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(1)

It’s on the second day of Osamu’s last Nationals ever — he’s not thinking about it, he’s not — when he runs into an old rival. Literally.

There Osamu was, just minding his own business, purposefully avoiding Atsumu because there were only so many freaky intense ‘Sumu stares a guy could take. It’s like his twin thought that if he blinked too many times he’d miss out on their last tournament together or something — either way it was freaking Osamu out.

Whatever. Osamu is not thinking about it.

And he was definitely not thinking about it so hard, hands stuffed into his pockets, head tipped down, staring at the ground, real pointed not thinking shit, that he didn’t see the mop of orange hair until it was too late.

Namely when he and Miyagi’s greatest, weirdest menace collided rounding a corner going opposite directions.

The thing about Hinata Shouyou is that he’s really not very tall. In fact, were Osamu trying to goad him on a volleyball court, he’d definitely point out loudly just how small Hinata is for a volleyball player. Hinata Shouyou is so short that when Osamu has his head tipped forward just so, Hinata’s forehead is about the perfect height to align with Osamu’s mouth.

He unfortunately knows this from first-hand experience.

They collide headfirst. Osamu’s mouth smacks onto the top of Hinata’s forehead with an audible crack that has his teeth clicking together, biting the side of his tongue on the way down. Hinata, for his part, doesn’t immediately get sent flying. Hinata’s momentum was such — and really, where the fuck was he scurrying off to in such a hurry — that it carries him forward to loudly yelp into Osamu’s neck, before bouncing off his chest and getting knocked backward.

Osamu guesses he’ll give him this: as he lifts a hand to cover his mouth because holy fuck does it hurt like a bitch, Hinata stays on his feet. Once he’s caught his balance though, Hinata squats down, hands clasped to where Osamu has just given him the most violent smooch of both their lives. Osamu tongues at the damage on his lips and motherfucking ow! This is definitely going to be a fat lip, ain’t it? He better not be bleeding.

Hinata tips his head up at him, face all scrunchy. “Excuse me—” Ever meet someone with a cartoonishly expressive face? Because Osamu gets to watch in real time as the realization dawns over Hinata’s face, of just who exactly he’d run into. And as that realization sets in, Hinata freezes, all wide-eyed and lookin’ like he’s ready to flee. Osamu always thought it was kinda weird and freaky how animal-like this kid is.

Finally after too much staring, Hinata blurts, “A Miya twin!”

Osamu prods at his lip, and it is definitely split, before flicking a glance down at Hinata. “Hello to ya too, Shouyou-kun.”

That’s enough to shake prey animal Hinata loose, then big brown eyes blink at him, pushing up to stand. Osamu notes he still has a hand pressed into his forehead — he hopes he didn’t accidentally get him with his teeth when they collided. Can people catch tetanus from each other? Osamu can’t remember the details, but he has some vague recollection from his youth about how it’s not okay to bite your brother ‘because germs’.

“You remember who I am?”

Osamu blinks, snapped out of his weird little maudlin recollection to stare at Hinata’s guarded expression.

That’s enough to pull a snort out of Osamu, curling the corner of his mouth up— which hurts like a motherfucker. Ow. Hissing, Osamu tongues at his lip before answering. “Yeah, Shouyou-kun, I remember ya.”

There were few people at nationals who had ever left as much of an impression on Osamu as Hinata had. The commit blocking to him alone last year, where the shrimp had managed to stuff him, would have been enough to make him memorable. But then he also had to go on and be the most terrifying creature Osamu had ever witnessed on a volleyball court — and that includes his own psycho of a brother. Hell, there had even been that flare of ‘getting left behind’ that he’d felt when Atsumu, dramatic idiot that he is, had promised Hinata he’d set for him one day. It was the first time Osamu had thought that maybe he was already going to be replaced.

Also further proving Osamu’s belief that the orange-haired weirdo across from him was absolutely, pants-shittingly terrifying, is the fact that Hinata managed to play harder than anyone else until he literally couldn’t anymore. Watching Hinata fall had been all kinds of scary last year — from up in the stands they couldn’t possibly know what the fuck had happened. And finding out through the nationals grapevine that he had been sick playing that good last year had been one of the most awe-inducing moments of Osamu’s life.

He’d seen some news outlets start to call the volleyball players in his cohort a “monster generation". Osamu had always thought that it was stupid as fuck, especially for the way it makes Atsumu peacock around every time he hears it. But for Hinata Shouyou, Osamu is pretty sure it might apply.

Hinata’s face opens up with surprise, the hand in his hair drooping a bit. How the ever loving hell could he be surprised that Osamu remembers him? His eyes go a bit wider, gleaming at Osamu. “Really?”

Determined not to smile this time, because that shit hurt, Osamu shrugs. “‘Course.”

And then, because Hinata is nothing if not full of surprises, that delighted gleam to his face takes on a feral edge, with a flash of teeth that is more threat display than an actual smile. “Good, ‘cause we’re gonna kick your butt again this year.”

Osamu stares back at him, expression going relaxed and disinterested, because Osamu is old hat at dealing with grand declarations from competitive idiots. “I’d like to see ya try.” For good measure his mouth betrays him again by stretching into a slight grin that hurts like no one’s business.

Hinata’s grin takes on a savage tilt, eyes intent, and Osamu barely has a moment to process the way it kinda makes his scalp tingle and his fingers twitch, when Hinata face shifts into a grimace as his stomach makes a loud unhappy sound. Hands clutching his belly, Hinata shoulders past him, crying, “Bathroom!” hurrying down the hall towards the nearest restroom.

Osamu watches him go, wondering if that might be the most surreal encounter he’s ever had at Nationals. He tongues at the split in his lip from where his mouth had made its unfortunate collision with the top of Hinata’s head, and idly wonders if it’ll feel better tomorrow.

