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The Same Deep Water As You

by Solo & Jo

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Chapter 7

 

Tuesday 23 September

Raindrops are running spidery trickles down the tinted glass doors of the Georgian-style building. They open automatically as Kame approaches, admitting him to dry warmth and muted colours and the faint scent of polished hardwood in the club's foyer.

From behind the dark marble desk, Johnny's high-scale version of a bouncer invites Kame through to the second entrance, a plain but not secretive looking door a few steps down, past the man's station, while the elderly couple in search of a fancy dinner who entered the foyer behind him are being smoothly ushered into the official restaurant. Kame hasn't been here in weeks, but the man, almost two meters of packed muscle in an exquisitely tailored uniform, knows all the clients by sight, always.

The door closes behind Kame with a muted click and he greets the concierge at the ornate little desk to his left, unwraps himself out of the various layers designed to shield him from the weather and from prying eyes, and hands them over. The sitting area is set off with a delicate line of waist-high screens, matted glass and graceful gold stencilling, and the attendant bows in welcome. Kame acknowledges him, but doesn't go to sit yet, turns left instead, to the bar, to get himself a drink.

The club is quiet, not as lively as it can get when you drop in late on a weekend. It's early yet, just after seven, but Midori is on an overnight work trip and he told her he would stay in the city to meet up with Tanaka, maybe crash at his place, and there's no reason for him to wait around his empty apartment. He likes it here.

A shame Tanaka couldn't make it, after all the voicemail tag they played with each other over the last few days. But Kame doesn't depend on the company, feeling at ease in the welcoming atmosphere almost from the moment he steps inside.

He briefly checks his hair for excessive hat damage in the mirrored back of a cabinet, then turns to glance around the club – marble and chrome and wood, soft lamps and spotlights, colourful woodcuts along the main walls and delicate wash paintings in the marble and maroon corner – while the bartender opens a bottle for him. He'd never want this much glitz and glamour in his own house, or in the apartment, prefers things simple and neat, but the stylish interior of the club has its own kind of appeal. It's a different world.

Only a few tables are occupied; Kame spots the environment minister, in the clutches of a whole group of cheerful escorts, on one of the larger pale nappa couches of the central seating group. There are also two older, vaguely familiar-looking businessmen who have so far not invited any professional company and seem deep in thoughtful discussion. The black leather seats in front of the big plasma screen are a bit more populated, but judging by the unexcited manner of the audience, whatever is on is probably not sports. Over by the wash paintings in the far corner, past the tall potted plants which serve for screens, Kame can glimpse Kitabakate Ken, a former star batter whose home runs had snatched the league championship from Kame's favourite team twice, when he had been in junior high and sworn never to forgive him. He's over that, he thinks, but KitaKen is absorbed in a spirited conversation with the tall Korean.

Kame has been spotted, too, and Tsukada-sensei from last time is coming up to him. Kame bows with a little smile. Tsukada likes Kame's films for being positive and family-friendly, so Kame doesn't have the heart to tell him he'd sometimes much rather play something grittier. The approval feels good anyway, and it's nice to see a politician who genuinely cares about his mission.

Tsukada has heard about the new campaign, it turns out. "A truly high-profile effort," he says. "It's high time something was done about that, the minister has been dragging his heels on all of these studies…" As the man who would like to replace the current minister of education, he may not be entirely unbiased.

"It hasn't really gotten off the ground yet," Kame cautions, but Tsukada's enthusiasm is only briefly subdued. He starts asking Kame about an event schedule Kame isn't sure the organizers have yet, but it's a friendly kind of interest, and it feels good to talk to somebody with this much experience and a true passion for the subject. When Kame takes his wine over to the dining tables, he asks Tsukada to join him.

He has the club's very good Italian-style veal, while Tsukada goes for Chinese pork in an orange sauce. After some more campaign talk, Tsukada comes back around to the evils of violence in films, a subject on which Kame has a more complex professional view which he doesn't think the Oppositino's education spokesman would appreciate. He mostly nods, and lets his eyes drift across the room just as Tatsuya comes out from where the elevators are hidden behind tall bamboo stems and a Muromachi-style folding screen, wearing the charcoal suit Kame likes on him and taking in the entire club with one slow glance.

He sees Kame and smiles in greeting, but doesn't come to interrupt their meal, and he seems to know where he's going when he approaches a recently arrived guest who is sitting by himself two tables over from KitaKen. That's a shame too, but Kame knows not to make assumptions when he drops in unannounced like this.

Eventually, Tsukada starts making eyes past Kame's shoulder at one of the young men before the plasma screen, and when Kame is has finished eating, he straightens up. "If you'll excuse me," he says, smoothing back his black-dyed hair. "Time to go talk to the boys, isn't it?"

He winks as he leaves. Kame finishes off his wine with a few small relaxed sips, has another look around without sending out any invitations. The waiter is at hand with the same bottle of Chambertin, but Kame declines and leaves his empty glass on the table, choosing to move to the bar instead where he thinks about his options, undecided if he wants to go with something stronger after dinner.

"Italian again?" Tatsuya asks, just reaching the bar as Kame turns to his right. There's gentle teasing in his voice, and his movements are smooth and familiar when he leans against the polished wood.

"What can I say, I like Italian," Kame says, and smiles. "I sometimes have something else."

Soft copper strands fall into Tatsuya's face when he tilts his head, and he brushes them back with a slender hand. "True," he says easily. "That Tuesday last December when—"

He stops when Kame raises his hand to admit defeat.

"An unexpected night off?" Tatsuya asks, looking pleased for him.

"Yes," Kame says, holding his gaze with a question that he knows how to ask without being crude.

"I have an engagement tonight," Tatsuya lets him down, and of course, Kame had guessed as much.

"I understand."

"A new club member, his first time here by himself," Tatsuya explains, and then flashes him a grin. "Don't look now."

Kame manages not to, remembering his own first visit and the slow fading of dread when Takuya-san sat down with him, confident and attractive and with a gentle humour that put an end to Kame's urge to hide in the bathroom until everyone had left. He'd been so terribly nervous, and had no idea how to talk to anybody, even though no one here makes it particularly hard.

"I should introduce you some other time," Tatsuya says after catching the bartender's eye. "I think the two of you would get on well."

