“Why do I gotta trek all the way to this stupid coffee shop on the other side of campus?”
“It’s my place to study and it has great coffee. You promised to help me Sumu.”
“Ugh, whatever, I’ll be there in like 10 minutes. The coffee better be worth it.”
Atsumu hung up his phone before his twin could mouth off at him. He shrugged his shoulders up, wrapping his arms around himself and buried his nose further into his scarf. It was a blustery cold autumn day. He grumbled as he trudged against the wind, hating how cold Tokyo was. Sometimes he missed the warm weather of Hyogo, but deep down coming to Tokyo for school was the best decision he and Osamu had made.
He was surprised his twin was so insistent on tutoring him, Osamu was hell bent on saying how unreliable Atsumu was, and Osamu had the better grades than him also, why was Calculus giving him such a hard time? He shoved his hands deeper into his pockets as he trained his eyes down lower to fend the harsh wind off.
Soon the cafe was in his sights, the warm lighting of the interior beckoning him to come in from the cold. Picking up his pace he moved towards the heavy doors of the cafe and walked in, immediately picking out his twin at a table by the window. It was a creepy twin sense, knowing exactly where your twin was within a ten foot vicinity.
He trudged his way over, removing his messenger bag and coat and unwound the scarf around his neck.
“It’s fuckin’ cold out there!” he exclaimed exasperatedly, plopping into the chair facing Osamu who had his materials spread around the table.
“Are ya really gonna gripe the whole time yer here? If all you’re going to do is bitch, I’d rather fail.”
“Hey! I made it out here didn’t I?”
“Can ya just order yer coffee now?”
“You’re not paying?” Atsumu’s eyebrow quirked up, “ You make me come out all the way over to the other side of campus and I have to buy my own coffee?”
Osamu rolled his eyes as he grabbed his wallet and gave him a 1000 yen bill, “Knock yerself out, and be nice.”
“What do I halfta be nice for?” He mumbled as he stood and walked over to the counter with his head down.
When he looked up, his breath was knocked out of him like the beating cold earlier.
Fluffy, wavy hair, as orange as the sun invaded his vision; eyes blinking rapidly as he tried to regain his composure.
The ball of sunshine had the nerve to have the most blinding smile as he greeted Atsumu.
“Good Morning! May I take your order?”
“Yeah, I’ll take you to go, please,” Atsumu said reflexively with a smirk. He could hear Osamu groan in the background.
Honeyed eyes widened as his cheeks blazed red, “I—uh…”
“Hinata-kun, I am so, so sorry. Please forgive my idiot brother,” intervened Osamu with a glare.
“Oh, Miya-san! You have a twin?”
Atsumu watched the talk to one another so casually, He didn’t even flinch at that! What!?
“Unfortunately, I do, and he doesn’t have common sense. Please don’t mind anything that comes out of his mouth.”
The orange-haired man laughed in a tone that left Atsumu spellbound. He loved the sound of his laugh, musical, genuine joy.
“It’s not the first time someone’s hit on me!” He said, “I was in shock because I thought it was you Miya-...san?”
Atsumu’s jaw dropped, no wonder the guy wasn’t phased. He probably gets pick-up lines all the time!
“You might as well call me Osamu now that you know there are two Miya’s.”
“Osamu-san and you are?” Atsumu froze when those honey-brown eyes turned to him again.
The man tilted his head with a smile, “Cat got your tongue all of a sudden?”
His jaw dropped and he heard Osamu sigh, “Atsumu. My dumbass brother’s name is Atsumu.”
“Osamu-san and Atsumu-san. Osamu knows already, but my name is Hinata Shoyo! Nice to meet you! Now, before you tie the line up even more, what can I get you Atsumu-san?”
“He’ll have an Americano,” Osamu said, pulling the money from Atsumu’s hand and handing it to Shoyo, “Thank you Hinata-kun.”
Osamu ushered a mute Atsumu back to the table, shoving him back in his seat.
“I can’t go anywhere without you embarrassin’ me.”
“I am not embarrassin!”
“Who—you just hit on him like it was nothin’!”
“It just came out! I couldn’t help it! I saw him and—and word vomit!”
Osamu set him with a deadpan stare, “Your ‘word vomit’ is bad pick-up lines?”
“I can’t help it! I swear! Samu, I just saw him and was like ‘holy fuck he’s cute.’”
“Oh my God, what are ya? A prepubescent teen? Please, don’t ruin this for me. I like this coffee shop. Don’t embarrass yerself.”
“Whatever Samu, let’s just get ya sorted with this.”
Osamu was quick to show the problems he had with solving for derivatives and functions, and while Atsumu really tried to pay attention, he found his sight drifting over to the barista from time and time again.
Atsumu jumped in his seat, as his eyes narrowed in on fingers snapping millimeters from his nose.
“I swear to God Sumu, focus. The sooner we finish this, the sooner we can leave and ya can’t mess with my barista.”
“ Your barista?”
“He’s the best barista I’ve met, I like his drinks a lot. Don’t make me regret bringing ya here.”
