i could follow you to the beginning,
just to relive the start
It starts like this.
Atsumu, young and impressionable and adamant on making an impression, steps onto the taraflex floors of the National Training Center with a foxkill grin, sporting his high school tracksuit and a pride that comes from the fact that he's the only one from their team that got invited. He'd love to have Osamu here, just to show everyone that it runs in the blood; but as it is, he's left back in Hyogo training with some second string setter because he doesn't try as hard as Atsumu does during tournaments.
I don't have to, is what Osamu would always say, I'm better than ya, anyway. If I tried any harder you'd be rendered forgettable.
A punch was thrown to his jaw that day, but hey, this is just Atsumu's digression.
Atsumu's sixteen, a first year, probably the youngest in this gym full of people deemed worthy enough for the Olympic stage.
Or so he thought.
When introductions roll over he sees him, he who introduces himself as a wing spiker, and who is fifteen.
He's one of the few other first years here, and one of the tallest amongst them, but he's fifteen and he's supposed to be in middle school, isn't he? When Atsumu was fifteen he was still in middle school.
Annoyed by being dethroned at the spot for the glory of being the youngest, Atsumu glares at the highlighter yellow shirt covering the boy's back.
It was Kiyoomi, and back then, for Atsumu, he had been Sakusa.
Sakusa, who had turned to glance behind him and positively made Atsumu speechless, glare falling off his face like a glass of water held in his tired hand for too long, shattering to the floor and becoming useless.
Sakusa, who meets his eyes after a generous sweep in his vicinity. Sakusa, who sends a chill down his spine after he realizes that he had been caught, and that he had been staring.
Sakusa, who had taken one look at him and seemingly decided that he does not want anything to do with him.
And then there's Atsumu, who had taken one look at the murderous squint and decided he would change that.
Minutes pass and Atsumu realizes that it's no easy feat, not when Sakusa doesn't speak to anyone other than Iizuna, who was wearing the same disgusting color of training clothes as he was. Not when Sakusa doesn't even look his way except when calling for tosses, and especially not since he doesn't need to call for tosses because Atsumu just keeps giving them to him.
He doesn't know if the coach or other players notice, but if they do they don't say anything, and that's enough for Atsumu.
They play on the same side for three sets, but Atsumu might as well have been on the opposite court, since Sakusa barely even acknowledges him. Letting his eyes flicker briefly towards him only when he checks for his tosses.
The game finishes and they change teams, it's only then does Atsumu realize that there's another person Sakusa willingly talks to other than Iizuna when he hears Sakusa say, "Wakatoshi-kun."
Huh, first name basis.
This fact annoyed Atsumu to his wit's end.
Atsumu’s teamed with Ushijima for the next three sets, and Atsumu, being the little shit he is, is adamant on giving Ushijima a hard time. He makes it subtle, sets the ball a bit higher every time, controls the toss enough for him to not be able to decide which hit to make, et cetera. And it doesn't affect the match, not really, since Ushijima doesn't seem to be playing his game.
Every time he sets higher, Ushijima matches him, and it even gives him more leverage to crush the opposing blockers. And when Atsumu controls the toss he still hits them at full power, and while Atsumu may be an asshole, he's not an idiot, so he knows the shots he calls will make it, and they do.
Atsumu's annoyance simmers underneath his grin, offering another nice kill towards Ushijima as he scores them another point.
His last resort would be to let go of their main point getter and give other hitters a shot.
Besides, Ushijima has gotten enough spotlight on him already.
Sakusa watches from the opposite court, fully expecting Atsumu to give away another set to Ushijima, and he would, if he wasn't so petty, if he wasn't so riled up by the fact that Sakusa keeps waiting to receive Ushijima's spikes like they were made for him.
All right, then. Atsumu thinks smugly. Keep your eyes on him.
Ushijima makes a run-up. The blockers close the cross shot. Sakusa guards the line. Everyone on the other side is on edge.
Atsumu is incredibly calm.
The ball touches his fingers, and he tips it to the opposite side from where Sakusa is positioned.
The ball drops in slow motion, and Atsumu watches it all with a grin as Sakusa dives trying to save it, to no avail.
There he is now, chest first onto the bright orange flooring, and Atsumu stands above him like a God who just denied him grace.
Sakusa glares, regarding Atsumu for the first time since their eyes met earlier, and all Atsumu can do is shrug.
"Better luck next time." He teases.
Sakusa stands abruptly, withdrawing the attention from Atsumu like a twisted knife in his gut, and suddenly Atsumu thinks that maybe his little trick wasn't worth it after all.
"Good choice." A deep voice says from beside him, and when Atsumu looks he sees Ushijima giving him a nod.
"Thanks." He says, smile tight and staged as they can get.
They play some more, and Atsumu has fun refusing glory for Ushijima, tossing to the outside hitters and neglecting him completely. By the fourth time Ushijima is used as a decoy, he clicks his tongue, and Atsumu is pleased to confirm the fact that he's used to being coddled by his team.
"Call for the tosses if you want them, Wakatoshi-kun." Atsumu's voice is light, but it drips rancor to the floor with the stretched vowels of the nickname he used.
"Of course." Ushijima says, and it pisses Atsumu off even more because he doesn't care either.
Why he's been surrounded by the most indifferent and scornful players on the planet, he doesn't know, but then again, he is one of them, to an extent, so he has no right to complain.
When they come back to the gym after lunch break, the coach has them shuffling teams again, only this time, they also rotate their positions.
Atsumu plays as the libero, and while he's always definitely been a setter, he isn't one of the best players on his team for nothing. So he takes on the challenge.
The first set starts and he now has Ushijima across him, somehow still a hitter, though now on the outside. And for some reason, Atsumu is intrigued as to why Sakusa was so interested in receiving this dude's hits.
Instead of that, though, Atsumu discovers how much he lacks throughout the game. He knows that his receives were solid, yes, but that's only against players like Aran or Bokuto, whose spikes were heavy on power but weren't impossible to get despite the bruising it'd leave you once you're through with it.
And while Ushijima spikes exactly like Aran, the fact is that the spin in his southpaw hits were difficult to control, and for the second time around since he was rotated to the libero spot, the ball comes flying out of bounds after hitting his forearms.
Damn. He needs to work on his receives.
He sneers at Ushijima, who seems to be all too familiar with the sight of a rookie flailing with receiving his hits, because he raises his hands in what seems to be an apology.
Atsumu's face falls, he lets his head dip as he looks at the floor because what the fuck.
How can someone so kind be so annoying?
He doesn't get his answer. But at least he picks up Ushijima's spikes once or twice.
For their final set, he plays against Sakusa's team. And he's not scared, he's elated, even. Because now that they're on opposite sides of the court, Sakusa has no choice but to watch him.
He's still rotated as the libero, and, unbeknownst to him, the spin he had a hard time with earlier was nothing compared to what he has coming at him.
He should've taken it as valuable practice, but he was too busy sticking his head up his ass to even consider having to deal with anyone else like him.
Unfortunately for him, Sakusa was just like Ushijima, only worse. Especially driven by the spite of the match earlier when Atsumu almost made him kiss the floor.
Atsumu, too proud and hardheaded, doesn't take his eyes off Sakusa's figure as he runs towards the net and jumps. His body curves in mid-air, dorsal muscles pulling taut like cocking a gun before it's shot, and it's a beautiful sight, one that Atsumu can't help but admire. In fact, Atsumu had been so distracted by Sakusa's spiking form to realize that its trajectory was directed at him, and for the third time since training began, he flubs his receive, only this time, it hits him right in the face.
The sound that escapes his lips is embarrassing, the way he falls flat on the floor is even worse, but what cements his shame is the voice coming from the other side of the court that said, "What the hell are you even doing here?"
"Sakusa!" that was Iizuna's voice, and it comes loud, turns out he's right beside Atsumu, "Forgive him, he's not good with people."
"Ugh." Atsumu groans, sitting up and holding his nose, it feels tender but not broken, thankfully. "He could at least apologize."
"Yeah," Iizuna says as he helps him up, before turning back and giving Sakusa a look, "he should."
Atsumu meets Sakusa's eyes again, and in his onyx irises burns a scorn fueled by what seems to be mild amusement.
He likes this. He finds it funny that Atsumu's hurt.
"Sorry. If that makes you feel better."
It was then when Atsumu realizes that despite his glare falling off his face and breaking into a hundred jagged pieces on the floor, he'd still be able to sweep it up and grudgingly hold onto it until he's bleeding. And that's what he does, he glares and challenges Sakusa because he knows pride like a brother, and he sees it in Sakusa as much as he sees it in himself
Despite the sharp pieces of the supposedly broken intimidation tactic digging into his face, Atsumu holds onto it like a lifeline.
Sakusa rises to the challenge, naturally. Eyes not backing down from Atsumu's glare as he's hauled up to the infirmary.
His nose doesn't bleed, and he gets a go signal from the nurse, so he resumes training just like that. When he returns to the gym he burns a hole at the back of Sakusa's head, but the other doesn't seem even a little put off.
Atsumu hates it so much.
Being ignored grinds his gears so bad he can barely function, so when he steps back into the court he makes sure to command attention —every single one of his tosses are spot on, rivalling even Iizuna himself, who had been here before and has professionally acclaimed skill.
His receives get better too, getting almost every single one of Sakusa's spikes and sending him a smirk every time from across the net, one which goes unnoticed or unacknowledged, he doesn't know.
When they play on the same side of the court, Atsumu pays special attention to Sakusa, not bothering with yelling "Left!" but instead going with something along the lines of "Sakkun!" and "Uni-san!" or his personal favorite "Omi!" just to see the tick in the hitters brow as he runs up.
All his sets are perfect, they always are, but, to his dismay, there's no glory to it —not from Ushijima, and especially not from Sakusa. Unlike back home in Hyogo, where every perfect spike is his because of his set and his hitters acknowledge that, and every failed spike is enough reason for him to berate the hitter for being a scrub.
Here, he does his job, and he does it well, and it won't be praised because it's expected.
It's salt in his wound, but if he does any less then he'll be subjected to the humiliation of being asked what he's doing here again. And he'd rather not risk it.
It goes without saying, but he's not the only one playing well.
He has a feeling that Sakusa hasn't been giving it his all —especially since he's able to come out of being hit by one of his spikes without a broken nose— and yet every spike he gives is in another league compared to the other hitters with them.
Atsumu watches in awe, and wonders just how good this boy can get when he gives it his all.
Atsumu wonders if Sakusa is as bewitched as he is.
Probably not, though, he barely even looks at him.
At the dinner hall Atsumu watches Sakusa eat, wipe his mouth, then stand up and leave before anyone else has finished their food. Iizuna doesn't spare him a glance, as if it was normal for him to walk away without waiting for anyone else to accompany him back to their lodging.
Everyone else might be able to ignore him, but atsumu can't. He can’t let go of the chance to get Sakusa's attention —to make Sakusa pay attention.
"Hi, Sakkun." Atsumu calls, which makes Sakusa pause in his steps, but when he realizes it was atsumu who spoke he walks again, even faster this time. "Hey, where ya goin’?"
"None of your business."
Sakusa walks briskly towards the exit, and Atsumu watches him go with a smirk plastered on his face, because he actually replied.
"Aight, then." Atsumu says once he's out the door, satisfied with the interaction and turning back to his food to shove a piece of meat in his mouth, "Keep yer secrets."
Later, he hears that Sakusa likes pickled plums from the very talkative Iizuna.
He's lucky Osamu was smart enough to pack him snacks and side dishes before he went here, so, before anyone can enter the dining hall, he places a small packet of umeboshi where Sakusa usually sits, even sticks a note with his name on it on the side, before walking away and taking some food for himself.
He keeps his eyes on it until the Itachiyama duo sit down on the table. It's Iizuna who lifts the note to take a look at it, before looking back at Sakusa with a gentle smile.
But Sakusa doesn't touch it.
And Atsumu pretends he doesn't care while he continues to eat.
This time, when Sakusa walks by him, he doesn't call his name.
On the last day of camp, Atsumu gets to play on the same team as Sakusa again.
They're on the receiving end, and the server from the other side isn't someone Atsumu recognizes as particularly strong, so he doesn't understand when their acting libero has to take a knee to keep the ball alive.
It was a terrible receive, not unlike the one Atsumu did their first day here.