He sure hopes so. He’s gonna be doing an awful lot of smiling when he finally takes his revenge on Hinata and Karasuno and knocks them out of the tournament tomorrow.


(2)

Osamu stands at the center of the orange court, surrounded on all sides by his jubilant team — they’ve just won gold at Nationals. At his side, Atsumu has an arm looped around his neck, weeping as he tells their heroic little first year middle blocker, a full four inches taller than either of them, that he played well. Osamu watches Gin bounce around yelling, ruffling Riseki’s hair. Even Suna has a peaceful little tilt to his mouth, taking it all in.

They fucking won.

It’s bittersweet; it’s Osamu’s last game. No more volleyball after this. At least no more volleyball like this. He’s almost certain he’s going to join one of those old people community-run leagues pretty quickly after he graduates. He just knows he’ll get antsy. Maybe after Atsumu has settled in the Black Jackals.

But at least he’s going out with a bang. Gold, baby. Osamu looks at the hysterically jubilant face of his twin, and Osamu has the brief delirious thought that gold is gonna look so fucking stupid with Atsumu’s hair, and he’s so happy he gets to see it.

Gin comes sailing by in his bouncing, scooping Atsumu up to run around — because apparently neither of them are tired after five hard fought sets at the end of a longass tournament. Left to his own devices, Osamu quietly takes in the sights around him. His eyes trail up to the stands, where Inarizaki fans and students alike cry and cheer for them, hugging and screaming. When they get back, Osamu will have to think of something tasty to make to share at whatever crazy afterparty the school throws for them. Maybe—

A flash of movement, an arm waving, and a figure in black and orange stands on the stairs leading up the exit. Osamu focuses, still feeling a little punch-drunk, and he makes out the figure of Hinata Shouyou waving madly. At him.

Kind of absently, because is this a weird fever dream? And if yes, why? Osamu lifts a hand to wave back. This makes Hinata redouble his efforts, arm scissoring through the air in a wild, happy wave. Even though he’s far away, Osamu is pretty sure he knows exactly the kind of face-scrunching, freely joyful grin that’d be on Hinata’s face.

Osamu’s kinda surprised. He would’ve thought Hinata would still be salty about their loss to Inarizaki from two days ago. Though, there had been years where Osamu had watched the final match from the stands and vindictively hoped whatever team had knocked them out would get their ass kicked. So why was—

Something from further up the stairs grabs Hinata’s attention, breaking their weird little moment of connection from the stands to the court. Kageyama stands at the top of the stairs, and he blends in too much with the dark around him, but Osamu can picture the pissy expression he probably has on his face.

Osamu’s gaze trickles back down to Hinata, watches the back of his head and thinks ’nice knowin’ ya, Shouyou-kun’, and just as he was about to turn away, Hinata, ever full of surprises, turns back to him. The waving has stopped, but his hand comes up to his mouth, and he throws something at Osamu. Then he turns again and races up the stairs.

Osamu watches Hinata dash up the stairs, confounded. What the fuck? Had Hinata just blown him a kiss?

He doesn’t have time to parse how that makes him feel, because Atsumu is on him again, yanking him towards the coach, yelling something about coach wanting them, happy grin still smeared across his features.

Osamu takes one parting glance back at the space in the stands Hinata had occupied, no sight of the orange gremlin anywhere. Osamu frowns, and isn’t exactly sure why.


(3)

Osamu’s Onigiri Miya pop-up stall runs out of food halfway into the lunch hour on the busy Dōtonbori streets, packed full of tourists and shoppers. It sucks having to tell people who have lined up for half an hour that he’s out of product. But Osamu is kinda glad. It gives him an extra couple of hours to prep that much more for this evening.

It’s been a busy couple of months; graduating high school, applying for a business license, moving to Osaka, and using some of Kita-san’s connections — somehow the Kita family knows someone for everything — Osamu sets up his own little pop-up stall to sell his onigiri from. It’s been exciting, it’s been hard, and he’s learned an awful lot over the last few months.

Though he’s glad as hell the cloying Summer humidity has finally broken into a more temperate Fall. Standing out in the heat two times a day, feeling like he’s being smothered under the moisture in the air and the press of bodies in Dōtonbori was slowly driving him a bit insane. He isn’t regretting it, it’s just as the noonday sun helped give him the worst farmer’s tan of his life, he started to vividly fantasize about his own shop. And its own blessedly cool a/c. God, what he wouldn’t give for his very own aircon.

Sighing, Osamu takes out his phone, adding this afternoon’s tallies to his total profits. A few more months like this and he’ll hit the target his parents set for him, and finally they’ll be willing to give him a loan so he can put a down payment on his very own shop. Though Fall usually isn’t as busy with tourism, as many of the other stall owners have been quick to point out to him.

Osamu begins closing up shop, throwing down blankets and covers, tucking trays and napkins into their hidden alcoves. If he gets to the rental flat him and Atsumu are sharing in the next hour, he should be able to make a solid extra 50 onigiri or so for this evening. Though he’ll need to pick up some more rice — the inferior, non-Kita family rice. Osamu is pretty sure his shitty thief of a brother has been dipping into his Kita-san rice when Osamu isn’t looking.

Pulling open his little lunch cooler, Osamu pulls out one of his ugly first onigiri from early that morning. He has no idea what it is, but he swears there’s a law of pancakes about crafting onigiri. The first one is always a little ugly, still tastes good, just not really marketable. Which is why it’s always, always, always his go to post-lunch rush snack. It’s the first thing he’s eaten since six this morning, and he’s starving, demolishing the first one in a few bites.

