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At the end of a dream

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Everyone has a history, a past, a life that was before what they are now. Whether they are a babe or near the end of their life, a history is there, remembered over time, snippets showed.
There’s no telling who they once were or who they will be, only connections through other and memories will they be know.

It had started happening to Tobio in his last year of junior high. When suddenly the sound of the volleyball being severed by a service ace didn’t give him the same rush of adrenaline, but instead made him jump out of his seat and his temples pound.
At first it was easy for Tobio to pass it off as nothing, but as the headaches and the reactions that had been triggered by loud noises made him sleep less, more cranky, and that lead to him falling out with his team, till the day he got called off the court.
Tobio’s mother was contacted after that. First by the coach, and then by his homeroom teacher when he started slipping in his grades. With that, his mother took the time out of her schedule to take him to their GP, which made Tobio feel guilty for taking away time form his mother’s already hectic life. When he voiced his thoughts she just smiled brightly and told him ‘not to worry’.
He felt sick when he walked into the reception room. Before the colourful posters about a person’s past life never bothered him. Tobio had always thought he would be old when he finally got them, after his time of playing volleyball. Now they made him want to puke. The feeling of his mother’s cold hand running through hair was a comforting feeling. So he sat there, next to his mother with her right hand in his hair and he watched as her left filled out the form the woman behind the desk had given her to fill out.
When he finally heard his family name called Tobio felt his heart skip a beat. He did not want to find out what was happening, although in the back of his mind he knew. He knew and he didn’t want to think about what it meant. So instead he watched the way his mother walked. Tobio admired the way she held herself, head held tall as if to see the heavens. Tobio wanted to be so very small again right now. So that he could fit into his mother’s lap as the doctor asked questions.
‘How long have you been having headaches?’ – ‘Why haven’t you been sleeping?’ –‘What is it you’re seeing?’ – ‘Can you see anything with clarity?’—Tobio didn’t feel comfortable admitting out loud why he didn’t sleep, that when he closed his eyes all the saw was grey sky’s waiting to open. That he saw crows flying overhead, how the crows were free and they weren’t although he couldn’t recall just who they were. So Tobio answered as vaguely as he could and in some cases lied to the kind man sitting in front of him.
When the doctor finally got through all the questions he had for Tobio and when Tobio had convinced him that he wasn’t lying through his teeth, the doctor told his mother to let him stay home for a week. No loud noises and no strenuous activities, and if Tobio couldn’t sleep, he wrote a prescription for some low strength sleeping pills.
The drive home was long and quiet and Tobio knew that his mother knew had had been lying. He had a tell she told him once. That he would bit his lips.
“What would you like to eat? Curry? I have the rest of the day off.” His mother’s sweet bell-like voice flowed down the hall as she walked to the kitchen. If anyone had asked him earlier what he would have liked to eat for dinner it would have been curry. Now he could only taste the smell of over burnt food and the scent strawberry pocky being too close to his nose for comfort made him feel just as sick as he had felt in the doctor’s office.
“No thank you. Could we have pork buns instead? The ones they sell at the convenience store?” Tobio knew it would be upsetting towards his mother to ask for food form the store when she had offered to cook, but he knew pork buns took a while to make and all Tobio felt like doing was sitting down with his mother and watching those English documentaries with the name who had been made a Knight Bachelor to the Queen. Although he couldn’t understand half of what was being said. His mother took it upon herself to translate for him.
With a nod of understanding she walked towards him and picked up her bag for the hook it was hanging off, kissed his head and locked the door behind him. Tobio was sure at moments like this people would tell their friend what is happening and how they feel. Tobio picked up his phone and opened up his messages when he realised he had no one to talk to, except for maybe his grandmother, but she would be at bingo now and he felt awkward leaving a message on her voice mail. But Tobio stood there looking at his phone, he knew he wanted to talk to someone. But he didn’t know who they were not in this life or the last. So Tobio got his quilt of his bed, pulled out the documentaries for his mother to pick one and curled up in a cocoon that was his quilt.
Tobio woke to a soft voice in his ear, it wasn’t his mother’s voice it was too timid and lack the self confidence that his mother’s held. In a half wake haze Tobio could hear the voice telling him to ‘Breath, slowly in and out. It’s okay nine. Deep breaths in and out slowly.’ But when his eyes and mind came to full awareness it was in fact his mother leaning over him, telling him she got the pork buns to eat and how it was cute he had wrapped himself up like that. But Tobio could only faintly her words as his ears rang and his eyes started to sting. When she noticed his tears, his mother rushed to his side the food forgotten on the floor in her haste. Flooding him with questions of ‘are you okay?’ – ‘do I need to call anyone?’ and – ‘please tell me what’s wrong’ – and Tobio doesn’t answer immediately. Focused on the sweet, shy voice telling him to breathe, so he breaths, in time with the whispers of his memories.
“I think I was loved – loved before I mean.” He can feel, hear his own voice thick with tears as he looks up at his mother and somehow his tears have fallen onto her face, but things can’t fall up can they?
They both end up on the couch. Her hand returned to his hair and his head in her lap. Tobio feels lie a small child again and it is nice. One of the documentaries is on and Tobio thinks it’s called ‘The Dragons of Galapagos’ with he thinks is stupid because there are no dragons in it, to which his mother told him that there are large lizards that are known as dragons.
So Tobio fell asleep to the sound of a foreign language and the shy voice in the back of his head telling him to breathe in even measures.

