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Seven

"I'm getting married," Haruka blurts out, in the middle of a comfortable silence. Their weekend practice has ended for the day, but it's still hot outside, so the group of them have been sitting at the edge of the pool, soaking their legs. They've already changed back into their day-clothes but each keep their pant-legs rolled up. Even Gou has kicked off her shoes to get her toes wet.

Something about the rare Sundays that they get to use the school pool is relaxing. It's hard for them to really get into the tension to practice.

Haruka has been watching the smooth flow of Gou's heels as they bounce against the pool's wall, slowed by the drag of water. But at his words, both her feet slip straight out from the water and splash droplets up onto her own skirt.

"Oh my god," She cries, and he instinctively reaches for a handkerchief from his pocket to offer her for it. She rejects it, waving her hand and exclaiming, "Not that, Haruka-senpai! You're - I didn't even know you had a girlfriend!"

Makoto's voice from beside him is matter-of-fact, coupled with a quiet chuckle as if Gou has made a joke; "He doesn't."

Haruka can't bring himself to look at him. So to his other side, he looks past Gou, to Nagisa and Rei, who stare at him, wide-eyed.

Feeling awkward under their gazes, Haruka explains, "It was arranged by my parents before I was born." A year ago he wouldn't have bothered, but for his friends, he adds, an admission of how unsure he feels, "I guess."

"Have you - have you met her?" Gou asks, sounding equal parts curious and enamored by the situation.

Before Haruka can answer, Nagisa demands, "Is she hot?" (Only to be scolded by Rei elbowing him in the ribs.)

Haruka stares into the pool. Swings his feet back and forth in long archs, watching the water push to the side for him. It's rare for him to be unable to sit still. He does not look at Makoto's reflection, kicking ripples to distort it. "I don't know."

"Arranged marriages, huh?" Rei murmurs. "Those are pretty rare, these days."

"But I guess they still happen," Nagisa says. "There's one guy in the other class with a fiance, too." Trying to cheer everyone up, he sighs loudly, "Isn't this kind of depressing for a bunch of single dudes? I always thought Mako-chan would be the first one to get a girlfriend."

There is silence while they wait for Makoto's embarrassed reaction, for him to shyly deny it or ponder the possibilities.

The silence stretches on without a break, and Haruka sees in their reflections, everyone looking at Makoto, curiously. Haruka can't follow their gaze. He wants to, but he can't, and so he tries desperately to read their expressions to figure out Makoto's. He's surprised that he can't predict it when these things are usually so easy for him.

Rei smiles softly, in that particular way that means he is not quite happy and not quite sad. Nagisa just looks quietly concerned, his expression falling more and more the longer he stares. Gou's lips are parted, her thoughtful eyes less on Makoto and more on Haruka's kicking legs.

From the corner of his eyes, he catches sight of Makoto's shoulder shaking.

The water is finally starting to cool down as the sun bleeds gold through the clouds.

"I meet her next Sunday," Haruka announces, because the silence has gone on too long and he can't imagine Makoto is comfortable under everyone's scrutiny.

"Is it alright to tell my brother?" Gou asks. "I mean, not that I want to gossip but it's something that'll come up, you know?"

A year ago he would have shrugged. Today he tells her, "I'd like to."

She nods politely. "Tell me when you have."

Rei looks like he wants to object to the whole situation, which Haruka, in all his compliance, appreciates immensely. Rei surges forward with his mouth open in protest, but at the last moment he deflates. He looks resigned, frowning deeply. He mumbles, "Good luck," sounding much less sure of these words.

"I hope you don't hate each other," Nagisa says, and this time it is less a joke to lighten the mood and more a sincere wish. Haruka appreciates that too, even if it's tactless.

Makoto nudges him, casual as always. Haruka has to force his rigid body to turn and look at the other boy with normalcy.

Same soft smile, same patient expression. No trace of anything, anything out of the ordinary and God, Haruka's not sure what he expected or wanted that he'd been avoiding looking at, but this isn't it. Makoto reminds him, gently like he always does, "We should head home."

He forces his own voice to be normal with an affirmative, "Right."

The walk home is quiet and awkward. Makoto usually talks enough to fill the silence with a comfortable white noise. Sometimes, when Haruka is actually listening, he catches Makoto telling stories about things Haruka was there for, and realizes that Makoto expects him to be spacing out.

But Makoto knows he likes his voice more than the quiet, even if he doesn't always care for the words themselves, and so Makoto talks for him.

Today he does not.

Even though Haruka thinks - he should have the most to say. He should understand the best. He should be quietly concerned and upset with Haruka's parents but nervous about defying them. He should be incredulous and skeptical and throwing tantrums in the way that Makoto does. (Childishly, but patiently, hardly a tantrum at all if you didn't know him.)

He should be voicing Haruka's worries for him, should be assuring away all of his nerves and the nausea that rises up in his gut when he imagines being married, Jesus, he is only eighteen years old as of last month.

He should be stupidly romantic and optimistic. He should ramble lie after lie about how great it might be, about all the arranged marriages that have worked in fiction or in reality. His own parents met on a blind date, even, he might remind Haruka.

Makoto always knows what to say. What Haruka is thinking and what he needs to hear.

Makoto should be telling him in a whisper that he does not want him to get married.

Haruka does not want to be with anyone else, and this seems to be the one thing Makoto can't seem to intuitively read from him.

They still exchange painfully ordinary good-byes when Makoto drops him off.

He calls Rin instead of texting. Not because he wants to say it out loud (because he really really doesn't), but because it seems unfair to talk directly to everyone else then send Rin a text message.

Rin doesn't answer, but calls him back fifteen minutes later. "What's up?" Rin asks, but doesn't give him a chance to answer, sounding particularly smug, "Sorry, I was in something."

There's a soft thud like a pillow being thrown and Haruka recognizes the room-mate's voice shrieking, "Oh my God, Senpai!" Rin laughs like he's trying really hard to hold it back.

