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The Top of the Mountain

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The Top of the Mountain.

This actually almost took me a year to write because of procrastination. I do intend to be uploading more, or trying to, so, hopefully that'll work out. This also means that my writing style changed a bit, and more to the end of the story will be my current writing style. I did go back and edit, but after a while I just decided to stop editing the first bit until they depart for the resort, since it just grew old. So yeah! It shouldn't be too noticeable unless you really try, but just a heads up, I guess? Nothing big.

And sorry if any words are repeated a ton. Like I said, this took me long enough, and at a point I just decided to leave that behind for now and focus on other things.

Just for reference, I'm referring to the characters like how they're referred to in the actual thing. Which means, basically everybody is addressed with last names except likeee Daichi and Asahi since they're called by first names. Just had to justify! ( Ofc, in dialogue, it might change depending on the character, only natural after all. )


DING! DING! The familiar sound of an alarm clock went off, jolting awake a small ginger haired high schooler from his comfortable sleep. He sat upright instantly and slammed the off button on the albeit annoying, yet useful machine, silencing it.

"Good morning Shouyou!" A gleeful voice greeted from the kitchen, receiving a grouchy, tired noise in return.

Hinata, also known as the #10, chibi-chan, dumbass, and other names, glanced towards the clothes neatly placed on the floor near his bed unconsciously. Even though his eyes were still droopy, he noticed they didn't seem like his normal everyday uniform or sports clothes; they looked to be thickly knitted and warm.

There was even a hat placed with the other items, and the teen definitely did not wear hats often. The whole pile just looked like something you'd wear to the North Pole or someplace cold.

Someplace cold...

Questions suddenly popped into his mind due to that one vague description. Why would he go someplace with low temperatures when he could be practicing volleyball? Did he miss something his mother said and somehow agreed to it?

Because if so, what about volleyball?! Would he really have to miss the chance to play his favourite sport because he got dragged around by his family? Especially to something he didn't even remember?!

A strangled noise filled with confusion escaped his throat, and he clutched his head, his irises going wide.

Usually, this obviously wouldn't be such a big deal to others, but to Hinata... Volleyball is basically life. And from what he remembered, there was also practice today, meaning he would have to possibly miss it.

Well... He could just ditch whatever plans his mother had in store for him, but that would be rude and mean. The giant ball of energy is not somebody who is rude and mean-except to maybe Kageyama, but that's besides the point!

Speaking of Kageyama, if that bastard were here, he'd probably be mocking him for forgetting such an important thing, and that would most likely enrage the shorter male.

When that thought crossed the teen's mind, frustration and puzzlement mixed together, causing him to shriek, "why do I have to be such a dumbass sometimes?!"

Hinata was just about to lose it, his brain couldn't comprehend what the real problem was and what the real solution was. It was just a jumble of questions, panic, and volleyball.

Yet, just before he was really going to scream-the kind of raucous noise he makes when Tsukishima insults him- his phone made a small noise, indicating that somebody had sent him a message.

The small device was placed under his pillow, so all Hinata had to do was reach over and retrieve it. He stuck his hand under the soft item, grabbed the crow coloured electronic, and turned it on. His eyes took a few seconds to adjust to the light his phone was emitting, but before he could read the message the teen heard a knock at his door. "Shou-chan? Are you okay? Mom told me to come check on you, we heard you yell."

At the moment Karasuno's #10 heard that voice, he knew it was his younger sister-Natsu. Even though he found it a bit annoying that she came to check on him, at least this time she had the decency to knock.

Unlike something other times.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Just uh, getting ready, for whatever is planned," he replied back, the last part coming out quite bitter. The younger sibling didn't seem to notice, as after Hinata said that, he could hear her walk away, the silhouette outside his door disappearing.

Well, now that that was over with, the teen turned back to his phone, his eyes flying over the bolded words.

From ATeaspoonOfSuga: Good morning Hinata! Are you ready for the ski resort? I just thought I'd check in since you're still not here, just a heads up since we're leaving in 15 minutes. I guess we'll see you soon! Oh, but take your time, you're not the last one.

...

Ski... Resort?

Everything came crashing down on Hinata instantly; the permission slip, safety instructions, and even going out to buy goggles. Every memory of the past week hit him right in the face, his brain recalling the events thanks to the text his vice captain sent him.

How... How ever did he forget a whole damn week?! Hinata knew that he could be quite... Stupid at times, but, a week?!

Did he eat some literal BS and forget?

Hinata pondered on that thought for a moment, a red light going off in his head to stop the lines of flashbacks.

That's... Disgusting. The ginger could cease that theory.

So with that conclusion, the green light was back on, all the hustle and bustle continuing.

His memory steadily flooded back, and eventually the teen also remembered what he did just a few hours ago.

The teen was naïve enough to have had stayed up late the night before, watching volleyball games alone in the dark. He didn't think it would really be a problem, since it was a five hour drive to the resort, so he stayed up way past midnight.

After all, he could just sleep on the bus.

But, that would mean he would have to get on the bus first.

Suga said fifteen minutes.

Well, he should probably start hurrying, he still had to get over a mountain. In fifteen damn minutes.

Hinata let out a stressed breath, eyeing the clothes which still haven't budged from their original position.

At least there were positives to this situation, he wasn't going to go somewhere that he didn't remember agreeing to, he wouldn't be missing scheduled practice, and he would be able to spend a day at a ski resort-which is probably expensive.

Speaking of this trip being quite out of the team's budget, how were they even able to afford this trip?

If they couldn't pay for it, then, who could? Maybe Nekoma did, it was possible they were feeling generous, but that was also unlikely since they didn't have too much money either, just quite a lot more than Karasuno. It would be quite the interesting choice for them to use it on a rival team.

There were other possibilities; like how a local business could've paid, or maybe the ski resort wanted them to come for advertisement, or maybe the school payed-

oh, the school.

That's right.

Because Karasuno's volleyball team is guaranteed to go to nationals, the dean had been so overjoyed he instantly handed over free passes for everybody to go to the resort, which were taken with pleasure.

Hinata still remembered how his teammates-including himself-couldn't believe how lucky they were. Everybody's faces were adorned with an expression similar to the time they had a barbecue at the Away Games; ecstatic and bubbly.

Well, he should start quickening his pace and get on that bus! Time won't wait for him, and he would feel ever so guilty if the team had to wait on him.

Plus, he could think of some people who would never live it down if he were the last one there, and late.

The bright orange orbs belonging to the teen once more traveled down to the neat bunch of winter clothes, still in the same spot. He swiped them into his arm, while also moving to a standing position and immediately putting them on. It didn't take him longer than thirty seconds to be fully dressed in his cozy get-up, as thankfully, his hands were moving in perfect coordination.

Before the redhead raced out the door of his room, he didn't forget to take his ski goggles with him. They were settled expectantly on his wooden counter, as if the shiny eye protection was waiting to be called upon. With that in his hand, the boy was now all set, except for one thing.

