art by @a-zebra-was-here on tumblr
“Another serve please!”, roared the coach.
“Yes!”, I yelled back and somebody threw a volleyball in my direction.
It bounced a couple of times before getting to me and I tipped forwards to get it. Sweat was starting to form on my forehead as I spun the ball in my head to concentrate for a second.
“Alright, go!”, with that I threw the ball in the air and readied myself for the jump serve, my arm swinging back and hitting the ball with full force. I held my breath for a second before releasing it all of an extremely loud sound.
Grunting as I made contact with the floor again, I checked the precision of the serve and when the coach gave me a sign that I was done I started slowly walking towards him.
“Res of you, assemble please!”, he roared through the gym and the squeaking sound of soles grazing the floor filled the hall.
“The new ones are coming today, right?”, startled I almost shrieked when Iwaizumi suddenly stood next to me.
“MY goodness Iwa-chan, please you’re going to give me a heart attack!”,I whined at him and he scoffed at me, still waiting for an answer.
“The newbies come every semester, so we’ll see if anything good comes out of the batch”, my voice dipping lower. I looked at the coach whose gaze went over the small crowd.
“Okay boys, listen here. We had the official start of the tryouts yesterday. I’ve selected a couple of candidates for a match today. First you’re playing against some of them, later I’m going to mix you all together to see if the dynamics work”.
He paused for a second and looked each of us in the eye while he continued.
“Every single one of your is replaceable. Don’t look down on the new guys. I take only the ones who are the best. No one is safe”.
Clasping his hands together he nodded to himself and then ushered his assistant to bring in the try-outs. The crowd dispersed to the other assistant coaches who assigned us colours for the teams that would play.
“Do you think we’ll get serious competition?”, Iwaizumi mused next to me, “or is the coach just going to send them all home like last time?”.
I focused on the small group walking inside, my eyes trained on the unfamiliar figure.
“I have the feeling it will be different this time”, I ushered back to him and he nodded to himself.
“Welcome freshmen to the last stage of the try-outs”, the coach explained, “we’ll see what kind of treasures lie in your abilities!”
“Atsumu Miya, right?”, the coach pointed at a blonde standing in the crows, his hand positioned on his hip.
“Yes, sir”, the blonde mused and something about his grin irked me.
“Alright, you play setter for the mock team, I want at least two as wing spikers”, he stopped to look at his notepad, “Sakusa Kiyoomi?”, he nodded when a guy with curly hair nodded and made his way to get warmed up, “Bokuto Koutaro? I think I’ve had you here before right?”.
Bokuto grinned widely and nodded, his enthusiasm radiating off of him.
I remembered Bokuto from my high school days, but we never had a lot of possibilities to play against each other. Sakusa was a name that nobody could forget, ranking high nationally.
Miya Atsumu as a setter, hm?
I’ve never heard of him before, but a feeling started to bubble up inside me that I hadn’t felt in a long time.
A new challenge.
The coach continued to list other names for the team and set the rotation, while one of the assistants pushed a cart of volleyballs towards us.
Being already warmed up, we waited for the newcomers to get a quick stretch in before we started.
With the first blow of the whistle we all situated ourselves properly on each side of the court, my eyes trailing over the students in front of us.
First up to serve was a guy that I didn’t even remember the name of, his routine looking very simple but my eyes stayed on him as he began with an overhand serve.
“Got it”, our libero called out and I already felt the rush of adrenaline kicking in.
Charging forward I made a calculated step until I felt the ball rushing down exactly over my head. My arms outstretched. I felt the familiar bump as I held it for a second and grinned as I already saw Iwa getting ready.
“Iwa!”, I called out, the ball taking a smooth curve and finding Iwaizumi’s hand easily as he smashed in the ball with a grunt.
With enormous speed and a good gut feeling in my stomach the ball broke through the crumbling wall of a block that was made.
Iwaizumi triumphantly balled his hand to a fist and nodded towards me as the ball bounced off into the other side.
“Okay, well you guys are playing against an established tag-team here! I still want a better form, the block was weak!”, the coach roared.
Quiet and a bit louder “yes’s” from the other sides as the game continued on.
Even though the constellation of the team never played together in that sense, they still got a couple of kills in. Sakusa’s form was astonishing, the curve of the ball extremely sharp and hard to receive.
For the fact that the Miya guy was a setter I was impressed by his digs, suddenly standing in the exact place the ball flew to.
