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The Thing of Kings

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Makoto was nervous as always. It was the start of the new year and even though he was honestly so ready to teach again, he was also so incredibly nervous that this might be the year he messes up. What if the kids didn’t like him? What if one of them accidentally dies under his watch? What if he can’t protect them if a murderer comes in the school? Oh god, he’s possibly freaking out more than he should for a teacher. Especially one who teaches first grade. First grade.

Oh god, they might hate him. They’re going to come in and say how much he’s not as awesome as the teachers last year or the other teachers. Oh no, he can’t do this. What if—

“Makoto, are you okay?” Gou asks, placing a worried hand on his shoulder. Makoto jumps and glances at her. He gives a bright smile and nods shakily.

“Oh, yeah, I’m fine. Yeah, yeah, just nervous,” he replies and she just shakes her head and laughs.

“Every year, huh? They’re going to love you. Calm down,” she assures him, and that doesn’t help Makoto at all.

“They’re going to hate me!” he wails suddenly, and that’s when he spots a gorgeous man standing in the doorway entrance, a tiny kid at his side.

“Mr. Tachibana?” the man says, a small smile playing at his lips. Makoto immediately straightens, trying his best not to blush and he nods.

“Yeah, hi, welcome. Sorry. Hello, that’s me. Okay.” Makoto hates himself. The man’s smile grows a little larger and Makoto wonders how someone’s eyes could possibly be that blue.

“Hi. I’m Haru. Haruka Nanase. Seems like we both know what it’s like to live with feminine names, huh?” he teases, but before Makoto could say anything, he’s gesturing to the adorable kid at his side. “This is my son, Sachihiro. Just call him Sachi. Say hi, Sachi.” The little boy just tugs on Haru’s shirt and hides behind him and Makoto smiles at him.

“Hi, Sachi! I’ll be your teacher for the year! I’m actually nervous as well, so don’t think you’re the only one! We can get through it together!” he proclaims and Sachi lets out a shy smile, his eyes twinkling. Haru bites down a smile and nods before turning to face Sachi.

“Sachi, I’ll be here to pick you up as soon as school ends, okay? I have to go to work now, but I’m sure Mr. Tachibana will take excellent care of you. I love you, okay?” Sachi nods and jumps to give his father a hug.

“He’ll be in great hands. This one’s a great teacher, he is, and no matter how much I tell him, he never believes me,” Gou adds. Haru looks up at Makoto and smirks a bit.

“I believe you,” he says, not even glancing at Gou. Makoto blushes. Well, okay, then. Gou shoots Makoto a knowing smile and before Makoto can even try to recover himself, the beautiful man has left and two more parents have arrived. Sachi stands there awkwardly for a bit until Makoto goes over to him and promises that he’ll have fun and be fine. Makoto even lets him choose where he wants to sit and tries not to be endeared when he chooses to sit in the seat closest to Makoto’s desk.

How cute. (Just like his dad.)

(Makoto decides to ignore that and continues to welcome the new parents.)

♔♔♔♔

Haru’s early to picking up Makoto, and Makoto watches as he observes his son playing on the playground with his friends from last year. Makoto decides on what he’d usually be too nervous to do.

“First to arrive both times, huh?” he asks, and well, that sounded stupid. Apparently Haru doesn’t think so given the fact that he just laughs in response.

“I guess. I don’t know. I just want to make sure he’s safe,” he responds.

“You and me both then,” Makoto laughs. “I was one inch away from having a panic attack this morning!”

“Oh, yeah, I saw that. To be honest, I was a little nervous about Sachi having a crazy teacher. Was pretty pleased when you seemed normal,” he replies, and Makoto rolls his eyes.

“Gee thanks for that boost in confidence,” he says. The bell rings then and it’s as if a trigger went off in Sachi’s head since he immediately abandons his friends and runs to his dad.

“Dad!” Sachi exclaims, latching onto his legs. Haru picks him up and lets Sachi nestle himself into his chest. Makoto thinks he’s having heart problems by now.

“Well, I guess we’ll be off. See you tomorrow, Tachibana? What’s your first name by the way?”

“Makoto,” he replies, smiling. Haru smiles too.

“Well, see you tomorrow, Makoto,” Haru repeats before nodding and heading off.

Makoto sort of thinks he’s in love.

♔♔♔♔

If there’s one other thing Makoto loves just as much as he loves teaching, it’s swimming. He loves swimming. Absolutely and undeniably loves it. What he doesn’t love is being attacked by the sight of said Haruka Nanase, the very one he met earlier (yes, the beautiful dad), exiting a pool, with water dripping down his apparently very chiseled body. First of all, what the hell, and second of all, what the hell.

“Makoto?” Haru asks, eyes wide and confused when he catches sight of said teacher.

