October has it worse. The weather is not cold enough to carry puffy jackets around and not hot enough to stroll down the street with a plain T-shirt either. It’s humid and mouldy with a faint scent of old books being abandoned in the arctic and moss crawling up on the wall. And then comes the rain. It pours down the street at the most bizarre time of the day when workers get out of the office, when students finish their classes, and when parents get out of their cars. Heavy drops fall instantaneously from the sky without warning, grey clouds darken, lightning strikes. Soon, the ground shakes under hurried stompings, small pools of water splash and catch on the trousers’ hems of rushed pedestrians trying to find a shelter under this ridiculous rain.
Shouyou is one of them.
He shimmies the backpack down from his shoulders and slings it above his head, sprinting the best he can home under the pouring rain. Once again, he ignores Hitoka’s warning and forgets to bring the umbrella that she has already put out on the shoe cabinet for him. Hitoka always makes sure to check the weather the night before, and Shouyou is thankful for her preparation that has now completely gone to waste.
Shouyou curses the rain, or maybe himself. If he catches another cold from running under a storm, he will never hear the end of it from Hitoka. They have been great as roommates, and she’s been a great friend towards him, bringing him milk when he has to stay up all night for group assignments and cooking him breakfast when he’s almost late for job interviews. University is difficult with assignments and job searches and forgetting to bring an umbrella, but it’s less heavy with Hitoka’s kindness. Although she does get quite scary when Shouyou comes down with a cold; it's already happened twice so far this month and he can't afford to make Hitoka worry for the third time. He knows his immune system is not the best, but he usually manages to get by just fine.
Shouyou sighs and wipes away the freezing droplets on his eyelashes, feeling his feet turning ice-cold inside the soaked shoes and his body shivering as the button-up shirt glues to his skin. The rain only gets heavier as seconds go by, and Shouyou figures he won’t make it back home in time before getting seriously sick the next day. It’s better to find a shelter and wait for the storm to pass instead, which seems easier, quicker, and probably the wisest thing to do at the moment.
Shouyou slows down on the empty pavement with only one or two people running past him. His chest heaves from the overexertion, eyes squinted as he searches for a decent shelter. It’s a Sunday evening, which means most stores close earlier than regular hours, and Shouyou curses himself again for losing track of time at the library. Maybe he should just run home, maybe Hitoka already knows from the abandoned umbrella, and maybe, if he’s lucky enough, she has already cooked him pumpkin soup to soothe the aches that are now building up in his throat. Shouyou huffs and continues his long way home, legs dragging at the mental image of a cozy sofa and a cup of hot chocolate.
If only there was a shop open.
And then he sees it, the bright yellow light and faint jazz from an antique shop on the other side of the road. Shouyou stares at the glass window reaching down to the ground and blinks twice, then he looks at the street name again for a few seconds. He is not wrong, he walks past this place almost daily, it is the corner of 8th street and Saint Marie road where it was a small scrap yard just a few days ago, but now stands a modest antique shop that looks a million years old as if it has existed along with many generations.
Curiosity brews inside of him. There is something about this antique shop that piques his interest to no end and calls him over through the whisper of the wind. It might be the yellow light that brings him back to the early 19th century, or the static song that gets him lost in a prestige masquerade ball. Or maybe it’s the whole presence of the shop that carries the smell of nostalgia, of good old times and of wine glasses clicking in between laughter.
Shouyou isn’t sure, he’s never into literature and history much anyway, not that it has anything to do with this. Ignoring the heavy rain, ignoring the possibility of Hitoka nagging him and the potential pumpkin soup at home, Shouyou crosses the empty street and walks over to the shop.
The one you lost and The one you found.
Shouyou reads the words etched on the glass pane, and then, a smaller line under them written in cursive catches his attention.
This shop is where you will find exactly what you have lost.
