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a tachycardic response

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Atsumu can no longer return home.

"It's not that bad, is it? It's not like you lied to him. Sakusa-san would be more upset if you lied, I think."

"I blurted out that I love him while runnin' away about not turnin' on the dishwasher last night!"

Aran laughs good naturedly and Atsumu thinks he might start crying.

"Hey, at least he's probably not mad about the dishwasher thing anymore."

It's been almost thirty hours since The Incident happened. Atsumu's been able to keep himself relatively busy, but when he's not beating teenagers at videogames (he secretly looked up a walkthrough) or patiently explaining the difference between beetles and cicadas to three-year-olds (and that neither are edible), Atsumu has to confront the memory of The Incident that's parked front and center of his brain.

The Incident that happens during an otherwise nondescript and peaceful morning.

The Incident that shatters his dream realm.

The Incident that ruins his entire life.

Sakusa had spent the night. Even more than half a year into dating, that's still a bit of a rarity; between Osamu showing up whenever and wherever he wants and Sakusa snatching back the key he didn't realize Komori still had, Sakusa's apartment is the clear choice for them to stay at. On top of that, Sakusa lives in a penthouse in one of the nicest buildings in the area, fully equipped with state-of-the-art amenities, a heated parking garage, and front desk staff so good at their job that they memorize Atsumu immediately.

He thinks their eidetic memory is why they let him wait in the lobby when he arrives at Sakusa's apartment early one time. Several weeks later, when Sakusa's a little tipsy from a monthly outing of the statistics department, he mumbles that he added Atsumu as a registered guest.

Atsumu clings onto him like a koala bear that night.

The morning The Incident uproots his entire life, Atsumu is perched on the kitchen island, humming as he waits for the French press to finish brewing Sakusa's coffee. Sakusa's in the shower and when Atsumu hears it shut off, he's smiling already because Atsumu is an honest man and will admit that seeing Sakusa wandering around in just a pair of low riding sweatpants is one of his favorite parts of the morning. He waits until the buzzing of an electric toothbrush stops and it's a matter of minutes until Sakusa's in the kitchen, a faint waft of lavender and eucalyptus growing stronger.

Sakusa's not a morning person, a fact that Atsumu is delighted to learn. He admires how well he functions in the morning and how strictly he adheres to his schedule. It takes an impressive amount of self-discipline to rise ridiculously early when his body isn't naturally inclined to do so, but Atsumu loves seeing Sakusa in the morning for a different reason:

It's absolutely adorable how he stares blankly at his kitchen appliances.

There's one time Atsumu has to gently remind Sakusa that he has to put in bread for toast. Sakusa goes, "Oh," and Atsumu hugs him from behind as they wait for breakfast.

Atsumu's small smile splits into a grin when Sakusa comes to a stop between his knees, leans in and kisses him with his palms skimming from Atsumu's knees and stopping mid-thigh.

"Me before coffee?" Atsumu teases. He lifts his chin to kiss Sakusa on the nose and pulls back quickly so he can see how his nose scrunches. "Ya really like me, Sakusa-hakase."

"Coffee's not ready," Sakusa mumbles, "but you are."

Atsumu blinks and frowns a little.

"...I feel like I should be a bit insulted by that, Omi-kun, but I'm not really sure why."

Sakusa smirks, sleep muddling the normal sharpness that sends Atsumu's heart straight into tachycardia. It still leaves his blood rushing a bit faster, though, and Atsumu scoffs as Sakusa steps back. He asks where his mug is and Atsumu absentmindedly says, "Dishwasher," while going back to his phone. "Coffee's gonna be ready soon," he adds.

Atsumu glances at the time and frowns. Hopping off the counter and pocketing his phone, he pats his other pocket to make sure his wallet's there because Aran apparently doesn't like buying him coffee every single day for a week straight. "Omi-kun, you can pour it yerself, right? Remember to aim fer the cup. I gotta run, so—"

"Did you turn on the dishwasher last night?"

