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By doctorqueenie

Drama / Romance

Sousuke - The one who hated Mondays

The fire had started a couple of minutes ago, and as far as the questioning goes everything leads to a defaulting toaster on the second floor. Sousuke was still interrogating the people leaving in the five floors' old building - the walls look dilapidated, it wasn't difficult to guess why the fire had spread so easily - when he catches the silhouette of the fireman from the corner of his eyes. Deciding he'd had enough clues, the policeman leaves the survivors of the small incident and runs towards his new friend. It wasn't the first time that the two men meet, and according to his room-mate, Sousuke needs to get out more, to make friends, thing that had never really bothered him until Rin showed him how many phone numbers he had compared to him. Makoto had seemed to be a very good choice for a first try.   

The fireman smiles when he sees him coming. He is tall and built like a tank but at least that's something they had in common - it's not much but it's a start. Surprisingly Sousuke discovered as they went along that Makoto was a very shy and kind guy, contrasting so much with his formal appearance. He almost seems like a different man when he wears his overalls.   

"Do you have a girlfriend?" he asks him that Monday, rather abruptly.   

They're having a cup of coffee on the street just next to where the fire took place. Sousuke has to make a report but really, there is nothing complicated about the incident; it's just as he had guessed. Makoto has found the defaulting toaster and the owner of the building had been charged. People were being rehoused at this very moment until the end of reparation.    

The question came out rather naturally; it was just small talks between two new found friends - well, Sousuke likes to think of them that way - but then the cup in Makoto's hand freezes suddenly. He can see the uneasiness on the fireman's face and he immediately regrets his bold question. He didn't have a guy's talk in a while, maybe that's not something that is being asked so openly, not on the first coffee.   

"Ah, sorry, I didn't want to-"   

"Oh no, no, it's okay it's...His name is Haruka."   

Oh, well; okay then.   

"It does sound a little bit girly for a guy's name," he says casually with a small smile on his lips.  

"Ah, he doesn't really like it. People always calls him Haru."   

The rest of the chat goes nicely after this small moment of hesitation. Sousuke had never thought the fireman likes men - it was just a matter of statistic, considering his room-mate was gay, the chance that his new friend could be as well appears to be very small in his mind - and it's not something that bothers him in any way. Actually, he really appreciates the man. He is kind, patient; he looks like the kind of person who you grow attached to. It's everything he needs at the moment.   

"We should hang out some times," he says, before they parted to their respective job's activity. "And you could bring Haru along - I live with a guy, and he likes meeting new people too."   

There's a bit of confusion on Makoto's face as he speaks, but it only lasts an instant.    

"Ha, it's very nice of you Sousuke -san." He takes out his phone and gives him his number. "I'm not sure Haru would want to get out though, he doesn't really like socialization but-"   

"Ah don't talk to me about it, it kind of reminds me of someone I know."    

He doesn't even have to explain that he was referring to himself. Makoto gives him one of his understanding smile and for the rest of the trip back to the station, Sosuke thinks of how lucky Haruka must be.

After the report is finished, Sousuke drives to another place - a supermarket had been robbed; some money had been stolen but it seems nobody was hurt, physically speaking. He goes alone since it's Rin’s day off. One of his colleagues had insisted that he shouldn't go there without a partner, but he needs things to be done that way. Sousuke Yamakazi isn't someone who craves for human contact. He is very well on his own, and can't really stand anybody's presence more than an hour unless it's Rin's. Speaking of him, the redhead has just sent him another selfie.
'Hot chicks at the swimming pool ;p'
it says.    

Sure the girls around him look very nice but he doesn't need one at the moment. He has other things in mind. Something like a promotion. He needs to work hard, and so should do Rin because they are 27 years old and still living together and even if it doesn't really matter to him - to live with his very very gay childhood best friend - his life doesn't really look like the one he'd imagined he would have back when he was a kid with his eyes full of dreams.   

Monday is his least favorite day of the week for that reason. Rin is running, or at the pool, and he keeps on sending him those kinds of childish messages that reminds Sousuke of how immature the guy can be. They'll need to talk about this, eventually, or at least to look for a better place - or well, two better places - for them to live. It's probably going to be a shock, for the both of them; as far as he can remember, Sousuke has always shared his place with Rin since high school; and even before that they were always stuck together as kids.   

But they need to move on. Rin needs to move on. It aches Sousuke that the guy still chases his father's dream, that he keeps on swimming every Monday as if nothing has happened, as if the shooting had been a dream, as if his arm was still working as well as it was when they were in the national team. Sometimes Sousuke thinks it's partly because of him. After all, Sousuke had been there in every step of Rin's life and that's maybe why he couldn't get over it. Maybe when he looks at Sousuke, Rin still pictures the dorms, the pool, the competition, the relay they almost won...maybe when he looks at Sousuke, Rin pictures himself as a young teenager with his eyes full of dreams and shining stars and that's probably why he can't let it go of that.   

But swimming and dwelling on the past won't pay for his part of the rent; on the other hand, socializing and hard-working will.  

When he gets home at the end of the day, Rin's hair is wet from his shower. He still smells of chlorine - the scent is pleasant but irritates Sousuke anyway. Soon the room is filled with the nice smell of onion and vegetables. Rin isn't a great cook, but he is still better than Sousuke, and considering the state of their kitchen it's almost a miracle that his cooking tastes that good. The house is big, maybe too big for only two people but it's old. The kitchen, on top of everything, is ridiculously small compared to the living room. Their bedrooms are both upstairs along with two bathrooms. Sousuke hates those stairs. They squeak. It's not very handy when one of them wants to have a one night stand discreetly. They even have started a game - the one who gets caught the most at the end of the month has to take the other to dinner. This month, Sousuke lost.    

But this time he looks forward to their trip at the restaurant.   

"A new friend you said?"    

Rin is still chewing on his beef when he speaks. Sousuke gives him a glare and he stops, swallowing before he adds. "A new gay friend?"   

"And his boyfriend."   

Sousuke is damn fucking hungry and eats almost twice as much as usual. His favorite place is closed today, something that had never happened before - most of the restaurants he usually drops by are closed on Monday, but not this one, not this one and today it was closed - and so he had barely eaten a sandwich near 1 pm and some bagels in the afternoon at the police station. His stomach is still growling after he finishes his first plate, but it's not like Rin complains or even notices. His thoughts seem taken by something else tonight.   

"Are you sure the guy doesn't want you to come alone? I don't want to be the third wheel if your new friend forgets to bring his dude, you know what I mean-"   

"It's okay," Sousuke says a little bit annoyed. He hates Mondays because Rin is such a in good mood and full of energy when on the other hand Sousuke feels down and grumpy that he can't stand it. "I talked to you about him. He said it was a very good idea. His name is Makoto by the way. And his boyfriend's Haruka. Just like you, guys with girly names."   

"Sounds fun." Rin says, as he bites into his bread. "Oh, I have to tell you something. Just before I sent you that picture, something terrific happened!"   

And again Sousuke endures, like every Monday evening, Rin and his fantastic stories about swimming...and he can't wait for the day to be over. He only longs for his bed, his white, fresh sheets and for the moment when he will open his eyes and it will be Tuesday, at last.

They have agreed on a sushi restaurant. Sunday night isn't what Sousuke would call the perfect timing but, since both Rin and Makoto's boyfriend work on the weekend it was impossible to find a better setting. Rin came directly from work, and Sousuke is late, awfully late - but his favorite show isn't over he can't just leave it half way -, - even if it was on replay - ,  and is pleased to see that the three of them are already inside. Rin has always been the talkative and natural type of guy; he probably had no problem starting the conversation.   

"Sorry, I'm sorry, but-"   

"You watch too much TV for your own good, Sousuke."    

