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Hecklin'

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Your first interaction with him happens to be the same day that your grandmother—your feisty, beloved, very un-tech-savvy and hard-of-hearing Baba—gets a smartphone for the first time.

“(NAME), WHAT’S THIS—WHAT’S THIS VIDEO BUTTON—I WANT TO SEE YOUR FACE BUT IT’S JUST SAYIN’ YOUR NAME—”

“Baba,” you say for the fifth time into your thirty-second conversation, “can I give you a call back, now’s not a real good—”

“I’M HAVIN’ MIGHTY TROUBLE HEARIN’ YA, DARLIN’—THERE’S A LOT OF RACKET ON YOUR END—”

Well of course there is, you think. Any sports event is bound to be loud. But an Inarizaki volleyball match, with a full-blown marching band and a rowdy, borderline aggressive cheer team… well, there’s absolutely no way to avoid ruckus.

Which is what you’re trying to explain to your grandmother, but of course that’s not going well.

“I know, I’m sorry, I’m at a game. Can I call you ba—”

“WHERE’S THE VOLUME BUTTON? OR IS THAT ON YOUR END?”

You should have known that something like this was going to happen. Baba had been sending you texts all day—or, rather, it was more like incoherent strings of syllables and handfuls of emojis that made absolutely no sense—so you had a hunch that she would give you a holler sooner or later. But of course it had to be right now, right when the match—not the first of the season, but the first you’ve been able to attend—is about to start.

There’s a bunch of beeping sounds on the end of the line; it sounds like Baba has somehow gotten onto the keypad. “WHOOPS,” she yells at you, “I’M PRESSIN’ BUTTONS! NOW HOW DO I DELETE—”

“Baba,” you try once again, “I am—”

“FIXED IT! NOW HOW DO I GET BACK—”

You scratch your head in frustration. You could hang up on your grandmother… but that’s just plain rude, and everyone in your family knows not to cross Baba. Like all the women in your family, the matriarch is strong-willed, bullheaded, and has an incredibly low threshold for bullshit. You’ve been on the receiving end of her wrath just once, when you stuck a beetle down your younger brother’s shirt about a decade back.

After that, you knew never to land yourself there ever again. So hanging up is not really a great option.

You could just leave the arena… but then you’d be giving up your spot, one that’s just perfectly behind Inarizaki’s side, one which gives you a great view of the players and all the action. It’s not like you’re super invested in volleyball, oh no. You have previously only gone to a handful of games, but now that Kita is captain, you decided at the beginning of the year that you’d try to attend more matches to show silent support. Plus your gut is telling you that something will happen this match—something good, like seeing Kita (finally) play—and you always listen to your instinct.

So leaving is also not a good option, either.

Thus puts you in your current dilemma: smack-dab in the middle of a sea of people, stuck trying to talk to a woman who’s barely listening to begin with.

The announcer begins to speak over the intercom and people start clapping as the starters’ names are announced. You press your palm to your free ear to try to block a bit of the noise out. “Can I give you a call back?” you say, now a bit louder than before. “I’m busy.”

“SORRY DEAR, WHAT? YOU GOTTA SPEAK LOUDER—”

“I said, I’m busy. Can I call back—”

“WHAT?”

“I’m—”

“YOU’RE SOUNDIN’ REAL FUZZY, (NAME)—DO YOU HAVE THE TV ON?”

The band begins to play, and although they’re in front of you, it makes it even harder to speak clearly. You turn around best you can in your seat, glaring at the girl next to you when she gives you a dirty look for knocking into her knees. “Baba—”

“IS—THAT MUSIC PLAYIN’? IS THAT COMIN’ FROM YOUR PHONE, (NAME)? HOW’D YOU DO THAT—THESE DEVICES ARE PRETTY COOL, HUH?”

No, it’s—

“WHAT?”

The music is getting louder, the crowd becoming rowdier. Your unpleasant seatmate hisses at you to get off the phone, and you debate flipping her the bird, but she’s right—now’s really not a good time for a phone call. So you switch tactics, realizing you’re not getting anywhere with your grandmother. “Baba,” you speak-shout, “can you put Jiji on the phone?” Your grandfather is a bit better with technology and has relatively sharp hearing; he should be able to help out.

"WHAT?”

Of course. The song’s melody begins to swell to a crescendo, beautiful and at the same time oh-so-irritating. You hunch down further into your seat, squeezing the phone as close as possible to your ear. “Jiji!” you shout. “Please put him on the phone!”

  “WHO WHAT NOW? YOU GOTTA SPEAK UP, (NAME)—”

Jiji! Put! On! Phone!”

The sounds around you swirl, growing louder—

“JIJI? WHAT ABOUT—”

YES! Give him the ph—”

 —and louder—

“WHAT DID YOU SAY—”

I SAID—”

 —and louder—

“WHAT?”

