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Chapter 02 :Approach
Chihaya made me wait at the girls’ bathroom for a while now.
If it hadn’t been for my curiosity towards this all, I would already have dashed back to the game.
My legs and fingers were itching to run back, take a glimpse and a little not and come back before Chihaya realizes I was gone in the first place.
‘If you dare to move from your appointed place, you can forget your whole hobby for the next 2 years.’
Chihaya’s exact words surfaced on my mind and the nonchalant yet threatening stare she had given me with that cold voice, it was surely meant just like she said it.
I was walking up and down, some girls who came in stared at me and I just nodded with a smile.
They did not question my strange behaviour that accompanied me with no knowledge of a plan concerning me, I had to thank my charisma for still looking sociable and kind of normal in such a situation.
“Maybe she has no pads and is waiting for someone”, I heard them mumble before heading back to the hallway.
An awkward smile formed on my face and I turned to the mirror and it dropped immediately.
Pads… yeah if someone is wondering why someone would be walking up and down, waiting in the girls’ bathroom this is the only simple conclusion.
“Chihaya hurry up”, I muttered as I typed the message and sent it.
The door opened up with a smack five minutes later, a person appearing behind my long-awaited friend.
“The match”, I almost teared up due to anxiety and frustration not being able to see them play, “the match, time, it’s probably almost over by now”, as I approached her she stretched out a hand to keep me from hugging or clinging to her as my hands dropped back to my sides
“She didn’t change at all”, it was not Chihaya’s voice that said those words.
Two hands started to squeeze my cheeks and massage them as if to prove the words that left her lips.
“Miya-chii, how have you been with your crazy stalker-hobby — Just kidding your Mum must be proud though”, she started to pull them in different directions and had a cheerful expression on her face while her dark circles under eyes showed the lack of sleep.
“I am doing fine, unlike you whose eyes look-”, she squeezed them back together making me unable to talk.
“You sure pick up things fast like always, but this isn’t about me!”, she let go of me and showed me her big backpack that she threw on the floor.
Did nobody ask her about the backpack when she came in?
Or wait this is a sports competition they must think she is part of it.
“What’s that Fubuki-chan?”, I crouched down and poked the backpack not doubting that this daring woman would have a hidden corpse in it.
Chihaya who just watched the whole situation peeked out of the door and nodded, then shoved us to the last stalls in the back.
“Chihaya told me you were going haywire this time and asked me for help, basically covered me on the gist of it”, she pulled out a neatly folded uniform.
Doesn’t look like Karasuno’s.
It dawned upon me.
“You brought this…”
“For you, and I got my old training-uniform for Chihaya too”, a wide grin was on her face as she forced the other uniform into Chihaya’s hands.
“Huh? Why me?”, a frown on her face.
“You want to tell me you are going to send this living chaos alone for the first time in a Johsai uniform to the crowd outside?”, she pulled out some other things.
Chihaya sighed and grasped the uniform that seemed to belong to the girls’ track club of Aoba Johsai.
“Chihaya seems like the athletic-type”, I pulled on her ponytail and she headbutted me, making my forehead throb.
“My brain-cells!”, I whined and she clicked her tongue.
“Chihaya”, Fubuki narrowed her eyes and pulled her cousin close, “don’t bully this small-grown mochi”, I almost gasped but sadly it was the truth that in terms of height I wasn’t the… average.
“What is that?”, Chihaya tried to change the topic and blamed her bullying towards the other things in the backpack.
“Don’t tell me you are just changing uniforms and hope nobody will know that you are the same girls from Karasuno, right? This is not a magical-girl outfit… “, I turned to Chihaya.
“She is right”, I added and Chihaya followed by a judging stare of hers.
Then Fubuki pulled out several sprays, combs and accessories.
“After you change we gonna do slight redos of that”, she pulled on my two braids and took away my glasses.
“Treat them gently, my Mum gifted me those glasses”, I pouted and turned to one of the stalls.
“Why wear them when you don’t need them?”, Chihaya let out another audible sigh and took the opposite stall.
While we were changing I kept explaining how my Mum told me the possibility of getting accepted into jobs more easily rises with wearing glasses, it’s something that is subconsciously triggered and gives job interviewers the image of an intellectual young woman, tested in real-life studies.