Rin doesn't even give him the chance. Sousuke sits next to him, and hits his ankle with the tip of his foot. In front of him, Makoto smiles gently; his boyfriend is watching outside from the window. The guy is rather refined for a man - his face is rather pretty, his hair are long on his temple; his fingers are thin and he has a small frame and those eyes. They look quite the perfect opposite, he thinks. Sousuke likes to decipher people. That's what he likes the most about being a cop. It had taught him how to learn about people, to guess things right, to trap the liars.    

He is sure somehow that he has already seen the Nanase guy before.   

The dinner goes without any hitch. Makoto is nice and doesn't mind Rin's boldness. His friend is rather quiet and doesn't smile much but it's something Makoto warned him about - and suddenly Sousuke remembers he had forgot to tell Rin, and now he sees his roommate's face starting to crumble every time he tries to make a joke that falls flat and he doesn't, oh no, he doesn't regret it one bit.   

"So what do you think about them?" Sousuke asks when they come back to their house.   

Rin opens the door and puts his coat on the rail. "It was nice. It's really cool that they are old swimmers as well. It turned out better than I expected, I didn't even have to play candy crush."   

"See? I'm not that terrible at making friends."   

Rin laughs and sits down to take off his shoes. Sousuke follows. It's not until they're brushing their teeth that Rin talks about the dinner again.   

"Whach's hich' name again?"   

"Makoto," he says.   

"No, I know who Makoto is." Rin spits some toothpaste on the skin. "But his boyfriend, the one who sat in front of me?" 

"The one who didn't laugh at your famous shark joke?"   

Rin sends him a death glare.   

"His name is Haruka. Haruka Nanase, but everyone calls him Haru."   

"Haruka Nanase..." Rin repeats, and he repeats it again, and again, he repeats without talking until the name is burned and indelible in his mind. Sousuke doesn't have a very nice feeling about that - he had always found it creepy when Rin does this kind of thing to remember something - but he is too happy that Rin likes his friend to be bothered. That night, Sousuke sleeps better than he had ever done since they moved here. Even if tomorrow would be Monday, and that he really hates Mondays, Sousuke is truly and deeply happy when he drifts off to Morpheus' arms.

"Not a very busy day?"   

"You bet."   

"How is the old lady from last week by the way?"    

Sousuke takes a bite of his bagel and hands the box to Makoto.   

"She is alright, she only fainted because of the shock. The doctors told us her head was fine when we brought them another patient just after that."   

It's been several months since the dinner. The two of them are too busy to organize another one but at least, Makoto and Sousuke meet every Monday at the corner of street where the police station is. Today is the first day of spring, and cherry blossoms are blooming on the trees. Rin is certainly overexcited.  

"They're at the pool." Makoto tells him, when Rin comes into the conversation - and he can't even remember why they have talked about him in first place.   


"Haru and Rin. They meet at the pool every Monday."   

"Oh." Really? That's odd... 

"You look surprised."    

Sousuke frowns unintentionally. It's not something that can be helped. Sousuke has a radar for trouble, and it has just been activated. He looks at Makoto closer. There is no traces of worries on his face. Just some curiosity; as if for him it was normal for two guys who has just met to swim together every Monday - wait, that sounds pretty common actually, considering that Rin always swims on Mondays and-   

"It's just that he didn't talk to me about it."   

It's maybe because Rin always talks about everything that the news had startled him at first, and also maybe because he remembers him repeating Nanase's name like a mantra - and he really doesn't like that, not at all, not knowing Rin.   

But what's the point of worrying for nothing, just an intuition?  

The answer is that, there is none.   

"...but it's not like we're married after all; he can do whatever he wants, it's none of my business," he adds quickly.    

He'll talk to Rin this evening when he'll get home, until then there is no need to worry Makoto for nothing, for just a feeling, for his fucking cop instinct.    

"Ah ah, that's true. Haru doesn't talk about a lot of things either, but I think he quite enjoys swimming with Rin. He always looks rather serene when I come back. I'm glad they get along well; we could maybe plan another dinner in the future." Makoto says. He takes a sip of coffee before going on, "And, I quite enjoyed Rin's presence as well. He seems to be quite fun to be with."   

Sousuke smirks unintentionally. "Actually, Rin can be so perfect that it's getting annoying. He cooks, he makes his chores, and he is really tidy and keeps well company. He is also smart and nice. He wants to help people, that's why he joined the force in the first place; he can look rude sometimes but really Rin is the most kindhearted person I know on earth - and I'm absolutely not saying that because he’s the only friend I was able to keep since high school."    

Makoto laughs at his joke, it makes him want to smile. Maybe that's why Rin is always smiling so much.   

"Is that's the reason why you've joined the police, too?"   

There's an uncomfortable silence, here, because sometimes Sousuke remembers why he didn't want to be close to anyone. He sighs.   

"I'm...definitely not as nice and considerable as Rin. I like mysteries, and I like to solve them. I like to find who did what; I don't want to help, really. I could have done something else probably but I guess I just followed Rin . He is the kind of guy that makes you want to follow him, wherever he goes."   

Sousuke finishes his coffee, not daring to see the disappointment on the fireman's face. It's always hard to be compared to Rin, but Sousuke is rather honest and doesn't like to make unnecessary effort, like being nice when he doesn't want to, or faking interest in others. He genuinely appreciates Makoto's company so it's really not a problem to stay here with him. The guy is so nice, that he is scared his selfishness might make him run away.   

But instead, Makoto has his smile on his face, the one that's warm and comforting, the 'motherly' smile as he likes to call it. 

"What?" He asks, still on the defensive.   

"Oh nothing, really." Makoto takes his cup and finishes his coffee as well. "You're just really cute."   

Sousuke frowns, but doesn’t ask for more. He is too glad that Makoto isn't judging him and plus, there are others things he is curious about.   

"How long have you known Nanase by the way?"   

Makoto smiles turns into something different, something Sousuke could have called fondness if he knew what it looks like. "Ever since I can remember; it's very similar to you and Rin, really."   

They were neighbors and went in the same school at the age of 6. And since that time, they had never parted from each other's path. They have moved in together when they left high school for convenience, even if they weren't in the same university.  

"Haru is the only person I've really known my entire life. I've spent so much time with him that I guess, what had to happened well, happened. One night we were drunk and I confessed; he'd spent the night in my room and had never left it since. We didn't really..." there is a small pause in his speech, his knuckles turn white. " about it but it's been seven years now."   

"Holy fuck, seven years! That's a lot. Do you plan on getting married?"   

"No, not really." Makoto says very quicly , and in his voice there is no ounce of bitterness or regret and Sousuke finds that weird, considering how Makoto is. "I don’t really think that it's for us, you know? Maybe I'll change my mind at some point but I'm not sure for Haru though."   

"Well you need to ask him, eventually. To be honest, I've never been a best man and I'll probably never be one so-"   

Makoto blushes furiously, and tries to make him stop teasing him like that - but he can't. It's maybe not as funny as bugging Rin but still, it makes Mondays a little bit easier to bare when Makoto is with him.   

When Sousuke comes back home that day Rin isn't there. He tries to call him but apparently he forgot his phone - it's in the living room, near the laptop. It has two missed calls and five unread texts. They all come from Nanase.   

'Call me.'   


'We need to talk.'  


'I'm sorry.'   

He erases them all instinctively. He doesn't regret it, even after he had given it a thought.   

Rin comes back half an hour later. It happens he was jogging, which is another abnormality for him - for it's not his time of the day to jog.   

"I wanted to see that new weight room. There was no bus so I ran there. Now that my arm feels better I think I'm gonna try to lift weights a little." Rin shows him his arm and the scar near his shoulder. "See? They're so thin compared to what they were before."   