The room-mate continues, loudly at first, but his voice getting quieter as he goes, "In the middle of something is how you should say that! Or - caught up in something...! Don't just say - ugh..."

Haruka can practically hear the way Rin raises his eyebrows as he says, suggestively, "I was... Wrapped up in something."

"I hate you, Senpai," The room-mate says.

Rin dismisses the words with an easy, "Nah," then turns his attention to Haruka. Haruka rolls his eyes, grateful that Rin can't see him doing it. "So what's up?"

Haruka waits for a moment, not hesitating, but wondering how exactly to say it. He decides to dive right in. "I'm getting married."

Rin makes a fascinating choking sound. The roommate - boyfriend, Haruka mentally corrects himself - must still be pouting, because he doesn't fret as loudly as he normally would. "Bullshit!"

Calmly, he recites what he told the others earlier, trying to ignore Rin's incredulous (and incoherent) shouting. "My parents arranged it before I was born. I meet her next weekend."

"Dude, you're eighteen," Rin exclaims, sounding horrified. "Like, last month."

Haruka shrugs, then remembers that he has to use words. "Exactly why I was told. It's relevant now."

Rin breathes an exhausted "Jesus." There is a long pause. Then Rin adds, "I hope she's hot, at least."

"Everyone keeps saying that," Haruka complains, although it was only Nagisa.

"What'd Makoto say?"

Haruka blinks, surprised Rin would ask. "Nothing."

"Weird."

"I know."

And there is not much more to be said on the matter. He can tell what Rin thinks of the situation, and Rin's emotional support is silent but strong. Haruka doesn't need words from him for it, feeling comforted just by chatting. Instead, Rin rambles on about school and practice and his own team, and Haruka pretends to listen.

But he's frustrated, because it should be Makoto. It should be Makoto who talks about nothing so that Haruka can feel normalcy. It should be Makoto who says he is on Haruka's side now and forever with only his eyes and the particular tilt of his chin.

Rin is the only one of them to voice anything near what's on their minds. "That's gonna fuck you guys up."

There are no shy denials of affection or we're just friends reminders. For once, Haruka does not pretend he doesn't understand.

Six

In the morning, Makoto picks him up at his house, like always. Today he talks the whole way to school. He talks and talks without really saying anything, like he always does.

But Haruka listens, because if this is all Makoto has to say, then fine. He'll make it important.

He doesn't breach the subject even once. He talks about school, swimming, the ocean, the weather yesterday, and today's forecast that he watched on TV while he ate breakfast. The stray cat by his house that has grown. The young woman who runs the candy shop down the street who is pregnant, and the man who owns the flower shop downtown who is hiring part-timers. His mother overslept this morning, and his father is ecstatic about a special project being assigned to him at work. Ren and Ran fought over dessert last night but he gave them each half of his own because he hadn't been feeling well enough to eat it, anyway.

Haruka's hand reaches out to feel the taller boy's forehead without warning, cutting him off mid word.

Makoto freezes under his touch, looking terrified. "H-Haru?"

"If you're sick," Haruka tells him, firmly, "You should stay home." But he doesn't feel warm, at all.

"I'm not sick," Makoto assures him. "I was just a little nauseous last night. I feel better, today."

Haruka pulls his hand back and feels privately resentful. The butterflies in his stomach haven't left since he got the stupid letter two weeks ago. They've only gotten worse since he finally told everyone. "Well, I don't," He mutters, voice coming out more bitter than he meant for it to.

Makoto finally, finally gives him the concerned look he's been craving. Eyes soft and worried, the brunet raises a hand up like he wants to touch Haruka, but pauses. "Haru?"

Haruka stares at him intently, wanting to soak up the expression on his face. He forgets to reply.

"I'm sorry," Makoto murmurs. "I - this must be really scary for you, huh?"

Haruka nods slowly, not a fan of the word-choice. But it's accurate, because it's Makoto.

"I can't even wrap my head around it," Makoto admits. "I mean... There are only a few guys in our class that have girlfriends. Even fewer of them have been together more than a couple of months. And you're going to get married and it's to a stranger. We don't even know her. You don't even know her."

Haruka watches Makoto as he talks. Watches the way the morning light touches his face and makes his eyes shine. Makoto's green eyes land on the ground and sky and all the houses by the road, breathing in the familiar sights like air, the same way Haruka breathes in his presence.

"I wonder what she's like," Makoto says.

Haruka has not considered this. He doesn't even know where to start. It's one thing to build up an image of someone based off little information, but he has nothing to go on.

Makoto's smile doesn't reach his eyes, but he still sounds sincere; "I hope she gets along with all of us."

Haruka stares at the ground, watching his feet lead him on this familiar path to school. He likes this walk. There are buses he could take. They would even take time off of his commute and let him sleep in more.

But Haruka likes familiarity, more than anything. He likes this view, and this walk, and the time it gives him with Makoto.

"I hope she's like you," He says.

"Haru," Makoto says, and his voice cracks hopelessly.

Haruka says, "Never mind," and they do not speak of it again.

Five

Makoto is listless, after practice. His time was terrible today, too. Haruka doesn't point it out. There isn't a meet coming up, so there's no reason to strain anyone for results. Gou will be on his case to the exact amount he needs, and honestly, everyone is so caught up in Haruka's life right now that no one is concentrating.

But it isn't just swimming he's been slow at. In the locker rooms they get dressed, and Makoto is still standing in his boxers, his pants barely staying up at his hips, unzipped and unbuttoned. In theory, he is buttoning his shirt up, but his motions are so slow that when Nagisa and Rei wave their good-byes, he still isn't finished.

Haruka has been dressed for five minutes, sitting on a bench, waiting. Makoto's fingers work at the buttons clumsily, like he doesn't have full control of his own body and doesn't understand why or even care.