The second he unwraps carefully, and commits to actually savouring it. He takes the first bite, chewing thoughtfully. Probably went a bit too heavy with the vinegar with these ones. With the umeboshi it’s a bit too tart. He sets the plastic-wrapped onigiri onto his covered counter, fishing around in his pockets for his little notebook. Or as Atsumu likes to call it, ‘Samu’s lame food bible’.

It ain’t that different from Atsumu’s scheduled handcare regime, so Osamu thinks his brother can shut the fuck up. Another perk of the business loan his parents have promised him is that Osamu is only looking for spots with living space on the second floor. No more rooming with the universe's most god awful, ungrateful, sack of shi—

“Wait!”

Osamu stops, looking up from his notebook. He cants his head around, confused as to where the voice came from. Finally his eyes alight on something— someone, unexpected. He blinks, not recognizing the sloppy school uniform, but Osamu can recognize that mop of orange hair anywhere. Even if it’s a lot longer and in need of a trim. Those big ole brown eyes are the same though, burning with a freaky determination. For a second Osamu is transported back to the blinding lights of the Tokyo Metropolitan gym, those same eyes burning a hole into the side of his head, promising that he will stop Osamu, no matter what it takes.

“This is Osaka.” Osamu meant to say ‘What are you doing here, this is an awfully long way away from buttfuck Miyagi’. He also meant to ask if he’s having a fever dream, brought on by too much sun exposure, but then that raises questions like why are you hallucinating him of all people, Osamu?

Hinata Shouyou, not in buttfuck Miyagi, takes a step closer. His eyes leave Osamu’s face very very briefly to glance at his half-covered Onigiri Miya stand, then back to Osamu, visibly wilted. “Am I too late?”

Just completely ignoring Osamu, huh? Wait, does this mean this is a weird little fever dream? He should drink some water. “Uh, too late for what?”

Hinata’s brows tilt ever so hopefully. “Do you still have any onigiri in stock?”

“Oh. Uh, no. All out.” Osamu rubs at the back of his neck. This might be the most surreal moment of his life. Probably more surreal than that moment this boy blew him a kiss after he won nationals last year— Osamu squints his eyes. “Is this real?”

Hinata covers his face with his hands, head tipped back to wail, “I sure hope not!”

Osamu ain’t really sure what he’s hoping right now, but he would very much like to keep eating. Or, at the very least, figure out how and why Hinata ‘motherfucking’ Shouyou is standing in Dōtonbori, like a volleyball ghost from days past, here to remind Osamu of his favourite games he’s ever played— “Shouyou-kun, what the heck are ya doing here?”

But Hinata doesn’t seem to hear him. Face still in his hands, he’s muttering something to himself. “I knew I shouldn’t have let Yamaguchi-kun talk me into climbing up Osaka castle. Of course Yachi would want to do the photo op, augh!” He finishes by roughing both hands through his hair and staring at the ground.

Over the last few months Osamu has experienced an awful lot of intense weirdos’ upset that Osamu’s out of food, so it’s not really his first time dealing with this kinda thing. Though it’s still a little surreal that it’s Hinata. Here. In Osaka. “Ya on a class trip or something?”

Hinata smears his face with his hands for good measure before finally looking at Osamu, face all uncharacteristically droopy. He gives a heavy, forlorn sigh. “Yeah, third year class trip.” He blows his askew bangs out of his eyes to no effect, they settle right back to their disheveled state across his forehead.

“Ah.”

Hinata sticks out his lip, foot scuffing the pavement as he stuffs his hands into his pockets. “You had the Toro special on today and everything.”

Osamu nods his head — it had been pretty popular these past few weeks, enough that Osamu’s been pretty confident of upping his prices a bit —and then pauses. “Wait, how the heck didja know that?”

Hinata pulls his phone from his pocket, showing the screen to Osamu. “I follow you on instagram.” He’s back to pouting. “Your onigiri are like, the one thing I was looking forward to on this trip.” And then he’s scruffing his hair again and Osamu has a distinct memory from his own third year trip this time last year, where Atsumu complained the whole time about missing volleyball practice, until they sat down and ate some good food.

Osamu finds himself oddly touched. Hinata follows his store? Even all the way out in Miyagi? And wanted to come see his shop? Eat his food to make it worth missing volleyball? That’s— Actually it’s weird as hell, and definitely not how Osamu had imagined his day going at all. And Hinata, world class at leaving everyone around him wrong-footed, jabs a finger in Osamu’s direction.

“You changed your hair!”

The shock is probably a little uncalled for, but Osamu self-consciously lifts his hat off his head to give it a scruff, showing his recently shorn black hair. It had taken a full day of being mistaken for ‘Atsumu the onigiri man’ for Osamu to say fuck it, and cut away all the damaged hair. He promptly replaces it back on his head when he remembers he undoubtedly has bad hat hair. “Uh, yeah.”

Hinata nods, like he’s trying to look sagely. “It’s important to try new things.”

Osamu startles himself by guffawing, not expecting any type of wisdom to come leaking out of Hinata Shouyou ever. Isn’t he supposed to be a volleyball nerd who’s only a volleyball nerd, caring about volleyball things? Osamu’s reaction finally has Hinata giving him a smile, a small pleased little thing, that has Osamu mirroring the expression, just a little.

It’s strange that Hinata came all this way from Miyagi, navigated the streets of Dōtonbori by himself — it’s not like Osamu can see any other people milling around in Karasuno uniforms — all so he could try Osamu’s onigiri. It’s— Osamu doesn’t have words to describe the pleased little glowy feeling opening up in his chest.

He has regular customers, most of his customers are regulars, and he has friends from school who swing by to support him. Not to mention his and Atsumu’s old fanclub show up every so often. But Osamu is pretty sure Hinata might be the person who’s traveled the furthest to try his food. And yeah, he might be on a school trip, but he deliberately took time away from his friends and his class to eat Osamu’s food.