But it's already been a few days since then, if this kid still hasn't gotten used to the way these players hit then he's just weak.
Scrub, Atsumu thinks, but he still slides beneath the ball, uses his exceptional court awareness to send the most perfect toss to the already jumping Sakusa.
It looked like magic, really, as if the ball had been sucked to Sakusa's hand. And he must've thought so too, because when it lands just by the end line of the opposite court he whips around to look at Atsumu, who's now squatted down and smiling up at Sakusa because he knows what he did.
The few tense seconds they use to stare at each other makes Atsumu's smile waver, just slightly, but at the same time the frown on Sakusa's face softens into something that shouldn't be so appealing to Atsumu, but after being frowned at for so long, anything other than the disapproving look is like a kiss to the cheek.
Sakusa wipes at his brow, effectively covering half of his face when he finally says, "Nice toss."
And atsumu, drunk on anticipation and the sudden compliment from the usually indifferent spiker, plops down on the ground and laughs.
"Huh," he says, with mirth in his eyes as he follows the line of Sakusa's figure, "I knew I would get ya."
Sakusa doesn't look at him again like that after, but they play volleyball, and every time Sakusa kills the ball set by Atsumu, he hears the ghost whisper of nice toss in his head. And it's enough to keep him going.
By the end of the week, Atsumu had known longing like a word repetitively rolling off his tongue. Losing all sense and meaning with the number of times he's felt it.
The year after that they stand in the same court, but things are different now.
Sakusa, who is Kiyoomi now, has grown taller, broader too, and the permanent scowl on his face is concealed under a mask when he walks into the gym. Now that only his stone cold eyes could be seen of his face, he comes off more intimidating than Atsumu has known him.
Atsumu has dyed his hair blonde, grew a few centimeters as well, and his attention seeking tendencies have considerably lessened, replaced instead by a burning need to prove and improve himself.
Iizuna isn't there anymore, and in his place is one Komori Motoya, whose a stark contrast to Kiyoomi, despite them wearing identical clothing.
Even Ushijima isn't there, replaced by a first year —a setter, of all things, who looks equal parts excited and intimidated.
When training starts, Atsumu catches Kiyoomi give the Miyagi setter glances that screamed disdain, and Atsumu's glad to be the same in that department, though he can't help the twinge of envy at the fact that, at least, this damn setter could get Kiyoomi to look at him.
Because Kiyoomi has been pointedly ignoring atsumu since he got here. As though if he has the choice to not look at him, he won't.
But that choice doesn't last long, because a few sets in day one they're placed on opposite sides of the court. And when their eyes meet from across the net, it's Atsumu who glares at the indifferent face of Sakusa Kiyoomi. After all, they did just come from an upsetting loss to Itachiyama at the National Interhigh, and the sting of not being able to save the last ball from Sakusa's waiting direct hit was still fresh in Atsumu's mind.
Kiyoomi might've occupied his thoughts these last couple months, but greater than that is the thirst for revenge and victory surging through Atsumu's veins.
Pretty curls and beauty marks be damned.
Kiyoomi's in the same team as the newbie, who's actually making good use of him, tossing accurately and even elevating Kiyoomi's contact point, just a bit.
Not that Atsumu has noticed, not that he's memorized it.
Atsumu's hell-bent on taking Kiyoomi head-on, daring himself to receive Kiyoomi's spikes as much as possible, and he does. Every single time, he notices Kiyoomi squint at him, and it feeds both his need for attention and the satisfaction of knowing he's gotten better, and it makes him light up like a Christmas tree.
To anyone watching, it must look like he's having a great time.
Komori saves the ball on the other side, and the Miyagi setter, Tobio-kun, thanks him, like the heaven sent child he is.
Atsumu could laugh, but he tries to read Tobio's next attack instead. Though there was no attack to be read, as Tobio sets the ball in empty air, nobody even in approach distance yet.
The ball thuds on their side, and Tobio looks mortified with all the eyes on him, before he says, "Sorry. Force of habit."
Atsumu's eyes widen at the remark, and when he averts his vision to where Kiyoomi is, he sees a glower on his usually stoic face.
Atsumu lets himself chuckle then, Kiyoomi must be so annoyed.
Tobio, huh? What an oddball.
Tobio is good, he'll admit, but there's something amiss when it comes to his plays. Atsumu tries his hand at giving him a push during one of their cooldowns.
Hoshiumi had just finished giving Tobio an earful, which, in all honesty, had been hilarious for atsumu, so he makes his entrance into the conversation with a lighthearted chuckle, "Wow, you've got guts."
Both Hoshiumi and Tobio turn to look at him, "But on court," he continues, hooded eyes focusing on Tobio and pinning him with his gaze, "you're a goody-two-shoes, aren't ya?"
Atsumu had meant to tease, but the look on Tobio's face tells him he took it the wrong way.
Well, Atsumu thinks, that's on him.
Kiyoomi walks past them just as Tobio opens his mouth to reply, and Atsumu turns his head just in time to see him squint at the smile he sends his way.
"Aight," Atsumu shrugs, before patting Tobio's shoulder with a grin, "I'm gonna go get dinner."
Tobio doesn't get a chance to answer as Atsumu jogs towards Kiyoomi, who just fished a mask out of his pocket and is putting it on.
Atsumu tiptoes the last few feet in between them, and when he's just a few inches away he shouts, "Omi!"
Kiyoomi doesn't startle, but he does stop in his tracks with his shoulders drawn up to his ears.
Atsumu chuckles when Kiyoomi turns to frown at him, brows drawn in the middle, before he scoffs and turns back to walk again.
Atsumu follows him close behind, and Kiyoomi must've sensed him, making Atsumu jump when he says, "What do you want?"
Atsumu takes this as permission to engage in a conversation, jogging 'till he's beside Kiyoomi. "You going to the dining hall? Let's go together."
Kiyoomi doesn't answer him, but he doesn't change his pace either, so Atsumu savors his silent presence with a barely held back smile.
At some point, Atsumu, Tobio, Hoshiumi, and Kiyoomi end up on the same team.
Tobio and Kiyoomi were designated wing spikers, and Hoshiumi was their libero. Atsumu is comfortable with the fact that he has solid hitters to use and a reliable receiver on his side, so he doesn't have to break his back trying to set a terrible pass.
He'd still bend over and do an overhead pass in the rare occasion that Hoshiumi fails, though; ten is better than two, after all. It's because of this that he's considered number one setter.
Atsumu knows what people say about him, that he's good, really good, and that he makes hitters believe they're better than they actually are, bewitching them.
He's never asked, but Atsumu always thinks of whether Kiyoomi has ever felt that way with his tosses.
The ball goes over the net, and Hoshiumi digs it spectacularly.
"Miya!" Hoshiumi calls.
Atsumu is tempted to make a toss to Kiyoomi, who's already making an approach behind him, but he decides it's about time to teach the kid what it means to be that good instead.
"Yeah, yeah," Atsumu chides, jumping the attack line and setting while still in the air, "there you go."
Atsumu matches Tobio's contact point perfectly, and he easily slips past the opponent blockers. If the smile on his face is anything to go by, then he's certainly another one that atsumu has bewitched.
The ball lands on the opposite court with a thud. Atsumu cups his hands over his lips and says, "Nice kill."
You're welcome, he doesn't say.
Hoshiumi approaches Tobio with a hand raised for a high-five, and Atsumu mirrors the action, the two of them clapping at Tobio's hand. There's still an amazed look on Tobio's face, and Atsumu finds himself wishing he was a wing spiker instead —if Atsumu's hitters looked that happy with each set he gave them he'd be able to serve them relentlessly.
Which reminds him of a certain curly haired boy who doesn't even bother regarding Atsumu, but still gets some special sort of treatment from him.
Atsumu turns, and he finds Kiyoomi leaning forward on his knees before swiping at his chin to catch the sweat dripping from the side of his face.
Shit. Atsumu thinks. Why did I find that hot?
"Don't worry, Omi," Atsumu reins his thoughts in, makes a show of smiling till his eyes curve, "you'll get the next one."
Kiyoomi's nose flares at his next inhale, and he clicks his tongue without even looking at Atsumu.
Atsumu's tempted to blow him a kiss right there, just to piss him off, just to make him stare in disbelief, maybe; but even Atsumu's not stupid enough to do that, so he just turns and puts his hands behind his head before yelling, "Server up!"
Atsumu catches Tobio during cooldowns again, squatting next to him as he stretches his legs, and voices out his opinion about the game earlier, "Why ain't ya a wing spiker, Tobio-kun?"
"Huh?" Tobio's eyes are wide and blue and so confused, he really is just a kid, "I'm a setter."
"I know that, but you look happier when yer on the left," Atsumu smiles at the way Tobio tilts his head, "when you're setting ya get this face, like, all tense."
"But I'm a setter."
Wow, this kid really takes being a setter to heart.
Atsumu understands, there's a certain allure to knowing you're the control tower of your team, to playing your own tune, to using your hitters however you want them, and to beguiling your opponent's blockers —he knows it too well.
Atsumu smiles at him, "Ah, I know, I know."
"Atsumu-san," Tobio interjects, making Atsumu's smile slip, just a bit, "What did you mean by goody-two-shoes?"
Atsumu's eyes widen, Tobio really took the comment to heart if he's still asking about it after all this time, so Atsumu gives him a gentle smile before saying, "I meant exactly that. Serious and obligin'. A real good boy."
There's still a frown on Tobio's brow, so Atsumu adds, "Ain't no problem about it, though. Ya do your job well, don'tcha?"
Atsumu is quick to wave a hand in front of his face to appease him, but he winces when the exposed skin on his forefinger catches air.
"Are you okay, Atsumu-san?" Tobio asks.
"Yep, don't worry 'bout it." Atsumu says, cradling his finger with his other hand before smiling at Tobio again.
He had nicked his finger when he and Kiyoomi were playing vanguard after closing a cross shot at the last second, successfully killing the ball but wounding his finger in the process.
He should tape it up, but the thought leaves his mind when he catches Kiyoomi walk out the gym in the corner of his eye.
"Say, Tobio, are ya done with yer stretches?" Atsumu asks, to which Tobio nods.
Atsumu helps him up to his feet, and once they're standing side by side, Atsumu tilts his head to the gym's exit, "Let's go get dinner then."
Atsumu doesn't bother Kiyoomi at dinner that night, and he's forced to eat with his left hand since his right has a finger that still hasn't been taken care of.
Later, once he's showered and dressed for bed, Atsumu finds himself walking to the narrow balcony at the end of the dorm's hallway.
He stands there for a couple of minutes, before realizing that it might've been a bad idea to stand out here wearing nothing but a wool sweater. The cold winter breeze touches his exposed neck and Atsumu crowns himself an idiot —if the skinned finger doesn't put him out of commission tomorrow then maybe the cold he gets from here would.
He doesn't mind though, tomorrow's the last day anyway. So he stands still, bathes in January moonlight, holds onto the freezing railings and breathes in so deep he feels frost form at the bottom of his lungs.
The silence is comforting, but also not. At home, if Osamu had caught him doing this, he'd jokingly push him off and call him a sap, and Atsumu would be lying if he said he didn't prefer having that over the chill hush that solitude brings.
Atsumu looks straight ahead, watches the brightness of the Tokyo horizon with awe, and misses his brother soundlessly.
"Do you enjoy bullying first years now?"
A voice breaks the silence, making Atsumu almost jump out of his skin and off the balcony. He shivers even harder when he turns and realizes who owns the voice.
"What're ya talking about?" Atsumu gapes at Kiyoomi, with his mask and his highlighter green track jacket, while holding a hand to his chest and willing his heart to stop pounding.
Kiyoomi rolls his eyes at his dramatic reaction, but when he walks closer and stands beside him, Atsumu knows he's capable of doing worse, much worse. He'll embarrass himself in front of Kiyoomi and the boy won't be rolling his eyes as much as he'll be shoveling dirt over his casket.
"Goody-two-shoes? Really?" Kiyoomi says with a raised brow, oblivious to Atsumu's panic, "Telling him he should be a wing spiker instead too. You should've seen the look on the kid's face."
Kiyoomi pockets his hands, doesn't let himself come into contact with anything, but he's close enough that Atsumu feels a tad bit warmer than earlier.
