April marked the end of one school year and beginning of another. Wakatoshi was glad to only have one paper left before he could sink into spring break.
The apartment was quiet – perfect condition for writing a term paper. Normally, there would be at least some noise, but Tendou was out with his friends at a karaoke bar to celebrate someone’s birthday – the libero from Aoba Johsai, maybe? Watari Shinji?
He took a sip of coffee before returning to the task at hand.
Wakatoshi liked to think himself a decent student, but he understood that this wasn’t always true. After all, his passion lay with volleyball more than anything, so sometimes, he was known to, erm…procrastinate. Tendou didn’t even know that he hadn’t written the paper yet, and if he found out, Wakatoshi was certain to get an earful about it.
(Not that he ever really minded.)
After rewriting the same sentence six times, he decided it was time to take a break. To any normal person, a quiet house was a good house for homework. He couldn’t work in the dead silence. Not when, in the past year, he’d grown so accustomed to having a busybody roommate making noise even when he was trying to be quiet.
He pulled out his phone to see several Snapchat notifications from Kiyoko and Yukie. Yukie had sent pictures of the whole group – herself, Kiyoko, Tendou, Watari, the setter from Nekoma, the former ace of Karasuno, and the setter from Karasuno.
Kiyoko, on the other hand, had sent several videos from karaoke. Mostly, they were short clips, but the most recent ones were a song all the way through. Tendou, singing some American song he didn’t recognize.
Still, he smiled. It was just like Tendou to be bouncing around a stage, acting like it was a real performance and not just karaoke. The image was helped by his voice – kind of a nice one, if Wakatoshi was being honest – hitting impossible notes and riffing just to be dramatic.
When the videos finished, he noticed a text from Kiyoko. He opened it up next.
Ushijima: Tendou, did you take Kiyoko-chan’s phone?
Shimizu: gASP ive been fOUND OUT
Ushijima: You did a good job singing.
Shimizu: THANK YOUUUU~~ waktashoi-kunn
Ushijima: Tendou, are you drunk?
Shimizu: To be fair, Ushijima, I think he’s always like this
Shimizu: But, in answer to your question…
Shimizu: we’re all drunk, wakkun
Ushijima: Stay safe on your way home.
Shimizu: aye aye captain
Shimizu: did you get the videos I sent you??
Shimizu: Tendou’s voice is a gift from the godsss
Shimizu: singing, at least, speaking, not so much no offEnse
Ushijima: It was quite nice, yes.
Shimizu: mmm all the riffing though? Your boyfriend is soooo~ extra, Wakkun
Wakatoshi, much to his own embarrassment, nearly dropped his phone. My what?
No. They were all drunk, so that was probably a joke of sorts that he just didn’t understand. This was why Wakatoshi was never particularly fond of texting. It was hard enough to pick up on tone in a personal conversation. To do so via text message was impossible.
He would just have to ask Tendou when he got home. If Wakatoshi was his boyfriend, he had probably not been doing a very good job at it. That would have to be rectified.
Trying to push the thoughts from his mind, he proceeded with his term paper, hoping it would be done soon. Then, he could think about this.
Wakatoshi wrapped up the paper just as there was a struggle with the locked door. He sighed and walked over, looking through the peep hole. Sure enough, it was Tendou, frowning at his keys.
“Satori,” he said through the door, “would you like me to unlock it for you?”
“Yes, please, Wakatoshi-kun,” Tendou hummed in response.
He huffed a laugh and opened the door for his roommate. “How was your night?”
Tendou grinned. “Ah, it was amazing, Wakatoshi-kun! We got tattoos and matching rings and then we all sang and we drank and oh! It was really great, Wakatoshi-kun.” He stumbled in the direction of his room. “I’m gonna marry them.”
“You went out with six people,” Wakatoshi reminded him. “Which one?”
“All of them, we’re-!” He broke off in a yawn. “We’re best friend soulmates!”
Wakatoshi smiled and caught Tendou’s arm before he could trip. Were it a year ago, he might’ve felt something akin to jealousy at someone else being referred to as Tendou’s best friend. Now, he was just glad that Tendou had found (albeit unlikely) kindred spirits to call his friend group.
