Personal Space - A MakoHaru Story
by D.L. Warner
Nagisa and Rei always asked what was the biggest difference between back home and Tokyo. They wondered if it was the noise or the crush of the crowds on the trains and in the streets. Makoto often replied that the noise was something he and Haru were still adjusting to months after arriving. It seemed that their neighborhood didn't get quiet until late at night. They had taken to wearing headphones and listening to music in order fall asleep. The crowds were also something that required an adjustment. Makoto never thought he and Haru were slow walkers. They were athletes, after all. But often they found people shoving past them in certain parts of their commute to school. He was amazed that there could be that many people in one place anywhere all moving with great purpose en mass.
Those were somewhat difficult problems, but not what unnerved Makoto the most about Tokyo. He'd never tell Nagisa or Rei what that was because that would prompt questions he couldn't answer. In Tokyo, women watched him or Haru and him everywhere. During the commute, they were mostly working women or high school girls. Those eyes would stare but only in passing. It seemed to Makoto that some looked forward to their appearances for reasons he didn't understand. On campus, it was all types of women who were quite bold in the way they appraised them and tried to catch their eyes. Haru noticed, of course. Those big blue eyes missed very little no matter how detached he seemed to be. Makoto noticed when Haru's eyes would widen at the bold looks before darting back to him and their conversation. Haru's ears would redden, and he'd step closer to Makoto during their trips to the university.
Haru tended to stay closer to Makoto than he would back home. Naturally, Makoto didn't mind this. He liked Haru close. Their arms were often touching as they walked. On the train, they usually faced each other slightly off center. Haru kept one foot between Makoto's feet as there was the occasional woman that would try to squeeze between them. Staying a hair's breath close also kept them from being separated getting on the train or navigating Tokyo walk ways. On campus, Haru would glare back at the women staring at them until they turned away with a giggle. He'd grab Makoto by the wrist and hurry them both toward class. None of these overtly hostile reactions from Haru deterred the bold co-eds in the least. Makoto overheard them gushing over how their intensity and aloofness was sexy. This was the only negative thing about his uni life, and Makoto didn't know what to do about it.
One evening, this phenomenon was particularly intrusive. On light workout days, Haru's coach allowed Makoto to swim cool down laps with him. He was fairly certain that Seijuro Mikoshiba or
Then, they realized they weren't alone. People were applauding. They turned to find some women from their classes coming down from the bleachers. Makoto realized that he was angry. He quickly grabbed towels and placed them over Haru's shoulders and then his own, suddenly feeling exposed.
“You two are always rushing off,” one girl said.
“All you do is study and swim,” Another one said.
“That's why we're here,” Haru frowned.
“We wanted to know if you had girlfriends back in your town keeping you on a tight leash,” a third one said.
“That's a personal question and rude to ask,” Haru retorted, snagging Makoto's wrist. “We need to change.”
Makoto was so glad to be away from them, he forgot to excuse himself. Haru was silent through their shower.
“Are you okay?” Makoto asked as they dressed.
“I just want us to get home,” he replied. “Can we eat in the neighborhood?”
Makoto nodded with a smile. There was a family run ramen house near their place that they liked. They were treated like sons there with gentle teasing and free seconds. Girls were sternly discouraged from interrupting their studies.
“Okay,” Makoto sighed.
Just then, Coach came in to close down the locker room.
“Ah, Haru, Makoto,” he said. “There are...girls out there that say they are waiting for you to go have yakiniku with them.”
“No, they barged in on the cool down,” Haru said.
Coach shook his head. “That didn't sound right with you two. I'll get rid of them. You take the back exit. It will put you on the street alongside the building.”
“Thank you, Coach,” Haru said.
“Yes, Thank you,” Makoto repeated with a bow. He was curious as to why the coach thought that was so unusual, but he was much more interested in getting away from those girls.
They didn't relax until they were on the train. At night, the women were too tired from their day to gawk at them. Still, Haru sat close on the long side seat. The tension in his body eased as they moved further away from school toward their neighborhood. He even leaned on Makoto a little, and that felt good.
Makoto found himself smiling. Haru's answer to those girls was one he had taught to Ren and Ran when they came home fretting about what some of the older kids had said about them. They wondered why he and Haru were almost always together. One of them suggested that maybe the two should get married. Makoto gave them that answer. Being considered rude was the last thing a good child in their town ever wanted. That ceased the chatter immediately. Somehow, Makoto knew those girls wouldn't be so easily diverted.
The rocking train and the length of the day soon had Makoto's head drooping. He rested it against Haru's without really thinking about it. A stop or two later, they were roused from dozing by a couple saying goodbye at the exit next to where they were sitting. It took a moment to penetrate through the mental fog that it was two men making out as the train pulled into the station.
“I wish you didn't work nights,” the one said between almost desperate kisses. “I hate sleeping without you.”
“I hate it, too,” the other whispered. “But I can't leave without proper notice. Please...”
“I'll be okay,” came a sigh.
“Lock yourself in, and text me when you get home.”
