The Question With No Answer

Disclaimer: I own nothing!

"So Mako-chan, Haru-chan," asked Nagisa one day, "How did you two meet?"

Makoto looked up from his lunch, Haru stopped eating and both just sat in silence and stared vacantly as they searched their memories. When had they met?

"Well..." offered Makoto, "Haru is older than me by a few months, so I imagine we met when his parents brought him to my house after I was born... or something," ended Makoto lamely. Haru shrugged, accepting the answer and returned to eating.

"So it's not like you guys met at school or something?" said Nagisa, "Your families are friends?"

Again the silence returned and the stares resumed, "Haru's mother did used to visit my parents when she was still here," replied Makoto, "I guess they were friends but no, we didn't meet at school. In fact, I am pretty sure Haru and I went to school together from the very first day. I think Haru's mother walked us both or was it my mom..."

"Your mom," Haru corrected, "My mom dropped me at your place and your mom took us the rest of the way. That was the routine until we learnt the route and could walk by ourselves."

"O yeah! Now I remember," replied Makoto with a smile, "You really have a good memory, Haru-chan!"

"Drop it with the chan already," Haru futilely demanded for a thousandth time, "When are you going to stop with the chan anyway?"

"When we are old and grey and retired by the sea," suggested Makoto with a grin. Haru just looked annoyed.

"So you guys are going to spend the rest of your lives together?" asked Nagisa innocently.

Makoto laughed, "Who knows? Its just I don't remember a time before Haru-chan and its a little sad to think of a time when I won't be with Haru-chan. But consider this, in less than two years we would have graduated from High School. We might choose separate universities or rather, even if we wanted to, we might fail to get in to the same university and that's assuming one of us doesn't just choose to hit the road chasing warm waters, whiling away his days spending the inheritance his grandmother left him," Makoto said, looking pointedly at Haru.

Who pointedly ignored him and kept on eating, Makoto smiled and continued, "So in less than two years we might be separated, maybe forever, maybe for a little while and even if we are not, maybe we'll change after high school as we start becoming proper adults with jobs and responsibilities. Maybe we'll have bosses who will work us all the time or just that we'll become totally married to our jobs or have demanding girlfriends, a hoard of children who monopolise our time so that we don't even have time to text each other let alone meet and..."

"Makoto," interrupted Haru, "Stop saying stupid things."

Before Makoto could respond Nagisa interjected, "I guess Haru-chan would be lonely without Mako-chan. Especially since Haru-chan has always had Mako-chan. Plus I wouldn't want Mako-chan to change like Rin-chan. That would be too sad."

"Ah? Why am I the only one changing?" wondered Makoto, "Haru could be the one to change and not want me around anymore!" pointed out.

Haru thought for a moment and tried to imagine a life without Makoto by his side, a life where he rarely saw Makoto or never saw him again. A life where he really wouldn't have any ties and could truly be free... Haru shuddered. But what he said was, "Stop worrying about questions that have no answers and finish eating. The pool still needs more work."

Author's Note: The idea for this fic came after I read translations and stuff from High Speed! the novel which outlines the concept for Free! and is set during the final year of the boys elementary school when Rin, Makoto, Haru and Nagisa teamed-up in a relay. The novel has zero adults in it and so despite Haru's mother being mentioned, we don't actually meet her. But it is implied the Makoto and Haru have always lived literally five minutes away from each other all their lives. Haru up a set of stone steps that let to a temple, just past the first Torii gate and Makoto across the street at the base of the stone steps. So its reasonable to assume they probably knew each other long before they set foot in school. Plus even in High Speed! the Mako/Haru relationship is presented as "they have always been together". But Makoto is actually a few month's younger then Haru since Mako's birthday is in November and Haru's is in June. So only thing we can assume is that they didn't meet in the hospital but probably met while being pushed around the neighbourhood in their prams or something.

Episode 1 of the anime implied that Haru, Makoto and Nagisa were already friends by the time Rin showed-up but in High Speed!, Nagisa is actually the last to join their group. He also went to a different school to Haru and Makoto and really only met them during swim club. So it was reasonable to assume Nagisa probably doesn't know Haru and Makoto as well as people would assume and thus would ask something like "how did you guys meet" and stuff.

Anyway, I took a stance against shipping in Free! because I can't decide between Mako x Haru and Haru x Rin. That and after reading High Speed! I have kind of felt that the fanservice and shipping related shenanigans might actually be doing three rather complex characters (Rin, Makoto and Haru that is) a disservice. So this is probably closest I'll get to writing a Mako x Haru fic. Hope you like it.