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"Fuck me," is the first thought that crosses Sugawara Koushi’s head as soon as he spots a familiar head of brown, styled hair and black-rimmed glasses.

 

Oikawa Tooru enters the crowded room with the ease of someone who’s used to events like this, who’s been to too many galas and dinners and opening ceremonies to keep count. And yet, every time, he manages to turn all heads — including Suga’s own.

 

"And why wouldn’t he?" Suga asks himself, stuck in place and still staring. Oikawa is stunning in that suit and tie, cut in elegant black and white lines that hug his shoulders and outline his long legs, his pretty face framed by hair that he must’ve spent hours fixing.

 

"The glasses are a nice touch too," Suga thinks absentmindedly. They make Oikawa appear oddly adorable even when the rest of him is screaming something completely opposite. And they don’t cover up his pretty eyes… the same ones that Suga has had the unfortunate luck to meet in his most awkward, unlucky moments.

 

For example, two years ago, at an event similar to this one, Suga had had too much to drink, hadn’t eaten enough, and had subsequently had to make a run to the nearest bathroom to be sick. Oikawa had just happened to also be in the bathroom at the same time, they had collided at the door, and Suga had lost the contents of his stomach all over Oikawa’s shiny, leather shoes.

 

One year ago, Suga had knocked over an entire tray of champagne flutes at a dinner party. Oikawa had been five feet away and had witnessed the entire thing.

 

Two months ago, Suga’s best friend Sawamura Daichi had started dating Kuroo Tetsurō and Kuroo is friends with Oikawa and so Suga had somehow gotten roped into an awkward blind double date that had ended with him spraining his ankle and having to be carried out of the bowling alley by no other than Oikawa himself.

 

All of those times, Suga remembers Oikawa’s eyes because they had been focused on no one else but him. Needless to say, it hadn’t been the kind of attention Suga had ever wanted.

 

The only plus to all of it had been that Oikawa has very, very nice eyes. They’re the warmest brown Suga has ever seen, but there are also flecks of gold there, little sparks of fire that glow when they catch the light.

 

Eyes that Suga could drown in, that he’s drowning in right now, that are looking at him with something that sort of looks like intense amusement…

 

"Fuck." Suga startles, jerking enough to slosh a little bit of the drink in his hand out onto the floor because Oikawa is looking at him right now, from across the room, his lips twitching with a poorly concealed, full-force grin.

 

Suga whirls back around to the bar, his ears burning. "Fuck, fuck, fuck," he chants in his head. Mortification simmers in his gut.

 

He throws back the last of his whiskey in an idiotic attempt to dull the embarrassment still tingling over the back of his neck, but it only adds fuel to the fire and suddenly Suga is a jittery bundle of nerves.

 

"He was supposed to be out of town," he bemoans silently. Daichi had specifically told him so — that Kuroo had said that Oikawa had said that he would be visiting his grandmother over the weekend in a town three hours from Tokyo. That’s the only reason that Suga had agreed to come to Kuroo’s latest gallery opening, because they had both assured him that Oikawa couldn’t make it and because -

 

Suga stops suddenly, a realization flashing across his mind. And then he growls in his throat. "Those two…," he thinks murderously, turning around slowly.

 

As if on cue, he meets Kuroo and Daichi’s eyes across the room, the two of them near the entrance. They both have the decency to look somewhat sheepish and it only confirms Suga’s suspicions.

 

"I’m going to murder you," Suga mouths, miming a knife across his throat with his finger. Daichi flushes a bright red, but Kuroo only smirks… which just intensifies Suga’s burning desire for revenge.

 

They had betrayed him… deliberately. Even Daichi — his closest confidante, his childhood bestie. They both knew what embarrassing things Suga had experienced in front of Oikawa. It was most of the reason why Suga avoided the other at all costs now. Well, that, and also because, like it or not, Suga had somehow managed to form a tiny, itty bitty, enormous crush on his best friend’s boyfriend’s friend — which Kuroo and Daichi also knew.

 

Setting his empty glass down on the bar top, Suga is gearing himself up to march across the room and give them both a piece of his mind when the worst thing possible happens.

 

"Hello, Kou-chan."

 

The voice sounds very, very close to Suga’s left ear, a wash of spicy-smelling cologne trailing behind the words, and Suga halts mid-step, freezing like a deer in headlights.

 

"Threatening your friends isn’t very nice, is it?" Oikawa towers over him as Suga’s gaze slowly and ever so painfully slides sideways and up, meeting a smirk and eyes that burn with nothing but trouble.

