“hey, fubuki...” shion starts, following close behind as you pass by an unfamiliar clearing, “where are we going, anyway?”
truthfully, you’re not sure if you’re going in the right direction—thinking to yourself earlier that your usual path would have clued him in before the time was right, you decided you’d piece together your knowledge of this town to find another way there.
you turn on your heel, taking care not to shine the flashlight right in his face, and wink. “you’ll see~”
after all, you’re looking to make this a surprise. that is, something to put a smile on his face before he has to spend the next day cooped up in an airplane seat.
come to think of it, the two of you haven’t gone stargazing in a while—the last few times, you’d fallen into the habit of glow-in-the dark stars stuck on bedroom ceilings, as you talked through the night and tried your best to act like there wasn’t someone else trying to sleep on the bottom bunk. really, it was a great idea on shion’s part, given that you didn’t have to walk the whole way back while tripping over your feet just so he wouldn’t have to carry everything, but you’d found yourself missing the comfort of the chirping crickets.
(besides, you did hear there was supposed to be a meteor shower this week, so it seemed like a good idea.)
“...wait, fubuki, are we—“
“shh, we’re not there yet.”
so you’d fished around the house for the flashlights that were starting to collect dust along with the old backpack you always stuffed with snacks, and called him at around midnight. maybe it was risky to set things in motion at the last moment, but—sure enough, he’d showed right outside your house, with a blanket draped over his shoulders as though it was a cape.
thankfully, the two paths seem to intersect at around here. so, with newfound confidence, you pass the the tree that towers over the others, start a slow climb up the steps that never seem to end, and about halfway through you look back to check on shion—only to stifle a giggle at the face he’s making.
“aw, have you figured it out~?”
he looks at you with eyes the size of saucers, and you laugh some more, before turning back to complete your journey.
after a while, you reach the top, and from then on all you have to do is set everything down and wait. you let the flashlight fall from your hand onto the grass, and toss your backpack right beside it, looking up at the stars that seem to twinkle in delight at your arrival.
...yeah. glow-in-the-dark stars don’t hold a candle to the real thing.
though, while you wouldn’t change anything about this farewell, it can’t be right unless shion feels the same. so, starting to feel oddly shy around someone you’ve known since you were a child, you ask— “so~? how do you like it~?”
shion still hasn’t said anything. you can’t bring yourself to look yet.
“well... to be honest,” you admit, once even the distant trees stop rustling to let you speak, “i just wanted a chance to look at the stars with you.”
“...so, um, i hope you don’t—“
hearing a quiet sniffle, you cut yourself off there, and turn to your side only to find shion in tears.
with a gasp, you rush over to him, feeling your heart sink. “shii-chan, are you okay...?!”
he nods quickly, wiping his eyes and trying to pull himself together. “y-yeah, i’m— i’m better than good.”
the dread pooling at the bottom of your stomach fades immediately. “oh, oh, okay, good—“ and you reach up to pat him on the head, wondering when he’d gotten so much taller than you. “—there, there...”
at the very least, he leans over a bit to make it easier. “...thanks.“
you’re about to say something about how it’s no problem at all, but he continues. “for... giving me a good last day.”
shion laughs, and your heart flutters.
(you’re not quite sure where that came from, but you decide to set it aside for now.)
“hey, now, it hasn’t even started yet~” you can feel yourself beaming still, as you drop down and look back at the rotating constellations above.
shion sits down beside you, muttering something along the lines of an ‘i know’, before his head snaps up abruptly. “...wait, what do you mea—“
he trails off, just as you both notice the first shooting star.
“pretty, isn’t it,” you breathe. after a moment, he hums absentmindedly, having already gotten lost in the several that take its place.
there are a lot of things you thought to ask of the starry sky, since dozens of shooting stars means dozens of wishes — good grades, first place, et cetera — and yet, they’ve all faded into the night, leaving you with just one thing to hope for before shion leaves.
(it’s a silly thing to say, given the next time you might actually see him again in the first place, but...)
i wish shii-chan and i could stay like this forever, you think, as you glance beside you and find yourself placing your hand over his.
he freezes in place, the dim light casting an illusion of flushed cheeks, before smiling softly and taking your hand in return.