It was his own damn fault. Everything was his own fucking fault. Every word; every lie; everything.
Rin knew this and yet, for some unfathomable reason, he continued to watch him. Even now, years after that incident, Rin's eyes would still trail after him, perhaps longingly.
"I will never swim with you again, Haru."
At the time, he really meant it. Rin had finally won; he had finally beaten Haru who at the time seemed like the only obstacle he had to overcome in order to achieve his dream.
Rin chuckled darkly; some fucking dream it must have been.
Making the Olympic Games? What was that even worth anymore, when he had no one to share it with?
Rin had never felt so utterly alone in his entire life, but somehow he never did stop watching him.
The first few weeks were awful. Rin could feel the guilt eating away at him every second of the day, and when he closed his eyes all he could see was Haru's pained expression. He had stopped swimming freestyle to focus more on butterfly (as per his promise), but unfortunately that made him painfully aware of the fact that Haru no longer showed up to any of the local swimming competitions, even though the rest of the Iwatobi team still competed.
Then, when he began seeing Haru again at the competitions again, he thought that maybe things were alright. But when Rin tried to approach him again, this time in genuine friendliness, Haru's teammates quickly shuffled him away towards the locker rooms.
There was a blank look in Haru's eyes; the once brilliant blue had lost its luster. It frightened Rin when he first saw them; it was as if he was no longer looking into Haru's eyes, but those of a stranger.
And of course, it was Rin's own fucking fault.
Looking back, Rin found it agonizingly ironic that he only began to realize just how much Haru cared for him after he had thrown away everything.
After that first failed attempt at reconciliation, Rin began to observe Haru for signs of recovery each time they attended the same competition, in the hopes that maybe one day Haru would be back to his old self again. Initially, it was all rather procedural and Rin had convinced himself that he was simply checking up on his old friend, so that he could mend their broken relationship.
Looking back again, Rin also found it to be some kind of horrifying karmic justice that he slowly but steadily began to fall him love with him.
It was little strange when Rin first realized it, to say the least. But somehow, it never occurred to him that those feelings were anything different than how other people felt romantically. For some reason, those feelings of anger and jealousy and frustration and guilt simply transitioned to love and lust and desire. No longer was Rin simply looking at Haru's facial expressions; he also began trailing his eyes down Haru's chest, admiring his lean but muscular physique, and the way his supple hands gripped the starting block as he stretched out his body…
Rin was selfish and greedy, and he knew it. But it didn't stop him from watching Haru from a distance, memorizing every aspect of the way he moved. And it wasn't just a sexual attraction, either. It was the way Haru's eyes lit up whenever he was near the pool; it was the way he used those eyes to communicate nearly everything, because goddammit he was awful at verbal communication; it was the way he made everything he did seem so effortless, so easy. Rin was in deep, but he knew he wasn't ready to make anything remotely resembling a move. After all, they weren't even friends anymore, all thanks to his own stupid fucking mouth.
And then it happened. Or, to be more precise, he happened.
The first time Rin saw them together, it didn't bother him much. After all, they had been friends for almost their entire lives. It made sense for them to be in each other's company, and even more now that they've been swimming together again. But then, he began to see that Haru's eyes regained their shine whenever he talked to Makoto, and that when they walked together, their shoulders would brush.
Rin knew he should have stopped his somewhat perverse habit of watching his former friend/rival from afar when that former friend/rival had a boyfriend, but for some reason their relationship intrigued him more than anything else. Or rather, Rin was intrigued by Haru's interactions in a relationship, because he sure as hell wasn't interested in Makoto.
The way Haru would smile at Makoto's jokes, the way his eyes would suddenly grow softer whenever Makoto was around, the way he would lean into him slightly when they talked…
It made Rin unbearably jealous, but it also made him incredibly sad.
This is what I threw away with my own two fucking hands.
Everything was his fault, and he would never forgive himself for it. And it wasn't like Rin ever though he had a chance in hell with Haru, either.
I don't deserve him. I never will.
For a brief moment, Rin wondered how far Makoto and Haru had gotten into their relationship already. Did they hold hands? Did they kiss? Did they do more than that?
It killed him on the inside, but in a way, Rin felt like he deserved it.
I'm a fucking idiot.
Rin would never admit it to anyone, not even Nitori, but deep down, part of why he wanted to work so hard towards his dream was because of Haru. He wanted to be good enough to stand by Haru's side, to be called his friend.
But now, he was nothing to Haru. Not friends, not even enemies. Just…nothing.
Rin felt like he was literally sinking into the ocean, clichés be damned.
It took him nearly ten fucking years to realize that Haru was everything he had ever wanted, and yet somehow, in a strange twist of fate, it only took him two whole seconds to make Haru everything he lost.