"You're going to get exhausted." Sousuke says, trying to stay calm. He hides his hands from his view, he doesn't want him to see how tense he is. "You won't be able to run and lift and swim-" 

"Actually I think I'm gonna stop swimming; at least for a while."  

Rin's voice sounds neutral, way too neutral for someone who loves swimming, too much for Rin who intends to quit. It's like he had prepared himself to say those lines, in the most casually way possible for him. Sousuke can feel it; he knows there is probably something happening right in front of him but he can't really ask about it. Because, the probability that Rin will honestly answer are close to zero and, really, he doesn't want to know. If something really is up and that it's really as bad as Sousuke thinks it is, then he'll have to tell Makoto, eventually. It's the very last thing he wants to do.  

"I had coffee with Makoto today. He told me you were at the pool with Haruka."   

"Yeah, I was."   

Rin's voice sounds angry. His face has lost his formal cheerfulness. Sousuke thinks about the texts again.  

"Did you two have a fight?"   

Rin hides his face away. "...Not's's...he annoys me so much! - Have you seen my phone by the way?"   

Sousuke hands it to him. "Why does he annoy you so much?" 

"Oh, you know how he is." Rin looks at the screen and stares, blankly. He looks confused. "We just don't have the same vision of swimming. You know how I can be rude about that, you've suffered from that as well - and you don't go swimming with me anymore."   

The phone is back in Rin's pocket without any second checks. "That's why we've decided not to swim together again. Is that enough for you, inspector Yamazaki? Or do I need to call my lawyer?" 

"I was just asking about your day."   

"Tss." Rin's shoulders tense before going back to normal. "Anyway. It doesn't matter anymore."   

Rin is an open book to Sousuke, or at least he likes to think it's true, always. But sometimes it's not. Rin is an open book only because he doesn't care if Sousuke understands him so much, it's just easier to live with him that way. He chooses to be readable on purpose and when the moment comes where he doesn't want to anymore, the moment Rin decides that he'll be a complete mystery again, he does it. He closes up, crocks into his shell and then, there is nothing Sousuke can do but standing unprepared in the dark.   

Sousuke doesn't like when Rin is cold like that. He doesn't like the tone of his voice, the confusion on his face, the words he says that don't mean anything to him, the severe look he gives him when Rin turns around to see what he is really doing - studying him, trying to get behind that shell for a change but, tonight he won't. Rin will make sure of that. 

"How was Makoto?" He asks, to close the internal debate they were having.   

"Fine. He was fine."  

Sousuke walks toward the kitchen - and ineluctably, towards Rin - and he really doesn't know why, but it feels like it's not enough. There is something that is bothering Rin and Sousuke can't help but think that it's about Nanase. And there is this pinch at the point of his stomach, the one he usually feels when he's questioning, he just knows, somehow, that Rin is hiding something from him.   

"Actually I found him very happy. I'd like him to stay that way." 

The warning is pretty simple. It's a nice one, friendly advice that anyone but Rin would mistake for just a burst of friendship feelings.     

Because, Sousuke isn't the only one who can read his room mate easily. Especially when Sousuke wants the message to be clear, very clear.  

Rin gives him a bemused look, and lifts his eyebrow.  

"Well, keep on treating him to coffee on duty then, I'm sure it'll be enough. Jeez; if you were at least as protective with me I never would have been shot."   

And with these words Rin walks away, casually, leaving Sousuke without a proper response, or even just the beginning of a word to say. These words were enough to make him drop the conversation.   

They always are.   

They don't talk for the rest of the night. Sometimes, Sousuke would catch a glimpse of Rin, alone in the corridor, checking his phone but he is too far to tell if he looks sad or angry. Maybe it's a bit of both.  

On a Sunday night Rin comes home late, very late; he only does patrols on Sunday, nothing too complicated - something no one wants to do but him, apparently - so Sousuke is worried. He tries to call him, only to find that the line is busy. Good, at least it means nothing bad happened to him on duty.   

Rin is still on the phone when he finally gets home.   

"Hm... yeah but...are you sure about the color?" He lifts his head to say hello. His lips move; 'It's Gou' he silently says, and then he walks to the stairs. "Yeah, that step still squeaks like grandma's hip prosthesis. I know, we need to move out...yes a place nearest to you and mom..."  

When Sousuke is too far to hear the rest of the conversation he resumes co oking. On tonight's Menu: steak and pasta with ketchup; nothing too sophisticated. Rin won't be pleased after his long day at work but it's not like he didn't want for it - working on Sundays; he had begged for it. 

The table is almost set when Sousuke hears the step squeaking again.   

"It was Gou," Rin says when he comes out of view. "She says hello."   

"How is she?"   

"Nuts, as usual. Some things never really change." Rin yawns and sits in front of the TV, is steaming plate in front of him. "What's on TV tonight? I need a good old American cheesy movie so that I can sleep early."   

"You're exhausted. You should take a break. How about you drop some of your Sundays? I'm sure you're not the only one willing to work overtime." 

The steaks are overcooked. Sousuke tries to hide his grimace but finds out it's too late; Rin is already trying to get rid of his on Sousuke's plate.   

"Probably," he goes on, "but I need the money; it's not like I have a choice, hn?"   

"You're earning more than me and still you're always the one late for the rent. What's all that money for? Looking for a better place without me?"  

Rin kicks him under the table. "Jeez, you're annoying. It's for Gou. I'm trying to buy her a car for her birthday. She wants a new Mini."   

Sousuke almost chokes on his penne. "What?" asks Rin - not even worried that Sousuke could die over pasta, and it's so much like him that he doesn't know what to do, or what to say. "You don't have siblings. You can't understand. And it's Gou. I can't just, buy her something that won't suit her, or a second-hand - a Mini is perfect, but hella expensive." 

Suddenly, Sousuke remembers why he is so fond of him, and why it makes him want to be a better person himself. Maybe he should start saving too. Maybe he should buy something for Rin - but, he honestly has no idea of what he needs. 

Rin's phone rings, again. "Jeez, what does she want again?" He sighs; Sousuke can tell just how much Rin is exhausted just by looking at the rings under his eyes. "Gou?" 

He leaves Sousuke alone to go upstairs again. It's an old habit he has. Rin likes to phone alone, to walk in circle, to talk loudly and freely without being heard. Sousuke knows Rin , a lot, but he is incapable of thinking about what he could offer to him, and it's kind of bothering, for him. There is a well hidden place in Rin's heart, a place he never really shows, even to him. He talks big about his dreams, his big and worldwide dreams but when it comes to little things, to little happiness then he likes to enjoy them alone. Maybe Rin doesn't need anything, or considers that he doesn't but it's not true, not when Sousuke sees where they live and how unhappy Rin seems sometimes.   

Has he done everything he could to be a good friend to Rin? The guilt is still haunting him.   

When Rin comes back he wears a grin on his face. He is...dancing, if it can be called dancing, like an old disco has-been - his arms are moving up and down and he is even humming some cheap song from the 70s. At this right moment Rin looks ridiculously happy and content of himself.   

Maybe Sousuke needs to worry less about him.   

"Guess - who - is going - to get - laid!?" He sings, as he punches him lightly to make him dance with him.   

"Gou?" Sousuke answers, because somehow it's the first possibility that occurs to him. Apparently it's not the right answer. Rin frowns. Oops, talking about Gou and possible sexual activity has always been a subject to avoid with Rin.  

"What ?! No, of course not! I mean of course she can get laid I mean she is gorgeous and she’s my little sister okay she deserves to get- no, to make love every night, not to get laid, it's too vulgar for her."   

Sousuke screams internally. If only he knew.   

"You then?" Sousuke tries to guess again.   

