A haze of warmth and lingering dreams surrounds Haru. He's very warm, almost unpleasantly so. Something soft tickles his neck, and something else heavy is laying across his middle. As the fuzz begins to fade from his consciousness, his memory returns.
Rin. Rin Matsuoka, the most irritatingly persistent man Haruka has ever met, is next to him. He is there, with eyelashes the same color as his hair, extended shoulder muscles defined, fickle emotions at rest. Rin is...
...drooling on his own pillow.
Because Rin is drooling on his pillow and therefore asleep, Haru allows a smile to creep across his face, and closes the remaining few inches between their bodies in the comfortable knowledge that he can blame it on unconscious movement.
After all, no one would blame him. He'd arrived in the Melbourne airport late at night, made later by the long plane ride from Tokyo and the year spent physically apart from his boyfriend. It had disoriented him at first, the strength of that longing when they had parted the first time. It had clung to him, tugging at his toes the way the wake of the ocean did, and sneaking up when he least expected it. The video chats helped, when Makoto had helped set up his computer, but he'd never expected the acute disappointment that arose when he could see and hear Rin without touching him, without feeling the heat from his body and without watching him do everyday things away from the privacy of his desk.
And the rush of emotion on the plane ride here, Haru hadn't expected that either. His emotions washed down his back, sometimes without conscious thought, but these had driven straight through his chest, carving through his ribcage and driving the breath from his body. And then, when he'd seen the familiar red hair peeking out from under a baseball cap, waving a sign with a badly drawn fish-
The smile grows larger, and Haru wiggles his toes, at the risk of waking Rin. Rin Matusoka. Rin Rin Rin. Right there.
Even if Haru is supposed to be the jet lagged one, and Rin is the one with an internal alarm clock, he is very awake. It is probably due to sleeping in close quarters, too hot. He passes the time mentally sketching Rin. He traces the slight crook of his nose, the sharp jawline, the relaxed eyebrows. The dim lighting pools in the curve of his cheekbones and in the dip of his collarbones. Haru eyes the single strand of hair that insists upon breaking up the picture by falling across his nose.
After a moment of deliberation, he slides his arm out from under the sheets and carefully reaches out to tuck the hair behind Rin's ear. The motion makes him stir, and Haru quickly replaces his arm.
"...mmaru," is Rin's first attempted word. His eyelids flutter and his fingers twitch on Haru's back. He slowly retrieves his arm from around Haru's waist to wipe the drool from his mouth, too sleepy to be embarrassed, and then replaces it, hesitantly. "You're up," he croaks.
Haru allows the smile to stay on his face. Upon noticing it, Rin mirrors it, but ten times brighter, pushing his eyes into delighted slits that dance just for Haru.
"How long have you been up?"
He shrugs minutely. Rin presses closer, wiggling his shoulders and hips and craning his neck to reach higher on the pillow, pecking Haru's nose. He makes for Haru's lips, only to pout when Haru leans back.
Grumbling, Rin scoots back amiably, and throws one leg over Haru's hips, trapping him in even more effectively than before. It isn't one of those overdone, overly confident gestures that Rin used and sometimes still does, overcompensating for his carefully hidden self-consciousness. No, it's a push, the kind he always tests on Haru whether he likes it or not. It's a gesture, a genuine one, but one to elicit a reaction and a reciprocation nonetheless. Haru blinks and wriggles just because.
"Just think. We can wake up like this every day now," Rin says. His energy is collecting in the corners of his grin.
Haru nods. He's not entirely sure what expression is on his face right now, but he can't quite bring himself to care.
(It used to frighten him, that near abandonment of control, on purpose. Following in Rin's wake, trying to pull ahead, despite his supposed apathy. Getting caught in the hurricane that was Rin Matsuoka, in his swirling, ragged emotions that always seemed to involve Haru no matter which way he was running. And then he discovered that he needed it, that he relied on it, in part, to keep from drifting aimlessly until he came to the waterfall at the edge of the world and started to tilt. That was frightening too, until he picked apart his own emotions piece by piece, dissecting them with surgical precision to understand why, why, why.
Now he was used to it, and rode along the crests.)
"What's with that look?" Rin asks, the curve of his smile turned into the pillow.
"That's just my face."
"Yeah, it's a look." He pushes himself up on one arm, chin on his hand. His eyes are wary. "Are you still tired?"
Haru doesn't think he could unlearn what Rin has taught him if he tried. There's a secret language to Rin, the same way there's a secret language to Haruka. It's far easier to translate now, right there, than it had been. He is asking Are you still glad you came?
"I woke up first," Haru tells him. He opened his eyes to drink in this morning with Rin, this first morning with Rin back in Australia, when they're sharing the bed on purpose instead of by circumstance.
Rin's eyebrows furrow. Haruka would like to press his thumb there and smooth out the lines.
"Sorry about that," he says, glancing down at the blankets over their bodies. "I didn't think I'd be so tired. I guess I got hyped up waiting for you yesterday."
