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the Caged Birds of Kirayama

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The sun and wind chase him down.

The nightmare has Kageyama in turmoil. He tosses and turns in his torpid panic. It keeps restful sleep at bay and locks him into his state of unease.

He wakes up in an eerily familiar situation: soaked in sweat and tangled in his sheets. The dirty shirt he'd forgotten to change out of sticks to his skin, the wetness cold. His head is pounding. Bright morning light filters through his curtains, but it does nothing to quell his anxiety, even though he'd yearned for such a soothing sight after his last nightmare. He can't quite— he can't remember what it was about, but his cheeks are startlingly damp.

He's so caught up in himself that he doesn't realize the time, flinging his tangled sheets off with a disgruntled moan. He desperately needs a shower; he looks around his room for a towel, noting the half empty duffel bag, the folded laundry left out. It's a mess. He begins a mental to-do list of chores, rubbing his eyes wearily, looking around for his phone. He'd left it around his bed somewhere, but even after crouching and looking underneath the mattress, he can't seem to find it.

It's bright out. Unusually so. His body's clock usually wakes him up just as dawn breaks, so he can tell something is off. He checks the time now, turning his tabletop clock to face him where it sits, flipped over on his desk.

It's almost six thirty.

Stricken with panic, Kageyama scrambles to throw his clothing into his bag, unzipping and shaking out his uniform from last night. He tosses it into the rapidly building mess without a second thought. He almost trips over it as he flies around his room in desperate attempts to finish packing, cursing all the while. If his mother was home, she would have woken him with a slap of cold water, a scolding for his unusual lay in.

He's not one to miss her like this, but she'd left not long ago on a business trip to Sendai. She'd love to be around as much as he'd like to have her around, but she's working. She’d been a lawyer in the past and she’d been busy enough then, but as a member of the city council now, she's even more busy. Days he might have spent tip-toeing around her where she sat at her desk doing paper work have long been replaced with days in which he simply misses her presence.

He pushes away the childish feelings of resentment that bubble up at the thought, feeling selfish. There's no point in fretting over something like that right now. He has more important things to worry about.

A record breaking shower takes him three minutes tops, and then he's changed and flying out of the door, headed for the bus stop. He turns the corner and finds it peeling away. It makes him curse and want to tear his hair out, but there's nothing he can really do. Right— he can walk. It shouldn't take him too long. Kageyama wants so terribly to get rid of the frustration building in his chest, but this is nobody's fault but his own. He sucks in a deep breath and keeps moving, digging in his pockets for his phone.

It’s not there, of course, forgotten wherever he’d lost it last night. His irritation mounts, and Kageyama picks up the pace, frustration quick to turn into anxiety. He's already late, but missing the bus to the training camp is out of the question for him. He imagines what kind of scolding expression Hinata will make, and at that, he snaps like a rubber band, breaking into a sprint. The run feels longer than it should, his limbs slow and heavy from lack of sleep.

Luckily, Kageyama doesn't live too far away. He arrives to a near empty parking lot and his heart jumps in his chest, thinking he really missed his ride to the camp. A shout draws his attention aside, eyes catching on an idling bus and Takeda, who yammers affirmations into his phone, clearly having spotted him. The one-sided conversation makes little sense to Kageyama, who's so relieved he feels dizzy.

"Yeah— yes, the student has just arrived. Yes, yes. It looks like there's no worries. Well then—"

He allows himself to rest from the exertion of his run, panting with his hands on his knees, shifting his duffel bag on his shoulder. The sound of small feet pounding down the stairs of the bus is all the warning he gets before Hinata is screaming at him, jumping out with a shout.

"You! Where were you?!"

Takeda closes his phone with a resounding snap, turning around to take up the scolding in Hinata's stead. "You should have called, Kageyama. I was about to phone the police. We couldn't contact you through your cell or your home phone, and your mother's work line was—"

"I know!" Kageyama blurts, ready to explode in attempts to keep from interrupting his teacher and to defend what feels like his honor. Indignancy makes him choose honor over respect. "I'm terribly sorry! I— I missed the bus. I forgot to set my alarm. My mother is away, right now—"

"Stupid Kageyama!" Hinata yells, face red. "You could have phoned! Or texted! We were going to leave without you!"

Because of all the noise, half of the team is spilling out of the bus. It makes Kageyama feel hot all over. He finds his mounting annoyance finally peaking: and Hinata is, as always, the first to bear the brunt of his wild temper.