Shouyou flutters his eyelids at the words, a chuckle bubbles up from his chest. Whoever owns this shop and wrote this must be pretty innocent to think that people would actually believe this sort of advertisement. There are thousands of people in this country and each of them has definitely lost countless objects in life that they can’t remember themselves, and this shop claims that it can retrieve exactly those items, even the forgotten ones?
It’s either a cheap marketing tactic or it’s just written by an oblivious person, a cute oblivious person maybe.
But Shouyou steps inside anyway, with a heavy yank of the wooden door and a limpid ring of the bell, Shouyou is transported to a whole different world.
Crystal chandeliers hang above him with yellow light flowing down the aisles like faint sunbeams. It runs through freckles of dust in the air and embraces the items on the shelves that stand longer than time: a maroon Victorian dress laying on the table, a withering bouquet of unnamed flowers, a rustic and golden gramophone playing a static song that is perfect for a Waltz. Shouyou gasps slightly in awe, the wooden floor creaks under him as he shifts in his stance and looks around the store, only to be amazed more and more by the items displayed on the shelves.
“Hello?” He calls and cranes his neck around, but there is no reply, no one is at the counter nor the aisles.
Shouyou puts down his wet backpack at the entrance and makes his way in, not wanting to accidentally knock off these precious objects with his clumsy and drenched bag. He walks through the aisles, fingers caressing the edges of each shelf that he goes past. The surface of the shelves is clean as if they’ve been polished carefully every day, but dust clings onto the items placed on them. It’s almost like the owner doesn’t want to clean them, doesn’t want to wipe away the stories that they carry through time and wait silently to be rediscovered. They seem real, they seem honest, each bearing a mysterious record, a fragment of fondness, a gap of recollection.
Maybe the owner is right, maybe this is where people can find what they’ve lost.
So Shouyou searches for his. He doesn’t know what he’s searching for because god forbids him from having a great memory of the objects that he’s lost over the years, but he searches for them anyway. Excitement and restlessness stack up inside his chest, his fingers tremble just a little and his legs quake along with each hasty step. Bubbles of overwhelming emotions are ready to pop and exude out his body as he scans through the unfamiliar items on the shelves with accelerating breaths.
Then, he stops. On the corner of the fifth shelf, he finds it.
He finds an old music box placed on top of a yellow-stained letter with a red wax seal, addressed to him.
To: Hinata Shouyou.
Shouyou doesn’t realize his hands quiver as he reaches for the letter and his breath hitches when he touches the gritty and coarse material which indicates its old age. He rubs his eyes a few times, feeling the prickly sensation heating up around the corner as he looks at the black inked words of his name on the yellow frame, clumsy and faded and blurred at the end from what seems to be water seeping through the paper. He doesn’t understand why his heart drums at the mere sight of such an ordinary object, as if needles are puncturing his chest with an indescribable and puzzled agony, and yet, it lingers.
There might be a million Hinata Shouyous in the world, but he knows in some deep and unconscious and almost forgotten part of his soul, like knowing the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, that this letter is for him.
And so Shouyou takes the letter and the music box along with him to sit at the table that is adjacent to the window. He brushes his fingers through the letter once more for good measure, appreciating the hidden memories and emotions that it bears and the unread thoughts that it has been protecting all through these years. The rain still patters against the windowpane, car lights flash past him through the glass, and music plays in its rustic and nostalgic way when Shouyou takes in a deep and shattered breath, and finally, opens the letter.
You might never be able to read this letter, but I want to write it regardless. I know that you love hearing my thoughts, however random they are, even the simplest and most stupid things like how much I love your smile and how much I’ve been thinking about holding your hands. And so, I want to tell you what I have been keeping to myself all these years.
You might know it already, though, since you always know me better than I know myself.
Do you remember the first time we met each other? I do. I remember vividly how reluctant I was to attend that masquerade ball and how Miwa had to persuade me to go just to build a good reputation on the family’s name. I never liked these events, the people there always reeked of white talks and cheap wine and fake laughs. But you know what, Shouyou? There isn’t a single passing day that I don’t feel grateful for attending that ball, because I got to meet you.
