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a feather bringing this kingdom to its knees

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Sometimes, Daichi thinks he really has come far in his twenty-seven years of life, despite the detours he’s had to take along the way. Dropping out of pre-med to pursue a business degree and subsequently, the art of tattooing, was probably not what his parents had in store for him, but it took Daichi a mere three months to realise the absolute rigidity and lack of personal time wasn’t a life he wanted for himself. Convincing his parents took considerably more time (and tears, and that one time he had to deal with his dad’s passive aggressiveness for like, four days straight); but today, he has a tattoo parlour to his name, a building reputation, and—

The door separating the waiting area from the back of the shop opens suddenly, and a tall young man bursts through the doorway, panting slightly. He looks a little worse for wear with his black hair swept back from his face, the outline of tiny dots and constellations peeking from the side down his temple where it’s usually hidden under his fringe. Daichi turns to greet him, but he’s cut off by another voice, derisive in his drawl.

“Ah, I see the golden apprentice has finally deigned to grace us with his presence.”

Daichi valiantly holds in a sigh at the ensuing reply. “Tsukishima, you asshole, I know you turned off my alarm.”

“I wouldn’t dream of messing with your phone, Your Majesty—”

“Shut the fuck —”

—And a headache. Two headaches, in particular.

“Not one. More. Word.” He grits his teeth, and watches as his apprentice, Kageyama, and Tsukishima, tattoo artist and piercer, stop their bickering to look at him apprehensively. He exhales, and runs a hand through his hair as he glares at both of them, hoping there’s no need to do more than just that. “Kageyama, just get ready for your two o’clock, we’ll talk about your tardiness later. Tsukishima, you’re on clean up tonight instead.”

He waits for their assent, Kageyama’s admonished and Tsukishima’s a muttered grumble, before both of them slink off to their stations at the back of the shop. He spies Tsukishima saying something to the other man, before Kageyama visibly bristles and stalks off, and sighs.

Sometimes, days like this remind him that he’s also a glorified babysitter, and he needs to take his victories where he can get them.

A hand clasps his shoulder, and Daichi turns around to see the other senior tattoo artist at their parlour grinning at him, dark eyes twinkling.

“What a way to start our Monday morning, huh?” Ennoshita remarks innocently, and Daichi snorts, shaking his head.

“It’s close to half past one, but sure,” he answers drily, and Ennoshita chuckles, squeezing his shoulder once before letting go. “How’s your day looking?”

The other man tilts his head, humming for a moment as he furrows his brow, before his expression clears. “I’ve got a slot at three, Tanaka’s coming in to finish up his chest piece and that shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. And there’s another one at six in the evening, a tourist passing by wanting something to commemorate their time here,” he says, listing them on his fingers.

Daichi nods, feeling pleased. Business has definitely picked up, and he has people like Tanaka to thank for that. “Sounds busy, I’ll leave you to prep?”

“Sure thing, cap,” Ennoshita replies, smiling as he walks away, missing Daichi’s patented resigned expression. The only reason he (and the rest of his crew) gets away with it is because Daichi refuses to let them call him boss, and Yamaguchi, of all people, had been the one to come up with that instead.

Speaking of which, Daichi heads over to the door that Kageyama had just walked through, and spies the mop of dark brown hair with green highlights at the reception counter, bopping along to the soft rock music playing from the speaker beside him.

“Yamaguchi,” he calls out, and holds back a wince when the younger man jumps, accidentally knocking his knee against the counter. “Sorry, sorry, didn’t mean to startle you,” Daichi adds sheepishly, walking towards him. “You okay?”

“No, it’s fine,” Yamaguchi says, grimacing slightly as he rubs at his knee. “That was my fault; I wasn’t paying attention and I didn’t hear you coming out,” he continues, straightening up.

Daichi’s eyebrows raise. It’s not often the receptionist and clerk spaces out, and he’d thought the only thing that would steal his focus away from work was, well, Tsukishima, but that was a given, considering the fact that they’d been highschool sweethearts, and friends for much longer.

“Oh, what’s up?” He asks, trying his best to sound curious rather than interrogating—he doesn’t need another reason for Tsukishima to subtly glare at him with disdain.

Thankfully, he probably succeeds, because Yamaguchi only points out to their storefront, which gives a pretty good view of the street outside, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows on either side of their door. A flurry of activity on the shopfront on the other side of the street catches his attention, and he realises the shop lot that’s been empty for the past couple of months is no longer unoccupied.

“Looks like we’ve got new neighbours,” he muses, and Yamaguchi hums in agreement beside him.

“I think they’re a flower shop,” he offers, and Daichi turns to look at him with a questioning glance. “I saw a couple of people carrying a bunch of flowers, some potted plants.”

Interesting. Despite the nature of their trade, the area is in a rather urban neighbourhood, close to the city and the more artsy streets, so a florist seems like a random choice for a shop here, but Daichi won’t begrudge anyone else’s business decisions. His own high-risk choice paid off, after all.

“Well, maybe some flowers would brighten up the place,” he jokes, and Yamaguchi, too nice for his own good, laughs with him. At least, Daichi hopes it’s with him. He shoos the thought away, and turns the conversation towards everyone else’s schedule for the week instead, which involves convincing Yamaguchi that putting Kageyama and Tsukishima in the same room for five hours on end is not going to blow their tattoo parlour up, despite the fact that he can already feel the migraine that particular session is going to give him.

***

Somehow, Kageyama and Tsukishima don’t kill each other, but that’s because the former is being supervised by Ennoshita as he works on a customer, an older woman who’d come in looking to engrave the pawprint of her recently-deceased dog on her ankle (Daichi had to hold himself back from tearing up when she showed them photos of her humongous Saint Bernard looking like the best boy ever). Tsukishima, on the other hand, is beside Yamaguchi at the counter this time, answering questions from people interested in their services through their website and social media.

Daichi only has one slot at four though, and so he’s saddled with the job of sorting through the photos they’d taken of their work, choosing which ones would showcase their individual styles the best. It’s not as if he minds it, though; he’s proud of their work, even with their small crew, and Tsukishima, despite his taciturn personality, takes really beautiful photos of their clients’ pieces.

(The photos Yamaguchi takes of all of them, on the other hand, make him flush with embarrassment, even if they seem to garner pretty positive responses. There have definitely been a few clients that have come by just to check out the people working at the Crow’s Nest, but they stayed for the ink, so Daichi counts it as a victory.

The fact that Ennoshita teases him about the whole thing endlessly is besides the point.)

It’s as he’s stuck deciding between the gorgeous geometric piece that Kageyama had worked on earlier in the week or Ennoshita’s extremely detailed pocket watch artwork that the door to their parlour opens, admitting Tanaka and a stranger right behind him.

Daichi had automatically stood up to greet Tanaka, undoubtedly there for his appointment with Ennoshita, when the man behind him immediately catches his attention, because holy shit .

The first thing he notices is the ash-grey hair, a colour he couldn’t hope to even pull off, but it makes the man look fae-like, along with his pale skin and slender build. And while Daichi doesn’t bother dressing up for his day job, sticking with t-shirts that would showcase the sleeve on his left arm and dark jeans, he can’t help but think the pastel yellow shirt and loose blue overalls suit this stranger too well.

And then he turns to look at Daichi, and there’s an honest to God daisy tucked behind his left ear, a soft smile on his too-pretty face that only highlights the beauty mark under his left eye, and Daichi has a split second to wonder if this person is real before Tanaka bounds up to him and whacks his arm, breaking his undoubtedly obvious staring.

“Daichi-san!” Tanaka yells exuberantly, and he has to hold back from wincing at the sheer volume. “Have you met Suga-san, yet?” He gestures at the pretty, pretty stranger, and oh. That’s a fitting name.

“Can’t say I’ve had the pleasure,” he replies, somehow managing to sound collected, even as Suga grins wider; he spies the way Suga glances down at his arm, the one that’s darkened with ink from years ago, but he doesn’t catch anything odd in the look, merely curiosity, and internally relaxes.

“Hey, I’m Sawamura Daichi,” he introduces himself, going to extend his hand, but stops when he spies the potted plant in Suga’s hands, recognising it as some sort of succulent. “Oh, do you need to set that down somewhere?” He asks, confused, and is rewarded by a small huff of laughter from the other man.

“Sugawara Koushi, but I prefer Suga. This is for you, actually, Sawamura-san. Or rather, your shop,” Suga says, smiling warmly as he lifts it between them; it’s a small thing, neatly fitting in Suga’s palm. “We’ve just moved in and I figured it’d be nice to give the surrounding shops a little something from us, as a way to say hello.”

Oh, gorgeous and more than just a decent human being? This man can’t be real.

Daichi accepts the plant, and berates himself internally for feeling disappointed when their fingers don’t brush.

“Daichi’s fine,” he replies, and awkwardly waves the plant between them. “I, uh, thanks for this. I’ll try my best to keep it alive.”

The smile Suga sends him borders on mischievous, his eyes shut and his nose scrunched up a little, and it’s stupidly adorable. “They’re pretty hardy, succulents, so you shouldn’t have any trouble keeping it alive,” he says, all light teasing and warmth, and adds, “But if you need help, I’m just across the street.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Daichi answers faintly, his lips tugged up in a helpless grin.

Suga nods, and then the spell breaks as he slams his palm down on Tanaka’s back, clearly relishing in the other man’s yelp of pain. Daichi doesn’t bother hiding his chuckle at that. “I’ll see you later, Tanaka. Thanks for helping with the shop earlier today.”

“... I’m starting to see why Asahi-san calls you a slavedriver,” Tanaka mutters, and Suga sighs, shaking his head.

“I’m just toughening him up for his own good,” he says airily, and glances at Daichi, Yamaguchi and Tsukishima, before his brow furrows. “Ah, sorry, I must have interrupted your work.”

Before Tsukishima can say anything that’ll make Daichi regret ever hiring him, Daichi waves a hand hastily. “It’s alright, you didn’t really interrupt anything.” He pretends he doesn’t hear the very soft snort from Yamaguchi’s left.

Suga’s expression clears at that, and there’s that smile again that makes Daichi unable to stop himself from returning it. “Still, I should be out of your way, got to give plants for the rest of the neighbours and all,” he says, fiddling with the daisy behind his ear. “I’ll see you around, Daichi-san, the rest of the crew,” he grins at them, and leaves after yet another solid hit on Tanaka’s arm.

A moment passes, and then Yamaguchi speaks up. “Hey, captain?”

“Hmm?”

“You, uh, wanna set that plant down somewhere?”

***

Daichi finds out from Tanaka that Suga’s the owner of the flower shop, named Sweet Florals, apparently after one drunk night of looking up flower shop name generators on Google and he immediately shoves down the errant thought of Suga tipsy and flushed, beer in hand and the taste lingering on his lips. He’s also the boss of Nishinoya’s boyfriend, the aforementioned Asahi-san, and that leads to a tangent of him asking after Nishinoya and how the new piercings he’d gotten last week were healing.

(He still doesn’t escape the knowing looks that Tsukishima and Yamaguchi throw him, and when Ennoshita catches wind of the entire thing, the man had merely smirked at him and said, “You should probably return that nice gesture with something equally sweet. We can’t have our neighbours thinking we’re uncouth, despite our terribly badass ink.”

“Ennoshita, you have orchids as the prominent feature of your half-sleeve.”

“You’re the one with a crush on the florist, maybe you’ll find inspiration for your next flower-themed tattoo.”)

Daichi doesn’t see Suga for the rest of the day, but when the last customer leaves at half past eight and he stands at the door to flip over their sign, the shop across the street definitely looks a lot fuller than it had yesterday, courtesy of the various kinds of flora he can make out from his own parlour. The sight makes him smile, but only because of how… Colourful the display looks, of course.

He’d sent the rest of his staff home earlier (even Tsukishima, whom he waves away 15 minutes after the others had left), since they technically closed at eight, but his client had been indecisive about the initial patterns Daichi had proposed, so it took them a little longer to find something they were both satisfied with.

It helps that Daichi lives right above the parlour, so he turns off the lights in the shop, and makes his way towards the entrance, but something on the counter catches his eye.

It’s the succulent, and Daichi thinks it looks charming, if a little lonely on their long reception counter. He’s not sure if having indoor plants would put their customers in the waiting area more at ease, but aside from the couch and the vending machine, it’s pretty barren.

He squashes down the voice that sounds too much like Ennoshita about how convenient it is that a florist decided to open right across the street, and steps out of the parlour, locking it before stepping away to walk around the building to the entrance at the back that would lead to his apartment.

(And if he catches a certain silver-haired figure flitting around the flower shop with a broom and how the sight had made him grin, alone and rooted to the spot for a good few seconds, well, no one else was around to see it.)

***

This was a terrible idea.

Daichi looks at the two jars filled with cookies he’d baked early in the morning, and sighs. Ennoshita and Tsukishima are going to give him so much shit for this, he knows, but he’d woken up at eight o’clock, went on a run and saw a glimpse of Suga opening up the shop along with a tall man with hair tied up in a bun, arranging their displays. And all he could think of was the little plant that was on the counter of his parlour, how lovely the gesture had been, and he should definitely return it with something equally nice, which led to him swinging by the nearby grocery store and getting ingredients for chocolate chip cookies, made from scratch.

It’s been a while since he’d baked, and the familiar motions had calmed him, but now it’s almost noon, he hasn’t had anything except a few bites of cookie dough and a glass of milk, and it’s his turn to open up the shop, so he sighs again, and grabs the jars before leaving his apartment.

At least he knows his cookies taste good, the soft chewy kind with chocolate chips that would almost melt in one’s mouth. He’s got video proof of Kageyama stuffing his face with the damn things the last time he’d made them, which is why he’d made extra for his crew as well. He really doesn’t need the repeat of Yamaguchi having a near breakdown when he lost the fight for the final cookie, and Tsukishima torn between appeasing his boyfriend and “it’s the principle of the matter, Tsukki, so you have to eat it, but know that I still hate you for it and you’re not allowed in bed tonight.”

True to form, Ennoshita’s eyes light up at the sight of the cookie jar on the table in his tiny as hell office, and there’s a knowing smile on his face as he says, “The last time you baked was for the parlour’s third anniversary, and that was months ago. What brought this on?”

Daichi shrugs, aiming for nonchalance and landing somewhere between nervous and almost anxious when he replies, “I thought it’d be nice to do something to welcome them to the neighbourhood.” God knows they didn’t exactly have the same treatment when they first opened.

It’s scary how little escapes his colleague and friend, like he hears Daichi’s thoughts at that exact moment. Ennoshita sends him a grin that’s part rueful, and part encouraging. “Hey, he didn’t run out screaming when he saw you and Tsukishima yesterday, and it’d be difficult to miss your arms when you insist on wearing those t-shirts.” Daichi feels himself flush at the other man’s teasing, but he has a point.

Suga hadn’t looked at his fully tattooed arm and Tsukishima’s snake bites, numerous ear piercings and the two black feathers spanning up the side of his neck with anything resembling judgement.

Ennoshita reaches for the jar and pops it open, grabbing a cookie and hums as he takes a bite. “Plus, you’re a tattoo artist and you bake. People like contradictory shit like that, subverting stereotypes and all.”

Daichi takes in the other man’s neatly trimmed hair, and the tattoos creeping down from under his shirt’s sleeves, a serene smile playing on his lips. “You sound like you know what you’re talking about,” he replies, and then reaches out to swipe the jar away from Ennoshita, ignoring his indignant yelp.

“I’m just making sure the others actually get a chance to eat more than just one cookie,” Daichi says firmly, just Yamaguchi’s voice floats over in pure delight, “Daichi-san, did you bake cookies?”

And then Kageyama and Yamaguchi poke their heads through the doorway, and Tsukishima stands behind them, almost pulling off the impression of being aloof, except the crease in his forehead smoothens when his boyfriend offers him a bite from his own cookie.

Somehow, he manages to wrangle his staff back to work, and then his one o’clock arrives and he’s caught up with a barely-legal client who’s looking to get her first tattoo, accompanied by her mother. It makes Daichi smile, seeing the older woman’s support and her daughter’s giddiness, even when her fingers tremble slightly as she maps out how she’d like her tattoo to span on her skin, and Daichi thinks again about how good he feels as he sketches something and sees their eyes light up in approval.

By the time he’s done inking the string of musical notes across her shoulder it’s past three in the afternoon and he’s on a buoyant high from the session, waving them goodbye and telling them to reach out if they had any questions. It’s the only way he can explain how he decides to grab the other jar of cookies under his desk, and then quickly walks past Yamaguchi, ignoring his quiet gasp of “There were more?” as he steps out of the parlour and into the street, eyes locked on Sweet Florals.

Somehow, his legs carry him across the road without incident, but when he tentatively pushes the door open to enter the shop, an orange blur nearly knocks him over and he instinctively grabs onto the jar, even as he accidentally knocks himself against the doorway, getting the wind knocked out of him when something hits his chest.

“Oh my god, I’m so sorry! Are you okay?!”

“I’m fine,” Daichi wheezes automatically, and looks down to see the blur is in fact, a person with frighteningly bright, orange hair, hand clasped onto his forehead, and eyes that look at him like Daichi is either about to keel over, or hit him.

“Shit, Suga-san’ll kill me if I end up killing a customer,” the man whines, and Daichi has a hard time trying to envision the seemingly placid man set on murder. “Or even worse, he’ll look at me all upset and disappointed!” And that seems like a likelier, if not funnier image.

Still, Daichi figures it’ll probably be prudent to try and calm the other man down, so he clears his throat and says, “It’s okay, I didn’t—are you alright?”

Thankfully, the man nods vigorously, waving his other hand that’s not attached to his forehead flippantly and replies seriously, “I’m fine, I’ve had worse bumps,” which honestly sounds worrying, before his eyes widen a little more, and then, “Oh! Welcome to Sweet Florals! I’m Hinata Shouyou! Are you looking for something?”

Somehow, Hinata’s energy reminds him of a certain other short person he knows of, but he stifles the thought and smiles politely. “Ah, actually, I was looking for Suga. Is, uh, is he in?”

He’s not sure if he feels happy or anxious when Hinata nods excitedly and tells him, “He’s just around the back, I can get him for you?”

“Sure, thanks.” And then Daichi’s left alone with his jar of cookies, a throbbing pain in his side and he thinks his heart has somehow travelled up his throat, but he decides to stop standing in the doorway and take a closer look at the shop.

Unsurprisingly, there is a veritable rainbow of colours all over the walls, with shelves holding varying types and sizes of flowers. There’s a section that’s a more green than anything else, and he recognises a bigger version of the plant Suga had given him yesterday resting on one of the shelves in that corner. It’s bright and airy and Daichi feels a sort of pleasantness thrumming in him when he lets his gaze sweep across the plants; he recognises a few of the flowers, on account of how often he draws them on skin, like the bright yellow sunflowers and red roses.

A noise rouses him out of his musings, and when he turns to look Suga’s staring at him from next to the counter a couple of feet away, this time dressed in a loose, cream sweater that’s mostly covered by his dark green apron. Daichi valiantly rips his gaze away from the other man’s legs, but his mind had automatically clocked on pale skin and figured Suga was probably wearing shorts, too short to go past his apron.

“Hello, Daichi,” Suga greets him, smiling like he’s sincerely happy to see Daichi, and oh, that thought needs to be corralled before it gets too out of hand. “What brings you on this side of the street?”

“Hey,” Daichi replies, and he knows there were words, proper words that he’d wanted to say but they’d gotten stuck in his throat when he notices the daisy that almost blends in against Suga’s silver hair, and it takes him two seconds to get his thoughts functioning normally again. “I, uh. I wanted to thank you for the gift yesterday,” he says at last, and holds up the jar of cookies that he’d unconsciously hidden behind his back.

He has the pleasure of seeing Suga’s hazel eyes grow wide with surprise, and he walks towards Daichi, gaze fixed on the cookies. “Oh wow, you really didn’t have to,” he says, but he takes the jar all the same when Daichi hands it over, before he grins sheepishly. “Thank you for this. Mind if I take a bite? I’ve been craving a snack all afternoon but I think Hinata went through the last of ours, and Asahi’s a health nut.”

Daichi shrugs, but there’s no helping the contentment that spreads through him when he answers, “Sure, it’s nothing much, they’re just chocolate chip cookies. I, uh, I think I overdid it slightly with the chocolate, I baked a batch for my staff as well and they prefer it like that.”

Suga had been somewhat preoccupied with opening the jar and taking a bite out of a cookie, but at his words, he blinks, and Daichi has a mini heart attack when Suga’s pink tongue swipes at his lips to catch any errant crumbs before he expresses his astonishment. “You baked these?”

At Daichi’s nod, Suga chuckles.

“They taste wonderful,” he declares and whatever tension had lurked in Daichi’s shoulders finally leaves, as Suga takes yet another bite. But a second later Daichi thinks his heart is about ready to just give up on him, the way it’s stopping so often in this man’s presence, when Suga hums, eyes closed and his smile so obviously pleased. “The most I can do is a simple home-cooked meal, so this is an impressive achievement by my standards,” he adds.

“Thank you,” Daichi says, a bit distracted by a couple of crumbs at the side of Suga’s mouth that he hadn’t managed to catch earlier. And then he clears his throat and keeps his gaze pinned on Suga’s eyes, which doesn’t help much because he swears they’re twinkling, but at least he doesn’t have the stupid urge to brush crumbs off of them. “Hopefully I made enough for you and your staff, I think Hinata, was it? Might want one, considering how hard he must have bumped his head against me.”

This time, Suga’s mouth drops open slightly, before he says apologetically, “Oh, did he hit you hard? I’m sorry about that, Hinata gets a little, well, overexcited,” and winces, and Daichi has to hold himself back from laughing, because that’s the exact same expression he has on his face when he has to corral his own troublemakers back in line.

Still, he shakes his head, hoping his smile is appeasing enough. “It’s fine, it was just an accident, but I think he probably needs something for the bump,” he replies, and something in Suga’s expression shifts.

Before he can analyse the change, there’s a smile again on his face. “Yeah, I should check up on him,” he sighs, and lifts the jar slightly between them. “Thank you again for the cookies. I’ll return the jar tomorrow?”

“Sure, you don’t have to hurry. I mean, you know where to find me,” Daichi replies, going for calm and somehow settling on clumsy, but he’s rewarded with a loud laugh from Suga who honest to God salutes him. It’d be nerdy if it came from anyone else, but he’s coming to realise there are probably some glaring exceptions with this particular silver-haired man with the daisy in his ear and his terribly lovely smile.

“I’ll try not to get lost,” Suga answers seriously, eyes filled with mirth and oh, Daichi needs to leave before he makes even more of a mess of himself.

He bids Suga goodbye soon after and figures he’ll at least have some time to compose himself if he can just quickly breeze past Yamaguchi, but when he enters his parlour his entire crew is huddled there, shit-eating grins on each of their faces.

(Well, on Ennoshita’s and Yamaguchi’s, at least. Tsukishima looks halfway between disgusted and fascinated, and Kageyama looks confused.)

“What?” Daichi exhales, frowning at them. He’s well aware the Frown™ doesn’t work, but he doesn’t think this merits the Smile™ just yet.

All of them are quiet for a moment, until:

“We have no more cookies.”

Daichi blinks once. Twice. And then, “I baked over 30 cookies per jar. How the hell did you finish the entire thing already?”

At that, Tsukishima speaks up, glancing at his nails. “We would probably have enough if there had been two jars instead.”

Two jars? What—

He sees Ennoshita’s grin growing bigger, Yamaguchi’s big eyes widening innocently, and Kageyama nods in what is probably complete and total seriousness. He narrows his eyes, and lets his voice go a little deeper, perhaps a bit more menacing when he says, “Well. Maybe we shouldn’t have our monthly dinner this month, since I’ll be using that money to buy cookies instead.”

“Wait, buy?”

“Nooo, Daichi-san, we take it back!”

“It was Kageyama’s idea.”

“Oi, what the hell—”

It’s nice to know he still has some semblance of authority over his crew, even if he knows he’ll eventually cave in and bake the cookies again sometime in the near future.

 

Chapter Text

The next day brings an early summer rain that lasts all day long and three clients for Daichi, two of them a couple from Malaysia looking to engrave the outline of a crane on their legs, which have become canvases of their travels. The other was a young man who’d brought his father’s signature along, to be inked across his shoulder. Daichi doesn’t ask him, only nods in encouragement as the man smiles through teary eyes that had been present long before he’d put the needles on his skin.

At half past six, he steps out into the front area for a breather after the three back-to-back sessions, and spies a familiar jar on the reception counter next to the succulent. His eyebrows rise, unbidden, when he takes in how the jar looks decidedly more… Colourful than the last time he saw it. 

“This was dropped off about an hour ago, while you were busy with a customer,” Yamaguchi pipes up from his seat behind the counter, and there’s definitely something teasing behind his innocent expression. Daichi doesn’t call him out on it though; he probably deserves the teasing, especially when there’s no helping the grin that creeps on his face as he takes in the small bouquet and how Suga had literally made the jar a makeshift vase. 

He recognises a couple of the flowers, the yellow daffodils and orange tulips, and then he spies the white daisies nestled among the others. 

They’d look prettier against Suga’s hair, he thinks, but right here in his parlour in the midst of an absolutely delicate, pastel arrangement, they definitely look a little out of place, but Daichi finds he doesn’t mind it.

When he looks a little closer, he finds a note and glances at Yamaguchi, but the other man is looking at something on his laptop, so he nonchalantly reaches over to take it. (He pretends he doesn’t see the way Yamaguchi has stopped typing.)

Inside is handwriting that’s a little looped and slanted, and Daichi spares a thought to be annoyed at himself for being enamoured with handwriting, of all things.

“Dear Daichi,

Thank you for the cookies! They were absolutely delicious, and I hope these flowers are an adequate enough thanks, and make your day a little brighter despite the weather.

- Suga”

Ennoshita had merely smiled when he catches Daichi fiddling with the arrangement a couple of hours later, but Tsukishima says something about how weird it is to have flowers in the tattoo parlour, staring at the bouquet. Daichi almost hums placatingly because he’d had the same exact thought, to be fair, but Yamaguchi shoots his boyfriend a smile before looking at the flowers.

“I think they make the place look brighter. Plus, they make for good company when I’m on my own out here,” he says, running a hand through his hair, and adds sheepishly, “Uh, not that I’m complaining, Daichi-san.”

“Of course not,” Daichi replies, chuckling.

But Tsukishima looks straight at Yamaguchi, lips pursed in a frown and snakebites more pronounced than ever, before he drawls, “You’re plenty bright enough with that hair.” And Daichi takes that moment to escape before he can witness his staff flirting even more, catching sight of Yamaguchi’s surprised expression, bright red spots on his freckled cheeks.

That evening, after locking the parlour, Daichi heads left instead of right towards the back of the building, and takes a quick bus ride to the nearest store that sells home decor items. It takes him a couple of minutes to find the right aisle, but when he’s stood in front of shelves of vases, he takes a second to wonder if any of these different shapes and sizes really make a difference. Will he ruin the aesthetics of the bouquet if he gets something a little too small or too big? Shit, it should probably be transparent as well, how else is he supposed to know how much water he has to add to keep the flowers alive?

Wait, how long do they stay alive?

“Looking for something specific?”

Daichi blames it on how many thoughts are currently warring in his head that he fails to recognise that voice, but when he turns to politely refuse the offer, his words get stuck and instead, all that comes out is an incredulous, “Suga?”

There’s no daisy in his hair this time, but it doesn’t distract Daichi from the fact that he’s as blown over by the other man’s looks as he was the last couple of times they’d met, even when it’s obvious how tired Suga looks, the shadows under his eyes slightly pronounced. And instead of his green apron, Suga’s dressed in a white pullover this time, the collar wide enough to show a hint of clavicle and dark skinny jeans hugging his slim legs, which end in white shoes with a splash of bright orange, as bright as the tulips back on the reception counter of the Crow’s Nest. 

“You’ve been staring at the vases for a while, so I was just wondering if you needed help narrowing down your choices?” Suga asks with a curious smile, and Daichi exhales, laughing self-consciously as he rubs the back of his neck.

“Ah, I was trying to decide on one for the flowers you gave earlier today—they’re beautiful, by the way,” Daichi tells him earnestly. Suga’s smile becomes more bashful at that, and Daichi has a feeling that this silver-haired man probably takes a lot of pride in his work, from how meticulously arranged the flowers had been, to the little succulent he’d freely given to the parlour, and it only makes Daichi want to compliment him more.

(Just to see if the flush can spread even wider across his cheeks.)

Suga steps a little closer, and after a thoughtful hum, reaches over to grab a transparent glass vase that’s a little shorter than Daichi’s forearm on one of the lower shelves. “This should do the trick,” he says, handing it over to Daichi with a quick wink. It’s preposterous how that causes him to feel as warm as he currently does as he takes the vase from Suga.

When the other man steps back from the shelves, Daichi finally notices the trolley behind him, nearly overflowing with all manners of DIY cupboards and shelves, from the looks of the packaging and he absently wonders if those were for the shop, voicing out his thought.

“Ah, no, these are for my own apartment actually,” Suga replies, laughing a little as he glances at his trolley. “I moved from the other side of the city around a week before the shop opened, but between getting that up and running and moving out of my old place, I haven’t really had time to move in properly. The only thing that’s been set up is my bed and a couple of kitchen tools,” he shrugs ruefully. This close under the store’s harsh white lighting, Daichi can see how dark his eyebags actually are, and Daichi internally winces when he catches Suga stifling a yawn as he casually examines the vases before them.

It’s what prompts him to say, “Do you need help with that?” before he can think about how inappropriately forward that might sound. “It’s just, I know how difficult it can be when you’ve just started opening up a business, and that looks like a lot of work to put together when you’re as busy as you are right now,” he quickly adds, and then, before Suga can say anything, “Feel free to say no, of course.”

Suga had turned to look at him when he started blabbering, but before Daichi can brace himself for rejection, Suga blinks at him a couple of times, before his expression breaks into that pretty smile of his—the one he’s growing fond of at a frighteningly alarming rate.

“I don’t want to take too much of your time, but I probably do need the help,” he replies with a laugh. “Thank you. I really appreciate it, Daichi.”

Daichi shakes his head, and finds every bone in him is sincere when he answers, “Happy to help, let me know when I should come over.” They decide on Sunday when both their shops will be closed, before they part ways at the store, since Suga still needed to shop for a few more things and Daichi needed to walk away before he started buying more vases as an excuse to fill them with Suga’s flowers.

***

The next day, Daichi walks into the parlour, vase in hand, to find two of their most loyal customers, Tanaka and Nishinoya hanging around the waiting area with Yamaguchi, Tsukishima and Kageyama.

Three years ago when the Crow’s Nest first opened and tattoo appointments were still few and far in between, Nishinoya had walked in with all the swagger of a six-foot-four man compacted into his small figure and announced loudly, “I want the most badass fucking dragon tattoo ya got here.”

It took Daichi about ten minutes to realise the other man had been deadly serious about his desire, Nishinoya’s brown eyes bright with excitement and confidence brimming from his figure. And even when the shorter man had laid on his front and endured a gruelling six-hour session for an elaborate back piece as his first tattoo, there was nothing close to regret in him.

The fact that Nishinoya brought Tanaka along a couple of months after that was a bonus, especially when Daichi was quietly panicking about how to keep their parlour afloat then. Tanaka went with a smaller piece compared to his friend, a stylistic depiction of the waves of an ocean on his left arm, and then there were a few more tattoos between the both of them, and suddenly the sight of them hanging around the parlour a few times a month is no longer a surprise to him or any of the crew now.

“Daichi-san!” Nishinoya greets him exuberantly around the popsicle jammed in his mouth, causing him to freeze in his tracks. He takes a second to think about hiding the vase behind him, but realises immediately how stupid that would probably look, and resigns himself to his fate.

“Hey, Nishinoya, Tanaka,” he replies, nodding at both of them as he walked up to the counter, moving past the two of them sat on the couch. “Your tattoo and piercing healing alright?” He takes a moment to quickly transfer the flowers into the new vase, frowning when he notices how they looked slightly less pristine than they had the day before.

“They’re doing alright,” Tanaka says, and Daichi can visibly hear the way the gears turn in the other man’s head when he asks slyly, “Say, since when do you keep flowers around here, Daichi-san?”

Tsukishima snorts, and Yamaguchi fails to hide his own giggle as Daichi exhales exasperatedly. When he turns back to look at the other two, there are twin smirks on both Tanaka and Nishinoya’s faces, and he suppresses the incredibly strong urge to throw them out.

Instead, he simply answers, “Suga sent them over yesterday, and I thought they might brighten up the place.”

At that, Tanaka throws his head back as he cackles. “I bet that’s not the only thing he brightened up,” he leers and Daichi has half a mind to throw the now empty jar at him. Thankfully, the man calms down, but not before he adds, “Noya-san and me had lunch with Noya-san’s boyfriend, so we, as your friends and loyal clients to your work, decided it was in your best interest that we talk you up in front of Asahi-san, since he and Suga-san are pretty close.”

And then Nishinoya takes the popsicle out of his mouth and badgers him with, “I heard you’re helping Suga move in this weekend! Can we help?”

“Wait, I never volunteered for this, Noya-san—”

Daichi doesn’t get a chance to reply before Tsukishima heaves a loud sigh and drones out, “This is a tattoo parlour, not a cafe. If neither are you are going to get a tattoo or a piercing, you are not customers and therefore, are legally required to leave.”

“By the laws of friendship, we’re legally required to help you cheer the fuck up, Tsukishima.”

“Oi, we aren’t just customers, we’re your absolute best customers, asshole.”

Daichi doesn’t really know at what point in his life did he start adopting children as part of his friend circle, but he’d like to find out, just to warn himself of the impending headaches it would bring.

“You didn’t really need to do that, Tanaka, but thanks, I guess. Noya, it’s Suga’s apartment, not mine, so you should probably ask him instead. Tsukishima, you literally just did Nishinoya’s other nipple barbell last week.”

A hushed silence finally falls in the wake of his words.

Until Nishinoya breaks it with, “Damn, I haven’t seen your dad side in a while, Daichi-san.”

Kageyama speaks up at last. “What do you mean? I thought that’s how Daichi-san’s usually like.” Daichi really doesn’t want to think just how brutally honest the younger man had sounded when he said that, and pretends to ignore it in favour of fiddling with the flowers, even as Tanaka and Nishinoya dissolve in raucous laughter.

In the end he gives up, and escapes into his office with the now empty cookie jar, because there’s only so much teasing he can take—Nishinoya and Tanaka yell their goodbyes a few minutes later, just as Tsukishima’s client arrives, and the parlour somehow stays intact for the rest of the day.

When the clock strikes ten past eight and Daichi’s looked at more numbers in one day than he’s ever had the displeasure to do, the rest of his crew wave their goodbyes to him, except for Ennoshita. He simply leans against the doorway of Daichi’s office, watching him die a slow death from crunching numbers for their accounts. Not that they weren’t good numbers, but accounts still put a nasty crick in his neck and makes him squint his eyes way too much, and he’s not going to be surprised if he ends up having to use glasses before he’s thirty.

“Heard about you helping a certain florist move in?” Ennoshita says at last, and Daichi takes the cue to (carefully) slam his laptop down, his vision a little blurry from spending the last six hours staring at the screen.

Daichi looks at him, and shrugs. “He looked like he needed the help,” he says simply, which is true, but it isn’t the whole truth, and Ennoshita’s smart enough to know that.

“You’re really into the guy, huh?”

There’s no judgment in Ennoshita’s voice, just a soft smile on his face that makes Daichi think of the days when they were both still learning, training under their old teacher Ukai and it’s the encouragement Daichi needs to say, “Kind of. Maybe. I just wanted to help, and if I can get to know him better too, then that’s… That, I guess.”

Ennoshita laughs. “I hope it’s not just all that . Daichi, you baked cookies for him—”

“—and his staff, and for you ingrates as well—”

“So you’re definitely trying to impress him on some level,” Ennoshita finishes with a flourish, pointing at him and then at the empty jar on his table.

Daichi can’t really argue with that.

“Tell you what,” Ennoshita says, hands on his hips, and Daichi doesn’t know if he likes the steely look of determination in the other man’s eyes, or the way he’s smiling at Daichi like he’s about to spike a ping pong ball during one of their many beer pong games — something Ennoshita had brought over  from that time he’d spent six months in the US for some internship program during university years ago. “The flowers upfront are looking a little droopy, so maybe you could bring them over to Suga, make some conversation, and then ask him if he’d like some more help from the rest of us too.”

Oh, this is infinitely worse than beer pong.

“Ennoshita, it’ll be on your day off, I can’t ask you guys to do this as well,” Daichi tries, injecting concern in his tone but the other man only grins wider.

“You know Yamaguchi will be fine with it, which means Tsukishima’s in. And Kageyama’s easy enough to bribe with curry buns.”

Daichi sighs, and figures there’s no use trying to convince Ennoshita otherwise, so he just leans back in his chair and frowns at his friend. “You just want an excuse to humiliate me somehow.”

“Aww, captain, you’re mistaking me for our favourite blonde cactus.” Ennoshita’s calm smile is only a front—Daichi’s witnessed how terrifyingly capable the other man is when it comes to something he’s committed himself to doing.

Which, in his case, unfortunately means—

“It’s been ages since you got laid, after all.”

“... I don’t know how I feel about the fact that you’re actually aware of that.”

Ennoshita’s smile slips into something more playful, and Daichi’s well aware how little he shows this side to the rest of their crew, having to deal with Tsukishima and Kageyama’s shenanigans in between making sure Yamaguchi doesn’t egg on his boyfriend too much. But it doesn’t mean he completely enjoys having to deal with the brunt of it.

“Oh, Daichi. You’re more oblivious than I thought if you think I’m the only one in this parlour that’s aware of that.”

***

The next day, when Daichi prepares to step out with the vase in his hands, Kageyama goes up to him and asks, “Can I come with you to the flower shop?”

Daichi looks at him curiously. Kageyama doesn’t talk much, even after having spent six months with the Crow’s Nest already, and while he tries his best to make sure the younger man feels comfortable around them (and he hopes he’s succeeded to a certain extent), it’s still very rare that Kageyama would tag along like this.

“Yeah, sure. Are you looking for something?” He asks, and sees a shadow pass over the other man’s face, big blue eyes shuttered.

Kageyama nods a little stiffly, and then Daichi’s wincing internally when he says haltingly, “Yes. I… Remember when I asked for leave tomorrow to visit my grandmother?”

