Shouyou always thought he was lucky, blessed really.
Ever since he was introduced into the world of volleyball, he had been lucky to meet people that helped him and taught him the sport. He was surrounded by a wealth of talent.
First there was Tobio, his rival who was there from the start. He made Shouyou a useful player, and gave him the title of ‘greatest decoy’. Something that he’d later learn to embrace and really blossom into.
Tooru was a force to be reckoned with. At first he antagonized both him and Tobio, but surprisingly became Shouyou’s savior when he showed up on Shouyou’s lowest of days in Brazil. A stranger in a new country, having lost his wallet. Tooru showing up was a blessing in disguise, offering him a piece of home he was missing. Their friendship bloomed overseas, making ‘The Grand King’ remember how fun volleyball really was.
Kenma was the next great influence on Shouyou. An unlikely yet interesting friendship had bloomed with the quiet, stoic brainiac. He’d go on to further support Shouyou’s dreams by becoming his sponsor when he trained abroad in Brazil.
Koutarou was the type of ‘cool ace’ Shouyou wanted to be. He became his mentor, teaching him how to do a block wipe, how to reset, how to feint. He gave him the tools he needed to fight in the air.
Then there was Wakatoshi, who challenged Shouyou. Wakatoshi inferred that Karasuno wasn’t good enough, comparing them to ‘infertile soil’. Shouyou took offense to that vowing Wakatoshi that even someone from concrete could be strong. It pushed him to want to get better, to become even more of a volleyball player; the will to fight alone.
But out of all the people that got him here to this point in time, his teammate on the MSBY Black Jackals and now Team Japan for the Olympics, he had one absolute favorite. Shouyou might be a little biased though because of his crush on the man. Feelings aside, he saw Shouyou for what he was worth back in highschool, and had made a promise back then too. The fact that this man had killer good looks was just a bonus point.
Atsumu “One day I’m gonna set for you” Miya.
Quite possibly the best partner, best setter anyone could have ever asked for. Shouyou was smitten not solely by his talent, but by his cool facade yet dorky demeanor. His lame jokes that actually made him laugh, and his own way of showing concern and care. He demanded the best from his spikers the same way Shouyou demanded the best from his setters.
They were a perfect match.
“Mrow.” Soft fur bumped his idle hand, pulling Shouyou from his thoughts. Shaking his head to reorient himself he realized he’d been staring at his closest friend for far too long.
Turning his attention to the little white feline with tan spot over his left eye and dark brown and tan fur atop his head he scratched the cat behind his ears as the latter purred happily. He looked at the black cat curled against his side, closest to the window.
“Penny for your thoughts?” a voice called out to him.
Shouyou looked up at Atsumu who was crossing the living room towards him with his usual smirk on his face.
“Oh nothing important really.” he replied, “Just thinking about the road that got me here.”
Atsumu plopped down next to Shouyou, stretching out and laying his head on Shouyou’s lap, paying the white cat no mind.
Shouyou laughed when the cat in his lap hissed at the intruder, “Atsumu-san…,” he scolded gently.
“He’ll be fine.”
Shaking his head, he continued to stroke the cat’s fur as Atsumu made himself comfortable and closed his eyes. It’s kind of funny how cat-like Atsumu was on the weekends, lounging around the apartment, napping off and on. How much he enjoyed the warmth of the sun by the window.
That was just one of the many Atsumu quirks he had picked up on the moment they decided to be roommates. There were quite a few that he found odd, and he partially wondered if he was just paying too much attention to his crush.
The more he studied Atsumu the more prevalent they became, to the point that the next time the Black Jackals had practice he voiced it to his mentor turned teammate, Koutarou.
“Bokuto-san,” Shouyou had prompted.
“What’s up HInata?”
“You ever notice...oh, well. Nevermind.”
Koutarou cocked his head comically like an owl, “Hmm? What is it Hinata! You can tell me!”
“Ah well, you see. I couldn’t help but notice that Atsumu-san has some...funny habits.”
“What kinda ‘ funny habits ’?”
“I mean, you ever notice...like, he avoids dogs like crazy, glares at the cats in our apartment, and avoids mirrors altogether. Which is weird. It’s like he’s a vampire that’s afraid of dogs!”
