As the rain poured down onto the car window, Atsumu stared out of the transparent glass, deeply lost in thought. He could no longer see the bright city lights nor the tall skyscraper buildings, but instead, he was surrounded by a sea of trees and acres’ worth of cornfields. The cold glass against his cheek felt satisfying. It distracted him from all the pain and inner turmoil he was currently facing.
“‘Tsumu, stop sulking. It’s annoying.”
A flick on the forehead broke him out of his trance, immediately causing him to whine.
“Don’t just hit me like that, ‘Samu! And I wasn’t sulking, I was thinking ,” the blond-haired twin rebutted, flicking him back in retaliation. Atsumu was a lot of things, but a sulker certainly wasn’t one of them. Osamu raised an eyebrow at his brother before sighing in annoyance, turning his body so he was facing the opposite window.
“Look, we’re only staying for about five months. That’s just a few weeks out of your entire life, so stop complaining. It’s not like we have any other choice, so whining won’t do you any good.”
Atsumu knew that. He obviously knew that, but, deep down, there was a certain part of him that wanted to deny it, to pretend none of it was happening. Judging by how his brother was handling everything, he wondered if he was going crazy. There was already a good life for him in the city: wonderful housing, beautiful nightlife scenery, the people were decent and his school was pretty good. Most importantly of all, however, was his volleyball team. Volleyball was his life. The sets, the serves, the late-night practices, the competitions; he would miss all that. Hell, he doesn’t even know if he could survive without it. His new school didn't even have a volleyball team, let alone a gym. He was so dead.
“Why are we even moving here again? And for only 5 months? That doesn’t make any sense.”
“We already discussed this, Atsumu,” his mother cut in from behind the wheel, exhaustion present in her voice, “I was offered a new job down here that’s extremely important. It’s only temporary, but I can’t just leave you two in Tokyo all by yourselves-”
“Atsumu! Enough is enough,” His mother sighed, her eyes drifting from the road to look at the blond’s reflection in the rearview mirror. She continued, voice lowering slightly, “As a lawyer, the specifics of my job are confidential and you know that. And you’re smart enough to also know that two high school kids can’t just live in a house by themselves. At least, certainly not you two troublemakers.”
Her response only made him sink further in his seat. Even though what she said makes total sense, the childish side of him couldn’t help but wish none of this ever happened. He had a life back in Tokyo and it was being taken away from him. Call him spoiled, conceited, arrogant, but nothing would change the way he felt.
After about two or so more hours in the car, the family of three finally arrived at their destination. Swallowing up his pride, Atsumu grabbed his belongings and stepped out of the vehicle. Upon first sight, the house was nothing like he had expected.
From the outside, it looked to be about two stories high, even though it probably had a basement. It came with a traditional styled dark Japanese roof and large windows that covered a huge portion of the home. There were a few others like it in the surrounding area, forming what looks to be some sort of cul-de-sac, despite the large gaps in between each house. The bushes and plants in front of the building added to the warm, domestic feel of the place. It was almost as good as his old place.
“Hey, idiot, stop zoning out and help bring the stuff in. We don’t have all day.” Once again, his brother broke him out of his trance. After throwing him the finger, he picked up his bags and headed towards his new life.
It was a terrible day.
The rain pouring down on the fields only gave room for more mud, and Sakusa was certainly not pleased with the fact that he was being forced to tend to the crops in this atrocious weather.
The rain fell hard against his back as he hunched over the corn, silently plucking at it. The double layers of surgical masks and waterproof suit still failed to ease his displeasure. However, despite the frequent rainstorms and dirty farm conditions, he'd choose his small town over the big city any day. He couldn't bear to be around that many people. The high level of pollution and loud noises would drive him to the brink of insanity. He'd much rather stay in his quiet town where people were less likely to become victims of the flu and have their lungs filled with carbon dioxide.
"Kiyoomi! Are you finished yet?" A gruff voice echoed from across the field, startling him out of his thoughts.
"I'm almost done, Dad," he replied, picking the last few cobs of corn. The sloshing of his boots across the wet ground caused him to cringe internally as he made his way across the field. Heading into the barn, he set the empty wheelbarrow off to the side after putting the crops away and headed over to the fridge for a water bottle. He took off his boots and farm gear before grabbing an umbrella and walking a few feet to his house.
