title: Point and line to plane
fandom: Free!
characters/pairings: Makoto/Rin, Makoto/Haru/Rin (ish), Makoto/Haru (some), Rin/Haru (a little), Nagisa/Rei, past Makoto/Sousuke
rating: M
warnings: sex, art, voyeurism, college au
summary: Nagisa sets Makoto up (for way more than he bargained for...)
notes: for the most darlingest of darlings, Andy, for her birthday... late!!! ahh, so sorry, but Andy should be celebrated constantly anyway, so...!! also, there's not much in the way of romance in this fic. it's basically all horny college boys.
and thank you to harusprincess for the assist with proofing!!

"Mako-chan, Mako-chan, I've solved all your problems!"

A blond hurricane landed right on Makoto's rice bowl, knocking it over. Makoto straightened up, ignoring his abused meal. "I don't mean to be rude, but somehow that doesn't seem true, Nagisa."

"Mako-chan!" Nagisa pouted. He plopped himself down, half on the chair next to his boyfriend, and half on his boyfriend's chair. Rei continued to eat, undeterred, scooching over a bit to give Nagisa some room. "That's so mean, and here I am, trying to help you! Look, look, you said you didn't have enough money for the concert, and I've solved your problems!"

"Eh?!" Makoto looked stricken for a moment before he managed to compose himself. "Er, Nagisa, that is..."

Rei looked at Makoto compassionately, but his boyfriend was still going. "I saw this poster near the art department, see? Artist looking for tall male model with good musculature. See? See? That's Mako-chan, for sure, right? Needed for at least three sittings, up to six, two hours each. Will pay 5000 yen per sitting. That's easy money, and if you get the three sittings up front, you have enough for the live and the t-shirt!"

"Eh..." Makoto paled. Rei quickly shoved half his pork cutlet into his mouth, so no help there. Makoto had known Nagisa since they were young, and Rei since high school. They were a year younger than him, but they were among the few people from his home town who were in the same college as he was. Nagisa had taken it upon himself to start a branch of the NEWCODEX fanclub at their college as soon as he entered, and he made Makoto join. At first, Makoto thought Rei was just humoring Nagisa with his fanclub work, but after all this time, Makoto was pretty sure that Rei was as big a NEWCODEX fan as Nagisa was. For himself... "That's... I mean, it's true, that doesn't sound like a lot of time, but between school and work already... plus, good musculature? It sounds really embarrassing! I don't think I could do it, Nagisa."

"Aww," Nagisa pouted, holding the phone number tag he'd clearly torn off the poster sadly. "But, I already called him and told him you would come. He sounded really excited! It's for some kind of trophy thing or something, anyway the artist guy sounded really nice." Nagisa huffed sadly.

Makoto dropped his chopsticks. "N-Nagisa... you... already called him?" Makoto stared at Nagisa in horror.

"Nagisa!" Rei scolded, looking anxiously at Makoto. "That's... you shouldn't do things like that!"

"But, Rei!" Nagisa turned his cutest and most desperate pout on for Rei. "I really, really wanted to go to the live with both of you! Last tour, NEWCODEX didn't even come to Osaka! This is a big deal!"

"Well... be that as it may..." Rei sighed.

"Wait, you called him? You told him I'd do this? Nagisa! Give me that number! I have to call him to back out!" Makoto grabbed the small scrap of paper.

"I told him you didn't have classes this afternoon," Nagisa shrugged. "Why not just go over and tell him in person? He's expecting you."

"Na~gi~sa~!" Makoto wailed.

"Whhaaaaaat?" Nagisa puffed his cheeks out. "It's just modeling! And Mako-chan is tall and well-built! It's for like a trophy! This Rin needs your help!" Nagisa batted his eyelashes at Makoto.

"I'm not your boyfriend, Nagisa," Makoto growled, scrambling to get his book bag and his jacket. "That doesn't work on me. Where am I supposed to meet this guy?"

"I wrote it down there!" Nagisa cheerfully replied, turning the scrap of paper over. Indeed, in Nagisa's far from neat scrawl, he'd written... something down. "It's that building across from that one bridge? You know, the red brick one." Nagisa beamed.

Makoto shook his head. "And this guy's name is... Rin?"

"Matsuoka Rin!" Nagisa proudly declared.

"Matsuoka Rin?" Rei frowned. "Oh, he's somewhat famous, I think. He's one of a few art students who participating in a show in Tokyo last term."

"Great," Makoto sighed, envisioning a spoiled and arrogant artist type. "Thanks a lot, Nagisa," he huffed as he started off.

"Anytime, Mako-chan!" Nagisa unrepentantly replied, swiping Makoto's half-eaten lunch tray.

Makoto shared a look with Rei, and satisfied that Nagisa's boyfriend would properly scold him (at least until Rei gave into Nagisa's pout), he took off.

It was true that he didn't have classes that afternoon, and he didn't even have work at the café until much later, but he'd been looking forward to going back to his apartment and maybe getting some work done! Or, more likely, playing some games! But, of course, Nagisa had other plans!

It wasn't like he disliked NEWCODEX. He preferred music with a bit more edge to it, but that wasn't the point. Most of the fanclub was made up of girls, which was as expected, since most fans cared more about the sexy lead singer rather than the music. Nagisa and Rei's apartment, for example, had two life-sized posters of him, and more merchandise that Makoto could even comprehend. They even kept one of the posters over their bed!

That was weird, right?

Makoto got to the red brick building after only about fifteen minutes. That made sense, though, since this guy was an artist at school. He looked over the names on the buzzer, trying to find something like Matsuoka. It was a strange building, with fewer names than Makoto would have expected based on the size of the place. He found the name. Apparently, he shared the place with someone... a girl named Nanase Haruka? He rang the buzzer feeling nervous. He tried to think of what to say to explain this. My overly exuberant friend agreed to this for me, but actually I have emergency surgery scheduled, so...


Makoto jumped, and then leaned really close to the intercom. "Ah, I-I'm Tachibana Makoto... er, I'm here about the modeling thing..." he started.

"Great, come right up, first door on the second floor."

The door buzzed, and sighing, Makoto opened it up. Of course, he couldn't explain through the intercom. Fine. He went inside, and up the stairs that were right in front of the door. There was a large, metal sliding door right at the top of the stairs, but before he could even wonder, it opened, and Matsuoka Rin leaned against the frame.

"So you're Tachibana, huh? Let me get a good look at you." He raised his chin, eyeing Makoto critically.

"Ah!" Makoto's mouth went dry. Matsuoka... had deep red hair, nice shoulders, strong arms, really nice features, a shark-tooth necklace which landed right under his collarbone. He was wearing a worn-looking tank and loose track pants. His bare feet looked nice, nice clean toes.

Shit, he was hot.

"I can't really see you with your jacket on," Matsuoka grinned, and he waved Makoto inside. "C'mon in, ok?"

Makoto nodded mutely, only realizing that he wasn't telling Matsuoka that he couldn't do this after he was already inside Matsuoka's loft, and Matsuoka was closing the door behind him.

"Go on, take your jacket off," Matsuoka instructed him.

Obedient, Makoto dropped his book bag and slipped out of his jacket. "Ah, Matsuoka-san..."

"You can just call me Rin. We're going to get to know each other pretty intimately, so there's no point in being formal. Is that all right, Makoto?" Rin came right up to him and squeezed Makoto's shoulders.

Makoto looked away, and tried to think about his grandmother snoring after drinking at New Year's. "Yes, of course, please, I mean..."

"Your friend said you were pretty broad-shouldered, but I thought he was exaggerating. This is nice," Rin smirked, and stepped back. "But, if you don't mind, I'd really like to see your chest."

"You want me to take my shirt off?" Makoto gaped.

"It makes it easier to see the muscles," Rin winked at him.

"No, that's..." Makoto swallowed hard. Rin was an artist. An incredibly hot artist. He wasn't flirting. "This is just... going a bit faster, er, than I..."

"You want some foreplay?" Rin asked in a husky, dangerous voice. He even smirked and wiggled his eyebrow.

Makoto felt his stomach drop. This wasn't good. This was...

"Actually, why don't you come over here?" Rin indicated over to the other side of the room. The area they were in was just a big, open space, with a kitchen and a dining table on one side, and a couple of couches cordoning off a section of the open space. Inside, against the wall there was a shitty-looking tv, and on the couch there was a pile of sketchbooks. Rin led Makoto right into the middle inside the couches, near the window. "There's that's perfect. Now, go ahead and strip."

"Ah?" Makoto's eyes widened, and he looked from Rin to the window and back again.

"Don't worry!" Rin laughed, and damn, he was good-looking when he was smiling and relaxed. "No one can see in, the windows are too dirty. At least they let in light, though."

"But... you want me to..." Makoto swallowed hard.

Rin plopped onto the couch and picked up a sketchbook. "I just want to get some basic shapes down. So, if you could just..." He wiggled his pencil at Makoto, indicating that Makoto was far too clothed for Rin's taste.

"Ah..." Makoto looked down. No, he was going to turn down this job... and there was no point in getting his hopes up, because Rin was living with some girl, right? And anyway...

"Whenever you're ready, take your time. ...You have a really nice face, though. I'm so glad. I think you're going to be perfect." Rin smiled at him.

"R-really?" Makoto squeaked. And then he started to take his shirt off.

He was stupid. That was all there was to it! He was seriously going to strip for some hot guy just because he asked Makoto to?! Yes, he was.

Stupid, stupid, stupid...

"I've, um, never really... done this before..." Makoto coughed, keeping his chin down.

"Been naked?" Rin teased him gently.

Makoto's face was all red but at least he was able to smile and look at Rin shyly. "That's not exactly what I meant..."

"Don't worry, I'll be gentle. I'm really good with first-timers," Rin winked at Makoto, and damn it! It sounded like Rin was flirting with him!

Makoto was terrible at flirting! According to Makoto's first boyfriend, he never knew when he was flirting and when he wasn't! "I'll bet you are," Makoto gamely replied. He tossed his shirt to the couch. "You, ah, you want...?" Makoto sort of waved his hands around his waistband.

"Oh, please," Rin purred.

Makoto was fucked. He was about to get naked in front of a hot artist who was almost certainly straight and seeing someone and he was going to do it because apparently he was incapable of not doing whatever Rin told him to do. As long as he was doing it, he wasn't going to waste time. He took off his jeans and his boxers together, and then quickly ripped off his socks. Totally naked, he stood up, nervously holding his hands in front of him. "Er..."

Rin whistled in appreciation. He set aside his sketchbook and stood up, coming right up to Makoto.

Staring straight at his dick.

"Fuck, you're huge," Rin smiled.

"Er!" Makoto tried to cover himself, but Rin quickly grabbed his wrists, and pulled his hands away.

Rin was touching him.

Makoto squeezed his eyes shut and thought about his homeroom teacher from third year in high school, an oily man who always had stuff hanging out of his nose. He absolutely, absolutely, could not get an erection at that moment.

"You're like a freakin' Adonis," Rin exhaled. "I can't believe you've never modeled before. This is great!"

Makoto opened his eyes to look at Rin's angelically beautiful smiling face. "Er."

Makoto was in more trouble than he'd ever been in before in his life, including the time he and his first boyfriend had been fooling around in the kitchen at home in high school and his parents came home early.

"Would you mind if I put a little baby oil on you?"

Makoto patted his pile of clothes once more, trying to make sense of what Rin just said. "Excuse me?" he asked, his voice creaking.

Rin smirked. "Sorry, that sounded weird, huh? I just really need to see all your muscles in definition to get the effect I'm going for," Rin looked Makoto over from head to toe, licking his lips.

Makoto swallowed hard.

"Anyway, I thought if... you were sort of... oiled, it might be..." Rin shrugged.

Makoto was pretty sure Rin was staring at his cock. Reminding himself that he was delusional and that Rin was living with his girlfriend, Makoto smiled. "Oh! Well, sure, but... well, I can... I can probably put it on..."

"Sure, of course, I was thinking... like, your back," Rin nodded, looking vaguely embarrassed. And maybe slightly disappointed?

