“you left the door unlocked?” atsumu calls out to you the second he enters your apartment, heavy bags of laundry and groceries occupying his arms, and with another second, you meet him in the kitchen.
“oh hey!” you chime, “you’re home!”
and atsumu looks at you, “you left the door unlocked!”
“it’s a safe neighborhood.” you shrug, tittering as you ignore his antics, and you walk over closer to him to welcome him home.
it’s been a long day without atsumu — he has his volleyball career and you have your college, but even after all that, he is still your husband, and it’s only right that you get to miss him.
atsumu settles down the bags he carried on the kitchen counter, a hand on his hip, and he turns your hug away.
he tells you, “what if a psychopathic maniac walked in?”
“well, then i would’ve said; hi tsumu, how was your day?” you smile, rolling your eyes at his chattering, and you attempt to hug him again despite your first attempt being futile.
atsumu smiles, his own cheshire grin, and he likes that he goes home to you, likes that no matter how tiring his day gets, he’ll always have you to come home to.
he lets you welcome him into a hug, and he smiles, and he laughs, saying, “i picked up the laundry - separated your whites from my reds, i didn’t make that mistake again - and i picked up those highlighters you were eyeing the last time we went by there, and, oh wait — ”
he stops talking, walking over to your side of the room, and atsumu says, “pause.”
“what?” you laugh, raising a brow at his actions, and you’re pulled into his arms - he smells like the sun and fresh cologne - and you’re quick to ease into him.
he smiles, “pause.”
you titter, “why?”
and he tells you, “kiss.”
so you laugh thinking he’s joking, but you stop your sentences anyways, pushing his hair away from his face, and you let him kiss you - smiley, toothy, consecutive kisses - and he doesn’t let you pull away.
atsumu’s arms locks behind your hips, pushing you against the kitchen sink, kissing you one after the other, and he pulls away, taking the free second as an opportunity to calm the atmosphere down.
it’s been a long day of volleyball, a long day without you, and it’s nice to just have you so close to him even for a little while.
you smile, your nose almost touching his, and you say, “so you were telling me about highlighters?”
“is that all you want from me?” he asks, faking a dramatic sigh.
and you nod, “i married you for that exact reason, miya - a set of highlighters.”
and atsumu scoffs, “well, miya, i didn’t hear you mention them in your vows.”
the high of the moment ends, his laughter dies down with yours, but neither of you move away from each other - just comfort in the closeness of being together again.
you married this man. you’re barely 20, and you’ve actually married this man - taken his name as your own - and you’re still deciding if that’s a good thing or not.
his nose brushes against yours, and you stare at his face long enough to see a subtle blue discoloration just above his eyebrow.
“you have a bruise.” you frown, pointing out what you see as you trace over it with your finger.
atsumu nods, wincing when you touch too hard over it, “got hit in the face with a ball.”
“does it hurt?” you ask, a bit gentler this time.
and he tells you, “nothing i can’t handle.”
atsumu feels your hand settle on his cheek, his bruised, sore cheek, and he feels how gentle you are with it — like you’re scared to hurt him, and he pushes his face deeper into your palm.
you could never hurt him.
your voice is soft, “wanna go to bed?”
he would go anywhere with you.
atsumu nods, and he laughs, “but we are so not leaving that door unlocked.”
it’s only been a few months since you and atsumu got married — just young kids, signing contracts, sharing names and spitting vows — but he’d like to think that it’s going well, he’d like to think this would last, he’d like to think that you love marrying him as much as he does.
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I had this idea earlier but forgot to jot it down, so I’ll just post it now (even though it’s 4:15 am lmao).
So, a modern sambucky AU where when they were kids the two of them were penpals. Like handwritten letters type of penpals. They sign up for some program that allows kids from other states to write to each other and make friends.
It goes great. Perhaps they become the closest of friends even though they don’t know what the other looks like or only know their first name (because privacy and safety). They have inside jokes but also share secrets and worries they can’t tell their other friends. And perhaps because they don’t know what the other looks like, that they can’t suddenly just hang out that makes it so easy.
