“Let the world in and sooner or later people will see the oceans pouring out of you.
You'll walk down the street and someone will mistake you for the sky.
You are beautiful because you let yourself feel, and that is a brave thing indeed.”
- Shinji Moon, The Anatomy of Being
Atsumu is aware that something is wrong before he even wakes up because of how difficult it is to fight through the thick of sleep. He eventually manages to open his eyes but the room is swimming, his face furiously hot and the bedroom a blur of motion. It’s probably a fever, he suspects, and a very bad one at that.
He pushes himself up, feels the ache in his bones and the tightness in his chest. His vision is swimming and it’s like being at the bottom of a bottle, when everything is reflecting off the light and blurred at the edges. Atsumu can’t quite make sense of the room but he does manage to drag himself out of bed and into the living room, where he nearly stumbles on his own feet.
Shouyou catches him before he can land face first into the carpet. All Atsumu can do is blink up at him, unmoving. Anything more would make his vision swim.
“Hey,” Shouyou says, steadying him. There’s a worried crease to his eyebrows that Atsumu vaguely remembers not liking at all. “You’re burning up,”
Shouyou ushers him back into the bedroom, back in bed where Atsumu doesn’t make too much of a fuss because his head is heavy and his face--everything about him is on fire and it’s not the good kind, either. He opens his mouth to say something but Shouyou’s already flitted out of the room in a matter of seconds.
Atsumu settles back into bed and tries to take deep breaths. Tries to think through the haze of the fever. He closes his eyes and sees his mother in his childhood home, talking too fast for him to catch anything. He sees Osamu, too, way younger than he is now, hair a mess and frosting smeared down his cheek. When he opens his eyes again, it’s to the nine a.m sunshine slipping through the sheer curtains.
“Hey, take it easy,” Shouyou eases him up against the headboard, fingers folding over his shoulder and squeezing. He passes Atsumu a glass of water first and then two different pills. “Here, can you take this? Do you think we have to go to the doctor?”
It’s a Saturday morning and Atsumu has somehow managed to catch a dreadful fever. There is no way he’s going to the doctor for this so instead he just shakes his head--bad choice, that actually made the headache worse--and takes the water and the pills and downs them too fast it ends up hurting his throat.
Shouyou must notice because a smile breaks through his worried face. He doesn’t say anything, though, just helps Atsumu back down into the sheets, into the fluffed up pillows, into the bed that’s the kind of warm that’s comfortable, not the kind of warm that makes him wonder just how long he’s going to be on fire for.
“Okay, no doctor’s visit, then,” Shouyou murmurs, fingers dancing across Atsumu’s skin. On his forehead, Shouyou’s fingers pushing his hair back. Down the length of his face, Shouyou tracing every curve and angle that he can while Atsumu closes his eyes, letting the medication bring him down. And then Shouyou is right next to him, in bed and under the cover, legs tangled with Atsumu’s, and Atsumu thinks that this is fine, that this is a better way to sleep now that he has Shouyou pressed next to him.
“Try to get some rest, okay?” Shouyou murmurs, fingers carding through Atsumu’s hair in a way that he knows Atsumu likes because it’s good, it’s so, so, good, and Atsumu might be delirious with the fever but he can still appreciate this--
Shouyou at his best, at nine in the morning on a Saturday, all too ready to take care of him. Shouyou with his cold feet and his warm hands, a striking contrast against Atsumu’s fever.
Atsumu turns to his side and sighs, opening his eyes.
His vision is still just a bit blurry, like he’s underwater and they’re swimming. Two boys swimming underwater.
Shouyou’s hair is a mess as it always is in the morning, his hand in Atsumu’s hair warm, gentle, easily lulling him to sleep, and his smile--Shouyou’s smile when Atsumu opens his eyes to meet his gaze. It’s just the right amount of bright that doesn’t blind, that doesn’t make him squint. It’s just the right amount for this morning, for this fever. Shouyou smiles at him through the haze and Atsumu has one very final thought, looking into that smile.
It’s nine thirty in the morning on a Saturday and Atsumu is dizzy with a fever but he looks at Shouyou and he thinks, I am going to marry the hell out of you.
And then he’s not thinking anymore at all because Shouyou is pressing a kiss to his forehead, and it’s sizzling with how hot Atsumu is but it’s a kiss and his fingers are combing through his hair and the medication, it’s the medication, too, and Atsumu sighs into Shouyou’s arms, closes his eyes, and falls asleep.
Atsumu falls asleep to Shouyou humming, it’s gonna be okay. You’re gonna be okay .
It sounds like a lullaby.
The fever comes and goes but Atsumu’s resolve is strong.
Sure, he’d had the thought while delirious and sick but it should still count. It counts. It has to, because now that Atsumu’s thought about it--decided on it, really--there is no backing out. There is only one way here and it is to move forward.
When he tells Osamu just what he wants to do, his brother only levels him with a stare, raises an eyebrow, and then says, “Okay,”
“Okay?” Atsumu repeats, a bit incredulously. “Okay? I’m telling you I want to marry Shouyou, the love of my--”
Osamu stops him before he can even continue that, grimacing. “Don’t. If you start now we both know it’s gonna take hours to finish,”
Which is. Yeah, that’s fair. Really.
So Atsumu settles back down into his chair and just gestures for Osamu to keep going.
It’s not that he wants Osamu’s advice, or his blessing, because that’s not how they are. That’s not how they operate. Atsumu just wants to say it outloud. Wants to declare this wonderful idea to someone. His brother was just the most convenient person at the time.
Or so he says, but Atsumu had pondered the whole afternoon, hand hovering over Osamu’s number, trying to find the right time to call him. To text him. Until he decided to just come around and visit.
See also: Atsumu definitely doesn’t want his brother’s approval, or his blessing, because they’ve never operated like that. Atsumu just wants to reach out. Just wants Osamu to meet him in the middle because that’s how they operate. That’s how they work, the both of them. They give, and they give, and they take as much as they give, but when it comes to the big moments.
When it comes to the big moments, Osamu has always been the first to hear about them.
Perhaps it’s a brotherly ritual, something so deep in their relationship that it now goes unsaid. They follow through with it, always. Like when Atsumu and Shouyou had decided to move in together, some four years ago. Osamu had been the first to know. Or how Osamu had decided to open his own restaurant, and then several more as he expanded. Atsumu had been the first to know.
Because that’s their thing--they’re always the first to know about the big things.
So Atsumu waits, trying to search Osamu’s face.
Osamu doesn’t give in for a very long time until he shakes his head and smiles, a weary little smile on a face that Atsumu’s known all his life, says, “You son of a bitch,” and then, this time around slower, gentler in a way that he rarely ever is, “It took you long enough.”
Atsumu feels the tears start to prick at the corners of his eyes, his throat constricting, but he holds it back because he knows if he starts crying here that Osamu will just whip his phone out and record the whole thing. Laugh and send it to every single person they know.
So Atsumu holds the tears back and instead just rolls his eyes, although the smile that breaks across his face is more than enough. Because this is a big moment. It is the biggest moment and Osamu is looking at him like he’s stupid, like this was to be expected, but Osamu is also smiling, matching the one on his face, and it’s good.
