Atsumu, being the sore loser that he is, is the only one who votes against their end-of-year field trip.
Aran says that it is not, as Atsumu assumes, to celebrate their (non-existent) National’s win. Not to say that it wouldn’t have been better if they won, but hey. That doesn’t mean they need to mop around and just complain about the unfairness of the world, which is exactly what Atsumu planned to do during the whole months of March and April. And they got second place in the Interhigh tournament, which definitely isn’t something to be overlooked, even if it was a while ago.
And above all that, it was a trip to a very nice onsen in their prefecture. By then it was already mid-March, and the onsens weren’t full as they use to be in winter. It was the perfect time to take a bunch of rowdy idiots for a trip.
Not that that’s enough to convince Atsumu of going, you see. But as Suna said, he still ain’t the captain, which means he still hadn’t the opportunity to install his own dictatorship in the Inarizaki Volleyball Club. And as Osamu said, even their parents are eager for them to leave so they can get the house to themselves for once.
So, as one can see, Atsumu didn't have much of a choice.
When they reach the inn, after almost three hours in a train, it’s already dark, and all he can thinks of is getting a good shut eye, especially since Aran already said they’re waking up early the next day for a walk around the city.
At dinner, between having his ribs elbowed by Suna every now and then — he’s sitting between his brother and Suna, and it’s ridiculous how they will simply ignore his existence and talk with each other gesturing wildly as if they aren’t hitting him in the face every ten words —, Atsumu can’t help but notice that Kita doesn’t seem his normal self. As a matter of fact, since they stepped foot on the train, Kita sat by the window, with Omimi flanking him, and proceed not to say a word to anyone, leaving the details for Aran to take care of.
And he might seem just the type to be quiet and isolated on the outside, but everyone that knew Kita for more than a month soon found out how much of a prankster he was, constantly cracking jokes at people without so much as flexing his voice, leaving the whole team atonit for a second before they would all burst into laughter.
But none of the others were paying attention to him, with all the food and conversation going on. Atsumu, being the big boy and next-to-be captain that he was, decided to take a step.
(not at all influenced by the fact that he is kinda in love with kita since the end of his first year. how could anyone think that? atsumu is just a nice guy who wants to help others. that’s all there is. he would totally do the same for akagi, or ginjima. hell, even suna— no, wait. not suna.)
“Kita-san,” he says, his voice not loud enough to be picked up by the other players, but enough that Kita, ever attentive to his surroundings, turns his head to him, raising an eyebrow in questioning. “Uh… Is everything alright with ya? I mean, not that anything looks wrong! It doesn’t. It’s just… yer so quiet, ever since we left Kobe, ya know?”
Kita, bless him, seems surprised that Atsumu is asking, but he quickly covers it with one of his small smiles, not unlike the one he gave all of them after their loss to Karasuno. “Ah, it’s nothing. I’m just thinking how I’ll manage to keep ya’ll troublemakers in check. Especially ya and yer brother.”
“Kita-san! I can’t vouch for 'Samu, but ya can be sure I won’t do anything ya wouldn’t.” He even puffs his chest a bit as he says that, involuntarily, but still enough to be noticed by Suna, who snickers next to him. Atsumu would love to push his head straight into the miso soup in front of him, if only he hadn’t just said that he wouldn’t cause problems for Kita. And all of them being kicked from the inn for being a disorderly bunch in the middle of the night would be a big problem. “Ya should just relax and enjoy the trip too!”
“I certainly will. Thank ya, Atsumu.” Kita smiles at him again as he reaches for the bowl of rice in the middle of tablet. Atsumu is smart enough to know that means the conversation is over. Based on his standards, it went pretty good. Could have lasted a little longer, though. Atsumu turned to his curry udon, thinking about how nice it would be to share it with his year long crush, both of them eating the pasta at the same time like that Disney movie with the dogs that date.
Just four days until they come back. Four days until Kita leaves Inarizaki for real—leaves Atsumu for real.
The only thing left to him is make the best of these days. At least, that was the original plan.
For all that Atsumu had relaxed in the onsen after their not-so-stressful-as-expected little trip into the city to see the sakura blooming alongside the river, he’s getting progressively more riled up as he takes piece after piece of clothing out of his duffel bag, but still can’t find the only sweater he wants to wear.
