He found her on the side of the river sitting. The libero wonders what could have kept her out this late. Especially when she didn't have late practice like the rest of them or anything. Adding the fact that it is no longer light time, riverbank seems almost impossible for Chicchan to go to. And yet, here she is, alone, under the cold wind and starry sky of near summer day. Perhaps Suga-san is right. He never gave her the time to tell him about herself. He has no right to demand her to understand him.
Silently Nishinoya walk towards the girl. Her hair flutters under the light emitting from the street lamp next to her. Its red shade twinkling through the dark, stealing a breath from Karasuno's libero. Her shoulders slump and a sad smile, he finds, situates itself on her lips. The pale pair of lips that he see everyday, only appears paler under the ghostly glow of the lamp.
After all that he saw during practice these days, Nishinoya never actually realized that she was sad, only troubled. He never takes her for the type that would be sad. The girl that is mean to Chikara every chance she get, the girl that scares even Daichi-san and Kageyama, who orders them around every time during practice. Chicchan was the girl who (prickly as it sounds) steps on other to rise to the next stage in his mind, and even though she never actually does any of the sort, the plausibility remains alarmingly annoys him at the sight of the girl. Maybe that's also why he wanted to know her that much. Because he was scared of her, regardless of how far Nishinoya is willing to deny wanted to walk away, leave her be if he could put a word on what he is feeling. But then, there's something inside of him that urges the boy to raise his voice up, to try one more time and reach out to the lone girl sitting here.
The fight that broke out between the two of them was, to an extent, his fault. His parents, his friends, they all said he can be very hot-head sometimes and one of these days it will hurt those around him. Guess, it happened with Chicchan.
Apologize, the boy commands himself internally as he steps forward the depressed little figure in front of him.
He hurted her. Accidentally or not, now that he understood it, the libero makes it his obligation to be the first to say 'sorry'.
"Hey", he says, "What are you doing out so late?"
Chicchan turns back, surprised and somewhat scared if he's not mistaken. Seriously, what is she doing here?
"Hey", the girl replies, "Just getting some fresh air"
"Yeah, don't lie. I know you're not here to do that-"
"Nishinoya, please", the girl begs. And he flinches, Suga-san's words race inside his brain. Don't push her, he mentally chants, Don't push her.
"Sorry", the libero sighs, "I was just worried that you're out this late-"
"Why? Because I'm blind?"
"No, because you are a girl and you know full well how dangerous the area can get"
He shuts up after that, throwing his bag down next to Chicchan. Nishinoya sits, keeping his eyes fixated on the water. Not that it is interesting or anything but more like he rather not look into Chicchan's cold chestnut eyes. For someone who is blind she has quite a pair of pupils. Makes he thinks that she can even look straight into his soul sometimes.
The libero shivers at the thought, slightly inches his way away from her.
"You know", out of no where, Chicchan starts, "I never actually stay this close to you before"
"O-Oh?", Nishinoya stutters.
"I'm sorry if I was too harsh to you back there", The girl sighs, another sad smile crawls up to her face. What would Suga-san do?!, he wrecks his brain, and oh how he wants to text the man himself for an answer, even when he knows that if he doesn't do this on his own then there's no meaning to it. Night's wind blows at his face, making his eyes sore. The contact lenses he has on feels like sandpaper rather than the simple slice of plastic it really is."I meant all that I said though", she continues, "I'm not 'clean' like you think I am"
"Look", Nishinoya huffs, knowing that this is his limit, "I have tried to listened and follow Suga-san's advice but I can't be like him. Suga-san told me about how you must have suffered during your first year", the libero goes on, "I wasn't there for you, none of us were, but you using that as an excuse to run from us now is very selfis-"
"That was the only choice I have", Chicchan cuts him off, "I have no other way to deal with the treatment those kids bestow on me so I ran. That's only thing I could do. I fought, you know. For a while. But I can't fight forever. I was alone and I was tired. So even though I know it's selfish I ran. I couldn't care less who is nice to be or not because I have no way of telling if they are being truthful-"
"So you decide to blind your heart as well?"
"That was a choice I had to make!"
Nishinoya inhales, heavily. This is harder than he thought. "I'm sorry", mutters, the libero shuffles his hair. He can't really say anything more than those two words and it annoys him. This isn't the Asahi-san's level of cowardice. Chicchan is not scared of her past. She's traumatized by it.
"No, this time. You listen", the boy demands, "I'm sorry for yelling at you but honestly saying, I'm not not here to make you recall your past. I just hope you will trust us. I haven't harm you one bit since I found out about your eyes. Neither did Suga-san or Enoshita. We are not here to exploit you or do anything that will make you suffer", Nishinoya grabs her shoulders, this time choosing to stare straight into the darkness in her eyes, "I'm sure you had a very hard time when you were first year in Karasuno but you should know better than anyone, Chicchan, how it feels to see everyone as your enemy. You might think that we only let you stay in this team because of your value but I want you to know that none of use choose volleyball because of the value you are thinking of. You earn your place in this team so this is not me asking you to trust us. This is me, asking you to give us a chance. So please, at least let us have a chance to protect you when you're in need because you have been doing so much for us already"
He stops, letting the girl go, his face goes red as sudden smile appears on their coach advisor's face, not the sad kind. A smile fits her. He, by chance, had seen her genuine smile and as much as he would like to deny it, it is her smile that always makes his heart skip a beat when seen (especially when they are face to face like this!). Nishinoya shrinks up, awkwardly hugging his legs as his gaze constantly finds its way towards the girl sitting next to him.
