title: Butteh-oniisan
fandom: Free!
characters/pairings: Makoto, Haru, Nagisa, Rei, Ran, Ren
rating: G
warnings: troublesome twins, eternal summer spoilers (ep2), vague random pairing implications
summary: The origin of a legend.
notes: Ran and Ren are so cute and the Tachibana family is a wonder of the universe and Rei is going to get a sparkly cut-out-of-construction-paper butterfly crown and he's going to treasure it for the rest of his life.

Rei scrounged about, trying to find his glasses without moving too much. From the sounds around him, he believed that Nagisa-kun was deeply asleep, but he didn't want to bother Haruka-senpai unnecessarily. He found his glasses case, and carefully and slowly opened it. He left it open on his pillow to minimize the disturbance to his teammates.

He sat up slowly, looking around. Nagisa-kun was between Rei and television, spread out on his back, his tongue peeking out the corner of his mouth. Haruka-senpai was perpendicular to them, at their feet. He was sleeping completely soundly, his body still like a perfect log. Rei looked up at Makoto-senpai. Rei hadn't wanted to say anything before, but this was technically the first time he slept over at a friends' house. Technically, because he'd slept over with one of his grade school friend's house, but that friend was also a cousin, so. It wasn't the same. It wasn't like being in a completely unfamiliar house with parents he didn't know and little kids he'd never met somewhere in the house.

Makoto-senpai had said before that he should treat his house like their own, but that was one thing for Haruka-senpai, who lived across the street and who knew Makoto-senpai since they were very small, and who was treated just like one of their own children by Makoto-senpai's parents. And that was one thing for Nagisa-kun, who probably treated every house he was ever in like his own. Rei felt nervous.

"Makoto-senpai," Rei whispered. Makoto-senpai was sleeping with his back to Rei and Nagisa-kun. Rei scooted a bit closer to Makoto-senpai's back, and whispered more urgently. "Makoto-senpai?"

"Hrnnmmhm," Makoto-senpai turned over onto his back, and threw his arm up over his head. His hair was surprisingly messy, and his face was...

Rei blinked. "M-Makoto-senpai..." Rei whimpered, gingerly putting his fingertips on the edge of Makoto-senpai's bed.

"Mmhm?" Makoto senpai blinked a few times sleepily, turning his face toward Rei.

"Ah..." Rei felt his face getting hot. "Um, may I... is it all right if I... can I use your bathroom?" Rei managed to get out, trying to keep his voice low and keep himself from squeaking.

Makoto-senpai blinked a few times, and then he yawned. "Ah... sure, Rei..." Makoto-senpai closed his eyes, and curled up into the fetal position, falling back to sleep instantly.

Rei didn't move for a moment. Of course he'd known that Makoto-senpai was good-looking. Asleep, however, with messy hair, somehow, Makoto-senpai seemed very... sexy?

Uncomfortable, still needing to use the facilities, and self-conscious, Rei turned his face away... to see Haruka-senpai watching him coldly. Rei started, and then he scrambled quickly to his feet. He still tried to make as little noise as possible, but Makoto-senpai was snoring cutely now, and Nagisa was wriggling his nose, making him look a bit like a rabbit. And Haruka-senpai was still watching him.

Rei got out to the hallway, and heaved a sigh of relief. He wished he understood the nature of the relationship between Haruka-senpai and Makoto-senpai! Of course they were good friends, but Rei was starting to wonder if they mightn't be good friends like Nagisa and he were good friends. That wasn't right, because their senpais had known each other for a long time, but.

Rei still thought he might be right. It might be easier if Rin-senapi were around. Although, that might also complicate matters...

By keeping his fingertips on the wall, and taking slow and measured steps, remembering the layout of the hall that he had memorized earlier in the evening and the number of steps to the bathroom that he had counted off when he had gone for his bath, Rei made it to the bathroom without the use of a light. Feeling very proud of himself, Rei opened the bathroom door, belatedly realizing that the light was on.

Two small children were standing on a low stood designed for them in front of the sink. They had the medicine cabinet open. There were several items from the medicine cabinet in the sink. The girl had her hands full of shaving cream.

Rei stared at them and they stared at Rei.

