The Same Deep Water As You
by Solo & Jo
chapter(s) | Story notes, disclaimers, warnings]
Wednesday 03 September
The train is due in three minutes and Jin snaps his gum,
listening to the sound of the escalator drone through the station,
sharp menthol stinging cold on his lips.
There's a chill in the air, the day more autumn than
late summer, and he didn't dry his hair.
The tiny old lady to his left, pausing on her crutches,
stares at him from under huge glasses, so thick she might just not be
able to see him, but he shuts his mouth anyway and stops chewing until
she's hobbled away, her green plastic backpack disappearing behind a
The suit doesn't give him away but it stands out
regardless, he feels he stands out riding the train
at two in the afternoon with mothers and toddlers and pensioners, and
he feels it more on the way back from an appointment even when he's
showered, even when the appointment went well.
He even got out half an hour early today.
Karube's all right; banker in his fifties, rich enough
to make a booking every week but not so well-connected he'd pass as a
club member. He was Jin's first regular, one of his first outside
appointments three weeks in that turned into this recurrent Wednesday
Jin was glad. It's good to have regulars, a relief just
to know what he's in for, and a day when he doesn't have to worry about
chatting people up at the club. And Karube's all right. Uses some
styling product that Jin hates the smell of but he's got good hygiene,
gets it up fast; Jin isn't keen on the idiotic dirty talk but it's
common enough and at least the guy is straightforward about what he
wants, gives him cues. Means them.
He stops tapping his foot.
One more train goes by, and the swoosh of air as it
pulls out is cold on his head. He'll shower again at the club, do his
hair there before he changes into a fresh shirt. He'd never occupy a
client's bathroom for the fifteen minutes it takes him to get the style
right, and the hair is important. They were very particular about the
cut when they first cleaned him up.
He just washed it at the hotel because of that weird
product; Jin didn't have to do much this week, doesn't get that sweaty
from holding still, and the guy's not gross. Jin knows gross and that's
another thing that's good about the club, most clients are like Karube,
well-groomed and neat and socially skilled.
Not that that has to mean much. Not that people can't be
crazy bastards anyway.
His train arrives, finally, and he finds himself a spot
to stand, ignoring the empty seats. He doesn't lean, though, mindful of
his suit. He's going to be presentable.
He doesn't have to go to the club on Wednesdays. He's
got the appointment with Karube and they don't require him to come in
after that. Sometimes he doesn't want to, feels like he needs a
breather, takes the afternoon as a lead-in to his day off; sometimes he
goes in because it's a work day anyway and it's not like he can't use
He has a feeling he ought to go in today whether he
wants to or not.
Next stop is busy, shoppers and a bunch of kids that
look like they should be in school barging in. Jin waits until the
commotion has died down and he still has his little corner, then
finally gets his phone out of the discreet satchel that could almost
pass as a briefcase. The phone is off during engagements, naturally,
and there are no check-up calls after established clients. He turns it
on now, starts tapping his foot again while it connects. No messages.
Nobody called him last night, either. Like nobody
expected— well, nobody did expect, presumably. Hopefully. Jin thought
about calling it in, a shrill thought on his march to the subway
because it's the rule to report appointments gone wrong, they told him
that. He even did it before, all by the book, when Nakamaru just kept
talking and talking upstairs in the room and didn't know what he
wanted, and Jin didn't know what he wanted either, and the man is so
awkward that if Jin had just kept his mouth shut Ootomo might never
have shouted about incompetent ungrateful escorts not being worth their
keep when they can't even get the client to have the sex he came for.
But this one… he just couldn't talk about it, didn't
know what to say. Still didn't when he was in his apartment, the one
the club gave him before he even earned enough to pay the rent. When he
was showered and changed and warm, and still didn't have a clue what
the fuck had even happened back there.
And then he needed to stop thinking about it, because he
needed to stop the fucking memory replay, because he had to be able to
sleep, because he had to be able to work the next day.