"Sure," Kame says.

Tatsuya orders Musigny for his guest and Chablis for himself. "How are you then?" he asks while the bartender is busy. "It's a shame about that one time. Are things really crazy for you just now?"

He says it without any sort of implication, just an unintrusive kind of concern, and Kame pushes the momentary reminder of that other escort aside with ease. "A little crazy," he admits, then nods at the two glasses that have appeared in front of Tatsuya. "Don't let me keep you, though."

Tatsuya picks up the white wine and the red, raising his head, and Kame only looks at the pale skin of his neck above the maroon satin shirt for a second longer than necessary.

"Tell me about it next time," he says, half promise and half apology, full lips curving into another smile, and Kame laughs.

"If I can ever get my schedule sorted out in time, certainly!"

"Do try," Tatsuya says, definitely flirting now, and Kame shakes his head in amusement as he watches him go. Truly a pity, but Tatsuya is right. There'll be other times.

Belatedly, he gets a glass of port for himself. It's gotten busier, though there's still nobody Kame usually sits with. The two businessmen have moved on to one of the round sofas and have gathered a small crowd, among them Jun, who ruthlessly outshines his junior colleagues with his energetic flirting and a sparkling wit that Kame is just as glad to observe from a distance.

The environment minister is still surrounded by an enthusiastic harem. He's sitting upright and trying to explain something very seriously, while Junnosuke on his left is equally serious about pouring the man a refill from the magnum bottle Nakamaru-sensei must have gotten for them all. On the minister's other side sits a pretty, very young-looking boy Kame hasn't seen before, the only one not sharing the champagne, and next to him is Tadayoshi, who happens to look up just as Kame's eyes come to rest on him, and he smiles and waves.

Kame hesitates; it's not polite to just invite himself like that and he doesn't want to cramp the minister's style. But at that point Nakamaru pauses for breath and notices him, and echoes Tadayoshi's inviting gesture. So Kame picks up his glass and moves.

"Kamenashi-san," the minister says when he approaches, "how nice to see you here again after so long. You looked a little lonely. This is not your usual day, is it?"

Kame bows and smiles. "Nakamaru-sensei. Thank you for letting me join you." He sits and adds ruefully, "There don't seem to be usual days anymore. My plans seem to keep changing at short notice."

Nakamaru nods understandingly. "It can be so difficult to make and keep appointments."

There are other empty drinks on the table, Kame notes. It makes sense; the escorts get a cut of their clients' drinking tab and with the place fairly quiet, Nakamaru's generosity is appreciated.

"Nakamaru-sensei was just telling us about his technique for good shaving foam," says Shota, whom Kame has met before because Tanaka likes him a lot.

"His technique will make waves," Junnosuke says, which has Nakamaru flush rather desperately and deny he's really such a genius.

Kame has seen these two sit together. Junnosuke is one of the luxury escorts and he always seems friendly, exuberantly so, but Kame has never been tempted to try him, and the pornographic movies he is famous for leave him cold too.

Tadayoshi, with his soft face and auburn-dyed hair, is attractive enough, and he seems pleased to see Kame. He is also easygoing, they've worked out quite well together the couple of times Kame took him upstairs and perhaps, if Nakamaru doesn't show signs of favouring him, Kame will ask for his company tonight.

Shota is sitting at the edge of the group, and next to him there's…

"Yuuya," the boy says, and gives him a smile fit to make Kame feel that Yuuya has spent the entire evening waiting just for him. "I'm new." It sounds like an invitation, not a clumsy apology, and Kame finds himself smiling back.

"Kamenashi," he says. "I look forward to talking more with you."

"I really hope you mean that," the boy says, but he doesn't forget the man who bought them their drinks. Nakamaru is just getting praised by all for his beautiful hands and smooth complexion, which leads to more skin care explanations and Nakamaru trying to ignore Junnosuke's thigh getting very friendly with him.

Kame wonders if he should say he's had good experiences with the DHC acne gel, but then it strikes him as too personal. He throws in a general compliment to the beauty gathered in this place, which makes the escorts giggle. Tadayoshi gives him a warm smile.

Eventually Junnosuke leans in to whisper in Nakamaru's ear, then makes his excuses to all. "Exit Junnosuke, enter Granmarie!" he declares, so Kame guesses he has an appointment with somebody who does like the biker movies. Junnosuke moves away towards the back end of the bar by the elevators, nodding towards someone there who wears a formal, stylish suit according to the club's—

It's him. Talking to Junnosuke that's— him, and Kame feels weak and weird with a sense of déjà vu that makes no sense at all because the man works here, of course he works here, the man's an escort and it's all wrong, he's not supposed to be here, he doesn't fit here with his soft dark hair and the smile in his eyes and the stoop of those tall shoulders…

Junnosuke steps closer and he looks long-limbed and lanky next to Jin when they chat, and god, what a weird thought, what a fucking weird way to hold yourself when you're not even that tall, and he didn't look all that superior when he was naked under Kame, did he, stopped looking at him funny when he came all over himself at Kame's command—

He takes a breath, shifts in his seat, embarrassed with the way his face is hot and flushed all of a sudden and the man is looking around, any second he will— yes. And it's worse.

It's a hundred times worse, and Jin just stands there staring as if he's got any right—

And then he flinches out of it, turns his back, turns his back on Kame and wanders off like…

The thought of leaving crosses his mind because he hates this feeling, being watched and measured and the creeping sense of this guy thinking he knows him just because Kame fucked him once and maybe— no. No way in hell. He's not running away, he's not letting this guy

Tadayoshi still looks interested. He's good-looking, skilled, it might be good, go to a room and do what he came for but no, no. That's not what he came for and it would still be running away and the way Jin is leaning against the bar as if that would make him inviting is ridiculous, when it's plain to see the man has no idea, is still a beginner even now, he looks like one, from the awkward tilt of his hips to the nervous way he's nursing his drink and Kame's not looking at that mouth, he's going to stop.

He's going to get it together.

"Isn't it, Kamenashi-san?" Nakamaru says, his face obnoxiously red and Kame feels crowded here with all the escorts and the minister, even though he knows nobody has moved.

