It was all these little things he was noticing that kept Haruka from thinking it was just another passing birthday; another typical day in June, aside from the temperamental weather conditions. Perhaps he was over analyzing, but their peaceful surroundings made it impossible not to. Rin had provided the perfect atmosphere for Haruka’s naturally dissecting mind to operate optimally, and thus existed the root of his analysis, the bane of his thoughtfulness you could say. Rin was providing the perfect atmosphere for Haru.
His hand lost its usual steadiness when he reached for the bottle of water, almost dropping it as he moved to pour the contents into one of the glasses provided by his companion. It was this, too, exactly this. This kind of unnecessary attention to detail. Because when did Haruka Nanase ever use a glass when the bottle itself sufficed? That was an aesthetic that Rin enjoyed more so, as he was naturally the more aesthetic of the two. Not to say Haruka didn’t notice it, didn’t appreciate it. If it was anyone else, he would have dismissed it. But in the face of his closest friend he couldn’t bring himself to be as negligent.
Somewhere in the murky waters of Haru’s mind, he knew that this wasn’t about him, but it was about Rin wanting it to be about him; something that was entirely different. And where the young man could never bring himself to care about this kind of distinction with others, it wasn’t so with his childhood friend. Besides, the atmosphere was cold enough without his contribution, but Rin would smile in that soft way, as he was now, and Haru felt warm in a way his jacket was unable to match. He wanted to match that warmth.
It was because of the ways Rin noticed him as well, noticed all of these other little things. Haru had lifted the chopsticks to his mouth, relishing in the flavor (Saba on Saba with extra Saba); chewing in a way he hoped would chase away his thoughts; noticing the peculiarities of each grain of rice and the way the meat of the fish flaked in a way that Haru loved and… There it was. Without having even seen him zip his jacket up Rin had just known. And Haruka paused, swallowing, locking eyes with the other boy as though there were answers that could only be revealed when he sifted through the embers of his gaze.
"Sort of. It’s nothing."
The part of him that wanted to know what it was like to let Rin continue acting this way was stronger than the part of him that was nervous about Rin noticing he was doing exactly that. That, albeit slowly, Haru was letting him in. That he wanted him in. Because the brunet knew that his companion would catch on to his own peculiar behavior eventually; probably had already. As though Haru had erased a line drawn in the sand between them some years back, and was trying to toe in a new one without the other swimmer detecting it. The blue eyed swimmer looked down at his plate, mulling thoughtfully over another bite before responding to the offer.
"Won’t you be cold?"
Haru’s thoughts weren’t as calm as a stream of consciousness, operating more like waves, ebbing and flowing sporadically with the smallest changes in his surroundings. The brunet’s gaze had dropped from Rin’s eyes to his scarf, settling there for a moment- what would it be like to…?- before his gaze flickered again, focusing on the plate opposite of his. It was all of these little things. Where was the typical-Rin plate of almost-raw meat? He stared at it, unsure of what to say. So he continued eating his own meal instead.
'Ebb and flow', hummed his thoughts. He finished the dish off purposefully, curling his hands into the pockets of his jacket. He tucked his fingers in against his own palms, not quite sure why, but feeling it necessary due to his unabated desire to reach out and sift the material of the scarf between his fingers; to feel the weight of the chain at Rin’s hip in his hands; to touch.
Tucking a piece of hair away from his face with a shaky hand, the swimmer looked at his friend, struggling to keep his gaze measured, and steady, and… less desirous of things he was no longer sure of. His voice would come out huskier than he thought possible because of this narrow focus.
Of course it was nothing.
Rin met the cerulean gaze with his own incredulous one, rolling his eyes and brushing the refusal off with a lopsided shrug as he then focused on his meal, although the thought of the birthday boy freezing his ass off didn’t stop bugging him.
Of course Haruka would refuse such a tiny but nonetheless nice gesture. Perhaps he might have accepted the offer, had it been Makoto whose scarf he would get to warm himself up with. But Rin? The redhead swallowed another bite and ran his tongue across his lower lip, tasting the oil that was smeared over it before a soft sigh passed him.
Leaning back on his seat with a huff, Rin gave the brunet a look that held a hint of stubborn pout.
He was sharp-eyed enough not to miss the slight way Haruka had shivered before, how his arm had barely been stable while pouring his water. If he was that cold, couldn’t he just take the damn scarf?
Rin finished his plate, within him creeping an unease that was almost akin to irritation. Not towards Haru, no; rather, he was annoyed about how much he found himself wanting the male to accept the stupid cloth. It was nothing out of ordinary: Rin was the kind of guy who didn’t hesitate lending his stuff to his friends. Yet the further he allowed himself to mull over it while the brisk wind crawled beneath his own clothes, the more rejected he felt over such a trivial detail. It was getting colder as the evening approached.