“Maybe I should get myself some too, after college when I go job-hunting”, Fubuki put on my glasses and stared at both of us.
Chihaya had no problems since Fubuki and her shared almost the same frame, height and sizes.
Genetics are sure a blessing, huh?
I felt her grabbing my baby-blue blouse as she folded the ends of my sleeves, that were a bit bigger on me than they seemed to have been on Fubuki.
“Baby arms”, she snorted and I gave her a glare.
“I’m gonna take my glasses back if you keep saying that.”
“Sure, try that if you can reach up here”, Chihaya chuckled along and she handed me the cream-coloured sweater vest, helping me to get it over my head.
“Everything is too big for you, but it’s kind of trendy nowadays to wear oversized clothes”, she handed me the white blazer but I rejected.
“It’s too warm, I mean I can keep it for winter. The tie is already more than enough”, I muttered and realized I was more of a ribbon fan.
“Winter?”, Fubuki blinked several times, “you are planning that much ahead?”
I tilted my head, “observation needs time, understanding, thorough analysis and a certain-level of bonding. Am I a joke to you?”
She nodded and pointed at the shoes, “they should be your size, I remember that I still had a pair of sneakers that I didn’t give you back yet.”
“You can keep them, I basically forgot about them”, with not much attachment to the loss of some sneakers I slipped into the brown footwear that seemed slightly worn-out.
“The chest-area is very tight though, if not for the sweat vest I would not hide the fact that-”, Chihaya and Fubuki gave me a death glare causing me to drop the topic.
I still want to keep the uniform.
“Oh really”, just as I was about to change the topic both of them pulled on my plaid skirt, “ then give it back if it’s so tight.”
“I am sorry, please stop!”, not much whining after that Fubuki started to open both my braids and slightly comb my hair.
She took the several sprays and analyzed the colors.
Only the ends were sprayed and she gave me some earrings and a cute watch.
“There you go, looking different”, she gave me a bag.
“If you go to Aoba Johsai, be sure to switch bags and keep your other uniform and bag in this”, she pointed at it.
I nodded eagerly with a wide smile on my face.
With a last look in the mirror, my chocolate colored-hair had now attained brighter ends which was unusual.
Mum would be shocked, thinking I might be going through the finding my style puberty revolution.
I turned to Chihaya and almost choked.
“Twin-tails are best tails!”, I put a thumb up and she seemed to boil silently.
“First and last time”, she heaved her index-finger threatening me and I saluted.
Goodbye Chihaya’s pride.
She had knotted the sleeves of her tracksuit jacket around her hips and crossed her arms.
Fubuki placed my glasses on Chihaya and patted our shoulders.
“Stay cool, as long as you just pretend to go ask the volleyball guys questions it will be fine. Most people, guys and girls alike, respect the sport clubs at Johsai”, I nodded and then widened my eyes.
“Talk? No, I will just get close and watch. I am still at step one of observing natural and environmental behaviour without my own interferences coming with both conspicuous attitude and interactions”, Fubuki handed me my notebook and pen.
“In our language?”
“She meant that she needs to observe him without him noticing her, so she would see how he normally talks to people and presents himself outside”, Chihaya explained in my stead and I was taken aback almost tearing up.
“Chihaya”, she cut me off.
“The game is over”, she heard people talking outside.
“Damn, even though they won Karasuno was kind of really strong this time. Seijoh had a hard time but thank goodness they made it”, voices started to pass by.
“Stop”, Chihaya pinched my cheek.
“Okay”, I turned down my excitement and frustration of not being able to see the rest of the game.
My data, my precious data I will recover even more to compensate for this match.
Right when they changed Sugawara-senpai in too…
“Behave humane”, she warned me and Fubuki packed her bag that seemed kind of empty unlike before.
“I put the spray and your other clothes in your bag and Chihaya’s one. Keep them for your plan.”
“Thanks our savior!”, I hugged Fubuki tightly and she patted my head with a sigh.
“Sure, don’t mind it. You rarely ask for something so it’s my treat”, my eyebrows knitted together.