Hinata wasted no time when he set foot out of his chamber, he didn't even care about making his bed-he could do it when he got back.

The middle blocker's feet glided into the kitchen, eyes scanning the room for his mother. When he spotted her, the ginger rapidly ran up to her and asked for some money. He would need some, as he definitely did not have time for breakfast. She would understand, surely?

The woman smiled brightly at her son, her eyes glimmering with understanding. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her wallet, and handed him a reasonable budget.

That's all Hinata needed, and now he could leave.

"Bye mom! Thanks, really!" he called, as he sprinted out the door into a serene scene of drifting snowflakes.

The weather was working in his favour.

Having no winds was perfect, he wouldn't have that much trouble riding his bike to school, it might be dangerous in the winter but it was the best way.

The teen got on his bicycle, and with a small push from his legs, he was off, ski goggles tightly secured around the tattered handles.

"Let's see how fast I can get over that mountain," he mumbled in a hushed voice filled with determination. Hinata propelled his feet to move faster, and around and around they went, pushing against the pedals.

If you were to see him on that bike on that very day, you may have thought his legs didn't exist and were just a blur- because damn, that chibi-chan can move his feet!


"Huff... Huff..." Hinata puffed heavily as he neared the school, soft white pearls of snow encrusted on his wild hair.

Exhaustedly, he had made it... The bus was still here.

Real question was, is he late?

The middle blocker nearly toppled over as he continued to slowly pedal in the direction of the bus, a certain raven-head coming into view, situated beside the vehicle, scowling darkly. When that particular teen caught sight of the orange curls, his eyes narrowed a tad bit more, irritation growing by the second.

"Hey! Dumbass Hinata, hurry up! You're five minutes late!"

"Good morning to you too Bakageyama! And I am hurrying, I just got over a mountain in like ten minutes! Give me a break you moron!" The redhead howled back despite the heaving tone in his voice. He may be tired as hell, but Kageyama always seemed to set him off, and it irritated him that it was that grouchy troll informing him about being late. It made it like, ten times worse.

Familiar irritation bubbled in Hinata's chest as he parked his bike, securing the tires with a lock. He whirled around swiftly to stare his partner in the face, having predicted he would stroll over for a bickering match. The ginger boy's orange orbs challenged the other male to speak up.

It was like this everyday, and the #10 is a bit sad to say he's gotten used to it. The two grow closer this way, it's just normal for them, and Hinata can't help but be thankful for this bond.

He still remembers their fist bump as clear as day. It was a sign of understanding, cooperation, trust, partnership and friendship. They've come far as a duo, so the shorter male can't stop the fond feelings also erupting from his heart despite the clear menace in his eyes, which soon enough, faded away.

He was going to make sure this day was going to be awesome! Even if the jerk looking back at him intimidatingly was going to be there too, it'd still be a wonderful time.

A small, genuine smile appeared on Hinata's pale face, taking the older male a bit off guard. "You know Kageyama, how come you're the only one out here?"

"I was waiting for you."

"Oh really? You know, for somebody with a scary face you're kind of nice."

"What was that?! I just figured I'd pity your sorry ass this one time, it's supposed to be a good day anyways."

The content expression on the shorter teen only grew at the mention of a good day. Kageyama did understand, he wasn't all mumbles and grumbles after all, and that was exactly what Hinata needed to feel absolutely sure that things would work out.

The day had gone from panic, to revelation, and now to quiet happiness. It hadn't even been an hour yet, and the volleyball fanatic couldn't contain his excitement.

"Hey! Hinata, Kageyama! Get on the bus, we're just waiting for Daichi to retrieve the tickets and then we're leaving!" The mentioned pair jolted abruptly, not expecting such a harsh tone to suddenly be thrown at them. They were just about to retort back-because how rude- but they both bit their tongues when they realized who the owner of the voice was. Turning around stiffly, the two first years were met with their coach's chocolate brown eyes, staring holes into them from inside the bus.

A bit afraid that they'd be made to do drills before departing, the freak duo quickly skidded onto the bus. Kageyama muttered an apology and proceeded after Hinata into a nearby seat. It seemed that most of their teammates were sound asleep-except for Tanaka and Nishinoya.

The two second years were previously snaked around their seats, facing the back of the of the bus while slyly taking photos of a drooling Yamaguchi, snickering to themselves like two thieves. Though, their little extravaganza was over in seconds when they heard Daichi make his way back onto the vehicle. They instantly retreated to facing the front, trying to act innocent. Hinata couldn't help but sigh contently. His senpais' antiques would never get old.

As their captain sat down, a low rumbling erupted from the bus as Keishin fully started the automobile. Not a moment after and Karasuno's volleyball team was off towards the snowy mountains ahead. The short redhead cast one last glance at Kageyama's drowsy expression, before he turned and faced the window, letting his eyes drift close.


The trip to the ski resort was mostly uneventful and filled with small snores. There was a quick stop for washroom breaks and a rapid breakfast, but that was it.

When the team's bus pulled up in front of a huge building, Daichi let out a shriek to wake everyone up, and it definitely worked as some of the teens even returned the shriek with a cry of their own.

Now, with the whole team inside the cozy building, a polite, young woman was ushering them towards the helmets, making sure that each athlete had one secured on their heads. Daichi had already handed in the tickets, so all that was left was to get everybody's equipment.

Everybody counted as sixteen people.

This would take a while.

Sure, the dark haired brunette is good at addressing his crew, but he's a volleyball captain, not a ski or snowboard captain. He didn't even know where to start!

The male lets out a crestfallen sigh, which didn't go unnoticed as a young female worker immediately came trotting over. "Pardon me, sir, are you in need of something?" she asked softly, her eyebrows scrunched together as she looked like she was trying to figure something out. Daichi found that a bit strange, but thought nothing of it. Lots of people have many things on their minds.

"Well... I'm here with my volleyball team. There are sixteen of us, and we have already gotten our helmets. I am just unsure of what to do next..." he trailed off absently, but the employee seemed to catch on right away. She quickly asked him to take her over to his team, and the moment she caught sight of them, she gasped, her voice laced with astonishment. This earned a raise of the eyebrows from Daichi. She quickly stopped, realizing that she was making a little scene and laughed embarrassingly. "Ah! Sorry if I startled you. I actually thought you looked familiar, and seeing your team... Well, you guys are Karasuno, no? I saw the match on the television, it was titled very nicely, 'The crows come out victorious against the undefeated eagles', I couldn't help but watch! You guys are amazing!"

Daichi stared at her for some few seconds, before regaining his posture and bowing extremely fast, almost crashing into the worker. She yelped quietly as she took some steps back, her mind reeling, caught off guard. The rest of the team—which were previously chattering about—spotted their captain with his head facing the ground and mouth revealing whispers. The volleyball team found that very peculiar and rushed over curiously.

