Rin, as usual, gets up at 5am to go for his morning run. Sousuke, jetlagged, rolls over into the warm spot left behind for an extra ten minutes. He wakes up at 10:39am when Rin, wrapped in a towel and brandishing something square and covered in coconut that leaves desiccated crumbs on Sousuke’s sleeping face, jumps on top of the blanket lump and bounces. “Wake up!” Rin says brightly around a mouthful of his… square thing, licking his lips when raspberry jam leaks out of the centre. “Sousuke! I made coffee!”
Wheezing, Rin’s knee lodged in his ribcage, Sousuke opens his eyes and grimaces at the feeling of dried coconut touching his face. “What the hell are you eating?” is the first thing he grumbles out, squinting at the cake-like thing that Rin is chewing on happily. Sousuke feels a little less like he has left half his brain in Japan, now, and a little more like he can get out of bed to face the Sydney sun. “You’re getting coconut everywhere…”
“Lamington,” Rin mumbles around the cake in his mouth, swallowing noisily and bounding on Sousuke’s stomach again when Sousuke’s eyes close and a sound suspiciously like a snore reaches him. “Oi, wake up! The coffee will get cold.”
“I’m awake,” Sousuke says, grinning, his eyes still closed. “I promise.”
Rin pouts at Sousuke, who is very clearly about to fall asleep again, and presses the last corner of his lamington right into Sousuke’s slack mouth. “Here, eat this and then get out of bed, I gotta talk to you about something.”
Coughing slightly at the sudden sensation of having something extremely dry shoved in his mouth, Sousuke eats the piece of lamington – which is actually quite nice, there’s a layer of dark chocolate between the cake and the coconut, and the raspberry jam isn’t too sweet – and bucks his hips to dislodge Rin. Tumbling down beside Sousuke at the movement, Rin helpfully wipes some of the coconut crumbs off Sousuke’s face and smiles at him. “It’s good,” Sousuke says eventually, nodding sagely.
“I know, right?” Rin says. “There’s this bakery near the pool that sells the huge ones that are like the size of your head!”
Rin is still talking happily about the lamingtons when Sousuke finally drags himself out of bed and follows his chattering fiancée into the kitchen where there are indeed two mugs of coffee steaming on the kitchen counter. Sousuke hums in response to Rin’s snide comment about how dry jam-less lamingtons are, and wraps both hands around his giant mug that says ‘Don’t Talk To Me Until I’ve Eaten This Fucking Cup’ on the front, bringing it to his face and letting the coffee-scented steam wake him up a little bit more. A plate slides across the counter as Sousuke starts drinking his coffee in long sips that finally chase the last of the jetlag away and make him fee like a real human again.
“Oh, look at that, another lamington,” Sousuke says blandly, picking the cake up and taking a bite out of it. Rin rolls his eyes at Sousuke’s drollness and swats him over the head. Grinning, Sousuke puts his mug down and asks, “So, what did you want to talk to me about?”
Busy making himself some sort of smoothie to go in the fridge for when he gets back from the gym later, Rin looks over his shoulder and says, “Right, yeah, I was wondering if you wanted to come to the pool with me today?” He grins a little bashfully, turning back to the fruit he is slowly cutting up and throwing in the blender. “I realised while I was out on my run that you’re only here for a few days this time, and if you stay in the apartment while I’m at the pool, that’s a huge block of time when I don’t get to see you…”
Sousuke looks up form his lamington when Rin trails off, and he can’t keep the smirk off his face when he sees Rin’s ears turning pink in embarrassment. “Aww,” Sousuke teases, his heart giving one of those stupidly happy little flutters at the thought of Rin not wanting to waste a single moment of their time together. “Babe, did you miss me?” he coos, earning himself a banana peel to the face as Rin protests loudly. Sousuke just laughs, throwing the peel into the bin and resting his chin in his hand as he watches Rin chop his banana with his nose in the air haughtily. “I missed you, too,” Sousuke admits, and Rin deflates, a little smile on his pink flushed face. “I’ll come to the pool with you. I have to meet all these really tall teammates you keep talking about in your letters.”
“I’m not kidding, Sou!” Rin says emphatically, pressing the button on the blender once he’s sure the lid is on properly, and walking back over to the table, forgoing a chair to sit in Sousuke’s lap. He wraps his arms around his fiancé’s neck and stares at Sousuke. “They’re huge. The second shortest guy on the team is over a foot taller than me! I’m the shortest!” Rin tucks some hair behind his ear that has slipped loose from his ponytail, face dead serious. “The tallest guy is nearly seven feet tall!”
Sousuke scoffs, and regrets the sound four hours later when he is standing in the changerooms of the Sydney Olympic Pool and talking to David. David is a backstroke swimmer on the Australian team who Rin is friends with, the man’s name cropping up multiple times in Rin’s letters. Sousuke has to look up at David while they speak, because David is a full four inches taller than Sousuke, and is – apparently – the seventh shortest member of the team out of fifteen.
After several minutes of David recounting every embarrassing thing Rin has done in the pool for the past fourteen months, Rin gets fed up with interjecting and being ignored in favour of another hilarious story of him slipping off the block or not being able to touch the bottom in the shallow end of the pool, and starts pushing David out the door with a growl. All Sousuke can do in response is chuckle into his hand.
“Alright, alright, I’ll stop!” David laughs, shaking Rin’s hands off and giving them a small salute with two fingers. “See you in the lanes, Bluey,” he says to Rin. “You and your fella!”
Sousuke raises an eyebrow at that. “I assume I’m ‘your fella’,” he says to Rin, struggling a little with the word ‘fella’. “But, Bluey?”
“That’s me,” Rin groans, and he tugs on a lock of his hair before snapping his swim cap on. “Apparently that’s an Australian thing. A nickname for redheads or some shit. Makes no sense, if you ask me – I don’t think they even know where it came from.”
“Australians are strange,” is Sousuke’s succinct analysis on the situation, and Rin nods, the two heading out of the changeroom in their swim suits. Sousuke has been given permission to use a spare lane to work on his rehabilitation exercises, almost back to being able to swim at his full potential, but not quite. At least he gets to get back into the pool with Rin.
Once practice is over, and Sousuke has gained a thorough understanding of why Aii occasionally gets extremely defensive over his height – Sousuke has never had to spend so long looking up at someone to maintain conversation, it was a completely foreign experience – the two wave goodbye to Rin’s teammates and start heading back to Rin’s apartment. They walk past a brightly lit café on their way to the bus stop, and Rin detours inside, dragging Sousuke by the hand, Sousuke all too willing to follow his man anywhere. He grins when he sees what Rin is pointing at behind the glass display case.
They buy one gigantic lamington that sits proudly on Rin’s lap on the bus ride to his complex, and they hack at it with forks on the couch as some fast-paced and overdramatised soap opera plays on the TV, full of ridiculously hot young twenty-somethings acting out high schoolers and their issues on a gorgeous beach. Rin manages to get chocolate smeared across his cheek, and Sousuke is more than happy to lick it off, the kiss they share tart with the jam filling but sweet from the toasted coconut.
When they go to bed an hour or so later, Sousuke makes a note in his phone to ask Kazuma to find a lamington recipe – he has grown quite fond of the strange little cakes, it seems. Or maybe he’s just fond of the way Rin likes them so much, who can tell?