“Hey dumbass, just wear some other thing! Yer gonna get us late for lunch. My stomach is rumbling already.” Osamu says, already fully dressed—as all the team is. Everyone, minus Atsumu.
In his defense, it’s a really nice sweater, made from deep red wool, so fluffy it feels like melting. And the collar is just wide enough to show a hint of collarbones—Atsumu is willing to feel a bit cold if it means he can show Kita-san his best assets. So that Kita can sit by his window a year from now and think about how he missed the greatest opportunity of his life.
With Osamu’s help, they go through all his clothes quickly, but the sweater is not to be seen anywhere. Admitting defeat, Atsumu dons a white parka over his black, long-sleeved shirt. Inarizaki colors, even then. Fit for a captain to be, as much as the idea of replacing Kita left a bitter feeling on his tongue.
His brother quickens his step as they finally left the room, complaining about how hungry he was, and how insufferable Atsumu was, and that everyone was waiting downstair for probably more than ten minutes now. Atsumu walked as if nothing was wrong, at all—he was quite fond of making grand entrances, and that wouldn’t do if he didn’t appear completely unfazed by the fact the forgot to pack the piece of clothing he was waiting to use the most.
When they reach the last step, however, only Suna is waiting for them, and he nods in the direction of the door before falling into step besides Osamu, close but not close enough to be touching. Atsumu wonders the consequences of just pushing them into each other, but decides against it. Let the rest of the team eat their lunch, first. Then he can get to scheming.
“Ah, now everyone is here.” It’s Kita’s voice Atsumu hears as they step foot out of the inn, and it makes him instantly forget about the sweater and everything else. “Let’s go, then. I’m so hungry I could eat a whole salmon.”
Kita is looking very beautiful. His hair is still wet from the bath, some of the strands sticking in different directions as the cold wind blows them dry, leaving his cheeks flushed as it hits his skin. And the sweater he’s wearing it’s so brightly red, contrasting with his pale skin and gray hair, that it’s almost like it brings him out of his shell. Not that Kita is in a shell, but— it was the only metaphor Atsumu could think of. He looks—well, radiant. And also soft. But Atsumu thinks the softness it’s an effect of the sweater. It kinda looks like—
Like it is melting.
“Hey, uh, Kita-san?” Atsumu asks, although his intention was not making a question. His voice tends to do that thing where it gets the intonation all wrong when he’s nervous. Which he is not. Nervous. As if. “Shit, I don’t even know how to say this, but… I think yer using my sweater?”
Atsumu has a gut feeling that he’s getting almost as red as said piece of clothing.
“Oh.” Kita looks down, his hands stroking the wool. He doesn’t look much surprised by what Atsumu has just said, which, in turn, leaves Atsumu all the more baffled. “I think so?”
“Ya… think so?” Atsumu was positively sure there was something very strange going on, but as he looked over to his teammates for help, they were already walking in the front, seemingly so eager for lunch they left Atsumu there, defenseless against whatever was happening. “I’m fairly sure.”
“I’m sorry, Atsumu. I didn’t notice.” How can ya not notice yer using someone else’s clothes, Kita-san! Are ya even Kita-san? What have yer done to Kita-san, yer impostor? “Do ya mind if I keep wearing it? I mean, we’re already late for lunch, I don’t think there’s time for me to change it.”
“That is, uh—” Atsumu always prided himself in having an answer for everything life threw at him, but he feels positively without words right now. His tongue feels like it’ll curl up in itself at any given moment. And his stomach feels so… light. He doesn’t even know if it’s the right word. And he can’t help but feel it’s all because of the sight of Kita drowing in his sweater, his collar bones jutting out just so. What are the odds on him starting to salivate right now? Very high, he finds out. “Fine. Yeah. Go ahead.”
Kita smiles at him. It is, what, the third time in twenty four hours? Atsumu feels like the seven gods decided to shine their light upon him at the same time. He’s a very lucky boy. He’s having the best time of his life. He cannot believe he once refused to go on this trip. “Thank ya, Atsumu. It’s a very nice sweater, ya know. It’s just so comfortable and soft. Like being under a comforter. Or being hugged.”
