Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

Summary: Wherein Rin Matsuoka needed to appreciate what he has before it becomes what he had. RinHaru. Slightly AU.


"I understand that I'm not someone who you could even stain your pride for. Goodbye."

There wasn't a big fight. There was no screaming and yelling and throwing of things, like Rin always imagined it would go. There wasn't Rin slamming Haruka up against a wall, and there wasn't Haruka looking blankly at the other with bloodied lips. There was none of that.

One day, Rin came home to find Haruka packing his things that were slowly making their way in Rin's apartment. It wasn't really much, just a pair of shirts and pants.

That was how it ended. Haruka looked up and gave him a passive glance, and Rin placed his coat on the stand. He watched Haruka pack. When Haruka was done, he cleared his throat and zipped his duffel bag before he said, "I'm leaving you," in a soft but firm whisper, and walked down the steps.

Rin didn't say anything, but he followed him down the stairs and into the living room. Something hot and painful burned inside him. It spread and ignited all over his body, face heating, and there's something desperate inside him screaming, don't go don't go don't go, except Rin couldn't make his mouth work, or his throat stop swelling enough to actually say the words.

So, he watched Haruka go. He watched him walked out of the door and get in on that stupid elevator. Haruka left the keys sitting on the foyer table. When the elevator door closed, Rin turned back around.

25 May 2013 11:08
To: Haru

You took my fucking jacket!

Haruka and Rin fighting was not something new. Neither of them expected it to change when they started their dysfunctional relationship, and they were more than a little relieved when it didn't change.

The problem with them being together was that when they were not fighting and not being themselves, they're confiding their deepest and darkest feelings to one another, and Rin knew how to use those words to hurt more than anything when they start fighting again. The very first time he did it, Haruka recoiled back, as if Rin slapped him.

But more than anything, Haruka knew too how to flung words right back. Before the both of them knew it, they were screaming and shouting, hurling painful insults at one another that cut like knives and burn like acid against the other. Things were thrown, words were spat, and by the end, they're both breathless, in more ways than one.

There was silence for a moment. Haruka's heavy breathing echo around the room and Rin's breath caught a little as he realized everything they had said to one another. He opened his mouth. Nothing came out.

Haruka steadied his breath and let out a short and bitter laugh. "I have never hated you so much in any moment than I do right now," he said acidly and walked out of the red-head's apartment.

Rin didn't follow him.

Because Haruka would always come back. Rin never followed, and Haruka never asked him to. They fight and scream and yell and get all violent, but Haruka would always come back.

Maybe that was why Rin just went about his days, convinced that Haruka will be coming back this time too.

Rin adjusts to life without Haruka. But sometimes Kou needed to snap him out with a shout of "Rin!" in the middle of conversation.

This was not the first time Haruka had left for a long period of time.

The first time was after a long battle that Rin instigated, over something as silly as Haruka staying too long in the bathroom. They fought and fought and fought, and in the end, Rin called him a water freak who didn't even care about his childhood friend's feelings. Haruka called Rin an egoistic asshole, then taken absolutely painful digs at Rin and his life choices. They both did.

Haruka angrily walked to the door and before slamming it shut, spat that Rin's damn lucky if he could be a meter close to him again.

They didn't talk for a month and Haruka stayed at his own apartment. The bed was cold and empty and Rin stayed awake most nights, inhaling the fading scent on Haruka's pillow and thinking about reaching out for his phone to call him, text him, anything, saying, I miss you and I'm sorry. But he didn't, because that's not who Rin is. He never apologized and never gave in. He just can't. Every time his brain told him to call, text, visit, his body wouldn't follow the orders. Every time he opened his mouth during a fight to say, stop, alright, stop, I'm sorry, I didn't mean any of it, his throat shut and his jaw's tight, unwilling to let the words slip.

So, Rin waited.

A month and a week later, Haruka appeared on his doorstep, a bag next to him. They didn't say anything. There was no resolution to their fight. There was only Haruka hungrily kissing those cold lips as Rin carried him upstairs. There was only him tossing Haruka down against the black colored sheets and Haruka with cheeks flushed from the thrill. There was only Haruka gripping his shoulders, more, more, more, and Rin biting at his throat, love bites that leave a ring around the other's collarbone, a necklace that screamed mine, mine, mine.

They fell asleep and something inside Rin curled up and settled down with Haruka being on his arms.

Kou said it first. "You truly believe that he's coming back." she taunted.

Nagisa was second. "He's not coming back, Rin-chan. Why don't you come to him and straighten things up?"

But Rin would only give them a blank look before proceeding to whatever he was doing.

Haruka Nanase moved out on a dark, rainy November day.

Hiding several feet away, Rin blankly watched as the apartment was emptied – one box at a time. Haruka heaved a sigh and wipes the sweat off his brow with the back of his hand, muttering something, probably soft profanities at how much 'crap' he had accumulated over the years.

