Haru hated these banquets. They were always so tedious and honestly a waste of time. It was all just suits and dresses and alcohol and more time in which he wasn’t allowed on the ice. And the music- he had heard better in elevators. The background noise constantly grated on him as he stood there wishing he was elsewhere. It was the exact opposite of the feeling of being free he got from skating. If Amakata wanted him to network so badly, she could do it herself. Maybe he would tell her that too.
If he managed to get drunk enough to forget his self preservation instincts, that is.
Sighing, Haru downed his glass of champagne, looking idly around the room. Rin was antagonizing- or being antagonized by- Rei again; it was always difficult to tell who was the instigator when it came to those two. With Rin’s barely there temper and Rei’s obsession with beauty- and himself- it was always only a matter of time before the two skaters collided.
He could see Gou was trying to diffuse the situation again as per usual, though she looked more amused by their waving arms and exaggerated posturing than Haru thought someone in her position probably should. Not that it really mattered to him; as long as Rin was occupied with either Rei or his sister then he wouldn’t be pestering Haru for choreography again. Haru didn’t understand why Rin kept asking; Haru only skated free. His routines came to him in their own time, it wasn’t something he could create on demand- and definitely not for Rin.
Haru was just about to attempt to slip out unnoticed- maybe he could manage to sneak back into the rink- when an arm was suddenly thrown over his shoulder and a familiar too-sweet scent invaded his nostrils.
“There you are, Haru! I’ve been looking all over for you!” Kisumi gave him a wide grin, even as Haru pushed his arm off. “You know I’ll beat you next time, right~?”
“Oh come on! Don’t be that way,” Kisumi pouted, lips pushed out in an exaggerated manner- much like most things about Kisumi in Haru’s opinion. “It’s no fun if you don’t care!”
“I only skate free,” Haru informed him with a blank look, attempting to get his rival to leave him alone so he could go back to contemplating escape in peace.
“Boo, Haru! You really need to lighten up!” Before Haru could dispel the notion of that ever happening, Kisumi suddenly brightened even more- something Haru hadn’t thought possible- and jerked Haru around to look at something across the room. “Oh my~ would you look at that?”
Deciding to table his distaste at the manhandling for the moment, Haru’s eyes obediently followed Kisumi’s pointing fingers, widening in disbelief at the sight before him, and all words promptly left him.
“I didn’t know Rin was a dancer,” Kisumi hummed thoughtfully, wincing noticeably as Rin failed to perform a windmill without landing on his ass. “Or maybe he isn’t…”
“Who is he dancing against?” Haru asked, interest suddenly peaked as he tried to identify the unknown man doing a much better job than Rin at their impromptu breakdancing competition. He wasn’t sure how he had missed the change in music from dull and boring to… whatever the hell was currently flooding the room; Haru would hardly classify it as music.
“Hmm? Oh, that’s Makoto! You know, sixth place?” Kisumi looked over at Haru with a raised brow. “Really, I don’t know why I’m surprised you don’t remember. You never do pay much attention to anything besides the ice, Haru.”
Haru was vaguely sure that was supposed to be an insult, somehow. He shrugged, not really caring as the man- Makoto- continued to hold his attention. He moved with a fluidity and grace that Haru was used to others saying about his own skating, Makoto’s body moving to the beat of the awful music as if he were made for it. Speaking of, Haru looked around for the source of the noise, not even a little surprised to find that Nagisa had commandeered the party’s sound system and somehow hooked up his ever-present cell phone. The overenthusiastic skater cheered Makoto on from the sidelines, throwing teasing jeers at Rin as well, only serving to further irritate him- and further deteriorate his dancing.
“You know, I’m surprised to see Makoto out there like this,” Kisumi eventually continued, eyes moving between Makoto and Haru, watching both closely. “He seemed shy to me. Cute, but shy.”
For some reason hearing Kisumi call Makoto cute didn’t sit well with Haru and he frowned. Still, he couldn’t help but agree with the sentiment- at least in his own mind. Makoto was definitely attractive, tousled brown hair falling seductively over his bright green eyes occasionally as he danced, hips twisting to the beat in a way that reminded Haru more of nightclubs than fancy skating banquets. Not that he was complaining of course, as Haru didn’t think he could drag his eyes away from Makoto’s enticing form if he wanted to- which he definitely didn’t.