But Haruka waits, patient, because he needs to walk home with Makoto. Needs things to stay the same, because soon...

He wonders if she goes to his school. He wonders if she is the same age as him, or older. He wonders if they will walk home together, or if she will live with him. He wonders a thousand different things that he is told he will learn in five more days, but he doesn't want to learn them at all, really.

He just wants to walk home with Makoto.

Haruka rises from the bench and storms over to Makoto, stepping between him and the lockers. He reaches out roughly to start buttoning his shirt for him, because he'd rather be off campus before the sun sets. He's not as particular on when he makes it home, but he wants to walk beside him.

Makoto looks dazed, as though he'd forgotten Haruka was there, and just the idea of it is infuriating to Haruka. He may be quiet, but Makoto is always, always aware of him. His train of thought is interrupted.

Makoto kisses him.

He surges into Haruka like a tidal wave and his mouth knocks against Haruka's roughly; it's all Haruka can do to just keep his balance, and he clenches his hands with fist-fulls of Makoto's shirt.

"I don't want you to get married," Makoto breathes into his mouth, sad and desperate, barely fitting the words in between wet, messy kisses. Haruka just pushes their mouths together harder, pulling the taller boy closer by the shirt.

His fingers that had been so ready to help Makoto get dressed start unbuttoning his shirt, struggling to slip the buttons back out their holes without looking or breaking apart. He's not sure why. He's not sure what he'll do, but he doesn't like anything that's forcing space between them. Makoto leans forward to kiss his way down Haruka's jaw, simultaneously pulling his shoulders back to shrug his shirt back off.

Makoto tosses his shirt to the side, and with the loss of anything to pull him by, Haruka buries his fingers in the brunet's hair, tugging him back to his mouth. Makoto's tongue is hot on his bottom lip, and when he opens his mouth he feels their breath mix together. His free hand strays to Makoto's side to pull him close, and they stumble backwards into the lockers. Haruka feels the wooden cubbies digging into his back but doesn't care, not when he can feel the bulge in Makoto's boxers pressing against his own erection through his slacks.

Makoto's breath comes in heavy bursts between their kissing when he can, hot clouds on Haruka's swollen lips. The taller boy grinds into him, Haruka's hands continuously tugging him closer and closer to his body. Makoto shifts obediently, until his thigh is pressing between Haruka's legs, rubbing against him in a careful and purposeful up and down.

It kind of hurts, but in a good way. In a way that is exactly exactly what he needs right now. Makoto who is a peaceful constant, always quiet and gentle. Makoto, who is gasping on his mouth and hard up against him.

Haruka sees stars, specks of light in the back of his mind, as Makoto moves to suck his earlobe, mouth hot on his skin. He squirms back against Makoto's leg, slow but uncontrollable, feeling strange and self conscious, but more importantly close. He nuzzles his cheek into Makoto's hair and pulls him ever tighter against him. Makoto's chest is big against his, its firm weight feeling comfortably oppressive even as Haruka arches his back into the sharp dig of the lockers. Haruka raises his hips, and distantly hears himself grunt.

Makoto is murmuring his name into the soft bites on his neck, and his hand, big and warm, reaches through Haruka's pants to help jerk him off through the uncomfortable fabric.

He starts to say, "Mako--" but the word gets stuck in his throat as he comes, standing on his toes to press harder into Makoto's touch. His whole body goes rigid as he rides out its waves, Makoto resting against him, just as still, but comfortably supporting his weight when his feet all but go out from under him.

Four

He has to stand half on Makoto's feet to make it even remotely feasible. Bent over under the lukewarm shower water in the locker-room, Haruka keeps his hands firmly planted against the wall to hold himself steady. His knees feel weak, and he shivers at the shaky breath Makoto lets out, behind him.

Makoto's cock is between his ass cheeks as the brunet ruts against him, hunched over him like he'll collapse at any moment. Haruka is fairly certain he would take both of them down, and it's already slippery enough that he should probably be more concerned, but - all he does is raise his hips higher, feeling Makoto's cock sliding against him, hot and hard.

"Makoto," He grinds out, because this position is not comfortable enough to be wasting on only Makoto getting off. Fuck, he's not even sure if he'll like anal sex, but he wants something more than just this, no matter how fucking good Makoto's hands feel when they run all up his body, or how distracting the uneven patterns of his breathing are. He just wants all of Makoto, however he can get it.

He feels Makoto's strong thighs against his ass, and shifts again, needily. Trying to show Makoto what he's asking for, and it's frustrating, because he knows Makoto understands, but he's probably avoiding it out of some stupid sense of concern.

Makoto's skin is warm, shielding him from the constant run of water as the larger boy bends further over him. One of his hands covers Haruka's, supporting his own weight, now, while the other snakes around to Haruka's front.

The water washes away any pre-cum, but Makoto's hand is soft and hot and slides up and down his length easily, with body lotion to smooth the movements. Haruka chokes on nothing, weighing heavier on his arms, wishing somehow Makoto's hand over his could be supporting him. He tries to thrust into the brunet's grip, but Makoto's larger frame behind him stops him from moving much at all.

So he is stuck with Makoto's pacing that is too gentle and not at all enough, not like yesterday when it had hurt as much as inside his chest does. Makoto strokes Haruka slow at first, then tightens his grip. His whole palm rubs up the shaft of his dick, and the jerking quickens just when Haruka needs it to, and when he thinks about how he can feel Makoto's length still hard and throbbing against him, he's close, right on the edge.

He moans, and Makoto's grip goes fast enough to make him come on the spot. He watches his come hit the shower wall, quickly washed away. His legs feel weak and shaky. He wants to sit down. But instead he just moves in place, sliding against Makoto's still-hard cock to let him know that he can finish and tend to himself.

