title: once in a lifetime
characters: Inoo-centric; Hikaru/Inoo as a backdrop
word count: 930
author’s note: Written for JUMP’s 10th anniversary! Happy 10th, JUMP ♥ For Shiritori @ writetomyheart
summary: Reaching ten years with a group of people you love and respect isn’t something that happens every day.
Too tired to move— that’s how Inoo feels when he finally gets home at the end of the day on Tuesday, November 14th, 2017, or really, the early hours of the 15th, to be technical. It’s been a long day, with filming in the morning and then meeting up with the rest of the group for technical rehearsals from noon, followed by dress rehearsal and a quick catered dinner before their one-day (once-in-a-lifetime) tenth anniversary event. It all had felt surreal to Inoo, like a dream rather than his actual life, but honestly, he had been so busy leading up to the show that he hadn’t had much time to consider it. And then afterwards they’d gone to dinner as a group, all warm smiles and happy tears and melodious laughter, and it had been well after midnight before he and Hikaru had made it back to their little apartment together, tipsy and exhausted but so overwhelmed with the amazing knowledge that they had somehow come ten years with a group of people who they loved.
And now Hikaru is in the bathroom washing up, but Inoo, spontaneous as he always is, had immediately plopped down on the bed as soon as they’d gotten home, and now, finally, at the end of a very long day, his tiredness is finally catching up with him. He stares at the ceiling feeling as if every bit of energy has been drained out of him as he reflects on everything that’s happened, first since the beginning of the day, and then further, since the beginning of their time together. There have always been rough times— both in a short term with things like long rehearsals and late nights, as well as over the years with all the disagreements and struggles and heartbreak that have come with growing up together in the spotlight— but as Inoo lets his eyes fall shut and his muscles relax after all he’s pushed them through recently, he somehow feels all his normal embarrassment and hesitation stripped away, and in his heart of hearts, he knows that he’d never trade any of it, not for the world. After all, if it hadn’t been for all those hard times, they wouldn’t be standing where they are now: happy, successful, and so full of love and dedication to this little group that they can call their own.
It’s sappy, but he can’t even bring himself to care, sort of like he can’t bring himself to care that he’s beginning to drift off despite the fact that he’s still wearing his makeup from the stage, but just as he’s slipping off into oblivion, the distinct buzzing of his phone still in the back pocket of his jeans startles him back into wakefulness.
He debates not looking for a long moment, but then his phone buzzes again, and yet again, and with a sigh, he gives up, fully prepared to turn the LINE group of his college friends or the chat with his little sister on mute, but to his surprise, the messages that appear on the screen aren’t about an upcoming trip his friends are planning or what to get their mother for her birthday. Instead, they’re from JUMP members, all of them, and Inoo feels his heart swell and flip-flop in his chest as he gives in and unlocks his phone.
“I love JUMP,” is the first message, from Yamada, and then, “Me too,” from Yuya, and then, “I love it more!” from Dai-chan. And then not long after, Yuto’s “I love it the most of all!” comes in, followed by Yuri’s, “Well, you can’t love it more than me~” and then Keito’s, “I love you everyone,” in English, and while it’s so extremely simple and maybe even childish, Inoo feels tears prickly at the backs of his eyes. He knows that there are all sorts in Johnny’s— heck, there are all sorts in their group, even— and he sincerely wonders how he could have gotten so lucky to end up in a group of people not only so committed and dedicated to the same dream as one another, but also who have grown up so open and caring and willing to go the extra mile to express just how much they care about the group.
It makes him feel a little bad— he’s never really been good at speaking his mind and his heart in a straightforward way, and whenever it comes to something like this, like after Twenty Four Hour TV three years back, the embarrassment in his heart chokes up his throat and his hands, keeping him from responding, but when even Yabu replies with a “I’m so glad JUMP is made up of these nine members,” and Hikaru sends a large heart sticker, Inoo knows he can’t hesitate any longer. After all, reaching ten years with a group of people you love and respect isn’t something that happens every day, and honestly, it feels like his embarrassment is melting away as he thinks a moment before tapping out his message.
“Even if I could do it over again, I’d never choose anything but JUMP,” he sends, which he knows is horrible and sappy and Hikaru will tease him about it for months, but… well, you only reach your tenth anniversary once in a lifetime, he thinks to himself as he flops back down on the back, his phone vibrating as other members send heart emoji right and left, so if he was ever going to speak his heart, now seems like as good a time as ever.