He gives Hinata a wide, slow smile. One of those big genuine ones that sometimes feel goofy on his face, but if anyone’s earned it, it’s the floppy-haired boy in front of him. “Yeah Shouyou-kun, it’s important to try new things.”

Hinata beams at him, before his brows tilt hopefully. “Are you really sure you don’t have like a secret onigiri stashed away anywhere, pretty please?” Hinata clasps his hands together under his chin, giving Osamu his version of puppy dog eyes, which has an uncomfortable lack of blinking involved if Osamu is being honest.

He gives a soft little chuckle, shaking his head. “Sorry, Shouyou-kun. I got nothin’.” He nods his head at his stand, holding his hands up, demonstrating that he’s really got nothing. “If you come back tonight, say around five, I’ll make sure to keep a couple off to the side for you.” He’ll make one of each kind of onigiri he has, even if that means Hinata is going to be walking away with twelve. Osamu has the sudden giddy urge to find out what Hinata’s favorite is.

Instead of the eager smile Osamu was expecting, Hinata’s hands are back over his face and instead of a wail it’s more of a pained, very loud, “Uuuuuuuuggghhhhhhhhh.” Osamu’s about to be offended when Hinata removes his hands, the hound dog expression back on his face. “My class is leaving for Nara in an hour, and then we go to Kyoto.”

No time for Osamu to run back home and whip up a few onigiri for him to take with him on the train then. Which is kind of a pity, ‘cause Osamu’s pretty sure he would have done that if he had a bit more time. In the four months since he opened this stand, he’s never seen someone look so crestfallen at missing the chance to eat his food. Like, Osamu is thiiiis close to going home, making a few spare onigiri and taking the night off to hand deliver them to Hinata in Kyoto.

Which is absurd, and he definitely doesn’t have the money for that, and if he doesn’t use the toro he’s got stashed in the fridge tonight to sell, Atsumu will definitely eat all of it when he gets back from practice tonight. But that isn’t Osamu’s only option.

Unthinking, Osamu picks up his plastic-wrapped, half-eaten toro special onigiri and holds it out to Hinata. “If you’re okay with it, ya can have the rest of my snack?” The second the words are out of his mouth he feels weird as hell about it. He doesn’t know Hinata for shit, outside of him being a weird fixture at the end of Osamu’s volleyball career. It’s not like this is ‘Sumu, or any of his friends, he shouldn’t just be offering this acquaintance —borderline stranger — a bite of his food—

Unlike Osamu, Hinata doesn’t hesitate. He takes a step forward, plucking the onigiri out of his hand reverently. Osamu has never in his life seen someone cradle an onigiri with such care. Hinata stares at it, eyes gleaming, pink little tongue peaking out of the corner of his mouth. His eyes, warm and glowy and maybe even happier than the way they look when he gets to spike a toss — Osamu knows, he’s seen it first hand plenty of times... Maybe thought about it a bunch too — flick up to meet Osamu’s.

“Itadakimasu.”

Hinata takes a full bite, not quite the whole rest of Osamu’s onigiri, but a good, large, appreciative bite. Exactly the same way Osamu would eat it. Hinata’s eyes crease closed and he makes the most adorable, happiest little hum as he chews, a grain of rice stuck to the corner of his mouth.

And that’s the moment Osamu’s pretty sure his brain breaks. Because while he’s always kinda enjoyed watching people eat his food — he likens it to Atsumu’s prevailing smugness when he tosses a ball for someone, confident in his skill to do a thing. Osamu’s thing just happens to be food. But there is something about watching Hinata eat his food. Eat food that Osamu himself had just been chewing on. It kinda makes his heart race, and his neck feels warm, and his fingers tingle with the desperate need to wipe that grain of rice away. Then he gets all weak-kneed when Hinata flicks that shiny pink tongue out to wick the rice away, before he takes his second bite.

The next moment, Osamu’s pretty sure he’s had a temporary break from reality: Hinata’s lips close around the last bite and Osamu’s brain starts throwing warning claxons at him of ‘INDIRECT KISS! INDIRECT KISS! INDIRECT KISS! His mouth! Where your mouth used to be!!!’.

While that thought whirrs away loudly, Osamu realizes he has never been so mad in his goddamn life that he doesn’t have extra onigiri stashed away anywhere — it’s him, he always has food somewhere — because he’s pretty sure he can watch Hinata Shouyou eat his food all day. 24/7. His brain supplies him with the sentence ‘Hinata Shouyou Mukbang’ and he is horrified to learn that he would absolutely subscribe to that hypothetical channel, holy fucking shit.

When Hinata has finished chewing, swaying a bit from side to side, like he can’t contain how good that was — maybe Osamu is dying. Or maybe he’s never truly lived? He’s very uncertain right now — Hinata finally peels his eyes open to give Osamu one of those meteoric Shouyou-kun smiles that he usually only gives during volleyball. “Miya-san that was so good! The rice was so soft like gwah! And the filling was perfect and tender! And then you seasoned it like wham! And I’m so happy for you, because you’re really good at this.”

He lets out a happy sigh as he’s finished, tongue flashing out to chase whatever taste is still smeared on his lips. Osamu has a brief hot second where he thinks he, too, would like to chase whatever taste is on Hinata Shouyou’s mouth. But he doesn’t say that, because that would be weird as fuck. “Thanks Shouyou-kun.” His voice feels like it comes from the end of a tunnel, hollow and a little wooden. His brain has had more thoughts in ten seconds than it probably has all year.

Hinata smiles big and crinkly at him, which makes Osamu bold enough to say, “Ya know ya can just call me Osamu, yeah?”

