- (also downward facing dog) a yoga pose in which the hands and feet are on the floor and one's rear end is pointed up so that the body is in an upside-down V; a resting pose.
- a dog down on his luck; someone played by the fates. (Read: Atsumu in this scenario.)
The whole dilemma starts as most of Atsumu’s dilemmas tend to do: with him trying to be a decent fucking person.
“Say, whatcha doin’ there, Meian-san? Omi-kun? Looks interesting,” he asks, squatting down beside Sakusa, who is busy twisting his noodly limbs around his torso in a way that Atsumu has never seen an actual person do before. Next to him, their captain eases his upper body deeper into his twist. Just by looking, Atsumu can feel the imaginary strain tugging at his own muscles. He keeps his eyes fixed on their shapes anyway.
See, Atsumu is a good teammate. A nice one, even. He understands the importance of taking interest in your colleagues, the necessity to cop a feel for how they function on and off the court. Daily post-practice patrols are the least he can do as a setter and as a person (a person that is a setter).
“Purna Matsyendrasana. Lord-of-the-fishes pose,” exhales Sakusa.
“Ah, yes. Lord-of-fishing pose, ” repeats Atsumu, not entirely sure how tangling up your body like that would help to pull a sixty pound tuna out of the ocean.
If the fishing line twists around yer body maybe, and ya hafta bend real hard to disentangle it, he thinks and tries to imagine Sakusa Kiyoomi on a boat, floppy fish wobbling in his equally floppy hands. Somehow he can’t quite picture it. Fishing doesn’t seem like the kind of hobby that his teammate could even suffer through, let alone enjoy.
Not that Atsumu’s opinion on it matters. It’s the asking that counts— getting the information, not understanding it. If Sakusa Kiyoomi likes to spend his weekends catching fish, so be it. Atsumu is just glad to finally get somethin’ outta him. As far as fishing for information goes, he’ll consider it a win.
“Yoga,” Meian supplies, apparently taking note of Atsumu’s internal floundering. And, Ahhhhhhhh yes, just maybe that changes things.
Then Sakusa goes, “You might have heard of it?” It’s the way he says it, Atsumu figures out later (by then, too late). It’s the mocking tone, managing to look down on him even with his eyes cast disinterestedly towards the floor.
You might have heard of it?
Of fucking course he’s heard of yoga. Atsumu knows the cats and the cows and the dogs that look in different directions. (One faces east and one faces west, he’s pretty sure). But how should he know this is what they’re talking about, when Sakusa decides to start the bloody conversation off with fishing of all things.
The whole implication doesn’t sit right with Atsumu at all, pokes him in the cheek like something spikey getting caught. Maybe that is why the next thing he hears himself say is,
“Of course yer doing yoga. I love the yoga, I do the yoga all the time.” A lie, of course.
“Hmm,” is all Meian has to say.
“Do you now? Well, isn’t that just great.” Sakusa’s eyebrows rise up to kindly inform Atsumu about the mistake he’s just made. With the upwards pull of Sakusa’s brows comes the feeling once more, the one that tugs at the soft flesh right besides Atsumu’s gums, like a hook pulling through. Oh no, looks like someone just got caught. “We should do the yoga together sometime. Better yet, why don’t we make it a team event? Let’s bring in the rest of the boys as well, yeah? I bet everyone’s burning to see all of your moves.”
He’s burning to see Atsumu embarrass himself, that much is obvious. The way his lips tug up at the corners, teeth exposed like a shark about to feast, make that more than clear. Yet it’s too late for Atsumu; he’s shot himself in the leg and the blood is in the water. There really is no easy way out. Well maybe —
His eyes plead for his captain’s help. “That sounds like a great idea, Sakusa-san,” Meian says, casually killing off Atsumu’s last hope, “I’m sure some yoga would do each of us good.” The betrayal!
So here he is: Atsumu trapped in his lie, a big chunky tuna struggling under the weight of being caught. Maybe Sakusa Kiyoomi would be great at fishing after all.
“Yeaaaaaaah, that would be sofuckinggreat ,” he forces past his lips, like the smooth operator he absolutely is. Teammate patrol is over; this is mission abort. Swim home, Atsumu, swim home. “But some other time, yeah? Oh, would ya look at that, it’s gotten so late! Time flies when yer havin’ fun, but I really gotta go. Heading over to visit Osamu. Lotsa bro things to talk about, ya know.”
