Y las miro lejanas mis palabras
Más que mías son tuyas
― P. Neruda, Veinte Poemas de Amor y una Canción Desesperada (Poema V)
And I watch my words from afar
They are more yours than mine
― P. Neruda, Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair (Poem V)
Osamu clips the bag of coffee grounds closed.
“I said,” Rintarou glances away from the keyboard. “Circumlocution.”
Osamu blinks at him from their shared kitchen island, fingers reaching to play with the shorter dark hair behind his right ear, the way they do whenever he isn’t sure whether Rintarou is shitting him or if he’s supposed to know what he’s talking about.
“It’s English,” Rintarou explains. “A phrase that skirts around something by using more words than necessary.”
The coffee machine starts with a low thrum. He debates asking Osamu to fetch a cup for him too, then remembers both of his mugs are dirty and still collecting dust on his bedside table ever since yesterday morning. And possibly the morning before that.
“Sounds like more syllables than necessary to me,” Osamu’s lips turn up at the corner; the gremlin in Rintarou’s stomach howls. “Since when d’you write in English?”
“I don’t,” Rintarou trails his eyes back to the laptop. “I just look up words sometimes. Creative process and shit.”
Three pages sit open on the screen: his little sister’s most recent Tweet, an English to Japanese web dictionary, and the blank Google document that has been staring at him for the past two hours.
He stares back, for good measure. Words do not magically appear in the span of minutes.
What does appear is Osamu, in the corner of his vision, then a thud somewhere to Rintarou’s left, and Rintarou’s eyes resolutely do not follow his broad back as he walks out of the living room.
They do fall on the fuming mug, resting on the sofa table at a reasonable distance from Rintarou’s clumsy elbow. White ceramic, with a pattern of cartoon-style shrimps on it, googly eyes and blush and all. It’s Osamu’s favorite mug.
In the great scheme of things, it’s probably ironic that Rintarou ends up writing. Rintarou, who’s mastered the art of embarrassing the shit out of his friends without unleashing even one word more than strictly necessary; who avoids phone calls like the plague because he never knows what to say; who doesn’t even bother with correct punctuation when he texts his mother.
Then again, maybe that’s one of his strengths. Being quiet leaves him with a good bunch of thoughts to spare.
Rintarou doesn’t know that yet when Osamu first asks, on a fall afternoon in his second year at Inarizaki, the two of them sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on the emergency stairs that no one ever uses at the back of the main school building.
“What’d ya wanna do after high school?”
The plastic crumples when Rintarou dives a finger into the bag, just to find there’s only one gummy bear left.
“Don’t know yet.”
Rintarou drops the package on Osamu’s lap.
“I want to cook,” Osamu breathes out, tone even, glancing at him from the corner of his eye as if to assess his reaction. Rintarou doesn’t know what he expects, but he recalls a dozen lazy Saturday mornings spent watching Osamu’s dedicated palms work through recipe after recipe, and it only makes sense to him. If anything, he’s more surprised that Atsumu hasn’t thrown a fit over it.
Osamu’s shoulders sag almost imperceptibly, their elbows brushing clumsily with the movement, but Rintarou is watching as a single grey-dyed strand diverts from its route, sticking up sideways on the crown of Osamu’s head. There’s a crumpling noise, and Osamu’s concrete irises glint briefly when he finds the last gummy bear and throws it in his mouth with a hum. (It’s okay, really — Rintarou doesn’t eat the green ones anyway.)
He almost misses his next words.
“Think I’m gonna study in Tokyo. They’ve got this one program —”
Then the emergency doors behind them fly open with a ugh, knew I’d findja here, and before they know it Atsumu is dragging them away because apparently it’s already three and they’re going to be late for practice and Kita is going to murder them.
Maybe that’s for the better. Rintarou wouldn’t have known what to say.