“Oh? That is odd, well, you know,” Koutarou looks around first before whispering to Shouyou, “You could use ‘The Foxs’ Window’ to check.”
Kiyoomi, who was stretching out just beside them, scoffed and looked up at Koutarou, “Seriously? You’re gonna tell him that ?”
Shouyou laughed, “But, isn’t that an old wive’s tale?”
“You know old wive’s tales have some truth to them you know.”
“Hmmm,” Shouyou contemplates as he glances at Atsumu talking to their trainer Hajime at the bench. He doesn’t notice that Kiyoomi’s grabbed Koutarou to talk to him, privately.
Glancing around, he realizes everyone is too busy to pay attention to him. Poking his tongue out from the corner of his mouth, he brought his hands up to his face, made fox faces with his fingers on each hand by touching his middle and ring fingers to his thumb. Putting his hands together he flipped one hand over so that an index finger was touching the opposite hands pinky. Opening up his middle and ring fingers he created a frame to create a window and looked through it at Atsumu.
He blinked several times, “Eh?” he thought and looked outside the frame and back inside the frame, “Eh????”
Within the frame of his fingers, he saw a fluffy blond tail swaying back and forth joined at Atsumu’s tailbone, and pointy ears atop his blond hair.
In disbelief, he dropped his hands, breaking the frame as his eyes went back to Atsumu. How was that possible? Didn’t that mean? Again, how was that possible?
“Hmm, if Atsumu-san is a youkai...then….is that why he’s a better setter than Kageyama?” he murmured to himself.
“What did you say Boke?”
“Gah! Kageyama! Where the hell did you come from?”
“The locker room.”
“I mean, yeah I guess but, when?”
“Did you hear what I said?”
“Something about someone being a better setter,” Tobio glared spectacularly hard at him.
Shouyou laughed awkwardly, “I mean, ha ha. Well would ya look at the time? I think practice is about to start! Let’s join the rest of the team!”
Tobio rolled his eyes, but moved first to rejoin their teammates. As Shouyou rejoined, a heavy arm draped around his shoulder.
“Sho-kun, you okay? You’re spacing out again.”
“Yes! I’m fine, perfectly fine!”
“You sure? We don’t want ya floating away!”
Shouyou heard several groans come from his teammates,
“What!?” exclaimed Atsumu, “That was a good one!”
“That was outright terrible” reprimanded Kiyoomi.
Shouyou smiled, “I think they’re funny Atsumu-san!”
“Only you find this idiot hilarious,” Kiyoomi replied.
“Omi-kun, harsh!” Atsumu pouted.
Shouyou patted the hand on his shoulder, “There, there Atsumu-san! Don’t mind!”
Atsumu flashed him a smile that made Shouyou warm under the collar, they only broke eye contact when the coach called their attention to go over their training.
During practice Shoyou’s mind drifted, thinking about youkai and foxes, I thought Kitsune’s had multiple tails? Why does Atsumu-san only have one?
Shouyou didn’t hear his name being called, but quickly saw the ball that hit him straight in the face, knocking him down onto his back. The ceiling above him was spinning when he saw a face enter his disoriented vision.
Fox ears? He thought, before shaking his head to re-orient himself.
“You good Sho-kun?” Atsumu asked.
Shouyou blinked several times, there were no fox ears on his head, “Ah sorry. I totally spaced out again!”
Atsumu cocked his head, raising a hand and placing it on Shouyou’s forehead, “Are you feeling okay? You feelin’ sick or somethin’? Yer kinda warm.”
“I’m good! I swear!” He popped up from his position, only to lose balance. Atsumu caught him by the arm.
“No you aren’t. I think I should take ya home. You took a pretty hard hit!”
He was definitely feeling unsteady on his feet, but not because of the hit to the head. Atsumu assisted Shouyou to the bench, while Tobio yelled expletives at him for not paying attention. After talking with Hajime and the coach, Atsumu and Shouyou were excused to head home.
Once home, Atsumu marched Shouyou to the bath and then fed him dinner before sending him to bed.
Atsumu came in and tucked him in snuggly, placing a cold cloth on his head.
“I’m not sick!”
“Don’t wanna take any chances Sho-kun!”