When Atsumu gets over himself long enough to understand what Kiyoomi's saying, he leans over the railings again and faces him, "What? I was just givin' him a good 'ole honest review."
Kiyoomi's brow lifts in question, side-eyeing Atsumu before heaving a sigh, "Ah, I forgot you lacked tact."
"That's rich coming from you. What are ya doing here anyway?" Atsumu says, propping his hip on the railing and crossing his arms over his chest.
There's a few moments where Kiyoomi just stares ahead, and Atsumu starts to think that he won't answer the question before he shrugs, "Couldn't sleep yet."
Atsumu scoffs, that's bullshit. Train as hard as they did earlier and you'll be conked out once your stomach is full. But Atsumu doesn't call him out on it, instead he stays quiet next to him, looks ahead and tries to see what Kiyoomi's been staring at.
There's only cell reception towers, lit hotel and office windows, the faint neon glow of possible clubs a few blocks ahead.
Atsumu gives up on looking at the alive yet lonely city, and focuses his attention to the scab already forming on his finger instead. He lightly scratches at it, and the sting makes him hiss.
"Tape your finger if you want to keep playing tomorrow."
Atsumu looks up to see Kiyoomi still staring ahead, half of his face now buried in the green scarf around his neck, ears tinged pink, probably from the cold.
He gets cold easily, huh?
He observes the other boy's side profile, praying that Kiyoomi doesn't find it weird that he's mapping out the slope of his nose and the curl falling loose over his forehead and the way his jaw ticks the longer Atsumu doesn't respond.
"Would ya tape it for me, Omi?" Atsumu tries then, straining to see a twitch in Sakusa's expression with the dim lighting, but is disappointed to find nothing, "Ya know, it's pretty hard to do it by myself."
The seconds that pass are agonizing, to say the least, nothing but the sound of Kiyoomi's breathing and the erratic pulse behind Atsumu's ear keeping him company. Because as solid and broad and warm as Kiyoomi is, he's so removed from this conversation that Atsumu has to wonder why he's forcing himself to stay in the first place.
The silence is broken when Kiyoomi sighs again, taking a step back and adjusting the mask on his face.
"Get some rest, Miya." He says, before giving Atsumu a tired look that makes him wish he never went out here after all, because he can't discern whether the look is of concern or annoyance, and he doesn't know which one is worse. "Sleep deprivation could turn you delusional." Kiyoomi finishes, finally stepping back into the hallway and walking away from Atsumu without another word.
Atsumu watches his back, deludes himself with the thought that Kiyoomi may have followed him out here to keep him company.
Atsumu lets his head hang, a bitter chuckle escaping his lips and falling to the floor. When he speaks, his voice is barely above a whisper, "Yeah, I think it does."
Atsumu comes home to his brother rubbing a knuckle to the crown of his head, with Suna filming the entire thing behind him and Aran yelling at them to stop. The rest of the team can only laugh at their antics, and Atsumu may have heard a whisper of there goes our week of peace that sounds suspiciously like Akagi.
When the chaos settles, there's one person standing in the middle of it, jacket draped over his shoulder but not worn over the arms that are crossed over his chest.
Atsumu smiles at him like reflex.
"Welcome back, Atsumu." Kita smiles back.
Later that week, when Atsumu finally catches the impending cold from his balcony escapade and tries to push himself to his limits by still training for the day, Kita sends him home.
He's fuming when he gets off the court —he's been off the team for a week and he has a lot of catching up to do and Kita won't let him— but upon entering the locker room and seeing the bag of food and medicine placed on the bench, his anger evaporates into confusion that slowly turns into appreciation as he reads the note attached to it.
He wants to punch something. A locker, or his brother, or himself, preferably, because damn it Kita-san is the best.
Atsumu immediately gets better the next day and comes to practice early to say thanks and apologize to Kita, and when their captain meets his nervous eyes with this knowing look all Atsumu can do is bow.
There's a light touch to his shoulder, and when he doesn't stand up it playfully pinches at his nape. Atsumu winces and jumps up, rubbing the back of his neck with Kita chuckling at him, "Get changed, ya gotta catch up on practice, right?"
Atsumu's lip wobbles at the way Kita smiles at him, but the moment is broken when there's a kick to his ass, and Osamu's voice saying, "Sap."
He chases his cackling brother into the locker room, shame and gratitude overpowered by the need to get back at his idiot twin, and that's the end of that.
Their team practices, and practices some more, and sometimes Suna slacks off but picks himself back up when he sees Kita staring at him, and when Atsumu finally gets to set to his brother again it feels like he's coming back home for the second time that week.
The sound of the ball hitting the court keeps going on and on, resonating inside his head. He imagines hearing it mixed with the cheer of crowds behind him, flashes of cameras, and the shrill sound of the referee's whistle signaling their victory.
Out of all the noise bouncing around him, the loudest thing ringing in his mind sounds suspiciously like Sakusa Kiyoomi. But the line between I want to beat him and I want to win him blurs like a song crossfading to the next one in queue.
That year, Inarizaki falls off the bracket before reaching the finals.
Atsumu feels his frustration tearing him at the seams, but he refuses to cry, not when Kita-san hasn't cried, not when Kita-san told him it wasn't his fault, not when Kita-san told him he was proud even after he fucked up so bad.
He excuses himself from their waiting room, where the others were blowing their noses after bawling their eyes out post-loss and post-Kita-san telling them he wanted to play with them a bit longer.
It was hard to hold back tears when literally everyone was spilling theirs onto their jerseys, and he'd like to hold on to the little dignity he has left, especially after telling Kita he can be proud of him until he gets grandkids.
When he opens the door to the bathroom he sees Kita hunched over the sink with water still running. His shoulders rise and fall in slow, shallow breaths, and Atsumu can see that he's splashed his face a couple of times.
Atsumu can't stand the sight, so as softly as he can, he calls out, "Kita-san."
Kita still startles, shoulders hunching up and fingers tightening around the edge of the sink in a vice grip.
Atsumu steps into the bathroom and closes the door behind him, "Are ya okay?"
Kita sighs, before facing atsumu and nodding, "Just need'a little time."
There's a small smile on his face, gentle yet strong, and Atsumu is once again reminded why he's their captain.
"Oh," Atsumu walks closer, but leaves enough space for Kita's comfort, "do ya want me to leave, or..."
"No," Kita keeps his eyes locked onto him, and it's weird because even though he's the one who's upset, he's still the one giving reassuring looks, "you can stay."
Atsumu nods, but then he realizes that the proposal might have been a mistake, because now he's trapped in an awkward bubble with an upset yet still fundamentally perfect boy, and he has no idea how to offer help.
So, with as much sincerity as he can manage, he reaches over and squeezes Kita's arm, "You did great today, Kita-san."
When Atsumu doesn't let go of his arm immediately, Kita gives him a strange look, but he doesn't shake him off.
In fact, he steps into Atsumu's space and looks up at him like he's daring him to do something.
Atsumu looks back at him, and is surprised to see the usual caramel brown disappear into something more abysmal.
Has Kita's eyes always been this dark?
It beckons him, and slowly, Atsumu leans in. He can smell the sweat and fabric softener wafting from Kita's clothes, can count the individual eyelashes from his closed eyes.
He's strangely calm as he moves his hand from Kita's arm to his jaw, angling his face before leaning down and—
The door opens, the sound of the spring pulling Atsumu and Kita apart, the both of them whip around to see none other than The Sakusa Kiyoomi frozen in the doorway.
Atsumu's heart drops to his stomach.
He watches Kiyoomi's eyes flicker between the two of them, and when it settles on him again he's quick to call out, "Omi?"
There's a flash of something in Kiyoomi's eyes, and Atsumu is quick to catalogue it as disgust. Before it melts into something he doesn't catch as Kiyoomi slips back out of the restroom.
The dull thud of the door closing breaks the spell of silence, and suddenly Atsumu is aware of everything around him, collapsing like a building in the middle of a magnitude nine earthquake.
Atsumu crouches down with his head in his hands, taking wheezing breaths as his panic overtakes his senses.
There's a hand rubbing at his back, but it doesn't serve to comfort him as much as it reminds him of what he just did.
"Oh god." Is the only thing he manages to say.
Kita is silent as he waits for Atsumu's breaths to even out, patting his back gently along the way. He retracts his hand when Atsumu isn't heaving anymore.
"It's him ain't it?"
Kita has always been perceptive. And most of the time atsumu wishes that he wasn't. This was one of those times.
"I dunno what ya mean." Atsumu still hasn't stood up, hasn't taken his hands off his face, and already he's using the best deflection tactic he knows: feigning ignorance.
"Oh cut it." Kita calls his bluff, because of course Kita won't patronize him, "It's alright, ‘tsumu."
When Atsumu still refuses to get up, Kita sighs, running his hand through Atsumu's sweat matted hair once before pinching his nape.
"C'mon, stand up. I'll pretend it never happened."
Atsumu sniffles, chances a look at Kita who was already halfway to the door.
"I'm sorry, Kita-san."
Kita stops in his tracks and squares his shoulders.
"Sorry for what?"
"For," Atsumu fumbles as he stands. What is he sorry for? Almost kissing him? Leaving him hanging? Making him see how stupidly in love he was for someone else after attempting to kiss him?
"For draggin' ya into this mess." he settles with this because it's true. Everything is a mess and Kita just happened to be caught up in it, no thanks to Atsumu.
Atsumu doesn't expect the look of cluelessness on Kita's face when he turns back to him. Head tilted to the side with one eyebrow raised in question.
"What mess?" Kita smiles and shrugs, "We just went to the bathroom to pee."
When Kita walks out Atsumu is left stunned, standing alone in the bathroom of the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium with the ghost of a smile on his lips.
Damn it. Kita-san really is the best.
That year, Itachiyama also falls off the bracket before reaching the finals.
Atsumu has no time to talk to Kiyoomi about it, didn't even have a chance to see his game.
Not that he would've had the guts to show himself anyway.
That year, both their teams fall off of the bracket before reaching the finals.
Atsumu is already on the bus home before he can even get another glimpse of Kiyoomi; they don't get to share the court and they don't get to share their regret over their loss.
Atsumu thinks of Kiyoomi turning away from him before he could read his face earlier and thinks, briefly, painfully, that they don't get to share anything at all.
It's not by a stroke of luck that Inarizaki makes it to finals on Atsumu's third year.
Atsumu, fueled by the grudge of knowing his brother's dropping the sport after this tournament and leaving him alone in something he's only ever known with him, barrels through their opponents with such determination that not even playing three games with full sets could tire him out.
The seeding this year didn't match them up with Itachiyama even once, and that makes it even better because every other team that doesn't have Sakusa Kiyoomi in it is just a low hurdle for atsumu to jump over.
Not having to deal with the want to win someone over at the same time as the want to win against them is a huge weight off his shoulders.
It's like saving the best —and the worst— for last, since it doesn't come as a surprise when he checks the finals bracket and sees Itachiyama right next to Inarizaki.
He can almost laugh at it. He's captain of his team now, Kiyoomi is too, and he doesn't know if it's a mutual thing but he's certainly turned this into some form of personal competition.
It's Atsumu versus Kiyoomi, as much as it is Inarizaki versus Itachiyama, maybe even more so.
He files the thought away, walking to the bathroom before warm-ups start to take a piss and maybe splash his face with some water, but before he can even get there he stops in his tracks upon laying eyes on a familiar neon jersey.
Kiyoomi just stands there too, frozen in place as he stares Atsumu down with a gaze colder than the breeze outside.
They didn't go to youth camp this year, and Inarizaki lost in the semi-finals of the Interhigh, so the last time they saw each other was at that untimely entrance in the same bathroom Atsumu was headed to, and he can't help but wince at the memory.
The look of disgust is still clear in Atsumu's mind.
"Omi-kun." Atsumu greets, smile curving up hesitantly as he watches Kiyoomi's face.
He's still beautiful, curls a bit longer than usual and framing his face better than Atsumu can remember, he wonders if he'll tie it back during the game, wonders how he'll handle the sight.
His voice is deep, deeper than the last time Kiyoomi spoke to him under the Tokyo moonlight. His lips purse, as if he wants to say something else, but he seems to think better of it and grits his teeth instead.