“You should get out there,” Kisumi said suddenly, catching Haru by surprise.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Haru did not dance. Except on ice, of course.
Kisumi eyed him closely for a few long moments before responding, each second adding to Haru’s irritation. “Don’t you think you two would make a great pair? Dancing, of course.”
Haru shot him an incredulous look. What the hell was Kisumi going on about?
“Okay, too soon, gotcha. Well, how about saving Rin from getting himself arrested.”
Haru looked back at the circle that had formed in the middle of the crowd to accommodate the dancers, noticing that Rin’s face was coming frighteningly close to matching his hair and his ‘dance moves’ were becoming more aggressive, violent, and reminiscent of punches and kicks than anything that belonged on a dance floor. He managed to catch Gou’s eye as well, her worried look finally pushing him to action to go and rescue his volatile rinkmate; Amakata would surely have a lot to say in the morning if he didn’t.
He ignored the excited clapping and giggling of Kisumi behind him as he made his way to Rin, cautiously approaching and just managing to dodge a punch when he tapped Rin on the shoulder.
“Oh, sorry, Haru,” Rin said after noticing him, not sounding sorry at all and completely ignoring Haru’s glare.
“I think you’ve had enough dancing, Rin.” Haru tried to keep his eyes on Rin and not the green eyed vision still gyrating a few feet away that seemed to demand his full attention.
“What?! I had him right where I wanted him!”
Haru resisted a roll of his eyes, instead looking around for a suitable distraction for Rin. He caught sight of the perfect one, standing moodily off by the horderves, trying and failing to look at Rin surreptitiously. “Hey, isn’t that Yamazaki or whatever over there?” He couldn’t contain his eye roll when Rin instantly lit up, though he immediately tried to pretend he hadn’t.
“Huh? Sousuke’s here?! I mean, oh, I should go say hi, probably.”
Thoroughly distracted, Rin ran off and Haru couldn’t help but snort at the way Yamazaki’s eyes went wide and soft as Rin approached. Those two were so obvious- at least to everyone but themselves.
“Haru-chan! Did you come over to dance too~?”
Groaning, Haru turned, looking down to find a bubbly smile and bush of blonde hair staring up at him expectantly. “No. This isn’t even music, Nagisa,” he said, lips curling in distaste at the booming bass that continued to fill the room.
“Oh, well, if that’s the only problem… Here you go! This should be more Haru-chan’s tastes!”
Haru really wished he had feigned sick instead of coming to the banquet. Though he couldn’t say Nagisa was wrong, the music now filling the room much more acceptable to him. It sounded Spanish in origin, though Haru wasn’t really a music buff and couldn’t say for sure.
“So go ahead and get out there!” Nagisa yelled, giving Haru a push and threatening to send him sprawling across the floor.
“Ah! Oh, are you okay?” the person he had just been shoved into asked.
Haru righted himself, straightening his annoying suit jacket before looking up- right into vivid green eyes.
“Y-you’re Haruka Nanase!” Makoto exclaimed looking at him with wide excited eyes.
“Ah, yes, of course! Haru!” Makoto beamed at him, the sudden smile making Haru’s eyes go wide; no smile had the right to be so beautiful. “Will you dance with me now, Haru?”
Haru jolted in surprise. “What?”
“Well, Rin left for some reason. It’s a shame, he’s really fun to dance with!”
Wondering if restraining himself from rolling his eyes so much was healthy, Haru focused back on Makoto, about to decline. Now that he was paying attention to more than stunningly bright eyes and gorgeously distracting smiles, he could smell the champagne that seemed to permeate the air around Makoto. Either he had taken a bath in the stuff or he was piss drunk on it. Either way, it was probably a bad idea to dance with someone in that state.
“I don’t really know this song,” Makoto continued, entirely innocent of Haru’s revelation. “I’d feel a little silly out here by myself, won’t you dance with me, Haru-chan?”
