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inaudible but certain happiness

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The shoulder bag he’s carrying feels more and more out of place in a public area such as his university's walkway. If someone were to walk by the current scene, it’d almost be like a confession, only it’s not just an awkward one where Makoto must politely refuse a heartfelt emotion and further trample over it by informing the unfortunate person that he was already dating the person he has loved for as long as he could remember...

 

But this isn’t a confession and Makoto isn’t refusing someone his age but rather a man in his thirties while walking out of the auditorium of his university where he had just emceed for Saito in a information session about the sports program. Saito had lost his voice after too much drinking the previous night.

 

“Tachibana, I’m really sorry ! Saito lost his voice last night and we need a male narrator for this demonstration. Please help us out ! You’re the only one who hasn’t gone home for the break yet !”

 

In the present, Makoto can only look in shock at the man standing in front of him with an eager smile and holding out his business card.

 

“I’m really sorry, but what did you say ?” He smiles demurely and he feels it twitch when the man laughs and then holds out his hand for him to shake.

 

“I was wondering if you’d like to voice act for me. My name is Yamashita and I am a producer for audio dramas. I couldn’t help overhearing you narrating on stage and I knew your voice was perfect for the role I am scouting for. What do you say ?”

 

Makoto felt dread pool into his stomach. “By audio dramas, you mean drama CDs ? I really don’t think I can do that sort of thing. I am not an actor you see…”

 

Yamashita waves a hand dismissively and adjusts his glasses, “It’s fine, you’ll be perfect. You’ll be paid, have royalties and the drama is only two hours of audio. Couple days of recording and you’ll be done.”

 

Wavering, Makoto silently curses to himself. Helping Saito has lead to more trouble than it was meant to be. Inwardly, he imagines the reaction of Haruka and his small sniff he’d do if he told him.

 

Well, just refuse then. You don’t have to be so self-sacrificing. And a pushover. Make decisions. You’re so wishy-washy.

 

But I’d feel bad if I didn’t, Haru-chan !

 

Whatever.

 

He turns back to Yamashita who has wisely rescinded his card back into his cardholder and waiting expectantly.

 

Sighing resigned, Makoto closes his eyes and agrees. “Okay. Just this once though.”

 

“Excellent. I look forward to working with you, Tachibana-san.”

 

 

 


 

 

 

OPTIONAL AUDIO INSPIRATION—HEADPHONES

 

 

Haruka lies on his back on the floor of his apartment and moves his hands in the familiar unfamiliarity of the strokes Makoto has done since elementary school at the swimming club.

 

He remembers Makoto smiling when he told him, almost a month ago.

 

“You’re trying to swim backstroke now Haru ?”

 

“Yeah. My specialty is free but I should know some more strokes better.”

 

“Do your best then Haru. I will be rooting for you !”

 

Makoto had rushed off suspiciously fast after that, running out of the door with a stack of papers reminiscent of a script in his hands.

 

Confused, Haruka had just watched him hightail it out of their shared apartment which they had quickly realized was better with the homesickness they had both experienced after a few months of living away from Iwatobi.

 

Now, he pulls his laptop more closely up his torso and squints a little at the screen of the Olympic footage he borrowed from Mikoshiba-senpai.

 

Examining the fluid stroke of the arm of the swimmer as the camera moves to a close range shot, Haruka moves his own in tandem and feels his hand strike the edge of the coffee table with his enthusiastic swing bringing down a stack of mail he had brought in earlier.

 

The letters and envelopes crash onto his face and for a moment, Haruka just lies there, arms up, with a mountain of paper obstructing his sight. The crowd in the video screams loudly as something happens and Haruka decisively plucks a manila envelope off his face.

 

Sitting up, he allows the rest of the letters to fall onto his lap as his eyes examine the addressee on the front of the heaviest envelope.

 

Did Makoto order something ? He wonders, reading the blocky writing.

 

Too curious and knowing Makoto wouldn’t ever get upset at him for opening mail, Haruka unseals the tab, removes a CD and flips it over.

 

And almost drops it as on the cover is an incredibly naked man holding another man in an endearingly sweet and dangerous borderline suggestive position. Both are long legged and flung flushed against the white sheets of a bed.

 

Is.. is this PORNOGRAPHY ?!?

 

Flushing, Haruka dismisses the idea. Makoto would never buy this. It has to be an accident. Fluke. Total. Mix. Up. Flipping the CD around in his embarrassment, he notices a blue sticky note.

 

 

 

Tachibana-san,

 

Thank you so much for your agreement in completing this project. Royalties will be deposited into your account bimonthly after launch.

The production and sales team sends you a complimentary copy that we were going to give you when you came in for your payment details but you left before I could. So, I mailed it over.

I hope we can work together again in the future, you were phenomenal !

 

Regards,

Yamashita

 

 

 

Staring for a long time at the cover, Haruka feels a sense of arousal stir and the sounds of splashing water from the Olympic footage echoes in his ears making his skin tingle.

 

He reaches for his laptop and opens the CD case, popping the sounds of cheering and water out.

 

A grand piano crescendos. Soft kissing sound punctuates the room and soft giggling washes over Haruka with its familiarity.

 

Haruka doesn’t realize he was holding his breath until the familiar voice of his boyfriend breathes gently over the speakers with him. Blowing gently in puffs, Makoto giggles again and blows out another breath.

 

Heart in his throat, Haruka scrambles for his earphones and plugs them in putting the earbuds in. He doesn’t turn the volume up. Definitely. Doesn’t. 

 

Nestled in his ears was now gentle faint puffing and his ears warm in the soft caressing hums of his boyfriend’s happy exclamations. How could someone’s noises, the softness of a voice feel like butterfly kisses ?

