"I can't believe you don't like Halloween!" Makoto was well used to his best friend's general impassivity by this point in their relationship, but sometimes, even he could become exasperated with Haruka. The two boys were walking home from school, and Makoto had had the brilliant idea to distract them both from the chill October air by deciding on their plans for the upcoming holiday. However, as usual, Haruka was going to make things difficult.
Haru shrugged his shoulders. "I guess I just don't get it," he said dispassionately.
"I don't - what does that even mean?" Makoto demanded. "What's not to get?"
"I don't get why everyone dresses up in costumes," said Haru, in the manner of one explaining to a young child why he or she should not do something silly, like, say, poke a bear.
Makoto rolled his eyes and sighed. "Haru, there isn't a reason. Well I mean I guess there is," he amended thoughtfully; "there's the whole history of All Hallow's Eve, but I'm guessing you don't want me to get into all that?"
"Good guess," Haruka replied with a solemn nod.
"Well then," Makoto said, laughing, "I stand by my first statement. There isn't any particular reason everyone dresses up on Halloween, Haru. It's just fun."
"But it's weird," Haruka insisted. "Little kids, I get, but there are full grown adults running around in masks, too!"
"That's not weird!" Makoto protested. "That's just – it's – the spirit of the holiday!"
Haruka looked at Makoto as if his friend had in fact just suggested that the two of them go poke a sleeping bear.
"No, listen," Makoto pressed on, warming to the topic. "Halloween, it's the one day of the year that you can be someone else – anybody you want! And that doesn't have to mean just changing your clothes; you could change your whole personality, if you wanted to. It's an excuse to challenge yourself – to step outside of your comfort zone – to be or do something that you never thought you'd have the courage to even attempt, it's..." Makoto trailed off as he noticed Haruka had stopped walking and was staring at him, wide-eyed, as if he thought that Makoto was a long ways past merely poking bears and had jumped straight into the pit. "….Well, it's a hell of a lot more effective than a New Year's resolution, anyways," Makoto finished lamely, and looked away with an embarrassed smile.
Haruka was still looking at Makoto with a strange look on his face. "That's what Halloween's all about, huh?" he asked slowly, staring steadily at Makoto, who was still avoiding eye contact.
"Well, I guess, I mean – that's just one interpretation of it," Makoto stammered, feeling the heat rising in his face; he hoped Haru would think it was just the cold. He was embarrassed that he'd gotten so passionate about something so childish. There was also something else – something in Haruka's eyes – that was unnerving him for some reason.
"I think…that's a good reason to have a holiday," Haruka said, seeming to choose his words carefully.
Makoto blinked now and looked around at his friend; he didn't usually win arguments so easily, and he'd certainly never won one with such a stupid speech before. "You do?" Makoto asked in genuine surprise; he'd just been rambling, really.
"Yeah," said Haruka, catching Makoto's gaze and holding it. Haruka had an oddly intense expression on his face, as if he were thinking about something very hard, or gearing himself up to do something important. Maybe both, Makoto thought bemusedly, although he couldn't imagine what that thing might be.
"Stepping out of your comfort zone," Haruka went on, taking a step forward himself. They were now standing very close together on the sidewalk, only a few inches of frigid air between them. Makoto suppressed a shudder as a gust of wind blew through their clothes, but was otherwise unable to move, not even to rub his arms to create a little warmth. Haruka was standing very close to him, and something about that intense expression on his friend's face seemed to be interfering with Makoto's ability to think in complete sentences, or to give his body the orders he should be giving it: move back; look away; stop blushing. Nope. None of those orders seemed to be going through.
"Doing something unexpected," Haruka continued. "Doing something you wouldn't have the courage to do otherwise." He took another, very small step towards Makoto, and now their jackets were brushing against each other's, and Makoto could feel the heat emanating from his friend. "I think that's a very good reason to have a holiday."
"Y-yeah?" Makoto's mouth was dry, and the single word was hard to get out.
"Yes," Haruka answered firmly, either not noticing or choosing not to comment on the way that Makoto's voice had just cracked nervously. "I had never thought of Halloween in that way before, that you described. Now that you bring it up, though, there's something that I've been trying to find the courage to do for a long time."
