title: house warming
fandom: Free!
characters/pairings: Makoto/Haru/Rin, Nagisa/Rei, Kou, everyone, just everyone
rating: G
warnings: drinking, family
summary: Kou throws the boys a housewarming party.
notes: part of the Happy Household Club, and very long in coming, sorry.

Makoto slipped the patient's file into its slot on the shelf, and then he went back to his station. He didn't have another patient for a half an hour, so he checked his phone. There were messages from both Haru and Rin, but they were just updates, nothing that required an answer. He had three messages and two voice mails from Kou.

Smiling somewhat painfully, he called her back.

"Makoto-senpai! Finally!"

"Can I help you, Kou-chan?" Makoto replied calmly.

"I need to confirm some things with you," she said hurriedly.

"Kou-chan, you know, everything is progressing..." Makoto hedged.

"There's a delivery from the caterer set for tomorrow at nine am," she informed him.

"Yes, we have that on the schedule..." he assured her.

She continued, undeterred. "They'll bring the tables and chairs. There's supposed to be two tables, and twenty chairs."

"You know, I still think that's overdoing it," he tried to interject.

"They'll set everything up, but they'll need to put some of the stuff in the fridge. They'll need at least two shelves. Maybe more room. You'll have it?" she asked him.

"Yes, we..." he started.

"Good. Make sure they set up the tables and the chairs, and the tables are supposed to have nice, white tablecloths. Don't let them leave if they haven't set that up," she chided him.

"Yes, I underst--" he started.

"Ai and I will be there at about ten-thirty. We've got to borrow a couple of things from his school. Nagisa and Rei can't get back in time, and Ren also wanted to be set up with a video chat connection, so Ai will do that when he gets there. I'm bringing the decorations. Ran is supposed to meet me there at that time, so if you could call her at like nine-thirty to make sure she's up, that would be great," Kou continued on with frightening authority.

Making her their manager sent her down an unpredictable path, hadn't it? "I understand, but..."

"Now, my mom and Tadao-san will be there, right?" she asked harshly.

"Rin is leaving school early to meet them at the airport," Makoto replied soothingly. "He's very excited and worried about your mom traveling..."

"You parents are set to arrive at eleven. I'm not sure when Haruka-senpai's mom and her husband are coming, and I... haven't heard anything about his dad..." she finally slowed down.

"I doubt he's coming," Makoto replied gently.

"Well, the guests are coming at twelve-thirty, so you three get ready while Ran and I decorate, ok?" she ordered.

"I got it. But Kou-chan? As much as we all appreciate how much work you've put into this, it's really unnecessary..."

"Don't say that!" she scolded him sharply.

"I only meant..." he retracted.

"Stop it! Look, this is important, ok? And we're going to celebrate it accordingly!" she sounded hurt.

Makoto felt badly, so he quickly apologized. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean any offense. We really are very happy that you're doing so much for us. I just thought that housewarming parties... well, you should have let us do more of the work! And you haven't told us about any of the bills... it's not fair for you to pay for the caterer, and all the decorations, everything..." he sighed.

"Don't worry about that stuff," Kou said firmly. "Just make sure you follow the schedule, keep the fridge clear, and... take care of my mom."

"Yes, absolutely. Don't worry, Kou-chan. And Kou-chan?" he smiled at the phone. "Thank you."

"You don't need to thank me yet, Makoto-senpai," Kou replied, and Makoto imagined that she was blushing.

"Tachibana-sensei?"

Makoto looked up and smiled at the receptionist.

"You're next patient is here," she told him brightly.

He nodded to her. "Send her back." He turned, pulling the folder off his daily stack. He spoke to Kou again. "I've got to go, Kou-chan. I'll make sure everything is taken care of, so please don't worry. We'll see you tomorrow."

"Tomorrow, then, Makoto-senpai!" she replied happily.




"Mom, be careful, I wish you'd just sit down," Rin hovered over his pregnant mother.

"Oh, stop fussing," she shook her head. "I'm perfectly fine!"

"You're not perfectly fine, you have a tiny person living inside of you!" Rin objected.

"I've still got a ways to go! I'm barely even showing yet!" she shrugged off.

"Barely showing? You're like a boat-- OW!" Rin rubbed his head where his mother just slammed her fist down and looked contritely at her.

Makoto tried not to snicker as he navigated around the living room. Kou came up to him and handed him a tablet. "I should help out," she winked at him, and then she headed off to run interference between her brother and her mother.

