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Kageyama spins the ball in his hands, closes his eyes and runs up to the serving line. With a well-practiced swing of his hands he first tosses the ball, then brings his other hand down to hit it. The ball rockets in a sharp line over the net and lands on the court with a thump -- in bounds, of course-- before rolling off and hitting the wall with a quiet thud and bouncing off of it to join the other volleyballs strewn about the floor.

The setter lands on the floor, breathing heavy as his gaze rests on the landscape in front of him, before raising an arm to wipe the sweat from his forehead. He'll call it a day now and return the key to Daichi and then head home. Kageyama takes a long drink from his water bottle, then heads off to find the ball cart.

He turns into the storage room at about the same time a ball cart is being pushed out of it.

Kageyama makes a small sound of surprise as he stumbles backwards and falls rear-first onto the wooden floor.

He hears a small laugh and a "Sorry, are you alright?"

Kageyama looks up, and blinks in confusion as he recognizes just who the person pushing the cart is.

"Ennoshita-senpai?" He asks at about the same time a hand is outstretched in front of him. Kageyama stares at it.

Ennoshita smiles at him. "Let me help you up."

Oh. Kageyama nods dumbly, and takes the offered hand. He feels a little stupid; he blames it on the daze he was in after falling backwards.

"Thanks, Ennoshita-senpai." He pulls himself upright to a standing position. Where's Sawamura-senpai?" Kageyama asks, "I need to return the key to him..."

"Oh, about that, you don't have to worry too much." Ennoshita says, and lets Kageyama's hand go once the younger setter is properly on his feet again. "He told me he had to return a little earlier, and said to tell you you can give the keys to me. But you have to tidy up the gym, though." Ennoshita continues, and gestures at the copious amount of volleyballs littered across the gym floor.

"I know that!" Kageyama answers, realizes he probably sounded too harsh, then bites his lip. "I mean. I know I have to tidy that up." He repeats, trying to keep his tone less sharp.

Ennoshita's lips quirk into another smile. Kageyama can't really decipher what that means. Sugawara smiles a lot, too. Maybe Ennoshita is like that as well. Is that a good thing? Was his slip unnoticed?

"...Yes, Kageyama?" Ennoshita's voice derails his train of thought.

"Um, what?"

"You were staring." Ennoshita says, a hint of what Kageyama thinks might be... amusement? He'd been caught staring openly at Ennoshita-senpai. He didn't just slip, he slipped and fell into a hole.

"Oh. Sorry." Kageyama murmurs, looking away and going to gather the volleyballs instead.

"It's okay." Kageyama hears from behind him; Ennoshita walks up next to him. "Was it something I said?"

"No! No, that's not it." Kageyama says, stumbling over his own words. "I.. no, nothing."

"If you say so." There it is again. Another smile. He can't tell what this means, either. Smiles are supposed to be good; he's done nothing particularly good, so what does it mean? This time, however, he stops himself before he can stare too long, and goes back to gathering volleyballs. Ennoshita bends down, and does the same.

"Wait, you don't have to..." Kageyama begins, but is cut off by Ennoshita. "It's quicker if the two of us do it. I'll wait for you to shower, and then we can leave together."

Kageyama mulls over the words. There is an ounce of truth in them; he doesn't want to have to hold Ennoshita-senpai off longer than he has to anyway. With two pairs of hands, they make quick work of the balls and soon enough Ennoshita's pushing the cart into the storage room while Kageyama works on taking down the volleyball net.

"You can go ahead and shower." Ennoshita tells him as he's about to bring in the rolled up net to the storage. "I'll take that." Kageyama nods, and heads off to the bathrooms.


Kageyama emerges from the shower room fifteen minutes later, hair lightly soaked and dressed in his uniform. He spots Ennoshita standing at the doors to the gym, and jogs up to him, keys dangling from the ring held between his fingers.

"Ennoshita-senpai, here are the-- oh."

The rest of Kageyama's sentence tapers off into silence as he stares at the skies above them; it's a dark gray, and now that the doors are open he hears the low, angry grumbling overhead.

Kageyama outstretches his hand; it's met with water droplets, drumming lightly and rapidly on his palm, quickly soaking it. He withdraws his hand, shaking it dry and frowning.

"It's raining." Ennoshita sighs, taking out an umbrella and opening it. Kageyama stares at the sky like it's personally offended him.