But why would Rin be so happy about that? He hasn't talked about someone he likes so's been a while, by the way, since Rin had really been caught by someone - for the eternal romantic he is, it's kind of weird.   

"Idiot ! It's you!" Sousuke's eyes widen. "Remember Gou's hot friend from high-school?"   

"The one who was head over heels with you? The chestnut-haired girl?"   

"Yeah the blond girl. She asked for you."   

"Her hair was chestnut."   

"Oh listen to yourself, you're already defending her; you're so cute, Yamazaki."    

Sousuke's mouth opens to ask for more information but it's not enough to stop Rin and his joyfulness - how can he have that much energy left after a day of work, seriously.    

"Don't worry, I already gave her your number; she'll call you to set a date. I talked to her about that restaurant you like to go to. Just warn me before so I can find something to do, not to disturb you, you know."   

Rin looks at him with playful eyes, half humming, half trying not to laugh and he dances so ridiculously, exiting the room in a moonwalk that it makes Sousuke smile. There aren't two people like him in the entire world, Sousuke is sure of that.   

The following day, Makoto almost spits his coffee on Sousuke's face when he tells him about the news. "A date?"  

"More or less, it's not something serious."  

"And, Rin is...okay with that?"   

Sousuke frowns. "Of course he is. He is the one who arranged the date."   

For no reason at all Makoto seems shocked. Petrified. Horrified. And very sorry for him but why...? Oh, wait, does he think that- 

"We aren't dating." Sousuke tells him. "Me and Rin . We're just childhood friends. I'm straight."   

The fireman looks like he's been told Earth was round for the very first time.   

"I...I thought...I'm so sorry! It's just...the way you talked about him...and you two were so like us that I assume - I'm sorry, very sorry."   

"No, it's okay; I should have been clearer since the beginning," Sousuke says, trying to ignore the comment about how he talks about Rin - it sounds normal to talk good about a good person, after all, it doesn't mean that-   

"Does that mean that Rin is single?" comes Makoto's next question. He doesn't know why, but for Sousuke the question just sounds, well, wrong. Does Makoto want, certainly not; maybe he just wants to introduce Rin to someone. Sousuke shakes this thought out of his mind; he really needs to drop this bad habit quickly before something bad actually happens.  

"More or less. I mean, he is, but sometimes I see a hickey barely hidden on his neck. And he looks rather happy lately, so I guess that, whatever it is, it makes him happy."   

"Maybe he’s seeing someone but hasn't talked to you about it yet." Makoto says. "You're not married after all, right?" 

Sousuke pouts, remembering how misleading he had sounded that time - that really sounded gay in hindsight. "Yeah, He usually likes to show off about that so; if there had been someone important I would have known. He would have told me."   

Makoto sighs. "That's so bad. I mean-" he clears his throat, trying not to give the wrong impression and Sousuke doesn't really get what he is trying to hide. "I mean he is rather... fine , you know? He should be with someone and be happy." 

"The problem is that, I don't think Rin wants to be with someone."   

"And what about you?"   

Sousuke lets escape a small and bitter laugh from his lips. As if he knows. Why does Makoto always seem to know where his weak points are?   

"We'll see on Thursday night. We're going to the restaurant then, maybe at my place."   

"It's set on Thursday then?"  

"Yes," Sousuke answers with a smile he hasn't seen coming. "In fact I think I'm rather happy about that. I have to find something to give in return for Rin. He deserves it."   

They pay for their coffee and prepare to get back to work. Sousuke puts his cap on. He looks way too serious like that.  

"Anyway, if you feel the need to escape your date," Makoto says, and again Sousuke wonders if the man knows how flirty his gentleness can be, "You can call me. I'll be on duty all night but if nothing happens I can always, you know, save you." 

Makoto's proposal sounds like a very bad American romantic youth film’s plot that Rin would probably like, a lot. He can't stop from laughing, even after seeing Makoto dismayed face urging him to.  

After a few minutes of small talks and nice chatting about this and that, it appears clearly to Sousuke that Chigusa doesn't want dessert; but that she'll gladly have a bit of Sousuke before going back to her place instead.  

They're kissing, passionately, in the entrance hall. Sousuke takes off her coat and her sweatshirt. Gou's friend isn't really his type to be honest; she is very cute and pretty but her body is too thin and severely lacks form. But for tonight it doesn't matter. He'll just go with what he's got.   

They only stop kissing when Sousuke pauses to take off his shoes - Rin is a maniac, and 'no shoes inside the house' is his favorite rule.   

"Where can I put mine?" the girl asks. 

"Well, just behind the-"   

There is always an empty space for guests, near the small step that separates the hall from the rest of the house. Chigusa shouldn't have asked, because the answer should have been obvious; except that, the space is already filled. There is a pair of unknown, blue sneakers with white laces instead of the empty place where she should have put her high heels. And if Sousuke concentrates enough he is sure - well, almost sure - that he can hear Rin moaning slightly upstairs.   

...That him a date so that he can get laid behind his dare he?   

Sousuke takes Chigusa by the arm and, purposely, walks on the squeaking step with more force than necessary. The small noises coming from Rin's room stop immediately. He hopes they won't start again for a while. He really can't get hard when he hears Rin moaning like that.   

He hopes, but soon he has to admit defeated. 


The voice is muffed, but it's clearly Rin's.   

"Sousuke, are you sure you can't-"   

"No I can't. I'm really sorry."   

Chigusa is still trying to ride him. She really tries hard - and Sousuke feels proud and sorry at the same time - but as soon as he finally gets hard enough-   


Rin moans and it's enough to make it stop altogether. His half-hard cock spits out of Chigusa and she falls on his chest, sighing. They lay still for a while, listening, despite themselves, to the horny noises coming from the room just next to theirs. 

"Rin is still gay?" Asks Chigusa, as she caresses Sousuke torso mindlessly.   

"Oh yeah," Sousuke sighs, "desperately and definitely gay."   

"That means that he is with another guy right now." 

"Well," - sometimes Sousuke wishes he could date brightest girls - "Logically. Why?"   

The girl is biting her bottom lips sensually. "No it's just that...It makes me hot to imagine them, you know. It's…such a shame you can't…but-but it's not like I judge you or anything, I'll have a lot of trouble imagining my gay super childhood friend getting laid, I mean if it was Gou - wait, Sousuke , where are you going?" 

Sousuke walks, utterly naked and a hundred percent determined, towards Rin's room. If he can't get hard because of his moans at least, Rin won't totally ruin his night, Sousuke will make sure of that – and have his little vengeance in the meanwhile.   

Because, Sousuke knows exactly where Rin puts his sex toys.   

"Excuse me! I'm the naked straight roommate. Please don't mind me, just go on." He says when he enters the door without knocking.   

He hears the two lovers gasp and the ruffle of the sheets. Sousuke could even turn on the lights if he were to be evil but the shame Rin must be feeling right now will probably be enough for a single man.   

"I'm just borrowing …this!"    

He opens the drawer and takes out of it a pink, fluorescent moaning dildo – it was a gift for his 18 th birthday; hiding it from his mother and in the dorms had been one of the most perilous and hilarious things they had accomplished during their young years. He walks out of the room slowly, still in the darkness, trying not to laugh too much when he hears Rin curse – 'Shit, shit' he mutters – and when he comes back to Chigusa surprisingly, he finds out they don't need the toy anymore.   

They fall asleep rather quickly after that. Sousuke only wakes up briefly when he hears the cursed step squeak ing, near 4 AM – or something like that, he doesn't remember, it was way too early anyway. When he wakes up, the blue sneakers with white laces aren't there anymore.   

He joins Rin to the kitchen. He is tense. Sousuke can feel it, just by the way his shoulders are arched, just by the way he holds his cup of coffee, just by the fact that he is drinking coffee instead of his usual cup of tea before going to work.   

