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Haru,

Everything is amazing here!! The team has been incredible—this is really on another level than high school. Everyone is so committed. I’ve just been trying to figure things out, especially with my class schedule and everything. What classes are you taking? I wasn’t even sure what to take because I really just want to swim. My mate (that’s an Australian word) told me that it’s best to just take easy classes for your first term so you can feel things out. Have you met people? Everyone here has been really friendly, but it’s weird, you know? I felt like I’d finally just gotten settled back in Iwatobi and now I have to figure out something new again. I’m really gonna miss the Samezuka team and ESPECIALLY kicking Iwatobi’s ass in relays... heh heh....

Anyway, my roommate is also a swimmer, so we have a lot to talk about. How’s university in Tokyo? Do they have enough mackerel? Write to me!!!

Rin

-

Rin,

Things are fine.

The pool is beautiful and I can swim in it whenever I want.

Makoto says hi.

-Haru.

-

Haru waits at the airport in a gray plastic chair, starting every time the doors open in case it’s Rin.

Rin was the one who suggested the visit over break, and since then every time he’s brought it up he’s been a little cagey, as if he thinks Haru doesn’t actually want it to happen. It’s irritating him. Haru’s made it perfectly clear how he feels about Rin, and he wishes Rin would just accept it already. Haru actually started checking his e-mail for Rin. Once, when he was visiting Makoto over the weekend, Makoto showed him how to call Rin on the computer, so Haru could see Rin’s face. Haru doesn’t really understand how that works, but Rin looked happy, so Haru’s glad he got to see it.

Rin going to Australia changed nothing. Haru still thinks about him all the time, but now he doesn’t even get to see Rin, so there’s no respite from it. There’s nothing to temper the yawning ache in his chest. It’s been cold in Tokyo, and it’s like the cold wind is blowing right through him, chilling his insides even after he’s gone indoors. Makoto’s on the other side of the city and Rin’s on the other side of an ocean, and Haru just wishes Rin wouldn’t always think that Haru doesn’t want to see him.

The doors open, and Haru’s head snaps up again, and this time it really is Rin. Haru’s chest does something weird, like an internal shiver. He’s tanned, wearing black sweatpants and a T-shirt, with a backpack slung over just one shoulder. There’s a faint frown on his face as he scans the crowd for Haru. Haru can see new muscle definition in his arms, and his shoulders are relaxed like he really is happy and not just faking it in his e-mails.

Haru stands up and pushes his way towards him. “Rin,” he says. Rin glances around at him, and then smiles goofily for exactly a second before he reins it back in and looks a little nervous. Haru wants Rin to do what he did when he first came back to Haru, just run towards Haru and engulf him in a hug and cry on his shoulder, because Haru doesn’t know how to do any of that, and he needs it. He hates it when Rin holds back, because he doesn’t know how to step up, so they’re not going to touch and instead Rin just shoves his hands in his pockets and says, “Hey.”

“Hi,” Haru says. You look good, he doesn’t say.

Rin talks all the way back to Haru’s place, and Haru is grateful. He can just sit there and soak up being with Rin, and already it feels like the chill is thawing. Rin’s still Rin: he doesn’t have a weird Australian accent or anything, and he didn’t come back from Australia a different person like last time. It’s not until the relief that Haru realizes he was worried about that.

“I’m excited to see your university. You don’t tell me anything,” Rin says on the train, nudging Haru a little with his elbow.

“What do you mean?” Haru says, annoyed. “I e-mail you at least once a week.”

“Yeah. Hi, Rin. The weather is fine. I’m fine. I like swimming.”

“I do like swimming,” Haru says. He just doesn’t have as much to say as Rin does. It’s hard to maintain this over e-mail, whatever this is, this thing that Haru feels when he’s with Rin. He doesn’t want Rin around so he can tell him things about his life. He wants Rin around just to be there, taking up space and tossing his arm around Haru and laughing. But he knows Rin wishes he would talk to him more, because that’s how Rin expresses himself, and so Rin wants that from Haru too. Everything would just be easier if Rin was here, and Haru could swim with him again. There’s nothing to misinterpret there.

“We have to swim this week,” Haru tells him, and Rin laughs.

“Of course we will!” he says. “Don’t think I’m going to go easy on you just because I’m happy to see you, by the way. My training has been no joke.”

Haru smiles.

