header by @a-zebra-was-here on deviantart
Despite that Chihaya clearly told me that it was the last time she would accompany me on my ‘crazy trips’, as she calls my intellectual excursions to see more behind the human mind, I still thought she would become soft or inquire anything considering Aoba Johsai and myself.
Never have I been more wrong in my life to think that way.
It seems I have underestimated Chihaya’s stubbornness and pride, she must have been really ashamed to show me such a girly and friendly side of hers.
A little fleeting smile crawled up on my face.
She was very amazing though, I am still in awe of her acting skills.
Cute and girly Chihaya, a sight to behold!
And I wrote it down in my notebook, as small as possible so if by chance Chihaya would inspect it, she wouldn’t read the small parts since she is too lazy to even bother herself to do so.
“Kondou, you are creepy. Keep it down before the teacher scolds you again”, my desk neighbour whispered and pointed at my face as I saw my reflection on my metal ruler, a villainous smile mocking me.
“Thanks for having my back. But creepy is sure a strong word”, I whispered back, shoving my actual class notes on top of my notebook while throwing glances at the teacher.
“Well that smile out of nowhere and your frantic writing makes you look like a maniac, I mean you sure have your habits sometimes but lately it worsened”, he muttered in thought spinning his pen around as he looked back to the front.
“Is it that obvious?”
“I guess you are sure expressive. Oh, time to dip down the teacher started to watch us”, and with that our short-lived exchange died down forcing my attention back to the front.
I wondered what must have happened, that my attention was fleeting a lot.
A lot of thoughts wandered through my head since we visited Aoba Johsai last week and it was more pressuring knowing that if I wanted to visit again I had to do it alone this time.
The fact of visiting alone was not the frightening thing, to be honest with a little bit of motivation I could easily move myself there despite my horrible sense of orientation, yet it was always reassuring to have Chihaya by my side since she is quick to react.
I need to learn to stop myself even when immersing into my thoughts, observing things around me constantly is just as important as actively forcing my observation on one thing at the time.
“Miss Kondou, you are deep in thought could it be that I didn’t explain enough? Was it incoherent or do you want to ask something?”, the sudden question of my teacher made my heart jump and at the same time fall into the pits of my stomach as I had no idea what he was talking about.
“No Sir, I simply wondered how to implement your explanation as soon as possible and connect it to the next exercises”, was the only thing my brain could rack up at this point.
The moment he asks me to prompt an idea or repeat after him is the moment of demise.
“Don’t think too much ahead while we are still at the explanation, it will only confuse you to not see the things that you still need to learn before putting them into practice. Now to continue-”, he went on with his lesson as if nothing happened and I couldn’t even breathe out in relief.
He scolded me for thinking ahead? What a teacher… interesting the way of thought.
Seeing things in front of you.
I stopped in my tracks, grasping my pen firmly.
The sudden realization of why I have been lacking focus and attention lately.
My curiosity that started with that match and the last visit were the starting point, but since Chihaya meddled in and tried to help me, I subconsciously integrated her into my plans and tried to make it easier for myself, but initially I planned this as a solo-mission.
Just like the teacher said I need to focus on the explanation before confusing myself more into the implementation of things.
Damn he read me like a book, is he a mind reader.
In that moment he glanced at me and pointed at the blackboard, a sign that I should focus.
He must be… I need to guard up, I cannot lose against him.
I should have known when he told me that I would mess up the last year and I actually did!
“Kondou, stop being so obvious. He is watching your weird drama moments. That’s why he said that”, my desk neighbour whispered and made me calm down.
I didn’t believe in superpowers anyways, thank goodness.
The day after I had hoped with small hints that Chihaya would actually change her mind and come along, but she didn’t even have the slightest bit of consideration.
Lacking time was also a factor that played a role.
She was overwhelmed with her club activities and at the same time her hurt pride still hasn’t recovered.
So today I decided that this everlasting circle of dependence cannot go on, Miyako Kondou has to become a solo-fighter in this mission of loneliness.