Frustratingly enough they only got better, and I knew that this semester’s squad is going to definitely have changes in the list.
After the second set we played, which we only won one of, the coach stopped us with a whistle.
Huffing out a breath and patting our libero on the shoulder lightly as I passed him to get water, I saw the coach walking over to the other team and giving them pointers.
“Thank you”, I smiled when the beta manager gave me a drink and I took a few gulps. I looked back to the new ones and I caught her staring when I looked back to her.
I smiled and furrowed my eyebrows, “everything alright?”, I asked and kept my smile.
She nodded and looked at the coach still talking.
“Yes, I was just thinking that this semester is going to be tough”, he turned around to her station and gave me a towel, “I think there’s going to be a lot of changes in the squad”.
I had already had a hunch about it, because these guys were actually very good.
I felt excitement because I liked to see fresh talent in our ranks, but I wasn’t stupid enough to ignore the caoch’s words.
Everyone can be replaced.
Varsity is extremely competitive. We get players from all around the nation as this university had one of the most prestigious teams. Everyone wants to play here. I’ve seen players who were exceptional get swapped out in an instant, I also remember the setter before me get swapped out.
No one is safe here, that is a fact.
After high school it was a tough gamble to see if I would get on a satisfying team again. After Aoba Johsai, nothing felt quite the same. No team was going to come close.
Still, when Iwa and I found our footing here it had a familiar feeling that came close, and the rest of the team was great as well.
My eyes caught the coach smiling at Atsumu Miya, the setter grinning at him and bowing politely.
We’ll see what happens.
“Hm?”, turning around to face Iwa I saw his routine scowl on him, my mouth twitching up to a knowing smile.
“You’re thinking too much”, he spat at me, and I chuckled.
“I’m just thinking Iwa, at least one brain needs to be working here!”, I mused, dodging as he threw a ball at me, “HEY!”.
Kissing his teeth, he turned around and abruptly stopped when the coach came towards us with Atsumu behind him.
“Oikawa, go over to the other side, I want to see how the spikers react to your tosses”
“Yes coach!”, I bowed quickly and jogged over the net, dipping my head down and finding the other side.
As I looked back I heard the coach talking with Iwaizumi about the setter.
“Tell me about his sets later, strain him to the end”.
Iwaizumi quickly shot a look at me before nodding.
Turning around to find my new team I threw away the thoughts that lingered in my head and smiled at the figures in front of me.
“Well, well, well! I’m looking forward to having you guys here!”, I smiled.
At least the ones who stay.
“HELL YEAH!”, Bokuto roared and patted me on the back a little too rough, “make sure to toss to me the most, HAHA!”
“We’ll see about that!”, I playfully jabbed at him and I saw Sakusa approach with a healthy distance.
“I don’t like surprises, toss to me properly alright?”
Sakusa Kiyoomi, a player for other varsity teams and even during our highschool careers always on top of his game. He was also scouted for the camp, and therefore not here for a year. Still, his reputation preceded him.
I knew he was direct, but he teters on the edge of rude to be honest.
“Oh, a bit direct are we? I’ll make sure to get used to your standard”, drawing out my last words with squinted eyes.
With a huff he turned around and fiddled with his own hands, obviously stressed about something.
After a couple of moments the next set started.
I looked at who was up to serve and found Atsumu holding the ball in his hand.
I need to absorb this.
At the whistle, he threw the ball in the air higher than I expected and I instinctively crouched lower to get more movement out of my legs.
His form was amazing as expected, his jump propelling him into the air and his arm landing on the ball with mind blowing force. A loud sound coming from his chest as the impact reverberated in his body
The ball spun in my direction, my hands concentrating on dulling the brunt of the serve. A stinging sensation blooming in my arms as I sent the ball flying back to the other court.
“Shit”, I cursed when I heard Iwaizumi roar “chance ball!”, and I got ready to get another spike in bounds seconds after.
As I expected, the libero cleanly received the ball and Atsumu was already in stance close to the net, Iwaizumi taking in momentum for a spike.
No way, I’m not letting this happen.
“Block it!”, I roared and a solid three man block built up in front of Iwaizumi, I could feel everything moving in slow motion. The blockers splay out their hands over the net, my eyes still on the ball moving over Atsumu’s head.
He jumped to catch it in his hands and I moved too late when I saw the glint in his eyes, his palm dipping towards him to make room for himself.