-

Haru brings Rin to his apartment, and shows him to his room so he can dump his bags. Rin slings his backpack down on the floor, scanning the room.

“This is where you live?” he says. “It looks like you just moved in.”

What was Haru supposed to do, put up posters? Plaster the walls with pictures of Rin’s face? He has his blanket from home and a whole drawer in his wardrobe full of swimsuits.

Rin’s probably tired. “Do you want to take a nap before we go meet Makoto?” Haru says. “I can do some work.”

Rin doesn’t move from the doorway. “Um,” he says. “Don’t you have a roommate or anything?”

“No,” Haru says, looking at his room. It’s small, but there’s nothing about it to make Rin act weird. He has a bed, a small desk, a lamp, and a window.

“Haru,” Rin says. “Where am I going to sleep?”

“On the bed,” Haru says. Rin hunches his shoulders up and chews on his lip.

Oh no. Haru completely miscalculated. He’d thought after Australia that it would be okay, that Rin got by now that Haru likes being close to him. But now he’s messed things up, and Rin’s going to be weird, and all Haru wants is for Rin to relax and go back to teasing him.

“I could have just booked a hotel or something,” Rin says. “You didn’t have to invite me to stay here if you didn’t have room, you know, I could still go find a place, it’s not a big deal.”

Haru just wants to be close to Rin, that’s all; he misses Rin so badly and he just wants Rin to be near him all the time, being loud and filling up Haru’s life.

“Whatever,” he says, shrugging a shoulder. “I really don’t mind you staying here, Rin.”

“Haru, do you want me to?” Rin says.

Of course. Haru doesn’t know how to make him understand—Rin is the one who’s supposed to figure these things out. Makoto knows what Haru is thinking, but Rin knows what Haru hasn’t even thought of yet. Rin knows that Haru is going to enjoy things like relays and competitive swimming before Haru’s had a chance to shake out the corners of his heart and see what it all adds up to. Haru wants Rin to do it again, to figure out what he wants and pull him forward into it. But Rin still thinks Haru’s doing him some kind of favor by being his friend, and the thought of pushing through that to express how he feels is exhausting.

“Yeah,” Haru says. Rin seems to come to some kind of decision.

“Okay,” he says slowly. “If it’s okay with you.”

“It’s fine,” Haru says. “I promise.”

“Okay.” Rin’s shoulders relax a fraction. Haru wishes again that Rin would just touch him.

-

After that, things are more normal. They meet Makoto for dinner, and then go back to Haru’s, and Haru does some homework while Rin plays video games and yells at the screen.

And then it’s time to sleep. Rin doesn’t have to borrow Haru’s favorite shirt to sleep in this time, so Haru wears it. After that sleepover, it smelled like Rin; it had taken Haru a week or two to get around to washing it.

Haru curls up in bed and smiles into his pillow. Rin’s here for a whole week. Haru gets to see him get mad at video games and challenge Haru to pointless contests for a week. He should have taken advantage of it more when they both lived in Iwatobi—he should have just had Rin move in with him so he could be around Rin all the time. Rin’s so warm, his body heat making the whole bed cozy.

After a few minutes, though, it’s clear that Rin doesn’t share Haru’s contentment. He keeps shifting from side to side, and Haru can feel the tension practically radiating off him.

“Rin, just go to sleep,” he says.

“I am,” Rin says immediately. His voice is thin.

Haru curls up a little more. Rin flops into a different position, sighing noisily.

For the next half-hour or so, Haru wavers on the edge of sleep, always just about to drop off when Rin makes another noise or shifts beside him. Finally, Haru sighs and says, “Rin, what is the problem with sleeping in the same bed?”

“There is no problem,” Rin says.

“Well, go to sleep, then.”

“I am,” Rin says. “It’s just hard to find a comfortable position, that’s all.”

“My bed is perfectly comfortable,” Haru says. He grasps the blankets a little tighter, pulling them up to partially cover his face. Why does Rin have to make everything so difficult? Rin could just hold him like he obviously wants to and then everything would be fine.

“Why do you care so much about how I’m sleeping, anyway?” Rin says. His voice still sounds weird—there’s a strained quality to it.

“Because you’re keeping me up,” Haru says. “Just go to sleep.”

“Fine, I will,” Rin says. “Okay? Good night, Haru.”

“Goodnight,” Haru says warily.

