header art by: https://melo-9ba.tumblr.com/
As I played with my pencil in class, watching the blackboard absent-mindedly there was something that bothered me for more than a week now.
I didn’t even realize I dropped the fourth pencil in a single class before the guy next to me picked them up.
“Hey Kondou, I know you usually are out of your mind but today you are in peak zombie-mode. The teacher is about to throw you out for all that pencil circus thing you are doing over there”, he whispered and I blankly stared at him.
“Hey”, I started and he raised his eyebrows, “am I weird?”
With a confused gaze he blinked several times and placed the pencils on my desk.
“Well, I think it depends on one’s perspective but you sure are an oddball”, right in my tender heart but I couldn’t even express the trouble he gave me with that sentence.
“Kondou the oddball, is that what people call me?”, it slipped out of me and I looked at my notebook.
Seeing people is easier than seeing myself.
That was deep Miyako, get that one noted if you ever release something out there.
“No, people don’t call you that, it’s my own nickname for you! But don’t take it too seriously, they call me idiot, clown, slacker – all those names, I mean doesn’t it show that people are actually interested enough to give you feedback”, now I was the one giving him a confused stare.
“You sure are an optimistic one, aren’t you?”, I asked back with a grin and he put his thumb up.
“You cannot survive if you don’t dive, or something like that. In the end, who cares what people think about you – Ah crap the teacher saw us!”
“Kondou, it seems my class is boring today. Get out and see if it’s more interesting listening from outside”, he also threw a piece of chalk on my seat neighbour and I made myself scram outside of class standing there leaning my head against the wall.
Damn it, now I even got scolded by the teacher.
What’s even worse… I wanted to know the end of his sentence. Ahhh I’m curious!
“Isn’t that Kondou?”, a girl passed by and I saw Chihaya next to her as they carried some books.
“Ah”, Chihaya stopped and stared with furrowed brows, “it’s really her.”
“Ah”, I imitated her, “don’t give me that Haya-chii, at least ask me why I am here!”
She sighed and nodded to the girl that she should get ahead.
“Okay Miyako, why are you here?”, she adjusted her arms and it seemed like the books were a tad too heavy.
“Want me to help you?”
“So you wanted me to ask you a question just to ignore it? Also, you probably got kicked out so I assume you shouldn’t be moving from that spot. Sheesh. last time that happened was in middle-school, I thought you are calmer now”, there was a slight self-satisfied grin on her face.
“Okay, I am not answering your question then”, I crossed my arms and she shrugged, almost dropping a book.
“Sure thing, it was probably because you chatted with that good-for-nothing seat neighbour, right? The one who works at the market down the street.”
How did she know?!
“C-Celery is on sale soon”, I tried to change the subject.
“Oh, really? How much?”
“Uh-”, she cut me off with a scoff.
“You are still a bad liar. So despite your little chit-chats with that seatmate, how is your research going?”, again she adjusted her arms and rolled her shoulders to decrease the strain.
She narrowed her eyes, “you know answering with a question makes you super suspicious. I hope you didn’t go your way and interviewed them.”
I gulped and she widened her eyes, “Miyako-”
“Chihaya, hurry up!”, the girl called her down the halls and she gave me a knowing look that this topic wasn’t over yet.
“I will deal with you later”, she gave me one last glare before she walked on.
Dear mother, despite the many humiliations l have experienced these past weeks I am still trying my best to survive this phase of life, but if I had the money I would have run off to another country starting a new life.
“Kondou, who were you talking to?”, the teacher almost gave me a cardiac arrest before I even hit my twenties.
“Some students passed by to get the books to the staff room and-”
“You know what?”, he went back in and came back with a few books as well, “since you don’t even care at this point make yourself useful and match your peers. At least you can go home today and not feel like you failed your duties as student”, those harsh words were not unusual for this teacher but somehow today they hurt even more.
“Yes Sir”, I nodded and stretched out my hands, who did not only start to carry a new burden of books but also the awareness that I cannot let myself slack off by the burden on my mind.
Because she will find out and if she does I won’t have any freedom anymore…
Maybe talking to Haya-chii would be easier and then confronting what has bothering me.
