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Clean Linens and Flowers

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The autoplay feature on YoTube counted down what felt like all too slowly and Satoshi found himself dragging his finger across the trackpad to skip the remaining 4 seconds that were left. He clicked on the next video in the queue and placed a small kiss to the top of Tsukishima's head. His hair always smelled nice, a mix between clean linens and flowers that always left Imada dazed for a second or two. He hummed into the thin blond strands, nose nuzzling further down until it was buried in his boyfriend's hair.

"Love you…" The taller male whispered, left arm lazily dragging over Kei's body to wrap around him. Tsukishima, though, seemed tense. As if Satoshi's arm was a venomous snake and the only way to avoid its bite was to not move even a centimeter away from it. Hard yellow eyes focused on the video, trying to push the thoughts away that kept flooding his vision. Images of just a few nights prior played in front of the screen, as if they were the video the two of them were watching instead.

Imada didn't pay much attention to Kei's rigidness, though he did notice it and made sure to give his boyfriend a small squeeze of reassurance that he was here for the shorter male.

"D-don't do that."

Tsukishima's voice trembled, a rare occurrence on its own and even more elusive when there weren't any prior giveaways that the man wasn't okay.

"Do what, honeycomb?" It was a dumb nickname that had caught on one late night several months ago. Satoshi explained how his boyfriend was definitely as sweet as one and the reflective syrup was as brilliantly yellow as Kei's eyes. It was one of the few times that Kei had gotten flustered enough he had hid himself deep in the crook of Imada's neck, too embarrassed to even reply.

"Don't… Don't hug me or kiss me or call me anything sweet. I don't- I don't deserve it."

"You do though, sweetheart. I know sometimes you doubt yourself and your abilities but you–"

"No. That's not it. I'm fine. I'm not. I'm sorry." There was a shake that lingered in Tsukishima's tone. One that was quite unfamiliar to the dark brunette despite knowing the male in his arms for almost a decade at this point. He retracted his head away from the luxurious golden strands of the shorter's mullet, arm slithering away as well, only stopping to tap the spacebar on his laptop, pausing the movie review that was on.

Grey eyes bore into Kei's and the middle blocker wanted nothing more than to shrink away into nothingness, he hated how soft yet commanding Satoshi's gaze was. It always felt like he could dive into those deep charcoal eyes and be pulled under their rapid current of emotions.

"Why are you sorry? Kei, there's nothing to be sorry about. Unless there is– did you kill someone? I think that's the last thing I wanna deal with right now." A short huff passed through Imada's lips and landed on the bridge of Tsukishima's nose. It was warm yet left a chilly feeling afterwards.

Kei thinks that killing someone might've been easier to explain than what he had actually done. And so, he returned the puff of air, yet his carried a different sentiment, a sigh instead of a quick laugh.

"You're gonna hate me, hell… I hate me."

This fired a tiny missle directly into the brunette's brain. What was so bad that would make Satoshi hate his boyfriend, there was always one possibility but that was snuffed quicker than a lighter being flicked on in a tornado.

"Kei." Satoshi began, one hand reaching to his own head, ruffling the hair backwards and out of his face.

"There's like one thing, and even then I wouldn't hate you. I could never hate you and you know that."

He knew, didn't he. Tsukishima's brain whirred to life, cogs attempting to figure out if the taller male knew what he had done. Apparently, without him knowing, his breathing picked up along with his heart beat.

"Woah, woah. Hey. Is it… Kei, there's only one thing I can think of right now so I just need a yes or a no if it's what I'm thinking of."

And the blonde couldn't read minds, neither of them could, that'd be ridiculous. But the connection they had led to the smallest of nods coming from Kei, scared to speak on the off chance that his voice betrayed his mind. Those same grey eyes that held enough comfort for a small orphanage now only held a pang of sadness, of hurt.

"Can I ask–" Satoshi paused to clear his throat, not wanting to get choked up about this… thing.

"Who, um, who was it?" They had kept eye contact for so long that Tsukishima felt bad for breaking it, as if they had lost some kind of record because of his cowardly behaviour. There was a pause between them, something that was a punch in the gut to both of them that this was real. This was happening. What Tsukishima had done, he had really done it.

"Bokuto." Imada's eyes darted in small sporadic straight lines all over his boyfriend's face. He knew that the two of them were friends, had they really grown that clo–

"And Kuroo." Well fuck. It had to be a sexual thing at least, right?

"Kei, I… Tsukishima." The single word that the blonde didn't want to hear come out of Satoshi's mouth was his own last name. He shifted around uncomfortably in bed, not wanting to up and leave but wanting to put at least a couple centimeters of room between them.

