Original Prompt: Write an angst AU with Rin ultimately losing to Haru
Yo. So this was a fun prompt considering this was done for a friend, this is the longest prompt fill I've done up to date. How wicked is that? So Angst. I'm also entering as an official fanfiction writer of the Free! Fandom now. I've been with it for a while now, but I never did anything. So please take my introduction graciously.
Note: Any errors will be edited out tomorrow. I'm seriously tired, but I wanted to get this posted lest I forget.
DISCLAIMER I DO NOT OWN FREE!
This had to be what it felt like to drown. Rin thought.
The air in his lungs had been forcibly been shoved out; and no matter how much he gasped for air he couldn't get enough in his lungs. It was as if they were already full to the brim with the despair he was feeling and there was no longer room for air.
He wasn't crying, he refused to cry as Haru had told him that much, but also because his pride wouldn't allow it. He'd been standing evaluating the results, and suddenly the ground beneath him pitched wildly like the sea before a storm, sending him crashing to the ground.
Of course he was aware that the ground hadn't moved at all, that his knees couldn't take the weight of his loss any longer.
He was forced to his knees because of how much his loss weighed on him.
Though he never took his eyes off of score board. He was second, and still fast enough to qualify for the next round, but he was behind the one person he swore he would no longer lose to.
Rin was still struggling for air, the despair having grown even more in the few seconds between him standing and kneeing on the concrete.
The sound of the cheering crowd soon became a white noise, and eventually dying out. Almost as if he could only focus on that damned board.
Black started to encroach on his vision, effectively blurring the rest of his vision so that the only thing he could see was the times that he was only behind by seven tenths of a second.
Something stepped in front of him, dully he noted that it was a swimmer, if the swim shorts were anything to go by. Familiar swim shorts.
Rin managed to raise his gaze enough to see the face of who was standing in front of him. He bit back the sound that he wanted to make at who it was.
"Rin…" Haru trailed off as if he wasn't sure what he should say.
Rin's pride finally kicked in, he shoved himself off of the ground, trying to look completely stable, his chest still hurt but at least it was accepting air now, he knew that his legs wanted to give out again, the loss still weighed heavily on him.
He didn't trust his voice well enough to speak. So instead he turned on his heel and walked away from the other teen. He didn't dare look back to see what kind of face the other was making.
It was impressive that he managed to get to the team locker room without falling or running into people that he didn't want to see. But the moment that he reached the bench he slumped down on it, and buried his face into his hands.
How did he lose? He should've been able to win without any issue, but instead he lost.
He didn't make a sound, he wasn't able to. His lungs were filling up with that unknown feeling, which he just labeled as despair, and the weight of his loss pushed heavily on his back making him double into himself.
Time seemed to be stationary, the final round of the tournament should be coming quickly, but he was unsure if he could compete. His school would be counting on him yes, though with how he was feeling now he doubted that he could actually stand again.
He heard something that sounded like a final call, though his hearing seemed to be failing. Attempting to stand, his legs gave out the moment that he placed all of his weight on them. He missed the bench next to him and instead came crashing to the floor, aware that he would have bruises from the landing. The ground was cool, he noted, and it felt wonderful. Almost comforting.
Since no one was around, and wouldn't be for a while, Rin rested his head on his arm and closed his eyes.
Ah, that voice…Ai?
Rin opened his eyes slowly and only partially. He was met with the concerned gaze of his roommate.
The other teen looked slightly relieved. Rin could only wonder why.
"You didn't come when they called your name for the final. Everyone got really worried and started to look for you. Even the guys from Iwatobi!"
Rin unconsciously winced at the name. Instead he stood up, slower than normal, more cautiously as well. He felt how stiff he was from laying on the concrete floor. He turned his gaze toward Ai.
"Senpai?" Ai tilted his head at the gaze. "Oh right! I have to tell everyone that I found you!"
Rin said nothing but watched at Nitori quickly sent a text out. Seconds later he heard the phone buzz.
"Captain said that we should meet up with the team at the bus." Nitori reported.
Rin shrugged. The smaller teen looked startled at the lack of response, but it was quickly covered up with an unreadable expression
Rin followed after the energetic teen. He looked around keeping alert for any signs of Iwatobi, finding none, he was content with following after his roommate.
"Nitori, Rin!" Seijuro called.