Fine. The teen laid his chopsticks down and took a long sip from his glass. Go ahead and catch the cold.
(No. Don’t catch the cold. Stop being so bullheaded and take the scarf.)
As the two were rebuilding their friendship, Rin had gradually gotten more comfortable with such friendly little gestures that came so naturally to him: offering a meal, lending his warmer clothes, small things like that the redhead never needed to put much thought in. Things that, admittedly, required much more courage and somehow felt a tiny fraction more private and substantial when it was Haruka he was taking out, and Haruka who was shivering from cold on the opposite seat.
But here was Rin, sitting with a slight flush heating his cheeks despite of the chilly air, feeling like a sentimental idiot with his chummy offers and cheesy plans; helplessly hoping Haru would see it all as something special he could appreciate, instead of… well, laughable.
Rin was trying so hard. So hard he even surprised himself.
But it was laughable, all this. Rin glanced to the side, enjoying how the soft sea breeze toyed gently with his maroon hair, his pout slowly morphing into a more contemplative one. If he’d manage to light up the other’s face with a smile, would it really even matter how absolutely ridiculous his intentions came across in the end?
The ruby gaze flickered back to Haru at the question that followed, and Rin couldn’t help his lips curling upwards.
”Oi, I do two hours of intense cardio a day, I won’t catch the flu from a tiny cold breeze.”
Seeing Haruka also finishing his plate, Rin stood instead of paying attention to the last inquiry, stretching his arms languidly before proceeding to unwrap the infamous scarf from around his neck. The fabric wasn’t thick, the cotton was quite soft and pleasant against the skin; however, it did offer a valuable shield against the wind in an evening like this. It had caught the faint, delicate scent of the cologne Rin had — in spite of his roommate’s silent snickering from the upper bunk — put on before going out, for reasons he hadn’t bothered to dwell upon.
"It’s not me being all chivalrous here," he hummed, a whiff of amusement lingering in his tone as he circled around the table. "Just that I’d hate hearing you whine about it being my fault you caught a cold just in time for your birthday."
(Like he had ever heard Haru whine about anything.)
And, not listening to another word of sheepish protest he was anticipating, Rin shifted behind the seated teen and smirked, looping the said clothing gently around Haru’s neck before resting his palms assuringly on the male’s shoulders.
“You either practice,
Or go out.”
"Yeah, yeah…." Snickers.
"But I gotta stretch first, coach.”
-aggressively looks away-
Keeps catwalking around.
Smiling at Rin’s reaction, Haru laid on his back and glanced over at what was now a burrito that used to be Rin. He perhaps felt a little bad but really he had never been happier than he was when he heard those words. Rin seemed so shy about it, yet normally he was really a noisy person. Especially when compared to the almost always silent facade that Haru possessed.
"You know what, even if your timing wasn’t the best. I don’t care because knowing that you love me back. You make me so happy, its almost unfair."
Haru said it softly as he shifted his focus onto the ceiling, he had seen so many sides to Rin in such a short amount of time and he could honestly admit to himself.
He loved every blessed thing about the redhead. This was all he could think about at the moment, and granted he probably needed a shower after just making love to Rin, but he was too busy right now basking in his own contentment.
And slightly amused that he was in bed with a redheaded blanket burrito and the air conditioning in the room was working a little too well.
"Are you going to come out of your cave and share covers?" Haru asked softly as he didn’t feel like teasing Rin anymore. It felt as if that might just ruin the moment more than his comment felt like it had somewhat.
Haru sighed as he really did need a shower so he finally got up and went to the bathroom to freshen up. After all they needed to sleep as they had a long return flight tomorrow afternoon.
"I love you." Haru muttered before he shut the door as it seems he was the one who was more able to express his feelings but then again, he had always been obvious about things he liked since he was young.
'You make me so happy it's almost unfair.'
Rin could only remain in silent, wrapped tightly in the comfort and security of the blanket he had hoarded all to himself. For a legitimate reason, admittedly — he felt almost childish. What was he doing? Was this what grown men did after confessing their love? He huffed and shifted in unease, blinking as he gazed blindly ahead in the darkness beneath the covers.
He should share the goddamn covers and stop being a brat over it.
Yet he hesitated long enough to feel the other’s weight lift off from the mattress beside him, telling that Haruka either got sick of his co-pilot’s stubbornness at last, or he actually went to get himself another blanket because the man he just made love to was behaving like an impossible jerk and refused to share.
Rin buried his cheek deeper into the pillow and pouted, inwardly cursing himself. Nobody had ever gotten him like this before. Captain Nanase might have been known for his cold demeanor, but his rival was equally unaffected by tricks and sugar-coated words; or so Rin had thought of himself. And yet he found himself hiding under a blanket after blurting out things he probably shouldn’t have.
And the worst thing about it was that he didn’t hate it. No, he didn’t hate it at all.