As soon as the words leave his mouth, he flushes, despite knowing that Haru would never mind, or perhaps because of that. Similar phrases have become more common between them, making them blush like elementary schoolers. It's so taboo, somehow, to admit to those feelings of anticipation and enjoyment, because it's a competition. Who will bend first?
(Because they don't break each other, not anymore.)
"It's fine," he replies, watching Rin's eyes bounce from his own to his hand to somewhere behind his head, which irks him. "I was excited, too."
Predictably, and pleasing nonetheless, Rin flushes again, and beams. Haru has to blink, dazzled as he is by this display, like fluorescent lights reflecting off the bottom of a pool.
"Stop making that face," he mumbles. He can feel the heat in his cheeks, and loathes how this situation has been reversed. They are too close, as Rin leans his weight over his arm, hovering so close that his hair brushes Haru's cheek.
"That's just my face," Rin leers, and Haru lunges at him.
< 0 >< 0 >< 0 >< 0 >< 0 >
The morning is lazy. They spend it in a lengthy blur of exploring touches and meaningless words. Before Australia, before the relay, they hadn't had the time to truly explore each other, understand the boundaries and planes of bodies. Rin pulls the sheets over their heads as they kiss, slowly, dragging lips the way water drags at one's toes. Haru makes a noise of protest when Rin's fingers begin to stray too far under his shirt. Immediately, Rin retracts his hand, desperate to avoid discomfort, and Haru has to physically grasp his hand and return it to his hip, much to Rin's and his own embarrassment.
"Sorry, I was just-"
"It's fine." Haru averts his eyes.
"If you don't..."
"You just...startled me."
Rin exhales through his nose and teeth, ducking his head to nuzzle into Haru's neck. His grin presses into the soft skin there.
"You smell like chlorine."
Haru doesn't answer. There's no reason for Rin to surprised. He smells like chlorine himself, with an underlying hint of something sweet that is probably the result of that lotion he's always using and pretending he doesn't. Haru curls his hand tighter into the collar of his shirt.
"Hey, do you..." Rin pulls back into that hand, but away from Haru's face, and Haru doesn't like that, not at all. Weren't they doing a breathe in each other kind of thing? "Do you want to shower?"
"I like baths better."
Rin groans, exasperatingly.
"Yeah, but you were on a plane for forever yesterday. And standing for a shower makes more room."
"There's plenty of room in a bathtub," Haru replies, stubbornly. Maybe Rin's bathtub is smaller than the one back in Japan, but Haru isn't as broadshouldered or tall. He'll fit just fine, and Rin should know that.
"No, I mean, like..." Rin's face is beginning to turn the color of his hair again, and Haru can't fathom why. Showering, or bathing, is not a foreign concept. "Like together?"
They're swimmers, they shower together all the time.
Rin immediately perks up, but he still has a suspicious squint to his eyes. To be honest, Haruka is past this conversation, already fixated on the promise of water, even if it's moving over him instead of enveloping his body, but that kind of expression guarantees that Rin isn't finished.
He suppresses the urge to sigh.
"But...Haru, are you sure? Obviously it wouldn't be...it would be like a regular shower, but just with both of us, I know better than to- but you do know what this means, right?"
Haru blinks. So that was what Rin was so flustered over. "That's fine."
With a bright grin, Rin grabs his wrist and yanks him toward the bathroom. They undress quickly, per usual, and Rin's pent up energy is bleeding through in his tapping feet and sharp little hand movements. He waits excitedly for Haru to finish folding his clothes neatly, and then stares at him when he moves to climb into the shower.
"Haru, we're not wearing swimming suits."
< 0 >< 0 >< 0 >< 0 >< 0 >
Several stuttered red-faced explanations later, both Rin and Haru are in the shower, at the same time, without swimsuits on. Haru finds this development interesting, because while both "showering" and "not wearing any clothes" have been practiced in the past, never have they been done at the same time. He still doesn't quite know what to expect, except maybe having to ask Rin to pass the soap. It doesn't have a sexual connotation, unless Rin is hoping that close proximity plus nakedness equals something for him, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Besides, Rin is too nervous to even look him in the face.
"I'm using your shampoo," the redhead announces, grabbing the bottle without preliminaries. His voice is at ease, but with his entire body on display, it's easy to see the lines of tension stiffening his shoulders and hips.
Haru wonders if this is one of his romantic endeavors.
"I need it when you're done."
Rin turns to face him, hair lathered up, and accidentally gives Haru a hard jab with his elbow.
Their hands smack each other harshly, trying to find a steadying hold, and Rin rubs his knuckles against his stomach.
"...Sorry," Haru echoes quietly, eying the reddened skin on both sides. He reaches up, very slowly, to wet his hair, and they edge past each other so he can be under the faucet, Rin balancing against the wall with his fingertips.
He stands there under the water, relishing the feel of it trickling down his neck, off the tip of his nose, his lower back. Rin makes a noise, and he opens his eyes to see a sort of vague frustration wrinkling Rin's eyebrows.
"Are you always this terrible at washing your hair, or is it just me?" he snorts, a hint of a grin relaxing his shoulders.
Haru drops his hands and stares at him coolly.
"There's shampoo- okay, I'm just going to do it!"