Rin looked up at the swim captain. Noticing that for the first time his vision was slightly blurry. He rubbed at his eyes, and that seemed to take care of the problem. Too late he realized that he was being addressed.
"Rin!" Seijuro snapped.
The red-head tilted his head towards the other.
"Why didn't you swim at the final?" The captain didn't look scolding, instead a little concerned.
Instead of answering he shoved passed his captain and climbed onto the bus, taking the single seat in the back of the buss and resting his head against the window. He didn't even care about the assortment of looks he was receiving, he just wanted to sleep.
Which is exactly what he did.
But by no means was it restful, nor was it meant to be.
He didn't dream, think, or remember. It was just an endless black void which removed him from the world, for a time. Nothing happened and nothing could hurt him. It was the reality that he longed for.
He easily slept through the ride back, but when he became apparent of some of the teams stares, that had turned from condemning to concerned, he wanted to fall right back into that endless void. Though it didn't escape him that he had cried while he was asleep, but he could not fathom the reason for the tears, there was nothing hurt him while he was asleep. So why? Even after he had promised himself he wouldn't.
The bus pulled to a stop in front of the school and he slowly pulled himself into a standing position, making him the last one off of the bus.
He headed towards his dorm the second his feet touched the sidewalk, not even caring that his team was talking about their usual post-tournament dinner. Unlocking the door to his room, he tossed his bag off to the side and laid down in the bed.
His body didn't need the rest, having taken long naps earlier in the day, but his mind won over tired from the strain that it had placed on him.
He fell right back into the void where nothing existed, not even him. There was no people, no laughter, no losing, no sadness, and maybe most importantly no swimming.
The pattern of him staying awake only as long as needed progressed for a few weeks, nobody was willing enough to approach him about it, and he knew and didn't care. Ai was trying his best to engage him in small games or conversation, but it didn't work.
Rin hadn't spoken since before that race. Because he knew now that it was the final race that he would ever have. He had raced Haru three times, and lost twice, he hated those odds so he stopped it there.
After almost a full month of this odd behavior Rin was called into the hallway by Seijuro. The captain had this concerned look on his face.
The mentioned boy looked up, his eye blank.
The captain sighed and tried a different tactic. "How's your sister?"
The captain's eyebrow twitched. "Don't you talk with her?"
"Dammit Rin!" Seijuro bellowed.
Rin looked up at the sudden loudness. His eyes were blurring again, he closed them tightly and opened them once more. His vision was clear enough.
Seijuro had started going on about something and Rin had zoned out again. But he returned when fingers where snapping in his face.
"Are you even listening? You've been skipping practice! Once or twice after you lost I could understand and even forgive, but now we're lucky if we see you once a week!"
Rin shrugged yet again.
"Stop fucking shrugging! You have one chance to give me a single good reason to not kick you off of this team until you get your shit together!"
Somewhere inside of him Rin was shrinking at the captain's harsh words, but he kept his gaze focused on a point past Seijuro's shoulder. He had never heard the other cuss.
"I'm waiting." Seijuro had his arms crossed, looking expectant.
Time passed between them but the silence was growing more and more strained. Until the russet haired teen threw his hands up in exasperation.
"That's it! Until you sort out whatever shit you have, you are suspended from the team!"
Rin shrugged again, with a brief look of something akin to his usual rebelliousness in his eyes, before turning and walking away.
He didn't turn back even if he was certain that he heard his name being called by someone. His vision once again blurred but he quickly rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hand.
Without swim practice to keep him from going straight back to bed, Rin was sleeping more and more, each time it got harder to pull himself from the black void.
The void itself was changing, and he couldn't tell if it was good thing or a bad thing.
He was surprisingly awake one evening when Ai walked in from swim practice. When Rin watched as his roommate lit up in surprise.
"Rin-senpai!" Ai greeted happily.
Rin didn't acknowledge that Ai had said anything. He continued to stare up at the bottom of the other bed.
"You're usually asleep by now, did you want to do something?" Ai chatted on as if Rin hadn't blatantly ignored him.
Rin shifted towards the wall, his back turned towards the smaller teenager, closing his eyes.
"Oh, if you're tired I guess we can do something later! I have a lot of homework to do anyway." Ai sighed.