Right. Fuck, how did he forget?

Instead, Daichi nods, and pastes a smile that he hopes is encouraging enough for the both of them. “I’m sure you’ll find something there for her,” and Kageyama nods again in return, before they leave the parlour and make their way across the street.

This time when Daichi enters Sweet Florals, Suga’s at the counter, talking to a couple of guys. The three of them seem familiar with each other, judging from how Suga only laughs brightly when one of the two men lifts his hand and delivers a resounding smack on the other man’s head, who then starts wailing loudly.

He figures it’s probably best to just leave them to it, and steers Kageyama over to the flowers on the nearest wall. He leaves his apprentice alone to contemplate them while trying to make it seem like carrying a vase filled with wilting flowers is an absolutely normal sight, but he’s not sure how well he fares when the conversation at the counter distinctly tapers off.

However, he doesn’t get a chance to relax when Hinata appears again this time, still bright-eyed and bright-haired as ever.

“Hello, welcome back!” He says, before his eyes widen in incredibly obvious horror. “Oh shit, it’s you! I didn’t hurt you too badly back then, did I? I’m really sorry for that!”

At that, Kageyama turns away from the flowers and watches Hinata with interest, in the same way you’d look at a frightened animal trying to scurry out of the corner it’s backed itself into.

“I—yeah,” Daichi says, hoping the smile on his face doesn’t scare off the younger man any further. “I’m fine, no harm done, honestly,” he adds quickly, and exhales in relief when HInata’s expression breaks into a huge smile.

“Cool!” Hinata flashes him a thumbs up, and Daichi grins in amusement at him. The shorter man’s energy is lively and infectious; he definitely suits being in a flower shop. “What’re you doing here again, though?” Hinata asks, glancing between him and Kageyama curiously.

Surprisingly, Kageyama speaks up before Daichi can explain what is it exactly that they’re there for. “I’m looking for flowers.”

And then Daichi nearly chokes when Hinata howls in laughter and claps Kageyama’s shoulder like they’d known each other for years, and then he actually flinches as Hinata says happily, “Man, that was a good one. Yeah, okay. But what kind? Who are they for? What do they like?”

He’s ready to intervene when Kageyama replies stonily, “Don’t know. My grandmother. No idea, she liked the colour yellow so I usually just leave her sunflowers.”

“Leave her?”

The blank expression on Kageyama’s face cuts Daichi more than any of his terrible scowls usually directed at Tsukishima do, and he takes a step towards them as his apprentice says bluntly, “Can’t really ask a tombstone what they like, can I?”

But to Daichi’s astonishment, Hinata doesn’t even look phased by the words except for the widening of his eyes. And then he nods, breathing out and replies casually, “Eh, true enough. She likes yellow, you said? We could totally do an arrangement with that colour as the centerpiece.” Daichi witnesses the furrow in Kageyama’s brow become less pronounced as Hinata prattles on, even putting a hand on Kageyama’s shoulder to direct him towards what he thinks are orchids.

He doesn’t realise how hard he’s staring at the pair, Hinata’s orange hair bouncing as he nods eagerly at whatever Kageyama’s saying, and startles when someone speaks up right beside him.

“Everything alright?”

He turns and meets Suga’s gaze, before it moves towards the other two, visibly concerned. Daichi’s eyes linger on the white daisy tucked behind the other man’s ear, and finds himself stupidly missing the sight from the last time they’d met. He shakes his head slightly to clear his mind of the thought and answers, “Yeah, I think so,” before he carefully adds, “I can probably drag Kageyama out and back to the parlour if I need to, though.”

Suga laughs at that and says lightly, “I’ll try to get Hinata back in line before that happens, then.” He looks at Daichi, his eyes warm and friendly, and Daichi has an annoyingly difficult time trying not to flush under his gaze.

He’s not sure if he’s glad when Suga’s eyes finally catches sight of the vase in his hands, because he can feel his ears reddening when Suga points out, “Oh, they look a little down, don’t they?”

“Yeah, I—sorry about that,” he says sheepishly, lifting the vase between them. “They were beautiful, but I guess I just didn’t have that much luck in keeping them alive.”

But Suga only shakes his head and tells him, “That’s the thing with flowers; they’re lovely like this, but they don’t live for very long.” A beat passes, and then Suga looks at him before he says hesitantly, “I can, um, show you how we can make them still look nice, if you’d like?”

It doesn’t take much for Daichi to agree, and Suga takes the flowers out of the vase as he explains the process of pressing flowers, how he could use any old book lying around to do it and that it’d take a couple of weeks before they’d be done. Daichi watches as Suga expertly cuts up the flowers, explaining the process as he goes along, and he hasn’t really read a physical book since university, but he’ll be damned if he tells Suga that, so he nods along and makes a mental note to buy one—or dig out one of his old textbooks.

And then Suga replaces the flowers in the vase, waving away Daichi’s offer to pay for the arrangement.

“These ones should last for more than a week, and it’s really not much,” he insisted, but Daichi frowns a little at that. He’s not sure how much one arrangement is, but it can’t be all that cheap.

“Next time, then,” he replies firmly, and before he can berate himself for being too presumptuous, because what if Suga doesn’t want to make him another arrangement, the other man’s smile grows bigger.

“Alright. Next time then, Daichi.”

Meanwhile, Hinata’s done with his own arrangement for Kageyama as well, and after a quick check from Suga, he grants Hinata a wide smile and says, “Looks great! Good job, Hinata,” ruffling his hair. Daichi doesn’t know how it’s possible for Hinata to seem even brighter than he already does but the beam he sends Suga could probably rival the sun in its intensity. “Thanks, Suga-san!”

He moves on to ring Kageyama’s purchase, but when Kageyama reaches over to hand his cash, Hinata gasps loudly, startling all three of them.

“Hinata?” Suga asks worriedly, but Hinata only shakes his head and points at Kageyema’s wrist, where his long sleeve had ridden up, showing off the tattoo of a lily on his wrist against a background of soft orange that stands up starkly against his pale skin.

“That’s my favourite flower! Can I see it?”

“Hinata, you shouldn’t really—” Suga frowns as he speaks, but Daichi is surprised for the nth time that day when Kageyama nods readily, and stretches his arm further so that it’s right in front of Hinata’s face for the other man to inspect.

Daichi smiles as Suga sighs exasperatedly, drowned by Hinata’s excited exclamations, before turning to him. “Sorry, that was quite forward of him,” he apologizes, but Daichi stops him before he can say anything further.

“It’s fine, Kageyama would have said something if he didn’t like. And it’s… Nice,” he says carefully, keeping his gaze fixed on Hinata and Kageyama, “To know that someone else can appreciate it too.”

Suga’s quiet for a moment, but when he speaks, he completely floors Daichi.

“Why shouldn’t they? Art should be admired, no matter what form they take.”

And Daichi can feel himself falling just a little further for this absolutely wonderful man with the daisy in his hair, and the way he constantly makes Daichi warm with admiration and respect.

It’s what pushes Daichi to say, “By the way, if you need more help with moving, I’ve got a few other volunteers that’ll be happy to lend a hand.” Happy is probably stretching it, but he figures Ennoshita has it covered.

Suga grins, and replies, “Funny enough, Tanaka and Noya mentioned they wanted to drop by as well. I don’t mind at all, really, but just warning you—my place is still a bit of a mess right now.”

“Thanks for the heads up,” Daichi answers, amusement clear in his voice.

The amusement quickly gives way to thinly veiled surprise and delight when Suga offers to exchange numbers (“So I can text you my address”), and by the time they’re done with the whole thing, both Kageyama and Daichi walk out with fresh flowers in their hands, Daichi feeling a little dazed from the entire encounter with the silver-haired florist.

Back at the tattoo parlour, Kageyama turns to Daichi and says quietly, “Thanks for telling Suga-san that. And for bringing me there. I think I have some ideas for my next piece as well.” There’s a light in his eyes that Daichi usually associates with curry buns and a particularly challenging piece of artwork.

And Daichi grins, wondering if he’s not the only one who’s enamoured with a flower boy now.

“No problem, kid.”

***

Sunday morning brings with it blue skies, barely a breeze and a slowly panicking Daichi standing in front of the building of Suga’s apartment, waiting for the rest of his crew to show up.

“Look alive, captain,” Ennoshita greets him when he arrives with Kageyama a couple of minutes after Daichi had reached the place, his smile much too tranquil for his liking. In all his years of knowing Ennoshita, the number of times he’s seen the man when he’s not his unflappable self can probably be counted on one hand. “This is a pretty suburban neighbourhood, huh,” he muses, looking around the area.

Suga’s apartment is merely three stops away by bus from both of their shops, but it’s definitely more of a residential area than the rows of cafes, galleries and boutiques that border their shops. Daichi’s already had to deal with more than a few stares at his arm from some of the residents up too early on a Sunday, and he’s more than used to it, but it doesn’t mean he particularly enjoys the way their lips pinch and brows furrow at him.

“Morning, Daichi-san,” Kageyama greets him, scrunching his nose before letting out a big yawn.

Daichi shakes his head at the sight. He really doesn’t know how many curry buns Ennoshita promised the guy, but it has to be a substantial amount—Kageyama’s an incredibly heavy sleeper and he’s never seen him awake this early, even on the days they’re at the parlour.

“Morning,” he replies, nodding at both of them. “Any idea where Yamaguchi and Tsukishima are?”

Kageyama shrugs, but Ennoshita waves his phone and informs them, “Yamaguchi texted, they just got off the bus and they’re making their way over.” He takes another look at the place, and catches the eye of a woman passing by, whose eyes widen at the sight of the three heavily tattooed men and she hurriedly scurries away when Ennoshita smiles at her.

“Well, that’s new,” he says amusedly, and smirks at Daichi. “It’s not like I’m the one with a full-on black and red arm sleeve.”

Daichi rolls his eyes, and looks over at Kageyama, who’d chosen to wear a white sleeveless shirt with a wide collar and dark shorts, showing off the small crow at the side of his neck, as if perched right in between his neck and shoulder, as well as the lily tattoo on his wrist and the vines wrapped around his left calf.

And then he looks back at Ennoshita, letting his gaze linger pointedly on the other man’s own tattoos reaching past the sleeves of his shirt, stopping right at the edge of his elbows, and says drily, “You have nearly as many tattoos as me, you just chose to put them on areas you can hide easily.”

Ennoshita pats his right side, where Daichi knows holds an amazing line art of clouds running up from his hip to just below his armpit, and shrugs. “You know I’ll tell you if I ever wanna add on to my arms,” he answers with a smile and Daichi grins back. They’d done each other’s tattoos from way back during their apprenticeships—Daichi had been the one to do the orchid half-sleeve, and Ennoshita had done his back piece back when they’d first opened the Crow’s Nest.

He knows he’d be the first one Ennoshita would ask to add on to his own work, and Daichi holds the fact with pride.

Their conversation gets interrupted with the arrival of Yamaguchi, who’s visibly pulling along a yawning Tsukishima and Yamaguchi greets them with a, “Sorry we’re late! Someone didn’t want to get up.”

The blonde rolls his eyes, but he lets Yamaguchi keep his hand as he retorts, “That was you, by the way. I had to pull the covers off of you just to wake you up, and now you owe me coffee.”

He’s tempted to laugh along with Ennoshita and a snickering Kageyama, but with the five of them standing around, Daichi knows they make quite the sight, so he quickly ushers them towards the front door of Suga’s apartment, a modest-sized building with red-brown bricks made up of four floors, situated between two taller apartment buildings. He lets them in using the code Suga had texted him the night before, and leads them up to the third floor.

“Suga said it’s apartment number 304, at the end of the corridor, on the right,” Daichi explains when they reach the right level, and soon enough, finds himself in front of Suga’s door.

He doesn’t know if the others sense his hesitation, just for a couple of seconds, but he shakes it off and presses the doorbell, wondering if his crew can hear the way his heart is beginning to beat way too fast, too loud.

He’s startled out of his thoughts when the door opens all of a sudden to reveal Hinata, whose hair is tucked under a bandana, dressed in a bright red shirt that absolutely clashes with his hair and a pair of short shorts, staring up at all of them.

Daichi has a brief moment to ponder if he should have gotten the rest of them to back up a little as to not overwhelm the guy, especially when Hinata’s eyes go impossibly wide, and somehow he trips over air as he scurries back, falling on his ass and squeaking out, “Ta—tattoos!”

“Oh dear,” Ennoshita murmurs, and Daichi privately agrees with the sentiment.

But Kageyama snorts from behind, and it breaks the terrified expression on Hinata’s face, especially when the taller of the two quite audibly says, “Oi, dumbass.”

He doesn’t get a chance to knock some politeness back into Kageyama before Hinata jumps back to his feet and yelps out a scandalized, “ Hah?! Just because you’ve got a cool tattoo—”

“Several cool ones, actually—”

“Wait what, you never said anything about other tattoos! Lemme see them then!”

“Oh God, there’s two of them now,” Tsukishima sighs aloud as Hinata and Kageyama continue to bicker, and Yamaguchi immediately breaks into giggles.

Thankfully, Suga appears from behind Hinata before Daichi contemplates throwing half of his crew down the stairs they’d just climbed up; he gives them all a smile and puts a hand on Hinata’s shoulder, before calmly saying, “Hinata, would you mind helping Asahi in the kitchen?”

“Sure, Suga-san!” Hinata exclaims, but not before throwing Kageyama one last dirty look and then scurried off, leaving Suga to shake his head, and then—

Daichi puts the blame entirely on his unruly crew (and Hinata), because now that he’s not distracted, he’s immediately hit with the sight of a slightly sweaty Suga, sheen obvious on his forehead and nose, his silver hair pulled away from his face with a clip. Daichi’s eyes can’t help but linger on the white shirt that’s sticking a little to the other man’s body, but he manages to valiantly rip his gaze away to look at Suga’s smile.

Curled up on one side, mischief evident, and Daichi forces himself to casually grin as well.

“Hello,” Suga greets them all and steps back, pushing the door wide open. “Come in, sorry about the mess,” he says lightly, as Daichi leads his staff inside and has to immediately pick his way through a few boxes in the genkan . When he takes in the rest of the apartment, a chuckle escapes him as he glances at Suga, who’s chewing his lip self-consciously.

(So. Distracting .)

“I know I’m coming across as a hoarder, but there was some form of… Method, when I was packing a couple of months ago.”

“I don’t suppose you remember said method?” Daichi replies mildly, ripping his gaze away from Suga’s mouth, aware of Yamaguchi and Kageyama’s gawking at the absolute mess that awaits them. There are numerous stacks of boxes, some of them big enough to probably store a curled up Tsukishima, and there’s a commotion coming from deeper in the apartment that he identifies with Tanaka and Nishinoya, before a triumphant yell pierces the air from the other side of the place, followed by an unfamiliar “Careful, Hinata!”

He turns back to see Suga frowning at him, wrinkling his nose cutely. “I’m sensing judgement in your tone, Sawamura-san,” and Daichi lifts his hands in surrender, grinning placatingly this time.

He takes one more look around, and catches Ennoshita’s amused expression.

Right, they’re supposed to be helping .

“Okay, so what do you want us to help with?”

***

Between Daichi, Suga and Ennoshita, they manage to divide the tasks in this way: Ennoshita’s tasked with helping Tanaka and Nishinoya unpack in the bedroom and the spare room; Kageyama, Tsukishima and Yamaguchi are supposed to help Hinata in the kitchen (Daichi levels them with a Look when he says “help”), while Asahi, Daichi and Suga will be assembling the DIY furniture and shelves Suga had gotten for the place.

Daichi spares a prayer for the survival of Suga’s kitchen as he watches the younger members of his crew head off, but when he expresses his concern, Suga merely shrugs. “I know a guy at a clinic,” he says, and then adds, “It’ll be fine, I think Asahi-san unpacked most of the sharp stuff already, right?”

Asahi-san, who’d walked back into the living room after Suga had summoned him to help with the furniture, stands at about six foot two; with dark brown hair in a bun and arms almost as big as Daichi’s thighs, the concerned look on his bearded face is terribly out of place, but no less sincere in its intensity.

“I… Think so?” He says apprehensively, and gets a powerful hit to the back by Suga.

(This is the second time he’s seen Suga actively violent, and it must say something about how fucked up Daichi must be that he finds the sight incredibly hilarious, still.)

Suga sighs, and shrugs again as Asahi pathetically rubs his back. “I’m sure we can work our way around a first aid kit if we need to, I think I put mine in the bathroom,” he says with a smile, and it should be disconcerting, how casually he says it, but Daichi remembers Hinata and the hints of his clumsiness, and finds himself chuckling instead.

They get to work soon after, and a few hours pass as Daichi and Asahi put together cabinets and shelves while Suga tries his best to make sense of all the manuals; at one point, they’d been too enthusiastic and ripped open two boxes that contained the makings of a small bookcase each, and that took a while to get right. In between all of that, the bickering in the kitchen hasn’t lessened any bit, but Daichi doesn’t smell smoke or hear any real cries of pain, so he decides the less he knows, the better.

At one point, Nishinoya yells out, “Holy shit, Suga-san! You still keep this?!” And that prompts Suga to completely abandon everything and rush to where Nishinoya was, leaving Daichi and Asahi to wonder what exactly did Nishinoya find.

“I’ll probably find out later, Noya-san can’t really keep anything a secret from me,” Asahi says sheepishly, and from anyone else it would have sounded smug, but there’s only fond exasperation in Asahi’s tone.

Daichi’s happy to find that he makes fast friends with the taller man, and he finds out that he has a personality the equivalent of a jumpy fawn, and muscle strength Daichi’s slightly envious of. Asahi also reveals that he and Suga had been friends since high school, and while Asahi doesn’t have a botany degree, he’d majored in business and marketing to help Suga achieve his dream.

(“Suga, I only did it because I wasn’t bad at it.”

“You still helped anyway, Asahi, so it counts.”)

They break for a late lunch sometime around two in the afternoon with some pizzas, with Suga proudly brandishing a Rilakkuma pizza-cutter he’d won in a festival during university a few years ago, and it’s astonishing how much pizza gets devoured in way too little time between all of them.

At one point when the air-conditioning is no longer much of a help and the early summer heat from outside starts to seep into the apartment, Daichi absent-mindedly rolls up his sleeves, sticky with sweat as he pants a little from the day’s work.

It’s as he’s carrying the couch according to Suga’s instructions that he realises the other man’s voice has tapered off, and when he looks up Daichi catches Suga glancing at his arms, tensed with the exertion and the muscles clearly defined, his tattoo in clear view as well.

There’s definitely embarrassment swirling in the pit of his stomach, but there’s something else in him that makes him feel good about how obvious the other man’s admiration is, and he doesn’t bother pulling his sleeves down, not even when they’re finally done making Suga’s apartment look livable by five that evening.

When Suga grins happily at him across the living room, hair disheveled and clip nowhere to be seen, the sheen on his face a lot more noticeable and his shirt absolutely sticking to his chest, Daichi has to take a moment to internally congratulate his past self for taking the leap to offer his help, back then at the store.

Everyone else has gathered in the living room as well; Tanaka and Ennoshita are sat on the couch, while Asahi has Noya sitting sideways on his lap in the armchair, and Kageyama, Hinata, Yamaguchi and Tsukishima are sprawled across the two beanbags Suga had somehow hauled from his old apartment in an eventful cab ride with Nishinoya when he’d first moved.

“I know today’s your offday, which is why I’m really grateful you guys helped me out with moving in and making this place less of a disaster,” Suga addresses them, hands clasped together as he smiles broad enough for his eyes to appear shut. “Especially the guys from the Crow’s Nest; I can’t thank you guys enough for willingly helping out a stranger like me,” he continues, turning to look at Daichi and the rest of his staff, copper-hazel eyes twinkling at them.

Ennoshita straightens up in his seat and replies cheerfully, “Don’t worry about it. And you can’t really call yourself a stranger now, Suga-san, not after some of the things I’ve seen in your boxes.” Daichi gets the pleasure to find out that Suga’s flush can definitely spread wide across his cheeks, tinting his pale skin a pretty pink that reaches down to his neck, as Nishinoya and Tanaka laugh uproariously, Asahi trying his best to keep his boyfriend from falling off, even as he hides his grin behind his face.

“But really, we had a good time. Right, boys?” Ennoshita continues before Suga can reply and directs the question towards their younger friends. All four of them lift up a thumbs up; Kageyama and Hinata are competing to see who can lift theirs higher, while Yamaguchi holds his and Tsukishima’s hand up together in response.

Daichi takes the chance to speak before things can derail into an all out, impromptu elbow fight and says, “Ennoshita’s right. Plus, feels good to do some manual labour for once; it’s been a while since I’ve had to haul so much furniture around.”

He hears a voice that sounds suspiciously like Tanaka mutter, “Really doesn’t look like you need it, though,” and tries his best to ignore it.

Suga’s blush seems to have receded by now, but he’s still smiling warmly at all of them. “That’s good to know then. Everything’s just about done and I can clean up the rest on my own, but help yourself to drinks in the fridge,” he offers, and that prompts Hinata to scramble over Kageyama to stand up, exclaiming excitedly, “Last one’s a loser!”

Kageyama, to Daichi’s continuous surprise, growls out, “Oi, dumbass, you kneed me in the fucking ribs,” before making his way to the kitchen as well. Tsukishima only snorts against the beanbag and where he’s pressed against Yamaguchi’s shoulder.

But they eventually start to make their excuses to leave, and while Daichi wishes he could find a reason to stay, he knows he probably doesn’t smell all that great after a whole day of sweating. Honestly, he’d kill for a warm shower right now as well. So he bids Suga goodbye when he ushers his crew out, and they split up at the stop nearest to the tattoo parlour; Daichi gets in a quick “Get some rest,” that gets a murmur of assent from the rest before he heads to his apartment.

As he’s settling down a few hours later after a much-needed shower and dinner, muscles pleasantly aching from the day’s workout, he gets a text from Suga.

 

Hey, just wanted to say thanks again for volunteering. And getting your team to do it too, really means a lot!

[11.23pm]

 

Attached is a photo of Suga’s living room, looking warm and cosy from the day’s achievements, and Daichi grins at the sight.

 

Happy to help. Did you have trouble cleaning up whatever was left?

[11.24pm]

Not really, I meant it when you guys helped a lot. Definitely took a load off of me and the others, haha

But I’m sure you must be tired, so I’ll leave you to rest :)

[11.26pm]

 

As much as he wishes it wasn’t the case, Daichi can feel his eyelids drooping and surrenders to the inevitable.

 

You must be just as exhausted, haha. Good night, Suga.

[11.27pm]

Good night, Daichi!

[11.27pm]

 

He falls asleep soon after, but in the morning he finds a text from Suga a little over half an hour after the other man’s last text, and he knows his ears are a firetruck-red as he reads it, a helpless sleepy grin tugging up at his lips.

 

You should wear sleeveless shirts more often.

[12.08pm]

 

Chapter Text

There’s a migraine steadily building right in between Daichi’s brows, and if he keeps frowning like this, he’s definitely going to get wrinkles before he’s thirty.

“Sorry, but no. I’m not doing that.”

“But Daichi-san!”

Daichi stares in frustration at the current cause of his pain, which, for once, isn’t Kageyama or Tsukishima. Instead, they’re watching him trying to hold on to the fraying edges of his calm, along with Yamaguchi, faces rapt with attention at the scene unfolding before them.

A sigh escapes him as he replies tiredly, “Terushima, I told you I won’t do that anymore.”

Terushima pouts at him, pushing out the dolphin bite piercings right under his bottom lip, almond eyes wide and pleading, both eyebrows, completed with two rings on each raised to make his eyes look even bigger. Daichi only crosses his arms in reply, watching as the blonde man seemingly wilts, scratching at his undercut as he exhales.

“But this is the last one, I promise,” Terushima tries once more and that finally breaks him.

“Teru, I’ve done four cover ups for each tattoo that signifies every single relationship of yours that failed,” he says bluntly, taking in everyone else’s winces with more than a healthy amount of morbid satisfaction. “I’m not tattooing your partner’s name on you only to have you come in two months later all red-eyed and swearing off everyone. Again .”

The other man opens his mouth, probably to try and convince Daichi again, but instead the parlour’s main door opens, admitting Suga who’s carrying a small succulent, and the smile on his face freezes when he takes in the entire scene before him. Daichi’s well aware that both he and Teru look like they’re in a stand-off, with the other three watching the entire thing go down, but before he can recover, Terushima’s shoulders straighten, the pout disappearing as he shoots Suga a grin that Daichi recognises as trouble instantly.

“Hey gorgeous, you looking to get some ink done too?” Terushima walks over to the florist with a wink and Daichi has a moment to wonder if he’d get away with swatting the back of a customer’s head, but Terushima’s less of a loyal customer and more of an energetic beagle that decided to latch on to Ennoshita when they were in college together and by extension, Daichi as well.

(It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to hit him though; Ennoshita would just laugh his ass off at Daichi if he ever found out about how much Terushima had managed to rile him up already, and it’s barely past one in the afternoon.)

Meanwhile, Suga smiles beatifically at Terushima, and says cheerfully, “Ah, no, but thanks for thinking I’m cool enough to pull off having tattoos,” and Daichi has half a mind to say Suga was plenty cool enough, even without tattoos.

(He’d be absolutely deadly with them, and that’s a thought to revisit when he’s not busy trying to hold himself back from strangling Terushima.)

Terushima smirks at that, but Daichi smoothly interrupts him with a, “What were you going to say about this person whose name you were about to tattoo, again?” And he beams innocently as Terushima flushes and turns to him with a look that’s a mix of betrayal and begrudging respect, while Suga hides his giggles behind his hand. He hears a soft, “Ooh, nice kill,” coming from the peanut gallery and his smile gets broader.

However, Terushima recovers quickly enough with his usual boisterous energy, and his frown turns into a smile that’s wide and somehow shy, eyes bright as he tells them that it’s not just one, it’s two , he met two people while he was in Tokyo for a high school reunion two weeks ago, and they were already an established couple but they’d invited Terushima over to their place and “And it’s like we had this instant connection, you know? I know you’re always lecturing me about my love life every time I come in—”

“Because you—”

“—‘Fall too hard, too fast’, yeah, but there’s just something about them that makes me want to, to make it permanent for myself, even if maybe they don’t see me like that and they’re both so fucking hot and cool and funny, Daichi, it’s ridiculous that they’re both kind of, sort of into me and how the fuck am I supposed to deal with that, especially if they end up getting bored with me?”

At that point, Tsukishima walks away silently, clearly unable to listen to more of Terushima’s love story without something in him shrivelling up and dying, while the rest of them regard Terushima cautiously. Yamaguchi hasn’t blinked once in the past ten seconds.

Finally, Daichi breaks the silence and says, “Okay. Right.” He stops there, unsure of what he’s even supposed to say right now.

Terushima looks at him, eyebrows raised.

“Teru,” Daichi tries again, and successfully finds his voice in the midst of the jumble of words that Terushima had just volleyed at them. “It’s great that you found these people, and it’s obvious they make you happy.” Terushima’s eyes gleam even more, the contented expression on his face making it even more obvious that with Terushima, there’s no helping him when it comes to the way he falls for people—completely hard and fast, with everything he has. “And I understand where you’re coming from. But I still don’t want to tattoo their names on you, especially if neither of them know you’re going to do it.”

Terushima deflates at his words, but he nods reluctantly anyway. “Fine, no names then. But—maybe something that’ll still remind me of them?” He asks, glancing at Daichi and Kageyama.

“What about forget-me-not flowers?”

Daichi turns to look at Suga, who's stayed quiet during Terushima’s entire monologue. The florist has a wide smile as he stares at Terushima, who looks at him contemplatively.

“The small blue flowers that kinda look like mice ears?” He asks curiously, tilting his head like an actual pup, and Daichi thinks it’s high time he stops getting surprised by how surprisingly smart Terushima can be, but it doesn’t look like today would be that day. Of course Terushima would know what they are and how they’d look like.

“Yeap,” Suga answers simply. He doesn’t elaborate, but Daichi thinks he probably doesn’t have to, with Terushima.

And then Daichi’s eyebrows raise as Terushima slowly grins, and claps a hand on Suga’s shoulder firmly.

“Thanks, man!” he exclaims happily, his smile big enough to show off the shiny barbell in the middle of his tongue. “Actually,” he turns to look at Daichi, who blinks at the twin pink spots on the other man’s cheeks, his tone slightly hesitant. “I think I’ll let them know about what I’m planning to do and if they’re like, okay with it, they can come with me when I swing by for the tattoo?”

Terushima’s chewing at his lip, watching him carefully, and Daichi’s reminded that for all the rowdiness and the force of nature that makes up Terushima Yuuji, he’s seen the young man not flinch during three-hour tattoo sessions and then simultaneously break when he talks about the guy or the girl that’s broken his heart, yet again.

It’s what makes him ruffle the tuft of blonde hair and say much too fondly, “Looking forward to meeting them, Teru.” He’s rewarded with Terushima’s brightest smile yet for the day, and then it’s a whirlwind of Terushima getting Yamaguchi to book his appointment for a month from now and the blonde man waves goodbye soon after, even getting Suga to promise to be there for his tattoo appointment before he leaves with a skip and a cheeky grin.

“You have very interesting friends, Daichi,” Suga comments lightly in the wake of Terushima’s absence. His lips are curled up at the edges, like he’s trying his best not to laugh at Daichi, and copper eyes twinkle as he adds, “I didn’t know you ran an agony aunt advice column on the side for heartbroken pretty boys too.”

“Eh, only the ones dumb enough to listen,” he shrugs casually, and Suga lets loose a laugh that warms Daichi, loud and delighted, his eyes shut and teeth gleaming.

(Daichi wonders if he can get Suga to laugh like that again, and how soon can that happen.)

Suga calms down quickly enough, and then his mouth forms a little ‘o’ as he turns and finds Kageyama in his line of sight, before walking over to him and Yamaguchi, greeting them with a wave of the succulent plant. “Hey guys. Kageyama, Hinata asked me to pass a message, I think he said…”

As Suga talks to his staff, Daichi takes his fill of the other man, an unbidden smile tugging at his lips. It’s been a few weeks since he and the rest of the Crow’s Nest crew helped Suga with his apartment, but this is the first time Suga’s stepped into the parlour since then, both of them caught up with their own shops and businesses. They’ve texted sporadically—he sends Suga some of the flower tattoos that he and the guys have done recently, and Suga sends photos of his few attempts at baking (a little less than disastrous, but he can’t say if he wouldn’t take a bite if the man had offered), and having dinner with Hinata and Asahi, usually crashed by Nishinoya and sometimes Tanaka.

And it’s nice —his phone memory gets steadily filled with the photos he takes and the photos from Suga, but it’s only a taste, and one he’s growing steadily desperate to have more of.

“Oh, this one’s so cute, Suga-san!” Yamaguchi’s voice breaks through his thoughts, and he glances up to see the man petting the small succulent, the pale leaves looking like a cluster of roses, only thicker and with slightly sharper edges. “What’s it called?”

Suga’s expression is adorably fatherly as he beams at the other two and replies, “Houseleek, or hens and chicks. They’re not actually native here but we’ve got a supplier who’s really good at growing foreign plants, so there’s a bunch of these in the store right now. And, uh...” He looks around and catches Daichi’s eye, and there’s something a little frenetic in the way Suga stares at him, his grin growing bashful as he explains slowly, “The shop just passed its first month here, and I figured this little one could join the one you have here already?”

It’s been a month?

“Congrats,” Daichi manages to say in reply, psyching himself up to reach out and clap Suga’s arm, squeezing it gently. “But we should be the ones giving you a gift, not the other way round,” he teases, and the other man shrugs, and whatever was making him look a little high-strung seems to finally leave him as he fixes his gaze on Daichi.

“It’s fine, besides, I’m pretty sure your cookies were some sort of a good luck charm,” Suga huffs a laugh, running his hand through his hair, nearly dislodging the stalk of daisy that’s always behind his ear. “We just booked a wedding gig, so that’s going to be interesting with Hinata and Asahi on deck,” he adds, somehow smiling and wincing simultaneously.

Daichi allows himself one more careful squeeze, and finally lets his hand fall as he answers firmly, “You’ll do fine. God knows we were a mess our first couple of months here.”

There’s no helping the warmth that immediately infuses his cheeks however, when Suga’s pretty smile broadens slowly, his voice going soft when he murmurs, “I’d like to hear about that sometime, if you don’t mind.”

“Yeah. Yeah, I’d like that too.” It’s stupid how breathless Daichi sounds, how knocked out he feels when he looks at this man whom he barely knows, but has seen the way silver hair gets disheveled and how he shuts his eyes when he beams wide enough and how much he wants to play with the white flower that sits just behind his ear, tuck it in Suga’s hair himself, maybe see what other flowers would look good on him.

( All of them. Daichi’s sure the beauty of any flower would only be enhanced by being on Suga’s person somehow.)

Suga nods, and the spell breaks when he steps back and sends a smile over at Kageyama and Yamaguchi. “I really just came to give the plant and pass on Hinata’s message so, I’ll, uh leave you to your work, then. See you guys around!” He waves goodbye at all of them, and Daichi has enough sense to stop himself from freezing when Suga squeezes his shoulder in farewell as he walks past, and finally leaves the parlour.

It takes him a few moments to drag himself from watching the door from where Suga had left, but it’s enough time for him to see the two younger Crow’s Nest boys watching him with unbridled curiosity with big blue and hazel eyes.

Daichi instinctively opens his mouth to say something, before closing it and decides a tactical retreat would be well in order, and walks past them into his office without another word as he thinks about all the different ways Suga had smiled at him today, and how much Daichi wants to see all the other ways that he does.

*** 

Things at the Crow’s Nest haven’t exactly been calm in the past couple of weeks, but Daichi doesn’t mind it. He meets more customers, people who pass by their city and looking to add to the collection on their bodies, young men and women who come into the shop wide-eyed and terrified, but armed with references and eagerness. It reminds him why he’d really started pursuing the art, but with the sudden influx of clients, he also starts wondering how he can make sure Kageyama and Tsukishima don’t burn out from the workload. So when the email he’d been waiting for since he’d reached out two months ago finally arrives at the end of the work day, he wastes no time telling Ennoshita about it.

“Fuck yes,” Ennoshita exclaims, brown eyes lighting up as he bumps his fist against Daichi’s arm in excitement. “That’s great news, Daichi, I can’t wait to go. Man, I haven’t been to one since, what, two years ago?”

Daichi nods, caught up in his friend’s enthusiasm. “Before we got the other three on board, yeah,” he confirms, glancing at his laptop again. “The convention’s at the end of the month, so we’ve got about three weeks to book accommodation and all that stuff.”

The last time either of them had been to a tattoo convention, the Crow’s Nest was only two-men strong, and both of them were in serious need of recharging and finding their muses again, so they’d gone to the annual convention held every summer in Tokyo. They’d met up with their old teacher and connected with a number of amazing artists, and Daichi’s definitely excited to have their younger staff join them this time around.

“That should be enough time—do you want me to sort that out or…”

Daichi shrugs. “I can do it,” he volunteers, and Ennoshita smiles at him in thanks. “I’ll check with Yamaguchi and make sure he doesn’t book anyone for that weekend,” he continues and Ennoshita hums.

“I’ll handle that,” he says, smiling. “Damn, I can’t wait to tell the kids about it. You wanna let them know during Tsukishima’s dinner tomorrow night?”

“Sure, all the more reason to celebrate,” Daichi grins and that causes Ennoshita to laugh aloud, before shaking his head fondly.

“God, I can’t believe he’s been around for an entire year and hasn’t killed any of us yet,” he comments, and Daichi snorts.

“He’s not the one I’m scared of, to be honest. After all, it was Yamaguchi who managed to convince him to have a dinner for his one-year work anniversary.”

***

When Daichi finally reaches the restaurant around nine in the evening, he takes a quick detour to the kitchen. He meets Tanaka Saeko at the doorway, her blonde hair cropped into a pixie cut compared to the bob he’d seen her sporting last, readily taking away the box he’s carrying from him.

“They’re at the usual table,” she informs him with a smirk, and as if on cue, he hears Tanaka’s yelling from somewhere behind him. Saeko’s smirk morphs into eye-rolling, and she adds, “Tell my idiot brother to keep it down, yeah?”

Daichi offers her a quick salute, before he grins, shaking his head ruefully. “No promises, nee-san. You can bring that out maybe an hour from now?” He glances at the box in her hands.

“Yeah, yeah. Now go and join them, I need someone level-headed enough to keep them from destroying my dad’s restaurant,” she waves him away, and Daichi laughs as he makes his retreat. As he walks between the crowded tables, he spots his crew easily enough in the back where Tanaka’s dad would usually reserve space for them, and he spies Tanaka leaning heavily against Ennoshita, and even Nishinoya has swung by, sans Asahi.

However, he’s more than surprised to see a familiar floof of bright orange hair right between Kageyama and Tsukishima as soon as he reaches their table.

“Daichi-san!” Hinata greets him enthusiastically, both hands waving at him and of course, he manages to dislodge Tsukishima’s glasses, who only glares down at him in clear annoyance while he fiddles with them, before placing them back on his face primly.

“Hey, Hinata,” he waves back, just as Tsukishima drawls at Hinata, “Remind me why you’re here again.”

Hinata somehow twists his body to lean against Kageyama as he frowns up at Tsukishima, and it’s clear that he has a couple of drinks in him already as he grumbles, “Because Yamaguchi invited me and clearly, your grumpy ass needs more friends and I have so gra—gay— graciously offered my services, asshole.” It only gets him a flick on his forehead, as Yamaguchi giggles loudly and Kageyama nurses his beer, uncaring of the squirming man trying to bury his face in his armpit, whining way too loudly at Tsukishima, “That’s not how you thank people for their friendship!” 

It takes Daichi about two seconds to recover from the sight, before he slides in right beside Nishinoya, who beams at him, empty plate and chopsticks in hand. “Daichi-san! Dive in, Ryuu’s dad really outdid himself for tonight, there’s so much fucking food,” he gestures wildly, and he’s not exaggerating—every inch of the table is occupied by dishes and plates piled high with food, with the requisite glasses of beer either in someone’s hand or right beside the food.

“Thanks, Noya,” he says, grinning as he takes the plate and cutlery from Nishinoya, and doesn’t waste any time tucking into the yakisoba right before him.