Maybe, he thought, maybe if he had tried harder, they could still be living together.

He imagined – he imagined because that's all he could do, and it's all he's been doing for months now– what it would've been like.

The thought made his heart ache.

Because Haruka was moving out and moving on with his life.

Without him.

The thought left a bitter taste in his mouth.

It's been half a year and Rin never heard from Haruka once.

When Rin dropped by Makoto's apartment to have some of his wounds treated, he found a postcard addressed to Makoto on the fridge, picture side out. It was a cheesy picture, of the ocean and the beach, the sun setting behind the waves. Rin slid it out from under the magnet and turned it over.

In Florida. I got sunburn but I don't mind. It doesn't hurt like how those other people make it out to be. Or maybe it's just me. The waters here are wonderful. Advance Happy holidays. Call you soon. Take care, Haruka.

The burning inside Rin was back as he replaced the magnet and faced the truth.

Rei was next.

He said, "You know, he was really happy," one day, when they were co-incidentally met at the convenience store. Rin didn't pause as he scrutinized the bento box, but his hold got a little bit tighter and harsher. "He was tanned and happy and I haven't seen him like that since forever."

His head snapped up. "You saw him?" Rin growled. Rei didn't even flinch. He nodded like he was bragging about it.

"He came to visit for the holidays," Rei continued. Rin felt like he had been hit by a truck. There was silence for a moment. Finally Rei added quietly, "You should move on Rin. He has."

Rin walked towards the cashier.

05 January 2014 00:08
To: Haru

Come back.

Rin continued working and sat in the silence of the apartment that Haruka changed in his own ways. The refrigerator was still full of mackerels and there was a toy dolphin on the bathroom. The bed sheets that Haruka chose, the curtain colors that somehow brightened up the place, and the framed picture on the bedside table, Haruka chose them all and Rin came home to them every night, something in his head saying, Haruka will be there too. Except he never was, and that's when the burning ignite, full force again, every single time Rin walked into the apartment.

Sometimes Kou was there and she would catch the look of surprise on Rin's face when he realized Haruka wasn't there. Kou would always give him this look like she felt sorry for him, and it made Rin so angry, so tired, and he felt weak from all the emotions coursing through him.

"You believe he'll come back just like every time, back to your waiting arms and just pretend like nothing ever happened. You don't even know what you've lost." Kou said right before Rin's fist flew just a centimeter away from her left cheek.

30 June 2014 00:00
To: Haru

Happy birthday. I remembered this year.

He started to accept that Haruka wasn't going to come back. He stopped expecting Haruka to be on the other side of the door, all of his things put away, running to Rin and wrapping his legs around the other's waist, all tangled up together, so good, so good, and he stopped imagining that Haruka missed Rin as much as Rin missed him.

But that didn't make it easier.

The drawers on Haruka's side of the dresser were still empty. The sole picture of him and Rin still placed on the side table.

Still, Rin tried to move on.

He talked to Makoto first. He was not one for opening up but he thought it might help. He still struggled, either way. "I know that…I'm accepting that…I'm trying," he struggled to say, I know Haruka's not coming back and I know I treated him like shit, but none of that came out.

Makoto offered a tentative pat on his back. "You'll get there,"the other's voice was so comforting "You will Rin. You'll be just as happy."

Rin could not see it, but he tried anyway. He stopped taking all the overtime at the front of the computer to avoid coming to an empty bed. Instead, he put his own little touches to the bedroom. He changed the curtains to a brighter shade and added a picture of him and his sister. It wasn't much but it was the little things, he thought, that made it so it's not Haruka, Haruka, Haruka, all the time.

He wasn't sure when it happened, but one day, as the leaves were turning crisp again, Rin realized that the burning didn't hurt that much. Haruka never left his head, but his image gotten a little nicer and less bitter.

25 May 2014 02:25
To: Haru

It's already been a year. You can still come back anytime you'd like, you know? I wouldn't really mind.

[Failure to deliver the message]

Nagisa convinced Rin to dine with them one night, because Rei made a new recipe that the world needed to try. So Rin strolled on their meeting place, and talked over the strange dish Rei prepared.

"What's that?" Rin suddenly asked, pointing at the unique looking empty picture frame sitting at the corner of the table. Nagisa looked over at it and then snapped his gaze back over to Rin.

"That's – Haru-chan sent it this morning, a gift." He says quietly. Rin's heart leapt a little but he controlled it quickly. He studied the frame for a moment.

Haruka always had a refined taste, Rin thought. The frame probably was antique, Rin realized, and it had a delicate look, like it couldn't withstand much. But Rin knew the truth. The token could probably survive almost anything.

"It's nice," he said when he finished looking at it, and tried to ignore the way that Nagisa looked pleasantly surprised that there were no outbursts at the mentioning of Haruka's name outright.

"It is," Nagisa said and he meant it in more ways than one.

