A/N- So this is a fill of sorts based off a request/prompt by tumblr user alarminarmin. I'm not sure if this is what they were looking for, but this is where I took it, so enjoy some Rintori and Iwatobi boys~
It took Rin over a month to notice.
It wasn't his fault really. He had just been spending less time with Nitori than he used to and as such, it took him longer to notice the change in his roommate.
Rin had just returned from a trip to the beach with Haruka, Makoto, and Nagisa. Even Rei had been there, and Rin didn't really mind it in the slightest; he was trying to befriend the kid, if only for the sakes of the others. Still, he came home in such high spirits, with tanned skin and a bright smile, that it wasn't until he had showered, changed and was lying in bed that he realized something was off. That something had been off for a while.
"Oi, Nitori," he called, staring up at the bottom of Nitori's bunk.
Rin frowned. Somehow, it seemed Nitori's response wasn't as… accommodating as always. Normally the second Rin called for him, he'd chime a quick "What is it, senpai?" and peer over the side of his bed. But this time his word was curt and there came no movement from the bed above.
"I, uh…" Rin's scowl deepened as he realized he hadn't actually thought of anything to ask Nitori about beforehand. "How'd ya do on your test? You were freaking out over some English exam, right?"
"It was history and I did just fine." There was a pause. Then, "Thanks for asking."
"Yeah… sure," Rin replied, the confused frown never leaving his face. Was Nitori in a bad mood? It would explain the moody silence and the terse responses, but when Rin actually forced himself to think about it, he realized that this strange behavior had been going on for quite some time and it was only now that he noticed.
Rin ignored the guilt seeping into the corners of his mind and rolled over onto his side, the silence stifling him into sleep.
Rin took careful notice of Nitori's behavior over the next two weeks. He made more attempts to strike up conversations with him, only to be met with strange looks and one word responses, or sometimes no reply at all. As confused as was, Rin also felt angry. He could handle Nitori being quiet once in a while. He could tolerate Nitori having a bad day and being in a sour mood. But there was no way he could get used to Nitori snubbing him like this.
"Nitori, come to Iwatobi school festival with me," he demanded one day, crossing his arms and sending the boy a look that said do it or else.
To his utter shock, Nitori barely glanced up from his book as he tossed a "No, thanks" his way.
"I said no thanks." Nitori repeated, sounding like it took him a lot of effort to do so.
Rin couldn't help himself. He stormed over to the desk, snatched the book from Nitori's hand and glared down at him. "Would you look at me, damn it?! And why the hell won't you go? I know you don't have any other plans!"
Nitori immediately turned to look at him and reached for his novel. His startled eyes cooled into something inscrutable and his voice was oddly calm as he spoke. "I don't feel like going out today. I don't feel well."
"Bullshit," Rin growled. Nitori's expression didn't change though and Rin gave up in frustration. He tossed the book back onto the desk and left, grabbing his jacket and keys along the way. "Whatever." He slammed the door shut on his way out.
"Hey, Rin! Over here!" Makoto called, waving and smiling as he spotted the redhead a little ways down the row of booths lined up. Next to him, Nagisa bounced on the balls of his feet, trying to spot their friend over the heads of the people in the bustling crowd.
Rin pushed his way through the mob, finally reaching the booth run by the Iwatobi swim team. Before he could open his mouth to greet them though, his sister came barreling out from god knows where and captured him in a big hug.
"Brother! I'm so glad you came! You didn't have much trouble finding us, did you?"
He shrugged, returning the hug with one arm before forcing her off of him. "Nah, it wasn't so bad. Though I could do without this many people."
"The point is to attract people to our festival. We want them here," she pointed out. Kou looked around curiously, peering around him as if expecting a small person to pop up out of nowhere. "Where's your little friend?"
Rin grimaced. "He… couldn't make it. It doesn't matter. Point is, I'm here, alright?"
She clapped her hands cheerfully. "Yes, of course! But, uh, what about that other guy? Your swim coach, I mean. Is he here?" The faint blush on her cheeks and her sudden twiddling of her fingers immediately set Rin off.
"He's busy, not that it should matter to you," he snapped. In all honesty, he hadn't even invited Mikoshiba; he didn't want to have to check on his little sister every few minutes to make sure she wasn't running off with his swim captain.
Nagisa grinned wickedly and hopped on Rin, tugging on his arm. "Oh come on, Rin-chaaan," he drawled. "Don't be such a spoil sport! Who cares if Gou wanted to spend some time with Captain Big Muscles?"
Rin twitched and shoved Nagisa forcefully off of him. Suddenly he remembered why he hadn't missed hanging around the blond. "Screw you," he spat.
