Title: Their First Kiss
For: Goodness this is for a very, very talented artist: johannathemad. This whole fic is based on a picture she did and the link can be found in my profile, definitely go check her out!
A/N: This takes place right after episode 5. And I realize that the title is unoriginal and wholly lame and I'm sorry I'm so terrible at titles guhhh
Their First Kiss
"Is that — what is that?"
Haru looks to where Nagisa is pointing and it's hard to make out anything through the darkness and the rain, but there's no mistaking the shadowed lump farther along the beach once it's spotted. Haru doesn't wait, doesn't think, his body just moves, and he's going. Wind whistles in his ears, rain pelts against his face so hard he has to square his shoulders and tilt his head down to retain even a little visibility. Nagisa is by his side, yelling things that get lost in the gale, possibly names, possibly nonsensical panic, Haru isn't sure, he can't hear over the sound of his own heart beating in his throat where it's lodged itself.
The first thing Haru can make out as they get closer is the orange of Makoto's shirt, the same shirt Haru has a proclivity to steal whenever the opportunity presents itself — he runs faster. His calves burn from sprinting on the sand and his breaths come in short, quick pants, but that's nothing compared to the way his blood is roaring through his veins, steeped in a panic his natural disposition fails to convey properly.
The second thing that registers is what puts everything into horrifying perspective: Rei is moving, Makoto isn't. Haru's insides turn to ice and his composure slips as he stumbles, barely catching himself at the last second. Rei is leaning over Makoto's body, touching in a haphazard way that embodies petrification that lacks all of Rei's usual careful calculation. And that, too, is terrifying.
Haru gets there first, Nagisa close behind, and he pushes Rei aside as he falls to his knees. Bending, he puts his ear to Makoto's chest, oblivious to all else, and listens. Though there's a lot of noisy things going on around him, the stark silence beneath him is loudest of all. Scrambling up, heedless and clumsy, Haru parts Makoto's lips and presses their mouths together to transfer a partial breathe.
You'll be fine.
Haru pulls back and stares expectantly at Makoto, waiting for his eyes to open, waiting for that easy smile. But Makoto is cold — too cold, he's never this cold, not ever — and still, face pale and hair disheveled. Haru runs a hand through his friend's hair, pushing his bangs back to see his face better, searching for a flash of emerald, a nose twitch, anything.
You'll be fine.
Sliding a hand beneath Makoto's jaw, Haru takes a breath and tries again. And again. And again. He's ceaseless as he doggedly transfers breath after breath, his other arm pressing into the ground, slowly curling around Makoto's head. But each time, there's no response, no change, just stillness as they're buffeted by the elements.
"You said you'll be fine!"
The words come out harsh, in a voice so unlike his own that were he able to think, he'd wonder if they were even his. He shakes his head, sending water flying and takes another breath, sealing their mouths back together to try once more. This time, when he lifts his head, Rei is beside him with both hands on Makoto's chest where he pushes a certain number of times.
"Try again, Haru-chan!" Nagisa tells him, though, unnecessarily because he's already doing it.
Rain sluices down his face and into his eyes and he breathes, Rei does compressions, and he breathes again. He doesn't know how many times he does it, doesn't care because he knows he'll keep doing it no matter how long it takes.
Inside his head there's a mantra of I'll save you, I'll save you, I'll save you as if his single minded pertinacious determination will be enough. He'd known this hadn't been a good idea! He should have said something every time Makoto put up the brave act that everything would be fine, there would be no need to worry, he'd be okay. This isn't fine and by no extension of the word is anything okay right now. Makoto had wanted to be a good captain and not let anyone down, he'd just wanted them to swim together. Such a simple want, it'd always been the simple things that made Makoto happy –
In an instant, the very realization that he might have seen Makoto's last smile hits him. That Makoto who's kind and giving, who pulls Haru out of the tub so they're not late, who makes sure he eats, who splits popsicles, who has siblings that love him, who still puts fresh flowers at his goldfish's grave everyday, who has always been by Haru's side... might not be there anymore. The lucidity of those few seconds between breaths are the most terrifying of his life and that fear sears itself into his very being.
