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Stick With You

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They shouldn’t have left Japan.

The world had already been restless, what with the news of a highly contagious virus slowly leaking out of Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. It was a newly discovered strain of the coronavirus, which was from the same family of viruses that caused deadly respiratory illnesses like SARS and MERS.

It’s been putting him on edge. But he and the rest of the MSBY Black Jackals were preoccupied with the last leg of the V. League season, so they really didn’t have time to dwell on it. They emerged victorious, stealing the crown from the defending champions and their rivals, the Schweiden Adlers. And so, high on their victory, they boarded the plane to a popular island in the Philippines called Palawan.

The thing is, the trip had been booked and paid for months ago, when the team made plans to hold a five-day “post-season team building exercise” there. It was a thinly veiled excuse to travel and get drunk and mess around, far away from the watchful eyes of their coaches and managers. But they approved it, and the whole team agreed to go, even him. He didn’t want to be a spoilsport.

Besides, he was new in the team, along with Hinata Shouyou. He supposed he wanted to get to know them better — Hinata already managed to be friends with everyone in the seven months he’d been part of the team. Kiyoomi was ahead of him by two months, and he wouldn’t exactly say they were friends.

Not that he cared. This was how it’s always been for him.

So here they were, in a coastal town called El Nido, being told by hotel management that most of the country was going on lockdown, and that they were advised to return home before it was implemented.

“Oh, bummer,” said their ace, Bokuto Koutarou. “Our trip is cut short.”

“Health and safety first,” Hinata said.

“Alright, this is what we’re gonna do,” said their team captain Meian Shuugo. “Everyone pack up your things. I’ll give Foster an update and call our airline to see what we could do about a flight back home.”

“What about the bus?” their setter, Miya Atsumu asked.

Meian rubbed his forehead. “Right. I’ll ask the reception about the schedule. Get going.”

He and Hinata made quick work of packing their things and cleaning their room. Hinata had been an okay roommate — he was chatty but he knew how to clean up after himself and he’d long since learned to respect Kiyoomi’s space. He didn’t even mind sharing a double bed with the shorter man, because he slept like a rock, firmly on the opposite side.

“Sad about the vacation, huh?” Hinata said, sitting on his side of the bed. “This place is so dreamy. I wanna go back! Three days isn’t enough to explore! Even if we managed to stay for the whole five days, I don’t think it would have been enough either.”

“Hmm.” Truthfully, he was ready to go back home to Osaka. He had never been a fan of the outdoors, and he’d already had his fill of sand and salty water and scalding heat. He wanted to curl up under his covers and rest and hide from the spreading virus. He was honest to God terrified of it — he was already hung up on something as simple as a cold, so a potentially deadly disease that had just been declared a pandemic was straight out of his nightmares.

“This timing is crap,” Hinata sighed. “Imagine, a pandemic? Who saw that coming?”

“It’s been on the news,” he pointed out.

“Yeah, but…” Hinata trailed off.

He did understand. When was the last time there was a pandemic? The Spanish Flu? He’d heard about epidemics like ebola and zika but those weren’t exactly a threat to them. They didn’t cause countries to shut borders like this. When was the last time nations and cities across the globe imposed lockdowns? Just last week the World Health Organization was saying travel must continue for the sake economies, and now they’re declaring a pandemic? It felt like everything just spiraled out of control too fast. No one could possibly have seen this coming.

Just then, the phone in their room rang. He stood up. “I’ll get it.” He picked up the phone. “Hello?”

“Sakusa-kun.” It was Meian. “Tomorrow, we’ll catch the 7 a.m. bus to Puerto Princesa, and then a 2 p.m. flight to Manila, and then a 5:30 p.m. flight back to Osaka. The schedule’s a bit too cramped, but that’s the best we could do. The lockdown will be in effect the day after.”

He internally cringed. Right. How could he have forgotten the hell they’d had to go through just to get here? And they had to do it all again. “Okay,” he simply said.

He told Hinata the plan after he hung up. And then, since it was only 6 p.m., the team decided to make the most out of their stay and have one last night out.

It was a mistake.

The night got too rowdy and all of them got caught up in the whirlwind that was Bokuto, Hinata, and Atsumu combined. Not even Meian could deny them when they were forcing him to take shots. The sense of urgency hasn’t quite sunk in yet — the bars were still filled with people who probably had the same idea as them, wanting to squeeze in one last night of fun before the world came to a standstill. As far as he knew, there were about three confirmed cases of COVID-19 — that’s what they were calling it now — in the Philippines, all of them Chinese tourists confined and quarantined in the capital. They were drunk on an isolated island — at that moment, it all seemed far away.

The night flew by in a drunken haze. He vaguely remembered stumbling into his hotel room and straight into bed, feeling like he’d actually had fun, but also wondering why he let Atsumu shove those shots down his throat. He’ll make him pay for it tomorrow.

At some point, he distantly heard the phone ring. Someone picked it up and a deep voice answered, and that was all he registered before falling back asleep.

He was roused again by a hand shaking his shoulder. “Omi-san! Let’s go to the beach one last time to take pictures! It’s sunrise soon.”

He groaned and batted Hinata’s hand away. “What time is it,” he croaked out.

“Like 6 a.m.?”

“No. Go ahead.”

“Okay, then!” His footsteps receded and he could hear him trying to wake the body beside him on the bed. “Atsumu-san!” Atsumu?

There was some muttering, then Hinata left, saying, “Alright, see you two at the bus later! Remember what Inunaki-san said!”

His eyes closed in time with the sound of the door clicking shut.

He was fully jarred into consciousness when not one, but two cellphones rang.

He blinked groggily and sat up with a pained grunt, patting bed sheets to look for his. When his hand landed on a familiar shape, he picked it up and swiped to answer the call. It was their libero, Inunaki Shion.

“What?”

“What do you mean what?” Inunaki snapped. “Where the hell are you two?”

“Huh?”

“Sakusa,” Inunaki said slowly. “We are all waiting for you on the bus. It’s leaving in 10 minutes, what the hell, we called your room over an hour ago! Atsumu answered and said some shit I didn’t understand, but I figured he was awake.”

He craned his head to the side to see Atsumu very much not awake. His phone was still ringing insistently somewhere.

“Why didn’t you come get us?” he said, starting to panic now. He kicked at Atsumu until his eyes fluttered open. “Miya, get up, we’re gonna get left behind.” Then he stumbled off the bed, heading straight to the bathroom.

“Meian and I had to get to the bus stop early to make sure we all have tickets,” Inunaki said, sounding aggravated. “We called everyone and said to meet here, for the love of god, it’s only fifteen minutes away from our hotel. Get your shit together and run over here, I’m not sure if they’ll wait. Hurry.”

“We’re going,” he said, then hung up.

He powered through the basic necessities — he peed, he splashed water on his face, he rinsed his mouth. Then he hurried out, finding that Atsumu had gone, hopefully to his own room. He gathered his things, which were thankfully still packed neatly, then hurried to the lobby, not bothering to change clothes. He was still wearing the rumpled outfit he wore last night.

He tapped his foot impatiently, looking around for Atsumu, relieved and annoyed when the idiot hurried over to him.

“Shit, shit, shit,” Atsumu chanted. “The hell happened last night?”

“We’ll figure it out later, we have to go now.”

“Shit, we have to check out, shit. I’ll do it.” He grabbed Kiyoomi’s key card from his hand and strode over to the counter.

And then his phone rang again. “Inunaki?” he answered.

“Dude, the bus is leaving in a minute, please tell me you’re near.”

“Uh.” Dread swirled in his stomach. “We’re still at the hotel.”

“You’re what?” Inunaki shrieked.

“What is it, what’s happening?” The deep voice of their giant hitter, Oliver Barnes, floated down the line. “Where are they?”

“They’re still at the hotel!”

“They’re what?” That was their middle blocker, Adriah Thomas.

Kiyoomi’s mind was already racing, trying to figure out a solution. He hurried over to the counter Atsumu was in. In English, he said, “Hello, what time is the next bus to Puerto Princesa?”

“There’s one every hour.” The lady behind the counter smiled and he relaxed. “So, 8 a.m.”

He put the phone back to his ear, interrupting the panicked arguments on the other side of the line. “Inunaki. There’s another bus in an hour. We’ll just catch that, go ahead.”

“What? Wait, talk to Meian.”

“Sakusa-kun,” Meian’s severe voice said. “Tell me you have a solution.”

“There’s an 8 a.m. bus to Puerto Princesa,” he said again. “We’ll just take that one. It’s cutting it too close, but we can still make the flight back to Manila. 2 p.m., right?”

Meian sighed. “Right. Are you sure? We can wait for you, we’ll just catch the next bus too — uh.”

There was a pause that allowed Kiyoomi to figure out that the bus had started moving.

“Wait,” Meian called out. “Can we still — we need to get off the bus.”

“Meian, it’s fine,” he interrupted. “You go ahead. We’ll get there eventually, just wait for us at the airport.”

“Alright. Make sure you make it, Sakusa-kun.”

“Yeah, yeah.” He hung up and exchanged stares with Atsumu. “They left. We need to get on the 8 a.m. bus.”

Atsumu groaned and smacked a hand on his face. “Wonderful.”

He glanced at the key cards still in Atsumu’s hand. “If we have some time, I’m gonna go shower. Let’s meet back here in 20.”

The lady seemed to have picked up the fact that there was something wrong. She cleared her throat. “Um, may I help you? If you need to go to Puerto Princesa, our hotel also provides van service going there. Next one is at 8 a.m. So no need for bus.”

He frowned, considering. He didn’t really want to suffer through a bumpy ride in a crowded bus again. A van service sounded nice. He glanced at Atsumu, who shrugged. “Sounds like less of a hassle that way,” he said. Atsumu looked at the lady and said, “Can we be dropped off at the airport?”

She nodded eagerly. “Yes, direct transfer.”

Great. We’ll take it. 8 a.m.?”

“8 a.m.,” she agreed. “That’s 1,000 pesos each.”

They paid and returned to their respective rooms. Kiyoomi took a shower, trying to quell the anxiety. It was going to be fine. If they left at 8 a.m. on the dot, then they can be at the airport by past 1 p.m. The local airport was very small, from what he’d seen last time, so they can easily navigate it and make their 2 p.m. flight back to the capital.

By the time he finished his bath, he was feeling much better.

But of course everything just had to go wrong in a truly amazing case of Murphy’s Law. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and all that. And it did.

It was just him, Atsumu, and an American couple in the van and the ride was extremely nauseating. The driver sped through the winding mountain roads and Kiyoomi found himself gripping the seats for purchase as his body was forcefully rocked from side to side.

“Jeez, is this a rollercoaster ride or what,” Atsumu muttered from where he was seated an arm’s length away from Kiyoomi. They were at the very back of the van, ignoring each other for the most part. They never really got along. In fact, Kiyoomi would go so far as to say they disliked each other. Immensely.

“Is it going to be like this for five hours?” he asked, blanching at the thought.

“Looks like it,” Atsumu said flippantly. He sat back and stretched his legs. “I’m gonna take a nap.”

A nap would make time pass by faster, he thought. He settled down as best as he could and it didn’t take much time at all before he was asleep. He was still exhausted from the night before, he didn’t even know how many hours of sleep he had managed.

He was once again dragged into wakefulness by a phone call. Jerking awake, he picked it up. “Meian?”

“Where are you?” Meian said, sounding worried. “We’re here at the airport already. The flight’s in an hour.”

His stomach clenched with sudden panic as he realized they weren’t moving. He looked around — the driver wasn’t in his seat, the van door was open, and Atsumu was still sleeping. He gripped his shoulder and shook it, hard. Atsumu woke up crankily, scowling and looking around with a narrow-eyed stare.

“Excuse me,” Kiyoomi said, trying to catch the attention of the couple they were with. “Could you tell us what's happening?”

“We’re only halfway through,” the woman informed them. “The van broke down a couple hours ago.”

Increasingly alarmed, he checked the time on his phone: 12:50 p.m. He was awash with a fresh wave of anxiety as he realized, ‘We’re not gonna make it.’

His phone was taken from his slack grip. In a surprisingly calm voice, Atsumu spoke. “Meian, we’re not going to make it. Our van broke down, we’re nowhere near.” Pause. “No, calm down. We can’t do anything about it now.” Pause. “Okay, we appreciate that. Let us know. But Meian — get on the plane. I’m serious. If the country’s imposing a travel ban tomorrow then there’s no point if we all got stuck here.” Pause. “Yes, yes. Of course, we’ll keep trying to find a way. Okay. Bye.”

Atsumu hung up then rested his face on his hand, groaning. “What the fuck. What the fuck. I’ve got to be dreaming or some shit. This can’t be happening.”

“What did Meian say?” he demanded.

“He said they’ll try to see if there was another flight back to Manila. And then...if there’s another flight back to Osaka.”

They exchanged loaded glances, not needing to acknowledge the low chances of that. When they were booking flights to Manila from Osaka there were only three a day, and two of them were in the morning. Not to mention the fact that tourists were all rushing home — it was going to be a battle trying to get on a flight now.

“Yo, Omi-kun,” Atsumu suddenly said. “You gotta breathe.”

He tried to do what he asked but he was finding it hard what with the sudden tightness of his chest. He just wanted to go home. Everything was going wrong.

“Hey,” Atsumu said in a surprisingly gentle voice. “Hey, it’s not so bad. If we do get stuck, at least it’s in paradise, right? The season’s over, we have no obligations waiting for us back home, so just think of it as extending our vacation, yeah? El Nido’s really nice. The lockdown probably won’t take long, and there are agencies that could help us, probably…”

It took a while, but the panic attack eventually subsided. Once it did, he was thinking much clearer.

There was nothing to do about it now. He wasn’t the only one inconvenienced, he thought, glancing at the couple who were talking in low voices. And there were probably thousands who were getting stranded in foreign countries, just like them.

Sometimes, shit happens. Atsumu was right, at least they were in paradise.

As the driver tried to figure out what was wrong with the engine and Atsumu tapped on his phone with a frown, Kiyoomi tried to make peace with the probability that he will be stuck here for an indefinite amount of time.

When the call came, he took a deep breath and told Atsumu to put it on loud speaker.

“So,” Meian’s voice blared through the speakers. “It doesn’t look like there’ll be other flights. I’m sending the rest home, but I’ll go back —”

“No,” he interrupted. “Go home, Meian.”

“But —”

“We appreciate it,” Atsumu said. “But seriously, this is kind of our fault.” Guilt edged into Atsumu’s voice. “Sorry, Cap. We’ll be fine, we’ll just return to the resort, this is their van anyway. Doesn’t look like it will be fixed soon.”

“But —”

“We’ll be fine,” Kiyoomi repeated. “Extended vacation or whatever.” He wasn’t totally convinced, but what choice did he have but to accept it?

“Get on the plane, Meian,” Atsumu said.

Meian sighed. “I’ll call every day,” he said morosely. “We all will. Maybe we can send care packages...”

That made Atsumu snort. “Sure. Don’t worry, Omi-Omi and I will have fun here. We’ll totally have the time of our lives! Right, Omi-kun?”

Atsumu glanced at him, an eyebrow raised, and he rolled his eyes. He said, drily, “Sure.”

Stuck on an island with Miya Atsumu. It shouldn’t be too bad, right?

Chapter Text

“You stay on that side,” he gestured. “And I stay on this side. In no circumstance will you ever stray to my side. Got that?”

Atsumu rolled his eyes and didn’t bother answering, busy tapping on his phone, probably updating his Instagram Stories.

Miya,” he snapped.

“I got it, alright? Jeez, Omi-Omi, loosen up, will ya? Why the hell would I wanna cross over to your side? I mean, no thanks.”

He glared at him and wished, not for the first time, that looks could kill. Then he huffed and turned over on the bed, presenting his back to his idiot teammate, giving a clear message: Leave me alone, don’t bother me.

He had stuffed a couple pillows in between them to ensure there wouldn’t be even the slightest accidental touch. Immature, maybe, but he wasn’t exactly in the best mood.

They had stayed for hours on the side of the road, until they were sweaty and suffocating in the stuffy vehicle. Another van from the hotel had to come pick them up and bring them back because there was no point in trying to leave anymore. The American couple didn’t seem bothered, seemingly too exhausted to get upset. They had returned to the hotel to a stream of apologies from the manager, who, after some negotiations, agreed to honor their previous payment for the nights they had cancelled earlier. He also agreed to let them book a room for the same rate they got it all those months ago, when it was on sale. It was roughly ₱1,600 or ¥3,500 a night. Not the cheapest for a potentially long-term stay, but definitely affordable.

He had wanted his own room but Atsumu said, “Are you serious, we don’t know how long we’ll be here, it would be cheaper if we just share. The place is large anyway, we’ll have a cottage for ourselves.”

Begrudgingly, he agreed. So here they were, sharing the same damn bed, because that was all the hotel had to offer, unless they rented an extra mattress to be set up on the floor. Neither of them wanted to bend, so until one of them snapped, the pillow border will have to do.

He had a feeling it wouldn’t be much help. He and Atsumu were never put in the same hotel room together, not for a single out-of-town event or game. The rest of the team and even their coach, Samson Foster, had wordlessly agreed on this, not eager to see what would happen should one or both of them snap.

He and Atusmu worked together well enough on the court, but off it, it was always a low-key war. Call it leftover rivalry from their high school days — he could still remember their senior year when they were both captains glaring at each other through the net — but they’ve been competitive from the very first day, always trying to one-up each other, always grating on each other’s nerves. He kind of hated that he won against Atsumu in their last match against each other, but Atsumu had leagues of experiences over him in professional volleyball. He’s been a pro for four years, while Kiyoomi was getting a degree and playing college volleyball during that time. He felt like he had a lot to catch up on, and it irritated him.

Atsumu was also generally very insufferable. He was vain and obnoxious and loud, taking up such a big space wherever he went that he was difficult to ignore. He was always either mouthing off with that smirk or charming people with that smile and Kiyoomi was always fighting the desire to roll his eyes at him. He was such a fake. The fact that he was actually a damn good volleyball player made it worse. The fact that he had tons of screaming fangirls made it unbearable. He was one of the best out there, and handsome to boot —  he knew it and he made sure everyone knew it, too.

Especially Kiyoomi, who got increasingly annoyed with every smug grin, every playful wink thrown at him every time Atsumu got a service ace. ‘Look at me, I'm winning,’ he always seemed to goad, and Kiyoomi wanted to punch him.

Stupid Miya Atsumu. Of all people to be stuck on an island with, it just had to be him.

--

He loomed over Atsumu’s sleeping form, letting his damp hair drip water on his face. Atsumu blinked his eyes open, wincing at the cold drops landing on his cheek. “The fuck, Omi.”

“Okay, this is how it’s going to go,” he began and Atsumu groaned and tried to turn away. “Miya. Every day, I shower first. If you, at any point in the day, must use the bathroom, you clean your mess. And then we have to shower again before sleeping. I can’t stand dirty bed sheets. And if you ever try to use my towel, I’ll kill you.”

“It’s too early for this,” Atsumu said, his voice muffled against a pillow.

“And stop hogging the damn blanket.”

“We can ask for extras.”

“I have a pack of face masks and a bottle of alcohol and some disinfectant wipes, but those won’t last for long. We’ll have to be careful with our supplies and we’ll have to go out to buy more. But other than that, let’s avoid going out in the first place. I don’t know how that will work anyway.”

Atsumu finally sat up, rubbing his eyes. “I know a bit.” He yawned and patted his face. “So while you were grumpily sleeping, I was updating myself with the news.” He gave Kiyoomi a look, as if to say, ‘See, I’m doing more than you.’

He continued, “I followed the local media outlets and all — it’s kinda hard when they’re talking in their native language but a lot of the posts and articles are in English...anyway, the lockdown took effect at midnight last night. They suspended mass transportation, imposed curfews, and banned major establishments from opening, like malls and stuff. We can’t just go out, we’d need a quarantine pass thing. And they’re only giving like, one pass per family.”

“And where will we get the quarantine pass?”

“Uh...I dunno.”

“What about when we need stuff, where will we buy?”

“I think some markets will be open? We’ll have to ask the hotel staff, they’re probably more updated on local regulations.”

“What about —”

“Do I look like I’m an endless fountain of information, Omi,” Atsumu asked, exasperated. “That’s as much as I could gather alright, we’ll have to figure it out as we go.”

He stared at Atsumu, unyielding.

Atsumu rolled his eyes. “Fine, I’ll go out and chat up the receptionist. But I’ll shower first.”

“You have to wipe the walls and the floors after.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“I’m serious. If you leave a mess —”

“I said yes, Omi. Jeez. If this is what it’s like being your roommate, then I’m glad I managed to avoid it the past year. But damn, is karma a bitch.”

“You should stop talking and go brush your teeth, I could smell your gross breath from here.”

“Have I ever told you that I hate you? 'Cause I hate you.”

“I hate you, too. Get moving.”

--

After his shower, Atsumu walked out the door with a parting comment about getting breakfast somewhere, ‘and no, I won’t get you any, bye.’

Kiyoomi sat on his side of the bed and seethed. He wasn’t hungry yet anyway, and he can find his own food. Plus, the hotel offers room service, so where did Atsumu get off making a threat like that? Weak.

He contented himself with doing his own research on his home for the foreseeable future. The air conditioner was on full blast so he was cozy and comfortable, but he knew it was hot outside. After searching online for a bit — thank God the hotel had free wifi — he learned that they were wrong in saying it was summer in the Philippines. There was no such thing here — they had visited at the start of the “hot dry” season which will last until May, so it will be an inferno until then. After that it was straight to rainy season.

He groaned internally. The impending days were starting to sound worse and worse. It was spring in Japan; he’d do anything to be back there now.

He did some more Googling. Apparently, his info was outdated — suspected COVID-19 cases have been starting to pop up across the country, which was why the lockdown was imposed in the first place. He tensed at this, and started reading up on what was known about the disease so far. It was highly contagious, transmitted via droplets, which was why it was advised that people wear masks. Symptoms were mostly flu-like, along with the loss of the sense of taste and smell.

Oh, and people die from it. Seniors and those with existing medical conditions were especially vulnerable.

He curled up in bed and waited for Atsumu to return. He ended up waiting for over an hour.

When the door finally opened, he sat up and demanded, “Where have you been?”

Atsumu hefted plastic bags of stuff. “Supply run,” he said in a tone implying that Kiyoomi was stupid. He let the door swing shut behind him.

"Did you go to town?"

"Yup," Atsumu said, popping the 'p.' This displeased Kiyoomi.

“Have you lost your sense of taste and smell?” he wanted to know.

“Huh? No.” Atsumu walked over to the desk pushed up against the wall and placed the bags there. “There weren’t any masks in the store, but there were alcohol sprays so I got a couple. And some more wipes and shit. And some food and snacks and drinks so we won’t die. Some toiletries...what else...some meds, in case.”

Well, he seemed to have thought of everything. Kiyoomi refused to thank him. “What did the receptionist say?”

Atsumu started pulling out his purchases. “Well, there’s no local transmission in this town yet, and they’re closing borders before such a thing could happen. We get a quarantine pass each, they’ll hand out applications for it at some point in the next few days — they’re waiting for uh — what’s the word — barangay? They’re waiting for barangay officials to hand them the papers. Apparently, there are about seven guests in this hotel right now, including the two of us.”

“Huh.” Not everyone made it out, then.

“They ask that we report if we exhibit any symptoms. Uhh, markets are open. Also convenience stores and pharmacy stores. We can go around using the — the — tricycles. And the hotel owner is anticipating business to crash, so they’re shutting down parts of their facilities and cutting costs where they could. They’re gonna start operating on a skeletal workforce. But they’re still gonna be taking care of us guests.”

“Well, I should hope so.”

Atsumu gave him a look. “They won’t close, but we won’t be living the life or some shit. Though we can actually swim on the beach front because that’s part of hotel property; we can’t stray further than that. We can even use the pool. But like, at your own risk.”

Kiyoomi shrugged. That wasn’t part of his priorities.

“Oh, and there’s Netflix. And a gym. And they said to call the front desk if we need anything, but they hope to see us out there so we can all be friends.”

“They are friendly, aren’t they,” he noted.

“Yeah. Very nice people. I’m just relieved they seem fluent in English. Probably more than us, actually...or at least the people in the hotel anyway.”

“They’re trained for it,” he pointed out.

Atsumu took out a paper bag. “I got you food even though you don’t deserve it. C’mon, let’s eat in the dining area.”

“Where else would we eat? Were you planning on making a mess here?”

“Can you just — not —” Atsumu sighed and gave up on the conversation.

They ate breakfast in miserable silence.

It was going to be a long day.

Chapter Text

He gritted his teeth as Atsumu and his twin Osamu laughed like hyenas while having their daily video call. Atsumu had just come from the gym and hadn’t bothered to take a shower; he was currently lounging on a chair, dripping sweat on the floor. The sight incensed Kiyoomi, and made him question why he had to share a room with the most disgusting person on the planet. Why couldn’t he have bathed first?

When he couldn’t stand it any longer, he interrupted, “Miya, can you shower first? You’re dirtying everything.”

Atsumu paused in the middle of telling Osamu about the hotel’s facilities, and glanced at Kiyoomi with a raised eyebrow. “Seriously? Can’t you see I’m talking to my brother?”

“As if I could miss it with the way you’re donkeying around. You’re dripping sweat on the floor. It’s gross.”

“Then I’ll clean it later,” Atsumu dismissed.

“No, you won’t.”

“I will.”

“You won’t. The other day you said you’ll wipe the bathroom floor but you didn’t. You haven’t been doing it at all.”

“It was just once or twice —”

“No,” he snapped, getting angry now. “It wasn’t.”

“Why do you have to be such a fucking —”

“Atsumu,” Osamu’s voice cut in. “Go take a shower. We’ll talk again later.”

Atsumu frowned down at his phone. “But —”

“Bye, see ya later.” And then it seemed like Osamu cut the call.

Atsumu sent Kiyoomi a stormy glance. “You know, if you just let the hotel staff clean the room, this wouldn’t be a problem.”

“If you’d just clean up after yourself, the hotel staff wouldn’t be needed.”

“But they’re right fucking there. It’s free service. What is wrong with you?”

“It’s not safe.”

“Not safe? Not safe?” Atsumu seemed to be building himself up for a rant.

“I don’t know where they’ve been,” Kiyoomi snapped, cutting him off. “What if they bring the virus in? This place wouldn’t be clean if they end up leaving their germs around, anyway.”

Atsumu was giving him that look again, the one filled with so much disdain and irritation and superiority. “Right. So I have to clean, while you just lie down there in bed all day. I’m already the one doing supply runs and talking to the staff for updates, and you have to rag on me about this, too? What exactly is your contribution here, huh?”

Kiyoomi flushed in anger. “I —”

“Oh don’t bother,” Atsumu bit out, getting to his feet. “No, don’t bother yourself about it, or anything at all, ever. Just lay there like a lazy ass and run your mouth, that’s all you’re good at.”

Then he stomped over to the bathroom, slamming the door closed.

Kiyoomi stared at the door hatefully. It’s only been four days of this. The initial lockdown was set to last a month, but he suspected that it was just going to keep going.

They were not surviving this with minds and limbs intact.

After several tense minutes, Atsumu came out of the bathroom in just a towel, dripping water on the floor as he rummaged around for clothes. Kiyoomi clenched his teeth and bit down on his tongue at the sight of tiny puddles forming on the tiles.

Once he was dressed, Atsumu headed straight to the door.

“Where are you going?” Kiyoomi asked, anxiety spiking. “We’re supposed to stay in. In case you forgot, there’s a pandemic out there.”

Atsumu didn’t bother answering. The door shut with a firm bang.

I hate him, he thought. I really, really hate him.

Sighing, he dragged himself up to a sitting position, wincing at the tug on his joints. So he’d been resting a lot, what’s it to Atsumu? Did he think it was easy for him, being locked in here like this, his daily routines disrupted indefinitely? Did Atsumu have to be a jerk about everything?

He made his way to the bathroom and got dizzy with fury at the sight that greeted him: wet floors, wet walls, dirty clothes strewn everywhere, even what looked like used boxers. He glanced at the sink and saw red when he spotted bits of toothpaste on the surface.

He had his answer. Yes, Atsumu did have to be an utter jerk about everything.

He shut his eyes and counted to ten, breathing in and out deeply the way his therapist taught him when he was younger. Once he more or less had a grip on himself, he went over to the drawer beneath the sink that contained cleaning materials. His trembling fingers slipped off the handle thrice before he managed to drag it open.

And then, heart heavy with resentment, he cleaned.

--

Atsumu returned just as he’d moved on to mopping the floor of their room. He had requested for a mop and a broom and a dustpan to be delivered to them, and the receptionist sounded alarmed. A housekeeping staff member showed up ready to clean, but he just took her things and sent her away. She left, baffled, and she was probably currently gossiping about the weird Japanese man in Cottage 3.

“Finally off your ass, I see,” Atsumu snarked.

He ignored him.

“Cold shoulder again?” Atsumu scoffed and turned away. “Whatever, I’m getting some snacks.”

Atsumu ate chips on the dining table and made sure to scatter crumbs all over it.

Kiyoomi ignored him. He was zen. He was in his happy place, where Miya Atsumu didn’t exist.

--

“Get me out of here,” he told his phone two days later.

Meian’s forehead pinched. “Oh god, I was right to be worried. Is he dead? Did you kill him?”

He could hear Inunaki cackling in the background. He said, darkly, “Not yet, but soon.”

Bokuto pushed his way into the frame, gold eyes wide with worry. “Please don’t kill Tsum-Tsum. He’s trying his best, I know it!”

“He isn’t. He left the bathroom all dirty on purpose. I told him to clean his mess!”

Inunaki took the phone. “That is exactly the kind of thing he’d do. He’s a little shit isn’t he? You know what we do with shit? We fling it into the ocean. I support your decisions, Sakusa.”

He heard Hinata’s voice say, “That’s not what we do with shit…”

Meian retrieved the phone. “Look, Sakusa, I know you two don’t get along, but you’ll have to be patient a while longer. We don’t know how long the lockdown is going to be, but we’ll try to book flights, okay? Have you been doing your daily check-in with Foster?”

“Yes.”

“Good, good. Please don’t kill each other. Where’s Atsumu, anyway? We need to talk to him, too.”

“I don’t know,” he said distastefully. “Out, somewhere. He’ll probably catch the virus and end up killing us both.”

Meian sighed. “I’ll talk to him.”

“Are you all still stuck together in the sharehouse?” he asked.

“Unfortunately. We’re self-isolating. Uh, together. No one’s allowed to go out until the two weeks have passed.” In a lower voice, Meian said, “They’re driving me crazy.”

Kiyoomi snorted. “I’m sure.” It’s only been six days.

“The lockdown is pretty extreme there, though, isn’t it? Everything’s pretty much normal here, people can still go out, though classes and mass gatherings are banned.”

“It is,” he agreed. “The government’s pretty strict, but I’m not sure how well they’re implementing it. I haven’t gone out.”

“That’s good. Try to keep Atsumu on a leash, will you?”

“You can’t control stupidity.”

Meian groaned. “Can you two just — god, this is the worst thing, of all people, it had to be the two of you…”

“Let them kill each other!” Inunaki’s voice called out.

“We are avoiding that, actually,” Meian called back. Then he sighed again. “I’ll talk to Atsumu.”

“Bye.”

He felt a bit better after the call, finding that it was nice to hear other voices other than Atsumu’s. He sent another check-in message to his family, then called his cousin, Komori Motoya, instead of messaging him on Line.

“What did he do now?” Komori asked in lieu for a greeting.

“You wouldn’t believe how shitty he is, a while ago he...”

Chapter Text

He worked up the courage to leave their cottage after an entire week, when the paranoia eased a little. The first thing that greeted him when he stepped out the door was an impressive garden. Their resort had a jungle-like setting, the interiors decorated with wooden finishes. The sun was unforgiving, but the trees made everything feel cooler, and the air was fresh with a hint of salt. He hadn’t been able to appreciate it before, because his rowdy teammates had packed their schedules so that they only came here to sleep, but now he was pleased that they booked a nice place.

He made his way down the cobblestone steps, wandering around aimlessly, eventually making his way to the pool area. There was no one around and the silence was peaceful. The edge of the pool gave a view of the beach down below and he walked closer.

A breeze swept past his face and he gazed at the sea in appreciation. It was truly beautiful here. From where he was standing, he could see the gentle crash of waves on fine white sand and the islands that seemed so near, even though he knew it would take a half-hour boat ride to get to them. From what he could recall, he and the team had managed to visit three lagoons, an island, and a beach. They had planned to roam the town and do activities like zip lining and scuba diving before the lockdown took effect, and he was rather relieved they never got to that part. He wasn’t much for extreme activities. He wasn’t much for nature and the outdoors, period. He literally had thin skin — he was still nursing bruises from and shallow cuts from their recent adventures. And he was wary of getting injured further.

He pulled his face down mask to breathe in the air, then put it back up. Then he turned his back on the view and navigated his way to the lobby. Once there, he approached the receptionist to ask her if they had mats he could borrow for exercise.

He burned to admit it, but Atsumu was right — he’d been lazy. Well, he’d been anxious, and paranoid, and discomfited, but he had also been lazy.

“Oh yes, there are some in the gym. I’ll just call —”

“No, it’s fine,” he said. “I’ll get it. Is it okay for me to bring it to our room? Or...anywhere else in the property?” He thought it would be nice to do yoga by the pool. Definitely better than in their room, with Atsumu lurking around in his space.

“Sure,” she said, smiling. According to her tag, her name was Maria. She had glowing brown skin and dyed brown hair and chocolate brown eyes. He committed her to memory. “Not many of you here. It is not a normal time.”

“No, it isn’t,” he agreed.

After asking for directions, Kiyoomi bid her a polite goodbye and went to the gym. There was nobody there, but there were yoga mats and thicker mats for floor exercises. He took one of each. Then he spied the dumbbells, and he stole the smallest one, too. He’d just call the receptionist to tell her about it later. He suspected they could do whatever they wanted here, short of property damage.

It was a bit of a struggle to carry everything back to their cottage but he managed it. He was greeted by raised eyebrows from Atsumu, but he ignored him. They weren’t talking anymore — it was easier this way.

“Why are you stealing gym property?” Atsumu asked, and there went their 26-hour silent streak. He mourned it.

Still, he refused to answer. He dumped the mats in a corner and placed the dumbbell on the ground. 

Then he went to the bathroom to change into looser clothing. He had only packed a week’s worth of clothes — they had handed over their laundry to the staff for washing. He wondered where he could buy new ones, if malls were closed.

The sun was high in the sky so he decided to work out in the tiny garden at the back of their cottage. He eased his body into his old, most basic stretches and strengthening exercises, and once done, he carefully bent his limbs into the easiest yoga positions. He shouldn’t rush it.

But he felt better already, anxiety ebbing. Their room was clean because he went on another cleaning spree, and the stiffness and ache in his body were being wrung out, despite the occasional spikes of pain.

Inspired, he made the decision to go into town. From what he’s read online, cops have started to man checkpoint areas, but luckily, they’ve already gotten their quarantine passes. There should be no problem.

After changing his shirt and pocketing his wallet and key card, he left the room, ignoring Atsumu, who called out, “Where are you going?”

He approached the reception counter. “Um, Maria, how do I get to the town?”

“Hmm?” Maria looked up from her phone. “Oh, we have bikes for rent, if you want. There should also be tricycles still operating. When you go outside, there’s lots.”

He nodded. It sounded simple enough — he’ll go out, he’ll get on the so-called tricycles. “What’s a tricycle?”

She tilted her head. “Ah! Um…” she tapped on her phone and after a few seconds, showed a picture of a small carriage manned by a motorcycle rider. As the name suggested, it had three wheels.

“Okay. Thank you.” He bowed, then he went on his way.

When he got outside, worry started to fill him again, but he told himself that if Atsumu could do it, he could, too. He didn’t need that jerk. He could manage himself. Like hell he would ask him to buy him some deep heat cream.

The street was empty. Feeling lost, he walked some distance away before finding the tricycles, the drivers smoking together on the sidewalk. Was that allowed? Did they have no fear?

“Tricycle?” one of them asked.

He nodded, and the man jumped up, pointing to his vehicle. Kiyoomi crept closer and after peeking inside the small space, folded his body inside, wincing.

Saan tayo?” the man asked, and Kiyoomi furrowed his brows at him. “Where?” he corrected himself.

“To the town.”

The man looked confused.

“Uh, pharmacy store?”

“Ah! Okay!” He fired up the engine, and proceeded to speed through the streets.

Kiyoomi gripped the sides of the vehicle, gritting his teeth as the bumpy ride jostled his body mercilessly.

When they finally reached the store, the driver cut the engine. He pointed at himself then at Kiyoomi. “Will wait for you?”

He felt relieved, understanding. “Please.”

The man nodded, then gestured at something behind Kiyoomi. “Mercury Drugstore. Long line.”

With some dread, he realized he was right. There was a long line. He took a deep breath and nodded. “Okay.”

“I will wait.”

“Thank you.”

He ended up waiting for 30 minutes before he was let inside because they were limiting the number of customers, and by then, he was sweating. The heat was no joke. He proceeded to look for pain relief creams and sprays, and then some toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner — he had no idea what these brands were, and he couldn’t be picky, but he absolutely loathed hotel toiletries — and then some sunblock. Then he went to the pharmacy counters to pick up some Ibuprofen and Berocca, because they were out of Vitamin C.

As the lady behind the cashier started scanning all his purchases, he asked, “Um, excuse me, what do I drink for an upset stomach?”

The lady squinted at him, trying to make sense of his words. “For constipation or diarrhea? Indigestion? Nausea? Cramps? Acid?”

“...all of it?” He wanted to be prepared.

“All?” She left her spot momentarily, yelling something at her colleagues, and then coming back with some pills. “Dietabs for diarrhea, Kremil-S for acid, Dulcolax for constipation.” Then she presented a glass bottle filled with thick green liquid. “Take this efficascent oil, too. Just in case.”

“Okay,” he said cluelessly.

After paying, he looked for his tricycle; the driver was lounging on the motorcycle, seemingly napping. He cleared his throat, and the man jerked awake.

“Hotel again?”

He was suddenly relieved that the driver had waited for him, because he had totally forgotten what their resort was called. He nodded. When they reached the familiar street, he pointed at the entrance and the driver dropped him off there.

“How much?”

The driver shrugged.

What did that mean?

After a moment of confusion, he took another approach. “How much one-way?”

“30 pesos.”

So he had to pay him at least ₱60. Since he waited for such a long time, Kiyoomi handed him a crisp ₱100, which seemed to delight the man. He was wearing a cloth mask but his eyes crinkled to show he was smiling. He drove away, waving cheerfully.

Kiyoomi sighed when he reached the lobby, feeling accomplished. The cooler air washed over him pleasantly.

“Okay?” Maria asked.

“Okay,” he said. He meant it.

Maybe this will be fine.

Chapter Text

He had spoken too soon.

It was one of those mornings where he couldn’t move again. His phone was ringing on the desk because he’d left it there, and he was left frustrated by the noise.

And he wasn’t the only one. After kicking off his blankets angrily, Atsumu sat up. “The hell is that noise? Why aren’t you picking up your damn phone, Omi? I was sleeping.”

“I can’t,” he gritted out.

“Can’t what?”

Get up.” He shifted his body and wanted to cry at the aches and pains. “Not yet.”

Atsumu was staring at him in confusion. “What?”

He closed his eyes again, praying for patience, trying not to let anger win.

“Just get the damn phone,” Atsumu finally said.

“I said I can’t,” he snapped. “Just leave me alone!”

“Oh, that’s right, you ask me to leave you alone, when you’re the one who’s been bugging and bugging me. ‘Take a shower!’ ‘Clean the bathroom!’ ‘Don’t go out!’ And now I am rightfully upset at being woken up, but all you can say is ‘ leave me alone’ ? What the hell is your problem, Omi?”

He couldn’t handle this. It was too early, he was in pain, the damn phone was still ringing. “Just shut up for a minute.”

It was the wrong thing to say. Atsumu sounded angry now. “ Shut up? I’m sorry, am I annoying you? Me? Annoying you? You’re fucking unbearable! You’re controlling and neurotic and you’re driving me crazy —”

Kiyoomi pressed a shaky hand to his face and sobbed.

The sound cut through the air and halted Atsumu mid-rant.

They’ve been stranded together for all of two weeks. How were they going to survive a month? Or longer? The past few days had been silent with an edge of hostility, and he’d thought maybe they’d reached some kind of truce, but apparently not.

And he’d be willing to go head to head with Atsumu any other time, but not today. Today, his joints were screaming, the fatigue was pressing down on him, and he was drowning in hopelessness and anger and pain.

“...Omi?” There was a scramble on the bed, then footsteps, then Atsumu said, “Coach?”

He must have picked up Kiyoomi’s phone. Foster’s voice floated from the speakers. “Ah, Atsumu-kun. Where is Sakusa-kun? He hasn’t messaged me this morning.”

“He — he’s...crying.”

“What? Put him on the phone.”

“He said that — that he couldn’t get up. Um, here. Omi…” Footsteps approached him.

He lifted his hand and turned his head to see Foster’s face on the screen. “Is it acting up again?” their coach asked.

“Yes,” he said in a wobbly voice. “It hurts.”

“I see,” Foster sighed. “Atsumu-kun, go get Sakusa-kun some pain relievers, will you? Do you have pain relief creams there?”

“Yes,” he said again.

”Have you been doing your daily exercises?”

He pursed his lips. “Sometimes.”

“Sakusa-kun,” Foster said sternly.

“I’m just — tired.”

“Atsumu, the pain relievers.”

Alarmed now, Atsumu put the phone down beside Kiyoomi and scrambled off the bed. When he returned with them, Kiyoomi shook his head. “I can’t take Ibuprofen before meals. I’ll get an ulcer.” Again, he didn’t say.

Atsumu made a noise of frustration and hurried away. “Instant noodles will have to do.”

“Will you two be fine?” Foster’s voice asked.

No. “Yeah. I’ll be fine now, Coach.”

“Okay. Call again later.”

“Okay.”

The call ended.

When Atsumu finally returned with a cup of instant noodles, he sat up slowly, his joints screaming in protest. His breath hitched in pain as he tried to lift himself backwards to sit against the headboard.

Atsumu sat on the edge of the bed carefully, staring at him as if he’d grown another head. He held out the noodles, and Kiyoomi picked up the metal spoon tucked inside the cup, only to let it slip away.

“Oh. I see,” Atsumu muttered. He stirred the noodles, then offered him a spoonful.

Oh, the indignity of having your worst enemy feed you. Kiyoomi seethed as he leaned in and took a sip, eventually letting Atsumu shove the whole thing in his mouth. His eyelid twitched and he cursed his stupid joints and his stupid genetics and the stupid pandemic. This might just be the lowest he’d ever reached in his life.

After eating some, he turned his head away. “Just give me the pills.”

“Fine. You’re welcome, by the way.”

He kept his lips sealed shut and glared.

Atsumu sighed and took the pills he’d placed on Kiyoomi’s bedside table. He had to worm one out of the pack and drop it on Kiyoomi’s palm. Kiyoomi popped it in his mouth and swallowed it dry.

“Do you like...need water...or something,” Atsumu said, rubbing the back of his neck and avoiding his eyes.

“Water,” he agreed. The pill left a bitter aftertaste that he wanted to wash down.

Atsumu left again and returned with a sealed bottle. He had to open that, too. And then he had to help Kiyoomi drink it. It was just blow after blow today, Kiyoomi mourned. He was pretty sure it wasn’t even 8 in the morning.

Dignity gone, he gingerly lay back down, exhausted. He forced himself to relax so he could fall back asleep. Hopefully when he woke again, he’d feel better.

He hadn’t had an episode that bad in months. He knew why — he’s been lying down a lot, staying in one fixed position for long periods of time. And he must have slept weird last night, or maybe he’d tossed and turned too much, because he woke up with aching elbows and hips.

He also should have been doing daily stretches and exercises, but he hasn't been faithful to them lately. Not to mention the loss of near daily volleyball practice — the sport had helped a lot, not only in keeping him active, but also keeping his muscles and tissues strong to support his joints, especially his wrists.

He’d been in a slump. But could anyone blame him? His entire life had been interrupted. His parents were getting increasingly worried, especially his mother, who suffered from the same condition as him. Aside from the dark hair and eyes, he’d inherited this one from her.

He really shouldn’t sleep again — what he should do was start getting back in shape — but drowsiness was tugging at him.

Tomorrow, he vowed. Tomorrow he’ll get his life back together. For now, he’ll rest.

Chapter Text

“Atsumu,” Foster warned. “Don’t take it out on him.”

“But why didn’t anyone tell me?” he demanded. He ran a hand through his hair in frustration.

Kiyoomi was sleeping off the — what even was that? An episode? Atsumu was outside their cottage pacing. He was more shaken than he cared to admit, and perhaps a ton guilty.

Good job, Atsumu, his brain told him. Calling someone with a syndrome and an anxiety disorder neurotic.

“He asked that we didn’t.”

“We? Who else knew?”

“Meian and the assistant coaches.”

“No one else in the team knew?”

“No. He preferred to keep it private.”

“Look, I get that, but you knew I’d be stuck with him here for god knows how long. You should have told me! I’d have —”

“What? Been kinder?”

That shut him up.

“That’s what he didn’t want to happen,” Foster said. “He didn’t want to be treated like he had a disability. And he doesn’t.” Foster’s voice turned firm. “He’s been self-managing for years before he came into the team. Don’t use this to rag on him.”

Offended, he asked, “Do I look like I’d do that?” He knew he could be a jerk sometimes, but he wasn’t mean. Not much anymore, anyway. He liked to think he’d matured.

“I just know that you two clash a lot,” Foster said. “You don’t need more ammo.”

“I’m not going to —” he cut himself off, sighing. He massaged his forehead. “Well, what am I supposed to do now?”

“He can take care of himself. But perhaps he’d appreciate it if you help him when he needs it.”

“Are you kidding? He’d sooner bite my hand off.” He thought of the way Kiyoomi looked when he was feeding him — borderline hateful.

“Just be there for him. You’re teammates. Don’t you think it’s high time this war of yours came to an end? I don’t even know what that’s about.”

Atsumu didn’t know either. They’d just never liked each other, period. And somehow it got worse when they were teammates.

“You’ll have to figure out how to live with each other, Atsumu-kun. Try not to make things harder for him, hmm?”

“Yeah, yeah,” he mumbled.

He sighed as they hung up, and trudged back into their room. He was planning to work out in the gym but he wasn’t in the mood, now. Instead, he sat on his side of the bed and studied his sleeping roommate.

Not for the first time, he wished he had some kind of mind-reading ability so he could understand the complexity that was Sakusa Kiyoomi. He’d known him for at least eight years now, but he was starting to realize he never had him figured out.

He’d tried of course. As early as high school, he’d watched tapes of Kiyoomi’s old matches, studied his form, his technique, his skills. As a teen, he’d always looked forward to challenging and showing him up; he’d wanted to wipe that smug smirk off his face. Frickin’ Tokyo boys — so cool, so arrogant. Atsumu simply had to knock them down a peg.

When they’d both been chosen to take part in the All-Japan Youth Training Camp during sophomore year of high school, his interest was once again stirred. He’d thought perhaps that was the time he’d figure out what made Sakusa Kiyoomi tick. But he was as closed-off as they come, and highly fussy, too. He learned there were many things Kiyoomi didn’t like: germs, and touch, and cockroaches, and crowds. And people in general, probably. He definitely didn’t like Atsumu — whenever he’d tried to make a joke, Kiyoomi just looked at him like he was an idiot.

On the court, he couldn’t help but admire him, though. Watching Kiyoomi play up close, he’d internally thought, “How cool!” He’d been on the receiving end of his famed spike, which was difficult to receive because of the spin set by his highly flexible wrist. At the time, he’d thought, “Oh, lucky.”

He didn’t really keep up with Kiyoomi’s college volleyball career. He’d been busy trying to keep his head afloat in professional volleyball, trying to earn the rank of first-string setter. And when he gained popularity, he got caught up in endorsement deals, and sponsorships, and photoshoots, and magazine covers. It wasn’t until Kiyoomi signed with the MSBY Black Jackals that it hit him: he was going to be teammates with his high school rival, and one of the best hitters he’d ever met.

He’d been thrilled. But one meeting was all it took to remind him that right, they didn’t get along at all. Sakusa Kiyoomi was a goddamn asshole. He was stuck-up and standoffish and cold. He was blunt and cutting and rude.

Atsumu was willing to admit that he loved antagonizing him. Why wouldn’t he? It was so easy. There was so much to make fun of: his inability to pick up on social cues, which had gotten him into trouble too many times to count; his mess of a hair that he’d learned to tame through the years, but there were still days he didn’t seem like he could be bothered; his penchant for bright yellow things that was a little difficult for Atsumu to comprehend — his old high school was cursed with a yellow and green theme, and to learn that Kiyoomi unironically loved the color? It was too much for Atsumu, he couldn’t be faulted for laughing at him that one time he came out wearing an eye-watering yellow shirt. He’d laughed so hard that water snorted out of his nose, and it was probably one of the things Kiyoomi had yet to forgive him for.

But it was always so fun to be rewarded with that hilarious offended expression and sometimes a scandalized “Excuse me?” Tokyo boys, seriously. They were a different breed.

And Sakusa Kiyoomi was the most ridiculous of them all. Atsumu liked him as a teammate, but as a person, not so much. He definitely wouldn’t choose him as the person to be stuck with on an island with for any extended period of time.

But here they were. And Atsumu could either keep whining about it or try to make life easier for both of them.

Sighing, he lay beside him and started researching Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

--

In the following days, he watched Kiyoomi like a hawk. It was all he could do.

After his episode, Kiyoomi slept the entire day away. By the time Atsumu woke up the following morning, he was up and about.

Atsumu tried to pry for details, but Kiyoomi refused to speak to him, barely even acknowledged him, seemingly content to pretend he wasn’t there at all. And this treatment stretched for days. Kiyoomi was always up before Atsumu woke, and by then he was well into his workout, which he’d started to do daily. Atsumu took note of what he did: some stretching, some yoga, some grip exercises with a hand towel, and wrist exercises with the dumbbell he’d copped from the gym — the jerk had forgotten to call the front desk about it, and Atsumu was approached by a haggard-looking staff member, asking if he’d seen the dumbbell anywhere. He’d bowed repeatedly, explaining that “my roommate has it, sorry.” This flustered the young man, who’d waved his hands in a panic, assuring, “It’s okay, it’s okay!”

He complained about this to Kiyoomi, but he just received an eye roll, as if Atsumu was overreacting. What was wrong with this guy, seriously?

But other than being even more closed off than before, Kiyoomi seemed...normal. Like he had never been in pain at all. Was he just good at hiding it? Did he just get used to suffering?

There were things that took on a different meaning, though, now that he knew. Kiyoomi had always carried the minty smell of salonpas, but he figured that was normal for athletes. But as he watched Kiyoomi rub deep heat cream on his wrists and elbows, he realized it was a necessity for him. And god, the clicking of his ankle — the sound had been driving him nuts the past few weeks, now he knew why it kept doing that. It didn’t seem to particularly bother Kiyoomi. It looked like he enjoyed hearing it, actually, by the way he kept rotating his right foot. Should he be doing that?

After a few more days of not-so-subtly studying him, Atsumu started noticing the cracks. Sometimes Kiyoomi fumbled with things, and that was something he had never seen him do in the past year he’d been in close quarters with him. Once, Kiyoomi dropped his phone right onto his face, and Atsumu shouldn’t have laughed, he knew that, but the sight was so startling to him, he couldn’t help himself. He also spied Kiyoomi trying to brush his hair at some point, and the comb just clattered straight to the floor. He’d thought, ‘Oh that’s why he seemed to have given up on his hair.’ He literally couldn’t do anything about it, even if he wanted to. Something tugged at Atsumu’s stomach.

When he witnessed Kiyoomi drop his spoon again during breakfast one day, he could no longer hold it in.

“Why can’t you just ask me for help?” he burst out.

“It’s my burden,” Kiyoomi said lightly, not looking at him. He picked up his spoon again. “If I needed your help, I would have asked for it.”

“But you do need it.”

“No, I don’t. I’ve lived most of my life like this. And you’ve lived most of your life as a jerk, don’t stop now.”

“Fine,” he snapped. Just like that, the air between them was prickly once again. This man was so infuriating. Atsumu hated him.

And then one day, Atsumu woke up earlier than usual, earlier than even Kiyoomi, which was a rarity. He turned on his side to watch him, something that had become something of a habit over the past two weeks. He looked peaceful in sleep, so young, so innocent. So in peace.

And then he saw the moment the peace was disrupted when Kiyoomi started to stir, long lashes fluttering but eyes not fully opening. The first thing that moved was his hand, fingers curling in like he was trying to make a fist — then they relaxed and Atsumu realized he failed to do so. The rest followed — Kiyoomi’s eyebrows pulled in to form a frown and he started shifting his body, joints clicking, trying to make himself comfortable. His lips turned down into a pout and Atsumu wanted to know if he was in pain already, if that was something that happened often, or if the episode was just that — an episode. He’d read that those with EDS who undergo physical therapy eventually learn to manage their pain themselves, and he figured Kiyoomi was one of those people, since he managed to successfully become a professional volleyball player. But these weren’t normal times. Kiyoomi was off his game. He wasn’t up to snuff. And Atsumu just wanted to help, but Kiyoomi wasn’t letting him. Whenever he even tried, Kiyoomi always looked ready to kill him.

He had never met a more stubborn person.

Lucky for him, Atsumu was stubborn, too. Perhaps he and Kiyoomi had never gotten along, but he wasn’t one to leave a teammate floundering on or off the court. They always gave him their best, so he always gave them his best, too. He hadn’t known about the problems Kiyoomi had been carrying, but he did now. He wasn’t just going to let him deal with them alone.

He’d wait him out if he had to.

Chapter Text

After a month, the Philippine government declared that the “community quarantine” was to be extended for another 15 days, and that was when they knew for sure that they were eternally fucked.

“We’re never leaving here, are we,” Kiyoomi commented idly.

“Doesn’t look like it, no,” he replied.

Kiyoomi heaved out a sigh and dragged himself up off the bed.

“Where ya going?”

“I’m gonna take a walk.”

“Really? You’re doing that more and more,” he observed.

Kiyoomi shrugged. “Gotta keep active. And...I guess it’s not that bad. There are no people on the beach. And there are no new cases, right?”

“Nope. Just the initial two tourists, who are gone now. It’s been a month of lockdown with no local transmission, I think it’s pretty safe.”

And with that, Kiyoomi slathered on some sunblock, put on a mask, and left the room.

He and Kiyoomi had what he’d call a fragile truce. They still don’t really talk much, but at least they weren’t fighting. Atsumu had stopped purposely antagonizing him, and Kiyoomi relaxed a little, even though he still looked murderous every time Atsumu failed to do things in line with his unreasonably high standards. He had narrowed his eyes when Atsumu tossed a food wrapper into the trash can instead of walking over and disposing of it properly, but he didn’t say anything.

It kind of felt like a ticking time bomb, but Atsumu would take it. He was trying.

He sighed in the sudden peace and stared at the ceiling.

The worst thing about the lockdown wasn’t that he was in a strange place. It was the unbearably slow passing of time.

He was used to fast days. Back home, he’d be out for a run at the crack of dawn, and then he’d go to volleyball practice. When he wasn’t playing, he was in photoshoots or public events or visiting Osamu. Sometimes, he’d hang out with the team. His days were filled to the brim, and sure there were hours he’d be bored, but he used those as his downtime to catch up on manga or anime or films he’d missed out on. Being bored was nice sometimes.

Being bored every single day with no end in sight? It was a nightmare.

He itched to play volleyball. He itched to explore. He itched to have sex. But instead, he was stuck in a cottage with a roommate so silent he might as well be living with a statue. How was Kiyoomi not bored? Atsumu must have paced every corner of the resort already, but aside from his new habit of taking careful walks by the shore, Kiyoomi had been content to watch every single title on Netflix. He wouldn’t even let Atsumu pick.

Atsumu was getting restless. He was going crazy. He was brimming with repressed energy, and he needed an outlet.

So he shouldn’t be blamed for being caught with his hand on his dick.

He didn’t hear Kiyoomi return. He’d been stroking himself leisurely, thinking he had time — maybe he should have rubbed one out in the bathroom like he’d been doing the past few weeks, but he wanted to take his time, and on the bed, for once. It's been a while since he’s had a satisfying orgasm. Kiyoomi wasn’t supposed to be back yet, damn it.

He was only alerted to Kiyoomi’s presence when he heard a small gasp, and he snapped open his eyes just in time to see him turn on his heel and walk right back out the door.

Shit,” he hissed. It was like being splashed with cold water, the shock killing his arousal. “Damn it.”

He hurriedly tucked himself back into his pajama pants and stumbled into the bathroom to wash his hands. In the mirror, he could see that his face was flushed, and his eyes were wide with horror.

Kiyoomi was going to kill him.

He went back to bed and fidgeted as he waited, finally turning on the television for something to to distract him when Kiyoomi didn’t return immediately. By the time he finally did, Atsumu had prepared his arguments.

“You’re gross,” was the first thing Kiyoomi said, ripping his mask from his face.

“Look —”

“I can’t believe you were doing it on the bed. How often? Nevermind, I don’t want to know.” Kiyoomi’s eyes were a little wider than usual, face pale. “We need new sheets.”

“Omi —”

“We need new sheets every day. No, we need a new bed.”

“You’re overreacting,” he said impatiently. “I didn’t stain the sheets!”

“And how am I supposed to believe that?” Kiyoomi demanded. “That’s it, I’m getting a different room.”

Seriously? This was the last straw? “You’re being immature,” he snapped. “It’s a normal bodily function —”

“That you’re supposed to do in private —”

“It was in private! You weren’t supposed to be back yet!”

“This is our shared space! If you wanted privacy, you should have done it elsewhere!”

“I was fucking horny okay!” he exploded. “What else is there to do here? I’m going crazy! And I swear I mostly do it in the bathroom!”

Kiyoomi blanched. “Oh god. I clean that bathroom.” He paused as he absorbed this information. “You’ve been making me clean your...your…”

Atsumu wished he could expire on the spot. He had long since learned to stop feeling shame, but Kiyoomi was teaching him that he still had some left in him after all. “No,” he stressed. “I swear —!”

“I can’t believe you’ve been refusing to clean the bathroom, but you’ve been doing that in there this whole time…”

“Omi —”

“You’re despicable,” Kiyoomi concluded. “I’m getting a new room tomorrow.”

Then he walked out again.

“Wait, I’m sorry!”

The slamming of the door was the only answer he received.

Well, fuck.

--

Kiyoomi angrily put two pillows between them on the bed. They were lying on fresh new sheets, and they'd both showered, but he was still in a bad mood.

“You are seriously blowing this out of proportion,” Atsumu said, annoyed. “People masturbate. You’re acting like a damn virgin.” A thought struck him. “Are you?”

Kiyoomi didn’t answer. He presented his broad back to Atsumu, but even in the dim light emanating from the bedside lamp, it was easy to see his ears were red.

Atsumu was gleefully amused by the revelation. “Holy shit. You are, aren’t you? No wonder you’re so uptight.”

“And so what if I am,” Kiyoomi finally snapped. “My joints can get dislocated when I turn over in bed while sleeping, you think I’d just let random people fuck me? And they’re probably filthy, too. My body is fragile enough, I can’t afford to get sick. What you deem as important and what I deem as important are wildly different, Miya. Grow up.”

The words washed away whatever amusement he’d felt and replaced it with guilt and a bit of resentment. Kiyoomi always made him feel like some kid who kept putting his foot in his mouth. “I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Then how did you mean it?”

He pressed his lips together and didn’t answer. He’d always enjoyed teasing Kiyoomi, but it only took one stray joke or remark to offend him deeply. Kiyoomi took everything so personally. Did he not know the concept of joking around? Their personalities clashed wildly with barely any effort, it was truly ridiculous at this point.

“Look, Omi,” Atsumu began. “We don’t know how long we’re gonna be stuck here. It’s unreasonable to spend twice as much for accommodations when we’re doing just fine —”

“You call this fine?” Kiyoomi sat up and turned to look at him. “You’re right, we don’t know how long we’re gonna be stuck here, so whatever it is I have to pay, it’s worth it for the price of my sanity.”

“Oh, you want to talk about sanity? You think it’s nice to have you breathing down my neck every second of the day? Like, I knew you were a clean freak, but you’ve been dialing it up to the extreme. You’re making every day of this quarantine hell, but I deal with it because I have to!”

“Well, now you don’t have to.”

His calmness further incensed Atsumu. “Just because you caught me jerking off? Well, I’m sorry for being fucking human!”

“It’s not that.” Kiyoomi rubbed his eyes, suddenly looking exhausted. “It’s — I’ve been trying, Miya. Do you still hear me complain when you leave your dirty clothes on the bathroom floor? Or when you track dirt on the floor when you come from outside and you don’t sweep it? Or when you don’t wash your hands when you’ve just come back from god knows where? I’ve been trying to tone it down because I’m tired of being stressed, but I can’t stand it anymore. I can’t stand you anymore. I just want to feel safe in my own space. Is that too much to ask? I just need a goddamn break.”

“Alright then,” he muttered bitterly. “Don’t come running back to me when you need something from the store, but you’re too paranoid to go out.”

“I won’t.”

Fine.”

“Fine.”

--

It was still pitch black when he opened his eyes. He was feeling overheated. He raised his head and looked down at the tangle of blankets and pillows on his legs and he kicked them away, feeling relief when he felt the cool air hit his skin. He settled back on his pillow with a sigh.

Then he turned his head and made out Kiyoomi’s profile in the darkness. He was curled on his side, blankets nowhere in sight, the border between them gone. Ah, so that’s what he’d just untangled himself from. Oops.

But the longer he looked, the more it seemed like Kiyoomi was shivering. Was he cold? Should he hand over the blanket? Then he remembered their fight, and the petty side of him decided against it.

It didn’t seem like he’d fall back asleep soon, so he ran over their argument again. Where did Kiyoomi get off acting like Atsumu was the difficult one here? Did he think he was the only one having a hard time adjusting to their new reality? Was Atsumu the one who was supposed to bend all the time? That wasn’t fair.

You know what, he thought resentfully. Let him be. If he wants space, then he’ll get his space. It would be a relief for Atsumu. It would feel like dislodging a thorn from his side. A big thorn. Kiyoomi was such a pain.

He shut his eyes and tried to relax himself back into sleep. But just as he thought he was almost there, the mattress dipped and shifted and there was a weight over his arm, crushing it to the bed.

He glanced down, startled, just in time to witness Kiyoomi wrap an arm around his waist and throw a leg over his. Kiyoomi nuzzled his way into the curve of his shoulder, adjusting his body until he was tucked against Atsumu just right.

Atsumu stared out in the darkness wide-eyed. What in the world?

His hand hovered over the sleeping body of his teammate, unsure. He should probably pry Kiyoomi off and set him back on his side of the bed, but when touched his arm, it was cold to the touch.

He sighed, defeated. He used a foot to drag the blanket up, finally catching a corner with his free hand. He pulled it up and spread it over them, tucking it around Kiyoomi.

Then he wrapped his arms around him and rubbed his back, hoping it would spark some heat.