"Well, sure, the back," Makoto nodded, cursing himself for his mental disorders and Nagisa for setting him up for heartbreak and pain. Awkward and clumsy, he took the bottle of baby oil from Rin, and started to lather it all over his chest. Rin stared at him for a few minutes, and when Makoto was working on his legs, Rin started to work on his back. He went up and down Makoto's back, his nails digging in, his hands brushing over Makoto's ass...

Makoto stared at his feet and thought about the time his uncle's finger had swelled up to three times its normal size because he'd cut it while out on a fishing expedition, and it was weeks before he got the infection treated. His uncle squeezed the base of the finger so the pus would spurt out and...

"Ok, looks like you're covered!" Rin said unnecessarily loudly.

Makoto straightened up. "G-great. ...Isn't this just going to absorb into my skin?" Maybe they should have used something else?

"Ahh! It's fine, it's fine!" Rin assured him, turning quickly to turn on the big light in the corner. It was like a photographers light, a giant moonflower shyly turned away from them on its stark metallic stalk, brilliantly lighting up the wall and ceiling, the filtered light casting a cool glow over the loft. Rin turned back to Makoto proudly, and took Makoto's arm. "Just... bear with me a moment, let me pose you..."

"Of course," Makoto cleared his throat, thinking about his uncle's pus again. Rin was just doing what was necessary. He had to touch Makoto, it wasn't that he wanted to. Makoto dutifully arranged his body per Rin's instructions, pushing his foot forward as Rin touched his calf, and twisting his torso as Rin caressed his waist.

His uncle's pus had been sickly yellow with an undertone of green.

"Great, perfect! Just... hold still. If you start to feel uncomfortable, just let me know, and we'll take a break," Rin told him.

"Ok," Makoto nodded, and then he realized he shouldn't have nodded.

Rin chuckled softly as he got behind his easel. He opened the box at the base of the canvas, and started to mix up some paints and pick out his brushes. Makoto tried to watch him without moving. Rin was wearing a black tank with a racer back and grey, slouchy pants. He still didn't have anything on his feet, and his hair was pulled back into a cute ponytail.

Makoto wasn't even trying to think about pus.

"So, you're a big fan of NEWCODEX?"

"Eh?" Makoto blinked. "Oh! Um, well, actually, my friend is a big fan."

"I thought he said you were an officer of the campus' fanclub," Rin frowned. He was looking at Makoto but he was seeing shapes and lines, probably. He swirled his brush and made some quick gestures with it, and then he started to make some strokes on the canvas.

Rin was gorgeous. "Yeah, well... again, my friend is a big fan..."

"So you're the type to be drawn along with what your friends are doing, huh?" Rin laughed.

"No, I mean... I don't dislike them... They're not bad." Makoto didn't want Rin to think he was weak-willed or something. "They're not my favorite or anything, but I wasn't really interested in any clubs, anyway..." That wasn't entirely a lie. Makoto had been involved in the LGBT club his first year, but it hadn't been entirely satisfying. First off, there were power struggles inside the club, as the upperclassmen who were officers couldn't agree if they were a social group or a political group. Also, Makoto had gotten involved with one of his upperclassmen, and then he'd been elected vice president, but they'd had a nasty breakup...

Rin almost certainly wasn't interested in stuff like that.

"The lead singer is pretty hot," Rin remarked offhandedly.

Makoto couldn't process that for a moment. He'd been lost in his own thoughts, he'd forgotten what they'd been talking about. Then, his brain had to cope with the thought of Rin being attracted to the lead singer of NEWCODEX. But that was.

That didn't mean anything, because Rin was an artist, and he was painting Makoto, right at that moment, actually, so he was probably just talking from an aesthetic point of view...

"He sure is popular," Makoto sighed. "I'm more of a bass guy."

"Oh? Do you play?" Rin asked, looking at Makoto curiously.

"Badly," Makoto laughed. "I mean. I can do that... dun dun, dun dun, dun dun, kind of thing, nothing more. I'm not really great with things that require fine motor control. I'm more of a, ah, brute strength kind of guy."

"I can see that," Rin smirked, and Makoto was sure, once again, that Rin was staring at his dick.

Maybe he was? Just because a guy had a girlfriend, that didn't mean he didn't also like dick. Makoto wasn't sure about getting involved with someone in a relationship. Sometimes, he was afraid that as a gay man in Japan, that sort of relationship might be the best he could hope for, but he wasn't really at that point in his life where he was going to settle for the best he could hope for.

And, of course, there was also the thing where he was delusional and Rin wasn't at all sexually attracted to him.

"How long have you been... arting..." Makoto asked, his mind blanking out in his attempt to derail his own thoughts.

Rin seemed amused. "Well, always, I guess? My dad was an artist," he smiled proudly. "At least, well, he tried to be. He was really good, he sold a lot of stuff, but he... he took side jobs and stuff. Well, that's how it is, so. But, yeah, I was always coloring and doodling, as long as I could remember. And... my only really strong memory of my father was sitting in his lap and drawing with him. In fact, my mom still has a picture we drew together. It was a field of flowers, and he helped me draw a butterfly and a bee."

"Oh... I'm... I'm sorry, did I...?" Makoto looked at Rin, concerned.

"Nah, he died... when I was really young." Rin was smiling as he worked on his canvas. "He took a job on a fishing boat, because they paid up front. But, they were lost at sea." Rin's smile hardened and he narrowed his eyes. "I was... like, in kindergarten? First grade? I was really young. And my mom had to sell most of my dad's real art, you know. But I still have his sketchbooks. And his equipment. Like this easel." Rin brightened. "I asked my mom for lessons, because my dad had taken lessons when he was young... I just wanted to... experience the same things he did. And now, I'm becoming an artist, like him. Dreaming of living off my art, like he used to dream," Rin laughed.

"Is it... for your dad, then?" Makoto asked meekly, pretty sure that he shouldn't be asking these things. It was prying into Rin's personal history, and he had no right. But, Rin was talking about it so freely... Makoto thought that maybe he needed to talk about it?

"Mm, well. It's sort of a mixture? When I make something I'm really proud of, I can't help thinking of him. But at the same time... I've decided to live my life to make myself happy. So. I'm just chalking it up to genetics. How could I not be an artist, with him as my dad?" Rin stepped away from his canvas, and he was smiling, either because of what he painted or what he was saying. "What about you?

"What's your major?"

"Ah, well.. at first, I thought I might want to be a pediatrician." Rin raised his eyebrows, impressed. "Yeah, but actually, medical school is really... it's a lot of work." Rin laughed, and shook his head, swirling his brush around in colors. "So then I thought about nursing. Pediatric nursing, or... maybe physical therapy. Or maybe teaching. Maybe phys ed."

Rin pulled back to laugh. "Sounds like you've had a busy three years here!"

"It's taken me a while to figure things out, though some of this indecision was from before college, too," Makoto defended himself cheerfully. "Anyway, last summer I worked at a camp for special needs children, and it was really amazing, there were special ways of presenting sports, and some modules working with animals, and like water sports... so at the moment, I'm thinking education for special needs children, with a focus on phys ed."

"Seriously?" Rin stepped away from the canvas, lowering his brush. He stared at Makoto, but he was looking right into Makoto's eyes this time.

"Y-yeah, it's a real thing!" Makoto insisted.

"No, I think it's great, that's all. That's like... really hard work, but good work." Rin nodded, smiling gently.

Fuck, Rin was beautiful.

"So, you really like kids? You're going to have like a huge family some day?" Rin asked, going back to work behind the canvas.

"I don't know if that's really in the cards, who can say," Makoto replied neutrally, well-practiced from dealing with his aunts. "But I think I'm good with kids. So. W-what about you, you want a big family?"

"I don't know. Probably not. When I was in high school, I used to volunteer at the civic center, helping the art class teacher. That was always fun. I might like to continue to do stuff like that. Having kids of my own... well, like you said. Who knows."

"Right," Makoto nodded. If he didn't know better, he could swear that Rin was flirting with him, and maybe even probing to see if he was interested, just like Makoto was probing to see if Rin was.

This was dangerous.

"So, if you don't like NEWCODEX that much, what music do you like?" Rin continued to work.

"I saw Crying Machine at Fandango Club last month," Makoto excitedly told him. "It was an awesome show. They did Violent Storms, and the guitar solo and the bass solo were incredible."

Rin's brush stilled. "That's... isn't that... like, heavy metal?" he asked incredulously.

"Yeah? Well, they're more melodic, power metal... what?" Makoto laughed at how Rin was staring at him.

Rin held up his hands, smiling. "Sorry, nothing. You just seemed more like a... AKB48, Arashi type of guy."

"Hey!" Makoto objected, turning a bit more toward Rin.

"Hey!" Rin pointed at him, laughing.

Makoto rolled his eyes, and got back into position.

"I'm not insulting you! You just seem... you know, like you're made out of puppies and candy and sunshine or something," Rin grumbled.

"I can't even tell if you're insulting me or not, but I think you are," Makoto sighed.

"I'm not!" Rin insisted. "You know, I'm saying... you're sweet."

"I bet I can be spicier than you'd think," Makoto challenged.

And now he was most definitely, out-and-out flirting.

"Oh, really?" Rin smirked, and he gave Makoto a smoldering look. "Good, let's see that spicy side, then."

Makoto opened his mouth, but he didn't know what to say.

A man wearing nothing but black boxer-briefs with purple piping came out from where the bathroom and bedrooms were. He yawned, scratching his belly, and then he stopped, looking at Rin and Makoto. He nodded at Rin, went to the refrigerator, got a fish sausage, and came back, jumping over the back of the couch to sit down and stare at Makoto.

Makoto started to sweat.

Rin worked as the young man munched on his sausage. Makoto tried not to look at him, but how could he not? He had dark hair and blue eyes and a serious demeanor. His body was slight but strong-looking, and his fingers were long and thin, his fingernails painted blue at the base and black at the tips.

He chewed on his sausage, letting go and just holding it with his mouth, and he picked up a sketchbook, fishing out a pencil from between the cushions.

"What are you doing?" Rin grumbled.

"'M draw'ng," he replied, his focus still on Makoto.

"Well, stop it!" Rin moved over to kick at the young man while still painting. "He's my model. Get your own model!"

"I like this one," he mumbled, still chewing and still drawing.

Rin kicked him again, and he laid down on his side, his pencil still moving rapidly.

"I'm paying for him, he's mine, stop drawing right now!" Rin childishly demanded.

Makoto blushed all the way to the tips of his ears.

"I'll go in halfsies with you," he grunted, finishing off his sausage.

"Don't you have a seminar?" Rin sneered.

"Oh, shit, what time is it?" he asked.

"It's time for you get dressed and get out of here!" Rin replied unhelpfully.

The young man huffed loudly and petulantly. He stood up, and really, really looked Makoto over. Staring right at Makoto's dick, he licked his lips. "I'd really like to paint you."

"Get out of here," Rin complained.

He sighed, and he went back to the bedrooms.

Makoto's heart was pounding.

"That's my roommate," Rin sighed. "Haru. Haru, by the way, the model's name is Makoto!" he shouted back.

"I want to paint him!" Haru called back.

"You can't, I keep telling you, he's mine! We can't use the same fucking model, Haru, we present to the same professors!" Rin scowled.

Haru came back out wearing black jeans and a blue shirt. He was scowling, too. "So what? We have our own styles. And I said I wanted to paint him, I didn't say it was for school."

"Just go," Rin sighed.

Haru made his way to the door, but stopped just short of it. He turned, and looked at Makoto. "It was nice meeting you, Makoto. Really nice."

"Ah...!" Makoto was at a loss, because he wasn't sure what Haru's family name was, even though it was Nanase on the buzzer, right?

Haru left before Makoto could pull himself together, but the intensity of his blue eyes lingered on Makoto.

"You wouldn't want him painting you," Rin grumbled. "He'd make you a merman. He's obsessed with water imagery. He's a prodigy, so he gets to be eccentric. The rest of us hard-working schlubs have to do assignments and compositions, but Haru is special."

"He's... like your rival?" Makoto asked meekly.

Rin snorted, and then he shrugged, smiling faintly. "Rival, pain in my ass, friend, person I hate most in the world... All of the above. Ah, he's not bad, I just... I don't... really want to share you with him... I mean, I've barely even started with you myself," Rin smiled. Maybe he was even purring. That look on his face... that wasn't just Makoto's imagination, was it?