 

"Fuck me," Suga thinks not for the first time that evening.

 

Clearing his throat, Suga snaps back into real-time quickly, hoping he looks bored and nonchalant when he answers, "Sometimes they deserve to be threatened."

 

Oikawa laughs a bit — a beautiful, melodious noise that Suga’s heart quickens at the sound of. "Point taken," Oikawa answers, eyes flicking away towards the front of the room before they return to Suga’s face. "But, you know, it’s not all Tetsu-chan’s fault. And poor Dai-chan just got pulled into the mix of things, so take it easy on him, okay?"

 

Suga raises an eyebrow at that, pulse thrumming faster at Oikawa’s insinuation. "What do you mean?" he asks, clearing his throat again, reaching for his glass before he realizes that the bartender has whisked it away and that it had been empty anyway.

 

Oikawa notices the movement. He turns to the bar more fully — ignoring the man on his other side that has been surreptitiously but surely inching closer ever since Oikawa came over here — and orders two drinks before returning his attention to Suga.

 

"Oh," Suga says, a little too late, "you really didn’t have -"

 

Oikawa shakes his head. "I need one and you look like you need one," he teases and Suga feels the burn in his ears travel to his cheeks and neck. He curses inwardly for finding Oikawa so damn attractive and for being so obviously affected by literally everything that comes from his perfect mouth.

 

"As for your question," Oikawa continues, "I was the one who asked Tetsu-chan to lie to you."

 

All of Suga’s thoughts go straight out of the window, his mind jumbling like the mess of art on the white walls around them. But he doesn’t have time to think too hard about Oikawa’s words before the bartender returns, sliding two crystal glasses over the mahogany towards them.

 

"Here," Oikawa says, pushing one towards Suga. For the first time that night, he looks… unsure.

 

Suga averts his eyes. It’s weird to see Oikawa like that, but he’s also not really sure how to respond because he doesn’t really know what Oikawa had meant.

 

Why would he have asked Kuroo to lie? Is it because Oikawa wants to be friends with his best friend’s boyfriend’s friend and he knows that Suga feels awkward around him? Suga already knows it’s painfully obvious when he turns down an invitation for the four of them to go out drinking or to karaoke or even just for a friendly scrimmage of volleyball. Is that why Oikawa has cornered him here? To tell him that they both need to make a better effort to be friends to avoid putting strain on both of their best friends?

 

Suga takes a grounding sip of his drink. It tastes like whiskey and something sweeter, and he thanks the stars for the numbing burn of the alcohol as it slides down his throat.

 

There’s an awkward, full silence between the two of them for a few minutes. The noise of the exhibition fills in the space, people mingling around the large flat and sipping drinks and chatting. Kuroo’s art and photography grace the walls with color and beauty, and the twinkling fairy lights he has strung up everywhere give the whole room an odd blue tinge that somehow compliments his work perfectly.

 

Suga takes a few more swigs, his pulse hot and heavy at his wrists. He’s kind of wondering when Oikawa is going to leave to talk to someone else but even though a few people try to catch the other man’s eye, Oikawa stays right where he is.

 

Mustering up his voice, Suga turns at the same time that Oikawa does, the two of them speaking simultaneously.

 

"So," Suga starts just as Oikawa says, "Listen…"

 

They both laugh awkwardly, take simultaneous drinks from their glasses. "You first," Suga manages to blurt out before Oikawa’s finished swallowing. The rushed action makes the whiskey burn just a little bit more on its way down but Suga manages not to choke in front of the other, blinking back the prick of tears at the corners of his eyes.

 

Oikawa looks surprised for a moment before he recovers, smoothing down an imaginary wrinkle in his suit and keeping his head down. Suga tries not to stare. Oikawa is acting… nervous.

 

Feeling a little more at ease at the newfound knowledge, Suga lets his shoulders relax a bit, leans against the edge of the bar and waits.

 

"Um," Oikawa starts, still looking down at his glass. He stops, then laughs a little.

 

"Definitely nervous," Suga’s brain translates, listening to the tangible forced nature of the sound. "Why would he be nervous? Because he’s trying to tell me that we need to be better friends? Is he afraid he’s going to offend me or something?"

 

Oikawa looks up then, as if he can hear Suga’s thoughts. Suga meets his gaze and resists the urge to bite his tongue, heart stuttering at the expression on the other’s face.

 

Oikawa is determined, if nothing else. His eyes don’t leave Suga’s, and his brow is furrowed in a way that makes him look as if he’s steeling himself to tell Suga something groundbreaking.

