Title: The Importance of a Kiss

Fandom: Free!

Pairings: Makoto/Haruka, Sousuke/Rin, (past one-sided Rin→Haruka)

Rating: T

Warnings: Emotional Breakdowns? (but happy endings)

Chapter Summary:

True friends are there to help you through, even if they're apart of the problem.

A/N: Sorry this chapter is like double the length of the others, but there was no real good way to split it. There is no doubt in my mind that Haru and Rin are the leaders of the Protect Makoto Tachibana squad. Protect that child at all costs. As always you can find this on my ao3 and tumblr accounts.

Thank you for reading! I hope everyone finishes off 2014 on a good note! :) It's been a rough year for most, but next year will surely be better!

Chapter 3: Apologizes

The icy night air did nothing for Makoto, he felt nothing. He only felt cold daggers twisting his stomach apart. Without knowing his direction, he walked. He walked and walked until he was standing on the beach, staring out at the unforgiving ocean.

Sprays of water like sharp glass and needles pierced his skin when he got to close, the wind mercilessly swiping the spray towards him. When a surge of freezing water came up to his caves he snapped out of his daze. He backed up away from the angry waves until the water couldn't reach him.

Makoto crumpled under the cold wind, pulling himself into a ball before letting out tears. Tears he had been holding since the first time he saw Rin and Haru kiss. Tears he had been trying to hide since his heart had been shattered so many years ago. Everything was too much, he had bottled it up for too long and it was pouring out of him in one violent rush.

"Makoto!" he heard his name being called. He covered his ears with his trembling hands. He didn't want to be found.

"Makoto!" the voice called louder.

"Makoto!" A different voice cried and Makoto's body stilled. His violent shaking subsided to trembles and he felt his breath escape him.

Rapid footsteps slipping in sand and the rustle of synthetic winter jackets made it through Makoto's fingers. Two strong hands gripped Makoto's arms and forcefully picked him up out of his balled up position.

"Makoto! What's wrong, are you okay!? Why'd you leave!? Why are you out here without a jacket!?" Rin cried out in alarm, looking over him before settling on his eyes. Rin's mouth opened up in shock. Makoto couldn't hide the streams of tears that let the wind burn his skin with its arctic temperatures.

"Makoto?" Haru asked, eyes wild with fear. In his arms was Makoto's jacket. Rin quickly grabbed it from Haru and wrapped Makoto in it, rubbing his cold arms, swearing under his breath when he caught sight of Makoto's sandy, soaked pants and shoes.

"You're freezing! And you're fucking wet! Are you trying to get yourself killed!?" Rin yelled, grabbing the boy by the arm, yanking him away from the beach.

Makoto followed clumsily, emptily, like a child who couldn't deny they did wrong. Haru followed them back to his house, jogging in front of them to open the back door. He ran into the bathroom, not bothering to take off his shoes, leaving a trail of wet sand behind him. Rin pushed Makoto inside and soon they were in the bathroom with Haru. Rin and Haru busied themselves with getting Makoto out of his cold, wet clothes.

"Shit, Makoto, you're as pale as goddamn ghost!" Rin hissed under his breath, alarm in his eyes. Makoto's lips and fingers were purple.

They pushed the lifeless boy into the bathtub and Haru turned the hot water filling the tub into a shower and slumped to the floor as it washed over Makoto. Rin fell onto his knees too, sitting close to the tub and exchanging fearful glances with Haru.

Makoto curled back into a ball, whispering sorry like a personal mantra.

"What happened?" Rin asked, knowing Haru was too shook up to speak.

Makoto let out a choked sob. Rin was too kind. He could never hate Rin, even if Rin took Haru away. Rin was such a good friend and yet here Makoto was, acting like a spoiled brat. He reprimanded himself, ashamed that he had brought this upon his friends.

"Makoto," Haru whispered, hand touching his bare shoulder. His skin had finally started warming up and color started returning to his face.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry." Makoto sobbed louder, squeezing his legs tighter, digging his face between his knees.

"Why are you sorry?" Rin asked surprised and worried.

"I'm sorry Haru. I love you Haru. I'm sorry," he choked between his tears. Haru looked like he had been slapped, and Rin's worry only increased.

"Makoto, it's okay," Haru finally spoke, breaking himself free from his shock. He squeezed Makoto's shoulder reassuringly.

