title: Mother and Son
fandom: Free!
characters/pairings: Makoto/Haru/Rin, Haru's mom
rating: G
warnings: discussions of infidelity
summary: Haru's mom drops in and drops some bombs.
notes: part of the Happy Household Club, another part that has long, long been in planning...

Haru put the lid on the pot and set the fire on the stove down to simmer. He rinsed off the knife and the cutting board, and put away the spices. He washed his hands, and grabbed the towel to dry his hands as he stepped out to the living room.

Rin was on the floor in front of the couch, grading papers at the coffee table, grumbling under his breath. "Sure, you don't know which tense you're supposed to use, so you just mash 'em all together, that makes sense..."

Haru was glad Rin wasn't his English teacher in high school. He listened, and heard Makoto humming some sort of thrash metal song to himself as he did the laundry.

Good. Haru was going to experiment with some simple Japanese confections, maybe making some fish shapes, depending on how easy it was. It would be a nice little treat for his lovers.

He went back to the kitchen and got his cell phone from the cabinet where someone had put it so he could look up the recipe again. He was just about to get out the ingredients when his phone rang, and his heart dropped.

He knew that ringtone.

"Mom," he answered the phone. "What's wrong?"

"Haruka, that's awful, I don't just call you when something is wrong. I'm actually in town and I'm dropping in."

"What? When?" He looked at his pots on the stove. He hadn't planned for going out...

"I'm here, now, open the door, honey," she said.

Haru blinked.

"Haruka, open your door, I'm waiting," she patiently repeated.

Haru opened his mouth, and then he closed it, ended the call, and went to the door.

Sure enough, like some bizarre magic trick, when he opened the door, his mother was standing there. She shook her head at him and stepped inside without being invited, immediately reaching out to smooth down his hair, like she always did, even though his hair was perfectly smooth, like it always was.

"Hello, Haruka," she smiled at him. "You look good. You need a haircut, yes? Such a handsome boy! You look, ah, so much like your father... but you have my father's gorgeous blue eyes, and those are really your best feature." She winked at him.

He quickly fixed his hair and shuffled inside, giving her room. He didn't know what to say to her, though. She was never just in town. "Can I... get you tea or coffee or...?"

"No, no, I can't stay that long, I want to get the train back. I just needed to see you in person," she continued to smile, genially.

Something was definitely wrong.

Rin got to his feet and Makoto came out from doing the laundry. Haru looked at them and they looked at each other and Makoto edged forward and smiled. "It's good to see you again, Nanase-san. Please, come in, have a seat." Rin shuffled away from the couch to give Haru's mom room. "Are you sure we can't get you anything?"

"Aw, Mako-chan!" Haru's mom beamed, and went over to him. "I don't think I've seen you since you graduated from high school! How many years ago was that now? Haruka loves to monopolize people," she pouted at him.

His brow furrowed.

"You've gotten so nice and tall and... broad... I do love broad-shouldered men," she winked at Haru.

"Mom," Haru said quietly.

His mom went over to rub her hand over Makoto's upper arm and shoulder. "Mm, yes. So broad-shouldered. So fit! All of you!" She winked at Rin, and squeezed Makoto's arm. "Mako-chan was such a cute, tiny child, too," she told Rin.

"Na-Nanase-san..." Makoto blushed.

"When they were toddlers, Mako-chan used to cry and cry if he couldn't play with Haruka. Your mom and I used to laugh about how you two were attached at the hip," she smirked at Makoto.

"Ah," Makoto laughed self-depreciatingly.

"Mom," Haru said more insistently, staring at his mother's hand on Makoto.

"Oh, of course," she gave Makoto one more squeeze, and then turned back to Haru. "Well, I needed to come down and tell you... your father and I are getting divorced."

Haru's eyes widened.

"And I'll be getting remarried, but I don't have any details on that yet. I'm hoping you'll be at the wedding, to stand at my side."

Haru knew he had to respond, but he had no idea what to say.

Makoto and Rin were looking at him and each other, and finally Rin spoke up. "That's... that's really... exciting, Nanase-san... um... congratulations on... on your engagement..."

"I know it's a lot to take in, Haruka, and I'm sorry," she started.

