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Water softly lapped up against the sides of the pool, rising and falling to the gentle rhythm created by a single swimmer warming down. The lights of the natatorium were off, but a blue glow still illuminated the space, creating flickering lines and shadows across the walls and ceiling.
A few meters away from the edge of the pool sat a solitary figure. His ankles were crossed and his knees trapped against his elbows. The slender fingers of his right hand held fast onto the left sleeve of his jacket as his eyes followed the languid movements of his senpai. A neatly folded Samezuka windbreaker was resting next to him.
It had been hours since practice ended, but Rin and Nitori were still there.
Even though Nitori didn't have to wait for Rin to return to their room, he always did. Watching Rin swim was one of the most mesmerizing things to him, and he felt as if he would never tire from it.
He closed his eyes momentarily and breathed in deeply, taking in the familiar smell of chlorine. When he exhaled, Rin had stopped at the edge of the pool. When he began to peel off his swim cap and goggles, Nitori scooped up the extra windbreaker and stood.
A smile immediately found its way to his lips, though it faltered for a second when he almost stumbled. He didn't realize that his legs had fallen asleep from sitting for so long.
"W-Whoops," he said, quickly regaining his balance.
A loud splashing noise indicated Rin pulling himself up from the water. Wet footsteps slapped across the tiled floors as he made his way to Nitori.
"Matsuoka-senpai!" He beamed at Rin and curled his toes to get rid of the painful, prickling sensation running up and down his legs. Nitori hugged the jacket against his chest. "You've worked hard today as well!"
The only response he got for that was a curt, "Yeah." As usual, Rin looked upset, but Nitori knew that was just how he was. Not that he was purposefully watching him, but sometimes, Nitori found that Rin looked disgruntled even while sleeping.
A flapping noise rustled through the echoing room when Nitori unfurled and held out Rin's windbreaker to him. "Here, Senpai. You don't want your muscles to cool down too quickly."
Rin gave him a sidelong glance and blinked when some water dripped onto his face. Nitori couldn't help but laugh a bit at that. Rin's fingers slid over his to get his jacket. Nitori smiled happily.
"You've really been improving your times lately, Matsuoka-senpai. Your form has been impeccable as usual, but—"
"Huh?" Nitori had been enthusiastically talking the entire time, but Rin just stood there, looking at his jacket with a displeased look.
"You've been sitting out here for the entire time again," he said simply.
Nitori didn't know what to say but confirmed the statement with a quick, "Yes." He froze a little when Rin looked him straight in the eye. His gaze was always so direct.
"You're the one who should be careful then."
Nitori made a puzzled expression at the rather random sentence.
Before he was able to get the rest of the words out, Rin had whipped the open jacket across Nitori's back and pulled it tightly against him. The fabric stretched across the top of his head and draped over him as Rin took a step forward. He was effectively trapped. Instinctively, Nitori's hands came up, not to push him away, but in response to the many times they've embraced in the privacy of their room.
Rin's skin felt warm and wet against his dry palms, and Nitori absentmindedly noted his senpai's calm and even breathing when his fingers pressed against his abdomen. He didn't know how Rin was able to stay so composed, since his breath always hitched and his heart sped up no matter how many times he found himself in close proximity to Rin.
"See, you're cold," Rin said simply before closing his eyes.
He tried to make sense of what was just said to him, but when Rin's lips pressed against his, all he could do was close his eyes and hold his breath. There was some soft pressure as Rin moved his mouth against his, and then he backed up.
Nitori caught the tail end of Rin's soft and open expression when he opened his eyes, but in the next second, the boy's face had closed off and he straightened up.
"C'mon. Let's go before you get any colder." Rin began to walk away, still dripping water.
With his heart still beating fast and his face slightly flushed, Nitori pulled Rin's windbreaker tighter around his face. The smell of chlorine and Rin's scent filled his senses.
"Yes!" he called after him with a wide smile. He loosened the jacket so that it covered his shoulders and took off, his feet padding softly on the floor. Nitori slowed down as he reached Rin's side and started to chatter away to him the whole way back, feeling warm and happy.