mari ☆ space cowboy

mari ☆ space cowboy



skts exes to lovers, single parent!omi, teacher!atsumu, fluff // “Ya know ‘m gonna hafta call yer parents, right?” Atsumu hates having this conversation, even more so now. Everything would have been fine if it weren’t for Taka Chikao and his antics. +

Favoritism and disdain generally don’t find a place in Atsumu’s classroom considering his students are a whopping average of 6 years old, but every now and then a student comes along and makes him feel violently one way or the other. Taka Chikao is the devil incarnate. +

He pulls kids' hair, screams in the middle of lessons, steals crayons from his neighbors—that child is the epitome of unmanageable. He’s picked on just about every student in the class and has had his parents called almost weekly. But that’s not who sits before him. +

“Parent,” the little girl in front of him doesn’t look particularly upset at the turn of events, “I only have my daddy.” Even though he would never admit it, Kaneko Aiko is Atsumu’s favorite—she’s quiet, respectful, and quick as a whip, easily the smartest child in her class. +

Never has he called home about her behavior. But then again, Aiko has never hit another student before. “Sorry—gotta call yer pa, then.” Aiko shrugs, pigtails bobbing as she kicks her legs in the chair. “Okay!” “Ya don’t sound too upset about that.” “Daddy will understand.”+

He wouldn’t admit it to a literal child, but he hopes her father understands. Taka deserved to be hit for what he did in all fairness. Aiko’s best friend had spent a week working on a painting she loved, poured her little heart into it. Was it good? No, but it mattered to her. +

The second it was finished, Taka smeared a black handprint across it, laughing at the tears in Misa's eyes. Atsumu had already been on his way to chastise the boy when he saw Aiko hit him square in the face. For a six-year-old, it looked like an awful good punch. +

Another followed it and had Taka in tears himself. Only when Atsumu stood between the pair did Aiko put her little fists down, eyes burning with rage even as she looked rather impassive. +

Staring at her like that, there was the slightest twinge of recognition—something bittersweet from the past swirling in his stomach before he registered that he needed to discipline them. Heated words soothed by honey-sweet actions popping up in Atsumu's head once more. +

The memory of a love he once had felt strange to recognize in the face of a young girl, so he brushed it aside. “You’ll have to call his office,” Aiko pipes up. “He’s still working.” “Why don’t you call him up for us, huh?” +

As she nods, Atsumu pushes the phone towards Aiko, watching as she slowly dials the right numbers. After a few rings, a high voice rumbles on the other line. “Hi, Yachi-san! Can you put daddy on the phone? My teacher needs to talk to him.” +

After another little muffled statement, Aiko hands the phone back with another tiny smile. “Hiya, this is Miya Atsumu,” he says as he takes the phone back, expecting her father on the line. +

“Hi, Miya-san! My name’s Yachi—unfortunately, Aiko-chan’s father is on a call. Would it be alright if I left a message with him to meet you at the school? He should be there in the next 30 minutes.” +

Stifling a sigh, Atsumu checks the clock. He’s certainly logged later nights in the classroom. And truth be told, he’s curious about the man raising such a standout student. “Ya know what? That’s more than alright.” “Perfect—I’ll pass the message along!” +

After a brief goodbye, Atsumu turns his attention back to the pigtailed child before him. There’s something reminiscent of his younger years in her face—a memory of a memory in the mole above her jaw and under-eye on the opposite side. +

The stern set of her face conveys only what she wants. Again, Atsumu is overwhelmed by memories of black curls, dark eyes, cutting words coupled with soft touches. He shakes his head, clearing the thoughts away. “Alright Ai-chan, ya know what we do while we wait.” +

“‘Pology letters to you, the class, and Taka.” “That’s right kiddo. Let’s get to work then, ah?” 30 minutes fly by with no problem as he helps Aiko with her sentences and formulating her ideas, guiding her through the thought process behind making amends. +

