AUTHOR'S NOTE: Here is my submission for the first day of MakoHaru week. I'll be posting the stories for the other days as separate documents so if you want to read them too then keep an eye on my profile this week!

The prompt for Day One was "The way that I met you."

I hope you enjoy! Please review!

Side note: this story is dedicated to my best friend Meghan who is the reason I ship MakoHaru :-P She was also having a bit of a bad day today so I hope this cheers her up :-)

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Free. Sadly.

The Way That I Met You

Makoto had always been there for as long as Haru could remember.

From their first day at Kindergarten Makoto had been the only one who came up to speak to him. Haru had been sitting at the side of the room all alone, fiddling with his shoe laces which he still couldn't tie by himself. He had never really interacted that much with other children so he didn't know how toabout it. He didn't have any brothers or sisters and there weren't any other young children in his neighbourhood that his parents took him to play with. He was used to be alone. He didn't necessarily like it, but he was used to it.

"Are you okay?"

Haruka had looked up to see a toothy smile and messy brown hair. He recognised this boy already; when the children had to stand up at the start of the day to introduce themselves (Haru had just mumbled his name and quickly sat back down again), this boy had had everyone in the room smiling and laughing, including the teacher. His natural charisma drew everyone to him and he had even made Haru crack a smile.

But now Haru just stared at this boy in confusion. He'd seen that he had been playing with all the other children and that they all wanted to be his friend. Why was he over here talking to Haru?

When Haru didn't answer the boy crouched down and took Haru's hands in his. "Look! I'll show you how to tie them," he smiled kindly, guiding Haru's fingers through the motions of tying his laces. Normally Haru would protest about someone touching his hands without warning but for whatever reason he didn't. He just stared at his laces as they tied themselves up thanks to this boy.

Once they were tied the boy smiled up once again at Haru. "There you go! Now you can come play! I'm Makoto," he introduced himself, standing up and holding his hand out.

Haru considered refusing but there was something about the sparkle in the boy's eyes and the gentleness of his smile which made him actually want to go and play, and concept which was complete foreign to Haru. He nodded once before reaching out and taking Makoto's hand, standing up slowly. "I'm Haruka..." he said quietly.

"Nice to meet you Haru-chan!" Makoto grinned before the two ran off to play on the swings.

Celebrating their birthdays together was the norm. Since they were best friends Makoto always came to Haru's birthday parties and Haru always came to Makoto's. Makoto's parties were always more party-like however. The whole class would be invited and there would be music, games, cake, and sometimes even a bouncy castle or a magician.

Haru's parties - if they could even be called that - were always a much small affair. Usually only a few people would be invited: Makoto, Nagisa and Rin. Sometimes Haruka's parents would insist on him inviting some of his classmates or a cousin or two, but regardless of who else was there Haru would always just stay with his three friends.

One year though, during his 10th birthday, Haru was all by himself.

Rin had already gone to Australia, Nagisa was visiting his grandparents and Makoto...well Haru had no idea what had happened to his best friend. He had called the night before in a panicked voice saying that he was really sorry but he wouldn't be able to come anymore and then hung up without any more explanation.

Haru would never admit it to anyone, not even to Makoto himself, but he was really worried and a little bit hurt. Although he liked Rin and Nagisa well enough, it was Makoto who he had always spent his birthday with ever since he could remember. His birthday wouldn't be the same without him.

His parents knew something was wrong, and they could guess it was because of Makoto. They tried to cheer their son up by waking him up with birthday cake and presents, but nothing worked. Eventually he left the house and went and sat at the park which was a few minutes away from his home. He sat himself down on one of the swings and sighed heavily. He and Makoto would always come here on his birthday once everyone else had left. It had become a strange tradition somehow that Makoto would always give Haru his present at this park. Haruka wasn't even sure how it started, but it was always his favourite part of his birthday. He knew Makoto didn't get a very large allowance but despite Haru's protests Makoto always saved up his allowance for weeks beforehand to buy Haru a birthday present, always saying that he didn't have anything else to spend his money on.