It's been a year and a three months.

Fall was there and Rin smiling easier, laughing easier was right there too. Thinking about Haruka less and less happened eventually, though Rin's heart would always flutter whenever he heard Haruka's name. Holidays came and Rin spent them with Makoto, Nagisa, Rei and Kou.

Postcards came all the time for Makoto, pictures of different oceans and state lines and even a few times – countries. Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and then over to England and back. Hawaii, Florida, South Carolina, New York. Rin had all the pictures from the postcards memorized because they were little details of where Haruka had been and where he might stay.

Haruka sometimes visit Makoto and Nagisa and Rei, even Kou, but no one ever told Rin until Haruka was already gone. Rin never asked.

He's not ready yet.

It's been a year and three months, and Rin almost forgot the look on Haruka's face when he left.

Sometimes, Rin wondered why he ever stayed angry as long as he did. He wondered why he couldn't have been happy with Haruka from the beginning. He realized that in the beginning, he was so cautious. He fell hard for Haruka but he was also nervous, distrustful, and waiting for the other shoe to drop from the beginning. Haruka only ever wanted Rin to trust him, to treat him as an equal, and Rin always held himself so far above everyone else, away from the danger of being hurt and betrayed.

Every time, Rin regretted it. He regretted flinging words about Haruka and and his life in general back in Haruka's face every time they fought. He regretted never telling Haruka the truth, I love you, I love you, I love you, and he regretted never, not even once, chasing after Haruka. To tell him he was sorry and please come back because they could work things out.

He never did that, and that's what he regretted the most.

30 November 2014 11:50
To: Haru

Just so you know…I love you.

[Failure to deliver the message]

When spring burned bright and beautiful again, when flowers romantically bloomed, that was when Rin wanted to leave.

There was an itching underneath his skin and the need to go and find Haruka. The latest postcard read, in London, found a job, people talk funny here, and there's not much waters. With Haruka's name signed at the bottom. The postcard was a picture of the redneck flag, which had made Makoto laugh delightedly.

"He'd never," Makoto said, "he doesn't fit in there," and he'd shaken his head and stuck it on one of the only remaining spots on the fridge.

Rin packed his things and booked a plane ticket.

It's been two years and Rin wanted to tell Haruka all the things he realized.

He hoped it wasn't too late.

London was busier than Japan and Rin studied a map of the city trying to figure out where to start looking. Before he did anything, he checked into a hotel. He grabbed another map and a bottle of water, and started wandering around the city.

Rin found him by accident.

It's a bar on practically the other side of the city, and Rin was tired and hungry so he walked in and sat down at the couter. He saw Haruka before Haruka saw him. He was working behind the counter, pouring drinks and laughing reservedly with a customer.

When Haruka turned his head, he stopped. Rin stopped breathing and stared back at him. Two years, his brain supplied for him, and he's seeing Haruka's face. He looked a little older, but there were less worry lines around his eyes than there had been when he was with Rin all the time. His hair was still shining and his eyes were still the same – bright and sapphire blue, reading all Rin's emotions out for him.

Haruka stepped forward. Rin fought the urge to flee and told his mouth determinedly, you will speak, as he kept his eyes on Haruka.

"Hey," Rin said hoarsely, moth dry. Haruka said nothing and Rin was amazed at how much he could compose himself. "Ma – Makoto gets these postcards," he said, "They – they say where you are, where you've been. And I know they were addressed to Makoto." Rin looked down, running his fingers in odd shapes over the bar counter, "But I can't help thinking that they were for me, telling me if I ever wanted to come for you, this is where you'd be."

Haruka still didn't say anything.

"I just wanted to – I wanted to say," Rin took a deep breath, and then started all over again because it was not coming out right. "No, that's not right. Here's what I'm saying. All these things have happened, and while I'm happier and brighter and probably even nicer, every time something significant happens in my life, I can't help thinking, what would Haru think about this? Your voice never leaves my head. You – your thoughts are always echoing in my brain when I'm about to make a decision."

Haruka looked at him and then he cleared his throat, "You came all this way to tell me that?" he asked.

"No," Rin said slowly, "I cam all this way to tell you that I'm fighting for you. I'm – I'm changing for you, I'm trying for you because I want you, Haruka. And I love you. I do," Rin said adamantly when Haruka opened his mouth to say something. "But I want to start over. I don't want to go right back to where we were. I want dinners and movies and wine and chocolate and all the stupid cheesy stuff. I want a buildup to sex because the payoff will be greater in the end. I want to sleep with you in my arms and wake up next to you."

Haruka's eyes were shining with something Rin couldn't quite read and it made his heart hammer even louder but he knew he couldn't stop. Not now.

"I get off at ten. There's this really nice diner around the corner. And Japan was my next stop anyway."

Rin breathes out and grabbed Haruka's collar to taste the lips he longed for all these years.