title: Winning over
fandom: Free!
characters/pairings: Makoto/Haru/Rin, Tachibana Ran
rating: Teen
warnings: discussion of teen sex, some language
summary: Rin still has to win over Makoto's little sister
notes: third segment of my Happy Household Club series. that means the boys are about twenty-four to thirty... i'm placing Ran at about twenty-one to twenty-three here.

Rin was awesome.

He'd been home for less than an hour, but he already had a load of laundry going, he'd showered, and he started to cut up some fruit for maybe a snack or dessert later. Haru and Makoto were so lucky to have him. He usually didn't even try to do kitchen stuff, because Haru was so good at it, and he liked being pampered! Cutting up fruit wasn't hard, though... the knife was sharp! And fruit was tasty and good for the body!

Thus, he was feeling damned pleased with himself when the rather insistent knocking on the door interrupted his internal pep rally. He finished slicing the orange he was working on, furiously thinking. If it was the landlady, he was pretty sure Makoto paid the rent on time, because... well, Rin had no idea when the rent was due or how much it was... plus, he wasn't entirely sure where the checkbook was, but... Makoto always paid on time, so... Maybe it was that old coot downstairs, complaining about some fucking thing that probably wasn't their fault.

Maybe he should bring the knife?

He wiped his hands clean, whistling a happy tune to himself as he went to answer the door. Whoever it was, he could handle it with his awesome, probably.

That thought got shattered when he opened the door, and saw Tachibana Ran.

Who rolled her eyes at him, and sneered, "Oh, it's you."

Summoning up all the restraint he had in his body, he bowed low, in a princely fashion, to Makoto's little sister. "Ah, Miss Tachibana! How lovely to see you!"

With the maximum amount of annoyance a young woman could muster up, she pushed past Rin and shucked her shoes off in their genkan, invading the apartment. "I've already texted my big brother. He's leaving work early and taking me out to dinner. Don't you work?" She plopped herself down on their couch, and proceeded to poke at her phone, determined not to look at Rin.

He was going to lose it. But... he couldn't... not... for Makoto's sake, he had to at least try to get along with this little bitch. Taking a deep breath, Rin smiled, straightened out her shoes, followed her inside, and moved the pile of papers on the coffee table so Ran's feet wouldn't topple the exams he had to grade. "I do work," and he didn't add, Little Miss Part-Timer-Living-With-Her-Parents, so that was an accomplishment. "I'm a teacher, in a high school. And we have exams this week. So."

"Oh, right. Swim coach," she rolled her eyes. She had to be careful, if she kept that up, they might spin right out of her head. "God, I would hate to have you as a teacher. Unless you just teach phys ed?" she snorted.


Rin ground his teeth. He wasn't supposed to do that anymore, but that ship had sailed a long time ago, anyway. "I teach English, actually. As well as coaching the swim team."

"High school teams coach themselves," she muttered, to Rin's absolute fury. "English? I thought Samezuka Academy was supposed to be, well, elite or something. Or is that just for its swimming?"

Rin was definitely going to lose it. He was going to completely lose it, and then Makoto would get home to find Rin and his sister fighting, and he'd give Rin that disappointed little apologetic look and...! Rin counted to ten, trying to hold it in. "Actually, it's quite a good school, as well as being an exceptional place for swimmers."

"Can you even speak English?" Ran asked, laughing, and for his sanity, Rin would pretend that she was laughing at whatever message she was reading on her phone, even though that was clearly not the case.

"Well, I lived in an English-speaking country... for years... so, surprisingly, yeah, I can," he informed her testily.

She just rolled her eyes. Hard. She was going to need to see an eye doctor about that.

"Can I get you something to drink... Miss Tachibana? Some fruit punch, perhaps, or tea, or coffee?" he offered. At least he could go to the kitchen, then.

"It's about time," she muttered. "Yeah, I'll take a coffee. Two sugars, extra cream, try not to make it too strong," she advised him, giving him a look like she was sure such a simple instruction was beyond him.

With two sugars and extra cream, how would she even be able to taste the coffee?

"Be right back," he promised her sunnily.

