Warning: Spoilers for most Furuba chapters centered on Haru and Rin. Suggestive romance scenes.
Rin had a pretty face. That was why Haru liked her. That wasn't all of why Haru liked her, but that did constitute a big part of it, at least when he was still a little boy hanging on to Akito's every word, and hating Yuki desperately for it. He thought Rin was beautiful. He had always kind of imagined just going up on tiptoe one day and cupping his hands around that porcelain face and maybe kissing her once or twice, and running his fingers through her long hair to see if they really did indeed feel like silk ribbons, like how they looked. There wasn't anything weird about that; boys usually thought about doing that kind of thing with pretty girls, right?
If he were to have his first kiss, he definitely wanted to have it with Rin.
Rin had a bruised face. She was sprawled on the road in her impressive middle school uniform with her silk hair scattered like black tape around her and she was so skinny, so much skinnier than he had ever seen her. He called out to her, to see if she was still alive. Her body remained frozen, as if she were a doll dead upon the gravel, and he felt fear wash over him in two huge waves, so that his hands trembled even if his expression didn't change. He got down on his hands and knees beside her, and looked into her face. Her eyes were open, and he was relieved to see them slide towards him wonderingly, piercingly. Those dark eyes like black jewels (but jewels couldn't be sad like that, could they?) – they were never that way, before, but maybe they just hadn't seen each other in a long time. He didn't know what he could say to express his relief, so instead he lowered his face to hers, and murmured, "Ah, good. You're still breathing."
Kazuma-sensei worked quickly once he was called, dialing an ambulance and turning Rin over to inspect her wounds. Haru watched the whole time, longing to hold her hand, but not daring to. When the paramedics came, he climbed into the ambulance with them, and sat next to Rin while they stuffed her with anesthetics.
He didn't need to go to the hospital, but he wanted to.
Maybe he shouldn't have.
It hurt to be in that room, watching Rin suffering. It hurt to listen to her talk through her sleep, her eyelids fluttering as she begged an invisible monster not to be upset with her. It hurt to hear the words her mother spoke, when that woman stood by the door and told her that she didn't need to come back home. Haru had manners; he knew it was rude to talk back to grown-ups, but he couldn't stop himself. Apologize to her. The words bubbled in his ears and spilled out of his tongue, black acid and black fury and the blinding blackness of hate. Apologize to Rin.
It hurt when she said thank you. He didn't really deserve it.
When he was only an inch short of her height, he nearly broke his promise to himself. Her lips were so close, eating their way through a popsicle they had been sharing. It took all of his willpower not to close the distance and press his sticky lips against her sticky lips, in the sticky sunshine of this sticky day. It was summer, and they had gone to the mall earlier to buy a pair of matching bracelets. The heat was threatening to make them revert to their animal forms; he was using a paper fan to cool them down, but it wasn't working very well. "Hey," he mumbled to her absentmindedly. "You're finishing it."
"Sorry," she pulled it out of her mouth, but it was more stick than ice candy by then.
He put his thumb to her lips and wiped across them, then placed the thumb on his tongue. It tasted of watermelon. He smiled at her. "No need to apologize."
She blushed, and hid her discomfort by shoving the popsicle back into her mouth.
Sometimes she would say his name. Sometimes she would call out to mama, or papa – sometimes, in a trembling whisper, she would say, "Akito." She would wake up, crying, every time, shaking and drawing the sheets around her so that the cold air couldn't touch her skin. If he wasn't already watching her, he would awaken at the sudden movement, move close, and wrap his arms around her. He would kiss the wet areas under her eyes, until they had dried, and cover her body with his, until she stopped shivering. "You had a nightmare." It wasn't a question, but she shook her head just the same. "Are you afraid?"
"It's nothing," she lied, leaning into him, so that her hair was like a dark cape around them both. He knew she was bluffing, but he didn't know what he could do, even if she told him the truth. "You're here. That's all that matters." She burrowed hard into his embrace. "You're here. Haru is here. It's all right."
He was there, but things were not all right. The lies seemed to comfort her, though, and she lulled herself back to sleep repeating them. He rested his chin on her shoulder and held her tight, but the words didn't work for him the same way – he stayed awake, cursing his own uselessness, until sunlight filtered through the windows, and a shrill bird cry broke the stillness.
"We're going to have to hug other people, once the curse is broken, to check." They were sitting together in Shigure's kitchen, waiting for Tohru to bring out some sandwiches. He still wasn't used to the sight of her short hair. The way it framed her face reminded him of how small she was. Somehow, her eyes looked bigger, her mouth looked tinier, and she looked more easily broken than ever before – but she was safe now, she had to be. He was going to take care of things, take care of her, and they were going to leave yesterday's terrors, and look for happiness together.
She glowered at him from across the table, still embarrassed at how he had rescued her the previous day. He grinned back in response. She started to smile, then stopped herself and sighed instead, staring hard at the table. When she looked up again, she had lost all traces of annoyance, and looked scared instead. "Haru-chan. Do you really think it will be broken?"
Something inside him seemed to squeeze, a sharp hurt that was nearly a physical pain – he had sworn never to go near Akito again, but the thought of being away from god still made him want to cry. No, no, I'll never go back, I want freedom, freedom to be with Rin – he tightened his lips and nodded his head, over and over again. The curse was going to break. It had to. "Yes." His fists curled – for Yuki, for Kyo and Momiji and Kisa and everyone else, for Isuzu, for Rin who was more precious than anything and anyone – "Yes, yes, yes, it will." The ox might be a slow creature, but it was a sure one, and didn't believe in lies. It was simple, now. "Yes." He moved towards her, pulled her close, repeated it into her hair. "Yes."
She was crying as they kissed – maybe she didn't believe him, but he knew she wanted to; maybe she was afraid that he was being naïve. He didn't care. What was important was that the answer was there, and that they were together. "Rin," he whispered into her ear. "I always wanted you to be my first kiss, you know?"
"Liar," she said, poking his nose. "You wanted it to be Yuki!"
Tohru walked in then, gave a little gasp of surprise to see them embracing, and hurried back out, still holding her tray of sandwiches. "S-s-sorry! I – er, I should have knocked –" she babbled, completely ignoring the fact that the dining room had no door. "M-my apologies!" Hatsuharu grinned and went out of the room to fetch her. He took the tray from her hands, and told her it was safe to come inside. "No problem at all," he deadpanned. "Right, Rin?"
The older girl was laughing. The sound made him feel clean inside, and happy. Rin laughing was monumental.
"If you hug Tohru to check," she managed between giggles, "I wouldn't mind."
Rin had a pretty face, but she also had a pretty voice, a pretty body (although pretty wasn't necessarily the right word), and a pretty personality (when she wasn't in a bad mood). Rin had a pretty heart, and that was why Haru loved her.
A/N: Written for Necca. She always gets me to write about couples or characters I wouldn't normally take an interest in, and this Haru/Rin fic is no exception. Still, I hope I you enjoyed it, and that the two were fleshed out okay. Thanks for reading. Comments would be greatly appreciated.