"I suppose," he says, trying a smile that feels weak on his face. He wants to catch up to whatever it is that he just agreed with, but Jin is wandering over to the businessmen and their crowd, and, right, apparently he scores an invitation to sit, not that astonishing, he looks hot enough if you don't know him and they're welcome to him, and won't they ever be surprised to learn what it takes to get what you paid for out of him.

Subways. Somebody is going on about them. Trains. Delays and perverts and dirt, and Jin at his back watching him, thinking whatever he thinks of Kame which doesn't matter at all, and when he turns his head because a waiter is passing and he can just follow the movement, Jin is doing his dull mute impression, absorbed in the drink some deluded soul bought him, he's not even looking at Kame.

They're all still talking, and Kame can't keep track. He looks at Tadayoshi, who has a charming smile and a good body, who has been nothing but pleasant and Kame is hard in his pants but the thought of going off with Tadayoshi feels odd and unfitting.

He can't spend the entire evening like this. Something needs to happen. Maybe someone will just take Jin away, someone who'll learn faster than Kame, who will just know what to do with Jin, tell him to strip and kneel and take it, someone else

No, that would help.

This evening… this can't be his whole evening.

There's a commotion, scraping of chairs and laughter and the sound of glasses being put down when the group at his back gets up and Kame feels something like… relief, yes, someone's ready to move on to better things and maybe they're under the impression that fucking Jin is one of them and they'll just take him away and out of his sight.

He turns as the noise fades, curious who drew the short straw, and finds himself staring straight into Jin's eyes, and this time Jin drops his gaze instantly and turns away, walks straight in the opposite direction, leaving a half-finished glass of beer behind. The two businessmen have reached the concierge, their respective choices cozying up to them, three escorts altogether, somebody's feeling adventurous tonight. But of course Jin didn't make the cut, of course he's left here for other people to deal with and that's hardly a surprise and Kame isn't surprised and he isn't anything else either.

He takes a sip from his glass and doesn't even taste the alcohol, and he stops; he's not going to get randomly drunk because that escort is ruining his night. He's going to take it slow, wait the guy out, someone will surely take him and fuck him sometime.

There's another story and he's given up on following. Nakamaru doesn't notice and the escorts won't comment, these escorts know how to behave themselves and maybe he should be reasonable and choose one of them, maybe he can be reasonable if someone finally takes Jin away and he stops feeling this way, stops feeling Jin with every hot, too-frantic pulse.

Jin is at the bar again. With his own drink because nobody wants him, with those eyes wandering because… just because, but they're avoiding Kame now, darting past him and it stings like a slap. And then he stops the clueless searching because there's a couple walking up to him; okay, definitely a couple, and old Handa-san doesn't look like he'll want to handle Jin on top of the cute little thing hanging off his arm, except there's another guy joining them.

That baker from Osaka. With an expanding empire. Bagels. They talked before. Attractive man. Liked Kame's films. Young by club standards. Not as young as Kame, not as rich as Kame but Jin smiles, open and pathetically hopeful and Kame is standing, lukewarm drink in his hand and four pairs of eyes on him.

He puts down the drink and makes a quick, effective apology to Nakamaru; all in order because that's how it works, people wander off and these men are all here for Nakamaru anyway, and then he approaches Handa-san with confidence and smiles at them all, and Jin's eyes go a little wide. Silly; interesting if Kame cared at all. No surprise he can't attract clients like that.

Kame, though, has manners, and he greets Handa-san first, strict order of seniority here. "I hope the Rotary club is doing well," he adds, and Handa beams and affirms that yes, the latest fundraiser is doing wonderfully, and Kame turns to the baker, Nishikido-san, who gives him a wide smile and says, "The bagels are doing well, too. Nice to see you again, Kamenashi-san."

Handa introduces his escort, a slight, strawberry-blond man called Satoshi, and finally Kame turns to Jin, who's going to have to work harder if he wants to pretend Kame doesn't exist—

—and finds that Nishikido has stepped closer, is touching him, and saying to Kame, "And this is—"

"We've met," Kame snaps, because he doesn't need that introduction and Jin looking quite so happy being manhandled by—

Nishikido drops his hand from Jin's arm and Kame looks at him, finds a smile. "Of course I know Jin," he says to Nishikido, watching the momentary surprise fade from his face. "He makes quite the impression, after all."

The baker looks happy to agree with that but Kame ignores it, turns back to Jin, who freezes nicely under his full attention. "Jin. You didn't even say hello to me yet."

Apparently Jin does remember the power of speech. "Hello, Kamenashi-san," he says, in a professionally inflected voice, with a professional bow. "I hope you are having a pleasant evening."

"We haven't seen you around in a while. I'm sure the boys missed you," Handa says loudly, sidetracking him, and Jin ducks his head in that absurd way he has and at once seems very interested in his drink and Kame has to say something about how busy he is, they know how it goes.

"Ah, with your new film," Nishikido says, face lighting up with a spontaneous smile, and of course he's an attractive client here, this good-looking and this young, but that's no reason for Jin to be looking at him quite so openly.

"Yes," Kame says shortly. "It's a lot of work right now."

"You do look a bit tense," Handa observes, casually drawing an arm around his escort's middle although they're not even out of the lounge yet, and Kame says something else, watches Jin's hair fall into his eyes because he can't manage to hold his head straight, and Nishikido's short and maybe Jin wants to please him, maybe that's what the silly antics are about, and the baker's smile has drifted, maybe he likes the silly antics, going by the tentative glance he sends up Jin's body before their eyes meet, and Kame says, "Jin."

Jin flinches, then there's a flash of annoyance, but the tasteless romancing has stopped and the baker is looking between them curiously, and he makes room when Kame steps forward, just one step, that's enough, and behind him Handa says something vapid to his escort, and Kame's close enough to touch Jin.

"Apparently I'm a bit tense," he says, looking at Jin's full lips, then straight into his eyes. "Maybe you could relax me."

A guy who's spent half an evening already unsuccessfully offering himself could respond more eagerly, or even at all, but it's not like this is new. And the little shiver that happens to Jin when Kame puts his hand on his arm is very nice, offsets the statue effect, reminds Kame how good Jin can feel and yes, this is going to work, he's going to deal with this and he knows just how, and it's going to relax him all right. He's breathing easier already.

