THIS IS NOT ANOTHER CHAPTER. THIS IS A CHRISTMAS SPECIAL FLASHBACK. BASICALLY, FILLER, MAYBE, BUT A SNAPSHOT OF THEIR PAST, HOPEFULLY. This is a chapter about a Christmas back from when they're kids, so unfortunately, no cute kouhai Rei or Ai-chan in this.

Since I also have no time, no pretty lyrics or kanji brackets are in it. Sorry! And I'm seriously writing this at 11:27 PM on Christmas Eve, guys… it's going to be crappy.

Merry Christmas! Truly. I have such amazing, dedicated, phenomenal reviewers ;_; and I love all of you. Even if you're just reading this, thanks, because wow, people like my crap and it's been about three months? Really. I'm also rushing this again in an hour so it'll be short but hopefully people will like it.

BlueKaZeBlack, your rants make me want to do backflips (not good for me, it wouldn't end well), JustJolola, so you're my amazing mendokusai! Eu Nakamura, wow you asked me about life. It's crazy atm, with romance and business and traveling. L. Monster YOU BETTER BE HAPPY, LOVE. JE T'AIME. I don't know if I'll make it to 35… but 20 is a good number, I think… omgimwritingfanfics WOW THAT'S THE ONE I SPENT THE LAST TIME ON, BUT THANKS.

Everyone else below in the thanks, because I'm so down on time q.q


Make My World Just Explode

Written by Ko-Sensei

part twenty-one entails of a childhood flashback and this has nothing to do with the plot squat so can I even give it a chapter name? sorry guys, this is just a fluffy christmas childhood special and I'm going to miss the kouhai's rei and aiichiro

"Ne, ne, Haru-chan," Nagisa excitedly chirps, hooking their elbows together (successfully intruding into Haru's personal space bubble as well while ignoring the concerned stares from Rin and Makoto), "It's Christmas! Shouldn't we do something fun?"

"Don't call me -chan," Haru automatically responds, and attempts to shift away (unsuccessfully). "And you can talk about something fun after you place first in breaststroke."

Though today would normally be called "Christmas Eve," when going by the names of holidays and excitement, for Haru, it was just- December 24th, another regular day on the calendar. It only meant a few things;

1) There were thirty-two days, seventeen hours and thirty-nine minutes until the next swim meet.

2) Their Christmas break would end in six days, meaning less time to swim.

3) The temperature would drop, causing Makoto to berate him about swimming.

4) Nagisa would attempt to bother their regular swim exercise routine.

5) Haru had to avoid Sasabe, because the couch had spouted nonsense about all of their athletic programs dressing up in elf-suits and going around the neighborhood, caroling, which = instant humiliation and less time to swim.

Now, the four of them (Makoto on his left, Nagisa on his right, and Rin kind of alone in the back by himself) were on one of their regular runs to the pool and back around a curve in town. Normally, on school days, Makoto and he would start, then meet Nagisa and keep on running, then see Rin.

But after break, determined to keep fit (and to beat Rin in something, since the redhead's turns were still better and faster than his), Haru had continued jogging-and for some weird reason, the rest had followed.

(He hadn't wanted it, but, well- it was too much of a bother to chase them away.)

It's about three in the mid-afternoon, and although the weather outside is cold (icy winds, a dark blue-gray-ish sky present), it still hasn't snowed yet. To which Haru doesn't care much (though Makoto and Nagisa excitedly talk about a "White-Christmas" or something weird like that), so whatever.

So the four of them (with various scarves, mufflers, and jackets wrapped around their small respective forms) are jogging (despite Nagisa's complaints to do something fun), and just about done, since Nagisa's house is - just in this neighborhood.

Rin is still running with them, kind of, but lags around the back (not being included, since both of Nagisa and Makoto's attentions are on Haru), so to escape the blond's grasp, Haru slows down a bit until he's side-by-side with Rin.

"Eeeh? Haru-chan, don't leave me!" Nagisa pouts, and stops running- to which the rest of them follow right afterwards, forming a huddle in the cold wind outside.

"Don't call me -chan," Haru persists, but then shrugs, giving up. "So, where are we going?"

… And at this, Nagisa's eyes beam up, because though he's been pestering Haru to do something fun for days, Haru had insisted on not doing anything, and this means they have permission-

"Party at my house!" Nagisa exclaims, and turns around the corner to start running, yellow muffler flapping in the wind. In his excitement, Nagisa hasn't noticed that he's dropped his cellphone (tumbled out of his pocket), so Makoto picks it up and smiles.

"So, you changed your mind, Haru-chan?"

"Stop calling me -chan for the rest of the day and we'll party," Haru says, obviously miffed, and sticks his hands into the pockets in his dark blue sweater.

His best friend only beams and says 'Hai, Haru-chan,' before hurrying after Nagisa (to hand back the stupid cellphone, probably. Not that Nagisa needs it-or would use it for anything good, Haru thinks.)

So then, only Haru and Rin are standing by themselves, alone, and Rin's eyes are lit up in excitement and childish happiness, which surprises Haru for a moment behind blinking blue eyes, because sometimes, competitive Rin is all he thinks about-

"Why do we have to all listen to what you decide, Nanase?" Rin complains, as if irritated, but the way his eyes are twinkling and cheeks are flushed in excitement says otherwise, so Haru only snorts. Pouting, Rin gives up on the tirade and looks away pointedly.

"Well, I'm sorry, but how can you not look forward to having a Christmas party? Besides, I'm pretty sure our parents are waiting inside of there too."

Pretending to be miffed about the entire party in general still, Haru pretends to be ignoring Rin- until the redhead looks away for a second, to which Haru whispers a sentence ("Race you to the house, dead last is a loser") in his ear before running away in the opposite direction as fast as he can.

Despite all the tension and competing they're always doing, Haru surmises, it's nice to hear Rin's faint yet outraged cries of "Unfair!" and "You cheater, Nanase!", because for some reason, even if said angrily, hearing Rin's voice seems to make the sky look all the more prettier.

It's been about two hours, and not only have the four of them had a huge joint feast with their families (all at Nagisa's house too), but as the adults talk, a lot of mayhem and chaos occurs.

Haru sulks, because despite his efforts to stay hidden and crawl away into a corner, Nagisa's sisters had still found him, dragged him out, and painted a sparkly dark blue paint on his nails, saying he needed to be more festive!

… When all that had happened was his masculinity had taken a hit.

It made him feel better that Rin had suffered the same fate though (Nagisa and Makoto hadn't minded much), because Rin had went through a lot of arguing, blushing, and angry faces while undergoing the terrible teenage-girl nail polish torture as well.

Now they had kind of matching sparkly dark blue and shiny red nail polish, but. Yuck. It was too girly, and Nagisa had said something about cooties… which, there was no way, right?

Staring disdainfully at his nails, Haru attempts to bore holes into them with his glare, as if it'll make all the cooties go away, before- Rin slides up next to him, laughing.

"Calm down, Nanase, the nail polish won't completely turn you into a girl. Just mentally-oh wait, but you already are one, right?"

Then Haru turns his glare to Rin, who only grins before spraying a stream of whip cream on his face (from one of the canisters they had used earlier today) and running away.

Which is not okay.

"Whoa, whoa, Nanase," the redhead calls, beaming brightly (and Rin looks really happy here, for some reason, and Haru can't help it when he unwillingly stores the picture away in his mind to keep forever), "Try and get me, but.. I'm alllllll the way over here."

That's it, Haru snaps, and the next thing he knows, Rin and he are tumbling around together on the ground, mock-wrestling and arguing again, though in the end, they settle down and solemnly wipe the cream off of each other's faces.

(Like a ritual. To which then Nagisa and Makoto comes over again curiously, Nagisa gets friendly with the trigger button, and the entire fight occurs again.)


Now, the four of them are holding hands and singing Christmas carols (or rather, the three of them are, with Haru pointedly not saying a single word) while Nagisa's older sisters play piano, violin, or other instruments (and Rin's younger sister is just a baby.)

During the entire time, Nagisa either pouts at him ("Sing, Haru-chan!"), Makoto shakes his head at him disapprovingly ("Participate, Haru-chan!"), or Rin scoffs at him ("Loser, Nanase"), to which Haru is not okay with, so Haru ignores everyone and sulks.

(He's never been good with Christmas…. maybe it was a mistake to have made friends at Iwatobi..)

But at the very end, when they finish the last carol, Makoto and Rin (who are standing next to him) give a soft, gentle squeeze to his hands, and Haru fumbles for a moment because (he doesn't know what to say or do with these too- warm emotions filling him up from the inside out) and..

He's just. Not. Good. With. Christmas.

However, Makoto beams at him, Nagisa chirps another high note, and Rin laughs, so in the end, Haru thinks, it's all good… (and maybe it would be nice of this moment could last forever. Together.)

There's Christmas music playing, and the atmosphere is really, really friendly, but.. Haru feels his heart drop, because although he's sure he had it just a minute ago, he can't find his sea slug chain Makoto had gotten for him last year.

With Haru seeming so upset, it doesn't take long before his three Iwatobi friends venture over and ask him what's wrong. Although Haru doesn't answer, it's Makoto who eventually figures it out and has them all searching for the sea-slug pendant.

(Because, Makoto had told him one time, If there's anything you can't tell anyone else, then you can tell it to a special sea slug. It'll listen to your wishes and make them come true for you.)

Haru really, really doesn't believe in superstition, but he believes in Makoto and how warm his hands were (when his best friend had given him the chain) had made him think maybe, maybe, my wish will come true this year.

He hasn't told his special sea-slug yet what he wants. Haru lets out a frustrated sigh and looks under the couch, table, desk, and checks the bathroom again before sinking down in the corner of the room, sulking with his head in-between his knees.

(He's an idiot, not having taken care of the wish beforehand. And despite his reluctance to take part in the party, Haru doesn't want to ruin everyone else's Christmas, either.)

Someone taps his arm, and when Haru looks up, it's Rin (looking worried but trying not to show it by smiling at him in a reassured way), holding out a cup of hot chocolate in one hand.

Haru accepts it, and holds it in both palms, because wow, it's really warm to which Rin only laughs at him, saying something about Haru being stupid and being a hot-chocolate-virgin.

But Haru feels that this would not be the time to start a fight, so he ignores the jibes and takes a sip.

Rin taps his arm again, and when Haru looks up, the redhead (with one of those sweet, childish impish grins again)says don't worry, we'll find it for sure.

(Haru is not blushing. Haru is really, really sure he's not blushing, it's just the heat and steam from the hot chocolate that's making his cheeks grow really warm here.)

"I'm sorry, Haru-chan," Nagisa sincerely apologizes, with amber eyes drooping (somehow. Somehow, it works). "I've looked everywhere, and even had my sisters help, but.. I don't think it's here."

Right then, Makoto also comes up to the three of them. (Their parents are still talking in the background.) "Same here, Haru-chan.. I'm pretty sure I saw you place it down with your sweater on the couch, but.. it's just gone…."

Haru shakes his head. "It's fine, it'll come back to me. Just have fun?"

And at this, both of his friends beam at him and drag him away from the couch (despite his protests again) and after finding Rin (who had to stop his baby sister from crying), they start playing games again.

"Haru-chan!" Pointing at him with wide eyes, Nagisa (well, with Makoto too) gawk at him, before guffawing into fits of laughter. "Actually, I think my sisters put those up hoping to get a peck from you.. but look!"

Together, (since the two of them had been competing over who could run across the room the fastest while holding their breath), Rin and Haru exhale quickly before looking up… to see decorations on the wall?

"Hozuki," Rin complains, crossing his arms. "We didn't get to finish judging each other.. don't be weird for no reason!"

"But, but," Makoto intervenes instead (leaving Nagisa to only grin and hop up and down on his tippy-toes in the background), and blushing, shyly points up the fireplace and ceiling. "I think Nagisa-chan was talking about… those."

Confused, Haru looks up. On the ceiling and fireplace, there seem to be this kind of weird green leafy plant with red ribbon tied across it taped as decorations? Huffing, Haru catches his breath and shifts his weight to the other leg before pointing to them as well.

What the heck are they doing that for? ".. We weren't going to mess up the decorations," Haru responds, miffed, while Nagisa only guffaws again and Makoto blushes.

Seeming to suddenly understand something, Rin also makes a soft, barely audible 'oh' sound before going quiet and coughing too. Confused as to what is going on, Haru nudges him slightly and raises his eyebrows.

Haru knows that Rin has been taking English lessons for a short while, but the word Rin says next confuses him. "Mistletoe," the redhead recites in English, before switching to Japanese. "Mistletoe. Uhh. I think it's a European custom… where people under the mistletoe… they… they…."

The redhead trails off, dying out… only to be saved by Nagisa, who goes into another fit of laughter and shouts very, very loudly (for the entire house, parents, Rin's little baby sister, the older sisters, everyone to freaking hear)-


(And, Haru facedesks, because although it isn't until half an hour later he finds out what it means- after all the chaos and fighting, but even so, Rin and he had looked at each other like ewww before pointedly looking away.)

Now, it's starting to get late at night, and the party has pretty much ended, but…

Haru had gone outside by himself to look for the sea-slug chain he had dropped. Retracing the steps and path he had taken to get to Nagisa's house, Haru keeps on walking forward, intently scrutinizing the ground- before he bumps into someone familiar.

Owww, his head hurts, but…

…. Rin?

"Nanase, watch where you're going," Rin complains, but moves to hold out an arm (and keep Haru there.) "I already checked the path all the way back to the bridge twice, so there's no way you're going to find it out here."

Though at first, Haru's terribly disappointed (even when it doesn't show on his face) because his charm, his secret wish-fulfilling charm is gone, he ends up looking at Rin with slightly wide blue eyes with a question.

You went all the way back there for me?

"Yeah," Rin grumbles. "When stupid Nagisa's sisters brought out the dresses, I snuck out. It isn't a big deal, though… but sorry about the chain. Did you ever talk to it?"

Haru considers not answering, but then, seeing how Rin's face has become red (numb from being outside in the snow too long), his flickering emotions get the better of him and Haru shakes his head. "Not yet."

"Oh," Rin says, and shifts kind of uncomfortably. "If you want, I can be… your sea-slug? I mean, I know you're supposed to tell the actual thing for it to work, but maybe… if you have things you can't tell anyone else, then maybe you can … tell me? I'm not sure if I can make them true, but.. I can try?"

To, which, Haru thinks, Rin is a freaking, one-hundred-percent idiot, a dork, really stupid, sometimes annoying, but all in a way that is really endearing and it makes his face grow warm again.

(Oh well, Haru dismisses. Rin can't be a worse sea-slug than the chain Makoto has given him.)

"...Only once," Haru says quietly, and leans forward, holding onto the redhead's jacket and shoulders to talk into his ear. "So this year, and after that, I'd like for…."

"Heyyy! Haru-chan," His best friend calls, pouting. "We waited, but you were out there with Rin for a long time! Did you play a game or something? We're about to take pictures now, so hurry in!"

Dragged in by persistent parents, friends and female siblings, Haru and Rin are stripped from their jackets unwillingly (it was cold) and shoved into the middle of the living room before the parents start going on a camera trigger-happy picture-taking spree.

(During the entire time, Haru's sure that most of the pictures are silly. There's one where Makoto flails, Nagisa poses like a flapping bird, Rin is arguing or looking angry, he himself is wrestling with Rin, or something happens, but-)

(...He wouldn't give it up for the world.)

"Hey, Rin-chan," One of Nagisa's older sisters ask him curiously, taking him aside after the photo. "During the entire time, Haru-chan seems to have made either a blank, brooding, annoyed or angry face… are you sure he's okay? Or.. did he not want to be here? I'm worried, I don't think he enjoyed himself…"

To which, little chibi Rin only brushes it off, making a 'hmmph' sound. "Stupid Nanase, thinking he's all that, being cool and distant. I'll be the one acting like that later… and no, nee-chan, baka-Nanase is just being a prudish rude guest, please forgive him."

(Stupid Haru, being all cool and nonchalant. He would show Haru.)

And like that, little Rin goes back into the fray of the three excitedly (or rather, two with Nagisa and Makoto) Iwatobi friends, who all do high-pitched shrieks and run around in circles, trying to avoid more pictures.

It's late at night now, and they're getting ready to go home. Haru and Makoto's parents are now saying goodbye to Nagisa's, and now all of the kids are tired out, ready to sleep, and ready to open presents tomorrow for Christmas.

Makoto is busy picking up the messes his little siblings have made, so Haru and Rin stand outside alone together, silently just being together side-by-side.

After a few minutes, it's Rin who first breaks the silence. "The party wasn't that bad, was it, Nanase?"

To which Haru only nudges him, because Rin's tone is teasing.

But then, the redhead attempts to give him a serious expression and solemnly promises.

"As your sea-slug, having listened to your wishes, I'll do my best to make them come true."

….. And despite the fact that Rin is being serious (or rather attempting to be, when this is Rin of all people, the sappy, romantic-at-heart Rin who wants to swim in pools full of fallen sakura petals in fall, or Rin who drags them out to hang out as friends and make memories, or dorky, naive Rin who likes stupid things, or.. just Rin), Haru can't help but let out a little laugh.

To which the redhead only looks at him confused.

"...Nanase, did you just… laugh?"

At this, Haru ignores the question completely, and straightens out his composure again.

"Haru, not Nanase…" Then before Rin can get weird conclusions, Haru quickly adds on. "Just because it's weird being called that."

It's kind of cute, Haru thinks numbly, seeing flushed, confused Rin (and this is their naive, dorky, sappy Rin who gets left out of their group when Nagisa and Makoto cling to him, and no matter how Rin turns out to be in the future, Haru hopes that they can still have moments like this- where they can stand side-by-side and smile at the sky together.)

In his line of vision, some white pieces of dust seem to start to fall. Haru feels something (like a little, cold wet drop of water) land on his wrist), and, it can't be… that it's started snowing? Now?

Maybe that "White-Christmas" his friends had gushed about would happen, after all…

(Now that he thinks about it, there's something that he still hasn't completed yet.. and Haru would rather finish everything he's started this year, so they can move on to the next altogether. It'll help his wish come true, probably… so it should be okay?)

"Hey…" Haru says, and not really knowing what he's doing (or caring, because he's just going through with his impulses), with the snow gently starting to fall around him, Haru closes his eyes and reaches forward to grasp Rin's black coat in his hands, pulling him forward, and…

… In the falling snow, on that Christmas Eve, their lips meet.

Thanks to Break of Dawn, omgimwritingfanfics, L. Monster, Eu Nakamura, YamiAkane97 (i'm very happy to see you again!), Narutopokefan (I feel like I've seen you before.. maybe?), Yoruko Rhapsodos (glad that you're happy with the hinted feelings!), JustJolola, Guest 1, Nekki, Oshawott-kun, Maiden Warrior, Kinkylittlewolf (don't be immature, love), BlueKaZeBlack, Gayguy55, Nic. Lan(I meant in the ch. 20's end A/N, and thankyou sweetie. happy holidays), fAnFicLover0147(it was so rushed!), RinHaruOTP4eve, No Account.

Quickly done Anon Wall!

No Account. -Pets- … You're too nice. I don't have time to recheck these anymore because gah, these weekly updates are killer… and why wouldn't I read everyone's comments? My fingers are stiff, but yes, I shall. And I'll use your song for the next chapter if I remember for sure. I've seen the Gosick pictures, but not much else, maybe I"ll try it during break!

Gayguy55. WELL. I FUCKING LOVE YOU TOO. And aww, you're so adorable. Puppies being busy over the holidays? /Yes/. Can I just take you home and keep you there-

Maiden Warrior. I think Rin is the scariest yet most adorable characters. (Though.. that may be the bad boy stereotype.) Poor Aii, but I feel like this would happen to him whenever drama hits. Yes! But don't bury him, Nagisa actually brought the group together when they were kids (As in closer.) And aren't we all bad with words? I am ALL the time (I'm finding this.. in the pursuit to love and happiness), so yay, Rin will faint? And I will love the two of you day and night. SO MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Nekki. Of course you get an answer! I'm so sorry I neglect the accounted reviewers the past few chapters but I'm swamped. And thankyou. -Holds.-

Guest 1. YAY YOU BETTER BE HAPPY AND THEY DID MEET. Oh, wow, other readers from around the world trying to cheer me on my love life. Wow. Thank you. (Yup, yup, it's getting there, and I'm interested, for once.) I'm really looking forward to 2014.. and haven't been this excited in years!

YamiAkane97. Haha, I know you aren't an anon but still. Thankyou so much for coming back, along with everyone else. I haven't started official work yet, but wow, that sounds busy. And.. I wrote that chapter hurriedly in 1 and a half hours, I know it must have sucked ;_; but I guess it was good enough. There was so much more I wanted to do for this scene and conflict (because THEY MEET, GOD), but I keep on getting behind on deadlines.

I'm so sorry I haven't been replying to reviews.. but I don't have time. I promise my next three generations though that I read every single word and gush over it, though. Can I still be allowed to love all of you? Next update will be in two weeks, because I'll be traveling and gone and busy being places.. sorry. ;_; At least I'm attempting to finish… right..?



See you in two weeks, on Tuesday!