Atsumu pauses. Sakusa sounds very clear and awake, which is strange because this usually doesn't happen until after a full cup of coffee and twenty minutes. Blinking a couple times, he looks over. "Huh? I shoulda"

"Should've doesn't mean did," Sakusa says and when he turns, Atsumu's face pales to see him holding a mug that absolutely hasn't been washed. He's glaring now, expression sharp and shoulders pulled back.

There are only two things that will truly wake Sakusa up in the morning and they are coffee and murderous rage.

Coffee's not done.

"Atsumu."

Atsumu clears his throat and takes a step back as Sakusa takes one forward.

"Omi-kun, did ya know? Sometimes dishwashers miss things, 'specially mugs. It's somethin' about how they're cylindrical"

"Atsumu"

"Gotta run, time to save lives," he rushes, narrowly avoids Sakusa grabbing him and almost trips into his shoes. "S-see ya later, Omi-kun, love ya!"

And then as soon as silence follows the door slamming shut, Atsumu realizes what he's said and his first thought is that he wishes he'd grabbed more gum.

Groaning, Atsumu claps his hands to his face and welcomes the stinging to remind him that he's still alive. When Aran laughs again and pats his back, Atsumu stomps his foot and drops his head further so his fingers can tug at his hair. "Aran-kun!" he whines. "Ya gotta lemme live with ya!"

"Not a chance. Besides, we live in the same building. It's not a good hiding spot from Sakusa-san."

There is only one reason Atsumu would ever look forward to a forty-eight hour shift:

A salted caramel toffee nut latte with dusted cocoa powder on top of a pile of whipped cream.

One time at lunch with Komori, Atsumu proudly declares he is not a man of taste and will drink anything that has caffeine. Komori reluctantly allows him a pass; he admits that when his time is limited because of the nature of his profession, he understands that Atsumu sometimes has to drink the hospital's watery, acidic dark roast.

He adds that Sakusa still has no excuse and Atsumu watches fondly as Sakusa looks Komori in the eye and drinks half his watery, acidic dark roast in one sip.

Atsumu respects Komori; he's at the forefront of space exploration, so Atsumu definitely wants to stay on his good side for when it's time to leave Earth. However, on top of being his boyfriend, Sakusa is a lot more practical about prioritizing efficiency over taste, which is what Atsumu ultimately agrees with. Atsumu can taste the difference between good and bad coffee but after a childhood of eating bugs with Osamu, he doesn't really care. Atsumu's had worse, after all.

Much worse.

That being said, obviously Atsumu has a favorite coffee. It's a tiny, family owned stand in Minato, one that Atsumu finds by accident because he'd gone on a mission to find his favorite cream soda. He'd been walking home, bottles clinking against each other in the plastic bag when a large Grand Opening! sign caught his eye. He'd stared, shrugged, and had no idea that his next ten steps would change his life.

His favorite latte is originally a kid's drink, but Atsumu makes it for adults by adding four espresso shots. There's an orchestra that starts playing whenever he drinks it, sweetness of the caramel and toffee syrups mellowed by the undertones of salt and bitterness of espresso, airy whipped cream keeping the overall balance from veering towards anything less than something that would give most people a sugar high. The dusted cocoa powder adds an intensity that balances everything: rich but just a bit subdued and the only Onigiri Miya outranks this stand as his favorite food vendor.

However, it's certainly not cheap, especially because of the espresso he adds, and it's definitely out of the way. But whenever Atsumu's depressed or stressed, he'll treat himself because he deserves it. Even if he doesn't deserve it at the time, he probably will in the future.

He rambles about it one morning at Sakusa's apartment, but Sakusa had been juggling a video call with Komori about their Paris itinerary, attempting to cook them breakfast (the eggs were rubbery and somehow still raw, but Atsumu ate it all anyway), and making Atsumu a latte, so he doesn't hold it against him when he doesn't seem to be listening. By the time Sakusa hands him his fox shaped mug and Atsumu takes a happy sip, his attention is more than occupied by his favorite mug and favorite person.

And then about thirty-three hours through his next forty-eight hour shift, Atsumu finds Sakusa waiting for him in the lobby, holding one salted caramel toffee nut latte with dusted cocoa powder on top of a pile of whipped cream.