"Makochan!" the tablet sang out cutely.

Makoto held it up and smiled at Nagisa and Rei. "Nagisa, Rei, it's so good to see you!"

"We're sorry we're not there," Rei said. "Tried to work out the scheduling, but some things came up..." He and Nagisa shared a couple's look.

Makoto shook his head. "No, it's fine, I'm sorry we weren't able to schedule around you, but Rin's mom won't be able to travel for much longer, so..."

"No, that's fine, I can't believe she's taking the chance of having another Rinrin!" Nagisa laughed.

"And what would be wrong with that?" Makoto smirked, raising an eyebrow.

"I'm sure Rin-san and Kou-chan's little sibling will be very cute," Rei said diplomatically.

"Hey, hey, show us around the house some! I guess everyone is walking through your rooms and everything, huh?" Nagisa laughed.

"It hasn't been so bad. ...We had a little trouble getting Captain Mikoshiba's little brother out of the bathroom, I think he wanted to try out our shower," Makoto sighed. "His brother took him out back to look for bugs?" He shook his head. Mikoshiba Momotaru hadn't actually changed that much...

"We'll be coming for a visit as soon as we can," Rei said, and again, he and Nagisa shared a look.

"We're really anxious to swim in your pool!" Nagisa laughed.

"Just bring a swim suit," Makoto cautioned.

"Awww!" Nagisa complained to Rei's amusement.

"Oniichan, take this, I've got to get more rice crackers out," Ran swept by, depositing the tablet with Ren and Katsumi into Makoto's arms, leaving him juggling the two tablets.

"Ah, it's Ren-chan!" Nagisa called out.

"Hey, Nagisa-san," Ren grinned. "Looks like you're trapped in a computer, too?"

"Yes!" Nagisa put his hands up, pantomiming being trapped. "And no one will help us!"

Amused, Makoto looked around quickly, and was happy to find Haru carrying a plate of food, probably for his mom. "Haru! Will you take Nagisa and Rei for a quick tour?"

Haru took the tablet, but he turned it immediately. "Nagisa, the battery's low, I'm going to plug you in," he said firmly.

"Haruuuuuchaaaaan, nooooo!" Nagisa wailed.

Makoto shook his head, and took Ren and Katsumi out of the way.

"Sorry we're not there in person, oniichan," Ren apologized.

"No, it's fine, when you first start a job, you can't exactly make demands," Makoto smiled warmly at his younger brother. "Everything is going well?"

"Yup!" Katsumi cheerfully answered. "Ren's been such a good boy," she stroked his arm. Then, she held up her champagne flute enthusiastically. "And we're having our own little party here!"

"My wife is becoming a lush, I don't know what to do," Ren smiled, amused.

"Don't say that, your brother will believe you!" Katsumi flushed.

"My brother has never thought a bad thought about anyone. Ever. In his whole life," Ren deadpanned.

"Hey, now..." Makoto laughed. "There's certainly nothing wrong with enjoying a celebration. I'm happy that you two are enjoying the day with us, sorry it's so inconvenient!"

"Well, we wouldn't have missed this!" Katsumi boomed out. Ren put his arm around her and kissed her cheek, causing her to giggle and flush.

"So, who all is there? Seems like a good crowd," Ren asked.

Makoto held the tablet out so Ren and Katsumi could see the group. "Yes! Well, there's Haru's mom, and her new husband. He seems really nice, and Haru's been getting along with him well."

"Is Haru's dad there, too?" Ren asked, concerned.

"Ah, no, he... wasn't available," Makoto hedged.

"Hm," Ren scowled.

Makoto quickly moved on. "And there's Rin's mom, and her new husband. She brought Rin's new sibling, but they haven't been feeling too social."

"That's a good thing!" Katsumi laughed.

"And you know Rin's sister... her boyfriend is here, too. I think he's entertaining Rin's former swim team Captain and his little brother. They all went to Samezuka, of course. There's a couple of other Samezuka team people around here. Oh, and a couple of women from the National Swim Team. They're still pretty close to Rin."

"Ooh, competition, oniichan?" Ren teased.

"Not exactly," Makoto laughed. "They're together. They help run the aquatics center in Nagoya."

"Ah, female gym teachers," Ren nodded, understanding.

"Ren," Makoto said in his I'm warning you voice.

Ren laughed. "Kidding! Kidding!"

"Of course you know our family," Makoto continued, ignoring him.