He’s sandwiched between Nishinoya and Ennoshita, and soon enough he’s joining in the conversation, belly getting steadily full and his glass never seems to be empty. Saeko shows up with a whole tray of beer somewhere between his third and fifth plate of karaage , and Nishinoya leads them all into a rousing cheer for her, causing the blonde to laugh hysterically as she grabs a can and clinks glasses with all of them. In the midst of it all, Daichi thinks he catches a smile on Tsukishima’s lips, but he doesn’t dare to look too closely.

He manages to make eye contact with Saeko, though, and five minutes later she’s carrying another tray, this time holding the cake that Daichi had baked for the occasion.

It was definitely worth the early morning, judging from their awed expressions, and even Tsukishima is staring at him with something that’s borderline admiration, and those are definitely tears in Ennoshita’s eyes—and Yamaguchi’s already bawling into his boyfriend’s shoulder, his shaky voice carrying across the table as he blubbers, “Oh my God, Tsukki, Daichi-san baked you a cake !”

By the time Hinata and Yamaguchi clears the area of the table in front of Tsukishima for the cake, Daichi takes the opportunity to stand up as he clears his throat, drawing everyone’s attention towards him again.

There’s a little bit of embarrassment creeping up his neck as he picks up his glass, but he steels himself with a grin as he raises his beer in Tsukishima’s direction.

“I won’t say much, but this dinner is just to thank you for your hard work and service—the Crow’s Nest wouldn’t be the same without you around and it’s not just because you’re our resident piercer,” he says, snorting as the blonde smirks up at him. “I really appreciate you taking a chance on our shop a year ago when it was just me and Ennoshita, and deciding to come and work with us when you did.”

With that, he lifts his drink higher and declares, “To Tsukishima!”

“To Tsukki!”

“Fuck yeah!”

The cake gets taken back briefly to be cut into smaller pieces, but not before Hinata manages to get frosting on both Kageyama and Nishinoya beside him. Before Kageyama can hurl more than a few drunken insults as Nishinoya collapses into laughter, the cake comes back and everyone happily tucks in. Daichi also takes the chance to tell the other three about the tattoo convention coming up, and the light in all of their eyes is enough to make him feel on top of the world, as Kageyama bombards him with questions and Tsukishima gets a couple in while Yamaguchi already looks like he’s halfway to fainting from the excitement.

The drinks get replaced with iced tea at one point, but Daichi’s not sure if that’ll do much to take the edge off—half of them look thoroughly flushed at this point, and Daichi can feel his head swimming a little as he sips his tea. He’s not sure how many beers they’ve all consumed between the eight of them, and he blames it on the alcohol when Ennoshita suddenly suggests to Tsukishima, “You should totally do a piercing on Daichi, as thanks for the fucking awesome cake he baked.”

Daichi’s eyes immediately widen with fear.

In fact, everyone’s eyes grow big at the suggestion, and he needs to stop this before—

“Holy shit, you’d look even more badass with a piercing, Daichi-san!” Tanaka roars with unabashed delight and he winces at the volume, shaking his head profusely.

“I don’t really want to put Tsukishima on the spot like that,” he says firmly, but Yamaguchi interjects before he has a chance to say anything further.

“Tsukki doesn’t have any appointments the day after—um, just saying,” he shifts, hunching his shoulders at Daichi’s glance.

At that, the rest of them turn to look at the blonde, and Tsukishima looks unruffled, except for the twin spots of pale pink on his cheeks that gives away how tipsy he actually is, arm slung lazily across Yamaguchi’s shoulders.

Tsukishima takes a gulp of his drink, and says drily, “As long as I get to pick where, captain.”

Nishinoya honest-to-God hoots as Hinata gasps, and it seems like Daichi’s fate is sealed, but he meets Tsukishima’s eyes and grits his teeth in a threatening smile anyway as he replies, “If you put a needle in my dick, I’ll make sure you can’t use yours again.”

The choking from Ennoshita, Kageyama and Yamaguchi was entirely worth it.

***

Daichi’s been on this side of the set-up in a tattoo parlour plenty of times—from his most prominent tattoo, the full-sleeve on his left arm, the wings that spread right across the back of his shoulders, to the tree rib tattoo with the five crows either perched on the branches or swooping over the tree. 

But he’s never actually gotten a piercing before, save for a simple earlobe one that he’d gotten for fun at nineteen and then never bothered to keep up with; which is why he’s feeling incredibly apprehensive as Tsukishima scrutinizes him from his seat, golden-brown eyes regarding him seriously.

Daichi’s hand reaches up without thinking as he moves his brows and winces, and Tsukishima immediately goes, “Please don’t.”

He flinches at that, and then bites his cheek when the action pulls at his right eyebrow, which has just been freshly pierced with a black barbell that sits vertically at the tail end of the brow.

A couple of seconds pass before Tsukishima finally leans back and hums. “Looks good to go. Shall I read you the aftercare instructions, Daichi-san?”

“Er, no need for that,” he reassures the other man, and then Ennoshita walks into the room, whistling lowly as soon as he takes a look at Daichi.

“Damn, you should have gotten a piercing ages ago, cap.”

It takes raising his eyebrows to remember that it’s probably not a good thing to do so, as Ennoshita smirks at him while Tsukishima gifts him with a deadpan stare. In any case, the blonde tells him, “Go ahead and take a look at yourself in the mirror then,” and Daichi obeys him as he heads over to the full-length mirror they keep in the room for their sessions.

He’s not sure what he’s expecting to see, but when he finally takes in his reflection, he’s surprised by how subtle the piercing looks against his skin, despite the slight bruising from the session itself, but his face looks markedly different and—

It’s not half bad, really.

“Thanks, Tsukishima,” he says, catching the other man’s eye in the mirror.

Tsukishima shrugs, looking bored as ever. “Just doing my job, captain,” but there’s a pleased quirk to his lips before he turns away to clean up his equipment.

Yamaguchi shows pretty much the same reaction as Ennoshita did when he sees Daichi, and even though his eye feels a little sore, he’s glad that he’s at least not regretting the piercing, and that Tsukishima had actually given him a few choices for where he’d planned to pierce.

(The eyebrow was the most innocuous of the choices, but at least he hadn’t suggested anywhere remotely below the belt.)

But he can’t help but think about a certain person’s reaction, and the thought occupies his mind for the better part of the day.

He’s not sure if he’d somehow telepathically summon Suga from literally just thinking about him, but at around five in the evening when he’s in his office, looking over Kageyama’s portfolio together with him, the door to the parlour opens, before Yamaguchi says in wonder, “Wow, Suga-san, Hinata, what’s in the box?”

At the mention of Hinata’s name, Kageyama straightens up and stares at Daichi, chewing his bottom lip and he doesn’t even bother hiding his smirk as he says, “Go ahead and say hi.”

Kageyama blinks at him a couple of times, before he lowers his head in a quick bow of thanks and speeds off to the front area of the parlour. Daichi follows behind a little slower, but he’s no less eager to see Suga again—their last text exchange had been that morning, when Suga had sent him a photo of some Japanese peaches with the caption, “Expect a surprise later!”

When he enters the reception area, there’s a box that’s about as tall as Hinata’s mid-calves placed between the man and Suga, and there’s a faint scent of peaches in the air. Kageyama’s already leaning down to look at the contents of the box, Yamaguchi standing right behind him.

Suga looks up when he registers Daichi’s presence, and Daichi has the absolute pleasure of seeing Suga staring speechlessly at him for more than a couple of seconds, before he blinks and red begins to bloom across his cheekbones the longer he looks at Daichi without talking.

Finally, the florist seems to have gathered his voice, but he still stutters out, “You—um, is, is that a new addition?” 

Daichi nods, aware that the other three are engrossed in their own conversation, but he doesn’t want to break this quiet bubble they’ve somehow found themselves in.

“Ah. It, well. It looks good on you, Daichi.” This is the first time Daichi’s seen Suga this unravelled, pretty pink cheeks and quiet murmurs, and he really needs to reel in the thoughts about how Suga’s flush contrasts beautifully with his pale blue t-shirt and how his neck actually reddens as he finally turns away to look at the three guys beside him fiddling with the peaches.

“Thanks,” he says, and God, that was lame , so fucking lame but it gets Suga to finally grin at him, and he’s kind of missed that and that’s… That’s definitely lame as well.

However, his voice finally catches Hinata’s attention as he looks up at Daichi, and his mouth drops open in shock, before he practically word vomits at him in unbridled enthusiasm. Kageyama snorts from the floor and Yamaguchi giggles, but Hinata only stares at him with shiny eyes.

“Oh my God, you actually did it, Daichi-san! It looks so cool! Did it hurt? Did you do it for the convention as well?”

Daichi laughs as Suga ruffles Hinata’s hair and admonishes him with a, “Slow down, Hinata,” and an exasperated smile on his face.

“It’s fine,” he interjects, and adds, “Thanks, Hinata. It hurt a bit, felt kind of like a pinch and it was mostly just to let Tsukishima do his thing, we don’t really have to do anything extra for the convention.”

“What’s this about a convention?”

Suga glances at both of them curiously, and Daichi finds himself explaining, “There’s a tattoo convention in Tokyo at the end of the month, so I’m taking the guys there, get them more exposed to the community and maybe exchange portfolios with some people I know.”

“Ugh, so cool! I wish I could go!” Hinata cries out in dismay, and Kageyama stands up and flicks the other man’s temple lightly.

“You only want to go because you want to go to see the Tokyo Tower,” he sneers, but there’s a wistfulness in his voice that doesn’t escape Daichi.

And Suga says, “It does sound pretty cool. Will there be a lot of tattoo artists there then?”

“Yeah,” Daichi answers, and before he could think it through, he adds in a rush, “It’s, um, it’s actually open to the public as well, we just needed to get a spot for one of the sessions but you’re—you guys are welcome to come too, if that’s something you’d like.”

Hinata’s gasp is enough to break the sudden silence that takes place in the space left by his words, and the younger man frantically turns to look at Suga, who’s staring at Daichi for the second time since he’d come into the parlour that afternoon.

“But of course if you’re busy—”

“I’d love that.”

“Huh?”

Suga’s smile should be a weapon all on its own, based on just how devastatingly pretty it is, Daichi muses, as the florist reaches up to fiddle with his ever-present daisy. “I’ll check the shop’s schedule, but if we’re free I’d love to go as well, and Hinata might like that too,” he says cheekily.

“Hell yes, oh my God Suga-san you’re the best yes!”

That prompts the rest of them to laugh as Hinata literally jumps around in joy and Daichi watches as Kageyama painstakingly suffers through the arm pulling and loud yelling from Hinata, with Yamaguchi yelping intermittently while Hinata repeats the frenzied movements around him as well.

When he catches sight of the pears, he jolts and glances at Suga, who’s already looking at him. The flush that had disappeared a couple of minutes ago seems to have flared up again, and Suga looks away, gaze fixed on the box.

Fuck, he’s so cute when he blushes.

“Was this your surprise, by the way?” Daichi asks, gesturing at the box.

Suga seems to calm down at that, and he shoots Daichi a teasing grin. “Yes, our supplier had some excess this year so he gave us a few boxes. But I think your surprise invitation definitely trumps mine.”

“Ah—no, these are great as well,” Daichi argues, and continues, “Anyway, I’ll, uh, text you the details later? Once you’ve checked with your schedule, of course.”

“Sure. Thanks again for inviting us, Daichi,” Suga replies, his smile soft and his copper eyes looking at Daichi with anticipation that’s as clear as day, and Daichi feels his heart thump a little louder, a little more out of control, the way his little crush on the florist has grown more than he’d ever thought it would have.

Chapter Text

Daichi drains the can of coffee he’d gotten from the vending machine, throwing it into the nearest trash bin before addressing the group around him.

“Right, everyone here?”

Hinata and Nishinoya simultaneously yell, “Present!” with eyes and smiles too bright for half past six in the morning, while Kageyama replies with an all-too-serious, “Yes, captain.” Behind him, Tsukishima fiddles with his glasses as he drawls out a lazy, “Hai,” as he props up a yawning Yamaguchi.

Asahi has one hand on Nishinoya’s shoulder, the other carrying a duffel bag as he tries his best to calm his boyfriend down, who is seemingly vibrating in one spot while Tanaka ruffles Hinata’s hair, smiling sleepily as the younger man bounces around in excitement.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen Hinata jump around this much,” Suga comments, stifling a yawn. “Oh—shit, Hinata, careful,” he calls out worriedly as the orange-haired man nearly runs into a toddler who had the unfortunate luck to stumble into his path. Hinata yelps and apologizes to the child and her parent, but the mother throws a stink eye at him, even when Suga dips his head in a quick apology bow.

The woman mutters something about hooligans, her eyes sweeping across the rest of them, lingering on their tattoos before herding her kid away.

“Rude,” Suga huffs, crinkling his nose in visible annoyance and the little knot that was starting to form in Daichi’s stomach loosens at his incredulous tone.

“Let’s go to the platform before anything else happens,” Daichi says wryly, hoisting his own backpack and luggage, but before he can continue, Ennoshita whispers, “Too late,” as Hinata and Kageyama find themselves in a bickering match that ends with Hinata yelling, “Last one to the train’s a loser!”

And it prompts Kageyama to roar, “That’s cheating, you dumbass! Come back here!” before he’s running after Hinata, both of them disappearing right around the corner.

Daichi exhales, and wishes he had one more can of coffee—although currently it’s debatable whether he wants to drink it or chuck it at the next thing that makes him wish he had two of their youngest in the group on leashes.

“Ennoshita,” he sighs, and his friend gives him a salute.

“On it, captain,” he grins and jogs off towards the direction the two men had run off towards. Thankfully, it led to the correct platform.

Daichi turns around at Suga’s chuckle. “They’ve become really good friends, huh?” He notes, and Daichi’s helpless to stop his smile at how exasperatedly fond the other man sounds.

“I’m still not sure if it was a good idea to let them room together,” he muses as he starts walking. The others are ahead of them, Nishinoya still bouncing around Asahi and Tanaka laughing at both of them.

“At least the blast radius will be contained,” Suga says through a yawn, and Daichi steals a glance to see him rubbing at his eyes, and then silently berates his heart for stupidly squeezing at the sight. “We’re heading straight to the hotel before the convention, right?”

Daichi nods, but he firmly pushes the thought out of his mind, because it’s too early and his roommate is—

“There they are,” Suga exclaims in relief when they spot Kageyama and Hinata sitting on a bench, Ennoshita leaning against the wall beside them. Daichi sighs, but he keeps his expression stern as the rest of them make their way to the other three.

“You two,” he grunts, as soon as he’s within hearing distance of Hinata and Kageyama, “are banned from leaving either mine or Suga’s sight unless you are explicitly told to do so,” and frowns harder when he notices there’s already a scrape on Hinata’s elbow.

He feels a little bad when both of them flinch and nod anxiously, Suga already pulling out a bandaid to hand over to Hinata, but his shoulders drop in resignation as Nishinoya cheekily declares, “Got it, Dad!” and the rest aside from the troublesome duo unsuccessfully hide their laughter.

He’s spared from saying anything else with the arrival of the train, and as he takes a glance around, he’s relieved to see there doesn’t seem to be too many people heading to Tokyo this early on a Friday. He seizes the small mercy thrown at him and begins herding the entire group into the train with the help of Ennoshita and Suga, their compartment mostly empty save for a couple of older men in business suits, their earpieces hopefully blocking Hinata and Kageyama’s conversation about… Sharks?

They quieten down soon enough though, and Tanaka sneakily takes a photo of Hinata leaning on Kageyama’s shoulder, drool dripping onto the other man’s jacket, Kageyama snoring soundly as well. Yamaguchi and Tsukishima are in a similar position, but the latter is awake enough to narrow his eyes at Tanaka when the man turns his phone towards them. Ennoshita smirks as Tanaka fumbles and drops his phone at Tsukishima’s glare.

On the other side of the train, Nishinoya talks in loud, excited whispers, but Asahi doesn’t look like he minds it, judging from the soft smile on his face as he nods along at his boyfriend’s words.

Beside Daichi, Suga settles in his seat with a sleepy sigh, but he turns towards Daichi and asks curiously, “So will you be working during the whole convention, then?”

“Just for today,” he answers, and then starts to explain, but Suga stifles another yawn, copper eyes looking watery and instead, Daichi says lightly, “Hey, why don’t you get some rest? I’ll wake you up before we arrive.”

The other man hums at the suggestion, and then he nods, shooting Daichi a drowsy smile that has no business looking as cute as it does, lips stretched wide and then there’s heat in his cheeks as Suga replies sheepishly, “If I end up sleeping on you, I apologize in advance.”

Daichi doesn’t want to examine why he’s so disappointed when Suga pretty much stays upright throughout the entire ride.

***

“Well, this is us,” Daichi announces in front of the door of the room he’ll be sharing with Suga.

He’s not sure what had possessed him to agree rooming with the florist, but apparently everyone had been conveniently paired off, and Tanaka had called dibs on Ennoshita, who’d agreed and Suga hadn’t protested either.

But how the hell is he supposed to keep a straight face when he’s going to be in close quarters with a terribly gorgeous man whom he has the unfortunate luck to have a massive crush on?

“Looks pretty cosy,” Suga comments teasingly as he pushes the door open, and Daichi snorts at the barely adequate amount of legroom the place offers. Two single beds, a wardrobe and a study table take up most of the space, but there’s just enough for both of them to put down their luggage, including Daichi’s equipment for the convention.

He glances at the beds, and then vehemently pushes down the thought that there’s way too much space between them before he asks as nonchalantly as he can, “What’s your preference?”

Daichi’s only aware of how his unassuming question sounds when Suga innocently replies, “I’m pretty flexible,” and chokes as the realisation hits him.

“The—the beds ,” he sputters in his rush to explain, and flushes as Suga walks over to the bed by the window and flops on top of it in answer, shirt riding up enough to display a sliver of his pale stomach and Daichi rips his gaze away, just as Suga sits up and grins at him.

“I really am okay with either one, but I’m good with this,” he says nonchalantly, like Daichi isn’t currently turning red, patting the sheets and then thankfully steers the conversation away from any more mentions of preferences .

“Are you going to head straight to the convention now?”

Daichi starts, and takes a glance at his phone, frowning when he sees the time. “Yeah, I’ve got to set up the booth with the team, but it doesn’t start until two later, so feel free to explore Tokyo before then.”

“Guess it’s as good as a time to take Hinata to the Tokyo Skytree,” Suga says, and Daichi winces at the image of a high-strung Hinata and Nishinoya running around about four hundred metres above the ground.

“Good luck with that,” Daichi says grimly, and grins as Suga laughs, nose crinkled and eyes shut. “Thanks, I’ll probably need it,” he replies, sighing as he lies back down onto the bed.

And as much as Daichi would like to stay, his team is probably waiting for him by now, so he grabs the bag that houses his equipment and tells Suga, “I should get going now, but I’ll see you later?”

There’s an undercurrent of anxiety as he says those words, almost like he can’t believe this man is right here in the same room as him, attending a tattoo convention of all things, but then Suga nods and somehow that’s enough to reassure him, his shoulders relaxing as the other man sends him a wide smile.

“I’ll give you a heads up when we get there?” he asks, and Daichi nods in reply, beginning to make his way out of the room, but he nearly trips on his own feet as Suga adds cheerfully, “All the best with the set up, Daichi.”

It’s enough to make him grin stupidly, his voice just on this side of breathless when he answers, “Thanks, Suga,” and leaves the room and the man behind before he embarrasses himself any further.

He finds the rest of his crew at the lobby downstairs a couple of minutes later, sans Kageyama and Ennoshita smirks at him as he greets them.

“That took a while, cap,” and Yamaguchi’s eyes widen, failing to hide the grin on his face as he rapidly turns away from Daichi’s ensuing frown. Tsukishima on the other hand ignores the entire situation, headphones on and sitting on one of the suitcases.

Before he can say anything, Kageyama appears out of nowhere, looking a little harried and the back of his hair sticking up slightly. “Sorry I’m late,” he pants, adjusting his backpack. “Hinata, err, locked himself inside the closet.” 

Daichi decides it’s probably best not to ask.

“Now that everyone’s here, shall we make our way?” Ennoshita asks, eyebrows raised, and Daichi doesn’t have the heart to tell him off for the sass, not when his friend, usually the very picture of serenity, is currently radiating a mix of impatience and anticipation, his smile stretched wide and his sleeveless shirt showing off his ink on both arms in full glory.

“Let’s,” he replies instead, and they make their way over to the hall a few blocks down the road, and the hot summer sun does nothing to diminish everyone’s excitement, Ennoshita chattering with Kageyama and Daichi answering Yamaguchi’s questions, Tsukishima intently listening. Their conversations gradually die down though, as they approach the hall where the convention is being held and there’s no mistaking their destination—not when it’s clear that the extended part of their niche community has gathered together outside of the place like this was some sort of pilgrimage, their eyes catching sight of metal shining against skin that’s painted with any colour one could imagine.

And in a way, it does seem like a pilgrimage.

The Tokyo Tattoo Convention is held twice a year, once in the summer and once usually after New Year’s, and Daichi has been to four of them ever since he began his apprenticeship when he was twenty-one. He’s returned from each one with something different, whether it was a new tool, a piece of knowledge, contacts with other artists, even a couple of small pieces on his body.

And he doesn’t bother holding back his smile when they arrive at the tall doors and he pushes them wide open, hearing the collective sharp intake of breath from behind him.

“Feels good to be back again,” Ennoshita whispers reverently and Daichi hums in complete agreement. As they make their way inside, he takes out his phone and pulls up a map of the floor layout, and directs his team through the crowd. He waves at a few familiar faces, returning their greetings and feels his team’s curious stares on him.

“Daichi was pretty popular among the community when he first started apprenticing, since he had a pre-med background,” Ennoshita remarks mildly. Daichi sighs and turns back to look at him.

“A background that I ditched after a couple of months, and I was not popular, you’re—”

All of a sudden, there’s an unintelligible roar in the distance, and then Daichi’s knees almost buckle underneath him as a weight abruptly lands upon his back, inked muscular arms around his neck. Before he can get his bearings, a familiar cheshire grin and bedhead appear in his sight and he immediately relaxes, sighing. His crew however, with the exception of Ennoshita, who’s waving at said weight on his back, stares at their boss in a mix of confusion and fear.

“Kuroo,” Daichi begins, and the grin grows bigger, “If you could remove Bokuto from my back that’d be great.”

“But we missed you Daichi!” Bokuto’s yell is enough to make his temple throb a little, but he only adjusts his things so that Bokuto’s thighs wrap around his waist more securely. His action doesn’t escape Kuroo, who smirks at him, his spider bites made more prominent by the curl of his lips.

But he only says, “Come on, Bokuto, Sawamura’s looking a little purple there,” and Daichi feels the other man scrambling down his back, but he immediately gets a face full of white and dark grey hair as his ribs get attacked this time.

“Not really—an improvement,” he wheezes. Thankfully, Bokuto finally lets go and steps back, hands on Daichi’s shoulders. Daichi gets his first good look of the man, whose hair looks as crazy as ever, sticking up, his bright golden eyes watching Daichi excitedly, smile warm and wide.

He glances at the way Bokuto is literally shaking with elation, like he’s trying to hold back from tackling Daichi again and it’s what makes him pull the man in for another hug, one that’s enthusiastically reciprocated.

When he pulls back, he keeps a hand on Bokuto’s arm this time, and there’s no escaping the way fondness coats his words. “Good to see you too, Bo.”

And then Kuroo steps back into his field of vision, greets him with a, “Looking good, Sawamura,” but his smirk melts into a smile as he accepts the silent invitation from Daichi’s open arms, Kuroo’s perpetual bedhead tickling the side of his head.

And then Daichi makes introductions all around, tells his team that he met the two men while he was doing part of his apprenticeship in Tokyo with their master. “It was an eventful six months,” he says, and Bokuto flashes him a thumbs up.

Like Daichi, Kuroo’s only got one full arm sleeve, and a half-sleeve peeking out from under his shirt, long jeans covering the Japanese-style ink Daichi knows is wrapped around his legs.

But Bokuto—

A living monochrome painting might be the best way to describe the man, and he doesn’t bother hiding his ink with the loose tank and shorts he has on. All of his limbs have some variation of black and grey ink around them, with tattoos wrapped all the way up around his neck. 

Daichi also takes note of the addition of a septum piercing on Kuroo, in addition to his numerous ear jewellery and spider bites, while Bokuto sports a single lip ring, compared to the last time Daichi saw them a couple of years ago.

“Didn’t peg you to ever get a piercing though, Daichi. Did you lose a bet?” Kuroo asks, raising the lone eyebrow Daichi can see.

He points out Tsukishima in reply, who’s got Yamaguchi wrapped around him, expression deadpan as he nods at Daichi and Kuroo.

“Oh ho ho! Not bad!” Kuroo exclaims, hands on his hips as he surveys the rest of Daichi’s crew, and then nonchalantly asks the three younger members, “Is it your first time here?”

He gets a slew of nods, before he turns to look at Daichi, tilting his head in question, smirk on his lips again. “It’s kind of like you and Ennoshita are the parents and you’re bringing the kids to Disneyland, isn’t it?”

Without missing a beat, Ennoshita says dryly, “I refuse to be the mother in that scenario,” and gets a hearty slap from a cackling Kuroo as Daichi snorts, Bokuto’s loud laughter unintentionally drawing attention as well.

Somehow, Daichi extracts himself and his team from the two, and they finally manage to find their spot. Between the five of them, they get their equipment set up with a few hours to spare and Daichi sends Kageyama and Tsukishima to get lunch for the crew.

As the hall slowly starts to fill up and the crowds make their way around, stopping by the Crow’s Nest booth to look at their portfolios, some of them also having made appointments prior to the convention, Daichi takes note of the way his crew interacts with every visitor. Pride wells up in him as he watches their eyes light up in fervour and excitement as they show off the art they’ve made and the ones on their skin, and not for the first time, he’s glad the Crow’s Nest has become something of a home for every single one of them, himself included.

He participates as well in the tattoo appointments, many of them curious about their parlour and the array of styles they offer, and before he knows it four o’clock has come and past, with no sign of the other half of their party. There’s a slight lull by then, so he asks his team if anyone wants a break and when more than half of the team raises their hands, the matter eventually gets resolved with a semi-diplomatic game of rock-paper-scissors, with the last two standing as winners.

Tsukishima and Ennoshita win, but the latter gives up his spot to Yamaguchi anyway, who grins brightly as Daichi sighs at how redundant the game is, but he tells Tsukishima to bring his portfolio along as well.

Just as Daichi begins to wonder where Suga and the rest are, he spots Asahi in the crowd, looking a little overwhelmed until he manages to catch Daichi’s eyes and even from here, he sees the way the man’s shoulders slump in obvious relief before he turns around, presumably to address the rest of their friends.

As Asahi gradually makes his way towards their booth, with Nishinoya clinging to his arm, Tanaka on the other side of Asahi, Daichi finds himself suddenly, incredibly grateful for their slow pace, because right behind them are Suga and Hinata and he thinks Ennoshita is probably saying something to him but—

“Daichi-san, Ennoshita-san, Kageyama, look! Suga-san and I look just like you guys now!”

And then Suga stands in front of him, arms covered in temporary flower tattoos all over, pinks and reds and purples standing in beautiful contrast on his fair skin. He wonders who had managed to persuade the man to acquiesce to a huge sakura tree tattoo etched on his upper arm, because he needs to thank them immediately for blessing him with the image.

But he does a double take, eyes growing wide when he takes in Suga’s face—specifically, the tiny constellation of stars decorating the mole under his eye and a wave of warmth and wonder and something more than affection pretty much sucker punches his gut.

Fuck, he’s absolutely stunning .

“Looks kinda weird on me, doesn’t it?” Suga comments as Daichi tries to get his bearings, rubbing his neck sheepishly and the action only serves to showcase the sakura tattoo in full view, scattering his thoughts.

But then the man’s words finally register in his mind and Daichi blinks, feeling somewhat incredulous. “... No, I mean, you look amazing. The—the ink looks great on you, even if it’s temporary.” 

He knows he sounds like an idiot, all breathless and too much admiration, but it’s worth it to see Suga finally smiling happily as he asks, “You really think so?”

Daichi nods, and successfully resists the urge to trace the stars on his skin.

Beside them, he hears Hinata’s excited chattering, but when he takes a peek at him, he bites his lip to stop his own smile when he sees how awestruck Kageyama looks, blue eyes roving over Hinata’s arms and legs that are similarly covered in temporary tattoos; he spies a pair of wings and a sun among the various assortments on his skin.

“You guys seem to be having fun,” Daichi finally says, and Suga, who’d been watching the younger two as well, glances at him.

“It’s been a hell of a day, for sure. How’s the convention been?”

Daichi takes the opportunity to talk about their visitors, the clients that dropped by and how he’s exchanged portfolios with a couple of other artists, and it’s as he’s explaining some of the more obscure art styles that he gets interrupted with a “Oi, Daichi! Gotten any more piercings yet?”

When he turns around, Bokuto and Kuroo are already heading towards their booth, arms around each other’s waists, twin smirks on their faces. Behind them he spots two more faces he recognizes from his months in Tokyo back then—a tall, dark-haired man with delicate features and a shorter blonde man with dark roots and keen, cat-like eyes, both of them looking all kinds of muted exasperation.

“Hey Akaashi, Kenma, nice to meet you guys again,” Daichi says, completely ignoring the couple as he stretches a hand to greet them. He gets rewarded with Akaashi and Kenma’s smiles, as Bokuto sputters right beside him.

“Daichi-san. Nice eyebrow piercing, suits you well,” Akaashi comments approvingly, and coming from one of the best piercing specialists he personally knows, it’s a compliment he happily receives.

“Thanks, one of my guys did it for me,” he answers, and just then, Tsukishima and Yamaguchi show up, so he points the blonde out. “How’re you and Kenma? Still dealing with their bullshit?” He grins as he glances at Kuroo and Bokuto, who have swarmed the rest of his crew, including Hinata who watches them with huge eyes filled with evident awe at their bold appearances.

Akaashi sighs, but there’s affection in it as he regards his childhood best friend and his boyfriend. “Unfortunately,” he says simply and then his eyes flicker over to Daichi’s side and he flushes, remembering Suga’s still standing beside him.

“Oh, this is Suga, he, well, I somehow managed to get a few of our friends to visit the convention as well along with my team,” Daichi says, and then turns to Suga with a smile. “This is Akaashi and Kenma. Akaashi works with Bokuto and Kuroo, and Kenma helps manage a hair salon, but he’s childhood friends with Kuroo,” he introduces them.

Suga extends a hand to both of them, and Daichi watches as Akaashi and Kenma’s eyes flick over his arms as they receive his handshake. “Nice to meet you two,” he says cheerfully. “Daichi was kind enough to let us tag along, really.”

“It’s that kindness that made him Kuroo’s target for his pranks back then,” Kenma says softly, and it’s as if his voice was a homing beacon, because Kuroo and Bokuto suddenly appear beside them.

“Hey hey, are you really making friends without us, Kenma?” Kuroo asks giddily, but his eyes look over Suga with obvious interest.

Daichi doesn’t get a chance to reply, because Bokuto, who’d been hanging on to Akaashi’s shoulder, spots Suga as well and lets out a loud gasp as he exclaims, “Whoa, so many flower tattoos! Do you know all of their names?”

At that, Suga chuckles. “I should, considering I’m supposed to be a florist. I’m Suga, by the way. I came here with Daichi.”

“Awesome! Hey, do you think I could visit you sometime? It’s just—I’m always having a bit of trouble when it comes to more floral tattoos and pictures don’t really do them any justice because colours! And shades!” As Bokuto inhales, presumably to continue his impassioned outburst, both Kuroo and Akaashi hold his shoulders and Daichi’s lips quirk up when he sees the man visibly calming down.

Kuroo squeezes Bokuto’s arm and drawls out affectionately, “Breathe, babe, he doesn’t even know our names yet.” He puts out his free hand and grins at Suga. “My name’s Kuroo, and this dork is my boyfriend, Bokuto. I see you’ve met Akaashi and Kenma too?”

“Suga, and I have, yes. You were saying something about, uh, visiting, Bokuto-san?”

Kuroo cuts Bokuto off before he can unleash the full brunt of his boyfriend’s excitement and says, “Why don’t we get dinner together later and you can talk about it more? We should probably get back to our own booth and let Sawamura handle his,” and Daichi nods, sparing a look of gratitude towards the other man as he herds Bokuto away, the man yelling exuberantly even as Kuroo drags him by the hand.

“For references, Suga-san! Lots of them! Cool flower tattoos, by the way!”

As the four of them leave, Suga turns to regard Daichi with an amused expression, his smile playful. “That was… An interesting experience.”

Daichi laughs, but he’s honestly kind of glad that his two friends hadn’t seemed to overwhelm the silver-haired man too much. “They’re a handful, but they mean well. Did you want to look around at the rest of the place?”

“I’m good for today, but I think Hinata might want to explore a bit more,” and Daichi figures Kageyama deserves a break as well, so he lets them go with a stern, “Please don’t break anything,” and gets a chirpy “Yes, Daichi-san!” from Hinata and a solemn nod from Kageyama before they leave, instantly disappearing into the crowds.

And then Daichi takes one more look at Suga, at how beautiful the man looks with flowers, whether it’s in his hair or on his skin, and quietly begins to come to the realisation that he’s in more than a little bit of trouble at this point.

***

“So how’d you meet Daichi?”

The gleam in Kuroo’s one visible eye is enough to unsettle Daichi, even with the three glasses of beer already in his system.

They’d gone to one of the few izakaya in Tokyo that Daichi vaguely remembers frequenting with Kuroo and Bokuto while he was studying in the city. Their party is large enough that the manager, a light brown-haired man with a short stature and evidently friends with the Tokyo part of their group, judging from how exasperated he looks as Bokuto and Kuroo crowd him, lets them take the entire back wall of the establishment.

“You’re the fucking best, Yaku,” Kuroo had said with a cheeky grin, clasping a hand on the other man’s shoulder.

Yaku shrugs it off and rolls his eyes, but he smirks as he replies, “I’m expecting plenty of orders from you people to compensate for the noise and the potential breakage of my plates, I know how you guys get.” His smirk gets replaced with a softer smile at Akaashi and Kenma, before he flashes it at the rest of them as well. “Welcome, just holler when you wanna order!”

That was over two hours ago, and Daichi watches in apprehension as Suga takes a sip of his beer before he replies, “I gave his shop a succulent plant, and then he gave my staff and I cookies in return, so I figured it was probably in my best intentions to keep him around.”

It predictably garners a gasp from Bokuto and an eyebrow lift from Kuroo, and then the former yells, “Daichi baked for you?!”

Somehow, that gets Hinata’s attention from across the table where he’s halfway to plastered in between Yamaguchi and Tanaka, as he pops into the conversation and exclaims, “He did it for Tsukishima too!”

“Oi, Sawamura, I thought you only baked for special occasions,” Kuroo huffs, pointing at him accusingly.

“I do, and they both were,” Daichi retorts, rolling with Kuroo’s accusation easily. “Suga’s shop just opened and we were celebrating Tsukishima’s work anniversary with us,” and then he adds, “Also, the last time I let you and Bokuto into the kitchen together, it ended with me having to call the fire department.”

“That was a fun day,” Bokuto grins in satisfaction at the memory, his face already flushed as he leans heavily against Akaashi.

“You also lost your safety deposit that day,” Akaashi comments as he wrangles Bokuto into leaning against the wall instead, while Daichi and Kuroo wince at the reminder. Bokuto doesn’t pay his best friend any mind, however, and ends up slumping across Kuroo’s back, arms wrapped around his waist.

Daichi smiles at the sight. “It really is good to see you guys again,” he admits, blaming the warm tone on the alcohol.

Nothing escapes Kuroo, however, and Daichi resigns himself to the inevitable teasing as the man says gleefully, “Aww, you really did miss us, didn’t you Daichi? And here we were wondering if you were ever going to come back down to Tokyo to visit us!” But Daichi’s eyes widen as Kuroo turns his gaze towards Suga and nonchalantly says, “Did you know Daichi was pretty popular as an apprentice?”

“For the love of god—”

“Oh, I had no idea, do tell,” Suga says with obvious delight and then Kuroo launches into the story of how Daichi had spent half a year at Nekoma’s Ink with him and Bokuto as fellow apprentices, completely exaggerating Daichi’s apparently popularity since, “He dropped out of pre-med at Tohoku , of all places—”

“I was literally not as famous as you guys make me out to be—”

But Ennoshita chimes in from a few seats over and says, “When we were training together under our old master, Ukai-sensei, half of the people who came to the shop just wanted to check out the former doctor-to-be. And then when they saw your sleeve they just went to sensei instead.”

Kuroo cackles madly at that, nearly dislodging his boyfriend and Daichi doesn’t know if the heat in his cheeks is from the alcohol or embarrassment, but he merely says, “Kuroo, you literally have a chemistry degree,” but the man flops his hand in some approximation of a wave, the clumsy movement a testament to how much he’s had to drink.

“Everyone knows that’s the fun science—say, didn’t you say you were a florist, Suga? Does that mean you studied botany?”

Suga nods, smiling. “I majored in botanical sciences, yeah. Probably among the lesser fun sciences, to be honest.”

Daichi had thought Bokuto was well on his way to passing out, but he’s proven wrong when the man lifts his head up, eyes suddenly wide open as he whispers, “Does that mean you can grow really good weed?”

“I can neither confirm nor deny that.”

Dinner continues to be a loud and happy affair, and as much as he’s fondly exasperated by the antics of his old friends, he has missed them, and it warms him to see his crew, as well as his friends getting along with his former team. Even Hinata’s managed to make friends with the usually reserved Kenma, and it had taken Daichi himself weeks before the man spoke more than two words to him when they’d first met.

When they eventually leave the izakaya , Daichi’s pleasantly tipsy, and they opt to walk off the alcohol, as their hotel is located less than two miles away. “We’ll walk with you and grab a taxi from there,” Akaashi tells him firmly when he tries to reassure the other man that they’d be fine walking back, and he caves in easily enough.

Kuroo hangs back with him as their large group begins making the trip back to the hotel, and Daichi finally takes the chance to ask him, “You and Bokuto still going strong?”

He sees the first genuine smile on Kuroo’s face at the mention of their relationship.

“Yeah,” he says simply, but then—

“We, actually, ah. So you remember how we sometimes had other partners as well?”