Hinata’s eyes go all big, and Osamu notes with more than a little interest the way his cheeks pink up, just a bit. “Osamu-san.” He says it like he’s trying it out on his tongue and Osamu really hopes he likes the way it tastes. Wants to taste his name on Hinata’s tongue—

Before Osamu can say anything, or think of something devastatingly perfect to flirt with, or even just ask about the Miyagi Prefectural Tournament, that must be coming up, right? — a voice calls from further down the street. “Hinata! We gotta get going.” Hinata turns to the speaker, a gaggle of students Osamu doesn’t recognize in their Karasuno uniforms, before turning back to look at Osamu, his eyes a little more sharp than before.

“When I come back from Brazil in a few years, I’m going to eat so many of your onigiri, Osamu-san.” He turns, throwing Osamu one last wolfish smile over his shoulder, eyes blazing in that uniquely Hinata way of his. “So be ready for me!”

Osamu watches him run to catch up with his friends, a slightly bewildered smile creasing his cheeks as he waves Hinata off. He’s obviously a little too caught up in the moment, and that bold, if slightly ridiculous declaration — be ready for Hinata to eat, sure — that Osamu doesn’t fully parse what Hinata had said until that telltale mop of orange hair disappears around a corner.

Osamu pauses, frowning. “Wait, Brazil?”


(4)

Okay the fourth time Osamu accidentally — indirectly? That blown kiss thing was all Shouyou-kun, though, soo — The fourth time it happens, Osamu can admit it’s kind of his fault. Though if asked, he can not explain for the life of him what the heck he was thinking.

It goes like this: Shouyou-kun comes back from Brazil and he joins the MSBY Black Jackals, because of course he does, according to Atsumu. Where else was he going to go to get the kind of tosses he wanted, huh? Sometimes Atsumu just asks to get knocked down a peg or three, so Osamu rightfully reminds this demon he shares a face with that Kageyama is still ranked higher nationally, so—

The wet willie is worth it, even if Atsumu is extra gross and drooly about it.

Anyways. Shouyou-kun comes back from Brazil and because Osamu is normal and definitely hasn’t applied any thought to the way Hinata devoured Osamu’s half-eaten onigiri from, like, three years ago at all — a lie, Osamu thinks about it a lot. Like a good solid 25% of his time is spent thinking about rice grains and a pink little tongue and warm glowy brown eyes — Osamu tells Atsumu “That’s nice” when he learns that Hinata breezed through the tryouts.

And like, yeah, maybe Osamu had made sure the shop was extra clean for the last few days — but that’s just good business. And if he’s wearing a new, less faded black Onigiri Miya shirt, that’s just pure professionalism. He did have a hard time justifying the aftershave though, especially when two of his employees commented on it.

So maybe Osamu is just a little put out when Atsumu shows up for his usual Thursday afternoon post-practice negitoro special with no Hinata in tow. But because Osamu is very chill and unbothered by all this, he waits until Atsumu is halfway through his second of three onigiri to ask him about it.

“I’m surprised ya didn’t drag Shouyou-kun along with ya to try and mooch offa me.” He’s kinda proud at how casual he sounds, wiping down his counter like this is any other day, any other normal subject. That Osamu is extra ambivalent about. Yep.

Atsumu doesn’t bother answering until he’s done a thorough chew, shoving the entire rest of his onigiri contents into his mouth. He swallows, specks of rice clinging to the corners of his mouth. “Shouyou-kun’s been all weird and intense about training. Something about air pressure and elevation or some shit, I don’t know.” Atsumu wiggles his fingers in the air in a dismissive way. “He’s gotta adjust.”

Adjust, huh? Osamu leans against his counter, crossing his arms, tilting his head just so — his foolproof ‘piss ‘Sumu off’ pose. “Sounds like he’s more hardcore than ya.”

The last negitoro onigiri, lifted with such care, is placed back down on the plate with equal care, even as Atsumu’s expression turns savage. “Whatcha just say to me?”

Osamu gives an airy shrug. “Oh, ya know. Just that it must sting that Shouyou-kun is surpassin’ ya.”

Atsumu’s mouth flies open with such force that it dislodges one of the grains of rice, landing on the counter beside his fingers. Perfect. “Shouyou-kun is not better than me.”

Osamu turns, like he can’t care less, wiping down his spotless, freshly wiped back counter. “Mhmm, whatever ya say.”

“He’s not! I can prove it!” Atsumu’s hands smack down on the counter, and though the shop is currently empty, if it were any other day, Osamu would tell him off. But it’s not. It’s corner his extremely predictable brother into getting exactly what he wants day. Atsumu leans over the glass, eyes blazing. “Come to the end of practice tomorrow. We’re scrimmaging. Then ya can see how full of shit ya are!”

Hook. Line. Sinker.

Suppressing a pleased little smirk, Osamu looks over his shoulder, aiming for bored. “If I have time.” He wouldn’t fuckin’ miss it for the world.

Though that’s probably his first mistake. See, ‘cause at a Black Jackal practice there’s a lot of witnesses. A lot of witnesses who happen to be nosey as fuck, gossipy proffesional volleyball players.

And maybe Osamu isn’t just commiting 25% of his thoughts to Hinata and the way he eats onigiri. Like maybe Osamu followed the ‘Ninja Shouyou’ instagram page a few years back where Hinata more or less just took pictures of scenery, holding out hope for the extremely rare selfie with one of his beach partners. Though Osamu has learned early on to follow the ‘Bouncing Ball’ social media accounts, because those were littered with really nice, just real nice action shots of Hinata in the sand.

