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Our Hearts, They Beat In Time

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Playing for Japan’s national volleyball team was unusual. It felt both natural, like it was something he had always meant to do from the moment he hit his first spike, and surreal, like a dream from his high school days – something unattainable, nothing more than a fantasy.

Wakatoshi had been playing with this team for almost two years, and he still wasn’t quite used to it. He’d been scouted when he was twenty-seven, alongside Oikawa Tooru – now Iwaizumi Tooru, if he was being precise. Satori would want him to be precise, he thought, since the redhead took every opportunity he could to declare that he was “The Great Ushijima”. Wakatoshi’s husband found great pleasure in confusing random strangers, as they tried to connect the wiry redhead with the looming, dark haired spiker they saw on TV, and then the name on any of Satori’s correspondence. Wakatoshi didn’t fully understand why Satori would laugh so hard whenever he regaled their evening meal with another such story, but he was having fun, and that was all that mattered to Wakatoshi.

But on the subject of the national volleyball team – Wakatoshi had a problem. Because the Olympic Games were this summer, the volleyball matches taking place in August – and his wedding anniversary lay right in the middle.

Satori had already told him, over and over again in various different ways, that he was completely and utterly fine with missing their anniversary. The Olympics were more important, he’d said, waving his arms around and making exuberant spiking motions. They were only every four years, and this would be Wakatoshi’s first time attending. He couldn’t miss it, Satori had said, shaking Wakatoshi’s shoulders.

But it would also be their first wedding anniversary, and Wakatoshi didn’t feel like he could miss that either.

Of course, he would go to the Olympics. While the national team was of the highest calibre, and there were plenty of other amazing spikers to play the match - like Bokuto Koutarou, who had even wilder hair than Satori, - Wakatoshi knew that he couldn’t simply not attend. It wouldn’t just cost him his place on the starting lineup, it would cost him his place on the team altogether, and after working so hard to make it, he couldn’t just let it go now.

Their original plan, when the problem had arisen, had been to have Satori fly out to Rio with Wakatoshi, enabling them to celebrate their anniversary after the day’s matches. But then Satori’s mother had gotten sick, and Satori had used up all of his remaining days of paid leave to take care of her. Which left him with nothing to use to go with Wakatoshi.

When Satori had come home from work the evening after he’d requested the extra time off – and likely begged, knowing Satori – and Wakatoshi saw the look on his husband’s face, he knew that it wasn’t going to happen. And they both tried not to be disappointed, but then the day came where they were saying their goodbyes in the airport, and every word felt like a lead weight. Satori kissed him fiercely, and promised to watch every game, and then he had to step away, leaving Wakatoshi alone to board the plane with his teammates and their families. Even Tooru had looked aghast when he realised Satori wasn’t coming.

But Wakatoshi squared his shoulders, and boarded the plane with his head held high. He’d miss Satori more than words could express, but it made his goal crystal clear. For Satori, he’d slam through every block in his path. For Satori, they would win every single game before them.

~

When Wakatoshi stepped onto the court on the day of his wedding anniversary, he was filled with a fiercer burn to win than he had ever felt before. Even more so than the time he’d faced Hinata Shouyou in high school – this was all-encompassing. It was probably a physical manifestation of his love for Satori, burning as bright and wild as the redhead himself.

And then, after a few rallies, when they were a point behind their opponent, Wakatoshi stepped into the serving position.

And that’s when he heard it.

“It’s the miracle boy Wakaaaatoshi!!!”

It wasn’t just one voice, it was several, a cacophony of sound. And when Wakatoshi turned to look, he saw them immediately, even amongst all the people. But then, he’d never really be able to miss them, his old teammates: Reon and Hayato on either end; Eita and Kenjirou, hand in hand beside Reon; Tsutomu next to Hayato, towering over the former libero now; Taichi in the next seat along his arm across Tsutomu’s shoulders. And Satori was right in the middle of them, his voice the loudest, his waving the strongest. A part of Wakatoshi wondered what they were all doing there, how they’d got there, how they’d kept it a secret from him. But it was silenced almost instantly by the voice in his head that told him that this was how it was meant to be – his friends supporting him in one of the biggest games of his life. And most importantly, Satori was there, cheering for him as he always had, and always would.

