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Coming Up Short

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Oikawa Tooru woke up to the sun almost every day, and immediately proceeded to commence his daily preparations. As a thirteen year old boy in his last year of junior high, he had to make sure he looked fantastic every single day; it’s not particularly odd for a boy of his age to think as much.

But there was, in fact, one person in particular Tooru had in mind when styling his hair and getting dressed every morning.

Sugawara Koushi. 17 years old. Neighbor three houses down.

In Tooru’s eyes, Suga was the prettiest, kindest, most amazing human on the planet; and in his naïve little heart he was dead sure that he loved this man. He didn’t know what else to call this feeling; the one where he got butterflies in his stomach from talking to him, and his face got all hot when the older boy said something nice to him, and he always felt like kissing him because he was so kind and pretty and perfect.

He couldn’t wait until he was older, and he imagined it quite often. He would be taller than Suga by then-about a head he reckoned, and his shoulders would broaden out so that Suga could lay his head on them easily. His older self would look much more manly than he did now, probably even more devilishly handsome, if that was even possible.

This was himself he was talking about, after all.

He hummed a happy little tune to himself that he had heard on the radio the last time he was with Suga as he perfected the swoop of his bangs so that it lay uniformly across his forehead.

“Perfect! As usual,” he said to himself, quite pleased.

Outside of his interactions with Suga, Oikawa was a confident Casanova, and he always tried to steel himself up every time he encountered the older boy-but his plans to woo Suga always failed. They either had no effect, and he’d laugh Tooru off as being flippant, or the ultimate failure; Oikawa would end up blushing profusely at what he had done.

Koushi was the only person Tooru had ever met that had this effect on him, so he figured he might as well embrace it.

He was confident he could win over any heart-even that of a senpai four years his senior.

“Suga-senpai!”

Sugawara looked up at the sound of a voice he had heard greeting him every day for the past three years- and although recently it had dropped in pitch, the same light quality succeeded in bringing a smile to his face.

“Good morning, Tooru,” Sugawara returned brightly.

He could hear his small group of friends snicker, and he sighed internally before shooting the main culprits –Tanaka and Tsukishima-a nasty glare.

It failed to silence them.

He turned back to Tooru, the sight of the smaller boy eagerly awaiting his conversation bringing a tender smile to his face.

“You look nice today,” he comments, because he knows that Tooru tries very hard on his appearances for whatever reason. The thirteen year old always wore the nicest ties that were permitted by the dress code, and his hair was always styled to perfection-that single swoop framing his cute little face perfectly.

(Or Suga thought so, anyways.)

“Thanks!”

Oikawa practically beams at him, and Suga is momentarily stunned by the fresh, rosy color that had presented itself on the younger boy’s cheeks. The brunet is about to open his mouth and add some more to the topic when another’s voice cuts him off.

“Yeah, Oikawa, you aiming to impress?” Tsukishima’s words were practically dripping with the taunt.

Oikawa can sense this very clearly and he flushes a fraction deeper, tucking his head down slightly.

“M…maybe…” Tooru retorts, and him even managing to speak is really quite unexpected from the older boys.

Tsukishima laughs, harsh and cold, which incites some of the others to laugh as well.

“Tsukishima,” Suga warns, layering him with a glare.

“What? I’m having an honest conversation with this dapper young man here.” He turns back to Oikawa and takes a step towards him, towering over the younger boy.

“And who might be the lucky one on the receiving end of these affections, Oikawa-kun?”

Tsukishima put a specific emphasis on the kun, lording his seniority over him with a menacing leer.

“That’s none of your business, dinosaur nerd,” he said, sticking his tongue out.

“Ha! I would much rather find interest in species that actually existed in the past as opposed to investing myself in a scientific discovery that’s yet to be had, alien freak.”

Suga rolled his eyes as the two bickered back and forth, as pointless as usual in the insulting of the other’s interests. Tsukki had a tendency for provocation to establish his superiority, and Oikawa had the tendency to stubbornly fight back, dead set on proving himself a worthy adversary.

To the others it was pure stupidity.

“Tsukishima, quit being so immature,” Daichi reprimanded tiredly.

“Yeah! You’re being immature Tsukki,” Oikawa cooed, elongating the syllables of the nickname that the lankier boy was prone to loathe.

“If I’m immature, then that must make you infantile,” he answered baldly, letting the clipped tones of his voice do the insulting for him.

“Oh wait,” he pauses contemplatively, “you probably don’t know what that means.”

“I know what it means,” Tooru seethes.

Tsukishima had hit a sensitive area.

“Oh? Then you should know that someone of your likes shouldn’t hang around people like us. You’re bothersome.”

Oikawa scoffed in disbelief and laughed flippantly.

“No I’m not! I could never be bothersome,” he said haughtily. “Right, Suga-senpai?”

“Oh no you don’t, I am not getting roped into this,” Suga said, strongly adverse to involving himself in this endless war.