Atsumu chuckles, steps a little closer just to taunt him, but finds himself taken aback by the sheer ferocity in the ink black of Kiyoomi's eyes.
There's a silent challenge in his stare, heavier than any insult he could possibly throw at Atsumu, it says go ahead and try to do what you want.
And Atsumu has a feeling that Kiyoomi has a differnt idea of his wants. Because when Atsumu's hand hovers in between them, what he wants is to cup Kiyoomi's jaw, wants to hold him in place and kiss his lips until he doesn't remember where he starts and where Kiyoomi ends —and he wants him to want the same.
But instead, Kiyoomi's gaze hardens, a steel wall between him and Atsumu that he can't ever get through.
"Don't." Is what he says, and Atsumu's hand curls into a fist at the rejection.
It's funny, after all this time Atsumu still isn't quite used to the sting of being shut out by him.
So he pulls back, smiles in an attempt to save face, and feigns ignorance once again.
"Whaddya mean, Omi-kun? I'm just wishing ya good luck." He tries to walk past him, but the hand he raised earlier rests to clap at Kiyoomi's shoulder instead, lips dangerously close to his ear, voice dipping in the same baritone he uses to threaten new members of the Inarizaki team into giving their all, "You'll need it."
Kiyoomi stiffens under his touch, and Atsumu leaves him standing there, walking away with the phantom heat of Kiyoomi's body under his palm.
They lose to Itachiyama that day. Kiyoomi aiming spike after spike at Atsumu like a personal vendetta.
It's as if he's making up for the punches he didn't throw before the match.
Their eyes meet across the net when they shake hands after the game, and Atsumu, respectful of Kiyoomi's boundaries as always, doesn't let the touch linger for more than two seconds. When he lets go of Kiyoomi's hand, in his face is a there and gone again look of sadness. Before it hardens into the same guarded expression he made as Atsumu reached for him earlier.
It comes as a fleeting thought, but the frown on Kiyoomi's lips makes Atsumu think that maybe he really should've kissed him.
But at this point he knows it's too late. He didn't beat him, nor did he win him.
He just lost to him.
And, as he watches Kiyoomi walk off the court, Atsumu burns the image of him walking away without looking back in his mind to use it as a somber reminder that he already lost him.
By the time Atsumu becomes the starting setter for the Jackals, the few people he's welcomed in his bed looked suspiciously the same: curly hair, taller than him, disinterested in staying the night.
But they were replacements, nothing close to the real thing, and if he moans another name instead of theirs as they rut into each other, then Atsumu pretends it's just the alcohol talking.
They weren't him so he couldn't care less about them leaving, about them holding a grudge, about them refusing to hold him after they fuck.
He wishes he could say the same to who they're an understudy to.
It confuses Atsumu, at first, seeing a boy with a familiar build and even more familiar curls sit in the front row of the Adlers' audience, but he connects the dots eventually, especially when said boy brings a bouquet to an Adlers game and hands it to Ushijima after they just beat the Jackals 2-1.
It happens often enough for Atsumu to pretend he doesn't mind it, neglects the dull throb in the hole of his chest long enough to not lose his breath in the middle of a match, clears his mind of all thoughts except for the urge to crush the team on the opposite court.
He likes to think it's his responsibility to take his team to victory, he's the setter after all, and when he can't do that he takes the burden of blame and carries it with slumped shoulders all the way to the locker room.
"We'll get 'em next time." Their captain would say, clap a hand on his back then walk away.
Atsumu would still blame himself, and he does so because he knows he allowed himself to be distracted, to be preoccupied with the thought that at 19, Kiyoomi starts dating Ushijima, started showing up to his games and tolerated crowds for him.
Meanwhile Atsumu? He's 20 and single and so badly hung up on someone that he allows himself to sleep with his lookalikes.
He hates himself, hates himself enough to project his hatred to someone else. So at 20, Kiyoomi goes back to being Sakusa.
Atsumu believes he's lost the privilege to call him Kiyoomi. After all, the person he's been on first name basis since high school is his boyfriend now.
God, he's so bitter. He's so bitter and angry and stupid because he's been one upped and left behind again, and he can't do anything but take it.
Atsumu tries, plays against the Adlers with a vindication unlike any other. But still they lose. They always lose.
Atsumu takes this as a personal sign from the heavens. There's no winning against him, and there's no winning him.
“I swear to god if you don't get off yer ass and stop mopin', I will throw the T.V. out of the window and blame you if 'ma gets mad."
Osamu's voice comes from above him while Atsumu lies stomach down on their couch, the T.V. playing a live game of the National Collegiate Volleyball Leagues.
He went home for their off-season, and unfortunately, so did his idiot twin.
"Shut up, ‘samu." Atsumu yawns, bleary eyes zipping around and following a single figure on the screen, "I'm not mopin', I just wanna see how good he's gotten.
"You know how good he's gotten. How couldn't ya? You watch his every game as if he's yer next opponent."
Atsumu flinches at his brother's scolding, but he still doesn't move or take his eyes away from Sakusa.
He spikes. The opponent digs it. Yet he still scores.
He really has gotten good.
"News flash, brother," Osamu smacks a spatula to the back of his head, and silences Atsumu's whine by smacking him again on the cheek. It's oily, gross, but Atsumu can't even tell him off when he points the offending thing at him and continues talking, "but ya beat him to it, you're in the pro-leagues while he's still in collegiate."
He's not going to be in collegiate forever.
"He's gonna join the Adlers."
Atsumu sighs, finally sitting up and sitting cross legged on the couch, he hangs his head on the backrest, gives the upside down figure of Osamu a look before continuing, "When he graduates I'm sure he's gonna join the Adlers. He'd be my opponent then, huh, ‘samu?"
Osamu gets this pained look in his face, like dealing with his brother's sullen logic is too much for him today, before he sighs and says, "Who cares if he is? You'll just haf'ta beat him too."
Atsumu says nothing else, burying the side of his face back to the pillow as he continues watching the game.
Sakusa serves. Sakusa scores. The ones on the other side don't stand a chance.
The first set wraps up with Sakusa's team taking the win, and just as they change courts the padding of footsteps sound behind Atsumu again.
"Get off yer ass and eat won't ya? I made tuna onigiri."
"Really?" Atsumu perks up at the mention of food, better yet, food that Osamu made. For him.
His brother has his shoulder leaned on the kitchen's doorframe, and he motions his head towards it when he says, "Yes. Now quit bitchin' and get in 'ere. "
"You're the best, 'samu."
Osamu only shakes his head as Atsumu walks to the kitchen. Behind him, Sakusa Kiyoomi's name falls from the courtside reporter's lips.
They break up in Sakusa's third year in college.
Atsumu knows because Atsumu stops seeing him in the crowds. Atsumu knows because the next time he sees Sakusa on T.V. he has bags under his swollen eyes and he gets subbed out. He knows because when Sakusa once again wins collegiate MVP, he doesn't even smile.
He knows because the next time they play the Adlers, Ushijima is greeted by a hug not from a head of curly hair, but from a red-head with a cat-like smile.
Perhaps, the fates take pity in a mortal's inability to relinquish things, makes them confront what they hold on to so tightly it makes their hands bleed —just to see if they get to hold treasure in their marred hands or wound themselves enough to teach them to let go.
It's the only thing that goes through Atsumu's mind when he walks into the Jackals try-outs during training break and sees not one, but two familiar faces playing on their court.
Hinata Shoyo, who he had paid interest to and even made a pact with during high school, has grown broader and looked like he had his fun in the sun —his pale skin now rendered almost brown with the tan he sports.
Atsumu did hear about his beach training, but he didn't believe it'd be this intense, especially after seeing him jump and practically fly off the floor and into the air to hit a four.
Atsumu gapes at him, and knows immediately that he'll make the team.
"Nice kill!" Atsumu calls out, and when Shoyo turns at him, he smiles so big it lights up his entire face
Still a ray of sunshine after all this time.
"Miya-san!" Shoyo says, and Atsumu waves at him from where he's stood by the bench.
"Miya, don't distract them!" Coach Foster turns and gives Atsumu the stink eye, but Atsumu knows he's fond of him, he's his best setter after all, so he only gives a thumbs up and mouths a little sorry.
It's not like anybody's distracted anyway, all of them too focused on trying to impress coach enough to make it to the team, while some of them are too used to ignoring him.
Sakusa Kiyoomi, collegiate MVP and MSBY's treasure scout, doesn't even spare a glance towards the bench, eyes trained on the setter in front of him and not the one off court.
Atsumu still keeps an eye on him, though, watches him bump a serve so cleanly the setter doesn't even have to move from his spot.
That's a blessing.
He wonders how good it would feel to play with him again, set from his gorgeous passes and set for his even better spikes.
Sakusa makes a run-up, and when the ball leaves the setters fingers, Atsumu makes a disappointed sound at the back of his throat.
Not high enough.
He sees Sakusa hesitate, analyzing the subpar toss before jumping way below his actual contact point, but slamming the ball home nonetheless.
Atsumu has to dig his nails into his palm to keep himself from doing something stupid, like suggest he set for him, just so the coach knows just how much better Sakusa could do than that. And he's this close to making a fool of himself when he's saved by the voice of none other than Bokuto Koutaro.
"Tsum-tsum! Training's back on!" The spikey-haired boy yells from the main court, and Atsumu knows even the people on the side court can hear him, especially when coach turns and glares at Atsumu like he's the one who just yelled at two-hundred decibels.
"Coming!" He says, giving coach a sheepish smile before waving at Shoyo again, who waves back enthusiastically.
Atsumu doesn't have to look to know that Sakusa doesn't spare him a glance.
When Atsumu comes back to the try-outs, he's with the whole team to welcome the new members, two of which he already knew; and while the others introduced themselves and their positions, Atsumu tries as hard as he can to focus on their names instead of the boy standing at the end of the line.
He succeeds, though barely, because it seems as though every time they're separated, Sakusa comes back with a better arsenal of qualities that could possibly knock Atsumu off his feet.
For starters, he's leaner.
And Atsumu doesn't mean that in the way that he used to be a skinny mess, no, it's just that now his biceps bulge when he moves, and his shirt stretches to hug his shoulders and pecs which are now as defined as his jawline is. And his ass, well, Atsumu has to pull his track jacket a bit lower down his front.
It's not just that, he looks more mature now too, it stuns Atsumu to see that his eyes are more open and welcoming than he's ever know them.
When it's his turn to introduce himself, his gaze flickers to Atsumu, who then starts worrying about whether the boy has noticed his problem down there because he mercilessly smirks at him, just for a second.
It was just a slight pull on one side of his lips, but Atsumu has grown so in tune with his stoic face that any shift in his expression comes as a welcome surprise.
"Miya." he says, brazen when he trails his gaze down Atsumu's body, but he still hesitates when he holds his hand out.
Atsumu wants to tease him back, to pocket his hands and only give him a nod, but he's been waiting for a moment where he isn't the first one to reach out, and it's right there in front of him, so swallows his shame and grabs the outstretched hand, "Sakusa."
There's a small twitch to Sakusa's brow, seemingly taken aback by the lack of nicknames, but he recovers quickly, as expected.
Atsumu lets go of him first, giving him a good once over just to see him get conscious, but he doesn't, and Atsumu admires his newfound confidence.
"Good to have you here." Finally.
"Of course it is."
Okay, so now he's hot and playful.
Atsumu's so taken aback he actually laughs.
God, fate, whoever is watching: pity his poor heart.
A few months later Atsumu finds himself stuck in an arena's hallway with people he used to know just before their exhibition match against the Adlers, and just a few seconds ago, Sakusa —who's back to being Kiyoomi— just went out of their changing room to join the party.
Kiyoomi stands next to him right after telling him off for his dramatic reaction to his entrance. They're able to exchange playful jabs at each other now, talk to each other in passing moments within locker rooms, and Kiyoomi even keeps an eye on him to keep him from doing stupid shit.
Atsumu doesn't know if his indifference has evaporated completely or just transformed into controlling tendencies, but he knows that whatever the fuck it is that's happening is far better than what it used to be.
"Wakatoshi-kun," Kiyoomi starts. Weird, it's as if Atsumu expected him to call Ushijima baby or something equally repulsive, but then again, the high-school nickname doesn't sound too pleasing either, "this time, we're coming out on top."
