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Ever since Haru can remember, her sexuality has been, ‘sorry, I’m swimming’. In retrospect, her lack of attention to potential attraction and complete inability to notice if anyone was hitting on her explained how she never saw Rin coming. Something about Rin had fascinated Haru since the day they’d met, but back then there hadn't been anything physical to it, just the captivating force of Rin’s personality and enthusiasm.

In middle school, after Rin had left for Australia, when other girls started talking about boys with that kind of dreamy expression, Haru had no interest. In the middle school rush of hormones Haru worried that perhaps she had some fundamental flaw. Instead of kissing boys, or any of the more prurient things she’d gleaned from overhearing conversations, or the brief attempt at reading one of her mother’s romance novels one very boring afternoon, the dreams that left Haru panting and arching against her sheets were filled with water; rivers, waterfalls, the solid spray the showerhead, a garden hose, the roar of the distant the ocean. It left her more than a little rattled.

Being in the water wasn't always a sexual thing, most of the time it was just comforting. Haru could imagine nothing better than spending the day swimming, something about the slick slice of her body through the water was at once meditative and completely freeing. It was easy enough to lose herself in the repetition freestyle, the glide of her arms and the timing of her breathing. When she was entering high school and still none of the things described in the “healthy bodies, healthy minds” book she surreptitiously read at the library seemed to be happening, other than physical development, she did what any good teenager would do and used the available internet for research.

At first, porn was fairly boring. Too much of it was messy and awkward and involved overly breathy or high squeaking noises. Nothing about it caused a spark to rush through Haru the way water did, ever since, or perhaps even before, her first unexpected experience with a hot tub jet at a young age. Eventually, through trial and error, Haru began to find videos that could hold her attention. She was almost exclusively interested in lesbian porn and Haru began to suspect that perhaps it wasn't just an interest in water; maybe she was disinterested in men. She had no desire to test the theory, at least not then. That started to shift when Rin came back from Australia.

 

This new, older Rin has sleek muscled arms, a wide sharp grin, and the same cocky attitude. Haru doesn't take their mutual staring for anything more than sizing up the competition, but Nagisa keeps snickering about it that whole first year. Even Makoto tries to clue her in with soft pointed comments about “important people”, goals, dreams, and “who she wants to swim with”, but it still takes Haru a while to catch a clue. In fact she doesn’t notice until an early fall evening when the Iwatobi girls are walking to the Samezuka Academy gate after joint swim practice. Rin catches Haru’s arm, tugging her around. Haru gives her a questioning look, as the others halt around them. Rin plants a solid kiss on Haru’s lips. Nagisa catcalls loudly and Makoto politely clears her throat and ushers the rest of the team toward the train station, leaving Haru to stare at Rin’s hand on her arm. After a moment, Rin drops her fingers and takes a short step back. Haru is almost certain she's nervous, watching the frown starting to curl down the corner of Rin's mouth. The silence stretches until it's beyond awkward.

Finally Rin blurts, “Will you go out with me?"

Haru stares for a moment, catching the way Rin’s fingers fidget, the glow of the streetlamp in her red hair.

Slowly, Haru nods before clearing her throat, saying, “Yes".

It's thrilling to learn that kissing Rin has the same rush as swimming. Maybe it's the competition or maybe it’s that Rin's body presses firm and soft against her own; but whatever it is, it sends a spark of exhilaration all the way down into her toes.

Even after their first fumbled, and progressively successful, attempts at sex, Haru doesn't tell Rin about water. The newness and exhilaration from the catch of skin against skin is more than enough to set Haru’s heart pounding where Rin’s lips curve over her neck. Haru enjoys mapping Rin’s body with her fingers and Rin’s dedication to coax every gasp and sigh out of Haru with her tongue. They eagerly take advantage of the fact that Haru’s parents are away. Haru’s kitchen now has a bag of bread because Rin likes toast in the mornings, and Haru spends a week with navy bruises fading to purple on her shins where Rin kicked her mid nightmare, but Haru still hasn’t shared her deeper fantasies. Even with the right vocabulary – Haru looked it up online, finally tracked down the right word, ‘aquaphilia’ – she doesn’t know how to share with what she feels with Rin. Of course, maybe Rin already knows. Nagisa still teases Haru about Rin being her second true love, “Poor girl can't measure up to a waterfall!" And of course they all tell horror stories about Haru’s uncontrollable stripping around large enough bodies of water. She’s done that twice in a place it might not have been completely appropriate, but apparently that’s enough for teasing forever.

 

Rin pulls her aside after a joint practice. It’s not unusual for them to talk on the pool deck, particularly now that Rin is the captain. Rin has chores to do; cleaning up after practice, making sure the pool is ready for the next day. Normally other members of the Samezuka swim team stay to help, but today it's just Haru. By the time they're done, the locker room is empty. Haru had waved Makoto and the others on ahead, so she doesn't imagine they'll be waiting for her by the train. When Rin slides the bolt home in the door leading from the locker room to the pool Haru begins to suspect some sort of ulterior motive. Haru shivers a little in a cool gust of air as Rin pokes her head through the door leading to the rest of the student health complex. After a thorough check of the outer corridor, she closes the door and leans back against it.

Rin cocks her head, flashing a sharp predatory smile and Haru feels the knife blade of it slide down her spine in a frission of anticipation. After spending a long moment raking her eyes over the tight peaks of Haru breasts where they’re pebbling through her swimsuit, Rin steps away from the door. Hauling her swim bag from a locker, she jams it under the corner of the door and turns back to Haru smirking.

"What?” Haru feels a premonition of what’s about to happen caught in the swell of her own excitement, but that mad fantasy is still undercut with uncertainty. Rin just keeps grinning, prowling forward with an intensity that keeps Haru pinned to the spot.

"I had an idea,” Rin says.

Haru swallows thickly, "What? 

"Well," Rin drawls out the word, "I was thinking I could watch you get yourself off." She gestures expansively to the columns with their branching showerheads. Her smirk deepens. Even though Rin’s watched Haru masturbate before, Haru’s never told Rin about getting off on the rush of water from a showerhead. Still Rin’s gesture was hard to miss interpret. Haru wonders how Rin knew about this fantasy.

"I - what?” Haru’s voice catches in her own disbelief. She shuts her mouth tight, staring hard at Rin. Rin just rocks back on her heels with an insouciant shrug of her shoulders.

"I'll keep watch, don't worry."

"How can you watch the door while you're watching me?"

Rin offers up her hands palm out, "no one’s even here, but I'm sure my bag will rattle if they tried to push open the door. We'll have enough time, you can't see the showers from the entrance to the locker room." She gestures with a jerk of her head to the twist of the corridor between them and the door. Haru frowns.

Rin draws light teasing fingers up her arm, leaning down so her breath whispers over Haru's lips, ghosting the faintest touch of skin with their movement. “Are you sure you don't want to?"

"I didn't say I don't want to!" Rin leans forward the last few centimeters to tug sharply at Haru's lower lip. Haru hisses in surprise, arching up into the touch. Rin’s fingers have found a strap of her swimsuit, urging it down over her shoulder, revealing the top curve of one breast. Haru is sure Rin can feel her heartbeat thundering there. When Rin draws back Haru can see that her breathing is a little fast and bright spots of color have taken up high on her cheeks. Haru can't help the catch of her own breath at that.

Keeping careful eye contact, Haru peels off her swimsuit, kicking the wet lump of cloth away from her feet. Rin doesn't even blink, just smiles approvingly leaning back against the tiled wall, her hips canting out almost an invitation. Haru takes a step towards her, but Rin shakes her head gestures to the showers behind her. When Haru turns the knob, water pricks hot against her skin. It feels wonderfully surreal to do this knowing that Rin is hungrily watching as she lowers herself to the floor. Positioned under the water, she arches her hips up into the spray brings. The flood of heated embarrassment to Haru’s cheeks is undercut by the sharp intake of breath she hears from Rin.

Haru can't stop her eyes from seeking Rin out. She catches the other girl with one strap of her swimsuit flung loose, hand clenching and twisting at her own exposed breast. Haru's eyes flutter closed and she can't help biting her lip as she plants her feet firmly and arches her hips higher into the spray. She can feel it beating sensation into her thighs. The water drums a sweet sparking sensation echoing into the core of her, driving her hips up in tiny thrusting jerks. Unbidden sound slides breathily away from her throat; a hitching whine drowned out by the rush of water then echoed moments later by Rin’s lower moan.