He's tried not think about it all morning, since the
last thing he needed was to meet a client with that going round his
head, but eventually he starts counting down the stops, and once he's
out of the station and walking, he lets it run, a bit. How it started.
What they did. What he did. And Kamenashi, and his heart starts racing
when he gets to that moment, the pressure on his wrists and that look,
when he realized—
He takes a deep breath and starts over. If he has to
explain himself, he's not going to be thrown by Ootomo's first question.
He goes in through the staff entrance, the corridor
leading him past the kitchen, still quiet at this time of day. It goes
with the restaurant that gives the official entrance a second, more
respectable purpose but also serves the club and the rooms. And
sometimes, unofficially, Jin.
The club is still closed, and when he gets to the fire
escape staircases, he can hear faint noises of the vacuum cleaner and
the bartender refilling stock.
Nobody's there to see him on the first floor. He can get
properly changed before he has to talk to anyone. In the break room
Danny, who has a morning appointment every Wednesday and doesn't go
home after, is trying to nap on the couch in sweatpants and one of his
washed-out UCLA t-shirts. His eyes open sleepily when Jin sneaks into
"Sorry," Jin says, keeping his voice low. "I'll be gone
in a minute, just getting my stuff."
"You're in early," Danny says at a normal volume,
squirming up to sit against the arm of the couch and pushing brown
curls out of his face. "No break this week?"
"No." Jin hangs the jacket up in his locker and grabs a
towel. "Thought I might as well."
"Everything went okay?"
Jin stops short, turns without appearing panicked, word
can't have got around that fast—
But Danny doesn't seem suggestive, just friendly and a
bit more awake.
"Yeah, you know. The usual," Jin says, slinging the
towel over his shoulder, almost calm. "So what's new?"
Danny sighs. "He wants to see you. He said to tell you.
I said I was going to sleep." Danny's blue eyes meet Jin's
meaningfully, and Jin nods.
"Thanks," he says, tempted briefly by the offer. But it
won't help him. Too much to hope Kamenashi wouldn't make a big stink
for Jin. Just like Nakai with his stupid tantrum.
Danny raises one shoulder. "Maybe better to get it over
"Yeah," Jin says. "Guess I'll do that then." No time
like the present to find out if you still have a place to live.
This one was different, though. This one wasn't his
Danny looks at where he's fiddling with the towel. "You
look okay. He should be in."
"Thanks," Jin says again, running a hand through his
disorderly hair, wiping off the dampness on his trousers. He'd feel
better looking his best, like he can be a proper asset to the club –
but Ootomo picked him up when he hadn't washed his clothes in two weeks
and still thought he had potential. It's not the state of Jin's suits
that's the problem.
He knocks on the door – second time in two days, a new
personal record – and is called in after a moment.
Ootomo is in front of the computer, in jeans and a
hideous print shirt. When Jin steps inside, he sets down his coffee mug
with exaggerated deliberation, and leans back. Jin has seen that look
on his face before and it's not good.
He knew that, though, he reminds himself as he stops a
meter from the desk and briefly wonders what to do with his hands,
before hiding them behind his back.
"Jin," Ootomo greets him with a biting friendliness.
"How was your appointment?"
And Jin can't even say how much he hates
that. But getting pissed off isn't going to do him any good. So he
stands and sweats like Ootomo wants him to until Ootomo seems satisfied
enough to reveal, "With Karube-sama. You had an appointment at noon? I
assume you went?"
"Yes, I did," Jin nods, biting back anything more
emphatic. "It went well."
"Good, good." Ootomo adds fake-pleased to fake-friendly,
and by now Jin just wants them to get to fucking Kamenashi and maybe he
should— "I'm glad to hear you're not making it a habit to walk out on
Well, there they are. "I don't."
"Oh, good," Ootomo repeats. "Because Kamenashi-sama
called Konoe-san at ten this morning and asked for a refund.
Apparently, the rest never took place."