It feels like just yesterday when I saw you across the room. I never told you this, but you looked beautiful that night, more beautiful than anything I’d ever seen in my life. Your hair was as radiant as the sun and your eyes were as bright as midnight stars. I think I stared at you for a long time, long enough for you to take a second away from your conversation with that girl and look my way. And Shouyou, when our eyes met, when you smiled, I knew. I knew that I might have just fallen in love with you.
But forgive me my love for I was too much of a coward to do anything about it. You know that out of everyone in that ballroom, I was the farthest from being charming. I am, have always been, clumsy, awkward, and different. My words could be so indelicate and my expressions could be so rigid that too often, I pushed people away unintentionally. Who was I to come over and talk to a person as breathtaking as you? I know you don’t like it when I have these thoughts, but I admit, I was scared at that moment to even look at you.
But then you came along, you looked at me and made your way through the crowd to where I stood. Watching those few steps of yours was so nerve-wracking that I didn’t know what to do with myself. My heart drummed and my stomach twisted and my hands sweated until a point where I thought I was dying. But it was alright, it was alright when you said your hello and told me your name.
You smiled when I stuttered on my own name, the smile that I cannot forget until this day with your eyes wrinkling and your cheeks blushing just like mine. Then you asked me to dance, and saying ‘yes’ to that was the best decision I had ever made, despite the side-eyes of everyone else in the room and the murmurings behind our backs. Because with you by my side, I wasn’t nervous anymore, I wasn’t nervous for a long time after.
That night was the most fun I had in a while. We danced throughout the first song, and the second, and the third, maybe more than I can actually remember, to be honest. Spare your scolding, my love, because I can only remember the way your fingers molded so perfectly into mine. I can only remember how warm your skin felt against mine and how sweet the sound of your laughter was in between my whispering. I didn’t know what I said to you at that moment, but I did know the swell of my heart every time you smiled as you looked at me, and I knew you must have felt the same way too.
Everything after that felt like a haze. I ate a little more cream puffs than I should have and drank a little more wine than I was allowed to. Then we danced again, laughing and giggling all through it with missed and drunken steps that made us look like two idiots. But you didn’t care, did you? You pulled me close and mumbled to my ear that you knew this place better than I did and led me by the hand to a secret garden behind the ballroom. It wasn’t so much of a secret as you thought Shouyou, but seeing the proud grin on your lips and the sparkles of your eyes, I decided to say nothing, I let you have that win.
But you know what Shouyou? Maybe you did win, and maybe I did lose. I lost to you when you looked at me with stars in your eyes as you said you didn’t mind where I came from and who I was. I lost to you when you smiled so brightly and so tenderly as you told me it would all be alright. I lost to you when you hugged me with just a light squeeze around my shoulders as you whispered how grateful you were that we found each other.
I have utterly, willingly, completely, lost to you.
It pained me so much that I had to leave when the sky only started to tint pink at the horizon, but you rubbed my cheeks and said that we would meet again. And so I believed you, and so we did. We met again the next night as I invited you over. I could tell that you were flustered, my love, the way your ears burnt in crimson and your fingers twisted and tangled behind your back.
I was restless too having you at my house, the way I mistook sugar for salt when I cooked us dinner and the way I tripped on my foot when we crossed the hall. It was amusing when you tried to catch me and then accidentally knocked the gramophone down from the table. I laughed it off and told you it was fine, but you frowned and bit your lip and I knew that you felt guilty, so guilty that after a few nights, you gave me a music box as an atonement, saying that you got it from your uncle’s store.
But you were innocent, my love, for thinking that I wouldn’t know how you made the music box yourself, how I wouldn’t notice the clumsy paint on the box and the expectant look in your eyes and the small cuts on your fingers. But I didn’t point it out. I didn’t point out that your uncle was the most meticulous artisan in town. I didn’t point out that all I wanted was to hold your hands and kiss your wounds. I didn’t point out that my fingers trembled when I cradled the box and my eyes prickled when the song started playing and my heart ached when I looked at you.
