Their off season begins immediately after the closing ceremony of the playoffs, just in time for the blooming of Osaka’s cherry blossoms. While everyone else books and boards planes and trains to get back to their loved ones, Atsumu packs his stuff, hauls it up four floors to a new apartment, and picks a fight with his boyfriend over closet space.
“The problem is,” he starts, but Sakusa’s already abandoned him in the bedroom—their bedroom—in favor of somewhere quieter, like the kitchen (their kitchen) or the balcony (their balcony), so Atsumu raises his voice and tries again: “WHY DO YOU HAVE SO MANY JACKETS, OMI-OMI?”
Sakusa appears again in the doorway and pins him with an unimpressed look. His arms are curled under a cardboard box that’s overstuffed with cleaning supplies, and the corded muscles of his forearms look good enough to bite. He’s pulled his bangs back with the stupid, cutesy hairclips Natsu shyly gave him after their last game. His feet are bare. The sight of him, horrifying toes and all, makes Atsumu want to throw something.
Is it weird to love someone so much you piss yourself off?
He grimaces, carefully packs away that question and the risk of self-awareness that goes with it, and hauls an armful of jackets—hangers and all—off the rack (their rack) to shake them emphatically in Sakusa’s direction.
“What is this?” he demands. “Would it kill ya to cycle through, like, five a’these instead of hoardin’em all?”
Sakusa manages to look even less impressed. He says, “I’m going to remember this conversation when we get started on the bathroom.”
A year and some change into this relationship of theirs—and ten years into whatever it was that came before—Atsumu knows him well enough to know he means it. He puts the jackets back.
Conceding the lion’s share of their closet space to Sakusa’s shopping addiction means that Atsumu’s forced to roll up his t-shirts and sweats and pack them like sardines into the small, three-drawer dresser next to the window. He stares for a long time at the contents of the top drawer: his socks next to Sakusa’s socks and his underwear next to Sakusa’s underwear. It’s strangely sobering. Neither of them know how to fold this stuff, so it’s all been tossed in and pushed to one side or the other—Atsumu’s to the left, Sakusa’s to the right.
Eventually he tears himself away to shove a box full of his shoes to the back of the closet. It’ll end up torn apart later at—knowing his luck—the most inconvenient time possible, but he’s decided not to worry about that. It can be a problem for future Atsumu.
For now he wanders out into the living room where Sakusa, now wearing a face mask, is running a duster over the curtain rods. He takes one look at Atsumu, and his eyebrows do something complicated.
He says, “Unpack your shoes or you’re sleeping on the couch.”
“I was gettin’ to it,” Atsumu lies, “yeesh.”
So he goes back to the bedroom, drops onto the bare mattress, stares at the ceiling, and thinks some more about his socks next to Sakusa’s socks, his underwear next to Sakusa’s underwear. It’s weird. The more he thinks about it, the more his fingers twitch. He wants to break something.
From the other room, Sakusa warns, “Sumu.”
Atsumu gets up and slams the door.
Late that night—well past the time they’d both be asleep if this weren’t the off season and if Sakusa hadn’t been hellbent on getting everything unpacked today—Atsumu climbs up onto the counter next to the bathroom sink to he brushes his teeth and kicks his feet. Sakusa sighs, casts a dirty look his way, and says nothing. This usually means the obvious (that he’s annoyed) and also the unfathomable (that he likes Atsumu enough to endure it anyway).
Atsumu decides to push his luck.
Through a mouthful of toothpaste, he asks, “Do you regret it yet?”
Sakusa tests the water coming out of the faucet and says nothing. He’s six steps into his ten-step skincare routine and the center of his forehead is especially shiny; Atsumu briefly entertains the fantasy of planting a wet, minty kiss right there just to see his expression twist with fury.
“Omi,” he whines, toothpaste smearing at the corners of his mouth. “Omi-Omi, Omi-Omi, Omi-Omi—”
He’s just hitting his stride when Sakusa reaches up and pinches his cheeks between one big, calloused hand. “Will you shut up,” he grits out, a vein near his temple twitching.
Atsumu’s heart swells. He wants to spend the rest of his life pissing Sakusa Kiyoomi off.
“Can I spit?” he tries to ask though it comes out so garbled he barely understands himself.