“But Chihaya asked I didn’t”, it slipped out of me.
We both stared at Chihaya who seemed to hide a slight blush.
“Alright, do you want to keep standing there or?”, she pushed us out and I suddenly felt my anxiety spike.
You can do it, you can do it.
I mean you always were a mob character at Karasuno, nobody will notice you.
Someone ran right into me, almost making me lose balance.
“Ah sorry”, the girl who bumped into me wore the Karasuno uniform, but I was sure I had never seen her before.
I stared a little while longer, observing the girl who looked a little bit different that I would forget about her.
“Don’t mind it”, before I could ask her anything Chihaya nudged me.
Ah, I am a Johsai girl now.
It would be weird to ask her.
“The game is probably over”, she had sighed and straightened again.
“Yes, you missed it”, Chihaya answered in my stead.
“Sheesh”, she muttered an foreign word under her breath before smiling at us.
“I am sorry again, I have to go”, and just like she had rushed and bumped into me, she again started to dash off.
“Looks like an athlete”, without realizing it I had already opened my notebook as I still watched the girl run.
Chihaya pushed it close and shoved me to keep going.
“You almost asked her if you know each other, keep it together”, Chihaya looked back as well and I didn’t mind being shoved around to save some energy, “a transfer student?”
“Most likely. Maybe someone from outside Japan?”, I looked up.
“Can you walk by yourself?!”, she made me almost trip as we exited the gymnasium.
“I can but you seemed like you enjoyed it!”
“Don’t twist my words you little-”, as she was about to lecture me we heard a loud crowd of mostly girls talk loudly and call out for a name.
“Oikawa-kun!”, they had almost chirped in synchronization.
We both looked at each other and nodded.
“Target spotted”, I muttered under my breath, opening my notebook with one hand as I turned my pen in the other one.
“That pen is still weird, let me buy a new one.”
“I am a full-grown woman”, my scribbling was already full on.
As the brunette stood out mostly due to his height but as well his charismatic aura, the girls around him seemed very clingy.
Must be nice to be tall.
A benefit, I can always watch no matter how many people crowd around them.
“Stop humming, it’s scary”, Chihaya nudged me.
“Ahh”, a yell almost escaped as my notebook moved along with her nudge, “keep the bullying for later, this is important I need them to be readable to sort them”, I frowned and she clicked her tongue.
The young man kept waving and smiling, taking some photos here and there.
Some of the girls even gave him cookies.
“Do you think he would realize if I snatch some? There are so many, he would probably not miss one or two”, Chihaya rubbed her chin eyeing the sweets with a certain romantic flair.
I should give her some sweets afterward to soothe her sweet tooth.
Afterall I owe her this one.
“Oikawa-kun, please take mine too!”, a girl screamed as she almost pushed herself against him.
Chihaya and I took a moment to eye the bold move.
“Wow”, it escaped me.
“Kind of… how to phrase it”, Chihaya’s expression said more than enough, thank goodness we were a bit far away from the crowd.
“That’s why I said, safe-distance step one observation. To not get involved with those”, my eyes were fixed on my notebook again as the pages filled.
“Sure, why would I not accept a gift when you worked so hard for it and gave it to me?”, the gentle and kind voice rang in our ears for the first time as we arrived here.
So this is the man’s voice who seemed so eager and invested earlier, Seijoh’s captain and setter, number one.
Now in his jersey instead of volleyball shorts, not that I complain.
I am only here for behaviour.
“I don’t like the pretty boy-types”, Chihaya scratched her head irritated.
“It’s not about his looks”, I peeked up and my eyes fell on Chihaya again.
She sure looks cute in that attire.
I need to take a picture soon, for research purposes.
“Yes, I am not talking about his handsomeness, but he seems so conceited and full of himself, a womanizer somehow”, as she said that two other girls made the bold move to throw themselves at him to present him his presents.
I stopped for a moment and tapped my pen against my cheek as my thoughts started to work like little gears, falling together perfectly yet they made loud sounds and seemed to have a slight struggle.
“No, not really”, I said rather to myself than to Chihaya as I fixed the young man, whose smile didn’t falter at all.
