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School was going to be agony.

All the more, since Karasuno High School was about to go on a field trip. That is, class 3-B. One of the most mediocre and regular sections in the whole campus.

Kinoshita Hisashi was engrossed in his new book, the apocalyptic-thriller by James Patterson called Cradle and All.
The bookworm has no specific qualifications for a novel. He thought the nickname says much, he was just a geek who randomly reads just about, well anything.

As he makes his entrance on the looming institution, a pair of warm hands envelope him and flanks him on both sides.

“Hey, Sashi, what’s up?” said the gruff voice of Daichi Sawamura, there school’s football team captain and fellow classmate.

“Nothing’s up. Although I’d appreciate you refraining to touch me without jostling my weak heart.” The words were meant to rile up the ruffian. But he was one of the few people immune to Hisashi's abundant one-liners of sarcasm. "And stop calling me 'Sashi'. Its an off-hand to complete sashimi and I'm not a food."

“Now don’t be such a sourpuss. It’s a great day. Good day for a field trip.”

“You hate fieldtrips. You’d devise an escape route the soonest the engine hits gas.”

“He’s just looking for a way to avoid the club president’s meet. He hates the monthly gripe sessions more than pulling a-Dora.” Azumane Asahi, vice-captain and a childhood friend of Daichi spoke up.

Daichi tsk-ed. “As much as I am doing my job as captain dutifully, the old man needs a break. Which is why I am surprisingly looking forward to this trip.”

“Aren’t we getting too old for field trips?” Kazuhito Narita rubs the nape of his neck.

“Perhaps. But one is never too old or young for some well-earned respite to rest their cranky bones.” Daichi says.

Hisashi scoffed. “You act as if you’re older than all of us. Don’t get too dramatic, grandpa.” He receives a headlock from his friend as they enter their classroom.

“Has everyone signed at the attendance sheet?” Sugawara Koushi asks the occupants of the room and barely received an answer at the chaos in front of him;

Kuroo Tetsurou and his teammates from the Basketball club were trying to coax Kenma Kozume to stop playing too much video games, enlightening him to the wonders of the outdoors.

The class VP, Ennoshita Chikara was having a conversation with the foreign exchange student Haibla Lev who came all the way from Russia in the middle of the semester.

Hinata Shoyo and Tobio Kageyama were engrossed in flipping through the pages of Volleyball-monthly.

He sighs as Hisashi enters. “Ah, Kinoshita. Nice to see you’ve made it. Have you signed here?” He raises the paper and Hisashi shakes his head. “Please do so.”

The footballers scurry inside. The football captain is shoved much too aggressively by Asahi and he bumps into Suga.

“Oh, sorry, Suga. Asahi's being an ass again.” Daichi recovers and straightens his jacket like a flustered parakeet.

“I’m surprised you get to grace us with your presence today considering the football team’s flare for skipping any school-related field trips.” Suga raises his brows as if expecting the three to vanish just as quickly as they had emerged. “Should I expect any disappearing acts from you? My hands are full right now, in all honesty.”

He gestures to the rest of their classmates whose noise was testimony enough of how stressful the day is gonna be for the class president.

“No worries, kaichou, we’ll be obedient today so take care of us.” Daichi says in reassurance as Asahi and Narita gives him a thumbs-up.

Suga just rolls his eyes. “If you get that then go sign your names on the list.” He nods at Yamaguchi Tadashi bending over the desk of Tsukishima Kei who was pinning the paper with his elbow. “And would one of you please get Tanaka off that window before the principal sees him again?”

Ryuunosuke Tanaka’s whole persona screams delinquent. He had stripped down to just his sando, his white uniform wrapped on his head like a bandana and his black Karasuno jacket tied to a meter stick and being waved like a flag. Yet despite his wild and unruly behaviour he was a very compliant individual.

Hai!” The ruff players answered in unison. Asahi moves over towards Yamaguchi and Tsukishima while Daichi and Narita dives to grab the troublemaker.

Takeda Ittetsu, the class’s fidgety adviser strolls inside and seemed to jump at the anarchy that welcomed him

"Koushi-kun, I told you to be at the parking lot ten minutes ago. Ukai-san’s not pleased.” He turns to Suga.

“Since when is the blonde geezer not pleased? I personally think his scowl is inborn.” A voice spoke beside Takeda. His head snaps to the right and sees nothing.

“Goddamn it, you people really don’t look down!”

"Nishinoya, don’t talk to sensei like that.” Suga scolds the newcomer who was leaning on the doorframe.

Nishinoya Yuu was less than 160cm tall, and he always had a problem with people finding a problem with his height.

“My apologies, Noya-kun. I…didn’t see you.” Takeda-sensei says it sincerely but it earns a snicker from Noya’s friends.

“You don’t have the right to object what is a natural process, Yuu.” Nobuyuki Kai jokes to their short friend.

Shohei Fukunaga nods. “You’ve probably been born in a highway because you know, that’s where accidents happen.”

“Why you--!” Nishinoya raises his jacket and whips at his teammates who only laughed as he missed.

“All right, that’s enough. Go get your names signed and get ready.” Suga turns to Takeda with an apologetic smile.

Takeda waves it off and taps at his watch. “We’re late. We need to leave before 8:30. Get your classmates downstairs. Kiyoko-sensei and Ukai-san are waiting.”

“Yes, sensei.” Suga turns back to his classmates. He raised his voice. “Everyone, we need to go down right now!”

His attempt to get their attention was drowned by the ensuing loudness of chatter. He sighs in defeat. They never listen. He spots Ennoshita by the window and gestures for him.

Ennoshita nods, goes to the blackboard then slams his fist so hard silence was inevitable. “Suga says we need to go down. Now.”

“Thank you, Chikara. I’m not going to repeat that, would I?” Suga gives his classmates his Anybody-wants-to-argue-go-through-me glare.

The class all stood in synchronization, picking up their bags and heading out, not wanting to cross both Suga and Chikara.

“Man, Ennoshita is scary.” So Inuoka shoulders his pack. “He’d make a great drill sergeant, wouldn’t he?”

“I heard he plans to enter the military for college.” Morisuke Yaku adds.

Taketora Yamamoto shivers. “I feel sorry for the cadets already.”

Suga slaps the back of his head but not too harshly. “I heard that, Yamamoto. Instead of backstabbing your VP, get your balls down the parking pronto.”

“You’re so cruel, Suga. It’s not as if we’re talking about you.” Yamamoto rubs the back of his head as Kuroo chortles.


 

The sight that greeted them at the parking lot only dampened their enthusiasm for the trip.
Ukai was a storm brewing on the driver’s seat, a hand drumming on the wheel and smoking a cigarette.

“You shitheads sure took your time. Just ‘coz you pay for my daily expenses doesn’t mean you abuse my fantastic driving skills. I have better things to do than being chauffer to a bunch of high schoolers.” He all but snaps as class 3-B gets up the school bus.
They just laughed off his snarkiness, used to the bus driver’s shitty attitude.

“Ukai-san, please refrain from using such profanities. They are all still minors.” Kiyoko Shimizu, the school’s guidance counsellor reprimands the older man.

“Whatever you say, maam.” Ukai raises his arms in defeat. He starts the ignition.

“Is everybody here?” Takeda asks, directing the query to Suga who looks at the attendance sheet and nods. “Okay,--“

“Wait!” Kuroo yells from the back. They turn to him in confusion as he opens the window and shoves his upper torso out, “Oi, Kenma! Don’t think I didn’t see you. Get your ass in the bus you arcade-freak.”

Kenma lingers near the Men’s toilet, almost out of the others sight. His shoulders sagged when the basketball captain saw him.

"Nooooooooo, you’re not going to be left behind purposefully. In the bus, now, before I haul your scrawny ass here myself.” Kuroo threatens.

Kenma surrenders. He drags his feet to the vehicle much to his classmate’s not-so-sorry chuckles.

“Don’t do that again, Kozume-kun. Your parents signed a waiver. We’ll be in trouble if you suddenly disappear on us.” Takeda tells the blonde student.

“Sorry.” He bows his head then slithers to where Kuroo was pointing sternly at the seat in front of him, beside Hisashi.

“Now, is everybody here?” Takeda repeats.

“Yes, sensei.” Suga says, but not before standing up to inspect himself. When he’s certain all his pests of classmates are in, he nods again.

“Wait, where’s Noya?” Hinata asks from the middle area.

“I’m here, you dolt!” Noya stands from the front seats, hears a ‘we can’t see you’ mockery by an unknown classmate and stands on the seat. “I’m here, idjits. Who asked that?”

Hinata curls on himself as laughter echoed on the bus. “Oh my god, I’m sorry, I feel so stupid.”

Tsukishima’s monotone voice says to this left. “It’s okay to feel what you are.” More laughter reverberates. Then just to further poke fun at their strider classmate. “That’s okay, Noya. You’re still taller than my dog.”

“I hate you all!” Noya yells violently then slumps back down on his chair between Shohei and Kai.

“Can we leave now?” Ukai complained, his voice rising above the others but even he was smirking.

Takeda collects himself and sits beside Kiyoko in the front. “Okay, everyone. We’re departing.”

“Oh, this is gonna be fun.” Daichi rubs his palms in excitement.
It was rare for him to be this enthusiastic for a random fieldtrip to the provinces. He must really hate attending those meetings. Narita and Asahi just rolled their eyes at his energy as the bus starts and exits Karasuno High School’s gates.

Chapter Text

“Sensei, we have a problem.” Ukai reports.

They were approaching the old Torono highway. On there itinerary they were supposed to pass it to reach the other side of Miyagi and into the Farmlands.

But blocking the road were several police officers wearing black armors like S.W.ATs. They had lined the perimeter with barbed wires and traffic cones.

Takeda stands beside Ukai, eyes frowning in confusion. “What’s going on here? I wasn’t informed of road blockage.”

A masked officer sees their approach and signals them to halt. Ukai decelerates before ultimately stopping, waking some of the sleeping passengers and puzzling the rest. He rolls the window down as the police nears.

“Officer, good morning,” Takeda greets, “We’re from Karasuno High School and are on a field trip. We’re supposed to go over here. Is there a problem?”

“The road is under preventive maintenance,” the police replies with a rather husky voice like he hadn’t had a drink for weeks. His movements was also very stiff, “Some government enactment on the works. The highway’s off for public transit. You need to reroute and head for the Overpass.” He points at the unobstructed road to their right, leading up to a bridge and by remembrance, the newly constructed tunnel a year ago.

“Ahh, I see. Very well then, Officer. That’ll take us longer than our arranged deadlines but thank you for the information.” Takeda smiles as the police nods.

As Ukai backs the vehicle, Suga asks for the class. “Sensei, what’s going on? Why are we turning back?”

“The road’s blocked, some kind of government transaction. We’re heading for the overpass.” Takeda explains.

“You mean near that new tunnel?” Hisashi asks, his book bare on his lap.

Takeda nods then sits back down with Kiyoko, probably to discuss changes in their schedules.

“I’ve never been there. The new tunnel, I mean.” Kageyama says.

“Me too. It’s far off the normal roads. Not many go over there except some private vehicles.” Yaku tells over their heads. He was seated at the back with Kuroo and hovered a bit higher than the rest.

“So, you’re bluntly saying all of us our virgins for that new tunnel?” Tanaka snickers, stretching his arms after being woken up after an hour or so of travel. “Give me a break, not all of us are that innocent.”

“And what would you know of staying innocent, Ryu?” Kuroo chides. “You’ve never had a girlfriend before, right?”

“That’s irrelevant. Nobody has just appreciated my manly looks before.”

Yamamoto hums. “Nobody appreciates you, especially your dim-witted brain that’s like a trap door.”

“Meaning?” Tanaka was kneeling on his seat now, scowling at the Basketball players.

It was Kuroo who responded. ”It’s always closed.”

“Fuck you.”


 

If the absence of little to no passing vehicles on the almost deserted highway was strange enough, then coming face to face with tons of armoured vehicles and twice the number of S.W.A.T-like officers at the foot of the bridge probably is.

“What the heck is it now?” Ukai steps on the break, jolting the students forward a little violently.

“Ow, what the hell?” Noya shouts, rubbing his forehead that hit the back of Ennoshita and Lev’s seat.

Hisashi's book fell from his lap. Kuroo and Yamamoto sprawled on the floor, being flung by the sudden standstill.
Daichi stands to see what’s happening; some mimics his movement, eager to feed their curiosity.

Police officers, all armed and masked stood in a line in front of them like they were expecting them. Their quiet alertness was like assassins waiting for their target to make the first move.

“What’s going on, Takeda-sensei?” Kiyoko’s usual soft voice carried unease. “Is it another government maintenance?”

