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Midnight Belonged To Miracles

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Part III

 

 

 

Midnight Belonged 

 

 

 

To

 

 

 

 Miracles 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

 

1 Hour Before Midnight 

 

 

 

 

 

Kageyama’s hands looked like as if it had been painted by an artist. An artist that believed in bright colors, who believed in mess and terror.

 

I had to.

 

Kageyama was rocking back and forth in his chair.

 

I had to.

 

He was shaking and couldn’t stop his whirling mind.

 

I had to.

 

Hospitals were a lot messier at night than during the day. The lamp above Kageyama was blinking – sometimes brightening the whole waiting room, sometimes darkening it all at once. He knew how he looked like right now.

 

I had to.

 

A lot more people was brought in than what he had imagined. There were a lot of accidents.

 

I had to.  

 

There was a lot of people at the entrance when the ambulance brought him in and the child.

 

I had to.

 

Nurses and doctors rushed through the hall, most of them passing by usually took a peek at his hands.

 

Maybe, to all of them, he looked like someone who desperately tried to help someone and touched them in the process. That’s how he had his hands gotten painted by an artist. 

 

I 

 

had

 

to.

 

The lamp above Kageyama was blinking – sometimes brightening the whole waiting room, sometimes darkening it all at once. 

 

His hands showed their colors in the light.

 

Red.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

17 Hours Before Midnight

 

 

 

 

Kageyama woke up to silence in the morning. As he opened his eyes, the familiar void started to fill up his bones. It happened every single day. Every single quiet day.

 

He stood up and looked at his jersey that was lying on the top of his chair. 

 

Number 2.

 

Kageyama didn’t know when he started to hate his own jersey. Maybe after Oikawa went away with Iwaizumi. Maybe after Kageyama realized what really was happening in the team.

 

Maybe after he saw people showing their true skin. 

 

As he woke up, the usual lightness came back to his body. His hair was a mess – a couple of it blocked his view, got into his blue eyes.

 

He walked over to his window – his slow, gentle steps echoed in the room – and opened it, letting the fresh air caress his face.

 

It was a sunny day. He elbowed close to the windowsill and suddenly heard a loud music blast from the neighbor. 

 

Heavy metal. 

 

Kageyama rolled his eyes and shut the window. He moved towards the bathroom and brushed his teeth, washed his face, took a piss, washed his hands.

 

A routine with a companion called silence.

 

Kageyama hated it. He hated it – he was sure on his life that he will never hate something else more than this. 

 

He went back to his room and dressed up, packed his stuff for the match – the last thing being the jersey.

Kageyama touched it with his hands and dropped it into the sport bag, feeling disgusted. As he walked down the stairs he finally heard the first sound in this morning that came from his house and wasn’t caused by him.

 

A pen moving, carving words on a paper.

 

As Kageyama got to the end of the stairs, he caught the sight of Jun. She was writing something. She wore a black pencil skirt with elegant shoes and white blouse with a grey stripped blazer. Kageyama always made sure to be aware of what she wore.

 

Dark colored blazers – bad day.

 

Light colored blazers – important business day.

 

Stripped blazers – a very important day.

 

Kageyama swallowed and began to speak, “Good morning, Jun.”

 

Kageyama Jun looked up. Her blue gaze cautious, clever, stone cold. Her black hair was graciously made into a bun, resting close to her nape.

 

Kageyama was her spitting image. 

 

“Tobio,” she said and then stopped for a while. “You’re up early.”

 

Kageyama narrowed his eyes, clenching his fist. “Not earlier than you.”

 

Unfortunately.

 

Kageyama loved her once. He was her son after all. He was sure Jun loved him too. She was his mother after all. 

 

Kageyama was also sure Jun still loved him, she was just cautious to not show it. Because he didn’t need that love – she lost it the moment she introduced him.

 

Kageyama felt nauseous immediately.

 

“I need to go, I have five clients to work with today,” Jun said, staring at him. Kageyama raised an eyebrow – Jun was the CEO, there was no use to work so hard every single day. She was only doing this much because she didn’t want to be near him, and in all honesty, neither did Kageyama.

 

“I have a match today,” Kageyama said, not looking away. “I might arrive late.”

 

Jun blinked and put her hands together. “That’s not good,” she said looking away, biting her bottom lip, seeming to concentrate. “That’s really not good.”

 

Kageyama bit back his words and instead he said, “Why?” He was already getting agitated. 

 

Jun’s voice was filled with guilt. “I wanted to tell you tonight with Akihito,” Kageyama’s eyes twitched hearing his name. “But I guess, there’s no other way, I have to tell you now,” she finally looked back at him. “We’re going to get married.”

