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Into Zero Distance

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Hokkaido is, simply put, freezing. No less freezing than the glare Rin is directing at Nagisa, who just looks back innocently at him, much to Makoto’s amusement.

And it’s only mid-November.

“You said this was our paid vacation,” Rin accuses the young producer. “Because our single broke top three of Oricon Weekly and remained there for six consecutive weeks. You said this was a paid vacation.”

“It is!” Nagisa literally sparkles as he spreads his arms wide. “Isn’t working while having vacation fun?”

Makoto chuckles, and swiftly hides behind the suitcase he’s hauling off the car trunk when that earns him the same glare directed to Nagisa earlier. Haruka’s gone off first with Gou to check all of them into the lodge they’re staying in, and Rei is checking up on the trailer that’s bringing all the equipments they would need to shoot a promotional video—probably not necessary, considering how Sousuke is the one in charge of it.

He drops the suitcase into the ground, and looks up to find Rin’s disgruntled look. A smile curves up on his lips, half-amused and half-sympathetic, because Rin had been looking forward to an actual vacation for about half a year now. He pulls Rin’s backpack out of the trunk and holds it to him like a peace-offering. “Come on, Rin, it isn’t that bad.”

“I was promised paid vacation,” his boyfriend grouches, snags his backpack from Makoto’s hands none-too-gently. “With you. Not with a whole bunch of riotous tagalongs.”

The heat that climbs his face is definitely not because of the freezing bite of wind. Makoto clears his throat, tries to hide his blush by ducking his face into the thick green scarf winding around his neck. “Mmm. Maybe next time?”

“When is next time,” Rin grumbles, the corners of his lips pulled downward with disappointment, and Makoto blushes harder when the first thing he thinks upon seeing that is to kiss it away. “I have the stageplay production starting next week, that’s going to last for at least three months, and you have that voice acting work, that’s going to keep you busy for a while. And then there’s my tour coming up—“

“Maybe,” Makoto says, trying to sound light, when he’s sure the heat is spreading to the tips of his ears. “I’d come with you for your tour in February. Make sure you don’t have a breakdown, and all that.”

Rin pauses. Stares at Makoto for a long time.

“For real?”

“Maybe,” Makoto grins, feels childish when a giddy laughter bubbles up his throat. The thought of going with Rin on his solo national tour is something he’s entertained for a while now, and knowing that Rin doesn’t seem to mind makes him really excited. “If we can finish this PV shoot safely, I guess.”

“Eh, you’ll be fine,” Sousuke’s almost-bored voice sneaks in, startling both of them. The home video camera in his hand is rolling, its recording light blinking merrily, and Sousuke’s eyes are intent on the screen. “It’ll probably end before you know it.”

“Sousuke!” Rin makes a grab for the camera, which Sousuke expertly ducks out of. “What the hell, Sousuke, tell us if you’re recording! That’s not going to be in the PV, is it?”

Sousuke stares back at them with a bland look that eerily reminds Makoto of Haruka, which means he’s most likely fucking with both of them. “It was a good shot. Nagisa did say he wanted this PV to feel domestic.”

“Please don’t listen to him,” Makoto says, laughing, at the same time Rin advances on Sousuke, grabby hands demanding for the camera. “Give it to me!”

“No,” Sousuke says, but his reply is cut off with a bark of laughter, and he sets off towards the lodging, Rin hot behind his heels.

-----o0o-----

Four months ago, when Rin contacted him to ask if he’s interested in working with them as their PV director, Sousuke didn’t actually expect his best friend to shine this much behind the camera.

Oh, Rin is good-looking, he knows. His best friend is extremely talented—whether it’s singing, acting or modelling, there’s something about Rin’s performance that captures people’s eyes and attention, some sort of charm that bewitches people and making them crave for more. It’s not exactly Rin he’s doubting—it had been Tachibana Makoto. Makoto, whose presence is almost too quiet compared to how Rin sparkles on stage, whose public smile is still as awkward as the first time he gets in front of the camera.

Sousuke sees people behind lenses, sees how people fits in scenes and sequences, crafts stories with compositions and gestures from behind the camera. He knows who belongs in where, knows where to put them so that he could showcase their light the most to catch viewers’ eyes, and Tachibana Makoto never belongs to the entertainment industry. Too unsure, too awkward, never confident enough—and Sousuke once wonders how Makoto manages to keep his own light when he stands next to Rin’s blinding presence all the time. 

“Fireplace and a bear rug,” Rin says, plucking on his guitar absently, trying out a string of melody that Makoto’s written on one of the music sheets scattered all around them. The fireplace behind him is lit, the flames casting a gentle orange glow over their skin. “We could have done much kinkier things with this setting, Makoto.”

“Rin,” Makoto says, cheeks pink, and from the other side of the room where everyone is crowding around Sousuke and his camera, Gou wonders out loud, “Can I throw my shoes at you, Oniichan?”

“No,” Rin calls back, and winces just as the melody under his fingertips jars. “It’s my paid vacation that has become not a paid vacation, I deserve to say anything I want.” He does, however, pauses and pays attention to the string of notes Makoto is crafting on his own guitar, expression turning thoughtful before reaching out for the pencil and the music sheet, and leans forward to show Makoto the part he wants to revise. Makoto glances at it, eyebrows furrowed.

“If we’re gonna have the bass riff bridging this part here, it’s going to sound really good,” Rin points out.

“Then hold the note here—before the chorus?” Makoto hums, fingers absently plucking the strings on his guitar according to the chords written. “It doesn’t sound bad, but wouldn’t it lack a bite? We’re building up to the chorus after all.”

“Not if we go fast-paced—it’ll be a good contrast to the lazy intro.”

Sousuke’s eyes follow the sway of their shadows to the rhythm of the fireplace’s flame. Judges the contrast of the warm orange and red rays draped over Makoto and Rin’s figures, over the scattered music sheets, over the guitars in their arms. Watches the way Makoto and Rin turns to one another, the way they duck their heads together over a paper—fingers tapping, pencils scratching.

It’s not always about being bright, he thinks to himself. Sometimes it’s the quiet intimacy and chemistry that makes people unable to look away, because it’s telling you silent stories behind the public personas.

And isn’t it an interesting challenge, for him to showcase these silent stories without completely revealing what they actually are?

-----o0o-----

“This is a bad idea,” Makoto laughs behind the wheels as Rin snaps the seatbelt properly into place next to him. Outside, the camera is rolling, and there’s another one on the dashboard, recording them right at this very moment—his nervousness, Rin’s reckless grin, and the impending doom this car is going to face. “This is a bad idea.”