Sousuke walks to the board on the fridge, where they set the score. He draws a big, black cross on Rin's side and grins.   

Rin looks mortified.   

"Sorry for last night." He cocks him a smile. But Rin is still paralyzed somehow. His cup is frozen in his grip, so Sousuke feels like he has to add something. "And congratulations! Nice plan, nice evil plan; to find me a date so you can get laid without me knowing, that was quite amazing." 

That makes him smile, just a little bit.   

"One night stand?"   

"Of course." Rin says rather abruptly, and he doesn't press further. He drinks the steamy coffee and coughs a bit, for it was still too hot, and disappears in the living room without saying a word.   

They still have more than an hour to get ready. Chigusa is taking her shower, so Sousuke stays in the living room, tidying up a bit. It's strange; their white favorite blanket is out of the cupboard. And…the Love Actually DVD is upside down on the DVD pile...  

Rin watching his favorite movie under his favorite and woolen blanket with a one night stand? Impossible. It's purely impossible. He can't even begin to believe it.   

Rin has a boyfriend, and he hasn’t talked to him about it! – But Sousuke feels too happy for him to be upset, really. It's been so long and, just as Makoto has said, he really deserves it.   

He waits for Rin to come back from his room, all dressed up for work. As soon as he appears on the doorstep, it's Sousuke's turn to hum, and to dance ridiculously.   

"Ah ah, guess – who – has – a – new – boy – friend!?"   

Rin frowns. "Chigusa?" He tries, but of course it's not a good answer and again, seeing Rin denying something they should both be happy about makes Sousuke nervous. It's like he is missing something and he can’t find out what. 

"I'm talking about you, idiot. I saw the DVD. And the blanket. And I guess you didn't finish the red wine on your own yesterday night."   

Rin blushes slightly, but he looks more uneasy than embarrassed. It's only getting weirder as the seconds pass by.    

"I don’t know what you're talking about."   

"Come on. Rejoice! You should have told me about it-" 

"I am not dating anyone, Sousuke." Rin warns harshly, before he could add anything; and his voice sounds hurt; really deeply. For someone who doesn't know Rin it might pass unnoticed but it's Sousuke who's listening to him, who's analyzing his voice and he just knows that there is something wrong with Rin's voice. 

He sounds unhappy. But unhappy about what? 

"You don't have to lie to me. Who was it last night? The guy with the blue sneakers and white laces?" 

"No one." He answers weakly.  

"Rin , tell me-"   

"It was no one, okay?!" he yells at him, and his eyes are red, and it's not only because of fury. Rin is about to make a tantrum and Sousuke knows better than to confront him "Yesterday night I ate instant noodles and felt lonely. So I watched Love Actually with a fucking bottle of wine and I realized that I was so, fucking, lonely! You had your date, everybody in that damn movie find s their soul mate and I was there, alone with my empty bottle of wine crying like a pansy and I had enough. So I went to the nearest bar and took the first guy who wanted to do my ass and that's all, really. That's who the man with the blue sneakers was. End of story."   

He knows that Rin is on the verge of crying. He can see it. Sousuke suddenly feels like the worst best friend in the world. 

"Rin …I'm sorry I had no idea. Really I am sorry. I shouldn't have-"   

"No you shouldn't. But it's okay," Rin sniffs, "It was no one. So, it's okay. And I just realized that yesterday, you know, that I was fucking unhappy about my sentimental life. I just realized yesterday that it wasn't what I wanted anymore so you don't have to feel guilty…about anything really. So stop looking me like that. I'm heading to work. I'll see you there."   

Sousuke comes back earlier from work. He downloads the first Bridget Jones' movie – one of Rin's favorite – and buys some Soho with prawn crackers. He cooks him his favorite food and washes the blanket with his favorite laundry softener.   

Maybe Rin needs a lover more than anything right now, but since he can't find one for him, Sousuke will be the best , best friend in the world tonight, and he will try with all he has in his guts and heart to make Rin smile brightly tonight.   

(Of course Rin cries a lot during the film, especially when the heroine finds out that Hugh Grant is cheating on her, but he tells Rin that he will find someone with an improbable taste for clothes and a nice soul, and that he will be happy with that person for the rest of his life. Rin cries even harder.)

It's maybe because Nanase has the brightest and prettiest pair of blue eyes he had never seen that he’s the first person Sousuke spots when he enters the store.   

He is at the mall, where he eats every Monday because his favorite restaurant is closed. When Sousuke had been walking along the aisle he saw that sport shop and decided that, maybe he could stop by to buy something for Rin . He hadn't had any idea in mind when h e ’d entered - a new pair of shoes, some weights, a new towel maybe… his mind is still not fixed, really - but instead of finding what Rin could want the most, his eyes fall on Nanase's.   

Sousuke smiles at him. "Hi," he says . "Long time no see." 

Nanase's answer is way shyer ; he doesn't smile and turns his head away. "Hi." He mutters.   

Sousuke wants to ask what he’s is doing here, but he doesn't have the time to.   

"Hey, what are you doing here?"  

The voice is way too familiar, for it's Rin's ; and when Sousuke looks up at him he has his arm on Nanase's shoulder, as if it was something natural, something he does a lot - and the blue eyed boy looks annoyed, so Sousuke guesses he is right about that. Rin is always touchy with his friends - and when he thinks about it, those two have known each other for quite a long time actually. Did they keep on meeting every Monday, even if Rin had stopped swimming?   

"I was looking for a new pair of basketball shoes," he says, and it's not entirely a lie - he just hasn't said it wasn't for him. "I usually eat here on Mondays so-"   

"Oh, you can join us then." Rin offers. "Where do you want to go? Subway? McDonald’s? KFC?" 

"I want sushi," Nanase mutters.   

Rin sighs. "Again?" he whines, and looks at Sousuke to see if he agrees.   

Nanase buys his new swimsuit and they all end up at a sushi bar a couple of shops further. It's mostly Rin and him talking - but Makoto always says how quiet his boyfriend can be - and it doesn't bother Sousuke much, until he realizes that Nanase is very tense.   

"You should come at our place," Sousuke tells Nanase, and then the two other gasp. "With Makoto. It's been so long since last dinner."   

"Why not, but when?" Asks Rin . "I'm working on weekends and so does Haru."   

"I'll take a day off. Monday will be the perfect day. What do you think about it, Nanase?" 

He looks annoyed, frankly; it's like he really doesn't want to go to their place. Sousuke feels offended, slightly; the guy spends his Mondays with Rin and when it comes to him, he doesn't want to even look at him in the eye. It feels wrong, it feels like Nanase really doesn't like him at all and he can't guess why.   

"Do you think he might be jealous of me? Because I'm a good friend of Makoto’s ?" He asks Rin that night, when they're brushing their teeth.  

Rin almost chokes.  Does it really sound that silly?  

Sousuke just knew something was missing when he looked at the whole picture. It's been months, since Rin had repeated Nanase's name that night, since he had erased the texts on Rin's phone. Things didn't make sense.   

Why would he stop swimming?  

Why didn't he tell him about Nanase and their Monday meetings? 

How could Rin look so happy and yet so unhappy at the same time?   

What about the hickeys on his neck?   

And the blue sneakers with white laces in the entrance hall that night?   

And the way Nanase was avoiding his gaze the rare times they met?   

"Hi!" Makoto says, when they enter the house for the first time.  

Sousuke greets both him and Nanase while Rin is still busy in the kitchen. They take off their shoes, and Makoto stays a little bit longer to chat with Sousuke. It's small talk, really ; it's just that they are now good friends and want to have a few moment s together. Just the two of them. Sousuke wants to ask about Nanase, if he had said something about him, if it had looked like he didn't want to go here. 