“And there’s your answer, pipsqueak.”

“Now wait a min-“ Suga had started to protest, but Tooru’s raised voice cut him off.

“That’s not what he said!”

His fists were clenched and his jaw was set, clearly aggravated.

“Oooohh, someone’s getting testy,” Tanaka chimed in with the hint of a laugh.

“Why so defensive, Tooru-kun?”

“You ask that like it isn’t obvious,” Tsukishima pointed out, a cruel edge livening up his monotonous voice.

Suga could see where this was going; and he didn’t like it.

They always made fun of Tooru’s admiration of him, and they always took it too far, insinuating too much. Suga judged that the redness on Oikawa’s face any time they teased him was due to his discomfort at the accusation.

And sure, it hurt a bit-or a lot, actually, it really fucking hurt a lot- that Tooru found the mere mention of having an interest in Suga so repulsive that it flushed him with anger.

However, to any other observer, this would not be the case at all.

“I’ll have you know that-“ Oikawa had started talking, but immediately snapped his jaw shut at the sound of his voice cracking. His face rapidly started burning, and the bright red flush of his face only grew worse at the sound of immense laughter coming from the group of older boys. His eyes darted up and met Suga’s for a split second, after which Tooru sprinted off in the direction of his school before Suga could even begin to call out to him.

“That was mean, Tsukishima.”

“What? If he doesn’t want people making fun of his little crush on you, then he should learn to control himself more.”

“It’s…not like that,” Suga said, for probably the twentieth time. He honestly couldn’t see any outward indication of these so called “affections” the others always joked about; he and Tooru had been like that for as far back as he could remember. Which, arguably, was only about a year or two, but regardless, Suga still couldn’t see it, and he really didn’t appreciate them making Tooru uncomfortable.

 “And besides, just because he’s a kid doesn’t mean he doesn’t have emotions.”

 Suga resumed the walk to their high school at a brisk pace, clearly agitated.

“You hurt his feelings.”

 The softness of Suga’s voice betrayed a lot more affection than he had intended, and he hoped to God that Tsukishima didn’t notice it. But Tsukishima merely raised an inquisitive eyebrow, and deemed it not worth his interest to further pursue this conversation.

But his lack of interest didn’t last long.

The walk home from school was filled with casual conversation, and Suga wasn’t really listening until he heard mention of Oikawa.

“Look, look, there he is!”

“Shut up Tanaka! I saw him before you did!”

“Oh, Oikawa-kun,” Tsukishima crooned, but the disdain in his voice was thinly veiled at the most.

Suga looked up to see Tooru walking quickly ahead of them with his head down, gripping his little briefcase until his knuckles turned white.

“Your beloved Suga-senpai’s here to see you!”

Suga could see Oikawa’s frame stiffen as some of his friends ran up behind him, flanking him on all sides except the front.

“Didn’t you hear, Oikawa? Suga’s come to see you.”

“Don’t you want to talk to him? Then maybe you could confe-”

“HEY!” Suga shouted to grab their attention.

He had reached his limit.

Tooru had done absolutely nothing wrong, and yet here he was practically being assaulted by Suga’s own friends.

He shoved the others aside roughly, and shielded Oikawa from them with his body momentarily, shooting them murderous glares one at a time.

“Leave. Him. Alone,” he said icily, and all of them knew it was more of an order than a request.

He turned back around and placed a firm hand on Oikawa’s shoulder; the smaller boy flinched visibly, and Suga’s face contorted into one of anger. They had scared him to the point where he jumped at someone's touch.

He threw one last furious glance over his shoulder, marking the faces of the culprits and mentally adding them to his hit list.

“Let’s go, Tooru.”

Much to everyone’s surprise, Oikawa simply shrugged Suga’s hand off coldly and started walking forward. Suga’s arm fell limply to his side, and he almost didn’t even register the snickers of his friends.

“Suga….Earth to Suga.”

He blinked, startled, Daichi’s face slowly coming into view.

“Aren’t you gonna go after him?”

“He clearly doesn’t want me to,” Suga said, sounding a bit more bitter than he realized.

Daichi scoffs a laugh at him, and the others follow suit.

“Suga are you serious?”

“What?” He says defensively.

“That kid has been in love with you since day one.”

Suga feels the blood rush to his cheeks.

“Wh-what? N-no that’s not….He’s not…”

“Suga,” Tanaka chimes in. “Even I can see it, and I’m the dumbest one here.”

“No way, Ryuu-the only reason you saw it is because of that one day when he-“

“Oh, you’re right! I remember now! It was Ennoshita that told us.”

“He followed us in the bushes for ten minutes, and it was pretty obvious he wasn’t doing that for one of us,” Ennoshita pointed out.

“Weird kid,” Noya comments.

“He-,” Suga had to swallow the lump in his throat, “he did what?”

“I think it was the day after you told him his hair looked nice, and he turned all red,” Tanaka muses.