As one of his star students, he doesn’t even have to comment on her penmanship, already performing above the rest of the class. The door to the classroom sliding open breaks them out of their focus, an entirely too familiar voice calling out. “Aiko, darling, what hap-" +

In the doorway stands a sight Atsumu hasn’t seen in a very long time. “Om- Sakusa.” Frozen before even stepping in the classroom is all of the remnants that Atsumu saw in Aiko. The face, the attitude, the moles, the way she so easily wormed her way into his heart. +

Time has changed him ever so slightly—they’re not 19 anymore after all. He’s a little more filled out now, a confidence in the way he carries himself that wasn’t there a decade ago. Were it not for the shock in his eyes, Atsumu could also see the perpetual exhaustion there too. +

“Miya.” Sakusa sounds perplexed, as if the sight of Atsumu sitting across from his daughter was an impossibility. His voice brings back a slew of new memories—kisses in dark rooms, arguments over the phone, hugs in their doorway. +

“Hi Daddy!” Aiko waves, ignorant to the way the world has stopped spinning around them. “This is the teacher I talk about all the time.” “Right.” Even as he acknowledges his daughter, his eyes don't stop boring into Atsumu. +

Atsumu tries to put on some kind of semblance of professionalism, failing when he remembers how much Sakusa manages to unsettle him, to tie his tongue up. Sakusa's always gotten under Atsumu’s skin in the best way. +

“Hate to shake ya from yer stupor,” he jokes, watching as Sakusa relaxes just a tiny bit, breaking out of his haze, “but we do have some serious stuff to talk about concernin’ Aiko.” +

Charcoal eyes trace over Atsumu’s face once more, taking in the minor changes, how the years have softened his face. Atsumu wonders if he’s still just as enamored as he had been when they were teenagers. “Right, yes.” Sakusa clears his throat, entering the room proper. ++

“Did something happen?” As Sakusa takes a seat across from him, Atsumu's overwhelmed with nostalgia—a younger version of himself itching to smooth out the furrow of his brow with a kiss. “Aiko,” Atsumu almost chokes on the name, “why don’t ya explain what happened to yer pa.” +

With all the same tact as her father, Aiko turns with a deep breath, “I punched a boy.” Muffling a laugh as a cough, Sakusa tries to look stern, completely failing in Atsumu’s eyes. though Aiko seems to look convinced. “Why would you do that, honey?” “He was mean to Misa.” +

“So you were mean back? Two wrongs don’t make a right, you know that.” Aiko throws her head back with a groan, attitude on display for her father. “Daddy he’s /mean/. To everyone. And Mi-chan worked hard on her painting.” “Do not use that tone with me, Aiko.” +

The child snaps her head up with a slight pout, looking all too much like her father. “We’ll be talking about this at length when we get home. Will you let me have a moment with your teacher?” Never has Atsumu seen such an attitude from the girl. +

She slides out of the chair with another little groan, muttering something as she drags her feet to the door. “Do /not/ slam that door, Aiko.” A gentle thud marks the doors closing—Aiko heeding her father’s instruction, leaving the pair alone. “Miya-” “Sakusa-” +

Both men let out a small laugh. “Why don’t ya go first. Ya got questions?” Maybe it’s a trick of the fluorescents but Atsumu swears he sees a hint of pink on Sakusa’s cheeks. “A few.” His voice is heavy, weighed down by a longing Atsumu can recognize a little too well. +

Thoughts of what if float back into his mind with too much ease. “Where d’ya wanna start?” “How bad is it that she punched a kid?” Tactless, just like his daughter. “Honestly?” +

Atsumu lets himself laugh, “Not that bad at all. I wouldn’t say this to anyone else, but ‘m kinda glad she hit ‘im. He’s a hellion.” “Was it that Taka kid?” When Kiyoomi raises a brow, Atsumu nods. “I’ve heard his name too much this year.” +

“That makes two of us. I already had her write apology letters and I’ll probably leave it at that. His parents didn’t seem too entirely shocked that he finally got what was comin’ to ‘im.” +