Jumping forwards with a rush to hopefully help the situation, I fell forwards to try and catch the dump.
The sound of the ball touching the ground echoed through my head as I dove for it, my fist close to getting it.
“Damn it”, I choked out and looked up to find a nerve racking grin displayed on the setters face.
Chuckling to himself he turned around and I resisted the urge to bite my lip.
Scrambling up to my legs I felt Bokuto’s touch on my shoulder as he helped me up.
“What a nasty guy, huh?”, he had the face of a scowling child and I bit back a snort.
A couple of rallies later, both makeshift teams found their groove more and more.
I felt Sakusa almost critiqued my sets the first time he got them, and Bokuto’s dejection after sending a ball out of bounds was a small hassle but definitely worth the insane cross shots.
There were definitely changes happening soon.
The whistle rang through my ear as the coach clapped into his hands.
“Alright that’s enough for today!”
Huffing out a breath as the assistants dispersed water and towels again, I quickly wiped off some sweat with my athletic shirt and waited patiently for a water bottle.
I quickly gulped down the water and took some weight off my left leg.
Murmurs developed slowly until almost everyone started some sort of small talk. I walked towards Iwaizumi who was standing next to Sakusa in idle chit chat.
“Iwa-chan!”, I sang out while approaching the two.
“Took you long enough”, he gritted out, but ultimately softened a little.
“Sakusa-kun, it was really nice tossing to you”, I itched to give out my hand when I realised he didn’t like touching people, “You were at the INT camp right?”
Squinting his eyes and glaring at me and then relaxing his face a little he nodded.
“I have to say your sets were accurate”, he spat out and I tilted my head.
Was that a compliment?
“It was a pleasure, I’m pretty sure you’re already on the team”, with that I darted my eyes to Iwaizumi who raised his eyebrows for a second.
“Atsumu was interesting too”, Iwaizumi mused, “His sets are easy to hit. Never heard of him before though”.
Sakusa tutted, “I don’t like him”, a scowl moving on his face again, “he’s a brat”.
“You know each other?”, I asked, hoping for a bit more intel from the wing spiker.
“Highschool”, he gritted out, “but he’s supposedly from a smaller town so his name isn’t that known”.
Nodding I felt myself drifting off into thought.
He definitely had some exceptional skills. His serve was on point and up to par with varsity level, quick reflexed and a level head. Sometimes he would get in his own head and miss a good opportunity, but i already knew the coach had him on his radar.
An electric feeling traveled up my spine and I felt my heart rate quicken a little.
A feeling I hadn’t had in a long time.
“Okay guys let’s go get changed”, Kenta, our starting libero, called out.
In the locker room, small chit chat rose again as we all took turns for a quick shower and a change of clothes. It was still quite early in the afternoon, and I packed my bags getting ready for a lecture in about half an hour.
Iwaizumi had already run off, trying to get to his seminar that started closely after practice. I felt a little dip as I knew I had some time to kill so I walked outside the locker room with a wave.
“Bye!”, I left the locker room and walked through a hallway separating the gym from the lecture halls.
Hearing steps behind me but not thinking anything of it, I texted Mikoto a quick message.
Are you going to biochem 2 today?
Mikoto is typing …
I looked up from the screen before a bell sound made my eyes look back down.
yes, already in front!
Smiling at the screen I momentarily forgot the brooding thoughts in my head as I suddenly felt an arm around my shoulders.
“Oikawa-san! How’s it going?”
My shoulder stiffened for a moment as I felt a weight pulling me to the side.
I already knew who it was without looking, the scent of musk incense pricking my nose. Still, I looked to the side and found the grinning face of Atsumu Miya leaned on my shoulder.
“Atsumu Miya right?”, I grinned right back at him, even though my body urged me to slap away his arm.
I didn’t even know the guy, but he already knew my name and was especially friendly.
There was no specific evidence as to why I shouldn’t trust him. But there also was no reason why I should.
This guy is a black horse.
From what I saw he’s an all-rounder. Not only his sets are exceptional, but also his serves. His jump floater unbearably annoying and his sly demeanor did not make any of that better.
Everyone can be replaced.
“I saw ya play on varsity before I came here, gotta say t’was impressive!”, he mused with a grin on his face, “How long ya been on the court?”
Not really a subtle way to fish for information, but it’s not like he couldn’t just google that. Maybe he was actually trying to strike up a conversation? Am I being paranoid?