“T-turned red?! When did Tooru-”

“Any damn time you talk to him, Suga!” Daichi says, incredulity lacing his tone.

Suga’s face is absolutely on fire; how had he never noticed any of this? Was it because he was too worried about how he was coming off?

The little charmer had the tendency to sweep him off his feet, so most of his concentration during their conversations had been on himself. He never once thought Tooru felt…the same way he did. Did Oikawa really feel like he did all the time?

He couldn’t believe it.

“But I don’t-“

“Suga,” Tsukishima deadpanned. The silver-haired boy looked up at the blond.

“I have no personal investment in this matter.” He paused, as if to accentuate this point. “However, if you simply take into account his past patterns of behavior , what he feels for you is fairly obvious.”

Everyone else looked rather dumbfounded, and Tsukishima cleared his throat awkwardly.

“Aww, Tsukki’s gone soft-UGH!” Tanaka stopped talking courtesy of Tsukishima’s elbow to his stomach.

“I merely wanted to end the conversation. You people run in circles too much.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever Tsukki. We all know what a gushing romantic you are,” Nishinoya quipped, quick enough to evade Tsukki’s long reach.

“I have the skills and knowledge to kill you in two seconds and leave no evidence.”

While the others continued their bickering, Suga festered in the silence. His face was burning like never before, and he was pretty sure his ears were at least a neon red by now.

“Suga?”

“Daichi, have I really…Was I really that painfully oblivious?” He looks into Daichi’s eyes for an answer, only to receive an ugly confirmation that he hadn’t wanted to see.

“That probably….” His voice drops to a whisper. “That was probably really hard on him…”

Daichi simply hums, and fails to hide his smile.

“Sounds like it was hard on the both of you.”

Any previously regained composure is immediately shot down by the amusement in Daichi’s voice and the implication in his words. Suga can feel his face grow warm again.

“Younger guys aren’t all that bad, I suppose. Just make sure you wait until he’s legal before you-OW!”

Seeing Suga red-faced and spluttering is a rare sight, and Daichi takes full advantage of it every time; it’s well worth the punch.

“Daichi! I would nev-…That’s not… He’s thirteen!! I couldn’t-UGH!”

Suga had decided that was enough of this conversation.

“I’m going home. Good bye. I hate you all.”

And Suga did as he said, the burning on his face still prevalent by the time he reached his house.

And when his mother asked why his face was so red, he most certainly did not mention that he was thinking about the fact that maybe-just maybe- the boy he had a crush on liked him back.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The next day, Suga had just stepped out of the shower when he heard the doorbell ring. He quickly threw on a pair of loose sweatpants, and slung his towel around his neck to prevent the water dripping from his hair to slide down his back.

“Coming!”

He was home alone right now, and he had scheduled a study group with his friends at 4:00, but as he jogged by the clock in the hallway it only read half past three. They wouldn’t be that early would they?

He skidded to a stop and took a deep breath as he reached for the door knob.

“Hey, I thought we agreed to meet at-“

Suga’s eyes widened as he realized that the person standing in front of him was not, in fact, anyone he had planned on seeing in this particularly….open…moment.

“T-Tooru!?”

Suga could see very clearly the path that Oikawa’s eyes wandered, ranging from the brim of the sweatpants that clung loosely to his hips, to the lightly defined but still present abs, to the slightly raised tips of his nipples that were exposed to the cold air.

The intense scrutiny under which he was being observed caused warmth to rush to his cheeks.

“H-Hello, Suga-senpai!”

The pitch of Oikawa’s voice was much higher than usual, and Suga very much noticed how both of them were avoiding eye contact.

Remind him to never open the door shirtless ever again.

“Hello, Tooru,” he said, still slightly out of breath from his long jog down the hallway.

Oikawa finally looked up at the sound of his voice-breathy and soft- and Suga could see even more color rush to the boy’s face.

“Um…I was…I was wondering….if…um…m-maybe…”

Koushi noted that Oikawa had started fidgeting, toeing the ground with his foot, darting his eyes to somewhere over Suga’s shoulder. He had developed this nervous habit of placing his knuckles together, extending his thumbs and pinkies to connect into a weird sort of diamond.

It was an adorable quirk, in Suga’s opinion.

Scratch that; everything Tooru does is adorable, in Suga’s opinion.

Suga chuckled softly, and he couldn’t prevent the endearing smile from cropping up on his face.

“Would you like to come in for some hot chocolate, Tooru?”

The boy nodded his head quickly, an inexplicable intensity brimming in his eyes.

Suga stepped aside and motioned Oikawa in with a small gesture of his hand, grinning at him widely.

“I had my mom buy the kind you really like,” Suga mentions as they walk to the living room, because he knows Oikawa is a very picky self-proclaimed connoisseur of the chocolaty beverage.

“Oh! You really didn’t have to go that far…” He mumbles as he takes his usual seat on the couch.

“It’s really not a problem,” Suga says brightly as he heads a little further into the kitchen.

