Hello, everyone! This is the second chapter of For My Dream! This story is a REVERSE HAREM, MULTI-PAIRS, MULTI-COUPLE (however you want to say it) story. That means the main character is going to have multiple people who like her. Also, this is going to be mostly action/sports-related in the beginning but gradually go into romance. If you DON'T LIKE these types of stories, I suggest you click away now.

Summary: Kou Tatsumi is in her 1st year at Tsuneo High school. Her twin brother Kou Hatsumi died too soon to achieve his ultimate goal, so now she makes it her goal to fulfill his dream of becoming the best volleyball player in the world. Tatsumi is a girl and can't possibly beat the strongest players, can't compete with them, so, she dresses as a boy. Guess life couldn't get any more hard for her, could it? Wrong. Teams from all over Japan center around her and for some reason, some of them are attracted to her! What to do?! "Why is he so cute?!" "Small... wonder if you're small down there, too?" "I didn't notice you before... why is a girl here?" "I'm not gay, so why is my heart beating so fast... for... for that chibi!"

Disclaimer: I don't own Haikyu and I never will.

And without further ado, let's commence with the chapter!

EDITED AND REVISED


For My Dream!

2

Kaze no Okami


"The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow."


A boy stood standing in a grey school uniform outside of a run-down building. He held a piece of paper close to his face, shaking slightly.

"I-I!" he couldn't even form words because of his shock. The boy with brown spiky hair left a few minutes ago after filling out the application he got from inside the gym.

His name is Kou Tatsumi... and he wants to join?!

He reread the application and grabbed his hair ruffling it. O-oh, dear. Sh-should I accept it? I mean... we haven't gotten an application form for the volleyball team in years. And there are not that many players... He bit his lip in concentration.

He, Masayoshi Masaki, the captain of the Boys' Volleyball Team, couldn't really see anything wrong with accepting the boy. Sure something seemed a little off but he was the first applicant they got in... forever.

He folded the piece of paper and placed it in his bag lying beside him on the floor.

Great, he would need to clean the gym... alone... again. Hmph! Selfish Shiro! Masaki pouted kicking the floor in dissatisfaction. A plume of dust drifted over his nose causing him to cough violently.

He turned, fanning the dust away from his face. Suddenly, the bell tolled and Masayoshi, Masa for short, realized he was late to class. He gasped and grabbed his bag, stumbling out of the gym.


Tatsumi exited her classroom and made her way to the volleyball gym. Unsurprisingly, Masa was there sweeping the gym of its dust particles, sneezing from time to time.

When he didn't turn around, she cleared her throat, startling Masa to yelp and trip over the broom. She gave him a deadpan expression when he floundered trying to stand up.

Who was this guy exactly? The volleyball team manager? Tatsumi scanned Masa up and down noting his agile body, slightly muscled and well-formed, although his posture was slouched. She had a feeling he was more than how he presented himself.

He stuttered, with a red face, "U-uh, wh-what?"

Or not.

"I can help."

"O-oh, you don't-uh-have too. I mean, if y-you want too, that is, Kou-kun!" he gasped, slapping his hand over his mouth, "I'm sorry! Can I call you Kou-kun? I'm really really sorry!"

Tatsumi raised an eyebrow but nodded and stared him down, "Name?"

"Wh-wha-OH! I'm sorry, I forgot to introduce myself!" Masa cleared his throat and wiped a tiny bit of sweat away from his forehead, bowing slightly, he said, "I'm, ahem, M-Masayoshi Masaki, a third-year and the captain of the team. You can call me Masaki or Masa if you'd like."

"You? The Captain?" Tatsumi couldn't help but be surprised. It was hard for her to become surprised nowadays but she couldn't help it.

He was captain?

Masa nodded fervently, "Yeah, not much of a captain, huh?" he laughed glumly but then shook his head.

He beckoned for her to follow him while saying, "Come on, I'll show you the way to the supply room. But it's really..."

"Dusty. Dirty. Cluttered. Unclean." Tatsumi offered.

"Uh, yeah, that." Masa giggled bashfully rubbing the back of his head.

Masa opened the supply closet's door and flinched at the mess that greeted his eyes. To be frank, it was absolutely disgusting. He had no clue how it got this way when barely anyone ever went in here except for him and Shiro.

Oh wait, Shiro, he thought with a facepalm and tiny groan, he's so freaking dirty, gahhhh! Tatsumi was content to ignore the plethora of emotions, noises, and faces flowing out of the captain of the volleyball team.

Finished with his mini tantrum, Masa found a broom and gave it to Tatsumi and they both resumed cleaning the volleyball gym's court.

The dust particles flew out of the open windows and doors, allowing them relief of the dusty air.

Just as they were finishing up, Masa said, "Um, thank you for helping me, Kou-kun."

"Hmm," Tatsumi grunted, immersed in the sweeping motion of the broom.

"Soooooo..." Masa started, putting both of the broom's away once finished and pulled out two buckets, a floor cleaner solution, and two mops.