Now Makoto was floored. He was the one who was scared of ghosts, and the dark, and the ocean….Haruka had always been the brave one. Only now Haruka was saying otherwise, and since when did Haru ever admit to having actual emotions, anyways? Makoto felt a sudden surge of worry for his friend underneath the dizzy haze Haruka's closeness had induced; it cut through the fog and cleared his mind enough for him to ask Haruka, in much the same tone as he always did (if perhaps a bit more breathlessly), "What's wrong, Haru?"
Haruka smiled and chuckled low in his throat, and whatever clarity Makoto had had vanished instantly. Haruka was laughing now? What was happening here?
This whole time, Haruka had not broken eye contact with, or moved away from Makoto, and when Makoto had asked his question, he had unconsciously moved forward a little himself. Now Makoto could feel the warmth of Haruka's chest against his own. He wondered if Haruka could feel how hard his heart was pounding.
"There's something I've wanted to do for long time," Haruka repeated, smiling up at Makoto. Makoto had always thought that Haruka had a beautiful smile; it softened his normally distant features, and his eyes lit up with a warmth Makoto knew was always present in his friend, even if it was not always apparent. "I guess Halloween's as good an excuse as any."
"But-" Makoto said, confused all over again, "Halloween isn't until next w-"
The rest of Makoto's sentence was cut off as Haru gripped the front of Makoto's jacket and pulled the taller boy down to meet his lips, effectively closing what little space had been left between them. Makoto's mind, already overwhelmed by Haruka's actions, shut down completely at this latest development. Luckily, his body knew what to do on its own.
Makoto eyes fluttered shut as he wrapped his arms around Haruka, and Haruka stood on his tiptoes and twined his arms around Makoto's neck. They angled their heads and moved their lips in a rhythm that was so natural to them that Makoto would almost have believed that they had moved together in this way a million times before, if not for the fact that he knew he had never felt such bliss before in his life. He moved his hand up to cup the back of Haruka's head, and let his other hand travel down to the small of Haruka's back. Haruka groaned Makoto's name against his lips,"Mako," and pressed his lower half closer against Makoto's, and now it was his turn to moan. They both seemed to have the same goal in mind: eliminate all of this unnecessary space between them.
It was a long time before they finally broke the kiss, although they had no way of knowing exactly how long. (Later they would agree that it had not felt like a moment that could be measured by something as commonplace as seconds or minutes.) They kept their arms wrapped around each other as they got their breathing under control, letting the puffs of vapor they realeased with every exhalation mingle in the small space that they allowed between their mouths. Makoto's mind no longer felt cloudy as he looked into his best friend's eyes, blazing with a new kind of warmth that Makoto had never seen in them before. Makoto felt that he had now a clarity which he had been lacking for some time, and he couldn't suppress the elated laugh that bubbled out of him as rested his forehead against Haruka's. Haruka smiled back at him and unlocked his arms from around Makoto's neck, stepping back from his friend with a distinctly satisfied look on his face.
"You're very pleased with yourself right now, aren't you?" Makoto asked wryly.
"Little bit," said Haruka, still grinning. Makoto's heart leapt just a little at the thought that he might be seeing a lot more of Haru's smile.
"I'm freezing," Haruka said now. "Let's hurry up and get to my house."
"Mm," Makoto agreed, knowing that he still had a goofy smile on his own face and not quite being able to bring himself to care. "We still haven't decided what we're going to do for Halloween," he pointed out as they began walking down the sidewalk again, thrusting his hands into his jacket pockets; they had been warm a moment ago, wrapped in Haruka's silky hair and pressed up against his back, but now they were chilled again.
Haruka caught Makoto's eye, and Makoto thought that there was a certain slyness in his friend's expression as he pulled Makoto's right hand out of his pocket and clasped it with one that was just as cold; though Makoto found once again that such a trivial detail did not bother him terribly.
"I've got a few ideas, actually," Haruka said nonchalantly, as the streetlights started to turn on above their heads, joining with the light of the sun which was still clinging to the edge of the horizon to create a strange, in between kind of ambiance.
"Oh?" Makoto teased Haruka, "The boy who doesn't like Halloween is all excited to celebrate all of a sudden?"
"What can I say? You've inspired me."
Makoto squeezed Haruka's hand, and the boys pressed their arms up against each other's as they walked and made plans. On a cold day like this one, Makoto thought, a cold day which was fast melding into an even cooler night - there was really no reason for there to be so much space between them.