And maybe on top of being a social media stalker, Osamu had also taken up watching beach volleyball matches, sussing out enough Portuguese to find the streaming site that played amateur beach tournaments live. But don’t worry, Osamu only woke up at 4am to watch Hinata play once — the other times he just stayed up until four in the morning, which he found he liked better.

Suffice to say, Osamu apparently lacks chill when it comes to Hinata. And it isn’t just because he’d managed to twist that — indirect kiss — onigiri eating moment into pornography. It’s also the weird intense little animal Hinata was on the court, amazing and terrifying all at once. It’s the wide, face-crinkling smiles. It’s the batshit insane idea to go learn to play beach volleyball halfway across the world, rather than joining the V.League and climbing his way up, or going to college and learning there.

It’s a blown kiss from the stands on the most amazing, worst, best day of Osamu’s life, leaving his brother and volleyball behind from the top, like they’d always wanted. Or maybe he was the one getting left behind. Sometimes it was hard to tell.

So walking into the Black Jackals practice gym, a couple of boxes of onigiri bribes tucked under his arms, Osamu thinks he’s ready — he’s been following Hinata’s career path kinda religiously for years, he knows what he’s in for.

Osamu wonders when he’s going to stop clowning himself.

Pictures will never do Hinata justice, that’s the first thing Osamu learns. There really is a truly electric difference in the way a picture captures Hinata in motion, versus the real thing. That heart-stopping smack of feet off the ground, watching Hinata soar into the air, higher than Meian, a fully 25cm taller, can reach. And that says nothing of the power of Hinata’s swing, the way his body arcs powerfully, no wasted movement. A perfect machine designed and optimized for this. Volleyball.

Not to mention, Osamu notes somewhat faintly, just how much broader Hinata is than the last Osamu had seen him in person. Taller too, though it’s hard to tell when he’s standing next to Bokuto getting his hair ruffled. And the tan, sweet baby fuckin’ jesus.

The team breaks for water and this would be the moment Osamu is supposed to go over, say high and be all cool and normal. But then hinata lifts the hem of his t-shirt to wipe at his face, exposing a tanned, well-muscled belly and— Osamu sets down his boxes of onigiri on a nearby bench, lest they become an unfortunate casualty in the power of his sudden and intense thirst.

It’s sound and motion enough to have Hinata on alert, turning to look at him. Their eyes meet for the first time in three years and Osamu suddenly thinks he understands all those stupid romantric dramas he’s watched over the years. It’s like a blurred lens filter is slapped over his eyes, everything but Hinata muted around him. He watches Hinata’s expressive face shift from curiosity, to surprise, to settling on gleeful delight. It feels like slow motion; it feels like Osamu kinda wants to stand in the moment forever. At least until the next one happens.

Hinata’s face splits into a wide grin and he exhales, “Osamu-san.” Not that Osamu can hear him, he’s just replayed that soft, tested ‘Osamu-san’ in his head about a billion times, so he knows what he’s looking at.

Osamu’s about to give that big dopey grin, and he finds he doesn’t care if Atsumu sees, because fuck him, Osamu’s been waiting for this moment for a long while. Though Osamu doesn’t get a chance to embarrass himself — yet — because Hinata is launching himself at full tilt across the gymnasium, straight towards Osamu.

Ignoring every single instinct he learned with Atsumu as a brother over the years — someone runs at you like that, you get the fuck outta dodge — Osamu opens his arms and catches the surprinsgly dense bulk of Hinata Shouyou in his arms, spinning once to slow momentum.

There’s a Shouyou-kun in Osamu’s arms, and while this definitely isn’t how he imagined the order of operations going, he decides to forget himself and indulge in the moment. Specifically, he does what he’s kinda imagined doing ever since that first moment he and Hinata collided in the hallway at Spring Nationals all those years ago. He presses his face into the soft, unruly mass of Hinata’s hair.

In response Hinata breathes a happy sigh into his neck that has shivers and tingles exploding outwards at contact. “You smell like rice.”

That sends a pleased little shiver up Osamu’s spine, makes him think it’s okay to respond in kind, arms giving Hinata a squeeze. He’s almost surprised at how nice Hinata’s hair smells. Which is weird, but in his head he always figured Hinata would have one of those pleasant, but kinda musky animal smells. Like that cornchip dog paw smell, or something. Instead he’s kinda minty, and soapy, and there’s definitely a bit of sweat intermingled, y’know, ‘cause practice. But Osamu finds he kind of likes it a lot.

Enough that he entirely forgets himself and where he is, or how weirdly long and intimate this hug has been, and he presses his lips to the top of Hinata’s head. And because Osamu is apparently in some dreamy little bubble, Hinata snuggles closer, nosing at his neck and Osamu is gonna do it again, just watch—

Ahem.”

They both freeze. Osamu’s arms mechanically unfuse from Hinata’s back, as they both turn to watch half of the Black Jackals watching them. Half because some, like Sakusa, have turned away in obvious disgust. While others, like Inunaki, look positively gleeful — Osamu is definitely going to be paying him in onigiri for his silence for weeks to come.

And then there’s Atsumu. It takes Osamu what feels like an eternity to muster up the courage to look his brother in the face. Only Atsumu just looks mildly perplexed, and maybe a little offended, like when he learned about the business loan their parents gave Osamu, claiming it was unfair and that he too should get one — despite not having any business ideas, and in fact being exclusively head empty, only volleyball at all times.

Right, right, Osamu never actually got around to telling his brother about his little... crush? Oops?

It’s Bokuto, peeking over Atsumu’s shoulder, who breaks the silence. “Myya-sam, I’m still going to be your favorite Black Jackal, right?”

That startles a laugh out of Osamu, and he shrugs, trying to play off the blush in his cheeks like he doesn’t notice it in the slightest. “Sure Bokkun, if ya win.”