Atsumu would very to stay under a comforter with Kita. Or hug him. Or hug Kita under a comforter. He’s not a very demanding man. He’ll ever settle for platonic under comforter hugs, if it needs to be.
But he doesn’t say any of these things, of course. His hands hover awkwardly above Kita’s shoulders while he decides on pushing the fabric closer to his neck, so it’ll cover his collarbones. He doesn’t want Kita getting a cold, after all. In the end, he decides it might be too much. Even for him.
“Ya can take it for the rest of the trip, if ya want.” They start walking, their teammates only vaguely on sight. Atsumu looks down, kicking pebbles in the way. Osamu knows the sweater is his. Will he tell their teammates? Will he let Atsumu end up in the butt of a thousand jokes? It’s just like him. “It looks nice on ya, Kita-san.”
The rest is small talk until they reach the restaurant. It takes but one look at Atsumu’s still pink cheeks for Osamu to start laughing. Atsumu kinda hates him, but he’ll let it pass, for now. He’s too happy to let Osamu spoil that for him.
And maybe he deserves to be made fun of.
In the next day, Kita gets out of the hot baths at night and waltzes into dinner wearing Atsumu’s yukata.
And now isn’t even a new one, like the sweater was. Everyone in the team knows that yukata is Atsumu’s from when they went into a hot bath in Kobe in December. They know. So why isn’t anyone saying anything?
Atsumu doesn’t want to repeat itself, but his brain is just… how? How is Kita getting his clothes? Is he sneaking into Atsumu’s room while he’s in the bath? Because— what the fuck. Atsumu doesn’t know what to think. Atsumu doesn’t know what he’s supposed to think. He does know, however, how he’s feeling. And that is a little turned up.
He looks at Osamu for guidance, but the fucker is once again with his attention focused solely on Suna. Useless twin brother. And the worst is that Atsumu can’t even enact his revenge by feeding gross lies about him to Suna, ‘cause Suna hates Atsumu and won’t believe a word that he says.
That leaves him utterly alone to deal with his crush, the, uh, clothes stealer.
“Kita-san!” He says, in lieu of greeting. The smile in his face is just a bit unnatural. Atsumu would never admit to being anxious, but he can become quite distressed sometimes. “So… That yukata. It’s a nice one.”
Atsumu can’t decide what is worse: if it’s Kita stealing his clothes, or Kita acting like it’s a normal thing, to steal Atsumu’s clothes.
As if they’re, you know, boyfriends, or something.
“It was a lifesaver. Can ya believe Aran threw his wet towel just where I had put my yukata? And I only brought one.” He sighs, and well, maybe this time he simply asked for an yukata and Osamu lent him one? That happened to be Atsumu’s, of course. Just a thing Osamu would do. “It’s a big long, though, but it’s better than walking around naked, for sure.”
Is it? Atsumu wants to ask.
“For sure!” Atsumu says. Shouts. Something in between. Omimi is looking at him strangely from the other end of the table. Aran is rolling his eyes. “Ya don’t wanna give the old ladies a scare, Kita-san. I bet they haven’t seen anything close to what ya have in a long while.”
There’s a characteristic noise of someone choking on rice. Atsumu is too busy staring at Kita, trying to maintain the facade that he absolutely does not regret what he has just said. He does regrets it, though. A lot. He wishes he had never bleached his hair, so he could point at Osamu and say it was him! as he was ought to do when they were children, even thought it was quite clearly not Osamu.
It never worked. Atsumu would try it anyway.
He’s sure Kita must have taken pity on him, because instead of flunging the bowl of soup on Atsumu’s head — which is what he deserves — he covers his mouth with the long sleeve of the yukata and starts to laugh.
Kita Shinsuke! Laughing! Atsumu starts to laugh too. This way he can pretend that Kita is laughing with him, and not at him, and then his teammates can’t think he’s even more stupid than what they already thought. What Atsumu doesn’t know is that he’s already at that level where he can’t go down further. He’s at rock bottom. There are five letters tattooed on his forehead. They read: CLOWN.
