title: Chocolate Fever
fandom: Free!
characters/pairings: Makoto/Rin, Haru, Nagisa, Rei, Gou, Mikoshiba
rating: G
warnings: mild language, sickness, video games
summary: Valentine's Day is approaching, and Makoto is excited, but...
notes: for Valentine's Day, for the MakoRin Valentine Fiesta, and for Andy, who is awesome! she even made this absolutely stunning accompanying art (also at bottom of fic) in such a short period of time!! really, i sent her the fic on like sunday and she was able to make this. she's amazing!!! so please tell her how awesome she is!!

Rin touched the wall and came up for air. He quickly turned to check his time, but before he could spot the timer, a first year came to the edge of the pool.

"Good job, Matsuoka-senpai! You shaved off another tenth!"

Rin pulled off his goggles and blinked a few times. Damn it, Samezuka had too damned many first years... who the hell was this? He grabbed the edge and pulled himself out of the pool. "Have to keep moving forward. Pay more attention to your own time!"

"Y-yes, senpai!" the first year laughed half-heartedly. "Ah... senpai?"

"Mm?" Rin pulled off his cap and rubbed his hands through his hair.

"...Why are those guys from Iwatobi so good? I mean... not like they're... but the freestyler, and the backstroker even... why...?" the first year was just staring off in awe. Rin followed his eye line, and saw Makoto jovially teasing Nagisa while Gou laughed.

Then, it clicked. This first year... he was a backstroker, too, wasn't he? Rin bopped him good on the head. "Eh, they're not that great. Don't build 'em up so much in your head. Just focus on yourself!"

"Yessenpai!" the first year snapped to attention, and then trotted back to line up for a lap. But.

Was the kid smiling?

Rin shook his head, and headed toward the Iwatobi team and his sister.

Makoto actually had Nagisa in a headlock, and was giving him a noogie. Rin shook his head. Makoto was acting this way. "Aren't you supposed to be the Captain or something? Do you even have a menu for your team? Being so loud when you should be training! What's gotten into you?" He was well aware that he sounded cranky, especially because Gou was laughing at him, but it was true, damn it! A leader couldn't just be goofing off! Didn't they plan to take on Samezuka next year?!

Makoto, however, was unconcerned, leaning on Nagisa like a crutch. "Part of training is relaxing and having fun, right?"

"Having fun has nothing to do with training," Rin deadpanned.

"RinRin's no fun!" Nagisa laughed. "All work and no play makes RinRin a dull boy!"

"I'll show you dull, brat!" Rin threatened him, but it wasn't working. Nagisa, for one, wasn't even paying attention, and Makoto and Gou were laughing.

These idiots sucked!

"Seriously! What's up with your good mood?" Rin accused Makoto.

Just then, Haru came up behind Rin. "It's almost Valentine's day," he said in his usual monotone.

Rin jumped, and glared at Haru. Damned sneaky bastard... "What the hell does Valentine's day have to do with anything?"

"Makoto likes Valentine's day," Haru shrugged.

"Ooh, is that true, Makoto-senpai? Does this mean you're a romantic?" Gou asked him, looking... eager?

What the hell, did his sister have a crush on Makoto?!

"Eh," Makoto smiled sheepishly. Was he posing for fuck's sake?! "It's not really like that so much. I just... really like chocolate! And isn't a fun holiday? You get to eat a lot of chocolate, and everyone is friendly with each other..."

"Ahaha, Mako-chan is super popular!" Nagisa declared.

"Y-you've gotten Valentine's chocolate?" Rei asked, sounding awed.

"What kind of kid gets excited about chocolate?" Rin sneered.

"Wait, what's this I'm hearing?" Mikoshiba appeared. He fucking appeared out of nowhere! "Tachibana-kun, is this true?"

"Mm?" Makoto looked vaguely disturbed by Mikoshiba's sudden appearance, but he was doing an admirable job of keeping it together. "Is... is what true?"

"Valentine's chocolates, man! You've gotten 'em?!" Mikoshiba asked, throwing his arm over Makoto's shoulder.

Makoto looked just about how Rin felt. "Uh... but it's not that unusual?"

Nagisa started to snicker. "I guess Mikoshiba-san's never gotten any. But then, Samezuka is an all-guys school, so. Haru-chan, Haru-chan, is Mako-chan really popular after all?" Nagisa grabbed Haru's arm and tugged and tugged.

