At Rin’s words, Sousuke’s brows narrow with suspicion. “What are you trying to say, Rin?”
Rin just looks pointedly at Sousuke, as if the answer is obvious. But his brows are furrowed, and his expression looks as if it’s pained, like he doesn’t want to believe his own words. Sousuke only quirks an eyebrow at him and Rin sighs. “What if he’s lying?” he murmurs.
Sousuke’s brows go up. “You think our amnesiac is lying about being scared of the ocean?”
Rin mumbles something, but Sousuke couldn’t catch what it was.
Sousuke clears his throat. “Rin, listen. What you’re saying is irrational. Why would the guy lie about being scared of the ocean?”
“He has a name, Sousuke.”
“And that’s not the point.” Sousuke folds his arms. “Rin, did the thought of him not knowing that he was scared of the ocean until then not cross your mind?”
Rin looks confusedly at him. “What do you mean?”
“You went to Kisumi’s place for your lunch break, right? You texted me and said that the guy remembered …” Sousuke trails off as he looks skyward. “What was it again?”
“That he cooked?” Rin supplies.
“Exactly,” Sousuke says, in a tone that made Rin think that Sousuke didn’t actually forget and wanted Rin to fill in the blanks for him. “What triggered his memory then?”
“His cookbook,” Rin says dumbly, feeling much like the stupid child in a class not getting the most simplest of problems.
“He told you it just came to him when he got down to it, right?” At Rin’s nod, Sousuke’s face and tone hardens. “So do you think that the guy lied about being able to cook?”
Rin swallows guiltily, a hard lump forming in his throat. Oh god, what was he thinking? Not only did he accuse Haruka of hiding another identity, but of lying as well? Honestly, he’s doing nothing but accuse Haruka when he’s supposed to be helping him.
Rin timidly meets Sousuke’s eyes, whose gaze has softened but his mouth has thinned. “Sorry,” he murmurs.
Sousuke sighs, “It shouldn’t be me you should be apologising to.”
“I know,” Rin groans. Just how many times is he going to fuck up and keep apologising to Haruka? By the looks of it, he’ll have to do it once every hour.
“Ow,” Haruka winces.
Kisumi stops immediately, an apologetic look on his face. “Sorry. Did I pull too hard?”
After Rin had left, Kisumi had prepared another bath for Haruka, this time void of any salts. Haruka was still naked, so he didn’t need to strip. Thankfully, Kisumi didn’t try to or request for him to remove his life source. He must’ve been telling the truth when he told Haruka earlier that he ‘won’t touch his precious jewellery’.
Haruka already wasn’t in the best of moods since his transformation, but it had worsened spectacularly when Kisumi told him that he was going to help him clean his body after he’s done with his hair.
That’s something Haruka isn’t looking forward to.
Haruka starts to nod before Kisumi’s fingers still entangled in his hair stops him from doing so. “Yeah.”
“Sorry,” Kisumi says again, resuming in lathering the shampoo in Haruka’s hair. “It’s just that your hair is so dry that I have to wash it even more thoroughly than I do with Hayato’s or my hair.” He chuckles breathlessly. “I read somewhere that it’s because your scalp doesn’t make enough oil to moisturise your hair, so maybe that’s why.”
Haruka knows that the reason his hair is so dry is because he’s spent his whole life in the ocean, but he’s not going to correct Kisumi.
“Done,” Kisumi announces, pulling back and detaching the shower head from its place on the wall. He rinses his hands off and gestures for Haruka. “Head back, please.”
Haruka tilts his head backwards and feels the gentle spray of water hitting his scalp. He closes his eyes and allows Kisumi to wash his hair out, feeling himself relaxing. The water is so warm and Kisumi’s touch is so gentle that he can fall asleep. The water shuts off a bit too soon for Haruka’s liking, and Kisumi chuckles at the slight pout he receives.
“I’ll be back,” he says, standing up. “Hayato should be up from his nap, and he wants to see you.”