 

Kageyama gave out a disgusted smile, not missing a beat. 

 

“Of course you will,” he said quietly with venom. “I was curious when you’d drop this,” he started to shake his head, his eyes narrowed into mere slits. “I hope you make him happy, truly.”

 

Jun pressed her lips into a thin line. “He’s not bad, Tobio,” she whispered. “If you could just talk to him – once, just once. If you could just give him a chance–”

 

“Then what?” Kageyama said through his teeth. “Do you think I’d love him as much I love dad? Don’t make me laugh.”

 

Jun shook her head and took a step towards him. “That’s not what I said, I’m not asking that of you.”

 

Kageyama was fifteen and he was still taller than her – he used his height to look down on her, feeling a little joy.

 

“I hate him, Jun,” Kageyama said quietly. “You know I hate him, you know how much I hate him and you still do this.”

 

Jun’s eyes started to tear up and Kageyama didn’t care. “But I love him, and if I love him he can’t be bad, Tobio.”

 

Kageyama raised an eyebrow. “You loved dad too,” he answered.

 

Jun’s eyes softened as she reached to touch his hand. “And I still love him and he loves me too,” she said gently. “Just not like that. Not anymore.”

 

Kageyama pulled his hand away. “I hate you,” Jun flinched and Kageyama didn’t care. “You remind me every day just how much I hate you.”

 

And without a word, Kageyama left Jun. 

 

He didn’t care.

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

 

“A wedding, huh?” Kageyama Masashi sighed through the phone. “That must be rough for you, buddy.”

 

“Dad, who’s side you’re on?” Kageyama asked walking down the street. “This was not what I wanted to hear.”

 

His dad started to laugh making Kageyama smile. “I’m on Tachibana’s,” he said, still laughing. “That poor man, you are so cold to him, Tobio. Remember Shira’s party?” Shira, his dad’s sister. She was always throwing wild parties, living in Hong Kong. How could he forget? “You were glaring at him, scowling all the time.”

 

Kageyama clicked his tongue. “Don’t start.”

 

“Or else what?” His dad said back. “You come over here to Busan to kick my ass? You don’t have a plane, kiddo.”

 

Always bragging about his own plane. Smooth, dad, very smooth.

 

Kageyama grinned, adjusting his phone close to his ears. “You’re lucky I don’t, old man. You would have a competition if I did,” he laughed. “The Sunday’s grill party is still on?”

 

“It sure is,” he said. Kageyama could hear his smile. “I can’t wait to see you, I hate working so much. I’m bored.”

 

Kageyama started nodding, not believing a word. “You have grandpa there. There’s no way you are bored.”

 

“He fired ten people today,” he said quietly. “And me. Twice.”

 

Kageyama was surprised. “Really?” he asked. “Just twice? That’s weird.”

 

“I know, right?” he said. “I’m literally waiting for him to explode in every minute. I wonder when he’ll realize he can’t fire me.”

 

“Yeah,” Kageyama kicked a little rock and slipped his hands into the pocket of his jacket. “He always forgets you’re the boss now and he retired years ago.”

 

“I think he knows. He just doesn’t care,” he answered. “You should have seen him today during the meeting. I will never forget Chang’s face. It’s burnt into my mind.”

 

Kageyama didn’t even hesitate. “He brought a chocolate cake and ate the whole thing.”

 

“He brought a chocolate cake and ate the whole thing.”

 

Kageyama chuckled when he heard his dad sigh. “Touché, same old grandpa.”

 

It went quiet for a minute. His dad destroyed the silence.

 

He always did.

 

“Don’t be so hard on her, Tobio,” his dad began. “It’s okay to love someone else. I want her to be happy and I like Akihito. I mean, he has some bad jokes but he’s got nothing on grandpa. You would like him too, if you gave him a chance. Trust me on this.”

 

Kageyama was hesitating. “He’s not you,” he admitted quietly.

 

“He doesn’t have to be me, buddy,” his voice was gentle. “I know you’re afraid. This will change everything and – what if it turns out wrong? I know you’re asking these questions and I want you to know that it’s okay to be afraid.”

 

Kageyama took a deep breath. “It’s just – I hate her so much,” he said in a severe tone. “She never asked me if it’s okay, dad,” he let it out. “When you two divorced it really did a number on me. But I’m better now, I accepted it. That doesn’t mean I’m okay with another person joining–”

 

“And you don’t have to be,” his dad said carefully. “And if you say the same thing after you talked to him, gave him a chance, then I leave you alone and make sure she leaves you alone too, okay?”