Minato's not far, but it's out of the way. And because the latte's still warm and it's dinner time, Atsumu knows that Sakusa must've driven, which meant he had to deal with traffic and parking, did all that just to bring him a single coffee. He stammers w-what's this? and Sakusa patiently tells him it's his drink, waits for Atsumu to take it before he reaches into his satchel and pulls out Atsumu's favorite sandwich from the café on campus. He says he asked for extra mayonnaise but reprimands that Atsumu's a doctor, he should really know better.

He holds it out, expression even and speech matter-of-fact. When Atsumu takes the box with his other hand, Sakusa closes his satchel. "I'm heading home," he says and Atsumu manages to nod. "If you need anything else, text me. Don't overwork yourself. Make sure to eat before you start drinking the coffee so you don't have a sugar crash."

Then he smiles.

Of course, nobody else knows that. The eavesdropping receptionist sitting behind the desk doesn't. The janitor who's cleaning the lobby doesn't. The cocky neurology resident who passes by with lab results doesn't. Atsumu's the only one who knows because only he knows exactly what it means when Sakusa's eyes crinkle as his mask shifts, when his gaze softens and, if Atsumu's lucky, his head tilts a little.

And that night, Atsumu is very lucky.

He remembers stammering another th-thanks, Omi-kun and shaking his head when Sakusa asks if he needs anything else. Nodding again, he turns and leaves and once the doors close behind him, the receptionist leans over the desk, harshly whispers, "Miya-sensei!"

Atsumu looks over and she grins. "You really got yourself a good one."

Atsumu smiles before he realizes it, shoulders coming up as he grins proudly. "Right? Told ya I'd get 'im."

And then when Atsumu's walking back towards the elevators, takes a first sip of his latte and smiles as both sugar and warmth buzz through him, a thought occurs to him that he's never actually put into words:

He's probably in love with Sakusa.

Atsumu's been in love with before, so he knows what it's like. The first time he falls in love is when he's playing with Osamu in the sandbox at kindergarten, looks up and sees the new student whose smile is brighter than the sun. The second time he falls in love is when a shopkeeper stops him and Osamu from walking home during middle school to give them some popsicles, tells them to make sure to stay cool on a hot summer day.

He's not really sure what constitutes the third time he falls in love, or the fourth time. There's the first boy he's ever wanted to kiss; they're both at a party and after a few beers, Atsumu asks, "Can I kiss ya?" He nods, so Atsumu kisses him, thinks it's even better than he'd daydreamed.

There's the girl who says she doesn't care that everyone else seems to hate him; she likes that he's so straightforward. Atsumu and Osamu start middle school with people mixing them up, but it takes just a week for people to tell them apart because they're told that as soon as they talk, it becomes apparent. Atsumu's popular but not a lot of people like him, so when a new school year starts and he's in a different class than Osamu, he's a bit more than startled to see someone willingly sit next to him.

There's his high school volleyball captain turned family business's (Osamu hates when Atsumu calls it that, but it's literally his last name plastered on the signs) sole rice supplier whom Atsumu confesses to when he's about to graduate. Kita rejects him, as he (and everyone) foresees, but he does so as gracefully as they all expected and it's one of the few times he doesn't cry after being turned down.

Atsumu's fallen in love plenty of times, so he knows what it's like. He also knows that the way he fell in love sitting in a sandbox (too distracted to realize Osamu was slowly covering him with sand) is different from the way he fell in love with Kita (crying into a convenience store bag and dripping tears onto a piece of notebook paper), which is different from the way he'd fallen in love with his ex (accelerating so gradually that it's too late when he realizes and he has no choice but to crash).

And all of that is different from how he's currently free falling for Sakusa because just as he thinks the ground is in sight, it opens up again.

He's probably in love with Sakusa. It's the sort of thought that he doesn't think about until it shows up one day, roots itself in his dreams and he learns to live with it. That doesn't mean he unnecessarily lingers on it, though, because Atsumu's always been a roll-with-it sort of guy. He accepts whatever life throws at him and makes it his own, focuses on what to do instead of what he could've done. What's important is that he knows what he feels right now and he doesn't need to put a definitive label on it, so he's fine with leaving probably in front of in love with.

