with soft pillows
with tender lips
― Sanober Khan
The softest–he’d had a fixation of putting lotion on his hands. It was strange, because he didn’t need it. not when his hands were beautifully callused like any setter’s hands that were worth their wild would be. and long. He had the longest fingers, longer than his own. They would stretch each other, and pull, tight like a wrench to a bolt. over and over they would tug until all the lotion previously built up would wear and he’d have to pull out more. From that small bottle he kept in his bag, right with the equally sized bottle of hand sanitizer.
Hands, bony and strong; nails filed for prime setting state. He remembered how with the smallest push those hands could give him everything .
How they also took some of that away.
A hand holding onto his, after high-school graduation, followed by the softest whisper of “you’ll do amazing.”
And he hadn’t understood, in that one moment, why the other’s eyes had appeared disconsolate; why the usually dark green flashed a steel grey. Why there was an uncomfortable pressure in his chest, and words he should have said but didn’t quite know yet how to say them.
He thinks now, after a well fought game years since he’d last since those green-grey eyes, that he’d do anything to release the pressure of his chest. No spike since highschool had felt quite the same as it had then, not when he’d already had the perfect setter. The perfect friend, the perfect–
He shook his head a bit at that, letting water from a bottle pour down his throat, trying to clear the ball of tightness growing. All around him the sounds of a finished and won game were at their peak. Team members were laughing, bumping shoulders and slapping his back. They’d already bowed to the other team, the crowds were still going crazy with excitement, even for the side that had lost.
His body was blissfully sore, signs of hard work that definitely needed to be stretched out after a hot shower. Sweat was turning cold on the back of his neck, dripping and causing his shirt to cling to his chest and back. His kneepads sure were going to be hard to pull off as well as the rest when they could finally make it to the showers.
Hinata and Atsumu were nearby poking fun at each other. Bokuto knew that yes, sometimes he could be overdramatic but that was nothing compared to having both Miya Atsumu, Hinata Shouyou and Sakusa Kiyoomi all on one team. Together. Constantly egging at the other’s personalities.
“You’d die before you ever won an arm-wrestling match with him,” Atsumu drawled, taking a seat on the bench.
Hinata visibly puffed up, “I would not! All I’d have to do–”
Their assistant coach cleared her throat from nearby.
“Bokuto-kun,” she started. “There’s an interviewer here from Monthly Volleyball. We went ahead and approved it for you. You can make it short and head to the showers after.”
Bokuto tilted his head thoughtfully. Monthly Volleyball typically did interviews with the whole team in a more formal setting, and left some of the after-game things to other news and sports outlets. They had a contract with the teams, so they were always a shoo-in for interviews unlike some of the other companies and magazines that seemed to be crawling towards the team’s public relations team.
“Hey! Isn’t that Akaashi-san?” Hinata called from nearby. “Akaashi-san!”
Atsumu whipped around, quick. Hinata was in full form to bound off but Atsumu pulled at the back of his jersey until the orange haired man sat. The two of them simultaneously swiveled to Bokuto, watching the man carefully. Bokuto slowly turned, and in a slow sweep he looked to the tunnel where they had entered for the game. By the doors that lead towards the locker-rooms–
A man, tall and gracile but broad still. Dark hair and hooded green eyes–he knew they would be green, they had to be today. Not that steel blue, almost grey they had been four years ago. This was a viridescent picked from a garden planted for royalty. Familiar hands clasped in front of himself, pulling at white knuckles.
Hands, hands, hands; pale, milky-white.
Light . The pressure, the rocks clogging his lungs and the air refusing to escape rushed in. The world narrowed, and the spotlight he’d held on his team for the game closed. The same light opened on him and all he could see was a star.
The brightest star the galaxy had ever given him was standing less than seven meters away–brighter than Sirius and Polaris combined. It was as if the two stars had collided. As if they’d pulled at one another until their gravitation had swallowed them into one. The universe, the world, all the eyes that had been watching him during the game vanished. He was momentarily blinded by this one star.
“‘Kashi?” Bokuto whispered.
The man opened his mouth, a small smile gracing his lips. Before he could say anything–
A collision. Two neutron stars merging, begging, itching to go supernova after an eternity of rotation. Round, all around. That’s what it had been in highschool and he wanted it, craved. He thinks the two of them both had. The future then had been impossible, looming on the horizon like an ill omen presented by a raven, but here, now–surrounded by nothing but themselves, when he has the words. He’d working up to saying them for years, wishing and hoping that someday.
The universe had never been particularly kind to him. Not until Akaashi Keiji joined his highschool volleyball team, years ago.
With all the pressure slowly released from his body, he wraps strong arms around Akaashi. Underneath his palms Akaashi’s deep breath pulled, crashed and fell like waves into his own. He pressed his nose, head, his entire being into the other man’s neck where his pulse continued to thrum.
Here, here, here.
Akaashi’s own body caved forward into Bokuto’s, like it was meant to. Like their pieces had been whole, but they were a stellar collision with a wave that would ripple across the galaxy and the universe for the rest of time.
Akaashi’s fist clenched the back of Bokuto’s damp jersey, seemingly ignoring the sweat by touch and scent. The man’s chest rose in another deep breath, his nose nudging underneath Bokuto’s ear. His skin was warm, and his breath even hotter as he let out a soft whisper, “Bokuto-san. You did amazingly.”
He smelt familiar and different–of black camomile tea and air salonpas. His dark wisps of hair tickled Bokuto’s nose, but they were soft strands waking up his spirit.
“Akaashi,” he said back, after he felt like the man wasn’t going to turn to dust in his fingers. “I–”
He pulled back until he could look over the man, from head to toe but still remain in the same space. He was in grey pants, fitted over long legs trimmed likely with muscle, as well as a white shirt and a long black cardigan. But his face–
His face had lost whatever remaining round softness laid in his cheeks, turned to sharp angles. Red colored the skin under his eyes, drawing attention to the green of his irises. Green. Dark, bright, everything in between. His eyes twinkled, shifting like wind blowing through grass blades in a plain.
Bokuto couldn’t help but place his hands on the other’s face, thumbing at his cheeks. Gazing at those green eyes down to red, plush and chapped lips. Akaashi’s own hands had settled on Bokuto’s hips, near his lower back, where he could feel his fingers twiddling with the jersey fabric.
Years. He’d wanted this moment for years but now all he could do was stare at the man who’d grown up. The man who had changed but felt the same still. All of his chemical makeup was written in the same way, and and the gravition created just for their binary star system was only aching more.
Akaashi opened his mouth again, but Bokuto hurried forward, words taking over.
“Go out with me?” He asked, eyes wide and pleading, wanting. “Please?”
Akaashi blinked a couple times, startled, before red blossomed across his face. Deep rose colors settled down his cheeks, past his neck. “Bokuto-san, I–”
“Anywhere. As long as it’s with you. Anywhere with you ‘Kaashi.”
The dark haired man tilted his head, hair shifting on his head. His gaze passed over Bokuto’s features, through his eyes, down his nose and to his lips. He briefly nibbled on lips, only for Bokuo to brush a calloused thumb over the reddening skin.
If it were possible, Akaashi’s face grew brighter in color. A smile grew on his features–small before widening into a grin.
Light. A star. Bokuto’s star.
“Anywhere with you, Bokuto-san.”