 

Kageyama sighed because he knew there wasn’t any other way. “Okay,” he gave in. “Deal.”

 

“Alright, I gotta go. A situation is happening,” he said, Kageyama could hear shouting in the background. “Dad, you can’t punch him he’s taller than you and bigger too– oh my god,” something crashed.

 

Kageyama burst out laughing. “Okay,” he said. “Make sure to call Mr. Lim and tell me who won.”

 

Probably grandpa.

 

“Thanks reminding me,” he said, someone started to scream in the background. “Have a good match, talk later.”

 

Kageyama smiled and ended the call. 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––

 

 

The truth is that Kageyama didn’t hate his team. Hate is a strong word. 

 

Dislike was more fitting. 

 

But he knew that this ‘dislike’ thing was very much mutual.

 

He also knew Kindaichi was the one who probably hated him the most, Kunimi following him in the line. The line which was long and everyone seemed to want to get in. Kageyama was nowhere near stupid nor ignorant. He noticed that.

 

He just didn’t understand why.

 

He knew that sometimes he shouted, yes, he also knew that sometimes he might have taken things a bit far. But everything he had done – everything he was doing – was for them. To reach nationals, to make them better, making sure to have the option going to nationals.

 

One day, they’ll thank him. He was sure about that. 

 

But he knew there was something more to this ‘dislike’ because no one wanted to talk to him. Sit next to him, walk next to him.

 

And nowadays, they didn’t even want to accept his advices, his tips about volleyball, during practice or even matches.

 

It started to get annoying which made him angrier, which made everything harder as it seemed.

 

He only wanted to play volleyball. Forget his problems, forget Jun and him, and do what he wanted to do. He just wanted to relax with his favorite thing.

 

But no. 

 

He couldn’t even do that because some people just didn’t let him – didn’t want to cooperate and he had no idea why. 

 

He didn’t expect much today either. This match will be the same as the others.

 

Until it wasn’t.

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

He was looking at the three, as they ran away. He didn’t even know why he scared them off, why the scene pissed him off so much.

 

“I was going to tell them a thing or two myself, too,” Kageyama heard the boy’s voice.

 

He whirled around, looking hundred percent done. He really didn’t have time for this shit. “You’re not even physically ready. Don’t talk big,” he looked at him. 

 

Weak.

 

The first word that popped into Kageyama’s mind. 

 

“What are you doing here, anyway?” He looked away for a moment. He had good teammates, from what it looked like. “Making memories?” He almost snorted. 

 

I’m just wasting my time.

 

“I came here to win. Nothing else.”

 

That annoying, powerful voice again. 

 

Why does it piss me off so much?

 

He looked back and slowly walked towards him. “You make it sound easy,” Kageyama suddenly found himself intrigued. 

 

The other boy looked down. Kageyama only saw his ginger, curly locks for a moment.

 

“Sure, I’m not tall. But,” Kageyama turned surprised as he looked up again. “I can jump.”

 

He furrowed his brows.

 

This was not what he had expected.

 

“You can’t assume we’ll lose, as long as we don’t give up–”

 

Don’t give up.

 

Kageyama had enough, his blood pressure went up in a single moment. “Don’t give up,” he echoed, turning around. “That’s not as easy as it sounds.”

 

The boy spoke again. Powerful voice.

 

“The six of us – the six of us can finally play volleyball on the court. The first game,” Kageyama looked over his shoulder, “the second game, we’ll win and and keep winning,” their eyes met. “We’re going to give it our all.”

 

Give his all? 

 

Kageyama remembered his team. How they acted. 

 

No one can give their all except him. 

 

“The first game, second game,” he said, turning around, “the playoffs, the nationals,” he looked into the boy’s eyes as he promised. “I’m going to win them all.”

 

And for some reason, the other boy had the same intention in his eyes.

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Kageyama was so mad it wasn’t even funny. That boy – he had amazing abilities. His jump, his speed – everything was there what was needed. 

 

He just didn’t know how to use it.

 

And his own team was slacking off again – not doing anything, leaving him do all the work, not even trying to hit his tosses perfectly or close to perfect. And these guys didn’t have that boy’s speed or jumping power – they’re only, to simply put it, weren't enough.

 

But who would be enough?

 

“When will you guys get serious then?” He shouted, he wanted to punch him, he wanted to show him that the other boy was still better than them. 

 

Kageyama could see how the boy was trying hard – he was trying so much more than his team.

 

And then that jump happened.

 

That jump.

 

He was able to handle a toss like that – an almost impossible toss. 