It was because he was awesome that he was able to not throttle that spoiled little princess. Makoto had clearly been much too lenient with her growing up! Kou was a perfect little lady! Little sisters needed love and attention, but never too much attention. Rin had done a perfect job of raising his little sister!

Makoto should acknowledge his superiority in this regard!

He took as long as he could to make the coffee, but with the machine they had, it wasn't like that was very long at all. He came back out with a mug of coffee, and a plate of fruit. Because he was awesome, he was going to share the snack he'd prepared for his lovers with this little bitch.

She gave him a dirty look when he offered her fruit. "Oniichan is taking me out to dinner," she reminded him, as if he was the stupidest person alive.

He sat down as far away from her on the couch as he could, wishing Makoto would hurry, that Ran would be abducted by aliens who would give her a personality transplant, that the whole world appreciated his sliced fruit plate more, and that he had any clue at all what to talk about with someone who hated him.

"It's too bad Haru-niichan isn't coming with us," she pouted. "It's been so long since we've done anything like that, the three of us."

The hairs on the back of Rin's neck stood up. "Gosh, that's just terrible. But Haru can't just take off work early. They're getting a pair of Hector's dolphins, and he's in charge of getting everything ready for them."

"Yeah, I know, oniichan explained it to me," she sighed, obviously finding putting up with Rin exasperating. "It's just too bad. Haru-niichan used to come to our house all the time growing up. He's a part of our family, really. It would be nice to hang out with my big brothers again."

Rin's heart was pounding a little bit, in a bad way. He had to keep his composure, though... he was used to dealing with spoiled brats, right? It was pretty much his job, wasn't it? "I had no idea you felt that way, Miss Tachibana! Maybe the three of us could take you on a long weekend sometime... go camping. Makoto would like that." He smiled benignly. He should have made himself some coffee, too. It would have given his hands something to do, would have allowed him to hide behind the cup...

She narrowed her eyes, and he braced himself. "You really don't get it, do you? You're not needed. Oniichan and Haru-niichan have been together forever. They'll always be together. I don't know what sort of... old rivalry caused Haru-niichan to become... infatuated with you, but. You're not necessary."

There really was no way to brace himself for the truth. He felt a blinding pain in his temple and in his chest, and he was afraid he might start to visibly shake, so he did the only thing he could. He laughed, harshly. "You really think highly of your brother, huh? He and Haru are destined lovers, but out of the goodness of Makoto's heart, he lets Haru explore his infatuation with me?" he scoffed.

It sounded like he didn't believe it if he scoffed.

She shook her head bitterly, and stabbed at her phone. "I don't expect you to care, but you're actually hurting oniichan by being around. I just don't understand why Haru-niichan lets you. But eventually, it won't matter anymore. It's not like this sort of thing can go on forever. Haru-niichan needs oniichan, not you."

"I think you're suffering under a misconception," Rin informed her, forcing himself to sound haughty. As if her words didn't cut right through him. "You keep making it out like Haru and Makoto were together, and I barged in. Or maybe that it was Haru who brought me into this little arrangement. But, you see... it was me and Makoto first. We got together, and then we decided to let Haru in."

Ran narrowed her eyes. She looked horrified. "That's a lie. I know that's a lie. Haru-niichan and oniichan have always been together. You can't make me believe such a crazy lie!"

"There's nothing crazy about it!" Rin bragged. He leaned back a little, feeling his feet under him a bit better. Now, he had her rattled. Except... damn it, he shouldn't be getting baited into this at all... Makoto would be home soon... "Your brother and Haru were just friends. Really good friends, but just friends. Makoto and I got together first."

"You're such a liar," Ran spat out at him. "Don't even talk to me. I don't like talking to liars."

"I'm not lying," Rin shrugged. "It'll be true even if you don't believe me."

She opened her mouth to say something, but they heard the sound of the key in the door at the same time. Rin was relieved and anxious at the same time. Makoto coming home meant he didn't have to entertain the poisonous bitch anymore, but it also meant that Ran might tell on him. He was supposed to be the mature one, and try to make peace...

But Ran just didn't want to make peace with him!

"I'm home!" Makoto's overly cheerful voice called out. Ran jumped to her feet as she rushed to greet her brother.

"Oniichan! I've been waiting for you!" she complained, throwing herself at him the moment he stepped into the room.