He called the manager? That's worse
than Jin had expected.
"Needless to say, Konoe-san asked me for an explanation.
Which I was unable to give him. It was quite troublesome."
"I'm sorry," Jin says, bows a little for good measure.
"We didn't get very far." He's learned that management doesn't like to
hear clients criticized. "We didn't seem compatible."
Ootomo nods slowly. "So I gather. I should remind you,
though, that it is part of your job to make
"I tried," Jin objects. "I asked him— I asked him what
he wanted—" He stops, reminds himself it's Ootomo; Ootomo who's pissed
off and who'll kick him to the curb whenever he wants to, he's got
people applying for this gig, people who don't get
him complaints. When he goes on, he makes sure he sounds totally
professional. "We— I—" Damn, he practiced this one. "The meeting ended
prematurely because Kamenashi-san had requirements that fell outside of
"I see," Ootomo says. "What was the problem?"
God, what wasn't a problem. What
isn't a problem with a guy who— how are you supposed to make yourself
compatible to crazy mood swings and weird staring and prompts that— But
that doesn't matter, he could have handled all that, he'd been
handling it, what matters is—
"He wanted to tie me up."
At least Ootomo gives that some serious consideration.
Kink costs extra, and they have specialized personnel for it. "How did
he want to tie you up? Did he have some sort of dungeon setup? SM gear?"
"No," Jin says. "He wanted to use my belt."
A brief pause, then Ootomo nods again, slowly. Jin
doesn't find it reassuring. "And?"
"And… anything else?" When Jin just stares, Ootomo turns
up his eyes and elaborates. "Anything else he asked you to do?"
Something is not going right here, Jin can feel
something slipping and he doesn't like it at all. "I don't do further
services," he says. "We don't have to. You said so yourself."
"So that was it? Nothing… painful or dangerous, nothing
that would actually fall outside of the agreement?"
"He tried to tie me up." And how the hell it's not
dangerous to let some scary asshole tie you to a bed, he doesn't know,
but that's probably also something he'd better not say just now.
Ootomo's mouth goes tight. "Let me put it plain for
you," he says, fixing Jin with a patronizing look that Jin would find
infuriating if he were less afraid of being fired and having no place
to go, of being on the street again. "You go to a rest or a comfort,
you have an agreement to provide certain services. It doesn't matter
whether you do so lying down or standing up, in the shower or tied to
the bed. And if somebody like Kamenashi wants to play around a bit, you
"Kamenashi—" Play around. How does
it not matter whether you're— no. Later. Not here.
"Kamenashi-sama has been with us for two and a half
years now and there has never been even a hint of a complaint about
If Tatsuya and Kimura-senpai put up with Kamenashi's
creepy shit uncomplainingly, they're sure earning every yen of their
twenty per cent luxury premium.
But he says nothing, waits. He's been doing better. The
thing with Nakai was right at the start and even Ootomo said he could
be difficult. People have been pleased with him. He doesn't think of
the money he's saved and how little it still is.
"This isn't the streets," Ootomo says as if he's been
reading Jin's mind, "and you cannot treat a client like a random nobody
who slipped you a couple of thousand yen, and who may not be safe. Our
customers are carefully screened, and they pay a lot for an engagement."
Jin bows again, wordlessly, puts up with the
condescension. He can't lose this job. He needs this job, this one
right here, to get out of the job.
"So you better be careful," Ootomo says, none of the
fake friendliness in his voice anymore. This is hard warning. "I don't
need you walking around alienating our best clients. Konoe-san managed
to talk Kamenashi-sama down and he's getting his money back, and maybe
Tatsuya-san can clean up your mess the next time. I'll let you know if
you're going to apologize to him or if you'd better just stay out of
his way the next time he's at the club."
It's a warning, and he's so relieved it's pathetic.
Ootomo is looking at him expectantly.
"Thank you for your advice," he manages after a moment,
glad he remembers the appropriate words. "I will remember it. I'm sorry
for causing you such trouble."