Rin punches him lightly on the shoulder. “Rei already made sure it’s safe. Come on, Makoto, when else are we getting a chance to wreck a car?”

Makoto, holding the clutch all the way, shift lever already in reverse gear, swallows. There’s a giddy anticipation that’s familiar with having a reckless Rin around, bubbling up in his chest not unlike the feeling of a kid entering a carnival. He locks eyes with Rin, trades the same reckless grin, and goes, “ready?”

Rin’s shoulders straighten. “Always!”

Makoto lets go of the clutch and hits the gas.

The car lurches fast backwards, nearly jumps, and hits the wall of snow with a huge crash.

-----o0o-----

Sousuke doesn’t look very satisfied when he tells Makoto, “Let’s try this one more time.”

Maybe it’s the thing about working with friends—there is less pressure when it’s with Sousuke, but sometimes that also means they slack off a bit more than usual. Makoto gives him a sad look. “It’s cold out.”

“Yeah, sorry about that,” Sousuke says, and hits Makoto’s shoulder with the rolled-up script. “But you were too stiff. This is where you’re supposed to be getting a text from your lover, in the middle of your vacation, which you enjoy so much. We’re going for a subtle sort of longing contrasting with excitement for this PV, you’re not showing enough of the longing part.”

“But we’re going for subtle?” Makoto tries, and Sousuke hits him again. “Ouch. Okay, fine, one more time.”

Makoto burrows himself into his scarf as he steps out of the glass door, making a face at the frozen land outside. He leans against the wall, shoulder to the door, and glances in to where everyone stands inside—behind the camera and Sousuke, close to the fireplace they have going, a mug of hot cocoa or coffee in their hands, looking at him with expectation.

He makes a face again.

Sousuke’s firm “Action!” is muffled by the closed door, but still audible from the other side of the glass. Makoto sighs, looks up into the sky like he’s supposed to before pulling out his phone out of his pocket, and—

It vibrates in his hand.

He blinks, surprised at the new message notification. Rin’s name appears, and out of habit, Makoto’s thumb slides over it to open the message.

No one told me not to text you in the middle of work.

A soft laugh escapes his lips before he even remembers that the camera is still rolling, he’s still working. Ignoring the urge to glance inside where Rin is probably grinning at his phone, he fires off a response instead, with a small smile clinging to his lips even after he finishes texting.

I’m supposed to be getting a message from my lover anyway.

“Cut!” he hears Sousuke call, and that’s when he finally dares to look away from his phone. Pushing the door open and welcoming the blast of heat, he walks over behind the camera, watching Sousuke’s intent face as the camera rewinds and shows them the recording.

There’s Makoto, standing behind the glass, breath visible in the cold, framed by frosts forming on the glass panels, Hokkaido’s somber winter in the background. There’s a sense of aching loneliness in the whole picture that surprises Makoto—but then he sees himself, fishing out the phone out of his pocket. Then the genuine surprise flashes across his face, almost too briefly , and the small, unbidden laugh that came with Rin’s text—almost an unexpected contrast of warmth amongst the cold background and frame, and Makoto almost blushes.

It’s sort of embarrassing to see it himself, but Sousuke pats him on the shoulder, this time with a satisfied look, and says, “This is great. Good job.”

Rin welcomes him back by the fireplace with a mug of hot cocoa, tugging at Makoto’s scarf with laughter in his eyes, and Makoto kisses him thank you.

-----o0o-----

Haruka catches them rolling down the snowy hills, ski gears thrown aside, their hats and goggles askewed, and takes a picture.

“Haru,” Makoto calls out in-between breathless laughter, because he knows that picture is going to fo around Twitter in a matter of seconds. “No!”

Haruka raises an eyebrow. Rin manages to finally pin Makoto on the ground, almost burying him in the middle of the snow, cackling like mad.

The sound of the shutter has never sounded so deliberate.

“Haruuu!” Makoto whines, managing to push Rin upwards several inches to steal a glance at his best friend. Right on time as Haruka sends him a smug look.

“Yes,” he mouths at Makoto, turns his phone so Makoto could see the Twitter app on his screen, and pointedly taps the blue button.

-----o0o-----

The release of their single’s PV—5CM is the title, almost too simple compared to all other singles they have had so far—sort of breaks their website’s server, thanks to the too enthusiastic reception from their fans. RaM trends first on twitter for three good hours of the day, and Gou, the one who actually handles RaM’s official twitter account, has to uninstall the app from her phone because the notifications are making her phone freeze up every other minute.

The influx of the coming jobs afterwards is almost like a flood. Radio and TV shows are contacting them asking for appearance as guests, companies offering a tie-in for commercials, marketing people scheduling their bimonthly special live for their fanclub. Makoto enjoys it while he can—Rin is, after all, about to kick-off his solo tour, which means soon enough there’s going to be a pause on jobs for RaM. At least he’s getting Nagisa and Rei’s permission to tag along for the national tour, though he had to promise to stay behind the stage and stay inconspicuous. Knowing Nagisa, though, Makoto suspects he would probably stage a ‘coincidence’ where the fans would spot him attending Rin’s solo live—it’s too good of a fanservice to miss, after all.

Before that, though, he has his own web radio program to finish.

He likes the radio program. It’s great—once a week, with Seijuurou, he gets to go live for an hour and talk to his listeners through phone. It has a lot of youngsters sending him their life problems asking for advices, enough that the producer of the program decided to make a special corner called “Mako-Mama Lonely Night Life Advice”,  and while Makoto isn’t actually confident enough in giving life advice to others, he’s kind of good in reassuring them that things would work out, that things would get better. According to Nagisa (who got him the job in the first place), it’s really what those youngsters need instead of actualy life advice, so he supposes it works out in the end.

It’s not just that though. Mostly the web radio program is made up of laugh: stupid jokes sent by his listeners, food and hangout spots recommendations, hilarious daily life happenings, and even silly confessionsn about whether or not someone would refill their water bottles in public toilets. It’s also the time of the week when someone would send him questions about his and Rin’s relationship—which is pretty much an open secret, thanks to Haruka and his strategically ‘leaked’ photos, though there has never been an official confirmation about it.

“No,” he tells Seijuurou, trying for stern when he really doesn’t have a chance of winning—first of all, he could already feel heat climbing up his face, and even if he manages to look stern at all, Seijuurou is his senpai. A stubborn one, too, especially when he has that mischievous grin on his face. “No, Seijuurou-san, I’m not doing this, not that question—“

“But we’ve promised last week that we’d answer everything the listeners ask us,” Seijuurou says, completely unrepentant, and Makoto groans. He playfully sends a glare at the web camera, mouths a this is such a mistake at it, and smiles in amusement when the tablet in front of him blinks with his listeners’ comments on the web chatroom: did he just glare at us, and you promised!, and he just glared at us, that’s so cute. “Well, here’s your question, Makoto! The one Tachibana Makoto likes, what are they like?”