He sets out a measuring cup for the milk-Tooru only drank the powdered mix if it was made with milk- and opens the fridge to grab the gallon of whole milk.

“Are you using one percent?”

Oikawa had recently started worrying about his weight, which Suga absolutely couldn’t understand the reasoning behind; the boy was a stick. A perfectly healthy and able-bodied stick.

“Yes,” he called back as he poured a full cup of the 100% whole milk into the measuring cup.

“No you’re not!”

Suga whirled around at the sound of Oikawa’s voice coming from the door frame. He had a pout on his face as he crossed his arms over his chest.

 “Suga-senpai, come on!”

Suga flashed him his cheesiest grin and giggled mischievously, capping the milk jug and sliding it down the counter.

“One glass of milk isn’t going to hurt you. In fact, it’ll help your bones grow nice and strong! You need that at your age,” he pointed out.

Oikawa rolled his eyes.

“Okay, mom.

The sass was strong with this one.

Suga scoffed.

“Tooru, you look perfectly fine just the way you are, okay? You really don’t need to worry about your weight or anything like that. You’re lucky; most people go through an awkward stage but you’ve been ridiculously cute for your entire-“

Suga snapped his mouth shut and his eyes widened.

Did I say that out loud?

Judging by the openmouthed look on Tooru’s face the answer to that question would be a resounding yes.

Damn, he’d really let his guard down this time.

Suga cleared his throat thickly, and whirled around to throw the cup of milk in the microwave, punching the buttons in for the time. His face was burning, and the fact that his upper half was still unclothed only made him feel more self-conscious.

“Suga-senpai-“

“I’m going to go put a shirt on.”

They had both spoken simultaneously, but Suga couldn’t take the burning anymore and rushed out of the kitchen. He stormed into his room and grabbed the nearest shirt, made sure it smelled decent, and then wrestled it over his head. He could see his hair sticking up in all different directions, so he quickly tugged his fingers through it to arrange it into its usual state.

He then heard the microwave beeping with Oikawa’s heated milk, and almost immediately afterwards the doorbell started ringing in a cacophony of noise.

“Tooru hang on, I’ll be out in just a-“

“I’ll get it!”

Suga knew Tsukishima was probably the only one who would have shown up fifteen minutes early.

It'll be another World War if those two are left alone... 

“It’s really better if you don’t,” Suga called as he powerwalked back down the hallway.

The microwave was still beeping-glad to see Tooru cared about his own beverage-so Suga made a quick stop to open the door and stop the timer.

“Sugawara?” The unfailingly calm voice traveled down the short distance from the entryway to Suga’s ears.

“Tsukishima! Glad to see you could…make it?”

His words faltered as he rounded the corner to see Oikawa glaring daggers at Tsukishima from the doorway.

“He barged past me,” Oikawa explained with a petulant flip of his hair.

“Not like it was hard to do. You’re so small I almost missed you.”

Oikawa’s brows furrowed deeply in anger, and Suga seized this opportunity to defuse the situation.

“Hey! I’m actually one of the tallest in my gra-“

“Would you like a drink, Tsukishima?”

“Wh-What?!” Oikawa looked absolutely flabbergasted.

“Do you have any herbal tea?”

“You’re actually offering him a drink?!”

“Yes, I have tea,” Suga said, motioning for Tsukishima to follow him to the living room.

 “And why shouldn’t I offer my guest a drink, Tooru?”

“Because he’s a jerk!”

Tsukishima merely raised an eyebrow.

“Tooru, that’s…well actually that’s true. But a cup of tea isn’t going to make his personality any worse.”

“Suga-san, I’m wounded.”

Suga laughed and flashed a smile up at Tsukishima-what an interesting sense of humor he had- only to have it falter when his eyes landed on Tooru.

The expression on his face was not a nice one; a mixture of anger and hurt, but also something else…something more…soft…

In any other situation Koushi would identify it as jealousy- but here, now, in this situation, how could that be? He hadn’t done anything, had he?

Before he could do anything more than crease his eyebrows in concern the doorbell rang for the third time.

Koushi sighed, regretful of leaving the two belligerent boys together.

“You two…be nice,” he said as he left.

He threw the door open once again, and Daichi, Tanaka, Nishinoya, and Ennoshita all came into view.

“Yo,” Tanaka and Noya said simultaneously.

“We’re not too early are we?”

“No, no, you guys are fine, Daichi, just fine.”

The clipped tone of Suga’s voice led the others to believe things were otherwise.

“Suga what are you-“

Daichi was overshadowed by the sound of a loud crash coming from inside the house, accompanied by a small yelp. Suga immediately bolted from the spot and further into his house-almost like he was expecting it- leaving the others to show themselves through the door.

Suga rounded the corner and gasped as he saw what he had instinctively feared upon hearing Tooru’s voice.

The remnants of the measuring cup lay shattered on the floor, milk splattered across the tile floor where Oikawa and Tsukishima stood.