And this goes on for years, maybe until it got too hard to write real letters. So one day, they write a letter to each other and they put down each other’s emails. Maybe they make a separate email account just for the purpose of writing letters to each other. There’s something comforting in the not quite anonymity.
The emails come and go, they’re both busy people after all, but sometimes the emails increase when either something extremely positive happens or when something really bad has happened and the only person they can talk to is each other. They tell each other things they haven’t told anyone in their lives. And yeah, maybe they’ve described how they look like in their letters over the years, but there’s always that one rule -- no pictures until they actually decide they want to meet in person.
Then, the emails stop. For weeks, months, at a time. A year. Lots of things happened. Relationships, school, careers, deaths, births. All that.
Until, of course, one of them finds one of the old letters again, stashed away, and fondness and nostalgia, and maybe a longing to talk to another person who won’t judge (because at this point, either Sam or Bucky or both have experienced a life changing thing that’s made it hard to talk to other people. Perhaps this is when Sam has lost Riley. Or Bucky has lost his arm. Maybe both of these things overlap around time with each other. I literally thought of this idea just now. Anyway.) and what if, hmm, the email address still works?
Lo and behold, the email doesn’t bounce, it still works.
And it’s a shock, and a surprise, to see a notification for it. Because maybe they both were holding out hope that nothing has happened and the other would respond one day.
And at first, it’s awkward, as reunions and catching up go. But then, with regularity, it comes, and just as easily, they joke and laugh (maybe insert a few memes), but also they find it’s still so so easy to share the things it’s been harder to say in person to the people in their lives.
And there’s no judgement, just acceptance. Along with commentary on the other’s lives and the people in it because it’s not like it was before, a weekly, or twice a week or twice a month type correspondence, but daily, sometimes hourly.
But, there’s only so much you can send through an email. As kids, they used to send tiny things in the mail: stickers, pencils, tiny toy figurines, stuff like that. And maybe, while out and about, one of them brings it up.
Hey, you remember when I found that tiny bird figure? I was walking through the farmer’s market and someone was selling bird art. It kinda looked like that.
What, you want to send me bird art now?
One of my best friends is an artist. It’s always good to support local businesses.
Oh, I see, you just want to support your community. That’s all, huh?
But eventually, they send each other their addresses, if only to send “little” things in the mail. Deciding to make it a surprise when they sent something over, a little blast from the past to make their days worthwhile.
Of course, Sam’s not gonna tell Bucky that the falcon art was very very cool. (And shimmery. Who knew inks could be so shiny?)
Anyway, it goes like that until one day, maybe both of them are relocating, for a job, for a new change in scenery, whatever. So it’s only back to emails. But life gets so busy, and they’re starting to do better -- attending and getting good mental health also does that, for the both of them -- that the emails slide on by.
Until, of course, they meet in person.
They don’t know it’s the other, never knowing the other’s last names, and only knowing their first names (James and Sam, both terribly common names), and it doesn’t always go well. Sam has no idea why the guy is surly to him, he’s done absolutely nothing wrong and has treated him with respect and politeness.
It bugs him, and everything he asks to all the other people in his life doesn’t work. He doesn’t go out of his way to really interact with him, not after the first few times, but they just keep running into each other and it never goes well.
So, back to his email buddy. His friend. Perhaps, at this point, even if they never have met, he can kind of call him a best friend. They have inside jokes, they have shared secrets, even gifts they’ve given each other.
Help, how the hell do I get through to this guy???
The email responses are good, in fact, great. His buddy Bucky has actually given him actionable solutions. Things are slowly changing into a truce with the surly guy, James.
And then, over time, James stops being surly, and kinda...nice. Going out of his way to be helpful. Just little things. Sometimes, he shares a joke and the two of them laugh and smile. And, wow, maybe it’s been a long while since Sam has enjoyed himself -- his last few dates have been busts, and it’s kind of nice when James ends up helping him bring his grocery bags to his door, or tries to tell him a joke and cheer him up when Sam feels sad and tired.