"Ran!" he frowned slightly, but he hugged her tightly none the less. "I thought we agreed that I'd pick you up after work..."

"Aw, I didn't feel like sitting around the house all that time. That guy made me coffee, so I was fine," she explained, trying to look cute.

"Rin, not that guy," Makoto teased her, rubbing his knuckles into her hair. He winked at Rin. "You're giving mom a hard time again, aren't you?"

"I'm not!" she objected. "It's totally the other way around! Mom doesn't get that I'm a grown woman already!"

"She'll treat you like an adult when you act like one," Makoto sighed, but he put her arm around her neck and squeezed her playfully. He kissed her temple and let go, looking down at the coffee table. He smiled at Rin. "You cut up fruit!"

"I did!" Rin boasted, sticking his chest out.

Makoto let go of his sister to lean down and kiss Rin softly. "Well, it looks good." He was giving Rin bedroom eyes, damn it. Makoto had no idea how sexy he could be at times! He snagged a slice of orange as he straightened up.

"Oniichan!" Ran pouted. "We're going out to dinner!"

"It's not going to spoil my appetite," Makoto laughed. He licked his fingers clean... enticingly... Rin bit his lip. Damn that sexy Makoto! "Ok, ok, let me just change my clothes, and we can go, all right?"

"Fine," Ran sighed, looking away.

Makoto winked at Rin, and slipped into the bedroom to change.

Rin leaned forward and took an orange slice. Ran wasn't looking at him.

He just hoped she didn't say anything to Makoto over dinner that got him into trouble...

Makoto swatted away his sister's chopsticks. There was a limit to how much of his dinner he was willing to share. "So, when was the last time you talked to Ren?"

She shrugged a bit, still eyeing his shrimp. "Mm, earlier this week, I guess? He said he was coming home for break."

"He's bringing his new girlfriend," Makoto nodded, watching her reaction with careful amusement. Ran was weirdly protective of their little brother. She bullied him all the time, but she wouldn't tolerate anyone else doing so, and always got upset when he had a girlfriend.

She just laughed, rolling her eyes. "It's not that serious! They've only just started dating! Anyway, they're in college... probably just having fun," she shrugged.

"They've been dating for almost a year now. And I think they're moving in together," he gently tested her.

"It's not that serious. C'mon, this is Ren we're talking about! He's still just a kid. Don't take it so seriously. Ah, but while he's here, you and Haru-niichan will be coming over for dinner, right?" she eagerly asked him.

He gave her a funny look. "Haru... and Rin, yeah. Mom's already made sure I cleared the date. And Ren is bringing Katsumi-chan with him. You're going to be nice to her, aren't you?"

Ran pouted, poking at her food. "Oniichan, you make me sound like an overbearing sister!" Makoto did not smile in response. "Aren't I always nice?" she batted her eyelashes at him.

"You weren't very nice to Akane-chan when Ren was in dating her when he first moved to Tokyo. I remember something about her running away from the apartment in tears when you were visiting, and Ren sending you home early," he gently reminded her. And he gave her his last shrimp, to soften the blow.

She gave him her most powerful hurt look, which did make him feel badly about badgering her, but... "Aw, but that was so long ago! And besides, that girl really was weird! You should have seen the stuff in her purse!"

"It's not nice to go through people's purses," Makoto sighed.

"But sometimes, you find good stuff!" Ren insisted.

"It's still rude," Makoto winked at her. "Have you met Katsumi-chan? Do you like her?"

"I haven't met her," she sighed. "When I went to Tokyo to visit Ren, she was away with a family thing or something."

Makoto repressed a grin. Given Ran's track record, he wouldn't put it past Ren to just tell his girlfriend to give his sister some space. "Well, I'm looking forward to meeting her. Ren seems very happy."

"He should just come home," Ran sighed. "Why'd he have to go off to Tokyo to school, anyway? He will come home, right?"

Makoto shrugged. "There aren't that many different kinds of jobs out here. It can be rough. It's not like he'll ever cut off all contact with us," he assured her.

"It's not the same, though. I miss you at home, too. And those nights when Haru-niichan would come and sleep over...!" she smiled at him. "That was always so much fun!"