He also understood that his role in Tendou’s life had…changed as of late. He didn’t know what this change was or how to label it, but he understood well enough to know that if the seven asexual-spectrum individuals were Tendou’s best friends, then he was something else to him, because their relationship was different.
But he never pressed. He didn’t really know what it meant for Tendou to be greysexual and greyromantic, and he wasn’t sure that his sentiments were something he could express to Tendou without making him feel bad. He would never want to make his friend feel bad.
Wakatoshi was brought back to reality by a poke to his brow. “Mmm, Wakatoshi-kun, why are you so frowny?”
His expression softened as he ushered Tendou into his room. “I was just thinking, Satori.”
“Thinking ’bout what, ’Toshi?”
“Tendou, am I your boyfriend?” He figured the direct approach would be best.
(It was not).
Tendou frowned as if he’d just been asked to solve a complex polynomial equation in less than a minute without the help of a calculator. “Uh…what?”
“I was just wondering, because of something that Shimizu-chan said,” he explained.
(It didn’t really explain much.)
“Wakatoshi-kun.” Tendou turned and put both hands on Wakatoshi’s shoulders. “I am…drunk.”
“I am aware.”
“We’ll-” Tendou yawned again. “We’ll talk about that~ in the morning, babe. G’night?”
Wakatoshi left Tendou’s room, feeling a bit less confused than a couple hours ago. He’d heard some of the team platonically call people “babe”, but Tendou wasn’t one of those people who did it. So, maybe he really had missed the shift in their relationship. He had to make that up to him.
After little sleep, Wakatoshi got up and started the morning routine of any Saturday. He wondered if he shouldn’t, wondered if maybe he was supposed to be doing something different, but… No. Saturdays were domestic, so maybe they were perfect as they were.
He started a pot of Tendou’s favorite coffee – god knew he’d be hungover and in desperate need of it – then poured himself a mug and opened up his laptop at the dining room table. The browser was still open to a page of apartment listings.
While their current home together was nice, there were imperfections. As they moved into their second year of university, they found themselves in need of a different sort of space. Wakatoshi needed to find somewhere that would accommodate the workout equipment he’d acquired, and Tendou needed more space for his art supplies.
He glanced around the current apartment and sighed. It was lived in and home, yes, but it also was cluttered. No place to discuss a life together. Well, maybe to discuss it, he reminded himself, but certainly not one to live it together.
Then, an idea popped into his head. Didn’t most couples share a room? Should they be looking for one bedroom with bigger living space?
Hmm… He began browsing for something that would suit their needs.
After adding a couple to the list, Wakatoshi felt cold hands on his neck, and he jolted a little.
“G’morning, Wakatoshi-kun~!” Tendou draped himself over Wakatoshi’s shoulders. “Watcha looking at?”
“Apartment listings,” Wakatoshi replied.
“Mm.” Tendou gave him a quick squeeze. “Ooh~, coffee!” With that, he was off to the kitchen.
Wakatoshi felt warm everywhere that Tendou had touched him, even though his hands were like ice.
“You need it,” he observed, “because you’re cold.”
“And hungover!” Tendou chimed. “Oof, too loud, nope.”
And so, it was just another Saturday.
“Satori?” Wakatoshi was careful to keep his voice at a register he’d learned didn’t upset Tendou’s hangovers. Just another one of those casually too-intimate habits they’d developed.
“Yes, Wakatoshi-kun?” Tendou replied over his steaming mug.
“How would you feel if this time we looked for a one-room apartment?”
Tendou blinked slowly, registering the question. Wakatoshi waited, knowing that the after effects of alcohol would slow down his processing time a bit.
“Like – like a loft? I’d love to get a big open loft, Wakatoshi-kun! Do they have those in our price range?”
That wasn’t how Wakatoshi had intended the question, but Tendou was so excited…he wasn’t going to correct him. Instead, he smiled. He had, after all, found a few.
“Yes. We can go see them today if you would like. When you’re feeling better, that is,” he added.
Tendou sighed and came to sit in the seat beside Wakatoshi. “Yes, I’d very much like that.”
Wakatoshi let his eyes drift over the man beside him. Tendou was all limbs, and his sitting position just accentuated that. His knees were pulled up to his chest, ankles crossed, arms wrapped around his legs as he leaned forward to sip more coffee.