Makoto barely pulls away from Haruka, liking the contact too much. He only makes enough space between them to stroke himself off, fisting his cock quickly over Haruka's back. Haruka isn't sure why this makes him shiver like it does, but he suddenly struggles even harder to hold himself up, and his own breathing is still just as heavy as Makoto's even when the high of his orgasm wears off. He leans further forward with an arch of his back, pulling one arm to rest against the shower wall sideways and letting his head fall against it. His fingertips brush Makoto's hand that still presses hard against his, almost painfully pushing him against the tile.

Makoto comes across his back, and that too, rinses off with ease.

The sun is setting by the time they finally get to walking home. Haruka's hand is red from being pushed on, but for once, Makoto does not apologize.

Haruka realizes that this is becoming a problem.

Three

"We've gotta, ah," Haruka tries to say, struggling to even keep his eyes open. "Mako--We've gotta stop."

Makoto's tongue licks up the shaft of his cock, and the larger boy looks up at him from between Haruka's legs. He feigns innocence, like he didn't understand the words, but God he stares up at Haruka with vivid green eyes and his dick against his cheek, and Haruka forgives him for faking instantly.

It helps that Makoto quickly goes back to the blowjob, taking the head of Haruka's cock into his mouth. Haruka shudders at the warmth of it, at the wetness that surrounds him better than anything he's ever felt before. But he can't relax and keeps his eye on the classroom door. By now everyone should be gone, but sometimes he hears footsteps in the halls.

The thought that he is getting married flashes through Haruka's mind, and it leaves him with a very sudden, very intense desperation.

They could be doing all of this at his house, he knows. But when they are alone, it is dangerous. Makoto seems to suddenly lose himself, pulling Haruka to him like he'll disappear if he waits for even a second longer. He's had the sense not to do it with anyone else around, but there is no way they can wait until they get home, and Haruka knows the moment will sweep him up just as quickly.

Better on campus where than in a back alley, half-way home, he supposes. And better somewhere they cannot do as much, do not have as much time or privacy. Somehow that feels dangerous.

So Haruka leans back against a desk as Makoto kneels in front of him, head bobbing over his cock. He buries his fingers in the brunet's hair, meaning to do it gently, but it comes out harsh as Makoto suddenly sucks him harder. He tugs, a warning to Makoto that if he keeps doing that Haruka will come, but all it does is make the other boy moan around his length.

He wonders if Makoto likes having his hair pulled, then. Haruka shudders at the idea and the vibration, and Makoto lets out a pleased hum. It sends heat through his veins, and all he can think to do is mumble, weakly, "Shouldn't."

But he doesn't do much more in protest. His cheeks are hot and he feels himself breathing heavily, watching Makoto nod his head slowly, lips still dilligently around him. He throws his head back, because there is no fucking way he can look at this and not come, and - he doesn't want to, not yet.

He yanks Makoto by the hair when he feels himself getting close, a warning that he can stop, though Haruka is not sure what the next step will be. Not here, in their classroom, not with him so desperately teetering on the edge, he thinks. But he's worried because he doesn't think he'll really be able to stop.

It doesn't matter what it would have been; Makoto moans at the tug, sounding not at all in pain, and Haruka's grip goes loose. The brunet returns to sucking him off, and there's nothing Haruka can do except grit his teeth and mumble, "M-Makoto," before he comes.

Makoto's mouth stays gently around his cock until he's finished, tongue running slowly over the sensitive head of his cock and making Haruka's fingers go tight in his hair again.

Makoto looks up at him, amused, and swallows.

Two

A sports apparel store changing room is not where Haruka expected to lose his virginity, really it's not.

They take a spur of the moment shopping trip after their club activities are over, per Nagisa's suggestion. Gou looks ecstatic for a split second, then after a moment of thought, as if plagued by an unpleasant memory, shakes her head and declines to join them and says she doesn't have that much time.

The boys head to the mall in a big bundle while Nagisa rattles off some little trinkets his sisters have asked him to go buy for them. He sounds pleased about the trip, but can switch to irritation at being their errand-boy in seconds.

After they've picked up everything Nagisa needs, they wander leisurely, enjoying poking around the stores with each other's company. And at first, the sports store is the same. But no one's interest lasts as long as Haruka's, and soon Nagisa is tugging at him begging to leave.

Rei mentions that there is a book store he wants to visit, though he seems to be making conversation more than complaining. Nagisa is ecstatic at the excuse and starts pulling, one hand around Rei and one around Haruka. But Haruka is holding two different swimsuits, carefully comparing the patterns up the outer thighs, and stays planted firmly in place.

Makoto smiles, amused, and tells the younger pair, "We'll meet you there in a minute."

But that is not really what happens.

Nagisa and Rei wander from the store, and Haruka into the changing rooms. Makoto waits patiently on a small bench for Haruka to try on the bundle of swimsuits he's narrowed it down to.

Haruka stands in the changing room wearing one of them. He likes the fit, but the purple marks that follow the lines of his body are more curved and round than his usual angular style, and the shade is too dark.

He calls Makoto in for a second opinion, but that is not really what he's after.

A part of him knows. A part of him tells him to just stop. To breathe deep, try on the other swimsuits, and move on. The rest of him knows something bad is coming, that this casual shopping trip is a calm before a storm. But he can't place why or how. If anything, things have felt like a storm for days, already.

But his gut feels tense when Makoto steps into the changing room, sliding the curtain firmly closed behind him.

There is a transition between this and bending over, heavy against the mirror, Makoto fingering him with smooth movements. Makoto is fast but gentle, and why the fuck did he have lube handy? (Then again, considering the past couple of days, a part of Haruka is not surprised or offended; instead he just thinks, "Well, yeah.")

There is definitely a transition, but Haruka can't think of it. Can't think of anything. He feels dizzy, pushing his hips back into Makoto's grip with his eyes clenched shut to avoid seeing it all reflected so clearly right in front of him.

"Haru," Makoto murmurs to him, voice thick. He plants sweet kisses on Haruka's shoulder-blades.