Ran passed by and stuck her tongue out at Ren, who did likewise. After she left, he peered into the screen. "Hey, who's that talking to Aunt Sachiko? Is that... Hayato?"

Makoto blinked. "Oh... that's right, you... no, that's his older brother, Kisumi. Hayato is still studying in Sapporo, I think."

"Of course," Ren nodded, and Katsumi took a slug of champagne.

"He told Ran earlier that Hayato would be home for a visit in a few weeks," Makoto continued. "Oh, and somewhere there are some friends of ours from middle school... you remember Shiina and Kirishima?"

"Oh, yeah. Wow. I didn't even realize that they...?" Ren hesitated to finish.

Makoto smiled tightly. "Well, Haru ran into Shiina at the aquarium."

"People do love looking at fish, I guess," Ren laughed.

"Is that Ren?"

Makoto smiled. "Yes, grandma. Have you had a chance to talk to him yet?" He held the tablet out for his grandmother.

"Oh, Ren. And Katsumi!" Katsumi quickly moved the flute out of the camera's range. "Oh, you look lovely, dear."

"Th-thank you, grandmother," Katsumi bowed her head.

"So polite!" Makoto's grandmother winked at him.

He smiled back. "Let me refresh your drink, grandma."

"Oh, such a good boy, Makochan. But, ah, your father always gives me tea. I want something with more kick to it!" she told him rambunctiously.

Laughing, he nodded to her. "Coming right up!"

He went to the kitchen to get his grandmother something with 'kick.' Nitori was at the sink, having a glass of water.

He smiled shyly at Makoto. "Tachibana-san. It's a great party, right?"

"Yes, it is," he smiled warmly at Nitori as he got a glass. "Thank you for setting up the chats. It's been a while since I've been able to talk to either Nagisa and Rei or my brother."

"Oh! That was nothing!" Nitori waved off Makoto's thanks. "Anyway, it was good to see Ryuugazaki-kun and Hazuki-kun. ...Even if he still calls me Ai-chan."

Makoto laughed, getting out a bottle of bourbon. "That's just Nagisa for you. I think it's a sign of affection. Well, that's how I've always taken it."

"I suppose that's comforting..." Nitori sighed. "Ah... Tachibana-san, I'm sorry, once again, for..."

"You have to stop apologizing for that," Makoto assured him.

"Not according to Kou-chan," Nitori sheepishly admitted.

"Well, you can prove to her that everything is fine. Why don't you start by calling me Makoto?" Though, he'd feel a bit strange calling Nitori by his given name.

"P-perhaps. Ah... Ta-Tachibana-san, can I ask you something?" Nitori waited just long enough for Makoto to give him his full attention. "Do you know if Rin-senpai has been in contact with Yamazaki-senpai?"

Makoto's heart dropped. "Ah... Rin hasn't talked to Yamazaki since... just before Rio."

"Th-that was so long ago," Nitori sighed. "Did they have a falling out? It always seemed like they were so close..."

"Mm," Makoto put the bourbon back and smiled at Nitori, shrugging. "Well, I think there was a... misunderstanding. And then Rin had to go to Rio... after he got back, they just. Lost contact."

"That's sad," Nitori mourned. Makoto agreed, but it wouldn't do Rin any good. "So, there's no chance you have any contact information...?"

"Have you asked Mikoshiba-san? I know he wasn't at Samezuka at the same time as Yamazaki, but they knew each other," Makoto suggested.

"No, he doesn't, and neither does Momo..." Nitori frowned, dejected.

Makoto couldn't help grinning. "I gather... you're asking because you're thinking you need to be able to send him something? An... invitation of some kind?"

Nitori flushed, and looked away. "Ah... well... it's not... not like we're making out... lists or anything, but I know... Kou-chan thinks of Yamazaki-senpai as a second big brother, so, when that day does come..."

Makoto patted Nitori on the back. "Don't give up. He and Rin hadn't seen each other for about ten years when he suddenly appeared in Rin's class. History could repeat itself." He winked at Nitori, and took his grandmother her bourbon.

His aunt came over to complain that he wasn't eating enough, and his mother 'defended' him by lifting up his shirt to show his aunt his abs. That led to his aunt poking his belly and his sides and his back, and then lifting his shirt more, which led to his uncle coming over to pretend to punch his abs, and then his uncle lifted his shirt to show of his... complete lack of abs, and then Kisumi came over to try to tickle Makoto, which was actually quite effective, and embarrassing, and that led to Haru and Rin suddenly flanking Makoto and glaring at Kisumi, who couldn't stop laughing.

