Training Camp, A Captain's Past
Wednesday May 26th had come at last, and with it time for the Enoshima Soccer teams to go to training camp.
"That should be everything." said Keiko as she zipped up her duffle bag in her room. She was a little uneasy about leaving her siblings for the remainder of the week, given what happened to Ryo on Monday night. She then ran out of her room and down the stairs, stopping for a brief moment to step around Shiro "That might not be the safest place to sleep, Shiro." She told their kitten, then made the rest of they downstairs and out the door, where Yuki, and Saito were waiting for her. Hiroki and Ryo, along with Michiru, were there as well. Koichi was already at school, and Kakeru and Nana were busy elsewhere and unable to see them off.
"Time to head off to training camp." said Yuki, just as Keiko's phone rang and she answered it
"Hello? Ishiki-san? Really? Alright."
"What was that about?" Yuki asked as Keiko put her phone away
"Nadeshiko stuff. I'll tell you later." Keiko said, then turned to the twins "You two remember the new rules we set while I'm gone?" they nodded "No going to school without each other, and no coming home from practice without each other."
"And I'm to escort them to school and home from practice." said Michiru
"We're in your care, Michiru-senpai." said Hiroki
"Don't teach them anything weird while you're doing so." Saito told his sister sternly
"What? Don'tcha trust me?"
"And, Ryo." said Keiko "Your first session with Mine-sensei it tomorrow. Don't forget."
"Right, Kei-nee." said Ryo
"Now we really need to go before we miss the bullet train." said Yuki
"Agreed." said Keiko, more to Yuki than to the two of them. Keiko had been somewhat distant towards Saito since Tuesday.
"Have a great time!" Hiroki, Ryo and Michiru called after them as the three first years left for the train station.
They arrived on the train just in time, and they were off to the training camp in Shizuoka. There was just one hitch, everyone in the train car was giving off glum vibes. Two days ago, everyone was ecstatic to go, but it was a different story this now.
"Okay," said Keiko as the train made its way through the countryside "Would anyone care to tell me why almost everyone on this train is so depressed?"
"I guess it's really no surprise it hasn't reached your ears yet." said Tsukasa
"It's about what happened to your sister." said Yamato
"What does that have to do with it?" Keiko asked
"Almost everything." said Suzuka "The guy who actually raped your sister was a member of the boys team. It was Takashi Hamura."
"WHAT?!" said Yuki
"That guy who asked me about Ryo?"
"Yes." said Asuna Kirigaya, one of the managers of the boys team "We don't know how, but he somehow managed to get out of any legal charges. He was also expelled from the team and given a one month suspension from school, but he's getting off easy compared to us."
"What do you mean?" Keiko asked
"Because he got off so lightly, the board of directors, the PTA and the Student Council weren't happy, and deemed it necessary to hold the entire team liable for him raping your sister." Sakura Ogami, another manager, explained "So they're barring the boys team from taking part in the summer tournament."
"That also means, no Summer Nationals for us this year." said Yuu Amakawa, sub-captain for the boys team
"That's not fair!" said Saito, outraged "He's the one who should be punished, not you guys."
"That's what we told the Council." said Coach Mako "But their words are law at this school."
"I don't know why, but I'm starting to regret announcing my pregnancy." said Mai
"What does that have to do with this?" Nagisa asked
"Now even I'm depressed." said Keiko
"Come on, cheer up." said Mashiro Kanda, the third boys team manager "We can still practice like normal, and go on this training camp with you. We can't compete this summer, but you girls still can."
"That's right." said Yuu "You girls can still bring the title of 'Best In The Nation' to Enoshima."
"Thanks. No pressure." said Suzuka
"That reminds me," said Miho "The girls team went to Nationals last year, right?"
"We did." said Miki "We lost in the Quarter-Finals though."
"Captain? You grew up in Shizuoka, right? So for you, this trip is like going home." said Yuzuki
"Yeah, home." Suzuka replied, though she sounded less than enthusiastic
"By the way, Kei-chan," said Yuki "What was that call you got from Ishiki-san earlier?"
"Oh, that." said Keiko "Nadeshiko Japan has a friendly match against France on Friday, and they want me to play. I said I would, so that means I'll be gone most of that day."