Let's just say the employee was sky high right now, because omigod it's Karasuno and wow they're attractive.

"Daichi! What are you doing?! Get your head up, now!" Sugawara hollered adamantly. The said male's head shot up with a woosh, almost like he was a robot ready for service. "Oh, I was just thanking this lovely lady. She recognized us from the television, and I think she's going to help us get going," he replied, while behind him, the woman was ferociously nodding her head, getting back into business.

"Yes, absolutely right. First of all, I need everybody to split into two groups. One group for those who will be using skis for the day, and the other for those who will be using snowboards. I will then direct you to the counters and I'm sure you'll all be ready to go in a bit!" With that piece of information, Daichi gave his team a good hard look. "Okay, those of you using skis, go to my right. Those using snowboards, go to my left," he conducted.

In a blur of movements, the team moved towards their destinations, a few small noises of hurt occurring in the midst due to some show stepping.

On the captain's right, there stood Hinata, Kageyama, Yamaguchi, Sugawara, Kiyoko, Asahi, and Takeda. Daichi took this into account, as he will be choosing skis as well. Then he turned his attention to the left, where Tsukishima, Yachi, Tanaka, Noya, Ennoshita, Narita, Kinoshita and Ukai stood.

With a nod, signifying to the employee that she can resume the procedure, the third year brunette joined those in the ski pile as Hinata suddenly began to babble excitedly, "wow Yacchan! You use a snowboard?! That's so coooooollll!" Kageyama instantly bopped him on the head for being so loud, a "dumbass Hinata" once more escaping his pouted lips.

Yachi jumped at this, not expecting to suddenly be the center of attention for the ginger, and she rubbed the back of her head to calm her nerves. "U-um... I wouldn't say it's that cool, haha. I guess it's just always been like this," she answered back, a light smile on her face. Though, suddenly, her features become very stern and confident. "But, don't say that Hinata-kun. After all, in the end, whatever you pick can be cool in its own way! Just as long as you enjoy it." Yachi then once more drooped her shoulders, feeling quite feeble for saying all that openly. Though, she didn't expect the pat on the back she got from Yamaguchi, and the small—though exaggerated—sniffles coming from Tanaka and Noya.

The worker watched this, feeling more and more lighthearted by the second, when she decided it's a good time to start getting the equipment.

She made a mini coughing noise to get everyone's attention, and directed the two groups to opposite directions. They got the things they needed fairly fast, considering the rest of the staff saw this large group of people getting ready, and raced to their places. It definitely was much faster than usual.

As all of Karasuno—with their skis or snowboards in hand—headed outside into a magical glitter of falling snow, the female worker that had been sticking with them waved goodbye, promising to cheer them on. This lifted the spirits of the team to the peak, and all of them couldn't wait to get on those slopes and do flips and cartwheels and jump off mountains and-

"First off, I just want to apply a rule to this vacation." Ukai took the lead, hands on his hips and voice booming with authority as he cocked his head upwards, looking down on them all.

A groan sounded off, but they all quickly shut up as he stabbed his snowboard into the snow like he was going to impale somebody, somebody on Karasuno's volleyball team...

"Okay, so, just for your safety," the man looked directly at Tanaka and Noya, "if you guys ever split up, I want you to stay with those you're in the same year as," he explained. And this time, nobody made a noise of disagreement.

Well, almost.

Tsukishima puffed out an ashamed, defeated noise, murmuring sadly to Yamaguchi as the freak duo glared at him, knowing exactly what's going on inside his head.

Ukai clapped twice, regaining everybody's attention as he smiled widely, nodding at them all. "Well! Go on then! Enjoy this resort, you've all earned it." And with that, Karasuno scampered off, the blonde middle blocker still cursing under his breath as Yamaguchi sweatdropped nervously.


It was quite obvious from the start that everybody would stick together to get used to the feeling of sheer wind blowing against their skin when descending. They were all one big group; laughing, hollering, shrieking, and some bickering here and there. The group was almost complete, except Asahi had suddenly asked to go to the washroom, and didn't come out until everybody was off in their groups.

Now, at the top of one of the highest slopes, Hinata's bright flamed hair could be seen along with his ear splitting grin. "Kageyamaaaaaaa! We're so high up!"

"Shut up dumbass! You're being too loud, I bet the whole resort can hear your stupid, sandpaper-y voice."

Tsukishima snickered at that, while Yamaguchi and Yachi listened attentively from the side, eyes looking around wildly, praying to the stars above that they weren't drawing attention.

The sun was reaching its peak, boring down on them as a light wind picked up, mixing up a light whirlwind that swept through the group. The fresh smell of birch and pine could also be picked up, making everybody take in a deep breath to explore its wonders.

Looking down at the ground below, at how far down it was, it made Hinata feel on top of the world, like he could do anything, reach new heights, grasp at higher levels. It made him want to fly. All these energetic feelings kept bubbling up inside of him, ready to spill out, and he just wanted to let it all go.

He turned his head full cycle and spotted a huge ramp made out of snow near the middle of the hill, curving upwards as if it were a frozen wave. Instantly, his mind went into imagination land, making up a scenario where he sprouted wings after gliding off the edge, going up, up, and up.

"Hey, Kageyama, I'm going to fly," he mumbled under his breath, and the raven-haired male almost jumped out of his skin, seeing the raw determination in the redhead's eyes that he usually displayed during a volleyball match.

"What the hell? You're not a bird y'know, stop dreaming."

"I know that you dumb asshole! You see that? Down there?" He pointed sharply at the ramp. "I'm going to fly off of that!" The sudden hints of hostility disappeared from the middle blocker's eyes, and he jumped excitedly, making sure not to twist his legs together with the skis still on his legs. Kageyama simply stared at him, eyes twitching disbelievingly.

Yachi, who had overheard them wobbled over as fast as she could with the snowboard attached to her left foot, her right foot free as it helped her move forward, still not buckled in. There wasn't a moment for Hinata to dodge her light hit on his head, her voice cracking uneasily, "What are you talking about?! That thing is huge! I'm pretty sure that's to practice for the Olympics or something..." Hinata barely listened to her, instead focusing his attention on his own thoughts; of shooting off that ledge, of shooting right to the moon.

"It's okay Yacchan, I can do it, I'm going to be the ace!"

"This has nothing to do with being the ace you dumbass! Do you want to break your leg?!" Kageyama refuted. Even he was starting to think this was just way too much, it's impossible, no way could a shorty like Hinata possibly land a jump like that. They're crows, not some sumo wrestler!

And it's possible that not even a strong sumo wrestler could land that!

"Wow, so the king actually cares about this hamster. Well, I can't blame you this time, what Yachi-san said is true, that thing is used for professionals, not some carrot like you." Salt-I mean Tsukishima butted in, adjusting his goggles as he puts his hands on his hips with authority, Yamaguchi coming up behind him. When Hinata heard it from the blonde male that it was dangerous, he took a second to reel his thoughts back, because, if that prick was warning him, maybe it really was risky. After all, Tsukishima really didn't care about any of them except Yamaguchi, and it was obvious that the pinch server was not the one who wanted to go off the ramp.

