He leans his bike up against the side of his apartment, the streetlights above him casting long shadows of his body and his bike on the colorful wall. Another long day of sand between his toes, sweat down his back in the strong Rio sun, and biking around winding streets to different homes with deliveries. Hinata turns the door to the shared apartment quietly, not wanting to wake up Pedro at this ridiculous hour. The clock on their microwave whispers the time into the quiet room in red numbers, 11:37 p.m. Hinata wonders what he does this for, who he’s staying up so late for. Is it really for the deliveries, the night time volleyball, the extra money in his pocket?
Or is it for him.
All the way across the world he wonders; are his blue eyes scanning the sun arch through the sky, just as much as Hinata watches the moon rise and fall every night? Does he also calculate the distance between them as they play volleyball under the same sky?
Please tell me you’re looking. But he knows, he knows Kageyama’s world is on a court. His world isn’t tan skin, orange hair or a loud voice.
But still Hinata has wished countless times; tossing sea glass back into rough waves with a splash, unspoken words through his hands on a volleyball, on shooting stars that fall off the horizon.
And when wishes don’t feel like enough, he asks. He asks so many times, so many nights, at a tiny desk in the corner of his room. His phone sits off to the side, the image of his friends as third years facing him as he taps through his shuffling music. Sure, Hinata’s always found communicating with emojis and texts easy, but never with him. But still his name sits at the top of his messages app, a chosen favorite amongst all of the differing names and languages that glow through the glass screen.
So he grabs his favorite pen, twirling it in his fingers as he thinks on what stories he’s going to tell him today. His mind flits through the day’s moments like a rip tide across his mind. Would he care about the new milk tea he had tried that morning? The way he was able to set the ball against an errant gust of wind? How his thoughts always return to him?
But it always starts the same, blue ink flowing in glacial colored lines across a snow white piece of paper.
He sits with his hand in his hair, sand falling out of his wavy strands, peppering the paper like freckles as his other hand writes, and writes, and writes.
The words never have any real structure, they don’t follow the typical cadence of sentences and stories. They simply flow like a river of thoughts, raging rapids of desires and wants.
I sat by the ocean this morning for my meditation. The ocean was really distracting though, the water reminded me of your eyes.
I think I could set a good enough ball for you one day. One you would be proud of, one that would make you smile.
It’s night time here now, the sky kind of looks like your hair.
Biking here kind of reminds me of biking to and from school when we were younger. The problem is that when I bike here, I’m bringing food to well loved homes, to people that are connected — I miss that feeling. Unfortunately it’s not to practice at Karasuno, or to meet up with you for a race. I miss that feeling too.
So I guess just know I’m ready to race you for some pork curry if you’ll have me. (Winner has to buy the other person the food like usual). Although, I think the only way you want me is on the other side of a net stealing sets from me.
But I think I could beat you at beach volleyball though. I’m pretty good at it now you know! You’d probably still find some way to tell me I suck.
I miss that.
And then the thoughts stop, the pen ceasing to move as the clock on his wall ticks by, the sound of pen on paper lost. He’s reached a dam in his river of thoughts, a line he’s not sure he can cross – or should.
Hinata flips the paper over, hiding all the rambling streams he just unleashed. But the water is building, pushing on the barrier he’s wanted to cross so many times before. So many nights he’s spent wanting to send these exact words, this exact sentiment. He remembers the first drop in their ocean like it was yesterday, when the calm wave of fate washed over them both in a Junior High hallway. And now here he is, oceans and oceans away, throwing his love out into the dark depths of their sea.
I think about you all the time. I think about the stupid way you call me dumbass any chance you can. I miss that. I miss your voice. I miss playing volleyball with you. Sure, the people here are really good but it's not you. Can you believe that the first couple of weeks I was here I couldn’t match up with a setter? I kept seeing you standing in the sand with me, kept flying through the air in the way only you can make me soar. You’re probably thinking I suck now that you’ve read that haha, nothing new I guess.
I look for you. I look for you in magazines, in articles. On Instagram and in group texts. I think I’ll always be looking for you, even when I’m standing right next to you again someday. Someday. Ugh that feels really far away.
The mountains here remind me of you. They stand so tall and prominent against the sky. They hide the early sunrise when I leave for the beach every morning. They’re dark and throw shadows, but they’re like hands that reach up into the sky. Eventually holding up the weight of the sun’s midday light like a setter’s fingers on a volleyball. Like your fingers, like your hands.
I think I’m catching up to you! Although, I think I’ll always be chasing you. You’ve always been just a bit out of my reach. But I want to catch you, I want to stand on the same court as you. With you.
I miss home. I miss the giant clouds in an August sky, those summer storms that used to make us hide in corners and pathways to get away from rain. I miss eating pork buns right after practice (and you trying to choke me out when I eat too many), the diving drills, all our nights spent practicing quicks in the Karasuno gym. I miss our team, the Tokyo training camps, Nationals. Hell, I even miss fighting with you.
