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miserability

Chapter Text

 

Sober. 

Tadashi is stone-cold sober as he climbs inside Tsukishima’s new car so they can head off to his apartment. He’s sober as they make quiet talk during the drive, mostly allowing the noise of the road fill the gaps of where their conversations used to exist. He’s sober even as he walks inside Tsukishima’s apartment and politely declines something to drink. 

He’s made a lot of bad decisions when he was belligerently drunk. He’s had a lot of hookups. He’s had a lot of scares. Tadashi has let his inhibitions run wild at those times, and allowed the alcohol to ease him into even the most uncomfortable of situations. Sometimes, it’s simply easier to let life take its course. Erasing all the pent-up anxiety from his system can be so freeing. Honestly, Tadashi’s surprised that he’s not a full-blown alcoholic by now. 

Regardless, Tadashi is sober as he affirms his decision and steps further inside the apartment, padding around softly so he doesn’t disturb the novel climate. The place is huge for Sendai: an open seating area with an expansive kitchen and long dining table. Wide windows along the back wall show off the cityscape twinkling from glimpses of neon signs and flickering street lamps. The apartment is all modern and Western, a lot different from Tadashi’s more traditional place. Although, he supposes they both exist in spaces far too large for sole occupants. 

Tsukishima is sober too. He, like Tadashi, is fully aware of the effects that one too many drinks can have on their relationship. It’s a mutual understanding between them that the fogginess provided by alcohol isn’t needed to ease them into this situation. Really, it’s no surprise that they both silently walk into the night completely and utterly sober. 

Tadashi idly wonders if he should back down. Is there really a point in having meaningless sex when they both know it isn’t so meaningless? By proposing all of this, isn’t Tadashi opening himself up for pain once more? But, then again, how much worse can it get?

Tsukishima seems nervous. Not pre-game nervous, when he’s focused on thinking on what’s to come and how to logically assess their situation. Not even as nervous as he’d used to get when they would have to do public speaking in class. No, it’s a special type of nervosity that Tadashi doesn’t know how to deal with because it’s a little too close to his own anxious behaviors. 

Tsukishima points him down the hallway. “You can wash up beforehand, if you’d like,” he offers quietly. 

“Okay.”

Tadashi steps into the bathroom and hastily closes the door behind him. He stares at himself in the mirror for longer than necessary, taking in every centimeter of himself and determining whether he deemed it worthy enough to be seen. 

He’s changed a lot since high school, or so he’s been told. He can’t see the subtle differences considering the minute changes have been gradual over the last few years. Yachi has mentioned on multiple occasions how he’s grown up. Tadashi doesn’t know what that means exactly. 

Tadashi washes his face and scrounges around until he manages to find a new toothbrush. He takes his time getting ready, focusing less on presentation and more on mental preparation. 

This is a trap, he tells himself. You put yourself here once again. It’s all your fault. What are you even doing?

Tadashi doesn’t have answers or reasoning. He does, however, have a tug in his abdomen that leads him out the bathroom door to face whatever divine hell Tadashi has created for himself. 

Tsukishima’s at the bedside drawer. He pulls out a box of condoms and a bottle of lube. 

Tadashi knows what’s to come and yet the closer they get, the more he questions why he wants this so badly. He could easily call the whole thing off and forget the suggestion in the first place, but Tadashi’s mind is full of thoughts about how Tsukishima’s curls would appear sprawled out on the bed sheets.

Tadashi clears his throat to announce his presence. He shuffles closer as Tsukishima turns to face him. They share a prolonged stare and a silent acknowledgement of the events about to ensue. 

“Are you sure about this?” Tsukishima asks. 

Tadashi swallows hard, feeling the weight of Tsukishima’s gaze on him, like he’s something to be observed. 

“Sure… yeah, I mean, yes. Are you sure about this?”

Tsukishima nods. 