Rin could imagine the downcast look on the other. He should feel guilty about what he had done to the other boy, but he couldn't bring himself to care, all he wanted was that endless black.
That and his eyes to stop blurring at inopportune times.
School was let out for two days for maintenance, and it just happened that it was before a weekend. Rin ignored the other students as the chatted happily about what they were going to do over their small break.
He headed straight to his dorm. He jiggled the knob in curiosity to see if it was open or not, as it turned out it was. He shrugged and pushed open the door. Ai was sitting at the desk reading some sort of novel but looked up when the door was open.
"Senpai!" Ai chirped. His eyes followed Rin as he sprawled on his bed.
Rin stared up at the bottom of the bed, he had less energy than normal today, and it had to be due to the excitement that seemed to fill the student body for the last hour of classes.
"That movie that you were talking about few weeks ago came out this weekend. Want to go see it?" Ai asked, his voice slightly hopeful.
Rin did as he had done a few days ago and turned his back against Ai.
There was silence for a second, the Ai spoke again, his happiness was clearly forced. "We can wait until it comes out on DVD right? It's more fun to watch it in your own space anyway."
Rin had stopped listening after the first few words. His eyes shut, and the rest of him turned off so that all he had was nothingness.
Over the long weekend Ai continued to invite Rin on small outings, but every time that he asked, Rin would just turn his back and face away from him.
Rin was awake for once. Ai had cooked lunch and he was eating it slowly. For once his roommate was silent. Which Rin didn't mind so much.
"Rin-senpai?" Ai asked quietly.
Nothing came from the swimmer.
"I know losing to Nanase-senpai must've hurt, but you should be over it by now! You're even suspended from the team! Why won't you talk anyone?" Ai pleaded.
Rin said nothing as he shoved away the bowl of food, he didn't really like it because to him it had no taste. He stood up, not even sparing a glance towards his roommate as he went and laid down on his bed.
Ai was silently, but Rin could feel the other's eyes on him. He turned towards the wall. The room was deathly silent, the outside noise seemed to stop even.
Finally the scraping of a chair and the clinking o dishes pierced the silence. The almost inaudibly Ai spoke.
"Rin-senpai, I really tried. I just don't think that I can stay in a room I don't feel welcomed in."
Rin didn't acknowledge the statement but was staring at the wall.
Ai continued in the same tone, it was regretful. "I asked captain for a room transfer to be prepared in case this weekend didn't show any improvements."
There was a soft padding sound as the door clicked open. Rin could hear Ai talk to Seijuro, he knew what the conversation was about so he found no reason to eavesdrop, and he would care even if he didn't know.
"I guess this is goodbye." Ai said as he padded back into the room, there was a sound of objects being thrown into a box.
Rin tuned out the sound as he stared at the wall blinking away the blurriness that overcame him suddenly.
"You can talk to me whenever." Were Ai's parting words.
The blurriness was back quicker but Rin just pressed the heel of his palm into his eyes, stopping the blurriness.
He realized that Ai hadn't shut the door, so he got up to close it, giving him privacy at last. When he looked out of the room he saw his former captain and roommate standing, discussing something of importance apparently.
Rin stopped when he heard his name mentioned. He didn't care, but something stopped him from shutting the door.
"I tried captain. I really did." Ai mumbled.
"I know, it's good that you stuck with him this long, but now he's alone. I don't know what else I can do to get him out of this funk." Seijuro rubbed his face, a show of weariness.
"We could always get the guys at Iwatobi involved. They got him to swim when he said he quit, so maybe the can get him out of this, whatever it may be." Ai replied.
Seijuro looked like he was considering it for a second. "It started after he lost to that Haru guy, will it really help?"
Ai shrugged. "At least tell his sister, she can do something that we can't. She'll know what's best for him."
The russet haired male looked uncertain. "I guess I could text Gou-san. She probably should've been told right away now that I think about it."
Rin shut the door, thoroughly disinterested in the conversation now, and his bed was calling his name. He stumbled over to it, as for the third time today his eyes decided that they weren't going to work properly. He fell face first on his bed, and half of him was hanging off. He only grabbed a pillow and pulled it towards him. Easily slipping into the blackness that had become his dreams.
He woke up surrounded by darkness, it took him a few seconds to figure if he was actually still asleep or if he was awake. But for those few joyous seconds he thought he had finally left the world of pain.