"Why'd you, um, come to Tsuneo if you don't mind me asking," he said, coughing to clear out his throat from dust particles.

"Because I wanted too," Tatsumi responded. They walked out of the gym to the back area where fountains rested to fulfill the needs of athletes. They filled up their buckets respectively, added the cleaning solution and entered the gym to start mopping.

Masa frowned and thought, Kou really doesn't like talking, does he? Becoming motivated, he stopped mopping and strutted to Kou's side of the gym stopping her systematic form of cleaning. Tatsumi stopped and slowly ran her eyes from the bottom of his form to the top, only to rest on his rich brown eyes.

Masa had to hold a squeal from erupting from him at the sight of her draconic eyes. Her eyes were scary but beautiful like sapphires on the edge of a volcano.

He held his hand out for a handshake and said, a determined shine in his eyes, "Thank you for your application, Kou-kun but we need communication if we're going to be on the same team."

Tatsumi blinked and thought to herself, maybe there is a reason he's captain, that or he's the only member.

After staring at his hand for a full minute and no sign of a response, Masa sighed and began to pull his hand back, but yelped in shock when Tatsumi clasped her small hand on his tightly and said, eyes clear and confident, "Alright, captain."

He blinked multiple times and stuttered, "Re-really?" at her look that screamed, 'are you dumb' he said, false confidence coating his tone, "I mean-OF course teammate! Hahaha-ha...ha." he frowned at his dimwitted response but pulled his hand back once she released her tight grip. He flexed his hand and observed, that'll definitely bruise.

And with a small smile and shrug, he resumed cleaning.

Tatsumi stared at him with narrow eyes, he didn't even react to my grip.

After contemplating her captain and analyzing him, she continued to clean. Once they finished cleaning, Masa clasped his hands together and with a happy smile started to say, "So, tell me abou-!"

He was interrupted by a gruff voice, "Yo." Masa squealed and spun around teetering on-air as he fought to stay balanced lest he'd trip.

Tatsumi steadied him and glimpsed the newcomer. He had spiky light brown hair with baby blue eyes that glimmered from the shafts of sunlight streaming through the windows. The closest thing he looked like was an angel, but more closely, what a gangster angel would look like.

A leering smirk contorted his pretty features into what a person who was puking would look like and he spat, "Looking the same as ever Masagi."

With a saddened gleam in his eye and a frown, Masaki said, "It's Masaki, Ken-chan!"

Ken-chan's pierced eyebrow twitched as he growled out and stomped toward Masa, obvious vicious intent seeping from him as he got into his face and said, "It's Ken, MASAGI."

Masaki frowned and looked away, "Well, you call me Masagi then I'll call you Ken-chan, Ken-chan!"

"Little boy, I will-!"

"You're the same height," Tatsumi butt in.

Silence descended as Ken stepped around Masa and looked Tatsumi up and down. He raised an eyebrow at Tatsumi's eyes and addressed the shorter boy, "Wearing contacts, little boy?"

Tatsumi completely ignored him and asked Masa, "When are practices?"

"Huh?!" Masa was busy staring between the two as tension rose higher and higher as they knowingly annoyed the other on purpose.

Tatsumi stared intently until Masa got the message and he replied, "Oh, they're-uh-Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday!" he kind of squealed at the end, giddy at the prospect of a new member to join him and sometimes-Shiro for afterschool practice.

"AND Saturday, you dolt," Ken added with a roll of his eyes.

Masa's eyes darkened as he shook his head, disappointment rolling off of him, "No, Ken. We don't practice on Saturdays anymore."

Ken stiffened and looked sharply at Masa with an unreadable look in his eye, an almost guilty kind of look but not quite. "Tch, whatever." he curled his lip, sneered at Tatsumi and Masa, and skulked out plugging in earbuds that were blasting Japanese rap.

Once he was gone, Masa deflated, a sigh rolling off of him as he groaned beneath the hands slapped against his face. Tatsumi didn't question his stress and instead wandered around the gym looking for the nets or volleyballs so she could practice.

"You know... he always does that kind of stuff. He—I mean—he has problems-well obviously, but every new school year-he's a second year, by the way, his name is Akihiko Ken-and well, he comes by the gym to check on it and on me, well mostly the gym but I know he... he misses it."

Tatsumi assumed there was some sob story behind it and quite frankly wasn't interested in this Akihiko Ken. He seemed worth more trouble than he was worth, stomping in like an idiot and taunting everyone.

"And well, he used to be-,"

"I don't care," Tatsumi said and decided she would head home. She was feeling stuffy, hot, and she was pretty sure her chest bindings were loosening—not that she had noticeable breasts underneath this uniform but to be safe—so she wanted to go home and give herself a break. She already saw the gym and met the captain, so as far she was concerned, her work was done.

All's that was left was to show up to practice and what's done is done.

Tatsumi bowed and left.