Haruka doesn't reply, just pressing back against him at a desperate pace. It's uncomfortable. His mind refuses to acknowledge that it feels good, but if it doesn't he wonders why he can't keep his hips from writhing back against it. He wonders why his cheeks are flushed and he has to bite his lip and why his breathing is so labored.

It doesn't feel good, it just feels very intensely, and for a reason that refuses to be placed, he wants more.

Not here, though. Not where someone could hear them, God, could see them.

Not like this, Haruka thinks, distantly, even as one of his hands reaches back, one finger loosely catching Makoto's waistband and tugging downwards in a silent command that he expects to be rejected.

The brunet tugs his belt open hastily, his pants and boxers dropping down around his ankles. Haruka spares the curtains of the changing room a quick glance; they reach the floor. Good. Still, he's sure their shadows aren't inconspicuous - is sure the sound will be audible from nearby. The mall's store is different from the one they went to last time, the layout giving them slightly more privacy, but even so.

He is overly aware of his heavy breathing, even as Makoto's cock is lining up at his entrance, cold and slick with lube. He tries to hold his breath just to keep quiet, but Makoto rubs against him in a way that is oddly soothing, if not infuriating.

"Relax," He commands, and Haruka shoots him a glare over his shoulder. It's not exactly a relaxing position, activity, or place, and Makoto's soft smile in return assures him he knows. But they do not fuss over it; not when his smile is just as broken as it is reassuring.

Makoto lets out a long breath as he pushes in slowly, which Haruka is about to hush him for, but his own breath catches in his throat. He chokes for just a moment, eyes wide at the sensation of being stretched so much - fingers were one thing, but Makoto is big all over.

It hurts more than the fingers did, but more than that just feels strange. Unfamiliar and uncomfortable, Haruka's mind offers, displeased, and begins to explain to him just how unpleasant it feels when Makoto starts to pull out and his whole brain shuts off.

With the slow and careful push back inside him, Haruka nearly moans. His legs go weak, and he opens his eyes to see them in the mirror, shaking visibly to support his own weight. His eyes wander upwards to Makoto, to his broad chest over Haruka's shoulder. To his face, cheeks flushed red, and his green eyes trained on his own actions.

Makoto lets out a quiet "Mm," that Haruka can't decipher as pleasure or frustration at the slow pace.

"Sh-Shh," Haruka scolds him.

Makoto holds his breath for a moment, like it's the only way to quiet himself. He is obedient for a moment, his thrusts slow and drawn out but his sounds muted. Haruka wants to hear him, he just really doesn't want to be caught fucking in a changing room.

But the strain of keeping quiet and keeping pace seem to get the better of Makoto. His breathing comes back in heavy pants that Haruka hears echoing in the otherwise silent changing room. What's worse, Haruka's own breathing seems ten times louder.

Haruka squirms against the larger boy now that his body has adjusted to his cock, pushing into him for more. He finds that with their heights it's actually almost easy to move, to raise himself up and drop back down to take in the whole length without Makoto moving.

Eyes closed again to avoid the mortifying reflection of himself and his motions, Haruka does just this.

Whatever his stupid brain thought about discomfort or this not feeling good drops out the window. He craves the friction, the feeling of Makoto hitting him deep while his body stretches to accommodate. There is an angle he can get with some movements, shakily and unsteady with their position, but God when he hits it, when Makoto cock is buried inside him and the boy's thighs are soft and warm against his legs - Haruka has to muffle a moan with his arm.

This time Makoto is the one to shush him, but his, "Ahh... H-Haru-chan, try to stay quiet," is cut off by a low, but breathy groan.

Makoto lets Haruka ride his cock, but he leans over the boy, hands roaming all over him his own hips never quite stilling. His grip is strong but careful wherever he gropes at, and though his thrusts are obediently slow and minimal, Haruka wants to tell him to just fucking stay still, because it feels so damn good if he can have him how he wants.

He's close when he can control the rise and fall of his hips over Makoto's length, but what makes him come is when Makoto stops letting him control things. When Makoto's hands, touching him gently, are suddenly at his hips holding on rough, holding him in place. Makoto is stronger than him, and there's nothing Haruka can do but choke back a moan as the pace goes hard.

Makoto fucks him faster, with an uneven rhythm of urgency. Haruka is pressed harder against the mirror and almost worries the walls will shake. He has to brace himself against it. "Nn-ah, Makoto," He hears himself as if not in control of his own mouth, his moans quiet but uncontrollable.

Makoto leans over him, his heavier body pushing him further against the wall; Haruka twists to scowl at him for it, but when he turns, Makoto kisses him. It is wet and messy, only barely on the mouth, but Haruka feels dizzy with need all over again. Makoto's eyes clench shut in concentration with his movement.

Haruka hears the slap of skin on skin, the wet sound of their fucking. He hears the quiet rhythmic creak of walls not made for this weight. He can't bring himself to worry about it, because more than that, he is aware of the long slide of Makoto's shaft, in and out of him, rubbing his insides hotly.

What makes him come is the slow realization that Makoto is murmuring his name, over and over into their kisses, breathing it into his mouth, whispering it in his labored breathes. As the orgasm's heat spreads through him, making his whole body tingle and go shaky like it isn't his own, Haruka feels himself tightening uncontrollably around Makoto's length.

Makoto makes a sound that Haruka would laugh at in any other moment, and he hunches further over him as he comes. His cock twitches inside him, a strange sensation when he is already stretched to his limits.

They stay that way for as long as Haruka can, but his legs can't hold him up with the added weight of Makoto over him. When he makes a small movement to stand upright, Makoto takes over, pulling out, and away from him with slow, careful movements.

They clean up and dress themselves in silence, taking far too long to do it with wavering hands and movements slow enough not to make any noise - both listening carefully for signs of anyone hearing them. Haruka feels certain someone must have. Such quiet sounds had easily pierced the quiet around them. But if they were overheard, there are no mumbles and whispers about it, and no strange stares from the few other shoppers or workers in the store as they leave.

