“Uozumi you stink.”
“Tsk, shut up before I push you out in the rain.”
The shorter man flinches a little and moves three feet away from the smoker, the one with shaved hair on the sides seems pleased.
Sasabe normally wouldn't allow lit cigarettes anywhere outside the designated smoking area but he is letting it slide this time. He presses his fingers around his temple and sighs, eyebrows knitting together as he flips through pages of scheduled deliveries that are supposed to be done by the end of today.
He stares at the chaos happening outside, instead of a normal summer shower it's more like the gods up in the heavens broke a god damn dam somewhere and created a waterfall straight down to the mortal world. Sasabe prays that the clients would be more understanding for the delays this time, nobody would've anticipated such a bad storm covering almost half of Japan right now.
Strong gushes of wind bring in sheets of sharp rain at the entrance of the building, staining the ground with aggressive looking patterns of water, bits of leaves and twigs are glued at the doorway like old messy stickers on a kid's wardrobe.
The humidity in the air makes Makoto scrunch up his nose, he leans against the reception counter in the lobby, watching Uozumi purposefully flicking ash at Momo from his cigarette to get his coworker step into the rain by accident while dodging his attacks.
-The storm is pretty crazy outside, is everything alright?-
Makoto rubs at the chipped corner of his phone case with his finger, Haru hasn't read his text that was sent twenty-one minutes ago and he is getting increasingly anxious about it. He tried giving him a call but Haru didn't pick up, Makoto comforts himself that the baker is probably busy dealing with the weather right now, he should be more patient and wait for Haru to call back.
“Dude that's cheating! And mean!”
Momo screeches and hops away when the burning end of the cig almost sears his arm, he runs back indoor for safety and makes a face at Uozumi.
“Tachibana you saw that right? That was abuse!” Momo smacks his hand on the counter with indignation, Makoto gives a small chuckle.
Uozumi is laughing so much he starts wheezing and almost chokes on the smoke, Momo immediately yells, “Serves you right!” and charges over to elbow him in the ribs for extra damage.
Makoto is temporarily distracted by his energetic coworkers, he checks his phone again after a few minutes and notices the text he sent earlier is now read. He immediately starts typing again but before he could finish an incoming phone call interrupts his attempt.
“Haru?” Makoto answers after swiping the green button on the screen. “Is everythi—”
“I need help.”
Haru’s voice sounds distant, Makoto figures he is probably on speaker when he hears the rain and wind being rather loud in the background. He straightens his back and presses his phone harder against his ear.
“What’s wrong? What’s happening?”
“The wind is too strong, the shutter for the door is stuck I’ve never used it before maybe it’s rusted.” Words tumble out from the other side, barely loud enough to be heard. “Water might seep in—I-I don’t know what to do.”
Haru stops talking abruptly, it sounds like he is taking a deep breath.
“What should I do, Makoto?”
Makoto’s chest clenches.
He can tell Haru is panicking. The baker who is always calm and confident has never spoken with such a strained voice, he must have tried everything already before calling him for advice. Makoto swallows hard to ease the lump in his throat before replying.
“Are all the windows closed? Have you moved everything indoors?” He asks, trying his best not to stutter while ignoring his thudding heartbeat. His mind is racing, he stands up and makes his way to the locker room.
“Yes they’re closed and yes the only problem for now is the shutter. It won’t move an inch.”
“I'll be there in fifteen minutes, stay safe and wait for me.”
Haru hears the sound of a locker door smashing back roughly against its metal frame followed by fabric rustling and several impatient zipping noises. He wants to tell Makoto it’s too dangerous for him to come over, that he’ll never know if streets are flooded on his way or branches torn down from the trees are blocking the road, but a part of him really wants to see Makoto right now. He needs him.
“It’s fine Haru, don’t worry.” Makoto swings his bag over his shoulder and leaves the locker room. “I promise I’ll be careful.”
The seriousness in Makoto’s voice is reassuring, Haru calms down a little and gives a quiet hm in response.