Rin must eventually get to sleep, because when Haru wakes up, Rin is breathing right in his ear. One arm is slung over Haru, and Rin’s knees are touching the backs of Haru's thighs. Haru stays very still, not wanting to disturb Rin or do anything to break this spell. He barely breathes.

Rin’s body is hot against him, and every breath grazes Haru’s ear and makes him hold back a shiver. He wants to twist around and kiss Rin awake. He’s wanted to kiss Rin for as long as he can remember—it’s just the background noise of his life. Rin is infuriating and beautiful. Haru never wants to move—he wants to close his eyes and burrow into the warmth of Rin’s arms. He wants Rin to kiss his neck and smile his big unguarded smile at him and say his name like it’s an incantation. He’s in love with Rin, probably; it’s just something he’s accepted by now.

Rin shifts behind him, and then there’s a horrible moment when his muscles tense and Haru knows he’s awake. Rin half-jumps back from Haru with an alarmed noise, like Haru’s electrocuted him. He crawls out of the bed on the other side and Haru stays motionless, knowing Rin probably thinks he’s still asleep.

His back is cool where Rin’s pulled away. Haru curls up a little deeper, closing his eyes again. It’s back, the awful aching, even though Rin’s in his apartment. He presses a hand to his chest, his eyes screwed up tight. Rin might as well be in Australia.

It takes him a long time to get up.

-

“Come on, Haru,” Rin says, climbing onto his stand. “Unless you’re scared to face me, of course.”

Haru doesn’t dignify that with a response, besides climbing onto his stand and getting into position.

“We’re finally racing again, Haru,” Rin says. “Are you nervous?”

“No,” Haru says, but he likes it when Rin teases him. He gets what Rin’s doing, stalling to draw out this part, right before they race when the adrenaline is high. “You’re the one who should be nervous, Rin.”

Rin laughs, delighted. “Really, Haru? You’ve been training to beat me?”

Haru scoffs, turning away. “It’s not just for you.”

“I won’t let you win,” Rin says.

“You can’t stop me.” Haru glances back over at him. “Rin. Let’s race.”

“Yeah!” Rin snaps his goggles and gets into position.

Haru pushes off, and then he’s flying. He hits the water and starts stroking, feeling the extra strength in his arms from all the training he’s been doing. The water surrounds and supports him, making space for him, pulling him forward.

The feeling of racing Rin is a ball of heat in Haru’s abdomen, pushing him a little farther, a little faster than when he trains on his own. The burn of his muscles feels good and he accelerates into it, tearing through the water. His feet hit the wall and he turns, aware of Rin hitting at just about the same time, not far enough apart for Haru to analyze the difference. He doesn’t have time to think because he has to keep swimming—he can’t lose focus for a second. It’s thrilling, knowing that no matter how fast he swims, Rin will keep up with him—knowing that beating Rin takes effort.

Haru’s hands slap the wall, and he glances over at Rin. Rin pumps his fist in the air, laughing with excitement.

Haru’s not even sure who hit first, and he’s not sure if Rin knows either. It doesn’t matter—the burn in his muscles feels good, and Rin is smiling so wide Haru can see all of his pointy teeth.

“That was incredible!” Rin gushes. “I think that’s the fastest I’ve ever swum! Did you feel it, Haru?”

Haru doesn’t answer, but Rin doesn’t wait for an answer anyway, holding his hand up for Haru to high-five. Haru slaps it, the one sharp point of contact sending tremors down his arm. His body feels warm, like he’s just taken a large sip of tea.

Rin climbs out of the pool, and Haru fails not to watch the way his back muscles move under a sheen of water droplets. Rin’s body telegraphs his mood, and right now his movements are relaxed, his shoulders back. The second Rin gets defensive or awkward he hunches up like a cat. Rin’s emotions are so intense that they radiate outwards, involving everyone in proximity to him.

“Come on, let’s go again,” Rin says. He holds his hand out for Haru to grab, and Haru pulls himself out of the pool. Haru’s hair is dripping water onto his shoulders, and he can feel the heat of Rin’s hand even after Rin lets go. I’m the reason he’s smiling, Haru thinks. He’s not sure if it makes everything hurt more or less.