Shouyou pouted making Atsumu chuckle as he ruffled his hair, “Get some rest okay?”
Shortly after he left Shouyou started to feel restless; his mind full of thoughts of Atsumu’s tail and ears. Unable to take it anymore, he kicked ott his covers, and removed the cloth from his forehead and reached for his phone on the bedside table.
Squinting at the bright light of his screen, he pulled up a search engine and typed in “Japanese Kitsune Facts” .
Pages upon pages filled his screen, as he scrolled through possible articles. Finding a somewhat reputable source, because really, anyone can find just about anything on the internet. He clicked on it and started to read the history of Kitsune youkai.
“A-ha!” Shouyou gasped when he read a list of things that fit Atsumu to a tee.
Fear and Hatred of Dogs. Shouyou did notice that his roommate didn’t like dogs in general, often crossing the street when encountering one. He had shrugged it off as a fear of dogs, it’s not uncommon, and Shouyou didn’t find it that alarming.
Fondness of Deep Fried Tofu . Yet another mundane clue that Shouyou had never really given a second thought. Atsumu enjoyed tofu a lot . He was just under the impression that Atsumu was a vegetarian. But the more Shouyou read the more it made sense. Atsumu’s favorites were Kitsune Udon (udon soup with deep fried pieces of tofu) and Inari Sushi. Again, Shouyou just thought it made sense, Atsumu did come from Inarizaki High, and Osamu had an onigiri shop. He often made Inari Sushi for his brother to take home; he thought it was some kind of home comfort food, and well, in that sense, he wasn’t wrong.
Looking up other traits he was more and more convinced that Atsumu was a kitsune: Super Strength , Shouyou wholeheartedly believed that Atsumu was the strongest on the court. He was his favorite setter, because Atsumu gave him what he wanted every single time without fail. Super Speed , Atsumu was Shouyou’s favorite running partner because he was so fast, but now he wondered, how fast was he really?
Last but not least, Shouyou found what he was looking for: Kitsune tails. From the article he read, it appeared that the number of tails they have indicated their age and how powerful they are. They can have up to nine; while Atsumu only had one, a small one at that. And according to a folktale, Kitsune only grow additional tails after they’ve lived 100 years.
Shouyou paused for a second, does that mean Atsumu was a young fox?
As his eyelids slid closed he read one more fact about kitsune’s: they can only take on human forms after reaching a certain age, and that their tails are the most difficult to hide in human form. Sometimes a careless fox will let his tail show. And lastly, now that Shouyou was paying attention, it was possible he could see through Atsumu’s disguise.
Dropping his phone to the bed, he drifted off to sleep, thoughts of a fluffy tail on his mind.
Days had passed since Shouyou figured out Atsumu’s true nature, and he started paying even more close attention to him.
“Sho-kun, you’re staring pretty hard again.”
“Ah! Sorry Atsumu-san!” exclaimed Shouyou as he tore his gaze away from Atsumu’s profile.
“You okay? You’ve been actin’ really weird the last few days.”
“Oh, sorry, have I?” he replied innocently as a blush rose on his cheeks.
The calico cat in his lap meowed again at the lack of attention, causing Shouyou to smile and resume patting him. There was a new guest on their balcony, a black crow, to which the black cat was antagonizing.
Shouyou felt eyes on him. Turning back he tilted his head at Atsumu who had been studying him just as intently as he had been a few minutes ago.
“What’s up?” Shouyou inquired.
“Ah,” Atsumu ran his hand through his hair, “I didn’t wanna interrupt ya, but the boys wanna go out to the bar tonight, grab a few drinks since it's one of our rare weekends off.”
“Oh! That sounds like fun!” he smiled brightly at the prospect.
Atsumu blushed slightly, “Ye-yeah, so yer down to go right Sho-kun?”
“Of course!! It's nice to spend time with everyone outside of the gym! What time should we head out?”
“Couple hours, so we got time to kill. Ya wanna grab dinner before we meet up with them? My treat.”
“Yeah! Let’s do that! Ramen?”
Shouyou laughed, “I should’ve known. Udon it is!”
Dinner with Atsumu was one of his favorite things to do since they became roommates. There’s nothing like a shared meal with the person you like. Atsumu always had him laughing with his stories and his lame jokes.
