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Written for the drabble theme "Trains".

Title: Fleeting
Series: Free!
Length: 250 words
Genre: General
Character: Makoto
Summary: Moments like this are fleeting.

Darkness had begun to fall when they’d boarded the train, the five of them a contrasting brightness in matching white jackets and yellow t-shirts.

The younger three crashed immediately like overstimulated kindergarteners after a field trip. Rei was settled low in his seat, his legs stretched in the aisle in front of him. Nagisa had slumped against him, and Gou’s head rested on Nagisa’s shoulder, completing the tableau.

Next to Makoto, Haru was likewise still, though his stillness was one of contemplation, not sleep. Makoto had known him long enough to tell the difference, even if knowing what Haru was thinking had become more difficult lately.

“Hey, Haru?” he said softly.


He nodded at the trio across from them. “Do you think they’ll be okay next year?”

Haru sat up and followed Makoto’s gaze. “Yeah.” He yawned and returned to his previous state, turning sideways in his seat and folding an arm behind his head. “No matter what happens at Nationals, just making it should be enough to attract new members.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

Time was hurtling by, next year closer every second.

Gou twitched in her sleep, her hand bumping Nagisa’s, and his fingers grasped hers, neither of them waking. Rei’s head drooped, his glasses sliding down his nose.


This time there was no answer.

The train rattled on, carrying them home, and four of them slept. The fifth watched over them.

Years from now, Makoto would want to remember exactly how this moment felt.