Atsumu stifles the snicker at Kiyoomi's comment, and the conversation blurs in the background as Atsumu processes the active threat Kiyoomi just threw at his ex and the team that has left them ranked number two in the leagues for years now. When irritation finally rises in the shape of Kiyoomi's brow, Atsumu decides to diffuse the situation.
"C'mon, Omi-kun!" he says, bumping Kiyoomi's clothed arm lightly and smiling when he's side-eyed, "Do you always gotta be all prickly 'bout everything? What are ya, a sea urchin?"
The silence that follows is deafening. The shame that comes after is enough to send him to his knees.
"Work with me, here! Please!" Atsumu wheezes, "I'm 'bout ready to lose my mind!"
"Atsumu-san, I thought that was funny!"
Shoyo, bless his heart. His favorite kouhai. The best teammate.
"Yer killin' me! Yer all killin' me!"
There's a sound of sneakers walking past him before he hears Kiyoomi's voice say, "Idiot."
Atsumu makes an indignant sound, raising his head to sneer at Kiyoomi, who promptly ignores him.
"Do you think we could get sea urchin for dinner?" Bokuto asks, and suddenly everyone is in on the conversation about what dinner they should get, everyone except the sea urchin, who's already walking away.
"I think katsudon is better, for more protein." Ushijima says, and Atsumu gets to his feet before deciding that nope, he won't participate in this conversation.
Besides, they all know they're going clubbing after the game, anyway.
"If you'll excuse me." Atsumu says to no one in particular, and walks away to follow Kiyoomi back into the changing room.
"What was that, Omi-kun?" He says immediately once he's in Kiyoomi's hearing range, "Ya like pickin’ fights now? College turned ya into a punk?"
"No, Miya." Kiyoomi sighs, taking off his jacket and hanging it inside his locker, his arm flexes when he pushes his hair off his forehead and Atsumu goes dumb at the sight, "I was just telling the truth. We'll win today."
Kiyoomi spares him a look after saying that, before turning back into his locker and ruffling through his stuff one more time.
"Not that I'm doubting ya or anythin'," Atsumu walks to his locker, the one right beside Kiyoomi's, and opens it to put his jacket inside as well, "but the Adlers are the bane of our team's existence, so what makes ya say that?"
"Miya," Kiyoomi slams his locker shut, accentuating the sound of Atsumu's name falling from his lips. Atsumu doesn't answer, but he stops moving to listen to what he has to say. A long speech probably, a well-prepared vow of revenge tinged with nostalgia for his past.
"You're here, aren't you?" is what he says instead.
Kiyoomi walks out of the locker room again, Atsumu not having enough time to turn around and see his face or ask him what in the goddamn fuck he means.
But Atsumu catches the tips of Kiyoomi's ears turn red before he rounds the corner, and Atsumu doesn't know what to make of that.
Their win against the Adlers is definitely something to be celebrated, but with it being an exhibition match, their opponents didn't take the loss too harshly, and that's how everyone from both MSBY and Schweiden find themselves stuffed in a VIP room of a fancy Sendai club.
Well, everyone except Ushijima and Kiyoomi.
Kiyoomi excused himself after the pep talk coach gave them in the locker room to congratulate their win and thank the two star rookies for their contribution to the game, and he didn't say anything about following after being given the address to the club.
And Ushijima? Atsumu wouldn't be taking any guesses.
Atsumu's still having a good time though, seated on a booth beside Shoyo, who's having an arm-wrestling match with Tobio.
"Let's go, little giant! Ya already beat him on court! Go ahead and crush him again!" Atsumu cheers, and Shoyo laughs as he starts pulling harder.
"Oi! I'm the little giant here!" Hoshiumi yells from beside Tobio, "Don't let him take the name from me, Kageyama!"
And Kageyama, being the obedient boy he is, slams Shoyo's hand onto the table.
"Ha! We win!" Hoshiumi says. A finger is pointed at Atsumu, and he briefly entertains the thought of biting it.
"Oh c'mon!" He leans back on his seat while throwing his hands up, "I was rooting for ya, Sho-kun!"
"You can still root for me in the next round Atsumu-san!" Shoyo says, smile undimmed by the low lights of the club, "Kageyama! Let's have a rematch!”
"Sure sure," Atsumu grabs his glass from the table and pats Shoyo's shoulder as he stands, “lemme just get another drink."
The trek to the bar was difficult considering how packed the bodies on the dance floor were, made even more difficult by the various people who stop him on the way to congratulate their victory, but there's a smile on his face and pride blooming in his chest.
They beat the division 1 champions.
Atsumu shakes his head with a smile as he waits for his drink, leaning forward onto the bar and letting his hips sway to the music booming around him.
"You seem to be enjoying yourself."
Electricity travels from Atsumu's arm down to his shin as he watches Kiyoomi lean his back on the bar top, a drink already in his hand as he gives Atsumu a teasing smirk.
He takes a sip on his drink, and Atsumu has a hard time taking in the black skinny jeans hugging his thighs and his white dress shirt with the first few buttons popped off, exposing his chest.
He looks like a modern god.
"I am now that you're here." Atsumu decides to play along, the drink being handed to him suddenly feels like a necessity if he were to keep talking.
Sakusa chuckles, the alcohol in his system obviously has him loosened up in some way, because it usually takes a lot more than that simple of a jab to get him to even smile.
"Yeah, I get that a lot."
"You go out a lot?" Atsumu is stricken by the information, grip tightening around his glass with the thought that anyone else has seen him looking like this before.
"No." Sakusa says in a teasing tone, chuckling at the look Atsumu sends him.
He holds eye contact, drops his chin to his chest causing his curls to fall over face, and Atsumu gets this strong urge to reach over to push them back for him, but Sakusa beats him to it and throws his head back to finish off his drink.
"What the fuck," Atsumu gawks at him, at his pink cheeks and the glint of mischief in his eyes, "how much have ya had to drink?"
“Enough." Kiyoomi licks his lips, makes Atsumu want to catch his stupid pink tongue, "and I'm gonna have another."
Kiyoomi beckons the bartender to ask for another glass, and, cleanliness standards aside, Atsumu notices how uncharacteristically carefree and spontaneous Kiyoomi is being, making him worry about Kiyoomi's state of sanity.
But the worry leaves him when midnight black eyes meet his, making him gulp at the intensity of its stare.
Atsumu's not a coward, but Kiyoomi's attention feels like being struck with a branding iron, a big bright SK at the center of his chest, accompanied by heat and pain in the middle of his legs that he can't ignore, so he looks away.
The cacophony of club music is nothing to the noise inside his head and the heavy beat of his heart. All this time he thought having to deal with Sakusa Kiyoomi's neglect was hard, but being the center of his attention is far harder.
Atsumu chances a look at him again, the strobe lights paint Kiyoomi's white dress shirt in a disgusting shade of green that reminds Atsumu of the first few years he's held this attraction to this stone-cold, hardheaded asshole, with his flashy highlighter Itachiyama jersey and equally flashy spikes.
He goes back to his drink, but he feels Kiyoomi's eyes follow the line of his arms, then his hips, before stopping to stare at his ass.
He can't blame him, Atsumu being half bent over a counter really is a sight.
"I know I look good, Omi-kun, but ya ain't gotta look at me like that all night." Atsumu says without looking away from his drink.
"And still you're incredibly flustered, Miya."
Atsumu proves his point by getting even more flustered, heat running through his neck and up to his cheeks, which he tries to cover by taking another drink.
God. Who is this cocky bastard and what did he do to Sakusa Kiyoomi?
"We should fuck."
The drink catches in Atsumu's throat and he spits it out so fast he chokes on thin air once it's out, crazed eyes finding Kiyoomi's amused ones as his brain tries to recall if he heard him right.
"What?" Atsumu almost screams once he regains the ability to breathe.
"I'm just saying." Kiyoomi shrugs with one shoulder, and Atsumu has to wrack his brain for any reason for him to be nonchalant about this and comes out with literally nothing, "everyone around here has someone to slide into after this party."
Everyone except us, Atsumu hears even if he doesn't say it.
And, oh, suddenly it makes sense.
Kiyoomi coming to a party, willingly, dressed like that and knowing that the other team would be with them.
He must be so incredibly disappointed.
Because Ushijima isn't here, either, probably already sliding into someone, and it's probably what's egging Kiyoomi on.
Atsumu wants to wince, crumple his face until Kiyoomi finds him repulsive again, because he doesn't want to be treated like a safety net, doesn't want to be the second option to anything.
"You haven't even taken me out on a date yet." But here he is, hiding his pain behind a teasing tone.
"If you're good enough in bed maybe I will."
"I haven't said yes yet, Omi-kun."
"Yeah," Kiyoomi levels him with a knowing stare, like he knows his dilemma, like he can read through him, "but I have a good feeling you will."
Maybe he really can.
"And if I don't?"
This is Atsumu trying to stand his ground.
And yet he still crumbles.
"Is that why you dressed up so pretty, huh?" Atsumu says, playing along, taking anything Kiyoomi can give, leaning into his space and turning him red under his gaze, "to convince me?"
"And what if I did?"
Then you're a goddamn liar.
"Then it's working."
Kiyoomi smirks, leans forward until his lips touch Atsumu's ear, "Good."
They decide to go to Atsumu's room because Kiyoomi said, and he quotes, I'd die before I let anyone into my place.
And Atsumu understands, really, but what's the point of you not letting anyone in your space if you'd let someone else stick their tongue down your throat in the back seat of a taxi, anyway?
Kiyoomi is relentless, hungry, pawing at Atsumu's thighs, and biceps, and chest —so much that Atsumu almost feels sorry for the driver.
The man doesn't seem to mind, though, and he'll be sure to give him a hefty tip once they're dropped off.
Kiyoomi's hand travels south, but Atsumu catches it before it goes any further, "Kiyoomi."
Bleary black eyes stare back at him, looking feral and eager, so Atsumu uses his other hand to hold his chin, plants a kiss on his lips, "Patience, please."
Kiyoomi preens at the attention, pressing further into Atsumu's lips and starting another make-out session that has Atsumu leaning back into his seat with an arm around Kiyoomi's back to keep him steady.
Atsumu's drinking him in, and after all this time of pining for him he feels as though he can never have his fill, but he wants to savor it, the burn of finally having Kiyoomi pressed against him and practically begging for attention. So he pushes him off gently.
"Stop," Atsumu says, and when Kiyoomi tries to kiss him again he just holds his face in his hands, "Omi, we're almost there."
"You're no fun."
Atsumu chuckles at his behavior, but he places his hand over Kiyoomi's thigh, revels in the way he blushes when he pulls him closer with it.
"Oh, but I will be." Atsumu whispers, nipping at his ear.
This is successful in turning Kiyoomi silent, has him wringing his hands in his lap and sitting so rigid Atsumu is scared he'll fly out the windshield if they come to a sudden stop.
"Can I touch you?"
Kiyoomi looks at him weirdly, "You literally just bit me."
"Just making sure." Atsumu chuckles, "So ca—"
Atsumu smiles gently at him, before bringing his hand up to his nape and gently squeezing, giving him a light massage.
"Relax." Atsumu says, coaxes him to sit softer, maybe even lean into him, and Kiyoomi surprises him when he does, "There ya go."
"Shut up." Kiyoomi says, hiding his face in Atsumu's neck, planting little kisses there.
Atsumu blushes, it's oddly so domestic, and he thanks whatever god there is that he's able to see this side of Kiyoomi.
"You're warm. Do you have the flu?”
"What?" Atsumu says, fumbling to hide his face when Kiyoomi gets up from his shoulder, "N–no of course not.”
"Good, because I won't be having se—"
Atsumu is quick to cover Kiyoomi's mouth, widening his eyes at him and motioning to the driver, "Omi. Public."
Kiyoomi only rolls his eyes, pulls Atsumu's hand down by the wrist before leaning forward and whispering, "Don't you think we're obvious enough already?"
Atsumu chuckles nervously, meeting the driver's eyes in the rearview mirror and seeing that he was kind of amused by their situation.
Luckily for him, the cab comes to a stop in front of their hotel and they're out of it immediately.
The hotel their team booked was fairly fancy, and has good security and privacy measures, so when they walk out of the cab and into the lobby together nobody even bats an eye.