Poor thing, he thought, somewhat amused. He’s just a big baby. A big, whiny, anxious baby.

His mood sobered. He ran his hand down Kiyoomi’s back slowly, trying to feel out the chinks in his armor. There was none to be found — Kiyoomi said his body was fragile, but it felt solid, heavy, strong. It was an athlete’s body. But he’d witnessed the fumbling and the clicking and the wincing, and he suddenly felt frustrated — what must that feel like, to do everything right, but your body insists on doing things wrong?

Perhaps if his body was just as breakable, he’d do everything he can to protect it, too — including obsessively worrying about his health. No wonder hypermobility was tied to anxiety orders.

He thought that perhaps he’d been a bit of a jerk.

He absentmindedly held Kiyoomi closer. Tomorrow he’ll apologize, he vowed. Right now he was too comfortable and his eyes were slipping shut, his thoughts drifting away...

--

He was woken when the body half on top of him started to stir in his arms. He blinked his eyes open, somewhat disoriented. His brain took too long to catch up, and he didn’t have time to move before Kiyoomi was ripping himself away from Atsumu.

He gazed sleepily at Kiyoomi, studying his flushed face, remembering what had occurred overnight. He could feel a wet patch on his chest — Kiyoomi must have made his way there at some point — and his arm was numb.

Kiyoomi looked furious. “You —”

Ugh, it was too early for a fight. How was he always in the mood for a fight?

“No,” he said, voice croaky. “You.”

“What?” Kiyoomi demanded.

You,” he smirked, “cuddled me last night. Drooled on me, too.”

Kiyoomi wiped at the corner of his mouth. “No I didn’t.”

Atsumu just chuckled. He was adorable.

Wait, what? No, he wasn’t. He drooled on him. A lot, it felt like.

Kiyoomi jabbed a finger in his direction. “This did not happen. Say a word about this to anyone and I’ll kill you.”

“Sure.” He was still smiling.

“And it won’t happen again, because I’m moving rooms today.”

His smile dropped. “Look, Omi…”

But Kiyoomi was already slipping off the bed, somewhat unsteadily. He gingerly placed his feet on the floor and slowly stood up, then shuffled off. “I’m gonna bathe then I’m gonna see if they can transfer me early.”

Well, he seems to be decided, he thought darkly. He just muttered, “Fine.”

What did he think would happen? Nothing has changed.

Chapter Text

They separated silently. In the following days, he didn’t see Kiyoomi at all.

He eventually got a call from Foster about it.

“Well,” their coach said. “Can’t say I didn’t see this coming.”

Atsumu pouted.

“Who pissed off who?”

“No one. Both of us. I don’t know, Coach. It’s hopeless.”

“Why must you two be so difficult? Fix this, Atsumu. If this bleeds on the court —”

“It won’t,” he interrupted. “It’s just — it was bound to happen, any two people stuck together —”

“Alright. If you say so.”

The next call came from a tired-looking Meian.

“Atsumu,” their team captain said severely. “What’s this I hear from Foster that you’re in separate rooms now?”

He groaned. “Meian. You know how he is.”

“Did either of you even try?”

“I did!”

“Did you?”

He pouted aggressively. He maybe didn’t try as hard as he could, but it takes two to tango, right? Kiyoomi didn’t try at all.

But if he said that, he’d sound like a whiny brat, so he kept his mouth shut.

Meian sighed. “Look. You’re both going through a difficult time. An adjustment period is unavoidable. I am just asking you to please try to be patient.”

“Why just me,” he complained.

“I’ll be giving Sakusa a lecture, too.” He sighed again. “I haven’t checked up on him in a while. But the gang’s putting together a care package to be delivered there, I don’t know how long before you get it, though...could take anywhere from a month to three months. We don’t even know if you’ll still be there, but it’s worth a try. Especially since it was Sakusa’s birthday last month and —”

“Wait, what?” Birthday?

“Yes? March 20, remember? Five days into the lockdown there. Honestly, we were pretty shitty, we didn’t realize until our two-week quarantine was over…”

“Holy shit, I didn’t know at all.” They had never celebrated Kiyoomi’s birthday before. He mentally computed — Kiyoomi wasn’t in the team yet this time last year. He thought he could be excused for not knowing.

“It’s a strange time, he wasn’t particularly bothered,” Meian assured. “You can still greet him, maybe he’d like that.”

“Uh…”

“Seriously, fix this. I’m uneasy knowing you two are separated, I feel like one of you could end up dead in a ditch, and how would we even know?” Meian was fretting now. “Oh god. Have you seen Sakusa? Is he dead in a ditch?”

Meian. He’s not dead.” He paused. “I haven’t seen him in days, but uh...the hotel would probably tell us, right?”

This only seemed to stress Meian further. “But what if they don’t notice? He doesn’t let the staff in the room, right? Oh god, he’s dead in a ditch.”

Atsumu wasn’t sure if he wanted to laugh or roll his eyes. “I’ll check on him, alright? And you can call him yourself.”

“Yes, I will after this. Honestly, you two…”

When they finally hung up, Atsumu tossed his phone on the bed and groaned. Why was he always in the wrong here? But guilt was niggling at him, and he sat up, chewing at his lip.

After thinking for a while, he left his room and went into town. After asking around, he ended up in a cake shop, which was thankfully open. A lot of establishments had closed down during the first month of the quarantine, but they were slowly opening again, with safety measures in place.

He inspected the offerings and saw flavors like dulce de leche and ube — he had never tried those and he was curious, but the ube cake was purple and he thought maybe Kiyoomi wouldn’t appreciate that. He settled for a classic chocolate cake.

Then he wracked his brain figuring out what else could chip at Kiyoomi’s stone walls, and he decided to just replenish his stocks. He went to the pharmacy and picked up wet wipes, alcohol, some more heat rub creams, pain relievers, and Berocca. Those were what he’d found in Kiyoomi’s shopping bag last time, so he was taking his cue from that. He also picked up some snacks so he wouldn’t die of starvation, and then some water bottles that were in the more expensive containers because he seemed to have had a hard time opening plastic bottles.

Then he took a tricycle back to the resort. Time to face the music.

Outside Kiyoomi’s door — he was just in the cottage next to Atsumu’s, the fact that they haven’t seen each other for days was just pettiness from both sides — he took a deep breath, then knocked.

Kiyoomi didn’t answer and he frowned. He knocked again, calling out, “Omi, it’s me, open up.”

He stood there long enough to make him want to stomp back to his own room, then the door opened to show a rather pale-looking Kiyoomi.

Atsumu hefted his peace offerings. “Omi, I got you —”

“You should leave,” Kiyoomi cut him off.

Offended, Atsumu said, “I went to town to get you some stuff and you just —”

“Atsumu, I appreciate it, but now is not a good time.”

“When is it a good time?” Atsumu stared at him. “We literally have nothing but time —”

His rant was cut off by one long fart.

For a second he and Kiyoomi just looked at each other, horrified. Atsumu suddenly noticed the sweat beading on Kiyoomi’s forehead and the tight grip he had on the door, and then Kiyoomi turned tail and disappeared, leaving his door open.

Unsure and trying very hard not to laugh, he entered carefully. “Are you okay?” he called out, his voice filled with mirth.

“Go away!” he heard from the bathroom.

And Atsumu lost it. He let out peals of laughter, almost dropping the cake. He was having a hard time catching his breath and his eyes filled with tears.

When he got control of himself, he placed his purchases on the dining table. Then he sat on a chair and waited, smirk tugging at his lips.

After a while, Kiyoomi finally emerged from the bathroom, still looking pale. He looked at Atsumu in mute horror.

Atsumu couldn’t help but laugh again.

“Shut up,” Kiyoomi seethed. “I hate you. What are you doing here?”

“I bought you stuff,” he said, catching his breath. He grinned. “Happy late birthday.”

Kiyoomi glared at him.

“You don’t have to be so prickly about this,” Atsumu said in amusement. “People shit. It’s normal.”

“I have been shitting abnormally for the past two days. You don’t know what I’m going through, go away.”

“Well, what did you eat?”

“I don’t know,” Kiyoomi moaned. Then he turned around and started wobbling towards the bed. “I mean it, Miya, leave.”

Atsumu rested his cheek on his hand as he watched Kiyoomi climb the bed. He smiled as Kiyoomi burrowed under his blankets and lay there in what looked like abject misery. “You poor thing,” he remarked.

“Why are you still here.”

“You should be glad, ‘cause I’m gonna help you.” Atsumu stood up and started rummaging through the plastic bag. “Do you still have Berocca?”

“No.”

He pulled out the pack he just bought. “See, aren’t you glad I bought you one?” He also pulled out the bottle of water, which still felt cold, its surface slick with droplets. He popped in a piece and watched the water fizzle into an orange color. “Where’s the stuff you bought before?”

Kiyoomi pointed at the desk and Atsumu went. He picked through the stuff there and found some pills, an extra tube of toothpaste, and a bottle of efficascent oil. He had never tried the last one, but maybe it would help. He picked it up and fetched the water, then headed to the bed.

He was greeted by a hostile glare. “I come in peace,” he said in assurance, sitting on the edge and offering the drink. “Can you just chill? Sit up.”

Lips forming what could only be a pout, Kiyoomi sat up and accepted the bottle. It had already been opened so he took a small sip. Then he took a longer one. 

“Finish the whole thing,” Atsumu said, and raised both hands in defeat when Kiyoomi glared at him again. “Okay, okay.” He mimed zipping his lips shut.

When Kiyoomi finished the last of the drink, he placed the empty bottle on his bedside table then settled back down in bed.

“Did you eat?”

Kiyoomi shook his head.

“I don’t actually know what you can eat when you have diarrhea,” Atsumu mused. “I bought cake, but probably not that.”

“Cake?”

“Yeah, chocolate. But you can’t eat that yet. Maybe white meat? Chicken? Er...crackers? You know what, I’ll just call room service.”

“I don’t want to eat.”

“Do you want to die?” Before Kiyoomi could smack him, Atsumu hurried to add, “I’ll call them later, don’t worry about it. How do you feel?”

“Queasy,” Kiyoomi muttered. “But I’m fine. This happens every once in a while.”

“Is it because of the EDS?”

“I guess.” Kiyoomi sounded surprised by his knowledge. “Probably. Doesn’t matter, I still suffer.”

Atsumu lifted the bottle of efficascent oil. “Ever try this?”

Kiyoomi shook his head.

“Me neither. Maybe you should.”

“Can’t open it,” Kiyoomi muttered.

Atsumu tilted his head at him. “Can you not hold things?”

“I have a good grip,” Kiyoomi said hotly. He paused, then in a quieter tone, said, “It’s only hard when things are too small.”

Atsumu studied the tiny cap of the bottle, thought of the thin comb Kiyoomi had dropped, remembered how he fumbled with spoons. “You know, it would have been easier if I’d known all this before.”

“What’s it to you,” Kiyoomi challenged.

He opened his mouth then closed it. He shook his head. It was too damn easy to get pulled into petty bickering with Kiyoomi, but today he was taking the high road. “I’m not getting into another fight with you.” He cracked open the bottle of efficascent oil and said, “Here, try rubbing this on your stomach. It’s said to help with,” he checked the label, “gas pain.”

He started laughing again, only stopping when Kiyoomi kneed him on the back.

“Ow! Jeez. You have to admit it was funny, okay? Stop taking everything so personally.” He shook the bottle at him. “C’mon.”

Kiyoomi moved around until he was inclined and leaning against the headboard. He sullenly held out a hand and Atsumu poured some oil on it.

Atsumu watched as Kiyoomi lifted his shirt and rubbed the oil on it, strangely entranced with the sight of glistening abs. Then he mentally slapped himself. It wasn’t like he hadn’t seen Kiyoomi’s nude body in the locker rooms back home. It was no secret that the man had a fine, fine form.

“You’re red,” Kiyoomi observed.

“What? No, I’m not,” he spluttered. He cleared his throat and snottily said, “I was just remembering you letting out a big one back there and I was trying not to laugh.”

That did the trick. Kiyoomi’s face suddenly looked murderous. “Get out,” he hissed. “Or I’ll tear your limbs off with my bare hands.”

“Can you even hold —” He was shoved off the bed with a kick from Kiyoomi, and he snapped, “Alright already.”

Huffing, he stomped his way towards the door. “You can still have the cake because I’m nice like that. Try not to die of dehydration.”

He slammed the door on the way out.

When he got back to his own room, he smacked himself on the forehead. “Nice going, Atsumu,” he muttered. He was trying to extend an olive branch. Why couldn’t Kiyoomi just cooperate? He was so difficult. Why even bother trying to fix this? It was impossible.

Atsumu still called room service, though.

Chapter Text

Kiyoomi was bored. He was a person who enjoyed idle time, but was genuinely, ridiculously bored.

He didn’t realize how much noise came with Atsumu until the world seemingly plunged into silence in his absence. Not that he missed him. He was relieved, really. Atsumu was just too much to handle. Having to deal with him during a pandemic was like drawing a wild pick-up-four card in an already disastrous game of Uno. Kiyoomi just wanted it to be over.

It rankled him to know that Atsumu had seen him at his weakest. As if seeing him crying in pain wasn’t enough, Atsumu just had to be the one he drooled a puddle on. And not to mention that bout of diarrhea...

He burned in mortification. He never wanted to show his face to anyone again.

But he was bored.

Sighing, he left his room and wandered around. The world outside was slowly returning to life, but in their resort, it was almost eerily still. He barely saw another living being unless he was in the mini restaurant or in the lobby. It comforted him, though. It made him feel safe.

He ended up on the empty beach, staring out into the horizon.

He both loved and hated the ocean. Its beauty and mystery called to him and he gazed at it with an aching kind of fondness, remembering children’s books filled with fascinating drawings of unbelievable creatures. But its depth and unpredictability also terrified him. He felt like the waves could tear him limb from limb and his wonky body wouldn’t be able to do anything about that.

Was it normal to love something that could destroy you?

Today, however, the sea was still, and it didn’t seem so scary. He wormed his feet out of his yellow flip-flops and stepped forward, letting the tide reach up to greet his toes. He wiggled them, feeling a little ticklish.

He didn’t know how long he stood there, enjoying the sensation. Eventually he could no longer ignore the feeling of being watched and he turned and looked up.

Atsumu was watching him from the pool deck, arms resting on the rails. 

Kiyoomi whipped his head back around, feeling his cheeks heat up. Why was he here? They haven’t seen each other since that day Atsumu visited him in his room a week ago. He could barely think about Atsumu without wanting to beat him up with a club. How dare he witness his most embarrassing moments and smirk?

And how dare be nice? Kiyoomi would never tell him, but he did eat some of that cake when his stomach settled. And the oil helped — he was now obsessed with it. He’d taken to leaving it uncapped, randomly picking the bottle up and breathing in the menthol scent. It calmed him every time. It also warded away nausea and headaches, so it must be magic. Who invented that? 

He could still feel the weight of Atsumu’s gaze. It was a familiar feeling.

After a moment of thought, Kiyoomi decided to ignore him and sat down on the sand, stretching his legs so that his feet were submerged in salt water and wet sand stuck to the back of his calves. It was morning and the sun wasn’t harsh yet. The breeze was soothing so he removed his mask and breathed it in. He kind of wanted to swim, which wasn’t a common urge for him. The clear waters were that inviting.

He let time slip away. The next thing he was aware of was the sound of sand crunching behind him, alerting him that he was no longer alone. He knew exactly who it was.

“What, Miya.”

“Thought maybe you were lonely.”

From the corner of his eye, he watched Atsumu sit down beside him. “I’m not.”

“Yeah, yeah, Mr. I Don’t Need Anyone Sakusa Kiyoomi. I get it, you don’t have to keep proving it to me. But look, we’re the only two people here.” Atsumu waved his arm, gesturing at the vast ocean and the long stretch of sand. “Let’s be friends, Omi-kun.”

He frowned at him. “I don’t do friends.”

“You can learn. No man is an island.” Atsumu snorted. “Island...we’re at an island…”

Kiyoomi rolled his eyes.

“Hey, wanna take a swim? Nice morning for it.” Without waiting for his answer, Atsumu stood up and shed his shirt.

Kiyoomi gazed up at him, accosted by the sight of thick arms and hard abs. Atsumu could be classified as beefy and he resented him for it. Gross gym buffs. He was just the type.

Atsumu looked down at him, platinum blonde hair falling into brown eyes made lighter by the sun. “C’mon!”

“I don’t want to.”

“Yes, you do. How could anyone not want to swim in that?”

“You go.”

Atsumu sighed. “Fine. Your loss, Omi-kun!” He slipped out of his flip flops and started wading into the sea. His red shorts were like a beacon and Kiyoomi’s eyes couldn’t help but stray to him.

He wanted to join him, but he didn’t really have the energy. Instead, he took off his shirt and sat on the shallow parts of the water and lay on his back on the sand. A wave crept up and dampened the back of his head before receding. The water was cool, but it felt pleasant against his skin.

He could fall asleep like this.

“...Omi. Omi!”

He blinked at the bright sky, disoriented. Then Atsumu’s head swam into his vision, his hair backlit by the sun. It was like watching an eclipse.

“You fell asleep,” Atsumu snorted. “How could you just flop there and fall asleep half-submerged in water? What if the waves took you away, huh?”

“Then I probably would have woken up,” he croaked out.

“You like to think that, but you sleep like the dead. You sleep for so long.”

“‘M tired.”

“Yeah well, it’s getting a little too hot. I don’t want to burn, let’s get inside.”

Kiyoomi sat up, feeling water and wet sand slide down his back. Okay, that was starting to feel unpleasant. Regret was starting to set in.

“Hey Omi-Omi, I got you something.”

He furrowed his brows at Atsumu, swishing his legs under the water. A wave crashed against his stomach. “What?”

“I found it in the sea bed —”

“If that’s a sea creature I don’t want it.” Those were things he’d rather admire from afar.

“It’s not!” Atsumu held up a yellow conch shell and Kiyoomi blinked.

He studied it for a moment, something warm unfurling in his chest. He tried not to smile. “Thought you said yellow was an eyesore.”

“It kinda is, but you like it, don’t you? Here,” Atsumu grabbed his forearm and dropped the shell on his slack palm. Kiyoomi curled his fingers around it reflexively. “Happy birthday, for real. Truce?” And then Atsumu smiled at him.

“Truce,” he repeated without thinking.

Atsumu’s smile widened into a grin. Kiyoomi’s eyes dropped to his soft cheeks, which were free of pores but had a light smattering of sun spots.

Wait. Were those freckles?

His musings were interrupted by a prickling sensation on his palm. When it started feeling like something was crawling, he shrieked and tossed the shell to the side without looking at it.

“What the hell, Omi?” Atsumu said, rubbing his ear. “You threw away my gift!”

“It was alive!”

What?” Atsumu scrambled away to pick it up from where it must have landed in the sand.

Kiyoomi dipped his hand in the water and shook it, trying to get rid of the feeling. The hairs on his arm were raised and his heart was pounding. He hated creepy crawlies.

“Holy shit, it’s a hermit crab!” Atsumu exclaimed.

“How could you make me hold a hermit crab?”

“I didn’t know,” Atsumu protested, studying the creature pinched between his thumb and index finger. “It just looked like a pretty shell!”

“That you found in the middle of the ocean.”

“I mean, the middle of the ocean is a bit of an exaggeration —”

Ugh.”

“I’m sorry, okay? How the hell was I supposed to know? Anyway, it’s harmless, look —”

“Do not bring that anywhere near me, or I swear —”

“Okay, okay, jeez.” Atsumu placed the crab at the edge of the water. “Go on then, tiny creature. Be free.” When it got swept away by a particularly strong wave, Atsumu looked up at Kiyoomi and grinned sheepishly. “Oops?”

Kiyomi shook his head, sighing. Miya Atsumu was an idiot.

“Hey, truce still stands, right?”

“Whatever, Miya.”

“Omi,” he whined.

“Let’s go back.”

Atsumu dimpled at him. “Okay.”

Yes, a total idiot.

Chapter Text

Despite their truce, they don’t see each other for quite some time. Kiyoomi busied himself with reading e-book after e-book, and he even asked Maria for help in learning Filipino. She started teaching him common phrases and questions, and the next day, handed him some old comics, which became his new reading material.

Learning something new was just what he needed to occupy his time. He developed a routine: every morning, he’d drag his borrowed mat to the pool deck and dump it there while he goes on a short walk along the beach as his warm-up, before proceeding with his stretches, exercises, and yoga. The pool was calling him but he’s yet to dip a toe in it. One of these days, he told himself.

After that, he’d head back to his room to bathe, then get to decoding the local language. Whenever he got bored with that, he’d watch anime on Netflix, and suffer through a wave of homesickness. And then he’d download a new e-book.

Sometimes, he’d wonder about Atsumu. But not enough to ask.

Atsumu did message him on Line once, just to say that the Philippine government just extended the quarantine for another 15 days. It was mid-April — they’d been on the island for a month and a half, and it looked like they had more to go. He tamped down on the frustration and messaged his parents about the update. To Atsumu, he sent a thumbs up emoji, which he counted as progress. He would have ignored him before.

But then Atsumu just had to rock the boat again. The idiot posted a picture of Kiyoomi sleeping on the beach on his Instagram, dedicating it to “those wondering if Omi-kun was still alive,” and then following it up with “I fear he might have drowned, he falls asleep like this! I haven’t seen him in days!”

This had Kiyoomi pounding on Atsumu’s door and then shoving his way inside the moment Atsumu opened it.

“Well, hello to you, too,” Atsumu grinned.

Kiyoomi rounded on him. “What is wrong with you? You’re being alarmist!”

“It’s clearly a joke,” Atsumu said, raising both hands. “People found it funny!”

I didn’t. Delete it,” he ordered. Truthfully, he just couldn’t stand knowing an ugly picture of him was being ogled by Atsumu’s millions of followers. This was almost as embarrassing as the time Hinata posted a group picture that showed Kiyoomi with one of his eyes half-closed and mouth open. He had been in the middle of saying he didn’t want to join the picture, but instead he was captured like that. He became a meme — Atsumu had laughed until he cried when he saw it, and Hinata never deleted the picture.

He had truly despicable teammates.

Case in point, Atsumu was refusing to take the post down. “No way, it got a lot of likes. And people have been asking about you, you know. Would it kill you to update your social media?”

“With what? Photos of the same breakfast I’ve been having nearly every day? Or maybe the extremely familiar sight called the ceiling?”

Atsumu rolled his eyes. “Even if you just tweet ‘I’m alive’ every day, it would still be better than being inactive. People have been messaging me about you, and commenting even on my TikTok videos! Way to steal my thunder, Omi-kun.”

“So you post an embarrassing photo of me?” he demanded.

“What part of that was embarrassing? It’s a nice picture! You look peaceful and cute!”

Strangely flustered, Kiyoomi crossed his arms defensively. “Whatever, I hate it. Delete it.”

“Nu-uh.”

“Miya.”

“Nope.”

“Delete it!”

“There’s no point, it has like 20,000 likes already or something.”

He groaned. Why did his teammates like to torture him so much? What did he do to deserve this?

“Foster and Meian are glad we’re friends now,” Atsumu offered, like that makes everything better.

“Friends is too strong a word.”

“Not enemies, then. Good enough! We should totally hang out.”

“And why would I want that?”

“Aren’t you bored? I’m bored. I’d kill for some human interaction, even if it’s with you.”

“If you must know, I’ve been very productive,” he informed Atsumu. “I walk on the beach in the morning and I study Filipino in the afternoon. I’m not bored.” He actually really was, but he wasn’t going to admit it.

“Oh come on. We have a truce, remember?”

“Truce doesn’t mean friends. It means ceasefire. And you’re ruining it by posting that ugly picture.”

“I told you, it’s not ugly! It’s a beautiful picture!”

Kiyoomi sighed. There was no winning this. “Whatever. I’m going back to my room.”

He left Atsumu to his own devices, but for some reason, he started seeing him everywhere after that.

Atsumu would go jogging along the beach whenever Kiyoomi would be out on a walk. And when Kiyoomi eventually went up the pool deck for his yoga session, Atsumu would decide he simply must go on a swim.

“Omi-Omi, the water’s nice. Come join me!”

No. I’m exercising.” In his mind, he repeated, ‘Truce, we have a truce. No drowning teammates.’

After a few days of this, Kiyoomi resigned himself to the fact that this was part of his daily life now. He supposed he didn’t mind the music that Atsumu blasted out on his portable speakers while he was frolicking in the pool. He usually played Filipino songs “to get used to the language, Omi, you think you’re the only one trying to learn?”

And then one day, he was on his way to a quick trip to the town, when he noticed Maria with a compression bandage on her wrist. He approached and nodded at it. “What happened?”

Maria sighed, looking forlorn. “I tripped and sprained it when I fell.”

“Is it painful?”

“Eh, it’s okay. Worse part is I can’t work.”

“But you’re working?” He frowned in confusion. Sometimes, Maria wasn’t at the reception desk, replaced by a quiet girl named Christina. He wondered why she didn’t just stay home and rest today.

“No, no. I also help my family earn money on the side. We weave baskets and sell them in the market.”

“Oh.” He absorbed this. “Is your family okay?”

Maria lifted a hand, palm down, then gestured in a rocking motion. “Hmm, so-so. My parents are old. They do not make much money. Especially at this time.”

He knew he was going to regret what he was about to do, but he couldn’t just turn a blind eye. He liked Maria. He owed her a lot. “I can help.”

She tilted her head at him. “You know how to weave?”

“No,” he admitted. “Can they teach me?”

Her eyes brightened. “You want to learn? You can meet my family! They’ll like you!”

And that was how he found himself in a tricycle one weekend, gritting his teeth through the bumpy ride — with Atsumu.

“Look at you, volunteering to work with strangers,” Atsumu teased, raising his voice to be heard above the sound of the motorcycle engine and the wind. “Who are you and what have you done with Omi-Omi?”

He scowled. “Why are you here?”

“I helped her carry a tray of food because she looked like she was having a hard time, and she said that Japanese people are very kind. Said you offered to help her family, and I simply had to see this with my own eyes.”

“If you’re just planning to make fun of me, then you’ll be a liability —”

“I’m not. Of course I’ll help, jeez. What do you think of me? I like Maria, and I feel bad for some of the people here sometimes. They work so hard but they have so little.”

Kiyoomi gave him a sideways glance, thinking of the old tricycle drivers who should be at home, but are out in the streets working. They obviously relied on whatever they earned for the day, and Kiyoomi wasn’t sure how much that was, or if it was enough. “Yeah.”

The tricycle came to a stop in front of a humble house. Outside, a woman wearing a loose dress was sweeping the ground.

“Ma!” Maria called out after jumping off from where she was seated behind the driver. Kiyoomi and Atsumu disembarked, and the tricycle left.

They trailed behind Maria silently, watching the mother glance at them and widen her eyes. “Dios Mio, sino to?”

“Atsumu, Kiyoomi,” Maria introduced, gesturing at each of them. “Guests sa hotel. They’ll help in weaving daw.”

“Help?” the mother exclaimed, looking up at them. “Ay naku, hello, halika, pasok kayo.”

“Ma, hindi pa sila masyado marunong mag-Tagalog. Speak English. They’re Japanese.”

“Ah,” the mother nodded, and smiled up at them. She was very short, maybe two feet shorter than them, and her hair was turning gray. “Mga hijo, my name is Lydia. Come in, come in!”

They bowed to her, which seemed to startle her, and then they followed her inside.

It was a cramped space, but it was clean. Two children ran past them and disappeared out the door. Kiyoomi tensed a little; he didn’t realize there’d be many people in the house. He decided it would be rude to ask if any of them were sick, so he kept his mouth shut. No local transmission, he reminded himself. No new cases. He and Atsumu were wearing a mask, anyway.

“Those are my nephews,” Maria explained. “My older sister’s sons.”

“Sorry, very small,” Lydia said, gesturing around the house. “You are big! Let’s go outside.”

They were led past the living room and the dining room, and they exited a screen door and arrived at a garden. It was well maintained, full of bright flowers and potted herbs. There were plastic chairs near the door and there was a cage full of chickens against the wall of the house. A chained dog barked at them, and Kiyoomi kind of wanted to befriend it, but it looked vicious.

“That’s Brownie,” Maria said. “Don’t worry, he’s nice when he knows you.” She gestured at the chairs. “Please sit.”

They sat obediently, looking around. Lydia said, “I’ll get food! Maria, come help. Bakit hindi mo naman ako sinabihan, loka-loka kang bata ka.”

When they were gone, Atsumu looked at him. “I understood maybe five percent of that.”

“I understood maybe ten.” He paused, then admitted, “Mostly the Spanish.”

“You know Spanish?”

Kiyoomi shrugged. “Yeah. I had classes in high school, and then again in university. I’ve been brushing up on it lately, because I was interested in tracing back the roots of the Filipino language. A lot of their words were derived from Spanish, you know? Makes sense ‘cause they were colonized for 300 years.”

Atsumu stared at him. “Right…”

“For example, ‘how are you’ is ‘como esta’ in Spanish and ‘kumusta’ in Filipino. And if you don’t know how to count in Filipino, you can say the numbers in Spanish, and the people here would understand. That’s what I do with tricycle drivers and vendors.”

“I...don’t know Spanish.” Atsumu crossed his arms. “You’re getting ahead of me. I won’t stand for this. I promise ya, by the time we leave here, I’ll be fluent.”

Kiyoomi smirked at him. “Sure.”

“I mean it. You’ll see.”

“I’ll learn first.”

“It’s a challenge, then.”

And then Maria and a much older man came out of the house struggling to carry a table. Kiyoomi and Atsumu stood up automatically, rushing over to help.

“No, no!” the man said. “It’s okay.”

“No,” Atsumu insisted. “We’re athletes, let us.”

He and Atsumu took over, carrying the table towards the chairs with ease. When they straightened, the man was there, offering a hand to shake. “Blas,” he introduced himself. “Maraming salamat.”

They knew enough to know that meant ‘thank you very much.’ Kiyoomi said, “Walang anuman.”

“Ay!” Blas exclaimed. “You understand!”

“A little,” Atsumu admitted. “Still learning.”

“Okay, okay,” Blas nodded. “Good. Sit, we will bring food.”

“You don’t need to —”

“No, no! Just sit.” And then Blas turned and left.

“I’ll bring the materials,” Maria said, then she, too, left.

As they waited, Kiyoomi studied the dog. It seemed to have calmed, and was curled on the ground, watching them silently. He hoped one day he’d be able to pet it.

“It’s kind of nice being outside with people,” Atsumu said. “I swear, I’m about to go crazy in the resort. How do you do it?”

“I enjoy doing nothing,” he answered. “I get to conserve energy and rest.” At least, he did, until he was suddenly faced with an eternity of it.

“Right...how’s the thing?”

“The thing,” he repeated.

“You know, the joint thing.”

“Still there,” he said drily. “It obviously aches, but it’s all background noise by now.”

“Oh, I think I get it.” Atsumu pondered this for a second. “Hey, I read that sometimes your bones just pop out of place, is that true?”

“Yeah. I’ve had maybe three partial dislocations since we got here.”

What?”

“Yes? I told you, I’m used to it. I just popped it back in.”

Atsumu shuddered. “Jesus Christ.”

Kiyoomi smirked at him. “What, can’t handle weird stuff?”

“Look, Omi, there’s kiny weird, and there’s alarming weird. This is alarming weird.”

“It’s weird for you, but normal for me. Get over it, Miya.”

Maria’s family served them local food and they were introduced to dishes like adobo and chicharon bulaklak. Kiyoomi liked the adobo well enough, because it was chicken, but the chicharon bulaklak was a little too much for him. He only liked the crunchy parts.

They were eating with their bare hands, because apparently, that’s how they did it here. Atsumu was smirking at him, as if he knew Kiyoomi was having an internal battle about this. He really was, but politeness took over and he scooped up the food with his fingers obediently. Besides, it was probably less troublesome than having to explain why he was having such a hard time with a spoon and fork.

For dessert, they had homemade pastillas and sapin-sapin. Those he absolutely loved.

“You like?” Lydia asked him, eyes twinkling. When Kiyoomi nodded, she said, “If you visit again, we can teach you.”

“Really?” He was up for that. He wanted to be able to make pastillas when he returned home to Japan.

Syempre! Come over anytime.”

Atsumu glanced at Kiyoomi with a smile. Not a smirk. A real smile. “What’d you say, Omi? It’s not so bad, right?”

As he savored the milky sweet taste, he thought it really wasn’t.

Chapter Text

The days started to get a little brighter, a little easier. It was May now, and Kiyoomi was starting to think being stuck on an island in a foreign country wasn’t bad at all. He missed home, but he was eventually lulled into the simple small town life. The anxiety eased slowly. Like his chronic pain, it faded to background noise.

He liked the people. They were friendly and welcoming and they took delight in sharing their language and culture with them. The staff in the hotel now treated them as friends instead of mere lodgers, and Kiyoomi learned their names: the pool boy was Jun, the security guard was Ronell, the waitress was Heidi. One morning, he was taking a walk around the property and came across a middle-aged woman who turned out to be one of their chefs — he learned that her name was Esme, but that everyone just called her Manang. She said to visit her in the kitchens anytime.

He took her up on her offer one afternoon, after lunch had come and passed. She made him wear a hairnet and showed him how to make merienda food like turon and palitaw. He told her that he really liked pastillas and whipped up something she called yema.

He snapped a photo of the delicacies and sent it to Atsumu, feeling generous. He found he was more tolerant of the other man lately. Atsumu replied with a string of angry emojis, and not even five minutes later, came storming into the kitchens.

“How could you not invite me?” Atsumu demanded. Then he cleared his throat and bowed sheepishly at Esme. In English, he said, “Sorry, can I join?”

Syempre!” Esma said. “Halika dito.”

Esma taught them how to shape the yema into balls and then poured melted sugar on them. She let them eat the leftovers straight from the pan and then told them to make themselves useful and do the dishes because she was short-staffed.

“Many were retrenched,” she explained sadly. “No business, nothing to do. But maybe they can come back after this.”

Well, it was hard not to notice that the resort had turned more or less into a ghost town. Nodding, he and Atsumu got to it — Esme was intimidating, in a motherly sort of way. They washed the dishes obediently, side by side.

“I liked that one,” Atsumu said, handing him a soapy spoon. “The yema.”

“Me, too. I think I like it better than the pastillas.”

“You have a sweet tooth, don’t you?” Atsumu’s tone was amused.

He jutted out a chin. “And so what if I do.”

“Nothing,” Atsumu said, waving a hand at him and sprinkling droplets right at Kiyoomi’s face. He flinched. “Oops. Anyway, can you just chill, Omi-kun? I swear half the things I say are not as malicious as you always seem to think.”

Kiyoomi eyed him suspiciously. “There’s still the other half.”

Atsumu laughed. “You need to loosen up. I’m really not that bad.” Then the humor faded from his face. “You decided that long ago and never really gave me another chance.”

Feeling oddly called out, Kiyoomi turned his attention to rinsing the soapy dishes.

“It’s fine,” Atsumu said in a strangely soft voice. “I think maybe I was pretty shitty to you, too.”

It sounded like a thinly veiled apology. Kiyoomi never asked for one, never even thought they owed each other one. So he didn’t acknowledge it.

“Don’t forget, we’re going to Maria’s again tomorrow,” he said instead.

“Of course, Omi-kun.”

They left the resort bright and early the next morning. It was Maria’s day off, and Christina was manning the empty reception area. They no longer needed Maria’s help in looking for the house — after weeks of visiting, they knew the route by heart. The tricycle drivers also picked up on their new tri-weekly habit — they’d simply ask, “Sa bahay nila Maria?” and they’d take them there.

They were greeted by Lydia, who ushered them in and situated them in the garden again. There was food on the table already, some hotdogs and a dish they called maling, which turned out to be luncheon meat. They knew better than to refuse to eat, so they sat down and shared the meal with them, listening to Lydia and Blas recount their romance.

It sounded like a completely different world. Their courtship was strict, and they were always accompanied by chaperones. Every time Blas visited Lydia’s family home, he’d have gifts to offer. Lydia recalled that Blas once showed up and serenaded her, playing the guitar and singing as she watched from her window on the second floor.

“That’s called a harana,” Lydia said. “Many boys still do it now.”

“There’s a song like that,” Maria said. “It’s famous!”

“We’ll listen to it,” Atsumu promised.

After breakfast, they went on to weave baskets. It was honestly a struggle for his fingers, so his progress was much, much slower than the rest of them. It frustrated him in the beginning, because they were just medium-sized baskets, but then Atsumu said, “Dude, chill. None of the people here mind, they’re just happy you’re here.”

Lydia seemed to pick up on his difficulties. When he finally finished a basket after two weeks, she cheered and gave him a sweet drink she called sago’t gulaman. He liked that, too. He decided not to dwell on the fact that Atsumu had created three in that span of time.

When they were having a break for merienda, Lydia sat beside him. “Mabait siya, no?”

His mind translated that as ‘He’s kind, huh?’ He was slowly getting better at understanding Tagalog, even though he stammered when speaking it. He looked up at Lydia, who nodded past him.

Kiyoomi turned to see Atsumu playing with Maria’s nephews. The two boys were hanging on each of his arms, laughing, and he was indulging them, swinging them around.

“Uh…” Kiyoomi hesitated. He watched as Atsumu bent to lower the kids on the ground, only to have one of them immediately jump on his back. He didn’t even stumble, just hitched the boy higher on his back.

His mother once told him to gauge kindness by paying attention to how one treats strangers — waiters, and bus drivers, and old ladies on the streets — instead of judging them by the mask they presented to him. As he listened to Atsumu genuinely laugh when other people would get irritated by the kids’ rowdiness, he thought maybe, just maybe, there was something about him that Kiyoomi had never seen before.

He had to admit, “Oo.” Yes, Atsumu was kind. Sometimes.

Then Lydia said, “Jowa mo?”

He frowned. “Jowa?”

“Boyfriend?”

He spluttered, “No! Hindi.”

“Ah.” Lydia laughed. “Sorry. Pasensya na.” She and everyone else had taken to saying English words then repeating them in Tagalog, which he appreciated. “Friends only? Kaibigan?”

Could he even call Atsumu his friend? He glanced over to him again, and as if feeling his gaze, Atsumu turned to him and winked. Kiyoomi flushed. “Hindi,” he insisted.

Lydia was looking at him skeptically.

“Teammates only,” he explained. “Volleyball. We’re stuck together.” He had already explained this.

She nodded slowly, a calculating look in her eyes. “Okay. Sige.”

He drank his sago’t gulaman in sullen silence.

--

And then, amazingly enough, he and Atsumu do become friends.

And it all started with a hangnail. Well, he supposed if he were being honest, it started on that morning Atsumu woke up to him in pain and fed him instant noodles, but Kiyoomi would say it was the hangnail that really did it.

Bothered beyond belief, Kiyoomi swallowed his pride and knocked on Atsumu’s door.

When Atsumu opened it, he raised his eyebrows. “Well, well, well. To what do I owe this pleasure?”

This was a bad idea. The worst idea. But he had no other choice. Shuffling his feet, he forced out, “Miya. Help me.”

“Oh? With what?”

He muttered his answer to the ground.

“Huh?”

He cleared his throat. “I said. I have a hangnail.”

Atsumu was staring at him. “Okay?”

“You have to remove it. It’s bugging me.”

“Okay…” Atsumu pulled the door open wider. “Come in, then.”

Kiyoomi walked in and was awash with a sense of familiarity. The room looked the same. He expected it to be a mess, but it looked rather neat, except for the pile of dirty clothes in the corner. The television was on, tuned in to a local news channel, the newscasters speaking in Filipino. Relatively appeased, Kiyoomi plopped down at the edge of the bed, dropping his nail care set on the mattress.

Atsumu sat down beside him and picked up the case. “Can you not grip these?”

“I can, but it’s hard,” he admitted grudgingly. “It’s scary to attempt removing a hangnail, I might slip and end up taking off a chunk of my skin.”

“I see…” Atsumu zipped it open and after inspecting the contents, pulled a small clipper out. “Okay, where is it?”

He reached out to present his right hand then paused. “I hope your hands are clean.”

Atsumu sighed then got up. He strode over to the bathroom and Kiyoomi heard the sound of water running. He picked at his hangnail as he waited.

“Okay,” Atsumu said when he returned, taking a seat again. “Happy?”

He shoved his right hand towards him in answer. “Middle finger.”

Atsumu grabbed his hand and studied it. “Oh, nasty. I hate hangnails.” 

“Can you just remove it.”

“Yessir.”

The procedure was uncomfortable but mostly painless, over before he knew it. But Atsumu tightened his grip before Kiyoomi could withdraw his hand and rummaged through the set, pulling out a nail file.

“This is a really bad nail-cutting job, Omi.” Then Atsumu started filing his nails.

Well, he wasn’t about to complain. Nail filing was a pain. Literally. Since his fingers, on top of his wrists, were also double-jointed, it was a struggle for him to grasp small and slim objects. Even chopsticks.

So he sat there silently and took to observing Atsumu’s hands, clearly well-taken care of. They felt soft and smooth, and his nails were short and clean. That made sense. He was a setter. His hands were his life.

When he’d gone through each nail, Atsumu cradled one of Kiyoomi’s hands in his, brushing a thumb over the nails. Kiyoomi inexplicably felt his heart skip a bit. After a second too long, Atsumu released his hand. “All done.”

Kiyoomi curled his hands into fists on his lap, jaw working.

“Well?” Atsumu prodded, smiling smugly.

“Thanks,” he finally said.

“You’re welcome, Omi-Omi!” Atsumu sang. “Now was that so hard?”

Yes. Kiyoomi huffed and nodded instead at the TV. “What’s going on?”

“Oh, the president will be announcing what’s gonna happen to the quarantine soon. Well, he was supposed to do it early this morning, but from what little I understand, he’s always late to these things.”

Kiyoomi raised an eyebrow at that. It was almost lunch. But each country to its own, he supposed. “How long have we been here again?” 

Atsumu squinted. “Two months. They extended the quarantine until May 15 last time, remember? Now they’re gonna say whether it’s extended again or not.”

“It most definitely will be.” The cases in the capital were steadily rising, and spreading across the other regions. He was glad they were so isolated.

“Yeah,” Atsumu admitted. “The question is for how long it will be extended.”

“We’re never leaving here,” he said again, glumly.

“Hey, it’s not so bad, right? We’re in a really nice and relatively safe place, we have good accommodations, and the people in this town are really friendly. You like the locals, don’t you?”

He nodded. Things have been lax in town. People still mostly stayed in, probably because mass gatherings were still banned and major establishments were still closed, but those he spotted out and about wore face masks and face shields. Compared to what he read about the capital, he could tell the regulations in this town were a bit looser.

Kiyoomi had been more comfortable going out, although he mostly just went to Maria’s house, the grocery story, and the pharmacy. The tricycle drivers knew him already, and he could recognize them on sight as well.

“The trike drivers have been teaching curse words. They’re funny.” Atsumu shared. “That’s why I’m watching the national address, actually — they said to listen to the president’s speeches, because he curses a lot in all of them.”

“The president?”

Atsumu grinned. “Yeah, can you believe that? Let’s watch it!”

“What are the curse words?”

“Er, well there’s ‘puta,’ which means ‘whore,’ then there’s ‘putang ina mo,’ which I think directly translates to ‘your mother is a whore’? I had to Google that, the locals weren’t very clear...they always just say ‘putang ina’ or ‘tang ina’ for short, and like...all the time? Very casually?” Atsumu scratched his head. “I guess they can be used as exclamations or something. I think it’s like the word ‘fuck’.”

Kiyoomi nodded slowly, somewhat recognizing the terms. Not just because puta was Spanish, but because he’d heard those words thrown around — well, everywhere.

“I’m having a hard time with difficult words like ‘naman’ and ‘basta’...I don’t know where they fit.”

“It’s the local slang for me,” Atsumu admitted. “I just want to understand their raunchy jokes, damn it. They sound so amused with themselves.”

“They do, don’t they,” Kiyoomi mused. “They’re all very close.”

Just then, their attention was caught by the TV, which had switched to a livestream of the national address. The president sat in between two large flags and started speaking in a mix of English and Filipino. He frowned at the screen, totally lost. The president would read something from the paper in English then seemed to ramble in Tagalog.

“I have no idea what he’s saying,” Atsumu said. He picked his phone up. “I’ll just lurk on Twitter.”

This was going to be a long speech, he realized. But he did want to know the latest developments somehow. He might as well be comfortable.

He crawled up to the part of the bed that used to be his and settled onto the pillows, deciding for the sake of his sanity not to think about whether the sheets were clean. He tinkered on his own phone and saw that people were calling for the president’s ouster.

“Just what in the world is happening in this country?”

“Too many things, it seems,” Atsumu said. He glanced at Kiyoomi, then made his way to lay on his side of the bed.

“People seem to be very angry.”

“You have to admit, if you have to listen to a man talk this much when the world’s in the middle of a crisis…”

“I suppose. Has he gotten to the point yet?”

“I haven’t heard about an extension, so I guess not.”

They distracted themselves with their phones. At some point, familiar words pinged at Kiyoomi’s brain. “Ah there, he’s started cursing.”

Atsumu burst out laughing. “Holy shit, he really does it.”

As the two of them settled into a surprisingly comfortable silence, Atsumu turned on his side to stare at him. He used to do that even before Kiyoomi moved out.

After a while, he put down his phone and sighed. “What?”

“Say, Omi...don’t you want to come back here?”

He frowned. “Why would I want to do that?”

“Well, first, we’d save a whole lot of money. There’s more than enough space here for the two of us.”

“Except there is only one bed.”

“It’s a big bed,” Atsumu insisted. “And okay, I’ve thought about it, and if you’re really stressed about that, I’d be willing to sleep on a mattress on the floor.”

That caught Kiyoomi’s attention. “Will you?” He studied Atsumu’s face. “Why are you insisting on this?”

“Because I’m bored,” Atsumu groaned. “Omi, I’m going crazy. Isn’t it so boring, being alone?”

He didn’t answer. He would never admit that he was starting to feel lonely.

“And besides, wouldn’t you say we’re friends now?”

“Jury is still out.”

“Oh, come on!” Atsumu exclaimed, exasperated. “I am adjusting here. You gotta meet me halfway. It’s been a month, haven’t you cooled off, yet?”

He chewed the inside of his bottom lip, trying not to smile. Atsumu looked so put off, it was funny.

And then in a voice so low it was practically a mutter, Atsumu said, “And maybe I miss you a little. Maybe. Just a little.”

His heart was pounding in his chest. Almost without his say-so, his mouth opened and said, “Yeah, okay.”

Maybe Atsumi would file Kiyoomi’s nails for him again.

“Wait, really?” Atsumu blinked a few times, then smiled blindingly. “Awesome.”

Kiyoomi told himself he was doing this because his parents were paying for his cottage. They’d insisted, saying it was nothing to them — they were wealthy — but it still made him uncomfortable, since he was earning his own money now. He could afford his own room, but they were worried about him running out of money for every day necessities.

He supposed they had the right to be worried about their sickly youngest child who was stranded too far out of their reach.

At that moment, the televised livestream was taken over by a newscast, signaling the end of the address.

“Wait, so will there be an extension or what?”

Atsumu frowned and scrolled through his phone. “Hold on...uh, no it doesn’t look like it. It says here they’ll announce it tomorrow.” He looked confused. “What was the point of that, then?”

Kiyoomi groaned. “Everyone’s losing it, aren’t they?”

--

The next day, it was formally announced that the community quarantine was to be extended for another 15 days.

Immediately afterwards, Kiyoomi packed his bags and moved back into their cottage. Because Atsumu was right. 

It was boring being alone. Being bored with someone else might be better. Even if that someone was Miya Atsumu.

And maybe, his brain whispered, you miss him a little, too.

Chapter Text

Sunlight slipped through the curtains and tickled his eyes open. He was warm and comfortable, and more importantly, free of pain. He blinked lazily and attempted to shift his body carefully, stopping when he realized he couldn’t.

A warm body was pressed against his back, a heavy arm wrapped around his waist. Pinning him in place.

His heart kicked into motion. His mind scrambled to figure out his options — one, he could try to slip away quietly and pretend this didn’t happen again, and risk Atsumu waking up and catching him in the act. Two, he could smack the idiot awake and demand why the hell he was cuddling him.

Before he could decide, Atsumu seemed to stir, his hand pressing against his stomach for a second, before relaxing. Then he stilled.

Kiyoomi went for the third option — he pretended to sleep, trying to keep his breathing under control.

But then Atsumu proceeded to cuddle him more enthusiastically, tightening his arm around him, and Kiyoomi’s heart started beating triple time. He blamed it on repulsion. What was Atsumu doing?

He kept still, hoping it would end soon, fighting with all his might the urge to melt into the hold.

“Good morning, Omi-Omi,” Atsumu rasped out.

Nevermind, he was killing him. He snapped his eyes open and ground out, “Miya. Mind explaining to me what you think you’re doing?”

There was a yawn. “You toss and turn a lot, you know that? Isn’t that bad? Think of your joints, Omi.”

It’s been a week since he moved back in with Atsumu and he was regretting it already. He should have delegated Atsumu to the mattress but he felt bad at the thought, and that was his mistake. “All I do is think about my joints, actually.”

“Clearly not when you’re asleep. Understandable. You can leave it to me, Omi-kun. I’ll hold you still.”

He gritted his teeth. “Let go of me, you disgusting oaf.”

Atsumu just chuckled. “You had all the time to get away earlier, but you didn’t. Seems to me that you like this, Omi-kun.”

In his fury, Kiyoomi ran out of words. So he elbowed Atsumu instead. Hard.

And that was how he dislocated his shoulder.

--

“Can you stop?” Kiyoomi snapped. “You’re freaking me out. Get me pain killers.”

“I heard a crack,” Atsumu said, horror coloring his voice.

“It’s just a partial dislocation, it’s fine. I popped it back in. The painkillers,” he stressed. “And hot compress.”

Face pale, Atsumu slipped off the bed and set about gathering the things he requested.

He gently massaged the area around his shoulder. When his bone slipped off its proper place, he’d felt a few seconds of white hot pain, before he managed to tamp down the automatic wave of panic and gingerly maneuver it back to position. The first few times this had happened to him, his parents, who were both doctors, helped him through it. When he got older, he learned to do it himself.

He carefully set up his pillows behind him and lay down so his shoulder was braced. Most of the pain had eased, and only a tingling kind of ache was left. He’d have to be careful with it the rest of the day.

Guess he was staying in bed.

Atsumu returned with painkillers, some water, a hot compress pack, and a medicated spray. He placed them on his bedside table. “I’ll go make a quick breakfast.”

“You better,” he muttered. Stupid Atsumu.

He picked up the spray first, applying a generous amount on his shoulder and rubbing it in. Then he pressed the hot compress over his shirt, sighing in relief. He rested his head back against the pillow and closed his eyes, feeling suddenly exhausted.

He was roused by Atsumu, who sat beside him on the bed, carrying a plate.

“Okay,” Atsumu said. “I have some pandesal and some tuna spread. You liked that, right?”

Kiyoomi nodded sleepily. Lydia had made the spread, and handed it off to them “so you won’t get hungry.”

He sat up, reaching for the bread. As he bit down, Atsumu quickly said, “I’m sorry, don’t move out.”

He rolled his eyes and didn’t answer. He quickly finished the sandwich and downed the painkiller, washing everything down with water. Then he made his way off the bed to head to the bathroom.

“Should you be moving around?” Atsumu asked.

“I dislocated my shoulder, not my legs.”

“Fine, fine.”

Going through his morning routine was a bit of a struggle as he tried not to move his shoulder around too much, but he managed most of it with one hand. Feeling much better, he slipped back into bed.

He looked at Atsumu and said, “Puta ka.”

Atsumu looked extremely offended. “Why are you cursing me?”

Tang ina mo.”

“You look too pleased with yourself,” Atsumu said unhappily.

He was pleased with himself. Cursing Atsumu in Tagalog was very satisfying. “Let’s watch something,” he invited.

Atsumu settled down beside him, eyeing him warily. “Okay, baliw. Pinoy movie?”

“Pinoy movie,” he agreed.

--

Tang ina mo.”

Atsumu was holding his stomach, laughing. Laughing at Kiyoomi. And he wasn’t the only one. Maria had abandoned her post and was sitting beside them on the ground, not bothering to hide her amusement. It was a pleasant day and they were killing time in the garden, playing jackstones.

Apparently, one of Maria’s nephews had given it to Atsumu, so he wouldn’t get bored. It seemed easy enough. He just had to bounce the ball, pick up a “stone,” and then catch the ball before it dropped. He was an athlete, damn it. He should know how to do this.

Maria handed him the ball. “Okay, try again.”

Displeased, he tossed the ball into the air. The ball landed on the stones, scattering them and setting off Atsumu again.

“How are you so bad at this?” Atsumu wheezed. “Just — just bounce the ball and get the thing!”

“Shut up,” he hissed furiously.

His inability to play the child’s game irritated him, so he kept trying. It was hard for him to stop when he got started on something. Almost impossible, in fact.

Atsumu wouldn’t stop laughing. The sound flipped his stomach. Disgusting.

Finally a hand rested on top of his, stopping it. The hand was large, he noticed idly. The forearm it was connected to looked strong.

“Okay, stop,” Atsumu said. “Like this.”

Atsumu cupped Kiyoomi’s hands in his. He guided one hand into tossing the ball, and the other in getting a stone and dropping it into the waiting palm. He was doing the work, but letting Kiyoomi get the credit.

“Get it? There’s a rhythm.”

“This is bullshit.”

“This is a child’s game.”

He switched to Tagalog again. “Bwisit ka.”

This time Atsumu and Maria both cackled.

Atsumu wiped tears from his eyes. “Maria, you have to stop teaching him how to curse me. Tigil na.”

Maria’s eyes were bright. “You’re getting good at Tagalog! Nice, Kiyo, Atsu!”

Kiyoomi crossed his arms. “I don’t want to play anymore. Ayaw ko na.”

Pikon,” Atsumu observed, grinning.

Maria laughed. “Pikon!”

Just then, Heidi, the waitress, arrived with a tray full of glasses. “Avocado shake from Manang.”

Kiyoomi perked up. That’s been his favorite since he discovered it a few weeks ago. He was used to eating avocado on bread, and even sushi sometimes. He didn’t know it could be sweet. His life was forever changed.

“Oh, I see who the favorite is,” Atsumu said.

“A sweet drink for a sweet boy, she said.” Heidi handed each of them a glass then sat down on the ground with them. “Kiyo is sweet.”

“No, he’s not,” Atsumu protested. “He’s evil. Demonyo.”

“No,” Maria said. “Atsu is demonyo. Pero pogi.”

Si Kiyo rin naman, pogi,” Heidi said.

He stopped paying attention to the discussion in favor of sucking on his straw. He moaned at the taste. “So good.”

Atsumu was staring at him.

“Isn’t it?” Heidi asked. “An American customer tried it one time and hated it.”

He hummed. “This is weird for other cultures. But good.”

“You should try avocado and cream,” Heidi said, eyes sparkling. “You’ll love it.”

Avocados? In cream? The idea excited him. “I want.”

Sige! I’ll tell Manang. We can have it for merienda.”

“Okay, sige,” he agreed.

They did have it for merienda. It was the best thing ever.

--

Atsumu took off running, tossed his shirt away, and jumped right into the pool.

Kiyoomi wiped away the droplets that splattered on his face and sighed. Where did he get the energy?

Atsumu’s head popped back up and he shook his head, spraying more droplets. “Omi, c’mon, the water feels good. Malamig!”

He rolled his eyes. Show-off. But swimming in cold water did sound good, especially because the heat felt thick and oppressive. The hot season was nearly at its end, but being outside still felt like torture.

He sat on the edge of the pool with his feet in the water. “Oh. Malamig nga.” He swung his legs, enjoying the feel of it. He was instantly in a good mood.

Picking up on this, Atsumu waded closer and perched his arms on the edge. “So. I’m a little surprised you agreed to come with. Is pool water not a no-no, then?”

“Why would it be?”

“Uh...because germs?”

“I don’t exactly have a phobia of germs, I’m just wary of things that could make me get sick. If things are safe then I don’t have an issue. Cleanliness increases the chances of safety,” he explained, feeling indulgent. The water felt really nice, and he knew Jun maintained it. “Also, I like when things are neat, so what.”

“So you’re a hypochondriac?”

He shook his head. “I have General Anxiety Disorder, which basically just means I worry excessively about a number of things. I’m always low-key anxious all the time, but it flares up with stress.”

He’d been extremely stressed at the start of all this, but he was doing better now. And Atsumu seemed to have learned from his past mistakes, because now he was making an effort to keep things clean. Kiyoomi appreciated it. Not that he would ever tell him.

“So you don’t have social anxiety?” Atsumu clarified.

Kiyoomi made a face. “No, I just don’t like people.”

Atsumu stared at him. “I don’t know what I expected.”

He shrugged. Then he took off his shirt and slipped into the pool, the cold water making him shudder. He took a deep breath then let himself slip under, forcing his body to adjust to the new temperature.

When he surfaced, Atsumu was still watching him. He smirked. “Your hair’s funny.”

“Shut up. At least it’s not gonna fall off due to all the bleaching.”

Atsumu scowled. “My hair won’t fall off.”

“It’s only a matter of time.”

Atsumu fingered a lock of wet hair. “The roots are showing already.”

“Nothing to do about it now.”

“Yeah. I’m still cute anyway.”

Kiyoomi rolled his eyes. “Go away. I’m gonna do laps.”

“You actually know how to swim? Like properly?”

“Yes, it’s beneficial for my body.” With that, he slipped back into the water, kicked off from the wall, and started doing laps in freestyle.

It felt good. He’d already done his stretching and strengthening exercises in the morning, but he missed swimming. It was something his mother insisted he get into at an early age, saying it would help with the hypermobility and all the pains that comes with it.

He shouldn’t have ignored the pool for so long. He made a mental note to add swimming to his new routine.

“Even here, you’re boring,” Atsumu complained when he surfaced to take a breather. Atsumu was lounging in a donut float, sipping what looked like fruit juice from a glass.

“I want one,” he said.

Atsumu gestured to the edge of the pool, where a tray sat. “I ordered a while ago.”

Mood further lifted, Kiyoomi swam over and took the remaining glass that had a metal straw poking from it. He studied the drink; it was a pale yellow-green. He took a cautious sip and decided it was calamansi. He took another sip, enjoying the sweet-sour taste.

There was a bowl of fruits on the tray, too. He plucked up a grape and popped it in his mouth, savoring the explosion of juice in his mouth. It was seedless.

“Hey, Omi, give me some,” Atsumu called out.

“Which one?”

“Mmm, pineapple? Oh, I want grapes, too. There’s melon too, right? And —”

Kiyoomi sighed and picked up the entire bowl. He waded over and set it down on Atsumu’s lap.

However, while he was doing that, he accidentally spilled his drink on Atsumu’s stomach, and he startled.

“Jesus, that’s cold —!” Atsumu squirmed too much and unbalanced himself — next thing Kiyoomi knew, he was tumbling right into the water, taking the fruits and his glass of juice with him.

He could only stare, open-mouthed. Then he started laughing. What kind of idiot was Atsumu, seriously?

When Atsumu surfaced again, his hair was plastered on his face and bits of fruits were floating around him. The sight triggered another round of laughter.

Atsumu mopped his hair away from his eyes. “That’s what makes you laugh?”

“You’re so stupid,” he chortled. “Your face is so stupid.”

“Gee, thanks.” Atsumu looked around the pool. “Manang is gonna kill us.”

--

He was getting better at weaving. He now took only a week — well, three days, because they visited thrice a week — to make one basket.

But today, his progress was slow, because he was distracted by the dog. He watched Atsumu play with Brownie with no small amount of jealousy. Of course the dog liked him already. Of course.

“Teammates only? Talaga?” Lydia asked him, pulling his attention from the sight.

“Hmm. Kaibigan na,” he allowed. Kiyoomi could now actually say he and Atsumu were friends. He should tell Komori. His cousin probably wouldn’t believe him.

Gwapo siya, no?” He recognized the word. Handsome.

“Um.” He flicked another glance at Atsumu. He was now sitting on the grass, letting the dog jump and slobber all over him. He hugged Brownie, voice pitched high and sweet as he cooed. “Siguro,” Kiyoomi tested the new word he now knew meant ‘maybe.’

Sobrang gwapo niya,” Lydia insisted.

Oo na,” he whined.

Lydia laughed boisterously. “You, too. Bagay kayo.”

He frowned. He didn’t know that yet. “What’s that mean?”

But Lydia only winked at him. “Konti na lang.” Then she left.

“Wait, what?” he called after her to no avail.

“Omi!” Atsumu called him. “Come pet the dog!”

He really, really wanted to pet the dog. But he knew better than to approach an animal that wasn’t familiar with him.

“It’s fine,” Atsumu insisted, noticing his hesitation. “We’ve been visiting for like a month now, he knows us. And they said he doesn’t bite anyway.”

Kiyoomi abandoned his basket and approached carefully. Brownie tilted his head at him and lolled his tongue out, tail wagging.

He crouched down, knees cracking, warily holding out a hand. Brownie pressed a cold nose at it, and after sniffing it for a while, licked it.

“See?” Atsumu said smugly. “He’s nice!”

Kiyoomi stroked fingers over Brownie’s head, relaxing. He sat on the grass, and that was all the invitation the dog needed to trample all over him. He petted Brownie, smiling. He liked dogs.

“Smile!”

He looked up just in time to see Atsumu point his phone camera at him. Indulging him, Kiyoomi smiled, lifting the dog a little. This was a charming little moment and Kiyoomi wanted to remember it forever.

But he secretly thought he was most charmed by the way Atsumu was smiling, too. He was half-hidden by his phone, nowhere near being the subject of the photo, but Kiyoomi spied the fond curve of his lips.

Gwapo.


Oh no.

Chapter Text

Days slipped by and Kiyoomi’s routine once again shifted, this time to accommodate one loud, hyperactive teammate.

While Kiyoomi was content to stay in one place reading or watching or studying, Atsumu was practically climbing the walls in boredom. He wanted to chill by the pool, wanted to swim on the beach, wanted to explore.

“I can’t believe we’re in a country with over 7,000 islands and we’re stuck here,” Atsumu complained one day. “Can you believe this, Omi? Even just on this island there’s so much to discover, but we’re stuck in this room!”

“Most of the country is still under quarantine.”

“Yes, and it’s horrible. When will this end? I’m losing my mind.”

Kiyoomi massaged his forehead. “I’ve been reading updates, and people suspect the government might decide to transition to a looser quarantine next time.”

This made Atsumu perk up. “Really? Jeez, I don’t even know what day it is anymore, my body clock is whack. I don’t know if it's yesterday or today or tomorrow. Is it day? Is it night? All I know is that it’s 2020.”

Kiyoomi rolled his eyes at the dramatics and checked his phone. “It’s May 17. It will be another week or so before the president makes another address. I guess we’ll see what they decide.”

Atsumu sighed and flopped back down on the bed. After a moment of staring at the ceiling, he said, “Wanna watch another movie?”

“We are not watching ‘Four Sisters and a Wedding’ again. We already watched it twice.”

“Wanna go out?”

“To where exactly?”

Atsumu shifted restlessly on the bed. “Biking? Just around here?”

He paused. “I...don’t know how to bike.”

This had Atsumu sitting up. “What? That’s a travesty. Alright, get up, we’re rectifying this right the hell now.”

