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But I'm a fire and I'll keep your brittle heart warm
If your cascade, ocean wave blues come
All these people think love's for show
But I would die for you in secret
The devil's in the details, but you got a friend in me
Would it be enough if I could never give you peace?

—peace, Taylor Swift



Komori Motoya is the last person on Earth Atsumu expects to accost him in the sleek, marble-rimmed kitchen amidst whooping throngs of drunken laughter and pulsing neon hues typical of a V-League afterparty.

Maybe accosts is overselling it a bit. Motoya’s weasel-like features lend themselves to a hysterical attempt at intimidation—round, bushy brows knitted together childishly, lips twisted into a pout-frown-thing. Rosy pink sprawling over his skin in evident intoxication.

“Miya Atsumu,” he declares, voice surprisingly steady.

Atsumu blinks at him. Bares his teeth into a grin. “Toya-kun.”

Motoya’s nice enough. At least when he’s not digging every single one of his serves on the court and flashing him an infuriatingly knowing megawatt smile from across the net. Stadium lights catching so sharp and wicked that Atsumu swears he sees devil horns, sometimes.

That along with whatever bits of information he gleans from Kiyoomi. Complaints muttered under his breath, mostly, but words still woven furiously tight with unbearable fondness. Years of shared history. Reluctant love.

“Uh,” Atsumu tries after a stretch. “Ya gonna say something?”

Motoya huffs. His torso curves away as he reaches for the nearby cup, filled halfway with an unnervingly murky soup of indistinguishable liquor. Atsumu follows his gaze down to the counter, watches as he idly outlines the rim with a careless thumb. Unsanitary. Kiyoomi’d have a field day.

“He smiles more,” Motoya says finally, looking up. Shades of teal-toned gratitude swelling out his eyes, words lacquered warm and vibrant. “Because of you.”

All thought slams to an abrupt stop. Brakes so suddenly that his heart skyrockets out its seat in a sloppy parabola and collapses into a puddle of syrup, pulse. Slow, searing heat inching across the dirty party floorboards.

Kiyoomi’s catalogue of smiles flips through his vision like a film reel. All grossly romanticized—golden hues, slow motion, filtered pink-blue-purple into something gorgeous. The quiet curve of his lips when that mellow, century old classic of a song streams through the Bluetooth speaker. Mouth stretching gently at the sight of the tangerine menace of a cat Bokuto adopted for a week once. A lip twitch, so faint it feels hallucinated, at one of Atsumu’s prize-winning jokes. Once in a blue moon. Maybe a green moon. Not the point.

Motoya’s words ricochet deviously inside his skull. Sink their claws into his flesh.

“Uh,” Atsumu gets out at last.

Motoya cocks his head, eyes wide and curious. His lips part again.

Then a tall figure is ghosting into view. A footstep rupturing the moment and letting it bleed out onto the kitchen counter. Dark eyes, white mask glowing ghoulish in the dim haze. Gaze brimming with question as it darts between him and Motoya.

“Oh,” Motoya just sighs loudly. He’s twisting away already. “I’ll leave you two alone. Go be gross together.”

Kiyoomi’s stare is flatter than week-old soda. He angles his chin to the right. Says, unamused, “Suna’s out on the balcony.”

Atsumu chortles. Faint crimson stutters up the length of Motoya’s neck, and he just mumbles out a petulant geezfinebye before he’s slinking out the kitchen.

With his exit, time slows to a sleepy, unhurried swim. Spilling honey-sweet over their little bubble. Warm. Tranquil. He smiles more. Motoya’s voice’s like a candied bullet to his lungs. Because of you.

Atsumu swallows it whole. Hammers his voice into a casual lilt. “Didn’t know you had it in ya, Omi-kun.”

His words go ignored. A slight frown suckles at the corner of Kiyoomi’s mouth. “Why were you two talking?”

What, didn’t know me and Toya-kun are best friends?”

A disgruntled look. “Atsumu.”

Ki-yo-omi.” He strings the syllables apart.

“You’re ridiculous.”

You're ridiculous.”

“I swear to g—”

“We were talkin’ ‘bout how much ya suck at Mario Cart,” Atsumu cuts in, preening.

He has no clue what he’s saying, frankly. Mouth on autopilot, heart windmilling around. Limbs like kelp, shimmying loose-boned and bootless in the neon blue ocean of this far too expensive kitchen. That fucking film reel is still looping—playing itself dry as it etches quiet smile after quiet smile up the side of his skull.

“I don’t suck. You’re just insufferable.”

Atsumu throws his head back in a laugh. “But you—”

Love me anyways. He bites down so viciously on his tongue his teeth tear down to his stomach. Wait. Shit.

Three months is such an ugly, misshapen little number. Small. Odd. Prime. Resembles a crow mid-flight if you squint sideways into tomorrow. Enough headway to veer into a first-name basis. Not enough to arc over into anything sappy. Love-y. Love-y? Shit.

Motoya’s voice again, skewering up his diaphragm. Yanking the usual joke back by the collar and wrestling it behind doors of muddy thought.

“What,” Kiyoomi mutters into the silence.

“Nothin’,” Atsumu says, too-quick. His heartbeat all syncopated and sticky. He lets his gaze skim down the dark lines of Kiyoomi’s figure, raking down a loose cotton shirt and the foreign sight of jeans clinging to his legs. “You look good.”

Kiyoomi’s lips twist. “You’re only saying that because you insisted on picking the clothes out.”

“Omi-kun, this’s the part where you're supposed to tell me I look good too.”  

“You look awful,” Kiyoomi replies immediately.

Atsumu rolls his eyes. But Kiyoomi’s stare is glancing down his body, sweeping across like a heated brushstroke. He feels attention clasping the hem of his shirt, his exposed collar. Mapping up jaw, nose, eyes. Until Kiyoomi’s looking at him again, eyes dark.

“Sorry.” Atsumu cocks a hip out, lets a grin split across his face. “I’m taken.”

Kiyoomi’s mouth twitches. It twitches. “Shut up.”

God, Atsumu’s going to die.

A singsong never turns to ice on his tongue and sits like a stone behind his teeth. No film reel, anymore. Just this, here, now. Kiyoomi’s ghost of a smile haunting his vision, slamming his heart down to the floor of his gut. Something’s boiling over in his chest. Flooding out his veins to splash like careless, spilled alcohol across the space.

Yeah. He’s haplessly drunk off the curve of Sakusa Kiyoomi’s mouth. Fluorescent, pinkish light mottles all over his face. It slides to gold. Red. Prussian blue. Every color on the wheel and he’s so gorgeous it fucking aches. 

“Hey.” Atsumu gets out eventually, breathless. “Go stand over there. I’ll take a picture of ya.”

“What?” Kiyoomi’s brows draw together. Perplexity weaving through his features. “No.”

“C’mon, your profile pic on Instagram is so ugly—”

“It is not ugly—”

“—should take it while ya look decent—”

“—said it’s professional—”

“—keep tellin’ you—”

“—don’t see the point of Instagram—"

“Omi-kun,” Atsumu laughs. He splays heated fingers across Kiyoomi’s shoulder. Shoves him, because he’s allowed to do that now. He’s allowed—shit. He’s allowed so much it’s debilitating. He’s allowed to want the dark, pretty slant of his mouth. He’s allowed to want him this bad. Right?

“You’re so—"

“Omi-kun.” He raises his phone, grinning. He’s allowed this, now. “Smile.