He feels Hinata’s gaze sharpen on him as he steps away, that bright jubilation gone, replaced by slightly insane, hyper-competitive Hinata. He flashes Osamu some teeth. “What do I get if I win?”

Ah, now the flirting is how he had originally intended to start with. Osamu gives an airy shrug, jerking his chin at the court. “Dunno, guess you’ll have to swing by the shop later to find out.”

Hinata’s teeth flash white in the light of the fluorescents, eyes glittering with what Osamu hopes is anticipation. “Cool, I hope you didn’t forget my promise, Osamu-san. You better be ready for me.”

Osamu grins back, though his is probably way more goopy and embarrassing. Hinata turns away to rejoin the end of practice, eyes never once straying from the court to land on him. Osamu ain’t offended. He’s already been waiting four years for this, what’s one more hour?


(5)

They hang out — a lot. And it’s nice. Real nice.

Which doesn’t really surprise Osamu, despite all of Hinata’s slightly-too-intense-about-volleyball qualities — the strict sleep schedule, the regimented diet, the hours and hours and hours of training — after living so long with Atsumu, Osamu’s kinda used to it.

It helps that, unlike his brother, Hinata is the most sincere person Osamu has ever met. Always with the free smiles and the genuine interest, and the monstrously huge appetite that Osamu is more than happy to try satiating. They go for dinners all across Osaka, from the scuzziest hole in the wall omurice places, to the best conveyor belt sushi in the country. Osamu pulls out more stops than he ever thought he had.

Apparently he’d been saving up a bunch of places for dates — not that they’re dating, per se. More like two dudes, hanging out, with no one else explicitly invited. But no hand-holding. Yet. Though more often than not they just... accompany one another on errands? Like, Hinata wanted to pick up some new insoles for his running shoes, and Osamu tagged along. Or like now, where Osamu ran out of eggs for tomorrow’s prep, so Hinata invited himself along.

And kinda like usual when they hang out, instead of taking the most efficient route through the city, point A to point B, they meander. Hinata claims he needs Osamu to show him “his city”, but when Osamu rightly points out that he grew up in Amagasaki, Hinata ignores him and says Osamu’s lived here longer, so same difference. It results in them taking weird back streets and sometimes getting lost, and sometimes seeing some weird and cool shit.

But it’s also kinda nice just to talk. Osamu never really thought of himself as much of a talker, he had Atsumu for that, but when Hinata asks follow up question after follow up question, eyes glimmering like every word out of Osamu’s mouth is the most fascinating thing he’s ever heard, how can he say no?

Or like, now, when Osamu is trying to deliver a funny anecdote that he half remembers about a man and a woman river meeting. Something about the history of the Aji river, topical because they’re walking along it’s banks.

“No, see, it was the lady river who pierced the dude—” Osamu frowns, that’s not right. “Penetrated? Is that weird?” Next to him Hinata is laughing, all flushed cheeks and bitten lips, like he’s trying desperately hard not to, and failing miserably. Osamu nudges him with his elbow, hands overladen with bags full of eggs. “Stop laughing.”

In between wheezes, Hinata manages to choke, “I can’t help it.”

Osamu elbows him again, which has Hinata peeling into more laughter. “I haven’t even told the joke yet.”

Hinata nods his head, lips pressed tightly to try and smother his snickers, eyes streaming just a bit. Osamu shakes his head, feeling his own smile widen at his effort. “Shouyou-kun, yer makin’ me think that ya ain’t laughing at my joke, you’re just laughin’ at me.”

Hinata’s eyebrows go high on his forehead, looking absolutely ridiculous as his shoulders shake with the effort of suppressing his mirth, voice pitched all funny. “Ooohhh, nooooo, never.”

And he can’t hold it in anymore and Hinata rocks forward, big belly laughs, because apparently it’s funnier to suppress laughter at Osamu’s expense than his actual joke. Though Osamu finds himself unable to be annoyed. Instead, he pulls up short, tipping his head to watch the sunset over the Aji River, all pinks and golds, and the sounds of Hinata’s laughter, making everything feel even warmer and lighter.

Despite himself, Osamu finds himself laughing too. And they must look absolutely insane, standing on top of the riverbank, giggling like a pair of idiots, carrying bags bursting with egg cartons. He finds he doesn’t much care.

After they’ve calmed down enough, Hinata lets out a whistling breath, humming his content. Osamu jerks his chin at the river. “Jokes, or lack thereof aside, it’s still kinda pretty, right?”

Hinata hums again.

Osamu focuses on the ways the shadows of Osaka’s buildings shift over the moving water in the peachy gold glow. “It’s lame, I know, but one of the nice Obasan who comes in regularly told the story to me. Next time I see her I’ll have to ask.” He feels his mouth tilt a little wry, feeling goofy for wanting to impress Hinata with some old folksy joke that probably wasn’t even that funny in the first place.

“Osamu-san.”

He blinks, head turning, uncertain what that sudden serious tone meant — what was wrong with wanting to get the joke right—

Sunbrowned calloused fingers scrunch into the fabric of Osamu’s Onigiri Miya t-shirt, and he barely has time to utter a “Wha—” before Hinata is closing the distance, tugging him down at the same time as he rocks upwards on his toes.

Hinata’s lips are a little chapped, and Osamu feels breathless all over again, like he’s been wheezing with giggles, only it’s Hinata’s air he’s breathing, and Hinata’s hand in his shirt and his arms are hanging uselessly, overburdened with eggs when what he really wants to do is grab—

Hinata pulls away, but not too far because Hinata Shouyou doesn’t run away from shit, even from a thunderstruck onigiri shop owner who is probably a little in love with him. Especially this onigiri shop owner. His eyes are clear, if crinkled just shy of mischievous. Osamu stares at him a bit stupid. A lot stupid.