Makoto mentally scrambled to come up with something unsexy to think about, but instead he visualized Rin and Haru passionately making out in between Makoto's legs while Makoto held them loosely in his arms...

That was the best and worst thing he'd ever imagined in his life, and it was the most unfortunate, because he could no longer contain his reaction.

Rin's brush was moving furiously, and Makoto tried to just focus on that sound, and not think about the sounds of Rin and Haru beating each other off as Makoto rubbed their backs and kissed their cheeks, encouraging them... Makoto took a deep breath, looking up. Was it getting hot in the loft? That seemed unlikely, but he felt sweaty and gross. All his blood was in his dick or at his skin and he felt like his head was going to pop off and float away. His body started to cramp up.

Rin rimming Haru while Haru tried not to make a sound and Rin was stroking his cock and Makoto was massaging his nipples and caressing his hair...

"Um, sorry, I'm... I'm a little uncomfortable..." Makoto croaked out. Maybe if he could rush off to the bathroom, he could get his head back in order...

"Don't apologize, just don't move for one second... ok, good." Rin put his brush down and came around the easel.

Wait, no...

Makoto turned to shield his body, but that was silly, wasn't it? He was naked, there wasn't much he could do. He flushed, and tried to smile. "I-it's... I'm not used to being looked at, um..."

"No wonder you were uncomfortable," Rin smirked, chuckling. Of course he was staring at Makoto's erection. It was huge, how could he not stare? Makoto felt awful, like he'd violated Rin somehow with his imagination and Rin knew. "Want some help with that?"

Makoto stared at Rin. And blinked. He opened his mouth, but nothing came out of it.

Rin grinned, showing off his teeth a bit. "I don't mind being... helpful," and he definitely was purring, and that was flirting, Makoto couldn't be wrong about that! Just to prove Makoto's point, Rin reached out and brushed the back of his nails against the underside of Makoto's erection.

"Ahhh!" Makoto's knees nearly gave out, and he involuntarily reached out to hold onto Rin's shoulders. He looked, panicked, into Rin's eyes.

Rin looked incredibly pleased with himself. "Sit down. Let me help you."

Rin's voice was soft and sultry and Rin's eyes were pretty and Rin's hands were on Makoto's hips, guiding him, and Makoto didn't have the energy to try to stop Rin, didn't even want to try, because he wanted a lot of things from Rin, and the fact that Rin was touching him was a good, good start. Rin guided him to the couch and gave him a push, and Makoto ended up with his bare bottom on the seat.

Rin knelt down and spread Makoto's legs out. He licked his lips, and winked at Makoto. "That's a pretty big feast you've laid out for me."

Makoto might have managed to get out some sort of vocalization, but it sure as hell wasn't words. Whatever it was, it encouraged Rin. He moved in, and like a kitten, he lapped at Makoto's cock, swiping his tongue over the tip. Rin's hand circled around Makoto's base, and his lips touched Makoto's tip, his tongue still on it, like Rin was giving Makoto's dick a deep, passionate kiss.

Makoto put his fingers into Rin's hair, not knowing what else to do with himself, but he forced himself to keep his touch light, undemanding.

Rin was taking care of everything.

Makoto cried out when Rin got as much of Makoto as he wanted in his mouth, and his hand was stroking the base, and his tongue, and his lips, and he was sucking on Makoto's dick, and it was incredible, Rin's cheeks caved in and Makoto caressed under Rin's ears with his thumbs and Rin groaned with Makoto's dick in his mouth and that made Makoto groan and...

Heat poured out of him, his body felt smoking and tender, and he knew that he screamed when he came, but it was like his strings were cut. He flopped back against the couch, trying to catch his breath.

Rin was amazing!

Makoto was still trying to catch his breath as Rin climbed up into his lap, licking his chops. Makoto looked at Rin's mouth, thinking of those lips wrapped around him, thinking of how he came into Rin's mouth...

He... came into...

"Oh... sorry..." he tried to say. His tongue felt thick and his voice sounded weird, like it was too slow. Maybe it was just his brain that was too slow.

"What are you apologizing for?" Rin laughed, and then he did something else incredible. He kissed Makoto, and when he kissed Makoto, he bit Makoto's lip. Makoto grabbed onto the hem of Rin's shirt, just trying to stay upright. Rin beamed proudly.

Makoto touched Rin's lips with rubbery, inelegant fingers, awed. "That was... ah..."

"You seemed to like it!" Rin boasted.

"I'm sorry," Makoto repeated, though it sounded hollow. He really didn't feel sorry at all. But...

"You keep apologizing," Rin laughed. "C'mon, if you feel strange about it," Rin rubbed Makoto's chest, touching his nipples, "well, you can just... make it up to me sometime." Rin wiggled his eyebrows.

"Sometime?" Makoto repeated, his brain sluggish. Oh, Rin meant... Makoto smiled, and looked Rin over. And then he cupped Rin's crotch, feeling Rin up. "Any time in particular?" he asked, trying to sound offhanded.

Rin groaned, and he was kissing Makoto again, and it was a damned good kiss, Rin was a fantastic kisser, Makoto wouldn't mind kissing Rin for hours. Days, maybe. Except.

Makoto rubbed Rin's crotch.

"Yeah, how about now?" Rin asked huskily, his eyes dark.

Makoto smiled, and he turned them, pushing Rin down onto the couch. He lifted Rin's shirt and kissed his bellybutton.

Rin was damned good at oral. Makoto had to show Rin that he was good, too.

Makoto held up his dumpling, and smiled at it. He turned it around and around, thinking about Rin, feeding Rin, Rin feeding him, Rin biting him, Rin licking him and maybe even licking his blood after Rin had bitten him, Rin's fingers, Rin's toes, Rin's bellybutton, which was cute, just... Rin.

He'd woken up thinking about Rin. He thought about Rin in the shower, and lost some time to it. He thought about Rin on the bus. He'd doodled pictures of Rin in his notebook during class until he gave up under the weight of his inability to doodle and he started to write out Rin's name. He wrote Haru's name a few times, too. Their names looked good together.

Nagisa poked Makoto in the cheek. "Makoto, you're acting weird."

"Nagisa," Rei sighed. "Leave him alone."

"No, it's weird, Makoto doesn't act like this!" Nagisa pouted.

Makoto laughed, and ruffled Nagisa's hair. Nagisa liked that. Rei smiled at him.

Everything was happy and good and Rin was in the world and so was Haru, and that was all just... good, it was great.

"Makoto has brain damage," Nagisa wailed to Rei.

"I do not," Makoto sighed. He thought about the way Rin pouted sometimes at the canvas, and smiled.

"While he is exhibiting symptoms similar to concussion, inebriation, or chemical intoxication, I believe we ought not be worried, and just be happy for him," Rei winked at his boyfriend.

"We can't be happy for him, we haven't even met his sexy artist yet!" Nagisa complained, shaking Makoto.

Makoto calmly ate his dumpling as Nagisa continued to rock him back and forth. "You're the one who made me go to him," he pointed out.

"I didn't think you'd fall for him!" Nagisa huffed. "If I'd known I was going to set you up for sex, I would have charged you or something!"

"Nagisa," Makoto and Rei said in unison.

Nagisa hugged Makoto's arm. "Didja get the money for the ticket?"

"Oh..." Makoto stared off into space for a moment. "Right... yeah..."

"Well, give Rei the money before lunch tomorrow! We're going to pick up the tickets tomorrow night." Nagisa winked at him.

"Right," Makoto smiled benignly as Rei stifled his laughter.

"So, tell us about your sexy artist! All we know about him is that he likes looking at naked men and you smile like a goof after doing it with him!" Nagisa pouted.

"Nagisa," Makoto sighed. "No, that's not... What's he like? He's... really hot."

"Of course," Nagisa winked at Rei.

"He's really talented. And, he's really strong... like, his spirit is. I admire him," Makoto grabbed another dumpling, shifting in his seat. Talking about Rin made him feel anxious, like he really wanted to see Rin.

And Haru?

"Oh? But like, he's really good in bed, right?" Nagisa frowned.

"Nagisa," Rei sighed.

"I don't know, we really only fooled around on the couch. ...Actually, I'm not even really sure he's into guys," Makoto frowned. There was still a lot he didn't know. They really only did... what they did... because Makoto got hard...

"He's gotta be into guys at least a little," Nagisa laughed. "He wants to paint naked men. Straight guys would normally paint naked women, right?"

"I'm not sure how accurate that statement is, but... given that you fooled around with him, I think the probability of his being interested in men, and in you in particular, is quite high," Rei assured Makoto.

That was true! But... "Yeah, but I don't... I mean, we're not dating or anything, it was just... just fooling around," Makoto cleared his throat. It was incredibly good fooling around, and he was pretty damned sure that Rin felt the same way, but. "Also..."

"Yeah?" Nagisa leaned in, putting his face right under Makoto's face.

Makoto just took a deep breath. "Well. It's. He has a roommate..."

"Yeah?" Nagisa furrowed his brow.

"I thought at first that he was living with his girlfriend, because the name on the buzzer looked like Nanase Haruka. But I met his roommate, and he's a guy. He called him Haru," Makoto explained.

"Nanase Haruka?" Rei frowned. "He won a prize for outstanding young artists when he was seventeen. He was expected to choose an elite art school in Tokyo, but he opted for here instead because it was closer to his home."

"Oooh, you should have him paint you instead, Mako-chan!" Nagisa suggested brightly.

Makoto laughed. "Well... actually, he did want to paint me..."

"Looks like RinRin has some competition!" Nagisa crowed.

"No, it's not... it's not like I'm really a model!" Makoto flushed. And.

He was getting confused. It was Rin he was interested in, so.

What was he thinking?

"Why did you even mention the roomie? Did you think that there was something going on between him and RinRin?" Nagisa asked cutely.

"No, I just..." Makoto shook his head. And then he thought about it some more.

"Makoto-senpai?" Rei gently nudged him.

Makoto smiled and shook his head, trying to shake his confusion. "No, it's nothing. Like I said, I'm not even dating Rin. We just fooled around. It's just... you know..." Makoto ducked his head down.

"You li~i~i~i~i~i~ike him," Nagisa singsonged happily.

Makoto flushed, and shoved another dumpling in his mouth.

Yes, he liked Rin. But he needed to get to know him better. He needed to know how Rin felt, too.

And there was something about Haru, but Makoto couldn't work it out.

Makoto woke up to Rin chewing on his earlobe. He kept his eyes closed, but he couldn't help smiling from the sensation. Rin must have realized he was waking, though, because Rin resumed his search for Makoto's ticklish spot that he'd started the night before. Makoto snickered, and batted Rin's hands away, still keeping his eyes squeezed shut. Rin retaliated by noshing on Makoto's neck.

Unable to repress the need to laugh, Makoto gave up. "Are you going to eat me for breakfast?"

"Is that an option?" Rin smirked.

That was way too sultry for so early in the morning! "Are you always so..." Makoto turned onto his back and wriggled around in bed, stretching out. "Fiesty first thing in the morning?"

"Only when I'm being taunted with something tempting," Rin licked his teeth, looking over Makoto's chest.

"Pervert," Makoto teased, and then he yawned. He looked up, but all he saw was sunlight on the ceiling, which looked strange because he'd never been in this bedroom before. "What time is it? Why are we even awake?"

"That's a really good question," Rin yawned, teasing Makoto's nipples. "It was your phone that was blaring just a bit ago. Did you seriously not even hear it? How deeply can you sleep?"

"Sorry, sorry!" Makoto laughed. "Ah... I usually have that set way in advance in hopes of getting up on time... but then I still end up rushing out of my apartment before breakfast. Sometimes, I miss my mom waking me up," he rubbed his nose against Rin's shoulder.

Being woken up by a lover was pretty nice, too, though.

"How spoiled are you?" Rin laughed, pinching Makoto's side. Makoto squirmed and laughed, but Rin was relentless. He climbed on top of Makoto's hips, and put his hands on Makoto's chest. Makoto ran his hands up Rin's arms. "So, if you set your alarm way too early because you're a damned slug... does that mean you still have a lot of time?"

Makoto smiled, and raised an eyebrow.