As I walked down the hallways while being lost in thought my eyes caught a glimpse of an open door of the other classes, recognizing a distinctive short guy sitting in Class 2-3.
Without realizing I had stopped for a second almost making the books fall off balance when I saw the brown spiky hair with one some strands dyed blonde in the front.
I had always known Nishinoya from the many rumors going around not only as an amazing Libero since his middle-school days, but also the other classes talking about his suspension some months ago.
I wonder if he is one of those delinquents, since he seems really devoted when playing Volleyball I can’t imagine him being someone who causes too much trouble for others.
Nishinoya had suddenly stared at me from the distance, his eyes seemingly surprised that I had unconsciously watched him while thinking, as if he knew it was about him.
I slightly panicked and walked on trying to escape the embarrassing encounter.
If I’m really unlucky… then he might ask me about this…
Oh… I am weird… he was right all along.
Just as quickly as I entered the staff room and greeted the teachers there, as quickly also went my will to confront something troublesome again.
I was torn between visiting Aoba Johsai and being labeled or questioned by the team despite that they were quite nice last time.
The teacher who had scolded me with harsh words before seemed impressed how fast I had done my task and the little anger dissipated as he let me in again. Yet he still seemed petty and I kept low for the rest of the day.
When I was still contemplating if I had a chance to dodge Chihaya it was already too late, she had hidden behind the classroom door and immediately countered me before I could think of an escape route.
“Miya-chii, found you”, she said with a straight face but an eerie voice.
Drama club should have been your choice, really.
I finger-gunned Chihaya with a serious face and tried to back off her strong grip on my collar.
“I found you, did you think I would back off?”
“You are literally trying to back off right now”, she pushed me back and put an arm around my shoulder so I couldn’t escape almost as if she was about to headlock me.
“You can choose: WcDonalds or StarChucks”, it was not a choice I was taken hostage for interrogation and this facade of a choice works just like in games. It’s an illusion simulation free choice while you are actually restricted in many ways.
“StarChucks”, I muttered.
“Good choice, you are paying”, she dragged me along, my lifeless body and wallet not being able to resist.
I didn’t look up as I was silently sipping on my caramel frappé to avoid not only the set of things Chihaya bought from my money, calling it compensation of identity deformation but also her eyes.
“So you have been telling me that the last time you went to Seijoh, you basically got lost in your thoughts, stayed until they called you out and you got involved in a chat? Also I knew it, that Number two is bad news”, she pointed at me.
“Matsukawa”, I muttered and played with my straw, “Number two is called Matsukawa. And due to him I can’t focus on my notes fully when I am there!”
“No look, that’s a flatout lie, if you really couldn’t why did you get lost in making them last time?”, she raised an eyebrow.
“Look”, I faced her and regretted immediately when I saw her slight usual scowl on her face, “okay don’t look you are scary.”
“Next time I am getting you into debt. That’s what you deserve treating me like this when I am trying to help you out”, she was serious and my heart felt like it stopped for a second.
I mustered up all my left energy for today and smiled, “Haya-chii~”
“Oh so now I am not a stranger anymore, huh?”
“Okay fine, but Matsukawa-senpai still gives me the chills. Like he is really quiet and observant it’s not like he is constantly commenting like some of the second years or other third years, but it seems that his little remarks he makes are just as impactful. You know like a strong skill with a long cooldown in games? Just like that – Bam! You don’t know when he will hit or if he will hit, but it’s lethal”, I didn’t realize I was using my arms eagerly to represent all the visuals in my explanation but until I followed Chihaya’s eyes from left to right I put them down immediately.
“Weird reference but I am getting your point. To be honest I thought their Ace would be the scariest. He looks pretty annoyed most of the time and also”, she made a small spike movement barely visible for me, “super danger spike, bet he beat up people before.”
He didn’t seem like someone who would just do something like that…
“Your face is saying it all”, she surprised me with that one.
“Well, he was actually the one who saved and talked things down. Despite his looks he seems very caring. I guess he is not someone I should worry about”, but then an image flipped through my brain.
“Oikawa”, it slipped out of me.