Daichi nods; he’s seen a few of them over the months he’d stayed with the couple, but he’d thought they’d stopped with that, since he hasn’t heard of anyone else being with them in the last couple of years.

Kuroo runs a hand through his hair, and then Daichi has to strain his ears to catch Kuroo’s quiet murmur. “We actually met this guy, like, about a couple of months ago. He’s a few years younger, and he’s—” He snorts, shaking his head. “Hot as all hell, but kinda pretty at the same time? Fucking adorable too, he’s like a goddamn puppy and it’s all low key right now, but we really clicked when we met so that’s—that was pretty cool.”

“I take it Bo’s as whipped as you are?” Daichi muses at the unexpected tirade of words, and Kuroo grins, affection clear as day on his face.

“Probably even more. The guy matches his energy really well, too.”

Daichi hums at that. It’s rare to see Kuroo smile so unabashedly, and he can’t say he hates the sight. “I’m glad you guys are happy,” he says instead, but his friend turns to look at him curiously.

“You seem pretty smitten yourself, Sawamura. I don’t think you’ve stopped looking at flower boy all night long.”

Perhaps it really is the alcohol, but Daichi takes the bait, emboldened as he replies, “Hard not to, when he’s that gorgeous,” and watches as Suga throws his head back in laughter, slapping Kageyama’s shoulder excitedly as Hinata nearly falls over in shock beside them.

Kuroo lets out a braying laugh at that, drawing looks from a few of the others, but they turn away quickly enough and Daichi walks on in silence, while Kuroo hums beside him.

“Yeah, he’s definitely pretty,” he comments at last. “How come you haven’t done anything about it, then?”

Daichi shrugs, but honestly, it’s getting a little too difficult to delude himself at this point as he says, “We’re just friends.”

He hears Kuroo snort in clear derision. “Friends don’t look at each other’s tattoos, fake or otherwise, the way that you two do,” he mutters, but Kuroo, despite not having seen Daichi for nearly two years, is still his good friend for a reason, and steers the conversation towards safer topics.

Eventually they arrive at the hotel, and after saying their farewells, Suga meanders to his side while they let the others take the elevator first and this is the first time they’ve been completely alone for longer than ten minutes since—since he bought that vase, months ago and somehow, Suga had willingly followed him all the way to Tokyo for a tattoo convention, even when he’s probably out of his element, had truly immersed himself, and it makes something inside his chest hurt a little when he thinks about how much care Suga must have taken even picking out the temporary flower tattoos.

“How did you find the convention?” he asks, before he could blurt out about how good Suga would look with real ink on his pale skin.

“It was really interesting,” Suga says, and Daichi watches as he absentmindedly traces the sakura tree on his arm. “I like seeing this part of you and your team—it’s amazing how passionate you guys are about your craft.”

Daichi shrugs, because while it’s true, he doesn’t think Suga’s any less passionate about his work either. “You’re pretty dedicated to your plants, too,” he answers but the other man takes a deep breath, and drops his arms as he turns to look at Daichi.

“Yes, but they’re—fleeting, in a sense. They’re beautiful and meaningful but their days are numbered; they’re like the seasons that come and go, and none of them are quite like the others.”

“But your tattoos stay on your skin for the rest of your life in most cases, and I admire that dedication, honestly. I—thanks, Daichi, for letting me see that part of you.”

And Suga’s smiling, still faintly flushed and face lit by the dim hotel light and Daichi feels his stomach drop as he wonders if there’s ever a more beautiful sight right now than a pink-cheeked Suga standing right next to him, telling him just how much he admires this secluded, yet all-too-visible part of Daichi.

Chapter Text

The Crow’s Nest crew had only booked a booth for the first day, which means Daichi’s free to wake up without having to rush off to the convention to work. It’s the sun that wakes him up, and after blearily opening his eyes to stare at the sliver of light peeking through the curtains, he makes the executive decision to wake up and brush the remnants of last night’s beer from his mouth.

When he glances over at the other bed, all he sees of Suga is a bit of silver hair peeking out from under the sheets.

It’s ridiculous how difficult it is to tear his sight away, to hold himself back from touching that tuft of hair.

Instead, he tries to make as little noise as possible as he grabs his things and gets ready for the day, but the room’s too dark so he heads over to the windows to pull the curtains aside, letting in the morning light into the room.

He nearly jumps when he hears a muffled groan behind him, but when he turns around Suga doesn’t seem to have moved from his spot.

“Right,” he mutters, and decides he’s probably better off after a shower. He can still smell the aroma of fried food and alcohol clinging to his hair from last night, and he’s pretty sure his body isn’t supposed to be giving up on him already when he’s barely in his late 20s, but his stomach gurgles unpleasantly in reply anyway.

The shower helps marginally, and when he takes a glance at his phone he figures he should at least wake Suga up before they miss their complimentary hotel breakfast.

“Suga,” he calls out, and gets another groan in response, this one a little higher-pitched—close to a whine, but Daichi thinks he’s probably deluding himself.

He walks a little closer, and then hesitantly places his hand on what he thinks is Suga’s shoulder. “Hey, sleepyhead,” he says quietly, squeezing gently.

The sheets shift just enough to show him furrowed brows and copper eyes nearly all the way shut.

“You might wanna get up now,” Daichi says, unable to resist smiling at the way the brows wrinkle even more at the suggestion.

But then Suga groans again, and then Daichi steps back as the other man sits up, pushing down his sheets, and he really shouldn’t be looking this captivating, with hair sticking up in all directions and eyes glaring blearily at him.

And then he frowns at Daichi, and he nearly has a cardiac arrest because Suga is pouting as he rasps, “Too early,” and as much as Daichi wants to harp on how much he hadn’t expected the man to be this belligerent about mornings, he merely raises an eyebrow.

“Breakfast ends in an hour,” he counters and Suga sighs. He gets up anyway, removing the sheets off of him, at which point Daichi immediately has to avert his eyes because—

He gets a glimpse of pale, milky thighs and his mind betrays him as he unconsciously wonders if Suga slept with briefs or boxers, before he wrenches his gaze up but then he gets his fill of how the oversized shirt hangs loosely on Suga’s frame, making him seem softer, more vulnerable than usual and he’s really not equipped to handle any of this shit so early in the morning. 

His brain makes no attempt to make it any easier on him either, with errant thoughts about whether Suga’s even wearing anything underneath the shirt invading his mind and when Suga disappears into the bathroom to get ready, he takes the chance to glare at himself in the mirror on their dresser.

“Quit being a goddamn creep,” he hisses, and his reflection frowns back at him.

Thankfully when Suga emerges from the bathroom fifteen minutes later, he’s clothed in shorts that aren’t dwarfed by his shirt, but then Daichi realises the man’s legs had distracted him so much he’d forgotten about the temporary tattoos from the day before, now looking even more prominent in broad daylight on his arms.

He doesn’t say anything though, except, “We could probably make it before they start clearing away the food.”

And it’s like the shower had washed away the rest of Suga’s grumpiness, but not his sleepiness, because he doesn’t seem like he’s fully awake yet as he blinks slowly at Daichi, before his gaze clears and he smiles broadly. “That would be an absolute catastrophe,” he replies, shaking his head mournfully and God fucking help him, Daichi’s fallen for a dork.

They make their way down, the silence between them companionable and punctuated with observations about how rickety the elevator is and rehashing conversations with the Tokyo gang from the night before. It’s Suga that spots the rest of their friends first, sat in a corner of the restaurant; they actually hear them before seeing them, especially Tanaka’s raucous laughter and Asahi’s muffled yelps.

And then Kageyama and Hinata appear from another area of the restaurant, carrying plates piled high with scrambled eggs, toast and an assortment of fruits; Kageyama’s plate seems to be doing double duty as a tray as well, a bowl full of milk and cereal swaying dangerously on the side.

“Oh God, that’s definitely going to spill,” Suga whispers in horror, and then leaves Daichi’s side to help Kageyama.

He heads over to Hinata as well, and manages to catch the younger man’s glass of juice before it topples over.

“Whew, good catch Daichi-san, thanks,” Hinata smiles at him, pure sunshine radiating from his being and Daichi’s compelled to say “No problem,” instead of lecturing him on why a single plate isn’t exactly meant to hold a glass along with ten other food items in the first place. The four of them make their way to the table, where most of them are nearly done with their breakfast. Once he and Suga are sure the younger two aren’t in any danger of food spilling on them, they quickly make their rounds at the breakfast area, aware of the servers standing by, ready to clear away the food.

He takes a seat beside Asahi with his own breakfast a couple of minutes later, Suga beside him while the two younger men take their place in front of them. “What time did you guys get up?” Daichi asks, and Asahi hums before he answers.

“Noya-san and I were here since half past eight, I think?” He valiantly fights down a yawn as he adds, “And Tanaka-san and Ennoshita-san joined us not long after.”

Ennoshita takes a bite of his toast and glances at Kageyama and Hinata, his grin wry and disbelieving. “I’m pretty sure this is their third round,” he says, gesturing at them with his half-eaten toast. “Tsukishima and Yamaguchi just got here about ten minutes before you did.”

Across them, Hinata and Kageyama are shoveling food down in a terrifyingly synchronised fashion, and Daichi catches Yamaguchi pausing in his yawn to stare at the two of them in a mix of incredulity and concern. He holds back a chuckle as Tsukishima, without even taking his eyes off his phone, puts out his hand and wordlessly closes his boyfriend’s gaping mouth with a twitch of his fingers, and Yamaguchi turns to beam at him in thanks.

He gets distracted though when Nishinoya leans around his boyfriend, eyes bright and mischievous as he exclaims, “Daichi-san! I’m impressed you managed to get Suga-san out of bed on your first try, he’s usually a pretty heavy sleeper.”

Daichi turns to see Suga’s flush spreading across his cheeks as he runs a hand through his hair, narrowing his eyes at Nishinoya. It’s an uncharacteristic look on him, and Daichi finds himself weirdly fascinated by how much he can’t stop staring at the annoyed pout on his lips.

“I’d like to think I’ve improved a fair bit since high school,” he says primly, cheeks still pink, before taking a sip of his tea.

And Daichi has the dubious honour of watching Suga choke on his tea as Asahi hesitantly says, “A fair bit is kind of stretching it when it usually takes you three alarms to even get out of bed, Suga.” The flush gets even darker when Hinata stops eating and chirps through a mouthful of food, “Yeah, Suga-san is kind of terrifying before eight in the morning when he hasn’t had tea or coffee yet.”

As much as he’d like to see just how flustered Suga can get, he figures the man’s had enough before he’s even had his breakfast, so Daichi cuts in before Nishinoya can add anything else and says calmly, “He was a little grumpy, but he wasn’t really difficult to wake up, or that scary, for that matter.”

He gets a few disbelieving stares, and a serene smile from Ennoshita as well as a sly smirk from Tsukishima, Yamaguchi hiding behind his boyfriend as he bites his lip, failing to contain his own grin, but Suga—

There’s surprise written all over his face, the quirk of his lips soft and tentative, but all he says is, “I was a little bit scary, though. I’m sure the first thing I did was glare at you when you woke me up.”

Daichi grins, because he’s not wrong about the glare, but fear wasn’t exactly the first thing he’d thought of when he saw Suga first thing in the morning, silver hair a mess and sleep still stubbornly clinging to his pretty features. “You did. I take it back—I was absolutely terrified of you.”

It’s worth the blatant eye-rolling Ennoshita sends his way, as well as Nishinoya and Tanaka’s wide eyes when Suga’s cheeks bunch up, his smile bright and playful in return, and breakfast passes in a more uneventful manner, aside from Kageyama briefly choking on a slice of apple. When their plates are finally wiped clean, Daichi asks everyone’s plans for the day, pleased when his entire crew chooses to go back to the convention to check out some of the other booths, and then pleasantly surprised when the rest of the guys decide to come along as well.

“I wanna see if they have fake piercings as well!” Hinata exclaims as they get up, rubbing his ears, and Tsukishima scoffs behind him.

“Even babies get real ear piercings,” he says loftily, smirking when Hinata whirls around to face him with a scandalized squawk, but Kageyama squeezes Hinata’s shoulder as he drains the last of his glass of milk.

“You wouldn’t look good with piercings anyway. Tattoos suit you better.” And then Kageyama walks past them all, and Daichi has to wonder how the hell did his awkward apprentice manage to become this smooth?

His attention gets caught by Suga giggling, as Hinata belatedly sputters before he runs off to catch up with Kageyama—and then Suga turns to him, dark eyes amused and the smile he gives Daichi makes his breath hitch, with how warm and sweet it is and he really, really hopes to God the other man doesn’t notice how much Daichi’s already captivated by him.

(Perhaps it’s a lost cause at this point, but maybe Suga’s just that nice and doesn’t want to make things awkward by pointing out Daichi’s goddamn obvious crush on him.)

Somehow he gathers enough of his wits to smile back, and he’s almost proud that he doesn’t stutter when he says, “Shall we?”

Those wits instantly make a run for it when Suga sidles up and bumps his shoulder against Daichi’s, that smile immediately too close and there’s no way Suga doesn’t see the way his eyes helplessly flicker to pink lips, curled up at the corners.

“Lead the way, captain.”

***

Daichi hadn’t been able to explore the convention the day before, so it’s a little odd to have Suga point out some of the booths they’d pass by and see familiar faces smiling at him in greeting, but the oddness gets circumvented by a mixture of pride and embarrassment when fellow tattoo artists would call them over, just to talk about his work in front of Suga. It’s not like he isn’t appreciative of their words, but to see Suga’s wide eyes watching him with admiration is a feeling like nothing else.

“How many people have you tattooed before?” Suga asks after a tall, muscular man with greyish-white hair, along with a shorter man with floppy brown hair and a lazy smirk stop them in their tracks, the latter showing off part of his arm sleeve that Daichi had contributed towards a few months ago.

Daichi hums, trying to come up with a rough estimate, but ultimately fails, shrugging apologetically as they watch the crowds around them grow thicker. “I’ve been tattooing since I was 22, so I’ve kind of lost track after the first two years,” he says sheepishly. “I remember most of the ones I’ve done, though.”

Suga nods in acknowledgement, and then moves a little closer towards him to avoid a group of exuberant guys that nearly bump into them with their flailing arms in their excitement. Daichi automatically puts up his hand to steady the other, but his grip accidentally tightens when he realises he’s got his palm right against Suga’s lower back, the edge of it wrapped around his waist.

Before he can apologise, Suga turns to look at him, smiling as he simply says, “Thanks for that, nearly lost my balance,” and then doesn’t move away from Daichi .

He doesn’t know how long his hand stays there, steady against Suga’s back, but when he has to take it away to shake another former client he silently mourns the loss. But he’s quickly appeased by the fact that the other man still stays close enough for Daichi to feel his warmth, his voice filled with blatant curiosity and awe at everything new that Daichi points out to him.

They stop by Nekoma Ink’s booth, where Bokuto proceeds to grab Daichi in another tight hug, and then it’s Suga’s turn, whose eyes widen at the other man’s easy affection, but returns the embrace happily anyway. Daichi spies Kenma sitting in the corner, face hidden by his blonde hair, head bent over a game console while Kuroo and Akaashi talk to a tall, lanky person with silver hair and catlike green eyes, whose entire left arm looks like a depiction of a forest scenery. He doesn’t recognise the other staff, but Bokuto informs him it’s a joint event with a tattoo parlour he’d spent some of his apprenticeship at a couple of years ago—Fukurodani, one of the oldest tattoo parlours in the region.

“They’re, ah, they’re scouting, actually,” Bokuto says, his smile wry. “The owner’s retiring and the staff are all pretty green still, so he and sensei decided to see how well we’d work together.”

Daichi raises his eyebrows at the surprising information, and takes another glance at the people running the booth. With the exception of Kuroo, Akaashi and Bokuto, the rest do seem a little younger, perhaps around Kageyama’s age.

“And I’m assuming they’ve got their sights set on one of you three?” Daichi asks quietly, aware of Kuroo’s eyes glancing at them every so often.

Bokuto shrugs, rubbing the back of his neck as he tilts his head. The movement causes his ink to shift, almost liquid-like as the traditional Japanese dragon seem to open its mouth slightly wider against the side of his throat, before Bokuto straightens his shoulders again.

“There’s nothing concrete yet, and I dunno if I wanna leave Kuroo and Akaashi if they decide on me,” he frowns, and it’s as if Kuroo has a particularly honed radar when it comes to his boyfriend, because the man suddenly appears with a sly smile, before pressing a terribly soft kiss against Bokuto’s temple.

It has the desired effect of getting Bokuto out of his impending gloom, if the incredibly bright golden eyes and “Hey babe! Daichi and Suga are here visiting!” are anything to go by.

“Hey,” he greets them with a nod, arm swung around Bokuto’s shoulder. “What held you two up? Chibi-chan and his taller friends dropped by our booth ages ago.”

“Chibi-chan?” Daichi asks, eyebrows raised, and Kuroo grins while Bokuto nods enthusiastically.

“Hinata’s been asking a ton of questions about getting tattoos. I think he’s pretty interested in getting one,” Bokuto grins, and Daichi’s first instinct is surprise, followed by an undercurrent of worry because what if he was merely swept up in the novelty and excitement? He knows he’d been younger when he’d gotten his first tattoo, but what if the comfort Hinata had found being among some of the people Daichi called home wasn’t enough when the discrimination eventually finds him?

He looks over at Suga, and he’s not sure how to feel about the thoughtful frown that’s taken residence on his face. But the man only says, “At least he’ll know who to ask if he wants to know more,” and shrugs.

They don’t stay too long at the booth after that, and there’s a slightly awkward tension blanketing them now as they move along that Daichi doesn’t know how to dispel.

So he takes a glance at his phone, and seeing it’s already past one in the afternoon and they haven’t had lunch yet, he asks Suga what he feels like eating.

“The spiciest burger ever,” was his reply, and somehow that leads them to a KFC a few blocks away from the convention, crowded to the brim on a hot Saturday afternoon. It takes them a while to order, since the self-ordering machine is under maintenance and the lines seem perpetually long, but they get to the counter before Daichi’s stomach can growl a third time.

It’s been a while since he’s been in Tokyo, but he remembers how many stares he would have gotten four years ago if he’d walked into any food establishment with his inked sleeves on display just like today.

As it is, he gets a pretty subtle once-over from the cashier once they’re at the counter, but he doesn’t have time to assess that look, because Suga leans forward with a smile, effectively capturing the cashier’s attention and somewhat blocking Daichi from her view, and quickly rattles his order before looking back at Daichi for his.

After a quick round of “I’ll pay,” during which he loses to Suga (“I know you got the bill before either Kuroo or Bokuto could last night,”), they finally find seats at the back, near a group of high school aged kids who don’t bother giving more than a cursory glance at both of them.

It’s not until they sit down with their food that Daichi hesitantly broaches the subject of what had just transpired at the counter.

“At the counter… Did you do that because the cashier was staring at my tattoos?”

Because if he did, then Daichi’s hard-pressed to think of it as anything but a sweet gesture, but he’s been on the end of nuclear-level glares and a little bit of staring was nothing, really.

Suga blinks at him; he’d been in the midst of taking a drink when Daichi had brought up the topic. Daichi’s not sure if he’s stopped sipping as he looks at Daichi, but then he slowly puts down his Pepsi and says with the driest voice imaginable, “I’m covered in way more tattoos than you are right now, Daichi. Besides, I have a feeling she was less concerned with the tattoos, and more interested in your arm muscles in general.”

And Daichi knows he’s currently making an incredibly dumb expression, his eyes wide and his mouth open with shock, but then he sees it .

The tips of Suga’s ears are burning bright red, even as the man nonchalantly starts to dig into his burger.

That’s—huh.

He doesn’t know if now’s the right time to press on that, though, so he follows Suga’s lead and takes a bite out of his own reasonably-flavoured burger.

Thankfully, the conversation gets a kickstart in the form of a text from Nishinoya, who’d sent Daichi a photo of him with Asahi, Ennoshita and Tanaka at what looked like a parody of an American diner, if the electric guitars and old movie posters in the background are to go by. It also reminded Daichi and Suga they should probably be checking in on their younger friends as well.

Yamaguchi picks up on the third ring with a, “Hi, cap! What’s up?”

If asked, Daichi would deny the sigh of relief that follows Yamaguchi’s words. “Just checking in. Who’re you with right now?” There are plenty of noises in the background that tell him he probably doesn’t need to ask, but it doesn’t hurt to be safe.

True enough, Yamaguchi answers, “Tsukki, Kageyama and Hinata are here. Tsukki found this place that’s supposed to serve really good okonomiyaki near the hall so we’re having lunch here now—”

An excited voice rings out, cutting off the rest of his words. “Is that Daichi-san? Is Suga-san with him? Can I talk to them?”

“Wait, Hinata, you nearly spilled your rice—yeah, just a sec—Daichi-san, is Suga-san with you?”

“Yeah, he’s here,” Daichi confirms. “I’ll pass the phone over to him.” He holds out his phone towards a confused-looking Suga, but his expression clears when Daichi explains, “It’s Hinata,” and he takes the phone readily.

“Hinata? You okay?”

Daichi watches as the slight concern on Suga’s face quickly gives way to plain amusement as Hinata speaks, and the unbearably fond look makes it absolutely clear just how much he cares for the younger man.

“Okay, you’ve got enough cash, right? I—oh, that’s, I’m not sure if that’s a good idea, Hinata,” he says with a wince. “Yeah, maybe hold off on that. Yeah, I’ll see you later—I think we’ll grab dinner together?” He raises his eyebrows at Daichi, who nods. “Sure, I’ll let you know.” A chuckle. “I’ll tell him you said hi. Okay, okay—stay safe. Bye, Hinata.”

He handed the phone over to Daichi again, and he lifts his phone to his ear just in time to hear Yamaguchi say, “That settles it, no food competition for either of you then,” which gives him a slight idea about what had caused Suga to make that face earlier.

“Yamaguchi?”

“Yeah, cap?”

“You guys don’t have to go back to the convention after lunch, but let’s meet up at the hotel lobby for dinner around seven later,” Daichi tells him, watching Suga to see what he thinks, and gets an affirming nod in return.

“Sure! Oh, Kageyama said hi to you both—Tsukki too,” and Daichi’s pretty sure Tsukishima had said no such thing, but he replies, “Hey guys. Right, we’ll see you later, then. Take care of yourselves.”

He gets a cheerful “Sure, captain! See you!” before Yamaguchi hangs up, and then he looks up to see this odd little smile on Suga’s face.

“What?”

“You know they’re only like, two or three years younger at most, right?” Suga says teasingly, and Daichi would be embarrassed, except—

“You treat Hinata in the exact same way,” and that gets a little giggle out of Suga, soft and wry.

“Asahi does the same, to a lesser extent. But I guess Hinata just sorts of… Drags out that parental instinct out of you, even when you figure you’d be terrible at it,” he says, taking a sip of his drink before he continues innocently, “Your three guys seem less like a handful, though.”

Daichi snorts, because he’s pretty sure Suga’s only saying it to sound nice, if the shit-eating grin on his face is anything to believe.

“They have their moments,” he replies, and sits back, an exasperated smile tugging at his lips as he recounts a couple of his fondest memories of them. “Once, the crew had slept over at my place and I woke up to see Kageyama absolutely covered in various, uh, questionable fake tattoos. It took a lot of scrubbing to get them out, but eventually he did. He looked like a lobster by the end of it, though.”

“A couple of weeks later, and I’m still not sure how Kageyama pulled it off, Tsukishima walks in with a very, very realistic looking dick on his cheek drawn in stencil ink—which literally doesn’t come off, by the way. He had to wear a face mask at work for a solid week. That sort of ended the prank saga involving the use of tattoos, fake or otherwise, though. I really couldn’t take Tsukishima’s frowning seriously when he had a cock pointed at his nose.”

The laugh he gets from Suga is loud and inhibited; it’s stupid how lovely the man looks with his head thrown back in laughter, eyes squeezed shut and pink cheeks bunched up. His cup is in danger of spilling, but Daichi barely notices it, too busy taking in the sight in front of him.

“I’m glad Hinata’s getting along well with them, though,” Suga says at last when he calms down, hiccupping a little, and Daichi’s hopelessly endeared by the sight of him literally wiping away his tears of laughter. “He’s got other friends, of course, but I’m… I’m happy he’s enjoying himself with Kageyama and the others. They seem like a good match with him.”

Daichi nods, because it does warm his heart to see the four of them become such quick friends.

“I’ve never seen Kageyama take to someone so quickly, honestly,” he muses.

“Yeah?”

“He’s…” Daichi pauses, recalling the young man that had showed up at his doorstep over half a year ago with a threadbare portfolio and burning eyes. “He’s incredibly talented. His control is almost as good as mine and Ennoshita and we’ve been doing this for a lot longer. Kageyama’s got absolute flair for delicate, fine lines but I’ve seen some of his portraiture work and they’re good, too. So I wasn’t sure why he’d come to me for his apprenticeship.”

He remembers asking, disbelief colouring his tone, and the shameful, dejected expression Kageyama had worn when he’d explained.

“Turns out the kid doesn’t really possess an arsenal of social skills, so things got pretty bad at his previous apprenticeship.”

“Oh, Kageyama,” Suga breathes, his eyes filled with a mix of sadness and frustration. “But he, he’s alright now?”

Daichi smiles. “I’d like to think so. But having Hinata around helps, I’m sure, and well.” He pauses, watching Suga carefully. “You guys are kind of an anomaly, to be honest.”

The other man raises his eyebrows as he bites into his burger, and Daichi holds back his wince at seeing how red the meat looks. Does he have no taste buds? “How so?”

“Most people tend to turn the other way when they see a group of heavily tattooed young men when in broad daylight,” and that gets him what he thinks is his first real frown from Suga.

It’s a little terrifying to be on the other end of that glare, in all honesty.

“Just because you have tattoos doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. I’ve met plenty of assholes who didn’t have a single drop of ink on their skin.” It’s almost vehement, the way Suga says it, but Daichi doesn’t know if he’ll ever not be speechless at how easily Suga has accepted him and his community in so graceful a manner. But he knows for sure that the gratitude that swells every time Suga proves it will always be something constant.

“... Thank you.”

It only increases when Suga shakes his head and says, “It shouldn’t be something to be thankful for.”

And Daichi has a feeling he sort of knows a little better what Suga might think about Hinata possibly getting inked—but he has to ask anyway.

To his surprise, Suga just grins at him.

“Hinata doesn’t do anything he’s not prepared to fully commit to. And as much as I hate it, some people might start treating him differently if he ever does get one somewhere visible, but—”

And here he looks at Daichi with far too much trust than what Daichi thinks he deserves.

“He’s got us around him, and that’s… Maybe that could be enough.”

***

When Suga confesses he doesn’t know much of Tokyo as they’re finishing up their lunch, Daichi decides to bring him to his old haunts, back when he was with Nekoma Ink. The train ride to the station where he used to share an apartment with Bokuto and Kuroo takes about half an hour, and the entire time he’s so, so aware of Suga standing beside him as he asks him questions about Daichi’s life from back then.

He gets to show the bar that he, Kuroo and Bokuto had gotten thrown out of after Kuroo had broken a record number of five glasses in a row, and while the bar has been replaced by a cafe, Daichi remembers the exact spot he’d had to hold Bokuto’s hair back when he’d puked his guts out, Kuroo stroking his boyfriend’s back and getting blood all over Bokuto’s shirt from the cuts he’d gotten, thanks to the broken glasses.

After that harrowing story, he brings Suga to the bookshop he’d escaped to when the apartment was too loud, or when he was missing home and wondering if he’d really made the right decision to become a tattoo artist with a business degree instead of becoming a doctor like what his mother wanted for him. He doesn’t tell Suga any of that, though, just tells him that he used to come there to read from time to time.

The last place Daichi brings him to is the park he’d used to run at, late at night after his apprenticeship has ended for the day and away from the piling list of assignments from his university courses.

He’s not sure why, but he hadn’t expected Suga to really dive into his stories, coaxing him to go into the cafe for iced Americanos (“What if I have PTSD from that night?” “No better time to face your fears, and I could use a cool drink right now,”), needling him into buying a couple of books (“I don’t really have time to read anymore, Suga,” “The coffee table in your waiting room could use some shoujo manga to help calm any nerves.”)

But it’s at the park that he falls silent, walking around to go up to the bright yellows and oranges and reds blooming, brightening up the entire place. There’s a small, pleased curl to his lips as he gently touches each flower he can reach, and Daichi suddenly, acutely misses the little daisy that’s almost always tucked behind Suga’s ear.

He blames his next action on that thought when he reaches out to brush an errant flick of Suga’s hair to tuck it behind his ear, just as Suga traces the edge of a chrysanthemum.

Suga’s hand freezes, and Daichi thinks, for one terrifying moment, that he’d fucked up monumentally.

So he pulls back, starts to shift his hand away but there are fingers, long, pale fingers suddenly wrapped around his wrist, clasped at the edge of the black ink encapsulating most of his arm, big dark eyes rooting him to the spot. And then those fingers loosen, only to travel up to trace one of the camellia flowers on his arm.

“Daichi.” It’s quiet and firm and just the slightest bit scared.

“I miss the way you look, with that flower right here,” Daichi says as he so, so carefully touches the tip of Suga’s ear with his other hand, instead of, “Holy shit, how are you real?”

That gets a dark pink to bloom across Suga’s cheeks, his mouth agape, and it takes everything in Daichi to stop himself from reaching out and gently touching his jaw.

No. Not yet .

“Flowers really suit you, Suga,” he murmurs and the pink doesn’t go away, but Suga’s lips quirk up into a smile, and then his fingers slide down, down Daichi’s arm until they’re holding onto one of his fingers all too loosely.

“Maybe you should get some for me, for when we get dinner together? Sometime next week?”

Daichi thinks there’s no greater sight than the delight that washes over Suga’s entire being when he finally interlocks their fingers, and he squeezes the slightly trembling hand against his own, finding the reassurance both of them were searching for.

“Yeah. Yeah, any flower you want, Suga.”

Chapter Text

The first thing Suga registers is arms—thick arms folded against a chest that’s perfectly broad, and then his second thought is:

There’s no fucking way it’s legal to be that hot.

And then Tanaka yells, “Daichi-san!” and somehow it’s befitting that this man with the good-natured smile and the friendliness he easily exudes is on a first-name basis with his customer. He nearly misses Tanaka introducing him, too caught up in the way this Daichi-san’s t-shirt stretches across his chest and hugs his arms, one of them beautifully inked a strong black and red all the way to his wrist.

He spies what probably looks like camellia flowers, and has to hold himself back from wondering if there was more to the choice of the flowers than aesthetics.

And then the man introduces himself, and Suga takes in the deep, steady voice and immediately thinks he’s just made a new world record for the fastest time to fall for a complete stranger.

 

***

 

The journey home from Tokyo is a lot less chaotic than their trip to the city had been, with most of them completely exhausted from the night before.

Dinner had been a relatively cozy and tame affair, and after a couple of days spent in close proximity with everyone else, Daichi figures he’s finally got a semi-okay handle on keeping everyone in check, even though Hinata, Kageyama, Tanaka and Nishinoya stray out of sight far too often for his liking.

They’d eaten at a ramen place nearby the hotel, and he’d had the pleasure of seeing Suga’s pink lips turn plump and red from his spicy noodles, otherwise completely unbothered by the spice level.

(The same couldn’t be said for Hinata, who’d bravely taken a bite and instantly choked, prompting Yamaguchi to help pound his back with a trembling fist as Suga handed him a glass of water, caught between wincing and giggling at the younger man.)

After dinner, however, was a whole different story.

Bokuto had called Daichi up while they were still eating, and after a round of pass-the-phone, during which Hinata had hogged the conversation for a good two minutes and Tsukishima refusing to talk to Kuroo (and then promptly saying hello to Akaashi instead), they’d somehow been convinced to go out for drinks with both of their groups together.

After a couple of wrong directions, they’d finally arrived at the bar Bokuto had mentioned, which happened to also double as a brewery. Also, the moment they entered the place there was a loud yell, and Daichi found himself nearly falling over under the weight of a very excited Bokuto, before he’s dragged away by Akaashi, who apologizes as he leads them to the table, where Kuroo lazily waves at Daichi and the rest, grin sloppy and cheeks red even under the dark light. The others from the Tokyo shops are there too, and before long everyone’s acquainted, drinks in hand and conversations flowing from all sides.

And at 500 yen a drink, it was really all Daichi could do to make sure nothing, including glasses or limbs, were broken.

But he also gets to see Suga pink and flushed again, and this time he sticks to Daichi’s side, his laughter loud and happy, body warm and slumped against his, fingers loosely resting in the crook of his elbow.

And knowing what he does now, about the way Suga feels about him, the anticipation of finally, finally going on a date with this man makes it way too difficult for Daichi to keep his touches to just his shoulders, his arms—tentative and fleeting, instead of firm and unyielding, unwilling to let go.

Suga’s dark eyes constantly watching hadn’t made things easier, either.

It was almost a relief to leave behind their hotel room in Tokyo and go back home, because Daichi’s pretty sure he wouldn’t survive seeing Suga soft and sleepy in the mornings for much longer without doing anything about it anymore.

Except Suga sits beside him when they get on the train after ensuring everyone else has boarded as well, and this time, as the talking around them gets replaced by soft snores, he actually falls asleep on Daichi’s shoulder, the heat from his body a comfort and a furnace all in one. There’s no way he misses the minty scent of Suga’s shampoo either, and something sweeter underneath it all and he finds himself unable to fall asleep, content to watch the scenery pass by as Suga naps on him.

It’d been early in the evening when they arrived back; Daichi watches as Kageyama, Hinata, Tsukishima and Yamaguchi head off after saying their farewells, yawning and shuffling together towards the other exit before he walks away with the others to their own bus stop, their conversations muted amidst their exhaustion. Only Nishinoya’s steady chatter with Asahi keeps him awake enough to reach his own stop.

As he moves to leave after sleepy goodbyes all around, he feels a squeeze on his shoulder, and turns to see Suga’s smile.

“Sleep well,” he says quietly, and the smile grows bigger.

When he’s settled in that night, alone for the first time in three days, he sends a text to Suga, eyes falling shut as the slowly creeping exhaustion finally makes itself known.

 

Thank you for going to the convention. Not sure you’ll ever know how grateful I am that you guys came along with us.

Hope you’re resting now. Goodnight, Suga.

[10.42pm]

 

He doesn’t wait for a response, and drifts off to sleep thinking of how quiet it is without Suga’s soft snuffling, and how warm he’d felt all throughout the train ride back home, the other man’s weight against his body a steady anchor amidst his too-many thoughts.

 

Thanks for bringing us along, Daichi.

I look forward to more conventions with you. :) Sleep well!

[11.22pm]

 

***

 

The next day sees Daichi booked with a client half an hour after the shop opened, and after the two-hour session finishes and he sees them off, their arm freshly inked with dark branches and pink cherry blossoms, he catches Ennoshita just as the man’s about to head out for a coffee run for the team.

“Your usual Americano, right?”

“I—yeah, but um, it’s not that. Are you free tonight for dinner?”

He gets a smirk from Ennoshita, who raises an eyebrow at him. “I feel like you’re asking the wrong person.”

And the slight nerves Daichi had been feeling immediately dissipate as his shoulders slump, rolling his eyes at his friend, even as he feels himself redden. “Asshole,” he says, but grins anyway as Ennoshita nods.

“Yeah, I’m free, cap. Now if you’ll excuse me, I should probably go before Kageyama dies from a lack of latte in his system.”

“I’m not sure his order should even be classified as a caffeinated drink, considering how there’s actually barely any coffee in it.”

That night finds both of them seated across each other at the bar where they’d first started hatching plans for The Crow’s Nest, and Daichi feels the same nervous anticipation that had blanketed them back then, as he tells Ennoshita about his impending date, their food barely touched between them.

His friend’s reaction, while expected, still makes him smile in relief.

“Congrats, captain. Took you long enough, though.”

Daichi takes a sip of his beer, and shrugs. “It took as long as it needed, maybe. But I don’t—” He stops himself and frowns at Ennoshita, trying his best to articulate the feelings current swirling in his mind. “I know it’s our first date, but… I think at this point it’s safe to say I like Suga a bit too much to see this as, well, any other first date, I guess.”

It scares Daichi, once he manages to get the words out, how true they are.

Ennoshita nods in acknowledgement, but it’s a few moments before he speaks again, his voice calm and matter-of-fact as he drums his fingers against the table.

“I don’t want to speak for Suga-san, so I won’t. But it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen you this hung up on someone, Daichi. I don’t even remember the last time you went on a date—”

“You’re one to talk—”

“—We’re discussing your love life, not the lack of my own,” Ennoshita says firmly, and Daichi gives into his laughter and concedes. He’d still like Ennoshita’s opinion, after all; he has firsthand knowledge of what a terrible idea it would be to antagonize the man.

“Anyway,” his friend adds as he meets Daichi’s eyes, “I think Suga’s a great guy. He’s nice, like he’s all sunshine and smiles but he’s also got this steel-like personality as well, like you wouldn’t want to mess with him.”

Daichi thinks steel and sunshine is an entirely too accurate way to describe Suga.

Instead he grins, and replies, “He is a great guy, huh?”

Ennoshita smirks, but it falls away quickly enough, replaced by a genuine smile as he laughs. “I mean, I don’t know many people who’d go to a tattoo convention who aren’t tattoo artists, or enthusiasts themselves,” he admits, before taking a bite of his food, clearly finished with his piece.

Daichi watches him for a bit, and takes a leaf out of the other man’s book as he reaches for his own dish and simply says, “Thanks, Chikara.”

Ennoshita ducks his head at that—it’s rare for Daichi to use his first name, but he’s said it enough times that both of them know how much Daichi truly appreciates his steady calm and his opinions.

“No problem,” he replies, and then smiles serenely at Daichi. “You’re welcome to pay me in cookies or a strawberry cheesecake, I’ll let you choose.”

“How about I just pay you your salary and we can call it even.”

“You know, I really wonder just what Suga-san even sees in you.”

 

***

 

Daichi feels slightly less nervous about the prospect of a date with Suga come the next day, but his talk with Ennoshita doesn’t diminish the nerves he experiences as he fidgets around in his office, wondering if it would be too presumptuous or intrusive if he were to go and visit Suga now.

In the end, it takes Tsukishima saying, “Captain, you’re wearing down the flooring in your office,” to get his ass out of the parlour and across the street.

