When I was in my first year in high school...I've heard from a senpai that swimming is exactly like having sex.
You enter a sphere of ecstacy...the muscles yearn for it...it's painful at the same time pleasurable that the feeling as a whole is completion.
The mind goes blank...and even though you are at your limit, you push for it, you ask for it, you go for it.
It's hard to breathe.
It feels like dying but gives you a sense of living.
It drives you crazy and at the end of it all...you're happy...
I didn't understand them at all. But I've always loved the feel of water. I've always thought that swimming and being in water are the things that make me live.
But he took it away from me.
Without him knowing...he killed me in a manner more painful than death.
Drown in Me
"The 36th Regional Swimming Competition Freestyle, High School Block will be starting within 20 minutes. Please all competitors be in your lanes respectively after the break."
The sweet yet monotonous voice of a female filled the already hyped covered swimming court. Girls and boys were already in their battle mode as they glared into the students of the other schools that hinder them from getting the trophy. In the bleachers, there was an ongoing war of its own.
Matsuoka Rin, a promising swimmer has always been not just the pride of his school, but also served as the Chigoku region's number one. He was a confident young male, full of pride and has a strong personality. The only thing that annoyed him in that competition was always being compared to the acclaimed genius of the Kanto Region; Nanase Haruka.
"God...it's annoying...did you hear the sports writer earlier? They sounded like they are so sure that Nanase will get the trophy this year..." an older looking boy for his age muttered as he was massaging his legs on the floor.
"Ne, Matsuoka-kun! You better show them that not just because Nanase came from a better school in stupid Tokyo, it means they're better!"
Matsuoka Rin who was currently checking his goggles and other stuff frowned. His red, deep eyes already blazing in fury. He liked competition, but he couldn't stomach the crude comments that he heard from the students of other schools.
"I heard Nanase-kun said he's looking forward to this ne? I think I've heard he says he's confident in beating that red head...from what school is that again?"
"Who cares? Since Nanase is the representative of the Kanto region, I bet he'd make that Matsuoka bite the dust..."
"Stupid...it's swimming so there's no dust! Maybe Nanase-kun is planning on letting him drown in chlorine!"
The freestyle section of the competition sounded like it only revolved around the representatives of the Kanto region and the Chugoku region. And it was driving the red head mad. Never had he seen this Nanase so why was he being so highly acclaimed?
"I'll show him...who's better..." the boy mumbled through gritted teeth, his hand holding the goggles shaking.
Matsuoka's team, deciding to go to the court a little earlier to get the feel of the pool and the crowd were talking about nonsense stuff. They turned to the left to take the stairs down the building. And at the same time, a darkhaired boy was taking the steps upwards. Everyone stopped in the middle of the stairs.
Rin looked at him. The new comer gazed up. They met eye to eye and Rin knew right away that he was staring at the face of his enemy.
"Eh...Aren't you Matsuoka? Matsuoka Rin, right?" the boy asked. His soft voice sounding weak for a 'highly acclaimed freestyle genius'.
The red head with a cold gaze crossed his arms that were already very muscular despite the young age. "And what if I am?"
The other boy's bluish eyes seemed to brightened for a bit. His thin lips curled into a shy smile and before everyone realized it, the boy had his right hand extended.
"Hello, I'm Nanase Haruka...actually I've been hoping to meet you before the competition..."
"Huh?" the red head leered. "Why? So you can tell me you'd let me drown in Chlorine?"
Haruka's face froze for a fraction of a second.
"Well that's what the ongoing rumors are telling..." the red heard took another step down, facing Haruka too close that he was almost looking down on him with their breaths brushing on each other's faces. "Well I am telling you I am not an easy guy."
"I didn't say anything like that...I just want to wish us both goodluck."
"Goodluck? Don't make me laugh...I get so irritated at someone like you acting high and mighty. Move!"
Haruka moved to grab the red head's arm. "Wait! Matsu-"
Be it because of being still very young, people at Matsuoka's and Nanase's age were quick to act than think. Matsuoka Rin, intentionally pushed the other kid on the shoulder. What Rin didn't know that with just that simple push, the Kanto Region representative would fall with his back first.