Haru can't keep her eyes open to see what Rin is doing. Imagines maybe she’s shucked her swimsuit, has her own fingers buried into dark red curls, curling deep watching Haru. The thought makes Haru's hips stutter. She can feel herself clenching down around the invisible phantom of fingers. The bite of water pounds into her, stray droplets kissing sensation her breasts and heated cheeks. She knows her breathing is ragged, echoed in the trembling of her legs as they threaten to give, worked hard from practice and now steadily bearing her towards climax. She arches harder, shoulders slipping on the floor. If the crosshatch impressions of the tile floor are permanently embedded into her shoulders, she is totally taking it out on Rin. But the thought is the clipped by the tightening ache that clinches through her core, arcing her up that last bit tighter before it drops her twitching on the tile. Eyes closed against the rain of water still caressing her face, Haru heaves in a long breath.

There's the creak of the faucet and the water turns off. Blearily opening her eyes, she sees Rin leaning over her. Haru blinks slowly. Her orgasms have never been this intense. Rin offers her hand up and Haru takes it. She's not too unsteady on her feet, but she sways into Rin like a magnet. Rin's fingers curl around her neck, tangle through her hair as she draws Haru forward into a kiss. Again, Haru can't help the soft hushed sound that parts her lips. Rin's answering smirk can't cut through her good feeling. One of Rin’s hands wanders down. Haru twitches back, over stimulated, and curls her forehead to press against Rin's neck as her breath hitches to the unsteady buck of her hips and shake of her knees. After a moment, she weakly bats away Rin’s hand. Rin chuckles soft softly into her hair and presses kisses to her temple, her nose, her cheeks and chin and lips. Haru sighs contentedly, comforted by the warm press of skin.

Rin shuffle steps them over to the changing space, clear of the slick tile and onto the damp, rough concrete floor. There's a pile of towels already on one bench and she wraps the first one around Haru’s shoulders then another around her hair. The third Rin uses to quickly and efficiently towel off. Then she turns to Haru, rubbing softly at Haru’s shoulders with the terrycloth as if she has to dry each individual droplet with her own fingers through the towel. It’s almost a massage and Haru finds herself swaying with the movement, letting Rin prod her gently back-and-forth as her eyes drift shut. Rin’s hands move down but they don't linger, instead skipping onto her thighs, giving each leg the same treatment.

By the time she's reached Haru's feet, Haru's not sure she's ever felt this relaxed. It's really quite troublesome to remain sitting up. As if Rin is a mind reader, she slides up in the V of Haru’s spread legs. Her arms wrap strong around Haru’s back, keeping her anchored as she presses forward to capture her lips in a thorough kiss. The intimate exploration of her mouth leaves ripples quieting deep in her bones. When Rin lets her go, Haru sighs and lists into Rin’s shoulder. Rin runs a hand through her hair, shifting Haru back to upright and murmuring in her ear.

“I think we have to get you dressed.” Haru thinks that's probably a good idea and tries to mumble an affirmative. She looks up at Rin and still feels a little glazed. Rin smiles and swoops in to kiss her again, although this time it's just the hard press of lips as if she can push all her feelings onto the curve of Haru's now mouth.

"Sou’s gone for the weekend, so I have an extra bed. Or you can share mine." Haru can hear the sly smile in Rin's voice.

“Uh-hmmm,” Haru agrees. Putting on clothing is probably more complicated than it should be, but Rin helps her, using the excuse of arranging Haru’s clothes to run her hands all over her. After that, it doesn't take long for Rin to get dressed. Haru wrinkles her nose of the smell of chlorine that still lingers on Rin’s skin, but she doesn’t want Rin to go back to the showers so she doesn't mention it.

 

The walk back to Rin’s dorm is quiet, companionable. Rin’s fingers tangle with her own as they pass under the archway. Haru's feeling a little more alert by the time Rin opens her door, but she doesn't protest when Rin immediately starts unbuttoning her shirt, just sits placid on the lower bunk and watches Rin’s deft fingers part the fabric. The air whispers chill against her skin. It doesn't last long since Rin quickly pulls a nightgown over Haru’s head. Haru rubs her fingers over the soft worn fabric and smiles. Rin quickly strips, no sense of performance or titillation in the movement but Haru still happily watches. She pulls on a pair of drawstring sleep pants and a tank top - Rin always runs hotter than Haru. Then she's pushing back the covers and shuffling Haru under them and into bed. The standard extra long twin is a bit cramped for space, but Rin has always been a cuddler and an expert one at that. Haru finds herself molded and arranged until the two of them fit the space. Comfort radiates through her through at their warm steady breaths. Rin places a few stray kisses against her neck.

”Good night." Rin murmurs. 

Instead of responding, Haru turns her head, catching Rin's lips in a brief kiss. She can feel Rin smile in the dark as she pulls away.

"Good night," Haru closes her eyes. She breathes in the same deep slow rhythm as Rin spirals to sleep next to her.

After long silent minutes, Haru murmurs, “Thank you.”

Rin doesn't respond but her hand tightens around Haru's hip, one slow squeeze and she presses a mumbled, sloppy kiss to Haru's neck. Haru smiles up into the dark, hearing the first light whistle of a dream through Rin’s nose.

 

After the first time, Haru isn't really expecting it to happen again. Well, she still figures they'll have sex; but Rin’s one-off inspiration to take advantage of the shower isn't something Haru anticipated in the first place. They're filing out of the movie theater, hanging back a little by the greasy wood of the exit door letting Makoto and Sou move on ahead in their own little bubble of laughter. Haru doesn't mind double dates; they’re actually kind of fun. Looking at Makoto, it makes Haru warmly pleased to see her friend’s face light up like that. Haru's fingers are tangled with Rin’s so she pauses easily at Rin's tug to her hand. She tilts her head up to catch Rin’s expression. The look on Rin’s face is not dissimilar to the one that pre-faces a 100 m free challenge. It's an expression to which Haru has a pavlovian reaction.

Squaring her shoulders, lifting her chin, and raising one slim eyebrow Haru prompts, “So?"

Rin murmurs, “I’ve been thinking, that night in the showers was pretty awesome. I mean that went pretty well?" Rin has no excuse to sound unsure. Haru tilts her head in acknowledgment, the barest sliver of smile curving her lips. In an echo chamber, that same partial lift of lips crosses Rin's face in a flash of teeth. “I was thinking, how about next time you eat me out while I sit on the hot tub rim and you get off on the jet huh?”

Haru feels her brain turn to jelly. Clearly it’s obvious because Rin's smile sharpens. Haru darts her eyes around, but thankfully the other moviegoers have all left. Under the pool of streetlight towards the corner, Sou and Makoto are waiting, wrapped up in their scarves, their mittened hands clasped together. Haru can see the misting puffs of their breath as they continue their conversation. Conversation turns to kissing, so perhaps they don't mind waiting. Haru politely turns her eyes back to Rin who has the same smile on her face she always does when her friends are particularly happy.

"You don't have to answer me right now." She says without looking back at Haru. "It's just an idea.” 

Haru doesn't have words for the weight of that idea, the solid heat that has taken up an inferno in her core. Instead she presses a kiss to Rin's cheek, dragging her lips to murmur, “I'd accuse you of being a mind reader" into Rin’s ear. Haru can't suppress the smile when Rin shudders. 

"But the Samezuka pool doesn't have a hot tub." Haru points out. Rin just shrugs, the challenging ‘I’ll do you one better’ expression is back on her face.

“Well, it's not like we don't know people who work at the local pool." She slants her eyes at Makoto's flushed and laughing face. Haru balks, taking involuntary step back. Rin throws Haru a look that clearly asks ‘do you think I'm an idiot’. “No I haven't asked her, I would ask you first. But she doesn't have to know the specifics, really how strange is it that the two of us want the pool after hours?" The words are tame enough, but the way she says them in an insinuating drawl makes a blush sweep fire over Haru's cheeks. Rin shakes her head and says in a more typical tone of voice, “don't worry, I'll have Sou get me the key. She already knows all about our sex life, nothing new or scandalizing there."