Atsumu feels really, really good.
See, the challenge about proposing is deciding on a when and a how .
Sure, the possible no looms just over the horizon but that’s not really something Atsumu thinks he has to worry about, a sentiment echoed to him by Bokuto over lunch.
“No, listen, shut up, shut up, okay,” Bokuto says, pointing a fork at him. “Listen, I’m telling you. You don’t gotta worry about him saying no,”
Atsumu nods, a little bit stiff in the shoulders. He feels like he’s standing on the edge, a simple no enough to set him propelling. But he looks at Bokuto across from him, sees the sincerity in his eyes. Sees the smile that he smiles at Atsumu and hears the laugh that he laughs, and perhaps the answer to the question isn’t something he should be worried about.
“See, ‘Tsumtsum, it’s going to go great,” Bokuto flashes him a grin that’s far too wide for the afternoon but it is a grin that Atsumu takes, that he hopes he manages to mirror on his own face.
Sometimes--sometimes, big moments require big leaps of faith. Sometimes--sometimes, even after you’ve known someone for half of your life, there are still these creeping doubts. And perhaps Atsumu, at the forefront of his mind, is sure that there’s only one way for this proposal to go. He’s sure, he knows. But there’s also a little voice in the back of his head that tells him, what if .
But it’s the kind of voice that he can shut down easily enough with the help of Bokuto’s smile and Bokuto’s laugh, hands moving in the air as he asks Atsumu just how he’s going to do it, when, where, all the questions Atsumu had turned over and over again in his mind for days on end ever since that one morning when he’d woken up delirious with a fever.
“Show me the ring, man,” Bokuto leans across the table expectantly and Atsumu feels the tips of his ears start to grow hot, cheeks following along quickly enough.
He ducks his head, suddenly overcome with the kind of shyness that he rarely ever feels, because this--this is different. It is a ring and a ring means he’s proposing, that he wants to ask Shouyou to marry him and that’s real. It is the realest thing Atsumu has ever known, this surety inside of him. This knowledge that there is nothing else, nowhere else, nobody else. He is sure.
So he takes the small velvet box out of his pocket and sets it carefully down on the table, popping it open so Bokuto can see the single ring that sits right in the middle. It’s a simple silver band that glints under the fluorescent lights, the subtle string of small diamonds glittering, like the surface of the ocean at noon, when the waters are still and the sun shines high above the sky.
Atsumu watches Bokuto the whole time, waiting for a reaction, for anything, because Bokuto is just staring at the ring and then--
And then he tears up, actual tears at the corners of his eyes and Atsumu laughs, a wet little laugh that he hopes doesn’t make his voice shake too much when he says, “Bokuto, come on. People will think I’m proposing to you ,”
“With a ring like that I wouldn’t actually say no,” Bokuto laughs with him, hand coming up to dramatically swipe at his tears.
Atsumu takes the ring back and slips it back into his pocket and smiles.
“Wait, before we go,” Atsumu lifts his phone up and takes a quick picture of Bokuto, mid-way through wiping his tears. He barks out another laugh and says, “Okay, perfect. I’ll make sure to flash this at the wedding,”
And that might be the first time Atsumu’s ever said it out loud. A wedding. A wedding with his friends, and his family, and Shouyou, because of course Shouyou has to be there, and Atsumu--
He thinks he might just start crying so he backtracks right out of that thought and instead pushes off his chair.
Bokuto follows after him, a spring in his step and a laugh that follows them into the streets. It’s the kind of laugh that wakes the whole world up, Atsumu thinks fondly. The kind of laugh that can quiet the small little voice in his head. The kind of laugh that chases the rain away.
It’s been two months since the fever, since he’d looked at Shouyou, vision swimming, the whole world a blur, and thought, I am going to marry the hell out of you . It’s been two months since then.
Two months since he’d first thought he was going to propose and at least nine years since he’d first realized he would gladly spend the rest of his life with him.
Because time works like that.
One moment, he’s eighteen, head over heels and stuttering over every single word he wants to say. Another and he’s twenty three years old and moving in with his boyfriend. And then one more blink-and-you-miss-it moment and all of a sudden he’s here, nine years down the line and thinking about proposing. Ready to marry him at a drop of a hat, fuck a ceremony, fuck a destination wedding. At the end of the day, Atsumu thinks he will marry Shouyou wherever. In the middle of their kitchen or out in the balcony. Anywhere.
Their whole life--their whole life together has been a ride. Nine years and they’ve still got so much left inside of them. For them. Nine years of stumbling around in the dark, running through narrow alleyways only to emerge in a bustling plaza, the sun shining right into their faces. Nine years of running and dancing and laughing. It’s been nine years.
Atsumu walks through the door and finds Shouyou on top of the kitchen counter, feet kicking at the cupboards as he scrolls through his phone idly, a furrow in his brows.
“Hey, orange peel,” Atsumu calls from the door, smile already on his face and the ring in his coat pocket suddenly warm and heavy. Nine years. “What are you doing up there?”
Shouyou drops his phone and smiles at him, makes to jump off the counter but Atsumu is there in a flash, hands on either side of Shouyou as he sidles up between his legs, head already tilted for a kiss that Shouyou meets gladly.
“Hello to you, too,” Shouyou smiles against his lips, sickly sweet and beautiful, and Atsumu’s heart drums a little bit louder. Nine years of this and then a dozen more after. Sometimes, Atsumu can’t quite believe that this is his life. Shouyou pinches his cheek, then, and Atsumu winces, plays pretend and groans. “I’m thinking of baking a cake,”
Atsumu curls his fingers over Shouyou’s hips, squeezes. “What are we baking tonight?”
“You’re staying away from the kitchen,” Shouyou rolls his eyes. “And I was thinking, maybe a tart,”
Shouyou swoops down for another kiss, hand cupping Atsumu’s cheek. He smiles halfway through it and Atsumu chases after the kiss, the smile, swallows down the laugh that Shouyou laughs against his lips and closes his eyes, because this is his life. This is the boy.
“Oranges, maybe,” Atsumu says, helping Shouyou off the counter.
There’s a brief moment of quiet, Shouyou moving towards the fridge to start preparations. A moment of quiet that falls between them, that stretches between the past nine years and all the years ahead of them. It is the kind of moment that leaves Atsumu’s heart aching, because there is really only this boy, this one boy, and Atsumu--
The ring is still in his pocket and he can get down on one knee now, just as Shouyou turns away from the fridge. He can get down on one knee now and ask, but he doesn’t, because Shouyou is smiling at him, a disarming, charming little smile that catches Atsumu off guard. Because Shouyou is smiling, voice sing-song when he finally says, “But we don’t have any oranges,”
And Atsumu is quick, always so quick. He tugs Shouyou in for a kiss, smiles against the corner of his mouth and then pulls away, sure fire grin and says, “I’ll go get you those oranges.”
Atsumu doesn’t mind leaving Shouyou in the kitchen. Doesn’t mind toeing back into his shoes and making the quick run to the little grocers a few blocks down from them. He doesn’t mind at all because Shouyou is there when he opens the door.