But that was broken as he fully woke up and saw the screen of his cell phone glow. He instinctively reached for the phone, ready to delete the message without reading it, but the ID stopped him.
New message. Gou. Was displayed across the screen.
He clicked the read button.
Subject: What's wrong?
Samezuka's Captain just called me and told me everything. Since the competition? Please tell me what happened, it isn't good to keep everything bottled up. If you don't respond then I'll tell the guys and they'll come beat some sense into you!
Rin hit the 'delete' button and shut his phone tossing it off to a corner of the room. He climbed fully onto the bed, and fell right back into the void. His shackles feeling exponentially tighter and more restricting.
It was another few months of deleting any of the Iwatobi boy's messages, and ignoring Gou's persistent calling. His once lean form was now nothing but a shade of what it had been, his complexion was pale, and he constantly got in trouble for sleeping in class.
But these days it was hard to resist the knowledge that if he just close his eyes he could be away from it all.
He was staring at the wall, in the same position he had been in when Ai gave up on him, which he didn't understand what Ai was even trying to do. But on a whim he gripped his cell phone prepared to delete the usual influx of messages he didn't care to read.
But he did notice that there were a lot more than normal, and that most of them were from Haru and Makato. He accidentally hit the 'read' button instead of delete, but out of laziness he read the message because it was already open.
Subject: Rin reply
Rin, I know that you're avoiding us. But give us an answer, the updates we get from that captain and other boy aren't promising. Gou's worried sick, as are Makoto and Nagisa. The theories that Rei's come up with aren't promising. Just give us an answer. Is this abou-
The message cut of due to message cap being reached. Since he had already read one half of it, he figured that he should read the other half.
Subject: Rin reply
t what happened at the race that day? You left so quickly afterwards, and that kid that was always hanging around told us he found you sleeping on the floor. Is that true?
Rin had no regrets as he hit the delete all button and tossed the phone off to some corner of the room, he heard something that sounded like breaking. He didn't care. After blinking away the blurriness, which had been becoming more frequent in recent days he returned to that comforting sleep.
When Rin woke up he noted that it was the weekend. His stomach growled but he ignored it in favor of finding a different sleeping position, thankful that the weekend was here so that he could sleep to his heart's content.
Just as he finally got comfortable the door to his room opened up. He opened one of his eyes to see who was entering.
He heard a large group of voices, which he quickly identified the owners. He feigned sleep, but actually didn't this time.
"Rin-chan!" A loud, worried voice, filtered into the normally silent room.
He heard several more people enter his room. They didn't see him right away on account of the wall blocking the bed.
"Rin-chan?" Nagisa whispered.
"Nagisa what's wrong, is he not here?" The voice was kind.
"He's here. But I think he's sleeping." The voice had dropped to a whisper.
"Don't be so certain, he could be or he could be faking it. We don't know anymore." The voice was rough and annoyed.
"Brother!" The only female voice cried. "Wake up!"
Again on a whim Rin opened his eyes, but didn't make any more movement than that, he didn't think that he had the energy do anything more.
Collective gasps filled the room, and Rin could guess why. He was aware of his declining appearance but he couldn't bring himself to care, he wasn't swimming any longer, and he couldn't even keep a promise to himself, much less his father. He had lost to same opponent twice that was unforgivable to him. But he was sure the most startling thing was the disinterest that his eyes held.
"Brother!" Gou did something that she normally didn't and rushed to hug her brother.
Rin remained stationary, not returning or rejecting the hug, instead his eyes focused in on an imperfection on the wall.
"Rin, what's wrong?" Makoto asked watching the exchange, his voice had a worried tilt to it.
Rin said nothing his gaze focusing in on the small spot.
"Rin?" Makoto tried again.
"Rin-san?" Rei stepped in this time. "Can you talk to us?"
Nagisa actually frowned something that was unusual on the blond's face. "So they were being serious about him not reacting to anything."
Rin saw Makoto and Rei exchange a look. Gou was still wrapped around him, Nagisa was looking around the room, and Haru hadn't said anything but continued to stare directly at Rin.
Finally he saw Ai and Seijuro standing in the doorway. They were looking at the Iwatobi boys with something unreadable in their eyes.
