Synopsis: Haruka Nanase explains swimming like this: "The important thing is to feel the water. To feel it in your heart. Then, to trust what you felt. To believe in yourself."

Haruka raises his head from the water after swimming 1,000 meters easily. At the end of the pool to meet him is the friendly face and helping hand of Makoto Tachibana - a good person with surprising strength. Haruka isn't as tall as Makoto, but his narrow body gives off energy while his gaze always seems focused on something faraway. The two boys have been swimming at the Iwatobi Swimming Club for three years at Makoto's suggestion, Haruka following along. This is the impression others have of them. Haruka is often swept up into Makoto's pace, but rather than argue, he simply looks away. Now, they're in the 6th grade, both with girlish names. Makoto doesn't mind, but Haruka hates it.

It's winter and a new transfer student has entered their class named Rin Matsuoka. It's unusual for a student to transfer at this time of year and right after Rin introduces himself, Makoto stands up with a smile and repeats Rin's name. Rin recognizes him and Haruka, who stares at Rin without expression. Everyone is curious about how these boys know one another. They ask many questions, which Rin answers with a smile in order to make a good impression. He's holding his own when Haruka puts a hand on his shoulder saying, "Come with me for a bit," then walking away.

Everyone is shocked by Haruka's attitude, especially Rin, but when Makoto gently ushers him forward, he complies. They meet up under the bare sakura tree beside the swimming pool. Rin says that he wants to swim in a pool filled with sakura blossoms one day, his voice filled with emotion. Makoto is confused. Haruka says nothing.

Rin demands to know why they brought him outside, then laughs, knowing the answer. It's a scary coincidence that he's in the same class as Tachibana and Nanase, he says. After all, they've only known one another as swim competitors before. Makoto remembers this well. Haruka remembers this with irritation.

A gust of wind whips around them. Makoto leads Rin back to the school building. Haruka stays in place, having said nothing. He had thought he might warn Rin that being classmates could be trouble, but decided it would just stir things up. He stares at the sakura tree bent by the wind once more.


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.