It seems he is looking appropriately chastised and
intimidated, because finally Ootomo nods as if satisfied. "If that is
completely clear," he says, "let us chalk Kamenashi-sama up to
experience for you, part of your training. I expect you to know better
"Thank you," Jin says, bowing some more, "Thank you very
Ootomo smiles, benevolently. "I realize that you need to
get ready for downstairs, but perhaps you can spare me another five
minutes. It has been a stressful morning."
Whatever, Jin thinks, nods, makes himself look willing.
Ootomo comes around the desk and the zipper goes down;
Jin drops to his knees and runs his tongue over his lips.
Thursday 04 September
The third take of Fukushima's monologue is coming over
from the set that is the head teacher's office, the rest of the cast
waiting and keeping quiet behind the tech, ready for the next scene.
Matsura's takes for today are finished, one with Kame and one with
Morioka, but she has stated her intention to learn from her respected
seniors and is now busy giggling with Fukushima and waiting for words
of wisdom from Iijima, pointedly ignoring Toyoda for all to see.
Kame's got a bench to himself where he is sitting with
the script on his knees, refreshing his memory. He caps his water and
sets it down next to him.
It's Thursday, and Toyoda is still apologizing to him.
This morning she brought him some home-made plum pickle for which he
had to be suitably grateful, and she's hovering around him to make sure
he has all the coffee and water he needs as if she were a very nervous
personal assistant, and he doesn't know how to get her to stop.
He's denied that his state of exhaustion yesterday had
anything to do with the four a.m. start, and that was true, though at
some point he started finding 'I slept badly' as his politic summary of
'I didn't sleep at all except for half an hour filled with weird dreams
about things I stopped thinking about long ago' vaguely hilarious.
Still, as the day dragged on and the make-up artist took more and more
time over him, slapped on more and more layers to hide the signs of
Kame's all-nighter, Toyoda clearly decided that she was the one to
blame and she's sticking by that with a tenacity she doesn't have the
It makes her even more nervous, and it's incredibly
counterproductive. Kame wants to shake her when he doesn't want to sit
her down in a corner and give her hot chocolate and a cuddly toy.
"Hormones," was Midori's verdict over a late dinner last
night, when he'd finally made it home and gave her a quick, censored
and, he fears, rather whiny account of his two days in the city center.
"They mess you up, she can't help it."
Kame knows that. But looking over at Toyoda now, at the
fixed bright smile she hopes will carry her through and her rather
desperate politeness towards a haughty Fukushima and a sceptical
Iijima, he worries. He wants her to pull this off, but, well, as for
getting what he wants…
Iijima calls for a cut, then announces they're good for
this scene. It will take a few minutes to adjust the lighting for
what's up next. He waves Toyoda over for instructions, and she puts on
a brave face.
At least things have been going reasonably well today.
Kame is focussed. The weather has eased up and Morioka and the boys got
the soccer field scene finished. Kame's character's appearance at the
end of it and his first grudgingly civil exchange with Morioka's
character was finished in a single take – Morioka is good, very good,
and somehow their interaction in front of the camera has just fallen
It's been going so well that Iijima decided to let
Morioka read for a revelatory exchange that is originally between
Kame's character and Nogushi's, and he's currently trying to learn
those lines on the bench at the far end of the studio while the boys
are enthusiastically rehearsing a fight scene next to him.
And as for the things that could still stand
improvement, some sleep and a lack of distracting images flashing
through his tired mind at inopportune moments apparently make all the
difference. Kame nods politely at Fukushima as he's coming off the set,
smiling down at Kame like an approving uncle before he stops a random
assistant for some water.
A few hours into the neverending nightmare that was
yesterday's filming, Fukushima had commented mirthfully that he felt a
little less like an old man when even a youngster like Kamenashi-san
wasn't immune to the effects of a four a.m. rise. Kame had been too
sleep-deprived to come up with an answer. He'd also been too tired to
deflect any of the jabs at Toyoda, from predictable corners, which had
rounded off his day in a congenial working environment.