As they made their way to the lobby, Asumu demanded, “How do you not know how to bike?”

“I grew up in Tokyo. I took the train everywhere.”

“And what of it? I take the train everywhere, too!”

He shrugged. “There was just never any reason to learn. Tokyo’s cramped, my family has a car, I didn’t have friends. Who’d I bike with? I don’t think even Komori knows how to bike.” Kiyoomi and Komori’s mothers came from old money. If they really wanted a bike they’d have gotten one, but it wasn’t exactly encouraged, especially not with Kiyoomi’s condition.

“Well, you’re missing half your life. Don’t worry, I’ll teach ya.”

That was not comforting. He started to realize this might be a bad idea.

Ronell the security guard guided them to the bikes, and they wheeled them out of the property. The street outside was empty, thankfully.

“Okay, just get up there — these are the brakes, squeeze both of them — you gotta push off from the ground and start cycling, I don’t know what to tell you, that’s all there is to it.”

Kiyoomi stared at him. “You are the shittiest teacher.”

“Look, I’ll show you.” Atsumu straddled his bike and demonstrated. He biked a ways away, then turned and biked back towards him. He took a hand off from a handle. “See? Easy peasy. You just gotta balance.”

If Atsumu could do it, then he could too, he told himself. It seemed simple enough, even kids found this easy.

But he found that it was impossible to let his feet leave the ground for even a second, knowing he might fall.

“Just cycle!” Atsumu snapped.

“I’m gonna fall!’ he snapped back.

“You won’t if you cycle!”

Growling under his breath, he tried again, cursing Atsumu in his head. He kicked at the ground, setting the bike in motion, and managed to get his feet up on the pedals. But the bike rocked from side to side and he panicked when he realized he was going to fall, but then — he didn’t.

Atsumu was suddenly there beside him, hand catching one of the handles, curling over Kiyoomi’s fingers. Gravity pulled Kiyoomi’s body into him and he reflexively grasped at Atsumu’s shirt with his free hand.

Atsu,” he let slip in his panic.

Quick as a flash, Atsumu wound an arm around Kiyoomi and grasped the abandoned handle, balancing the bike. “Why are you letting go of the handle? Jesus Christ, Kiyoomi. I just said —”

“You barely said anything,” he bit out. “You’re absolutely useless and I hate this and I want to go back in now. You nearly killed me!”

“Can you stop being a drama queen for once? Be still.”

And then Atsumu pushed the bike, making the pedals cycle. Kiyoomi’s feet were dragged by the motions, and he frowned down at the ground.

“Don’t look down,” Atsumu said. “Look where you’re going.”

Kiyoomi rolled his eyes. It wasn’t like he was actually biking. But he looked back up at the road ahead of them.

“Am I not heavy,” he wondered idly. Atsumu was practically carrying him. With the help of a bike, sure, but balancing him on it must be tricky.

“You are extremely heavy, actually. This is a core workout for me.” Atsumu sounded winded, but they were moving steadily. “No hard feelings if I accidentally drop you.”

The pressure of Atsumu’s hand over his from where he was still gripping the handle was tight, almost painful. Kiyoomi watched Atsumu’s forearms flex.

Somehow, he didn’t think they’d fall.

He relaxed. “You know, Miya, maybe you’re not that bad.” Perhaps being friends wasn’t such a bad thing after all. Atsumu was reliable, he liked that in a person.

“What did I tell ya?”

“I forgot.”

“You’re such a damn liar, Omi-kun.”

“You’re starting to hurt my hand.”

Atsumu’s right hand loosened its grip, and Kiyoomi wormed his fingers out from under it. He curled them into a fist then stretched. Then he pointed into the distance where a sari-sari store was located. “Let’s go there.”

There was a sigh, but Atsumu kept them moving. Kiyoomi curled his fingers around the forearms on either side of him as if he were on a ride in an amusement park. He was starting to enjoy this. Making Atsumu suffer was always a good time.

By the time they reached the store, Atsumu’s forehead was beaded with sweat and he was panting. Kiyoomi smirked at him, and in a fit of generosity, bought him a soft drink, which was served in a tiny plastic bag with a plastic straw. He also bought a bunch of random snacks, curious to try them.

As he and Atsumu walked back, pulling the bike between them, he thought he was glad to have gotten to know this side of him. Kiyoomi was never good at forming relationships with people. He loved his family but his parents were always busy, and his older siblings had their own lives. He’d gotten along with all his teammates well enough, but he wouldn’t call them friends. The closest he had to one was Komori, but he was his cousin, and he wasn’t always there.

He gazed sideways to study Atsumu. He was handsome. It really was no wonder ladies on the street giggled and whispered at the sight of him. Esme and Lydia wouldn’t shut up about him being gwapo — they call Kiyoomi that, too, but he thought they were biased.

They weren’t biased about Atsumu. Lazy eyes, proud nose, thick eyebrows, pouty lips — if Kiyoomi hadn’t seen him at his awkward phase in high school, he probably would have had an internal freakout seeing him at the Black Jackals tryouts. Atsumu was cute when he was 17, there was a reason he had so many fangirls, but at 23, he was unfairly gorgeous. His hair was longer now, fringe brushing his cheek, dark roots bleeding from his scalp, and it should look tacky, but it didn’t. He was two shades tanner than Kiyoomi was used to seeing him, and he had freckles. Not many, not even enough to really be noticeable, but up close they were easy to spot. They were sprinkled on his cheeks and over his nose. Give him some more sun and Kiyoomi suspected there’d be more.

Atsumu glanced back at him, hair slipping to hang over a warm brown eye. “What?”

The question came with a tiny smile, a fascinating new thing that was appearing more and more. He felt like it was a brand new Atsumu that he was seeing.

“Nothing,” Kiyoomi answered, feeling rather strange.

He thought perhaps they were showing parts of them they never showed anyone else.

It was nice.

--

The next time he woke to find he’d cuddled Atsumu while they were sleeping again, he didn’t recoil. He nestled his cheek on a solid shoulder and let the warmth lull him back to peaceful dreams.

Chapter Text

He snapped his eyes open, pulling away from a sinful dream that he could only recall flashes of: soft moans and languid touching and inky black hair. Pale skin. Moles. A tiny naked waist, a pert naked ass.

Curled around him was a familiar weight, Kiyoomi’s body heat adding to the already raging inferno inside him. His leg was curled over Atsumu again, arm slung over his chest, and he wondered what he did to deserve this.

He was hard in his shorts. He shifted his body away, and Kiyoomi’s knee grazed his aching dick and he whimpered. Please, ancestors, I’m sorry for everything, he prayed. Please end this torment.

With great care, he lifted Kiyoomi’s arm away from him, and then his leg. Then, grabbing his phone, he wobbled right out the door.

It was the crack of dawn and the sea was breathtaking. Inviting. He placed his phone on top of his discarded clothes and dived into the wild waters.

--

Osamu would not stop laughing at him.

“Shut up,” he snapped.

His twin ran a hand through his hair, his phone camera shaking. “I honestly did not see this coming. You have a thing for Sakusa?”

“Shh!” He looked around. He was alone on the beach, but Kiyoomi could be creepily silent sometimes. He might be lurking around, for all he knew. Atsumu hoped he wasn’t — he didn’t want to have to explain why he was sitting around in just his Calvin Klein briefs, which he’d put back on when he surfaced from his ill-advised skinny dipping session. What was he thinking? Right, he wasn’t. “It’s not a thing. I’m just horny for him.”

“I did think that you’d sleep together for sure. Like a lot,” Osamu said.

“You thought that? You had more confidence in me, then,” Atsumu snorted. “The dude is like, more conservative than even Maria Clara.”

Osamu furrowed his brows at him. “Who?”

He waved a hand. “Nevermind. The point is, this can’t continue. I’m force quitting this...whatever. This cannot happen, ever.”

“How did it even start?” Osamu looked nonplussed.

“Look, Samu. When I said we should be friends, I didn’t know it entailed cuddling . I was joking at first, when I was cuddling him that one time — it wasn’t supposed to be a habit. But he’s a cuddler. He’s so clingy it’s not even funny anymore. He falls asleep on me like, all the time. I let it happen once, twice, but now it’s — it happens every night!” he yelled.

“Are you sure we’re talking about Sakusa?”

Yes. He — he —” He gestured a hand wildly. “He’s cute! He wasn’t supposed to be cute!” He felt highly betrayed.

Sakusa?”

Atsumu smacked a hand on his face and muffled some frustrated screaming noises. “He just stopped caring. He was mad about it at first, but he doesn’t even pretend to be, now. It’s getting out of hand. A while ago, I had to leave before he woke up and go on a run. If I didn’t, he’d have felt my boner, and then he’d really murder me.”

Osamu choked. “Gross! Fuck you, Tsumu.”

“I told you, it’s becoming a problem. Help me.”

“Dude. Why fight it? I guess I kinda see it a little...you’ll be a disaster together, probably, but it makes sense in a very strange way.” Osamu squinted. “I think…”

“You don’t understand,” Atsumu said. “He’s — he’s so high maintenance, I don’t have it in me to care for him. The hypermobility thing — the anxiety — I’m not the right person for this, damn it!”

Osamu stared at him. “Why are you already thinking long-term…?” He started laughing. “Holy shit, you like him. You like like him!”

“What, no —”

“Nothing’s even happening with the two of you and you’re already wondering how to care for him? This sounds serious. Oh my god, you’re gonna come back married.”

“We’re barely friends.” He paused. “He’s been nicer. He smiles. He laughs.” He felt like he was uncovering the real Kiyoomi and he wasn’t prepared to be blown away. Damn it. This wasn’t part of the script.

“Uh-oh.” Osamu grinned. “Your face. You’re whipped!”

“This conversation is pointless,” he gritted out. “I hate you.”

“Tsumu’s got a crush,” Osamu sang. “Tsumu’s got a —”

He hung up. He sat on the sand and stewed, letting the rising sun dry the salt water from his skin and hair.

How could he spend over seven years disliking a person, only to start wanting him within two months of being in close quarters with him? How was that possible?

He thought maybe it was his fault, for insisting on watching him every chance he got. Honestly, at first it was just for clinical purposes, but he found himself doing it more and more. He watched Kiyoomi sleep, watched him eat, watched him walk on the beach. He told himself it wasn’t creepy, that he was just taking mental notes, and he was , but now he had way more information that he bargained for. Like the way Kiyoomi’s eyes brightened when he tasted a new food he liked, and the way his nose scrunched up right before spitting something out. The way he clearly struggled in weaving baskets, but kept showing up to make them anyway. The way he listened intently to Esme’s many stories, sometimes stealing a bit of food when the cook wasn’t looking. He was so silly sometimes. Atsumu thought he could spend days just watching him in fascination.

The realization kept him up at night. And so did the memory of that moan. Atsumu thought he was lit on fire then and there. That cursed avocado shake should be banned.

Sometimes, just sometimes, he thought Kiyoomi was looking back. But that was impossible, right? Kiyoomi didn’t like anyone, didn’t even like people. Hell, he liked dogs better than people, from what he saw from his disgustingly cute interactions with Brownie.

Sakusa Kiyoomi was a study in contradictions. He was cold, but he was soft. He was prickly, but he was sweet. He was aloof but he was obsessive. He was a perfectionist who barely allowed room for error, and yet he was the most dramatic person Atsumu knew. 

Atsumu was starting to figure him out. The mystery of him was slowly but surely being uncovered, but he wasn’t braced for the consequences of it.

A new thought haunted him: Does he want me, too?

And worse: What if he did?

--

He walked back to their room in a daze, sand still clinging to him. Kiyoomi would be upset by that, but he’d just make sure there’d be no trace of it after his bath.

But when he opened the door, he was accosted by the sight of Kiyoomi bending to reach his toes, his ass like a beacon to Atsumu’s eyes.

He turned right back around and left. Back to the beach it was. Fuck, he didn’t even put sunblock. He was going to ruin his skin. If he became ugly, he’d blame Kiyoomi.

Why must he be so bendy? Atsumu tried to fish his mind from the gutter, and when he was unsuccessful, walked back into the ocean waves. He sat on the fine sand miserably, letting the water flow around him. This was his home now.

After an indeterminate amount of time, he heard footsteps approaching. Oh god, no.

“What are you doing?”

“What does it look like I’m doing, Omi-kun?” I’m trying to have a gay crisis in peace, that’s what I’m doing, he thought bitterly.

“It looks like you’re sitting in the water wearing the clothes you slept in.”

Ah right, he forgot to remove his clothes this time.

“Did you even put sunblock?” Kiyoomi asked. He was such a nagger.

“I forgot.”

“I brought one.”

Huh. That was surprisingly nice of him. Atsumu stood up, water sliding down his body and returning to the sea with a crash. He trudged back to dry sand, taking the sunblock Kiyoomi offered. He raised an elegant eyebrow at Atsumu and god, why was that hot?

Then he nearly swallowed his tongue when Kiyoomi took his shirt off, displaying smooth skin and rippling muscles. How could he still be so pale? Granted, he mostly stayed in, but he still still had no business being all smooth porcelain.

Kiyoomi dropped his shirt on the ground and waded into the water. Atsumu watched him go, unable to look away.

This felt like a fever. When will it break? Can he ever be cured? He didn’t want this.

He busied himself by putting sunblock on his face. Then he took off his shirt and boxers, and lay on the sand to let himself dry. He no longer gave a fuck. He looked good in these briefs. Hell, he modeled them.

“Atsu, won’t you swim?”

Atsu, he thought. Atsu. He was no longer ‘Miya.’ Kiyoomi had picked up the nickname the locals gave him because ‘Atsumu’ was too foreign on their tongue. It sounded different coming from Kiyoomi. Intimate. Atsu.

“I’ll be right there,” he said.

“Can we go to the deeper parts?”

Why do you need me there, he wanted to scream. Why am I suddenly your favorite person in the world?

He’s trying to kill me, Atsumu decided.

“Sure, Omi-Omi.” He didn’t want to call him Kiyo. Omi-Omi was just his.

Later, when he’d slathered sunblock along the rest of his body and waited the necessary minutes for it to settle down, he joined Kiyoomi in the water. Together, they swam deeper and deeper, until they were shoulders-deep. Kiyoomi hesitated.

“What?” he asked.

“I might die,” Kiyoomi answered.

“Don’t be ridiculous. The currents aren’t strong at all right now. You’re a swimmer, aren’t you?”

“That’s different. Pools are contained.”

“But there’s more to explore at sea. Come on, you said you wanted to go further.” He turned away.

And then there were hands on his shoulders and legs wrapping around his torso.

Ah, fuck, he thought.

“Okay, go,” the brat ordered.

Shutting his eyes briefly, Atsumu obeyed. Deeper in the sea, it was easier to carry Kiyoomi. He barely felt like anything.

When Kiyoomi wrapped his arms around Atsumu’s neck, he prayed that he couldn’t feel the heartbeat thrumming on the base of his throat.

“I’m scared of the ocean,” Kiyoomi whispered. “Just a little. But I like it.”

“Me, too.” Deciding he needed to end this hour of vulnerability, he said, “Deep breath.”

“Wait —”

He dunked them under the surface where it was quieter. Then he swam back up, breathing in deep, tasting salt on his tongue.

Kiyoomi was spluttering behind him. “Fuck you, Miya,” he snapped.

That was more like it. He laughed.

He didn’t know how long they stayed that way. A traitorous part of him didn’t want it to end.

--

Lydia whacked him with a fly swatter, snapping, “Makinig ka! Listen! We still have a lesson.”

He dragged his eyes away from Kiyoomi petting Brownie with one hand, while clutching a pack of Milo on the other. It was a powdered chocolate drink meant to be mixed with water but he was eating it straight from the plastic packaging. He apparently learned it from the kids, and liked it. It was so strange for Atsumu to see.

Pasensya na,” he apologized.

“Okay, okay. How do you say ‘I like you’ in Tagalog?”

Gusto kita.”

“Ho do you say I love you?”

Mahal kita.”

“How do you say ‘I’ll hug you’?”

Yayakapin kita.”

“And ‘I’ll kiss you’?”

Hahalikan kita.”

“You see the pattern?”

He nodded. “Oo.”

“How do you say ‘You are the one I like’?”

Ikaw ang gusto ko.”

“And ‘You are the one I love’?”

Ikaw ang mahal ko.”

“‘You are the one for me’?”

Ikaw ang …” he rummaged through his brain. “Ikaw ang itinadhana para sa akin?”

Lydia blinked at him in what looked like shock, sitting back. “Wow! That’s advanced! Simplest was ‘Ikaw ang para sa akin.’ But tadhana is a nice word, very serious.” She squinted at him. “You just said ‘You’re the one fated for me.’ Could also be ‘You’re the one made for me.’”

He shifted on his seat uncomfortably. “Oh. I just learned it on TV…and it’s in many local songs.”

“Very good!” She looked pleased. “You know, Blas wrote me letters saying all that. He was very romantic. So you have to learn, too.”

“I won’t need it…”

“Uh-huh. Okay, sige. Anyway, kain na tayo.” Raising her voice, she called out, “Kiyo, let’s eat!”

Kiyoomi abandoned the dog and walked towards the house, telling them he’ll wash his hands first. It amazed Atsumu how well he’d adjusted. He didn’t mind eating with his hands anymore, stopped flinching when the kids spoke to him, and he’d even developed a taste for the strangest food.

He apparently really liked eating green mangoes with bagoong, which was fermented fish — it had a rather strong, off-putting smell that made him scrunch up his face at first, but now it was his favorite snack. He also developed a rather unhealthy obsession with the sari-sari store candies, so now he often went outside to buy them. He was even learning the bike a little. It was slow-going, probably because he always freaked out at the slightest wobble, but there was a bit of progress there.

He wasn’t sure who the guy was anymore. This was not the Sakusa Kiyoomi he’d known since he was 15. This wasn’t even the Sakusa Kiyoomi that became his teammate last year.

Isara mo ang bibig mo, baka may pumasok na langaw,” Lydia told him, tittering.

“Huh?”

She shook her head. “Wala. Nothing.”

Their lunch was sinampalukang manok, a sour soup with chicken meat. At this point, he wasn’t surprised when Kiyoomi declared that he liked it — it had become apparent that he was a fan of sour, on top of sweet. He’d also liked the sour fruit called kamias that Lydia had plucked from a tree and handed to him after rinsing. He’d dipped that in soy sauce and, long story short, they now always went home with a tupperware of the thing. He’d often hear Kiyoomi crunching on it in their room.

It was a little too sour, too raw for Atsumu. He knew Kiyoomi was weird, but he was starting to think he might be the weirdest out there.

After their meal, Kiyoomi made him try the powdered Milo “as dessert.”

“It’s good,” he insisted. “Both as a drink and as a snack.”

“This is not meant to be a snack —” He was interrupted by a plastic wrapper being shoved in his mouth. He had no choice but to take it and tap the contents into his mouth.

He chewed lightly at the powder, ran it across the roof of his mouth with his tongue. He swallowed. “Okay. It’s good.”

Kiyoomi grinned at him — a real grin, straight white teeth peeking out from rosy red lips. It brightened his entire face and nearly blinded Atsumu.

Gusto kita.

It dawned on him that he might be in deeper than he thought.

Fuck. Osamu was right.

Chapter Text

Quarantine measures were relaxed on June 1. After two and a half months, the government was doing away with the “enhanced community quarantine” in favor of a “general community quarantine,” and Atsumu had no clue about what the difference was — all he registered was that they had more freedom now.

More shops and services started to reopen, and the town became much livelier, albeit mostly still free of crowds. Apparently, not many foreigners remained — there were a handful who got stranded, and several who willingly chose to stay, and expats who had long since settled here, and that was it.

It was the perfect time to explore. They mostly had the island to themselves and while the days were still hot, the humidity was no longer as stifling. Atsumu was nearly vibrating in excitement.

The first thing they did, however, was go shopping. They suffered through the 5-hour van ride, which thankfully went smoothly this time, and braved a mall in Puerto Princesa. They changed more yen to peso, then picked up a bunch of new clothes and sunlock and after-sun creams and skincare and extra slippers “because you never know, Atsu.” They went grocery shopping for food supplies so they weren’t burning their money in the resort’s mini restaurant, and then they went on their way back to the resort.

The next day, they were on a motorboat headed to a lagoon. The wind on his face roused Atsumu from what felt like a two-month dream and he stared around at the ocean stretching from every direction, eyes wide in anticipation.

He glanced at Kiyoomi, snorting when he saw that he was grumpily shielding his face from the occasional splash of water. It was just the two of them in this tour, plus the sailor and the guide. He wasn’t sure about the other tour operators, but the one they were on was offered by their hotel. The manager said to just tell them whenever they wanted to go out to sea and they’d arrange it.

They had actually already gone to the first lagoon they were headed to, but at the time, there were too many damn tourists to even enjoy it. Atsumu had demanded they visit every piece of paradise this island had to offer, and Kiyoomi had grudgingly agreed, so that was what they were going to do.

It was a good idea. There was nobody around — there wasn’t a single person in sight, not even a single boat aside from theirs. Their first destination was called the Big Lagoon which boasted of clear turquoise waters surrounded by large limestone walls. Atsumu could see straight down to the sea bed. Unable to help himself any longer, he jumped right into the deep, deep water.

When he surfaced, Kiyoomi was gazing down at him from the boat, unimpressed. The sailor had tossed down the anchor and cut the engine off, so the boat was floating silently in the middle of the lagoon. There was a kayak they could use but he wasn’t in the mood to use that yet.

“At least wear a life jacket,” Kiyoomi said. 

“I will, after you take a photo of me.”

Kiyoomi rolled his eyes. Once the picture-taking (and video-taking) was over with, Atsumu hefted himself up the ladder and put on his life jacket. He hopped back into the water and this time, Kiyoomi followed.

“See, isn’t this fun?”

Kiyoomi just nodded, turned his back and swam away.

Rude.

They left each other to their own devices for a while. After some splashing around, the guide called them up to say they were headed to the Small Lagoon next door.

This one was more hidden. They sailed until they reached a massive rock wall, and slipped back into the water. They swam through the tiny crack in the wall that served as the entrance, and were amazed at the atmosphere inside. It was like their own secret little pocket of paradise. They weren't able to visit here before.

"I like this one," Kiyoomi decided.

“Feels almost magical,” he agreed.

“The water is changing temperature.”

“Hmm, yeah the guide said something about — thermocline? ‘Cause of the different layers of water.” It was a bit starting, feeling the water fluctuate from warm to cold.

“Oh, you were listening.”

“Of course I was.”

They floated on their backs for a while.

Eventually, he said, “The rest of the team would be jealous they never got to experience this.”

“That’s what they get for getting on that plane and abandoning us.”

Atsumu laughed. “Let’s tell them that. Oh wait, better yet, let’s post it on Instagram.”

“Stop posting pictures with me in it.”

“But then how will people know you’re still alive? You don’t post anything. Do you know, your brother and sister follow me now? On Twitter and TikTok, too.”

That made Kiyoomi splash around and look at him. “They did what?”

“I assumed they wanted updates about you. Do you not talk to them?”

“I check in with the family group chat.”

“Do you send pictures?”

Kiyoomi pouted and that was the only answer he needed.

“They probably miss you, they want to see your face.”

“I’ll send them selfies and tell them to unfollow you. Do they talk to you?”

“Nah, they just like the posts that have you in them. Sometimes your sister comments.”

“Saying what?”

Atsumu smirked. “You know, like how you should put lots of sunscreen on because you burn easily. Oh and to take it easy on the spicy food because your stomach can’t handle it.”

Kiyoomi flushed, eyes glinting murderously. “I’m going to kill them,” he said darkly.

“Your sister in particular likes our TikTok videos.”

“But we don’t have TikTok videos.”

Atsumu hummed, lips tugging up into a smile. His days were counted. Once Kiyoomi found the videos that featured him, he wouldn’t live to see another morning. “I think it’s about time we go back to the boat.” He started to swim away.

“Atsumu,” Kiyoomi snapped.

He swam faster.

Their next stop was called Secret Lagoon. They’d visited this already with the team, and at the time it didn’t seem so secret. With the place empty of people though, he could appreciate its beauty. The place was dwarfed by impossibly tall limestone walls and there was a white sand beach right at the center.

Their boat stopped near the shore, and they scaled down the ladder and waded towards land, Kiyoomi muttering something about how he hoped he wouldn’t accidentally step on any starfish.

There weren’t even any starfish, from what Atsumu could see.

It was fun to explore the tiny island, their feet sinking into soft sand as they peeked around the trees. They eventually found the so-called secret lagoon — it was tiny, entirely sealed off, and after standing around and appreciating the view, they went right back to the beach. They removed their life jackets for a while to go for a swim, and for lunch, their sailor and guide set up a feast for all of them.

They ate fish and fruits with their bare hands, and washed it down with Coke — he’ll regret that later — and then they packed up and headed to Shimizu Island.

On the boat ride there, he noticed that Kiyoomi looked sleepy.

“We have two more stops,” he informed him.

“I’m tired.”

“Suck it up, Omi-Omi. Aren’t you having fun?”

“I am, but I’m tired.”

“You’re just sleepy from the food.”

“That and I’m tired.”

He chuckled fondly. It was impossible to win an argument with this guy. Deciding to have mercy on him, he stood up and spoke to the sailor, asking them to take them back to town.

“Sure?” the man asked.

Oo. Bukas na lang. Siguro.”

A startled blink. “Ah! Sige. Walang problema.”

Ayaw na?” the guide asked, smiling.

Ayaw na,” he agreed. “Pagod na.”

The man nodded in understanding. “Next time na lang?”

He nodded back. “Next time.”

When he returned, he told Kiyoomi, “You get a free pass, we’re going back. We’ll continue tomorrow, or whenever.”

Without further instruction, Kiyoomi snapped off his life jacket and pulled out a towel from his dry bag. Atsumu followed suit, relieved to be out of the thing. He put his sunglasses back on and settled back with his phone.

And then Kiyoomi sat beside him, swaddled in his towel. “Show me my sister’s comments,” he requested.

Atsumu did, amused when Kiyoomi’s face got redder and redder.

“Fine, I’ll start posting stuff,” he huffed.

“I have some nice pictures of you,” he offered. “I’ll edit them first.”

“Fine,” he said again.

Atsumu flipped through his photo album, surprised by the many pictures of Kiyoomi there. He thought he was a rather good photographer, and he was having a hard time choosing which ones to show to the world. He was starting to feel rather protective of them.

He narrowed it down to five: there was one where Kiyoomi was chest-deep in crystal clear water, looking sideways into the camera, damp hair slicked back. The second one was taken from the boat, Kiyoomi floating around in the wide, wide sea. The third was one of him caught mid-laugh while he was trying to bike.

The fourth photo was one of him sleeping on their bed, the morning light caressing his cheek. He didn’t know why he took that, but he was never showing anyone that, ever.

The fifth one was freshly taken as Kiyoomi fell asleep on his shoulder on the boat ride back. Another photo that would never see the light of day.

He sent Kiyoomi only three.

He peeked down, trying to catch a glimpse of the face that was starting to become more familiar than even the back of his hand. Thin black eyebrows, long lashes, an aristocratic nose. Two aligned moles on the forehead. Small red mouth.

What was it about this face that won him a spot in his dreams?

Sakusa Kiyoomi, he marveled. Of all people it had to be you.

He curled an arm around Kiyoomi to pull him closer to him, resting his chin on damp hair. Kiyoomi felt good in his arms. He relished the moment before it was swept away by the wind.

This memory was only his.

--

“I have a problem,” he told Osamu during their next morning call.

“What now?”

“I…” He couldn’t force out the words.

“Is this about Sakusa again?”

The name triggered something in him. “I like him,” he whispered, as if confessing an unforgivable sin.

“I’m aware.”

“No, Samu, I like like him.”

“I already told you this.”

“What do I do?”

“Nothing, just let it happen.”

“What kind of shit advice is that?”

“I mean, why’d you gotta stress yourself over this? Just do what feels right. Stop being a whiny baby.”

He groaned and let his head drop on his pillow. Kiyoomi was doing yoga by the pool so he was safe for a while. “Samu, he’s gorgeous.”

“Well —”

“He’s so…”

“I actually don’t want to hear about this —”

“The doe eyes, Samu. The doe eyes. When he’s not angry, when he’s surprised, they’re…” A sigh. “He looks like an angel —”

No, he doesn’t.”

“He does when he’s sleeping! That hair...it’s so cool.”

“Cool isn’t really the way I’d put it —”

“And the moles...they’re everywhere. Everywhere. He has a hot body, too. But I already knew that. Those shoulders, fuck.”

“Okay, stop,” Osamu said firmly. “We are veering into gross territory. Can you just sleep with him and get it over with?”

“He’d probably beat me up if I try.”

“Well, you got that one right. Rest in pieces, brother.”

“You know, you’re totally useless.”

“Thanks.”

“Pray for me. I’m gonna need all the control I could muster.”

Osamu snorted. “Yeah, goodluck with that.”

Chapter Text

Things with Atsumu were weird.

They weren’t bad. In fact, things were going very well. But weird.

It started with glances that lingered a little too long. And then touches that that got a little too brave.

They were sitting with their backs against the headboard as they watched “Titanic” on Netflix. Kiyoomi vaguely remembered watching the film with his siblings when he was much younger, but the details were lost on him. Atsumu never watched it at all.

Things got a bit awkward when the sex scene in the carriage came on. The air was suddenly tense — with what, he didn’t know. It carried on until the ‘draw me like one of your French girls’ scene, and he nearly jumped when his and Atsumu’s pinkies accidentally bumped as they rested their hands on the mattress.

He stared intently at the television screen but his attention was completely diverted as he hyperfocused on the tiny touch. His heart skipped a beat when, after a long hesitation, Atsumu slowly moved his pinky until it was curling around Kiyoomi’s.

His throat clicked as he swallowed. He wondered if he should hate this. But he didn’t.

He didn’t move his hand away.

The minutes trickled by thick and slow. If the room weren’t comfortably cool, Kiyoomi thought he’d probably be sweating.

He started breathing faster when Atsumu hesitantly slid his fingers over his. For the longest time, neither of them moved, the touch sparking heat. And then Atsumu started curiously stroking Kiyoomi’s knuckles.

Kiyoomi felt faint. He no longer knew what was happening on screen. All he knew was that if either of them opened their mouth, the spell would be broken.

They didn’t say a word for the rest of the movie. And Atsumu didn’t move his hand away, not even when he started crying near the end of it. Not even when Kiyoomi’s hand became noticeably clammy.

When they settled down for bed that night, pillow barrier long since abolished, Kiyoomi lay on his back and tried to calm the crazy beating of his heart. He’d just about managed it enough to fall asleep, when that damned hand nudged his again.

He stared at the ceiling in the darkness, wondering what was happening. But he adjusted his hand just the tiniest bit, so Atsumu could hook his fingers around his.

They fell asleep with their fingers loosely entwined.

They didn’t talk about it.

--

But it kept happening.

Neither of them were quite brave enough to address it directly, or even acknowledge that it was happening. The hand-touching occurred in the dark of the night, under blankets or in spaces they couldn’t see it. But like anything, it escalated — after days of this, it turned into full-blown hand-holding.

They were exploring the town, trying out every new food they could find. Kiyoomi wasn’t much of a fan of this idea, but he did want to further immerse himself in the culture. Besides, he liked a lot of the food he’d been exposed to so far.

Atsumu didn’t have anything to worry about. He ate everything. Even the dinuguan, which turned Kiyoomi’s stomach the first time he looked at it.

He nervously adjusted his mask over his face, still low-key paranoid despite knowing the risk of transmission was low. Even the smallest chance of infection was enough to fan the flames of his anxiety. He tensed when they arrived at a particularly crowded street, hesitating.

A hand grabbed his and he startled. But it was just Atsumu.

“It’s okay,” he said. “Follow me.”

Atsumu’s bulk was a good shield and he shuffled close behind him as they made their way past the crowd. Eventually, they reached an emptier part of the street and Atsumu led them to a stall.

Isaw?” the lady vendor offered.

“Okay,” Atsumu replied. “Two.”

Kiyoomi glared suspiciously at the isaw, not liking the way it looked. It kind of resembled a barbecue, but instead it was one thin, long meat winding down the stick.

“Here, Omi. Apparently, we’re supposed to dip it in vinegar.”

“I’m not sure about this…”

“Hey, it’s not every day we’re here—"

"Yes, it is."

"—we gotta try everything! You liked the fishballs and squidballs, right?”

“Yeah.”

“I’m sure it would be fine.”

It was not fine. The moment he bit down, he detested it. Still, he gamely chewed it and swallowed. He hesitated on another bite, then decided it would be rude not to finish it. Bracing himself, he continued eating.

But then Atsumu, reading from his phone, said, “Apparently, this is pig intestines —”

Kiyoomi fast-walked out of there, eyes desperately roving his surroundings. He headed towards a patch of grass-dotted soil and spat out the food, gagging. But he made the mistake of swallowing again. The aftertaste made his stomach roll, and he vomited out the contents of his stomach.

“I’m so sorry,” he heard Atsumu say behind him. He sounded like he was half-laughing. “I didn’t know, I swear. It didn’t taste bad…”

“Get me a drink,” he said hoarsely.

“Okay, okay. Um, stay here.”

He spat on the ground a few more times, trying to rid his mouth of the taste. He crouched down on the ground beside his puddle of vomit and waited for Atsumu to return, his forehead dotted with sweat. He should have never agreed to this. Stupid Atsumu and his stupid pout and his stupid puppy dog eyes.

And stupid you for failing to resist him, his mind reminded.

Atsumu wasn’t gone long. He crouched down in front of him and handed him a drink. It was sago’t gulaman.

“You like this, don’t you?”

“Yeah.”

He took the cup and drank greedily, thankful that the sweet taste masked the taste of isaw. How could anyone eat that?

He exhaled when he finished the drink, feeling somewhat better. Atsumu was looking at him with a mixture of fondness and exasperation.

“You done?”

“I wanna go home.”

“Okay then.”

Atsumu held a hand out and Kiyoomi took it. He was pulled to his feet and he fit his mask back on his nose and mouth as Atsumu started leading him across the public market.

But he didn’t let go, not even when it was just the two of them, walking down an empty street. Atsumu carefully laced their fingers together and Kiyoomi’s stomach started flip-flopping again.

What are we doing, he wondered.

Without looking at Atsumu, he curled his fingers to hold his hand back. It was a strong hand. It could send the perfect toss from the most awkward angle, and slam the volleyball home during the most crucial emergency sets. Kiyoomi would trust this hand with large knives, that’s how steady it was. He knew it was also steady enough to guide them both home.

In the following days, he learned that the hand could also be comforting, when it wanted to be. The isaw — or maybe it was the gulaman — had triggered a bout of food poisoning that had him running to the bathroom every few hours as he shat and vomited in turn. In bed, he was a shivering, nauseous mess, and Atsumu was too worried to even make fun of him.

The efficascent oil was once again in constant use, and the familiar smell relaxed Kiyoomi. Atsumu rubbed the oil on his stomach, cooing about “the poor baby who can’t even eat street food.”

“No more street food,” he ordered faintly.

“But it’s good.”

“No.”

“The kwek-kwek was good.”

It was. But now Kiyoomi was traumatized.

“I’ll just ask Manang to make us some next time, how about that?” Atsumu offered.

That sounded ideal. He nodded. “But no isaw.”

Atsumu laughed. “No isaw.”

Late in the night, he woke to the feeling of a hand rubbing his back gently yet firmly. He was turned away from Atsumu, lying on his stomach, feeling rather comfortable. He stared out into the darkness, wondering what was going on in Atsumu’s mind.

In the lulling silence, it was easy for him to finally accept that he wanted that hand. Both hands. Safe hands. Because Atsumu was safe. Kiyoomi wanted him in his space.

But there was no urgency to verbalize his realization. The feeling of comfort overtook him, and it wasn’t long before he was once again gentled into sleep.

Chapter Text

He woke up with a twinge in his knee, rendered trivial by the feeling of warmth and safety. As he surfaced closer to coherency, he was made aware of the unyielding body pressed right against him and fingers carding through his hair, nails lightly scraping the scalp. He shivered unintentionally.

The fingers paused and Kiyoomi held his breath, cheeks hot. And then Atsumu continued with his ministrations without a word. Neither of them moved away.

It was too early for his brain to be freaked out about this, especially because a part of him had started to recognize this as a thing of familiarity. Except the hair thing. That was new.

He liked it.

“What do you wanna do today?” Atsumu asked in a quiet voice.

Kiyoomi swallowed and willed his voice to work. “What’s there to do?”

“We could finish our tour? There are four different ones, but we haven’t finished the first.”

Right. They’d cut it short. Well, it wasn’t like there were many options for entertainment. “Okay. Later.”

He wanted Atsumu to keep stroking his hair. And Atsumu did.

They didn’t go to any tour that day, choosing to stay in the resort, trying to act like they were unfazed by the fact that they crossed the line from accidental cuddles to deliberate ones, with a side of caresses.

They didn’t talk about it, just like they didn’t talk about any of the strange moments that have been occurring lately. But they lingered in the air between them like the cloying scent of a fragrant candle left flickering for too long. Sweet with a tinge of danger.

Something has been put into motion, something they weren’t ready to face. Their gazes started to pull each other in and lock, like two magnets crossing paths — inevitable. In the times Kiyoomi managed to resist the urge to look, he suffered the weight of Atsumu’s sticky gaze. He felt it wherever he went and however he turned. He became highly conscious of his every move.

This wasn’t a crush. This was uncharted territory.

The realization made him want to run away, but where would he even go? They were in the middle of the big blue sea.

Should he even fight it? He wasn’t stupid, he knew Atsumu was considered a catch. People would die to be in Kiyoomi’s place right now, and why wouldn’t they? Atsumu was tall, classically handsome, charming — a living, breathing Adonis. That hadn’t been enough for Kiyoomi to see the appeal, but the past three months had opened his eyes to what lay beneath the surface: a kind, hard-working man with an unquenchable thirst for life that infects even Kiyoomi. He made people want to follow him and that was dangerous. He could have anyone. He need only say the word.

But why is he looking at me?

And why am I looking back?

--

They manage to go to the second leg of their tour a few days later.

When Atsumu offered to put sunblock on his back for him, he accepted. His eyes fluttered shut as Atsumu hands ran down his back firmly but leisurely, troubled with the realization that he enjoyed the touch. A little too much.

“All done,” Atsumu said in a low voice, breath grazing the back of his neck. Goosebumps formed on Kiyoomi’s arms.

“T-thanks.” He cleared his throat and straightened. He walked out the door without waiting to see if Atsumu followed. It took a while, but Atsumu eventually caught up,

Before long, they were far from shore, seemingly smack in the middle of the vast ocean. Their sailor had tossed out the anchor and the boat was quiet and still.

Atsumu was already in the oceans below, while Kiyoomi stood safely on deck.

“Omi, let’s go,” Atsumu said, treading water.

“No.”

“Omi.”

“There are fish in there, Miya.”

Atsumu smiled innocently. “Not just fish. There’s other stuff too. That’s the point of snorkeling.”

“I don’t wanna. This was a bad idea.”

“It’s going to be fun. You can always get back up in the boat if you really don’t like it.” Atsumu held out a hand. “C’mon, it’s gonna be a waste of time if you just stay there. We went all the way out here.”

Heaving out a sigh, Kiyoomi started climbing down the ladder, warily gazing down at the startingly blue water. When his legs were submerged, he hesitated. “Atsumu.”

Atsumu swam closer, wiggling his hand. “Let’s go.”

Lips twisting unhappily, Kiyoomi reached out and placed his hand on Atsumu’s, the momentum making him sway unsteadily towards the water. He tensed and flailed his free arm.

“I got you, I got you,” Atsumu assured.

There was a light splash as Kiyoomi tumbled into the water. Then he surfaced, spluttering, reaching for Atsumu. “I just felt something slimy slither across my legs. Atsu.”

Atsumu laughter was cut off as Kiyoomi had his arms flung around his neck like a koala, terrified. Smirking, Atsumu placed a hand on his bare back and pressed him closer.

“You are aware that you are a man much taller than the average person, and that they’d probably be more scared of you than you are of them, right? They’re just tiny fish, Omi.”

“That doesn’t make me feel better. We’re in their territory. And I told you, I told you I don’t like when my feet can’t reach th—”

“We’re sinking in 3...2…”

“No, wait—”

Atsumu dragged them down under the surface, and Kiyoomi clutched tighter at him fearing that he’d drown. But barely a second had passed before they were back to breathing in air, paddling around in the water to keep afloat.

“Knew we were forgetting something,” Atsumu said.

“Shut up, liar, you just wanted to drown me,” Kiyoomi panted.

“Uy,” Atsumu called out to the guide. “‘Yung snorkels please.”

The snorkels landed next to them with a splash and Atsumu picked them up before they could sink.

“I sincerely hope they are clean,” Kiyoomi said disapprovingly.

“You literally disinfected them thrice, even though they assured they’re clean. These will taste like alcohol when we bite down on them.”

“And I will taste alcohol in my mouth when I inevitably drown to death.”

“You’re so cute, Omi-Omi.”

Kiyoomi blushed violently.

“Do you want the flippers?”

“No.”

“The life jacket?”

He hesitated. “Yes. You should wear one, too.”

“But I’m gonna free dive,” Atsumu whined. “That’s why we’re here!”

Kiyoomi frowned and chewed at his lip. He knew that logically, people really did these things and the guide would have told them if it was risky, but he couldn’t help but be anxious anyway.

“I’ll just try it for a while, then I’ll hang out up here with you.”

“Fine,” he allowed.

Kuya, ‘yung life jacket niya po, please,” Atsumu called out to the guide again.

When the life jacket landed next to them, Atsumu spread it out on the water.

“Here, you can just kinda float with this.”

“Okay.”

“But wear the snorkel and check out the marine life while you’re at it.”

Kiyoomi pouted. Sea creatures were fascinating, but he shuddered at the thought of being near them. He wasn’t sure he wanted to see them so close.

Atsumu put on his gear. “I’m gonna go down now,” he said, before biting down on the mouthpiece and disappearing into the water.

For a split second, Kiyoomi panicked, before he got a hold of himself. It’s Atsumu, he’s always fine, he thought. He knew this was his anxiety acting up more than anything, but it was hard to tamp it down in this unfamiliar territory.

He decided to put on his snorkels and goggles, and with one hand clutching at the life jacket, peeked beneath the surface.

Schools of fish swarmed below his feet, and the sea bed was rich with reefs and corals and what looked like giant clams. It was shocking how lively the marine life was there, when the surface of the ocean was so still and empty.

It was fascinating. He suddenly understood why people enjoyed this. He was happy to be watching from where he was, and he relaxed a little, seeing that there wasn’t much danger at all.

He breathed from his mouth, teeth biting down at the mouthpiece, and watched Atsumu swimming below.

With the sunlight streaming and breaking across the clear waters, his smooth, muscled skin glowed with playful patterns. He glided with the fish like he was at home, and Kiyoomi thought he was the most beautiful creature there.

He wouldn’t mind following him deep down under. Luckily, Atsumu didn’t ask.

--

He watched Atsumu sleep in the barely-there morning light. Dawn was just breaking. He’d woken up earlier than Atsumu this time, which made him feel like he regained some of the control in their teetering little boat. He was still a little too close to him for comfort, but he couldn’t bear to move away.

This way, he could count the freckles on the bridge of his nose and marvel at his dark lashes, his bushy eyebrows. Unable to help himself, he touched a cheek, wondering how it could be so soft.

If someone told him years ago that he'd one day yearn to touch Miya Atsumu — his high school rival and the most obnoxious person he knew — he’d have laughed in genuine amusement.

Who’s laughing now, he thought. The Fates, maybe.

He didn’t know why he did it. Maybe curiosity got the better of him, or maybe it was because Atsumu looked so beautiful in that moment of time. Either way, he couldn’t resist. Holding his breath, he leaned forward and pressed his lips to his cheek.

“Morning,” Atsumu rasped out.

Kiyoomi jerked away, cheeks hot, as Atsumu turned his head and squinted at him groggily.

“Didya just kiss me, Omi-Omi?”

“No,” he glared.

“If you wanted a kiss, you should have ju—”

Kiyoomi grasped a pillow and smacked it on the bastard’s face. He shuffled his way off the bed, but was stopped when Atsumu grabbed his hand, laughing.

“I’m kidding! Come back.” There was a teasing edge in Atsumu’s voice, which would have irritated him before, but only served to make him blush now.

As always Kiyoomi caved. He settled back down and frowned grumpily at the ceiling, mortified at being caught in the act. He refused to look at Atsumu, who he could feel was staring at him. He waited, tense, for him to bring it up.

“You know, I had a weird dream,” Atsumu said.

“What,” he asked suspiciously.

“Well, we were lying down on the grass...”

“I was there, too?”

“Yeah, just the two of us. We were beside some river or something, it was very peaceful. Then we heard a gunshot and saw someone get murdered.”

“What the fuck.”

“So we jumped into the river to hide and swam with frogs —”

“Ew.”

“—so we could escape. And then we ran home, but when we got to your house, your parents told you they had arranged a wedding for you —”

“A wedding…”

“—and that your fiance was arriving. And then he did, on an elephant. He was apparently some prince. And then you started running away and you dragged me with you, and we ran for a long time until we reached a highway. Then we hopped on a jeep, and then on the road, we encountered an angel. Then I woke up.”

Kiyoomi turned his head to stare at Atsumu. “Is this because we watched Aladdin last night?”

“I mean, probably. We’ve been watching too much crap, I think. That wasn’t even the weirdest dream — have yours been extra vivid lately? — anyway, the other night, I dreamed...”

He listened to Atsumu talk as the room got steadily brighter, signaling that he should get up and start his morning routine.

But he didn’t want to let go of Atsumu’s hand, which was still curled around his, unheeded.

Everything else could wait.

His lips still tingled with a phantom feeling, and he fought the urge to touch them. Kiss, his mind whispered. That was a kiss.

It was all he thought about that day.

Chapter Text

Atsumu was playing the guitar. Not well, because he’d recently just started learning from Blas, but he personally thought it was actually sounding like music now.

The elderly man had abandoned him with a songbook to study, and was currently sitting with Kiyoomi, who was weaving baskets. He’d moved on to making bigger ones now. He looked like he was in pain sometimes, but he kept going.

Atsumu sometimes wanted to offer help, but he knew it wouldn’t be appreciated. So he turned his attention back to the instrument he was determined to learn, ignoring the hushed conversation between the two men.

The worst part about learning the guitar wasn’t forcing your fingers to remember where to go for each chord — it was the pain that came with it. His fingertips were raw and peeling, his hand shaking from the stress. Pressing down on the strings has become its own form of torture. But he was determined to learn. He’d never picked up an instrument during his childhood, and if there was a time to do it, it would be now, while the world was in a standstill.

He took a break when he could no longer stand the pain. Impulsively, he glanced over at Kiyoomi, who was already staring back.

Feigning normalcy, Atsumu raised an eyebrow at him, a silent question.

“You suck,” Kiyoomi informed him.

The words sparked some irritation and he glared. “I’ll learn it. You’ll see.”

Kiyoomi just turned back to his baskets and resumed his work. Lightly, he said, “I know you will. That’s just the kind of person you are.”

Irritation gone as if it were never there, Atsumu sat still, rendered speechless. In a daze, he turned back to the guitar, absently plucking some strings, wondering when Kiyoomi learned him well enough to say those words so confidently.

Somehow, it didn’t occur to him that while he watched Kiyoomi, he was being watched right back. But that made sense, didn’t it? It was only the two of them here. 

He thought of the first time Kiyoomi clung to him in the ocean, the softness in his voice when he admitted he was scared of the ocean. He thought of the way Kiyoomi reached for him that second time, sure that with Atsumu, he wouldn’t drown.

He flicked a glance at Kiyoomi whose full attention was on the basket now.

Kiyoomi didn't need him, Atsumu knew that. This was a man who turned his pain into power, who bore his struggles so well that most people didn't even notice. He had a quiet strength in him which exploded when he was on the court, giving people no room to doubt that he was there because of his own efforts. And for all their disagreements over the years, Atsumu had always appreciated the hard work he put into everything.

He didn’t realize until recently just how hard he’d been working. Even now, Atsumu could see that his fingers were trembling, but he never faltered in his weaving. He never needed to put himself through this, but they were here because he had prioritized kindness over his own comfort and anxiety. A late wave of admiration washed over Atsumu.

“You know, Omi, you’re probably the strongest person I know,” he said.

It was Kiyoomi’s turn to raise an eyebrow at him, a strange look on his face. “Are we having an open forum now, Miya?”

Atsumu rolled his eyes, the knot in his chest easing. What a smartass. Music started to fill the air again as Atsumu started strumming the guitar, still lost in thought.

No, Kiyoomi didn’t need him, but he’d slowly been letting Atsumu carry some of the weight. It humbled him, this show of vulnerability, knowing it was not something most people were privy to. He didn’t know when they learned to trust each other, but it was getting harder to deny that they were hurtling towards something still unnamed.

The press of soft lips on his cheek still lingered.

It scared him, a little.

--

June 12 was the Philippine Independence Day. It was also the day that the state weather bureau declared that the rainy season has officially started. They weren't surprised — it had been raining persistently the past couple days, which made sense because the country's second cyclone of the year was nearing landfall.

He and Kiyoomi were driven into their room for the duration of the storm. They kept the curtains wide open so they could watch the rain; then they put on some music and played cards on their bed.

Blas had taught them how to play Pusoy Dos, traditionally a game for four people, but there was a way for two people to play it, too. It was their new addiction.

Atsumu slapped down a full house, which made Kiyoomi frown and glance at the dwindling deck of cards. “You’re cheating.”

“I’m not! How could I cheat?”

“You are. It’s not possible that you managed to draw a full house.”

“I’ve been building it since kanina pa.”

“No, you’re cheating. Bastos.”

Atsumu laughed. That was Kiyoomi’s new favorite word, and he used it against Atsumu hourly because “it’s the perfect word to describe your obnoxious ass.”

He won the game and Kiyoomi demanded another round. The dude was good at handling defeat when it came to sport, knowing that he did all he could, but losing to Atsumu in random games apparently rankled him.

They played until it was late afternoon and Kiyoomi ordered him to cook. Atsumu knew how, of course — as if he’d let Osamu beat him — but Kiyoomi wanted Filipino food and that was a bit of a challenge.

“What, you can’t do it?” Kiyoomi raised an eyebrow at him.

He was up on his feet in a second, heading to their kitchenette. “Of course, I can. I’ve been paying attention to Esme and Lydia, you know.” Ugh, god, he was doing this then.

He gathered some ingredients from their mini refrigerator and cupboards, thankful that they’d been picking things up from the store whenever they were out. He left a plastic bag of chicken out to thaw, and lay out the ingredients he’d be using later before walking back to bed.

“I gotta thaw the chicken first,” he said.

“‘Kay. Can I have water?”

Atsumu turned back around and got him a bottle, cracking it open and handing it to him when he was within reach. “Now what?” he sighed as he flopped back on the bed.

Kiyoomi took a sip from the bottle. “Slapjack?”

“Last time you got mad because I slapped your hand too hard.”

“I won’t anymore.”

“You keep saying that…”

“Fine, movie marathon, then.”

“Or let’s start a new series.”

“Okay.”

They eventually decided on watching “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” a comedy series they’ve heard about before but never got around to watching. Luckily, Netflix Philippines provided the option for Japanese subtitles, because while they had a good grasp on English, it took a lot of their concentration to keep up when it was spoken too soon.

They regretted not starting it sooner because they were in stitches halfway through the first episode, and just like that, they were hooked.

This was a good idea, Atsumu thought. He side-eyed Kiyoomi, who had given up on trying to muffle his laughter, and was now watching with a near permanent grin on his face. Atsumu decided they should watch comedy more often. Luckily, there were six seasons of this.

A couple hours later, they paused so Atsumu could cook sopas. The word literally translated to ‘soup,’ which would be vague anywhere else, but was very specific in the Philippines. Apparently, when one says sopas, they mean soul-healing, stomach-warming creamy chicken soup. It was one of the earlier recipes that Esme had taught him.

After consulting back and forth with the notes he’d taken on his phone, Atsumu had two steaming bowls of sopas on the dining table.

He and Omi sat down to eat, and he waited with bated breath as Kiyoomi took a sip of the soup. He licked his lips, then tried another spoonful. Then he nodded. “This is actually good.”

Atsumu puffed out his chest. “See! I told you I could do it.”

Kiyoomi gave him a tiny smile. “Good. You can cook it for us when we’re back in Japan.”

They ate in between comfortable conversations, but Atsumu was distracted, thinking of the way Kiyoomi said ‘us’ as if he meant ‘you and me.’

He would have thought Kiyoomi would be sick of Atsumu after all this, so why was he imagining a future that had ‘you and me ’ in it?

Kiyoomi offered to clean up after dinner, and Atsumu went through his nighttime routine, wondering. Was it the familiarity that kept drawing Kiyoomi closer to him? Or their shared trauma of being stranded far from home amidst a global crisis?

After getting ready for bed, they continued watching “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” and ended up watching until the wee hours of the morning.

At some point, Kiyoomi started shifting restlessly, trying to find a comfortable position, and Atsumu wondered if his aches and pains were bothering him again.

He held an arm out before he could think about it. “C’mere.”

Kiyoomi frowned at him, but eventually inched closer. This was treading the already blurred lines between them, straying too close to acknowledging the things that must not be acknowledged. But he wrapped his arm around Kiyoomi when the other man leaned on him, rubbing his shoulder absently.

“I like Boyle,” Kiyoomi said quietly.

“Boyle? Really?”

Kiyoomi nodded. “He has good taste.”

Atsumu laughed at that. Of course. Kiyoomi was raised rich and proper and traditional, he probably sees the character as one of his people. “I like Rosa.”

“Rosa is badass,” Kiyoomi agreed.

It was no surprise when Kiyoomi fell asleep on him again. He let the episode play even though he’d stopped paying attention, too focused on running a hand up and down Kiyoomi’s arm.

After a while, he picked up one of Kiyoomi’s hands and studied it. It looked like a normal hand, but he knew by now that what was wrong was inside. It was a strong hand, a man’s hand. The fingers were long and elegant, but the skin was rough and littered with thin, tiny scars, and a dash of moles.

Atsumu laced his fingers through Kiyoomi’s, studying the way they fit. He secretly loved holding Kiyoomi’s hand, it was his guilty pleasure. He was still surprised he’d been getting away with it. That Kiyoomi wasn’t punching him for it.

He lifted the hand closer to his face. Heart thundering in his chest, he bowed his head and slowly pressed a kiss on the knuckles.

Seized by panic, he froze and waited for Kiyoomi to wake up and deck him, maybe spray alcohol into his eyes, but his breathing remained steady.

With a sigh, he lowered their hands and thunked his head back onto the headboard. 

What the fuck am I doing, he wondered. I’m going crazy.

He never did this. He never caught feelings. He slept around, sure, mostly to blow off steam, but he never dated. He was married to volleyball — his life and decisions have long since been overtaken by his passion and determination to make a career out of the sport he loved, and he was happy with that. He was happy with his life.

But he supposed if there was anything the pandemic was teaching him, it’s that everything could change in a blink of an eye. There really was no telling what could happen. Kiyoomi was just the latest of a string of unexpected developments.

He didn’t know how to feel about that, yet.

Chapter Text

Looking back, he should have seen it coming.

They got sucked into “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” to the point where they were sleeping late and waking early. They binged until it was all they did, and he didn’t notice, didn’t realize that Kiyoomi hadn’t been doing his exercises. 

When Kiyoomi stood up and hovered beside the bed one morning, he didn’t think much of it. Not until he started letting out soft gasps that soon became clear were tiny sobs.

Atsumu jerked upright into a sitting position, alarmed. “What, what is it, what’s wrong?”

“It hurts,” Kiyoomi said inconsolably.

He was already on his feet, rounding the bed. “What does?”

“Everything. Standing up.” Kiyoomi shuffled closer to the bed and carefully folded himself under the blankets again. He let out a pained whimper and sobbed.

Atsumu sat on the edge, hands hovering nervously. “What should I do?”

Kiyoomi shook his head but otherwise ignored him. Atsumu tamped down the frustration threatening to overwhelm him and headed to the kitchenette. Food, he thought. Pain killers, heat rub cream, hot compress.

His hands were shaking as he heated up champorado — Kiyoomi would at least like the chocolate-flavored rice porridge — and poured some in a bowl. He brought it to him, crouching down on his side of the bed.

“Omi?” he said, hushed. “C’mon, you should eat.”

There was a rustle as Kiyoomi pulled the blanket down from over his head, revealing his tear-stained face. “What’s that.”

“Champorado.”

“Oh.”

“Can you sit up?”

Kiyoomi looked devastated at having to move again.

“Okay,” he quickly said. “Just — just lean over the side of the bed —”

Kiyoomi obeyed and Atsumu fed him spoonfuls of champorado. When he’d deemed he’d had enough, Kiyoomi asked for the painkillers, and Atsumu fetched them, along with the cream and some water. Then he prepared a hot compress as Kiyoomi rested in bed.

When he returned, Atsumu sat on the bed beside him. “Where does it hurt?”

“Everywhere’s just kinda achy. But — ” He carefully reached out for the pack, drew the blanket back, and placed it on his hip. Then he pulled the blanket back up to his chest.

Atsumu watched him, feeling small and useless. How does one handle this?

“Stop looking at me like that,” Kiyoomi sighed. “It’s fine. This happens.”

He couldn’t help but be upset, frustration bubbling up in him again. He bit down mercilessly on his lip.

Kiyoomi looked at him then raised his arms slowly. Too upset to question it, Atsumu leaned forward and buried his face in his neck. They hugged each other carefully, relaxing the longer they stayed in the hold. Kiyoomi rubbed Atsumu’s back as if he was comforting him.

“‘M gonna sleep,” Kiyoomi murmured drowsily after a while, arms slipping off Atsumu’s back. “So tired.”

Atsumu hugged him tighter for a second, before drawing away. “What else do you need?”

“Sleep,” Kiyoomi mumbled, sounding out of it.

Atsumu looked down and studied Kiyoomi’s face. His eyes were already closed, lips slightly parted as his breathing starting to even out. Atsumu brushed a hand over his forehead, sweeping away the messy curls there and Kiyoomi’s lashes fluttered.

He pressed a kiss on a damp forehead. “Rest well.”

Kiyoomi let out a small sound and quieted.

Rubbing his face, Atsumu dragged himself up off the bed and started to clean up.

--

Kiyoomi slept for 14 hours.

Atsumu didn’t sleep a wink.

He lay on his back staring at the ceiling, trying not to shiver because Kiyoomi had hogged all the blankets at some point and he was too scared to move him.

When Kiyoomi finally stirred past midnight after sleeping the day away, Atsumu was instantly alert, turning his head to watch him wake.

A frown formed on Kiyoomi’s face as he blinked heavily, lips pinching. He shuffled around under the mound of blankets, looking down at them in confusion, before seeking Atsumu out with his eyes.

Then he inched closer and closer and threw a blanket over Atsumu, smoothing it down with a hand.

Atsumu was suddenly very warm, both from the gesture and the heat of the body pressed against him.

“How are you feeling?” he asked quietly.

“Mmm.” Kiyoomi shifted his body, moving closer. “Still achy, but tolerable. I’ll need a painkiller soon.”

“Midnight snack?”

“Later,” Kiyoomi insisted.

“Okay,” he said appeasingly.

He let a minute pass before he couldn’t take it anymore and turned his body to face Kiyoomi. He gathered him into a hug, a little worried that he’d hurt him. But Kiyoomi only cuddled in closer, tucking his head under Atsumu’s chin.

They relaxed in the reassuring warmth. Kiyoomi felt as solid as always — he wasn’t going to fall apart, he wasn’t going to break.

Kiyoomi’s rumbling stomach broke the spell. Atsumu pulled away and sat up. “Pancit Canton?”

“Hmm. Sounds good.”

Atsumu got to his feet, reluctant to leave their cocoon. “Midnight snack in bed,” he requested.

“Fine, but if you spill anything, you’re changing the sheets.”

Opo, opo.”

He dug out two packs of Pancit Canton from their cupboard and boiled the noodles in hot water, while he heated up pandesal. He put all the noodles in one big bowl, sprinkled the seasoning onto it, dumped the pandesal on top, and returned to the bed.

When he got there, Kiyoomi was sitting up, stretching his back and arms, a pained expression on his face.

“Alright?”

Kiyoomi dropped his arms and sighed. “Been better.”

Atsumu placed the bowl on the bed and carefully followed, sitting cross-legged on the mattress. He didn’t realize how hungry he was until he started eating. He’d forgotten to eat dinner.

Midway through their meal, he asked, “Do you not get tired of all this?”

Kiyoomi swallowed and licked his lips. “Sometimes. But I’ve had it my whole life, I just learned to deal. At this point I can’t even imagine life without it. It’s just how it is. What’s the point in pitying myself?”

“I guess…” It all seemed incomprehensible to Atsumu.

“Don’t think too hard,” Kiyoomi snorted. “Doesn’t everyone have a cross to bear?”

“Well...yeah.”

“Am I a lesser person or a lesser athlete because of some stupid disorder I was born with?”

No.” If anything, he was one of the best out there.

“So there.”

“So there,” he agreed.

What Kiyoomi didn’t seem to understand was that Atsumu would worry for him regardless of his strength.

But he wasn’t about to tell him that.

--

A couple days later, he badgered Kiyoomi until he agreed to go swimming at the beach. The other man had been moody, and made no secret that he was irritated with Atsumu’s hovering, but it wasn’t like he could help it. Kiyoomi looked like he was being tortured when he started doing his exercises again and he moved like he was a baby deer learning to walk for the first time. Who wouldn’t be worried?

He was looking much better though, and Atsumu wanted to keep him moving, get him to ease up and have some sun while he was at it. What’s a better solution than a swim?

Once they were there, Kiyoomi wore an expression that said he was feeling Wronged and Totally Entitled. Atsumu wasn’t surprised when he decided he was going to be as uncooperative as possible.

He was surprised when, as he was just about to step foot into the water, a pair of hands gripped his shoulders from behind.

Kiyoomi pressed insistently on them, and Atsumu rolled his eyes when realized what he wanted.

“You realize you’re a six-foot-four grown man, right? I hate to break it to you but you’re too big to be carried, Omi-Omi.”

“You give Bokuto piggy-back rides.” There was a pout in Kiyoomi’s voice. “I wanna go in but I’m tired.”

Well, that was true enough. And Bokuto was much heavier than Kiyoomi. He crouched down, bracing himself. “Alright then.”

Kiyoomi pressed his body against Atsumu, who sent a quick prayer to the gods, before hoisting him up. Kiyoomi’s arms wound around Atsumu’s neck and his legs bracketed his waist.

Before he could further dwell on the fact that their bare skin was touching, Atsumu marched them into the sea. The warm water was a balm to his conflicting emotions and he sighed.

Worry spiked when he felt Kiyoomi’s arms go slack.

“Don’t fall asleep,” he warned. “You might fall off my back and drown.”

“You’ll save me,” came the response, filled with quiet certainty.

You have too much faith in me, he thought. When did that happen?

He sighed. “Yeah.”

He felt Kiyoomi rest his cheek on the back of Atsumu’s head. They stayed in the water for quite some time, Atsumu swimming and floating them around, idly chatting about what Osamu has been up to lately.