Atsumu always looked like he was having fun with Shouyou, and what more could Shouyou want. He wanted Atsumu around him, to have fun, be happy. He liked making him happy.
After insisting on paying for their dinner, they hopped onto a train at the nearest station and headed to the bar to meet the rest of their teammates for drinks.
Shouyou took a seat next to Tobio and Atsumu made sure to sit beside him as well. It was kind of funny how much Atsumu looked after him, always getting him drinks, making sure he was hydrated. Their teammates often teased the blond saying he was acting too much like a mother hen. He’d furiously blush saying, “I hate all of ya. I’m just bein’ a good roommate.”
Atsumu started to drink more out of embarrassment; to which Shouyou started to watch his roommate more carefully.
“Atsumu-san,” he’d say, “I think you should slow down a bit.”
“Nah! I’m fine Sho-kun. I need to drink more to keep up with Bo-kun if anything.”
Shouyou’s eyebrows shot in surprise. No one could out-drink Koutarou.
“Hey, you okay? Do you wanna head home now?”
“Ah? Not yeeeett,” he’d whine at Shouyou, who could only keep a watchful eye on his roommate.
A few more rounds and Atsumu was flushed, eyelids half closed, speech slurring.
“Okay, Atsumu-san! I think we need to go home!”
“ Hic -- you going home with me?”
“Fer real?” A dopey smile spread across Atsumu’s face.
“We are roommates.”
The smile faltered a little and Atsumu sighed, almost dejectedly repeating the word, “roommates.”
What on earth? Atsumu-san is acting really odd today , he thought.
“Oi,” Tobio called to Shouyou, “You going to be okay?”
Shouyou looked at his best friend and smiled, “He’s not that bad! I think we’ll be fine!”
Tobio looked at him, Atsumu and then back to him, “Call me if you need help. I’ll come as soon as I can.”
“But you live on the other side of town,” Shouyou interjected.
“Doesn’t matter, just call me.”
“Okay, okay! Get home safe Kageyama!”
Shouyou grabbed Atsumu’s arm and wrapped it around his shoulders while he tried to steady the taller man by holding his waist. It was a slow process getting Atsumu to the train station.
“Hey! Careful Atsumu-san!” Shouyou cried out when Atsumu swayed, making Shouyou lose balance.
With the trains near empty it was easy to get Atsumu to a seat. Shouyou sighed as he plopped beside him, but almost fell over when the tall blond slumped against him, head resting on his shoulder.
I wish I was taller, Shouyou pouted, as he thought how comical it must have looked to have the tall setter resting his head on a much shorter and smaller Shouyou. But his annoyance turned to a bashful smile at how cute Atsumu’s face was smushed against his shoulder. Shouyou reached up and pushed Atsumu’s bangs back, which made the blond smile in response.
Getting them back to the apartment was yet another struggle as Shouyou half-carried Atsumu up the stairs, cheering him on with each step, “You got this! Almost there! Then you can sleep!”
Shouyou dropped him on the couch and sighed heavily when he sunk into the armchair beside it, laughing when he heard Atsumu lightly snoring.
After a few minutes, meowing could be heard at their balcony door. Shouyou hauled himself up and opened the door letting his two frequent visitors into their home. The calico cat rubbed himself against Shouyou’s legs as it purred and circled him. Taking a seat on the floor he let the cat crawl into his lap as he stroked its blond fur.
Shouyou giggled, “You kind of look like Kenma, and your friend here looks like Kuroo-san!”
A light groan has Shouyou turning back to Atsumu as his friend rolls off the couch landing on all fours. Atsumu looks at Shouyou and then at the cat that’s sprawled out on its back, paws spread as his belly is rubbed. Atsumu’s nose crinkles and he looks at Shouyou with pleading eyes before comically crawling across the floor towards Shouyou.
“Head pats,” Atsumu slurs, as he rests his head on Shouyou’s lap, fighting for dominance with the calico cat. The calico lets out a frustrated meow but concedes to the human and curls up beside Shouyou’s leg.
Shouyou starts running his fingers through Atsumu’s hair, a small smile playing on his lips, and Shouyou hears a slight rumble in Atsumu’s chest.