Unlike most of the times he’s visited Sweet Florals, there’s no loud voice greeting him as he walks in, and Asahi doesn’t seem to be in, either; for a moment he wonders if the shop’s even open and Suga had somehow forgotten to lock the door.

“Hello?” Daichi calls out, concern slowly seeping into his thoughts, but just then Suga walks out from the back of the shop, hair slightly askew and green apron a little crooked.

“Sorry, hi, welcome to Sweet Fl—oh, Daichi! What brings you here?”

Daichi takes in the slight flush on Suga’s cheeks, the confused smile as he stares at Daichi, his apron still crooked, hair looking like the other man had been running his hand through it too many times. “I—well, I just wanted to drop by, I guess, but this is probably a bad time?”

Suga’s eyes widen.

“No, of course not! It’s just, Asahi’s out for some deliveries right now and Hinata must have caught a bug or something in Tokyo, he’s out cold at the moment. I was just caught up with some flower arrangements that needed to go out by this evening,” he rambles, almost breathless and it’s the first time Daichi’s actually seen him this flustered, which is already worrying enough, but the smile on his face had grown tighter, his shoulders tensed up as he mentions the deadline for his arrangements and Daichi doesn’t like that one bit.

“Can I help with something?”

“Oh,” Suga says, his smile falling back into his previous puzzled expression. “That’s, that’s kind of you Daichi, but I can’t just pull you away from work like that.”

Daichi shakes his head, and takes a tentative step forward. “I’ve only got paperwork waiting for me, aside from an appointment at six, which is… Three hours from now,” he shrugs and softly adds, “I… I’d like to help, Suga, if I can.”

It takes a couple of seconds, but Daichi sees the exact moment Suga visibly relents, the way his shoulders slump and he lets out a huff, nodding slowly.

“Okay, I suppose you could start with a bit of clean up? I haven’t been able to get around to that for today,” he scratches the back of his neck, his tone sheepish.

“Sure,” Daichi agrees easily, and Suga shows him where they keep their cleaning utilities and then he’s sweeping around Sweet Florals, keeping an eye on the store while Suga continues working in the back. “Just, uh, holler if you need me,” Suga tells him, obviously reluctant to leave Daichi on his own but he just nods firmly, and he supposes it’s enough to get Suga moving to his flower arrangements again.

A few customers come in and out, and Daichi progresses from sweeping to helping Suga ring up purchases by his side, watching the other man’s sunny disposition unrelenting in the face of the interruptions from his arrangements, always ready with a smile and helpful advice. Before he knows it, two hours have passed and Suga’s finally caught up with his work, heaving a sigh of relief as he and Daichi bring them out one by one, all of them made with vibrant hues of golds, pinks and reds.

They set them up on the counter, ready to be picked up, and then Suga turns to Daichi. “Thanks so much for your help, Daichi. Asahi’s on his way back now, so I think I can handle things on my own until then.”

“Glad I could help,” Daichi replies, and Suga chuckles, the sound soft and wry.

“You seem to have done a lot of that for me,” Suga muses; he doesn’t sound upset, merely thoughtful, but Daichi can’t help the frown that appears on his face.

He steels himself, and clasps the other man’s shoulder, causing Suga to look up at him in surprise. “Everyone could use a hand every now and then,” he says firmly, and Suga rewards him with a grin, one that’s thankfully less stressed than the smile he’d given him earlier.

It’s then that he finally realises that the little daisy behind Suga’s ear is bent and looks almost as if it’s about to fall off, and he’s seen the florist running a hand through his hair enough times that afternoon to know it’s probably because of that.

This time, his movements are surer than it’d been at that park in Tokyo, as he lifts a hand to tuck the daisy in properly, his fingers brushing against the ends of Suga’s hair and the top of his ear gently.

When Daichi pulls his hand back, pink spots bloom across Suga’s cheeks, the other man beaming at him, and it’s an absolutely becoming sight.

It’s what prompts him to blurt out, “Friday half past eight okay with you? Sorry, I, um, I finish work at eight but I live just above the parlour—”

“I’ll be here,” Suga blissfully interrupts, grin still etched on his face. Daichi wonders how his cheeks aren’t hurting, but he won’t complain, not if Suga continues to smile at him, just like this. “Friday, half past eight. I’ll be waiting.”

And there’s no helping Daichi’s own grin, wide and relieved, and he knows he sounds stupidly breathless as he replies, “Okay. I… I’ll see you then,” and says his goodbyes as he steps back, and out of the shop before he embarrasses himself any further.

But when he turns back, just before he enters his tattoo parlour, Daichi spies Suga looking at him, smile blindingly obvious even across the street and Daichi wishes he could just stay and watch, dazzled by that lovely smile for as long as he likes.

It's worth having to stay on past eight to finish up his paperwork, even if he'd had to endure the teasing from everyone else before he'd threatened no pastries for the rest of the year.

 

***

 

It’s been a while since Daichi’s felt this nervous.

He’s showered and dressed ten minutes before he’s supposed to meet Suga at Sweet Florals, and he’d nearly caved in and asked Ennoshita if he could stay on for moral support earlier on, but figured his friend really didn’t need any more ammo against him.

Which leads to him scrutinising his reflection, specifically at his arms.

Daichi would be the first to admit he isn’t ashamed of his ink—he wouldn’t have gone on to own the Crow’s Nest if that were so, after all.

But he’s seen the way some people look at him enough times to not want to subject anyone else to that, and he really, really just wants tonight to go smoothly. So he turns away from the mirror and grabs a thin cardigan to throw over his black shirt, and making sure there aren’t any holes that had suddenly appeared in his jeans since he’d last inspected them five minutes ago. He steps out of the apartment and heads downstairs before he can second guess his outfit, pausing in his tracks when he reaches the main road and sees the lights still switched on over at Sweet Florals.

He heads over, heart in his throat as he reaches the shop and pushes open the door. “Hello?”

“Sorry, we’re closed!” He recognises Suga’s voice, but he doesn’t get to formulate a response before the man himself steps out from the back of the shop and—

He’s seen Suga dressed down, hair somewhat slicked back with sweat while calling out instructions on how to assemble a bookshelf, Suga soft and sleepy in the morning light, giant t-shirt enveloping his body; he’s used to the way the green apron hugs the other man’s body on a daily basis and he really likes that look too, but right now he’s struck speechless at the sight of Suga in his sky blue sweater, sleeves pushed up to his elbow and the way his black jeans showcase his legs, white sneakers finishing off the whole look.

Somehow, Daichi finds his voice again.

“Oh, I, uh, didn’t see the sign,” he begins, smile growing on his face as he adds, “Shame, though. Someone told me this place has this incredibly beautiful flower, so I was hoping to see for myself if that was true.”

Something in Suga’s expression twitches, but he raises his eyebrows and says innocently, “Ah, well, since you’re already here—do you think you see it, then? This flower of yours?”

“Mmhmm, I believe I do.”

Suga bites down on his lip, his poker face slowly crumbling as he valiantly holds on and asks, “Does it live up to the rumours?”

Daichi stares at Suga, his eyes lingering on the way Suga’s hands are tucked into his pockets, his head tilted to the side as he lets Daichi take him in. “The rumours have nothing on him. You… You look good, great, actually,” he says at last, and he wonders where the bravado from the last ten seconds had disappeared to, but it doesn’t really matter right now when Suga’s right in front of him, giggling as he drops the act as well at Daichi’s embarrassment before he walks forward and pulls a hand out of his pocket to reach for Daichi’s, squeezing it warmly.

“Thanks, you look pretty great, yourself,” he replies, and doesn’t let go. Daichi feels irrationally pleased by that. “So, where are we headed off to?”

It takes him a moment to tear his thoughts from how good Suga’s hand feels against his, and he answers, “There’s a Mexican place a few blocks away that serves pretty good dishes, and some of them are possibly spicy enough for your dead taste buds.”

Suga gasps in mock outrage, and he looks so comical Daichi can’t help but laugh at him, copper eyes narrowed and brows furrowed. “Wow, this date is off to a fantastic start if you’re insulting me already,” he huffs, but his grip tightens and he leads them both out after turning the lights off, not even letting go as he’s locking up the doors.

And then it’s Daichi’s turn to lead the way, conversation flowing easily enough as he points at some of the shops in the neighbourhood that Suga’s not familiar with yet, reveling in the warmth of his hand. Soon enough, they reach the restaurant, with its exposed brick walls and a modest shopfront made of dark wood and glass windows, the smell already mouthwatering even from a distance.

Daichi turns to gauge Suga’s reaction, but he needn’t have worried, because the other man’s eyes have shut, smile blissful as he sniffs at the air.

What the hell, who told him he could be this cute?

“I don’t know what I’m smelling,” Suga begins, and then opens his eyes to look at Daichi expectantly, “But I kinda want to find out right now.”

They head inside, the aroma hitting them first before the conversations. It’s crowded, but Daichi had made a reservation earlier in the day, and then they’re led by a waiter to one of the tables near the windows and their hands separate as they take their seats, but Daichi can’t seem to keep his eyes off of Suga, glowing and radiant as he stares right back at him.

The waiter comes back with menus, and promises to return in a bit. Suga takes one of them and flips through, his expression curious as he admits, “I’ve never actually had tacos.”

“They’re pretty good,” Daichi says, looking through his own menu. “Then again, I’ve never had a taco from Mexico so I can’t really vouch for their authenticity, but they taste great,” and Suga laughs.

Daichi ends up getting the shawarma taco with mild salsa, while Suga opts for the shrimp tempura with extra hot salsa and Daichi winces at the thought of eating that. If Suga had one major flaw, it’d probably be the lack of his taste buds.

He’d wondered what they would talk about, if the idea of a date would hang over them and make things awkward, but his fears are immediately assuaged when Suga dives into a story of how Hinata had accidentally spooked Asahi so bad that the older man had swung at the air unconsciously, catching Hinata in the arm. Suga had spent twenty minutes trying to calm them both down, before giving up and locking them in the greenhouse in the back of the shop for the next half an hour until they’d stopped feeling bad for the other.

And Daichi’s never had so much of Suga’s attention on him as he talks about the clients he’s dealt with in the past couple of days, never really had the chance to truly appreciate how animated Suga gets. He doesn’t stop waving his hands around, his expression changing fluidly, even when he’s got half a taco in one hand, the other gesturing before him.

Everything’s going great, which is, of course, when things inevitably fuck up.

Someone bumps into Daichi’s chair, which causes him to jump and instinctively move away from the source, which had been a mistake; Suga says worriedly, “Wait, Daichi—” right before something else bumps him and he feels a warmth spilling on his shoulder.

“Oh no, I’m so sorry sir!” A woman immediately cries out, as Daichi turns to see salsa seeping into his cardigan.

He looks up and sees the waitress, a young blonde woman staring at him with a petrified expression, and blinks as he takes in the situation around him. People have begun to stare and he’s not sure, but he thinks the woman might actually start to hyperventilate, her hands visibly shaking as she holds on to the dish that had held the salsa.

“It’s fine, it’s not your fault,” he says, smiling in an attempt to calm the waitress down but she just stares at him and his cardigan.

“I—oh, that’s going to stain, can I, I’ll show you to the restroom? I’m so sorry, I should’ve looked where I was going—”

He shakes his head and stands up carefully, wincing at the weird wet feeling on his shoulder. “It’s okay, really,” he tries, and adds, “But yeah, I’d appreciate it if you could tell me where the restroom is.” He turns to Suga, who’s frowning at him in concern. “I’ll be back in a bit,” he says, still smiling, and follows the jittery waitress.

He finds out her name is Yachi and it’s her first month here, so he tries his best to reassure her that he’s not going to report a complaint or anything of the sort, as it was really just an unlucky incident on both their parts. Once he’s inside the restroom, he tries to get rid of the stain but it’s no use—the thicker parts are washed off but there’s still a visible dark stain and he sighs, folding up the cardigan before heading back outside.

Instantly, Daichi feels plenty of stares on him as he walks back to the table, eyes lingering on his newly revealed skin, but he keeps his gaze on Suga, who smiles at him as he approaches.

“You alright?” he asks, eyes flitting all over him.

Daichi nods and places the cardigan on his lap. “Couldn’t get rid of the stain, so I had to take it off. Sorry I’m a little underdressed,” he says sheepishly but Suga shakes his head at him, his smile turning mischievous.

“You’re dressed perfectly,” he declares, and Daichi’s startled into a laugh, even as he feels heat blooming across his cheeks.

The rest of their dinner continues peacefully and nothing actually happens, but it’s as Daichi stretches to reach for the pepper to shake over the last bite of his taco that he hears, quite clearly, “Can’t believe they let in those kind of people here,” and freezes for a moment.

He hopes Suga hadn’t heard that, but that hope is instantly dashed when he looks up to see the other man positively bristling, lips turned down and an angry frown on his face.

“Suga,” he says softly, but he’s interrupted by the same disgusted voice from earlier. “I thought those kinds of activities were illegal ,” before it’s followed by another, “No shame at all, showing off those terrible skin markings,” and he swallows, his jaw clenched at the vitriol behind him.

It’s not the first, nor even the worst that he’s heard, but it must have been too much for Suga, who immediately stands up, chair screeching across the floor and drawing everyone else’s attention. His face is pale, copper eyes blazing as he stares at something behind Daichi.

He holds out a trembling hand and says harshly, still not looking at him, “I’m not going to let you be disrespected a second longer, Daichi. We’re leaving right the fuck now.”

Daichi hears a scandalised gasp, but Suga says nothing to the person who’d stoked the flames of his anger; his glare, however, is icy enough that he doesn’t think words needed to be said anyway.

He takes Suga’s hand, and walks behind him, conscious of all the eyes on him.

The restaurant waves away their bill as an apology for Daichi’s cardigan and the scene that had just occurred, and Daichi tries his best again to make sure nothing happens to Yachi because of the little accident, and then they’re out, the summer air warm enough that Daichi has no need to cover up his arms anyway.

Then again, the damage had been done.

When he looks over at Suga, the man’s expression is tight, a storm brewing in his dark eyes and even though Daichi knows all too well that getting angry doesn’t solve anything at all, there’s still a part of him that’s grateful.

It’s what makes him reach out with his other hand, carefully touching the crook of Suga’s elbow. “Hey.”

Suga’s gaze snap towards him, and for a moment he waits to see if the other man would say something, but when it seems like he can’t find the words just yet, Daichi’s lips quirk up, and this time, he pulls Suga into a hug.

It’s reciprocated straight away as Suga’s arms squeeze tightly around his waist.

“Thank you,” Daichi whispers into his hair, instead of, “You shouldn’t ever get mad on my behalf, not for this.”

He doesn’t know how long it takes until they let go, but when he pulls back Suga’s eyes are slightly red-rimmed, and Daichi silently takes his hand and leads them back to their shops.

But when they reach Sweet Florals, hands clasped tightly, Daichi finds himself completely unwilling to let go of Suga just yet.

“Can I send you back to your apartment? It’s… It’s not that far out of the way and I—” Daichi stops himself, not sure how to encapsulate his own feelings into words just yet.

He lets out a breath, when Suga merely smiles at him, small and relieved. He tugs him to the bus stop at the end of the block and they get on together, the bus blissfully void of passengers save for a few at the back. They don’t let go the entire way, but there’s none of that easy comfort from earlier that evening, and Daichi’s feet feel heavy with every step he takes towards Suga’s building.

Daichi’s not sure what’s going to happen when he finally leaves Suga at his apartment, but when he pulls to let go once they’ve arrived at the building, Suga only clings on, and watches him cautiously.

“I know you’ve been to my place, but. You… Do you wanna go up to the rooftop for a bit? I find it helps to clear my mind.”

He’s not sure at this point if this date had already entered the “first worst date” category, thanks to how it had ended, but he can’t deny the thought that finding some peace after an unsettling encounter like the one at the restaurant is tempting.

So he nods, and Suga leads him inside towards the elevators. He presses the button for the highest floor, and after they get off, takes him another flight of rather rickety stairs, before pulling out a key to unlock the door to the rooftop. Daichi’s not sure if every tenant has access, or if Suga has special privilege, but he wouldn’t put it past him if it’s the latter.

Suga’s building isn’t very tall, but Daichi takes in the way the neighbouring buildings seem to exist out of his consciousness, how further apart they seem from one another. Once they step outside, Suga finally lets go, and heads towards a worn-looking bench several feet away that faces the main road.

Daichi follows him after a moment, and takes a seat beside him.

They don’t speak for a while, content to let the noises from the street below fill the void between them.

“I used to live down south, close to Okayama when I was younger,” Suga starts quietly. “You couldn’t begin to count the stars, they were so many—all the wishes I could have made in the world wouldn’t have filled half of them. Now I’m lucky if I can spot more than three here on a cloudless night.”

Daichi thinks of his own hometown, of Miyagi and the quaint town where he grew up, and hums in agreement.

“I’m sorry,” Suga whispers suddenly, and Daichi promptly turns to look at him.

“Suga, no—”

“I was needlessly angry, when I’m sure you could’ve handled the situation in a better, less dramatic way,” the other man interrupts, almost vehement in his reply, and Daichi watches him as he clenches his fists.

“And you—I wish you didn’t have to endure any of that. I’d use up every star I could wish upon if it meant you didn’t have to face such ugly, backwards-thinking assholes for your art and your choices.”

“I’m so sorry, Daichi,” and that’s it, Daichi’s had enough .

He turns his body around, reaches out and gently cradles Suga’s face in his palms, as he waits until the other man meets his eyes.

And then Daichi strokes Suga’s cheekbones with his thumbs, smiles as he says adamantly, “ Never apologize for that.”

He can see the instant Suga’s breath hitches, his pretty eyes widening in puzzlement, and Daichi shifts his fingers until he’s absently brushes the edge of Suga’s jaw, helpless in his gaze.

“I… I don’t usually have anyone sticking up for me like that, no one that’s not inked anyway, so… Thank you, for that.”

Suga shakes his head, frowning. “You never have to thank me for that, you know.”

“It shouldn’t be something to be thankful for,” Daichi hears again, and Suga’s gaze is just as unrelenting as it was back then, over burgers in that crowded KFC in Tokyo.

It makes him chuckle. This incredulous, incredible man.

“I’ll try to remember that. But, maybe when it happens—”

“If—”

“—when and if it happens again, maybe instead of paying them any attention, you could just… Look at me?”

Suga blinks once, twice.

And then, “You fucking sap,” he breathes, his words dissolving into a giggle and finally the tight line between his brows disappear, and it’s his turn now to grasp Daichi’s face in his hands, slightly chilly from the late evening air—and he does the most devastating thing.

Suga scoots closer, his legs right against Daichi, and before he can even comprehend how close Suga is all of a sudden, he rubs his nose against Daichi’s playfully, his giggle quiet between their mouths and how the fuck is he this adorable?

Suga’s hands are firm against Daichi’s cheeks, and his voice is just the slightest bit uncertain when he tells Daichi, “I’d like to kiss you now, if that’s okay with you.”

It takes Daichi less than a second to feel Suga’s smile against his lips when he presses forward, and for a moment Daichi doesn’t breathe, too dumbstruck with the realisation that Suga’s actually kissing him. And that’s what finally breaks him out of his frozen state as he presses back against Suga, and they spend a few moments learning how to fit against each other, the other man’s scent resembling the flowers he spends all day with, along with the mild spice of his cologne.

Daichi can taste the lingering remnants of dinner on Suga’s mouth—but then he tilts his head and playfully flicks his tongue against the other man’s lip, and gets the pleasure of feeling Suga gasp right into his mouth as their kisses turn wetter, louder and then it’s just the taste of Suga’s mouth, something sweet and dark and this, nothing compares to this feeling right now, Daichi thinks, a groan building in his throat as Suga’s hands run through his hair.

The kisses eventually slow, until Suga presses one last lingering touch against Daichi’s jaw, before he pulls back and Daichi has to stop himself from kissing him again, Suga’s lips wet and slightly swollen.

“I guess this date ended up redeeming itself, despite that little scene at the restaurant,” Suga quips, and Daichi laughs at that, warm and truly happy in this moment.

He’d love to stay on with Suga on this empty rooftop, making out like teenagers and just being with him, but—

“You have an early morning tomorrow, right?” Daichi asks, and Suga sighs.

“It’s only… Oh shit, it’s eleven o’clock,” he says, surprised when he takes a look at his phone. And before Daichi can stop him, he grins and cheekily adds, “I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.”

“I can’t believe I kissed that mouth.”

“I can’t believe you’re not kissing it still,” Suga shoots back, bringing a flush to Daichi’s face, but he’s inclined to agree, so he leans in and kisses Suga’s cheek out of spite.

When he pulls back, Suga’s blushing, but his grin is probably bright enough to power all of Tokyo right now.

But Suga heaves another sigh after a while and eventually stands up, before saying, “I should probably head back, then.”

Daichi stands up after him, and finds Suga’s hand, squeezing it tightly. “Come on, I’ll walk you to your door.”

“What a gentleman.”

They head back downstairs to Suga’s apartment on the third floor, and for a moment Daichi entertains the thought of staying for a while longer, but immediately squashes it, because Suga does need the rest, and it’s fine—he can see the man tomorrow, anyway.

Just as Daichi’s wondering when the best time would be to ask if Suga would like to go on another date, Suga swoops in to steal a kiss from Daichi’s lips, and says, “You wanna do this again, without the whole discriminating asshole incident this time?”

“I’d love that,” he grins, equal parts reassured and excited already, and Suga’s teasing smile turns a little relieved as well, like he’d been genuinely scared Daichi would ever say no.

It’s what makes him step closer, bringing a hand to Suga’s face and this time, their kiss is slower, deeper as Daichi presses Suga carefully against his door, arms wrapped around his back and Suga’s fingers playfully teases the hem of Daichi’s shirt, a ghost’s touch at the skin of his lower back.

It absolutely grates at him to finally pull back and say, “I should leave you to rest.”

“You’re a cruel man for kissing me like that and then leaving me, Sawamura,” Suga scolds him, hands stroking Daichi’s side, but he lets Daichi step back anyway, and opens his door, the light from his apartment immediately switching on when he takes a step inside, highlighting his pink cheeks and slightly mussed hair.

“Goodnight, Suga. Rest well.”

“Text me when you get back,” Suga replies, and for a moment he stares at Daichi, before he breaks out of his reverie with a little shake of his head. “Night, Daichi,” he whispers, and closes the door between them at last.

Fifteen minutes later, Daichi does as asked as he locks his door behind him, absently switching on the lights as he moves to place his cardigan in the laundry basket. A few minutes later, his phone pings with a text, and he’s rewarded with a selfie of Suga already in bed, his shirt big enough to fall off one of his shoulders, sleepy smile making Daichi’s heart ache.

 

Sleep well, Daichi

Will repeat date, especially the last 10 minutes of it. Rating: 3 out of 3 Tokyo stars

[11.25pm]

 

Night, Suga

Incredible rating. Would also like to add: 10/10 daisies.

[11.27pm]

 

He falls asleep thinking about the sweet scent of flowers that lingers on Suga, of soft lips and greedy hands, of wishing upon stars and hoping against hope that the constellations are on their side.

Chapter Text

Daichi doesn’t last ten minutes after he comes into the shop without getting one knowing look from Ennoshita the day after his date with Suga, the other man leaning against the doorway of his office. 

“Can I help you with anything?” he says dryly, peering at the man from behind his laptop, secretly grateful for the distraction from the numbers on his screen. He hears Hinata’s voice in the distance, and absently wonders what Suga’s up to right now in Sweet Florals.

Ennoshita smiles at him, and it’s enough to put him on guard.

“You haven’t stopped humming since you came in earlier,” his friend points out nonchalantly, before going in for the kill. “I take it the date with Suga-san went well last night?”

Daichi doesn’t get to reply before a huge thump! grabs their attention, accompanied by an audible gasp, and Daichi leans to the side as Ennoshita turns around to see Hinata sprawled on the floor a couple of feet away, a wide-eyed expression on his face.

“Oh, shit,” Daichi hears Ennoshita faintly, but the suddenly-growing thoughts of anxiety (and a bit of murder, if he’s honest) immediately fall apart when Hinata turns to look at him, his grin wide and happy as he points aggressively at Daichi.

“No wonder Suga-san was extra shiny this morning!” he exclaims, throwing out his hands and shaking them wildly, presumably in an attempt to demonstrate how much the florist seemed to have been shining.

Ennoshita recovers first. “... Shiny?”

Hinata nods, orange hair bouncing along. Daichi’s hard-pressed to feel embarrassed by Hinata overhearing their conversation when the man somehow finds the face muscles to smile even wider, voice going high-pitched as he replies, hands still stretched out in front of him, “Yeah! Like, all fwah and glowy!” 

“...Fwah?” Ennoshita whispers, one eyebrow raised. And then he shakes his head, and stretches a hand out to the younger man to help him up. “Much as you look at home down there on the floor, it’s probably best to free up this already narrow hallway, Hinata,” he says with a smile.

“Oh, right!” Hinata straightens up and takes Ennoshita’s hand to stand up and brushes himself down, but then he looks at Daichi and all the excitement in his demeanour immediately vanishes as he freezes, paling. “Oh, I—I really didn’t mean to overhear your conversation with Ennoshita-san by the way, Daichi-san! It’s just, I was gonna go to the restroom, but then I heard Suga-san’s name, and I just got all excited and kinda tripped over my feet, and—”

“Hinata, it’s fine,” Daichi interrupts, mildly afraid the other man was about to talk himself into passing out from the tirade of words spilling out of his mouth. “Don’t worry about it.”

He wonders how easy Hinata finds it to smile, but he’s not complaining when he beams at Daichi, relief evident as he releases a breath.

Kageyama appearing from behind Hinata instantly erases that, though. “Oi, dumbass.”

“Gah!” Hinata jumps, nearly knocking into Ennoshita when he whirls around to face Kageyama. “I told you to stop doing that!”

Instead of replying, Kageyama dips his head in a bow towards Ennoshita and Daichi, mumbles, “Sorry about him,” and drags Hinata by the back of his collar, ignoring his yelps of “Kageyama, wait! You’re gonna ruin my shirt!” as he flails around, and successfully untangles himself from Kageyama’s hold. “Wait, you’re still supposed to show me your new piece! Kageyamaaa!” His voice fades into the distance as he stretches out Kageyama’s name, and Daichi can barely hear the resounding reply of, “Dumbass, told you I would, didn’t I?”

Ennoshita watches them, before he turns to look at Daichi. “Do you think it’ll take them as long as you and Suga-san did to ask each other out?”

“... And you’ve reached your quota of tormenting me for the rest of this week.” Ennoshita’s grin doesn’t dim, however, and Daichi sighs in defeat. “To answer your earlier question, yeah, or, well, it did in the beginning and the end. Something happened in the middle.”

“Did you tell him about your Pinterest page on dogs?”

“I—look, Pinterest is a good place to find resources and inspiration for art, and that’s not even the issue here. Some asshole commented on my tattoo,” Daichi explains, shaking his head at the frown that suddenly appears on Ennoshita’s expression, “But he, um, Suga pretty much told the guy to fuck off, without actually saying it to him, so that was… Something. But we were okay afterwards. Kind of forgot about it, actually.”

Ennoshita’s brows are still furrowed, but he looks a little less upset at least, exhaling audibly. “Yeah, I can’t imagine that would have been a nice experience for either of you. I know we’re both pretty used to it, but for Suga-san that must have been frustrating.”

Daichi nods slowly, thinking back to the night before in the restaurant, at how fearsome Suga had looked then, almost like his very own knight in armour. “Yeah. He apologised for getting angry too,” he muses.

At that, Ennoshita laughs, the tension in his shoulders slipping away. “Like I said before, sunshine and steel. You gonna head over to his shop for a visit later?”

Daichi tilts his head, and from his office, he can barely see past the counter where Yamaguchi’s doodling on what is probably one of their past invoices, but he knows there’s a certain silver-haired man with a daisy behind his ear and a smile that could break his heart right across the street, and says, quiet enough for Ennoshita’s grin to widen. “Yeah, think I will.”

 

***

 

When Daichi enters Sweet Florals, Suga’s behind the counter, talking with a customer. He uses the time it takes for Suga to explain the arrangement and handle the transaction to take his fill of the other man; the weather’s particularly hot today, and Suga’s usual sweaters are replaced with a simple white t-shirt that clings slightly to his skin, green apron tied around his waist and it makes for a really, well, delightful sight, honestly.

The customer leaves, and then it’s just him and Suga, with presumably Hinata and Asahi somewhere in the vicinity as well.

It’s ridiculous how happy he feels, seeing Suga beaming at him, eyes scrunched up and maybe Hinata is right, perhaps Suga really is glowing, because Daichi walks towards him like there’s some sort of light drawing him towards the other man, before coming to a stop in front of the counter.

“Hi.” It comes out breathless and eager, and Daichi would be embarrassed by it, except Suga doesn’t stop smiling at him.

“Hello,” he answers, and then he tilts his head, one eyebrow raised. “So I heard from Hinata we went on a date last night?”

Daichi almost apologizes for the slip up, but Suga’s smile is probably better categorised as a smirk, eyes twinkling with obvious mischief.

“He accidentally overheard me talking with Ennoshita,” Daichi admits, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. “Do you, uh, do you mind though?” He asks hesitantly.

In response, Suga leans over the counter and in one blink, presses a kiss against Daichi’s cheek before drawing back, smiling sweetly. “Nah. It would have come up sooner or later, anyway.”

Daichi blinks at him, and snorts, refraining from putting a hand on his cheek, just to see how warm his face has gotten. “Yeah, especially if you keep that up.”

“Daichi, if you didn’t like my kisses you really should have said so,” and there’s enough of a hint of sincerity in Suga’s teasing tone that Daichi immediately makes his way around the counter separating both of them, and lifts up the barrier sign that says “Employees Only”, disregarding Suga’s confused chuckles.

“There’s a sign for a reason, Daichi—wait, Dai—that, hah, mmf—”

He swallows up the rest of Suga’s words and laughter as he steps forward, wrapping an arm around Suga’s waist, and it’s barely been 16 hours since he’d last kissed that mouth, but there’s no longer any lingering trace of hesitance either of them might have had the night before.

Instead, Suga instantly melts into him, both of his hands coming up to cup Daichi’s face firmly and he kisses almost a bit too desperately, like he’s afraid Daichi’s going to let go and it makes him tighten his grip around Suga, tentatively licking into his mouth and getting a muffled groan in return.

He can barely think past figuring out how to draw more of the soft noises that have started slipping out of Suga’s throat, and he absolutely forgets where they are, too intent on pressing Suga against the counter, until a harsh clatter startles them and they break apart, both of them panting a little as they turn to face the source of the noise.

It’s Asahi, completely red-cheeked and refusing to meet their eyes, as well as what looks like a broken broomstick in his hands.

“Sorry, I–I didn’t mean to stop you, I mean, uh…” He’s steadily growing nervous, judging from the way he’s sort of waving the two halves of the broomstick around, still looking in every other direction but theirs. Daichi turns to look at Suga, because he’s not too sure how to deal with Asahi’s apparent oncoming anxiety attack.

But Suga only stays quiet, his lips pressed in a line, as Asahi continues to ramble.

“... And I won’t tell anyone, of course—well, no one except Noya, but that, uh, that means everyone’ll probably find out, and—” He finally glances at them, but stops in his tracks as he stares at Suga, before his nervous expression breaks and he fixes Suga with a betrayed frown.

“Wait, I can see you trying to not laugh at me Suga, what the hell,” he sighs defeatedly, and the sight of a tall, bearded man looking like a kicked puppy must be enough to shatter Suga’s exposure, because he finally laughs, loud and exuberant, as he throws his head back in glee. He slams a hand down against Daichi’s back as well in laughter, but the painful impact only serves to remind him that he’s still got his arm around Suga’s waist.

He doesn’t make a move to let go, not when Suga huddles in closer as he calms down, little giggles still escaping him.

“Sorry, Asahi, I couldn’t resist. It’s fine, really. You can tell Noya, or anyone else, I suppose.”

Asahi looks over at Daichi, who shrugs at him, unable to hold back his own resigned smile. “My crew already knows, along with Hinata.”

“Wait, really?”

He can feel Suga quietly giggling as he sighs, slightly embarrassed by how the whole thing had come out. “I was, uh, talking to Ennoshita, and he accidentally overheard us,” he explains.

Asahi nods, and finally looks relaxed, lowering his arms. Daichi can’t help but wonder what the hell he’d done to break the broom, but he’s not sure he wants to find out, and then his thoughts scatter at the other man’s kind smile. “Well, congratulations, I suppose?” And then his grin grows wider, and he finds out exactly how the man manages to keep up with Suga’s teasing as he adds, “It’s a nice change from just hearing Suga-san talk about you, and your arms in particular, Daichi-san.”

Beside him, Suga stiffens, and Daichi laughs as he grumbles, obviously chagrined. “Oh my God, Asahi.”

The man in question only smiles, and then throws out a, “I’ll leave you two to it, I suppose,” before he disappears into the back, leaving Suga pouting at the other man’s back. Daichi wouldn’t be surprised if he’s already plotting some form of revenge against his friend, and decides to spare Asahi, so he reaches up and tugs Suga’s ear gently, drawing his attention.

He nearly loses his focus though, when Suga turns to look at him, bright-eyed and eyebrows raised, and it takes him a moment longer than it should to say, “We should probably stop making out right in front of the register, as much as I’d like to hear what you have to say about my arms.”

Suga blinks, and breaks into laughter again, this time soft puffs against his cheek as he leans in and… Literally nuzzles Daichi’s neck, as if he was completely intent on breaking his brain right then and there. “You’re probably right,” he sighs heavily, as if it’s the worst thing in the world, and Daichi is inclined to agree with him. But he doesn’t stop Suga from stepping back, taking all of his warmth and affection away and leaving him feeling strangely bereft and stranded, even though Suga’s less than two feet away.

“Maybe I’ll see you later?” Suga says, smiling at him and it’s enough to pull him back in, steady his feet.

Daichi nods, swallowing the sudden rush of emotions threatening to take over him. Fuck, he’s so, so gone at this point, it’s not even funny anymore. “Yeah, yeah, I’d like that,” he replies, and doesn’t stop himself from reaching forward and placing a kiss at the edge of Suga’s lips. “Have a good rest of the day at work,” he whispers, taking one last, long look of Suga’s grin and leaves before he changes his mind about spending the rest of day kissing the other man senseless.

When he enters the parlour, he’s greeted with Yamaguchi’s knowing smirk.

Oh, shit. The counter is a vantage point of all things Sweet Florals, and Daichi has no doubt his employee just caught him making out with Suga like a goddamn teenager.

Thankfully, Yamaguchi doesn’t bring it up and only reminds him of Terushima’s appointment later that evening. “Oh, he says he’s bringing his boyfriends later, by the way,” he adds and Daichi hums in acknowledgement. He’s admittedly curious, but doesn’t get too much time to think about it when there’s paperwork to be done, designs to be sketched and employees to make sure they don’t murder each other (or get murdered by him).

At 6.55pm that evening, five minutes before Terushima’s appointment, the door to the Crow’s Nest swings open and the first thing Daichi hears from his office is, “Ku—Kuroo-san?!”

Daichi nearly drops his tattoo needle while checking his equipment for the appointment, wondering if his ears had deceived him, but when he walks out into the main area, the first thing he sees is a familiar head of bed hair, and then—

“Babe, you never said it was Sawamura’s shop!”

Daichi blinks, as he takes in the sight of Terushima grinning up at Kuroo, lip piercings glinting under the lights, and Bokuto talking excitedly to Yamaguchi, white-grey hair spiked up as always, and internally smacks himself for not putting the pieces together.

In his defence, he hadn’t thought to think Terushima’s partners were tattoo artists as well, or he’d have probably asked more about them.

“Kuroo—” he starts, but he’s interrupted by Bokuto whirling around to face him, anticipation clear on his features.

“Daichi! You think you could squeeze me in, too? Hey, hey, nice place, by the way! I can’t believe we haven’t even been here since you and Ennoshita opened!”

Daichi amends his previous observation of Bokuto talking to Yamaguchi, to Bokuto probably talking at Yamaguchi.

He gets slightly distracted by Terushima linking fingers with Kuroo as he briefly recalls his schedule along with those of his employees, the two of them oblivious to the slight chaos around them brought about by their own partner, who’s abandoned Daichi to greet Tsukishima now. He figures he should probably just face this currently surreal situation head on at this point, especially with the way Tsukishima has started frowning at Bokuto like he’s a particularly odd-looking insect.

“Uh, right. Welcome to the Crow’s Nest, guys. I’ve got Terushima scheduled now, but Bokuto, if you’re alright with Kageyama, he’s free for the rest of the evening, or I guess you could wait—”

“I’m cool with Kageyama!” Bokuto cuts him off with a beam, and narrowly avoids smacking his arm against the counter as he waves his hands around. “His portfolio was so sick, and I haven’t actually had anything like his style done on me!”

Daichi smiles back at him, and looks over at Yamaguchi. “Could you get Bokuto sorted out and let Kageyama know, Yamaguchi? Kageyama will probably need a few minutes to do some prep as well.”

“Got it, captain,” Yamaguchi nods, and Daichi leaves him to talk with Bokuto, getting Tsukishima to call Kageyama out. When he turns back to Terushima and Kuroo, he catches them watching Bokuto with unmistakable fondness, and he can feel his smile soften, as he waits for them to pull their gazes away from Bokuto.

“Everything’s set up, Teru, so we can look over the design first if you want,” he says, and wonders if Kuroo would be privy to the sketch Daichi had made for Terushima, but Terushima only flashes a grin at him before turning to kiss Kuroo’s cheek with a loud smack, and bounds over to Daichi expectantly.

At this point, Terushima’s almost as familiar with the space as his employees, along with Tanaka and Nishinoya, so he merely follows Daichi into his work station, where Ennoshita’s finishing up on a client, and takes a seat on the bed. Daichi doesn’t even get the chance to tell Terushima to take off his shirt, the blonde already whipping it off as he beams at Daichi, pointing at the patch of his skin on his chest, right underneath his left collarbone. “Right here,” he says eagerly.

Daichi chuckles—it really is like having an overexcited beagle underfoot, with Terushima around. “Okay,” he replies simply, taking note of the whirring from Ennoshita’s end of the room fading away. “Let me just get the stencil on you, and if you’re cool with it we can get started.”

The process is simple enough, as Daichi grabs the printed design from the desk beside the bed, and after placing it on Terushima’s skin and getting his grin of approval after a look in the mirror, he lets the blonde settle back on the bed while he gets his equipment ready.

