Everyone seemed to describe Makoto Tachibana different. Some claimed him to be motherly. Others stated that he was good-natured. Makoto was many things (loving, strong, cute, smart, laid-back, etc.), but not once in his life has he ever been called brave. It's true, He'd think to himself. I'm not very brave. He was scared of everything from ghosts to the dark (heck, he was a swimmer and even the water scared him somewhat , and it was a part of him that he accepted would probably never change. But it had never truly bothered him until he met you, his crush since the first day of high school and recently-turned girlfriend.
Whenever you two would go on a date, Makoto would always notice other couples walking so close together that they were practically plastered to each other. The boys would always have one, protective arm slung over the girls' shoulders as if making a declaration that anyone that had a bone to pick with their girlfriends would have to fight them first. The males seemed to exert a possessive aura, one that Makoto knew he could never hope to replicate and, after he had seen you watching one of those couples wistfully, Makoto began to question his own manliness.
Even though you had never expressed any disappointment with Makoto's personality, he still wanted to be a boyfriend that could protect you whenever you needed it, which bought him to his current dilemma. How could he be more courageous? Sure, he was six feet tall and well-toned from years of swimming, but he could never hurt a fly, much less engage in a fight. He had heard somewhere that beards were seen as a symbol of masculinity, but he just never seemed to be able to grow one. Maybe it was the way he dressed. Surely, if he wore clothes that were more... wild... he would be seen as bolder than before! At the same time, however, the term "wild" doesn't seem to fit him very well... Makoto thought of everything, but nothing seemed to really work, yet he didn't want to force you to have to deal with his timidness, so he finally chose to ask for your opinion and (in the worst case scenario) accept having to break up with you.
It was right after swim practice when Makoto asked to walk you home. You hadn't thought twice about it before replying with a grateful yes and the two of you set out by yourselves to trek the mile to your house in the sweltering summer heat. It was a little too hot to hold hands (neither of you being too fond of the idea of sweating on the other) so you and Makoto merely walked side-by-side, finding comfort in the other's presence, when Makoto popped the question that had been burning in the back of his mind since day one of your relationship.
"Hey, (Y/N)-chan... Do you think that I'm not... tough enough?" Makoto inquired shyly, voice trembling as his eyes dropped to watch the sidewalk, expecting the worst.
"Tough?" you replied, unsure where this conversation was going.
"I mean, do you want me to be stronger?" Makoto tried to clarify, but knew he failed when you giggled at his wording.
"Makoto, you won Kou-chan's muscle contest that day. Do you really think that you need to be any stronger?"
"I-I didn't mean it like that, (Y/N)-chan," Makoto struggled to help you understand the actual meaning behind his questions until you finally realized what he was trying to get at.
"Do you mean stronger, as in braver?" you frowned as Makoto nodded quickly. "Why would you ask that?"
"W-Well it's just that I'm always scared of everything, and it's really embarrassing, even to myself. I wouldn't go in the haunted house with you last Halloween because the entrance frightened me, and if anyone tried to attack you or something I don't think I could protect you. I've been trying so hard to be braver, but nothing seems to work!" Pausing momentarily, Makoto bit his lip, not wanting to offer you the chance to leave the relationship, but knowing that it would be unfair if he didn't, he forged on anyways. "And... If... If you want to break up with me, you can!" Swallowing thickly, he chanced a peek at your face, and, noticing how you were staring at him incredulously, too shocked by his declaration to speak, he released a startled squeak, which only supported the points of his argument.
"H-Hey! It's really warm out, isn't it? Wait here, I'll go buy us some drinks!" Makoto interrupted you, the tension already too much for him to handle. Rushing off into the nearest convenience store, he left you where you were standing without even thinking of looking back to see if it was alright with you, and that fact didn't hit him until he was already inside the store.
Stupid. Stupid! He cursed himself, as he wandered around in the drinks section. If she didn't want to break up with me before, she definitely does now! What kind of boyfriend just ditches their girlfriend like that? Stupid! Heaving a tired sigh, Makoto grabbed a bottle of (Favorite Drink) for you and a bottle of water for himself. Maybe if I go outside and apologize, she'll forgive me. Paying for the beverages, Makoto walked outside again, intent on somehow convincing you to forgive him, but froze when he saw you. Or, rather, who were around you.
While Makoto was in the convenience store, you had moved yourself over into the shade that darkened the sidewalk right along the wall that you were currently leaning against. Whipping out your phone, you were responding to a few texts when a group of thugs had stalked over, lecherous grins plastered on their faces, and formed a semicircle around you. Then, they began to harass you. A rude comment here and a disgusting invitation there, nothing you couldn't handle. But it was right when Makoto had exited the store that one of the three thugs had grabbed your wrist and began tugging you in the direction they wanted you to go. And even though Makoto was more frightened than ever, he knew he had to act, fast. So, forcing the toughest expression he could, the olive-haired swimmer dropped the drinks and stalked in your direction. The thugs never noticed him, too preoccupied with pushing you down the street, until he was only a foot away. With his athletic build, Makoto easily towered over the thugs, and they froze, watching him warily, but not letting go of you just yet.
"Leave her alone," Makoto demanded, eyes narrowing dangerously as he had seen Rin do in the past to intimidate others into listening.
"Hey, hey," the leader of the ruffians scowled nervously. "We got here first, man, so just chill out and go find another girl."
"She's my girlfriend, so you should let her go. Now."
When the group surrounding you hesitated, Makoto took a decisive step forward, and the thugs scattered, sprinting off into a nearby alley. You, on the other hand, jumped straight into Makoto's arms.
"Thank you so much, Makoto!" you cried, a little shaken by the experience. "If you hadn't come out right then, I don't know what I wouldn't done."
"N-no problem, (Y/N)-chan. But it was super scary!" Makoto confessed, clutching you tighter than you were gripping him.
"And that's what I love about you," you said simply, nuzzling your face into his broad chest.
"What? What do you mean?"
"You said earlier that you didn't feel brave enough to be a proper boyfriend, but you were completely wrong, Makoto," shifting slightly to look up at him, you continued. "You see, even though you were scared, you still came to rescue me. It doesn't matter if you're scared of everything. Because you're always facing your fears, that makes you the bravest person I know."
For the first time that day, Makoto cracked a genuine smile and pulled you closer, wondering to himself, How could I have ever gotten a girlfriend as great as you.
"What happened to the drinks?"
Suddenly, Makoto remembered how he had dropped them in order to go to your aid. Glancing back, he saw that the bottles were no longer where he left them, but were, instead, rolling away at a swift pace.
No matter how hard Makoto ran, he just never caught up.