“Uhm yeah? Hi. Definitely did not expect to see you here,” he says, trying his best not to ogle the literal god in front of him. Haru blushes and looks away, coughing a bit. Makoto wonders if he’s coming down with something. Oh god, what if Sachi catches something and comes to school and gets the entire school sick and it’s all because Makoto didn’t say something to his dad about the cough and what if he’s the reason that the entire school has to be shut down because of a massive outbreak of diseases oh god oh no what if—

Before Makoto can start blaming himself for world hunger, Haru breaks his thougths with, “Yeah, haha, same here. Do you…uh, swim?”

Makoto just nods and awkwardly gestures toward the swimsuit he’s wearing. “Uh, yeah. Backstroke mainly. Love it. I’ve been doing it forever,” he breathes out happily. Haru nods.

“That’s cool. I just do free. Love the water; it calms me, you know?”

“Yeah, it does,” Makoto responds.

“Do you want to swim together?” Haru asks, and well, duh.

Makoto just smiles, nods, and immediately dives into the pool, looking up at Haru from the water.

“Well, what are you waiting for then?”

♔♔♔♔

It becomes like a Thing after that. A Thing meaning every other day, they meet up and swim together, go out and eat after, and then talk to each other about their last two days. A few times, Haru even brings along Sachi, who he’s explained was his cousin’s kid before that cousin unfortunately died. Sachi doesn’t even remember his actual mom since he was just a baby when it happened, but Sachi definitely makes it a point to love her just for giving birth to him.

Makoto thinks he’s very sweet and tries not to have any bias to him in the classroom setting. (It’s hard.)

He also learns that Haru is very much single and very much gay, and Makoto doesn’t know how he feels about that. (He does; he loves it.)

Makoto makes sure to tell Haru that he also is very much single and very much gay, and he thinks that Haru was pleased to learn that given the brilliant blush he gave. (He can’t be sure though; he could just be making things up.)

All in all, it’s a Thing, and Makoto loves it. He doesn’t think he’s been this happy in a long time, and honestly, no matter how bad of a day it may have been at school since he has a student who unknowingly picks on another and another student who keeps trying to eat the crayons no matter how many times he tells him not to, he can just talk to Haru and it’s all fine.

Haru gives Makoto his phone number on their sixth meeting, and just like that, texting becomes a Thing as well. (Also, Snapchat.)

Makoto is very pleased with all of these Things that are happening here.

(He thinks Haru is too.)

♔♔♔♔

When Haru doesn’t show up one day for their Thing, Makoto gets a little worried.

Haru's response has him hopelessly endeared. (He hates him.)

He still swims that day, but honestly, it’s just not the same.

He wonders what that could mean.

♔♔♔♔

It’s been long conversations over the phone at two in the morning and swimming every day together and Makoto helping Sachi learn his alphabet quicker when Haru finally gets the nerve to ask Makoto out. It’s the day before winter break, and Makoto honestly couldn’t be happier.

“Of course, Haru,” is what Makoto says and Haru just smiles really large, and Makoto wonders if Haru thought that there was actually a chance that he would say no.

And the date is simple enough actually. Haru takes him out to a nice restaurant and orders mackerel because he’s obsessed and Makoto orders it too because why not, and it’s all rather lovely. Makoto figured he would’ve been more nervous about this happening, but honestly, he just knows Haru so well by now that he can’t act like this is an actual First Date because he has nothing to learn.

They’ve basically already been dating, so going out on a date with Haru is nothing new. It’s just a little more romantic with a little bit different intentions.

It seems that Haru realizes this as well and halfway through asks Makoto if he wants to leave and go somewhere else.

Makoto agrees and they end up going to a dimly-lighted park and have their first kiss just after Haru comments on how it’s starting to snow, and honestly Makoto is glad he never kissed Haru before because kissing him under the first snowfall of that winter is what made it even more spectacular, and he felt like a king. Haru was warm and soft and everything wonderful as tiny drops of frozen water melted as soon as it reached the place where their lips met and would continue to meet.

And when they pulled away, it wasn’t a Big Deal. It was just their Thing.

♔♔♔♔

They make it official that same day and tell Sachi the very next day who claimed to already know about it and act like he wasn’t secretly excited at the thought of Makoto being around more often. Makoto loves him, and looking at Haru, he realizes he might love Haru as well.

Actually, there’s no “might” to it.

And later on that week, Makoto tells him he loves him when Haru’s talking about a person at his work who he doesn’t really like, and Haru just kind of stops for a moment, nods, says the words back softly before applying a soft kiss to his lips, and then continues on to rant about the person at his work, and Makoto doesn’t know if he’s ever experienced such happiness before.

He can’t really help it.

It’s just Their Thing.