"Now, now," Makoto interjected, smoothly stepping in between a scowling Rin and Nagisa, who was sticking his tongue out at the redhead. "Rin came to spend time with us, so we shouldn't start by aggravating him so early, Nagisa."
The shorter male huffed but nodded in agreement, shooting Rin a playful smile as a peace treaty. Rin stared at him for a minute before shaking his head fondly and running his hand through his hair. "Oi, where's Haru?" he asked, finally realizing that the swimmer wasn't present.
"He's in the back with Rei. He was the one who insisted we run a booth for mackerel, so it's his job to cook it," Makoto explained.
"That and he won't let any of us near the fish for an extended period of time," Nagisa added. "He trusts Rei-chan back there with him because Rei-chan will make it exactly the way he tells him to."
Rin scoffed. "That's just like him." He followed the sound of sizzling mackerel to find Haru at the back of the booth staring at a piece of fish as it cooked, occasionally turning or prodding it.
"Yo, you don't even come out to say hello?" Rin demanded, hands in his pockets as he strolled over to peer over Haru's shoulder at the mackerel.
"I can't leave the mackerel alone or else it won't cook right," Haru stated calmly, taking off one of the cooked pieces of fish from the grill on putting it on a small paper plate, which he then handed to Rei. Rin and Rei exchanged nods in greeting. While they were on speaking terms, they still didn't know each other very well; it would take time before they reached the same level of friendliness they had with the others, but they were making progress.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever," Rin says with a roll of his eyes. "I was gonna ask if you wanted to go for a walk or something but you're obviously busy, so I'll take Gou."
Haruka nodded, looking up from the fish for a moment to tell Rin, "I'll go with you to some of the other stalls later when we're not as busy."
Rin grunted in agreement and headed back out into the open air. He wrapped an arm around Gou's shoulders and said, "C'mon, show me what kind of stuff you guys have here at Iwatobi."
She lit up and nodded eagerly. "Sure," she chirped and looked as though she were about to say more, but right then Nagisa cut in, bounding in front of the siblings.
"I'll come with you guys!"
"That's not necessary," Rin immediately replied and even Gou playfully made a face at the suggestion, but in the end, their protests didn't matter because Nagisa was determined to go with them. Rin sighed.
"You coming, too?" he asked Makoto, more kindly than he had to Nagisa. The tall swimmer shook his head.
"I'll stay behind and make sure Haru and Rei don't go too crazy back there," he explained with a sheepish grin, rubbing the back of his head. Right on cue, there was a shout that sounded very much to be in Rei's voice and Makoto paled before hurrying off to see what had gone wrong.
"Let's go," Rin urged, knowing that the guys would be fine. His companions agreed and the trio set off.
They had already gone down one long row of booths, a lot of which related to different foods or cafes, and were just turning down another aisle when Nitori was brought up again.
"So what'd you say was wrong with your friend? His name is Aii-chan, right?"
"Nitori," Rin automatically corrected. For some reason it irritated him that Nagisa used such an affectionate name for the boy, even going so far as to shorten Nitori's given name. He should have been used to it given how long he had known Nagisa, but it still rubbed him the wrong way. "And there's nothing wrong with him. He just couldn't come."
"I don't know," the redhead snapped, growing irritated. He let out a big sigh and ran a hand through his hair before stating more evenly, "He told me he didn't feel well, but he looked just fine to me."
Kou and Nagisa exchanged a look, their brows furrowing in concern. "What are you saying, onii-chan?" Kou asked.
"I'm saying, I think he has other reasons he didn't want to come but is too chicken to tell me," he replied tersely.
"Like what?" she asked.
He shrugged, realizing that he himself truly had no idea. "Look, all I know is, he's been moody lately for no damn reason and he doesn't want to go anywhere with me anymore."
"Lately?" she repeated, while Nagisa looked on worriedly. "How long has this been going on exactly?"
Rin looked up as he thought. "…Over a month? A month and a half? Sounds about right."
"A month?!" Kou and Nagisa squawked. Rin cringed.
"Yeah, a month," he grumbled, kicking a rock out of his way. "'s not my fault he won't tell me what's wrong with him."
While Rin continued on sourly, Nagisa and Kou slowed their pace so that they remained just behind Rin, whispering just behind his back. After about a minute or so of this, they nodded resolutely at each other and came forward, each grabbing onto one of Rin's arms.
Oh no, Rin internally groaned, knowing full well the looks on their faces. "What?" he asked, almost fearful of whatever it was they wanted to tell him.
"Has it occurred to you that your friend Nitori could be jealous?" Kou said, her voice dropping to a stage whisper on the last word.