Haru was about to protest the nickname- he only let Nagisa get away with it because it was Nagisa and that was not a hill he was prepared to die on- but then Makoto stuck out his hand, droopy green eyes looking so hopeful as a genuine smile curled his lips, and drunk or not, Haru could tell Makoto was being sincere about wanting to dance with him. “... Alright.”
To say Makoto lit up at his words would be an understatement- it was more like he positively exploded, teeth shining and eyes squinting shut in enthusiasm as he tightened his hold on the hand Haru placed in his, tugging Haru- who gave a surprised gasp at the move- into his arms before he started moving them around the floor.
And if Haru was surprised at Makoto’s breakdancing skills before, he was utterly shocked at the way he could move to the more classical music pouring from the speakers at that moment. Haru found himself eagerly following along, mimicking Makoto’s movements and using inspiration from the time he had used Libertango for his short program.
It brought back memories of when Amakata had forced him and Gou to try pairs skating when he was still in Juniors, a move that was all around disastrous as Haru was much too selfish a skater for such a thing, but had still been fun in a way- though Haru would never admit that to either of them. Working off of each other, being in tune, the back and forth dancing in a pair required- it was exciting in a way Haru had forgotten entirely.
Dancing now with Makoto was the most alive Haru had felt in longer than he could remember.
He had no idea how long they danced, how many songs had passed. All he registered were the bright smiles and kind eyes directed at him as he moved in sync with Makoto.Their bodies moved together to the beat of the music which seemed to echo through them, adapting to each new song and rhythm as if they were made for it. It was like they could read each other, knew what the other was going to do before they did it. Makoto seemed to move in anticipation of Haru, and he did the same, feeling a strange elation fill him at the idea of someone understanding him for once.
Haru felt like he was drowning but the last thing he wanted to do was pull away for a breath of air.
Haru glided around the floor seamlessly with Makoto, arms and hips undulating in a way that was much more refined than Makoto’s previous dancing, but no less provocative. Mostly they danced around each other, their training to keep distance from others while skating kicking in. But every now and then they came together, hands slipping along waists and arms, bodies touching in ways that made Haru’s breath come out short. He knew he was flexible- had to be to be a gold medal skater- but when Makoto lifted his leg up in a move that almost put Haru into an upright split, he couldn’t help the way his face went red in surprise, though he made no move to dissuade Makoto from holding him in that position, chests flush together for longer than the beat of the song required.
Eventually though they both began to tire, moves petering out until they were both panting off to the side. Haru staunchly ignored the eyes he could feel burning into him, feeling more exhilarated than he had in so long. And all because of this man whose name he couldn’t remember an hour(?) ago.
“Hah, you’re a really good dancer, Haru!” Makoto gushed, smiling even as he caught his breath.
Haru was considering replying in a similar fashion when Makoto suddenly complained of the heat and stripped off his shirt- suit jacket having disappeared long ago- leaving him standing there in just a tie and pants, abs glistening with sweat. Haru was pretty sure his mouth dropped open- purely from shock, of course. And he certainly didn’t have to swallow to rid his mouth of the sudden excess of saliva there.
“Oh, are we stripping now?! Count me in!”
Haru was suddenly jostled out of the way by a shirtless Kisumi. A whoop from who could only be Nagisa followed, and suddenly Kisumi’s pants were flying passed Haru’s shoulder and Haru was sure he went blind for a split second. Then the music changed again, the bass back as more nightclub- appropriate music replaced the sultry Spanish chords. Or perhaps it was more stripclub appropriate, as somehow a pole had appeared in the middle of the room and Kisumi was immediately hanging upside down from it in only too-tiny undies and his tie.
He didn’t know how, but Haru immediately suspected Nagisa was somehow behind it.
Haru was about to turn away in disgust when he suddenly heard Makoto’s laugh- a sound Haru was sure came from angels- and then Makoto was down to tight briefs, skidding over to join Kisumi on the pole in sock-clad feet, tie still around his neck as well. And not even the sight of an almost nude Kisumi could tear Haru’s eyes away from Makoto’s tensing muscles as he expertly maneuvered himself around both Kisumi and the pole.