You didn’t just bring me a gift, Shouyou, you brought something so much more into my life, something that I hadn’t had the privilege to feel in a long time. With you staying by my side and with you treating me like an equal, I was cherished, I was saved.
I was loved.
I wanted to tell you that, I really did. But as I thought about the vile difference between us and how us being together would give you so many uncalled-for troubles from society and even your family, I couldn’t. I was scared that one day after all the challenges you faced, you would realize that you were exhausted from constantly fighting for love and grew to resent me for coming into your supposedly peaceful life, and so the only thing I was able to do was to stay silent and curse at my pathetic self.
Still, you knew, you always knew me, didn’t you? You knew the words I was afraid to say and the touch I was unable to give you, so you kissed my forehead instead and told me to take it slow, that you could never begin to hate me and that I shouldn’t rush myself. You told me that we still had a lifetime together to figure it out.
And Shouyou, if only I didn’t listen to you, if only I were braver at that moment to say how much I loved you and how much you meant to me, if only I could make you mine and hide you away from the world to where there would only be the two of us, far away from our families and the judgemental eyes of the crowd and the prejudice of this unfair world.
If only I didn’t lose you.
I should have known that the letter was fake. I should have known that it wasn’t your writing. I should have known that the night was too cold and too dark to go out on my own. Maybe I did, Shouyou, maybe I did know but I chose to overlook it. I was so full of myself and believed in the naive and ignorant fantasy of mine to be able to convince your family, to prove that I too could be a good match for you and that I would never harm you even if my life was on the line. Because if I had to be honest, my whole life, my entire being, had been yours, a long time ago.
You sometimes laughed at me and called me an idiot, always so fondly and kindly. But my love, my Shouyou, maybe I was indeed an idiot. How stupid of me to think that the Hinatas would accept something out of this world as myself. They didn’t, not a single person listened to me when I tried to explain that I would cause no harm and that all I wanted was to spend as much time with you as possible. People feared what they didn't understand, I should have known. And how stupid of me to believe that being persistent would have worked instead of running away when they pulled the guns out of their pockets?
Shouyou, you knew that I could never be mad at you, right? But maybe I was a little mad at you that day. Why did you have to pick the lock of your room? Why did you have to run to the living room and throw yourself in front of me? You knew I would always catch you in my arms and could never push you aside, and so you used that against me. You smiled so brightly and whispered so tenderly that you won again, with red slowly staining your shirt.
Maybe I should be mad at myself, Shouyou. If you were here, I know you would hold my hands and tell me that it wasn’t my fault. But what if it was? I was the one who believed in the foolishness of my own persuasion that I could make things work out in our favor. I was the one who came to your house fully knowing what was waiting for me. I was the one who wasn’t quick enough to protect you when that bullet left the muzzle.
Maybe your family was right, maybe you were better off without me.
That night, my love, you were in my arms, lying cold.
You were always warm like the first sunlight after winter nights Shouyou, in a way that it soothed my heart instead of burning my skin. But that night, you were turning colder than me, you were losing the warmth that you had always been generous in giving me. I called your name, I called your name so many times until I couldn't hear my voice anymore. But never once did you reply to me.
So I figured that you were tired and you wanted to rest, that you were getting impatient with me being unable to confess my feelings for you. So I hugged you and kissed you and told you that I loved you. I hoped that I could give you back the heat and the light that you had brought into my dull life. I hoped that I wasn’t too late.
You always said I still had a lot of time with you.
I chose to believe you, my love.
And so I have been waiting for you because the only thing I have right now is time and my memories of you. I know you would’ve wanted me to move on and meet someone else who could stay by my side when the rain pours down on my window. But in truth, Shouyou, there is no one else, I can’t love anyone else. It has always been you and me only, you know that.
And I will gladly wait. I will wait for you even if it takes you decades or centuries to come back by my side. I will wait for you until the end of time. So take as long as you need, my love, because I will always be here.