“Why does it have that question—“

“Because it’s fun,” Seijuurou tells him, grinning from ear-to-ear. “Aw, look at you, all embarrassed.”

Makoto lightly throws the pen he’s holding at him, getting a boisterous laugh in reply. “Why do we always get this kind of question every week, why do you always choose this kind of question—“

“We can turn off the lights so no one could see you blush,” Seijuurou suggests, teases, and Makoto has a second to throw a helpless look towards Haruka, standing in the audio room, separated from them by a mere glass wall.

He gets a silent thumb up from his best friend. Makoto wants to bury his face into his palms.

“You said it yourself, we get this kind of question every week, so you should be getting used to it,” Seijuurou waves, eyes glinting with victory as Makoto’s shoulders slump in defeat. “Okay, we’re gonna turn the lights off, and you can start confessing!”

Following Seijuurou’s call, the lights in the recording room slowly dims before vanishing completely, leaving the lights from the audio room filtering in through the glass wall. Makoto hopes the web camera won’t be able to pick up his expression with that minimum lights—saying it is going to be embarrassing enough, he’s not sure he wants to be seen blushing like a teenager all across the country.

Is Rin seeing this? He hopes Rin isn’t watching.

“The person I like is—“ bright, almost blinding, too amazing for words, and Makoto feels his cheeks heating up. “is really great at their job, and at workplace, they’re just—super great?” There’s a mortifying giggle tickling his throat, and Makoto hopes it didn’t just escape. “They’re really dependable, and very capable at their job, I mean, you must have someone like that in your workplace, right, you know how they’re super likeable, right, it’s—what else should I even say?“

“I don’t know,” Seijuurou answers, laughter clear in his voice. “What part of them do you like?”

“Well, like—“ His voice, his fingers, his music, his passion for everything he does, and for a second, Makoto wonders if it’s okay to actually say those words. If it’s actually okay to hint that they’re in a relationship, if this would still count as a fanservice instead of coming out, and what would Rin think about it, if they admitted their relationship? “They’re really fun to be with, and sometimes they’re not honest about their feelings, but they’re actually really kind? And gentle, especially with cats.”

Seijuurou doesn’t even bother to tone his laughter down now. “So this person? Do you think they like you, too?”

He really, really hopes the minimal lightings don’t pick up his expression, because he’s sure his face is beet red by now. “I don’t—um,” and that’s positively a giggle, half-nervous and half-mortified, escaping his lips. “I—guessIthinktheylikemetoo.”

Seijuurou’s grin is visible even with the dim lights. “Couldn’t quite catch that, Makoto.”

“Can we stop here?’ Makoto buries his face in his hands, doesn’t even care that he’s whining right now. “Please please, this is so embarrassing—“

There’s a chain of laughter around the room, and the lights turn back on. Seijuurou is still laughing, almost breathlessly, and one glance at the audio room treats him to the sight of Haruka chuckling behind one hand, eyes dancing in mirth. He presses his palms back against his face, refusing to look at the web camera, and ignores Seijuurou’s slap on his back. Glad to know everyone seems to be having fun at his expense.

“That was cute,” Seijuurou manages in-between laughter. “Look, everyone in the chatroom’s saying you’re super cute, too.”

Makoto whines into his hands.

“Isn’t it interesting you seem to only be thinking of one certain person?” Seijuurou’s voice lilts, taking a teasing note. “You know, Makoto, you could have just chosen to talk about your favorite manga character or something, right?”

Makoto’s head snaps up, eyes wide. “What?!”

Seijuurou pats him on the back. “Never said they had to be human.”

The chatroom is blinking up fast, and Makoto stares at it mutely as it displays the listeners’ response come filtering in: lol it was obvious he had someone in mind, and can’t blame him, usually with this sort of talk it’s gonna be someone you love right~, and I wonder if we know who that person is lololol, and Tachibana Makoto’s crush is visible from the moon it’s so cute.

“Can I go home now,” he says, mortified, and Seijuurou’s boisterous laugh fills the room.

-----o0o-----

 “Dependable,” Rin laughs in-between their kisses, and Makoto’s eyes narrow. He catches Rin’s lips again, licks his way into Rin’s mouth, draws the kiss until he could inhale Rin’s gasp and moan. It’s not enough to make Rin stop laughing once he lets go, though. “Really capable at their job.”

“Riiinn,” he whines, and steals the last bubble of laughter straight from Rin’s lips. “Stop it—“

“You must have someone like that in your workplace too, right—“ Rin mimics, and bursts out laughing at the way Makoto’s lips purse. This time, it’s Rin who leans in, blankets sliding off his bare chest, pressing against Makoto’s own, laughter etched onto Makoto’s lips as he presses their lips together. “So subtle, Makoto.”

“It’s not like—“ Makoto’s breath stutters when Rin’s teeth finds the line of his jaw. “Ngh—not like I was trying to out us, it’s just that I didn’t want to—“ he loses his grasp on the words when Rin’s teeth grazes down the line of his neck, down to his collarbone. “Rin, we just did—“

“You didn’t want to what,” Rin deadpans, each word a teasing kiss against his skin, before his teeth worries that patch of skin again. Makoto huffs, bares his neck further, and Rin’s other hand reaches up to splay his fingers over his nape—his thumb pressing against the pulse point under Makoto’s jaw. He trails kisses back up until he finds Makoto’s lips again; this time a gentle kiss, brief but sweet, and and when he lets go, their foreheads rests against one another.

Rin’s eyes, under the dim lights of their room, is a dark shade of red.

“I didn’t want to lie,” Makoto murmurs. “If they’re asking me what kind of person is the one I like, then I want to describe you.”

Rin’s eyes turn soft. “Are you thinking of coming out?”

For a beat, there’s silence. They stare at each other, and something in Makoto tickles with curiosity because they have never talked about this. Technically he’s been out for some time—to his family, to his friends, but those people simply know him as Tachibana Makoto, and not Tachibana Makoto of RaM. There’s a different implication there, especially considering where they are and where they stand at this point of their career. Being here hadn’t been something Makoto ever dreamt of, but it had been Rin’s dream. And as much as he doesn’t want to keep their relationship a secret, it’s Rin’s opinion that matters in this.

If he says that out loud, though, Rin is probably going to hit him on the head and tells him that his opinion matters too.