He tries harder, he clutches Makoto tighter, his lungs are burning, his hand is unsteady on Makoto's jaw. He's sure that, had he the capacity, he'd scream or yell, but as is, his sounds blazon out in the form of each breath he gives. He knows there's statistics about how long the human body can go without oxygen to the brain, that's probably what's on Rei's mind, but Haru can't come up with a single projection. He can only keep trying, breathing and blinking his eyes around the water to check for any response as Rei does compressions before pressing their mouths together again.
With a sudden jerk, Makoto's body heaves and his head turns, choked sounds coming out as water spills from his mouth. Haru acts on instinct and helps Makoto by pushing at his shoulder, then grabbing him from behind with both arms. Gravity does the rest as Makoto coughs and sputters, mouthful after mouthful of water purging out of his body. Haru holds on tight, his face shoved into Makoto's shoulder where, heedless of the clinging sand, he pants as the other's body shudders and trembles with life.
"I'll go get Miss Ama-chan!"
Nagisa's voice is vaguely heard, like hearing something underwater it feels far away and distorted. What Haru can hear loud and clear are Makoto's ragged gasps while his body is stiff and shaking. Haru just holds on tighter, his arms tight around Makoto's chest, clutching at his drenched shirt as the wind and rain continue to wreak havoc.
"Haru-chan!" There's a hand touching his shoulder. "Haru-chan, we've got to get him someplace dry!"
Now, he knows that's the most logical thing, but his limbs feel weighted down, heavy, though not with relief, not yet. He won't feel relief until he can see Makoto's eyes, hear his voice, only then will he be able to relax. As is, he lifts his head and blindly follows Rei's direction, probably looking more in control of himself than he actually is. They end up carefully maneuvering Makoto onto Rei's back to be carried to the tents, Rei being the only one big enough to do it what with Makoto having the broadest shoulder of the four of them.
It's a long walk with so little visibility and the entire time, Haru keeps a hand on Makoto's side. His friend's breathing is choppy and quick, but easier than it'd been before and no more water is coming up, which is good. Rei begins to struggle under Makoto's weight before too long, but he only hitches his cargo up higher and keeps walking, brows drawn down and pinched in concentration. They're going as fast as they can, but that just doesn't feel fast enough and they're only speculating on direction by following the general vicinity Nagisa had gone. The circumstances have changed, but it feels no less dire than before and Haru can only twist his fingers into Makoto's shirt in frustration.
"Oi!" Nagisa appears out of nowhere, simply emerging from the shadows and ushering them to follow. "This way! Bring him to the lodge!"
They can do nothing else but trail after, pace a little quicker now that Nagisa is leading the way. Haru does what he can when they reach a set of stairs, though it's very little. Rei's legs are shaking by the time they reach the top, but he doesn't falter other than a couple stumbles Haru is able to lend a shoulder to bolster. Nagisa lets out a triumphant trill when Miho and Gou come into view standing outside the room that must be theirs.
When they get inside, Rei falls to a knee and Haru gathers Makoto to him, Nagisa helping to make the transfer more smooth in Haru's haste. The room is brightly lit, they can finally see, and Makoto still hasn't woken up yet. His face has remained pallor, a daunting sight for someone like Makoto whose skin tends to always maintain some shade of tan. Everyone is crowding in close, all talking at the same time, worried chit-chatter that doesn't do any good as a whole.
"Mako-chan!" Nagisa tries, hands fidgeting in his lap like he's afraid to reach out. "Mako-chaaaaan!"
Each try their own thing, running a hand through his hair, touching his cheek, pinching his arm, but he only flinches or doesn't react. Somewhere in there, they're all given towels – Haru's placed around his shoulders since both his arms are preoccupied. As a fleeting thought, Haru wonders if Rin would know what to do in this situation, but dismisses it as soon as it idles by.
