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So Beautiful

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Makoto looked at herself in the mirror. She double checked her hair and makeup. She adjusted the bow of her uniform and made sure her skirt was the perfect length. Makoto thought about putting on makeup, but she knew that would be too much, especially on her first day of high school.

Makoto climbed down the stairs and said good morning to her family. "Morning mom, morning dad," Makoto said.

"Good morning sweetheart. You ready for your first day?" Makoto's mother said.

"Yes mom," Makoto said. She sat down and started eating her breakfast.

"Ow! Mom! Ran is being mean again!" Ren exclaimed.

"No I'm not! You just stole my some of my fried eggs!" Ran said.

"Now now you two, don't fight. Here, you can have the rest of my fried eggs," Makoto said.

"Thanks big brother!" Ren said. Ran quickly covered Ren's face and everyone froze. "I-I'm sorry...I...I forgot."

"It's fine Ren, I know this will...take some time getting use to...but...I just hope you'll accept me for me...I'm still the same...just...you know," Makoto said sadly.

"Now Makoto, I don't mind who you are. You're still Makoto, and no matter what, you're still our kid, so don't let this change change you...if you accept yourself like this, then so will we," Makoto's father said.

"...Thanks dad," Makoto smiled.

"Now start finishing breakfast, wouldn't want you to be late on your first day," Makoto's mother said.

"Yes mom," Makoto said. Once she finished eating breakfast, Makoto started leaving. He kissed his mother goodbye and left.

Makoto walked down the stairs and saw the white kitten. "Hello there, it's nice to see you again." Makoto smiled and petted the kitten. Makoto suddenly saw movers coming up the stairs, so she stepped back and made some room. She saw the movers going up to the house that use to belong to Mrs. Nanase. She died a long time ago, when Makoto was probably in middle school, she was a sweet old woman. Makoto watched as the movers started putting things inside the house. It looked like someone was finally moving in. Makoto decided to make a mental note to visit her new neighbor whenever she gets the chance.

Makoto let go of the kitten and waved it goodbye. She continued walking downstairs. She was unaware of blue eyes watching her the entire time.


The opening ceremony finally ended, and now Makoto was sitting in her classroom. She noticed that the seat next to her was empty, it was really strange that whoever was suppose to sit there didn't show up on the first day.

"Alright class, now that the opening ceremony has ended, you are allowed to have a free day, but remember, we'll start working tomorrow. Now you may walk around the school, but please do not leave campus until the bell rings," the teacher said.

Everyone said yes and the teacher allowed them to do whatever they want for the remainder of the day. Makoto thought about talking to someone, but was too shy. She wondered if her hair was right. She wondered if her skirt was the appropriate length. She wondered if she should have worn makeup today.

Someone accidentally bumped into her desk, causing Makoto's eraser to fall.

"Sorry," the boy who bumped into her desk said.

"It's fine," Makoto said sweetly. The boy gave Makoto her eraser and went back to talking to his friends. Makoto watched him and couldn't help but think how cute he looks. She wonders if she'll find a boyfriend now that she's in high school. She wonders if the boy who bumped into her desk could be a possible candidate. It must be fate that he so happens to bump into her desk and give her back her eraser.

Makoto tried to control her blushing face and hope no one will notice.

"Dude...you better be careful who you're nice to, they are the kind to be very emotional."

"Like hell I'd be interested in someone like...that."

It felt like Makoto's heart shattered. The bell finally rang and Makoto quietly gathered her belongings and quickly headed home. Makoto didn't get a chance to make one single friend that day. Makoto knew she should have just worn her male uniform, she knew she shouldn't have come to school dressed up like this. She feels so humiliated, she wished she didn't come to school today.

Makoto walked up the steps to her house and stopped when she spotted the white kitten. "Hello there...I bet you had a better day than me," Makoto sighed. She gently scratched the crook of the kitten's neck and the kitten continued rubbing its face against Makoto's arm. Makoto chuckled and cradled the kitten in her arms. "Well...at least you're my friend, and you won't judge me for who I am."