Is he...purring? His fingers halt at the sound getting louder.
Atsumu nuzzles against his hand, “Don’t stop. Feels good.”
Golden eyes seem to glow in the dark as Atsumu tries to open his eyes to meet Shouyou’s.
“Sho-kun’s head pats are the best. I love them. But I love Sho-kun more.”
Atsumu’s hand reaches out to touch Shouyou’s face, his fingers tracing his cheeks gently.
Shouyou sits stunned at the confession watching those lids slide close as he turns on his side with a snore. He feels a draft coming from beside him, and looks to the source. His eyes bug out even more when he sees Atsumu’s fox tail swaying back and forth. Looking back to Atsumu laying in his lap, the ears are now visible, twitching every so often at the slightest sound.
He contemplates touching the ears, curiosity winning out, wanting to know just how soft his fur is. But he feels like he shouldn’t do it without Atsumu knowing first. His mind is racing at all the information that he’s been inundated with.
He wasn’t hallucinating: Atsumu was a youkai, he was a fox! But why, why was a fox his roommate, and teammate. Second, Atsumu just confessed to loving Shouyou. But in what context? Were his feelings reciprocated?! How would this work?? Immortal versus mortal.
Unable to sit there quietly, he nudges Atsumu awake, “Atsumu-san!”
“Atsumu-san! What did you just say!?”
Atsumu startled awake at the sudden jostle and shouted, “Huh!? What?!”
“Atsumu-san! What did you just say! Did, did you just say, you... you love me ?”
Atsumu’s tail started to sway faster as he started to fidget and fluster, “Ah, I—um. Hahhh,” he sighed.
“Atsumu-san,” Shouyou chided gently, placing his hand over his, “I love you too.”
Shouyou giggled when he saw Atsumu’s ears perk up and his tail sticking straight up, “Sho-kun? You love me too?”
A warm smile spread across Shouyou’s face as he nodded, “I do! I’ve had a crush on you for a long time! But—,” he trailed off, “but, how is this going to work?”
“What do you mean?”
Shouyou gestured to his tail and ears, “You’re a kitsune!”
“Oh don’t worry about that! I’ve got that covered! I just need to talk to the elders!”
“The elders? Who are they?”
“Oh, you’ll see! I’ll bring you to them tomorrow!”
Shouyou tilted his head in confusion as he stared at his teammates on the olympic team as well as his sponsor Kozume and Tetsuro. They all seated around in a half circle with Tobio sitting at the top of the arc while Shouyou and Atsumu faced them from the center of the curve.
“Um, why are we having a team meeting?”
“These are the elders!”
Shouyou blinks slowly at Atsumu, who’s grinning broadly as he gestures to the group with his friends, then to their teammates, and back to him. He gawks at them, “Wh—what are you saying Atsumu-san. Those are our teammates! Not…..not...” he trails off.
“Youkai,” replies Wakatoshi.
Shouyou shakes his head in disbelief, “I just...all of you? Youkai? How is the entire team youkai!?”
“Because of you, Boke,” said Tobio flatly.
“Me? Why me?!” he exclaimed.
Atsumu decided to join in, “Sho-kun, every year you made a wish at the shrine near your home right?”
Shouyou nods, “Yeah...but, what does that have to do with anything.”
“Well what did you wish for?” Atsumu prompted him.
“I always wished for…,” his eyes widened in realization, “I always wished to get better! Oh my God. This is why Kageyama would never go with me to the shrines!”
“Oi! What did you say!”
“Well!? It must be the truth! You never went with me! Then…,” he tilted his head at Kozume and Tetsuro, “Oh, if you’re youkai...then…”
“The annoying cats on our balcony.”
“Tsk” Kozume clicks his tongue at that.
“Aww, no wonder they looked like you two! And oh my god, Atsumu-san! You knew! That’s why you were always trying to shoo them away!”
“They were nosy!”
Shouyou starts laughing at that.
“Can we discuss the topic at hand now?” Kiyoomi interjects, “We should get back to practice.”
“Oh right, sorry,” Shouyou replies sheepishly.
“Atsumu-san,” Tobio started, “wants to bring up his previous request; he would like to revert back to his human form, permanently.”
