I don't own Free!
Originally this was going to be in present tense, but that always messes me up so I changed it. If there are any typos, sorry, but I was too lazy to go through again.
"Haru-chan looks just like a dolphin," Nagisa said with a sigh of awe as Haruka slipped through the water, moving with even strokes. Makoto could see what Nagisa meant—he'd always been able to see it. The water has embraced Haruka like he had been especially made for it; it glossed over his skin, pushed against his hands and legs to help him forward. The relationship was something constant, something unstoppable.
"Oi, Haru-chan!" Makoto called, feeling almost guilty about interrupting Haruka, but he'd grown used to having to do so. "We're supposed to be teaching Rei-kun how to swim, you know!"
Haruka glanced over, his sea-blue eyes glinting in the light, but continued to the other end of the pool. Makoto smiled helplessly, but he knew Haruka would come back.
"So, Rei-chan," Nagisa called as the former track team member hesitantly slipped into the water to join them. "Have you ever gone swimming at all before?"
Makoto swam closer to Rei; the guy could tread water, but not very well. "I never really saw the point of learning before now," Rei said, adjusting his goggles.
Nagisa beamed. "Don't worry, Rei-chan," he said, and Rei became a little red at the title. "We'll have you swimming like a fish in no time—we're the best teachers!" He swept his arm toward Haruka, who poked his head out of the water next to Makoto. (His sudden, quiet appearance hardly surprised him.)
Makoto chuckled a little. "I did teach my brother and sister how. It's not hard."
Rei didn't really look convinced—for all his talk about wanting to have a beautiful swimming form like Haruka's, he was clutching onto the edge of the pool for dear life.
"Don't worry, Rei-chan!" Nagisa swam over and grasps Rei's wrist. "You'll be fine. Like I said, Haru-chan's a dolphin, he won't let you drown! I'm a penguin, too, and Mako-chan's a nice whale, so you're fine!"
Makoto was about to comment on Nagisa's odd calming techniques, but he paused. "A whale?" Haruka frowned a little, too.
"Yeah!" Nagisa didn't seem to understand why Makoto was so put off. "You're huge and powerful, like a whale."
Whales were also slow and fat, but Makoto decided not to say that. He could tell Nagisa only wants to make him feel cool or something. "I'm not a whale, though," he said. He was about to add that he was just a normal human being when Haruka spoke:
"Makoto is a frog."
Makoto, thrown off-guard, paused and glanced to Haruka. The boy just made a slight face and submerged all but his eyes in the water.
"...A frog?" Makoto questioned.
"Oh, oh, I can see it!" Nagisa waved his arms excitedly, splashing everyone a little. "You're eyes are green, too! You're just a big, cute frog! Yeah!"
"I am not!" Makoto said indignantly.
"Frog-chan, Frog-chan!" Nagisa sang, swimming away when Makoto started to chase him. "Mako-chan is Frog-chan!"
Rei clung to the edge of the pool. "...Are they coming back?"
Haruka blew a few bubbles.
Makoto frowned as he made his way up the stairs toward Haruka's house. He'd tossed and turned the night before, thoughts of Haruka's comment stewing in his head. It had been one thing for Nagisa to call him a whale, but having Haruka call him a frog of all things irked him. Frogs were slimy, and though they were okay swimmers, they were sort of cumbersome travelers—most of them looked kind of awkward with all that hopping they did with their heavy bodies.
Besides, Makoto was too big to be a frog. But that thought made him think of himself as a toad, all big and bulky and bumpy, and that was even worse.
"Haru-chan?" he called, knocking on the front door. There was no answer, but he only sighed and went around to the back entrance. He felt a little concerned about how Haruka always left it unlocked, but he supposed he'd be more irked if he couldn't pull his friend out of the bath in time to go to school.
Makoto made his way to the bathroom and knocked on the wall before poking his head through the open door. "Haru...? Haruka? Are you sleeping?!"
Haruka's head rested against the wall of the tub, with a towel beneath his neck to keep him from leaning against the hard edge. He blinked his rather bleary blue eyes and glanced at Makoto. "Tired," he muttered before his body jerked with a harsh sneeze. He sniffed.
Makoto's gaze softened, but he quickly became concerned as he came further into the bathroom. "Look at all the tissues you're leaving everywhere, Haru-chan. Are you really sick?"
Haruka shrugged. Makoto noticed his nose was red...and kinda runny. "I dunno. I don't really want to move."
Makoto sighed and walked to the edge of the tub, reaching out a hand. "Come on. I don't want you to fall asleep and drown. Besides, you need to get warm."
"I am warm."
Makoto rolled his eyes and flicked his fingers through the lukewarm water. "You just think you're warm because you're used to the water. C'mon."
Haruka reluctantly took Makoto's hand and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. Makoto grabbed a nearby towel and mopped at Haruka's wet hair. "You should only take hot baths when you're sick like this," he said before draping it around Haruka's shoulders. Haruka only made a face like he was a bit flustered at being cared for.
"I'm fine, Makoto," he mumbled.
Makoto only shrugged. "Hop off to bed, Haru-chan." His words suddenly reminded him of frogs, and he abruptly turned around. "I'll make you some breakfast before I go to school."
Haruka stood still for a moment in surprise, then did as he was told.
After searching the cupboards, Makoto finally found a can of soup. He turned on the stove and found a pot, then poured the soup into it to cook. While he was waiting for it to simmer, he thought about Haruka's comment yet again. His mind went in circles—no, he was not a frog; no, he was not green and slimy; no, he did not hop around.
He sighed and poured the warm soup into a bowl. He grabbed a spoon from the drawer and headed down the hall to Haruka's room. The blue-eyed boy sat in his bed, the covers drawn over his legs, and he was absent-mindedly drawing something on a pad of paper. Haruka glanced up when Makoto came into the room and set the pad aside.
"Here," Makoto said, handing the bowl to Haruka. "Careful. It's hot."
Haruka put the bowl in his lap. "Not fish?"
Makoto rolled his eyes. "No, Haru-chan, not fish."
Haruka pouted but still spooned out a bit of soup. He winced a little at the heat.
Makoto sat on the edge of the bed, near Haruka. "You should wait a second for it to cool." He glanced over to Haruka's sketchpad and noticed how the rough lines made the shape of... "A frog?"
"Ah..." Haruka's cheeks went a slight red. "Yeah."
Makoto twitched a little. "Hey, Haru-chan," he said tensely. "...Why'd you call me a frog?"
"...I like frogs," Haruka said quietly, but simply.
That answer didn't quite satisfy Makoto. "But frogs are slimy and clunky-looking. I'm not a frog." He pointed at his face. "All I have is the green eyes."
Haruka's cheeks became slightly more pink. "W-well... Frogs are princes if you kiss them."
Makoto was caught so off-guard that he didn't realize Haruka was leaning toward him until their lips met.