Wakatoshi glanced down at the ring on his finger. He heard the whistle blow.

And his service ace slammed down on the other court, just inside the line. Unstoppable.

~

They won their match. The cheering from Wakatoshi’s friends had energised not only him, but also the rest of the Japanese national team. Bokuto found his rhythm within minutes; Oikawa’s serves would ricochet off the arms of the opposing libero. Their own libero made saves that Wakatoshi wouldn’t have even thought possible, if he weren’t watching it with his own eyes. It was like his own confidence was leaking out into his teammates, putting them all at 120%. And not for the first time, Wakatoshi realised how important teamwork was. They won together, they lost together. And when Wakatoshi’s friends cheered, they were cheering for all of them.

After the game, Wakatoshi emerged from the locker room to see the entire group standing there, wide grins on their faces. Tooru shot past him and into Hajime’s arms; Bokuto spun his pretty dark-haired lover into the air. All around him, his teammates were running to their families, but for a moment, Wakatoshi was frozen. It was almost impossible to believe that they were really all there.

Eventually, Tsutomu broke the silence, with a loud, “Ushijima-san, you were amazing!” – and then they were all moving. Reon ruffled his hair. Eita and Hayato punched his arms. Taichi clapped him on the shoulder, and Kenjirou praised his every spike, just as he had in high school. Satori waited behind them, beaming, until their friends parted just enough for him to lurch forwards. Wakatoshi opened his arms, and his husband fell into them, surging upwards to kiss him fiercely. Satori pulled away after a moment, breathing hard, and Wakatoshi rested their foreheads together with a smile.

“Happy Anniversary,” they breathed in unison.

Before any other words can be said, or perhaps, before they can be interrupted by their friends, a different voice breaks into their little bubble.

“Hey, hey, hey!” It was Bokuto, waving them all down, his boyfriend tucked underneath his arm. Akaashi, Wakatoshi remembered.

“We’re going to celebrate! You guys are coming right? You’re all going to come? We heard you cheering for us, you know!”

Satori grinned, and Wakatoshi knew what would follow. Satori had met Bokuto before, and they’d instantly hit it off, with their matching enthusiasm and over-loud voices. Anything Bokuto suggested, Satori was sure to agree to.

Sure enough, Satori replied with an equally loud, “Hell yeah we are!”, which was echoed by the others.

Catching himself in his own excitement, Satori then turned back to Wakatoshi, his grin turning almost sheepish.

“Sorry, Wakatoshi. That’s okay, isn’t it?”

Wakatoshi slipped their fingers together, squeezing his husband’s hand softly.

“Of course,” he replied.

He could never deny Satori anything.

~

If anything could be said about Japan’s national volleyball team, it was that they definitely knew how to celebrate. The conversation flowed well into the evening, long after they’d all finished their food, but Wakatoshi didn’t mind. His old teammates were beside him, and Satori’s hand was in his, and that was all that mattered. Shiratorizawa’s former team seemed to be the main focus point for the night, with many of Wakatoshi’s new teammates eager to hear stories from the players who had dominated Miyagi for so long.

Wakatoshi himself sat back quietly, listening to the others speak. Satori especially told riveting stories, and his natural charm made him fit seamlessly amongst the national players.

Eventually, people began to trail off back to their rooms, and once all of the other Shiratorizawa players had left, Satori stood up, stretching, and grinned down at his husband.

“Shall we head back too, Wakatoshi? You need to show me what your hotel room is like!”