 

High level of physical agility and reflexes. Finely tuned bodily control and his obsession with victory.

 

He’s got it all.

 

Kageyama walked close to the net,

 

But who would be enough?

and asked,

 

“What were you doing for the last three years?”

 

Why haven’t I seen you?

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

The boy was crying in front of him which was one of the weirdest thing he had seen. But for some reason, he felt oddly special. 

 

This day felt oddly special in a weird way. So he told him.

 

“If you want to be the last one standing, become strong,” he said and deep down he wanted him to be strong.

 

Deep down, Kageyama hoped.

 

I hope I will see you once more.

 

Kageyama turned around and walked away from him. That’s when he gave out a little smile.

 

Thank you for making this match different.

 

 

 

–––––––––––––––––––

 

 

Kageyama’s walk was quiet and the city was glowing. The night didn’t seem to be as dark with the lights.

 

The noise – the noise of the city, he liked that. Cars and people and music and sometimes nothing. 

 

During his walk home, he noticed a stray cat. Kageyama’s eyes widened – the animal looked fluffy. He wanted to pet it.

 

The cat hissed and ran away the moment he took a step.

 

Should’ve known.

 

Kageyama sighed and continued his walk. He noticed an old woman, trying to get across the street on the crosswalk. She looked pretty unstable.

 

He looked around. There were hundreds of people.

 

No one moved.

 

Kageyama walked towards her and gently asked. “Do you want help with getting across, ma’am?” 

 

The woman looked at him – her green eyes was so bright Kageyama almost wasn’t sure what he was seeing.

 

“What a kind, handsome, young man,” she said. Her voice cracked in the most gentle way as possible. “Thank you, I’d appreciate that.”

 

Kageyama nodded and offered his arm – she accepted it and when the lamp turned to green, they started walking.

 

“This is a unique day, young man,” she began, smiling. “A unique, special day.”

 

Kageyama sighed but tried to give her a smile. “It is for everyone it seems.”

 

They got to the other side of the street. She let go of him and bowed a little. Kageyama frowned – he should have done that first. He bowed back.

 

“Special day, indeed,” she said fondly. “See you later, Tobio.”

 

Kageyama froze.

 

He straightened his spine, but when he looked up the old lady was nowhere to be found. 

 

As if she had just vanished.

 

As if she wasn’t even there.

 

Kageyama continued to walk. But he couldn’t shake off the bad feeling.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––

 

 

He heard a child’s scream.

 

He flinched – looking around – he knew no one lived in this street–

 

Help, somebody h–!

 

The scream began again and Kageyama ran towards the voice as fast as he could. The closer he got to one of the alleyways, the quieter the scream got – he could only hear whimper and panting now which sent chills down to his spine, scaring him–

 

His blood ran cold.

 

The man was holding a knife, cutting the little child’s fingers–

 

Kageyama felt bile choke his throat–

 

“Hey,” his voice was shaking. The psychopath stopped cutting and slowly turned around–

 

Kageyama almost threw up.

 

There was something animalistic, something wrong in his eyes that made his skin crawl and his inside turn over–

 

“A witness,” the psychopath murmured. He sounded sane and it terrified Kageyama too much, too much–

 

He started to shake as the child – her mouth had a tape on it – found his eyes. She was crying, she looked like a ten year old.

 

Her eyes screamed.

 

Help me.

 

Kageyama was frozen – his grip on his sport bag was iron hold. 

 

“A witness, that’s not good,” and then the psychopath got up and turned around to walk

 

over

 

to

 

him.

 

Kageyama’s eyes widened, his adrenaline, his blood started to quicken, it pumped in his ears–

 

The child whimpered again and

 

Kageyama

 

looked

 

at

 

her.

 

Help me.

 

Such a raw, real emotion.

 

Help me.

 

And Kageyama looked back to the psychopath. The man had a nasty grin on his face, but his eyes followed his every little move, little wince or flinch.

 

The moment Kageyama ran to get help, he will slit his throat.

 

Someone might have heard the scream. They could be here at any moment.

 

But that would be too late.

 

Kageyama gripped his sport bag and narrowed his eyes, calmed down and cleared his head.

 

I can’t die here.

 

The child began to sob.

 

If I die here he takes her away.

 

The psychopath was waiting him to move – the knife in his hand was steady. 

 

I can’t die here.

 

Do it as if it was a match.

 

I can’t die here.

 

And suddenly everything was clear.

 

I need to win.

 

And Kageyama flinged his bag at him with a quick movement – the psychopath moved quickly, dodging it and then threw himself at Kageyama–

 

Kageyama leaned back – the knife almost ripped his chest open – and found himself on the ground. 