He doesn’t think about it much. Doesn’t think about it after practice. Doesn’t think about it later that weekend, when he looks up Tokyo University on his mother’s laptop. Doesn’t think about it when he scrolls down a list of more courses than he knows what to do with.
Doesn’t think about it when he scrolls past the literature course, then scrolls back up and halts.
He does think about his Japanese teacher consistently praising his half-assed essays, about impromptu poetry about the Saturday sun and ink-stained palms and the skin between his fingers, red and burning from holding a pen for one paper too long, and about Tokyo University’s volleyball team.
does middle school naruto fanfiction justify pursuing a lit major?
⤷ sa to ri @miracleboi
dude ofc. also link
⤷ rin @letmesleep_
naruto/sasuke coffee shop au enemies to lovers mutual pining 26k archiveofourown.org/works/xxxxxxxx
“I’ve thought about you more than I should,” Rintarou’s head drops in despair. “Be honest, does it sound stupid?”
Osamu has his back to him, right bicep bulging in a steady rhythm, only stopping briefly before he returns to chopping his carrots.
“How would I know? I’m not the nationally acclaimed writer ‘round here.”
How would he know? It’s not like Osamu would recognize a love story if it punched him in the face.
Rintarou’s pupils roll back into his skull. “Please just give me an honest opinion,” he huffs, forehead slamming down against the cold table surface. “I don’t wanna send this chapter to Motoya half-assed.”
You’d think being an accomplished author with three published works and a fourth one on the way at the age of twenty-six would save you from harsh critique. When one of your critique partners is Komori Motoya, you’re forced to kiss that hope goodbye. At least Tatsuki lets him down gently most of the time, though he’s currently too busy with the incoming publication of his own second novel, which leaves Rintarou alone with the spawn of the devil.
Although, dramatics aside, he honestly doesn’t mind it much; it’s their perpetually blunt and meticulous reviews that make them so reliable, and there’s no one Rintarou could ever trust more with his writing.
And to be frank, it’s not that bad, really, insofar as he overlooks Motoya’s more disturbing commentary along the lines of some good ol’ stargazing, i vibe with that and this hand holding making me feel like a victorian english man seeing a lady’s bare ankle for the first time and LMFAO????? and dude if i have to read one more paragraph about fictional-osamu’s big strong arms i will —
Rintarou flinches at Osamu’s voice, fumbling to chase away the paranoia that he might have somehow read his thoughts, and —
“I have,” Osamu exhales. “Been thinkin’ about ya more than I can afford.”
A thrill cuts down his spine.
He stares. Stock still in utter silence, under that one dying light in the kitchen that paints their faces the wrong shade of white.
“That’s what I would say, I think,” Osamu’s shoulders twitch as he clears his throat, and the mincing resumes, the tap of the knife against the chopping board deafening to Rintarou’s pounding ears, grey clinging to the tip of his tongue.
Writing romance isn’t a conscious decision.
Osamu kisses him at twenty like he’d kissed him at sixteen; tipsy on cheap alcohol, some foreign EDM neither of them recognize playing three octaves too high in the background. It must be long past two in the morning but the campus party is still going strong when Rintarou swerves into him, Osamu’s arm readily slipping around his waist like an anchor as he mentally curses at the stranger who just elbowed him in the gut.
This is why we always avoid the crowd, Rintarou is about to say before he turns to face him, words spent in his throat when he finds Osamu’s eyes falling to his mouth then back to his eyes, and it finally dawns on him just how close they are.
They stare at each other for what feels like minutes, or hours, or just so goddamn long, before Osamu is approaching tentatively and Rintarou is nodding, slow, then faster when he grasps that yes, this is happening — how is this happening again? — and hands are cradling his jaw and Osamu’s lips crash against his own.
It’s sloppy and sweaty and mostly tongue, and Rintarou wishes he cared, wishes it mattered to him, but it doesn’t, not at all, and he sinks his hands into the front of Osamu’s hoodie to pull him closer and kiss him harder until they’re both breathless and forced to part, eyes blinking open and disoriented.