"Makoto," Haru calls out, going for stern and coming out... helpless.
"I'm going to call for a medic!" Miho says, worry written in every line of her face.
She's scared, they all are. Just breathing isn't enough, they need to see and hear Makoto respond. Going without oxygen for that long... that can cause brain damage. For all they know, Makoto, though breathing, might be in a coma. And Haru can't do anything except lean down and press his forehead to his friend's, their wet bangs meshing. His eyes close and he grapples for something more he can do, searches for any kind of solution or balm that might make this better.
"Ama-chan, wait!" Haru lifts his head at the sound of Nagisa's voice and finds him pointing at Makoto's face. "I think he's waking up, his eyes are scrunching!"
It feels like the whole room holds its breath as Makoto groans and shifts. When his eyes slit open, they're glazed and sightless, the vibrant green more muted than Haru has ever seen it. But then his brows furrow until he almost looks confused and after a couple slow blinks, clarity comes back, however slowly.
In an abrupt blink, confusion gives way to worry as Makoto tenses up and blurts, "Is Rei okay?" Haru lets out a breath of relief and tips his head in Rei's direction by way of answer. As soon as Makoto's sees Rei, who's sheepishly ducking his head and adjusting his glasses, he relaxes against Haru with a loud sigh. "Thank goodness."
Leave it to Makoto to be more worried about someone else's well being over his own health, but that's just the way Makoto is, Haru has always known that. There's something numbing that comes with this relief that's so strong he can't even react to it. It just takes him over and fills him up, he's finally able to breathe easy.
"How do you feel?" Gou asks, eyes big and bright with what might just be unshed tears.
"Oh... well, wet and sandy, mostly."
"He's freezing," Haru supplies because whether Makoto is willing to divulge the information or not, he's chilled and shivering.
"Then take a warm bath!" Gou swats at Nagisa, continuing, "Someone," more insistent swatting at Nagisa, "will get you some dry clothes."
"You need to drink something first!" Miho says to Makoto, holding out a glass of water that Haru eyes. "As Ernest Hemingway once said, 'An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.' And your voice sounds awful."
That last part is true, Makoto's voice is raw and raspy from all the salt, sounding more like two pieces of sandpaper grating together. Makoto is hesitant in taking the glass though and doesn't actually do it until Haru gives him a squeeze to encourage him. He may not want it, but he needs it, even if he's only able to take in a few sips at a time.
"I'll go start the bath," Rei says quickly.
"That's not... necessary..." Makoto trails off, Rei is already gone.
"Drink more!" Gou demands, nudging the glass toward Makoto's mouth. "You need to hydrate!"
"Are you sure we don't need to take you to the doctor or call a paramedic?" Miho asks, both of them looking so anxious.
"I can make you mackerel."
Every eye turns to Haru and he stares back, it'd been a completely legitimate offer! After a pause, Makoto lets out a laugh – which sounds like a gravely grind – and shakes his head.
"Not hungry yet, but I'll take you up on that tomorrow."
Gou is still giving Haru a flat look, but then she and Miho have gone right back to their grilling. Already, Makoto is flustered under so much attention, but Haru leaves it to him to answer, making it his own job to hold still and hold on.
Close to an hour later and everyone, except the girls, have taken a bath and changed into dry clothes. They're all staying in the lodge for the night since it's still raining, though lightly, and it's already so late or rather, so early. Haru is only just leaving the bath, getting out in record time for obvious reasons, and Makoto is exactly where he'd left him – sprawled out on his stomach and dozing with his arms stuffed under his pillow. He'd been so out of it after cleaning up, he hadn't even been able to keep his eyes open despite his valiant efforts, so Haru had laid him down and let him try to sleep. Haru retakes his place sitting by Makoto's side, close enough that they're touching and he can hear Makoto's quiet breaths.