 

Suga’s nerves jump back up to full power.

 

"I’m sorry if I overstepped," Oikawa says, eyes dark with resolve, his handsome face the only thing in Suga’s line of vision. "I should’ve just asked to talk to you instead of getting Tetsu-chan and Dai-chan to lie to you."

 

Suga blinks but he can’t muster up the words to say anything. Besides, Oikawa isn’t finished.

 

"But I did want to talk to you. Ever since the bowling night, I haven’t seen you. And I -"

 

Oikawa cuts off then, swallowing visibly, his newfound determination flickering a little on his face.

 

"And -," Suga prompts, somehow finding his voice, curiosity and anticipation fizzing through him like the buzz of champagne. He’s waiting for it, waiting for Oikawa to drop the "I think we need to work on being closer for Tetsu-chan and Dai-chan’s sakes."

 

But it doesn’t come. Oikawa’s mouth opens and then closes, he takes another sip of his drink, and then he kind of just stares at the space between Suga’s left ear and his shoulder.

 

Then he lets loose a groan of frustration. "Damn it," he curses. Suga blinks again.

 

All of this is bewildering. Suga can’t figure out why Oikawa is having such a hard time with his words. He’s also not sure how much longer he can stand here with the man who’s been plaguing his late-night fantasies recently and pretend to not be completely frazzled. His heart is beating like a freight train in his chest and the butterflies in his stomach are from more than just the alcohol.

 

Suga’s also dreading the moment when he has to respond to Oikawa’s proposal to be closer friends because of course he can’t refuse. Not only would it make him look like an asshole, but he wants the same thing. He wants to try harder for Daichi and Kuroo’s sakes.

 

But it also means that that’s what Oikawa sees him as — a friend and nothing more.

 

Deciding to just rip off the bandage and get it over with, Suga interrupts.

 

"Oikawa," he says, and Oikawa’s eyes flick towards his face quickly, glinting in the blue lights, his bottom lip pulled a little between his teeth. Suga can feel Kuroo and Daichi’s eyes from across the room on the two of them and he falters for a second because it’s unnerving and also because Oikawa looks beautiful in this setting — in his suit and tie, the lights throwing sparks against his dark hair and lighting up the pretty angles of his face, his eyelashes like ink-strokes against his cheeks.

 

But Suga plows forward.

 

"I know I haven’t been the best at spending time with all of you," he says, hoping he doesn’t sound as jittery as he feels. "And I know we’ve had… incidents in the past."

 

Suga winces inwardly at his phrasing, flashing back to when he had been sick, back to when he had knocked over all of those glasses of champagne.

 

"But I want to try to be better friends for Daichi and Kuroo," he finishes lamely, flushing. He hopes Oikawa can’t see the blush on his cheeks.

 

It’s Oikawa’s turn to blink. He stares down at Suga, confusion and then understanding dawning in slow colors over his face.

 

"Oh," he answers. Suga clutches his glass a little bit tighter.

 

Oikawa is quiet for a moment, the sounds of the party crashing around them in waves. Suga is itching to run, to excuse himself to use the bathroom or something because whatever reaction he had been expecting it hadn’t been this.

 

"Um," Oikawa finally mumbles, "I’d like that too."

 

Suga can feel his brow furrowing as soon as the words leave Oikawa’s mouth and without thinking about it, he blurts out what’s on his mind.

 

"Isn’t that what you were just about to say?"

 

Suga is even more confused now. Why had Oikawa asked Kuroo and Daichi to lie to him? Why is he finding it so difficult to ask Suga to try a little bit more to be friends?

 

Another flash of surprise crosses Oikawa’s face, his eyebrows rising.

 

"Koushi," he says, almost like he isn’t really thinking about what he’s saying. Suga jolts at the sound of his name like that in Oikawa’s mouth. It’s always been "Kou-chan" or "Mr. Refreshing" — the latter had been used especially frequently after Suga had thrown up all over Oikawa’s shoes. "I do want to spend more time with you — but not just because I want to be better friends. It’s because I like you and I think you’re really pretty."

 

The words leave Oikawa in a rush, like his brain is spitting them out before he can stop himself. There’s a heavy beat of silence afterwards.

 

Suga gapes — not only at the words, which have left his heart a thumping mess, but at the sight in front of him.

 

Oikawa is blushing. Oikawa Tooru — the smooth-talking, mischievous, well-dressed, good-looking and charmingly rouge Oikawa Tooru is beet-red, his cheeks a lovely shade of mortified.

