--------------------- Middle School ---------------------
"'_____________', I think it's time to give it up. He obviously doesn't want to talk." Your friend whispered into your ear as you stared at the young male sitting at his desk.
"He looks so lonely though...I'm just trying to make him feel better..." You gave out a sigh as the boy was playing with his DS again. "Everyday and the same time during homeroom, he always does his video games..." You thought to yourself as his fingers mashed away at the buttons.
"I get that, but some people just don't want to talk to others. If he wants to stay isolated like that, then just let him." Your friend's remark made you feel a little gloomy.
You just stood up from your seat and went over. You could hear your friend give out a sigh as she had to watch your attempt to talk to him once more.
"Here she goes again..."
You could hear your friend from behind you and you slowly made your way to the mysterious young male. You stood in front of his desk with your hands behind your back and your feet on their tip toes. He never looked up from his screen as he just pushed at the buttons.
"She's back again..." He thought to himself as his eyes slowly looked away from his DS.
You suddenly felt this light blush cover your cheeks as you saw those cat like eyes that radiated with an amber glow. His face gradually went back to stare intently at his screen.
"Um...K-Kozume-kun, right?" This was the first time you had felt nervous about approaching him.
The other times that you had talked to him you would have just gabbed on and on about what you had to say. Kozume would never speak out and he would usually agree with what you had to say. It was strange this time around. The more you talked to him, the more it felt like he was rejecting your reason or purpose to talk to him. You found yourself to very conscience of what he might have thought about you. Kozume just kept playing his game as you stood above him with a sheepish look.
"Is there something you want to talk about...?" You were taken back as he had asked you a question before you had the chance to say something else.
"Y-Yeah...would you w-want to...h-hang out some t-time...?" Your words became a jumbled mess as you struggled to say anything.
His fingers stopped moving for a moment and his eyes looked up at you.
"...Sorry...I have practice after school." His subtle tone spoke out once again and he went back to his game.
"T-Then..I will go with you to your practice!" Your hands slammed down at his desk and he flinched a for a moment.
Kozume turned his had slightly to the other students that were in the room. His mind was on edge as he thought people were looking at you and him, but all of them were sitting in their groups and socializing with one another. His hands slowly closed his DS and he looked at you.
"Yeah...I would like that.." A tiny smile was on his lips and you could feel your heart pounding from your chest.
Soon the bell went off and you swiftly head back to your seat with your cheeks flushed in crimson. Your friend had a very surprised expression as you sat down.
"You actually got him to talk..." She gazed over at Kozume as he slouched in seat.
For the rest of the day you waited anxiously for it to end. Your eyes were fixated on Kozume every time you glanced over at him. Before you knew it, you found yourself at the end of the day and everyone began to leave their seats. You were filled to the brim with excitement as you went over to Kozume's desk and gave him a big smile. He just looked at you and nodded his head.
"...I need to get my bag first. Then we can head to the gym." He stood up from his seat and lead the way.
You followed Kozume through the halls until you found where his locker space was. He pulled out a sports bag and changed his shoes out. You were so interested in what he was doing because you never were into sports. Sure, they were fun to watch, but they weren't really meant for you. Once he got his shoes tied, he continued to guide you to the gymnasium. The both of you made it and Kozume opened the doors to let you in first. Your eyes marveled at a large volleyball net set in the middle of the room with a few balls here and there being tossed over the net.
"Nice serve!" You heard a male voice call out and you looked where the voice emerged from.
You saw a rather tall boy with black hair that seemed to be in a disarray; it looked as if he just woken up from bed. As you payed attention to the other players, the messy haired male's eyes shifted to see you standing in the entry way. His eyes widened as he saw Kozume standing next to you.
"Heads up!!" A different voice spoke up and you watched as the ball went flying into the air.
Soon you saw that the ball was heading towards your direction and you weren't sure what to do. All you could think of is to cover your head with both of your arms while sealing your eyes shut and wait for the ball to fall onto you. Instead of hitting you in the head or face, the ball came in contact with something else that caused a large echo. Your eyes opened slight and saw Kozume was in front of you with his hand interlocked and his arms together. You watched as the ball went back into the air and hit the ground. You slowly let go of your head and looked at Kozume with a shocked look.