And once he heard the three words mumbled so casually before the bathroom door closed, Rin decided it had been worth it. Worth the bother of embarrassing himself. If it hadn’t been for the sex, Haruka would probably have needed to wait for an answer much longer; the nature seemed to have taken care of it, so to say, whether it had been Rin’s intention or not.
(Like hell it had.)
As the sound of running water hit his ears, the redhead finally found his way out of the bundle of covers and groaned as the chilly air conditioning hit his naked skin.
Sighing heavily, Rin became aware of the uncomfortable stickiness in his lower regions and made a face at the ceiling. They had been in too much hurry to even think about using a rubber. What were they, teenagers?
For fuck’s sake. All this mess.
Slapping a palm over his face, the man rolled out of the bed and stood on his wobbly feet, making a wavering stroll across the room with nothing covering his frame.
Finding the washroom unlocked, the pilot entered in and didn’t hesitate to slide the shower door open, proceeding to bluntly step in into the space that was far too narrow for two grown men to share.
Which meant that Rin could take it as his chance to press to the captain from behind, leaning his chin heavily on the other’s shoulder as his chest came in contact with the other’s bare back.
”You’re such a softie, it’s too much,” a drowsy mutter sounded near the captain’s ear as Rin grumbled just for the sake of it, though his tone held no serious disfavor.
”I’ll share the blanket if you share the shower.”
-pretends to not see-
Smothered by the seeming betrayal of his pillow, he silently laments
the sudden break of trust from his most trusted comrade, but he promises
vengeance for his persuaded pillow. Blinded, he reaches for the other’s wrists,
curling his hands around them as he tries to kick the captain off of him.
Laughing, he warns, obviously not in any real danger, but for the sake of their bed,
"You’re going to collapse our bed, Rin. You can nail me in the pool."
"I can nail you anytime I want, flutter boy. Captain’s privileges. Or should I say, best friend privileges…?”
Caring little about the dangerously wobbling bunk, he proceeds to do just that, or at least determinedly attempts to: shuffling on top of the swimmer, pressing his knees on both sides of Sousuke’s waist and locking him down beneath him. Snickering as he leans closer, the ends of his red locks tickle the other’s face.
“These thighs can kill a man, you know.”
Oh, so this is Rin with his
flattery. He looks odd with
how he pronounces every
word and he is definitely
red with every passing
"…Thank you." Haru mutters,
looking the opposite way like
he always do when he knows
his face is far from normal.
When it’s exactly pink, actually.
"—By the way, I like your cheeks.
They’re probably the best indication
of what you feel.” Like, right now.
"And your eyes reminds me of
“‘That any better?”
The cherry reds of his widen as he gapes. Did he just get compared to something sweet and edible? By Haru?
"… tch, that’s so… Ugh. Haru, you’re so embarrassing."
Any better? Much better, especially if you’re holding hands and watching the sunset together and heading towards a passionate makeout session.
At least Rin’s compliments were reasonable. And not all… figurative like that. The heat on his cheekbones creeps to the tips of his ears as he crosses his arms furiously over his chest.
"Your cheeks are no better, dumbass." He needs to boost up his game.
"T-then your eyes are like…. the pool! Like when the sunbeams glimmer over it — a-and sometimes they’re like the ocean, deep and… y’know. Endless. Like, in a can-you-stop-staring-into-my-soul kind of way.” Like you are now. Stop staring. There’s nothing wrong with Rin’s cheeks. "And your laughter is, um, bright and hearty and… soft. Like, uh —like honey…?"
He shifts upon his feet and shoves his hands in his pockets, then takes them out, rubs his nape and crosses them again before he steals a sheepish glance at the teen’s reaction.
Geez, this kid’s really getting on his nerves, Haru internally grumbles. Ever since Rin locked down on him since his transfer, Haru could barely recognize the crumbly material which was his peace and quiet.
At least, in the water, it felt like a storm.
The boy glanced at the notebook being secretly pushed to him then at the redhead who’s smile was a definite danger - except for his teeth. No, not afraid of losing.
”Fine.” He pouted visibly now and slipped the notebook down to his knees so he could read in between the class. “Ten races.”
A tiny complacent snicker passes him as he keeps crouching over his table towards the boy sitting before him in the row of desks. Once Haru flips forward again and Rin’s notebook disappears under his desk, the redhead grabs a crease of his hoodie from behind and tugs.
"Nanase? Oi, Nanase!”
He nudges again and whispers, "Since you suck at English so bad, I’ll tutor you after school."
Leaning even closer, Rin sneaks a glance at the teacher from under his brow.
"I’ll come over to your place," he announces to Haru with his lips curling, small fist clutching to the material of the boy’s cloth.
Not that he’s that much into helping someone so bullheaded. Tsk. It just felt like a fruitful way to steal some time to spend together. Pool’s cool, sure, but how about hanging out sometimes not separated by the lane divider.