 

As if it’s contagious, Suga feels his own face burst into flame.

 

"What?" he asks eloquently.

 

Oikawa sets his glass down, glances over to where Suga knows Daichi and Kuroo are still watching the two of them, and then jerks his head towards the front door, his cheeks still visibly flushed. Suga isn’t sure if it’s mostly from the alcohol or if Oikawa is regretting what he just said seconds ago. Suga is still whirling from the newfound information, almost half-sure that he had hallucinated it all.

 

But then Oikawa says, "Do you want to go outside for a bit, take a walk?" and Suga nearly chokes on his own saliva.

 

"It’s because I like you and I think you’re really pretty."

 

Those words keep reverberating inside his skull, over and over again, Oikawa’s gaze sending sparks over his skin every time the other looks at him.

 

Somehow, though, — despite the fireworks going off inside his head — Suga manages to nod.

 

A brief flash of relief crosses Oikawa’s face, his blush dimming a little. Suga leaves his sweating glass on the bar and smooths his suddenly clammy palms down over his own suit, trying to shake the weight of other people watching them as they begin to weave through the crowd.

 

Oikawa doesn’t say anything until they reach Kuroo and Daichi.

 

"We’re going to step outside for a second," he mumbles, not at all like the Oikawa he usually is — loud and brash and overconfident.

 

Suga resists the urge to cower behind him as Kuroo’s golden gaze sweeps over the two of them with something akin to a cat watching a mouse scurry across the floor.

 

"Have funnnn," he purrs. Daichi elbows him in the side, at least having the decency to look sheepish.

 

"Shut up," Suga hears Oikawa hiss under his breath at his friend, and Suga shoots Daichi a look that he hopes doesn’t look too desperate — it’s just that half of him is drowning in embarrassment at the knowing glint in both Kuroo and Daichi’s eyes and half of him is on edge with the knowledge that Oikawa might actually reciprocate his feelings.

 

Which is mind-blowing, to be honest.

 

Suga almost opens his mouth, no doubt to say something that will mortify him even more, but then Oikawa is pushing past Kuroo to the door and Suga follows without thinking.

 

Daichi catches his eye on the way past and gives him an almost smug thumbs-up that Suga manages to glare at before he passes them by.

 

"Hypocrite," he thinks, remembering Daichi’s refusal to meet up with Kuroo for coffee two months ago because, "It would ruin our business. You don’t mix business and pleasure, Suga, no matter how hot he is."

 

Not that Suga has anything to ruin necessarily with Oikawa… but still.

 

The flat leads out into a long, narrow hallway with ugly, plush carpeting that Suga and Oikawa walk down in silence. The elevator is the same, the quiet filling the metal walls with an almost unbearable tension.

 

Suga wants to ask Oikawa what exactly he had meant back there, at the bar. The words had been clear enough, but… Suga hadn’t ever gotten the feeling that Oikawa liked him back. Not even when Oikawa had been carrying him bridal-style out of the bowling alley, looking down at Suga in his arms with a poorly-concealed grin.

 

And now… now, Oikawa is standing close enough in the cramped space for Suga to smell his cologne again, to feel the starched sleeve of his suit jacket brush against his own.

 

The proximity makes Suga a little dizzy.

 

Thankfully, as soon as they reach the ground floor and cross the lobby, the night air hits Suga with cool relief. Fall is on the way — he can feel it in the breeze, in the soothing, earthy tang everything seems to take on, even in the city.

 

Traffic buzzes down the busy road in front of them, pedestrians swarm the sidewalk and rush by like the tide. Lights in neon blues and acid greens and glittering golds glint and shine all around them, turn the edge of Oikawa’s jaw to a black and white photograph.

 

Suga looks away when Oikawa’s eyes slide over, catch him staring.

 

"There’s a pool around back," Oikawa says suddenly, the sound of his voice catching Suga off guard after all of the silence.

 

"And a garden," he hastens to add at Suga’s raised eyebrow. "It’ll be easier to talk there."

 

"Talk," Suga thinks nervously. "Talk about what he just told me upstairs."

 

The idea sends another swarm of butterflies through the pit of Suga’s stomach. For a dizzying moment he considers making up an excuse to leave, of escaping into the sounds and colors of the city street in front of them, melting away into the crowd. He wants to be a coward and run from his feelings, run from Oikawa’s feelings.

 

But then he looks back up at Oikawa’s face.

