SCoRCHeR

NEKO/音高

VII.

Yuu steals a peek at the girl next to him. Chicchan is still sleeping. Makes him wonders what she did to be sleeping this soundly when the sun is already out and bright (not to mention the team talking noises). It's almost like she did an all-nighter staying over at Kiyoko-san's house.

The libero smiles at the thought, but immediately stops.

Kiyoko-san's house.

KIYOKO-SAN'S HOUSE.

What is it like? It must have been dazzling and pure like very her name. Chicchan you lucky you! I'd have been there if I was a girl too!, he thinks as the images of (possible) Kiyoko-san's house flashes through his head.

The room would smell like sweet cocon- NO, it's Kiyoko-san so it must be white roses! Yes it would smell like roses and and and-

A slight weight on his shoulder distracts Yuu's thought. Sudden smell of camellia floods his senses and he freezes, his heart stops a beat before Ryuu's constant poke at Chicchan's head grabs his attention.

After all the work that he and Ryuu made to land themselves a seat next to Kiyoko-san, she suddenly switched with Chicchan to seat with Take-chan for no reason…. The heck was that?! Their work went to naught ain't it?! Arghhh! They have the worst of luck ever!

"You ok bro?", Ryuu asks, "Is she heavy?"

"N-Not really", Yuu laughs awkwardly trying to push the girl up straight, "I think she's out cold, dude"

"Yah, seems like it", his friend chuckles tapping at his other shoulder as a sign of comfort, "But damn man, she sleeps like a corpse! Did she miss a whole week of sleep or something?"

The libero shrugs, "Beats me", he says, "Heard Shouyou puked on you the last time you guys went by bus"

Ryuu's face went white at his words and Yuu has to hold back a laugh. "It's alright, dude", he thumb-point at himself, "this time it's shinkansen so it's probably fine. 'side I'm at your side so you don't gotta worry 'bout nothin'"

"Noya-san", he hears Ryuu sobs, "You're so cool!"

Yuu flashes a grin as they end the conversation. It seems Daichi-san called for Ryuu so he is left to deal with the leaning girl on his right after making room for him to squeeze out of his seat. To be frank, the libero doesn't understand her. Seeing this girl cut down a serve from Chikara with a "BAM" like that, anyone would be surprise. Hell, Hinata is terrified of her and how close the ball almost hit him. She got speed, he'll give her that. But speed isn't everything. What makes him intrigued is how good she really is. That receive (if anyone can call it that) with the serve from Chikara isn't all she got for sure.

Proof is she is very much respected by the Coach it seems. Asked for opinion even, this girl. Though her movements aren't what he would call normal for any position in any kind of team (if not counting assassination squad?). The aura from her that he felt the other day (plus the time she scared even Daichi-san shitless the other night. Fairly speaking, anyone would have been terrified if a long haired girl holding a knife looks at you with dead eyes in the middle of the night) frequently reminds Yuu about how a demoness would be like if there is really such a thing.

In short, completely opposite of what she is right now: just a girl, sleeping.

This chick is actually prettier up clos- What the fuck am I thinking?!, he panics. No, there can only be one woman he should think about, dream about, and that's the wonderful, beautiful Kiyoko-san! And yet… his eyes remain fixed on her chubby face.

Her lips slightly part as her chest rise up and down steadily with each breath and the libero takes notice of the faint sight of a smile from her (The hell are you dreaming about you heavy punk?!). The dark copper hair covering her neck just revealing a tint of white skin under it. Yuu swallows, this won't do. This definitely won't do!

He pushes her up. Can't. Rigidly the boy turns his head to the seats across. Chills go down his spine as his eyes meet the intensely staring Tsukishima and Yamaguchi's. Oh the smug face they're pulling…

"Nishinoya-san, you look like you're about to eat her up or something", the four-eye brat snorts.