 

*

 

 

Yamaguchi had been having nightmares, nightmares of bombs and he would wake up with a pain in his chest and a cold sweat on his brow. But he had been having the nightmares for a while now, so what was it to wake up with one more? Yamaguchi could tell his parents were getting concerned. He would take longer showers to wash away the clammy feeling his skin never seemed to let go of, like being outside to long on a hot summer’s day, and his eyes had dark bags under now, something which he told his parents that it was because of school and he was staying up late so he could study more and improve his grades.
When his mother had brought up the fact that Yamaguchi hadn’t been sleeping well up to Tsuki to bring his grades up, Tsuki had given him a sharp look. It was then for on that Tsuki had been giving him weird looks.
“Is there something on my face?” He had asked one day of some not-so- subtle glance thrown his way.
“No. I was just thinking about something,” Tsuki had passed to him, whilst looking through the book they had to read for a class assignment. “It’s about what your mother had said, about your grades.” Yamaguchi felt his heart tighten. He knew that Tsuki would pick up on it. Sure Yamaguchi knew his great where never as good as Tsuki’s were but they weren’t bad and the lie he had told to his parent’s to calm them could only go so far.
“I’ve been having nightmares,” That’s as far as Yamaguchi would allow himself to tell. He knew he wouldn’t want Tsuki to know the things only he saw when he closed his eyes. “I think I should suggested asking Mum to take me to the doctors.” If only to find out I’m not losing my mind. Were the thoughts that went un-said. A nod form Tsuki was all he got in response. His friend had already buried his face back into the book, not allowing Yamaguchi to view his expression.
When his mother had found out that Yamaguchi she was worried at first. But her mind seemed to shift once she had thought about it, and suddenly Yamaguchi saw his mother walking around humming to herself around the house.
When the date for the appointment came up, his mother was angry. It turned out she had been called into work for an emergency as she got ready muttering about ‘dumb children and their dumb stunts.’ So his father had taken him. The man appeared to be more nervous than Yamaguchi felt. His clutch control was all over the place whilst he was driving. Upon getting there, the both of them were directed to the doctor’s office. In the room sat a young woman, Yamaguchi suspected she was only a couple of years older than Tsuki’s brother.
She had gestured for them to sit down, and picked up a clipboard from next to her. Yamaguchi felt his heart trying to call its way up his throat. He was starting to panic, he didn’t want his father to hear what he had to say, not just yet.
As if sensing his discomfort, the doctor passed a glance over to Yamaguchi’s father.
“This might sound like a impudent request, but I think your child might feel better if you’re not in the room, some kids find it hard to talk with their parents still in the room” her tone was polite and judging by the almost vacant look his dad had, he was a relived as Yamaguchi was to leave the room. Once the door shut, he felt his heart calm down, and he felt it easier to speak.
“Would you feel more comfortable to speak now?” the same politeness was directed at him. A nod.
“I don’t – don’t know how to describe this,” hand are being wrung in his lap “But a month maybe now? A month ago I started to have nightmares. Violent one, one that brings me to with a pang of pain at night. And there’s no sound only colours. But I’ve had nightmares before, because of bulling, but they never looked like this, felt like this.” Yamaguchi heard his voice growing desperate and looked up at from his hands, where they had become a mess of where they started and ended form each other. It was comforting to see that she was only looking at him, not using the pen and paper in her hand in the slightest way.
“I see. Now has anything happened to stress you out in this past month?” A shake of his head for an answer. The rest of the questions were question about his parents, about school, as well as the doctor giving him some tests, that required Yamaguchi to answer a series of questions and on which had ink blots. When she stood up and went to the door, Yamaguchi thought the worst. That he was crazy and now she had to be the bearer of bad news. But she walked in with his father, she all but wrote on her pad and said they were from some low strength sleeping pills to help with the nightmares.
Yamaguchi had found the sleeping pills helped. More often than not he woke up only with faint wisps of colours from his vision. A pale yellow and deep blue had flood his sight as he awoke form sleep and left him with a pleasant feeling.
During the holidays between junior high ending and high school was about to start was when Tsuki had first started to remember. It had been quiet confronting, because where Yamaguchi had been a subtle thing, where it progressed until he needed answers but with Tsuki it was fast and hard hitting. One moment they had been talking the next Tsuki had curled up on his floor and clutching his head at the temples. Yamaguchi was told that he had to go to the hospital. Something about the memories faster than what the mind as their age could handle, causing pain. Akiteru had told him that he had to be put under sedation and had to stay the night to be watched.
Yamaguchi felt like he dodged a heavy blow. He knew that if what had happened to Tsuki had happened to him, Yamaguchi reckons that his mind might have shattered.
By the time the new school year had started Tsuki had recovered and the ordeal had left no lasting effects on him and the new school year starts Yamaguchi feels some hesitation about entering the Karasuno Volleyball club. No the fact that it was a Volley ball club, Yamaguchi knew that he would be placed on the bench. He was hesitant about the crows. How the birds he knew this school was named after were free and they could fly at any time, whilst he was stuck to the ground. Maybe that was why he decided to go to Karasuno. So he could gain the wings of freedom, this time with two full strong wings, to on bent wing he shared with Nine.
Wait. Nine? Yamaguchi stopped walking on his way to see the third years. Who is Nine? Yamaguchi had no answers in his memory, so with a worried glance he continued walking with Tsuki.