However, the problem with blurting it out is that:

One, he hadn't intended on telling Sakusa that way.

Two, they've been dating for a bit over half a year. Sakusa isn't supposed to know yet.

Feeling something tap against his head, Atsumu looks up and sees the hospital's crappy coffee, slightly oversized cardboard sleeve hugging a white paper cup that he's all too familiar with. Atsumu's stomach lurches as he accepts Aran's generous offering; he pulls out his phone to check the time and physically winces because it's approaching the time that Sakusa usually stops by.

He's seldom not shown up. In the time they've been dating, Atsumu counts four times he didn't come and each time he texted to explain why. Atsumu keeps telling him he really, really appreciates it but Sakusa doesn't have to.

Sakusa asks if the coffee helps him make it through his shift and because Atsumu can't lie to Sakusa, even through text, he responds well yeah.

Sakusa answers immediately:

Then I'll keep bringing them.

"Why didn't you just wash the mug then?" Aran asks and takes another bite of his dinner.

"Cause I was already gonna be late fer work," Atsuu grumbles, knitting his brow. "I was already in a rush and was just tryin' to get a good mornin' kiss… then I ran out and said that and now he's gonna dump me."

"He's not going to dump you," Aran says and laughs again. "Who doesn't like hearing that their boyfriend loves them?"

Sakusa, Atsumu wants to say, Sakusa because it's the equivalent of driving a bullet train right through his penthouse apartment.

Aran finishes eating. Osamu dropped off some onigiri before heading back to Osaka and as distressed as Atsumu is about The Incident punctuating the happiest he's been in his life, he still eats the onigiri because one, they're good, and two, they're free. After clearing their table, they start heading back to their wings; sports rehabilitation is on a different floor from pediatrics, but they at least take the same elevator.

However, Atsumu wishes they didn't because Aran just laughs at him again when he sighs sadly.

The elevator dings when it arrives and Aran presses their floors. Aran tells him it's fine, it's not as bad as Atsumu thinks it is. Atsumu says that it's because he doesn't know Sakusa and Aran tells him that Atsumu has introduced them three times now, he knows who Sakusa is. His floor is first and he leaves, claps him on his back and Atsumu sighs sadly again when the doors close to take him to his floor.

He stares at his pathetic, muddled reflection in the brushed metal and when he arrives at the floor, sighs sadly a third time and steps out.

Atsumu falls in love the way he does anything else: wholly, entirely, and passionately.

He's a flirt. He knows this; it's how some people differentiated him and Osamu before they started dyeing their hair and others say they tell them apart because Atsumu's an ass and Osamu doesn't care enough to be one. He flirts a lot and it's usually harmless fun or he's trying to get out of trouble, but when Atsumu falls, it's with enough force that he could break through concrete because he falls fast and he falls hard.

He didn't plan on falling this hard for Sakusa. He never means to in general, but with Sakusa, he really didn't; he was supposed to be the cute guy Atsumu flirted with to rile up and have fun with. That's all he was supposed to be, and yet Sakusa's turned into someone who grounds him but makes sure he's never standing still.

Osamu tells him he's always been the one to go all in in a relationship first. Atsumu had glared at him; he doesn't like it when Osamu's right (especially about him), but Osamu's the one who's seen him after every breakup and kicked his ass back together.

Atsumu's broken plenty of hearts during the chase but when it comes to relationships, he's almost always had his heart broken. He's naively hopeful every time; he's a romantic and he's not going to bridle what he feels for someone because if they can't handle it, then it's best to know that up front.

It doesn't make the breakup hurt any less, though.

Sakusa is unlike anyone he's ever dated. Atsumu's fully aware of this; if he loves freely and quickly, Sakusa loves cautiously and hesitantly. It's something he picks up while he's learning Sakusa's quirks:

The way Sakusa likes his things folded into quarters or eighths, he's still a bit wary to being touched with no warning, so Atsumu's always sure to murmur his name first.

