Free! – Episode 5

Dear Diary,

My thoughts congealed in a familiar pattern on this day. But how could I help it? How could any resist the temptations I suffer?

How it vexes me.

Consumes my thoughts. Torments my dreams. Drowns out every waking moment in its sloshing, seductive gurgle.

The water. The water. THE WATER.

Those nattering fools think they understand. A compulsion, they say. How could they understand? Does the water speak to them? Whisper its’ sweet nothings in their unhearing, unmoistened ears?

No. Of course not. They are children of mundane instincts. Their comprehension will always be limited. I shouldn’t despise them for that – I should pity them. And I do!

Oh, how I pity them.

No, no, I mustn’t think that way. It is not their fault. They mean well; giggling, empty-headed Nagisa, proud Rei, Makoto…

Oh, Makoto. That gleam in his eye – does he know too much? Could he suspect my true thoughts? He sees himself as gentle overlord, assuredly – and why not? If I remain vigilant, if I offer no hints of my own thoughts, it would seem obvious to consider him king in a land of fools. He cannot know. He must not.

Calm yourself, Haruka. Consider the water – graceful, ever-flowing, untroubled by our crude frames. The water does not acknowledge adversity. The water embraces and lets past and is still again. Untroubled by my grasping strokes, or even by Rin’s…


No. No more of this. I must sleep, for tomorrow the charade must go on.

But soon.


Episode 5

Dear Diary,

0:21 – Our torsos were unamused by Gou’s nonsense this morning. She lives in a strange, dedicated fantasy, but it is a harmless kind of madness. Not worth my attention.

0:34 – As always, her distinctive hair, Rin’s hair, sent my thoughts adrift. An idle comment almost revealed me, but fortunately the fool Nagisa was thinking only of Rei, of whom he has taken responsibility. Nagisa does not concern me – unsurprisingly, it is Makoto’s suspicions that I must assuage. His charming, nurturing smile hides a conniving mind

2:45 – It is little surprise to me that Rei’s narrow, superficially aesthetic-minded sensibilities could not possibly appreciate the beauty and sorrow of my work

3:05 – Makoto plays out his charade of leadership. It is simpler this way – none can deny his skill in leading the simpletons, and as long as his goals mirror my own, I am content to play the jester

3:13 – His gaze turns to me. The moment is critical – I must project calm authority, but remain the willing subordinate, displaying no threat to his command of the situation. I consider a moment, and deploy my words with care

3:16 – His pride is untarnished. The charade continues

3:43 – Gou has found a beautiful object. Her mouth jabbers senselessly of islands and regimens, but does nothing to diminish the grace of the poster

4:06 – As Gou’s inane nattering reaches a fever pitch, I center myself, taking mental refuge in the water’s calming, fluid grasp. Sometimes their foolishness is simply too much to bear

4:25 – Even the stalwart Makoto is no island. Gou stumbles blithely onward. She is oblivious to the tender fragility of a man’s heart. His vulnerabilities are clear to me, but I am no romantic. His weakness is my gain

4:50 – Her monologue is interminable. To survive, I must be like the water. I struggle to maintain my composure – bellowing for silence would not serve my goals

5:05 – How he scours himself for the team. His sacrifice is admirable. Foolish, but admirable

5:13 – The fools laugh as I contemplate the infinite grace of the still pool, the subtle truth of its’ reflection. To attain stillness is to become empty, and reflect all shadows but your own. My fingers send ripples through the water, but reflect only my own disturbance – it is not the water that is disturbed

Also, apparently we’re going on some kind of swimming trip

5:37 – Sometimes I believe our advisor is playing on a higher plane than any of us. There is a warped coherency to her evasions

5:44 – Makoto extends a peace offering. Could I trust him? Sometimes the weight of my own thoughts seems too much to bear alone. If I were to…

No. Foolish. It is merely another ploy. I accept the popsicle graciously, but remain unmoved

6:08 – As if a plebeian such as Gou could understand the subtle distinction of a well-fitted suit. My rage seethes

6:27 – Mere generosity? Ludicrous. What is his game?

