“Going somewhere tonight?”
Rin looked up from his computer, perched in his lap on his bunk, to his roommate, Adam, who was sliding schoolbooks into his bag. Adam nodded without looking at him.
“I’ve got a study group tonight. There’s a big midterm coming up next week.”
“How long do you think you’re going to be out?” Rin asked, forcing his voice to sound as casual as possible. On his computer, he slipped his mouse over to his webcam client and opened it.
“I don’t know. Three hours maybe?”
Three hours. Rin had to fight to keep a pleased smile off his face. “Oh. See you later.“
Adam disappeared out the door, and as soon as it shut, Rin clicked Rei’s connection. A little green light indicated he was online. Perfect.
A moment later, Rei answered, eyebrows pinched behind his glasses as though he’d just been interrupted. However, once Rin’s face came into focus, he immediately loosened, smiling brightly. “Rin!”
“Hey,” he said with a little wave, pleased when he didn’t immediately hear the voice of a certain cock-blocking friend screaming, “Rinrin!” at the screen. “You alone?”
Rei’s smile fell, to be replaced by a displeased frown. “Really? Straight to that? Not even going to ask me how my day was?”
Rin almost groaned. “Rei, please. My roommate just left. Do you know how rarely that guy leaves? I’m starting to think he’s afraid of the outside.”
“So you’ve told me several times.” Rei still looked annoyed, but a fond smile was tugging at the edges of his lips. Rin really had to thank absence making the heart grow fonder, because he was pretty sure Rei wouldn’t put up with him otherwise.
“So you know exactly how urgent this situation is. We have three hours, we can talk later.”
“We don’t have three hours, I’m afraid.” Rei looked away, actually seeming a bit conflicted. “My brother and his fiancé are in town. My parents want us to go out to dinner as a family.”
“In about fifteen, twenty minutes.”
“Uuuugh.” Rin ran a hand down his face, then looked back at the screen, determined. “That’s enough time for a quickie.”
“It’s not enough time to get properly cleaned up afterwards! I’m not doing <i>that</i> and then going out with my family.”
Rin groaned again. “No hot webcam sex?”
“I’m so deprived,” Rin sighed melodramatically, flopping back on his bed. He tilted the webcam down so it could see him, and how dejected he was, but he had to smile at Rei’s half irritated, half amused look. “You might as well tell me about your day after all.”
“I feel how much you care right in here,” said Rei, holding a hand to his heart. “My day was fine, though, thank you so much for asking.”
“Still getting ready for entrance exams, huh?”
Rei’s expression grew more serious, and he nodded. “Nagisa-kun and I have been working hard every day. He’d be here now, if we weren’t going out soon.”
“I knew your room sounded too quiet.”
Rei smiled, a fond little smile he reserved for his best friend. Rin had learned not to be jealous of it – Nagisa had one smile, but Rin had a whole array of them. “He does tend to create a certain atmosphere wherever he goes.”
“That’s the other reason we can’t have hot webcam sex.”
Rei laughed. “It’s just until winter break, right? Summer break for you.”
“Right.” It was only a month away. He wouldn’t be back in time for Rei’s birthday, which was a bit upsetting, but he still intended to take him out for a date when he got back to Japan. (Actually he planned on taking him on as many dates as possible, but only one would be for his birthday.) “I can not wait for that.”
“I can’t either,” agreed Rei, and there was one of those soft, loving smiles meant only for Rin. “I miss you.”
Rin suddenly felt a lump in his throat. “I miss you too,” he managed, voice a little gruff, and reached a hand out to touch his computer screen. It wasn’t really visible on camera, but Rei knew what he was doing, and he reached too, as though they could touch through the screen.
They were silent a moment, like that, and then Rin heard Rei’s mother’s voice calling, “Rei, are you ready to go?”
Rei snapped to attention, looking over his shoulder and saying, “Just a minute.”
“Oh, is that Rin-kun?” Suddenly she appeared in the corner of Rei’s screen, to Rei’s embarrassment. Rin quickly sat up and tried to look more put together. “Hello, Rin-kun! How is your training in Australia going?”
“It’s going well, thank you,” said Rin politely, eyes darting in amusement to Rei, who was staring at his mother in exasperation.
“That’s good to hear! We’re all rooting for you to go to the Olympics, you know. Rei talks about it all the time. He’s very proud of you.”