Shouyou welcomes him home, flour in his hair and dusting his hands, already motioning for Atsumu to hurry up and Atsumu is not himself if he does not deliver, so he passes Shouyou the oranges and presses a kiss to his forehead, quickly backing away before Shouyou can shoo him out of the kitchen.
This is a dance they’ve danced countless times. This is a dance Atsumu will dance even when the music stops playing.
“I was about to do it then, too,” Atsumu recounts, pacing around the living room. “Like, in the kitchen. In the kitchen ,”
“Well,” comes Kita’s voice from the other end of the call. “I don’t think you called me for advice on how to propose,”
Atsumu plops down on the couch, cradles the phone to his ear and sighs.
“No, I don’t think I did,” because Atsumu doesn’t think he needs advice on how to propose but it is good to hear Kita’s voice, anyway. Kita, who speaks quietly, every word ringing clearly. Kita, who would offer a warm hand for him to take. Kita, who Atsumu can look back on and remember, heart constricting because Kita has been a pillar in his life. Kita will always be a pillar in his life and it’s just--he needs to know. Atsumu needs to tell him. “I just wanted to talk to you about it,”
“I’m grateful,” Kita says, and Atsumu kind of picks up the hint of a smile in his voice. “You don’t need anyone to tell you how to go about this,”
That’s right. But there’s still so many things that Atsumu could do, so many ways this could go--a surprise, a dinner, fireworks, a flashmob, what .
“You already know,” Kita continues, gentle. Sure and steady. Atsumu hangs onto his every word. Feels a wave of relief wash over him when he hears Kita chuckle for a second or two. “Whatever you decide to do will be the right thing,”
It’s like there’s a boulder lodged in his throat because Atsumu can’t speak, suddenly can’t even move from his spot on the couch. Because he knows. He knows how it should go. And he sees it in his mind, now. A quiet lunch with Shouyou because the afternoon always puts them both in such a good mood. And then maybe a walk by the duck pond that Shouyou loves so much, and--
And there will be no fireworks. No flashmob. Not even a grand surprise. No event. Nothing too loud or crazy because Atsumu knows.
“Don’t overthink too much, Atsumu,” Kita’s voice is warm. Atsumu can almost picture him here, next to him. A hand over his own and squeezing. “You’ll do the right thing,”
It takes a moment but Atsumu finally finds the words to say, “I hope so,”
“I know so.”
(Atsumu tries to propose three times.
It goes a little something like this.)
Shouyou’s hands come up to fix the collar of Atsumu’s shirt and Atsumu pretends to choke when he does, which is bad because they’re in the middle of lunch and it makes Shouyou laugh. Like, double down on laughter kind of laugh, his foot knocking against the edge of the table. It nearly sends the cutlery flying.
“They’re going to kick us out,” Atsumu groans, settling back into his chair.
“I’ll be heartbroken, this is my favorite restaurant,” Shouyou says, frowning. “If that happens I’ll have you to blame, and then what will people think of this family?”
“This family is going to be in ruins,” Atsumu sighs dramatically, if only to see the smile that creeps back up on Shouyou’s face. If only to repeat the word family , because he likes how it rolls off his tongue. Likes how even if it’s just the two of them and their little two bedroom apartment, they are still pretty much intact and whole. A family of two.
Because the thing is--
The thing is, Shouyou reaches across the table to touch Atsumu’s hand briefly, fingers curling over Atsumu’s, and Atsumu feels a tug at his heart, his veins soaring, singing a song that he’s known since eighteen.
The thing is, Atsumu doesn’t even remember a specific moment when he realized he was in love with him. Clumsy, foolish, and with a smile that can outrun the sun. There was not one single moment, really. It was more like several moments building one on top of the other until one day Atsumu looked up and instead of the sky, all he saw was Shouyou.
Atsumu loves Shouyou far longer than the sky can remain blue. He even thinks he’s been loving him even before the sky came to be, before everything else existed, because Atsumu looks at Shouyou and he knows. He knows it is the kind of love that is immemorial. That is almost ancient in the way that his soul just calls. Sings.
Once, Atsumu had read a story. How humans came to be--four arms, four legs, two faces. Strong. Powerful. Whole until the gods grew fearful of their power. Until the gods decided to split them apart.
Once, Atsumu had read that story and believed it. That two people are meant to be together. That people will always need someone else to complete them.
Atsumu looks at Shouyou now and he knows better because people aren’t two halves of a whole. People don’t complete people, is the thing. Because Shouyou doesn’t complete Atsumu, and Atsumu doesn’t complete Shouyou, and that’s not wrong of them because not once has Atsumu ever felt like an incomplete person.
He looks at Shouyou and he sees someone who’s grown into himself, tanned skin, a sweep of orange hair hanging over his eyes, and a laugh that colors Atsumu’s skies.
So Shouyou doesn’t complete him, so what, so what .
What Shouyou does, however, is make Atsumu happy. He colors the sky. He sings off-key. He bakes on Sunday mornings. He touches Atsumu softly, kindly, he loves like there is no fear of ever running out, because there really is no fear, because they are never going to run out.
Shouyou touches him in all the ways that the world could never touch him and Atsumu thinks that’s more important than some Greek story he’d read once in highschool, because no two people are part of a whole, and thank god for that because now Atsumu gets Shouyou as he is, as he was always meant to be--
Brimming with life, so loud that wherever he goes the world has no other choice but to look, but to pay attention to him. Shouyo takes up space in the middle of this universe and Atsumu--
Atsumu loves him patiently. Kindly. All of his edges and corners. All of the rain that’s passed between them, the cold, cold winters. The summers that brought with it a breeze that made Atsumu’s knees buckle. Summer and spring are kind but it is in the winter when Atsumu is warmest.
And so Shouyou doesn’t complete him, and Atsumu doesn’t complete Shouyou, but by god is Atsumu content.Happy.
So really, the thing is , Atsumu is going to propose today.
Out here in the veranda of Shouyou’s favorite little restaurant, where the sun colors the whole garden a bright yellow. Shouyou’s skin golden, his hair on fire. Out here, where Shouyou is looking at him with eyes that Atsumu will know anywhere, in the dark, in the middle of the storm. Out here, Atsumu is going to propose.
The ring burns in his pocket and he itches to take it out, pop the lid open and ask but then Shouyou sets his drink down and smiles at him, playful, coy. Asks, “What’s on your mind?”
And Atsumu’s brain stutters. He opens his mouth, wants to say, I don’t even think the sky existed the first time I realized I loved you , and then, Some days, I look up and there is no sky at all, and there is nothing beneath my feet, but you hold my hand and the world kind of just settles.
Shouyou turns Atsumu’s hand over and twines their fingers together. The world settles around them.
Atsumu tries again, opens his mouth, says, I want to ask if you’d want to marry me, because I would really want to marry the hell out of you but it comes out a little shaky, a little like, “Do you want to order seconds for dessert?”