He curls his fingers around Jin's arm, tugs, just a little, just a hint that now might be the time for a service provider to be a little more forthcoming about his service. Jin is casting his eyes around as if he's looking for some better offer to spring up from the ground, blinks at the drink he's got standing on the bar, and Kame reaches across with his free hand and pushes the glass towards the bartender. "You can put it on my tab."

Jin lowers his arm; slowly, though, not resisting him, and then he lowers his head, like a nod, and Kame nods more approvingly, and steps aside so Jin can start moving, excusing them both.

He keeps his hand on the small of Jin's back as he guides him towards the concierge, and the little shifts and hesitations pressing against his fingers as Jin walks make his body fluttery and excited, more proof that this is the right thing to do, this will be just right, and once he's got this settled he can get back to enjoying his evening.

He moves in front of Jin when they get to the desk; Tatsuya usually handles their bookings but then Tatsuya is… just something completely different, and who knows what kind of problems Jin will run into. The concierge smiles his usual polite, discreet smile, and then checks the room booking system hidden by the marble.

"Suite One is currently occupied, I'm afraid," he apologizes unnecessarily, "but Suite—"

"A standard room will do," Kame interrupts.

"Very well." The man is a professional and smoothly feeds a keycard into the machine, presses some buttons, and bows as he holds it out to Kame with both hands. "Room Sixteen." He looks at them both again, the usual pause for client or escort to put it whichever way they prefer, but the moment passes and this escort isn't saying anything; this escort is busy staring at the marble with dark concentration and so Kame tells the patient man, "One hour."

He turns, and Jin has torn himself away from the fascinating patterns, manages some cursory eye contact, and responds to Kame's directing hand at a commendable pace. He even walks by himself now, towards the elevators at the back.

Kame knows better than to expect small talk, and that's okay, he's happy to let anticipation build in the small space between them and in the restless tension in Jin's body as soon as the elevator doors close.

It's a short ride, just two floors, and when they step out into the stylish lobby, Kame looks at Jin with a raised eyebrow.

At least the man isn't entirely slow on the uptake.

"Room sixteen is this way," he says in a low voice, and Kame indicates for him to take the lead again.

It's at the back, beside the second suite, and when they reach it Jin stands back for Kame to slide the keycard in the reader. The light flashes green and he pushes the handle down, and a single soft bedside lamp comes on automatically as he enters, Jin following behind him.

He looks around. It's not a bad room; it's still better, and bigger, than many hotel rooms he has stayed in because nothing about this club is ordinary. Still… it's not exactly what he's used to.

He drops the key card on the coffee table. The blinds are drawn; the tinted windows are wide even in here, running along the head side of the bed, and Kame can see tiny lights sparkling through the gaps.

"I haven't been in one of these for ages," he remarks, and actually that's an understatement. His first time at the club was in a standard room because Takuya-san handled the booking, along with everything else that would have made Kame blush to say or request, and just took him there, made it easy and relaxed. After that he's always gone for suites where available, superior rooms in a pinch, because he never just comes for relaxations and this isn't a place to be cheap.

Jin, who has followed him to wait in the middle of the room, looks nonplussed. Fair enough. He's not exactly what you'd take to a suite, anyway.

But he's good for this, Kame is sure, Kame can feel it.

He's even making an effort, it seems, his eyes flickering to the bed, the couch behind Kame… Kame's face with some delay. As far as seductions go, the almost blank look is hardly inviting, but Kame knows how this will go, knows exactly how it will go and none of it will depend on Jin's fumbling ways, and he'll be inviting enough looking up at Kame, opening warm and soft because Kame says so…

Jin holds his eyes, tries, "What would—"

But Kame takes a step and that's the end of that. Another one and he could touch if he wanted to, but he wants to look first, at Jin's mouth and how it shines wet with a dash of gloss, plain with suggestion, and at the uneven rise of Jin's chest, wants to look because he can and because he's got no reason not to, and it makes him harder.

He nods to himself. Exactly like this.

"On your knees."

Jin blinks once, but doesn't flinch, and then Kame draws in a rough breath himself when Jin sinks down, no hitch, no resistance, just goes down like he's supposed to and Kame takes a small step back because it's all so easy on the eyes and Jin's swallowing and not even moving a hand to brush back the hair that fell into his face and Kame can… let it sink in a bit, just a bit, he's not in such a hurry.

He reaches out to take care of that strand of hair for Jin, holds it lightly between two fingers, wraps it around, uncurls it gently, and he thinks how infuriating Jin can be with his accusing eyes and the way he looks at Kame and he drinks in the contrast, the transformation and if only Jin was always this biddable, this well-behaved, they'd never have had a problem, because this is just right.

He lets the hair go, traces one fine cheekbone with the back of his hand and it gets him a short sudden breath whispering over his forearm and wrist.

But that's enough. He pulls back briefly, to undo his belt, measured and calm and in no rush because Jin's watching him and Jin's not going anywhere, Jin's going to do this and he's going to make it good, and he almost tenses when Kame cups the side of his face and splays his fingers wide over warm skin. Kame unzips with his other hand, slowly, and even that feels good, and even better with Jin's eyes on him, and then the relief when he pushes his underwear down, and he waits for that flickering second where he sees Jin get ready and god, yes, and he pulls Jin in.

He exhales when Jin's mouth touches his cock, no teasing and tongue but the immediate obedience is hot on its own, and when Jin's lips slide down, pleasure shoots up his spine and makes his hips jerk but he doesn't close his eyes, it's too perfect to miss, and he sees Jin hollow his cheeks and feels it under his palm, feels it around him and it's so tempting to thrust but… no, not in such a hurry, let Jin… give him a chance.

He strokes his fingers through Jin's hair, lingers when they get caught in the thickness but it's just a hint, Jin is doing all right just now, it's good if Kame doesn't have to steer them all the time.

"Not bad," he says, easing into a slow, relaxed rhythm, and Jin's right there, he gets with it and it's almost soothing, watching his cock slide over those full lips, no fuss and no interference and Jin's eyelashes are dark on his pale skin and—

"You look good like this," Kame says, because a little encouragement never comes amiss, and it's true, he looks amazing, he doesn't even need to take off his clothes when he looks this amazing with his mouth red and glistening and the dark hair framing his face and maybe he should just always look like this, like this it even makes sense that they keep him around because it's easy to forget those other images and how fucking annoying he can be.

