His hands were twitching at the end of it all. The sweat from the game was dribbling down every span of muscle on his body, trying to catch his breath as he stared onward. Past the shocked eyes of the distraught players, past the mascots and the fans, and all the way up to the scoreboard. His legs were shaking, aching for him to sit down and rest. He couldn't remove his eyes from the scoreboard, the one that everyone had their eyes on. They couldn't look away, no one could.
Amazingly enough, for a short moment, the whole arena was silent. The cheering of the fans, the bands playing loudly with cheer and support, the mascot and cheerleaders screaming and dancing about — everything was dead silent for a single second. The sweat dribbled down to his fingertips, his breath uneven and begging for a break, and everything in that moment crumbled.
The short silence was broken in an instant as the drums were banged, cheers crying out for their team, claps heard all across the arena, and before he knew it, he was running across their side of the court. Grabbing Sakusa and Hinata, he screamed, holding onto them. Sakusa pushed at him but he didn't let go, he just screamed more. The joy of victory rushing through every part of him.
"WE DID IT!" Hinata's loud cheerful voice screamed out, laughing and crying all the same. Sakusa, despite his protests at how sweaty Atsumu was, smiled alongside them. He laughed — he has emotions guys! — alongside them.
The score was 33-35. The deuce of the final set had been a long one, no doubt. Their legs were crying for them to set down. Everything in the world felt so undeniably hot right then and there in that arena with everyone's eyes on them. They had done it — they had won against their rival. The one they had been waiting to fight against from the very beginning.
He grinned, that stupid smug grin of his that his brother hates most in the world, as he laughed and cried alongside his teammate. Even as Bokuto's flexible-self wrapped his arms around him and Hinata, leaving Sakusa to his loneliness, he cried so much. He had made it, he had beat all the rest of them.
"We won!!" Bokuto cried out, grinning wide as he could, just like the star he was. Before he knew it, they were all held by their fellow teammates on the sidelines, their coach and manager hugging them with his such praise and cheer.
"You did it!!" Their coach cheered, grinning wide and without shame. "You did it, now show the world those stupid happy grins of yours."
Wiping the tears of their faces, he looked over at the other side of the court where despair hung over the defeated team like a poisonous cloud. Losing was the worst feeling of all, but losing gained you something however, contradictory as it sounds. When you lost, you gained the knowledge of why you couldn't rise above it all. When you lose, you improve, and isn't that the damndest thing of all?
"Tsum-tsum, come on!!" Bokuto tugged at the back of his shirt. "You're making everyone wait!"
He stuck his tongue out at Bokuto. "Yeah, yeah, I'm coming!"
In reality, all he could think about is how he wanted to get to his apartment and grab that stupid package he had hidden from Kita's viewing for a long time whenever he visited. He thought about how he wanted to drive down to Kita's place of living and just say it now for everyone to hear. If he could, he'd do it live, but he wasn't sure if he was watching or not.
"I'll be watching you."
Even though he said that…you can never know for sure.
Better safe than sorry, right?
The television was bright and loud in front of him. The volume was turned up, the sound bursting through the speakers so much that he was worried they would break. If so, that would be a stupid way to break a decent television.
His fingers had been tightly intertwined during the harsh, rivating game that took place on the screen. With every set, he watched carefully as the spiker gave it his all. He leaned closer, his chest pounding like his heart wanted to leap out of his chest as every time the ball made its way to their part of the court. Relief flushed through him whenever the middle blockers succeeded and the recieves were helping them all connect as a team, to flow beautifully and create one masterpiece one step at a time. His eyes started getting glossy as the final set came before them, the numbers ticking up and up until it was there. The final point.
The sound that resonated from the last ball being spiked down from their number 21, Hinata Shoyou. He remembers Atsumu chatting to him on the phone about how much he has changed, how awesome it felt so set for a spiker like him. He remembers fighting against him in his battle when he was on the court during his final match as a third-year. He remembers back when he was just Karasuno's number 10 who he wanted to beat so they could move on to the next match. He's surely made a name for himself, hasn't he?
Leaning forward, hearing his heart pound in his ears, he watched as the camera zoomed in on the scoreboard. The national broadcasters screamed into their microphones, the shock overriding any professionalism they could hold in his moment. The battle was over, the war won. Kita stared as the camera flicked to another, this one focusing on the court from a zoomed out position. As it clicked to another, one zooming in on the MBSY Jackals, he found himself filled with a sense of pride as Atsumu screamed, grabbing ahold of his two teammates.
