Chapter 2 - Frail

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Akira's POV

"Aki-chan, wake up," someone said, shaking my arm and waking me from my dream. My eyes slowly fluttered open and I was greeted by a blonde haired giant.

"Tsukishima-kun?" I muttered, still in a sleepy daze. The nurse was on the other side of the bed, smiling down at me.

"He bought you some food," she said. "Sit up and eat so you can take some more medicine after."

I groaned as the giant helped me up as the nurse brought out a tray from under the bed. I still felt sick, sleepy, dizzy. And I still felt embarrassed and humiliated. Waking up in the clinic was never a nice thing.

"I got you some soup and some shrimp, with rice of course," Tsukishima said, placing the meal down on the side table. "Is that alright with you?"

"Oh uhh, yeah. Thank you."

"I'll leave you to it then," the nurse said, smiling as she walked away, closing the curtains bhind her to do whatever.

"Why did you bring me food?" I asked the giant before I took a sip from the soup.

"Why wouldn't I? Your stomach sounded like a blood thirsty monster earlier," he answered, an evil grin on his lips. Right, my tummy ganged up on me while he was carrying me earlier. "By the way, how did you and Shimizu-san become friends?" he suddenly asked. "She's a third year and no one else really took her for someone who'd ask the entire volleyball team to help a first year out to sell pastries."

"Oh, yeah," I muttered, watching the vegetables in my soup swirl around in its bowl. "I was taking entrance exams to schools that time and I passed by the sports store. I happened to have some trouble with uhh... something, and she helped me out."

As if I was going to tell him I needed help finding the right sports bra size.

"Aki-chan, you have another guest!" the nurse yelled from her desk. A black haired boy came in.

"Oh? What's the King doing in a peasant's room?" Tsukishima-kun asked, smirking at him as he walked up to us.

"Don't call me that," he said, glaring at the giant before looking at me, his expression turning softer. "How are you feeling?"

"Much better," I said. "You were the one who gave me some water earlier, right?"

He nodded and I gave him my thanks.

"Shimizu-senpai wanted me to check up on you. Oh, she also asked me to bring you your school bag." He hung my bag on the bed post and I thanked him once more.

"If I may ask... how is the selling thing going?" I asked awkwardly.

"The thing?" the giant asked, smirking.

"The fair.."

"We've already sold off half of the food," the other guy said. "The seniors are out selling while the others are making more batches, along with Shimizu-senpai."

"That's a relief," I muttered, but it was still embarrassing to have an entire volleyball team help me out. I'd have to find a way to pay them back somehow. Shimizu never told me that she would pull a move like this on me, suddenly I feel indebted.

"I'll head back now. I hope you feel better."

And with that, the boy left. I looked at Tsukishima-kun. "Who was he?" I asked him. "I never caught his name."

"That's the King of the Court," he said. "Kageyama Tobio, a first year."

"Remember to take your medicine!" the nurse yelled.

"Yes mom," I whined sarcastically.

"Go on and finish eating so you can get some more rest," the giant said. I nodded and resumed eating my god-sent lunch... well, dinner, I suppose.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tsukishima's POV

"She's such a handful sometimes," the nurse said as Akira drifted off to sleep once again.

"So what's her deal?" I asked. 

"Aren't you a curious one? It's a very long story, if you have the time," the nurse said, smiling as she filled in paperwork on her desk. I shrugged in response. "Aki's mother is, well, in a much better place now. She was in the same batch as I was back in med school. She was an amazing woman. Aki doesn't know that I used to be friends with her mom though, I think it's much better that way."

"And her dad?" I pressed on.

"A heartless man, he is. He left the poor girl alone and went abroad to 'work.' What a bunch of bull." The way she spoke about him, it oozed with hate and disgust. "She's got no one else. Now she lives in a storage room back at a cafe about a bus ride from here, and walks to school everyday. Thank heavens the owner was a nice lady and let her stay there, but she has to work on the weekends to pay off her supposed rent. Sometimes she even works shifts after school."

"And her school money?"

"Karasuno granted her a scholarship! She's a really smart nugget, could you believe it? But living alone and having little to no money?" The nurse sighed, shaking her head, evidently concerned. "The poor girl's been working her tail off, trying to earn some money to survive out there on her own. And now with that little project she's working on... I'm scared one day, she'll just drop dead. She doesn't eat at all, she doesn't sleep much, she can't even afford to get herself a mattress, let alone some vitamins!"

I took a glimpse at the frail girl lying on the bed. She looked so tired, even as she was resting. How the hell is she still alive?

"She has sleeping troubles, you know?" the nurse carried on. "Sometimes, she'd spend her lunch here, trying to take a quick nap but she can never really get any rest. She starts squirming in her sleep and starts mumbling and she just wakes up with a panicked look on her face. I don't know if such a small girl like her can reach her dreams now."

"Dreams?"

"She'll get there," Shimizu-san said, suddenly entering the clinic. "I know she will. How is she?"

"Her fever's almost gone now," the nurse told her, replacing her worried expression with a smiling one. "This fine young man over here brought her some food earlier."

"Thank goodness," Shimizu-san said before facing me. "Can I ask you a favour?"

I nodded and she took a deep breath.

"Could you take her home tonight?"

What?

"She only walks home and I'm scared she'll faint in the middle of the street or something."

"Oh, sure," I said without much hesitation. What am I doing?

"Thank you!" she said happily. "Oh, and could you give this to her? It's from the sales we have so far." She handed me an envelope right before she said her goodbye and left. I asked the nurse where the cafe she stayed at was and to my surprise, it was just on the way to my house.

I usually take the bus though...

How can she walk that far? And everyday too? Even Hinata takes the bike on his way from school.

"Maybe I should bring her some food tomorrow..." the nurse muttered to herself. "She's never had a home cooked meal since her mother passed. That girl's been living on instant ramen for so long... Although I haven't done the groceries so there's not much I can do..."

Instant ramen, huh?

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