When Wakatoshi pointed out his strange sitting habits to him once, Tendou countered that it was gay culture to sit in chairs wrong, and that Wakatoshi was just as guilty of it. He took stock of how one leg was pulled up onto the chair, tucked under the other. Maybe Tendou was right about that much.
He returned to the laptop, scrolling through more listings. It had only been a couple minutes of silence before he felt a body slump against his side. In his peripherals, Tendou was slouching against him, nuzzling his head against Wakatoshi’s shoulder. It took a moment for Wakatoshi to realize he’d fallen back asleep.
He kissed the top of Tendou’s head. “Satori?”
Tendou jolted back awake. “Ah, sorry, Wakatoshi-kun.”
“You do this often when you’re hungover. I don’t really mind.”
Tendou squeaked, not unusual for him. “Ah, did I show you the tattoo?” he asked suddenly.
“You did no-” Wakatoshi couldn’t finish his sentence, because Tendou stood up and yanked off his shirt. Wakatoshi blinked, wondering if he was supposed to be looking.
“Right there.” Tendou turned so Wakatoshi could see the left side of his torso.
There were seven circles with gender symbols attached, all intersecting. Kanji for the seven names of the friend group were inside each circle. The top two were a symbol that Wakatoshi recognized to mean “nonbinary”, the middle three were the male symbol, bottom two female.
Azumane Asahi, Kozume Kenma.
Watari Shinji, Tendou Satori, Kageyama Tobio.
Shirofuku Yukie, Shimizu Kiyoko.
Before he processed what he was doing, he touched the middle circle, with Tendou’s name. “Yours is in the middle.”
Tendou nodded. “Some symbolic nonsense about how I brought the group together or something,” he said, biting his lip. “That the ace-spec group wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t made it with Yukie one day and now they’re all like, getting more comfortable with their feelings or something.” He waved a hand dismissively, but when Wakatoshi met his eyes, there were tears.
“Are you alright?”
Tendou held up his right middle finger. “Not flipping you off, Wakatoshi-kun, but we also all got our ace rings.” A black band rested on the middle finger. “Ah, and if you take it off, we’ve all got someone else’s kanji engraved in it.”
“That’s nice,” Wakatoshi said, offering a small smile.
Tendou nodded, slipping the ring back on. “Feel like they’re giving me way too much credit.”
Wakatoshi shook his head. “You did start the group, and you helped give them friends who understood. I think that they’re giving you plenty of credit.”
“Yukie sang Seven Rings at karaoke last night,” he said through a laugh. “She thinks she’s hilarious.”
“She is amusing.”
Tendou put his shirt back on and sat down once more. “I had the wildest vodka induced dream last night, ’Toshi.”
“Oh? What was it?” he prompted.
Tendou opened his mouth, then blushed and closed it again. “Nah. I don’t wanna weird you out.”
Wakatoshi tilted his head. “Was it…one of those dreams?”
His eyes widened. “Wakatoshi-kun, you perve! Of course not!” He hit his arm. “No, no. Nothing like that. It was just weird.”
“What was it?” Wakatoshi asked again.
Tendou laughed, just a tiny laugh, like he did when he got nervous. It was a rarity. “I dreamt…that you asked if you were my boyfriend.” He laughed again, trying to pass it as something funny.
“I don’t think you were dreaming,” Wakatoshi replied. Then, he turned back to the laptop and continued scrolling through listings.
“Hah? Wakatoshi-kun, you can’t just say such a thing and not explain!”
“What do I need to explain? I just told you, I don’t think you were dreaming.”
“Well, you need to explain why in God’s great name you asked if we were boyfriends, for starts!”
“Kiyoko referred to you as such,” he explained.
Then, far too late, it hit him. She’d been poking fun, jesting about his obvious crush on his former teammate and current roommate. He sighed, but he didn’t hold it against her. Kiyoko had been impaired by the effects of alcohol. When she was sober, she would never be cruel. (Well, unless directed at Oikawa, that was.)
“W-Wakatoshi-kun.” Tendou had such a gentle, endeared lilt to his voice, and Wakatoshi just felt more embarrassed. He never had been great at reading the room.
“Sorry. I misunderstood her jest.”
Tendou nodded. “Well, you got that much right. But mind telling me why you asked? I mean, were you asking so you could dump me, or what?”
