you've always just been to soft for your own good. that's what people say, anyway, behind your back. you are a kind, gentle soul, and there's nothing wrong with that. there's never been anything wrong with that and, just because you get your feelings hurt (and often), doesn't mean that there's something wrong with you. you have, however, always felt a little bit stranger for it.
you come from a home where your parents are always just too busy to teach you how to be you. for that, you've had to develop on your own, had to learn the ropes of what it was like to be you. its difficult, learning how to come into your own and you'll admit that you still really haven't. its been a long, wild ride, but you're better for everything you've been through. you're better for having met and known matsuoka-senpai, of this you're certain. knowing him has been good for you because he's always accepted you for who you are.
even when he was standoffish and quiet, you know he was a lot more caring than he let on. for a while, you think that maybe he's like you--he just hasn't figured out how to be himself yet. that turns out to be a lot truer than even you had anticipated. though quiet and almost cold, there was something so magical about matsuoka rin that just drew you in from the start. god knows it wasn't his charm.
( its because he had all the charm of a shark getting ready to eviscerate a seal. )
but there was something just so skilled, so beautiful about him in action when you two begin to swim together. you've known him since elementary school. you were never quite the friend to him that the others were, and you had your own friends, and rin's were not yours. maybe you ran in different circles because of your parents, your upbringing--how uptight and proper they always were.
that wasn't the others. haruka, rin, makoto...they had very simple lives. at least, it always seemed that way; you know that you can't judge a book by its cover. the same as how no one could judge him. your parents aren't neglectful, per se, but they fought sometimes (over the bills, over his grades, over the fact he was prone to crying whenever his feelings were hurt). so focused on their work lives that they didn't really pay too much attention to you. not that you ever doubted they loved you, because of course they do! they're your parents.
rin has always been someone you looked up to. this much is never going to change, no matter how far apart you are, no matter what weird world fate has brought you to. you're still not sure how you wound up here. one minute you're being coached by sousuke and the next minute you're...well, you're still in the water, but being at the beach is very different from being in a pool.
its troublesome for someone like you. someone that is so easily affected by everything around them. you've had your fair share of ups and downs and this is just another one of them. after all, when rin left, that was hard to handle. you were sad, maybe not as sad as his better friends, but still distraught. maybe you were more distraught because that's just how you are when it comes to things that are painful.
( like living with the notion that maybe you're just not good enough. )
you don't want to let what others say hurt you, but its hard not to. what people think of you is so very important, especially when it comes to those that you're close to. you want them to accept you, to want you, to appreciate you, and you wonder if they actually do. then again, there are times where you are reassured that you're every bit as important as every other member of samezuka.
even still, there's no denying that matsuoka-senpai is better than all of you. in turn, when it comes to iwatobi, haruka is even a league above rin. astonishing really, because rin is the best swimmer you've ever seen. you want to be like him, to be as skilled in your chosen stroke as he is at...everything. its probably wrong to idolize your friends, but you love them so much that its hard not to. maybe you're a little obsessive, is that a bad thing? (probably.)
as much as you're known for being a little over-the-top (you're equated to nagisa-kun often enough), you're also known for being so infinitely caring that its borderline smothering. it feels that way for a long time with rin and the way he sometimes brushes you off leaves you feeling unsure of yourself. all you want to do is encourage him, to make sure he knows that he's doing just the best he can be. but no one really listens to you half the time, and that's alright.
( imagine your surprise when rin names you samezuka's new captain. )
and maybe its because you take swimming just as seriously as the others. you can separate business from pleasure; your personal side from the side of you that gets strangely competitive. the side of you that people don't see is the hard worker, the determined kid that wants to be the best at everything he does. what people do see is that you're bubbly and friendly, a real chatterbox when you get started. you try not to let them see that you are easily bothered and you always want to stay strong for everyone else.
you're still really just learning how to be you. its one of the many things you're still learning about yourself. the same as you're still really learning how this new world works. cascata, however, is pretty much the best place for you. surrounded by water, with beautiful beaches, and a water park that you've got yourself a job at. you thought about finishing school, but you're were only one year away from being finished with your schooling anyway, what could happen in a year? besides, you're treated more like an adult here than anywhere else.
while you may not really know your role in this life, one thing you know for certain: you miss your friends.