“I don’t mind,” he says, finally, because it’s the safest. He doesn’t want Rin to think that this is more important than his dream. Their dreams, perhaps, now that Makoto sees the path that RaM could take more clearly. He loves RaM—loves doing music with Rin, loves being on stage and having people listen to their music. Loves having his fingers over the strings of a guitar, loves raising his voice to the harmony of another, loves understanding the different beat and melodies that make up a whole song, just as much as he loves Rin.

But where they are, it had been Rin’s dream, first and foremost. And Rin should be the one to decide.

He doesn’t know if Rin understands. He’s not sure if his feelings reach Rin properly, either, but Rin exhales, sounding soft and content, and drops his forehead onto Makoto’s shoulder before a whisper slips past his lips, “I don’t mind either.”

-----o0o-----

Rin’s third solo national tour kicks off in Osaka.

Osaka-Jo Hall is huge. Even if it’s called a Hall, it’s quite practically almost like a stadium. “We can fit a maximum of sixteen thousand people in here if we use the whole hall,” Rei says when they get there for the first rehearsal. “Maybe if we could do an outdoor live national tour for RaM?”

Makoto ducks his head, laughs softly. “I don’t think we’re at that level yet, Rei.”

“Nagisa-kun is trying for Budoukan for the both of you,” Rei pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose. It glints under the winter sun—ever bright in Osaka, warm in a way Tokyo never is. “Aim high! And all that, Makoto-san. We’ll all work hard, so it’s always better to set our aims higher if we reach something!”

Makoto helps out with what he can—mostly providing more manpower for the staff on the backstage when they need people to lift and carry things over. He takes the time to watch Rin rehearse his dance on stage—a part of Rin that he never showcases in RaM would be his dance, so it’s a good time as any to observe the one part that is inherently Rin, and would never be theirs. Gou kidnaps the two of them for a late lunch, all the way to Nishinomaru Garden in the complex of Osaka Castle, and Makoto finds himself counting the cherry blossom tree they pass on their way.

“We should come here again,” Rin says in-between mouthfuls of vegetable tempura and rice. “When it’s spring and they’re all in full bloom.”

Gou rolls her eyes. “Fine, fine, I get it Oniichan, I’m the third wheel here.” She playfully shoves Rin on the shoulder, eyes dancing as she pulls herself to her feet and brushes off invisible crumbs off her skirt. “I should go back to the hall and check on Rei-kun.”

Rin glances up at her, eyebrows furrowed. “That’s not what I meant—“

The grin that curves up Gou’s lips is an exact replica of Rin’s own. “I was just teasing you. I really have to go check on Rei-kun though,” her hand reaches out to take the empty lunchboxes. “You two take your time, you have until four before we have to wrap up today’s rehearsal. Oniichan,” she leans in, face stern. “Don’t be late.”

“I’ll make sure he won’t be,” Makoto says, and chuckles when Rin makes a face at him.

They walk along the moat of Osaka Castle—the surface is completely frozen over, and making a really nice play of sunrays glinting over its surface, casting pale rainbow colors if Makoto tilts his head just right. It’s a quiet Thursday, and despite tomorrow is the beginning of a long weekend, there aren’t that many people out and about. Perhaps it’s because the wind bites chilly today.

The tip of Rin’s nose is red. Makoto smiles, burrows himself into his scarf, and slips his hand into Rin’s own. Under the tree, further down the road, someone is playing a trumpet—a female student in a high school sailor uniform, face scrunched up in concentration, as she plays. “Concert Etude, Goedicke,” Rin says lightly when they pass her, the end tail of his scarf flapping behind his back.

Makoto wants to catch it and wraps it around his hand.

The rehearsal is wrapped up by five, just as the last of the daylight disappear behind the curtain of night. The stage is all lit up, lights changing every other second as the lighting staff runs through the whole rehearsal once again, and in the midst of “Thank you for your hard work” and “I’ll be going back first” among the crew, Rin flops down the edge of the stage, his guitar resting on his lap, one hand stretched out to where Makoto stands on the first row seats of the audience.

“Get up here, Makoto,” he calls, teeth bared in an excited grin, and Makoto takes the invitation with a laugh.

-----o0o-----

A live tour is exhausting. A national tour that spans over three days in along weekend is much more so.

Under the last of the live concert’s adrenaline is exhaustion that tugs on Rin’s shoulders, though it isn’t enough to dampen his spirit. The opening live in Osaka-Jo Hall is a blast—Makoto regrets a little that he’s not allowed to see Rin’s performance out in the audience seat. The chorus of encore never fades out until Rin gets back out on the stage, as bright as he had been at the start of the concert, and Makoto thinks he might have fallen in love all over again.

They’re flying to Sapporo mere three hours after the live concert in Osaka-Jo Hall ends. Haruka is waiting for them at the airport, a suitcase containing their heavier winter gear with him, handing them their tickets as they rush in to catch the flight. Rin falls asleep twenty minutes into the flight to the quiet hum of a melody from Makoto’s lips—one of the songs they’re both still tweaking, the unfinished middle part of it repeated over and over the way the high school girl had did with her Concert Etude piece.

Nitori Cultural Hall is the smallest venue out of the three venues Rei managed to secure for Rin’s live tour. The capacity of the main concert hall reaches 2,300 people, which is nothing compared to Osaka-Jo Hall, but Makoto thinks Rin is actually rather thankful for that—much less pressure after a live in Osaka-Jo Hall. Perhaps because it’s comparatively a smaller, indoor venue, too, that the rehearsal could only be done two hours before the they open the door for the audience.

“We have all morning,” Rin says as he stretches, once they’re out of the airport and into the SUV that’s been waiting for them. “What should we do? Food?”

“I want soft cream,” Gou pipes in, sounding distracted as she rapidly taps away on her tablet. Her face falls. “Oh, the Snow Festival ended last week. I was hoping we could catch that, but—“

“We went to Niseko for the PV shoot in November, but we didn’t get to visit Sapporo, huh,” Makoto adjusts the scarf around his neck, watches the puff of his breath in the frozen air happily. “We could drop by the Sapporo Beer Museum? Sapporo Beer Garden is expensive, but I sort of want to try the Genghis Khan dish—”

“Sushi,” Haruka declares, his tone so authoritative that it’s obvious he already has somewhere in mind. “We’re going to Nijo Ichiba.”