 

The other is watching him with an openness that Suga’s never seen before, eyes wide, the faint blooms of a blush still lingering on his cheeks. He’s undeniably nervous, fidgeting in his spot on the sidewalk, rubbing the back of his neck.

 

"Okay," Suga says quietly, feeling his heart skip a beat at the relief that flashes through Oikawa’s eyes.

 

"Okay," Oikawa echoes, smiling suddenly, his personality breaking through the nerves for a moment. "Follow me, Kou-chan."

 

Snorting under his breath, Suga shakes his head and then follows Oikawa around to the side of the building. The shadows here are thicker, hidden away from the city lights, a little sliver of black space.

 

Up ahead, Suga can see a faint glow and as they get closer — slipping through a wrought-iron gate that Oikawa somehow has a key card to — he realizes it’s the pool Oikawa had been talking about. It’s large, a big oval-shaped mirror of clear water, capturing all of the light around it and reflecting it back, pool lights beaming up hazily from underwater.

 

The pool is clear of residents, empty lounging chairs situated around it at measured intervals. There’s a small building nestled on the other side of the pool, opposite the apartment building — a pool house or locker room Suga guesses.

 

And, as Oikawa had promised, Suga can just see a short graveled pathway that leads to a tiny garden beyond that. Solar lights have been placed along the walkway and amongst the bushes and flowers — they light up soft petals and dark soil, pushing away the shadows.

 

Suga moves to step towards it, drawn by the bubble of quiet space here in the middle of the city — or, as quiet as it can get with the constant rumble of traffic, the constant slam of doors on the floors below and above his apartment, the buzz of chatter and music and life that somehow seems to always seep in through doors and windows.

 

Oikawa moves to walk beside him as they edge around the pool. Suga feels hyperaware of Oikawa’s hand near his, their fingers barely brushing. The pool lights throw shadows up on the concrete that ripple and sway with the small movements of the water.

 

Suga wonders if he should talk, strike up some kind of small conversation now that they’re back here, away from Kuroo and Daichi — but then he trips. One of his shoes catches on the edge of a pool chair pulled closer to the water than the others and he stumbles.

 

Hands graze his shoulders, Oikawa making a small noise of surprise as Suga’s body collides with his, the two of them going sideways, towards the pool water. They stop just in time, hovering there at the edge, Oikawa’s fingers digging into Suga’s suit, the lengths of their bodies lined up from knee to chest.

 

"Sorry," Suga gasps, mortified all over again and uncomfortably aware of Oikawa and the hard push of muscle and bone through his clothes, of the wash of cologne and chlorine that washes over him and the heat of Oikawa’s hands against his shoulders.

 

"Don’t worry about it," Oikawa breathes, finally releasing his tight grip on Suga and running a hand through his hair, the look of alarm fading from his eyes to be replaced with a snort of relief.

 

Suga can’t help but smile at the noise, peering up at Oikawa through his eyelashes and studying the graceful line of Oikawa’s neck, the honey-gold hidden within his eyes, the play of shadows over one side of his face.

 

Oikawa’s smile fades when he meets Suga’s gaze, the two of them still standing close enough to be touching, one of Suga’s hands still resting against Oikawa’s chest. He can feel the thud of his heartbeat through his jacket, loud and quick before it picks up a little.

 

"Koushi," Oikawa starts, shifting a little in place — and then Suga watches what happens next as if in slow motion.

 

Oikawa either hadn’t realized how close the pool’s edge had still been or he had forgotten because it just takes that one tiny step, that one shift in his posture for his left shoe to slip, to meet empty air, and for him to lose his balance, flailing for a few seconds before he begins to fall.

 

What Suga isn’t expecting is for one of Oikawa’s hands to reach for Suga’s own, to feel long fingers wrap instinctively around the hand he still has resting against Oikawa’s chest, pulling him forward as Oikawa’s mouth falls open in surprise.

 

But Suga doesn’t have time to feel surprise. All he feels is the weightlessness of falling and then the cold shock of water as it floods his senses.

 

The world goes blurry — colors smudging into blurs of gold and silver and dark blues, sound growing distant and faint, the lights of the pool illuminating Suga’s skin and turning Oikawa’s hair to copper.

 

Suga flails a little, reaching out with his arms to grab for something, his legs kicking, the fabric of his suit dragging him down. But he finds hard ground, kicks up against it until his head breaks the surface, chilly air hitting his face like a slap.

 

He splutters and gasps, keeping himself afloat and shrieking when Oikawa suddenly bursts up right next to him, water spraying him in the face, the droplets catching the city lights and gleaming like quicksilver.