They caught each other's eyes first. Red to blue. Surprised and shocked. Even Rin thought that he'd be able to catch the outstreched hand of the dark-haired boy.
The fall was slow yet fast. Excruciatingly slow that every sound of bones or flesh hitting the hard steps of the floor fastly filled Matsuoka's team. And then the final blow came and Haruka was lying on the floor, unconscious.
"Ma-matsuoka-kun! What have you done!?" the other team members looked at each other with distraught faces.
Everyone gathered around the boy who lay limply on the floor.
"What do we do?" everyone looked at the thirdyear student of the team with expectant faces.
"We'll be disqualified from the tournament like this!" one of the members whispered as he tried to touch Haruka's face.
"Run. No one saw us..." the captain ordered. "Run. NOW!"
The members of Matsuoka's team scurried like frightened rabbits. Rin was the only one that was left. He was even shaking, thinking if the boy before him was already dead. If he killed Nanase Haruka.
Slowly, his feet started taking steps backwards. Slowly he turned around. His shaking steps, calculated, had become running. And then he rushed to the swimming court, breaking in cold, sticky sweat.
Rin's mind was so confused as he stood on the flatform. The hissing sound of the murmurings of where was Nanase Haruka filling the area.
The few swimmers who knew what happened looked down on their feet or pretended themselves to be busy. They were so sure that the waited swimmer expected to win the competition wouldn't appear at all.
That was why everyone in Matsuoka's team, including him nearly sighed a breath of relief and died on their spots, when just a minute before being announced as defaulted, Nanase Haruka appeared to take his stand on the flatform beside Rin.
"You..." Rin whispered in disbelief. Wanting to ask if Nanase Haruka was okay. But the question remained in his throat when the blue-eyes glanced at him. Looking fired up.
The competition ended with a result that shocked the spectators; Matsuoka Rin as the regional freestyle champion that year and the Kanto Genius, the last to reach the goal.
Three years later...
"Hey...Rin...you're late again...mou..."
A tall young man, firmly built and has an instense look in his eyes grinned jokingly at his Economics lecture-mate Tachibana Makoto. The red head slumped on his seat beside the dirty-blonde, lazily opening his thick book into a page they'd been told to read.
"You haven't done any reading, have you?"
Matsuoka Rin, an Economics major, now in his second year at a wellknown university in Tokyo looked around the lecture hall. It still looked the same, but somehow, he had this feeling that something was different in it. He yawned and prepared himself into taking a nap.
"Hey...did you hear...the University Swimming club is looking for new members...and..."
The red head raised a brow, baring his sharp teeth. "Stop it Makoto. They asked you to tell me right? Well sorry...I don't have any plans of swimming for any clubs."
Shaking his head, he then placed an elbow on the table and rested his chin on it. "Rin...the only good thing about you is swimming...so why...?"
"The hell? I've already given half of my high school life in swimming! You want me to be slave of swimming again?" Rin grumbled, raising a hand in the air like shooing a fly. "If I join swimming or any other organizations, I won't be able to have time to play, will I?"
"What kind of reasoning is that..."
Tachibana, a team member of Rin in high school and unfortunately got into the same lecture at their second year in college sighed and forced himself into reading. Meanwhile Rin used his book to hide his sleeping.
"Ei...ei...he's new to our class right?" a muffled voice reached the two and their eyes darted at where the girls where secretly gazing at.
"Oh yeah...I haven't seem him before! A transfer?"
"Maybe...when I arrived here...he's already there sitting alone."
"Huh? You who's always here even before anyone comes in? How early did he come then?!"
Rin interestingly gazed at the back of the guy's head. Somehow at the back of his mind, something was telling him that he had seen that hue. The rays of the sun going in from the window where the stranger was sitting looked lonely for some reason.
Having a lot of people staring at him, the newcomer had this urge to turn and look. And Rin's mouth went half-open.
"Huh?" Tachibana asked. "You know him?"
"Ah..." the red haired averted his eyes. "No."
The entire lecture, Rin found his eyes darting back over and over at the dark-hair beside the huge windows. Not a single bit of the lesson about the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility entering his head.
When the two-hour lecture ended, Rin and Tachibana hurriedly stood up, preparing to get to the next class with a terror professor. Not looking, Rin passed the aisle where Haruka was near sitting.