“That tall monster serve guy?”, I frowned at her.
“Do you save people with weird names in your head?”, I tried to avoid further questions on the apparent monster serve guy.
“Yup, can’t remember them otherwise. You were ‘sunny pipsqueak’ before I got to know you.”
I ignored her which seemed to tick her off.
“At least ask me why!”
“No, I can imagine it”, I sighed and stared at my notebook on the table.
“So what are you going to do? I mean they basically asked you to take notes for them and you weren’t busted. If you don’t repeat the same mistake and avoid needless conversation you are totally safe”, she stopped for a moment, “aren’t you?”
On that accord she is not wrong.
Oikawa with the consent of the others did seem surprisingly taken by the idea of collecting data for the team.
On the other hand…
“Oikawa was positively surprised. Even I didn’t think that he and Iwaizumi would suggest that I help them out with analysing the team. I am also getting along with some girls who watch practice from the railing and some of the second-years in the team told me to come again”, Chihaya nodded as if she was approving, “but Oikawa called me scary and weird.”
For a moment everything went silent.
I nodded and she sipped on her drink, “And that’s the reason you are not going there despite making all the fuss and dragging me and Fubuki in?”, my body stiffened as I realized her tone changed.
“Y-Yeah. I mean I know I was eagerly visiting there and dragged you along but-”
“Are you an idiot?!”, she slapped on the table while yelling and my drink fell over and spilled, along with the last happiness for today.
I guess lecturing can’t be avoided now.
After I had to deal with several scoldings one after another, Chihaya had let me off on that day.
Apparently I am always like that and naturally someone who wouldn’t know me or my hobby, would think it’s scary to write notes about other people, no matter if it’s about Volleyball or not.
I still could hear all forms of idiot and stupid she had given me on that day.
Guess I was worrying for nothing… but she is right that if my biggest worry is not getting caught- that already happened so I should just avoid Karasuno as a topic.
“You totally lack common sense and self-awareness”, I muttered her words in annoyance mimicking her, “who needs common sense anyways or self-awareness. It won’t help me with my problem.”
Several days later I pulled myself together, or rather classes were not pleasant with this issue nagging in the back of my mind causing my biggest fear of them all- My Mum being called to school.
This is something that should never happen, never.
And for that I will even go ahead and let myself be called scary or even freak by Mr. Monster-serve himself.
So I stood at the gates of Aoba Johsai in my disguise, without Chihaya but surely with Chihaya’s words in my mind.
‘I didn’t go through that humiliation just so you can back off because you feel self-conscious. Aren’t you someone who always pulls through? And won’t you think that if you suddenly disappear that they won’t ask about the one who told them Tehee of course you can see my notes ?!’
“I didn’t word it like that though”, I sighed, irritated by her bad imitation of me.
Well let’s get myself destroyed today, again.
At least it won’t be a boring lecture from anyone around me.
Nothing had particularly changed in two weeks’ absence, not that my existence even mattered but it already felt like I was away for long when I saw the familiar people on court and railing, the lights on the ceiling, the smell of floor cleaner, squeaking shoe sounds and the yells across the court.
It’s familiar yet different.
Maybe this wasn’t a bad idea at all.
“Oh there you are, I thought you might not come again”, the familiar girl on the railing greeted me and immediately approached me.
“Here I am”, I just smiled and she put an arm around my shoulder being a bit too friendly.
“Are you okay? Didn’t see you around at all, what happened?”, some others joined also curious.
“I was… sick. I took a while to heal up but I am pretty much healthy now”, as if they were pitying me for a sad reality that didn’t exist it seemed like they gave me even more attention than usual chatting me up.
I managed just some little notes for today which felt weirdly unproductive but also made me happy as it seemed that I wasn’t just a loafer around here.
To not make the same mistake I packed up much earlier than usual and wanted to head back. Little progress was still progress and as long as I knew everything was fine I might just call it a day.
Just as I finally reached the gym doors pushing them a little bit open, I heard someone approaching me with squeaking shoes and prayed deep down inside that it was some kind of mistake.