"Make sure to tell me when you're leaving so that I can check you out in the guest book." Was all the captain said before he pushed himself off of the door frame. Ai bowed in farewell and followed after his captain shutting the door behind him.
The room grew silent. Rin continued to stare at the wall, and there was only a little bit of shifting going around, no one seemed able to speak.
Finally Gou broke the silence. "Rin, brother, what's wrong?"
Rin ignored his sister. The others looked surprised at this. The looked at each other, having a silent conversation.
Finally Rei broke the silence. "Maybe we should try and talk to him one at a time?"
The other's nodded in agreement.
Makoto took charge easily. "Gou will go first its only right."
"Then Haru?" Nagisa suggested.
"I have a feeling I'm the last person he wants to see." Haru spoke almost sadly. "I'll go last."
"Alright, so I guess the order will be Gou, me, Nagisa, Rei, and then Haru?" Makoto suggested.
Words of assent were spoken, and Rin didn't care that they were talking about him like he wasn't in the room. The boys left leaving him and his sister alone.
Gou pulled back enough that she was sitting next to her brother.
"Nii-san what's wrong?" Gou asked.
Rin didn't reply more than shifting his gaze to a different spot on the room.
"Was it something we did?"
Again no reply.
"Was it someone specific that's causing you to act like this?"
Gou stood up. "Nii-san! Was it Haru-senpai?"
Gou through her hands up in frustration. "I can't help you if you don't talk! If you won't talk to me, at least talk to someone else!"
With that she stormed out of the room. Rin moved so that he was now leaning against the wall, he was tempted to fall back asleep.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw Makoto walk into his room. The brunette sat down in the chair and played with his thumbs for a few seconds.
"So…" Makoto started. "How have you been?"
Rin stared at the wall just past Makoto's head.
"Stupid question." Makoto rubbed the back of his head. "So, have you been eating properly? You're looking a little thin."
Rin didn't reply, not that he would, all he wanted to do was return the void.
"You should add more protein to build that weight up, after all if you're too thin then you won't be able to swim like you're used to."
Rin internally winced, not showing Makoto though. He was aware that he wouldn't be able to swim in his current body weight, he wasn't sure that he could even get in the water again if he was at his full weight.
"Alright Rin. I wanted to ease into the subject but you're making it difficult." Sluggishly Rin realized that Makoto was in his big brother mode.
"Rin what happened that day? Haru said you left without saying anything after the race. Nitori-san said that he found you sleeping on a locker room floor."
Rin only shifted his gaze so that he wasn't going to look at the stern face that Makoto had on. He gazed out towards the window, noting that his eyes were starting to get blurry, but he wasn't ready to get rid of the blurriness yet.
"I know something happened. I'll help you however way that I can, just talk to me! Please Rin!"
Makoto begging for something was rare, but it raised no reaction out of Rin. Instead silence filled the room, which was a common things these days.
There was no telling how long the two sat in the room together. Rin staring out of the window and Makoto watching him. Finally the brunette sighed as he stood up.
"You know, that's the worst thing about you Rin, your pride."
Makoto left the room. Rin remained where he was sitting and looking, the blurriness having got to an unbearable state he quickly pressed on his eyes while he was alone to get it to go away.
Nagisa walked into the room, it seemed like all of his usual energy seemingly evaporated.
"Rin-chan, why won't you talk to anyone?" Nagisa stated bluntly. "It's not like if you come clean to someone you'll be seen as weak."
Rin stirred, but not enough to alert Nagisa that he was actually affected. No, I'm already seen as weak. I know I'm weak, it's not like I'm trying to prove a point. I just like the blackness better than reality.
"You used to be so carefree and open. I felt like I could talk to you about anything, and I did. I want to extend that kindness to you know, but you won't take it. Why?"
Nagisa sounded close to crying. "Why don't you trust us anymore?"
"Rin-chan! I missed you. You have no idea how happy I was to see you again. But you're like this." Nagisa paused. "I have to wonder if the real Rin-chan ever came back."
Nagisa walked quickly out of the room, quicker the Makoto but slower than Gou. He hesitated at the door. But walked out.
Rin slumped down so that he was laying on the bed, he decided that he would close his eyes hoping to detour Rei.
The former track athlete walked in a sat in the chair that previously held Nagisa.