"Just shut up!" he's beet red from a mixture of shame and anger and that constant, nagging anxiety that makes him shout. "You don't know anything, so just keep your mouth shut!"

"Kageyama... calm down," Takeda is saying immediately, absolutely bewildered with his outrage. "Hinata, there's no need for you to get so mad, either."

"You—" Hinata begins, cut off as Daichi's hand lands on his shoulder, giving him a firm shake. It seems to remind him of his situation, because he shuts up all of a sudden, the silence a quick, blissful reprieve. Kageyama heaves, still panting. His legs are shaking.

"Kageyama, are you feeling alright?" Sugawara asks, stepping through the prong of teenagers. He hasn't bothered yet to look up, but Nishinoya and Tanaka are hanging out of the window, peering curiously from where they sit.

"Kageyama," Tanaka is hollering, a hand coming to cup his shout. "What's up, man?! You alright?!"

His concern would have reassured him, if he hadn't felt such an overwhelming sense of humiliation at slowing them all down like this. "I'm fine! I'm not missing this chance. I can handle myself," he answers, keeping his head down. His gut clenches nervously. "I'm fine. I just ran here, that's all," he explains, hoping it clarifies his shortness of breath.

"Can you stand up straight, then?" Sugawara's chiding voice has drawn closer; Kageyama raises himself with some effort, leveling his gaze with Sugawara. Kiyoko hovers by his other side— Takeda is watching him, once relieved expression having gone sour. Hinata looks like he's holding his breath, and Daichi is plainly worried.

"Kageyama, if you're really ill, then..." Takeda begins, all fretful worrying. He doesn't seem to want to voice what everyone is thinking, that he might just have to stay home. The thought makes him sweat.

"I'm not!" Kageyama's shout is reflexive, and he grimaces when he realizes what he's done. "I—"

"Hey!" Ukai's yell jostles those standing outside, interrupting Kageyama before he can begin a spiel of awkward apologies. "All of you, get inside the damn bus before we're late! Now!"

They all blanche, Kageyama's furious red melting away into a pale white. He scrambles to hoist his bag properly over his shoulder and hurries inside, Ukai taking his things away from him with a huff. He isn't given any time to object.

"Go sit down before you collapse," he chastises, and Kageyama obeys, all protests dying on his lips at the firm, disapproving expression on Ukai's face.

The walk of shame to the back of the bus to sit an aisle over from a scowling Tsukishima works to cow his anger, at least momentarily.

"The king finally arrives," Tsukishima mutters. "We waited for you. Were you so busy you couldn't make it on time?"

"What did you say?!" Kageyama snaps, taking up the bait. Tsukishima's lips twitch into a smirk.

"Didn't you hear me? I asked, what were you so busy doing that you had to make the rest of us wait?"

Kageyama grits his teeth, easily lathered up into a rage. Admitting his lateness to Takeda was painful enough, but impossible to admit to a haughty Tsukishima. Hinata throws himself down beside him as the engine of the bus starts up. The lurch and sway makes Kageyama feel nauseous, and it brings back the feelings of oppressive anxiety he'd felt last night.

"Kageyama was late because he slept in. I'm pretty sure you heard him earlier. Or maybe you're starting to have hearing problems? He was shouting and everything."

Tsukishima's smile melts, and he raises his eyebrows, unimpressed. Though Hinata had been the one to answer him, he continues addressing Kageyama. "Oh. I'm surprised. I thought your bird brain would have woken you up before your alarm."


"Tsukishima, maybe knock it off?" Ennoshita pipes up, seated just behind him and Yamaguchi. "I don't think Kageyama slept in on purpose. We all know he's usually here first with Hinata."

Tsukishima is put off, looking out the window with a dismissive shrug. Kageyama sees it as another act of defiance, and it twinges the thorn in his side. Teeth grit, he glares out of the window, unaware of the worried looks being shot his way. Ennoshita whispers something to Hinata.

He tries to focus on other things, like the bus, which is horribly cramped. From where he sits at the back, he can see Ukai where he sits up front at the driver's seat, and when he shifts, his arm brushes against Hinata's. Despite himself, he doesn't much mind the warmth. Chatter starts and then stops as they begin to move. Beside him, Hinata is quiet as he focuses his attention on his phone, tongue sticking out as he texts.

He catches Kageyama looking at him and glares suspiciously. "Are you trying to pick a fight?"