Sapporo’s famous public market, stretching over a whole city block, offering fresh local products and seafood. It’s not a bad idea, really—Makoto likes the friendly atmosphere of a morning bustle of the market, and the restaurant they drop in to eat breakfast in has really good uni ikura donburi. It’s pretty much a fresh seafood heaven; as they walk through the market, every now and then there will be store owners putting their grills out, spreading selections of sea urchins, crabs, oysters or scallops over it, and either Haruka or Rin (or Gou, at least three times) would get hypnotized by the smell and ends up buying some to eat. Gou only gets her soft cream once midday passes because the shop she’s eyeing only opens after twelve o’clock. It means rushing down to Nitori Cultural Hall later, but Makoto’s glad that Gou dragged everyone to the ice cream shop first, mostly because the homemade gelato and soft cream combination is probably the tastiest he’s ever tasted. It’s too sweet for Rin, who makes a face and refuses to eat another spoonful, but he doesn’t protest when Makoto steals a kiss afterwards.

It’s hurrying back to Nitori Cultural Hall then—there are already people lining up for the concert goods on the entrance of the complex, and the staff ushers them in from one of the back doors. Makoto manages to sneak out to peek at the lines for the concert goods, before Haruka finds him and drags him back inside, but also snatching him one of the T-Shirts with Rin’s single logo that stretches over his chest.

“I think you got me the wrong size,” he tells Haruka when they’re back inside. Rin chooses that moment to pass through, glancing at Makoto distractedly before stopping dead in his track and backpedals, this time turning to look at Makoto properly.

“It’s not the wrong size,” Haruka answers easily, and nods when Rin gives him two thumbs up.

-----o0o-----

 Just as the second half of Rin’s live concert in Nitori Cultural Hall begins, Rei tells him: “Go on the stage and start the encore later, Makoto-san.”

Makoto, in a rare act of grace, does not choke on his drink. He manages to swallow, opens his mouth, doesn’t find words, and leaves it hanging open. “Huh?”

“It doesn’t have to be RaM’s song,” Rei says. “Just something light, it’d be a nice surprise for the audience to have you suddenly be on stage. We’ll say that you’ve come all the way to Sapporo to watch Rin-san’s live, and Rin-san has asked you to perform as well.”

“It’s Nagisa’s idea isn’t it,” Makoto sighs, shaking his head.

“Haruka-san agreed,” Rei pats him on the shoulder, sympathetic. “Pick a song and be ready for the encore. Don’t worry about costumes, the concert T-Shirt is nice, but I think Rin-san’s stylist would want to look at you before you go up.”

-----o0o-----

The chant for encore begins almost simultaneously with Rin’s return to the backstage—drenched with sweat, tastefully disheveled hair falling over his still-wild eyes, filled with adrenaline and too excited. It’s a familiar sight, one that Makoto has mirrored time and again every time they did a live tour for RaM.

“Oh,” Rin’s eyes fall to the guitar in Makoto’s arms first, before taking in Makoto’s stylishly tousled hair, the tight jeans that replaces his earlier dress pants, the T-Shirt Haruka had snatched him earlier stretching over his chest, the stage make-up. His face brightens even more, and Rin strides straight towards Makoto, excitement clear in his eyes. “Are you going up?”

Makoto’s eyebrows shoot up. “Was this your idea originally?”

Rin grins, unabashed. “Maybe?” The laugh that hangs between the two of them disappears as he leans in to peck Makoto on the lips. “I might have suggested something.”

Rin’s fingers rest over Makoto’s own on his guitar, and Makoto can’t look away from the sparkle beneath the shade of red that is Rin’s eyes. “It’s supposed to be your stage,” he murmurs instead, voice nearly drowned by the white noise that is the bustling of backstage. Somewhere in the background, he thinks he hears Gou’s voice calling for Rin. “I like your stage, Rin.”

The grin stretching over Rin’s lips grow wider. “Yeah?” His voice, though, is contrastingly soft, or perhaps it’s because the chants of encore from the hall echoing louder and louder, calling him back out. “I’d like you on my stage.”

 There’s no way Makoto could say no to that, really. He laughs, leans in to press their forehead together, and says, “Join me when you’re ready for encore.”

“Give me a break,” Rin mock-grouches. “I just finished a two-hour live, I don’t know if I could do encore. Take care of it, Tachibana.” Then his eyes rake over Makoto’s figure in a familiar, appreciative look that makes Makoto feel warm all over. “I’ll be watching.”

He doesn’t have the time to process the sudden arousal that shoots through his system, because the stage crew calls out, “Tachibana-san, stand-by!” and he has to scramble his way up to the side entrance of the stage. Rin sends him off with a gentle push on his back and a ringing, excited laughter that doesn’t disappear in the increasingly louder chant of encore.

Makoto adjusts his microphone, takes a breath, and dashes into the stage.

-----o0o-----

The audience explodes.

The moment Makoto runs into the stage with a smile and a small wave, the whole hall erupts into half-hysterical screams, breaking the chant of encore and Rin’s name, and a long round of applause that begins from the middle of the hall doesn’t stop until Makoto stands in front of the microphone and lets out a short, rather nervous laugh. “It’s not a RaM live,” Makoto says into the microphone, and the audience breaks into laughter.

From the backstage, Rin grins.

The song Makoto chooses to sing is part of Rin’s second single by the title of SHOUT!, one of Makoto’s favorites from Rin’s solo songs that hadn’t been on the set list Rin came up with. Rin loves it—the combination of the rough bass riff, piano, and melody guitar that accompanies the fast tempo of synthetic drums, the millennial whoops that fill the space between the verses where the audience’s voice could come together.

The stage comes alive with the first shriek of the bass, and Makoto’s voice resounds, clear and deep, leading the first verse. The beginning is easy. The beginning is familiar territory for Makoto, Rin thinks. The song is, however, designed to showcase Rin’s crystal clear falsetto in some bridging parts—the one difference between their singing styles. If Rin chooses to tackle high-pitched notes in falsetto, Makoto prefers to resort to powerful vibrato and hoarse shouts. In a song focusing on synthesizer and synth drums as the main instrumental piece and not their guitars, however, this could also mean letting go of control, but—

Whooa-oh-oh-whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, the millennial whoop goes from the audience, and Makoto answers, hoarse and half-breathless—shout it out—and the whoop returns it back to him, and there’s a suspended moment where Rin sees Makoto pulls himself back, before throwing himself out, arms open, head snapped up, bared completely open and his throat visibly tenses—

“Shout it oooouuuut--!!!”

High-pitched note held long, powerful vibrato washing over the audience’s millennial whoop—an unabashed scream to the heavens, a spiral of emotions that reigns over the rhythmic whoop of two-thousand-something people, echoing almost hauntingly under the closed roof of the hall. An impressive showcase of breath and pitch control, ending with a reckless abandon of said control as Makoto lets go of his vibrato and simply shouts hoarsely, “Yeaah!!”

