AUTHOR'S NOTE: Day three of MakoHaru Week! Prompt today was "take my hand forever" (Studio audience goes 'd'awwwwww').

This fic is dedicated to alisha arlexa, teamsouthpark, Starstrukkxx and NeitherSaneNorInsane.

Hope you all enjoooooy! Please review!

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Free. I also don't like writing disclaimers but there you go :-P

Take My Hand Forever

"Good morning Haru-chan."

Haruka sighed. "How many times have I told you to drop the chan?"

Makoto laughed slightly as he held out his hand. "How many times is it going to take for you to realise I'm not dropping it any time soon?"

Haru shook his head at his best friend but he smiled as he took his hand and allowed him to lift him out of the bathtub.

It was a Saturday so the boys didn't have school, but they had agreed to meet up at Haru's house to work on homework together. Originally Rei and Nagisa were also meant to come but they both had called Makoto early that morning to say something had come up. Makoto hadn't protested; both were terrible liars and he was fairly certain they were going on a date. The two boys had made it fairly obvious that they had liked each other for a while now so although they might regret not doing their homework sooner, Makoto wasn't about to deny them the chance to be alone together.

Looking at Haru now as he dried himself off from his bath, Makoto couldn't help but feel a pang of jealousy when he thought about his other two friends. Although it had admittedly taken them a while, they had eventually been able to admit their feelings for each other. And while he was fairly certain Haruka was aware of how Makoto felt about him since he'd never really tried to hide it – and he had a sneaking suspicion Haru felt similarly about him – he still didn't have the courage to freely admit it. He was too scared of ruining their friendship.

Haru caught him staring but instead of getting annoyed he just smiled. Makoto felt his heart skip a beat. He loved it when Haru smiled, especially when he smiled at him. The taller of the two boys felt his face heat up before he looked away from Haru's ocean-blue eyes.

"I'm…going to wait outside," he mumbled before walking out of Haru's bathroom and closing the door behind him.

He leant against the wall and took a few deep breaths to try and get his heart rate back down to normal. He looked down at his hand which still hand a few droplets of water on it from when he'd hoisted Haru out of the bath and he sighed heavily before clenching his hand into a fist and bringing it in tight to his chest.

Holding hands had always been a normal thing for him and Haru. When they were kids they would do it all the time: at school, walking home, when they were playing. It ensured they didn't lose each other and it gave them both a feeling of security.

Neither of them had understood why their parents had told them they probably shouldn't hold hands in public as they got older. Eventually they realised why they'd been told this due to the impression people would get and so they did stop; only occasionally would one grab hold of the other's hand when they were nervous or afraid. But as they progressed together into high school and Makoto slowly realised that his feelings for Haru were changing, he kept finding himself wanting to hold Haru's hand again.

Makoto felt awful admitting it to himself but every time he realised Haru was still in the bath when he showed up at his house his heartbeat sped up because that meant he would get to hold his hand again. It may only be for that fleeting moment when he helped him to his feet but it was better than nothing, and the moment their hands met sent shivers down his spine. He always hoped Haru felt the same but if he did his face never betrayed him. He had noticed Haru staring at him a lot recently, and he didn't look embarrassed whenever Makoto spotted him although at first he had blushed and shyly looked away which Makoto found completely adorable. It had sparked hope in Makoto that maybe Haru felt the same but he didn't know how to ask him.

The bathroom door opened and Makoto straightened up as Haru walked out, now dry except from his hair and clothed.

"How much of the homework have you still to do?" Haru asked as he closed the bathroom door again.

Makoto frowned slightly as he thought. "I haven't done maths yet, or Japanese. I got the English essay done though, and science."

Haru nodded. "I've done half of maths, and I finished English too. I don't really get the science homework though."

"I'll help you with it then," Makoto smiled kindly.

Makoto held in a chuckled when Haru's cheeks tinged red. "Thanks…"

Haru turned quickly to go down the stairs where their homework was already laid out ready to do, but he must have been dripping water on the floor from his hair without realising it as there was now a small puddle on the floor. Haru didn't see this and slipped, nearly falling headlong down the stairs.

"Haru!" Makoto cried out, reaching out to grab him.

Makoto managed to grab hold of his friend's hand just before he fell down the stairs and pulled him towards himself, wrapping the other arm around Haru's waist to steady him. He could feel his own pulse hammering in his head in a panic and he could feel Haru's own heart thudding too, his friend's face having drained of all colour in fear.

"Haru, are you alright?" Makoto asked, peering down into his friend's face with worry.

