(木兎) - horned owl.
koutarou (光太郎) - son of light.
you think it's odd how names are used to define people. you're not sure that you enjoy being defined by a name that you don't know if it fits you or not. you suppose that you'll live though. especially when the brunette kid in elementary school compliments your name.
kuroo tetsurou. he's an interesting kid, but the two of you become thick as thieves easily. you can hardly be separated from him, the cat to your owl the teachers like to joke. though really he's the only one who doesn't make fun of you.
you never understood why the other kids bothered you, why they chose to poke fun at your antics. all you wanted to do was have fun, make things entertaining and they just laughed. never with you though. it was always at you. and sometimes you think, you can still hear their laughter in your ears whenever you do something dumb. at least you have tetsurou to hold your hand and tell you it'll be okay.
you two become like brothers, much to your parents chagrin. playing outside anytime that you can and one day the two of you, now middle schoolers, find a volleyball. it's tetsurou that tells you to try hitting it and he'll hit it back. you think it's stupid, you like kicking it better. or bouncing it on the ground.
but he tells you that it'll be fun, that it'll be exciting and you can't ever say no to that cat like grin he gets when he wants his way. the hours fall away from the two of you and it's not long before your mother is calling you inside for supper. you don't want to admit it, but tetsurou was right. it was fun. in fact, you loved it.
you find him again the next morning and beg him to play again with you after school is out. he agrees and soon your parents both notice your interests.
it wasn't long before they had the two children in a volleyball club and being taught to play properly. though both sets of parents claim that it was mostly done so that their children would have less energy at home.
the rest of your younger years are filled with volleyball and tetsurou. you're happy he's been a part of your life for so long, but apparently high school means that has to change. you've been considered gifted with your spiking talents and fukurodani academy actually recruits you. if they hadn't, you likely would have ended up at nekoma with tetsurou.
but you're happy at fukurodani. it's a great school and a great team. your first year was rough, living in the lime light of the third years and just wishing for your chance to be the ace. you complain about that time, but you know it helped you grow.
you saw what a true ace really looked like, you learned from one of the bests. he still visits you from time to time, to check up on you and to see if you've improved. like the big brother you never had. it's nice actually. but it's your time to shine in your second year.
you become the ace. there's no other wing spikers that are strong enough to be considered the ace. it's there where you really flourish. under the watchful eyes of your coach and your teammates, you bring the team to victory.
again and again and again.
you're only a second year, but you have a starting place on the team and your spikes are talked about across the country. bokuto koutarou - second year extraordinaire. that's what what you wish your second year could have been like.
but the truth is, you sucked. you weren't the ace. sure, you were a wing spiker and the next in line to be the ace, but surely someone else would take your spot as next if you couldn't make it past a block. it seemed like every time you touched the ball to spike, there were hands looming in front of you. taunting you and you aimed right for them.
it made you feel so discouraged. you talked to tetsurou about quitting once. that you didn't find it enjoyable anymore. he told you that one day fukurodani and nekoma would play together and they'd both be starters, maybe even captains, and that's what he looked forward to. that's why he played. because he loved volleyball and he loved his team. and he wanted to win.
you don't get this determination that drives him. you do want to win and you want to play against tetsurou in an official game. but it's not fun to constantly have your spikes slammed into the ground behind you after making contact with the block.
it's the first year setter, akaashi that suggests changing your spiking technique from crosses to straights. you stutter at him, surprised that he'd suggest a spike that was commonly looked down upon. he reassured you that it would work, that you could turn it into your own style of spiking.
you think it doesn't hurt to try it out. so you practice repeatedly, practice practice practice. you practice until your palms are red and sore. but it works. the straight spike works. you finally break through the block and you can't help but crow in delight as you finally did it.
you work with akaashi and the rest of the team to raise the arsenal of spikes that you have, faints, wipes, cut shots, even the dreaded cross spike. you practice them all and you don't stop until you're successful. though even then, you continue practicing until the only one left is akaashi and he's asking if he can go home now.
