Title: Learned The Sea

Characters/Pairings: Hirokoba Rin, Kai Yuujirou, Kite Eishirou

Rating: G

Summary: Hirakoba Rin has two things that keep him from being lost at sea…

Author's Notes: This is a departure for me, in that, until about three weeks ago, I didn't even know I HAD any Higa muses, let alone a Rin muse. But he appeared from out of the blue (ask my girlfriend about it; she's still in shock), and now he's demanding a voice in fic, so I am going it to him. And, oh, beware the ocean metaphors….

Rin stood at the edge of the sea, letting the waves crash over his feet. He was lost in thought, an unusually serious expression on his face, and anyone who knew him would've teased him, and hard, for thinking so deeply. It wasn't what he was known for.

But sometimes, Rin felt the need to break out of the mold that he was put in…that he had put himself in.

Most people who saw Rin likened him to the sea foam, bubbly and dancing, like quicksilver, never still or serious about anything. And for the most part, they would be right. Rin lived his own way, his life and tennis both ruled by the same principle of not doing what other people expected him to do. Always, always, it left anyone who talked with Rin bemused and convinced there was nothing more to the blond then what they saw.

But, like the ocean that Rin loved so much, there were depths to him that few had ever taken the time to see, let alone explore. Even Rin himself sometimes shied away from those places, not sure he wanted to know what lurked in the depths of his heart and soul.

Like a diver who strayed from his path, though, Rin had seen into his heart, and was now struggling to surface, to escape what he had found, what he hadn't been ready to find.

He knew he had been floundering, lost, adrift, lacking an anchor. Something that his soul could call a home port, a safe haven for when the storms whipped around him. He knew there had to be something, some certainty that he could lean in those times.

Rin stared at the sea, and the sea stared back.

So Rin looked deep inside himself, and the answers he found scared him. He had an anchor. Two of them.

Kite. Kai.

Two very different people, two very different personalities. Both forming the firm rock beneath Rin's shifting sands.

Kite was his compass, giving Rin a direction to turn his churning energies towards. He was Rin's North Star, the focus, the one thing that seemed stable, even as the rest of Rin's world churned around him, waves crashing, currents pulling…Kite was always there to guide him back onto his path again.

Kai, though…Kai was his sea breeze, the one that could meet his frolicking, whimsical side. He helped hold Rin buoyant, afloat, let him drift where life would take him, always a part of him, leaning into Rin's waves, and crashing with him only to toss the mists up again.

Kite and Kai. Rin knew he'd be lost without them. Without Kite, he'd be very literally lost, always floundering, adrift and floating aimlessly, never having a home to aim for. And without Kai, he'd be metaphorically lost, always serious at anchor, and yearning for the freedom of the ocean waters he could never reach

Kai lifted Rin up and Kite kept him anchored to the Earth. Kite was the moon that guided his tides, and Kai was the sun that warmed his depths.

And more than anything else, Rin feared losing them

He knew that times changed, people grew older, things and life happened to part people. But Rin was Rin, and he didn't want anything to change. He wanted the steadiness of the sea, wanted the certainty that one wave would follow the last.

Already, things were shifting in Rin's world. Middle school to high school, maturing, changing. Other certainties in his world were leaving…Rin was scared to lose what he had left.

Kite and Kai. Rin needed them like he needed air to breathe…like he needed the waves pulling at his feet, needed the sun warm on his back.

If they ever left him behind….

"Oi! RinRin!"

Rin lifted a hand to shade his eyes, looking in the direction of the voice, a genuine smile crossing his lips at the two silhouettes against the sun. Shapes he knew almost better than his own. "Don't call me RinRin!"

Kai broke into a jog and slung an arm around Rin's shoulders. "Whatcha doing?"

"Oh. Thinking." Rin's gaze turned back to the ocean.

Movement on Rin's other side. Kite. "Thinking too much will give you wrinkles, Rin."

Kai smirked. "That's right, Princess. Don't want to mar your fair complexion."

"Oh, bite me, Yuujirou. You too, Eishirou."

Rin couldn't help smiling, though, as he slung a arm around Kite's shoulder. He was where he belonged, between his best friends, safe between his sea wall and sea breeze.

Rin gazed over the sea and said a silent prayer that this would never change.

--The End--