“We don’t have to if you don’t want to,” Tadashi offers. It’s the last chance they truly have because once they begin, there’s no stopping the seismic collision.

“I want to,” Tsukishima affirms, shaking away the nervous energy from earlier. The words are soft, a cadence sung for confirmation. 

“Okay then.”

“Okay.”

Tsukishima makes the first move. He slowly edges around the bed and comes to meet Tadashi at the foot. They inch closer together. The pose, Tsukishima looking down with careful eyes, is all too familiar. Tadashi aches to get closer.

Tsukishima, reaching out with his shaky hand, grasps Tadashi’s arm right above the elbow. His grip is light, but strong enough to keep Tadashi in place. Not like he’d want to be anywhere but right here, right now. 

Carefully, Tsukishima leans forward, keeping their eyes locked until the very last moment. He lets his blonde eyelashes drop and presses a chaste kiss to Tadashi’s lips. 

It’s nothing special, Tadashi tells himself to calm the swarming fury of emotions threatening to take over. It’s nothing new. 

The rhythm, pre-rehearsed and established after years of practice sessions, is already common knowledge. It’s a slow, tender sort of night. While Tadashi wishes they could go faster to the point where he’s fucked so well his brain can’t compute, Kei has other plans. His kisses are delicate and effortlessly soft, reminiscent of their first more-than-friendly rendezvous. 

Tadashi goes a bit onto his toes to deepen their connection, swiping his tongue over the seam and pressing inside. Tsukishima makes a noise at the back of his throat, but ultimately allows it to happen. Looping his fingers through those glorious blonde curls, Tadashi drags Tsukishima in and tilts his head down even more. If it’s forceful, he doesn’t want to apologize. All Tadashi can do is think about the hot lips against his own and hope that logic doesn’t catch up with him anytime soon. 

Tsukishima’s fingers find their usual spot as they trail down Tadashi’s waist. He clutches at his hips, breaking their contact to force a little smile against Tadashi’s lips. Tadashi kisses the interlude away. 

If Tadashi was in his right mind, he could have still backed out. But Tadashi’s brain is possessed by desire alone, so he lets Tsukishima lead him backwards onto the bed. He’s forced all the way to the headboard, Tsukishima chasing his taste. 

It’s all fuzzy. 

The feelings locked away in his chest. The cold rush of air as Tsukishima helps to remove his shirt and pants. The way Tsukishima’s strong thighs press against his hip bones as he straddles him. The unbreakable, fervent gaze Tsukishima gives when he leans back to take Tadashi in.

It’s a fuzzy, fuzzy thing, like static on a television, when Tadashi thinks it through. But he doesn’t. And he keeps going. 

Tadashi gives Tsukishima another kiss, indulging in the moment. He aids in helping to strip his layers, deft fingers making lazy work. Tadashi also has the honor of removing Tsukishima’s glasses and sets them on the nightstand. It’s the last sort of step in their system, because everything changes when Tsukishima glares at him unobstructed. 

He’s the guide for the night, even though the proposal was Tadashi’s suggestion. He sort of enjoys seeing how Tsukishima undergoes his work; a man so unused to exerting effort now takes the time to invoke mutual satisfaction? Tadashi’s grateful to whoever was able to spark the motivation in Tsukishima, seeing as he’s now the one to reap the benefits. 

Tsukishima works slowly and methodically as he kisses Tadashi. Tadashi can already feel himself getting hard, but Tsukishima evidently doesn’t care and continues to ignore it as his pecks trail down his jawline and onto his neck. 

When he finally does pull back, he briefly pauses to whisper in Tadashi’s ear, his voice coarse and stimulating. 

“Fuck.”

Tadashi shivers as the words echo, and relishes as Tsukishima is stripped away.

Kei emerges, eager and familiar, as he goes down Tadashi again. 

They’re still strangers to one another, of course, but the planes and contours of each other’s skins are confidential information exposed only now in the guise of the moonlight. They’re still strangers, and yet they know the other inside and out.