"Tsukishima you punk, you better shut-"

The shinkansen suddenly make a stop and Yuu jumps. On instinct, putting his hand forwards to guard Chicchan's forehead. He withdraws his hand though, the moment he realizes what he just did. His palm burns at the touch and he holds his breath to calm down. That's when he noticed a book was lying next to his feet.

That's right. This was the book he saw her read the whole time since they got on the train until she fell asleep.

Curious hits as he picks it up and takes a glance. "VOLLEYBALL" it just said.

So even the coach's adviser has to read a book. And there he thought it is only experience and instinct in sport. Didn't even think there would be this type of book.

He turn the cover, wondering if there could be anything he can actually learn something from her book.

And then he stops. Right on the first page.

It's blank.

Or rather, it was covered with series of lumps on the paper. He knows these lumps, these "things" that make his fingertips very uncomfortable when touched. Not the name, but the usage.

Brain, Brial, whatever it is. Yuu knows for certain this ain't no normal read.

Confused, he stares at the sleeping girl.

Is it some kind of joke?

Let's just say that he is being paranoid, but if there is any chance that Chicchan is blind then what has she been doing this whole time during practices with the team?! No, rather than that, how the fuck did she manage to hit Chikara's serve when she can't even see?! That accuracy can't be luck!

Ryuu's call startles him and the libero hurriedly shoves the book back to the girl who is, at this time, waking up. He hears her rapidly apologizing for accidentally falling asleep on him.

Half-heartedly mutter a "It's okay", Yuu picks his bag and follow the other out wondering if his heart can beat any faster than this.

After they go back, he'll make sure to ask her about this, about her. But for now, their priority, his priority is the practice match. He's their libero, who protects their back. He won't let them down.

Not for any reason.


Daichi yawns, mentally cursing at herself for falling asleep like that. Is it the excitement or the nervousness that kept her awake the whole yesterday night she wonders. The game already started for five minutes straight but she can't seem to focus on anything at all. Karasuno is doing its same pattern. Same movements. It's boring her to death. She's still expecting something extraordinary from Nekoma. They seems to be interesting… somewhat.

The thing with the Hinata and the setter over there is quite unexpected though. Plus the idiotic show off of the Tanaka and another member of Nekoma is completely out of her calculation. That is not mentioning anything else weird about the high tension between other members. But those aren't really much informative to her. Human relation is not her major. She isn't interested in making it her major either.

Karasuno is having the lead. Though truly to speak, it feels kind of unusual to her how Nekoma is doing worse than Karasuno. If the rumor's correct then they should be quite the enemy, or at least enough to make even Granddad Ukai praises.

Sound of a time-out and Daichi takes a deep breath. There wasn't much to analyze until now it appears. And yet what is it creepy feeling inside of her, like something is about to go wrong….

"Keishin", she calls

"You see anything?", the blond man clicks his tongue. Obviously thinking hard, "Personally I feel really on edge"

"It's Nekoma, I don't blame you. Things shouldn't be going this well", Daichi crosses her arm and sit down next to him. She can't seem to put an exact word on this but if she's correct then the first year duo and Asahi-san has some hurdle to overcome. The Nekoma's libero. That's the first time he ever receive such spikes (from Karasuno's ace no less) and yet he actually managed to return the ball. That's no joke.

Ukai sighs, "Be cautious. They are starting to give me a creeps"

"I know, it's like oppositely they are assessing us rather than we do them"

Another tweet echos and Daichi doubles back to the members in waiting.

"Chicchan", Sugawara-san calls, "What do you think?"

"I don't know", Daichi huffs shuffling her head, "They make me feel very uncomfortable. They are not crazy good as I thought them out to be but- No, nothing. I can't say before I-"

A loud impact of the ball jerks her out of the conversation.

They just lost the first set.