“Of course,” Sakusa says, letting him off the hook. This isn’t catch and release. There will be no release, only very public embarrassment. “After next practice then. I’ll arrange schedules with the rest of the boys... make sure everyone waits up for you.” And once everyone has gathered, I will take out your insides and cut you into bite sized pieces, because misery is best served raw, Sakusa doesn’t say, but Atsumu can read it in his eyes. They’re sparkling.
“I really can’t wait,” he chokes and flees head first out the door.
* * *
Atsumu does end up dragging his ass to Osamu’s after that—they do, in fact, have lots of bro things to talk about. (He also tends to get hungry after embarrassing himself, and this disastrous attempt at team building has definitely left him in need of nourishment.) By the time his brother slides a plate of onigiri over the counter (even irony won’t keep him from eating tuna), he’s already working through a list of possible solutions for his own home cooked dilemma. So far he has:
1) The coward’s way out:
Surely the easiest solution, albeit not the most elegant, would be to pack himself into a box and have Osamu send him to an island far, far away from here. A sunny place, preferably—like the Carribean, or maybe Australia. This way, he could nama-stay the fuck away from doing yoga with his teammates.
On the downside, fleeing from Meian and Sakusa would also mean he’d have to go undercover— meaning Atsumu could play volleyball no more, as people would recognise him by his extraordinary skill set and all ten of his equally extraordinary fingers. So, no—clearly this option was never an option from the beginning.
2) Go with the (yoga) flow:
A solution that is passive by nature, and yet requires Atsumu to actively work for it. As Kita-san would surely love to remind him, At some point ya hafta reap what ya sow. And reap he could, by gracefully accepting what’s coming for him and doing the yoga he promised to do. Rip the band-aid off and get it over with, quick and painful. Get in position and warrior through.
But something tells Atsumu it wouldn’t be quick, only painful. With his luck, there’d most likely be a camera crew ready to film the whole ordeal and broadcast his misery to the nation alongside the evening news. This one’s also a no.
3) The honest citizen:
This one’s the outlier, an unsuspected powermove. To avoid having to do any actual yoga, Atsumu could own up to the fact that he doesn’t know the slightest thing about it. Apart from being good and honest, there’s really nothing else he has to do.
But while it would save him the humiliation of not even knowing how to perform a single yoga move, it would also come with the humiliation of having to explain himself. He’d stutter, he’d falter, and once again—someone would be there to record it and post it online. Atsumu is not yet ready to live life branded as a capital ‘L’- Liar, to have his reputation ruined like that. No, this idea will also have to go.
“Why dontcha just take a yoga class before?” suggests Osamu over the counter.
“Whaddya mean, yoga class ?”
“Whaddya think I mean when I say yoga class ?” He leaves no time for Atsumu to answer. It really might be better that way. “Get yerself a nice teacher to show ya some moves, so when it’s time to do it with yer teammates ya won’t hafta embarrass yerself.” Osamu gives his hands a satisfied wipe with the towel resting on his shoulder, “Well, not that much at least.”
Atsumu listens up at the first half, then kindly decides to ignore the latter. “Ya think that would work, Samu? Where would I even find a teacher for that?”
“Please,” sighs Osamu, the sound of it exhausted, from the ‘P’ like Pain down to the ‘e’ like Everyday I feel it deep within my bones , “move yer ass to the twenty-first century. There's yoga classes everywhere.”
He says it once more with his eyes then, not so telepathic twin-to-twin telepathy, a way for Atsumu to understand. Yes, dumbass: Yoga centers near you. It’s really more likely than you think!
Atsumu gets the hint. Well, mostly. “So, like, do ya hafta call there or something? Make an appointment?” he asks. He’s intrigued: this could actually work.
Osamu leans on the counter with a sigh. “Yer a big boy, Tsumu. Why dontcha figure that one out yerself.”
The very next morning has him calling the studio, which is not needed, apparently, but still kindly appreciated. The studio in question being Sunshine Yoga Shala, owned by a certain Hinata Shoyo. For those who value familiarity and enthusiasm regardless of skill, it promises to be an oasis of sunshine and healing in the midst of hectic city life. At least, this is what his good friend the internet tells him. Atsumu likes to believe his friends.
A single lesson with Shoyo is guaranteed to change your perspective on life! online user DaddyM. writes.
Shoyo’s beautiful mind and body are an inspiration to us all. You’ll be loving and living yoga after that , says reviewer komoriscousin635 .
That booty. I died , goes anonymous . It might be Atsumu’s favourite of the bunch, though the next review comes close.
Shoyolicious , it states.
Atsumu doesn’t know this Hinata Shoyo yet, but a sixty minute lesson to get him on his tracks sounds just about right. If he finds himself inspired by some beautiful buttcheeks in the meantime, it’s not like anyone will mind.