“I-I’m not sure.” Takeda really didn’t know what’s happening. The road blockage earlier came as complete surprise for him. He was always watching the news on TV and reads the local newspaper. He was more or less informed if there were any public ordination being conducted anywhere in Miyagi. Unless it was unexpected which was unlikely. “I’m going down to ask.”

“I’ll come with you, sensei.” Ukai offers, startling the adviser. “My job is driving and delivering shitheads. I can’t do it properly with them going gung-ho on us like these.”

“Okay, but we’re dealing with cops. They don’t take kindly to individuals who’re…violent.”

Ukai spits out his cigarette and stomps it with his foot. “I can be un-violent don’t worry about that.”

"Sensei, perhaps I should go with you?” Suga was moving over to the front of the bus now.

Ukai scoffs as Takeda shook his head. “It’s fine, Koushi-kun. Ukai-san and I will take care of it. I’m sure it’s just a temporary setback. We’ll try to find out as much as we can then be on our way." He addressed the whole section after, “In the meantime, no one leaves the bus until we get back. I’m sure you’re aware what those guns can do and I’m positive they are loaded. Whatever’s going on must not be good. If you can act lenient I will appreciate it."

“I can almost hear the gears grinding inside Tanaka’s mind trying to understand that word.” Tsukishima teases but the situation prevented the total appreciation of that joke.

Takeda steps off the bus, Ukai not far behind him.

“Be careful.” Kiyoko calls out to them as the bus door shuts automatically.

The officers didn’t move from their linear formation, not even when Takeda and Ukai were a few meters in front of them.

“Good morning, excuse me, I’d just like to ask; we’re from Karasuno High School. We passed by some road blockage at the old highway and some of your fellow officers directed us this way," No response from them. Ukai’s brows furrowed deeper. “Uhm, this is our only route. We can’t afford any more detours and other roads are far too off-track. Is there another maintenance here? From the government?”

The stillness and lack of verbal response was unnerving. Takeda turns to Ukai. “I’m not stuttering, am I?”

“You’re making plenty of sense, sensei.” Ukai’s hands went to his hips. He was getting annoyed by their anonymity. “If this is some kind of game, I ain’t finding it funny.”

Just then like a switch, the officers armour blinked an angry red like a probe light. Their snapped into attention, feet closing.

“Okay, that’s weird.” Daichi says, witnessing the anomalous action. His eyes meet Suga’s who shakes his shoulders. He was in the shadows like the rest of them.

“Karasuno High School,” An officer spoke in a rather gruff voice, “You have been chosen to participate in ‘Project Syndrome’.”

To his right, the next officer said in the same gangly tone, “You have been selected, to be subjected through a course of military programs with imposition of direct military discipline and control,”

“That fuckin sounds foreboding.” Tanaka says, hands under his chin. Ennoshita pinches his forearm. “Ow, the fuck, Chikara?”

“Project Syndrome? What’s that, some kind of RPG?” Yaku asks, turning to Kenma unconsciously who shakes his head signifying he wasn’t aware.

“Must be some new government regime or something.” Asahi offers.

“Sssh, sssh,” Lev hushes the class, his first interaction with them that they were too stunned to rebuff.

“We shall enforce these rules to the public, on normal civilian functions of the society especially in response to a temporary emergency such as invasion or major disaster, or in an occupied territory." The officer continues. "Discipline shall be attained.”

“What the fuck are you assholes babbling about?” Ukai’s temper flares and his hands flail all over the place. Takeda pulls him back but he gets shoved. “Listen, shitheads. I’m a driver. I drive through roads. If you political fuckers go renovate all the highways, we’d be outta business. So quit with the nonsense shit and just let us pass –“

Bang!

Class 3-B ducks. Some hands flew to their ears. Some has eyes that looked like it would pop out their sockets. Kiyoko-sensei’s mouth was agape, a scream failing to escape. Because what they’ve heard was unmistakably a gunshot!

Ukai’s body fell like rock. A lone bullet in his head. And blood gushed from it.

“Ukai!” Takeda runs to the fallen driver and fails to notice the officers raising their guns in unison and aiming at him.

“Takeda--!!!” The warning was too late.

They fired on the unsuspecting teacher, piercing holes all over his body, blood splattering on the pavement like raindrops.

“Oh my god! Oh my god!”

“They're shooting him!”

“Fuck!”

“We’re going to die!”

“What’s happening?!”

“Shit! Shit! Shit!”

Takeda lies beside Ukai, bloodier but no less alive. The pool of red was indication to his impossible survival.

As if discontented, the officers raised their guns and pointed at the bus.

“What the fuc –“

Ratataatatatatattatatatatata!

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

They fired on them. They were fucking firing on them!

It was chaos. It was horror. It was a living nightmare.

Several of the students toppled down, getting caught in the cross fire. Others ducked and were scooting to the edge of the vehicle to get out of range of the raining bullets.

“What the fuck, why are they shooting at us?” Tanaka screams, pulling the motionless Lev away from the line of firing.

“Everybody cover!” Suga’s commanding voice orders but it was hardly an effort. They were being busted like tinsel cans.

“Somebody get us out of here!” Kageyama covers his head, crouching.

“Are you fuckin insane? Nobody here has a license yet.” Tsukishima points out, still being the logical smartass.

“Fuck this shit.” Kuroo throws himself forward and crawls towards the driver seat. Ukai had parked the bus face-front so the hood is taking most of the damage.

“Kuroo, what are you doing?” Daichi asks from his space between Narita and Asahi, noticing the him on all fours.

“Getting our asses outta here.” He reaches for the keys that were luckily still in the ignition. He turns it, and then strikes the gas pedal while turning the wheel with his other hand. The bus made a rapid 90°, the bullets ricocheting off the wall, sending his classmates skidding to the other side.

“Go. Go. Go. Go.” They all scream at him.

Kuroo pulls himself on the seat and shifts to third gear. The impact pushes them back but it was a welcome kind of rush. They were out of there!


The assailants didn’t stop shooting. They fired at the rear, breaking the glass and boring holes into the walls of the bus. The students stooped so low some were lying flat on the floor.

“What the fuck, what the fuck, WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!” Kuroo’s hands gripped the wheel like it was choking a neck.

“Kuroo, faster!” Suga kneels, seeing as they were creating some distance between their attackers.

“L-Lev’s not moving. He’s not moving.” Tanaka was cradling the foreigner whose neck was profusely bleeding.

“Calm down, he m-might just be u-unconscious.” Yamaguchi says but even his voice quivered.

“Kai? Kai! You idiot, wake up.” Noya was shaking his fellow runner. He had several gunshots on his body, the lethal one was on his abdomen that bled deeply. Suga crawled over to where he was.

Kuroo gazes at the rear view mirror and spots the crumpled form of Yamamoto. “Kenma. Go to Yamamoto.”

The video gamer was terribly shaken but manages a slow crouch to the cropped player. He accidentally pulls the boy on top of him when Kuroo made a swift turn. He cringes with the weight that Yaku helps him get the body off.

“Sashi, you’ve been hit.” Hinata says, gesturing to the bleeding shoulder of Hisashi.

The bookworm had been too frozen to realize he was injured. He clasps his palm over it, wincing slightly. “I-It’s nothing, it just grazed me.”

Kageyama grabs the edge of his seat and forces himself to stand. He looks out the back window and his blood ran cold.

Several of the armed cops were in motorcycles, some were in pairs. And they were ganging up fast.

"We have pursuers!” Kageyama shouts.

“Shit.” Kuroo swivels the bus out of the main road.

“Why are they chasing us?” Ennoshita yells.

“I-in there, Kuroo-kun. The t-tunnel’s not far from there.” Kiyoko-sensei directs the captain, pointing a shaking hand to an intersection where a recognizable shape of an incoming tunnel waits for them.

“Hold on to your butts, guys.” Kuroo pushes the clutch to fifth gear and steps on the gas. They were off like a bullet.

Suga was checking Kai’s pulse, still foolishly hopeful despite the spurting blood gathering around the once mischievous boys’ features. His heart stilled at the realization. Because he felt nothing. “No,” he breathes, unable to believe it.

They enter the track, bumping danger cones like bowling pins, the looming dark entrance of the unknown tunnel just a few meters in front of them.

Kageyama turns his attention back on their pursuers. His eyes widened when he saw what the other rider was unsheathing. “Everybody, duck!”

The bazooka fired.

Bbbbbbooooommmmmm

It was like the sound of thunder intensified to the highest decibels. It was deafening and earth-shattering.

The roof of the bus was there one minute, the next it was obliterated, blown to smithereens from the powerful strike. The big bullet spiralled straight for the top of the tunnel. Chunks of boulders and debris rained down on them just as they shot inside like a bullet train, escaping from their attackers by blocking the only entrance inside.

Chapter Text

It was pitch black. Darkness was the only constant around them. That, and their labored breathing's.

“Kuroo, give us some light here.” Daichi breaks the silence.

The basketball player fidgets for the light switch, presses the button and the headlights turned on. It casts shadows on the walls and was bright enough to illuminate what once was the tunnel’s entrance.

“Looks like we’re not going anywhere.” Ennoshita says despondently.

The entire entryway had collapsed. Large boulders and debris had clouded the gaping hole that outside light couldn’t even penetrate. They were not getting out of there. On the safe side, they had created much barrier between them and their crazy assailants.

Kuroo abandons the driver seat and hurries to the rear. “Yamamoto!” Kenma and Inuoka lifts their heads, tears falling plainly on their grief-stricken faces. “He’s…” Kenma chokes, “He’s g-gone, Kuroo.”

Kageyama bends over the drooping body of Yaku who was clutching his side where blood was dripping. He had been conscious a few minutes ago. He was not now. “Y-Yaku…too?”

Not far, Noya was hiccuping Kai’s name, cradling his teammate’s still form. His eyes were closed, and would never open again. Suga slumps beside him, hand over his mouth. Fukunaga sobs quietly at the opposite.

“WHAT THE FUCK!!” Kuroo angrily screams.

“Bloody hell. What the fuck is happening?” Tanaka was shivering badly, biting his knuckles in angry reflex. His other hand supports the head of Lev. His eyes were open but there was no clarity of vision.

The air was thick with heavy despair and unwelcome terror. Everything happened so fast there was no time to muse whatever the hell is going on.

Daichi watches Ennoshita close Lev’s eyes. He was near tears, yes he was, but there was also bubbling anger at the pit of his stomach. “What have we got ourselves into?”

“What have we got ourselves into?” Tsukishima repeats his inquiry with a loathing voice. “Does that even fucking matter right now? Isn’t it plainly obvious? We’re all gonna die!”

“Shut Up, Kei!” Noya shouts.

“No, you shut up!”

“Everyone, be quiet!” Suga’s voice cuts through the heated argument. He was on his knees and his fists balled. “All of you, just please be quiet for a moment. We’re all scared and shaken and battered, but…please, just-stay calm.” They shushed, mostly because they were too drained to retort back. And too overwhelmed with what just transpired. Suga was right; they were all petrified beyond repair. It’s one thing to know what you’re afraid of. Another to not know what makes you afraid. “Now is not the time for conflict. We have to…keep our wits together and support each other.”

Kiyoko wipes her tears and stands. “Koushi-kun is right. You need to be strong. For Ukai…For Takeda…” she pants, feels her heart hammering in her chest.

The students’ gloom worsens, remembering the vicious tragedy that befell their adviser and bus driver.

“L-let’s take a moment, to offer our prayers…for them. And to all,” Kiyoko sweeps her puffy eyes on the rigid forms of some of her motionless students. All young. All dead, “who…who fell as poor victims to this horrendous act.”

Hinata wipes his eyes but the tears remain. “Those cops…they’re Evil.”

Class 3-B could only agree.

With their thoughts collected and tiny bits of their reserve patched up, they helped in piling their dead classmate’s bodies to the end of the bus. Noya, Kenma and a few still wept for their unanticipated loss. The much stronger ones, Kuroo, Daichi and his set of friends had traded their tears with an iron resolve.

“Sensei, where does this tunnel exit?” Suga asks at the front of the bus. He was tending to their lady teacher who despite her effort to maintain composure looked as fragile as a porcelain doll.

“I-I’m not sure. I have only traveled here once and had dozed off. If my memory serves me right, it ends to the intersection of Seijo, a couple of miles from where we are.”

Suga wheezes and rubs his shoulder. “This is quite a long tunnel.”

“Koushi-kun, you’re hurt.” Kiyoko notices the ugly cut that reached up to his elbow.

“Ah, I must’ve grazed it somewhere when I fell.” He gives her a reassuring smile. “It’s nothing major sensei, so don’t worry.”

Kiyoko’s mouth forms a thin line. It doesn’t look severe but must still hurt. She takes her handkerchief and binds his arm.