Sakusa considers him for a beat before retracting his hand and jerking his chin in a curt nod. Atsumu curls sideways and spits as close to the running stream of water as possible; then he scoops some water into his palms, gargles it, and spits that too.
“I’m living with an animal,” Sakusa sighs.
“That sounds like a personal problem,” says Atsumu while wiping his lips with the back of his hand.
He doesn’t move from his perch on the counter; Sakusa doesn’t ask him to.
The last step of the skin care routine involves a rose water sheet mask. While Sakusa busies himself digging it out of the cabinet, Atsumu shoves his hands under the lukewarm water and sets to work cleaning his hands thoroughly—including an aggressive scrubbing of his fingernails with a little red brush that now lives next to a yellow one in a cup by the faucet.
“Gimme,” he says when he’s finished, fingers waggling.
Sakusa hands him the opened sheet mask and tips his chin up obligingly, his gaze as dark and arresting as ever. Then he closes his eyes. His eyelashes become long, dark shadows against the pale peaks of his cheeks, and it renders his whole face somehow—impossibly—prettier than before.
Atsumu’s breath catches painfully in his chest. He’s moved in with a beautiful bastard, and he’s not sure he’ll ever get used to looking at him let alone living with him.
Desperate to take his mind off the tightness in his chest, he unfolds the sheet and gently—more gently than he thought himself capable this time last year—lines it up and presses it to Sakusa’s face until it’s flush to his skin, not an air pocket in sight. His thumb lingers for a moment longer over the beauty marks on his forehead.
“Gross,” he says.
He pulls his hand back and sniffs his fingers; they smell, as expected, of rose water. It’s something he’s come to associate so deeply with Sakusa that he can’t bring himself to say anything snide about it.
How the heck did he end up so whipped? Osamu’d be laughin’ his tail off to see him now: Atsumu cupping Sakusa’s jaw between his palms and starin' down at his pretty face just for the sake of it.
“My neck hurts,” Sakusa complains, tone flat.
Atsumu considers this with a hum. “Don’t care,” he decides
The corner of Sakusa’s mouth curves ever so slightly upward, and Atsumu loves that curve so much he’s tempted to kiss it through the mask. Whipped, whipped, whipped. He draws his hands back and slips off of the counter instead.
“Do you need me on the couch tonight?” he asks.
Sakusa goes still and stays quiet, and Atsumu lingers near the door to wait him out.
Eventually he says, “Let’s try the bed first.”
Atsumu raps his knuckles on the doorframe in acknowledgement and leaves the room.
The bed was Sakusa’s before it was theirs, before Atsumu started showing up freshly-showered at all hours of the night to crawl between the sheets and selfishly leech his boyfriend’s body warmth. These days, it’s just as strange and wonderful to be allowed and welcome as it was back then.
Sakusa sleeps on his back like a vampire; Atsumu always falls asleep on his stomach and ends up on his side at some point through the night. Their elbows or knees might brush, but this is the only place Atsumu deliberately reduces himself, drawing in where he’d normally, instinctually sprawl out.
Sometimes Sakusa will reach for him and pull one of Atsumu’s arms across his chest or drag one of his thighs over his own, and sometimes his hands will linger there—touching him without any intent beyond the simple luxury of feeling skin against skin.
Tonight, Sakusa closes his eyes, wrings his hands together in the middle of his chest, and breathes deeply through his nose and out his mouth. They mostly expected this, but it’s still disconcerting.
“Want me to grab a mask for ya?” Atsumu eventually asks—voice a whisper, arms curled under his pillow, eyelids heavy with exhaustion. He’s too stubborn to let himself sleep when Sakusa looks so uncomfortable, otherwise he’d have been out like a light half an hour ago.
Sakusa’s brows do that complicated thing again. “I live here now,” he bites out. “I have to get used to it eventually.”
Stubborn bastard. Atsumu rolls off the mattress and pads across the room to retrieve a mask. Then he hesitates only for a moment before climbing back into bed and straddling Sakusa’s hips over the covers.
This was a revelation for them both when they discovered it by accident months ago: the physical weight of Atsumu sometimes shields Sakusa from the storm that likes to rage inside him.
Now, trying to exude calm and stability as best he can, he looks down to study Sakusa’s face. His eyes are wet and shiny, dark and unfocused. Shit.