When Kiyoomi was quiet for too long, Atsumu went back to shore and parked him on the sand.

“No falling asleep in the water again. Sand is okay.” He crouched down beside him, frowning, wondering if he’d be a dick if he shook him by the shoulders and told him to snap out of it already. He really wasn’t cut out to be anyone’s caretaker.

Kiyoomi looked up at him, eyes half-lidded and beckoning. He tilted his chin up and parted his lips on an exhale and Atsumu felt like he was punched in the stomach.

He couldn’t possibly be asking for what he was asking.

Atsumu swayed closer, eyes flicking down to Kiyoomi’s lips. It would be so easy to let this happen — to just close the distance between them, press their mouths together, and let the chips fall where they may.

Then a particularly large wave crashed onto the shore and the sound snapped Atsumu out of it.

He jerked away from where he’d unconsciously leaned in too close to Kiyoomi, and gestured behind him. “Uh, I gotta…” He hastily stood and hurried back to the water, blood simmering, feeling like he'd just sobered up after months of being in a drunken high.

What was he thinking? Kiyoomi wasn’t in his right mind. Neither of them were. They were two teammates who were forced together by a global crisis, for heaven’s sake. They didn’t even like each other three months ago, were they really about to kiss?

He submerged himself underwater and welcomed the silence. He wanted to kiss Kiyoomi. He really, really wanted to kiss Kiyoomi. He’d been dreaming about it. It’s become nearly all he thought about. He wanted to hold his hand, he wanted to hug him, he wanted to sleep beside him, and he wanted to kiss him.

He wasn’t stupid, he knew what was happening. This was more than a crush, went beyond an infatuation. He didn’t just like Kiyoomi, and that was the problem. He wasn’t ashamed to admit he was terrified by the speed with which he was falling.

This was dangerous. This could ruin everything. He was happy with the Black Jackals — he worked hard to get in, he worked hard to keep his place, he worked hard until he was at the top. If things with Kiyoomi got messy, it would puncture a hole at the bottom of his boat, and he wasn’t looking forward to sinking.

This was never part of the plan.

Chapter Text

The rainy season brought with it cold winds and an even colder Atsumu.

The change was subtle, but Kiyoomi, who was used to overthinking and overanalyzing, spotted the difference immediately. He was a little quieter, a little less indulgent. He even toned down the badgering, which took different forms daily. Kiyoomi’s life suddenly seemed so silent again.

Atsumu slept with his back to Kiyoomi now. He didn’t put up a pillow barrier, but he didn’t need to.

“Hey,” he tried. “I found this funny video about a local show.”

“Oh?” Atsumu looked at him. He was sitting on the desk chair, busy with his phone. Why was he there? Why wasn’t he in bed with Kiyoomi? Why weren’t they watching Netflix together?

“Yeah, it’s about these two women fighting over a man, one of them is the abandoned legal wife and one of them is the new girlfriend.”

“Hmm.” Atsumu turned back to his phone. “Sounds pretty typical.”

He didn’t push, didn’t bother to bring it up again. He could take a hint. The video didn’t seem all that funny anymore.

He knew this was his fault. He’d gotten carried away, made himself too obvious. That day on the beach, he wanted to kiss Atsumu so bad, but he repelled him instead.

No one ever told him feelings were this shitty. He regretted having developed them.

But he also thought he should have seen this coming. He always thought Atsumu was something of a wildcard, which was why he stayed away from him in the first place. He didn’t like unpredictability, he didn’t like surprises. Atsumu was an emotional person, and his moods often fluctuate.

He shouldn’t be surprised by the sudden change but he felt like he got whiplash anyway. He’d let down his guard.

But how do you unlearn a person? How do you reverse what’s already been started?

For him, at least, the last one was impossible.

--

The hotel was throwing a party.

Apparently, it was celebrating its 15th anniversary, and the owners were treating their remaining staff and handful of guests for a salu-salo. There’ll be food, and people, and music, and dancing.

Kiyoomi loathed the thought of it. But he couldn’t say no in the face of Esme’s excitement.

“I’ll cook all your favorites,” Esma assured him. “There won’t be many people, you’ll see. Just the people here. Small party.”

“I don’t know…”

“El Nido is COVID-free. Guests mostly stay in the hotel.” She gave him a stern glance. “You go. Yes?”

Opo,” he sighed, seeing no way out.

He supposed he needed a break from Atsumu, too. Things were still off between them, and he was sick of thinking about it.

But he had decided this was a good thing. They’d become too entangled the past few weeks, he barely recognized himself. It was time to draw the line on the sand and relearn borders. He felt like he was shaking himself awake from a long, impossible dream. It was clinging to him, unwilling to let go, but at least he knew which was reality now.

The party did turn out to be small. Aside from him and Atsumu, there was the American couple that was on the van with them the day they got stranded; there was a group of twenty-somethings that probably came here together for a fun vacation; and an old man he was only seeing now. The rest were familiar though, having seen them around every once in a while.

Heidi was there, as well as Maria and Christina. They were mingling with guests instead of working, bright smiles on their faces.

People were ogling Atsumu. He fought the urge to snap at them.

Atsumu, however, basked in the attention, as usual. It didn’t take long for him to leave Kiyoomi behind in favor of speaking enthusiastically with everyone. Some he spoke to with more familiarity than others, and Kiyoomi realized he must have interacted with them before.

Feeling somewhat lost, he migrated to where Heidi, Christina, and Maria were now gossiping amongst themselves.

“Kiyo!” Maria greeted. “Si Atsumu?”

He jerked a thumb to point behind him, and the girls peeked past him.

Madaldal siya, no,” Christina said. Talkative, he remembered.

He nodded. “Oo.”

“Stay here with us!” Heidi said excitedly. “Let’s drink.”

Kain muna,” Maria said.

They had their meals served, and he put aside his mask in favor of eating. Esme did cook his favorites — there was chicken adobo, and lechon kawali, and lumpiang shanghai. For dessert, there was leche flan and buko pandan. There was even sago’t gulaman.

Maybe this night wouldn’t be so bad.

Things got topsy-turvy when they started drinking. They got a bucket of Red Horse, a favorite brand of beer among the locals. It was fun at first, until Heidi somehow managed to nab a bottle of what they called “gin bilog,” which just looked like raw gin. The way the girls grinned and said “gin bilog” worried him, though.

He still joined in. The four of them chased down the shots with juice, and he knew he was going to regret it in the morning.

But it was the only thing that distracted him from the sight of Atsumu flirting with a guy from the group of twenty-somethings in the other table. Atsumu had his arm around his shoulders, and the other man was blushing so hard, his entire face was red. Kiyoomi took another shot.

Maria seemed to understand what caught his attention. She nodded in Atsumu’s direction. “Gago ah.”

Heidi looked over. “Ah, tang ina.”

“Wait,” Christina frowned. She looked at Kiyoomi. “Kayo ba? You two are together?”

He shook his head violently, which was a mistake because the world spun. “No.”

Pero gusto mo.” Maria sounded sure of this.

Ewan.” I don’t know. But he was lying.

Maria called him out. “Sinungaling. So there’s nothing?”

He just shook his head again, slower this time.

She looked disturbed. “Okay, good. Because…” She jerked her chin towards Atsumu’s direction.

Maybe it was the alcohol muddling his brain, but he wasn’t braced at all for the sight of Atsumu kissing another man. He whipped his head back around to stare at his empty shot glass, head swimming.

Tangina,” Heidi said again. “Tangina n’un ah.”

Malungkot na tuloy si Kiyo,” Christina said.

“Kiyo, take another shot,” Maria ordered. “Let’s just drink.”

“That never works,” Heidi said.

“It will work for tonight,” Maria said.

Unable to do anything else, Kiyoomi drank.

--

When he stumbled back into their room, Atsumu was already there, tucked in bed, wearing pajamas.

“Did you have fun?” Atsumu asked, as if he didn’t just slip a knife into his heart.

Kiyoomi ignored him and made his way to the bathroom, hoping for some sobriety. What the hell was in that gin bottle?

He at least managed to reach the toilet bowl before puking his guts out.

This is the worst feeling ever, he thought faintly. He had long since passed the happy stage of being drunk — everything just hurts now. He hugged the toilet, feeling another wave coming. He ducked his head and vomited some more.

“Jesus Christ,” he heard Atsumu say.

There was a familiar hand rubbing his back.

“Puke everything then take a bath. We still have some Berocca, I’ll get it ready for you,” Atsumu said.

Kiyoomi angled his body away from the touch. “Go ‘way.”

“Omi —”

Tangina mo .”

“What the hell.”

Gago ka. Go ‘way.”

Atsumu sighed and left the bathroom.

Kiyoomi did take a bath, nearly braining himself on the wall in the process, because he’d been in the presence of other people and he wanted to scrub all that off. Plus he hugged the toilet. Gross.

Once done, he brushed his teeth, nearly vomiting again, but managing to hold himself off. He skipped most of his skincare ritual, jumping straight to moisturizer after his cleanser, because he just wanted to sleep now.

When he reached his side of the bed, there was a glass of water beside it. Atsumu was back on his side, seemingly reading something on his phone. He didn’t say anything, didn’t even bother to look at Kiyoomi.

This irritated Kiyoomi further. He angrily chugged the water down and stiffly made his way under the covers. He shut his eyes and willed the whole night to disappear.

“Nothing happened,” Atsumu said after a long silence.

It took a few seconds for the words to register. His heart skipped a hopeful beat, but fury took over. Was a kiss nothing to him?

“The fuck should I care,” he said.

“Don’t you?”

“No. Fuck you.”

“Well, alright then,” Atsumu muttered. There was some shuffling and the mattress dipped. Atsumu must have settled down to sleep. “Goodnight. Hope you don’t puke in your sleep and die.”

Kiyoomi took a deep breath so he wouldn’t lose control and commit murder. He didn’t bother to answer, he just shut his eyes and forced himself to sleep.

But the next morning, he woke up grinding against Atsumu’s thigh.

He froze and turned around so fast his back cracked and his temples throbbed. He breathed deeply for a moment, trying to feel if another bone had slipped, but there wasn’t any pain. Or maybe it was just overridden by the strange mix of nausea and arousal.

He shut his eyes in mortification when he felt Atsumu leave the bed. There was some scrambling, then footsteps, then the sound of the door clicking shut.

Hating himself, he shoved a hand down his shorts and gripped himself, setting a quick pace. He squeezed his eyes shut and clenched his jaw in pleasure, coming to the thought of molten brown eyes, Atsumu’s name on his lips.

Hand sticky, he was suddenly reminded why he avoided dealing with relationships. Once he gets attached, he clings . Without realizing it, he had let Atsumu in completely — in his heart, in his mind, in his dreams.

Kiyoomi doesn’t do things halfway.

Not even falling in love.

Chapter Text

It was a hot day but in their room, it was frosty.

Kiyoomi ignored yet another attempt at conversation by Atsumu, intent on translating the lyrics to an OPM song he liked.

“How many times do I have to apologize?” Atsumu finally said, frustration edging into his voice. 

“There’s nothing to apologize for. I told you, it’s fine.” It was fine. Theoretically. The morning after That Night, Kiyoomi had woken up feeling a lot stupid and a little less emotional. He and Atsumu weren’t together. He was acting like an idiot, being jealous over a kiss — Atsumu could kiss anyone he wanted, Kiyoomi had no rights to him.

His heart was just a little slow on the uptake. It’s been three days and it was still smarting.

“Right, and that’s why you’re treating me like...like we’re back to how we were when we first got here.”

“We’re teammates, Miya. So long as we could stand to be that, I see no problem with how we are.”

“Miya,” Atsumu repeated, sounding hurt. “And how are we, exactly? No, you know what, that’s the wrong question. What are we?”

He tensed. He wasn’t prepared to be asked that point-blank and he shied away from it. It wasn’t like he even knew. He thought he did, but Atsumu made it clear he was wrong. And he had the nerve to ask?

“Teammates, I told you.” He turned his back to Atsumu. “I’m busy. Stop talking.”

“Fine, whatever,” Atsumu bit out.

A tense silence settled in their room. Kiyoomi found it hard to concentrate on the Tagalog sentences he was trying to decode, plagued by a prickly awareness of his surroundings.

Which was why it was easy for him to spot the small dark shape making its way up the wall.

With a choked gasp, he flung his phone away and scrambled to get under the covers.

“What, what is it, what?” Atsumu demanded.

Cockroach,” he hissed. “Kill it!”

“Shit, hold on,” Atsumu said. “I see it, I see it.”

“Then kill it!” he snapped from under the blanket.

He heard Atsumu moving around, presumably approaching the cockroach to kill it. But then Atsumu let out a strangled yell and the mattress bounced as a body landed on the bed.

Atsumu wiggled his way inside the blankets, panting.

“What are you doing here? Did you kill it?”

There was some shuffling and some tugging and Atsumu’s face came into view. “Well —”

“You had one job —”

“Listen, Omi, all bets are off when they start flying.”

Oh god, it was a flier. “Well, what are we gonna do? We can’t stay here forever!”

“I’m sure it will settle down soon,” Atsumu tried to reassure, but he sounded unconvinced.

There was an awkward pause as they tried not to look at each other in the enclosed space of their own making.

When he couldn’t take it anymore, he said, “You should check on it, maybe it — landed somewhere.”

“Sure, I always have to do the dirty work around here,” Atsumu said, grumbling. But he peeked out of the covers and relaxed. “I don’t see it, Omi. I think we’re safe.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you lying to me right now?”

“Y— no, why would I do that?” Atsumu pulled himself completely out of the blanket. “I swear, it’s gone. Maybe it crawled into a hole somewhere.”

Warily, Kiyoomi pulled the blanket down, exhaling when he didn’t spot the cockroach. He sat up, patting around for his phone. When he found it, he picked it up and stood up. “Well, I gotta do my exercises.”

Atsumu followed suit. “I’ll go head to the gym.”

They had just started moving around the room when the cockroach made another appearance — by flying straight at them.

Kiyoomi let out a shriek and dropped the mat he’d just picked up. He whirled around and instinctively ran straight to Atsumu, whose eyes were comically wide. He caught Kiyoomi with an ‘oof,’ but after a second started screeching, too.

“The blanket, we need to get under the blanket —”

They fell back into bed gracelessly, Atsumu landing on top of Kiyoomi and knocking out the breath from his lungs. He scrambled around for the blanket and soon they were back under it, breathing heavily.

When the adrenaline faded, it occurred to them that they were pressed chest to chest, toe to toe...crotch to crotch. Kiyoomi blinked up at Atsumu, then flushed violently. He placed his hands on Atsumu’s shoulders and shoved him off.

Atsumu settled beside him, keeping the covers on them both. “Fucking cockroaches.”

“If you’d just killed it —”

“I was going to, it wasn’t supposed to be flying —”

“Well, what do we do?”

“I don’t know. Call for help?”

He paused. “Yeah, we could do that. Call Maria.”

Atsumu peeked out of the blanket again, then sat up. “Oh hey, I see it. It’s stopped moving for now.”

“Where is it?”

“Near the TV...hold on. I think I can do it.”

Atsumu slipped out of bed and Kiyoomi tucked himself in tighter, secretly relieved that he didn’t have to deal with this alone. He hated insects, and he hated cockroaches the most. He was terrified of them.

There was the sound of a slipper smacking a wall, and Atsumu declared, “Got it. It’s dead.”

Kiyoomi slumped in relief. “Thank God.”

“You said Atsumu wrong.”

He let out a snort without meaning to then immediately sealed his lips shut, not wanting to give him the satisfaction.

But then the blanket was ripped off of him and Atsumu’s smug face floated into his vision. “You laughed. You think I’m funny.”

“I think your face is funny.”

“This, after I just saved you from a flying ipis? Do I not deserve some appreciation?”

“No.”

“Really? Aren’t you glad I’m here, Omi-Omi?”

He didn’t answer.

Atsumu smiled. “Your silence speaks volumes. Anyway, you can go do your exercises now.”

Grumbling, he crawled out of bed. When he passed Atsumu, he paused, tried to say thank you. “Eat shit, Miya.”

“Okay, still mad, got it.”

Rolling his eyes, Kiyoomi ignored him. For the rest of the day.

--

The next morning, he returned to their room from doing yoga at the pool deck to find Atsumu on the phone. He glanced at Kiyoomi. “Maria says we have a package.”

He blinked at that. “A package?”

“It’s the one from the team, I think. Remember?”

Oh.” His grudges were temporarily swept away by a wave of anticipation. “Where is it, let’s go get it, let’s go.”

Atsumu smiled a little at that. “It’s in the lobby, they can’t carry it. Come on.”

When they got there, it was apparent why they couldn’t — the box was large.

“What in the world did those idiots send us?” he wondered.

Atsumu was nearly bouncing now. “I’m so excited to open it.”

Maria rounded the counter and approached the box, brandishing a pair of scissors. “I wanna see!”

“Do the honors, then,” Atsumu told her.

They hovered around as Maria cut at the tape and opened the flaps. They all worked together to take the items out and it became clear a lot of the stuff were from their own families, too, not just the team. There were packs of instant ramen, snacks, clothes, toiletries, and beach necessities. His braces were in there, and even his foldable cane, which he never even used — he was willing to bet his mother was overreacting again.

And then there were the most random things: portable speakers, a few manga issues, and their rollerskates which had been sitting in the team’s sharehouse. There were tinier boxes inside, with their names on it — one was signed by his sister, and one was signed by Osamu — and there was a carefully packed GoPro.

Atsumu studied the last one. “It’s Bokuto’s. Knew that dude always got me.”

“What do you need a GoPro for?”

“We’re on an island, Omi, it would be a crime not to have good videos.”

They found the best near the bottom. Kiyoomi’s eyes widened, and he dug it out, fumbling with it in excitement. “Atsu, look.”

He presented the volleyball and Atsumu’s whole face lit up like someone had turned on a switch. “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh —”

“Oh, volleyball,” Maria commented, pausing in her efforts to keep their things organized. “That’s the sport you play, no?”

Oo,” he said.

“We have a net, I think. It’s old, never used. I can ask Jun to set it up.”

“Please,” he begged.

Maria smiled. “Sige. Walang problema.”

Salamat!” Atsumu said. “Let’s put all this in our room and get ready.” He smirked at Kiyoomi. “And then it’s game on.”

Kiyoomi could recognize a challenge when he heard one.

This was war.

--

They needed two more people to make a game out of it, and luckily, Christina apparently knew how to play. Kiyoomi quickly tapped her as a teammate.

Atsumu teamed up with the boy he’d kissed.

His name was Miguel (“call me Migs”), and he showed up with sparkling eyes and red cheeks. Kiyoomi wanted to knee him in the stomach. He settled for glaring at Atsumu.

“Look, he mentioned playing volleyball the — the other night, that’s why we were talking in the first place,” Atsumu explained, shifting from foot to foot. “Besides, we’re friends now.”

Just like how you and I are friends? He didn’t dare say it out loud.

Only friends,” Atsumu stressed, watching Kiyoomi’s face. “We kissed for like a second, that’s it.”

“Whatever, I don’t care.” He trudged away, telling himself not to think about it anymore. He was over it. He shouldn’t be so affected anyway — Miya Atsumu simply wasn’t worth the stress.

“Let’s kick their asses,” Christina told him when he reached her on their side of the court. Her eyes were fiery. “Ang gago ng dalawang malandi ah.”

Kiyoomi snorted, recognizing the word for ‘flirt.’ “Let them be. Okay na ako.”

And he really was okay. The sky was impossibly blue and pleasantly cloudy, and an occasional breeze brushed past his face. The sounds of the beach waves were comforting, and so were the light chattering from their audience. It was nice to remember that he and Atsumu weren’t alone in the world.

With Miguel came his group of friends, who settled on the side of their makeshift court, ready to watch. Jun had set up the net and offered to serve as their referee. Maria, who was supposed to be on shift, had abandoned her post and was standing on the sidelines, filming.

“Alright, let’s do this,” Atsumu called out to him from the other side.

He was immediately pumped with anticipation and they all took their positions. Atsumu got first serve, but Kiyoomi was ready for him.

He relished the familiar stretch of his body as he crouched down and extended his arms to receive the ball. The impact of it was like coming home.

The ball ricocheted towards Christina, who hit it in a high arc back to Kiyoomi. He jumped high and spiked it to the ground. It was their point.

“Are you even trying, Miya?” he goaded across the net.

“I’m warming up.” Atsumu glared at him. “That was just the first point, savor it.”

And on they went. They couldn’t go all out, of course, because they wanted to turn it into a group-friendly game, not a one-on-one skirmish. Kiyoomi found himself having fun. He missed volleyball. He even missed beach volleyball. Hinata would be so pleased.

Atsumu seemed to have the same thoughts. “I am so sending Shouyou videos of this,” he said at some point. “He’ll be so jealous. And proud. Nice dig, Omi-kun.”

He smirked at Atsumu. “It’s like you don’t know me.”

Miguel cleared his throat. “Atsumu, your serve again.”

Kiyoomi rolled his eyes and went back to position.

But he was already ruffled, his mind latching on the way the guy said ‘Atsumu.’ He found himself getting more aggressive, letting his control slip little by little. His hits started to get a little more forceful, his movements snappier, decades of training starting to truly seep in.

“Oh, that’s how you want to play it,” Atsumu called out, when Kiyoomi’s serve ricocheted off his arms, spinning off to the side. “We’re doing this, then.”

“What did he say? Ugh, I don’t understand when you two are speaking straight Japanese,” Christina complained.

But Kiyoomi couldn’t answer her, entranced by the sudden hunger on Atsumu’s face. Sexy, he thought. He must have really hit his head. His blood raced with adrenaline.

The score was 23-22 in favor of Kiyoomi and Christina. It was his serve next.

“Christina, this is going to be over really quick. Brace yourself, his hits are going to be a killer.”

She looked at him, confused.

When he served, he didn’t hold back. It flew towards the opposite court, and Atsumu dived to receive it. The second bump was ugly, and Atsumu had to settle for hitting the ball over the net.

Christina received it, and he got under it to set. Then, in a split-second decision, he curled his fingers and dumped it over the net instead. It landed on the wide stretch of sand the other team had left unaccounted for.

“What the fuck!” Atsumu exclaimed. “Oh, you’re asking for it now, Omi-kun!”

They lost the next rally, and then Atsumu went up to serve. It was 24-23 in favor of Kiyoomi’s team — just one more point and they’d win. He braced himself for what he knew was going to be a deadly serve.

Atsumu went for a powerful jumper, which was his mistake, because Kiyoomi was anticipating it. It was the perfect serve receive, if you asked him. He was already smirking when it hit his forearms, thinking ‘Got it.’

The rally was miraculously long, considering they were playing with two non-professionals. It was fun. But when Christina gave him a clean set, he realized at once that it was about to be over, and he couldn’t help himself.

He jumped up high and spiked the ball straight into Miguel’s face.

Hard.

Well, they won the game at least.

“What the hell, Kiyoomi!” Atsumu yelled, as Miguel lay splayed on the sand, moaning as he covered his face.

His friends hurried over to him talking quickly in Tagalog and he realized, Oh they’re Filipino. Maria was on the scene, pushing people aside and saying something about being trained to handle things like this. They were talking too fast for him to understand.

“It was an accident,” he said in English, raising his voice to be heard.

Atsumu answered in Japanese. “You’re such a damn liar,” he hissed. “I can’t believe you.”

“Aren’t you going to comfort him?” He asked in a droll voice.

Christina had made her way over to the commotion, and was trying to get to the center of it.

“Nothing’s broken,” Maria announced. “But there’s a cut inside his lip and it’s bleeding a lot. The ball hit his mouth and nose.”

“Ow,” Miguel said in a muffled voice. “Ow.”

“Sorry,” Kiyoomi offered.

One of Miguel’s friends answered. “It’s okay,” she said. “Malandi kasi.”

Christina looked like she was fighting down a laugh. “Tara, let’s treat that.” She pulled the boy up. “Kami na.”

The rest of the group nodded and passed their friend over to her and Maria. “Thank you!” they chorused.

With one last mirthful glance at Kiyoomi, Christina and Maria led Miguel away.

A girl approached them. “Hi! Since we’re all here anyway, we were wondering if you guys wanted to hang out and have a pool party? We don’t always see you.” She looked at Kiyoomi. “We just think it would be fun!”

“We’ll go,” Atsumu answered promptly, giving Kiyoomi a sideways glance that dared him to argue. “Now?”

“Yeah! Kuya Jun is checking on the pool now, but it should be fine. We can order food and stuff?”

“Sounds great.”

They followed leisurely behind them as they headed to the pool deck.

“They’re around our age,” Atsumu told him conversationally. “They just graduated university, that’s why they went here. But they weren’t able to get on a flight back to Manila so they got stuck.”

“Hmm.”

“They’re nice.”

“Looks like it.” Oops, that was a bit too sarcastic.

Atsumu gave him an unreadable glance.

They all washed the sand off their bodies at the outside showers before anything else. Kiyoomi took off his damp shirt, relieved he had more clothes now waiting for him in their room.

He was in a better mood, overall. He was still high on endorphins — he wasn’t even anxious about the people. Honestly, if none of them were sick yet, there really was little to no risk of infection.

And Miguel wasn’t here, so that’s good.

He spied Atsumu taking photos by the pool. In a fit of gleeful pettiness, he crept up behind him and kicked him in, phone and all.

Atsumu surfaced in a panic, spluttering. “Omi!” He immediately lifted his hand, his phone dripping water. “What the hell!”

“It’s an iPhone 8,” he said. “It’s fine.”

Atsumu stared up at him. “What is wrong with you?”

“You were just begging to be pushed in.” He took a step back just as Atsumu swam closer to the edge to place his phone on the ground.

But he wasn’t quick enough to avoid Atsumu’s grasping hands, and next thing he knew, he was tumbling into the pool, the cold water a shock to his system.

He swam up to the surface, shaking his head when he was breathing again. “Miya.”

Atsumu was laughing. “That’s what you get for being a brat.”

Kiyoomi swept his hair back from his eyes. It was getting uncomfortably long — he should do something about that. Heidi had offered to cut it for him once, perhaps it was time to take her up on that.

Atsumu swam closer to him. “Are you done?”

Kiyoomi only raised an eyebrow at him, unfazed by the change in tone.

“You’ve made your point.” Atsumu stopped right in front of him. “Do you feel better?”

“I do, actually.” He felt like he’d finally won something, and not just the volleyball game.

Atsumu studied him, eyes running over every inch of his face, before meeting Kiyoomi’s gaze. “Were you jealous, Omi-kun?”

Kiyoomi sneered. “In your dreams, Miya.”

Atsumu floated impossibly closer. He resisted the urge to swim back. “You are.”

He swallowed, faltering. “What?”

“In my dreams.”

Kiyoomi stared at him, at a loss for words, unable to comprehend what he was hearing. It took all of him not to visibly react to the statement.

Why is he doing this now, he wondered. Does he want me now?

He looked away, somewhat ashamed of forfeiting the silent battle. But the intensity in Atsumu’s gaze was too much to bear. He turned and started swimming off.

“You can’t run from me,” Atsumu called out after him. “There’s nowhere to go.”

And that’s the problem, isn’t it?

Chapter Text

He was losing his mind.

Why did everything with Kiyoomi have to be a goddamn war? Couldn’t they get anywhere without it being a fight?

“Can you chill?” Osamu said, bored.

“I just — I don’t know what he wants!” he exploded. “Does he want me? Does he want to get away from me? Does he only like me cause it’s the two of us here?” He paused. “Do I only like him cause it’s the two of us here? That’s the reason I kissed that kid in the first place, and guess what, I just ruined everything!”

“Did you at least get an answer?”

He slumped. “I didn’t want him. I felt like I was cheating on Omi and I wanted to puke.”

“Well, there you go.”

“But we aren’t even together. He’s ruined me.”

“I think you should make up your mind first before forcing him to make up his.”

“Samu. It’s...a bad idea. You know this, right?”

“Who said?”

“You don’t shit where you eat, Samu!”

“Then don’t shit on it.”

“You make it sound so simple. You know it’s not like that with us. Look at us, we’re already making a mess of everything.”

“Last week, you said everything with him felt easy. So which is it?”

He scratched at his eyebrow, agitated. “Both? When it’s good, it’s easy, when it’s bad, it’s…” Grueling. Nauseating. Hellish. “Complicated. He’s complicated.”

“Right up your alley then.”

“Samu,” he whined.

“The hell do you want me to do, Tsumu? This is your problem. I told you just fuck him and get it over with!”

“That’s not what I want from him!”

“Then I guess you’ve already decided!” Osamu snapped. “Idiot.”

He paused, his mind whirring to catch up. “Fuck you, Samu.”

“Stop being a damn baby. Talk to him, not me.”

“But he won’t talk to me.”

“You are literally stuck in a room together,” Osamu said, sounding taxed. “Force him to listen. Jesus, how are you an ocean away and still making my life harder?”

“It’s my job,” he deadpanned.

“You two are actually taking much longer than I anticipated. It’s been, what, three months since you got stranded? And nothing’s happened yet?”

He thought of sleepy cuddles and soft kisses and fingers intertwined. So many things have happened already.

But not enough.

Maybe it was time to stop fighting this.

--

They were visiting Maria’s family again, and they weren’t even pretending to be here for the baskets. Kiyoomi was playing with Brownie, and Atsumu was back to learning the guitar.

Anong problema?” Lydia asked, sitting beside him.

He tried to act innocent. “Hmm? Wala.”

She looked at him unimpressed. “You two are not talking.”

“We’re just like that sometimes.”

“It’s different,” Lydia insisted. “Bakit?”

He chewed on his lip and confessed, “May kasalanan ako.” Because even if Kiyoomi would never admit it, Atsumu knew he’d hurt him, and that was a crime. It didn’t matter that they weren’t together, there was something, wasn’t there? They just proved it wasn’t a figment of their imagination. Dreams don’t hurt like this.

“What did you do?”

“I don’t want to say.” He’d definitely upset her if he told her.

She sighed. “It’s done. Wala nang magagawa. Question is, what will you do now?”

“I don’t know.” Frustration bled into his tone. Kiyoomi was so difficult. “I already said sorry!” Like a million times, probably.

Lydia nudged his shoulder with hers and nodded at the guitar he was holding. “Music cures everything. Harana?”

He wanted to perish at the thought. “No way.”

She cackled. “Cute ‘yun!”

No. You all just want to laugh at me.”

“He won’t laugh.”

“He will.”

She patted his head. “He won’t.” Then she stood up and started making her way inside. “I’ll cook adobo so he’ll be in a good mood.”

“Put eggs in, please?”

O sige.”

When she was out of sight, he turned his gaze to Kiyoomi, who seemed to be holding a conversation with Brownie. Probably asking her what it was like to be pregnant, because she’d recently gotten knocked up somehow. He couldn’t help but smile at the sight in fondness. He felt a nearly overwhelming need to listen in, but he was too far away.

After a moment of deliberation, he picked up Blas’ songbook and made his way over. Kiyoomi looked up at him suspiciously when he neared, but didn’t complain when he sat beside him.

He settled the guitar on his lap. “I learned this song…”

“Which one?”

“It’s by Parokya ni Edgar, remember them?” They liked listening to that local band, even though they didn’t always understand the lyrics.

Kiyoomi nodded.

“Okay, I’m gonna show you...you better not laugh!”

“No promises.”

He pouted. “So mean, Omi-kun. I’m still learning.”

“Get to it, Miya.” Miya. Kiyoomi was calling him Miya more often now. He was inconsolable.

Tamping down an irrational fit of nervousness, he started strumming the chords. Kiyoomi squinted when he started singing, and a few lines in, he frowned and snatched up the book, which had the lyrics and chords printed on it.

Atsumu forced himself to finish until the chorus — he’d memorized that much.

When he stopped, Kiyoomi read out, “‘Para Sayo.’ That means ‘for you,’ right?”

“Uh, y-yeah.”

Kiyoomi studied the lyrics. “Are you trying to tell me something?”

“I mean...obviously…” For the love of the gods, pick up on what I'm not saying, he thought.

“You’re telling me to stay away from you because you’re an irredeemable jerk?”

“That’s not what you’re supposed to focus on!”

“The song literally starts with ‘Lumayo ka na sa akin,’ which means ‘Stay away from me’ —”

“Well —”

“‘Ayoko ngang masaktan ka,’” he read. “‘Wag kang maniniwala. Hindi ako santo.’ That means —” his forehead scrunched up in concentration — “I don’t want to hurt you, don’t believe me, I’m not a saint.”

With a growl, he snatched back the book. “It says I’ll change and be a decent guy for you in the chorus, alright!”

“It gives a bit of mixed signals.”

He rubbed his forehead. “Fine, it might not have been the best song to pick.”

He stilled when Kiyoomi’s head rested on his shoulder. “I like it. Finish it.”

Fuck, how was he supposed to concentrate now? His palms started to sweat when he felt arms wrap around his waist. He stared at Brownie, who was sleepily staring back as he lazed on the ground.

Clearing his throat, he picked up from where he left off, his voice wavering embarrassingly. He had to pause a few times when he tried to recall some of the chords, but he played it until the end.

“I guess it’s sweet,” Kiyoomi decided.

“Yeah, I like it. I like most of their songs.”

“Play more.”

“Oh? Does this mean you like my singing, Omi-Omi?”

“Hmm. It’s comforting.”

You’re killing me, he thought, not for the first time. Then: I love you.

He stilled, suddenly terrified.

“Atsu?” Atsu again. Atsu.

He blindly flipped to a random page. “This?”

Kiyoomi’s hair tickled his neck when he glanced down. “Oh, I like that one. And it’s English so I can easily understand.”

Atsumu focused on the page and saw that he’d chosen another song by Parokya ni Edgar, titled “Your Song.” He sighed in relief — he’d actually played this before. Only to himself, but still.

He played the song, blushing when he realized how romantic it was, but refusing to take it back. He played until the end with Kiyoomi wrapped around him, and thought that if this was his penance, he’d take it. He was done running. It was a fruitless endeavor.

When the song finished, he dipped his head and pressed a careful kiss to Kiyoomi’s forehead. “I’m good, right?”

Kiyoomi snorted, but softly said, “Yeah, you’re good.”

He knew he wasn’t talking about the song.

For the first time in a week, his chest felt light. Sometimes it really was easy.

--

After that, it was as if nothing happened. Like their seas never became turbulent, like they never revisited what it was like to hurt each other.

The waters were calm after a storm, he supposed.

He reached out and stroked Kiyoomi’s hair, tucking it behind an ear. They were in bed, and Kiyoomi was reading an e-book, but Atsumu wanted attention. “Where’s that funny video about the legal wife and the girlfriend?”

“Hmm?” Kiyoomi glanced at him, then tapped on his phone. He scooted closer to Atsumu. “Here.” 

“What’s so funny about this one then?”

“They have fight scenes.”

“Fight scenes,” he repeated.

Kiyoomi curled around Atsumu, resting the hand clutching his phone on Atsumu’s chest so they could both see.

He couldn’t help but smile, feeling warmed. But then his attention was captured by the video, and he had to admit it was hilarious.

“There’s more. Many more.”

Minutes later, they had tears in their eyes from breathless laughter. Kiyoomi was snorting with the force of his guffaws and Atsumu must really have it bad because he thought it was adorable.

“What even are those things they’re throwing at each other? Are those eggs?” Atsumu demanded.

“They’re apparently called balut. Yes, they’re eggs, but they’re kinda weird? I read that we should try that, but I’m too scared now.”

Atsumu patted his head. “Poor baby. Taken out by an isaw.” He tried not to think about how much he liked calling Kiyoomi ‘baby.’

Not yet, he told himself. You’ve spooked him, you have to wait until he feels safe again.

Kiyoomi huffed but otherwise didn’t comment. He seemed to have been sucked in by the black hole that was Facebook’s Watch section.

“It’s not all bad,” Atsumu told him. “You gotta try new stuff, how will you know you don’t like them?”

“I just know.”

“Let’s go have a food trip in the market again.”

“No.”

“Okay, let’s just buy fishballs again. Or kwek-kwek, I really want kwek-kwek. Please?”

Fifteen minutes later, they were walking outside. They didn’t need to go far, because there was a street food vendor near the tricycle terminal. They waved at the drivers and then at the vendor, then plucked out barbecue sticks and started poking at the food being deep fried in oil.

He ordered kwek-kwek, which were just quail eggs in orange flour. When he got them, he dipped them in the jar of vinegar, a personal preference. He saw some locals dip it in sweet sauce, but it just sounded weird to him. He liked using that sauce in particular for fishballs and squidballs only.

A couple of kwek-kweks in, he noticed Kiyoomi looking at him strangely. Atsumu raised an eyebrow at him.

Brows furrowed, Kiyoomi glanced at the jars of sauce “Atsu, did you —?” He pointed at a jar.

“Hmm?” Atsumu’s eyes followed where his finger was pointing, then he immediately spat out a mouthful of kwek-kwek on the floor. “Oh my god!”

The vendor looked over, concerned. “Ano ‘yun?”

“Uh —” Kiyoomi tried to find the words, mouth curling up into a grin. “Nagsawsaw siya doon.” He gestured at the jar.

The vendor burst out laughing, and Kiyoomi followed suit.

Atsumu was crouched over now, groaning. “Oh god, I’m gonna die.”

Voice filled with mirth, Kiyoomi said, “Stop overreacting. So you dipped it in dirty water used to clean the sauce ladle, so what?”

His stomach turned. “Omi, I think I’m really gonna —” He vomited on the concrete, triggering another round of laughter.

“This is karma,” Kiyoomi wheezed.

--

It was karma, because Atsumu developed food poisoning, much like Kiyoomi did weeks ago.

This time, it was Kiyoomi’s turn to take care of him. He looked like he was internally laughing at Atsumu sometimes, but he rubbed his back and wiped his sweat-soaked forehead and helped him rehydrate with Gatorade. Atsumu got teary a few times at being cared for like that.

He’d fully thought that the bout of sickness would repel Kiyoomi, but apparently not. He was relieved and more than a little hopeful.

Maybe they were finally going somewhere.

Chapter Text

The rainy season wasn’t so bad. For one, the days were cooler, and it wasn’t like the sun mysteriously disappeared. It was still there, just less unforgiving. There were more overcast, windy days, which were his favorite because those were just right. Those were perfect to relax in.

But Kiyoomi was far from relaxed. In fact, he was the opposite —he was so overstrung, he wouldn’t be surprised if he started jumping around like a wind-up toy.

The tension between him and Atsumu was at an all time high, now that they knew what the other wasn’t saying. If there’d been any doubt, it was killed by everything that had happened lately, starting with that cursed party. The subsequent fallout had all the energy of a bitter breakup. It made him cringe.

One thing was clear, there was no more going back to their uncomplicated peace, which they’d both been content to stay in. Something had to give sooner or later. He was inclined to think it was going to be sooner.

Kiyoomi thought Atsumu was looking before, but it was nothing compared to how he tracked him now. He felt like prey. Like Atsumu was playing with his food before coming in for the kill. It made him feel jittery, restless.

Like he was waiting for something to happen. Like they both were.

They were dangling at the precipice, and the thought of tipping over was both exhilarating and terrifying. This could ruin them. Or just me, he thought. If one drunken kiss had caused him so much pain already, what more if he jumped in all the way?

This was a bad idea. But he knew the fall was inevitable.

He waited with bated breath.

--

They were roller skating around the resort property, with lack of anything better to do. Atsumu was hilariously bad at it, which just didn’t make sense to Kiyoomi.

“This is not an important life skill,” Atsumu declared mulishly. “I don’t see why I have to learn it.”

Kiyoomi reached a hand back, and Atsumu linked their fingers together. He patiently bore through Atsumu’s clumsy skating, gliding beside him effortlessly.

“I hate you.”

He just smirked. It was nice to see Atsumu bad at something for a change. The team liked to go out and do these activities every once in a while, which was why they had skates in the first place. Now that Kiyoomi thought about it, though, Atsumu was always mysteriously gone during those days, even though he’d promised to go.

What a ridiculous, overly conscious man.

“Why are you so good at this?” Atsumu demanded.

“Komori used to drag me along when we were younger. Said I had to go out every once in a while.”

Atsumu wobbled beside him. “Me and Samu never really went. We just played volleyball and other sports.”

“Like what sports?”

“Well, there was soccer, badminton...basketball, briefly. None of them really stuck the way volleyball did.”

“Volleyball’s the only sport I really played,” he shared. “If we don’t count swimming. Is swimming a sport? I use it for exercise, mainly.”

“I don’t really know how to swim properly...I can do freestyle, maybe.”

“You certainly can’t do freestyle, I’ve seen your attempts.”

Atsumu flushed and gave him a grumpy look. “Teach me, then, Mr. Know-It-All.”

“Sure.”

They reached a window in the middle of the empty hallway, and Atsumu stopped, leaning against it. “Okay, I need to rest.”

“We’ve barely gone anywhere —”

“No, you don’t get to talk. Are your thighs killing you? No, so hush.” Atsumu went as far as tugging off his skates in his dramatics. He sighed when his sock-clad feet were on the ground. “There. Much better.”

Kiyoomi rolled his eyes. He turned and started skating off.

“Hey! Come back here!”

He skated the length of the hallway, back and forth a few times, before returning to Atsumu, who was toeing the tiles with a thoughtful expression on his face. “Hey, Omi-Omi, remove your skates for a sec.”

“Why.”

“Just do it,” Atsumu insisted.

Sometimes, it was better for his sanity to just indulge Atsumu. Bracing himself on the windowsill, he reached down and unlaced his skates, kicking them off. He nearly slipped when his socked feet landed on the floor.

“Slippery, huh? You know what this is good for?”

He should have known this was another one of his Impulsive, No-Good Ideas. “Atsumu...”

“Dancing!”

“It’s really not…”

Atsumu started bouncing on his heels. “Dance with me, Omi-kun!”

“There’s no music.”

“Easy.” Atsumu dug his phone out of his pocket and after hemming and hawing, picked a song.

He smiled at the tune. “Carly Rae Jepsen?”

“What? I like her.”

“Me, too.”

Atsumu grinned at him. He started moving his body to the beat, and of course he looked good doing that, too. Kiyoomi really hated him sometimes. “Move those hips, Omi-Omi!”

“No.”

“This is a really fun song. It’s offended that you don’t want to dance to it.”

“I just don’t dance.”

Atsumu stopped. “Why not?”

“I don’t know how.”

“So what?”

“I’ll look silly.”

“So what?” Atsumu asked again. He looked around, raising his arms before dropping them to his sides. “It’s just the two of us here.”

“I — that’s not comforting.”

Atsumu tilted his head and studied him. “You don't have to take things so seriously all the time. You're allowed to have fun in this life, you know.”

“I do have fun.”

“When was the last time you let go and just lived in the moment, huh?”

Ruffled, he blustered, “Regardless — this wouldn’t be fun.”

“You haven’t even tried it. Just try it!” Atsumu gave him an earnest look. “You can be silly with me, Omi-kun. I won't laugh at you.”

“Yes, you will.”

“Okay, I will, but I'd prefer it if you were laughing with me.” Atsumu grabbed him by the wrists and tugged. “Let's be silly together, Omi-Omi. I promise I won't look at you any differently.”

How do you look at me, he wondered. But he was distracted by the way Atsumu was moving. He was really something to admire. That devil-may-care smile could do a whole lot of damage and he probably knew it. It beckoned at Kiyoomi.

As always, he was helpless to follow. Feeling ridiculous and self-conscious, he tried to dance and immediately wanted to curl up in shame because he was stiff and off-beat.

But then Atsumu started jumping and dancing wildly without any sort of grace, and Kiyoomi barked out a laugh at the stupid sight before him. He started jumping, too, a grin on his face, carried away by the music and the tornado that was Miya Atsumu.

The music had shuffled to a slower song at some point. When Atsumu tried to twirl him around, he got unbalanced and dragged them both down. They fell in a heap, Kiyoomi landing on top of Atsumu, who somehow maneuvered them mid-fall so he’d take the brunt of the impact.

“You good?” Atsumu coughed out.

He gazed down at Atsumu, fascinated by the way his much longer hair was splayed on the floor. “Yeah.”

They stayed like that for a while, trying to catch their breath. It was impossible to slow the beating of his heart, though.

Warm hands rested on his waist. “I like this song.”

It was only then that Kiyoomi paid attention. It was a local song titled “Nararamdaman,” if he wasn’t mistaken. “Nararamdaman,’ meaning ‘feelings,’ right?”

“Yeah, something like that.”

Atsumu started humming in time with the song, and Kiyoomi had to admit it sounded nice. He watched Atsumu watch him back. A stream of blistering sunlight hit the floor, but they were safe in the shadows.

What do you see when you look at me like that, he wanted to ask.

The hands trailed up his back slowly, triggering goosebumps. Atsumu was staring at his mouth. Danger, his brain warned. His body reflexively stiffened, heartbeat kicking up a notch.

When the momentary terror passed, Kiyoomi licked his lips and leaned in closer, ignoring the alarm bells ringing in his head. He wanted so much, but he didn’t know exactly what. This felt right.

“What was that s — oh gosh! Sorry!”

They jerked apart, Kiyoomi landing on his side, glancing down the hallway in time to see a girl leave. She was vaguely familiar — she was probably one of those young Pinoys who were stranded here.

He cleared his throat, clambering to his feet, the spell effectively broken. What was he doing? “Er — we should — grab lunch or something.”

Atsumu stared up at him. “Yeah, fine.”

They skated awkwardly towards the restaurant, and Kiyoomi wondered just how long he could keep them in this strange, safe place between friends and something more.

Chapter Text

It was a silent morning, and they both had their backs to each other, fiddling with their phones. The atmosphere in their room has been heavy, almost oppressive. He pretended not to notice.

And then Kiyoomi’s phone pinged with a message...from Atsumu. He rolled his eyes and opened it. It was a link to a website, with the message, “You should try to translate this.”

He was curious, despite himself, so he clicked on the link. It directed him to the lyrics of a song titled “Ikaw Nga.” He perked up at the challenge and grabbed his airpods from his bedside table.

It was a nice song, but he immediately knew it was going to be a pain to try to understand. He had a good grasp on conversational Tagalog by now, but OPM is a different level. The words were deep, lyrical. A bit more formal. He found himself searching words online, and when he was certain Google Translate wasn't doing a good job, he left the room and sought out Maria.

"Oh, I love this," she said from where she was lounging on a banig behind the counter, a fan directed at her face. "This was the soundtrack of an old, classic TV show here, you know? It was titled 'Mulawin.'"

"Okay, but what does it mean?" he prodded, crouching beside her on the ground.

She tilted her head. "I'm not the best at English but I'll try."

He blinked at her. "What do you mean you're not the best in English? You're fluent."

She waved a hand. "I'm not very educated. Only studied up to high school, parents had no money for college. English was taught to us early, but I really learned on the job. And watching TV."

"Wow."

She studied the lyrics on his phone and made a sound of frustration. "I understand exactly what this means but it's hard to explain. But...the singer is confessing his feelings for someone."

He must have heard that wrong. "What?"

"Nais kong ipagtapat sayo, sana'y dinggin mo ang lihim ng pusong ito, kahit na tayo'y magkaibang mundo," she read. "Meaning, I wish to confess to you, I hope you listen...uh...heart's secret? Even though we're from different worlds." She scowled. "I hope you listen to this heart's secret?"

He shuffled closer. "And then?" he demanded.

"Ikaw nga," she recited. "Meaning, it's you." She ran her eyes down the screen. "It's you that I was looking for. Kay tagal na ako'y nangarap ...I dreamed for so long. Lumuluhod, meaning I'm kneeling... nakikiusap, meaning I'm begging. Ako ay mahalin mo, sinta, meaning, love me, dear. Or beloved?" Then she went back and repeated it. "I'm on my knees, begging, please love me, my dear. That's better."

He's heard enough. "Okay, I get it. Thank you."

She handed him his phone back and narrowed his eyes at him. "Why are you listening to old romantic Filipino songs?"

"No reason," he said quickly. "Um, bye."

He couldn’t bear to go back to their room, so he impulsively turned a corner. He ended up hiding in the kitchens, listening to Esme rattle about her grandchildren, who were wreaking havoc at home because school was suspended.

“Manang,” he interrupted absently at some point. “How did you know you wanted to be with Manong Ricardo?”

Esme paused in slicing cassava cake and blinked at him. “Hmm. That’s a long story.”

He sat down on a stool. “If it doesn’t bother you, please.”

“Ah, syempre okay lang. I like remembering.” She smiled wistfully and resumed slicing the cake. “We got married when we were 25.”

“Oh. That’s young.”

She seemed to find that funny. “That’s late, back in the day. You won’t believe it, but I was really pretty then. Ang ganda ko! Lots of suitors. And my family was very rich, not from here, originally. I used to live in La Union.”

“La Union,” he repeated.

“Another province in the Philippines, far from here.” She waved the knife around. “Very nice there, you should visit one day. Famous for surfing.”

He took note of that. “Okay.”

“We lived in the province’s capital, San Fernando. We were well-off, but my family was very traditional, religious. They wanted me to marry a rich man. They already chose one for me.”

“I suppose it wasn’t Ricardo.”

“No, it wasn’t Ricardo, because Ricardo was our gardener.”

What?”

She grinned. “Oo. Nakakaiskandalo. He was our gardener when I was 18. Gwapo! Mabait. Crush ko siya. And he used to stare at me, too. But it was bad. Not allowed. Bawal!”

He was riveted now. “And then?”

“We had a secret affair.”

“Oh my god.”

“For two years.”

Oh my god.”

“And then he left. Disappeared.”

He gaped at her.

“I was heartbroken. Nasiraan ako ng ulo. Get that? I lost my mind. Refused to marry anyone else. My parents...they thought it was a rebellious phase. That I will change my mind. We fought a lot, but what could they do? They almost disowned me. They said I must marry at 25, period. I said okay.”

“Could they do that?”

She shrugged. “Family is everything here. Utang na loob. Hard to say no. Good thing Ricardo came back when we were 23. He said he had to go see if there could be a future for us somewhere else.”

“And then?”

Nagtanan kami. We ran away. This is his hometown. We came here with no money. He was from a poor family — I knew that, but it was okay. Mahal ko siya.”

“How could you just run away with him after he left you?” he wondered. How forgiving she was.

Esme approached with a platito of cassava cake and sat in front of him.

“In this life, sometimes you need to take a leap of faith,” she said matter-of-factly, as if she was reciting something that had long since been drilled into her mind. “Your brain is smart, but it is your heart that knows what makes you happy. Eh mahal ko eh. I loved him. Kapag mahal mo, titiisin mo. Patatawarin mo. I suffered, I waited. But now we’re happy.”

“Huh.”

“When I came here, I had to find work. Both of us did. We rented a room for the first few years. It wasn’t much but we were happy. It wasn’t easy — we were very scandalous. They gossiped about us, mga chismosa! But we eventually managed to marry at 25 and started a family. Our life is not glamorous. Isang kahig, isang tuka. We live paycheck to paycheck. Sometimes there’s no money, but that’s how it is.”

“Do you wish you were back with your family sometimes?”

“Ay, no! Never. Demonyo sila.”

That made him snort out a laugh.

“Never regret love,” she said. “Even if he never came back, I would not regret the years spent with him. That was the happiest time. We can never go back.”

“Your life is very colorful.”

“Ay, totoo. You should hear the stories of the other people here. Like a teleserye.”

He smiled. “I’m sure.”

“This is your happiest time,” she said confidently. “You and Atsu.”

“W-what,” he spluttered. “We’re not —”

“Eh why are you asking?” She rolled his eyes. “Ewan ko sa inyo. Ang gulo niyo pareho.

He scratched his jaw. “It’s complicated.”

“Because you make it so.” She heaved herself up with a groan. “Ay, my back. Alis ka na. Shoo. Go to your Atsu. Share the cake.”

He flushed but stood up, taking the cake with him.

She gestured at his face. “Look o, you’re blushing. We have a word for that.”

“Blushing?” he asked, frowning.

She shook her head. “No. That feeling when you’re…” She wiggled a little. “When someone makes you feel...hmm. A thrill, maybe? The butterflies, the blushing, the heart skipping a beat? Like you want to squeal in happiness?”

“You have a word for that?”

“That’s what you call kilig.” She grinned. “You’re kilig just thinking about him. Cute!”

“I’m not!”

“It’s okay. He’s also kilig when he talks about you.” She winked at him. “He’s a good boy. I know it. Go now. Alis na.”

 “I’m going, I’m going,” he muttered, turning around. “Bye, Manang.”

He thought of Esme’s story as he walked back to his and Atsumu’s room. It was probably the most interesting he’s heard in a while, maybe his whole life. It sounded like the stuff from books and movies, and he was having a hard time wrapping his mind on the fact that it existed out of fiction. It almost made him believe in love.

By the time he finally returned to the room, Atsumu was swaddled in a blanket, hugging himself and clutching the remote.

“What are you doing?”

“Shh. I’m watching a horror movie. It’s —” Atsumu jumped, throwing the remote across the bed and letting out an unholy screech. “I told you to get out of there, you idiot girl! Bobo!

Kiyoomi shut his eyes briefly, temples throbbing from the noise and the sheer stupidity he was witnessing. With a sigh, he approached the bed and sat down. “We have cassava cake.”

Wide brown eyes landed on his face, and down at the platito. “Oh. Nice. Wanna watch this with me?”

“Not particularly.”

“It’s nice, promise.”

“It doesn’t look like it.”

“Watch with me, Omi-kun,” Atsumu pleaded.

“Oh, fine. But no more screaming, you’re hurting my ears.”

Atsumu mimed zipping his mouth shut. He held the blanket out and Kiyoomi wormed his way in. 

When he pulled the platito towards them, Atsumu threw the blanket over his head, too.

“There,” Atsumu whispered conspiratorially at him, eyes twinkling. “Now we’re safe and sound.”

A wave of fondness washed over him. Atsumu was so childlike sometimes, it was horribly endearing. Without fully meaning to, he reached out and pinched a soft, squishy cheek. “You’re ridiculous.”

“But cute, right?”

Dammit, he was cute. “No, you’re hideous.”

“Now I know you’re lying, Omi-kun. I win polls. Did you vote for me in that hottest volleyball player thing?” Studying his likely red cheeks, Atsumu smirked. Gone was his childlike countenance, replaced by one of a predator’s. “You did, didn’t you? Did you vote for me back in high school?”

He pursed his lips and glared at him hatefully.

Atsumu’s eyebrows flew up and he looked genuinely shocked for a second. Then he burst out laughing. “Oh shit, you did!”

Kiyoomi tackled him on the bed, wanting nothing more than to shut him up. “Shut your damn mouth, Miya. I didn’t vote for shit.”

Atsumu opened his mouth but Kiyoomi smothered it with his hand.

“Not another damn word out of you. Your head gets bigger by the second.”

Eyes glinting in amusement, Atsumu went lax. When Kiyoomi eased up, Atsumu gripped his wrist and pulled his hand off his mouth.

Then he pulled it back in and pressed a kiss to his palm. “It’s okay, Omi-Omi. I voted for you in the last one. You came a close third.”

Flustered, Kiyoomi ripped his hand out of his grasp and slid off of him. “Let’s just watch this stupid thing.”

“Okay po.”

They sat shoulder to shoulder as they watched the film. Embarrassingly enough, he was the one who was jumping and making aborted yelling sounds. At some point, he startled right into Atsumu arms, who chuckled.

Kiyoomi elbowed him, but Atsumu just caught his arm. “It’s fine, Omi-kun. You can be scared with me. I’m not laughing.”

“Yes, you are.”

“Okay, I am, but only ‘cause you’re so cute.” Atsumu tugged him closer.

He didn’t resist, and he didn’t pull away. He didn’t know why. Atsumu was far from comfortable right now — he had Kiyoomi all up in a twist.

But that night, he rolled into Atsumu’s space, eyes firmly shut. For one long moment, they both pretended to sleep while fully aware the other was awake. But then Atsumu turned to his side and pulled Kiyoomi into his arms.

Kiyoomi kept his eyes closed, melting when Atsumu started stroking his hair.

“Missed you, Omi-Omi,” he whispered.

His heart thudded painfully.

A part of him had hoped that Atsumu wouldn’t break the silence because as long as neither gave voice to what was happening, they’d be just fine.

But Atsumu did. He was making no secret to what he wanted now. He was rocking the boat, and it won’t be long before he’d push too far and they’d both tumble into deep waters.

Maybe if he kept silent, he could force some semblance of balance. But something possessed him to say, “I missed you too, Atsu.”

They were falling now.

Chapter Text

The weather changed without warning.

The next morning, it was windy, a contrast to the hot day prior. The sun was content to hide behind thick clouds and without the bright sunlight to wake him, Kiyoomi rose late. He dragged himself out of Atsumu’s arms and peeked outside. The view called to him, and he decided to carry on with his daily walk.

Atsumu joined him, having woken when Kiyoomi stirred. They wore light jackets over their pajamas and abandoned their slippers somewhere behind them in the sand. Already there was an undercurrent of tension between them that carried over from the night before.

“Half of the year gone, huh,” Atsumu said when they paused to admire the sea in front of them. It really was a pleasant morning, and they had the beach to themselves. Most days they did.

“Where’d the time go?” he wondered. It was already July. They weren’t even keeping up with the news about the quarantine anymore. “I feel like I've been here forever, but at the same time no time has passed at all.”

“Like it’s one endless day, right?”

“Yeah.”

As Atsumu distracted himself by dipping his feet in the shallowest waters, Kiyoomi continued to gaze out into the horizon, trying to shake off the feeling that something was going to happen. 

He hugged himself when a gust of wind blew past him. He felt a couple of drops fall on his skin and he blinked up, startled. The sky was light and the world was gray. Where’d that come from?

“Atsumu,” he called. “Feels like rain.”

He glanced sideways to see that Atsumu had strayed further down the coastline. Atsumu looked back at him and waved.

Kiyoomi sighed and remained still. Maybe it was a fluke.

Just as he thought that, the skies opened and pelted them with water.

He swore, shivering at the icy onslaught. “Atsumu!” He turned, trying to find where they left their slippers.

“Omi, look!” Atsumu was suddenly there, grabbing Kiyoomi’s hand. He pressed something into it. “Nothing inside, I checked this time.”

He looked down — it was another yellow shell. He smiled, closing his fist around it. “Thanks. But we really gotta go.”

“But it’s a nice day.”

“It’s raining.”

“Doesn’t make it less of a nice day. Everything looks so unreal.”

“Atsumu —”

“We’re on the beach, we’re bound to get wet in any case.”

He looked at Atsumu in disbelief. They were both soaking wet now. Atsumu’s hair was plastered to his head, raindrops sliding down his perfect face.

And then Atsumu turned and ran into the water.

Atsumu,” he snapped. Did he have a death wish?

“I won’t go far! Just here in the shallow parts.”

Atsumu waded until he was thigh deep in the rolling waves. He looked over his shoulder with a grin.

Helpless, Kiyoomi followed. When he reached him, he asked, “Why are you like this?”

“Look, Omi, sometimes you just gotta take the bad and breathe.”

“Bad can get worse, and then where will we be?”

Atsumu shrugged carelessly. “Stronger than before?”

Kiyoomi stared at him speechlessly.

Atsumu slid a glance at him, brown eyes dark. “It’s just a shower, Omi. The waves aren’t even that strong. Look.”

He looked. Their legs were steady against the push and pull of the sea. The rain was persistent but it wasn’t a storm.

“So we get a little wet. We’re at the beach. It’s fine.”

“...I suppose,” he finally said, letting his shoulders drop.

“You know what would make this better?”

“Better,” he repeated.

A hand hovered in his vision. “Let’s dance.”

“This again?”

Atsumu’s hand closed then opened again, insistently.

Sighing, Kiyoomi pocketed his shell and placed his hand on top of Atsumu’s.

Dragging him closer, Atsumu started humming a song he vaguely recognized as the Filipino song titled “Mundo,” which translated to ‘world.’ It had a nice melody, even though he didn’t know the lyrics, so he let Atsumu move him.

“Limutin na ang mundo nang magkasama tayo…”

He wondered how Atsumu could sing Tagalog so effortlessly now. Was he winning their bet?

For once, he didn’t even mind. He let Atsumu’s voice wash the anxiety away and, just as he advised, breathed.

Atsumu drew him closer and the dreamy atmosphere thickened. The air suddenly felt charged as their chests pressed against each other.

Here we are again, he thought. But something’s different, this time.

The singing has stopped, and so have their movements. He pulled back and it took all of his courage to meet Atsumu’s gaze. It was smoldering, burning.

For a while, they just stood there, staring at each other. The rain flattened Atsumu’s hair and darkened it, and the pale light made his skin look washed out. He was still beautiful. He looked untouchable.

The moment was shattered when Atsumu moved without warning, swooping in. Losing all sense of reason, Kiyoomi leaned forward, almost like he was waiting for it. Maybe he was.

They fell together like two puppets whose strings have been cut, lips crashing and holding. The kiss was soft, but cold. It was a shock to the senses, and Kiyoomi pulled away, spooked. 

Atsumu’s hand cupped the back of his head before he could move far.

“Kiyoomi,” Atsumu whispered, breaking the thick silence in their little bubble. “Don’t you think it’s time to stop fighting this?”

His hands tightened on Atsumu’s shoulders, and he tried to swallow down the panic. He felt like he was flung into the middle of the ocean and there was no way back to land.

Atsumu leaned back so he could look at him properly, eyes flicking down to Kiyoomi’s lips. “I give up, Omi. You win. I’m just waiting for you to put me out of my misery.”

“This is a bad idea,” he whispered.

He wasn’t even thinking of the potential damage this could do to their careers. He was thinking only of himself, because rule number one is and always will be self-preservation.

This could ruin him.

“You think I didn’t consider that?” Atsumu asked him. “I’ve turned every possibility in my head for weeks, maybe even months, but it was all in vain. Don’t you get it? It’s too late. We're already in this goddamn mess.”

Kiyoomi stared at him, wondering how he could just change the tides like this. Atsumu was dredging up words he'd been content to leave unspoken, and feelings he'd been too wary of letting in.

“Stop thinking,” Atsumu whispered, eyes blazing. “You keep making things difficult. Don’t you think it would be so easy to just let this happen?” He slinked closer, moving his hand to rest at the back of Kiyoomi’s neck. “Omi. What if we just let this happen?”

“What if we wake up one day and not want this anymore?” he shot back.

“This isn’t a dream we’d just wake up from.”

“It feels like it though.”

“It does,” Atsumu allowed. “But we’re here anyway. What are we gonna do? Stop running from me, Omi. What are you scared of? Me?”

You, he thought. Everything. Change.

But as he stood there under the pouring rain, submerged in sea water, the melody of a song still haunting his brain, he thought he was already altered. That they both were.

And he was getting really tired of holding his breath.

The thread that had been pulling them together for months was tugging them back closer and they followed, unable to resist. Kiyoomi could feel Atsumu’s hot breath on his lips.

Atsumu hesitated, eyes flicking up to meet his. Asking for permission. “It’s just me, Omi-Omi. You can be anything with me.”

You can be silly with me, Omi-kun.

You can be scared with me.

He took a deep breath. “If we’re doing this, I want everything. It’s the only way I can let you in.”

Atsumu smiled sharply. “Take it then.”

It was just like Atsumu to force him to admit he wanted it. He had half a mind to rebel, to splash salt water on that smug face and stomp back to their room.

