“Goshiki, nice serve!”
Three-on-three games were what he liked best during training rotations. Drills were brutal and regular six-on-sixes were just every day occurrences. Sure, he liked the other 5 guys that he got to play with during regular matches enough, but three-on-threes were when it came down to individual skill. There’d be a receive, a set, and a spike. That was it. That was the game. Like fishing with a stick, string, and a bent paperclip. Constraints like that killed off the weak and bred the strong.
He’d be the strongest.
Goshiki took a deep breath and tossed the ball up into the air. Good spin. It’ll curve left to the guy who can’t receive properly. He took his first step, feeling the power pulse in his toes. Next should be a high jump. He felt the air rustle his hair. The momentum is going to carry through. Good. His hand connected with the ball with a sharp sting across his palm and it spurred away from him angrily, desperate to be free. As he predicted, the wing spiker had a lousy receive and the ball continued backwards, rolling onto somebody else’s court. He clenched his fist with pride before whirling around excitedly.
You were talking to Ushijima with your back to him.
“Maybe next time she’ll see you,” his opponent snickered as he rolled the ball back under the net. Goshiki ground his teeth together with disappointment. How was it that every time he did something cool, you were never looking, but every time he messed up a receive or attack you were always staring right at him? It wasn’t fair!
“There there, Tsu-chan~. Maybe your senpai likes Ushijima-san instead. After all, he’s the real ace. Best to give up now, hm?” His friend from middle school sauntered up to him, throwing a lanky arm around Goshiki’s shoulders. Practically everybody in the whole of Japan knew about Goshiki’s little (or, as was more accurate, his head-over-heels) crush on the team’s junior trainer, and everybody knew about Goshiki’s frustration. Everybody except for the junior trainer, [Name] [Surname] .
“Shut up!” he snapped at Yuta Kuromine, face reddening. “You’re not even a regular!”
Kuromine shrugged, locking his hands behind the back of his head as Goshiki marched to the back line to do another serve. A scowl bloomed on his face as he bounced it to the floor. Kuromine had a point. You were a second year, older than him… of course you would choose the senior, more experienced guy instead of him. Ushijima had made it onto the U-19 team. What had he done in his life?
No! Goshiki forcibly shook his head, his dark hair swinging with him. There was no reason to get discouraged! What he lacked for in experience, he would make up for with sheer determination and willpower!
This was it. This was just what he needed to give him that final push. He would confess his feelings to you. He’d do it by the end of the month. And if you said no… well, he’d probably cry, so he decided not to think about that end game. But what if you said yes?! Just the idea of it fired him up and he let out a purposeful yell, to which Kuromine told him to shut up.
His serve was received by Shirabu this time, but because of its speed it flew back over for a chance ball. Goshiki was already running for the net. He’d show them all. He’d show everybody that the future ace could do it just as well!
“Tsu-chan!” Kuromine shouted, tossing the ball up high. It was an easy spike. His eyes followed the ball as his arms drew back, ready to propel him upwards. The other team had time to set up a three-man block. They were tall, too, but that didn’t matter—if he could just hit a sharp cross it’d be—!
He’d jumped into the net.
Despite the expansive gymnasium, three-on-threes with the large club required sharing of the nets. Goshiki brought down half of them in his fall, each wrenched to the floor in a domino effect. Goshiki landed hard on the wooden flooring with a chorus of screaming as people ducked out of the way all across the gym.
“Oi,” the voice of Shirabu muttered as he squatted down low. Goshiki squinted up at the blurry figure, discerning the customary scowl on his senpai’s features. “Nice going, dumbass.”
“Listen,” Goshiki slurred defensively, holding up a weak finger of protest. “I…”
The feminine voice seized his heart and he bolted up straight, seeing you running towards him. Was this a dream? Had he hit his head too hard? You leant forwards on your knees and held your hand out for him, concern etched all over your cute, button-like face.
“Are you okay? Can you get up?” you asked, breathing a little hard.
“Uh,” was all he could say, staring blankly up at you as if you weren’t real. Immediately your face stiffened and you snapped at Shirabu, who was laughing behind a taped hand.
“Get him to his feet and help him onto a bench. I’m going to do a SCAT and pupil gauge to check for concussion. Everybody else; are you guys okay? The head trainer’s out for a bit so if you’re injured, come to me!”
Your voice held so much charge and confidence. Dreamily, Goshiki merely watched as you pulled your hair back into a messy ponytail, a forgotten strand still hanging out of it as you crouched down to him. He wished he could’ve touched it. You put your cool hand on his cheek, taking a penlight and flashing it in his eyes. His eyelashes fluttered drowsily.
Wait, you put your hand on his cheek?!
“I’m just checking to see how your pupils react. It’ll be okay,” you said sweetly, the rough authority in your voice dissolving into a gentler tone. The blinding light in his face combined with the feeling of your fingers against his chin… your face started to spin as his breathing came in shorter. “Pupils look good. But you’re not hurt, are you? Goshiki-kun? Can you look at me?”
He made eye contact with you and you smiled again. He blinked. Then, it was like a nervous fuse blew in his brain and he fainted, the idiotic grin still on his face.