.

.

The pool's water is crisp-clear and sparkling blue during the late afternoon, and Haru lifts himself onto the edge, his midnight-dark fringe sticking to his forehead. It's nowhere near hot enough for the sun to to beat down on him. He's thankful for it.

Being overheated is the worst. Not enough water to keep him hydrated.

Out of nowhere, a towel drops onto his head, and Makoto's fingers weigh down on his crown.

Haru peeks up with semi-curiosity, neck craning backwards. The other teenager hums absently, cheerfully, massaging Haru's scalp noticeably through the fluffy, cotton fabric. He doesn't bother shifting away.

"I can dry my own hair."

"I know that," Makoto replies with a hint of a mischievous smile. It's barely there before vanishing on the spot. He stares right back at Haru's inquiring look without an ounce of hesitation. "I just like being near you," he adds. "Is that so bad, Haru?"

No. It's not.

Sometimes, Makoto does that. He will firmly grab onto Haru's arm or touch his shoulder and guide him forward when Haru is reluctant to get something done. Makoto likes standing close to his friends, or just Haru really, flashing a wink or giving him a curious, sly side-look.

The flirting tends to get ridiculous — and none of their friends would call it that, but Haru thinks that's what it might be. He feels that flutter of heated, undeniable awareness when Makoto comes over to fix his school tie, tugging the knot to straighten. Their noses brush together so softly. Makoto never pulls away immediately from him, teasing Haru about never getting it right.

But… Haru knows that he never pulls away either.

He can only… react impulsively.

During lunch, when they sit on the rooftop, Makoto presents a neatly tied bento with bright blue wrapping, pushing it into Haru's waiting hands. "You should really eat more, Haru," he says sternly, watching as Haru doesn't glance up and pops the bento open.

"Is it mackerel…?"

"Not today."

Haru lowers the bento onto the ground, his aloof expression never wavering. "Hm."

"Aah, what am I going to do about you…?" Makoto says, as if complaining, sighing out. "You need more that only mackerel in your diet. It's either that, or you're gonna turn into one someday. Wouldn't that be something?" He chuckles and pinches Haru's cheek with his thumb and forefinger, still playfully grinning even when the other teenager grumbles and knocks away Makoto's hand.

He misses the brief and warm smirk on Haru's mouth, as they nudge their shoulders comfortably.

Maybe… it's time to do something about this.

.

.

Ringing the front doorbell never does it.

Makoto slips inside the Nagase household with a familiar ease, calling out his greeting and loosening his grip on his bookbag. He heads up the stairs, groaning loudly at the appearance of bathroom's door wide open and Haru lounging in his spacious tub, bobbing his chin into the swirling, pink-soapy water.

They're going to be so late.

"Haru-chan, seriously — can't you for once—?"

"Right, right," Haru says dismissively, picking himself out of the tub. Makoto opens his mouth, looking like he's about to argue good-naturedly before he blinks and his expression goes flat, eyes wandering down Haru's naked body.

… Naked.

All of his glistening, taut muscles and exposed… naked bits included.

Instead of beginning to shout and flail about, as Haru nearly anticipated, Makoto instead blinks again. "You're not wearing your swimsuit, Haru," he observes in an eerily calm tone.

"Obviously."

Makoto's face scrunches in thought, his eyes now on Haru's face. He looks like trying to read Haru's mind, or close to it, and Haru doesn't imagine Makoto would be an exceptional psychic for anyone else. But for some reason or another, Makoto always knows what's going on with him.

Finally, the other teenager exhales noisily, visibly tensing.

"As much as it would be nice seeing this… under entirely separate circumstances, we should leave," Makoto tells him, his lips flattening together as he pauses. "So… you should put your clothes on."

Okay, now he's confused.

Haru frowns to himself, stepping out and going behind a door as Makoto respectfully keeps his eyes off him. But… what about…?

"I thought that's what you wanted," Haru speaks up after a long period of silence, pulling on his undershirt roughly, bathwater dampening the material against his skin. He can hear his companion knock his elbow against the wall.

"U—uhh…?"

"You keep flirting with me."

Despite the carefree way of it being said, Makoto sputters in indignation as soon as Haru steps out, buttoning his trousers. "I don't—" At the pointed, silent look from Haru, he caves. Makoto's teeth flash out, grinding on his bottom lip. "O-okay, yeah. Maybe," he admits solemnly. "But that's… that's…"

Haru shrugs on his uniform, looking down, expression softening. "I like you too, Makoto."

"… You?"

"Why do you think I took my swimsuit off?"

At this, Makoto starts laughing so suddenly, clapping a hand over his mouth to muffle himself. Haru's eyebrows slowly raise up.

This… isn't the reaction he anticipated either.

"Okay, listen. We should probably talk about this later. Is that alright?" Makoto shakes his head, grinning bigger than ever and taking Haru's hand into his.

It's dry in sensation and a kind gesture, and Haru doesn't remember them holding hands with each other since they were younger. The other kids would made a big deal out of it, would call out from a distance, but Makoto never once looked ashamed or upset about it.

He doesn't want Makoto to ever think there's anything to be ashamed of.

That Haru is ever ashamed.

Right in the corridor, Haru pulls Makoto's hand backwards, stopping him in his tracks. He hurriedly goes on his toes, pressing a quick, light peck of lips against the corner of Makoto's mouth.

But it's not wet — not like the second kiss their mouths catch, gladly opening up, leaving Haru to breath harshly against Makoto's own eager lips and his tongue gliding slick inside Haru's mouth.

There's a pair of hands clutching onto Haru's waist, drawing him closer than ever. Makoto tastes a little like sea salt and why has his best friend never told him kissing felt this good? When it's them and everything's lightweight inside of Haru's body and his chest?

Haru can feel blood gathering in his cheeks, flushing pink when Makoto lets go to frame his face against his palms. "We are definitely talking about this later," he murmurs, voice low and deep. It sends a shiver of pleasure bolting down Haru's spine — more phenomenal than submerging in water.

More than anything… he's ever felt.

I just like being near you, Haru. Is that so bad?

No.

It's really not.

.

.


IT TOOK ME HOW LONG TO GET INTO THIS SHOW/FANDOM? I LOVE COMING IN SUPER LATE. *waves to everyone* I just finished S2 and I'm major trash for Free! and for Makoharu please send help don't send help just send me things and btw any comments/thoughts are loved thank you thank you!

Free! Kink Meme prompt: "MakoHaru - Makoto is an incorrigible flirt"