Series of spiking rain down on Dateko's side, some hitting the ground, announcing to Daichi that Karasuno is winning. Right now, that's pretty much all she can hear, all she can sense. Both her head and her pupils burn, alarmingly making her breathing speed up.
Stop it, the girl reprimands, don't let it get to your head!
Nothing seems to work.
Another spike from Karasuno and the blare of horn signals her that first match has ended. They won the first match, she smiles. Good job, guys.
That's right. If they keep up this pace, they can win the next set too.
"That tall #7 and lastly that #6 managed to touch Hinata-kun's quick." Daichi hears Takeda-sensei say, Keishin seems to understand it too.
"So, we're going to start the second set with our second rotation." the coach says. "The first rotation, we directly matched up Hinata and no-eyebrows #7, so we'll shift that over two places to start."
That's your plan huh?, the girl nods, only slightly, Doing this will help Hinata have more free spikes. Once that #7 is shaken off, Hinata will score more... That's good, but can the other do well with that rotation?, she wonders, It's true that this will allow more scoring chance, focusing solely on Hinata might not work... Or could it?
"We can't let Hinata shoulder all of our burden." Asahi-san says, firm enough to assure even her, "When Hinata's at his best, we're at our best. I'll do my part as the ace."
Finally Asahi-san showed some guts. For goodness sake, he used to drive her crazy with his attitude. And she did go crazy, close to punching him across the gym for not being able to take her seriously enough. If Koushi-san wasn't there, there was bounded to be murder.
But like all the others, he improved. It took time but he improved.
Still not able to send an all-out direct spike towards her but for now, she is cool with his willingness to try and break away from his own cowardness. Guess Inter High and Nekoma did blow some changes into the team huh? How far can they go from here, the girl wonders.
"Me too!" Hinata exclaims, "I can't back attack like you, Asahi-san. So I'll score as many points as I can while I'm up front. I'll be the best decoy every!"
"Yeah, I'm counting on you." the ace responds, "And you can count on me, too."
Daichi let out a sigh, along with a small smile she has been trying to hold up. It's been so long since she have this much relief inside her heart. The feeling is so distant that the girl didn't know she is capable of feeling it anymore.
"Are you alright?" suddenly a voice comes and Daichi partly jerks up, her reflexes planning to greet the one that just came close.
"Nishinoya", she says, flabbergasted at his appearance, "I-Well, I'm..."
"You're not okay." he claims, not a trace of doubt.
"Yeah," Daichi sighs again, "but that doesn't matter-"
"Yes it does." the libero scolds. "Don't make it sound like you are not important."
A small interval. Her heart drops a bit at his words. I'm important, she tugs a lock of hair back behind her ear. No one ever say it clearly to her like that. No one.
"Tobio." she calls out, more relaxed now that the coldness of the wet towel is numbing out the heat in her head. The hard surface of the ground hurts her muscles (or will do so after today), but it is also thanks to that pain that she's able to ignore her current one.
Doesn't help with the fear though. Her heart can't calm down and even though all the effort of the team members to ignore her and focus on the tactics meeting yells nothing more than fake. She's thankful. But it doesn't help. It doesn't. If Daichi doesn't do something quick, she'll be consume by the fear!
"Stop it, Chicchan." she can feel Yuu trying to push her shoulder down. But it's okay. She's okay. At least she can tell that he's here, that everyone is here.
"Tobio!" Daichi says again, almost like yelling. This time she got his attention.
"Yes?" the kid answers.
"What do you plan on doing next set?" she asks. Keishin doesn't seem too happy that she's still thinking about the game when her "condition" suddenly slipped to the worst like this, and she can assure him as well that minutes ago, she wasn't even calm enough to think about anything let alone the game.