“Well,” Osamu swallows, pupils wide. “Fuck,” he exhales over the disastrous beat of Rintarou’s pounding heart. “I need a drink.”
Well, fuck, indeed.
When Rintarou regains a little sense, they’re having shots with this dude with pitch black hair who looks like he needs a surgical haircut but has some really good vodka, and Osamu disappears in the crowd with some boy — they’re holding hands, maybe, or maybe they’re not, how would he know? Why would he know? — and Rintarou claims he’s had enough for the night, for no reason in particular, and I’m fine, dude, really, and yeah, I remember where my room is, no worries.
Rintarou drags himself home, finds the dorm more silent than it has ever been, and spills his guts in the toilet. Then he fishes in the drawer for a pen and an empty notebook, and spills his guts again, but on fine paper.
“You sure you wanna watch this?” Osamu pries, plopping down on the couch next to him. “You look like ya haven’t slept in three days.”
Rintarou bites back the look who’s talking, because if Osamu thinks he’s being slick with the way he’s been coming home later and later this week, then he’s delusional. Rintarou sees the tired slope of his neck, and if he’s kind enough not to mention it, it’s because he knows Osamu’s devotion to his work pays him back religiously; the kind of all-compelling satisfaction that used to warm him up after a really good spike in high school, that leaks out of his gaze when he gets to watch people enjoy his food, the one that first made Rintarou believe that it is possible to adore one’s job after all.
“No shit,” he says instead. “I’ve got deadlines to meet.”
Osamu smiles a small, secretive smile. “I sure hope that muse of yours is worth it.”
Rintarou’s hand clenches around the remote.
“Shut up,” he mutters, half-heartedly. “You said you’d watch with me. You’re not talking your way out of this.”
A compliant hum, which Rintarou takes as his sign to press play.
Only forty minutes into the drama, like clockwork, he feels a pressure on his right side. Rintarou holds back a smirk, letting the blanket fall loose on his lap, because this is his favorite part.
Osamu sways a little, head falling on Rintarou’s shoulder even though he’s slumped and he bets it’s uncomfortable. He shifts, once, then again, lids falling periodically, Rintarou following the flutter of his lashes from the corner of his eye. Then Osamu slips forward a bit, and Rintarou nods briefly, dismissive, at his questioning look, and a dark head settles onto his lap.
Fingers fall into Osamu’s hair, drawing a pleased exhale at each brush through the soft strands, and maybe, just maybe, Rintarou could get high on this. On content sighs. On a blanket that’s not just his anymore. On loving what he does and who he does it with.
Osamu is warm. The second episode starts. This has always been his favorite part.
Onscreen, a girl in a red jacket flees the restaurant, arms across her face and rain across her hood. When she runs headfirst into a boy, he tucks her close under his chin and extends his umbrella across both their heads. [you wish that was you huh? lmfaoooo -Motoya] The episode cuts out, then, ending soundtrack blaring over a montage of the main cast. The girl chatting with her friend, the girl slapping the boy across the face, [wait is this that new drama that started airing last week?? is it any good??? -Motoya] the girl’s eyes leaking over a ratty diary—
Across Kasumi’s lap, Shota snores softly, shoulders rising and falling with each slow breath. The cut of muscle stretching across his shoulders and back is warm, and just a little firmer than she remembers. [CAN YOU STOP THIRSTING?? THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A SOFT SCENE -Motoya] [I have to agree with that -Washio]
Shota has always been a bad idea, but even as he burns her skin from the fingertips up, she can’t find it in her to let him go. [Is that a tear stain? -Washio]
[hey i asked a friend for their love counsellor’s number please hit them up XXX-XXX-XXXX -Motoya]
do u think about me too
⤷ sunarei @prettiersuna
⤷ tsumu @miya_tsum
⤷ aran @the_ojiro
⤷ mo_otoya @komori_m
@TatsukiWashio are you seeing this shit
At twenty-one he publishes his first work, though only digitally and under the pressing insistence and scrupulous editing of his Linguistics professor. They post it on the university forum, free for download, because Rintarou doesn’t really care about his word vomit making money nor does he know if that’s what he wants to do with his life yet, and it’s almost funny to see his emotionally constipated ramblings somehow go viral within the intercollegiate social circle. Suna Rintarou, Tokyo University middle blocker, recreational Instagrammer, and the guy who wrote that one heart wrenching book. Is he okay?
