The weather on the day of the ball game tournament was high and clear autumn weather. The cirro-cumulus clouds were scattered about, floating in the blue sky. The calmly blowing wind was dry. It could probably be said that it was the best weather for sports.
Right after the opening ceremony on the sports ground was attended by the whole school, the people who were participating in the matches, the people who were cheering, and the people on standby in the classroom split off into small groups.
Yasuki’s group of third year F class B team had drawn the first match in a lottery, so just like that they stayed at the soccer grounds. The opposing team was R class. They were a group of boys who were especially smart in science even within the school.
For the convenience of time, it would be one 40 minute long match with no second half. Contrary to expectations, ‘Leftovers’ B team fought a good fight. The result was a win with a narrow margin of 2 to 1(However, R class was also supposed to have a reasonable number of people who were good at exercise, so it could be that they held back a little bit. ‘Because we want to study’ we want to hurry up and go home, it could be something like that Yasuki suspected).
“Katsuya, I’m going to 7/11 for a bit”
After the match, Yasuki exhaustedly said to Katsuya. He was almost unable to touch the ball, and he was all sweaty under the jersey because he had been running around. Anyways, he wanted something cold, so he decided to go to the convenience store next to the school.
Katsuya said “Alright” and raised a hand as he saw Yasuki off. Walking alone with the convenience store as his aim, when he passed the back of the gym he could hear the cheers of the girls coming from it’s direction. If he remembered right, the gym should be hosting the second year boys basketball matches and the third year girls volleyball match.
Yasuki suddenly thought ‘about when was our class’ girls’ match, I wonder?’ The day before yesterday on the way home from prep school, Kitaoka had scolded him saying “definitely come and see at least once.” It wasn’t like he was particularly worried about those words, but if afterwards she said “You broke your promise” he would be troubled.
…when I come back from shopping maybe I’ll try showing my face under the pretence of looking for someone, Yasuki thought on a whim.
At the convenience store right outside the school’s back gate, there were students in jerseys other than him. It’s forbidden to leave school grounds during the day, but while they don’t openly say ‘alright,’ on this occasion they gave tacit approval.
While he was in front of the refrigerated corner worrying over ‘Paper bagged tea, 500ml 70 yen and 1000ml 20 yen which should I get,’ a trio of boys lined up at the onigiri corner next to him.
They’re wearing the same green jersey as him, so they’re probably third years from his school. However, he doesn’t know their names. They all have similarly slicked back hairstyles with hard wax and on top of that their height was even the same, so for a moment Yasuki thought ‘Triplets…?’
“Ah, a message”
“Matsuri. ‘I already lost in the first game~’ it says”
The three cackled. Most likely that Matsuri is the girlfriend of one of them. Even if he didn’t try to listen in, the distance was short so their conversation naturally entered his ears.
Eventually, the fact that one among the group, ‘Takkun’ didn’t have a girlfriend came up. While hearing about that, Yasuki extended his hand to the big one. ‘If I buy the 1000ml 20 yen one, I can push the leftovers onto Katsuya’
“Well, Takkun, how about Ema-chan.”
He suddenly stopped his movement with the unexpected word.
…could they be talking about Kitaoka?
Not noticing Yasuki at all, the three’s conversation continues.
“Ohh, that F class one?”
“Yeah. It seems like that one is free right now”
“That’s true. Her face is pretty good”
Right? The other side said proudly. “Her current hairstyle is nice too, isn’t it” and the like were things they said. There was no doubt that they were talking about Kitaoka herself.
He didn’t know how close those three were to Kitaoka, but it seems that it was because they stood out that they were able to bring topics up like that. ‘As expected of them,’ while Yasuki had that sort of strange admiration, the ‘Takkun’ or something without a girlfriend grumbled in dissatisfaction with an ‘Eh-”
“But, she’s Kimura’s leftovers, right”
With a start, his back stiffened. Kimura, the flashy featured ikemen from the next class over. Until the beginning of this year he and Kitaoka were often seen together, but it must’ve been that kind of relationship after all.
It was getting hard to breathe. He didn’t know why he had to think like this, and he didn’t even want to hear this sort of useless chatter, but anyways he couldn’t move even one step from that place.