But when had Hinata ever backed down from his own challenges?

Without a word to be said, the redhead got himself ready at the precipice, digging his ski poles into the snow and pushed off nonchalantly, screams being heard behind him. Kageyama was the first to regain his composure and sped down after his partner. Yamaguchi came next, followed by the snowboarders who had to take a blinding moment to buckle everything in.

Down at the bottom of the hill were the third-years, quietly minding their own business until they heard some warbles coming from the top of the hill. Out of curiosity, they all twisted their heads upwards to see who was causing all the ruckus, and all their hearts almost leaped out of their mouths as they saw their #10 going full speed towards one of the biggest ramps.

Hinata had a twisted pout on his face as he came closer and closer to his destination. He was going to prove that he was able to do this. He was capable, all he had to do was land on his own two feet.

Except, just when the redhead was some tiny millimeters away from the slope, just when he was going to swing his poles one last time, he heard his setter's voice from behind, shining out loud and clear. "Hinata! Could you just, ugh... Just stop!"

Then and there, the carrot-topped male almost gave in to the guilt and fact that he was worrying his partner, affection for the raven-haired male doubling ten times. He was ready to turn around and hit the taller male on his head for being so worried and laugh at him while saying it was all just a prank. It felt nice to be reminded that his best friend really cared about him. That, indeed, Kageyama would be there to snap Hinata out of his stupid schemes.

He would've stopped, if there had not been a stronger desire filling his head.

Hinata also wanted to see the expression on Kageyama's face if he actually landed the jump. He wanted to witness the contagious pride that would be displayed all over his features and actions. He wanted to make that rare, genuine smile come out of hiding.

Giving one last final push with his poles, Hinata curved upwards onto the ramp, and then he was off, free, limitless—in space.

It felt like it lasted forever, not only for the short middle blocker, but for the rest of the first years and third years as well. Maybe, if you listened carefully, you could hear the desperate sounds of their hearts coming together to beat in unison.

That long moment had only two questions going through everybody's minds,

will he land it, or will he not?

THUMP.

A wince from everybody except Hinata.

Joyous laughter broke from the other side of the pile of snow.

"Guys! I did it! Hah, hahaha!" he yelped excitedly, still a bit bent over from his landing as he gradually continued to go down the mountain, Kageyama gaining on him, his expression a colourful mix of possibly every emotion ever.

Yachi heaved a great sigh of relief, slouching over and almost falling. Tsukishima flashed her a fearful look before turning his head to the front and gliding downwards in a zigzag pattern, approaching Yamaguchi who had stopped using his polls when he got the signal that Hinata had landed safely, instead letting them hang loosely in his hands as he tried to calm his wiring pulse.

Even the third years felt a big shock of astonishment as they witnessed the clean landing their middle blocker pulled off. They all murmured many "Thank God"s and "My poor heart"s as they approached a chair lift, their movements being a little wobbly.

"Are you sure it's okay to leave them be?" Kiyoko inquired softly.

Daichi and Sugawara exchanged a glance, and nodded jointly. "They'll be fine, they're a daring bunch after all. Plus, we need to trust in Yachi and Yamaguchi," the vice captain said thoughtfully. Kiyoko thought for a few seconds and then made a small noise of affirmation.

"Oh my god, you dumbass! How could you even... Why would you...?" Kageyama stuttered, irises shaking with shock. Along with this was also the small twitches of his lips, indicating that he wanted to smile, but couldn't. Hinata found this display of the setter amusing and obnoxiously burst out laughing, eyes filled with euphoria.

"I'm not sure Bakageyama! But, I landed it, didn't I? You saw, right? Did I look cool? Did I? Did I? Did I?" He chattered, using his ski poles to maneuver around Kageyama easily. The taller male didn't make a move to stop the ginger. Instead, his face just continued to contort in an intriguing manner until it rested on simply looking ahead. Hinata soon huffed quietly, not satisfied with the reaction he got until he stopped abruptly, making all the other first years halt as well.

"Hinata? Are you okay?" Kageyama questioned, now looking genuinely worried. Were there effects of the jump the redhead pulled off that suddenly decided to kick in now?

"Hm, yeah, I'm okay. I just saw Tanaka over there pull off a super amazing jump! Now I kind of want to try it!"

All the first-years groaned.

...

"Tanaka! Nishinoya! Stop moving so fast... and stop being so reckless!" a breathless Ennoshita Chikara hollered, eyes wide and tired. Narita patted his teammate on the back in mock comfort and Kinoshita didn't even try to stifle his laughter, shameless while with his friends. The trio continued swerving down towards the remaining second years: Tanaka and Nishinoya. The two were having the time of their lives, gruffly laughing while trying to push the other one over, snowboards overlapping with their playfulness.

As they all reached the bottom, the troublemakers were already gliding to another chairlift, feet carefully buckled to their snowboards. It's been like this since the beginning, and by the third trip coming down a slope, Ennoshita had enough of the duo and wanted to go grab something to eat. But Daichi had entrusted him with them, so he had to stay grounded and strong. 'Course, the remaining second years didn't really mind their friends' antics, making it easier for them to handle all the mischief.

If only that were true. They all knew that if you were anybody but Hinata, Tanaka and Nishinoya's behavior became old—fast.

Now at the top of another trail, everyone was fastening their feet into their snowboards, heads bent and hands moving swiftly. It didn't take long for everybody to be ready, and soon enough the second-years began their descent.

"So... which path do you two fancy this time?" Ennoshita questioned with false curiosity. The wing spiker and libero exchanged a look, their eyes sparkling as the brunette realized he was going to regret everything.

"We want to go down that one, Chikara! Please? Prettttyyyy please?" Noya pointed to a path reading "The Yeti's Wrath." Beside those chilling words was a singular black diamond.

Ah, that's not good, is it?

A black diamond could only mean one thing: that trail would be one of the hardest paths at the resort. There are times when Black Diamonds turned out to not be that hard, but usually, it's safe not to do them unless you're focused—and Ennoshita knew for a fact that the two teens were not currently focused.

"Bye!"

Wait, what?

Suddenly, Nishinoya and Tanaka were pummeling towards the Black Diamond, not even waiting for an answer. A startled wheeze escaped the brunette's mouth, and he hopped a bit to get his snowboard moving. He heard Narita and Kinoshita gasp as well, but it was already too late for them to turn around, the ground beneath them dipping downwards. Narita sent off a final salute before they disappeared into the abyss, leaving the remaining teen to gulp nervously.

