SCoRCHeR

Home Center/ホームセンター

II.

"Want some water, kid?", Ukai sits down next to her, his breath heavy.

Seems the blond man is getting out of shape. Hope he's not working too hard or anything. That stores ain't gonna be enough to pay for his hospital bills.

Daichi takes the bottle, scooting over to give the man some space while remaining her silence.

Again, the frustrated feelings from each practice with these people... These guys obviously move differently when they are up against her. Their footsteps are much lighter. They put in less force. As a result, the ball's sound is, by default, much softer. It's almost like the second she step over that white line they all flip their "Oi, Daichi is in the court. I repeat Daichi is in the court" switch and start treating her like she is some kind of fragile thing that will break the second that ball touches her.

No.

She won't.

They can't treat her like this.

"Why are they treating me like I can't do shit, hm? I'm half blind, not helpless"

Daichi grunts the moment Ukai sits down.

She can't remember how many time she has had this kind of conversation with him. Too much to count. Too lazy to remember.

"I know", the man sighs, "Don't blame them too much. They're thinking of you too, Kubota. How's the-"

"The treatment? I stop it. I don't need it. I'm fine like this. I mean there is no use losing money for naught. My dad did not work his butts off his whole life to spend money on things like this so I told him to take his money and go to a spa or something"

"Kubota, be respectful. He is your father"

"Who is doing a really stupid thing"

"Taking care of his own daughter is not stupid!"

"So you say… but how do you know hm? You don't even have a daughter, or a crazy wife-"

"Daichi Kubota!", the young man scolds, "You do not talk like that about your parents. Your mother has her struggles too. And don't pretend you don't love her. Look, I know it sucks to be dependent-"

"Do you?"

"-yes. Which is why I'm telling you, you didn't mean what you said. Or else you wouldn't have spent three years taking care of your mother"

"They are divorced, Keishin", Daichi sighs, "I'm the only one she got..."

"You will all be okay", the coach wraps his arms around her, awkwardly, "you'll be able to see again someday"

The girl pushes his hands away, shrinking back to herself, "But what if I don't?", she proceeds to ask.

Daichi hates this.

Every time the conversation comes up, it always turn out the same. This matter, this talk, it makes her feel like she's losing a part of herself. The part that strives on for changes, for some kind of hope in her life. Accepting and living with her condition, her situation is what she decided from a long time ago. It was a type of evolution for herself. A way to free herself from the chaos she sees every day.

Why, out of the blue, would Ukai want to bring this back up?

Him bringing this subject up, just reminds her of how she's unable to achieve the thing she wants, how she would never be able to live a normal life. And as much as he love him for the person he is, this is very, very cruel to have him telling her all over again that she needed to be cured.

Doesn't he know she knows that?!

Or not...

Probably he knew it already. Both of them do. They just talk around the matter and try not to scrap even the surface of it, that's all. They're just lying to each other, to themselves. Maybe that's why when they actually have a conversation seriously about it, this kind of heavy air would hang.

"I'm gonna get some air"

Daichi says and gets up. Ukai doesn't. Good. She needs some serious calming down right now. Putting on her shoes, the girl staggers out. Maybe she'll just go to the home center nearby and window shopping for a while.

It's a bad habit of her, to go into a shop and not actually mean to buy anything. Somehow just the feeling of touching the goods placed on the shelves and walking along the long aisles listening to people talking makes her feel at peace.

Gosh, she sounds like some kind of shop pervert.

Daichi exhales heavily, snuggling a bit more into her coat. Sure is cold tonight.


Keishin has near to zero clue what he should do about the situation. Kubota has always been a problematic child. Heck, she is qualified as one of the most likely to get punched her bloody soul out out of all the people that he met.

She is hurt, sure, but every effort of his to try and get her to stop being hurt so far has plummeted at a high speed.