Haru groans and buries her face into Rin’s shoulder. How is it that Rin can make her so flustered and embarrassed, a range of emotion Haru so rarely feels the need to display. Rin throws an arm around her shoulder and moves them to catch up with the other two. They walk the rest of the way the train in comfortable conversation about the movie. At the station, Haru and Makoto board the first train. Makoto waves goodbye to her girlfriend until the platform shrinks from view beyond the window. They mostly sit in silence for the ride home. Makoto's used to Haru's quiet, and it's comfortable, though Haru can't help blushing when Makoto fiddles with her keys, fishing them out of her pocket as they reach their stop. Makoto doesn't notice, too busy grinning up at the starlit sky as they walk home from the train station.

 

Now that Rin’s mentioned it, it's like the idea is never far from the back of Haru’s brain. She'll be sitting in class, carefully forming the kanji on a test and the idea will flutter forward with a rush of blood to her face. Rin doesn't mention it again, which is almost worse because Haru doesn't know if that means she's planning or the idea has been forgotten, dismissed. Haru can’t get away from it; the idea Rin has presented her is intoxicating. Before Rin, Haru hadn't thought oral sex would be something she would enjoy; too messy, too awkward. Instead she's taken to it like a fish to water. The ability to play Rin's body, the slickness of her folds, the taste of her on Haru’s tongue is astounding. It draws an ache down between Haru's legs almost more than when Rin pays her the same attentions. The idea of doing it in water, of incorporating her earliest sexual experience and fantasy is overwhelming. Haru remembers being in the hot tub, arms clutching white knuckled to the rim edge as the muscles of her shoulders bunched and clenched. She had been sure the ecstatic, euphoric feeling rushing over her body was visible on her face, or at least apparent in the bunch of her shoulders, but nobody seemed to notice.

Imagining that same euphoric rush combined with the thrill of desire and excitement she feels with Rin is compelling. Haru doesn't know if she could keep up the same kind of intensity or oral precision in that circumstance, but she wants to find out. But if it was just a one off-idea casually thrown into the moment to fluster and embarrass Haru, she doesn't want to bring it up. She has no idea how Rin was able to tap into that perfect scenario. If she ever confided about sex to Makoto she would suspect her friend of having spilled a confidence. As it is, the only person with whom she's really had a conversation about sex is Nagisa, but that was because Nagisa decided an appropriate sweet-sixteen gift would be sex toys. The giant, purple, obscenely veined dildo is still stuffed somewhere in her bottom sock drawer. Nagisa was particularly proud because it had a suction cup on the bottom and was waterproof. "Meant to be used in the shower!", she delivered complete with lascivious eyebrow wiggle. Come to think about of it, maybe Nagisa is the culprit. Haru is not about to ask and find out. There is such a thing as over sharing.

 

Three weeks later Haru’s still wondering when her phone chimes. She flips it open, ignoring the jingle of the cell phone strap with the little blue dolphin that Rin had bought for her on a date to the aquarium. The text reads: 

Iwatobi SC Returns tonight 7 PM?

The blinking numbers of the time tell her it's now 5:45. Haru swallows thickly and texts back:

yes

She's so distracted with her dinner that she almost burns the mackerel. It's like her fingers have become a stranger’s and she finds herself brushing over her own lips, the side of her neck, caught in the surreal slide of her own touch. She eats fast enough to give her belly a slight ache but that eases with the brisk walk to Iwatobi SC Returns.

 

Haru stands before the bright teal façade of the building. The parking lot is empty. Haru puffs one last breath into her scarf before she steps forward to push the glass and metal door. It swings open lightly under the touch. She blinks at the dimness inside, only cut by streetlights refracting through the glass doors. Rin shoves off from where she was leaning on the front desk. Her fingers curl around Haru's palm. Haru wonders if the thunder of her pulse is audible. Light catches for a moment on Rin’s teeth before she curves her head down to Haru’s mouth. The ferocity of the kiss brings Haru up on her toes before it slams her back down onto her heels. She wishes she had a wall at her back that she could melt into because this surge of heat is taking her out at the knees. Rin draws back, she gestures magnanimously to the darkened corridor or before them.

Haru would've expected Rin to drag her along by the hand, leading them back into the locker rooms and onto the pool deck. Instead she lets Haru lead the way. Exiting the locker room, they find their way across the pool deck by moonlight and the faint illumination flowing out from under the locker room door. The pool stretches dark and silent, the gloss of water touched in moonlight. Haru walks to the smaller rectangle of hot tub. It’s wide enough Haru could hold on to one edge and not quite touch the other side with her toes. Haru stands near the black letters proclaiming 4 ft. and waits, closing her eyes and listening to the soft slap of water all around her. The room beyond her eyelids brightens as Rin turns on the underwater lights of the hot tub and the jets kick on.

The diffuse teal light gives the space around them a muted footlight glow that exaggerates the dips and curves of Rin's body, the pull and bunch of her muscles as she jerks her T-shirt up over her head. Haru has no idea how Rin can wear a T-shirt in this cold weather even if it is bundled under a sweater or coat. Haru’d wondered why they hadn't undressed in the locker room, but something about doing this here in the wide open quiet cut only by the rush of water gives it an almost spiritual air. Haru feels silly for thinking it, Rin as a supplicant bearing herself before the force of rushing water, but the idea shivers through her. Rin drops her bra and underwear onto the small pile of clothing. Haru hurries to catch up. When she's naked she finds herself a loss. What is she supposed to do now? There's the roar of water to one side and Rin’s burning smile to the other, Haru caught in between. Haru never could have imagined herself trapped in this juxtaposition, the choice between water or Rin. The delighted knowledge that the answer is both blooms through her as Rin steps to the water’s edge dipping one toe in. She hisses.

“I’ve always hated hot tubs, way too warm,” she mutters. Haru feels the smile settling under her skin, even if she’s fairly certain it hasn’t reached her face. Smiling on the inside indeed. Haru doesn’t dive into the hot tub. For one thing the water is too shallow. For another, this way she can savor the lapping heat as it licks up her thighs. A breathy sigh parts her lips as the water chuckles against her stomach.

She opens her eyes when Rin says, “You’re so sexy I think I’m going to wind up with my own pavlovian reaction to water.” Her expression isn’t a smirk, eyes too heavy lidded, mouth too slack. Haru glides to the edge where Rin is standing, delighting in the unfamiliar feeling of water sliding over her bare breasts. Pools are for swimsuits, the illicit feeling of water on her bared skin brings home the pulse-pounding truth of their situation as much as the hungry look on Rin’s face. Rin parts her legs obscenely as Haru pulls up to the side of the hot tub, her fingers curling around the rough beige grit of the ledge between Rin’s legs.

This close she imagines she can feel the heat of Rin’s curls brushing against her knuckles as her fingers drip water. She catches Rin’s eye and Rin nods. Heat swirls down Haru’s spine as she shifts forward. The movement aligns her hips with the thrust of water and Haru’s fingers stutter and curl as she presses gently upwards, smoothing back hair and pushing Rin’s skin taut till the blood-flushed petals of her lips are exposed. Haru can’t help a small smile at the sight. A few sticky beads brush her where her fingertips press into Rin’s curls. Rin hasn’t even been in the water yet. Haru tilts her head forward, leaning closer to place her tongue flat against Rin. She enforces the pressure with her chin behind her relaxed tongue, giving Rin the surface area and steady pressure that makes her hips writhe. Haru isn’t disappointed. She can’t help the jerk of her own hips, waving in and out of the intensity of the jet. Tension pulls tight across her shoulders. Haru isn’t going to last long and she’s barely even gotten started. She looks up, craning her head at the top stroke of her lick, resting her chin for a moment above her hands, over the soft give of Rin’s stomach. Rin is staring glassy eyed and panting.

“Did I tell you to stop?” She gasps. Haru ducks her head back down, surreptitiously wiping her spit-slick chin against Rin’s thigh as she does. A few more solid presses of her tongue and she can feel the jumping of muscles against her shoulder where Rin’s legs wrapped around her. Rin’s foot tenses, heel pressing against Haru’s back, pulling her forward. The tightening feeling has turned to a steady clench and flutter of Haru’s abdominal muscles as bright sparks of pleasure skitter along her nerves.