Shouyou’s eyes widened as he looked at Atsumu who only smiled back saying, “I wasn’t...meant to be by your side for very long, but I found myself tethered to you, and falling in love with you. I had made my intentions clear—”
“But he is our youngest and most foolish,” Kiyoomi interjects again.
“You were denied because you are a Youkai, and Shouyou is a human,” chimed in Wakatoshi.
“We did give Atsumu-san a condition,” spoke Kozume with Kuroo nodding in agreement.
“What was the condition?” Shouyou asked.
“That it not be unrequited,” Atsumu explained, “They feared that I would waste my life if it was an unrequited love.”
“Oh,” Shouyou blushed, “And now…?”
“Shouyou Hinata,” Waktoshi called his attention, “You must convince us as to why we should let our Kitsune become human once more.”
Shouyou’s stomach filled with butterflies at the request, his eyes flitting around the room at his teammates that waited with rapt attention. Atsumu’s hand reached for Shouyou’s and squeezed him, the warmth spreading through him, a gentle reminder of why he loved Atsumu so much.
“Ah, while all of you have helped me become the player I always dreamed to be, no one has been more supportive than Atsumu-san.” Shouyou pauses to smile at Atsumu, “You’ve all pushed me in the best of ways, but Atsumu-san is different. He saw my worth from the beginning, I didn’t have to beg or annoy him to toss to me.
On top of that he’s kind, and looks out for me. He’s so much fun to be with, he makes me laugh. And, even when I don’t need it: he takes care of me, and—and I love him for it. I love his gentleness and warmth. I love that he’s the first person I see in the morning and the last person I say good night to. Atsumu-san is more than the best setter, the best cook, and the best friend I could have ever asked for. It’s the light touches, the small hints of affection that I crave so much more of. I love Atsumu, I love him a lot, and I would love to spend the rest of my life with him.”
Shouyou exhales deeply, and looks at Atsumu who has tears in the corner of his eyes. The silence is deafening as all their teammates share looks with one another before they lean in and start to whisper amongst themselves. Some of them raise their voices, which worries Shouyou a little bit. Would they deny him even with his heartfelt confession?
When they disband, it’s Tobio that speaks for the team, “As the eldest of the youkai, and the one that’s been by your side the longest. I and the rest of the team have decided to grant Atsumu-san’s wish. Hinata, I’ve known you the longest here, and I know your feelings are true. I’ve never seen you happier than by his side, and I’ve never seen Atsumu-san care for anyone the way he cares for you. I believe that you two were made for the other, and therefore, Atsumu-san, we grant you your wish. When you wake up tomorrow, you’ll be a human once more.”
Koutarou whoops and hollers, “Hey hey hey! Of course we weren’t going to keep you apart! We all know how crazy you two are about each other! Besides, I was the one that pushed you to get the ball rolling,” he winks.
Shouyou laughs, “Thank you Bokuto-san!”
“Congratulations. Now, can we please get to practice?” Kiyoomi says as he stands up.
The rest of the team follow suit, congratulating the new couple as they leave the locker room.
Kozume and Tetsuro are the last to leave them, with the latter saying, “See you at home lovebirds!”
The two head out to practice, more in sync than ever now that their hearts were aligned.
The walk home together is full of laughter and smiles as they walk hand in hand.
As they settle into the couch for the evening, Shouyou opens the balcony door letting the two familiar cats in, “Hi Kenma and Kuroo-san!” the cats purr as they rub against his legs.
“Sho-kun!” Atsumu called to him as he got to the couch with a blanket. Shouyou follows suit and crawls under the blanket cuddled up with Atsumu as they share more innocent kisses.
“Are ya happy?”
“Never been happier,” Shouyou says as he kisses Atsumu back deeply as he wraps his arms around Atsumu’s middle and snuggles into him.
Shouyou Hinata had always thought he’d been blessed with his friends and family. Never had he thought he’d literally be blessed with the presence of youkai that would help him achieve such great heights. And never did he expect all his prayers to be answered; especially the one that was now in his arms. A small smile lifts the corner of his lip as he squeezes Atsumu tightly, remembering the last wish he made at the shrine: I wish for true love; I wish for Atsumu to love me back, unknowing that his wish was already more than halfway granted.