Alone on the stage, Rin thinks, completely forgetting to breathe as his chest thrums with amazement, Makoto makes the song his own. He’s the leader of a rebellion, the King of those who were silenced, breaking free of the bubble of their self-restrain, bringing everyone’s voices higher and higher to reach the far heavens. He’s the core of this hall’s shouts, the center of a spiraling motion, and Rin grins roguely before activating his own microphone.

He can’t just stand back and watch.

Cry out your soul, Makoto croons as the synth drums quietens, and whooa-oh-oh-whoa-oh-oh-oh echoes back. Shout it out!, Makoto calls, and Rin dashes into the stage—under the hot lights as he throws his limbs loose and his voice free—and joins.

Whooa-oh-oh-whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh!!!

-----o0o-----

When they arrive at Kawaguchiko for the last stage of the tour, the sky is clear, the late winter sun is shining rather cheerfully, and Mount Fuji stands majestically beyond the arch of the Stellar Theatre’s open roof.

Nagisa and Sousuke are both waiting for them by the stage, Sousuke munching on pork buns while Nagisa has two sweet buns in each of his hand and a plastic bag of more buns hanging from his wrist. He happily shoves all of those to Sousuke in favor of rushing towards their newly-arrived group—launching himself straight into Rin’s arms, gifting him with affectionate head nuzzles against Rin’s chest despite the redhead’s protest and an almost overzealous hug in addition to gushing over how successful the last two live concerts were and “Thank you so much for the hard work, Rin-chan, you are such a genius!”

Sousuke offers the plastic bag to Makoto. “Pork buns?”

“Thank you,” Makoto grins. “Today’s the one live that would be released in DVD, right?”

“And Bluray,” Sousuke nods. “I hope you didn’t leave any marks on Rin last night, that’s going to stand out really starkly in Blurays.”

Makoto flushes. “We didn’t—“

“They were too tired for anything,” Haruka says breezily. “It wasn’t for Rin’s lack of enthusiasm though.”

Sousuke makes a face. “Gross.”

They have all morning before the rehearsal, though there’s already a small line of people waiting outside the gate of the theatre in anticipation for the concert goods. On Nagisa’s enthusiastic suggestion, they all head down to Kawaguchiko Lake by nine thirty in the morning—located right at the base of Mount Fuji and just hundreds of meters off from Mount Kachikachiyama, the second largest of the famous Fuji five Lakes with a surface area spanning over more than six kilometers square. The excursion boat cruise across the lake and back is a popular tourist attraction, and while all of them had gone on it at one point in their life, the novelty of a clearly visible scenic view of Mount Fuji looming over open water seen from the middle of the lake is always an idea to get excited over.

Getting on the site early enough—and also perhaps because it’s still winter—gives them the advantage of having no one else on the first trip of the boat. The second floor of the boat offers an open 360 degrees panoramic view, which is great once the boat cruises out to the lake far enough that they could see the expanse of Mount Fuji, spread on the othe side of the lake majestically, its reflection clear on the sparkling water under the bright winter sun. The wind bite is merciless though, and at one point it was cold enough that everyone decides to go down to the first floor, safely protected from the winter chill, except for Nagisa and Gou—who are excited enough to brave the biting cold—and Sousuke—whom Makoto suspects is actually immune to freezing temperature.

“I was thinking,” Rin says as he leans over the rails, looking up the last of the view of Mount Fuji as the boat cruises back towards the shore. “That maybe we could make a song. About us.”

Makoto tilts his head. “About us?”

“Us,” Rin repeats. “Our relationship.” The lines of his face turn thoughtful for a moment. “I’m thinking of making it a little bit different from our usual style—still going to be RaM’s music, but I was thinking maybe rougher—“

“Rin,” Makoto says, cuts in, and tugs at his boyfriend’s shoulder when Rin wouldn’t turn to look at him. There’s hesitance in the lines of Rin’s face, in the way his eyes dart around Makoto’s, but Makoto places both of his hands upon Rin’s shoulder, catching his eyes. “Rin.”

Rin stares back, unsure.

“Like coming out?”

“You said you don’t mind,” Rin says, sounding defensive. “We don’t have to—to do a press conference or confirm anything, if you don’t want to, but making a song would be subtle enough, righ—“

Makoto doesn’t give him a chance to finish. He leans forward, kisses Rin hard, steals all the breath and words that cling on his lips, turns them into a shuddering breath and a whisper of his own name when they part. Rin’s eyes are bright, and Makoto could see his own expression reflected on them—the hesitant, hopeful look of his own, the tight corners of his lips and the knit of his eyebrows and the trembling line of his mouth—and Rin laughs.

“Why are you making a face like you’re about to cry,” he whispers, one hand finding Makoto’s nape and pulls him forward. Makoto makes a half-broken noise, lets Rin’s hand guide his head to rest on the juncture between Rin’s neck and shoulders, and wind his arms around Rin instead.

“I love you,” Makoto breathes, the word warm against Rin’s neck. “I love you.”

“Yeah,” Rin says, fingers tangling in the strands of Makoto’s hair. “I love you, too.”

-----o0o-----

Rin’s last live concert begins with the clear, majestic evening view of Mount Fuji as the backdrop of his stage, framed by the curving arch of Stellar Theatre and the blue sky slowly turning into layers of deep red and oranges.

It ends with a bang—a literal one as the fireworks whistle up the dark winter sky and paint it with explosion of fireflower petals. Makoto doesn’t stay at the backstage, he watches instead from the sound reinforcement system area with Sousuke, Nagisa and Haruka, smack in the middle of audience seat, with a flimsy disguise of sunglasses and hat. He watches as the audience dance in swaying red glow of their lightsticks, each hypnotizing wave punctuating the beat of the drums and Rin’s shrieking guitar, the rising voice of the audience following Rin’s lead for one last chorus.

“Can’t wait for RaM’s live, huh, Mako-chan?”

Nagisa, sometimes, is terrifyingly perceptive. Makoto smiles, almost sheepishly. “That obvious?”

“Not really. I can see, though—Mako-chan loves being on stage with Rin-chan the most, after all.” Nagisa’s laughter is drowned by the crescendo of everyone’s voice and the boom of the fireworks. “It makes me happy, that you both love doing this so much. Makes me want to work so much harder, you know. Get you guys up there—Pacifico Yokohama, Tokyo Dome, Zepp, or—“

“Budoukan,” Makoto says, and smiles at the confident sparkle in Nagisa’s eyes.

“I’m trying my best!” Nagisa grins. “When we get Budoukan, make sure you guys praise me a lot, okay!”

