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The first time Rin saw someone else’s erect penis, it was in Australia. And like everything else he went through in in Australia, it was a fucking embarrassing, miserable, confusing experience.

Everything Australians said was gibberish. It wasn’t anything like the English in the TV or the books or the tapes Rin had painstakingly listened to. It was weirdly drawled and full of phrases that didn’t match the dictionary meanings, words that didn’t seem to be words at all, in any language.

Swimming had a language all its own, of course, but Rin seemed to be forgetting even that these days. He pushed and pushed, and got nowhere, even when he tried to imagine Haru in front of him, his stupid unimpressed blue eyes and dumb pointed toes and beautiful form. Sometimes Rin even thought he could hear him, that infuriating catchphrase, ‘I only swim free,’ floating in the water ahead of Rin.

Rin couldn’t catch up to Haru, not even then. Not even in his imagination.

The instructors talked slowly to him, like he was an idiot or a baby. Infuriatingly, it was one of the only times he could understand the so-called English being spoken around him, because they were careful to be clear and use normal words and not nonsense. So he couldn’t even complain. Not about that.

He walked slowly into his dorm room one late afternoon. The sun hung at an unfamiliar angle, the light all wrong, and Rin tried, hard, not to miss the sun he knew back home. The temperature and the weight of the air and the turn of the seasons. Even his room here was alien. Even the sun.

His trainer had just chewed Rin out for practicing extra, outside his schedule—which Rin knew there were training schedules for a reason, but he was getting worse, he had to do something. All his bones ached, and his body felt weird and wrong, and he wanted to go home, but that’d be admitting he’d failed. All he needed was to hide for a while, get himself under control in private. Then he'd be fine.

Everyone was at practice now, or in class, and Rin should have had the room to himself. He was so focused inward, on keeping his frustrated sobs inside, that he walked in and sat on his bed without even noticing his roommate was there until he started yelling.

For a moment, Rin only stared. He caught the mangled bastardization of his own name in the torrent of what was probably obscenity, but mostly he just froze. James Lincoln – who wasn’t a bad guy, always smiled and nodded at Rin in the halls – was currently dick-out, balls dangling, pantsless.

Not a big deal, Rin had been in locker rooms and around naked people pretty much since he was born, he figured. He’d even seen hard dicks, albeit beneath jammers – it happened to males sometimes, his first coach had explained the first time he’d spotted the phenomenon at a swim meet and blithely (and loudly) asked about it.

But Rin had never been around a naked guy like this – in private, for one thing, and for another, James was deliberately hard. There was a lot of – Vaseline? – and a magazine nearby, and James had been—he’d been getting himself off, Rin slowly realized.

Sex wasn’t something he’d talked about back home, and he didn’t have anyone to talk about with it now, obviously. But he knew about it. Of course he did, he wasn’t an idiot or a baby, whatever the trainers thought. It was just hard to conceptualize sex as something important when there was swimming to do.

Or not do, if you were Rin, he thought miserably. Anyway, in the showers, there were always people around, and by the time Rin fell in bed at night, he was too exhausted and miserable to even think about exploring his penis. It hadn’t occurred to him to want to try.

James was still talking, Rin realized, and covering his face with one hand and junk with the other, and Rin stammered out an apology, a mix of probably incoherent Japanese and English, and backed out of the room.

He slammed the door closed and stared at it for a while, feeling shitty and awful and embarrassed, when, for no good reason, let alone any fucking reason at all, a thought popped into his head, in full technicolor: I wonder if Haru does that?

 

 

 

That was the start of a dark and terrible period of an already dark and terrible part of Rin’s life. Rin had gotten through plenty of puberty thus far without being plagued by boners, and so he could only conclude that this was somehow, possibly through cursework, Haru’s fault.

Rin’s dick was out of control, and Nanase Haruka was to blame for it.

Because once he’d had that first thought, Rin hadn’t been able to stop thinking about it.