Makoto gave his sister an appraising look. She... just did it again, right? Makoto considered himself very lucky. He'd been able to come out to both of his siblings, and let them know about his... home arrangement. Ren completely didn't care, as long as Makoto was happy. Ran had no trouble with the idea of Makoto with another guy... but it seemed that other guy was limited to Haru. She wasn't at all tolerant of Rin, and that made Makoto feel uncomfortable. Did she really accept Makoto, or was it just that she really liked Haru and considered him like a brother, anyway? "Well, we all have to grow up sometime... ...Would you like dessert?" He picked up the small dessert menu near the condiments, and offered it for her perusal.

She bounced in her seat a bit. "Lets share something!"

Feeling like they were avoiding something, Makoto let Ran pick out the dessert, and when the waitress came back, he ordered the blueberries and cream parfait Ran had selected, as well as a bread pudding with cognac sauce to go.

Ran gave him a funny look. "Did you want something for a late night snack, or would you have preferred something...?"

"No, nothing like that," Makoto laughed. "Rin just really loves the bread pudding with cognac sauce from here, so he'd be mad if I came here and didn't get it for him," he winked at her.

"Well, what about Haru-niichan?" she asked, stiffening. "I mean, he's really your... if there was anything he wanted..." she hedged.

"You know Haru doesn't much like desserts. Actually, I think the only food he really likes is mackerel. And sometimes, pineapple. ...Sometimes, together," Makoto sighed. He and Rin had nearly cured Haru of that deadly taste combination, but... if they didn't watch him...

Ran nodded, looking down. "That Rin... he's... he's... he's a real troublemaker, isn't he?" she looked up at him from under her bangs.

Makoto felt like he was being tested. "Mm, well. Sometimes, I suppose. He's mellowed out a lot. When he was younger... he's matured a lot, since winning the bronze in '16. He's very independent."

"You mean like... he doesn't need you and Haru-niichan?" she asked, sounding far too hopeful.

Makoto wilted. "That's... not really what I meant, no. Did something happen between you two?"

"No, no, not really, that's not it..." she was looking away, though. Their dessert came, so they started to eat, picking up their own spoons. After a few mouthfuls, she looked at Makoto appraisingly. "Haru-niichan really loves you, right?"

"I hope so," Makoto smiled, trying to sound confident.

"I know he does!" she leaned forward in her seat, assuring him resolutely. "Of course he does, it's obvious! I just don't get..."

Makoto's spoon lowered, until it was like he really couldn't lift it at all. "You... you disapprove, don't you? Of... my... living arrangement?"

"No!" she shook her head. "It's not that, it's just..." she floundered a bit.

Feeling self-conscious, Makoto waved her off, forcing himself to smile brightly. "You don't need to make excuses. I know it's a strange situation. It's not exactly something you can proudly boast about in public. I'm making things difficult for you... and Ren. And I don't know if I'll ever figure out how to tell mom and dad..." Once he started down this train of thought, he could get very depressed, but... he just had to focus on who he was living for... "I'm really sorry for... for, well, putting you in this position, but..."

"Oniichan! Seriously, that's not it! I don't mind... I mean..." she tried to assuage his guilt, but it was clear something was holding her back, and it wasn't hard to figure out what.

Makoto flushed. "I just... I hope you can... even if you can't understand, I hope you can give me some leeway. This really is... the arrangement that makes us all happiest. Especially me, so..."

"Oniichan!" Ran looked panicked. "You don't need to worry about something like that! You're my oniichan! I'll always love you best, and I'll always have your back!" she promised him.

He smiled back at her, but...

He couldn't shake the feeling that she wasn't telling him everything.

"I'm so glad we could have lunch together!" Ran bounced happily, taking a bench.

Haru sat down opposite to her, watching her carefully. Makoto's little sister sent him a text just as he was getting to work today, asking him if they could get together sometime soon. Makoto had been worried after his dinner with her last week. He didn't say so, but. Haru knew. So, he offered to have lunch with her.

At the aquarium.