 

Bubble kisses, rustling sheets, kisses humming and gentle breaths fill his ears and Haruka feels a blush steal over him as the blood rushes to his face and to a place he’d rather it not.

 

Soooo cute〜 ! Let me give you a kiss, darling ? You will, won’t you ? Please ?

 

Haruka buries his face into his hands.

 

C’mon now, don’t be like that ! Makoto’s voice is smooth and breathless, almost too quiet to be heard but rough with lust and Haruka is so bothered but in such a good way as Makoto's voice traces a cool finger over his spine teasingly.

 

So mean ! He hears sheets be moved around when suddenly, with a huff of exasperation, the sounds of a body pushing off the bed, he hears the sound move; feeling as if Makoto was right next to him.

 

Makoto laughs, happy and the kissing moves closer in and murmurs, now I won’t let you do that. I love you, beautiful. So why don’t I touch you… right here ? Huh ? No. It’s okay, don’t be scared. I’m here… Auwaa, so cute. It’s okay, it’s okay. Just touching. Do you see me ?

 

Haruka huddles closely into himself and clutches the blanket that somehow travelled into his arms and tries to rub off the sparks on his skin. Only, the panting and gasps in his ears intensify, making the flames on his skin smoulder even more.

 

Ooooh, it feels good, doesn’t it ? Here ? Okay. But you have to let me hear you ! Or…  I’ll be sad, y’know ? Here, here, careful okay ? Let’s play with… this.

 

“Haru ?”

 

Haruka lets out a tiny panicked scream at the real Makoto’s voice and he swears he almost ignites, aflame and flustered. He’s sweating and warm and tingly all over, sparks going off and his heart is all abuzz. What was going on ? He does not scream.

 

Nor should he get flustered by a voice that has been chatting comfortingly at his side for all his life and up until now. 

 

Makoto screams a little too, alarmed by the usually unrufflable Haruka as he stands anxiously and aware in the doorway, his face a look of confusion and fear as he sets down his bag on the coffee table. Suddenly, a look of worry replaces the previous expressions on his features and he hurries next to Haruka, his hand reaching out.

 

“Haru-chan, did you get a fever ? You’re red and you look so flushed !”

 

Haruka jerks away hard and he feels the earbuds yank out of his ears and with such force he did, the jack pops out of his laptop too.

 

Makoto is looking devastated at Haruka’s withdrawal and he pushes back onto his heels as he crouches down. “Haru, is there something wr—”

 

—hhhh ! Oh, this is amazing ! Ah, ah, ah, ahhh~, I love you, I love you, my beautiful. Auwa, mmm, let me kiss you here next and here and—

 

Haruka watches Makoto’s face erupt into flames and they both freeze, staring at each other before they both scramble to slap the laptop shut, effectively cutting off the sound and Makoto buries his face into his hands.

 

“Ahhhh, Haru, how did you get that ?!”

 

“What was Makoto doing. And it was in your mail. It’s… not really my fault.”

 

Makoto groans and he looks up looking into Haruka’s eyes steadfastly.

 

“Sorry Haru. Someone wanted me to do this for them. Yamashita, I think and he said I had a.. a sexy-cute voice !”

 

Haruka looks determinedly away and mumbles, “It was really sexy.”

 

Makoto blinks and then he glances into Haruka’s lap. “Haru-chan,” he whispers. “Are, are you hard ?”

 

“Shut up ! It’s your fault ! Why do you sound so good when you’re breathless ?”

 

Haruka, embarrassed beyond belief to be listening to a recorded Makoto and not noticing a real Makoto feels reckless abandon overwhelm him and he grabs a cushion to start whacking Makoto upside the head over with it.

 

“Ouch, ouch, ouch ! I’m sorry...” Makoto pauses and a gleam appears in his eye.

 

Haruka feels a sinking feeling in his chest and he starts smacking him more earnestly with the cushion. Don’t you dare, Makoto. Don’t you pull this over me…

 

“Ne, Haru-chan~,” he says and Haruka shivers, the icy-hot trail sliding up and down gently on his spine again and he feels his skin tingle afresh. The cushion falls from his grip and Makoto leans over him, pushing him down onto the couch tenderly, but firm.

 

“Did you say you got flustered from my voice being breathy ?”

 

Flustered, Haruka looks to the side and stubbornly says, “No.”

 

“Haru-chan, if you don’t answer, I’m going to be upset !” Feeling his heart melt at the cute words and the kind face, Haruka mutters the truth reluctantly.

 

“In my ears.”

 

And like always, Makoto can always hear him, even if his voice was buried under the sea. Or shoved in a blanket and muffled by his arm.

 

“Like.. this ?” Makoto’s gentle voice and his lips are on the shell of his ear and Haruka inhales sharply and he feels his heart race. He doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t need to.

 

“Oh, I see. Thank you, Haru-chan. I guess taking the drama CD project was worthwhile in the end. Now, let’s see what exactly in that CD you found sexy, ne ?”

 

Makoto places another starburst kiss onto his ears and Haruka glares and surges up to kiss Makoto back.

 

“I can be sexy too,” he growls and rolls on top of his giggling boyfriend, knowing him better than he does himself and he feels another spike of arousal like the festival sparklers of their youth springing to life on their skin and bursting in their hearts just as brightly as the stupid, loud fireworks.

 

And of course, Makoto has to giggle into his ears.

 

 

 

 

OMAKE

 

 

 

“Hey, Haru ?”

 

“Mmm ?”

 

“Do you think I should take up voice acting for a bit ? It seems fun and you like it a lot.”

 

“...”

 

“Okay, sorry, I’m sorry. I am Haru-chan’s only.”

 

“...”

 

“I love you too~.”