title: A Study of the Sexual Orientations of Adolescent Hydrophiles in an East Asian Archipelago Nation
fandom: Free! Iwatobi Swim Club
characters/pairings: Rei/Beauty, Nagisa/Friends, Kou/Muscles, Makoto/Haruka (one-sided), Rin/Rivalry, Haruka/Water
rating: G
warnings: none, slight goofiness
summary: Six character studies, focusing on the object of their desires
notes: i thought the nice thing about Free! was that the fanfic wrote itself, so i wouldn't have to, but... the idea of Haruka as Hydrosexual made me want to write this sad little offering.


Rei never aspired to be normal, anyway. When the boys in his class started to notice the girls, it wasn't that he didn't understand how they felt. It was simply that he didn't share their preferences. The girl in class who blossomed early didn't inspire the same heat in his bones as for his classmates, but he never wanted to be like them anyway. He was different, and that was good. He wasn't attracted to something as simple as body parts.

Beauty itself was what he desired.

It crystalized for him on a class trip to Tokyo, when standing before Yokoyama Taikan's Cherry Blossoms at Night produced a rather undesirable effect on his lower half. He managed, somehow, to hide his reaction long enough to get to a bathroom, but it was an important moment in his self-awareness.

Beauty was what he desired, lusted for, and dreamed of; beauty in its purest and most undiluted forms.

When considering actual people, what Rei found to be most beautiful, and therefore most desirable, was strength. It wasn't like he was just attracted to muscles. The human form, however, was capable of amazing things, and the strength that made those things possible lent a grace and elegance to the human body that rendered it into art. Athletes, therefore, were the most beautiful, and the most beautiful athletes were the ones with the purest athletic accomplishments.

This was what led him to track and field. Each event was about athleticism, undiluted by extraneous purpose such as getting a ball in a net or following rules. Run fast. Jump high. Throw hard. It was beautiful. Rei joined the track team in his third year in middle school, not to get close to the other, very beautiful, athletes, and not because of narcissism. No, it was simply a realization of that which he found most beautiful, and a desire to make himself as much like his own ideal as he could.

When that Hazuki came and started yammering about swimming, of all things, it was nothing more than nuisance. It was true, swimming was an excellent form of exercise, and swimmers' bodies were beautiful developed by their athleticism, but swimmers were underwater for most of the time! They splashed, making it noisy and messy and completely lacking in aesthetic appeal. The fact that Rei could not, in fact, swim and had very rarely even attempted to wasn't a part of the calculation. It just lacked.

That was his staunch opinion, and despite Hazuki's annoying advances, Rei was sure nothing could change his mind. Nothing, until he saw Haruka-senpai slipping into the water.

That was the only way to describe it. Slipping. It was as if the water made room for him, welcoming him. The lines of his body, the soft angle of his dive... it was organic, it was natural. When he cut through the water, and it really did seem like his body was just cutting through it, the water still seemed to hold him, embrace him. His body slid through the water with elegance and grace. Rei very nearly had a very adverse reaction right then and there.

It was absolutely gorgeous.

He had to redo his calculations. And, well, he had to learn to swim. But.

It wasn't narcissism, and it wasn't because he was in love with Haruka-senpai. Though, he could easily imagine himself doing so, and that was strange, because he'd never felt that way before. No, it was just like a window had opened, and a whole new world of beauty had appeared before his eyes.

He had to discover it.


Nagisa's fondest wish and most deeply held desire would be to have a big orgy with all of his closest friends.

He felt like he'd always felt that way, though naturally, not necessarily always as an orgy. But he'd always been the type of kid who liked being in a group. He'd always liked boys. He never much liked choosing... It was pretty simple.

When he was very young, most of his friends were girls, and the bigger the group, the better for sure! He ran into trouble, though. The tallest boy in class, Yuuto-kun, got mad at him for sitting next to Mai-chan, who had the fluffiest hair in class, and giving her a pencil and talking to her and her friends at lunch. Yuuto-kun had a crush on Mai-chan, even though the only time he talked to her, he called her ugly and pulled her cute penguin hair tie out and threw it out the window.

Boys were stupid.

After that, though, Yuuto-kun pushed Nagisa into the mud, called him names, said it would be better if he came to school in a girl's uniform... It was a bit scary.