But Atsumu’s lips were right there, and he wanted with an ache he couldn’t explain.

And he just...surrendered.

He pressed his lips to Atsumu’s and let himself be lost. Atsumu welcomed him with a sigh of relief. The kiss felt like coming home.

“Kiyoomi,” Atsumu whispered against his mouth and he shuddered. Atsumu slanted his head, kissing him harder, like he was done playing games.

It felt like being struck by lightning, but it didn’t come from the sky. His body woke up at the insistent touch, until he was hyper aware of the raindrops sliding down his body, of the wind passing over his skin, of the way Atsumu’s hands were trembling as they moved to cup his face.

Atsumu ran the tip of his tongue at the seam of Kiyoomi’s lips and he gasped, startling.

“Sorry, sorry,” Atsumu rasped out. He let go of Kiyoomi completely, staggering a step back. “Shit.”

His mouth burned. He stared at Atsumu’s dazed face, feeling bereft.

Oh, what the hell, he thought. We’ve already tipped over the precipice.

Throwing his fears to the wind, he stepped forward and kissed him again. This time it was clumsy, messy, hungry. Kiyoomi didn’t know if he was doing it right, but it felt good. He hooked an arm around Atsumu’s neck to keep him close.

He didn’t know how long they stayed there, angling their heads as they figured out how to fit their mouths together. It seemed like an eternity before Atsumu ripped himself away and started tugging them back to the shore. Brain muddled, he let himself be towed without a word. They could barely see anything through the rain anymore. The warring temperatures disoriented him — his skin was cold, but under the surface he was boiling.

When they were back on land, Atsumu whirled around and kissed Kiyoomi again, and this time he pulled the breath straight out of his lungs.

So this is what all the fuss is about, he thought dizzily.

Atsumu guided them down to the sand, until he was hovering over Kiyoomi, shielding him from the raindrops. Kiyoomi lay on his back and stared up at him curiously. He reached up for his face.

“Kiss me again,” he said.

Atsumu leaned down and did as he commanded, kissing him slower now, lips and tongue exploring curiously. It stoked the heat burning in Kiyoomi, but this time, it felt like standing close to a fireplace instead of being set aflame.

They let time slip away like that, lips only separating to take shallow breaths. Kiyoomi never wanted to move, feeling as if he’d combust if he did. He was already overwhelmed by the way his body was reacting — tingling all over, stomach fluttering, toes curling.

He smiled, breaking their liplock. “Kilig,” he realized.

Atsumu gazed at him with unfocused eyes. “Huh?”

He laughed. “Nothing.” He trailed his hands up to touch the back of Atsumu's head. Then he noticed the eerie silence. “Oh. The rain stopped.”

Atsumu looked around as if just remembering where they were. “I didn’t even notice.” He looked down at Kiyoomi. “Wanna stay here anyway? I’m not done with you yet.” He rested his thumb on Kiyoomi’s swollen bottom lip.

The fluttering in his stomach intensified. “Yeah.”

Atsumu paused. Blinked a few times. Ran his fingers through Kiyoomi’s wet hair, brushing it off his face. “Hey, you.”

“Hey yourself.”

“That happened, huh?”

“It did.” He wanted to pinch himself awake, slap himself back to sanity. It all felt surreal.

“No take backsies.”

“Don’t make me regret it then.”

Atsumu stroked his cheek. “I’m going to try my goddamn best.”

Well, that was all Kiyoomi was asking for. “Alright.”

He tugged at Atsumu and he went, kissing him once, twice, thrice. “God, this is gonna be my new addiction, I can feel it already. You don’t know how long I’ve been wanting to do this.”

“I’ve been wanting it for just as long.”

Atsumu pecked his nose and moved back. “So you just felt like keeping me waiting, that’s it?”

“If you weren’t such a damn jerk —”

“Okay, okay,” Atsumu said, laughing. “I’m a jerk, but you like me anyway, right?”

“Sometimes,” he admitted.

Atsumu pouted, eyes troubled. “Really? Only sometimes?”

Kiyoomi gripped the back of his head, pulling him closer, needing him to understand. “I like you sometimes. I want you always.” Even when you’re annoying, even when you’re dirty, even when you hurt me, he left out.

They made out until the sun was back in the sky, chasing away the gloom until it seemed as if it was never there. But everything had already changed.

Chapter Text

He traced the moles that peeked out from the neckline of Kiyoomi’s loose shirt. There was one where his shoulder meets his neck, and another behind his ear, and two right at the edge of his hairline. He touched them lightly, then slid his fingers down the bumps of his spine.

He heard Kiyoomi’s breathing pattern, and knew he was about to wake. He pressed a kiss to the nape of his neck, unable to comprehend that he was allowed to do this now. He barely slept, the events of yesterday keeping him up through most of the night.

Kiyoomi kissed him. They kissed. On the lips. With tongue, eventually, over and over again. He never imagined that Kiyoomi would do that with anyone, much less him. That meant they were together now. Right?

“Atsu,” Kiyoomi mumbled, and Atsumu was hopelessly charmed. By what, he didn’t know. Kiyoomi wasn’t exactly what anyone would call charming. Atsumu adored his sheer existence anyway.

“Omi,” he whispered, unwilling to disturb the peace. “Are we together now?”

Kiyoomi let out the sound he usually made when he wasn’t in the mood to verbalize words.

Atsumu prodded his arm. “Omi,” he said insistently. “Are we?”

Another discontented sound. Kiyoomi swatted his hand away in irritation. “Yes. Be quiet.”

He pressed a kiss to the curve of Kiyoomi’s shoulder. “You like like me?”

Kiyoomi sighed in resignation. “Yes. Told you already.”

“Just making sure. You might have changed your mind.”

“It happened yesterday.”

“Well — you were asleep for so long, how was I supposed to know if you —”

“What? Got visited by the Holy Spirit in my dreams?”

“Exactly.”

There was a beat of silence then they both broke into laughter. Kiyoomi finally rolled over to his back, stretching, giving Atsumu the opportunity to wrap himself around him. He kissed Kiyoomi on the lips, but was almost immediately pushed away.

“Morning breath. Bawal.”

He nuzzled his neck and pressed a kiss there instead. “I missed you.”

“The hell?”

“You slept for so long.”

“Did you not sleep?”

He dodged the question. “Why do you sleep a lot?”

“It’s the fatigue. ‘M just really tired sometimes.”

“Hmm.” He did remember reading something like that when he was first researching EDS. 

“What’re we doing today,” Kiyoomi mumbled.

“Whatever you want.”

“Sleep?”

Atsumu chuckled, pressing in close to brush his lips over a sharp jaw. “Don’t you think we could use some sun?”

“No.”

“How ‘bout we go on another tour?” There were three more to go.

Kiyoomi went quiet as he considered it. “I guess that’s fine. But cuddles first.”

Atsumu hugged him from behind, pressing his face into Kiyoomi’s hair, feeling like his heart was about to give out. How was he supposed to survive this man? He felt like he’d been wanting and resisting and dreaming of this for so damn long, and he didn’t know what to do now that it was here.

First things first.

“Cuddles,” he agreed.

They didn’t go on any tour that day.

--

What was one supposed to do when the person they’ve yearned for was finally within reach?

Atsumu had thought it would calm the insanity, but it didn’t, not really. He felt drunk. High. Every time Kiyoomi kissed him it was an assault to the senses. Every time Kiyoomi smiled at him it was a kick to the stomach. Atsumu wanted nothing more than to permanently glue himself to Kiyoomi’s side, which was impossible and ultimately unbearable. They’d kill each other in a week.

He still wanted it, though. He wanted more. Everything.

“...can we, Atsu?”

He gazed hazily at Kiyoomi’s lips, which had just been licked clean. They were having pancakes for breakfast, and Kiyoomi had just discovered that Filipinos poured condensed milk on them instead of syrup or simple powdered sugar.

Needless to say, he was obsessed.

And he kept licking his lips.

“Miya,” Kiyoomi snapped, losing patience.

He blinked at Kiyoomi across the dining table. He reached out and cupped his cheek. “I’m sorry, baby, what was that?”

Kiyoomi blushed angrily. It did things to Atsumu. “I said. Let’s go on a tour as soon as they could schedule one.”

“Oh,” he said inanely. “Okay, sure, I’ll call Maria later and ask.”

“Okay.”

After their meal, they settled back in bed to continue their “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” marathon. They were on Season 4 now. Kiyoomi ran his fingers through Atsumu’s hair as they watched.

Eventually, he got too distracted by it, fingering the strands thoughtfully. “Your hair is so long now.”

“Yeah, I can tie it in a ponytail now, kinda.”

“Hmm. I can braid this.”

“Really?”

Kiyoomi grasped a handful of hair. “I used to do it for my sister.”

“Tell me about your siblings,” he requested, curiosity piqued. He shut his eyes, enjoying the sensation of fingers moving across his scalp.

“Well. We’re...not always close, if that makes sense. They’re much older than me. Aiko nee-san is 29, Kano nii-san is 31.”

He mentally computed. “A six, seven year age gap. Wow.”

“I was an accident,” Kiyoomi explained. “When I was much younger, Onee-san and Onii-san were very protective of me, I was their baby. But they grew up, went to high school, went to college, moved out...we drift in and out, I guess? But they’ll always be my brother and sister even though we don’t always know each other well. It’s like we’re always at different phases of life, so I understand. Recently, they’ve been trying harder. Maybe because we’re all older now... age and time put things into perspective, don’t they?”

He thought of his own relationship with Osamu, how they bickered and fought through the years but always loved each other anyway. He thought of how everything used to be a competition between them, but now they both just wanted each other to be happy.

Probably.

“Yeah, I think they do. Family’s...family.”

Kiyoomi nodded. “They’re unbearable sometimes, though. They seem to forget I’m 23 now, not six.”

“To be fair, you’re a baby.”

“I’m not.”

“A big baby.”

Kiyoomi pulled mercilessly at his hair, making him wince. “I’m not. Shut up before I make you bald.”

“Okay, okay,” he quickly said, trying not to further irritate him by laughing. Kiyoomi was so hot-headed sometimes, it was hilarious. He was every inch the person who’d been teased relentlessly growing up — Atsumu didn’t even have to ask if this assumption was true, it was clear to him now.

Appeased, Kiyoomi patted him on the head. “You know, you could cut off all the blonde now, and you’ll be back to being a brunette.”

“Hmm.” He turned the idea over his head. His roots had grown out over two inches already, and his hair was becoming uncomfortably long. But if he cut off the blonde now, his hair would be a little too short for his liking.  “A few more weeks, I’ll ask Heidi to cut it off. I’ll rock this long hair for now. I think it looks good, don’t you?”

He craned his head to glimpse at Kiyoomi’s face. He looked flustered. “I suppose it’s not that ugly.”

Atsumu translated that as, ‘You look handsome but I’ll die before I admit it.’ He smirked smugly.

“I’ll get mine trimmed soon,” Kiyoomi said. “It’s getting annoying.”

“You’re gorgeous anyway.”

“Shut up.”

“Never.”

Kiyoomi’s fingers resumed their movements. “Do you have a ponytail?”

“Just one.” He slipped a thin one off his wrist and handed it over.

Kiyoomi pulled them both up to a sitting position and made quick work of his hair. Atsumu mindlessly watched the television until Kiyoomi announced that he was done.

When he checked his reflection on his phone screen, he exclaimed, “Hey, it looks cute! This is actually some good braiding, Omi-kun.”

“Of course it is. I did it, didn’t I?”

“Alright, Mr. Perfect, I get it.” He snapped a selfie from various angles, then turned around and gave Kiyoomi a smooch. “Thanks babe.”

Kiyoomi turned his head away, cheeks red. “Yeah, yeah.”

God, I adore him, he thought.

He tugged him close and lay them back down on the bed. “Brooklyn time.”

They watched until the day turned to night, until they were tucked under the covers together, the warmth of their cocoon lulling them to sleep.

He woke up grinding his boner against Kiyoomi’s ass.

Sucking in a sharp breath, he moved his hips away and slowly unlatched himself from the tantalizingly warm body next to him. “Fuck,” he whispered. Arousal coursed through him, unshakable.

He staggered to the bathroom and took care of business embarrassingly quickly, blinking hazily at the wall when he was done.

He’d done a good job repressing his desires so far, feeling like a creep for lusting over his untouchable teammate. But he was only human and Kiyoomi just happened to be what a Greek demigod would look like if they existed.

He tried to list down the facts. He and Kiyoomi were together now. Kiyoomi was a virgin. Kiyoomi hardly ever let people touch him, and took three months before he could even bring himself to kiss Atsumu.

Kiyoomi would definitely not be stripping his clothes off and laying in bed with legs akimbo for Atsumu anytime soon. In fact, Kiyoomi would definitely murder Atsumu for even thinking about these impure thoughts about him.

“Fuck,” he said again.

This was going to be torture.

Chapter Text

Kisses were his new favorite thing.

He wasn’t shy about demanding them from Atsumu. After everything the man had put him through, he deserved kisses. Kisses were nice. He never saw the appeal of them before, so it was a pleasant discovery.

He thought maybe it was just because the kisses were from Atsumu.

Good thing he was generous with them. Atsumu kissed him everywhere — on the moles on his forehead, his cheek, that spot behind his ear, the hollow in his throat. Sometimes he even kissed Kiyoomi’s elbow, for some reason, and even his stomach.

The last one was dangerous territory. It always made him feel...tingly.

Atsumu pressed their lips together for what must be the hundredth time today. “Hi,” he said in a muffled murmur.

Kiyoomi leaned away so he could look at him. “Hi.”

“I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to kiss you.”

“Since when?”

“Hmm...since I first saw you naked in the locker rooms?”

“Pervert.”

“Hey, it’s totally normal. Don’t you imagine kissing people you meet?”

“Uh, no?”

Atsumu blinked at him in surprise. “Really, no?”

Kiyoomi scowled. “Do you imagine everyone?”

“Well, I guess not. Maybe just the attractive ones.”

“So you thought I was attractive?”

“Well, yeah. You’re hot.”

He considered this, then decided to just accept the compliment. Not that it mattered much, Atsumu was a whore.

“If you try to imagine other people now —”

Atsumu snorted. “I won’t, I won’t. I have you now. This is like...jackpot.”

"Good for you. I'm not sure I can say the same."

Atsumu sighed in defeat. "I'm so insane for wanting this."

Kiyoomi smiled and wrapped his limbs around Atsumu. As he clung to him, he changed his mind. Cuddles might be his favorite thing.

Another kiss was pressed to his forehead.

Or maybe it’s just Atsumu in general that was his favorite thing. When did that happen?

“I had a weird dream,” he began.

“Ooh, tell me, tell me.”

They’ve both been invested in this topic, ever since they decided that yes, their dreams have been more vivid lately. They got weirder and weirder every night, and easier to recall.

“I couldn’t pin down the country I was in at first, the scenes kept changing, but I kept running.”

“Why were you running?”

“Er, apparently I stole something —”

Atsumu snorted.

“And my legs were so heavy, I thought I was going to get caught. But I kept running anyway. At some point I arrived at this random theater and stole someone’s popcorn as a disguise.”

“Not a very good disguise.”

“And then they spotted me so I started running again, and then suddenly I was in some town smack in the middle of the sea — I think it was Myanmar —”

“Oddly specific.”

“I’ve been there once,” he explained. “We rode a boat across a lake to get to some town. I think that was the basis of this scene. But then I was transported to Singapore, outside Universal.”

“And you’re still running?”

“Yeah, I was still running. I remember thinking I was carrying something priceless that I shouldn’t have had in the first place. And then I was in the countryside somewhere, and it was nighttime, and the chase was getting really crazy. There was a lake. I jumped in just in time to avoid an explosion.”

“An explosion? Were they trying to kill you?”

“Yeah, they were. And I think they thought I died, but I swam away. And then you woke me up.”

“I’m your hero, then.”

“Yeah, you saved a criminal.”

“What was that priceless thing that you stole?”

“Oh, it was this heart-shaped diamond. A big one.” He lifted a hand. “This big, the size of my fist. But it wasn’t really the diamond itself that was important, I think? It had meaning to some people, but I don’t know what.” He paused, trying to remember. “I think...it was a real heart, made of diamond.”

“That’s pretty interesting, Omi-Omi. How’d your mind come up with that?”

“I don’t know. Maybe we watched something weird again.” A thought struck him. “Maybe it was Pirates of the Caribbean. You know how the guy gave the girl his actual heart?”

“Ah, right.”

“Let’s watch something light and cute, maybe we’d have nicer dreams.”

“Hmm...Bojack Horseman?”

“Okay.”

What he didn’t tell Atsumu was that there were other dreams. Less convoluted, more familiar dreams, the kind he used to get when he was an awkward teenager.

But while he used to dream of faceless men, now he dreamed of Atsumu. And oh, was everything vivid.

He didn’t know just how to breach it quite yet.

As always, he’d just hope Atsumu would pick up on it or read his mind. He often did these days, anyway.

--

Atsumu did not pick up on it. To Kiyoomi’s frustration, he chose now to be a gentleman, oddly respectful of his boundaries and treating him like glass. It rankled him. What part of his 6’4” muscled body made the idiot think he needed to be handled with that much care? Granted, his joints were funky, and sometimes he was in pain for no reason, but still. He could kick Miya Atsumu’s ass. Maybe he needed to remind him of that.

“Omi-Omi,” Atsumu murmured.

He perked to attention, eagerly accepting the soft kiss pressed to his mouth.

Things slowly and inevitably got heated. They faced each other in bed, legs intertwined, and Kiyoomi explored Atsumu’s mouth with his tongue — something he never thought he’d ever do in this lifetime.

Perhaps he enjoyed it too much. Atsumu turned his head away, gasping for air. “Omi, wait.”

Atsumu always did this, put the brakes on without warning, just when Kiyoomi was getting carried away. What was he so afraid of?

Patience snapping, Kiyoomi decided he wasn’t tolerating this today. He pushed Atsumu to his back and straddled his thighs, leaning down so he could kiss him again.

Atsumu kissed him back, gripping his hips with a breathless moan. The sound sent a wave of heat down Kiyoomi’s body and he mindlessly ran his hands up under Atsumu’s shirt. He was pleased to finally feel the hard abs he’d been taunted with for months, and he reached higher to palm the broad chest. When he brushed past the nipples, Atsumu rocked his hips upwards, and oh.

That’s why he was trying to halt their activities.

Mouth dry, Kiyoomi carefully positioned himself so he was sitting on what was clearly a very hard cock. A very big, hard cock.

“Omi,” Atsumu choked out. “Don’t —”

Kiyoomi bore down experimentally, lust hitting him like a sack of bricks. He licked his lips to wet them, aching in his shorts, unsure what to do to relieve both of them. He’d never done anything like this with anyone before.

Strangely enough, he wasn’t scared. It was just Atsumu.

He decided to ask for help. “Atsu. I want.”

“Oh god,” Atsumu whimpered. “What the fuck is happening.”

He started grinding clumsily on Atsumu’s crotch, feeling stabs of pleasure whenever their erections would bump against each other.

Atsumu tightened his grip on his hips, halting his movements and lifting him a little. “Omi, wait.”

What?”

“Just — I just need to think a little —”

“Why?” he whined.

“I — I don’t know — I know there was a reason —”

“There isn’t,” he said flatly. He resisted Atsumu’s grip and sat himself back down on his lap. “I’m horny. Do something.”

“Oh sweet baby Jesus.”

Kiyoomi started moving again, more insistently this time. His breathing sped up, desire coursing through him with a hint of frustration. Why wasn’t Atsumu understanding what he wanted? Why wasn’t he giving it to him right this instant? “Atsu.”

With a curse, Atsumu rolled them over, pinning Kiyoomi’s wrists on either side of his head.

And then he started rutting against Kiyoomi, grinding until their cocks were leaking through their thin shorts. Gripped by pleasure, Kiyoomi lifted his hips, chasing the feeling. It didn’t take long before he was moaning and hearing himself made him blush in mortification. But he was so close.

And then Atsumu ground down harshly against him and he came suddenly, his orgasm tugged out of him. Waves of pleasure swept through him and the only thing keeping him from floating away was Atsumu’s weight.

He distantly registered Atsumu letting out a string of curses, panting and trembling. He blinked through the haze in his vision and watched him shove a hand down his shorts and jerk himself off. He saw the exact moment he reached his peak, his beautiful face contorting with pleasure.

“Fuck,” Atsumu croaked out, when he could speak again. He collapsed beside Kiyoomi with a huff.

“Next time,” he promised, still breathing heavily. He scrambled to piece himself back together. How was that clumsy, awkward fumbling so good?

“What the hell,” Atsumu choked out.

“I need to get used to the idea first,” he explained.

“That’s —”

“But I wanna do the other stuff.”

Atsumu stared at him. Slowly, he said, “Do you mean to tell me I’ve been blue-balling myself this whole time?”

“Were you?” Kiyoomi blinked, trying to focus his gaze on him. “How stupid of you.”

“I thought you’d be against it!”

“What? Sex stuff? If it’s with you, I’m not.”

“O-oh.” Atsumu cheeks were red and he suddenly seemed bashful. “Really?”

“I trust you.” It was as much an assurance as it was a warning. He meant, Don’t make me take it back.

“We’ll go at your pace,” Atsumu promised. “We’ll do whatever you want.”

“Good. Start by cleaning us up, then.”

“Bossy.” But Atsumu got up and did as he was asked.

As he lay there, body still tingling with the afterglow, he thought he was finally seeing the appeal of all this — and they’d barely scratched the surface. The thought excited him. He found that he was actually looking forward to learning all this, too.

--

The next day, they finally went on their second tour. They had it all to themselves again, and this time it was more fun because he got to hold Atsumu’s hand while they explored and lean his head on his shoulder whenever they were on the boat. He craved his presence like a cat who’d just discovered a warm spot. He wondered if he should be worried.

He craved other things, too. That worried him. He welcomed the sun and the salt water, which served to keep him distracted from the restlessness building inside him.

They visited the Helicopter Island, which, as the name suggested, was shaped like a helicopter. Then they explored the Matinloc Shrine, located on an island that used to host a convent and a school. The place was eerie and he strayed closer to Atsumu, who said, "The guide said this island is haunted, you know."

He thought it was funny the way Atsumu pretended not to be spooked.

The second half of the tour was more interesting, because they visited two gorgeous beaches, namely the Secret Beach and Hidden Beach.

“Wow, they’re very literal in naming these places,” Atsumu observed.

They were. The Hidden Beach was named so because it was nestled between two rocks, while the Hidden Beach was — well, hidden.

He loved the last one because it was there he found the most beautiful spot in the world.

Their boat had stopped before they reached the shore, their guides letting them to fend for themselves. They waded to land and sat down on the white sand, appreciating the clear turquoise waters that stretched on endlessly. The sight made Kiyoomi feel small, and he’d feel alone if not for Atsumu’s presence beside him.

It didn’t take long for Atsumu to get restless. He swam off to the giant rocks at the edge of the beach, rounding them and swimming farther into deeper waters before disappearing from view. Kiyoomi’s anxiety spiked. The sea wasn’t exactly peaceful today — the skies were pleasant but the waves were aggressive.

And then Atsumu popped up from behind the rock wall again, chest-deep in the water, waving the GoPro. “Omi! C’mere!”

Relieved to have seen him, Kiyoomi left his spot on the safe sand and braved the sea.

“Don’t do that,” he said when he was close enough. “Don’t disappear like that.”

“You don’t have to worry so much about me.” Atsumu grabbed his hand and started tugging. “I found a place, let’s go.”

He let Atsumu tug him away, the water rising to his chest. He braced himself on the impossibly large rock that bordered the beach with one hand as they rounded it, scared that a current would sweep him away.

And then there was a break in the wall. An opening. “A cave?”

“Kinda. Swim over here.”

Kiyoomi obeyed, eyes widening when he got a look at what’s inside. “Is this why it’s called Hidden Beach? Is this the real Hidden Beach?”

“I have no idea, but I don’t think so.” Atsumu jerked a thumb to the direction they came from. “That’s the Hidden Beach.” He pointed at the crack in the wall. “This is an accident of nature.”

“Let’s go in,” he said.

He waded through the crack, which was somewhat a tight fit for someone of his size. The waters became shallow and before long, he was stepping on beige-colored fine sand, safe from the sea for now.

He looked around, amazed. Tall limestone walls dwarfed him, shooting up from all sides, except there wasn’t a ceiling. Sunlight streamed through the hole on top, making everything seem golden, providing warmth to counter the cool air inside.

It was a tiny, enclosed, pocket-sized beach. A hidden paradise for their taking.

“This is my most favorite spot on Earth,” he declared.

“Really?” Atsumu asked, coming up beside him. “The most favorite? The world is big, you know.”

“Well, for now it is.”

Atsumu pulled off the tiny waterproof back hanging from his neck and dropped the GoPro on the sand. “Omi, let’s take pictures.”

He was happy enough to indulge him. Atsumu had to swim back near the opening to capture Kiyoomi and his surroundings, and it was a hilariously grueling affair, because the tide was high, and waves crashed in and out at intervals. They rolled in viciously, and left as if sucked out by a force, nearly dragging Atsumu out with it.

When Atsumu nearly brained himself on the rock wall, he said, “Just stop it already, you might actually die.”

“But you’re so beautiful right now,” Atsumu said lightly, tapping on his phone. “Smile!”

He blushed. As revenge for the disgusting cheesiness, he started taking videos of Atsumu on the GoPro, documenting his struggles. He couldn’t help but laugh at him when a particularly strong wave shoved him forward. Atsumu caught himself against the wall right on time, nearly dropping his phone.

“You almost died again,” he informed him, voice shaking with mirth.

Atsumu was laughing, too. “This place is insane. I love it. Can you believe this exists?”

When Atsumu finally dragged himself back to shore, Kiyoomi took his turn in taking photos. The sunlight made Atsumu’s pale hair glow, a contrast to the dark at the roots, and highlighted the brown of his eyes, the gold of his slowly tanning skin. He wanted to capture it. Atsumu belonged here.

Then they lay beside each other on the sand, looking up at what little sky they could see from their newly-discovered cove.

“What’s the Tagalog word for paradise?” Atsumu asked.

Paraiso.”

Atsumu lifted himself up on an elbow, leaning over Kiyoomi. He was blocking the sky now, but Kiyoomi was alright with that.

Ikaw ay paraiso,” Atsumu said.

“Shut up,” he said angrily, flushing.

“It’s true.”

“Stop being gross and kiss me.”

That was all the prompting that Atsumu needed. He lowered his head and pressed their mouths together and Kiyoomi only had time to marvel at the softness of Atsumu’s lips before he was taken over by passion. The restlessness in his gut that he’d been suppressing all morning became a full blown storm in a matter of seconds and he clutched at Atsumu, feeling very unlike himself.

He shut his eyes as Atsumu started kissing his way down his neck. And then back up.

When Atsumu licked inside his ear, he moaned, startled. He turned his head to glimpse the crack in the rock wall. “What if they come in?”

“I am 90 percent sure they’re napping in the boat,” Atsumu said in a low voice. “There’s nobody here but us Omi…”

He should be ashamed by the way he instantly folded. But he wanted Atsumu with an ache that scared him.

So when Atsumu’s fingers brushed against the top of his beach shorts, asking, “Would you be comfortable with me removing this?” he just nodded his head hastily. He lifted his hips when Atsumu tugged his shorts down and kicked it off, the sand tickling the skin of his bare ass.

He lay there holding his breath as Atsumu ran his eyes on every inch of his body, before settling on his cock, already flushed and hard. “Miya,” he said severely. “Move it.”

Atsumu snorted and wrapped his hand around his cock. “You have such a way with words, darling.”

He flushed down to his chest at the pet name. He canted his hips impatiently. “Atsumu.”

“You’re a brat, you know that? Be patient, Omi-kun.”

Atsumu started placing wet, open-mouthed kisses down his torso all the way to his navel. Then he spread Kiyoomi’s legs and made a spot for himself in between them, meeting his eyes before lowering his head. Kiyoomi sucked in a breath and stiffened, alarmed. 

There was no bracing himself for the heat that spread up his body when Atsumu ran that maddening tongue from the base of his cock to the tip. He sucked on the head and Kiyoomi whimpered, confused by his body’s reaction. “W-wait —”

Atsumu lowered his mouth, sucking until he swallowed him down all the way. He squeezed his eyes shut when Atsumu started bobbing his head, reaching down to claw at damp blonde hair, not knowing what else to do with his hands.

“Atsu,” he whimpered. He was close to begging, body trembling with the sensation. He didn’t want it to end too soon but he thought he might die if he had to live with the tension for another second.

And then there was a curious touch worming its way between Kiyoomi’s ass cheeks and his eyes snapped open as it grazed his hole.

His orgasm hit him like a freight train, unfamiliar sounds making their way out his throat. His hips shook wildly at the force of it, and he pulled at Atsumu’s hair, still feeling his mouth around his twitching cock. “Oh god,” he whispered hoarsely.

He let his head fall on the sand when it was over, relaxing his grip. Atsumu pulled his mouth off, prying Kiyoomi’s fingers from his hair.

His head lolled to the side as he watched, dazed, as Atsumu licked his lips. “Yum,” he smirked.

He held out limp arms and Atsumu went, pressing his body against Kiyoomi’s. He was still wearing his beach shorts, and Kiyoomi could feel that he was hard.

Filled with renewed energy, Kiyoomi rolled them over so he was straddling Atsumu’s hips with weak legs. He tugged down the shorts until he could palm his dick, carefully wrapping his fingers around it. It was thick. “Is this supposed to go in me? It’s never gonna fit.”

For some reason, Atsumu moaned at this, eyes fluttering shut. “Please don’t say things like that. Fuck, you’re killing me.”

Kiyoomi slid his hand up and down slowly, watching in fascination. He’d never seen another man’s cock up close like this before, his experience limited to the rare times he let himself watch porn. He thought this one was rather pretty, albeit intimidating.

He thumbed curiously at the wet tip, shocked when ropes of come started shooting out. It stained his hand and splattered on both their stomachs.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Atsumu chanted raggedly. “Sorry, fuck.”

He settled his eyes on Atsumu, studying his open mouth and furrowed brows and arching back. Was this how he looked like earlier?

When Atsumu quieted, he commented, “That was fast.”

Atsumu groaned and hid his face under an arm. “I feel like a damn virgin.”

When he let go of the deflating member, Atsumu removed his arm and watched him with dazed eyes, which widened when Kiyoomi lifted a finger to his mouth. He hesitated, then poked a tongue out and licked the white fluid.

He scrunched his face up at the taste, regretting it immensely. “Ugh. Gross.”

Atsumu let out a throaty laugh. “Typical. Come here, will you?”

He crawled closer, amazed to discover he wasn’t the least bit conscious of his nudity. It was liberating. He flopped gently on top of Atsumu, who curled his arms around him and pressed a kiss to his forehead.

“You okay?”

He nodded.

“Sure? You don’t feel grossed out at all? Any inkling of reg —”

“Atsumu, shut up, I feel fine.” Wonderful, in fact. Couldn’t wait to do it again. But saying that would be giving Atsumu too much power, so he didn’t.

“Oh,” Atsumu sighed in relief. “Good.”

They basked in their peaceful haven until Atsumu said the guides might start looking for them. They dipped their bodies into the water to wash off all evidence of their activities and gathered their gadgets.

Kiyoomi pulled on his cold, damp shorts. “I can’t wait to bathe properly back home.”

“Can I join?” Atsumu’s eyes had a hungry glint to them, leaving no doubt to what he wanted to do once they were there.

“Sure,” he said flippantly, as if his heartbeat didn’t just kick up a notch.

Yes, he couldn’t wait to get home.

Chapter Text

The walk back to their room was silent. The tension racked up with every step, and he had no doubt things were escalating the moment they stepped inside.

“Shower?” Atsumu immediately said once they got back.

The heat in his stomach simmered. “Yeah.”

He let his wet clothes flop on the bathroom tiles, deciding to worry about it later. He turned on the shower, waiting for it to heat up before slipping under it, sighing in relief when the water slid down his body, warming him.

He felt a presence behind him and shivered at the touch on his back.

“Relax,” Atsumu murmured. He reached past Kiyoomi for the shampoo. “Let me.” He lathered shampoo into Kiyoomi’s hair and he melted under the touch.

Kiyoomi started soaping up his body. “I have sand everywhere,” he complained.

“What did you expect, dummy? I have sand in places I didn’t even know sand could reach,” Atsumu said.

Kiyoomi smirked and ducked under the spray again, rinsing himself.

But Atsumu wasn’t done. His large hands ran down Kiyoomi’s body slowly, as if he was relishing it. He turned off the shower and started soaping Kiyoomi up again.

“You’re unbelievable,” Atsumu mumbled. “You’ve been driving me mad.”

“Atsumu,” he started, only to cut himself off with a moan when Atsumu slipped naughty fingers between his ass cheeks.

“I think you should turn around,” Atsumu said huskily.

He could only obey. The simmering in his belly had turned into molten lava. Atsumu took his wrists and guided his hands to the wall, pushing at his back until he was satisfied with the bend.

“We gotta clean every inch, don’t we?” Atsumu’s thumbs spread him open, and he flushed in mortification. He squirmed and panted. “Be still, Omi.”

Soapy fingers rubbed at his entrance and he closed his eyes at the unfamiliar sensation. “Atsumu,” he begged.

“You want it?”

His stomach tightened, and he refused to answer.

“You gotta tell me, Omi.” The relentless fingers were driving him crazy. “I’ve been losing my mind wondering. Tell me you want it.”

Yes,” he moaned. Then he gasped when a finger breached him.

“Relax,” Atsumu said urgently. He rubbed Kiyoomi’s back. “Relax, Omi.”

He breathed in and out and unclenched. Then he tensed up again when the finger sank in the rest of the way. “Oh God.”

“Shh.” Atsumu started pumping the finger in and out slowly. “Fuck. You’re tight.”

He forced himself to keep breathing as Atsumu started fingering him faster. It felt strange, and he considered backing out in a fit of panic, but a bigger part of him said, ‘stay.’ He experimentally moved his hips back and forth slowly and made a small sound when Atsumu pushed in another finger. Was that pain? Was that pleasure?

He tried with no avail to keep up with the sensations his body was being forced to suffer through. His cock was hard and leaking and he was vaguely surprised to realize he was actually enjoying this. He shut his eyes and gave up when Atsumu reached out from behind him and started stroking his length.

Atsumu’s fingers twisted inside of him, seemingly looking for something. Kiyoomi knew he found it when his vision turned white, his orgasm blindsiding him.

Strong arms caught him before he could melt into a puddle on the floor. Water sprayed down his body again, cleansing him, and then he was being guided out the bathroom in a towel and sat on the bed.

Atsumu dried him and left, taking the towel with him. He was gone for a while, and Kiyoomi lay down, completely bare. Atsumu saw everything already, anyway.

He had no awareness of what followed. He sank into a dreamless sleep.

--

When he woke, it was morning again. Atsumu wasn’t beside him.

He stretched carefully, feeling some pangs and aches, but nothing to truly worry about. He shuffled over to the bathroom, flushing when he remembered what happened there the day before. He had slept for so long.

After relieving himself, he proceeded to do his morning stretches and exercises in their back garden. By the time he was done, Atsumu hadn’t returned. Frowning, he took a bath and went through his morning skincare routine.

When he exited the bathroom, the subject of his anxiety was lounging on the desk chair.

“Where’ve you been?” he demanded.

“Good morning, sunshine,” Atsumu sang, looking up from his phone. “I went to the store. Got you breakfast.”

He relaxed. “Oh. You took a while.”

“I walked around a bit, figured you’d sleep forever.”

He wrinkled his nose. “Go shower, you might have brought in the virus.”

Atsumu rolled his eyes, but stood up obediently.

As Atsumu took a bath, Kiyoomi rummaged through the plastic bags. He checked the packaged food — it was tapsilog , his new favorite. It was just beef tapa with itlog, or egg, so he didn’t know why it was so good. Maybe it was the fried rice?

He took the bags to the dining area, setting the table up for breakfast. When he opened another bag, he understood why Atsumu had gone out.

Inside were boxes of condoms and bottles of lube.

He wasn’t sure whether to laugh or kick the bathroom door down and drown Atsumu in the toilet bowl. How confident that jerk was.

He settled for displaying them neatly on the dining table. He took a seat and waited.

It took only a few minutes before Atsumu bounded over, hair damp. He stopped in his tracks and eyed his purchases. “Uh…I can explain…”

“Yes?”

“I just think we should be prepared,” he offered.

“Do you.”

“Well, it looked like you enjoyed yourself yesterday.”

He blushed, feeling the sudden urge to kick Atsumu in the neck. He pressed his lips together and glared.

As if realizing he’d wrestled the upper hand from Kiyoomi, Atsumu smirked and stalked closer. “Didn’t you?”

He tried to turn his head away, but Atsumu caught his chin. He swooped down for a startling kiss.

“Hi.”

Another peck.

Kiyoomi reached up and pressed their mouths together again, opening his lips for Atsumu’s tongue. He tasted like mint.

“Mmm, morning,” Atsumu murmured. “Breakfast then bed?”

He was already starting to feel overheated. “Bed then breakfast.”

“Oh?” Atsumu’s eyebrows flew up. “I’m not saying no to that.”

They ended up skipping breakfast entirely.

--

A fever took hold of them. The world shrank down to their bedroom and days passed without them surfacing. Maria called them on the phone at some point, worried, and Atsumu just told her they developed colds and didn’t want to spread it around. They started having food delivered to them, because they could barely bring themselves to leave the bed.

Kiyoomi no longer recognized himself.

He knew his body, knew what it felt like when he skips his exercises, knew what it felt like when his bones weren’t in their right place. He never knew it could feel pleasure like this.

In this aspect, Atsumu knew his body better — knew just how to touch, how to bend, how to set the pace. And on the times he didn’t, he learned. He picked up fast, eyes flashing whenever Kiyoomi’s moans started reaching a fever pitch.

“Jesus, you’re loud,” Atsumu breathed out as he dug two fingers deep into Kiyoomi again. “And so damn sensitive.”

“Atsu,” he groaned. “Fuck me.”

“When you’re ready.”

“I’m ready.” It’s been days and days of this, and they have yet to cross that line. Kiyoomi was starting to get obsessed with the idea of it. Atsumu’s fingers already felt so good inside him, what more something bigger? He canted his hips. “Atsumu.”

“It might hurt —”

“It won’t.”

It might. Because Atsumu was big. Aside from Atsumu’s fingers, Kiyoomi never had anything in him before, but he was more than willing to try it now.

But Atsumu was being a little too careful with him, treating him like he would break. Or run away.

“We’ll get there, okay?” Atsumu said. “No rush.”

Atsumu curled his fingers, and it was unfair, so unfair how easily he could get his way. Kiyoomi was helpless against his ministrations and it wasn’t long before he was teetering at the edge. Stars exploded behind his eyes when Atsumu gripped his cock and thumbed at the tip, and he arched his back with a whimper.

“I hate you,” he said hazily when he was able to form words.

He received a kiss on the mouth as a reply. “You’re so beautiful. I just came in my pants again. This is not funny anymore.”

He laughed wildly. It gave him a rush of power, knowing Atsumu was weak for him, too. “Cuddles,” he demanded.

Atsumu cleaned them up first and changed his pajama pants before obeying. He kissed the back of Kiyoomi’s neck. “I can’t believe I get to have this.”

His heart fluttered. “Stop being gross. Nap.”

A muffled laugh against his hair. “Okay.” Atsumu laughed again.

What?”

“I just realized something.”

“What?”

“I won’t have to settle for lame porn anymore.”

He blinked at the curtains.

“Do you know, the government here blocked off major porn sites? I was wondering why I couldn’t access them, I thought I just had bad internet connection. But when I Googled it, I learned they’ve been inaccessible since like...2017 or something.”

Kiyoomi wriggled and turned in Atsumu's arms so he could stare at his face. “Why are you so despicable?”

Atsumu grinned at him roguishly. “You like me like this.”

“Who said that? I never said that.”

“The way you let me do these ‘despicable’ things to you tells me everything I need to know, darling.”

His cheeks felt hot. Damn Miya Atsumu and his obnoxious personality and his loathsome existence.

“You’re so pretty when you blush, Omi-Omi.”

“Shut the hell up, Miya,” he barked.

“Make me.”

They kissed until no more words disturbed the quiet afternoon light.

Chapter Text

He didn’t know what day it was. He knew it was well into July, but he couldn’t be bothered to learn the date. He had bigger things to worry about, namely, his overactive lover.

He thought maybe he’d have to sweet talk Kiyoomi into trying these intimate activities with him, maybe even beg. Contrary to what he expected, Kiyoomi was eager. A little too eager for Atsumu to keep up with him, especially because his body had decided to revert to having the stamina of a teenager.

For example, it was one innocuous afternoon when Kiyoomi turned to look at him and apropos of nothing, said, “Atsu. Can we have sex?”

Atsumu’s breath caught in his throat and he swallowed hard, his cock already stirring. They haven’t managed to actually have sex yet, but everything they’ve been doing have been mind-numbingly good. Too good. Handling an insatiable Kiyoomi was like having a drug injected straight into Atsumu’s veins. There was no cure.

Before he could even answer, Kiyoomi crawled over to him and started tugging at Atsumu’s shorts.

“Omi —”

“I want.”

He watched Kiyoomi in amazement as he pulled out Atsumu’s hardening length. “You always do.”

“I have a lot to catch up on. I can’t let you keep winning.”

Naturally, this was a challenge for him, too. He didn’t know what he expected.

Definitely not Kiyoomi settling between his legs, lowering his head over Atsumu’s cock which he was gripping almost possessively. His dick throbbed when he realized what he was planning to do. “O-omi, wait a second —”

A pink tongue peeked out of pouty lips and licked at the tip of Atsumu’s erection. The moan was ripped out of him, even as he tried not to laugh at the face Kiyoomi made at the taste.

“Do people like this?” Kiyoomi asked, looking repulsed.

Atsumu really shouldn’t find his lover’s disgusted face adorable, especially because he was making it while giving a blowjob. “Erm, it’s an acquired taste.”

“You don’t have any diseases I should worry about, right?” He looked warily at Atsumu’s cock, sliding his hand up and down leisurely.

“No,” he keened. “Please suck my dick.”

After wrinkling his nose one more time, Kiyoomi lowered his mouth again, and sucked at the tip of the head.

“Oh my god,” Atsumu panted. He couldn’t look away. “I’m gonna die.”

Kiyoomi’s mouth stretched around him as he clumsily tried to take him deeper, and Atsumu knew this was going to be over really fast.

“Fuck, wait —”

Kiyoomi's cheeks hollowed as he sucked and god, where did he learn that? Atsumu’s brain was melting.

And then teeth accidentally grazed him and he whimpered, reflexively grabbing at Kiyoomi’s head. “Omi, teeth, no teeth — oh god —”

Kiyoomi looked up at him with wide eyes, and the sight pushed Atsumu to orgasm. He shot into Kiyoomi’s mouth, and the other man pulled away, coughing. Ropes of come landed on his face, and Kiyoomi glared at him like he was ready to kill him.

“Sorry,” he rasped out, dropping his head back on his pillow. “Sorry, holy shit, what the hell was that.” He was going to need at least three business days to recover. That was embarrassingly fast. Again.

Kiyoomi wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “Tastes gross.”

Cute, he was too cute. He shouldn’t be so cute when he was saying stuff like that. Atsumu closed his eyes and exhaled, feeling wrung out. He never in his life thought Sakusa Kiyoomi would deign to suck him off, but here they were. It was kinda bad, but it still felt so damn good, and Atsumu was willing to beg for it again.


“Omi,” he murmured, opening his eyes. “C’mere.”

Kiyoomi shuffled closer, let Atsumu drag his shorts down. He slipped his legs free and Atsumu tossed the offending piece over the side of the bed. Kiyoomi went ahead and took off his shirt, too, using it to wipe at his face before tossing that away, too.

“Why do we even bother with clothes?” Atsumu asked. “Let’s just go around naked from now on.”

“That would imply that we’d be having marathon sex, but as we are now, you keep coming too soon.”

“Hey!” he protested. “You try sleeping with you. I could barely think, how am I supposed to actually function properly?”

“Did you just tell me to fuck myself?”

He paused, then they both burst out laughing.

When they’d calmed, he said again, “Come here.” He was determined to show him now.

Kiyoomi frowned and after a moment of hesitation lifted a knee to straddle Atsumu. He stopped him. “No, other knee.”

Oh.” Kiyoomi narrowed his eyes at him. “What are you gonna do?”

He poked his tongue out at him and wagged his eyebrows.

Kiyoomi’s face turned red and he shifted uncomfortably. “But that’s dirty.”

“That’s what makes it hot.”

Kiyoomi still looked unconvinced, so Atsumu said, “Try first before deciding we don’t like it, remember?”

After another moment of serious thought, Kiyoomi slung his knee over Atsumu’s chest and bent over and Atsumu was treated to the wonderful sight of his tight ass.

He reached up to caress it, then thumbed the cheeks apart.

“Don’t you dare kiss me after this,” he heard Kiyoomi mutter.

Atsumu was already salivating. He didn’t bother giving Kiyoomi any time to brace himself. He dove right in and laved his tongue over his pucker, and then again when he heard the aborted scream.

He circled his tongue over the hole before stiffening it to lick inside. He thrust in and out, the wet sounds setting his blood on fire.

Kiyoomi sounded like he was dying. He’d locked up at the first touch but he was trembling now, and Atsumu felt high at the realization that he liked it

He ate him out with gusto until Kiyoomi was chanting “please, please, please.” Atsumu clumsily patted his bedside table for the bottle of lube, scrambling to coat his fingers with the stuff. Once he managed it, he pulled his tongue out and replaced it with two fingers.

Kiyoomi whined, back curving and pushing his hips towards Atsumu. He inserted a third finger, pushing in and out and curling them, until Kiyoomi froze. Gotcha, he thought triumphantly, and drilled the spot until Kiyoomi palmed himself and immediately spurted come on Atsumu’s stomach.

Atsumu pressed a final kiss to his ass and pulled his fingers out. He manhandled Kiyoomi until he was on his back on the bed, looking drained. If their past sessions were to be believed, he’ll be falling asleep soon. Atsumu brushed away the curly hair plastered on his damp forehead.

“What are you doing to me?” Kiyoomi whispered, eyes unfocused.

“Making you mine, hopefully,” he muttered against a toned, heaving stomach. Like hell he was letting go of this now. He was obsessed.

Kiyoomi didn’t seem to hear him, already halfway asleep. Atsumu snorted. The man could go for hours on the volleyball court, but in bed he had zero stamina. 

That was fine. Atsumu knew he’d wake up in a few hours, reenergized.

And as predicted, Kiyoomi stirred later that night and was instantly wide awake.

“You ruined your sleep cycle again, didn’t you,” Atsumu stated, looking away from Bojack Horseman for a second to check if Kiyoomi seemed in pain.

“Yeah,” Kiyoomi yawned. He stretched without a wince so Atsumu figured he was fine. “Hungry.”

“There’s leftover sinigang in the microwave.”

Kiyoomi crawled out of bed, naked as the day he was born, and headed to the dining area.

When he returned, he sat straight on Atsumu’s lap. Lips twitching, Atsumu asked, “Yes, Omi?” He kept his eyes on the television, until Kiyoomi reached for the remote and turned it off.

“Miya.” He always said his name like that when he wanted full attention, and he always got it. “I need you to fuck me.”

Atsumu couldn’t help but wheeze at that. Kiyoomi was too much for him, he really was. “Words I never thought you’d say.”

“Shut up.” Kiyoomi adjusted his position on Atsumu lap, shifting until he was straddling him. “If you won’t do it, I’ll find someone else who —”

Atsumu rolled them over, muffling his words with a hand. “Don’t even finish that sentence.”

Kiyoomi turned his head, freeing his face. Then he licked at Atsumu’s fingers before sucking two of them into his mouth.

“Oh god,” Atsumu said weakly. He felt faint. Probably because all the blood rushed from his brain to his dick.

He scrambled out of his boxers — he really shouldn’t have bothered with it — and he had his fingers slicked up and buried inside Kiyoomi in record time.

“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” he asked one more time.

In answer, Kiyoomi spread his legs wide, hands hooking behind his knees to hold himself open for Atsumu.

“Holy —” he choked.

“Fuck me. Please?” Kiyoomi widened his eyes, a calculated move. Damn it, he had Atsumu figured out. The brat was starting to understand his own power.

And because he was weak, he obediently took his fingers out of Kiyoomi and fumbled around for a condom. He rolled it on with trembling hands. He was startled to realize he was actually kinda scared.

He pushed at the back of Kiyoomi’s thigh, stretching him wider. “Relax, okay?” he said, trying to mask his own nerves.

“Yes, yes.”

They both sucked in a breath when the tip of Atsumu’s cock brushed against Kiyoomi’s entrance.

Kiyoomi’s head collapsed back into his pillow the moment Atsumu started pushing in. The tip popped in and they both moaned. “Tight,” he grunted out. I’m not going to survive this, he thought with building alarm.

He pushed in farther, breathing fast and heavy. Kiyoomi clenched around his cock reflexively causing Atsumu to choke out a moan.

And then he came.

“Fuck, sorry, sorry —” Atsumu whispered raggedly through the wave of his orgasm. “You’re so tight —”

He didn’t give himself time to bask in the pleasure. He pulled out and fucked three fingers into Kiyoomi’s hole, and his lover let out a strangled yell. This was a little too fast, a little too rough than he was used to.

Atsumu didn’t care. He added a fourth finger and set a punishing pace, wrists twisting and fingers curling until Kiyoomi twitched. He sped up and with a jerk, Kiyoomi came. Untouched.

He caught Kiyoomi’s his legs when he let go of them and gently lay them back down on the bed, rubbing them soothingly. Then he touched the mess on Kiyoomi’s stomach. “Holy fuck. That’s hot.”

After Atsumu cleaned them up, he curled around Kiyoomi, pressing a kiss to his neck, only to be immediately made fun of.

“I can believe you came so—”

“Shut up, shut up,” Atsumu said indignantly. “It was our first time okay —”

“That doesn’t even count ‘cause you didn’t make it in. And you said I wasn’t ready —”

This time Atsumu shut him up with a harsh kiss. “You came, didn’t you? Untouched, too.” He smirked smugly. “Let’s make that happen again.”

The words only made Kiyoomi lick his lips. “Okay.”

Atsumu ran his gaze over his face. “Who’d have thought you'd be so greedy in bed? Demanding, too.”

“Don’t tell me you don’t like it. You’re a disgusting horndog.”

Well, that was true enough. “Looks like we’re made for each other, then.”

Kiyoomi smiled, eyes slipping shut. “Looks like it, yeah.”

Chapter Text

Atsumu had a new favorite thing about Kiyoomi every day. Sometimes it was the two moles on his forehead, other days it was one of the dozens scattered across his body. Sometimes it was the way he said 'Atsu,' sometimes it was the way he moaned.

Today, it was the wide, upturned eyes gazing up at him that was killing him.

“I’m getting old here, Atsumu.”

Or maybe it was the smart mouth.

“Wait,” he panted. “Just — I’m trying not to lose it. Stop looking at me like that.”

“Like I’m bored? ‘Cause I am.” He held his legs wider, stretching them apart in a way that had Atsumu’s brain buzzing. “Do you think we’d ever manage to actually fuck sometime this year?”

Atsumu hurt his stomach laughing. “Believe me, it’s never been this much of a struggle.” He was gripping the base of his cock tight, trying not to come. What was it about Kiyoomi that absolutely drove him mad?

Sex shouldn’t be this hard. He’d had sex before, a lot of it actually. He had good stamina, damn it. Where the fuck did that all go?

He looked up at Kiyoomi’s face just in time to see him bite his lip, and he groaned quietly. You’re killing me, he thought miserably. The fact that Kiyoomi had turned him into a blubbering mess worse than even his teen years was downright shameful.

This was the third time they were attempting “real sex,” as Kiyoomi called it. The first two times he’d come on the first thrust, and he was barely even inside. The memory made him blush in embarrassment and arousal. Goddammit.

Taking a deep breath, he started pushing in. He shut his eyes immediately, trying to keep himself together. He kept shoving in, cock throbbing at the give of Kiyoomi’s body as it welcomed him inside.

When Kiyoomi moaned, his control snapped. He sank the rest of the length in, exhaling loudly when he bottomed out. Kiyoomi looked pained so he refused to move, every second feeling like torture.

“Move,” Kiyoomi finally croaked out, forehead damp with sweat, fingers gripping the sheets.

Atsumu carefully pulled out, shuddering in pleasure. He pushed back and they both let out an agonized moan. Kiyoomi clenched around him reflexively, wrapping his legs around his waist, and Atsumu’s hips stuttered.

Groaning, he clumsily tried to fuck Kiyoomi as his climax hit him like a freight train. Through the stars in his vision, he saw Kiyoomi stroke himself to completion, but Atsumu was already deflating. Kiyoomi still came.

“Sorry,” Atsumu said, breathing deeply. “Fuck.”

Kiyoomi slowly unwrapped his legs from around him, chest rising and falling rapidly. “Well, at least you managed to get it in me this time.”

“One day,” he vowed darkly, wiping his forehead. “One day, I’ll fuck you so good that you’ll cry and you’ll regret saying all these things to me.”

“Sure, sure,” Kiyoomi snorted, making himself comfortable on the bed, wincing a little.

Atsumu pounced at him. “Why don’t you believe me?” he demanded. “I’ll have you know I’m a good lover, the best —”

“I don’t really want to hear about your past conquests, thanks.” Kiyoomi pressed a palm over Atsumu’s face and started pushing him away. “Clean us up.”

Atsumu grabbed his wrist and started pressing kisses all over his hand. “Okay, baby.”

“Now would be nice.”

Oo na po.”

Get to it, Miya.”

And because he was a whipped motherfucker, he obeyed.

--

“I want new clothes,” Kiyoomi announced one day. He was on the floor stretching his legs, plucking at his sleeve.

“Didn’t we just buy some?” Atsumu asked.

“That was two months ago. It’s almost August. I want new ones.”

It was almost August? Jeez, last he checked it was like mid-July. But still. “The hell for? It’s not like we go anywhere.”

“The ones I brought here are threadbare from too much washing. I look homeless.”

“No, you don’t.”

“I want new clothes.”

It was times like this that Atsumu remembered he was dealing with the youngest child of a wealthy family. He threw his hands up and begrudgingly agreed. Naturally, the responsibility of handling their logistics fell on him.

Five hours later, they were in a mall in Puerto Princesa. There wasn’t much of a crowd, and only half the stores have reopened, but it was enough for Kiyoomi to go on a veritable shopping spree. He bought new pajamas, workout clothes, swimwear, and more skincare “because the one I bought last time wasn’t agreeing with me.” Atsumu didn’t see the issue. His skin was as smooth as always.

“How are we bringing all this back when we finally go home to Japan?” Atsumu asked him.

“I’ll buy a new suitcase if I have to.”

“Right…”

Atsumu had tossed in some hoodies and loose shirts for himself, and separated from Kiyoomi for a while to look for a pharmacy. There, he bought more heat rub cream and efficascent oil and presented the digital prescription for Kiyoomi’s anti-anxiety pills to the counter. He apparently hadn’t needed them since that first month, but “it was best to be prepared, I guess.” Kiyoomi’s mother had sent over the prescription in a fit of worry, and he wanted her to lay off the nagging.

Spying a brand of condom he’d been itching to try, Atsumu impulsively added a couple of boxes to his cart, along with a new bottle of lube. He messaged Kiyoomi, asking where he was, and got a picture of a store front and a mirror selfie in the dressing room as reply. He smiled and saved the second photo and went on his way.

He really couldn’t be blamed for what happened next. It wasn't his fault that Kiyoomi let him in the dressing room and made him watch as he changed into different clothes. How was he supposed to resist that? He plucked off his face mask and started rummaging through his purchases.

When he pressed himself against Kiyoomi’s back and started kissing his neck, he got a stern “Atsu.” But he wasn’t pushed away. He sucked Kiyoomi’s earlobe into his mouth and nibbled.

Kiyoomi shuddered and elbowed him away. “Atsumu,” he snapped. But his face was flushed.

“No one else is in the store,” he said in a low voice. “The staff aren’t paying attention…”

When Kiyoomi hesitated, he went in for the kill. He thumbed at a nipple through the shirt Kiyoomi was trying on, and licked into his ear. The resulting moan was muffled by Kiyoomi’s mask.

“This shirt looks good on you,” he whispered.

Kiyoomi’s eyes were already glazed over. His ears were highly sensitive, something Atsumu had discovered early on and learned to take advantage of.

It didn’t take long before Kiyoomi was stripped bare and bracing himself with his hands on the mirror, panting as Atsumu fingered him with barely any finesse. When Atsumu unbuttoned his jeans, Kiyoomi said, “No, wait —”

“Just the tip,” he begged. “I really wanna try this new condom, please?”

Kiyoomi spread his legs wider. “Fine. Hurry up and get it over with.” Then he muttered something like, ‘That’s all you could manage to put it, anyway,’ which was a total lie.

“I’ll make you beg for it,” Atsumu vowed darkly.

He pushed the head in and they both groaned. He thrust in shallowly, gripping Kiyoomi’s hips tightly, fighting the urge to just slam it in. But then he heard a quiet “oh,” and he looked up at the mirror to see Kiyoomi’s eyes widen as he arched his back, sinking more of Atsumu’s length inside him.

“Omi,” he choked out. Sweat was starting to bead on his forehead.

Kiyoomi kept rocking back and forth on his cock, taking him deeper, and when Atsumu was halfway in, he let the last of his control slip away and shoved the rest of it in. They both let out drawn-out moans when he sank in to the hilt.

“Holy fuck,” he whispered. He squeezed his eyes shut and held his breath, trying his damndest not to come on the spot.

The condom was as advertised. He barely felt the barrier.

“Feels good,” Kiyoomi gasped out.

“Hurts?” He rubbed Kiyoomi’s bare back in clumsy comfort.

“No. Atsumu, more.”

Eyes narrowing, he remained still.

It didn’t take long for Kiyoomi to break. “Atsu, please…”

Atsumu bit his bottom lip hard, letting the pain of it ground him. Then he started to saw his cock in and out slowly, concentrating on not blowing his load too soon, for once. Kiyoomi was so damn tight, so damn loud. Everything about him tore at Atsumu’s control.

Kiyoomi was moving his hips faster now, so Atsumu dug his fingers in to keep him still and began thrusting with intent. His moans rose in pitch and Atsumu shushed him in panic. “Quiet, baby, you don’t want them to hear.”

“Feel so full,” Kiyoomi groaned out.

“Oh fuck, don’t say shit like that.” He made the mistake of looking at the mirror to see Kiyoomi’s dazed expression and he knew he wouldn’t last.

He started fucking him harder, hand reaching down to grasp at Kiyoomi’s leaking cock. He jacked him off as he drilled him from behind, watching Kiyoomi’s mouth drop open and eyes flutter closed open in the mirror. He shifted his hips and reangled his next thrust, gratified when Kiyoomi jolted.

He plowed in once, twice, and Kiyoomi clenched around him, crying out as he splattered the mirror, and Atsumu finally, finally followed him into bliss, resting his forehead against his back as he shook and shuddered.

They stayed like that for what felt like hours. Eventually, Kiyoomi pulled away so he could straighten up, and Atsumu pulled out with a gasp.

“I can’t believe…” Kiyoomi heaved out, pulling his mask off. “That the first time we fuck properly is in a dressing room. You — I can’t believe you.”

He couldn’t help but laugh a little. “At least we finally managed it?”

“You suck at this, Miya.”

He laughed louder. “I always get you off, don’t I? That was good, wasn’t it?” Fuck, who was he kidding, that was the best.

Kiyoomi turned away with all the dignity he could muster. “Whatever, let’s clean up.”

‘Let’s’ meant Atsumu — he went through the unglamorous motions of wiping the floor and the mirror and wrapping up the used condom with lots of tissues to be disposed of later. Thankfully, the clothes were spared. In his shame, Kiyoomi ended up buying everything he’d tried on, and they hurried out of there, hoping they didn’t look too dishevelled.

Kiyoomi whispered in his ear, “Buy more of that condom,” and Atsumu never followed an order so fast. He avoided the eyes of the same cashier that had checked out his purchases earlier, and felt like he was doing the walk of shame as he exited the store. Kiyoomi just laughed at him quietly when he met him outside.

On the ride home, Kiyoomi slept in his arms.

And back in their room, they did it all over again.

This time, they were good. It was good.

--

It became all they did.

They welcomed the rainy days of August intertwined in the sheets. They tried everything — Kiyoomi was highly flexible so that was fun. He fucked Kiyoomi and Kiyoomi fucked him and it became an endless loop of addictive pleasure that they couldn’t escape. All their walls were breaking down. They no longer knew where either of them began and ended.

Atsumu was starting to scare himself. This was a madness that only rivaled his passion for volleyball.

They didn’t even bother keeping up with updates about the quarantine anymore. They were lost in their own little world, only surfacing to visit Maria’s family every once in a while because Kiyoomi really wanted to see Brownie, who had just given birth. He spent hours observing the puppies, making sure they each got their turn suckling milk. The hours spent there felt like an unwelcome interruption of a deep sleep.

The two of them did eventually tell all of them about their relationship. Lydia just rolled her eyes and said, “Hay salamat.” She insisted on celebrating the occasion by making brazo de mercedes cake for them.

But other than that, they barely left the bed. They explored each other’s bodies during the day and held hushed conversations late in the night.

“If you could choose where to be stuck in aside from here, where would you be?” Kiyoomi asked him one night, as they lay naked under the sheets.

“Am I not allowed to answer Osaka?”

“You’re not.”

“Hmm. Taiwan, I guess.”

Kiyoomi looked surprised at that. “Really?”

“Yeah, they had really good response to the pandemic, you know? Also, I’ve always wanted to visit there.”

“Where in Taiwan? I’ve never been, either.”

“Well, Taipei of course, but also Jiufen and the towns near it.”

“Jiufen…”

“The one that’s said to be the inspiration behind Spirited Away.”

“Ah, right.”

“What about you, if you could choose where to be stuck in, where’d you be?”

Kiyoomi seemed to think about this for a while. Finally, he answered, “If you’re gonna be Taiwan, then I guess I’ll be there, too.”

Heart clenching, Atsumu turned his head to look at him. They always slept with the curtains open, so the moonlight steamed in, bathing Kiyoomi in an ethereal glow. He was beautiful. And he wanted to be with Atsumu, strange as that was.

I’m so in love with you, he thought.

“Let’s go there one day,” he said instead.

Kiyoomi looked back at him and gave a tiny little smile. “Okay.”

He was starting to understand he would go lengths just to get Kiyoomi to smile at him like that again.

Chapter Text

He tapped his foot impatiently as his phone rang and sat straight on his chair when Osamu picked up.

“What now.” A pause. “Holy shit!”

He ran his fingers through his new shorn dark hair, smirking. “Whadya think?”

Osamu tilted his head, frowning. “It’s a bit disconcerting, I thought I was looking at myself.”

“A tanner, hotter version of yourself, you mean.”

“You know what, fuck you and your fucking —”

“Atsu,” Kiyoomi mumbled, shuffling over to him.

His attention was immediately diverted. Kiyoomi looked pale and was wearing an expression of unease. “What’s wrong?”