"Oi, do you mind not moving so much? I can't get a good enough angle," a voice suddenly said. Makoto immediately turned around and saw a boy sitting at the top of the steps that intersects to her house and the Nanase house. The boy had a sketchpad on his lap and a pencil in his right hand.

"A-ah...I-I'm sorry...am I blocking your view?" Makoto asked.

"No, but could you sit back down and continue doing what you were doing, just please don't move, I'm almost done drawing your back," the boy said.

"M-my back? W-wait...you're drawing me?" Makoto blushed.

"Of course, why else would I be drawing out here? I usually draw something like the ocean or whatever, but I saw you playing with the kitten and I just needed to draw you," the boy said.

"U-um...aren't you suppose to get the permission of the person you're drawing though?" Makoto asked.

"Don't worry, this is for personal view, besides, it's not like I'm showing your face or anything, I'm merely drawing your back and the kitten you are playing with," the boy said.

"U-um...I s-see..." Makoto didn't know how to react to this type of situation. Should she feel flattered that someone wanted to draw her, even if it's of her back? Or should she be very cautious just in case the guy is a creep.

"...I just moved here you know...I'm your neighbor, so you don't have to worry about me being a weirdo or whatever you're thinking of me," the boy said.

"A-ah...I'm sorry," Makoto said.

"I was right then, if you didn't hesitate to apologize," the boy said. Makoto blushed in embarrassment. She didn't know what to do, she looked at the boy once more and couldn't help but blush even harder at how cute the boy was. Even though he had a stoic face, he blue eyes were mesmerizing.

"If you don't mind, could you sit back down and continue playing with the kitten, I'll tell you when I'm done and you can leave," the boy said.

"U-um...a-alright," Makoto sat back down and continued holding the kitten. For three minutes, Makoto couldn't help but feel nervous, knowing that the boy was watching her, but after a couple more minutes, she soon started relaxing and continued playing with the kitten, almost forgetting that there was a boy drawing her back.

"Done. You can move now," the boy said. Makoto nodded and put down the kitten. The kitten once rubbed its head against Makoto's hand and ran off. "...You sure like that white kitten."

"Um...yeah, it's very sweet, and I do enjoy feeding it once in awhile," Makoto said.

The boy nodded and continued drawing in his sketchpad. Makoto couldn't help but be a bit curious, she walked up and was now next to the boy. She took a peek at the drawing and was amazed at how detailed the drawing was.

"...Do you like it?" the boy asked.

"Yeah, it's amazing...you got the view perfectly, even my backside looks amazing," Makoto said.

"...I'm glad," the boy said.

"What's your name?"

"...Haru," the boy said.

"Well I'm Tachibana Makoto...so you moved into that house up there?" Makoto pointed to the upper house.

"Uh huh," Haru said.

"I see...well hope you and your family will take good care of it...it use to belong to a wonderful woman," Makoto said.

"...Right," Haru said.

"Well I better get going, um...see you around neighbor," Makoto said.

"See ya," Haru said. Makoto nodded and went home.

Makoto family wasn't back yet, so she decided to take an early bath. Once Makoto stripped the clothes off her body, she saw herself in the mirror. She usually doesn't hate her body, especially ever since the end of middle school when she found herself, but she couldn't help but feel uncomfortable, especially after hearing those boys talking.

Makoto sighed and entered the bathtub. She wishes her body was smaller. She wishes she had bigger hips. She wishes her lips were more plump. She wishes her hair was a bit longer. She wishes for many things. She just wishes that she could have met someone that would accept her for who she is.

Makoto sighed and looked up at the ceiling. She didn't want to go to school tomorrow.


Makoto was sitting in her desk. She thought of telling her mother that she wasn't feeling very well this morning in order to get out of coming to school, but she knew that wasn't going to work, besides, she was a terrible liar.

Suddenly, the door opened and the boy from yesterday entered.

"Ah, there you are, I did get a call from your parents that you would be coming today, it's a shame you missed the opening ceremony yesterday," the teacher said.