He doesn’t know how to thank Nagisa. Doesn’t know how to thank Rei, or Sousuke, or even Gou and Haruka, who have stayed with him and Rin for much longer. Doesn’t know how but to try his best, because right now, being here as Tachibana Makoto of RaM is no longer about being part of Rin’s dream—it’s their dream, now, one and the same, and for the first time since he stepped into the entertainment industry, Makoto feels like he could clearly see the path RaM is taking.

“Nagisa,” he says anyway, because Nagisa deserves it. “Thank you.”

He gets an emotional hug and a head nuzzle for that, but this one Makoto accepts whole-heartedly.

-----o0o-----

Rin hums a part of the melody under his breath, his finger tapping on Makoto’s bare thigh to create a tempo audible only to himself. He’s on Makoto’s lap still, back flush against Makoto’s chest—Makoto’s cock still deep inside him despite they haven’t moved for the past ten minutes. He feels full but relaxed; he’s come earlier, though Makoto still hasn’t, but while it had been their second round of the night, Rin is pretty confident he could still going for at least once more.

The music sheets in his hand slightly rumpled, and their guitars are abandoned on the other side of their bed. Makoto’s chin is digging into his shoulder as his boyfriend absently chews on the end of his pen. They’ve been up all night, alternating between crafting notes and harmonies and playful but very enthusiastic and sometimes impatient sex; honestly, it’s sort of no wonder that they’re nowhere near done with the song.

“Maybe I’ll switch to playing bass guitar for this song,” Rin says, eyebrows knitted in dissatisfaction. “It’d make the song sounds stronger—rougher, near desperate for the chorus.”

“You’re really set on it,” Makoto inhales, deep, and nuzzles the underside of Rin’s jaw. “I like that part though.If I stay on the note and you take the higher pitch, it’d be a really smooth harmony.”

“Or we could go G major on this and—“ Rin adjusts his voice, repeats the humming on the same part, and taps the music sheet. “See? You can even shriek this and it would still sound rough.”

“It doesn’t have to sound rough to give it a mature image,” Makoto points out.

“That’s not all we want to show, though, is it?” Rin leans back, bares his neck when Makoto scrapes his teeth over the line of his jaw. He sighs as Makoto’s fingers skitters up his hip, up his chest, and one of his hand leaves the music sheet to catch Makoto’s wandering own, lining his fingers over Makoto’s and guide them up, flicks over a nipple. “This isn’t just about being in love. It’s being with you, Makoto.”

Makoto’s hips rocks minutely, forcing a gasp out of Rin’s chest. His cock twitches, and Rin lets go of Makoto’s hand to touch himself—half-hard already, with every flick of Makoto’s finger on the hard nub of his nipple. Heat curls low in his stomach as Makoto’s other hand joins his own, curling around Rin’s cock, a firm stroke that sends shudder through Rin’s whole body. He laughs, breathlessly, and rolls his hips along with Makoto’s pace, watches his cock fully harden under his and Makoto’s own hands.

“See,” he breathes, and the music sheets scatters off from his hand. “It’s about wanting you. Impatiently so, because have you seen yourself—nnn—ah, ah, Makoto—“

The way Makoto’s hand maps his body is maddening; fingers splayed over his ribs, nails scraping lightly across his chest and then skate down the lines of his hips, twisting underneath Rin’s thigh and pulls his leg aside before his other hand leaves Rin’s cock, trails down to trace a finger around where they’re joined. Rin whines, tilts his head to catch Makoto’s lips and kisses him—all teeth and force and as Makoto slams up into him, Rin lets him swallow his groan.

“Messy,” Rin gasps into Makoto’s mouth, feels himself tightening around Makoto and grins when it draws a guttural groan from him. “Sloppy. I want you, all the time, like this—“ he loses his breath when Makoto’s hands lift him by the thighs and slams up. Almost instinctively, Rin reaches back, twines his arm around Makoto’s head as best as he could, fingers sliding through Makoto’s hair and holds on. “So good, Makoto, you—nggh—“

Makoto’s teeth scrapes over his earlobe, harsh breath echoing in Rin’s ear. “Rin—“

“This,” Rin pushes down, rolls his hips to meet Makoto’s thrusts, and laughs over Makoto’s whine. “Deeper, rougher, every time—oh, oh—I want them to hear this, Makoto—“

This desperation, of chasing their pleasure. Because it’s with Makoto, and it’s not just about love, it’s about desire.

“Give it to me,” Rin demands breathlessly, and Makoto hums the melody against his ear—voice hoarse, half-broken sounds, out of control—thrusting up deep, pulling Rin down and holds him there as he comes inside. The melody trails into a deep groan, and that’s what pushes Rin over the edge.

Rougher, Rin thinks. More desperate. More. More.

He kisses the last of that melody on Makoto’s lips and claims it for his own, too.

-----o0o-----

The CD case is clear, as it always is. There’s only a simple string of Into Zero Distance scrawled in Sousuke’s loose handwriting on it, dark ink contrasting the glint of the disk under the bright lightings of Rei’s office. It contains two songs only—the one they both worked on while doing the PV shoot for 5 CM, and the other one is the newly finished song Makoto and Rin hadn’t let anyone but their friends hear yet.

“Your new single,” Sousuke hands it to Makoto and Rin, a satisfied smile born from a job well done on his lips. “It’s a bit different from RaM’s usual style, but I like both songs. Make sure Nagisa pushes the second one for your hit.”

Rin flashes him a grin. “Thanks, Sousuke.”

“It’d be good to release it next summer,” Haruka says. “Summer Sonic Music Festival wants you guys in their list of performer this August.”

“Yes,” Gou calls from the other side of the room. “We’re definitely taking that!”

Rei turns an amused look towards her and Haruka. “You do realize that it is actually my and Nagisa-kun’s call, right?”

“You’d say okay anyway, Rei-kun,” Gou throws him a rogue grin almost identical to that of Rin’s. “Don’t think I didn’t see you looking up the schedule for Summer Sonic—“

The door opens with a loud bang. Nagisa flies in, eyes wide and filled with tears, his phone clutched tightly in a white-knuckled hand. His breath hitches when he sees Makoto and Rin, alarmingly clear that he’s seconds away from bursting out into tears, and Makoto takes an aborted step forward, a spike of worry leaping up his chest.

“…Nagisa?”

“We—“ Nagisa chokes out, shoulders shaking as much as the syllable, his voice thick with tears, but his eyes are wide, bright and almost feverish. What tears off his chest isn’t a sob, but an almost hysterical laughter instead. “We got Budoukan!!”