"Good luck then." said Mai
"France, huh? I wish we could come to watch." said Suzuka
Within another hour, the train pulled into the Shizuoka station.
"Make sure you grab everything!" Suzuka called as they all got off the train "You don't want to leave anything behind!"
"Well well, if it isn't Slutzuka!" called an obnoxious voice
"I know that obnoxious voice anywhere." Suzuka turned and saw the source of the voice, a long haired girl with black hair that was no older than she was "Shijima!"
"Still calling me by my last name?"
"What's going on here, Captain?" Yuki asked
"You're a 'Captain' now?" said Shijima "How could someone like you, with such a history, and only two years of soccer experience, become 'Captain'?"
"That was a long time ago, and I was a different person!" Suzuka retorted
"Some people never change. I wager that you're still the slut I know."
"I'm not that person anymore!"
"I don't know what's going on here, but leave our captain alone!" said Saito
"Shut up! Stay out of this!" Shijima said, then turned back to Suzuka "How about you and me, one last time tonight. Split the cash 50/50?"
"Everyone to the bus terminal, NOW!" Suzuka ordered, and everyone complied
"See ya later, Slutzuka!" Shijima called after them
"That arrogant stuck-up bitch!" Suzuka let out once they were out on the terminal waiting for the buses
"That's not nice, Senpai." said Amuro
"She sure ran into someone unpleasant, didn't she, Keiko-chan?" said Saito
"Are those buses late?" Keiko asked, checking her watch and ignoring Saito completely
"What was that all about anyway?" Miho asked
"Never you first years mind." said Nagisa, just as the two buses arrived
Within a few minutes, everyone was on board one of the two buses, and twenty minutes later they were at the inn they were staying at for the training camp.
"Welcome back, Enoshima High!" said the innkeepers
"Thank you for having us!" both teams chorused
"Sorry for causing you so much trouble every year." said Mai
"No trouble at all." said the manager "It's liveliest when the soccer teams come."
"We're happy to hear you say that." said Mako
Just then, Keiko got a text message form Suzuka. And so did the rest of the freshman girls.
"'There's a Hot Spring hidden in the forest behind the inn. Don't tell the boys! (^_-)'" the text said. Keiko looked around and saw that the rest of the freshman girls had got the message, and the boys had no idea what they were so giggly about.
"Alright everyone!" said Mako "Find your rooms and get changed. We're heading straight to the field."
"All twenty-four of us in one room!" Yuki exclaimed once they found their room. Though the room was quite large enough for all of them, she didn't seem to like the idea of sleeping like this.
"That's how it is." said Nagisa "All the girls sleep in one room. All the boys from both teams get another. And the Coaches get a room to themselves."
"Well, you would know the drill, since you've been on the team longest." said Tsukasa "This is your ninth training camp as I recall."
"Ninth?" Keiko asked
"We have two training camps a year." said Amuro "One before the summer tournament, and one before the winter tournament."
"And Nagisa is currently taking her '5th year'." said Miki "Having been held back twice."
"Doesn't that make her the oldest of us?" said Asuna
"No wonder they call you 'Old Girl'." said Miho
"Who y'all callin' old?" said Nagisa angrily in what was unmistakably a Kansai accent
"You're from Kansai?" Yuki asked
"Yes. But I've lived in Kamakura since I was five." said Nagisa in her normal voice again
"Alright everyone, enough chitchat!" said Suzuka "Let's get changed into our uniforms and get out to the field."
"Yes, Captain!" everyone chorused
Training the first day was far from fun. Everyone was doing much harsher training than they would normally do at school. There were a few complaints, but both captains and coaches only said that TCs were meant to be harsher.
"This is insane!" said Sachiko as she, and the rest of the Forwards, lined up to practice kicking past the Goal Keeper. "I knew training would be tough but this is ridiculous!"
"Quit complaining." said Momoko as she and her fellow keeper, Kotomi, waited behind the net while Amuro was up first to catch the Forwards' balls "We had to go through this last year."
"You girls coming at us or not?" said Amuro
"Yui, you first." said Suzuka
Yui kicked the ball at Amuro five times, but never managed to get by her. Sachiko didn't have much more luck. Finally, it was Keiko's turn.