"Yeah, sorry. I was suppose to move two days ago, but instead I moved yesterday, so I was busy," Haru said.

"Right. Anyways class, we are joined by a new friend. Please introduce yourself."

"Nanase Haruka, but I prefer being called Haru," Haru said.

"N-Nanase?" Makoto whispered to herself.

"Very good, anything you'd like to say about yourself?"

"No," Haru said immediately.

"O-oh...I see...well you may sit down in that empty seat next to the window." Haru nodded and walked towards his seat. He sat down and immediately looked out of the window.

"Y-you didn't tell me you were related to Nanase-san," Makoto whispered.

"...You didn't ask," Haru said.

"...I see..." Makoto said. She looked towards the front and listened to the teacher's first lesson.

Once class ended and it was break time, Makoto brought out her homework and thought of starting it a bit early. Suddenly, a bunch of girls and a few boys went towards Haru's seat.

"Nanase-san! Are you really related to Granny Nanase?"

"Yes," Haru said.

"Really? So your family decided to move into her old house?"

"No, it's just me," Haru said.

"Eh? You're living on your own?"

Makoto looked to her left and was surprised. She didn't know Nanase was living by himself.

"That must be very lonely, how about we visit your place? We could have a welcome party since you did come to school late."

"No need, besides, I at least came on the second day of school, it's not like you guys were doing anything on the first day," Haru said.

"E-eh? Well...um...how about we just hang out?"

"No."

"Eh?"

"Too bothersome, now if you'll excuse me, but I would like to draw," Haru said.

"Oh, you're an artist? Can we see?" the girl was about to grab Haru's sketchpad, but Haru slapped her hand away. "E-eh?"

"No touching. No one looks into my sketchpad. Now please leave me alone," Haru said aggressively. The girl and her friends looked at him and slowly back away. The girl gave him a look of annoyance and went back to her seat with her friends.

"Geez, what a weirdo," the girl said.

Makoto couldn't help but stare. She saw Haru starting to draw, the words of the girl didn't bother him at all. However, the one thing that was very confusing was the fact that Haru said that no one gets to see his sketchpad.

So then why did he let her see it yesterday?

Makoto wanted to ask, but decided not to bother him, especially since it looks like he was concentrating very intensely.


It was lunchtime and Makoto brought out her bento box. She looked outside and thought it was a nice day to go out and eat her lunch. As she was putting away her stuff, she saw that there were still a couple of people that wanted to talk to Haru. Haru looked incredibly uncomfortable, and Makoto wanted to help him, but she didn't know how. Besides, she was too afraid of getting any attention on herself.

Haru saw her staring and Makoto couldn't help but mouth out good luck. She picked up her bento box and was about to leave until...

"M-Makoto! wait up!" Haru said. Makoto stopped and looked back. She saw Haru grabbing his bento and quickly walked next to her.

"E-eh?" Makoto was confused.

"Just play along," Haru whispered.

"...O-oh! Um...right...sorry Haru, I did promise to have lunch with you today," Makoto said.

"Right," Haru said.

"Eh? Nanase-san, you know...Tachibana-san?"

"Yeah, we're neighbors," Haru said. He placed his hand on Makoto's back and quickly guided her out of the classroom. "Thanks," Haru said once he knew they were safe.

"I-I'm sorry...I would have helped you...I just didn't know how," Makoto said.

"...At least you're honest, but still...thanks...I can't really handle crowds that well," Haru said.

"I guess you're not much of a people person," Makoto smiled.

"Nope," Haru said.

"Well then...since we got out of there safely, let's go eat our lunches on the rooftop," Makoto said.

"Rooftop?" Haru asked.

"Yeah, barely anyone goes up there, they usually like eating in their classrooms or around the cherry blossoms," Makoto said.

"I see," Haru said.

"Well let's go, I'm sure it'll be more quieter up there," Makoto said. Makoto guided Haru to the entrance of the rooftop and the two sat down and ate their lunches. "...Just mackerel?"

"I didn't have time to make rice," Haru said.