-

Haru wants to talk to Makoto, but it would mean explaining the situation, when Makoto’s supposed to just know. This is why Makoto needs to be around, so he can see what’s happening and intuit how Haru feels about it. Everything was supposed to work out after Haru figured out his future, but there’s a whole new avalanche of demands on him now, and new pressures. It’s been hard to meet new people when he hasn’t had a new friend since middle school. It takes so much effort to talk about himself, and they expect so much talking, and then he’s supposed to figure out how to talk to Makoto and to Rin as well.

But this is important. Rin is important.

That night, after they turn the lights off and crawl into bed, Haru listens to Rin breathe for a few minutes, considering. Then he rolls over and puts his arm across Rin’s chest.

Rin goes so still Haru’s not sure he’s breathing. It’s okay, Haru thinks at him. He curls into Rin’s body, his front to Rin’s side, nesting his chin on Rin’s shoulder, and closes his eyes. Rin’s body is warm underneath the thin fabric of his pajamas, and Haru’s nose is full of the Rin smell that he left on Haru’s favorite shirt last year.

After thirty seconds or so, Rin moves his head minutely to rest his cheek against Haru’s hair. Haru shifts even closer in assent. Haru can feel Rin’s muscles relax a little, and his chest starts to rise and fall normally again.

Haru falls asleep with his nose pressed against Rin’s jaw.

-

The next day they go with Makoto to Tokyo Tower. Haru and Makoto went when they first arrived in Tokyo together, and Haru didn’t think much of it—he would much rather go back to the pool—but Rin’s a romantic. He’s excited about everything, dragging them over to stand on the windows set into the floor, and asking Haru to point out everything they can see (Haru doesn’t know most of it; Makoto gently answers most of Rin’s questions).

Haru sees couples everywhere. People casually holding each other’s hands as they peer out at the view, a man putting his hand companionably on a woman’s lower back to steady her as she leans forward. Do they all feel the way he feels about Rin? It seems impossible—the way people at school fall in and out of relationships, the way people sing about love in songs and express it in movies, it doesn’t seem to have any connection to the slow burn between him and Rin. What Rin does to Haru feels personal and private, and Haru doesn’t like the idea of it being something so universal.

Haru loves Rin, but he’s unsure about relationships; he’s never wanted one and he doesn’t know if he wants one now. He just wants Rin, in whatever way means he gets to have all of him, and Rin will stop being scared of showing Haru how he feels.

After they leave, they take a walk to look for somewhere to have lunch. Rin walks ahead, impatient as usual, and Makoto hangs back to walk next to Haru.

“How are things going with Rin?” he says quietly. Haru looks ahead at Rin, walking with his shoulders hunched a little and his hands in his pockets.

“Fine.”

“Mm.”

Haru refuses to meet Makoto’s gaze, but looking at Rin is just as damning. He looks fixedly down and ahead at the ground in front of him.

“Has it been a good visit?” Makoto says. Haru frowns, annoyed. He knows exactly what Makoto is fishing for. It annoys him to have Makoto ask him for information when Makoto should just know everything already, and it annoys him that he doesn’t have anything to tell. It annoys him to be reminded that there’s a situation with Rin that needs to be resolved at all. The entire thing makes his skin itch with irritation, and he would just retreat and give up if leaving it unresolved wasn’t an even worse option.

“Hmm,” Makoto says again, and in his peripheral vision Haru can see him finally look away. They continue walking in silence, until Rin turns around and says, “Hey, aren’t you guys supposed to be the ones showing me around?”

Makoto doesn’t catch Haru alone again until much later, when Haru walks him to the bus stop so he can go back to his place. Haru’s bracing himself, unwilling to talk about it, but Makoto doesn’t make him. He grabs Haru’s hand as they walk and squeezes. Haru squeezes back, not irritated enough to shut him out.

“Do you remember the night before the relay,” Makoto says, “when you thanked me?”

Haru figures Makoto doesn’t actually need an answer to that.

“It was nice to hear,” Makoto says. “Even though I know how you feel. It was nice to hear you say it.” He pauses, and then continues softly. “It was even nicer because you didn’t have to. I liked that you thought it was important to say.”

Haru shrugs a shoulder. It was years ago, and he and Makoto have spoken more candidly since, but he gets it. Makoto thinks he should talk to Rin. It’s a very Makoto solution, the way that a spontaneous trip to Australia is a Rin solution. And it’s not fair, because Makoto never follows his own advice.

“What if I don’t know what to say,” he says.