Haru nodded slowly, staring up at Makoto. "Y…yeah. I'm fine. Thank you…Makoto."

Makoto blushed slightly at the way Haru was staring at him but he shook his head. "Don't thank me. I was hardly going to let you fall down the stairs."

Now that Haru was safe, Makoto suddenly became acutely aware of how close they were, as well as the fact that he was still holding Haru's hand. He also realised Haru was clinging onto his hand and didn't seem like he was going to let go. Makoto let his eyes drift down to their hands and he raised them slightly. Before he even properly realised what he was doing he let instinct take over as he lifted Haru's hand to his lips and kissed it gently, just barely glancing up at Haru to see his reaction. Said reaction was very hard to read. Haru looked surprised and flustered but not disgusted which Makoto took as a good sign.

Finally realising what he was doing Makoto lowered Haru's hand and loosened his grip on it, looking down in embarrassment.

"Um…we should get on with the homework," Makoto mumbled nervously.

Haru swallowed and nodded. "Y…yeah. Good idea," he agreed before starting to walk down the stairs, stopping for a moment before his fingers slowly slid out from Makoto's grasp.

The boys had been attempting to do homework for nearly an hour but neither of them could get what had happened between them out of their minds so it was very difficult to concentrate.

Eventually Haru stood up. "I'm hungry," he announced. "Do you want something to eat?"

Makoto shook his head. "No thanks, I'm alright."

Haru nodded before walking to the kitchen. He glanced back at Makoto for a brief moment before walking out of sight. Makoto let out a heavy sigh and allowed the book he'd been reading to close over, dropping his head into his hands in frustration.

He didn't move from that position until he began to smell the familiar scent of mackerel. He smiled and rolled his eyes. Haru ate so much mackerel that Makoto wouldn't be surprised if one day he grew gills and a tail himself.

Makoto took off his reading glasses and, leaving them on the small table in the cosy living room, he stood up and walked quietly to the kitchen. Haru had his back to him with his apron on over his clothes, and it looked like he was just taking the fish off of the grill and sliding it onto a plate. Makoto smiled as he watched. Haru had the cutest concentration face when he was cooking. He insisted that there was a perfect amount of time when grilling fish, and he refused to eat mackerel if he thought he had over or under-cooked it. Makoto always liked how he was a perfectionist in only two aspects of him life: swimming and cooking.

Makoto closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He felt nervous about what he was about to do but at the same time it just felt right. He opened his eyes again and, just like he had done upstairs, he let instinct take over. He slowly began to walk towards Haru. He saw Haru freeze but he didn't turn round, knowing fine well that it was Makoto who was there.

Makoto gently placed his hand over the hand Haru was holding the plate of grilled fish with and when he did Haru looked round and up at him. Without looking away from Haru's eyes, Makoto took the plate from him and placed it down on the kitchen worktop. He then took Haru's hand again and gently turned him around so he was now facing him properly. He rested his other hand on Haru's cheek and leaned in ever so slightly closer.

"May I?" he asked quietly, aware that his voice sounded husky but not really caring.

Haru's only response was to nod silently as Makoto closed the gap between them.

Their first kiss was sweet but cautious, neither of them sure if they were doing it properly. But after a few moments they both seemed to just melt into it. Haru's free hand came up to rest on Makoto's chest while the fingers on his other hand intertwined with Makoto's.

When the kiss came to an end both boys were smiling. Makoto began to absentmindedly stroke Haru's hand gently with his thumb as he brought his other hand up to play with Haru's hair.

"Your hair's still wet," he murmured quietly, their foreheads touching.

"Mmm…" Haru replied, his eyes fixed on their entwined hands.

"You want me to dry it for you?" Makoto asked, to which Haru nodded.

A few minutes later the boys were seated back on the living room floor. Haru sat quietly between Makoto's legs as Makoto gently rubbed a towel over the smaller boy's hair to dry it. When he was done he placed the towel down on the table and slowly ran his fingers through Haru's hair, earning himself a small sigh from Haru. Makoto smiled and ran his hand down his arm, once again taking hold of Haru's hand in his. In response Haru leaned back so his back was pressed against Makoto's chest and he turned his head to allow Makoto to kiss him again.

That was the second of many kisses that day.

And needless to say all thoughts of homework were as far from the boy's minds as was possible.

AN: Day 3 over! Hope you enjoyed. If you haven't yet then please check out my stories for Days 1 and 2 of MakoHaru Week.

Please review and check back tomorrow for Day 4!