Masa bit his lip to stop a moan that wanted to be released. He couldn't take the problems that his volleyball team had. Specifically the players! A player who was stubborn but scarred, and injured but at the same time alright player, a mommy-issues bored rich playboy, and a sometimes-troublemaking-questionable player who I don't even know why I'm friends with, much-less teammates!

URGHHH! Masa fell to his knees, hands immersed in his hair pulling relentlessly. Maybe the pain would snap him into trying to acquire new team members but honestly, that wasn't going to happen.

It would never happen, well, as long as Yori, Ken, Katsu, and Shiro were still in school.

Once a teammate...

always a teammate.


Tatsumi entered her house and took off her loafers, resting them to the left of the door. She heard humming and the smell of cooking meat assaulted her nose. She entered the living room then kitchen while unbuttoning her blazer. She was met with the sight of Rokuro—her thirty-four-year-old uncle—dressed in a hello kitty apron humming along to twinkle twinkle little star.

Tatsumi shook her head slightly with a tired sigh. "How was school, my darling little nephew?" a snicker followed his words.

Tatsumi tilted her head and shrugged prompting Rokuro who was standing in front of the stove cooking bacon to turn around and raise an eyebrow at her.

"You know I can't see shrugs right?"

Tatsumi shrugged in response. Rokuro grinned. "Cheeky lil' brat."

"So, meet any new friends? A boyfriend? A girlfriend? A mommy or daddy? Or—what is it you kids call it nowadays?—ah-bae."

Tatsumi responded coldly, "No one. I met no one."

"SO you did meet someone then. Name?"

"Masayoshi Masaki."

"Oooooh, I know a Masaki! Though I heard he died in a shootout. Oh, whoops wasn't supposed to let that slip out, hehe, silly me." he said with a cackle knocking himself 'cutely' on the head.

Tatsumi side-eyed him as she said, "Make me a plate..." silence descended, "...please, uncle."

"Awwwww, you're so cute, puta!" Rokuro made kissy faces at Tatsumi while she blatantly ignored him and said, "I don't know what that means."

"Hah, well figure it out. That's my pet name—no that's weird—a nickname for you, my most precious nephew."

Tatsumi stalked off to her room to remove her clothing and get situated.


*..._April 8th_...*

Ken

With an irritated scowl drawn across my face, I sat in my seat disgruntled. My feet started to tap rapidly against the floor in irritation.

So tired of this damn school. Maybe I should drop out? And work at WcWonald's? Nah, I always liked Cow-fil-o better anyways.

"-hiko Ken. Akihiko Ken!"

My head snapped up to my sensei's call and with a scowl still plastered on my face, I snarled, "WHAT?"

My sensei—Kimiko—held her fingers up to her face and with a sigh, ordered, "Go outside and cool off."

I tilted my head to the side, and replied, "Hmph, I'm only going out because I want too, not because you told me too," I stood up with a screech of my chair and stalked out of the door with my hands shoved deep into my pockets.

"But don't skip! You hear me Ken-kun!?"

"Whatever!" I shouted back. Mei Kimiko happened to be my cousin and knew... me, so instead of sending me out to the principal or teacher's office, she let me cool off.

Unbeknownst to her, I was thankful for that privilege as I felt better in cooler areas—classrooms were always hot—but that didn't mean I got special treatment. My papers were graded twice as hard to make it fair for her other students.

She is what many would describe as a 'good teacher'. She was just a pain in my ass though.

I yawned and rubbed my eyes and unknowingly, my feet brought me to the volleyball gym. I blinked and looked around to make sure no one would see me. I knew the doors were locked but automatically reached for it anyways. As I grasped the handle and twisted, it opened to my surprise.

I narrowed my eyes and thought, did that dumb cap-Masagi forget to lock the doors? Dumbass.

I pulled it open and stopped when I was met with a tall body blocking my way. I looked upwards about to irritatedly ask 'who the hell they are' when I was met with a familiar face. Madoka Katsu, wavy dark purple shoulder-length hair and dark purple eyes.

His eyebrows rose in mock surprise as he said, "Hey, Ken, nice to see you pouting around the gym again."

"Nice to see you're not walking around with STD 1 and 2. Not that that would matter 'cause you're an STD yourself. After all, birds of the same feather flock together." I snapped back with a victorious smirk, sure he couldn't come up with a better comeback.

Katsu shrugged and said, "I didn't know you were an STD,"

My smirk dropped in confusion as I thought, what does he... oh. OH. I scowled, "Oh shut the hell up, AIDs. I don't hang out with you that much."

He laughed under his breath and moved away from the door. I stepped in and smelt the cleanliness of the gym and the cool air which caressed my skin soothingly.

Without turning to him, I asked, "What are you doing here, anyway?"

"I could ask the same thing. Thought you quit, after all."

I stayed silent for a long time and said, in a bratty voice, "You answer first."

Katsu rolled his eyes and stared up at the ceiling and responded, "Memories, I guess. You?"