The vague thought that if skating didn’t work out for the two, then they could make a killing opening strip clubs crossed Haru’s mind, though it was quickly replaced by other less family-friendly thoughts when someone handed Makoto a bottle of open champagne which he then proceeded to pour all over himself and a contorted Kisumi. God, if only Kisumi wasn’t there to ruin the image, Haru was sure he’d have to excuse himself to deal with a problem in his pants.
“Mako-chan doesn’t drink much,” Nagisa said, suddenly popping up next to Haru. “But when he does…”
Haru murmured a noise of acknowledgement, eyes still following Makoto as he moved to the music, now dripping wet with champagne. It would be such a waste to just let that expensive drink fall to the floor off of those impressive abs, maybe Haru could just-
“Uh oh, looks like the kill joys are back.”
Haru’s gaze followed Nagisa’s, noting the appearance of the coaches. They usually ended up disappearing at some point during these banquets, all going off together for whatever reason. “To bond!” Amakata had told him once, though he was pretty sure it was just to get drunk off things stronger than champagne and complain about their skaters if the red faces and slurred words when they reappeared were anything to go off of.
Eyes darting back to Makoto, his heartbeat suddenly picked up, and not because of the way Makoto was currently sliding upside down along the pole. Haru knew nothing about Coach Goro, except that he would probably not be too pleased about his skater pole dancing at a fancy banquet. As the music suddenly returned to its original dull playlist, Haru darted forward without another thought, grabbed Makoto’s shirt from the floor near his feet, and reached for Makoto’s hand before he could pull himself back up the pole.
“The coaches are back,” he said in response to Makoto and Kisumi’s questioning looks.
“Oh, boo!” Kisumi pouted but immediately went to look for his discarded suit.
“Here,” Haru said, pushing Makoto’s shirt into his hands. When Makoto just looked at it questioningly Haru sighed, grabbing it and helping Makoto into it himself. He tried to ignore their close proximity and how Makoto was slightly taller than him as he buttoned the shirt, feeling Makoto’s breath fan his cheeks as he worked- causing his fingers to stumble a few times even though he was still mostly sober. “There.” he declared once he was finished, allowing himself the indulgence of running his hands down Makoto’s chest in a feigned attempt at smoothing out the wrinkles.
Makoto gave him a wide grin. “Thank you, Haru-chan!”
“Enough with the -chan,” Haru mumbled, though he couldn’t help the way his cheeks went red at the nickname.
Suddenly there were arms wrapped around him and Haru looked down in surprise. Makoto was slightly stooped so he could reach around Haru’s waist, smushing his face into Haru’s stomach for a beat and making warmth flood Haru’s chest. When Makoto looked up at him again Haru was shocked to see dark frames on his face. Did Makoto usually wear glasses? Somehow that made him look even more attractive in Haru’s opinion.
“Thanks for dancing with me Haru!” Makoto said, grinning up at him in a way that made Haru feel like he was melting. “You know, my family owns a hot spring resort, you should come visit when the season’s over!”
Haru watched Makoto babble with wide eyes, not knowing what to say as this practically-a-stranger continued hugging him as he wriggled in place; not that Haru wanted him to stop. Then Makoto looked at him with drunk, yet somehow extremely lucid and knowing eyes.
“And if I win the dance-off, you should be my coach! Be my coach, Haru~!”
Haru’s breath hitched as the words registered. This man- Makoto- wanted him to be his coach. Someone he had just met but who seemed to understand Haru better than he himself; understand how Haru was currently feeling lost in regards to skating, how the ice was no longer the refuge it once was, how he needed a change. And maybe this was it.
He couldn’t answer, too flabbergasted, and then Nagisa was peeling Makoto off of him, presumably to put him to bed. Haru watched as Makoto was dragged away, eyes going wide when Makoto turned to look back at him when they reached the door, their eyes locking for a moment as the lilt of a sorrowful violin solo filled the background. The look Makoto shot him would haunt Haru’s dreams for months as he tried unsuccessfully to figure out what it meant.
He decided he would have to answer Makoto’s request in the morning, when he was sober.
And the answer would be ‘yes.’ As those green eyes bored into his soul as if they could see everything Haru tried to hide, Haru found he wanted Makoto to see- to know him, inside and out.
Because he was falling deeply, inexplicably in love.