Atsumu is not nervous. No, really, he isn’t. He’s not feeling jittery, nor is he feeling fear crawling up his spine and trying to claw between his ribcage to grip his heart. No, really, he is fine.
Except all of that is a lie.
“Samu!” He whines from where he’s adjusting his clothes, the almost sheer white crop top tied tight right below his pecs, the loose fit of the arms making it float as he moves them around. “Samu, what if he hates it and I end up dead? What then? Who’s gonna take care of ya? I can’t expect Sunarin to be up for the job!”
“Shut the fuck up, oh my God,” his twin brother groans his complaint, glaring at Atsumu’s back; he doesn’t have to turn around to know he is, can feel it already piercing through the back of his head. “He’s not gonna behead you, Tsumu. ‘Sides, you’ve danced for people before, ya think yer gonna mess it up all of a sudden? Use yer head, dumbass.”
“Yeah, right, but none of them were the frickin’ king!” Atsumu continues to whine, resembling a child throwing a tantrum as he pouts at his reflection. “I can’t do this, ya heard the stories! He’ll have me killed on the spot if I mess up!” Trembling, he plays with the beads on the ends of his face covering for lack of better things to distract himself with. “I hafta cancel. Go out there an’ tell Bokkun I’m feelin’ sick or somethin’.”
“Samu!” The jewels at the ends of the mask he’s playing with chime as he waves it wildly above his head, turning his pout on his twin as he stands beside the entrance of Atsumu’s tent, arms crossed over his chest. “Do ya want me to die? S’that it? Did Sunarin put’cha up to this so he can have ya all to himself?”
“You’re an idiot, Tsumu,” Osamu states, his voice much calmer than Atsumu’s; nothing out of the ordinary for the two of them. “Yer gonna be fine. The king won’t kill ya if ya just do what ya always do. You’ve been chosen for a reason, so just shut yer trap an’ finish gettin’ ready. He’ll only have ya beheaded if ya make him wait any longer.”
“Ahhh, fuck you, I should’ve eaten ya in the womb ya fuckin’ dickhead.”
Despite his grumbling and complaining, Atsumu stands, huffing one last insult before he slips on his mask. The mask is an accessory, granting him a sort of mystery that seems to entice those who watch him; to him, it’s a piece of clothing that gives him the courage he needs to face the crowds that eagerly watch his every move. God knows he wouldn’t be able to do this, day in and day out, if he didn’t wear this mask. It doesn’t even hide that much, but there’s an obvious change in his posture as soon as he puts it on, back straighter and eyes narrowing ever so slightly as he walks towards the exit of his small tent.
“There we go,” he hears Osamu mumble as he parts the fabric so they can pass through.
Outside, people are drinking and laughing aloud; there’s not much else to do, after all. There’s tents and stands littering about, some with trinkets and jewelry, others with food and beverages that could intoxicate even the Gods above. Atsumu ignores all of it, though, walking with purpose towards the biggest tent of them all, two royal guards by the entrance, their swords sheathed but ready to strike down any who attempts a wrong move in their direction.
“We have an appointment with the King,” Osamu says as they reach the two, and Atsumu doesn’t have to look to know they’re taking in the sight of him - they always do. Royal guards or commoners, man or woman, no one can deny he’s attractive - not when he looks like this, his abdomen in full show as his pants, if he can even call it that, hang low on his hips. “Bokuto is the one who booked it, you may check with him.”
As if summoned, Bokuto pulls one of the pieces of fabric back, peaking his head outside, golden eyes shining as he sees the twin brothers.
“Ah, Samu, TsumTsum! Right on time!” The King’s head guard says, stepping out of the tent and patting one of the Royal guards’ shoulders. “It’s alright, they’re with me, let ‘em through,” he says to the man, who gives a small nod in reply and steps aside. “There we go, good job.”
Atsumu remains quiet, following Bokuto and his brother as they lead him further into the tent. He sees the musicians that usually play for him off to one side, but doesn’t offer a greeting - Atsumu without the mask is kind and loud, and charming beyond belief; Atsumu with his mask is nothing if not seductive, his only purpose to entertain whoever pays for his time. He’s danced for nobles and commoners, soldiers with a little too much tension on their shoulders and women who are tired from their lackluster lives and need something to break away from it.