In the meantime, I will set up a lost and found shop for the lost souls to find what once belonged to them, so that no one needs to give up on an important piece of their hearts again. But you know me, Shouyou, you know I cannot be that benevolent and that I want nothing more than to have you back. I too am desperately searching for what I have lost to the cruelty of life.
So look for the shop and find me, look for the shop and save me from my own misery, look for the shop and come home, to me, to the one who has been hopelessly in love with you the moment I saw you across the room.
I love you, Shouyou. Always have been, always will be.
One minute has passed, the maroon and slightly wrinkled Victorian dress lies still on the table, soaking in the gentle yellow light beams that accentuate the bright color and the sophisticated embroideries at the stained hem.
Two minutes have passed, the meticulously wrapped bouquet with blue ribbons that once belonged to a tragic bride lays quietly on the second shelf, collecting dust and waiting for the limit of time to arrive while shedding the second last pink petal.
Five minutes have passed, the rustic gramophone on the stool touches upon the few last scratchy notes of the Waltz song that is used to play in masquerade balls, singing in silent repetition and missing the laughter and the swaying of feet and the faint murmuring of two found souls.
Shouyou reads the letter once, and then he reads it again for the second time, and then a third time. He keeps on reading those inked words until the papers become crumpled from the sweat pooling on his palms and wrinkled from his tight grip. He keeps on reading until tears fog up his vision and all he can make sense of are the black silhouettes of the letters. His chest heaves so painfully that taking in oxygen seems like such laborious work and exhaling shattered breaths is the only thing that he can do.
But Shouyou doesn’t stop reading. His legs bounce constantly in impatience and his fingers brush through every line with eyes scrutinizing each word as though he was trying to recall the memories that didn’t belong to him. What rushes through his mind right now feels like mere fragments of a dream that he forgot the moment he woke up - distorted images, faint voices, and overwhelming emotions mixed into one solid blur that resides in the back of his mind. And despite how much Shouyou wants to bring those recollections back and despite how much he wants to remember , he can’t.
Because this isn’t his life, this isn’t his memory, this isn’t his love. But every fiber of his skin and every neuron in his brain screams those greedy words of what if it is? What if he is the one who this person has been waiting for all these years and what if he is the Hinata Shouyou this person is in love with, desperately, hopelessly, patiently, from god knows how long ago?
But Shouyou can’t be greedy, he cannot. All these words in the letter, all these emotions and memories and love, they are too much, too painful, too beautiful for him to be selfish and take them for himself. Although a subconscious part of him tells him that the letter is for him and that the music box calls for his hands, he can’t jump to conclusions, he can’t hurt this person any more than they have already been from their lost love, he can’t—
The store bell rings with a limpid tune, followed by a loud rattle of an umbrella falling down on the wooden floor, and then a small, surprised gasp from a familiar voice Shouyou doesn’t recognize floats in. Shouyou’s head whips toward the front door in an instant. Standing there is a tall man with hair darker than the night sky and eyes deeper than the blue ocean, widened and unblinking, just as Shouyou’s.
Look for the shop and come home, to me, to the one who has been hopelessly in love with you the moment I saw you across the room.
Shouyou recognizes those eyes. How can he not?
“Hello. I don’t think I’ve seen you around before. My name is Hinata Shouyou, may I—”
“Ka—Kageyama, my name is Kageyama Tobio.”
“Well, Kageyama, may I have this dance?”
“—Yes. And also, call me—”
“Tobio,” Shouyou murmurs breathlessly, his entire being urging him to call out the name the moment he looks at that man, like it’s been carved into his conscience all along, long before he was aware of its presence. It waits at the tip of his tongue, hoping to be found one day. Then, he calls again. “Tobio.”