"That was good timing, Kenma." The black hair male came up in front of you with a slight smile.
Kozume just remained into that position before standing at your side.
"...It wasn't anything..." He acted modest in front of you and you gave out a small smile.
"Anyway, who is this? Is this your girlfriend or something?" He had a bland look on his face as he asked Kozume.
You felt yourself jump a mile and your cheeks turned crimson.
"N-No. This is my first time being with him..." Your eyes shifted to the ground and the boy started to laugh a bit.
"...Not funny, Kuro.." Kozume spoke up as he had that nonchalant look on his face.
"Are you sure? Kozume usually talks about this one girl that has been talking to him almost every day." Kuro gave you a sly smirk and your cheeks kept burning up.
"There's no way he talks about me outside of class...he seems too...reserved." Your mind trailed off as you glanced over at Kozume.
"Come to think of it, I've never seen Kenma talk so much about one person before." As he brought this up to your attention, you gave Kozume a slightly amazed look.
Both Kuro and you watched as Kozume had a blank expression and had no interest of reacting.
"*sigh*...It's not fun to tease you, Kenma,...but..." Kuro directed his attention to you and suddenly you were in a headlock. "You look so ridiculous when you're teased!!" He began to rub his hand on top of your head and messed up your hair.
"Let me go!!" You complained as Kuro continued to make your hair into a disaster.
Soon Kuro let go of your head and pushed you into Kozume. Kozume acted surprised as you landed in his grasp and his arms just dangled around you. You lifted up your head and you could feel your entire face burning with embarrassment. Your body quickly tore away from his and you just turned the other way. Once all the unnecessary teasing was done, you got to watch Kozume and the rest of his team practice. You were simply star struck watching how well they all worked together. Once practice was over, you ended up tagging along with Kozume to go home and Kuro came along too. Since these two were neighbors, it was only inevitable for both of them to walk home together. You stood in the middle of them and you were able to strike up a few conversation with Kuro, but Kozume went back to being his quiet self. You felt a little uncomfortable on how silent he was; so you decided to do something a little out of your own comfort zone. Your hand gently took his and you held them together. You did it on your own whim and made it look like you did it unconsciously. Kozume could feel a warm presence on his hand and he looked down. When he looked up at you, you kept talking to Kuro as the two of you started to laugh with one another. As you held onto his hand, you gradually let it slip from his, but he immediately grabbed it again.
"K-Kozume.." You stuttered a bit with a little happiness in your tone.
Kuro had a bit of confusion on his face until he saw that your hands were connected together. He let out a small smile from his lips as he saw Kozume had turned the other direction.
"Good, I can't be the only friend he has." Kuro thought to himself as you had an enlightened smile on your face.
This opportunity that you took upon yourself may have changed the way you look at others. Of course you were the only person that actually gave Kozume a chance besides Kuro being his friend, but it made all the difference to you.
------------------ A Few Years Later ---------------
You stood int he gymnasium with a clipboard in your hand as you recorded everyone's performance for today.
"'______________'!!" An excited voice from Hinata came up from behind you.
You turned your head first before turning the rest of your body to see this energetic boy.
"How did I do today?" His brown eyes shined with enthusiasm as he was anticipating your praise.
"You did very well today, Hinata-kun. Your reflexes are still in good shape and we still need to improve your defensive techniques." You flipped through the paper until you made it to his progress report page and added a few more notes.
Soon the orange haired boy began to jump for joy as he felt his efforts to keep trying and improve have been well worth it.
"So?!" Hinata grabbed onto your hands with excitement and you just blinked at him a few times.
"So..what?" You were a little confused as you tried to keep a positive outlook.
"So what's it like to be the manager? I know you're a second year and you've done it for a while, but I want to know what it's like!!" His eyes were very large as all his ecstatic nature couldn't be contained.
"Um..let's see...I'm not really sure where to start." You politely took one of your hands out from his grasp and placed it on the back of your head. "Some people have said to mes it's kind of useless job since there is a coach and that the coach does the things a manger would; that's not really true though. I mostly keep track of records for each of the players and do all the business related aspects. Since this is a high school team, it's not as stressful as if I were to be managing a professionals team." You gave him a kind smile as you explained your job.