It was about an hour later, refreshed, relaxed, and showered that Makoto was sitting at Rin's table in the kitchen corner, eating toast and eggs that Rin had made wearing nothing but Makoto's boxers. That, of course, left Makoto with no underwear, since he hadn't actually planned on spending the night, but according to Rin, it was fine. After all, Rin leant him a hoodie that was really baggy on Rin. Makoto shifted in his chair, trying to get used to the feeling of his jeans directly against groin, but trying to be unobtrusive about it because Rin was smirking at him over his eggs.

Rin was a brat and Makoto did not want to spoil him! Too much.

"You're free tonight?" Rin asked him, sipping his coffee.

"Mm, yeah. Wait, tonight... ah, well, is it ok if it's later? I'm supposed to have dinner with a friend," Makoto sipped the much-too-strong-especially-for-someone-who-didn't-drink-coffee coffee.

"Dinner?" Rin frowned. "What kind of friend is this?"

"The kind of friend that I'm friends with so we have meals together from time to time," Makoto teased, pushing his leg forward to bump Rin's legs. Rin pushed back, wrapping his calves around Makoto's calf. Makoto leaned forward and swiped a piece of Rin's egg. Rin made an offended face, and stole Makoto's second piece of toast.

Haru came out from the bedroom area and went straight for the coffee pot. He was completely naked.

"Oy, did you pay the rent?" Rin asked.

"Mmfghh," Haru answered, chugging down the coffee. "This coffee is horrible," he said flatly.

"Then get your ass up to make the coffee yourself," Rin rolled his eyes.

"If I get up, I'm making tea," Haru shot back.

"Then get up and make the damned tea," Rin snarled.

Haru came over - completely naked - and took Makoto's toast off of Rin's plate.

"Hey!" Rin tried to get it back, but Haru turned - completely naked - and went to the fridge.

"Do we have any more gum arabic?" Haru asked, munching on the toast while standing.

"Sure, I've got a whole vat under the couch cushion. If we had some, you would know," Rin grumbled.

Haru turned - completely naked - and glared at Rin.

Makoto honestly tried not to stare at Haru's dick - thin, long, nice color - or his ass, or his balls, or just him, but he kept wanting to look, so he panicked. He stood up, nearly knocking down his chair, and he smiled nervously at Rin. "Ah well I suppose I should go!" he said, realizing that he was talking too loudly only after he was already talking and then it was too late to turn back. He moved away from the table, stumbling a bit as he headed toward the door.

"Hey!" Rin laughed. "I think you're scaring him," he told Haru.

"I still want to paint you. Makoto," Haru pled.

"Well, you can't!" Rin snapped.

Makoto's heart was pounding.

"Hey, wait up," Rin got up and went to where Makoto was unsuccessfully trying to get on his jacket and book bag at the same time. "You're so funny. You love heavy metal, but you embarrass so easily! A man full of mysteries... what else are you hiding?"

Makoto didn't think that getting embarrassed over a stranger being nude right next to his face was that unusual, but he wasn't going to argue the point. "I... let my cat take care of all my secrets," he said, because he couldn't think of anything else to say.

"Your cat? You have a cat? What's the cat's name?" Rin asked, interested and amused.

"...Mittens," Makoto admitted, laughing at himself. It wasn't exactly an inspired name, but...

Haru came over to them, still eating Makoto's toast. "I like cats."

"Ah...!" Makoto's brain froze. He absolutely would not look down... even if Haru was pretty... "S-so do I!"

"Of course you do, you have the cat," Rin laughed, and then he leaned up and nipped at Makoto's ear.

Haru glared at Rin.

"Then, I'll see you late tonight," Rin winked at Makoto.

"Right," Makoto nodded nervously. He turned to go, and then he realized. "Wait, no... I have a late shift at work!"

"Work? Where do you work?" Rin pouted.

"Ah! I work at a café, Fraises à la Crème. It's right near campus?" Makoto edged closer to the door and further away from Haru and his exposed dick. Haru was watching him intensely and he was just getting more embarrassed which he knew would amuse Rin more.

"Oh, I might have seen it... well, then, why did you need a job modeling? You're already making money," Rin frowned.

"...I only told Nagisa I couldn't afford the ticket because I didn't want to go, remember?" Makoto laughed.

"Great, then I don't have to keep paying you, right?" Rin winked, reaching out to pinch Makoto's ass.

Haru seemed very interested in the reply.

Makoto flushed, and turned to leave. "I'll... I'll call you, then..."

"'Kay. Looking forward to it," Rin purred.

Makoto nodded to Haru - and peeked at him again. He was just about to school before his heart calmed down.

...That was strange, wasn't it?

Makoto snickered, looking at his phone. He typed a quick reply, and then just held his phone, waiting for Rin's reply. He'd been pretty quick about it, and sure enough, Makoto's phone buzzed slightly, and a new message popped up. Makoto grinned.

"Ma~ko~chaaaaaan!" Nagisa wailed, and he leaned over the table, trying to look at Makoto's phone. "WhoareyoutalkingtoisthatRinRinshooooooowmeeeee!"

Makoto turned his phone over. "Nagisa, no."

"Nagisa," Rei grinned, patting his boyfriend on the back. "Let's give Makoto-senpai his privacy."

"But we're at lunch and Makoto keeps ignoring us and staring at his phone!" Nagisa pouted.

"You're right and I'm sorry," Makoto agreed. "I should just..." His phone buzzed again, and Makoto took a quick peek, but he couldn't help grinning at what he saw.

"Whaaaaat, is RinRin sending you dick pics? I wanna seeeee!" Nagisa tried to crawl over the table.

"They're not... Nagisa keep your voice down!" Makoto looked around quickly. Sighing, he touched a picture to enlarge it, and he showed Nagisa. "They're cats. He's sending me pictures of cats. He's... I guess he's going around town taking pictures for some art project? And he's taking pictures of cats he sees, and sending them to me."

"Your relationship is so weird," Nagisa sighed, sitting back down.

Rei shook his head at Nagisa. "There's nothing wrong with Makoto-senpai's relationship," he scolded Nagisa.

"Well... there is one thing..." Makoto cleared his throat. "I... I'd like your opinion, both of you." He took a deep breath, and he told them all about breakfast the other morning, and Haru. After Nagisa stopped laughing, and after they mostly got him to stop asking questions about Haru's dimensions, Makoto went on. "That's... that's not the only thing... their apartment, the building they live in, it's part of their grant for art school. The spaces they live in, they're designed for artists. So, that's why... they have the big open loft space... but they also have a bathroom and two really small bedrooms."

"Right," Rei nodded, and Nagisa stared at Makoto, glassy eyed.

"Well," Makoto fidgeted, ignoring his phone for the moment. "I-I spent the night in Rin's room... so I thought... it was basically just one big mattress on the floor and a dresser. But I've been thinking about this... the other bedroom..." Makoto sighed.

"Yeah?" Nagisa and Rei leaned forward. Nagisa perked up at the promise of more details of Haru and his potential nakedness.

"There's no bed in there. It's... it's full of art supplies and... I think Haru is working on a sculpture in there? There's not even room for a futon on the ground." Makoto looked at his friends and they looked at him. "Well, where does Haru sleep?"

Nagisa and Rei looked at each other. Nagisa shrugged, and Rei hesitantly suggested, "Maybe... the couches?"

"Is that likely? That someone would just sleep on a couch... and not even have a bed?" Makoto asked meekly. "I mean... the more I think about it... Rin's bed was really big..."

"You think maybe Rin and Haru are lovers?" Nagisa leaned forward and thankfully lowered his voice.

Makoto made a face. "But, well, he got jealous when I said I was having dinner with a friend. And I spent the night, and he didn't... he didn't say anything to Haru, and Haru was working on his sculpture..."

"Mm," Nagisa folded his arms over his chest, and thought about it. "Artists are pretty free-spirited, right? Maybe they have an open relationship?"

"But.. wouldn't he say something to me about it before we...?" Makoto half shrugged.

"You should ask him directly," Rei counseled.

"How can I do that? We've already... and if he's not, wouldn't that be really rude, like...?" Makoto sighed.

"Mm, that's true and all, but maybe you can just ask him where Haru sleeps? Or if Haru sleeps? Maybe Haru's really nocturnal, so they just take turns using the bed?" Nagisa mused.

"That's... I mean, I guess that's possible..." Makoto considered it. Rin knew Haru's schedule better than Haru did, and he constantly seemed annoyed with Haru, but seeing Haru naked made no impression on him at all.

Just... what did it mean?

"You're in love with Rin, aren't you?" Nagisa grinned. "You gotta just ask him. You shouldn't be going around thinking strange things at the beginning of your relationship."

"I'm not...!" Makoto flushed. "We're not even really..."

"But you've already..." Rei started suggestively, smiling wickedly.

Makoto hated it when even Rei was teasing him. "Right, right. The direct approach."

That wasn't Makoto's strong suit...

Makoto pushed the buzzer, fidgeting as he waited for the answer. Today, he was going to do it, he was going to ask Rin about Haru. He was. He meant to the last time he came to model, and he ended up getting distracted by Rin, and also by Rin's dick in his ass. That was extremely distracting.

No, this time he was going to straighten out this Haru situation, and then he would know just what was going on and where he stood, and he would feel more comfortable.

And, hopefully, they could still fool around.

After what felt like a longer wait than usual, a voice replied, "Yes?"

That didn't sound like Rin... "Ah, it's... it's Tachibana Makoto..."

"Oh, Makoto, come in," and that was definitely Haru's voice. And Haru was just using his name... well, they'd seen each other naked, so. Makoto opened the door as it buzzed, and he went up the stairs. It would be harder to ask about the Haru situation with Haru there, but...

Hopefully, he'd be clothed.

He had just gotten to the landing when Haru slid the door open. "C'min."

"Thank you," Makoto nodded to Haru nervously. Haru was not, in fact, naked. He was wearing pants. Haru had a beautiful frame, and nice skin. And Makoto wasn't focusing on that because he was here to see Rin.

"Rin's not here," Haru shut the door behind him, "but you can wait. Want a beer?"

"Oh! Um, no, I'm fine," Makoto smiled. This was the opposite of what he came here for... There was no Rin and there was a Haru. How could he possibly ask Haru about Haru? And... should he really be here without Rin?

Rin's easel was in its place, but taking up space in the loft was a giant sculpture-looking thing. That was what had been in the spare room, Makoto realized. At the moment, it looked like a strange conflagration of tubes and silver wire. Makoto got closer to it, looking it over.

"This... this is your work?" Makoto asked timidly.

Haru nodded, sipping his beer. He swallowed and then he spoke softly, "When it's done, it's going to be a fountain that's made to look like a dolphin composed entirely of water leaping out of the ground," Haru explained, with a small, cute gesture of his hand to indicate the leaping.

"Ah! Oh, I hope to see it when it's done! That sounds so cool," Makoto tried to picture it. He could see how the tubes did form the shape of a dolphin, mainly, but.

"I still have some work to do," Haru admitted. "It was a commission from Kaiyukan, have you ever been? They have a whale shark."

"The aquarium, ah, I think I went in school. I had a friend who was obsessed with the whale shark, yeah," Makoto grinned, remembering.

"Yeah, they're hosting several projects to promote water conservation," Haru continued, fiddling with the tubing. "All the pieces will be displayed during a special period, and if a piece is selected, it could become a permanent installation." Haru actually sounded excited about the prospect.

"Sounds like it's right up your alley. Rin said your art is heavily water inspired," Makoto sat down on the couch, folding his leg under him. Actually, Rin said that Haru was water obsessed, but that was how Makoto interpreted it.

"I grew up near the water. I still feel anxious if I can't get back home every now and again. Sometimes, I'll just go home for a week at a time. It's... home," Haru looked at Makoto with clear, straightforward eyes. "Do you like the sea? You could come with me sometime. It's peaceful."

"Oh! Well, I don't really dislike it... I used to swim a bit," Makoto laughed nervously. "Er, mostly in pools..."

Haru looked at Makoto keenly. "You should let me paint you," he declared.

"I..." Makoto shifted uncomfortably. "Ah, you know, I'm not really a model."

"You're a muse," Haru stated.