Number two’s face popped up at the wrong time and my guts twisted as I stood in a changing room at a mall close to Karasuno High,
“Stupid Chihaya didn’t even ask me if I will be okay, I mean I would still say yes and play it off, but you know the thought matters, the thought! My self-esteem would have at least pretended to boost up!”, I threw my former uniform into a bag out of frustration while muttering those words under my breath and put the Johsai uniform on.
The last touches on my hair and face before I took another bag, put my old bag and the now neatly-folded Karasuno uniform in, as well as my notebook and pen.
Sorry, uniform it’s not your fault, I am just being a coward but at least I will now sacrifice myself for my hobbies unlike I do for my studies!
As the magic of the makeover was still lingering over me and I wondered when I would get used to it, I looked around and waited for the next bus that would lead me to Aoba Johsai.
All in all everything went smooth, I didn’t miss my bus stop due to my anxious stare on the screen every two minutes and on top of that my charismatic side seemed to be spilling over as I reached midway on the school grounds.
“Excuse me!”, someone had called out for me and I turned around pointing at myself.
“Yes”, the unknown guy had some red cones in his hands, “I was seeing that you are heading towards the gymnasium, would you mind placing them in front of the door? They are not heavy I promise!”
“Sure thing, should I really place them in front of the door or at the other building?”, I asked him and took the cones.
He shook his head and smiled, “no just place them in front of the door on the left gymnasium, the volleyball club is practicing right now so better don’t bother them around this time.”
“Okay, I got you”, I followed his index-finger which pointed at the direction.
“Thank you so much, you really saved me the time!”, he waved and I smiled widely.
No young man, I shall thank you for leading me the right way, not going astray this time.
With small and quick steps it almost felt like the cones were about to jump out of my arms, they were not heavy like he mentioned but a pain to keep in balance.
Carefully I placed them in front of the gymnasium, the sudden wave of nostalgia greeting me as I heard the squeaking of soles and screaming of names.
Would be my first thought, but the sudden remembrance of Number two and four made me wonder if I should just take a cone, stump it over my head and sit down silently so nobody would recognize me.
It’s only social anxiety speaking out of you Miyako, they wouldn’t remember you and the cone is red, so it would be pretty flashy.
Just like the normal human being I should be I walked in casually and up the stairs to reach the area close to the railing where some other clubs were watching them again, additionally the girls who seemed to have welcomed Chihaya.
Crap, they recognized me!
“Are you still shy to come? I didn’t see you in a week! Where is your friend?”, she looked around with a delighted smile.
Haya-chii if you knew that you already had people charmed by your charisma!
“She is busy with club, so she had to miss out and that’s why I was shy to come as well. Your welcoming words made me ease up though”, the first part was not a lie while the second one was surely one.
Despite my love to interact with people, right now every interaction seemed like a hidden landmine.
Wait a second!
My eyes wandered to the court where I barely caught the glance of the guy called Mattsun and their captain talking to each other as they looked up from time to time.
If I talk to them the possibility of being a total stranger would be zero! Since I would look like one of them!
Damn I am so smart… Chihaya would praise me for that- not.
“You and your friend are always welcome to join us. I am in no club but the one over there is in the girls’ volleyball club and wants to see how the boys are training nowadays. Ah and she is one as well, the other one belongs to the track club and-”, as I went along with her introductions and long chat I could gain a lot more information than I had thought initially.
On people, classes, buildings, clubs and so on.
Even a lot of guys came to watch them train and observed, some of them having a rest day from their own club, others liked being supportive.
Still they took a lot of time, last time I was almost about to leave with Chihaya around this time.
“Focus, focus”, I mumbled to myself only to get the girl’s attention next to me.
“You sound like you are about to serve, almost reminding me of Oikawa when I look at you closing your eyes like that”, she giggled until I realized I really had closed my eyes to gather my focus.
My eyes wandered to the mentioned name as he was doing that destroyer serve that made me wake up immediately.