"Do you like being the manager?" Hinata finally let go of your hand and stood on his tip toes.
"I really do. I used to go to a friend's volleyball practice all the time in middle school. He never seemed interested in it, but he's a really good player." You began to smile to yourself as you thought about Kozume.
"Huh? How can you play volleyball and not be interested in it?" Hinata was conflicted on how something like that would work.
You gave out a small laughter as you messed around with his wild hair.
"Let's just say he's the total opposite from you." You began to laugh again and Hinata just smiled.
"Hinata!! We're still practicing!" You heard Kageyama shout towards Hinata in his usual enraged tone.
"Ah! S-Sorry!!" Soon the lively first year ran back to his team.
You kept smiling to yourself as you went back to fill out the other progress reports.
"Hey, '______________'!" You heard the coach call your name and you quickly rushed to his side.
"Yes, coach, what do you need?" You stood formally in front of him.
He just turned the other way and blew his whistle. Soon the team gathered all round you and stood in formation.
"Alright! Since we are still in training, we need to work on your agility. '______________' will be leading one group for the run and I will be guiding the other."
Soon everyone turned towards you with a serious expression.
"Let's do our best!" You bowed before them and they all chanted with their agreement.
Once that was over, you began to call off names one by one from the list. You were pretty satisfied with your group as you had the two main third-year students you knew very well, the second year Tanaka, and Kageyama with Hinata. You headed towards the door with the group behind you. As you walked, you could feel Tanaka over your shoulder the whole time. He was always trying to flirt with you and apparently it "turns him on when you ignore him". You just gave out a sigh as you turned around and the whistle that dangled from your neck accidentally hit Tanaka in the face. You tried to hold in your laughter after seeing that happen, but a few giggles escaped here and there.
"Okay then! Coach Keishin said to run down to this road, turn the corner at the right, and continue to do this for three laps total! There should be another road once you make it to the path on the right that will loop us back here." You gave your instructions and they started to run off.
You did your best to keep your place in the group as you jogged beside them. Soon Hinata was by your side and was wanting you to talk to him. Your conversation was cut short when Kageyama had shoved him away in a violent matter. You were a little speechless as you looked up at Kageyama who had that "I didn't do anything" expression.
"Do you have any reason as to why you pushed Hinata?" You could feel your eye twitch as you tried to keep a smile on your face.
"He was in my way and going way too slow. I can't run with someone who just wants to get close to some girl."
You could feel your cheeks warm up intensely as you flashed a glare towards him.
"So then you're saying that there can be only one person who can talk to a girl?" You snapped back at him with a smug smile on your face.
He flinched for a moment before going completely silent. It was obvious that Hinata likes you and Kageyama does too, but Kageyama hates to admit it. He can be so prideful that he won't his true feelings show. In his mind showing your true feelings can be shown as weak. Soon you heard this powerful shouting building up from behind. Both you and Kageyama watched Hinata blow past everyone.
"Hinata!! Quit your screaming!! That's only going to waster your energy!" You heard Captain Daichi shout behind you with the other third-year student and Tanaka.
Kageyama glanced over at you to see your determination to get Hinata back with the group.
"*Whistle* Hinata-kun!! Stop where you are right now!" You began to shout with your might, but he just kept going as fast as his legs would carry him. "For God's sake..." You let out a sigh as you began to pick up your pace.
Kageyama was left in the dust as you ran ferociously to get Shouyou to listen. His eyes narrowed down and his teeth began to grind together. His lengthy legs began to sprint to catch up with both of you. When you were running, you saw a tall figure pass you by and you slowed down for a bit. Your eyes gazed upon Kageyama dashing ahead of you while he went to go get Hinata. You just let him do the dirty work for you and you waited for the other three to catch up.
"Don't worry too much, '____________'. His ambitions won't let him slow down." Sugawara gave you a smile as he placed his hand on your shoulder.
"I guess so. Although, I won't let him get off the hook that easy." You decided to make this a very short term goal seeing that you didn't want to sit back and let Kageyama do it after all.