She tilts her head aiming for the right side of Rin’s clit with a vengeance. It’s hard to be precise enough, as much mercurial luck as skill but Haru flickers her tongue against the spot. Humming bird wings she things abstractly. Rin keens above her. Haru feels her own impending orgasm gathering, sucks in a deep breath, inhaling Rin’s sharp warm smell. Rin drops back to her elbows, her chest heaving as she pants. Her hips cant up into Haru’s lips. Haru smiles. She curls her tongue under Rin’s clit knowing the time left in this moment is fractured seconds. Haru glides one hand down. Rin loves fingers. Haru only ever wants one or two, but Rin often wants three pushing in as hard and deep is Haru can and holding there, no thrusting just the solid inexorable force of stretch and pressure. Rin spasms around Haru’s fingers in rolling waves of muscle. Haru lets her tongue go lax again, Rin thrusting one final jerk up at Haru’s mouth. It’s a good thing too, because Harru needs her free hand to grip the edge of the hot tub as her own orgasm ripples up her spine and across her shoulders. She tucks her face into Rin’s sweaty thigh and pants as the punch of it rocks through her.

“God.” Rin says above her. Haru nods against Rin’s thigh. Haru blinks muzzily at Rin’s extended hand and wonders if this is going to be a thing.

“Do you really think you can pull me out right now?” Haru asks, a little offended at the perceived reflection on her skills. Rin laughs and weaves their fingers together, holding her hand as they walk around the perimeter of the hot tub together to the stairs. Haru climbs them, each step a slow leg up, feeling heavy and weighted down in her joints like the water doesn’t want to let her leave. She walks into Rin’s arms, sharing her heated, slick skin and mouthing over Rin’s neck. Rin’s pulse is still doubled under her tongue.

“We really should shower.” Rin says when Haru progresses kisses down her shoulder. “We didn’t last time and my sheets smelled like chlorine for a week.”

Haru wrinkles her nose, “You didn’t wash your sheets?” 

“I was being hyperbolic.” Rin shoots back. “Besides, do you realize how many germs can be in a hot tub?” Rin shakes her head. “They’re draining it for the regular cleaning tomorrow anyways, which I told Souske to tell Makoto I’ll help with, so don’t worry.” She steps away, but she doesn’t let go of Haru’s hand.

“Does Makoto know why you’re randomly helping with pool cleaning at her part time job?” Haru asks, incredulous.

“I think Souske may have implied community service or some sort of school assignment,” Rin shrugs. “Come on,” she says again, tugging toward the locker room. “I promise, just cleaning up, but we’re not far from your house right?” She arches her eyebrows and grins. Haru inclines her head in a nod. All she wants to do right now is get her mouth over every other part of Rin’s body. And then snuggle down onto the futon with her and acquiesce to Rin’s cuddling. But it’s true, they can’t do that at the Iwatobi SC Returns. Haru can just imagine Makoto’s or worse Sasakabe’s face if she found them in the morning. Haru shudders and quickly hurries with Rin to the showers. They bundle into their coats and scarves but Haru forsakes her mittens. They can hold hands in Rin’s pocket. Rin locks the door as they leave, catching Haru a few feet from the glass to press a tender kiss to Haru’s lips. Haru squeezes their entwined hands.

 

They’re sitting on Rin’s lower bunk trying to decide on a movie to watch, enjoying an evening with Rin’s dorm room to themselves when Rin says, “You know we haven’t ever really talked about kinks.”

Haru blanches, then flushes hot, “Kinks?” Rin’s face is serious, no joking lines of mirth or mockery.

"Kinks,” she says again. Haru shrugs one shoulder, her eye’s flicking back to the laptop screen and the three movies they’ve been considering. It seems like a pretty odd time to bring it up. Rin usually is more than willing to use bad movies as an excuse for extended cuddling. It's a tactic Haru typically doesn't protest. Rin shifts on the bed, their shoulders parting, she turns to face Haru directly. She sits cross-legged, hands tucked behind her feet as she leans forward, weight resting upon her extended arms. The angle gives Haru a great view down Rin’s shirt. She's not wearing a bra, which is fairly normal since Rin tends to shuck it as soon as she gets home. Haru carefully lifts her eyes. Rin notices and Haru catches her slight smile before Rin schools her face back to serious. The silence stretches on till it’s clear Rin is waiting.

Haru says, “Okay.” 

Rin doesn't relax, but her weight shifts back into her hips.

“What did you want to say?" Haru asks when Rin hasn't found any words beyond the opening gambit of her conversation.

“Well,” Rin starts. "I found this website," she snags up the forgotten laptop and hastily tabs through her bookmarks. There's a tensing of curiosity in Haru's gut and she leans fractionally to crane her neck and try to get about better view of the screen. After moment Rin spins it towards Haru. Haru automatically balks at the images on the screen, women in tanks of water, women bound and tied into contorted shapes, being buffeted by fierce spray.

Haru closes her eyes, “What?" The laptop lid clicks shut. Rin's hands scrabble up her own.

"Oh God, I'm sorry I should've warned you,” she starts to babble. There's something like fear in her voice. Haru shakes her head, eyes still closed. The images looked so violent. She only caught a brief glimpse of the text sprawled across the page but none of it was pleasant. She wouldn’t want any of the harsh pejorative words associated with her, with Rin, or with their relationship.

"It looks so much worse than it is. Some of the videos are, well I wouldn't say sweet but…"

Haru opens her eyes, “You watch them?" Rin shrugs and nods." You like them?" Haru prods hesitantly. In all the time she's known Rin, there was never any indication, no reason to suspect that Rin might like that kind of thing.

"Well, I actually thought you might like them,” offers Rin. Haru stares. Rin holds her gaze calmly, more certain now that Haru's looking at her.

“I’d like them?"

Rin lifts one shoulder, “Maybe." Haru sits still for a moment thinking, it's not like any of Rin’s ideas have been bad so far.

Taking a deep breath she says, “Okay."

“Are you sure?" Rin asks.

“Show me your favorite one." Rin hesitates for a moment but she still opens laptop and goes to another bookmark.

The opening of the video is surprisingly reassuring. There is something about the explicit consent, the conversation about the woman's history with water, the woman's history with bondage, her clear statement of different ways to say no or stop. Everything is still, calm, almost businesslike. It echoes nothing of the hard-edged words that advertised the videos. Haru settles in against Rin. Rin’s wraps an arm around her and tugs Haru against the curve of her side. Haru is glad the laptop is in Rin lap this time, so she can curl closer. Rin rests their heads together as the scene of the video starts. It seems odd to Haru that something this far from the normal purview would be their first foray into the mutual watching of porn.

It almost doesn't seem like porn, there is of course gratuitous nudity and tight focus camera work on female genitalia, but it lacks the sexual overlay of porn, centered an entirely different aesthetic eroticism. First the woman is restrained, rope winding around her like something Haru remembers from photographs in a rather provocative art exhibit she once saw. Then the woman is strapped to a larger restraining device that holds her legs spread and keeps her standing up. The camera lingers over her calm expression, pans up and down over the security of the fastenings. Haru startles almost as much as the woman on the screen when the first jet of water catches her in the side. After that first one, others fire out towards her. Some are small and thin, others are large and forceful. The woman’s skin turns pink under the intensity of the buffeting spray.

Haru winces sympathy, knowing from experience the harsh sting of high-pressure water. Her inspiration to try masturbating with the garden hose on high-pressure setting had taught her thighs and beleaguered crotch exactly how forceful water could be. The original rationale was that the high-pressure setting on the garden hose nozzle might be similar to the experience of a hot tub jet. Haru's parents had just left on a trip, leaving her alone. It was high summer and there was a particular spot in the yard was secluded enough no one could see her from any direction. She was able to get off on the garden hose, possibly through sheer determination, but it was generally too painful to be worth adding to any with potential list of masturbation techniques. Haru is a little surprised they don't let the woman come on any of the jets of water, instead the video moves onto another scene.

The woman is taken down from the larger contraption though her rope bindings aren't removed. Haru finds the gentle, careful way the man runs his hands over the woman and guides her as they move to be strangely magnetizing. He's not attractive, although it's possible he might be if Haru were ever attracted to men, but there’s something about the excruciating attention and care he is showing to his partner in her vulnerable state that makes something go soft in Haru's chest. She’s pretty sure this isn’t the way porn is supposed to make one feel, it's certainly not the reaction she's ever had any other porn before.