“Uhm… are you heading out?”, the rough and uncertain voice coming from the usually tough Iwaizumi seemed very shaky.
When I turned around he was scratching his head while eyeing me with a slight scowl and curious look. I checked again if he really meant me since people tend to go in and out from time to time, but now I was sure of it.
The more I made him wait for a response the more frustrated he seemed.
“Y-Yes, I am heading home. Sorry for disturbing your practice, it seemed like I caught your attention”, I nodded my head to leave but he moved his hands in a frenzy without getting a word out.
“W-Wait”, he finally got out, a lot more angrier than both of us expected until someone else in the back with a number three noticed this and walked over with a knowing look.
“Dude I thought you would manage, but listening to you sure is embarrassing”, the guy with rose-brown hair nudged him to which he reacted with even more anger.
“Hanamaki, you dumbass shut up I almost had it!”, he yelled at him, breathing from the frustration to which the guy who was supposed to be Hanamaki just held his ears.
“Sure thing”, he smiled.
“And you”, Iwaizumi turned to me and I flinched from the sudden direction of anger towards me, “I wondered if you were mad!”
“No, why should I? Aren’t you mad?”, I asked him back in confusion and his eyes widened looking at Hanamaki with a questioning gaze.
“I mean you really look mad, can’t blame her for that question”, the latter stated and shrugged.
“That’s not the point here, it’s just my face!”, Iwaizumi took a deep breath before he faced me again, with another scowl which he seemed to try to soften a bit.
“I meant because of last time, if you were mad”, Hanamaki who seemed to catch on stepped a bit closer as the scowling man tried to convince me that I could have possibly be mad.
I shook my head.
“I think he is referring to Oikawa calling you weird, you seemed pretty dejected after that even our Captain felt bad about it. So probably after not seeing you around tender Iwaizumi was worried sick”, Hanamaki put a hand on Iwaizumi’s spiky yet soft hair that went down easily as he touched it.
I am wondering if they are very close…
“Tender?! What rotted up in your brain that you would say stuff like that?”, there was a slight blush on his face as he yelled at Hanamaki.
“So, are you angry at Oikawa or hurt?”, Hanamaki simply ignored Iwaizumi’s struggle to get his hand off his head as he faced me.
I shook my head again, “No I am really not.”
“Then why didn’t you show up after declaring yourself as our precious data collector?”
I forgot that he was just as sharp as Matsukawa… Despite that I wasn’t mad nor hurt maybe it was a lack in self-confidence but surely nothing I blamed them for.
“It’s not you, it’s me. I-I was busy and also on sick leave, I also didn’t want to bother your practice-”, I was cut off by Hanamaki.
“No you aren’t. Just stop by anytime, as you can see Iwaizumi doesn’t get to talk to girls that often so he might need that.”
“Would you shut your trap?!”, Hanamaki was punched in the guts for that remark.
“Iwaizumi-senpai!!! Rock them nationals for us!! Iwaizumi!! Iwaizumi!!”, some younger students were yelling from the railing which irritated the person whose name was called.
“Not that ruckus again”, he massaged his nose bridge not sure what to do anymore and then his sharp eyes opened facing me.
“Look, it can’t get worse than those Kohais yelling those embarrassing stuff. This is nothing compared to other days, so instead of worrying over nothing, especially Trashykawa’s words we could use your presence around.”
I didn’t know why but I felt great relief overflowing when Hanamaki gave me a nod with a grin, also signing me that Iwaizumi didn’t mean any harm in those words despite his murderous gaze.
“Then I will-”, my eyes wandered to the brunette Captain taking notice of our conversation as he slowly approached us.
“Oh~”, he couldn’t even finish as I nodded my goodbye to Hanamaki and Iwaizumi.
Oikawa, who was smiling and waving while he didn’t even get to say anything, was greeted with a ‘goodbye’ instead before I rushed through the door.
“S-Sorry, Oikawa-senpai. I am leaving early today. Have a good day I might just get myself checked you know, since I was on sick leave you may never know”, I tried to hide my irritated and scared expression under a strained smile before I heard muttering behind the closing door.
It’s not you or me Iwaizumi, It’s Oikawa.