Reason and all forms of logic break down, as Kei continues to suck on that tender spot at the base of Tadashi’s neck, declaring ownership over something he has no right over. Tadashi lets it happen, whimpering at the sensation because it feels so fucking good he really doesn’t mind. His mind’s clouded with euphoria, only able to properly perceive the body above him. 

It’s all Kei, Kei, Kei and more, more, more. 

It’s Kei, who makes Tadashi come undone, seam by agonizing seam like he’s a fragile doll to be played with. It’s nearly childish the manner in which Kei claims Tadashi as his own; pushing and prodding at all of his buttons, knowing exactly when it’s right to twist and turn. Tadashi’s limp in his arms, a marionette pulled by strings. 

Thing is, Tadashi enjoys it. 

He revels in the featherlight touches of Kei’s tongue swiping wherever it damn pleases. Tadashi moans, unable to take the blatant neglect anymore. Kei’s never been particularly caring for others, but his meticulous attention to detail here is absolutely infuriating. 

His slender, nimble fingers traverse every nook and cranny, making fine work as Kei schlicks them with lube and helps to open him up. Tadashi bites down on his hand to stop himself from making any more obscene noises, but Kei stops him by delicately taking his wrist and pressing a kiss into his palm. 

It’s far too intimate. The feeling of Kei’s fingers wrapping inside of him, the affectionate look in Kei’s eyes. Truly, Tadashi’s gotten himself spellbound.  

Tadashi takes matters into his own hands. 

He forces Kei underneath him and strokes his cock a few times for good measure. He’s already leaking with precum, and Tadashi takes a moment to put on a condom before they go any further. 

Kei looks up at him, eyes wide and devoted, as Tadashi sinks down centimeter by aching centimeter. It may be an excruciating pace for them both, but the fulfilling pressure of Kei hitting just right allows Tadashi to revel in every single press and prod.

“Fuck,” Kei hisses once more, needy and urgent. He picks up their rhythm, driving into Tadashi until his legs begin to shake. 

Tadashi’s too desperate. He knows he is because, fuck, why wouldn’t he be? But he asks for more and more, even if the words aren’t vocalized. 

Kei thumbs over Tadashi’s hip, grinding with all the ardor of a proper lover. Tadashi looks back at his hand for a moment, before meeting those golden eyes. A silent conversation ensues, enunciated in actuality with moans and exasperated breaths. 

You still have this? Kei asks, eyebrows turning upwards. 

He’s referring to an old scar Tadashi had gotten years ago. They’d both fallen from the big tree in Kei’s backyard and ended up with semi-matching scars. While Tadashi’s jagged mark was hidden away most days, it’s now uncovered by only the most private of companions. 

Tadashi nods before dipping his head back as Kei pushes in a bit further. Never went away.  

Kei takes that as his opportunity to switch positions, gently laying Tadashi on the bed while he looks on from above. He raises Tadashi’s leg, using the opportunity to press a light kiss against his ankle before rolling his hips forward and thrusting until Tadashi makes downright vile sounds he’s incapable of controlling. 

All Tadashi wants is more. Kei provides. 

He finally touches Tadashi, strokes in line with the undulations of his hips. It’s a lot happening all at once but Tadashi would be amiss if he claimed disdain.

Once again, they’ve found themselves in a dangerous arrangement. Once again, Tadashi has disregarded the mistakes of his past in order to seek something he knows he cannot claim. And, once again, Tadashi hopes for a different result but is fully aware that change is not always inevitable. 

Tadashi looks up to the ceiling, stars dancing before his eyes out of his own ecstasy of pleasure. A release, as he’s overtaken by a buzzing bliss. 

A name rolls off his tongue, short and sweet and relentlessly desperate.

“Kei.”

After all, the press of lips and the cascading touches across planes of skin is a tradition known too well by them both. A tradition that dates years and experiences, the last thing to connect them before it all went wrong. 