Wakatoshi’s eyes widened. “No, of course not.”
“Then, what?” Tendou prompted patiently.
“If I was your boyfriend, then I don’t think I would have been doing a good job at it,” he explained.
“Wakatoshi-kun, we don’t have to talk about this right now if you’re not ready to,” Tendou said, squeezing his arm gently. “Whenever you want.”
“Should – should we go out for breakfast?” Wakatoshi asked. “The diner with your favorite food for a hangover?”
Tendou beamed. “Ah, you take such good care of me. C’mon, let’s eat!”
“Do you want to look at the apartments after this, Wakatoshi-kun?” Tendou asked before sipping his coffee.
Wakatoshi shrugged indifferently. “If you’re up to it.”
“My headache has gone down and I’m feeling much soberer due to…” He paused. “Recent developments?”
Wakatoshi appreciated that his friend was straying from embarrassing him too much outright. “Ah. Yes. Good, that you are feeling better.”
Tendou reached his hand across the table for Wakatoshi’s. This was normal for them. “Hey.”
“Don’t feel embarrassed. Take your time and we’ll talk it through, but Wakatoshi-kun, don’t feel embarrassed.” He pulled up Wakatoshi’s hand and kissed his knuckles. “Right, Miracle Boy?”
A ghost of a smile made its way to Wakatoshi’s lips. “Right.”
Tendou made no move to untangle their fingers, so Wakatoshi didn’t either. He enjoyed his coffee while Tendou scarfed down his favorite hangover brunch. Silence was rare between the two of them, so for a couple of moments, he breathed it in, sitting in the coexistence.
“Oh! Have I told you about the anime I started watching?” Tendou gasped.
Wakatoshi shook his head.
So, Tendou started to go on a ramble about what he was certain was his new favorite anime ever, and Wakatoshi listened closely to every word. After all, he might see merch for it, and he knew how much Tendou loved little surprise gifts.
“Ah, it’s the volleyball boys,” a woman’s voice interrupted. She smiled kindly at them. “Hello, Tendou-kun, Ushijima-kun.”
“Heya, Akane-chan!” Tendou replied, grinning at the owner.
“Hello, Kurimiya-san,” Ushijima greeted.
“How’s the family?” Tendou prompted, always eager to hear about her life.
She laughed and told a few fond stories that they hadn’t heard since the last time they stopped by. “So, am I to assume you’re hungover again, Satori?”
Tendou grinned sheepishly. “I had a wild night out with the squad, yes.”
She shook her head. “You take such good care of him, Wakatoshi. I don’t even think my husband was that attentive when we were your age. Ah, duty calls. Nice to see you, as always?”
Tendou squeezed Wakatoshi’s hand and kissed it again. “That’s what I’m always telling you, Wakatoshi-kun.”
“You take care of me,” he explained. “We should probably go see that first apartment, huh?”
When Tendou stood, he took extra care not to let go of Wakatoshi’s hand. Wakatoshi…was starting to understand.
“This is the one.”
It was the fifth place they’d looked at, and this one was a loft. They only just walked inside, but Tendou seemed to be absolutely certain at a glance. Wakatoshi supposed that was reasonable, given that it was a loft, so most of it was wide open.
The landlady smiled. “It is nice, isn’t it? All the appliances are included and new – see, the building was recently renovated. It would be yours completely – you could hang pictures or paint the walls or whatever, so long as you return it to its original state when you leave.”
She continued pointing out the features of the place, though Wakatoshi was watching Tendou’s reaction to everything. He seemed captivated by the space, like it had some sort of energy that Wakatoshi didn’t know how to tap into.
“This is the one,” he repeated as the landlady led them to the bathroom – the only room concealed in the house. “Wakatoshi-kun, I could see us living here even after we graduate.”
“It is very adaptable to different lifestyles,” the landlady agreed. “Whether it’s as a college student or a professional, I’m sure that you will find this loft to suit your every need.”
“Watcha thinkin’, Wakkun?” Tendou asked, tugging on his hand.
“I’m thinking that the only thing I need in a home is you,” he replied bluntly.
Tendou blinked at him, then a laugh bubbled up out of him. “Ah! Wakatoshi-kun! You’ve got to warn me before you say such romantic things! You’re going to kill me one of these days!”