Ennoshita does the same first aid to Shohei’s leg who was mumbling, “It doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t hurt…”

None had been left unblemished. Most sustained minor scratches and abrasions but no one was that heavily injured. Kinoshita and Yamaguchi were pacing around gathering items that were tossed out of bags when Kageyama abruptly stands on alert.

“What’s wrong?” Asahi asks.

He tilts his head, towards the open back window. “Do you…hear that?”

The rest stopped their individual drudges and copied Kageyama's pose. Narita, being the one closest to the back, peeks his head out the wrecked window pane and picks up something. There were indeed sounds on the other side, too muffled by the heavy obstruction yet to be heard by unprofessional ears. But the sound was familiar – like something one would hear on construction sites…

Then it hits him. What the sounds are and what produces it. “They’re bulldozers! They’re trying to drill in!”

True enough, they see the debris rattle, small rocks cascading down like hailstorm. The imminent dddddddzzzzzz ddddddzzzzz dddddddzzzzzzz chilled their already warming hearts.

“Shit!” Kuroo takes four swift strides back to the driver’s seat and hits the gas just as bigger chunks of rocks topple off the blockage.

“We shouldn’t have stopped. We should’ve kept going.” Tsukishima braces himself as the bus lurches forward in rocket speed. He grabs Kinoshita's forearm who was flung backward.

Daichi wedges himself between two seats. “They’re not giving up, aren’t they?” He says through gritted teeth, watching the walls shudder with the drilling's.

“No shit they aren’t.” Tanaka agrees bitterly.

“Why don’t they just blow an entrance in?” Asahi asks, then gulps when his classmates fixed their icy glares at him for bringing up such an absurd idea, “I-I’m not encouraging them or what, but they didn’t hesitate firing that bazooka at us earlier. They seem capable of extreme violence.”

Ennoshita considers. “If they use explosives there might be a possibility they’ll collapse the entire tunnel. I…I think they wanted us alive for something, so they can’t risk that.” Nobody felt any relieved with that happy note.

“Well, I’m flattered they want us alive only to murder us themselves. So peachy.” Inuoka’s fists balled.

“Kaichou, where does this tunnel end?” Ennoshita asks.

“Sensei said it should be in Seijo. But it’s still far-off. At least three to four miles by Miyagi distance.” Suga replies. “How fast are you going, Kuroo?”

“I’ve passed the hundred mark. I’m running 120 per kph right now.” The black-haired answers.

“At that speed, we can make it out of here in an hour or two, tops.”

There were obvious exhales from the rest. Just a few more hours and they’ll be safe. Safe.

“When did you learn how to drive? You’re not yet eighteen and not even a student permit is accessible.” Tanaka asks Kuroo who merely grins.

“I used to sub for my Dad driving the truck for when we make deliveries. Miyagi is not strict with their driving policies so we took advantage of it.”

“We owe our lives to your stubbornness then.” Daichi smirks.

The bus suddenly sputters, joggling class 3-B before skidding to a full stop.

“What’s going on? Why’d you stop?” Tanaka yelps.

“Kuroo, why are we stopping?” Kenma’s tremor returns. He’d been quiet throughout the ride but his voice betrays the anxiety that was clawing out again.

“I didn’t!” Kuroo insists, stepping repeatedly on the gas pedal. 

Daichi approaches the panels to see what’s wrong. “Shit. We’re out of gas.”

“WHAT?!”

“That’s not possible. Ukai always gets a full tank for when he drives for field trips.” Kiyoko informs.

Suga walks over the two boys bending on the key engines. He sees the fuel meter in red. “It’s true, sensei. It reads zero.” He confirms.

“Fuck!” Inuoka kicks a seat in frustration.

“W-what are we going to do now?” Yamaguchi asks.

Asahi takes out his mobile phone. “No signal.” He curses.

“We can’t stay here.” Kageyama points out.

“Well, we can’t leave as well.” Tsuki was quick to counter. He stands, towering over Kageyama. “It’s too risky. We don’t know what lies ahead or if those bastard cops are not waiting to ambush us on the other side.”

“They’re drilling inside, Tsukishima. If we stay put, they’re gonna catch up.” Ennoshita backs Kageyama.

Both were a logical point. Suga contemplates what approach they should take that requires not crossing with their attackers once again.

“How long ago did we make that escape from the entrance?” Daichi suddenly asks.

“You mean after we knew they were drilling in?” Suga clarifies as Daichi nods. “I’m not sure. More than thirty minutes I guess.”

“With the speed you’re driving how long is the distance you think you’ve created between us and them?” He turns to Kuroo for the next question.

“I don’t know man, I ain’t a whiz kid.” Kuroo shakes his shoulders.

“If this tunnel connects Torono to Seijo, an outskirt of Miyagi which is at least four miles apart, then by thirty minutes a 100 kph in we’re only a half of the goddamn place which is not much distance at all.” Tsukishima answers without pause. He stirs his golden eyes to Kuroo. “There are some remarkably dumb people in this world. Thanks for helping me understand that.”

“You know, Tsuki, you would be much more likable if it wasn’t for that hole in your mouth where noise comes out.” Kuroo retaliates with his own sarcasm.

“All right, thanks, Tsuki. Kuroo.” Daichi comes between the two, ending their staring contest. “Let some of us inspect the bus. See what’s wrong and try to fix it asap. We can’t get out of here without rapid transport. The bus is a necessity so we’re gonna salvage.” Narita rummages through a toolbox and hands them two flashlights. Daichi and Tanaka takes it. “Kaichou, if it’s that bad and we need to leave, you need to organize our stuff.”

Suga nods, raising a hand to stop Tsukishima’s disagreement. “Staying in the bus is the safest option for now. Not until Daichi and the rest assess the damage. Worst case scenario, we go with Tobio's recommendation.”

“Let’s go. Kuroo, open the door.” Daichi says, stepping off the platform as the door slides open. Tanaka, Asahi and Kuroo follows.

They circle the bus, inspecting the degree of damage. Their vehicle looked like it had survived a dozen tornadoes.

“There’s the fucking problem.” They hear Tanaka say, who points to the gas container near the rear of the bus. It has several holes where kerosene was undeniably leaking.

“Must’ve been hit during the shootout.” Asahi kneels. “No good. It’s much too pierced to cover up.” He knocks at the canister. “And it’s almost empty.”

“I’ve never been lucky but even this is Bad Luck to the max.” Kuroo grumbles.

The four return and relates the grave news. “Can’t be helped. We need to trek on foot, continue on further until we find an exit.”

“Yeah, sounds like a plan.” Tsuki berates, obviously displeased with it. “Go and walk on into enemy territory that’s so adamant to use us as target practices. Why don’t we just carve a bulls-eye on our foreheads while we’re at it?”

“WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?” Kageyama's voice is full of base. “Why do you have to be such a pessimistic douche?”

The tall boy twirls in anger. His voice rising. “Oh, I’m a pessimist? Why can’t you stop being morons for once? We’re rats in a lab here. They’re just bloody playing at us. Besides, this wouldn’t have happened if Ukai didn’t intimidate those cops and sensei didn’t take us on this stupid field trip in the first place!”

This enrages the rest.

“You’re not going to blame them for this, you asshole.” Tanaka was positioned to punch Tsuki in the face.

Kuroo was taking big angry steps towards him when Noya leaps at the lanky student and pins him on the ground. “DON’T YOU FUCKING SULLY THEIR DEATHS!” He grips the front of his uniform.

They pull the thrashing runner off Tsukishima who was helped to his feet by Yamaguchi. Noya’s tears return and he was crying in both anger and anguish.

“Calm down, Noya.” Suga appeases. Noya shakily nods. To Tsuki he gives him a neutral expression but he was inwardly fuming for his insensitive accusations. “I understand that you’re under great stress with the whole situation, Tsukishima, and need to vent out your frustrations. But none of us had wanted any of this to happen. Not Ukai-san. Not Takeda-sensei nor Kai and Yamamoto and Lev and Yaku. None of us. So, please, control your attitude and don’t make this anymore worse.” Tsukishima jeers but backs down. Suga tips his head appreciatively. “All right, guys, travel light. Take only what is necessary.”

The group disperses. Suga takes Kiyoko's hand and grasps it with assurance. “I’m sorry for what Tsuki has said. He didn’t mean it. He’s just scared, like the rest of us.” He says softly.

Kiyoko smiles and shakes her head. “I understand. Kei has a rude mouth but he’s a good boy. I’m sorry I can’t be of much help even if…if I got you boys in this horrid mess…”

“No, sensei. It’s not your fault. We’ll get through this together.”

“I’m glad you’re watching out for your classmates, Koushi-kun.”

Suga laughs. “Someone has to be the ringmaster to this freak circus.”

They began to assemble their stuff, discarding what would burden their arduous journey to unknown parts of the lurid tunnel. Kinoshita abandons his book, thinking he has no time for any extra reading at all. Ennoshita shoulders the first aid kit while Suga wraps a smaller one to his waist.

 “Here,” Narita offers a crowbar to Daichi from the toolbox. He gives two more to Kuroo and Tanaka. To Inuoka and Asahi he hands them spare wrenches. “Isn’t actually my common type of weaponry but they’ll get the job done.”

“Oh yeah they will.” Kuroo swings the crowbar.

Kenma, Hinata and Noya loiters to where their dead friends lay. Noya takes Kai’s jacket while Kenma retrieves the basketball necklace from Yaku’s neck.

“We’ll come back for you, guys.” Hinata whispers.

They wipe their tears just as Suga calls for them to attention. “Everybody stay close and be quick. Don’t get too far from the group.” He turns to Daichi who’s going to lead and gives his nod of approval.

Daichi exhales and opens the door. “Let’s go.”

 

Chapter Text

Less than an hour since abandoning the bus, the group experiences their first setback.

“I’m thirsty.” Yamaguchi moans for the fifth time.

“And you pointing out the obvious is what? Helpful?” Tsukishima sounded grouchier than before.

“Can we stop? My feet is killing me.” Kenma offers with a ragged breathe.

Daichi twists and sees the exhausted state of his classmates. He turns his flashlight on a lamp post just a few meters ahead. “Let’s go rest up there. It’s safer and will help save our torches.”

They retreat to the small pole, collapsing almost immediately on the pavement.

“I’m so tirreeeeeddddd.” Hinata whines. He was lying on his belly.

“I thought Volleyball players fatigued less quickly.” Inuoka points out and offers his canteen of water to the short athlete.

The orange-haired chugs it down selfishly. “Thanks. Man, this is more tiring than playing whole-five set of matches.”

“Yeah? I feel like I’ve played two straight games – with Lebron. On steroids.”

Suga makes his rounds, seeing to their injuries and asking for their conditions. He rewraps Kinoshita's shoulder with new bandages as he sits cross-legged near Noya.

“Don’t flex it too much.” He instructs the bookworm who nods.

“Suga, do you have painkillers? It’s throbbing again.” Shohei was rubbing his leg, one with the nasty cut that Ennoshita had tended to earlier.

“Yeah, hold on,” He fishes some blue pills from the kit. “You’ll feel drowsy if you take it though.”

“Better sleepy than itchy.” He thanks him and dons the vitamins in one gulp.

The class president resumes his place beside Asahi who’s glowering at his cell phone.

“Still no signal. You’d think they can construct some expressway that actually has some decent reception.” He shuts the mobile a little harshly. “What a total waste of money.”

Suga chuckles. Daichi goes over to them after making rounds with the rest of their classmates.

“You’ve got a split lip.” Daichi blinks then licks at his bottom lip and winces. “Don’t wet it, dumbass.” Suga reaches a hand under his chin and tilts his head up to check. “It seemed to have stopped bleeding minutes ago, that’s good.” He fumbles for an ointment and offers it to the captain.

“T-thanks.” Daichi takes the tube.

“Ne, Suga, I have an injury here too.” Asahi points to his hairline which had a small graze.

“You’re not gonna die from that. Your skull is too thick for any wound penetration.”

“Daichi gets a cut on the lip, he gets nurse Suga. I’ve a cut on the head and I get mama Suga.” A tissue pack gets thrown in his face for that jab.

Daichi uncaps the ointment and smears a small amount to his lips. He hisses at the slight sting. "You okay?"

It took full minute before Suga could reply. "I don't know how to answer that."

"Sorry." Daichi scoots closer to him, wraps a gentle arm around his waist. "You've had it worst. It takes some iron will to keep your wits together." He slides fingers at his shoulder. "Does that hurt?"

Suga shakes his head, sliding closer to the offered warmth unconsciously. "Doesn't hurt that much than the pain coming from here." He taps at his chest. "It hurts here, Daichi."

His torso is squeezed in a gesture of reassurance. "I know. Everybody is hurting right now."