"It's not!" Makoto shouted.

Haru's hand recoiled and even Rin was stunned by the outburst. Makoto did not yell. Makoto wasn't a person who yelled. Haru seemed in visible pain and Rin wondered if the fight they had during summer was still on his mind.

"It's not okay, it's not," he cried.

Haru sat up on his knees and grabbed Makoto's hand which was digging permanent indents in his leg.

"It is. It is okay. I love Makoto too," Haru said firmly.

Makoto shook his head, his trembling progressing into violent shakes. He tried to speak but the words stuttered in his throat and he willed himself to calm down, breathing harshly through his nose to steady his tears enough so he could speak clearly. Haru and Rin watched, afraid of how little their friend was breathing properly, how shaken he was.

"You love Rin," he responded. "You love Rin, you don't love me."

"Rin?" Haru's eyes widened in shock, and even Rin was staring at the sobbing boy in confusion.

"You kissed him," Makoto whimpered.

"That, it wasn't like that!" Rin started, mind finally making connections between the earlier conversation and Makoto's strange behavior.

"You kissed him!" Makoto snapped. "I saw you kiss him," he cried.

Rin and Haru's confusion only increased. When Rin had asked Haru to take his first kiss they had been alone, Makoto was sick that day. Rin knew this by heart because it was why he had asked, if Makoto wasn't around he could catch Haru alone.

"What are you talking about?" Haru asked, thinking similarly.

Makoto's whole body tensed and he gasped for a breath. He ran his shaking hand through his wet hair, the streams of water running down his face as he tried to uncurl himself. It didn't work. He just curled back up again, tighter. Makoto couldn't do this, couldn't look at them while they talked about this.

"I saw you," his voice cracked. "I saw you two kiss before Rin left. Again and again and again and again. I saw," his voice was breathless, choking on the tears in his own voice as he tried to pull air back into his lungs.

All of Haru's color drained from his body. Rin felt his own heart stop in shock. Neither of them so much as breathed as they watched the boy sob miserably in Haru's shower.

"When Rin left it was like you left too, Haru. Even before the race," Makoto whimpered.

Haru willed himself to move, and entered the spray of the shower. Rin jumped back with a yelp, shocked by the spray of drops bouncing off Haru's back. Haru wrapped his arms around Makoto tightly, tears falling out of his eyes and mixing with the water. The clothes on his back stuck to his skin uncomfortably different than his jammers.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry Makoto, I'm sorry." Haru whispered, hugging the boy into his chest.

"I love you Makoto," he reassured, kissing his wet hair. "Rin and I are only friends, I only love Makoto."

Makoto made an audible wail and Rin got closer to the two again, ignoring the stray water splattering around the room.

"Makoto, Haru and I aren't like that. I'm dating Sousuke, and Haru's always loved you. We thought you knew," Rin confessed. Makoto choked on his own sob and Rin placed a hand on his wet back. Haru looked at Rin desperately, wondering what he should do. Rin stared back just as helplessly.

"It's a lie," Makoto whispered, still not believing it could be any other way. It had already been seven years. Seven years of knowing that Rin meant the most to Haru, and now they were trying to tell him he was wrong?

Haru made a distressed noise in his throat and Rin wracked his mind, trying to figure out how to make their friend believe them. The only thing he could think of was giving him the brutal truth, truth that Rin didn't like thinking about, too embarrassed to talk about.

"Haru didn't know about how important kisses are, Makoto. He let me kiss him just because he didn't understand it. We didn't kiss after that until I was leaving, and he only let that happen because I was upset. Haru didn't hate my kisses, but he didn't like them either. That's because we're friends. Haru never liked me any more than that. It's always been you Makoto," Rin confessed, feeling a little weird.

He thought he'd be more upset about admitting all that, but really he didn't feel anything at all. It just felt like a fond childhood memory now. Rin smiled at the discovery, he knew his lingering feelings for Haru had also hurt Sousuke in the beginning. Now it was just Sousuke, only Sousuke. It almost felt like he never liked Haru in the first place.

"All kisses are important," Haru whispered. Makoto's sobbing came to a stop. His mother's words echoed in his ear, overlapping with Haru. Haru appeared as if he understood and squeezed Makoto a little tighter.

"I hurt you and I hurt Rin because I didn't know that, and I'm sorry. Makoto I'm sorry."