 

"Fuck," Oikawa hisses, his eyes meeting Suga’s automatically. His glasses are somehow still on his face — but very askew, resting crookedly on his nose. "I’m so sorry, Kou-chan, I didn’t mean to drag you down with me, I just -"

 

He cuts off, splashing over to the side of the pool and grabbing the concrete lip of the edge.

 

Suga follows, still trying to blink water from his eyes, the chlorine stinging as it runs down the back of his throat.

 

"It’s okay," he gets out, shivering a little. Then a sudden thought occurs to him and he can’t help but grin.

 

"For the first time I wasn’t the one who did something embarrassing," he says, half to himself and half to Oikawa.

 

Oikawa gapes at him before he pouts, lips downturning into an adorable frown. Suga bursts out laughing.

 

"Kou-chan," Oikawa whines, teeth chattering. Suga laughs harder.

 

They pull themselves out of the water, both of them shivering in their ruined party clothes, dripping water everywhere.

 

"The pool house," Suga gets out between his teeth, hugging his arms around his body. "There might be towels in there."

 

Oikawa nods in agreement. Suga is relieved that he doesn’t want to return back to the flat — Suga really doesn’t feel like facing down Kuroo and Daichi like this. Besides, it would feel like defeat — slinking back up to the party, the both of them drenched and miserable and the fated conversation having never happened.

 

Luckily, the door inset into the front of the small building is unlocked. It looks as if someone’s just given it a fresh coat of paint, glistening in the waves of light coming off of the water behind them. Oikawa pushes it open slowly, as if he’s afraid that someone’s going to materialize and tell them off for trespassing.

 

But the door swings open quietly, the smell of chlorine inside even more overwhelming than the scent of it all over their clothes and hair. Oikawa steps inside, Suga following closely.

 

There’s a light switch on the wall, but the windows along the front of the room are enough to let light in from outside so neither of them make a move to turn it on.

 

"Well," Oikawa says, sounding dismal. "This is not what I had had in mind."

 

Suga’s heart flutters at his throat at the words, but he doesn’t say anything. This is definitely more of a locker room than a pool house. Rows of metal lockers line the length of the floor, but he can just see a small rack of folded towels over in the corner.

 

"Here," he says, taking a step towards it, goosebumps prickling up and down his skin. He grabs one, smells it to make sure it’s a clean set, and then tosses it to Oikawa, grabbing another one for himself.

 

The fabric is blessedly soft against his skin as Suga begins to rub himself down, throwing the towel over his head to rub at his hair until it’s a ruffled, silver mess. It’s not perfect — his suit still clings to him with water and his socks are uncomfortably soaked, but he does the best he can given the circumstances.

 

And he’s feeling a lot more composed now, given the time and space to breathe and focus on doing something manual, his head clear and -

 

Until he turns around — and realizes that Oikawa is bare from the waist up.

 

"Tooru," Suga squeaks without meaning to, cheeks immediately bursting into flame, his eyes drawn uncontrollably to Oikawa’s long torso, the flex and pull of the muscles in his arms as he dries himself off, the shimmer of water that still clings to his tanned, smooth skin.

 

Oikawa jumps at the shriek of his name, eyes flicking up to Suga’s face and then growing large at whatever expression Suga is wearing — which feels like shock mixed with mortification mixed with embarrassment and some open curiosity.

 

For a second, Suga can’t stop gaping, his heart a wild mess in his chest. And then a little bit of common sense returns to him and he whirls back around, squeezing his eyes shut and wishing that he had played that off a little more nonchalantly — scratch that, a lot more nonchalantly.

 

His embarrassment only grows — spreading into a flush down the length of his neck and over his collarbones — when Oikawa’s voice meets his ears, mischief and a very, very pleased satisfaction reverberating through his tone.

 

"Something wrong, Kou-chan?"

 

"No," Suga answers a little too quickly, fidgeting in place.

 

Oikawa hums, obviously not convinced. "You know, you’ll feel a lot more dry if you take off that jacket and tie," he continues, his voice muffled for a moment before it grows clear again.

 

Suga grips his own towel between his hands with a scary amount of pressure, his knuckles turning white. This had been a bad idea. He should’ve just talked to Oikawa up at the party — then they wouldn’t be stuck together in this dimly lit locker room with nothing but the space between them and a poor reason to keep their clothes on.

 

But it’s Oikawa’s fault they’re stuck in this predicament, and that thought alone has Suga turning back again, taking a deep breath to calm his nerves. It’s not like he’s… too disappointed about the circumstances if he’s being honest with himself.