“I really should be giving ya a lecturing about saying things like that, but it was too funny, Atsumu.” Kita wipes the wetness on his eyes with the back of his hand. You see, Atsumu doesn’t remember seeing him crying of laughter before. The only time ever saw Kita crying was that time when he received the captain’s jersey, and then, in summer, halfway hidden in a corner, in the locker room after they lost Interhigh to Itachiyama. This means he’s the first person to make Kita Shinsuke laugh hard enough to cry. Talk about a bigger achievement than that. Ya can’t. “Yer too funny. Still, don’t do it again.”
“Sure thing, Kita-san.”
“And thanks for the yukata.”
“It was my pleasure!”
Not a lie. He might not have been the one who lent the yukata to Kita — he’ll definitely have a talk with Osamu when they retire for their rooms — but surely, the pleasure of seeing him dressed in another of his clothes was all Atsumu’s, and no one else’s.
For how much Atsumu didn’t want to come, now that it’s almost time to leave, he wished for another day. Or two.
Not that there’s much to do in the city. It’s small, and there’s no festival going on. Still, it’s nice to be somewhere quiet for a while. Even when he’s not in the hot baths, Atsumu feels loose and relaxed—his fingers itch for a volleyball, but it’s manageable.
He’ll miss it. Their hiking expedition to the temple sitting at the summit of the mountain, where Suna stuck his foot in a rabbit hole and almost broke his ankle—Osamu carried him piggyback through the rest of their hike, so maybe it wasn’t all that bad for Suna; the visit to the sanctuary for the oriental stork, where Atsumu’s hair became acquainted with bird poop—Kita helped him wash it in a water tap nearby, so maybe it wasn’t all that bad for Atsumu; strolling around at the city center, trying at hand at pachinko and losing miserably; the visit to the museum where Atsumu got to hear firsthand Kita declaring his love for literature, and gleefully pretended to know all those books Kita was quoting, if only to keep him speaking.
More than anything, Atsumu would miss the team, as it was right now, with the third years to steer them. After they left, there wouldn’t be anyone to look upon, anyone to go when there was a fight, or when they couldn’t decide which strategy was the best for the next match. In fact, Atsumu would be the person to look up to. And he couldn’t wrap his head around the idea.
More than anything, Atsumu would miss Kita.
He sighed, trying to focus on folding his clothes so they could fit in his bag alongside the trinkets he had bought for his parents. But how could he just folded that same yukata Kita had used the night before — and gave it back all cleaned and smelling faintly of flowers, when Atsumu was hoping it would be smelling of Kita — and throw it along the rest of his clothes as if it was nothing? As if it wasn’t permanently and irrevocably changed the moment Kita put it on?
Same thing with the sweater. The fucking sweater. Atsumu has lost the count of the times he entertained the idea of giving it to Kita. It looked so better in him. Scratch that. It looked perfect in him, falling down his shoulder, the skin inviting Atsumu to bend his neck and fill it with kisses—
There was only one thing missing: his favorite sweatpants. In a normal day he would assume that Osamu had stolen them—common occurrence when you had a brother your age, even more when it was your twin. But there was also a second, much better (and much scarier) possibility, that Atsumu didn’t want to think about. He would simply wait for when Osamu came back and ask him.
He would stay in his room, lying down on the futon, relaxed, daydreaming of when he would be brave enough to storm into Kita’s room and ask him for dinner. Likely never. Still, it was nice to fantasize for a while.
Or, it would be nice to fantasize, if he didn’t hear the faint scraping sound of the door being opened.
“Hey, ‘Samu,” Atsumu says, eyes still closed. He wants to retain the image of Kita lying in a bed, wearing only one of Atsumu’s oversized shirts, as long as he can. “Did ya stole my pants again, didn’t ya? Buy yer own, asshole.”
“I stole them alright.” Atsumu sat straight so fast his head started to spin. But it didn’t matter— it didn’t matter, because that voice was clearly not Osamu’s. “I’m not Osamu, though.”
Of course yer not. Of fucking course.
“Kita-san,” Atsumu said, past the lump in his throat. He was still dizzy, although he couldn’t say if it was from before or from having Kita in front of him like that, those eyes looking straight at Atsumu as if he could bare his soul out. As if he could make him spill every single dirty thought, every single reverie, every single wish he had for the both of them. “I— Ya— I mean— How are ya getting yer hand in my clothes?”
