The day after Nagisa turns 18, he and Makoto take a trip into the town.
Nagisa had pulled him aside and spoken quietly a week earlier during swim practise, asking him to come with him to the local tattoo shop because he 'would rather have a friend with him'.
"Why did I have to come, Nagisa? Couldn't you have asked Rei?" Makoto says, staring up at the tattoo shop's sign, "you two are usually inseperable."
"No!" Nagisa whips his head around to face him, "you can't tell him we came here."
Makoto pulls his eyebrows together, "why?"
He sighs, "because," Nagisa pulls a small folded piece of paper from his bag and hands it to Makoto, "I'm getting this."
Makoto opens up the paper and breathes a laugh, "okay, I understand. I won't tell him."
Nagisa grins, taking the paper back and pushing the door to the shop open.
"That's going to sting the next time you swim," Makoto grimaces, carefully eyeing the clear film peeking over the top of Nagisa's jeans on their way home.
Nagisa giggles, "it'll be worth it!"
Makoto sighs, "I don't want to know."
When he swims, Nagisa makes sure to wear his longer swimsuits and when talking to his friends tries to avoid physical contact too much so Rei doesn't get suspicious. Nagisa hadn't realised how much he actually touched people, passing hands on shoulders, holding hands, hugs and so on.
By the fourth day Nagisa barely lets him touch him, Rei does get suspicious and begins to worry.
"Sorry Rei chan!" He'd said when Rei brought it up, "I've just been really distracted by exams recently. Why don't we study this weekend? We can order pizza?"
Sure enough, Rei spends the weekend at Nagisa's house, cramming for exams and stuffing themselves with junk food. Usually when Nagsia got bored of studying, he'd distract Rei and they'd end up kissing (or more) on the floor or on the bed, their books forgotten on the desk. The weekend passes uneventfully and although Rei is happy for the extra study time, he feels uncomfortable about the lengths Nagisa goes to to avoid too much physical contact.
They share a bed over their study weekend, Rei spooned against Nagisa's back, and when Rei drags his fingers down Nagisa's chest, he's interrupted by Nagisa's sleepy, "not tonight Rei chan, too tired. Sorry."
"Alright," Rei sighs, pressing his nose against Nagisa's neck.
Nagisa continues to avoid him until, finally, after nine days of fleeting touches, Rei finds himself on his back on Nagisa's bedroom floor, the smaller boy straddling his hips and kissing him deeply, their books thrown to the side. Rei almost groans when the smaller boy pulls away, but stops the noise in his throat when Nagisa's stomach is revealed and the soft thump of his discarded t-shirt reaches his ears. He leans back down and presses a much gentler kiss to Rei's lips.
"I want to show you something Rei chan," he says, fiddling with his belt.
Rei frowns, "no offense, Nagisa kun, but I have seen it before."
Nagisa rolls his eyes, "not this. I got this just for you."
Rei props himself up on his elbows, his eyebrows knitted together curiously. 'New underwear?' he thinks. He readjusts his glasses and watches closely as Nagisa unbuttons his jeans and uses his thumb to pull down the waistband of both the trousers and his pants to reveal a small black butterfly tattoo low on his hipbone.
"See? I know it's a bit…cheesy, but I got it for you, Rei chan."
Rei blinks, "this is why you've been avoiding me?"
Nagisa blushes, "I wanted it to heal before I let you see it. It didn't look very pretty while it was healing. Sorry for avoiding you so much, I didn't want to risk you seeing it."
A small smiles crosses Rei's lips, "thank you, Nagisa. It means a lot." He gently brushes his thumb over the ink, watching Nagisa wince and suck in a breath.
"Still a bit sensitive," he smiles.
Rei sits up so he has Nagisa sat fully in his lap, his shorter legs wrapped around Rei's waist and ankles crossed on the floor. He hugs him close and kisses Nagisa's collarbone.
"It's lovely," he whispers.