"You looked good last time, too," he adds, and their rhythm wavers for a moment, picks up again when he gives Jin's head a slight nudge. He holds on a bit more tightly, just in case, but Jin yields and doesn't fuck it up again and something seems to be sticking at last. "Maybe looking good is what you're best at," Kame speculates, gets past the hitch in his breath, "maybe that's what they get you for." And for this, too, for this all warm and tight and wet, and there's a special kind of hot in seeing Jin just keep going, hearing it and taking it and Kame's pulse is heavy, humming all through his body. He lifts his free hand, runs shivery fingers over a high cheekbone again, trailing down. "Just take you back for some quick— oh, yes," he gasps when the suction around him gets sharper as he traces Jin's upper lip with a fingertip. "I guess that works. Guess some people just want a pretty mouth."

And then he's too busy breathing to talk and he thrusts in deep, fast, again, shows Jin he approves of the new intensity, it's time to step things up and Jin gets it and there's tongue, now, a skilled lick every time he pulls back, and the spot is right, if he just—

"Do that harder," Kame says, and Jin does and obeys his hand as he prods, faster, and Kame's hips move harder and sweat's breaking out between his shoulders and that mouth shines slick with spit as Jin keeps doing— that— good— Kame jerks hard when he comes, shudders, and Jin keeps it steady, still moves with him, slowing, little shocks of pressure teasing Kame when he swallows, and swallows again.

Kame pulls out when that's done, takes a small step back. Jin's kneeling there all still, his lips dark and well-used and his eyes downcast, and the sight adds to the warm satisfaction that makes Kame's muscles heavy and content. He's going to enjoy his next drink.

Not going to have it here, though. He's done here. He tucks himself back in, slowly, gentle with sensitive skin, and he looks on just a bit longer; Jin can't want to stay there, he's probably just a bit less appreciative of just how— ah.

Guarded eyes, dark in the soft light and easy to look at, now.

Kame nods at him, zips up carefully. "Take back the key, would you," he says, "when you go back to work."

He gives Jin a moment to nod his acknowledgement, and he turns towards the door as Jin starts to get up. No need to wait for that, no need to wait around for anything, because he got everything he wanted out of this, and he feels good, settled when he closes the door behind him and, indeed, relaxed. He almost has to smile at that.

*~*~*

The lounge has become busier, for a Tuesday night at least, even if he wasn't away that long. He looks around for familiar faces, somewhere to sit and enjoy the evening, properly now, to stretch out his legs and let the pleasant slackness of his body mingle with a good, strong drink. But there's still no obvious place to go. The retired laundry magnate has arrived, later than usual; he's pleasant to talk to, but he's not in his normal spot by the wash paintings, has instead joined Nishikido, and even though the baker has found himself a new interest, Kame isn't sure he wants…

He lets his gaze wander some more; there are people he's seen once or twice and people he's never seen before and a few seating groups away, Tatsuya looks up from a joke shared with his first-time client and their eyes meet and there's a strange moment and something odd, unfamiliar in Tatsuya's expression, some kind of thoughtfulness that… doesn't look right.

Kame nods briefly, turns and decides after all to join Yamatani, who welcomes him warmly and asks him how his work his going, he must be so busy, Yamatani hasn't seen him in ages.

The baker looks at him with some surprise, looks behind him. "I thought you were…" He trails off, a hint of embarrassment following the indiscreet remark. Beside him, their thighs already touching, he's got that boy with the blinding smile, who's handling a fancy looking cocktail.

"Oh, yes," Kame waves it off, and sits down on one of the soft nappa two-seat couches. Yes, this is better. And Nishikido's all right, even manages to be a fan without getting exhausting. They can make nice here. "I'm glad we get to talk some more, Nishikido-san," he says, easing back a little in his comfortable seat.

Nishikido throws an uncertain glance at the boy, and back at Kame. "You've met Yuuya?" he asks politely.

"We were introduced earlier." Kame shows him a warm, friendly smile, and nods at the boy. "Hello, Yuuya," he says, and winks at the green umbrella in Yuuya's tall, frosted glass. "So you did find something more interesting than coke."

"Strictly non-alcoholic!" Yuuya insists with wide eyes and a shy hint of amusement. He steals a coy glance at Nishikido, a thank you that looks charming from here.

The waiter is by Kame's shoulder and Kame decides quickly and goes with whisky. Settling down, he catches the curious gaze of a young man sitting at the outside of a larger group, someone he's seen in passing before but Kame also knows how to communicate he's currently not interested in widening the circle without being impolite.

"So how are the bagels really?" Kame asks Nishikido, who laughs.

"Round, with a hole in the middle," he says, but with an apologetic lift of one shoulder, as if he's not quite sure how the joke will be received. "No change there. But people are very interested in them."

"The takeover of Kanto is progressing as it should?"

Nishikido nods, some satisfaction shining through in his modest expression. "Better than we could have hoped. People approach us because of the bagels, but they quickly become interested in our other products as well. There are few companies with such an international range." He has a very charming smile when he's pleased, and an attractive sort of confidence; you can believe he's got the charisma to go and make what's basically bread not only interesting, but into a bit of a cult. "We're even looking at opening franchises in the food courts of some of the bigger department stores now," he concludes, pleased and proud to be bringing his sexy Osaka bagels to Tokyo. Kame really hopes it will work out for him.

"You might want to speak to Suzuki-san," he suggests. "I think he's CEO at Isetan or something very similar, and he comes here pretty regularly."

"Fridays," Yamatani adds. "I could introduce you if Kamenashi-san isn't here."

"Thank you," Nishikido says quickly, "that's very kind of you, but it's not necessary, I was introduced to him a few weeks ago and we have been discussing this, he's been incredibly supportive. There may well be an opportunity, but of course I shouldn't be impatient."

Kame smiles. "I guess that means we'll see more of you in the future."

"Oh, I hope so! I may stop the tedious travelling and simply settle here. Give it a year, maybe." Nishikido pauses when the waiter is there with Kame's wine, checks on his companion's cocktail glass. Yuuya lifts it, still half full, but winks gratefully over the rim nonetheless.