A quick look at his squinted eyes I took a mental note, no way is that guy talking to me just for fun.
“Since elementary school I guess?”
“Waah? Really?”, he let go of my shoulder and looked at me with a side grin, “So ya really got some experience hm?”
What is he getting at?
“Well you know, I really need me a mentor who can show me the ropes here!”, his steps slowled a little and I looked at him confused but still with a smile on my face.
“Yeah sure, I can show you around”, but the look on his face told me he meant something different.
Something about that sounded less positive and more about how you call an old coach who threw in the towel.
I gritted my teeth under my smile, but managed to keep it up.
“I guess you rookies get very confident easily hm?”, I gave him a tilt of my head and a warm smile, “I’ll show you around, I’m sure we can both learn from each other”.
He smiled right back at me until my nose caught a familiar scent and I looked forwards.
“What is that?”, Atsumu questioned, his nose scrunched while taking in the sweet scent of caramel wafting through the air.
“What do you mean?”, I asked him, confused as to why he would say that.
It almost sounded like he couldn’t understand what he was smelling.
“Oikawa!”, Mikoto had turned around to us and caught my confused gaze.
She looked at the Alpha next to me and gave a wry smile, and then kept looking at him with curiosity.
Something in my guts twitched, and I looked at Atsumu again only to see him with eyes glued to the omega and his nose constantly twitching.
“Are you okay?”, I asked him, actually kind of afraid he might have some sort of reaction to the omegas scent.
Mikoto slowly came towards us and Atsumu started to calm down as he rubbed his nose with his palm. His pace quickened as he dashed towards her and I panicked for a moment, thinking the worst as the Alpha closed the distance between them.
“Woah”, he exclaimed as he dipped his head down to almost meet Mikoto’s neck, taking a long inhale of breath before taking a step back, “you really do smell like caramel!”
Mikoto huffed out a laugh, and to me it looked like she was a tad uncomfortable which made the situation all the more annoying.
“Can I help you?”, she asked sweetly, still with confusion on her face.
“Are you an omega?”, his direct question almost knocked the wind out of me and I quickly walked towards the pair to resolve this mess.
“Dude, are you okay?”, I took a step so I would almost stand between the two and Atsumu barely budged”.
Atsumu’s gaze looked as if he just won the lottery, the excitement radiating off of him in waves. Funnily enough, it almost smelled innocent.
“You’re the first omega I’ve ever seen! That’s so cool!”, his voice sounded a lot more animated and almost childlike, which earned him a chuckle from Mikoto.
“Are you serious?”, she questioned, and I wasn’t too sure if he was just exaggerating.
Surely he must’ve met someone who was an omega in his life?
“I’m not kiddin’! Back at home t’was only just betas and a handful of Alphas maybe”, I noticed his accent get thicker as he excitedly drabbled on, “it’s all flowers and wood over there but caramel! That’s super cool!”
My eyes shot open at his claims, it was rare to someone with such little exposure to the secondary genders. It was almost implied that everyone knew and smelled all varieties of scents, and we were all educated on it as children, but this really was something else.
Mikoto’s blush hadn’t dissipated yet, and I felt the urge to say something on it, but I really don’t think this is the appropriate situation for that.
“Oh, so that’s why you came running”, her scent went from pretty neutral to a lot sweeter in seconds and Atsumu reacted immediately with a stunned sound.
“So is that common for omegas? I mean I only know that Alpha’s scent changes so drastically”, he questioned.
“I guess it depends on the person?”, I retorted and Atsumu looked back at me with a question in his eyes.
I scrunched my forehead, feeling he was about to say something weird again.
“I just realised you smell like coffee”, he mumbled.
How is it that I already caught his scent all the way across the net and he basically threw his whole arm around me without noticing?
“This city really is something else”, he mused to himself as he looked back at Mikoto who shook her head with a smile.
My hands found resort at my hips and I tilted my head back to observe the giddy alpha. For someone who spewed all those undermined threats earlier he really turned into a child mighty fast.
“What are ya lookin at hm?”, I snapped back to reality as Atsumu looked at me with a frown.
His previous brooding atmosphere came back, his eyes trained on me again.
“Nothing, nothing”, I smiled at him, “just interesting to see someone have such a reaction”, and I put emphasis on the last word.
For some reason I felt in my gut that he was going to retort something back to me, but I didn’t expect his next words.
“Why don’t you tell me something about omegas and how you react to them”.