“Osamu-san, I think you’re way prettier than the Aji River.”

Thunderstruck, Osamu nods. “Okay.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t ask, I just liked the look of the sun on your mouth and I wanted to taste it.”

Osamu’s pretty sure he’s going to die, or at the very least like he’s in one of those swing of the century things he rode with Atsumu once, thrown off his axis, kinda weightless and a little light-headed. He swallows. “It’s okay.”

Hinata’s fingers unclench from Osamu’s shirt collar, and he almost, almost makes a real pathetic sound at that, until Hinata starts pressing his fingers into Osamu’s collarbone. Not away. Just. Pressure.

Hinata’s eyes, still all warm and glowy and a little full of mischief, flick down to Osamu’s mouth. “Can I kiss you again?”

Osamu is very impressed that he manages to keep himself upright as he nods. “Mhmm, yep. Sounds good to me.”

Osamu ends up dropping his bags full of dozens and dozens of eggs the moment Hinata slips him some tongue. But Osamu also figures that given the choice between kissing Hinata Shouyou one more time, or smashing all the eggs in the world, Osamu would gleefully lose egg privileges for life.

Fuckin’ sue him. Shouyou-kun is an epic goddamn kisser.


(+1)

Osamu stares down at the rumpled piece of formerly shiny magazine paper. Fold lines crisscross the picture, showing that at some point Hinata had folded the image into a perfect little square. He notes, with some fascination, that the folds are such that they form a perfect square over seventeen year old, silver-haired Osamu’s face.

He remembers this spread. Remembers how proud he’d been to be interviewed by volleyball monthly, for once featured on his own as opposed to as Atsumu’s sidekick. How cool he thought he’d looked in this photo, suspended mid-air, arm cocked back to fire off a spike. A barely there tilt to his mouth, pleased at the perfect pass he’d received. Though some of the veneer back then had been tinged with a guilt — he’d known, without admitting to himself, that he was going to quit volleyball. It felt unfair to be featured.

Osamu looks up from the old rumpled magazine clipping from six years ago, and cocks an eyebrow at Hinata. “Ya kept a picture of me this whole time?”

Hinata’s face flushes, knowing perfectly well he’s being teased. He goes to swipe the picture back, but Osamu grew up with a thief of a brother instincts, and snatches it away, holding it over his head where Hinata can’t reach unless he tries. Hinata scowls at him. “It’s not like I’m a weird stalker or anything.”

“Oh, ya aren’t?” Osamu asks innocently, giving Hinata a crooked little grin.

Hinata’s cheeks puff out, eyes taking on a calculating edge as he looks at the magazine clipping Osamu’s holding in the air. Is it bad that Osamu kinda wants Hinata to try wrestling him? Ya know, tackle him into bed and pin him there and shit? Maybe get distracted along the way and—

“I wasn’t a stalker!” Hinata looks like he’s two seconds away from petulantly stamping his foot. “And it’s not like it was weird and pervy!”

Well now Osamu definitely thinks it was a little weird, and a whole lot pervy. He squints up at the photo of him from high school, and thinks that yeah, he was pretty cute, he can see it. He grins down at Hinata. “Ya tryna say ya didn’t jerk it to this photo? ‘Cause—”

“Osamu-san!” Hinata looks appalled, hands clutched to his chest. “No!”

Osamu waggles his eyebrows. “I dunno Shouyou-kun. There’s this weird little stain in the corner that I swear looks like—”

Osamu gets his wish, bodily shoved — and he really is so freaking delighted with how strong Hinata is now — into Hinata’s narrow little bed. He bounces once, and he doesn’t have time to get his bearings before Hinata swoops in and plucks the magazine clipping from his fingers, smoothing out the edges with his thumbs. Osamu had really hoped there’d be a lot more pinning him to the bed, and less Hinata looming over him, mooning at an old photo of him.

Finally, satisfied that he’s smoothed out the corners enough, Hinata pouts down at Osamu. “It wasn’t weird!” Osamu is definitely going to point out how defensive he sounds. “It was my good luck charm.”

Osamu leans up on his elbows, raising one skeptical brow. “Uhuh. Sure.”

Hinata glowers at him. “It was! I used to kiss it for good luck before matches. It helped. I always played my best after.” His nose scrunches, and his cheeks flame and Osamu desperately wants.

“Yeah?” Osamu, eyes half-lidded as he jerks his chin at the paper in Hinata’s hand. “Show me.”

Hinata looks down at him, pupils blown wide, hearing exactly what Osamu wanted in his tone. Never one to hesitate, Hinata leans in close, tucked in close to Osamu ribs as he bends down to loom over him, one hand bracing next to Osamu’s head. Hinata smells like soap and mint and kinda like those cinnamon buns they’d had earlier and Osamu finds himself desperately wanting to take a bite.

Hinata’s eyes flick to Osamu’s mouth as he leans in close, slow and teasing, and Hinata forgets, Osamu is just as impatient as his brother can be. He loops fingers into the back of Hinata’s belt, ready to tug him flush— when Hinata lifts the old picture of Osamu with his free hand, planting a loud smacking kiss to the paper. He gives Osamu one of those twinkling, teasing grins. “See—”

Osamu doesn’t let him finish, using his grip on Hinata’s pants to overbalance him and toss him into bed with a cry. Osamu wedges him up against the wall, only stopping when they’re laying nose to nose, Hinata’s struggles ceasing. “Nah, I meant show me a good luck kiss for real.”

Hinata laughs as he tugs Osamu’s face closer, the piece of flimsy magazine paper getting squashed into Hinata’s pillow, as their goodluck kiss turns into more of a goodluck makeout.