And, after all, the whole experience, despite the initial hesitation and awkwardness, is strangely comforting to Tadashi. Seeing Kei like this, stripped bare and utterly ruined as his own pleasure mounts, is a sight Tadashi’s frankly aware he can never get enough of. 

Fuck. 

Kei pulls out and collapses beside Tadashi. They lay there for more than a few moments, and Tadashi can feel the tendrils of sleep calling to him despite his active efforts to stay awake. 

Even as they’re panting side by side, chests rising in tandem, there’s a familiarity in it all. For a brief moment, a sense of belonging tugs at Tadashi. It pulls, taut and captivating, even if Tadashi’s completely out of his element. Despite the fact that he’s unsure if the man that lies beside him is still the same Kei he knew so many years ago. Despite the fact Tadashi doesn’t quite understand himself. 

Despite it all, Tadashi feels like he’s at home.

Kei slides out of bed and returns a few moments later with clean towels and some water. Tadashi pushes himself into a sitting position and takes the items. They both spare a moment to clean off, recharge, and contemplate what happened. 

He can feel Tsukishima’s eyes upon him, digging into his back. He meets the glare, surprised to find it’s rather… soft. 

There are words Tadashi supposes he must say in order to prevent this occurrence again. There isn’t necessarily a proper way to go about it though, considering he’s always been awful at ending their affair. 

“Are you alright?” Kei says, voice a little rough. Tadashi wishes he didn’t find that incredibly alluring.

“I’m good,” Tadashi assures, nodding his head. The faint trail of a smile rises onto Kei’s lips. 

“Want to go again?”

Tadashi sort of scoffs at the suggestion. “Not all of us have the stamina of a professional athlete.”

Kei laughs, exasperated but full. Tadashi can feel his heart sink at the euphony. 

“Didn’t you used to last longer?” Kei asks, raising a brow. 

“Didn’t you used to be nicer?” Tadashi retorts. 

Kei raises an eyebrow and moves to get closer to Tadashi. His half-lidded gaze is intoxicating, even as Tadashi is still sober. 

“Who knows…”

Kei kisses him again. Tadashi doesn’t pull away. 

No, he doesn’t stop Kei from traversing over his body once more. He doesn’t stop Kei as he strokes him once, twice, thrice, before bowing down and letting his mouth do the rest of the work until Tadashi’s cock is nice and firm again. He doesn’t stop Kei from blowing him until he’s almost sent tumbling over the edge, before he abruptly pulls back with a devious grin slapped over his spit-covered lips. He doesn’t stop Kei from fingering himself, noisy and erotic, as they keep careful eye contact. And he certainly doesn’t stop Kei from straddling over him and sinking down on his throbbing cock. 

Tadashi can’t take it anymore. He still has some energy and he’ll make it count. He thrusts, driving forward until Kei bottoms out and audibly whines. 

Kei, a celestial body, hovers above him all ivory and gold. Even the most talented sculptors wouldn’t be able to create a form like this. Kei is a masterpiece all his own, crescents formed with the arch of his back and the curve of his neck. Tadashi’s briefly thankful Kei never stopped playing or else these defined pecs and abdominals wouldn’t be the exquisite spectacle they are.

There’s something so inherently lewd about the sight. Kei, who is always precisely composed, has been beautifully laid bare all for Tadashi’s own amusement. A sacred, holy thing for only the most private of exhibitions. Would the world think of him differently if they knew renowned Tsukishima Kei was particularly excellent at sucking dick and even better at bottoming out?

Kei glances down at Tadashi, all feverish and hot. He smirks, smirks, and lets out an ungodly mewl that Tadashi wants to live in. He grabs Kei by the neck and forces him downward until their lips are able to meet once again. 

As Kei rides him like that, good and obscene, Tadashi might have finally lost his mind. 

All he can think is, I’m fucked.