He’s never once danced for the King, though. In fact, from what he hears, the elusive man is peculiar about who he allows into his tent, nitpicking about every single thing before he concedes to having visitors or entertainment. There are rumors he has actually had fools killed for trying to get a little too close during their performances, but also word that he is simply too coldhearted to enjoy any form of entertainment.
When Bokuto talked to Atsumu about performing for the King, he’d been reluctant; he didn’t think he was up to par, still doesn’t. Without the mask, he doubts his skills and his looks though he doesn’t breathe a word of it out to anyone; he doesn’t think he should be deemed worthy to perform for their kingdom’s ruler. Still, Osamu hadn’t allowed him to refuse the offer, most likely because it entitled a lot of money they were in need of, and so Atsumu ended up here.
He does a quick sweep of the inside of the tent as he steps at the center of it, realizing that besides his twin brother and Bokuto, the only other people in it are the musicians. He’s about to open his mouth to ask about the whereabouts of the King, when fabric flaps behind him and he hears footsteps on the soft carpet they’re standing on. He doesn’t dare turn to look, keeping his head held hung low and staring at the floor as the King sits on the throne in front of him.
With his elusiveness and bad habit to stick inside the Castle’s walls most of the time, no one’s seen much of him before. Atsumu has always imagined the man to be much like their previous King, which he’s only seen in paintings - average height, protruding belly due to over drinking and a lack of exercise, and excessively heavy clothing to show off his status. He’s danced for worse looking people, he muses inside his head, so it shouldn’t be too bad.
“Your Highness,” Bokuto says from Atsumu’s left, voice having lost any type of playfulness that coated it earlier, and he bows as he’s introduced. “This is Atsumu Miya, he’ll be dancing for you today.”
“Very well,” the King responds, and his voice is gravely and warm, and, only for a moment, Atsumu feels his heart flutter, wanting to hear more of it. “Get on with it then, I’ve got other business to attend to,” he continues, so void of emotion it makes Atsumu flinch, even if only on the inside.
He remains bowing as he feels both Bokuto and Osamu walk away from beside him, and only when the musicians begin their countdown does he straighten his posture, light brown eyes looking straight into the abyss.
“Fuck,” Atsumu thinks, eyes widening as he’s thrown off by the sight in front of him. “Fuck, fuck fuck. He’s hot.”
He doesn’t have long to dwell on what he’s just discovered though, because the music starts and he has to move, lest he wants to bore the King any further. He turns on his side, allowing the music to play for a few moments until he finds the note he wants to start on, hand rising above his head, a slow twist of his wrist as he bends his knees to lower himself slightly, and so it begins.
Atsumu has done this a thousand times before, the swings of his hips and sweeps of his arms familiar in a way nothing else is. He’s worked hard over the years to hone his skills to guarantee he gives the best performance he can, every single time; he likes to watch the eyes of his observers as they take in what he does, can only imagine the thoughts running through their heads as they catch sight of how his waist can curve, how the muscles of his thighs flex each time he bends during his dance. It’s a game he’s been playing for a long time, but he has never been as excited to play it as he is now.
His eyelids, which are droopy by nature, drop further as he watches the King, the black pool of the abyss in his eyes following his every move. He can tell he’s enchanted by it, the long fingers on the hand he’s using to support his head subconsciously moving to swipe at his bottom lip. It entices Atsumu to go a little extra, drop a little lower, swing a little further; each of his movements heightened by the unabashed desire he can see swimming in the black pools that are the King’s eyes. Luckily, no one else will know but Osamu, who’s the only one who constantly watches his performances to make sure no one takes advantage when they shouldn’t, and he can brush it off to say he just wants to make sure the King doesn’t sentence him to be beheaded for not entertaining him enough.
He goes through his routine, flowing from one song to another as if he’s merely breathing, and with each second that passes he feels the tension rising within the King’s stare. He can almost hear the way he’s breathing heavier, and maybe that’s what urges him forward. He ignores the soft gasp he hears his brother breathe out as he walks forward, never once stopping the swing of his hips or the twists of his hands, and he pretends this is all a part of his routine as dances for the King, just within arms reach. He turns his back on the dark haired man, eyes closing as he shakes his hips for him, the slits of his pants allowing the fabric to swing back and forth, tempting the King with brief flashes of his toned thighs.
