Haru had to stay more night for observation before he will be discharged. After hearing the news, he refused to speak to anyone, including Makoto.
"I am so sorry for his behaviour." Makoto explained to the doctor outside Haru's room. "He really loves swimming. He's just... Crushed that this news came so suddenly."
The doctor smiled knowingly. "I will never understand his love for swimming. But I understand what it means to lose something you love so much." He patted Makoto on the shoulder reassuringly. "Your friend needs you to be there for him, even if he doesn't realize it. He's in shock right now. So stay with him."
Makoto could only nod as a response. The doctor left. Makoto watched Haru from outside the door as the door had a glass window in it. Haru was still sound asleep.
Makoto was starting to feel drowsy. It was late at night and he had not been sleeping well the past night as he was on high alert in case anything happened. He walked away from Haru's room, confident he will be okay for a few minutes alone, and looked for a coffee vending machine.
After a while, Haru walked back to the room, canned coffee in hand, when he heard a voice coming from Haru's room. He peeked inside and saw a familiar shade of red.
Rin? He fell back, not wanting to be seen. He probably found out that Haru was in hospital from his sister.
"How are you feeling?" He heard. It was Rin's voice.
"Fine." Haru spoke. Which surprised Makoto because he didn't want to talk to anyone at all for the whole day.
"I heard you can't swim anymore." Rin said in a blunt manner. "I don't know what I can say about that. But... I'm sorry." Rin started laughing. "Man, I'm really bad at this."
"Hmm." Haru responded shortly.
"Hmmm. Do you remember when we first met? We slammed into each other in the water because we didn't see where we were going." Rin said, chuckling. "Then I remembered we were so angry at each other that we had a race then and there. But before we could finish, our instructor hauled us out of the pool. Man, I was so mad. And you were too."
Rin kept silent for a while, as if thinking, then he continued. "You were the one who got me to care about swimming. The way you moved in the water... I was envious. I wanted that."
Makoto tilted his head to take a peek. Rin was now sitting on the side of Haru's bed. His hand clasped onto Haru's.
Makoto felt something stab his chest. What was he feeling? And why was Rin sitting so close to Haru? Why was he holding his hand like that?
"I really wanted to race with you. One last time. At your fulllest potential. But... right now... *Sigh* I am glad enough to see you alive."
"I'll swim again." Haru said nonchalantly.
"...Are you crazy?! You heard the doctor. You swim again, you might just drown."
"I would rather die in water than on land." Haru said in a small voice.
Rin let out a huge sigh. "Okay, tell you what. Let's just forget about this for a while. You just focus on getting well. We'll figure something out later. Okay? Promise?"
"...Unn." Haru reluctantly said.
"Good boy. Promise me you won't do anything stupid until the next time we meet."
Makoto saw Rin lean in and kiss Haru on his forehead. It made Makoto's face turn hot. Why did he think it was okay to walk back into Haru's life like nothing happened?
He still remembered how he treated Haru the first time they met after a long time. He, Haru and Nagisa had gone back to their old swimming pool to relive the memories before it was torn down. There, Rin appeared. Not only did he ignore Makoto and Nagisa, he went straight for Haru and challenged him to a race. There was no tenderness between them. If anything, Rin looked like he resented Haru.
And Makoto was angry at Haru too for not realizing that as well.
Rin finally left. Makoto entered the room. Haru looked like he was asleep. Or pretended to be. Makoto couldn't tell.
He sighed. This boy is just full of riddles. He took his seat and drank his coffee silently, wondering what his life would be like after he was discharged.
The next day, Makoto and Haru was in the backseat of Miho-sensei's car. She took leave just to send Haru home and settle in, as she did not want Haru to walk right after being discharged from the hospital.
Haru still did not talk, so they all sat in silence. Miho mentally sighed, unsure how to comfort him.
They finally arrived at his doorstep. Haru got out and walked into the house without so much of a "Thank you."
"Hai, hai, I hope you're going straight to bed. You still need to rest." Miho-sensei cheerefully called after him as she walked into the house. Makoto followed suit.
Miho-sensei walked into Haru's bedroom, expecting to find Haru all bundled up in his bed. "Eh? Where is that boy?" She said aloud in the empty bedroom. Then she heard a tap turn on. She walked into the bathroom and she saw Haru, in his swimwear, in the already-full bathtub.
She stood, frozen, not sure if it was okay for him to do that so soon. Makoto peeked over her shoulder.
"Haru. That's fine, but don't submerge your head for too long. Okay?" Makoto said.
"Unn." Haru responded shortly. Then he closed his eyes and tilted his head away from them.
Miho-sensei sighed. "I guess I will start cooking. He likes eating fish, right? I'll grill one right now."
