“We’ll see each other again! Let’s write letters okay?”
“You halfta write to me everyday Sho-kun.”
The orange-haired little boy nodded enthusiastically, “everyday!!”
“Promise. But you have to write me back.”
“Alright, I can do that. Pinky swear?” Atsumu held out his pinky.
“Pinky swear!” Shoyo hooked his pinky to his and shook it.
It had been seven years since they last saw each other, and Atsumu had been waiting for this day. A chance to see Shoyo again the moment they got into highschool.
Shoyo had kept his promise of writing to Atsumu everyday, and he kept every single one.
Seven years from the first letter.
Ahh, Miyagi is so cold compared to Hyogo. I hope you and Samu are well! It’s really weird not seeing you guys everyday. I miss you guys! But guess what, I saw this volleyball match the other day on TV when i was biking through town and he was amazing!! It made me think of you, you started playing volleyball right? I’m going to start playing it. At least this way, I can be closer to you!
Now they were standing face to face on court as rivals, as opponents. Atsumu was floored at how much and yet how little Shoyo had changed. Small, bubbly Shoyo with his fluffy orange hair, was now slightly more filled out, all natural athletic ability Shoyo.
Shoyo had been cute as a kid, how could he possibly have gotten cuter?
Ahh, that jerk from middle school is my teammate now! He’s such a jerk! He got us in trouble the first week, and we weren't allowed to join the volleyball club because we got into a fight! We challenged our senpai’s to a match, so I’ve been practicing a lot with him, and he’s difficult to work with! >:[
Anyways, I hope all is well with you. How’s your volleyball going?
Who knew that Shoyo had meant Tobio Kageyama, someone he just met months ago. Funny, how that works. Atsumu wonders if Shoyo’s ever told Tobio about him.
They were brilliant on court together, that lightning fast quick definitely caught his attention. A pang of jealousy wrenched at his heart. How in sync they were, how much trust Shoyo had in Tobio. Could Shoyo trust him like that too? They were best friends, but the world is different on court.
Atsumu would be lying if he said he wasn’t in love with Shoyo. Growing up, he thought he was just fond of the younger boy. Hadn’t really associated the feelings he had when he saw Shoyo and Osamu together without him as jealousy. He just thought his brother was annoying.
As the years passed from then till now, the letters had slowed from daily to weekly. He couldn’t find fault in that. But the more Shoyo’s world expanded miles away from him, the more he felt like he was left behind.
As he stood across from Tobio and Shoyo accepting defeat, he made a promise to himself as he told Shoyo, “One day I’m gonna set for ya.”
He promised himself he’d tell Shoyo how he’d felt, and he wouldn’t tell Shoyo how he felt till they were standing on the same side of the court.
He wanted to be someone worthy of his ability, someone worthy of that kind of trust, Atsumu had a lot of work to do. But he’d reach it no matter what.
Ah, what a match! We were so close to beating you a second time at interhigh! You’ve gotten even cooler Sumu. You’ll have to teach me how to serve like that one day!
Hey, so I’ve been thinking about my future, and I still have a year to figure things out. I have a meeting with Washijo-sensei from Shiratorizawa in a week to see what he has to say, and well...ah, I’ll tell you soon. Promise!
The letters had continued during their highschool career, and Atsumu will never forget the day that Shoyo had called him shortly after that letter had arrived.
“I’m going to Brazil!”
“Oh, Brazil? That’s...really far.”
His heart sank when Shoyo broke the news; that he would be leaving for two years. He wanted to train on the beach. It was unorthodox, but he had many teachers agree, pooling together their resources just to help him achieve his goal and find a way out there.
“You don’t sound happy for me Sumu.”
“Oh! I am. I definitely am! Just, don’t forget to write.”
Shoyo giggled at that, “Of course! We made a pinky promise, remember? I’d never break that!”
The distance was only getting wider, and that forced Atsumu to work harder.
More letters, more calls, more video calls and photos were exchanged. Atsumu loved the selfies he received, especially the video calls they got to share.
“Sumu!! Did I wake you?”
Atsumu yawned as he rolled over onto his stomach, pulling his pillow to prop his face on it, “Naw, I’ve gotta get up soon anyways.”
“Oh good! Anyways, the sun’s about to set, wanna watch it with me?”
Atsumu’s grogginess melted away immediately, “Sure Sho, I’d love to.”
Hina propped up his phone, getting a good angle of the coastline. The phone was placed at an angle behind Shoyo, so that when Shoyo spoke he could look into the camera.
Atsumu’s chest tightened at the sight. The shades of amber and red filled the sky, illuminating Shoyo’s face, a small smile rested on his lips as he rested his chin on his knees.
“Do ya miss home Sho?”
“Mm,” Shoyo had hummed, “I do.”
“You’ve been workin’ hard. Keep it up, and you’ll be home before you know it.”