"I wish... wish I knew," I spoke softly looking at the ground, imagining the balls and the sounds and the people and the feelings and the cheers and my team—no, not my team, not anymore—but the players on the volleyball team.

I cleared my throat that suddenly felt dry and said, "Heard about the new... thing?"

"The new player, Kou-something?"

"How'd ya know so quick?" I asked with a frown—was he there when I met the thing or-or did he rejoin-he couldn't-wouldn't have—the team?!

"Cap-Masa kept spam texting me last night. I got 307 messages from him. That must be a record for the number of times he ever texted me." Katsu said with a wry chuckle.

I blinked shocked, "307? Is he crazy?"

Katsu said, examing his nails with a faint hint of interest in his voice, "There has to be something about him which prompted him to send that many texts."

I scoffed, "There's nothing special about him. Nothing at all." I glowered thinking of that disrespectful young idiot-boy-thing or whatever the hell he was. Fucking weird-ass eyes and dumbass hair. How the fuck did he even get on the te-

"Is that jealousy I hear?" Katsu interrupted my thoughts.

"Hell no. He just looks dumb as shit and weird and just something about 'im is off." I said irritation permeating my sharp reply.

Katsu shrugged and explained, "Well, I—personally—am interested in who this new team member is. He's caught Masa's attention... or maybe Masa is just an idiot."

I gaped in horrified shock, "You're interested in something without a vagina?!"

"Well, he does have a hole."

"...WHAT IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?!"


After the bell rang, Tatsumi rose from her seat and made her way to the gym. She held a sports bag that had the name Kou Hatsumi written in black sharpie on the side. It was a little worn out due to extensive use-little threads coming apart and away from the bag while the leather making up the bottom was scuffed and torn slightly.

She stopped at the open doorway and came upon a trio, two individuals recognizable, while the third was purple-haired and eyed, viewing Ken and Masa arguing with a faintly amused face on. Tatsumi must have made noise prompting the purple-haired individual to face and meet her eyes.

Katsu's eyes widened in surprise at the blazing blue eyes. They were so blue and deep you could get lost while the pupil was narrower and more slit-like than most. He never saw anything like that before.

It was shocking but he noticed that while they may have been unique they weren't nearly as vibrant or shocking as they could have been. There was beauty there but like a scented candle burned out with only the burnt remnants of the original odor left, it was empty.

There was nothing there. It was a chasm.

Due to his long observation, he didn't notice Tatsumi walking to a small door labeled 'locker rooms' until she opened it and strode inside. He almost laughed at the haughtiness of a first-year student who blatantly ignored his presence and walked inside with no reaction whatsoever. Not even a greeting or a double-take.

Even guys reacted to his handsomeness.

Katsu walked briskly to follow her and upon entering saw her unpacking her yellow and blue gym bag into an empty locker.

Baiting her, he said, "That's my locker, Kou Tatsumi-chan," When a tense silence descended and he had no response from her for two minutes, with a tiny smirk he started to say, "I-"

"No, it is not." her voice was flat but kind of feminine, but at the same time hoarse in a way that sounded forced but natural at the same time.

That's a weird combination, he thought with a contemplative look on his face.

Upon a closer look, she was the same height as Ken and Masa but her build looked tinier and in the uniform assigned to boys, she looked dwarfed and almost comical. He noticed these quirks but didn't particularly care about one's looks despite the jabs at him from many in the school and his previous teammates about his tastes and types.

He rose an eyebrow and asked, "And how would you know that?"

"Because I do," Tatsumi replied curtly.

She didn't feel the need to tell him why she knew this wasn't his locker. The simple fact was the locker didn't smell like anything but dust and his cologne was strong enough for her to know that any locker he used, should smell different than others in here even if a couple of years passed.

Tatsumi shrugged out of her blazer and button-up, revealing a purple volleyball shirt with KOU printed on the front and back, and shimmied out of her pants to reveal purple volleyball shorts and black knee guards. She slipped on her white and purple shoes, completely ignoring Katsu's concentrated stare.

She exited the locker rooms quickly followed by Katsu who introduced himself, "I'm Madoka Katsu. Ever heard of me?"

Tatsumi continued to ignore him and walked towards Ken and Masa arguing loudly.

She interrupted without pause, startling Masa when she said, "Where are the volleyballs and nets?"

Masa squealed like a pig and jumped, almost falling flat on his face, if it wasn't for Ken, who caught him safely. He shuttered breath out uneasily, placing a pale hand on his chest and turned to the new member of the team.

"Ta-Tatsumi! You sc-sc-scared me!" Masa stuttered breathing shakily.

Tatsumi didn't react. She just stared intently drowning Masa in her deep blue eyes.

Stuck in an almost trance, he gulped and then got smacked upside the head by Ken causing a yelp to escape. He held his head and with a pour turned and said, "What was that for, Ken-chan?!"