Makoto nodded. Miho walked away towards the kitchen. Makoto continued to look over Haru. Then he closed the door to give him some privacy.
Haru opened his eyes and sighed. He stared at the water that was lapping at his body. He felt it hug every inch of his skin, how warm it was, how comforting it was.
Yes, he took comfort in being in water. It was his friend, his confidant. And now, it seems like the water didn't want him anymore. He stared at the water, as if expecting it to tell him why did the water decide to abandon him.
The water, being what it is, kept silent, and continued lapping against Haru's body.
That night, Haru somehow found himself at the swimming pool alone. Makoto and Miho had gone home long before after finner. Haru must've gone to the pool on impulse without himself realizing it.
But what use was he to be there? He couldn't swim. The water would just be taunting him, leering at him.
He stood at the ledge of the pool, its water reflecting his image in it. By now, under normal circumstances, he wouldn't have that much patience and would have jumped into the pool right away.
But something was holding him back. Despite his head being wallowed up in fog, he knew it wasn't the best idea at the moment. Instead, he rolled up his pants and sat on the edge. His legs dangled, submerging in the water. The familiar liquid lapped at his calves, as if greeting him, welcoming home.
And to him, this was his home. And he was homesick. But he could not return or else he might die.
Haru started to cry. He felt like he was suffocating, for he was like a fish out of the water.
Suddenly, he felt strong arms wrap itself around him. It was comforting, and for a short while, Haru relished in its warmth.
Haru tilted his head to see who it was.
"Makoto?" Haru whispered.
"Unn." Makoto replied. "Sorry. Just thought you needed this." Makoto was about to pull away when he felt Haru's hands grab hold of his arms.
At this point, Haru knew he wasn't thinking straight, but the warmth that Makoto gave him... It was comforting. He needed it.
Makoto was a little shocked at his gesture. He had half-expected Haru to smack his arms away. But he didn't. And that made Makoto... Kinda happy.
"Okay." he said simply. He gave in to Haru's request and continued to hug Haru from behind, comforting him in a way he now knew was okay with him.
The two boys stared at the water in silence, the sobs of the brunette boy echoing throughout the hall.
There was an awkward silence between Makoto and Haru as they walked back to Haru's house. Haru's gaze still seemed glossed over. But Makoto hung on for the sake of his best friend.
Without long, they finally reached Haru's house. Before Makoto could say goodbye and walk off, Haru turned to look at him.
"Can you stay with me tonight?" Haru asked suddenly.
Makoto was shocked at how forward Haru was with that request. Although Haru was known to be forward when he wants to, this was a request that did not sound like him. "O-of course." he said, trying hard not to stammer. Where did that come from? He wondered.
Then he realized why as they entered Haru's empty home. All this while, Haru had been living by himself. He could cope with it because he found solace in water. Now that it was taken away from him, he suddenly felt lonely.
Makoto gazed at Haru as they both entered the house, unable to comprehend what Haru was going through.
It was not long before it was lights off. Makoto had insisted he slept on a futon on the floor of Haru's bedroom, as Haru's bed was too small to fit both of them. Haru slept in his own bed. It wasn't long until both boys nodded off to sleep.
In the middle of the night, Makoto felt something warm press against him. He thought he was dreaming, but slowly came to his senses.
His eyes opened in realization. And as he looked over at the figure pressing against him, his realizations were true.
Haru had somehow gotten out of bed and squeezed himself in the same futon as Makoto's. His head pressed against the nook of Makoto's neck. The feeling of Haru's warm breath against his collarbone...
Makoto's face felt hot. His heart started to race. Haru was lying so close to him and he didn't even dare to move. What is this feeling he's been having lately? They're both male for god's sakes, why did he feel so nervous?!
Suddenly, he felt Haru's arm reach over and hug him. He pulled him closer, his forehead touching Makoto's.
This time, Makoto felt really flustered, even if Haru really was still asleep. He was so conscious of how close their face was.
He was also conscious about how close their lips were to each other.
Then he remembered the night he gave CPR to Haru. He still remembered the feeling of Haru's lips upon his'. Even though he fainted, and his lips felt cold, it felt soft. He felt like he was melting into them each time he gave CPR to him.
That feeling was worse coupled with the imagery he was having now. One arm holding him, his face so close to his, their lips mere centimeters away from each other...
Makoto closed his eyes and gingerly moved Haru's hand away, trying not to wake him up. After he knew he was safe, he got out of the futon and ran towards the bathroom. He slapped his face with cold water. His face felt so hot that he felt like he was going to catch a fever.
My heart still hasn't stopped racing since just now. He placed his hand on his heart, trying to calm it down. What's wrong with me?