration that he was getting a piercing on the first day of summer vacation with Osamu tagging along behind him, probably did have reasoning behind it, but all the same, it feels incredibly uncharacteristic.

“Sorry what?” is the only thing Osamu is able to verbalise, finally removing the popsicle stick from his mouth, while he tries to impossibly replicate the simulations and possible reasonings that had equated to Suna’s wanting and deciding to get a piercing.

Suna rolls his eyes and lets his shoulders rise and flop gently.

That"s all Osamu's going to get.

But still, Osamu follows him inside and watches as Suna talks to the piercer, and follows him again into the small sterile room collaged with a mass of images of people’s body parts decorated in different metals of various shapes and sizes.

He watches as Suna sits on the leather bed covered in the delicate white tissue, swinging his legs. He watches carefully, as the piercer marks two dots on the top of his earlobe, has Suna check the positioning by holding up the little bar between them, and Suna asks Osamu for his opinion. Osamu can only nod.

He watches as she lays him on his side, an arm tucked under his head, and instructs him to breathe in deeply while she pushes the needle through the first section of cartilage and repeats the process on through the second purple target.

He watches her insert the bar and secure the little ball endings.

He watches as Suna sits up, she warns him to not stand too quickly and walks him through the aftercare, handing him a small bottle of saline and a leaflet. He watches the little drop of blood dry in the concave of Suna’s ear as he pays for the service, his face still slightly pale.

He follows him back outside the shop and back to the train station, a stagnant silence that’s been left just a little too long to fester.

“I just needed to do this for me,” Suna relents, finally meeting and matching the look Osamu had been giving him since they had stopped outside the tattoo parlour door. The words remove the silence between them creating a new atmosphere upon which they may do as they like, no remnants that there was ever the possibility of an uneasiness between them, only possibilities of where to go from here. Osamu nods and goes to answer when he’s cut off.

“I don’t want to go home yet.”

Instead of the questions anyone else might be pushed to ask, Osamu forgoes the answers another may covet, asking a question far more important to him. “Food?”