“I will. I'll have breakfast waiting.”
The remaining man leaned against the door for a while before sitting down across from them. The man looked at Makoto and Haru wistfully.
“You're very lucky,” he said. “You get to go home together.”
They looked at each other in surprise. Haru blushed only a little, and he didn't turn his eyes away. In that instant, Makoto wondered why they had never bothered to deny that they were a couple when it occasionally came up. They never even got angry. Their stop was called then, preventing any discussion.
An hour later, they were full of ramen and feeling a good kind of tired. The intrusive women were forgotten as they reached their apartment building.
“Mom sent some cookies,” Makoto said as he approached his door. “Want to share them and some tea?”
“Yeah,” Haru replied. “I'll make the tea. Have you found all the cups?”
Makoto rolled his eyes. “Yes, Haru-chan. But I haven't put up the futon.”
“I don't care.”
Makoto chuckled. He set out the cups then smoothed out the sheet and blankets on the futon. He never seemed to have the time to neaten his apartment before going to class, and he was always too tired at night.
“Ren and Ran sent us some drawings,” Makoto said with a smile.
“That's nice,” Haru said softly. His voice was warm.
“Mom says hello...she misses us both...wants to make sure we're making friends....eating right and keeping warm,” he murmured. “Mom stuff.”
Haru didn't comment as he sat next to the Makoto on the futon with the cups of tea. The opened package of shortcake cookies was between them. After a blissful bite and a swig of tea, they both relaxed completely.
“Do I keep you from making friends?” Haru asked quietly as he considered his tea.
“No,” Makoto replied emphatically. “No, Haru. I have all I can handle keeping up with my studies and getting to and from classes. I'm happy with things as they are.”
Haru nodded at that. He looked up at Makoto with a serious expression.
“Why didn't the girls back home stare at us the way they do here?” He asked.
“I'd been thinking about that,” Makoto replied. “Those girls grew up with us always together. They knew it was no use trying to get between us.”
“Yeah. The girls here are really getting to be a pain,” Haru muttered. “It should be clear that we aren't interested. “
“Maybe if they thought we were a couple, they'd leave us alone,” Makoto jested.
Haru shrugged. He looked at Makoto levelly. “I wouldn't mind. That guy on the train thought we were.”
Makoto nodded with a nervous smile. He felt his heart pounding again. There was so much he wanted to say while Haru was being so open, but he realized that his friend looked dead tired.
“Can you make it to your apartment?” Makoto asked as he cleared away the cups.
“I could, but I don't want to,” Haru murmured. His gaze was still intent. There was a challenge in his eyes that was clear even in the dim light.
Makoto met Haru's gaze and held it as he leaned in. It seemed the right thing to do. When Haru lifted his face towards Makoto's, it was the most natural thing in the world to gently kiss his slightly parted lips. There was a pleasant jolt through Makoto's body when Haru moaned at the taste of their tongues dancing together. Somehow, one of Makoto's hands ended up in Haru's hair.
When they pulled out of the kiss, Haru yawned. Makoto chuckled softly as he rested his forehead on Haru's.
“This was a long day,” Makoto said. “There is no hurry. Why don't you get comfortable while I put away the cookies and wash the cups?”
Haru went to the bathroom while Makoto put the kitchen in order. They had classes later in the morning than their norm, so they could sleep in a little. The last thing he wanted to do upon waking was clean.
By the time Makoto finished, Haru was exiting the bathroom in an undershirt and underpants.
“Pick a side of the futon,” Makoto said softly. “I'll be right out.”
Though he was slightly hard going into the bathroom, Makoto didn't try to do anything about it. Instead, he brushed his teeth and washed his face then stripped down to his underwear. This was far from the first time he and Haru shared a bed. There were countless times when Haru would feel too tired to walk up the stairs to his house after a late video game session. They slept together easily, often winding up all over each other. Makoto knew this was different. For some reason, he wasn't afraid.
Haru was on his side facing the empty side of the bed nearest the kitchen. Makoto turned off the lights then slid under the covers. Before he could wish Haru good night, he was looming over him.
“Makoto...never let anyone touch you,” Haru whispered. “And if they ask again, tell them you have someone.”
The intensity in those vibrant blue eyes was clear by moonlight. Makoto reached up to caress that soft, dark hair.
“I won't let anyone touch me, and I will tell anyone who asks that I have someone,” Makoto answered softly.
Haru kissed him with more fervor than before. Makoto moaned softly as he wrapped his arms around Haru and pulled him close. Haru kissed him almost lazily for a long moment before gently ending it.
“'Night,” Haru said. He was really tired as he rested his head against Makoto's chest.
It felt like they'd been sleeping like that forever. Haru sighed happily as Makoto pulled the sheet and blanket up to his shoulder.
“I was so afraid I was losing you to Rin,” Makoto whispered.
“Idiot,” Haru replied tiredly. “Who else would I want by my side? I was so scared at the thought of losing you.”
“We were both idiots,” Makoto laughed. His heart was so full, it felt like it would burst. “Good night, Haru.”