"C'mon, this can't be as bad as replacing Daichi in a match, right?" Ennoshita muttered under his breath, gaining speed in the direction of the Black Diamond, his eyes narrowing in concentration. Thankfully, he spotted Tanaka and Nishinoya right at the edge of the hill, and his stomach dropped when he caught sight of how steep it looked. Only a few leftover trails from other skiers or snowboarders were marked in the snow, indicating that very few people had dared to conquer this trail. As he continued approaching the edge, he saw that there was a plentiful amount of snow piled up around the area, which would definitely make it harder to control your movements—and was that blood he saw at the bottom?!

"Okay you two! Stop and perish the thought of going down, you'll probably get hurt being the stupid jackasses you are. Daichi made me in charge of you both, so I'm here to fulfill his wishes! So stop where you are!"

"Oh crap Ryuu, stop pushing me—"

Ennoshita wanted to crumble to the ground and cry then and there. His words made no difference as the two second-years were just too stupid to try and stop. The catastrophe began when Noya's snowboard tipped downwards and he descended instantly. Tanaka simultaneously followed him, a mix of worry and excitement clashing on his features. It seemed that the duo realized that their decision was, of a matter of fact, terrible after a couple of minutes. When they tried to move, their snowboards would go deeper into the surrounding snow, crushing any further actions and making them somewhat paralyzed.

The brunette would've felt smug about how he was right about this excursion's danger if not for the opposing fact that his two teammates were now losing complete control, limbs flailing until they hit the ground, bodies rolling and bending at the most interesting of angles.

During this frantic event, Ennoshita scanned his surroundings for another route down, knowing it would just make matters worse if he went down the same path. He soon spotted a petite, narrow opening through in the middle of overarching trees and hobbled to the side, approaching the small trail. It didn't look as steep or full of snow as the actual black diamond, so he assumed that people went down this path instead, a smart decision he acknowledged.

The brunette didn't remember how fast he went through that passage. Along with remembering there being a few twigs and branches flung at his vision, he also remembered the rush of terror he kept feeling as he tried to catch his two friends. He tried, no, willed himself to throw his anguish to the wind, but knowing those idiots... he hoped and prayed that a miracle would be able to save them.

The extra passage merged with the Black Diamond and Ennoshita shot out, his head twisting every which way as he searched for the duo.

When he didn't locate them instantly, he began to panic. With the white, snow-made wallpaper tainting every corner of his vision, it wasn't supposed to be hard to find two teenagers bundled in winter gear. They were supposed to stand out like oranges in a chocolate factory.

So why. Couldn't. He. Find. Them?

At the exact moment he was going to resort to yelling, boisterous laughter sounded by the trees Ennoshita came out from. He craned his neck, bark-coloured eyes washing over two familiar figures.

As ironic as it was, Tanaka and Nishinoya were there, laughing and smiling like none of that horrid bending and twisting ever happened. Seriously, how the hell were their expressions even changing?!

The two troublemakers soon spotted Ennoshita and beckoned him over while waving their arms frantically. Tsk, like he wasn't going to in the first place.

Approaching, the future captain scowled at them. "You idiots! I told you, I absolutely, without a doubt, warned you, and you two sacks of shit went down the hill anyways!" Tanaka and Nishinoya comically gasped when Ennoshita cussed, earning a glare that silenced them immediately.

"W-well, I mean, we feel fine! Right, Noya-san?"

"Yeah! You don't hafta worry 'bout us!"

The brunette sighed tiredly.

"You can't just say you feel fine. After all, you could still be running on adrenaline for all I know. The pain might kick in later," Ennoshita refuted. His voice was laced with a slight tremor, and the two other teens caught on, eyebrows knitting together in quiet apology. At this, Ennoshita sighed once again and ruffled their hair, similar to what Daichi would do but with a drop of added force.

"Alright, alright. You're forgiven, just don't... don't do it again, okay?"

"You got it man!" they chorused.

The trio then heard a giggle sound from behind Ennoshita. All gazes flicked to a female who was—without feeling any sin—stuffing a gloved hand to her lips, trying to muffle the teasing sounds escaping from them. The first thing they noticed was how long her hair was, cascading down her pastel-blue jacket like waterfalls. She also had neatly-cut bangs along with cinnamon brown eyes.

Tanaka and Nishinoya could feel their heartbeats quicken as another, more familiar, female appeared in their minds.

No no, this isn't like Kiyoko-san, this girl has a laidback charm to her, the pushy kind, Tanaka thought, eyes traveling to Nishinoya as they pretended to telepathically talk to one another.

What do you think, Noya-san?

The libero, on cue, quirked his eyebrows up, grinning.

I like her, Ryuu!

Ennoshita harshly slapped the top of their heads.

Afterwards, he turned to face the newcomer. She had quickly calmed down and was looking at them expectantly. Her eyes glimmered mockingly, challenging even, as she faced the brunette's gaze head on.

"Pardon me, but why were you laughing? If it was because of these scatterbrained fools..." He trailed off, defiance lighting up in his eyes. Even if Ennoshita was still quite pissed at the duo, these were still his teammates, his dear friends, and he wasn't going to let some nobody make fun of them.

The young woman simply rolled her eyes when she noticed his stance become more rigid. "Well, what else would I be laughing at? The white snow? Of course it was them!" She paused before proceeding quickly, "Sorry, I'm not exactly the type of person to joke about everything, and I don't want you to think that. It was just kind of funny, watching from the top of the hill. Their shrill voices were kind of hard to ignore! It was kind of cool in a way, but mostly funny." She took a second to recall the sight she'd witnessed before breaking out—to Ennoshita's dismay—into laughter once again.

"Okay, okay, I'm good now. Sorry, I swear I'm not that much of a bitch as I might seem like right now. I'm Nanani Himawari! May I ask to know your names?" This time, instead of acting childish at the cuss, Tanaka and Nishinoya looked like they were swooning! The nerve they had, the more reasonable one of the trio bitterly thought.

Holding back the itching feeling of wanting to punch someone, Ennoshita replied steadily, introducing each one of them respectively. Nanani was casually nodding along, mouth drawn into an upbeat smile.

"Cool! Cool! I can see you've got your hands full, Ennoshita-kun, so I guess I best be off, yeah? I've got things to do after all! Oh, but a quick tip for all of you. If you guys want an exciting trail that shouldn't be able to cause too much trouble, I would absolutely suggest the mega-awesome-crazy..." she clicked her tongue to imitate a drumroll, "Snowstorm's reign! It has a lot of twists and turns tied with many cool jumps and ramps. Cool, yeah? Anyways... that's all I've gotta say, have a great day!" And without a second to spare, she skittered off down the trail, her white-dyed snowboard blending in with the background.

Now it was Tanaka and Nishinoya's turn to wail. Ennoshita was sure that their sputtering and overly exaggerated sobs could be heard within a mile.

"I-I-I-I didn't even get her number! Noya-san! Why did it turn out like this?!" Tanaka screeched, eyes wide and desperate that made him look like he wanted to bang his head into the powdery snow. The libero simply clung to his friend's jacket, tears springing to life in his eyes as his voice wobbled, trying to give Tanaka a response.