His aquarium wasn't the biggest or anything, but they had a nice collection, and a huge tank in the middle of the space that fairly well replicated a coral reef. Twice a day, he dove into the big tank to feed the fish and give the visitors a thrill, although Haru wasn't so sure about the thrill part. It was true that when the fish came out to feed, you could see all sorts of species at once, so that was probably it, but from the way his boss talked about it, he wasn't sure. There was a small grill area that sold simple lunches, and benches on a deck facing the sea. Ran was acting like he was taking her to someplace really amazing, but... well... the view was nice. And it was always fun to see the fish at the aquarium.

Maybe, though, she really wanted to talk about something.

"Oniichan told me you were in charge of a new porpoise display?" she inquired, urging him to open up with her eager expression.

It was a little bit like her brother, but only a little bit. Makoto never pressed him to open up. He never had to... "Mm. Yeah, it's a breeding pair of Hector's dolphins. They're about so big," he held his arms wide apart, "they weigh about 50 kg, and they're cute. They look just like miniature bottle-nose dolphins... except, without the bottle-nose. It's a breeding program. They're threatened in the wild. We built the biggest tank we have for them. A conservation place in New Zealand is loaning them to us for three years... one other aquarium in Japan is getting a pair, and that's in Tokyo." Haru was pretty excited. He wasn't in charge of them, per se, because there were doctors who were really in charge, but he was overseeing the construction of their tank and the maintenance of it, and he'd be the one to feed them.

He was going to swim with them.

Ran just beamed at him. "I can't wait!! I'll definitely come and check on them lots and lots! They sound really awesome!"

Haru sat up a tiny bit straighter and smiled just a tiny bit. It was good that Ran understood how important ocean conservation and cute dolphins were.

"You're really happy, aren't you, Haru-niichan?" Ran snickered cutely.

Haru shrugged diffidently. "What's going on with you and your brother?" he asked. No point in beating around the bush.

"Eh? There's nothing going on with me and oniichan. Did you mean Ren? Oniichan is worried about how I'll react to his girlfriend or whatever when they come visit," With good reason, Haru thought, "but it's totally fine. It's not that serious and stuff."

"Nothing's on your mind?" Haru probed.

Ran shifted a bit, looking away. "Of course not. I just miss hanging out with you, Haru-niichan. It seems like it's been ages and ages. And anytime I do get to see you, that Rin is around, too. It's not the same." She sighed and smiled at Haru.

Ah, so that was it. "You dislike Rin?"

"No... No, I didn't say that!" she retracted.

But, she pretty much had, so...

"No, it's not like I dislike him or whatever," she shrugged, poking around at her food. "But you know, I spent some time with him before I went to dinner with oniichan, and that guy lies a lot, did you know that?" she narrowed her eyes, looking at him as if she were concerned he wasn't aware of Rin's secret lying.

Haru took his time responding. Rin could be... misleading. He wasn't always honest in how he reacted to things. And, well, sometimes, he technically lied, but he didn't think that was the sort of thing she meant. She wasn't saying that Rin was more sensitive and caring than he let on. She was saying something else. "Can you give me some examples?"

"Well..." she hedged, toying with her lunch. "Like for instance... and this is so silly! But... he told me that he and oniichan got together first, before you and oniichan. And I mean. That's just stupid," she laughed.

Haru watched her for a second. "No, that's true."

"What?" she asked, startled.

Haru nodded. "Rin and Makoto got together first. Then, I joined them."

"That's not right!" she objected fiercely. "You and oniichan have been together forever!"

"We've been friends forever. But Rin and Makoto hooked up first. Then, I joined them," he repeated, since she didn't seem to understand.

"But that's not right!" she wailed. "Oniichan's been in love with you forever! And I know you've always loved him back!"

"That's... true," he said, figuring the semantics of it weren't that important.

"You two are my big brothers!" she pouted. "Of course you were together before you even met that stupid Rin!"

"We were friends," Haru reiterated.

"And to imply that oniichan was... that he... with Rin... that doesn't even make sense! Oniichan loves you!" She was very firm on the point.

Too firm.

Haru didn't like the implication. "And Rin. Makoto loves Rin, too."

"Not like he loves you," Ran implored him. "I wish you understood... Neither of you need him!"

"No, we both do," Haru insisted. "We never would have gotten together without Rin. Not... romantically, whatever."