Haru, Rin figured, was probably awful at masturbating. Haru probably thought his dick was beneath his own attention, because it wasn’t hydrodynamic enough. He probably totally ignored it, or didn’t even realize it was there. Maybe he didn’t have one at all.

(he totally had one, Rin hadn’t looked but he’d noticed)

Unless… unless it was like how Haru swam, or painted, or did any one of the numerous effortless things that he was annoyingly, amazingly good at without even trying. He probably had transcendental orgasms that left his muscles limber and kept his hormones under perfect impeccable control, but whatever, he probably also jerked off to mackerel.

Unlike Rin who, increasingly often, in drastically more dire and embarrassingly desperate locations, was jerking off to the hope of being better at jerking off than Haru.

That… was probably more pathetic than jerking off to mackerel.

That probably would have been the worst of it, and Rin would have been able to move on and keep his nervous breakdown centered on how miserable it was to be a terrible son letting down his dad’s dream in a foreign country the very first year he was there, no matter how hard he tried—

Except then there were the dreams.

They were, he admitted, better than the nightmares. Those left him crying and gasping so often in the middle of the night his roommates had to hate him by now. Rin would hate himself, if he had himself as a roommate, and he tried desperately to make up for it in the day by being as quiet and unobtrusive and clean as possible.

Anyway, maybe that was why subconsciously he clung to them so much. The Haru-dreams.

“You’re doing it all wrong,” Haru would say, showing up in the showers, frowning at Rin as Rin desperately fisted his cock, hurrying to finish before someone else came in. But… Haru wasn’t cold, or distant. He wasn’t ignoring Rin. He was watching, he was paying attention. “Like this, Rin.”

And then—fuck, and then he’d put his hand on Rin’s dick, and Haru’s hand moved like a dream, of course it did. Effortless and fluid, up and down, and Rin would gasp and say Haru’s name, and Haru’s eyes would meet his and then Haru said, “Yeah, Rin! Like that. That’s good, Rin.”

And then Rin would wake up with his shorts sticky and his cheeks hot and mortified.

Now that, he figured, knuckling at his eyes in the morning and miserably staring at his workout regimen – there had to be something he was missing, there had to be some way he could do better – now that was really pathetic.

 

 

 

After he lost to Haru, back home in Iwatobi, he stopped – stopped thinking about it. Sex, masturbation, dicks. Any of it. About Haru and how he might unwind after a swim, about how Haru’s cheeks might flush pink, how his nipples might be sensitive like Rin’s, stopped wondering if he might like pinching them, like Rin did, just before he orgasmed, or if he’d try – anyway.

He stopped thinking about any of it.

He learned Australian English. He threw himself into different training regimens, trying one tact after another. He had to focus. Haru probably thought Rin was pathetic, anyway. A crybaby, a waste of time and of all the money that his family was spending to send him to Australia in the first place. A waste of water.

So Rin focused on not being that, on being his father’s son, a future Olympic swimmer. On trying, desperately, not to let anyone see how very, very fucking hard he was trying to improve so very, very fucking little.

Maybe Rin’s subconscious didn’t get the memo, sure, but Rin couldn’t help his dreams.

He just tried not to think about them when he woke up.

 

 

 

“Did you ever think about any of us when you were away?” Nagisa asked cheerfully, years later at a joint swim practice.

“I tried not to,” Rin said dryly, shrugging, and cracked his neck, watching Rei’s form as he pulled down the lane. It was improving, but he still wasted a good two or three seconds with that showy flourish on his turn.

“Heyyy, why not? Didn’t you miss us?” Nagisa asked, head cocked, and the sunlight fell perfectly familiar and right on his blonde hair, and the breeze blew past cool and scented of the sea, and Rin was home. And he was making good time, and his old coach in Australia had written him and congratulated him on his improvement, and said, at the postscript on the bottom. ‘Some kids just can’t swim if they’re unhappy. I’m glad to hear you’re happy now, Mr. Matsuoka.’