"That's not good. That won't be enough to satisfy your hunger," Makoto said. She took out a couple of tamagoyaki and gave them to Haru.

"You don't have to-"

"I insist, I don't want you to be hungry during class," Makoto said.

"...Thanks," Haru said.

"You're welcome," Makoto said happily. The two started eating their lunches and Makoto couldn't help but wonder if she was allowed to ask Haru these questions she had. She wanted to ask, but she thought that would make Haru very uncomfortable.

"...Go ahead," Haru said.

"Eh?"

"You want to ask me something right? So go ahead, ask."

"Oh um...so...you're living here on your own," Makoto said.

"Yes," Haru said.

"...Does it get lonely?" Makoto asked.

"No, my parents promise they would visit me once in awhile, just to check up on me. Besides, I don't mind being alone," Haru said.

"I see," Makoto said.

"...Anything else?"

"...Why did you let me see your drawing if you don't like showing others?" Makoto asked.

"...You're different," Haru said.

"Oh...i-is it because I'm..."

"No, it's not because of that...it's because you seem more honest. You won't lie about how you feel about my drawings...besides...I only show to those that I feel comfortable with showing, like my parents or my grandmother," Haru said.

"I see," Makoto said. That made Makoto feel happy.

"Besides...if I was interested enough to draw you, then it's fine for me to show you," Haru said.

"...So...you don't mind showing me...some of your drawings?" Makoto asked.

"...Course not...here," Haru took out a smaller sketchpad and handed it to Makoto. Makoto flipped through it and noticed the majority of the sketches were of the beach or anything water based.

"You sure like drawing water, huh Haru?" Makoto asked.

"Water is beautiful, and it must be drawn. I try my hardest to capture its beauty, but I know I can never fully match it...but it's an honor to being able to see it's natural beauty," Haru said.

Makoto looked at Haru and smiled. "You're very passionate, I admire that."

"...You know...you're very beautiful as well...that's one of the reasons why I drew you yesterday," Haru said.

"...T-thank you," Makoto blushed. She picked at her lunch, but didn't seem to have an appetite anymore. It felt like there were butterflies in her stomach.

"...Hold that look, I want to draw you," Haru said.

"Eh? Now? L-lunch will be over soon you know," Makoto said.

"Stay still and let me capture that beauty of yours," Haru said.

"H-Haru, please stop," Makoto said.

"Shoot, the red is fading, can you try going red again?" Haru asked.

"S-stop!" Makoto exclaimed.

One way or another, Makoto made a new friend that day.


Things...weren't as what Makoto expected. She wanted to have a normal school life, but ever since she met Haru, normal doesn't see possible. Everyday, whenever Haru and Makoto go to school, they would do their schoolwork, but as soon as their break is up or if it's lunchtime, Haru would always ask Makoto to look like how she did earlier during class, or ask to draw her at different positions.

"I-I don't remember which face I made during English class! W-why didn't you take a picture or something?"

"It's because we were in class, and I didn't feel like getting scolded by the police," Haru said.

"You're hopeless," Makoto sighed.

Things weren't all bad. After a couple of weeks, many of the students started seeing Makoto normally, even saying hello to her. Makoto was happy, but she couldn't help but still feel a bit restless.

"...What's wrong?" Haru asked while he was sketching Makoto. The two were eating their lunches on the rooftop.

"What do you mean?" Makoto asked.

"You look sad...what's wrong? And be honest with me," Haru said.

"...Well...I kinda...I really like someone," Makoto said.

Haru's hand stilled and the pencil in his hand stopped moving. Haru turned his attention from the drawing to Makoto. "...You like someone?"

"Yeah...I do," Makoto blushed.

"...Who do you like?" Haru asked.

"Y-you really want to know?" Makoto asked.

Haru nodded. He waited patiently for Makoto to tell him who she likes. Makoto blushed, but stared directly at Haru's face. Haru's heart was beating very fast. His hand was starting to get very sweaty. He kept on a straight face, but he couldn't help but feel very anxious.