Thankfully, before Kisumi made some sort of tasteless comment, which he seemed like he would do if he could stop laughing, Ran and Kou went to the front of the room and called everyone to attention. Ran grinned at Kou and Kou rocked happily from the balls of her feet to her heels. "Everyone! Please, grab a drink, grab a seat, and if the guests of honor could please take their seat...!" She and Ran both held out their hands to indicate that Makoto, Haru, and Rin should sit down on the couch, which was now miraculously empty.

"What's going on?" Rin asked suspiciously as Makoto sat down obediently. Haru sat down because Makoto did, and Rin sat down because they both did, but he was still giving his sister the stink eye. "Housewarming parties don't have a presentation time, do they? We said no gifts! Catering, presentation... what kind of housewarming is this? I think you saw this in a drama and it's not really a thing!" Rin accused.

"Rin, hush," his mother chuckled amicably, sipping her juice.

"Thanks, mom!" Kou chirped happily. "Well, now that everyone is gathered...!" Makoto looked around. Indeed, the entire collection seemed to be in a wide semi-circle around the couch, all facing Ran and Kou. Perplexed, he turned his attention back to them. "As you all know, my brother entered grade school chasing after Haru-senpai and Makoto-senpai." Ran pushed a button, and the tv screen switched from soothing water footage to a picture of the three of them with Nagisa, back in their swim club days in grade.

"That is not an accurate portrayal of events!" Rin objected.

"No talking during the presentations!" Ran scolded him.

"No, no, that's exactly how I remember it!" Nagisa laughed from his tablet.

"Shuddap," Rin growled.

"It's accurate," Haru nodded seriously.

Makoto smirked while Rin groaned and hid his face.

"They were happy days," Kou continued, and Ran flipped through some more photos of their grade school days. "But then my brother ran away to Australia, and everyone was sad." Ran flipped to a picture of Rin with his homestay parents. "Here, you can see many of the exciting sights Rin saw in Australia!"

Everyone laughed as Ran sped through a selection of Australia's scariest-looking bugs and lizards. Rin just shook his head and rolled his eyes. "I was living in a city, you know..."

Haru poked Makoto. "Did you see him flinch at that last spider?"

Makoto suppressed his snicker, and tried to avoid Rin's glare.

"Fortunately, Rin came to his senses and came home, though at first, the idea of a warm renewal of friendship seemed... unlikely," Kou sighed, and Ran popped up a crudely drawn crayon drawing of red Rin with shark teeth harassing a crying green Makoto and frowning blue Haru. A yellow Nagisa and purple Rei were in the background, flailing their arms.

"Who drew that!?" Rin demanded. "What the hell is on my back??"

"That's your dorsal fin," Haru choked out, covering his mouth.

"Did you draw that?" Rin asked Haru aggressively.

"I wish I had," Haru shook his head, still hiding his laughter.

"I hate everyone!" Rin huffed. "You know, Haru was barely able to form a sentence in high school! It wasn't all me!" He crossed his arms over his chest.

Makoto rubbed Rin's arm soothingly.

"And since then, they've all done some pretty amazing things, usually together," Kou continued, looking over her brother's head to keep from laughing. Ran flashed through a whole series of pictures, from their third year in high school, both in swim club and just hanging out, to college, in Rio, in Tokyo, in Australia, their vacation to Korea, coming back to Iwami, the day they moved into their apartment... and just random shots of them through the years. "And during that time, a dream was born. A dream that we're all standing in right now."

"Not all of us! But soon!" Nagisa called out.

"Us, too!" Ren laughed.

"Yes, yes," Kou shook her head. "So, to my... three brothers... Congratulations!"

"Congratulations!" the collected crowd called out, raising their glasses.

The three on the couch shook their heads, and looked at each other, grinning. They raised their glasses, too.

Ran queued up a slideshow of photographs of Makoto, Haru, and Rin with their friends, family, their new house, and many of the pictures used in the 'presentation.' Kou smiled broadly, and turned to Makoto's father. "And now, Tachibana-san will take the floor to share some words with us."

"No offense, but I don't think you know what a housewarming party is at all," Rin chided his sister. "This is much more like a..." He stopped dead mid-sentence, his eyes widening as his jaw went slack.

Kou pulled down her lower lid and stuck her tongue out at Rin as she sat down, Ran laughing behind her.