“Thanks Sumu…,” he trailed off, “y’know, I really wish you were here. It’d be just like when we were kids,” Shoyo looked into the camera, “I really miss you Sumu.”
Atsumu’s ears started to ring, his pulse started to beat rapidly as he lost his words for a second before settling with, “I miss you too.”
The sun descended into the water, the reds turning to purple then blue scattered with the white of the stars and the moon.
Shoyo picked up the phone flipping the camera back to selfie mode and smiled softly, making Atsumu’s heart stutter, “Thanks, Sumu. I feel a lot better now. I should get going, gonna grab some dinner with my roommate before I hit the beach!”
“Kay, have fun out there. G’nite Sho.”
“Have a good day Sumu!” Shoyo waved before hanging up.
Atsumu rolled onto his back, starfishing out, “Fuck, I really love him,” he whispered. He wanted to tell him, but not yet. Not when he was so far away. He remembered the promise he made himself: no confessing till they stood together on-court.
But jealousy soon reared its head again when he received a text message with a photo attached.
[Sho]: Guess who I found in Rio!
Atsumu wasn’t quite sure who the other guy was in the photo, maybe someone from Miyagi?
[Me]: Who’s that Sho?
[Sho]: The Grand King! This is Kageyama’s senpai! He’s playing in the Argentinian league and ah, I’m so happy to run into him today! I had a really bad day and he showed up and saved me!
[Me]: What happened? Are you okay?
[Sho]: I’m okay now! I promise! I’ll call you soon. Oikawa-san and I are heading to dinner and we’re going to play more beach volleyball!
That black pit opened up inside of him, swirling as he thought, Kageyama’s senpai? He must be a setter too then.
He hated this feeling of jealousy. Volleyball was something Shoyo found because of him, yet it was the one thing that was keeping them apart. He wanted to be the one to put the ball up for Shoyo, and he just hoped when he came back, Shoyo would come to his team.
They continued to send postcards, being in the V-league had him traveling to different countries, so he always picked up a card to send to Shoyo. Shoyo managed to find all kinds of different postcards in Rio, he never received the same one twice.
Shoyo’s time in Brazil flew by quickly. One week before he was scheduled to be home, Atsumu received a postcard: of a beautiful Rio sunset.
It’s bittersweet, but this will be the last card from Rio. I’ll be heading home in a week.
Can’t wait to see you! Thanks for letting me crash at your place!
Atsumu had offered to let Shoyo crash at his apartment when he was coming home. Shoyo wanted to start looking into teams when he got back. But Shoyo wouldn’t say which teams he was looking into, he’d always say “It’s a secret Sumu!”
Picking Shoyo up at the airport was surreal. Watching him weave his way through the crowds with his luggage behind him. He’d filled out the last two years, thicker muscles on his compact frame, his bronzed skin like he’d just walked off the beach.
It was a breath of fresh air.
Shoyo had launched himself at Atsumu in a bear hug, “Sumu! I’m home!”
Atsumu wrapped his arms around Shoyo and hugged him back, “Welcome home.”
They pulled apart and Atsumu grabbed his luggage and prompted Shoyo, “Well, tell me all about it.”
He’d laughed replying, “But you’ve heard everything first hand!”
“Tell me again, then.”
Shoyo shook his head, but still told Atsumu everything about Brazil, his experiences, the friends he made, the engagement he witnessed, the wedding he attended.
Sure, Atsumu had gotten trinkets from every experience Shoyo had described, he still liked hearing him babble away about everything.
As they settled in, Shoyo called his family to tell them he’d arrived and he’d come home in a week to visit. When he hung up he said, “Mom and Natsu give their love to you, and want to thank you for helping me out!”
“Aw, no it’s not biggie, don’t worry about it.”
“No! They insist! Come home with me next weekend. Do you think you can?”
“Yeah...yeah I think I can manage.”
Atsumu set up his couch to be a bed, and offered his room to Shoyo who declined and instead suggested, “Don’t you have futons! We can have a sleepover on the floor! Like old times!”
He was shocked for a split second before he was already moving to grab the spare futons he had for guests. Shoyo moved the coffee table and they went about setting up their futons. Once they were settled side by side in the moonlit room a silence hung between them, before Shoyo spoke.
“I’m really glad to be home.”
“Yeah? I’m glad yer home too.”
“It’s been a long time Sumu, since we’ve gotten to hang out like this.”
“Yeah it has.”
“I hope we get to do this more often.”
“Me too, you should gets some sleep. You must be tired.”
“Mm, yeah. G’nite Sumu.”
Atsumu stared at the ceiling till he heard the shallow snores coming from Shoyo. He turned his head to the side, watching Shoyo’s sleeping face as his own eyelids slid heavy with sleep.
The following week, Shoyo was in and out of the apartment. Apparently he had scored tryouts with several teams, but for which teams was never named.