Maybe that's why Kiyoomi was bold enough to grab him by the hand and pull him into the empty elevator, not waiting for anyone else to get in and pressing the close button with a sleeve covered finger.
Huh, guess he hasn't lost his mind yet.
Once they're inside Atsumu's room, the click of the lock throws them in a silence that has Atsumu watching Kiyoomi too long, and Kiyoomi watches him back, doesn't stop him when he pulls open his shirt and mouths at his neck.
"So," Atsumu says, stopping just to press his lips at the shell of Kiyoomi's ear, "How do you want to do this?"
"I'm really tired," Kiyoomi sighs when Atsumu sucks at the junction where his jaw meets his neck, "you top."
Atsumu hums, places a kiss on his Adam's apple when it bobs from a swallow, "Okay."
They go through the motions, pull each other's clothes off on the way to the room and leaving articles of clothing like a trail of breadcrumbs to find their way home.
Except Atsumu's already feeling at home.
Especially when he has Kiyoomi, tall and handsome Kiyoomi, spread open on his bed, writhing from his fingers as he readies him.
"Don't hold back, Omi." Atsumu assures him, leaning down and pulling his lip from his teeth, "Room's soundproof."
He tests him with a nudge to his prostate, and Kiyoomi moans breathlessly, making the hair on Atsumu's arms stand up, "That's it, baby. A little more.
"Ah!" The bed creaks as Kiyoomi arches his back, his muscles squeezing around Atsumu's fingers and pulling him in more, "Miya, shit, please."
Atsumu hums, curls his finger upwards one more time, and leans down to suck on Kiyoomi's nipple as he arches up.
He mouths up his chest, supports himself with one arm as he kisses at Kiyoomi's temple, "Relax, Omi-kun. You can't take me like this."
"Yes I can," Kiyoomi gasps at another thrust of Atsumu's fingers before reaching down and grabbing Atsumu's dick in his hand. Atsumu moans, and Kiyoomi fucks down on his fingers again, "yes I ca—please, Miya. I want it."
Atsumu kisses him, just to shut him up, and Kiyoomi is so warm and pliant he feeds his moans into Atsumu's mouth.
"Miya, Miya please." He begs, and Atsumu pushes his fingers in one more time before pulling them out completely.
He rips a condom packet open, aware that Kiyoomi's eyes are on him, and is in the motion of rolling it down when a hand interrupts him, "Let me."
Kiyoomi crawls to him, hands and knees, before leaning and rolling the condom down with his mouth.
He loves this image, wants it all to himself, wants to have it framed on a wall and greet him good morning every day, but he's only a few shy bobs from embarrassing himself by cumming too soon just because of the way Kiyoomi's eyelashes flutter as he takes him all the way down to his throat.
"Omi-kun," Atsumu gasps, "fuck, lie down."
Atsumu pulls his head up with just enough force for it not to hurt, but his fingers tighten on his curls when he moans as he pulls off.
The little shit has the nerve to smirk at him before laying down and spreading his legs open.
Damn you, Sakusa Kiyoomi.
Atsumu crawls over him, guides his dick to his hole and kisses the side of Kiyoomi's lips, "Tell me if this hurts."
He pushes inside, and Kiyoomi's hands fly to his back and claws at it, breath hitching as he tries to take Atsumu's length in.
"Relax. Omi, baby, relax." Atsumu soothes, planting little kisses on his neck and around his face. And it works, because the next thing he knows he has bottomed out and Kiyoomi has his eyes closed shut.
Atsumu stays in place, face hovering over Kiyoomi's as he tries to even his breath, giving him time to adjust, and allowing himself to indulge in the flush of Kiyoomi's cheeks and the raw lust in his eyes when he finally opens them.
Atsumu is taken aback, though, when Kiyoomi places a hand on his face, leans forward and plants a kiss on his lips, dragging it on, slow and tender and barely even using his tongue. When they part, Kiyoomi swipes his thumb at his cheek before pecking him once more, "You can move."
Atsumu hesitates, searches Kiyoomi's face for any sign of pain or discomfort, but Kiyoomi only pushes up against him, "Atsumu. Move."
Atsumu nods and noses along Kiyoomi's jaw, thrusts at a steady pace and lets Kiyoomi's moans guide him with what feels good, at one particular thrust, Kiyoomi mewls.
"Ah! Again, ‘tsumu do that again!"
And Atsumu complies, hitting that spot again and again, getting faster with each coming thrust, causing Kiyoomi's moans get so loud they go quiet, mouth open as he gasps for air.
Atsumu takes his claim, holds Kiyoomi's thighs and pushes them forward until they're on Atsumu's shoulders. He pulls out, leaning down and kissing the scowl off Kiyoomi's lips.
"What are you doing?" Kiyoomi asks as atsumu kisses at his legs.
He leans forward, almost bending Kiyoomi in half just to nip at his lips, "You'll see."
Atsumu slides back home, and Kiyoomi wails at the new depth he's able to reach. Atsumu watches as his eyes flutter every time he ruts into him, the corners of his eyes damp with tears.
He's so gorgeous, so gorgeous it hurts, so gorgeous Atsumu has a hard time controlling himself from absolutely ruining him for anybody else.
"Yer beautiful, Kiyoomi."
He's made a mistake.
Kiyoomi's eyes are blown wide and he's gone quiet, and Atsumu has stilled his motions anticipating his reaction.
When he drops his legs from his shoulder, Atsumu feels like he's lost, once again, but then Kiyoomi reaches for his arms and pulls him down, smashes their lips together like a lifeline, pushes his tongue into his mouth like he can't get enough of how he tastes.
"Move, Atsumu." he says when they pull away, breathless, dark eyes burning and commanding, "Don't you dare stop after saying that. Move."
Atsumu breathes out a laugh, and Kiyoomi pinches his side for it, offering him a smile of his own. Atsumu holds Kiyoomi down by the waist before he fucks back into him with a newfound rigor.
"God," Kiyoomi moans, and his eyes water before his mouth shapes the words Atsumu thought he'd never hear, "I love you."
Their pace slows, Atsumu's grip tightening around his waist and his head dipping on his chest.
It’s not me
"I love you."
Atsumu pick up the pace.
It's not me
"I love you!" Kiyoomi cries, trembles under Atsumu's ministrations, finds purchase in clawing at his deltoids. Atsumu moans in his ear but he wants to yell at him, tell him to stop because he's mistaken, because it can't possibly be me.
Instead, he pushes his hair out of his eyes, wipes away his tears, "Shh, baby, it's okay, I got you."
There's a blush high on Kiyoomi's cheeks and all over his mole littered chest. And he's panting so hard they turn into whines of please, and more, and the shrill wheeze of Atsumu.
It makes Atsumu's hips stutter, head dropping down on Kiyoomi's shoulder, only to look back up and stare.
Kiyoomi's lips are wet with spit and open and he's so, so pretty. Atsumu's the one fucking him but he's the one who's fucked.
Truly, terribly, utterly fucked.
Atsumu speeds up his thrust, trying to dull the ache in his chest, and drown them with the noises Kiyoomi makes instead.
The way he mewls when Atsumu hits his spot, the way he pants in his ear as Atsumu bites at his collarbones, his yelps when Atsumu squeezes his nipples.
Atsumu starts to lose rhythm, but he refuses to give until Kiyoomi was done and unravelling beneath him, so he reaches in between them and takes his leaking cock in his hands.
Kiyoomi cries, and Atsumu pumps in time with his thrusts, and when he feels his dick twitch in his hand he leans down and breathes in his ear, "Come for me, Kiyoomi."
For all his whines and cries, Kiyoomi cums silently.
He comes with a gasp, hot and white and thick all over his stomach, his eyes rolling to the back of his head and arching up so beautifully all Atsumu has to do is watch him unravel before he does so himself.
Atsumu collapses, catching himself just in time to not crush Kiyoomi under him, but the other boy relents, wrapping his arms around his shoulders and pulling him down, holding him close as they both ride their high.
Atsumu pants to catch his breath, he feels little kisses being placed to his shoulder and his neck, hands stroking along his undercut.
Kiyoomi whines when he pulls out, and Atsumu rubs at his hips to soothe him, trying to get up only to have him tighten his grip on him. "Let go, Omi-Omi."
The answer comes in the form of a tighter squeeze.
"Omi-kun, we haf'ta get up and take a shower."
Kiyoomi hums, but he lets his hold go loose enough for Atsumu to look at his face, press a kiss to the moles on his forehead.
"I can't. 'm sleepy." he pulls Atsumu down again, and Atsumu pretends he doesn't mind the feeling of jizz marring his stomach.
"Omi-Omi." Atsumu tries again, whispering low into his ear, an embarrassed blush coloring his cheeks, "I haf'ta take the condom off."
Kiyoomi groans, letting his arms fall to his sides in surrender.
Atsumu stands over the bed butt naked once he's done with the condom. He feels sticky and awful, and he bets Kiyoomi feels worse.
He crawls to him, letting his face hang over the serene image of a nearly asleep Kiyoomi, "Omi, get up or you'll hate yourself in the morning"
He opens one eye, pouts, before his hands wrap around, Atsumu's wrist, "Then I'll hate myself in the morning."
Kiyoomi's hair is matted at the top of his head, some strands sticking on his forehead, he reeks of alcohol and sweat and has cum stains on his torso; Atsumu should find him disgusting, but instead there's a feeling of fondness making a home beneath his ribcage.
"’tsumu," He says, and the feeling grows twice in size, overtakes his lungs. Kiyoomi makes grabby hands at him, and when Atsumu gets into its space he's pulled down in his embrace again.
"Let me, lemme..." The words slur from exhaustion and intoxication, whispered only for Atsumu to hear.
He breathes the smell of his shampoo as the words dissipate into silence, "Let you what, Omi?"
All he get for an answer is a snore.
Atsumu sighs, untangling himself from his limbs before walking into the bathroom to wet a fresh towel and clean him up, get the stickiness off, at least
Atsumu doesn't know how comfortable Kiyoomi would be to wake up next to him —it's one thing to sleep with someone, and it's another to sleep next to them— so he takes the spare blanket in the cabinet and walks to the couch, where he lies awake until the sun shines through the floor to ceiling windows of his four star hotel room.
He's awake when Kiyoomi exits his room, but he closes his eyes, evens his breath, pretends he doesn't feel it when Kiyoomi brushes the hair out of his eyes.
It's only when the lock on the front door clicks does Atsumu cry himself to sleep.
Atsumu doesn't mention the things they've said during the heat of the moment, and Kiyoomi seems to be okay with it, because they go about their days as they normally would: they bicker, they fight, they play volleyball, and they fuck. Sometimes they get dinner together, other times lunch.
And everything's okay, this arrangement is, well, okay.
But most of the time, Atsumu finds himself wishing they were more.
Their loss to the Adlers in the championship league took a toll on everyone in the team.
They were so close, took the first set by a storm but let the second one go by sheer hubris, and the last set was a repeat of the second.
What makes it worse is that the winning point was from a block point.
One they got from Kiyoomi.
So maybe Atsumu has gotten predictable, maybe after all this time of being the twin left alone, he's chosen another spiker that he'll lean towards when in a pinch.
But it wasn't supposed to be like this.
He isn't supposed to see Kiyoomi barely look up in the huddle after the game, silver medal clutched in his hand so tight his fists turn white.
He wasn't supposed to have the usual burden of blame lifted off his shoulders just for it to drop on Kiyoomi.
He knows him, he knows he lets shit go immediately if it's out of his control, he's not supposed to be frustrated –not at Atsumu, not at himself.
So when Atsumu catches him alone in the showers and tells him it isn't his fault, he doesn't expect him to say this.
"My run-up was sloppy because I slipped the last second, I hesitated on that spike, they scored off of it because I made it easy for them." Kiyoomi turns off the sink, and the shower room is bathed in silence, "It's on me."
"No volleyball game is played alone."
"Didn't you listen to me? I just said—"
"Trust me, I'm tired of hearing it too," Atsumu cuts him off, levels him with a look, "but it's true. Coach says it because it's true. Someone could've followed up on that one, but they didn't. And they shouldn't blame themselves because they didn't, neither should you."
Kiyoomi doesn't look at him, instead stares the sink down like it's done him wrong, but then he sighs with closed eyes, "You're terrible."