"You don't have an umbrella?" Ennoshita asks.

"...No." Kageyama sighs, resignation in his tone. "I didn't check the forecast today."

"We can share, if you'd like." Ennoshita offers.

Wait, really? Do we live in the same direction?" Kageyama asks, eyes wide.

"I don't know, but we can walk and see."

Kageyama nods, and walks under Ennoshita's umbrella. "Thank you, Ennoshita-senpai." Kageyama murmurs as they step into the rain.

"No problem." Ennoshita says, shifting the umbrella to cover both of them.

It's a fairly big umbrella. It manages to shield the both of them from the downpour, but not from the silence that descends over them, draping over them like a blanket.

The trickling sound of rain and the rhythmical splash of their footsteps against the puddles forming in the rain poured into the gap in conversation, and for a moment neither boy said anything.

Kageyama looks at anywhere but his upperclassman standing at his right, suddenly hyper-aware of the distance (or rather, a lack of it) between them. He's never stood so close to someone before; it feels a little odd. He too notices the growing silence; don't people make small talk, sometimes? Ask about the weather?

But why would he ask something so obvious? Volleyball club? No, they were in practice together. School? Why would a second year be interested in a first year's classes?

"What's your favorite food."

...Nobody can't say he didn't try.

Ennoshita lets out a laugh. "Pudding." He answers. "Why do you ask?"

Why did he ask? 'I'm trying to make small talk' sounds like a stupid answer.

Instead, Kageyama says: "I just wanted to know."

"Yours?" Ennoshita asks in return, surprising Kageyama. He realizes he's still not looking at Ennoshita. Eye contact, you make eye contact when you talk.

He turns his head to the right stiffly to find that Ennoshita is already looking at him. His uppeclassman is smiling again, waiting for his answer.

"Curry." He answers. "With egg on top." He says as an afterthought.

Smiling is a good sign. Maybe asking about food isn't such a bad idea. He feels like he's achieved something.

"I see. Where's your house, Kageyama?"

"It's still a little far... Yours, Ennoshita-senpai?"

"It's not too far away." Ennoshita says. "I can drop you home, if you'd like?"

Oh no. He can't keep thinking of questions. This is harder than keeping up a rally. Better stop while he's ahead.

"No! No, this is fine, we can walk until your intersection, or something. I can just use my sports bag."

Ennoshita raises his eyebrows, but doesn't press.

"I don't mind, really, but if you insist, Kageyama."

They lapse into silence again, and Kageyama averts his eyes from Ennoshita. The conversation is over, so he doesn't have to keep his eyes on his upperclassman. He finds that he wants to maybe talk a little more-- he knows so little of Ennoshita. They don't talk too often, and he's going to spend another year with the wing spiker. He might need to communicate with Ennoshita in the future, too-- but words fail him, and he can't come up with anything else.

The silence doesn't last nearly as long as the first one, however, as Ennoshita breaks it with a "My house is to the left from here. Are you going to be okay?"

His house is a little far. But he doesn't want to inconvenience Ennoshita, and he doesn't think he can stand the silence any longer, either. It's stifling and awkward. He wonders if Ennoshita felt the same.

Kageyama raises his bag above his head and steps out from under the umbrella. He makes a face when the water starts to seep into his uniform; the fabric is clinging to his skin. He hates the feeling.

Yeah. I'll see you tomorrow, Ennoshita-senpai."

Ennoshita waves at him.

"Dry off when you go home."

"I will." Kageyama answers, already heading out into the rain.

This time, he doesn't turn back to check what expression Ennoshita is wearing.

If he had to guess, though, it's probably another smile.


The next day finds him in bed with a stuffy nose and a heavy head, swaddled in blankets. His mouth feels like it's stuffed with cotton.

That afternoon, his phone goes off, and he blearily checks it.

From: Ennoshita-senpai
You're absent today. I was told you were sick. Did you catch a cold? Hinata says he'll drop by and send you today's schoolwork. Get well soon.

Kageyama puts his face in his hands. What expression did Ennoshita have when he sent that? Even more confusing than that, however, is why does he want to know? He texts back a quick "Thank you" after much deliberation, and falls back to his bed with a flop. 

He's not sure what, but something's changed.

Kageyama shuts his eyes, and tries to sleep. Maybe it's just the cold making him think too much.