“Suga-senpai I am so sorr-“

“Tooru, your hand!”

Oikawa’s clenched fist was slowly releasing drops of blood onto the floor, the dark red blending into the pasty whiteness of the milk.

Suga immediately stepped forward, registering a sharp pain and chastising himself for not being a bit more careful. He continued to step through the shards though, trying his best to avoid them but not particularly caring that much when they scraped his foot.

“Suga-“

“What happened,” he said as he took Oikawa’s hand within his own. His fingers were tender as they gently pried open Oikawa’s hand for a better look, and he sucked in through his teeth at the sight of the marginally deep gash across the flat of Oikawa’s palm.

“Oh, Tooru,” he whispered, mostly to himself.

“It’s really not that bad,” Oikawa tried to brush it off, but Suga would have none of it.

“Tsukishima. Tell me what happened. Now.”

“Well, first and foremost the little brat wouldn’t stop nagging me to leave you and him-“

“I think I’m okay now!” Tooru proclaimed rather loudly, and Suga looked at him sternly to silence him.

Tsukishima narrowed his eyes, clearly not appreciative of having been interrupted.

“Like I was saying, the little brat wouldn’t stop whining about how I was ruining his-“

“HAHA! I REALLY THINK I’M FINE NOW.” Tooru was talking extremely loudly to drown Tsukishima out, and he had started tugging at his hand to free it from Suga’s grasp.

“No, you’re very obviously not,” Suga pointed out. He began dragging Tooru toward the sink to wash out the wound.

He had just turned the faucet on when he heard a loud shout of “What the hell?!” come from what sounded to be Tanaka.

“The kid dropped a cup, calm down,” Tsukki said.

Oikawa shot a glance at Tsukishima, hesitant and suspicious.

“That’s not what ha-OUCH THAT HURTS!”

Suga had taken his moment of distraction to shove Oikawa’s hand under the room temperature water. He had set it to a gentle stream, but it was to be expected that a wound that deep would sting anyways.

“Sorry, sorry,” Suga muttered distractedly. He was attempting to remember where the nearest package of bandages was.

“Daichi, could you go get the box of band-aids that are in the bathroom down the hall? The big kind. And Noya, could you hand me those paper towels right there?”

Both boys followed orders immediately, and Suga shut off the faucet with his free hand before grabbing a bundle of paper towels off the roll. He folded them up haphazardly and gently, slowly, pressed it onto the wound on Tooru’s hand. The shorter boy sucked in through his teeth.

“Sorry, sorry,” Koushi apologized again, before remembering he never got an answer as to how this happened.

“How did this happen, Tooru? Tell me the truth.”

The steadfast eye contact made Oikawa shrink into himself a bit, directing his gaze to the floor, then to Tsukishima, then to Suga.

“I-I just…uhm…the cup…Ah, right! I took the cup out of the microwave, but it was too hot, so I dropped it. Silly me!”

Tooru seems pretty pleased with his answer, but nearly every other person in the room eyes each other skeptically.

“That still doesn’t explain how you got a cut on your hand, Tooru.”

Oikawa starts, blinking in surprise.

“Oh, um…well…I-”

“We got into a little fight, is all,” Tsukishima sighs tiredly.

“You what,” Suga spits out through his teeth. Tsukishima could be a real asshole sometimes (okay, most times), but Suga never would have thought he would actually physically harm anyone like this.

The fact that it was Tooru only fueled Suga’s anger.

“That’s not true; it was actually me that-“

“Quiet,” Suga ordered, pressing the paper towels harder into Oikawa’s hand to silence him. The latter hissed in pain as Suga turned back to Tsukki and said “Speak.”

Tsukishima sighs again- what on earth he was so tired of no one knows. Or perhaps they did.

“He wants to ask you out,” he deadpans.

Oikawa makes a noise that sounds like a strangled whimper mixed with a groan, and the burning blush on his face is testament enough to the truth of Tsukishima’s accusation. Suga’s face also rises in color as he looks at Tooru, and he feels the pulse of blood pumping out of the cut increase in speed as Oikawa’s hand trembles.

“Tooru, is that-“ Suga starts only to be interrupted. Of course.

“Sorry I took so long, these band-aids were an absolute bitch to fi-…to find…”

 Daichi’s voice fades as he barges into what seems to be an intimate moment; or the semblance of one aside from the four other pairs of watching eyes.

“I’m sorry. I appear to have…misunderstood…something here. What the heck is going on?”

“Oikawa wouldn’t stop whining to me about how I had ruined his perfect plans to finally ask Suga out on a date, and he was too busy being such a pissbaby to pay attention to where his hands were. So he ended up slamming the cup onto the edge of the counter and it shattered in his hand.”

Suga can feel Oikawa try to slide his hand out of his grip again, which only causes Suga to turn around and look at him. He’s almost floored by how red the thirteen year old has turned-from his neck to the tips of his ears is a shade dark enough to rival a cherry. The mere sight of him makes Suga’s throat go dry and he can feel himself growing warmer.