Suga allows a single tear to fall from his eye.

“What are your thoughts with this whole crap? This, Project Syndrome?” Daichi asks, after Suga regains his bearings and Asahi's done tending to his head injury.

“I honestly have no idea.” Suga breathes out. “It’s all…inhumane. I mean, they just fired on us like that. Like we were some kind of test subjects. They- they murdered Ukai and Takeda. They killed off some of our classmates in the process. That’s not something I think the government can do.”

“Or something a portion of the government can do.” Asahi says, drawing the two to his assumption. “Look, I’m not pretty sure about that, but they might be working for some folks deep within the sectors. You know, one that like deals with illegal stuff and the black market and all that. They did say military programs and whatnot.”

Daichi hums, fingers drumming on Suga's hips it kinda tickles. “Possibly. They looked imposing enough. And they have access to the military and public infrastructures. Something very influential is manning these guys from the shadows.”

“But I don’t get the part where they’ve said, ‘you’ve been selected,’” Suga says, “What do they mean by that? Did we just happen upon them by chance or are there some very weird forces at work here that puts us deliberately on this situation?”

Daichi and Asahi pauses at the hair-raising realization. “I’m terminating this conversation. It’s giving me the jeebies.” Daichi changes the subject. “Let’s get our priorities straight; we need to make a beeline for that exit asap. The more we linger the more distance we allow those bastards to close upon us.”

“You’re right. We need to get mov – “

Bang! Bang! Bang!

They all turned sharply at where the gunshots had been heard. It was in front of them, farther ahead.

“What the fuck was that?” Kuroo was on his feet instantaneously.

And then running footsteps.

“Shit. Everybody, get up.” Daichi whisper-order as they scrambled up. Ennoshita stirs Hinata and Kenma who had dozed off. Kinoshita helps Shohei to his feet who was wobbly with the painkillers aftereffect.

They turned off their lights and delved into the shadows of the walls. There was a C-section just up front, the route curving that they can’t see what they’re supposed to be meeting. But there was lights bouncing off the walls and the sounds of boots crunching on debris that meant they have mysterious guests waiting for them.

Daichi sleuths closer to the crossroad, sticks to the wall like glue and slowly tries to peer his head for a closer look. He notices Inuoka does the same across him.

Bang!

Inuoka crumbles down. Kenma yells in surprise, giving away their location.

“Over there!” Mixed voices both gruff and husky alerted to their incoming assailants.

The first of the masked cop enters Kuroo’s peripheral vision and he does what his body compelled him to: he swings. He hears a satisfying crunch as his crowbar connects with his helmet. The police drops and Kuroo swings again.

“Yahhh!!!” Daichi and Asahi backs him up as more of the evil cops swam into view. Tanaka and Narita leaps into action as well. They’ve taken them by surprise and were now hitting and smashing like gangsters beating up kids on sidewalks.

All four cops were dealt with. They lay on the floor battered and beaten up.

“Fuckers!” Kuroo kicks at one’s helmet. He runs to Inuoka, checks his pulse. “Shit!”

Daichi retrieves the police’s gun. They haven't handled any firearms before but they know the basics. They disarmed the unconscious officers of their weapons. Suga, Kageyama and Hinata were given flashlights.

“Give me one.” Kuroo says with newfound wrath. Tanaka hands a gun to him as he clips the barrel and loads it with a spare shell.

“Stop.” Someone orders behind them. They turn to see more masked cops appearing out of nowhere and raised their guns.

“Look out!”

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

They scampered away like ants on rain. Karasuno returned fire. Not long, they were in the middle of another shootout.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

“Aah!” Kiyoko falls, one of her leg was shot.

“Sensei.” Suga runs towards her, avoiding the crossfire with blind agility.

Noya, Shohei and Hinata were running ahead, yelling for the others to hurry up. Kageyama goes after Suga. Kinoshita looks back only to witness a cop aim at Ennoshita’s back.

“Chikara!” He shouts a warning. The boy called for turns to his voice, and his eyes bulged when he gets fired on the spine. He falls after a third shot.

“No!” Kinoshita still comes for their VP and catches his lifeless body. “Nononnono…” he shakes him to no avail. Kinoshita feels the dreaded tears sting his eyes again. He bites his lip, takes the first aid kit off Ennoshita and with a tug at his hand, let goes and joins the others.

Suga reached their fallen teacher’s side. Her left thigh was bleeding and she was gasping in pain. “Sensei, we’ll carry you. We’ll get you out of here.”

Kiyoko shakes her head. “No, you must leave me, Suga. I’ll only drag you down. Make sure…make sure your classmates are safe.”

“No, sensei, we’re not leaving you.” Suga stubbornly says. Daichi was at his side, offering the same solution but the counselor was refusing. More cops poured into the perimeter.

“Where the fuck are they coming from?” Tanaka was firing.

 “You morons need to hurry up.” Tsukishima and Yamaguchi returned with a flashlight, ducking as bullets rained from everywhere. “We’ve found some abandoned stowaway and are headed there.”

“I’m all out.” Asahi says and drops his gun. “We need to bail. Now!”

They didn’t see the aim. They didn’t see the bullet being fired. They didn’t all see it. But Yamaguchi.

“Watch out!” He pushes both Tsukishima and Suga out of the way and gets shot on the neck.

“Yamaguchi!” the blonde’s voice was void with anything but horror.

Tanaka picks up a stray grenade, unclips it and tosses it to the lines of cops. BBBBOOOOMMMM!!!! “We have to scat, Daichi. That won’t give us much time.”

Kiyoko gives the footballer a pleading look. One that was filled with reluctant acceptance and hope for them.  Daichi grits his teeth and drags Suga away. “Let go!” Suga thrashes but his grip on him was like a boa. Kuroo was pulling a shaken Tsukishima away from his friend’s unmoving body.

They made it to the shack. It was a small room in the wall that was probably used for maintenance at it has many barbed wires and danger cones and other electrical equipment’s.

“Kiyoko-sensei?” Noya asks, noticing the lack of some of their companions on the group that just returned.

Daichi shakes his head grimly. There was no time to mourn. Not yet. The sounds of combat boots and urgent barking notified them that they were still not out of danger.

“We need to get some space between them and us.” Shohei says.

Tsukishima removes his arm roughly from Kuroo’s vice grip. His once unmotivated yellow orbs were filled with raw determination. “Get those barbs around that lamp, Daichi. Block the path. Hinata, Kenma pull those wires for me. You,” he points at Kuroo, “You know your cars. Get those batteries running.” He snatches a pair of pliers and sets into motion. He tears the cord socket and trips the wires inside into tiny loops. He attaches it to the wires that Hinata and Kenma extracted for him. He brings it to where Kuroo got the batteries running and trims it to the adapters. He takes two of the clips just as Daichi informs him they’ve done what he had asked and barricaded the path with the barbed wires.

“Whatever you do, don’t touch the wires.” Tsuki informs his classmates, nodding at Kuroo to switch up to max.

“What are you going to do?” Tanaka asks, eyeing the strange setup in puzzlement.

Tsuki touches the tips of the pliers, his smile curving deviously as sparks flew out. “I’m gonna barbecue this motherfuckers.” He fastens the clips and the fenced gate buzzed into life.

It was halfway into their escape when they heard the collision. The cackling of electricity and the arid smell of burnt flesh reached their noses and they knew their pursuers had been in for a smouldering surprise.


 

Kuroo bangs his head on the wall, oblivious of the pain that reverberated in his cranium.

“K-Kuroo, calm down…” Kenma tries to console him. He was crying, again. But nobody criticized him. Not even Tsukishima who was at the far corner moping by himself.

 Again, a surprise encounter. And again, unexpected death tolls. These casualties were far graver and sank deeper into their cores because they had been aware of the matter unlike the first attack. They knew of the danger they were in, and yet, just like that, gone were some of their friends in the blink of an eye.

“How many more of us have to die before those fuckers feel satisfied?” Kuroo’s body was about to erupt. “HOW MANY MORE YOU GODDAMN ASSHOLES?” He screams at the ceiling.

“Does your mouth come with a mute button?” the taunting remark cuts through the bleak atmosphere.

“Hah?” Kuroo directs his fuse towards Tsukishima who glared at him from afar.

“Shouting and Self-pity won’t help bring any of them back. Instead of wasting energy yelling your brains out, calm the fuck down and let’s think of a way to escape and make those bastards pay.” He grinds his teeth. “Fraying them alive is not enough. They deserve worse.

His anger was on point. And agreeable. Even they, sentient and young understood that they shall receive no mercy from this hellhole so they should rid themselves with sympathy for their merciless attackers.

“So, what are we going to do? Should we continue moving forward?” Kageyma asks.

Tsukishima quickly disagrees. “It won’t be safe since those cops might be expecting us again. They came from this direction which means the exit is probably littered with those bastards too.”

“It’s better than staying where we are.” Daichi opposes.

“I think Tsukishima’s right.” Suga declines Daichi this time. The class president had been quiet, the guilt of leaving their teacher hung heavy on his shoulders. He was hunched on his knees but he sided with Tsuki. “I want to keep everyone safe rather than risk more of our lives. If we can’t be certain we won’t end up facing those cops again then I’m sorry, I won’t allow any further advancements.”

The others reluctantly agree as well, still traumatized with the earlier deaths.

“Uhm,” Kinoshita raises his hand, earning his classmates undivided attention, “I have a suggestion.”

“What is it, Sashi?” Keita asks.

“If we can’t go further out of anonymity of danger nor can we possibly go back, we can try for an alternative route.”

“Which is?” Tanaka asks.

Kinoshita places the first aid kit he took from Ennoshita. He walks over the far left, and points to the ground, at the brass circle at the surface of the pavement. “We can try to escape via the sewers.”

Chapter Text

“This smells worse than my breath.” Kuroo was covering his nose from the rotten stench coming out the manhole. It was dark. And foul-smelling.

“Sewers usually lead to the outside. They don’t have complex blueprints and just usually go in one direction. If we choose the right path by following the piping’s, we’ll be out into the streets in no time.” Kinnoshita tells his classmates. “At least, that’s what I remember from reading about them a lot.”

Fukunaga pats him in the back. “Don’t worry, we believe in your book fetishes.”

“All right, who wants a dip?” Daichi asks.

The unlucky volunteers, as they were also the leaner ones who could fit and not make too much noise, were Kageyama, Hinata nd Noya. They each took a flashlight and made their slow descent down the hole. 

“Remember, don’t separate. Check the area at least twenty feet then come back. We’ll discuss the safest discretion then.” Daichi says as Kageyama nods.

"Why am I part of this group again?" Hinata whines.

"Zip it boge, or I'll push you down and leave you behind."

They were to inspect the perimeter, discern if it was safe enough to push on and report back. The rest were to stay as lookout.

The three plunged a good seven feet before their toes splashed on ankle-deep muddy water.

“Ugh, now my socks are soaked. Eew.” Hinata shudders, lifting and shaking his leg. He looks at both front and back directions, “Which way to check first?”

“That’s where we’ve come from,” Noya points his light to his left, at where they had escaped on the surface, “If the entrance is that way which means that’s where we should probably check out first.” He gestures to the other side.

“You’re right. We’re headed this way anyway. Come on.” Kageyama takes the lead.

Their expedition was brief. It was only a couple of minutes seeing never-ending darkness and dirty water and the revolting aroma of mixed garbage and human wastes that Noya calls it off.

“Wait,” Kageyama's eyes remained rooted in front of him.

“Wait, what? Daichi said to go twenty paces from them. We’re in twenty feet, if you’ve been doing your counting.” Noya said, voice thick with annoyance.

Kageyama ignores him and goes the opposite direction. He’d had heard something. Way into the dim.

“Kageyama? What is it?” Hinata nears him. “Do you hear something?”

“Hey! That’s beyond twenty now. Don’t you know your math?” Noya calls after them when they still didn’t stop walking.

Kageyama raised his palm, a gesture to keep quiet. There. A very soft, very muffled sobbing. It came from somewhere just in front of them. “You heard that too, right?” He asks Hinata who nods gravely.

“Oi, that’s…fuckin scary. You’re thinking of going towards it and not away?” Noya was behind them now, had closed the distance unconsciously.

They didn’t know what coerced them to but they find their bodies in a sort of trance that follows the voice. Kuroo had relieved his crowbar to Kageyama up top so he prepares himself if something were to go downhill with their decision. He doesn’t know martial arts but he can swing just fine. They see a sewer hole on the side of the wall and halts. The muffled sobbing was coming from there. Kageyama shines his flashlight inside. He smelled the blood before he’d seen it. Then the body. It was hunched over and the shaking of its shoulders was the only indication it was not dead. 

“Hey,” Kageyama cautiously places his hand on its shoulder. The body comes to life. At least, the boy did.