Of course Rin had fucking missed them. That was why he tried not to think of them, which was probably one of the things that had fucked him up so bad to begin with. But Rin had a therapist now, and he was working on not blaming himself for things he couldn’t change, so.

He started to make a teasing joke about it instead of doing the rage-spiral-self-loathing thing—does a shark think about the shrimp it left behind when its got a thousand pound marlin in front of it, shrimpy?—when Haru strode past, fresh from the pool. It was late summer, and Haru had a faint sunburn pinking his shoulders, his chest, and his hair was wet, and some freak trick of light outlined the bulge in his jammers perfectly, and suddenly Rin was choking on his own tongue.

Did you think about of any of us

Haru looked over at them, cocking his head as Rin coughed and Nagisa, alarmed, pounded on his back.

“Okay, Rin?” he asked, concern—concern actually audible in his fucking voice, god.

“Oh, I’m just swell,” Rin rasped out, bent over and glaring at his treacherous, traitorous, mutineer of a dick.

 

 

Rin hadn’t realized time had dulled the occasional dream that had filtered through the insomnia and nightmares until the dreams came back, years later, in full force, an invading pornographic army of doom.

Innocence thoroughly obliterated, Rin now knew a lot more about shit like porn, and had walked in on, if not had himself, plenty of sex. His dreams weren’t just about handjobs and sharing milkshakes anymore.

 Okay, sharing milkshakes still featured – because apparently he retained his young taste for complete lack of subtlety and general idiocy – but there was also a lot of fucking. Embarrassingly, not any of him doing the fucking. Haru, fucking Haru, who to all intents and purposes appeared to be completely asexual, or poolsexual, or swimsexual – holding Rin down, watching him. Eyes warm. Paying attention. Wanting him.

It was almost worse now because he’d seen—he’d seen Haru do that. He’d straddled Haru’s lap, for fuck’s sake, totally oblivious to the connotations, and cried, and Haru had – had cared. Had wanted him, if only to swim with. For Haru, that was huge, and Rin marveled over it non-sexually basically every other second of every day.

Haru had come looking for Rin, had called his name and clutched his arm and—

And Rin had thought the dreams were bad before, but turns out they fucking took a centimeter and ran a 10K. To say nothing of his dick, which apparently decided the lax period it had had with Rin during the worst of his time at Australia and then at Samezuka meant that it was now all cylinders go. Turbo speed. Thrusters on full.

“Are you wearing—what are you wearing?” Rei asked, in aghast horror at their next joint practice.

A cat ate my jammers,” Rin hissed between his teeth, and jumped in the pool to hide his baggy swim trunks and erectile malfunctioning from the rest of the apparently billion people who had decided to attend practice today.

“I told you not to sneak that kitty into our room,” Nitori said, shaking his head. “But it was soooo cute and it was really cold out!”

“Rin-chan likes kitties too?” Makoto said, sounding delighted, and Rin sank to the bottom of the pool to practice some breath control, or to try to drown. Either or.

 

 

The thing was…

The thing was, this stupid, well, thing Rin had with Haru wasn’t just a dream anymore. It was something living and real, something terrifyingly plausible.

Haru had thawed so far from his childhood self, it was like comparing winter to the full flush of spring.

He texted Rin at really weird hours, and since Rin still had the occasional bout of insomnia, they often had long silly conversations late at night. And sometimes those conversations resulted in impromptu swim competitions, or races, or late-night snacks.

He smiled. Not huge Nagisa- or Makoto-smiles, no, but for Haru it was as good as a goddamn sunshine beam. He touched Rin’s shoulder, sometimes. Voluntarily. He once took Rin’s hand and tugged him towards the pool, which definitely, despite Rin’s vehement instructions to his brain, his subconscious ran with. He—he fucking drew a beautiful sketch of Rin as an Olympian, complete with toga and laurel leaves, for Rin’s birthday, and only gently chided Rin to stop crying when he started, okay, crying.