He says, “Hey,” in a voice that’s much softer than he intends. Sakusa’s breath hitches, and it sounds damp. Atsumu repeats, “Hey,” with more force, and this time it must connect because Sakusa jerks a little and looks at him, really looks at him. “Lift your head up. I’m gonna put yer mask on for ya since you can’t.”
Sakusa lifts his head, and after a moment his hands curl over Atsumu’s hips. Sounding furious, he insists, “I have to get used to it.”
“Yer gonna.” Atsumu snaps the strap of the mask over the dark, shorn hair at the back of Sakusa’s head which earns him a familiar glare. Good. “But clearly it ain’t happenin’ tonight. Try again tomorrow.”
Sakusa rolls his eyes. His fingers tighten on Atsumu’s hips, and after a few minutes his breaths starts to sound steadier.
A few minutes later, Atsumu offers, “Want me to go to the couch?”
He gets no answer. On closer inspection, Sakusa’s already asleep. At some point his thumbs slipped under Atsumu’s shirt to press against the jut of his hip bones, the only skin to skin contact between them.
Atsumu watches him sleep for a long time. Long enough that he wouldn’t be able to fault anyone if they called him creepy for it. It’s just—how can he not? Sakusa Kiyoomi is as unknowable as he is untouchable, yet here Atsumu is knowing him and touching him and aching with love for him.
It’s his turn to take a damp breath. He wants to put his fist through the wall.
Instead he murmurs, “What’re you doin’ to me, Omi-kun?”
He wakes up with his face pressed to Sakusa’s shoulder—his lips smeared against the line of his collarbone—drooling on the hollow of his throat.
“Oh, gross,” he complains, voice rough, and Sakusa makes a sound that means I heard that because I’m awake and I agree.
Atsumu pushes himself up and squints down at him; Sakusa looks up through heavily-lidded eyes and says nothing. He’s not wearing his face mask and he doesn’t look angry which—good. Atsumu’s not in the mood for an argument yet.
“Mornin’,” he says. “Whatcha want for breakfast? I’m thinkin’ eggs.”
Sakusa says, “There’s a cat on the dresser.”
It’s such a strange and unfathomable thing that Atsumu needs a full minute to process it. Then he turns gingerly to squint at the dresser and—sure enough—a cat with no tail is standing there, poised to bolt at any second. The window behind it is half open.
“Omi-kun,” he says slowly, struggling to string his thoughts together. “Why is there a cat on the dresser?”
“The window’s open.”
Atsumu glares at him. “I can see that much,” he snaps. “That doesn’t explain the cat.”
Sakusa’s expression is thunderous as he grabs Atsumu by the hips and shoves; Atsumu takes the hint and rolls to the other side of the bed, graceful like a long-limbed and devastatingly handsome swan.
“It came in through the open window, dumbass,” Sakusa snaps, already on his feet. His shirt collar is loose from Atsumu’s face stretching it out.
They both look at the cat. The cat looks at Sakusa. They all know what will happen if Sakusa takes another step closer: catastrophe. No one moves for a long time.
“Maybe it will go away if we just leave it alone?” Atsumu eventually suggests.
Sakusa cuts a suspicious glance his way and asks, “You think?”
“It came in on its own, right?”
Sakusa stays stiff but takes a half step backwards, then a fuller one. He looks so out of his depth it’s actually charming. Atsumu wants to press this version of him up against a wall and kiss him stupid even though he knows their mouths, thick with morning breath, would taste absolutely foul if he did.
“It doesn’t have a collar,” Sakusa says as he continues backing out of the room.
“Uh huh,” Atsumu agrees, sitting up in bed and rolling his shoulders to ease some of the tension there. He knows without looking that his hair is a wreck and he’s probably got creases on his cheek from stretching Sakusa’s shirt. “Hey—do I not get a kiss this mornin’?”
“You drooled on my neck for almost an hour,” Sakusa says, and he closes the door. From the other side he calls, “Keep this shut while it’s here.”
Atsumu doesn’t pout, but it’s a near thing. He looks at the cat, and the cat looks at him.
“Where's your tail?” he asks.
The cat says nothing because it’s a cat. He decides to not hold that against it.
Sakusa’s side of the bed is still warm, so Atsumu rolls into it and burrows into the sheets as deep as he possibly can. Unfortunately, he’s well and truly awake now, so going back to sleep is out of the question. Once the heat has seeped away and only the faint scent of rose water remains, he drags himself out of bed and stumbles down the hallway.