She's fine now though. She can feel them standing beside her, like they were in that circle just nearly an hour ago. Yuu right next to her. Koushi-san slightly apart. The captain alongside with Asahi-san. Hinata and Tobio hardly a meter away. Tsukishima, Yamaguchi, Tanaka, Kiyoko-san. All of their attention is on her. She can 'see' them. Even though there's no light. Even though there's only darkness right now for her, she can see them, feel them, know that they are with her. Truth is, if it wasn't for the hurried footsteps from them minutes ago when she was struck down by the darkness, she wouldn't even be here, partially calmed like this.
Karasuno was the one who saved her, who held her up when she needs them to. Hinata is probably freaking out right now, Asahi-san more than the kid. The captain probably is too, but he won't show, just like Koushi-san wouldn't because they have the whole team's morale to take care of. Plus their other third-year friend isn't really helping anyway. Tanaka probably feels worried too but he wouldn't be able to say a word it out, to her at least. They don't talk, so it's fine. For what it's worth, she knows he cares too. And Yuu, He's right here, ready at any moment if she has a complaint, to tell her to rest. Always the Guardian Deity, she chuckles.
Daichi herself is a second year. She knows she can't allow whatever happening to her to affect her peers and the first-year kids mid-game like this. (Though she's pretty sure Tsukishima doesn't really care right now. If anything, he'd be 'troubled' not knowing how to react to all this)
And as the team's coach advisor. She'll have to do her part as well. Dateko means more to the others than anyone could word.
"Like everyone discussed before, we can't allow Hinata to take all the burden." Tobio explains, quite hesitantly she might add, "Asahi-san will be locked on as well. We have a solid back protection, so it is our attack that need to break through. For now, we did."
"And from now on, we will." Daichi claims.
She means every ounce of her words.
"I'm sticking with this game. Like it or not, guys." the girl continues, "I'm a part of this team. And we are going to win this togethe.r"
She hears the team confirming her intention with a cheer. Their hands on her back. It's assuring, she notice. It's warmer than even the happiest time she got. Almost as if they were a big family.
"Kiyoko-san," she turns to the third-year as the players return to their place on the court, "There are a few pills of aspirin in my bag. Could you please-"
"Of course", the manager instantly replies, going off to get the medicine required.
Alright, Daichi inhales strongly, willing the pain to the back of her head, Second match, Dateko. We'll beat you to a pulp.
"Tanaka, nice serve!" the captain says.
Daichi leans back against the wall, watching the game (or try to) as much as she could. The #7 on doesn't seem to be distracted by Hinata as much now, but the rotation seems to be working well enough. So far nothing seems to be out of the ordinary yet. Sure Dateko is scoring, but if the current runs this way, Karasuno can win just in time with-
BAM! a sound comes back towards their court and Daichi flinches. Asahi-san should have had that one down. Even if it is a three people block, he is used to that already. What happened?
#7. It has to be that #7.
"What happened?" the girl questions no one in particular.
"#7 guards really well," Keishin answers, "That kid's reflexes are something else."
"I see." She hums. That's right, they have to do something about that #7... Come on, Asahi-san. Don't give up on us now.
The score is reaching twenty about now if she's not wrong. The match is about to hit its climax soon, especially if the two team are on deuce like this.
Blocking point! Nice!, she cheers internally at the collaboration of Tsukishima and the ace. To be honest she was actually sweating quite a bit when they got a one touch on Asahi-san.
Tanaka strike down another hit at Dateko and scores. That guy actually does really well, more so that she expects him to. Is it because she's not watching him as carefully? Hinata and Tobio are their secret weapon but in the Nekoma game they lost mostly because of that same weapon. On the other hand, Tanaka doesn't really stand out much in the game but scores pretty evenly and has a constant record.
Interesting, the girl smirks. Could it be that this guy will turn out to be their secret weapon someday?
Hinata is upfront now, and he scores. Just as expected.
Dateko instantly scores back. Damn. Don't chicken out now, Daichi. Keep away from the tunnel vision. They are doing okay. They are doing okay, she chants.
"It's okay." Keishin assures, "The freak combo still works!"
A closed score by Hinata and the girl mentally notes down to remember to give the kid a pat on the back later. Match point, guys. Go slowly.