But he never asks. Because then, he sees them.   

The blue sneakers with while laces, put away under the step, where the guests' shoes are. They are Nanase's shoes and it makes him realize all the things he had chose not to see because they were inconvenient for his well being.   

"Sousuke ? Is everything alright?" Makoto asks, and Sousuke finds out that no, nothing really is. He can't find the strength to answer his smile, or to even look at him in the eyes. No wonder why Nanase couldn't either.   

"Hey, you plan on leaving me alone with the autistic guy? How mean, Yamazaki!"    

Rin's voice takes him out of his dark thoughts. From the distance he can hear Nanase calling Rin a pain.   


Rin is usually so bad at lying.    

Rin is trustworthy.    

Rin is his friend, his best friend and he knows him like the back of his hand. Rin would never do that, right? Those shoes are pretty common; it could have been anyone. Rin told him it was no one. There is no need to be that paranoid. There is no need to.   

"We're coming," Sousuke manages to say loudly, and glad his voice isn't shaking.   

They have decided to have a brunch instead of dinner or lunch. Rin likes the idea; he wanted to bake some pancakes and it's been so long - Sousuke had gladly accepted his request. When he and Makoto come into the living room, Nanase and Rin are busy setting the table, and Sousuke can't take his eyes off of them. The way they move in perfect sync, the way they complete each other tasks – it’s no secret that the both of them know each other pretty well.    

The tea is steaming in the middle of the table. Sousuke sits in front of Makoto, near to the wall. The three of them are very natural; only Nanase behaves awkwardly. It's not much really, it's really nothing and there is no wonder why Makoto never catches any hint but Sousuke is a cop; he knows what people do unconsciously when they don't want others to find out about something they desperately try to hide. Nanase's eyes are everywhere; everywhere except on Rin.  

Sousuke has never wanted so much for someone to look at Rin, as if he was just a friend, and not someone he was having an affair with.   

It's quite amazing, how they manage to hold the masquerade for so long. It almost takes a whole hour for their masks to crumble. By accident, their fingers brush as they try to take the teapot at the same time. He can almost hear Rin gasping and from that time, he begins to get more tense , and casts a look at Nanase every three seconds - and looks away each time Makoto holds his hands. Nanase  has stopped talking altogether. Th ey look so uneasy that it would take a blind person to not see there is something very, very wrong with them.   

At some point, even Makoto starts to feel uncomfortable. Sousuke hears it in his voice; it's quavering. The whole brunch feels like walking on eggshells, it's a real disaster. And what had to happen happens. He never thought he would be the first, but Sousuke is indeed the one who spills his cup of tea on the tablecloth.   

"Shit," he swears, and really he hates swearing in front of people - and especially in front of Makoto - but he can't help it. He feels like shit. The whole situation is shitty and-   

"I'll get you a kitchen towel, don't move." Rin tak es this opportunity to get on that mess gladly; he gets up quickly as if he has ants in his pants - but it seems that fate doesn't plan on giving him a break.   

"I'll make some more tea," Haru adds haphazardly.   

And so he gets up too and follows Rin into the kitchen, as if he knows the place by heart, as if he was the one living there every day with Rin . And, when the two disappear from their view it feels like Makoto and him had gone throw a storm and are now left in a mess in the middle of the chaos.   

The silence is broken by Makoto's sigh.    

"I shouldn't have forced him to come."   

Sousuke looks at him with a dumbfounded face, and lets him continue. "He wasn't feeling well. He told me he didn't want to see Rin - that they had a small argument last week, and you don't know how Haru is yet but he tends to avoid conflict every time it's possible. He isn't very good at confronting people. I didn't think it was that bad. I have never seen him like this."   

"I'm going to check if everything is alright," Sousuke offers. "Do you need anything?"   

"No," Makoto says, "the pancakes were very good. Where is the toilet by the way?"   

"Upstairs, second room on the left."   

"Thank you."   

He walks towards the kitchen and stops there, just before the door, for a second. They are taking too much time just for making tea and getting a towel. Sousuke's heart beats fast in his chest. They could have really fought. The shoes could really have been someone else's. They could very well be just friends. Sometimes, the worst scenario, the one you're imagining in your head to protect yourself in case it really happens, doesn't happen. Sometimes life is fair. Sometimes good people only do good things.   

But sometimes things aren't that simple.   

Inside the kitchen, Sousuke clearly hears Rin crying, and it's enough to break his heart in a million of pieces.   

"You have to leave," he hears Rin whispering, "I can't stand it. I can't stand the way he looks at you. I can't stand to see him touching you when my whole body aches to do the same."   

"Don't cry, Rin , please I'm sorry don't cry-"   

"Why did you come? I told you I wouldn't be able to handle it."   

"I needed to see you. I missed you too much. I couldn't have handled another day without you."   

Sousuke can hear Nanase kissing Rin's lips, or his tears away; he can't see him but Nanase's voice is so broken, so full of love and adoration that he can picture him doing so easily.   

"But what's the point if I can't touch you?"   

"Rin , I love you. I need you. I know you understand, so please, please forgive me, please."   

"We can't do that anymore. You have to choose. I can't handle it."  

"I know but please, stop crying, they will see. Please, give me more time, please Rin don't end this-"   

"But I already gave you enough time!"   

None of them speak after that. Does that mean Rin want to end this? Sousuke doesn't have time to think about it, because he hears the step squeak ing in the hall - Makoto is going back, and they really need to stop their little game before Makoto learns about their affair in the most terrible way possible.   

"Do you need help with the tea?" Sousuke yells, loud enough for them to hear before he opens the kitchen door.   

When he enters, Rin's tears are hidden, his back facing him. Nanase gets out with a sponge in his hand. Sousuke silently helps Rin with the tea and takes some biscuits, without asking anything about why he is crying, or about his lack of response. It doesn't feel like the right time for that.   

Makoto looks worriedly at them when they finally join back the living room. Minutes later, they are gone from the house, pretending that Nanase doesn't feel very well - stomach ache my ass.    

As for Rin, he pretends that he wants to jog and so Sousuke doesn't have the opportunity to properly talk to him until he gets back, hours later.   

He looks happier. Definitely not happy, but less tormented at least. It looks like he has made up his mind. Rin frowns when he sees the bottle of whiskey and two large glasses, waiting for him in the living room. It's usually what they drink when they want to celebrate, or discuss about very serious matters - like, stop adding curry in every meals or stop listening to Aretha Franklin too loud after 10 PM because the neighbors are considering to sue them.   

"Woa, what are we celebrating tonight?"   

Rin looks sincere. He really does. When did he get so good at lying? When did Sousuke lose that ability he had, to read Rin , to understand him like no one did before? It makes him feel so sad, and so angry at him. Where did he mess this up, to begin with?   

"I heard you in the kitchen," he just says.    

He knows it's enough. He knows Rin will understand what he is referring to . He doesn't act immediately, but eventually, Rin pours himself a drink and sits.    

"Ah, I thought so. It gets harder to hide when I start crying like that."   

Sousuke ey es him as he gulps down the drink in one shot. How can he say that so casually?   

"I knew you were suspecting something when you era sed Haru's messages on my phone," Rin tells him, before he has the chance to ask.   

"How did you know I erased them?"   

"I knew I had a missed call and two unread texts before I went jogging, so when I came back and found I had none, I knew you had read them - and got rid of them." Rins tells him, calmly. " We’d kissed that day. He ’d told me that it was a mistake, that he shouldn't have done that and so I told him than we should probably never meet again then. You really helped me out back then, it was so much easier to think he didn't care for me at all in the end. But he had to come all the way here when I didn't show up the Monday after that."   