"Come at me with everything you got!" said Momoko, who had switched with Amuro
"Here it comes!" said Keiko, and she kicked. Momoko dived, but the shot went by her easily
"I told you she wasn't easy to stop." said Amuro
"Shut up!" said Momoko as she threw the ball back to Keiko, just as Mai's whistle blew
"Alright everyone. Ten-minute break." she called
"Finally!" Yuki groaned as they gathered for the break
"Feeling your limits girls?" a member of the boys team asked
"Shut it!" said Haruhi
"I saw that kick Aizawa gave Ninagawa." said Yuu "She's a great marksman, one of your best. But it takes more than good aim. It takes courage. And that's my forté."
"Well then," said Suzuka, looking up from the data on a tablet Mai had shown her "how 'bout a round of, Kick-n-Fire?"
"K-K-K-K-Kick-n-Fire?" Yuu stammered "You mean me?
"You're the only one with enough c-c-c-c-courage." Mai said as she and Suzuka gave a sly smile
A few minutes later;
"Are you sure you're all right?" Suzuka asked as she tied an Orange on top of Yuu's head while everyone lined up on the edge of the field to watch
"I'm fine, I'm fine." said Yuu, then Suzuka tightened the knot too far "Too tight! Too tight!" Suzuka loosened the knot
"Oops! So sorry." Suzuka said with a sly smile
"Ready?" Keiko called from a spot thirty feet away
"He's ready!" Suzuka called back over Yuu's stammering, and Keiko turned her back to them
"It should be me giving Aizawa the kick." Tsukasa whispered to Moka
"Don't be so sore about it, Senpai." Moka whispered back
"Now remember," Suzuka said to Yuu "Aim, for her head. Right above the shoulders." Suzuka then back away to give them room
Yuu hesitated, but then gave Keiko the kick "Crap! I overshot!" Yuu thought. It looked like it was gonna go over Keiko's shoulder, but Keiko, as though on instinct, turned around with her leg up and kicked the ball back at Yuu. For a second, it looked like it was gonna hit Yuu in the face, but instead it skimmed over the top of the Orange, splitting it, somehow, cleanly in two, and Suzuka caught one of the halves. Just as the ball landed, Yuu collapsed from shock.
"62, out of 62! Well done, Keiko!" said Suzuka
"Could you have done that?" Nagisa asked Yukari, flabbergasted by what she had seen
"Not a chance." Yukari replied, with the same stunned look
"Everyone's got such stunned looks." said Saito
"What do you expect? Hardly anyone knows what Kei-chan can really do." said Yuki
"That took a lot of courage man." Suzuka said to Yuu "Just think. Even one inch lower, and that ball would've..." Yuu passed out again
In the baths later that evening after dinner;
"Did you see the look on Yuu's face as the ball came right at him?" said Yuki, who was in the big tub "Priceless!"
"Everyone else had priceless faces as well." said Mai, who, currently shampooing her hair, was having a Furo with several of the other girls
"Please don't rub it in, Coach." said Akane, who taking a shower
"With her on the team, the competition should be a breeze." said Miki
"What about the rest of you?" said Mashiro "You're all talented players."
"And I'm the queen." said Yukari "That's how I got the number 10."
"Ain't that the truth." said Tsukasa
"Can we drop the subject of soccer for now?" Keiko asked "I've had enough for today."
"Ditto." said Asuna
"Then here's something we can discuss." said Yuki "Why don't you tell us why you've been avoiding Saito-kun."
Keiko felt all eyes turn to her "I don't know what you're talking about." She said, rinsing her hair
"Come on." said Nagisa "We've all noticed you've been rather awkward around him since Tuesday."
Keiko looked around and saw that everyone was looking at her. Deciding it was best to come clean, she told them "I just don't know how to talk to him right now. Not after I used him like that."
"Huh?" said Aoi
"Sunday and Monday night, I was so upset with my parents, I...." Keiko didn't need to continue, everyone understood
"So, Mai-chan!" said Chisato "When's your due date?"