"If it's just a sex thing, like, I can deal with that. If you wanna go fuck people 'cause they give better dick, go for it. But, uh–"

The dark brunette paused, the lump in his throat rising high enough that he was sure he'd cough it up.

"If it's an emotional thing, if you like them, love them, I don't know… I just wanna know. Please." That last word wasn't pleading for an answer, it was pleading, hoping that Imada's thoughts were right and that this was just for sex. That Bokuto and Kuroo were some kind of renowned sexual deities that had fucking halos around their cocks. Anything that wasn't–


"It was emotional. It is emotional."


Fuck. Fuck. What had he done wrong? What did those two have that Imada Satoshi didn't. Was it their quick humor? He could work on that. Research puns and how to make rebuttals. Was it their physical appearance? He could go to the gym more, skip his archeology classes to work out. Anything to keep Tsukishima Kei by his side.

"Satoshi, I'm sorry." The blonde kept his voice quiet, not on purpose or anything, that's just how it happened to come out. The same puff of air hit his face. The same airy huff, almost like a soft laugh that graced Kei's skin. He opened his eyes, not knowing when they had closed, though it was probably just before or after his response.

"No, no, no. It's- it's okay. It's fine. This is okay. I want you to be happy, Kei. Even if-..." it's not with me.

God, that realization somehow stung more than the time in his first year of highschool that Satoshi was stung by that giant hornet. The pain lasted for days back then but the brunette was sure that this would be lasting for more than a couple days. Tsukishima didn't love him anymore; he had fallen out of love and jumped right back into it with two other people.

Imada shook his head, the same hand as before repeating its action, this time shakier. Less steady.

"It's fine."

The taller repeated, the hand moving away from his head to Kei's, resting there unmoving except for his thumb which created a small crop circle in the delicate wheat on top of his… on top of Tsukishima's head.

"Why aren't you mad at me? I- I hurt you and you aren't mad and it's scaring me…" And he spoke the truth. The blonde college student found Satoshi's tranquility almost unsettling. The long yet shallow breaths, those same grey eyes that had softened back into their comfy selves.

"Because I love you. I think I always have, ever since high school. When you blocked Ushiwaka's unstoppable spike back in our first year and you were so happy; that's the moment I fell in love with you. And it… it took me this long to admit it, to myself and to you. I had you in my arms, Kei, I don't know what happened. But I don't want to stop you from experiencing what I did. That feeling that- the feeling when you know you're in love. When you… when you…"

He couldn't stop the tears that formed from thin air, that same lump in his throat now acting as a road stop for his words. Satoshi let the silence take over for him, the soft hand on Tsukishima's head just ever so barely coaxing him closer until he was pressed into the taller male's neck. It was the last time they'd be this close, physically and emotionally. Both men knew that.

It was the last time Imada Satoshi would be able to take in Kei's scent, a mix between clean linens and flowers that always left the brunette dazed for just a moment or two. He wanted to savor it, wanted to bask in the last memory he would be able to make with him and the man pressed against him. Those pale lanky arms looped around Satoshi's mid section, holding him close. Closer. As close as they could possibly bring him. Imada found himself nuzzled into those same blonde locks, the smell tipping him into a false sense of security, that in just a few seconds he'd wake up in this same position but with reality being completely different to what it was in this bad dream.

They stayed like that, not caring about the laptop that was beginning to overheat and brand lines into their thighs. It would go to sleep soon anyways and cool down; Satoshi wished their relationship could be like that. It was a dumb connection his brain made, pathetic to even wish for something like that, but he just hoped. Prayed for the impossible. It wouldn't come though, both college students knew that, of course they did. But for now, for this night, for this instant… they would stay in each other's arms.

Eventually though, Kei would fall asleep, the blonde being the more exhausted of the two and Imada would carefully peel himself away. He'd shut the laptop, careful not to touch the trackpad and illuminate the screen or worse, unpause the video and wake the sleeping boy beside him. Satoshi would sit up slowly, doing his best not to move too quickly though he knew he could. He could fall on top of Tsukishima and the shorter male wouldn't wake up, he slept so soundly that on more than one occasion the brunette assumed he had died. After leaving the bed Satoshi would stash his laptop in his athletics bag, gathering his most important belongings from the cramped dorm and shoving them in alongside the large electronic device. It would be like he was never there.

He'd shuffle out the door, a dark blue rain jacket being buttoned up in the process as he walked down the sickly yellow hallways of the college building. Imada would pull out his phone and dial the only person that he knew would be awake and that he could go to at this time.


"Hey… Daichi? Are you able to come pick me up?"