“Wow, a man after my own heart,” Shouyou smiles at him then and Atsumu feels the weight of the ring in his pocket, and he just. He just has to take it out. He probably doesn’t even have to take it out, the ring can be an afterthought, he just needs to ask but Shouyou is holding his hand and smiling at him and Atsumu is not eighteen years old anymore but that’s the thing with Shouyou, sometimes he catches Atsumu completely off guard and Atsumu--
He feels like he is eighteen again, young and stupid, more reckless than anything and nervous, always so, so nervous, butterflies in his stomach and his heart doing an entire gymnastic routine whenever Shouyou so much as looks at him, and god forbid when Shouyou touches him, hands exploring, lips on his cheek, on his lips, eyelashes fluttering.
Atsumu feels like he’s eighteen all over again and it’s ridiculous but it also makes him laugh because it has been nine years since that day and Shouyou still surprises him. Perhaps that’s one of the secrets of the universe: you love someone so much you end up knowing everything about them, inside and out, but that doesn’t mean the surprises will have to stop, because it’s been nine years and Shouyou still makes Atsumu feel like the foolish, love struck eighteen year old he was, all those years ago.
“Shouyou, listen,” Atsumu tightens his grip around Shouyou’s hand, feels a smile tugging at the corners of his lips. “Listen, I wanted to ask--”
But there is no more chance, not when there’s a commotion a few tables down from them. Not when somebody says, Oh, my god , and then quickly follows it with, I can’t believe this. Of course, of course .
Atsumu turns to where the exclamation had been and Shouyou follows his gaze to a table at the corner, under a canopy of flowers. A man on his knee, a ring box in his hand, and his now-fiance reaching out to pull him back up on his feet, smile on her face so bright it feels like it’s the start of summer all over again.
“They just got engaged,” Shouyou whispers conspiratorially, like it’s a secret, like half the restaurant hadn’t just witnessed the engagement. Like how half the restaurant aren’t calling over servers to buy the beautiful couple a round of drinks, a cake, or even offer to pay for their bill because love is always a celebration, and that’s lovely, that’s wonderful, but Atsumu can’t help but feel like he’s lost his chance. “That was so cool,”
Cool, Shouyou says, voice trembling. Cool, Atsumu turns the word over and over again, teeth biting down on his lower lip to stop himself from smiling too fondly at Shouyou as he starts to tear up all of a sudden.
“Shouyou,” Atsumu says, halfway through a smile, halfway through a laugh. “Are you crying?”
Shouyou’s brows knit together and he groans, he actually groans, “Yeah, okay, so I cry when people get engaged,”
Atsumu’s heart soars.
He leans across the table, doesn’t care if he knocks a spoon off Shouyou’s plate and just reaches out to him, hand swiping at his tears, fingers pinching his cheek playfully, if only to get Shouyou to smile at him, eyes still wet and mouth pressed into a hardline.
Atsumu kisses him then, just once, just quick enough for Shouyou to stop frowning at him.
Love is a celebration, it always is, so Atsumu calls over a server and beats everyone else in the restaurant when he says he’ll cover the lovely couple’s entire bill.
“This just means you’re paying for lunch,” Atsumu closes his eyes, throws his head back, and laughs.
“Wow,” Shouyou says, in his most deadpan voice ever. “A man after my own heart.”
Love is a celebration.
Even when there is nothing to celebrate, when there are no special occasions, or magical moments, love will always, always be a celebration.
Like how Shouyou comes home with flowers in his hands one night, a bouquet of sunflowers so tall and in full bloom that Atsumu nearly drops the knife he’d been holding just so he can make grabby hands at it, all too impatient when it comes to presents and flowers and Shouyou coming home after a day in society.
Shouyou bounds over to him in the kitchen, makes a face at whatever he’d tried to cook (really, it’s not that bad, Osamu had given him the recipe. It shouldn’t be bad and yet it is.), before turning his sunshine bright smile up at Atsumu, sunflowers held between them like a sword, like an offering, like a present.
Atsumu takes the flowers with a sunflower smile of his own, fingers holding the stems delicately because he always takes care of the flowers, always loves when Shouyou comes home with sunflowers because Atsumu loves sunflowers, loves how they turn their pretty little heads to the sun, constantly in search of the sunlight. Atsumu loves sunflowers.
He puts them in a vase, tends to the blooms, and sets them down in the middle of the dining table.
“No occasion,” Shouyou presses a quick kiss to the edge of his lips and Atsumu groans, because Shouyou comes home, brings him flowers, calls his cooking disastrous, and then has the gall to think that he can get away with just one kiss.
So Atsumu grabs him by the waist and spins him around in their little kitchen flooded with the soft yellow fluorescent lights, flooded with the soft song Atsumu had been listening to the whole evening, and then backs Shouyou up against the counter, hands on his hips and lips on his lips and a smile on his face because kissing Shouyou is always the funnest thing ever.
Atsumu kisses him so much--on his forehead, his brow, the tip of his nose and every other inch of skin on his face that he has access to that they forget about the poor excuse for dinner that Atsumu had even attempted and instead, moments later, just decide to call in for some delivery.
“My oranges,” Atsumu whines when Shouyou starts tidying the kitchen up.
“I got you flowers,” Shouyou says, like that’s enough reason for him not to step out for the rest of the night. “And I saved dinner,”
“You rejected my attempts to woo you via a world class dinner,” Atsumu says, with the straightest face ever. It’s ridiculous and he barks out a laugh a second after he says it.
Shouyou laughs with him, head shaking.
“Like I said. Flowers, dinner,”
“But the oranges,” Atsumu whines, and whines, and whines until Shouyou rolls his eyes and kicks him out of the kitchen, sends him towards the door.
When Atsumu turns back one last time, he finds Shouyou by the sunflowers, fingers delicately tending to the stems, to the blooms. The sunflowers dance under the light of the sun and Shouyou smiles down at them, turning the vase over so he can look at every single flower.
“Hurry back,” Shouyou says, still not taking his eyes off the sunflowers that Atsumu thinks will never look away from Shouyou because the magic with sunflowers is that they will always, always follow the sun.
Atsumu wraps a hand around the doorknob and nods.
The drive to the beach is eventful, to say the least.
With Bokuto and Akaashi in the backseat, the windows rolled down, and music blaring through the speakers, the two hour drive almost feels too short when they spend the whole way just laughing, arguing, Bokuto and Atsumu bickering about every possible thing that can even think of and it’s--it’s fun.
“Did you actually pack the food ‘Samu asked you to?” Bokuto asks, helping unload the rest of the things from the trunk.
Atsumu turns to him, almost insulted, disrespected, hand to his chest and says, “Of course I did,”
Shouyou pokes his head out from the window and says, “No, he forgot nearly everything,”
And they laugh, because they started the day with laughter and they will continue to laugh their way throughout their day.
Everybody works around their little area until eventually, everything gets set up; tables piled with food and drinks, the ocean sea breeze cool and refreshing against Atsumu’s face, the constant pushing and pulling of the tides mesmerizing, and the sun shining directly over their heads, like a constant. Of course, like a constant.
The water looks like a hundred thousand diamonds glittering just under the surface. The ring in Atsumu’s pocket looks a lot like a hundred thousand diamonds glittering just under the surface.
