A/N: Because this somewhat pointless plot bunny popped into my head and wouldn't leave, so I wrote a short, quickly-edited thing. I'm so reluctant to post such a quickly edited thing but ugh, school is stressing me out and I want to feel somewhat productive.

If any of you are readers of Long Distance, I know it's been forever but the fic's actually going very well! I've been able to add to it a little bit almost every night, I'm on the last scene now, and it's going to be near thirty pages so I'll likely divide it into two chapters and edit each half separately so I can post a bit sooner. But onward to the fluff that is this fic! (Why have all my fics thus far included scenes on Haru's bed, am I just that uncreative? /panics a little/)

Battle Wounds

"What happened?" Haruka asks, eyeing Rin's stomach and the two marks that have appeared there. Pinkish-reddish and clearly deeper than surface scrapes or bruises, one sits just beneath Rin's bellybutton, the other near his left hipbone. They are small, only about the length of the first section of Haruka's finger, but he is familiar enough with the planes of Rin's stomach to notice the scars right away.

Rin – who had mustered just enough energy to pull off his shirt and fling it away before collapsing onto Haruka's bed – lifts his head off the pillow, follows the line of Haruka's gaze to his own stomach.

"Oh yeah, I forgot. I had my appendix taken out in America." He flops right back down, as though this is no news at all. Rakes the hair off of his forehead, away from the sweat beading there. Sweat shows against his neck, too, though not his cheeks, which are mottled pink nonetheless.

Haruka sits cross-legged next to Rin's knees at the edge of the bed, tilts his head to look at the scars from a slightly different angle.


Rin gives a feeble attempt at a shrug – one shouldered and hardly more than a twitch. His eyes are closed, and when he speaks he sounds very much like he'd like to sleep off the heat wave that sinks into Haruka's bedroom. "Dunno, two months ago or something. Fuckin' sucked."

Haruka glances at Rin's face, where a frown lingers. "You couldn't swim."

"S'why it fuckin' sucked." Rin lifts a hand, flicks his wrist. "But I got better. No big deal."

Haruka touches a finger down at the base of the scar that disappears into Rin's bellybutton. Rin's muscles contract for a second as he lets out a snigger – Haruka will always deny that he enjoys taking advantage of Rin's ticklishness, though this isn't one of the moments when he had been attempting to do so.

"Did it hurt?"

"The appendicitis or getting the thing taken out? 'Cause I wasn't awake for the second one."

Haruka lets out a noisy breath. Runs his index finger up along the scar, the short distance to the dip of Rin's bellybutton. Then he runs his thumb back down. Rin's skin is tougher where the scar is, like there's something knotted beneath the surface. Haruka marvels at the sensation. "Don't be an idiot," he says belatedly.

Rin makes a lazy sound in his throat, turns his head to the side, towards the fan whirring away on the floor. "No shit it hurt. Have you ever heard of anyone enjoying their appendicitis?"

"Did you cry?"

Rin scoffs. Eyes still closed, he reaches for Haruka's arm to hit him, but he has trouble locating it and soon gives up. "Fuck you."

"It's okay if you did," Haruka says, and moves his fingers to Rin's second scar, just above the low-riding waistband of his shorts. He touches it gently, as though he could hurt Rin by pressing very hard at all.

"Fuck off," Rin says, lips twitching automatically into a smile as Haruka's fingers skim over his skin.

"You can die from appendicitis."

"God, you're a fucking ray of sunshine, I missed you too." Rin covers Haruka's hand with his own, pinning Haruka's fingers to his stomach – probably so Haruka won't keep tickling him. His palm is clammy, and it makes Haruka aware of his own sweat – against the back of his neck, above his lip, beneath his shirt.

"Isn't your appendix on the right side?" Haruka asks. He's pretty sure, by the movement beneath Rin's eyelids, that Rin just rolled his eyes.

"Something about laparoscopy and leaving smaller scars, I dunno, stop making me talk."

Haruka pulls his hand out from under Rin's, and Rin – deciding no doubt that his hand is too hot against his own stomach – moves his arm so that his hand dangles off the side of the bed. Haruka leaves him alone for a moment, watches his face – the subtle tension between Rin's eyebrows and around his mouth that always lingers as he tries to fall asleep.

The scars draw Haruka's attention back soon enough, though. Little imperfections among the carefully toned muscles that Rin is so proud of. Haruka has a feeling that Rin is proud of the scars too, for some reason – he thinks they'd be the kind of thing Rin would like to flaunt.

Battle wounds, he imagines Rin saying. They're like battle wounds. Though he thinks Rin's sustained enough battle wounds over the years, even if they haven't been physical.

He uncrosses his legs, shifts so that he can lean down and brush his lips over the scar near Rin's hipbone. He doesn't know what possesses him to do it – quiet, gentle things are all Rin, though perhaps something about the heat has dulled his reservations. He doesn't mind if it has, because Rin's skin is smooth and warm (and just for a moment, he feels the merit of these quiet, gentle things in the flutter in his chest).

Rin makes a sound, something like a squeak, and Haruka glances up to see Rin's eyes on him.

"That's maybe the most romantic thing you've ever done," Rin says, chin ducked into his chest and eyebrows lifted in surprise.

Haruka lets out a snort; his nose brushes against Rin's abdomen. He sits back up.

"Everything is romantic to you."

"I've got another," Rin says, breaking into a grin and hooking his thumbs into the waistband of his shorts. He drags them down a bit, revealing paler skin. "Wanna see?"

"Not really."

Rin rolls his eyes again, lets his hands drop back onto the mattress. "So unromantic," he mutters.

Haruka doesn't argue, because he agrees. "I like them," he says, as something of a consolation, and Rin lets out a bemused grunt and shuts his eyes (his lips, though, are fighting a grin, and Haruka knew he was right about battle wounds and pride).

He touches the scars, finds something precious in them. They mark a little bit of Rin gone so that Rin is still here and healthy. It's a novel idea – Haruka has always thought of Rin as somewhat invincible despite all the evidence he's seen on the contrary (and it's always been things within Rin taking him down in the end, hasn't it?)

Haruka can't help but smile. Perhaps he really is succumbing to the lassitude the heat brings, because his next thought is that he'd like to pull off his shirt and lie down next to Rin, though he realizes full well that this would do nothing to help him cool down, and Rin would probably complain about him blocking the fan.

It's the heat of the day and the heat of Rin's skin beneath his fingertips, the drone of the fan and the steady rise and fall of Rin's chest and stomach. The undeniable aesthetical quality of Rin's scars – foreign and intriguing and for some stupid reason, charming. All of these things contributing to the helpless flood of affection Haruka is feeling.

He rests his palm atop Rin's abdomen, lets it sit there as he thinks about nothing much at all, mind whisked away by the fan blades. The next time he looks at Rin's face, some several minutes later, the tense lines have yet to have smoothed out. He thinks the heat must also be the reason behind his juvenile need to ask, once again –

"So did you cry?"

Rin lets out a growl, twists his body to wrap his arms around Haruka's waist, and pulls Haruka down next to him. Haruka finds himself with a facefull of Rin's hair. Finds himself laughing, as well.

"God, shut up," Rin says, nuzzling into Haruka's shirt, wrapping his arms tighter around Haruka's body.

And Haruka finally does.