Nagisa kept talking to Mai-chan, though. Yuuto-kun was a stupid boy. Even if he was tall and cute. But, Nagisa did learn some things. Not all boys were good for being friends. If he could find boys he could be friends with, share interests with, talk with, spend time with... well, he started to think that might be more than he could really hope for out of life.

He didn't join the swim club because he particularly liked swimming, or because he was competitive. But, his father wanted him to get involved in sports, and he wanted to meet some new boys, since the boys in his class all followed Yuuto-kun's example. Swimming seemed like a pretty decent compromise.

After all, the boys he'd meet would all be in little swim suits!

Everyone in the swim club was fixated on Haru-chan and Rin-chan. Sure, he could understand why. When he was picked to be in the relay team, he was pretty happy. He quickly discovered something, though. Haru-chan, Rin-chan, and Mako-chan... well, none of them would make fun of him because of his name, obviously. None of them thought he was weird or girly at all. None of them really cared if most of his friends were girls, and certainly none of them cared if the girls he was friends with were cute.

They accepted him.

Of course he would love his friends!! But, it wasn't like being in love. They were his friends, and that was more precious than anything! And, as friends, he wanted to explore that love to the highest degree!

Which clearly should lead to an orgy!

Meeting Haru-chan and Mako-chan again in high school... His heart wouldn't stop pounding with excitement! He was sure it would work out! Somehow! Mako-chan was on board, most definitely! Well, maybe not, but he'd be on board with being with Haru-chan, and Nagisa was just one more person! And Rin-chan... well, that may or may not work out... but it would be fun if it did! After meeting Rei, Nagisa got even more excited about the prospect! He fit in perfectly with them, after all! And Nagisa was pretty sure he wasn't the type to be that into girls! Nagisa wouldn't even mind if Gou-chan wanted to watch, though that would be weird if her brother were participating. As far as Haru-chan went...

Well, he'd probably be fine with it if they did it in the pool.

Nagisa wasn't sure if it would ever really happen, but... there was nothing he preferred to think about!


It wasn't like she was in love with her brother. She admired him, so she trailed after him, going to his swim meets and watching him all the time. Because she admired him, she watched carefully and saw how his body developed. How those glorious muscles started to appear and look just amazing. Because she admired him, it was only natural that she would like boys with muscles like her brother, that she would expect boys to be like her brother!

He left... and she missed him so, so much. She wrote him piles of letters, even when it became clear that he wouldn't write her back. She wasn't sure why he felt the need to leave... she knew it had something to do with Nanase Haruka, his rival and friend, but she didn't know any details. His leaving... was bad enough, but.

Every time he came back, he was less like the big brother she'd grown up with, less and less until, when he'd finally returned home, so to speak, she barely recognized him. Not that he would even show his face to her!

It wasn't that she was in love with her older brother. But she did love him... of course she did... that was only natural! Just like loving lean, taut muscles on a man's body was natural! Her brother was perfect, after all! And...

She was not in love with her brother. But she wanted him back. The big brother she'd grown up with... that was all she wanted.

The fact that getting him back seemed to involve spending lots of time around beautifully muscled boys was not bad at all.


Makoto's cousin asked him straight-out if he was gay. That was right before the entrance ceremony for high school. He thought his cousin was a bit drunk, and he was probably angry because Makoto had just turned down a confession from a cute girl...

It wasn't the first time. Makoto was kind and polite and non-threatening. He thought he was fairly good-looking, too. So, he got confessed to, but he was fairly sure most of the girls would be disappointed if he said yes. They just wanted to confess and then go out with their friends to commiserate. He wasn't going to break their hearts.

He told his cousin that he wasn't gay. He thought that was probably true. Maybe it was true. Possibly, that was true...

Well, he wasn't attracted to men, anyway. Probably not. He wasn't attracted to women, either, though. For as long as he could remember, he'd only ever been attracted to one person. Only one person had ever gotten his heart to beat hard. Only one person had ever appeared in his fantasies. Only one person could ever make him hard. Only one person starred in his wet dreams. Only one person...

That person was male, but wasn't it odd that there was only one? Makoto thought so! If he were just gay, shouldn't he be able to think of other guys, too? Like... actors, or famous athletes, or something? He tried to get into boy bands, thinking he might find someone he liked.