"But what about you?" Nishikido asks Kame once they're all settled again. "How is the film going? You seem quite taken with your co-star, I see." He sounds like he's trying not to appear excited, and doesn't catch the intrigued little smile Yuuya shoots him.

It's nice to see that the interview got attention. "She's a good actress," Kame says. "There are many good people on the team. I expect it'll all go well enough."

"It must be good if you like your co-star, Kamenashi-san," Yuuya says with a very interested expression, and adds more hesitantly, "if there's a romance in your film, I mean."

Nishikido looks curious, too, while Yuuya takes a bashful sip of his strictly non-alcoholic cocktail and brushes Nishikido's arm when he sits back.

"It helps," Kame says with another smile, and is almost tempted to mention the great shoot they had last week.

For a while after this, he fields the customary questions about life on a film set, how to act harmonic scenes with people you can't stand, and which director he's most appreciated working with so far. Yamatani is interested to hear more about Nogushi-san, turns out to have been an admirer for the last three decades, ever since she refused a stunt double for a daring rooftop chase. Then Nishikido wants to know if Kame does his own stunts in the rare action scenes he gets, and if he can really ride a horse. Yuuya asks what else he has done and if his insurance doesn't complain. They get involved in a discussion of their favourite film genres – Yamatani likes thrillers and spy movies, Yuuya robot cartoons, and Nishikido confesses to a liking for romantic comedy – and Kame, now on his second whisky, is just wondering whether he should admit that he'd love a challenging role in a gritty drama one day when he notices Yamatani looking past their group and toward the back of the room as if about to invite another person over.

He seems unsuccessful in catching the attention of whoever it is, though, and when his hand stops in mid-raise and he turns back to Nishikido and the boy, Kame sneaks a look.

Oh, surely not.

Kame doesn't see his face, doesn't need to; dark natural hair and the wide back and his awkward hanger-on manner towards the group that's going to have to put up with him are clear enough. Surely Yamatani didn't mean him.

Though of course it would be just like him to act weird over such a friendly invitation.

Kame turns back to his company, checks subtly, but the conversation is continuing as before, Nishikido distracted by Yuuya's enthusiastic narration of something that sounds like a car chase. Kame has a slow, savouring sip of his drink and concentrates, too relaxed to bother with Jin and what he might be up to behind Kame's back.

"So you don't have to be a teenager to fly one of those things?" Yamatani asks. It's a long time since Kame paid any attention to mecha anime and he remembers barely enough to know what the boy is talking about, but both Nishikido and Yamatani seem interested.

"Not really," Yuuya says, "but most of them are, all the best pilots, the ones with the coolest machines." He's put the cocktail down to wave his hands more energetically. "Because there are differences, you see, in the specs. They've all got some sort of specialty."

"What's your favourite, then?"

"Hmm." Yuuya looks torn. "I guess it's Deathscythe, but that's an ancient model now, nobody would fly that anymore."

"I remember that one," Nishikido says. "Guess that makes me ancient, too."

"But it's my favourite anyway," Yuuya insists in a flirtatious tone, then realizes it wasn't quite the denial he meant it to be, and he drops his head to hide his grin as Nishikido laughs and pats his knee in reassurance. Yuuya shoots him a glance up from under his fringe. The hand stays.

Yamatani looks away with polite, somewhat amused discretion, and then his eyes are scanning the room again. Kame follows so he doesn't make Nishikido self-conscious when things are starting to develop for him, and just to check, and Jin is giving him one of those stares again, right across the room, and then he— what an awkward little smile. And then he turns away again and Kame straightens in his seat because that was… odd and he's not sure he likes not knowing what the hell—

Yamatani is lowering his hand from a little wave; he seems a bit puzzled, but then smiles at Kame nevertheless. Oh. Right.

Kame brings his drink to his lips and concentrates on that, tries to find back into the mood. This isn't quite what he had in mind.

But thankfully Yamatani seems to have found something else to interest him, too, because he's signalling a waiter, and asks for the snacks menu when the man bows to him deferentially. Kame has had the snacks here and they are excellent, an izakaya menu gone haute cuisine. But he's not hungry now, so when the waiter gives Kame an enquiring little bow after Yamatani has ordered a selection of sashimi, tofu, and edamame and pickles to share, Kame shakes his head and says, "No, thank you." Then he watches Nishikido flick through the menu for Yuuya and whisper suggestions to him.

"I'll have the takoyaki," Yuuya says brightly, and he must have known, surely he knew that Nishikido would break into a wide smile at that.

"Good choice, genuine Kansai food," the baker says, "though of course they don't get it right, here in Tokyo, even in this place."

"Why can't they get it right?"

"Ah, it takes a true Osaka obaa-chan to make the perfect takoyaki. Maybe I'll bring you some next time."

"I'd like that," Yuuya smiles, and Nishikido turns to the waiter, who has stood by with no sign of impatience, and orders a plate of takoyaki and one of gyoza 'for all'.

They discuss regional food varieties some more while they wait, and the club's special spiced tofu recipe. Normally Kame finds food to be an interesting subject. He likes food well enough, is well-informed about what is healthy and hip for the conscientious celebrity to eat, has food anecdotes from the forty-seven prefectures and a number of overseas locations to tell… but he finds it hard to concentrate and he isn't sure why except he'd like to know more about what's going on behind his… no, not behind his back, a discreet survey tells him, more over to the far right now, behind the tall bamboo screens, and what is that escort doing lurking there like some… and why does the waiter have to block Kame's view with his tray full of… their food. All right.

Kame waits patiently as bowls and plates are set down and each of them is given a set of chopsticks and a moist, hot cotton cloth. He wipes his hands; he isn't touching the pickles, but it won't hurt to eat one bean and one gyoza, just to be polite.

Conversation starts up again as soon as the waiter has left, as Nishikido offers to feed Yuuya a takoyaki, "the correct way." Kame lets his attention wander again, to give them some privacy, and Jin is near the screens to the maroon corner and for a moment their eyes lock; and quickly, Jin drops his gaze.

Is that guy watching him? Sneaking around, hiding behind potted plants, watching him? Kame frowns, and reaches for his gyoza.

"Nice young man, that," Yamatani says beside him, and it takes Kame a moment to even make the connection because surely Yamatani can't mean… he doesn't mean him?

