Kageyama is resting on the sidelines before the game. He overhears two men talking in the seats behind him.
“I’ve never even heard of this guy Hinata.”
“He’s barely 5”7 and he’s a middle blocker? He’s the height of an elementary school kid. He’s no match for Schweiden.”
Kageyama turns toward them and yells before he really understands what he’s doing.
“Hey!” The men stop and stare at Kageyama. One of them is wearing Ushijima’s jersey. “Don’t underestimate Hinata. He may be small, but he’s a great volleyball player.”
Kageyama isn’t some snotty high schooler any more, so these men don’t know what to do after being scolded by a pro volleyball player, one who’s defending his opponent in tonight’s game.
A hand lands on Kageyama’s shoulder, and he looks up to see Ushijima.
“Hinata Shouyou is one of the best and most interesting players I have ever played against,” Ushijima says in his normal monotone. “Do not judge him by his height. I’m sure he learned a lot while he was playing in Brazil.”
The man in Ushijima’s jersey looks teary-eyed.
The men nod. Kageyama and Ushijima nod back. When Hinata hits his first spike during the Black Jackals’ warmup, Kageyama looks back at the men. The arena is too loud to talk to them now, but Kageyama mouths “See?” with a great deal of satisfaction.