 

*

 

Kageyama had no idea why he had to be paired with this idiot named Hinata. He was wrong in so many ways he was too excitable, too happy, too open and he wouldn’t shut up. At least the voices in his head gave him space. They knew when he needed to hear someone kind, and when he needed time to think. But Hinata didn’t know, he just kept carrying on.
Kageyama could hear the voice in the back of his head laughing at him. The male voice was laughing at him, while the female voice was telling him why he had been put into this situation. He had to get along It’s not hard to get along if you give him a chance the sweet voice had said.
Kageyama wasn’t happy with the idea of trying to get along with Hinata, give him time sure. But right now he really didn’t think they could get along well, and besides Hinata just sucked at volley ball. It was appalling.
But they trained together during the day and at time into the night after school. At night he listened to the voices sometime he knew they were conversations that he had in his past. But most times they were words of encouragement. When that blond jerk Tsuki or so he was called spoke to them that night after school Kageyama felt so pissed. Why was he bringing up a bad part of his past? He was confused at the time but the damaged had been done and now he had the big blond jerk on his back about it.
When the smaller teen stepped out form behind blond jerk the male voice in the back of his head fell silent, so silent that he wondered if it was never there to begin with, while the sweet voice had a sharp intake of breath. Kageyama didn’t know why and when he tried to ask, he would get no answers. So instead of trying to focus on the problem that was inside his head, he focused on the problem out-side namely Hinata.
When it comes time for the three on three matches Kageyama is ecstatic with himself for being able to accurately pinpoint the spot for Hinata to hit it. Although he feels very nervous about how he closed his eyes. Because who the hell trusts someone 100% enough to close their eyes and hit a ball aimed for them? But it seems only the first time it work because after that Hinata ends up with a red face until they win the match. Kageyama feels a little numb, while Tanaka and Hinata are cheering with each other because they won.
Kageyama spares a glance to the other team and wants to say something to the one named Yamaguchi, but he can’t bring himself to, and besides their voices aren’t even the same.