"I...I like Mishima-kun," Makoto said. Haru felt his heart stop.

"...Who?" Haru asked.

"T-the boy sitting next to me," Makoto said.

"...Didn't you tell me he was the boy who spoke badly about you to his friend on the first day?" Haru asked.

"Y-yes...but lately, he's been very nice to me a-and...I feel like he might like someone like me," Makoto said.

"Makoto...are you sure?"

"...I'm not...but I would like to confess to him," Makoto said.

"That's a bad idea," Haru said.

"...Why? Why is it a bad idea?"

"Makoto, you told me exactly what he said, you told me he doesn't like someone like....like..."

"...He doesn't like someone like me?" Makoto didn't know why, but she started getting angry.

"...I'm just looking out for you Makoto," Haru said.

"Oh yeah well...I think you should respect my decision here Haru...I really like him...b-but you saying that he'll not like me because...of who I am just seems...just seems like you don't think anyone would be interested in me," Makoto said.

"No, that's not what I'm saying...look...if you like him so much and go ahead...I'm not stopping you...but just so you know, if he rejects you...don't say I didn't warn you," Haru said.

Makoto wanted to yell at him, she wanted to tell him he was wrong. However, she didn't want to ruin her friendship with Haru.

"...I'm going to get something to drink," Makoto said. She stood up and left the rooftop.

Haru watched her leave and sighed. He picked up his pencil and was about to resume his drawing, but for some reason he didn't feel like it anymore. Haru closed his sketchpad and laid on his back. He watched the clouds move and he felt...weird.

"...Stupid Makoto," Haru said. He hopes she knows what she is doing.


 

Makoto did it. She dropped the letter in Mishima's shoe locker. She didn't write her name or anything, but she hoped that he'll come to the rooftop and meet with her. She made sure to put on some makeup and try to make herself look smaller. She wondered if she should style her hair.

"...Don't overthink it," Haru said when he saw her adjusting her hair.

"I'm just nervous, that's all," Makoto said

"...You're beautiful the way you are, so you don't need to worry about your looks," Haru said.

Makoto stopped her hands and looked at Haru. She blushed at the compliment and smiled at Haru. "Thank you."

"Of course...so you want me to wait for you or..."

"Oh, you can go home ahead of me, I don't want you to wait for me," Makoto said.

"...Alright...just...be careful," Haru said.

"...I will," Makoto smiled. Once the time for Makoto to meet Mishima came, Makoto said goodbye to Haru and quickly went towards the rooftop. Once she entered the rooftop, she saw that he was already there.

"...Tachibana-san? Is that you?"

"Yes, hello Mishima-kun," Makoto greeted.

"Hey, what are you doing here?" Mishima asked.

Makoto decided to act oblivious and see Mishima's reaction on the confession in the letter. "Well I could ask you the same, what are you doing here?" Makoto asked.

"Well I got this confession in my shoe locker and I'm meeting them here," Mishima said. It seems like he didn't catch on that Makoto was the one who sent him the letter.

"I see," Makoto smiled.

"I hope they're really cute," Mishima said.

"...D-does her looks...matter?" Makoto asked.

"Well...I guess not," Mishima said. Makoto sighed in relief. "But I swear, if this is a prank from one of the guys, I'm going to pummel. God...I hope it isn't someone in drag and trying to pretend to be a girl...n-no offense of course," Mishima said.

That was the second time Makoto's heart shattered from the boy's words. Haru was right, Mishima would never see her as a real girl. "...Well, I actually came up here to find something, but I guess it's not here...good luck with your...confession," Makoto said.

"Alright, see ya later Tachibana-san," Mishima said. Makoto nodded. She quickly left the rooftop and tried to hold back her tears. Once she was at the shoe lockers, she was surprised to still see Haru.

"H-Haru?" Makoto said.

"...You're really an idiot," Haru sighed.

"...Yeah...I...I really am..." Makoto let the tears fall from her eyes and she felt Haru hugging her. She placed her face on Haru's shoulder and continued crying.

"Sh...it's alright...it'll be okay," Haru said.