The future captain wasn't having any of this. He just simply deadpanned at their display and decided to check his phone while waiting their crying session out. Turning it on, he saw a message from Kinoshita, the dirty-blonde-haired teen informing him that they would be waiting inside the resort's food court. Along with this information was a photo of a rich burger, the meat still looking sizzling hot, and the tomato, lettuce, and cheese shining under the lights of the room. That bastard... Kinoshita was obviously taunting him!

"You two, pull it together. We can go on the trail Nanani-san suggested later, but right now, I'm going to go find Kinoshita and Narita. They're at the food court and I'm not waiting around for you two when food is calling me. So, you're either coming or you're not, and I can't seem to care at the moment," Ennoshita seethed, already moving down the rest of the slope. This only made the troublemakers' sputtering grow, and they quickly pushed the ground under them to gain on the brunette, braying after him in desperation.


"C'mon Asahi! Can't we go down, like, that trail? It's not even that much harder than this one!" Sugawara complained, exasperated. Daichi and Kiyoko stood close to the grey-haired teen, and even if they didn't voice their protests, they were also getting tired of repeating the same cycle.

The mentioned brunette shook his head weakly. His eyes were glued shut, too afraid to glimpse the disappointment on his friends' faces. In all honesty, Asahi really, truly did want to try another trail. It was only expected that even he'd get bored, but despite this, his fear held him back, anchoring him to the spot.

For the past few hours, the ace had convinced the other third-years to keep going on the same, short path. When he saw them begin to grow restless, he'd retreat inside to either hide in the washrooms and give them a chance to do something else or buy a snack, hoping he'd be able to coax them with food. Up until now, this plan had been sufficient enough.

Asahi hated this. He hated having to hold his friends back, and he hated himself for being so undeniably helpless. He was the ace for goodness sake! Why was something like this causing him to crumble so easily?

Daichi exchanged a look with Sugawara and Kiyoko when their ace looked to be on the verge of tears, their minds transitioning into a zone that was ready to comfort him. Sure, they were really tired of this slope, but if it troubled Asahi this much, maybe they could hold off this time. Their enjoyment was not worth troubling the young man.

But just as the captain opened his mouth to speak, Asahi stopped him with a loud, shaky breath. The feeling was mutual; just like how the others wanted to preserve each other's content mood, Asahi also wanted them to be untroubled, and this meant he had to talk to them and have faith in the bond they'd built up in the past few years.

So with his lips quivering, he choked out, "Da-Da-Da-Daichi... Suga... K-Kiyoko... I-I-I... I don't know how to ski!"

They were intelligent enough to connect the dots with this little piece of information.

It all made sense now. Asahi's departures, the guilt in his actions that made his whole body sag, the bribing. Everything just... clicked together. The brunette had even missed Hinata performing that dangerous stunt with the enormous slope, and when Sugawara, Daichi, and Kiyoko realized he hadn't been able to see that, they all silently agreed that the ace was pretty lucky—even if his actions were because of his own fear.

When the redhead was going on the jump, Asahi was off on his second "washroom break" of the day, and he had returned with several cupcakes, giving one to each third-year. He had no idea what they just saw, and even if they calmed down afterwards, they didn't feel completely at ease until eating the offered sweets.

This just made them feel even more worse at how terrified their friend looked. He wasn't at fault and they weren't mad. It broke their hearts to know he believed that, even if but a smidgen.

Asahi did indeed have that theory lingering in his mind, but after the brunette confessed, he felt his bones loosen up a bit. The male opened his eyes and attentively looked at his friends, a mixture of anxiousness and hope swirling in his chestnut irises. He knew for a fact that they would do their best to help him, and he would gladly accept their aid. The desire of learning how to ski was presently fresh in his mind, and there was no chance he would back down now. For his and his comrades' sake.

That's right, determination and power were always two of his most prominent qualities.

While Daichi and Kiyoko were stunned, unsure of what their next actions should be, Sugawara swiftly regained his composure and slid over to give the timid teen a huge bear-hug, a startled "gah!" coming from him. The vice-captain then backed off to pat Asahi's shoulder reassuringly, his signature smile on his features.

"Don't worry Asahi! We can teach you, you should've just said so you big goof! There's still enough time for all of us to have fun, which I'm sure will be guaranteed once we help you out. Don't worry, 'kay?"

"Woah, woah, woah, who's teaching who what?" a new voice boomed from behind, making the third-years turn towards the direction it came from with Asahi thinking he might get another heart-attack.

Well, he might just have one with the look Ukai Keishin was giving them.

Before the group of students stood their coach. His bleached hair was covered up with a helmet but his expression was still as stern as always. They didn't even cause any trouble, and somehow they still felt completely threatened and exposed—until Takeda poked his head over Ukai's shoulder, shoving him aside and muttering something at him, looking ready to scold the younger man.

"Coach, Sensei, did we do something wrong?" Daichi queried. Beside him, Kiyoko also looked at them expectedly, gaze as hard as steel.

"Um... I don't think so, right Ukai-kun?"

Said man released a drowsy sigh, hands pinching the bridge of his nose.

"No, you guys are fine. Sorry for assuming anything. It's just that, not so long ago—and I'm talking about terribly recently—the first-years and second-years encountered each other, and apparently Hinata had asked Tanaka and Nishinoya to show him how to go down some jump. Before Kageyama or Ennoshita could stop them, they were off, and even if nothing severely bad happened to them, a lot happened to the others. Like, I'm pretty sure we're all losing a year of our lives every minute we watch them do something dumb. I guess I'm just on edge, sorry about that Sawamura," Ukai huffed, eyes twitching at the memory. In turn, Daichi shook his head to say "it's fine," understanding the sentiment his coach was feeling.

Straightening up, it was the blonde's turn to ask the captain a question. "But what were you going to teach? I don't believe my ears deceived me, so tell me, cough it up."

"Asahi doesn't know how to ski, we were going to teach him," Kiyoko said, deciding to take the initiative as a manager and fellow friend. This might also help calm the brunette, as if he knew that Kiyoko was willing to help it would basically ensure that Daichi and Sugawara were on board as well.

"Oh! That's nice of you guys! We can help too." Takeda nudged the blonde beside him, making him mutter his consent.

"That's really nice of you guys, thanks! I'm sure Asahi will appreciate it," Daichi answered back gratefully.

They turned to face the ace in the spotlight, who was looking like he was going to vomit from pressure and cry from being overjoyed all at once. Crouched over he was, huddling his limbs together, not being able to express how he was feeling. His legs were shaking as he was barely able to hold his balance, and that made an imaginary light-bulb appear over Ukai's head.