Ignoring Masa's obvious stress, he sneered in Tatsumi's direction, "The hell're you doing here?"

Not bothering to dictate the idiot with an answer, Tatsumi raised an eyebrow at Masa. Masa just gulped again and about to answer when Ken pushed him out of the way.

With a pout and wince, he flailed to gain his balance and with the helpful catch of Katsu, he regained his balance and watched the tense filled scene play out.

Locking eyes with Tatsumi, Ken sneered, "You deaf or something?"

Tatsumi waited silently for a couple of seconds and then dictated him with a response, "I have no urge to listen to an idiot like you."

Ken's jaw dropped a little bit while Katsu started to laugh uncontrollably holding his stomach—he was so glad he decided to show up, this Tatsumi character was proving to be quite interesting—and Masa gasped dramatically with hands plastered to his cheeks.

Ken regained control of his shocked self at the audacity of this freaking first-year weirdo and spat, "What did you just call me?!"

"What, are you the deaf one now?"

"I swear to god, chibi boy if you don't shut the fu-,"

Tatsumi, in the blink of an eye, appeared right beside his ear and said, with a low tone of voice, "The only little boy here is you, you coward."

Tatsumi walked passed his shoulder getting ready to just find the practice items herself when Ken grabbed her shoulder and wrenched her to look him in the face.

He was very close to her face, not wanting Tatsumi to miss a single word, he snarled, "I don't know who you think you are but I'm no coward, Ice fucking eyes."

And her eyes were ice. They were blue and cold like the arctic waters. Just perfect for Ken's blazing inferno of a personality.

He is erratic and fiery while Tatsumi is clam and icy. They balanced each other out but clashed at the same time. There was no telling what would happen next.

Tatsumi bowed her head, dead eyes covered with brown while Ken, stunned by the display of—was that surrender?—meekness she was showing.

Ken blinked multiple times and let go of her shoulder, scoffing, "Can't believe you talked shit yet cave so freakin' easily. What a joke."

He turned and stalked off making a promise to himself to never come back to the volleyball gym and to never run into icy eyes again. Ken was so close to exploding in anger, to burning everything in his path, but he didn't want to explode and hurt—no not again.

So he resolved to ignore that idiot and continue on with life as best as he could.

Too bad life loved fucking with him.

A ball hit his head just as he was near the door bouncing off and deflecting from the ground only to bounce and roll a few times and finally—come to a complete stop.

Ken stood stock still. The tension was about bursting in the gym, Katsu looking amused and Masa with a horrified stressed look on his face, as Ken slowly turned around and glowered a heated look on his face.

His cheeks reddened as Tatsumi readied another ball and spiked it. The ball flew through the air with a whoosh but before meeting its target was deflected by Ken with his hand.

His hand stung from the direct hit as he growled, "Do you want to die?!"

A ball shooting toward him answered his question and once again, Ken deflected, trying not to relish the feeling of the grooves of the volleyball hitting his hands again—even if he wasn't hitting it the way he truly wanted.

With an enraged growl, he said, "You'll regret this."

He caught the next throw, mildly surprising Tatsumi, and with a maniacal grin squeezed the ball and bounced it on the floor, only to kick it with his foreleg towards her.

With extreme force, it soared and—!

. . .

. . .

Hit the wall a few feet away from her.

With silence so oppressive a pin could break it, Tatsumi spoke, "That's a volleyball, not a soccer ball."

"I fucking know that!" Ken snarled enraged at his stupid freaking leg.

"So why don't you use it the correct way?"

Masa glanced between the two, biting his fingernails nervously.

Katsu poked Masa's side violently, startling him. Masa rubbed the stinging spot and looked up at Katsu with a pouty questioning look. Katsu gestured to Ken.

Masa looked towards Ken, his visage completely different from a couple of seconds ago. Ken was pale, eyes widened, pupils tiny, while his jaw flexed multiple times.

"Scared?"

Scared?

Scared.

Spark lit, Ken regained control of his stone body, flexing his fingers and bringing them up in a clenched fist—

"No way."

Ice and fire surged, surrounded each other, both vying for a win, for domination. Neither backing down, submitting to one another, both attacking at the weakest points of the other.

Tatsumi was ice. A frozen solid block of ice with minuscule cracks deep inside but still surrounded by an enormous sheet of ice protecting her weak and soft spots.

Ken with his moving fire was too quick and hot to the touch to be ensnared and taken apart by another being. Nobody could tame him or understand him.

Nobody.

Except... his weak spots were being prodded, poked, hit by the past.

Hit by his mistakes.

Hit by Tatsumi.

Hit and being dispersed in steam as her cold, cold, cold ice penetrated his defenses.

Scared.

Coward.

He hated it.

He hated it.

He hated it.

He wasn't scared.

He wasn't cowardly.

He would show them.

He would let them see not fire but an explosive wildfire that will pulverize all in its path.

But...

He showed them.

And that was his mistake.

He showed them...

too much.

It was too much for them.