He looks different now compared to when he was at the masquerade ball, wearing a simple corduroy jacket in place of his velvet black vest; his hair drenched from the cold rain rather than basking under the dazzling lights of chandeliers; his eyes - his deep blue eyes that once bewitched Shouyou, bright and warm and enchanting, now losing a fraction of the brilliance after what seems to be countless of sleepless nights and torment of waiting for someone who might never come. But when he looks at Shouyou all the same from across the room, just as that night, Shouyou knows that he can’t be mistaken.
That’s right, Tobio, Kageyama Tobio.
Tobio takes in a ragged and stuttering breath as Shouyou stands up from his seat and mumbles his name under his breath. A slight frown etched on Tobio’s forehead, his lips part and tremble, eyes fixating on Shouyou with the similar adoration and sorrow and nostalgia that are imprinted in each word of his letter.
Shouyou’s heart sinks in an instant like the drop of a roller coaster ride, his fingers unconsciously scrunching the paper. He inches tentatively toward Tobio before pacing up into a running motion at Tobio’s staggering figure taking small steps forward, and soon enough, their bodies collide in a haste, snapping Shouyou’s mind into clarity, void of any doubt or hesitation.
Tobio catches Shouyou in his arms and hauls him into a hug that bends him backward with a squeeze around his waist, all too familiar. And just like old habits, Shouyou wraps his arms around Tobio’s neck and breathes in the scent of a forest after rain as he expects. Their hearts drum in sync and their bodies press tightly as though they were always meant to be this way, as though they are fate.
Shouyou can hear Tobio’s shattering breaths ghosting over his ear, and after a few seconds, Tobio whispers, the same symphony that has always been at the back of Shouyou’s head.
And as simple as that, Shouyou knows. He knows from the longing call of Tobio’s voice that it has always been him. He knows from the swell of their hearts that it has always been them.
They slowly let go of the hug and Shouyou takes a moment to look at Tobio. His thumb rubs across Tobio’s tear-stained cheeks as he grins, all while his own tears race down his face, words failing to form. “Tobi—Tobio, I—I, we—”
But Tobio doesn’t let him finish. Instead, he kisses Shouyou. A kiss that nearly feels otherworldly. It’s the burst of delight after endless years of waiting and yearning for a fitting embrace of hands. It’s the outpouring of desperation and anguish after such a sour separation and loss. It’s the reminder of a past love that still burns unconsciously inside their hearts until this very moment, non-stop, never-ending, all through time and life and death.
“I—I don’t care about all that, I know you can never hurt me.”
“I promise, it will be alright. I know it will be, you just have to trust me on this.”
“We will meet again, tomorrow night, your place — for dinner, that is.”
“I put sugar instead of salt in the soup—I’m sorry.”
“Thank you, for the music box, I want to tell you that—I—well.”
“No—no—Shouyou, answer me, hey, don’t do this to me, I don’t have—I can’t lose you Shouyou, please, say something, anything—”
“You’re here,” Tobio says fervently as they break away from the kiss, their foreheads pressed together, eyes closed to savor this moment. “After all these years, you’re finally here.”
“I’m here, Tobio.” Shouyou lets out a laugh choked with tears. “I’m home.”
“Tobio—do I really have to wear—this?” Shouyou stammers as he peeks out from the door ledge, his hands clutching at the intricate laces of the Victorian dress that abnormally fits his frame. Attempting to smooth out the creases on the old material once more as a way to cover his flustering, Shouyou bites the inside of his bottom lip and looks at Tobio’s back crouching in front of the gramophone while he sweeps away the dust on the track.
“Yeah, you’ll get sick if you keep wearing wet clothes, and I only have this dress as—” Tobio cuts off as soon as he turns around and glances at Shouyou. A mellow tune settles in between their short distance, catching amidst the creaks of the wooden floor as Shouyou squirms in the spot and a quiet sigh as Tobio’s gaze lingers on him, his eyes blue of the same reminiscent and gentle notes as the melody swelling in the room.