He catches Akaashi’s gaze from across the table and Akaashi raises an eyebrow at him, like a question, like a statement, and Atsumu tucks his smile when he ducks his head, because this--
This wasn’t really the plan. He hadn’t really told any of his friends--like they know. They know without him telling them about it. They already know. But today. Nobody knows about today. Atsumu didn’t even know about today when he woke up. Just knew when he looked at the beach and the water, sand between his toes and the rest of the world constantly turning, neverending around them. He knew. Atsumu knows.
“‘Tsumu you couldn’t even do one thing right,” Osamu calls from his spot under a tree, looking far too displeased for someone who’s cooking has been praised up and down the whole day.
“First of all, I did,” Atsumu calls, crossing the wide stretch of sand between them to glare at his brother. “Second of all, even if I didn’t, Shouyou still packed everything you needed,”
“That’s true,” Shouyou says through a mouthful of rice. “We got everything,”
Osamu rolls his eyes--at Atsumu, of course at Atsumu--and just turns to oversee the barbecue.
The rest of their friends are scattered around their little corner of the beach. Bokuto and Akaashi under a palm tree, laid out on a towel, legs tangled and heads together as they look at something on Akaashi’s phone.
Sakusa is perched on the edge of a wooden bench, looking like he regrets every single life decision he’s ever made because it led him here to the beach. The wind blows at his curls and he scowls, Atsumu knows he’s scowling under that mask. He catches Atsumu laughing at him and throws his middle finger up.
Atsumu throws an air kiss at him.
Everyone is scattered around the beach for most of the morning, Osamu abandoning the grill just so he can drag Suna up and down the shore, fingers around his wrist and smile rivaling the bright skies, and it’s a mess. They’re a mess, Atsumu thinks, watching as Osamu stumbles in the sand and falls. Laughing when all Suna does is kick sand his brother’s way instead of helping him up. They’re a mess and Atsumu’s heart aches for them the same way his heart aches when he finds Akaashi asleep against Bokuto’s shoulder, the gentle lull of the waves enough to drag anybody under.
Atsumu’s heart aches as he watches his friends--Yaku and Kuroo fighting over a can of beer, Shouyou bothering an unimpressed Kenma who’s playing on his phone, who looks away from the screen and then up at Shouyou, a tentative smile on his face that’s quiet, that’s special. A smile that Shouyou mirrors, just as quiet, just as special, and Atsumu’s heart aches for this boy who spins and spins and spins, who touches people’s lives and whose life the world has touched in ways nobody can even begin to fathom.
Atsumu’s heart aches for all his friends like family. The ring in his pocket is featherlight, pressing against his leg. It is featherlight and Atsumu runs a thumb over the velvet box, feels it under his skin. How easy it would be, this second time around, to pull Shouyou away from their friends, to pull him under a tree, or towards a section of the beach that’s quieter. To get down on one knee just as the sun begins to set and ask.
But Atsumu cannot rip him away from his friends that are like family because the whole place is warm and filled with laughter, a perfect spring afternoon at the beach, with good company, good food, and even better drinks.
Eventually the noon high fizzles down just as the sun starts to set, the sky an explosion of colors that almost hurts to look at just because it makes Atsumu feel like he’s small, barely a speck in this ever expanding universe.
Shouyou sidles up next to him then, leans his head on Atsumu’s shoulder, and Atsumu feels that perhaps he may be a speck in the universe but he has Shouyou in this world and they have a world of their own and in that world, Shouyou is the sun, and Atsumu is alive, occupying space, and constantly turning towards the sun, dancing under its light.
“They’ve taken out the guitars,” Shouyou tells him excitedly.
Atsumu looks down at Shouyou, hair on fire, skin golden, and brown eyes bright and alive.
“Can’t let them have fun without us,” Atsumu tugs Shouyou back to their little beach bonfire, back to their friends crowded around in a circle on the sand--Sakusa, too, in the middle of the world’s largest beach blanket, knees drawn up to his chest in an effort to avoid the sand at all cost.
Shouyou pulls him down on a spot right across the small bonfire. Spring evenings are a bit chilly and Atsumu is thankful for the flame. Thankful that he can reach his hands out and feel warmth start to spread through his fingertips.
Shouyou twines their fingers together and Atsumu feels warmth start to spread through his fingertips.
Across from them, Bokuto passes the guitar to Osamu, who passes it over to Suna who takes it, accepts it kindly because the guitar is something that is his, almost like an extension of his arm. He proves just that when he starts to play a song, a perfect little song for their perfect little beach getaway. It’s a song that sounds alive, that makes the ocean sing and the sea breeze sigh. The kind of song that makes Atsumu’s heart beat because Shouyou is moving his head to the beat, an easy, languid smile on his face, and his friends--
His friends like his family, everywhere around them, under the everglow of the sunset.
Bokuto is the first to stand, dragging a sleepy Akaashi up to his feet and declaring that they have to dance, that they should be dancing, that there is no reason for Suna to waste good music on people who refuse to dance.
And they do dance, the both of them. Silly, ridiculous, an out of this world kind of love that makes Atsumu smile, that makes him happy, because they are his friends. They are family.
He turns to Shouyou beside him, a smile on his face, a laugh on the edges of his lips, and his heart doesn’t ache anymore.
His heart is always in a constant process of healing whenever he looks at Shouyou.
“They’re going to fall,” Osamu whispers to Suna, who rolls his eyes at him but doesn’t stop playing.
Bokuto and Akaashi don’t fall--in fact they kick up so much sand that everybody starts to beg them to stop but nobody really means it, not when Bokuto is laughing, laughing, laughing, and Akaashi is guiding him throughout the dance, hands on his hips and head tilted back as he laughs, and laughs, and laughs in time to the sunset.
The song starts to slow down and Bokuto raises both eyebrows, hand on the small of Akaashi’s back, and Atsumu knows. He knows the split second before Bokuto even makes the active choice to do it.
Shouyou grips his hand tightly, too, because he sees it coming.
It comes, then--Bokuto dips Akaashi and fumbles it, hold around him slipping. Akaashi falls on the sand with a little oh that is masked quickly by Bokuto’s apologies, a thousand different tones of sorry, sorry, sorry that is then masked quickly by Akaashi shaking his head and laughing the kind of laugh that makes everyone else laugh.
Atsumu turns away from the mess that are his friends and looks at Shouyou’s silhouette in the sunset, edges sharp and curves soft. Atsumu touches a hand to his cheek, watches as Shouyou nuzzles into his cupped palm, eyes closed, eyelashes fluttering against his cheek.
There is a ring box in Atsumu’s pocket. He can just take it out right now.
It is a perfect spring evening at the beach. His friends won’t expect it but they will see it coming, anyway, because they know without Atsumu having to say anything.
So Atsumu opens his mouth, wants to ask, Okay, take two. I know you’ve got sand in your hair and when I kiss you it tastes a bit salty but that’s just because the ocean is alive inside of you and, and he blinks, thinks harder this time, and I would really, really want to swim in that ocean for the rest of our lives so would you marry me, maybe?
But the words don’t come because Suna starts to play a new song, more upbeat, more alive. Happy in the colors of the sunset, and Shouyou is opening his eyes, wide and bright, and he smiles. Stands up quickly and brings Atsumu up with him because it’s their turn to dance, because there is a boy with a guitar playing a song that needs to be sung, a dance that needs to be danced.