Nagisa is on Makoto's other side, the borrowed bedding from the lodge all over the floor, and Rei is farthest away. He's been subdued the entire time, barely saying much of anything as they'd gone out to retrieve dry clothes and certain belongings from the tents while Makoto bathed with the girls covering around outside the door, calling in every minute or so to make sure he was okay. Nagisa is talking quietly to Rei whose gaze keeps flicking to Makoto and the girls are talking and making sure everyone has what they need and Haru, he just sits quiet and and content next to his friend.
Makoto twitches and coughs just once, but that's the beginning of a series and the whole room goes silent. He coughs so hard his back arches and his fingers twist into the bedding with the force of each jarring wrack. Nagisa shuffles closer beside him and rubs a hand on his back and when the fit is over, Makoto clears his throat and apologizes, easy reassurances dropping from his lips like he hadn't almost had a near death experience. Those fronts make Haru frown, but he doesn't say anything, just stays close and watchful.
It'd taken a lot of convincing on Makoto's part to get Miho to not call in a doctor or take him to one. He says he's fine and that if he doesn't feel well after they get picked up and taken home, he'll see someone then. Haru believes Makoto's okay... to an extent. No one simply gets over drowning. It's easier for someone of Makoto's countenance and attitude, but Haru has no doubt that the thoughts going through Makoto's head don't reflect the airy lightness of his words.
Haru is brought out of his troubled musings when Gou sidles up next to him.
"Just got off the phone with Ani-chan." Haru doesn't look over, instead tilting his head to let her know he's listening. "After I told him what happened, it sounded like he wanted to be here. Not that he'd actually say that."
Haru doesn't comment, but he does take it into consideration. He almost thinks maybe Rin should be here, but then... no, maybe not. He really can't imagine what must be going through Rin's head after getting this kind of call close to two in the morning.
"How are you feeling now, Mako-chan?" questions Gou, speaking louder this time with a small smile on her face.
Makoto naturally returns the smile with a nod. "Much better, thank you."
Haru reaches out and touches the back of Makoto's neck, determining, "Still too cold."
Before anyone can do or say anything, there's a flurry of cloth and Rei's club jacket fans out over Makoto's back on top of the blanket.
"Hey! No fair!" Nagisa rolls to his bag, grabs his jacket, and rolls back to fling his on top of Rei's. "There, Mako-chan can have mine, too!"
Haru straightens them out as Makoto graciously says his thanks, but both are brought up short at Rei's, "You're not mad?"
"What would I be mad about?"
"That it's my fault you almost... ah, that this happened," Rei replies in a small voice, sitting ramrod straight like he's waiting for a blow.
Makoto blinks, then smiles warmly. "Don't worry about it, I'm just glad you're alright."
Rei's shoulders slump and his attempt at a smile is a weak twitching of his lips until Nagisa knocks into his shoulder, holding both his arms up to make an X, crying, "Not beautiful! Smile for real, Rei-chan!"
They laugh and bicker, Gou joining in and even Miho pipes in with some quotes that don't quite make sense half the time. Makoto says things every once in awhile, but he's always enjoyed watching more than participating, much like Haru, but in a different way. Rei reverts back to his usual self and the interaction between all of them is very healing as it's a step back toward normal. But before long, the hard day of workouts and the long, eventful night catches up to them. Nagisa is the first to tip over and pass out, laying at a strange angle until Rei covers him up and retires to his own bed next to him. Gou follows soon after, curling up next to Miho on the other side of the room and after the lights go out, it's like everybody goes with it.
Haru stays awake, though, he can't sleep. He's on his own bed next to Makoto, the edges are overlapping so there's no definitive between where each bed begins or ends. He's facing Makoto, curious why his friend is still on his stomach when he's always favored laying on his back. Haru doesn't think he's awake because his breathing has finally leveled out, but he's honestly not sure without getting closer. He hadn't said goodnight, he's bad with this stuff, conveying properly how he's feeling, so he can't do a lot of things Nagisa or Rei have an easy time with, but he can stay awake. Not that he'll be able to sleep even if he tries, he's still too wound up, not physically, but mentally. He's not thinking or focusing on one single thing, it's more a multitude of things all swirling around at the same time.