"It's been a while...Matsuoka Rin."
The voice was still as soft and weak as the first time he heard it. It took him a while to gather control in his muscles before glancing down at the still seated Haruka.
"I've been following your progress as a swimmer since high school...then you disappeared into the sports world...took me a long time to find you."
Tachibana gave a confused look from Rin and the newcomer in an alternating manner. Clutching his bag tighter, recognition finally registered in him.
"N-anase?" Tachibana whispered before throwing himself before the blue-eyed teen and grabbing his arms. "I'm sorry...I'm sorry about back then..." the guy apologized from the bottom of his heart. After all, he just ran off like everyone else instead of helping an injured person who fell from the stairs three years ago.
"It's okay. It's history..." Haruka answered with a blank face. He darted his eyes at the red head with a glimmer of concern. "I really transferred into this University to look for him."
"Ha? Look for me?"
Rin almost shouted and he didn't care since the lecture hall was already empty with people. There were just the three of them having this confusing conversation.
"Looking for me? Just to tell you...I don't intend on apologizing whatsoever...and like you said it's history!"
"Rin..." Haruka called. "Why did you stop swimming...?"
"Don't address me by my name! We're not even friends!" the red head spat, obviously getting annoyed by the minute. "I quit swimming because I already lost interest. Period. Now that you know, don't ever bother talking to me again!"
Rin went out the lecture hall with hurried, huge steps. His shoes clicking loudly even in the hallway. When the silence came back and the atmosphere lightened, Tachibana gave a sorry smile at Haruka.
"Sorry about that...he was at fault but it's really how he is..." said the tall man as he looked back at the exit as if he could still see Rin. "Leave him be...how are you? Rin stopped swimming since we entered college but after the competition three years ago, it's you who just disappeared. I hope...nothing bad has happened?"
Haruka looked down for a second and smiled. But Tachibana was sure as the mid-noon light that it looked pained.
"I'm fine. Did he...I mean Matsuoka-san...really just lost interest in swimming?"
"Hmmm..." Tachibana knitted his brows. "Yeah...I think he's telling the truth. He's gung-ho about swimming in high school but then maybe because he felt there's no worthy opponent anymore that he quit. Now...everyday he just plays with women and slacks off..."
The two watched the yellow butterfly that suddenly went through the window near Haruka. It moved ever so gently and yet the way it flies still looked like its struggling.
"Ah!" Tachibana exclaimed looking at his wristwatch. "My next class is starting! What about you Nanase-san?"
"I will stay here for a bit..." the other replied, trying to sit more comfortably on his spot. "Ah...but can I ask for a favor?"
On his way to a Gokoun, Rin found his phone ringing. Irritated as he was already in a hurry, he fished his phone out of his pocket and glared at the screen.
"Rin...come back to swimming.
"What the...how did he...?"
The young man deleted the message right away and continued on his way. However, he got another message from the same sender.
"Rin...come back to swimming."
"What is wrong with this guy!?"
For the whole hour of his journey to the Gokoun, all his messages were from Nanase Haruka with the same message. So irritably, for the first time, he replied back.
Nanase Haruka seemed to have read the message incorrectly that instead, the red head just got a bunch more.
The night before sleeping, Rin got a voice mail. Which only sounded like the sender just read his own text. The next morning, Rin got an email, with the annoying and dreaded five-word-message.
The next morning was the same. And the day after the next. And before Rin knew it, the entire week was like that. The most annoying thing was Haruka would just sit beside the window prettily on his ass as if he was doing nothing of a nuisance. Even when it was the weekend, Rin would still get the pissing messages.
And so, Monday, after class, when everyone was already out, Matsuoka Rin decided to confront the blue-eyed guy.
He approached Haruka menachingly who was still seated on his seat. He seemed to be always the first one to arrive and the very last to go which was a question to him and Makoto. But that moment wasn't the time to be thinking about trivial stuff. Without any announcements, Rin slammed his fists on the table before Haruka.
Haruka looked up like it was nothing.