Haru sighed. "Yeah, pretty much."

"Th-that's not true, Haru!" Makoto flushed, trying to edge away from Mikoshiba whose grip seemed to be getting tighter and tighter. "I-it's not like you make it sound! But it's normal, normal, right? Friendship chocolates! Everybody gets them, right?" Makoto looked around.

Rei chuckled, slightly desperately. "The only female who has ever given me chocolate on Valentine's day is my mother."

"Rei-chan, don't say that out loud! I get friendship chocolates, Mako-chan!" Nagisa beamed.

"See?" Makoto nodded furiously.

"Like one or two, especially if I've just worked on a project with girls or something!" Nagisa finished.

"Eh? But... isn't it... normal...?" Makoto looked at Rin.

Rin shrugged. "How the hell should I know? They didn't do this crap in Australia. Why would you want all that sweet shit anyway? You're not a kid!"

"But chocolate is tasty!" Makoto pouted.

"Is Haru-chan popular?" Nagisa tugged on Makoto's free arm, winking at Mikoshiba, who seemed to be getting tenser and tenser.

"Ah, well..." Makoto grinned, looking affectionately at Haru. "I think Haru's pretty popular... but for some reason, people think he's hard to approach."

"For some reason," Gou said, hiding behind her clipboard. She winked at Rin.

Rin had to grin, then.

"Aww... they just don't see how Haru-chan is always smiling!" Nagisa declared, bumping into Haru, who sighed.

"Plus," Makoto suppressed his amusement, "Haru's always found White Day to be a nuisance, so..."

Yeah, that sounded like Haru. Rin rolled his eyes.

"So, Tachibana-kun... about these chocolates... Do girls... take you aside to give them to you? Do you go to the stairwell? Do they stand there shyly, unable to look at you?" Mikoshiba's arm was tightening around Makoto's neck as he got a faraway look on his face.

"Just how long have you been cherishing this Valentine's fantasy, Captain?" Rin asked him, dismayed.

"Someone who has lived away from Mother Japan just can't understand the importance of these things!" Mikoshiba burst out.

"Whatever," Rin scowled.

"W-well, we should do final laps! E-everyone, into the pool!" Makoto ducked, using Mikoshiba's annoyance with Rin as a chance to slip away.

Haru immediately dropped his towel and took off for the water, diving in.

"H-hey!" Rin forgot everything, and chased after Haru, diving into the lane next to him.

Makoto was such a child, looking forward to chocolate. He was a secret player, wasn't he!?

 photo VFtext01.png photo VFtext02.png photo VFtext03.png

Makoto heard the doorbell, so he turned over and listened. He wasn't really sleeping, anyway, but he wasn't really awake. He was trying to decide between sitting up and reading or slumping back down to sleep more.

There was a knock at his door, and then it opened just a crack.

"R-Rin?" Makoto peered over, thinking that his fever had spiked and he was seeing things or something, but then the doors opened more, and Rin stepped in, looking sheepish. "Rin! What are you...?"

"Gou told me you were sick, so, uh, I thought I'd..." Rin shrugged, but he was still standing right inside the door.

Makoto smiled widely. "Thank you! That's really kind of you."

"Well, I am kind," Rin boasted, but he looked embarrassed, and he wasn't looking at Makoto.

Rin was cute. "I know that," Makoto assured him. He squirmed around, sitting up fully, and he got out his glasses. If Rin was going to insist on standing in the doorway... He put them on, and found Rin was looking at him. Finally.

"So are you, uh... like, is it a cold, or...?" Rin asked.

Makoto rubbed his hair a bit, hoping it wasn't too messy. "Ah, well... Ran and Ren had it earlier this week. It's like a 24-hour bug? I was pretty, uh, you know, sick this morning, but now I'm mostly, well... drained, and tired," he laughed self-depreciatingly.

Rin looked worried. "Well, I, uh, I didn't want to bother you, but, um..." He looked down at the floor and shuffled from foot to foot. It was strange, like he wasn't sure what to do with his limbs.

Makoto noticed the bag Rin was carrying. "Ah... did you bring me something?" Rin looked startled, and Makoto winked. "Or am I being egotistical?"

Rin rolled his eyes, and he came over to the bed, sitting down gingerly at the edge. Makoto moved a bit and then Rin moved a bit and then Makoto thought about how Rin was sitting on his bed and he looked down, hiding behind his fringe and his glasses.