"Sometime in November.." said Mai while Keiko sighed in relief, glad of a change of subject
"Who's the father?" Suzuka asked
"No idea. I got pregnant because I took an old leaf out of your book."
"Keiko-chan!" said Nagisa, trying to change the subject again "That necklace of yours."
"This old thing?" Keiko asked looking at the long gold chain around her neck with a marble like soccer ball pendant, which rested just above the cleavage of her bare breasts "What about it?"
"I just noticed that you never take it off. Even when we're in the baths, practicing or about to play a game. I assume it's special?"
"Yeah. My Papa gave it to me when I turned five, and I've worn it ever since. You might say this is my 'good luck charm'."
"And here I thought it was from Saito."
"An easy mistake to make." said Keiko. She then looked in her mirror and noticed that the fogged window behind them was slightly open, and four eyes, one on top of the other, were peeping in "Hey, wait a minute!" Keiko yelled grabbing a bowl and running to the window. She pulled it open fully and threw the bowl at the four retreating boys "PERVERTS!"
"Were we being peeped at?" Sachiko asked
"We were." said Keiko
"That was close." said Yuu as the boys, Saito among them, rounded the corner "Hopefully they didn't see our faces."
The boys just went back into the building when they came face to face with most of the girls team, who had put on kimonos, and scowls
"You pervs!" they said
"We expected this sort of thing from Saito, but you three?" said Suzuka
Keiko then noticed Yuu's dropped phone and picked it up "What is this?" she asked when she found a naked pic of her
"My-my brother is a fan of yours, and he asked me to-"
"Did he send it?" Yui asked Keiko
"He did." Keiko confirmed after checking the E-mail history
"I'll confiscate that." said Mai, and Keiko handed her the phone
"I tried to talk them out of this, really." said Saito
"You big liar!" Keiko and Yuki said together
"What should we do with these four now, girls?" Miki asked
"I'm sure we'll think of something." said Suzuka as the boys gave them looks for pure terror
In the girls room later;
"Those perverted mongrels." Suzuka said angrily as she dried her hair completely
"Seriously." said Miho "We can't even bathe in peace."
"Give it a rest." said Tsukasa, who was playing Mahjong with Amuro, Yuzuki and Kiyomi
"I didn't realize you played Mahjong." said Keiko
"We're not 'soccer freaks', Keiko." said Tsukasa "We all have our own side hobbies. Ron! Rinshan Kaiho!"
"Put the games away!" Mai called "Lights out in five minutes."
"Anybody got a life story they wanna tell before we go to sleep?" Asuna asked as everyone got into their futons
"You all know my story." said Keiko
"Hey, Nagisa, why you wearing your kimono so loosely?" Yuki asked
"I usually sleep in the nude." Nagisa said simply
"As far as me goes, I just love soccer too much to quit." said Tsukasa
"Come on, Tsuka-chan. Tell the kids the truth." said Nagisa, and Tsukasa relented
"I'm the middle child of six, all girls. I have one older sister, Haruka, who's now a freshman in college. I'm part of a set of triplets, the other two are called Kaoru and Rihoko. And I have two younger sisters who are twins, one year behind me, and their names are Ai and Sae. My family, except for me, goes to Kisaragi Girls High, which makes me the black sheep of the family. We also ran a flower shop with our mother. We would sell Roses, Tulips, Sunflowers, Daffodils, blah-blah-blah. But I couldn't stand it! It wasn't me. Then one day, when I was twelve, we started making corsages and boutonnieres for this prom. People were all like 'I want this. I want that. Does it match my dress?', it was a nightmare! I couldn't stand it, so I ran out. I got lost, but then, I saw it. I saw a soccer match. The moves the players made, I was spellbound, I couldn't stop watching. That same day, I met one of the players practicing at a park and he taught me to play. That meeting left a profound impact on me. It was like a sign from the Gods. I found myself at that match."
"Beautiful." said Yuzuki
"Lights out! No more talking!" Mai called, and the light went out a moment later
Two hours later, Keiko woke up after a weird dream. Everyone else was still fast asleep, and Keiko couldn't help but notice that Nagisa had taken off her kimono in her sleep. She then noticed that Suzuka was missing and saw her when she looked out the window. Unable to sleep at the moment, Keiko decided to join her.