But the make-up artist did her job competently and with
great patience, and he trusts Soga Jou to have done the very best he
could with what Kame had to offer after a night of tossing and turning,
and it will be fine. Kame did his job and he did it properly,
remembered every single line and didn't need any more takes than usual,
and he'll get over the feeling that he appeared weaker than he should
have as the star of the show. Everything will be fine.
As if to confirm it, Iijima, who has abandoned Toyoda to
take a phone call, flips his cell shut and turns toward them with an
expansive gesture, declaring, "Good news, folks!"
The random conversations die down; Kame tries to guess
the level of good from Iijima's expression, then exchanges a glance
with Morioka, who's been doing the same.
"They can close off Katsuta train station for us on
Monday night between seven and ten. We can get two trains coming
through, which will give us a second chance if something goes wrong,
and we'll have the rest of the time to get close-ups on location."
There's some cheering, and Kame supposes it's good news,
because rumours that they might not get the location at all and would
have to make do with composites have been circulating since before
shooting even started. He notices relief on Toyoda's face that the good
news doesn't involve changes to her schedule; she isn't in that scene.
Kame is… and it means he'll be spending Monday night in
town. He won't start before eleven on Tuesday.
He can call Ootomo.
With the thought of the name comes the image of the man
Ootomo sent him, which is wrong, he doesn't want to think about that,
about awkwardness and inappropriate opinions, judging him and mocking
his work, hell, he was done with that years ago and he doesn't need the
anger stirring, or the memory of that body that wasn't even naked and
still fucking hot under him— no. He can think more
constructively than that.
So he does, and his mood improves. He breezes through
the rest of the afternoon filming, manages to make Toyoda relax enough
to produce a real smile during their one-on-one coda to the head
teacher scene, and makes Iijima's day by hitting the screen test for
the scene with Morioka instead of Nogushi out of the park.
Then he's done for the day, and says the usual goodbyes
and thank yous, drives the car out of the compound and around a few
corners and then he stops to turn his cell back on.
The first thing it does is beep gently but persistently
and flash the message Don't forget! at him, and he
looks at it and feels a little bad again. Has it really been three
He knows it happens easily enough – Midori has a busy
schedule, too, and they rarely have much quiet, relaxing time together;
and it's not like she has been complaining, or that he has ever turned
her down. But he keeps promising himself he will do better, he won't
leave it until he gets a reminder again.
Well, there it is, and perhaps… yes, he'll stop at
Hévin's and take some of those chocolates home for her after shooting
finishes, she likes those, particularly the ones with the cherry
filling. And maybe after the night out with Enoki-san they can put on
some candles and finish off with a private glass of champagne, and
maybe one thing will lead to another if only he tries a little. It has
worked like that before. And then he'll try not to leave it so long
He decides to feel neither weird nor sad about the fact
that normally he'd have been seeing Tatsuya on Friday night; this has
happened before, too. And he can make an appointment now. He ignores
the feeling of guilt when he okays the reminder and flips to the call
history where he forgot – careless but for the best, in this case – to
delete the club's number after calling for his refund yesterday, a
rushed exchange between having his make-up retouched and getting his
hair re-arranged after the photoshoot.
The phone buzzes in his hand, startling him briefly. His
agent's number, and he presses the button to send it to voice mail.
He'll call her back after speaking to Ootomo.
Ootomo sounds relieved to hear from him again, even
though Kame already told the manager that Tuesday's incident hasn't
prejudiced him against the club in general.
"Kamenashi-sama," he gushes, "what a pleasure, thank you
so much for calling. I was hoping you would because I wanted to let you
know that I have spoken to the escort in question."
"I… see," Kame says. "That was really not necessary."