Their clothes are slightly rumpled, but not any more than if they had been carelessly tossed on the changing room to simply try on different swimsuits. When they catch up with them, Rei and Nagisa do not seem to notice anything.

Makoto buys a couple of books, both fantasy adventure stories though one is young adult and the other clearly for children. Trying too hard to be casual, he explains that Ran might like the latter.

Haruka's legs feel weak and the normalcy of the moment is surreal. Walking is difficult - it doesn't hurt, but the tingling gave way to a kind of numbness that makes it hard to support his own weight.

He is impressed with himself for valiantly appearing normal for most of their trip, until Rei comments to him, quietly and away from the others, "Are you feeling alright?"

Haruka looks at him, trying to read his expression. There is nothing suspicious or accusing about it, just a mild concern, and so Haruka simply nods. "Nauseous," He lies, though the more his mind lingers on the word, the more true it becomes.

They still visit a couple more shops, but Haruka catches Rei mumbling to Nagisa, the smaller boy glancing back in his direction worriedly. It isn't much longer before the blond is enthusing about what a fun time they all had, leading the way to the bus stop for them to head home.

They part ways, but Haruka still winds up at Makoto's house.

There is a silent look they exchange, intuitively understanding they do not want to part for the evening. But Haruka's house is dangerous. There's no one around. Part of Haruka thinks dangerous how? It's too late to take back what they've done, and since it's already been breached, who cares what else they do?

But he knows this isn't reality. They can't keep doing this.

He only manages to communicate as much after Makoto has sucked him off again in the shower, hands roaming at his thighs and hips greedily. They're almost caught by Ren and Ran who barge in, eager to bathe together, just moments after Makoto has swallowed and helped Haruka into the tub.

Makoto has to herd the two into washing off before they eagerly jump into the tub, its edges overflowing as they compete for space with Haruka.

Haruka wants to say, "We can't do this anymore," but with the twins in the room with them, he settles for a matter of fact reminder: "I'm getting married."

His voice is harsher than he means for it to be, piercing the steamy bathroom as it echoes off the tile. The twins have already heard the news, but hearing Haruka say it himself gives them a new surge of excitement over it and they shriek at each other and at him all at once, oblivious to the tension.

Makoto smiles weakly. "I know," he says.

Ren and Ran tug at Haruka's arms, Ran insisting, "I was going to marry you, you know!"

"Were not," Ren scoffs.

Ran surges forward, splashing more water from the bathtub. "I was!" She huffs. "It was going to be a summer wedding, at the beach!"

"How nice," Haruka comments dryly, playing along for her.

She looks pleased, and in a strange, parental sort of way, Makoto does too. She continues; "Nii-chan was going to be the best man, and Mari-chan was going to be my bridesmaid."

"What about me?" Ren asks, suddenly bothered by the scenario for lack of his inclusion.

Ran just shrugs at him, like he hadn't crossed her mind. She pointedly looks away. "I don't know. You can tend the open bar."

Makoto has to cover his mouth to stifle the laughter at the idea of his eight year old sister planning an open-bar wedding to his...

To his something.

He wipes his eyes quickly, now forcing out laughter for a moment longer to make the tears inconspicuous. Ren and Ran are silent anyway, and for a moment he tenses, thinking he's worried them.

Ren's voice is soaked with concern, but when he breaks the silence in a whisper, he is asking, "Haru-chan...?"

When Makoto looks, Ran is already reaching up to scrub away a stray tear from Haruka's cheek. The boy lets her, leaning down to help her even as her thumbs rub at the corner of his eye harsher than necessary in her worry.

Ren practically leaps from the tub. "I'll ask mom if we can have dessert!" He announces, convinced this will make Haruka feel better about whatever has upset him.

"It's okay, it's okay!" Ran is saying quickly, far more distressed than Haruka seems to be. In fact, now Haruka is the one rubbing her back and trying to soothe her as she nearly starts crying herself, "I wasn't going to force you to marry me! A-and - I was going to listen to what you wanted for the wedding too!"

"I know," Haruka assures her. His tears had only lasted a split second in the wake of the reaction to them. Makoto imagines they wouldn't have lasted any longer, even alone. When Haruka lets out strong emotions it is always brief.

"I didn't mean to make you sad," She cries, and Haruka opens his mouth to tell her it isn't her fault, but she interrupts him, suddenly quieted in the steam of the room; "Are you scared?"

He lies and tells her, "No."

When he seeks out Makoto's gaze, the other boy has already averted his eyes.

One

Haruka wakes up on Makoto's bed, laying on his side with his arm asleep. Makoto is curled at his back, large and comforting around him. The larger boy's arm his over his waist, hand shoved under the shirt that he's borrowing, so that his palm is resting on his abdomen.

Haruka forces himself to open and close his hands, ignoring the small pain and intense tingling that comes with the movement until he can feel everything again normally.

Makoto's breath is warm on the back of his neck, and Haruka curls smaller into himself and against the brunet, feeling small and secure. He is not used to being held in Makoto's arms, but it is a comfort that he is instantly keen on.

But while laying still, letting Makoto sleep a bit longer, his eyes land on the calendar. His body twitches violently and he suddenly feels nauseous all over again.

Some girl he does not know, tomorrow. He will meet her and they will be married. They will spend the entire rest of their lives together in the exact way he always imagined he would with Makoto.

She must not want this either, right? She must be just as inconvenienced by it. Maybe she already has someone she loves. Even if they get along, even if they don't hate each other, she must already have her own relationships.

So maybe they will marry only in name. Maybe this can continue.

He wants to think that, really he does, but he doesn't believe it for a second.

His sudden movement must have woken Makoto, because the boy squirms into him, suddenly hugging him tight and breathing in deep.

"Morning," The brunet says, his voice cracking with lingering drowsiness.