"Suzuka?" Keiko said, announcing her presence. Suzuka turned around and Keiko immediately noticed that she was holding something; It was a lit cigarette. "You're smoking?" Keiko inquired just as Suzuka turned away again "I didn't know you smoked."
"It's a secret from most of the team. My fellow third years know, of course." Suzuka told her as Keiko stood next to her "I try not to, but it's not easy to quit. Especially if you started as early as I did. I was 13."
"Finally talking about your past?"
"All day I noticed that you seem pretty touchy about the subject." Keiko told her "I think Yuki noticed too."
"I'm not too keen on my past, true." Suzuka admitted as she took a puff on her cigarette "That's because, until partway through my Freshman year, I was... (sigh) a different person."
"Different? How so?" Keiko asked
Suzuka pulled out her smartphone and looked up a picture in its memory "See for yourself." Suzuka told her handing Keiko her phone
Keiko looked at the picture. It was a Gothic girl with pure-red hair, purple eyeshadow, and many piercings (on her lip, nose and ear) on the right side of her face. "Who's the Goth girl?" Keiko asked, oblivious to who it really was.
"That's me, Idiot." said Suzuka
"YOU?!" Keiko shrieked looking from Suzuka to the picture, barely able to believe they were the same person
"Keep it down!" Suzuka told her while taking her phone back
"But... you... that picture... how can...?" Keiko stammered as Suzuka snuffed out her cigarette beneath her sandal
"Come with me." Suzuka said
Suzuka led Keiko into the forest behind the inn.
"Suzuka? Where we going? And what's that smell?" Keiko asked after a few minutes of walking. She was also starting to smell what seemed to be sulfur.
"You'll see." Suzuka said simply
Keiko also thought that things were becoming a little steamy. Another minute of walking, and thay had arrived at a natural Hot Spring. The same one that Suzuka mentioned in her text earlier.
"A Hot Spring?!" Keiko exclaimed once it came into view
"I told you and the other first years about it in that text earlier. Along with instructions not to tell the boys." said Suzuka "This a purely natural one too."
"I've never been in one before. But why are we- Suzuka, what are you doing?" Keiko asked seeing that Suzuka was stripping naked
"Care to join me?" Suzuka asked once she finished stripping
Deciding not to pass up her offer, Keiko stripped nude as well while Suzuka got in the water
"Ahhhhhh... this feels great!" said Suzuka, sitting down on the bottom of the spring "It's my favorite part about coming here."
"I imagine so." said Keiko as she sat down in the water was well "So this what a 'real' Hot Spring feels like. Heavenly."
"I wanted to bring the entire team here after dinner, but I couldn't risk the boys finding out about it."
"Why can't we tell the boys? Wait, don't answer that. Still, it's a shame. This could be so romantic."
"That's what Miki said. So, now that we're here, I'm going to tell you about my past in full."
"Why do we need to bathe in here for you to do that?" Keiko inquired
"They say you have to be naked to hear the naked truth. So we talk baring all." Suzuka told her
"I think I've heard my mom say that before. Though she also said that its normally just between women."
"She's not wrong. So... where to begin? I guess it starts... with my father."
"My old man was never very stable. Then one day, when I was twelve, he snapped."
"He raped me. He stole my virginity, and I was too helpless to do anything. He had been at it for over an hour before my mother and big sister found us. They forced us apart, and things went downhill for my father. My mother divorced him not too long afterwards, kicked him out of our lives, and I never saw him again. But as for me, my mind had been severely damaged by that. I completely changed after that. Then, shortly after I turned thirteen I became that Goth you saw in that picture, and worse. I dyed my hair, got those piercings bit by bit, and (sigh) I became a prostitute."
"A prostitute? You? So that's what Shijima and Mai meant." said Keiko
"Uh-huh. Shijima was my 'partner'." Suzuka explained as she continued her story "And prostitution is where I picked up smoking. I started with one of those men. I slept with so many men, had sex so many times, I eventually lost count. There were a lot of men who would pay a lot to do it with such a young girl. I racked up a small fortune from it as a result. I was such a horrible person. I didn't care about anything or anyone, I was just selling my body for pleasure and profit. I even got pregnant once, but I used the money I 'earned' to pay for an abortion."