"There is no such thing as a spike that can be stopped. Don't think otherwise", Ukai says and Daichi nods at his words. It's true. In a sport that speed plays a big role like this, there is no telling if a clear spike is really a clear spike. But how the opponent won the first set when she wasn't paying attention is truly frightening her quite a bit. Nekoma members' footsteps, they are so light that she can't barely sense them. Before she knows it they already trapped Hinata. The girl really hates to say this but, if Hinata can't figure his way out of this then there won't be a chance for Karasuno.

"Guys", she calls out biting her lips, "This is just my thought for now, and I mean for now but Nekoma isn't the explosive type-"

"Explosive type?", a sudden interruption from Yuu and she turns towards his voice.

"Yes, Y-Nishinoya. They aren't noisy and they don't go 'WHAM', 'BOOM', or 'KABAM!' if you want it to be easier to understand", Daichi pulls her hair back, "They are silent, and I'll say this as a warning, they are watching you all. They are doing my job only it's better because they are doing it on the field, under all those pressure. And they follow a very simple rule: Unless you drop the ball, you win. SO, from now on, what you do is go out there, make them drop the ball or best, slam it down their court. Got it?"

"Yes, ma'am!", Hinata shouts and she nods, punching the kid slightly on the shoulder. "Make me proud", the girl orders cracking her knuckle that has been hurting quite a bit.

And she sits, touching her hand on the floor, squinting her eyes to even make sense of the sea of crashing color in front of her. She blocks away all the talk, all the squeak, the shouting, everything. Just observe, with her senses, how the game is going. Practice match, official match, fuck that, a growing chance like this doesn't come often in a life time. SO if anything she can do to help Karasuno move one step further towards their goal, she'll risk it.

Now that she is becoming more awake, the girl suddenly realize there has been someone marking Hinata all along. And that person's skill isn't low at all so to speak.

Will the kid be able to get through this she wonders? Ukai did say he has great potential when combining with Tobio. It's just that this time it doesn't seem to be enough. There has to be something more, something-

Daichi feels a spark inside of her when she heard Hinata's body suddenly hit the ground.

What?!

What happened?! The sound of the ball is the same, the freak toss, there can't be no mistake to the sound of the speed. Why didn't Hinata hit it?! Tobio would have tossed it directly to the kid's hand. What happened?!

"T-TIME!", Ukai shouts and Daichi rushes to the gathering.

"It's-It's not like I don't trust your toss or anything", Hinata flustered.

She quirks her eyebrown, "You sound like you're two-timing Tobio or something, kid. What happened?"

"Hinata tried to match Kageyama's toss", Sugawara whispers and she flinches.

So that's what was going on! That! That's the thing!

Daichi hears Ukai giving the first-year setter instructions on the quick him and Hinata are doing. Good, the coach is doing his job. It's up to her to take care of Nekoma.

They resume the game, only to be quickly stopped.

Ukai this is already the second time-out you know, give Hinata a bit more time to try or Tobio to adjust would you?, she cringes.

"We'll make up for the lost point"

"But you might get switch out if you mess up too badly"

"Tsukishima!"

"Don't worry Hinata, we've got your back. Besides, the ace said he'll take back the point for you"

Daichi crosses her arms. Hinata, you lucky kid.

"Keishin", she says hearing him replies with a "hm?", "Isn't the kid lucky? They're all having his back. Makes people jealous not being in a team with him"

"Kido…", the blond man utters

"Kubota-kun", Mr. Takeda laughs, "What are you talking about? You ARE in a team. You're member of this team. The Karasuno male volleyball club"

She stops at his words and smirk. Is she now? It would be nice if everyone thinks about her like that. But no matter what he says, she isn't a part of this now isn't she? She isn't out there hitting balls or receiving serves isn't she?

She's here because they need her ability to analyze the game. When they are able to do that themselves, that's time for her to leave isn't it?

"You're a part of this team, Kubota-kun", Takeda-sensei's words pierces her heart and Daichi fought, holding back her tears.

Thank you, teach….

But pretty words can only get you so far.


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