“Aahhhh don’t kill me!” He screams and thrashes wildly.

Hinata and Noya jumps back. Kageyama drops his flashlight to grab both the frenzied youth’s arms. “It’s okay, you’re okay, I’m not gonna hurt you. Please, calm down!"

Eventually the boy did. He was gasping so hard but the feral look in his eyes dims. He sweeps a doubtful glance at each of their faces, blinking; as if not quite grasping they’re in front of him. “Y-you’re real?” He asks, his voice so raspy it hurts to hear. He notices their uniform and his eyes widened. “Are you students?”

“Yeah, we are.” Noya answers, pulling his jacket to show their school logo. “What hap – “

“Aaarrgghhh!” Somebody roared, then Kageyama was on the ground being pinned by an unknown figure that darted out of the hole like an arrow.

“Kageyama!” Hinata yells as he rushes to help his friend.

“No, Iwa-chan, stop!” The other boy seizes the tackling assailant off the athlete.

The pair detaches. Kageyama was helped up by Noya and Hinata while the other was being pulled up by his friend.

“Iwa-chan, Iwa-chan, hey look at me,” he cups his face and looks him straight in the eyes as he calmed him down. “It’s all right. We’re safe. They’re not – they’re students too.”

The other boy, the one who leaped like a lion, asked almost doubtfully. “You’re not one of them?” his voice was fierce.

“One of whom? What are you fuckers talking about?” Noya asks.

“Those fucking lunatics that guns people down like a fuckin hobby.” He replies with acid.

“No, we’re not. We’re students from Karasuno and we’re trying to find a way out of this hellhole.” Kageyama assures him.

The two strangers look at each other and seemed to share a mental conversation. The black-haired - Iwa-chan, was it?- says in a low voice. “If you’re trying to go this way you need to turn back. We’ve just been there and it’s flooding with those psycho cops. We’ve barely escaped within an inch of our lives.” The three Karasuno members see the state of his leg. It was bloody and was wrapped haphazardly with dirty cloth.

“We believe you. That route is eliminated then.” Kageyama sighs.

The wild one relaxed. “My name’s Iwaizumi Hajime. That one’s Oikawa Toru.” He points to his brown-haired companion who gives a peace sign. “We’re from Aoba Johsai.”

“From Seijo? How did you end up here?” Hinata asks in surprise.

“Same as you, perhaps. We’re undertaking ‘Project Syndrome.’”

It was like the itsy-bitsy spider crawled on their backs.

“So it’s not just us.” Noya didn’t know if he’d be pissed or piss-er.

Oikawa nods grimly. "We were on a field trip before they cornered us to this tunnel and started killing us off one by one.” He shares. "Iwa-chan and I have been trapped for days. You're the first humans we've encountered since escaping above-ground."

“Are you the only survivors?” Noya asks hesitantly." The two Aoba Johsai students’ expression says it all. It was a look of pure heartache and unimaginable pain. “I’m so sorry.”

Kageyama picks up his flash light and approaches the two. “Come with us. There are others waiting for us above ground. We can re-group and together can think of a way to get out of here alive.” 

Iwaizumi and Oikawa exchange solemn looks. Oikawa speaks for the both of them this time. “I’m sorry, it’s just…this is too much to process. We almost gave up…” He takes a deep breathe, “What I mean is, yes, we’re coming with you.”

Upon returning to the ladder, the party reunites with Daichi and Tanaka who went down the manhole to look for them when it had been long overdue of the designated time. They introduce Oikawa and Iwaizumi. The rest of class 3-B descends and were very much surprised to find other schools had been subjected to this living nightmare before them.

“You guys look worse than crap. No offense.” Tsuki says as Suga tends to Iwaizumi’s leg injury. He gave him some painkillers and a couple of antibiotics since it seemed to be infected.

“None taken. Although for Iwa-chan it’s more like naturally-occurring.” Oikawa manages a joke.

Crap was an understatement. The Aoba Johsai members looked like shit. Their once white uniform was too smudged and tainted with brown and black and red and other grime Karasuno didn’t want to know what. Both their faces were full of bruises and cuts. Actually, any free skin showing was littered with abrasions.

“How long ago were you here?” Daichi asks.

“A week? We lost count. We were busy, y’know, trying to extend our life expectancy.” Iwaizumi answered sarcastically.

Daichi nods. “So, you guys have any idea what this is all about?”

“Only a little. Small things we overhear them discussing.” Iwaizumi started explaining. “A hidden sector of the Japanese Government has decided to enact a program called ‘Project Syndrome’, which randomly selects a group of High School students and puts them on life threatening situations to test their survival skills and battle readiness. But in actuality, the program is meant to instil terror and trauma in all Japanese citizens particularly the youth.”

“That’s bullshit. Why would they do that?” Kuroo says with spite.

Oikawa shakes his head. “We don’t know anything for sure. But it’s likely to prevent any attempts of committing crimes and law breakage by showcasing the Government’s power and ability to control citizen’s lives.”

Tanaka punches the wall. “I can’t even stomach the ruthlessness of these people. We’re not theirs to control around. They have no right to toy with citizen’s lives like this!”

The frustration and hatred was palpable. It was the only thing that connects them all together.

“H-how can they even do this?” Hinata crouches on his knees, hands clutching his orange hair.

“They’re monsters. That’s what they are.” Narita whispers with venom. 

Tsukishima’s fist clench in agreement. That had been Karasuno’s one and singular truth since witnessing the deaths of Ukai and Takeda.

“We are getting out of here.” Daichi's body shook with newfound motivation. His anger was once containable. Now, it was limitless. “I will not give them the right to dig up my grave just like that.”

“Damn straight.” Kuroo agrees. “We aren’t some grocery item that gets an expiration date just ‘coz they placed it.”

Suga nods, finding his strength again. “We’re all going to survive, all of us, and will make it through together.”

Iwaizumi laughed. It echoed distantly in the narrow tunnel.

“The fuck is funny?” Noya asks angrily.

“Ahh nothing, it’s just – what you’re saying and trying to do, it’s the same promise Oikawa and I made to our classmates. I think I even said it with more confidence than you.” He chuckled. Then his mask slipped and all they can see was total agony. “And you know what? They still died. All of them. And now it’s just the two of us.” His voice shakes with grief. “We were at our wits end. We’ve been running and hiding and cowering in fear non-stop. It came to a point that we just thought to end our lives ourselves,” the horrified stares Karasuno gave them was unseen as tears gathered in Iwaizumi’s green eyes. Oikawa was sobbing silently again, remembering the attempted suicide they had planned a few days ago, “But we’re cowards! We’re fuckin scaredy-cats, that’s what we are. We’re scared to die by our hands, but we also don’t want to die by theirs.”

Suga kneels and pats his shoulder. “I’m so sorry to hear that. Nobody is going to judge you for-for possessing a weak heart and losing your will to live. We understand. What you’ve been through… I-I can’t imagine the struggle.” He presses it hard enough so Iwaizumi would look up, “But you have to survive. For your deceased friends. For yourselves. For the world. So they’ll know of this atrocity. So justice can be achieved. So no more lives shall be played. So live, at all cost.” He smiles, as so the rest of them. “That’s a promise that will be fulfilled.”


 

“Well, isn’t this just convenient?” Kuroo chaffs, wishing to have laser eyes for once. “It’s a dead-end. And the door just has to be a fucking hobbit.”

The ‘door’ was a small vent on the wall. By climbing in it could possibly lead them exteriorly. Unfortunately, it was less than a meter wide. Not even Hinata could’ve fit.

“Isn’t there any other exit?” Noya asks, grappling the iron bars as if he could tug them lose.

“What part of ‘dead-end’ don’t you get, Noya, or should I redefine that to something your pea-sized brain could understand?” Tsuki, sounding like how Tsukki would sound in an annoyed situation.

Kenma scratches his head. “This is dull. We’ve finally come this far without any encounters and now we’re trapped.”

Kinnoshita sighs weakly. And notices a rectangular line on the ground covered in moss. He circles it; his deed noticed by Hinata and asks him what’s wrong.

“There’s an air shaft here,” He slides his hand, palms down and feels air coming off the lines. “I think this is a hidden door.”

They help in lifting it open.

“I’ll be damned.” Tanaka exhales. Below them was a laboratory.

Daichi peers his head upside down. “Looks deserted. Okay, we’ll go down one at a time. See if we’ll trigger any alarm.”

He descends first, followed by Asahi, then Kuroo until the last man, Narita, drops down without activating any warning bells did they declare the room safe.

The place was a cross of a laboratory and a hospital ward. It has various glass cabinets filled with test tubes and beakers, one shelf lined with flasks and half a dozen microscopes. Several screens hung above the ceilings like CCTVs but all were turned off. A computer stood below it.

“Oh my god!” Hinata yelps, opening one of the cabinet and almost broke down to see sealed packs of biscuits. He seizes the packets, hands them to Noya who kindly shares them around.

Kenma turns on the faucet. “I’ve got water running,” he says as Suga aids a limping Iwaizumi to wash off his wound.

“I thought we’ve left the sewers already. Why is the stench haunting me like a freakin ghost?” Kuroo scrunches up his nose and playfully shoves Kageyama on the leaking faucet. “Dude, if you can’t smell yourself there’s something seriously wrong with your nose.”

Kageyama pinches his forearm. “You don’t have to remind me how I smell like manure, you panther.”

“Sorry!” Iwaizumi shouts from the table. He had tackled the Karasuno footballer earlier. That sewer water was not exactly aromatic. Kageyama nonchalantly waves his apology aside.

Oikawa and Fukunaga tells the group they found spare litres of distilled water and began refilling their canteens.

“What is this place?” Daichi circles his eyes around as if not thrilled with the tranquillity they have.

Kinnoshita comes near the computer, checks if it’s operational and sighs to see its cables are connected. He presses the ON button in the monitor. It gives off a satisfying beeep. “Someone hijack this thing asap.”

“All right, get out of my throne.” Tsukishima shoos him away, takes a seat and taps on the keyboard. He scoffed. “Seriously? It’s not even password protected. Those bastards sure are overestimating themselves.” The screen buzzed to life. It was vacant save for two folders; one read LOGS and the other PRINTS.

“Click that one first.” Daichi points to the LOGS folder. Tsukishima clicks it to reveal several video records.

“The hell? That’s a lot.” Kinnoshita says. The folder contained at least a hundred footages. “Go to the bottom, that’s got to be the most recent one.”

Tsukishima scrolls down and sees the last video. “It’s dated five days ago.” He clicks the video nonetheless.

A second window frame appeared onscreen. The video was filmed in a bird’s eye view sort of shooting, giving them a full 2D shot. In the video, there were several masked cops who were dragging bodies, one obscured from the screen and only its leg was shown while the other was being carried fireman-style. His face was unfamiliar to the watchers but his eyes were close, blood dripping from his nose. Both wore white uniforms.

A splash of water disturbs their observation. They turn to see Oikawa had dropped his water bottle. His eyes were like an owl. “Y-Y-Yahaba…” his voice shook with so much torment.

The rest stops whatever they were doing and were now glued on the computer screen, at the silent and dark film that played. The police in the video had now laid the two corpses together, giving the audience full view of their pale faces.
Iwaizumi shuffles closer with Suga’s assistance and all colour drained from his face. “Yahaba…and Kunimi—“

“— Target 074 and 077 apprehended.” Iwaizumi’s horrific recollection was cut with the husky voice of one of the police on video.

A foot taps on the lifeless face the boy with brown-hair. “Present survivors are zero. Collateral damage unknown. No further report.”

They hear a static sound like coming from a radio frequency. “What of targets 072 and 081?”

Affirmative. No bodies recollected. Must’ve been caught in the blast. Target 072 confirmed heavily injured. They won’t last another hour out there.” A police replies to the left.

We don't have the liberties to waste away on the teetering possibility if the escaped targets are apprehended or not. We need results. Syndrome Enactment Group 7 from Aoba Johsai is a failure. Again. Proceed to Syndrome Enactment Group 8, pronto.” The voice from the radio commanded.

Copy. Identity validation of Group 8 for target rebooting?

A pause. "Karasuno High School.”

Chapter Text

 “So, this is your fault.” Kuroo’s voice was venomous. “Because they didn’t know you’re not dead, they thought the enactment was a failure. And they proceeded to find new subjects. Us.”

The two Seijo students’ heads were down, not even bothering to defend themselves.

Kenma puts a firm hand on Kuroo’s shoulder to stop him from self-destructing. “Ukai. Takeda-sensei. Kiyoko-sensei. Inuoka. Yaku. Yamamoto. Ennoshita and the rest of our classmates would’ve still been alive if you had—“

SLAP! Kuroo blinked. Class 3-B blinked. Iwaizumi and Oikawa blinked.

