It's summer, school is out for break, and the air shimmers with heat, hotter than usual, for once, almost as if the world itself is holding its breath waiting for something to happen. Not even Isamu wants to brave the heat, not even to go look at stylish clothes that he can't afford to buy or to watch the pretty girls. Even his hat is limp on his head,in this heat, but when Naoki suggests taking it off, maybe, because it's too hot to wear a hat, Isamu gives him a look.
(stupid, really, because he knew Isamu wouldn't ever take his hat off, even if the world was ending around him)
So, instead of Isamu dragging him around the shopping district as usual, Chiaki coming along when she doesn't have a date or something else to do, the three of them are sprawled on the floor of Naoki's living room, the air conditioning turned up full blast. Chiaki's idly thumbing through a fashion magazine, occasionally holding it up to show them a particularly stupid-looking outfit to laugh at, while he and Isamu are playing a video game, some random fighting game that he picked up out of a bargain bin because it hadn't sold. It's stupid, but it passes the time, and that's what really matters.
But there's only so much of a stupid fighting game that they can play, especially after Chiaki finally gets bored of criticizing the outfits in the magazine she's reading and there's only so much he and Isamu are willing to help make fun of, especially since the clothes all look the same to his eyes and the girls aren't pretty enough for Isamu, and she tosses the magazine aside disdainfully and deigns to actually play the stupid fighting game with them.
She kicks both their asses, which is kind of surprising since she doesn't actually play video games most of the time, and Isamu's eyes narrow a bit as she languidly tosses the controller aside.
(for a moment, Naoki almost sees something else, Chiaki standing in another place, a room after the world ended, saying something he can't hear with a gentle smile on her face: but when he shakes his head to clear it, the image dissolves like sand)
Soon enough, Chiaki goes home to study, Isamu ribs her a little about it, and she tosses her head in her usual proud manner and declares that she's going to study hard, going to be a doctor, going to save lives someday, and where will he be, since he's so lazy in school, doesn't seem to care about much of anything. Isamu just shrugs, because he'll figure it out when he gets there, and Naoki just sighs, because he'll never hear the end of it from either of them, their opinions are mostly so opposite and either of them will try to get him to go along and agree so they'll win the argument.
(he's tired of it, to be honest, but telling them to knock it off never works, so he stops after a while: instead, he just stares out the window, waiting for something to happen, because the air only grows stiller as he waits, but nothing ever happens)
And then it's just him and Isamu, alone in the apartment that's not quite cool but not quite hot, either, heavy with the weight of expectation that he isn't sure that Isamu even feels, a different expectation then the future Chiaki has laid out, this one lies dark and just beneath the surface, he can't quite put his finger on it, but he feels almost as if something terrible is going to happen, and soon.
It's really almost kind of annoying how Isamu never shuts up, driving the silence into corners, when Naoki just really wants five minutes of quiet, in a city that never sleeps, there's always something happening, and his friend just doesn't help, until he just grabs him by the shirt collar and drags him closer and kisses him just to get him to shut up.
(there is sand in his eyes, or feels like it, hot wind blowing over his skin, he's dreaming of it again, lightning and silence, an empty city where no one is, standing on a rooftop in a woman's shadow, watching everything end)
He doesn't talk about his dreams, the same way he and Isamu never talk about what they do when they're alone, and if they do have to talk about it, it's always framed as practicing for dates, they have to know what to do with a girl, right? But then, it's true, for all his talk about the girls, Naoki isn't quite sure that one has put up with Isamu long enough to let him kiss her. He's pretty sure that it's just talk, no matter what Isamu says, but then Isamu just really loves talking.
And he's talking again, as a matter of fact, going on and on again about Takao-sensei. Naoki mostly tunes him out-he likes their teacher just fine, she's pretty nice, but he's not anywhere near as into her as Isamu is, nevermind that Isamu has even less chance with her than with Chiaki, and Chiaki would probably eat him alive if he ever tried to go on a date with her.
He doesn't actually pay attention again until Isamu mentions that he wants to go visit her, soon, tomorrow, even. Naoki shrugs and says, sure, it must be lonely in that hospital, day after day, and Isamu grins and says he'll text Chiaki about it, she's good at arranging details and stuff, and then he's talking on and on again, and Naoki kind of tunes him out again, feels vaguely bad for ignoring him, but he just can't keep up with Isamu's talking, and doesn't particularly want to.
That night, he dreams again, of sand and silence and the end of all things: he wakes to a bright sunny sky, and the news of a bloodbath in Yoyogi Park, and knows without knowing how he knows that something is going to happen, and soon, the world holding its breath waiting for everything to break.
(and it does)