Rin pours himself another drink. Sousuke watches him silently.    

"How did-"   

"I don't know. It just...happened, you know. It wasn't planned. I have never wanted to...God, I can't even imagine how much I must have disappointed you." 

And then, Rin crumbles, his head hidden in his arms. He cries for a good couple of minutes, and Sousuke even feels the need to come closer and to hold him in his arms. He waits for him to feel better, but even when he finishes crying Rin still looks as broken as before.   

"I really don't know what to do. I love him. I love him so much. I have never loved someone like this before."   

"Did you really want to put an end to this?" Sousuke asks.   

"Isn't that what I should have done? I mean, it's wrong. It can't continue like this. Makoto doesn't deserve it, and I don't deserve it either."   

"And what about Nanase ? What does he think about all this?"   

Rin almost laughs. "Haru? He has no fucking clue. He says he loves me. He says he really loves me. But if he really does then why hasn't he broken up with his boyfriend yet? I mean - God I'm so sorry I know that he’s your friend and all. I'm so shitty. I'm just trash."   

"Rin, stop saying things like that. Sometimes...sometimes good people do bad things. You know it happens, you see that everyday at work. It's more complicated that you make it sound."   

"Stop that. You sound like an angel."   

But, really, Sousuke has no idea of what to do, of what to say. He doesn't even know if he should warn Makoto - he shouldn't, because he is really not the one who should give him the news but how could he look at him in the eyes again, knowing that? He feels trapped. Trapped in a love triangle and he can't move a muscle without making the whole thing falls apart.   

So he just holds Rin , close to him until he needs him no more.  

"Sousuke, can I ask you for something?" He asks, a couple of quiet minutes later. "I swear I'll never ask you anything after that, I promise."  

He hands him his phone. There is an unread text from Haru.   

"Erase it. And then, erase his number and block him. I won't be strong enough to do it myself."   

Rin can't even find the strength to look. He walks away from Sousuke's lap, directly heading to his room, and it's the last time he sees him that day.   

'Give me time. I will do it. I love you. Please tell me you'll meet me tomorrow.'   

This one is easy to erase. Another one comes, just before Sousuke erases Nanase's number.   

'Rin, answer me please. I need you to answer me. I need you.' 

It makes him hesitate, but in the end, he just does as Rin want him to. 'HaruKA' is no more part of Rin's phone's book anymore.  

He considers handing back the phone to Rin, but when he is about to knock on his door, he can hear him crying again. Sousuke's arm falls flat on his side. It's all his fault, again. If only he hadn't made that stupid dinner. If only he hadn't invited Rin that day. He broke everybody's heart in one single night. 

No matter what he tries, even with all the relaxation techniques he had learned in the past, Sousuke can't sleep that night. It's 2 AM when Rin's phone vibrates again. It's a message from an unknown number. It's when he finally realizes he hadn't blocked Nanase yet - a faulty act, perhaps.  

He reads it, and rereads it. And eventually, after transferring it to his own phone, he erases it, and all the other texts, and every single clues of Nanase's existence in Rin's life. It's what Rin wants in the end. He doesn't want to be the bad guy. 

And honestly, Sousuke starts to wonder if there is really a bad guy in this broken love story.   

'Rin, I need more time. I have been with Makoto all my life; and you're asking me to leave him for you, who I only knew for less than a year. You're asking me to leave my home, my comfort zone for something unknown to me; and at first it scares me, it really scares me to death but now I feel ready. I feel ready because the more I think about it the more I think that you're the one. But I have spent seven years in Makoto's arms, and I can't leave him so quickly; I can't do that to him when he loves me so much and had done nothing wrong. He deserves someone better that's for sure but I need to make things right. So please, please Rin I beg you, wait for me, please wait. You're the love of my life. I'll die if I lose you.'   

Sousuke gives his phone back in the morning. Rin fakes a smile, and they go to work just like that.

Rin is feeling better. It took him time but, eventually after two whole months without swimming, without talking about Nanase or Makoto, Rin smiles again. Getting back on normal working day had helped a lot, actually. Monday s had too much meanings to Rin , it still has somehow. He hadn't seen anyone new yet, but Sousuke is confident about that. With the way he smiles lately, he is sure people with throw themselves at his feet in no time.   

Sosuke doesn't go out with Makoto that often now. Since Rin is back with him on Mondays they don't have their weekly coffee together near the police station, but they are still in touch - everything is fine, his sister is pregnant with her first child, and he can't wait to be an uncle. He never asks about Rin , and Sousuke doesn't know if it's because he doesn't know or if it's because he does.   

It's been two months, and Sousuke feels the need to celebrate. He could have opted for the whiskey bottle but considering how it had ended last time, he decides otherwise.   

Plus, his favorite restaurant is open on Monday s again. It's another reason to celebrate.   

"They mostly do fish, but the hamburger is really good, too. You should try it."   

"I think I'll try the curry monkfish." Rin says brightly. "But thanks for the rec."   

The air starts to get chilly. Rin wanted to eat outside on the terrace, but Sousuke feels a little bit cold with their summer uniforms; plus the restaurant is quite deserted. It seems the news of its reopening hasn't spread wild yet.   

A very blond and energetic waiter takes their order and, later, brings their dish - rather quickly, Sousuke notices. There must be even less people inside than what he had thought. He expectantly watches Rin taking his first bite. He really, really wants him to like it - because it's his favorite restaurant and, also, because he wants to make Rin happy, really happy.   

Rin swallows, and moans.   

" it really that good?"   

"Sousuke , it's the best fish I have ever eaten. I swear it on my father's grave. This cook is a real killer. Mmh ! It's-" he takes another bite. "It's perfectly spicy! Just the way I like it I swear. I never find restaurant's meals spicy enough usually but this - this - I want to eat this everyday ."   

Sousuke is glad, honestly; but still it doesn't change the fact that his own dish tasted better in his memory. Maybe it's because he had longed for it, for so long, and had too high expectations. It's probably that. What else could it be, really?   

In any case, Rin's fish is very spicy, so he empties two whole carafes by himself and of course, before they ask for the bill, he walks away to pee.   

"Excuse me," he stops the blond waiter, who for a n unknown reason looks distantly familiar to Sousuke , and asks, "Can you tell me where the bathroom is?"   

"Inside the restaurant, first on the left."   

"Thank you," Rin says quickly, and then he walk hastily - very hastily - towards his goal.   

The waiter takes their plate, and Sousuke can't help but look at him. Those eyes, he is sure he had seen there somewhere. And his voice too...   

"...Have we met somewhere before?" The blond finally asks, when he comes back with the bill. "Oh, your friend isn't back yet, do you want me to wait-"   

"Oh no, it's okay, he is my guest today. I have a feeling that I've-"  

"Oh my! You're Makoto's policeman's friend! You're Yamakazi -kun! Do you remember me? I'm Nagisa. The incendiary!"   

Sousuke blinks and then, the image of that day comes to his mind instantly. Of course, now he remembers - it was months ago, a lab had exploded and Nagisa was found to be to culprit, after Sousuke's investigation.   

"So I got fired, and Makoto found me this job." The waiter says, quite depressed - he had taken Rin's seat to tell his long stories. "It's not much but, Haru is a friend, so he isn't very harsh on me." 

The air is caught inside Sousuke's throat. It's been two months, but still it feels weird to hear Nanase's name again.   

"It's nice of you to have come here. I've heard the place isn't quite what it was before." Nagisa goes on. "I even think Haru-chan considered sell ing this place, and to move somewhere else. Closer to the sea, he told me."   

Sousuke tries to remain casual about this but all these information rush too fast in his head. He is just very glad that Rin is still busy in the toilet.   

So this is Nanase's restaurant. It had been Nanase's restaurant all along. His favorite place of all time just has to be his .   