“Okaa-san, please,” muttered Rei, but she ignored him.
“I’ll do my best not to let him down,” said Rin, grinning a little at Rei’s embarrassment.
“Oh, we know, Rin-kun! But unfortunately we need to be headed out. You boys say goodbye, alright? Five minutes, Rei.”
His mother left. Rei was still blushing, and Rin was still smirking.
“You talk about me all the time, huh?”
“An exaggeration,” Rei asserted, adjusting his glasses to hide his face. “Anyway, I need to be going now.” He let go of his glasses and moved his hand down to press two fingers to his lips, then press those to the screen. It was a gesture Rin had insisted on one night he preferred not to think about, when he had called Rei in a fit of homesickness and heartache, and now Rei always did it for him.
It was embarrassing, but Rin appreciated it all the same.
He pressed a kiss to his own fingers and put those against the screen as well, smiling at Rei’s smile.
“I love you,” said Rei, earnestly, and Rin gave a little shrug.
“Yeah, yeah. Get going before your family thinks we are having webcam sex in here.”
Rei made an interesting squawking noise and reached to turn off his webcam. Just before he did, Rin said, “I love you too,” and clicked off his own.
Rei practically ran for his room when he got home a few days later. He’d received a text from Rin earlier in the day instructing him to get on his webcam as soon as he got home, because Rin had something important to tell him. Rin’s international texting was limited, so any text from him meant it really was important, and the lack of information left a pit of both excitement and worry in Rei’s stomach.
He stuttered out a greeting to his parents and then hurried up to his room, ignoring his mother’s amused comment of, “Wonder who he’s in such a hurry to talk to,” as he went. He was glad his parents were accepting of his relationship, he just wished they weren’t quite that enthusiastic.
In his room, bag set aside, grateful Nagisa had family obligations of his own that night, Rei turned on his computer and then his webcam, almost gnawing off his bottom lip in anxiety. After a few seconds, Rin got on and connected with him.
“Hey,” said Rin. He was avoiding Rei’s eyes, and Rei felt the excitement drain away completely to be replaced solely by worry.
“Rin? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong. I have good news actually,” said Rin, though he sounded like the news wasn’t that good at all. “Remember that invitation-only swimming tournament I told you about? The one I hoped I could get into, because there will be sponsors and professional trainers and spotters for the national team there scouting?”
“Well.” Rin let out a chuckle, running a hand through his hair. “I did it. I got in.”
“Rin.” Rei’s face lit up with pride. “That’s wonderful. I knew you could do it, I never doubted it for a second.”
“Thanks,” said Rin, and he did allow himself a triumphant smile at that. “It’s really good, for my career.”
“Yes,” said Rei, nodding enthusiastically. “Rin, I’m so happy for you! You really deserve this.”
Rin’s smile only grew under Rei’s praise, but something was still definitely off. Rin should be basking in his accomplishment, not acting upset. Rei still felt that nagging worry. Was Rin being insecure about his performance again? No, that didn’t seem right. Something else was wrong here.
When Rin didn’t immediately spit it out, Rei prompted him with, “But…?”
Rin sighed, smile falling. “It’s right near the end of break. My coach is willing to work with me to help me get ready, but he doesn’t want me leaving the country during that time.”
“…Oh,” said Rei finally, the situation dawning on him. It wasn’t that Rin was upset about the tournament, it was that he was upset about the timing.
Rei forced his disappointment back, willing it not to show on his face. This was a huge step for Rin, something he’d worked hard for. He shouldn’t feel like he had to give it up just because he couldn’t visit Rei.
“Well, that’s okay. We’ll just have to see each other next break.”
“That’s what we said last break,” said Rin, and Rei winced. It was true that that break had fallen through as well, when Rei and his family had gone off on a trip and Rin and his family had also gone on a trip, overlapping inconveniently so Rin and Rei never saw each other.
“This isn’t going to last forever,” he said, as reassuringly as he could. “I know it’s been a long time, but we can get through it.”
Rin stared down at his hands for a moment, deep in thought, and Rei quieted, watching him, waiting for whatever he wanted to say.
Finally, Rin looked up and said, “Just say the word, and I’ll come back to Japan instead.”
Rei frowned. “What?”
“I miss you.” Rin halted, not meeting Rei’s eyes. “I miss you, and I really want to be with you. This is a huge opportunity, but-“
“Well, you’ve said it all right there.” Rei continued to frown, although the edges softened a little. “It’s too big of an opportunity for you to miss, especially not over me.”