Atsumu’s hands wrap around Shouyou’s middle and he hears everyone laugh at them because they’re not so much as dancing as they are just swinging around, Shouyou’s arms tight around Atsumu and his head tilted up to him, the sun looking up at the sky, at a sky that Atsumu has known all his life.
Their dance is less coordinated compared to Bokuto’s and Akaashi’s because they aren’t so much as dancing as they are just swaying to the tune, Shouyou singing off key in all the ways that Atsumu loves, because it really must be true love to hear Shouyou sing, to laugh at his singing and still want to hear more.
“Ridiculous,” comes a voice somewhere to their left--probably Sakusa or Kenma, probably the both of them, but there is a certain fondness that clouds over the word, that makes Atsumu grin at Shouyou.
The universe is constantly expanding outwards and yet here Atsumu is, with the world in his hands, laughing up at him and singing so offkey that Atsumu wants to cry because he’s--he’s in love with the prettiest boy in the world, who can sweep him off his feet and offer a hand to him so they can dance even when they both can’t dance for shit, even when they both can’t sing for shit. Atsumu is still so in love he wants to cry. His heart aches one moment and feels full the next. It is in a constant process of healing.
There is a ring box in his pocket. It presses against his leg.
Their friends like family are all around them, Kenma with his phone pointed at them, recording the whole embarrassing affair that is Atsumu and Shouyou trying to dance, trying to sing.
A laugh trips past Atsumu’s lips and Shouyou meets him halfway there, kisses him through it, laugh bubbling between them until Atsumu loses his balance and Suna discards the guitar because now it’s his turn to laugh at the mess in front of them--
Atsumu tripping on his own two feet and falling on his ass, sand in his hair and Shouyou doubled up in laughter, not even apologizing, because there is no need to apologize, there are only reasons to laugh.
“Who got that on video?” Osamu asks, sweeping a glance across their little circle.
Kenma raises his hand.
And then, very surprisingly, Sakusa does, too.
Atsumu makes a mental note to ask them very, very nicely if he’d send it to him--Kenma is easy, because he will give Shouyou anything he asks for, but Atsumu turns to Sakusa, sees the raised eyebrow, and he knows it will be a challenge to even get Sakusa to reply to his text.
But Sakusa is here, in the middle of friends that are like family, so he will give in, eventually.
Atsumu smiles at him, at the rest of their friends, and accepts Shoyuou’s hands, lets the prettiest boy in the whole wide world pull him back up to his feet.
The world settles around them and the evening finally descends upon the.
The embarrassing videos will be for later, for now--
For now, Suna picks the guitar back up and Kuroo, on the other end of their little circle, plucks away at a little ukulele.
The night is filled with all kinds of music--
The rolling waves.
The sound of the breeze as it touches Atsumu’s cheeks.
The songs that they trade throughout the night.
The song that comes from laughter, from all of their friends that are like family.
That are family.
And then there is another kind of music.
The kind of music for celebrations.
It sounds a lot like love.
When the noise dies down and the party is over, they will always have each other to turn to.
Atsumu and his back pressed against the couch, Shouyou in his arms and turned towards him, hand over Atsumu’s heart like he just wants to feel the thrum, thrum, thrum of it. Like he just wants to listen to the way Atsumu’s heart sings whenever he so much as thinks about Shouyou.
It is a quiet Sunday afternoon and sunshine spills through the open balcony window.
The curtains flutter against the gentle breeze.
Atsumu curls a finger around a lock of Shouyou’s hair, tucks it behind his ear, and presses a kiss to his forehead.
“We should move or else your neck’s gonna cramp,” Shouyou just burrows closer to him, doesn’t bite back and say that Atsumu’s legs are too long for the couch, that maybe it’s time they got a couch that won’t cause them back pain or sore necks. Maybe it’s time.
Atsumu kisses the top of Shouyou’s head, breathes him in. He still smells a little bit like the ocean, a little bit like the sun, and a little bit like every other beautiful thing this universe has to offer.
“Five more minutes,” Shouyou says, nuzzling into Atsumu’s embrace.
“That’s a lie,” Atsumu murmurs, but he doesn’t move.
Neither does Shouyou.
They end up sleeping on the couch for two hours and thirty minutes. They stay on the couch until the lazy afternoon sun starts to set. When Atsumu opens his eyes next, he registers a crick in his neck first before he takes in the state of their apartment, flooded with orange and red and just the slightest twinge of a purple glow from the sunset.
Atsumu runs his fingers through Shouyou’s hair, watches as he sleeps peacefully in his arms, and he smiles.
“My neck,” Shouyou complains, eyes still closed and refusing to move. “You said five more minutes,”
“Cheeky,” Atsumu grins, tugging gently on Shouyou’s hair. “When will people realize you’re always throwing me under the bus, huh?”
Shouyou snorts out a laugh, tilts his head up to pepper slow, sleepy kisses along the line of Atsumu’s jaw, murmurs into his skin, “This family is in ruins,”
Atsumu kisses Shouyou just as slowly, just as sleepily, and sighs when Shouyou touches a hand to his chest again, like he wants to listen to Atsumu’s heartbeat, like he wants to feel it for himself.
Because while people don’t complete people, they do complete families.
“This family,” Atsumu repeats, nipping playfully at Shouyou’s nose. “This family is beautiful.”
There comes a point in your life when you realize that perhaps you’re not as young as you thought you were.
This moment comes to Atsumu the morning after Aran’s birthday party. The night had been loud, and fun, and the drinks just never stopped coming, and Atsumu had--
He had drank so much. Had gotten carried away, had let all his old friends carry him away. Shouyou was there, of course, and Shouyou had been drinking, too, but the wonderful, perhaps even traitorous thing about Shouyou is that he can hold his liquor better than Atsumu. Better than a lot of people, really.
Atsumu kind of hates him for that but not really, because if Shouyou had been as piss drunk as he was, then Shouyou would not have ushered him home with an arm around his shoulders and his voice in his ear, nagging, chastising, and then giggling again when Atsumu nearly stumbled out of the elevator and fell flat on his face.
“God, I swear I’m never getting this wasted again,” Atsumu had proclaimed to everyone in the room--his brother had laughed at him, Suna had rolled his eyes, Kita had sighed, and Aran had simply clapped him on his back and passed him another drink, because it was his birthday and Aran was always really good at picking liars out from a bunch.
So Atsumu drank a lot last night, so what.
So what, so plenty, actually, because now he’s in bed, head starting to split open, and the sun. The sun is too fucking bright.
“Turn it off,” Atsumu groans, lifting the covers over his head.
“The lights are already off,” Shouyou says from his spot on the door, hands crossed and a very amused expression on his face. He revels in this, loves to say I told you so for moments like these.
“The sun,” Atsumu whines again, eyes shut so tight he starts to see stars behind his eyelids. “Shouyou, if you love me, please turn it off,”
“I mean,” Shouyou starts, already halfway out the door. “I mean, I guess I love you,” and Atsumu can hear the playfulness in his tone, can hear his smile even if he can’t see it. “But I’m not equipped enough to turn the sun off,”
Which is a lie, Atsumu thinks, because Shouyou shines brighter than the sun, laugh just as warm, and his hands--god. His hands are always so, so warm that it’s all Atsumu ever needs when the winter wind blows and they’re both just stuck in the apartment, some stupid movie playing on the T.V, their cups of coffee already cold, and Shouyou’s hands--
Shouyou’s hands, always so, so warm.