“Alright?" Rin asks softly into her hair. Haru nods fractionally. On the screen, the woman is unbound, the man helping her step into an illuminated case of water. It has glass sides and the light halos her body into strange refraction and elongation. Haru has always thought that everyone looks prettier in water. There's something about the way hair floats and swirls, the way light glows through water and winds around the human form sliding through it. There's nothing different about this moment on the screen. The woman isn't swimming with the controlled grace Haru sees in her friends and her competitors, but the quality of light, person, and water is the same. Haru feels her own breath hitch, not a sound of arousal but rather one of awe. Rin shifts lightly beside her but does not say anything.

 

The woman on the screen remains calm and acquiescing as the man positioning her twines her limbs in black tape. His hands are careful in their pressure over her skin as he keeps her head above water. There's brief conversation over what they're about to do, confirmation of her visual cue of the safeword but Haru barely hears it. The man's hands lower the woman into the water, always at ready to catch her at the slightest notice. Haru suddenly thinks of Rei, of holding someone else up in the water until they're able to go on their own. The man instructs the woman how to float on her back, how to inflate her chest with the air of her breath, to keep her chest above the water on her own buoyancy, these are things Haru already knows. He lets her go, lowering to hover inches under the arch of her back, prepared to catch her should she start to sink. Haru can see a flash of panic cross the woman’s face as her breath whistles out before the hands are there to steady her.

As if the first moments were just verifying the sense of trust, the hands turn from holding her up to keeping her submerged. If Haru hadn't been warned by the man's soothing words explaining what he was about to do, she might've twitched. Terror still flashes over the woman's face, but Haru can't quite understand. Instead she sees that confluence of human and water and remembers being a young child at the pool, sitting lotus position on the bottom holding her breath. When her lungs stretched beyond burning she would strike out with her arms until her legs untangled and she could kick to the surface. There was something about the peaceful calm the bottom of the pool, a removal of the rest of the world. It had never been a sexual thing, just a deeply centering one. The nature of water revealed Haru more strongly to herself than anything else she’d experienced. Before her, on the electric glow of the laptop screen is surreal glimmering beauty, being held to that magical place by someone else. But that's nothing compared to how his hands hold her up, support her, when she comes to the surface, the careful way he removes the hair from in front of her face, holds her still to help her breathe. Rin hasn’t offered but Haru wants to ask. The question chokes up her throat.

She shifts, turning to face Rin, laptop forgotten between them when Rin taps it to silence.

“Are you okay?” Rin asks immediately. 

Haru shrugs uncomfortably. “You’d be interested in that. Doing that?” she asks bluntly.

Rin blinks.

“Uh, maybe some of it.” Rin hedges. Haru nods slowly.

“Which parts?” she asks.

“What would you be interested in?” Rin returns. Haru bites down on the ‘I asked you first’ begging to pass her lips. She thinks carefully.

"I want you to pull me up." Rin stares. Haru averts her own gaze, lets Rin look. She’s certain the blush staining her cheeks is obvious even in the dim light of evening now covering the room.

“Oh. I was just going for the ‘I hold the spray and point it in the right direction’.” Rin coughs. Her face is bright red now as well.

“Okay,” Haru nods, looking back to the laptop and trying to let the conversation subside so she can get a grip on the inflated-bubble feeling that’s sprung a leak in her chest. She can’t tell if it’s excitement or disappointment and it makes her shoulders curl down awkwardly.

“Hey, no.” Rin tips Haru’s chin up, “let’s talk about this. Can you be a little more specific. I mean, what were you thinking?” Haru opens her mouth, closes it, lets the thoughts settle on her confused tongue so she can sort the words into coherent order.

“I-“ She starts, sighs, slumps into Rin’s side. Rin’s arm wrapping back around her waist is surprisingly grounding. Haru can work from that foundation.

“I don’t know?” is a good place to start because the ideas still seem pretty nebulous, not just how to ask, but what to ask for.

“I like the idea, of you helping me, supporting me, so I guess the rope is part of it.” Haru swallows, continues into Rin’s waiting silence, “The ‘you controlling the spray’ idea is definitely nice.” she agrees.

“Remember when we were kids and we had competitions to see who could hold their breath longest sitting on the bottom of the pool?” Rin nods softly. “I always thought that was so peaceful, there’s just something about clarity of focus and the water…”

Haru shakes her head, pulling out of the nostalgic tone with a dismissive shrug, “I guess it’s kind of nice to think about moving from that place to your arms. Is that weird?” Rin is silent for a long enough moment Haru starts to squirm internally.

She’s just thinking of pulling away when Rin says, “No.” Haru tries to hide her own sigh of relief. The way Rin’s arm tugs her gently closer makes her think she wasn’t stealthy enough.

“It’s not weird.” Rin says, “but I really don’t think I could hold you down.” Haru can hear the apology in Rin’s tone. She shakes her head.

“I don’t need you to hold me down. I can do that well enough myself, can you catch me? Can you pull me up, can you keep me afloat?” Haru can audibly hear Rin’s swallow.

“Yeah, I think I could do that.” Rin says. “Give me a week or so okay? I need to think about this a little more, but I’m not saying no.” Haru can live with that.

 

They don’t talk about it for almost two weeks. Haru carefully doesn’t ask. Rin will get an occasional contemplative expression, thoughts whirling behind her eyes as she stares at the ice melting in her glass while they wait for their food. Haru lets her think. When their orders of spaghetti carbonara arrive Rin sets the expression aside and focuses on Haru, a date just like any other with their fingers cupped against each other’s hand under the table.

 

Haru walks home from school with Makoto and listens to her friend blush and giggle over going to an amusement park with Sou. Makoto shivers in remembered terror when she describes the horror-house with its distorting mirrors and jump-scares. Haru really isn’t surprised; Souske would totally take advantage of that kind of weakness for consoling her scared girlfriend with PDA. Makoto’s smiling at the memory despite the creepy clowns involved so Haru figures it probably worked just like Souske expected.

“You’re so easy.” Haru replies.

Makoto frowns slightly, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Souske suggests you go through the haunted house together and then comforts you in your time of fear, are you really surprised that happened?”

“Well, it’s not like I told her I’m a scaredy-cat, she didn’t know!” Makoto protests, crossing her arms over her chest, “and besides I’m the one who suggested we go into the horror house.”

Haru splutters, “You what?”

Makoto’s strident tone has softened to a mutter when she responds, “Well, I figured Souske would hold my hand if I was scared.”

Haru stares. “She would have held your hand anyways!” she points out. Makoto concedes the point.

“I know, but I guess it was kind of fun to shriek and hide behind her. I mean, she’s taller than me, she can totally be my white knight and protector against fun-house mirrors.”

“I’m sure she got a kick out of that.” Haru agrees. Makoto smiles warmly.

“Yeah I think she did. Hey, you guys want to hang out with us sometime next week? Souske’s been talking about going to this basketball sports movie and I think it would be much more fun if I had my best friend there.”

Haru raises an eyebrow, “You could just say you don’t want to go?”

“Nah,” Makoto shrugs, “I don’t mind. I mean it’s got good reviews, it’s just we don’t hang out as much anymore do we?” It’s true. When Haru started dating Rin they saw each other a little less, but then Makoto started dating Souske and was completely swept up in the blush of new romance. Haru’d think since they’re dating roommates that everything would work out so they’d schedule mutually timed dates and still have the same amount of time for their friendship, but it hasn’t quite worked like that.

“Okay,” Haru agrees, “but we should plan for some time where girlfriends aren’t invited too.”

“Yeah, I’d like that,” Makoto smiles. “So, I was thinking about Nagisa’s endless crush on Rei.”

“Oh no!” Haru cuts her off, “Nagisa is our match maker. If she can’t match-make herself you are not stepping in to help." 

Makoto pouts, “I wasn’t going to match-make. I just think since the rest of us have started dating it’s a little unfortunate that Rei is so totally oblivious.”

Haru purses her lips, “She could pull a Rin and just kiss Rei, that’d be pretty straightforward. 

“Yes, but that worked because you’re you. You speak Rin.”

“I speak Rin?”

“You understand grand dramatic gestures. I mean you were kind of already in a relationship.” Makoto shrugs, “Nagisa and Rei… Well I think people should ask first before kissing. Getting permission is important. But I think Nagisa is afraid Rei’s going to reject her.” 

“Hmmm,” Haru agrees, “I guess it is hard to tell. Do you know if Rei even likes girls?”

Makoto shrugs, “I think finding out was the point of Nagisa constantly picking on her with truth or dare but I dunno. It would be funny though, you, me, Nagisa…” she muses. 