Haru pulled away and watched as Makoto finally lifted his head. They stared at each other, taking in the sight of each other's reddened eyes and tears masked by the streams of water. Haru leaned in and kissed Makoto, gentle but firm. Water spilled along the sides of their lips, sealed too tight to get through. Makoto's eyes staid open, confused and upset but also amazed. Rin averted his own, feeling like he was invading something.

Haru pulled away with a content sigh and leveled his gaze with Makoto. Makoto felt his whole body melt under that look.

"I only want to kiss Makoto. I only love you." Haru said, rubbing his thumbs along the bottom of Makoto's eyes. They fluttered close under the feeling and Haru kissed his forehead.

"It's meaningless without you," he whispered.

Makoto's tears started flowing for a different reason. He leaned down and cried into Haru's wet shirt, letting out his relief and all of the emotions he had bottled up. Haru loved him.

"I love you. I love you," he chanted between sobs. Haru clung onto him too, holding him close. He slid himself into the tub and the water spilled over the side. Rin jumped up to his feet and turned off the shower.

Rin grabbed some towels out of the cupboard and picked up the dirty wet clothes off the floor, cleaning up while his friends calmed down. Rin felt tired and a little sick, he had never met to do this to his best friends. He sighed, finally taking off his socks and shoes and winter jacket. He picked Haru's up out of the sink where it had been thrown and left the room to put them away.

When he returned Makoto was quiet and Haru seemed sated. Rin knocked on the wall to alert them he was there. Makoto looked up at him and his eyes glistened with the starting of fresh tears. Rin felt his own tears coming up but wiped them away.

"Thank you, Rin."

Rin frowned. He had no reason to be thanked.

"Don't, I'm just glad you two are okay. Honestly I was surprised about how you two acted earlier. I thought for sure you guys had gotten together already," he tried a smirk but it fell into a fond smile. He loved his friends, he didn't want them upset.

Makoto smiled back, tired painted his figure and soon Haru was pulling him up out of the cooling water.

"You'll get sick," Haru explained. Makoto chuckled.

"I'm usually the one saying that," he grinned, voice a bit hoarse from crying.

Haru's cheeks turned the lightest shade of pink and he grabbed the towels Rin had pulled out for them, patting Makoto dry. Makoto stood straight, blush climbing up from his legs all the way to his face. Haru pulled off his sopping wet clothes, revealing his jammers underneath, before drying himself off.

"Rin," Haru turned to face the other boy. Rin understood and left the room. A large crash and yelling followed his exit and Haru glanced back at the door with wary eyes. Makoto also stared in the direction of the noise before Haru grabbed his attention again.

"Makoto, turn around," the shorter boy instructed.

Makoto followed the order and felt goose bumps run up his arms and legs at the sound of wet jammers being dropped on the ground. Haru dried himself off before wrapping the towel tightly around his waist.

"Your turn," he said before turning around.

Makoto peeled off his wet underwear and felt embarrassment creeping up his face, Rin and Haru had seen him in his silly Christmas boxer-briefs. He quickly patted himself dry before wrapping the towel around his waist. It's not like he had wanted them, they were a gag gift from Nagisa for his birthday, telling him he had to prepare for Christmas early. Everyone had seen him get them anyways, there was nothing to be embarrassed about.

"Okay, done."

"Good," Haru said before pulling him out the bathroom and up the stairs.

Once they got inside Haru locked the door to keep Nagisa from barging in, as he was sometimes known to do. He turned on his heels as soon as he was finished and opened his dresser. He pulled out cloths from the top two drawers. Once he was fully dressed in his pajamas he opened up a drawer on the bottom and pulled out familiar, large sweat pants. He also pulled out a pair of underwear, a shirt, and a hoodie.

Makoto's eyes almost fell out of their sockets as he was handed the clothes.

"Am I really that forgetful?" he asked, staring at his own clothes. He quickly slipped them on and saw Haru turn his head. A deep red colored the top of his cheeks.

"No, you aren't. I took them," he said, opening the door and walking out into the hall. Makoto followed a half second later, stunned.

"Took them?" he asked, and Haru kept his face pointed away.

"They feel nice."

That was the last of that conversation as they went down stairs and saw a very drunk Nagisa holding a bottle of his parent's liquor.

