Note from the author: I do not own in any way, shape or form, the anime, manga or any of the characters from Free!



"Shouldn't you be, you know…Going home now?"

If Haru wanted to get rid of him, he was going to have to try a lot harder than that.

"Are you tired of me, Haru? I'll leave if you want me to."

Yeah, right. He wasn't leaving.

Somehow, this wasn't going like it was supposed to. He figured he'd feed the red haired teen then send him home, but the sending home part wasn't going very well. Actually, it wasn't going at all.

This was the third time he'd tried to hint that Rin should go home, and he was almost to the point where shoving the other teen out the door was looking to be the best solution. But…he just couldn't do it. Every time he hinted, Rin got this really pathetic, kicked-puppy look, and it made him feel really bad, especially coming on the heel of all their other misunderstandings.

Although, this was Rin, so he was probably doing it on purpose. Scratch that. He was sure he was doing it on purpose, which was annoying, but…it wouldn't hurt to let Rin stay over anyway. For one night. Only one. And he could sleep on the couch.

Rin knew he'd won when he heard Haru sigh softly. There was nothing quite like winning a battle no one had even admitted to fighting yet. There was a certain sweetness to such a victory.

"You can stay. I'll get you a blanket for the couch," Haru mumbled grumpily.



"Uh, hi. Is Rin in?" Makoto asked trying to decide if he had the right room.

"No, he's not here. I don't think he'll be back until Sunday," Nitori replied trying to place where he'd seen the brown haired teen at his door.

"Oh, I see. Thanks anyway."

It dawned on him then.


Makoto looked back, "Yes?"

"You're looking for Nanase, aren't you?"

Makoto looked sheepish, "Yeah. I was a little worried about him after yesterday. I wanted to make sure he was ok."

"I think so. Rin…" Nitori trailed off when Mikoshiba's door started to open.

"Haru, I'm out of the bath," Rin called.

The azure eyed teen turned up at the door a couple of seconds later, completely bypassing him, and disappeared into the bathroom.

Once Haru was safely secured in the bathroom, Rin flopped down on the teen's bed. The couch indeed. Not bloody likely.

Sitting back up, he roughly towel dried his hair before tossing that towel and the one that had been tied around his waist into the laundry hamper. He figured Haru would take his time in the tub, but he quickly shimmied into the sweatpants the teen had tossed him to sleep in earlier.

Not that he'd particularly mind if Haru walked in on him changing, but Haru would. Although, it might be considered justifiable payback for Haru being so damn mean to him earlier.

It was one little comment, and Haru just had to get his hopes up. Not that he'd really expected anything else because this was Haru after all. Besides that, he hadn't even meant for the boy to overhear him anyway.

But he had… And if one has to overhear that kind of comment, they should pretend they didn't. It's only polite. They should not tease. It just wasn't right. It was mean.

Very mean. And it was Haru's fault. He was the one who started it.

It was refreshing to have scored a point against Rin. It seemed like the other teen kept winning all their battles, but he'd definitely won the last one.

He hadn't been able to help himself. It had been the perfect set down, and he'd delivered it so innocently that Rin probably wasn't even sure he'd understood the reference. He had, but he wasn't telling Rin that. That would just be asking for retribution.

But really, what had he expected? He'd asked the teen a perfectly innocent question. "Is there anything else you need?"

Rin had just shaken his head, and he'd expected that to be the end. But Rin's muttered comment as he was leaving the room had left him frozen. It had been obvious then that he'd heard the pithy, "I need in your pants" comment.

He hadn't known what to do. For all of five seconds. Then he'd smirked, said ok, rummaged around in his drawers, and pulled out a pair of his sweatpants for the other teen to pull on after he took a bath. Problem solved.

And Rin's scowl had made the five seconds of remembered uncertainty worth it.

"Uh, Tachibana? What are you doing here?" Mikoshiba asked, confused.

"I was looking for H…"

"Me!" Nitori interrupted.

Both teens looked at him, bewildered.

"Oh," Mikoshiba finally responded uncertainly, "I didn't know you guys really knew each other."

"Uh, yeah," Makoto tried to be as non-committal as possible. He had absolutely no idea what was going on.

"So what did you need Nitori for?"

Makoto blinked. He didn't. Not for anything, but he was relatively sure that was not what he was supposed to say. The frantic shushing motions when the red head turned away from the grey haired teen clued him in on that much.

"I…uh…It was…nothing important."

There. That was non-committal, and now he could leave before he got himself into trouble.

"Nonsense! You're already here, so we can get it worked out, whatever it is. Was it about swim club?"

"N..No?" Makoto gulped. Mikoshiba was starting to look vaguely shark-like, and there was blood in the water. His blood.

"You didn't happen to come looking for Rin did you?" Mikoshiba grinned smugly.

"We're dating!"

Nitori shrank in on himself a little after that. It was the only reason he'd been able to come up with that wouldn't out Rin. Although, in retrospect, outing himself and Tachibana probably wasn't any better.

"Dating?" His Captain asked dumbly, eyes darting between the younger teen and his…boyfriend?

"Erm, yeah?" It hadn't sounded like a question in his head, but the moment it had popped out of his mouth, he wanted to hit himself.

"Congratulations?" Mikoshiba still looked confused.

"Thanks," Nitori responded woodenly while studiously avoiding Tachibana's gaze. The other teen still hadn't spoken, and he could only hope the guy would stay silent until he could get rid of Mikoshiba and explain the situation.

"I'll just be going then. You guys…uh..have fun."

And, of course, the moment he thought he might get rid of Mikoshiba after all, everything went to pieces again…



"Rin, wake up."

"You're supposed to be on the couch."


When even poking the teen sprawled in his bed didn't work, Haru gave up. Short of bodily dragging the guy into the living room, he didn't see any easy way to get him out of his room. Oh well. It wasn't really that big of a deal.

Haru turned off all the lights before carefully crawling beneath the covers, and if his hand ended up sliding under Rin's shirt, well, it was probably because his fingers were cold. That was definitely a legitimate reason. It certainly had nothing to do with his hands itching to slide across warm skin. No, not at all.

Author's note:

Hi everyone! I hate that I've left you guys hanging for so long. I hope you'll all forgive me. I ended up coming back from all my family things then had to spend a week or so working things out with my best friend (who is now my boyfriend) and then it was time for midterms! I did great on both midterms by the way! I ended up with one of the top 2-3 scores in all my classes. Yay me!

Anyhow, I will try to update once a week now until it's time to start studying for finals, then I will have to disappear for a bit again.

KYLIEEE: It's not over now! Happy? And thank you for the wonderful compliments!

Crimsonshark: Lol, I am actually really happy you couldn't stop reading.

Pyrefly: Nothing bad. Just life stuff, but I'm back now!

Absababs: *cries tears of joy* Not sure what else I can say. You made me really happy. ^.^

Dark & Schizo: You guys were reading this story right on top of each other. I'd get a review from one of you then the other all day long. It made my day. Seriously! I loved it. It was so fun. Thank you both a lot.

Everyone else: Thank you all for the continued support! I hope to hear from you guys again. Sorry for the wait, and hopefully no one died from RinXHaru deprivation. And to thank you for your patience, I will give you a hint on some action in the next chapter. See below.

Rin may or may not get half naked. Haru may or may not get all naked.

Hope that's clear enough. :P