Rintarou has to knock on Osamu’s dorm room door a couple of times before it finally slants open, a platinum blonde head almost giving him whiplash. It takes him a moment to recall Osamu hinting that his twin would stay over for a day or two before the volleyball season starts in two weeks and Atsumu inevitably falls prey to the hectic whirlwind of matches and events.
“He’s over at that new girlfriend ‘f his,” Atsumu blabbers before Rintarou can speak a word, but he does scoot over so that the brunette can walk in. “I’ve been readin’ yer book, ya know! Always knew you were a hopeless romantic deep down. Like, very, very deep down under the cold-blooded, prickly, enormous-dickhead exterior.”
Rintarou suppresses a grimace, and not even at the unflattering remarks. His sister had mentioned that too: hopeless romantic.
Rintarou is doubtful.
Is he hopeless? Definitely. But romantic? Maybe, if only in the sense that he’s affiliated with romance. Even professor Agawa has always deemed his portrayal of feelings raw like ripping tape off the wall and finding the mark it left behind: expecting it’d be there, but still wincing at the truth. It’s not like he wants someone to bring roses, or kiss him under the moonlight, or tenderly hold his hand across a candlelit dinner table and caress his wrist with a calloused thumb — okay. Okay, well. Perhaps he does.
“You do know Akagi-san sent the file to the group chat,” Atsumu remarks, leaning against the wall with a nonchalance so fake it gives him second-hand embarrassment.
Rintarou raises one fine eyebrow as he drops his bag on the desk, rummaging for the folder Osamu had forgotten the last time he’d come over. “It's a public file, it’s not like I can stop him from sharing that.”
Then Atsumu clears his throat, compelling him to meet the blonde’s scrutinizing gaze, and if there’s something he has learned from three years of playing with Miya Atsumu, it’s that Rintarou doesn’t like that look one bit.
“You sure ya want him to read that?”
And that’s it, his flight response kicks in, fire alarms ringing and all, and Rintarou turns tail at once because he is not having this conversation. Not here, not now, and if everything goes well, not ever.
“Tell ‘Samu I left the notes on his bed,” he declares, cutting off Atsumu’s protests as he marches straight to the door.
be honest am i a romantic
⤷ akinori @akingshit
how honest are we talking
⤷ kuro @blackcatstruggles
honey do i have news for you
The jingle of the keys in the door lock announces Osamu’s entrance, the man still wearing his work cap, a white paper bag with a huge Onigiri Miya logo carefully balanced in his arms. He throws Rintarou a cursory glance as he slips out of his boots, almost as if he knows he’s been slacking off for hours and he somehow expects to find the evidence written all over his charming eye bags.
“Rin, it’s freakin’ December,” he muses in lieu of a greeting, dropping the bag on the kitchen table. “What are ya doin’ in a t-shirt?”
“And here I thought I was over living with my mom,” Rintarou grumbles, but he very elegantly rolls off the couch to go rifle around for something to wear before Osamu can pry some more. He should consider himself lucky he didn’t ask if he had lunch. Rintarou isn’t sure if he had lunch. Time is fake and he is nothing but a slave of his own faltering memory.
He looks down at his bare arms, frowning at his neon yellow t-shirt which he supposes doesn’t suit the weather outside. Well, it’s not like he would know. He hasn’t left home in two weeks.