There was only Haruka.

Haruka, who was straight-forward and smart and a bit cold to people. Haruka, who never asked for anything, but needed a lot. Haruka, who was obsessed with water.

Haruka was now alone at home. Wasn't it only natural... as a friend... that Makoto should look after him? Think about him? Worry for him?

That wasn't even the beginning of Makoto's feelings for Haruka, but...

He'd never once heard Haruka talking about any girl, or showing interest in any girl. Haruka didn't care if Makoto got confessed to, and the one time a girl confessed to him, Haruka cut her off and turned her down, and then walked away. Of course, Makoto had never heard Haruka talk about any guys, either, and he didn't seem interested in anyone... but...

If Haruka was interested in anyone... Makoto... thought he probably knew who it was... and Rin was in Japan again... and...

Makoto... didn't really want to know. But he did want to be with Haruka, every moment that he could be, for as long as he could be...


Well, forever.

Because for Makoto... there had only ever been Haruka. So, probably. There would always only be Haruka.


Rin measured himself through competition.

He knew his worth in seconds and hundredths of seconds. In the length of his jump, the power of his kick, the effectiveness of his strides... His worth, however, was dependent upon the worth of his competition. His rivals, and anyone who entered the pool with him was a rival, defined him, so they were as important to him as himself.

He had come to the conclusion at some point that he'd been spoiled in his childhood. Meeting someone like Nanase Haruka when he was so young... he'd been driven, excited, and happy, every day. Haruka was his rival, but he was also his teammate. They swam together and against each other. It was like fate. Meant to be. But.

He measured himself through competition. And he couldn't measure up to Haruka.

Realizing that was like having his heart broken. Knowing that the person that was at the center of everything for him... was out of his reach... it had been devastating, more so than he could even admit. He ran away, and he knew that was childish. He went to where swimming was more than just a club, more than just fun. Every day in Australia had been tough... he'd had to work his ass off every single day to keep up. The measure of himself... just got harder and harder. But the person he was chasing wasn't in the lane next to him. He wasn't even in the country with him.

Rin wasn't sure at what point in his life all of his thoughts started to revolve around Haruka. But, now that he was in Japan, he knew that the Haruka he'd been chasing... didn't even exist.

That was even more worse than the first time Haruka broke his heart.


Nanase Haruka was in love with water, and he liked to think that water was in love with him, too. When he entered the water, it opened for him, it caressed his body, it moved with him. He would sit in the bath, and think about life with water... Of course, the bath water loved him. It warmed his muscles, and soothed him. Even when the water got cold, that was good, too. It was refreshing. But, the bath water couldn't move with him. He could enter it, but...

It just wasn't the same.

Ocean water was nice, too. It was a challenge... it had a mind of its own. The tides and currents were preoccupied with more than just his body. Maybe that was why he never really liked swimming in the ocean as much as pools. The ocean was vast, and paid less attention to him than he paid to it.

In his lane in the pool, the water was his and he was the water's. There was the initial entry, fast and hard. He would submerge, slipping through the waves quickly. He'd undulate his body, and the water would separate, like a gasp. He had to go up for air, but that led to the push-pull part. Arms moving in and out, legs moving up and down... the water always there, meeting him, holding him, letting him speed through... then, the exciting final. That touch! And when that was done, he could sink into the water... and the water would surround and caress him... thanking him... holding him...

When he was completely dry, he felt empty. Lacking. His body just wasn't designed for prolonged exposure to the land. Walking through air... It just wasn't like moving through water.

It wasn't exciting.

Sitting in class, laying in bed, walking down the street... All he could think about was the water. When could he next enter the water, when could he next push through it, when would he next be able to submerge...

Makoto thought he was weird for wearing his swim suit in the bath, but wasn't that natural? He loved the water! If he got into it completely naked, wasn't that being a bit too forward? Not that... he didn't enjoy being naked in the water... he enjoyed it... maybe too much, and then the water was dirty... though, the idea of his essence combining with the water to become something new...

Well, it was better to wear his swim suit. For now. Maybe when he was older, he would be able to control himself better, but for now, he was just a teenaged boy, right?