God dammit Kageyama.
I miss you.
I hope you miss me too.
Kageyama, I want to come home. To you.
Wait for me.
He doesn’t care that there’s hot tears running down his face, carving a path down his arm to his fingertips, smudging his words. Because it doesn’t matter. It will never matter.
He grabs an envelope from the little caddy on his desk, the quantity of envelopes disappearing more rapidly than he had imagined.
He folds the letter, puts it in the envelope gently, and licks the seal closed.
He addresses it, Kageyama Tobio, in ocean blue ink. And stamping it he thinks that maybe he’ll send it, maybe this will be the one that reaches Kageyama’s hands. But he never does, and never will.
He opens his desk drawer and places it on top of the other letters that sit unread, all of the envelopes inked with the same name. He wonders when it’ll stop, when these feelings will finally recede from his shore. But when he lays in bed and stares at his ceiling, he’s never felt more pulled under crashing waves than he does now. So he drifts towards the currents of tangled emotions, falling deeper into the depths of their endless sea.
His alarm sings a cheery Portuguese song into every corner of his room, light pouring in through his window on yesterday’s thoughts like a spotlight. It begs the corners of his mind to share his feelings and send the letters that burn with desire in his desk, the light illuminating every thought he’s ever had. But he ignores their call and instead gets ready for another day of sand, sun and volleyball.
Stepping out into the living room of his apartment, he follows the scent of coffee that's already been made into the kitchen. Next to it lays a note from Pedro letting him know that he’s out surfing for the day. But that’s not all. He follows the small arrow on the front of the note asking him to flip it and reads, “there’s a letter that came for you yesterday, it’s on the counter.”
Hinata sets the note down with a shaky hand, turning towards the offending counter across the kitchen. And there sits one letter, one lone piece of paper laying against their speckled granite countertop like a beacon. He steps towards the counter and sees orange ink. Orange ink that flows in sunburnt lines.
Hinata Shouyou, it says. And he tears it open, hands shaking even more as he begins to read.
How’s beach volleyball going? You never text me so I have no idea. Although I did see that selfie you posted with Oikawa. So I guess it must be going okay. Are you winning a lot? What’s it like to play volleyball on a sand court?
Of course it’s all about volleyball. He laughs to no one but the furniture in the room, continuing to read the scratchy handwriting that bursts on the white paper like a solar flare.
I’m still on the Adlers. Ushijima is actually a nice guy. I know we used to think he was this enemy we had to defeat in High School, but he’s actually really easy to get along with. He’s all calm and quiet (very much not like you.) I also play with Hoshiumi, he still plays better than you I bet.
But. Do you remember when I told you that you could jump higher? I had told him back then that he was a great reference for you. But now he’s more like a terrible reminder. He's always bouncing around the locker room, squawking or laughing about something random that really no one is interested in. But for some reason that reminds me of you. How you’d go on tangents about something you did with Natsu over a weekend, or some new manga you read. I never thought I’d miss your damn barking laugh, or your rambling stories.
Hinata reads that line again, the words washing over him like the first wave in a good swell. He leans on the kitchen counter, the weight of the world feeling a bit heavier as he continues.
Look. This is so stupid.
Let me just get to the point. I miss you. A lot.
I can’t believe I just wrote that.
I wish you would just come home already. I know you left to try to catch me Hinata, but you already have. You probably have no idea what I’m saying. I–. I’m waiting for you okay?
I’ve been waiting for a year already, I’ll wait forever if I have to. But I can’t stop seeing you in everything. I see your somehow warm, but annoying self in the orange leaves that crowd the streets in fall. I see you in the sun when it first rises over the mountains, blinding me when I go on runs early in the morning.
I see you on every court I stand on, waiting...always waiting for me to send you a toss.
Well, now I’m waiting, and I wish you’d hurry up. So come home.
Please come home.
Hinata grips the letter in his hand like it’s his only lifeline home, the page wrinkling under the immense pressure of emotions that’s crested, finally crashing into the shore.
Running to his room, he rips his drawer open, grabbing the countless envelopes that have been left unsent. He pulls his phone out of his pocket, pressing call before the fear of confessing takes over.
“Hinata? Why are you calling so early? Don’t you have practice? Are you ok–”
“Kageyama shut up,” Hinata exhales, his breath coming out of him as if he’d just been running.
“Are you riding your bike? Why are you brea–” Kageyama goes on, trying to come up with some logical reason as to why Hinata’s calling.
Hinata cuts him off again, “I got your letter.”
“Oh god Hinata. I…,” Kageyama whispers, almost too quiet to hear. “Please say something.”
And he smiles, the emotions finally coming to the surface for air.
“Kageyama,” he laughs. The joy bubbles up into his voice, through his limbs, out into the universe crossing the oceans between.
“I have some things I’d like to read to you.”