"That's not true. It's destiny! You are bound by a red thread of love!" she beamed. "I'm sure of it."

"All three of us," Haru agreed. "But... Makoto and Rin got together first. And... they'd probably stay together... even without..."

"Oniichan would never be happy without you!" Ran was practically in tears.

Haru took a deep breath. He wasn't good with these sorts of things... he knew that Ran adored Makoto, as well she should. And he knew that she considered him to be part and parcel with Makoto. It wasn't that surprising that she'd think of Rin as an interloper, but... "Ran, your brother and I will always be best friends. We always have been, so. But it never occurred to me to make a move on him, and I doubt it occurred to him, at least not seriously. Even it had occurred to me, I would have been too scared to do it. What if it messed up our friendship? I would never have done that," he shook his head emphatically.

"But..." Ran weakly protested.

"But Rin made it happen. Well. Actually, no. Makoto moved on Rin first," Haru thought about it. Though, he was pretty sure this all worked out just exactly how Rin wanted...

"That's impossible!" Ran sighed. "Oniichan would never have betrayed you!"

"It wasn't a betrayal. Because it was Rin."

"I don't understand. I really don't. I'm sorry, but... I don't get it at all... How could he have gotten in the middle of you two?" she sighed, looking utterly dejected.

Haru set down his chopsticks. "Well. Let me think.

"We were in our third year of high school... probably... I think it was close to the end of the year... maybe. I know there had been some kind of tournament... at least, I think so. Anyway, we went to the beach to celebrate after. Rin was there. But, Kou went someplace else... I guess. The five of us were at the beach, I know that. And we had a barbeque. I know that. And Rei and Nagisa left early, because Nagisa said his parents were going someplace that night, and wouldn't be back until really late, so they'd have the house to themselves. So, Nagisa dragged Rei off, and Rin was surprised, because he didn't know... and then he was upset that guys a year younger than us were already, you know, doing it. So he wanted to make sure that Makoto and I were still virgins. And we were, of course."

Ran snickered a little bit. At least she didn't still look like she was going to cry...

"So then Rin started to tease Makoto, saying that he and I were going to lose our virginity, and Makoto would be the only virgin left. And he kept teasing Makoto, being really... well, salacious. And then, while Rin was still teasing him, Makoto grabbed Rin's shirt, pushed him down into the sand, and started to kiss him."

"My brother..." Ran paled.

"And they kept kissing," Haurka continued, somewhat lost in the memory now that he had started. "And kissing. And Rin got his hands into Makoto's shirt... and then he took off Makoto's shirt. And he was still trying to tease Makoto, so Makoto told him to shut up before he put something bigger than his tongue in Rin's mouth..."

"Wait," Ran stammered.

"And Makoto grabbed Rin's ass, and Rin put his hand into Makoto's shorts, and he really got a hold of Makoto..."

"Wait," Ran tried to interject, a tiny bit more forcefully.

"And then Makoto kinda sat up and pulled Rin into his lap and he took off Rin's clothes, and Rin was stroking him, and then Makoto grabbed the oil we used for the barbeque..."

"Wait!" Ran's eyes were as wide as waffles.

"And then they did it, Rin basically riding your brother, right there on the beach in front of me."

Ran's mouth dropped open, but she couldn't speak.

"And after they were, you know, dressed and breathing normally and stuff, we went to find some vending machines because Makoto was really thirsty," Makoto got thirsty from sex a lot, "and then when they were done, I told them next time, they weren't leaving me out. And that's how it all started." He looked at Ran. He had remembered it all really well. He smiled a bit, from both the memory and his recollection of it.

Ran just stared at him. "Haru... niichan... that was... a lot more information than I needed to know," she shuddered.

"Oh, right," she was Makoto's sister. ...Well, still, she knew about the three of them, so.

Kou wouldn't have minded hearing. In fact, she was always trying to get Rin to tell her details...

Ran stared blankly at her lunch. "I... think I need time to process this."

"Sorry," Haru sheepishly added. But. "Try to cut Rin some slack. It would mean a lot to Makoto. It's not as unbalanced as you think. We need Rin. We love him."

Ran looked up at Haru, but she either didn't know what to say, or couldn't manage it.