When Atsumu feels the presence of a hand by his left thigh, he can’t help but smirk as he quickly turns, taking notice of the King’s warm gaze on him.
He’s even more handsome up close, Atsumu realizes - chiseled jaw that could make the Gods jealous, eyes so dark they look like the night sky; his hair is curly, framing his face as it flows down half of his forehead, leaving uncovered the two dark moles above his right eyebrow, which Atsumu finds endearing. He still has his index pressed against his bottom lip, and the dancer realizes he’s gently nipping at it, as if he can’t help himself.
Satisfied with himself and his accomplishment, Atsumu walks backwards while staring at the King, still, and moves to his last dance as the musicians play their third song. He doesn’t take his eyes off the King as he goes through each step of his routine, and as it comes to an end he’s staring at him over his shoulder, one of his legs in full show where the fabric of his pants has fallen down, ass perked out just right, tantalizing enough but not overly lewd. He’s breathing heavily by then, due to his work, but finds himself smirking when he notices that the King’s breath is also faster than it was before.
“Thank you for your attention, my King.” The words spill out of Atsumu’s mouth before he realizes what he’s saying, and oh, he usually doesn’t talk to his patrons, especially not just after a performance, but he can’t help the sultry lilt of his voice as he addresses the King.
He hears his brother curse somewhere inside the tent but ignores him once more, slowly standing until he’s facing the King and bowing before the man. Despite whatever tension he felt between the two as he was dancing, he shows his respect to the ruler of their kingdom how he’s been taught to do, one hand behind his back and another over his abdomen as he lowers his head.
“Bokuto, ask Akaashi to cancel all my other appointments,” the King says, and Atsumu lifts his chin enough to watch Bokuto rush to the man’s side.
“Sakusa— I mean, Your Majesty, is that really such a good—.”
“Bokuto. Ask Akaashi to cancel all my other appontments.” The King - Sakusa is his name, Atsumu learns from Bokuto’s mishap - orders once again, and the exotic dancer flicks his eyes to his face, finding him already staring back at him. “Don’t make me say it again.” He grumbles, and something at Atsumu’s core shakes with the rumble of his voice, though he can’t quite pinpoint out what it is.
“O-of course, Your Majesty.”
“I want everyone else out of here.” King Sakusa commands, and Atsumu straightens from his bow and turns at last, ready to follow the musicians who are quickly trickling out of the tent. “Miya.” The call of his name makes both him and Osamu stop and turn to face him. “Atsumu, was it?”
“Yes, my King,” Atsumu responds in a smaller voice than earlier, aware of his twin brother’s approach as he comes to stand by his side. “Is there anything else I may do for you, my King?”
“Stay.” The dark-haired man says, standing from his chair and glancing at Osamu. “Only you, however. I want to discuss private matters with you.”
“Tsumu.” Osamu’s voice is quiet, a seething hiss next to Atsumu’s ear, a warning. Even though Atsumu is older, even if only by a few minutes, he knows how protective his twin can be.
“It’s okay, Samu,” he whispers back, glancing at him to offer a genuine smile. “Didn’tcha say I wouldn’t be beheaded, Samu? Are ya scared now?”
“Idiot.” That’s the last word Osamu whispers to him, bowing before the King once again so he can leave.
There’s silence between them even after everyone is gone, and Atsumu can almost hear the crackling of fire as they stare each other down. It feels like he’s stuck inside a dream, the atmosphere warm and inviting, and he finds himself holding his breath as the King walks closer. He allows his eyes to take in the man’s body, taking notice of as much as he can despite his outfit. He’s wearing a black tunic that falls down to his thighs, singed at the waist by a brown leather belt that tightens the fabric enough to hint at the muscles underneath. It’s a sleeveless one, so Atsumu can see his well-trained biceps and follows the lines to his hands, which seem to be very well maintained.
His gaze falls down his legs, the brown pants he’s wearing being a little too loose to really capture anything underneath, which ends up being a good thing, because the King’s stopped walking in front of him, and Atsumu really shouldn’t be trying to look at the ruler like that. He’s nothing but a commoner, an entertainer of the people; has no right over the kinds of thoughts filtering through his brain right now. He looks up at the King’s face, but even that’s not safe - he can’t stop thinking about the way his gaze seemed to be clouded over with desire earlier, his bottom lip slightly red from where he must’ve tugged at the skin.