As Sugawara headed over to calm down the teen, Ukai shared what he had in mind. "If I'm going to help, I'm going to do so as your coach. From what I see, the first thing we need to do is help his balance. It's a key part of skiing and it's the same for snowboarding as well," he paused briefly. "Asahi, did you ever go down this slope standing up?"

Reflecting back to the past hours, he shook his head. The only way he'd survived the previous runs was by pitifully crouching into a ball, letting his skis carry him down. It was a sight to behold for onlookers. After all, seeing a well-built, young-man—who also had the face that could be a killer and was currently imitating a quivering leaf— going down a hill, who wouldn't be a bit curious?

"That settles it then. First off, we're going to teach you how to balance, or at least get you to get used to it. That would be a good first step."

With Asahi clinging unto Sugawara with wobbly limbs, the group headed to an even smaller hill. The slope was inclined in a way that just barely slanted downwards, allowing beginners to take it slow with added help from the angle.

But even with the hardly noticeable slant, the journey of the ace finally being able to stand up was a long one.

The first time that Sugawara urged Asahi into letting go of him, the young man's legs immediately began shaking and he keeled over, almost face-planting into the snow as screams parallel to a squealing goat erupted from his lungs. He was a shaking ball of despair, but the vice-captain wasn't going to give up. Even if Asahi had absolutely zero sense of balance on these two skis, by the end of the day, he would make sure that his friend would be able to hold his own ground.

Discarding the poles the brunette was fiercely clutching on to—not wanting to see an impaled Asahi—Sugawara helped him up, Daichi, Kiyoko, Ukai, and Takeda hovering not so far away. Their coach kept on spouting advice while Daichi restrained both his hands by his sides, trying not to fidget. He wasn't exactly enjoying how the grey-haired teen was taking care of everything; sometimes he'd like to help too!

Kiyoko and Takeda watched this with mellow amusement.

Eventually, after trial and error, the friendly giant was now confident enough to stand on his own. He just needed to find his own comfort zone with little pushes here and there. They all knew in their hearts that their ace would pull through. He always did after all, with that fiery emotion of fortitude tucked away in his mind, only unleashed when he was being strong-willed. It helped him to overcome his shyer side.

Of course, because they were all helping Asahi balance this whole time, they hadn't yet descended down the hill. Kiyoko was the one to suggest trying it, encouraging Asahi to go as slow as he needed.

The brunette stared down the short path as fire lit up in his eyes.

He was ready to move forward.

With a nod signifying that he wanted to try going down, the others burst into action, having anticipated this. Ukai and Daichi quickly shimmied ahead, ready to catch Asahi if he stumbled or fell. Sugawara remained by his side with Kiyoko and Takeda behind them, acting as supporting pillars with their presence. It was like a firefighting squadron, each member wary of every action or consequence, ready at any given moment.

They were all worrying for no reason.

Thanks to the slight dip the hill had, the tall teen was easily able to descend without much trouble. They were even more thrilled to see him twist his body from side to side, moving in a basic criss-cross pattern that was already a huge improvement. Being the ace came with many perks after all; he knew all about advancing and pushing himself to the limits. Plus, everybody knew he spent an ungodly amount of time working on his jump serve, so progressing just came naturally.

If only things were just that easy. But in the cruel, difficult world they lived in, the universe loved to throw in things to cause mayhem.

All Asahi was doing was casually moving to the left, trying to maneuver himself just as he'd done a few seconds ago. Maybe it's due to a miscalculation or over-confidence. Or maybe it was due to the the simple answer of the world cruelly wanting to laugh at the ace, but when he began to turn towards his intended direction, he unceremoniously flopped onto the snow with his legs giving out under him. A gasp escaped his lungs, leaving Asahi to tumble a few more times until coming to a stop, Kiyoko and Takeda having to move out of the way to avoid him as Sugawara halted. There's fear written on all their faces, and near the bottom of the hill, Ukai is already unbuckling his snowboard to go back and check on his fallen crow, Daichi impatiently waiting as the man threw his equipment to the side.

Well, they're just about to head up when the vice-captain himself stopped them with an outstretched hand. He pointed to Asahi and they all realized that he's—thankfully—doing alright. The fall was not a heavy one after all. It was merely a slip-up.

Bending down to give his friend a hand, Sugawara pulled the other teen back on his feet, Asahi's legs momentarily shaking before he regained control of his balance. Kiyoko patted him on the back reassuringly, smiling softly. It's true that it was only a tiny accident, but the brunette's gut is twisting and turning with poison. He refused to meet his companions' gazes, afraid that they'd be crudely judging him.

"Wow, Asahi! I didn't know you had it in you to actually turn into a goat! You should've heard your little cry when you fell to the snow, it was almost adorable, y'know? Also, hey, really, don't be so hard on yourself. We all have little hiccups, and you know we're here for you!" Being perceptive as he was, Sugawara didn't miss the impending doom that appeared on Asahi's face when he helped him up; and of course, being the supposed "Mother" of this crazy team, he was going to do his utmost best to make his friends happy. Plus, what he said was true, and Asahi needed to know that.

With a strained breath, the tall teen release a breath along with his troubles, giving Sugawara a small smile. Kiyoko now stood beside the brunette and nodded, comforting him in her own way. As they continued their way downhill, Takeda beamed at Ukai, pride exerting from every inch of his body. Their team really was fantastic. All these bonds just made him want to tear up!

The third-years reunited at the bottom, all chattering around their shy giant, and the two adults informed them that they were going to be leaving for the food court. Ukai gifted them with a few more words of advice before departing with Takeda. The adults' ears picked up a voice in the distance that faintly sounded of Nishinoya's. The libero was calling out to Asahi before a not so subtle "THUMP" on the ground was heard.

Takeda chuckled. "Our team really is something, huh?"

"Yeah, they're a bunch of mindless dorks, but they can be alright," he gruffly answered back. Even if the words were a bit harsh, the fond smile on the blonde's face gave away his true emotions.

Heading inside to the second floor of the building, the scent and warmth of fresh cuisine hit them like a truck, and Takeda's mouth was already watering. He enthusiastically skipped over to the ordering line, Ukai tagging along behind him. As expected, there were variety of different choices, all scribbled out on a menu-board above them. Nothing super exquisite, but the food looked well-prepped and smelled divine nonetheless. Takeda settled on stir fry noodles littered with ground beef, and the younger man ordered some fries and bought pudding from the desert section, the noirette skeptically squinting when he saw the yellow item.

"You're going to share, right?"

"Ugh... fine, whatever," the coach grumbled, clutching unto the golden desert in faux protection.

They both laughed and strode over to an empty, square-shaped table, hopping onto the high-chairs and clapping their hands together to give thanks before digging in.