That’s a nice way of diverting Atsumu’s attention from how hot Kita looks in his sweatpants. It doesn’t matter if they sit a little baggy on his legs, the drawstrings pulled too far to keep them from falling down his hips. Atsumu has reached his limit. He can’t keep playing this game anymore, whatever it is. He’s tired, and he’s in love, and he’s fucking horny, and he can’t. He just can’t.
“Osamu has been smuggling them. I thought ya noticed.”
Atsumu can’t even think about how much he’s gonna punch Osamu for that, no way, because his mind is getting too close to overdrive and he can feel his neurons trying to process all that information, and all that image that comes with it. Image that keeps standing in his two legs clad in Atsumu’s sweatpants. Image that threatens to drive him insane. He stands up, ‘cause isn't a conversation one can have sitting relaxed in one’s futon. “No, I did not. Kita-san— I don’t get it. I swear to ya I’m trying to understand, but yer the smart one in the team, not me. So pray tell, why the fuck yer asking ‘Samu for my clothes? And why the fuck yer going around wearing them in front of me like it's nothing, like— I don’t know, like we constantly wear each other’s clothes? Like we’re— well, ya know, uh, boyfriends, or something?”
Kita sighed, but even though he seemed a little disappointed, still he stepped closer, until they were almost chest to chest. “Yer really dense, ain’t ya?” Atsumu felt so out of control in his own body he was torn between bolting out of the room and hiding in the woods a month, or taking Kita's face in his hands and kissing him. “Apparently ya mumbles in yer sleep. Or so Osamu told me. Something about me in yer shirt.”
“‘Samu told ya? I will kill—”
“Calm down.” Atsumu would like to argue that it's even more difficult to calm down now that Kita has put both his hands on Atsumu’s chest to keep him in place. But he's finding it quite hard to say that, with the whole Kita's hands on his chest deal. The most stupid part of his brain is telling him to flex his pecs for the show, but the sane part doesn't think that's a good idea right now. “Osamu told me after I— well, after I asked him if he thought I had any chances with ya.”
Atsumu needs a pause. As in a pause button, so he can stop the world and yell for a while and then gather his breath and come back to his perfect dazzling self, because that's how he wants to be seen by the boy he's been in love for a year. Not like a fumbling mess who forgets how to string words in coherent sentences other than what? or how?
Unfortunately, real life has no pause button. Or a load save function. Atsumu has no option besides to keep stepping forward.
Or tumbling down the hill and rolling out of control forward.
“So what, were ya going to keep wearing my clothes until I noticed? I mean, I thought it was strange, but I never— Ya know! ‘Cause yer, well, ya! Mr. Perfect Kita Shisuke. And I am me! ”
Me! As in: that asshole Atsumu. As in: not the kind of guy worthy of dating Kita. As in: the one who fell in love with him anyway.
“I never pegged ya for one to downplay yerself, Atsumu.” Kita's hands stay in place, even though is clear Atsumu isn't going anywhere. “I thought I was being obvious for a while, but maybe it wasn't. I'm sorry. I should've made it more clear.”
And the thing is, Atsumu knows what Kita is talking about. Still, it doesn't seem real. One minute he was fantasizing about Kita spread on his bed and the other Kita was waltzing into his room talking about having a chance with Atsumu. It makes no fucking sense.
Atsumu is a sceptic regarding everything besides his abilities as a setter. He needs to see things before he believes them. In this case, he needs to hear it.
And when Kita looks up at him and Atsumu gets to stare down at those eyes who haunted him in countless dreams— He can't hold his tongue, not even if he wanted to.
“Make what clearer, Kita-san?” One of his hands is circling Kita's chin, keeping him in place, Atsumu can't tell if he's imagining things or if Kita really shivered under him. “After all this, the least ya can do is tell me.”
Kita, being Kita, which is what Atsumu always wanted, doesn't waste a beat. “I like ya, Atsumu. And I want to— to have ya. If ya will have me.”
Atsumu doesn't answer right way. He doesn't think he could. He doesn't remember much about how words are supposed to work. But he knows how bodies are supposed to work, so he circles Kita's waist with an arm and bends his neck so that he's is — finally — kissing him.