“I’ve got some leftovers for dinner —” Osamu turns as he shacks off his scarf, and halts mid-sentence, mouth parted around a word that never leaves his lips. “Is that my jacket?”
Rintarou raises his chin, shoulders curling and fingers gripping defensively at the sleeve cuffs of what may or may not be Osamu’s jacket. So what? If he wants this jacket, he’s gonna have to fight him for it — which if he thinks about it, doesn’t really go in Rintarou’s favor because he may be taller but Osamu’s definitely broader.
But Osamu only steps closer, hands reaching for the open hems of the jacket, and tugs so gently Rintarou can’t find the will to resist it, tripping closer to the other with a sharp inhale. Osamu radiates warmth, or maybe it’s just Rintarou who’s growing balmy under a posed gaze, something wild tugging violently at the seams of his ribcage, and he can only stare at Osamu’s careful, oh-so-slow fingers as they grip steadily at the metal and drag the zip up to his chin.
“For someone who's turnin' twenty-seven next month, ya sure are a slob,” Osamu huffs, lips curving up in the corner in that little grin that has Rintarou’s insides scrambled all over, but his eyes betray more fondness than Rintarou knows what to do with.
And Rintarou wants to raise a hand, and run a thumb across his jaw, and hold his cheeks in the insides of his palms, and maybe whisper Osamu’s name the way it chants in his head, like it’s the only name he’s ever known.
He wants to.
His hands slip into his pockets, empty and grasping at the last straws of his resolve.
Twenty-two-year-old Osamu’s voice is rougher than his teenage wavering timbre yet just as placid. The same steady casualness like a second skin.
“I got offered an internship,” A beat. “In Paris.”
Osamu gazes at him across the bench, tentative, as if not to scare him away. As if he expects him to say something. It’s stupid, and infuriating in a way that makes his blood run marble-cold, because Osamu always knows when he has something to say.
Rintarou chews at the plastic straw of his empty boba cup.
How long have you known —
— that there would be somewhere I couldn’t follow?
And they go quiet, quiet in the way Rintarou has always been; quiet about all the wrong things.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” cheers anyone who Rintarou has ever bothered to remember from high school until now, slurred at the edges from the alcohol.
Kita shows up this time, a rare occasion, and Osamu and Atsumu and Ginjima and Akagi pile up on him the moment he walks through the door. Maybe Rintarou does as well. Aran slings an arm around his shoulderS when they all settle into the little reserved booth and pop the lids of the first few bottles of wine.
Komori and Washio shout their introductions over the din for the sake of manners, but Kita simply waves a pale hand and flashes his phone screen at them open to his texts with Rintarou himself. Rintarou leans over to catch a glance of unintelligible keysmashes, a picture of Motoya, a colorful death threat, then more keysmashes. The next text takes another five minutes: IM SORRY KITASAN THAT WAS FOR ATSUMU.
Motoya lets out a cackle, then elbows him in the ribs. “Death by asphyxiation from my own intestines? You’re a kinky one, eh?” It’s Motoya-speak for get ready to revise half your book thrice for my sadistic gain. Rintarou doesn’t dignify him with a response.
“Oh yeah, Suna,” Akagi hollers, shovelling sliced beef into his mouth. “What’s it like, being twenty-seven and a critically acclaimed author?”
“I know,” Ginjima collapses onto the sticky table. “Imagine majoring in lit because you wrote Naruto fanfiction at some point, felt like it, and went to Tendou Satori as impulse control and actually having it work out for you. Maybe I should’ve just pursued gaming.”
Rintarou takes a long sip from his glass. “Sucks to be you.”
Akagi bristles and slams his hands against the table in all his drunken glory, leaning over to flick him across the forehead. A shot glass tips into Oomimi’s lap, and his face crumples into a sort of resigned despair. It’s laughably reminiscent of how he had looked for the majority of their high school volleyball career together. “Not all of us can do shit effortlessly like you can, show some compassion!”