"Huh?" Rin stared at her blankly. Nitori? Jealous? "That's stupid," he scoffed. Nitori was the sweetest boy in the word, or, at least he used to be. He wasn't the jealous type, especially not for something so petty.
"Think about it," Nagisa insisted, tightening his hold on Rin's arm. "What happened about a month and a half ago? You made up with Haru and started spending time with us again. You and Aii-chan used to be really close, so now that you're spending all your spare time with us, he must be really jealous!"
"We weren't that close," Rin protested, though even he knew that wasn't quite true. The fact that Nitori's silence even bothered him at all was a sign that the boy's friendship, his presence meant something to Rin, even if the man himself wasn't exactly sure what that something was.
Kou rolled her eyes, obviously not believing him either. "Every time I saw you, you two were together. Now I hardly see him at all. I really think that this 'bad mood' you're talking about might just be that he's jealous."
"Tch. I don't believe it." And yet, the seed of doubt was already planted. Could it really be that Nitori was jealous? It seemed to be a perfectly logical explanation, and yet... Rin groaned in frustration.
"If you don't believe it, why don't you just ask him yourself?" Nagisa suggested.
Rin stopped in his tracks. He laughed loudly before ruffling Nagisa's hair and saying, "You know, that's the first good idea I've heard from you in a damn long time."
The blond pouted. "Hey! You're so mean, Rin-chan! I have great ideas all the time! Ask anyone!"
Rin kept on laughing, and even Kou couldn't help but giggle and so the trio continued on with their walk with more lighthearted conversation. Rin pushed the Nitori situation to the back of his mind to deal with when he got back home at the end of the day. For here and now, he had his friends and that's all he needed at the moment.
By the time Rin returned that evening, Nitori was on his bed on the top bunk listening to music on his iPod while he studied. He glanced up but once when Rin walked in and said nothing, only turning the page of his book and staring down intently at the page.
Rin slammed the door behind him, good mood already out the window at the snub. "Hey, we have to talk," he growled, crossing his arms over his chest and waiting for Nitori to acknowledge him. It was strange, having to actually wait and see if his roommate with grace him with a few words conversation; it made Rin's chest ache to remember how Nitori used to talk his ear off all the time.
Nitori pulled out his earbuds and a closed his book, keeping his finger between the pages to hold his place. "Talk about what?" he mumbled, making minimal eye contact with Rin before looking elsewhere.
"That!" Rin exclaimed, pointing an accusatory finger at the boy. "That damned moodiness! Why the hell won't you talk to me anymore?! You barely even look at me. If I hadn't roomed with you for so long, I probably would have forgotten the color of your eyes by now!" Never mind the fact that Rin could never forget those shimmering oceanic orbs; the glimpses he got of them were few and far between and the twinkle in them had dimmed.
Nitori winced and sat up in bed, bringing his knees up to his chest and hugging them close. "I'm not moody," he defended weakly. "I just… I haven't been really… Well…"
Rin resisted the urge to tug at his hair in frustration. Nitori was finally talking but he could barely get a damn sentence out. "Are you jealous?" he cut in bluntly, deciding it would be best to get straight to the bottom of the situation. If he was wrong, then it was really Nagisa and Gou who had been wrong, so it didn't matter; and if he was right, well, he didn't exactly know what to think about that.
Nitori's eyes widened. "What?" he asked, surprise raising his voice to a squeak.
"You heard me. I asked if you're jealous because it's starting to seem that way. I know I've been hanging out with Haru and the others a lot, but damn it, Nitori, that's no reason for you to get jealous and act this way! Really, I thought-"
"Huh?" Now it was Rin's turn to stare dumbly at the other male. "No?"
Nitori shook his head wildly, adamantly. "No. I'm not jealous. I'm happy you're finally spending time with your friends, senpai." He paused, swallowing nervously, and he seemed to be considering whether or not to say his next words. He took a deep breath and decided to be fully honest. "I've just realized now, y'know, seeing you so happy and all, that I really only got in your way all the time. You have so much to focus on with swimming and school and now catching up with your old friends, that it would be really selfish and silly of me to hang around you so often. I'd… I'd only be a burden."
Rin felt his chest tighten uncomfortably at Nitori's words. Now he really wished that it had just been jealousy afflicting Nitori; that would have been a hell of a lot easier than the mess he had to deal with now. Familiar guilt surged up and he ran a hand through his hair, tugging on a few locks. Everything that Nitori had said- it was all so wrong.