Makoto flushed. "I-I-I don't know..."

"Rin's been inspired. It's not just his painting, he's drawing muscles and limbs everywhere. It's good for him, but you could be my muse, too." Haru almost looked like he was pouting. It was cute.

"I really don't know anything about... about musing, er, or art and stuff," Makoto hedged. "I'm glad Rin is doing well, though. B-but he seemed really upset at the idea of you painting me, too..."

"That's just him being selfish," Haru petulantly declared. He sat down next to Makoto, putting his beer on the floor. He leaned in. "If you don't want to model for me, can we have sex?"

"Wha-?" Makoto backed off.

Haru scowled. "I'm attracted to you. I like being around you. You have a comfortable air about you. My grandmother would say that you have an old soul. I think that means that in a past life, we were close. We might have been lovers or spouses."

"I... I..." Makoto's mind blanked out. He couldn't understand what Haru was saying at all, but he was entranced by Haru's delicate features, his fine lips. And what he was saying... damn, it was a strange but powerful seduction.

"Rin won't mind, he might not even be home for ages. Are you attracted to me?" Haru put his hand on Makoto's thigh. His hand wasn't small, but his fingers were long, slim, and surprisingly strong.

Makoto felt his body temperature rising. "I... I... I am attracted to you, but Rin..."

"Are you in love with Rin or something?" Haru scowled deeper.

"N-- I mean, I don't know, but we... we've..." Makoto fumbled for words.

"I don't really understand things like love. Some people ignite a chemical reaction in your brain, some people don't. As long as you're safe, where's the harm? It feels good, it's good for your body," Haru squeezed Makoto's thigh.

It was hard not to be swayed by the logic of Haru's words... "I... I just don't want to hurt Rin, I mean... I like him. I like you, too, but..."

"You only even know him because your friend set you up," Haru huffed. "I could have had an ad for a model there. It could have been me. If the connection between people is so tenuous and slight, does it really matter? Maybe we're supposed to be together somehow. I mean, life is all about random chance. Maybe your friend set you up with Rin because of some kind of attraction between our bodies."

"Er..." Makoto blinked. There was no way that what Haru was saying made sense, was there? Did Makoto want it to make sense?

Haru leaned in, and they were kissing.

At first, it was just lips. Haru's tongue touched Makoto's lips, and Haru's fingernails dug into Makoto's thigh. Makoto parted his lips, and Haru moved closer. And then Makoto reached up and touched Haru's cheek, touched his hair, cradled his neck gently. Makoto shifted and Haru pushed his hand up closer to Makoto's groin.

Their lips parted, and Makoto was breathing heavily from the same air that Haru was heavily breathing in, and Makoto looked into Haru's perfectly blue eyes, and a wave of vertigo washed over him.

"Rin..." Makoto pled, trying to remind himself that this was totally wrong.

"I don't want to talk about him now," Haru complained, and he grabbed Makoto's face, and they were kissing again. Makoto put his hands on Haru's waist, and he saw himself pushing Haru down onto the couch, kissing down his smooth chest, opening his pants, spreading his legs. They'd need lube. Surely Haru had some close...

There was a pounding on the door. "Yo, Haru! I've got my hands full, open the door."

Haru pulled back and rolled his eyes. He got up, and went to open the door for Rin.

Makoto frantically tried to figure out just what in the hell was wrong with him, wondering if it looked like he had been kissing Haru, wondering if it looked like he was erect, wondering just what Rin would say...

"Thanks," Rin grumbled, stepping in. "Well, take a bag, damn it, I bought your damned fish."

"Ooh," Haru smiled, and took a grocery bag.

"Makoto! You're here!" Rin beamed.

"H-hi!" Makoto smiled at Rin, feeling eleven thousand kinds of guilty.

"I'm glad you're here," Rin winked. "We can get started after I put this shit away."

"Ahh, let me help you..." Makoto got up and jumped over the back of the couch, grabbing the other bag from Rin.

"Thanks," Rin grinned, and pinched Makoto's ass.

Makoto was just a terrible person. He set the bag on the counter, and started to unpack it. Between the three of them, it wasn't much work to put it all away.

"God, today has been so annoying. I had a eval with Professor Sucks His Own Dick," Rin groused.

Haru smirked.

"His advice is always so enlightening. He told me I had persistent issues with lighting and negative space, and then he proceeded to give me a ten minute lecture about how he saved an entire town from a demon when he was my age using only a ten-year-old brush and some watered-down ink," Rin aggressively put the cans away on the shelf.

"That's good. If he liked your art, you'd have to be really worried," Haru said calmly.

"That's true," Rin snorted. "My sister called, do you have siblings?" he asked Makoto.

"Y-yes! Twins, a boy and girl, they're almost ten years younger than me," Makoto replied awkwardly.

"Aw, cute. My sis is a year younger than me and she's trouble. She's dating this guy I didn't even approve of and she wants to go to like Singapore or something with him and mom said no and she wanted me to help her convince mom and then she got mad at me when I asked her why she had to go to freakin' Singapore with some guy and then this jerk nearly ran me over at the crosswalk..." Rin sighed heavily. He smirked at Makoto. "You know what? I should take a shower before we start.

"Wanna join me?" He wiggled his eyebrows, and then he put his hand in Makoto's waistband and pulled him along to the bathroom.

Makoto looked back at Haru, panicked, but Haru was putting on a apron, getting ready to cook.

Rin closed the bathroom door behind them, and just fell against Makoto's chest. It was practically a reflex to put his arms around Rin.

"Pretty shitty day. I'm glad you're here," Rin said, his voice soft and loving.

Makoto's heart dropped, and he rubbed Rin's back, feeling tongue-tied and horrible. He kissed the top of Rin's head. "I'm... glad I'm here."

"Good," Rin smiled up at him wickedly. "Now let's get naked." Rin pulled off Makoto's shirt faster than Makoto thought he could have gotten it off himself. Rin licked Makoto's nipple as he opened Makoto's jeans.

Clumsy and sluggish, Makoto pulled off Rin's shirt. "Rin, there's something I should tell you..." he said, not really wanting to talk but really, really not wanting to take advantage of Rin and hurt him.

"Can it wait?" Rin asked, pushing his hands into Makoto's boxers. "I really kinda need you to drill this into me until all I can see is stars." Rin licked his lips, looking at Makoto like...

Makoto was a four star restaurant and Rin hadn't eaten in months.

Throat dry, Makoto knelt down and divested Rin of all the clothing covering his lower half, lapping thirstily at Rin's cock as he did.

Rin groaned, and dug his nails into Makoto's flesh. "C'mon..." he begged, and Makoto stood up, kicking away his jeans and boxers. Rin got the water going, and they stepped into the shower.

Makoto focused all his guilt into making Rin feel amazing.

"I just really need some advice. I'm sure I know what I have to do, but I just... the whole situation is just so damned confusing. It's not just me, right? I mean, I still don't really know what's going on between Haru and Rin, and now I've made out with Haru and I'm sleeping with Rin... well, we've never really done a whole lot of sleeping..." Makoto sighed.

Mittens mewled softly and stretched her paw out, touching his nose.

He smiled, and kissed her paw pad. "I know, Mittens. I'm just being cowardly and selfish. But don't you think they've been really ambiguous, too?"

Mittens tilted her head to the side and gave him the look of kittenly contempt for humanity.

Makoto sighed, and rubbed under her chin, earning her approval again. "Yes, you're absolutely right. This is why I like talking to you. You never lead me astray." He sighed, and picked her up, setting her down on the couch to her consternation. Before she could climb back into his lap, he stood up. "I've got to face the music. I've got to have a real conversation with Rin... face to face, not over text, and not... not involving sex. I've got to tell him the truth, and I've got to find out the truth from him." He nodded resolutely, and then he went to get his coat.

He was scared.

He walked to Rin and Haru's, trying to figure out just how to start the conversation. He was never good at this sort of thing. It was one of his weaknesses. He usually just avoided confrontations, and dealt with issues on his own, as much as he could. He didn't like bothering people. He never wanted to hurt anyone.

Kissing Haru might have hurt Rin. Sleeping with Rin might be hurting Haru.

Or... maybe Makoto was just thinking too highly of himself? Maybe neither one of them saw any of this as a serious relationship. Haru said so many things, but Makoto didn't really understand. Maybe Haru just really wanted to have sex.

That was understandable.

He just needed to get it all out in the open. He waited for the light a block away from their place, looking up at the colorless sky. Spring was supposed to be coming, but they were having a cold snap. Makoto thought about the aquarium and Haru's water dolphin. He hoped it was sunny when Haru's piece was first displayed.

The light changed, and Makoto walked, forcing himself to keep a good pace. No more backing out, and no more excuses. He was doing this.

He got to Rin and Haru's building, and there was a woman coming out, so she held the door open for him. He took the stairs two at a time, and when he got to the top, he found Rin and Haru's door ajar. He knocked anyway, but he pushed it open almost right away. "Rin? Haru? Anyone?" He stepped inside. There wasn't anyone in the open space. He stepped inside tentatively. "Hello?" he called out.

"Goddamnit, Haru!" he heard Rin call out from the bedroom.

Smiling, he went to check on them. Were they arguing again?

Makoto turned in the hall and just got outside the bedroom when he stopped cold. The door was half open, and inside he could see Rin on top of Haru, riding him while holding Haru's shoulders down. Haru was scowling and wriggling, trying to turn them.

"Just hold still, fuck, I'm nearly done!" Rin complained, driving down hard on Haru's cock. Sweat gave a gorgeous sheen to his back. His hair was stuck in thick, sweaty cords across his face.

Haru planted his feet and pushed up with his hips, driving into Rin as Rin pushed down, causing Rin to scream and throw his head back.

Makoto made a noise, and Haru looked at him, and Makoto turned on his heel, and he left, closing the door to the apartment firmly behind him, and then down the stairs, and then out the door, and then down the block, and then... and then...

And... then?

Makoto didn't know what came next.

Makoto didn't go to his next modeling session. He didn't answer his phone when Rin called, and he didn't answer his texts. He ignored when Nagisa called, and he picked up lunch from the combi instead of going to the cafeteria. He didn't reply to Rei's messages. He went to school, but he skipped some classes, and he kept his light off so that when Nagisa knocked on his door, he could just ignore it.

Nagisa and Rei showed up at the café, and Makoto ducked in the back. His boss was Nagisa's sister, so she understood that Makoto might need a break.

After a week, the only people besides customers he talked to was his mother, and he had to cut that conversation short after she asked him if he was sure he was all right the second time.

He wasn't all right, and he was too afraid to fix it.

He tossed the trash into the dumpster, and then stretched out, leaning back against the brick. He was halfway through his shift, but his head was just aching from lack of sleep. He closed his eyes, and just let the cool air work its way into him.

Anytime he laid down to sleep, he saw Rin and Haru fucking.

It had been nearly two weeks now, and he still just felt lost and confused. He thought he should feel hurt, but stronger than that was the feeling that he was an idiot. He should have known all along, shouldn't he? Of course Rin and Haru were lovers. They bickered like lovers. Rin knew Haru's schedule perfectly, and Haru didn't even know his own schedule. Whether they had an open relationship or what, Makoto didn't understand, but he felt too stupid to be worried about it.

The only problem was, he'd agreed to be Rin's model for his work, and Rin needed to turn it in by a deadline, probably soon, and Makoto still couldn't bring himself to return Rin's messages. He wasn't even reading them anymore.

He was a coward.


Makoto felt a sharp heel dig into his thigh. He opened his eyes, and looked sheepishly at his boss. "Sorry, sorry!"

"Eh, forget it," she shrugged. "Nagi-chan was telling me that you were having some big trial and angst about your new boyfriend. So. Give me details."

"Oh, boss, no, I..." Makoto tried to wave her off. Like Nagisa, she had fluffy blonde hair and bright, sparkling eyes, though she didn't smile as readily or as cheerfully as Nagisa did. In fact, when she was smiling, she was scary.

She pulled out her cigarettes, and kicked Makoto again, really digging her heel into him. "Shut up, stop being so shy! I haven't had sex in nearly a month. Since you refuse to be interested in my vagina, I need gross, sweaty details of your gay sex life to survive. So, spill."