The next month passes fast for Kageyama. The team gets their jerseys and he feels like someone is shitting on him when he gets his. He wants to ask someone to swap with him, but he knows that would be rude and the sweet voice is telling him to keep it, so he thinks he will. The team gets a new coach. Apparently the past coaches grandchild. Lately only the sweet voice has been talking to him, and at time she has sweet things to say about the coach.
More memories come and he now knows Yamaguchi, he know Twelve and Lisa and he remembers Five. The male voice is only now sparsely talking and only has a few words unlike the never ending babble that it was before. They have a practice match against Seijou and Kageyama get singled Owikawa. Asahi and Nishinoya come back to the team, it’s almost like their a pair the sweet voice tells him sadly one night. They have matches, both in practice and in tournaments. They lose against Seijou. When its Yamaguchi’s pinch serve Kageyama can’t help but feel worried, not that Yamaguchi will do poorly but that he might become too playful, like the voice in his head used to be. But the serve falls flat and Kageyama feels sorry for the boy.
They eat food and get told to get stronger, so with the tears in their eyes no one wants to admit they eat the food.
The next week Kikoyo come in with a mousey girl standing behind her. Her eyes are wide and hair so light. Kageyama feels nervous when her wide eyes land on him. He fears they might pop out. When her eyes shift to Yamaguchi she starts to cry. Ukai is so flustered when he tries to calm her down, almost looking used to it however, but he only seems to make the situation worse.
When her tears had calmed down to light sobs and sniffles, she had walked into the gym and right to Kageyama, she grabbed his hand, her hand was clammy with sweat and cold to the touch. The small girl had all but dragged him over to where Yamaguchi was standing and the words that come out of her mouth give Kageyama what feels like a heart attack.
“I remembered you. Nine, Twelve.” With her tears still flowing she hugs them both and Kageyama starts to cry. He can’t help it. He knows these two and one of them remembers him. When he feels Yamaguchi grab onto the back of his shirt, he does what he promised himself what he wouldn’t do until he knew that Yamaguchi remembered him. Remembered them. So he pushes slight away from Lisa’s grasp and pushes his ear to Twe – Yamaguchi’s chest and listens. And he cry’s even more, because there is the strong thumping of his heart. Beating loud and alive he’s not slowly losing his warmth on the warm summer ground with a bullet through his chest.
And suddenly there’s laughter. Pure happy laugher that’s coming from above him. Lisa and Yamaguchi are laughing and somewhere in the back of his mind he knows that this girl isn’t Lisa but it’s hard to think of her but Lisa and she hasn’t introduced herself yet. Their laughing because their hair is brushing each other’s cheeks in a way Kageyama knows all too well that their ticklish there. Then Lisa stops laughing. Her face flushes red and she sinks to floor, managing to bring both Yamaguchi and himself down to the floor with her.
“Lisa what’s wrong?” Comes Yamaguchi’s voice above him. There’s a muffled reply which Yamaguchi deciphers and laughs again on a melody of laughter.
“She says she’s embarrassed, because there are so many people.” Yamaguchi tells him with a laugh on his lips. So Kageyama replies with a smile the leads his head down and gently pulls her arms away like he did so many times in the past when none of them could sleep and Lisa’s mother kept up her frantic, deranged texting.
Someone behind then clearing their throat startles Kageyama so much that he drops Lisa’s hand down back onto her face with no gentleness. A turn of the head reveals it as Daichi, who is standing there looking very uncomfortable. Until Hinata jumps in with a “Oh look Kageyama can smile like a normal human being.” And Kageyama wants so hard to get up and grasp that annoying orange head, but resists because Lisa and Yamaguchi are still holding onto him. So instead he just glares, making Hinata hide behind Tanaka.
Now Lisa’s skin feels hot under Kageyama’s hand. A blond head and a loud Voice broke up the silence that had fallen over the team.
“Leave them be. Can’t you lot see they just had a touching reunion. Now Li – Miss would like to introduce yourself?” Ukai’s normally loud voice was clam when addressing Lisa. More than likely not wanting to make the girl break out into tears. With a muffled voice Lisa replies
“Yachi Hitoka, and I’m here to see about being the new manager for the boys Volleyball club.” And Kageyama can already hear Yamaguchi muttering ‘Hitoka’ under his breath. A quiet pause as Daichi turned to Kikoyo as if looking for her signal of approval, in which a silent conversation took place between the two, when Daichi nodded as he turned to them and gave the now named Hitoka a thumbs up, her face just lit up.
“Well I think we should call it a day, I hardly think anything more will get done,” Coach Ukai had said as he turned to face the rest of the team “Isn’t that right Sphinx?” He added as he walked away, laughing at a joke only he got.
Then the doors had been slammed by someone wanting to make their presence known.