He watched as the entire arena erupted in joy and celebration, their teammates and staff rushing over to hug and celebrate them on their amazing win. He watched as the tears streamed down every member's face, how hugs were shared, voices had yelled, and how a shiver ran down his back watching the scene unfold before him. He felt the goosebumps rising on his skin.
Not only had Hinata Shoyou made a name for himself, but so had Atsumu Miya. The ill-tamed brat who had an irresistible hunger for setting to the point he chased it at any cost, finding himself awarded time after time for his skills as one of the best setters out there. He was a monster, undoubtedly so, but he had seen that monster grow and refine his craft. He remembers the late-night calls, scolding Atsumu for practicing so late and how he needed to take care of his body. He recalls Atsumu's late-night calls beginning to dwindle until they were no more as he learned to take proper care of himself, to never find himself on the bench due to his laser focus on the next move, the next set, the next match.
He was a brat by all means. He was way too smug than he deserved to be with a team that was holding him back in all honesty, with his brother able to reach the same height as him. He got beaten due to his ego, his oversureness of his win because of his sets and the spikes that came out due to the said sets. When he got knocked down, the cuts on his knee grew up and his body was as twice as strong for the next battle he lost until he couldn't be knocked down anymore, until he became a new kind of monster. It was almost like watching an evolution happen before his very own eyes.
His cheeks were wet from tears, his bottom lip quivering from the sheer relief flooding through his system. Even as it shook, he was grinning wide like an idiot, his gaze never leaving the screen before him. As he cried, watching the teenager he had taught, scolded, and grown to love reached the moment he had long been waiting for. He felt pride overwhelm him as his fingers shook no matter how hard he gripped them.
He was so proud of Atumu. He had come so far from that fourth-grader that Aran had met and ended up playing with in junior high. He had come far from someone with a striking hunger for setting like never before seen in Hyogo. He was more than just a dumb brat who abandoned his health for the sake of endless practice, no, he was now a star player with everyone in Japan watching his every movement as he played volleyball, threw his sets to his spiker's ways.
He had become so much more than he once was. That smugness wasn't just driven by ego anymore. He deserved that stupid grin on his face right now, he had worked for it and earned it as he stood on the winning side of the court.
As the captains approached, shaking their hands. As each team said goodbyes and parted their ways, he was still bubbling inside. He felt warmth with pride all over. He had been lucky enough to see the progression of this young man and how lucky was he? Not only that but he was able to stand besides him during it all as not only a friend, a mentor, but someone who had become his lover as the feelings had developed and blossomed like a fresh spring after a tough winter storm.
Wiping his tears, he smiled and stood up. He couldn't wait for Atsumu's call later on tonight after he cooked dinner.
Atsumu wasn't calling at their usual time, which was unusual, of course. Where was he?
Well, he could be celebrating with his teammates of course. It is a common place to go out drinking and for food after winning a good game after all. He couldn't be surprised by that in the slightest, now could he?
That didn't mean he didn't miss Atsumu's voice across the strained, wavering line. He enjoyed talking to him before he had to go to bed since it was a work night. He always made dinner, ate, and prepared for bed before Atsumu ever called him ever since he's gotten better at caring and watching for his health.
He hoped Atsumu would at least make it up to him somehow. Although, he was unsure how.
His baffled state of mind was jolted out of its pondering when there was a harsh, loud knock at his door. Who could it be at this hour? All of his neighbors know not to bother him this late in the day. It was nearly time for bed, seriously, who could be idiotic enough —
There stood Atsumu Miya in the flesh, when he should be standing back in Tokyo where the game had taken place hours ago during the day. There he stood, outside of his volleyball uniform, in a casual t-shirt and khaki shorts. He always did have bad fashion taste. He was close enough for Kita to get a waft of the vanilla-coconut scent off of whatever bodywash he overused this time around. His hair was damp, not completely wet to the point he looked like a wet poodle, but it was drying to that stage where your hair becomes fluffy. It reminds him of a soft teddy bear in all of those machines at the mall Atsumu used to drag him to during their mediocre dates at the said shopping center.