Haru quickly shook his head. It wasn't as if he was under the delusion that his parents were as happily married as Makoto's. He always had the impression that his mother followed his father to his work assignment when he was in school because she didn't trust him. He wasn't surprised that they were getting divorced. He was surprised that it took them so long, and that she was remarrying so quickly. That meant...

"Who... are you... marrying?" he asked her cautiously, watching her from under his bangs.

She squared off her shoulders. "His name is Hatsutori Naoyuki. He's fifty-four, a salaryman, he lives in Tokyo but spends months at a time in their office in Osaka. He has two children from his first marriage, they were divorced about eleven years ago."

Haru weighed that information. She was being upfront with him, which was her manner, and he appreciated it, but it didn't really tell him anything. Then again, what did he want to know? He looked away, blushing slightly. "And... for how long...?"

She didn't say anything immediately, and then she took a deep breath. "I can't exactly say that we haven't been having an affair, but I don't want you to have the wrong impression, either. I met him about ten years ago, at some party with your father. He'd been recently divorced, and we... just chatted. It was friendly, and he was nice... Like I said, he spends most of the year in Tokyo, but we have been... corresponding all the time, and..." she sighed.

He looked at her. She looked... strangely indecisive, and he realized that she was worried about his opinion. "Will this... make you happy?"

"I think so, yes," she smiled at him, looking the kind of weary one feels when a long winter is about to come to an end.

He nodded. "Ok, then. I'm happy for you, mom."

The way she looked at him, he knew it was a weight off her shoulders. She went over to him, and ruffled his hair. "Thank you, Haruka. You know, I'm extremely proud of you. In a way, I was inspired by you."

Haru ducked away from her hand, straightening his hair. He gave her a quizzical look.

"You're a good young man, and you're living your life according to your own values, taking your own happiness from life." She looked briefly at Makoto and Rin, smiling. "One day, I was brushing my teeth, thinking about how you and your boys were building a house together, and I just thought... If Haruka can do whatever is necessary to be happy and ignore what people think he should do, then why can't I? And then I realized... there was no reason why. So, that's when I told your father that I wanted a divorce. And after I settled that with him, I told Naoyuki, and..." She shrugged, looking happy.

Haru nodded. It was a bit embarrassing. Haru pretty much never thought about what people think, so though he was peripherally aware that his situation with Makoto and Rin was socially unacceptable, the only real impact it had on his life was worrying that Makoto's parents might not approve. And they did, so. "Well, I'm. Glad for you, so."

Affectionately, his mom rubbed his cheek.

Haru didn't want to ask, but... "How... about dad?"

"Oh, I suppose he'll marry that woman, I mean, why wouldn't he? Take responsibility after all these years for those children. Although, I wonder if he'll tell people that they are his or not. He'll probably pretend to be their stepfather. The worst thing that ever happened to your father was his mother dying. She was the only person on this planet who could influence him. He's such a selfish person intrinsically, but he was also a mama's boy who did whatever she said. Once she was gone, there no one left he'd listen to," she shook her head. "I'm sorry, though, I shouldn't speak ill of your father. He's still your father, of course."

Haru felt dizzy. "...Children? Dad has...?"

His mother started. "Oh! Oh, of course, you don't..." she covered her mouth, but that highlighted rather than disguised her dismay. "Ah, I shouldn't have said... but, I mean... I assume he will marry her, there's no reason for him not to..."

Makoto and Rin were now hovering just behind him, but Haru's attention was focused entirely on his mother. "I... have siblings?"

"I suppose they are your siblings..." she sighed. She closed her eyes, and took a deep breath, and then she opened them again. "Well. There's no beating around the bush, is there? Your father has been carrying on an affair now for about fourteen years. I think the woman used to work in his office, or was someone he met working... at any rate... the eldest is a girl, I think she's twelve. And then there's a boy, about nine, I believe."

Makoto put his hand on the small of Haru's back and Rin stepped closer, too. Haru felt like the floor was bucking and pulling, like the surface of the sea in a storm. "That's... he... but..." Haru furrowed his brow, looking at his mother.

Concerned.

"You've... met her?" Haru asked. Met the children... his siblings...

She sighed. "No. I've... I just haven't has my eyes shut. And your father is far from as clever as he thinks. Plus, well, one hears things..." she drifted off.