“Yes, today the lessons were pretty tiresome so I like watching them to calm myself down and let the day die down”, I smiled at her and somehow despite the fact that I said that to not seem suspicious it still held some truth behind it.
Watching them play was very soothing and refreshing, way different than watching Karasuno or Dateko the other day. I already pulled out my notebook to write something down and was happy that the girl next to me started to doze off as well, until I felt her leave at some point.
I immersed myself into my notes, scribbled down every detail I could get despite the wasted time that went for maintaining my position at this school and put in some sloppy sketches here and there that I would refine later.
“Hey, you!”, I just heard someone yell and still focussed on scribbling down the last parts, writing out some details.
No need to look up, they are probably talking to each other.
“The girl with the notebook, I am talking to you!”, now I was pretty much sure that I was the only one matching the description until I looked around to find myself to be the last one left next to the team down on the court.
The guy from last time, Iwaizumi as I recall had called from the bottom of the stairs, crossing his arms while watching me with a half curious expression yet half frown.
“Yes?”, I simply asked back, closing my notebook.
Crap, I didn’t look at the time.
Chihaya was right. I would lose myself in my notes, I am an airhead.
I am doomed.
“We are done, so come down here. We are about to lock the halls”, despite the roughness in his voice he seemed very caring as he nodded and went back to his team sorting the cones that I put in front of the gymnasium.
A kind soul, I am not doomed.
Another day I will see the light, another secret I will keep from Chihaya.
I packed my things, took my notebook in my right hand and went down.
Instead of wanting to meet anyone’s eyes I flipped through my new acquired notes.
“Matsukawa-senpai, you seem to stare at her a lot, do you find her cute? I mean even if not I might take your spot and-”
“No Yahaba, it’s not because she is cute it’s rather that something about her is bugging me. Her behaviour is different from the usual visitors”, number two’s voice was so alarming that I couldn’t forget it anymore, it was burned and etched into my very soul.
And like every sane citizen who would pretend to have overheard that I looked up to meet the gaze of a smiling brown-haired guy who had talked to Matsukawa a second ago and the man himself who put his hand on his chin and still stared at me.
Dear mother, I know you might think of me as the last hope of a daughter that you wanted to flourish into something big, but today dear mother I need to tell you… your daughter is a failure of a human being through and through.
“Is there a problem?”, I asked with a forced smile on my face as Matsukawa still stared in thought and stepped a bit closer, still far away but it was enough to make me almost pee my skirt if I had to be honest.
Maybe he just finds you cute, I hope my charisma works on him ornI really won’t even have the time to flourish into a seed if that is.
“Something has been bugging me”, the one with the pinkish-brown hair tapped his shoulder and waved him over to whisper something into his ear which made him shrug and still throw me some glances.
Damn I am so curious, if it’s about me at least tell me.
Nevermind even if it’s not about me I still want to know.
“Actually it seems like Matsukawa, the guy over there”, the one called Iwaizumi surprised me as he passed by with some red cones in his hands, ”thinks you are suspicious since he saw you the first time. Now that I say it don’t you look just as suspicious, people mistake you for being older than you are”, his frown which seemed like the usual state of his face turned into a questioning annoyed expression directed towards Matsukawa.
“Isn’t that simply discrimination? My behaviour doesn’t indicate anything in that direction”, the nonchalant voice and face made me wonder if he was joking or being serious.
I was almost about to open my notebook when I forced my hand to stop and got a look from both Matsukawa and the guy next to him with the number three on his shirt.
“Suspicious”, number three muttered and Iwaizumi turned around.
My forced smile started wavering and the only option I had was to resort to Chihaya’s usual strategy she taught me.
“No, not at all haha”, I put out the best fake laugh I had and straightened up looking confident, “you know I am here for Oikawa-kun! I really was amazed by him, but it seems he is not around anymore. Oh my, even though I was so close to meet him”, a fake pout was on my face as I talked like a maiden waiting for her savior to come but he ditched last second.