"I'm not," he snaps immediately, but he doesn't avert his gaze. Hinata's eyes narrow, and he defensively hides the screen of his phone.

"Then you're trying to read my phone," he says next.

"I'm not," Kageyama bites, still unable to tear his gaze away from Hinata, who flushes with indignancy.

"Then don't stare at me, weirdo."

Kageyama doesn't bother with a retort, turning to rest his forehead against the cool glass of the window. He can sense Hinata glaring at him, but he ignores that, waiting for him to return his attention to his phone. Hinata gives up quickly and though Kageyama had felt such fierce irritation earlier, the lack of conflict has him deflating. The nauseous pinch to his stomach is gone, thankfully, though his head has begun to hurt in earnest.

He watches his breath fog up the glass, soothed. His eyes begin to glaze over, a steady exhaustion seeping in from his bones. He'd slept only fitfully last night, and it's catching up to him now. Weariness drags him down into sleep.

He can't fight it. The bus is quiet.

Kageyama doesn't dream. He wakes up to muffled laughter and it takes him a second to remember where he is, blinking awake with a sigh that he doesn't bother to muffle. Hinata is red in the face and giggling at him for some reason. He glares at him with as much force as he can muster, squinting against the now bright sunlight.

"What the hell are you laughing at?"

"Nothing!" The other boy whispers, frozen grin twitching as Kageyama smacks his lips and yawns, belatedly. "Um, nothing. Good morning, Mr. Kageyama. How do you—"

"Shut up," he grumbles, closing his eyes again, head lolling against the window.

Hinata is quiet, and Kageyama is sleepy, so he drifts off all over again. It's not quite a complete sleep. He's still discomforted after having been woken up, so he doesn't miss the burst of noise beside him, nor the hushed conversation that ensues between Sugawara and Hinata. They're laughing at him, but he hasn't had a nightmare, so he wants to sleep as long as he can without that aching unease.

The thought trips a wire in his brain, and the sleepy haze that has encompassed him is swept away in seconds. He's wide awake now, though he continues to feign sleep. Hinata continues what he seems to think is still a private conversation. He senses movement, Sugawara moving back from the seat in front of them to his own, probably, voice drifting away.

"—no way I could delete something so precious."

Hinata is whining beside him. Kageyama fights not to make a face in his sleep. "I still don't think it's fair, though... Oh! Sugawara?"

"Hmm...? You really aren't going to ask me to delete it again, are you?"

"I won't! Just, I had a question. Did you know if there's back up generators at the school? In case there's bad weather, or something bad happens..."

"Ah? ... I'm surprised you're asking that kind of question," Sugawara remarks, mirroring Kageyama's inward confusion. "I have to say, I'm not sure. We can ask Takeda later, if you'd like. I don't see why there wouldn't be any."

"Yes!" Hinata chirps happily, bouncing noticeably in his seat. Kageyama's brows furrow just the tiniest amount, wondering about that. It's a weird question to ask, not something he'd come up with by himself. Judging by his tone, even Sugawara hadn't considered anything of the sort. But it's fair, considering that the school is high in the mountains.

He rubs his eyes, sitting up properly. The light has shifted, the afternoon sun shining hot even within the moving bus. Kageyama notes that most of the team is awake, lively chatter a soothing ambiance.

Hinata notices him with a start, putting his phone away.

"Oh, are you up for real this time?" he asks, kicking his feet. He seems pleased with himself. "I was starting to wonder if you'd sleep the whole way. We're almost there."

"I'm awake," Kageyama answers, scowling at him. Hinata continues to kick his feet and watch him, but when he doesn't drop his unfriendly scowl nor try to continue the conversation, he stops with a pout.

"You're seriously pale. Are you sure you aren't—?"

"I'm not sick," he interrupts immediately, raising his voice. Out of the corner of his eye, he catches Daichi turning to look at him. "Stop asking me that."

"I asked once," Hinata protests with a whine, quick to the defense. "Geez, what's up with you? I noticed it earlier, but you've been moody all week! Is it because you haven't been feeling well all along?"

"Just be quiet and drop it," Kageyama is mumbling, hunching up his shoulders. It's closed off, not necessarily aggressive or assertive, and it makes Hinata frown. "Do you have to keep going over the same shit endlessly?"

"No," Hinata resumes kicking his feet. "This is new."

"I just don't know if this training camp is what we need right now!" Kageyama blurts, nervousness finally toppling out of him. He regrets his poor wording immediately. Hinata peers at him, all shocked surprise.