“Don’t you dare say that.” Suga growls, his hand the culprit that smacked Kuroo in the cheek. His voice was even more poisonous than his. “These two had been through more hell than us. You have no right to blame them for our friend’s deaths, Kuroo. Nobody wanted for any of these. We’re all victims here.”

Kuroo’s face was red but not because of Suga’s slap. He bend his head in shame. “I’m sorry. That wasn’t-I’m sorry.”

Kageyama kneels beside Oikawa. “Don’t be too hard on yourselves. To see those horrors, it’s too much. We’ll get you two out of here.”

The video ended. Tsuki contemplates clicking another one but Daichi urges him. He selects one of the earliest. It shows another shaky footage of students and the same armed cops in the middle of a shootout. The camera zooms to a figure that raised his fist for a punch.

“Whoa! Is that Shirabu?” Narita's voice rises as he leans closer to double check. The scene shifted like the cameraman had to evade but he was cornered with two figures. “Holy shit, its Ushijima and Tendou!”

There was rough grappling on the screen; the two had tackled the cameraman on the ground it seemed. There were gunshots and screaming on the background.

“No fucking way. So, Shiratorizawa had been chosen for Project Syndrome too?” Daichi realizes, watching as some of the students wearing the unmistakable white and violet jerseys for Shiratorizawa Academy bolted from their attackers. “No wonder we haven’t played against him this season. He’s already dead. Damn.” His fist balled. “How could they have covered this up? Ushijima was a popular football player.”

“I don’t know but there’s no stopping to them. They’re lots of schools that have been chosen.” Tsuki does a rapid scan on the files. “Aoba Johsai was the seventh group which means we’re the eighth and currently under observation.” He exits out of the LOGS folder and proceeds to the PRINTS. He clicks on an icon of a key and gasps softly.

“What the hell does that mean?” Kinnoshita asks.

“It’s a security code, some kind of programming that needs to be followed.” Tsuki reads the content. “Shit. It’s a command to prioritize the capture of targets 072: Iwaizumi Hajime and 081: Oikawa Toru above Karasuno High. Sightings of them had been clarified earlier at the eastern section and a widespread order has been dispatched for their arrest.”

“That’ll endanger everyone and jeopardize the plan to escape.” Iwaizumi says behind them, startling the group. He seemed to have reached a decision. “We can’t risk that. Not when all of us are in their list. You need to leave us behind.”

“No can do.” It was Kuroo who objected. His unfair remark seemed to weigh heavily on his shoulders and voices his protest first. “I’ve been an insensitive bastard and I’m really sorry. But we promised. We’re not leaving anyone behind.”

“But –“

“I’m not going to repeat myself, Iwaizumi,” Suga gives him his don’t-argue-with-me look, “We’re all getting out of here.”

Oikawa sniffles from his seat. “You’re all fools, Kou-chan. We’re giving you an out.”

“Yeah, yeah, we’re known to be hard-headed. Hearing our exploits is kinda gratifying.” Noya jokes and they all laugh. Momentarily.

“I’ve found a blueprint of the place.” Tsukishima says, enlarging a schematic diagram of the tunnel.

“That’s the best news we’ve had all day.” Tanaka chirps, moving closer to the computer. “How far are we to the safest exit?”

Tsukishima’s hands flitted over the keyboard. “I’m sizing that up now and devising an escape route –“

WWWAAANNNGGG!! WWWAAANNNGGG!! WWWAAANNNGGG!!

They all jumped at the sudden siren.

“What the hell happened?” Fukunaga squeaked, dropping the tumbler he was refilling.

“Shit, I don’t know –“

Light turned on in front of them. A door opened and two masked officers barreled in.

“Halt!” They both raised their guns and the boys had barely time to evade.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

They fired at the glass window, cracking it with every shot. Karasuno joined in the shootout with their own firearms. Kenma leads the rest to a door to the corner. “It’s locked.” He sees the keypad and grunts. “It’s security coded.”

Tsukishima was still at the computer. “I’m gonna try hacking the mainframe and get that blasted door open.”

“I’m almost out.” Daichi screams, blasting the two cops. “Tanaka, you okay?” He asks the wild bald who was pressing at his shoulder. Blood seeped from it.

Asahi knelt a few feet from him clutching his side but was still firing. “I’ll live.”

Daichi nods, turns to their class rep. “Suga…”

“I’m fine, it just nicked me.” The kaichou assures him. “Oikawa and Kinnoshita, they need help.” He gestures to their two comrades who slumped on the ground. 

Kuroo manages a lucky shot on one of the cops’ head, and it flew off, helmet and all. “Oh shit!” Kuroo looked aghast.

The helmet rolls a good meter to their left. Kageyama notices sparks coming off its edge. He crawls towards the body and checks for blood. Instead, he’s been presented with thrashing solid metal, wires and gears in place of body organs and a rancid odor of oil seeped out of its mechanical pores. The cops were damn robots all along!

“Fuckers!” Kageyama slams his fist on its chest plate, “These bloody bastards are robots. They’re not real humans.” He stands and fires heatedly at the remaining cop with deadly resolution. The remaining cop gets a full blown blast of their guns. It crackled and wiggled and crumbled down.

Daichi approaches it and tears its helmet off. “Assholes!” He fires one clean shot on its chest, hoping to damn kami it could’ve hurt them. He takes their gun and offers the other to Kuroo.

“It’s still not open.” Kenma informs them as he stood by the only exit from the lab.

Tsuki was full on flash mode, concentration to the max, typing violently. Shohei, Hinata and Iwaizumi help Oikawa and kinnoshita who each got a deep shot in their thigh and arm, as Suga tries his best to tend to all those who’ve been wounded whilst ignoring his.

A loud banging sound echoes in the door in front of them. “Incoming! We’ve got robo-cops in less than a minute.” Kuroo yells just as the lights died.

“What the hell now?” Narita shouts at the black-out.

Tsuki gets up and grabs a helmet of one of the fallen cops, turning on the head light. “I jammed the main circuits. Those robotic assholes won’t be moving for a while since they seem to be connected to the mainframe. This power failure won’t last so we need to haul ass immediately.”

“All right, step away.” Asahi lifts a metal chair and with brute force, slams it into the glass windows. With the door abandoned, they make their hasty escape into the broken window panes.

The feat was arduous. Most of them had been injured. There were little of them in top shape to assist the wounded ones. They reach a long and narrow corridor with a shut metal door.

“I remember this from the blue print,” Tsukishima points out. They stop to listen. “We’re further underground and will have to pass a wide storage facility and the main rooms in order to get to the parking lot where we can access an elevator shaft that will take us up and into the other side of the tunnel. It will eventually lead to the highway.”

“Then what the fuck are we waiting for? Let’s skedaddle, idiots.” Noya cheers, finding his vigour once again.

Fate hates them, unfortunately. The power suddenly comes back, causing a sliding door to activate.

“HOLY FUCK! EVERYBODY DIVE IN!” Bodies hurled themselves towards the falling door.

Oikawa, having been injured in the thigh earlier, accidentally falls down.

“Oikawa!” Iwaizumi sees him and rushes back to help his friend.

“Hey!” Asahi, Nishinoya and Narita goes after him.

“Fuck, they’ll be caved in.” Kinnoshita says as he watches the others go back. He was already on the other side of the door.

Daichi wedges himself between the door and the wall in a desperate attempt to keep the sliding doors from closing.

“You idiot.” Kuroo grumbles at his recklessness but pitches forward to help either way. Tanaka joins their measly endeavor.

Nishinoya pulls Iwaizumi first as Narita nd Asahi drags the injured Oikawa.

“I…can’t…hold…” Daichi puffs, the push of the metal door too much for their combined strengths.

“You have to get out of there or you’ll be squashed.” Fukunaga warns them as the door advanced dangerously close.

“Get out of there, Daichi.” Tsukishima directs as Kenma shouts for the same deed.

Nishinoya propels him and Iwaizumi inside like a rocket. The others are unable to hold the sliding doors anymore, forcing them to let go.

Seeing that they won’t be able to make it, Asahi and Narita, in grim agreement, pushes Oikawa alone. The brown-haired barely made it inside, skidding halfway to the floor before Suga pulls him roughly just as the sliding door completely shuts, trapping Asahi and Narita on the other side.

Daichi approaches the circular window. “Asahi. Narita.” He bangs on its surface. “We’ll get you out.”

Tanaka and Fukunaga violently strike their crowbars at the glass but didn’t even manage a scratch.

Hinata fell on his butt, mouth agape and the oh-so-unwelcoming tears drip from his eyes again. 

“You have to get out of here.” Asahi’s voice was barely audible through the thick glass.

“We’re not leaving you two, asshole.” Daichi yells.

Tsukishima frantically fumbles at the keypad but his curses reflected the hopelessness of the situation. They see a separate sliding door open behind and realize that the evil cops are operational again. They opened fire. “NOOOOOO!!!” Asahi swivels his gun but was shot multiple times before he could pull the trigger. He slumped down on the ground. Narita bumps into the glass, smudging it with blood before he vanished from view.

It was pure horror. The gunshots ringed like lead on their ears.

“We need to go, man.” Kuroo clutches Daichi's arm. “This door won’t hold ‘em bloody bullets.”

Daichi tears his cold eyes away from the vicious murder happening on the other side. He grabs Hinata, who sobbed like a baby, by the shoulders and leaves without a word. The rest follows reluctantly.


 

Just as Tsukishima mentioned, they reach a wide storage facility.

It was strewed with large crates and boxes but otherwise empty. Just like what they’re feeling now.

Hinata’s sobs were condemning and agonizing. The minutes passed in silent mournful acceptance until Iwaizumi could no longer take it.

“If you didn’t have enough reason to leave my pathetic ass behind, perhaps now you’d like to reconsider.” He lashes with contempt, standing up despite having a serious leg injury.

“Iwa-chan, please…” Oikawa grips his hand. It was trembling.

“The fuck do you need us for, huh? I got your friends killed, didn’t I? We got you in this unending nightmare in the first place, didn’t we? If we weren’t cowards and did our best to escape, you wouldn’t have to come on this trip. Syndrome wouldn’t have bothered you at all. You fuckers get it now?” He screams.

Karasuno was angry, yes. But not at them.

“Asahi and Narita,” Daichi begins, his back was facing them, “It was their decision to help you. Don’t use their deaths to boost your self-hate, you reprehending dumbass.” He turns to them with eyes hungry for revenge. “The last thing I’ll do is abandon you when they gave their lives in not doing that to you. If I have to knock you out just so you’ll be cooperative and carry your ass, I swear to the gods, Hajime, I will.”

Iwaizumi bit his lip. “Their blood is in our hands. They shouldn’t have died.”

Kenma spoke up, offering his handkerchief to Oikawa whose leg bled with his earlier fall. “We all feel guilty with something. But yours is misplaced.” He assures them. “It’s not on you.”

“I’m sorry.” Oikawa raises his head to look at Hinata. “I’m sorry.” He repeats.

Suga chides. “This is all the more reason for you to want to live. People gave their lives so we can get out and warn society. Let’s be worthy of their sacrifices and not let it go to waste.”

Kuroo nods boldly. Hinata wipes his eyes clean of tears.

It was then when Kageyama notices a moving red mark on his torso. “Hinata! –“ He leaps to warn him. Bang! Hinata falls to his back, his shoulder spurted blood.

The group frantically runs for cover as Daichi, Tanaka and Kuroo starts shooting the incoming evil cops, giving cover for Suga who crawls his way to a bleeding Hinata.

“Guufff ahhh.” Hinata cradles his limp shoulder. It bled profusely.

“Hold still, hold still, Hinata,” Suga ducks, narrowly missing a stray bullet as he fumbles for the first aid kit.

"Hinata!" Kageyama shouts, ducking from the onslaught of bullets.

“These bastards don’t know ‘breaktime’ do they?” Kuroo screams behind a crate as pyscho cops flooded the storeroom.

Fukunaga and Nishinoya were able to tackle a few evil cops and gets guns for themselves, assisting the rest in the shootout.

Kenma sees an evil cop aiming at Kuroo and rushes to save him. “Kuroo!” He takes the bullet in his place.

Suga tries to pull Hinata away after realizing he can’t perform emergency aid on him in the middle of a crossfire. He slowly drags him before Hinata was shot again in the knee.

“No, stop!” Suga screams at the evil cops but Hinata was shot again in the back several times. “STOP IT! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! SSSTTOOPPPP!!!”

Daichi and Tanaka were firing at the cops aiming at him. “Suga, get out of there.” Daichi calls frantically.

Suga screams in agony when he gets hit in the arm but his pain drowns as he hugs Hinata’s lifeless body. “Stop it….” He was sobbing now.