When he turns back, Terushima has his arms pillowed under his head, and it’s not difficult to miss the patchwork of ink all over the man’s lithe body, half of which is Daichi’s own work—he vaguely recalls the challenging ram tattoo he’d inked on Terushima’s ribs a few months back, or the constellation lines criss crossing around his hip.

Daichi catches his eye just as he shifts on the bed, presumably finding a more comfortable spot, and Terushima watches him for a moment before he says, “You were wondering why I didn’t show Tets—Kuroo the design, earlier.”

He shrugs. “Kind of. But you mentioned you wanted it to be a surprise, right?”

From the corner of his eye, he sees Terushima smiling as he checks his equipment for the last time. “Yeah, I… I didn’t know you guys knew each other, though—but I guess it makes sense.” He vaguely hears Ennoshita talking to his client, before they leave the room.

“What did they say when you told them about getting this tattoo?” He asks absently, reaching for a pack of wet wipes.

“Bo was all for it,” Terushima smiles slyly, and then shifts a little at Daichi’s prompting, gently pushing him closer to the edge of the bed, before wiping down Terushima’s chest, where the stencilled art stands in stark contrast on his olive-toned skin. “Kuroo, was, uh, apprehensive. He said something about not wanting to make me feel like I’m tying myself down or some shit—” Daichi snorts at that, because he remembers the few arguments Bokuto and Kuroo would have when he was living with them “—but I told him it wasn’t like that for me, so he gave me his okay in the end.”

He hums in reply, and then turns to Terushima, tattoo needle in a steady hand. “Right. You ready?”

And Terushima smirks at him, lip piercings glinting as always.

“Bring it on, Daichi-san.”

As expected, he hardly flinches under Daichi’s work throughout the two-hour session—he pretty much spends most of it watching YouTube prank videos on his phone, in between Snapchatting Daichi’s progress on his body, the photos merely consisting of the tattoo artist’s hands and half of his head, barely capturing Daichi’s ongoing work.

At the end of it, after Daichi finishes wiping away the last of the ink and what little traces of blood there had been, he moves back and surveys his work with a proud smile. “All set. Wanna take a look?”

“Yeah!” Terushima exclaims in anticipation, and gets up to head over towards the mirror. The big smile he shoots Daichi is praise enough, but he doesn’t stop there.

“It looks fucking awesome—but I didn’t expect anything less from you, Daichi-san. Damn, I can’t wait to show the two of them—” Daichi lets him ramble as he walks up to Terushima, taking out his phone to snap a couple of shots of it for their social media before wrapping it up with some cling film.

He manages to get the younger man to bring his shirt along with him as he exits the room (it’s a thing; the man constantly forgets to bring his shirt with him—once it was his pants and Daichi had to hold back from yelling at him to come back before flashing the rest of the shop). He follows behind, and the first thing he hears is Kuroo’s voice.

“Shit, I forgot how good Sawamura is with flowers. You look gorgeous, Teru.”

Daichi rolls his eyes at that.

“You literally have a carnation tattoo on your arm that I did two years ago,” he deadpans.

Kuroo shrugs, his lazy smile bringing back too many memories of Daichi trying to hold himself back from strangling him. “I don’t make it a habit of regularly looking at the underside of my arm.” But his smile turns warm and soft when his gaze shifts towards Terushima, who’s listening to the aftercare instructions from Yamaguchi, despite probably having it drilled into his head by this point.

“Thanks.”

Daichi turns to look at Kuroo, who’s still watching Terushima. “For what?”

“I know you talked him out of tattooing our names,” Kuroo says, and his lips are set in a tight line, spider bites looking almost menacing. “You know how most of us feel about that kind of thing, anyway.”

He does, and he feels the same, honestly. He’s a bit more flexible if they were the names of the deceased, perhaps, but even that gives him a slight uncomfortable feeling of etching someone’s name on another person’s body. Instead of voicing all of that, though, he only says, “You should probably thank Suga for that, he came up with the inspiration for Terushima’s design.”

“Oh really?” He says delightedly, all traces of seriousness gone and Daichi doesn’t have time to even think of worrying about the way Kuroo’s eyes brighten before he adds, “He never mentioned that when I visited his store earlier.”

“Wait, what?”

As if the mere mention of his name had summoned him, the door opens and Suga walks in, looking very much unsurprised to see both Kuroo and Terushima together at the Crow’s Nest.

Daichi doesn’t even get the chance to greet him—Terushima waves at Suga from at the counter and calls out, “Yo, Suga-san! Thanks again for the idea!” And then has the audacity to wink as he salutes the florist, one hand on his still very much shirtless waist.

“Oh, you’re the one Teru said he flirted with, that first time he was going to do his tattoo,” Kuroo says in astonishment, eyebrows raised, before the look disappears, a leering smile taking place on his lips. “Can’t blame him, though.”

“Oi, Kuroo—” Daichi starts, frowning, but then he gets distracted by Suga walking towards him, past a confused Kuroo and then Daichi thinks he’ll stop when he gets in front of him, but the florist throws him a quick wink, one that makes his stupid, traitorous heart flutter, before placing his hand on Daichi’s cheek, and kisses him right in front of everyone.

“Holy shit,” he vaguely hears Yamaguchi and Terushima say simultaneously.

It’s barely more than a quick peck, but it still leaves Daichi dazed as Suga pulls back, fair skin pinking slightly as he turns to smile at Terushima. “Good to see you too, Terushima-san.” And then he leaves Daichi to walk towards the reception counter to greet Yamaguchi, like he hadn’t just stunned every single person in their immediate vicinity five seconds ago.

When he turns and catches Kuroo’s eye, the other man’s eyebrows are so far up his forehead, Daichi has to wonder if they’ll catch flight, but then the silence is shattered by the presence of a shirtless Bokuto. He cheerfully bounds up to Suga to give him a tight hug, as Kageyama trails behind him agitatedly with Bokuto’s shirt in hand, saying, “Bokuto-san, your—your tattoo, please—”

“Suga-san! Hey hey hey! I saw that kiss! When were you two gonna tell us?!”

Suga only laughs in reply, his hands only reaching up to pat Bokuto’s side gently, as his arms are trapped in a deadlock embrace by the enthusiastic man.

“Think you’re missing a shirt, babe,” Kuroo says at last, breaking out of his daze. Bokuto grins at him from around Suga, before he finally lets go of him and steps back.

Daichi doesn’t try to stop the pride that wells up in him when he spots Kageyama’s handiwork on Bokuto’s left hip, right above the place where his V-line ends—and goddamn, when the hell does he even have time to work out and get this fucking ripped—a gorgeous piece of linework, detailing three roses, with black and faint shadowing to compliment the rest of Bokuto’s dark ink.

Terushima’s wolf-whistle pierces the air, and that gets him a loud, exuberant kiss from Bokuto. 

In the midst of the chaos with Kuroo being dragged by his boyfriends towards them (“We see you pouting, Tetsu!” “I was not , someone clearly needs glasses—”) Daichi finds his way towards Kageyama, who watches the scene in front of him with morbid fascination.

“Nice work, Kageyama,” he tells his apprentice, and gets a small, sincere smile in return.

The trio’s shenanigans get broken up by Yamaguchi’s “Bo—Bokuto-san, if I could read the aftercare instructions, please,” and Daichi gets to see Bokuto finally still, one arm around Terushima’s waist and the other looped over Kuroo’s shoulder, all of them smiling widely and very clearly, if not in love in the case of Terushima (though that’s debatable, the way he looks at them with doe eyes and a helpless smile), then at least in very intense like with one another.

Bokuto tilts his head to listen to Yamaguchi, even if he can recite the information in his sleep at this point (he has to, or else Kuroo and Akaashi would have banned him from Nekoma), and Terushima slips away from him, catching Daichi’s attention as he walks towards him.

“Thanks again for the tattoo, Daichi-san. And uh, for making me think about it and telling those two idiots behind me,” he says playfully, but his grin is honest and bashful, and he spies Kuroo and Bokuto watching their third with unabashed fondness, the sight making me smile. He knows they’re good people, and that Terushima’s in good hands.

“You’re a kouhai ,” Daichi shrugs. “I’m kind of obligated to make sure your ass doesn’t do too much stupid shit.”

From the back of the shop, Ennoshita yells, “Holy shit, Daichi never brings up the kouhai-senpai card, cherish this once in a lifetime opportunity, Yuuji!”

Kuroo outright cackles at that, especially when Terushima inexplicably blushes, but thankfully, Suga interrupts them and asks, “Are you planning to stay in town for the night, Kuroo-san, Bokuto-san?”

Bokuto nods eagerly. “Yeah! Yuuji mentioned there was a hanabi tomorrow, so we were thinking of sticking around until then,” he says, bouncing on the balls of his feet.

Daichi looks at him, confused. “Doesn’t Tokyo have bigger fireworks festivals?”

“They’re always way too crowded,” Kuroo grimaces, his lips curling. “Usually we’d just end up watching from the balcony of our apartment, which would be fine, except the door is kind of stuck for the time being and Akaashi’s been too busy to help us unscrew and fix the damn thing.” Daichi remembers the time they’d tried to ‘fix’ the microwave, and shudders.

Terushima raises an eyebrow. “Babe, I literally worked part-time as a handyman in college.”

“Yeah, but you’re here and not in Tokyo—” Kuroo pauses for a second, and then continues a little softer, “But we’re here now,” and Daichi doesn’t even have to look at Terushima to know how wide the man’s smiling, big and content.

Bokuto pipes up from beside Kuroo, who’s only got eyes for Terushima for the time being. “We’ll see you guys there too, right?”

“Maybe,” Suga answers, before Daichi opens his mouth, and then he finds himself hesitantly agreeing to lunch with them the next day (“We should totally catch up!” “Bo, we saw each other last week.”) before Kuroo, who’s finally snapped out of his lovestruck daze, distracts him with dinner options for the evening, Terushima laughing at both of them.

As they bicker about food, Daichi watches Suga slip around from the counter to stand beside him, and their bodies aren’t touching each other, but he’s so, so aware of the other man’s presence and right now, all he really wants is to bring him closer, until there’s no space between them and he can’t tell where the other one ends and begins—

“They’re pretty cute, aren’t they?” Suga’s chuckle breaks through Daichi’s thoughts, and he blinks himself back into reality, before snorting at Suga’s words.

“Never tell them that, they’d just be permanently insufferable,” but he has to agree with Suga—he’d never thought these two parts of his past could merge together in this way, but he truly is happy for all three of them.

Thinking of them reminds him of the festival tomorrow; and it’s not like the city they live in is that much smaller than Tokyo, but he’d been ambivalent about going to the hanabi , but mostly because he’d been preoccupied with the convention and work, until Bokuto had brought it up earlier.

But now the thoughts of walking around the numerous food stalls, the smells of grilled food and hot desserts and watching fireworks won’t leave his mind—

Especially the thoughts of Suga under bright lights and his pretty face lit up by the night sky’s colours.

He gets dragged back into the real world by the sounds of Terushima, Bokuto and Kuroo preparing to leave, and it’s a whirlwind of rib-crushing hugs by Bokuto, along with a couple of too-hard claps on his back and shoulder by Kuroo and Terushima’s cheeky grin before the noise in the parlour dies down, with only Yamaguchi and Tsukishima’s soft conversation trailing in the air.

And then, “Daichi?”

Suga’s voice is soft, and when Daichi turns to look at him he’s smiling, as always.

“What’s an appropriate amount of time to wait before you ask someone on a second date?”

At that, Daichi watches him closely, and sees the playful smile waver just a little, fingers fidgeting at his side.

“Usually I’d say a couple of days, but I could be persuaded to make an exception,” he replies innocently. “Depends who’s asking, though.”

Suga’s grin becomes something steadier, and Daichi knows he’s staring as Suga steps into his space, but between how much he wants to just drag Suga closer and the way he’s playing with the hem of Daichi’s shirt, there’s nothing that could possibly rip his gaze away at this point.

“What if it’s me asking?” Suga says, quiet and certain now.

“Then it’s time to stop waiting.”

Suga’s smile is absolutely blinding from this close. “Sawamura Daichi,” he begins, loud and delighted, “Will you accompany me to the city’s hanabi tomorrow?”

Daichi’s helpless to do anything but nod, and he gets a sweet kiss that tastes like Suga’s grin and the sound of Tsukishima fake retching in the background for his struggles.

Chapter Text

Daichi finds out from Suga the next morning that Hinata and Kageyama had actually already planned to go to the festival earlier that week, and when Kageyama mentioned to Hinata about Suga asking Daichi, there was really no stopping him from excitedly reeling in Asahi and by extension, Nishinoya.

And somewhere along the way Daichi gets a text from Ennoshita that says, “Can I get ready at your place later, my roommate’s gonna take the shit out of me when he sees me in my yukata,” to which Daichi had replied, “I didn’t know everyone from this entire block was going?”

And then he adds, “Yeah, that’s fine,” because he knows just how much Yahaba really would take the shit out of Ennoshita, and well, he’s still Daichi (that last part sounded too much like a combination of Kuroo and Ennoshita, and he shudders at that thought).

Speaking of Kuroo, Daichi does end up meeting him and Bokuto for lunch; Terushima doesn’t join, caught up with his job at the university lab, even on a Sunday, but according to Kuroo, he’d asked them to say, “Tell my senpai I said hi,” and yeah, Daichi understands why the younger man had blushed yesterday.

And despite having only seen one another a week ago, they fall into conversation like the years had stretched too far between them and everything looks rose-tinted in their eyes, even the times Daichi had to sleep over at Akaashi’s when Kuroo and Bokuto were too loud, or the rare early mornings he’d had to track either of them down when things weren’t too rosy between them. But he can’t deny there’s a calm steadiness in their interactions with each other that hadn’t been there two years ago, one he’d noticed blossoming between them and Terushima as well.

“Terushima actually mentioned meeting you two during a high school reunion in Tokyo, but he didn’t say it was you guys, of course,” Daichi says during a lull, and both Bokuto and Kuroo give him shit-eating grins.

“He flirted with Bokuto,” Kuroo admits, snickering a little, and adds, “But he backed off when Bo told him he was with me.”

Bokuto nods, taking a gulp of his iced tea and nearly spilling it over himself, before setting it down on the table. “And when Kuroo came over, he’d brought Teru a drink as well, and then we both flirted with him and brought him home with us! He’s so fucking cute, Daichi, and those piercings, God—”

“I really don’t need to hear anymore about you two or Terushima,” Daichi grimaces, as Kuroo full-out cackles and slaps his thigh, Bokuto waggling his eyebrows ridiculously beside his boyfriend.

The rest of lunch was, thankfully, void of insinuations of what his old friends and his kouhai would get up to, and then they bid their goodbyes, Bokuto yelling, “We’ll see you and Suga later!” as Kuroo loops an arm around the other man’s broad shoulders, bodily dragging him along.

That evening, as Ennoshita gets ready in the bathroom, Daichi takes a look at his wardrobe, absently wonders if it’s not too much to just… Don on something a little different—he hasn’t worn one since university, maybe, but he’s not even sure if it’ll still fit at this point.

He hears a door opening, and a few moments later Ennoshita appears in the doorway of his bedroom, already fiddling with the belt of his plain, light grey yukata . “Oh, you’re not dressed yet?”

Daichi hums, scrutinising his tentative choice of wear for the evening. “I haven’t worn it since… Was it some sort of cultural night, my third year of university, your second? Don’t know if it’ll still fit at this point.”

“Aww, too many pork buns and beers, cap?”

“You know, it’s been a while since you’ve joined me on a run—”

“—I’m sure it’ll look absolutely fine, now if you’ll excuse me, I think this belt has something against me.”

“Maybe it’s the pork buns, Ennoshita.”

He hears a sigh escape the other man and grins, before taking out his clothes; if it really doesn’t fit him he could always just go in casual wear.

Ten minutes later, Daichi examines his reflection in the mirror with a critical eye.

The jinbei still fits, the pants just a little snug around the waist (and Daichi resolves to drag Ennoshita to one of his morning runs soon, he really has been slacking off on them), but the top accentuates his chest and arms as well as it used to, and he can’t stop looking at the way his black and red ink stands in stark contrast against the soft grey and white of the jinbei .

Ennoshita emerges from his battle with the yukata belt, and the smile on his face is serene as he takes in Daichi’s outfit. “Nice,” he compliments simply. “Are you meeting Suga-san at the festival?”

Daichi nods, and the smile on Ennoshita’s face grows slightly wider. “If you’re done fussing with the jinbei , let’s go then. I heard the kids are meeting up at there too.”

“Me fussing? Who was the one that couldn’t put his belt on properly?” Daichi says indignantly, and then, “Kids? What kids?”

“Kageyama, Tsukishima, Yamaguchi and Hinata,” Ennoshita replies as he counts them off on his fingers, as if it was an obvious fact, which in retrospect, wasn’t too far-off the mark, Daichi thinks, remembering the way four of them would behave around one another. He and Ennoshita leave the apartment soon after, and the bus they take is filled with bright smiles and excited chatter, full of people obviously heading to the hanabi as well.

The festival’s being held at the big park downtown, and as they disembark from the bus at the nearest stop to the park, it feels as if half of the town is out tonight, which doesn’t surprise Daichi, but it does make it difficult for him to move as fast as he wants to, impatience bottled up inside of him as he scans the crowds.

They see Kageyama and Tsukishima up ahead at the entrance of the park, the former in a navy blue jinbei and the latter in a black one, striking a pretty formidable and suave sight, until Daichi gets close enough and he hears them bickering about whales and dinosaurs, and decides he’s really better off not knowing.

Yamaguchi appears a moment later, holding a can of melon soda, dressed in a dark green yukata , and Daichi greets his crew as Ennoshita points out how much taller Kageyama and Tsukishima look in their jinbei .

“But how are clothes supposed to add to your height?” Kageyama asks with a frown, and looks down at his outfit.

Before Daichi can stop Tsukishima from giving a snarky answer, they’re interrupted by a wolf-whistle and a loud, “Oi crows, looking good!”

It’s Tanaka, dressed in a t-shirt and shorts along with Nishinoya, who waves excitedly at them while Asahi smiles widely beside him as they head towards the Crow’s Nest crew, but Daichi’s attention is immediately arrested by the silver-haired man walking behind them, talking to a particularly bouncy, wide-eyed Hinata.

“You guys really pulled out all the stops, eh?” Nishinoya grins enthusiastically as soon as he’s right in front of them, flashing a thumbs up with one hand and smacking Tsukishima’s arm with the other.

“Thanks,” Daichi replies, chuckling as Tsukishima sidesteps Hinata’s attempt at a tackling hug, and gets a pat from Yamaguchi for his efforts instead.

As he watches the rest of them greet each other, someone sidles beside him and when he turns his head, he’s met with the sight of Suga in his pale blue yukata and he’s not sure if it’s accidental, but the outfit shows off the other man’s delicate collarbones, the colour ravishing against his fair skin.

And when he locks his warm copper eyes on Daichi’s, there’s no mistaking the way his gaze roves over Daichi’s figure, affection and something a little darker clear on his expression.

“Hi,” he beams, and Daichi must be so far gone for him, to have his breath catch in his throat like this; and then he does all he can to swallow an ungodly sound at the sight of a white daisy nestled in Suga’s hair.

Instead, he reaches out and trails a finger along the collar of Suga’s yukata, barely grazing a collarbone, and murmurs, “Hey. You look amazing,” just to see that pretty flush across the other man’s cheeks.

Before Suga can say anything, they’re interrupted by Hinata’s and Nishinoya’s yells, and Daichi turns just in time to see them jetting off for the park, two small blurs in the distance as Kageyama sputters before hurriedly running after them, while Asahi follows at a resigned pace.

It prompts the others to make a move as well; Yamaguchi holds onto Tsukishima’s elbow as he drags his boyfriend forward, freckles standing out against his skin under the park and festival lights, and Ennoshita responds to Tanaka’s exuberance beside him with his trademark deadpan manner, a small smile on his lips visible even at a distance.

“You pull this off really well,” Daichi turns around at the tugging on his sleeve, and sees Suga’s appraising look, before the man smiles at him, slowly and deadly in all of his devastating charm.

“Thanks,” Daichi says, and before he can embarrass himself any further, adds, “Shall we? If we’re lucky we might not even run into our staff, or the terrorising threesome from Tokyo for the rest of the night.”

Suga laughs hard at that, throwing his head back as he slaps Daichi’s arm, giggling at his ensuing wince of pain with a cheeky, “Sorry, sorry, I forget my own strength sometimes.”

Daichi somehow holds back from making a joke about his own strength, and lets Suga steer him into the park, hand on his elbow, and it’s like entering into a bubble filled with too many conversations and chatter all at once, as the sights and scents of grilled food and sweet drinks assault their senses. He finds himself walking aimlessly beside Suga, relishing in the way the other man would lean in to talk to him, his clear voice cutting through the noise of the crowd, and they sample various drinks and food along the way, greeting familiar faces from around their neighbourhood.

He finds himself gradually relaxing when barely anyone pays attention to his inked arm, or the peek of his chest tattoo, loosely linked to his tattoo sleeve. They end up running into their staff and friends at one point or another, exchanging fleeting hellos and a “Did you try this one yet?” and “Dumbass Hinata, I told you that was too much!” and Daichi only sighs as Hinata yells back indignantly, “You’re just jealous you couldn’t fit as much, Kageyama!”

He watches as Suga laughs at his younger staff member, Hinata’s face nearly as red as his hair as he glares at Kageyama who’s frowning back, equally aggressive, and Daichi has half a mind to separate them both until a smirk crosses Kageyama’s face, one that makes Hinata’s glare lessen, until there’s a pout forming on his lips. And then, “You puked, so it doesn’t count. You still owe me ice-cream, asshole.”

“Wha— Kageyama !”

Daichi decides enough is enough, and promptly scurries away from the vicinity, a giggling Suga in tow.

They come upon the trio of Terushima, Kuroo and Bokuto as well, with Terushima dressed in a bright yellow yukata, surprisingly pulling it off, the other two in sleeveless tops and shorts. They regal Daichi and Suga with tales of “This amazing karaage place, you have to try it, it’s so fucking addictive,” as Kuroo feeds his two boyfriends with pinches of bright blue and pink cotton candy.

Somehow they disentangle themselves from that particular group, and Suga glances at him and says, “Wanna see if they’re right?”

Daichi finds he’s steadily losing grasp on his ability to even say no to Suga when he nods, smiling, and they find the line leading to the aforementioned karaage stall and the entire time he’s conscious of the way Suga’s yukata would shift around with every excited hand motion the other man makes. Teasing flashes of fair skin and the way Suga would roll the sleeves back just a little below his elbows, only to have them fall back down to his wrists and the cycle repeats, and he has to chase away thoughts of just how much Suga’s chest and arms are on display right now.

They finally get the food, and Suga takes a bite, humming in delight at the taste before he thrusts the cup holding the stick of karaage towards Daichi with a big grin, and the sight of Suga so happy over something so simple is enough to make his chest clench with too much fondness and affection.

He takes a bite as well, relishing in the flavour, but finds that it’s the way Suga’s cheeks are pink from the summer air and the heat of the festival and the way he looks at Daichi with eyes that are always, always twinkling and filled with mischief that makes him wonder if there was ever a better moment than this right now, with this man who’d moved across the street two months ago and made a home somewhere in his thoughts not too long after.

“When do the fireworks start, by the way?”

Daichi blinks, and takes a glance at his phone. “In… Seven minutes, actually.”

“Oh, the park’s probably pretty crowded by now,” Suga frowns, but Daichi only smiles wider, mentally retracing his memory of the park’s layout.

“I might know a place that’s probably pretty quiet, and we could still see the fireworks from up close,” he admits, and he’s not prepared for the way Suga’s eyes light up, or how he reaches out and takes Daichi’s hand boldly, squeezing his fingers.

“Lead on,” he says, quiet and eager, hand tight around Daichi’s.

 

***

 

Sometimes, Daichi ventures a little further during his runs, and this park has seen him mapping his route around the place on some Sunday evenings, back when restlessness and the questions of his own future kept him up. There’s a bench somewhere in the east side that he privately calls his, because no one’s ever around when he eventually crawls to a stop in front of it every time after a particularly gruelling session.

It’s here that Daichi brings Suga, away from most of the crowd, karaage finished after being shared between the two of them during the walk. The noises gradually taper off until all they are, are faint murmurs, the main part of the festival just visible from this side of the park.

Suga doesn’t let go of his hand until they take a seat on the bench, bodies huddled together, and then he feels Suga’s fingers tracing the lines of his palm, and down to his wrist where his tattoo ends, and Daichi turns to—to ask, maybe, or to say something cheesy, but the fireworks burst above them before he can and their attention is immediately arrested by the bright colours and the faraway whoops in the crowd.

The show goes on for a while, and when Daichi turns back to look at Suga again, the other man’s already watching him, his expression a mix of devastating adoration and unassuming tenderness, and it sends shivers down Daichi’s spine.

“Suga?” He whispers—he’s not even sure what he wants to say.

Suga doesn’t seem to have the same problem, though.

There’s a split second between the time Suga takes a breath, and the moment Daichi finds himself irrevocably unable to look away from this man right beside him.

He realises Suga’s hand is still on his when he registers the tremors, and then:

“I really, really like you, Daichi,” Suga exhales, voice and lips trembling just the slightest, a nervous giggle breaking through as his hand clamps tight around Daichi’s fingers.

“I don’t exactly know how you started occupying so much space in my thoughts; everywhere I turn I see something that reminds me of you, whether it’s the flowers in my shop or the shelves in my home, or when I’m doing a midnight snack run and I have to contend myself with second-rate cookies because you’ve absolutely ruined me for life, Daichi—”

It’s at this point that Daichi thinks he laughs; he can’t really tell through the grin that’s trying to take over his face.

“—and I, I’m relatively confident that this is going kinda well, judging from your smile but I just—do you feel the same, too?”

Daichi stops his failed attempt at holding back his smile, broad and enamoured and in awe of a man he’s known for a mere couple of months. And right now, Daichi wants to tell him that ‘like ’ is starting to become not enough of a word to encompass everything that’s been bubbling inside of him when it comes to this gorgeous, silver-haired man with the ever-present daisy and the warm, dark eyes that Daichi wishes he could wake up to every morning.

But for now, he reaches out and cradles Suga’s cheek gently with his other hand, chest hurting at the way Suga readily leans against his palm.

“I like you, too. I haven’t really thought much of anything else ever since you came into the shop and gave us a cactus on your first day of opening up your shop.” Daichi’s voice is steady, unlike his heart with the way it’s beating too hard, too fast.

“See, I thought there was no way you were this perfect, and I was absolutely right—imagine calling a Crassula a cactus ,” but Suga’s smile as he says those words derisively is blinding, and suddenly too close as he shifts forward, fingers on Daichi’s jaw, dark eyes roving over his face.

“I haven’t really forgiven you for kissing me and then leaving me all alone on my doorstep two days ago,” Suga tells him in a teasing whisper, and his fingers are splayed across the edge of Daichi’s jaw and cheek, one of them close enough for Daichi to feel at the side of his mouth.

He feels more than he hears the way Suga’s breathing stops for a moment when Daichi turns his head to press the faintest kiss against the tips of his fingers, before he turns his gaze to see Suga staring at him, bottom lip between his teeth.

“Let me make it up to you?”

Daichi’s beginning to find that kissing Suga is infinitely better than anything else he could dream of, right in this space when all he can feel is how soft Suga’s mouth is against his, one hand wrapped around the back of Daichi’s neck, the other pressed against his chest. Daichi takes the opportunity to run a hand through Suga’s soft hair, the other gripping his waist firmly, toying with the belt of his yukata . Their mouths move languidly against each other, with none of the urgency from yesterday morning or the hesitance of Friday night and God, if Daichi could get addicted to one thing, it would be this instance on repeat.

Suga’s mouth is hot and sweet from the sugary drinks they had earlier in the evening, and when Daichi flicks his tongue against Suga’s lip, he’s rewarded with a moan and Suga presses closer, arms wrapped around Daichi’s shoulders, little breathy noises escaping his throat as he opens up underneath Daichi, and a groan leaves him as Suga tilts his head and lets his tongue slide against Daichi’s. It’s a heady feeling, to be able to taste and feel this kind, gorgeous and tempting man in his arms and Daichi knows they should separate—they’re still in public and it wouldn’t do to be caught like this, especially when one of Suga’s hands find his thigh and squeezes tightly, just as Daichi moves to suck Suga’s bottom lip playfully.

He pulls back slowly, and feels Suga’s shiver as he drags his lips against the edge of Suga’s jaw, his breathing unsteady as he sucks tiny bites against the other man’s pale skin before he finds his way back to Suga’s mouth, leaving gentle, fleeting kisses. He’s not sure he’s successful in holding back his own trembling when he hears Suga whisper with a whine in his voice, “Daichi…”

Somehow he finds enough strength to shift and pull away, but it’s nearly crushed at the sight of Suga’s disheveled hair, kiss-swollen lips slick with spit and heavy-lidded eyes.

“You’re not done making it up to me, Daichi,” Suga says, his voice low and teasing, words punctuated by how out of breath he still is from their kisses, and there’s a giddiness in Daichi that swells as Suga continues to look at him with that hungry expression.

“We’re supposed to be looking at the fireworks,” he replies, laughing as Suga frowns at him, lips pursed in a pout.

“You’re joking if you thought I was going to be able to concentrate on some fireworks with you right in front of me, looking like this.”

It only makes Daichi laugh louder, his cheeks warm at Suga’s shameless admission, and then a text notification rings from Suga’s phone.

It’s Hinata, telling them that they’re about to leave and it’s only then that Daichi realises it’s quiet above them.

He takes another look at Suga who’s looking up at the sky, the last traces of smoke from the fireworks still lingering in the night sky, fair skin moonlit and the daisy stalk nearly dangling off the back of his ear.

“We don’t have to do anything, but—come home with me?”

Suga’s gaze is piercing in the wake of his clumsy words, but the hand on Daichi’s thigh finds his fingers and gently squeezes, his hold loose, like he’s giving Daichi one last chance to pull away.

“I’d really like that,” Suga replies hoarsely, his smile sweet and adoring.

The journey back to Daichi’s apartment passes by in a blur; he remembers getting caught in the crowd and having to shuffle along with what felt like hundreds of others trying to exit the park, waiting for two buses before they could get on one and having to press close against each other, Suga’s hand gripping the sleeve of his jinbei , nestled against his side.

And then they’re getting off at the stop near their shops and Daichi’s apartment, summer air warm on their skin and the stores down the blocks already shut and dark at this time of the evening. He can’t help but think of the last time he’d walked with Suga like this, the atmosphere heavy with frustration and misplaced guilt but, as he takes a glance at the man beside him, he finds none of that right now.

They don’t hold hands, but Suga keeps pace with him, follows him once they reach the building where the Crow’s Nest is at and Daichi tells him, “My place is just upstairs,” and gets a cheeky, “I could have been breaking into your place for cookies all this time? Damn it, Daichi.”

He doesn’t tell Suga that he’s welcome at Daichi’s at anytime, at this point.

Instead, he huffs a laugh, and leads him to the entrance at the back of the building and up the stairs, before coming to a stop in front of his door.

“I—I know this was a spur of the moment thing, so you don’t have to stay if you don’t want to,” he starts, but he’s cut off by Suga’s hand on his shoulder, strong and unrelenting, and then he’s slowly being crowded against his own door, their minimal height difference only palpable now when Suga looks up at him through his lashes, brow furrowed and copper eyes staring him down.

“Are you hiding a dead body in your apartment?”

Daichi blanches. “What?! No—”

“I mean, I’ll help you get rid of it, of course—” and Daichi seriously needs to examine himself when he feels himself flush from fondness and a sting of bewildered lust zaps through him at Suga’s offhand declaration of, what, being his accomplice for a nonexistent murder? “—But the point is, Daichi, I’m here because I want to be .”

And then he tilts his head upwards, their noses bumping gently as he places a kiss on Daichi’s lips, quick and firm. “Just let me know if you want me to leave.”

Daichi stares at him as Suga steps back, swallowing the intense wave of emotions that had just washed over him as Suga stands under the dim light right outside his door, fingers loosely wrapped around Daichi’s wrist and his smile small and steady.

He doesn’t have a verbal response ready, so instead, he unlocks the door behind him with his free hand, trying his best to not drop his key, and as soon as the door gives way Daichi takes Suga by the hand to lead him in. And then this time, it’s Suga’s back against the door as he closes it none-too-gently, glad he has no neighbours to worry about as he leans in with a hand cradling Suga’s cheek, catching his heated gaze for one long moment before his eyes flutter close just as their lips meet again.

And Daichi didn’t think he’d have time to miss the way Suga tasted, but he already knows he’ll never get enough of the way Suga opens up beneath him so easily, tongue wicked and mouth hot and eager, his hands wracking up the back of Daichi’s jinbei as he drags him closer with an impatient moan.

He tries his best to keep his touches careful despite it all; fingers running through Suga’s hair, one hand on the dip of his waist but then Suga bites his bottom lip and wraps his arms around Daichi’s back before pulling him in, and a groan escapes him when Suga shifts and leaves absolutely no room between them.

Daichi takes a second to detach himself from Suga’s mouth, enough to murmur, “We should probably get out of the genkan ,” and Suga giggles.

“Yeah, I was gonna say, I don’t usually spend this much time still in my sandals when I’m already inside a house or an apartment somewhere,” he comments, and Daichi steps back, swallowing another groan at the sight of Suga’s thoroughly rumpled yukata , a little loosened from their makeout session, hair mussed up and cheeks pink. He’s certain he doesn’t look far off, either, judging from how Suga eyes the dip of his jinbei against his chest, but he only turns around and offers a pair of indoor slippers to the other man.

“I don’t know if you’re still comfortable in the yukata , but uh, you could borrow some of my clothes if you’d like to freshen up—if you don’t mind, anyway,” Daichi offers cautiously, not sure if he’s overstepping but Suga nods gladly.

“A shower does sound nice,” Suga admits. “I’m pretty sure I smell like grilled food right now,” he winces and Daichi grins.

“You smell fine,” he says, watching as Suga’s flushed cheeks become redder, “But the shower’s yours.” Daichi shows him the bathroom, and adds, “Let me just grab some clothes for you,” before he leaves the other man and goes into his bedroom.

He rummages through his clean clothes, taking a worn but soft shirt and a pair of shorts he hopes might fit Suga’s slender build, but it takes him too long to think if giving Suga a pair of his underwear would be weird, and then decides he doesn’t really want to go down the route of the thought of Suga going commando right now, and slips a pair of between the shirt and the shorts anyway. He also grabs a clean towel before making his way back to the bathroom.

“Hey, got some clothes and a towel for you,” Daichi says as he knocks, and then—

“Thanks, Daichi,” Suga smiles widely, the lower half of his body hidden by the door but nothing blocks the view of his chest and part of his slim stomach as he reaches out for the things, and Daichi hopes he stutters out an appropriate response, because he knows he spends way too long looking at the expanse of pale skin and slim muscles before he nods jerkily at Suga and immediately turns away, the door closing behind him accompanied by a soft laugh.

He doesn’t think it could have gotten worse (or better), because when Suga comes out of the bathroom about 15 minutes later, he wonders if he should pat his past self or shoot him in the foot, because Suga is visibly flushed from the hot shower with no daisy in sight, Daichi’s t-shirt loose on his frame and—

“Sorry, I decided to forgo the shorts, they were a bit too loose on me,” Suga informs him, the t-shirt barely grazing the tops of his thighs and handing over said shorts with a grin that’s equal parts shy and teasing, and Daichi takes it from him.

“It’s fine,” he successfully chokes out, and makes his way into the bathroom with his own change of clothes and towel before he can ogle Suga’s long, slim legs. More than he already has, at least.

When he comes back out from the shower (which turned cold in the end out of necessity for his sanity), he finds Suga sat on the couch in the living room on his phone, yukata at his side and the daisy on top of it. At his presence, Suga looks up at Daichi, and he doesn’t hide the way he stares at Daichi, who’s clad in a sleeveless top and shorts, the ink on his arm on full display. But he only says, “Show me around your place?”

“It’s not much,” Daichi shrugs, but acqueises anyway with a smile. It’s a cozy space, his apartment; there’s the living room, which also doubles as a dining area for when he has guests over for meals (Ennoshita, usually), a kitchen he’d had to renovate in order to fit in an oven, and the bathroom as well as his bedroom, which has a balcony attached to it. While he’s not much for random knick knacks, he does have a number of photos framed up on the walls, and Suga takes great pleasure in looking at every single one of them.

“You and Ennoshita look like such kids here,” he says delightedly, pointing out a picture of when Daichi and Ennoshita were celebrating the latter’s twentieth birthday, nearly seven years ago. 

“We kind of were,” Daichi replies, looking at how young both of them looked back then, and Suga’s smile turns rueful.

“I would’ve loved to meet kid Daichi,” he says. “Or maybe you’ve always just been this steady, responsible old man,” he teases, and before Daichi can refute it, he adds, “Hinata tells me stories.”

Damn it, Kageyama. “I… I can’t say they’re all lies,” he admits with a groan and gets Suga’s laugh in return. “I’d like to have met a younger Suga too,” he says lightly, but instantly wishes he could take it back when something in Suga’s expression twists for a moment, before it clears.

“Maybe not,” he says simply. Daichi raises his eyebrows, keeps quiet as Suga works through something in his mind, before he adds, “I’ll—another time. I’m okay, it’s just not something I enjoy talking about, but I… I will. You can meet the younger Suga another day,” he says at last and something in his voice tells Daichi to tread carefully, so he merely nods and Suga’s shoulders slump in relief as he smiles at him.

But before the mood could get more sombre, Suga takes his hand and says, “You know, I think I’d like another tour of the rooms. Or maybe just one room, in particular,” and Daichi marvels at how easy it is to fall for this man, as he lets Suga lead him past the living room and to the open doorway of his bedroom, his grin wide and full of mischief once he lets go of Daichi’s hand to toe off his slippers and sit on the bed.

And suddenly Daichi is viscerally reminded of Suga’s lack of pants when he shifts in his position and Daichi’s jaw clenches as he catches a peek of the boxer briefs he’d lent the other man.

“Can we pick up where we left off? Because that’s four times you’ve made us stop and I’m kind of getting mixed signals here, Daichi.”