"Mm?" Makoto looked at Rin, and Kou, and then Rin again, and then to his dad, who was standing in the front of the room now, getting ready to speak. Next to him, Haru sat up straight, and he grabbed Makoto's arm, excited. "Mm?" Makoto furrowed his brow, now looking from an eager Haru to an awestruck Rin.

"Well! Makoto... is our first child, as I think everyone here knows... He was the light of our eyes, my wife and I, from the moment we knew about him. I still remember seeing the first ultrasound, and not knowing what any of the streak-y lines meant, but knowing they were our child, and I loved those lines. And it's not just because I'm a proud papa that I can say, I'm very proud of the man my son has grown to become." His father gently beamed at Makoto.

Gears and cogs turned and fell into place. Panicked, Makoto looked around to see a whole room of friends and family, most of whom had a drink in their hands, smiling warmly at them while his father talked. His heart started to thud painfully in his chest and his throat closed up and his face got hot and it hit him like an avalanche.

They'd decided to make this... their...

Makoto felt his eyes burning, and realizing that he wouldn't be able to hold it in, he jumped to his feet, but in unison, like they'd been expecting it, Rin and Haru each grabbed an arm and pulled him back down to the couch. Unable to flee, Makoto covered his face with his hands trying to keep his tears from spilling. He folded himself up, his head practically between his knees. Rin and Haru each put an arm around him.

In between the thuds of his heart, he heard his father's voice. "...Not exactly the bravest, but certainly strong... ...asked if I regretted losing grandchildren, I could only think, but I'm gaining two sons."

"We'll make grandchildren for you, dad!" Katsumi cheerfully called out, much to Ren's consternation, and there was laughter.

Makoto tried to snuffle back his tears as his father continued. "It's a parents' nature to worry, especially when their son won't let them worry about anything... ...From Makoto's mother and I, we wish you three a century of happiness at least!"

There was cheering and drinking, and then Kou introduced her mother, who started by fending off Rin's attempts to keep her from standing up. "As you can see, Rin has always been a bit of a pain in the ass, but a really loving and wonderful one, so I've let it slide... ...I came to depend on him every time his father went to sea, but after Toraichi died, Rin became the foundation which allowed me to stay standing... ...I watched him walk out from the locker room to the pool in Rio, and I thought, Damn, nothing can stop this kid... ...Makoto-kun, Haru-kun, always look out for this crazy hothead of mine. And always know that he gets so worked up because he loves you."

More cheering, and Haru rubbed his back on his way to reach out to touch Rin's arm. Makoto wanted to see their faces, but he couldn't even stem the flood, nor get his heart under control. Plus, now his nose was dripping. He was a mess and he had no way of fixing it.

Haru's mother got up, and started. "Haruka could crawl at six months. I didn't even know that was unusual until his doctor saw him go. I think Haruka is genetically incapable of doing things the way people expect him to - he has to do things his own way, always has. And his father and I were always proud of him for that... ...To say we gave him freedom growing up would probably sound like an understatement to most people, but Haruka needed it, and we understood... ...I'm every bit as proud of him today as I was the day I learned that most babies couldn't crawl so young. Every bit as proud as when I first held him. Because I know, Haruka always manages to find his own way, and it works out for the best."

Rin passed Makoto a tissue, holding it right under his face so Makoto could see it. He took it gratefully, cleaning up his nose. Rin passed him another one, and he tried to wipe his eyes, get a hold of himself.

Ran came to the front, and started to talk. Ren interrupted her, and it first it seemed like their normal bickering, but it eventually turned into a bit the two of them worked out. Makoto couldn't help grinning as they argued about who won the card game to determine which of them got to marry oniichan when they were in preschool, and that helped him to get himself together.

Kou came up, and she mostly talked about being the swim club manager in high school and getting to know Makoto and Haru, since she'd already embarrassed her brother in the opening presentation. Haru passed Makoto a cool washcloth, and Makoto felt ashamed wondering how Haru got it, but he cleaned up his face nonetheless. He pressed the coolness to his eyes, hoping to erase any redness or puffiness.

Captain Mikoshiba jumped to take the floor next, and his little brother chased after him. Everyone was laughing, so Makoto raised his head to smile, too. He balled the washcloth and the tissues together, and held onto them.

After the Mikoshiba brothers, Makoto's aunt took the floor, but she was interrupted by several of Makoto's other relatives, including his grandmother who shouted out, "But have you seen his lovers? Good job, Makochan!" The bourbon was clearly doing its job.