It was just about the right time to leave because even I knew that my acting wasn’t that amazing since I am a bad liar.
“Too bad, I am probably going to see him next time. Goo-”, my waving hand froze as Iwaizumi started speaking right in my sentence.
“Oi, Crappykawa. She was waiting for you the whole time. If you heard her, why didn’t you come earlier”, he walked on with the red cones and I could hear him say something about crappy personalities.
“Hey come on Iwa-chan, the coach called me at the last second after I sorted the balls in”, after giving Iwaizumi’s back a concerned smile he turned to me, adjusting that concern to pleasure and walked towards me.
Please no, please no, please no.
I lied, go away, it’s still far observation phase.
“I am sorry, I overheard that but couldn’t get right back to you. Don’t worry your fated meeting has been moved to now”, I grasped my notes even tighter as I realized that his overly friendly tone must be probably too good to be true.
“Oh my god, I must be lucky! I didn’t deserve the honor”, the pressure to not stutter or make a mistake in front of his face was causing my guts to twist and the only explanation I had that my smile was still up- anxiety.
“You are putting me in a way higher place. We are still both students, I guess maybe I am your senpai which makes us a year or two apart. But despite that the honor is all yours”, he crossed his arms as he leaned down with a smile, something catching his eyes.
I am cursed.
That’s the only explanation why all of this is coming together.
I have been cursed!
I knew I should have run away the second Matsukawa saw me.
“I am a second-year, I guess yes you are my senpai”, indirectly we are not in the same school which is not a lie, “but seeing you on court makes me wonder if we are really just a year apart”, was a line a heroine would say in her own story which made me think it didn’t sound as bad when using it in a situation like that.
My only resort, and I used it right away.
His eyes were still fixed on something as he tried to explain to me that he was playing Volleyball since he was a child, as I followed his gaze I immediately understood what he was looking at.
“I am sorry, I didn’t have the time to put it in my bag”, I pulled up my notebook that he now stared at and wanted to put it in my bag.
“To be honest I have been wondering since earlier what you were scribbling down but restrained myself from asking you. Yet Matsukawa already indicated that it seemed a bit odd for someone to be so dedicated to write so much during our practices”, I held my breath and almost screeched but that also was my priority to keep inside.
I knew it all along, the true enemy and mastermind behind this case.
I especially glared at Matsukawa who seemed a bit confused.
It’s all your fault!
If I see you going home I am going to tie your shoes together or even steal them!
It was not the same to scheme my revenge plan against him, not yet.
I focussed my whole attention back on Oikawa who heaved his eyebrows in curiosity and smiled widely.
I pulled my notebook back and held it closely as I understood that he wanted to know something.
Option A, lie and say studying in the gymnasium makes you feel at peace.
Option B, say it’s not interesting and that it’s only for research reasons.
Option C, pretend to die on spot and when the ambulance arrives, make a fake body and disappear for a while.
My gaze fell on my shoes as I started overthinking.
Option A is impossible, I am not a good liar to persuade him.
Which leaves B and C.
As I almost planned to fall down on the ground I shook my head and looked up with a shy smile, of course something I had learned from Chihaya.
‘When you are in trouble, most of the time a shy smile will make a man weak.’
“I-I don’t think you would really want to read them”, I muttered, gripping my notebook tighter to my chest and for the first time, the thought of someone perceiving my notes as creepy from their perspective, frightened me.
“Oh”, was the only sound that he made before blinking several times, “but I really do want to read them though”, his surprised face kept glancing at the notebook and then at me.
“Is it that embarrassing for you to let me see?”, I never perceived them as embarrassing to be honest but he must think that’s the only explanation which would make me look even more creepy.
Chihaya you liar, that shy smile didn’t work a bit!
“Well it’s not really embarrassing…”, I averted my gaze.
“See? Then let me peek in, there must be a good reason why you are carrying it around so diligently, right?”, with that sentence I had realized something, something I could only know when I am that close to him.