The more he thinks about it, actually, the more he can see the upside to his situation. A yoga lesson might give him some clarity, might help him find his inner zen or whatever it is the youngsters like to do with their time these days. And if the teacher is hot on top of that , well —Atsumu’s allowed to have a little fun once in a while.
* * *
With his own beautiful buttcheeks placed on his brother’s sweaty old yoga mat—
(“How come ya even have one of these?”, he asks as Osamu tosses him the bundle pulled out from underneath the bed.
“Ya sure ya want the answer to that?”, Osamu leers with a dangerously tilted smile.
It takes a second to sink before Atsumu cringes away. “What the fuck, Samu. Gross. Forget I ever asked.”)
—he waits for the final butt to arrive in the classroom. The master butt, that booty , the buttocks to save him from the inevitable misery that was promised by his teammates (those asses). Well, inevitable without the help he’s about to get. He’ll be safe from his dilemma in no time.
Because Atsumu is no rookie, he’s put down his hand-me-down square of rubber in the middle of the room. It’s where he's sure to get the best of both worlds—close enough to pay attention, yet far enough to be removed from the danger zone. Though there aren’t a lot of other people here to function as a buffer (he vaguely recalls a thing or two about familiarity ), his strategy should still work fine. On the contrary, Atsumu figures familiarity surely has its upsides too. Fewer people in the room means less potential for someone to see him cry.
Not that he’s going to cry. He won’t. Atsumu’s just waiting for this hot, lifesaving yogi to walk into the room, show him some bending, teach him some moves. And poof — goodbye dilemma, may ya be gone for good.
That’s exactly how it’ll go, Atsumu is pretty sure. At least, that’s how he hopes it’ll go before Hinata Shoyo enters the room.
As most of Atsumu's dilemmas tend to do, this one turns into a big fucking problem within no time.
His yoga teacher isn’t just hot. No.
Atsumu’s teacher is hot . Extremely hot, alarmingly hot. H-O-T- hot . Hot as the fucking sun, and he's wearing tight as fuck booty shorts. Hinata Shoyo is one tasty piece of ass that is wearing short shorts so short and tight, Atsumu has to check they’re even there at all.
What a delicious concept that would be, if they were literally anywhere else.
Say maybe, if Atsumu was in the comfort of his home, and Hinata’s ass was decorating the wide expanse of his computer screen. Or, if Atsumu was in the comfort of his home, and Hinata was decorating the even wider expanse of his bedsheets. But no—they have to be here in this painfully public studio, surrounded by other people, when HInata looks like that only meters away from him. Atsumu has to force himself to tear his eyes away.
(Which fails.) He has to look back again, self preservation has never really been his strong suit. At second glance, he at least has the strength to examine this blessing (or curse?) of a teacher in his entirety.
As already established by Atsumu’s first desperate look, Hinata Shoyo is hot in a hot kind of way.
He is short but buff, each one of his muscles well defined. The highlight, surely, is his legs, which are so tanned and toned that Atsumu has to keep himself from imagining them clasped around his sides. But it doesn’t end with the legs. (Has Atsumu already mentioned that his pants are short and tight ? They are.)
Shoyo’s arms are built as well. Atsumu can see the swell of his biceps seeking cover under his shirt sleeves, can certainly guess at what else might be hidden behind the fabric. Shoulders, pecs, abs—you name it. There’s no room to doubt that this guy has it all. Atsumu is just glad the shirt is as wide as it is; he’s not sure he would survive seeing this upper body uncovered.
But Hinata Shoyo is also hot in an adorable kind of way. Freckles splay across the ridge of his nose, and there’s a promise of dimples should he smile a certain way. Some twiggy strands of his hair stick off in places, some frame his face like branches hanging loose. He’s as fresh and crisp as the leaves of a forest in autumn, yet his eyes promise springtime as they’re lighting up the room.
Shoyo licks his lips before he says, “It’s so good to see you all here. Ah , some old faces and some new.” Then he looks straight at Atsumu, who might perish right then and there. Goodbye friends, goodbye world—it’s been a pleasure. Someone please keep my embarrassing porn hidden safely from Osamu, now that it’s my time to go. “If the entry list tells me right, you have to be Atsumu, right? I‘m Shoyo, I promise to take good care of you.” Atsumu feels his cheeks starting to set fire to the room.
Atsumu, Atsumu, Atsumu —sounds Shoyo’s voice inside his mind, the echo of each syllable slowly taking his breath away. Oh, he will need to be taken care of, that’s for sure.