“Okay, okay. Then show me you can solve this function.”
When Atsumu was satisfied with Osamu’s progress, Osamu quickly packed his belongings and shoved Atsumu out the door with him with a quick wave to Shoyo, who called after them to take care on their way home.
“Are we meeting there again tomorrow?” Atsumu asked his twin
“Yea, I told you. I love that spot.”
“Just,” Osamu sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose, “don’t blame me if ya don’t get what you want.”
Atsumu shrugged and walked into his bedroom for the evening. Thoughts of the cute barista bled into his dreams that night.
The following day, Atsumu went early to the little cafe on the corner, his mood instantly lifting when he saw Shoyo at the counter once more.
Recognition lit up in Shoyo’s eyes as he approached him, “Hi Atsumu-san! What brings you here today?”
“Meetin’ Samu again. His Calculus class is running a bit late.”
“Ah, so you’re helping Osamu-san study for his Calculus exam?”
“Yeah. I mean, I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty good with numbers.”
“Tell you what Shoyo-kun, give me yours and watch what I can do with it .”
Shoyo clutched his sides as he busted out laughing, tears gathering at the corners of his eyes. Atsumu smiled at Shoyo’s humorous display. He never really believed he was funny, most people would roll their eyes at him or blankly stare at him with some sort of deadpan expression.
Seeing Shoyo laugh genuinely at his jokes made Atsumu feel confident in his pursuance of Shoyo, he wanted to make Shoyo laugh. Always, if possible. It had a way of making him feel weightless, calm. It made him happy to see Shoyo happy.
“Atsumu-san, you’re a riot,” he wiped the corner of his eye with the tip of his finger as he regained his breath, “that was a good one.”
Shoyo smiled brightly at him continuing on, “That will be 350 yen for an Americano please!”
Atsumu’s smile faltered as he struck out again. But he kept his smile, there was always another day. He wasn’t going to give up.
He sat at the same table as yesterday, waiting for Osamu, who locked eyes with him the moment he opened the door and rolled his eyes.
As he unwrapped his layers, Osamu asked, “Do I wanna know?”
“Probably not,” Atsumu replied as he sipped his coffee, “Yer right. This place is awesome.”
Osamu snorted as he made his way to Shoyo and ordered a drink. They both looked at Atsumu briefly, but nothing more was said when Osamu came back. Atsumu tried harder to focus on helping Osamu this time, in fear of his brother retaliating and ruining things for him.
Atsumu did well enough to not earn Osamu’s ire today; he behaved and focused on helping him and explaining things he didn’t understand from the lecture. Once they finished another chapter of concepts, they went home together, both saying good-bye once more to Shoyo-kun.
Because of his good behavior, Osamu never threatened to move the study venue again, which was a score for Atsumu. He was looking forward to seeing Shoyo-kun before the study sessions, even if their interactions were brief; hearing him laugh made it worth the trek across campus in the cold.
“Hi! Welcome back! Osamu-san’s not here yet!”
“Yeah, my class ended early so I figured I’d grab our spot again. I wanted to get some work done.”
“Oh yeah? For what class? Will you be having an Americano again or something else?”
“Flat White please. Yeah, you see. I have to write this term paper.”
“Yep,” he replied as he pulled out his wallet, looking for coins, “See, we’re supposed to write about the finer things in life and, you know, I was wondering if I could interview you .”
Atsumu was met with silence, and he sighed and shut his eyes, okay maybe today was the day Shoyo wouldn’t laugh at him. He put on his best smile before looking up and was shocked by what he saw.
Shoyo was red in the face as he bit down on his lips, trying to contain his laughter from bubbling out. His shoulders were shaking as he wrapped his arms around himself.
Shoyo’s giggles erupted into an open mouth cackle as he threw his head back.
“Atsumu-san, that was smooth. I never saw that one coming.”
He released the tension he was holding in his shoulders, thanking whatever deity out there for his lucky streak with Shoyo.
“Well, thanks Sho-kun.” Atsumu replied, and silently kicked himself, how the hell was that a conversation starter?
“Here’s your flat white!” A white paper cup was handed to him. Ah, service with a smile. Atsumu was a goner for this barista.
Sitting back at the table he procured for him and Osamu he sipped on his coffee, humming at how fulfilling it was, and how much care Shoyo had put into something as simple as a Flat White or an Americano. Every cup he’d had from Shoyo, was basically sunshine in a cup. They always made him feel good, content, happy.
When Osamu arrived, he eyed his brother carefully, “Ya looks creepy when yer smilin’ like that.”
“Shut yer trap and let's get to work.”
The day after, Atsumu was dead on his feet. It was a rough day of classes and exams. He made his way to Shoyo’s coffee shop hoping to get some life injected back into him. He just needed to hear him laugh.
“Good afternoon Atsumu-san! Here for an afternoon pick me up?”
“Yeah, you know. For some reason, I was feeling a little off today.”
“Oh no, I’m sorry to—”
“But when I saw you, you definitely turned me on. ”
Shoyo spluttered and hacked.