Shouyou’s hands tug at the covers, pulling them down until Atsumu has no choice but to open his eyes, just a smidge, just a squint, just a bit, because it’s still so bright, the sun is still so bright. Shouyou is still so bright.
“You’re a big baby,” Shouyou hums, hand moving to brush at Atsumu’s hair, swiping away a few stray strands of hair out of his eyes. Shouyou tries to fix his bed hair, too, which is another gallant and useless effort, but it is a gallant effort that Atsumu acknowledges. That Atsumu appreciates, because Shouyou’s hands--always so, so warm.
“Come on, sit up a little bit,” Shouyou has pulled the curtains closed. Shouyou has effectively blocked the morning sun so Atsumu opens his eyes a little bit wider and does as he’s told, scoots over to the other side of the bed so Shouyou can join him.
He sits up against the headboard and groans when Shouyou passes him two pills and a glass of water.
“What did we learn last night?” Shouyou asks, guiding the cup of water to Atsumu’s lips.
Atsumu obliges, if only because it’s all he can do. Because he can’t say no to a quick hangover remedy. Because he can’t say no when Shouyou is looking at him with a mixture of worry that is quickly overridden by pure amusement on his beautiful, beautiful face.
Shouyou waits until Atsumu gulps down the last of the water before he sets it aside, before he slides under the covers with Atsumu.
And here’s another funny thing about Shouyou.
The prettiest boy in the whole wide world, with the warmest hands Atsumu has ever known, has got feet as cold as a freezer.
Shouyou brushes his foot up Atsumu’s leg and Atsumu shivers, because it’s cold, Shouyou and his goddamn cold feet. And his stupid sun-sincere smile.
God, Atsumu looks at Shouyou, the prettiest boy in the whole wide world, with the warmest hands, and the coldest feet, and his heart aches, but only in the way that tender things make all hearts ache.
Shouyou trails butterfly kisses down Atsumu’s cheek, arm looping around his middle as he finds the perfect spot, slotting himself right next to Atsumu, all the angles and curves and all their limbs, in one perfect motion, because this is routine. This is years and years of practice, of habit. This is second nature to them.
“How do you feel now?” Shouyou’s voice is lower, quieter, the same way the world is quieter now because Atsumu needs it to be, because Shouyou has turned the sun off in their little apartment, their little world. Shouyou’s hand moves to the small of Atsumu’s back and he starts to rub soothing circles up and down the length of his back, fingers pressing into all the dips and rivers that Atsumu has to offer.
Atsumu sighs into Shouyou, leg hooking over Shouyou’s, foot brushing against Shouyou’s very, very cold one, and he closes his eyes, because this is just the way things are, just the way his life will always lead to--in a bed, swimming in blankets, Shouyou’s cold feet against his, and the prettiest boy in the whole wide world in his arms, whispering the most soothing things into his ear, and guiding him back into the land of the living.
“Perfect,” and he still has an ebbing headache, and perhaps he can’t stomach a proper breakfast just yet, but he’s got Shouyou next to him, and the world is quiet, and things are perfect. Atsumu presses a kiss to Shouyou’s forehead, lets his hand slip under Shouyou’s shirt and sighs. “You’re perfect,” and then, because the world has settled around them, and spring means a fresh new start, a beautiful new start, Atsumu adds, “Marry me,”
That makes Shouyou laugh.
Not a surprised bout of laughter, but a soft one that trickles past his lips and slips into Atsumu’s ears, that finds a way straight into his heart, the laugh lodging itself into all the cracks and corners inside Atsumu’s soul. It is the kind of laugh that will stay with him forever, he thinks.
“What, I don’t get a ring?” Shouyou asks, looking at Atsumu with a smile on his face and the rest of the world behind him.
Atsumu blinks, like a spell has been broken, and the whole world is suddenly turning again, making up for all the lost time, and Shouyou--
Shouyou looks at him with a raised eyebrow and a smile that threatens to spill into another laugh and Atsumu remembers the ring in his pocket and all the times he’d tried to propose, and he--
He nearly falls off the bed in his haste to get up, swiping at a shirt and some pants and then, just as he makes it to the bedroom door, says, out of breath and his heart racing a million miles per second, “Wait, forget I said that,”
Shouyou’s brows knit together in confusion for only a second before he sees something on Atsumu’s face--the panic, maybe, the hangover, definitely--and he settles back into the empty bed.
“I just--” Atsumu looks over his shoulder at Shouyou, who’s drowning under the blankets, with his warm hands and his cold feet. The prettiest boy in the whole wide world. “I’ll be back, okay?”
Atsumu is out the bedroom and then flying out of the front door before Shouyou can even say Hurry back , but some things don’t need to be said.
It’s the years, and years, and years on top of all the years they’ve had that makes everything a habit, second nature.
Shouyou doesn’t have to say it for Atsumu to know, but before that--
Before that, he needs to run.
“So let me get this straight,” Osamu says, voice a little clipped, like he’s holding back. He’s definitely holding back. “You tried proposing to him twice--and failed, by the way, capital F--and then you actually managed to ask but somehow you’re here?”
Atsumu, hand in his hair and a little bit out of breath from all the running--literal running. He’d ran the length of their block, the length of the river, and then ran all the way to Osamu’s restaurant.
“I--” Atsumu says, catching his breath. “Yes, yes, that’s exactly how that turned out,”
“I mean,” Osamu grimaces, hand gesturing to the general ridiculousness of the whole situation.
“I mean,” Atsumu grimaces, forehead against the cool surface of the table. “I fucked that up,”
“You’re an idiot, ‘Tsumu,” Osamu says, but there is a gentleness in his voice that Atsumu easily picks up on. There is a tenderness in the way he places a hand on Atsumu’s shoulder and squeezes. “Like, really fucking stupid, I swear I’m going to tell everyone at the wedding that Shouyou’s, like, ten thousand leagues deep out of your league,”
Atsumu closes his eyes and groans.
“Like I said, you’re stupid, but the thing with you and Shouyou,” and here Osamu pulls Atsumu to his feet, fist knocking playfully against his chest, and the smile on his face one that reminds Atsumu of all their days back at home, when they ran, and ran, and ended up with scraped knees and bruises everywhere because they played, because they fought, because they let the thrill of every new day sweep them away, again and again, and it had felt like they were unstoppable back then, him and Osamu. Like they were infinite. Atsumu looks at that smile and is reminded of summer afternoons at the garden, watermelon juice staining their hands and their mother calling them back inside to wash up in time for supper. Atsumu looks at that smile and understands that the world can take him wherever it wants, can do whatever it wants with him, but he and Osamu--they will always have the golden summers of their youth, with their scraped knees and bruised elbows, reckless. Unstoppable. Infinite.
