Makoto Tachibana entered his apartment, took out his shoes and stretched his long limbs once the door had closed behind him. Without looking at the sofa, he left his bag there and stepped into the kitchen, heading towards the fridge and getting himself an energy drink. He was exhausted. Part-timing 3 times a week, while one was trying to get his studies done in Tokyo university, was no piece of cake, but he loved his job and he knew it would help him in the long run.
Still holding his half empty can, he peeked inside the bathroom.
But his roommate and best friend Haruka Nanase wasn’t there.
He pouted, “Odd, He should have finished his training already… Oh well!” he finally shrugged and entered his room to change his clothes and get something more comfortable.
He checked his wristwatch. It was a bit early for dinner, so he decided to study a bit. He went back to the living room to get a book from his bag when he noticed it not on the sit, but over a head.
“Haru! Sorry, didn’t see you there!” he took his bag and was about to apologize when he noticed the empty glance at the TV, “Haru?”
He next noticed other details, like the half-melted almost full ice cream container on Haruka’s lap, the spoon in his mouth as a decorative asset or the fact he was staring at the TV while it was switched off.
“What are you doing?” he managed to ask Haru
“Eating ice cream,” he replied with the spoon still in his mouth
“You don’t like ice cream,” Makoto pointed out.
Haruka looked down at the full container and nodded, “Right. But Gou said it was the best thing to lift your mood.”
Makoto tried to joke, “You better not let her hear you call her that…” then he blinked “Wait? Lift your mood?”
But Haruka didn’t reply.
He didn’t need to, Makoto had always been able to read him like a book and knew when he was upset about something.
He took the ice and spoon from him, which Haruka didn’t do any effort in stopping, and went to the trashcan to throw it away, leaving the spoon in the sink, then sat on the sofa again next to Haruka with extra effort, as to make his friend bounce from the impact. Then he proceeded to lean on his friend's side with his eyes closed, thinking.
Then he opened his eyes, straightened up in his seat and clapped.
“That’s it! We’re going out for dinner!”
“Don’t wanna…” Haruka pouted, looking away to the side.
Makoto jumped onto the other side of the sofa, as to face Haruka again, “You’ll get distracted from the issue.”
Haruka turned his head again, scowling, “It’s a bother going out!”
But Makoto gently smiled, “There is a new cafeteria in Mizulando!”
He didn’t see it, but could feel Haruka’s eye twitch at the mention of the name of the new aquarium opened nearby.
“Then…?” he asked again
Finally, Haru replied without looking at his face, “W-whatever, if you’re so eager to go… It’s not like I’m interested….”
A few hours later Makoto sighed, despite his best friend having a good time, he as still trying to form a scowl as if he didn’t want to show he was doing better. Still Makoto knew him well enough. The only time Haruka had been really upset was when Makoto had stopped him from diving into the shark’s tank.
They decided to get dinner there and were lucky enough to get a free table, the place was packed.
Haruka was frowning at the mackerel hamburger half eaten in his tray after Makoto had joked about him already having eaten that fish in any possible way now when they heard a voice addressing them.
“Yo! Haru! Makoto!”
Before Makoto could even register whose voice was it, he noticed from the corner of his eye that Haruka had twitched in his seat when he heard it. Looking up, he saw their former teammate Rin and his coach Sousuke coming in their direction, both holding trays packed with as much food as Makoto, although he had already finished his share and had been eyeing a bit Haruka’s unfinished hamburger. He cursed a bit, among other reasons, because now that they weren’t alone, asking his friend to let him eat what was left of his burger would seem as rude and embarrassing in front of Sousuke, who Makoto didn’t know that well.
“The place is full, can we sit here, there is no table free left,” stated Rin, not even waiting for a reply, sitting already in an empty chair next to Haruka.
Sousuke shook his head in disapproval, but shrugged in the end. He thought those being Rin’s friends, they probably wouldn’t have a problem with it, and sat in between Makoto and Rin.