Haruka tries to say good morning back, but what comes out is, "I love you."

Makoto blinks at him blearily. "Oh." He says, his voice breaking once more. This time it does not seem to be from sleep. For just one fraction of a moment, Haruka's shoulders shake so much that he thinks he might cry again, but he doesn't. His chest just feels tight and uncomfortable and it is all very overwhelming.

"We should start a petition," Makoto says, and Haruka is quickly able to control his heart-rate, "For you to not get married."

He says it casual as a joke - in fact, Haruka has heard him make this joke before about things like not having to do chores or overthrowing Gou's rulership when she's worked them particularly hard. He still almost chuckles at it, is almost fooled into being comforted by the relaxing words.

Then he recognizes it for what it is: avoidance. A non-answer. Soothing and amusing, but pointedly not a response to Haruka's words.

He tries not to be hurt, because he knows Makoto never does anything with bad intentions. Never says anything with cruel thoughts behind it. But then for Makoto, who has always been honey-sweet like a girlfriend, to be avoiding it concerns Haruka even worse.

He tries not to over-think it. Tries to rely on the things he knows about Makoto. For example, that nothing they've done over this past week would have been meaningless.

He doesn't call him out. He just says, "Yeah."

They stay in bed for hours. Even though he feels Makoto's morning wood pressed against him, and squirms against him in a way his mind warns him is teasing but the rest of him refuses to admit to, they don't do anything more than cuddle.

It's strange. The past few days have been filled with desperation, like the knowledge that soon Haruka will be married is a noose. It ties them together tight, but soon it'll all be over.

So until well past noon they stay in bed, watching the sunlight slowly light up the room. They hear the twins pad past their door in the morning, hear their shouting as the morning passes. There are silences so long and still that Haruka wonders if either of them have dozed off again.

He is immersed in pressing butterfly-light kisses into Makoto's arms when he hears his phone vibrate across the room. He has to disentangle himself from the larger boy, and does it with difficulty and very little motivation. He lingers on the edge of the bed to watch him stretch before getting up to check his phone.

A text message from an unknown number.

It states that it is his fiance, that she would like to arrange when and where to meet tomorrow. The language is formal and stuffy, polite and removed from any emotion. Though his eyes single out a typo, where she seems to have mistakenly used the wrong kanji. Probably texting too quickly, he imagines.

Somehow that's relaxing. She is a girl his age, and she makes mistakes.

She is not a picture-perfect mannequin of a person like his parents expect their relationship to be, vapid and obedient.

He doesn't have much to go on, but he feels intuitively that this must be true.

He replies, trying to be just a little more wordy than usual so there are no misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Rin often scolds him for using just one-word replies, and Makoto will always agree that tone is hard to decode from texts. Haruka may not be talkative, but if he isn't careful, his texts come off as though he is irritated.

He hands his phone over the the brunet before hitting send, silently asking Makoto to make sure that he doesn't terrify a girl he has never met. Makoto scans it over and nods that it should be fine.

Haruka still considers not sending it. He thinks - what if he just ignored everything and never helped her meet him? No. He knows that isn't an option. His parents wouldn't stand for it. He's sure she would suddenly show up outside his school or on his front door, belongings in-hand.

Makoto hits send for him, and his heart skips a beat with discomfort.

Her reply takes a long time, but Makoto reads it to him. "There are things we need to discuss, she says. She used the wrong kanji." He hears it vibrate again, and Makoto sounds amused. "There we go. She corrected it."

Haruka just nods, but he wishes the other boy wouldn't smile so easily today.

He's eager to hear her thoughts on the matter, but his heart won't stop racing, because it is tomorrow. He feels nauseous and wants nothing but the familiarity of his own home and - for the first time in his life, to be apart from Makoto.

He's grateful that Makoto doesn't try to keep him when he leaves for his own house, but thinks he would have liked to at least be walked home.

Zero

On Sunday, Haruka has to drag himself from the bathtub. Working up the motivation to dry his hair, to finger comb away some of the mess, and to get dressed, are all intense projects.

When he feels he looks moderately presentable, he shoves his cell phone in his pocket and heads out.

Their meeting place is a quiet cafe he's been to before once or twice. It's a fair distance from his home, and getting there is quite a walk. But he chooses this over taking the bus as a final, desperate stall for time.

Rin, Nagisa, Gou, and Rei each send him encouraging 'good luck' text messages.

Makoto does not. Haruka isn't offended.

There are very few other patrons, but she stands when she sees him. She is a petit girl, and pretty like a doll. She has smooth, pale skin and thin limbs. Her hair is ink-black and long, down to her waist he'd imagine, if it weren't in a high ponytail with a pink scrunchie. She dresses in conservative, feminine faded pinks, a cardigan over a dress. Nothing about her is bold except for her bright, bright violet eyes that land on his with curiosity and seriousness all at once.

She is also young. He can tell immediately that she isn't his age.

She introduces herself with a nervous smile and a bow that bends her much too low. Her thoughtlessly low neckline with her movement isn't distracting like it should be for such a pretty girl; not when what he wants is muscle and mess.

Her name is Chitanda Eru, and she is only sixteen years old.

He introduces himself back, his heart racing and tight as they settle into their seats. He does not hate her; he can tell this immediately. But that is all.

There is a tension in her eyebrows that doesn't lift despite her attempts to look relaxed.

"I will be honest with you," She begins, after their drinks have been set in front of them by the waitress. "I believe that relationships should be founded on trust." He tries not to wince at the word relationship. He is unsurprised by the truth, but startled to hear her announce clearly, "I don't wish to marry you."

He just nods along, trying to look agreeable. He isn't always sure that he's showing his emotions properly; that's why he likes Makoto. Makoto can read everything he's thinking without him having to try to show it.

Sometimes it would be nice if he could show it easier, though.