"You... do you have a fever? How could a training camp be anything but good for our team?"

Kageyama stays still, silently collecting himself. The lack of action surprises Hinata, and he leans close again, squinting suspiciously. Admitting this is like pulling teeth, but he can't let Hinata presume him a coward over volleyball.

"... it's not like that. It's just... just a feeling I had. It has nothing to do with this morning. The closer we get to the mountain, I just... it's like there's something crawling up my spine."

"Up your spine... you mean like a ghost? What, did you see some bad omen in your tea, or something?" Red is steadily creeping up Kageyama's cheeks, but Hinata pushes his luck and continues to tease him. "Oh, uh... I expected something more than that. That's kinda lame, you know. Are you saying you feel sick because of some kind of superstition?"

"That's not what I'm saying at all!" Kageyama finally snaps, slamming his fist on the armrest of his seat. The bus goes momentarily quiet before chatter resumes, but Daichi is clearly listening now, waiting to interject. Kageyama doesn't heed the subtle warning signs from his captain at all, and, overtaken by his anger, grows more and more flustered as he struggles to explain his feelings to Hinata.

"It's not a superstition, or a stomach bug, or something. It's not like that. I just feel like this is wrong. I can't place it, but it's weird, okay?!"

"That doesn't mean anything!" Hinata throws his hands up in the air. "Don't you want to practice? We're going to be going up against Fukurodani and Nekoma! You—" he stops himself mid-sentence, face going blank. Kageyama glares at him, unimpressed, but willing to wait and listen. "You... you aren't scared because we're going up against them, are you? I mean, I know they're intimidating teams, but we'll only get bet—"

"Shut up!" Kageyama shoves at Hinata's shoulder, pushing him back in his seat. "Stop making things up out of nowhere and deciding my feelings for me. I just told you, didn't I? It's not my fault that your bird-brain can't perceive anything past what's in front of you, dumbass!"

Hinata begins to respond, but is cut short.

"Excuse me, Kageyama," Sugawara's soft voice draws both Hinata and Kageyama's attention away from each other, and they both realize that they'd grown steadily louder as they had argued, caught up completely in their fight. Their vice-captain pats Hinata's arm as he stands from his own seat, taking up the one in front of them so he can speak to them properly. "Are you okay? It's not like you to get so heated over something like this."

Kageyama bites his lip. Sugawara is right. While they both bicker relentlessly, he rarely gets to the point of real anger. It's like he's been on eggshells all week; the sensation has steadily driven him mad, to the point where he's discussing himself with Hinata, trying to get him to understand. He continues to pout until Hinata pokes at his side.

"Well? ... what's wrong with you today?"

"Hinata," Sugawara says sharply, silencing him with a look. He wilts under his upper classmate's gaze, apparently cowed. "... sorry. Could you just stay quiet for a second and listen?" he returns his gaze to Kageyama, and he tilts his head, offering a smile. "I can tell you still aren't feeling well. It's not just that, though, is it? Did something happen to make you feel so nervous?"

"I'm not nervous," Kageyama pouts, slouching slightly. He doesn't meet Sugawara's eyes as he speaks, instead focusing on the passing scenery outside the window. "And I'm not sick. Like I said, I just got a bad feeling. It’s probably nothing, so there's no need for you to worry," he mutters sourly.

"Hmmm..." Sugawara hums, pretending to consider that. "Well, okay. I understand as much. But, y'know, I was curious. Why did you say 'this training camp isn't what we need'? Was the feeling you got so bad you felt like we shouldn't go at all?"

Hinata fidgets restlessly, apparently unhappy. Sugawara ignores him, and waits patiently for Kageyama to open up. Eventually, he does, though he's slow to start.

"... yeah. It's not like you think. I don't think training camps are bad. Of course I don't, but, just... I guess it was really just a passing feeling, but..." he speaks slowly and cautiously, weighing every word. "It's like... something unpleasant is waiting for us there."

The phrase sends a chill down Sugawara's spine, and he casts a nervous glance at Daichi, who crosses his arms with a pensive look on his face. Sugawara doesn't break stride, however, and nods warily.