“Thank you for the feature in your short story collection, by the way,” Kita says, after swallowing. It’s a relief that at least one of them has proper manners. “It was very flattering.”
Osamu unfolds from where he’d been collapsed into his brother’s side and blinks, long and slow, at Rintarou. He holds his gaze until Osamu turns to face some spot to his right.
And then his lips part.
“I wish someone would write about me.”
Atsumu chokes on his drink, hacking up vodka all over the table; Motoya throwing a side-ways glance that burns scalding hot on Rintarou’s temple.
Me too, Rintarou thinks. I wish everyone wrote about you, so I wouldn’t have to.
Most of all, I wish someone had told me I would love you at twenty-seven the way I loved you at seventeen. Maybe I would’ve known better than dedicating my career to finding new ways of telling you.
Atsumu coughs awkwardly, then proves himself resourceful by successfully stirring the conversation towards the last Tachibana Red Falcons game, and all of a sudden they’re all very invested in Aran’s stellar serve record.
The wine bears a bitter taste of fatigue. Rintarou thinks that love lasts way too long for a monosyllabic word.
i’m going to murder my brother
⤷ tsumu @miya_tsum
for legal reasons this is a joke
⤷ gin @hitoshiiiii
⤷ sunarin @sunawrites
if any of u gets sued its got nothing to do with me
In retrospect it’s not his most thought-out idea, but at twenty-four — maybe for the first time in his life — Miya Osamu doesn’t leave him the chance to think.
“Komori said yer lookin’ for a place in Tokyo,” Osamu starts when he calls, like Rintarou hasn’t been ghosting his messages for weeks, like Paris and distance haven’t made a mess out of the scatters of their friendship. “Hear me out.”
And it only makes sense that Osamu is also moving to Tokyo for the opening of his new branch, and that sharing an apartment is perfectly convenient for the owner of a slowly growing business and a caffeinated author who can’t take care of himself for shit, who just happen to be good friends. Good friends. It’s a label Rintarou takes to with mixed feelings, because good friends shouldn’t spend nights at a time fashioning universes where hands and hearts and lips mold together into a single being. But Osamu’s back from Paris, and the olive branch is inches from his fingertips, and Suna would rather they be good friends than nothing at all.
So yeah — it makes sense. Though even if it hadn’t, he would’ve probably caved against each and every inch of self-preservation in his body suggesting that living with his crush of almost ten years might not turn out so well for him.
And there have been so many books, so many words written about love, all for something as simple as this: Osamu asks gently and Rintarou caves in.
why do i get the feeling rin is about to make a stupid decision
⤷ sunarin @sunawrites
im gonna rip off your eyebrows
guess who just made a stupid decision
⤷ WT @TatsukiWashio
I don’t want to know.
“Circumlocution,” Osamu says. “Skirtin’ around something by using more words than necessary.”
Rintarou stares at the one small crack in the wall, right above Osamu’s shoulder. “What about it?”
“I was just thinkin’ that we’d be terrible at that,” Osamu steps sideways, meeting his gaze. “We tend to skirt ‘round shit by not talkin’ at all.”
Rintarou curls his hands into the big pocket of his hoodie. They just got their heating fixed last week, but the clamminess of his palms refuses to go away.
“Rin,” Osamu exhales. “Will you please talk to me?”
“Talk to you?” Rintarou bursts, because he’s tired, and he’s frustrated, and because it all feels so wrong, to talk when there’s never been a need for words between them. He marches for the bookshelf and grabs the one book with the dozens of little post-it notes Motoya always leaves to indicate what his favorite parts are.