"What are you doing here?" Kita asked, his shock evident in his voice. He looked up at Atsumu as his tanned face started to flush with an adorable red shade across his cheeks. This was not the time for that. "No, how are you here? You were playing your match a few hours ago! You should be out celebrating with your teammates."
Atsumu rubbed the back of his neck nervously. Even after all these years and even after how much he's improved as an all-round player on the court, he was still just as easy for Kita to read. It made him smile. Some things really do never change.
"Well, we were just gonna go out and eat. We would just end up gettin' drunk, chattin', and whatnot." Atsumu admitted shyly, looking down to the side. "Plus I really….I wanted to see ya, Kita."
That made him flush this time around. "So what? You drove all the way out here by yourself?"
"Yeah, basically." Atsumu said straight-forwardly. He was still red, it was cute.
Kita sighed, shaking his head as he chuckled. "You really make no sense. Come on in, you fool."
Atsumu followed him inside as he went back towards the living room. He watched as Atsumu rushed past him and threw himself on the couch, letting out a blissful sigh of relief. "That game was rough! My legs are gonna kill me!"
Kita smiled at him, watching as he folded his arms behind his head as he rested his eyes. "I watched your game today."
Just like that, his eyes clicked back open. He immediately sat up, the position looking uncomfortable as can be, and stared at him. "You watched it?! Like on the TV?!"
"Yeah," Kita admitted, pushing Atsumu aside and sitting down beside him on the couch. "I promised you, didn't I?"
Atsumu threw his legs off of the couch and planted his feet on the floor beneath it. He scooted closer to Kita until their sides were touching, shoulders bumping. He smiled down at him, his fingers tapping lightly where his hand laid on his knee, warm and present.
"You did a good job," Kita admitted to him, looking up at Atsumu's golden eyes. "You and your team, you guys played amazingly, as did the team you played against. You both gave it your all and you can tell that even from watching it live from a stadium three hours away. You rose above it though, even when you were low on stamina, ready to drop, and still won nonetheless. You've become quite the player. Your sets looked awesome."
"A-awesome?!" Atsumu squeaked out like a shy schoolgirl, it was cute of him. Kita snorted at the reaction. It was so unlike Atsumu, even if he was an idiot most of the time outside of volleyball.
"Yeah, you were," Kita chuckled, bringing his hands together to intertwine. "The match was exhilarating."
Atsumu's blush seemed to flare up again because when Kita looked to his side to glance at him, he was as red as can be. He looked so shy, so nervous, when really he shouldn't be. It was just them, they had been dating for a few years now, ever since Atsumu graduated and he worked up the nerve to ask Kita out.
Sometimes, it feels like they're still working out how you date someone and what was the right move or not. It was refreshing at points, as a reminder where they used to be and how far they had grown together not only as people, but as a couple.
"You did an excellent job," Kita admitted, looking up at Atsumu who stared back. His gaze was strong and unwavering as usual even with his cheeks read and his expression filled with anxiety for whatever reason. He reached forward, placing his hand on top of Atsumu's, which laid nervously on his knee. "Congratulations on your win, Atsumu. I'm so very proud of you."
He leaned forward, pressing his lips against Atsumu's burning cheeks. He still felt like that fresh new guy thrown into adulthood who had no idea what he was doing besides studying and working. He felt weird giving him a peck on the cheek, but he didn't get another second to feel awkward because before he could get a sense of what was going on, Atsumu's warm hands were cupping his cheeks and their lips were being softly pressed against each other's.
The kiss was sweet and soft, unlike other kisses they've shared in the past, and he's sure they will share in the future. That didn't mean he disliked any less. These sort of kisses were the ones he loved the most.
He felt like, out of all the kisses they shared, the soft, gentle ones like these really poured how they felt about each other in them. The gentleness of the kiss made Kita feel like Atsumu valued him as something that was precious and deserved to be treated with care. His love, although abrasive and assertive during most of their encounters in the years of dating, shined through during times like these.
When they seperated, Atsumu spoke softly, "Shinsuke."
The blush that had died down returned to his cheeks softly. He felt weird blushing like this, he was the older one here. "Yeah?"
"I - Gah!" Atsumu erupted, burying his face in his hands, blushing furiously. "I had this whole thing planned and ya go and be ya!"