In this kind of time it's not safe to say where the game will end up to. Dateko is only three score away from the deuce and that will only drive them nuts. There is it. The climax. Karasuno can win anytime and their opponent knows that, which is why from now on it's not gonna be easy for the guys to get the ball across.
Come on, Daichi roars inside, One more point!
"Hinata is in the back now," Koushi-san comments (or reports, she can't really tell by his tone), "And Dateko's #7 is up front."
"It's okay", the girl says, "It's o-
She never gets to finish her sentence. An out-of-bound serve from Hinata got her stood up, almost marching into the court to kill him. "That moron!" Daichi growls, "What time is it now that he thinks he should miss a serve?!"
"Chicchan, calm down." the third-year setter pats her back, trying to alleviate the situation, "Hinata must be nervous, that's all."
"Yeah. Well he'd better not be or I'll show him what it means to be nervous the next time he pulls a stunt like this." she curtly spits back a statement.
Okay, so it isn't good for her to get anxious about all of this like that considering her position but... she just can't help it! She knows how much this game means to the second and third-years in the team and if this kid is the cause to destruction of their game, she's gonna have him know exactly how destructive she's gonna get when they head back.
Dateko is two score away from them now, thanks to a certain Mr. Decoy.
"The ace is there, we'll be fine." the kid claims.
"Hinata, be quiet for a bit." Daichi huffs, hearing Koushi-san warning the first-year boy to do the same thing. He knows what's in store for the kid if he doesn't shut up.
Sometimes, she actually wonders how bad her rage would get if the setter wasn't there to stop her.
Daichi clenches her fist as she observes each players. They're still fine. But is fine enough?
"He saved it!" someone from the audience says and she drops back down, her heart still races but at least now calmer after the close safe from their libero.
Nice one, Yuu.
"Cover for me!" he shouts.
"Left! One more!" Asahi-san yells immediately.
Go Asahi-san. Last point. Don't let them stop you.
A joust, she realizes, just in time to know that the ball isn't falling on Dateko's court.
"YUU!" she yells, calling out to their libero.
Daichi can almost see him during that instant. The tint of orange spreads through her vision, light floods in, and the girl notices that her eyes are no longer giving out on her.
The colors have come back. The light. The blurry vision. Everything is back.
"His foot?!" she hears the audience cheers. Daichi grabs on her jacket, almost feel like crying. You did it, Yuu, she cheers, Finally, you got it.
Another spike from the ace and she holds her breath. The ball rolls on the thin line of the net. Then the light tap on the side of Dateko's court signals her.
"We won." she says to the manager, "Kiyoko-san, we won!"
"We did," the girl smiles back, tapping her arms, "Let's clean up and hurry of here."
Nodding, Daichi stands, grabbing her back and the guys' drinks. It's different. Not like when they won against Tokonami.
It's sweet, she marvels at the discovery, victory is sweet.
"Chicchan!" the girl turns back, recognizing the voice.
"Congratulation, Nishinoya." she says, smiling.
"Thank you, Chicchan!" the libero exclaims, "We couldn't have done it without you!"
"You were finally able to do that receive." Daichi replies, her face getting hotter by the close proximity of the boy. She was so happy for a second there she completely forgot about her feelings towards Yuu.
"I'll keep practicing until I've mastered it but for now, your technique saved our asses!" he says, excited.
"That's right!" Koushi-san chimes in, "Thanks, Chicchan."
"Thank you so much!" and the first-year combo decides they want a part too.
Releasing her hair from the bounding, Daichi tugs at her shirt.
"Y-You're welcome." the girl stutters, almost too happy to say a proper word.
She hears laughter coming from the direction of the team, and struggles to hide her embarrassment from them. These guys... She's so glad that she met these guys. Really glad...
"Let's go, Chicchan," Kiyoko-san steps in to save the day, whispering at her ears, "You've got cooking to do right? Come on, I'll help."
Nodding at the manager, she waves goodbye at the team and rushes to the bus stop.
Tomorrow, they're up against Aoba Johsai.