The way Sakusa likes sitting on the right side, he's quick to tire in social situations and Atsumu makes up an excuse for them to leave, gets him home, and makes up another excuse to leave.

The way Sakusa likes wooden chopsticks over metallic ones, he needs his time alone and so Atsumu tries not to drown him with what makes it easier for him to breathe.

He's tacking on probably before in love with, but that's likely just a formality.

Atsumu sighs sadly for a fourth time.

"Tchumu-sensei!"

Steps halting, Atsumu turns to see one of his patients waving brightly at him. He grins and steps into the entryway, leans against the doorframe. "Hey, Mari-chan. Where's yer ma?"

Mari giggles, echoes yer and Atsumu's grin widens. "Mama's getting coffee," she chirps and Atsumu nods. He takes another moment to look up and down the hall and after checking his pager to make sure nobody needs him, walks into the room. He pulls up a spare chair and turns it so he's sitting in it backwards, arms folded over the back for his chin to lean against after setting the coffee on the nightstand. "What're ya makin' there?" he asks.

"Friendship bracelet!" she announces happily and Atsumu doesn't think just making knots count as a bracelet, but he's a bit more tactful around four-year-olds. "This one's for Tchumu-sensei!"

"Really?" he asks and she grins with an exuberant nod. Atsumu beams. "Make it yer best one, 'kay?"

Mari's one of his first patients; she usually comes in only for an annual exam for her congenital heart defect but when Atsumu sees her and her mother back in the hospital after just a few months, Atsumu forgets he'd been hiding from the nurses and drops everything to ask them what was wrong.

His attending tells him to not literally drop things because it startles the patients and Atsumu sincerely apologizes.

"Mari-chan, ya feelin' okay?" he asks. Mari looks up and beams, nods but Atsumu can tell her breathing's a little shallow.

Atsumu smiles but he straightens, pulls on his stethoscope and asks if he can listen to her breathing. She nods and obediently leans forward; as he's pressing the chest piece to her back and keeping his expression even despite her shallow breaths, he hears her mother return, footsteps quieting when she sees what he's doing. Once he pulls back, she smiles warmly at him. "Miya-sensei, good evening."

"Good evenin', Ono-san," he greets and Mari giggles, echoes evenin'. Atsumu just grins when her mother gently chides her to not mock his accent. "Mari-chan's first in line fer the labs tomorrow. I'll be sure ta take her myself, don't ya worry. Gonna do the EKG first."

He adds that he has some notes to finish catching up on after she thanks him and she nods; Mari obediently chimes bye bye, Tchumu-sensei at her mother's reminder and Atsumu replaces the chair and picks up his coffee, leaves them with another grin before disappearing.

He's whistling to himself as he nears the end of the hall, finishes the rest of the cup's contents in one sip and tosses it into a nearby trash can. He does have notes to catch up from his afternoon rounds, but Atsumu doesn't really like doing them. In fact, he thinks it might be time for a snack; he's just had dinner, but dinner's not complete without dessert and while they may not be gourmet, the vending machines have an excellent selection of candy.

He turns the corner happily, thinks that tonight he feels like a chocolate bar.

"Miya-sensei."

Atsumu freezes.

His neck feels like it's creaking from how slowly he turns to see the head nurse sitting behind the counter, looking at him sternly. Atsumu wants to shrink back but clears his throat. "A-Aoki-san," he greets and she just lifts her chin disapprovingly. "H-how're ya?"

This is usually when he starts flirting to try and get out of what trouble he's obviously in, but Atsumu is a very loyal boyfriend who no longer flirts with other people. If he does by accident, he reports it to Sakusa, who stares at him, tells him he doesn't care and he trusts him.

Atsumu's so touched that he lays a brilliant pick up line on Sakusa, who then threatens to dump him.

She gestures to the pile of binders on the counter, stacked so high that Atsumu had thought the nurses were getting creative with how they were playing jenga. "Charting from yesterday, please," she says politely.

Atsumu's eyes flutter. "Eh? Didn't I do 'em all?"

"I can't read what they say."

That's very likely. Atsumu's something of a celebrity for his notoriously bad handwriting.