the first time you use your straight spike in a game, your coach is surprised it worked. he tells you to try the other hits you practiced for so long and you do. you win. fukurodani academy won with you as their ace. you're happier than you could have ever thought. you don't make it far in the tokyo spring high preliminaries that year, but that's okay. you're still growing as an ace.
it's because of tetsurou that you didn't quit. but it's because of akaashi that you enjoy volleyball again. if it wasn't for the two of them, you wouldn't be the number four ace in all of japan. you wouldn't be recognized at the mall on occasion and you definitely wouldn't still be playing volleyball.
you think back to how your life has changed from that one day just tossing the ball back and forth with tetsurou. and now hitting spikes set up by akaashi. they're both the rocks that you've built your foundation on and you'd crumble without them.
you already crumble with them.
your resolve is not strong. it never has been. any sense of failure and you're in a mood, desperate for attention and adoration, but wanting to be left alone. you can't stand the idea of being the one to let the team down anymore. you can't. it makes you too sad and you don't want to play if that happens. sometimes it happens during games.
akaashi and the rest of fukurodani pull through though. they back you up as you make mistakes and then ask not to be tossed to anymore. they pick up the slack of the ace being withdrawn and it's as if you're not even needed. that part hurts sometimes. but you know that it's good that they can still compete without you playing. though they take the moment to assure you that they want you to play, that they want their ace and their captain to be the one to score the points and win the games.
they don't want that glory - they leave that to you.
you find it funny that tetsurou is the captain of nekoma and you're the captain of your own team. it's as if the two of you were meant to play center stage in front of all of japan - the game between the two best friends. however this game hasn't come yet, though the countless practice games always end with fukurodani on top.
you don't want to take it easy on nekoma, but you also don't want tetsurou to lose. on the other hand, you can never take it easy and you never want to lose. you're not sure what to do, but your mind will decide for you whenever the game comes.
it doesn't hurt that you have akaashi by your side to support your choices. he's dealt with countless hours of your spiking practice after the official team practice has ended. he's the perfect setter for you. he completes you in ways you never thought possible.
he not only gives you the perfect passes, but he also can read the game better than you. can figure out where the ball needs to go and who the best player to get it there is. you admire him more than you want to admit for a second year, but you're glad you have him.
you're very glad when he's there when you have bad days, when you don't want to be tossed to, when you feel like the failure that those kids in elementary always thought you were. he's there to pick you up and brush you off and tell you it'll be alright.
sometimes, you thank the world for placing kuroo tetsurou and akaashi keiji in your life.
you'd closed your eyes late last night to finally try and sleep, you'd always been more of a night creature. or night owl
as you prefer to be called. akaashi always went to bed at a decent time and you were often left alone with your thoughts and the internet for hours. somehow you find your eyes closing and you drift off to sleep.
but the room you wake up in is not your own. well, you suppose it is. it has your clothes and when you ask the woman who owns the complex, she says it's your room. but you don't know this place. this isn't tokyo.
it's the capitol of elysion and you suddenly find yourself lost.
not in the sense of direction, but in the sense of purpose. you don't have your friends here to guide you to where you need to be and what you need to be doing. sure, you know you'll make it on your own, but you don't like being alone. you've never liked being alone.
every morning you wake up in this strange room that is technically your room, you wonder where tetsurou is. where akaashi is. will they even show up here? you hope they do. and you hope they're okay.
every day you put on your zookeeper uniform and you prepare yourself for the job at the zoo - whether it's taking care of the animals today or giving tours to the visitors, you always look forward to it. after all, you're allowed to ramble on excitedly to the people about your favorite exhibits - two guesses as to what those are. and you're allowed to ramble to the animals, after all, they can't complain to anyone.
your job makes you feel a little bit less lonely here. and you don't mind seeing your face on advertisements every now and then when you accept a modelling gig. it's sort of like the interviews and magazine spreads you had when you were in tokyo as the number four ace in all of japan.
the only thing that's different is there isn't a big volleyball push here. there isn't the giant tokyo tower greeting you every morning. and there definitely isn't the same friends who know how to make your day brighter.