“My tummy feels weird again.”

He relaxed. This happened every once in a while. He held an arm out and Kiyoomi sat himself down on his lap. “Was it something I cooked?”

“Dunno.”

Atsumu put the phone down on the table and brushed Kiyoomi’s hair off his face. “Do you feel nauseous?”

Kiyoomi nodded.

“Are you gonna puke on me? Please don’t.”

Shrugging, Kiyoomi just leaned in and tucked his face into Atsumu’s neck. When he didn’t seem like he was moving anytime soon, Atsumu picked up his phone again.

Osamu gave him a strange look. He didn’t know what for — he had told his twin about his new relationship a few days after it first developed. He’d only rolled his eyes and said ‘Finally,’ but quickly developed an allergy of hearing about it. This would be the first time he’d even be seeing them together.

“This is weird,” Osamu declared.

Atsumu adjusted Kiyoomi so they were both more comfortable, slinging an arm around his waist and rubbing his stomach. “It’s been a month, stupid.”

You’re stupid, stupid.”

“Are all your conversations this dumb?” muttered Kiyoomi.

Atsumu kissed the top of his head. “Don’t be mean.”

“Please don’t do that in front of me,” Osamu said flatly, shaking his head.

Kiyoomi shifted on his lap, picking his phone up and distracting himself with it. Atsumu adjusted his hold. “Do you know that you’re heavy? And large? And that we have a rather big room, with a nice bed you can lie down on?”

He received a noise of acknowledgement, then was promptly ignored as Kiyoomi started playing Candy Crush.

“Alright, then.” Atsumu rested his mouth against his neck for a moment before turning his attention back to his twin. “So, what’s up with you?”

With a resigned sigh, Osamu started telling them about his shop, Onigiri Miya, which suffered a blow due to the pandemic, but was apparently starting to recover. He updated Atsumu about their parents, who were apparently missing him back home.

“You should call them more often,” Osamu advised.

“I call them twice a week! And message them every day!”

“Oh, that’s more than I even do,” Osamu said. “But then I’m not the one stuck on an island.”

“They’ve calmed down a lot, I’m sure they’re fine,” Atsumu insisted. “It’s not that bad, being here.”

“No?”

Atsumu tightened his grip on Kiyoomi. “No, not bad at all.”

On his phone screen, he saw Kiyoomi smile.

--

Later, when Kiyoomi was tucked in bed, fast asleep and smelling strongly of efficascent oil, Osamu called him again.

“What, Samu?”

Osamu had that look on his face again. “So...you’re together.”

He frowned. “Yes? We already talked about this like a million times.”

“You talked about your gross sex life. In detail. I thought —”

“What?”

“I dunno...I didn’t think it would be so serious.”

He rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah, well...I guess it is. I mean, it’s not like we talk about it, but I have... feelings. I suppose.”

“I know that. It’s just — weird. This isn’t just some island fling, is it? This isn’t temporary. This is like...life-changing or whatever. When you come back here, everything’s gonna be different.” Osamu looked wistful. “You grew up, Tsumu. I didn’t think you’d ever learn to care for anyone outside of yourself, I’m kind of in shock.”

He bristled. “Nothing has to change. The two of us will be together. We’ll play volleyball together. The end.”

Osamu gave him a look he didn’t understand. “That one-track mind of yours turns you into such an idiot sometimes. But you’re right, the volleyball won’t be an issue, because he was already a part of it before this started. What about everything else in your life, though?”

He stared at his twin, not understanding at all.

“Nevermind,” Osamu sighed. “It doesn’t matter yet, anyway, it’s gonna be a while before you need to return to reality. Enjoy the honeymoon period for now.”

“Since when are you a goddamn expert on relationships, huh?” Osamu had dated before, but right now he was single.

“I don’t need to be in a relationship to understand you, idiot Tsumu. Anyway, go to your Omi-Omi now. Gonna figure out this delivery shit for the shop.”

“Fine. Bye.”

As he snuggled into Kiyoomi’s warmth, he brushed the conversation off, thinking that his twin was so odd sometimes.

--

August trickled by slower than July did. They started to return to their previous activities, most of which were ignored in favor of rolling around in the sheets the past month.

They began hanging out with the resort staff again, who had all jumped around and squealed when they told them the news about their relationship. There was money exchanged. They opted not to ask.

Today, Atsumu was in the kitchen with Esme, who was teaching him the recipe for a dish called caldereta, some kind of tomato-based beef stew. Kiyoomi liked it well enough, but it was Atsumu’s absolute favorite.

Ayan,” Esma said. “Now you have more recipes for your future husband,”

He choked on the spoonful of stew he was tasting. “My what?”

“Husband. Asawa.” Esma flapped a hand casually. “We’ll be invited to the wedding, no?”

“Okay, relax lang,” Atsumu said, trying to clear the burn in his throat. Alarm was starting to bubble up in him, and he waited for Esme to smile and say she was joking. “We’ve been together for one month.”

Pero how long in love?”

He stared at her. 

Esme hummed. “Did you do a harana? You should do a harana. Always a good courtship ritual.”

“No need for that,” Atsumu hastily. “Okay na kami.”

The chef granted him a warm smile. “You are, no? Nakakatuwa. Anyway, eat na.”

He messaged Kiyoomi, telling him to go to the restaurant, and they ate their lunch with Heidi.

But he couldn’t help but turn the conversation with Esme over in his mind, recalling Osamu’s words to him a couple days prior.

He was starting to understand why Osamu was looking at him like he was the biggest idiot. Sometimes he really was.

--

Atsumu had learned to dream big at an early age.

When he was eight, he decided he was going to be one of those athletes he watched on television. It wasn’t until he was in high school that the goal really started to shape. And while it seemed that becoming a professional volleyball player was an uphill battle back when he was 16, he was determined to make it happen.

He only got hungrier as years passed by. His dreams were clear — he wanted medals, he wanted trophies, he wanted his name on the news. He wanted fame, he wanted fans, he wanted attention. He took pride in himself for making all that happen with his own hard work.

Somehow, he never imagined sharing that dream with someone else.

He never dreamed of finding love. He never saw himself as a boyfriend. He’d thought it was a fickle thing, small in comparison to his big goals, a role he wouldn’t be fit to fill.

He remembered telling Osamu months ago that he didn’t have it in him to care for Kiyoomi, that he wasn’t the right person for it. A part of him still thought he was right.

But Kiyoomi seemed perfectly happy with him. Atsumu still managed to piss him off often, but he still got cuddles at night and kisses in the morning.

How could Kiyoomi be so trusting of him?

Was he worth that?

Just how did they get here? Where were they headed?

He mulled it over as he stared up at the ceiling, Kiyoomi’s arm around his neck like a chokehold. He knew better than to try to move him. He’d just roll back into Atsumu’s space.

Eventually, the arm tightened as Kiyoomi woke up. His leg came up to pin Atsumu down the mattress. “Morning.”

“Morning.”

Kiyoomi tugged at him until he turned his head and gave him a perfunctory kiss on the forehead. “What about we go out and do something today?” he invited.

As predicted, Kiyoomi wrinkled his nose. “No. Stay here.”

“I just think some air would be good.” He’d been trying to get them to reconnect with the outside world, but it was still touch and go.

“I don’t want to.”

“Fine,” he said snappishly, surprising even himself. “I’ll go. I need to work out anyway, maybe I’ll go for a run.”

Kiyoomi frowned at him, confused. Atsumu knew it was because it was the first time he had said no to him in a while.

He didn’t take it well. He retracted his limbs and rolled away, turning his back to Atsumu. “Fine. Go, then.”

Atsumu rubbed his face and sighed. He stood up and, after rushing through his morning routine, left their room.

He breathed in the fresh air as he jogged along the beach, relishing in the rush of endorphins coursing through him. It felt like being cleansed. It felt like regaining some sense of clarity.

In the daylight, it was easy to remember the cold, hard facts. He and Kiyoomi have been together for over a month. Four months ago, they weren’t even friends.

It truly did not make sense for his mind to start making plans about the places he and Kiyoomi would visit one day. There was no good reason for him to be filled with so much pride imagining how his parents would react if he introduced him to them.

And there was no sense for people to start talking about life-changing decisions like getting married. And there was even less sense about the way he found himself considering it.

They were getting too carried away, he realized now. They were 23. They had their whole life ahead of them, a whole life outside of this island. He wanted to be with Kiyoomi, but he just needed to pause and think. He needed to breathe.

He did another lap, ignoring the slowly rising temperature, just so he could be alone for a little while more.

--

He stopped trying to keep up with the days. Instead, he started to mark the passing of time by Kiyoomi’s phases.

He could recall said phases as early as the very beginning. There was his bum phase, when he spent most of his time in bed, sleeping his anxiety and fatigue away. There was his hyperproductive phase, when he decided he needed to take advantage of the quarantine to pick up new things — he was reading e-book after e-book, he was relearning Spanish, he was learning Tagalog. There was that time he was intent on sampling every Filipino delicacy and candy there was. There was that period he was very into Milo, which Atsumu was starting to think was permanent.

Most recently, there was his sex kitten phase, but he would very likely bludgeon Atsumu to death if he ever found out that’s what he had taken to calling it in his head.

Currently, he was in his fruit shake phase.

He had apparently bought a blender the last time they were at the mall, and now he was making them non-stop. That was all well and good, except he always makes a glass for Atsumu, too, presenting it to him every morning with an expectant look. Atsumu was appreciative, really, except Kiyoomi has very...weird taste. He was into sour, specifically.

The slightly unripe yellow mango shake was fine. The dalandan was tolerable. The guyabano was a little too weird for Atsumu’s liking, but he choked it down.

The last straw was when Kiyoomi handed Atsumu a glass of green mango shake. He had eyed it with trepidation, and sputtered and coughed when he sipped it. Violently shaking his head, he shoved the glass back to Kiyoomi.

“I can’t anymore, I can’t —”

“Can’t what?” Kiyoomi sounded put off by his reaction.

“Omi,” he said seriously. “That shit’s gross.”

Kiyoomi scowled at him. “It’s mango. Mangoes aren’t gross.” He paused. “Well, it’s green mango and calamansi.”

Calamansi? Was green mango not sour enough for him? What the hell? “Babe. Baby. You have to stop giving me horribly sour shakes every morning before I even have breakfast. Hell, at least let me drink water first, or something.”

“Would you drink them if we ate breakfast first?”

He opened his mouth and paused. “Well — I — I’m just not that much of a fan of sour.”

Kiyoomi was silent for a terrifying second. “You could have just told me you didn’t like the shit I was giving you.”

“It’s not that —”

“I can’t believe I bothered trying to be nice to such an ungrateful ass.” He whirled on his heel and stalked away, clutching the glass of green mango shake.

Atsumu let himself collapse back onto his pillows with a frustrated groan. That went well.

Kiyoomi gave him the cold shoulder the rest of the day, and Atsumu did nothing about it. Truthfully, he was a little relieved by the respite — he’d been itching for a break from the other man more and more as of late.

Besides, all they did was fight these days, over the stupidest things. There was one time Kiyoomi threw a fit because he found out Atsumu sometimes peed in the shower, and another time he got angry because Atsumu dripped banana ketchup on the bed. There was one time Atsumu lost his temper when Kiyoomi threw away his old pair of boxers because “they’re literally hanging by a thread and you should change it.” Did it look like an easy task to buy new underwear? The mall was hours away.

He felt like a noose was wrapped around his neck and it was steadily getting tighter.

They didn’t have sex that night. They haven’t had sex in many nights.

Chapter Text

It was fun, surfing the high of being in love. But sooner or later, they were bound to hit the ground.

Things have been tense and cold between him and Kiyoomi lately. They barely spoke, barely touched, barely even looked at each other. Every time they tried to interact, it always ended up in a fight.

So they just stopped talking.

He didn’t know how they could go from being crazy about each other to not being able to stand each other in a matter of weeks. August was slipping away, and the days when they were happy felt so far away.

Well, people do say the spark fades eventually. The fact that they were together all day, every day probably made it burn all the more faster.

Maybe this was a bad idea after all, he thought.

He should have known it was too good to last. But what were they going to do now? Call it off? His heart ached at the thought.

He turned it over in his head as he navigated the market. He had quietly invited Kiyoomi out for an afternoon walk, and ended up separating from him, finding himself needing some air. But it was time to go back. Sighing, he walked down the street where Kiyoomi said he’d wait for him.

And wait for him he did. Kiyoomi was standing apart from the afternoon crowd, perfectly still with his back straight. He cut an imposing figure, almost regal, as he studied his fingers as if he was bored. Once upon a time, Atsumu would have thought he was inspecting his nails, but he knew by now he was just watching his thin skin move over his knuckles in mild fascination.

Atsumu couldn’t help but stop to admire the sight of him. Kiyoomi’s inky black hair was still longer than usual, falling over a sharp cheekbone in waves. He was tanner now and it suited him. He looked like a prince from a far away kingdom.

He was as distant as one, too.

As if feeling his nearing presence, Kiyoomi looked up, piercing eyes boring through him, and Atsumu felt another piece of himself crack.

Helplessly, he started walking, determined to get to him, whether he wanted to or not.

Kiyoomi greeted him with a “Where’d you go?”

He waved a hand vaguely, not wanting to say he just wanted to get away from him for a while because he’s been feeling overwhelmed by him lately. “Went to look for that thing you like.”

“What thing?”

He scrambled to find an excuse. “The — the powder candy. Mik-Mik. But I didn’t find anything so…”

Kiyoomi studied him as if he could see right through him. He looked away. “I already got some. There’s a store right behind you.”

He winced. “Ah, right.”

They walked home in uncomfortable silence.

--

With the way things were going, something was bound to break.

When he woke up one morning to find Kiyoomi gone, he didn’t think much of it. He could be doing yoga by the pool, or maybe he went on a walk on the beach. When two hours passed without any sight of him, he started to wonder. He told himself maybe he’d gone to the store, or maybe he was hanging out with Maria or Esme.

When lunchtime passed and he still wasn’t back, he started to worry. Come 3 p.m., he hunted down Maria.

“Oh, he left early. He booked a van to Puerto Princesa for 5 a.m. last night” Maria frowned and checked the time. “He should be back soon.”

Tamping down on his panic, he thanked Maria and went back to their room.

When 5 p.m. came and passed, he started panicking. He scowled at his phone, wondering why Kiyoomi didn’t answer his twentieth message.

He paced their room, getting more upset by the second. Where was he?

Did he finally get sick of Atsumu’s shit and leave? He knew they’d been downright wrong lately, but they weren’t broken yet, were they? He was just trying to figure some shit out, Kiyoomi didn’t need to go away. Atsumu didn’t want him to go away.

What did it? Was it when Atsumu told him he didn’t like the shakes he gave him? Kiyoomi had stopped making them completely since then. Atsumu didn’t intend for that to happen, but he couldn’t take it back. Maybe he could make the shakes for Kiyoomi?

Did he realize Atsumu was an irredeemable jerk after all? Because he couldn’t contest that. He knew he was a piece of shit. What he could never figure out was why Kiyoomi seemed to like him anyway, when he couldn’t even stand anyone else. He never deserved the trust Kiyoomi had placed in him. It weighed heavily on him, accusing him.

Look what you did, his mind taunted him.

Feeling suffocated in the room, he went to the pool deck for some air. He sat down on one of the lounge chairs, sniffling.

As he always did when things went wrong, he called his twin.

“What do you wa— holy shit, what is it, who died?” Osamu sounded alarmed.

He broke. He started weeping and blubbering, trying to explain what was going on.

“Tsumu,” Osamu snapped. “I can’t understand what you’re saying.”

Atsumu tried to get a hold of himself and completely failed. “Omi left me,” he wailed.

Huh? That’s not possible, you numbskull, you’re literally stuck on an island together.”

He wiped his nose, hiccuping. “He hates me, I know it. I’ve been so shitty, Samu. I just — we kept fighting, and my feelings don’t make sense, and there’s too much — he’s too much —”

“So you’re fighting, that’s fine —”

“He’s not here!” He started crying hysterically again. “He left at like, 5 in the morning and it’s almost 6 in the evening and he’s not here. He went to Puerto Princesa, you know, where the airport is.”

Osamu ran his fingers through his hair, agitated. “Are there even flights yet?”

“I don’t know.” He sobbed. “But even if there aren’t...it’s a city, he might find a hotel somewhere — he doesn’t need to come back—”

“Okay, you need to calm the fuck down. You’re freaking me out.”

It took a while before his twin could talk him down. He wiped at his wet cheeks, sucking in shaky breaths.

“Look,” Osamu began. “You’ve never been good at talking about feelings and shit, god knows we’re both shitty at that. And Sakusa looks like he’s probably worse off. So you two are going to have to get over yourselves and actually start talking about your problems and your relationship like adults. Gonna be hella awkward if you two break up and have to still deal with each other after.”

“But...what do I even say,” he asked miserably. Where would he even begin? Sorry I’m freaking out because my world is starting to revolve around you now?  You’re really annoying sometimes and I’m not always in the right headspace to remember to be patient?

You're taking up too much space now, I don't know what to do with you?

“How about ‘I’m sorry’?” Osamu sounded exasperated now. “How about ‘We’ll work on it’? How about ‘I’ll try harder’? Or tell him whatever it is he did wrong that pissed you off. He’s a big boy, he can handle it.”

That all sounded pretty good. He nodded in determination. “Okay. Okay. I can do that.” His lips wobbled. “If he comes back.”

“Where the hell would he go, you idiot? Maybe he just needs space. He’ll come back.” Osamu paused. “Probably.”

“If he doesn’t, I deserve it.”

“Don’t be an idiot. He’s not Mr. Sunshine either. You two deserve each other, honestly.”

Much later, he walked back to their room, nose stuffed and eyes swollen. He mentally went through all the things he wanted to tell Kiyoomi, including ‘Please don’t leave me, I’ll do anything, I’m a shitstain, you deserve better.’ Or something.

When he opened the door, the first thing he saw was Kiyoomi, freshly showered and running a towel over his hair.

Relieved and furious, he stormed over to him, demanding, “Where have you been?”

Kiyoomi blinked at him, pulling off the towel. “I just picked some stuff up —”

“For—” He checked his phone. “ Fourteen hours?”

“You know Puerto Princesa is far,” Kiyoomi pointed out. “And —I might have had a couple of panic attacks while I was there so it took quite a while...and there was something else I had to pick up in town…”

Atsumu stared at him, not sure where to start with that. “And you couldn’t answer my texts and calls?”

“Oh, I ran out of load,” Kiyoomi explained matter-of-factly. “I had no data, nothing came through. Right, I meant to buy more…”

Atsumu turned away and stomped to the bed, sitting himself down furiously. He scrubbed at his wet eyes and pressed his lips together before he could say something that wasn’t in the script. The last thing he wanted to do now was make things worse.

He eventually felt a presence near him. “Atsu?”

He refused to answer, feeling like he’d start bawling again if he did. The bed dipped as Kiyoomi sat beside him, arms circling around his waist. The touch was a surprise, a welcome one.

“Sorry,” Kiyoomi said genuinely. “I didn’t think…”

“What, that I’d get worried? I thought maybe you’d been kidnapped or something! Or worse!”

“What’s worse than being kidnapped?” Kiyoomi asked, sounding baffled.

You leaving me of your own will, he thought. “I don’t know, dying? You could have told me you were leaving!”

Kiyoomi pressed a cold nose to his cheek. “Sorry,” he said again. “I didn’t think you’d c— be so bothered. Don’t cry, Atsu.”

His anger leaked out of him, replaced by guilt. He knew why he would think that. Dammit. It’s always his fault. He could never do anything right. “Don’t do it again,” he muttered, refusing to look at him.

Kiyoomi gently touched a spot under Atsumu’s swollen eye. “I won’t.”

Unable to hold back any longer, Atsumu caught him in his arms and crushed him to his chest. He ran his hands down his back, reassuring himself that he was in one piece.

Finally, he pushed Kiyoomi back by the shoulders. “Where did you go?”

With a shrug, Kiyoomi stood up. “I bought you a bunch of new underwear. And clothes and...stuff. That you might like. And,” he hesitated, “I got you a gift.”

He blinked at him blankly, trying to comprehend his words. “A gift,” he repeated.

Kiyoomi looked away and fidgeted. “There’s no occasion, I just thought...you’d want one.”

He looked past Kiyoomi and spied something on the ground. His eyes widened. “Is that —”

“I just — you haven’t gotten sick of it yet, and this way, we don’t need to wait until we’re in Maria’s house.”

Atsumu looked at what was clearly a guitar case and then at Kiyoomi, who was starting to look anxious.

“Omi,” he whispered. A fresh wave of guilt threatened to choke him. “You didn’t have to.”

Kiyoomi jutted out his chin. “Well, I wanted to. Go on, take a look.”

Feeling off-balanced by the turn of events, Atsumu went over to it and snapped open the case. His eyes widened at the sight of the instrument, which was clearly handcrafted by a master. He brushed his fingers over the light-colored wood of the body.

Kiyoomi hovered behind him. “I asked Blas where to get a nice one, he pointed me to an old friend. He stopped creating them a long time ago ‘cause he’s old, but he made an exception.”

He looked up at him in amazement. “Omi...how much did you spend on this?”

“Doesn’t matter, it’s nothing,” he answered, waving a hand. “He tuned that before I left his house. It should still be fine. He also handed over some old song books — they’re falling apart, but they should still be readable.”

Atsumu stared at the guitar, realizing he’d never get another one like it his whole life. He teared up again.

“Why are you crying?” Kiyoomi sounded exasperated.

He sniffled and wiped at his tears. “Omi, you really shouldn’t have.”

“Do you not like it?” Kiyoomi’s voice was stiff and robotic, which meant he was Feeling Bad Things. He’d been using that tone a lot lately.

Atsumu quickly stood up and went over to cup his face. “I love it.” He punctuated the statement with a firm kiss before he could think about it. “Thank you.”

He leaned away and studied the face that had become so familiar to him, so dear. It drove him mad often, downright pissed him off at times, but he didn’t know what he would do if he ever lost sight of it.

There was so much he wanted to say. But for all that he’d practiced earlier, he couldn’t find the words now.

He bent down and picked the guitar up carefully. “I’ll play you something.”

He led Kiyoomi back to the bed and sat down, patting the mattress beside him. When they were both settled, he hesitated. There’d been a song stuck in his mind lately, and he had only learned to play recently, but something about the lyrics struck a chord in him. He knew he had to sing it to Kiyoomi at some point, even though they haven’t been doing well.

Now was as good a time as any.

He played “You’ll Be Safe Here” by a local band called Rivermaya. Kiyoomi listened raptly until the end.

When he strummed the last chord, Kiyoomi said, “Thank you.”

Atsumu gazed at him in amazement, wondering why he was the one saying thank you when he was the one who went out of his way for this gift, despite the state of their relationship lately. But Atsumu felt he shouldn’t be so surprised. Kiyoomi was so unbelievable. So infuriating, so perfect, so amazing.

And Atsumu loved him completely.

He never thought he was capable of such feeling, and he didn’t know what to do with it. He had the inexplicable urge to do the craziest things, like go to the ends of the Earth for him, or sail the seven seas for him. He wanted to run down the street yelling out his love for Sakusa Kiyoomi, wanted to shout to anyone he encountered, “I’m in love!”

The thought of losing what they had tore at Atsumu, his every cell rejecting the idea. He was terrified of losing himself in Kiyoomi, but even more terrified of losing Kiyoomi.

He didn’t know where to begin to fix them — there wasn’t a single word that could truly encapsulate all that he was feeling in that moment. But maybe no words were needed for now. They never were good at that.

He gently put down the guitar on the floor and stood up, pulling Kiyoomi up with him. Eyes darkening, Kiyoomi followed, and not a second later, their lips were clashing. The kiss was a battle, communicating everything they haven’t been saying the past weeks. It was furious, demanding, brutal.

They ripped at each other’s clothes wildly until they were naked and tumbling into bed. There was urgency and hunger in their touch as they ran their hands over each other’s bodies, as if they were deprived. They were. It’s been a while.

Kiyoomi wrestled for control and Atsumu let his mouth be taken, let his body be pushed down to the bed.

“I want to be on top,” Kiyoomi demanded.

“Okay,” he said helplessly. “Do what you want.”

Kiyoomi didn’t waste another second. Atsumu sucked in a breath when Kiyoomi sat on his rapidly hardening cock, trapping it. When Atsumu reached out for him, his hand was slapped away. “No. You can’t touch.”

His dick throbbed. “Oh?”

“No.” Kiyoomi grabbed his wrists and guided them upwards. Atsumu obediently gripped the headboard. “Keep your hands there. If you touch me, I won’t let you fuck me.”

“Okay,” he said quickly.

Kiyoomi leaned over to the bedside table to snatch the bottle of lube and a condom. He messily poured a generous amount on Atsumu’s cock and sat back down on it.

Then he started moving.

He kept his own hardness trapped against his abdomen with a hand as he gyrated on top of Atsumu, making him moan. “Omi, please.”

Kiyoomi lifted himself on his knees, and poured another helping of lube on his fingers. Then he reached behind him and inserted one, two fingers into his hole, and Atsumu was nearly salivating with his need to see.

He didn’t suffer the torment for too long — it seemed that impatience got the better of Kiyoomi because he hastily rolled a condom on Atsumu’s dick and lined himself up. He sank all the way down on the first try and Atsumu nearly grabbed him by the waist to slow him down, before he remembered the rules. He tightened his grip on the headboard and whimpered at the tight heat surrounding him.

After catching his breath, Kiyoomi started moving his hips in increments, brows pulled down into a frown of discomfort.

“Omi,” he rasped out. “You okay?”

In answer, Kiyoomi raised himself up and slammed back down.

“Oh god,” he choked out. “Baby, slow down.” He knew it likely hurt. They haven’t done this in so long, and Kiyoomi didn’t do a very good job of stretching himself open.

But Kiyoomi said, “No.”

Before he could say another word, Kiyoomi started riding him in earnest, shamelessly using Atsumu’s body to pleasure himself. Atsumu watched him unblinkingly, transfixed by the gorgeous sight of that slack red mouth and glistening mole-dotted skin.

When Kiyoomi started panting in pleasure, Atsumu rocked his hips, drawing out moans from both of them. “Is this what you want?”

“Not enough,” Kiyoomi growled. “I told you I want everything.”

He knew they weren’t just talking about sex anymore. And like that fateful day on the beach, Kiyoomi took.

He threw his head back as he bounced on Atsumu’s dick, moans escaping his lips. He was leaking all over Atsumu’s stomach — he was close.

Atsumu slammed up into Kiyoomi, making him let out a surprised yelp. He did it again and again and didn’t stop, not even when Kiyoomi twitched and spilled on his stomach, not even when he was reduced to whimpers as his body flopped around like a doll. Kiyoomi braced himself with two hands on Atsumu’s chest as he was fucked mercilessly through his orgasm..

Kiyoomi finally collapsed on top of him, and Atsumu scrambled to regain some vestiges of control. He stilled, taking deep breaths. "Can I move my hands now?"

He felt the nod against his chest, and he flipped them over, trapping Kiyoomi underneath him. He pulled out slowly, hard cock twitching. Then he shoved himself back in, startling a moan out of Kiyoomi, who gazed at him with wide eyes.

“What? You said it wasn’t enough.” He smirked. “Remember that you wanted this.”

Atsumu fucked in and out slowly, leisurely and tirelessly, until Kiyoomi’s cock slowly filled and stood back up to attention. He slipped his dick out of Kiyoomi then positioned himself between his legs. He licked at Kiyoomi’s cock, drawing out a whimper.

Atsumu glanced up. “Are you gonna beg for mercy?”

Kiyoomi glared at him, pressing his lips together. Taking that as a no, Atsumu coated his fingers with lube and shoved two inside Kiyoomi’s tender and still loose hole without bothering to be gentle. Then he leaned forward and swallowed Kiyoomi’s cock down to the hilt as he drilled his fingers across his prostate. He stopped when Kiyoomi’s moans started reaching fever pitch and pulled his mouth off with a wet sound, waiting until Kiyoomi was calmer.

He started moving his hand again, watched Kiyoomi’s face contort in pleasure then melt into an expression of frustration when Atsumu stopped just as he was about to climax again.

Atsumu repeated the process mercilessly until Kiyoomi had tears of frustration sitting in his eyes. “Atsu,” he keened.

“Do you want me to fuck you?”

Yes.”

“Beg for it.” He was already squirting more lube on his throbbing member.

Kiyoomi spread his knees and let out a sob. “Please, please, please —” He choked out a scream when Atsumu shoved himself in roughly. “Yes, yes, yes —”

He dragged his cock in and out, taking his time, nowhere near the speed Kiyoomi needed.

“You love this,” he said in wonder, gazing with utmost fascination at Kiyoomi’s face, which had no trace of his usual mask. He was broken down, reduced to a writhing mess and Atsumu felt like a beast had been unchained from inside him. He started moving faster.

Kiyoomi was crying messily in sheer relief and desperation, clutching at Atsumu as he sank his cock back in again. “I love you,” he sobbed.

“Fuck,” Atsumu bit out. He sped up and started pounding into Kiyoomi almost violently. Throaty moans started to fill the air and the bed creaked and swayed at the force of his thrusts, the headboard slamming against the wall. “Fuck , I love you, I love you. Kiyoomi.”

Kiyoomi’s eyes rolled to the back of his head as his body finally, finally seized with his orgasm. He came untouched, screaming and splattering come everywhere, and it only served to fuel Atsumu’s lust. He plowed harder into the shaking body under him, dimly registering Kiyoomi’s nails dragging down his back at the onslaught. He pressed his face against Kiyoomi’s neck as he finally shook and unloaded inside him.

He was next aware of gentle fingers stroking his hair. He was still inside Kiyoomi, still pinning him down with his body, but he wasn’t being shoved away.

“Atsu?”

He pressed a kiss to his shoulder in answer.

Kiyoomi wrapped his legs around Atsumu’s waist. “Stay.”

Now that he was regaining more of his mind, he couldn’t help but notice their awkward position. He shifted his body, intending to pull out.

The legs tightened around him. “Atsu. Stay.”

He slumped, giving up. He was exhausted and he was warm and Kiyoomi’s fingers on his hair were soothing.

He fell right asleep.

--

When he woke again, he was clean and comfortable under their blankets. It was dark. He had no clue what time it was or even what day it was. He’d stopped caring.

All he cared about now was the warm body curled around him. He’d missed it and he didn’t want to be without it anymore.

He turned and watched Kiyoomi’s face in the moonlight, before carefully slipping out of bed. He padded towards the paper bags by the door, wanting to know what Kiyoomi had purchased.

Like Kiyoomi promised, there were packs and packs of underwear for Atsumu and a bunch of new, comfortable clothes. He paused when he saw a huge jar of protein powder. Was this for him, too? Was this because he didn’t like the fruit shakes? A lump formed in his throat. He thought of Kiyoomi braving his anxiety to get all these for him and felt wholly unworthy. He should have been there with him, maybe then he wouldn’t have had panic attacks. It must have been crowded in the mall.

He frowned in confusion when he spotted a pack of bandaids and more bottles of heat rubs. He smiled in fondness when he saw a brand new mop standing by the wall.

Curiosity sated, he climbed back to bed and gathered Kiyoomi into his arms. Sleep disturbed, his long lashes fluttered and opened, revealing dazed eyes. Atsumu watched with rapt attention, trailing a finger down the petal soft skin of his cheek.

Kiyoomi murmured something too soft for him to hear.

“You’re so beautiful,” he murmured back. “You’re so beautiful, my love.”

A smile formed on those damn rosy lips. His eyes slipped shut again.

“Atsu,” Kiyoomi mumbled. “Don’t leave me.”

Heart throbbing with a sudden ache and eyes filling with tears, Atsumu vowed, “Never. Never. I’m so sorry, Omi-Omi. I love you so much, I don’t want to leave you.” He felt like a dam had been broken and he didn’t ever want to stop saying it. He was giving up. Maybe this love didn’t make sense, but maybe it didn’t have to. Maybe it was out to consume him from the inside out, but maybe that was alright.

“Love you so much, too.” Kiyoomi was nearly asleep now.

He pushed Kiyoomi’s hair behind his ear, pressed an achingly tender kiss to his forehead. “Sleep, sweetheart. We’ll talk more in the morning, I promise. I love you.”

With one last contented smile, Kiyoomi did.

Atsumu stayed awake. His mind was running a mile a minute, thinking, tinkering, adjusting. He was reimagining his entire future, scrapping old plans and building new ones.

Because it wasn’t just him that’s going to be in it anymore.

Chapter Text

The shutter went off when he pressed the top button, harsh in the quiet of the morning. Atsumu was still asleep, but Kiyoomi had decided now was the time to figure out the film camera that his sister had sent him.

It was a surprise, seeing it in the box. His sister had sent a note with it that read, “Some things you won’t get back. Take photos before they disappear! And please eat your veggies.” There were rolls and rolls of film along with the camera: Kodak, Cinestill, Fujifilm, Lomography. He had no idea what these brands were, but he’d researched enough to know they had different exposures for different types of lighting.

It was a pain loading the film. Opening the back of the camera was easy enough, and so was inserting the roll in the chamber, but he spent way too long hooking the film strip into the spindle. He nearly cried in frustration. His fingers were working against him again.

But he did it and it should be working now. He set the camera’s ISO to 200 to match the film — he’d put in a Lomography 200 — and peeked through the viewfinder to check the light meter. After adjusting the shutter speed, he focused the lens and snapped another experimental photo.

Then he paused. There was no way whatsoever to know if he was doing this right. Until he could find a shop to develop the entire roll, he wouldn’t see the photos he’d taken.

He sighed and rubbed his forehead in frustration. He didn’t spend an hour watching YouTube videos and reading how-to articles just find he’d taken shitty photos. This must be his sister’s way of messing with him.

He glanced at the bed and figured he might as well. He crawled over to Atsumu, squinting through the viewfinder and painstakingly focusing the camera. Then he snapped a photo. The shutter went off like a bullet.

Atsumu didn’t stir.

Kiyoomi watched his face for a moment, wanting to wake him and invite him for a walk, but that would probably just irritate him and he was avoiding that. He shuffled off the bed, hunted for his slippers, and headed out the door with his camera.

He spent some time prowling around the property, taking photo after photo, until he ended up on the beach. It was almost sunrise. Perfect.

The crunching of sand prompted him to turn towards the source of the sound. Atsumu was there, hair disheveled and feet bare, staring at him with unreadable eyes.

“Why are you out here?” Atsumu’s voice was quiet but in the morning’s stillness, it reached him easily.

He lifted the camera. “Taking photos.”

Atsumu started walking towards him slowly and he locked up. He inexplicably felt awkward. Where did he stand with him now? He felt the familiar burn of anxiety in his stomach. He turned to face the sea again, trying to hide.

But there was no escaping from Atsumu. His arms wrapped around Kiyoomi’s waist as he pressed himself close, hooking his chin on his shoulder.

“Almost sunrise,” Atsumu murmured next to his ear. “Brand new day, huh?”

“Yeah.”

They waited until the sun peeked out on the horizon and Kiyoomi tinkered with the camera’s settings before raising it to his face. He peeked through the viewfinder and pressed the shutter button, hoping the photo would actually show up on film.

After taking another, he dropped the camera, wondering what to do now.

Atsumu let go of him and sat on the sand, reaching a hand out. “C’mere.”

Unable to resist, he settled in between Atsumu’s thighs, scooting down until he could rest the back of his head against a hard chest. He didn’t know why he found that so comfortable. There was nothing soft about it.

He watched the sun make its way up the sky, basking in the comfort of Atsumu’s arms. He’d missed him. He wondered how it could be so easy to be like this again, after two weeks of hurt and confusion and misery.

It wasn’t like he was blameless, though. He had snapped and hurled hurtful words right back, reacting badly to Atsumu’s moods and bad temper. It was like dousing gas on a flame.

It had been so easy for them to slip back into old habits, so easy to remember how to get under each other’s skin. They were not new to fights, but these carried a different weight and whole lot of new knowledge to hurt each other with.

You’re too damn needy, you’re suffocating me,’ Atsumu had snapped at him.

And you’re too damn narcissistic, you think your pretty face can mask your shortcomings?’ he had shot right back.

It hit Atsumu straight in his insecurities that Kiyoomi now knew simmered under the surface, protected carefully through cocky smirks and airy remarks.

It was the final straw that had turned the fights into a full blown war and it sent his anxiety to dangerous levels. The exhaustion of dealing with the whole thing wore him down. He wasn’t supposed to feel like this in the place and the person he’d started to regard as home. He just wanted it to end. He wanted to feel safe again.

He didn’t even know how all this started. It wasn’t like they stopped fighting when they became friends. No, there was something in Atsumu that had shifted recently — something that triggered him to be more curt, and crabby, almost mean.

He got sick of Kiyoomi, didn’t he? Was he too clingy? Too demanding? He knew he could be a hassle; he knew he could be too much. There was a reason he never really formed relationships of any kind, and that was because he was, strictly speaking, unlikeable. He was all “gloom and doom,” as Komori told him once, and his unreasonable standards were enough to give anyone a headache. He was inexpressive and awkward and and socially inept and he never really tried to change that either. People were usually put off by him, and that was fine by him. He’d never been particularly bothered. He liked his solace.

Until Atsumu.

He was embarrassed now, by the way he latched onto him like some desperate, starved thing, which he was, he supposed. Looking back at the way he’d acted, he thought he'd get sick of himself, too. He couldn’t believe that all it took was some affection to make him into a mewling mess. That all it took to win his love was some kindness and some sweet words.

But being in love with Atsumu was a pain, honestly, because it meant adjusting to someone who was wildly different to him. He’d been trying to do so from the beginning of the damn quarantine, but he was learning that it wasn’t going to be that easy. They were bound to clash. They’ve both tried their best to make room for each other since that day he moved back into their cottage in an effort to make their lives easier, but at their very core, they were simply different people.

And Kiyoomi was starting to realize this was going to be work. It was work that he was going to have to actively do for the duration of the relationship, however long that was. Did he really want this? They’ve been together for barely two months and he was already aching. Maybe they just weren’t compatible.

Atsumu loved fiercely and loudly. He was affectionate and verbal, prone to grand gestures. In contrast, Kiyoomi loved quietly but deeply. He showed his love in actions so subtle, he was starting to realize maybe Atsumu hadn’t been noticing them at all. Or even liking them. He definitely didn’t like the shakes, nevermind that it took so long for Kiyoomi to make them because cutting the fruits was a pain. He had nicked himself several times when the knife slipped from his fingers. Maybe Atsumu would like protein shakes better?

And he knew he shouldn’t have tossed out those horrible briefs. He always meant to replace them, but maybe he should have waited until he had new ones in hand. He shouldn’t have been so upset at the way Atsumu yelled at him, but he really didn’t like that. It was too overwhelming, the kind of overwhelming that made him want to close his eyes and cover his ears. He never enjoyed it when his father scolded him, he definitely did not take kindly to Atsumu doing it.

Maybe this was a mistake.

But it was one that was too late to take back.

“I’m sorry, Omi,” Atsumu whispered. “I meant to tell you yesterday, but — well —”

He blushed at the reminder of what happened last night. He was still sore, body aching in parts he never knew he could ache. He had a weird relationship with sex — he loved it, because it felt good, and the pleasure gave him a nice respite from his chronic pain. But the pain always settled back in after, worse than before. Maybe one day his creaky body will get used to the abuse, but it hasn’t yet.

Was Atsumu getting sick of having to take care of him all the time? He could understand that. He never should have shared the burden with him in the first place. He never should have learned to be dependent on him.

“I’m sorry, too,” he said earnestly.

“No, let me — I owe you an explanation.”

“It’s fine. I’m over it.” Lie. His brain will not stop running over the past weeks for a long while.

“You’re not.” Atsumu sounded sure of this. “I don’t want you overthinking this. I’m sorry I got weird. I was just — I guess you could say I got a little…”

“Tired of me?”

No. Well, maybe a little? But not really. It just started to sink in, you know?”

“What did?”

“That I — everything about this is just fucking crazy. Isn’t this fucking crazy? I’m so in love with you. Just yesterday I was wondering what kind of apartment we’d move into when we have to go back to Japan. Do you even — do you think of that?”

“No,” he confessed, and Atsumu stiffened behind him. “It’s hard to imagine being anywhere else than here right now. But I just assumed...you’d always be where I am.”

Because he was a presumptuous idiot who didn’t know how to do things by halves. He had no concept of just giving up on things. When he entered this relationship, it was with all the intention of following through until the end.

But Atsumu wasn’t like him. Atsumu had moods and was easily carried away by them. Trying to hold on to him was like tying a boat to shore in the middle of a forever ongoing storm.

Atsumu tightened his arms around him. In a pained voice, he said, “I will. I promise. I’m in this 100 percent, okay?”

He let the words hang around them, not sure if he could believe it yet. Not sure if they could make it. Clearly, they had a lot more adjusting to do. Maybe he could stand to be more patient, more palatable. He asked himself again if he really wanted this, and how much. It was already unbearable letting himself be vulnerable around someone else.

The forgotten, self-preserving piece of him wailed at him to leave now while he could, because Miya Atsumu would bring him nothing but pain.

Atsumu pressed his lips to his ear and said, “I love you, Kiyoomi.”

His eyes burned. The words sounded like a vow, ringing louder than the voices in his head that were casting doubt into everything.

“I love you, too.” It slipped past his lips as if it was the easiest thing, saying it. Just like it did last night.

Atsumu clutched him tighter to his chest. “Stay with me.”

In this life, he had to take a leap of faith, right?

“Okay,” he said.

This love hurts.

But he never wanted it to end.

--

He snapped gloves on, deciding to do some cleaning in an effort to lower his anxiety. It’s been bad lately, and he didn’t know why. Everything was fine now. Supposedly.

His anxiety didn’t care.

He knelt on the bathroom tiles outside of the shower, brush on hand. A few minutes into scrubbing, a familiar pain on his hip started making itself known. He slowed down his movements, trying to shift into a more comfortable position.

“Hey,” Atsumu suddenly said from behind him, startling him into dropping the brush. “Need help?”

“No,” he said, more crossly than he meant to. He straightened up too quickly. “Don’t come in.”

“But —”

“I’m cleaning. Just —” He gestured for him to take a step back. “Please.”

Atsumu held his hands up in defeat, but didn’t leave. “Can I help?”

He frowned at him. Atsumu had never cleaned the bathroom once since they got here, and they’ve been here over five months now. “No, just go...do something. Go film another TikTok video or whatever.”

“But I want to help.”

Atsumu,” he said in exasperation. “I’m fine. I like doing this. Okay?”

Chewing at his lip, Atsumu took a few steps back until the back of his legs hit the bed. He sat down and didn’t take his eyes off Kiyoomi.

Feeling self-conscious, he turned back to his task, moving more carefully. It was slow-going, but it was still progress. He could ask the hotel staff to do this for him, but he’d feel bad if he requested for cleaning every day. They came around on Saturdays and that was enough — Kiyoomi took over for the rest of the week.

When he couldn’t handle the weight of Atsumu’s stare anymore, he turned back with a sigh. “Are you just going to watch me?”

“Yeah.”

Rolling his eyes, he said, “Fine, come here.”

Atsumu bounced over, hovering around him as if awaiting instructions. Kiyoomi handed him another brush.

“You can get started on the walls. There are gloves by the sink.”

When he was all gloved up, Atsumu stepped into the shower. But instead of heading over to the walls, he crouched down and started scrubbing the floor.

“Atsumu —”

“You’re taking forever,” Atsumu said lightly. “The sooner we finish, the sooner we can cuddle in bed. Right?”

Kiyoomi stared at him. Hit by a wave of fondness, he leaned in and pecked him on the cheek. “Idiot.”

Atsumu blushed and smiled down at the tile he was cleaning.

Between the two of them, cleaning the bathroom went quicker than he was used to. Atsumu even offered to help him clean the rest of the room, which he accepted warily. This was his job. He didn’t know why Atsumu was suddenly being helpful.

After taking their respective showers, they collapsed back in bed. Kiyoomi was worn down but in a good way. Like he’d just cried himself to sleep after an emotionally taxing day.

He was considering taking a nap when Atsumu reached out and curled his hand around his hip. “This one, right?”

He hissed when Atsumu pressed gently, clamping down on his wrist. “Don’t.” How’d he even figure it out? He never told him. Was he walking weird?

Atsumu drew his hand away and lifted himself up. He grabbed something from his bedside table and returned with a bottle of Omega Cream. “Let’s put something on that.”

Heat rub sounded good. He lifted his shirt and lowered his pajama bottoms to bare the hip in question. He flinched when the cold liquid hit his skin, but it was quickly warmed up by Atsumu’s fingers as they rubbed the sore spot.

When he was done, Atsumu lowered Kiyoomi’s shirt and pressed a kiss near his belly button. Then he nestled his head there like he had no intention of getting up anytime soon.

Kiyoomi reached out and touched the head of dark hair, marvelling at the strangeness of it. He’d gotten so used to the blonde, it was still weird to see it gone. But he liked it.

“I’m glad you cut your hair,” he said.

“Why?” Atsumu asked.

“The long hair clogs the drain. I always had to fish the strands out.” He tried not to think about picking up pee-laden fallen hair. He internally cringed.

“Oh.” Atsumu paused. “You should have told me.”

He stroked his head. “You were really attached to the long hair. It’s fine.”

They were quiet for a moment. Then Atsumu said, “You know, I’ve been remembering something you said a few months ago...you said what you deem as important and what I deem as important are wildly different. And I just thought….yeah. I’m probably a shitty boyfriend, huh?”

That didn’t sit right with him. “You’re not.” I am, he thought.

“I won’t pee in the shower anymore. Promise.”

Kiyoomi blinked down at Atsumu. He was facing the other way so Kiyoomi couldn’t see his face. He was suddenly reminded that Atsumu was, in fact, smart and extremely observant.

He wanted to say that it was fine, that he was being overdramatic for getting upset over such a small thing. People peed in showers. Just because it repulsed him doesn’t mean he should impose that over others. He just got so damn upset that day, thinking he’d been kneeling on pee-stained floors every time he cleaned. He’d taken to brushing the floor from an awkward angle since then, and developed a pain on his hip that persisted even through sleep. Maybe if he got over himself he wouldn’t be in this position, but he couldn’t, and that was his burden to bear.

“Don’t say it’s fine,” Atsumu said. “I know it bothers you. I knew it would bother you, I don’t know why I kept doing it anyway...I’m a piece of shit and now you’ve hurt your hip.” His voice wobbled. “I told myself I’ll make your life easier, but all I do is fuck up and make you sad and stressed and —”

"Hey,” he interrupted, sitting up in alarm.

“You should tell me when I do something wrong,” Atsumu plowed on. “And help me understand why it upsets you. I’ll listen this time, I promise. Okay?”

He hesitated. “Okay. You should tell me, too, whenever I do something to set you off. But don’t yell. It makes me anxious.”

“Okay.” Atsumu finally turned his head to look at him. “I’m sorry. I’ll try to communicate better.” He seemed to think for a second. “When you rag on me about something I was planning to do anyway, it stresses me out.”

He thought about that. He often reminded Atsumu of chores he had to and he didn’t mean anything by it but apparently it didn’t come across that way. “Okay. I’ll stop.” And if Atsumu forgot them then he’d just do them himself.

“And I know you’re just trying to keep things clean and in order, but it drives me crazy when you go through my stuff to fix them and I find that nothing’s in their rightful place anymore.”

“Sorry,” he muttered.

“It’s okay. I promise I’ll keep them more organized from now on. I’ll fix my shit every day or how many times a day you deem it necessary. But it has a system, even though it doesn’t look like it. Alright?”

He nodded, pleased enough by this. Organized is good.

“And sometimes I really need you to verbalize things, especially when you feel it’s too troublesome for you to do so, because that usually means it’s important. I can’t read your mind, Omi-Omi.”

That one was going to be harder. He lived in his head most of the time.

“Omi?”

“I’ll do my best.”

“Good enough for now,” Atsumu sighed. “We’ll work on it. We have lots of time.”

“Do we?” he couldn’t help but ask.

Atsumu crawled closer to him. “We do. Did you really think I’d let go of you over some stupid fight?”

“There were lots of fights,” he pointed out.

“Yeah...let’s make a rule, we resolve fights when we have them and not let them pile up. This shit’s exhausting.”

That sounded like a good idea. He nodded.

Atsumu lowered himself down next to him and tugged him closer. He nosed at Kiyoomi’s cheek. “I love you.”

Warmth spread through him, clashing with his lingering anxiety. “Even though I’m annoying and needy?”

“I like that you’re annoying and needy.”

“That’s not what you said.”

Atsumu tenderly stroked his face. “You won’t be Omi-Omi if you weren’t annoying. And I miss you when you’re not near. I’ve been missing you so much lately, even though you’re just a few feet away.”

A smile danced helplessly on his lips. You’re so weak, he scolded himself. But he missed Atsumu, too. He turned and wrapped an arm around his neck. When Atsumu nudged him closer, he wrapped a leg around him, too, ignoring the twinge on his hip.

“There you are.” Atsumu pressed a kiss to his neck. “Koala baby.”

His lower lip trembled.

“I’m so sorry,” Atsumu said quietly. “I didn’t mean it. I don’t want you far away from me. Never.”

He tightened his hold on Atsumu, who hugged him back just as securely. He let out a breath, exhaling the last of his doubts.

Soft lips landed on his eyelid and the warmth spread down to his toes. It unwound him to the point of drowsiness. He hadn’t been sleeping well lately. “Nap?” he asked hopefully.

Atsumu rolled to his back, taking Kiyoomi with him. They shifted until Kiyoomi was comfortably resting half on top of Atsumu. “Sleep, darling.”

He did.

Chapter Text

He watched his reflection in the mirror as he brushed his teeth, wondering if he should be weirded out by what he saw. His hair was a bit longer than he usually kept it, but something about the air here made it pliant. Instead of the wild curls he used to have to beat down with a brush, his locks fell in waves, the ends curling and brushing over his face and his neck. Right now he had his hair up in a headband allowing him to marvel at his tan skin. He didn’t think it was possible — he never got tan, he got red.

But here he was, darker than he was used to. He was nowhere near the honey tan Atsumu was now, but a sandy beige, definitely. After another minute of inspection, he decided he liked it. He liked what he saw in the mirror.

He was running toner-soaked cotton over his skin when a shirtless Atsumu walked into the bathroom, rubbing his eyes. “Morning, baby.”

“Morning.” He smiled when Atsumu wrapped his arms around his waist, kissing the back of his neck.

Then he sighed in resignation when Atsumu pulled away and proceeded to pee in the toilet. At least it went in the toilet now.

Atsumu nudged his way towards the sink, washing his hands, and then his face, before poking a toothbrush into his mouth. The noise he was making disrupted Kiyoomi's morning peace — everything about him was so damn loud. He demanded attention even when he did nothing but exist. Kiyoomi watched him through the mirror fondly.

By the time Kiyoomi finished applying moisturizer, Atsumu was done with his entire morning routine. Unable to accept this, Kiyoomi smeared moisturizer on his face, too.

“I don’t need this,” Atsumu complained.

“Yeah, yeah, you have good genes, whatever. And what if you start having lines on your face? You can say goodbye to your modeling contracts.”

“That’s not gonna happen.”

Kiyoomi rubbed the last of the cream in. “If you develop gross flaky skin, I’m not kissing you again.”

A pause. “Fine, I’ll put moisturizer, happy?”

“And the rest of it, too.”

Atsumu made a noise like a dying whale. “I don’t know anything about this crap…”

“I do.”

“Can you just make a routine for me, then?”

Kiyoomi perked up, the idea exciting him. He knew Atsumu found the whole skincare thing ridiculous, but he personally enjoyed it. It was therapeutic for him. Bathroom time was self-care time. “Can I?”

Atsumu cupped his cheek. “Well, if I knew you’d like it so much, I’d have let you much earlier.”

His mind was already running a mile a minute. There really weren't many good options in the mall, but he did possess a credit card and some newfound knowledge about local online shops. It would take a while for the items to reach him, but he could wait. “I’m gonna go online shopping right now.”

Atsumu caught him by the waist just as he was about to dash out the door. He turned them so they were both facing the mirror again, Atsumu hooking his chin over Kiyoomi’s shoulder.

“What?” he asked, displeased.

Atsumu didn’t answer, just ran a hand over Kiyoomi’s stomach, a curious habit he’d developed for reasons Kiyoomi still didn’t understand. He asked once, and Atsumu just shrugged and said, ‘Dunno, it feels vulnerable here. No one would ever touch you here, would they? Only I get to.’ 

Kiyoomi just let him be.

“We look good together,” Atsumu said out of nowhere.

He leaned back into Atsumu’s hold. “I guess. Two not-ugly people would naturally make a not-ugly couple, wouldn’t they?”

Atsumu snorted out a laugh. “You can admit that I’m good-looking, Omi-Omi, it won’t kill you.”

“Never.”

“Hmm.” Atsumu slid his hand under Kiyoomi’s shirt and rested his hand on his tummy. The warmth of it soothed him, somehow. “You have that classic thing going for you. Kinda aristocratic.”

He tilted his head, trying to see what Atsumu was seeing. His face was one he saw every day, but it was still sometimes hard to get a clear picture.

“If I’m an aristocrat, then what does that make you? My servant?”

“Sure.” Atsumu was grinning. “Your dashing, roguishly handsome servant who’ll show you the meaning of life.”

He rolled his eyes. “You are so full of it.” He studied Atsumu’s reflection, thinking that the description wasn’t very far off at all. He shifted so he could press his nose to Atsumu’s cheek. “I guess you’re okay.”

Atsumu turned his head until their lips were touching. “Just okay?” He ran his tongue over Kiyoomi’s bottom lip and slid his hand down his stomach until his fingers were playing with the garter of his pajama pants

Heat spiked in Kiyoomi’s gut as if it was clockwork. He lifted his hand to cup the back of Atsumu’s head, pulling him closer, so their mouths could slide against each other in a messy kiss.

“You just don’t want me to go shopping,” he murmured against Atsumu’s mouth.

His boyfriend laughed and tugged them back into bed.

--

“You love me, don’t you?” he cooed.

A pink tongue licked his chin in response.

“What did she say?” an amused Atsumu asked from where he was laying his head on Kiyoomi’s lap.

“She said yes, she loves me the best.” Kiyoomi hefted the snowy white puppy he was clutching in his hands. “Right, Isla?”

Isla gave a cute little yawn, baring tiny teeth.

“Are you sleepy? You just woke up. No sleeping yet, I’m still talking to you,” he told her.

“I think I should be offended that the first time I hear you talk so sweetly is when you’re speaking to a puppy,” Atsumu mused.

“That’s because Isla is a good girl, aren’t you, Isla? Unlike this gross excuse for a human being, right, Isla? Yeah, I don’t know why he’s here either. We were having such a nice time before he came, huh?”

“If you must know, I got jealous of the puppy and wanted some attention. But alas…”

Kiyoomi looked down at him then exchanged glances with Isla. “Did you hear that? The gross human wanted attention.” He lowered her to hover near Atsumu’s face. “Bite. Straight on the nose, come on.”

Atsumu sighed heavily as Kiyoomi forced Isla’s face closer to his. He smiled when Isla licked the tip of his nose. “She likes me.”

“She’s a puppy, she unfortunately likes everyone. She’ll develop some taste later on.”

He placed Isla on Atsumu’s broad chest and ran his fingers through her coat, checking for ticks or fleas. He’d been meticulous in making sure there weren’t any.

Isla was one of six puppies birthed by Brownie, and she was the only one that was purely white. She was the runt of the litter, and they didn’t think she’d be able to walk at first because she was a swimmer puppy, but she managed it.

Kiyoomi quickly got attached to her and named her Isla, the Tagalog word for ‘island.’

Atsumu stroked Isla’s tiny head with a finger, then tickled her under the chin. She bit him. “Ow. We were getting along so well a while ago, what’s wrong with you?”

“Stop bugging her, maybe she’ll like you again.”

“She reminds me of someone.”

“Shut up.”

“Can’t you be sweet to me too?” Atsumu pouted. “Omi, talk to me like I’m a puppy.”

Kiyoomi gave him a baffled glance then cracked up. It seemed to occur to Atsumu how silly he sounded and he laughed, too.

“Why did I say that?”

“Because you’re an idiot.”

“Come on, tell me I’m a good boy.”

Kiyoomi started laughing again.

“You’re gorgeous, Kiyoomi.”

He let his laughter fade away, cheeks warming. The use of his first name never failed to grab him by the heart. He gazed down at Atsumu, who was watching him in contentment.

He brushed brown hair off Atsumu’s face so he could see it better. He was beautiful. “You’re hideous, Miya.”

Atsumu’s smile widened, like he knew exactly what Kiyoomi wasn’t saying.

Kiyoomi poked his cheek. “Aren’t you supposed to be teaching Maria’s nephews volleyball?”

“I told you, they ran out when they heard an ice cream man outside.”

“I could hear them from here. They’re probably done eating. Go call your students.”

With a defeated sigh, Atsumu sat up on the ground. Kiyoomi brushed off the dirt and dried grass that stuck to the back of his shirt. He pushed at him. “Go on.”

“Okay, okay.” Atsumu got to his feet and hollered, “Hoy, asan na kayo!”

There were giggles and the boys, Migoy and Andoy, ran out to the garden.

“Ready na!” Andoy said.

Migoy tossed the volleyball at Atsumu, who caught it effortlessly. “Game!”

Kiyoomi half paid attention to their lesson, while he checked the other puppies’ coats. They were all awake and gamboling around, and he petted each of them, completely charmed.

“...Omi is like, one of the best receivers in the volleyball world in Japan. You can trust he’ll always dig it,” he heard Atsumu say. He smiled and picked up Isla again.

“You hear that? I’m the best,” he informed her. “And it used to hurt me to walk when I was younger, too. Until now, on bad days.”

He cradled her in one hand and gently pinched one of her hind legs between two fingers, trying to feel the muscle. It felt fine to him, not that he was an expert. He never had a pet before. His parents never allowed it.

Atsumu ran over and crouched down in front of him. “Omi, come join us, you gotta show them how to properly receive the ball.”

He lifted Isla up and waved her paw at Atsumu wordlessly.

“Babe, how can she practice walking if you keep carrying her? Let her be. Come play with us, your muscles need some exercise, too, you know.”

He pouted.

“Don't give me that look.” Atsumu pried the puppy out of his hands and gently put her back in the cage. He gathered the rest of the puppies and placed them there, too. “Let’s go.”

He climbed to his feet and followed Atsumu to the two waiting boys. They spent the rest of the afternoon playing volleyball. The simplicity of it brought him back to when he and Komori were kids, hanging out in their back garden.

It was fun.

--

“Wow, how nice of you to remember me,” Komori said through his phone screen.

“I called you recently.”

“Last month is not recent. God, look at you, you got a shade darker, I don’t know you anymore.”

Why was everyone he knew so damn dramatic? “What’s been going on?”

“Eh, nothing much honestly...the world didn’t really stop over here, the way it did there. I should be asking you that question.”

“Literally nothing happens here, Komori. Well, they eased up a little on the quarantine, but borders are still closely monitored. We can go out, kinda...but it’s a hassle.”

“I’m surprised you’re still sane. No, I’m surprised you haven’t killed Atsumu. Wait, you haven’t, right? You’d tell me if you killed Atsumu, right? Oh god, is that why you called?”

“Well —”

“Did someone say kill Atsumu?”

Suna Rintarou, Komori’s teammate in the EJP Raijin and Atsumu’s high school teammate in Inarizaki, squeezed himself into the screen.

“Yo, Sakusa. Where’s Atsumu? He dead?” he asked.

Kiyoomi studied them and deduced that they were probably getting ready for practice. For what, he didn’t know —he didn’t think there were volleyball tournaments anytime soon.

He suddenly missed playing volleyball intensely. Missed being on the court, missed the squeaky sounds of shoes sliding against the floor, missed the near-permanent scent of salonpas in the air. Maybe he’ll invite Atsumu to play beach volleyball later. Maybe he’ll even invite Miguel.

Shaking his head to rid himself of the thoughts, he said, “Here, somewhere.” He glanced around and spotted Atsumu dancing outside in the back garden, probably for a TikTok video. He rolled his eyes. “Atsumu.”

Atsumu paused mid-step and looked over at him. “Yeah, babe?”

Lika dito.”

Atsumu obediently came over and leaned down for a kiss. Kiyoomi chased his lips when he pulled it away.

“What the fuck?”

They both turned their heads to look at the screen, which now showed two flummoxed men.

“Yo, Suna,” Atsumu said, sounding happy to see him.

Suna seemed to be speechless.

“Right, that was what I was about to tell you, Komori,” Kiyoomi said, remembering where the conversation left off. “I haven’t killed him. Actually, we get along now.”

Atsumu snorted. “Barely. He’s a pain.” He ran his hand over Kiyoomi’s curls. “I wouldn’t have him any other way.”

“You were just kissing,” Komori said faintly. His bugged out eyes trailed over Kiyoomi’s smiling mouth and then at his likely bruised neck. Atsumu had too much fun marking him the night before. “Oh my god.”

Kiyoomi nodded. “We’re together. For...” He mentally computed. What day was it? What month? He thought it was still August. End of August, probably. “Almost two months now.”

“Hell yeah.” Atsumu cupped his head and pressed a kiss to his temple. “I’m surprised Samu hasn’t told you, Rin. Though I did tell him to be quiet about it.”

“You have such little faith in your own twin,” Kiyoomi said.

“You didn’t have to grow up with him.”

He shook his head. “Okay, shoo now.”

Atsumu kissed him one last time before trotting off.

“What the hell,” Suna finally said. “What the hell?”

“Is that all you know how to say?” Kiyoomi was unimpressed.

“Last time I talked to Atsumu, he was ranting about you stealing gym mats and equipment and making him explain to the staff.” That was forever ago. Suna clearly wasn’t updated.

“I need to do yoga every morning,” he explained. “Atsumu likes watching.” It didn’t take a genius to figure out why. He was such a creep.

“Gross,” Suna said promptly. After a beat, he shuddered. “Ugh, gross.”

Did you do your yoga this morning?” Atsumu asked. He was hovering by the sliding doors that opened to the backyard.

“No. Later.”

Atsumu placed his hands on his hips. “Omi.”

Later.” It was only 11 a.m.

“No yoga, no sex.”

He paused. Then he turned back to his phone. “I gotta go.”

Komori looked pale now. “I don’t know how to process this.”

“Whatever. Just don’t tell anyone. Not anyone.” He widened his eyes at Komori, giving him a meaningful glance. He meant his parents and siblings, mostly. Aside from Osamu, no one else knew, not even the team. “I don’t wanna deal with all that crap.”

Komori seemed to get it, at least. He nodded knowingly. “Okay…”

“Bye.”

“Um, bye.”

When he hung up, he said, “I don’t see why I have to do yoga —”

“You know why you have to.” Atsumu was walking back to him now.

“— right at this moment —”

“It always hurts more when you put off doing your exercises for too long.”

He crossed his arms, unable to deny it.

Atsumu paused in front of him. He touched his cheek lightly. “You have to be healthy so you can stay with me for a long time.”

His heart seized. How could Atsumu just say things like that? “Do you — you can join me if you like.”

“I like.”

Atsumu tried to keep up with him, but gave up halfway and settled for just watching him. He listened intently as Kiyoomi explained why he had to do the exercises he was doing.

