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Distant Free!/Plot

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Haruka is staring at a tree before writing something down on the mud with a branch. Looking at him, Makoto comments that “it looks just like that tree.”

Rin’s 100 metre freestyle race begins but he has a late start; he is also the last to make the turn. When the race ends, it seems that Rin's distress has completely blinded him and he has to try multiple times to get out of the pool. Seeing this, Haruka runs off, not wanting to watch any longer, and the rest of the team follows.

Aiichiro comforts Rin by assuring him that everyone has bad days, but the closed-off Rin screams for him to shut up. He indulges in self-pity, saying that it's obvious that he is no better than his current state, which is why he was taken off the relay team. He declares that he quits and is done swimming, kicking over a rubbish bin in his fury before stalking off. Nearby, the team has bear witness to this scene and they are shocked that Rin is no longer in the relay team. Haruka is reminded of the words Rin said in the past when he lost the race as a child, and sinks to the floor at the realisation, hugging his knees into his chest.

He wants to swim with Rin.

Rei announces his meeting with Rin yesterday. Now, the team knows the real reason behind Rin quitting swimming in the past, and Rei continues that after seeing the Iwatobi swim club’s relay, Rin had wanted to swim in a relay again. However, Rei thinks that Rin does not care about the race and instead, he just wants to swim with them again; to swim with the best team mates that he could ever have. Haruka stands shakily and asks how Rei knows this, to which the latter replies that it's because he feels the same way. As the others listen, he warns them that they are the only ones who can help Rin and if something is not done, Rin is going to stop swimming. There is a brief pause where he asks Haruka what he wants to do, and Haru can only whisper that he wants to swim with Rin.

The team runs around searching for Rin. They are running out of time as the relay is going to start soon. Haruka eventually, and fortunately, discovers Rin, who is looking wistfully at a tree. He is displeased at Haruka’s presence and asks him to laugh at him as he is “not even good enough to race the guys in a relay.” Haruka tells Rin that he knows how fun it is to swim with friends and the feeling of swimming in a relay, and says that Rin is the person who taught him that.

This confession seems to stun Rin momentarily, but his surprise is quickly replaced by anger. He aims a punch at Haruka in his haze of grief, who manages to dodge it; however, he loses his footing and falls to the ground, pulling Rin on top of him unintentionally.

They struggle on the ground for a few moments, but something catches Rin's attention, and his hands are gripping Haru's collar still. Written on the ground is “For the Team”, a phrase that Rin had sworn to when he was in school. Haruka has purposefully done this, and he whispers that the tree looks like the sakura one that was in their elementary school yard; he knows that this is the reason why Rin is here. At this, Rin can't hold back tears any longer, and they drip to slide down Haru's cheeks.

He sobs that he wants to swim in a relay with them but it is too late now; immediately, Haruka counters that, no, it isn't too late. Rin sits back in tear-stained surprise, and Haru raises himself on his elbows to continue to look at Rin.

The rest of the team arrives and Rei says that if Rin wants to swim, to “go ahead.” Haruka extends a hand to Rin once they are on their feet, who looks back at him with wide eyes and an enchanted expression. Without hesitation, Haru tells Rin that, this time, it's his turn to "show you a sight you've never seen before."

The relay is starting and the team makes it just on time. When it is Rei turn to swim, Gou, Goro and Miho stare in shock while Aiichiro and Seijuro also spot Rin. Rin smiles widely before putting on his googles. Rei appears and aks them to cheer Rin on. Seijuro notes that Rin is fast and Aiichiro also cheers for Rin. Iwatobi achieves the first place and Nagisa starts crying tears of joy. Rin envelops Haruka the minute that he is out of the water, crying, telling him that that was the best sight he could've asked for. As Haruka smiles into Rin's shoulder, the rest of the team rush to hug them.

Outside the building, Miho is telling them off for pulling off such a stunt. They were disqualified and had to endure a scolding from the staff there. When Goro asks the reason for their actions, Rei says that it is only right and the rest agrees, saying that even though they are from different teams, they are still teammates.

Rin is apologising to his captain, saying that he will take responsibility and asks to be kicked off the team. He also apologises to Aiichiro his outburst earlier. However, Seijuro says that he have a better way for Rin to own up to his action, and tells him to “swim the way you just did for our team.” Rin calls Aiichiro by a shorten form of his name, and asks him to practice with him from tomorrow onwards, to which Aiichiro blushes and stammers.

In a classroom, Rin is introducing himself. However, it is just a mock re-enactment of his first day, when he transferred. Nagisa and Makoto say that it isn’t the same, and Rei tells him to put more effort in, whereas Haru remains silent at the back of the classroom; all of them are also pretending to be students. Gou and Aiichiro come in and complain about their fooling around, scolding, as their joint training is about to start. At this, Rin encourages Haru to hurry up and get moving.

The four Iwatobi boys run with Rin. Whilst they are in full sprint, Haru turns his head to the side to ask Rin if he is still going to follow his father's dream. This time Rin grins and answers in the negative, stating that he is following his own. When the question is asked back, however, Haru finds that he can't reply, and simply returns to looking ahead, to the future.

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