“I choked on my spit. Oh my God. That was a good one!” Shoyo started laughing again as he puttered around behind the counter, heading to the espresso machine, “Seriously, where do you get these pick-up lines? Flat white?”
Atsumu exhaled a sigh of relief, moving to the pick-up counter, “Yeah, flat white. I don’t know, really? You make it so easy with the way you set me up for ‘em.”
“Me?” scoffed Shoyo, “I’m the reason? It’s my fault?”
“Well, sorry for existing,” he joked.
“I didn’t mean it like that!”
“I’m just kidding,” he said with a wink and handed Atsumu his drink, “on the house today. You really got me.”
Atsumu felt his heart melt at that wink, was this progress? This was progress. Definitely progress.
He wasn’t kidding when he said he had a term paper he had to work on, and luckily he got a good chunk of it written before Osamu came by for more tutoring. Osamu left earlier than usual to meet up with some classmates for another project, so he left Atsumu alone in the cafe to finish his paper.
Since Osamu wasn’t around, he figured he could stay later. Later, as in till closing.
Shoyo had approached him, “Atsumu-san. We’ll be closing up, but since it’s cold out there, I don’t mind if you wanted to stick around for a bit longer. I’m just going to start cleaning up and stuff.”
“Oh, I don’t want to intrude,” but really. He did. He wanted to stay as long as possible with Shoyo.
“I don’t mind! I’ll let you know when I’m done!”
He continued to type away on his laptop, surprised at how easily the words flowed onto the page. Osamu was right, this little cafe was perfect for studying. Or maybe, it was Shoyo’s calming effect on him, he’s note sure. But both were a win.
“I’m all done! I just need to lock up!”
“I’ll wait for ya.”
“Oh, you don’t have to! I don’t live very far, I’d hate for you to be caught out in the cold because you waited for me!”
“It’s fine. Can I walk ya home?”
Shoyo’s cheeks flushed pink as he shied away and said ,”Um, it’s okay. You don’t have to. Thanks though!”
After the last bolt was locked, the two faced one another an odd tension in the air between them. Shoyo fidgeted with his gloved fingers, before pointing in the opposite direction of Atsumu, “Well I’m just about five minutes this way! Please take care on your way home!”
Shoyo-kun even bowed slightly as he bid him goodbye.
“G’night Shoyo-kun.” he called out into the cold air, watching the puffs of air fill the void Shoyo left behind.
Walking home, he couldn’t stop thinking about how close he had been to walking Shoyo home. There was definitely something there, but with all his pick-up lines, Shoyo hadn’t taken the bait. So he couldn’t be completely sure what he wanted.
And yet, just like clockwork, he found himself at the cafe even earlier. It was almost like a drug, an addiction, to hearing Shoyo laugh.
“Hi! Fancy seeing you here today. Another study session with Osamu-san?”
“Yeah, but we’re going over history today.”
“Oh, you know, we’re learning about important dates. Wanna be one of them ?”
For once, Shoyo wasn’t full-blown laughing at his antics this time, Atsumu worried this might be the day Shoyo really gets fed up. Shit , he thought to himself.
“Finally,” Shoyo breathed out. “Are you going to ask me out properly?”
Atsumu stared at him like he had grown a second head, “Uh…”
“Atsumu-san,” Shoyo quietly said as he held the paper cup in one one. His other hand on the sleeve, “I’ve been waiting for you to call me since the first day you walked in here.”
Shoyo pulled the circular sleeve down.
Atsumu’s jaw dropped, gawking at the numbers running across the curved surface and at Shoyo’s face, whose eyes twinkling with mirth.
“You...what?? This whole time?”
Shoyo belted out a laugh, nodding, “I was wondering when you were going to notice!”
“I...ahh, shit. I’m sorry Shoyo-kun, it never..I just—”
“Atsumu-san,” Shoyo interrupted him.
Clamping his mouth closed he shook his head in disbelief before looking at Shoyo. His expression was serious for once as he placed his hand on Atsumu’s forearm and locked eyes with him.
“You don’t look so great, are you feeling okay?”
“Oh, I’m fine, I’m just—”
“Because, I think you’re suffering from a lack of vitamin me .”
Atsumu’s hand dropped from his face, resuming his imitation of a fish out of water.
“Did you?—Was that? Where did you learn that from?”
“You couldn’t have possibly thought you were the only one with bad pick-up lines!” Shoyo was full of joy and laughter as he went on, “I told you from day one, I’ve heard it all! But, not everyone’s cute enough to get my number.”
“I’m—you think I’m cute?”
“Mm hmm,” he leaned on the counter into Atsumu’s space, a smirk plastered on his face, tilting his head up smugly, as if challenging Astumu, “You caught me—hook, line and sinker.”
Atsumu chuckled, his smile growing as he closed the distance by leaning down to answer Shoyo’s challenge, “Oh yeah, I caught a big one alright.”
“Better make sure you don’t lose it.”
“Nah, I’ve got this one in the bag.”