045. Steady

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Being free… that's the most important thing to Haruka. Not scores, not her gender, or her body.

She's sixteen when her period unexpectedly starts, much later than Makoto and the other girls in their class. Haruka checks her underwear during lunch, finding a huge, damp bloodstain and a smudge of red on her innermost thighs.

The worst part isn't even the constant, painful abdominal cramping — it's hormones, as Haruka bites down on her tongue, crying silently, furiously wiping off with crinkled, dry toilet paper.

Makoto discovers her in the bathroom stall a few minutes later, waiting until Haruka is finished and helping her to the sink, fussing in calming, sympathetic murmurs. She doesn't bring attention to Haruka's red-rimmed eyes or to the warm, clear tears streaming down her cheeks.

She's not a kid anymore — and it shouldn't have to change. Haruka doesn't want to change.

"Take some of this," Makoto instructs her gently, passing Haruka a glass of water and two of the pain pills from the Tachiba's bathroom cabinet.

Haruka's nostrils pick up the scent of sweet, cinnamon icing and wood cleaner, as she lulls into a restful doze, curling herself tightly into a ball on the sofa, her head reclining to Makoto's lap.

Makoto has always been like this.

Soft.

She's the tallest girl in their grade, fairly muscular with broad, freckled shoulders while Haruka carries around a sinewy, thin frame, a little too narrow in the hips, too much weight on her chest.

Boys notice, sending her love confessions or flowers. Haruka ignores them avidly.

She doesn't care about how blue her eyes are, or that her own face is heart-shaped or round, or that she's fair and petite and very attractive.

What matters is those hot, summery mid-afternoons, riding her bicycle downtown with Makoto, sharing lollipops and ice cream cones. They meld into their own world together, where Makoto is free too, on her ratty, lime green bike, going full speed down the street. She kicks out her legs and yell-laughing with her head thrown back.

Those dark brown curls fly around Makoto's smiling, flushed face, glinting in height of the sun's rise, and that's where Haruka wants to always be — next to her, tangled, careless.

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Free! isn't mine. I'VE HAD THIS AU HEADCANON SWIMMING (geddit?) AROUND MY HEAD FOR A WHILE NOW. I FINALLY GOT TO WRITE IT! :) Hope that anyone who got curious of enjoys fem!Makoharu enjoyed this, and any POSITIVE thoughts and comments are deeply appreciated! Thank you!