Soon your began to sprint off again as you went to go and retrieve both guys. You were so concentrated on your running that you hadn't payed attention to which road you had taken. You could feel your feet slow down as you looked around at your surroundings.
"This is..." You turned your head a few times to see you had gone down the wrong road.
You gave out a prolonged sigh as you saw the roads behind you. The way back was split into three sections that either lead back to the right path where you would circle back and continue to do the laps, the road you just came from, and another road off the beaten path.
"Crap..at this rate I won't be able to catch up. More important..where the heck am I?" You kept investigating where you had placed yourself.
The only things you saw were a brick wall that slowly gradated into a metal fence and a few signs at the corner. As you walked down, you saw someone sitting at the end of the fence where a tiny portion of the edge was left. This person just sat there with their back slouched over and you could see a partial part of a cell phone in their hand. Their hair had a large portion of it dyed a golden blonde color while still pertaining what looked like their natural black hair.
"Uh...excuse me!" You announced yourself and the person sat straight up.
They didn't turn around or anything as you came closer.
"Did you happen to see a young male pass by? He had messy orange hair and..." You stopped what you were saying and kept looking at the stranger in front of you.
Although, that wasn't an ordinary stranger. The way the person's hair was layered and the style it was in began to dig up memories in the back of your head. You were hesitant at first as you were a few steps away from this person, but you gathered up your courage.
"K-Kozume...?" The word poured from your mouth and you could feel your heart beat rapidly.
The person put down their cell phone and stood in front of you. You were faced with a pair of shining amber eyes and you almost felt yourself cry; it really was him. You found yourself unable to control your actions and you rushed yourself to embrace him. His eyes widened a bit as he slowly looked down to see your gleeful expression that was filled with tears of joy. You could feel his arms gently wrap around you as he returned the sudden embrace. You then pulled yourself away as wiped your tears away from your eyes with your sleeve.
"Sorry about that; I'm just so happy that I get to see you again!" Your hands eagerly grabbed onto his after you finished drying your eyes.
"....Yeah..." He still had that slightly quiet voice as a tiny smile on his lips formed.
You found yourself pulling him into your embrace again and you held him tightly. Kozume's cheeks flushed a bit as you kept his head close to your chest.
"You're still cute as ever~!" You cooed at him as if he were a toddler.
Kozume managed to escape from your grip and you just flashed him a joyful grin.
"Are you really in Karasuno now..?" You listened to his soft tone as you just gave him a nod.
"I sure am. Ever since last year, I was able to be apart of the guy's volleyball club at school and I became the manager." You were smiling at the ground as your eyes were sparkling with glee.
"That's nice.." He responded with another slight smile as he looked at you.
"So..where did you end up going? I know you tried to tell me during our last year of junior high, but my dad was in such a rush to get us moving." You rubbed the back of your head with a bit of a sheepish look.
You paused for a moment as you listened to that school name.
"Hey...you're still doing volleyball at the high school..right?" Your curiosity got the best of you and he just blinked at you.
"Yeah, but I don't really.." Kozume's voice began to slow down as he thought about this for a moment. "...I see now.."
"That's right; I'll be able to see you this weekend at the tournament!" You spoke with complete surprise and excite as you got that gleaming look in your eyes once more.
This past week you've been with the team to train them for the destined rematch with the Nekoma team. You remember when Daichi and Sugawara had told you about a math against Nekoma that happened quite a few years ago. It was interesting to see that you were able to be part of this epic rematch. Kozume seemed to have this distant look in his eyes and you snapped him back into reality.
"Aren't you excited? I get to see you play again!" You grabbed onto his hands and you had a bubbly aura around you.
He hesitantly nodded his head and you became discouraged.
"You don't seem too happy about it..." You had a sheepish smile on your face as his amber eyes shifted to the ground.
"...Which team will you root for...?" He gave you a direct look for a split second.
You could feel your cheeks heat up as you held onto his hands tightly.
"You know I would cheer for both." You gave him a gleeful look as he just stared blankly at you.
"It won't be like my tournaments in middle school though.." His eyes shifted back towards the ground.