“At least she wouldn’t be dating someone on an opposing team.” Makoto says brightly. They reach the stairs and pause.

“Well, don’t encourage Nagisa to do anything too idiotic.” Haru says. Makoto nods affable agreement and they part ways.

 

Haru’s cellphone chirps at almost midnight. Haru fumbles for her phone in the dark and reads Rin’s brief missive:

can I come over tomorrow

Haru stabs at the buttons: 

yes, sleep

Then she turns off her phone. When Haru wakes up at 8am the next morning she checks her phone to see if it was a dream. Rin’s text, followed by ‘11:59 p.m. Friday’ stares back at her. Haru sighs. Rin has never been a morning person. Even as her nightmares gradually faded and she got better sleep, she still would sleep in until 10 or 11am when she could get away with it. This has meant the few times Haru stayed over at Rin’s dorm after water, or non-water related sex she’d be awake at seven or eight while Rin slept on. Plying Rin with food as a way to force her to wake up works when they stay at Haru’s house, but even then Rin isn’t fully functional. Haru sometimes wonders how Rin has managed to survive school so far with her inability to form words in normal morning hours. Haru looks at the text again and decides not to expect Rin’s arrival until after noon. It doesn’t stop anticipation from pricking her skin.

 

Haru makes herself breakfast and washes the dishes she’s neglected over the week. She takes a quick bath and scrubs her hair clean. She does a load of laundry and changes the sheets on the futon. She changes the down comforter for a slightly lighter blanket that Rin is less likely to kick off in the middle of the night if she stays over. She’s just trying to decide if she should make lunch for two, or assume she’s eating alone because Rin either doesn’t show up for a few more hours, or shows up and has just eaten breakfast, when a knock comes at her door. Unlike Makoto’s long suffering years of never being greeted at the door and resultant polite-knock-then-enter routine, Rin actually waits until Haru comes to slide the door open for her.

“Hey,” Haru says.

“Hi,” Rin nods in return. It’s almost as awkward as the first time Rin came over, both of them knowing it would be their first time having sex. Rin scuffs a foot against the ground, “So can I come in?”

Haru leaps back out of the doorway, “Yeah, of course!” Rin’s arm reaches back to slide the door shut behind her. Then she’s taken one long stride to catch Haru back against the wall and into a kiss. Worry fades in the familiar meeting of mouths. Whatever this is, it’s them and it’s going to be fine.

Rin smiles and Haru asks, “Do you want lunch?”

“Nah, I just ate. But we can talk while you do?”

 

Rin leans against the kitchen sink while Haru boils water and chops cucumbers.

“So, I’ve done some thinking.” Rin starts, “I say, lets try it.” Haru blinks and has to duck after an escaping round of cucumber.

“Okay?” She asks, standing up and quickly rinsing the offending piece of vegetable.

“Okay.” Rin agrees, “I talked to Souske-“

“You talked to Souske?!” Haru demands.

Rin waves a placating hand, “Chill, she knows way more about this stuff than I do. 

“That is far more than I ever wanted to know about any of Makoto’s relationships.” Haru mutters.

“Ah, no. Actually I’m pretty sure Souske has not brought that up with her at all. I mean Souske’s being a real gentleman and I don’t think Makoto- Well, actually. Lets not talk about our friends love lives.” Rin shakes her head.

“You talked to Souske.” Haru prompts.

“Right, and she gave me some pointers about the rope thing. There’s a lot to think about and, well, this isn’t going to be fancy, but I’ve got some ideas?”

Haru shrugs at Rin’s hesitant tone, “I don’t care about fancy. Would you be comfortable doing that?”

Rin meets Haru’s eyes and nods firmly, “Yeah, yeah I would.” A smile starts to tug across her face and Haru feels the expanding warmth echoing in her chest.

“Like I said earlier, I’m really not cool with holding you down, I’m sorry.” She emphasizes her statement by shaking her head the whole way through. Haru nods understanding.

“But!” Rin continues before Haru can speak, “I might be okay with…helping you? I’m not sure. Maybe we can try something else first and see how that goes and then maybe next time?”

“Okay.” Haru agrees.

“You’re not mad?” Rin asks, peering up through her lashes uncertainly.

“Why would I be mad?” Haru asks, “you’re the one entertaining my bizarre fantasies.”

“Hey!” Rin cuts in sharply, “they’re not bizarre they’re awesome!” She visibly restrains herself from louder words before going on. “I mean, seriously hot. I have been literally getting off thinking about this for weeks. I think at this point it’s going to be as much you fulfilling my fantasies.” Haru’s pretty sure her jaw has dropped slightly.

“Seriously?”

Rin rolls one shoulder in a partial shrug, “Don’t say yes until you hear what I’m gonna ask you.”

“Okay.”

“Well, I was thinking, if you’re still interested, we could do the me holding the showerhead bit. Your bathtub does have the hand-held sprayer right?” Haru nods, “Okay, and I got Sou to teach me a pretty simple rope harness, it keeps your hands behind your back.” She reaches out with a thoughtful finger and traces a straight line over the top of Haru’s chest. Haru shivers as Rin’s eyes pick out a design Haru can’t decipher.

“Anyways,” Rin goes on, “We could do that. You can’t use rope for submersion in water but it’s not like I’m going to be aiming the spray up very high,” Rin leers.

“And I brought these!” she fishes in her bag for a moment and comes up with some funky shaped scissors.

“Safety shears,” she says proudly. “Souske lent them to me. Actually Souske lent me everything, good rope is expensive.” Rin’s put-out expression makes Haru shake her head. She turns down the heat on the stove and adds the drained wakame to her cucumbers before dousing the bowl with a few shakes of toasted sesame seeds.

“Alright, I’m interested.” She says, placing the bowl on the table next to her chopsticks. She turns back to the stove to test the noodles and hurriedly pours them into the strainer.

“Well, I had one other idea.” Rin says. Haru slops the mostly drained noodles into a bowl and pours the hot broth over them. It’s a little over full so she walks carefully to the table, watching the noodles, not Rin.

“Yes?” Haru asks when the bowl of noodles has safely met the tabletop.

“Just because you can’t use rope in water, there’s still this.” Her hand comes back out of her bag, twirling a roll of thick black tape around her finger.

“Okay.” Haru inclines her head.

“I was thinking, you talked about me holding you up, keeping you afloat…I like that.” Rin shrugs again, a half smile softening her expression with affection layered over the intensity of her interest. Haru picks up some noodles and nods quickly before eating them.

“I thought, maybe I could get you off in the bath?” Haru doesn’t choke by inhaling her noodles. She does require a quick sip of water to get past the lump in her throat.

“Yes.” She agrees.

“Yes?”

“Yes lets.” Haru elaborates. Rin grins, the full blown, proprietary, competitive grin that could make Haru run a thousand miles. Haru starts to push her bowl away.

“No, finish eating!” Rin protests, “It’s only noon, we have time.” Haru has never eaten a meal so fast.

 

Sitting on the lip of the bathtub, Haru watches Rin pull endless amounts of stuff from her bag.

“You brought a first aid kit?” Haru asks flatly.

“It’s better to be prepared!” Rin glares, “I am taking absolutely no chances with you. Safe, sane, consensual. We are being safe.” Haru bites down on a smile at Rin’s vehemence.

“And crackers, why do you have cheese and crackers? We aren’t laying in for a siege. I offered to make you lunch! I do make food other than mackerel. Is this a commentary on my mackerel?” Haru asks.

Rin huffs, “In case you get hungry, I don’t want to have to leave you to get food.” Rin explains. She doesn’t comment on the fact that Haru is babbling, but she does reach out a hand to twine with Haru’s own. It makes her arranging of the goods from her sack of wonders less efficient, but Haru doesn’t mind.

“Okay,” Rin says, finally, holding the shining coils of dark red rope in her hands. It’s the same color as her hair and the racing stripes on her typical swimsuit. Haru almost wants to laugh.

“Souske just happens to have your precise color rope.” Haru observes.

“Apparently it’s one of the traditional colors.” Rin shrugs, rubbing it between her thumb and forefinger. She jerks her head up, pinning Haru with a look. “Right, so what’s you’re safe word?”

Haru automatically cannot think of a single word in any language. “Swimming?”

“Something you wouldn’t normally say.” Rin shakes her head.

“Sorry, it was the first word that popped into my head.” Haru mutters. “Mathematics?”