 

---

 

Tadashi rubs at his eyes with the base of his palm; they pull back wet. He probably looks like a fucking wreck. 

He peeks over at Kei… at Tsukishima, who’s lying on his stomach with the back of his head turned to Tadashi. 

They both must have passed out. Everything from the last few hours is a bit of a blur; Tadashi doesn’t know if that’s his subconscious already attempting to repress it or if the satisfaction was enough to smooth over all of the painful patches. 

Tadashi realizes that he’s clean. The worst part about his recent development of low stamina is the awful feeling of waking up sticky and disgusting, but Tsukishima must have cleansed him before taking his rest. 

How strange. 

Careful not to disturb Tsukishima, Tadashi crawls out of bed and retrieves his discarded pants from the floor. He finds his jacket only to pick out his pack of Seven Stars and his lighter. 

He tip-toes through the apartment, scared he’ll accidentally knock something over despite the fact it's relatively barren. Honestly, the only thing Tadashi finds is a couple of medals courtesy of the Frogs’ success over the last few years. 

Tadashi lets himself out through the French doors in the living room and onto the connected balcony. The wind’s picked up a little bit, the last legs of the late summer heat having disappeared this late at night. Tadashi’s always liked autumn, but he’s usually better prepared for it. A mere pair of pants doesn’t do much to protect his goosebump-lined arms. 

He takes out a cigarette, lights it, and looks over the city. Tsukishima’s apartment is relatively high-up; it’s not quite a penthouse, but still far enough that he has a beautiful view of Sendai. Tadashi inhales, long and drawn out, before puffing the smoke out. 

Standing there, with the city lying in front of him, Tadashi’s heart begins to rattle against his rib cage. It’s his anxiety over… well everything… coming back. He can’t help but worry about what the morning will bring when all of Tadashi’s blunders are uncovered in the light. 

“When did you start smoking?”

Tadashi turns to see Tsukishima standing in the doorway in a mere pair of boxers and a thin shirt. He looks tiny despite the fact he’s… however tall he is…

Tsukishima’s height used to be a fact that Tadashi could spit out whenever needed to prove his worth, but the knowledge has been lost to time. He’s definitely bigger than he was in high school but Tadashi guesses he’s never stopped in the years since to measure his growth. 

“A couple of years ago,” Tadashi answers, trying not to be defensive. “I smoked a few times in college, but I didn’t really pick it up until after graduation.”

Tsukishima comes to rest against the railing, leaning on his elbows to diminish his own height. Tadashi sucks in another puff.

“Any other destructive behaviors you’ve picked up along the way?” Tsukishima asks. 

This, Tadashi says to himself. Though he guesses the habit isn’t particularly new. 

“Just working too much,” Tadashi explains, trying to make it sound like a joke. Tsukishima doesn’t take it well. 

“What are you even doing?” He barks. And before Tadashi can attempt to defend himself, Tsukishima corrects, “With the Frogs. Koganegawa told me you’re working with us now.”

Right. Tsukishima hasn’t seen him in a professional setting yet. Tadashi seriously had no idea how he was supposed to go about his normal day, see Tsukishima, and act like he didn’t know how the man looked when he’s getting fucked so hard he shakes beneath Tadashi.

“I’m originally on the marketing team, but now I’m co-liaison with someone from the Frogs to establish a working relationship with our programs,” Tadashi explains before taking another hit. “It’s not very interesting.”

“Why did you choose the Frogs?” Tsukishima eyes his reaction. 

“Out of my control,” Tadashi says truthfully. “I don’t know why they went with the Frogs though… It was a coincidence really.” That was the lie, woven in to not expose his embarrassing connection. 

Tsukishima doesn’t seem convinced. Tadashi doesn’t have it in him to change his opinion otherwise. 

“Let me have one of those,” Tsukishima instructs, motioning towards Tadashi’s cigarette. 

Tadashi presses brows together and warns, “They’re bad for you.”