 

How long has he crushed on Oikawa? Since the bowling night or before that? Maybe since the first time they had met, Kuroo dragging along his old friend from college? Suga remembers that night, remembers shaking Oikawa’s hand in the grungy bar they had all met up in — remembers thinking that maybe Oikawa was more than the douchebag he came across as initially.

 

And Oikawa had said it himself upstairs. "It’s because I like you…"

 

Not to mention the words that had come after that. Suga pulls at a stray curl of hair that’s fallen over his forehead, damp and soft between his fingertips, forces his eyes up until they rest back on Oikawa’s face, heart thudding as a question builds on his tongue.

 

Oikawa is still drying off, rubbing the towel through his hair, but he stops when he realizes that Suga’s looking at him again.

 

"What you said at the party," Suga starts slowly, surprised by himself at the words coming from his mouth, "did you mean it?" His voice is steady despite the nerves shaking through his hands, the butterflies swarming in the pit of his stomach, their gossamer wings brushing his ribcage.

 

Oikawa lets his hand drop, the towel slung around his neck. The shape of his collarbones is lovely in this light — they stand out like bird wings, graceful and curved. His eyes are dark, unreadable and he’s taken off his glasses, the glint of them flashing up at Suga from a nearby bench.

 

"Yeah," he says simply. His gaze runs over Suga’s face from across the short distance that separates them. "Is that okay?"

 

Suga bites his lower lip — mostly to keep from blurting out his answer right away, partly to hold back the bubbling exhilaration that threatens to drown him.

 

He settles on a nod, clearing his throat before he says, "You know, I think I liked you first." He hadn’t been intending on sharing that little bit of information — not right now at least — but the words feel right slipping from his mouth, like a weight disappearing from his shoulders.

 

Oikawa’s eyebrows raise at that, a soft smile lighting up his face and mixing with pleasant surprise. "I doubt that," he says though.

 

Suga laughs — but the noise is short-lived because Oikawa is suddenly standing a lot closer, the heat coming off of his bare skin tickling at Suga’s senses.

 

Suga looks up at him, the butterflies back in full swing.

 

"Hey," Oikawa says quietly.

 

"Hi," Suga answers softly. He wonders if Oikawa can hear how loud his heartbeat is, thumping in his ears.

 

But Oikawa doesn’t say anything with regards to how red Suga’s cheeks must be, or how he’s still gripping the towel between tight knuckles. He just reaches out slowly — giving Suga time to pull away — and tucks a strand of loose, unruly hair back behind Suga’ right ear.

 

The touch sends a slow warmth through the pit of Suga’s stomach. The shadows of the pool outside play against the side of Oikawa’s face, little shimmers of black and white and blue.

 

Suga isn’t sure if he leans up first or if Oikawa beats him by leaning down, but suddenly Suga can count Oikawa’s eyelashes — long and dark, some of them sticking together damply.

 

And then they’re kissing — soft and slow and careful.

 

Both of Oikawa’s palms come up to cup Suga’s face, cradling his head so that he can tilt it back enough to kiss him fully. Suga can’t help but drop the towel in his hands and reach out to let his palms rest along Oikawa’s bare chest, the skin warm and soft beneath his fingertips.

 

All of his thoughts go hazy — smudged and blurred like the world had been underwater. Oikawa kisses him like they’ve been doing this for years — easy and wonderful and warm.

 

When they part it takes Suga a few seconds to get his eyes to open, his lids heavy.

 

Oikawa stares down at him and Suga is pleased to note that the other looks just as dazed as he feels.

 

"You’re gorgeous," Oikawa breathes and Suga freezes momentarily, caught off guard by the word. He hadn’t thought his heart could go any faster but Oikawa’s just shattered that assumption.

 

Suga clears his throat, flushing hotly, and musters up a weak, "That’s a bit of a step up from 'pretty', Oikawa."

 

But Oikawa shakes his head, his hair still dark and damp and sticking to his forehead a little bit. "You’re pretty and gorgeous and beautiful, Koushi," he says, grinning as Suga’s ears grow hotter.

 

"Shut up," Suga mumbles, resisting the urge to bury his face in Oikawa’s chest and hide his expression.

 

"Okay," Oikawa answers, and before Suga knows it, he’s kissing him again, mouth working hot and insistent against his.

 

Suga catches his breath, eyes fluttering closed again as he kisses back.

 

"Tooru," he can’t help but gasp when the other deepens the kiss for a brief second before pulling back. His skin is on fire, his suit is itchy, and Oikawa’s already driving him crazy with a few kisses.