Sakusa’s eating eggs on their couch. He starts to say, “Did you—” before his expression becomes downright murderous. “God dammit, Atsumu.”
The cat pops up onto the arm of the couch, and Atsumu shrieks and plasters himself against the closest wall.
“Shit!” he cries out. “The door! I forgot the door, Omi-kun!”
The vein near Sakusa’s temple twitches. He buries his face in one of his palms for just a moment before pushing his eggs aside and getting to his feet.
The cat says, Miaooow.
Atsumu says, “Don’t hurt it.”
Sakusa looks at him like he’s grown a second head. “I’m not going to hurt it,” he snaps. “I’m going to try to herd it.”
Unconvinced, Atsumu narrows his eyes and peels himself off the wall. Arms folded and shoulders stiff, he crosses the room to scoop up Sakusa’s eggs, sidestep four of Sakusa's massive ferns, drop into the chair by the balcony doors, and dig in. Sakusa looms over the cat with his arms outstretched like he can t-pose it into submission.
After a few minutes, with a mouthful of eggs, Atsumu drawls, “You’re really good at this, Omi-kun. Might’ve found your calling.”
“I know how to dispose of a body,” Sakusa warns.
Atsumu rolls his eyes. “Yeah, in theory, thanks to two university classes. It’s always harder in real life, y’know. That’s why so many people get caught.” The cat’s head tilts and it looks past Sakusa and right at Atsumu who freezes and willfully doesn’t break eye contact. “Uhh—it’s lookin’ at me. Should I be worried?”
“I don’t know,” Sakusa says tightly. “Didn’t take any classes on it.” Atsumu absolutely deserves that tone, but he glares at Sakusa’s back anyway until Sakusa snaps, “What are you scared of? I’m the one in rabies range right now.”
Atsumu draws his knees up to his chest. “Rabies?” he asks in a small voice.
“I don’t know! Shut up!”
The cat says, Miaow. The stub where its tail should be twitches. Its eyes are very big and very, very green. It takes a seat and starts to lick one of its front paws.
“I kind of like it,” Atsumu decides all at once, like an epiphany. “It doesn’t think you’re scary at all, huh? What if we just let it stay?”
Sakusa turns and stares at him. His brows are doing something more complicated than ever.
“We’re not keeping it,” he finally chokes out. “Do you even know how to raise a cat?”
Atsumu blinks at him and wiggles the fork in his hand idly.
He counters, “Do you think anyone's ever trusted me enough to take care of a living thing?” He thought Sakusa knew him better than that.
Sakusa looks at him. He looks at Sakusa. The cat hops down onto the couch cushion, and they both watch it curl up into a little ball, tuck its face under a paw, and start purring.
“Good job herdin’ it,” Atsumu says.
Around lunchtime, in the wake of an argument he definitely won, Atsumu takes a seat at the bar in their kitchen and helps himself to slivers of an orange. Feeling magnanimous from his victory, he allows Sakusa to curve his hands over his ribs and press slow, lingering kisses to the curve of his throat.
They do this sometimes after Sakusa has an—episode? Whatever the right name is for the thing his germaphobia sometimes stirs up inside him. Touching used to be one of the triggers; now it seems to calm things down, so long as Atsumu’s in the picture. He tries not to feel smug about this and fails spectacularly. There’s something about being that person for Sakusa that satisfies something deep in his bones. Sometimes it feels even better than puttin’ up a really good toss.
“You can leave a mark or two, y’know,” he suggests before stuffing another wedge into his mouth. He barely chews it before swallowing. “S’not like we’ve got any plans.”
Sakusa goes still, probably to process what Atsumu’s offering him. He does this a lot—withdrawing to take his time and fully assess the situation. The answer might be yes or it might be no, but either way Atsumu will know the choice was thought through. Sakusa does everything deliberately.
In his weaker moments, Atsumu occasionally marvels at this: one day a year and some change ago, Sakusa sat down and assessed how he felt about Atsumu and made the decision, deliberately, to tell him I like you.
At the time, Atsumu’s head had been so scrambled that he hadn’t appreciated it for the wonder that it was. He kinda regrets that now.
Sakusa drags the blunt of his teeth against the side of his throat, and Atsumu makes a ragged, involuntary sound.