He sputters out some unintelligible answer. Shoyo graces him with the sight of a dimple in return, before folding his palms by his heart and bowing his head down low. “Namaste,” he says, “The beauty within me recognises the beauty within you.”
“Namaste,” Atsumu mirrors in speech and in motion, doesn’t quite know what else he could do. I recognise yer beauty, alright. “Likewise,” he adds oh-so eloquently.
Shoyo’s eyes give a dangerous sparkle. Although mischievous, Hinata’s gaze stays warm and playful. At no point does his look strike Atsumu as cruel (unlike someone else he knows). Then he directs his attention back to the rest of the room. “I thought we’d do some sun salutations for a change today,” Hinata chuckles, as does everyone else, like it’s an inside joke Atsumu’s about to be let in on, “get our juices flowing to start off to the rest of our day. How’s that sound?”
How does that sound?
Well, Atsumu has never done a sun salutation before, doesn’t know the slightest thing about it. But he’d gladly salute Hinata Shoyo’s sun, that much he knows for sure. Atsumu would salute his sun so fucking well, he’d out-do even Icarus in his fall, with no great ocean needed to spread its arms in embrace for him at the bottom.
The rest of the class seems to be on board with the plan, with Shoyo’s version of it at least, as everyone rocks up to stand on their feet. A couple of people seem to rearrange their yoga mat, some others stand still, silently waiting in anticipation. Anticipation for what? Atsumu thinks, trying not to stare too much at the sight of Shoyo’s booty in front of him. He fears his thirst might be too obvious but also fears that prolonged exposure to him might leave Atsumu blind. Suddenly the floor seems very interesting.
“Alright,” Shoyo beams as if to prove Atsumu’s point, clapping his hands right as Atsumu notices the little suns drawn on Shoyo’s mat. (Is he starting to notice a pattern there?) Alright indeed , he thinks, his gaze still forced to the floor. The little suns on Shoyo’s mat are smiling. He can do this , he’ll survive this —
Oh boy, has Atsumu never been this wrong in his life.
Next thing, Shoyo says, “Let us start in mountain pose,” and then he takes his bloody shirt off. (The sight of him leaves no room for imagination. None. At. All.)
Right there on his slippery sweaty yoga mat is where Miya Atsumu dies. Cue corpse pose. Namaste and goodbye.
In the end, Atsumu doesn't actually die. Sure, he comes close to it at times during his lesson—like when Shoyo adjusts the position of his downward dog from behind, or when he makes the mistake to meet Shoyo’s eyes, legs spread wide in happy baby pose—but through some bloody miracle, Atsumu makes it out alive.
For whatever it's worth, he even starts to enjoy himself once he manages to look past the sight of Shoyo’s spectacular abs (and his pecs and his ass and his thighs). Atsumu reckons it’s the sportsman in him, his secret inner yogi, that has heard the call of conscious movement and came alive in his hour of need. He’s weirdly thankful for it all—not thankful enough to tell Meian-san or Sakusa or go running to offer his gratitude for the impetus, but thankful still. He feels gracious. Mindful. Good .
“Shoyo-sensei, please wait up,” Atsumu rushes to ask once everyone else has finally left the room. He's in need of no bystanders for what he’s about to do. It’s a bold move, he knows, but figues he has to give it a try either way. ”I’d like to ask ya something, please.”
“Oh,” goes Shoyo, who’s wearing a shirt again. Atsumu sends a silent thank you to the fabric for doing its duty, for covering Shoyo’s torso so that Atsumu doesn’t have to cover his eyes. Not that he has grown tired of the sight, no, but the lack of clothes makes it hard for him to concentrate. “You know I don’t usually go out with my students. But I guess I would make an exception for you.” Plus, he already has enough trouble concentrating with the situation downstairs, courtesy of that booty . Wait, what?
“I said I’d make an exception for you,” Shoyo repeats a bit louder this time, offering a 7 a.m. sunshine-through-the window kind of smile, “since you were going to ask me out, yeah?”
Atsumu wasn’t going to. He would have, surely, had he known it was an option. Had he known that Shoyo was going to say, Yes, of course Atsumu. I’ll even make an exception for you .
Well, theoretically he still could ask Shoyo out. All he’d have to do, was to say—
“I wasn’t going to ask ya out, though.” Nope , not that. Oh, Atsumu. Leave the country, go change your name. Make your new passport read Tsumu, the honest yoga fool.