"Well, it hasn't been a month, but I'm not getting any, either, so..." Makoto tried to dodge.

Her persistence was definitely something that she shared with her little brother. "Ok, so tell me your story of heartbreak and woe so I can feel better about my impossibly high standards." She took a long puff, and blew smoke in his direction.

Fortunately, the wind favored Makoto. He smiled ruefully at her. "It's... I just didn't know what was going on. It wasn't a heartbreak; it was just sex."

She inhaled slowly, and then tilted her head back, exhaling a stream of smoke with artful lethargy. "In my experience, the real problem with just sex is how rarely it's ever just sex. So you two have hashed it out and he's not interested anymore, or...?"

Makoto shook his head and looked away. "Ah... He... he has... someone else. He's actually living with someone else, and I... should have realized..."

"That sounds complicated," she said, her brow furrowed.

"It is," he agreed with forced amiability.

"I love complicated," she gushed.

He smiled at her.

She winked at him, and tapped him on the shin with her shoe. "You haven't talked to him, though?"

Makoto sighed, and looked away, shrugging. "Well..."

"You're in love with him?" she asked sharply.

"..." He was about to deny it once again, but he stopped himself. Was he in love? He didn't think he knew Rin or Haru well enough, but why couldn't he get them out of his head? At this rate, he was going to fail college and get fired. "I don't know. I think it's... complicated."

She narrowed her eyes, just staring at him like she could peel away the layers of his skin and get a good look inside of him if she just looked hard enough. She took another puff of her cigarette, and then she kicked him in the shin. "Stop being a whiny wuss and talk to the guy. Also, get back to work. You're only as asset to me if the cute girls can see you and keep dumping their wallets at you while they order more food to get your attention."

Makoto rolled his eyes. "Yes, boss."

"Seriously, Mako-chan, talk to him."

"I know, I got it," Makoto sighed, going back into the café.

It wasn't exactly the sort of job that required a lot of brain power, but when the shop was busy, there was enough to keep his hands busy that he could push the persistent thoughts of Rin and Haru away. That worked fairly well, because the late shift also had to clean up for closing. However, an hour before closing, it became entirely impossible to not think about Haru and Rin.

Haru came into the café and sat down at a table.

Makoto was at the counter, boxing a slice of cake for a customer, but he nearly dropped it when he saw Haru. Haru looked at him, just like he'd looked at Makoto when Makoto had walked in on him and Rin. Makoto turned his face down to his hands, trying to keep from messing up the customer's order. He saw his coworker go to Haru's table, so he felt a bit reassured. He could finish up this order, and then maybe hide in the back and take care of cleaning the dishes, at least until Haru left.

The customer paid for her cake, and Makoto was about to escape when his boss came to his elbow. "Is that him?" she whispered.

"Er?" Makoto flushed. "Well, th-that's... the roommate..."

"Well, he asked specifically for you to wait on him, and Ami-chan was hoping to leave early..." his boss looked at him sympathetically.

"Oh, right," Makoto nodded, his heart dropping.

There was no way around it. He got out his pad and went to Haru's table. He had to smile, so he smiled as widely as he could without parting his lips. His hand was shaking a bit, but he cleared his throat, and just spit out his line. "HiandwelcometoCaféFraisesàlaCrème, canItakeyourorder?"

"Makoto. It's me, Haru," Haru said quietly.

Makoto kicked himself. "Ah, ah, Ha-Haru-ch-sa-kuuhm, yes, um, what can I get you?"

"You wear glasses?" Haru asked, oblivious to Makoto's distress.

"Ah, um, well, sometimes, c-c-c-can I interest you in our specialty coffee of the day, it's..." Makoto had been rattling that off all night long, but it just popped right out of his head, and his body froze, so even though he knew he just had turn his head to see it on the signboard, he couldn't. Couldn't.

"Makoto, can I talk to you?" Haru asked.

"I-I-I'm at work, so..." Makoto shrugged helplessly, as if it were impossible to talk and work at the same time.

"Mm. I'll have tea, then," Haru said, disappointed.

"R-r-right, got it, coming right up!" Makoto scribbled pointlessly on the pad, and then turned and dashed off. When a customer asked for tea, he was supposed to list all the specialty and custom blends they had.

Makoto quickly went behind the counter and opened the first tin of tea his hand touched when he reached out, and he filled an infuser with it.

"So, that's the lover's roommate?" his boss hissed to him, staring at Haru.

"Yes," Makoto tersely replied.

"He's gorgeous," she said, as if Makoto didn't already know.

"I know," he replied.

"I mean, really gorgeous, like... he looks like a prince!" she continued.

"I know," he sighed.

"And those eyes!" she put her hand to her heart.

"I know," Makoto closed his eyes, wishing the floor would open up and eat him.

"Did you sleep with him? Because if you slept with him, I'm going to need a whole lot of details, I'm your boss," she told him, giving him the look.

"I did not sleep with him," Makoto sighed, dunking the infuser in the tea a few times to hurry it up.

"Well, you should. You should try to sleep with him tonight. You can use the back room, even. I mean, god, look at him," she bit her bottom lip.

"Boss," Makoto wailed under his breath.

"Sorry, sorry," she snickered, and then she pinched his cheek.

Sighing, Makoto took the teacup to Haru's table.

"Here, enjoy," Makoto bowed to Haru a bit, backing off.

"Can't you sit down for just a second?" Haru asked, reaching out to grab Makoto's wrist.

Haru's delicate fingers trying to hold onto him so carefully... Makoto took a deep breath. "Well, but I-I can't neglect the other customers..." he hedged.

"I'm the only one here," Haru pointed out.

"Eh?" Makoto flushed, and looked around. Sure enough, every other table was empty. There wasn't even anyone at the counter. His boss winked at him and went to the back, taking a tub of used dishes. Makoto sighed, and sat down heavily. "I-I suppose it's all right, then, but..."

"You misunderstood," Haru cut in.

"I don't think that's really possible," Makoto smiled kindly at Haru. Sex was sex. He saw what he saw.

"It's true that Rin and I do those things, but that shouldn't have any bearing on your relationship with him. Or with me," Haru insisted, and he reached out again to touch Makoto's wrist.

Makoto started to feel warm, damn it. "Those things, though... I mean..."

"Rin really likes you. He's been moping and whining ever since then. I... told him that you saw, and left. He feels terrible." Haru watched Makoto for a moment as Makoto struggled to think of anything to say. "Between Rin and I, if I had to describe what we have, I suppose I'd say we were friends. Even though he's really annoying. But, he really likes you. And... for my part..." Haru's eyelashes fluttered a bit, and he turned his teacup around on its saucer. "Well." He looked up, resolute. "I still want to paint you. I still want to have sex with you. I still feel a connection with you. I don't feel that way with a lot of people. I don't... want to miss a chance that it might be important."

"What... does that mean? Important? I mean, you and Rin... ...you sleep in the same bed, right? I mean, you're..." Makoto looked away, confused, and...

He was stupid. He should have known all along.

"I don't know how to explain things. I told you before, I don't really understand things like love. Rin is annoying, but... living with him, I always feel inspired. Before, I'd often have long stretches where I didn't feel like doing anything at all. And there were times when I couldn't handle being around people, so much I'd miss school a lot. Somehow, Rin... pushes me. I felt the same way when I met him that I felt when I met you. No, it wasn't the same. When I met him, I felt irritated. When I met you, I felt..." Haru's lips pressed together and his mouth twitched, searching for the right word. "I really need to paint you," he insisted, looking Makoto in the eye. "I really... I really want to spend more time with you.

"I don't really know what sort of relationship you wanted with Rin. Maybe I'm in the way. If I am, just say so. Because I don't know you very well, but I like you. And I know Rin, and I know he'll be miserable if he can never get the chance to make things right. It seems strange that all this... confusion is over sex, but." He reached out and squeezed Makoto's forearm. "If you like him at all, then please talk to him. Rin is better at talking to people than I am. He'll make you understand. If I'm in the way, I'll get out of the way, but just. Please. Don't..." Haru was really struggling to express himself.

Makoto smiled at him. "I... I know I need to talk to Rin. I'm really sorry, Haru, for... causing all this confusion. I just. I needed to figure some things out in my own head. But, I'll contact Rin. Promise."

"Soon?" Haru asked, leaning forward.

"I... as soon as I can..." Makoto wavered.

"...Ok. But. I really hope to see you again," Haru told him, his eyes shining and wide.

Makoto's insides all did a samba.

A tall, dark, handsome, and proud man was standing next to Makoto's door when he got home from school. Makoto raised an eyebrow at him, and he smiled broadly in return. "Sousuke," Makoto greeted.

"I need to borrow a dress shirt and tie," Sousuke replied amicably.

"It's nice to see you, too," Makoto sighed, opening his door.

Sousuke laughed, and followed Makoto inside like it was his own apartment. "You're the only person I know close to my own size. You don't mind, right?" Sousuke went straight to Makoto's bed, looked around for Mittens, and then flopped down.

"Make yourself at home," Makoto shook his head.

"Your home has always been my home, babe," Sousuke smirked. "You have a nice, white shirt? I have a black jacket I can use, but..."

"Why don't you have a dress shirt? And what's going on, you screw up so you have to take the boy out someplace flashy?" Makoto opened his closet, looking through what he had.

"Why do you jump to that? No, that's not it at all! My professor invited me to this awards dinner thing, I'm going to schmooze!" Sousuke huffed. Makoto pulled out a shirt, and Sousuke shook his head. "No, that's too tailored. Don't forget, my shoulders are much broader than yours."

Makoto rolled his eyes. "I won't bother contesting your use of the word much there. What about this, Young Master, will this do?" He pulled out his only other shirt.

"Oh, yeah, I think I've worn that before," Sousuke nodded.

Makoto shook his head, and sighed. "I only have one tie, so don't be a bitch about it," he took out the green tie with the chevron pattern.

Sousuke made a face, and then he made a show of not saying anything.

Makoto draped the tie over the shirt and tossed it over the back of the couch. "Well, there's your shirt and tie, so..." he waved to the door.

"Are you trying to get rid of me?" Sousuke mock-pouted. "That's so mean. When did you become mean." Makoto sighed, but before he could answer, Sousuke continued. "Oh, that's right, Nagisa said something about you being heartbroken and suicidal. You got dumped by some artist?"

"Wow. That is... almost but not entirely exactly unlike what happened. I was not dumped, it was just... it's... complicated..." Makoto sighed, and then he flopped down on the bed next to Sousuke.

"Awww. Tell Papa-Suke all your troubles, baby," Sousuke taunted, poking at Makoto's belly.

Makoto looked at Sousuke. "I cannot believe you actually said that out loud. I'm embarrassed to know you."

"Not just know me..." Sousuke smiled with his tongue sticking out, wiggling his eyebrows comically.

"I'm too embarrassed being near you to think about that," Makoto sighed.

"So are you going to tell me about this sexy artist who has driven you to throw yourself in the ocean, or what?" Sousuke poked at Makoto more.

Makoto swatted Sousuke's hands away. "It's... it's all Nagisa's fault!" Makoto whined. "He set me up to model for this artist, Rin, and then... things happened, and we were fooling around. But he has this... this roommate... well, more than a roommate. They're like, friends with benefits? I guess. Platonic lovers? Haru, the roommate... he's... he's..."

"Are you sleeping with the roommate, too?" Sousuke asked, laughing.

"Why do people jump to that?!" Makoto huffed. Well, it was just his boss and Sousuke, but.

"Do you even realize how you sound when you talk about him?" Sousuke laughed. "It's like you're talking about an angel, or something."

"All I said was that he was sleeping with Rin, too!" Makoto objected.

"He's... he's... he's..." Sousuke mimicked. Unflatteringly. "Aw, Mako-chan is in love..." Sousuke crooned, poking Makoto's cheek.

"Shut up, Sou-chan," Makoto grabbed Sousuke's finger and twisted it.

Sousuke turned over and tried to bite Makoto's nose, but Makoto pulled away, laughing. "You never answered me, so I'm assuming you slept with him."

"I did not, I just..." Makoto sighed. "He came onto me and we kinda made out. Well, we made out. It was hot. He keeps telling me directly he wants to have sex. And I..."