There were a number of reasons Rin’s brain needed to knock off reading more into any of this, and to just accept how fucking amazing and unlikely it was that Haru liked Rin well enough to want him as a friend, after all the shit Rin had put him and the other Iwatobi kids through.

First on the list was that Rin couldn’t, couldn’t fucking lose them again. The thought sent his heart racing and cold sweat standing out on his temple.

Irrational. That’s what his sister and his therapist said, whenever he worried about pissing them off, or people getting tired of him. They were probably right. Probably.

Anyway, mental hoops and anxious loops aside, the odds of Haru being interested in Rin, like that, seemed even less likely than a small-town kid making gold at the Olympics. If Haru were interested in anything non-liquid, what were the odds it’d be guys? And what were the odds even then that it’d be a hot mess like Rin?

Somehow Gou had managed to tease out the truth during one of his hesitant chats with her, about how he’d missed her, and them, and how much he appreciated what she’d done for all of them, and how proud he was of her. Apparently she picked up on a ‘yearning’ in his voice when he talked about Haru-chan – which meant she had to be fucking psychic, because there was no way Rin had any yearning in his voice ever.

“Why wouldn’t it be you he wanted, if he was gay?” she’d bristled. “If all these guys loved you even when you were being a complete asshole, what does that tell you?”

“That they’re idiots?” He’d ventured, and then yelped when she started beating on him with one of her stuffed pandas.

“That you’re very lovable. If Haru doesn’t want you then he is an idiot. You’re talented and sweet and funny and amazing, big brother, and you just have to accept it. Or else.”

“Oh my god, stop,” Rin said immediately, alarmed and trying to hide his face in one of her ten thousand stuffed animals. “I’m not. Okay, I’m talented. But—”

“No buts!” she said fiercely, and he couldn’t help but grin as he cowered back a bit, and then he knuckled her head fondly as he hugged her and she complained.

You’re amazing,” he said into her hair. “I’m sorry I was such a jerk.”

“Stop apologizing. You’re too hard on yourself. You always are. You think I don’t know that?” she responded, voice thick. “But, if you’re so sorry, you could stop trying to scare off all my dates. And also ask Haru out on one!”

Not a chance.”

 

 

“Dinner tonight?” Haru said, toweling off after a joint practice. Just as he’d done about ten times or so before – the Iwatobi boys had dinners at Haru’s often enough, and Rin was usually invited along. They’d hit on trying out various hotpots, sometimes multiple at once, and it was fun, Rin admitted, to make his own of squid and crab, and try out everyone else’s. Even Nagisa’s, which had terrifyingly included chocolate and mango and had been startlingly good despite that.

So Rin hadn’t thought anything of it, except when he got to Haru’s, opening the door after a perfunctory knock and hollering to let Haru know he was coming in, there weren’t any other shoes at the main entrance beside Haru’s.

“What, am I early for once?” Rin joked nervously. He’d attempted, for the last few weeks, to minimize close one-on-one interaction with Haru alone. He could manage his unruly dick most of the time – he was a motherfucking adult, okay, and he could beat his body into submission if he had to – but it was hard to keep all of his stupid body from responding. Blushing, pupils dilating, lips pinking – he’d heard Rei lecturing on signs of physical arousal in the human male and female the other week and promptly become immensely more paranoid about it.

“No, you’re late,” Haru said, poking something on the stove with a frown. He was wearing actual clothes – not just an apron and his jammers, and the back of his neck was pink.

“Sorry. Where’s everyone else?”

“It’s just us,” Haru said shortly, not turning around. “Is that okay?”

“…ha, yes! Of course it is.” Oh my god, this isn’t a date. This is not a date. It’s… just… “Was everyone else busy?”

“No. I told them not to come,” Haru said tersely, and Rin noticed his shoulders inching up. “Get your plate.”

They ate mackerel steaks with candles burning and a bowl full of floating cherry blossoms between them, and Haru didn’t look at him once, his cheeks redder than the flowers or the candle flame.