And most of all.

It was too much for him.


_In middle school_

Ken looked around happily at the court and at the opposing teams practicing around each other. He was in the middle school public volleyball court used for official matches between opposing middle school volleyball teams.

He was a first-year and so excited. He loved volleyball. It was his passion. It was one of the only things he was good at.

Balls bouncing off newly waxed flooring, a plethora of noises assaulted his ears. Very pleasant ones. His teammates surrounded him and slapped him on the back encouragingly as they got to practice.

After a great warmup, the teams were ready to dispatch and get the first match going—and hopefully—win the first set. It would give them a great advantage and insurance for the remaining sets.

After the first two sets—a loss then a win—the third set began.

They shouted encouragements at each other and continued to play slowly but steadily. Finally, as the third set was coming to a close, Ken's middle school team two points behind, Ken heard a couple of snickers and whispers from the opposite team.

He frowned but ignored it. He couldn't be worried about others, he did not have time for them. He just wanted to win the match, together with his team.

Sadly, Ken's team lost by three points and their morale was seriously low. It was their first time in this gym, used by middle school volleyball teams from all over, yet they botched it on their first try.

"Dammit!" Ken's captain cursed slamming his fist against the stone-cold floor. Ken bit his lip and held back tears at the pain he was feeling deep in his heart. But he couldn't help but release a tiny sob and two tears from both eyes as he sniffed.

A team member of his strode to him and grasped his shoulders causing him to look up at him. Ken blinked away the blurriness at the grim painful look painted across the MVP. Ken, for some reason, recalled that this middle school had never really had the best luck in the volleyball area and many third years were hoping for success this time around as they finally reached the middle school volleyball gym.

The team member said, a crack accompanying his voice, "I can't do it anymore."

Ken blinked.

"I can't be apart of this-this volleyball team anymore. Its-Its too much."

"What-why would you say that?!" Ken exhaled quickly grasping the hands on his shoulders. The member smiled derisively and shook his head.

"You wouldn't understand. You're innocent and new to the pain of loss. I've felt this so many times before... and quite frankly I can't deal. I can't deal at all and you know what? It is just a stupid sport. An afterschool club that shouldn't-no-doesn't matter. So there."

But... he loves volleyball, doesn't he?

Ken, speechless, mouth falling open and closing in irregular patterns as he tried to think why this was happening. Surely losing couldn't be this bad for everyone? Right? Even if you had three years of straight losses, it didn't mean all hope was lost. They got here, after all, right?

"He-hey, you're not seri-,"

"Heh, little loser team over there can't handle a loss. How sad."

"Hey, shut up, let them wallow in their sadness. You know how it feels to lose so hush."

"Nah, this is fun to watch."

"Why would it be fun, ya psychopath?!"

"Cause' this always hits teams. They're too weak to handle a loss so they just splinter apart. Really shows you how strong a team is—so yeah, might be psychopathic but it's reassuring and great to know how strong you are. How strong we are."

The senior player shook his head, tears shining in his eyes. "See? This is why we can't-can't play. We're weak. We're not strong. No matter what we do... we can't win. Practice makes perfect? Truthfully practice makes... nothing. If you're not a good-no-a great player from day one, you can't go anywhere."

The senior left with a shake of his head, his other heartbroken teammates following after his footsteps.

Ken could only stare jaw ajar as he contemplated the man's words. It was only his first year yet already his team was down. They were depressed and lost... but what could he do?

What should he do?

He turned and walked up to the winning team and bowed, "That was a good match! Thank you very much!"

They blinked at his bowed form and unbeknownst to them his trembling face hid behind his hair, tears cascading, shoulders trembling slightly, as he stayed in the bowed position.

The other team replied, "Er, yeah okay? You too?"

Ken sniffed but stayed in position as the opposing team gathered their belongings and exited the gym.

Ken rose up and wiped his tears shaking his head and hiding his red eyes behind his bangs. He walked out of the gym with a grim look but subtle determination. He wouldn't be broken. He couldn't.

Later

It was hard. But he wouldn't let them push him down. He wasn't weak. He was strong.

Volleyball was important to him. So he would fight.

He would fight. If you need a strong player, he would be a strong player. He wouldn't let his team down.

Ken moved to another middle school and practiced harder than ever. He pushed his new middle school team—who despite being mediocrely good in volleyball—just wasn't enough.

They weren't strong enough. And he couldn't let this team fall apart like the last one. So he engulfed them in his passion, his urge, his obsession. If there was no weakness then there was no way his team would break apart.

So he pushed.

Ken pushed.

Until there was nothing left to push.

"You're too pushy."

"You push us too hard."

"This team isn't yours ya know?"

"We work together, not alone."

"You don't care about this team."

"You only care about yourself."

"Volleyball can't be won by one person."

So... why did his team quit so quickly? If they were a team... why weren't they strong enough? Don't you have to be strong by yourself to be a good team?