Suga simply stared at the younger boy, mesmerized, and the latter merely stared at their clasped hands.

“Ummmmm…okay…so we’re just gonna go into the living room now,” Daichi stated, nudging the others out of the kitchen that they had been standing in for much too long. Suga didn’t even notice though; but he did notice Oikawa’s eyes follow them out of the room, finally, tentatively landing on Suga.

“I…I’m sorry that…”

“Tooru,” Suga whispers tenderly, the warmth and kindness in his voice more than enough to keep Oikawa’s eyes connected to his.

“Would you like to go on a date with me?”

Suga says it honestly, sincerely, rubbing his thumb lightly over the portion of Oikawa’s hand that wasn’t gashed.

The younger boy opens his mouth as if to say something, closes it, opens it again, and Suga simply watches the way his lips move. Revels in the way his rosy cheeks bring out the warm tones of his eyes, and how they had actually been gazing back at him for some time now.

“Only if you go on a date with me first.”

Suga’s eyebrows furrow in confusion.

“Huh?”

“I told myself I would ask you out on a date today. So I have to ask you; will you go on a date with me, before I go on that date with you?”

Suga laughed to himself-so that’s what that determined spark in his eyes had been earlier. Either way, the boy was too stubborn to give in on this, and Suga didn’t particularly mind either way.

“Sure, Tooru. Whatever you want.” He squeezed the smaller hand in his one last time before letting it go.

Oikawa was absolutely glowing, a truly genuine smile lighting up his face in a way that he often tried to mask. Koushi was extremely humbled that he was one of the few people that got to see it.

“Hey, Suga! We’re about to get started in here!”

Oh, right. The study group.

“Go ahead and start without me,” he called back, opting instead to grab the box of bandages.

“Suga-senpai, if you’re busy you don’t have to bother with that. I can do it myself.”

“Nonsense,” Suga brushed him off as he reached for the injured hand, not noticing the sharp glint that had appeared in Oikawa’s eyes.

“I’m not a little kid. I can take care of myself,” he huffed, as he took a step back to evade Suga.

“I know that. I just want to help you. Is that a problem?”

Tooru side-eyed him warily, clearly skeptical of the sincerity behind Suga’s words.

“Alright….fine,” he said, with a snobby turn up of his nose.

Pretending he didn’t care only showed his true feelings that much more.

This thought elicited a soft laugh from Suga as he unpeeled the extra-large band-aid and placed it carefully over Oikawa’s hand.  He smoothed over it with his thumb, perhaps lingering for a split second too long as he could feel the warmth radiating through the other boy’s hand.

“Do you want-“

Do you want me to walk you home?

Oikawa would merely be insulted if he asked him that way, claiming that he was an adult and he could walk home by himself. Suga instead opted for a rephrased version of the question; this time more true to what he really wanted.

“Can I walk you home?”

The smaller boy blinked in surprise before a light pink blush cropped up on his youthful cheeks. He nodded curtly, trying to control his eagerness at getting to spend even more time with Suga. His senpai flashed one of those angelic, toothy grins before turning around and walking from the room.

“Hey guys, I’ll be back in a bit, I’m going to walk Tooru home,” he called as he passed the living room.

He could hear a cat-call whistle-probably Tanaka judging by the sounds of laughter immediately following-and he made a mental note to embarrass him in front of Shimizu later.

Once he arrived at his room he grabbed his jacket, and just as he was about to leave he realized that Tooru hadn’t had one since earlier. His eyes scanned his room quickly, and that’s when he spotted an old sweatshirt that he only wore when it was too cold for his volleyball club jacket, deeming it appropriate for Tooru to borrow.

He snatched it up as he leaped out of his room with a wide smile on his face before he realized how ridiculous he looked, quickly schooling his facial expression back into place, not too eager, not too indifferent; but upon seeing Tooru again he couldn’t control the grin that crept up on his lips.

Tooru was going to wear his clothes. His clothes. Koushi was oddly fond of the idea.

Suga held up the sweater he had picked out for Oikawa and tossed it to him, the latter catching it easily, but with a puzzled expression.

“Put it on; it’s cold outside,” he said as he began walking to the front door, simultaneously shoving his hands through the sleeves of his jacket.

“Suga, you’re mothering again,” Daichi called out teasingly, and Suga cursed the fact that he hadn’t thought of how far his voice would carry in this house.

“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” he yelled back, grabbing Oikawa’s sleeve and pulling him out the door, slamming it shut with a little more force than necessary.

The two were enveloped by the early beginnings of night as they walked in companionable silence until they reached the sidewalk, at which point Oikawa gasped.

“Suga-senpai look!”

He pointed up at the sky with a slender finger, and Suga couldn’t help but think how cute it was that Tooru’s hands barely slipped out of the edges of his sleeves, the fabric gathered thickly at the elbows. Oikawa turned to him with bright eyes widened in excitement, and Suga snapped his gaze from the thin lines of Oikawa’s delicate wrist back to his face.

