Chapter 10:

Is the ace comming back? (Taiki)

Special Fighting Club

Manami-san helps Takara to the doctor’s office. “Are you sur you don´t want me to come with you?” I ask.
She nods. “I´m old enough to go to the doctor by myself. Don´t worry.”
The rest of us stands in the parking lot, some with tears in their eyes some kicking pebbles out of frustration.
“Well, we lost.” Hisagi-sensei says.
“Really didn’t notice.” Katsu-kun says.
“What I mean is, everyone loses one day, your day was just a bit earlier. But it´s not over jet remember: two team of each prefecture are allowed to go to the nationals; the winners of the interhigh and of the summer high, so you still have a chance.”
I nod. “Your right. Everyone now is not the time to be sad. Let´s train a lot and win the summer high!”
“Yeah!” Is the answer of the team.

Shortly after Takara and Manami-san come back. “As a physiotherapist and your coach I decree; Takara won´t go to practice but get physiotherapy until she goes to the hospital.”
Takara looks downs. “It´s not that bad, doesn´t even hurt anymore.”
“Takara please understand that it would be incredibly irresponsible to just let you overstrain you knee without knowing what´s going on.” Manami-san tells her.
“Well how about we go eat somewhere, you all must be really hungry.” Hisagi-sensei chimes in, maybe to prevent an argument starting between coach and captain.
“We lost though, don´t you usually do that when you´ve won?” Katsu-kun asks.
“My family prepared something for us though!” Haru-tan says.

The bus drive to Haru-tans house is, well let´s call it filled with uncomfortable silence, especially from Takara.
As soon as we arrive a tall brown haired man with freckles all over his face smiles at us.
“Haruhi-nii-chan, you´re back?” Haru-tan asks while leaving the bus.
“Sure am, I couldn’t just not watch your matches. Even if you didn´t get to fight.”
“That´s my oldest brother Haruhi, he usually lives in Tokyo, oh and the guy coming towards us is my second oldest brother Haru, he goes to college in Chiba.” Haru-tan says.
“How many siblings do you have?” Akaya-kun asks bewildered.
“Well, my older brothers, me, two younger sisters and a younger brother.” She answers.
Akaya-kun counts with his fingers. “That´s six siblings!”
“Five, you don´t count Hiroto as her own sibling.” Ran-tan corrects him.
He nods. “I don´t even have one sibling.”
“We have an older brother and believe me sometimes I wish we didn´t.” I say while following Haruhi-san.
Haru-tan´s family prepared a little feat for us. We sit in their garden filled with all kinds of plants.
“It´s really nice here.” I say.
Haru-tan nods. “Well as a family of dryads and satyrs we can´t help it but love gardening.” She´s practically beaming, then she point at Takara. “Is she ok?”
“I guess. Takara usually doesn´t get like that after losing, but I guess losing like that just made her a bit depressed.”
Haru-tan points at herself. “I promise I´ll get stronger for the summer high, so I can fight too.”
I nod. “Thanks.”
The evening went by really fast.
“Are you sure you want to walk home?” Kei asks.
Takara´s already way in front of me. “Yeah don´t worry, if she falls I´ll catch her.”
“I´ll come pick you two up tomorrow!”

I open the front door and…
“What are you doing here?” I say.
“First off nice to see you too, second I live here, even if I´m not home much, and thirdly I thought you watched the world cup to know I as coming home.”
“That ended weeks ago!”
“And Australia was really nice, thank you.” Dai-nii-sama smiles his usual sly grin. “What´s with her?”
Takara walks up the stairs to her room without acknowledging our brother.
“Long story.”
“Oh, she got injured and now she´s all mopey about it.” He says with a “Pathetic.” Under his breath.
I run after her. “Just leave her alone!”
He´s always like that, to Dai-nii-sama Takara is his unwanted sister, someone he doesn’t need to treat nicely…

Takara´s door is closed. I trot to my room next door and fall face first on to the bed.

I´m violently shaken awake. “What?” I mumble.
“Seriously? You´re 17 and still sleep in the same bed?” Dai-nii-sama says.
I look next to me; Takara lays there, rolled up like a cat. “If you think that’s weird it’s your problem. Besides, she´s not doing well. You know as a good brother I care about that.”
He smiles a fake smile. “Your friend is waiting.”
Kei walks into my room. “You guy ready?”
“You could have waited outside.”
Kei copies Dai-nii-sama´s smile. “And you could f…”
“Kei you´re too loud.” Takara wakes up.
He runs to her. “Give me your right leg.”
Dai-nii-sama shakes his head and leaves.
Kei puts a soft knee brace on her. “Manami-san gave me that, it´s there to stabilize your knee and prevent it from hurting too much.”
Takara stands up and trots to her room, we have a door connecting our rooms.
Kei sits on the floor, I get changed.
“So he´s back, great. Did he say something mean to her?” Kei asks.
I nod. “Kind of, but I doubt she listened to it.”
Kei nods. “Why does he have to be like that?”
“Don´t know.”

