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Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by mango, May 9, 2016.
It was supposed to be a fun practice match played between the girl's and boy's volleyball teams. It was an unusual play, seeing as the girl's league and boy's leagues never worked together and the strengths of each gender tended to be different, but the coaches had decided to use that difference to their advantage. Though the game was, of course, serious as all games were (especially for the girl's team who was desperately trying to step up their game after a tough loss the year prior) it was mostly for fun. And fun it had been until things took a sudden turn for the worst.
With a particularly harsh spike from Tomoko's fellow wink spiker, a spunky blonde named Koda Nishiki, Kageyama had been pushed into an awkward save. It had all seemed fine at first, an impressive dive set to make an impressive recovery. But his dive was followed by a crack sickening enough to make Tomoko's stomach twist, the eyes of all those watching widening. Though some in the gym had only been playing for a few years or less, all knew that sound was not normal.
Tomoko had been worried the moment she'd heard the sound, eyes widening and motherly nature kicking in as she watched her boyfriend's arm hit the ground. The sudden blow of the whistle, loud and sharp in the echo of the gym, only made her concern worse.
"Are you ok?!" Wasting no time to duck under the net and drop to her knees, sliding over to where Kageyama was huddled on the floor, Tomoko began to look him over. He was obviously in pain, brow scrunched and teeth fitted firmly between his teeth. She knew he'd probably try to hide it, to keep playing, but there was no concealing it from her. And, judging by the worried faces of his teammates (and the frantic yelling of Hinata and Noya, barely lessened by the insistences of Suga) and the way the coach was looking at him, Tomoko doubted he was about to fool anyone else either.
"Tobio-chan..." Tomoko's voice was gentle, but not near so gentle as her hand as it gingerly came to rest on his arm. Her touch was feather light, hovering high above the part Kageyama seemed to be favoring. It almost seemed like she was afraid to break him. Really, she was afraid to put him in any more pain than he already was, to somehow worsen the injury he had clearly just sustained.
It was soon decided that Kageyama was to see the nurse so she could assess how bad the injury was before deciding how to proceed. Either way, should the stubborn setter agree or not, it was clear that he wasn't getting back on the court until everyone was sure he was ok.
"I can take him to the nurse." Tomoko offered, waiting for a nod from the coaches before taking Kageyama's uninjured arm and gently tugging at it, coaxing him to stand and follow her.
Looking the pained setter over again sympathy and worry once again touched Tomoko's face, lips lowering into a gentle frown. She hated to see him at all unhappy, and seeing him in obvious pain was worse. The fact that she couldn't do anything to properly comfort him only magnified the feeling.
"Come on, the faster we go the faster we get back." Voice lowering to a honeyed coo as she spoke to Kageyama. Tomoko tired to be reassuring, giving the arm she now held a gentle squeeze and forcing a small, lopsided smile. She was a bit less gentle in trying to enforce her words, however, tugging lightly at his arm and refusing to let go as she all but dragged the stubborn first-year towards the doors of the gym.
It wasn't until they had exited those doors, the heavy metal swinging shut behind them, that Tomoko finally allowed herself to fuss. It had taken nearly all of her restraint to stop herself from doing so in the first place, but she knew how easy it was to embarrass poor Kageyama - and that her fussing would likely slow the process of getting him to actually head towards the nurse.
"What happened? Are you ok? How badly does it hurt? Let me see." Kageyama was soon bombarded with an onslaught of questions, Tomoko's voice taking on a more serious note as she all but interrogated her boyfriend. Ever so gingerly she touched his arm again, brow furrowing as she examined the skin. Though it was a bit reddened from impact what stood out to Tomoko was not the colour. Rather, it was a slight protrusion of his skin. Small, enough for her to have overlooked in the flurry of her earlier panic, but definitely there. It took all she had not to run her fingers over the bump, knowing it would hurt.
"That... doesn't look so good. Try not to move too much, ok?"
The beginning of the day had been fairly normal for Ukai. Waking up at an ungodly hour of the morning to the blaring of an alarm, rolling out of bed with bleary eyes and sluggish limbs before eating breakfast and getting to work. He had some things to take care of for the family before heading to the store for a few hours, squeezing in the work (though it was ever so tempting to skip out as no one usually bothered to show up.) It was a pleasant surprise to him when the bell above the shop door tinkled, shocking him awake. When his girlfriend walked in, smiling broadly and greeting him with a gentle kiss. She was kind enough to keep him company through his early morning shift and while he did notice her texting rather a lot he thought nothing of it. After all, there was little to do in his shop to early.
She was kind enough to stick with him during much of the afternoon, even bringing him lunch before he left to Karasuno. Claiming she had plans with friends at a place nearby she'd walked him there and they'd said their goodbye's before Uaki headed for the gym for volleyball practice. The team had their match against the girl's today, so they'd have to be extra watchful... and just like that, Ukai was in coach mode.
Walking in Ukai found that, as usual, he was the second person to reach the gym. Takeda had gotten their first to unlock the doors and was getting what he could ready - prepping the scoreboard, readying the benches for those who were sitting out.
As usual Rei was one of the first to arrive, given some extra responsibility today with the way the match was set up.
"Good afternoon." Ukai greeted her shortly after Takeda, giving her a polite nod. He finished what he was doing before walking over to her, sitting on the bench next to her.
"So we have our match with the girls team. This is an oppertunity to see how the team adapts to a different style, so take notes carefully." Ukai gave Rei a few such reminders before the game started, wanting to ensure that they took the oppertunity for all that he could be. He had agreed to coach this team and he was going to give them his all. They had a lot of raw potential, but getting it up to par was going to take a lot of work. He was sure it would be worth it in the end, though.
As the rest of the team arrived, girls team mixing in with them, they began to warm up as usual. Aside from the presence of the opposing team all was normal. It was an average day, uneventful and Ukai expected it to stay that way - that was, until he heard an echoing crack and found their star setter down for the count.
Ukai could tell shortly after that the injury was pretty serious. Kageyama was still down and clearly in pain. Ukai found his lips thinning, arms crossing over his chest as he crouched before the setter. If this injury was as bad as it had sounded the team was in trouble. But their first priority was absolutely Kageyama's wellbeing and Ukai was quick to insist that he head to the nurse's office to get checked out. They could only hope things weren't as bad as he feared.
Once Tomoko offered to take Kageyama and they left Ukai found himself sighing, hand mussing his hair as he settled back onto the bench. With that the girl's team lost their ace, but nobody was about to argue. After all, she was probably one of the few people who would actually be able to convince him to leave. He was crazy stubborn, that one.
"If Kageyama is down for the time being we might have to change up our strategy." Ukai turned to Rei again, sharing his concerns with the manager. They would have to work out something new, and with Kageyama's genius and potential taken away from them that could be quite a problem. Sugawara was talented, but it still wasn't the same. Hopefully though, Rei would have some suggestions. She was rather mature considering her age, and intelligent at that. She was good to talk to about the games - which was nice, as Takeda, well-meaning as he was, knew very little about the game itself.
Humiliating - and against the girl's team, this was supposed to be a cinch.
Had it not been for his girlfriend's persistence, Kageyama would have stubbornly tried to play through the game, well aware of what the consequences were of putting strain on an arm this injured, but too prideful to let everyone see him in a state of weakness. They all knew better than to ask if he was alright - even Hinata, typically attentive no matter the death glares and not so empty threats, stayed in his place, despite concern bleeding through his features. Speaking of blood - there was a growing chill within his bicep, prickly as it spread down to his elbow and up his shoulder, likely indicating a lack of circulation, which could mean something was broken. Like the machine he tended to be, accompanied by an inhumane tolerance for pain, his only thoughts were how in the world their decoy would be able to exist without him - what would Ukai and Rei decide? How could they find a strategy even level with what he and the red head had going? Suga admitted himself he wasn't able to compare to him as a setter, effort was admirable but Kage cringed at the thought of someone else taking his place - and not living up to the standard he'd set over the last few months.
That's all assuming that this is permanent, came his thoughts, haughty as ever, attempting to let his aching arm go without too much acknowledgement. That was when the fresh air rushed over his flushed skin as if to remind him there was a reality outside of the game, and gradually a pleasant, though frantic voice filled what was, prior, just his own thoughts.
What happened? Are you ok? How badly does it hurt? Let me see.
"You worry too much," He told her, momentarily assessing just how genuinely concerned she was from the corner of his eyes - he wasn't used to the attention, at least not in such a way, despite the time they'd been together he found it hard to get used to - though, much to his humiliation, entirely welcomed. Eventually lifting his gaze, he met hers and his mask faltered just a little, the slight wince that followed the subtle shift of his injury indicating it hurt more than he was letting on. With her things just sort of came out, not like he'd be able to hide anything for long anyways. "..I don't think I can play," His tone was stoic, but she of all people knew admitting that was killing him. "If I pushed this anymore I'd..."