Shoyo’s shoulders drop in disappointment. (Does that mean he was excited before? Did Atsumu miss this? He really ought to pay more attention than that.) “Oh,” Shoyo says, bringing a hand up to his head. “Kiyoomi-kun said you would, but I guess he was wrong.” He drops the arm again, let’s it dangle from his side like a disappointed pendulum. Wait, what?
This conversation is moving too fast for Atsumu, who apparently hasn't recovered from what the sight of Shoyo’s everything did to his brain. His mind’s still stuck somewhere between upward facing dick and downward facing dog. That must be it. Kiyoomi-kun, huh?
“Kiyoomi-kun,” as if Atsumu surely knows. (Atsumu knows.) “Tall guy, twinsie moles right above the eye. He looks a bit grumpy at times, but once you get to know him he’s actually a really nice bloke.” Yeah, Atsumu knows. Though he’s not sure if he’d describe this lumpy sack of bones as “a really nice bloke ” . That part is new.
“Sakusa Kiyoomi?” he asks, just to confirm it. “ Omi-kun? ” Atsumu figures there’s something he is missing, is still struggling to collect the brain cells that must have fallen out in his headstand hold.
Shoyo nods in agreement. Can Atsumu spot one of his neurons in the corner, is it rolling across the floor right over there? “Yeah. He comes here on Tuesdays, Meian-san too. We usually go out for drinks afterwards. Well, sometimes.”
Atsumu tries to imagine his teammates out with Shoyo, sipping cocktails at a bar. Sakusa nursing a Piña Colada, Meian-san with a glittery umbrella tucked behind his ear. Shoyo, who tugs at their sleeves and urges them to dance. Somehow he can’t quite picture it. (A lie. He can.) Atsumu is getting the information, but he’s still not sure he understands .
“I still don’t understand,” he says.
“Well, Kiyoomi-kun mentioned you might come here for a yoga lesson soon. Said—I’d better not repeat what he said—but he told me you were gonna be my type, and— ” What exactly is Shoyo’s type? Atsumu wonders, Stupid(ly hot) and apparently predictable? “—then Meian-san said I should give it a try. Told me to put on my short shorts.” Shoyo gives a resigned sigh. “But I guess that didn’t work.”
“Ya wore those booty shorts for me?” Now this is a revelation; there really has been an awful lot of revealing for Atsumu today.
“Yeah. I’m sorry.”
“Why are ya sorry? Don’t be.” Atsumu feels the need to step in. And because he is polite he adds, “Please.”
“ Don’t. Be? ” Shoyo tries on his tongue, like he’s tasting a brand new flavour of ice cream or a wicked new cocktail that’s been handed to him. Can Hinata Shoyo hold his liquor, or does he get drunk easily, cheeks burning from the heat of the alcohol? Atsumu wonders . Maybe he needs to find out.
“ Yeah .”
Then he takes a brave step forward—the biggest one he has taken today. Aligns his head over heart, heart over pelvis. (His heart’s still so much over his pelvis, the situation’s a little uncomfortable.) Inhale—deep in through the nose. Exhale—
“I appreciated it, really. Hate to say Omi-kun’s right, but I am. Into you, that is.”
Shoyo’s voice rises up with the question, the expression on his face bright beyond measuring in lux, “So you do wanna go out with me?”
Now here’s a crucial question. Does Atsumu want to go out with Shoyo?
Does the actual sun shine out of Shoyo's arse when he bends down low into downward dog?
Do the letters of yoga spell gay-o rearranged?
“Yeah, I do,” Atsumu says, cause it’s true. Because he wants to.
“Oh,” says Shoyo, in a hot way, in an adorable way. “Alright. Okay. Let’s do that some time. Let’s do that soon.” And because he is still out for Atsumu’s life apparently, he adds, “So, do you also maybe wanna kiss me?”
* * *
“Hey Tsumu,” Shoyo asks, coming down from yet another partner-yoga high. His bare chest is still rocking in movement, just a little out of breath. They both are. Oh well, Atsumu thinks. Down dog, doggy style—what’s the difference anyway? To him it might be one and the same. “What was it you wanted to ask me?”
Shoyo nudges his side, smiles amongst the suns drawn on his yoga mat. (His smile might be the brightest of them all.) “When you said you didn't plan to ask me out. What were you going to ask me instead?"
Ah , that’s how it is. "I was going to ask ya how to do the Lord-of-fishing pose."
Shoyo props up on his elbows—cobra pose, Bhujangasana, if Atsumu remembers correctly—the sound of his laugh alone illuminating the room. “I’ll make sure to show you some time.”
“Do show me, but ya gotta wear the booty shorts too.”