“Where?”

Oikawa took a step closer to Suga’s side, their shoulders brushing, and it would be the biggest lie he’d ever told in his entire life if he said he disliked the proximity. He looked down fondly at the boy, tracing the contours of his face with his gaze until he remembered that Tooru was trying to show him something, and would most likely notice if he kept staring at his face three inches away. Thinking thus, he followed Oikawa’s hand’s trajectory to a brightly glowing star on the edge of a string of four, and the shape vaguely reminded Suga of a flower petal.

“Do you see that really bright one there?”

Tooru stretched his finger a little further-as if it would help Suga see it more clearly- his head even closer to Suga’s now that he had stepped on the tips of his toes. “They just discovered that it could possibly be a planet. Do you know what that means Suga-senpai?!”

Tooru turned to face him, positively glowing with enthusiasm, and the way he smiled-oh God, his smile- absolutely floored Koushi. Tooru’s face was mere inches from his own, and Koushi could feel his heart beat thudding painfully in his chest, much faster than it ever had before. His breath hitched for a moment, and suddenly he felt hot- very, very hot- in contrast to the chilly night air.

Oikawa didn’t notice, and Suga didn’t know whether he was thankful or disappointed, but before he could dwell on it for too long, Oikawa lowered himself back down and continued to prattle on happily. Suga sighed-in relief or regret he again didn’t know-and willed his beating heart to calm itself before he combusted.

“If it is a planet-and I mean like, a real, certified planet-then there’s the possibility of us finding life on it! According to the scientific community, there’s actually a point zero-zero-zero-zero-twenty-thousand- zeroes-one percent chance that there’s life on it. Which is essentially miniscule, but it’s not like it’s impossible!”

Suga never really thought of Oikawa as a particularly optimistic person; he actually tended to focus on the negatives, especially when referring to himself. So seeing him this idealistic about something lifted a little of the weight on Suga’s heart-even if the boy was talking about extraterrestrials.

 “The main problem, though, is that with existing technologies it would still take thirty-thousand light years to reach it-do you know what a light year is Senpai? It’s six trillion miles, so if you multiply that by thirty thousand it’d be….”

Tooru stops talking in an attempt to do the ridiculous calculations in his head, lips forming unspoken syllables that match with whatever thoughts are flowing through his mind. Suga couldn’t stop staring at them-the way they parted around his perfect teeth, the way they slid smoothly with each different movement, the way they looked so soft and shiny in the faint light of the streetlamps.

Before he was aware of what he was doing his lips had already parted, moistened by his tongue, and he had shifted his weight onto the balls of his feet in some sort of position to lean forward and press his-

“Ah! Never mind, it doesn’t matter anyways!”

Tooru’s voice was as chipper as before, completely oblivious to the internal war raging inside of Suga’s conscience, both self-berating and pitifully desperate at the same time.

“Point is, it’s a really long time until any of Earth’s probes would be able to reach it-but still, we could possibly find some life on there in the future! Oh! And that one there is-… Suga-senpai?”

He stopped, Suga following suit, and Oikawa cocked his head to the side slightly, the soft strands of his bangs feathering over his forehead prettily. Looks like he had finally noticed the intense gaze Suga had been staring him down with.

Suga couldn’t help what he did next-his hand just reacted on its own, reaching out to Tooru’s face. The younger boy’s eyes widened, momentarily perplexed, until Suga’s fingers gently brushed the hair away from his eyes. Suga let his hand hang there for a moment, retracting his fingers, stretching them back out again, generally unsure of what to do next.

Tooru’s face was red now, redder than Suga’s at least- but the fact that Tooru was blushing made him want to blush even more, so they both just stood there, mildly uncomfortable, for what felt like ages.

Suga finally pulled his hand back quickly, attempting to stuff it into his pocket, but having missed the slip in the fabric, his hand awkwardly slid down the rest of his jacket and into the open air. He cleared his throat awkwardly-his face was absolutely flaming, he was sure of it-and avoided even looking in Oikawa’s general direction as he stared at his pocket while putting his hand inside it. He didn’t miss this time, despite being infinitely more flustered, and could only bear about half a second of looking at Oikawa’s face at this point.

 “Sorry, that was probably…”

He cleared his throat again, feeling slightly guilty.

“Kind of weird for-“

“No!” Tooru was flushed to his ears, but his jaw was set in stubborn determination.

“I like-“

 He gritted his teeth, angry that once again the curse of puberty changing his voice had caused his words to crack right in the middle.

These words were very important to him, and his stupid vocal chords had to ruin it. He took a deep breath to calm himself.

“I like…when you do those things to me. I l-like…when you-“

He averted his gaze for a second, eyes darting feverishly between Koushi’s face and his own feet, memories of the previous day surfacing in his mind making it hard for him to focus. He had flinched when Suga had touched his shoulder, not because he was scared, but because any time Suga touched him it made his heart race. He was sure all of the others could see it, which is why he had tried to get out of there as quickly as possible.