“I’ll see you soon.”
Makoto ends the call when he arrives at the sheltered area connecting the warehouse and the carpark. He unlocks the door to a truck and pushes the button to open the rear doors after throwing his bag onto the passenger seat. Makoto finds the sandbags nearby right away, they have a lot of extra ones lying around against the wall and he is loading them into the truck when Uozumi wanders over.
“Ta-Tachibana? Where are you going?” The rest of his cigarette he has been smoking falls onto the ground.
Makoto replies without looking up, he doesn’t want to sound rude but he really isn’t in the mood right now. There are rolls of brand new water dispenser bottles containing five gallons of water each near a storage room, he lifts one of them up and loads it in as well. There is a loud bam when Makoto slams the rear doors shut with way too much force which makes his coworker frown at the noise, he settles in the driver seat and turns around to look at Uozumi.
“Tell Sasabe-san I'll apologize later.”
Uozumi freezes in place with his jaw opened as he watches Makoto starts the engine and drives the truck out of the carpark. Momo made it in time to see the red rear lights disappearing in the mist of heavy rain.
“Eh, who’s that?”
Momo raises a hand above his eyes which really doesn’t help him to have a better look but he tries anyway.
“Tachibana.” Uozumi replies while stepping the light out of his cig on the ground.
“Ehhhh?! But why? To where?” Momo looks bewildered. Uozumi doesn’t blame him, Tachibana out of all the people here is the last person he would expect to do something like this.
“Somewhere important, he said.”
Uozumi turns around and walks into the building, he should probably tell the manager about it to save Tachibana from getting bombarded by Rei’s phone calls about workspace safety.
Makoto makes it to the bakery in less than fifteen minutes. Haru has never felt so relieved when he sees the familiar delivery truck approaching with blinding headlights in the rain, the roaring engine of the vehicle turns into a low hum when the it slows down to a halt at the curb and the windshield wipers are on full power doing their best to remove the endless rain on the glass.
Haru is waiting by the windows when the driver hops off the truck, the tall figure takes a few wide steps over to the bakery and Haru struggles a bit to open the glass door for him against the wind.
“Haru! Are you alright?”
Makoto holds a tight grip on Haru’s arms with both of his hands, olive green eyes observe cautiously with eyebrows furrowed into a worried expression. The baker definitely put up a fight against the storm, his dark hair is dampened by the rain sticking onto his forehead, the usually clean and fitting outfit is now partially wet and wrinkled, the shoulder area is almost see through latching onto the sharp curves of his body with a leaf stuck onto his apron. He looks like a wet little kitten being discovered hiding under the bushes for shelter in the raging storm.
Haru blinks at him with clear blue eyes, a droplet of water falls off his lashes and slides down his jawline before disappearing underneath the collar of his shirt. Makoto is trying his best not to think of anything inappropriate at a time like this.
“Makoto…” Haru let out a breath he doesn’t realize he was holding in, “I’m glad you made it here without any accidents.”
The brunet cups the soft cheeks gently and plants a kiss on his lover’s forehead. He notices Haru is shivering slightly in the wind and takes a step back to unzip the jacket he is wearing.
“Go inside.” Makoto urges while wrapping his jacket tightly around the smaller male. “I’ll join you in a minute.”
Haru understands there isn’t much help he could offer and would be better if he is out of the way. He backs into the bakery and clutches onto the large jacket, burying himself further in the lingering warmth on the clothing, his stiff body relaxes gradually while being engulfed in Makoto’s comforting scent.
Makoto decides to take a look at the shutter for starters, it is a solid wood sliding door built to protect the glass one behind it. He holds firmly on the edge and gives it a tug but the sturdy frame is stuck in the same spot as expected, Makoto genuinely hopes it’s not because of the metal parts rusting in the trench.
Haru watches anxiously on the other side of the door, it is almost six in the evening now and the sky is way darker than usual because of the awful weather. Navy eyes are glued onto Makoto as he crouches down to investigate the trench underneath the shutter paying no attention to his face getting too close with the grubby pavement, he gestures at Haru when he is done checking and the raven opens the door for him.