"So, how was it, eh? I bet those wet fields didn't make you too happy, son," his father joked, giving him a friendly pat on the back. Sakusa shrugged off his arm to head into the kitchen, because who wouldn’t be starving after such a laborious task? He mumbled, "I've witnessed worse.”
A comfortable silence filled the room as the two of them made dinner together. The smell of a homemade meal made Sakusa feel warm inside. This was one of his favorite parts of the day. Inside of his home, with no one else around, just him and his dad quietly cooking under a roof safe from the entire world. The hard labor of the day rewarded with food was a feeling he would always cherish.
After setting the table, the timer on the stove rang, letting the two of them know that dinner was ready. Taking the pot of noodles over to the table, where various meats and toppings were spread out, they both sat down to say their prayers before digging in.
"So," his father started as he took a piece of beef from one of the bowls, "Are you ready for your last semester of school tomorrow?" This earned a groan from the boy as he aggressively shoved food into his mouth, disturbed by the mere thought of school.
"Of course not." His reply made his father laugh.
"You should visit your mother sometime this week before you get overwhelmed with work," His voice softened as he said this, causing Sakusa to stop in his tracks.
His mother was currently in jail for a reason his father would never share with him, no matter how hard he pried for information. She's been locked up for about 6 months now. He would never forget the day he was called down to the office to pick up a call from the local sheriff's office informing him of the news.
All he knew was that she was going to be on trial in a few months. Other than that, he was absolutely clueless.
"Maybe on Friday," he halfheartedly replied, suddenly more interested in picking at a stray piece of corn.
The rest of the meal was spent in tense silence. His father sent him a sympathetic gaze as he stood to clean up. Something deep inside his gut told him this week was going to be a long one.
Oh boy, how he was right.
"Atsumu, you're going to be late for school!" His mother called out from downstairs.
"Osamu, please wake up your brother, you don't want to be late on your first day," She pleaded desperately, frantically trying to put on her shoes. "Oh, and don't forget about the bentos in the fridge. The keys to the house are in the bowl, next to the door. Bye, love you!" She kissed Osamu on the cheek before rushing out the door, leaving him with the overload of information.
"’ Tsumu! If you don’t get your ass down here right now, I swear to god -”"
"Geez, stop yelling! I’m right here," he yelled from the bottom of the stairs, annoyance outwardly displayed on his face. His brother gestured him into the kitchen, taking a pair of bentos out of the fridge and handing one to him. "Take it, and let’s go. I’m not going to be late because of your dumbassery."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever," the shorter of the two replied, sticking out his tongue while shoving the bento into his bag. The twins headed out the door and set off on their journey towards school.
After three wrong turns and about twenty minutes of walking, their new school appeared in sight. Similarly to his house, it was nothing like he expected. It looked like any other school building - even resembling those back in Tokyo. He’d totally been overreacting.
It was at that moment that he realized he truly was an outsider. As students walked into the building with their pre-established friend groups, he realized two things:
First, he and his brother hadn't even picked up their new school uniforms yet: a black blazer with matching trousers, a white button-up with a light blue vest and a dark tie. They’d arrived late last night - well after the school had closed. It made them stand out like a sore thumb.
Second, he knew absolutely no one here. While he was pretty confident in his ability to socialize and charm others, it was still difficult to intrude on an already tight-knitted community.
From what he could tell as he started to enter the building, the student population was definitely the third of the ones back in the city. According to his mother, this was the only school in the town, which means if a child wasn't homeschooled, they were most likely here.
The complex was separated into three separate buildings, each connected by a singular hallway. The one on the far left looked to be an elementary school, as it had a playground displayed in the front. The one in the middle was simpler, but there were faded chalk designs on the pathway, so he assumed it to be a middle school.
Finally, the building on the far right, his destination, was the high school. Outwardly, it seemed more lifeless than the other two, with its lack of colorful decorations, but the students heading inside looked excited to be there. The entire concept was completely foreign to him. He'd never seen three schools arranged like that, let alone students willingly enjoying it.
