Midday, at a quiet Lawson’s.
The automatic doors of the convenience store are ajar, so they don’t have to break the glass to get in. Most of the prepared food has spoiled, but there’s always something to grab. Oikawa comes out with an armful of instant noodles, and Iwaizumi with some premade containers of curry packets.
They manage to light a fire with a portable gas cooker that they picked up, and start boiling some water. Curry doesn’t taste very good without rice, but it’ll have to do. The noodles have way too much salt, but they slurp them up regardless.
As the water boils, Oikawa puffs his chest up and declares, “I bet I can make better food than you.”
“You think so?”
“I know so. The great Oikawa-san can turn even bare bone noodles into a feast!”
Iwaizumi watches the water bubble, still a simmer before full boil and says, “Pass.”
“Huh? Why not?”
“Look at where your competition got us.”
Oikawa prepares something to shoot back, but he frowns and keeps his mouth shut. The noodles boil quickly, and with ease. Both the noodle broth and the curry pack tastes bland.
“I never thought I’d miss instant noodles,” Oikawa says, as a noodle slaps him in the face. “We should get the better instant noodle packs.”
“Which better ones?”
“You know, the ones with the premade noodles that you have to boil, but they’re tender, not dry.”
“Oh, those. Yeah, they’re pretty good.”
“Right? We should find those next. And maybe a volleyball.”
Iwaizumi swallows another spoonful of curry, thinking about how they might be having instant food for a long time. They wouldn't be playing volleyball for a long time, either.
The suburbs, a short walk away from the local train lines.
Iwaizumi still takes his shoes off before they enter an apartment. The shoe rack is full, but he wedges his boots between some small pink sandals and large dark houseslippers.
“You don’t have to do that, you know.” Oikawa huffs, crossing his arms impatiently. “Nobody’s going to yell at you anymore.”
He knows that, but he still does it anyway. Someone could be inside, even if nobody ever is.
Judging from the food left out, now rotten and molded, and the dishes set up around the table, it looks like the previous inhabitants had just been settling down to eat. Iwaizumi sweeps all the moldy food into a bag, seals it up tight, and tosses it into the trashcan outside.
“You take the master bedroom,” Oikawa tells him, once he’s done airing out the sheets.
“You sure you don’t want it?”
“Of course not! Iwa-chan is a very special person! You’re—”
“—Not your rival?”
Oikawa looks at him for a long time, then corrects, “My best partner. Of course you deserve good things.”
Iwaizumi can never really get used to sleeping in strangers’ beds, surrounded by all their old things. Posters on the walls, decorations on their shelves, paint and curtains he’d never pick for himself. They’re not his. This was once a house that wasn’t his.
But now the world is—
A riverside bank, late at night.
They have a tent set up, but the fear of someone sneaking up on them and stealing their belongings is a faraway one. What Iwaizumi wouldn’t give to see Without the regular light pollution, every star in the sky is now visible.
“Look, Iwa-chan. A shooting star.”
Iwaizumi twists his head around, ready to yell out a wish to right all these wrongs, but the sky is filled with static stars. Not even a trail of cosmic dust in sight.
“Guess you were too late,” Oikawa chuckles.
Iwaizumi sighs, flopping backwards onto the grass. The stream trickles by, uncaring. “Did you wish for anything?”
“No, not this time.”
Iwaizumi turns over. “You should have made things right.”
A shoreline, when the sky is turning gray.
On the horizon, they see a boat drifting towards the shore. It’s still far away, but there’s no traffic, so Iwaizumi sucks in a deep breath and yells across the water.
Oikawa drops all the seashells he had collected, and stares wide-eyed at Iwaizumi. “What was that for?” he squawks, scandalized. When Iwaizumi points out the boat, Oikawa looks mildly at it, and then shrugs. “It’s probably nothing.”
It probably is nothing, but Iwaizumi still plants his feet in the sand and waits. Oikawa continues picking up shells, but he eventually relents and comes to sit next to Iwaizumi. Oikawa takes his shoes off and dips his feet into the foam, humming as Iwaizumi sits silently.
Half the day passes before the boat comes close enough for them to peer on board; nobody by the controls, nothing but a battered but empty deck.