“You have a screwdriver? Seems like a thorn is stuck at the other end of the trench.”
Makoto raises his voice to make it louder over the storm in the background, his hair is wet and tousled in the wind and the cold rain is plastering his shirt onto his body. Haru rushes to the storage room and comes back with a screwdriver while carrying the whole toolbox in his other hand, Makoto huffs in adoration when Haru looks up at him attentively and passes him the slotted tool like a personal assistant.
Haru waits at the door as Makoto heads back to the shutter, the wind is forcing in through the gaps and he can only imagine worse being outside in the storm. The several minutes where Makoto is prodding underneath the wooden frame feels like hours to him, Haru can’t tell what he is working on but it seems pretty successful when the brunet finally stands up and gives a gentle push, the shutter slides smoothly over the glass door and Haru is dumbstruck.
“Here you go.” Makoto opens the shutter again and returns the screwdriver with a smirk, drops of water is sliding down his handsome face dripping from his chin and Haru swears that’s the sexiest thing he has ever seen.
Makoto strides back to the truck while pushing back the tawny fringe covering his eyes. Now that the shutter is fixed the rest of his job is easy. He opens the rear doors and unloads the sandbags at the doorstep of the bakery, he carefully builds a double layer of them so if water does start gathering it would be harder for it to seep through.
Haru is bringing out some dry towels from the kitchen when Makoto lifts his feet over the sandbags and walks in like he just had a swim in the ocean, he wipes his face with one hand and the other carries a giant bottle filled with five gallons of water that is supposed to be used with a water dispenser.
“Why would we need this?” Haru questions.
“You never know, just in case... something happens to the pipes and we don't have fresh water here?”
Makoto locks the shutter behind him before closing the door, he is completely drenched from the storm so he spends a few seconds standing at the entrance to avoid tracking water everywhere in the bakery.
“You're overthinking again, here.” Haru passes him a towel and nudges the door mat over with his foot. “And please, don't jinx us.”
“Thanks.” Makoto laughs and gingerly moves over to the mat, he wipes his face with the towel before drying his hair.
“So, how did you fix the shutter? It wouldn't move no matter how hard I pushed it.”
Haru raises his arms and stretches a little after all the stress he has been through, he is still wearing Makoto's jacket over his baker shirt and doesn't really want to return it just yet.
“It wasn't too difficult. There was a thick, thorn thingy sticking out in the trench so I chipped it away with the screwdriver.” Makoto almost bit his tongue, “Better find someone to check the whole thing after this.”
The raven hums in response and wanders back to the storage room, he digs for a while in the boxes and finds a white button up shirt he was supposed to wear at work but ended up just a tad bigger on him.
“Do you think this will fit you?”
Haru holds out the shirt with both hands and shows it to Makoto, the taller man ponders for a few seconds and replies, “I can give it a try.”
Makoto groans a little as he struggles to take his black v-neck off, the soaked fabric wraps tightly around the broad shoulders and hugs the strong frame in all the perfect places. Haru has seen his boyfriend look good in a lot of ways but this is definitely something new.
“Alright, let's see...”
The brunet dries his body mindlessly with the towel and puts his arm through the sleeve of the button up shirt. It is still a bit small on Makoto's larger build and he is attempting to make himself even smaller in order to do the buttons at his chest.
“Forget about it, it's not gonna happen.” Haru is just being honest, he would rather not spend time sewing the buttons back on.
“That's not very helpful, shortbread.”
Makoto agrees but it doesn't stop him from complaining as he tries to unbutton the ones he managed to button up at the bottom of the shirt.
“... Excuse me but since when do you have my permission to call me names like this?” The raven shoots him a glare with a hint of pink on his cheeks.
“Since the day you said yes when I asked you to go out with me.”
Makoto replies without looking up and chuckles softly at his own unabashed answer. He is finally done fidgeting with the small white discs and gives up on concealing his body for the sake of unneeded decency in front of his lover.