“On second thought,” he wheezes. “That’s gonna get me goin’. So maybe leave marks later. You can kiss me on the mouth though. Wouldn’t mind that one bit. Aren't I generous?”
But Sakusa straight up ignores him to bite roughly at another sensitive spot just beneath Atsumu’s jaw, and it hurts so good it ought to be illegal. He doesn’t pull away for several seconds, and Atsumu’s too frazzled to rush him.
Once he’s come to his senses, Atsumu shouts “Yer such a shithead!” at the smug smirk stretched across Sakusa’s face.
Sakusa, utterly unbothered, says, “That’s for eating my eggs,” and plucks the rest of the orange off the counter to take it into the living room. “This too,” he adds without looking back.
The cat they’re definitely not keeping stays curled up on the couch, and Sakusa sits on the cushion next to it with a bowl of orange rinds in his lap and a book cracked open in one hand while Atsumu pushes through leg day. They both do a passable job of pretending that Sakusa’s not watching him the whole time.
“Not gonna work out?” Atsumu asks during one brief break as he pats the sweat off his forehead with a towel.
Sakusa turns the page in the book he is definitely reading even though it’s definitely upside down. “My shoulder—”
“Yeah, right,” Atsumu snorts, smile stretching wide. “Suit yourself. Wanna help me stretch my hamstrings? Could always use a good push, if your shoulder can take it.”
“Your form sucks,” Sakusa sighs.
He puts the book down.
For the last year, Atsumu has quietly devoted himself to the art of peeling back Sakusa Kiyoomi’s many, many, many layers. Most of these layers are literal, physical things: jackets draped over his shoulders, gloves slipped over his hands and wrists, a mask stretched across his face. Other boundaries are harder to define and come or go in patterns that are near impossible to divine: the time of day, the day of the week, Sakusa’s mood or performance at practice, the weather.
Today, most of the layers aren’t—and haven’t been—in place. Sakusa’s wearing his usual long-sleeved t-shirt and sweats but nothing more, and while spotting Atsumu in his stretches, his fingers slip beneath the hem of Atsumu’s shorts to press against his bare thigh, and they both make soft, involuntary sounds.
“You’re being very friendly today,” Atsumu wheezes.
Sakusa pushes his leg forward another quarter-inch. “Shut up,” he says.
“I’m just sayin’,” Atsumu presses, “you didn’t even yell at me for droolin’ on you last night.”
He lifts his head just enough to study Sakusa’s face, but before he can get a good look at him Sakusa pushes him back down with prejudice.
“Your form,” he cautions. “You’re going to hurt your neck.”
He’s too late, though. Atsumu saw what he saw. “Are you blushing, Omi-kun?” he asks, gleeful.
“Atsumu,” Sakusa says in that voice that Atsumu's starting to suspect might mean he’s embarrassed.
“What is happenin’ here?” Atsumu asks the ceiling. “What’ve you got to be blushin’ about?” He gets no answer. Sakusa leans on his leg a little more, nudging it ever forward. “Okay, okay, ouch,” Atsumu hisses. “Point made, I’ll keep my mouth shut.”
“You can stretch further than this,” Sakusa says, sounding like he means it, but he doesn’t push any more.
“I really, really can’t,” Atsumu insists. “I’m gonna count to ten now, then you let go real slow, ‘kay?”
He counts to ten. Sakusa slowly lowers his leg, sliding his hands down Atsumu’s thigh as he does. Atsumu’s stomach churns. He wants to cuss.
Instead he says, “Hey, can I get that kiss now?”
Ignoring him in favor of getting to his feet—which, rude—Sakusa asks, “Need help getting up?”
Atsumu thinks on his situation. “If I say yes, are you gonna walk away and say somethin’ mean like too bad?”
Sakusa pauses for a moment, considers this, and says, “Huh.” Then he walks away.
In the late afternoon, when the sky’s bled pink and orange and the shadows on their street have started to grow long and dark, they go grocery shopping. This has recently become one of Atsumu’s great joys in life because Sakusa considers it a necessary evil that ranks only slightly better than eight-hour bus rides and eating with his hands.
Like all things they do together, there’s a process that needs to be followed: Atsumu brings the disinfectant wipes and rubs them over the basket from top to bottom before hooking it over his arm. Then they systematically make their way through the store, and Sakusa points out exactly what he wants to Atsumu who scoops it up, holds it out for Sakusa to disinfect, then drops it into the basket. Rinse and repeat.