A small glance at the surprised expression on Osamu’s face let him know they were both thinking the same thing. The two of them headed into the building and silently tried to make their way to the main office where they would receive their uniforms and any information they needed. Upon entering the office, they were met with a middle-aged woman with a rosy pencil skirt and white blouse.
“Good morning, young gentlemen. I’m assuming you both are the new transfer students?” They both nodded. “Wonderful! I’m Mrs. Kazumi, and I’m the vice principal here at Shibetsu High. If there is anything you two need at any time, don’t hesitate to find me!” She gestured them over to a small room in the back, which looked to be her personal workspace. Two neatly-groomed uniforms were hung on the doorknob, each in their own plastic clothing bags. Grabbing them off the hangers, she gently handed them one, making sure not to create any unnecessary wrinkles.
“Classes should start in about 5 minutes, but before I send you two off, I need to go over some information with the two of you. I’m sure you both received the email with each of your teachers and schedule, but I just wanted to clarify everything so there are no misunderstandings. Oh! And after all of this is done, you both can change into your uniforms if you like!”
Once she explained everything to them, the two of them walked into the bathrooms to quickly change into the uniforms, making it easier for them to blend into the new lifestyle.
“You ready, ‘Tsumu?” His brother chided from right next to him, sending him a deadpan expression from the mirror. He snorted in reply as he tightened his tie, smirking back at him.
“I’m more ready than you’ll ever be, ‘Samu. I bet I can make more friends than you on the first day.”
“Shut up. It’s not a competition.” Picking up his bag, he strolled out of the bathroom first, half-heartedly waving on his way out.
Atsumu followed him shortly afterward. Even though he would rather die than outwardly admit it, he was a little disappointed that his brother wasn’t in his class. The thought caused him to recoil, causing him to lightly slap himself in the face.
‘I don’t need him,’ he told himself. He was going to build up his reputation as he did before, back in the city - from scratch, all over again if he had to. It was going to be okay.
As he arrived at the classroom door, his heart pounded in anxiety. Two short knocks later, a tall, young-looking man answered the door, kindness plastered all over his face.
“Everyone listen up!” He addressed his class, gesturing Atsumu to enter. His heart relaxed a little when he walked into the room. There were about fifteen other kids in the class, about half of what he was used to. The majority of them seemed to be intrigued by his presence, subtly leaning forward in their seats to hear what he has to say. “You may introduce yourself,” the homeroom teacher whispered in his ear, giving him the entire room’s attention.
“Uh, hey everyone! I’m Atsumu Miya. You can just call me Atsumu though since I have a twin brother who also goes here. I love to play volleyball. Oh, and I also like fatty tuna. Please take care of me!” He bowed slightly. Apparently he’d said something completely out of the ordinary because half the class was snickering at his introduction. This wasn’t exactly going how he’d expected.
“W-Well, we’re happy to have you here, Atsumu-kun. Here’s the book for homeroom. Oh, and you can take that empty seat towards the back!” After handing him a thin booklet, he gestured to an empty seat in the far corner. Slowly, he walked towards his new spot, greeting everyone as he walked by. When he reached his place, he stopped, however, to stare at the man behind him.
Behind what would be his empty seat sat a curly-haired guy with a white mask covering his mouth and two moles above his eyebrow. Said man was currently gazing out of the window, clearly unaware of his presence. He couldn’t help but wonder if he even noticed him entering the classroom at all.
He had to have been one of the most beautiful human beings he’s ever seen.
“Hey, classmate, what’s your name?” Atsumu tapped the book on the desk behind him, causing the said black-haired classmate to jump. He shot him a look of annoyance, clearly disturbed by his presence, let alone his attempt to start a conversation. The two of them stared at each other for a while, before he finally complied.
The short answer caused him to smirk. Sakusa’s gaze averted back to whatever was so interesting outside, but Atsumu wasn’t going to give up that easily. He offered a hand, grinning.
“Nice to meet you, Sakusa-kun.”
He waited for a response but got nothing. Maybe Sakusa was generous enough to spare a glance, but Atsumu felt his hand get swatted away and the nearly-stranger barely moved. Atsumu turned back around in his seat, slightly in shock by the whole encounter.
These next five months were certainly going to be interesting.