Suga blinks at him, the picture of innocence as he crosses his (long, pale, gorgeous ) legs in the middle of Daichi’s bed and he’s beginning to discover just how much of a brat Suga can be and it’s—

Fucking adorable.

“We were in public one of those times, in your shop once, and the other two times could not have been that comfortable with you against a hard, wooden surface, Suga.”

Daichi ,” Suga says testily, impatience evident in his tone and Daichi gets one last laugh as he moves towards the bed, toes off his own slippers and gets his legs up on it before Suga places a hand on his cheek and leans in. Daichi meets him halfway and his thoughts are filled with how perfect his grip feels around Suga’s hip, his thighs now bracketing the other man’s waist as Suga leans back, back until he’s pressed flat against the bed, eager hands tracing his arm, before trailing the skin between the back of Daichi’s top and his shorts and sending shivers down his back.

When he takes a second to drag his mouth away from Suga, he’s met with the sight of the man’s silver hair sprawled on his sheets, eyes dark with desire and God, he’s so, so gone for this man, it’s not remotely funny.

“Daichi,” Suga whispers, one hand on the small of his back, the other tracing his lips, tender from all the kissing. “I didn’t say you could stop.”

“Sorry,” he replies, grinning, and leans down again to capture his mouth, and then lets out a soft groan as Suga’s hands trail down his back, before he feels them grabbing at his ass and pulling him closer, their hips pressed together. Daichi shivers when he feels all of Suga, restricted only by his wracked up t-shirt and his borrowed underwear. “Mmm, Suga—this, is this okay?” He asks hoarsely, resisting the urge to move as he squeezes Suga’s waist in search of some semblance of self-control, mouth pressed against his ear.

In response, Suga grinds up against him, causing him to moan along with the other man’s loud exhale, and somehow they find each other’s lips again and their kisses turn deeper, dirtier as they explore each other, hips shifting in search of friction that causes them to groan against each other’s mouths. It’s gradually turning sloppy but he can’t find it in him to care when Suga brings a leg up to wrap around his waist and it shifts his t-shirt up enough that Daichi gets a good look at his stomach and right below his chest.

Daichi’s hands slowly creep up against Suga’s sides, revelling in the warmth of his smooth skin and swallows the moan Suga lets out into his mouth when his hands come around to wrap around his ribs and squeezes, before Suga pulls away with a gasp, chest heaving under him.

He takes a moment to just watch Suga, red-faced and eyes heavily lidded, beautiful in how lost in pleasure he looks as he tries to catch his breath and Daichi trails fleeting kisses against his cheek, his jaw and down his throat, trying to hold back from sucking marks against the pale skin of his neck. This close, he can smell his body wash on Suga and the floral scent that clings to him and when Daichi presses his lips against the spot where Suga’s neck meets his shoulder, he’s rewarded with a whimper of his name.

“You—oh God, Daichi ,” Suga exhales above him, just as he moves his legs and places one right between Daichi’s, and Daichi swears as Suga’s thigh rubs against where he needs it the most. “More, don’t—don’t stop, Daichi, come on , please—”

His hands travel up Suga’s sides, under his t-shirt and his fingers gently rub against a perked up bud, just as he mouths at the juncture of Suga’s neck.

Shit —” Suga sobs, bucking his hips at the twin assault, and then, “Harder, wanna, fuck, wanna see your marks in the morning, Daichi—”

Which absolutely destroys Daichi’s sanity, and he complies with Suga’s request, sucking deep, hard bites around Suga’s throat, hears his breath hitching and tiny, bitten-off moans rumbling in his chest as Daichi brings his other hand up to play with both of Suga’s nipples. And then it’s his turn to groan as Suga resumes rubbing his thigh against Daichi, and he belatedly realises it would only be polite to return the favour, so he moves and places his leg against Suga, a hiss of pleasure escaping him as Suga makes that awesome, delicious sound from his throat again, only his (borrowed, fuck) underwear separating him from Daichi’s bare thigh.

And perhaps it’s testament to just how many times they’ve been either interrupted or had to hold back, but pleasure rockets up his spine way too quickly as he and Suga grind against each other and at one particularly slow and firm thrust, Suga throws his head back in a groan, and Daichi gets a glimpse of sweat and flushed cheeks and silver hair thoroughly tousled. It makes him grunt and when he manages to coax Suga back down just to kiss him again it’s rough and less coordinated than any of their other previous attempts but fuck, it’s so, so good that Daichi ends up just pressing his mouth against every inch of Suga’s jaw and cheeks and sometimes they land against Suga’s mouth in the midst of their feverish movements.

It’s made even better when Suga starts to shudder, hands clutching Daichi’s back and nails raking down his skin, the pain instantly turning into pleasure. Daichi breaks away for a moment and manages to get out one last, “This— fuck , Suga, is this okay?”

“Yeah—good, great, shit—Daichi, please , ‘m close ,” Suga babbles, whiny and desperate, and Daichi meets him thrust for thrust, barely able to keep his eyes open to see Suga falling apart under him, panting as he grips Daichi’s shoulders for leverage. He watches as Suga bites his lip, unsuccessfully holding back a groan as he arches his back and his copper eyes squeeze shut, rubbing up against Daichi’s thigh as he rides out his release, warmth spreading against Daichi’s leg, movements growing sloppier until he stops with an exhale and drops back down onto the bed, gasping.

And Daichi stays still, despite how much it absolutely aches, until Suga blearily opens his eyes, his smile wide and relaxed as he murmurs, “Now you, wanna see you let go, too,” and Daichi chokes as Suga moves his leg against him and grabs handfuls of his ass as he thrusts up, and it doesn’t take more than a few moments before Daichi’s brought over the edge as well.

He has half a mind to not crush Suga in the aftermath of his release, face tucked against his neck and weak arms still holding himself up, but he nearly loses his hold when Suga quips, “Think we both need another shower.” When Daichi lifts his head and laughs, he’s greeted with the sight of Suga giggling, and God, afterglow looks fucking amazing on him.

 

***

 

The next morning finds Daichi’s arm and leg pinned down by a heavy weight, and it takes him a few seconds of wandering what had woken him up, as he casts his gaze around his immediate vicinity and finds fluffy silver hair nestled against his chest, until he hears a series of knocks on the front door.

After a solid minute of disentangling himself from Suga, during which the knocking had started again, Daichi grabs a t-shirt to put on, glancing down at his shorts for a second to see if they were decent enough, before taking a look at his phone and wincing. Who the hell was at his door at seven in the morning?

The knocking grows steadily louder as he makes his way out of the bedroom and into the living room, and he resists the temptation to tell them to calm down, afraid of waking Suga up. Instead, he makes his footsteps a little louder the closer he gets to the genkan , and rubs his face in case there are remnants of drool or sleep before he opens the door.

When he does, two sets of familiar faces greet him, big sharp eyes that remind Daichi of his father, and one of them smiles widely, Daichi’s mother in the traces of her lips and dimple, just like his own.

“... Eiichi? Sora? What are you guys doing here?!”

Daichi blinks, and the hallucination of his siblings don’t disappear. They’re really here on his doorstep right now.

They look at each other, and some sort of twin telepathy must have gone down between them, before Sora clears her throat and says hesitantly, “We, ah, well. We’ve run away from home, Daichi-nii.”

Chapter Text

Daichi knows one of the biggest reasons why his parents hadn’t been very receptive to his career path change (aside from the most obvious one, which was “Those are permanent, you know,”) was because he was the eldest son — the responsible, studious, all-around role model for his younger siblings: Sawamura Eiichi and Sawamura Sora.

Nine years younger than him, Daichi remembers looking after the twins on nights when both of his parents were busy at work, preparing stir-fried rice at 12 and accidentally burning himself with the hot oil, helping them with preschool homework at 16, and watching Sora try to comfort Eiichi, biting back her own tears when Daichi told them he’d be leaving for university.

All of this just means that the Sawamura twins are actually kind of spoiled (they’re still good kids, Daichi’s personally made sure of that), so they’re very much not lacking in attention at all, which is why Daichi instantly doesn’t believe Sora.

Instead, he only raises an eyebrow, sleep still stubbornly clinging to his thoughts, and Eiichi sighs, his hair long enough to cover his eyes as he flips it out of his face to look at their sister.

“Told you he wouldn’t fall for it,” he says dryly.

Sora pouts, crossing her arms. The last time Daichi had seen either of them was for New Year’s, over half a year ago, before the twins began their third year of high school. He wonders how they’re still growing, because he’s sure they weren’t this tall when he’d last visited home.

It’s almost scary how Eiichi’s slightly taller than him already, while Sora meets his eyes with no issue. As vice captain of the basketball team, Sora stands tall and confident, even though she’s only dressed in a top with cut-off sleeves and denim shorts, short hair curling around her face, but Daichi is hard pressed to see beyond the kid sister he’d had to watch over when she’d climb trees and almost fell in nearby lakes thanks to her too-adventurous spirit.

“No fun, Daichi-nii,” she huffs, but the pout gets instantly wiped off when she raises her eyebrows and says, “Aren’t you going to invite us in? We came all this way to see you and we’re still on your doorstep and—”

“We’re actually checking out the universities in town—” Eiichi cuts in quietly.

“Eiichi-nii! I was still talking!”

“—sorry to intrude, nii-san.”

Daichi stares at them, and doesn’t even try hiding a sigh. But he stops himself from looking behind him, wondering if Suga’s already awake, and knows there’s very little chance his siblings wouldn’t see the man in his shoebox of an apartment. It doesn’t stop him from hoping, though. “You really couldn’t send a text and give me a heads up yesterday?” he gripes, but opens the door wide to let them in.

He hears the shuffling of their shoes behind him, and then Sora drawls, “Aww, don’t you miss us?” She practically bounces inside, followed by a distinctly calmer Eiichi. “Kaa-san asks after you every other day, but I keep telling her you’re as bad as her when it comes to technology. If you saw my IG stories you’d have known we were coming over! When’s the last time you even saw them, anyway?”

But Daichi doesn’t get to answer, because at that moment, the door to his bedroom opens, directly across the hallway, revealing Suga with a case of bedhead that rivals Kuroo’s, blinking blearily at the three Sawamura siblings and dressed only in a baggy, borrowed t-shirt.

And even from this distance, it’s incredibly obvious what had gone down between them, thanks to the apparent mauling Daichi had given Suga’s neck last night, and Daichi’s t-shirt on him doesn’t help matters at all.

“... Not. A. Word.” Daichi grits out, low and threatening, without looking behind him. And then, “Put that goddamn phone away, Sora, or I fucking swear to God I’ll tell okaa-san about that shit you pulled during your second year of middle school.”

He doesn’t spare his siblings another glance, and only adds, “Go sit on the couch. I’ll deal with you two later.” Even though he knows the entire thing must have been Sora’s idea, right now he’s also exasperated with Eiichi, who probably didn’t try very hard to dissuade their younger sister from dropping by unannounced.

Instead, he hears them slowly head towards the living room, while he walks over to Suga, who’s still staring at him from the doorway of his bedroom. When he’s close enough, he gently guides the other man back into the room, hand on Suga’s thin wrist, heaving a deep sigh as soon as the door’s closed behind him, eyes shut as he leans against it.

Daichi only opens his eyes again when he registers Suga’s trailing barely-there circles on his knuckles, and when he looks down he realises he hasn’t relinquished his hold on Suga.

“Shit, sorry,” he winces, letting go, but when he meets Suga’s gaze it’s gentle, and yet still incredibly drowsy.

And it’s then that he remembers Tokyo from a week ago, at how much it actually takes to get Suga to truly wake up, and he finds himself helplessly smiling with a sharp fondness as he takes in the mess of Suga’s silver hair, his pretty lips pursed in a slight pout; his heart absolutely gives out when Suga literally brings up a hand to rub at his eyes as his mouth cracks open in a yawn.

“It’s okay,” he replies softly, but then his brows furrow, and it’s endearing how Daichi can see the way Suga tries so hard to wake himself up. “Were you expecting guests this early in the morning?”

At the mention of the twins, Daichi’s head falls back against the door as he sighs again.

“My younger siblings dropped by. Unannounced,” he explains, resisting the urge to dig the base of his palm into the building headache between his eyes. “They said they were checking out the universities here—they’re third years in high school—so they shouldn’t be staying long, but I’m sorry about this.” He can’t stop himself from looking down, because the more he thinks about it, the more he wonders why life decided to take the piss out of him after giving him one of the best nights he’s ever had in a long while.

Suga stays quiet for a few moments, long enough that Daichi thinks he might have actually fallen asleep again, so when he looks up, he doesn’t expect the way Suga’s staring at him, the corners of his lips upturned and big warm eyes looking at him with unmistakable adoration, and maybe even exasperation.

“You really need to stop apologizing for things that aren’t your fault, Daichi.”

“Sorry?”

“Now you’re just being an ass.”

Their laughter breaks whatever tension had been built up in the last two minutes, but his own huffs get cut short as he grimaces at the thought of having to go out and face the twins again. He’s hoping they’re doing as they’re told for once and staying on the couch, but he also knows it’s a half-futile hope.

Suga yawns again, and it breaks him out of his reverie, and then he remembers Suga works early mornings and it’s Monday, which means—

“I—you could probably wear some of my clothes if you need to head into the shop early, but I, I’m not sure if—there’s probably a pair of jeans here that could fit you?” Daichi hesitantly says, wondering how far back into his closet he’d have to dig for said jeans. Does he even have anything from before university?

“I texted Asahi last night to bring some clothes from my apartment, but I appreciate the offer, since I’ll have to walk to the shop to meet him there, and I don’t really feel like putting on the yukata ,” Suga replies, grinning his first big smile of the morning, and Daichi can’t resist.

He reaches out and grazes his knuckles against the edge of Suga’s jaw, fingers catching the edge of some of the faint, pink spots high on his throat, before unfurling his fingers to cradle Suga’s cheek, and slowly pushes forward to meet his lips in a soft, close-mouthed kiss.

When he pulls away, Suga’s eyes flutter open, teeth digging into his bottom lip, and Daichi shivers, feeling the same rush of desire reflected back in his gaze.

But now isn’t the time or place, as much as he’d love to stay, explore the darker bites on his skin, find out if Suga is as fervent and as desperate this morning as he’d been last night, or if he would be unhurried, touches lingering, so he steps away reluctantly. “I’ll look for those clothes now,” he says, and even though Daichi tells him it’s fine, Suga ignores him and makes the bed while he looks through his closet.

He finds a clean, plain t-shirt with a higher collar that would probably mask most of the hickeys he’d left on Suga, and even manages to find a pair of black jeans that he doesn’t remember owning. Come to think of it, it could have been Ennoshita’s for all he knows.

Then it’s time to head back out, and with one last glance at Suga’s smile, Daichi steels himself and opens the door.

From here, he can see the twins are sat on the couch, but he focuses on ushering Suga into the bathroom, feeling their gazes on his back. He takes a moment to ensure Suga has everything he needs, and then he bypasses the living room and heads straight to the kitchen, reaching for the small bottle of mouthwash by the sink before getting out everything he needs for a strong cup of coffee.

Predictably, Sora and Eiichi step into the kitchen less than a minute later, just as he’s searching for a travel mug.

“Nii-san.” Surprisingly, it’s Eiichi that speaks first, but Daichi spends a few seconds with his back still turned to them, locating the travel mug and places it on the counter, before he gets started on the coffeemaker as he hums in response.

“We’re sorry for intruding,” he continues quietly, and Daichi sighs internally.

When he finally turns around, Sora’s staring at her feet, arms clasped behind her back, shoulders slumped. Eiichi meets his gaze steadily, but it’s equal parts sombre and guilty, and he feels the last of his anger draining at the sight. Instead, he walks towards them slowly, sees the minute flinch in Sora’s arms and Eiichi’s clenched jaw, before he reaches out to ruffle their hair messily, snorting as Sora’s head snaps up and their wide eyes meet his in surprise.

“You absolute brats,” he huffs. “Never do that again. You really should have just told me earlier; I could’ve prepared breakfast or something.”

“Aww shit, I should’ve thought of that,” Sora mutters, but she beams at him, and Daichi opens his arms just in time to meet his little sister’s embrace. “Sorry, Daichi-nii,” she mumbles into his shoulder, and Daichi just squeezes her tighter in reply.

Eiichi goes in for a hug as well as soon as Sora releases him, lanky arms around Daichi’s back and he resists the urge to ask if they’re both eating well, if school’s manageable, how Sora’s dealing with captainship and if Eiichi’s found a new photography spot since he last saw them.

“How long are you two in town?” he asks instead, when Eiichi steps away.

“Until tomorrow evening,” Eiichi answers, and Daichi frowns as he reaches for the travel mug and carefully pours some coffee in it.

“Do you guys have a place to stay for the night?”

Sora nods, taking out her phone and shows him a photo of a vaguely familiar building. “There’s a youth hostel about five stops away from here,” she says, and wrinkles her nose slightly. “It’s alright for just the night, but I’m pretty sure the worn out futons we have at home are more comfortable than the beds there.”

“We didn’t want to impose anymore than we were already going to,” Eiichi adds, and Daichi snorts as Sora grins impishly at him, eerily reminding him of Terushima, and he firmly resolves to ensure neither of them ever meet under any circumstances.

Just then, he hears the bathroom door swivel open and before his siblings can do anything, Daichi immediately says, “Stay. Help yourself to some coffee, I’ll be right back. My threat still holds up, Sora.”

He grabs the travel mug, barely hears “We’re not puppies, Daichi-nii,” and walks out of the kitchen to see Suga already in the open doorway of his bedroom, folded yukata in his arms and damp hair curling at the ends, towel around his neck. Even from here he knows the shirt is big around Suga’s shoulders, swallowing up his frame. The thought makes him flush, and he pushes it aside for the time being.

Daichi spares one last glance at the kitchen, where Eiichi’s reaching for the mugs, and heads over to his bedroom, where Suga’s towelling his hair dry.

“You wouldn’t happen to own a hairdryer, would you?” Suga asks lightly, and Daichi shakes his head. “Ah well, I should probably get it cut sometime soon anyway, it’s getting kind of long,” and Daichi—

Doesn’t really want that, and has to put down the sudden compulsion to buy a fucking hairdryer. Instead, he says, “I like your hair the way it is,” which is only marginally less embarrassing, but ultimately worth it to see Suga’s pink cheeks and surprised expression melting into a shy smile.

He recovers first, and hands out the travel mug. “I wasn’t sure how you take your coffee, but I thought you might like some. Sorry I couldn’t make breakfast, though.”

But Suga stares at the travel mug for one long moment, and his gaze flicks up at Daichi like he’s not actually quite sure if Daichi’s real.

However, all he says is, “You owe me breakfast, then,” as he takes the travel mug and Daichi grins.

“I’ll walk you to the door,” he replies.

Suga’s eyes twinkle. “You just want to shield me from your siblings, don’t you?”

Daichi doesn’t bother dignifying that with a response. Instead, he spots a backpack by the side of his desk, and goes to grab it. “Easier to bring your yukata with you,” Daichi tells Suga when he hands it over, and Suga smiles softly.

“Thank you.”

He turns around first before he can give in to the temptation to kiss Suga senseless, and heads out of the room, Suga right behind him. He walks past the kitchen with his gaze firmly fixed on the front door, and when he’s in the genkan with Suga putting on his shoes, he glances at the kitchen, and sees two heads swivel around quickly.

Well, at least they stayed put like he’d asked them to.

But then he’s distracted by Suga’s presence when he stands up, sandals on and hugging the backpack to his chest as he steps closer to Daichi, his grin playful and ringing all sorts of alarms in his mind before he leans in to whisper, his lips just brushing the shell of Daichi’s ear. “Hey, Daichi?”

“Mmm?” Shit, he hopes Suga doesn’t notice the slight crack in his voice.

“Would you rather kiss me in the genkan , where your siblings will most likely see us, or are you going to push me up against the other side of the door this morning?”

“Damn it, Suga,” Daichi hisses, just as the other man pulls back, and for the second time that morning, practically manhandles him as he takes Suga’s wrist and leads him outside of the apartment, opening the door a little harder than necessary and hearing his giggles right behind him.

He spares a moment to thank whatever deity he can remember that he has no neighbours, and barely manages to recall that he doesn’t have his key right now before he can push Suga against the door like he’d asked.

Instead, he guides Suga to lean against the wall beside it, crowding into his space.

Suga bathed in the morning light, hair still a little damp and wearing Daichi’s clothes, ill-fitting and his bared throat covered in hickeys, nearly breaks what little mental capacity Daichi possesses this early in the day. But he restrains himself, enough to lean in and carefully nose at Suga’s jaw and neck, one hand creeping up to nestle in his hair, gently pulling his head back for more. His other hand wraps around Suga’s ribs over his t-shirt, grinning at his shaky exhale when Daichi begins to place soft, open-mouthed kisses against his skin.

“Dai—this isn’t… What I meant,” Suga huffs, and he hears the backpack drop, Suga’s free hand rucking up the back of Daichi’s t-shirt.

Without looking, he finds the travel mug clutched in Suga’s grasp, detaches himself with just enough time to take it away, and kneels down, placing it on the floor next to the bag before he glances up, and fuck, Suga looks breathtaking from this angle, chest already raking in shallow breaths, jeans tented and legs trembling. As he stands up, he slowly presses up against every inch of Suga’s body, ending it with a careful press of his hips against Suga’s, eliminating the barely-there-space between them from before, smiling into his throat when Suga tenses, and chokes out his name.

“You wanted me to push you up against the door outside,” he points out innocently after a few moments, and gets Suga’s hand grabbing his jaw and pushing him up from where he’d been trying to make the dark marks even more permanent. When Daichi meets his gaze, he can’t help but shudder at copper eyes blazing at him.

“Kiss me like you mean it, Sawamura,” Suga taunts sweetly, grin wicked and sultry eyes half-lidded.

Daichi surges up to meet his laugh, turning it into a lewd moan that sends ripples of satisfaction and hunger all over his body as he grows breathless from the kisses, slick tongues sweeping against each other as Suga presses up, up , friction driving him mad with want for everything. And then he remembers one particular thing from last night, and sneaks a hand under Suga’s t-shirt—

Oh —oh shit, that’s— Daichi , mm,” Suga groans through clenched teeth, eyes shut and head thrown back, hitting the wall with a dull thunk . “No, no, don’t stop,” he demands when Daichi pauses in concern, “God, you—” he cuts himself off with a whine as Daichi’s fingers flick against his nipple.

He starts squirming against Daichi, and as much as Daichi wants to see him thoroughly gone, he knows Suga’s running late, and doesn’t prolong the teasing. He winds down, his hand wrapping around the dip of Suga’s waist as he leans in to kiss Suga slow and sweet, bringing him back from the sudden high they’d found themselves in.

Daichi ends it with a soft kiss against Suga’s cheek, right where his beauty mark is, and pulls back as Suga’s eyes gradually open.

He swallows when he takes in how lost they look, slightly glazed over and almost tearful, how Suga’s kiss-swollen lips are parted, and he stomps down the suddenly overwhelming urge to tease Suga until he’s crying with pleasure.

Daichi steels himself and says, “Want me to walk you down to the shop?”

It takes Suga a couple of seconds to answer, and Daichi can’t help but stare as he licks at his bottom lip, but it’s his words that bowls Daichi over with a rush of emotions.

“If I don’t go alone right now, I’ll never want to leave this space where it’s just you and me, Daichi.”

And he completely understands what Suga speaks of—it would be so, so easy to disregard the rest of the day just to spend it with this beautiful man, but his siblings are still inside and Suga needs to go to work, so he nods, throat tight, and presses one last firm kiss against Suga’s eager mouth before he steps back.

“I’ll—see you later maybe?” Daichi asks, awkward and longing clinging to his words.

Suga smiles one of those breathtaking grins. “Okay. I—I’ll come visit,” he replies, equally as bumbling, and leans down to grab his backpack and travel mug. He thankfully turns to walk away and down the stairs before Daichi can do something idiotic like grabbing his hand and figuring out how many ways he can unravel Suga, the man’s neck visibly marked by Daichi’s touch and his gait slightly clumsy from Daichi’s teasing.

He heads back inside when he doesn’t hear Suga’s footsteps anymore, and is met with Sora and Eiichi’s scarred looks as they stare at him from the middle of the living room, just a few feet away from the genkan and the door that was left slightly ajar.

Before Daichi can even think about what to say, Sora pipes up in a strangled squeak, “Yeah we learned our lesson please let’s forget the last 5 minutes ever happened and oh look Eiichi-nii wereallyshouldbegoingnow.”

Daichi blinks, and then—

“For fuck’s sake,” he sighs, and firmly resolves to never open his front door anytime before noon anymore.

 

***

 

Despite everything, he still asks the twins if they’d like to grab breakfast together, but Eiichi points out that Daichi might prefer getting some more rest before work.

“But we could get dinner after you’re done. And… You could bring that guy too, if you’d like,” Eiichi offers with a small smile, voice calm and only his slightly pink cheeks truly giving him away.

Behind her twin, Sora watches the interaction with wide eyes, eyebrows raised, and Daichi hears the implication in Eiichi’s voice, realises that Eiichi hadn’t defined Suga as a friend, that he’d obviously connected the dots. And Daichi thinks 7.30am in the morning is way too fucking early to wonder when the hell his little brother had grown up so fast, this tall almost eighteen-year-old boy saying nothing about Daichi’s obvious not-straightness.

All he says is, “Yeah, I’ll ask him,” and gets Eiichi’s and Sora’s bright grins in return.

Just before they leave, as Daichi’s seeing them off at the door, Sora hugs him one last time before bounding down the stairs, two steps at a time and giving Daichi his third aneurysm for that morning, but Eiichi stays back, watching Daichi carefully.

“Will you do my tattoo for me while we’re here? As an early birthday present?”

Of all the things he’d imagined Eiichi asking, it definitely wasn’t that.

He blinks, and quickly figures that Sora had known her twin was going to be asking Daichi about the matter.

Still, he frowns. “You sure, though? You’re still in school. What about classes?”

Eiichi nods, dark fringe flopping over his eyes before he brushes it away carelessly. “I’ve thought about it for a few years—Sora, she helped me with the design, ‘cause I couldn’t stick to just one. I… I thought I’d ask while I’m here, anyway, and I’d like you to tattoo it, Daichi-nii.”

(The last time Eiichi had called him that, he’d asked Daichi to come home soon, again, and again, when he first left for university.)

Daichi thinks about how pissed off their parents would be, and he takes one more look at Eiichi’s quiet determination and carefully concealed hope, and makes up his mind.

“Yeah, sure, Eiichi. We can talk about it more during dinner later.”

He waves his brother goodbye after, and even though the twins figured he could use some more sleep before opening up the shop, it’s next to impossible now that he’s up and awake thanks to the morning’s events.

Instead, he decides to go for a run, and if he chooses to do so in one of his shorter shorts and a loose sleeveless top, taking the route that would lead him past a certain flower shop, it’s purely coincidental, of course.

At least, that’s what he tells Suga when he receives a text from the man that only says, “I’m speaking to you from the afterlife. Your thighs , Daichi, God.”

Work begins the opposite way that his morning had gone—uneventful, as his crew trickles in with hellos and murmured greetings. Daichi tells Ennoshita that his siblings are in town when he catches Daichi yawning at two in the afternoon over paperwork.

Ennoshita hums in sympathy, but he stops abruptly, and raises an eyebrow at Daichi. “Wait. Didn’t Suga-san go home with you?”

“... Yes.”

His partner doesn’t cackle, but it’s a near thing, Daichi can tell, as Ennoshita chews the inside of his cheek, eyes sparkling in mirth. “Must’ve been a shock for everyone involved.”

Daichi sighs, rubbing at the bridge of his nose. “You couldn’t pay me any amount of money to live through that again. I’m just glad Suga didn’t seem overly traumatized by the whole thing.”

“Eh, I’ve had my fair share of embarrassing morning-afters.”

Daichi’s head snaps up and Suga grins at him from the doorway of his office, and he distinctly remembers Suga saying he had a change of clothes waiting for him from Asahi this morning, and while he’s changed into shorts, for some reason, he’s still in Daichi’s t-shirt. Though the collar isn’t as loose as the one he’d borrowed to sleep in last night, it still doesn’t hide the fact that Daichi had really gone to town on his neck and collarbones.

“Holy fuck, Daichi—in hindsight, I can’t really blame you for being annoyed at the twins, but damn,” Ennoshita whistles. “Need some, uh, ointment for those bites, Suga-san?”

Suga’s answering flush only serves to highlight the hickeys on his pale skin, but he replies with more grace and dignity than Daichi could ever hope to muster if he was in the same position. “Thanks, but I asked for it. It’d be completely thoughtless of me to just make them fade away after all the hard work that went into them,” emphasising the word hard , and adds, “By the way, Tanaka dropped by earlier and couldn’t help talking about how nice you looked in your yukata last night.”

Ennoshita raises his eyebrows, before he smiles serenely, eyes narrowed. “Well played. I’ll leave you two be. Try to stay decent, though; I don’t want to be scarred like poor Asahi-san,” he says cheerfully, and gets Suga’s giggles and Daichi’s ensuing groan in his wake as he exits the office.

Daichi waits as Suga glances at the doorway, before he heads over to lean over Daichi’s desk, grinning down at him, happiness making him look all kinds of beautiful. And he gives in and stands up to meet his lips, quick and sweet.

He’s finding it increasingly difficult to think of better things to do than to kiss Suga, in every way he can.

“I thought you had a spare change of clothes,” he comments when he pulls away, glancing at the t-shirt on Suga.

The other man shrugs. “I prefer this one. It smells like you,” Suga replies innocently, and Daichi feels his ears heat up. “How are your siblings, by the way?”

At that, Daichi grins, exasperated and fond, and takes out his phone to show all the updates he’d gotten from Sora that morning alone. So far, he’s received about ten selfies, with three of those featuring a yawning Eiichi putting up a peace sign in every single one, and several shots of the two campuses they were visiting.

“Oh,” Daichi blinks, remembering Eiichi’s invitation from that morning. “Are you free tonight, by the way?”

Suga tilts his head, nodding his head slowly. “Um, I don’t think I have any plans. Why?”

In the moment before he speaks, Daichi manages to wonder if it’s not too early, to have this current, fragile part of his life collide with the family members who’s known him all their lives. But he thinks of how happy Suga makes him feel, and how open his siblings had been in the face of the reality that their brother is, at the very least, not exactly straight, and so he steels himself and asks, “Do you wanna have dinner with me and the twins?”

Suga stares at him for long enough that Daichi feels compelled to look away and say, “I—it’s okay if you, you’re not comfortable of course, I just—” 

“Can I?”

Suga says it in such a rush that it takes a second for Daichi to register what he says, barely hearing the words, but when he looks back, he blinks, and takes in the way hope and anxiety war on Suga’s expression, eyes wide and biting his lip as he stares at Daichi.

And Daichi does the only thing he can think of doing; he gets up and walks around the desk, and when he’s standing right in front of Suga, he leans in and presses the gentlest kiss on the beauty mark under Suga’s eye, and whispers, “Yes, yes of course you can.”

He doesn’t get a chance to move away very far, because Suga’s smile is blinding and traps him in its brightness, lips quivering just the slightest and it pushes him to press one more kiss against Suga’s mouth, savouring in the way Suga kisses back, full and sweet, until Daichi can’t feel his own lips, much less the trembling in Suga’s.

 

***

 

“What’re they like?” Suga asks, sat on top of one of the beds in Daichi’s and Ennoshita’s workroom, swinging his legs as he watches Daichi pack up for the evening.

Daichi hums as he arranges his equipment, remembering the numerous almost heart attacks he’d gotten over the years of looking after them. “Eiichi’s older than Sora by six minutes, but it’s easy to forget that with the way Sora tends to take charge of everything,” he says with a rueful smile. “But Eiichi’s pretty protective of her, too. And the whole twin telepathy thing is real as well, so try not to freak out when they do it during dinner later.”

Suga giggles. “They sound like a handful.” But he says it fondly, and Daichi looks up to catch the edges of wistfulness in his expression.

“Yeah. Sora used to get scrapes and bruises all the time—she did track and field in middle school, and basketball, but she stuck to just basketball for high school. She’s vice captain now,” he says with a rush of pride, putting away his equipment. “Eiichi’s not really into sports; he likes photography, and he’s in debate and film club. But I think Sora still makes him run with her every morning before school.”

“Am I meeting a family of athletes?”

Daichi grins as he turns around. “You’re looking at the former captain of a top four high school volleyball team in the entire prefecture,” he informs Suga casually, and relishes in the way Suga gasps, but it’s his turn to be amazed when Suga blurts out, “I was a setter for my team in high school, but I wasn’t a regular — I, uh, I couldn’t attend enough practices.”

“I played wing spiker,” Daichi volunteers with a soft smile.

He has a brief moment to wonder how it would have been like to be on the same side of the net with a younger Suga, before his phone rings with a text notification.

It’s Eiichi telling him that they’re on the way to the restaurant Daichi had chosen for dinner. He’d offered to pick them up, but—

“Daichi-nii, we came all the way from Miyagi on our own, we’ll probably be able to find a restaurant ten minutes away from your apartment,” Sora had said, when she’d video called him in a cafe, Eiichi in the background, sipping a glass of iced coffee with too much whipped cream. “He’s coming too, right? The guy from this morning?”

Daichi had bemoaned the fact that he’d agreed to the video call in clear earshot of the rest of his crew, because he can see Tsukishima smirking all the way at the counter in front, Yamaguchi giggling as he admonishes his boyfriend.

“Yeah, and you better behave Sora, or I swear...”

Sora had waved a hand flippantly, grinning at him. “Pssh, I’m charming as hell, you’re the one who should be worried, Daichi-nii.”

Daichi shakes his head slightly, and meets Suga’s confused look with a sigh. “Just—let me know if the twins get too overbearing. Or Sora, at least. They mean well, but they’re, uh, they can get pretty… Inquisitive.”

Suga nods slowly, looking apprehensive and Daichi doesn’t know how to return the cheerfulness that was just on the other man’s expression a minute ago, but he walks over anyway, placing his hand on Suga’s thigh. “They’re on the way. Shall we?”

“Alright,” Suga replies, giving Daichi’s hand a firm squeeze before hopping off the bed, and Daichi makes quick work of locking up the shop, and when he turns to walk beside Suga, he finds fingers resting in the crook of his elbow already.

The restaurant is one that Daichi frequents occasionally—a sort of fusion between an izakaya and a cafe, and as they draw closer to the place, their conversation slowly peters off, until Daichi’s stealing glances at Suga, whose expression can’t seem to settle between hope and anxiety.

Just as they’re about to reach the entrance of the place, Suga stops in his tracks and stares at Daichi. “Are they—do they know that I—we’re…?”

“That we’re not exactly just friends?” Daichi supplies quietly, and Suga nods. “Yeah, um, they’re aware of it. I mean, they had an eyeful of you this morning after all,” he says sheepishly, rubbing his neck, “And I’m pretty sure they’re smart enough to reach the appropriate conclusion.”

Daichi relishes in the revelation that Suga’s answering blush is wickedly pretty under the streetlights when paired with the marks on his skin.

“Alright,” he eventually replies, and Daichi wishes he could tell him that his siblings would love him, with his propensity to tease Daichi and the way he laughs so freely, but it would be easier to just show him, so he only takes Suga’s hand, squeezing his fingers gently. He returns the smile sent his way, and both of them head into the restaurant together.

 

***

 

Daichi still can’t decide if he’s glad or not about the fact that he was right, that the twins would like Suga, especially when Sora and him start ganging up on Daichi five minutes into dinner, while Eiichi (Eiichi!) shows Suga a damn album on his phone of Daichi in his teens running around after the twins when they were younger.

“He got hit in the face by a volleyball in his first high school match, and had to sit the rest of the set out ‘cause his nose wouldn’t stop bleeding,” Sora shares enthusiastically, as Suga giggles beside him. Eiichi only takes Sora’s fork out of her hand before she could poke herself in the eye when she starts gesticulating wildly.

“And then he made captain in third year, when he finally learned how to receive,” she continues, pointedly not looking at Daichi’s glare.

Suga beams at him, though. “I’d have liked to see you play.”

“Eh, he was alright, I guess,” Sora shrugs, waving her hand casually.

Eiichi snorts at that, and Daichi grins as his brother says dryly, “You dragged me to all of nii-san’s matches, Sora, and you’d lose your voice every single time yelling at him from the stands.”

Their sister splutters, blinking at Eiichi as she gasps, affronted. “Not all of them, just the important ones! And I was giving him tips!” And Daichi wishes he could reach over and ruffle her hair, because he remembers seeing two small heads bobbing over the railing in the stands for almost all of his matches, and knowing they’d looked up to him so much even then had only inspired him to do better for himself and his team.

When he glances at Suga to gauge his reaction, he barely catches the expression on his face, wistful and there’s something all too lonely about it, but it disappears quickly enough that Daichi wonders if he’d imagined it in the first place.

The rest of the dinner goes well enough, and Eiichi brings up the tattoo he’d wanted Daichi to do on him, showing the design and Daichi tells him to come to shop at ten in the morning if he’d prefer to not have anyone else hanging around, and Eiichi nods gratefully.

“Can’t promise I’ll be done by noon, though, but it should be fine.”

“Wait, can I be there too?” Sora pipes up, glancing between her brothers. Eiichi raises an eyebrow at her, but there’s a small smile on his lips.

“I thought you wanted to go shopping.”

“Yeah, but you were supposed to go with me, Eiichi-nii!”

Somehow, Eiichi manages to convince her to go ahead with her shopping spree and promises her that he’ll join after he’s done with his tattoo session with Daichi.

Eventually, dinner comes to an end, and Daichi bids his siblings goodbye with a tight hug—he wasn’t actively touchy as a young child, but having the twins around had pretty much changed that, with the way both of them used to hang on his back and shoulders and limbs half the time.

Sora dips her head in a bow towards Suga, smiling as she meets his eyes. “Goodnight, Suga-san! It was nice meeting you,” she says, as he happily returns her grin. “I’ll DM you my Line, I’ve got plenty of amazing photos of Daichi-nii I know you’ll love—”

Eiichi cuts in before Daichi can do anything to salvage what little dignity he still has in front of Suga. “I hope Sora didn’t scare you off of nii-san,” he says gravely, and Suga laughs.

“I don’t know, he’s kind of all bark and very little bite, isn’t he?” he replies, eyes twinkling and Sora cackles as Eiichi’s lips twitch.