Tobio doesn’t continue long after that. The air becomes so still that Shouyou fears Tobio could hear the loud drums of his heart and the jump of his pulses. And maybe he does, he smiles with the frost melting away from his features and walks toward Shouyou gradually. Tobio reaches out a hand when he stands in front of Shouyou, his cheeks tinting in divine red wine and fingers trembling in one short second.
“Well, Shouyou, may I have this dance?”
“Well, Kageyama, may I have this dance?”
Memories and reality interlace in Shouyou’s mind. A lot has changed since, the room is no longer filled to the brim with laughter and wine glass clicking, the light is no longer dazzling on their clothes and the taps of shoes on the marble floor, the music is no longer surging from a famous orchestra. Still, their worlds shift the same. When their eyes meet, when their fingers clasp, and when their bodies are pressed together, Shouyou knows that what’s important hasn’t changed one bit.
They sway slowly to the soft tune with Tobio’s arms wrapping around Shouyou’s waist and Shouyou’s hand clutching at the corduroy jacket on his chest, their eyes closed, torsos leaning into the embrace without a gap. It has been a long time, they have waited too long for this moment, but—
“You’re hugging me a little too tight, Tobio,” Shouyou says eventually when Tobio keeps tightening the grip around him.
Tobio’s hum cuts off. He immediately lets go of Shouyou. “Oh, I’m sorry.”
Hearing his apologetic tone, Shouyou catches his front and closes the space between them regardless. “No, no, don’t say sorry, I would do the same, hugging and all, if I were you—not that I go around hugging and kissing people on the street or anything—so don’t worry—or if you’re not worried then—that’s good, I don’t want you to worry.”
Tobio doesn’t say anything, instead, he crooks his neck aside and looks at Shouyou, the one who always rambles on and babbles too much nonsense when he’s nervous.
“What’s wrong?” Shouyou swallows as he meets Tobio’s eyes. “Did I say something wrong?”
Tobio shakes his head and rests his chin against Shouyou’s forehead. “You talk more,” and after a pause, he continues. “It’s cute.”
Shouyou has never once experienced true love in the 23 years of his existence. He is the person who has never once received any love letter as beautiful, all while agonising as Tobio’s one, has never been called cute in all honesty without a fraction of superficiality, and has never been kissed in the way that Tobio did to him, making him feel so ever adored and cherished and loved . So of course Shouyou loses to Tobio, of course his cheeks burn and of course his heart jumps to his throat.
He will get used to this, he can get used to this—maybe—not now.
“So this dress,” Shouyou changes the subject and lowers his eyes at the white laces on the dress’s sleeves. “Is it okay if I wear it? Doesn’t it belong to someone?”
Tobio pauses for a moment. “It’s your sister’s.”
Tobio nods, his voice cracking a little as he squeezes Shouyou’s hand, his step missing one beat. “She wanted to wear it—when we get married. But unfortunately, she never had the chance.”
Shouyou’s thoughts stammer at the unfamiliar word, or maybe not so much, because what tumbles out of his mouth next sounds even more ridiculous. “Do you wanna get married now?”
Their dance comes to a halt at that second. Oh, spare him . Shouyou has never been a great talker anyway.
“Do you—” Tobio retreats one step back and stares at him. “—remember everything?”
“A little bit.” Shouyou nods with a bite of his lips, but he shakes his head soon after. “I’m not too sure. I remember who you are, and then—images, voices, but none of them are clear.”
Shouyou says, and as he sees the slightest crease between Tobio’s brows, he grips on the jacket and continues quickly. “But if you want to get married, then I can, then we can—you’ve been waiting for too long, I don’t want to keep you waiting anymore. The letter, when I read your letter—I can’t even start to imagine the pain you’ve been going through after so many years—”
“Shouyou, calm down,” Tobio says softly in a way that makes Shouyou realize he’s started crying again and that he’s been hyperventilating like an eager idiot. But Tobio doesn’t make him seem like an idiot, because he wipes away the hot tears and he cups Shouyou’s cheeks like he’s the most precious thing in this world.
And maybe he is, to Tobio.