Oikawa covers for Tsukishima as he taps furiously on a keypad. “Come on, you fucker,” Sding! He managed to activate the exit door and it opens. “Kageyama, Oikawa, stand guard.” He assists Kuroo in hefting a critically wounded Kenma and rushes them to the exit. He calls out to the others to get out as well.

Tanaka runs to a fallen Fukunaga. He had multiple gunshots on his lower abdomen. But it was his gaping eyes that told Tanaka he was long gone. He curses and sprints towards the door.

Iwaizumi retrieves a belt of grenades. “Eat this, motherfuckers.” He pulls the pin and throws one grenade, “Bombs away!” He blows up a few of the evil cops.

“Come on,” Nishinoya yells above the explosion for the others to make for the exit and get away immediately. “Suga!”

The white-haired was hesitant to leave Hinata’s body.

“Suga.” Daichi dashes to him. Suga reluctantly stands but he was suddenly shot in the chest. “Nooooo!!!” He tries to go to him but Tanaka prevented him and pulled him forcefully to the exit. Daichi looks on as Suga dies, horrified and distraught, falling as if in slow motion.

"We have to go.” The blonde held a gun and was motioning for him to hurry up.

Iwaizumi throws another grenade to hold off the evil cops while Tsukishima and Tanaka, grasping a still struggling Daichi, runs towards the exit. Just as they were near the door, Tsukishima was shot badly in the knee and falls down.

“Tsukishima.” Oikawa points back, stopping Tanaka and Daichi mid-run as he turns to see the megane on his stomach and grunting in obvious pain.

Tanaka races back towards the doorway but Tsukishima immediately shuts the door to stop him. He punches the exterior of the door, again, finding himself unable to help by a set of glass barriers. “You damn techno bastard.”

Tsukishima gives them a knowing smirk like he was saying I know you’d charge back recklessly idiot so I had to stop you. And he was shot several times, killing him on spot.

Chapter Text

The bleeding won’t stop.

“Stay with me, hey, hey, Kenma,” Kuroo pats his blonde friend’s cheek almost chastely. “Open those eyes, you videogame freak, come on.”

Kenma's abdomen bled so much it was like a faucet. Oikawa was pressing his Aoba Johsai jacket on the wound but the cloth colored crimson rapidly. Suga had both the first aid kit and he’s dead and left behind. Even with it, there was little they could accomplish with such a mortal wound.

"Ku...roo..." Kenma drawls, eyes drooping.

“Hey, I told you to keep those bloody eyes open.” Kuroo threatens as Kenma’s eyelids flutter. He was losing too much blood.

Kenma smiles lowly. Then it freezes, one minute, two until it completely stills. Like a statue in a museum. Like a human clay doll.

Kuroo gapes at his half-closed eyes and he chokes out. “You fucker, you really didn’t close your eyes.” He weeps, tears falling like the scarlet that tainted his friend's shirt, allowing himself the liberty after a handful of suppressed ones.

“I’m so sorry.” Oikawa says. That’s about how useful he’d been, sputtering apologies for unwanted deaths.

Kuroo’s eyes were a waterfall. “I forced him to this trip. H-he didn’t wanna come and I…I fuckin forced him…”

Kinnoshita lifts sorrowful eyes to the ceiling. He sounded so exhausted and beaten up. “Just…how much more do we have to endure? How much more ‘till it ceases?”

Daichi angrily pushes Tanaka and Kageyama aside. “Why the hell did you stop me?” His voice quivers with sorrow. His body trembles with regret.

“You could’ve been killed too.” Kageyama reasons matter-of-factly.

“I was trying to save him!” Daichi shouts. He punches the wall and slides down in a crumpled mess of tears and sweat. “Fuck this. Fuck this. FUCK THIS.”

Everyone was deeply affected and no one could muster enough fake enthusiasm nor confidence to reassure each one.

Daichi slumps on the wall, sobbing quietly and contemplates ever being ecstatic to this trip in the first place. He should’ve just followed his usual mannerism. He should’ve just bailed at the first moment like he always does. He should've protected everybody more. But that doesn't matter. Nothing would matter anymore. It'll still lead to him losing Suga and everybody else.

“We’re never really getting out of here, are we?” He says very softly. But the silence around them was deafening and it was heard by his quiet, aching companions. 

And no one disagreed.

Oikwa looks up in alarm. “Please, don’t say that.” Their foundation is already crumbling; the last thing they need is for their main pillar of strength to be demoralized. “Sometimes…sometimes the strongest person needs to become weak so they can pick themselves up.”

“Yeah? Coming from you?” Daichi just laughs humorlessly, without any enthusiasm at all, only sarcasm and vexations.

This is not good, Oikawa thinks miserably, eyeing the already gloomy atmosphere drop ten times more. But what can I say? What should I say? I don't even have the right - 

"This is shit. All of it." There was a deep sigh and everyone turns at the source of the foul statement. Iwaizumi sits against the wall, the belt of grenades carefully being rolled around his palms like a ball. “I won’t judge at any of you for being miserable. In fact, I'd judge you shit if you weren't.” Iwaizumi starts, voice strangely cool,“Death is death, and it’s never pleasant. I grieve with you for this loss. Suga was –“ He takes deep inhales like steadying his nerves, “It’s not just Suga though. Karasuno. My friends from Aoba Johsai. Sensei. Nothing is common among them except their dead.” He stands, puts the bombs slowly on the ground with practiced ease and takes slow, measured steps towards Daichi. He looks down at him. And the absence of wrath in his prior movements reflects immeasurably in his green eyes. “Lemme tell you something shitty then; Oikawa and I had wanted to die a long time ago. No, we needed to die, to escape. It was the only way. We lost all hope." Then with violence even Oikawa had not been on the receiving end before, he kicks Daichi square in the stomach. The captain tumbles back, gasping harshly at the impact.

"Hey, what the fuck?" Tanaka grabs at Iwa's arm, yanking him back.

"What the fuck?" Iwaizumi sweeps his fuming emerald orbs at the remaining members of Karasuno - defiant, angry. He turns back at the heavily wheezing Daichi. "I'll tell you what the fuck. I was prepared to die! Then you dumbasses came and shove that self-execution aside like you own us. And you know what's so shitty than that? Is that I fucking believed you!" The silence returns, this time devoid of heartache. Iwa pulls his arm from Tanaka and gets in Daichi's line of view. "You gave us a reason to look forward for the future, one we’ve willingly abandoned. You fed our minds with prissy illusions of hope and like a complete idiot, I believed every fucking word of it. Now that we want to live, you want to die. Well, bullshit.” The short gruff man crouches, the apathy in his eyes dims to mutual understanding. “I’m proud of what we’ve been through. It reminds me of what we’ve gone through and what we’ve seen and how strong we had been and why we should keep going.” His next words were said directly to Daichi but is addressed to the rest of Karasuno as well. “Oikawa and I…We’re getting out of here. What about you?”

Iwaizumi’s speech was out of character. But it was very, very much needed.

“It comes a moment that someone says something really small but fits so perfectly.” Kuroo speaks, finding his voice once more. He stands, face determined. “I’ve been broken so many times with those bastards but I’m still going to fight back with all the little pieces.” His fists balled. “Kenma…Kenma wouldn’t want this. It will be an insult to him and all others who didn’t want to die but did.”

“We’ve endured a lot of shit,” Noya agrees. There was fire in it. “So we’re gonna get a reward from all these boatload of crap.”

The room lightens of its despondency, determination boosted and promises renewed.

“We’ll escape and live on. For our friends.” Kuroo says.

“For Karasuno.” Noya adds.

“For Aoba Johsai.” Oikawa echoes. He stands beside Iwaizumi, a firm grip on his shoulder.

“For all others who died in Syndrome.” Kageyama says.

“For the world.” Tanaka says, then laughs at his proclamation. "Yeah, no shit."

"For our families." Kinnoshita says, hands clasp at his shirt.

After a lengthy pause, Daichi offers. “For us.” He picks himself up from the floor, hand across his abdomen. He nods at Iwaizumi, “For us. We’ll get out of here. Until they kill us or we’ll die trying, we will get out of here. Us.

Kuroo kneels and covers Kenma’s dead body with his jacket. “I don’t want to ruin the mood but, next week is my birthday.” He grins and receives a small laugh from the rest of his companions, “I don’t usually celebrate but I’ll make an exception. If we get out of here, you’re all invited. That includes you two shitheads as well.” He points at the two Aoba Johsai members. “After all, friends stick together, don’t they?”

“We don’t really have much choice for the matter, Kuroo, since we’re all that’s left. If there was, you’d be the last person I want to spend the last minute of my life with.” Kinnoshita jokes.

“Choice not chance, determines destiny. In your case you won’t have both so suck it up.” Kuroo sticks his tongue at him.

Again, the silence assaults them. But it was most welcomed.

“So, what’s the plan right now?” Oikawa asks as the group turns serious once more.

“If I remember correctly from what Tsukishima mentioned, we’d have to pass the main room, which is probably the most dangerous area of the building. Those evil cops would probably be there waiting.” Kageyama says.

Daichi approaches the edge of the room and looks up. “Good thing those bastards are robotic.”

“Good thing they’re robots, how?” Kuroo asks sceptically.

“It’s a good thing because that’d mean they’re stupid and brainless and can’t think freely.  All we have to is outsmart them.” He points at the ceiling, at the large pipe, “And this is a good place to start.”

They escape through the ventilation tunnel. It’s narrow and low and they had to crawl on their bellies to navigate their way through. But Kinnoshita confirm this was the safer route and allows them undisturbed passage above their pursuers.

“I hate the feel of metal on my tummy. I hated push-ups back in Volleyball practice.” Oikawa mutters.

“You play volleyball?” Tanaka asks behind him.

“I used to. Iwa-chan and I we're on the varsity team. We even went to Nationals once.”

“Hinata played too. He and I. He was a volleyball idiot, wouldn’t stop talking about it.” Kageyama says. There was longing in the voice when he mentioned his deceased classmate.

Oikawa smiles. “Karasuno is filled with good people. What position did you play, Tobio-chan?"

"I was a setter."

"Uwah, really? I'm a setter too in my team. And captain. I would’ve wanted to play against you, in another lifetime."

“I’m sure it would've been fun.”

“And are you into sports too, Kinn-chan?” Oikawa directs his question to their leader. The travel would probably be for a while so might as well strike some friendly conversation to kill some time.

Kinnoshita shakes his head at the front of the pack. “Heavens, no. Do I look like someone who’d survive fifteen minutes of warm-up?”

“Depends. You’ve at least tried out for extracurricular activities haven’t you?”

“Well, I’ve once took a shot at football. That’s how Daichi and the others knew me. I left a rather unforgettable impression on them.”

“I remember that.” Daichi says from somewhere behind. “You tried to tackle Washio who was at least 15kg larger than you and ended up hospitalized for a week.”

“He did what?” Oikawa squeaks amusingly.

“That never gets old.” Kuroo snickers. "Kinda like Kageyama when he got a nosebleed after catching a volleyball spike with his face."

"He what?" Oikawa screeched in laughter.

“I’m halting this stupid recollection.” Kageyama waves his hand, his cheeks heating up in embarrassment. “It wasn’t my finest moment. I couldn't receive on time so I had to react fast.”

“Don’t worry, Kageyama. You displayed tremendous iron will that day. What you lack in physicality you made up for one.” 

“And that is?”

“Guts.” Tanaka says as Oikawa laughs well-heartedly.

Daichi was crouching at the end of the line when the figure in front of him stops. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Just- my leg is acting up.” The green-eyed wiggles his feet. It looks uncomfortable given the position they were in.

“Your injury. I’m sorry we didn’t get to change the bandages. It must sting.” Daichi pats it in show of good comfort.

“It’s nothing.” Iwaizumi assures him then seemed to lift his eyes to try to look at the footballer. “And, are you okay?”

Daichi blinks. “Of course. I’m not injured.”

“I mean, about the kick earlier. I’ve been told I possess severely lethal leg power. Oikawa can vouch for that. He’s had lots of experience being my kicking bag all because he can’t accept his idiocy is inborn.”

Daichi chuckles. “I’m fine. And I needed that. Thank you.”

“You’re thanking me for a kick that could’ve broken a few of your ribs? You’re weird.”

“I’ve had worse than broken ribs, believe me. Football tends to be a little…life-threatening.”

“I’ll take your word for that.”

They reach the parking lot. It was empty and they use the opportunity to jump-start a truck.

“All right get in.” Kuroo orders as he takes the wheel after successfully bringing the engine to life.

“But those metal doors are shut.” Nishinoya gestures towards their only exit.

Kuroo flashes his Cheshire cat smile. “Just get in.”