The landlady just smiled kindly at them. “We’re always glad to have young couples so in love joining our little community.”
Wakatoshi wondered if he should correct her, but for what felt like the hundredth time that day (though he was sure that was hyperbolic), Tendou just kissed his hand and continued walking.
“Ooh, I love the tub in here,” he said, leaning down to touch it. “Much better than the one at our current place, eh, Wakkun?”
Wakatoshi nodded. “It is quite nice.”
“I bet it’s big enough for two~.”
He coughed. “Satori.”
Tendou smirked. “I’m sorry,” he said unapologetically. “Getting ahead of myself here, I see.”
“I’m not going to lie,” the landlady interrupted, “there have been offers already made. But you two seem like you would be looking for a long-term lease, and right now the longest interest anyone has is six months. If we go downstairs, I will write up a five-year lease agreement, if that’s something you gentlemen are ready for.”
Tendou looked ready to answer, but then he paused and looked at Wakatoshi. “I’m ready for whatever you are, Wakatoshi-kun.”
He squeezed Tendou’s hand. “Yes. I think that I could see myself here for at least the next five years.”
“Wonderful!” the landlady cheered.
Tendou sank into their couch and grinned up at Wakatoshi. “We’re gonna live there.”
“You really liked it that much?” Wakatoshi tilted his head in curiosity. Tendou had been so disinterested with every other place they saw that it was amazing how instantly he fell in love with the loft.
Tendou pat the seat next to him, gesturing for Wakatoshi to join him. “I dunno how to explain it, Wakatoshi-kun. The other places were okay, and I saw maybe another year in any one of them.”
“Ah, but Wakatoshi-kun.” He shifted so that his head was against Wakatoshi’s chest. “I looked into that apartment and I just saw it, you know? Like when I see a painting concept start to come to life.”
“Life,” he explained, waving his hand that was away from Wakatoshi. “A life with you, I guess. I mean, when we chose this place, it was all rushed, but I…don’t feel so rushed anymore.”
“I know you’re not super good at the whole expressing emotions thing, and neither am I.”
“So…can I just kiss you and get that over with so that we can move onto figuring this out?”
Wakatoshi blinked once, then twice. Then a third time. A fourth, just to be sure.
Tendou went red, suddenly flying away from him. “Ah! I misread this! All of this! I’m sorry! I assumed that when your main concern was whether or not you were a good boyfriend, that you returned my feelings!”
Ushijima Wakatoshi, elegant and great with words that he is, repeated: “What?”
Tendou took some deep breaths behind his hands then looked back at Wakatoshi. “Okay. I have liked you for a very long time, Wakatoshi.”
“You have?” Really, he was just nailing this whole conversation thing. “I – no. I mean to say that, Satori, I feel the same-”
Someone knocked on the door, and Tendou screeched.
“For fuck’s sake, Satori,” shouted the perpetrator (that being Kiyoko, apparently).
“Ah, dammit, Kiyo-chan,” Tendou whined, dashing across the apartment and opening the door. “What do you want or need? You know I love you but- oh my god is that chocolate ice cream?”
Wakatoshi turned to see the team’s manager standing in the doorway, holding a paper bag.
“I’m interrupting something,” she realized, her voice becoming quite small. “Oh, god, I am. I am, right?”
“Come in,” Wakatoshi said. “We weren’t getting very far with the conversation, anyways.”
She nodded and toed off her shoes. “Please pardon the intrusion.”
Tendou waved her off. “You could break in through a window and you’d be okay, Shimizu.”
Kiyoko laughed when Tendou held out the last syllable of her name like that, quite different from the annoyance it had earned him just a year ago.
“I also brought Hayashi rice,” she said, bowing and offering the bag. “I’ve come to apologize for my texts from last night, Wakatoshi-san.”
“There’s no need,” Wakatoshi assured her. “It caused some confusion, but I understand now that you were kidding.”
“A joke at your expense isn’t very funny,” she sighed, straightening her posture. “Ah, you’re so blunt all the time. I’m glad you aren’t mad.”
“This is about the text?” Tendou asked. Wakatoshi nodded. “I honestly should be thanking you, Kiyoko.”
She frowned. “I was definitely interrupting something, then.”