"I'm not making fun of you when I say this, but... did you see an ill omen of some sort before the camp? People often mistake simple things for signs when it comes to this sort of thing. I'm not saying that what you feel isn't legitimate, but—"

"It's not that!" Kageyama speaks out of turn, apparently so frustrated that he doesn't care enough to remain polite. "I didn't feel this way before at all. I didn't read tea leaves or something and randomly decide the camp was bad for us. I don't believe in that. It's useless to think about. I just had a bad feeling. There's no explanation for it. It's a bad feeling, just that— it's... it's not going to impact my performance, either! I did really want to—"

"Calm down, calm down," Sugawara breathes, trying not to fan the flames of Kageyama's irritation. "Okay. So it's just a feeling. I know what you mean, now. I get that way too, you know? Sometimes, when I'm sitting in a bus, or the train, I worry about implausible scenarios."

Kageyama peers up at Sugawara with a perplexed expression on his face, his interest piqued. He seems to have relaxed, and Sugawara inwardly releases a sigh of relief, glad to see that he'd stopped panicking. Curiosity seems to have replaced his irritation.

"What do you mean... what kind of scenarios?"

"Ah... really outlandish things. Like, what if someone bombed the station? Ah, oh no, what if the bus driver swerves and crashes and we all die?" Beside Kageyama, who wears an indifferent mask, Hinata grimaces. "That sort of thing. ... I think there's actually a word for that, but I can't remember. The thing is, it's totally normal to have those thoughts. They're morbid, scary, and can really get your heart to beat. But it's okay, you know?" Sugawara smiles.

"Nothing's going to happen. Our teacher adviser - Takeda - he's a reliable person, you know? The mountain isn't going to crumble. A landslide won't happen. It's safe and the buildings are in good condition. There aren't any dangerous animals up there, either. It'll be just us and the birds," he explains.

"... I understand," Kageyama nods, biting his lower lip. "Yeah... I see what you mean. Um..." he looks down, embarrassed. "Thanks."

"I'm surprised," A voice pipes up, surprising the three of them. "I didn't know Kageyama had the traits of a wimp. You might actually be one of us."

The two boys turn in their seat to peer at Ennoshita, who wears a crooked smile. Sugawara laughs, light-hearted and easy. "You can say that again. I thought Kageyama was always so tough, but it's actually kind of reassuring that he thinks the same way as us."

"You shouldn't be nervous," Ennoshita says, addressing the person in question directly. "Really, it's fine to experience those kinds of intrusive thoughts. I think we all do, to some degree. Right, Tsukishima?"

Tsukishima's head jerks away, his eavesdropping suddenly clear. Yamaguchi scowls beside him, but he simply shrugs. "There's no reason to be that scared of powerhouse schools."

"Shut up," Kageyama sighs immediately, heat creeping up the back of his neck. Sugawara and Ennoshita mean well, but he's steadily growing more embarrassed, more regretful. He should have kept his mouth shut. Their voices traveled clearly in the small bus. "I said that's not what it is."

"They're just intrusive thoughts," Sugawara says, giving Tsukishima a subtle shake of his head, disapproving. He crosses his arms. "I'm glad you remembered what they were called, Ennoshita. I knew there was a term for it, but I couldn't remember it at all."

"Harmless, but freaky, right? I always wondered if other people experienced the same things, but if you look online, it's a common phenomenon."

Kageyama goes quiet, listening as his worries dissolve into meaningless chatter. Hinata disengages with his upper classmates as they speak over his head and nudges his setter's side with an elbow, pouting.

"Don't make such a sad face, Mr. Moody-yama. Cheer up!" he whispers, prodding. "You look kind of constipated."

"This is just my face," he argues, predictably.

"Sure!" Hinata makes a show of scoffing, crossing his arms, a crude imitation of Kageyama. "Lighten up a bit! You can get over it if it's not the camp you're worried about. Get just a little excited! We're almost there!"

As if he'd predicted it, they're rolling up to a dirty, grass spotted parking lot. The engine shakes as it's shut down, and the team falls silent as Ukai stands up from his spot at the driver's seat, addressing them. Takeda does a headcount, mouthing silently to himself.

"We're at the gondola lifts, now. Grab your bags, one at a time— don't go shovin' each other, there's no rush," he's explaining, gaze catching as it skirts across Kageyama. "We'll be sending the team in chunks. None of you guys are scared of heights, right?"

Yamaguchi shakily raises his hand, Tsukishima shooting him an unsurprised, but unimpressed look.

"Alright, got it. You can ride with me and the third years," Ukai says, jerking a thumb at his chest. Yamaguchi nods rapidly, sweat clearly gathered on his brow. Hinata leans over Kageyama to peek through the windows, trying to catch sight of the cars. He swats at him.