Rin did look at him now. “But-“
“No.” Rei’s voice was hard. “I’m not going to be the reason you give this up. We’ll make it through this, Rin. You deserve to go to that tournament, and do well.”
Rin looked like he was going to argue some more, but then he gave Rei a tiny smile. “Yeah. Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
“Of course I am.” Rei pushed up his glasses, smiling.
Rin gave a faux-annoyed huff, and ran a hand through his hair. “It’s just hitting me hard, that’s all. Worrying about the tournament, classes, missing you…” His eyes studied Rei’s face. “I guess it’s the same for you.”
“I’m fine,” said Rei, dismissively. He was stressed over his entrance exams, but Rin didn’t need that put on him right then. Though he could admit to himself that he’d really been looking forward to Rin’s visit to help alleviate some of that stress.
Still, he fought to keep the disappointment off his face.
“No, you’re not. I can tell that you’re stressed,” said Rin, seriously, and Rei flinched again. So he wasn’t as subtle as he thought. “Entrance exams?”
“What else?’ Rei admitted, fidgeting with his glasses.
“You’re going to do well, you know? I passed and I’m not half as smart as you are.” Rin grinned. “That’s something you’ve worked hard for, and I know you’re going to do great.”
Rei gave him a little smile at the praise. “We’ll see.”
“I’m just saying, you’re going to have your pick of schools.”
That made something click in Rei’s brain. He looked away, rubbing his chin, not realizing he got distracted until Rin pulled him out of his thoughts with, “Uh, Rei?”
“Hmm? Oh. I was just thinking.” Rei smiled. “It’s nothing. Tell me more about this competition.”
Rin started talking eagerly, now that he was calmed down, and Rei listened with a smile. He really was so proud of Rin’s accomplishments.
And now he had an idea. He just had to talk to his parents first.
Three days later, it was Rin’s turn to wait with anxiousness and excitement until Rei could call him. Rei had sent him a text earlier in the morning that he had something to tell him once he got home from school, and with a two hour time difference, that meant extra waiting on Rin’s part.
But soon enough he was getting a ping from Rei, requesting a video chat, and he eagerly answered.
“Rei! Hey. What’s up?”
Rei was beaming at the screen, and his excitement was infectious enough that Rin smiled back. “I have great news!”
“Since you can’t come here, I asked my parents if it would be alright if I went to visit you in Australia, and they said yes.”
Rin felt his jaw drop. It took him a moment to regain his voice, Rei smiling expectantly the whole time. “Wait, so… you’re coming here?”
“Yes, as soon as my break starts. I can only stay ten days, which I know is less time than we were hoping to have, but it’s better than nothing.” He puffed out his chest. “I had some money saved up from birthdays and allowances and it wasn’t quite enough, but my parents were willing to cover the rest for my ticket, and it’s already bought and set and… Rin? Oh no, Rin, are you- this is happy crying, right?”
“I’m not crying,” snapped Rin, rubbing at his face with his sleeve. He looked up at Rei, ignoring that his eyes were watering, and smiled. “But… yeah. Happy. Really, really happy.” He sniffed. “When are you going to get here?”
“Three weeks from now.”
“I can’t wait.” Rin’s head was already spinning with things he was going to take Rei to see and do. “I’m going to take you to so many things. Rei, you’re going to love it here, I just know it.”
“I’m looking forward to it. I’ve never been out of the country before.”
“I’m going to make sure you have a good time then.” His grin turned a little more lecherous. “I have training in the morning, but the afternoon and night’s all for you. I have a lot of things I’ve been thinking about doing to you, stuff I can’t do over webcam.”
Rei turned red, but it was a different voice that said, “Wow, Rin-chan! You jump straight to the dirty stuff, huh?”
“Shit!” Rin bolted straight, glaring at Rei’s screen like he could see around Rei’s room and snarl at the offender. “Why didn’t you tell me Nagisa was there!?”
“Sorry, he’s here to study, but I wanted to tell you the good news.” Rei looked off screen. “He was supposed to stay quiet while I was talking to you.”
“Hey, I was being nice! I just wanted to stop him before he got too detailed – I don’t mind a little voyeurism, but I’m not sure RinRin feels the same.”