Hayato? That’s Kisumi’s younger brother, right? Haruka doesn’t say anything, allowing Kisumi to leave the bathroom just like that. But it’s fine. He needs some time to think. The door closes and Haruka looks skywards at the ceiling.
Makoto … How is he? Haruka misses him dearly. There’s so many questions he wants to ask him, like if he knows why his life source is acting strange. He also just wants to see him. The Nanases and the Tachibanas had introduced their sons to each other before Makoto could even open his eyes. Haruka only has the slightest remembrance of gently tugging Makoto’s soft brown hair, before his finger was grabbed in a tiny hand.
Haruka loves Makoto with all his heart, and it feels like it’s going to break with every passing minute of not seeing him. But he can’t just go and leave Rin either. Even though he plans to temporarily visit Makoto, not only does he want to drag Rin with him, but he has to steer clear from the ocean to further support his lie.
Haruka sighs heavily. He has to admit, that’s not one of his most well-thought out lies, but it was the only one he could come up with. If it was only Kisumi who managed to see him after he dried out, then Haruka would just stay quiet and not say anything. He knows that Kisumi wouldn’t press him. But since it was Rin, Haruka couldn’t help but think of something.
It didn’t help that the first thing he was thinking of was Makoto during his state of panic.
Haruka jolts slightly when he hears a couple of knocks, followed by the door opening. A large pair of purple eyes peek in and Haruka smiles slightly. “Hayato-kun,” he greets. “Are you feeling better?”
Hayato opens the door wider and bounds in. “Yup! Your soup helped me a lot, Haru niisan!”
Just the name alone has Haruka missing Makoto even more. Makoto had called him that once when they were still little, mistaking Haruka to be his actual older brother. The notion warmed Haruka’s heart, and even when Makoto stopped calling him that the moment he found out they aren’t actually related, he took it upon himself to teach Ren and Ran to call Haruka that.
Haruka’s smile widens. “That’s good. Your brother was worried.”
“Yeah, I know,” Hayato rolls his eyes. “He’s super gross, being all huggy and all. Tell him to stop.”
Haruka chuckles. “I’m sure Shigino-san would be very sad if he heard that.”
“But he’s being so clingy,” Hayato whines, crossing his arms over the rim of the tub and resting his chin on top of them. “He won’t let me do anything. He’s worse than Mum!”
“Well, it’s because both your parents are out of town,” Haruka says, drawing his knees closer to himself as the water’s starting to get cold. “And the reason why he’s being so, er, ‘huggy’ is probably because you’re sick and he wants you to get better.”
“But I’m already alright!” Hayato pouts. “I mean, your soup made me feel better!”
Haruka smiles. “My soup helped you feel better, but the thing that made you feel better is the medicine that Shigino-san bought and gave you.”
Hayato’s pout deepens, obviously bummed that someone’s taking his brother’s side. “Yeah, yeah,” he mumbles.
Haruka chuckles and reaches out, patting Hayato’s hair. He goes to withdraw his hand when he realises it’s wet, but Hayato doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, he leans into the touch, and Haruka’s heart throbs. He’s never realised how much he missed Ren and Ran.
“You’re so nice to me, Haru,” a voice says, and they both look up to see Kisumi wearing a sheepish smile as he peeks in from the doorway. “Making Hayato love me and all.”
Hayato pouts. “It’s not like I don’t love you, niisan.”
Kisumi enters the bathroom and ruffles Hayato’s hair. “Go back to your room, Hayato. You wouldn’t want Haru to get sick.”
As if remembering that illness can be spread, Hayato’s expression changes to a look of horror. “Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry, Haru niisan!” He springs to his feet. “I’ll go now! I hope you don’t get sick!” He rushes out of the bathroom and Kisumi locks the door behind him.
“His sickness is contagious?” Haruka asks.
“Not sure,” Kisumi shrugs. “But I don’t want to risk you getting sick. Rin’s gonna have my ass.” He chuckles and gestures to a bar of soap in his hands. “Now, ready to be soaped?”
Haruka frowns as Kisumi nears him. As much as he wants to say no, he’s sure that Kisumi will hold him down and force him to get soaped, so he just grits his teeth and accept his fate.