“T-t-touch…me…” His voice was soft, and Koushi almost couldn’t handle how timid and shy Tooru was behaving. His eyes widened, and he felt the back of his neck burning hot at the sound of these words.

“What,” he practically breathed the word in amazement. Their conversation was long past the point of flattery anymore; he liked the effects that he had on Tooru, and he couldn’t deny that the thirteen year old did the same things to him.

Tooru looked pained, as if he didn’t want to say it again- but that wasn’t what Suga had intended in the first place.

“Really?” Suga couldn’t help but sound incredulous; no one had ever said anything like this to him before in his entire life.

“Uhh…y-yeah…”

To Suga, Oikawa’s words meant a lot more than he thought the younger had originally intended. Koushi had a tendency to watch himself around the thirteen year old; restraining himself from doing certain…things…that he felt should only be done at a later time. This was a reminder of sorts, Suga thought, that Tooru wasn’t a child anymore-that he could do the things he wanted to him and it would be okay.

“So, what you’re saying is, you would be okay with me kissing you?”

Suga didn’t mean to tease so much-but he honestly couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this.

“Yes.”

Oikawa is very serious for once, and it throws Suga off guard; that was probably the last thing he would have expected. He had known Oikawa for three years and he honestly believed the boy would never stop surprising him.

“Good to know,” Suga declares with a nod, and he means it.

Suga turns and continues walking down the street, as they were only about ten feet from Tooru’s house.

“Aren’t you going to kiss me?”

Of all the things to say and not be embarrassed, adolescent Tooru chooses this-granted,it was probably his immense confusion that led to his composure, but still Suga found it odd.

He laughs softly at this as they walk up the sidewalk to the Oikawa’s front door, stopping halfway up the paved walkway. The shorter boy stops alongside him, and Suga reaches out to grab his hand that’s half covered with the sweater sleeve. He pushes the sleeve back with his other hand, gently holding Tooru’s hand within both of his as the other watched with wide eyes and parted lips.

Suga brings it up to his mouth and presses a gentle kiss on the back of his hand, right above the knuckles, keeping eye contact the entire time. He watches Tooru turn a lovely shade of pink to match his own, eyes crinkling in amusement as he brushes the side of the smaller hand with his thumb.

“This should last until tomorrow, right?” Suga says, accompanied by a charming wink.

A wink.

Tooru exhales shakily, honestly having a hard time wrapping his head around this entire situation as his pulse pounds even faster.

This is what he had always wanted. What he had dreamed of for the past three years of his life, and here it was-here he  was-the object of his young love, kissing his hand, promising him even more than this.

Tooru doesn’t even realize his eyes are filling with tears until he blinks, the wet trails chilling his face in the cold night air.

“Tooru?!”

Suga is clearly and understandably surprised, and Oikawa sniffles as he wipes his eyes on the sleeve of Suga’s sweater.

“S-sorry,” he sobs, “I’m just…I’m just…really h-happy.”

Suga flushes deeply, his mouth hanging open, slightly crooked in a mixture of shock and flattery.

“I-I’ve w-w-waited…for so l-long,” he sobs, chest heaving.

He manages to hiccup through the sentence, tears flowing much too easily out of his eyes in front of the one person he didn’t want to see it the most.

Suga is still holding his hand, and before Tooru can really react he feels himself being tugged into Suga’s chest, strong arms enveloping him in the warmth of another body.

“Me too,” Suga whispers into his ear, softly, reassuringly. He takes Tooru by both shoulders and pushes him back again before bringing his hands up to his face, running the pads of his thumbs under his eyes in a feeble attempt to wipe away the unyielding tears. Suga persistently keeps at it though, and the gentle stroking motion as well as Suga’s mere presence manages to calm Tooru down a bit.

“There,” Koushi smiles widely, “that’s better.”

Tooru simply gazes up at him, pure adoration radiating from his moistened eyes, as if the essence of his soul consisted solely of his love for the silver-haired boy in front of him.

Koushi leans forward and presses a soft kiss on Tooru’s forehead, brushing his hair back into place with the single push of a finger.

“I’ll see you tomorrow?”

Tooru knows for a fact that he won’t let anything in this world (or out of it) prevent him from seeing the other boy tomorrow.

He flashes a grin that reaches his eyes as he affirms Suga’s question, throwing back the wink Suga had graced him with earlier.

“It’s a date.”

 

And, if asked, Koushi would fervently deny that he had sprinted around the block, and that he absolutely had not been shouting just now, what are you talking about Daichi, and he would attribute the redness of his cheeks to the wind that had died down long ago.

 

Meanwhile, in the room of a house three driveways over, Tooru had jumped onto his bed and hugged his pillow to his face, squealing unintelligible things while flailing his feet, an undying smile lingering on his face as he finally fell asleep at two in the morning.