Whenever he couldn't sleep, Rin just kept thinking about crap. It had been three month since the relay tournament, three months since he'd regained friendship with everyone, and he still felt like it was all a really good dream.
Self doubt came to Rin naturally, and he couldn't believe that everybody, even Rei, had given him a second chance. It didn't seem real, he didn't deserve their kindness.
Staring at the bunk above him, Rin thought of Nitori. He was well aware that his friend was awake, but he had no idea how to start a conversation. They had both turned in around eleven, but neither of them had slept. It was now three in the morning, four hours had passed in silence. Rin opened his mouth to say something, anything to get the dead quiet and horribly anxieties out of the room, when Nitori spoke.
"Senpai...? Are you awake?"
"Yeah," Rin mumbled, trying not to smile at how tentative and quiet his friend was.
"I can't stop thinking about stuff," Nitori said, laughing. "Distract me with some weird story from Australia, or something..."
Rin snorted, "I don't have many of those." The only memories he had of Australia was anger, failure, and a lot of pent up angsty teenage shit. He was relieved that he'd been recovering from all that, but traces still remained (like his horrendous habit of swearing in English).
"Okay, then what are you thinking about?" Nitori asked, his tired voice making him sound a lot funnier than he usually did.
"Just things I worry about," Rin sighed, not bothering to hold back. Nitori was that one friend he felt comfortable telling his problems to, and he was certainly the only friend whose problems Rin ever bothered to listen to. "You know... About Haru and the others."
"Ah, you're worried it's all some big dream?" Nitori guessed, and Rin could practically see him nodding in understanding. "Yeah, me too. I mean- not that it's a dream, but... nevermind."
This got Rin's attention, "Come on, spill."
Rin promptly put his feet on the bunk above him and pushed it out of the frame, balancing the weight of the mattress and Nitori on his legs. "Tell me!"
"Senpai, stop!" Nitori squawked between laughs, probably scared half to death.
"Not unless you tell me what's bothering you!"
After a beat, Nitori let out a defeated sigh. "Okay, okay... I'm worried that since you got Nanase-senpai and your other friends back, you might not, you know, have time to hang around me." His voice became muffled at the end, presumably having shoved his face into his pillow in embarrassment.
Carefully, Rin set the bed back down, trying his best not to drop it. Truth be told, Rin had assumed Nitori had been worried about that. One thing he and his younger friend had in common was their low self-esteem. Rin flung his legs over the side of his mattress, getting to his feet and blindly reaching for the ladder of the top bunk.
"Senpai, what're you doing?" Nitori asked, raising himself up with his arms. He looked rather cute with his choppy grey hair sticking out in odd angles, which Rin could only faintly see from the steetlight outside their dorm room window.
"Trying not to fall, what does it look like I'm doing?" Rin grumbled, groping his way up the metal ladder. "Help me up here, will you?"
"Oh, uh, sure!" Nitori stutered, grabbing hold of Rin's bare arm and tugging him forward. It was a good thing his arms were the strongest part of his body, otherwise Rin probably would've fallen backwards without his kohai's tight grip on his undershirt. "D- Don't worry, I got you!" The younger teen yelped, heaving Rin up onto his bed.
The two were silent for a moment before Rin patted Nitori on the head, looking the other way so there was no chance the other boy ciuld see his fond, yet obviously embarrassed, expression. After that, the silence was more comfortable than awkward. Finally, Rin mustered up the right words to say. "You know I don't hate you, right?"
When Nitori nodded, it tickled Rin's hand as his hair brushed up and down his fingers. "Good, because I know I can be a dick, and I'm trying my best to get better at that." He wasn't good with expressing his emotions, but he was tired, and he needed to tell Nitori that he valued their friendship.
"Don't apologise, Rin-senpai." Nitori murmured, reaching up and letting his hand over above Rin's. After silent permission was given, Nitori took Rin's hand off of his head, and then ruffled the other boy's hair with his free one. "I'm the one who's always causing you trouble."
"That's bullshit!" Rin growled, whipping around and glaring at his friend. "You always forgive me too easily, and if anything, you're always getting me out of trouble."
Nitori burst out laughing, taking Rin by surprise. But, despite his confusion as to why his friend was laughing, Rin found himself joining in. It was honest laughter, not the evil chuckles he'd taken to after Australia. No, this was laughter that felt good, hat rolled off his shoulders, the kind that made him gasp for breath.
This was laughter that he only had around Nitori.
"Hey, Ai." Rin wheezed, finally settling down.
"Yeah?" Nitori asked, still giggling.
Rin hoped the other boy could see him smile, "You're my best friend."
There, he's said it. He'd gotten it off his chest, and Rin could only hope that his declaration had boosted Nitori's confidence, if only a little. Of course, the fact Nitori had gone completely silent worried him, and he wondered if maybe he'd said too much.
"Really?" Nitori's voice cracked, and Rin couldn't surpress another laugh.
He ruffled that grey head of hair again, "Yes, you idiot."
Rin was then tackled onto his back, eventually discovering that he was being hugged. Why he started blushing was a mystery to him, but Rin started squirming in that death grip Nitori had on him, because that glomp had turned into a tickle fight.
"Gah! Nitori, lemme go!"
It was yet another mystery how they managed to fall asleep after that, but all Rin knew was the next morning, he woke up in Nitori's bunk basically cuddling the boy, and he couldn't say he minded. It was the best sleep he'd had in weeks.
A.N: Yes, I am aware of fluff overload in this, but I wanted my first uploaded fanfic for this fandom to be happy, okay?