 

The knife was above his head – he grabbed the psychopath’s forearm and his other hand as well – trying to stop every idea he could pull off, putting every strength into his hold. He gritted his teeth and pushed – the end of the knife was between his eyes, only a few inches above his skull.

 

His saliva flowed out of his mouth – he shouted and his arms were shaking. He kicked with his right leg and tried to move his body, tried to flipping them over–

 

The psychopath lost his balance and Kageyama flipped them over. He took the knife out of his hand and with his heart, beating like violence, he grabbed the psychopath’s throat to hold him down.

 

And

 

then–

 

The light caught something in the corner of his eyes –

 

 He

 

had

 

 one 

 

more 

 

knife.

 

Kageyama grabbed the psychopath’s arm which held the knife – while he did that, his other hold on the psychopath’s throat began to loosen. His body was a shaking mess, he started to drain out–

 

If he stands up I’m over.

 

And then Kageyama suddenly felt calm. His own blood sang like an endless lullaby, the whole world went quiet.

 

All he heard was silence as his strength lost his purpose.

 

Complete silence.

 

I can’t

 

die

 

here.

 

And his hands were not shaking as he stabbed the knife into the psychopath’s skull.

 

The sound was the worst.

 

Or maybe the way he stopped moving while Kageyama quickly took the other knife and dropped it away.

 

Or when he looked down on his hands and finally realized what was on them.

 

Kageyama moved away from the corpse and vomited violently, struggling to empty everything.

 

After he did that three times – he looked back and noticed the little girl, her eyes was closed, she was breathing heavily.

 

Kageyama moved to get the other knife and he cut the ropes around her legs and hands, and removed the tape.

 

She couldn’t stop crying and moved close to Kageyama. He let her to hug him but felt disgusted

 

the moment

 

he felt another

 

human skin

 

against

 

his.

 

He needed to take her to a hospital.

 

Because no one had come here – even after hearing the scream minutes go.

 

No one came.

 

 

 

––––––––––––––––––––––

 

 

1 Hour Before Midnight 

 

 

 

 

Kageyama’s hands looked like as if it had been painted by an artist. An artist that believed in bright colors, who believed in mess and terror.

 

The lamp above Kageyama was blinking – sometimes brightening the whole waiting room, sometimes darkening it all at once. 

 

His hands showed their colors in the light.

 

Red.

 

He felt the bile again – threatening to rip him open – he buried his face into his hands, trying to hide, the blood on his hands had a disgusting smell–

 

“I told you we would meet again, Tobio.”

 

Kageyama looked up and saw the old lady. Her green eyes glowed and she had a quiet smile on her face.

 

Kageyama looked around and noticed that every people who had been moving and walking, stopped. As if the time was paused, as if it was frozen.

 

Only the blinking light changed – light and dark, light and dark.

 

Kageyama looked back at her and knew.

 

“Who are you?” He asked, his voice cracked.

 

She bowed. “You can call me Mitsuko,” she straightened her back. “Our life is somewhat similar.”

 

“It is?” Kageyama felt lightheaded.

 

Mitsuko nodded. 

 

Only the blinking lamp changed – light and dark, light and dark.

 

“I killed a long time ago to protect someone, too” she said, her voice sent cold towards his bones, it made him flinch. Especially the word killed. “People like us get a punishment for this. It seems my job will be inherited to you.”

 

Kageyama felt chills. “Punishment? What kind of punishment?”

 

Mitsuko gave him a kind smile.

 

Only the blinking lamp changed – light and dark, dark and light. Brightening the waiting room and darkening the room in the hospital.

 

“I sometimes wonder who created these powers, you know,” Mitsuko whispered, her green eyes never leaving his blue. “Was it God? Was it the Devil? I will never know. The one who was the previous us didn’t know either. She’s long gone by now.”

 

Kageyama’s eyes widened. “I don’t understand–”

 

Mitsuko grabbed his hand and pressed her forehead against the back of it.

 

The sign of utmost respect.

 

“You need to learn how to use it, Tobio,” Mitsuko whispered. “I give you thirteen days and after that it will be all yours and I can finally move on. It stays with you until you find someone else who can inherit it too.”

 

Kageyama’s breathing started to–

 

“Wait, what–”

 

And then for the last time, Mitsuko spoke, like a choir,

 

“If you once again reach midnight, you’ll be free of the time loop and your lesson has been learned.”

 

Only the blinking lamp changed – light and dark, light and dark.

 

And when it became light again,

 

both of them were gone.