End up like Rei, he shook the thought, being permanently benched was not an option. "At least, not right now."
If it wasn't for Ukai and Takeda's subtle instructions and reminders, Rei probably wouldn't even remember to take notes, much less watch the game with a mindset ready to critique. She had a habit of becoming sucked into the game as if she were a player herself - one of the few times one could catch her lively and animated. Discreetly, she lived through the guys, and while on slow days one could find her gaze on the window, most of the time she could hardly stay in her seat, longing to indulge in that feeling her favorite red head described so vividly, with such enthusiasm, as the ball connects with the hand and dominates that metaphorical wall. Of course, she'd rarely ever spiked, setting suited her far better, but the feeling was equivalent and very invigorating for her - more so was the feeling of positively contributing to a team, she missed that so much.
Sometimes, when Kageyama serves and I hear his wrist connect with the ball, I feel my muscles clench - specifically, my palm tenses - I want to serve again, somewhere other than casual play on a beach - caramel eyes glazed and her heart beat in sync with the exchange of the ball between limbs, she audibly gasped as their setter collided with the floor, the smack of his body resonating, arm notably crushed beneath the sudden impact, not a breath was released till he stood again. In his girlfriend's care, the male gradually retreated from her sight - but honey orbs stayed where he'd fallen, glossed with melancholy. Body tense, breath held, Rei subconsciously lifted a hand, delicate fingers prodding at her shoulder as the day she'd sustained her permanent injury played cinematically side by side with his incident. Shoes scuff the polished, expansive flooring - fluorescent lights reflecting off the sportsman's stage, illuminating their uniforms - her vibrant number seven, her earned role amidst the girl's team. An aggressive impact to the side, executed by a team mate, knocking her off balance with only her shoulder to break the topple the follow up glare and snicker, her only circumstantial evidence of sabotage. Ref's sharp whistle, like an icy blow to her soul saying game over. Being so casually switched out with a first year, watching the game continue from a distant bench, the rainy drive home.
it's always raining for the dour moments were her bitter thoughts before she'd soaked her bedroom pillow with tears. Upon rotating her shoulder a bit, from it emitted a very faint crunch and pop, bringing her from the recollection just in time to realize everyone was waiting on her.
...we might have to change up our strategy.
"Mmm? O-Oh, right, well... Suga stands in until we know Kage's state, you've been working on signals with Hinata, right? This practice we wing it, day's almost over anyways. If he's out for a while, we'll work on your accuracy and try to sync it with Hinata's movements - red," She gestured to their little giant in the making. "You focus on that side hit, so the ball swerves farther to the side than the blockers anticipate. I know, I know, it's not ideal, just experiment for the rest of this evening, and... Coach and I will brainstorm," Everyone, including her, had that screw it, let's try expression that exhibited faith, but a lack of reassurance. She cast her eyes to Keishin, offering a bit of shrug, "Best I could do on short notice. Are you busy tonight? We could hang out at my place and brainstorm."
Tomoko was quick to apologize when she noticed Kageyama's wince; a clear indication that the injury was worse than he was daring let on. It took a lot to make Kageyama actually feel enough pain to wince like that, and even more to express it. Clearly, despite his reassurances, Tomoko was right to worry.
The sympathy she'd expressed over his pain was quick to shift when Kageyama managed to admit, though reluctantly she was sure, that he couldn't play with this kind of injury. It was a relief to her ears though she tried not to show it. After all, it certainly wasn't a happy moment for Kageyama, who pretty well breathed volleyball. And it was clearly worrying him. So, while anyone could have told him from the moment he'd hit the floor that he was going to be out for a while, Tomoko didn't mock him for admitting it so late. Instead she tried to comfort him, a gentle hand on his uninjured bicep and a soft smile attempting to put him at ease.
"That's ok. The sooner we start taking care of this the sooner you'll get back on the court, right?" A gentle squeeze to his arm accompanied her words. After all, she had seen injuries that had taken people out of the game for good. She'd been there when Rei had broken her shoulder, and she could still remember how awful that had sounded, had looked. The clear pain on her face and the awkward bend of her shoulder. She could remember it rather vividly and thankfully, Kageyama didn't seem injured that badly. And if he could let go of his pride for a few weeks it would hopefully stay that way.