*

When Takeda-Sensei announced they were going to go to Tokyo for a practise match, Yamaguchi felt Kageyama tense under his hand, and he knew why, who would want to go back after all that happened? However that was shortly lived as the first and second years had crowed around the three of them still on the floor.
“Who’s Nine and Twelve?” A confused Hinata asked them as he joined them on the floor. Yamaguchi shifted so he wasn’t lying on top of Hitoka and Kage – Tobio and between the two of them they sandwiched Hitoka in-between them.
“Nine is Tobio and I’m Twelve” Yamaguchi supplied happy, just glad at the fact that they were alive and together. A snort was heard from Tsuki, probably making fun of their jersey numbers.
“But what with that reaction? The crying, then the head-to-chest and then the laughing?” Nishinoya piped up, joining Hinata on the floor and knocking their knees together. A tense silence fell between the three of them and the rest. Yamaguchi felt Hitoka being pressed more into his side. A glance at Tobio confirmed that he was the one doing the pushing.
“That’s a story for another day.” Hitoka told them with a nervous laugh. Yamaguchi started to lean his head on top of Hitoka’s, even they weren’t close in this life as they were in the last, Yamaguchi knew that if Hitoka was like Lisa, she would shove his head off if she wanted nothing to do with him. She didn’t.
“But still, Kageyama smiled! And it didn’t look scary!” Tanaka took another jab at Tobio and his smile. He felt Hitoka shift under his head in a motion to turn and look at Tobio. Yamaguchi just smiled, not at anyone or anything. He was just giddy on the feeling of being alive.
“Arata has a nice smile though. So I don’t understand what you mean.” Hitoka replied confused. Laughter broke out between the team mates, leaving Hitoka’s ears turning red.
“Hitoka. Tobio’s smile is nothing like it was before. It looks like the time he ate your curry and tried to tell you it was good. But his smile looks like that all the time now.” Yamaguchi told her, lifting his head of Hitoka’s to watch her reaction.
“No mention of curry. I can’t look stomach curry or strawberry pocky anymore.” Tobio suggested with a blanched completion. At that Yamaguchi laughed harder. His head leaning over to land on Tobio and Hitoka’s thighs where they wedged together.
“That’s why had you eat first,” Yamaguchi told the flesh of their pressed thighs. “I can still eat them,” A startled sound was heard from Hitoka at the mention of her cooking skills. A grunt was heard from behind the three of them enjoying each other’s company. Yamaguchi lifted his head and looked over to see Tsuki looking at them like he did when his mother had mention that he wasn’t sleeping all those moons ago. “Tsuki are you alright?” Yamaguchi questioned looking over at the blond.
“Nothing. It’s just now I know who Nine is.” Tsuki replied, almost with a bite to his voice. And so they sat there until Dachi called them to move so he could lock the gym up.
That night Yamaguchi went home with two important numbers stored safely in his phone.

*

Hitoka was nervous. Hinata had approached her with and offer to join the Volleyball club as a manger, and well, now a pretty third year was standing in front of her asking to walk with her and everyone was staring.
But she went, because she had seen the boy who had eyes like ice and one who had a rare smile like the sun belong in that club, and she knew that if she could get a good look at them she would know if they were Nine and Twelve.
When she got there Hitoka felt her eyes well, suddenly the room full of strangers didn’t matter to her, just that, yes, Nine and Twelve were standing there, so she started to cry, for a life they didn’t have and that her two boys were taken from her only after a short year together. When a blond man who smelt so familiar with his lingering scent of cigarette smoke Hitoka cried harder, because what were the chances that Shibazaki was here too?
So Hitoka felt contend just to sit there and listen to their voices flood her ears, as the two of them talked about her bad cooking. And as Hitoka went home that night she listen to the songs from a cold land that she had downloaded before coming to Karasuno.
When her mother had questioned her mood Hitoka had flinched. Although she knew her mother was sane and loved her, she still had a lifetime of memories with her mother tormenting her. Hitoka just replied that she met some people she hadn’t seen in a while. That night Hitoka Slept with her phone to her chest and the memory of Tobio and Tadashi’s bodies pressed against hers.