The remaining two continued their banter.
“Huh, they don’t have that kind of relationship, right? She’s cute and has an unexpectedly large chest, and she wants to frankly ask for help.TL1”
“You’re really into fresh ones, huh Takkun”
Since earlier, leftovers and fresh… Girls aren’t things. He knew that they were just going too far because they were friends, but it was a remark that seemed to ignore the person in question’s personality, and his anger slowly grew hot.
Even though you could tell that someone from the same grade was here with a glance, just what are they doing continuing this type of talk, he thought.TL2 What would they do if he told her about the way they were talking about her?
But…, they understood. Even if the Yasuki were to timidly say ‘Stop it” with a flare of courage, originally Kitaoka was from the group of girls that stood out and isn’t the type of person who can show kindness.TL3
At his cowardice, he clenched his teeth. Even then he didn’t do anything. He just shut up and pretended that he didn’t hear it, letting them pass by was all he had ever done. No matter how many conflicts there are, in Yasuki’s life as a supporting character he couldn’t find anything that made him serious.
“No, it’s fine if it’s just once though. Making her a girlfriend is a little…”
“Once is fine though?”
While these negotiations were going on, the three left. The remaining Yasuki held the paper bagged tea in his hand without any strength, and left the convenience store behind him after tottering to the checkout.
He passed the Gym again. But “Kimura’s leftovers” that he heard earlier wouldn’t leave his head, and he passed without stopping by and headed to the classroom.
Later, until the next match, along with Katsuya and the second years he was on good terms with, they were passing time in another classroom. They went to see A team’s match for a bit, but when it seemed like victory was certain, they headed back.
The second round of the quarterfinals would be held as soon as possible, and was the last match of the morning. The opponents would be G class A team, the favorites for overall victory.
They all gathered on the grounds when it became time. Wearing the distributed pinnies,1 they stretched.
“If they win, the finals might be between the same class.”
The one saying this in a carefree tone was A team’s diligent goalkeeper Uchida. The Uchida who got carried away in the same room at the training camp went to cheer for his friends in B team because “They’re friends in the same class.”
Good luck and come on, saying this Uchida pushed their lined up backs. Facing each of the lined up G class A team who seem pretty agile, there was a clear difference to their own A team that had lots of short and stout people.
And there, at the end Yasuki stood face to face with Kimura Shin… Kitaoka’s former boyfriend.
Kimura stood 16Ocm, well over 10cm taller than Yasuki, with large eyes, a large mouth, and flashy features that followed the bridge of his nose. His hair is a little bit long so the tips idly stick up and he has a subtle expression as if something was funny,TL4 furthermore, he has a strange kind of wild appearance. Adding to that, his arms and legs were longer and even though they should’ve been wearing the same jerseys, it looked randomly good.
He looked up at Kimura’s face. When their eyes met, Kimura fearlessly returned a laugh.
(He’s so cool, damnit…)
He’s a guy too, but he had to admit it. He didn’t know what kind of person he was on the inside, but in appearances, he was the best looking guy in the year. The three from earlier were no match for the presence of Kimura. …naturally, Yasuki doesn’t even compare.
The whistle sounded for Kickoff. Yasuki who was entrusted with the center, watched the ball while shaking off the collected gloom and ran across the grounds.
About 5 minutes after the match started, G class quickly gained a lead, and after that things were pushed in that direction.
Still, they somehow managed to stop any further scoring, but at this rate they would be defeated.
“Right there! Lose him!”
Uchida’s group’s cheering echoed. If they could somehow get one point in, they could catch up. However, the goal was endlessly distant.
Thirty minutes of the match had already passed, there is not much time remaining.
And, at that moment–
The ball was being vied for in front of the friendly goal, but it fell in front of Yasuki on the outskirts.
There were no allies at a convenient location to pass to. With the enemy goal as his aim, he continued dribbling.
He faced the front where he was called. There was a classmate who was good at soccer among his allies running toward the goal.
He might be able to make it to that guy. At the moment he thought that he tried kicking out.
Like a wind passed by, his vision went dark. The other side’s white number 10 pinnie jumped. The next thing he realized was the ball disappearing from his feet, and his foot cut through the air.