Eventually, though, feels escalate but they don’t tip over -- Sam’s so unsure to try to ask him out. He asks Bucky advice, yet again.
I really like him but--
From everything you’ve told me about him, you have nothing to lose. It’d be his loss if he said no, you’re totally a catch.
You’re just saying that to make me feel better.
I’m just saying the truth. I haven’t even met you in person and yet I think of you as one of my best friends.
Do you want to?
Want to what?
Meet in person?
After that, it’s decided. Sam wants to meet him. Maybe, seeing this person who’s been his closest friend for probably close to two decades at this point, might make this easier. At least Sam would have the knowledge that there’s a real human being who would be there through thick and thin for him, and has, all these years. No amount of rejection from a could-be suitor would change that fact.
And then, they decide, ok, let’s do this. Let’s finally meet. They pick a place that’s not where either of them live, in case they want to get away if things...go badly. They figure out a time, and a place, and what they’re going to wear so they can identify each other.
(Their identifiers are things they got each other over the years. Maybe a matching cap or a t-shirt. Something like that.)
They meet in some highly rated, but quaint, coffee shop, at an hour that’s not bustling with customers. Bucky is wearing the ridiculous hat. Sam has on the equally ridiculous shirt (which happens to be on the side of a bit too tight near the shoulders and chest, but looser at the bottom, getting him all sorts of appreciative stares despite the content of the shirt).
Sam, gets there first, has ordered his drink already, his back against the door.
He’s drinking when Bucky walks in, behind a customer ahead of him, covering most of his face from view, but Sam sees the hat. Waits. Doesn’t look -- he wants the two of them to actually see each other at the same time.
Bucky orders, the drinks are out quick because of the lack of people.
He gets his order, looks around, and only one person fits the description and is wearing the color of the ridiculous shirt. Places a hand on the man’s shoulder.
The man turns around, looks up, their eyes meet and--
Sam’s eyes glow almost golden at the angle the sun beams through the window, his mouth a surprised smile, at him. His heart races, and Sam’s does too, once he recognizes the face under that hat. He just wants to take it off his head.
Sam...doesn’t want that hand to slide off his shoulder, wants to keep it there by touching it with his own. But Bucky -- and holy shit james is bucky -- sits down in front of him, takes the hat off, takes a sip of his drink. The two of them just stare but they try not to laugh coz their hat and shirt is just. They’re wearing things that they had as young adults, not the grown men with homes and careers should be, with juvenile jokes on it.
It’s awkward, at first, especially since they do know each other. In different ways, of course, but they know of the other, but not...like this.
But then, it’s great, the jokes, the laughter, showing each other pictures of people they only talked about for years but never seen, and sharing updates as if they’ve done this their entire lives. Share each other’s phone numbers so they can continue texting. Plan more outings for this weekend trip before they have to leave for “home”.
And it’s good, so good, much more than Sam anticipated. The man he’s had a growing crush on, is also a man who’s been his best friend since childhood, and it’s so so easy, to slip into those roles they’ve made online with each other. It’s perhaps the best thing Sam has had in a long time.
He desperately doesn’t want to lose it. There’s so much more here at stake now.
But, Sam shoves it aside, pretends that making a decision is not a big deal, he can think about it when he’s back at home in his own bed.
Until Bucky on their last day, as they’re sharing a drink, asks him about the situation with James.
So, have you figured out if you want to tell him or not?
No, Sam wants to yell, because he’s you, you idiot and I don’t want to lose the closest friend I have in my life.
Sam just stays quiet, finishing his beer, and Bucky, like he’s always been able to do, even before Sam met him as James, tries to reassure him the best way he knows how. And he reaches a hand to give Sam’s hand a squeeze, but it’s more like half of his palm is on Sam’s wrist and hand.
The touch makes a pang spring in his chest and something prickle in his eyes. He doesn’t want to cry, not like this, not in front of Bucky. He shakes his head, as if it’ll clear everything, and twitch of his lips.