Pressing his lips together, his eyes scan over the tower of binders a few times, each iteration leaving his stomach twisting. His gaze ducks past to the vending machine visible at the end of the hall; frowning a little, he clears his throat and leans forward with an elbow against the counter that the nurse ignores. "So," he begins, "I'm really tired—"

"Miya-sensei," she repeats monotonously. "Tonight."

Atsumu sighs sadly for the fifth time and bobs his head.

"Yes, Aoki-san."

Knowing better than to ask if he can get his candy first, Atsumu picks up the pile and makes his way to an empty spot. When he sets them down, they start to slide and clatter; he feels some of the other nurses and residents look at him disapprovingly and he glares because it's not like any of them are perfect with their charting.

He takes a seat, opens the first binder, and pulls a face because his handwriting really is illegible.

Atsumu pretends that setting his phone face up in his peripheral vision is what he always does. He jumps whenever it lights up and swears that if Suna asks him for his chips one more time, he's going to buy a bag, go over to his apartment, and throw them in his face.

He's made it through about three of the ten binders when his phone goes off again. Atsumu picks up without thinking and snaps, "Yer not gettin' my chips, Suna!"

"Is that an innuendo? I don't even know what that could mean."

Atsumu's breath catches. He sits straight so suddenly that his chair clatters a bit and plastic against linoleum has never been so earth shattering. "O-Omi-kun," he says, pulls his phone away to double check. "Sorry, Suna's been botherin' me all night—are ya into chips as innuendo? Cause if so—"

"No, Atsumu. I'm not."

Atsumu laughs breathlessly and hears a slightly louder than usual exhale from Sakusa's end. "I'm in the lobby. If you're busy, I can leave it with the receptionist."

This is it, Atsumu thinks. Sakusa's given him the perfect out to avoid seeing him; Atsumu didn't even have to try and lie to him, he could just agree with Sakusa, stay up here, avoid having to confront any allusion to The Incident and still get his coffee. It's a win-win situation.

He's not even finished thinking all this when he blurts out, "I'll be right there."

Atsumu really sets himself up spectacularly for these kinds of situations but, truth to be told, he's never going to pass up a chance to see Sakusa.

Also, if Sakusa dumps him now, Atsumu gets to ease his heartbreak with his favorite latte.

They've barely just hung up when Atsumu's chair is still rolling a little despite the several steps he's taken, calls, "Promise I'll be back soon!" and hurries towards the elevators and impatiently presses the button.

When the doors don't open immediately, he presses it again. It's a few tantalizing moments for it to open and once it does, Atsumu's in before the doors have even fully opened, repeats the process with returning to the lobby. His heart is racing with something between excitement and dread; it feels like it spreads with every breath he takes, but that doesn't stop the rest of Atsumu's body from yearning to see Sakusa.

Probably is starting to lose its place in front of in love with.

The perilous minutes from the pediatric wing to the lobby come to a close at long last, although once Sakusa's tall and slender, wool coat clad frame comes into view, Atsumu ducks behind a wall before he can think twice about it. It's to calm himself, he reassures. They're been dating for more than half a year; he can see his own boyfriend without his heart racing out of his chest.

Or, he thinks, he could, until The Incident uprooted his entire life.

Osamu's back in Osaka, but if he wears a cap, he can probably pass as him and hide out in Onigiri Miya. That can be what he does if Suna won't let him live with him because Aran's right; his apartment's in the same building, so it's not a good hiding spot. Taking a deep breath because he has two back-up plans, Atsumu nods and steps out, walks towards Sakusa.

"Omi-kun!"

Sakusa looks up and Atsumu throws both back-up plans out the window.

Atsumu has seen Sakusa plenty of times. They don't see each other every day; they're not high schoolers joined at the hip (even though Osamu calls him a lovesick puppy superglued to his phone), but they see each other a fair amount. Sometimes a week passes where it's just texts and phone calls; other times they see each other almost every single day. The past few weeks have been a little busier; it's past the midpoint of the term, which means Sakusa's receiving an influx of emails from students who are beginning to panic. They spend the night at each other's place less often now, so Atsumu finds it unfortunate that the one time it does happen, it gives birth to The Incident.