"You should get some sleep, too."
Haru ducks his head, of course Makoto knows he's awake without even having to see him. He supposes they've been friends much too long for Makoto to not be able to tell those kinds of things. And now Haru doesn't know what to say, but when does he ever? Instead, he tries for action and since his fingers have been twitching, he reaches out. Slipping a hand beneath the pile, he follows the curve of Makoto's spine up to between his shoulder blades.
"You're warm." His hand stays where it is and he's able to feel each breath Makoto takes, every subtle rise and fall. "Too warm."
His friend sighs, relaxed. "It's just a little fever, it'll be gone by morning."
Haru lets his hand linger a few moments, at a loss – once again – about what he should do. He thinks about offering up mackerel again, but can't see him being taken up on it, so he drops the line of thought. Slowly bringing his hand back to himself, he tilts his head to look at the door where beyond it's still raining. Not pouring as it had been, but raining, the sleepy kind of rain that's steady and rhythmic. He can imagine how everything out there looks covered in water, how it'll glint in the lighting and feel against his fingers.
Out of nowhere, Makoto throws his blanket and the jackets off so he can stand, a finger to his lips in the universal shushing sign. Haru takes his cue and gets up, the both of them padding silently to the door while the others slumber on. The wood creaks beneath their feet, but it's muted enough that no one stirs, except Gou mumbles in her sleep, "It's not Kou, it's Gou." Makoto has to put a hand over his mouth to keep from laughing and the look he shoots her is nothing short of fond. Haru waits while Makoto carefully slides the door open and lets him out first before sliding it closed once more. They're under the cover of the room that extends out a couple feet and the surroundings are just as Haru had pictured them.
"Don't act like you didn't want to be out here," Makoto teases, leaning against the wall with his hands behind his back.
There's no arguing with that, Haru has no rebuttal, he's already walking out into the rain. It's so much more calm than it'd been before, the rainfall actually pleasant when it isn't coming down in sheets. The light above is dim, but bright enough they can see easily and though it's cool out, the water doesn't make it cold because of the lingering humidity.
It's a surprise when Makoto holds a hand out from beneath the cover and watches the raindrops collect on it. The droplets slide and collect in his palm, creating a pool and Haru finds himself entranced by the comparison. Then, Makoto's hand lowers and he walks out, the water dotting his clothes a darker color until it's all the same shade. He closes his eyes and looks up, holding still to let the rain thoroughly drench him. He looks happy, that's the important thing and Haru can't bring himself to look away. Laughing, Makoto shakes his head, sending droplets flying as he fixes his eyes on Haru and gives a smile he feels like he's seeing for the first time even though he knows it's the same smile Makoto always gives him.
Or, perhaps, reserves for him. That little epiphany has Haru's eyes widening slightly and his feet are planted to the spot while the rain makes soft pitter-patter noises against the roof and wooden boards. So he can't move when Makoto moves closer, walking with purpose and confidence until he's leaning down, hesitating only a second before kissing him. Warm this time, Makoto's lips are soft and pliable, molding to his own in a chaste kiss.
Standing up tall again, Makoto smiles and touches his lips with the tips of his fingers. "I'd regret it if I died before getting to do that."
Haru's eyes widen farther as it all sinks in and the cogs begin to churn. His breath stutters in his throat and he watches Makoto's face, taking in the light flush to his cheeks, the sound of his laugh, the set of his body and this very night, Haru had almost lost this. It takes him almost losing it to realize what he has and how much it means to him.
With all the impulse he has whenever he jumps into a pool, he grabs Makoto's face between his hands and pulls him back down. It lacks every amount of finesse Makoto had had, resulting in their faces smashing together at an awkward angle with their noses bumping, but he can feel Makoto smiling against his mouth and that's what makes it perfect.