I—”

"(NAME)—”

—until all of the sudden the cacophony of noise is gone, replaced only by the quiet sound of a volleyball swishing in the air, just as you scream, “I SAID PUT JIJI ON THE PHONE!”

 …Oops.

The tension in the room becomes palpable when the ball hits the top of the net, wobbling in place for a split second before tumbling down into the opponent’s side of the court. The cheer squad erupts into relieved applause, hooting and hollering at the successful let serve—but of course, those around you instead turn to glare disapprovingly at your unintentional interruption. You hunch down a bit, giving a sheepish “Sorry.”

And you are sorry. That is, until you look down at the court and see the server whom you accidentally disrupted.

The first thing you notice is that he is, objectively, incredibly attractive. He is unsurprisingly quite tall, built with the lean, muscular physique typical in volleyball players. Dyed, light hair is pushed to one side, framing an angular, handsome face.

The second thing you notice is that that handsome face is marred by potentially the ugliest look you’ve ever seen on a human.

The glare he’s aiming in your general direction—it’s not quite on you, which tells you he doesn’t know who, exactly, was his (accidental) heckler—is nasty, angry, and looks as sharp as one-thousand daggers. You hear some girls squeak uncomfortably at the scrutinization, murmuring amongst themselves about how scary and intimidating he looks, oh I would never want to be the one glared at, it was from our side ugh why would anyone bother Miya-kun like that—

Yeah, his glower isn’t pretty.

It’s also incredibly unnecessary, and you find that you really don’t appreciate his attitude whatsoever.

“(Name)-chan? Ya there?”

It’s Jiji’s voice. You turn your attention to your grandpa, though you keep your eyes on the court, watching the rude setter as he sweeps his gaze one final time over the crowd before turning away. “Hi Jiji,” you mutter, aware of the volume of your voice. “Baba’s having some tech problems. Can you sort her out? I’ll give y’all a ring later; I’m a bit busy right now.”

Your grandpa says okay and hangs up. When you put the phone down you see the girl next to you smirking all haughty and smug, obviously relishing in your embarrassment. Except you’re not embarrassed whatsoever, and you honestly couldn’t care less about what any of these people think. You have half a mind to tell her off—but then you remember you’re here for Kita, and Kita would probably not take too kindly to the discord should he find out it was you who caused it (at minimum he’d fix you with one of those stares that looks straight into your soul), and so you decide to hold your tongue and be a good spectator.

And you do a great job at it… until that handsome jerk comes back around again to serve.

You don’t mean to laugh when he does that stupid fist thing, demanding absolute silence—it’s just that it’s so dumb and so unneeded that you can’t help yourself. Your raucous, mirthful laughter rings in the air long after he’s completed his service ace; because of this, he has no problems singling you out in the crowd this time.

(It also doesn’t help that the uptight girl beside you points two—not one, but two—fingers in your direction, making it oh-so-obvious that it’s not her that’s causing the problem.)

As anticipated, that glare of his is full of spite and you do feel a chill run down your spine, but joke’s on him—it’s nowhere the level of intensity as your Baba’s when she’s fixing to get angry. So instead of making you cower, that scowl just pisses you off, his self-entitlement fueling your quick temper. Everyone else seems to be doing just fine with the ambient noise—what’s this guy’s problem?

The setter turns away from you just as a small “Um, excuse me?” comes from your left. You whip your gaze to whomever is speaking; it’s a young man in his mid-twenties who instantly flinches, obviously taken aback at your ire. But he speaks regardless, saying politely, “I-If you don’t mind, we ask that you please remain silent during the serves…”

“Seriously,” your seatmate mutters under her breath.

Actually, you do mind. This is a volleyball game, for gods’ sakes—it’s not like you’re in a meditation circle or nothing. You give the guy a grunt; he takes it as a sign of your compliance and, with a small nod and sheepish smile, walks back down to wherever he was sitting.

As the game progresses, you continue to stew in your own petty juices. You keep telling yourself to just let it be, you’re here for Kita, Kita wouldn’t like it if you made a scene, do you really want to deal with Kita’s blunt lecture if you do cause one… But the more the match goes on, the more you become increasingly irritated at that stupid jerk setter’s handsome face and his stupid Needs-Absolute-Silence and his stupid glare and his stupid—

You know what, fuck it.

The third time you interrupt his serve (“HAHAHAHA!”), it’s 100% completely deliberate, and man does it feel satisfying.

This time you hold your ground as he once again spins around to fix you with a glare, never breaking eye contact even as you’re being lead towards the exit (because even though this is a free event and you’re just practicing your free speech, light heckling is apparently enough a reason for the cheer team to ask you to leave—hypocrites). A petty, challenging, triumphant grin stays on your face the whole time. Even though you know you’ve made an ass of yourself and you let your childish bullheadedness get the best of you, you can’t say that “regret” is in your arsenal of words at the moment.

And maybe it’s just a trick of the light, but you almost swear that you see the setter’s irritated scowl twitch upward just the slightest before you’re swept out of the arena.