In unison, they chimed, "We're not doing anything bad!"

"I-I didn't think you were!" Rei smiled at them genially, holding his hands out to assure them that he was harmless. "I apologize most profusely. I should have knocked before entering. I'm so sorry for disturbing you."

The girl looked at the boy and the boy looked at the girl, and then the boy scrambled to put all the items back on their shelves - though Rei suspected things were not in their proper order, as the shaving cream was being put next to the makeup remover. The girl shook her hands off, and then ran water over them. They both scrambled off the stool and then stood in front of Rei.

"Are you oniichan's friend?" the girl asked him, unobtrusively wiping her hands on her pajama pants. The boy took a hold of his sister's sleeve.

Rei subdued his smile, and he tried to remember their names. "Ah... yes. Your brother is my senpai in the swimming club."

Two pairs of eyes looked him over, starting at the top and then working their way down, and then coming back up again. The twins looked at each other, and then they snickered.

"You're really lucky to be allowed to call oniichan your senpai!" the girl told him, and then she took her brother's hand and they sped off past Rei.

Rei watched them go, dumbfounded. He closed the bathroom door, checking to see if there was a lock. He really had to go!

Makoto came back inside to find Ran and Ren snickering to each other in the living room. He took each of their heads in hand, and gave them a good tousling. "And what are you two laughing about?" he asked them.

"Nothing!" they responded in perfect unison.

"When you two do that, I know you're up to something," Makoto groaned. "Spill it."

Ran pouted and Ren reached up to grab Makoto's arm. "We're not up to anything, but... your friend is funny!" He grinned hopefully at Makoto.

"Funny? You mean Nagisa? That's one word for him," Makoto agreed, thinking of a few other words for him. But they were all good words! Mostly!

"No, no, not him, we remember Nagi-chan," Ran rolled her eyes. "The other one. He's funny."

"Rei?" Makoto blinked, considering. "Did he say something?" They'd all had breakfast with Makoto's family, but Makoto remembered Nagisa dominating the conversation. Did he tease Rei?

"He has butterfly pajamas!" Ren confided to Makoto, and then he and Ran started to snicker again.

"Ah!" Makoto frowned slightly. Well, it was true he was a bit surprised by them, but... "You're not laughing at him because of that, are you?" he asked them sadly so they would know how disappointed he was in them if they were.

"No!" Ran said sharply, forestalling any disappointment from her older brother. "No, no, it's just funny, I mean, he's a teenager, plus they kinda looked like girl pajamas."

"They're girlier than Ran's pjs," Ren snickered, but not for long. Ran punched him, and he whined, rubbing his arm.

"Well, Rei swims butterfly..." Makoto frowned, wondering if Rei bought those pjs after he joined the swim team, or... was this just part of his beauty obsession?

Ran and Ren looked at each other, and then they started to snicker again.

"But you don't have pjs with backs on them!" Ren laughed.

"Would Rin-san wear butterfly pjs?" Ran asked. Ren looked at her, and then they both fell over laughing.

Makoto sighed, and rubbed his face with his hands. "You two," he muttered, unfortunately unable to shake the image of Rin in butterfly pajamas. Of course, since that didn't look right at all, his brain instantly adjusted it to Rin wearing... but it wasn't nice to think of one's friends like that so Makoto just stopped thinking.

And Ran and Ren kept laughing.

"That was really funny, seeing your siblings react to seeing Rei," Nagisa smiled sunnily.

"Nagisa," Makoto said warningly. He kept his eyes on Ran and Ren as Rei helped them pick out kick boards. It seemed as if Rei had strong opinions on kick boards...

"Butteh-oniisan, that was so cute," Nagisa hummed.

Makoto rolled his eyes. He kept his mouth shut.

"I wonder where that came from? Because they've never seen Rei swim, right?" Nagisa poked Makoto's arm, and when Makoto refused to acknowledge him, he poked harder. And harder. And just kept poking.

Makoto sighed.

"Do you know where that came from?" Nagisa persisted.

"Nagisa, the race is about to start, do you mind?" Makoto asked him.

"I don't mind, just tell me," Nagisa hopped closer to Makoto, tugging on Makoto's arm.

Where was Haru? Makoto needed help with the children.