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Which Came First: The Music or the Misery?

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Aobajousai’s setter, Oikawa Tooru, is well-known for his love of pop songs and the radio top 40 hits.  While practicing, he’s been known to hum some of the songs and, if he’s particularly obsessed, he’ll go as far as to sing the lyrics.

The volleyball club knows and accepts this as normal.  However, it wasn’t until his third year that Oikawa started using his personal playlist during warmups and cooldowns—because he could.  No one on the team complained (overly much) and practices went on as usual.

His teammates soon found out that Oikawa had a lesser-known love of obscure American artists.  One week was dedicated to Two Door Cinema songs.  A few weeks later, Oikawa was playing Metric non-stop.  After that came Andrew McMahon, then AWOLNATION, The Avett Brothers, the Chainsmokers, and on and on and on.

As Oikawa’s latest American obsession was mixed in with other music, no one minded and some even enjoyed getting to hear songs they wouldn’t normally find on their own.

The problem, however, began with another shift of his obsession.

The team was warming up for practice when an unfamiliar voice came through the speakers.

 

Blood still stains when the sheets are washed.

Sex don’t sleep when the lights are off.

Kids are still depressed when you dress them up.

And syrup is still syrup in a sippy cup.

 

Most of the team had stopped stretching at this point—the ones that had a good enough grasp of the English language to be thrown off by the lyrics.  Iwaizumi Hajime, one of them, took initiative.  “The fuck is this?”

Oikawa immediately stopped humming and beamed at his friend.  “This is Sippy Cup by Melanie Martinez.  Isn’t it just the best, Iwa-chan?”

The others just stared as the music continued.  Ok then.  A silent agreement was reached and they all started stretching again.

A week after The Incident, and they had all heard most of her songs six times.  By this point, the team could hum the songs.

By week two, the members that knew English could recite lyrics.

By week three, Aobajousai’s volleyball team began worrying.

By week four, they were in hell and there was no escape.

Oikawa would usually be shuffling in a new artist by week four if he hadn’t sooner.  It was a bad sign that he hadn’t.  Instead, he had chosen a favorite song of hers to sing and hum and play night and day.   Soap.  An unassuming title, but the bane of Aobajousai’s existence.

Even the non-English speaking team members could sing the lyrics by week five.  It got the point that Oikawa would be humming a few bars of the song and his teammates would unconsciously continue the song.

It was during a practice when Iwaizumi noticed that Oikawa would start humming the chorus and the team, in unison and with straight faces, would all start making bubble noises at the correct intervals.  The fucking bubble noises!  Iwaizumi himself had even started doing it before forcefully stopping the response.

He brought it to the team’s attention as soon as Oikawa left them alone to massage his knee—it had been acting up all day.

“Has anyone else noticed that Shittykawa has Pavlov’d us into making those stupid bubble noises from that damn Soap song?”  Everyone nodded.

“Are we going to do something about this?” Matsukawa asked.

“There’s nothing we can do,” Hanamaki answered immediately.

“Are you sure?”  Kyoutani cracked his knuckles in emphasis.  A few grinned at the suggestion.

“There’s really nothing,” Iwaizumi sighed.  “If he hasn’t changed it by now, he won’t be changing it anytime soon.  No amount of physical force will change his mind.  Anything we do will just encourage him.”  The resignation in his face was one that the third years were intimately familiar with when it came to dealing with their captain’s antics.  While reliable and assuring on court, off court he was more than a handful.  He was stubborn, sneaky, and held grudges like nobody’s business.

“We’ll just have to let it fade on its own.”  With those depressing last words, the team went back to practice, a dark cloud hanging over their heads.

It was week six after The Incident when Aobajousai was scheduled to have a practice match against Karasuno, who would be hosting them.  Although not as extravagant, it was only fair since the last one had been hosted by Aobajousai.

Many team members were hoping for the bus to crash as Soap played for the third time that day.

It was with light hearts that the team exited the bus and entered Karasuno’s gym—thankfully lacking any kind of music.

The entire team was in good spirits as a few pre-match drills were done.

Hope was in their hearts for the first time in weeks.

That all came crashing down as Oikawa started humming the chorus of that damned song.

Without warning, the entire gym was filled with a cacophony of bubble noises.  From both teams.

The only two who hadn’t joined in were Oikawa and Sugawara who were both staring in wonder and confusion.

As the gym fell into awkward silence, it was Yahaba who asked the important question, “Who’s the asshole on your team?”

Normally Tsukishima would have responded with a sharp, sarcastic comment.  But, this wasn’t any other day.  As one, Karasuno looked to their silver-haired setter, Sugawara.

“It’s a good song!” Sugawara’s protest fell weakly from his lips with the full force of two teams staring him down with empty eyes.

The only one not judging him was also the one who started the mess, Oikawa.  “Mr. Refreshing!  I didn’t know you had such good taste in music.  We’ll have to share some time.”  A shudder of terror ran through both teams as a resounding echo of wills breaking filled the air.

“Oh that sounds wonderful!  Oikawa-san, I’m so happy to meet another fan.  What’s your second favorite song?”

“It’s so difficult to choose!  I think I’d have to go with a tie between Pity Party and Carousel.

“Oooh I love Pity Party.  But my second favorite is definitely Dollhouse.

“Oooooh I love that one!  Oh!  Oh!  Have you heard-!”

As the two setters walked out of the gym, their team members could do nothing but stare in abject horror.  What just happened?

Observing each other, the two teams could see the same pain and suffering reflected back.

Iwaizumi and Daichi locked gazes, nodded and addressed the teams.  “From this moment on,” Daichi stated with force, “Sugawara Koushi is no longer allowed to touch the sound system.”  Iwaizumi  took over for Daichi, “Oikawa Tooru is also banned from any sound system.  For our sanity.”

A cheer rose up from the masses.  “For our sanity!”