He lets it crack open along the middle, inky letters gutted and oxidizing in the stale air between them. There’s a paragraph flagged in pink in the upper left about a boy who passes last night’s biology notes under the desks with gentle hands. There’s a line, centred and slanted, about the exact way his eyes twinkle like sunsets across a freshly paved road. Rintarou swipes at the pages until his eyes blur, not minding the way the paper crinkles under his harsh grip. There’s being seventeen and in love, and then twenty and in love, then twenty-three, then twenty-five. When the back cover slams shut, Rintarou’s throat is bleeding and bitter.
“Talk to you?” his voice breaks into two, all over the boundaries between frustration and the sharp hems of a blanket that’s been overstaying its welcome on his shoulders. “I’m so bad at talking I wrote four fucking books about you.”
Osamu stares after him, this dumbfounded look to his face, like he’s trying to string words together in that head of his— some sort of atonement, some sort of consolation, but Rintarou feels sick to his stomach already and doubts he’d be able to handle whatever Osamu hurls at his unguarded heart.
“Rin,” he catches, before the slam of the door behind him cuts the rest off.
Rintarou avoids him for two weeks.
Komori had put up with him on the couch for three days before turning him out to the wolves with an armful of revision notes and an earful of bad advice, most of which consisted of talk to him and get your head out of your ass and if you sneak in one more earth metaphor I’m going to annihilate you. Atsumu has been marginally more gracious, but the sympathetic glances have been chipping away at Rintarou’s already frayed mental state. Atsumu has never before looked so similar yet so different from his twin.
Rintarou wishes he could call this the lowest point of his life, laying face down on Miya Atsumu’s annoyingly soft living room carpet in clothes that don’t fit him, ‘cause he hadn’t thought of bringing a change before leaving his own house to live out the obligatory overly tragic post-confession dream of his failed romantic comedy of a life. He wishes he could, but he can’t, because he’s been a college student feeding on nothing but instant noodles and expired eggs for six days straight and he’s known what it feels like to hit his low before.
So he’s left with nothing, not even the privilege of being dramatic about it all. (Nothing, but the thud of Osamu’s voice assaulting the walls of his skull. His forehead hits the carpet again.)
He can, at least, congratulate himself for remembering to bring his phone, though he has done nothing but play games and ghost his sister’s messages so it’s not really helping his case.
His pathetic, stupid, lonely, heart-shattering case. (He does get to be a tad bit dramatic after all. He’s got a lot of time on his hands, lately.)
And with all that spare time, maybe Rintarou should’ve realized that if he wanted to avoid someone, their twin brother’s apartment would probably be the least effective hiding place. It’s a Tuesday evening and Rintarou’s following through with his daily scheduled moping session when there’s a knock on the door. Atsumu says something like delivery’s here and he’s lying between his treacherous teeth because both of them know it’s Osamu. Long-short-short-long, the same way he used to, against Rintarou’s high school room back at his family’s house.
“Oh, hey ‘Samu,” Atsumu flings the door wide open, stepping out of the way to leave an unobstructed view of the living room.
Son of a—
Rintarou dives underneath the couch, covering his mouth with one hand so as to not inhale the decade’s worth of dust hovering inches from his face.
“Hey ‘Tsumu, have you seen Rin recently?”
Rintarou mimes an elaborate death scene from his hiding spot. Atsumu does not notice, and certainly does not get the hint. “Why do ya ask?”
“Well, I asked him to talk and he told me about his books and then left and I haven’t seen him for two weeks and I’m really worried and—”
“Hold on hold on hold on,” Atsumu makes to sit down, then seems to think better of it and shuts the door left gaping behind them. “He told ya about his what ?”
“He told me about his books and then—”
“No, you idiot, what did he tell you about his books?”
Osamu sighs, scrubbing a wide palm across his face. “He said they were about me.”
He slips his phone out of his sweatpants and unlocks it.
“Water rolls down the dip in his back— a cascade tucked in a steady cliff face, impervious to the passing of time. If he's got hands made to mold, then I'm rice between his palms.” Atsumu inhales. Rintarou’s nails dig into his flesh. “I know yer dense as a rock, ‘Samu, but I thought you could read.”