“Okay. Though I’m not all that upset about who she hit, I’ll be sure to talk with her about how to better handle conflict.” “‘S a good start—ya got any other questions?” “Yeah," Sakusa looks at him in disbelief. "When did /you/ become a teacher?” +

A sharp laugh rips its way from Atsumu’s chest, just able to catch the way Sakusa’s eyes sparkle at the sight, his mouth twitching into a smile of his own. “Probably ‘bout the time ya became a dad?” “Yeah,” Sakusa laughs, smile just a touch tense. “She was a bit of a shock.” +

A lull falls over them, Atsumu unsure how to push and Sakusa unsure of how to phrase the story. “I don’t wanna pry or nothin’ but I though ya were gay.” “Yeah. My family thought otherwise.” +

Atsumu should’ve remembered. It’s one of the handful of things that drove them apart to begin with—tension between his family and their relationship creating a chasm between them. He’d been resentful then. Now, seeing the way it weighs Sakusa down, Atsumu just feels sorry. +

“Her mother was a perfectly nice woman, a good friend. She, um,” Sakusa lets out a small sigh, averting his eyes and folding his hands in his lap, “died during childbirth. It’s been just me and Aiko ever since.” “Ah, ‘m sorry for yer loss.” +

Sakusa’s eyes are full of something like irritation until he realizes that Atsumu is genuine, not just pitying. “‘S there a reason she ain’t got yer name?” “Kaneko was her mother’s family name. I wanted her to have a piece of her mother with her.” +

It’s far more sentimental than anything Sakusa was like when they were young. Cold and distant morphs into something kinder and softer when he talks of his child—a side Atsumu’s never seen before. “It’s probably a little silly-” +

“No. Not at all. ‘S sweet to leave a piece of her mama with her.” Again they fall quiet, Sakusa’s eyes shining and Atsumu’s smile growing. It’s familiar, sitting across from one another like this. +

Even as the circumstances have changed, the feelings between them mellowed—not changed, never changed. Regret and longing swirl with a nasty drop of hope. Years and distance color their history, pain no longer as heavy. Maybe, just maybe things are different now. +

Maybe, just maybe, things have to fall apart before they come together. “I don’t mean to be too forward,” Sakusa leans forward, arms resting on Atsumu’s desk, “but we’re getting too old to be anything less than direct.” +

“We’re not fuckin’ old,” warm, low laughter fills the space between them, “we’re not even 30 yet.” “We’re literally fossils.” “Yer so dramatic!” “No more than you.” “Yeah, yeah—so what’re ya tryna be direct about and clearly avoidin’?” +

Atsumu levels a look at him, knowing all too much even after all this time. “You always know too much for your own good.” “Spit it out, Omi.” Sakusa’s breath hitches just enough to be noticeable, the age-old nickname clearly affecting him as much as it does Atsumu. +

“I don’t see a ring on your finger.” The /Is there anyone else?/ goes unsaid. “No marriage, no prospects.” And with a single statement, they’re 17 again, sitting across from each other, hearts racing, on the verge of something new and exciting. +

Yet it's different this time: they are 29, hearts beating steady, on the verge of something familiar but exhilarating. “Could have one prospect,” Sakusa says, quieter than everything else, too loud in the empty classroom. “I’d love to talk more about how things have changed.” +

To see if those old feelings remain the same. Atsumu can’t help the grin that splits his face in two—it’s not every day the love of your life asks for another chance, to explore your love once more. “I’d love to see what’s changed too.” +

Sakusa’s eyes crinkle in a true smile, Atsumu’s heart skipping a beat like it did the first time he saw that smile. “Maybe after I’m done teachin’ yer kid? Don’t know the ethics of datin’ one of my student’s parents.” +

“Well,” Sakusa laughs, “I’ve been waiting 10 years, what’s a few more months?” And in the stillness of the classroom, Atsumu thinks maybe he was waiting 10 years too. A few more months wouldn't be so bad. //

okay that's a wrap on my exes to lovers arc, i'm done, throwing in the towel

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