Or particularly welcome. He can imagine what the escort
had to say about him. Probably painted him as some sort of weirdo. But
he can't stop people talking, he knows that, and it makes sense for the
club to enquire into problems, even imaginary ones. They probably have
some sort of policy, they have a policy for everything.
It makes him uneasy again, anyway. He's thought it
through from all angles – he had enough time on Tuesday night to do
that despite the fury and frustration, despite getting helplessly
turned on whenever he thought of the escort's mouth opening for him, of
how he'd tried to control his breathing when Kame had touched him. Time
to wonder whether maybe he did cross a line, whether the escort might
just, maybe, have had a point.
But there's a policy there, too, and he knows the rules.
Yes, this was new territory, unexpected territory, but he knows the
rules. He thinks. He's sure… most of the time he's sure. And then he
wonders again, and he wonders now, and he doesn't want to think about
it, wishes he didn't have to, but it's best to know, especially if it
turns out that he owes that guy – that guy who stared
at him, startled and shocked as if he'd grown a second head – an
"But since you have discussed it," he says to Ootomo,
running his finger along an almost invisible seam at the side of his
seat, "I'd just like to… I wonder if I could just check with you. Could
you let me know whether I was perhaps unreasonable in my requests? I
wouldn't like someone to be reprimanded for something that is not his
fault. If I was at fault—"
But Ootomo is already flailing politely at the other end
of the line. "Oh no, not at all! You were entirely within your rights."
He's surprised how hard the relief hits him, and then
he's angry at how he was made to doubt himself in the first place, at
how he has let himself be made to doubt by a guy
who was simply fussy and judgemental and incompetent.
"This was merely an unfortunate misunderstanding for
which we would all like to apologize again," Ootomo is saying. "Of course
our escorts will be happy to accommodate you, and if you would like to
make an appointment…"
That… wasn't what he'd had in mind, either. Really… he
pictures Tatsuya tied down on his bed, self-contained and amiably
indulgent and the image is ridiculous and pointless and he isn't sure
why that should be so when Jin… Jin…
He puts his hand over the phone as he takes a deep
breath, suddenly flushed and a little hot because that was beautiful to
look at, Jin straining with his arms over his head, the naked skin, and
those dark eyes soft and wide, that… worked very well and he's within
his rights, and maybe he needs to make that point and maybe he should
just… do that.
Ootomo is saying something or other and Kame simply
interrupts. "Yes, an appointment would be good. I wonder if Jin might
be free Monday night."
There's only the briefest of silences on the other end
of the line. Then Ootomo asks, "Jin? Are you sure? You sounded rather
But this time he knows what to expect. This isn't
Tatsuya, this will not be like dates with Tatsuya, and as long as he
doesn't expect it to be, it'll be fine. And he is sure that he didn't
like an escort acting as though he was being irrational and
presumptuous, when he was far from breaking any rules and just wanted
to try out something a little different, something that's perfectly all
right for him to demand. He's sure he'd quite like that settled,
acknowledged. And why not this way when he's also sure that the thought
of seeing Jin like that, of touching him like that turns him on while
he's sitting right here in his car.
"It was a little problematic, but since you have spoken
to him, I'm sure the misunderstanding is all cleared up now," he says
breezily to Ootomo. "And since he is still new, I'd like to give him
He tells Ootomo the time – nine-thirty should give him
plenty of room even if his part of the train station filming runs long
– and ends the call.
Then he checks his voicemail, now that that's taken
care of and he's no longer going to be distracted. It's about a new
campaign they want him to take part in, perfectly timed with the
message of his new film; they sprung it on him a week ago and when
Hamaguchi uses words like "heartening" and "inspiring" Kame doesn't
want to imagine the catchphrase they're going to stick him with. But
he's a professional, it's part of the job and they'll be pleased with
him. Fine. He has his private plans sorted and it's time to go back to
Hamaguchi is happy to hear back from him so promptly,
and she's even happier when he says he'll do the campaign. Then he
turns the car towards the city center to pick up those chocolates. He
should be home by eight.
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