Ken couldn't comprehend what volleyball was exactly. But still, his love for volleyball was unmatchable by anyone. He still wanted to play volleyball. So by his first year in high school, he kept playing.


That's right...

I only care about myself.

Ken joined Tsuneo High school after his troubled middle school years. Once again, he joined the volleyball team. He was determined not to make another mistake.

He became less sociable, came to practices sporadically, but still formed bonds with his team members. He was finally starting to feel better. For once, he actually felt like he had a team.

Until they faced someone stronger than them did he crumble. He was a volcano ready to explode.

"One more!"He was bubbling to the surface."ONE MORE!"It was so close."AGAIN!"So close to the top, bursting into the air, the lava hitting spots around the summit.

"ONE MORE TIME!"

An explosion occurred that day in that match, a supposed revival for the powerhouse school. But an explosion is never good. At least, not when you don't have something to cool it down with.

"Masaki-san!"

Masaki lied on the floor, head spinning and ankle slightly swollen mirroring the condition of his face. His breathing was ragged as he tried to get up and steady his breathing and spinning head. The rest of his teammates stood around in shock registering the fact that Masaki got hit so hard in the face he spun around once, twisting his ankle at the same time.

How were they supposed to fight without there control tower, their lighthouse? Fitting their mascot, how were they supposed to win without their alpha?

Slowly, Ken turned his head to look at his captain, lying on the floor, attempting so hard to stand up, but the pain in his ankle and head hindering him greatly.

"I-I can still-" he attempted to speak but was cut off by another boy, their teammate.

"Where are you right now?"

"Uh-uh, vo-volleyball club-uh-gym?"

"This is bad. It looks like he has a concussion."

"Concussion? NO-I-"

"Saki." Masaki stopped and looked towards his best friend. He was glaring heavily at him and Masaki tilted his head downwards wincing as he was helped to stand up by his coach and sponsor teacher. He panted harshly and was shuffled along to be taken to the medical station.

Everyone was silent and tense as one of their players on the sideline came to take their reliable setter's place.

Ken stood stiff and frozen, hand outstretched towards his setter, the one he got injured.

"I-I didn't mean..."

"Shut it." The unnamed individual spat, glaring heavily towards Ken causing him to flinch. "Don't speak until this match is over, got it? Don't ask for any balls. Don't do anything."

Don't do anything? But then...? What is he supposed to do? He's supposed to be strong... a strong player so he can help his team.

But he can't do anything. He can't do anything anymore.


Reminiscing as well, Masaki felt the part of his head that had become more sensitive after being hit that hard last year.

For being short, Ken sure could spike really hard. Masaki smiled and looked towards the first year and the second year. He could tell Ken was reliving that moment, what with his unseeing eyes and panicked expression.

Tatsumi meanwhile, looked the exact same as always. Masa sweatdropped and thought, does he have any other expression?

Tatsumi stared blankly but then started to walk towards Ken a ball in her hand. She stopped in front of him and slammed the ball into his chest, snapping him out of his reverie.

She said, "Play me."

Ken flinched back, blinking multiple times, "Hah?"

"You're not chicken, are you?"

"What?! Of course not! I'll take you on!"

Tatsumi looked at him disbelievingly, "Mm-hm." Ken snarled and clutched the ball to his chest, something in him softening a tad bit at the reassuring feel of the ball in his hands again.

Tatsumi walked to one side of the court, waiting for Ken to walk to the other. Ken couldn't help as a sweat drop rolled across the back of his neck, in fear or anticipation, he didn't know.

But for once he... was somewhat ready. He hasn't actually played another person in volleyball since... last year. He hasn't spiked once either. But he didn't abandon volleyball all together either.

He took on a new avenue, a new type of playing. One that required less force despite his whole version of volleyball revolving around that force.

His force was something he could count on but it got too explosive.

He couldn't use it anymore no matter how much it hurt him. The fact that using it hurt his teammates cemented that fact. So he stopped for the best.

Tatsumi tossed the ball to Ken, allowing him to serve first. Ken swallowed and rolled the ball between his two fingers, staring blankly through the net.

Meanwhile, Tatsumi stood arms out ready for the serve, ready to receive any serve he had.

Ken tossed the ball up and hit it weakly wincing as his palm met the smooth recesses of the ball. It went towards Tatsumi but fell short a few feet away from the net.

I—I haven't hit a ball... in so long. He clenched his hands, biting his lip harshly, as he thought of a way to stave off this violent urge to explode and hit the ball as he wanted. Like he needed too.

Tatsumi watched him across the net, eyes absorbing his slightly shaking form and the eyes that screamed pain. And longing.

An intense longing, screaming loudly, let me spike the ball, please! I want to hit it so bad!

She waited patiently for him to pick the ball up and once he did, he began to serve once more. Again he failed as he hit the ball too weakly. Again. Again. Again.

Again.

