For English class, each student would have a pen pal to exchange letters with each week. It was half way through the year and kind of a hard assignment in Nagisa’s opinion. He looked at his papers and noticed with excitement his pen pal from Australia is called Rin Matsuoka. That’s a Japanese name, he thought, maybe I won’t have to write in English the whole time. It was a small bit of hope, but this was his worst subject maybe this Matsuoka can help.
The first few letters were guided by the teacher and they talked about simple things like food and the weather. Even with these though he could tell Rin would be fun to correspond with. For the next letter they were free to write about what they wanted, and Nagisa excitedly talked about school and how he was going to be in high school with his old friends and wanted to start a swim club like when they were little. After the teacher checked grammar and such he put a ps saying, I hope I don’t offend by asking, but do you know Japanese?
He was anxious for the other’s response and practically bouncing in his seat the next week. Rin’s response was very positive, he swims too, that’s actually why he’s in Australia, he explained. His specialty is freestyle and butterfly and he asked what Nagisa swam. The blond laughed at the ps, yes as explained above I’m from Japan but I won’t let you cheat, this is still for class right, so keep writing in English ;p
After that letter Nagisa started his off with dear Rin-chan, and he couldn’t tell if it annoyed or amused his friend, it’s hard to tell tone from written word. But still they got along great, they even started sending letters outside of class.
It didn’t occur to either of them to ask for phone numbers or email, because this was how they talked and it was kind of fun having actual mail.
When Rin slowly stopped replying to the personal letters and barely saying anything for the assignments, he wishes they did. He wanted to call so many times, hear his voice. He needed to ask what was wrong, was Rin okay was it something he did. Nagisa buried his face in his pillows it was almost the end of the school year, they wouldn't have the assignment anymore and he would lose the last way they talked even if it was a bit.
“Nagisa, honey, there’s a letter for you,” his mom called from downstairs. His heart skipped a beat, no way…
He tore open the envelope and a picture fell out with the paper. It was a youngish redheaded boy hugging a dog, and laughing, he was in a swimsuit and the two were being sprayed by a hose. Ahh cute that’s Rin-chan? He wondered. He was so happy but confused, He looked at the letter to see what brought this on. It was in Japanese, and he noticed some of the ink was blurred in some spots like it had gotten wet. Was he crying?
Nagisa, I just want to say I'm so sorry for ignoring you. I had some, trouble here. I'm not the swimmer I thought I was. But I, you’re more of a friend than anyone here..I wanted to let you know, I'm returning to Japan for high school. My family lives close to your address, if you want to meet in a couple months here’s a picture of me, sorry it’s a little old, my guardians said it was a good one. I understand if you don’t, but yeah.
Nagisa sniffed, poor Rin-chan what happened? He immediately got paper to write back. He told Rin he’d better make it up to him when they meet and that when he wants to talk about it he’ll be there. He also wrote his cell number and to text him asap. It would be so much easier and there’s only a few class letters left to do.
A few days later Nagisa got a text from an unknown number.
‘Hey, it’s Rin’ He saved the number with a smile as Rinrin. Then he took a selfie doing a peace sign and wink 'since you have me a pic (｡ゝ∀・)ﾉ ’
'Haha cool now I won’t walk right by you if we cross paths’
'yes! oh do you know what school you’re going to? I’m joining haru-chan and mako-chan at iwatobi’
'Ah that’s where my sister will be… I think I’m going to Samezuka’
'awww well at least they have a good swim program, and that’s not that far from iwatobi!’
Ahh maybe I shouldn’t have brought the swim team up? The conversation petered out for now, but they texted each other every day. It was so much quicker and easy to just send small things like how he had strawberry ice cream, or when Rin’s dog made friends with a cat.
Rin’s flight was a week ago and Nagisa had made plans for him to meet him and his friends at a nice cafe in town now that he got settled at home. He was so exited he thought he would burst.
“You’re going to like him I know it!” He looked to the door every time the bell rang when it opened.
“Of course any friend of yours is a friend of ours, you talk about him so often he almost already is.” Makoto said and took a sip of his drink.
“Mako-chan, don’t tease,” he whined and fake pouted.
“It’s too bad he can’t be the fourth member for our club” Haruka smiled but Nagisa shook his head.
“No it’s ok I’m sure I can convince Rei-chan soon!”
The door chimed again and he looked over. There was a tall-but-not-Makoto-tall redhead looked a little awkward standing there and told the hostess he was meeting some people here when asked if he needed to be seated.
“Rinrin!” Nagisa shouted and hugged him with such force he had trouble staying upright. “It’s so great to finally see you!” The hostess giggled lightly and went back to her work.
“I’m glad to see you too but come on get off we’re in the middle of this place” Rin said prying the blond’s arms from around his neck. “And don’t call me Rinrin!”
Nagisa grinned and pulled him over to their table, “Rin-chan this Haruka and Makoto; Haru-chan, Mako-chan this is Rinrin.”
Rin frowned at the nickname and blushes when he realised they were still holding hands. He pulled it away to hold up in greeting. “Hi, nice to meet you.”
They sat down and started making easy conversation. Nagisa steered it away from Australia when Rin looked a little uncomfortable and towards Gou-chan whom they already knew from swim club.
He was happy that Rin was smiling and laughing with his new friends. I want to keep making him smile like that, Nagisa thought.