“Haru…” Rin said, choked. “I. Uh. This is kind of romantic, huh?” As a joke, a callback to Rin’s younger, dumber days, when he’d just flung himself at his hero-cum-crush willy-nilly. But Haru didn’t seem to take it as a joke, his shoulders relaxing and mouth quirking up into a slight smile.

“You think so?” he asked, and met Rin’s eyes for the first time.

“I mean, no one’s feeding each other or anything, but—” Rin felt his pulse spike and his chest heave when Haru glared and then held out a mouthful of ginger and mackerel. “Haru—” he said, but Haru just stared back, looking—almost—worried?

Rin leaned over slowly across the table, careful not to spill the floating blossoms or set himself on fire with the fucking candles, and never breaking eye contact, ate a bite of Haru’s mackerel from Haru’s chopsticks.

Dream logic said to let his lower lip linger on the tip of one, so he did, and real life logic said Haru’s eyes went fucking black with pupil and Rin thought – dilation. His pupils are dilating. His lips are really pretty and really pretty red. And then Rin fell out of his chair and started choking.

“Rin!” Haru said, and hurried over with a glass of water.

“This is a date,” Rin gasped between breaths, gulping it down.

“…yes,” Haru admitted, crouching over him and looking nonplussed. “I asked you to dinner.”

“You always ask me to dinner!”

“No. Nagisa or Rei or Makoto does,” Haru said, starting to flush red, his mouth turning down. “Did you not—did you not know?”

“This is a date,” Rin said, aware that his voice had raised to a possibly pre-adolescent pitch, and that he was still coughing up pieces of fish from time to time.

“Is it too soon?” Haru asked, hand white-knuckled on the glass. He was wearing slacks, pressed handsomely, and a blue shirt that fucking brought out his eyes. Not that his eyes needed bringing out, they were always brilliant, but—

“Too soon?” Rin asked dazedly.

“I thought—everyone said you were interested. I thought you were, but you never said anything. And I didn’t want to make you feel pressured. I thought you realized. I’m sorry.”

“Everyone. Said,” Rin repeated, feeling his eyebrow twitch, but Haru was looking away to the side, and then standing up, his face blanker and stonier than Rin had seen since—since—

He caught a fistful of Haru’s blue, silky shirt and jerked down, then stopped. It could be a dream. A fucked up dream. His subconscious could hate him that much, but regardless, Rin couldn’t let even a subconscious imaginary Haru look so miserable.

“It’s not too soon,” he said hoarsely. “I didn’t think—you—you want this, Haru?” You want me? He didn’t ask, in all his infantile pathetic glory.

“Yeah,” Haru said, looking down at him. “Of course.” There was a decided air of ‘Obviously, you idiot,’ to his voice and the lift of his eyebrow.

“Why?” Rin closed his eyes after that question escaped him, embarrassed at how needy and raw his voice had come out. When he opened them, Haru was staring at him, eyes big, and then a hand came to touch Rin’s cheek.

Haru set the glass aside, and then—and then sat in Rin’s lap. “You’re such a fucking moron,” he said coolly, and Rin barely had time to say, feelingly, “Hey,” before he was being kissed.

 

 

The journey to Haru’s bedroom involved a lot of stops and starts. Both of them were excellent at the divesting of clothes if it was in the interest of swimming or of competition, but apparently if disrobing disrupted kissing, then they both lost crucial seconds off their times. Rin found himself with his shirt over his head, arms trapped, and Haru pressed against him, kissing everything he could reach.

“Rin,” Haru said against his mouth, and his throat, and then his fingers. “Rin.”

Rin couldn’t shake the feeling that he was dreaming – but he wouldn’t dream the taste of mackerel, would he? He wouldn’t fantasize so thoroughly about the slight peeling layer of skin on Haru’s sunburned cheekbones, would he? That’d be weird. He wasn’t that weird. Probably.