Though after a few minutes Ukai realized he was the only one chewing. Takeda just sat there staring at his plate with wonder dancing in his eyes, mouth scantily agape. The noodles were generously slathered with teriyaki sauce, giving it a sugar-brown gleam. Carrots and broccoli adorned bits and parts of the plate, and with the addition of ground beef sprinkled throughout, it was a meal to just be looking at the dish! Even if this wasn't some five-star recipe, Takeda wasn't picky, this was amazing in itself. Absolutely, ludicrously, fantasically amaz—

"Are you going to eat your food or not?" Ukai said lightheartedly, smirking at the teacher with amusement. In turn, Takeda sputtered before grabbing the plastic fork beside him, whispering thanks once again and taking a good ol' bite.

Oh wow.

Was it just him or were there angels singing above him?

A chuckle sounded from the other end of the table, and Takeda just kept smiling as he looked straight at the other male, their eyes meeting. Ecstasy rained on them as they flashed each other even bigger grins, continuing to munch on their respective dishes. When the two finished, Ukai checked his phone and saw the time. He shot up from his seat, dragging the noirette along with him.

There was only an hour left of their trip. He wasn't going to waste any time now!


Yawns broke out when the bus came to a halt, Ukai hollering at the teenagers to hurry on and head home. It was late at night when Karasuno's Volleyball Team arrived back at the school. Takeda did his best to shush the blonde, murmuring apologies to his students as one by one, everybody filed out into the cold winter air. They pulled their jackets over their arms and separated into their respective groups, saying lazy goodbyes accompanied by many more yawns.

Soon enough, mimicking the night before their match against Shiratorizawa, Kageyama and Hinata were alone gazing out into the land beyond. Stars brightly shone above them as a wind picked up. This didn't deter them though. The duo was still warm from the trip back, and each other's company was always enough in the first place.

Serenity settled in between them until Kageyama broke the silence, "So, dumbass, want to talk about how stupid you were today? You almost broke yourself several times. Could you imagine how everybody was feeling?"

Hinata, with his bike clutched by his side, recoiled dramatically before retaliating, "You speak for yourself Yamayama-kun!" Kageyama's eye twitched at the nickname before Hinata carried on. "I could also say you were just as dumb, because a lot of the time you were going so fast that you almost lost control. Actually, if I remember correctly... at one point you even fell and one of your skis went flying!"

"Ugh! Dumbass, I obviously did that on purpose! How else would my ski have went flying?!"

"That doesn't even make any sense! I don't believe you Kageyama-kun."

Finally, the setter snapped, and with a roar he grabbed a fistful of Hinata's hair and yanked. The ginger gave a yelp that was attached with a bout of laughter, and then he lightly kicked Kageyama in the shins. Being the person he is, the noirette didn't let go and instead pulled Hinata closer until their eyes were basically grazing the other's, unblinking and fierce.

A few long seconds passed before they burst out into chuckles, limbs still entangled.

Soon after regaining their breaths, their vision flicked back to the view displayed to them, millions of lights from houses, apartments, and side-walks painting a pretty picture. The flashy wind turned into a low breeze, making orange curls and black strands shift every few seconds. All the trees surrounding the duo have lost their leaves by now, but if it were summer, those emerald-green leaves would surely be singing a rustling symphony.

This time, Hinata is the one to break the comfortable stillness, "Hey, do you think we'll ever be able to fly as high as those mountains?" Kageyama's first intention was to laugh, because no, that's technically impossible. He swallowed those words when he identified the genuine tone in the ginger's voice, realizing that Hinata meant more than anything literal.

"If we're talking about real-life circumstances, I'd say no because we're not just going to grow wings." Hinata opened his mouth, thinking he needed to clarify, but the setter shut him up by raising his voice, indicating he wasn't finished. "But I know what you mean, so trust me a bit, dumbass Hinata." He struggled to get this next bit out, not sure how to phrase it, "I—uh, well—because... because we're the... the... the 'Freak Duo' I do think we can fly to the top. I mean, look at how far we've come and it's not even Christmas yet!" He exclaimed and looked pointedly at his partner, waiting for a certain reaction.

A fond smile slipped onto Kageyama's lips when he saw tears welling up in those clementine eyes. The smile turned into a smirk before he added hastily, "But I'll probably get to the top before you do, dumbass."

Hinata jolted and glared—half-glared really, he was still touched by Kageyama's sincere words—at the other male, kicking him in the shins again.

"You just said we're a duo!"

"...Yeah. We... um... we are. But you listen up, okay dumbass? Because I'll only say this once! We'll only get to the top through lots of practice, so don't go slacking just because I said some cool ass stuff, y'hear? We're going to get to the top... together. So... so I can't have you falling behind now." The last bit came out unintentionally halfheartedly, as if it were an excuse, a cover-up for the teen's bare words. Hinata caught the hesitation and a tiny gurgle left his mouth, euphoria swirling all around him.

It's moments like these that reminded the middle-blocker of their strong bond. Kageyama cared about him, and Hinata knew, he always knew. Kageyama showed his compassion in his own little awkward ways, but it was worth it every time he'd witness these barely noticeable exchanges. If Hinata were to describe it, it'd be like that special encounter in a video game. It was always there, not always visible but appearing and making itself evident in the big picture.

He was just so, so lucky to have this dork as his partner. They lifted each other up to heights that the redhead could've never dreamed of. Nobody could push them as much as they pushed each other, and they valued the other's advice the most as well. Thinking back to all their disagreements and fights, even if they hurt him straight to the heart, he wouldn't have it any other way. Everything built them up to who they were now, packing on more and more trust each time.

Even as a team itself, Karasuno's Volleyball Team had come far. Through all the hardships, the losses, the wins, the practices—they've all come so far together. Hinata couldn't have wished for better comrades. He loved his team with all his being. He's glad he ended up with such amazing friends, when in junior-high he had close to none with the same shared passion.

Ah, the tears were pricking at his eyes again.

Hinata nodded at Kageyama's statement, words that didn't need to be voiced floating between them before he turned his head away, wanting a moment for himself. Kageyama let this happen and returned to looking out at the view. His expression was a bit embarrassed—not used to talking about things like this—but calm.

When a sniffle sounded from the smaller male beside him, Kageyama didn't feel alarmed or worried, knowing that they were most likely content tears. He merely wrapped a comforting—albeit a bit stiff—arm around Hinata as the boy whispered, "Y-yeah... one day, the crows will absolutely reach the top of the mountain."


Omake:

"Wow Ukai-kun! This pudding is really nice! It's got the right amount of sweetness to it, and it just melts in your mouth!"

"I would hope so. If I'm honest, it was kind of pricey." The blonde shoved a spoonful of the desert past his lips and hummed thoughtfully. "You're right though, it is nice."

Somewhere in Tokyo...

"Achoo!"

"Kenma, are you getting sick again? You just recovered... now that's just not fair," Kuroo said, crossing his arms dutifully. A cat-like grin soon made itself onto his face when he saw Kenma's little pout.

"I'm not sick, Kuro. It's just a sneeze."

"Whatever you say, Kenma. Whatever you say."

The blonde setter soon sneezed after the words came out of Kuroo's mouth.