"Is that even Japanese?" Kita answered, raising his brow in confusion. What was he talking about? What the hell did he have 'planned'? "What are you going on about this time, you idiot?"
"Shuddup!" Atsumu whined, shoving Kita's shoulder. "Ya need to stop bein' so perfect and all that!"
'Huh?' Kita felt even more confused. Despite the plentiful information being fed to him, he still didn't have any clue what the hell his boyfriend was talking about. Being perfect? That was delusional talk. He wasn't perfect in the slightest, neither was Atsumu, it's human nature to be imperfect creatures after all. What kind of stuff has he been reading? 'If he reads at all that is…'
"I had this whole planned out and urgh!" Atsumu said before he breathed in deeply, his face quickly turning towards him out of his palms. "This ain't gonna be pretty! S-so you better like it anyway, it's yer fault either way?"
"Pardon me?" Kita asked, a little irritated at such an accusation.
Again, before he could register it, Atsumu stood up from the couch and turned to face towards Kita, who sat on the couch, looking up at him. He watched, almost in slow motion, as Atsumu dropped down on one knee, looking Kita in the eyes. His gaze never wavered, never shook, and always looked deeply into him. With anyone else, he would be uncomfortable and look away, but with Atsumu, that was a different case.
He watched as Atsumu dug his disgustingly-colored khaki's pocket, pulling out a thin box that was a soft, pure white color. Kita's eyes, for the first time in a long time, dashed away from Atsumu's damning gaze and locked into the box as Atsumu's fingers curled over the top and pulled it open, revealing the matching golden bands. Even with the shitty light from the main room nailed in above them not offering that much, they shined like they were in a greenhouse.
"I-I promised myself I would ask ya if I won. If I won, I had to." Atsumu said, staring at him with a reddened face. "And I did win, my and my team. Shinsuke, I...have loved ya for a long time. Ya were only the real person to tell me, 'Hey ya ass, this isn't right. Take care of yerself.' Maybe not that way, but the message is all the same at the end of the day. I remember that moment everyday, I think that was the moment I...I knew I had have ya, as creepy as that sounds. I'm not good with fancy words like 'Samu, I'm not weirdly creative like Rin, or even reasonable like Ojiro-san, but I just know I love ya and I wanna be with ya, if ya let me."
Out of all the things Kita could have predicted by what Atsumu had apparently 'planned' for him, this was not one of them. Just like when the match was on the television screen earlier today, as the noise booked through his speakers, his heart pounded like it wanted to leap out of his chest.
He's not a jealous or possessive type by any means. That's more of Atsumu's role really, as he's quite childish and thick-headed when it comes to those sorts of things. However, the thought of a fantasy where he could tell everyone Atsumu was with him, so he wouldn't have to overhear someone speaking about his boyfriend in less than platonic ways made him spring up with joy. He had a lot of fans, inside and outside of volleyball, and it made Kita feel insecure at times, but at the end of the day, he was a reasonable man and he knew Atsumu loved him and wanted him, even when seemingly better options presented themselves to him. Atsumu might yell at him for thinking lesser than himself but that isn’t here or there.
This wasn't a fantasy. This wasn't a fleeting thought or wish that happened to cross his head. This was reality, a real opportunity presenting him. This wasn't out of jealousy or insecurity though. Atsumu Miya, his long-time boyfriend, wanted to marry him. He wanted to one of them to take each other's last names or combine them. He wanted to slip matching wedding bands on each other's fingers. He wanted a certificate that pronounced their state of affair to the entire world. He wanted to pronounce Kita Shinsuke as his lover to everyone as he wears a ring whenever he goes out, whenever he's in a match, whenever he's on television for an interview for the entire world to look on.
He wanted everyone to see that they were in love and that this love was unbreakable, inseparable by any means.
He cried for the second time today, slipping down his couch as his knees hit the floor of the main room. A surprised shout from Atsumu made him laugh as the idiot hurried to reassure him of something that he can't recall. Instead, he pressed his hands against his cheeks and mashes their lips together once more. He gently reached out place his hands on top of the hands holding the ring box shakily. He removed his lips from Atsumu's, looking in the eye without moving far, and spoke a simple, "Yes."
Just like that, there was a golden band on each of their hands, and Kita found himself being held as they bickered about who should take whose name.