“The thing with you and Shouyou is that Shouyou is also really, really fucking stupid for you,” Osamu laughs a summer’s laugh and Atsumu follows, first with a smile, because his brother is an ass but his brother is always, always here for the big moments. And then Atsumu laughs because his brother is an ass but his brother is always, always here for all the moments, not just the big ones.
It’s all the moments in his life.
“Go home, ‘Tsumu,” they’re already by the door, Osamu’s hand on Atsumu’s elbow, his grip firm. “Go home, okay?”
Atsumu turns away from the door, from the spring afternoon outside, and looks at Osamu.
Atsumu is funny, despite what everyone else thinks. He makes Shouyou laugh. Sometimes, Shouyou wonders if Atsumu saves all his best jokes for him because somehow, somehow the jokes he tells all their other friends never really land the same.
Or maybe Shouyou has managed to develop a humor specifically for Atsumu, over the years.
That’s what nine years does to a person.
Or maybe Atsumu does save all his best jokes for him. It’s been nine years, Shouyou should ask him about that sometime.
He steps out into the balcony, barefoot because it’s warm, because the breeze is warm, and he walks over to the railings. Watches the river down below, the stream of people slowly making their way up and down the block, probably coming home from work.
Shouyou smiles, remembers the time they’d started looking for apartments to move into.
Large windows, a balcony for the flowers and the plants, a nice kitchen, a living room right next to the balcony, large windows so we can enjoy the sunshine , and a view. A view, whatever a view may be.
Atsumu had looked at him then and said, with the straightest face he could muster, “You’re the view,” and Shouyou had snorted out a laugh.
Perhaps Shouyou has developed an Atsumu specific kind of humor.
It’s fine. Atsumu is the funniest man in the whole wide world, anyway.
Shouyou leans against the railings, lets the leaves of one of their potted plants brush gently against his shoulder. He thinks about about all the years between them, all the years that have passed. Like the third year mark of their relationship, when he surprised Atsumu at the duck pond, where they spent the afternoon just pointing at the ducks and laughing because Atsumu can make a really, really good duck impression, if you ask Shouyou (if you ask someone else, they’ll probably just wince, but Shouyou thinks Atsumu is the funniest man in the whole wide world, so whatever everyone else thinks is wrong, obviously).
There was that time, too, two years back, when Atsumu had come home with a box of oranges, declaring excitedly that a new grocer’s had opened a few blocks down from them.
We can have oranges everyday, Shouyou , and Shouyou never really wanted to eat oranges everyday but Atsumu would wake up in the morning, brush his fingers through Shouyou’s hair, and kiss him on the cheek, his good morning always, always coming in the form of, Get up, orange peel , and it had been enough.
Nine years is a lot of time to spend with a single person.
Nine years can feel like an entire lifetime, really, but nine years is also just nine years behind them.
There is a black velvet box in Shouyou’s hand and a smile on his face as he hears the sound of the door turning, Atsumu’s footsteps light, his voice drifting out into the balcony when he calls, “Shouyou?”
“The balcony,” Shouyou calls back, not turning away from the river. He watches the surface, notices, not for the first time that it looks like a hundred thousand diamonds glittering just under the water.
The sky is open and the universe is constantly expanding. Shouyou’s heart is constantly expanding.
Atsumu winds his arms around Shouyou’s middle, presses a kiss to the back of Shouyou’s head and takes in a steadying breath.
The whole world settles.
“Hey, quick question,” Shouyou says, turning away from the river with the glittering diamonds, from the sky, from the universe, constantly expanding outwards, and then turns in the circle of Atsumu’s arms, tilting his chin up to meet his gaze. Shouyou presses a free hand just over Atsumu’s heart, feels the thrum, thrum, thrumming of it underneath his palm, and he smiles. “Will you marry me?”
It doesn’t take Atsumu too long to react. It doesn’t take him any time at all, really, because before Shouyou can even brace himself, he sees that Atsumu is already crying, tears springing from the corners of his eyes and spilling down his cheeks.
“ Shouyou ,” Atsumu says, hold around Shouyou’s waist tightening. “That’s not fair,”
Shouyou lifts a hand to wipe away at Atsumu’s tears, and grins bright. “What part of will you marry me is unfair?”
“I asked you first,” Atsumu whines and that’s funny, Atsumu is the funniest man in the whole wide world. Atsumu is Shouyou’s favorite person. “I have a ring--oh my god, I have a ring and everything,”
Here Atsumu fumbles around in his pocket for a second before lifting up the plush red box to Shouyou.
Shouyou smiles a smile like the glittering diamonds on the surface of the river and says, “Funny, I have a ring for you, too,”
Atsumu is still crying and he’s beautiful, and Shouyou’s heart aches for him in the way only the most tender things make your heart ache.
“Sorry I beat you to it, but please ,” here Shouyou raises his hand again to cup Atsumu’s cheek, and if his hand trembles just a little bit, Atsumu doesn’t bring it up, because he knows. They both know. “‘Tsumu, you actually need to answer the question,”
Atsumu kisses him then, slow and gentle, like the first snowfall in winter, where wishes come true if you bring your hands together and hope hard enough.
Shouyou has wished, and he has hoped, and it has led him to this.
Nine years between them. Nine years behind them. So much time ahead of them.
“Yes,” Atsumu says, a kiss that turns into a smile pressed against Shouyou’s lips. “I’ll marry the hell out of you, just you watch.”
And this time.
This time, Shouyou laughs, a little bit wet, a little bit shaky, and then he cries.
Atsumu holds him through it and the whole world settles around them.
At the wedding, they flash a photo of Bokuto crying at the sight of the engagement ring.
The photo is followed by a video of Shouyou dragging a drunk Atsumu home, arm around his shoulder, and a stupid, stupid lovestruck smile on his face.
The next video that plays is the one where they’re at the beach, Shouyou and Atsumu not so much as dancing as they were just swaying to the tune. A song, a melody, the kind of music that will stay in their hearts forever. The kind of music that adds to the universe, because the universe is constantly expanding outwards.
The crowd laughs when the video changes to the second when Atsumu had tripped over the sand and fallen, a whine so clear on his face that everyone doesn’t need to hear it because they can see, because they know this silly, reckless boy.
“Well,” Atsumu starts, as if there’s ever a way to save face from that video. “You can say I fell for him,”
Nobody really laughs but Shouyou snorts out a laugh because he is legally obligated to now that they’re married and then he cries, because Atsumu is ridiculous and Shouyou will have to take this ridiculous man everywhere with him, all over the world and through all the years ahead of them.
“A new record,” Atsumu says, turning to Shouyou, hand on his cheek and swiping at a tear. “It’s only been a few hours but I’ve already made my husband cry,”
And then it’s Atsumu’s turn to cry because he just called Shouyou his husband and they’re a mess, this family is in ruins but this family is also complete. This family is beautiful.
“Stop crying,” Shouyou sniffles, turning to Atsumu, cheeks flushed and nose red.
“Okay,” Atsumu laughs, still a bit shaky, but he’s stopped crying, and Shouyou’s stopped crying, and their friends are laughing, and the music is playing that same song that the universe sang to them that day at the beach.
When the universe sings, there is really only one thing to do, so Atsumu takes Shouyou by the hand, guides him to the middle of the room, and dances with him because love--
Love is always a celebration.