“Right, that’s enough,” Daichi interrupts firmly, trying his best to ignore the way Suga breaks into laughter beside him. “You two should be heading off, text me when you get back to the hostel. I’ll see you tomorrow, Eiichi. Sora, if you need any help navigating around town, call me, alright?”

His 17-year-old twin siblings grace him with identical, somewhat exasperated smiles in reply, and Daichi feels inexplicably older at the sight.

“Goodnight, Daichi-nii, Suga-san,” Eiichi says before turning away, and Sora cheerfully waves at them, walking backwards beside her brother. Daichi hears Eiichi say faintly, “You’re gonna walk into a lamp post,” as they walk away, Sora thwacking her brother in the arm in retaliation but surreptitiously looking behind her anyway.

Daichi doesn’t realise how long he’s been staring at them, until he hears Suga shifting beside him.

“I—sorry,” he starts. “I was just…” He trails off, and Suga reaches to take his hand, squeezing it gently.

“You wanna come over to my place for a bit? I promise we wouldn’t be interrupted by any siblings of mine,” he flashes a quick smile that somehow doesn’t reach his eyes, and that’s how Daichi ends up following him home.

There’s little urgency this time compared to last night—Daichi feels content, but oddly unsettled. Suga had been nothing but charming and amazing all night, and yet there were one or two moments when Daichi had caught him staring into the distance, expression unreadable but for the tightening of his lips.

The journey passes in hushed conversations, and before long Daichi’s being led into Suga’s apartment, toeing off his shoes behind him.

“Go ahead and make yourself at home, I’ll get us drinks,” Suga tells him as he heads off into the kitchen, turning on a couple of floor lamps along the way, bathing the hallway in soft warm light. “Water, soda or beer?”

“Just water, thanks,” Daichi replies absently as he takes in Suga’s apartment, carefully heading towards what he thinks is the living room from the last time he’d been here months ago. Not much has changed from what he remembers; there’s a few new throw pillows and a couple of books strewn on one of the beanbags, and he makes his way towards the couch.

Suga reappears a minute later with a glass of water for Daichi, a can of beer in his other hand. As soon as Daichi takes his drink, Suga nestles in beside Daichi, until his head is resting against Daichi’s chest, beer carefully cradled in one hand. Daichi thinks about the weight on him, and wonders how much Suga carries behind those smiles of his.

About half a minute passes before either of them speak. 

“Your siblings are pretty awesome. I wish I was as confident, or as grounded as they are when I was their age.”

Daichi snorts, but he doesn’t stop the small smile on his lips. “They still fuck up from time to time,” he says. “But… Yeah. I—I’m proud of them.”

“You should be,” Suga murmurs. “I wonder if I had siblings, would they have turned out like that too?”

“Were you an only child?”

Suga hums, before taking a couple of gulps from his beer. “Yeah. I… Well. There’s no easy way to say it, but,” he inhales, and Daichi feels his heart constrict when Suga continues quietly, “There wasn’t really much of a chance for siblings after the summer I turned 16.”

Still, he asks. “... What do you mean?”

He waits, as Suga sips his beer for a few long moments, before he reaches to put it on the coffee table and then practically buries himself in Daichi’s side, smaller than Daichi’s ever seen him. He lifts his hand to stroke Suga’s hair, and feels some of the tension leaving him.

“There was… An accident. My parents were walking home from dinner—they both worked late hours and usually I’d join them but I was staying at a friend’s that night,” Suga’s voice is steady but hushed, and Daichi almost doesn’t dare breathe for fear of startling him. “There was—he ran a red light. That was over a decade ago, and I had two aunts who looked after me and they were great, they made sure I could finish high school without having to transfer, but…” He turns to face Daichi, eyes dry and looking almost guilty.

“It took me years to figure out I needed to put down new roots, find a place I could call home again. Sweet Florals was that, but I still… Sometimes I’d look up, and I’d wished on every star I could see for a chance to have just one more dinner with them.”

Neither of them cry in the quiet that follows, but it’s a near thing for Daichi, who puts down his glass and wraps his arms securely around Suga, throat choked up when Suga returns his hold, hands gripping the back of his shirt and breathing shaky. Carefully, he places a few kisses against Suga’s hair, feels him shudder at the touch.

“Thank you for telling me about your family,” Daichi says eventually, his voice hoarse.

“Thank you for bringing me to dinner with yours.”

That night, Daichi lays in Suga’s bed, clad in a borrowed shirt and his pants, and listens to the stories about Suga’s childhood, voices soft and sleep-addled. As he drifts off, surrounded by the scent of Suga’s sheets and his hand resting on Suga’s hip, the last thing he remembers is the utter conviction and failure to deny to himself, the glaringly obvious fact that he’s utterly fallen in love with one Sugawara Koushi.

Chapter Text

“This is probably going to hurt,” Daichi warns as he takes a glance at his brother, laying on his stomach, shirt off and hugging a pillow against his chest.

Eiichi shifts around until he meets Daichi’s careful gaze, lifting his head off the bed. “I’m aware of that,” he says dryly, but adds, “It’s okay, nii-san. I’ll be fine.”

Daichi waits until Eiichi gets comfortable again, holding the tool in his hand steady as he takes one more look at the outline of the tattoo on the back of his brother’s left shoulder, mentally mapping out the route the needle would take on Eiichi’s skin. There’s a slight rustle as Eiichi places his phone before him, arms slightly spread out on his sides, before Daichi hums a soft, “I’ll be starting now, yeah?” and gets an equally placid “alright” in return.

When he places the needle against his brother’s shoulder for the first time, he fully expects the shallow intake of breath, but Eiichi doesn’t flinch other than that, concentrating on the TV series playing on his phone instead after visibly relaxing his body. Aside from the sounds from the phone, it’s quiet as Daichi begins working on the tattoo.

He’d admittedly hesitated when Eiichi had first shown him the design, on account of the amount of detail that would go into it and the pain Eiichi would likely have to bear, but his brother had merely shrugged, smiling gently. “I think it’d be worth it. Sora worked on the actual artwork, but I chose the concept and… It’s pretty me , isn’t it?”

He wasn’t wrong, Daichi muses, as he works on the outline of a row of film reaching halfway down his back, depicting images of various scenery; Daichi even recognises a few of them from a previous life away from the city, with the twins clinging to each arm and barely a thought to where he would be now.

The familiar motions of his hand against skin causes him to fall into the zone not long after, where all that exists is merely him and an empty canvas waiting to be remade into something great, and he can’t help but feel proud that he gets to be a part of something beautiful that his siblings had created together.

After an hour and a half, he pauses, shifting to get rid of a crick in his neck and checks in with Eiichi. “How’re you doing?”

“A little sore,” his brother admits, fidgeting slightly. “But I’m alright. Is there still a lot left to cover?”

Daichi assesses the tattoo, taking note of the finer details he’ll have to go over once the bigger outline is done. “I’m a little more than halfway in, I’d say. Might take about another hour, hour and a half before I’m done.”

Eiichi nods in reply, and settles back in with another video. As Daichi continues working, he hears his crew coming in slowly — Ennoshita throws out a greeting at him and Eiichi, and ensures Kageyama and Tsukishima don’t enter the room bickering as they usually do.

It takes a full three hours before Daichi finally lifts the needle for the last time, carefully letting out a breath as he leans back to take in the full design, unable to stop the pleased smile crossing his face. The skin around the art is reddened from irritation as expected, but Eiichi hadn’t made any sort of complaints throughout the whole session and he’s honestly proud of his little brother — he’s met grown ass men who’d puffed their chests indignantly when Daichi had asked for their pain tolerance level, only to start squealing the moment he’d drawn a line a little longer than an inch.

“We’re good,” he announces, switching off the machine with a flick of his fingers and putting away his equipment on the cart beside him. “Let me help you up so you can take a look for yourself,” Daichi adds, as he places a hand on Eiichi’s arm, carefully pulling him up into a sitting position before letting him walk over to the mirror in the corner.

Daichi would have never thought he’d see that familiar bright grin of someone inexplicably pleased with an artwork he’d placed on their body etched on Eiichi’s face, but his breath hitches as his brother turns to him, shoulders pulled back and lips trembling. 

“It looks amazing, nii-san,” Eiichi says in wonder, and Daichi beams. “I know I asked for it to be a birthday gift,” he continues, a determined slant beginning to appear on his features, “But how much is it?”

“I’m not telling you that, it’s my present,” Daichi frowns, crossing his arms. His brother’s nose wrinkles, enough to betray his slight frustration.

“But this must have cost a lot—”

Daichi shakes his head firmly. “The fact that I could be a part of something like this for you is enough, trust me,” he says, his frown giving way to a small smile. “You could think of it as an incentive for you to get good grades and get a good job so you can pay me next time, if you’d like another one.”

Eiichi raises an eyebrow. “I haven’t thought of getting more than one, though.”

“Then just get good grades,” Daichi replies, even though he knows Eiichi doesn’t need to be told that—he’s on track to be one of the top ten students in grade come graduation, last he’d heard from Sora.

“Alright,” Eiichi finally gives in, and smiles. “Thanks again, nii-san.”

“No worries, kid.”

As he places the plastic film on Eiichi’s shoulder and walks him out into the main area of the parlour, carefully explaining the aftercare procedure, he’s interrupted by Sora’s presence as she immediately bounds up to both of them, her arms laden with numerous shopping bags, almost too many to have been carried by her alone.

“You guys took forever, I’ve been waiting for ages! Yamaguchi-san was nice enough to make sure I wasn’t bored, but that still took way longer than I thought,” she grumbles, but it’s quickly replaced by an expectant look as she begins bouncing on the spot, eyes trained on Eiichi. “Come on, Eiichi-nii, show it, I wanna see!” Daichi takes a moment to mouth a grateful “Thanks,” at Yamaguchi, who replies with a thumbs up and a pleased grin.

“It’s not leaving my body anytime soon, Sora,” Eiichi replies dryly, but complies anyway as he turns to show her his left shoulder, subjecting himself to their sister’s loud, amazement-filled noises.

Sora reaches out her hand, before pausing in her tracks and glancing at both of her brothers. “Wait, is it—is it fine to touch it?”

At Daichi’s nod, she grins wider, and traces her fingers along the outline of the design, mumbling a soft, “This looks so cool, I can’t believe you actually went through this, Eiichi-nii. And it came out so good, Daichi-nii!”

“I can’t believe you raided the entirety of the shopping district,” Eiichi answers, glancing at the shopping bags surrounding her feet. “But thanks.”

Daichi can’t help but agree with his brother, brows furrowed as he takes in all of the bags. “Do you even have space in your luggage for this? How much did okaa-san actually give you for pocket money?”

Sora stands up straighter at her brothers’ words, hands on her hips as she regards them shrewdly. “One more word out of you two about my shopping habits, and I’ll keep everything I bought for you guys to myself, including Suga-san’s stuff.”

“... Sorry, Sora,” both of them chime together, and the storm clouds on her features disappear easily.

“Thanks for keeping Suga in mind, I’m sure he’ll appreciate it,” Daichi adds gratefully. Sora flashes a peace sign in reply, grinning brightly.

Their interaction gets interrupted by Tsukishima, who’s been watching them with Yamaguchi at the counter, the latter giggling quietly at the scene that had unfolded before them. “I wonder, Daichi-san. How the hell did your genes create someone with the temperament of Nishinoya-san and Terushima-san?”

Before Daichi can give a reply, Sora’s eyes widen as she stares at Tsukishima in surprise. “Terushima-san? Blonde with an undercut, thousands of piercings and tattoos, super cute and smart?”

“Super cute?” Daichi grimaces, but doesn’t get a chance to voice out the rest of his opinion, as he’s cut off by Sora again.

“We met him during one of our campus visits yesterday, neh , Eiichi-nii? He was the one giving the tour, and he showed us a lot of cool stuff in the science labs—do you know him too, Daichi-nii?”

Somehow, Kageyama had also wandered in during the conversation, and he answers for Daichi. “Yeah, Daichi-san was his senpai ,” he volunteers sincerely, and Tsukishima snickers as Daichi sighs in defeat.

“That’s enough out of you,” he shoots at the bespectacled menace, who merely pastes on a bored looking expression before slinking away, and he turns towards Sora, weighing his words before saying heavily, “I won’t say anything else about your shopping habits, but I also can’t have ten bags scattered all over the floor of my tattoo parlour’s waiting room.”

“Sure, a couple of them are for you and Suga-san anyway—do you think we could see him before we leave? I’d like to give him my gift,” she smiles, and Daichi’s fifty percent sure it’s bound to be slightly embarrassing, but he can’t help the swell of affection in his chest at the thought of his little sister being so… Nice to his—

Oh. He hasn’t actually asked Suga aloud, has he?

“Yeah. He, uh, Suga actually works across the street,” Daichi says absently, and then immediately regrets it when the twins turn to stare at him with equally perceptive gazes, before their expressions clear at the exact same time.

He’s not been at the end of that particular look in a long way, and he has to hold back a shiver as Sora smirks, while Eiichi’s lips twitch.

“Interesting,” Sora says, dark eyes twinkling, and Eiichi nods beside her.

As much as Daichi loves them, he’s also aware that only bad things will come out of this if he lets them use their odd telepathy thing beyond this point, so he merely crosses his arms and raises an eyebrow at both of them.

“Ooh, I haven’t actually seen the patented Daichi-san Look in a while,” Yamaguchi whispers from across the room, and the twins instantly make noises about going to visit Suga right now , Sora carrying two bags as Eiichi follows her from behind to walk out of the main door of the Crow’s Nest, his hands full with the rest of their sister’s other purchases. Daichi hides a grin as he trails them leisurely, and then leads them across the street to Sweet Florals.

When he opens the door, Hinata’s familiar voice rings out from somewhere in the vicinity. “Hi, welcome to—oh hey, Daichi-san!” Bright orange hair appear from behind a tall potted plant, and Daichi belatedly realises Hinata’s carrying it as his face peeks out around it, smiling at him. “Sorry, let me just,” he mumbles, carefully placing down the pot with a grunt against an empty spot on the wall nearest to the door before straightening up, his gaze sweeping curiously across Daichi’s siblings. “Right! How can I help you guys?”

“Hey Hinata, these are my siblings, Sora and Eiichi,” Daichi introduces them, noting with amusement that Eiichi’s nearly a head taller than Hinata, the former nodding in acknowledgement, while Sora waves enthusiastically with one free hand, the other carrying the shopping bags. “We just wanted to—”

“We’re here to see Suga-san!” Sora cuts him off, and Daichi sighs for the umpteenth time since the two had arrived on his doorstep yesterday morning.

“Sora,” he says heavily, and she flashes him an innocent grin.

“Sorry, but you were taking too long, Daichi-nii. Our arms are about to fall off as it is from carrying these bags. Is Suga-san around, Hinata-san?”

Hinata takes a moment to take them in, before grinning at Daichi knowingly. “Now I get why you’re so good at keeping everything in order at your shop, Daichi-san,” he says brightly, and Sora giggles, Eiichi letting a small smile slip through. “He’s at the back, let me just quickly go and grab him,” Hinata adds, before walking away, and Daichi watches as the twins walk around the shop inquisitively, Sora reaching out for one of the pink roses nearby, while their brother wanders a little further, seemingly fascinated by something resembling a tiny palm tree.

He must have been watching them a little too intently, because he doesn’t hear the footsteps behind him until someone clears their throat and says cheerfully, “Hello again, Sawamuras.”

When he turns around, he feels himself falling as he catches sight of Suga, only to land back on his feet when the other man reaches closer, hand cradling the side of his face as he presses a kiss on Daichi’s cheek. And then he pulls back, and Daichi gets to see this gorgeous man smiling at him with an honest-to-God flower crown nestled in his silver hair.

Vaguely, he recalls a conversation from that morning when he’d woken up in Suga’s bed—

“I have a workshop for some kids later, so I have to head in a little earlier than usual,” Suga had said apologetically, brushing his fingers through Daichi’s hair, even though he hadn’t seemed all that awake himself.

Daichi remembers blinking up at him, trying to come to terms that he’d be left alone in the apartment. “I should—I’ll get up as well then,” he’d replied blearily, a yawn breaking up his words.

“No, stay, I already feel bad for waking you up this early,” Suga frowned, and Daichi had found enough strength to reach up, his mouth clumsily landing on Suga’s chin.

“I’ll walk you out, at least?”

And Suga had relented, and Daichi had gone back to sleep for a couple more hours before leaving for his own apartment, barely aware of what had transpired earlier that morning.

But now, he feels like he should have asked a couple more questions, because Suga in his green apron and a flower crown is heartachingly pretty, and if he could do portraits, he might be tempted to sketch out the vision before him right this instant.

His stupidly cheesy thoughts get interrupted by a gagging noise, and he hears Sora whisper, “Oh God, PDA,” causing Hinata to giggle and heat suffusing both Daichi and Suga’s cheeks.

It doesn’t stop him from flicking glances at the flower crown though. He recognises several daisies woven into it, as well as what looks like baby’s breath and other flowers in muted, pastel colours, and it makes Suga look incredibly fae-like, even with a bit of what looks like dirt streaked across his cheek.

Suga beams at them anyway, despite the flush in his cheeks. “Welcome to Sweet Florals. What brings you guys here?” He directs the question mostly towards the twins, curiosity in his tone.

“We’ve got presents for you!” Sora replies with a smile, carefully patting the flowers she’d been admiring back into place before bounding over, bags rustling by her side. “Eiichi and I are leaving this evening, so we thought it’d be nice to give you something to remember us by,” she adds, squatting down to rummage through the bags.

“Oh, you really didn’t have to—”

“I thought you might have some use out of this, even though it’s hot right now,” Sora interrupts, and brings out a navy blue scarf that admittedly looks nice and soft, but the smirk on her lips tell a different story, glancing between the scarf and the marks peeking out from the collar of Suga’s shirt, still visible after two nights ago.

Sora ducks Daichi’s half-hearted attempt of swatting at her shoulder, as Hinata breaks down howling in laughter behind them. Eiichi’s quiet chuckles are interspersed between his sister’s giggles while Suga fails to hide his own amusement, copper eyes glittering as he keeps his gaze on Sora.

She winks, and then reaches into the bag to pull something else out, and Daichi isn’t sure he can take another joke at their expense at this rate, so he waits in trepidation as she places a small, velvet case on top of the scarf.

“I got you something else too, thought you might like this one better,” she says cryptically, handing the gifts over to Suga.

“You really didn’t have to get me anything, but thank you—” Suga replies, placing the scarf somewhat haphazardly around his neck, before opening the case, but his words trail off as he pulls out a silver necklace with a small, delicate charm that’s as recognizable as the flowers in his hair and the daisy that’s usually tucked behind his ear.

And Daichi watches as his smile grows smaller and shyer, fiddling with the charm for a moment before looking up at Sora. “Thank you,” he says softly, and Sora grins brightly, her own eyes shining.

She breaks the tension between them before it grows uncomfortable, turning around to grab Eiichi’s arm and switches the subject so quickly, it nearly gives Daichi whiplash. “Anyway, while I was shopping, Eiichi-nii here was getting his tattoo done! You should show Suga-san your tattoo!”

“I’m not going to strip in Suga-san’s shop, Sora.”

“No one’s asking you to, just—look, you can just lift one side of your shirt,” and Suga oohs and aahs with complete sincerity as he admires the ink on Eiichi’s back, gaze flicking towards Daichi when the twins tell him who had done the tattoo for Eiichi.

It’s Eiichi who reminds Sora that they need to head back to do some last minute packing, and then Daichi informs them he’ll see the twins off at the train station later.

“You don’t have to, Daichi-nii,” Sora starts to say, but the way she beams at him when Daichi insists tells him that it’d been the right choice. She manages to hand over her own gifts, a nice jacket and a wrist guard, and when Daichi had looked at her questioningly, she huffs, and says clumsily, “I read that tattoo artists could get really bad aches in your wrists and fingers, so maybe this might help,” and he pulls her in for a quick hug of gratitude before waving the twins off from the front of Suga’s shop.

When he turns back to look at the florist, he’s not sure where Hinata had gone, but he can’t find it in him to question it, not when Suga looks at him like he can’t believe Daichi’s right here, and it makes him step forward, until he’s right in Suga’s space. There’s a stillness between them in the wake of Sora’s boundless energy and Eiichi’s quiet presence, and Daichi finds himself feeling slightly off-kilter because of it.

He thinks Suga might feel the same way, because his voice is barely louder than a whisper when he waggles his eyebrows and says, “Hi there. Again.”

It makes him snort, ducking his head in response to Suga’s dorky (adorable) self. When he lifts his head, his gaze catches on the flower crown. “Was this for your workshop?” he asks curiously as he reaches to tug gently at one of the leaves in the wreath.

Suga nods, nearly displacing the flower crown. “We had a contingent of tiny humans this morning, and I was getting around to clean up when you Sawamuras showed up.”

“Whoops,” he says sheepishly, but Suga shakes his head, smiling.

“It’s fine,” he answers firmly, still clutching the necklace, scarf draped around his neck. “I can show you some of the stuff we were doing with the kids, if you like.”

And Daichi knows he should probably get back to work, but there’s no appointment scheduled for him today aside from Eiichi’s, so he nods, reaching for Suga’s other hand. “Yeah, I’d… I’d like that.”

The backroom is about half the size of the main area of the shop, with a large table taking up most of the space in the middle of the room. The walls are lined with greenery of all shapes and sizes, blocking out most of the sunlight streaming into the area save for one large window towards the back of the room. The table itself is filled with obvious remnants of the workshop, with bright flowers, arts and craft supplies littered on top of it.

“Seemed like a lot of fun,” Daichi comments, reaching for a stalk of pink carnations as he leans against the table, and Suga lights up, toying with his own flower crown as he nods eagerly.

“It was, I mean, the kids all went home with a couple of flower crowns of their own and their parents bought a bouquet or two,” and Daichi listens attentively as Suga tells him stories about the kids who’d come by earlier that morning, all bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and endlessly curious. Suga’s smile as he talks about the children stirs something inside Daichi that he knows he’s not ready to look at, but he keeps the feeling tucked in the corner of his mind, nodding along, until Suga’s words trail off, hands now absently playing with the flowers laid on the table.

“It’s just… It’s nice to see them having fun like that,” he finishes with a shrug, smiling at Daichi and he’s so, so helpless against the draw of this man it’s stupid how much he already loves him.

The thought causes him to push up against the table, walking over to Suga until he’s close enough to reach for the flower crown in his hair again, unable to resist himself from stroking the little daisies in the wreath.

“Daichi?” Suga whispers, eyes getting a little crossed as he tries to keep his gaze on Daichi.

“You look cute like this,” Daichi says simply, fingers now trailing down the length of Suga’s hair.

A beat passes. “Just cute?” Suga shoots back, but the flush in his cheeks gives him away, even as he’s smirking at Daichi.

“Very cute,” Daichi amends, and does the cheesiest thing he can think of, placing a kiss on the tip of Suga’s nose.

Somehow he manages to restrain himself from laughing as Suga’s eyes truly cross, moving instead to brush his lips against Suga’s temple, and whispers with so much ridiculous awe and adoration, “You’re absolutely beautiful.”

When he pulls back to meet Suga’s eyes, they’re visibly watery, a splotch of pink across the bridge of his nose as he frowns at Daichi.

“That was way too smooth, Sawamura,” he gripes, but the frown melts into a shaky grin and it hides none of the fondness in his expression, and Daichi feels bowled over with affection for this man.

“It’s easy when it’s you,” he replies sincerely, and gets a smack to his shoulder, before Suga pulls him for a deep, needy kiss that leaves them both slightly breathless, Suga’s arms around Daichi’s neck and it ends all too briefly for his liking.

Eventually, he does get back to work, and suffers the inevitable teasing from his crew, Ennoshita calling out, “You have the absolute worst case of heart eyes right now, cap,” as Tsukishima and Yamaguchi snicker behind the safety of the counter.

Six in the evening later finds him at the train station, looking out for his siblings and grimacing when he catches sight of Sora trying to stuff yet one more shopping bag into her suitcase, Eiichi helping to keep the suitcase steady with an eternally-suffering expression. He jogs over to them, shaking his head when he hears his sister swearing colourfully under her breath.

“I really don’t know if either you or Eiichi can lift that,” Daichi points out, and the twins look up at him at the same time.

“Hi, nii-san,” Eiichi greets him, still crouched on the ground beside Sora, who flashes him a grin before going back to her task, and says, “I’ll consider it as strength training,” through gritted teeth, as Eiichi sighs heavily. Miraculously, she manages to wedge it in, yelping, “ Yes , okay—just hold it down, Eiichi-nii, I gotta zip it up—” and somehow the suitcase doesn’t immediately burst open, staying closed as she drags the zip around.

Daichi wonders what kind of strength training they’re doing now in his old high school when Sora pulls the luggage up with a tiny grunt, her smile fierce and triumphant. “Told you I could do it,” she scoffs at her twin, and Eiichi only shrugs.

Instantly, Daichi thinks he already misses them, but he pushes it aside for the time being and says, “Come on, I’ll walk you to the gate,” and gets them to confirm that they indeed have their tickets and all of their belongings, Eiichi answering his questions with a little huff, Sora’s smile fond and exasperated.

They stop just before the turnstiles, and Daichi waits for them to turn around to look at him, his throat a little hoarse when he meets their eyes. A part of him will always see them as the clingy, rambunctious toddlers they were once upon a time, and his thoughts turn wistful when he realises how much of their teenage years he’s missed.

He doesn’t tell them any of that, though. “Thanks for popping by, you two,” he says instead. “Take care of yourselves, alright?”

This time, Sora doesn’t wait for him to open his arms, and he’s knocked back by the force of her grip around him, and he hugs her tighter for it.

“Thanks for looking out for us, Daichi-nii,” she murmurs against his shoulder, sounding too much like she’s six again, her voice thick with emotion. “You look after Suga-san too, okay?”

A huff leaves him, but he readily agrees. “I will,” and then Sora steps aside to give Eiichi a chance to hug their elder brother farewell, Daichi carefully holding him around the uninked shoulder.

“Thanks again for doing my tattoo, Daichi-nii,” he says softly, and Daichi clutches him closer, wonders how to tell him how brave and strong he’d been throughout the entire thing.

“You’re welcome, kid,” he replies anyway, and releases him, looking at both of them with something akin to pride.

“All the best for your third year,” Daichi grins, and adds pointedly, “Next time, give me a heads up if you’re coming to town.”

Sora rolls her eyes, her smile filled with an all-too-familiar-mischief. “Next time, watch my IG stories,” she retorts.

“The train’s leaving in ten minutes, we should go now. We’ll see you soon, nii-san,” Eiichi says with a nod, and Sora squeezes in a quick selfie with all three of them before she gets dragged by her twin as she calls out, “I’ll send it to you later, Daichi-nii! Bye! Tell Suga-san we said bye too!”

Daichi lifts his hand in a wave, and waits until they disappear out of sight before he leaves. As he walks out of the station, he thinks about the fact that Eiichi is inked now, just like him, how Sora’s only grown more boisterous and capable, shouldering the same captainship burden he had a decade ago, and he resolves to keep in touch with them more.

On the way home as he’s riding the bus, he gets a text from Sora as promised, and it’s the picture they’d taken together. He doesn’t bother to hide his grin as he takes his fill of the image, his and Sora’s smiles unmistakably their mother’s, Eiichi’s peace sign a copy of Sora’s own. He uploads it on his own social media, tags both of them in the picture and simply captions it as, “They told me they ran away from home so I sent them back.”

He puts his phone away, but his thoughts about the twins growing up somehow manage to push him into a restless state for the rest of the ride, and when he gets home all he can think about is the one person who might be able to listen to him. He swipes his screen to glance at his notifications, snorting at Sora’s comment of, “Daichi-nii you didn’t even edit the photo omg” before going to his contacts, settled down on his couch.

Suga doesn’t take long to answer his phone, and Daichi’s thoughts are still muddled, but his shoulders already feel a little lighter when he hears Suga’s voice. “Hey there,” Suga greets him. “Have your siblings left already?”

“Mm,” he replies, tilting his head back. “They told me to say goodbye to you too,” he adds, remembering Sora’s words.

A noise that sounds like contentment reaches his ears, and Suga replies, “It was nice meeting them, even if my first impression wasn’t the best.”

Daichi snorts. “That was through no fault of your own.”

“Mmm, maybe I shouldn’t have encouraged you to go so hard on my neck,” Suga teases, voice low and sultry, and he swallows as the memory of Suga with hair mussed, throat dark with the bruises from Daichi’s mouth appears in his mind, and it takes him a couple of seconds to reorient himself, sighing into the phone.

Suga continues talking, as if he wasn’t the sole reason why Daichi’s finding it difficult to bring his mind back to safe grounds, and says, “You know, it was pretty easy to tell how much they look up to you, Daichi. It was really… Lovely to see.”

Heat suffuses his cheeks for an entirely different reason now, and he’s glad Suga isn’t around to see him. “I wasn’t around much after I left for university,” he deflects. “But yeah, they are pretty cool, if a little bit reckless, heh.”

Suga’s giggle rings in his ear, before it trails off. “It’s also nice that they… How accepting they were, of me.”

“I tried my best to show them that love is love when I was still at home,” Daichi shares quietly, dredging up old memories from long ago, of teenage crushes and looking at both girls and boys with the same, rose-coloured filter. “And I… I’m happy they got to meet you, too,” he breathes, unsure why he’s still so anxious, after all the time they’ve spent together ever since their friendship transcended into something new. “You… I’m glad they could see how happy my boyfriend makes me.”

There’s a sharp intake of breath. “Is that the first time you’ve called me that?”

Daichi winces, chewing on the inside of his cheek before he answers, “... Are you okay with that? Or I could—”

“No! I… I’m, I like that,” Suga hurriedly cuts him off, and the sheer panic in his voice causes Daichi to let loose a laugh, the other man joining him a second later, and the anxiety that had been slowly creeping in vanishes all at once.

Their laughter eventually trails off, and Daichi picks up the conversation from before, reminiscing about his family’s reactions when he’d told them about his sexuality.  “My parents — they still don’t get most of it, but we’ve come far enough that these things don’t really rattle them anymore.”

There’s a contemplative hum on the other end, and then, “Tell me more about your parents.”

It startles a laugh out of Daichi, and he asks, perplexed, “Are you sure?”

“Yeah. Tell me how they’re like, how they were with all three of you growing up,” Suga says, and the soft curiosity in his voice reminds Daichi too much of last night, both of them clutching at each other’s arms as Suga talks about how his mother couldn’t stand spicy food, but made it anyways because he and his father had liked it, so Daichi caves in easily.

He tells stories about his well-meaning, heart-in-the-right-place but helplessly oblivious parents, his energetic mother and his quiet, steady father. He finds himself talking through quiet laughter about the big fight he’d had with them when he dropped out of medical school, and the smaller, confusion-riddled discussion they had when Daichi came out to them in his second year of high school.

Daichi lulls Suga to sleep with his words, soft murmurs turning into soft snores, and he can’t help but spare a thought to wonder how they would sound like if Suga was beside right beside him, instead of through the crackle of the phone.

 

**

Four months later...

**

 

In December, Daichi tells Kageyama that his one-year internship is up, and he doesn’t know how much else he can teach the younger man at this rate. But when he proposes the idea of Kageyama finding a permanent position somewhere else, because, “You’re incredibly talented, and I think you’d excel anywhere,” the other man had shaken his head, frowning seriously.

“But I like this place best, though. Can I just… Stay?”

Daichi blinks, and grins at him. “‘Course you can.” (He doesn’t tear up, but it’s a near thing.)

It’s this memory that comes to mind, a few weeks later when he’s sat in his own tattoo bed, the one normally reserved for clients, as Kageyama places the needle against his wrist, brows furrowed as he focuses on his task.

It has been a while since he’d felt the sensation of a tattoo being inked on his skin, but he relaxes into it soon enough, glancing over at Kageyama’s work every now and then. Ennoshita comes in halfway through, and he carries on a conversation about the shop’s opening hours during the holiday season, ensuring that their social media is updated to let people know that they’re off for the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Less than two hours, Kageyama’s wiping off the little droplets of blood on Daichi’s skin, and then examines it critically, long fingers gripping his wrist carefully, before a smile breaks across his face.

It’s elated, proud and awkwardly endearing, the way it doesn’t sit quite right on his features, and Daichi can’t help but grin along.

“I’m done,” Kageyama says simply, leaning back in his seat. Daichi takes a moment to fully grasp the design—he’d left the younger man to his creative vision for the most part, only letting him know the main concept he’d had in mind for the art, and he couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

“This looks awesome,” Daichi compliments him, resisting the urge to trace the ink. “I like the faint hue of red in the shadowing, too.”

Kageyama nods, and Daichi watches as his gaze flicks towards Daichi’s other arm. “I thought it’d make for a more appealing combination, visually,” he explains, before getting up to get the clear wrap.

Daichi waits until Kageyama’s wrapping up the new tattoo before he says, “Thanks again for doing this, especially since you didn’t have any other clients today.”

“I don’t mind,” Kageyama answers, blunt and honest, but Daichi sees the tips of his ears turning pink, and he steers the conversation away before either of them could melt from embarrassment.

“Did you have any plans for tonight?” he asks instead, and Daichi sees the smile from before returning as he nods slowly.

“Dinner with… With Hinata. He wanted to cook dinner but I convinced him to get reservations instead,” Kageyama shares and Daichi hides a wince—he remembers Suga had been partially responsible for the last time Hinata’s microwave had nearly caught on fire, even though both of them weren’t all that terrible at cooking; they were just… Needlessly creative. “What about you, captain?”

At Kageyama’s words, he glances down at his new tattoo before smiling widely. “Nothing exciting, just dinner too, I think.”

He ends up closing shop around four in the afternoon, shooing the rest of his crew out of the Crow’s Nest and replying to Yamaguchi’s and Ennoshita’s cheerful goodbyes of “Merry Christmas, captain!” with his own holiday greetings. Tsukishima also lifts his hand in a half-hearted wave, while Kageyama nods earnestly before he’s off, presumably to meet Hinata. It leaves Daichi with some time to clean up before he locks up the place, but instead of heading up to his apartment, he grabs the jacket Sora had given him months ago and walks down the street to the nearby bakery to pick up the cake he’d reserved a week ago, and gets on the bus heading towards Suga’s apartment.

The streets are busy enough that it takes him longer than usual to reach Suga’s, but when he’s finally standing before the front door, he pauses, glancing down at his wrist, covered by the jacket. He hasn’t told Suga about it, but he thinks this could be a Christmas present for both of them, if all goes well. He’s certainly attached to it already, at least. With that thought in mind, he steels himself, and lets himself in, calling out, “I’m here!” to announce his presence, senses immediately assaulted by the aroma of something delicious and a little too spicy.

There’s a rustling in the apartment, before Suga pokes his head out of the kitchen doorway, his usual work apron replaced by the white one he uses at home as he replies, “ Okaeri! Dinner’s almost ready—you got the dessert, right?”

Daichi lifts up the box containing the cake, and Suga beams at him in thanks before disappearing back in the kitchen.

He ends up taking off his jacket, the sleeves of his sweater pulled down despite the heat blasting through the apartment before heading to the kitchen, where his boyfriend is humming along to a Christmas song playing on his phone, swaying from side to side.

For weeks Daichi had debated the different ways he could reveal the new ink he’d thought of after one month of knowing the other man, but as Suga belts out a passionate rendition of “All I want for Christmas is you,” with his voice cracking slightly at the edges, absolutely goofy and endearing as hell, he’s suddenly overcome with impatience.

“Hey Suga,” Daichi says, as he walks closer to him, fiddling with his sleeve. “I wanna show you something.”

“Give me a sec,” Suga says distractedly, eyes still keeping watch on the pot he’s stirring, but turning his body to face Daichi. There’s a flash of silver, and Daichi recognises the necklace that had adorned his neck ever since the twins had crashed into Suga’s life. “What is it?”

Daichi swallows—there’s suddenly not enough air, as he pulls up his sleeves discreetly and waits until Suga switches off the stove and finally glances at him, eyes narrowed in a mixture of curiosity and concern.

“Daichi?”

And he thinks breathing is still a little too hard, but he lifts up his right arm anyway, wrist and forearm facing Suga, his entire limb visibly trembling. He watches closely as Suga’s expression morphs from confusion, to surprise and then—

Oh ,” slips out of his mouth, absolutely filled with tearful, overwhelming understanding, as Suga blinks rapidly, his hand a breath away from Daichi’s arm. “I… Can I touch it?” he murmurs, and Daichi nods.

It’s the faintest touch against his skin, as Suga traces the newly etched cluster of daisies on his wrist. It’s a stark comparison to the black and red ink on his other arm, almost at odds with each other, but still gorgeous, and they look almost too delicate in contrast, but the red shadowing makes them look bolder and more resilient despite how they’d looked at first—almost like Suga, really.

When it’s clear that Suga’s rendered speechless, Daichi clears his throat, drawing his boyfriend’s attention, fingers still on the new ink.

“I—I know it’s probably too early to think ahead,” he begins quietly, earnestly, “But I wanted something permanent to remind me of you every day. Koushi, you,” and his voice breaks a little as tears start to streak down Suga’s cheeks at the sound of his first name on Daichi’s lips, “You have truly been a gift in my life, and I love you. So much,” he whispers fiercely, and reaches out with his other hand to cup Suga’s cheek, unheeding of the wetness against his palm as Suga’s entire body shudders, moving in closer until he’s leaning his forehead against Suga’s. “Do you like it?” he asks after a moment, and he can’t help the slight hint of fear, even as he feels Suga’s hands clutching at his shoulders.

“You asshole , I love it, I love you so much, fuck,” Suga hiccups through his sobs, and Daichi is so, so grateful to have the privilege of seeing Suga’s ugly crying face, nose scrunched up and mouth twisted in a frown. He can’t help but grin at the sight, and presses kiss after fond kiss on Suga’s cheeks, nose, forehead, lips, until Daichi feels his breathing becomes a little steadier in his hold.

He doesn’t know how long they stand in the kitchen like that, dinner steadily growing cold, but eventually Suga pulls back slightly until their gazes meet, and Daichi thinks he could stand like this forever, just to have Suga look at him with unbearable warmth and affection, all for him.

“This means you’re stuck with me, you know,” Suga threatens, his voice hoarse and painfully adoring, “No take backs.”

And Daichi grins, pressing one last kiss on his lips. “Wouldn’t trade it for anything else.”