“Miya Atsumu,” the King calls, and Atsumu almost groans when he hears the way he says his name. Thankfully, he hasn’t lost all of his sense and holds himself back in time. “I won’t drag this out for long - I want you.”
Atsumu stares. He was expecting the King to do one of two things - ask him to perform again, becoming a part of his entourage, or tell him he’d be killed for trying to seduce him. None of those things line up with what he hears, however, unless the King means he wants him to perform once more.
“My King, I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean,” he says in return, voice muffled by the red mask he’s still wearing, covering the bottom half of his face.
“I want you. I’m sure you understand your appeal, and I’m sure I am not the first to propose such arrangement, but I will not force myself upon you.” The King’s voice is steady, as if he’s simply discussing a business deal. “I haven’t had a lover in a long time, but I want to make you mine. We will lay together, and you will not be allowed other lovers in the meantime, if you accept,” he continues, and Atsumu feels his eyes widen ever so slightly. “You will be a part of my court, and your brother will be made part of it as well, if you wish. You will both be taken care of and move to live at the Castle.”
“Wait, hold on.” Atsumu is slipping out of his carefully crafted stage persona, hands rising as he holds them out in front of his chest. “You... ya want me? Me?! When ya could’ve gotten anyone else in this kingdom?” He feels the doubts settle within him, the self-conscious part of him coming to the surface. “That makes no sense. Ya make no sense.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Miya,” the King scoffs, and Atsumu stops himself from returning the comment with an insult of his own; he’s almost forgotten he’s talking to the King. “You’re attractive. I’m not asking to court you or for your hand in marriage, but I believe we can help each other. You will be my private dancer, and lover, and that will be that. It’s alright if you say no, I will not hold it against you, but from the way you were looking at me earlier, I don’t see why you would.”
Atsumu considers it for a second. Yes, he finds the King very much attractive, and he had more inappropriate thoughts about the man than should be allowed... but from imagining things, to actually going through with it? There’s a big gap there he’s not sure he’s willing to cross. He takes a few moments to think about it, weighing the pros and cons in his mind.
Pros: he’ll have a stable roof over his head, steady food in his belly, and will be surrounded by friends (Bokuto is not the only member of the royal guard he knows, after all).
Cons: he’ll have to have sex with the King whenever he so desires.
“Well,” he thinks, “that’s not really a con, is it?”
He looks over the man once again. He can tell he’s becoming impatient by the tap of his foot against the carpet underneath them, arms crossed over his chest. He wants to think a little further, knowing he’s never been good at impulse decisions, but knows he can’t; he has to tell him something, give him a reply before he retracts his offer.
“I’ll need to check with Samu,” he says, accent thick as he holds his hands in front of him, fingers grasping each other. “My brother, I don’t know if he’ll wanna live at the castle, I’ll hafta check.” He glances up at the King’s face once more, a corner of his lips quirking up at the impatient glare he’s receiving. “Count me in, though. Guess I really got nothin’ to lose here.”
Atsumu watches the moment relief pours through the King’s insides, because his shoulders drop ever so slightly and his expression softens, even if only just a little. His eyes sweep over Atsumu’s figure once more, but he makes no move to even try to touch him, not like he had earlier. Instead, he sighs heavily, black orbs falling back on Atsumu’s face.
“Very well. I’ll have Bokuto know to expect you at the castle soon.”
Atsumu nods briefly, and before the conversation can go on any longer, he bows once again, effectively ending their discussion. He’s heard all he needed to hear, said all he needed to say; for now, there’s no more words to be exchanged between them.
The dancer straightens from his bow with grace, turning his back on the King and starting his track towards the exit of the tent. He swings his hips a little wider than usual, because he knows the King is watching, and then stops right by the slit in the fabric that separates him from the outside. Turning his head, he looks at the King over his shoulder once more, a smirk on his lips.
“Pleasure doin’ business with ya, my King,” he teases, watching the corner of the man’s lips try to quirk upward.
“Pleasure’s all mine.”