“Hot.” Haru eyes at the unbuttoned shirt and comments with a straight face.
“Oh well, better than nothing.” Makoto sighs, at least his waterproof cargo pants served their purposes in the rain.
Makoto follows Haru behind the counter after making sure the soles of his heavy duty boots are dry, he stops at the sink in the tiny bathroom and twists the water out from his shirt before handing it over to the smaller male.
“You want some music?” Haru isn't really asking, he picks a random playlist from his phone and leaves it on the kitchen counter before hanging up the shirt. A song that was really popular a few years ago fills the air, he turns up the volume and hums along with part of the verse he remembers.
“You think you can dry my shirt in the oven? Like, bake it a little or something.” Makoto peeks into the magical dough rising machine through the small glass panel.
“If you want your shirt to shrink and get crispy sure.” Haru replies with a grin. “The thing you need right now is called a dryer, you idiot.”
Haru gives him a look with pure mockery, Makoto laughs.
The raven walks out of the kitchen and starts mopping the floor with a swiffer, he is going to clean the whole place later but at least he can start off by eliminating the risk of them having an accident on the wet slippery tiles.
The storm outside seems to be hitting its peak now, the rain is dropping itself down with so much force that it actually sounds more like a hailstorm. The wind hisses and howls while squeezing itself through the tiniest gaps and several white flashes from the sky light up their street like a broken floodlight, whether the thunder is going to land nearby or not is a deafening gamble.
“You do realize...” Makoto pauses briefly as a faraway thunder rumbles from above, he continues seconds later while rolling up the sleeves on his forearms. “That you technically asked me to go and find you during my shift today.”
Haru believes he knows what Makoto is implying especially with that teasing smile on the brunet's face.
“And?” He asks, innocent eyes staring at how tight the fabric is stretching around Makoto's thick biceps.
“And I did come here with a truck.” Makoto blinks as he finishes his sentence, his hands are resting on his belt and the pose makes him look even bigger with his elbows sticking out on either side.
“Hmm true.” Haru carries on mopping and goes along with the subject. “What a blasphemy that this awful weather is getting in our way to have the exciting truck sex.”
Makoto's smile grows wider, he loves it when Haru is all sassy and cheeky like this, it reminds him of how he used to think the baker is quiet and reserved if not a bit aloof. His contrasting attitudes prove how much they've been through together while learning more about each other.
Makoto opens his mouth to say something but his breath hitches as complete darkness falls upon them all of a sudden. It's not just the bakery but even the shops opposite to them and the street lamps on the pavements—seems like their whole block is in a blackout due to the merciless storm tearing through the city.
Makoto feels his throat tightening up and his pulse gaining speed when he hears the ceiling fans above them gradually die down with the lack of power. With their vision taken away by the pitch black environment, the rage of the storm surrounding them seems to be magnified drastically. The piercing rain and growling wind combined with occasional ear-splitting thunders create an illusion that they are dangerously exposed to the ferocious nature.
Those the brunet doesn't really mind, but the darkness.
“Ah... should've seen it coming.”
Haru sighs and leans the swiffer against the closest wall, he is not sure if he could find the torch in the storage room but there should be some tealight candles left at the cashier counter.
“Oops, sorry—” He takes a step forward and immediately finds himself bumping into a solid chest, a large hand grasps onto his wrist almost desperately, the unusual steel grip makes Haru wince in confusion.
“S-sorry, I just— I can't see you.” Makoto hears his own voice trembling slightly, “I can't see anything.”
“Don't worry, power is gonna come back soon.” Haru comforts while petting the hand locking around his wrist. “Do you have your phone with you?”
“I think I left it in the truck, I-I just checked my pockets.”
“That's fine, I can go and grab mine—”
“No! Wait, just... give me a second.”
His plea stops Haru from taking another step, a song is finishing its chorus on the phone in the kitchen and Makoto is forever grateful that first, he is not alone and second, the music is still playing.
