dedication: to rhea because rhea.
summary: Would you mind if I sat next to you and watched you smile?
notes: FFFFFFF my OTP. Also, I lied. This is my 100th fic. Yaaaaaaay.

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cotton dreams

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The pool has been cleaned and ready to be used for a week now.

It has slowly become their hangout spot—where they go to after class to soak up the sun and relish on the way the soft breeze ruffles their hair. Haru likes to jump into the pool, never minding the cold against his bare skin because he tends to be too busy floating around, his arms crossed behind his head.

Then there is Nagisa who's always giggling to himself, frolicking around and finding something or other to make a mess of.

But Mako likes to sit at the edge of the pool, his uniform-pants rolled up his legs and his feet dipped into the water. It's as relaxing as ever—not that Mako believes he has any reason to relax any more than he already is by default; it's just that sometimes dealing with Nagisa's flailing and Haru's… Haru-ness… He tends to need something like a break.

And just sitting there, his feet in the cool water, his arms supporting his weight as he leans back… It is very relaxing.

Sometimes, Ama-chan comes by and smiles at them in that gentle way, commenting about the amazing job they have done and how excited she is that the club is slowly but surely coming to life. Sometimes, she just sits on a beach chair and hides under a beach-umbrella, reading through some papers or playing a game of Sudoku.

And then… And then there are times when Kou-chan walks in with a plastic bag filled with pop or juice, her eyes a pretty red and her smile even prettier.

Mako tends to like those days, the most, where she gently throws a pop to Haru, aims another at Nagisa's head, hands one to Ama-chan and then comes to crouch down next to him, placing his can in his palm. That's when he relaxes the most, his muscles losing their stiffness and the smile on his lips growing just a bit wider.

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"Has my brother come by to join, yet?"

He looks up at her, his green eyes almost translucent against the brightness of the sun. Kou-chan tucks messy forelocks behind her ear, stabbing the straw into her juicebox and taking a sip as she crouches down next to him. Mako hums, turning back to observe the ripples of the water as he moves his feet to form small circles.

"Not yet," he says, "But soon, I bet. He's probably waiting to make a dramatic entrance."

Kou-chan turns to him and Makoto swears he can see the hope in her cherry-red eyes.

"You think so?" she whispers, licking the side of her lips with the tip of her tongue.

Mako looks away from her, clearing his throat and nodding his head. "I know so."

She sinks down to her bottom, hugging her legs close to her chest. "Sounds like him."

He chuckles, his lashes tangling with his mousy-brown forelocks. "Thank you for the pop, by the way, Kou-chan."

Mako turns in time to watch her pleased smile on her thin lips.

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The following day, when Kou-chan realizes she gave away her strawberry juice and was left with pear—which she doesn't like—and he offers to trade his apple one with her, Mako realizes he doesn't know much about her.

He knows the basics—what he can see. Her burgundy hair, her bright red eyes, the expression she always has that makes him think of a small child observing the world and liking every little detail they caught. He knows she has this deep desire to have her brother come back to her and that she worries about him constantly. He knows she grows flustered and annoyed at being called Gou rather than Kou and he knows she's very, very pretty.

But what does she like?

What is her favorite color?

Does she like the feel of water against her skin the same way her brother does—does she swim?

"I can't draw," he says.

Kou-chan turns to look at him, her brow furrowed and the straw of her—his—apple juice hovering close to her lips.

"Nagisa-chan had envisioned penguins, orcas and sharks along the walls of the pool." He chuckles at the thought. Nagisa and his flashy ideas. "I told him I couldn't draw and that it'd be unfair to task Haru-chan to do it all on his own."

She giggles, turning to observe Nagisa as he made flower crowns and murmured to himself. "He's a handful, isn't he?"

"You have no idea," Mako sighs.

They grow quiet, for a while, both drinking their juices at peace, their attention drifting from watching the scenery to observing the way Haru kept floating around, lazily.

"I like to sing," she murmurs, softly. As if telling a secret, he decides. "I don't like doing it in public, though. It's too embarrassing."

He turns towards her, watches the way her cheeks turn a nice shade a pink and chuckles, softly, to himself. "What kind of music do you like?"

"Mostly kpop," she admits, giving an embarrassed laugh.

"I like kpop, too," Mako nods, smiling back at her.

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"I made flower crowns for all of us," Nagisa chirps one day, skipping towards them and placing a flower crown made out of white daisies over Mako's head. "There you go!"

Mako blinks his eyes, looking up at Nagisa and watching him begin to skip away.

"What about Kou-chan?"

"Gou doesn't get any coz she's not fabulous enough," he calls out, over his shoulder.

"Hmph!" Kou-chan scoffs, crossing her arms in front of her chest and looking away from him, chin stuck up in the air. "As if I'd want one!"

Mako laughs, lifting the flower crown off his head and gently placing it on hers. "You can wear mine. It looks prettier on you."

She turns back towards him, her eyes wide and her cheeks almost as red as her eyes and her hair.

He looks away, clearing his throat and kicking his feet inside the water.

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On a particularly hot day, Mako pulls a Haru and strips down to his swimming shorts and dives into the water.

Unlike his weird best friend, he never tends to wear his swimming uniform under his school one because that… Was just really weird and crazy. But something had told him today was going to be a super-hot day and he was going to want to take a quick swim. And lo and behold, he had been right. The cool water felt amazing as he swam, breaking the surface and shaking the water out of his hair.

"Mako!"

He looks up, swiping a hand down his face to remove the annoying drips of water.

Kou-chan stands by the edge of the pool, her brow furrowed in something like dissatisfaction.

Mako swims closer towards her, "Hey, Kou-chan… What's up?"

She crouches down to be closer to his level, her arms hugging her legs and her chin resting in the space between her knees. "Mako… I didn't have enough lunch money for juice for everyone and Nagisa and Haru-chan already took two of the three I managed to buy and Ama-chan took the other one…"

He stares at her, his eyes crinkling as he gave her a soft smile.

"S'okay, Kou-chan!" He grabs onto the edge of the pool and lifts himself out of the water, running a hand through his hair as he turns towards her. "Maybe I can take you out for a pop, later."

Her eyes grow wide, a small gasp escaping past her lips and a blush sprinkling onto her cheekbones. "I—I—triceps—I mean—yes, yes… Okay… I… Asadjsf."

Mako stares at her for a second, gauging her reaction and her reply, before he just laughs.