But this couldn’t be—he couldn’t believe this was real. He wanted so badly for it to be real.

“Ugh,” Haru said finally, and pulled himself away, shaking himself before stripping with blurring speed. “Okay—Rin?”

“You look really good,” Rin managed, and fumbled himself out of his own clothes. “You look—better. Than I dreamed.”

“You dreamed of me?” Haru asked, sounding—there was just the slightest damn lilt at the end of his sentence, but it was enough to make Rin feel drunk and dizzy.

“A lot. All the time,” Rin said, already addicted to the sound, and dared to put his hands on Haru’s shoulders and back them towards Haru’s bed. “For years.”

Years?”

Rin pulled Haru on top of him and lost a few minutes of coherent thought to the feeling of skin-on-skin. There was just so much skin that no one besides physical trainers had ever touched, and never like this. Haru’s thighs bracketing his own, Haru’s abs and chest and arms pressed against his, and Haru’s dick—Haru was hard. Haru was rubbing his erect fucking penis against Rin’s.

Rin was pretty sure he was going to embarrass himself for the rest of time and come everywhere just from this.

“Me too,” Haru said. “I thought of you—like this. But I thought you hated me. So it wasn’t as good.”

“I don’t hate you. I didn’t then, either. I couldn’t.”

“That’s good,” Haru said, and kissed him again. “This is good.”

Just good?” Rin snarled, and then couldn’t maintain his mostly-mock outrage in the face of Haru’s fond, blossoming smile.

“Rin,” he said, and then got a hand in Rin’s hair, carding through it as his hips rocked, almost thoughtlessly, downwards. Rin nearly herniated something trying not to buck upwards. “What did you dream about?”

“You,” Rin gasped, and registered dimly that he’d gotten a leg around Haru’s waist and was making tiny, aborted thrusts up, despite his best efforts. “You, you. Milkshakes.”

“What?” Haru asked, leaning back and blinking, a silly half smile crossing his face. “Real milkshakes? Or? Nagisa said something about vanilla, but…”

“Oh my god,” Rin said, horrified, and jerked Haru back down so that he could stop being so idiotic out loud and use his mouth for something good instead.

“What do you want, Rin,” Haru breathed out after a moment. “I want to be better than your dreams.”

“I used to fantasize about jerking off better than you,” Rin said, because, he concluded later, his brain could only function so well with zero blood in it. “I thought you’d be—I thought about how you’d be, when you did it. I wondered.”

“I don’t—I mean. I’m okay, I guess?” Haru said, blinking. Then an eyebrow quirked. “Probably better than you, clumsy.”

“You surprised me,” Rin growled, and bit Haru’s lip gently, pleased at the rumble that produced. “I’m not clumsy.”

“Fell out of your chair,” Haru said, and kissed him back, hips rocking down. “Choked on your fish. Couldn’t get out of your shirt. I bet I’m better than you are, Rin-chan.”

“Ahhh, oh. Oh, fuck you,” Rin hissed.

“Is that what you dreamed?” Haru asked interestedly, and nuzzled at the juncture of jaw and neck, because he apparently was a sexual savant, just like he was perfect at swimming without evening trying, while Rin flopped around and gasped and whined.

“No, I—this is already better than,” Rin said, and felt his stupid eyes start to leak. “Than anything.”

“Rin,” Haru said, hushed in the space between them, and heaved out a breath. “Rin, you’re so—”

“You thought of me?” Rin gasped out, and it was like finding the right stroke – finding a rhythm. It wasn’t fucking, the way he’d dreamed of. He didn’t think he had the patience for it right now, or that Haru did, either, but it was amazing. It was so much more than his dick in his lonely fist, it was so much more than a miserable impossible dream. Haru had stubble on his thighs, because he didn’t shave often enough, obviously, and it was chafing Rin raw, and he’d never have dreamed in a million years that he’d be gasping over the feel of that.