Tsukishima rolls his eyes. “I know that,” he responds flippantly. 

Tadashi sucks in. “So you shouldn’t be picking up bad habits,” he says, letting the smoke trail out with every word. “You’re supposed to be a professional volleyball player, not some chain-smoking idiot.”

“How is it that you can be so concerned with my health but have so little regard for your own?” Tsukishima asks, raising an eyebrow. He knows he’s won. 

Tadashi rests the cigarette between his teeth and stuffs his hand into his pocket to retrieve his pack of Seven Stars. He offers up a stick and Tsukishima takes it like he’s done this before. He leans in, and Tadashi uses his stem to ignite Tsukishima’s fresh cigarette. 

While Tsukishima takes care and cups his hand around the light, Tadashi looks at him like this. Long, blonde eyelashes downcast and intense focus on his feeble attempt to cure the flame. There’s a bit of a blemish between his furrowed brows; one Tadashi managed to miss from their intimacy before. The slight redness matches the red in his cheeks and on the top of his ears. He should really put a jacket on, even if it’s still the summer. He has cold hands and the last thing Tsukishima needed to do was to get sick at a time like this. 

The cigarette sparks and Tsukishima promptly steps back to take in a long drag. Tadashi huffs out his own and watches as Tsukishima coughs a little on the exhale. Maybe he’s not an expert after all. 

“When did you start?” Tadashi asks, eyes locked on the stick as Tsukishima raises it to his lips once more. 

“I never really did.” He takes a puff. “I only do it when someone else has some.”

“Didn’t take you as someone who’d go out of his way to ask others to help endorse a habit. Especially one with no clear end goal.”

“Didn’t take you as someone who’d start something you’re fully aware is detrimental.”

They both take a drag. Tadashi grovels himself with the bitter taste of tobacco that sticks on his tongue. 

“I guess we don’t know much about each other anymore,” Tadashi says smally, eyes fixed on the burning cigarette resting between his fingers.

“Guess so.”

It’s a scary thing to be unknown. The fear pools in the base of Tadashi’s stomach, maybe an adverse reaction to the cigarettes or anything else he’s consumed. He’s long considered him and Tsukishima strangers, but the truth of that statement is a reality Tadashi’s unwilling to face despite how long he’s existed in it. 

Sendai splays beneath them, quiet and asleep. The witching hour was made for the supernatural; Tadashi and Tsukishima are mere participants in the unholy acts. Perhaps the thin veil between the mythical and the physical is what allowed them to come together like this. Perhaps a meeting of the same fervor will never happen again. 

That’s probably for the best, Tadashi tells himself as he takes another drag. His cigarette is almost down to the butt. 

“Why?” Tsukishima abruptly asks, disturbing their nighttime peace. 

“Why what?”

Tsukishima’s not looking at him. His eyes are fixated far beyond the horizon to where the sun will be rising in a few hours. For now, at least, the full moon keeps its vigil and oversees their dubious acts as it has done so many times before. Their relationship, or lack thereof really, flourishes like night-blooming cereus flowers; they prosper when the sky is dark and the world is asleep. It ends when dawn is set to break. 

Tsukishima’s voice is beautifully reticent when it asks, “Why did you want to sleep with me?”

Tadashi wishes he had an answer. He really does. Because Tsukishima deserves one if nothing else. 

Truth is, Tadashi shouldn’t have wanted to do this. He’s supposed to be a businessman, built for his career. He’s supposed to have a wife and kids. His destiny had been laid out for him and nowhere in the equation did Tsukishima fit in. At least, not like this. They could have remained friends, of course, but Tsukishima never wanted that, did he? 

Nonetheless, here they are, reverting to old addictions under some futile attempt for… 

For what? 

If Tadashi had just wanted pleasure, he could have found any other person in a bar and fucked them until the sun rose. If Tadashi had wanted trouble, he could have spilled some truths and attempted to reconcile everything when he became sober. If Tadashi had wanted a release, he could have just jerked himself off like any other lonely businessman until he’d come enough to forget why he was so horny in the first place. 