“We weren’t getting very far with-” Wakatoshi started to explain again.
“Ah,” she raised a hand to silence him, “I’m going to have to disagree with you there. You’ll figure out the words, Wakkun.” She raised onto her tiptoes to kiss his cheek, then turned and smacked Tendou. “Make it a little easy on him, will ya? Fuckin masochist.”
“It isn’t nice to kink-shame, Shimizu!” Tendou called after her. “Say hello to Daichi for me when you see him! Have you let him crush you with his thighs yet! Or maybe it’s Yacchan who you’d rather sit on your face!”
“Eat a dick and choke, you bastard!” Kiyoko shouted back before slamming the door.
Tendou chuckled and shook his head. “Ah, love our fond little quips.”
“You’re sure that you didn’t actually upset her?” Wakatoshi asked, a little confused by the exchange.
“No, no, don’t worry about it. If she’s pissed, she’ll rip me a new one later.”
He hummed, but he sat back down and looked at the food. “Should we eat?”
“Talk first,” Tendou countered, shooting an apologetic grin. “You were worried that you were a bad boyfriend. Why?”
“I don’t think I’m affectionate enough.”
That alone was enough to make Tendou laugh. “Oh, Wakatoshi-kun.” He settled next to him on the couch. “What else?”
“I should probably make some level of an effort to kiss you more often.”
“I would like to take you on more dates – nice places or regular places – really, whatever you wanted.”
“And I really ought to spend more time with you, even if it’s quiet time when we’re both studying, because that’s what couples do.”
“And I wanted to start sharing a bed with you because I found it odd that if we were in a relationship and living together, we weren’t yet, and-”
“Wakatoshi-kun!” Tendou grabbed his shoulders, snapping him back to reality. “You know, you’ve got them all so fooled, thinking you’re quiet and to the point. You like to talk as much as I do sometimes, you know that?”
“I hardly feel that can be accurate.” Wakatoshi frowned.
“You were not my boyfriend, but it’s okay if you want to be, because I’ve wanted you to be for a very long time,” Tendou explained slowly.
“I – I would like to be.”
“Good. Now, if you want to start doing that stuff, the situation is very simple: just…do it. But for the record?”
“You take care of me like I need it, and you’re there for me, and you listen to me, and you stand up for me, even when – especially when – I’m the one being mean to myself. A good friend will do that when you need them to, a best friend does it when you want them to, and a lover…does it constantly, because they love you. I want to take care of you, too, though. All that sappy garbage.”
Wakatoshi blinked. “You sort of ruined your speech by calling it garbage.”
Tendou smiled. “I knew it as soon as it was out of my mouth, sorry about that. I’m going to kiss you before I say anything else that’s stupid, if that’s okay?”
So, Tendou traced his jawline and pulled him down into a soft, tentative kiss. Wakatoshi peaked one eye open to see that Tendou’s eyes were only half-closed, watching the moment like it wasn’t real.
He cupped Tendou’s face and kissed him a little harder, a little more eagerly. Tendou seemed uncertain, and that was such an unusual look on him. Even Wakatoshi had an understanding of where they stood after today.
When they pulled back for a moment, Tendou rested his forehead against Wakatoshi’s. “Ah, so you’ve done this before, then?”
“I have literally kissed you before, Satori. I don’t understand.”
“I’m saying you’re pretty fucking good at kissing when you mean it,” he explained, leaning forward to kiss Wakatoshi’s nose.
“How is that remotely close to what you said before?” Wakatoshi didn’t really care to hear the answer, though.
“It’s the same thing,” Tendou teased, pressing another soft kiss to Wakatoshi’s lips. “Verbatim.”
He hummed into the next kiss, letting a hand drift up into Tendou’s hair and tangle into the red locks. There was no rush, just the gentle movements of their lips together, like the night could just go on like that.
“We should eat,” he whispered against Tendou’s lips.
“Ah, it was just getting good,” Tendou complained.
“We still need to eat. This can resume any time.”
“No fun, Wakatoshi-kun.” After a beat of silence, “Alright, but after we eat, you’ll have to make it up to me.”
“However you deem fit.” Tendou stretched his arms and legs, arched his back so it cracked, and then went to the kitchen for dishes. “You already seem to know where you want to improve, so…I think you’ll figure it out.”