 

"Yes, Koushi?" Oikawa asks, meeting his lips again, nipping softly at Suga’s lower lip.

 

Suga tries to respond but he can’t, a whine bubbling up his throat instead. He lets his palms slide up the smooth expanse of Oikawa’s skin until he can tangle his fingers in the hair at the back of his neck, tug him closer.

 

And when Oikawa starts walking backwards, his arms sliding around to wind tightly at Suga’s waist, Suga follows without hesitation, too caught up in the heat and pleasant pressure of Oikawa’s mouth on his, on the sweetness of his breath and the sharp bite of his teeth.

 

It’s not until Oikawa sits down and draws Suga towards him to straddle his lap that Suga realizes that they’re on one of the long, locker benches that lines the room. The angle here is much easier, Suga wrapping his legs around Oikawa’s waist and only having to crane his neck down the barest bit to keep kissing the other.

 

Dimly, in the back of his mind, Suga wonders if Kuroo and Daichi will come looking for them at some point. But that thought is a faint, distant worry, paling in comparison to the strength of Oikawa’s thighs beneath him, the ease with which he pries Suga’s mouth open and sucks on his tongue.

 

Suga knows he’s making those noises — the little whines and moans, the breathy mewls — but they leave his throat as if they’re being dragged out by some invisible force. Oikawa obviously takes them as incentive to kiss his way down Suga’s neck, one of his hands shifting to loosen the tie around Suga’s neck, slip a few buttons loose at the collar of his starched, white dress shirt.

 

"Is this okay?" Oikawa pauses to ask breathlessly. His pupils are blown, lips pink. If anyone’s gorgeous it’s him, Suga thinks. But he doesn’t say that, just nods hurriedly and lets Oikawa unbutton his shirt the rest of the way with trembling fingers until cold air is hitting Suga’s bare skin.

 

Oikawa kisses him again, murmuring some praise that Suga doesn’t really hear under his breath, pulling Suga closer by the belt loops on his pants.

 

Slowly, Suga’s beginning to feel his skin catch fire, the flames sitting in the pit of his stomach and reaching up to blur his vision with pleasure.

 

He wants Oikawa. He wants him so much that it hurts to breathe — especially when Oikawa slips his shirt and jacket completely off, the fabric hitting the floor behind Suga with a muffled, wet thump. Especially when Oikawa’s hands slide around from where they’re splayed large and hot over his back to press against the cool plane of Suga’s stomach instead, making his breath hitch in his throat and his vision go fuzzy. He’s so sensitive, can feel every brush of Oikawa’s fingers against the soft skin of his stomach, can feel them move down lower towards his belt line.

 

"Tooru," Suga breathes, halfway delirious now, kissing Oikawa back as fervently as he can manage.

 

He can’t really wrap his mind around the fact that they’re here like this right now, but this isn’t some dream he’s having back at home. Oikawa makes that doubt disappear with no trouble at all.

 

And then one little snag hits Suga, breaking through the fog of pleasure. They’re in a locker room — and as good as Suga feels right now, the idea of having Oikawa here for the first time isn’t very pleasing the more he thinks about it.

 

"Wait," Suga barely gets out, cupping Oikawa’s face in his hands, letting the other kiss him a few more times before he pulls back completely. "Tooru."

 

Oikawa blinks at him, eyes dark and hazy before they clear a bit.

 

"Are you okay?" he asks quickly, brow furrowing, his grip on Suga’s hips loosening with alarm.

 

"I’m more than okay," Suga answers honestly, his senses still buzzing with the high of having Oikawa like this. "But um," he continues, stuttering over his words now that Oikawa is staring at him, "doyouwannagobacktomyplace?"

 

The rest of his words leave his mouth in a tangled rush but it only takes a half-second for Oikawa’s confusion to transform into a wicked grin.

 

His thumbs brush patterns over Suga’s hipbones, tracing fire, and he leans forward to kiss softly at the sensitive skin just under Suga’s jaw before he answers. Suga squeezes his eyes shut and tries to will back the violent dip his stomach gives at the small actions, but it’s useless, pleasure rushing over his body once more.

 

"If that’s what you want, Kou-chan," Oikawa teases once his mouth is free again.

 

Suga bites his lower lip, doesn’t miss the flicker of Oikawa’s eyes down towards the movement, and then grins back, confidence overtaking the nerves still fizzing through his bloodstream. He nods.

 

And, for the first time all night, he thanks the stars for friends like his.