“You guys stretched out, right?” His grandmother asked, leaning over Keiji with a smile.

“We’re not that stupid,” Ennoshita groaned. “Of course we did.”

“I need a drink,” Semari whined. “Something to take the edge off.”

“Bleach?” Ennoshita suggested too cheerfully.

Keiji wheezed, despite barely having the air to.

The girls of Karasuno High School’s volleyball team were just as tired as the boys after their practice game. But they weren’t letting it keep them down. They had plans to go for drinks, and there was no way they would back out now. The liquid courage might be needed soon enough!

Last week, the new students at Tohoku Fukushi University had sent a text to the old members of their high school volleyball teams (and 3 friends), with an invitation to meet up in town with everyone at one of their favorite bars before heading home for Fall break. It was only supposed to be one night…but that night took longer than anyone could have expected. For some, that bar became the only place they could go, and the people there became their family. For others, that night was a memory of how things used to be that they would never forget.

Over time, more and more people began to show up at the bar on weekdays too, some new faces and some familiar ones. But no matter who showed up or when, it didn’t seem to make a difference to anyone there – everyone had a great time together while drinking away their stress from school, work, or whatever else came in between them. In fact…it was usually at its best when someone tried to get revenge on one of their friends by challenging them to a drinking contest! And then there were times when passed out from being unable to handle their liquor, only to have a bunch of people take care of them when they came to.

One month after that fateful night…

The Karasuno boys’ volleyball team needed some play time in before the real games started up again. The old senpai from Tohoku Fukushi University who had set everything in motion was happy to invite them over for some friendly practice sets with his new team at their school – and even happier to see how many people showed up! Even just catching up with everyone in person again made him feel like he was right back where he belonged – surrounded by all his best friends once more. As for the game…the score didn’t matter. What mattered was the fact that every single person there had fun!

For some, though…it was just another reminder of how much time had changed things. Some people never came back after that night, and it wasn’t easy for their friends to see them go either. There were some who tried not to let things change around them too much, despite knowing what might happen if they didn’t. They knew the only thing they could do was enjoy themselves as best as possible until the very end –

And then there were times when they felt like their old group wouldn’t be complete anymore unless one more person was around to share in on everything with them again…

A week later…

Practice matches between Karasuno High School’s volleyball teams were never dull, especially when the senpai from Tohoku Fukushi University showed up to play with them. They all knew that he had more important things to do – but it didn’t stop any of them from wishing he could stay for a little while longer.

The old teammates had fun catching up with each other in person once again. But they also knew there was still something missing…and everyone began to realize who it might be. The game itself didn’t matter so much anymore; they just wanted whoever it was who couldn’t make it back yet to come back right away, even if only for an hour or two.

But some people said goodbye forever that day…and nothing would ever be the same again.

That night, most of the people at Tohoku Fukushi University had just returned to their dorms after another evening out with their old team mates – or what remained of them. Semari couldn’t stand it anymore; no matter how many times he told himself that this was for the best, he knew in his heart that it wasn’t. As much as he wanted to believe that they could still go back to being friends with everyone from before…the weight of all those goodbyes made it impossible for him to ignore the fact that nothing would ever be the same again. And yet, there was someone else who didn’t leave…someone whose continued presence seemed almost more painful to Semari than the fact that everyone else was gone.

The next morning…

For once, he didn’t even bother to open his eyes when he woke up – or when someone came in to talk to him. The only reason he did at all was because of one single thing that had nothing to do with any of it…but because of which, there could be no doubt anymore. He couldn’t ignore this either, not when everything seemed so much clearer now. And so Semari finally opened his eyes and looked over at Keiji, who had been staring at him in silence for a while now…and knew exactly what he had to do.

But Semari refused to let himself change like that; even if some things still had to be said, he planned on always being the same as before. It was difficult for him to find those words – but Semari finally managed to say what needed to be said, and it only took a moment for Keiji to understand just how serious Semari was. Even so…Keiji didn’t want them both to have to change their lives around just because of this… And Semari couldn’t bear that thought either.

It wasn’t easy for anyone else from Karasuno High School or Tohoku Fukushi University who showed up at practice matches between the two of them…but they all knew it wasn’t right for either of them, not after everything they’d been through together.

They even tried their hardest to cheer for Keiji…but it wasn’t the same when he couldn’t hear them anymore. Semari knew that, and so did many of his old friends too. It hurt, but they all knew there was nothing else they could do except just try to be happy that he was still around after being gone for so long…and hope that one day, they would have another chance to play together again one last time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *