This chapter was a tough one to write, a lot happens here... I hope I did good with it... Plus after this there's only two chapters left, oh boy, we're so close guys! :p

Well, enjoy the horror show!

Disclaimer: I don't own 'Free!'

Chapter 7: The Service

I'm so sorry... I'm so sorry...

I understand if you're mad, I understand if you hate me, if you never forgive me, if you never want to see my face again...

Because I am a coward.

I was afraid for my own life. I thought of myself, saving myself, and my selfishness... My own stupid, pitiful attempt to save my own life must've cost you guys all of yours.

I failed you.


You're probabaly dead because of me.


I'm so sorry... Please... I panicked and... I..I didn't mean for you... It was a split-desicion thing... And.. I...

I'm sorry... I hope you know how sorry I am...

I'm sorry.

Makoto's basic understanding of weddings, no, more like the universal understanding of weddings showed how these were supposed to be joyous events, full of smiles and warmth as you commit to spend the rest of your life with your special someone. Friends and family congratulate you on finding that special someone, crying tears of joy and gushing on about how your life is only just beginning now. That's how he saw most weddings, through television to movies to real-life, all weddings were happy events.

So it was safe to say that this was far from the standards Makoto had picked up from weddings. This shouldn't even be considered a wedding. This was nothing more but a crazed teenage boy's dream, and one of Makoto's worst nightmares.

Makoto's eyes were solely focused on his friends and family, tears welling in his eyes as he began to walk towards them. "Oh guys... No... I... I'm sorry-"

"Get back here." Haru commanded, tugging harshly at Makoto's chain. Makoto stumbled backwards, falling into the soft green grass. When Makoto didn't get up, too paralyzed to even do so, Haru sighed and pulled him up, picking him up by the shoulders and setting him in place beside him. "Stay." Haru said, looking at a Makoto strictly."You don't go them yet."

"But my family! My friends! I... They're all..." Makoto sputtered.

"They'll be fine, don't worry." Haru said, "This is all just a precaution."

"A precaution?" Makoto repeated with a raised eyebrow. He didn't like the dark tone in Haru's voice.

"Yes. In case something were to disrupt the service."He glared at them. "I brought them here so they could witness our marriage, because we need some witnesses so it's official. However, if they go out of their way to try to ruin our special moment," Haru turned his hips, showing off the gun holster attached to his belt. "I will not hesitate to shoot the stool from beneath them, instantly hanging them. Or maybe I'd shoot them in the head, depending how I feel." His eyes darkened, his mouth a scowl as he stared at Makoto and said in an empty voice, "If you refuse to marry me, Makoto, then I will kill all of them." His face suddenly brightened and he smiled, his eyes sparkling, his voice eerily light and airy, "But it won't come to that, right? You want this is much as I do."

"Ha... Haru..." Makoto rasped, staring again at his family and friends. His entire family was blindfolded, blood dried on each if their faces. Rin and Rei had eye-patches too, in fact everyone had them except... Except Nagisa. There was an empty crater where his eyes was supposed to be. Makoto trembled, staring again at his friends. Were they...? Their eyes...? Did Haru...?

"Makoto?" Haru asked softly, "What do you say? Want to get married?" Makoto stared in horror at the boy who was his best friend. Wasn't it just a while ago that he thought he could change Haru for the better? Now Haru was threatening everyone Makoto cared for? Would they all die here, today, at the hands of Haru? This was... This was insane! Get married? To Haru? Is that even legal here in Japan? But what choice did he have? He had to go through with this, if he didn't then... Then...

Makoto quivered, his knees turning to jelly. He collapsed back onto the grass, bringing his hands to his face, covering his eyes as if it's all go away if he did. He grunted, a sob leaving his throat. Warm tears seeped out of his eyes, rolling down his cheeks as Makoto continued to cry over what was going on. Marriage? He had no choice, didn't he? He had to do this. For his family. For his friends. To save them from Haru.

He could hear the grass crunching beside him and light breathing as a hand placed itself gently on Makoto's shoulder. Makoto tensed, opening his eyes and peeking through the cracks of his fingers and met the face of Haru, blue eyes shimmering, a smile set on his face. "Are you that overwhelmed Makoto? Are you overjoyed?" His words were thick and heavy, betraying the gentle smile on his face. It sounded more like a threat than a question.

Makoto took a deep breath, trying to steady himself, to make himself presentable. "Y-yes." Makoto said softly, "I am. I'm sorry."

"Don't apologize. It's perfectly natural you feel touched by this. I put a lot of effort, a lot of work into this. Just for you." Haru declared proudly. He pulled Makoto up by the hand. "Come, let's start, while the sun is still setting."

"Wait!" Makoto cried, then gulped as Haru frowned, staring at him with annoyance. "It's just..." Makoto struggled to find the words, "I... I don't know how to do this, what to say, shouldn't we practice or something?"

"It's simple, Makoto. I'll say a few lines from the book, then we do our vows, then the rings, then we kiss." Haru shrugged, "I didn't feel like getting a priest, I thought it'd be easier and more special if it was just us two."

"You got rings?" Makoto asked, biting his lips. Were they made out of bones? Were they stained with blood? Were they ripped off a poor wedded couple's hands? With Haru, the chances seemed high.

But Haru pulled out a clean velvet box and opened it up, revealing the two rings. Two simple silver bands, one with a blue jewel and one with a green jewel. They sparkled, reflecting the remaining rays from the setting sun. "Haru... Where did... How did you afford these?"

"Who said I bought them?" Haru smirked. Makoto frowned, certain Haru stole it. Well, after everything he had done, thievery was probably the most forgivable of his crimes.

"Let's start Makoto, the sooner we start, the sooner we can have our honeymoon." Makoto flinched at the word, 'honeymoon'. What was Haru's idea of a honeymoon? Was it worse than his idea of a wedding? The thought of it made Makoto shiver. He restrained himself from crying once more and wrenched his hand from Haru's, panting madly. Haru turned back, grinding his teeth together.

"Makoto..." He said warningly.

"Haru please..." Makoto had to try to plead with Haru, he couldn't do this wedding, it was just too much for him. Plus a honeymoon right afterwards? Who knew what Haru had plotted for a honeymoon? He took a deep breath, making his eyes wide and watery, gazing at Haru with a trembling lip. "Aren't we too young for this?" Makoto asked in a shaky voice, "I'm content staying by your side without getting married to you! Haru, this is crazy! I can't do this, Haru! Just... I need time, all right? Just let me think about this... Please Haru, I don't want to do this, n-not yet anyways." Makoto held onto Haru's gaze, his hands clapping together and going to his forehead in a begging position.

Haru blinked slowly, his eyes betraying no emotions. His fingers stroked his chin, as if he were considering what Makoto had said. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Haru smiled warmly at Makoto.

"All right Makoto, I'll give you time to think."

Makoto broke out into a grateful grin, about to bow in front of Haru and to blubber out his gratitude, when he caught sight of Haru going for the gun at his belt.

Makoto had no time to register what was happening, and by the time that he finally did, the gun was already raised, pointed at the people ready for execution.


Makoto, Rin and Rei screamed in unison, the twins and Makoto's mother letting out muffled shrieks as the gunshot rang throughout the forest. Makoto had started to run forwards, but Haru latched himself onto his shoulder, his strong grip refusing him to go.

"You stay here." He growled. Fear made Makoto comply with Haru, shaking in Haru's hold as he watched the scene before him.

Haru had good aim, it was either that or a lucky shot, but to shoot the stool without the bullet shooting off Makoto's father's feet was pure skill. Makoto gasped, tears starting to stream down his face as his father started to choke, his legs kicking wildly, looking for something to stabilize himself, his arms unable to move properly due to them behind tied behind his back. He was making sharp, breathless noises, shaking his head, trying to escape the ropes horrible grasp, but it only seemed to do worse, much worse. It was if the rope were large hands at his father's throat, tightening their grip every time he struggled.

Makoto couldn't bear to watch this, he tried to make his way to his father, wiggling out of Haru's grasp, but before he could he heard the gun clicking behind him. Haru pointed the gun again. "HARU NO!" Makoto screeched.


Makoto's father stopped struggling after that. His hands fell to his side, his head rolling backwards, the blood seeping through the hole in his chest, dripping, the drops sinking into the earth.

Makoto could only stare, unable to process what had just happened. He gaped at Haru, who seemed unfazed, then back to his father, who was just... Just so still... He... He was...

"Ah... Ah...!" Makoto brought his hands to his face, falling to his knees. Was this happening? Was this real? Or was this all just some terrible nightmare?

"Ah! AAH!" He covered his eyes, which were streaming now. His chest ached, his lungs airless, his brain a fuzzy, blurred jumble of thoughts.

My fater... My father is.. He's...

"I put him out quickly, so he didn't have to feel more pain." Haru explained in a rather plain voice.

"My father... My dad..." Makoto's voice was barely audible, he peered at Haru, removing his hands from his face. Why did he look so unaffected? Why didn't he care about killing Makoto's father? Makoto unconsciously made his hand into a fist.

Haru spun the gun in his hands, the safety on now. He waited, watching Makoto's every move. "Makoto," Haru said softly, "You need to think faster, otherwise, I might get impatient with you. We don't need another accident, now do we?" Makoto stiffened, clenching his fist harder. Haru got onto one knee, putting the gun back in its holster and pulling out the box with the rings. He coughed, clearing his throat and stared fondly, almost in a possessive way, at Makoto. "So, will you marry me?" He asked with a small smile.

Makoto stared at Haru, his pupils shrinking in fear, focused on the rings. The way he was in one knee, kneeling in from of him... What? Was this his idea of a proposal? Right after his father? Makoto could never-

He took a glance at his remaining family members. The twins looked like they were crying, their blindfolds damp, his mom too. Rin was staring wide-eyed into space, his mouth open, eyes shining in surprise. And Rei has his head bowed, sobbing softly as his hands were shuffling behind his back.

He couldn't let the rest of them get hurt. Not after... His...

Makoto sniffled, nodding. "Yes... Yes... I... I'll marry you, Haru." The words barely left his mouth. What else could Makoto do? He had no choice, he... He didn't want to cause anyone else to die. He couldn't look Haru in the eyes anymore, he just kept them glued to the ground. "I'm sorry about before. I... I suppose it was... It was the nerves... I was nervous... I couldn't think properly..." His mind started to go blank as his eyes wandered again to the broken, hanging body that was his father.

"I understand. I must've really rattled you, with the idea of a wedding and all. You must be so surprised with me." Haru took Makoto's hand, bringing the green-eyed boy to his feet. "It's all right though. If you had come to me and proposed a wedding, I guess I would he shocked too." He guided Makoto into the gazebo, grabbing a white veil hanging form a hook. "Here, wear this." Haru handed it to.

Makoto gently grasped it, his eyes stinging as he stared at the headpiece. He gaze switched from Haru's expectant look to his father's body. He shuddered as he placed the veil clumsily in his head.

Haru smirked at him, watching his shaky fingers struggle to place the veil on his head properly. "Here, let me help you with that."

"Rei! How long is it going to take for you to fucking free yourself?!" Rin whispered urgently, watching Haru fix the veil Makoto was wearing. The gazebo was right in front of them and they could catch every word the two were saying. "We have to stop this shit! This is so fucked up!"

"I'm trying!" Rei whispered back, his hands working furiously at the ropes around them. "I told you, I've never done this before!" Besides..." He trembled, looking past Rin. "Weren't you shaken up by that too?"

Rin followed his eyes and cringed. The newest dead body wasn't dangling not too far from him. The blood still dripped from the bullet hole in his chest. He was glad he couldn't see his face, his mouth and eyes censored. He didn't want him to look like Nagisa, with the dry crimson marks, empty eye socket and abused body. He was thankful that Makoto's father didn't suffer the trial of being hanged. Haru had done him a mercy by shooting him in the chest, killing him instantly.

But it was Haru's damn fault that he died in the first place! Why the hell did he kill them? Because Makoto didn't want to go along with this crazy plan of his? This whole marriage idea? Who the hell would want to go along with it?! Rin wanted to beat Haru's ass, wanted to beat him until he couldn't stand, couldn't swim! He wanted to find his sister, he wanted to save Makoto, free Rei and himself and Makoto's family from this hell hole.

Most of all he wanted to hurt Haru, wanted to strangle the piece of shit... How dare he drug him up? How dare he humiliate him like this? How dare he... How dare...

And then the eyeball popped out of Rin's head, bouncing off his cheek as the sudden release from his head made him dizzy with pain.

Rin groaned, the faint hollow ache in his head making him wince.

Haru's twisted grin grew as Rin shrieked, chuckling as his blood encrusted scissors struggled to cut the string of flesh that connected Rin's eye to his head.

No, he wouldn't think, he will not think of it, no... No... He has to banish the memory...

The sharp knife, the flash of metal connecting with his bloodstream as his long, slender fingers were ripped away from his body. It made him hiss in agony, watching as the bleeding pieces of flesh fell on the grass, the dark red contrasting the green.

Rin growled softly. He would make Haru pay for the pain he caused him, all of this... And for everyone else he had hurt. How could he take the eyeballs of not only his friends, but to Makoto's family too? Two little kids, the twins! How fucking dare he do that to a kid? Two kids? That pissed Rin off so much... No words could describe the fiery rage in him. He had to make Haru pay, he was obligated to do so. After everything he had done... He needed to be punished.

"All right, now that we're finally ready, we can start, can't we?" Haru's voice made Rin snarl, snapping his head up to watch what was happening. His heart lurched in his chest.

Makoto now had the veil on, but the fabric was a transparent one and Rin could still see the details on Makoto's face. Makoto was letting the silent tears glide down his cheeks as he nodded his head, reluctantly giving his consent for Haru to officially start this fucked up wedding service. He tried to smile, but every time his mouth twisted, it turned into a frown, releasing a small whimper, his eyes switching from Haru to his father. Haru didn't seem to notice, for he was too busy reading out some stupid sacred wedding lines. He didn't even have the decency to confirm that his 'loved one' was okay. Did he really care about Makoto or was he putting himself above him? The words Haru were reading sounded rushed and hasty. Haru was trying to rush this thing. Damn, they didn't have enough time. Rin scowled, looking at Makoto once more.

Rin tried to get Makoto's attention, waving his head wildly from left to right. The rope on his neck made him itch and the weight of it felt heavy, so heavy that sometimes he had to stop to breathe because it had pressed against his throat, making it hard to breathe.

Those emerald eyes caught Rin's desperate stare. Rin shivered, Makoto's eyes were never that empty, that void, that... Sad.

Rin mouthed the words 'stall him' to Makoto, motioning his head to Rei. He was lucky that Haru had his back to him, otherwise the whole plan might've been a pipe dream. Makoto frowned, examining Rei. His eyebrows shot up, realizing what Rei was doing and nodded back subtly, focusing back on Haru but keeping an eye out for Rei and Rin.

Haru was finishing off with the book, carelessly throwing it to the side. "Now we say our vows."

"Our vows?" Makoto echoed, his voice sounding distant, his eyes dancing from his father to Haru and to Rei.

"Yeah. Our vows." Haru said, "Just a small speech about how much we love each other and will protect each other and be together forever. You know, that mushy kind of thing." Haru paused, "So do you want to go first, or me?"

"I... Uh... Well, since... You should, so I have an idea what to say for mine." Makoto mumbled, still unable to look Haru in the eyes.

Haru nodded, clearing his throat. "Okay then... I love you, Makoto." His hand grabbed Makoto's, holding them so tightly Rin saw Makoto's wrists and hands turn red. Makoto fidgeted but Haru took no notice and continued his speech. "I love how you can be so kind and how you're able to tolerate me. I love how you've stuck by my side for so long, when you had every to chance to leave me. I love how you can still swim even though you're afraid of the ocean. I love how you always think of others before yourself. I think I've loved you ever since elementary, but I always took your presence for granted. I never really realized how much I needed you until I almost lost you. It was in high school that I realized that you meant more to me than anything." Haru stopped for a moment, his cheeks starting to turn a light red, "I almost lost Makoto to the ocean, the water, back in the training camp. That's when I realized my feelings for him. That I couldn't imagine my life without him. The thought of Makoto leaving me made me feel... Scared. I... I..."

Haru was a deep shade of red now, his hands sweaty. Makoto's eyes had widened, whether he was touched or scared by the revelations, Rin couldn't figure it out.

Rin could hear the tremor in Haru's voice as he continued, "I swear I will protect you, Makoto. From everything and everyone. If I have to kill, I will kill. If someone does anything to hurt my Makoto, I will torture them until they understand that he is mine! Just mine and no one else!" There was spit beginning to form at the edge of his mouth. His voice had a higher pitch now and his whole body trembled. "Even if I end up losing myself or hurting others in the process, as long as Makoto is mine and by my side, I will be happy. If someone tries to steal you, take you away or separate us, I swear I will take responsibility and take them out, I will make sure they do not breathe not another breath. I will do anything in my power to make you happy. I will protect you from the scum of this world and we will live happily together for the rest of our lives. Just us two, no one else, Makoto, me, and the water. You are mine! You belong to me and no one else! We'll live a perfect life together. I promise."

Haru sighed, staring at Makoto with a smile. "So, how was that for a vow?"

Rin wanted to roar at Haru. Did he really just make that his vow? That sounded more like a threat then a vow! Sure, the first part of it was all mushy and lovey-dovey that it made Rin want to hurl, but hell, that was better than what followed after it! He sounded extremely possessive and menacing with that vow! Rin was pretty fucking sure that Haru's vow was a big piece of shit and if Rin were able to, he'd snap Haru's neck for saying such a thing.

Makoto was shaking, at first looking at Haru with some sort of shock and awe in his eyes, his mouth open in surprise. But as Haru progressed deeper and deeper into the vow, his eyes had darkened with fear and horror, his mouth now closed, lips pressed together as he sweated nervously, staring at Rin and Rei the whole time, unable to look at Haru anymore.

Speaking of Rei, the idiot had stopped fumbling with the rope at his hands and was staring too at Haru, disdain in his voice as he muttered softly, "That vow was not beautiful..."

"Get the fuck beck to work, dumbass! We're still in fucking danger here!" Rin snapped quietly, his voice lowered so Haru couldn't hear. But Haru was gazing at Makoto, waiting for Makoto to respond to his vow.

"Are you speechless, Makoto?" Haru asked, tipping his head to one side, "Did that vow not please you? Should I continue or-?"

"No!" Makoto said quickly, shaking his head, the veil and his hair obscuring his vision. "I mean, Haru... I... I... I was touched. Tha-that vow was wonderful... I... I uh... I'm scared mine won't be as good... I... I haven't practiced or even thought of anything... I... Umm..."

"It's fine." Haru said, "Just say whatever comes to your mind about how you feel about me, and promise," he suddenly leaned closer to Makoto, squeezing his hands harder, making Makoto squeak out in pain. "You will promise to stay by my side. No matter what." He hissed loud enough for Rin to hear. Makoto nodded quickly, shaking now, chewing on his bottom lip nervously.

A faint rustling and the rope falling to the grass made Rin turn his head. There Rei was, taking off the noose from his neck with his freed hands and jumping off the stool.

"Nice fucking job!" Rin whispered, a grin cracking onto his face. "Now you got to free the rest of-? Wait, what the hell Rei?"

Rei seemed to have lost interest in what Rin was saying, for he began to make his way silently toward the gazebo, towards Haru. Rin strained to hear, but he heard Rei whispering, "Nagisa-kun! I will avenge you... I will make sure he pays... Nagisa-kun!"

For a brief moment, Rin thought Rei had balls for doing such a risky thing. He then though how fucking stupid he was for forgetting about Rin!

Were his feelings for vengeance, for Nagisa, that strong?

Rin could only watch Rei slowly stalk towards Haru, too far now for Rin to call him without being too loud. Rei was trying to catchthe eyes of the emerald-eyed boy who was still struggling to find words to say for his vow. Rei slowly waved his hand, gaining Makoto's attention as he continued to sneak behind Haru. Makoto eyes glimmered and he nodded sneakily to Rei. Makoto took a deep breath, and faced Haru. Rin anxiously bit his lip, his sharpened teeth accidentally drawing blood but who the hell really cared at a time like this? The situation suddenly turned very dire.

"Ha-Haru..." Makoto began, "I... Well, we've known each other for a long time, so long that I too can't imagine life without you." Haru smiled as Makoto said these words. Makoto gulped. "I like you too, Haru. Sure, when you dive into the nearest body of water it's frustrating, and you always eat mackerel, but I like that about you. I love watching you swim because you're so beautiful, I like to see your smile because they feel so rare and it makes me smile, I like seeing your eyes start to shine when you see water, you... You're beautiful like that. I like that part of you." Makoto hesitated for a moment.

"Keep going." Haru said encouragingly, smiling. Rin scowled at the sight, the bastard was only enjoying this because Makoto was praising him, feeding this asshole's ego.

Rei was so close now. He was at the steps of the gazebo, taking silent, slow steps, facing Haru's back. Rin could feel the sudden tension, how high the stakes were here. If Rei made a wrong move, they could all die.

"Haru, I know you mean well, that you care about me, and that makes me happy, it does." Makoto sighed. "But this, this killing, this torture... This whole kidnapping... There are other ways to prove your love without doing this kind of thing, you know? I... I will always care about you Haru, I swear, I vow I will always care about you, but I... I... I can't let this slide Haru, you've killed... You've killed people who I care about." Haru's eyes began to narrow, his lips curling back to show his teeth, glistening with spit.

As Haru advanced towards Makoto, Makoto started to back up, putting his hands up defensively, getting backed up against the wall. Rei was so close to just pouncing on Haru... Just... So close... But could he win in a fight against Haru?

"Haru please, I do care about you, almost more than anyone, but I can't let this be. I'm sorry. I... I'm sorry." Makoto bowed his head, then looked behind Haru. This time, Haru followed his gaze, blue eyes widening, his hand letting go of Makoto's and reaching for his gun.

That was when Rei pounced onto Haru.

"NAGISA! YOU KILLED HIM! NAGISA-KUN! NAGISA!" Rei screeched as he tackled Haru, Makoto scrambling out-of-the-way as the duo slammed into the gazebo's thin wall and smashed through it. Haru screamed something, his hand raised, his blue eyes enraged. Rin's blood went cold as he saw the gun in his raised hand. Rei roared, grabbing his hand, trying to wrestle the gun out of his hand.

"Guys! GUYS, PLEASE!" Makoto yelled over the flurry of flailing hands and legs desperately trying to remain stable on the ground. Haru grunted, struggling as Rei had taken hold of his wrist and was clawing at it, screaming as he tried to steal the gun. Haru kept a hold of it though, trying to point it at Rei, swearing and cursing as his legs tried to kick at Rei. The gun swung in the air wildly, swinging in all sorts of directions. Rin saw Makoto shake, padding slowly to them, getting ready to intervene, his body tense.


The sound of the gunshot echoed and Rin gasped as the bullet zoomed towards him. He felt the ground shift beneath him, no wait, it was that stupid fucking stool! Rin caught a glimpse of it tumbling over and then Rin's feet were on nothing.

He was in the air. The rope held him up by the neck. He felt his eyes water. He tried to move his hands to adjust the noose at his neck, but they were still tied up behind him! He tried to stretch his head, his neck, he tried to breathe in something, opening his mouth and forcing himself to inhale. But every breath he couldn't take felt like a knife being plunged deeper and deeper into his throat. It was a sharp, dry feeling. He didn't care about the screams in the background, the water splashing, the loud gunshot still echoing in his ears.

He needed air.

He kicked his feet, struggling, trying to scream, trying to say something, anything. He felt the tears at the corner of his eye as he realized that this might be the end of him.

He was going to die here, like this.

He felt something warm at his throat. Shit. Was it blood? What was going on? Rin felt dizzy from the lack of air.

The pressure around his neck suddenly disappeared, and sweet, sweet air invaded his lungs, his nostrils, and he drank in as much as he could desperately. He barely noticed that he had scraped his knees when he felt onto the earthy soil, or Makoto shaking his shoulders to know if he was okay, freeing his hands that were tied behind him. He needed air.

"Rin!" He was able to make out Makoto's voice through his crazed breathing. "Rin! Are you all right!?"

Rin stared up at the taller boy, who was crouched as his side. Makoto had saved him... "I'm fine." Rin was finally able to rasp in a scratchy voice, brushing Makoto off. "I'm fine. Your family..."

Makoto was already on it, moving over to those twins and his mother, saying quick words of grief, guilt and reassurance as he began to fiddle with the knots behind their hands.

Rin steadied his breathing, looking around wildly. Where the hell was Haru and Rei? Were they still fighting or... Or did someone lose already?

Then he saw them, in the lake. Rin eyes widened and he out a hand over his mouth.

Haru was holding onto Rei's head, straddling his hips, pushing his face down, not letting Rei get a single breath of air. There were frantic splashes coming from Rei, his face pale, his eyes blurred, a quick "Nagisa-!" tore through his throat before he was forcibly submerged by Haru again, who was screaming,


Rin backed up, gasping and shivering. Rei wasn't going to last much longer, he could tell. Rei was basically done. He was going to die. Even if Rin intervened, he wouldn't make it in time, and Haru had a gun, he could easily shoot him and be done with him.

Time suddenly slowed down on Rin as he realized what he had to do, the options laid out in front of him.

He could run right now, ditch all this shit and start fresh, new, away from Iwatobi. But that meant abandoning Makoto and the mystery of where Gou was. No way in hell he was abandoning everyone.

He could stand his ground against Haru and face him, right here, right now. But Haru had a gun. Rin had no weapon, plus he was down one eye and three fingers. He couldn't beat Haru in a fight, not yet anyways.

Which left... Something Rin would probably regret for the rest of his life. He stared at Makoto.

He was struggling with the knots at the twins back, still trying to reassure them and his mom even though tears were streaming down his face. Rin grimaced at the shape they were in. Their legs were wobbling, barely able to stand up on their own. They wouldn't be able to run far and Makoto couldn't get them free. Sure. He could just remove the noose from their necks, but then what? They carry them? They're dead weight. He let them run our their own? They're probably weakened still.

Rin looked back at Haru, who was finishing off the drowned Rei by twisting his neck, a grisly crack tearing through the air as Rei's body dropped into the water.

Dead. Rei had to be dead.

And it was probably Rin and the Tachibana's next.

Rin clenched his fist, realizing what he had to do, to save himself and Makoto.

Please, forgive me. I'm so sorry...

"Makoto." Rin said hoarsely, "I'm so sorry... But..." Using all his strength, he yanked Makoto up by the shirt collar and began to drag him away from his family.

"Rin?! RIN?!" Makoto shrieked. "My family! MY FAMILY!" Makoto withered in Rin's grasp, his legs weakly kicking up grass as he began to sob hysterically, yelling at Rin, shedding more tears that Rin though was humanly possible. "REN! RAN! MOM!" Makoto screamed. "NO!"

"Haru is going to catch us all if we stay here!" Rin yelled at Makoto, feeling tears welling up in his eyes. He felt his heart twist in his chest as he watched the broken teen clutch at the grass, trying to drag himself back to his family. Rin could see how thin Makoto had gotten, the bags under his eyes, his gaze not as vibrant as it used to be. The condition he was in now... Makoto was easy for Rin to drag.

And Rin felt like the biggest piece of shit in the world for doing this.

"MY FAMILY! He'll... He'll... KILL THEM!" Makoto wailed, starting to bat at Rin's strong arm. "Rin! RIN PLEASE!"

"MAKOTO! LISTEN TO ME AND JUST GO!" Rin screamed. Makoto froze for a moment and saw the tears spilling out of Rin's eyes, seeing him tremble, watching Rin start to break down, repeating the words, "I'm sorry... I'm so sorry... Sorry... I'm sorry..." Rin chanted over and over, wiping his eyes. "But... He'll catch..."

"Makoto?" The two boys froze at the new voice that that butted into their conversation. "Where'd you go?" He started to turn in their direction.

The fear and regret flashed through Makoto's eyes quickly as he focused on his family. It was clear now what the choice was.

Life with Rin where he could escape and start anew, but at a dear cost? Or death with his family, forced to live with Haru against his will?

Makoto stared at Rin, dry tear trails on his face as he shook his head, opening his jaw to let out a hollow weeping noise.

Rin shivered, extending his hand to Makoto. "Run. Please. With me." Rin whispered, not wanting to run alone.

The hesitant, numb nod from Makoto was all Rin needed, and Rin half-dragged Makoto into the forest.


Wasn't that fun? :p

Fun fact, if you couldn't figure it out, the thoughts at the beginning referred to the ending, where they ditch the other Tachibana's. ;p

Also, this was hard for me to write, this chapter... It was a fun one though. :p

Also, 'The Service' refers to both a wedding service and a funeral service. Double meaning title, woah! ;D

Two chapters left. :3

Next chapter: The Vicious Shark