Wait. No. Stop thinking about Makoto. This is a girl he is going to marry - this is--

"I'm afraid I'm already engaged," She tells him, speaking into her cup before taking a serene sip.

Haruka stares.

She keeps her eyes on her lap, expression serious even as her voice wavers nervously. "I understand that with our family's agreements you were technically my betrothed from before I was born, however my own family is more inclined to listen to my wishes, and I've already spoken with them rather extensively."

"Oh." He eventually manages.

She looks apologetic, finally looking up to smile at him. "My parents will be contacting yours to discuss it with them and smooth things over. But I was still very curious to meet you, and to explain, of course, that it isn't anything personal..."

Haruka feels frozen. He tries to fight it off, to compose himself, by taking a sip of his coffee, and realizes it's only lukewarm, untouched and set aside for so long. He stares at the ripples in its surface, distantly aware that his hand is shaking.

Chitanda's voice is quiet and careful, "I apologize if I've disappointed you. To be honest the proposal was rather last minute, but I..."

He cuts her off to at least assure her, "No, it's fine. Perfect."

She smiles at him shyly, and he wonders if she's felt the desparation for these days. To be honest, he gets the impression that she had known about the arrangement much longer than him. But he wonders who her new fiance is, and if he panicked at having her taken from him. He is sympathetic to a boy he does not know.

"You don't seem terribly upset," She observes.

"I have a boyfriend," He tells her, surprised to hear himself say it. But yes he thinks to himself, yes.

She smiles, nods understandingly, and returns to her drink.

They do not chat much, as they leisurely finish their drinks. It is oddly comfortable with her in the silence, in a way that is similar to Makoto. But different - she does not fill the silences he leaves, but instead rests in them contentedly. She sometimes speaks up with the odd observation, or to tell him about her school or her fiance. He tries to reply with words more than nods, and thinks he does a decent job.

She dismisses herself long after their cups are empty, bowing low again and waving goodbye. He smiles when he waves her off, surprising even himself. She was pleasant company, but he feels numbed on the inside. Slightly less so when she texts him moments later how grateful she was for his company, her message formal as before but ridden with typos.

He does not move for a very long time, slouching in his seat and listening to the tick-tock of the decorative grandfather clock on the wall beside him.

***

Haruka returns to Makoto's house without so much as warning him. This is not terribly unusual for a boy whose phone is usually lost, dead, or left intentionally at home. Ren and Ran are the ones to open the door, the former on the latter's shoulders.

"Haru-chan," They greet him in unison, but the next sentences are different and drown each other out, so he dismisses whatever they were saying.

He nearly interrupts them, demanding impatiently, "Makoto?"

They try to exchange a look and nearly lose their balance, one leaning forward and the other leaning back. Haruka plucks Ren off of Ran's shoulders and sets him down beside her. "He's sick," The girl tells him. "He said he's gonna sleep all day and wants t'be alone."

"Thanks," Haruka tells them, already taking off his shoes.

They do not seem even remotely concerned that he's ignoring Makoto's wishes. Instead they break into whispers before darting down the hall, back to their own games.

He doesn't knock on Makoto's door, and when he lets himself in, the boy is laying in his bed, staring up at the ceiling. He tilts his head to look at Haruka, confirming it's him with a look on his face like he already knew. Then he relaxes again, eyes back on the ceiling as he runs a hand through his hair.

His voice is weak and helpless, "Please don't."

Haruka approaches him slowly. He leans over the bed, carefully pulling Makoto's arm out of the way of his face to gently kiss him on the lips.

Makoto lets him - kisses back, even, his fingers quickly tangling themselves in his hair. But when Haruka pulls back he just looks so sad.

Haruka doesn't nudge Makoto over to make room for him in the bed, he simply settles for what little room there is. He climbs in to lay down with Makoto, winding up half on top of the brunet just to fit at all.

There is something very resigned about the way Makoto lets him, and something that has given up in the way he doesn't scoot over to make room.

"She's engaged," Haruka says, as if it were simple, as if it were easy.

Makoto's tenses as Haruka curls up to him, slides as close as he can and cuddles into his body.

"So it's - everything is called off."

The words sound fake. More fake than the idea of getting married had been a week ago. Makoto is silent so long that Haruka almost isn't sure he understood.

The long breath Makoto exhales is shaky. His hands flex like he isn't sure what to do with them or what to say. They stay like that for a long moment, feeling baked by the sun coming in through the window. Haruka almost feels like time has not passed. Like it is yesterday morning, when they stayed in bed for hours on end.

Like his meeting with his fiance - his ex-fiance - had been just a dream.

His whole world suddenly surges, and he's so startled by his body being jostled that he doesn't comprehend at first. Makoto's arms wrap around him, holding him tight against him in a desperate hug.

"I love you," Makoto says, and Haruka hugs him back and pretends not to hear him snivel. "Since forever."

The smaller boy opens his mouth to cut him off, but a part of him wants to hear it.

"I should have told you before," Makoto rambles on guiltily, growing faster and faster as he goes on. "And - everything was bad, this week was - I'm sorry. But I'm also not, and I know you're not either, so I just - I love you. And you're mine. Okay?"

"Okay," Haruka agrees, after waiting a moment to be sure Makoto was finished.

Makoto turns his head like he could avoid Haruka's gaze, but the smaller boy can see his flushed cheeks when he glances up. Makoto murmurs, "We don't have to, um... I mean we can... Take it slow from here on out. If you want. We have time. Right?"

"Sure."

Makoto nods, satisfied with that answer. "Right - okay. Good."

Still staring up at Makoto intently, Haruka announces, "I don't really want to take it slow."

"That's fine too," Makoto says in one breath, hardly waiting for Haruka to finish his sentence.

Haruka hums at him, amused, more-so when the brunet's cheeks redden all over again.

But then Makoto says lowly, "Good. I'm not sure I could have held back for long, really," and Haruka feels his own face quickly burning up to match.