Maybe this is the last time he'll see Sakusa, Atsumu thinks with a start.

Well, he continues to himself with a mental sigh, at least it's as great a view as always.

"Hey," he greets, expression relaxing into a ghost of a smile as Atsumu approaches. "Sorry, I'm a little early today. I'm supposed to call Komori when I'm home."

"Ya can't call him when yer outside?"

Sakusa glares. "Personal matter," he says and Atsumu bobs his head. When he takes the cup and paper bag that Sakusa says has a cookie, their fingers brush and Atsumu feels his nervous system try to follow his back-up plans. "Your shift ends tomorrow morning, right?"

The word morning sends the remaining nerves in Atsumu's body on high alert. Swallowing, he nods. "Y-yeah," he says. This is it, he thinks, Sakusa must be asking because he's a gentleman and wouldn't dump Atsumu in the middle of work in a hospital lobby. He's thinking about the children, making sure they have a doctor whose vision isn't muddled by tears and also avoiding being known as that stats professor who dumped someone at 7 p.m. by the jade plant on the sill—

"I'm busy during the day but let me know if you want to get dinner," Sakusa says and Atsumu blinks. He looks up to see Sakusa gazing at him evenly. "Or if you're too tired, I can bring take-out."

"Huh?" he asks intelligently.

"Food, Atsumu," he says. "Coffee isn't enough to sustain you."

"Wait," Atsumu says and furrows his brow. "...What?"

Sakusa frowns.

"...Are you delirious?"

"Th-that's it?" Atsumu stammers. "Ya just wanna get dinner tomorrow? So… so ya still wanna date me?"

It's perilously quiet and when Sakusa inhales, he looks like he's in pain.

"...Atsumu. What are you talking about. As far as I recall, neither of us have ended this relationship."

Sakusa hasn't finished quietly adding, "Unless you want to?" when Atsumu's shaking his head so quickly he's a little dizzy, though his vision isn't swimming enough to miss Sakusa's silent relief, the way his eyes close as he adjusts his mask. When they open, Sakusa asks if he's feeling all right and Atsumu nods. "Okay," he says and Atsumu's knees feel like jelly because Sakusa's eyes crinkle and his mask shifts and he can imagine the little smile that's hanging off his lips. "I'm going to head home, then."

He nods again, still mute and grip on his coffee tightening. Sakusa's just taken a step back when Atsumu blurts out, "Wait," and immediately hates himself.

Sakusa looks at him. "Yeah?"

Atsumu clears his throat. "J-j-just ta clear somethin' up," he stammers and rubs the side of his nose after transferring both items to one hand. "S-so we're on the same page, uh, y-yesterday morning, Omi-kun, when I ran out 'cause you were gonna kill me—"

He clears his throat.

"What… what I said—"

"Oh," Sakusa says easily, "that you love me?"

Atsumu wishes he were a cookie so that he could crumble.

Face blazing, he doesn't know what kind of an affirmation to give because yeah seems too bold, a nod seems too passive, a wail seems dramatic, and Atsumu doesn't know any other methods of communication. Luckily for him, Sakusa continues speaking as if nothing is wrong and Atsumu isn't reevaluating his entire existence.

"Don't worry, I know it was just a slip up," he says. "I didn't take it to heart. It's forgotten."

Atsumu's nodding so fervently that Sakusa asks why his head is twitching. He then shifts to horizontal twitching. "I-I'm good, Omi-kun."

Sakusa doesn't believe him. He stares at him for a moment before asking again if Atsumu's all right.

If he isn't, he adds that he is in a hospital.

Atsumu glares. The way Sakusa smirks and lifts his chin gives Atsumu the impression that he's using his six centimeter height advantage to its fullest extent. He watches him for another moment before his expression relaxes, gaze softening while never breaking eye contact with Atsumu. His gaze detracts only to check his phone; Atsumu waits patiently for Sakusa to tell him that he's going to leave but when he looks back up, he tilts his head and Atsumu's already brightening.