6:29 – Ah, a power play. Deftly done. My estimation of his skill rises as I munch softly on the popsicle

7:07 – I reflect soberly on mortality. The goldfish knows not of its’ past or future – it is a living moment, an extension of the water. If only I could achieve such presence

7:36 – Nagisa and Gou babble in unison. My aggravation is poorly masked

9:12 – He speaks lightly of concerns beneath us both, gracelessly masking his trepidation. We may not be allies, but he is a worthy foe – it is beneath him to be debased like this. I am forced to act

9:15 – The moment lingers. Unlike the water, my shadow is long and black. My pride is too strong

9:55 – The moment passes. His words do not console me, but they are enough. Though our paths may differ and our goals may never join again, for one brief moment, our shadows merge. Perhaps, one day…

Dear Diary,

10:16 – In keeping with the solemnity of the occasion, I have selected my finest sweater

10:53 – Gou displays her usual grace with subtext

12:17 – Again she flaunts her idiocy and lack of all taste. My desire to strangle her intensifies, but I remind myself Rin would likely disapprove

12:32 – No. Impossible. Why now? My panic rises, and I forcefully remind myself I am wearing my best sweater

12:35 – Death and calamity, Rin is here. And me, stranded in the company of these mewling children. My cheeks flush. The air feels cloying and damp, my sweater no solace, suddenly a joke, a travesty, a fumbling satirical jab at the very concept of fashion or taste. His swimsuit is perfect. His swimsuit is the ideal. The lines perfectly complement his fluid, agile form, complementing those wild, burning locks that Gou defames like a sick joke. His stature is firm but never stiff, confident, as willing to shift and impossible to shake as the water itself. He stares forward with a whimsical half-smile, the only one whose eyes can truly see the grand, ethereal joke. The only one…

12:51 – Gou’s fumbling implicates her yet again. I could kill all of them for this

13:01 – Nagisa’s chipper nonsense forces me to action. He cannot ruin this, not now, not here. The plan will be followed. But his flippant words tempt me like a hook on the line. How I wish I could simply discard my machinations, how this careful waiting and adjusting and aligning tortures me… oh, to simply be as the water, to flow where I would, to spring gaily upon that linoleum floor and announce my tortured psyche for the world to hear!

But no. Rin’s cherished pride would never allow such an evasion. Such selfish whimsy would be a debasement of all we’ve fought for. My options are few, my margins narrow. As much as it pains me, however my heart rallies against it, I must contort and contrive and abuse those narrow cracks that just might lead to a happy end. Stillness, Haruka. Be the water. Be the water

13:15 – His piercing eyes are evaded, for now. But soon. Soon!

14:06 – Our advisor’s cunning is apparent once again

14:33 – Even in Gou’s absence, Nagisa maintains the appropriate level of aggravating frivolity. I remain cool

OOC: 15:04 – Oh my god this is the most amazing thing

15:17 – The plan must succeed. If dignity must be sacrificed, so be it

15:38 – My sympathy extends in spite of myself. Like the water, my hair flows free

17:06 – Makoto’s expression of honest competition moves me. Like a fever inside me, the question writhes: Can I trust him?

-Begin Excerpt-

18:06 – Momentary shock, but it’s pretty obvious. More of her silly schemes – surely the boys are here, Makoto, Yappy, and… him

18:15 – She’s always been like this. Doesn’t she understand the stakes here? I could meet them, sure – but would Haru’s pride recover? He’s always been sensitive, as much as he tries to act tough and above it all. Honestly, it’s one of the things I like about him. But here, now? God, if only I could throw away these training pants and form-fitting suits, and just live!

But swimming is still there.

It’s always been there

18:33 – How insensitive can she be? No, stay calm, you know that damn temper will be the death of you, Rin. But did she even once think to consider Makoto’s feelings?! Are those boys just some kind of game to her?!

18:58 – It’s no lie. I would give anything to simply throw this all away. But Haru… well, it’s just like him, isn’t it? All I can do is train, and smile, and hope

-Excerpt Ends-

19:49 – Rei’s emotional weakness leaves me unmoved. Such situations demand a Makoto

20:06 – Your leadership is appreciated, Makoto. Bunk me with one of these yappy, insecure children and they’d be dead by morning

Dear Diary,

The plan continues apace. Barring Makoto, my instruments are temperamental and foolish, but they will serve. Save any true idiocy on their part, our paths will flow together once again, merging and intertwining in the fluid future where all rivers eventually meet. I must be patient. I must be graceful. I must be still.