"I used to eat better dishes here, I have to admit. But my friend's fish was..."   

He smirks. Of course it was excellent. Of course it was perfect for Rin ; because it's Nanase's restaurant and because it's Rin , and the guy probably still knows his taste by heart.   

"He was really caught by this one." Nagisa tells him. "It was really great, to see him smile again like that. It's been a while since he last enjoyed cooking. Maybe you should come here more often."   

As soon as the waiter leaves, Sousuke takes out his phone. He knows he should have erased it but he still keeps Nanase's last texts for Rin, the one he had never read. His stomach makes him ache.   

What if he had messed this up again?   

What if he should have showed him? Maybe it would have changed Rin's mind. Because if Rin is feeling better right now Nanase isn't; it's so obvious - and if Nanase is depressed then Makoto probably isn't doing any better. His hamburger isn't half the hamburger it used to be - and it's really such a shame, it used to be so good.   

First on the left? Yeah, first on the left; that's what the waiter had said - and no, Sousuke doesn't wonder why Rin takes so much time in the bathroom. He doesn't wonder until he finds the door locked. Until he hears some people talking inside. Suddenly the scene looks painfully familiar.   

But they aren't in his kitchen anymore. Makoto isn't here, can't witness this; and Rin had changed since that time. 

Still, Sousuke's heart skips a beat when he recognizes Nanase's voice. 

"Nanase !" he shouts and slams on the wooden door, "I know you're in there. Open the door."

"It's okay,” comes Rin's reply. It's a little bit weak, too weak for Sousuke's taste and it does nothing but increases his resolve to take him out of the room, as soon as possible.   

"No Rin, it's not and you know it. Open me the door."  

"If you need to pee so badly then use the ladies' room." Rin yells; and he sounds, angry, frustrated, broken, hoarse...What the fuck is going on behind that door? 

Sousuke doesn't care about the blond waiter's warnings behind him. He steps back and runs towards it. At first it didn't break open - and his shoulder will remember that tomorrow, that for sure - but the second rush is enough to kick the door down at last.

He would have never thought it will end up like this.

With Nanase and Rin pinned against the wall, their mouth locked and their tongue entwined, Nanase's hand hidden behind Rin's shirt and his ass being gripped by Rin's firm grasp. It's too late for the damage, he knows their blond friend must have seen it too and all the people that had gathered here out of curiosity. As soon as Sousuke breaks in the two long lovers jerk away from their heated embrace. 
"Shit I told you it was fine!" Rin mutters, his hand sweeping the drool from the corner of his mouth.
"Is that what you call fine? Making out by the ex you're trying so hard to forget in a bathroom with the door locked? When did you think it ever was a good idea, Rin!?"

It's not the worse to see Rin in that state; with his shirt half open and his hair in a total mess - Nanase's hands had probably rested there at some point. What really feels unbearable is the way Nanase keeps looking at Rin, with so much pain and love and unconditional adoration. Rin is blushing crimson red and they try so hard not to look at each other, just like that day when they were in the living room that it literally makes Sousuke aches, physically. His chest hurts, just by looking at them, looking at the space they put between them, the safe space they need not to feel the urge to kiss again, to hold the other in his arms again, to love passionately like they used to. It makes no doubt that they probably are still head over heels with each other. It's like time hasn't had any effect on them. Their love seems even more powerful than before.

Rin adjusts his cap on his head, trying to hide the mess under it. Nanase comes closer and, instinctively Sousuke guesses, he readjusts it better and before they could realize his mistake they are close again, so close and their breath could probably be felt on the other's skin. Nanase hesitantly lifts his hand, and caresses Rin's cheeks. His trembling fingers are just barely touching the skin, as if he were afraid to stain him. He leans in, almost timidly - and it makes now no doubts that they absolutely don't care about the people around them anymore so Sousuke just closes the door, and even he hesitates to leave the two lovers alone in their own world. They kiss, once, twice, gently at first but then Rin lifts his hand on the back of Nanase's neck and deepens the kiss, and from there on they are lost again in each other's passion.

Sousuke just stands there, completely stunned, so much that he really doesn't know what he is supposed to do. He isn't sure of what to think about those two anymore. He only longs for everyone's happiness in the end, but right now everything seems so messed up. So much potential, so many possibilities of everything getting right and yet, everyone seems to be hurt.

Rin licks the chef's bottom lips before ending the kiss. He sighs, his breath is quavering and his thumb lovingly stroking small circles on Nanase's cheekbone. He closes his eyes.

"Sousuke, leave us alone for a minute, would you?"  

"No. I can't let you-"  

"Please. I want to end things face to face; and not with a text. We deserve it to be done properly."  

"No," Nanase whispers on Rin's face, "I don't want you to go. I barely feel alive since you've left me."  

"Haru. You know I love you. And I probably will love you till the end, but- it wasn't right. I gave you the choice, I gave you time-'"  

"No it's wrong." Nanase links their forehead together. "You didn't. I never chose this. I never chose to lose you."  

"You didn't choose to keep me either. You made me choose for you, for us. I loved you, God I fucking loved you Haru, and it broke me to lose you once. Don't put me through this all over again. I won't survive this."  

"What if I-"  

But Nanase's voice can't reach them, because their walkie-talkie's statics covers the sound of his voice.  

"Central to Unit 56. Code 211. Unit 56 answer the call."  

"This is Unit 56, we're about to finish lunch time." Sousuke answers, and urges Rin to get dressed faster - and so to get rid of Nanase's embrace. "Where is the Code 211 situated?"  

"Jeweler's store on the 6th avenue. The Mikoshiba brothers are already heading."  

His eyes widen. So do Nanase's. Impossible. How can he be aware of that detail?  

 "Possible 417, be careful Unit 56."  

"Roger central, we're moving." Rin says, and then he puts his walkie back at its place.   


The blue eyed man catches Rin's arm before he had the chance to go. "Don't go there. I don't want you to get shot there again!"  

"It's my job, let go off me; you don't have anything to say, because I am not your boyfriend." Rin says harshly. "You have no right to let me down and then to cling on me months later. You have no right to do that to me, or to Makoto. Let me go Haru."  

"But I don't want to, not anymore!" Nanase is begging, but Rin manages to get rid of his grip on his arm and eventually, they escape the restaurant to get back on their car. Sousuke starts it and drives a little bit too fast, turns on the revolving lights as they go nearer and nearer to the place where Rin had been shot two years ago.

"I'm okay!" he says nervously. "Stop looking at me as if I was mentally unstable."   

"I know you're fine, but that plus what had happened with Nanase..."   

There is hardly silence with the siren howling outside, but none of them dare to talk for the couple of minutes that separates them from the crime scene. When they catch sight of the Mikoshiba brothers, Sousuke stops the car. 

"I can't believe he remembered that."   

Sousuke looks at Rin while taking off the safety belt. "Remember what?"   

"The cilantro. I told him once that I kinda like it and he remembered it. He put some in the curry. I can't believe it. It was so long ago. It was an insignificant little details and he..." 

Rin's fist curls into a ball. He unfolds his belt as well.   

"How did he know about the shooting? You told him as well?" 

"I told him it had been during a jeweler's attack but never where it was, precisely. The owner must be cursed. Two times in two years."   

They hear a gunshot inside the store. The younger Mikoshiba gets out by the door, holding his arm painfully.   

"Holy shit, we'd better go."   

"I hope Seijuro is alright." Rin pulls out his gun and runs toward the entrance, hidden behind a car.   

"Yeah, me too... "   

Sousuke loads his gun and follows Rin behind his hiding place. He really hopes things will go nicely this time. He won't allow Rin to get hurt again, not on his watch. He will make sure of that.

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