Tomorrow they'll show Tohru what is defeat.
"I'll go back to the school okay?" Kiyoko-san announces, keeping the door partly open.
"Okay! Ah! Kiyoko-san, can you please get the drinks on the way back? Calpis or Olong tea, whatever you want." Daichi calls out
"Sure!"and after the answer, she hears the door shuts.
The smell of food tempts her and out of the right she claims on herself as the maker, Daichi slips a bite for taste test.
Uhm! Taste just fine, she thinks, happy.
True to her words, she's finally making the guys some dinner. It's their first big win after all and that's call for celebration.
"Sorry for intruding!" Koushi-san's voice hits her like a rock. That's way faster than she thought they'd be here!
"Sorry for intruding!" the captain follows
And a few other voices repeat, "Sorry!"
"Ouch." The first-year says, and his personal shadow instantly squeaks.
"Haha! Tsukishima hit his head, so dumb!" Hinata laughs, probably was flailing all over the place too for Daichi can here the second-year telling him to hurry his ass up and get out of the way.
"Hey you little-"
"Be quiet, Yamaguchi." Tsukishima grunts.
"Sorry, Tsukki..." right away, Yamaguchi apologetically adds.
"The house is so small..." Asahi-san drops his comment.
And followed is "Asahi!" - a warning from the cap.
"Oh, sorry!" their ace retracts, his voice drown in the sound of other players trying to figure out where to put all of the shoes.
Series of voice enters her ears and sounds of footsteps come faster towards her.
"Nice smell!" she hears them exclaims.
"I know, right?" Koushi-san laughs, making her blush. What is he saying, being proud and all that? "Ah, Chicchan! I'll just put the drink in the fridge okay?"
"Please do!" Daichi answers, shouting out from the kitchen.
"Clean your hands first!" the captain orders, almost like a father to his children. And Daichi chuckles. Seeing them so close with each other like this make her happy. Suddenly the house become different as well. It's so quiet normally but today it's so lively. Almost like a foreign place to her. Good foreign.
"Hey don't get water on my shirt, stupid Hinata!" Tobio's voice resonates from the bathroom.
"Don't hog the sink to yourself then, idiot! I gotta go to the bathroom too!" Hinata returns the complaint, shouting.
"You lots stop it!" Tanaka's frightened scream joins in, and Daichi makes a not-so-wild guess that the Captain was in the waiting line down the hall when the fight started. Bad news for anyone if the captain is mad.
It's so funny though how the two first-year always manage to ends up fighting at any chance they get, and yet on the court they work so well together. The irony is so big that it's almost unbelievable.
"Here," the sudden appearance of Yuu next to her alerts Daichi quite a tad when he snatches the flip from her, "Lemme help!"
"Nishinoya! I-It's alright." she says, trying to take back the cooking tool.
"Come on!" he continues, "You helped us the entire game already. At least lemme help you get the dishes out!"
Daichi laughs. Yuu's serious in the weirdest things. She's happy though, with him alongside her like this, it's like the that day w-
"What did you say, Tsukishima?!" Again, Tobio's voice rings through the house and Daichi is forced to hand the dishes to Yuu.
"SHUT IT, YOU LIL' SHIT!" she roars, stomping towards the bathroom. "You're bothering the neighbors so keep it down or I'll kill you!"
"Yes, ma'am!" Hinata squeaks.
After she signals the one who is done with cleaning up to hurry on inside, Daichi returns to the kitchen only to realize that Yuu is no longer there as well as the dishes. That Tobio. Her alone time with him and you fuckin'-
"Come on, Chicchan!" the libero excitedly says, "Let's dig in already!"
Giving up her rage, Daichi nods, grinning as the captain scolds Tanaka and Yuu to wait for the others too. That's right. She's not alone anymore. She's not lonely in this house anymore. She has them. She has the team there for her when she needs. A place to return to, she smiles. Daichi just never thought she'd find it in Karasuno or in this chaotic makeshift team of weirdos like this. But the fact is, she did.