One of your hands let go of his and pulled at his cheek as if he were a young child.
"I will still root for you of course!" You cooed at him as he gently pushed your hand off of his cheek.
"Kenma." A different voice came from behind Kozume.
You peered your head over your shoulder and saw another familiar figure. You gave out a smile of delight and you let go of Kozume's hand. He turned around and saw Kuro had been behind him.
"What do you think you're doing? You can't just separate from the group like that." Kuro began to approach the both of you.
"Wow, you've really changed..." You gave a sarcastic tone as a sly smirk was stitched onto your lips.
"Huh? You are..." Kuro became hesitant and slightly baffled as he looked at you. "'______________'..."
You returned to your gleeful look and soon your pulled in under his arm.
"Ah, look at you! Still small as ever!" His voice teased at you as your feet were dangling off the ground as he held you under his arm and messed your hair up.
"Yeah...he's definitely changed..." You spoke to yourself in a sarcastic tone once more as your hair was covering your eyes.
He finally put you back at the ground so you could get a better look at him. Your hand reached out to a stray piece of hair and you twirled your finger in it.
"I thought you told me that you were going to fix your bed head." You stuck your tongue out in a playful way as you let go of his hair.
"S-Shut up.." He became flustered at you while you started to giggle a bit.
"Speaking of hair; Kozume-kun." You turned your attention back to your long distant friend.
Your fingers began to ingrain themselves into his silky locks and you had a fiery look in your eyes.
"Why the heck would you dye your hair blonde?!" You continued to slide your fingers through it.
His eyes just followed your hand as it would glide down and go back up.
"....Because I don't want to stand out..."
You just stood there with your hand frozen in his hair and Kuro just stood behind you.
"Don't you think that's a bit ironi-"
"So, '_____________', how's high school for you?" Kuro suddenly covered your mouth and you pulled your hand through Kozume's hair one last time.
You turned yourself back to face Kuro with an expression of anger mixed with confusion. You excused yourself away from Kozume and stood a fair amount of distance to ensure he wouldn't hear you.
"Why can't I ask him about his hair..? He looks ridiculous!" You whispered as silently as you could as you pulled on Kuro's jacket.
"He did it as soon as you left last year." His tone responded in a straight forward voice as he upheld to the whispering.
You took a moment to process what had been said to you.
"You didn't stop him?" You gave out another whisper expect it had more frustration to it.
"I couldn't really do anything. I happened to walk in on him while he was doing it. Believe me, it looks ridiculous, but he did it because he didn't want to stand out to any of the girls."
You had a faint blush coat your cheeks as you listened to Kuro. Even though he has no good reason to say that Kozume's hair was a little less crazy than his own, it made you feel special to think he was doing something like this just for you. You smiled to yourself and a dreamy look was over the surface of your eyes. Kuro took note of your dreamy expression and quickly turned you around.
"Well...if you look like that, why don't you go ahead and confess your love?" His voice announced this to the whole world and Kozume looked up with the same vacant stare.
Your cheeks felt like they were on fire as you faced Kozume from afar. The tall male behind you placed his hands on your shoulders and started to make your feet shuffle as he pushed you forward.
"W-WAIT!!" You felt like you were begging him to stop as he continued to push you towards Kozume.
"Come on, '___________', I know you really like Kenma! You even told me before you left on the last day!" He kept blathering on about all these embarrassing things and you wanted to shut yourself in a room.
Kozume seemed to have a bit of a surprised look after hearing his friend make his statement.
"Y-You promised n-not to tell!! I-I wanted t-to do it m-myself!!" You whined at Kuro as he forced you to move ahead with his hands pressed down on your shoulders.
"You told me that you were going to tell him on the last day!" He snapped back at you with a somewhat harsh tone.
Your cheeks were flooded with the bright crimson. You tried to stop him with your heels pressed against the pavement, but his stature was far superior than yours and was able to continue.
"I-I couldn't!!" You admitted it to him and he just kept pushing you along.
His pace picked up faster and Kozume's eyes were widened.
"Then, tell him now!!" Soon Kuro pushed you away from him and you were with Kozume.