“Haru,” Makoto says, squeezing his hand again. “I trust you. You should trust yourself.”

After a moment of silence, he drops Haru’s hand and lightly changes the subject.

-

It wasn’t hard to figure out what to say to Makoto. All Haru needed to express was gratitude. What he needs to express to Rin is something much bigger and more expansive, something that Haru hasn’t even been able to come to terms with himself. He needs time to think.

Haru lets the rest of the week pass, spending the days with Rin and quietly holding him at night. Rin never says anything about it, but he stops tensing up when Haru touches him, letting Haru pull him closer. Haru wanted Rin to figure it out, but instead Rin seems to have accepted this amount of contact as the limit of what he’s allowed. He spends the night tucked against Haru and breathing into his hair, and in the morning he gets up almost apologetically, fleeing to take a shower even though Haru initiated the whole thing.

Rin lives almost eight thousand kilometers away from him. Haru looked it up. Soon, there’ll be eight thousand kilometers between Haru and Rin’s body; Haru and the way Rin’s eyes go wide with startled joy every time Haru gets involved in one of his challenges; Haru and the way Rin tosses his head so his hair will fall perfectly into his face. Haru doesn’t know what he wants, but wanting it is destroying him.

The last night, Haru waits for Rin to get into bed. He doesn’t touch him right away. He looks up at the ceiling, the sheets cool against his bare arms. He can almost pretend he’s lying in a pool of water.

“Rin,” he says softly. “I have to talk to you.”

“Haru, wait,” Rin says, his voice coming out in a rush. “Please don’t say anything.”

Haru goes silent, his heart pounding in his chest like heavy rain on the pavement. He doesn’t think Rin is looking at him—he risks a glance, and Rin’s lying on his back, staring fixedly up at the ceiling.

“When I told you in Australia that I always admired you,” Rin says. “It was true. But it wasn’t everything. I didn’t want to push it—I didn’t want to do anything stupid—Haru—”

“Rin,” Haru says, “it’s okay.”

“No, I have to say it,” Rin says. His throat bobs unsteadily as he swallows. “I admire you. I love racing you. I really like being around you, Haru. And I don’t want to go back to Australia. I want to stay here with you because I love you.”

He stops abruptly, and Haru can hear him breathe in the silent room. Rin blinks rapidly, his eyes still fixed straight ahead.

“Why did you interrupt me?” Haru says.

“I don’t know,” Rin groans, and presses the heels of his hands against his eyes. He sounds miserable. “Because it’s okay if things have gotten too weird, and if you don’t want to be around me anymore, it’s fine. I just wanted you to know first before you said anything because I wouldn’t have been able to say it after." Haru can’t see Rin’s face, but from the tenor in his voice Haru’s positive he’s near tears.

“Rin,” Haru says. He reaches over and touches Rin’s hands. Rin tenses up the instant Haru touches him, his shoulders locking up, but he lets Haru move his hands away from his eyes and blinks up at him, eyelashes wet. He’s breathing hard.

Haru puts his hand on Rin’s cheek, and turns Rin’s face towards him. He brushes his thumb right under Rin’s eye; it comes away wet. “Rin,” he says again. Haru’s heart is overflowing. He leans forward and presses his lips to Rin’s.

It takes Rin a moment to react, but then he makes a soft, surprised noise and presses forward against Haru.

Haru draws back, and then kisses Rin again, more deliberately this time. Rin lets his mouth fall open. Haru can feel Rin’s tears on his face, and the ache in his chest both eases and intensifies at once. His hand is still on Rin’s cheek, holding him close. With his other hand, he reaches up and brushes Rin’s hair out of his face. Rin slides a hand around to Haru’s lower back, pulling their bodies together, his breath harsh against Haru’s mouth. Rin is so beautiful, and what Haru needs to say is suddenly so easy.

“Me too,” he murmurs against Rin’s mouth.

Rin pulls back. “What?”

“Me too,” Haru says. “I love you too.”

“Haru!” Rin’s flush is visible in the moonlight.

“What did you think?” Haru says, frowning at him. “Of course I love you.”

“You can’t just say that!” Rin says, going even redder. It’s cute. Rin’s cute. Haru kisses him again—he doesn’t think he’ll ever get enough of it.