He wouldn’t admit that his body felt much better after. He felt accomplished, like he always did whenever he completed his tasks. This was something he’s been doing since he was younger, something that was simply a part of his daily life, but even he got lazy sometimes.

Afterwards, he leaned forward, cupped Atsumu’s face, and kissed him on the mouth. “Thanks, love.”

Atsumu took his hand and returned a kiss there. “I’m sorry if I’m overbearing. I worry about you.”

“You don’t have to.”

“I will, anyway. I’m not used to caring for people. Not like this.”

He nodded slowly. “Me neither.”

“And you’re so — there’s so much about you — that needs to be considered. All the time.”

He frowned. Something heavy was pressing on his chest. “Sorry.”

“No, don’t — I’m just trying to say — I’ll take everything that comes with you. But it’s an adjustment. I’m trying my best...just don’t get pissed at me.”

“Oh. Okay.”

Atsumu urged him into his arms, sweat and all, muttering something about having to pick ‘the most complicated one.’

“But you want me. Right?” he checked.

“Yeah.”

“And you — you do want to stay with me? For a long time?”

Atsumu hugged him tighter. “For the longest time. I told you. Remember?”

The weight on his chest eased up and he was able to breathe easier. He relaxed. “Yeah. I remember.” 

Atsumu planted a big kiss on his cheek, then hooked an arm under Kiyoomi’s knees, bringing himself to a crouch.

His eyes widened. “Don’t you dare —” He lost his breath when his body was lifted from the ground.

But Atsumu got unbalanced when he staggered to his feet, and he accidentally hit Kiyoomi’s head on the headboard and ended up dumping him on the mattress like a sack of potatoes.

Ow,” he complained as he bounced gracelessly. He rubbed the sore spot with a furious pout.

“I am so sorry,” Atsumu wheezed, eyes wide. “You’re heavy, baby.”

“I’m going to fucking murder you.”

Atsumu let himself fall on top of Kiyoomi, crushing him with a mischievous laugh.

“I hate you,” he snapped. Why was Atsumu like this? Why was being with him like this? He made Kiyoomi regret everything every damn day.

“Lie,” Atsumu said smugly, already shedding off his clothes. “Now get naked, it’s time for your reward.”

He figured Atsumu had some making up to do so he obeyed. As he slid his shorts off, he asked, “Do you think we’re having too much sex?”

“Is there such a thing?” Atsumu wondered. He tossed his shirt to the ground. “See, I told you we should just go around naked.”

“I’m serious. We do it twice a day, at least.” He spread his legs when Atsumu wormed a hand in between. “Do I have an addiction?”

“I don’t know what to tell you, babe, except yes, you have an addiction. Nice of you to pick up on it.”

He frowned at the ceiling. “Should I be worried? Is this a health is—” He gasped when Atsumu breached him with his fingers.

“Less talking, more screaming.”

There wasn’t any more talking, but there was hysterical giggling. Atsumu was so lame.

Much later, Atsumu stretched under the covers and reached for the film camera sitting on his bedside table. After tinkering with it for a bit, he pointed the camera at Kiyoomi and pressed the button.

“What do you think you’re doing,” he asked.

“This film thing is pretty cool,” Atsumu said, which wasn’t an answer. Kiyoomi thought he was starting to pick up on Filipinos’ bad habit of never answering a question directly.

“It’s not,” he said flatly, squirming around to find a comfortable spot. “What if we develop these pictures and see that they’re all shit? Or nothing comes out? Then I’d have wasted ten rolls of film.”

“But what if they turn out good? Then it would be a nice surprise, wouldn’t it? Maybe that’s what’s exciting about it, the uncertainty. Besides, however this photo ends up, I’m sure you’ll be gorgeous.”

“Now I don’t want to see them at all,” he huffed.

“I do,” Atsumu yawned. “Your sister’s right, some things you have to immortalize.”

Chapter Text

September arrived in a flurry of rainy mornings and a town-wide cheer that confused them greatly.

“What do you mean it’s already Christmas season?” Atsumu asked Esme.

“It’s Christmas season when the Ber Months are here!” she said happily as she stirred chocolate in a pot. She was apparently making hot chocolate called tsokolate de batirol, which was popular around this time of year. “Do you know how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Tagalog yet? You say ‘Maligayang Pasko!’”

Kiyoomi and his family had never really celebrated Christmas, so he was curious to see how a dominantly Christian country would do it.

He didn’t have to wonder for too long. Barely a day into September, Christmas carols started blasting from nearly every house they passed by in the streets and people started putting up a bunch of lanterns — or parol as they called it that gleamed merrily after sundown.

“I love it here,” Atsumu said as they strolled down the streets one night, his face glowing red then green then blue courtesy of the blinking Christmas lights. The night was cold, but the sea breeze made it colder. He clutched at his cup of batirol for warmth. The drink had a dash of peanut butter in it. He liked it.

“It’s a very charming town, isn’t it?” he said.

“Yeah. I never thought Christmas could be this fun, and it’s not even here yet. Will they really keep this up until December?”

“Lydia and Blas said it would probably last until January,” he snorted. 

“That’s so nice. People are so happy here,” Atsumu said in wonder.

“Aren’t you? Happy.”

Atsumu glanced at him. “Yeah, I am.”

“Me, too.”

“Especially because of the Christmas desserts, right?”

He smiled. He thought he’d tasted all of the Filipino sweets and snacks, but he was wrong. He was recently introduced to bibingka and puto bumbong, and he was obsessed. “Let’s find some."

“Okay. I like the sticky purple thingie.”

Puto bumbong.”

“Yeah, that. Oh, there’s one over there, let’s see how they make it.” They watched in fascination as the vendor placed purple flour inside bamboo tubes and steamed them on top of hot coals. Once cooked, the rice cake was slathered with butter, sprinkled with muscovado sugar and grated coconut, and served to them on banana leaves. They accepted the food and paid.

“I’m getting fat,” Atsumu muttered as they walked away.

Kiyoomi rolled his eyes. All Atsumu did was eat and work out and do TikTok dance videos and swim. Sometimes they played volleyball, when the weather permitted it. He was far from fat.

In fact, he was probably more beautiful than ever. The brown hair was really something, not that Kiyoomi would ever admit it. It brought out his eyes. And the continued exposure to the sun birthed more freckles. Countless freckles. They sat prominently on his nose and cheeks, the charming little spots a great contrast to his strong brows and sharp jaw. How could someone look so boyish and devastatingly handsome at the same time?

This wasn’t the same Atsumu that flew here one hot March day. This was an Atsumu only he knew.

“Hey, Omi,” Atsumu broke into his thoughts. “You are happy, aren’t you?”

He slowed his walk, glancing at Atsumu. They stopped at the edge of the street, in front of a large star-shaped parol. Another blast of salty wind hit him and he shivered in time with the sound of a wave crashing to shore. “What do you think?”

Atsumu let out a noise of complaint, pouting. “I’m the one asking the question. I have like, two brain cells left for today, why do you have to force me to use them?”

Oh god, he was an idiot. Was this really the man he allowed to fuck him every night? He must have really hit his head.

“You’re smiling,” Atsumu observed. “I guess you are happy. That, or you think I’m funny. Admit it, you think I’m funny.”

“I think you’re stupid and ridiculous.”

“But you like me, right?”

He gazed at Atsumu standing in front of him under the twinkling night sky and wondered how he could still ask. “I told you. I like you sometimes.”

“But you love me always?”

A strange feeling took hold of him. He stepped closer and grazed Atsumu's cheek with his knuckles. “I love you always.”

They kissed as their world glowed red and green and blue.

--

He wasn’t lying. He was happy.

There was something about being in a faraway place in a frozen world that made him feel extremely liberated. He could do anything here — there were no obligations, no consequences, and with Atsumu, not a single thing to worry about. He felt safe, and that meant being free.

Standing at the edge of a cliff, he didn’t feel any fear, nor a single stab of anxiety. He was holding Atsumu’s hand, about to jump into waters of unfathomable depth, and all he felt was peace.

“You can do this,” Atsumu urged unnecessarily. Kiyoomi rolled his eyes. “Just remember to keep your arms up and feet pointing down so you won’t flop against the surface. The impact will hurt.” Then something seemed to occur to him. “Oh god, what if you dislocate something? Shit, I didn’t think this through. Nevermind, let’s not do this.”

Atsumu took a step back, tugging at his hand. Their guide hovered beside them, frowning, and opened his mouth, probably to spew out words of encouragement.

Kiyoomi didn’t need them. He squeezed Atsumu’s hand and let go. Then he turned, took a big step, and leaped.

He heard Atsumu yell out behind him, and then he was falling, falling, falling. His stomach shot up to his chest, and then he was sinking into deep, icy cold water. When he stilled in the vast nothingness, he started swimming back up, grinning, unmindful of the water entering his mouth.

He broke through the surface, spitting out water and shaking his head. Not a moment later, Atsumu popped up near him, spluttering and flailing.

“Omi!” he yelled.

“I’m right here, idiot.”

Atsumu swam clumsily towards him, face etched with panic. “Did you break anything?”

“No. Can you chill?”

Atsumu gaped at him. “You. Telling me. To chill? You just jumped off a cliff!”

“Which you planned for us to do,” he pointed out. “I don’t understand why you’re freaking out now.”

“I think my heart stopped for a second back there,” Atsumu said in vague horror. “Omi, you’re not supposed to do that without me.”

Kiyoomi muffled a laugh. Hit by a wave of fondness, he swam closer and squished Atsumu’s face between his palms, giving him a big kiss. “I’m fine, love. It was fun.”

“Fun,” Atsumu repeated. “You had fun...jumping off a cliff?”

He nodded. “Wanna go again?” He didn’t wait for an answer. He started swimming off, expecting Atsumu to follow. He knew he would.

“What happened to you?” he heard Atsumu murmur behind him.

He snorted. Didn’t that silly man understand? He was the one who let him become this. He was the one who promised that Kiyoomi could be anything with him and stood by it.

He was glad now that neither of them gave up when they realized it wasn’t going to be just endless sex under the sheets and passionate, intoxicating kisses. The initial high was fun and all, but he liked this better — being safe and secure in a relationship he knew wouldn’t fall apart at the tiniest bump.

And he was safe and secure. Because Atsumu still hugged him even when he was damp with sweat. Atsumu still kissed him even when he hadn’t brushed his teeth. Atsumu still called him gorgeous even when he just woke up, dried drool on his cheek, and hair resembling a rat’s nest.

He was surprised, too, by the depth of the emotions Atsumu invoked in him. He recalled one morning when Atsumu went on an early swim — Kiyoomi was on the shore, reading an e-book, and was scared half to death when Atsumu let out a blood-curdling scream. It turned out he was stung by a large jellyfish, and Kiyoomi raced to the resort, yelling for help. Jun nearly peed on Atsumu's arm to "treat" the sting, but Maria thankfully came to the rescue before he could do it. Atsumu was in tears, which alarmed Kiyoomi further, but it turned out he was most upset by the potential scar. Kiyoomi kissed his clammy forehead, salty with sea water and sweat, and treated the wound every morning and night.

It did scar, and the ropes of darkened skin that spanned from his shoulder down his bicep grated on Atsumu’s vanity. He moped and whined and sniffled with genuine despair.

“Atsumu,” he finally sighed one day. “I have dozens of scars on my hands alone. Are you saying they’re ugly?”

“What? No, of course not, nothing about you is ugly.”

Kiyoomi gave him a meaningful look.

“Oh.” Atsumu stared at him, then his face brightened as he understood. “I see.”

That’s not to say they didn’t fight. They did, often — he thought hell would freeze over before they learned to stop fighting. But they did learn to pick their battles and be gentler with each other’s tender edges that were jagged for reasons that had nothing to do with them.

And the edges that could be softened, they softened for each other.

He had never been in a relationship before. He never learned to compromise, never learned to adjust, never learned to temper himself to make room for another person. Not until now.

And he had hoped that Atsumu would learn to tolerate his faults, but he delivered more than that. With Atsumu he was unconditionally loved.

Kiyoomi could be anything with him and that included being brave.

He was happy, wholly and uncomplicatedly so. It was a beautiful feeling.

--

But then the music was abruptly cut off, the lights snapped on unbidden, the rug ripped violently from underneath them.

They forgot.

He didn’t understand how they just...forgot. Forgot they didn’t actually live here, forgot they had a home an ocean away, forgot they had families and friends and volleyball waiting for them to return.

So he was understandably upset when they were told that they could leave soon.

“What do you mean?” he asked, shocked.

Maria’s lips were turned down. “A lot of borders will be opening on October 1st. The government is easing up on restrictions...many locals are already doing domestic land travel, anyway. You...there are some flights, I think. Airlines are reopening. You can book already.”

He couldn’t speak. Atsumu took over. “Thanks, Maria. We’ll...get to that.”

They walked stiffly back to their room. Even when they got there, they didn’t speak.

When he couldn’t stand it anymore, Kiyoomi walked out and headed to the pool deck, breathing in the night air. He leaned on the railing and gazed up at the stars.

He didn’t know how long he stood there before he felt a presence make its way beside him. Atsumu rested his forearms on the railing and slid him a sideways glance.

“It’s too soon,” Kiyoomi muttered.

“Yeah,” Atsumu agreed. “But not really...it’s been six months. I can’t believe it.”

“Still too soon.”

Atsumu nodded to the wide stretch of sand below them. “Let’s walk on the beach.”

They held hands as they strolled along the shoreline. The moon lit their way, and the sound of waves sweeping in and out filled the silence.

“Hey,” Atsumu said eventually. “Don’t be so sad. It’s only the middle of September, we still have time. C’mere.”

Kiyoomi let himself be pulled close. He wrapped his arms around Atsumu’s shoulders and smiled when they started swaying. Atsumu started humming a familiar melody. It was a song called “Buwan,” which was perfect because that translated to ‘moon.’

“I don’t want to go,” he finally whispered. How was he supposed to let go of this happiness he’d found?

“We don’t have to,” Atsumu whispered back. “Not yet. We can stay a few more weeks, a month...we can explore. If borders are opening then...we’re not stuck here anymore.”

Kiyoomi stopped moving, looking at him with wide eyes. “We can do that?”

Atsumu hugged him tighter. “Of course we can. Who’s stopping us? There’s so much more to this country than just this island. We don’t have to tell our families yet, we can say we had a hard time booking or something. And it’s not like there’ll be volleyball tournaments anytime soon…”

Relief started to fill him. “Oh. You’re right.”

“Well, you don’t have to sound so surprised about that.”

“But — what about our things —”

“Let me handle all that. Just sit back and relax, okay? Let’s celebrate my birthday here first, then let’s go...well, anywhere. Everywhere.”

He smiled slowly. “Okay.”

“Okay,” Atsumu grinned back.

They shared an excited fit of giggles and danced to a song only they could hear, until well into the night.

Chapter Text

The days started to slip by too fast, like they always did when something dreadful loomed ahead. Even as they tried to dig their heels in, they unconsciously began preparing for the inevitable goodbye, starting by hoarding all the things they won’t be able to buy in Japan, like Milo, Chocnut, Yakee, Mik-Mik, and Pancit Canton.

When it couldn’t be avoided any longer, Kiyoomi bought two large suitcases to fit all the things he and Atsumu collected over the months, not to mention the things sent over by their families. He didn’t realize that they’d built a life here until it was time to fold it into their luggage. He looked at all his clothes and wondered why he bothered buying them, when he ended up wearing Atsumu’s, anyway. He decided to leave half of them behind — the poorer locals would appreciate them.

He was getting a little overwhelmed by how fast the world was spinning. He hoped it would slow down.

And then one morning, Atsumu, who had been missing when he woke up, messaged him to say, “Meet me out front, let’s go somewhere.”

He picked up his phone, his camera, and his key before heading out of their room without a thought. When he stepped out of the resort’s gate, he saw Atsumu...sitting astride a motorbike.

“What the hell.”

“I rented it!” Atsumu said, grinning.

“Do you even know how to ride that?”

“The seller taught me the basics...I tried it there, it’s easy. I rode it on the way back here.”

Kiyoomi gave him a disbelieving glance. Then he turned and headed back into the resort.

“No, wait, Omi!” Atsumu laughed. “I swear, I can do it. This one’s for rookies, it’s a gas-powered scooter rather than a full blown motorcycle. They didn’t even ask to see my license, they just handed it over! Biking is probably harder.”

He turned back around. “You’re gonna kill yourself.”

“I promise I won’t! I just wanna explore the island on my own terms!”

He glared at him.

“I won’t speed,” Atsumu added, noting his expression. Then he had the gall to give a boyish smile. “Come with me?”

It was a bad idea. Atsumu knew nothing about motorbikes. Kiyoomi was already feeling anxious at the thought of him splattering on the concrete.

“Fine,” he said. If something happened to Atsumu without him there... his mind shied away from the thought. He simply had to be there.

Atsumu handed over a helmet. “Hop on.”

After taking a moment to question his life choices, Kiyoomi warily straddled the seat behind Atsumu, lowering his visor. He gripped the broad shoulders in front of him. “Don’t kill us.”

“I’d never wanna do that. Trust me, will you?”

Atsumu started the engine and told him where to place his feet. Nervously, he lifted them from the ground and placed them where Atsumu directed. Atsumu carried their weight effortlessly.

“Ready, babe?”

“No.”

“Hold tight!”

His stomach swooped when the motorbike jerked into motion. And then they were off.

Atsumu navigated them out of town, and after a few tense minutes, they hit wider roads. Kiyoomi’s anxiety eased, replaced with quiet excitement as they sped up. They flew past farms and grassy fields and forests of trees, and Kiyoomi impulsively lifted the visor to absorb everything. The wind smacked his face and he breathed in the freshness of it, feeling free.

Maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea.

They slowed down, eventually stopping completely, Atsumu pulling over by the side of the road. He lifted his visor. “See? Not bad, huh?”

He didn’t bother to answer. But he lifted the camera from where it was hanging on his neck and snapped a couple of photos. He was getting better at it, but focusing the lens was still a struggle. He was a hundred percent sure that half of the photos will come out blurry.

Atsumu dug something out of his pockets. “So they gave me some maps and routes — suggestions of where to go — but I think I really wanna go to this beach…” There was some shuffling, then Atsumu said, “What do you think, Omi? You good with a half-hour ride?”

“Yeah, whatever.” He hugged Atsumu tighter around the waist, making himself comfortable. “But I’m not wearing beach shorts and I didn’t bring anything.”

“Me neither...it’s fine, let’s just see.”

Around 45 minutes later, Kiyoomi disembarked with stiff legs, feeling somewhat nauseous. “That was...horrible.” He took off his helmet, sighing when it was off. He handed it to Atsumu, who removed his, and stashed both of them under the seat.

“What was I thinking?” Atsumu wondered, face pale. “The bridges...I thought I was gonna kill us.”

Kiyoomi looked at him in amusement. The roads were easy enough at the beginning, but they got a bit complicated heading into the beach. There were moments he’d panicked, but Atsumu pulled them through. Kiyoomi kissed him on the mouth as a reward. “You did good. We made it.”

Atsumu smiled, looking flustered. He scratched his head and looked around. “Huh. Very nice.”

They abandoned the motorbike on the grass and stepped onto fine sand. The day wasn’t very hot, and there was nobody else around — not a single person in sight in the long, long coastline, which was bracketed by tall trees. It looked like an untouched piece of nature, completely unbothered by civilization. This was what Kiyoomi would imagine if somebody said ‘stuck on an island.’

“Seriously, where are the people? There’s gotta be someone who’s also exploring, right?” Atsumu asked.

“Who’d want to make the ride here? There aren’t any new tourists.”

“I suppose…” Atsumu suddenly perked up. “Oh, I just had an idea.”

He glanced at him warily, frowning when Atsumu started taking off his clothes. All of his clothes. “Atsumu —”

“Let’s go, Omi-Omi!” And he ran towards the sea, butt naked.

“I can’t believe this guy,” he muttered to himself.

He walked until the waves nearly touched his flip flops. “What’s wrong with you?” It was a question he asked Atsumu often.

Atsumu was already hips-deep in the water. He looked back at Kiyoomi. “We’re surrounded by forests, Omi. No one’s around. We can do anything!”

“No, we can’t.”

“Well, when will we be able to do this again?”

He couldn’t answer that.

“Come join me,” Atsumu pleaded.

And he couldn’t say no to that.

Sighing, he tossed his clothes further up on the sand. Before he stepped into the water, he snapped a photo of Atsumu, whose bare, muscled back glowed in the sun, hair a tousled mess. Atsumu glanced back just as he was pressing the button and he snorted at the thought of someone seeing this while developing it. Whoever it is, he should count himself lucky.

He waded into the water, which was peaceful, almost still. The previous feeling of excitement thrummed in him again. He looked up at Atsumu, smiling. “Hi.”

“Hi.” Atsumu was gazing at him, something unfamiliar in his eyes. “You’re perfect.”

He shrugged a shoulder. Whatever his body looked like, it was simply the result of years of volleyball and yoga and strengthening exercises. But he was pleased that Atsumu liked it.

Atsumu took his hand and led him deeper into the sea. When they were chest-deep, he turned and kissed Kiyoomi. Again and again. He cupped the back of his head and against his mouth, murmured, “Deep breath.”

Kiyoomi let out a tiny sound right before Atsumu dragged both of them under the surface. He squeezed his eyes shut, but smiled at the feeling of Atsumu’s lips on his as the water encompassed them.

They broke apart as they surfaced. “You have to stop doing that,” he told Atsumu, catching his breath.

“Never.”

They swam further and Kiyoomi jumped at Atsumu, wrapping his arms around his neck, his legs around his waist, pressing their chests together. He was a lot less scared in the water, but he missed this. A wave of sadness washed through him.

It was chased away when Atsumu’s hands started running over his back. “Well, this is an experience to remember.” He passed the small of Kiyoomi’s back, then moved lower, cupping his ass.

“Atsumu,” he warned. He didn’t think this one through.

His eyes fluttered shut when Atsumu’s fingertips grazed at his entrance.

“Atsumu,” he whispered.

“Fuck,” Atsumu hissed. “Don’t say my name like that.”

He shifted and tightened his legs around Atsumu, grinding his hardening member to his abs. “Atsumu.”

After some fumbling and adjusting, they managed to press their cocks together, Atsumu’s hand wrapping around them. Kiyoomi looked down and watched through the crystal clear water as Atsumu squeezed and pulled, until they were both tense and trembling.

Kiyoomi keened. “Atsu.”

Atsumu sped up his pace, and leaned in suddenly, biting at Kiyoomi’s neck. The pain jolted him and pushed him to orgasm and he cried out, gripping at Atsumu’s shoulders tighter.

Teeth dug in deeper as Atsumu came, drawing out a moan from his parted lips. They sank lower into the water as Atsumu’s legs folded beneath him, his arms coming around to hold Kiyoomi.

When Atsumu finally detached his mouth from Kiyoomi’s neck, they met each other in a passionate kiss, teeth clacking and tongues sliding together. Kiyoomi kissed him like he wouldn't get another chance, feeling overcome with the feeling of being so alive.

“We should really,” Atsumu panted against his lips. “Really stop doing it just wherever.”

“This is your fault,” he accused breathlessly.

“You were the one who jumped me, what was I supposed to think?”

Kiyoomi just kissed him again, indulging in this addiction. It was insane how much he loved kissing Atsumu. With anyone else he’d think it was gross, but with Atsumu it was good.

When he felt them sinking under the surface, he merely breathed in through his nose and kept his lips sealed against Atsumu’s.

With anyone else, he’d be scared. But with Atsumu it was good.

--

Clouds rolled in, hiding the sun. It didn’t look like rain, but it suddenly got cooler.

They floated on their backs on the water, loosely holding hands. They didn’t speak.

Later, clothes sticking to their damp bodies, they drove leisurely back to town. Atsumu was much better at handling the motorbike now that he knew what to expect. They’d forgotten to wear the helmets, and the wind rustled their damp hair, dried the salt water on their faces.

Kiyoomi rested his cheek between Atsumu’s shoulder blades and thought he was really lucky to be exactly where he is at this exact moment in time.

“I’m so in love with you,” he murmured.

The wind carried the words away, unheeded. It didn’t make it any less true.

--

A few days before they were set to leave, they visited Maria’s house for a final visit. Kiyoomi sat beside Brownie, throat tight as he clutched his Isla in his arms. He was an idiot who forgot all this was temporary, so he let himself be wholly attached. He didn’t want to leave her, but he had to.

He lifted her so they could look at each other eye to eye. “I’ll see you again, Isla. Be good and prove your big brothers wrong. You can surpass them.” She still stumbled when walking from time to time, but Kiyoomi knew she’d only get better.

Isla licked the tip of his nose and his eyes misted over.

From across the garden, Atsumu was giving the kids one last volleyball lesson. He’d be a good coach one day, when he decides to retire. Before all this, Kiyoomi never would have thought so, but now it was easy to imagine.

It hurt to think the kids would lose their teacher. Why did good things have to end?

He couldn’t help but wonder what else would end the moment they stepped out of this island. What would happen once they’re back home and in their old lives?

A hand settled on his shoulder and he glanced to the side to see Blas settle beside him on the ground.

They sat in silence for a while. Unlike Lydia, Blas wasn’t talkative. In fact, they barely spoke, but when they did, it was always meaningful. He waited patiently.

“You know,” Blas finally began. “We have three children.”

Kiyoomi frowned at that. He’d only met two.

“Maria, Rena — the mama of two — and Chris.”

“Chris?” It was the first time he was hearing of this.

“First child,” Blas explained. “He is gay.”

Oh.” He tensed, suddenly sure that he wouldn’t like what he was about to hear.

Blas kept his eyes on his grandchildren. “Our family...very traditional. My father, very strict. Religious. Even me. Ganon talaga. Nothing wrong with that. No?”

He swallowed and nodded. There was nothing wrong in what people chose to believe.

Pero...I saw him. Chris. He was with another boy in bed. I did not know. I did not understand. I said, I don’t want a son who is gay. Bawal bakla. Fix yourself or leave. Layas!”

Kiyoomi stared at Blas, trying to find cruelty in his expression and found none. His face was weathered, kind. Kiyoomi couldn’t make sense of what he was hearing.

“Chris left. Until now he is gone. We don’t know where.” Blas finally looked up at him. “Pinagsisisihan ko. I regret it. Lydia never forgave me. Never.”

He opened his mouth, then closed it when nothing came out.

“I was angry. I did not understand. Now, oo. Pero wala na. Too late.”

“Did you try to find him?” he asked.

“He does not want us to.” Blas sighed. “I see him in you. Past is past, but I can still do the right thing now. No?”

Kiyoomi swallowed and nodded.

Mahal mo siya?”

There was no denying it. He nodded again. “Oo.”

Wag mo pakawalan. Do not let go. You’ll regret it.”

“Okay,” he whispered. Then he said, “Can you help me one last time? Do you know where I can get a ring?”

--

Atsumu’s 24th birthday was a Monday. Unfortunately, that was the day of their flight from Puerto Princesa to Manila, so they all decided to celebrate it the day before.

The owner gave them the go-signal to hold it on the beach side, and all the last-minute plans were set into motion.

He sent Atsumu on a fool’s errand, so he should be gone for quite some time. He snickered. Atsumu was going to be upset, but he hoped the surprise would be worth it.

All too soon, he was standing alone on the beach, surrounded by lanterns and fairy lights. He knew their friends were hiding in the resort, watching and waiting for the birthday boy to arrive. But from where he was standing, everything was tranquil and still.

The place was meticulously decorated. There were white tables and chairs that were empty of guests, and a bonfire waiting to be lit. The sun was setting and pink and orange clouds bled across the darkening teal sky.

His heart was about to beat right out of his chest.

He slid his hand into his pocket, touching the gold ring Blas had given him. It apparently belonged to his father, and Blas had always meant to hand it over to his son. But he told Kiyoomi that there was no possibility of that anymore, and he wanted them to have it. He was making things right ‘kahit papano,’ he said.

“What’s going on?” Atsumu’s voice interrupted his thoughts. He snapped his head up and beheld him in all his freshly-showered glory. “Where’s everyone?”

Kiyoomi tapped his foot restlessly. He took a deep breath. “Atsumu.”

Atsumu frowned, alarmed now. “What?”

“Come here.”

Looking nervous, Atsumu approached. He glanced around in confusion and Kiyoomi wanted to laugh, because wasn’t it obvious, what was about to happen?

He caught his face with his hand. “Stop, just look at me.”

“But where are —”

He huffed out a laugh. What a ridiculous man. “Just — can you just — I’m trying to tell you something.”

What?”

“That I love you, okay?”

Atsumu face softened. “I love you, too, Omi-Omi. But where —”

Ah, fuck it. He decided to just go for it. He lowered himself down to the ground on one knee, watching the way Atsumu’s eyes widened.

“Omi —”

Gathering all his strength and courage, he said, “Atsumu, I love you. As impossible as it is, you’re the love of my life and I don’t take these things lightly. I’m playing for keeps. Will you marry me?” He presented the gold ring with trembling hands.

Atsumu gaped at him. Seconds ticked by without anyone moving.

Just as he thought he was about to have a mental breakdown, Atsumu sputtered out, “Yes, what the fu — yes, of course. Omi. Really? Really? You want to marry me?”

Relief coursed through him, and he nearly flopped face first into the sand. “Of course I do, you stupid idiot.”

For a moment, Atsumu just stared at him with a sappy smile on his face. “Omi.”

Kiyoomi picked up his hand, and slid the ring on his finger. It took two tries. “Mahal kita.”

Atsumu burst into tears. “Mahal din kita,” he sobbed. He leaned down to kiss Kiyoomi and the beach exploded with noise.

Their friends streamed around them, yelling and screaming. He was passed around and hugged and he accepted the congratulatory remarks with a pleased smile.

It sank in slowly. He was engaged. To Miya Atsumu. His smile widened in sheer amazement.

Maybe this was stupid. They’ve been together all of three months. But he was quite sure he wouldn’t love anyone else like this in this lifetime, or the next. He was taking Blas’ advice — he wasn’t letting go.

--

The celebrations ended in tears as they all remembered that this was the last night.

Everyone was crying as they bid their last goodbyes. He and Atsumu were leaving early the next morning, and the clock was ticking damnably fast.

Lydia was nearly wailing in her grief, and Kiyoomi would comfort her if he wasn’t trying his best not to break down.

“We’ll visit,” Atsumu said, wiping his cheeks. “Every year. Promise.”

“And you’ll stay here?” Heidi asked, voice trembling.

Syempre. Where else?”

At some point, Esme caught them both in a big hug. She, too, was crying. “I told you. This is your happiest time.”

He was feeling choked up again. He nodded. “Oo, tama ka.”

She looked at Atsumu. “Remember all the recipes I taught you. Feed your future husband.”

Opo, promise.” Atsumu had already dragged out every recipe he could from Esme and obsessively for dry ingredients he could take back to Japan with him.

They went over to hug Christina, who hugged them tightly back.

“You’re really leaving,” she said. “I can’t believe it.”

“We’ll be back,” he assured. He was going to make it happen no matter what.

Seryoso, ha,” Christina said, dabbing at her eyes. “We’ll wait for you. Keep in touch through Facebook, okay?”

They promised to do so, having already added everyone. Maria’s two nephews ran past, carrying a volleyball. He raised an eyebrow at Atsumu.

“I gave it to them,” his fiance — fiance — said sheepishly. “I’m hoping they’ll keep playing even when I’m gone. Or remember me, at least.”

He choked up at that. He was going to marry such a kind man.

After passing by Blas, whom he gave a strong hug that surprised both of them, they made their way to Maria. She seemed to have calmed herself down for now.

“Ready for tomorrow?” she asked them.

“No,” he answered honestly. “But we were always going to leave at some point.”

Her lips trembled. “I won’t be here in the morning, but I’ll see you in NAIA on October 31. I’ll be bringing all your luggage.”

They nodded. The plan that Atsumu had concocted involved leaving most of their belongings at the hotel while they backpacked around the Philippines for over three weeks. Maria and Jun would fly out of Palawan to see them off at Manila’s international airport with their luggage. They had volunteered to do so and Atsumu paid for all their expenses.

Salamat, Maria,” he said earnestly.

She teared up again. “You sound so Pinoy. I’m so proud of you two. Salamat. You embraced us and our culture. Maraming maraming salamat.”

That night, he and Atsumu made love with tears on their faces, in a room that barely resembled what they learned to consider as home.

But if all went to plan, they’d be making a new home again. Together.

Chapter Text

Manila had a different vibe. It was hotter, stuffier, and a lot more crowded. Paranoia started to creep in again as he was reminded that the country was not, in fact, COVID-free.

Atsumu took his hand. “It’s fine. We’ll be out of here soon enough.”

They hopped on a bus that Atsumu had reserved two weeks prior, and then they were headed north.

It was a long ride — six hours, to be exact — but the bus was built for it so it was comfortable. There weren’t many people inside, and he relaxed, making sure his mask was in place before napping.

Atsumu shook him awake. “Let’s go, Omi-Omi. We’re at our first stop.”

He followed mindlessly, blinking sluggishly and shivered violently when they disembarked. “Where the hell are we?” he hissed.

“Ah shit,” Atsumu said, hugging himself. “Uh, we’re in a city called Baguio. I...don’t know why it’s so cold.”

Please tell me there is a mall here where we can buy sweaters.” The cold was seeping through his thin shirt and settling on every inch of his skin that was exposed.

After asking around, they managed to drag themselves to a mall and Kiyoomi startled at the liveliness of it. He’d forgotten what it was like to be in a city. Even in Puerto Princesa it wasn’t this crowded.

“Are all the other places we’re visiting going to be this cold?”

Atsumu grinned sheepishly as he scrolled through his phone. “Uh...looks like it. Sorry. Apparently we’re in a really mountainous area so it’s cold. We’re gonna be visiting cities and towns nearby so…”

“How could you not know?”

“Look, this is a tropical country, okay? How was I supposed to know it can be cold here? They don’t have winter! Just rain!”

Rolling his eyes, he dumped more sweaters and hoodies and pants in their cart. “Tanga. How the hell are we carrying all these?” They had two backpacks between them and they were already filled with clothes and other essentials.

Atsumu frowned deeply in thought. “Um...after our North Luzon tour we’re going straight to the airport to fly back to Japan so...we can just dress for cold. Let’s leave our lighter clothes somewhere.”

They ended up handing their clothes to some random tricycle drivers, who accepted them, baffled and thankful. They offered them a free ride, but they turned them down.

Once they found the cabin they were staying at, they dumped their things and headed out.

Baguio was pretty. The cloudy gray skies hid the sun, making everything look dreamlike. They marveled at the tall pine trees, went boating on a lake, biked across parks, and went horseback riding around the woods. Atsumu nearly had a meltdown when he stepped on a fresh pile of shit, and Kiyoomi laughed until he had tears in his eyes.

He ran out of film on the second day, so it was lucky they came across an old camera shop when they visited the market.

“How many films in total have you used up?” Atsumu asked, watching him as he studied the rolls offered by the store owner.

“Ten. Maria used up an entire roll for the proposal.” He blinked at what he just said. Holy shit, they were engaged.

“Holy shit, we’re engaged,” Atsumu echoed his thoughts. “Why’d we do that again?”

He snorted, gathering the film rolls. “Who knows. If we end up having a bitter divorce in a couple years, I’ll blame you.” He handed the rolls to the owner. “Lahat.”

The old man perked up. “Sige! Gusto mo ng isa pang camera? Second-hand. Very old.”

And there was a thought. He looked at Atsumu pleadingly.

“Omi...we don’t need another camera,” Atsumu tried.

He looked back at the man. “Patingin?”

The man disappeared and he tapped his fingers on the counter as he waited. When he returned he was carrying another film camera and Kiyoomi decided he was adding it to his collection. He didn’t have a collection, but he was starting one now.

He walked out the ship thousands of pesos poorer, Atsumu shaking his head beside him. “We said film rolls, not film camera…”

Kiyoomi ignored him. After fiddling with both cameras for a while, he slung one over Atsumu’s neck. “There, you get to use this one. Remember what I taught you?” Atsumu nodded. “Don’t waste film.”

They stayed in Baguio for five days. They acted like children when fog rolled in and engulfed the streets in the afternoon, and they cuddled in front of the fireplace at night. They ate fresh strawberries and had “dirty ice cream,” which he nearly flipped out over because why was it named like that? But it turned out to be the best ice cream he’d ever tasted. They kissed under the stars, the scent of fresh pine lingering in the chilly air around them.

He was sad when it was time for them to go, but more adventures awaited them. He woke Atsumu up with a kiss and off they went.

They visited the famous Banaue Rice Terraces, and Atsumu bounced in excitement when he realized it was the location of one scene in “Avengers: Infinity War.” They visited the quaint village of Batad at the bottom of the Ifugao Rice Terraces, which required a lot of walking and trekking just to get there. They visited the fields of flowers in Benguet, which apparently got so cold sometimes that the plants would frost over.

They stayed overnight in Vigan, a city that looked straight out of history books. With its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and rustic architecture, Kiyoomi found it easy to imagine what it was like during the Spanish colonial period.

There was more street food there. They tried the Vigan empanada, which he wasn’t much of a fan of, and the Vigan longganisa — that he liked, mostly because he liked anything that had to be dipped in vinegar.

Atsumu watched him with mild disgust. “Babe. That’s vinegar, not soup.”

“What’s your point?” He poured more vinegar onto his rice and scooped the soggy concoction with a spoon. He offered it to Atsumu. “Want some, love?”

No. Jesus.”

“I think I could drink this vinegar.” He really liked it — he knew from spending enough time with Esme that the vinegar was mixed with fish sauce and raw garlic and pepper, sometimes chili. The outcome was a salty-sour sauce that he’d grown a taste for. It worked really well with certain dishes.

Atsumu just looked vaguely ill.

They eventually ended up in Sagada after a lot of fighting and some yelling because they got horribly lost more than once. They stayed there for another five days, and it was more activity-packed — they explored caves, visited waterfalls, went trekking and spelunking and rappelling, the last of which nearly gave Kiyoomi a heart attack. They went on picnics and had bonfires and stared up in morbid amazement at the hanging coffins.

"Those are...coffins," Atsumu pointed out. "Like...real coffins. That are hanging. Against a cliffside."

“I am not, in fact, blind,” he said drily. “Also, I read that’s how the tribe here buries their dead. It’s tradition.”

“Can I —”

No, you can’t be buried in a hanging coffin.” He dragged Atsumu away before he could get more idiotic ideas.

Their last stop was Kalinga. By the time they got there, Kiyoomi was sporting fresh cuts and bruises and his body was protesting against the strain. This entire trip was truly pushing him to his limits — not just physically, but emotionally, too. It was an exercise in patience.

They had to ride a jeepney — a traditional mode of transportation in the Philippines — to get to whatever place Atsumu put in their itinerary. There were no other passengers, so the driver suggested they ride on top.

“Do people do that?” he asked, eyeing the vehicle suspiciously. There were no seats whatsoever on top, just metal bars on the sides. He suspected that’s where the luggage usually sat when it couldn’t fit inside.

The driver shrugged. “No. Pero masaya. See the view!”

“Let’s do it, Omi,” Atsumu said eagerly. “I can take nice videos from up there.”

Throwing caution out the window, he climbed up the jeep and settled on the roof, keeping a hand on the metal bar.

And then they were flying. The driver was apparently some kind of madman because he sped through the dirt road like no one’s business. Endless slopes of trees slipped past below them. He laughed when a branch of leaves smacked Atsumu on the face.

“Please tell me you caught that on video.”

Atsumu rubbed his cheek grumpily. “I did.”

He laughed again, the sound carried away by the wind.

It became increasingly clear that Atsumu had a specific objective for this particular leg of their trip. After asking around, Atsumu dragged them on a two and a half hour hike, a local guide walking ahead of them.

“I’m going to kill you,” Kiyoomi panted out when 45 minutes passed without their destination in sight. “I’m calling off the engagement.”

“I’m sorry! I thought maybe we could hitch a ride with someone but well...we’ll have to walk.”

“For how much longer?”

“Um...two hours?”

He stopped walking and shut his eyes, digging deep inside himself for tolerance. He truly did not think he was capable of more, but then he’d already thought the same thing a hundred times the past few weeks, and he always found it in himself to stretch it a bit further. It surprised even him.

He thought he only had himself to blame for this, anyway. Why did he follow this idiot? Why didn’t he ask for more details before going on this trip?

Would it make a difference if you did, his traitorous mind whispered. You’d still go with him.

Soft lips pressed gently against his and he sighed in defeat. Atsumu nuzzled his cheek. “It will be worth it. Please, Omi-Omi?”

“Whatever,” he grumbled. “We already made it this far.”

“No breaking up with me, okay?”

“We’ll see.”

Atsumu grinned at him knowingly.

After the grueling trek, they reached a secluded village. He gazed around in fascination at the simplicity of everything. There were pigs ambling around in the near distance and he clutched at Atsumu’s arm warily.

They were dropped off at a hut that gave a view of the mountains around them. When they met a weathered, white-haired lady named Whang-Od, he became increasingly confused.

Whang-Od led them somewhere to sit, chattering to them all the while. It was a bit hard to understand her, but he got the impression that they got lucky because there wasn’t a line because of the current travel situation.

She disappeared for a while and returned with a bowl and a couple of sticks, one with a thorn protruding out of it.

Oh hell no.

“Atsumu,” he said slowly. “Please tell me you are not about to do what I think you’re planning to do.”

“I’m gonna get a tattoo!”

He stared at him in disbelief.

Atsumu raised a hand and waved it in what he probably thought was a calming gesture. “Look, babe, she’s legendary here. She’s like, a hundred plus years old. She’s the oldest tattoo artist in the world, and the first female one in the Philippines. I need to get inked by her.”

“You never even had a single tattoo before.”

“Yeah, but I’ve always wanted one,” Atsumu whined. “Now’s the time!”

This was hopeless. “Whatever, do what you want.”

Taking that as approval, Atsumu proceeded to peruse the available designs while Whang-Od prepared the ink. Curious despite himself, Kiyoomi leaned over to see the choices, which all clearly carried tribal meaning. Atsumu stole a kiss while he was close and Kiyoomi wrinkled his nose at him.

There was no point in trying to choose because Whang-Od decided on the design herself. She brushed a finger over a minimalistic drawing of a moon. “For you,” she nodded at Atsumu.

Watching the process was nauseating. The old lady hammered the black-stained thorn repeatedly on Atsumu skin, drawing out drops of blood. Kiyoomi’s stomach turned and he looked away.

When it was over, Atsumu studied his right forearm. “I love it.”

And then Whang-Od pointed at the design of a sun and looked at Kiyoomi. “For you.”

He blinked at her, then glanced at Atsumu in alarm. Atsumu tilted his head, studying his tattoo. “Oh, I see. The moon isn’t meant for me. It symbolizes you.”

“And the sun to symbolize you,” he realized. “For me.”

She grinned at them as if she understood their conversation perfectly, even though the chances of that were low. Was she psychic?

“You don’t have to, Omi,” Atsumu assured. “I can tell her no.”

He stared hard at the design of the sun. A sun for Atsumu, etched permanently on his skin. Taking a deep breath, he nodded firmly. “Sige.”

What?” Atsumu looked flummoxed.

He had his tattoo placed on his left forearm. It was a grueling affair — he curled his free arm around Atsumu’s shoulders, tucked his face in his neck, and tried not to cry at the pain of it. He was used to pain, he shouldn’t be so affected. And yet he was. The thought of a sharp object stabbing soot into his bloodstream made it so much worse for him.

He sank his teeth into Atsumu’s shoulder through the worst of it. Atsumu just held him tighter and rubbed his back.

When it was finally finished, he was damp with cold sweat. Even Atsumu looked pale. “Why’d you do that?”

He glanced down at his swollen skin and smiled triumphantly. “Some things you have to immortalize.”

Chapter Text

Against all odds, they made it to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in one piece. They were exhausted and aching in places they didn’t know could ache, but they made it.

As promised, Maria and Jun were there to greet them. Kiyoomi was incredibly happy to see them.

And then his mood plummeted when he saw their four suitcases on the ground, remembering: Oh right, we’re leaving.

Maria was already crying when they reached her. “This is really goodbye.”

“For now,” Atsumu insisted, but his eyes were tearing up, too.

Jun slung an arm around their shoulders. “Ingat kayo, ha? Wag niyo kaming kalimutan.”

Syempre hindi,” he assured him. 

“Before we go…” Maria picked up something from the ground. It looked like...a cage? His eyes widened. “You can’t leave behind Isla.”

He opened his mouth but nothing came out. He whipped his head to stare at Atsumu, confused.

Atsumu was smiling. “I know you were really attached to that one. The airline knows, all that shit is handled.”

“But — but how — the adoption? Will she —?”

“She’s had all her shots and she’s been neutered and dewormed.” Atsumu looked at Maria and repeated what he said in English. “Right?”

Maria nodded. “We followed your instructions. We have her booklet and certification over here.”

Atsumu turned back to Kiyoomi. “They’ll take her away from us for a while, when we get there. She’ll be in quarantine for 90 days. But other than that — it’s fine.”

Kiyoomi burst out crying. He’d held it in for so long, not even crying when they left El Nido, but this was the final straw.

Maybe he didn’t have to leave everything behind. He could take a piece of happiness with him.

He could have a dog.

Strong arms circled him. “Shh. You’re scaring Isla, babe. Don’t you want to greet her?”

Nodding, he wiped his eyes and reached for the cage. Isla was already peeking out at him, wagging her tail when she spotted him. “Hi,” he cooed. “You’re coming home with us.”

She wagged her tail harder.

Kiyoomi handed the cage to Atsumu and threw his arms around Maria, uncaring of the ache on his forearm. “Salamat. Maraming salamat sa lahat.”

Maria cried into his chest and sniffled. “Walang anuman, Kiyo. Paalam.”

They fetched a cart to dump their suitcases and backpacks on. Kiyoomi picked up Isla’s cage; Atsumu picked up his guitar case. They bowed, low and deep, and waved goodbye as they walked away, until it was impossible to see their friends anymore.

Paalam,” he murmured to himself. Goodbye.

It was time to go back home.

--

The flight was devastatingly quick. It was only four hours later that they found themselves in Narita. How was that possible?

All the airport hassle felt like a smack to the face, waking him up from what felt like a long, vivid dream. He felt sticky and gross, his joints ached, and fatigue was starting to pull at him, making him drag his feet stiffly. The lines were downright unbearable and so were all the documents they had to sign and questions they had to answer at Immigration.

He was being relentlessly jarred back into reality and it was an unpleasant, unwelcome feeling.

He should be happier to see his friends and family, who were all standing around to greet them in Arrivals. He probably was, deep inside, but all he could think about was that they did take away Isla from him, like Atsumu had warned. He was feeling more than a little out of it. He wanted to fast forward until he was clean and comfortable in bed with Atsumu. He wanted to sleep for a whole day, and get woken up with kisses in a sunlit room so they could walk on the beach and have champorado for breakfast. He didn’t want to live this nightmare.

“Kiyoomi!” his mother shouted, and then he was being engulfed in a tight hug. He winced when his still healing tattoo was jarred. The pain woke him up a little.

His father and siblings surrounded him, talking a mile a minute. Nearby, he could hear loud voices speaking in a Kansai accent and figured it was Atsumu’s parents and Osamu. Over the noise, he could hear Bokuto yelling, “Hey, hey, hey!” and he could spot Hinata jumping around in excitement.

His temples throbbed in pain. He was starting to get overwhelmed.

His mother seemed to understand his predicament. “Let’s go.” They started ushering him away, carrying his luggage, and he mindlessly let them.

It wasn’t until he was a distance away that he realized they were separating him from Atsumu. He dug his heels in, panicking. “Wait!”

He looked back, searching for a familiar freckled face, but he could no longer see him. He shrugged out of their hold and retraced his steps, looking around in confusion. But Atsumu was gone, leaving not a trace.

Kiyoomi’s body was weighing him down and his head was swimming. Feeling lost, he slowly made his way back to his family.

“What is it, Kiyoomi?” his mother asked, tapping her heels impatiently.

“I just...forgot something,” he said lamely. “Nevermind.”

As his family dragged him away, an empty feeling started to unfold.

--

He had to be in isolation for 14 days. His family had taken him to his childhood home in Tokyo where he was to spend the duration of the quarantine.

The first few days flew by in a hectic rush. His mother had taken him for a very thorough checkup, even brought him back to his old physical therapist to see if his body was “working right.” She nearly fainted when he shed his coat, bearing his tattoo. When she could speak, she repeatedly asked if he needed to see someone to “process the trauma of the past seven months.” He put his foot down on that one. He was fine. There was no trauma.

Heartbreak, though...that was a different matter entirely.

He and Atsumu have yet to speak to each other since separating at the airport. His phone pinged with texts and calls from friends and teammates, but not from the person he wanted to hear from the most.

He told himself he’ll give them both some space. Maybe they needed to be apart and get their individual lives sorted out first. He knew it was a crazy time — Atsumu was probably bombarded with questions by his family, probably adjusting to life back in Osaka. He might just be too busy to deal with Kiyoomi right now.

Sitting on his childhood bed, trapped in the cold, hard walls of his old room, he couldn’t help but feel like the past seven months were but a long dream, dissolving the more he tried to hold on to it.

He picked up his phone for the twentieth time in an hour, staring at Atsumu’s name in his contacts list. His thumb hovered over the screen. He wanted to just call and demand why the hell Atsumu hasn’t been in touch and order him to get the wedding plans moving. Were they still engaged? Did he hallucinate everything?

Taking a deep breath, he decided that today was the day he was going to follow through with it. He was about to make the call, but just then, he got a notification from Instagram: Miya Atsumu just posted a photo.

He had long since turned on notifications for Atsumu’s account because he sometimes posted photos with Kiyoomi in it. Heart pounding in apprehension, opened the app.

Atsumu’s smiling face flooded his screen, right beside Osamu’s.The caption read, ‘Guess who’s back home! Can you still tell us apart?’

His heart sank to his stomach. He dropped his phone, curled up in bed, and tried not to cry.

Clearly Atsumu wasn’t that busy. Definitely not busy enough to neglect his phone.

Did Atsumu change his mind? Did he realize that the island was a world of its own and that the life they had there was nothing but make-believe? Did he realize that nothing about the past months made sense?

Did any of that really happen? Now that Kiyoomi was back home, it seemed so impossible, so unreal.

His heart ached. He wanted all of it back, but that would be like pouring water back into the clouds.

Kiyoomi floated through the days, feeling as if he was adrift in still waters. It was difficult to act normal in front of his concerned family when he felt like he was missing a limb. He kept turning to the side expecting Atsumu there, but he never was. He kept entering his room, wanting to climb on Atsumu’s lap, only to be greeted by an empty bed.

The nights were the worst. He kept waking up in a panic, patting the bed next to him, and being engulfed in grief when his hand only grasped cold sheets. He’d been having a recurring dream, the same dream he’d told Atsumu once before, about stealing a heart of diamond. A heart of diamond that was never meant to be his. This time he was in that lake, at once trying to hide in the murky waters and trying to get out of it so he could breathe.

On those nights, he lurked on Atsumu’s social media, which were updated daily with photos of his “new look.” He glared at the photos with wet eyes and revisited them obsessively. He might have saved a few. Or all of them.

The longer the silence stretched between them, the more hopeless he became. He tried to force himself past the thickening mental block and just call Atsumu once and for all, but he couldn’t. These were the times he needed Atsumu the most, but he wasn’t there.

His quarantine lapsed. His heart turned to stone. He stayed in Tokyo.

He’ll return to Osaka, eventually, but not yet. He didn’t know what would happen once he finally made it there. 

He wasn’t sure if he wanted to face it.

Chapter Text

When he entered the Black Jackals’ sharehouse, he was greeted with noise.

“Omi-san!” Hinata said, bounding over to hug him. He quickly pulled away with an apology. “You’re both so tan now! We match!”

Bokuto nearly bowled him over when he ran over. “You gotta tell us all about the Philippines!”

He winced at the volume of his voice, relieved when Meian dragged Bokuto away. “I’ve been so worried. I’m so happy you two are back.”

Two?

Kiyoomi looked past Meian to see Atsumu watching him.

Steeling himself, he nodded at him. Atsumu nodded back.

So it was like this then.

Kiyoomi eyed his hands — there was no sign of any ring.

He didn’t have time to dwell on it. His attention was stolen by the rest of the team as they nagged and badgered him for stories.

He held a hand up. “I’m really tired from the trip. I’m gonna rest in my room.”

They all backed away respectfully. He walked to his old unit stiffly, dumping his bag on the floor when he got there. He looked around. His old things were still there, but nothing about it felt familiar anymore.

He sat down, heart heavy. Atsumu was here. He was clearly fine and healthy and he was here. Why did he never bother to reach out to Kiyoomi? Did the last few months really mean nothing to him?

Just being apart from Atsumu for three weeks was nearly unbearable for Kiyoomi. He felt like he was forced into a detox period, and he was still suffering from withdrawal.

But Atsumu looked perfectly normal.

It was as he suspected. Atsumu had realized the silliness of everything and changed his mind.

Atsumu has moods, he remembered now. He's easily carried away by them. Kiyoomi shouldn't be surprised that his winds are taking him elsewhere now, away from him. Their time together was stolen. Fleeting.

He was just going to have to accept that it was all gone.

--

Now that they were complete, the team resumed with volleyball practice. Apparently, before their return, the rest of them had been scattered, staying with their families. Foster had deemed that their “holiday” had gone on long enough and that it was time to get back to work.

“Things are slowly going back to normal,” their coach said. “Tournaments will open again next year for sure.”

Kiyoomi didn’t know why things were going back to normal. A pandemic was still ravaging the world, and Japan still had plenty of COVID-19 cases. He was far from safe. It did bad things to his anxiety, which was already at an all time high since their return.

But what could he say? It wasn’t like he could refuse. Plus, practice was still better than being stuck at home with his family. They’ve been too suffocating lately, even though he knew they meant well.

Getting back into the swing of things was painful. He’d been out of the game for over seven months, after all. The beach volleyball had been fun, but it was nowhere near the grueling practices he’d gotten used to as a pro. His lungs burned with every session, his stamina was nowhere near where it used to be, and maybe he was imagining it, but he was softer around the edges.

Did he gain weight?

“Right. You two,” Foster looked from Kiyoomi to Atsumu. “You have a lot of conditioning to do. Let’s take it slowly.”

As they walked back to the sharehouse, a familiar presence appeared beside him.

“That wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be,” Atsumu admitted.

He cleared his suddenly dry throat. “Yeah.”

“You seem...I don’t know. Stiff? Have you been doing your exercises?”

“I have.”

“Really?” There was doubt in Atsumu’s voice. “Because —”

“I have. It’s just — the bed or something, I don’t know. Maybe I’m not used to it. I haven’t been sleeping well.” He’s been tossing and turning a lot, making his joints ache. He wasn’t going to lie to himself. He knew the exact reason why.

“Oh.” They walked quietly for a while.

“Omi —”

“Atsumu —”

“Hey, hey, hey!” They jolted as Bokuto slung his arms around their shoulders. “Let’s go out to eat and stuff at the end of this week! Team bonding!”

Frustration simmering in his chest, Kiyoomi pushed Bokuto’s arm off. “No thanks. I’m not comfortable with going out given the current situation.”

“We can just hang out in the sharehouse,” Inunaki interrupted, catching up to them. “Movie marathon or something.”

“I can cook,” Meian called from behind them.

“Alright, let’s do it!” Bokuto said. “Hey, Tsum-Tsum, race ya!” He ran at full speed towards the house, which was in sight now.

Atsumu threw one last glance at Kiyoomi and started jogging away. “Bokkun, ya cheater!”

He was gone before Kiyoomi could call out for him to wait.

--

The week passed the same way. It felt surreal to Kiyoomi. Atsumu treated him like he was nothing but an acquaintance and Kiyoomi wanted nothing more than to punch him. Why was he acting like this?

His building irritation started to bleed into his tone whenever they had to interact, noticeable enough to alarm their teammates.

“Okay, I thought you two have started to get along,” Inunaki said on Friday, glancing at each of them. “You looked chummy in Miya’s IG stories.”

Meian massaged his temple. “What’s wrong?”

He would like to know the answer to that, too.

“How about let’s drop by the conbini for some ice cream?” Hinata offered.

“It’s winter,” he pointed out flatly.

Atsumu glanced at him and he knew he was thinking, ‘Didn’t stop you from eating dirty ice cream in Baguio.'

He glared at him in response.

That night, the team finally had their bonding session. They settled down in the living room after dinner — Meian had cooked katsudon, and it was good and all but Kiyoomi missed beef tapa with vinegar — and watched “Enola Holmes.”

Kiyoomi didn’t really pay attention, having already watched the film with Atsumu a month ago. Besides, he was distracted — he could feel the weight of a gaze on him, but whenever he looked at Atsumu, he was looking away.

Maybe it was wishful thinking. Maybe he was finally losing his mind.

They didn’t watch more than one movie. Barnes broke out the beer and the night devolved to long conversations. Kiyoomi hadn’t really been close with his teammates before the whole getting-stuck-on-an-island thing, but he found that he missed them anyway. He supposed they were friends.

“You both look so different,” Barnes said wistfully.

“Yeah, Miya’s hair is —” Adriah tilted his head to study Atsumu. “Okay, it’s weird without the blonde. You had that style for years and years, and you come back with it totally gone.”

“I think it looks great!” Hinata said supportively, gazing at Atsumu with a sparkle in his eyes. “Not to mention the freckles, wow!”

Kiyoomi felt a surge of irritation. What right did Hinata have to look at Atsumu like that?

Then he mentally slapped himself. He had no right to get upset either.

“And the guitar,” Inunaki pointed out. “Still can’t believe you know how to play. What song have you been playing again? I hear it sometimes when I pass by your door.”

Kiyoomi whipped his head to stare at Atsumu. So he kept the guitar.

Atsumu rubbed the back of his neck. “Just an old Filipino song I found in my songbook. It’s called ‘Alipin’ which means servant or slave.”

Kiyoomi felt like a fist had grabbed his heart and squeezed.

‘If I’m an aristocrat, then what does that make you? My servant?’

“That sounds morbid,” Bokuto said.

“No, no, it’s...romantic.” Atsumu avoided people’s gazes. “I just thought it sounded nice.”

“Cool!” Hinata exclaimed. “Can you play it for us?”

“Uh, I don’t —”

Everyone started chanting, “play, play, play,” and Atsumu sighed good-naturedly. “If I didn’t miss ya guys so much, I wouldn’t do it.” He stood up and left the room.

With him gone, his teammates settled their eyes on him.

“You’re different, too,” Meian said.

“Tanner, I know.”

“No, no. More open, I guess?”

“Yeah, you didn’t even get mad when I hugged you!” Hinata said, as if that was a great accomplishment.

He shrugged a shoulder. He didn’t know what to make of that.

“And I never ever thought you’d agree to getting a tattoo,” Meian said, sounding mildly scandalized. “What’s the story behind that, then?”

A fresh wave of pain swept through him. “It just seemed cool. Whang-Od was cool.” He wondered how his teammates could be so dumb as to miss the clear symbolism that connected his and Atsumu’s designs. Well, the MSBY Black Jackals weren’t exactly famous for being a smart bunch.

Thankfully, Atsumu returned at that moment, pulling the attention away from him. He settled across the room from Kiyoomi, positioning the guitar on his lap and carefully laying down the worn out songbook that came with it.

“You obviously wouldn't understand the lyrics, but the song’s nice so just listen.” Atsumu flipped the pages until he found the one he was looking for. He flicked a quick glance at Kiyoomi then down at his guitar.

Without further ado, Atsumu started plucking the strings, and for a second, Kiyoomi was transported to their old room in El Nido. He thought of nights spent watching Atsumu practice the guitar until his fingertips hardened due to the constant pressure from the strings. He thought of how he would rub lotion on those fingertips, and Atsumu would return the favor by filing his nails. They would intertwine their battered and hardened fingers as they slept.

Kiyoomi was jarred back to the present when Atsumu started to sing. His heart tripped over itself when he heard the lyrics. This was what Atsumu had been practicing?

He couldn’t shake off the feeling that it was meant for him, even thought Atsumu wasn’t looking at him at all. Who else would it be for, a traitorous part of him thought. But Atsumu might have just liked the song, for all he knew.

His throat closed up when Atsumu reached the part where the song said, ‘ Madalas man ay parang aso at pusa, giliw, sa piling mo, ako ay masaya .’

We might often fight like cats and dogs, but it's with you that I’m happy, my love.

He missed Atsumu calling him ‘my love.’ Or even ‘brat.’ He’d take anything at this point.

Pagka't ikaw lang ang nais makatabi, malamig man o mainit ang gabi,” Atsumu sang, voice thick, and Kiyoomi thought he heard his own heart breaking. Music did have a way of cutting through the noise.

When it was over, everyone was silent.

Then Hinata said, “Um, Omi-san...you’re crying.”

He wiped his cheek quickly. “It’s a nice song, if you understand it,” he said, recovering. “Filipino is a nice language.”

The entire team was gaping at him. 

“Whoa, you understood that?” Bokuto asked eagerly. “Hey, can you teach me?”

He cleared his throat. “No, it’s hard.” He stood up. “I’m exhausted, I’m going to sleep.”

He turned on his heel and stalked out, ignoring Atsumu’s piercing stare.

Turning on his bathroom light, Kiyoomi stared at himself in the mirror. His eyes were red, and so was the tip of his nose. How embarrassing. 

After going through his nighttime routine, he walked to his window, leaning against it as he tried to spy the stars. Loneliness crept over him, and for the hundredth time since he got back, he fought the urge to just go to Atsumu and ask for a hug. He wiped his eyes when he started crying again. 

This was getting ridiculous. They weren’t even together for long. He shouldn’t be acting like his husband just perished in war.

Twenty-three years of life on this earth. Seven months on that island. Four months loving Atsumu, one month engaged. How could he be so changed? He still had the rest of his life to go.

It all looked bleak now.

Pagka't ikaw lang ang nais makatabi, malamig man o mainit ang gabi, he thought again. What a beautiful sentence. Whatever translation he attempted would pale in comparison to the original words. 

“Because you're the one I want to lay next to whether the night blows cold or hot,” he murmured. He frowned and shook his head at his attempt. Best to keep it in Tagalog.

His pillow was wet with tears that night.

Chapter Text

He sat in darkness long after the rest of the team had gone to bed. He didn’t know what time it was, his brain having stopped functioning at the sight of Kiyoomi’s tears. 

Lost in thought, he absently started plucking out the beginnings of a song, burdened with the realization that once again, he fucked up.

His heart clenched as his mind took him back to that day in the airport. He’d been emotionally and physically exhausted from the flight and the stress of being thrown back home, but he was glad to see his family. He was even more excited to introduce Kiyoomi to his parents as his fiance. Filled with pride, he had turned to the side to grab Kiyoomi, but his fingers grasped at air.

Confused, he had searched for him, only to find him halfway to the exit doors, his family walking quietly beside him with their heads up and their backs straight. The distance between them had never been so evident. He took a step forward, but found that was all he could manage. Where are you going, Omi…?

His heart had sunk when Kiyoomi didn’t even look back at all, and just like that, everything was colored in doubt.

