Haruka is a natural in most things. His passion for swimming comes from a deep, near-instinctive desire to be with the water, the skills he learned from actual swim school training contributed but little to his true prowess. Haruka never really thought the rudimentary rules were necessary compared with the freedom of having the water mold itself around his slim form, carrying him like a mother holds her infant against her bosom. The only reason he underwent the training program is because Makoto was eager to learn, eager to share in this thing called swimming that made Haru-chan smile like nothing else.

The arts are another thing.

The second his parents saw some promise in him being an artist, they had him signed up for summer classes faster than he can say "water." The culprit was a doodle of a dolphin on the corner of his notebook but that somehow led to two summer months wasted in an art studio instead of the sports center's indoor pool. Haruka sees drawing more as a hobby, something to pass the time until he can get into the water, his true love. Besides, the one time Makoto attempted to tag along to his arts class, the guy spent the whole hour just ogling everyone else's work. And when the teacher finally got Makoto to sit down and do his own drawing... well... it turned out more of an abstract piece. Suffice to say, the only uplifting thing Haruka would've gotten in arts class (spending time with Makoto) was shot down instantly and that same day he told his parents he'd really rather go swimming. His grandmother backed him up, saying that his parents really should let Haruka delve into his real passion instead of what his parents think is more profitable.

He's been swimming ever since but the drawing habit stayed.

For a water-lover, one would expect his sketchpad to be filled with seascapes and similar scenery but Haruka actually prefers drawing human figures. Something about the solidity of its form and composition appealed to him, like a stabilizing breath of air from the fluid temperament of his beloved water.

"Ha – ru – chan~"

Haruka looks up, blurred vision focusing on the open palm held out to him. He's in his bathtub again, isn't he? And Makoto's presence only means that he's in danger of being late again.

Makoto doesn't look worried, though. Not even close to exasperated at having to do this every morning. He wears a sunny mien like this chore is the best part of his day. "Let's get you to school..." He inclines his head to the right, a fuller smile blooming on him.

For a second Haruka merely stares at Makoto's easy expression, then his eyes drop to the proffered hand. Makoto has nice hands – long fingers, soft palms calloused at certain niches, generating warmth that Haruka finds near impossible to resist. He slides his wet hand into Makoto's, feeling the familiar spread of heat running up his arm, swirling around his face before coating his chest all the way down to his toes.

Makoto has a towel ready for him and Haruka takes it to dry himself – at the very least, he doesn't need to trouble Makoto with that.

"I hope you don't mind that I brought you some breakfast," Makoto says as he exits the bathroom to give Haruka privacy to change. He keeps talking though and Haruka can hear the smile in his voice. "It's Ama-sensei's birthday, remember? We're supposed to help with decorating the room, so we better get to school early. You can eat on the way and..."

Haruka listens (hears, more like) because it'll be rude not to but at the same time, his mind barely registers anything save for how he can't exactly pinpoint a time now when he didn't have Makoto by his side. How did he ever land himself such a nice friend? Haruka wonders as he buttons up his uniform. The warm, soothing feeling that Makoto's presence brings settles comfortably in his belly and it gives Haruka the strangest drive.

A/N: Hello there Free!dom :) This little thing was supposed to be a short and sweet ficlet but the plotbunnies (plotorcas?) were like, "Yoooooo!" So yeah, it's gonna be a multi-chap sort of thing. Comments and critiques are most welcome~ u v u