"You want to," Sousuke finished for him.

"Well, yeah," Makoto admitted guiltily.

"So, let me see if I can... sum this all up. You're sleeping with a guy, and he's sleeping with someone else, and you want to sleep with the someone else, and he wants to sleep with you." Makoto nodded, and Sousuke just stared at him. And then Sousuke knocked on Makoto's forehead. "What the fuck, where exactly is the problem here? Do I need to draw you a map? Sleep with both of them! Why is that so tricky!"

"Hey!" Makoto rubbed his forehead, pouting. "But, it's more complicated than that...!"

"It is not," Sousuke rolled his eyes.

"It is, you're talking about a... a... threeway, and they're already..." Makoto objected.

"Mako-chan," Sousuke sighed like he was really put it out. "You remember, when we were much, much younger little perverts, and I bought our first gay porn mag? And you were shaking, practically in tears..."

"I was not!" Makoto huffed.

"...because you were convinced your siblings would come in, or your mom, and we'd get in trouble, and you'd be homeless or something... at least that's how you were reacting, until we got to the spread with the threesome," Sousuke winked.

Makoto puffed out his cheeks, embarrassed.

"And you know, you didn't exactly spend a lot of time thinking about it when we picked up that guy for a threesome," Sousuke wiggled his fingers under Makoto's shirt. "Not to mention the times we snuck out to go to clubs, and whoever got someone first, the other got to watch." Sousuke wagged his tongue at Makoto while his fingers toyed with Makoto's bellybutton.

"Yes, but... but..." Makoto searched for his objections. He knew they were there, they were valid. "Haru and Rin already have this established relationship, and..."

"And they're both into you. If there's a problem here, you're going to have to help me out, because I don't see it," Sousuke moved down as if to open Makoto's jeans.

"B-but... I mean..." Makoto furrowed his brow.

"Look, there's no set mold for a relationship. Sure, there are people who do the flowers and candy thing. For, like, Nagisa and Ryuugazaki, sure, the romance thing is fine, whatever. But not every relationship has to be that way! You and I were friends. And then we started having sex, but we were still friends, and then we decided to move on and not have sex anymore... so much..." Sousuke tugged at Makoto's button, and Makoto swatted at his hand unconsciously. "And we're still friends! Are you saying that's a bad relationship?"

Makoto considered it. He felt like his head was being spun, but he often felt that way when Sousuke was talking, so.

"If Nagisa and Ryuugazaki..."

"You've know Rei for years now, you can stop being so stuck up about him," Makoto absently interjected.

"If they broke up, do you think they'd still be able to be friends?" Sousuke asked.

"Well, they..." Makoto thought about it. If they broke up, it would have to be because of something awful. "I see your point, but... ...You know, it really scares me when I listen to you and you're making sense. I'm fearing for my sanity here."

Sousuke grinned and pinched and twisted Makoto's skin, causing Makoto to turn on his side and laugh.

"Just go for it. At least try it. What's the worst that could happen? It doesn't work out? Not every relationship has to have an end game. You don't need to be able to go shopping for curtains and dishes on the first date. Just have fun with them. They want you and you want them. Seriously, why are we even talking about this? Why aren't you having kinky sex with these artist boys?"

"Stop it, you're making me horny," Makoto laughed.

"Well, I can help you with that," Sousuke purred, laying his hand flat on Makoto's tummy. He moved in, licking his lips.

Makoto put his hand on Sousuke's face, and pushed him away. "No, I'm good. Besides, your boyfriend has a manic streak and he already hates it when we spend time together." He stuck his tongue out at Sousuke.

Sousuke moved in to bite it, and then he sighed. "Fine, fine, be that way. ...Wanna make out a little, then?"

"Don't you have schmoozing to do?" Makoto laughed, sitting up.

"Oh, are you going to get yourself some artist tail? Well, fine, then," Sousuke sat up and stretched out. Mittens looked up at him and mewled, and he jumped up and grabbed his shirt. "Let me know all the details, ok? I mean all the details. All of them."

"Just get out of here," Makoto groaned.

"Love you, too, babe," Sousuke laughed, and he went to the door.

Mittens jumped up on the bed, and mewled at Makoto. Makoto rubbed behind her ear, and smiled.

"I... I think I'm going to do something that will either be incredibly brave and amazing, or even stupider than the stupidest thing I've ever done," Makoto told her softly.

She meowed back to let him know that while that sounded great, she hadn't been fed lately and she was probably going to die because of his neglect.

When Makoto put his tray down on the table opposite Nagisa's, Nagisa's face lit up like a firework. "Mako-chan! Are you all right? Were you dumped? We've been so worried! I was afraid you'd drop out of school or something. You should have come to us, we'd've taken care of you!"

Makoto sat down, amazed at how quickly Nagisa had gotten all that out. "I'm sorry," he started, not really sure what else to say.

"It's good to see you again, Makoto-senpai," Rei smiled.

"Thanks, you, too," Makoto replied.

"Sooooo? What happened? Are you ok? Tell us everything! You know, you missed the concert," Nagisa pouted.

"Eh?" Makoto blinked, staring blankly at Nagisa.

Nagisa rolled his eyes. "NEWCODEX! It was last week." Nagisa's bottom lip protruded even further.

"Oh!" Makoto had completely forgotten about that... and that had been the start of it all, right? Thinking about it, it was all just a blur. "I'm sorry, I... I really forgot all about it."

"It's ok," Nagisa admitted with a shrug. "We sold your ticket, Rei made me. I was going to try to drag you out of your apartment, but Rei said we should respect your boundaries," Nagisa puffed his cheeks out. The way he said that made it obvious he was parroting Rei unflatteringly. "Rei has your money. You're pretty broken-hearted, huh?"

"It's not really like that," Makoto shook his head. "I mean, we had a... a miscommunication, I suppose? It's just really been confusing. But, I'm going to try to talk to Rin today, so." He smiled bravely, picking up his slice of pizza.

He needed the courage that came from melted cheese, to be followed up by chocolate frosting courage.

"So you... you haven't... broken up?" Rei asked, surprised.

"We aren't really going out," Makoto told him, "but, no, I just... we need to clear some things up, it's just. It's..." he was about to say complicated, but that was just something people said when they didn't want to talk about things, right? "It's unconventional, and... we just need to talk."

Nagisa and Rei looked at each other, and then Nagisa leaned forward. "So, you're going to fight for your love?"

"Fighting for something," Makoto laughed. He wasn't sure how he felt, but... the more he thought about it, the righter Sousuke seemed, and that was terrifying. Couldn't get anywhere without trying, right? "I really am sorry that I cut myself off. I just... got really confused and I had to process. I was being a jackass. I talked to Sousuke yesterday..."

"Sousuke?" Nagisa interjected.

"Yeah, Sousuke," Makoto nodded.

"And, er, Yamazaki-san was... ah... helpful? His advice was... sound?" Rei asked, blanching.

Makoto snickered. "Don't worry, he didn't suggest anything strange." Well, he suggested a threesome, but... "That's why I've finally got the courage to talk to Rin." Makoto lifted his fork, and eyed the piece of chocolate cake.

Yes, he had the courage. He had to.

Nagisa sensed Makoto's mood, and switched the conversation around to the concert Makoto missed. He described the set and what the members wore perfectly, and proved himself as the President of the NEWCODEX FanClub for their university by rattling off by memory the entire setlist. It was pleasant enough background noise, and listening to Nagisa was at least as entertaining as actually being at the show, but eventually their plates were empty and Rei had class, so Makoto slung his book bag over his shoulder and headed off for Rin's building.

He worked hard the entire walk over to not think about what he'd say, and then he worked at not thinking about what he was doing as he approached the door and pressed the buzzer, and then his brain went crazy with thinking, his first thought being But what if Rin's not home?

And then he heard Rin's voice. "Yeah?"

"It's," Makoto cleared his throat, panicking. "It's Makoto. Ah, Tachibana-"

"Yeah, I know, c'mon up!"

The door buzzed, and Makoto grabbed the handle firmly, opening it. He stood there for a few heartbeats, and then he went inside. When he got to the top of the stairs, Rin was there, waiting for him. He was holding his arm behind his back, and his eyes widened when he saw Makoto. Makoto smiled nervously, and Rin smiled nervously, and then Makoto cleared his throat, and Rin looked away, and Makoto flushed, and then Makoto looked at the way Rin's slouchy pants were hanging off of him, and his muscular arms, and then Makoto looked away and reminded himself that he was there to talk, they had to talk...

"You two should come inside," Haru said quietly, half hiding behind the threshold of their apartment.

Both Rin and Makoto started, and then he looked at each other and laughed, anxious. Rin held his arm out, and said, "You first," so Makoto nodded and went inside.

It felt like it had been forever since he'd been there.

Rin closed the door behind them. Makoto turned to face Rin, and then he looked at Haru, and then he looked at Rin again. Haru was looking from Rin to Makoto. Rin was just staring at Makoto.

Makoto clenched and unclenched his fists, and he kicked himself for not figuring out ahead of time what he should say, how to start...

Haru cleared his throat. "I'm going to give you two space. Talk," he said to Rin. He went back to the bedrooms, maybe to go to their art supply room.

Makoto smiled at Rin, and Rin exhaled, visibly relaxing. All of Makoto's guilt exploded in him, and he blurted out, "I'm really sorry, I mean, I was your model for a project, that was for a prize..."

Rin started to shake his head, almost spastically. "No, no, it's fine, really..."

"No, I mean, you sent me so many messages, and I just ignored you, that was..." Makoto looked down, digging his toe into the floor.

"No! I mean, I understand, with what happened..." Rin objected.

"But, still, I promised..." Makoto sighed.

"Could we stop this?" Rin laughed nervously, and he reached out and grabbed Makoto's wrist.

Makoto smiled, his head still ducked down.

"Let's just... let's sit down, ok? Let's... let's talk," Rin took a deep breath, and led Makoto to the couch like Makoto was a child.

They sat down, and they looked at each other, and they both flushed.

"I really am sorry," Makoto repeated.

"So am I. Look. I never expected... I wanted to... I was going to try to tell you about the whole... Haru thing, I just. I... I didn't expect things between us..." he waved between the two of them. "And then things were going so well, so how could I say, And by the way, I'm also sleeping with my roommate sometimes, but it doesn't mean anything, so it doesn't really affect this." Rin blew his bangs out of his eyes.

Makoto grinned. "It's... not exactly that it doesn't mean anything, though, right?"

Rin looked at him guiltily.

"I mean... the two of you... you're friends at least," Makoto continued.

"You know how freakin' annoying he is?" Rin deadpanned.

"If you really just found him irritating, you probably wouldn't be living with him, much less sleeping with him.

Rin looked away, and sighed dejectedly. "Well... I don't know what it is, really. Haru spouts off some weird shit about chemistry and blah blah blah, but. You know, that prize he won when he was in high school? I entered that, too. I came in second. You don't win a prize for second. They don't give you anything, I mean, I got a ribbon, but that's it. Nobody remembers the second prize winner. When I found out we were going to the same school, I was really irritated. I thought I was going to spend my whole life in Nanase Haruka's shadow. But.

"Actually living together... works out somehow, I don't know... we sort of... drive each other? And I'm sure I've learned more about technique and materials just being around him than I have in class. Sometimes, there's just like this energy between us, and I'm always half-sure we're going to end up beating the crap out of each other, but then we end up rolling around, tearing each other's clothes off..." Rin trailed off, embarrassed.

Makoto let out a breath. "That's hot."

Rin looked at him, startled.

Makoto smiled, and relaxed. "Look. I... I really like you. And I think we have something, being with you is... and then, being with you is..." Makoto grinned, and Rin grinned at him shyly, and Makoto shifted closer to Rin, because how could he not? "I... I also like Haru. He and I... actually, we made out a little," Makoto confessed.

"Haru told me. It's fine. Maybe it should, but it doesn't bother me at all," Rin explained.

"The only thing that bothers me is... the idea that you and Haru have this relationship, and that I'm more like... a novelty than a part of the relationship. And, that's... I had questions, and I didn't ask. I didn't tell you about when Haru and I made out. And when I saw the two of you... together... I just ran and isolated myself. I'm as much to blame for the... misunderstandings here as anyone.