It’s been a really long day for Rin, considering he had to go to and fro the police station and Kisumi’s place twice. But he didn’t mind. It’s part of the job descriptions as a police officer, and Haruka’s under his care. Speaking of Haruka, Rin’s shit out of ideas to taking care of him tomorrow. He’s starting to get desperate, and if worse comes to worse, he may have to bring Haruka to the station with him tomorrow like it’s some sort of messed up Bring Your Amnesiac to Work Day.
Captain Mikoshiba definitely would not approve of that.
He had been feeling down ever since he suspected Haruka of lying, and it was quite apparent to Sousuke. So Sousuke had told him that once his work is over, he should go straight to Haruka to tell him whatever he wants to tell him. Rin tried to remind him of the dinner he still owed him but Sousuke told him that Haruka is more important, so the dinner will have to be postponed.
Really, Rin is such a lucky guy to have a friend and partner like Sousuke.
Sighing, Rin reaches Kisumi’s front door, opening it with his copy of the key. He pushes it open and is about to call out to announce his presence when faint laughter reaches his ears. Curious, Rin closes the door behind him and follows the source of the noise, reaching Hayato’s bedroom. Rin notices that the door’s open so he peeks in, his heart melting at the sight.
Haruka’s on the bed with Hayato in his lap, the both of them watching Kisumi tell an animated story. Hayato’s particularly cheerful, laughing at everything, and even though Haruka’s not as noisy as him, the small smile on his face and the way his eyes are trained on Kisumi’s movements are evidence enough that he’s enjoying the story.
The sight, while it makes Rin smile, it’s also causing his heart to squeeze slightly. They look like a happy family, and it’s no wonder. Kisumi’s very friendly, and he warms up to everyone almost immediately. If Kisumi were to court Haruka, it’s very likely that Haruka would accept. The thought of Haruka dating anyone makes Rin’s heart hurt, and he doesn’t know why.
But it’s impossible for him to have feelings for Haruka already. … Right?
The door creaks when he accidentally touches it, and three pairs of eyes whip at him. Haruka visibly lights up and Rin grins. “Hey,” he greets, pushing the door open wider. “Sorry for interrupting.”
“No, no, it’s fine!” Kisumi laughs as Hayato bounces off of Haruka and runs to Rin with a delighted cry of Rin niisan! “I was just telling Hayato and Haru something that happened at work yesterday.”
“Is it family friendly?” Rin teases, cocking an eyebrow at Kisumi.
“What kind of brother do you take me for?” Kisumi jokes back.
Rin rolls his eyes and smiles at Haruka. “Hey, Haru.”
Haruka’s smile softens. “Hi.”
Stunned by how pretty Haruka looks, Rin stares. He’s pretty sure he’s starting to look stupid too, when he feels a tug on his pants. As if breaking out of his trance, he glances down to see Hayato looking worriedly up at him.
“Are you okay, Rin niisan?”
“He’s fine, Hayato,” Kisumi chuckles, and Rin looks up at him. Which he regrets wholeheartedly, seeing the rather smug smirk on his face. “Why don’t you go help Haru with this things?”
Glad to be of help, Hayato grins at Kisumi. “Okay!” He releases Rin and trots over to Haruka, chatting with him as he looks for Haruka’s bag.
Kisumi sidles next to Rin. “You’re drooling.”
“Shut up, I’m not,” Rin scowls, though he wipes his mouth anyway just to be sure.
“I was just kidding,” Kisumi chuckles. “But with the way you looked at Haru … It was like he’s the most beautiful thing in the world.”
Rin sighs and backs away from the door, not wanting either Haruka or Hayato to possibly eavesdrop on them. Kisumi follows suit, swinging the door shut but not all the way, leaving it slightly open. “I don’t know, Kiss …” he groans. “This is totally against protocol. I’m not allowed to be in a relationship with victims, especially those who have amnesia and are currently being searched for in the world’s criminal database.”