“Are you going to remember that?” Rin asks. Haru shrugs helplessly. “We should have planned this stuff first.” Rin murmurs. She squeezes Haru’s hand. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to fluster you. 

“Can we just use ‘stop’?” Haru asks, “I mean, when have you ever not stopped when I say ‘stop’?” Rin bites her lip.

“We’re supposed to have a safeword though.”

“If I say no, or stop, are you going to stop what you’re doing?”

“Hell yes!”

“Alright then, I think we’re okay.” Haru brushes a kiss on Rin’s lips. “Any other important questions we should answer?”

“Well, I guess you should get naked. Do you want me to be naked?”

“Why would I not want you to be naked?” Haru asks, confused. Rin shrugs. “Yes, you should also be naked. How about I help you with that?” Haru kisses Rin again, her fingers working open the button on Rin’s pants.

Somehow everything feels more relaxed and easy when all clothes have been dispatched. Rin slowly pulls back from kissing, her hand wandering down from Haru’s breast to curl at her hip as their foreheads rest together.

“You ready?” she breathes with a grin. Haru nods and steps back. Rin picks up the rope, uncoiling the bundle till she can hold both ends in one hand. She smooths the rope out carefully till she’s reached the loop at the other end. Keeping calm eye contact she reaches out behind Haru, that loop of rope pressing softly against her spine. Rin steps in so she can use her other hand to guide the rope along the line she’d traced earlier. Her hands work behind Haru’s back and the rope tugs lightly.

“Does that feel okay? Not too tight?” Rin asks. Haru shrugs, the rope rides with the movement, firm but comfortable.

“It’s fine,” she says when it’s clear Rin’s waiting for a verbal answer. The rope comes back around in the other direction, this time circling under her breasts. It’s almost soothing, feeling the smooth glide of Rin’s fingertips, the rope following just behind. 

“It’s not pinching is it?” Rin asks, running her fingers back over the rope to check it isn’t twisted.

“No.” Haru answers.

“Okay, I need you to turn around for this part.” Rin says. Haru turns and Rin does something with the rope at her back, the steady push of her fingers depressing Haru’s skin and the brush of rope following behind. Rin runs the rope up over Haru’s shoulder, turning her to the side so she can thread the rope down through the first two circles, then back up and over Haru’s other shoulder. She tests the tension with a tug that lets Haru feel how solid the harness is becoming. Her fingers work for a few more moments behind Haru’s back then Rin steps away. Her fingers linger on Haru’s shoulder as she fishes another length of rope off her array of stuff on the shelf. She steps back around Haru, slowly guiding her arms into place, holding them together behind Haru’s back as Rin tries to align the rope with her other hand.

“Could you hold on to your forearms for me for a moment?” Rin asks.

“Sure,” Haru clasps her own forearms as Rin’s hand drops away.

“Okay, now stay like that,” Rin’s circles the rope around where her wrists press together, trapping them into constant contact.

Haru smiles a little as she hears Rin mutter, “Once, twice, three times a lady” as the rope completes the third circle. Rin tugs pulling up slightly on Haru’s arms. “Does that pinch?”

“No.”

“Is it too tight?" 

“No.”

Rin pulls up again, “Is this comfortable. I mean, how do your shoulders feel, your elbows? Do you feel strain anywhere?” 

“No. It’s good.” Haru says, because it is. It feels solid and comfortable and Haru is surprisingly calm. It just is.

“Okay.” Rin says and after a few final tugs and pulls to the rope she steps away. One hand falls back to Haru’s hip as she turns Haru slowly.

"I've never been so glad that your parents are out of town, I think I would die if your mother saw us like this." Rin stares. “You feel okay?” she asks seriously.

“I’m fine,” Haru reassures, leaning forward to kiss Rin. It’s odd with her arms firmly behind her back. She feels like her balance should be off, but she’s steady on her feet. Rin holds her by the shoulders and kisses her deeply. This would normally be the point where Haru’s arms would wind around Rin’s neck, into Rin’s hair, but she can’t and that’s amazing. Rin pulls back looking a little dazed and thoroughly pleased with herself.

“You’re smiling,” Rin points out.

“Am I?” Haru asks.

Rin grins in response. “Let’s get you into the tub.”

Rin carefully stabilizes Haru by her upper arms as Haru steps into the tub. Rin widens her stance and braces herself before helping lower Haru down.

“Comfy?” Rin checks. Haru nods and Rin turns to grab up the showerhead on its articulated hose. She tests the water against her hand until it’s warm enough to her liking. 

“I’m going to spray your shin, tell me if this is too hot or too cold.” Rin says. Haru nods and Rin turns on the water. It’s warm.

“You could go hotter.” Haru suggests. Rin slowly turns the tap till Haru nods.

“I’m gonna assume you’ve gotten off with this before.” Rin jerks the showerhead slightly and water briefly hits Haru’s knee.

Haru feels her face blushing slightly but she says, “Yes.”

“What setting do you like?”

“The third one.” Haru answers. Rin points at the third image fanned out along the top of the showerhead and twists the outer rubberized ring till it points there. The water shifts from a light even spray to a more concentrated pulsing.

“Nice!” Rin remarks. Haru blushes brighter but meets Rin’s smile with her own.

“Let’s get you situated.” Rin says. She aims the spray into the corner of the tub and leans forward to help Haru sit up a little higher. Haru would be perfectly able to spread her legs on her own, it’s not like her legs are tied, but she lets Rin make the movement, soft fingers at her ankles and her knees. Rin brings the water back onto Haru’s feet. Their eyes lock together as Rin slowly shifts her aim higher, tracing calves, knees, thighs. That’s close enough that Haru can twitch her hips, shifting minutely to arch into the spray. Her shoulders slide a little against the porcelain, dry skin sticking. The tightness of rope reminds her to be still, she can’t arch and thrust her hips or she might topple over. She has to stay still and trust that Rin will take her where she wants to go.

Haru stays still, though she can feel her thighs clenching and trembling. Water bites into the dip of her hips, raising heat and a red flush to the surface. The expression on Rin’s face is rapt as she watches. Haru bites down on her lip, controlling the soft little jerks and twitches her hips strive to make. Rin leans forward, bracing her own hips against the tub and carefully keeping the showerhead steady as she hungrily kisses Haru. Haru kisses back. Rin tips further forward to kiss down Haru’s shoulder, then takes one nipple in her mouth. Haru stutters a gasp and the showerhead bobs and weaves as Rin almost loses her balance and falls into the tub. Rin shifts back a bit, smiling apologetically at Haru.

“I wish I had more hands.” Rin says; and Haru fervently agrees. Rin sits back. Balanced again, she firms the showerhead in place with one hand, at an angle that sends ripples of contracting muscle across Haru’s stomach. Rin’s other hand wanders Haru’s side, her thighs, cups and squeezes one breast before tracing the red lines of rope that frame and highlight her chest.

“God you’re beautiful,” Rin whispers. Haru just bites her lip harder, whining lightly in her throat as sensation contracts down to the rhythmic wash of water lighting up her clit. Rin’s hand comes up to cup her face and Haru turns into it, closing her eyes as she shakes apart. There’s a clatter as Rin drops the showerhead, Haru’s toes are momentarily doused before the turn of faucet shuts the water off. Rin’s hand never leaves her cheek. Haru breathes deep the smell of Rin’s fingers and the lingering almond scent of Haru’s liquid soap. Rin’s hand pulls back and Haru opens her eyes. They look at each other for a while.

On mutual silent agreement, Rin helps Haru stand and get out of the tub. Rin wraps her in a towel.

Holding Haru against her chest, she asks, “Are you doing alright?” into Haru’s ear.

“I’m doing great.” Haru replies, because it’s true. She’s still buzzing, little sparks of pleasure flaring up when Rin rubs the towel down to dry her thatch.

“Good.” Rin rains tiny kisses over her face till Haru is wrinkling her nose and trying to squirm away. Rin laughs.

“Okay. Wait just a second.” She darts around the door and comes back with two pillows. Haru hadn’t commented on that earlier when Rin dug them out of her bag. Rin is pretty particular about pillows and usually brings her own when she comes to sleep on Haru’s futon. Typically she doesn’t bring two, but they hadn’t been added to the stash of supplies in the bathroom, relegated instead to the hall, so Haru had assumed they were for some mundane purpose. Rin positions them, one propped up against the tub as a backrest, and the other as a cushion. She helps Haru slowly sit down.