Haru feels an uncertain touch on his shoulder, he raises his arm and holds the calloused palm firmly in his hand as the longer fingers cling onto him.
“Don't go, Haru...” He hears his boyfriend whispers hesitantly. “Please.”
Haru never knew Makoto could sound so vulnerable. He is always the one helping others, always the one solving problems, always the one standing strong. Haru carefully removes himself from Makoto's grip to wrap his arms around the larger body. He runs his hand slowly through the ruffled hair, along the nape of his neck to the shoulder blades and down the dip of his spine, his palm stroking up and down to soothe the stiff body underneath the shirt.
“Do you... feel the same at your place when it's at night?” Haru asks softly as if he is calming down a lost child.
“No.” Makoto mutters under his breath, “Because I know where everything is and it's a small apartment I've been living in for a while now... I got over it.”
Haru pokes his nose onto Makoto's neck and is surprised by how fast his pulse is, he can hear him swallowing anxiously in between shallow breaths next to his ear and all he can do is to hold the brunet tighter in his arms.
“It's alright.” Haru reassures while pressing himself closer to Makoto. “I'm here.”
There is a brief moment of silence when the song ended and the two of them are left with the storm in the dark. Soft music fades in gradually and the next song starts with a rather short intro as the lyrics blend in.
‘I found a love for me...’
Makoto takes a deep breath and exhales as long as his lungs allow him to.
‘—Darling just dive right in, follow my lead...’
The raven tiptoes and holds onto the solid arms for leverage, he kisses the brunet on the fringe, in between his eyebrows, on the tip of his nose and the soft cheek all the way to his clenched jaw. Makoto giggles nervously, the cute comfort from his boyfriend is slowly overriding his fear and whilst his heartbeat is still faster than usual his respiration is calming down.
The tender love song plays gently in the background, the music performed by guitar and bass contrasts significantly with the aggressive symphony on the other side of the walls.
“I bet it looks stupid of me being so tall and everything but when it's dark... I'm so useless.”
Makoto huffs a small laugh while belittling himself, Haru feels offended.
“That's not true. Have you seen how bad it is on the streets?” He tries not to sound too harsh but he needs Makoto to listen.
“You drove all the way here to help me when outside is literally a mess. You spent like— I don't know, twenty minutes in the storm fixing the stupid shutter and building a dam at the doorstep when I did nothing to help so don't you dare, say something like this you, you—”
Haru struggles for a second.
“You sausage roll!”
As if it's timed intentionally a rather loud chain of thunder breaks the air after a blinding flash of lightning. Makoto backs away just enough to stare into the glowing blue eyes, his eyebrows furrowing with utter disbelief.
“Sau— you just called me a what?”
“If I'm a shortbread then you're a sausage roll, it's only fair.” Haru refuses to look away as he shouts over the rumbling sky, he even makes sure not to blink once.
Makoto, however, is clearly trying to blink away his confusion. He wants to think of a better argument but fails all his attempts under Haru's challenging gaze.
In the end Makoto just forces the baker back in his arms as he buries his face in the crook of his neck. Haru let out a tiny oof when he gets squashed by the weight, the thunder is fading out and the only sound besides the soothing melody is the rain beating against the windows.
‘…dancing in the dark, with you between my arms…’
Makoto couldn't suppress his chuckle when the lyrics chime in. Feeling a lot more relaxed, the brunet realizes he can finally see Haru staying close to him as his eyes slowly get used to the surrounding darkness.
“Shall we dance as well?” Haru suggests with a smallest smile.
“I don't know how to dance, do you?” Makoto asks.
“No.” Haru replies, “I only swim.”
Makoto laughs at the expected answer, he trails his right hand up Haru's waist and place it against the small of his back.
“I mean, we can just try the basics like how couples do in movies.” Makoto says, he holds the graceful hand in his own while Haru rests his other one on his shoulder.
“In what kind of movies?” The raven sounds interested.
“The ones… where two strangers learn how to love each other.”