"L-let's just go home," Makoto said.

"Okay, let's go," Haru said. Makoto wiped the tears from her face and after putting on their shoes, they went home.

Makoto and Haru were sitting in Makoto's room. Makoto was still crying and Haru allowed her to lay her head on his shoulder.

"I really am stupid if I thought he would like me," Makoto said.

"You're not stupid, you're just very hopeful. I'm sure there are a bunch of people who likes you," Haru said.

"Oh yeah? Like who?" Makoto asked.

"..." Haru stayed silent.

"See! No one will like me like that...especially when I'm...I'm like this! I should just start dressing up and a male and accept my real gender!" Makoto cried out.

"Don't!" Haru exclaimed.

This was the first time Makoto has ever heard Haru raise his voice. "...H-Haru?"

"Don't you dare. The moment I saw you, I was intrigued. You had a lot of courage going to school and being you. When I saw you, leave to school, I wanted to see how you would act. When I saw you playing with the kitten, I knew you were a kind person. You wanted to be accepted, and I want you to be accepted. Makoto...I draw you because you are beautiful. I don't mean you're beautiful on the outside, I mean you're beautiful on the inside. If looking like a girl is what is on the inside, then don't change. Don't start dressing like a boy, continue wearing skirts, continue wearing the female uniform. Continue, being you," Haru said.

"...Why do you care so much about me Haru?" Makoto said as her eyes started getting blurry from her tears.

"...Because I love you you idiot!" Haru exclaimed.

"...N-no you don't...you're only saying that to make me feel better," Makoto said.

"...Fine...I'll show you then," Haru took out his sketchpad and gave it to Makoto.

"...I've already seen your drawings," Makoto said.

"Not this one, this one I've been drawing behind your back," Haru said.

Makoto hesitated, but opened the sketchpad. She saw herself. Instead of the drawings Haru draws her in, it was of her looking happy. It was of her looking so beautiful by the ocean. It was as if it was another person that has her face, but this was her. Haru drew her so beautifully.

"...H-Haru..." Makoto said, she looked up and saw that her face was very close to Haru's. She blushed and was about to back away, but Haru grabbed her hand.

"...I love you Makoto...so please...don't change...don't change that beautiful soul of yours," Haru said.

"...I...I love you too, Haru," Makoto smiled. Haru leaned in and kissed Haru on the lips. The kiss was sweet, it was gentle. This kiss made Makoto feel like she was finally accepted.


Haru was sitting on the steps of his house. He was waiting for Makoto. Haru has asked Makoto on a date. He did decide to bring his sketchpad just to capture the moment and have it with them forever. Haru looked at his watch and sighed in annoyance.

"S-sorry I'm late!" Makoto exclaimed, "I was busy fixing my hair and everything.

"For the last time Makoto, you're fine the way you are, you don't have to fix..." Haru stood up and saw Makoto. She had on makeup.

"...D-do I look weird?" Makoto asked as she started blushing.

"You're wearing makeup?" Haru asked.

"Yeah...I...I wanted to wear it...f-for you," Makoto said.

Haru walked over towards Makoto and wipe a tiny bit of lipstick that was on the corner of her lips. "You look beautiful." Haru smiled and kissed her on the lips.

"A-ah...now you got lipstick on your lips," Makoto giggled.

"Hm...maybe I should start dressing like a woman," Haru said.

"E-eh? Don't! You're perfect the way you are!" Makoto said.

"...Glad you see it like that," Haru smiled. Makoto blushed, but smiled anyways.

Makoto held onto Haru's arm and the two started walking. Even though Haru was a bit strange at times, she really loves him.

"A-ah...b-by the way...s-since you're an artist and all...I was wondering if you could paint my nails?" Makoto asked.

"Mm...it's been awhile since I've actually use paint...but we'll see how it'll come out," Haru said.

"Knowing you, you'll most likely make it look beautiful," Makoto said.

"You're beautiful," Haru said.

Makoto knows, she'll always know that she is beautiful, no matter what.