"Are you really ok? Did you go to the doctor?" Rin asked.

It was embarrassing because Rin was actually worried. "Ah, no, I'm fine, I mean... Ran and Ren had it already... Ran got sick first, and... I wasn't feeling great last night... I'll probably be all better tomorrow morning."

Rin gave him a skeptical look. "Well, don't overdo it and all. You're always taking care of others and shit. Just rest and take it easy until you're a-ok."

Makoto flushed, and covered it by trying to smile brightly. "It's not so bad being sick, though! I get a nice visit from you being nurturing! That's a rare treat."

"Shut up," Rin scoffed. "What's so great about being sick? You... missed Valentine's and all, right?"

"Oh, that," Makoto laughed. "I suppose so. Though, I still get to enjoy the best part!"

"Oh?" Rin looked at him, and did he appear startled?

"Yeah!" Makoto beamed. "Mom and Ran bake a chocolate cake together for their boys every year, but Mom said that because I was sick, they'd postpone it until Sunday. Dad complained, but I don't think he was really serious."

Rin shook his head. "You're unbelievable."

"Huh?" Makoto was about to ask Rin something, but Rin tossed the bag he was holding at Makoto. He looked inside and saw... "Candy?" he looked up at Rin. "You got me candy?"

"I-it's just what was in the vending machine at school!" Rin huffed, looking away. "It's not like it's a big deal! But you're such a baby, looking forward to eating sweets like a kid! So..." Rin hunched his shoulders and looked away.

Makoto felt warm all over. "Aw... thank you, Rin! I'm going to enjoy this! And there are some of my favorites in here!" Rin must have bought him everything chocolate... how much would that have cost him? It was really thoughtful!

"It's no big deal," Rin stressed. "I just felt sorry for you 'sall. You're used to being so damned popular and all. 'T's'not like getting all that attention from girls, but..."

Makoto laughed. "I'm not popular or anything! It's just normal..."

"Yeah, well, I'm sure you're not that popular, but still," Rin teased him. And then Rin leaned forward. And he... was he picking something up off the floor?

Makoto leaned forward to see what it was, and then he frantically tried to shove it back under his bed. That just made Rin more insistent, though, so he pulled forward the shopping bag Haru had brought from school.

"What's this?!" Rin demanded. "Let me guess... Haru's already been here?"

"Ah... well... he... he came after school..." Makoto admitted sheepishly.

Rin opened the bag and looked inside. "Not popular?! There's gotta be at least twenty in here!"

"N-not that many, probably," Makoto got the bag away from Rin and shoved it out of the way. "Haru said that some girls made him take it home, so... it might include Haru's chocolates, too," Makoto shrugged.

"I guess you don't really need this, then!" Rin declared, pulling his bag of candy bars back. "Don't want to destroy your training menu!"

"Eh!?" Makoto pulled his bag back. "But I want to eat Rin's chocolates!"

"I-it's not like I made them or anything!" Rin protested, but he let go enough to allow Makoto to pull them back. "Tch. So Haru's already checked on you. I'm surprised he didn't stick around to feed you porridge or something."

Makoto couldn't read Rin's expression. "Ah, well, I told him to leave... I didn't want to get him sick..."

Rin gave Makoto a sharp look. "So you want me to leave, then? Or you wanna get me sick?"

"Ah!" Makoto flushed all the way down to his shirt. "No, that's not...! I definitely don't want to get you sick, but... ah..." Makoto looked down at the bedspread miserably.

"Hmph." Rin reached out and covered Makoto's forehead with his hand. Makoto's eyes widened. "Well, you don't feel too hot, maybe you're doing better. Anyway, I'm stronger than Haru is, plus... I already... came all the way out here, so..." Rin pulled his hand off, and looked away.

Makoto looked at Rin, feeling... hopeful? For what? "Mm, well... then... you... wanna play some games?"

"Eh? Oh, you mean..." Rin pointed at Makoto's video game console.

"Yeah? What else?" Makoto laughed. Wait, was there some other kind of game they could play?

"But, you should stay in bed..." Rin said, and he sounded... regretful?

"No!" Makoto said a bit too loudly, so he laughed to cover. "No, I mean... I just have to sit on the floor, right? And I can bundle up!" He wrapped his blankets around him, and scooted over, grinning.