Their bodies line up perfectly together despite their size difference and they start swaying slowly along the music when the verse starts again.
‘-man, stronger than anyone I know…’
Haru steals a kiss on Makoto’s chin, he relaxes himself to follow the lead and the eyes he couldn’t move away from his adorable partner are as soft as liquid sapphires.
‘—I found a love, to carry more than just my secrets…’
The bakery is small and the two of them can only move around in the limited space. There is barely any light provided from the streets besides the small lightnings followed by several inaudible thunders. There are a few times where Haru almost bumps onto the corner of the shelves, Makoto guides him closer and takes a step back but it results in him knocking down the swiffer instead.
And then he almost trips over the water dispenser bottle he left on the ground a while ago.
“We’re dancing like old clumsy people.” Haru huffs in amusement as he carefully tugs his lover away from the potential hazard.
“Not a fan of slow dance?” Makoto chuckles.
“It’s quite enjoyable actually,” Haru decides to give an honest answer, “I kinda like it.”
Makoto beams in the dark, he leans forward a bit more until their foreheads are pressing against each other.
“Haru.” The taller male purrs.
“Would you still dance with me like this when we’re seventy and my legs don’t work like they used to before?” Makoto asks with a straight face, he is trying not to laugh but the crinkles at the corners of his eyes are selling him out.
Haru’s heart melts under the playful fondness, there is an unnoticeable blush on his cheeks in the dark and he slides his hand down to give a hard squeeze on Makoto’s bicep.
“That’s from another song you silly muffin.”
The two silhouettes giggle and laugh like high school teenagers attending their first ball after a few tipsy drinks, the intimate and romantic atmosphere is the nameless alcohol they doused in. The brunet wraps his arm roughly around the raven’s waist to draw him closer while his other hand reaches up to give a gentle caress on the warm cheek. The smaller male arcs his back and gladly accepts the forceful affection, leaving his upper body to be held in the strong embrace. He clings onto the broad shoulders when they nuzzle each other in between feathery kisses before resuming their lazy waltz.
‘—Baby, I’m dancing in the dark, with you between my arms.’
‘…Barefoot on the grass, listening to our favourite song...’
Haru stares at Makoto as the brunet smiles back dotingly, his hair still damp and disheveled. The raven can smell the rain and the cold wind lingering on the larger frame but it feels so safe when Makoto is here with him.
He presses his lips onto the exposed collarbones and broad chest, admiring chastely the body he knows so well under the unbuttoned shirt. Haru rests his forehead against the tan skin and sighs contentedly at the comforting body heat.
‘—darling, you look perfect tonight.’
There is a low hum of thunder merged in the constant rain, the song is left with the acoustic guitar strumming out smooth and gentle notes along with the beats of the snare drum, introducing the chorus that repeats for one last time.
Makoto observes quietly with tender emerald eyes.
‘…dancing in the dark, with you between my arms…’
The raven is looking down slightly, the humid air has stirred the dark strands when he was moving things indoors and the subtle messiness is contradicting his usual neat and solemn vibe. The jacket given to him is draping over the narrower shoulders, and the sweater paws are gripping onto the plackets of the button up shirt the brunet is wearing.
‘…Barefoot on the grass, listening to our favourite song.’
Makoto thinks his boyfriend has no idea how beautiful he is right now.
‘I have faith in what I see…’
‘…Now I know I have met an angel in person, and—’
“You look perfect.” Makoto closes in and whispers.
Haru smiles with ears and cheeks dusted in pink, he brings his arms up around Makoto’s neck and cards his fingers into the tawny hair, tilting his head up as he kisses the taller man with such emotions that could never be conveyed properly by words.
Makoto tastes the thin lips carefully, cupping his hand against the back of the delicate neck. He wonders if one day he loses his sight and is forever in the dark, that Haru would be there staying by his side.
‘I don’t deserve this…’
“Stop overthinking, Makoto.” Haru gives a small bite on his lower lip.
“Kiss me.” He demands softly.