There’s a split-second of utter silence before Rei drops the entire documents in his hands and Gou’s shriek splitters the room. Nagisa whoops, launches himself into a dumbfounded Makoto, pulling Rin down in the process, and then it’s Rei and Gou landing on top of them in a dog pile, an endless chant of “Oh my god, oh my god, Budoukan!!!” falling from her lips. There’s a bark of laughter that is unmistakably Sousuke’s, and then Rin is whooping in his ears and Haruka is crouching next to their dog pile, one hand around both Makoto and Rin, face mushed against the back of Rei’s head.

Budoukan.

“Two days in a row!” Nagisa shrills. “We got Budoukan, two days in a row!”

And this—this is Makoto’s music. He finds the notes in Gou’s excited shriek and Nagisa’s half-hysterical babble, hears the melody in Rei’s heartfelt sobbing and the tunes of Sousuke’s deep laughter, feels the harmony in the quiet noise of Haruka trying to regulate his breath, and spuns them all into a whole song with the radiant grin that stretches over Rin’s face—bright, blinding, and his.

A music no one else could hear but him.

-----o0o-----

Their Budoukan live concert is on late June, two weeks before they’re releasing their new single.

It’s a lot of excitement to prepare for it. Nagisa raves non-stop about it, an endless shrieking ball of “MAKO-CHAN WE GET BUDOUKAN!!” every single morning when they get to the office. Their fans have been abuzz ever since the announcement, strategically ‘leaked’ by Haruka, and when they finally officially confirms it on a livehouse concert with their fanclub, Makoto is amazed to see so many of their audience cry at the mention of Budoukan.

Two days in a row for RaM live concert, at Budoukan.

Now that the night of the live is approaching, Makoto stands in front of his stylist with a nervous pinched look on his face.

“What,” he says when Rin passes and pointedly laughs at him. “Rin, honestly—“

“You’re making it difficult for Saeki-san to finish up,” Rin tells him, the slouch of his shoulders relaxed, like a live in Budoukan isn’t something to get nervous about. Makoto purses his lips—Rin’s done two live concerts overseas in the past two years, of course to him the pressure of Budoukan is nothing. At least compared to performing abroad where he wasn’t even sure if he was known enough that people would come to see him.

“Makoto,” Rin says, and Makoto blinks out of the thought, for a moment bewildered that it’s Rin’s face before him and not Saeki-san. He glances at where his stylist is, skipping away with a familiar melody on her lips, moving efficiently as she begins preparing their change of costumes. Rin makes a tsk-ing noise, and Makoto’s attention snaps back to him.

“This,” Rin’s forefinger finds the center of Makoto’s forehead, smoothing the wrinkles. “Is not what the fans are expecting to see.”

Makoto looks down, wringing his hands. “It’s just—“

“I know,” Rin says, and then leans forward, pressing their foreheads together. “Budoukan, right?”

Makoto closes his eyes, tries to match his breathing with Rin’s. It’s become their little routine, ever since they get together—when one of them is too nervous, mathing their breaths is a good way to calm down. “Yeah.”

“It’s gonna be great,” he feels Rin’s hand closes around his own, holding tight—steady, with the slightest tremor of excitement.  “And we’ll be doing it together. I’ll be up there with you. It’s going to be unbelievable.”

Their breathing match. Makoto feels the focus, slithering into his head, like Rin is giving him his own. He swallows, once, then twice, and squeezes Rin’s hand. “Yeah.”

“We’ll fucking blow them away.” Even without opening his eyes, Makoto could see Rin’s grin, bright and almost rogue, absolutely confident in them. “We have our surprise new song, and we’ll floor everyone.”

Right. The song—one of the things Makoto is genuinely nervous about, because it’s something completely new. No one has heard it but them and their friends, and it’s a bit different from their other songs—more upbeat, well into the genre of punk-rock, with a definite raunchy undertone that they have never did before. The music they’ve written together as their bodies joined, the lyrics they had whispered under blankets and rumpled, stained bedsheets—rogue and so-very-sexual.

His breath stutters a little. “You think so?”

“I know so.”

And it’s to Rin’s soft smile he opens his eyes to. To his gaze, confident and unfaltering, and Makoto thinks, I am not alone.

Outside, the echo of voices calling out their names intensifies. Makoto tightens their hands together, dips his head slightly, and presses his lips against Rin’s.

“Let’s go together.”

-----o0o-----

And the song is an explosion.

Makoto watches lightsticks dance, red and green intermingling together, following the beat of the bass riff, each bang of the drums—Rin’s abandoned his own standing microphone and now they’re sharing Makoto’s together, and they breathe the same air, sing the same lyrics as they break into beautiful, beautiful harmony;

“..we’ll be messy anyway, so with love’s zero distance, let us feel the highest ecstasy—“

Rougher. Almost desperate. And under the white hot stage lights, Makoto has exactly one second to catch the glint in Rin’s eyes, the moment his grin turns rogue, almost rebellious—

The lyrics end, the bass follows with a heavier riff, and Rin pulls him roughly close and into a kiss.

Makoto loses his breath.

It doesn’t matter if the whole Budoukan screams. It doesn’t matter that both Rin and him had stopped playing and the music sounds empty without the guitars’ melody. It doesn’t matter that his standing microphone has been accidentally knocked down. What matters is Rin—his heat, the thrum of his heart, his grip on Makoto’s shoulder, the dizzy pleasure that shoots through his brain, like an injection of adrenaline and arousal straight into his mind—and his lips part, accepting Rin’s searching tongue without much thoughts, and—

And just as swiftly as the kiss came, it ends.

He doesn’t breathe. He can’t. Not with Rin, shining so brightly before him, shark teeth sharp and rebellious, lips stretched wide in a grin, an utter look of satisfaction on his face.

The audience are still screaming.

“So yeah,” Rin says, pulling him close in a one-armed embrace. “Thought tonight will be a good time to tell all of you that we’re together now. As in, going out. And while to some of you this might not be a surprise…”

Makoto’s brain barely registers what Rin is saying through the haze left by the kiss—how Rin thanks everyone for supporting them, how Rin hopes that everyone would continues to support them after this—but what he sees is this:

The sea of red and green, swaying lightly to the cheer of the audience, a mesmerizing dance he could never imagine do on the stage.

-----o0o-----

Later, much later, when they’re packing up to go home for the night—Haruka and Gou busy fielding calls from reporters and Nagisa plots an even more outrageous promotion method now that their relationship is out in the open while Rei tries to keep him in line—Rin turns to Makoto with a chuckle and devious, devious eyes.

“Do it, more messily, the most amazing splash, and let me wake up, inside of you—“

And with that whisper, their distance is closed into zero with a kiss.

-----o0o-----