“I never said anything about relationships,” Kisumi says, hands up in the air as if surrendering. “I just said that the way you looked at him –”
“You implied that it can turn into something more!” Rin whispers heatedly. “And I can’t do that!” He sighs heavily. “Not to Haru,” he says softly. “It’ll be like I’m taking advantage of him.”
Kisumi’s face softens. “Oh, Rinrin. Are you telling me you have feelings for the guy?”
“I don’t know!” Rin whines. “Probably? This is only the second day since I’ve met him, so I can’t possibly have feelings for him so soon! I mean, this is ridiculous!”
The door pops open and Hayato peers up curiously at the both of them. “What is?”
“How they made the coffee at Rinrin’s station even more bitter,” Kisumi lies flawlessly, patting Hayato’s head. Rin envies that Kisumi has such a younger brother. If he had told the same lie to Gou, she’ll squint suspiciously at him and start firing question after question until she eventually catches him.
Haruka toddles after Hayato, and Rin instantly smiles at the sight of him. “Ready to go?” At Haruka’s wordless nod, Rin takes his hands and helps him to the front door. “Thanks so much for watching over him, Kiss.”
“Not a problem,” Kisumi smiles. “You’re welcome to bring him here anytime, Rinrin. Even when I’m not here.”
Rin grins. “I appreciate that.”
“Bye, Hayato-kun,” Haruka waves at the boy.
“Bye bye, Haru niisan!” Hayato waves enthusiastically at him. “Come again soon!”
Rin turns to Haruka after Kisumi shuts the door. “We’re gonna be walking the whole way back, I’m afraid. Not allowed to use the car.”
“I don’t mind,” Haruka shakes his head. “It’s great practice.”
“Here, let me …”
When he feels Rin’s gentle touch against his elbow, Haruka pulls his arm back. “I’d rather you not.”
Rin purses his lips. “I get that practice is good and all, but I can’t have you falling on me. Not only will Sei have my ass, but I’ll have my own ass. I can’t allow you to hurt yourself.”
Haruka frowns at Rin. “I can handle myself.”
“I didn’t say you can’t. I’m just worried for you.”
“You don’t have to be,” Haruka says, starting his slow walking. “I’m certain Shigino-san told you that I can stand, so I’d like to practice walking by myself. If I need you, I will let you know.”
Rin frowns but obediently backs away. “Alright. But if I see that you need help, I don’t care whether you want it or not – I’m helping you.”
Haruka flashes Rin an annoyed look before focusing back on his legs. “Fine.”
In all honesty, Rin’s glad that Haruka wants to practice walking by himself. It’ll give him time to mull over not only how to properly apologise to Haruka for being suspicious of him (not that Haruka knew about it in the first place, but it’ll still ease Rin’s guilt after he apologises), but also to categorise these growing feelings he has for Haruka.
First things first: what the fuck was he feeling when he saw them after peeking through the door?
It was a painful, unpleasant feeling, definitely not something Rin wants to experience again. He was feeling hurt, and, if he’s being honest, jealous at the idea of Haruka and Kisumi starting a relationship, which will become problematic if he actually catches feelings for Haruka.
Haruka stumbles just then and Rin shoots his arms out to catch Haruka. Haruka looks back just enough to give him a small smile of gratitude, and his slightly dampened face, along with his impossibly sapphire eyes, shining in the moonlight has Rin’s heart squeezing and jumping at the same time.
Rin releases Haruka with a muttered apology, stepping back. He avoids looking at Haruka because what was that?! Does he actually, really, legitimately already have feelings for the amnesiac?
“Rin?” Haruka’s voice breaks him out of his stupor. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” Rin mutters. “Just … tired from today.”
“Oh.” Haruka looks a little downcast. “I’m sorry.”
“No, no!” Rin’s quick to say. Haruka shouldn’t feel bad at all, because it’s Rin’s job to take care of him. Well, not really, but he had taken responsibility, hence it’s now his job. “It’s not your fault, don’t worry! I just had a lot of paperwork to do. It’s really draining, that’s all. I swear.”