Kame is too thrown to even ask, and looks back at Jin because… well, for one thing, he doesn't want to insult Yamatani's taste by parading his disbelief.

"Do you know Jin?" Yamatani asks, with the restraint that characterizes this place but a hearty undertone that seems to suggest that knowing Jin is somehow a good thing.

"Yes." And he turns back around because Jin's just sitting there, being hapless with some unsuspecting old guy with his back to Kame, and Kame remembers maybe it would be better… "We've met," he says, finds a smile like he did for the baker. "A few times."

Yamatani nods with inexplicable approval. "It's good to see he's settling in," he says cheerfully, "and making friends," and Kame wonders if there's something about Jin's fumbling ways that appeals to old guys, maybe they feel protective of incompetent escorts.

It doesn't matter. Yamatani is a nice, courteous man. Good for him if he gets some value out of that escort.

"Yes," he says again, wipes his hands again on the towel, "good for him," and signals the waiter, catching Jin leaning into… Kame still doesn't recognize the guy.

"Yuuya here is a friend of Jin's," Yamatani is saying, as if Kame even wanted to know that but it puts a halt to the progress on the two-seater and gets the baker looking at him again and the boy with an open, happy expression, nodding, "Jin-senpai! He's been so helpful to me!" and Kame has no idea what to tell these people.

But he knows how to stop people's questions, and he's never going to relax with Jin doing… whatever, that, in the background, and if they're all so keen and Jin can't manage to just stay out of Kame's business, he might as well.

He leans forward a bit, a little confidential, and smiles sheepishly. "I have to confess," he says to Yamatani, "I'm afraid I was a bit short with him earlier." He throws an apologetic glance sideways. "I should really buy him a drink."

He gets up, and worries for one second but sure enough, yes, Jin's by no means the only escort at that table and he doesn't look remotely close to settling a deal, judging from… everything.

And Jin doesn't even see him coming, he's that focussed on not looking at Kame, in his direction, would rather make eyes at some random old guy though he can't even get that to work out.

"Excuse me," Kame says to the man dressed in a conservative banker's outfit, and doesn't let the way Jin's eyes go wide distract him, "I don't mean to intrude, but my friends and I were wondering…" He turns his head towards his table; so do the banker and Jin. Yamatani is smiling over at them and the boy is giving them a quick wave, and even Nishikido is looking encouraging, and for a moment Kame wonders… never mind. "If I'm not interrupting anything with Jin," he adds with a little nod of his head, "I still owe him a drink."

Jin has gone still; he's no longer looking at the little group over by the other table, isn't looking at Kame, either, or at the man he's with. He's looking straight ahead at nothing, and Kame thinks that even if his profile, with the hair back like that, wasn't so aggravating all by itself, this is not the way to 'make friends' or 'settle in' and maybe Yamatani is going to be a little less deluded now.

The man he's been talking to gives Jin a quick look, but it's not like Jin is giving him any clues, and the man's already nodding at Kame, smiling, saying, "of course," and "only too pleased," and various other unimportant things. Kame says polite things back and watches Jin get up without any fuss, bow to make his excuses, and move towards the other table ahead of Kame.

Well, at least he didn't have to steer him across half the club this time, Kame thinks as he follows. Over at his destination, Yamatani frowns a little and Yuuya's smile falters, then recovers, and then they all look disproportionally pleased and inviting when Jin gives a little bow in welcome and steps into the group to sit down…

…on the empty seat next to Yamatani.

What the hell does he think he's doing?

For a moment Kame is glad they're all looking at Jin, not at him, and he gets his expression under control quickly, but the queasy rush takes longer to ebb and his pulse is still fast by the time he reaches his own couch, and he modulates his voice carefully when he sits down and gives everybody except Jin a pleasant smile. "Well, here we are."

The smile he turns on Jin is more pointed. "So what can I get you to drink? I can recommend the whisky, it's an original Scottish malt older than you," he says breezily, notes that Jin fails to look impressed, of course he would, and then something lurches a little inside him when someone laughs at—

Yamatani, laughing, old face crinkling up over the rim of his wine glass. "Older than Kamenashi-san, even," he says with gentle teasing, but he's not laughing at Kame. Yamatani doesn't touch Jin, either, makes no point of Jin's provocative seating choice, or the immediate way Jin has turned his head towards him, remarkably focussed for a guy who specializes in blank. Maybe he was hoping for more of a dig; but he's out of luck there, Yamatani has manners.

"I suppose so," he admits ruefully, and laughs a little, to show he is on board with the joke. "Or do you prefer beer?" he then asks Jin, who can stop looking at Yamatani like that, this little interlude's over. "Why don't I get you some of each." The waiter is by his side as soon as he has lifted his hand. "A double Macallan and a bottle of beer for Jin, please." He casts a quick look around the table. "Would anyone else permit me…"

But they all have half-full glasses still, so he orders another whisky for himself and the waiter leaves.

Nishikido sits back with his wine glass in his hand and gives Jin a brief smile, but then he focuses on Yuuya's happy retelling of his takoyaki education, and Jin makes a labourious effort at looking entertained. Yes, Kame can just see this one being 'a lot of help'.

When the drinks arrive, Jin thanks Kame formally, briefly eyes the whisky, and reaches for the beer.

"Let's toast," Kame says, raising his own whisky glass and pushing Jin's heavy tumbler towards him. "To a more relaxed evening. Kanpai!" He drains his glass in a single go, leaving Jin with no choice but to do the same. The whisky is a nice, warm tingle on the way down.

"That goes down well, doesn't it? Let's get another one," Kame says, ignoring the face Jin makes as he puts the glass down. It takes a bit when all you ever get is beer; Jin can learn. It'll stand him in good stead, because people here like someone who can appreciate quality. Another wave, and two minutes later they have another two glasses in front of them. Kame stays with singles – he's had enough to drink tonight already. But that doesn't mean he can't be generous, and Jin deserves… no, not deserves, but that was rather nice and Kame's evening has improved considerably, now that he can look at Jin with the proper context in mind, remind himself how agreeable he can be.