Although, it was a position you wish that you weren't ready for. You found your lips pressed up against Kozume's soft lips. The both of you had blushing cheeks, but your continued to blaze with the scarlet red. Kuro just stood behind you with a shocked expression.
"Uh...I didn't mean that..." He felt his eyes twitch as he saw what he had done.
You just stood there with your lips pressed against his and neither one of you would move. Both of your eyes were wide open as you exchanged the astounded look with one another. Soon you witnessed as his eyes slowly closed and he pulled you closer. The force between your lips intensified as he held on your waist. You found yourself unable to convey the wrong emotion as you quickly tore away from his grasp. You placed your hand over your mouth and felt the warmth that radiated from it. You could still fell the rush of heat flood your cheeks with embarrassment.
"...Was that your first kiss...'_____________'?" You heard him next to him and flinched.
"Y-Yeah..." You responded in a stutter, but you were happy about it.
"Good...That makes me happy." Kozume had a slight smile on his face and Kuro was flabbergasted.
"I haven't seen him smile like that in a long time...not since he was '___________'..." Kuro began to reminisce about the times you spent with Kenma in middle school.
He just folded his arms while holding a serious look.
"Alright, Kenma. We have to get going. We're pretty much strangers in this part of town." Kuro continued to give a demanding look and Kozume gradually made his way towards Kuro. "'_____________', it was nice seeing you." He flashed you a smile and you nodded your head.
You started to make your way back to find those two troublemakers from before, but something began to pull at your hand. Your head turned slightly to see Kozume right behind you with his hand intertwined with yours.
"....One more...." His voice was so hard to understand that your eye brows furrowed down into a baffled look.
Kozume turned your body around to face his and he gently pushed his lips on yours. You felt your body heat up with this new sense of love. You closed your eyes and took in this moment with Kozume.
"Hey, there's '____________' with-AHHH!!!" You heard a frantic tone behind you that startled you.
You and Kozume cut the kiss short and saw that Hinata was at the beginning of the path with Kageyama. Your cheeks went back to being bright crimson and you let go of Kozume's hand.
"Kenma..." You heard Kuro behind you and Kozume slowly retreated from the area.
"Well then, see you later...'___________'." Kozume gave you a slight wave and you turned your attention back to Kageyama and Hinata.
The two of them walked closer to you while the other high schools made their decent back to Nekoma.
"Who was that..?" Hinata looked past your shoulder and then back at you.
You just smiled to yourself as you held your hand together in front of you.
"A really close friend of mine..." You had that dreamy look again as you felt your cheeks tone done into a rosy pink.
Kageyama felt his eyes twitch as he grabbed onto the front of your club jacket. You freaked out as this tall young male made your feet dangle a little bit from the ground.
"'Really close', you say?! Then why were you two kissing?!" His voice raged on and you returned the irritated glare.
"Stay out of it, King of the Court!" You snapped back and he dropped you back on your feet.
"YOU KNOW I HATE THAT NAME!!!" He placed his hands on his head with anger and you just held up a peace sign with your fingers.
Hinata smiled in too as he saw Kageyama flustered from being called that dreadful nickname.
"I thought it was sweet, '____________'." Hinata continued to flash you his cheery smile.
"HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT?!" Kageyama snapped out of his funk and picked Hinata off of the ground this time.
You just laughed at how frustrated he was getting while seeing as Hinata called your name to rescue him. He was relentless since he wouldn't let Hinata go, but you stared off into the opposite direction where Kozume and Kuro came from.
"What a player you are!" Kuro gave Kozume a good smack on the back as he teased.
"Whatever..." He spoke up after regaining his balance and looked the other direction.
"See, I told you that she did like you. I never thought you would actually make the first move!" Kuro had a grin on his face and Kozume flinched.
"...You're the one who pushed her..." Kozume pointed out what really happened as he pulled out his phone.
"It just sounds better if you say that you made the first move." Kuro felt a bit of regret after he saw that he pushed you into him.
"...It will be different at the tournament..."
"...I'm actually excited to do this match. I think it will be interesting." Kozume smiled to himself a he looked up into the endless sky.