Bucky just squeezes his hand again before letting go.
He doesn’t say anything -- he knows about Sam’s troubles with dates and about the loss of Riley and all the others who have gone before. And he knows Sam knows he’s going to be there for him.
He just changes the subject and it doesn’t get brought up again.
Anyhow, they return back home, things...at first get busy for work for the both of them, and then when it settles down, Sam just...keeps some distance. He can’t--he can’t lose--
After the third week, Bucky tries to text, Sam barely responds. He tries to email, the email is somewhat curt.
When a real, full, letter comes into Sam’s mailbox, his heart is in his chest. Bucky’s worries about Sam, about how he wants to make sure he’s ok, that he shouldn’t be so bummed about this James situation if he isn’t ready. Sam should be ready, he should be happy first and foremost. He’ll give Sam space, just that he should let him know when he’s feeling better.
Sam’s clutching the letter that it crinkles, and then he puts it aside because the trembling in his hands makes him afraid he’s gonna accidentally rip it. And the tears just, flow because he loves this man so much, he doesn’t want to lose him, the hole where he’d be would ruin him.
Bucky does deserve to know his feelings, he’s deserves to know his best friend is ok, he’s been there for him for so long.
Sam, he doesn’t know if he could do it in person. It takes him forever to write back, but it’s probably one of the longest letters he’s written in his life. But it’s there, all of it, his heart.
And I’ll understand if you don’t feel the same way. You’re my best friend and your friendship means everything to me and I don’t want to lose that because I told you how I feel. But I wanted you to know.
Sam avoids checking his email or his texts from Bucky, makes himself busy with his work, with talking with his other friends and co-workers, tries to give Bucky space to process but also doesn’t want to face rejection.
Until, they accidentally meet again, bumping into each other, and Bucky looks at him with soft eyes, roaming over him as if he’s assessing if Sam has been doing ok. And then crushes him to his chest as if he could sense Sam’s fear and gloom and grief and loneliness and holding him is something he could do to chase it away.
Eventually, Sam has to swat his hands at him because Bucky, I can’t breathe you’re squeezing me too hard and Sam feels lighter than he has in days. They talk, walking and going over to help Bucky with his groceries. He pours him a cup of coffee, just the way Sam says he likes it.
And everything comes out. Bucky being surprised that Sam’s James was him, that Sam has feelings for him, and how his heart jumped out of his chest knowing Sam, someone he had a crush on for awhile, liked him back, how it is the best thing in the world that one of his best friends is also the kind, beautiful, funny, smart, snarky, man who got through to him when he first arrived in town, and loves him back? It’s a miracle, practically, and he knew Sam avoiding him wasn’t personal, it was Sam trying to deal with everything but--
We’ve made it work before, sweetheart. Will you let me be your guy?
And Sam, trying not to smile, cry, and slaps a hand against Bucky’s chest laughing, I can’t believe you upstaged me, I was supposed to--
Like all his leaps of faith before flying in the air, Sam decides to take one last one.
Yeah. You’ve always been my guy.
And it’s true, hasn’t it? Since the first letter.
But maybe, this could be for forever this time.
(They kiss. And perhaps the epilogue would be an envelope leaning against the lamp on the side table next to their bed. Bucky could be sound asleep or he could be up and making breakfast. Either way, Sam wakes up with the soft light of the morning seeing an envelope with his name on it. Inside, is a ring, and a letter. One declaring hopes, dreams, love, and perhaps the future. Sam would slip the letter back into place, hold the ring in his hand. Bucky eventually sees Sam with the ring and Sam brings the ring towards him so Bucky can slip it on -- Sam sees Bucky has the ring Sam gave him on.
I accidentally found your letter last night, he gives a sheepish grin. Can’t believe we came up with the same idea.
They laugh and kiss, and Sam’s glad his thought of Bucky upstaging him yet again isn’t true. At least, it really is forever this time.)
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