“Nagisa(-kun)!” wailed Rin and Rei together, and Nagisa laughed hysterically. Rei looked back at Rin’s furious face, sheepish.
“Ah, sorry about that.”
“Look, whatever. Nothing can ruin my good mood right now.” Rin smiled again. “I still can’t believe you bought a plane ticket.”
“I did. And I’m going to be there soon.” Rei gave him a soft smile. “But right now I need to go.” He lifted his fingers.
“Wait, not while Nagisa’s there.”
“It’s tradition, Rin.”
Rin hesitated, then sighed and nodded. “Alright.”
They kissed their fingers (ignoring Nagisa’s cry of, “Awwwww!”) and pressed them to the screen, said their “I love you”s, and hung up.
Rin felt lighter than he had in weeks.
Rei collected his suitcase from baggage claim and made his way to the terminal, scanning the crowds waiting. It had been a long flight and a long line through customs, with so many people traveling as the holiday season approached, but he was finally here. And it only took him a moment to spot Rin’s bright red hair.
He hurried toward him, and when Rin spotted him, he beamed at him, spreading his arms out. Rei increased his stride until he was locked in Rin’s embrace, dropping his bag to clutch him fiercely back.
“…Did you get taller?” was the first thing Rin finally said after they’d hugged a moment, pulling back just enough to look into Rei’s eyes, which were clearly a centimeter or two above his own.
“A little.” Rei smirked. “Jealous?”
Rin considered. “Maybe I will be later. Right now I’m too happy to see you to care.” He tipped his head up to kiss Rei, right there in the terminal in front of everyone, and Rei blushed but kissed back.
Rin talked excitedly about all the things he had planned for Rei as they rode in a cab back to his dorm. Rei was content to listen to him, their fingers laced together, Rei rubbing the back of Rin’s hand with his thumb. It felt so good just being next to him, able to hear his voice without the tinny filter of a webcam or a phone.
They arrived at Rin’s dorm building about half an hour later and headed up to his room. Rin opened the door, revealing another man inside, seated at a desk and poring over a book.
“Hello?” said the man, looking up, and Rin gestured at Rei, next to him.
“Adam, this is Rei, Rei, this is Adam, my roommate.”
“Nice to meet you,” said Rei, in clear English (he’d been practicing!), and Adam nodded.
“Nice to meet you too. Rin talks about you all the time.” He made his voice a little deeper sounding, imitating Rin. “My boyfriend’s a genius and he’s got the body of a god!”
“I don’t say that!” snapped Rin, while Rei smirked at him. He blushed and pulled Rei and his suitcase fully into the room, then glared meaningfully at Adam. “Don’t you have somewhere to be right now?”
“No.” Adam frowned. “I’m just doing some last minute research work before I head home tomorrow.”
“But can’t you do that somewhere else?” Rin pressed.
Adam’s eyebrows raised. “I guess I could do this in the library,” he relented, sounding only slightly irritated.
“No, you don’t have to leave,” said Rei. “Ignore him, he is bluffing.”
“It’s fine, I get it.” Adam threw his books into his bag. “My girlfriend’s long distance too.”
Rei smiled gratefully at him as he left. As soon as he shut the door, Rin was holding him again, pulling him down to the bed.
They snuggled together, but Rin didn’t push it any further than that, content to just hold Rei close and press soft kisses to his lips and neck. After a few minutes, he said, “I can’t believe you came all the way here just for me.”
“…I have to admit, it isn’t just for you,” said Rei, and Rin blinked, looking at him curiously. “Actually,” Rei reached to adjust his glasses, realized he couldn’t easily from this position, and lowered his hand again, “I’m here to visit a few colleges as well.”
“…What?” asked Rin in disbelief.
“I’m here to visit colleges. There are some local ones here that have very good math and science programs, and I was thinking that going to school in another country would be a good experience for me. I’d get to see new things, and improve my English.” He looked into Rin’s eyes. “And… I can’t promise that we’ll both end up in Sydney, or close enough to live together, but weekend visits would be better than what we have now, right?”
Rin was still staring at him slack jawed. This was like when he’d told him he was coming to Australia, but so much more.
“Rei, I… I love you,” was all he could say in the end, burying his face in Rei’s collarbone to hide the sudden burning in his eyes.
Rei’s voice was thick, too, when he rested his chin on Rin’s head and said, softly, “I love you, too.”