They shift until Haru’s on top of Rin, pressing him down into the bed and kissing him. He lets his hands trail up and down Rin’s sides, noticing every tiny gasp and shiver. Rin is so hot—it usually takes Haru some time to get turned on when he’s by himself, but he’s already half hard and his skin feels hot and tight. He wants to touch Rin everywhere and feel the body he’s seen so much of when they race. He slips his hand up Rin’s pajama shirt and spreads his fingers across Rin’s stomach, and Rin twitches.

“That tickles,” he breathes, but Haru doesn’t care. He just wants more—more of Rin’s skin against his, more of Rin’s little reactions. He wants to see the part of Rin that’s affected by Haru, the part Rin’s always trying to hide from him.

He shifts his hips against Rin’s. Haru can feel the outline of Rin’s dick through his sweatpants. He slowly and deliberately drags his erection against Rin’s, and Rin exhales noisily.

“Fuck,” Rin says. He pushes back against Haru’s hips, and they grind against each other. Haru presses his forehead to Rin’s, too high on sensation to focus on kissing him, and Rin puts his hands on Haru’s waist, guiding him.

“Rin.” Haru’s overwhelmed, but for once he doesn’t want to pull back and think about it. He just wants more. “I want to watch you come.”

Haru!” Rin hides his face in the crook of Haru’s neck, his grip on Haru’s waist tightening. “That’s so embarrassing!”

Haru doesn’t care. He wants Rin, and he’s tired of pretending he doesn’t. He wants everything from Rin. He wants to lie in the bath with Rin and kiss for hours. He wants to go down on Rin in the shower after they race. But right now he wants to know what Rin looks like when he comes, and if Rin wants it too, then Haru doesn’t see the point in holding back.

“Can I touch you?” he says.

“You can do whatever you want,” Rin says, and heat surges through Haru’s stomach. He kisses Rin again, feeling the way their bodies fit together. Rin slides his hands down Haru’s torso to slip them under his shirt, and then back up to Haru’s waist, his fingertips against Haru’s skin.

“Haru,” Rin murmurs. Haru draws back to look at him. He’s more beautiful than ever before, pink-cheeked and flustered, his hair messy and his eyes bright. Haru can’t remember ever wanting anything with this much urgency, with his whole body and heart at once. Not even swimming. He takes a moment to breathe, stroking his thumb across Rin’s abs.

He lets his fingers trail down over Rin’s stomach. He pauses there, tracing feather-light patterns on Rin’s skin, listening to the way Rin’s breath responds, feeling Rin’s ab muscles twitch and contract. Then he slides his hand down, stopping at the waistband of Rin’s sweatpants, and Rin makes an abrupt noise. Haru wants to know more; it bothers him that he’s not already familiar with Rin’s responses. He wants to know what Rin likes.

He slides his hand down under Rin’s waistband and smoothly wraps his fingers around Rin’s dick. Then he pauses. They’re both panting. Rin’s eyes are closed.

“Rin, look at me,” Haru says, and squeezes gently. Rin gasps, but he opens his eyes. They’re shining enough that Haru’s sure he’s holding back tears again.

Haru wants to get him off, but the angle is awkward—it’s like trying to jerk himself off backwards. He tries moving his hand, but his wrist is trapped by Rin’s elastic waistband and Rin looks uncomfortable under Haru’s gaze, like a scared animal. Haru considers for a moment, and then withdraws his hand and climbs off of Rin.

“Haru?” Rin says, his voice concerned.

“Like this,” Haru says. He pushes at Rin’s shoulder to turn him onto his side, and presses against his back. He wraps an arm around Rin’s chest, slotting his chin over Rin’s shoulder. “Is it okay?”

“Yeah,” Rin says, his voice hoarse.

Haru pulls his hand back to lick it, and then slides it back down under Rin’s waistband. The angle is much better this way. Haru puts his other hand on Rin’s hip to steady him, and starts to move his hand, gripping Rin’s dick loosely. Rin shudders against him—Haru’s pressed close enough to feel the movement as Rin’s breath sticks in his chest. Haru thumbs the head, and Rin curls in on himself a little, pressing his face into the pillow. Haru kisses the side of his neck, breathing against his ear, and twists his fingers, pressing a little harder.

Rin’s completely hard, and leaking a little at the tip. Haru uses his thumb to spread the precome, to make up for the fact that the saliva on his hand is drying. Rin’s back muscles are all tensed, and his shoulders are shaking. “Harder,” he mumbles into the pillow, “please, Haru, please.”