In a surprised manner she had crossed her arms and turned to me, “What do you mean? Can you elaborate?”
With a slight side-glance, my eyes fell back to the crowd and I started scribbling down my thoughts and theories.
Chihaya who was a bit more impatient sighed and waited for me to finish.
I heaved my pen and pointed at him.
“Take a look closely, look whenever someone approaches him. Especially when it’s very sudden”, Chihaya followed my pen and narrowed her eyes.
We waited for some moments.
“I don’t see anything particular beside the usual surprised expression when they almost jump at him”, I smiled a little bit as I continued to write down and felt her gaze on me.
“That’s not looking closely, Haya-chii”, my thoughts became a little bit clearer when I wrote things down, they seemed more structured and I went on explaining.
“Imagine being the center of attention, at times you cannot really choose that, some do but some are just bound to be the center of attention. Whichever it is, you will start to adapt to expectations of people.
They will start to expect more from you and at some point you have several options how to handle those people.
Going on without hurting them in the process of interactions, even forced ones, while staying polite and distant.
A way of not being rude or rejecting anyone yet holding up a safe distance from them, a type of person who simply cannot ignore anyone talking to them and always reacts to it, but the walls are always up on guard. Look”, as I heaved my head due to the movements in the periphery of my vision, Chihaya followed my gaze.
“Observe, receive, connect.”
Chihaya seemed very focussed as well this time.
There was a girl who didn’t really boldly approach him but came from behind tapping his shoulder without him noticing her at first, for a split-second his smile wavered and there was a slight knit in between his eyebrows, the small hint of uncomfortableness or uneasiness that spread and then vanished, as he started to talking to her.
I hinted that to Chihaya.
“You are kind of scary, I really don’t want to be your friend anymore”, she pretended to shiver and I saw her expression change as she watched Oikawa now, her eyes not as judging as before.
“But this is only the observe- part, I cannot be sure and I can’t really say if I am right with this I need to observe it more but-”, my scribbling was interrupted.
“I knew it, he was here all along”, a tall man said behind us with bushy eyebrows and relaxed expression on his face, short and scruffy hair.
Right behind us, him, number four and a man with pinkish-brown colored hair observed.
I flinched and nudged Chihaya.
“We have to wait for the first-years anyway”, the latter mentioned.
“Give me something to throw, the coach already told me to make it short”, the annoyed voice stopped in his tracks.
“Hey why are those two not in the crowd?”, the scruffy haired man asked the other too and I closed my notebook immediately making it slip into my bag.
Chihaya understood immediately.
“Ahh, how nice to see Oikawa even from afar”, the sudden girly tone in her voice surprised me so much that I forgot why she was doing it in the first place.
“Yes, only looking at him gives me energy!”, I made my voice cute and girly as well, almost stumbling over my words.
“Oh, that’s it? No, screeching or gifts?”, while he probably thought we didn’t hear him the scruffy-looking man was still someone we needed to fear.
Despite his looks he is very aware and observant.
“What? What do you mean?”, number four made sounds of shifting and I almost feared he would come and ask us.
“She said earlier she needed to observe something more but it’s the only thing I heard since I arrived just now”, he whispered but thank goodness loud enough that I could pick it up.
I knew it, the scruffy guy picks up too much!
Thank goodness number four was a bit on the bolder side, who seemed to mind the details.
“Do you think we will get an autograph?”, I sighed loudly and hugged Chihaya.
“I hope, I mean we came all the way”, she pretended to almost tear up.
Damn it, Chihaya you sure are good.
I nodded and we both smiled.
“So many girls!”
“We can’t get close at all!”
We pretended to be in distress and looked at the clock.
“The train is coming soon!”
With one look we both yelled dramatically, “but we wanted to see Oikawa-san! Ahh!”
The three guys behind us were taken aback to a point they couldn’t understand the situation anymore.
Two dramatic crazy fangirls, nobody would dare to come closer.
Chihaya pinched my waist and we ran off.
“Haya-chii, you are so cute when you are so girly!”
“Shut up, I was so scared!”
As I looked back it seemed like Oikawa gave the three guys a questioning look before looking into the direction we were running to, but he probably couldn’t see our faces anymore.