"As a minor, you'd need a parent's signature for that. I imagine your mother wasn't too pleased."
"Actually, she didn't know anything about it. I had it done... um... 'under the radar' shall we say."
"Living in such a shady world, you must've known some shady people." Keiko remarked, frowning
"Having those kinds of connections can come in handy sometimes! Although I cut them off a long time ago, so I could make a new start."
"Isn't prostitution in Japan illegal in the first place?" Keiko inquired
"Technically yes, but the Anti-Prostitution Law (売春防止法 Baishun Bōshi Hō) of 1956 has some major holes in it. Prostitution is technically still legal under the guise of 'sex entertainment', like call girls, enjo kōsai, blah-blah-blah, but there's really no criminal penalty for prostitution."
"There should be."
"Many people still argue that. Anyway, then I entered my freshman year at Enoshima High. I chose Enoshima partly because I wanted to get away from home. Though I was disinclined to continue to high school at all, but my mother wouldn't let me drop out. Though I was still immediately labeled a delinquent once I entered my class for the first time. Even though people avoided me, Miki was the one person who tried to reach out to me, though I shunned her at all advances."
"And then what?" Keiko asked as Suzuka paused to rinse her face in the water
"Now here's where my life changed for the better." Suzuka continued "One night, about two weeks after the school year had begun, I went for a drink in a bar that I had recently found. I was living alone at the time so it didn't matter how long I stayed out. A little more than an hour after I arrived, the man who changed my life walked in. It was your father."
"Yup. He was looking really depressed, he probably just had a fight with your mom. But, seeing him like that, I saw him as a potential customer, so I tried to work my magic on him, and he said 'A young lady such as yourself should be looking for real love and enjoying her High School life. Not wasting the best years of her life as a sex object with no control over it.' I didn't know how he knew I was a High School student, but I felt like my pride was hurt. No man had ever rejected me before, and I had slept with some who were much older than him, sometimes married."
"What happened next?" Keiko inquired
"Right then and there, he left the bar, and I paid my check and followed him. I felt so insulted that I was determined to bring him to a bed. But those streets were dangerous. Shortly after we left the bar, I was grabbed by a man I had slept with a few nights previously. He had, apparently, enjoyed our night together and wanted more, but free of charge this time, so he attempted to rape me. Thankfully your dad, who knew I was following him, came to my rescue and sent the guy running."
"That does sound like the sort of thing papa would do."
"He then took me to that special park of his and gave me a lecture on life. He also taught me to play soccer while he was at it."
"Papa taught you?"
"He did. He also told me to look myself in a mirror properly. That same weekend, I came home to Shizuoka to visit my mom and sister. They weren't to happy about it at first. I then did as Aizawa-san asked me too; I looked myself in the bathroom mirror. I looked hard, and finally told myself 'This isn't me!'. I then took off all my piercings, washed the dye out of my hair, and all the makeup off my face, and put on some normal clothes I borrowed from my sister. They got such a surprise when I came out of there. I guess you can say they were 'happy to have me back'. Everyone in my class also got a surprise when I showed up at school again. No one recognized me at first, but when they realized who I was, oh the reaction was priceless! Hardly anyone could believe that I was the goth they knew the previous week. I also joined the soccer team that same day. And there you have it."
"My dad's known for being influential, but I never knew that he changed someone's entire life." said Keiko once Suzuka finished her story
"I'll never forget it. I owe your father everything. That's partially why I give you such special treatment. I could hardly believe it when I learned that you were his eldest kid. I still want to repay him for what he did for me, but I don't know how."
"I know how you can." said Keiko earnestly
"Most say I look just like my dad, so it's the next best thing to having him on the team. Let's, you and I, lead Enoshima to victory at Inter-High, and Nationals, together."
Suzuka smiled and said "Your right, the resemblance between you two is uncanny. Alright then, It's a promise!"
Still enjoying the Hot Spring, Keiko and Suzuka, the team's top Strikers, made a pinky swear to solidify their promise: Lead the Enoshima High School Girls Soccer Team to the national title, together.