But Tadashi didn’t want any of those. Tadashi wanted… he wanted… he… 

Tadashi frowns. “I don’t know,” he says, hoping his sincerity can be heard. It’s cruel, but he adds, “Why did you agree?”

“I don’t know.”

What a pair of foolish children they are. 

“Do you regret it?” Tadashi questions. 

“No,” Tsukishima affirms, nodding his head and meeting Tadashi’s eyes. “I never have.”

A breath hitches in Tadashi’s throat. 

Oh. 

Not this again. 

“I think…” 

Tadashi’s overcome with a warm, familiar feeling. Something evocative that reminds him of childhoods spent looking for frogs and eating strawberry ice cream. He allows a smile to slip through, even if it’s small and slight. 

“I think I regret that time over winter break,” Tadashi reminisces. “When we almost got caught by Akiteru-san.”

Tsukishima lets out a noise crossed between a dismissal and a laugh. “Okay, other than that, I don’t regret it.”

Tadashi allows his eyes to wander very briefly to catch a glimpse of Kei standing beside him. 

And oh how Tadashi knows this face. How Tadashi’s kisses had once grazed every centimeter, from the top of the forehead to the edge of the jawline. How Tadashi knows what words those lips may form; callous and tender and suggestive and content. How Tadashi has studied it through stolen glances in the classroom and indulging examinations as those golden eyes stared back. 

And oh, oh, how Tadashi knows it is not his to keep. 

Tadashi takes a last drag before snuffing out the butt of his cigarette. “I should probably go…”

“You could stay,” Tsukishima offers, although there’s audible hesitancy in his voice. “I don’t mind…”

Tadashi recognizes the unwillingness, even if Tsukishima does his best to mask it. Maybe he still does know some things about Tsukishima… 

“It’s fine,” Tadashi assures. 

“The trains aren’t running.”

“I’ll walk.”

Tsukishima takes a step forward. Tadashi takes a step back. 

“You don’t even want a ride home?” Tsukishima questions. 

Tadashi shakes his head. “I’m fine. Really.”

Tadashi wishes he had a coherent reason to not want to stay. It’s not like he has work tomorrow or some other excuse to warrant sleeping in his own bed.

As much as Tadashi likes the idea of observing the sun peek over the high-rise city buildings, bathing Tsukishima’s wide-windowed apartment in shades of orange and pink, the thought is ultimately squashed by Tadashi’s own anxiety for what comes after. Do they eat breakfast together at Tsukishima’s kitchen counter? Does Tsukishima make him a cup of tea and pour himself a cup of coffee? Do they talk about everything that’s happened over the last nearly 26 years of their lives because they now have the time to explore one another? What happens then, if Tadashi regresses into the being he once was?

He can’t risk it anymore. 

“Okay,” Tsukishima says. 

He stuffs his cigarette on the ground and enters back into the apartment. Tadashi trails behind. 

He finds his remaining articles of clothing, slipping on a shirt and jacket still in the darkness. He leaves soon after, before Tsukishima can get a word in otherwise. 

Tadashi ends up taking a cab home. The driver is similarly silent as they wind through the streets, the sidewalks empty save for the occasional stranded passerby. 

When Tadashi arrives home, he realizes he’s grabbed the wrong shirt. It’s one of Tsukishima’s, obvious from the large Frogs logo stamped right on the front. He should have noticed sooner, considering the soft fabric and oversized fit were a big giveaway, but Tsukishima hadn’t said anything as he walked out the door. 

It smells like him. It’s sweet and comforting, the same scent Tsukishima’s had since childhood. Like the bedsheets Tadashi used to fall asleep in with Tsukishima at his side, even when they grew too old to be sharing a bed as friends. 

Tadashi doesn’t take the shirt off.