He’s definitely crying. “Rin,” Haru says, pulling on his shoulder. “I want to see.”

Rin turns to press his face deeper into the pillow, gasping. Haru opens his hand, loosening his grip. His palm is still pressed to the base of Rin’s cock.

“Look at me,” he says. “Rin, it’s okay. I want to see you.”

Rin exhales a big, shuddering breath. His body is hot against Haru’s, and Haru can feel every tremor that goes through him. Haru pulls on his shoulder again, and this time Rin lets Haru turn him over, so he’s on his back with Haru poised over him. He looks at Haru like he’s ready to bolt.

Rin’s cheeks are wet, and his eyelashes are dark with tears. Haru presses a soft kiss to his cheek right under his eye, and then licks his lips to taste the salt. Rin lets out a surprised snort of a laugh.

“You are so weird,” he says.

“I really like you,” Haru says. “Rin, I like you so much.

Rin flushes, but he doesn’t turn away again—he just looks at Haru, clearly pleased. Haru is so turned on it’s making him dizzy. He presses his palm against Rin’s dick until Rin gasps, and then wraps his fingers around it again, pumping Rin harder this time. Rin groans, his eyes fluttering shut.

Rin’s quieter than Haru would have expected from the noisy way he goes through life. He’s still crying, little sobs catching in his throat whenever Haru does something just right, and his eyes are closed, so Haru gets to look as much as he wants without Rin noticing and getting embarrassed. He takes it in, his chest burning with affection.

Haru pauses to lick his hand again to stop the friction from getting painful, and then he grasps Rin’s dick, determined. His wrist is starting to hurt, but he ignores it, speeding up his strokes. He twists his hand on the upstrokes, catching the head of Rin’s dick. Rin’s moving his hips a little, pushing into Haru’s grip.

Haru kisses Rin’s open mouth, feeling the staccato rhythm of Rin’s breath. Rin barely has the presence of mind to kiss him back, but Haru doesn’t mind.

“Are you close?”

“Yeah,” Rin gets out. His eyes flutter open, and then squeeze shut again as Haru grips tighter. “Fuck—”

Haru draws back to see better. Rin gasps helplessly, curling up on himself, twisting his body away from Haru—and then he abruptly jerks, and Haru’s hand is slick. Rin’s thighs are shaking, and he’s panting hard, trying to catch his breath. He’s not faking anything—he’s not putting up any kind of front—and Haru’s stomach twists itself up with fondness.

“You’re so hot, Rin,” he says.

“What?!” Rin pushes Haru’s hand away and turns to him, his face bright red. “Don’t make fun of me.”

“I’m not.” Haru strokes his clean hand through Rin’s hair, brushing his thumb over Rin’s temple. He brings his hand down to pinch Rin’s earlobe lightly between his thumb and index finger.

“Stop being weird,” Rin says. He’s still all out of breath.

“I love you.”

“Haru! Stop it!” Rin’s eyes are wide and panicked.

Haru kisses him, losing himself in the feeling of Rin’s mouth. Rin kisses him back, almost frantic. His hands close around Haru’s hips, and he’s kissing Haru like he’s been waiting for this his whole life.

After a minute, Rin seems to get some of his strength back. He rolls over on top of Haru, pinning him on his back, so all of his body weight is behind it when he kisses Haru hard. A soft exhale escapes from Haru’s mouth, and he instictively moves his hips up. He’s so hard—he’s already close to coming just from watching Rin.

“Haru,” Rin mumbles into his mouth. He sounds drunk. He grazes Haru’s lower lip with his sharp teeth.

Haru slides his hands down to Rin’s ass and tries guiding his hips down, but Rin hisses, oversensitive. Rin slides his leg between Haru’s thighs instead, and Haru exhales, his hips jerking forward. He slides his hands up under Rin’s shirt again, not even caring that his hand is still sticky from Rin’s come. He runs his hands up Rin’s sides, over his shoulderblades, just wanting to touch as much of Rin as he can.

Rin steadily rubs his thigh against Haru’s erection, falling into a rhythm. Haru rocks with him, his grip tight on Rin’s back. They’re both too distracted to keep kissing—Haru’s just breathing against Rin’s open mouth. He can hear his own breath, as ragged as Rin’s was. Just the memory of Rin coming in his hand almost sends Haru over the edge, and he wraps his arms tighter around Rin, trapping a tiny sound in his throat.