During morning practice, today it starts later than usual, Hisagi-sensei takes over. “As you might know the first term ends soon, as your advisor it is my job to make sure your grades are not suffering. I know it´s not the best time to speak about this but it is important. If one of you needs help you can ask me anytime.”
I look at Takara, she´s sitting further away, still sad or maybe she´s deep in thought about something.

“Fujima-san is everything alright?” Or math teacher asks Takara.
She nods. “I´m fine.”
“Oh, ok, it´s just you usually aren´t this quiet.” He says while going back to the blackboard.

“So you lost. Well happens.” The volleyball captain, one of our classmates, says after class.
I glare at him, my eyes wandering to Takara´s knee. He looks and an “Oh” escapes his lips.

Kei picks Takara up after school. “I need help with something.”
I go to practice, there Chiko, Ren and Kenta run towards me. “He´s studying with us!” They say.
“During break we were talking about making a study group and Koto wants to join us.” Chiko says.
“That´s good.” I say. “That´s really good. You know what: We’ll get him to rejoin.”
“Like forcing him?” Ren asks.
“Something like that. If there´s one thing I learned while growing up with Takara it´s how to annoy people until we get want we want.”
The three of them agree to help me.

“Is this your doing?” Akito storms out of his class room.
“Don´t know what you´re talking about. I´m just looking out of this window, I didn’t do anything.”
“This is the second year’s floor!”
“You´re a third year!”
“So I´m not allowed to be here?”
Akito grabs my hand and pulls me into his class room. He points at the blackboard. “This, I know this is your doing!”
Multiple colorful Please come back! Writings are on it.
“Well, I´ll admit, the blue writing is indeed mine but the rest, don´t know who could have done that.”
“You know it was the rest of the team!”
“Well then they really must want you to come back.”
A few of his classmates whisper behind his back.
“He should go back.”
“I heard they lost the interhigh because of him.”
“Really? What a douche.”
Akito stares at me angrily. “I thought you want to respect my decision?”
“I thought so too.”
Chiko also enter the classroom. “Wow what happened here?” He says looking at the blackboard.
“Chi I know.”
“Oh, then just come back.”
Akito shakes his head. “I won´t! You really think you can coerce me? Is this because Takara-san is injured?”
I hold him by the shoulders. “You knew?”
“Yeah, I watched your matches.”
“And you didn´t think to come back?”
Again, he shakes his head. “No, because…”
“Oh my god! Akito you injured someone, who cares! We all do that. Plus that was a year ago.”
“She´s in a wheelchair because of me!”
Chiko stands between us. “How about we continue this tomorrow?”

And so I do. Today with Keta, Ren and Katsu-kun as moral support.
“God, you´re annoying!” Akito says.
“Thanks, it´s one of my favorite skills.” I smile.
“Koza-chin, Takara-senpai really isn´t doing well.” Kenta says.
“I know but…”
“But you´re just going to ignore her? She´s always been there for you.” Ren says.
He starts to look guilty, now´s the time to start my fake crying. “You know, Takara and I have this promise. Ever since we were children we wanted to be better than our brother just once, and winning the nationals would be just that, he never managed it, you know. But without you it won´t be easy and…”
“Ok, stop. I can see through your bullshit.”
I wipe away my nonexistent tears. “Akito…”
“Wait, your whole reason for not wanting to come back is my sister´s injury, right?” Katsu-kun chimes in.
Akito nods.
“Ok, Ace-san, I don´t like you, like really really don´t like you. But I also want to go to the nationals, don´t know about winning but going there would be nice. And you seem to be strong. I could go on and on about how my sister would hate you if she knew what a coward you are but I´m not that mean, at least not today. Let´s make a deal: You speak to my sister, you know the one you injured, if after that conversation you still don´t want to come back, we´ll respect it.” Katsu-kun says.
Akito points at me. “Even he?”
Katsu-kun whispers. “Please?”
I nod.
“Good, deal.” Akito says.
Katsu-kun pulls out his phone. “Good she´ll be here after school.”

Ren, Kenta and Chiko managed to get a basketball and are playing a game. Katsu-kun introduces his sister, same blond hair as his but no glasses and a wheelchair. “Sachiko-nee-chan this is Kozato Akito and Taiki-senpai, our vice-captain.”
She smiles shyly. “I´m very happy to have the opportunity to speak to you Kozato-kun.”
Akito looks panicked. “Yeah.”
The two of them decide to go on a walk.
I sit down and watch the second years. “Thanks Katsu-kun.”
“No need to thank me, she´s been wanting to talk to him for a while.”

After what feels like hours they come back. Akito shifts his weight from one leg to the other. “So after a long conversation…”
“Really long! Dude my feet fell asleep!” Chiko complains.
“… I have made a decision.”
I start praying to the sport gods.
“I´ll be rejoining. So please take good care of me from now on.”
I hug him with such force we land on the floor. “I could kiss you!”
“Please don´t.” He says while laughing.

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