When the time came for the team to go to Tokyo Hitoka felt very nervous. Of course she would visit their graves, but it felt weird, going with the Karasuno team and Tobio and Tadashi themselves. She looked at her phone to check the time, the team was to gather at the train station and Hitoka had arrived early, Hitoka opened her messages and scrolled through the large amount of messages that had been shared between the three of them.
Hitoka was focuses on her phone that when Hinata poked her in the shoulder she almost dropped her phone and launched herself in the direction of the train. Hinata has laughed and joked with her until everyone else arrived and they got on the train. Even though Hitoka could hear Tadashi and Tobio talking around and to her, she wasn’t paying attention. Wondering how she could talk to Ukai and then slip away before the training stared.
It turned out that Hitoka didn’t need to ask and slip away secretly. When they had gotten off the train Ukai had declared that he wanted to go somewhere, and that the rest of the team could go to Nekoma of come with him. Three of the second years and Kikoyo and Takeda-sensei had headed to Nekoma to set thing up and introduce themselves.
Ukai had told the team that he wanted to buy a particular brand of smokes you could only get in Tokyo that happened to be right next to the lower shop Lisa used to shop at for flowers. The woman was still the same who ran the shop as Hitoka remembered, but she had aged significantly. Many years had been added to her body, face and her hands that she would so gently hand the flowers over with such care.
“Why are you shopping for flowers, Yachi?” Hinata asked. Peering down at the flower from where he stood next to Tobio. She felt her-self startle at the question that was aimed at her. She could feel the teams glances on her back, and Ukai’s glances at her.
“Uh… There for some….. Friends I’m going to visit. Hinata.” She replied evenly trying to calm her heart down. When Hitoka got to the store, the woman gave her a bright smile, then a questioning glance as she had so many people behind her. But regardless of how weird Hitoka appears to her, her smile is still as big and bright as when Lisa first came to the shop.
“What can I get for you? And maybe your friends?” Her voice was a little raspier than what Lisa remembered.
“Could I please get three bouquets? Two of them with Amaryllis, white Carnations, Cosmos, Forget-Me-Nots, Lilac, Holly, Zinna and yellow Tulips? And for the third could I please have Carnations, Lavender and Poppies?” Hitoka recited the list of flowers she once bought every month. The woman’s hands still, wide eyes look up to her almost as if she saw a ghost in front of her.
“Lisa?” The woman questions. Hitoka can feel he eyes go wide and a nod. A yes. A gathering of people behind her. “Of course it’s you, Lisa, Who else would buy all these flowers together? Well child I hope you have a better life here than the last.” Her voice was kind, a little sad if anything Hitoka found.
Pulling the money out of her purse to pay for the flowers made the woman fluster about. Whilst wrapping the flowers and tying them with ribbons.
“No, these flowers are on the house, because of our happy reunion!” She putted around the back of her shop for a bit. Coming back with two masks in her hands. A yellow and a blue pair. “If anything I’ll charge you $10 for these. These are hard to find now-a-days,” She pushed the masks and flowers into Hitoka’s hands and took the amount she wanted from her slack hand. “Off you go now, dear. Give them my wishes.” Shocked and knowing that the old woman would not let her pay the proper amount Hitoka turned toward the team that was behind her. They all looked a bit stunted as she felt.
Hitoka suspected that Ukai seeing the large unmoving group of teenagers in black standing at a flower shop was going to get some looks so he told them to move along down the street, in the direction Ukai knew to walk. Hitoka ran her fingers over one of the masks, it was a bit dusty, but it was whole and smooth.
“That’s a cool mask she gave you Yachi!” Nishinoya babbled exactly from behind her, only getting a glimpse at the mask.
“I remember those. I’m surprised she still had any left.” Ukai spoke form the front, briefly turning his head to look at the mentioned objects.
“You remember them?” Daichi asked Ukai. His face looked shocked at the mention.
“Yeah, sure do. In the past we had hell of time trying to catch the people who wore them masks. I ran right by one in an airport,” Ukai had a somewhat wistful look on his face “Any good that did though.” He spat to the sky.
The group walked in silence along the familiar route Hitoka remembered, until Tadashi pried the masks from her hands.
“Tobio, here. Put it on.” Hitoka saw the pre-offered hand hold out the mask to Tobio. Tadashi put the yellow mask on his face and started to run around, which got a shout of protest form Sugawara. Tobio was stared at the mask as he walked. A smile that Hitoka think about what Hinata had said pulled across his face, then he pulled the mask on.
A throat was being cleared next to her. “I’m Sphinx Number one.” Came Tobio’s voice in a Monotone playfulness he once had. Tadashi had stopped running and began to chime in.
“I’m number two and I love explosions,” He carried on. Hitoka watched in amusement as they played around. She shot a quick glance around and saw Ukai’s knowing glance as everyone stopped to watch. Everyone else’s face just had an expression like they didn’t know what was going on. “Did you enjoy the fireworks at the Tokyo government office? Those were from our handmade bombs. Kururin worked hard too!” Tadashi carried on like the two of them did before in making their video, he even rose in voice in pitch when his was micking Kururin.
Hitoka watched as Tobio took over, adding a flare to swinging his arms, his voice muffled slightly behind the mask.
“But this is only the beginning. We plan to set the second bomb off in the near future. So everyone – especially those of you from the police – here’s a riddle for you. What first walks on two legs, then on four and finally on three legs?” ah Tobio stopped there, Hitoka waited for Tadashi to pick up. But neither of them made a move to continue.
“The answers Oedipus himself. Now come along. We need to move. I can’t believe the two of you are right here, what luck I have.” Ukai answered the riddle as he encouraged everyone to continue walking. Hitoka knew they were only an eight minute walk away.
Stunned looks were shared between the team as Tobio and Tadashi pushed forward to poke fun at Ukai.
“Wait. You two just spoke about bombs didn’t you? You weren’t serious? Were you? Because just who the hell were the two of you?” Tanaka asked and Hitoka could see sweat starting to trickle down his neck. Behind him, Asahi moved closer to Daichi and Suga. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Tobio lift up his mask and turned to face them all.
“We were terrorist’s. Terrorists known as Sphinx.” His voice was as clod as the day Nine had told Lisa she was now an accomplice.
“What about Yachi then? If she’s so close to you, what was she?” Hinata asked. His body tensing up as if he was afraid to hear the answer.
“I was an accomplice.” Hitoka heard he voice ring out. She didn’t see or hear anything when and after the words left her mouth. Her eyes were focused skyward as she watched the crows take flight.