It’s the absolute most tedious thing in the entire world, but a few months ago Sakusa started calling Atsumu and awkwardly implying that he should come along. The worst-kept secret between them is that Atsumu would sooner chew off his own arm than say no to that tight, uncertain tone Sakusa gets when he’s too far gone in his own head. So now they grocery shop together, and Atsumu only teases Sakusa about things he can control—like how he insists on dressing like he’s going to walk a runway even when they’re just popping out for groceries.
They put everything they buy into bags Sakusa brought from home, and they each carry one on the trip back. Neither of them says much on the way. In the beginning, they kept a foot of distance between them when they'd walk around like this. Tonight, just as the sun slips below the horizon, their arms brush, and Sakusa doesn’t flinch away.
The cat is gone when they get back, and their apartment is cold enough that Atsumu actually puts on socks after he closes their bedroom window. How the cat got in is immediately obvious: the latch that should lock the window is busted. They’ll need to get someone to come out and fix that soon if they don’t want any other late night visitors.
(But—and this he can’t help but think, try as he might to not examine it too closely—Sakusa's been weirdly okay today, right?
He tries to pack this question away alongside all the others that make him think too hard, but it refuses to fit no matter how hard he shoves.)
“Told you it’d leave on its own,” he gloats on his way back to the kitchen.
Sakusa ignores him in favor of frowning into the depths of their wok. Like their bed, it was Sakusa’s first; now it’s one of dozens of things they’ll share. It’s gonna be weird to think about for a while.
“Hey, if I ask a question, will you give it to me straight?”
Atsumu asks this as he climbs up onto the counter and starts to kick his feet.
Sakusa sucks his teeth and asks, “How stupid is the question?" like the bastard he is. But he puts the wok down—Atsumu notes with some surprise that it’s still empty—and moves to stand between Atsumu’s spread thighs.
“See, this is my question,” Atsumu says, gesturing widely.
Sakusa’s brow pinches in a way that says Was that a question? and Atsumu’s suddenly overcome by the urge to press a kiss to Sakusa's moles.
He also kind of wants to throw the wok against the wall and scream. Instead he curls his hands into fists that he plants at his sides and draws a slow, deep breath in through his nose.
“You’re—off today,” he says in a low voice once his sudden flash of temper is under control. “Different, I mean.”
“Is it bad,” Sakusa not-quite-asks, voice flat.
“Dunno,” Atsumu admits. “That’s what I’m tryin’ to figure out.”
For the span of a few heartbeats, they simply stare at each other, but it doesn’t feel simple at all. There are a million questions Atsumu wants to ask, but his tongue is heavy in his mouth and he can’t think in a straight line for shit when Sakusa looks at him like that.
The urge to press his mouth against those moles to taste them flares again.
“I like cats,” Sakusa admits in a soft, unfamiliar voice. “I always—wanted one. But it was…”
Atsumu doesn’t make him say it. “Yeah, I thought it was weird you were so okay with it.”
“Me too.” When he says this, something loosens in Sakusa’s posture, and he bows forward a little to rest his forehead against Atsumu’s shoulder. Atsumu, stunned stupid, blinks at the crown of his head as his brain resets. Sakusa says, “And last night—”
Last night, Atsumu had pulled Sakusa back from the brink of a panic attack and had stayed there until he fell asleep and then some. They were pressed together in a bed that was once-Sakusa’s and now-theirs. It had been their first night together in their new home.
It feels like an epiphany, like wanting to keep the cat earlier: Oh, Atsumu thinks, feeling dizzy, he loves me too.
They do such a good job of not saying it that the sudden realization that Sakusa's about to break their streak hits like a splash of cold water, and every fiber of Atsumu's body goes tense all at once.
“If you say it I’ll twist your nipples off,” he warns sharply, voice breaking.
Sakusa squints up at him. “What,” he says.
“Just—don’t say it,” Atsumu snaps. “If you say it, I’m moving out.”
“You’re on the lease." Sakusa sounds sorta winded. “Osamu refuses to tell you his new address because you kept showing up at his old one trying to find out who he’s dating now. Where would you go?”
“Kicks you out after eight every time you go over there because you’ll keep him up all night if he doesn’t.”