"Wait! I didn't know we were supposed to make a speech! But I can wing it!" Kisumi bounced around in the back, waving his arm frantically. "Can I speak next? Can I? It's pretty much because of me that they're together, anyway!"

"No, it's not," Haru quickly shot him down.

"No more speeches," Rin nodded. Kisumi groaned. "C'mon, you've all nearly killed Makoto as it is!" Everyone laughed, and Makoto punched Rin lightly on the arm to try to hide his embarrassment.

"Well, we have one final bit," Kou laughed, coming back to the center. Ran jumped up to queue something up on the computer. "When we first told the boys we were going to be throwing them a housewarming party," she winked at her brother, "Haru-senpai talked to me about something he thought would be nice to share. He told me to introduce it, so... Everyday, on his way to work, Haru-senpai would stop in the same place and take a picture of the house as it was being built. He put it together to make a little movie, so..." She stepped aside, and then the television screen changed from the photograph slideshow.

It started as just bare land, but then there were trucks and materials, and slowly, a house appeared as if it were an insect going through life stages. The final image was a time-lapse of their first day in the house after moving in, with the sun moving across the sky, and then the stars appearing as the sky got dark, and it ended with the house lights going on under the blanket of stars.

Makoto and Rin looked at each other, obviously both impressed that Haru kept this a secret from them both. They looked at Haru, who was smiling with quiet satisfaction.

"Haru," Makoto exhaled softly. Haru looked at him, and it was just overwhelming.

Rin elbowed Makoto. "Hey, kiss that goof for me."

There was laughing and cheering. Makoto looked around, embarrassed, but then he leaned in and kissed Haru softly.

In front of his parents, his grandmother, his family. In front of everyone.

And there was clapping.




Makoto got dressed before leaving the bedroom, remembering that they still had guests. The house was quiet, but Rin's mom was at the table, sipping tea. He smiled brightly at her. "Morning, Matsu- er, Adachi-san."

She smiled at him warmly. "Morning Makoto-kun. So, I guess you're the lazy one, huh?"

He flushed, going to get himself some coffee. "Well... I can't exactly deny it in these circumstances, can I? How are you? Is there anything I can do for you?"

"Between Rin and Tadao, I'm going to get tired of being taken care of," she teased. "No, I'm fine. Fortunately, the morning sickness is all done with," she rubbed her belly. "I had such terrible morning sickness with Rin. I thought I might eventually just puke him out, it was that bad. And then with Gou, it was so much easier... so everyone said, ah, this one will be a girl, and they were right. I don't know if this means I'm having another girl, or if it's just because I'm not seventeen anymore," she laughed.

"Or, maybe Rin is just a troublemaker," he suggested, sitting down with her. "But, always because he loves us," he nodded seriously.

"He's really a dear. Just like a cat! You know you have a whole army of cats in the back, dear?" she asked him.

"Oh, yes!" he happily replied. "We've been feeding them... all the ladies in the neighborhood keep warning us, but they're really so sweet...!"

"As long as all three of you are cat lovers," she shook her head.

"Er, so where...?" he looked around.

"Oh, Tadao and the boys went out to get some fresh fish. Haruka-kun and Rin were arguing, something about mackerel?" she shook her head and shrugged.

"It' s a never-ending struggle," Makoto apologetically smiled.

"Well, they should be back soon, and Haruka-kun said he'd grill whatever they bought, as long as it was mackerel, so," she winked at him. She looked around, taking a long sip of her tea. "This really is a gorgeous house, Makoto-kun."

"Thank you," he replied, pleased. He looked around, still amazed that their house was a real place and they all lived there together. "It means a lot to us that you and Adachi-san are here. It means... a lot, everyone..." Makoto shook his head, unable to really express it.

"I think it meant a bit too much, huh?" she reached out and caressed his hand lovingly. "You were out like a light so early last night!"

He laughed sheepishly. "Well, I never imagined..." That he could be out, and accepted, by his whole family. That Rin and Haru would love him and share their lives together. That everyone who mattered to them could know about it, and be all right with it. A pit formed in the back of his throat, and it was hard to speak again.

She squeezed his hand, and winked. "Yeah. It really is a gorgeous home." And this time, she was looking straight at him.

He took a deep breath to steady himself, and he covered her hand with his other hand, and squeezed. "Thank you. We like it."








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