"Nagisa!?" Makoto cried. Rei was also looking peculiar, a deep flush on his cheeks. Rin was standing over them, picking up chip bags and candy wrappers that had exploded all over Haru's living room floor.

"I had wondered why Nagisa didn't follow us earlier," Rin grimaced, pulling the near empty bottle of liquor out of his hands.

Haru's frown was deeper than normal as he helped the other clean up. Makoto picked up a very tipsy Rei and tugged him onto the futons they had set up earlier. Rei looked grateful but couldn't speak, words slurring into incomprehensible noises. Nagisa crawled onto Rei's futon on his own, complaining about Rei getting special treatment. They were out like lights even before Makoto draped the blanket over them.

"Wasn't that one of your parents' full bottles, Haru?" Makoto asked, looking back at the two dead drunks. Haru sighed.

"It was for display," he explained. Rin held up the strange bottle, it was certainly unusual looking. "They won't notice."

"Yeah, but that doesn't change the fact that those two are going to be puking their brains up at the crack of dawn tomorrow," Rin's face scrunched up in disgust.

"How did he even get Rei to drink?" Makoto mused out loud. All three boys turned to the sleeping butterfly swimmer. Makoto bent down and pulled off his glasses, placing them on the coffee table.

"I don't even want to know," Rin sighed, pulling his futon far away from the pair. Haru followed suit, pulling the other futon up to Rin's. Normally they would have the three make a large bed for the five to squeeze onto, but neither of the swimmers seemed keen on being close to the smelly, drunk duo.

"Makoto," Haru called, patting the space between where Haru and Rin had placed themselves.

Makoto fidgeted a bit before turning off the light and walking over, sitting down. The room was still very bright from the Christmas lights, and he could see his friends clearly. Rin was lounged out on his futon, arms stuffed under his pillow. Haru was sitting up, but waiting expectantly for his best friend to lay down first. Makoto's smile suffered from embarrassment before lying down, head finding the soft pillow Haru had placed there.

An arm and a leg swung over him on his left, and another arm hooked around his right. Rin had shifted onto his side, with his left arm wrapped around Makoto's, pulling it into his chest. Haru was curled into his side, arm and leg clinging to him possessively. Makoto squeaked at the sudden contact and turned his head back and forth to see his two friends staring at him.

"I can't believe he believed you liked me, Haru," Rin said as he shifted, propping himself up onto his other arm so he could see over the boy.

"Makoto's very negative," Haru replied, supporting himself with his forearm. Makoto gaped between the two.

"I thought you guys had that whole silent communication thing, didn't you tell him you loved him?" Rin asked, eyebrow raising and mouth slanted into a concerned frown.

"I did. He told me he loved me too, I don't understand what went wrong." Haru sighed, lamenting their lost communication.

"I'm right here!" Makoto cried, feeling weird that the two were talking above him, as though he wasn't there.

"Maybe trust issues got in the way," Rin offered. Haru's eyes darkened before they lit up again.

"You're right. It's all your fault," Haru deadpanned. Rin's eyes went wide, stunned by the proclamation.

"My fault!?"

"Guys," Makoto tried, hoping to get their attention.

"Your fault," Haru nodded. Rin scowled.

"It's your fault for not making it clear!"

"It's your fault for kissing me even though you knew I didn't like you."

"It's your fault you kissed me when you liked Makoto!"

"I didn't know any better, you were taking advantage of me." Rin stared at Haru in disbelief, before he saw a small twitch in Haru's lips.

"Now you're just messing with me!" Rin accused. Makoto sighed and tried to pull himself out of their embrace while they fought. They noticed right away and only tightened their hold.

"You're not going anywhere," Haru commanded. Makoto feel himself shiver under the voice. Rin made a gagging noise.

"You two are so gross. I can't believe all the drama I had to go through because of you." Haru's gaze fixed back on Rin.

"Rin is the most dramatic. You cry too much," Haru countered. Rin's face lit up like the Christmas lights decorating the house.

"I do not!"

"Um," Makoto started, trying to find a way out of their bickering. He was quiet literally trapped by the two.

"You do," Haru stated with blank eyes. Rin glared, uncurling his arm from Makoto to smack Haru upside the head. Makoto's free arm just snapped up to Rin's wrist before he could succeed in doing so. Both boys finally drew their attention back to their taller friend.