They gather up the bags and head out, up the hill on the other side of the lot. The steps leading up are covered in moss and worn by age; it's been a while since this place has seen people, he realizes. Through the trees and the dirt covered trail, they stand upon a hill with a marvelous sight that stretches as far as the eye can see— valleys and mountainous cliffs swathed in the colors of summer, a wondrous sight.

It's strangely familiar.

Tanaka slaps him on the shoulder where he stands, rooted to the spot. It disperses that feeling of familiarity instantly. "What a sight! I've never seen something like this. Kinda regret not bringing my camera!"

"I brought mine," Ennoshita pipes up as he walks past the two, Tanaka tagging along with him as he heads further along the field. Nishinoya is running after them with an excited shout, all vibrant enthusiasm. Kageyama watches, eyes drawn from the fantastical sight of open land before him to, instead, the station holding the cable car that leads to the school.

It's all rusted metal and flaking plastic, a worn down relic. The third years are already setting their bags down inside. Kageyama overhears Ukai complaining to Takeda as he fiddles with his phone.

"... the signal's already dying, teach! You said it'd be bad, but this's too soon."

"Ah... the connection shouldn't be that bad. M-maybe it's just temporary? It should be fine, here... I even tested it last time..."

"Dammit! They said they were close, but how close is close?! Tch...!"

Everything is normal, but an oppressive feeling weighs on Kageyama's heart. He doesn't understand why he feels so anxious, and it has begun to tire him even more than it frustrates him. In an attempt to dispel the inexplicable emotions plaguing him, he steps up to the railing that overlooks the cliffs and peers out. Wind sweeps over the trees, the sweet smell of the pines reaching him where he stands.

It's peaceful, here. There's no reason to worry, so he won't. With that thought, his headache abates. He sucks in a deep breath of fresh air, savoring it. The cramped space inside of the bus probably hadn't helped how he'd felt. Like this, he can relax, just momentarily. It's enough for him.

Hinata, of course, ruins that.

"Kageya—ma!" he shouts, running up beside him, voice loud and overbearing. "It's time to go! It's time to board! Come on, already. Coach sent me to get you!"

He doesn't bother protesting. Instead, he works himself into a purposeful lather, and takes off at a sprint toward the station. He passes by his gathering teammates, barely hearing Nishinoya's cajoling laughter. Hinata is yelling at him, something about getting unfair head starts, but it doesn't matter because he's in the cable car already, panting with the sudden exertion.

He's the victor. It's just what he'd needed.

"You play so dirty," Hinata is breathlessly whining as he chases after him, just a step behind. Takeda and the first and second years are all clambering inside, though Yamaguchi is nowhere to be seen. "You have to give me at least a second's warning!"

"How many wins is that, now?" Kageyama asks, catching his breath. He settles his bag down into the growing pile, looking around the cable car with a vague disinterest. "I'm sure I'm up to 42."

"You're feeling better," Tsukishima remarks, snidely.

"And thank goodness for that," Takeda says, innocent in his remark, but easily cutting off any bickering before it can begin. "I was worried when I saw you this morning, Kageyama. Just don't run around in here once we get going, okay?"

Without further ado, they're off. The grinding rumble of the motor overhead is disorienting, ceiling trembling as the cables begin to pull them forward. It's like being suspended in an elevator, the movement a slow slide downward. It speeds up quickly, and Tsukishima makes a face, clinging onto the railing. Ennoshita is the same, and so is Tanaka, surprisingly enough.

The rock and sway of the car is unsettling and nauseating, but Kageyama swallows down his sickness and bears with it until they're about half way through, at which point he can stand to look out of the window.

The view is even more brilliant here, where they're suspended over the dark green forests and rolling, grassy hills. Over the way, somewhere east, Kageyama can see a creek, and further, a small waterfall and a wide, glassy lake. Hinata gasps in delight, watching it until it fades from view, obviously enchanted with the sight.

They arrive, Tsukishima releasing a carefully suppressed breath. They carry their bags outside and watch as the cable car leaves the station again, the secondary car with the third years far off, obscured by trees. For now, all they can do is wait for them.

Kageyama finds himself watching the rock and sway of the trees, scanning the horizon for the sun. It's dazzlingly bright in the sky, no ugly red in setting, but the sight of this is— it's familiar. He feels the sensation like it's a word he's forgotten, sitting on the tip of his tongue, stagnating in the back of his mind.

It's like he's been here before.