Atsumu walks closer, and he knows Kiyoomi can feel him as he raises his hand. When Kiyoomi doesn't finch away, he places his hand at his nape, applies gentle pressure.
Kiyoomi relaxes, and Atsumu pulls at him until he has his forehead on Atsumu's shoulder, "Ya know I'm right."
His breath is warm on Atsumu's skin, a low hum sounding from his throat with Atsumu still rubbing at the back of his neck.
"Say," He whispers in Kiyoomi's ear, pulling him off with a tug on his curls, holds him in place as he frowns at Atsumu, "I'll let ya top tonight if you stop looking so sad.”
"What makes you think I'll be sleeping with you tonight?"
Atsumu shrugs, "We both need it."
And Kiyoomi smiles, teeth barely peeking out from his mouth, Atsumu wants to place a kiss on his damn lips, "Deal."
And that's how Atsumu finds himself pinned down his own bed with Kiyoomi laying waste to the entirety of his torso —biting, sucking, nipping at anything he can latch his mouth onto.
"Omi," Atsumu whines when Kiyoomi goes lower, teeth marking the inside of his thigh, "not there."
"You like it," Kiyoomi makes his point by biting down again, now closer to Atsumu's pelvis, licks at the mark once he's done, "so why not?"
The visual of his dark eyes staring him down, pinning him in place without even touching him, has Atsumu preening. He covers his face with his forearm before saying, "It's embarrassing."
"It's hot." Kiyoomi scales himself up, takes Atsumu's arm off his face and says with a smirk, "You're hot."
"God, shut up."
Atsumu pulls him down, crashes their lips together so hard he's sure it'll bruise. It has Kiyoomi slamming his hand on the headboard to pull himself away, but Atsumu bites on his lower lip, tugging at it for a bit before letting it go.
He draws blood, just a bit, and he gapes at the sight of Kiyoomi licking it off without breaking eye-contact.
Atsumu smirks, "Satisfied?"
And oh, he really wasn't, because three hours and two rounds later, he's still pounding into atsumu —bruised, hungry, whining Atsumu. Taking out all of his frustrations on him, and Atsumu just lets him.
"Kiyoomi," He cries, raising his hips and meeting Kiyoomi's thrusts, "faster, please."
"Shit," Kiyoomi curses, wraps Atsumu's legs around his waist before thrusting back in, making Atsumu's mouth fall open, but no sound comes out.
Kiyoomi holds his jaw in one hand, turns his head so he faces him with eyes that are obviously having a hard time keeping themselves open, "Just how much can you take, huh?"
"More," Atsumu leans his head back, making Kiyoomi's hand fall to his neck, "I can take more."
Kiyoomi growls into his ear, and suddenly there's a tight grip closing into the sides of his neck.
Kiyoomi fucks him like that, hand around his neck, thrusting deep and fast and using Atsumu's lithe body any way he wants. And god, it feels so good, his head is swimming from the lack of oxygen and it makes focusing on the feeling of Kiyoomi sliding in and out of him so much easier, like it's the only thing he knows.
Atsumu doesn't know what sounds he makes, what other things Kiyoomi does to him, he just lets it happen, drowns himself in the feeling of pleasure that flows from Kiyoomi's body down to his.
When Kiyoomi releases his grip from his neck, the first breath of air hits him at the same time Kiyoomi's dick hits his prostate. And it has him cumming in stripes over the both of them.
"That's it," Kiyoomi rides his high with him, not stopping his movements until Atsumu's gone dry, "good boy."
Atsumu barely registers Kiyoomi pulling out and getting off the bed, doesn't move when he feels him wipe down his chest with something cold, doesn't say anything when a hand cradles his cheek and swipes beneath his eyes.
Kiyoomi calls his name, once, twice, trying to check if he's still awake, and all Atsumu can do is raise his brows in acknowledgement.
Kiyoomi's voice drops to a whisper, his hand travelling from Atsumu's face to right below it.
"I might've left some marks," Kiyoomi retraces the purpling shape of his fingers around Atsumu's neck, "visible ones. Sorry."
"Mmm..." Atsumu hums, sated, not yet down from the high that is cumming over Kiyoomi dicking him down until he's literally breathless, "I'm yours to mark anyway."
Kiyoomi's hand stills on his neck, "What?"
Atsumu's eyes snap open.
"I—I mean," Atsumu stutters, postcoital clarity catching up to him at the last second, trying to make up a decent excuse and coming up with nothing, "fuck, I don't know what I mean."
Kiyoomi withdraws his hand from him, and suddenly he feels empty and cold, takes Kiyoomi's silence as the answer to whatever his stupid mouth just let out.
Atsumu closes his eyes and leans down into his pillow, all he can offer is a nervous laugh, "You can leave if you want."
He wants to hide, wants to bury himself in his blankets and cry until he's dry. He's so mortified. So stupid. So—
"I'm not repulsed by the idea. If that makes you feel better." Atsumu snaps his head up at the familiar phrase, meets Kiyoomi's eyes and sees his jaw tick, like he's holding back a smile.
Kiyoomi leans forward, sweeps Atsumu's hair out of his eyes, before finally giving a closed lip smile and standing to leave.
"I'll see you Monday, Atsumu."
Atsumu watches him go, broad back and rippling muscles, littered with red scratches.
All Atsumu's doing.
The door closes, and Atsumu is left stunned.
He deflates, falls unceremoniously on the bed and stares at his ceiling, with the image of Kiyoomi’s lips smiling and shaping around the syllables of his name.
He's so far gone.
Osamu hums, they're on the floor in Atsumu's apartment for their weekly videogame competitions, and Osamu has him completely beat at Mario kart, but he's going to try and change that tonight.
"Do you think Omi," He sees Osamu raise a brow at him in the corner of his eye, "Sakusa, I mean, do you think he likes me?"
"I don't know? Why don't you ask him yourself?"
Osamu rounds a corner effortlessly, Atsumu almost falls off track.
"Why can't you?" Osamu throws a green shell at him the moment he takes the lead, ignoring the breath of asshole from his brother, "Don'tcha have his phone number?"
"Yeah but it's for emergencies."
Osamu's face scrunches, "Emergencies as in for when ya want to sleep with him?"
Atsumu tries to deny it, but his brother is relentless and just keeps talking, "And, take note, you've been sleeping with just him for months now. Are ya kidding me?"
"It doesn't work like that," Atsumu relents, looking for a way to defend himself only for Osamu to glare at him, "look, just 'cause I only sleep with him don't mean he only sleeps with me."
Osamu chuckles, passes the finish line first and cheers, Atsumu wants to throw the controller at his head.
But Osamu puts his controller down and faces him, raising a brow as if to say I'm listening, explain yourself.
"Me liking him doesn't mean he likes me back." Atsumu says, doesn't meet his brother's eyes as he reaches for the bowl of popcorn in between them, passing it over to Osamu after taking a handful for himself.
"Isn't Sakusa like, a germaphobe?" Osamu says, taking the bowl from him.
Atsumu thinks about it, he is. He does things like wipe down counters and soak utensils in boiling water he requested and covers his fingers with his sleeves before pushing doors open.
But he's very tactile with Atsumu.
"Yeah but I think he's gotten over it?" Atsumu says, unsure, "He lets me touch him."
Osamu gets an even more confused look on his face. "Does he let others though?"
Now that Osamu’s brought it up, Atsumu remembers how Kiyoomi still doesn't allow high fives in court. Still doesn't let anyone put a hand in him during huddles. Still walks around with a mask and doesn't take fan gifts.
"I— what would that mean, anyway?" Atsumu sputters, not knowing what to tell his brother and not wanting to hold on to hope, "I don't know! I never ask him."
"So whadd’ya think you are to him, then?" Osamu says around a mouthful of popcorn, one kernel falling from his lips, "A long term booty call?"
Atsumu wants to smack his brother, maybe even Suna Rintaro, because he's sure it's his fault his little brother knows these words.
"Shut yer mouth when ya eat, you slob." Atsumu says instead.
Osamu laughs, gives Atsumu this knowing look that says, you used to not care about this shit, and Atsumu reaches over to hold him by the collar, which he easily dodges.
"I don't know, ‘tsumu," Osamu shrugs, keeping Atsumu away with a foot to his chest as his brother keeps trying to get him, "but if you try to think, just for a moment, and connect the dots, there's a high chance that you'll like what you discover."
Atsumu gives up with a sigh, plopping down by the couch armrest. He knows his brother is trying to help in his own way, and that's by slewing him riddles, because Osamu never likes giving things away without making you work for it.
But he's Atsumu's twin. He could never confuse him. Although knowing the meaning of what he's trying to say isn't as reassuring as he wanted it to be.
Because it relied too much on hope.
Osamu must've read it on his face too, because he throws a single popcorn into his mouth, makes a show of chewing it before swallowing to say, "Or y'know, ya could just ask him."
"What if he says he doesn't?"
"So what if he says he doesn't like you? Ya got nothing to lose."
Atsumu leans his head back on the couch with a sigh, "That's where you're wrong."
The thought of reverting back to the active avoidance, the dinning disregard, and the constant cold from Kiyoomi after literally having him at the palm of his hands is debilitating, makes him want to claw a hole in his head just to get the image out.
He doesn't think he can handle losing Kiyoomi again. Not after everything. Not anymore.
He has everything to lose.
and maybe then we'll remember to slow down,
and all of our favorite parts.
It takes a week and a half and an earful from Osamu with every phonecall to convince Atsumu to finally confront Kiyoomi.
So now, on their day off, he stands a few floors above his apartment, in front of Kiyoomi's door.
He knocks once, twice, before tucking his trembling hands into the pockets of his jacket.
He tells himself that he'll leave if Kiyoomi doesn't answer at the count of ten, and is already at seven when a lock being unlatched sounds from the inside.
The door opens, and he's met with the image of Sakusa Kiyoomi without a mask and his hair pulled up with a bow clip.
Oh man, he's adorable.
"Omi-kun." Atsumu stares.
"Atsumu." Kiyoomi says, and he must've realized what Atsumu's been staring at because his eyes suddenly go wide and he's pulling the hair clip out in a second, his hair falling over his eye in tighter curls, "What are you doing here?"
"I— can I," Atsumu manages to say, but his tongue catches and he has to swallow to be able to continue. Kiyoomi's patient with him, watches him as he says, "Can we talk? I don't need to come in, I'll be quick."
"Sure," Kiyoomi's eyes sweep up his figure before moving aside, and his apartment comes into view, "but come in."
Atsumu had half the mind to shower before coming here, knowing how particular Kiyoomi was with people in his space, but he never really anticipated that he'd let him into his unit, was planning on talking in the hallway for easy escape if things go south.
But now, he's taking his shoes off and putting on the slippers Kiyoomi just handed to him, gingerly sitting on the couch, barely touching it and letting his strong thighs support most of his weight.
"Sit properly," Atsumu startles, almost falls on his ass, when Kiyoomi appears in front of him holding an empty mug, "want a drink?"
"I'll get you rootbeer."
Atsumu blushes, he had once mentioned to him how rootbeer was one of his guilty pleasures, and back then Kiyoomi had only scrunched his nose. He didn't think he'd remember, didn't think he'd keep some in store, "Yeah, thanks."
Later Kiyoomi presses a cold mug into his hands and sits down beside him, and he's obviously comfortable here, since he even pulls his legs up on the couch until he can hug his knees and lean his head on it, facing Atsumu.
Atsumu takes a sip, staring down at the mug and savoring the sweetness and cold on his tongue, lets it give him confidence to start talking, "Kiyoomi,"
He raises his head, sees Kiyoomi staring at him, a soft look in his eyes urging him. Go on, it says, I'm listening.
"I know it doesn't seem like it but I, uh," Atsumu clears his throat, looking Kiyoomi straight in the eye when he says, "I'm not someone who sleeps around."
Atsumu's eyes flutter with the effort of looking into Kiyoomi's. Here, he feels vulnerable, open, overwhelmed by the pure, unadulterated attention from Kiyoomi, who still hasn't taken his eyes off him.
"I know you're not."
"Then why," Atsumu's grip tightens around the mug, here goes nothing. "why do you keep asking me to sleep with you?"
"Because I want you to."
The answer comes in a second, without a trace of hesitation. And it isn't what Atsumu had expected, no, so he reels from it, deconstructs it in his head and tries to figure out what Kiyoomi might've omitted.