“Well, I read one of his books after he said that and now it kind of makes more sense.”
“You read one of— you’d never read any of Rin’s books? ”
Under the couch, Rintarou’s chest stings.
“I just,” Osamu’s voice wavers, weaker than he’s ever heard it. “I heard it was romance, and it felt like intruding.”
“It’s publicly printed. Everyone back at uni and their moms have probably read it.”
“I don’t know, I get that it’s stupid, but I knew that one of them in the story was probably ‘bout someone Rin liked, and I just— didn’t want to read that.”
“You were jealous of a fictional version.” A pause, for dramatic effect. “Of you.”
“Well, how the fuck was I supposed to know? And now he’s up and gone,” the shaky exhale gets to Rintarou like a punch in the gut. “And I won’t be able to tell him how much I like him. How much I’ve liked him for a while now.”
“A- ha ! You catch that, Rin?”
The back of Rintarou’s head hits the couch with a thump so loud it almost covers the hard, obscene, “What?” falling off his lips like one of Motoya’s curses. It doesn’t cover the string of Rintarou’s own curses as he rolls out of his hiding place, hand to his injured nape, nor the second, stronger,
Osamu stares at him like it’s the first time he’s ever seen him, stunned into silence, a bit like the first time they’d met after Paris, a bit like the past two weeks were somehow longer than months of living across the earth from each other.
And they were, Rintarou realizes quietly. The tug in his chest screams when he meets Osamu’s eyes all over again.
“I think we need to talk,” Rintarou murmurs, and it feels so ironic and so fucking stupid coming from his lips that he needs to suppress a hysteric chuckle.
“Oh, you think so?” Atsumu whines. “This is what I freakin’ get for not meddling earlier.”
The door slams behind him as he leaves, because of course Atsumu had to pick this moment out of almost thirty years of life to digest the concept of overstaying one's welcome.
Something Rintarou still hasn't gotten to, evidently, which has more or less landed him in this, right now: a heavy silence that clings to his sides like fire, and a grey stare threatening to carve through him like a knife through softened clay.
“I’m sorry,” Osamu says, finally.
Rintarou looks up weakly, not quite meeting his eyes. “What are you sorry for?”
“In your first book, the confession happened by the beach, against the sunset. I couldn’t have that for you.”
And that does it for him. The tears slip from the corners of his eyes in torrents, running every which way and collecting the sediments of a decade of painful love. His hair is mussed up and coated in dust and Osamu’s shirt doesn’t match his pants at all and Atsumu’s dining table is roughed up around the edges, and it’s possibly the messiest confession he’s ever fathomed, fiction or not.
“You’re so stupid. I’ve wanted this more than anything for half my life, sunsets be damned.”
Osamu’s face breaks into a grin, and he’s so, so beautiful.
“But, you’re gonna make it up to me.” Rintarou’s voice is watery and his eyes are already swelling up, but he shoves a finger into Osamu’s sternum with the most authoritative tone he can muster. “You will cook me dinner.”
Osamu snorts. “I already do.”
Rintarou frowns a little, like they both don’t know that it’s all for show. “But with candlelights this time.”
“I can arrange that, for sure,” Osamu nods, lips curling to fight back a smile.
“You’ll bring me roses.”
“All the freakin’ roses you want,” Osamu walks one step closer as he cups his face in his palms, breaking into a silly grin Rintarou knows he’s mirroring, feeling so giddy he might just cry.
“Kiss me,” he breathes out, and Osamu does, and if there are no fireworks, well, Rintarou will fucking write them in once he puts this on paper because there’s no proper way to put to word the enormity of the feeling threatening to split him open.
And nothing ever felt as comfortable as slipping into place.
and if I say I missed you, it's just a slip of the pen.
and if I say I loved you, pay it no mind;
it's not like I've been loving you all this time.