Despite this sudden announcement, he hesitates for a moment, giving Haru a chance to protest. He doesn't, and Rin's hands find their way into his hair, combing the suds out and creating a pleasant tingle on his scalp. Rin's breath is just hitting his nose, and he leans into the contact, eyes falling to half mast. Rin is watching him, glancing down into his face every once in a while, and he grins when he sees the positive reaction.
The goal of showering together still remains a mystery to Haru, but at this point he doesn't particularly care, even if it's not quite the same as a bath.
Once his hair is presumably clean, Rin stops moving his fingers, but leaves them in Haru's hair.
"Haru," he says seriously, hair in wet clumps around his face, "I'm going to kiss you."
He hardly gives Haru any time to reply before he is gently tugging him forward. His lips are soft and moist from the water, and Haru slides his hands up to curl around his neck and shoulders. It's a chaste kiss, and Haru doesn't even notice how much the water relaxes him until he feels the shock of the cool shower wall behind him. His eyes shoot open, and he feels Rin's hands grip his upper arm firmly as they pull apart.
"I'm not..." Rin's breaths are slightly uneven, but his eyes are unwavering. "I wasn't going to do anything, it's just better balance, you know?"
Haru nods. The wall is cold, but he trusts Rin, and Rin is warm, and he likes kissing Rin, so it's okay.
They return to kissing, slow and gentle but slicker than the morning under the bedsheets, skin against skin. Rin's hands have slowly traveled to wrap under his arms and across his back, making small, soothing gestures to keep the wall from being too chilly. It's familiar territory, besides the water, and Haru finds himself angling upward, arms around Rin's neck, so that their warm chests press together, and Rin makes a funny gasping noise, and-
The voice comes from outside the bathroom. Haru recognizes it, kind of, but can't put a name to it. He'd rather like to put a name to whoever has interrupted their intimate showering together, without swimsuits.
"Sousuke?" Rin has braced one arm on the wall behind Haru and is glaring at the door as though his eyes are lasers. "What the actual hell are you doing here? You're supposed to be in Tokyo!"
"My damn flight got canceled. I texted you last night," Sousuke says gruffly. "And aren't you supposed to be frolicking about with your pretty boyfriend?"
Silence reigns inside and out of the bathroom. Rin glances at Haru, who shrugs, before straightening and hesitantly drawing the shower curtain tighter.
"He went out," he says. Haru isn't sure why he's bothering to lie, but he isn't about to jump out and give Sousuke a wet hug, so he stays where he is.
"He wanted mackerel, y'know, his favorite thing and all, and I figured-"
"He's in there with you, isn't he." Sousuke says, not even bothering to lift his voice to indicate a question.
Rin freezes over Haru, and stares at him with wide eyes. Haru just shrugs again.
"Right. Well, I need to brush my teeth, pretend I'm not even here."
And with that, Sousuke opens the door and walks in, his bulky form dark against the light. Rin splutters angrily and reaches for the curtain only to retract his hand, no less than three times. He seems to be weighing his personal rights as roommate versus his and Haru's dignity. The sounds of a drawer opening and a toothbrush quickly become the only sounds besides running water, and eventually Rin just leans back on his hand and waits for it to subside.
"I'm taking another flight out this afternoon," Sousuke says by way of goodbye, and shuts the door behind him.
Rin exhales out hotly on Haru's neck, and moves to step out of the shower.
"We're never doing this again."
"But I liked it."
He whips around, towel in hand, and his wet hair flings water at Haru. His eyes are wide and hopeful.
Haru looks down at the soap.
"Baths are better, but it...was nice."
The red eyes widen further, until Rin's face breaks into a huge grin and he does a strange wiggling thing with his entire body that Haru supposes is an expression of his excitement.
"You're so weird," he beams, darting forward to wrap his arms around Haru, except that there's the rim of the tub between their legs and he hits his toe and it's a downward spiral when Haru is yanked forward and hits his shin and something digs into his side and-
They are on the ground. Haru is only halfway out of the tub, and Rin has banged his funny bone on the toilet seat and is cursing like a sailor. Suddenly, Haru realizes there's a noise coming from outside the bathroom.
Sousuke is laughing at them.
"Have fun, Rin-rin," he says, just loud enough to be heard through the door, before his heavy footsteps fade away.
"Fuck you!" Rin struggles to right himself, attempting to pull Haru up with him. The apologies are visible in his face, so much so that he doesn't need to verbalize them, and he's still holding his injured elbow close to his body when he helps Haru up. Judging from past encounters, they probably aren't destined to leave the bathroom until the apartment is empty, and their changes of clothes are in the bathroom. This realization is displayed on Rin's face, as his eyes close and he runs a hand through his wet hair in frustration.
Haru removes the hand and presses a gentle kiss to his cheek. The startled but pleased blush is welcomed.
"We'll do better next time," he says, and Rin's face lights up again.
He does that so easily, light up. From stormy to sunny in half a second flat, that's how Rin works. He's the changing tide, the storm and the calm rolled up into one, pulling Haru whether he means to or not.
And Haru wouldn't have him any other way.