Haruka couldn't believe it.
Rin had texted him earlier that day, telling him to meet him outside Samezuka Academy, and Haruka had automatically assumed it was because Rin wanted to race. After all, that's what they did every time they met. It was like a routine; they would see each other, get into an argument, then in the heat of the moment declare a match.
And, despite the façade Haruka put up, he didn't really mind racing with Rin. Sure, he wasn't particularly a fan of swimming anything but freestyle, but seeing Rin again…that was good. No, that was great.
After all, Haruka did miss his friend much more than he let on. So, he eagerly responded to Rin's text and dashed to Samezuka Academy, his bathing suit already under his pants.
But he hadn't expected this.
He cocked his head to one side, his blue eyes flickering up to the red-haired boy before him. Rin actually looked a little…embarrassed.
"…What did you say?" Haruka asked hesitantly.
Rin frowned. "Oi, were you not listening?" he huffed. He crossed his arms across his chest and for a moment Haruka thought he wasn't going to repeat himself. But finally Rin sighed deeply and looked down at his feet. "I said I…want to hang out with you," he mumbled. "We can go anywhere, I just…" His cheeks were turning red, and he must have noticed that because he turned away from Haruka. "…I just wanted to see you again."
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Now where did this come from? Rin was flustered and even…blushing? No, it wasn't like him at all…
But, even so, Haruka found his cheeks heating up, as well. "I…see…," he muttered.
God, it was embarrassing. Two teenage boys blushing at each other like this…
But Haruka was happy.
"I think I know where we can go," he finally piped up, breaking the silence.
Rin slowly turned to face him, the blush now gone from his cheeks. "…Where?" he asked.
A small smile tugged on Haruka's lips.
Rin stared up at the tank before him, studying the vibrantly colored fish swimming about in it. "The aquarium?" he asked, confused, staring down at Haruka.
The dark-haired boy nodded in response. "Do you not like the aquarium?" he inquired.
Rin shook his head. "No, I like it. I was just surprised you like it, is all." He grinned and chuckled to himself. "But I guess I shouldn't be so shocked, you do love water!"
That remark earned a small smile and chuckle from Haruka, but nothing more.
So, the two of them stood in silence for a while, watching the fish flit about in the aquarium. They really were beautiful - even the most plain among them was clad in bright scales that reflected off the bright lights that shone in the building. Finally, Rin sighed and placed his left hand on the tank. One particularly curious fish swam up to it and began to inspect it shrewdly, but the red-haired boy paid it no mind.
"…You seemed surprised that I would ask you to go someplace with me today," Rin began quietly, his eyes trained at the tank before him.
Haruka glanced at Rin quickly before looking back at the ground. "Yeah…I was….I was sure you didn't like me anymore," he admitted.
"Huh?" Rin turned to face Haruka, his eyes wide. "W-What gave you that idea?" he stammered.
Haruka flinched at Rin's reaction, and placed his hands before him in mock defeat. "I just thought…" He sighed. "You always get mad at me when we meet. You constantly yell at me and I…"
"You idiot!" Rin barked (which didn't exactly help to prove his point that he wasn't mad). "I'm not…I'm not mad at you, alright? I'm just not…" He trailed off, trying to find the right words. Evidently he couldn't find them, though, as he groaned in frustration and slammed his fists against the tank. Not hard enough to break the glass, of course, but just enough to send some fish scurrying off in fear.
Haruka watched Rin quietly, not quite sure what he was up to, and a little too frightened to ask him what was wrong.
Finally, Rin sighed deeply and pressed his head against the tank.
"I just…I just really missed you," he whispered.
Haruka blinked. Had he…heard that right? Rin had actually missed him…?
He was so shocked that he was unable to speak, so Rin continued.
"I was in Australia for so long I…I ended up missing you, you know? Sure, I missed the others, too, but it was always you…" He trailed off, and Haruka noticed a slight blush covering his cheeks.
They stood in an awkward silence for a moment, but then Haruka extended a hand and gently ruffled his hair. Rin jerked away from the tank quickly, staring down at Haruka with confused eyes.
His blush was even darker now.
"W-What was that for?" he managed.
"I missed you, too," Haruka said.
Rin paused and gazed at him silently.
"You were gone for such a long time," Haruka continued, painfully aware of the fact that his usually calm voice was quivering. "I almost thought I would never see you again. I guess I…" He looked away from Rin, his cheeks now turning red, too. "I guess I feel the same way you do."
Rin flinched at this bold declaration, but a smile started to spread across his lips. "I…see…Good. Good, I'm glad!"
Haruka nodded, feeling his cheeks heating up at the other boy's bright smile. "Y-Yeah," he stammered, not quite sure what else to say.
Thankfully, an awkward moment was saved by a loud PING that came from Rin's pant pocket. He blinked and then rummaged through his pocket before pulling out his phone. "Ah…I'm sorry, Haru," he said, gazing at his device. "I have a swimming practice, so I have to leave."
"Oh…," Haruka replied, visibly deflating. And just when he had managed to say how he really felt, too…
Rin must have noticed Haruka's sudden change in attitude, and leaned forward to give him a small peck on the cheek. He quickly pulled away though, his cheeks on fire.
"Uh, uh…See you later, Haru!" he exclaimed, running out of the aquarium before Haruka could respond.
The dark-haired boy scarcely knew what to do now - that was too sudden! He was frozen, rooted to the spot where Rin had kissed him.
…He wouldn't say it hadn't been nice, though.
Lifting his right hand, Haruka touched the spot where Rin's lips had touched his cheek. It was…warm.
That kiss had said enough.
"Alright, now if you'll look here, we have a great white shark!"
Haruka's pleasant thoughts were interrupted by the booming voice of one of the many aquarium tour guides. A man wearing a bright yellow cap stood before the tank across from where Haruka was, a crowd of people gathered about him. A large shark swam about in the tank, watching the people with black, beady eyes.
"Now, sharks are well-known as one of the most dangerous predators in the sea," the guide continued. "You must be careful if you ever travel in shark-infested waters; sometimes they mistake humans as seals and will attack them. They are, as I said before, extremely dangerous."
Haruka couldn't help but grin at the man's words.
He began to stroll out of the building, touching the spot where Rin had kissed him.
"I don't know," he mused. "Sharks seem like they can be really gentle."