He is even worse than number two…
The kind of guy who watches you struggle slowly bit by bit before you fall.
“Oikawa, stop being so persistent and annoying. It’s already a pain when you do it inside the team, but now even among your fans you don’t stop being trashy”, Iwaizumi cut the heavy atmosphere off and slapped his back.
Iwaizumi, number four, you are now the ace of my heart.
I owe you my life.
Why is he the only one being not that suspicious while he looks rough around the edges?!
“I-Iwa-chan! That’s mean I just wondered what she wrote since she scribbled it down so happily and diligently. I was curious!”, the usual smile he wore was wavering a bit probably due to the pain induced by, I had to say it was pretty loud and even I felt, that slap.
Iwaizumi who now looked at me too heaved his eyebrows as well and stared at the notebook, “yeah I wondered as well but you can’t force people to show you things just because you want to. Stop whining around!”
“I never whine. I simply negotiated”, Oikawa put his hands on his hips and looked confident while firing back that statement at Iwaizumi.
There was only one expression he had to make, to make both of us feel the deep disdain he felt for him in that moment.
With shaking hands I anxiously opened my notebook, it felt like I had to suddenly.
There was no other way around if I just left, I would be deemed as a creep or a weirdo.
I would not be able to come back anymore and they already seemed to have realized that my notes were connected to them.
My face heated up but I still kept a smile under my being that was almost reduced to only nervousness.
Yet there was only one thought in my mind right now.
I really wanna die, I really wanna die, I really wanna die right now.
I made myself ready for backlash, comments or even insults but as I kept the notebook in my hand turning it towards Oikawa and Iwaizumi, they naturally came closer to take a peek.
Both of them leaned down while Iwaizumi backed away immediately as if he felt the overbearing pressure of being watched.
On the other hand, Oikawa was right next to me totally focussed while reading, rubbing his chin and nodding at each page he was reading.
Suddenly he turned to me and pointed at the left page with a smile, “Can I flip to the other page?”
Even I couldn’t hold back my frown but still nodded.
I thought I was scared of what he had to say when he saw it.
Now I am even more scared that he seemed interested.
He gently picked the edge of the page and flipped it, and repeated that process with some others going over the notes I had written down on the team.
“Kunimi, Kindaichi even Watari”, he muttered as his knitted brows and focussed eyes still lingered on the page, his hand now covering his mouth as he was deep in thought.
“They are amazing. Those notes can come in handy and seem more than useful”, he leaned back as his eyes wandered to the ceiling, “it would make things a lot easier…”
Suddenly he turned his whole body to me and smiled, which made me flinch and close the notebook, ”if it’s possible could you borrow them to me or at least let me read through them?”
“I can let you read through them, but I need my notebook so borrowing would be a little bit inconvenient for me”, I muttered and smiled at him playing with the strap of my bag.
“That would be more than enough, yet I have to say it’s a bit scary how well you pick up little details on each player’s habit. For example Kunimi’s rather energy-saving plays. How long have you been watching?”, despite that his smile and voice sounded amazed, energetic and impressed, the word scary engraved itself in my head and heart.
I am scary, huh?
I wish I would be scary enough to just rush to my beloved home.
“Not long enough sadly, but it has been some time”, I muttered dejected by the fact that I was called scary and that it might be even true.
“You sure are trashy. Trashykawa, calling a girl scary!”
“H-Hey, n-no”, he faced his palms towards me as he stuttered an excuse, “look I really didn’t mean it that way. Cheer up, okay? I meant that your skills are more than useful.”
Ah, now he is trying to cheer me up.
I feel like a pitiful being.
“It’s… okay…”, I muttered and got myself out of my shock, “no need to apologize, it’s an odd hobby of mine.”
“Hobby? Wow, that’s kind of new. Sure a weird hobby if you ask me”, another stab in my already low self-esteem.
“Weird?”, my shaky voice asked him with a forced smile.
“Ah-”, he was cut off.
“Oikawa!”, and with that a long scold from Iwaizumi started.