“I’m fine, more than fine, actually.” Tobio smiles. “You’re here with me now.”
Shouyou catches Tobio’s hand on his cheek and clutches on the slender fingers. “But don’t you wanna get married?”
Tobio chuckles and brings Shouyou’s hand to his lips as he kisses each knuckle softly. It makes Shouyou’s heart flip like it always does, Shouyou just knows it does.
“We just met each other 10 minutes ago my love,” Tobio says teasingly, “Don’t you think it’s a bit too quick to propose to me?”
Tobio hums when Shouyou exclaims his name after the joke. He kisses Shouyou’s fingers once more. “You know it’s complicated, Shouyou.”
Shouyou frowns. He pulls his hand back and tugs Tobio’s cheeks to morph that beautiful face into a weird shape, not too rough so he won't hurt Tobio. “I don’t care if it’s complicated or all of the bullshit that the Hinatas told you! You can turn me, you can suck my blood dry for all I care—then I’ll be able to stay with you for a long time—and then, there will be no problem anymore, right?”
“You know I can’t do that to you.” Tobio shakes his head and smiles and Shouyou wishes that he didn’t, because despite how alluring and comforting his smile is, it makes Shouyou’s stomach lurch with sourness at the thought of one day, he will face the inevitable fate while Tobio will remain alone with the everlasting cold nights. And Tobio must be aware of this too, but he continues, “You deserve to walk under the sun, and not worry about—those stuff. You deserve a normal life with your family and friends, Shouyou.”
Shouyou slouches at Tobio’s words, his fingers have released Tobio’s cheeks long ago. The smallest skip of track from the gramophone and a police-car siren from far away shatter the silence between them, and Shouyou hugs Tobio again, his face burying in the crook of Tobio’s neck.
He murmurs, “I just want you.”
Shouyou hears a soft sigh from Tobio’s chest, and then his arms loop around Shouyou, patting his back. “Have me.”
“But what if I grow old and then—and then, you will be all alone again? I don’t want that, I can’t even stand the thought of it,” Shouyou says and looks at Tobio, words catching in between his stuttering breaths.
“Then I will find you again,” Tobio answers, confidence in his words and devotion in his eyes. “No matter how long it takes, 200 years, 300 years - there is no doubt in my mind that I will find you.”
“But what if—
“I love you,” Tobio says suddenly, a burst of a moment at the words which he’s been keeping inside for too long, and Shouyou thinks that they are indeed magical and capable of casting a spell on him, calming him down and easing his nerves.
But with you by my side, I wasn’t nervous anymore, I wasn’t nervous for a long time after.
It is as simple as that, Shouyou understands now.
So Shouyou takes a deep breath and looks at Tobio.
“You can’t cheat on me, though. In the next life, or the one after, or the one after after, I will look for you too, so much faster than you searching for me even. So don’t hang around other vampires or angels or demons or whatever you come across. Because I'll come running to you the moment I find you, so you better not lose hope and wait for me and be mine again.”
Shouyou knows it’s difficult, and Tobio must know it too. But, so what if it’s difficult? They’ve found each other once at that masquerade ball, they’ve found each other for the second time centuries later in this antique shop, and despite the fear of what the future holds, they will without a doubt find each other, all over again.
“I will.” Tobio laughs and presses his forehead against Shouyou’s. “I’m yours, forever.”
The one you lost and The one you found.
This shop is where you will find exactly what you’ve lost.
Shouyou has finally found what he lost. He has finally found his home.
Cut scene when they come back to Hinata and Yachi’s apartment later:
Hinata: o(≧v≦)o Yachi, hi, I’m home!
Kageyama: (´･_･`) Hello.
Yachi: Hinata, who is this?
Hinata: Oh this? He’s my 2300 years old vampire boyfriend I just found in a sketchy shop on the side of the road who is also my lover in my past life but we were separated because I was shot in the chest by my own family ∠( ᐛ 」∠)
Yachi: Get out.