"Do you have to get back to work or can you spare a few minutes?"

"Always got time for you, Omi-kun," Atsumu responds and Sakusa's eyes crinkle with a smile that his mask hides. He follows him through the automatic doors and along a small stone path until they reach a bench enshrouded by greenery. Atsumu doesn't know if the landscaper and designer were on the same page when deciding this particular design, but it works out for him because he's able to sit close to Sakusa and brush their shoulders. It's cold, but Atsumu doesn't mind; he'd grabbed his coat and the chill sits on top of the warm glow Sakusa unknowingly causes. "Any updates on your TAs to share with me?"

"I'm not a gossip monger." Sakusa glares and Atsumu grins. He relaxes and Atsumu's plan to use his right hand to hold his coffee vanishes when he feels Sakusa's fingers lock with his.

He's been meaning to use his left hand more. It's good to train it, he thinks.

"Same student asked for extra credit again," Sakusa sighs and Atsumu almost laughs into his coffee. "He didn't do that well on the midterm, but he should still pass."

"Ya know what his major is?"

"Statistics," Sakusa says dryly and this time Atsumu chokes, leans forward and sputters into the crook of his elbow. Sakusa waits patiently for him to return to his side and when he leans his head against Atsumu's, Atsumu almost combusts on the spot. "I offered to privately tutor him. If he really wants this to be his major, then he might just need some additional time to process the concepts."

"That's nice of ya," Atsumu remarks, looks over and Sakusa does the same. "Yer actually nice sometimes, ya know?"

Sakusa frowns and Atsumu just grins. "Are the nurses still terrorizing you?" Sakusa murmurs.

"Yeah, but that's not the most important thing from today," Atsumu says and he sees Sakusa's eyes close before facing forward again, following suit. "Played a bit with Mari-chan… beat Hikari-kun in that racing game ya hate. Like really beat him, totally smoked him, you'd be so proud, Omi-kun—"

"Isn't he sixteen?"

"Yeah," Atsumu answers, "which's why he's really good but turns out I'm better."

Sakusa laughs and Atsumu smiles in his cup because he could listen to the way Sakusa laughs for the rest of his life.

They chat for a few more minutes before Atsumu tells Sakusa he should go home, that he's clearly the tired one this time. Sakusa glares but he nods; they stand and their hands remain laced until the lights illuminate them again. Even though there are only a few people around at this hour, Atsumu knows better than to try and give him a goodnight kiss on the cheek, just holds up his coffee and thanks him again.

Sakusa nods, adjusts his satchel and fixes his coat. "I'll see you tomorrow night?" he asks, voice quiet and with just the smallest bit of hopefulness that sends Atsumu's heart straight into cardiac arrest, skips tachycardia all together.

"Course, Omi-kun. I'll text ya."

Sakusa nods. He takes a moment to look around; Atsumu's about to tease that he doesn't need to be so suspicious but when he sees Sakusa hook a finger over his mask to tuck it under his chin, his brain stops working.

And then when Sakusa steps forward and kisses his forehead lightly, Atsumu's brain exits his skull and heads straight for the moon.

"Good night," Sakusa says after fixing his mask, looks at Atsumu like he didn't just single handedly remove his entire brain without lifting a finger. Atsumu nods numbly as he leaves and after Sakusa's disappeared from view, he's still rooted to the spot, cheeks pink as his free hand flutters over where Sakusa's lips had just been.

Atsumu doesn't know how long he stands there, but Aoki's sharp, "Miya-sensei!" brings him and his brain back together on Earth. Stiffening, he yelps, "Y-yes, coming!" and hurries back, bows and apologizes as she chides that he's still not done redoing his charting and he hasn't even started on his notes.

He continues to nod and apologize in alternation as they journey back to the pediatric wing. She leaves him only when he sits down in his chair and opens the fourth binder; she says that she's going to check in on him periodically and he nods, starts working and waits for her back to turn before taking another sip of his coffee.

When he sets it down, his eyes linger on the cup. He brushes a thumb over the logo, can't help but smile and feel his cheeks pink again.

He drops probably in front of in love with.