When Haruka doesn’t look at him, Rin lightly taps him on the chin with a soft smile. “Hey, chin up. Don’t look sad. I already said it wasn’t your fault.” Haruka peeks at him and it makes Rin’s smile widen. “C’mon, give me a big smile.”
The smile Haruka gives him is a small one, but it’s enough to make Rin want to do something stupid. Like kiss him, for fuck’s sake.
“U-uh,” Rin hurriedly looks around, trying to change the topic at hand. “Let’s go to that bench over there. I need to talk to you.”
Haruka nods and starts to slowly make his way to the bench Rin pointed at. “Alright. Is it important?”
“I guess,” Rin says.
They reach the bench and Rin helps Haruka sit before sitting right next to him, staring at the river in front of them. They both of them don’t talk for a while, and when Rin glanced at Haruka, the latter has his eyes closed and head tilted slightly up, seeming to be relaxing himself. He looks exceptionally pretty, with his long lashes and soft lips, and hair being softly tousled around in the wind –
Rin immediately tears his gaze from him and stares resolutely at the river, certain that his cheeks are a bright red. He’s glad Haruka’s eyes are closed; who knows how he would’ve reacted if he caught Rin staring at him like that.
“S-so, uh,” Rin starts, Haruka opening his eyes and looking at him. Rin clears his throat and plays with his fingers. “I want to, uh, apologise.”
Haruka tilts his head to the side. “What for?”
Rin swallows. “For … thinking you were suspicious.”
“I thought you already apologised for that –”
“No, not that,” Rin interrupts. Fuck, how could he forget that he already suspected Haruka once earlier today? He’s not branding himself to be the best caretaker in the world, is he? Scratch that, he’s not branding himself to be a decent person. “When I went back to the station, I told Sousuke and Sei of your fear of the ocean.”
He thought he saw Haruka tensing, but he just plays it off as his mind playing tricks on him.
“Sei brought up the fact that that was where I found you, and I didn’t notice until I told the same thing to Sousuke. But he had a point, because you’re scared of the ocean but didn’t seem to mind when I found you there.” Rin sighs. “Anyway, I told Sousuke that I suspected you were lying, and he scolded me. He said that your memory could have triggered from the bath and not the ocean itself, since that was where your earliest memory is.”
He chuckles humourlessly. “Which makes total sense, since we’ve had similar cases like that before. So,” he turns to face Haruka, “I’m really, really sorry. I’m sorry for suspecting you, and I’m sorry for thinking you were lying.” He manages to muster a smile. “Will you forgive me?”
Surprised by Rin’s confession, Haruka nods. “Of course. Of course I will. I always will.”
At Rin’s loud exhale of relief, Haruka starts to think. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the cookbook, he would’ve been screwed with the whole ‘fear of water’ thing. And thank god for Yamazaki. But Rin is smart, a little smarter than Haruka expected, which makes him worried that he’ll be found out soon.
He has a feeling Rin will know his true form very soon.
And Haruka’s unsure if he minds, considering he had conflicting feelings whether he wants Rin to know if he’s a merman or not earlier in the day, but he’s unsure of the circumstances that will lead to the revelation.
Will Haruka suddenly transform back due to carelessness? Will Rin find out as an accident? Will it be because Haruka was forced to? Or maybe because he wanted to?
Whatever the case, he knows that seeing his true form will make Rin confused, and possibly (but not very likely) hurt. Hurt from realising that the man he’s been taking care of is living an actual lie.
Rin rests a hand on Haruka’s shoulder and smiles at him. “Ready to go now? I’ve got a full day tomorrow. And I still need to think on how to handle you for tomorrow.”
Haruka agrees and stands up, the two of them walking home. Rin hums softly, and if Haruka wasn’t half-thinking, half-internally panicking, he would be listening.
But no. Right now, Haruka needs answers from Makoto, who knows about the mer a whole lot more than he does, and to get answers from Makoto, he needs to go back to his home. And he can’t do that, not with Rin having to watch over him. It’s exceptionally harder now that Rin thinks he has a fear of the ocean.
He needs to go find Makoto.
And he’ll do it tonight.