It was a hectic time, he knew, so he told himself he’d let them both settle back in. Adjusting back to his old life was a pain. The sheets were cold, the mattress felt stiff, the air tasted strange without the salt. And it was whiplash, being tossed into the beginnings of winter when he lived seven months on a tropical island. His family was driving him nuts, barely giving him time to breathe and he thought he’d murder Osamu for his incessant badgering.

But Kiyoomi never texted or called him and he found himself slowly going crazy. He knew he was being a coward, but the memory of Kiyoomi just walking away from him haunted him.

Osamu finally snapped one day, telling him to just “text your boyfriend.”

He nearly went ballistic when Atsumu informed him that Kiyoomi was, in fact, his fiance.

“That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Osamu stated once he’d calmed down some. It was midnight and they were in the kitchen of their childhood home in Hyogo. Osamu was making tea, since neither of them could sleep. He kept tossing and turning.

“Well — it’s true. We’re just kinda not talking right now. Which I’ll fix. Uh, in a minute.” He chewed at his lip, feeling weirdly nervous. In a rushed voice, he asked, “Do you think he changed his mind?”

Osamu stared at him. “The hell should I know? Ask him!”

“Why isn’t he talking to me?” he whined, ignoring his twin.

Osmau went quiet. “Maybe it’s a good thing.”

He blinked at him.

“You have to admit, the whole getting engaged thing is so…I don’t know, dumb?”

He scowled, irritated. “You don’t understand.”

“Don’t I,” Osamu deadpanned.

“You’re fucking single.”

“You’re conveniently forgetting the fact that before I was single, I was in a six-year relationship.”

Atsumu rolled his eyes. Of fucking course. This again. He loved Suna but he was sick of hearing about him from Osamu. The two were still friends, but they never let him forget they used to be a thing. “Yeah, yeah.”

“Do you know how long Rin and I dated before agreeing to enter a relationship?” Osamu began and Atsumu sighed. “Two months. You know how often we spoke about marriage? In our fourth year together it was nearly every day. We did everything right. And you know how easy it was for everything to just...die? Too easy. Would you believe me if I said I barely even noticed it happening?”

“It’s — that’s different —”

“Is it? We started out like you idiots. Crazy in love, feeling like nothing can tear us apart. We talked about marriage, Tsumu. Sat down and discussed it, several times. We were so sure we’d get there. And we still didn’t stand the test of time. I’m not saying you won’t, I’m saying it’s not all fun and games.”

“I know that. We’ve realized that. We were stuck together for seven months, okay?”

“And I was with Rin for six years, what’s your point? You and Sakusa have been together for a few months and you’re already planning to spend the rest of your life together? You’re already freaking out about him leaving you at the airport. Three days without him and you’re already going mad. Does this sound like a healthy relationship to you?”

“I’m just adjusting,” he protested. “Separation anxiety or whatever. Our relationship is fine, it just needs some work. It’s new.”

Exactly. It needs a lot of work. Relationships aren’t a walk in the park, idiot. I don’t give a shit how in love you are, you gotta face reality at some point.”

“You sound like you don’t approve of this,” he accused.

“It’s not that.” Osamu rubbed his eyes tiredly. “I’m happy for you. I’m so fucking happy that you found someone you love as much as volleyball, more even. I’m saying love isn’t enough. I’m saying this isn’t the only challenge you’ll be facing and you’re already close to breaking down. And you want to get married?”

“I’m in love with him,” he said lamely.

“How sure are you that you’re not just carried away?” Osamu retorted. “You literally lived in each other’s pockets for seven whole uninterrupted months, you’re practically co-dependent. And you probably felt like the world revolved around you during that time, but wake up — it doesn’t.”

Atsumu ground his teeth, feeling defensive. But for once, he didn’t know what to say.

Osamu settled down in front of him, clutching a mug. Conversationally, he said, “You know what I learned from my breakup with Rin?” Osamu took a sip of his tea, eyes distant. “In love. Adjective. Passive. To love. Verb. Active. There’s a difference. Right now, you’re in love. Do you know how to love? What will you do if that weird thing he does stops being endearing and starts becoming annoying? What if you never learn to communicate properly? What if you become broke and poor? What if — gods forbid — one of you suffers from a permanent injury? Or a terminal illness? Have you thought of that?”

“Those are mere possibilities that are way too far in the future —”

“What, so you can decide to marry, but not look further into the future? What do they say in wedding vows? For better or for worse? Through sickness and health? Yeah. you see, normally when people marry, they think about these things.”

“You’re telling me not to push through with the wedding. Or our relationship?” Atsumu gaped at Osamu in disbelief. This was strange. His twin liked to scoff at his decision but he more or less took a ‘whatever, screw your life over if you want’ kind of approach.

Osamu groaned as if Atsumu was the one being difficult. “If you’re sure, then I’ll support you a hundred percent, you know that. I’m just asking you to be fucking sure first. You don’t get to fucking tell me that you’re engaged after three months of getting together with Sakusa and not expect me to lay it on you.”

“I appreciate it,” he admitted begrudgingly. He hated it, but he knew Osamu was just looking out for him in his own infuriating way. “I...have to think.”

“Do that. This separation might be good for you — you could use a breather after living in each other’s pockets for seven months. Clear your head.”

“Yeah, fine. I get it.”

He didn’t get it, not at first, because nearly every cell in his being wanted to reject Osamu’s words. He loved Kiyoomi. Of course he wanted to marry him.

But the longer they didn’t speak, the deeper the words hooked themselves into him.

He felt like he’d been slapped awake from a dream so vivid that he confused it with reality, and he was having a hard time accepting being in the waking world. But this was reality. He didn't know which one felt more unreal.

Seven months ago, they could barely stand the sight of each other, now they were engaged. He knew why it was so hard for Osamu to accept. It sounded ridiculous. Did Sakusa Kiyoomi really fall in love with him? Did he really fall in love with him right back?

The ache he felt from having Kiyoomi gone from his side definitely felt real.

So how could Kiyoomi just walk away? What the hell was that about? Did he snap out of it the moment they stepped into the airport? Did the world stop for seven months, only to start spinning again when it snapped back to position on its axis? Was their time on that island a fluke, a glitch in the timeline?

'What if we wake up one day and not want this anymore?' The memory haunted him day in and day out and he couldn’t help but wonder if Kiyoomi was right about that — if it finally happened.

It was unbearable, waiting for Kiyoomi to message him, to reassure him that what they had, at least, was real. But he didn’t. And Atsumu resisted asking because he thought Osamu might actually be right. They did need a breather. He needed some time to think about the reality check his twin just smacked him with. They could stand to be apart for two weeks right? It was nothing compared to the rest of their lives, if that was where they were headed. He didn’t want to be dependent on Kyoomi, he wanted to prove Osamu wrong in that regard.

It was so fucking hard though, downright painful. Was this what a recovering drug addict felt like?

By the time his quarantine ended, he was ready to talk to Kiyoomi in person, to make sure they were both on the same page. Ask him why he disappeared. But he didn’t show up until a week later, and when he did, he acted like he was so unaffected, nodding at Atsumu like they were barely friends.

What the hell? Everything was thrown into doubt once again. Suddenly, Atsumu was back to being shut out, unable to read him, driving himself insane, wondering.

Still, seeing him again brought a rush of feelings that nearly sent Atsumu to his knees. Nothing changed, of course. He still loved him.

He just needed to talk to him. But Kiyoomi made it his mission to avoid Atsumu like the plague.

It wasn’t until earlier tonight, when he cried at the song, that he let Atsumu read him again.

And now here he was, mind churning, going through all his old plans for them, wondering if it was too late to get them both back on track.

Just how bad did he fuck up this time? Was it unforgivable? He made Kiyoomi cry, just for that he deserved to be crucified.

But that meant he still loved Atsumu, right? Probably. Hopefully.

The longer he thought about it, the more his resolve strengthened. Fuck all that shit Osamu said. Who cared if their love didn't make sense? It was real, wasn't it?

He was interrupted from his musings by a noise, and he impulsively turned. Someone was walking down the hallway, probably headed to the kitchen. He checked the time — 12:51 a.m.

He didn’t expect the person to be Kiyoomi. The other man halted in his tracks, squinting into the dark living room. Atsumu could see the exact moment his mind registered it was him he was seeing.

Atsumu shot to his feet, placing the guitar on the couch. “H-hey. Omi.” This was a good thing. He needed to talk to him now; he needed to explain. He couldn’t bear to leave it for another day, not now that he had the chance.

Kiyoomi turned on his heel, clearly about to head back to his room.

He jerked forwards. “Wait, please! We need to talk. You know we have to, just please —”

Slowly, Kiyoomi turned back around, eyebrows drawn. “Oh, now you want to talk? We had time to talk. Four weeks, to be exact.”

“Well, you’ve been avoiding me!”

“You avoided me first,” Kiyoomi snapped. “Why didn’t you call me?”

“Well — why didn’t you call me?” Atsumu shot back defensively. “That day at the airport, you just — you just turned around and walked away! I was so fucking excited to introduce you to my family as my goddamn fiance, but you were already off with your fancy family who didn’t even spare us a glance.”

“I —”

“You didn’t even say goodbye!” he raged, all his buried feelings clawing their way back up. “And I kept waiting and waiting for you to look back but it was like you just forgot about me. You left me.” He slumped, running out of steam. “And then you never called. And you came back here and started acting like we were strangers, just...what the fuck, Omi.”

“I did look back,” Kiyoomi said, voice trembling. “I looked for you! But I couldn’t find you anymore.”

He rolled damp eyes. “Yeah, right.”

“You could have talked to me literally at any point during the quarantine, you know.” Kiyoomi sounded truly angry now. “I was waiting for you, too, okay? I thought you regretted it.”

“I thought you regretted it. I thought maybe you snapped out of it.”

“Well, I couldn’t,” Kiyoomi bit out. “I tried.”

That hurt more than it should. “Why would you even try?”

Kiyoomi rubbed his face in frustration. “Because you were gone!”

“You were the one who just left! The hell was I supposed to think?”

“That I was just fucking tired from the flight and I wasn’t thinking clearly anymore because everything hurt!” Kiyoomi shouted. He took a deep breath and in a quieter voice added, “I don’t even remember what happened in the stupid airport, everything was a blur.”

Oh.

He was a fucking idiot.

Their three, almost four week trip across the Philippines must have exhausted Kiyoomi, not to mention the flight — he must have been exhausted. He must have been in pain.

Unable to stand the thought of that, Atsumu reached a hand out to him. “I — sorry. Are you — do you feel better?”

Kiyoomi rolled his eyes hard and smacked his hand away. “No, I don’t feel better. My fiance decided he wanted nothing to do with me anymore, what do you think, Miya?” he asked sarcastically.

“That’s not what happened,” Atsumu said, raising his voice. “I told you once and I’ll tell you again, it wasn’t just a dream I’d wake up from, alright? And — and it did feel that way at first, but all the same, I wake up every day and I still love you.”

“Then why the radio silence?” Kiyoomi demanded.

This was the hard part. “It’s just...Osamu said some things…”

Kiyoomi frowned at him. “What things?”

“Look, he said some shit about us being codependent, and out of touch with reality, and — and — going too fast and not making sound decisions. That love wasn’t enough, and it’s not all fun and games, and it’s not going to be easy, and — and I just, I needed to think a little, okay? He said we should be sure—”

“Then shouldn’t that be the time you talk to me instead of shutting me out?”

“Well, you weren’t calling!” He stomped his foot in frustration. “I thought you weren't sure!”

“You know what,” Kiyoomi said in a low voice, putting him on instant alert. “You should be asking yourself that.”

“What’s that supposed to mean—”

Kiyoomi made a sharp gesture to silence him. “First of all, who fucking cares what Osamu thinks? Is he part of this goddamn relationship? Do you not have your own mind? Second, do you think I’m stupid? Do you think I don't know all that stuff he said?” He glared at Atsumu. “You think it's been fucking easy, loving you?”

His heart throbbed. “Omi…”

“You like me, but you go off kissing someone else. We get together, then you become distant. We get engaged, then you disappear.” Kiyoomi let out a short, humorless laugh. His eyes glimmered in the dark. “You don't get to question me when I know what I was in for from the start, because I always, always follow through. You're the one who keeps changing your mind. So fucking ask yourself — are you sure?”

“I—”

“Because I’m sure, and I’ve been sure from the start. You think I didn’t think carefully before entering into a relationship with you? You think I don't know what it's like to work towards something despite all the pain and all the impossibility? The things I love most are always the hardest to keep, but I grit my teeth and work fucking hard to keep them anyway. But you wouldn't know that’s like, would you.” Kiyoomi angrily wiped at the tears trailing down his cheeks. “Whatever, Miya.”

“What’s going on here?” Inunaki’s voice made them jump. Their libero showed up at the edge of the hallway, dishevelled and confused. “Are you two fucking fighting again?”

Another door shut in the hallway and before long, Meian showed up. “Why is there yelling, why aren’t you all in bed?” He did a double take. “Sakusa-kun, are you crying? And you too, Atsumu-kun?” He sounded more amazed by the second.

“It’s nothing,” Kiyoomi snapped. He turned away from Atsumu, and started walking down the hallway.

He jogged after him, gabbing his arm. “Wait, Omi —”

Kiyoomi ripped himself free. “Just fuck off!”

And then he was storming away.

Atsumu groaned, pressing the heels of his hands to his eyes. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” He just kept fucking up. How was he supposed to fix this? Helplessness and frustration clawed up his throat.

“What did you do?” Inunaki demanded. “Jeez, how’d you two survive being stuck in a room together all those months? How’d you not kill each other?”

“We’re just —” Atsumu forcefully calmed himself. “It was just a fight. We’ll be fine.”

“That was some fight.” Meian looked both concerned and disapproving. “Fix this, Atsumu.”

“I will.” If it’s the last thing I do, he thought. Pushing down his conflicting emotions for now, he faced his teammates. “I need your help.”

Chapter Text

He was woken by an insistent knock on his — window?

He sat up, disoriented.

There was a knock again and he stumbled towards the sound, ripping back the curtains. He stared blankly at Atsumu, who was on the other side, carrying a guitar and dressed to the nines.

Confused, he looked past him to see the rest of the team standing by looking just as well-dressed. Bokuto was carrying a bouquet of roses and Hinata was carrying a large teddy bear. Even Osamu was there, filming with his phone, the only one who looked like he knew what was going on. The rest of them just looked extremely perplexed.

Kiyoomi was just as confused. What the hell was going on? It’s been three days since he and Atsumu had that screaming match in the living room, and they haven’t talked since. Atsumu was barely even in the sharehouse, always out the door the moment the opportunity presented itself.

He’d never admit that it hurt.

Atsumu knocked again, startling him. He was grinning boyishly, the way he used to when he wanted to go on another adventure in El Nido.

It melted his heart, a little.

He opened the window. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

Atsumu gave him an innocent glance. “Harana. Esme and Lydia did tell me several times to do it, I think it’s high time I take their advice.”

Kiyoomi gaped at him. “What?”

“You’re supposed to do a harana when you’re courting someone. Diba? Did you forget already?”

“Stop fucking around,” he warned. Traitorous hope started to take root, no matter how hard he tried to suppress it.

“I’m not fucking around.” Atsumu’s eyes were flinty, his lips losing their smirk. “I’m done waiting. We’re not playing this game anymore. It’s time for you to come back to me, Kiyoomi.”

His heart began to race, because it was stupid like that. “Miya—”

“You can’t call me that,” Atsumu interrupted.

“Wh—”

“Because that will be your name soon, too.” Impossibly, Atsumu smiled, all confidence and pride. Kiyoomi stared at him in sheer astonishment.

And then Atsumu started strumming the guitar and shakily singing the lyrics to “Harana” by Parokya ni Edgar.

Kiyoomi smacked a hand on his face, trying to bury his mortified smile. This idiot, he thought with a rush of painful fondness. Followed by, Oh god, I’m so in love with him.

Why couldn’t he stop?

He did listen though, because he liked that song, and it looked like Atsumu made an effort to make the setting fit the lyrics.

“Please stop,” he said at some point, but Atsumu valiantly pushed through. The team had started bobbing their heads to the beat, looking somewhat impressed.

He wanted to sink into the floor and die.

When the song was finally done, his face was red and it wasn’t just because of the cold. “This is so embarrassing. I should kill you.”

“Can someone explain what’s happening now?” Inunaki complained. “You said this was an apology because you had a fight the other night. Is this an inside joke or something?”

“Er — not an apology exactly — definitely not a joke —” Atsumu removed the strap from his neck and crouched down to place the guitar on the ground. Then he didn’t bother getting up, settling himself down on one knee.

Kiyoomi’s heart shot up to his throat when Atsumu presented a ring. A different ring, because the one Kiyoomi had given him was in its rightful place on his finger.

“Atsu,” he whispered. As if in a trance, he climbed out his window, bare feet landing on icy cold grass. His pajamas were barely any protection from the merciless winter air, but at the moment he didn’t care.

“I’m asking this time.” Atsumu leveled him with a serious look. “Kiyoomi, will you marry me?”

He was about to say yes, yes definitely.

Then someone said, “Wait, what?” And his brain kicked in with a vengeance.

They were already engaged, except they weren’t even together anymore.

Gago ka.” He didn’t know what else to say that would encapsulate everything that was Miya Atsumu.

The jerk in question looked up at him, expression open and vulnerable. “I know.”

“Then why should I say yes?”

“Because I love you,” Atsumu said helplessly. He lowered his arms and put his knee down, shuffling in place a little.

“Weren’t you the one who said love isn’t enough? Tangina, ang labo mo.”

“You’re more than enough for me. I don’t care anymore, we’ll work it out, okay? No matter what, I promise.”

He scoffed at the sheer audacity of this man. “Now you say that? You're so—!”

“I’m sorry,” Atsumu said.

“And you want to marry me,” he stated warily.

“If not you, then who?” Atsumu shuffled closer to him, gazing up at him with big, sad eyes. “Sige na, Omi.”

“You’re so fucking —” This was unfair, this was so unfair. Atsumu knew just how to catch him, but he didn’t know how to keep Atsumu. “You drive me so crazy. It’s so damn hard to hold on to you, I’m fucking exhausted, Atsumu. I just want — I just want —” Tears blurred his vision as he ran out of words. He just wanted. Too much.

Atsumu pressed his lips together and looked down. A few seconds of silence passed. Then, in a quiet voice, he said, “I know I have a lot of flaws and shortcomings, I know that, you were right about that. I’ve made many mistakes and I’ve hurt you so much and I don’t deserve you but — but —” He looked up at Kiyoomi, eyes wet. “Omi, please. I’m literally on my knees.”

Lumuluhod, nakikiusap.

His tears slipped free.

Atsumu was demanding another leap of faith, but could he really do this again? Just how many leaps did he have to do in this lifetime?

His body decided for him. His feet brought him closer to Atsumu and his knees bent until he hit the ground. His hands gripped Atsumu’s wrist and plucked out the ring he was still clutching. He put it on.

“Yeah, fine,” he said, sniffling. “You always get what you want, don’t you.”

Especially from Kiyoomi. Because he was willing to do anything for Atsumu, and that was what scared him. Was love truly this all-consuming? Were they doing it wrong?

Atsumu’s lips parted as he processed that. Tears made their way down his face. “Omi? Really? You still wanna marry me, for real?”

“Were we ever planning to fake marry?” he couldn’t help but jab. He sighed. “If not you, then who.”

Atsumu carefully placed his hands on Kiyoomi’s shoulders and drew him closer. Kiyoomi’s heart soared at the touch, and he buried himself into Atsumu’s warmth, giving in just like that. He was so easy. He hated himself for being so weak, and hated Atsumu for turning him into this.

It hurt to love Atsumu. But it hurt to be without him, too. Why was he cursed to live in pain?

Atsumu pressed his forehead against his temple. “I’m so sorry, Omi-Omi.”

His breath hitched in his next inhale. When he exhaled, he forcefully released all the anger that was weighing him down. He was so tired.

“I’m sorry, too.” Unable to help himself any longer, he wound his arms around his waist. Stupid Atsumu. But he was his stupid Atsumu. “I should have just talked to you. But the voices got too loud again.”

“I should have talked to you, too.” Atsumu sniffled, hugging him closer. “I should have been there. I blame Samu.”

Kiyoomi snorted, wiping his face on Atsumu’s shirt. “Let’s blame Samu,” he agreed.

“I can fucking hear you,” Osamu said.

“What the hell is going on,” Inunaki asked in horror.

Kiyoomi laughed hysterically, only just remembering they weren’t alone. They were kneeling outside in the cold, surrounded by friends who unwittingly became part of their messy second engagement. He laughed again in belated happiness and disbelief. He felt like a lunatic from all the emotions that were giving him whiplash, but he didn’t even care.

Atsumu pressed a kiss to his forehead. “Missed you, baby.”

Kiyoomi started crying.

“No, don’t do that —” Clumsy fingers wiped his tears away. “Hey, I’ve been stupid, okay? I might have been overthinking some stuff but I’ll fix everything, I will. Stop crying.”

Atsumu rubbed a firm hand over his back and he was instantly comforted. He melted against his fiance — fiance again — and closed his eyes in relief, relishing in the sense of security he’d been missing lately. The rollercoaster ride his heart was put through was taking its toll. He was drained, exhausted.

Their moment was broken anew when Hinata screeched, “Wait, did you two just get engaged?”

Kiyoomi laughed against Atsumu’s neck, but didn’t bother lifting his head. Atsumu could handle it. He let his eyes close, finally at peace again, knowing everything was going to be alright.

Chapter Text

They collapsed into bed and Atsumu immediately wrapped the blankets around Kiyoomi, who had begun shivering from the cold. He had shut the window and locked the door, promising his freaked out teammates that he’ll explain later. For now, he needed to be close to Kiyoomi, or he might just lose his mind.

They snuggled together, and he sighed at the feeling of their bodies fitting together. “I missed you,” he said.

“I missed you, too,” Kiyoomi answered.

“Like really, really missed you.”

Atsumu couldn’t see his face, but he knew Kiyoomi was rolling his eyes. “I get it.”

“You don’t. I cried a lot. Drove Samu mad. ‘M sorry I’m such a coward, Omi-Omi.”

“I was, too,” Kiyoomi admitted. “I didn’t want to hear you say it was misguided, because — well, it might have been true. You could have gotten stuck with anyone there for seven months and you’d have fallen in love with them. It didn’t have to be me. That was just...chance.”

“But it was you.” Atsumu leaned away so he could look at him intently. “And I was thinking a lot last night and — well, what’s it matter what brought us together? What we had was special, wasn’t it? We’d never get it back. And I never want to change that.”

“It was our happiest time,” Kiyoomi murmured after a moment. Atsumu didn’t get it.

“Well, who said we won’t get more? We’ll go back every year, remember? We promised.”

Kiyoomi smiled slowly.

“And we still have plans to go to Taiwan...and everywhere,” he continued. He was bringing back all their plans. They could still make them happen.

Kiyoomi leaned in close and bumped their noses together. “I love you.”

“Please don’t get tired of doing that.” It was too much to ask, he knew. But he was selfish enough to beg for it.

“I'd still choose to love you even when I get tired,” Kiyoomi said, sounding resigned.

He thought of the way Kiyoomi went and bought him a guitar even when Atsumu was being horrible to him. Thought of the way Kiyoomi must have been hurting these past weeks, but still said yes to marrying him.

He wondered why Kiyoomi kept choosing him when it was such a goddamn struggle to do so.

“I’m sorry I’m so hard to love, Omi.”

Kiyoomi gave him a small smile. “No pain, no gain. Literally my life motto.”

“That’s not…”

“I’m not exactly a fucking dream either, Atsumu. We choose the pain we want to live with.”

“Why me, then?” he asked in a thick voice.

Kiyoomi touched his cheek. “You’re just right for me. Not always, not at first, but...just enough.”

He surged forward to press their lips together, lost for words. His heart was aching from the sheer weight of his emotions and he didn’t know how to express them.

Kiyoomi seemed to understand anyway. Because he was just right for Atsumu too. Just enough.

“We’ll have to work on our communication, though,” he mumbled against Kiyoomi’s lips.

“Later,” Kiyoomi insisted. “We have time for that later.”

He drew away and caught his gaze. “And no more separating, ever.”

Kiyoomi nodded obediently. “I’m sorry I accidentally left you behind, Atsu.”

“That’s okay, baby. It was stupid, anyway, I reacted badly. I let my insecurities get the best of me,” he admitted. “It all just seemed so impossible after a while. And it was just so — it was just such fucking whiplash getting back here, I still feel off-balance.”

“I get it. I’ve been adjusting terribly.”

“Maybe we’ll have a better time of it now.” Now that they found their way back home. He chewed on his lip. “Did you really miss me, Omi-Omi?”

Kiyoomi studied his face. “Of course I did. We were inseparable for seven months, how could you think that I wouldn’t?” He poked at Atsumu’s cheek. “And you? You’re really sure now?”

“I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.”

“Me, too,” Kiyoomi smiled.

They kissed until Kiyoomi fell asleep, mouth going slack and body going limp.

Atsumu snorted. “Typical.” He stroked his fingers through dark curls and watched Kiyoomi sleep fondly. An old memory surfaced and he smiled.

He’ll tell Kiyoomi about it later.

--

He woke up warm and content, an achingly familiar body tucked into his arms. “Hey,” he rasped out.

Kiyoomi made a little noise to acknowledge him but otherwise didn’t speak. Atsumu tightened his arms around him and blindly sought him out with his lips — they landed on silky curls and he pressed a kiss against them, inhaling Kiyoomi’s scent.

When this failed to draw out a reaction, Atsumu cracked his eyelids open to see Kiyoomi busy on his phone. He squinted his eyes.

“Are you shopping?”

Kiyoomi made another noise and added something to his cart.

“Babe…”

“It’s for our apartment.”

He blinked, the corner of his lips twitching. “We have an apartment?”

“We will, once you go out and find us one. But make me breakfast first. I’ve been wanting Filipino food but I don’t know how to cook.”

“Okay then.”

“To the food or the apartment?”

“Both. Everything. Whatever.”

Kiyoomi turned his head and smiled at him like he finally got an answer right after several failed attempts. “Good. Get to it.”

“I already got us an apartment,” he said triumphantly. His stomach was tight with excitement. He felt like a dog eagerly waiting for approval from its master.

It was Kiyoomi’s turn to blink at him. “What.”

“I’ve been looking for one the past few days. I found one already, I think you’ll like it.”

His fiance stared at him. “You overconfident jerk. Gago.”

Atsumu laughed. “It was literally a shot in the dark, okay, but I figured — high risk, high reward."

“And what were you going to do if I didn’t say yes?”

“Beg,” he said honestly. “And badger you until you give in.”

“Have you no shame or dignity?”

“They’re not exactly a priority right now, love.” He pressed a kiss to Kiyoomi’s plush lips. “How hungry are you?”

“Not that much, yet.”

“Okay, ‘cause this might take a while.”

“That’s fine. I’ll soak in the bath. I think I have frostbite from earlier.”

“You do not have frostbite,” he said exasperatedly. He shook his head, refusing to let himself be dragged into another pointless round of bickering. “I’m gonna go. Wait for me right here. No leaving this room, okay?” He kissed Kiyoomi on the cheek thrice and left.

In the kitchen, there was chaos.

“No way!” Bokuto was yelling. “Tsum-Tsum would have told me!”

He winced at that, guilt seeping in.

“This is a goddamn prank,” Inunaki snapped. “Those two have gone too far —”

“Can you all just calm down,” Meian called out, banging his palm on the table a couple times. “We’re going in circles. I need to think.”

“There’s nothing to think about, it’s clear what’s happened,” Adriah said. “They’ve gone bonkers.”

He wheezed out a laugh at that and everyone turned to look at him, the room plunging into silence.

“Finally,” Osamu said. He was lounging against the counter with a cup of tea, looking bored. “They’ve been at this for over an hour.”

“Did ya tell ‘em?”

“Nah.” Osamu smirked. “It was funny.”

“I’m gonna make Filipino breakfast,” he said, making his way over to him.

“Oh, show me, I wanna see.”

He’d only managed to take the beef out before everyone started yelling again.

Setting the meat out to thaw, he made his way over to the table and sat down. “Alright. I’m going to talk, and no one is going to interrupt me, and when I’m done, only one question at a time.”

Hinata’s hand shot straight up in the air.

“When I’m done,” he stressed.

Hinata put his hand down.

He paused, trying to gather his thoughts, trying to figure out how to say this in the most efficient way possible.

“The only thing you really need to know is that Kiyoomi and I have been together since early July, and we got engaged the day before my birthday back in October.”

His teammates started talking at once and his temple throbbed. He pointed at Hinata, who was raising his hand again.

“So the proposal earlier —?”

“Was the second one,” he explained. “We had a bit of, er — a misunderstanding.”

“What misunderstanding?” Meian asked.

“Well — we both thought the other wasn’t on the same page anymore when we got back here, but we were both mistaken. The engagement is back on.” He lifted his hand to show his ring. “Omi proposed first on the beach.” 

“Oh my god,” Barnes breathed, staring at his finger. “It’s not a prank.”

“Does Foster know?” Inunaki demanded.

“No.” He paused. “My parents don’t even know.”

“You should get to that,” Osamu interrupted. “They’ll freak.”

That was a whole other can of worms. He decided to deal with parentals later.

“Yo, this still feels like one elaborate joke,” Adriah said with a frown. “Someone say we’re being filmed right now and it’s just a prank.”

“Sorry,” he offered.

Barnes seemed to be stuck on something in particular. “Engaged after three months…”

Bokuto, who had been worryingly quiet, raised his hand. Atsumu beckoned at him to start.

“Tsum-Tsum,” he said seriously. “Are you going to have a beach wedding?”

He grinned at him in fondness. They haven’t talked about it at all, but a beach wedding sounded perfect. “Yeah, Bokkun. And you get front row seats.”

Gold eyes lit up in glee and Bokuto yelled out, “Yeah!”

“Did you play beach volleyball in El Nido?” Hinata asked eagerly.

He perked up. “Hell, yeah, Shouyou-kun. Oh I’ll tell you about the beaches…”

--

When Atsumu returned over an hour later to fetch Kiyoomi, his fiance was damp and naked on the bed, knees raised as he explored himself curiously.

“Finally,” Kiyoomi panted. “Are you just gonna stand there?”

Atsumu locked the door behind him without looking away at the sight in front of him. He walked to bed slowly, asking, “What’s this, then?”

“Make up sex?” Kiyoomi stared at him with half-lidded eyes, lips shiny with spit. “But if you don’t want, I can take care of it myself, I don’t need you.”

“Don’t you?” He kneeled on the mattress, eyes fixed on Kiyoomi’s fingers touching inside himself.

“Nope,” Kiyoomi said haughtily.

Atsumu picked up the discarded bottle of lube on the bed and coated his fingers. He gripped Kiyoomi’s hand and pulled it away, replacing his fingers with his own. “You don’t need this?”

“No.” Kiyoomi was breathing heavily now.

He reached deeper, hitting his prostate with barely any effort. Kiyoomi twitched. “Can your fingers reach this spot, then?”

Kiyoomi didn’t answer. The pleasure seemed to have stolen his words. 

Well, he couldn’t have that. He started pulling his fingers out. “Well, if you don’t need me…”

“Wait,” Kiyoomi choked out. He canted his hips. “Atsu.”

So easy, he thought with a smirk. He sank his fingers home again and fucked Kiyoomi with them leisurely.

It didn’t take long before impatience got the best of him. He looked around. “Omi, condom?”

“Don’t have one,” Kiyoomi moaned. “They were with you. You said not to leave here...”

“Fuck.” He hadn’t unpacked all his things, not ready to see Kiyoomi’s belongings mixed with his. He didn’t even know where they were. “I don’t have them.”

Kiyoomi spread his knees. “It’s fine, just fuck me.”

“Omi —”

“I’m clean, I never slept with anyone but you and I got tested for everything when I first arrived and I just took a bath—”

“Okay, okay,” he said, hurriedly retracting his fingers and pumping his cock. “Me, too.”

Heat consumed him when he realized the gravity of what was being offered. There won’t be any barrier between them, this time. Kiyoomi was willingly letting him make a mess inside.

His hands shook as poured a generous amount of lube on Kiyoomi’s pucker and his erection before tossing the bottle to the side.

“Ready?”

“Yes —” Kiyoomi let out a shrill moan when Atsumu sank his cock in all the way at the first thrust. “Fuck, yes. Atsumu.”

“I’m not going to last,” he groaned. Kiyoomi was blistering hot around his aching length, clenching tight. The feeling was unbelievable. He’d never done this with anyone before.

“You feel so good,” Kiyoomi whispered. “Move.”

Atsumu couldn’t stand to be slow nor gentle. He fucked Kiyoomi with rough, hard strokes, speeding up when Kiyoomi urged, “Faster. Harder.

He fucked him until the bed was jerking around with their movements, until Kiyoomi was splattering come between their stomachs with an aborted yell. Atsumu followed him over the edge, shaking with overwhelming pleasure as he shot ropes and ropes of come into his lover.

Panting, he pulled his still throbbing dick out, and braced his forearms on either side of Kiyoomi’s head.

“I think you killed me,” Kiyoomi heaved out, keeping his legs wrapped around Atsumu’s waist.

“Clearly not enough,” he joked.

“You can try again later.”

He snorted. “How are you feeling? Anything hurt?” Kiyoomi’s had more or less adjusted to this, but it’s been a while. He raised himself to his knees and rubbed Kiyoomi's thighs soothingly.

“Not right now,” Kiyoomi assured. “The volleyball training has been good for me.”

Atsumu adjusted his grip on Kiyoomi, hearing a slight creak. “Too good maybe. Babe, I think we broke your bed.”

“And whose fault is that?”

“Um, yours?” He hitched Kiyoomi’s legs around him higher. “I was just calling you for breakfast, but you just had to let me find you like that —”

“Well, I missed you.”

He melted straight into a puddle. “I missed you, too.”

“Did you sleep with anyone else when we broke up?”

“What? No! And we didn’t break up!”

“Good.” Kiyoomi shifted, then winced. “Feels gross.”

Atsumu snorted. “You wanted this. Fuck, baby, I can’t believe you let me come inside.”

Kiyoomi slid a hand down to touch between his ass cheeks curiously. “Weird...I wanna take a bath again.” He pulled his hand back and wiped his fingers on the sheets. “Need to wash these.”

“Or we can fuck some more,” he suggested. “So the second bath won’t be such a waste…”

“Can you even get it up?” Kiyoomi asked snottily. 

He pushed his cock back in to the hilt. “Did you really think I was done? You have four weeks of sex to make up for, love.”

“Oh…” Kiyoomi’s eyes went unfocused. “Do your worst, Miya.”

He did. Luckily, Kiyoomi could take it.

--

Their teammates, who unfortunately heard all the noise, could not.

They were kicked out of the sharehouse the following day.

Chapter Text

He trailed his fingertips over the windowsill, thinking it would be the perfect spot for a plant or two. Succulents, to start. He’d never taken care of plants before, but he was buzzing with the need to decorate this new space.

Atsumu pressed himself against his back, nose poking at Kiyoomi’s neck. “You like?”

“Yes.” He had to admit that Atsumu had chosen their new apartment well. Kiyoomi couldn’t wait to bring his things over and start organizing them. He’d already started mentally taking note of all the things they’d need, mind already going over all the things he still had to buy. He turned around and wrapped his arms around Atsumu’s shoulders. “I need stackable boxes and shelves and somewhere to put all our skincare.”

“Okay.”

“And a nice rug, and some throw pillows.”

“Okay.”

“And a wooden stool or ladder for my plants.”

Atsumu paused. “Plants.”

“Yes, I also want plants.”

“Er — okay.” Atsumu smiled. “You’re forgetting something.”

He blinked at him.

“Stuff for Isla, remember?”

He gasped, straightening up. “Atsu, Isla!” He had completely forgotten — he was already a bad dog father. He’d been so deep in his misery that everything else had slipped his mind.

Atsumu laughed. “She’s fine, I called the place where they’re keeping her a few days ago. She’s healthy, but she misses us.”

“She does?” he choked out, tearing up.

“Of course she does. We can call again later.” Atsumu kissed him on the cheek. “Two more months.”

“That’s so long,” he whined.

“All the more time to prepare for her arrival.”

Excitement filled him. The future he’d daydreamed about while he was still on that island was slowly coming together. Kiyoomi ran his fingers through Atsumu’s hair, gazing at his face in fondness. “You did good,” he said.

“Yeah?” Atsumu looked both hopeful and proud.

“Yeah.”

“Then we can fuck on every room of our new home, right?”

What an incorrigible bastard. “We have to clean everything first. Every inch of this place, I mean it.”

“Deal.”

They both got what they wanted that night. After, they squeezed themselves into a futon, the first and only item that made their empty bedroom a home, and slept intertwined.

--

The awkwardness was palpable as they sat with their families in a restaurant in Osaka. Kiyoomi had insisted that his parents and siblings visited him for lunch, saying that he had an urgent announcement. He didn’t know what Atsumu told his, but they were here nonetheless, looking confused.

The difference between their backgrounds couldn’t be any more obvious at that moment. Kiyoomi’s family had arrived fashionably late via car, wearing business casual attire and sunglasses. He wanted to kill them. His mother’s and sister’s hells click-clacked on the floor as they made their way over to the table where they were all waiting, his father and brother following more leisurely.

In contrast, Atsumu’s parents had arrived early, dressed down and wearing wide smiles. They had greeted Atsumu with loud, teasing remarks and big hugs, while Osamu stood to the side, looking exasperated and bored. Atsumu’s mother had turned to Kiyoomi with a curious but friendly expression, pinching his cheek when he was introduced. “Yes, of course, Tsumu’s little teammate!”

He sent a baffled glance to Atsumu, who shook his head in mortification. “She still thinks we’re children.”

“You are children,” she announced. “Anyway, what’s this about?”

“Uh,” Atsumu rubbed his chin. “Let’s wait until everyone’s here.”

Osamu eyed Kiyoomi. “So, I hope there are no hard feelings or whatever.”

“It’s nothing.” He was mature enough to understand that Osamu meant well, and that he may have had a point. But he drew the line at admitting that.

So now here they were, gathered together, and the silence was getting a bit much.

Kiyoomi’s father finally cleared his throat. “Son, why don’t you tell us what this is about?”

He shifted in his seat uncomfortably. There were high chances his family would cause a scandal and he was hoping the public setting would dissuade that, even though being outside made him paranoid. He opened his mouth then snapped it closed.

A warm hand engulfed his. Atsumu gave him an encouraging look then faced his father. “Sakusa-san, I would like to ask permission to marry your son.”

His mother dropped her wine. The sound of shattering glass silenced the entire restaurant.

Kiyoomi cleared his throat in the ensuing silence, giving Atsumu a displeased look. “It’s not a request. I’m marrying Atsumu, I just wanted to let you know.”

“You just wanted...to let us know,” his sister said slowly. Her eyes flicked to his hand. “That you’re — you’re engaged to be married to — to —”

“Atsumu, yes.”

His brother was staring at his fiance in bewilderment. “Who even are you?”

He scowled at that. “Don’t talk to him like that. He’s my teammate. Stop acting like you don’t know him when you follow all his social media accounts.”

There was a pause in the conversation when a waiter arrived to clean up the broken glass and replace it.

When he was gone, Atsumu’s mother said, “Listen boys, this is all just a surprise to us. We didn’t even know you were in a relationship.”

“Is this true, son?” Atsumu’s father was frowning at him. Then he glanced at Osamu. “Did you know?”

Osamu shrugged. “Yeah, of course.”

“How long has this been going on?” Kiyoomi’s mother finally demanded.

He took a deep breath. “We’ve been together for five months now, engaged for two.”

“Five months…” His mother’s eyes were wide. “So it happened on that island.”

“Yes.”

His father leaned in, taking advantage of his imposing figure. “Kiyoomi, you will stop it this instant. You are not making serious life decisions based on some random fling.”

“It’s not a fling,” he cut in heatedly. He wanted to say so much, but why should he explain himself? What would he even say? He settled with, “I love him.”

“Oh Lord,” his brother said. “He’s lost it.”

“Is he the reason you got a tattoo?” his mother asked with a narrow-eyed glare at Atsumu. “Do you have one, too? People will say you’re yakuza!”

“He’s really lost it,” his brother emphasized.

Irritation bubbled up in Kiyoomi. “Can you stop treating me like a child? I’m 23. I'm an adult.”

“You’re getting married to...some volleyball guy and underwear model,” his sister said, seemingly trying to grasp it. “Who appears in magazines and posters and billboards. And sometimes in tabloids —”

Atsumu rubbed his forehead. “I can explain those —”

“—who goes viral for the most idiotic things, and who didn’t even go to college —”

“Okay,” Osamu interrupted. “I understand you’re upset but you talking down on Atsumu is hella shitty. He’s an idiot, but he’s a good guy.”

I’m a volleyball guy who also appears in magazines and billboards,” Kiyoomi reminded her. He cupped Atsumu’s cheek and turned his head to face him. “I’m so sorry about them, they’re horrible snobby people. There’s a reason I couldn’t stand to be around them for too long.”

Atsumu touched their noses together sweetly, making Kiyoomi smile. “It’s fine, baby. I’m used to your snottiness, I knew what to expect.”

“Hey,” he protested.

“You’ve said worse things to me…the amount of times you’ve cursed me alone...”

He snorted. “You deserved it. Hayop ka kasi.”

Atsumu huffed out a startled laugh. “Oo na, mahal."

He blushed violently at the pet name. “Alis na tayo.”

Mamaya.” Atsumu kissed the corner of his mouth, then once again turned to face their families, who were staring at them like they’ve grown another head. “We’re hoping to get married next spring. We would like your blessing and your presence when the day comes, but we’re gonna do it either way. Uh, sorry.”

“Can you even provide for my son?” Kiyoomi’s father asked coldly.

“I can provide for myself,” he snapped. “What do you think of me?”

“Can you take care of him?” his mother demanded. “He has a condition —”

“I know all about that,” Atsumu assured, before Kiyoomi could say that he could take care of himself. “We were stuck together for seven months, as you know.”

“He helped me a lot, okay?” he said, calmer now. There was no use losing his temper, he wouldn’t get his way with that. “I had a lot less to worry about because he was there.”

Atsumu smiled at him warmly. He smiled back helplessly. Kiyoomi from seven months ago would probably smack the Kiyoomi now. He was vaguely disgusted with himself.

“Well,” Atsumu’s father began. “It looks like you’ve both made up your mind. I know better than to try Tsumu’s mind when he’s decided on something.”

“It just feels like it happened so fast,” Atsumu’s mother murmured. She teared up. “My baby.”

Osamu rolled his eyes. “Here we go.”

“My baby is going to get married,” she sniffled.

Kiyoomi sent a mirthful glance to Atsumu, who looked embarrassed. “Oh, come on…”

His father cleared his throat. “I do not want to be at odds with you over this, Kiyoomi. We don’t accept this yet, but we won’t get in the way. Until the time comes that you change your mind, you won’t be hearing from us.”

“Fine,” he shot back. “Don’t hold your breath. If it’s a choice between you or Atsumu, I’d always choose Atsumu. I just wanted to see if there was a chance I wouldn’t have to choose at all.”

“Kiyoomi,” his mother interrupted. “We’re just saying, you’ve been together for only a handful of months and the circumstances...how can you be so sure this will end well?”

“I’m not. But I’m taking a leap of faith.” He stood up, his chair nearly falling to the ground. “Let’s go, Atsu.”

Atsumu followed him without hesitation. They picked up their coats and made their way out of the restaurant, leaving the bill spitefully.

He shoved his coat on and stomped angrily down the street before he was halted by Atsumu with a hand on his arm.

“I’m so sorry,” Atsumu said miserably.

“Don’t be,” he fumed. He breathed in the cold winter air and exhaled, his breath coming out in a cloud. “I knew they’d react that way. I also know they’ll cool off eventually. And if they don’t — I don’t care. I’ll be fine.”

They wrapped their arms around each other, reassuring themselves that yes, they wanted this. They were choosing this.

“Let’s go pick up our photos,” Atsumu said, pressing a kiss to his temple.

“Okay.”

They put their face masks back on first before making the commute to the photo shop they found near their apartment. Armed with a CD and a thick envelope of photos and their rolls of negatives, they walked hand in hand the rest of the way back, talking idly.

“Oh, by the way, I hired an editor to deal with our videos,” Atsumu informed him.

“Okay then.”

“He’ll send the first video in a couple weeks or something.”

He raised an eyebrow. “First video? How many are there?”

“There’s a lot of footage, okay? And we went to many places!”

“Is it safe to assume there'll be at least one video for each place we visited?”

Atsumu’s pout told him all he needed to know.

“Put it on YouTube,” he advised. “We can earn from this.”

“Of course you’d think that.”

“We can use our photos to hype up the first episode, drop hints about our relationship. Make sure everyone’s curious and eager to tune in by the time it drops. If we stagger the posting of the videos, we should reach a hundred thousand subscribers in a month.”

“Putting your degree to good use, huh?”

He shrugged. “This is nothing yet. Somewhere down the line, let’s start a business. Well, I’ll handle the business part, you can be the face of our company. Your body sells.”

“Gee, thanks. What business?”

“Dunno yet...let’s think about it. No rush.”

“Okay, sounds fun. And is there a reason you’re suddenly plotting to make more money?”

“Because I want a beach house in El Nido.”

Atsumu stopped in his tracks and turned to him slowly. “Did you read my mind?”

“What?” He faced Atsumu in confusion.

“Have you been sneaking around in my phone?” Atsumu asked suspiciously.

“Why would I do that? Are you hiding something?” he demanded. “Maybe I will, don’t think I don’t know your passcode.”

“It was supposed to be a surprise,” Atsumu grumbled. “But...I asked a favor from Maria and the girls, they’re looking around for available lots and they’ve been sending me pictures.”

Kiyoomi gaped at him. “Wait, we’re really gonna have a beach house? What the hell? Can we even afford that right now?”

“Well, all the money I saved up from modeling gigs have to go somewhere. And you have to know I’ve been earning my own money since I was 18. I didn’t grow up rich, you know. I save.” He grinned. “I mean, it won’t be built anytime soon. There’s lots of papers to handle, like permits, and stuff...and I have to figure out costing... I’m just browsing for now. But I’ll make it happen, you’ll see.”

“Of course you will.” Kiyoomi stared at Atsumu, wondering what he did to get so lucky. The differences between them were so stark sometimes, but it was during these times he was reminded that despite it all, they share the same goals.

And now they were building a future. Together.

Kiyoomi knew for sure that they’d make it. Between the two of them, there was no room for failure. Not after everything they've been through.

Atsumu gave him a condescending glance. “Aren’t you glad I’m so hot now?”

He snapped out of it. Every single time he felt gooey over the love of his life, the love of his life reminded him that he was an idiot. “That’s subjective.”

They resumed walking.

“If I’m not objectively hot then why do I get stalkers?”

“Who the fuck —”

“Remember that girl last year...”

And on they went.

--

The pictures turned out to be amazing.

Not all of them — there were overexposed photos, and dark, grainy photos, and photos they must have snapped on accident because there was no clear subject.

There were a series of photos that were completely blank, and he was willing to bet that was that time Atsumu had opened the camera, accidentally exposing the film to the sun, because he thought there wasn’t a roll inside.

As he’d predicted, a lot of the photos turned out to be out of focus. Some were blurry, some had light leaks, some had fogging, some didn’t really make sense.

He loved them.

“I told you it would be fine,” Atsumu said.

They were on their bed, Atsumu leaning back against Kiyoomi as he clicked through the soft copy of their photos on his laptop. Kiyoomi was brushing Atsumu’s hair, marveling at the fine, silky strands so different from his own.

“We’re going public, right? You’re sure about that, right?” Atsumu checked. “‘Cause I so want to post these. Keeping it to ourselves would be a sin, Omi.”

“Yeah, but maybe wait a while? I’m enjoying this peace. Is the video even ready yet?” He flicked his eyes to the screen just in time to see one that he’d taken. He reached down and halted Atsumu’s hand. “Wait. I like that. I wanna post that.”

“That...is me skinny dipping. Omi.”

“What? It’s not like your dick is showing. Your ass isn’t even showing, it’s under the water.” In the photo, Atsumu was hips-deep in sea water, his back to the camera, head turned sideways. It was the one he took when they went skinny dipping before leaving El Nido. Kiyoomi took a moment to admire Atsumu’s muscled back, his sharp profile softened by the softly-lit skies.

“I am obviously not wearing anything, if I was, the garter of my beach shorts would be right there.” Atsumu jabbed a finger on the screen.

“You literally show off your bulge in spreads, you’re getting conscious now?”

Atsumu paused. “Oh yeah.”

“I won’t post it if you really don’t want me to.”

“Oh, what the hell,” Atsumu sighed. “Post what you want. I suppose it’s a nice picture.”

“It is.”

“But only if I can post anything I want, too. And you can’t complain.”

He considered it. He just knew Atsumu had a lot of embarrassing photos of him, and that he hasn’t even seen most of it. After some thought, he decided he only cared about what Atsumu thought about him, and he’d like Kiyoomi no matter what anyway. “Fine.”

“Deal.”

“In a couple months, okay?” Kiyoomi said, resuming his brushing. “I’m not conditioned to handle all the PR and media stuff yet.”

“No problem. We can take our time.”

--

He dipped a finger in the soil of his potted plant, watering it when he felt it was too dry. He had to be very careful about this — Atsumu said he couldn’t get more plants until he proved he could keep one alive. Kiyoomi was a little worried about the sunlight it was supposed to be getting. It was January and it was deathly cold — does sunlight still seep through the clouds during winter? He probably should have researched that first.

He heard the door open just as he was checking the leaves. They didn’t seem to be wilting.

“Omi?” Atsumu called out.

“I’m watering Jose,” he called back. He was relieved to have Atsumu home — he wasn’t pleased that he’d gone back to attending photoshoots. And not just for ads. Magazines and websites couldn’t get enough of his new look, and wanted to interview him about his “island adventures” and “lockdown stories.”

He was only appeased when Atsumu promised him he’d follow all the safety protocols Kiyoomi had set for him, and that he wouldn’t allow anyone without a mask within several feet of him.

They would interview Kiyoomi, too, if he bothered replying to the emails. The team’s manager was about to rip her hair off out of frustration with him. But he said he’d only do interviews when he and Atsumu were out to the public and they could actually tell the truth of what went on. He wanted to tell the story on his terms.

A strange pattering sound against the hardwood floor caught his attention. Confused, he turned around only to drop his sprinkler on the ground.

Isla?”

Isla was running towards him without any sign of struggle and he fell to his knees to greet her. He scooped her up in his arms when she reached him, tears already building in his eyes.

“Surprise,” Atsumu said with a grin, holding his phone up, presumably filming.

“But I thought we were going to get her this weekend,” he said in a wobbly voice.

“I lied. Wanted to surprise you.”

He smiled helplessly as Isla started licking his cheek. He hugged her closer, sniffling. “She’s so big now.”

“Yeah, dunno what the hell they’ve been feeding her. She’s goddamn heavy.”

“Hi Isla,” he greeted her enthusiastically. She barked at him in reply. Her tail was wagging so hard, it was shaking her whole body. “What’s that? You missed me?”

“I told you she did,” Atsumu said. He knelt down beside them and patted Isla’s head. “Hey, girl. We missed you, too. Now our family is complete.”

Kiyoomi poked his nose against Isla’s. He missed her so much. He could hardly believe she was here.

Atsumu stroked his cheek with his knuckles. “Are you happy, Omi-Omi?”

He nodded earnestly. Then he paused. He was happy, he was unbelievably, impossibly happy, but there was one more thing he wanted. “Almost.”

Atsumu’s forehead creased.

“We’re still missing a cat.”

“A cat—?”

“Isla needs a friend.” He widened his eyes at Atsumu pleadingly.

“You really want to kill me,” Atsumu said, sounding pained. “Omi…”

Kiyoomi kissed him on the mouth enthusiastically. “Thank you, Atsu.”

Atsumu sighed in defeat.

He got his cat the next day.

They named him Dagat, the Tagalog word for ‘sea.’

--

There were so many changes that’s been happening in his life lately: moving in with Atsumu, decorating their apartment, attending volleyball practice, and then making room for Isla and Dagat.

So he was confused when Atsumu sat down next to him, carrying his laptop, looking shy.

“What is it?”

“Well...remember the videos?”

“Oh.” He blinked. “I completely forgot.”

“I figured. Well, it took forever to edit the first one because...well, you’ll see. I wanted it to be perfect. I’m ready to show you now.”

The video was a four-minute compilation of their stay in El Nido, and he knew from the first second that Atsumu really poured a lot of effort into it, because the sound of guitar strings was the first thing he heard. He knew without a doubt it was Atsumu playing.

He was familiar with the song. It was by an OPM band in the Philippines and it was titled “Paraiso.” Atsumu must have decided to cover it to avoid running into copyright issues. When he started singing, he noticed the English and Japanese subtitles on the screen and turned to Atsumu for answers.

Atsumu scratched the back of his neck sheepishly. “I asked help from Maria and Lydia. Translating is still a pain, I still have a long way to go with the language.”

Kiyoomi played it again from the start. He’d thought that the video would be a fun vlog packed with their tour adventures, but it wasn’t that at all. The slow romantic song set the tone, and he watched as all their moments filled the screen — everything from mundane, to intimate, to fun. There were walks on the beach, motorcycle rides around town, and jumping into glimmering turquoise waters. There were soft kisses and hand-holding and cuddles. There were rollerskating adventures, bike rides, and dancing. There were smiles, soft and genuine. There was laughter, the kind that had them out of breath. And of course, there were eye rolls and sighs and arguments.

It was their love story, pure and simple. And it ended with a clip of his proposal, taken by someone hiding in the resort.

The whole thing was unassuming and tender and special and everything Kiyoomi never realized he wanted. And the way Atsumu was singing the lyrics was clear he meant the words. It shot him straight in the heart. It was perfect. Everything about it was perfect.

This was no simple compilation video. This was Atsumu’s love letter to Kiyoomi.

He was in tears when it was over, overcome.

“That was nice,” he said thickly when they were quiet for too long. Understatement of the century. Words always failed him when he needed them.

Atsumu nuzzled the curve of Kiyoomi’s neck. “Can I post it?”

“I’d like that.”

He was ready now.

He’d never been showy with his affection, or even verbal with his love, but at that moment, he wanted to share with the world the piece of immeasurable happiness he’d found. He wanted them to understand — he’d found a once in a lifetime kind of love.

He was the luckiest person in the world.

--

After texting a heads up to Foster, Atsumu posted the first picture.

It was innocent enough, but highly suspicious. Kiyoomi was shown tugging at Atsumu’s hand, leading him to the beach.

A few days later, Kiyoomi posted the photo of Atsumu skinny dipping. That nearly broke the internet, to Atsumu’ smug pleasure.

It was the third photo, posted by both of them, that really sent the public into a frenzy. Kiyoomi was pointing his film camera to a mirror as he and Atsumu shared a kiss in their cabin in Baguio.

They let the photo simmer overnight. Come next morning, they were in news headlines and each of their posts had reached two million likes. Atsumu followed it up by posting the El Nido video.

In the description, he wrote: "For Kiyoomi, my paradise — Nag-iisang hiling at ikaw ang himala."

Chapter Text

There was no stemming the tears. He didn’t know how he could be expected to.

“Oh come on,” Kiyoomi told him. “At least say your vows first.”

He sniffled and wiped his cheek. “Shut up, I’m trying.”

It was a perfect day. It was technically rainy season in the Philippines but the skies were clear and cloudy. The salty breeze wafted around them, but in no way dried Atsumu’s tears.

Today, he was marrying the love of his life.

Truthfully, they were already civil partners. They had signed the necessary documents in Japan and had Kiyoomi’s name changed from Sakusa to Miya earlier in the year, because they wanted matching jerseys in the recently concluded Summer Olympics. They had bagged silver, which they were happy enough about. Two weeks later, they were headed to Palawan for their ceremony.

And now here they were, on the very beach where they fell in love.

The wedding ceremony was more for them and their loved ones rather than any kind of formality. Gay marriage wasn’t legal in the Philippines. They weren’t even holding a wedding, exactly — it was a hand-fasting. He didn’t know whose idea that was. Esme, probably.

Most of everyone they loved were here. Their teammates were sobbing from where they sat, Osamu looked like he couldn’t believe what was happening, and Komori was trying not to look moved but his eyebrows were giving him away. Atsumu’s parents were looking at him proudly, and even Kiyoomi’s family looked reluctantly touched. His parents felt bad about how they initially reacted and offered to pay for the guests’ flights. Apparently, their El Nido video was enough to change their minds.

Kiyoomi vengefully accepted their offer.

And of course, all the friends they made in the Philippines were in attendance: Maria, Lydia, Blas, Heidi, Christina, Jun — everyone was here. Isla and Dagat sat on the front row, quietly watching their parents get married beside Brownie.

In a strange twist of fate, the elusive old man they had once seen during the hotel’s anniversary last year was here again. Apparently his name was Jonas and he was a pastor based in Manila who got stranded while visiting a distant cousin.

And he was the one officiating the ceremony.

Atsumu had asked him if he minded, and he just declared that the Church’s teachings were “outdated.” That settled, they started planning and they all agreed to hold the ceremony in English so everyone would understand.

It was a simple affair, held on the beachside of the resort they previously stayed in. Wooden chairs sat on the sand in neat rows, covered with flowy white cloth that matched the one hanging on the archway they were standing under. Yellow acacias lined the aisle, culminating at the center, the only spot of color in the otherwise plain event.

Neither the place nor their love needed any extra embellishment to make it beautiful.

Gathering himself, Atsumu took a deep breath and began.

“Kiyoomi. You once told me that what we have was born of random circumstances. And maybe that’s true. After all, I’ve known you since we were just two 15-year-olds whose only common thing was a love for a sport and nothing else. Why you? Why now? It doesn’t make sense, so I was almost inclined to agree. But there’s something I keep coming back to lately, something I think even you don’t know.”

Kiyoomi frowned at him in curiosity.

Atsumu smiled to himself. He’d been keeping this in for so long, wondering when to bring it up. But this was the perfect time. “I don’t think you ever stopped to wonder why it was the two of us in the room that night, or why we were together when we got left behind. I don’t think you remember at all. Do you?”

Kiyoomi shook his head slowly, eyes fixed on Atsumu’s face.

“You were so drunk.” He grinned mischievously, laughing a little. “You were so drunk and you blamed me — and you were right to — and you demanded I take responsibility and take care of you, because you thought you were about to get sick. And you were clinging to my arm, which I found weird, because you never touched anyone, ever — and then you let go and you started walking away, back to the resort. I remember thinking — I can’t let him go alone. I gotta take care of him, like he said. So I followed you, without really knowing why. We didn’t even like each other. But I helped you to bed, and I stayed with you because I was worried you’d puke in your sleep and die. I watched you for a long time. I don’t remember falling asleep. And the next day, well — everyone was gone, and we were stuck.”

“I can’t believe you’re embarrassing me on our wedding day,” Kiyoomi said, sounding somewhat amazed and disbelieving.

He laughed again. “Sorry. I’m just trying to say — there were a lot of things that spiraled out of our control, but you chose to come to me that night, and I chose to follow you. If we didn’t make those decisions, where would we be?

“I don’t know how we somehow ended up here. Maybe it was a stroke of luck, or maybe the universe just kept throwing us together until something stuck. Or maybe, just maybe, we were waiting for the right place and the right time. And the right place was a small town called El Nido, and the right time was one drunken night out you don’t even remember.”

Kiyoomi’s eyes filled with tears.

“Or maybe you’re right, it was all just chance. Whatever the reason, there’s nothing about you, or us, or our story that I would wish to change. At the end of the day I get to come home to you, and it doesn’t matter how we got here, or where we’re headed, as long as I’m with you. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.” His voice wavered and he started to sob. “And I love you with all my heart.”

Kiyoomi was crying earnestly now. Atsumu clumsily tried to wipe his tears. He could hear someone blowing their nose and another who was quietly sobbing. It sounded like Osamu.

“Miya Atsumu, you’re the worst.” Kiyoomi sniffled. “I’ve been saying that since high school because it’s true.”

Atsumu chuckled wetly.

“I think many people wouldn’t really understand,” Kiyoomi began quietly, “what it’s like to live with chronic pain since you’re young...knowing that there’s something inherently wrong with you, and it’s nobody’s fault. I live in constant fear that things outside of my control would break me, because I may be used to pain, but it doesn’t mean I like it. I’m always expecting the worst. I’m always bracing for impact. And I worked really hard to get strong, but I always knew I’d never really get fixed. I have no choice but to live with it every day — to take care of myself and protect myself at all costs.”

His heart ached. He’d seen with his own eyes what it was like to bear with that pain constantly.

“I say you’re the worst because you’re everything I’m not. You’re careless, and reckless, and wild, and free. You’re everything I ever wanted to be, and maybe that's why I hated you so much. I'm weighted down by gravity, but you — you’re a meteorite, streaking across space. And by some stroke of fate, you’ve crashed into my land. And you...had the biggest impact.

“Remember that day on this very beach? It started raining and instead of running for shelter, you ran straight into the water. I watched you and wondered how anyone could be so crazy. And then I followed you. And you told me...sometimes, you gotta take the bad and breathe.

“Easier said than done. But living by it became easy when you decided you wanted to stay by my side. Every day, you teach me how to say... we’ll take whatever comes. And that not knowing is the fun part. There's nothing wrong with chance. After all, no one knows when a meteor would crash — it turned out well in my case.”

Fresh tears started sliding down Atsumu's cheeks and this time, he didn’t bother to wipe them away.

“I didn’t know what it meant to live until you showed me, and now I don’t want to live this life without you. With you, I’m brave. With you, I’m free. And you will never understand how much that means to me. You said I could be anything with you so I’m choosing to be in love with you for the rest of time. You changed my life. Thank you.”

Atsumu wept into his hands, trying to cover the display of vulnerability, to no avail. “You changed my life, too,” he sobbed. “I love you.”

When they got a hold of themselves, they linked their hands as Pastor Jonas wrapped a cord around their wrists. They were tying their futures together, metaphorically and literally, and Atsumu thought he couldn’t possibly want more than this.

And then it was done.

The world burst into cheers when they kissed.

--

The moon lit their room as they lay intertwined in a familiar bed.

Kiyoomi traced Atsumu’s features, staring at his face intently as if he’d never seen it before. His dark eyes glimmered in the night.

“It’s done,” Kiyoomi finally said. “You’re mine now.”

Atsumu smiled. “Your name has literally been Miya Kiyoomi for months now.”

“Well, now you’re mine again,” Kiyoomi said, as if that corrected things.

Atsumu just chuckled. “I am.”

“And again and again and again...right?’’

His heart swelled. “Right. For the rest of our lives.”

Kiyoomi gave him a pleased smile, lips curving and cracking his normally impenetrable face. “Good.”

“Can you believe that just over a year ago, we hated each other?”

His husband let out a quiet laugh. “Feels like forever...I still hate you sometimes.”

“But you love me always?” Atsumu smiled, already knowing the answer.

“I’ll love you always,” Kiyoomi promised in a voice as soft as a whisper.

Atsumu leaned in and kissed him, sealing the vow with a kiss. As their bodies met once again, they moved in a dance only they knew the steps to in a beat only they could hear.

No one else needed to understand. The two of them could live in the world alone, in the paradise they found in each other.