Wakatoshi nodded his agreement, waving goodbye to the last few people left at their tables. And then he and Satori stepped out into the evening air, arm in arm, and began their walk back to Wakatoshi’s room in a companionable silence.

“Satori,” Wakatoshi began, after a few moments. “Why are you here?”

“Aren’t you happy to see me?” Satori questioned, and Wakatoshi didn’t have to turn to see the pout on his lips. He frowned.

“Of course I am,” he replied. “I was just not expecting to see you. I didn’t think you were able to come.”

“Well, technically, I’m not,” Satori said. “But I wasn’t happy with that. I begged my boss a few more times, I told him it was our first anniversary and everything, but he still said no. But you see, I’d already booked a plane ticket, and I knew everyone from the old team was going to fly out on the same day, to see you play, so I just…didn’t go in. He might fire me, sure, but I don’t think I want to work for someone who won’t let me be with the man I love on our wedding anniversary.” Satori drew his shoulders back, his chest puffed up angrily, but then his posture softened. His voice was quieter when he continued. “So I came here, with Eita-kun and all the others. We wanted to surprise you.”

“You did,” Wakatoshi murmured as they entered the hotel lobby. He marvelled for a moment at how wonderfully ridiculous his husband was – and chastised himself for not expecting Satori to do something like this. “I was really happy to see you all there.”

“You were?” Satori perked up as they walked into the elevator, wide smile stretching its way across his face again. “I’m glad. We’d been planning it for a while, and keeping it a secret from you that they were all going was so hard, you know? So I’m happy it worked.”

Wakatoshi didn’t reply, instead choosing to draw Satori into another heated kiss. He felt his husband sigh, his lips parting with the breath, and traced his tongue along Satori’s lower lip. Wakatoshi hadn’t realised, in the week or so he’d been apart from Satori already, but he had really missed the feeling of Satori’s body in his arms, the familiar sensation of lips moving against his own.

He was so engrossed in the feeling that he almost missed the ding that signified they’d reached their floor, but he managed to pull away from Satori just in time to tug him out into the corridor. Satori’s arms latched onto his waist, and they stumbled along past the other doors, lips finding hands, fingertips, jaws, until they reached Wakatoshi’s room, and he had to turn away to fumble with the key card.

As soon as the light switched to green and Wakatoshi turned the handle, Satori tackled him from behind. They tumbled over the threshold of the doorway, almost falling to the floor before Wakatoshi managed to brace them against the wall. Satori grinned apologetically, kissing Wakatoshi once more before breaking away to investigate the room.

“I didn’t have time to come up and look earlier, when I dropped my bags off,” he explained, and Wakatoshi raised an eyebrow when he noticed Satori’s bright red suitcase on the floor at the foot of the bed.

“You had your things brought up here?”

Satori glanced over his shoulder, almost slyly, and Wakatoshi swallowed hard.

“I knew I was coming to surprise you,” Satori admitted. “And I didn’t think you’d tell me to sleep somewhere else. I mean, if you don’t want me here, I can always go bother Eita and Kenjirou-”

“No,” Wakatoshi crossed the room in the three strides, lifting Satori by the waist and laying him down on the bed, his own body falling to rest beside him. Satori’s breath left his chest with a whoosh, but he recovered quickly, turning onto his side and slipping a hand underneath Wakatoshi’s shirt.

“We’ll have to sleep soon, you know,” he said, tracing shapes across Wakatoshi’s chest and leaving a trail of goosebumps in their wake. “You can’t be tired for tomorrow’s match.”

“We have time,” Wakatoshi replied, and closed the gap between their lips.

~

Later, when they were both spent and tired, curled up together underneath the blankets in a tangle of limbs, Wakatoshi pressed his lips into Satori’s hair, his mouth brushing against the strands gently.

“I love you,” he whispered, and felt Satori shiver.

“I love you too,” his husband replied, pressing one final kiss against Wakatoshi’s jawline.

“My miracle boy Wakatoshi.”