"The question I have for you is, can you see us all being together in some kind of... messy but really fun threeway?" Makoto asked with a crooked smile.

Rin grinned. "Honestly, I have a lot easier time picturing myself with you than with Haru. I mean, that's not really... Obviously, I've been living with Haru for three years, it's pretty easy to picture being with him. But I think part of the reason why we had this, er, communication issue is that we're so, um, compatible that we end up, ah, distracted."

Makoto smirked. "That's... an accurate description of our relationship thus far."

"I don't see you as some kind of... sex toy, if that's what you were afraid of," Rin assured him.

Makoto licked his lips. "Well, being your sex toy would be... fun, but... So, just to be clear. You are interested in continuing exploring this relationship."

"Absolutely," Rin purred.

"And what you have with Haru won't be affected. And maybe Haru and I will... do some exploring, too," Makoto continued, edging even closer to Rin.

"Exploration is the beginning of illumination," Rin said loftily, unable to repress his mirth as he moved a bit closer.

"And, who knows? Maybe we could all get together whenever we feel like it to do some exploring as a group," Makoto offhandedly suggested.

"It's good to be inclusive," Rin smirked, and then he climbed into Makoto's lap. Makoto's arms immediately went around him, and they were kissing. Rin pulled Makoto's bottom lip with his teeth, and he groaned softly. "I'm so glad we cleared the air and everything is good between us again, because I've really missed you. I felt so guilty, not being open with you before. Things can be so much better now, with it all hanging out."

Makoto slipped his hand down the back of Rin's pants, pleased that Rin hadn't bothered with underwear. "Honesty is so important," he agreed, pressing his lips to Rin's neck.

Rin tipped his head back and moaned. "Yes, it is. I can't believe I was so afraid. You seemed like such a teddy bear when I first met you, but I'm delighted to find out you've got claws, too," Rin dug his fingernails into Makoto's back, pressing hard enough to break the skin.

Makoto squeezed Rin's ass. "Well, nobody is just one thing. Diversity is important."

"I agree so much," Rin bounced against Makoto, rubbing his groin against Makoto's belly.

"Everything is ok? ...Can I join?" Haru asked, peeking out from the hallway.

Rin and Makoto looked at each other and grinned. Makoto held out an arm and Rin shifted over. Haru darted over, taking Makoto's newly free leg. Makoto held onto him tightly to secure him. Haru took his face and started to kiss him, and Rin started to chew on his neck.

Makoto's heart was beating hard enough to burst.

Makoto shifted a bit, getting comfortable. Rin moved around, tucking himself a bit closer to Makoto. Makoto smiled, and kissed the top of Rin's head, causing Rin to smile.

Haru came in, and plopped down on the bed, pushing himself right against Makoto's back, throwing his leg over Makoto. Makoto could feel Haru's breath against his spine.

"Night, Makoto," Haru said quietly, already snoozing as soon as he was done speaking. But then, in between sessions with Rin and Makoto, he went to work, starting a new painting, completely altering his current sculpture, and doing something with paper and yarn. Of course he was tired.

Makoto cuddled Rin, and fell asleep slowly, enjoying the feeling of being encased by love.


Makoto slid down next to Rin, and smiled nervously at him. He felt better, though, because Rin was smiling nervously at him, too. He picked up the wine glass that he'd bought specifically to impress Rin, and held it up. "Erm, well... here's to you earning the Purple Ribbon," he toasted. It was cheap wine in a cheap glass as they sat on the floor in front of his ugly couch, but there was candlelight and they were going to watch sappy movies and laugh at them and probably make out and then...

Rin raised his own glass, and winked at Makoto, and Makoto loved it when Rin winked at him. "And here's to my Adonis, who allowed me to be my best."

Makoto flushed, unable to speak. Rin touched their glasses together, making them kerclink. They sipped their wine, and then Rin, mouth full, smirked devilishly. He moved in and they kissed, their lips and tongues wet with wine that spilled down on their chins. Rin licked at Makoto's chin and Makoto pulled Rin closer to clean his face, and maybe they wouldn't even make it to the movie because...

There was a knock at the door.

Makoto started, but he knew that knock. No one else even lived in his building that would just come to his door, so... He shook his head, and brushed his thumb over Rin's lips.

"You're not going to...?" Rin started to ask, but Makoto answered by kissing Rin.

Makoto's phone started to ring. The knocks on the door came rhythmically with the phone's ringtone, something Sousuke had picked out for himself. Raspberry Beret, of all things.

Makoto sighed. He looked at Rin apologetically, and then he got up slowly. He went to the door, and just barely cracked it open.

"You gotta let me in," Sousuke begged.

"No, I don't," Makoto frowned, trying to hold the door in place as Sousuke tried to push his way in.

"I just need to crash here for tonight! Just a couple hours, really!" Sousuke insisted.

"No, I've got someone here...!" Makoto pushed against the door with all his might.

Sousuke slipped his shoulder in and used the leverage to get enough room to push his body in. Without engaging in full-out roughhouse wrestling, Makoto lost. He sighed.

"Oh! I see, you mean...!" Sousuke began, grinning at Rin.

"Yamazaki Sousuke, Matsuoka Rin. Rin, this is Sousuke. We've... known each other since grade school," Makoto sighed, introducing them.

Sousuke smirked, and Makoto's heart dropped. "I was Mako-chan's first lover." He nodded challengingly to Rin.

Rin narrowed his eyes and smiled serenely. "Oh, I'm his lover now."

"I have all Mako-chan's firsts in a box under my bed," Sousuke teased, winking at Makoto.

"That's funny," Makoto replied dryly, "Why are you holding onto all those old things? I threw out all of yours ages ago."

Sousuke leaned forward predatorily. "Like you'd ever wanna forget," he purred.

Makoto rolled his eyes. "As you can see, I'm busy, so you can leave..."

"Look, I'm sorry, but you've got to hide me for a bit. Just a bit! I'm in the doghouse!" Sousuke pouted, trying to appeal to Makoto's weak side.

"What did you do now?" Makoto rolled his eyes.

"It wasn't even a big deal!" Sousuke threw his hands up. "He keeps saying how I cheated on him again, and that's not even true!"

"Again?" Rin snorted, picking up his wine glass. "Nice."

"No," Sousuke pointed at Rin, trying to straighten it all out. "See, the first time wasn't even cheating, because we'd only just been on a few dates, and we weren't really going out, so that doesn't even count!"

"I think most people think of five dates as more than just a few," Makoto rolled his eyes. "Especially when you slept with him on the first date."

"Well, ok, we'll just chalk that one up to miscommunication, then," Sousuke shrugged. "And I didn't even sleep with anyone this time! I was just sexting!"

"Oh, my god, you were sexting and you got caught? You moron!" Makoto shook his head. "Why didn't you just delete the texts?!"

"Eheh, well, I forgot," Sousuke shrugged, looking more pleased with himself than apologetic.

"I can see why you dumped him," Rin told Makoto.

"We mutually broke up," Sousuke snarkily informed Rin.

"That's true, but I've never regretted it," Makoto added.

"That's not nice," Sousuke poked Makoto.

Makoto swatted his hand away. "Neither have you! You haven't exactly been lacking for companionship!"

"You're making it sound like I'm slutty," Sousuke complained.

"Shall we review why you're too chickenshit to be in your own apartment right now?" Makoto sighed.

"Ahaha," Sousuke rubbed the back of his head proudly. "Well! Look, it's basically his fault this even happened!"

"Really?" Makoto deadpanned. "And, how, exactly, do you figure that?"

"See, he pointed out this cute first year from his department to me," Sousuke explained. "And I suggested we try for a threeway, and he got upset with me!"

Makoto shook his head, and covered his face with his hand. "So he didn't want a threesome so you were forced to start sexting this cute first year?"

"Well, no, I mean, I was sexting with this other guy, you remember, the carpenter I met last summer? But I wouldn't have gone along with it if I wasn't so frustrated about the threeway thing!" Sousuke defended himself.

Rin snorted, and took a long gulp of wine.

"Sousuke..." Makoto sighed, shaking his head.

"What? You know, this is really your fault," Sousuke accused Makoto. "I mean, we weren't even dating that long when you went right along with the threeway idea! You really liked it! You were my first, so naturally, I came to expect..."

"Oh, my god, Sousuke..." Makoto groaned, his back stiff. He tried to look at Rin without really looking at him.

"I'm just saying... I came to expect certain things from my lovers, based on my initial experiences with you!" Sousuke crossed his arms over his chest, feeling justified. "Is that wine? Do you have any beer?" Sousuke sidestepped around Makoto and sat down on the floor, looking up at Makoto cheekily.

"So, you guys had a threesome?" Rin asked, sounding... curious.

Sousuke opened his mouth, probably to brag about all the details. Makoto cleared his throat, and sighed. "It... was. Not really a big thing... A school trip and an onsen and a guy from another school who was there at the same time..." Makoto calmly walked behind the couch to his bed, and he picked up his sleeping kitty, who just barely squeaked. He moved back quickly, and dropped the cat into Sousuke's lap.

"H-Hey!" Sousuke tried to jump back, but he froze when the cat stretched out and looked up at him, meowing.

Triumphant, Makoto sat back down next to Rin and sipped his wine.

"G-get this thing offa me!" Sousuke hissed.

The white kitty put her front paw on Sousuke's chest and leaned up, licking his chin.

"Mittens is such a good kitty," Makoto told her. He then looked at Rin, winking. "She has terrible taste in men, though."

"S-same taste as you," Sousuke complained, trying to lean as far away from the cat as he could without getting up or touching her.

Mittens yawned, and then curled up right on Sousuke's lap.

"Getheroffofme!" Sousuke begged.

"She's on your crotch, I don't touch that anymore," Makoto disdained.

Rin laughed, and tore off a small piece of cheese from the fruit and cheese plate Makoto had thrown together to cover for his inability to cook. "Mittens," he made kissing sounds. "C'mhere, Mittens!"

The cat looked at him balefully, and then she saw the cheese. She jumped off of Sousuke, pushing right off his groin, causing him to groan painfully.

Makoto tried not to laugh. "Don't feed her too much, or she'll puke," he warned Rin.

Rin nodded, and smiled, letting the cat eat off his fingers. He rubbed under her chin and behind her ear. "Who's a good kitty? Who's a beautiful kitty? You want to pose for me, gorgeous?"

"Oh! That would be incredible!" Makoto lit up.

"Oh, my god, you two deserve each other," Sousuke groaned. "What about the other one? Haru, was it? Is he not one for romance and kitties?"

Rin smirked, and shook his head. "He's traveling. You're not going to like him. He's even less tolerant of blowhards, and much more possessive, than I am."

"Oh, really?" Sousuke began, narrowing his eyes.

"I think it's time you go," Makoto sighed, getting up. He waved Sousuke to get up.

"What do you expect me to say to Komari?" Sousuke grumped.

"I suggest groveling to Kishigami-kun and promising you'll never do anything remotely like that again. Now get out!" Makoto held the door open for him.

"Man, I see how it's going to be," Sousuke shook his head. "Start dating someone new, and you kick your old friends out... But..." Sousuke smirked, and winked at Rin. "You always come back to your first in the end."

"I'd rather not," Makoto rolled his eyes. "Now stop acting like a jackass and go suck your boyfriend's dick!"

"Fine, fine, if I have to," Sousuke rolled his eyes. He beamed and waved broadly to Rin. "Nice to meet you, Rin!"

"Likewise, Sou-chan!" Rin waved right back.

Makoto closed and locked the door, and sighed with relief. "I swear to god, he's not always such an asshole. I mean. Well, sometimes he's not such an asshole..." He came back and sat down next to Rin, sighing. He rubbed his finger under Mitten's jaw, to her pleasure.

Rin moved in and kissed Makoto, looking pleased with himself. "I gotta say, you really traded up."

Makoto grinned, and kissed Rin, their lips parting. Mittens meowed at them for ignoring her, but their kiss just kept getting hotter and more passionate. "No point in trading down," Makoto winked as they parted, and Rin grabbed his collar, nipping at Makoto's bottom lip.

Mittens complained as she ran off, and Makoto gave up all thoughts of sappy movies as he pushed Rin down to the floor.