The ball was taken. Very easily. Quickly turning his head, he saw number 10 Kimura make a long pass to the other side with a noise.
Cheers reached the ears of the take aback Yasuki. The ball that he had just before, was now far away being swallowed by the net. A goal. Until just a few seconds ago they were thinking it should be ‘a chance to tie,’ but that just disappeared like it was a lie.
In the end, they lost 2-0. From the start he didn’t think they would win, but it couldn’t be helped that it was vexing.
Why, he wondered. Because things were going well for a while? There was only a little more to go when an unimaginable hinderance entered. He remembered the enemy player who easily cleared the pass that had his everything in it.
He’s cool as well as refreshing, being good at sports too was cheating. Pretty different from him, who doesn’t have a single special redeeming feature. They say that heaven never gives you two things, but isn’t that a lie? He started to resent god.
However, even though he’s known about Kimura since long before, why was he getting so irritated about this now? It’s not like he held that much enthusiasm for the tournament, so it was like he didn’t really understand himself.
For now, to cool his head, he went to a drinking place at the edge of the grounds. If he were to wash his face a little, his mood might change too.
At the grounds, besides soccer, there was the first year boys playing outdoor volleyball and the second year girls playing softball.
He passed by the outdoor volleyball meeting place. Near Yasuki there were two purple jersey wearing first year girls had come to cheer on their male classmates. The unsophisticated looking duo were there, but holding a bitter feeling he thought ‘Those guys are always cheering for good looking guys anyway.’
As he thought that, suddenly raising his face he found a white dot in the blue sky.
The dot got bigger and bigger. It was a softball. Someone hit a super foul ball it seems. The two girls next to him didn’t notice at all. This is bad, at this rate it’ll hit them–
The instant that he pushed to two girls aside, an impact spread out from the back of his head.
He felt all his strength leaving. What an idiot. While trying to save the two girls, he had taken the ball to the his head.
“Are you alright!?”
A girl’s voice called out, but he didn’t have any strength in his legs.
Sensing Yasuki’s out of the ordinary state, people gathered one after another. He wanted to stand up and say it was nothing at all, but while his head was spinning he collapsed to the ground. At that time “Kyaa” a shrill voice rose into the surroundings.
“What do we do? Ambulance?”
“Rather than that, hurry up and call the teachers –”
He could hear that exchange, however he didn’t have his glasses so he couldn’t see very well. It seems like they came off when he was hit by the ball. Eventually from the side of the group of people, he realized a guy wearing the same purple jersey appeared.
“You guys are in the middle of a match, right? I’ll take him to the infirmary.”
That boy picked him up, said “Here, hold on” while carrying Yasuki in a piggyback, and started walking.
“Are you alright Iijima-kun?”
While holding on to the wide back, Yasuki thought with his fading consciousness
(Could this voice possibly be-)
Kimura from the next class’s?TL5
Yasuki’s body was jolted and he awoke. Without remembering, he saw white sheets and a white pillow. He didn’t know the face of the one calling to him, but it sounded like a middle aged woman.
As he got up, the woman spoke to him in a slow voice.
“The infirmary is already closed, but how are you feeling?”
…so from what she said, this seems to be the infirmary bed and he immediately understood that she must be the school nurse.
“Yeah, I’m alright…”
While answering, he remembered taking the foul ball to the head and being carried by the next class’ Kimura. He most likely had a slight concussion and was told it would be important to rest while lying down in the bed.
It seems like he eventually fell into a deep sleep, and from the window the light from the waning sun was flowing in. The cause seems to be his habitual lack of sleep from studying combined with all the running around from the ball game tournament.
The teacher, breathing a sigh of relief told Yasuki, “If you feel any nausea or anything for the next week, please make sure you go to the hospital, alright.” It’s probably fine, he thought, but he nodded and said “I understand.”
Yasuki searched around his pillow for his glasses, but he couldn’t find them. They must’ve come off when he collapsed, but they shouldn’t really be worth stealing.
It’s possible that someone found them and brought them to the classroom. Carefully getting down from the bed, he lowered his head while saying ‘Thank you very much’ and left the nurse behind.
 : I didn’t know the name for these immediately, so here: Wikipedia