"What do you want from me?" Rin's voice was soft. But it gradually increased in volume as his irritation flowed out of his veins. "Swimming no longer excites me so why are you filling me with your messages about joining the swim team, going back to swimming?!" Rin seemed to have stopped breathing, not allowing Haruka to cut in. "Swimming is just a thing for immature kids...and now I have other priorities so STOP ACTING LIKE THIS!"
"Swimming does not excite you anymore? A thing for immature kids?" Haruka repeated, sounding as if he just heard the worst things in the world. "How can you...?"
"NOW PLEASE...LET'S JUST ACT LIKE WE DON'T KNOW EACH OTHER, OKAY?"
"Matsuoka!" Haruka shouted. "You don't really hate swimming right? So...don't waste your talent..."
"NANASE-SAN..." Rin rolled the name in his tongue with all the animosity he could muster. "Me quitting is none of your business! IF YOU BADLY WANTED TO SWIM THEN JOIN THE SWIM TEAM YOURSELF!"
At the end of his patience, Rin started walking away from Haruka, towards the exit. He was huffing and panting. Truthfully, he really didn't like swimming anymore. It was just a thing of the past and he had found many other hobbies. Maybe he did love swimming way back then...but that doesn't mean it won't change.
"I would..." Haruka whispered, but it sounded loud enough for Rin at the door to hear it. The young man stood from his seat, wiping something from his face before glaring at the redhead. "I would! Damn it Matsuoka Rin! I would if I could!"
The red head paused by the door. Slowly, he turned to gaze back at the only other guy in the lecture room. And his breath, was simply knocked out of his system.
"I would really want to join in myself..." Haruka started walking. Holding on to the rows of tables, throwing his walking stick that loudly fell with a thud. Limply, he dragged his left leg, grazing it on the floor. "But look at me...I couldn't...move my left leg Matsuoka...YOU TOOK MY DREAMS AWAY FROM ME BUT I DIDN'T BEAR A GRUDGE THINKING YOU DIDN'T REALLY MEAN TO HURT ME. I'M HAPPY YOU WERE SETTING RECORDS AFTER RECORDS IN HIGH SCHOOL AND NOW? YOU'RE SAYING YOU LOST INTEREST, WHAT ABOUT ME?!"
"I placed my dreams on you so don't you dare say that it is not my business!"
Haruka dragged himself towards where the red head stood frozen and speechless. Never had Rin even in dreams thought that that short fall would have this great impact. Never had he thought that he would cause an injury for a life time. And all he could do was painfully watch Haruka, his enemy back in their early high school years as the blue eyed male limply walk towards him.
"Matsuoka, tomorrow is the last day for joining the swim team...Come back, even just this last time. Please?"
For just a second they looked eye to eye. The same as they did back then, when Rin watched Haruka fall. And when Haruka watched Rin try to catch his hand. The same intense stare. The very short period of encounter felt like forever.
"Swim for me. After this year's competition I wouldn't bother you ever again. You owe me at least this."
"Huh?" Rin knew he was a little at fault. Well maybe not "little" but 'swim for me'? What the hell was Haruka thinking?
Haruka went past Rin, out the door without stopping.
"I'll wait for you at the gates tomorrow. See you."
Rin's face started contorting into many emotions but most of all, confusion. He ended up grabbing Haruka's arm, forcing the dark-haired teen to face him.
"I am not into swimming anymore. Don't you get it? I've decided to focus on the more 'practical' things of life, so wait forever, I won't be coming!" Rin hissed at Haruka's face.
Gently, Haruka pulled his arm away. And with still the expressionless face he always wore, gazed up at the slightly taller guy. "Even so...'ll still wait."
Rin was left in the entrance door frame of the lecture hall watching Nanase Haruka go away, with Haru holding on to the walls for support.
chapter end notes;
*mendokusai- if u don't know yet it is 'what a pain' or 'can't be bothered..."
*law of diminishing marginal utility- i remember this in our economics class(it's like as you consume a certain product with other products' consumption constant, for example a banana Pocky, the less your satisfaction becomes. it sounds pretty easy when you put it that way but really...it's still mind boggling. but...this Economics Law might not be applicable to BL. the pleasure only has one direction and that is increasing..MUAHAHA
this is my very first time writing outside of JR and SIH so i'm quite nervous. anyway...i hope you like it.^^ please share your thoughts as well.