Atsumu puts his hands on Sakusa’s face and pushes him back, heartbeat thundering in his ears. “Don’t you dare,” he hisses.
“Sumu, are you blushing?” Sakusa, damn him, teases. His mouth is curling into a little smile and—goddamn him—that’s dirty pool because he knows, he has to know what that does to Atsumu.
“Omi-kun,” he breathes.
Sakusa reaches up to cup his face between his hands and pulls him into the kiss Atsumu’s been asking for all day, and it’s dizzying. All Atsumu can think for the first several seconds is Neither of us have brushed our teeth in hours. The next thing he thinks is, I kinda wanna knock his teeth in.
Then Sakusa murmurs, “Stop thinking,” against his lips, and Atsumu can’t help but laugh.
“That’s rich comin’ from you, ya jerk” he groans, but Sakusa hauls him in and shuts him up.
They don’t have sex that night—one of those elusive boundaries making itself known as soon as they get shirtless in bed together—but they skip dinner in favor of making out for so long that Atsumu’s mouth starts to feel kiss-swollen and a little numb. He revels in being allowed to drag his fingers through Sakusa’s curls, twisting them over his knuckles and tugging to see what kind of sounds that earns him.
Sakusa eventually pulls out of his grip, presses his fingers to the fine bones of Atsumu's wrists, and pins them down against the sheets while whispering soft, sweet sounds into Atsumu’s mouth that aren’t quite words but make him feel hot all over just the same. They’re pressed together chest to hip, and both of them are hard and doing a passable job of ignoring it while they continue to kiss each other senseless.
At some point Sakusa moves his mouth to the length of Atsumu’s throat, and Atsumu stares up at the ceiling in their bedroom and—before he can think better of it—he asks, “Hey, is it weird if I love you so much I keep pissing myself off?”
Sakusa goes board stiff and stays like that for too long before pulling back to squint down at him.
“So I’m not allowed to say it,” he starts, and Atsumu jerks a hand out of his grip to slap it over his mouth.
“It’s hypothetical,” he insists, cheeks burning. “I didn’t—I wasn’t—” Sakusa licks his palm, and Atsumu glares at him. “Nice try, dipshit. I grew up with a twin. If you think licking my hand is all it takes—”
Sakusa licks his hand again. Slower this time. Lingering.
Atsumu gapes at him. “Okay, well,” he chokes out when he regains the ability to speak, “first of all: fuck you.” He takes his hand away.
He wants to commit this sight of Sakusa to memory: hair a wreck, eyes impossibly dark, color high in his cheeks, and his mouth curling up just the way he knows Atsumu likes best.
“Is there a second of all?” he asks, sounding as smug as he looks.
There sure wasn’t, but Atsumu’s nothing if not quick on his feet. “If the cat shows up again tomorrow, can we keep it?”
Sakusa shifts to sit back on his haunches and says, “You can’t even handle unpacking a box of shoes and you want an animal?”
Atsumu doesn’t want an animal. He wants a cat because Sakusa likes them, and he has the sudden, inexplicable urge to collect all the things Sakusa likes best and hoard them like a very romantic and extremely handsome dragon.
All at once, it's no longer enough just to know his skin care routine and the way to calm him down when he needs to get some sleep and how he has to shop for groceries; Atsumu needs to know yesterday how to take care of Sakusa’s forty million plants and where in the world he’s buying all of those jackets and what, exactly, the most efficient way to make him blush is.
He needs to get as good at this as he is at tossin’ balls. If he can't, he thinks there’s a good chance he might die. Worse: someone else could come along, figure out how to do it better than him, and steal Sakusa away. It's a sudden, terrible fear that's like ice in his bloodstream; he's already got enough prodigies in his life. Let him be the one who's best at this.
He licks his lips and says, “You never said,” in a soft, small voice he will blame on the quiet of the room until the day he dies, “if it’s weird, I mean.”
“I’ve told you before,” Sakusa sighs, burying his nose against the hook of Atsumu’s jaw. “Everything about you is weird.”
“You bastard. Be nicer to me or I swear I really am gonna smack you one of these days.”
Sakusa makes a sound that’s so close to a laugh Atsumu thinks he might have hallucinated it.
His heart feels ten sizes too big. He wants to spend the rest of his life making Sakusa Kiyoomi sound like that.