"Nitori. What the fuck is wrong with you?" he growled, and maybe that wasn't the best choice of words for someone who was obviously in a sensitive state, but he'd be damned if he let Nitori get away with downing himself in such a way. "I don't ever want to hear you call yourself a burden ever again, you got it?"
"But nothing! You were never a burden to me, and you will never be one. Hell, do you realize how much you helped me? You do not get in my way at all," Rin stressed, trying to make his absolutely clear. It hurt, physically ached, to hear what Nitori thought of himself, rather, what Nitori thought he meant to Rin. The redhead couldn't quite put it into words, but Nitori meant so much to him that a day just didn't feel complete without one of Nitori's bright smiles or a kind word or two- things that had become increasingly rare. It left Rin feeling as if there was a hole in him that grew larger and emptier with every day that passed. And he absolutely hated it.
Nitori's eyes were wide as he drank in Rin's words, absorbing it all and looking as though it was a struggle to wrap his brain around it. He was unbearably silent for a long minute before saying, in a maddeningly quiet voice, "But you're the one who helps me all the time. I don't understand how you can say that I help you when you never need my help."
Rin groaned and stomped over to the bed, hoisting himself up on the top bunk so that he was eye level with the anxious grey-haired boy. "Look, just because I don't ask for help doesn't mean I don't need it. I never had to ask you for anything because you were always already there. And you gave me support I didn't even know I needed the entire time. So don't you dare underestimate yourself, Nitori."
Rin could have sworn he saw that twinkle he loved so much flicked in Nitori's beautiful blue eyes. "You really mean that, Matusoka-senpai?" Nitori asked softly, just to be sure.
Rin never thought his name sounded more lovely than in that moment coming so hesitantly, sincerely, from Nitori's gentle lips. And how did he know that those lips were so gentle?
Because in the next moment, staring into those hypnotizing, finally finally twinkling eyes, Rin leaned in and kissed him.
"Of course I mean it," he murmured against Nitori's lips before pulling away. "You mean more to me than you could ever know, Nitori."
Tears welled up in Nitori's eyes and for a second, a spasm of fear clutched Rin's heart; had he done the wrong thing? But then a huge smile broke out on Nitori's face, erasing the fear.
"You have no idea how happy that makes me, senpai," he said, and though his tone was shy, it was undeniably gleeful, loving even. The corners of Rin's lips turned up in a smile.
"How about you show me then?" he suggested, half joking, but really dying to get another kiss from the other.
Nitori giggled. How long had it been since Rin heard that sound? Far too long, he decided, just as Nitori leaned in and gave him a chaste kiss on the lips.
Rin held onto the collar of Nitori's shirt to keep him from pulling away just yet. "Don't you ever get all moody and shit like that again, okay? I can't handle it… I'd rather have you talk to me every damn minute of the day than to have you so quiet."
"Okay. I promise," Nitori assured him, reaching up to gently pry Rin's fingers from the fabric of his shirt and holding his hand in both of his own. The two exchanged small, meaningful smiles.
"Hey, mind if I sleep up here with you tonight?" Rin suddenly asked, causing Nitori to blink in surprise.
"Sleep up here with me?" he asked, eyes wide. He noticed the way Rin bashfully looked away and the hint of pink in his cheeks when he asked, and Nitori knew there was no way he could refuse. He scooted over and patted the space beside him. "Come on up."
Rin grunted as he hoisted himself up onto the bunk, rolling into place beside Nitori. Once he was settled in, he nonchalantly reached out to wrap an arm around Nitori and hold him close. Although he was caught off guard, the smaller boy quickly nuzzled into the embrace, enjoying this newfound closeness. They hadn't exactly specified what all of this meant for them; they hadn't clearly defined this new facet of their relationship. And yet, everything they did just felt right, as if they always kissed each other out of the blue and shared a bed every night.
It even felt natural the way they remained in each other's arms the entire night, sleeping soundly until the first rays of morning light woke them.
"Nitori, if you don't hurry up, I'll leave without you! Everyone's waiting!" Rin called, standing impatiently by the door as Nitori hopped towards him, still in the process of tugging on a shoe.
"I'm coming, hold on!" the swimmer insisted, finally fixing his shoe and hurrying over to the other boy. "You can't leave without me! Nagisa-kun promised me that he'd let me try this new snack he just bought the other day. It has chocolate and honey and all sorts of sweet stuff in it!"
Rin grimaced. "That sounds disgusting."
"It sounds delicious!"
"Whatever you say," Rin replied with a roll of his eyes. Nitori giggled and stood up on his tiptoes to give Rin a peck on the cheek. "Let's go!"
Hand in hand, the couple headed off to meet the others at the shopping district for a day of fun, Nitori's laughter ringing out in the air as they went.