It's pretty much everything he imagined, in the sense that it's slow and perfect and Kita does that little sighing noise that makes Atsumu go insane. It's also pretty much nothing like he imagined, because this isn't a wet dream or him doodling Mr. Kita Atsumu in the margins of his notebook during math class. This is the real deal, the real kissing Kita Shinsuke moment, and no dream could hope to grasp the feeling of having your loved one in your arms after you though he could never look at you the same way.
Kita tastes like— Atsumu can't decide. It's like every sweet fruit he's ever tasted mixed together. Or maybe it's lemons. He can't really think right now, can't focus on anything besides Kita's tongue inside his mouth, his tongue inside Kita's mouth, his hand traveling lower, lightly squeezing Kita's butt, and the Kita whimpering into his mouth before he cuts the kiss short, tucking his head into Atsumu’s neck.
“Nothing of that.” Atsumu manages to say, though he sounds breathless and even a little wrecked. “I've waited a whole year for this. I want to see yer face.”
Kita doesn't move, so Atsumu pushes him further enough that he can see— and it's amazing, being able to see up this close. The specks of light brown dancing in Kita's irises, the elegant slope of his nose, the way his lips shine with spit. He wants to keep kissing him into eternity. And if the way Kita pulls him down by the collar for another kiss is a sign, they both want the very same thing.
It's only later, when they're both too out of breath to keep going, that Atsumu remembers what he'd asked before. “So, Ki— Shinsuke. I mean, were ya really just go around stealing a piece of clothing every day until I noticed yer scheming? What was next, my underwear?”
Kita blushes at that, but it's not a ashamed blush. More like… a excited one.
“If ya don't wanna me wearing yer clothes, I can take the pants off. Right now.”
“No! I mean—” Shit, so much for being the charming and nonchalant half of the relationship. “I like it! This whole thing was built upon me wanting to see ya in my clothes, eh? But… If ya wanna take them off, well… I guess I would be cool with that.” Are they having that conversation? Atsumu would never believe if someone told him it would happen so soon, but hey, he's not complaining. Quite the contrary.
“Ya guess?” Kita is already unlacing the drawstrings, even though his gaze is fixed on Atsumu’s eyes. He's gonna combust.
Atsumu runs to the door, locks it, and then comes back to place, his hands hovering around Kita's body, unable to decide where to touch first. It's going to happen! He hasn't studied how to act for that one, but who cares when Kita is getting naked in front of him. “I don't think ‘Samu is coming back soon, so—”
“No need to worry.” As soon as he finishes unlacing, the pants fall graciously down his legs, like the curtains of a show. Atsumu is the only spectator. It's VIP entrance. “It's gonna be quick. Ya need another type of stamina for this. But we'll build it on ya, and soon yer going to be a pro. Slow and steady, though.”
Atsumu was never a fan of slow and steady, of all things, but as his hands trace the muscles on Kita's uncovered thigh, he thinks he might end up liking it way more than he first thought.
(“so… everyone knew?”
it's funny, and definitively a bit strange, to see omimi of all people sitting beside osamu, but damn it if atsumu wouldn't make the travel back home sitting next to kita.
“well… aran and omimi, obviously. suna also picked up, i think. and akagi. and osamu told me he already knew, when i came to him, but he might've been bluffing. so that makes it everyone, yes.”
“ugh, i feel so stupid! and to think when ya offered to hold my hand that day i just thought ya didn't want me to feel jealous of ‘samu and suna.”
kita doesn't say anything. instead, he threads his fingers through atsumu’s hair, smelling the scent of the onsen’s shampoo. it's a good thing he's staying in hyogo for college. it's a good thing he isn't going anywhere.
“so… for our first date! i was thinking the aquarium. it's feels very cozy, ya know. and there's a lot of dark corners and few employees, which means a lot of kissing spots. ‘cause i'm kinda addicted to kissing ya, shinsuke.”
the name rolled out of his tongue like it was made only for those letters. shinsuke. atsumu had repeated that so many times in his dreams. it was hard to believe this wasn't just another one.
but as kita agreed, lacing their fingers together over his thigh, atsumu was as sure of reality as he could ever hope to be.)