*

Tadashi watched at Hitoka walked ahead with Ukai, whom he found out was Shibazaki. He had a lot of fun playing around With Tobio, reciting there old videos. And the weight of the mask on the back of his head was familiar to him.
“So terrorists? Are you serious? How did that happen? And why did Yachi call herself an accomplice?” Nishinoya was asking questions at a break neck speed. Tadashi felt three taps in his elbow. Don’t answer. I will. Was what it meant. A series of taps and touch Nine and Twelve had made up long ago.
“Yeah we were, it’s in the past though. I mean we still have the knowledge and memories but we have no need for them now. It was so we could expose the secrets of this county. Hitoka calls herself an accomplice because she was. She had a choice to die or become one. So she chose to live.” Tobio’s voice was monotone. This wasn’t something the three of them like to talk about. Sure they would joke and poke fun at each other because of the time and stupid things they did together. But it felt weird telling it to people who weren’t there. That’s one of the reasons Tadashi never told Tsuki about it, even when he had asked.
When they had finally arrived at the destination, Tadashi felt weird. The building was still in the same state it was the last time he saw it. He could remember where he last standing. He could still see the hose he used to splash water on the two of them. And from where he was standing he could see the graves on the friends and the kids who were in a way, their siblings, along with the addition of two new posts.
The posts that had the number ‘9’ and ‘12’ were newer that the rest. There numbers hand been carved crudely and nothing like the one Nine and himself had set so long ago. When Tadashi notices Hitoka had stopped moving, it wasn’t because she was putting the flowers down on their graves, although she was standing in front of their graves.
What Tadashi saw when he looked over Hitoka’s shoulder were five white Tulips, Tadashi pulls his hand forward and with it comes Tobio.
“Five.” Is what’s murmured into Tadashi’s ear.
“Yeah. It is,” His reply is quiet and he's so close to Hitoka that he can hear her gasp intake. “What’s wrong? Hitoka?” Tobio questions. Her face turns to them and looks up.
“Forgiveness. Five is asking for forgiveness.” With that Tadashi firmly grasps Tobio’s hand with his right and reached to hold Hitoka’s shoulder tightly.
“Can you forgive her, Hitoka? She did the most to you.” Tadashi’s head leaned closer hers. A shrug of her shoulders, as she moved forward to place the flowers she bought on to the graves. A look around showed the Ukai had already started weeding the grave markers.
“Is this what you had to do coach?” Sugawara asked. They watched as he moved about.
“Yeah it is. I normally come here once a month. To look after this place because I was the only person who had known it was here.” He replied calmly, methodically removing the weeds form the ground.
“What is here?” sugawara continued. Glancing around at the markers before him.
“Here are the victims of the Athena Project caused by the Rising Peace Academy. Orphans who had been experimented and left forgotten.” He told them angrily.
“And the numbers?” Asahi asked, his voice timid with the realisation of what might be said.
“The numbers are what or names were. We were 0 to 20. 20 kids who didn’t have names just numbers who were experiment on.” Tadashi iterated. He had move to clean of 8’s plaque, picking the weeds away.
They talked more, about the things that were to come with hopes of the practice match. It was 11:30 when they left to go back to Nekoma.
“There are videos. That we made. One only Hitoka’s seen. Do you guys want to see?” Tadashi was curious as to why Tobio was suggesting that video. But he thought that it had to do something with team building Ukai was encouraging. A excited nod from Hinata and hesitant nods form the rest. “Hitoka could I borrow your phone?” A nod and a passing of phones.
Tadashi watched as Tobio logged into their yotube account on Hitoka’s smartphone. The charm on it was three stars in white, blue and red, which Tadashi thought was cute.
“What is it?” Hinata asked as they all stopped to gather around the phone.
“A goodbye.” Tobio replied. And a run around in the middle Tadashi thought, remembering the events that happened that day. When the video opened up, it was a 7 minute video and it started with a raven haired boy with glasses and a boy with brown curls.
‘”Lisa, we’re sorry for everything that we got you into. We didn’t mean for you to encounter bombs 4 times within the last couple of months.” The raven haired started. Looking down and away from the camera, while the brunet fiddled with a pink stuffed box plushie.
“But we are happy you came to live with us! Even if Nine won’t admit it, he sleeps better now!” The brunet picked up, dropping the toy and looking into the camera. A blue afghan blanket was thrown at his face. After that the brunet wondered off, out of the cameras view. It left the raven sitting in front of the camera looking nervous ‘till a shriek was heard and a shadow fell over the window.
Thumping was heard down the stairs and two people ran into view. The brunet form before and a mousy girl.
“Nine! Quick! The Kururin blanket fell off the roof! We need to chase it!” Frantic running was seen the one called Nine, a water bottled was grabbed and a hat was thrown into a bag. The a hand grabbed the phone and doors slamming and feet hitting the ground where heard.
“Why is the blanket blowing in the wind?” Nine asked.
“Because Twelve startled me when I was doing the laundry!” The girl who was Lisa yelled over her shoulder.
“It doesn’t matter who did it! After it.” Twelve yelled, clearly trying to shift blame from himself.
The chase continued down the streets of Tokyo with three teens chasing a blanket while yelling at each other. When the blanket was finally caught a triumphant hug was shred between all three.’ The video ended there.
“So that’s why I had been sent messages about kids running around Tokyo chasing a kid blanket.” Ukai murmured from behind. Tadashi could see Hitoka’s ears were red. Laughter broke out. For now Tadashi felt content.