“Are you hungry?” Rin asks. 

“No.” Haru isn’t really sure how much time has passed, but her stomach is quiescent.

“Thirsty?”

Haru thinks about it, “Maybe a little?” Rin immediately pops up and fills a glass with water. It’s very odd to have Rin helping her drink, one hand cupping the back of her head in an unnecessary support and the other proffering the glass, providing the vital slight tilt so water can slide down into Haru’s mouth. Rin is compressed-focus attentive and not a single drop spills past Haru’s lips. She draws back just a moment before Haru would say she was done and lets Haru swallow before her hand drops from the back of Haru’s head. It’s so startlingly intimate that it makes Haru shiver. Rin misinterprets the movement and wraps Haru in a hug.

“Are you cold? Do you need to go to the bathroom?”

“I’m not cold. If I need to go to the bathroom I’ll let you know and you can take this off.” Haru shimmies her shoulders a little bit to indicate the harness. It makes her breasts shake; Rin stares approvingly.

After another moment of Rin just looking at her, Haru asks, “So, was there something else we were going to do with this.” Haru is surprised to find that she’d be totally fine with sitting around like this with Rin all day. It’s really nice, but she can’t see what Rin would get out of that. Rin looks up from where she’s been fixated on Haru’s breasts. 

“I, uh. I didn’t have any other plans with that.” Rin does the same non-verbal shimmy gesture. Haru can see why Rin approved, Rin has great breasts.

“I’m just really enjoying looking.” Rin admits. Her hand comes up to gently sweep the pads of her fingers along the curve of one of Haru’s breasts.

“You’re like a work of art.” Rin says. Which is definitely one of those overly romantic, Rin sorts of things to say. But, looking down, against the red lines of rope and Rin’s hand over her skin, Haru thinks she sees what Rin means. 

“Can I?” Rin asks, leaning forward, her breath coming to puff heat over Haru’s nipple. Haru nods mutely. Rin presses forward in a flood of kisses, her lips skipping over rope to travel up to suck on the jut of one collar bone before raining back down to lave a tongue along the bottom of a line of rope. Haru sucks air through her teeth, sighs it out when Rin’s lips suction around a nipple, startles into a laugh when Rin pulls off with a pop.

“God, this is the best!” Rin opines. Haru finds she can’t really argue.

 

Haru’s butt is starting to ache despite the pillow by the time Rin is done. Her breasts feel hyper sensitized and she’s started to wonder if she can come just from that stimulation alone. It’s not a theory she’s ever tried but now she’s seriously considering it. Rin sits back.

She’s panting a little, breath harsh as she asks, “How do you feel?”

“Really fucking horny and amazing.” seems like the most accurate answer. Rin raises her own eyebrows at the language.

“Also, awkwardly, I think I do need to go to the bathroom now.” Haru admits. Rin laughs and smiles.

“Yeah, okay.” She says, and helps Haru up. With a few twists of Rin’s fingers and the tug and slide of rope, Haru’s hands, then chest are free. Rin runs her fingers over the already fading pink line of where the rope was.

“You feel alright?”

“I feel great.” Haru says, and this time she can wrap her arms around Rin to kiss her. When Haru comes back from the WC, Rin has already started to fill the bath and the thunder of water holds the room. Haru uses the cover of rushing water to sneak up behind Rin and hug her. Rin doesn’t stiffen or react, but smiles over her shoulder as Haru nuzzles into the dip between her shoulder blades. Rin turns and they stand, kissing almost chastely as the water fills up the rest of the way. 

 

Haru holds carefully still as Rin secures her arms in almost the same place as before. This time it’s lacking the harness, just her hands bound together behind her back with the black tape, nestled comfortably into the curve of her spine. Again Rin braces herself and carefully helps Haru step into the tub. As she lowers Haru down into the water, Haru can’t help voicing the soft contented sounds she always does. The heat of the water is intense. Rin lets her rest for a moment enjoying the heat, the water lapping against her collarbones. Rin’s hands on her shoulders keep her steady and secure while Haru extends her legs to the far end of the tub. As if that motion gives permission, Rin’s hands start to wander.

At first she’s just swirling water against Haru’s skin, sometimes with actual touch, sometimes just the echo of her passage rippling the water near Haru’s skin. She washes over Haru’s stomach, walks her fingers over each faint outline of rib. Haru sighs and hums her appreciation till Rin’s hands settle, one to her breast and the other between her legs. Haru’s attention is immediately caught between the pinching into her nipple and the circling finger on her clit. Ripples from the movement slide water up her side and down her legs. Haru bites her lip. The water dulls the sensation of Rin’s swiftly circling finger, making what would be a sharp rush to climax a slow burn. Heat from the water makes sweat start to run down her face like tears. Haru can feel her pulse increasing, a steady drumbeat picking up pace to something frenetic. Her breath comes shallowly in her throat where her neck is arched back against the rim of the tub, like air is being suppressed under that crescendo of blood. Haru isn't biting her lip anymore lost in the race of blood, the sweet sensation twisting her breast, and where her hips are writhing, thigh muscles tensing, spreading her legs wider.

She almost misses the start of her orgasm, a brief fleeting stab of pleasure that subsides, struck under a greater, rising wave Haru rides to completion. It leaves her exhausted, barely able to lift her own head, lolling in the water. Haru pants as her pulse starts to steady. Rin's hands buoy her up, keeping her afloat.

"Here drink some water." It's cool as it slides down her throat. The glass goes away and Rin’s fingers caress her cheek, brush her hair back from her sweaty forehead and trace the lines of her lips. After what feels like a gentle eternity of Haru’s bathroom ceiling and the muffling touches, Haru thinks she might be able to lift her own head. She turns to find Rin. Rin’s gentle fingers brush another strand of hair displaced with Haru’s movement.

“As we drain the water I can spray you down with a little bit of cool water, or we can just get you out the tub?” Rin offers. Haru likes the relaxed floating feeling, but her face feels tight with heat and prickling, drying sweat.

"Whatever you choose I'll help you up. I've got you." Rin assures.

Haru nods slowly, “The water would be nice." She hears the pop of the drain cover and water starts to swirl past her legs. Rin starts the rain of water soft over her feet. She can't feel it since they’re still submerged, but as the shower travels up her legs, cool droplets kiss her knees. The water feels like heaven against her face and she tilts up into it like parched earth to a rainstorm. Before Haru can become chilled, Rin turns off the water. She carefully helps Haru up.

After another moment smoothing back Haru’s hair, Rin says, “I think I'm going to take these off now," taping the restraints around Haru's arms. Haru nods quietly and stands still and she does so. If she feels like she wants sway on her feet, Rin's hands keep her steady. Rin buttresses her body with a cocked hip and the soft pressure of a shoulder.

Once she's unbound Rin asks, “Are you still okay?"

Haru nods easily, “Yeah, good,” she sways back into Rin’s arms as Rin wraps her in a towel. Rin’s drying motions are the same hypnotic steady ones. Haru smiles up at Rin.

“Want more water?" Rin asks. Haru takes a few sips of the proffered cup before shaking her head. "Okay then let's get to bed, good thing it's not too far from here because you’re way to loose limbed to be navigating stairs or something more difficult.” Haru lets herself be guided out to where the air is refreshing and cool against her face.

 

Rin draws back the comforter on the futon and ushers Haru in. She takes a moment to get the lights, then snuggles in herself, pulling Haru close.

"Want to talk about how it went? Or do you want to take a nap? I figure we got about an hour or two before I'm dead set on eating dinner. Are you hungry, we could have dinner now?" Haru buries her face into Rin’s chest with the bleary protest.

“Okay,” Rin laughs, “food can wait.” Her fingers stroke through Haru’s hair and Haru mumbles her approval. “I just want to say I really hope you want to do this again.” Rin says, “I mean, I thought that was excellent.”

Haru snuggles into Rin. She feels suffused with warmth, both from the physical comfort of being wrapped in Rin’s excellent cuddles, and from the soft curl of pleased satisfaction she never could have anticipated. Rin’s enthusiasm and affection is an answer to years of worry. Haru doesn’t have to choose between water and people, she can have both. 

“There can definitely be a next time.” Haru agrees. Rin dusts kisses across Haru’s face and Haru meets her lips in a smile.