At that time when she asks him to teach her volleyball he really thought he saw some kind of spark, something like a hint of fighting spirit in her dead eyes but apparently he was wrong. She doesn't like to talk about this matter, and he tries his best to stay out of it. Keishin really did tell himself that it ain't his business and just focus on teaching her. But seeing her treating herself like a lost cause makes him crazy, and to a certain extent, annoyed. Very annoyed.

Cough a laugh at himself, the blond man thinks how he is getting closer to the stereotype sister complex freak each day. Age-wise speaking, the kid can't, in no way, possibly be considered as his sister, but Keishin refuses to think of himself any older than that. Not yet, not yet. He's way too young for the name "old man at the convenience store" that she pins on him. Speaking of which, would that teacher come again tomorrow he wonders, asking him to coach the brats in Karasuno.

Persistent type like him is also annoying. Not as much as Kubota, but, still, annoying.

The club looks just fine to him. The captain seems to be quite reliable. And that black hair kid from first year (he assumes since his is a new face around here) pretty much seems to know what he's talking about, seeing how even the captain is asking him for opinions. Plus the fact that they are his regular customer. Coaching your customer sounds… weird.

"Oi Keishin! You coming?"

Yusuke's call disrupt the blond man's little fume and he turns back, sighing.

"Sorry", he says, "Gotta go get Kubota before we close up for today"

"Something wrong with her?", Makoto butts in, "I saw you guys talking and she just left midway it appears"

"Oi, You didn't do any weird things to her didcha?"

"Shut it, Yusuke, I ain't you", Keishin counters cutting off all attempt from his friends to start up any 'unsafe' thoughts. For as long as he has known these guys, they tends to do that a lot with him. It's too tempting, they said. Yeah, bullshit. Y'all just want to have a good laugh at me, the coach thinks, smiling to himself.

"In any case", seeing the situation, Makoto quickly responses, "Go make sure that Kubota is ok. We'll clean up here today. You just go straight home after you talk things out with her 'kay, Keishin?"

"Sorry", he gives an apologetic smile, "Next round is on me, yeah?"

"You betcha! Wooo!"

Well that seems to cheer them up way too well.

Keishin chuckles to himself as he slings his bag over his should and pick up Kubota's on the way out of the court.

Now then.

Keishin takes a deep breath of the night air.

Where have the bloody brat gone to?


"Found you, brat", Ukai's voice enters her ears and instantly Daichi turns backward.

"That was fast", she snorts with snide.

"We're closing up so let's head home"

Not really taking a liking to his attitude, Daichi decides to follow him without giving a reply. It has always been like this after they talk about serious stuff, like her eyes for example. Hell, the only serious thing they talk about is her eyes anyway, and they don't even argue after. Just leave the talk hanging with awkward atmosphere and wait until both of them forget about it.

A shameless way to deal with thing but for people like him and her, there isn't much to do about that.

It's just-

It's just she's so tired of what she currently is right now. Could there be anything more to this life than constant effort? Every day, to wake up but can't see herself, to eat but doesn't know what's the dish, to have to wait for someone to cook for her, or take her out to eat. She plays volleyball but can't even enter a tournament.

Now that she knows volleyball, practice isn't enough. She wants to feel the rush, the adrenaline from the crowd emitting into the air. She wants to smell the air-salonpas hanging slightly on to the atmosphere. The sounds of cheering. The bright light that blinds one with happiness and pride.

She wants something more out of this life rather than just seeing it pass by like this. She wants to play in a game, to win, to lose, to cry over things with her teammates. She wants the after practice hang out, to eat cheap ice cream from Ukai's place with club members.

But Daichi knows she can't. She just can't.

So for now she settles with staring at the abyss of color in front of her. See it, and run away from it. Pretend for as long as possible that she's going to be okay, wake up every day and repeat that. Maybe one day she'll start to believe, that the only thing she can do is except how she is, except life.

The blond man seems quiet, but that's okay. This is the usual drill of her everyday living. It's okay. She can take this much. She would rather take the silence than the thought of having to think on how her life would go on from now. It's alright. Just for now, she's gonna lie to herself.

Life is like that, her life is like that.

It's bad, but it could have been worse.


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