Atsumu felt some anxiety. Shoyo shared just about everything with him, so for him to withhold this had him feeling wildly insecure.
Shoyo came home one day, bubbly and bouncy and a wide smile on his face.
“Somethin’ good happen?”
“Aww, yer not gonna tell me.”
“Nope. Not yet!”
It ate Atsumu not knowing if he got a position on a team and which team managed to sign him.
One day, when Atsumu was on his way to practice, “Sho! I’m leaving!”
“Okay!! Have a good day!”
By this time, Atsumu had already given him a key to his apartment, and partly made him wished he’d invested in a two bedroom so Shoyo wouldn’t have to move out. But again, that depended completely on where Shoyo was playing.
In the gym, he changed out into his practice gear and met the rest of his teammates on court. Mid warm-up the coaches called them all to huddle up for a meeting.
“As you all know, we’ve had tryouts recently.’
Atsumu nodded along with everyone else, but was immediately reminded that he didn’t know if Shoyo had gone to the MSBY Black Jackals.
“Well, we’ve found some real promising talent, and he’ll be joining us today. So, please give him a warm welcome! You can come out now!”
The entire team looked at where their coach was looking, the double door that was the main entrance to the gym.
A head peeked out around the edge of the door frame and Atsumu’s jaw dropped as Shoyo popped out, “Hi! I’m Shoyo Hinata! Thank you for having me, I’ll be in your care!”
Shoyo bowed politely to everyone, a huge smile on his face when he locked eyes with Atsumu.
Just as he was about to move to congratulate Shoyo, he was pushed aside.
“Hey, hey, hey! Hinata-kun!!”
Oh no, Atsumu thought, I forgot these two were close .
He grumbled at their cute little reunion, and grumbled more when the other teammates introduced themselves.
Shoyo finally made his way to Atsumu with his hands behind his back, smiling up at a pouting Atsumu.
“Sumu~,” he singsonged.
“Why didn’t ya tell me?”
“I wanted to surprise you!”
“I mean—I am...”
“Nothin’, never mind. I’m glad yer a Jackal. Welcome to the team Sho.”
Atsumu pulled him into a headlock and ruffled his hair. Shoyo struggled against him and cried, “Sumu!!!!”
After practice as they went home and had dinner together, making plans for practices, workouts, meal prep, you name it.
They went to visit Shoyo’s family the following weekend as promised, Shoyo showed him Karasuno and the rest of his haunts in a town he’d only heard about in letters.
“Next time, we’ll go to Brazil together and I can show you everything there too!”
Atsumu smiled, “I’d love that.”
Back in Tokyo they switched into training mode, living and breathing volleyball. Preparing for their match against Tobio and the rest of the Schweiden Adlers.
During that time, they’d spent a lot of time together, synching up had taken no time at all. Shoyo was grateful for every set, every pass given by Atsumu. They had a deeper bond, a different level of trust compared to that of what he saw with Tobio. This only reaffirmed Atsumu’s love for Shoyo.
He’d fulfilled his promise, and was now standing on the same side of the court with Shoyo.
But it still didn’t feel right, he felt the need to prove himself better than Tobio at that game before he could confess.
The match had been a nailbiter. Shoyo had so many tricks up his sleeve, and everyone had taken notice of Atsumu and Shoyo’s teamwork. They were better and faster than their former selves. They’d come a long way, and at the end they made it here together.
As Shoyo’s final spike crashed into the floor, sealing them as the victors of the match. Atsumu finally felt like everything they’d worked for led up to this. This was the moment he’d been waiting for since high school. Since he played against Shoyo in the interhigh. This was what he’d been working so hard for.
Walking right up to Shoyo in the locker rooms,, who was celebrating with teammates, he jumped up and hugged Atsumu when he saw him.
“We did it Sumu!”
“Sho-kun, there’s something I need to tell ya.”
“I love you,” they both said simultaneously.
They both froze, Atsumu continued on first, “I..I’ve loved you for a long time, since highschool. But I told myself I wouldn’t tell ya how I felt till we were standing on the same side of the court.”
Shoyo’s eyes shone bright before he laughed, “That’s...that’s exactly what I thought too.”
He reached up placing a hand on Atsumu’s cheek, “Sumu, you’ve always been amazing, even as a kid. I knew, I felt like I had to get better to be by your side. Remember my first letter? What I said?”
It was Atsumu’s turn to laugh, “‘Volleyball would bring you closer to me.”
“I wanted to be strong enough to stand by you on the court!”
Atsumu tucked a tuft of hair behind Shoyo’s ear, brushing his cheek with the back of his hand.
Closing the distance he kissed Shoyo softly on the lips, ““That’s funny, because my greatest inspiration was you. Everything I’ve worked for, everything I’ve wanted has led to this moment; has led me to you.”