"Rin-san, I do not know you as the others do, but I still feel like I have to try and get you out of…" Rei hesitated as if he was searching for the correct word, "this."
Rei didn't let the room fall silent as the others did. "I actually found your butterfly stroke to be beautiful, it stunned me. I actually started to incorporate the style into my own. To get your power but have my own grace with it."
Rei inhaled. "I don't claim to know everything. Like I don't know why you let yourself get suspended, but I would like it if you started swimming again. At least for their sake. They admire you so much."
Rei stood up. "I don't have anything encouraging to say because I've never been in the same situation, but you're worrying the people you care about most. You can bet on it."
Rei walked out of the room, not quickly, nor did he hesitate, but he walked out with a sense of accomplishment.
Rin felt the blurriness return tenfold as he let the words that the other boy said resonate in the room. He also knew who was coming next.
He quickly rubbed his eyes to get rid of the blurriness. He sat up again, preparing himself to deal with his presence.
A few minutes later, a longer break time than the others, he heard the door slowly open followed by soft footfalls.
"Rin." Haru greeted, it seemed cold.
Rin kept his gaze trained on the window.
"Look at me." Haru commanded gently.
Rin ignore him.
"Rin." The tone was harsher this time.
Suddenly a hand shot out and grabbed Rin but the collar of his shirt. Haru was holding him at eye level. Rin's eyes were forced to meet the others, and he could see the anger, confusion, and hurt barely scratch the surface of those blue orbs.
"Rin what's gotten into you?" Haru's voice was filled with emotion that was so rare in his voice. "All you do apparently is bare minimum of what you have to and sleep!"
Rin started to look towards the wall, but Haru brought his head around to look at him in the eyes once again, Rin gave up trying to look elsewhere.
"You don't talk anymore, you're suspended from the swim team, and you look like you haven't eaten properly in weeks!" Haru's voice was raising in pitch. "What happened to make you like this? Was it me at the race that day?"
Rin tried his hardest not to look affected by those words. He blinked in quick succession fending off the blurriness.
Haru pressed on. "If it was, then why don't you just talk to me about it? I thought we were over you wanting to quit every time you lose!"
Rin knew that if Haru let go of him he would fall to the ground. He tried his hardest to not look affected but the words that were being yelled at him where starting to strike a chord with him.
"Rin, we're friends, everyone who has tried to help you are your friends. Can't you trust us? Or are you that weak that you can't even talk to someone?"
Haru suddenly shut up and Rin actually met the other's gaze on his own free will. Haru looked so shocked that he had actually said that, his normally emotionless eyes where filled with regret and shock quickly.
"Rin…" Haru said in a much calmer voice. "I didn't mean that. I just hate the fact that you can't seem to trust us. I hate that you had to go through so much and we couldn't help you. I hate that now when we're here and you can talk to us, you don't."
Haru took a step back, letting Rin's shirt go in the process. "If you find your voice, call me. I want to help, but if you refuse to speak then there is not much that I can do."
Rin was more surprised that he was able to remain standing without support. He watched out of the corner of his eye as Haru left through the door, closing it softly behind him. Once he heard the sounds of retreating footsteps he allowed himself to fall to his knees, doubled over.
He finally understood why his eyes were blurring as he stared at the door that his former friend turned rival had just shut. They were for all the times he just wanted to cry, to let someone know how much he hurt. And now that he had reached that point. No one was around to give him a shoulder to cry one.
It wasn't like he could stand up and go after the others. There was some invisible force that was holding him down making him unable to stand any longer.
He wasn't able to speak any longer to cry for help, for them to come back, so instead he just stayed hunched over on the cold floor letting the tears fall freely.
He could no longer swim as he wished, instead he knew that he was drowning, that he would soon be beneath the surface.
Since his voice was lost to him as the cries wracked his considerably weakened body. He did the only thing that was left to him.
He mouthed a single sentence that no one could see, that no one would ever know was formed.
'Save me, Haru!'
After that sentence was formed he was forcibly pulled into the black.
I'm a fucking sadist, I know leaving you all with a cliffhanger. But perhaps there will be a sequel, actually this was going to be resolved in one-shot, but if I continued with the resolution. I would lose the actual tone of the story, and I wanted it nice and angsty. So my dear friend who submitted this prompt, I hope you like it! Please leave your thoughts below. Later! ~IF