Six months ago, no one could even imagine that such a big change would happen. Aoba Johsai was the name of the school a certain group went to, and volleyball was the sport they played after a day filled with classes was over. At the time, they were oblivious to what was coming. Everyone was oblivious to what was coming, because who could predict it? Aside from Japan’s military base, who hid the fact from the rest of the population, refusing to believe that the threat was true.
But it was true. Although it took six months before it happened, the threat turned into something real. The air above Japan was flooded with jet airplanes dropping bombs down throughout the whole country. This was a declaration of war. The bombing injured many greatly, and there were many causalities. Especially within the military. For the enemy had been clever, it seemed. They hadn’t just gone for bombing the country, they had also focused on specific places that would hurt, before they came charging onto the land.
The volleyball club was holding a meeting in the gym when the school next to them was hit by a bomb. No one had expected it and at first, everyone was frozen. But then they were all out and running, running away from the area of fire and explosions, only to find that the city was wrecked too.
There was an abandoned building not too far away, and somehow the team of eight found a way to hide. Now they weren’t the only survivors, but being away from the central, they hadn’t heard the message. Helicopters arrived and they assumed it was enemies. But it was the survivors getting taken to a safe place. All, except those eight that had hidden away for hours and were all starting to get rather hungry and thirsty.
As the area was left deserted, with nothing left for the fire to burn, leaving only small flames.
“What are we going to do?” Oikawa wailed. “We’ve been here for hours and everyone and everything’s gone!”
“This is no time for you to get upset, Captain,” Matsukawa remarked. “We need to stay calm and find a way to survive.”
“Matsukawa’s right, Shittykawa. It seems like everyone else who was alive here is gone. You guys stay here while I go raid a house that’s still standing for any food and anything else we need.” This was the first time Iwaizumi had spoken in a while. He had stood, unmoving as he gazed out a broken window, watching the town burn.
“You shouldn’t go alone, Iwaizumi. It’s too dangerous. Take one of us with you,” Hanamaki spoke, making Iwaizumi turn around to face them.
“I’ll be fine on my own,” he replied, “You guys should think about what we’re going to do from now on.”
“You can’t decide that, Iwa-chan! I’m the captain and I won’t let you go alone,” Oikawa had stopped crying for the moment being and was blocking the exit to the building.
“If we go as several people, we can find some clothes and such to bring too,” Matsukawa added, “Are you still certain that you’ll go off by yourself?”
After a while of silence, Iwaizumi finally spoke.
“Alright,” he agreed reluctantly. “We should go as four so we can split up without being alone.”
“That’s easy,” Oikawa replied, “We’re four third years. We should go.”
“And leave our kouhais behind? We can’t do that, Shittykawa,” Iwaizumi replied. “We should have at least one of us stay behind.”
“Why’s that? They’re capable of looking after themselves,” Hanamaki pointed out.
“Yahaba,” Oikawa turned to face the second year who had kept out of the conversation along with the three other younger students.
“Y-yes?” Yahaba replied uncertainly.
“If something happens to us, you’ll be in charge. If we’re not back in two hours, then assume that we’re gone and figure a way to save yourselves.” Oikawa instructed.
“R-right!” Yahaba replied.
And so the four teammates were off on their journey to find basic needs to survive. Luck was with them that day, it seemed. For they hadn’t been walking for longer than ten minutes when they came to not one, but two houses untouched by the fires spreading.
“Let’s stick together for now,” Iwaizumi spoke as he lead the three others up to one of the standing houses, where the door was wide open. The other three were cautious, but Iwaizumi showed no fear.
“Hello, is anyone there?” Iwaizumi called into the house. After several seconds with no answer, he turned to face the other three. “Let’s head in, it seems empty.”
Iwaizumi grabbed a bag that had been abandoned in the entrance and emptied its remains. It seemed to be a school bag, for what came out of it was books, a pencil case and such school supplies.
They found the kitchen and Iwaizumi began opening drawers to find what food they could ration, for they didn’t know how long they were stuck like this.
“Don’t just stand there, help me out,” Iwaizumi told them, putting the food in the bag.
“Matsukawa and I can go upstairs and find some clothes,” Hanamaki offered.
“Why are you bringing me?” Matsukawa huffed, annoyed.
“Good idea,” Iwaizumi nodded, “Just not too much, alright? Our main focus is food. But if you find bags that are good for carrying things, bring them down. Lazykawa, go get that bag and empty it so you can fill it up with food.”
Oikawa followed Iwaizumi’s instructions, picking up the bag he pointed at as the two others went up the stairs.
After a while, it seemed like they had emptied the kitchen for things they could use. They’d found a pot that they decided to bring along too, somehow manging to pack it into one of the bags that were tightly packed. Steps on the staircase could be heard, and a moment later Hanamaki and Matsukawa reappeared.
“We found some clothes. We only took eight sets so everyone has something to change to,” Matsukawa spoke.
“We found some cleaning supplies too. They might come in handy at some point,” Hanamaki added.
“That’s fine,” Iwaizumi nodded, before taking out a few kitchen knives. “Here, take one and keep it safe. We can’t know if there’s anyone out there. If you two can go back with what we’ve gathered so far, Oikawa and I can raid the next house.”
“No,” Hanamaki shook his head, “We’ll come with you to make sure the house is empty first.”