Unfortunately... "I'm sorry, Ran, I have to go back to work... are you ok?"

She straightened up, and forced herself to smile at Haru. "Yeah, I'm fine. You go on. I'll stick around for the afternoon feeding. I can't wait to see you in action, Haru-niichan." She winked at him.

Haru didn't know what that meant, but he cleaned up his bento box, stood up, and ruffled her hair. "Thanks. You're a good kid, Ran."

She didn't have to force that smile.

Makoto bumped Rin's legs with the vacuum. Rin grunted, but he barely lifted his legs a centimeter. Sighing, Makoto did the best he could with what Rin was giving him. Haru was cleaning the kitchen. Makoto had already remade the bed and started a load of laundry and now he was vacuuming.

Rin was playing a racing game designed for children.

The doorbell barely rung once when Rin said, without looking at him, "Get that, willya?"

Makoto rolled his eyes, flipped off the vacuum, and went to the door. He beamed as soon as he saw who it was. "Two weeks in a row! Now I feel special," Makoto stepped aside so his sister could come in.

She leaned up and kissed his cheek. "Of course you do, oniichan, you are special!" she grinned at him. "Someone at work gave dad a ton of crab legs, so mom sent me over with some 'cause she said we had too much to eat before it went bad." She held up the unwieldy box in her arms, so Makoto took it from her.

"Crab legs?!" Rin paused his game and threw down the controller, dashing to the genkan. He jumped on Makoto's back, throwing his arms around Makoto's neck. "Ooh, looks good!"

"We have crab legs?" Haru peeked out from the kitchen.

Makoto smirked at his sister. "You really know how to bring the boys out," he teased her.

"Yeah, but they're taken, so it's no good to me," she laughed.

Rin tried to open the box from behind Makoto, and Haru crept up closer to get a look at their crabby booty.

Makoto shrugged Rin off of him, and handed him the box, causing Rin to whoop with pleasure. "You want to stick around for a while? You could help us break into that," he offered.

"Nah, I'm actually on my way to a date," she wiggled her eyebrows at him.

"Ooh," he grinned at her. "Do you need any condoms?"

"Shut up!" she laughed, swacking at Makoto's chest. "It's not that kind of date! We're going to a movie and then to dinner!"

"After that's when you need the condoms. Though, sometimes, in a movie theater..." Rin started.

"You shut up," Ran cut him off, but she was laughing. And her cheeks were cutely pink.

"You're going to have to tell me all about this date later," Makoto instructed her.

She stuck her tongue out at him. "It's none of your business, oniichan!" She leaned up to kiss his cheek again. "Enjoy the crab! See you later, Haru-niichan... and... Rin... niichan..." She ducked her head down and turned quickly.

Makoto's eyes widened, and then he grabbed his sister into a big bear hug before she could escape. He kissed her temple, and whispered, "Thank you." He straightened up and messed with her hair, to her distress. "Thanks for the crab, too. Tell mom and dad we really appreciate it."

"Yeah, yeah, leggo!" she complained, slipping away from him. She waved goodbye, and then was off, straightening out her hair furiously.

Bursting with happiness, Makoto locked up, and then turned inside. Rin was still holding the box of crab, which Haru was trying subtly to get away from him, but Rin was just frozen in his spot. Grinning from ear to ear, Makoto went up to Rin and wrapped his arms around him from Rin's side, kissing the corner of Rin's mouth. "Thank you. See? I told you... just be nice, and she'd warm to you, eventually."

"I-I didn't really... do anything, though..." Rin objected, but he didn't look unhappy.

Haru tugged on Makoto's arm. "I'm always nice to her," he informed Makoto insistently.

Laughing, Makoto threw an arm around Haru, pulling them all into a group hug with the box of crab legs. "Yes, you are. We should make tonight a party! I'll go out and get some nice drinks, how about?"

"And can we eat and drink naked?" Rin asked hopefully.

"Crab is pretty messy otherwise," Haru nodded.

He was outvoted. "Fine, it's a special occasion. We'll call it naked dinner. I'll go out to get drinks." He leaned in to kiss Rin again, and Haru got in for a sloppy and awkward three-way kiss.

Makoto was about as happy as he could be.