In the end, he just asks, it's what he's here for anyway, "what do you mean?"
Kiyoomi's lips lift for a second, "If you haven't noticed, I've only been exclusively sleeping with you too."
"What?" Kiyoomi has his brow raised, like he's the one who's confused as to why Atsumu couldn't get what he's saying. But there's really no getting what he's saying, not if he means what Atsumu thinks he means.
"You like me?" He finally asks, putting the mug down on the coffee table in front of them, "Are you saying you like me?"
"I have for the last couple of years, but yes, thank you for noticing."
"What —years?" That doesn't make any sense. "Then why did you date Ushijima?"
Kiyoomi averts his eyes, hides half of his face behind his knees, "Because I liked him. Because it was better than me liking you when you didn't want me."
Atsumu's ears ring, and he springs up from the couch in his haste to deny it, "What the fuck? Of course I wanted yo—"
"No." Kiyoomi cuts him off, forces him to shut up with the intensity of emotion in his eyes as he looks up at him, "You wanted to tease me, to piss me off, you wanted me to blow a fuse so you could hold it over my head for the longest time, because you want to get back at me for not playing nice the first time we met. I was determined to make it up to you, but every time you acted like you weren't even fucking affected. Is that how you want me?"
Atsumu stands there, speechless as he watches Kiyoomi take his feet off the couch with a sigh and lean his elbows down on his knees. He looks up and give him a bitter smile, "I know you, Atsumu. I know you didn't."
Atsumu is stuck in place, pinned down by the confession tinged with accusations. He doesn't know where to focus: the fact that Kiyoomi was laying his heart bare right in front of him or the fact that his past actions are being thrown at him like knives.
Kiyoomi wrings his hands together, takes a deep breath, "I had to deal with myself all those times I saw you and knew I had no chance. I went to college and got a bit of reprieve, dated other people, picked myself up, but then I joined MSBY, everything came back, and," He sits rigid, runs a hand through his hair, breathes a nervous laugh, "you have no idea how tired Motoya was of my late night panic calls."
Suddenly, Atsumu understands.
All this time, he'd been so scared of moving forward because he thought Kiyoomi hated him, when Kiyoomi was just avoiding him because he'd assumed his own feelings for him?
What the fuck.
"I wanted you." Atsumu said, through his teeth, not being able to keep the exasperation from his voice, "I wanted you so bad it hurt. I wanted to touch you, see you, talk to you every day. It hurt when Ushijima took that chance, it hurt to even see you in the crowds but on his side. I didn't need to see you kiss, or hug, or even be remotely affectionate for it to hurt me."
Kiyoomi's wide eyes were staring up at him now, surprised by the pain laced in his tone.
"Is that it, huh? Is that you knowing me?" Atsumu asks, dares, waits for the flicker in Kiyoomi's eyes where he realizes how wrong he was, and feels awfully frustrated when it doesn't come, "You didn't know shit."
The tense seconds they spend staring at each other makes Atsumu want to bolt, process his feelings alone in his apartment and come back when he doesn't feel so wasted, but then a sound escapes Kiyoomi's throat that sounds awfully like a giggle.
"God," he spits, then he's full on throwing his head back cackling, "we're so stupid."
"Omi?" Atsumu gapes at him, fully convinced he's broken, "Kiyoomi, stop it I'm being serious!"
"So am I." There's a huge smile on Kiyoomi's lips, and he's barely containing his chuckles as he stands up and steps towards Atsumu.
"How are ya being serious when you’re laughing yer ass off?" Atsumu defends, takes a step back when Kiyoomi walks into his space, "Stop laughing at my feelings an—"
"Shut up, Miya."
The smile falls off Kiyoomi's face, replaced instead by a somber look as he uses his height advantage to tower over Atsumu, who freezes in place, almost holds on to Kiyoomi to not fall backwards.
Kiyoomi catches him by the forearms and holds him in place.
"The first time we fucked I told you I loved you." His eyes bore into Atsumu's, searching for a sign that he remembers, and he must've seen it, because he squeezes Atsumu's arm in his hands, "I thought you got it by then."
Atsumu's mouth opens in a gentle gasp, "You meant that?"
"I'm a very straightforward guy." Kiyoomi says, and Atsumu frowns at him, which has him smiling sheepishly, "Usually.”
"But, I thought," Atsumu wants to push him away, places his hands on his bicep to ready himself with the motion.
Kiyoomi only holds him tighter, "Thought what?
"I thought you didn't mean it," Comes as a whisper, Atsumu's head turning away in shame, "I thought it wasn't me."
"Who else would it be?" Kiyoomi asks gently, his face now so close to Atsumu he can see the shift in his brow from his peripheral.
"Miya, look at me." Kiyoomi demands, and when Atsumu doesn't move he noses along his temple. "Atsumu."
Atsumu shivers, the way his name falls from Kiyoomi's lips like a prayer never fails to make him listen, and he looks up through his lashes.
"Stay tonight," Kiyoomi holds him by the chin, searches his eyes for any refusal to the proposal, before pressing their lips together with barely there pressure. It's so soft, his lips, Atsumu hasn't had the time to appreciate it like this, it almost makes him whine when they part. But Kiyoomi takes his face in his hands and places a kiss to his forehead, calming him down before saying, "I'll tell you again and again until you believe it."
Atsumu's breath hitches, and all he can do is wrap his arms around Kiyoomi's torso and nod.
Kiyoomi's room, which smells of lemon and hospital grade disinfectant, goes warm and stuffy in the middle of the night as they make it their business to explore each other's bodies in ways they couldn't indulge in before.
Kiyoomi had insisted on keeping one light open, so he can watch Atsumu's face, he said, see every expression as he touches him, see every move as he opens him up and takes whatever he wants, see every part of him that only he has the privilege to see and commit it to memory.
The light comes from the lamp on his bedside —the one that almost got knocked off the moment they started after Kiyoomi inserted a lube covered finger cold, not even bothering to warm it up in his haste to start—it bathes the room in warm cream strokes of light, the lampshade softening the glare, and it makes Atsumu look ethereal.
The gold streaks of his hair catches on the light just right, and the flush on his cheek coupled with his wet lips and teary eyes makes him look like a renaissance painting of a God.
And Kiyoomi worships him.
He kisses at his neck, holds his body like a marble statue straight out the Louvre, and grinds his hips with the languid rhythm of someone adamant in pulling him apart, and fall apart, Atsumu does.
He moans, and whines, and pants, and practically begs Kiyoomi to kiss him, and when they part, Kiyoomi says, "I love you."
The way he looks at Atsumu leaves no room for doubt, he loves him, and Atsumu knows now.
It all comes crashing down on him, the realization, that finally, finally, Kiyoomi was his.
Atsumu has won.
"This was," Atsumu gasps through the lump in his throat. There are tears clumping his eyelashes, and Kiyoomi doesn't take his eyes off him as they move their bodies together, kissing the side of his face, "God, this is all I wanted."
Kiyoomi nods by his neck, peppering butterfly kisses on his jaw, and Atsumu wants to see him, wants to look at his face and tell him what he feels too.
So he does.
He holds Kiyoomi's face in his hands, the boy not stopping his movements as they pant into each other's mouths. Atsumu pulls him down, pecks him once, and leans their foreheads together when they part.
"All I wanted was you."
He smiles up to his eyes and Atsumu is allowed only a few seconds to savor the moment before Kiyoomi's burying his face in his neck.
And Atsumu wants to see it again, but Kiyoomi holds on to him and bites at his skin.
It makes Atsumu yelp, and the marks left by the jagged tips of Kiyoomi's teeth burn as he comes up, but nothing burns more than the feeling of Kiyoomi leaning down until they're flush, chest to chest, breath mingling before Kiyoomi moves his head to the side.
"Save the sentiment for after I've cleaned you up," He says, right by Atsumu’s ear, before licking a stripe down his neck and moaning at a particularly hard, particularly accurate, thrust into Atsumu's prostate.
"Shit," Atsumu cries. He knows what Kiyoomi's doing, trying to revert the attention from the quiver in his lip back to Atsumu, and it works, it works because damn it he's good with his hips, "Omi!"
"I know, love." Kiyoomi says, reaching down and pumping Atsumu's dick as he kisses his cheek, "Let it out."
With Kiyoomi's deep voice whispering sweet nothings into his ear, Atsumu comes for the first time that night.
Atsumu wakes up wearing nothing but boxers.
He doesn't open his eyes immediately, and the sheets that cover his body are oddly unfamiliar, but he knows why —if the soreness of his entire body is any clue.
He opens his eyes to see that the sun is already up, and judging by its brightness it must be about 7am. The space beside him on the bed is empty, but when he feels around it, it's still warm.
Kiyoomi hasn't been gone long.
There's a sound of the bathroom door opening and closing, and Atsumu quickly pretends to be asleep again.
Kiyoomi's footsteps are light, as to not disturb Atsumu, and that little detail sends butterflies fluttering around his ribcage, especially when the bed barely makes a sound as he carefully sits on its edge.
He's such a sap.
Atsumu chances a peek again, seeing Kiyoomi hunched over his phone, oblivious to the fact that he's being watched.
He stares at Kiyoomi's bare back, now broad and familiar, and somehow finds it unbelievable that there have been so many times where this view had made him feel exiled, unwelcome.
Atsumu plays every single moment where he's had nothing but Kiyoomi's scowls to his teasing, Kiyoomi's scoffs to his jokes, Kiyoomi's glares to his challenges.
He rewinds the tapes of them pushing and pulling away at each other, yellow and maroon blending filthy until it's black, fast forwards to the juxtaposition of the white of the sheets shared between them now. He tries to peek at the scenes cut from his view, snapshots of reciprocated longing gazes that he never noticed, and wonders how much he has missed.
So many things have changed, he went from prepubescent boy trying to impress his crush to an adult taking what's offered to him without a care for the consequences —but the want, it's always there, constant like the static playing on every television channel, present even when the station disconnects.
He wanted Kiyoomi then as much as he wants him now, and he knows he'll want him in every tomorrow he's able to wake up to.
"Good morning." Atsumu says, finally breaking the silence.
Kiyoomi turns, and it's ridiculous how quickly Atsumu's heart picks up its pace, especially when Kiyoomi grins.
"Good morning, 'tsumu."
Kiyoomi leans over him, and only then does Atsumu realize that he's going for a kiss, to which Atsumu immediately covers his mouth with his hands, an embarrassed flush climbing his cheeks.
"I haven't brushed my teeth." He says behind his hands.
Kiyoomi just shakes his head before pulling his hands off and leaning closer, "I'll cry about it later."
Their lips meet, and Atsumu believes he just might die of a heart attack with how much his heart is skyrocketing.
He can taste the mint from Kiyoomi's mouth and chases it with his tongue. Kiyoomi pushes back, because he's Kiyoomi —never backs down, always ready for a challenge Kiyoomi.
The film reel is still playing in Atsumu's head, every word from Kiyoomi's lips a permanent fixture of his brain, wondering how he ever got so lucky. He flashes back to their first night together, and, in a stroke of playfulness, one thing particularly sticks.
I'd die before I let anyone into my place.
And yet here he is, letting Atsumu sleep on his bed and kissing him before he could even get up to wash the crust off his eyes.
The memory of a tipsy Kiyoomi proclaiming that to the world is incredibly funny to Atsumu's sleep muddled mind, and he pulls away with a chuckle.
"What?" Kiyoomi says, playfully rubbing their noses together.
Atsumu loves him, loves the stupid elusive smile on his face and the moles on his brow and the curls on his head. He loves him so much he’s willing to watch nothing but reruns on an old black and white television, as long as it’s with him.
"Hey, Kiyoomi." Atsumu says, teasing as he holds his face in his hands, gives him one more peck for good measure, "Are ya dyin' yet?"
Kiyoomi tilts his head to the side in confusion, but he must've gotten it, because his face brightens up and his ears go red. Atsumu's ribcage couldn't be any fuller, heart pounding with emotion for the boy he’s chased across courts and screens, and as he holds Kiyoomi, he feels the fluttering beat underneath his fingers and knows he feels the same.
Kiyoomi smiles, the pulse on his neck still thundering dangerously, and he presses a kiss at the palm of Atsumu's hand, "I might be."