They made their way to the second house where Iwaizumi yet again called but received no answer. They entered it, watching their surroundings carefully before making their way to the kitchen.
“I think we’re clear,” Iwaizumi said. “You guys should head back with as much as you can carry. We’ll empty this place and then return too.”
“We’ll help you fill the bags up,” Hanamaki replied, not moving an inch from the kitchen as he opened the bag he carried on his back and opened a drawer to look for food.
“We’ve already been out for almost two hours. They’ll assume we’re gone if we don’t come back,” Iwaizumi replied, “You two go back and tell them we’re on the way, we’re just collecting the last items.”
“Alright,” Hanamaki gave in. He filled up his bags, carrying as much as he could. Matsukawa did the same.
“Then we’ll be off. Stay safe. We’re expecting to see you back at the building soon.” The two turned and left the kitchen, making their way out of the house and down the street.
“Let’s hurry, Iwa-chan,” Oikawa said as he packed. “I want to get back to the others soon.”
“I do too. We’ll take as much as we can and then run. You still have the knife I gave you, right?”
“Good, you never know if we will encounter anyone.”
“How can you stay so calm in a situation like this?”
“Because the best way to get out of it is to be calm and think rationally. And I know that’s something you don’t do.”
“Iwa-chan! So mean!”
When they were finally finished not too long after, the two students left the building. They walked down the empty, abandoned street, with not another being in sight. It was quiet, aside from the sound of fire crackling. There were places where the fire was still raging, other places where the fire was only a small spark. Iwaizumi and Oikawa made their way around the fires, careful not to get caught in the flames.
“What’s that noise?” Oikawa frowned.
“It’s a wailing sound. Do you think someone’s stuck somewhere?”
“It doesn’t sound human to me.”
“Does that mean it’s an animal? Let me go check, Iwa-chan!”
“No! It’s dangerous. We should head back. Keeping ourselves safe is top priority.”
“But I can’t leave it there! Hey, look after these bags.”
“No, wait!” Iwaizumi reached out to stop Oikawa, but the latter was already running towards the burning building.
Iwaizumi waited outside for several minutes, cursing under his breath. Should he run in and get Oikawa out? There was no sign of the brown-haired setter appearing anytime soon. But running head first into a fire was dangerous. If he inhaled too much smoke, it could be bad for his lungs. Iwaizumi had just decided to enter, taking the bags off he was holding and dumping them on the ground when Oikawa came staggering out of the building, holding his arms to his chest and collapsed on the ground in front of Iwaizumi.
“Oi, Shittykawa, stay with me!” Iwaizumi pushed Oikawa up against the bundle of bags so he could sit up. The captain was coughing badly, gasping desperately for fresh air. As he loosened the grip on his chest, Iwaizumi saw that what he had been holding was a kitten. It couldn’t have been very old, but old enough to be taken away from its mother.
Iwaizumi supported the captain sitting and rummaged through one of the bags, finding an unopened water bottle. “Drink some water if you can get it down.”
Oikawa accepted it, but he wasn’t able to drink much between coughing.
“You idiot,” Iwaizumi mumbled, “You can suffocate from inhaling too much smoke.”
“The kitten…” Oikawa began weakly, “It’s alright, isn’t it?”
“It’s fine, idiot. Your life is more important than a cat’s life. What would we do without you?”
“Iwa-chan… Thank you,” Oikawa laid back and closed his eyes, “But I’m glad… the kitten’s okay.”
“Don’t die, asshole! The kitten is your responsibility now, you need to help care for it!”
“I know… it will be safe with you… Iwa-chan.” Oikawa’s voice was quiet.
“Shittykawa, fight for it! Do it for the kitten, for the team. Do it for me!”
“This is an unusual sight, seeing you panic.”
“Seeing you this calm is unusual too,” Iwaizumi remarked, “In fact, why are you so calm?”
“Because I’ll be fine,” Oikawa replied. “I’m not weak enough to die here. We haven’t even been to nationals yet.”
“Well it sounds like you aren’t completely gone,” Iwaizumi sighed of relief. “Can you tell me when you’ve rested enough so we can go back to the building? You can rest more there, but we really need to get back soon. I can’t carry all these bags and you and the kitten by myself.”
“I can take the kitten,” Oikawa replied, pausing to let out a series of dry coughs. “Just give me a few minutes.”
“The sooner we get away from the fire the better,” Iwaizumi remarked. He started picking up the bags, trying to figure out the best way to carry them, and which bags could be put on top of the others.
“I’m ready to go back,” Oikawa got to his feet slowly, not letting go of the kitten he’d been holding onto.
“Well, come on then,” Iwaizumi started walking slowly, “The others are waiting on us.”
“I know,” Oikawa replied, coughing, as he stumbled along.
When the building came into sight, they saw the six other survivors rush out to greet them.
“What happened?” Matsukawa asked, concerned as he took some of the bags to relieve Iwaizumi.
“Trashykawa ran into a fire to save a cat,” Iwaizumi replied.
“You idiot,” Hanamaki replied, “We found some old mattresses and blankets in the loft of the building so you can rest inside. We’ve also started cooking dinner, Kunimi is inside taking care of it.”
“Then let’s go back inside,” Iwaizumi said, “And after this idiot here has rested and we’ve all had something to eat, we should come up with a plan to leave this place and seek somewhere safer. Sound good?”
Everyone agreed to his statement, and they headed back into the safety of the building.