"I see", she says, and the libero nods, picking up his bag to leave.
"It's late", he comments, "I'll walk you home"
"I-It's alright", Chicchan refuses but the libero shakes his head. "Come on", he repeats, pulling her wrist, "I'm not letting you walk around at this hour with school uniform like this"
It's true. The neighborhood can be bad for girls like Chicchan. It's a given that she's pretty cute, not stunningly beautiful like Kiyoko-san of course, but nevertheless pretty enough to get herself into trouble roaming the street at this hour. And since she can't really see, the threat doubles. The only advantage here is she doesn't wear any make up. He bets that if she actually do, she might be quite a sight to see as well as attracting unwanted attention. Yeah… she'll be the center of all the boys' attention and stuff. Chicchan being Miss. Popular…. Somehow he can't just put his head around the idea.
That is not mentioning how furious Suga-san will be. Oh the thought of her being attack by other guys in front of the setter. When the guy is angry? Hell hath no fury to his rage. Memory of the last time he and Ryu fought flashes through his head and the libero shivers. Who knows the normally kind-hearted guy like that can turn out to be such demon when he's pissed off. His neck can still feel the faint pain every time he recalls the accident.
"So", the boy starts, "Where's our destination?"
"About that…", he hears her say, "I can't… I don't remember how to go back"
"It's your house", Nishinoya says, bewildered, "How can-Wait…. How do you even go to school normally anyway?"
"I use the bus near my house", she answers, "But I can't find any bus stop near here"
The libero rubs his neck. This happens because he didn't spend enough time getting to know her. Suga-san would know this. He understands her. They must have talked a lot seeing how the third-year cares for her. Guess Shouyou wasn't wrong about what he heard.
All of this just make him more certain that the advice their setter gave him has more value than he could ever think.
"Ok", Nishinoya sighs, "How about we get ourselves some dinner before we decide how to get you home?"
"What about you? Your family-"
"My family can wait", he claims, "This is about my friend so they can wait"
Grabbing her backpack, Nishinoya dusts off his clothes. He takes another look at the girl, only to be surprised once more. She's smiling again (not the kind when she plots murder during practice but exactly the opposite, kind and rare gentle). His heart skips when her body dashes forward. A quick catch at her hand as he pulls her back up from the ground.
"S-Sorry", she squeaks. The boy concluded that with her blindness, night will prove to be a threat to Chicchan. Maybe that's also why she always leaves practice when they barely started.
Pulling her wrist, he makes sure that she doesn't fall behind as they blends into the street heading toward the nearest restaurant.
Sugawara closes the Algebra book and let his head breath for a few seconds. He leans back against the chair, tired. The libero can be so good at so many thing but Algebra has had its fair share of hate for him. Daichi has always been the smarter one in Math between the two of them (doesn't mean he can't beat the guy in literature or English).
Tests come early this year too so for him at least, reviews should be done while still able. He can't have the teacher raging at his ears when they have Inter High coming up right around the corner.
The setter changes his attention when the cellphone next to this arm vibrate. A text message. He recognizes the number.
"Suga-san", it says, "I'm sitting with Chicchan in a family restaurant and I don't know what to do next!"
The third-year muffles a laugh at the panic fashion of the message until his heart aches temporary at the mention of her name. He sighs, having to confirm in his mind once more that what he is doing is right. Letting Nishinoya handle the situation between him and Chicchan is the best and most logical choice for Sugawara and yet, his heart tells him otherwise.
"Tell her about yourself", he texts back, "Get to know her too in the process"
Sugawara wanted to be the one to comfort the girl, but it would work more wonderfully if the one to stay by her side right now is Nishinoya and not him. So even though that makes him very annoyed, it isn't less true.
A reply comes and he turns the battery off to get back to his book.
Better leave them to their reconciling.
He made a choice to let Nishinoya handle this.
He'll back off for now.
"Ryuu just dashes out with his underwear on his head and go 'you ain't no match for the knight of Karasuno, beast!'-"
"That idiot!", Chicchan laughs loudly dropping her piece of French fries. Nishinoya likes this. He likes her laughing. It is such a bizarre scene to see but it isn't bad. Could this be how she was like before the bully from her first year?
The libero finds himself distracted thinking back to the word this girl had said to him. How her classmate treated her, how she suffered in silence.
"Nishinoya! Yo! . ", her calls startle him making the boy look up. A smile still present on her face, and she, chewing on the straw tilting her head at him in question.
"Sorry", he shakes his head lightly, turning his attention towards the Chicchan again, "What was it?"
"Well I plan to ask you the same", an awkward chuckle, "I was telling you a joke and you weren't really laughing so I took it kind of personally. What's wrong Nishinoya?"
"Nothing really. I was just thinking about my first year and Ryuu", he says
"I kinda wonder what your were like when you were first year too", she rests her head on her hands, smiling, "maybe noisier than now?"
The libero chuckles, taking hold both of their bags and stand up. "Shaddap", he says, "I'm not noisy! Let's go! I'll tell you all about the awesome adventures I had during my first year on the way. But only..."
"Only if you teach me how to do receives like yours"
And as he finishes paying the bills, both of them once again dashes out into the street.