"Idiot," Rin rolled his eyes, but he scooted down to the floor. Makoto followed him, and then... Rin helped Makoto tuck the blankets around him.

Beaming, Makoto said, "Thanks, Rin!"

"Whatever," Rin dismissed, and then he leaned forward and got the controllers and turned on the console. Rin put in a racing game, and they got ready to play.

Makoto bumped Rin, smiling. "This is fun, right?"

"Just shut up and play. I'm not going to go easy on, so no Ugh, I'm sick excuses when you lose," Rin told him. He didn't move away from Makoto, though.

"Sure," Makoto grinned. "But what excuse will you use when you lose?"

"Asshole," Rin muttered, smirking.

Tachibana-san came back from the store, glad to see that Rin-chan's shoes were still in the genkan. She put away the groceries she'd bought, and then headed straight up to her eldest's bedroom to check on him. Before she opened the door, she listened for a moment, well, just in case. She could hear muffled sounds of a video game, but that was it. She knocked very lightly, and cracked open the door.

Her son was wrapped up in blankets on the floor, snoozing away with his head on Rin-chan's shoulder. Rin-chan looked up at her guiltily, and paused his game.

She couldn't help smiling. "Rin-chan, you shouldn't let him do that!" she said softly. "You don't want to get sick!"

He flushed, and he looked awfully cute flushed, like he didn't know what to do with his big, bad teenaged self like that. "I, uh, no, it's no big deal, Tachibana-san, anyway, he needs to sleep, so..."

She shook her head. "I'm going to scold him something fierce when he wakes up! Taking advantage of his friends like that!"

"Oh, no!" he looked nervous, and the way he looked at Makoto...! "He would never take advantage of anyone! Sheesh, he really should take advantage sometimes..." And then, he looked even guiltier, like he'd just said something dirty.

Tachibana-san could barely contain her amusement. "Well! You'll stay for dinner, then? Let me make it up to you by feeding you well. You don't have to go back to school right away, do you?"

"Er, no, I mean, I don't want to impose..." he hedged.

"My son is asleep on you, and you're worrying about imposing on me?" she shook her head, laughing. "No, it's fine. Ah, but..." She fished around in the pockets of her cardigan, and she pulled out her cell phone. Before Rin-chan even knew what she was doing, she took a picture of the two boys.

So cute!

"Ah, ah, Tachibana-san...! D-don't...! That is..." Rin squirmed a bit, but he was careful not to jostle Makoto.

Such a thoughtful boy. "Do you want me to send you a copy?" she asked him eagerly.

He looked like he wanted to object but then he lowered his head in defeat. "I... yes, p-please..."

Choking back her snickers, she held out her phone a bit. "Send me your contact info."

Rin-chan looked mortified, but he got out his phone and they traded info, and then she sent him the photo. When his phone beeped to say it got it, Makoto made a cute sleeping face, and Rin-chan smiled, and then he smiled again when he looked at the photo.

Tachibana-san was floating. "All right, I'm going down to start dinner, but if you need anything or if he wakes up, just holler, ok?" She winked at him, and then went back downstairs.

Rin-chan should smile more! He was cute when he smiled!

She started dinner, and she made some nice leek soup and porridge for Makoto. Ran and Ren came home, and she told them that their brother was sleeping from the sickness they gave him, so they should play quietly downstairs. The guilt worked and they obeyed without much fuss, though as usual Ran's definition of quiet and hers shared nothing in common.

She was just getting the dishes together to set the table when her husband came home. He immediately came to the kitchen to kiss her. "How's Makoto?"

She smirked, and pulled out her cell phone. "He has a friend looking after him," she informed him.

"Haru-chan?" he asked, his tone suggesting that it was a given.

"No! Rin-chan!" she informed him gleefully.

"Oh!" he grinned. "He's still here, right? Can I go up and tease them?"

"Oh, honey," she swatted his arm. "Just wait for dinner. Rin-chan is eating with us."

"Wonderful!" he beamed. "I'll get washed up and rustle them up!" His eyes were positively twinkling. He was definitely not going to wait for her to be there to tease them, so mean!

"Hurry up, or the twins will be eating your share," she warned him, and sent him off with a wink.

She didn't want Makoto to get Rin-chan sick, but... maybe he would stay the night! And they could tease him more over breakfast!

please remember to tell Andy how gorgeous the art is!!