Rin started talking about swimming and Makoto and Sousuke joined him, but Haruka remained silent, staring at his drink.
Makoto stopped glancing at the half-eaten hamburger to look at his owner. He was starting to worry a bit. Haru was the silent type, but staying quiet while people were talking about swimming for more than 10 minutes was out of character for him. Not even Haru was THAT apathetic.
He turned to look at Rin, who was staring at him holding his laugh.
“It’s just us here, you can ask Haru for the rest of his burger.”
Makoto laughed softly and he was going to grab it when he heard Rin adding something that froze him in his seat.
“Never thought you would be ok with leftovers, dude.”
He noticed Haruka stiffen immediately and before he could turn to him, Haruka got up and left them.
Makoto rose too, “Haru, wait!” and ran after him.
Rin looked with confusion at Makoto running. Sousuke sighed, “You can be a real dick sometimes, you knew that?”
Rin took a bite off his burger with his sharp teeth and shrugged, “Dunno what you mean, but if you’re talking about a real dick…” he added wiggling his eyebrows.
Far away from there, Makoto managed to catch Haruka some blocks from their rented house. It was already dark and not so many people were walking down the street. Haruka had stopped running, but hadn’t stopped walking either and Makoto was walking at the same pace, just a couple feet behind him, as each time he had tried walking next to him, Haruka had started walking a bit quicker until Makoto stayed a couple feet behind.
It got to a point that Makoto couldn’t stay silent anymore, “Haru…”
“Why shouldn’t I?”
Makoto didn’t reply. What could he say?
They kept walking in silence like before, only that Haruka didn’t try to outwalk him anymore, so Makoto walked alongside him, still sad and worried.
It was once they entered their home that Makoto couldn’t stand it anymore, “Haru, what he said…”
But Haruka glared at the ceiling, stopping himself just inches from the living room sofa, “Rin can have the sensitivity of his teeth, but that doesn’t mean he was off the mark there.”
Makoto frowned, “I don’t think he was ri-”
But Haruka interrupted him as he turned to look at him, quite angry and with a glint of a tear in his eyes, “Wasn’t he? I am leftovers and you had to put up with me out of pity!”
Makoto narrowed his eyes and with a barely audible whisper, spoke, "Out of... pity?" Then, without changing his expression, Makoto slapped him.
That surprised Haruka so much his anger evaporated and he rubbed his cheek, trying to understand what had just happened. Then Makoto got closer until his forehead touched his own. Haruka's eyes met Makoto's and he could see the pain in them. It took him only a moment to understand that he hadn't been the only one slapped.
Although maybe not physically.
Haruka thought he would be angry at him, but his words came as soft as ever, “Who said I didn’t want this?” With his finger, he poked Haruka in his chest right at his heart. Haruka blinked, but couldn’t reply before Makoto resumed talking, “Even if what he said was the truth, yeah, leftovers aren’t the first choice, but you know what? In the end, it’s what u find when you most need something and what satisfies you.”
Haruka pondered it for a second, “Really?”
Makoto pressed his forehead more into Haruka’s and rubbed the cheek he had hit moments ago, gently, “And even so, this is not the case. I was there before any of them, at your side. It can’t be called leftovers when it’s what you were aiming for from the beginning. Who cares what it looks like? As long as you and I know how it really is…”
Haruka nodded and slightly smiled.
“So…” Makoto grinned getting his face closer to Haruka.
“So?” Haruka slightly blushed and raised a brow, uncertain by the sudden change of mood.
Then he blushed, even more, when he felt something hard and long poking him at his abs.
“Let’s kill some zombies!” Makoto exclaimed as he handed him the Wii controller while holding another one in his other hand.
Haruka closed his eyes and chuckled, for not notiving him getting the controllers, and opening them again in excitement, “You’re on!”
For 2 guys with such athletic records in swimming, being game nerds didn’t seem to fit, according to many people. But they could care less about stereotypes as they played left 4 dead 2.
They didn’t care what others would think.
Because for them, only what the other thought was important.