“I thought,” Haru said, staring down at him, and Rin felt the heat of his gaze like a flame being set to his center. “I thought you’d be a mess, and you’d—you’d make noises, but I didn’t know—I didn’t know how good they’d sound.”

He somehow managed to be coordinated enough to snake a hand under Rin’s thigh and hike it up, baring him enough to be suggestive, enough for Haru to thrust wetly in the space revealed.

Rin could only moan, eyes squeezing shut and fingers clutching at Haru’s shoulders.

“Yeah, like that. That’s good, Rin. God. You’re so—”

Like lightning, or like a match striking, or like a wave crashing, Rin came in an unstoppable rush at the words, barely hearing himself over the thunder of his pulse. But he heard Haru saying his name, shocked, and then felt Haru kissing him fiercely.

“Rin,” Haru gasped against him, and then, nonsensically. “Be with me. Don’t go.” As though Rin could move his body at all at the moment.

“Okay,” Rin agreed dreamily, struggling to breathe, happy in a bone-deep simple way he hadn’t known since childhood. “Sure. Whatever you want.”

“You’re such a fucking—” Haru gasped, glaring even as his mouth went slack and his hips stuttered. Rin wrapped both legs around Haru’s waist and thought about those dreams, the impossible, lonely ones.

 “We’re gonna be great,” he realized, and felt tears slide down from his eyes into his ears, because life was ridiculous like that. He held on, and moved up as Haru moved down, and thought there’s a next time, and it’s going to be amazing. “Haru, we’re gonna be great, together. We’re—”

Yes,” Haru said, pressing his forehead to Rin’s, and came.

 

 

None of the dreams had included the stickiness, or the way that Haru’s bed was small enough to require trying sleepy, grumbling jigsaw-like configurations until one fit.

“You’re cutting off the circulation in my arm,” Haru said flatly into Rin’s neck, mouthing lazily kisses there, almost as an afterthought. “And you’re sweaty. Tch.”

“Look, do you want me to go?” Rin asked finally, flustered and frustrated after another eternity of shifting, and felt Haru’s eyes fly open against his skin, the impossible, unimaginable tickle of his eyelashes. Then Haru bit down on Rin’s collarbone. Hard.

Ah! What the hell, Haru?”

Stay.”

“Then stop complaining!”

Haru was quiet for a moment, then he got off the bed on visibly shaky legs, and walked out of the room. Half of Rin was struck speechless by the sight of Nanase Haruka, clad only in moonlight – beautiful in a way that made Rin want to try desperately to try his hand at art, or poetry, sculpture – and the other half was choking suddenly on worry. He’d said—he shouldn’t have—

He’d sat half-up in bed and was frantically scanning the room for the remnants of his clothes, when Haru returned, dripping, with a damp washcloth in hand.

“Here, idiot,” Haru said softly, and rubbed it gently over Rin’s neck. Then he leaned down and kissed Rin, very gently, until Rin felt a little light-headed at the tenderness of it. “Go brush your teeth.”

“Wow,” Rin laughed, and rolled his eyes. “Romance, huh?”

Haru kissed him again, then shoved him towards the door.

“You’ll be more comfortable,” Haru said.

When Rin came back, after having spent a few minutes staring in the mirror at the redness on his neck – Haru’s marks on Rin’s skin – Haru had apparently made a mathematical study of the geometry of the bed, because he tugged Rin down, curled around him until it felt like all of their limbs were entwined, and tucked his chin over Rin’s shoulder.

“Good?”

“Yeah.”

They were sharing a pillow. Haru’s breath was soft and sweet against Rin’s skin, and it felt easy in a way that it actually hadn’t been. It felt perfect.

“In the morning, can I watch you get yourself off?” Haru asked suddenly, after a long silence during which Rin had figured Haru had drifted off.

“I’m supposed to sleep after you say something like that?” Rin mumbled back, too tired and comfortable for true outrage, and fell asleep mid-argument, with Haru’s hands laced around his.