Suna huffs an easy breathy laugh, “painkillers first.”

~~~~~

“Y’know,” Osamu begins, enough time having elapsed between the event and the moment they are in now to reopen the topic as they sit in a park near the school, watching nothing and everything once again.

They’d exhausted all that is available to two teenagers in a small town, after blowing all their money on train tickets and arcade games and food (a lot more spent in Osamu’s case and also a piercing in Suna’s case). Now there’s only the act of allowing time to tick by, as one can only do when only the present holds any consequence, “Sumu’s gonna kill ya.”

Suna wrinkles his nose at the name and the implication. “He’ll have to get in line,” he says a little somberly. “Besides, I can bandage it up.”

“He’ll aim fer it y’know.”

Suna lets out a small disgusted sound and pops a sweet, garnered through their collective effort of scrapping together the last of their coins, into his mouth and chews it carefully.

“Mum wants me to drop volleyball and focus on going to college.”

The sudden change of topic surprises Osamu, but then again, Suna offers what he wants, when he wants, and to whom he wants. Somehow it seemed that Osamu had become the only person he himself knew Suna to do so with. This isn’t a foreign topic between him, Suna brings it up here and there, Osamu hears it in his mother’s voice when she checks in on their study sessions, when she asks why they’re late back from school. He never knows what to say, but he likes to think Suna just appreciates his listening, a luxury Atsumu wouldn’t afford him.

“I told her I'm not going to college. Dad got involved. Dad called granny and granda. I got annoyed. I called you. Here we are.” He finishes, and toys with the wrapper of another sweet.

“That why ya left me waitin’ earlier?”

“Nah,” He snorts and his features easily smoothen from their previously crinkled state. “I did that for your ego, it needs taken down a notch.”

Osamu makes an affronted sound, “Don't ya dare get me mixed up with ‘Sumu.” Suna turns slightly and grins a phantom of a smile at him.

His eyes remain on Osamu’s face a little longer before he pulls out his phone, trying to get another look at the bar in his left ear; tilting his head up slightly and to the right, and brushing hair out of the way. He drops the phone onto the grass when satisfied, and reaches into the plastic bag beside him, pulling out the little bottle the piercer had given him, and the box of cotton buds they’d bought along with all their snacks.

He turns to Osamu and opens his small mouth, but Osamu has already reached out for the items.

Osamu props himself onto his knees and shuffles closer to Suna, who tilts his head slightly to give him a better angle. Osamu finds himself looking at his neck, before being able to drag his eyes back to the little bar in question.

He pulls out a cotton bud and lets the saline drop onto it, watching it soak in and fatten the material. Suna’s hair had again fallen over his ear, some stuck to the fresh piercing. Carefully, Osamu brushes it back with one hand, making sure not to tug at the bits that are stubborn, figuring they’ll come lose far easier when the solution is applied. He holds the hair in place, delicately placing a hand on Suna’s head, and lifts the prepared cotton bud. He warns Suna before he touches it against the place where the bar enters his ear, but if it hurts, Suna doesn’t make a sound, so he allows just a little more pressure against his ear, and moves it gently around the piercing to make sure it's fully clean. The skin of Suna’s ear is still pink, as if he is embarrassed, and when Osamu takes away the bud, it too is blushed pink.

“All good?” He asks and Suna nods, letting a little breathy ‘yeah’ escape his mouth.

Osamu turns the little stick and fattens the second side, beginning the process of moving his hair, holding it in place, and cleaning the second half of the piercing.

“Wha’d’ya think Kita-san would say?” Osamu asks, watching the saline drip off the cotton and pool around the second little hole now in Suna’s ear. Some of it wiggles loose and runs down the length of his ear and clings precariously to his lobe, before it falls onto the exposed skin above the collar of his t-shirt and slips underneath, presumably continuing it’s trail downwards.

“I’d like to think he’d tell me it’s great to be myself and do what I want.”

The silence that falls over them isn’t like the ones before, it’s rife with an edge and unspoken knowledge, and knowledge is power and power is dangerous when wielded recklessly.

Forgoing his flaws, there is nothing Osamu can say back. Osamu never was good at cheering people up. His only experiences were with his brother, and that usually consisted of hurling insults and offered compromises in the form of food and videogames, neither of which would work here. So he does as he always does when words become elusive, he lets out a sound of acknowledgement.

Somehow it softens the silence and he finishes the job he was given, returning the items to Suna with a soft smile and he settles back into the same position he was in before; leaning back on his hands.

He’s still unsure of where to go from here.

“Do you like it?” Suna asks quietly even for him, and Osamu’s eyes are drawn to his profile.

Suna’s face and eyes are tilted towards the sky. The sun is slowly retiring, finished fighting against the darkness, ready to sleep, but not without its own dramatics. Not without painting the sky in vibrant acrylic oranges and reds. It’s funny how blue is the first colour that comes to mind when asked the colour of the sky, but right now it is almost indecipherable among the crepuscular colours; they make blue almost seem boring, like the default settings of a video game.

These thoughts flash briefly through Osamu’s mind, but are quickly overridden by how beautiful he finds it all entirely for the way it frames Suna; the contrast of his dark hair and clothes against the mess of colour, the sharp, striking lines in definitive opposition to the soft blending of the clouds; as if all of this show was not a declaration to the world that the sun is setting, but aligned as such to highlight Suna, lending him an air of divinity.

“Does it matter?”

Suna’s eyes slowly shift so he’s looking at him from the side, nose still perched in the air, challenging anyone that dared defy him his place as the centerpiece of this moment.

“Yes,” he says and lets his head lol onto his shoulder, careful not to lie on his ear, and looks up at Osamu, “it does.”

“Why?”

He considers Osamu, his golden eyes burning, the shadows falling over them changing them from shining ambrosia to thick, dark, treacle. All around him is colour and he is the comfort of cool darkness or clean, careful, contrasting lines. It’s funny how you can know something so well, just for it to appear in front of you, entirely new and different simply to prove you wrong.

“Because, though I did it for myself and I’m happy with it,” those sharp eyes softened as they never are for anybody else, “maybe I care what you think of me.”

Osamu cannot bear to look at him any longer, and chooses to watch the sunless area of sky.

“Oh,” he breathes.

“Oh,” Suna agrees.

There's another strange silence that settles around them, different than all the others of today and all of the yesterdays they’ve shared. It's liminal, a silence simultaneously before and after, it can be something and nothing, an exit and an entrance; Osamu can choose to go back to a time before, or he can initiate a ritual that will transfer him to a time entirely new, a place he cannot come back from.

“Yes,” it’s an offering, the sacrifice of what was to allow what will be to manifest. “But I like everything about you.”

“Oh,” Suna breathes.

“Oh,” Osamu agrees.

He can see the distinctive shape in his peripheral vision that is Suna, watching him, his neck still tilted at an awkward angle, but he can’t bring himself to look back at him.

Instead he lets one of the hands propping him up shuffle over awkwardly, until their fingertips barely touch, connecting them.

He hears a huff of a laugh, and feels his ears heat up and pull back to attention, raising his shackles, alert to any movements, aware of both prey and predator.

He goes to pull his hand back but Suna’s other hand is suddenly over it, his body turned towards him, staring at the side of Osamu’s face. He feels the gaze sinking into his skin and travelling to his stomach filling it with a fluttering feeling up to his throat unlike any fullness or satiation he has ever experienced before this moment.

“Osamu,” Suna says slowly, “thanks for coming with me today.”

Osamu nods mechanically, not trusting himself to not purposefully decide on each action. He still can't look at him.

He feels the stiffness in the hand on top of his, the hesitation in the words that flow through and over him, not quite sticking, but doing something - maybe corroding, like water through limestone.

Suna’s turning away, the feeling of nothing replacing the warmth of his hand.

Osamu’s mind is reeling, his sense of cognition hovering outside of him as he feels himself twisting his body, his hand reaching to hold Suna’s face and turning him to look at him. Cognition is still sitting expectantly outside of him, beside him, allowing him to work without it, allowing him this moment of idiocy; the same idiocy that reasons jumping from a tree is a good idea, or tumbling down hills is a good idea, or splashing through ankle deep puddles is a good idea.

He feels himself push his lips against Suna’s and nothing else.

It’s awkward at first, just two faces touching, nothing romantic nor incredible. It’s as unextraordinary as two statues that are suspended in an eternal embrace, and Osmau’s awareness snaps into full focus, his ability to think and understand reentering him along with the panic that comes with the fear of falling after jumping, that worrisome lack of control with the gaining of velocity and an inability to stop it, that realisation that cold wet clothes could spell days in bed surrounded by damp tissues.

Then, Suna is pressing back. His mouth becomes firm and living and warm, his lips curl into a smile against Osamu’s and one of his own hands reaches up to encircle Osamu’s wrist.

And finally, there is that same satisfied joy that only accompanies the eventual feeling of landing on solid ground, the feeling of stopping and regaining control, the feeling of being wrapped in a soft, warm towel.

They pull away a little stunned.

“Oh,” Suna breathes.

“Oh,” Osamu agrees.

A silence akin to the one from the morning settles in around them, blending with the heat of the evening; the silence of acclimation and familiarisation, everything and nothing having changed in the same way the sun sets and it becomes night. But the sky is still there, and the sunlight is still shining somewhere.

“You going to apologise?” Suna asks, an eyebrow quirked.

Confused, Osamu asks, “fer what?”

“Keeping me waiting.”