When all the rest are secured, Kinnoshita and Tanaka at the front seat with Kuroo and the others seated at the back, Kuroo steps on the pedal and pulled the gear to fifth in one quick motion.

“Hold on to your butts!” He starts the truck and rams it into the metals doors, breaking through with a loud CRASH!

 “Holy shit.” They make their speedy departure. Tanaka was laughing like a lunatic near the front door. “We’re getting the hell out of here.”

Bang! A bullet pierced the side mirror. The occupants of the truck turn back to see angry pursuers in motorcycles.

"For real?" Oikawa yells, sees the lines of pursuers that suspiciously looked like it has been waiting for them.

“Well shit gets real.” Daichi stands and resumes the firing that wasn’t concluded back in the storeroom. "I'm through being target practice for this shits."

The officers open fire.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

Iwaizumi snatches a grenade from his arsenal and releases it on the motorcyclists.

BBBOOOOOMMMMM!!!

A few manages to evade the blast and carried on their untiring pursuit of the students.

Bang! Daichi grunts as a lucky shot finds his shoulder.

Bang! “Aah.” Iwaizumi topples down. He clutches at his bleeding thigh.

“Kuroo, watch out!” Kinnoshita warns their black-haired driver who fails to see the armoured vehicle that was parked a couple of meters in front of them.

“Shit!” Kuroo turns the wheel rapidly, switching gears and changing direction smoothly. The truck tilts, losing balance.

A robo-cop appears above the tank and holds out a bazooka.

“Look out!!!”

SSSBBBAAANNNGGG!! BBBBBOOOOMMMM!!

The truck overturns due to the explosion before skidding to a stop and crashes on the sidewalk.

Daichi kicks at the door. “Everybody out.” Nishinoya assists Oikawa and Iwaizumi as they escape from the back. “Get inside that building.” He hefts Kageyama who was semi-conscious. His head had slammed harshly on the windows.

Kinnoshita pulls himself up the gaping door at the front. Tanaka follows after.

“I’m stuck.” Kuroo says with obvious pain. “The seats got my feet.” His lower abdomen was trapped in the driver’s seat at the bottom side of the truck.

Tanaka bends to help him. “Hold on, buddy, we’ll get you out.”

They were pulling him halfway and was about to be successful when Kinnoshita sees the evil cops from afar, reloading the bazooka with a new missile and aiming it towards them. He sees Daichi running back to assist. “Daichi, get away!”

SSSBBBAAANNNGGG!! BBBBBOOOOMMMM!!

Chapter Text

The missile hit the truck. It exploded in a tower of orange flame and flung Daichi on the pavement.

“Ugh.” He moaned, grasping at his injured shoulder that was shot earlier. His vision swayed. He thought he could hear his name being called but it was fuzzy. He vividly wondered if he was dead like Kuroo and Kinnoshita and Tanaka, and it was their ghosts calling him over.

“Sawamura-san.” The voice said more clearly. Daichi collected his thoughts and found the frenzied face of Noya. “You need to get up. Come on, man.” He secures his arms around the bigger man’s torso and helps him to his feet. They retreated into the nearest building where Oikawa was holding down a lever to keep the doors open.

“It’s an elevator that would lead us up.” Noya explains upon seeing Daichi's questioning look.

“The door is connected to this retractable lever,” Oikawa guides their gaze to the lever in his hand, “If I push it back up and let go, the elevator will automatically shut down.”

"It's a tricky contraption. Made to ensure that whatever goes up comes back down if needed." Kageyama says, his back against the wall, trying to steady his dizziness. “Someone has to stay behind to hold it until we reach the top.” 

"That's bullshit." Daichi exhales.

Oikawa nods grimly, accepting the unsaid decision.

“Tooru, no…” Iwaizumi began to stand from his place beside Kageyama. But he winces. His injuries were too many.

"I’ll do it.” Daichi volunteers, already moving away from Noya’s assistance.

Iwaizumi growls. "That doesn't make it more appeasing."

"Shut Up, Iwaizumi." He wobbles towards Oikawa, reaching out a hand already.

“No Sawamura, listen,” Kageyama struggles to his feet, “Based from Tsukishima’s information, the elevator shaft is the only way to get out. It will lead to the public tunnel which is connected to the highway. There will be fewer cops expecting us from above since it’s near the streets. There will be civilians. We’ll finally be free.”

“Even if someone stays behind, the robo-bastards will still go after him and might catch up once they are above.” Noya interjects. “They could shoot him halfway our escape and render the elevator immovable.”

As if to prove his point, they hear the impending evil cops approach them from outside, guns raised and ready. They were relentless, for fucking sure.

Daichi reaches for the remaining grenades on Iwaizumi’s belt; much to the latter’s disapproval and weak protests. “Oikawa, let that go.”

“There has to be another way.” Oikawa pleads, refusing to let Daichi swap places with him.

This is the only way.” He shoves Oikawa aggressively inside the steeled-space, the brown-haired hitting the wall roughly. He quickly grabs the lever before it could snap down. "Aah shit, it's rigid."

“Daichi, please.” Kageyama's hands were drawn in a pleading gesture. His voice was wavering. “We’re the only three from Karasuno left. We promised. Please, think this through.”

I've lost my confidence piece by piece and now it's all gone; Koushi took all of it with him. Daichi looks at him with a blank expression. His smile however, was not without emotion. “Then you keep that promise.”

He gave him a half-hearted thumbs-up then turns his frosty glare at their short classmate. “Noya, get inside.”

“I refuse.” Nishinoya was meters shorter than Daichi but he didn’t cower in his presence.

“I’m not having this argument with you.”

“And I’m not arguing.” He takes his gun, picks up a new barrel and loads it. “Your shoulder is injured. You can’t fight them off and hold that lever up at the same time. They’ll shoot you down before they make it out above.” He presses the green button on the exterior of the elevator shaft. The doors slowly closes. “I’ll distract them; buy Tobio some time while you keep that blasted lever aloft.”

“Shouldn’t you leave the distracting to me?”

Noya rolls his eyes. “Please. You can’t shoot with your left hand. And all the times I spend on arcades, it’s going to pay off, today.”

“Touche.” Daichi pushes the lever upwards. They hear the gears moving and felt the floor ascend slowly.

“Touche.” Noya repeats.

“Nooooo!” Kageyama rushes towards them but the elevator doors closed on him, preventing his rescue of his friends. He pounds at the door and screams at the two of them just as the elevator makes it way up.

“On second thought, I think it was best I did the pushing. This lever is resisting.” Daichi struggles to keep it in place, friction made it in-compliant as it threatens to return to its original position. “Wouldn’t do too well with your scrawny arms.”

“I am going to kick if you keep on insulting me.” The first line of masked police came into view. Noya points his gun and takes a deep breathe. “This is really it, isn’t it?”

Daichi looks at the closed metal doors, hears the gears, and feels the vibrations on the earth that would bring their friends to safety. Free from this wretched hellhole of murder and pain. “Some small consolation for everything else.” Warmth seemed to pool in his stomach. “I would love to be with them right now.”

A single tear makes it way down Noya’s face. He whispers. “Me too.”

Daichi takes out a grenade. “Are you ready?”

“Yeah,” Nishinoya cocks his gun. “I am.”

Suga, the last thoughts on Daichi's mind as all hell break loose, I'll be with you shortly.

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

BBBBOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

Kageyama hears the ensuing shootout and explosion. He slams his head in the door and writhes in agony. He screams, feels his esophagus burn, his stomach churning, his eyes prickling, his fists aching.

Oikawa and Iwaizumi, both wounded, are down-casted. Iwaizumi was shaking so terribly but there was absence of cold.

There was only anger that was bubbling, sorrow that was overflowing and determination that was bursting.

“We will survive.” Kageyama regains himself, rids his self-reproach and wipes his face with unwanted tears. “For our friends, and to keep our promise, we will survive.” He approaches the two Aoba Johsai students. “Can you stand?” There was no response, merely the green-eyed standing on his own and gives him a look that needs no explanation. He nods. When he turns to the other, Oikawa was already on his feet.

“Ideas are funny little things. They won’t work unless you do.” Oikawa says, his eyes tear-streaked but otherwise filled with hope anew.

Kageyama smiles despite the situation. “The promise that I and my friends made of getting everyone out might not be fulfilled, but the promise that the two of you will,” He grabs both their arms and holds them in a tight grip, “I will make sure to fulfill it.”

DING!

The elevator door opens and Kageyama pulls Oikawa and Iwaizumi into a run. There weren’t any masked cops as what they had predicted and they could see the highway already.

“We’re almost there. Don’t stop.” The outside light was like a beacon. And it calls them.

They were near the exit of the tunnel, newfound energy to marathon into freedom despite their individual incapacitations, when Kageyama sees something blinking on top of the ceiling. He realizes too late what it is and the timed bomb detonates.

This one step– choosing a goal and sticking to it – changes everything.

He musters all his strength and with a thrust that was the strongest he can conjure, pushes Oikawa and Iwaizumi forward into the outside. Both were thrown into the ground.

“Kageyama!” Iwaizumi tries to stand but fails due to his injuries.

It was Oikawa who manages the stride needed to rush to help. “Tobio!”

Kageyama stumbles due to the propel. He hits the ground just as the bomb gives out its dreaded sound of doom.

BEEP

He smiles sadly, remembering the conversation he had with them a few minutes ago:

“Don’t worry, Kageyama. You displayed tremendous iron will that day. What you lack in physicality you made up for one.”

“And that is?

“Guts.”

Kageyama couldn’t have agreed more.

BBBBBBOOOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!!

The ceiling of the tunnel collapsed.

“Nooooo!!!” Oikawa stops, could only scream a silent scream as the black pool of hair vanished from his view, buried and crushed with the debris.

The dust settled.

The tremor dimmed.

The exit gone.

The two Aoba Johsai students stared in horror at the destroyed tunnel and at the leaking blood among the fallen debris.

Oikawa falls into the ground, screaming in agony as Iwaizumi looks on frozen in his place.

There were voices all around them.

“What, what was that?”

“Oh my god, did you see what happened?”

“The tunnel collapsed.”

“Oh dear, there are those two boys. They’re injured.”

“Somebody call for help.”

Bystanders and a few people approached them and asked if they are okay, with the two oblivious of the crowd gathering. They could only sit and lie there, devoid of anything but the terrible, terrible feeling of loss.


 “…the current tunnel that collapsed on the periphery of Seijo had buried and killed students and teachers from Karasuno High School who were going on a field trip that day. The accident transpired yesterday, at around 5:27 in the afternoon.”

“…Authorities blamed poor infrastructural framework and that a gas from the underground piping had caused the massive explosion that consumed the entire four mile tunnel. As to why the route was opened for public transit in the first place is still unknown.”

“…A total of twenty highschoolers, two professors and the school bus driver were subsequently killed in the accident. Their institution had disclosed their identities in discrete.”

“…The Government is looking to make rapid and sturdy repairs to prevent the same occurrences in the future and offers financial compensations to the families of the deceased victims.”

“… two students from Aoba Johsai High School continually insist that the Japanese Government are the ones behind the accident. Their accounts are yet to be considered plausible since there is no resolute logic as to how and why they were with Karasuno in the first place. The Government regarded them as delusional and implies that the two are traumatized by whatever happened. They are currently admitted in Tokyo General Hospital and are undergoing observation. Our best wishes that these two make a hasty recovery…”


 White walls.

It was the complete opposite as to when they were in the tunnel. That had been dark. Pitch black.

This was blinding. Lights all around them.

Oikawa lies in a bed, his chest heaving, the only sign the boy was still functional. His eyes were sullen and swollen from crying. He had not uttered a single word since the therapy that morning.

Iwaizumi was in the next room. He had a more lively expression but none breath-taking. A volleyball lay on his chest. He eyes the ceiling, as if it was the most interesting thing he had seen his entire life.

Beethoven’s ‘Fur Elise’ played on the speakers, creating a soothing atmosphere for the two broken souls.


One week later…

“Akaashi, let’s sit together.” Bokuto Kotaro cheerily announces.

“If you promise not to drool on me when you nap along the way, then be my guest.” Akaashi Keiji responds nonchalantly. “And why have you got such a large backpack? We’re having a fieldtrip, not an overnight.”

“Eeeh? But my mom let me pack all these stuff. I can’t say No to her, y’know.”

“I feel sorry for your back already. Ah, here’s the bus.” They all stood in sync, as the bus with their school’s name Fukurodani Academy decelerated in front of them.

“I’m so excited for this trip. Where do you think we’re going?” Bokuto exclaimed as they got up the bus.

Akaashi sits on the rear near the window. Bokuto takes his place beside him. “I don’t know. Wasn’t in the meeting. Somewhere exciting, I wish.”

And the bus exits.