"You two shouldn't be fighting," Makoto offered lamely. The two above him just huffed. Rin took his arm back and curled it around Makoto's again. He shifted a little, ears burning bright.

"Why are you two," Makoto trialed off.

"Because you think about stupid things," Rin replied to the unfinished question. Haru nodded eyes holding a steady gaze with Makoto's.

"Rin's your friend just as much as mine," Haru stated. Makoto flushed a little at the words. They were worried about him, that's why they were encaging him.

"And Haru's so in love with you it's frightening," Rin smirked. Haru just gave a subtle jab at Rin's stomach, causing the boy to yelp in surprise.

"You brat!" Haru just turned his head, pointing his gaze away.

"Haru," Makoto whined, not happy about having let Haru do exactly what he had stopped Rin from. Haru puffed out his cheeks in distaste before turning back to the two.

"I'm sorry," he mumbled. Rin snickered at his obedience. The corners of Haru's mouth pulled down into a frown. His eyes showed signs of mischief and Makoto was about to warn Haru he shouldn't tease Rin, but it was already too late.

"So, Yamazaki," Haru let out a tiny grin as a sign of triumph when Rin promptly shut his mouth and turned three shades darker.

"What about him?" Rin spit, eyes flickering away from his friends. Makoto turned his attention to Rin.

"That's right! Rin, you're dating Yamazaki-kun?" Rin was going to snap at him before he saw the sincere curiosity in his eyes.

Rin clamped his mouth shut and groaned as he turned away from them, taking Makoto's arm with him. Makoto yelped at the movement and the awkward angle his arm was being held at.

"So what if I am? You two are like that to," he called over his shoulder. Makoto smiled at his embarrassed friend.

"I wish I had known," Makoto admitted. Rin groaned in reply.

"Oh, that's right, Haru you knew didn't you?" he asked turning back to face his best friend. Haru shrugged a little before settling back down into the futon, curling up into Makoto's side.

"They were acting like newlyweds at practice," Haru recalled, a gentle smirk on his lips. Rin let go of Makoto's arm flipping back to face them, half sitting up.

"You two have no room to talk! You two have always acted like you've been married for years!"

"What!?" Makoto blurted out, embarrassment running so high he was sure he'd just combust.

"God, I can't believe you didn't get together earlier. It was sickening, you both had your love-struck eyes on whenever you were together, which, might I remind you, is always!" Rin sniped. Haru snorted at his complaining.

"Yamazaki's looked at you the same way and for probably just as long," Haru bit out, unimpressed with Rin's hypocrisy. Rin's mouth floundered, trying to get words out.

"What?" he settled on. Haru rolled his eyes physically and Makoto also put on a gentle, concerned smile.

"We met him too, in elementary school you know," Haru reminded him with an indifferent gaze. Makoto chuckled at Rin's confusion.

"Yeah, so?"

"It was kind of obvious, Rin," Makoto confessed. Rin stared at them with surprised eyes.

"Huh?" Rin was dumbstruck. Haru let out a tiny groan that came out more like a huff.

"Giving Yamazaki a letter originally meant for me," he sighed, as if disappointed. Rin's gaping mouth finally closed shut and he sat up into a sitting position. His fiery eyes were dulled as he thought about things. He gazed back at his friends and let out a pathetic whimper.

"He's liked me for that long?" Makoto let out an apologetic smile and Haru turned his head so he could look at Rin properly.

"Longer, probably," he supplied.

Rin's shoulders slumped and he scrambled up off the futon, going over to the coffee table and picking up his cell phone. He flopped back onto their bed, not watching where he was falling, which ended up being half on Makoto and crushing Haru's arm which was still wrapped around him. Makoto's air flew out of his lungs at the sudden weight, but he quickly adjusted. Haru grunted, uncomfortable with their position. Rin just flipped onto his stomach, purposefully pinning the two down as his fingers found Sousuke's name.

"Get off, you're heavy," Haru complained. Rin ignored him, finally pressing the call button.

"Shut up, I'm barely on you."

"Rin, you are a bit heavy," Makoto apologized. Rin huffed and moved so that he was more on Makoto's stomach and less on his ribcage. Makoto sucked in a deep breath, grateful for the weight having moved so he could breathe.

"Sousuke?" Rin chirped, the call finally connecting. Makoto and Haru couldn't hear his response, but laid in silence as they watched their friend turn from a grumbling pain to a smiling mess.