"Are you ok, mom? Have you... been ok?" Haru had a vision of his mother at social functions, overhearing gossip. He didn't like it. People talking about his siblings in her earshot...

She looked at him gratefully. "I... have made my peace with it. With him. Now, I just... I want to move forward. With someone who appreciates me."

He nodded, and then he surged forward, taking his mother into his arms and holding her tightly. He still couldn't process it... After so many years of being jealous of Makoto and even Rin to an extent, it turned out he had little siblings. He wanted to meet them... He wasn't sure how to face his father. But right now, all that mattered was... "You deserve that."

"Thank you, Haruka," his mother squeezed him, and then she pulled away, smiling. "I wish I could stay... You're such a wonderful son. I'll come out again soon, we'll talk more... I want to see where your house is being built, and see your plans... And you'll have to meet Naoyuki before the wedding. You'll all be able to be there, right? I think we'll probably be getting married in Tokyo, so I know it's inconvenient..."

"We wouldn't miss it!" Rin assured her quickly.

"Absolutely, it's not that much trouble, anyway," Makoto nodded.

"Makoto's little brother is getting married in Tokyo next month," Haru informed her.

"Haru, your mom isn't going to plan her wedding around my brother's," Makoto interjected to Haru's annoyance. Makoto didn't know, it might work out just fine for his mom! "It doesn't matter when, we'll be there."

"Good," his mom laughed. "I like the idea of having lots of handsome young men around to congratulate me," she winked at Rin, and then she rubbed Makoto's belly. Slowly.

"Mom," Haru frowned.

"I really should be going." She took Haru by the shoulders, and kissed his cheek. "I'll call you again soon."

Haru nodded.

She smirked at Rin and Makoto. "You two keep taking good care of him, please. He's so very precious to me. My only son." She caressed his cheek again, beaming.

"It's our privilege and honor, Nanase-san. Ah, but it'll be... Hatsutori-san, soon, won't it?" Rin grinned.

"Just call me mom, it's fine," she suggested cheerfully. "I don't mind getting two more handsome sons." She squeezed Haru's hand, and led him to the door to say goodbye.

"Take care," Haru said quietly as she slipped on her shoes.

"You, too, son." She looked at him, conflicted. "About your father..."

"It's fine," he said quietly. "I'll... deal with it. Just be happy."

She looked at him in a proud sort of way that made him feel uncomfortable and grown up. "Thank you. Thank you, son." She kissed his cheek once more, and then she was gone.

Haru just stared at the closed door.

"So... do you... want to talk about it? I mean... your dad..." Makoto hedged.

Haru's shoulders slumped. He shook his head. He still needed time. Makoto nodded in response. Rin looked frustrated, but he was watching Makoto for cues, so he didn't say anything.

Haru was a big brother.

"Well... it's going to be weddings like crazy this year. Like we don't have a house to pay for. Wait, do we have to give your mom money? I mean, she's your mom, it's kinda..." Rin frowned, trying to work it out.

"I think we still need to give a wedding gift," Makoto shrugged. "But she won't mind if it's not too extravagant."

Haru sighed, and leaned against the wall. "Weddings are a pain in the ass."

"Hell yeah," Rin grumbled.

"Oh, it'll probably be fun. Busy... but fun," Makoto cajoled.

"You're too damned positive sometimes," Rin complained.

"But you know... I shouldn't say this, but..." Makoto gave Haru a worried look. "It sorta felt a bit like your mom was kind of... flirting with me... sometimes..." Makoto looked really sheepish and worried.

Rin groaned, and shook his head. "See, this is exactly why we get nervous about you going out in public by yourself. She wasn't kind of flirting with you. She was one butt-slap away from out and out sexually harassing you."

"Rin! That's Haru's mother you're talking about!" Makoto cried out.

"Yeah, and Haru's mom was picturing you naked and slathered with oil," Rin replied evenly.

"Rin!" Makoto looked nervously from Rin to Haru.

Haru went to Makoto and put his hands on Makoto's shoulders. "You've got to develop a much stronger guard. You shouldn't be letting anyone but us touch you."

"Exactly!" Rin agreed.

"Guys!" Makoto wailed.

Haru slipped back into the kitchen to check on his pots. He put his hand over his heart as he stirred.

He was a big brother.








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