Rin moans—he’s being louder than Haru right now. Haru shuts his eyes, his chest seizing up. He can’t take in enough air—his breath catches on every inhale, a series of small gasps. His whole body is tightening.

Rin slows, dragging his thigh very deliberately up and down the entire length of Haru’s dick, once, twice—and then Haru’s entire body spasms, and he’s coming in his pajamas. Rin keeps moving against him, gently, waiting for Haru to exhaust himself.

Haru uncurls his fingers, stiff from pressing them into Rin’s back. Rin’s gazing down at him in naked amazement, like he’s just watched Haru win a tough race.

“You really liked that,” he declares.

Haru frowns, pushing at Rin’s chest until he climbs off him. “Of course I did,” he says.

Rin flops onto his back beside Haru, grinning. “You like me,” he says.

“Yes.” Haru shifts, grimacing at the wetness in his underwear. “I’m going to go take a bath.”

“Right now? It’s late.”

Haru shrugs. “You can come with me if you want.”

Rin breaks out in a smile.

-

“You’d better write,” Rin says for the hundredth time. He’s clutching his boarding pass so tightly it looks like he’s going to tear it. “I’m serious, Haru. Not just, hi Rin, I love swimming.”

“I’ll write whatever I want to,” Haru says, his eyebrows drawing down in annoyance. “You write too much. I don’t have time to read such long e-mails.”

“I don’t know why you can’t just get Skype.”

Haru doesn’t know what that is. “I’ll write,” he says.

“Okay.” Rin wraps him in a tight hug. Haru knows what Rin wants to hear—that Haru will miss him, that Haru wants to see him again soon—but it all seems so inadequate. Haru’s never been good at talking about how he feels, and it’s so much harder when his feelings are indescribable to begin with. But he knows it’s important for Rin to hear things out loud, so he has to make an effort.

“I’ll write,” he says again. “I will.”

“Okay, Haru.” Rin draws back. His eyes are red, but he’s not actually crying, which Haru is grateful for.

Haru used to wonder how long it would be until he could forget about Rin. He wanted to run out the clock, the way he would count down the minutes until the end of the school day, or count the years until he was twenty. He would lie in the bath and think: how many more months? How many more years until it wouldn’t hurt anymore? Until he didn’t even think about him?

“You have to come back,” he tells Rin.

“I will.” Rin grins. “But you don’t have anywhere for me to stay.”

“I guess you’ll have to sleep on the floor,” Haru says. Rin laughs, taken aback.

“Rude,” he says. He reaches out and tugs on Haru’s sleeve—Haru can tell from the tension in his shoulders that he just wants an excuse to touch Haru.

“You’re going to miss your plane,” Haru says.

“Yeah.” Rin moves his hand to Haru’s hip, fingers brushing against the hem of his shirt. Haru narrows his eyes.

“Rin, just kiss me if you want to.”

Rin flushes bright pink. “We can’t in public.”

Haru leans forward and presses a soft kiss to Rin’s mouth, an eyeblink moment of heat and pressure. When he draws back, Rin’s face is even darker, but he’s grinning like he just won the lottery.

“So you wanted to kiss me that badly, huh?” he says.

“Go catch your flight, Rin,” Haru says, frowning at him.

Rin laughs. “I’ll see you soon, Haru,” he says. “Don’t stop training. I’ll pass you.”

“I’d like to see you try,” Haru says. Rin flashes him a huge smile, and dashes off to get into the security check line. Haru watches him go, trying to hold onto the sense memory of Rin’s lips on his.

Eight thousand kilometers is too much. One kilometer is too much.

He puts his hands in the pockets of his hoodie, staring at the hallway where Rin disappeared. Rin’s always leaving. Rin’s a loose firework, always trying to climb higher and go faster, when it’s taken Haru years to take even a few steps out of Iwatobi. But Rin’s not leaving Haru behind this time—he’s been trying to bring Haru with him, showing him the world of competitive swimming the way he once showed him what a relay can feel like. He’ll come back, snapping back to Haru like a rubber band. Or Haru will go to him, or they’ll meet somewhere else—it doesn’t matter. Rin leaving isn’t something to be afraid of.

Maybe Makoto can show him the computer thing again. Haru turns, and starts on his way back home.