He panted, despite not being tired in the slightest, he felt lethargic and sluggish. His limbs were so heavy he could barely move them even with the strength he knew had. It was hard. Everything felt so... so empty. Without using his full strength, he couldn't fully enjoy volleyball. He was reminded once again why he quit volleyball.

Ken stood still, staring at the ball on the ground, chest heaving, hands clenching and unclenching.

Tatsumi, tired of waiting, walked briskly under the net, grabbed the ball and threw it at his head. He staggered back, snapped out of it, and snarled, "What the hell?!"

"I should be saying that to you. Why aren't you hitting the ball, huh? With your full strength?" Tatsumi demanded with narrowed eyes, jabbing her finger towards the ball rolling away from them slowly.

Ken scoffed, "You don't know what the hell you're asking."

Tatsumi inclined her head, understanding washing over her, "Ahh, I get it now. You are afraid."

"Wh-what?"

"You are afraid, Ken. Afraid of yourself."

"What? That doesn't make any sense. How can I be-!"

"You are afraid of the strength you have."

Ken swallowed and paled, shaking his head slightly quickly glancing over towards Katsu and Masa watching them. Masa smiled encouragingly while Katsu stood stoically. Ken wouldn't have any help from them.

Of course, I won't, I abandoned them and injured the other one.

Tatsumi strutted past him and picked the ball up, only to toss it to Ken. He caught it and she stomped her way towards him, "Do a favor for yourself and stop whining like an idiot. You're not taking advantage of the strength you have, the strength that so many others would kill to have. I do not know what you did to make yourself a self-pitying crybaby, but that stops once you get on a court. You have to win. And to win you need to go all out. Including that strength of yours."

By the end of her sentence, she was on the other side of the court. Ken, jaw ajar, brows furrowed, and sputtered, "Wh-what, WHAT the hell do you know? And crybaby? I beg to fucking differ. Also, I don't whine over these things-" at her deadpan look, he stopped and scowled, "UGH-fine! You want a serve, I'll give you it, but don't you dare regret it when your arm is broken."

Tatsumi nodded and bent her knees ready to receive.

Masa and Katsu held their breath, apprehension secreting throughout the room. Ken tossed the ball upwards, and things slowed down for him, everything slow as he started to run and do a jump serve in what must have been the longest time more than a year-and slammed his hand down, a sting palpitating through his hand and whole body.

It was an almost out of body experience as he felt that sting, but he couldn't help but relish in the pain. It was addictive in a strange sort of satisfying way. After that brief moment of pain leveled into normalcy, the horror came crashing onto him as he grabbed his hand and stared at the ball soaring towards Tatsumi.

Shit! He can't handle that strength! Dammit, why did I listen? Why did I let myself go?! Now, he's-!

Tatsumi received the ball and it bounced off with a harsh skid of skin on ball slap sound, that ricocheted off the gym's walls four separate times, and hit the floor directly beside Masa, as he squealed and jumped up in fright.

Katsu whistled and thought, haven't seen that strong hand hit a ball in forever. Still impressive but somehow off. Guess you really haven't been practicing with spikes or serves much, huh, Ken? So what has he been doing all this time then?

Tatsumi gritted her teeth and glanced to her arm, an actual bruise showing. Her eyes widened slightly. She knew he was strong, but this? This exceeded her expectations. She clenched her fist and wasn't surprised that almost her entire arm was numb.

And this strength...

pisses me the hell off.

She straightened and pounded over to the ball and snatched it from the ground and threw it at Ken. "Again."

Ken caught the ball and blinked, extremely confused. "I-I, what the hell?! You want me to serve you again, the exact same way?! BUT YOUR ARM IS-!?"

Katsu chuckled with a raised brow and from what he saw of Tatsumi's arm, it wasn't looking pretty. It was already starting to bruise and shook slightly as she prepared for another of his killer serves. Honestly, his jump serve could be compared with that-what was that bastard's name?-the lady stealer from that preppy school, Heijoh, I believe.

Masa sighed happily as he finally saw a faint sparkle return to Ken's eyes. He finally got to hit a volleyball again. After Shiro ordered him not to in that game, it killed something inside of him... but Tatsumi-he-caused its return. He's cold but that's precisely why he was able to awaken that explosion. That coldness was able to bring Ken back.

But this time...

Already, Masa could see Ken shaking from excitement, as he clutched the ball and finally tossed it into the air, ready to jump serve once again-

...this time Ken was against someone who was able to quell that raging fire, able to handle his heat.

Kou Tatsumi was-

"Who said you could hit that ball, Ken-chan?"


Now the character for today is:

Name: Masayoshi Masaki

Age: 18

DOB: December 4th

Height: 5'5

Weight: 127 lbs

Have you played before?

Yes.

If yes, what was your previous position?

Setter

What was your previous junior high?

Amaya Junior High

Why do you want to play?

Because I'd think it'd be beneficial for college and I like volleyball plus, having teammates you can rely on is always great.

Any Talents we should know about?

I'm good at planning and my friends tell me I have a good eye!