“Were they really threats to you too?” Iwaizumi asks.
Oikawa makes a sound in his back of his throat, but doesn’t answer.
A field on a sunny day.
It’s a long walk across the countryside, where there wouldn’t be much public transportation to start with, and there’s definitely nobody to hitch a ride with now. Even without any farmers to tend the fields, the rice paddies are still growing strong, and the animals have broken free and roam the town.
They kick up dust as they walk on the beaten road when Oikawa gasps. A tinge of yellow stretches far across the landscape up ahead, sunflowers turning their faces towards the light. Even at the end of all things, nature still shines proudly and vibrantly.
“Mom would have loved this,” Oikawa murmurs, marveled.
Then why did you get rid of her? Iwaizumi wants to say it out loud, but Oikawa’s gone ahead and ran off into the fields and it’s no longer the time to ask.
A police station in the city, where all the light are off.
“I thought cops don’t have guns.” Oikawa says, eyeing the shadows.
“They don’t carry them, but there’s no way they don’t have them.”
There are no policemen, but the desks still slope with paperwork, and the shut halogen lights promise secrets that neither of them would know. They could stop and read some of the papers, find out some police secrets, but it doesn’t really matter now, does it?
“Why do we need guns, anyway? We don’t need to protect ourselves from anyone. I don’t think we’re going to be fighting any bears.”
“Eventually we’re going to have to get food,” Iwaizumi points out. “Nobody’s going to serve us yakiniku in restaurants anymore. We’re going to have to hunt if we want meat.”
“Do you know how to hunt, Iwa-chan?”
Iwaizumi grips the gun tight. “No. Do you?”
Oikawa sighs dramatically, but starts taking ammunition off the shelves. “Guess we’re both hopeless at this survival thing.”
A popular nightclub downtown.
No bouncer is at the front to keep them from going inside, so they slink down the chrome stairs, past the heavy doors. Inside is all leather and velvet and all chandelier shines when Iwaizumi puts his flashlight on it. The bar is fully stocked with multicolored bottles that would be a few month’s salary easily, but now who knows what labor is anymore.
They sit in the leather chairs, drinking champagne they had to pour for themselves, under candlelight instead of the bright colored glitzy lights. Oikawa sweeps his hand as he bows, pretending to be a host, and Iwaizumi laughs for a brief moment. He’s laughing, but it feels like he shouldn’t have.
Oikawa finishes off his glass, and looks through it at the candles flickering at the end of the table. “It’s not as fun as I thought it would be.”
It’s not fun. It hasn’t been for a long time.
A large crosswalk, underneath neon signs that have long fizzled out of power.
Oikawa stares wide-eyed at him, breath in his throat. He watches for a moment, but then his eyes go hard, returning to that fierce captain’s stare he gives his opponents across the court. “Iwa-chan, what are you doing?”
Iwaizumi’s hands are unsteady on the gun. He’s never fired one in his life, and movies aren’t the same as reality. Oikawa is the last person he wants to aim this at but…
They’d wished on a shooting star, the two of them, together. Iwaizumi wished deep in his heart that he’d remain with Oikawa as long as possible. And Oikawa, under the moonlight said—
“‘I want to be the greatest volleyball player in the world. The best doesn’t have any need for threats or rivals!’ You said that. And now everyone’s gone. You’re the most important person in my life,” Iwaizumi starts, thorns lodged in his throat now spilling out. “But there were people in my life besides you.”
A flicker of guilt. “I didn’t mean for this to happen.”
“Well, it did.”
Rivals meant nobody else was there to play . But threats, that’s far more malleable. People who’d make fun of him, in conversation or over SNS. People who don’t acknowledge Oikawa. People who don’t care for him, or don’t know him. People who do, who’d pull him away from the sport he’d love. Possible threats could be anyone. Was anyone.
Iwaizumi, spared— because of his own wish? Or because he wasn’t a threat?
“So do I qualify? Am I a threat now?”
Emotions flow across Oikawa’s face, so fast and immutable that Iwaizumi can’t tell what’s what, or what’s stronger. Maybe it’s a trick of the light, but the luster of a shooting star glows in his eyes.
Iwaizumi's hands shake across the gun. What now?