Author's note: I do not own free! - Iwatobi Swim Club, nor do I own its characters.


Water - he dreamed of it often, and it captivated his mind throughout most of his waking hours. This, however, was a slightly different dream, or so it seemed. The siren call of the ocean, the tide lapping against the shore and its salty scent, seemed stronger than usual. Normally, the sound lulled him to sleep. Tonight, it spoke with an urgency that roused him from bed and had him pulling on a swimsuit before he was even fully aware. No, this must be a dream, he thought. The charged quality of the air lent a fantastical aura to his surroundings that could only be attainable in a dream. Yes, Haru decided. This is a dream.

So, like any good dream, time apparently skipped forward until he felt grains of sand shift underneath his feet, and the saline ocean breeze caressed his nostrils. The persistent call of the ocean evaporated any concerns Haru might have been developing about how strangely aware of this dream he was. The only thing that mattered to Haru right now was his unseemly distance from the water. Too far away, he mused.

His next coherent thought found him enveloped by the ocean, and finally his soul seemed to calm. All Haru saw, in every direction, were varying hues of blue. Up they appeared brighter, until finally he pinpointed the surface, with a white, undulating circle representing the moon, while the blues darkened below him. He noticed movement, of a sort, in front of him, and snapped his eyes up to behold the water coalescing upon itself. Haru stared in wonder, not the slightest bit perturbed because this was a dream, after all. The water shaped itself into a vaguely anthropomorphic figure whose surface rippled as though a light from within it danced upon it. It reminded Haru of the reflection on the walls of the swim club cast by the submerged lights.

The aquatic boy was shaken from his reverie by the figure – no, the water, of that he was sure – beckoning to him. The water seemed to merge with its surrounding, larger mass where it should have its smallest appendages, were it a human and not the water. The water did not have distinct facial features, either, and yet Haru could feel its gaze upon him. Pleasure and awe were all he felt at finally being able to behold this manifestation of the water - which he already knew to be a sentient being – even if it was only in his dream. Haru knew better than to fight the water, and made to follow it, no concern for his very human need to breathe. This was a dream; he did not need to breathe.

The sights Haru beheld while accompanying the water boggled his mind, even in his surely subconscious state: cities of coral, appearing as a vast array of bold colours that seemed nearly blinding against the varying indigo backdrop; forests of kelp, verdant and lively as the myriad sea creatures that darted throughout it; tall chasms and mountains, stark and unyielding and so very blue. Throughout this tour of a world in which he felt he belonged, and could never truly experience, Haru felt at peace. No, this was more than peace that rushed through his veins. This was happiness – this was right – this was water. He ceased struggling to find a way to describe how he felt so drawn to the water, and so whole in its presence, when it turned to look at him. He felt a tinge of sadness emanating from it, where otherwise its aura was happy. Happy to be with him. For him to be with it.

All dreams must end, however, and so this one did, before Haru could figure out why the water was sad. The shattering of his illusion destroyed his feeling of content, leaving behind a crippling wave of loss. It had been so real. Why does this hurt so much? He always missed the water when he was not in it, but this was a fundamentally different feeling.

As Haru slowly awakened, and his emotional pain faded, he noticed something odd. He was in bed, but that was not the odd part. The odd part was that he was wet. His bed was soaked, in fact; soaked right through to the mattress, and it seemed like it had been that way for some time. What? But… That was a dream. Before he could contemplate further the mystery of his dream-that-was-not-a-dream, Haru noticed the time. If he did not get in the bath now, he would not get to wash up and soak before Makoto arrived! Haru rushed to the bathroom, abandoning his confusion along with his wet bed. He would not notice, as he returned to his room to change, that his bed had dried in a peculiarly quick fashion, or that his window was open.


Author's note: This idea has been swimming about my mind - oh, I guess since Sunday, which is when I first decided to watch free! I absolutely adore it. It's so ridiculous - clearly the writers are having a great time with it, and have no illusions about how far from serious this show is. That being said, I'd say one of the most popular ships is Haru x Water. I've perused the free! archives here on , and really haven't noticed any Haru x Water ficlets. My main ship, to be honest, is probably Haru x Water x Rin, but this story seemed like a good play on the first ship I mentioned. It was just a fun little thing I whipped up pretty quickly, and I hope it's enjoyable.

To my few followers: Sorry, I know it seems like I'm fandom jumping, but to be fair, my pen name is polyfandrous for a reason :P

A big thank you to everyone who read this, and an even bigger thank you to anyone who plans to like or review it!