With another smile Tomoko let her hand slide down to meet Kageyama's, her lead more gentle as she intertwined their fingers. Volleyball practice always ran late so no other students were around to see them. Thus, she didn't need to worry about Kageyama getting too embarrassed while she stole the slight affection, or making anyone else uncomfortable. It wasn't a particularly intimate action, but Tomoko would worry all the same.
Keeping their hands locked Tomoko lead Kageyama to the nurse's office. Fortunately he still seemed to be there, the shffling of a white lab coat visible from the open doorframe of the nurse's office. Good. Usually he stayed late, should any of the club-going students need him, but he had been known to leave early on the odd occasion.
"Um, excuse me!" Tomoko's call was polite and, though quiet, still enough to catch the nurse's attention. It took only a second for a head of greying hair to pop around the corner, glasses skewed on his face as they always seemed to be.
"Oh! Yes, what can I help you with today?" This was where Tomoko passed things off to Kageyama, gesturing with the hand she'd just slipped out of his for him to speak. She didn't want to overstep her bounds and she knew he'd be able to describe his own pain better than she ever could.
Apparently taking the issue of a sports injury rather seriously the nurse was quick to have Kageyama sit down on one of the free beds, allowing Tomoko to stand off to the side as he begun his examination. And examine he did. It was several minutes of poking and prodding, twisting and poking, questions of pain and ratings of said pain that made Tomoko wince with each step. She could imagine how unpleasant this must have been and, empathetic as ever, almost found herself in pain just watching.
"Hm... Unfortunately, it definitely seems to be broken. I can give you a sling for it, but you'll need to go to the hospital for proper casting. They'll tell you this there in more detail, but it's likely you won't be able to play any volleyball or use your arm for at least six weeks."
Ukai simply nodded at Rei's explanation. He likely would have done the same thing, or something similar. Should any deviations need to be made he would speak up, but with a score of 20-13 for their side he doubted it would be much of a problem for the meantime. If Kageyama's injury was a lasting one more would need to be worked out than far flying crosses, though. Much more. Kageyama was a first year, but his innate skill and ability as a setter was near unparalleled. They'd be taking a huge blow if he was out of the game and they'd need some crazy strategy to make up for it.
"Huh? Well..." The idea of going over to the manager's home was a tad bit awkward, Ukai would admit - especially being the coach of the team she was on. But as she was the manager and he the coach, both possessing some of the best knowledge of plays in a way that could move about the team as a whole, it wasn't a bad idea. And Ukai supposed it wasn't that odd - she was essentially an adult, and he wasn't simply going over to the house of a student to chat and hang around. They'd be working on club business. And as he'd just been thinking earlier, he had already decided to go all in for this team. So sucking up what boiled down to being a few nerves was something he supposed he ought to be willing to do.
"I guess I could. Shop's closed tonight anyways." Ukai nodded. Energetic as he could be at times even he needed a break - and that break just so happened to be today. Granted, he did usually try to spend those off days with his girlfriend to make up for all the time he couldn't spend with her, but he was sure she'd understand. After all, she'd always understood before when he'd had to go away for training camps. Not once had she ever complained or tried to force him to stay. He was glad she was so supportive of the team, because it had become quite important to him.
Without Kageyama moral had begun to decrease, but Sugawara was quick to bring it up - though his worry for the younger setter was fairly apparent as well. Still, the team stuck to Rei's strategy. Though losing Kageyama and changing their winning pace had cost the team a few points they ultimately still managed to win a score of 25-16. A solid victory, though Ukai found the impact of not having Kageyama on the court for that long clear. He could only hope that the kid was ok, but he wouldn't push him if he needed to rest the injury. He wanted to win, but he wasn't desperate enough to let Kageyama hurt himself.
After a call of 'Good game!', a round of handshakes and a quick run around cleaning the game was done and the practice was over. Kageyama and Tomoko still hadn't returned and Ukai was taking that as a bad sign. A minor injury wouldn't have taken this long to asses, even with the walk to and from where the nurse was stationed. He got the feeling they may be without their genius for a little while.
"Oi. I've gotta wrap some things up here and lock up. I can meet you at the gate." Ukai turned to Rei, making his offer. Though his words were gruff as they tended to be his voice was relaxed, not at all as aggressive as his phrasing sometimes seemed to suggest. He had to make some notes and lock everything up, and she had to change from her managerial track uniform. He doubted he'd be very long but regardless, he didn't want to keep her waiting; especially if she had some things she needed to do too.