Haru closed his eyes as he let himself gently swing back and forth, the only sound in the park being the soft creaking of the swing's chain. He suddenly remembered that first day in Kindergarten when Makoto had introduced himself and he allowed himself a rare smile. He was so grateful that Makoto had spoken to him that day or else he may not have any friends at all now. He slowly realised that he had never actually thanked Makoto for that and opened his eyes slightly, looking down at the ground as he continued to swing. That wasn't right...he should have thanked him a long time ago.

He closed his eyes again and all his thoughts drifted to Makoto. His eyes, his smile, his laugh...Haru's heart sped up slightly just by thinking about it. A faint blush flared up on his cheeks when he thought about the way Makoto would take his hand if he was ever nervous or scared about something. Even though he was only 10 he knew was his reaction meant but he found it difficult to admit it to himself. When had he realised he thought about Makoto different than his other friends? He wasn't sure. All he knew was that his heart fell a little bit whenever Makoto let go of his hand. There was always a part of him that wanted to protest, that wanted to hold Makoto's hand even tighter so he couldn't let go, but he was never able to muster up the courage to admit it and when Makoto let go of his hand, Haru always let him.


Haru's eyes flew open as his ocean blue eyes met olive green ones. Makoto smiled that smile and yet again Haru's heart sped up.

"I hoped I'd find you here," he said softly, sitting down on the swing next to Haru. A summer breeze gently blew through the park cause their hair to ruffle slightly. "Your mom said you'd left just a few minutes ago."

"...Where were you?" Haru asked.

Makoto laughed quietly. "Actually...I panicked last night because I didn't have a present for you and I didn't want to come without one..."

Haru thought about this for a moment before he laughed under his breath. Makoto stared at him in shock, knowing that Haru hardly ever laughed.

"I don't mind if you didn't have a present," Haru smiled somewhat shyly. "I...I just wanted to spend my birthday with you. That would have been enough."

Makoto's cheeks flared up and he looked away from Haru. "I...I'm sorry I didn't come then."

Haru smiled again and shook his head. "It's're here now."

Makoto smiled back before digging his hand into his pocket. "I do actually have a present for you though. I spent all last night and today making it."

Haru's eyes widened as he pulled out a small wooden dolphin, beautifully carved.

"My dad helped me make it," Makoto said as he held the dolphin out to Haru. "It isn't perfect because I rushed it but I hope you like it."

Someone with a keen eye for detail would notice that what Makoto said was true: there were a few nicks in the dolphin's fins and tails where Makoto had been too keen to finish and had rushed, and one eye was slightly higher than the other. But Haru didn't care. To him it was perfect because Makoto had made it for him. Because of that he automatically loved it.

"Thank you..." Haru breathed as he took the dolphin from Makoto, running his fingers over the smooth wood.

He realised that now was as good a time as ever to be honest with Makoto so he took a deep breath and looked up at him.

" you remember our first day of Kindergarten?"

Makoto nodded. "Of course I do. I taught you how to tie your laces, right?"

"Yeah, that was the day we first met. I didn't think anyone was going to talk to me but you just came over like it was the most normal thing in the world. And I'm...I'm really grateful for that. If you hadn't done that then I probably would have stayed by myself for the whole of Kindergarten. So...thank you."

Out of embarrassment of having been so honest with his best friend Haru quickly dropped his eyes back down to his present. He was so transfixed by the dolphin that he didn't notice Makoto slowly leaning over until he felt his lips press softly against his cheek. When Haru looked round in shock Makoto smiled shyly before hopping off of his swing and wrapping his arms around Haru.

"You're welcome. And I'm really glad I did, cause you're my best friend Haru."

Haru was still slightly confused by what Makoto had done but as he hugged his best friend back he realised that he wasn't upset or angry at what he'd done. He smiled to himself as he rested his head on Makoto's shoulder, the bright July sun shining down in them.

From that day on a new birthday tradition was born. Every year the boys would meet at that park and Makoto would give Haru a soft kiss on the cheek as well as his present. And eventually Haru began to kiss him back.

AN: Hope you enjoyed this! Again, please review and if you want to see my submissions for the rest of MakoHaru week then keep an eye on my profile! Thank you!