"Sorry for calling so late, huh? Yeah. Yeah, actually I'm squishing him and Makoto right now. Huh? No they deserved it. Nagisa and Rei are passed out, they found Haru's parent's liquor. Yeah, no I didn't."

Haru and Makoto didn't say anything when Rin brought his legs up into the air, crossing his ankles and waving them back and for a little. They also didn't say anything as Rin smiled into his palm or played with his hair. They only shared a knowing glance, and Haru saw Makoto finally realize how not in love with Haru Rin was.

He smiled a little to himself at that, enjoying that Makoto finally, truly believed it. Haru knew this would happen, Rin was way too obvious about it for Makoto to not understand. It's why he didn't object to his antics earlier. Haru placed a gentle kiss against his cheek, and he turned his attention to Haru with questions swimming in his eyes. Haru just kissed him again.

"Yeah, but anyways I called for a reason. Yeah. They apparently weren't together, can you believe it? But we fixed that. Yeah it was pretty dramatic, but we're getting off course again. I'll tell you more next time. Mhm," Rin hummed, gaze flitting down to Haru and Makoto who were about to go into another chaste kiss. Rin took the palm of his hand and planted it firm on Haru's face, pushing him away. Haru grunted in anger and Rin chuckled as Makoto stared at the back of his hand in surprise.

"Don't be gross while I'm right here, you look like idiots," Rin whispered, pulling the phone away for him a second before turning his attention back to the boy on the other line.

"Huh? No, I was talking to them. They were being gross so I had to intervene. Yeah, ha ha. Okay, but seriously I need to ask you something, and you're going to answer me truthfully alright?" Rin asked, lips pulling into a thin line. Makoto and Haru stopped their clowning around and watched their friend.

"How long have you been in love with me?"

Everything in the room was silent, and Makoto and Haru couldn't even hear the vague noises coming from the phone like they had earlier. A muffled sound came from Rin's speaker and Rin's whole body shot up, bright, blistering red.

"Second grade!? We were like seven!" Rin hissed, turning away from his curious friends who had sat up with him. Sousuke's muffled voice traveled through the air, and Makoto suddenly felt a little embarrassed being in the room. They were having a private conversation, after all.

"Are you, you're serious?" Rin whispered, running a hand back through his hair. Disbelief and bewilderment laced his voice.

"Oh. Oh," Rin mumbled. "Yeah, okay. No, that's all I wanted to know. Yeah, goodnight."

Haru balanced himself against Makoto's shoulder, watching the scene lay before him. Makoto was trying to be more discreet about his curiosity.

"Yeah, I love you too," Rin said in a rushed whisper before ending the call. Haru huffed in a subtle chuckle. Rin said nothing, only crossing his arms and looking very embarrassed. Makoto's heart went out to the boy.

"Well, that's not too surprising. I think I noticed I loved Haru in second grade too," Makoto mused, turning his head to gaze down at the dark hair on his shoulder. Haru made a soft noise that made Makoto smile.

"I don't know if we're lucky or if we're just plain weird," Rin huffed. "I mean, what are the chances?"

"It makes sense," Haru hummed, gently tugging Makoto back down onto the futon. Rin followed suit and sprawled out next to them, they all pulled their covers back up to keep warm.

"Haru?" Makoto wondered, turning to his best friend who merely curled around him until he was spooning the larger boy. Rin had curled himself around his pillow, watching the two, also waiting for an answer.

"Like-minded people tend to come together," Haru answered. Makoto and Rin were stunned by the simple reply, before giving into a quiet laugh.

"I suppose so," Makoto mumbled, kissing Haru's forehead. Rin also made a noise of agreement.

"Alright, let's sleep already. I'm really not looking forward to only having a few hours of sleep before those two idiots wake up." Makoto and Haru hummed in solemn agreement.

"Goodnight Haru, Rin," Makoto smiled to himself, closing his eyes and feeling more at home and relaxed than he had in a long while. Rin grunted a goodnight and Haru just pressed himself closer.

All that doubt and pain had seeped out of Makoto in such a sudden rush that he felt like it was stupid to have held onto them for so long. He felt silly for having kept silent. His mother had already explained to him long ago that communication was needed for any relationship to stay healthy. He promised himself he'd be a bit more open with his own doubts and troubles in the future. His friends would surely help him through it, no matter what.