Jin has said something to Yamatani, something Kame didn't catch, and Yamatani is nodding, and pushing the bowl of spiced tofu cubes towards him in invitation. Jin scrunches up his face and twists his mouth into a juvenile refusal that has no place whatsoever in an environment like this, but Yamatani simply laughs and replaces the bowl with the pickles, of which Jin takes one with a grateful nod.

Just as Kame wonders if Jin is ever going to touch that beer that Kame is paying for or if he's not making it personal enough and maybe he should feed him too, the waiter returns with his second order. Kame accepts it courteously and pushes the new tumbler towards Jin again. "Here you are. Let's make this a toast to… to our esteemed company." He lets his smile flit around the table but allows it to settle meaningfully on Yamatani, whose excessive familiarity with Jin is finally good for something.

Yamatani bows in polite acknowledgement and gives Jin a bright smile when Jin has knocked the drink back in one and sets the glass back down. "You young men want to watch it, though," he says in a congenial tone, "this is strong stuff. Don't underestimate it."

"Thank you for your concern," Kame says pleasantly, while Jin looks at the table top with his lips compressed. "But it's not every day I get to enjoy such splendid company. Sometimes you have to enjoy something good." Yamatani can't disagree with that, and Kame focuses on the unappreciative presence next to him. "Right, Jin?"

Jin takes a moment to raise his eyes, with that false coyness that Kame finds so infuriating, but he reminds himself of his plan for the evening, tries to let it go. The man obviously just can't help it.

"Right," he says, and then seems to remember himself. "Thank you, Kamenashi-san."

"I hope you're not getting too bored with your juice," Kame hears Nishikido say, and Yuuya gives a light little laugh.

"But it's very tasty!" he insists, playing with the straw of his drink. He has one leg up on the by sofa now, his upper body leaning into Nishikido.

"I'll take your word for it," Nishikido says doubtfully.

"Nishikido-san, you're not trying to tempt me," Yuuya says in the sort of lowered voice that is usually an indication for civilized people to turn their attention elsewhere.

Nishikido, who has been buying overpriced fruit juice concoctions for the kid all evening without complaint, seems amused by the suggestion, but his smile quickly grows flushed when Yuuya lets his gaze drop to Nishikido's mouth.

"Besides," Yuuya says, "there are things that tempt me much more than wine," and leans back to whisper in his ear, and Kame just sees Nishikido's flush deepen before he turns away.

Yamatani has been roped into a relaxed exchange with a young man with brown curly hair, the American, over the back of his sofa, and has momentarily turned away from Jin, who is watching that now, the beer ignored on the table. At least it's not likely to disappear discreetly; Kame isn't unaware of the second function of the large plant pots dotted everywhere between the couches.

"Would you like to go to America some time?" Kame asks when he catches pieces of the conversation, mentions of Los Angeles and the Grand Canyon and Californian sushi rolls, and eventually Jin faces him. "You seemed fascinated."

That absurd, guarded look – you can't even help the guy by talking about things he's interested in. But since Kame made the effort, he will insist, keeps up the enquiring look until Jin can no longer ignore it.

"I was just listening," Jin says at the end, blankly, and Kame raises his eyebrows, waits just enough for Jin to lower his eyes.

"I hope I wasn't boring you," he says pleasantly.

"No, of course not, Kamenashi-san." Expressionless now; it would be professional if his profession didn't include being just a little warmer to the guy who's buying him his drink but that's okay, he's found out just what Jin's skills are and that he's far more worthwhile that way.

Kame signals the waiter again; even though his own glass is half full, Jin's is empty and Kame is an attentive patron, he knows how to conduct himself around here. The American finishes his chat with Yamatani and makes brief eye contact, but Kame turns him down politely and discreetly, and he moves on.

When the waiter approaches, Kame orders Jin's whisky, and makes a point of including the others again. This time Nishikido accepts a refill of his Chardonnay and Yuuya, after a silent and layered exchange with Nishikido, asks for something that Kame assumes will be as colourful as the long name.

"And I'd like a tall glass of water, please," Jin says before the waiter can turn away.

That…

Typical, of course – ignoring etiquette, ignoring generosity, making assumptions, nothing new here. And it's just water, so all Kame says is, "Oh, you should have said something earlier! Now you've made me look thoughtless."

Jin says, "It was a spontaneous idea," without any hint of apology or flirtatiousness, and adds, "I hope it's all right," almost as an afterthought.

"But of course," Kame says. "Just tell me if there is anything else you would like. How about some food?"

"No," Jin says, reasonably pleasant but still sadly devoid of actual charm. "Thank you, all the same."

Kame lets it go; he knows not to have too many expectations.

When their drinks arrive, Nishikido toasts Kame with his white wine, Yuuya with the red and pink cocktail glass, and Jin with the water. Kame nods benevolently and takes a sip of his whisky.

"Is that your favourite wine, Nishikido-san?" Yuuya asks when Nishikido puts his glass down on the table. He's a little less entangled, now they have at least one more round to go, but the boy's body is still clearly gravitating towards him.

"It's good," Nishikido says, like someone who's not very theoretical about the kind of drink he likes. Kame thinks that's refreshing; at most functions he attends people talk big about bouquets and noses and things. "I like beer, too," Nishikido confesses, "I just don't want to mix it up." And he nods at Jin, or at his beer, never mind that Yuuya is practically hanging off his shoulder, and he smiles, and… "By the way, Jin," he says, and nobody can be this incompetent, nobody can perk up inappropriately like this and not do it on purpose, "that ramen place you recommended in Shinjuku, it was really good."

Jin looks pleased, as if knowing a good ramen shop… as if suddenly he and that baker have things in common and Kame has nothing to contribute even if he probably knows more about cuisine than the two of them put together. "Did you try the special hot chilli sauce like I said?" he asks, and fair enough. Fair enough. That's probably his level of conversation, maybe the baker hit on the rare thing Jin can form proper sentences about. Ramen.

Nishikido shakes his head. "I didn't feel that brave. I had the pork shiitake."

"Oh, that's nice, too. I like how they slice the bamboo really thin and really wide." Jin is still smiling, his water glass getting warm between his hands and Kame thinks that's quite enough of the culinary exchange.

He leans forward a little, and he, too, knows the tone that has Yamatani studying the rest of the club and makes Nishikido get back to his own business when he says, "You don't like the whisky, Jin?" His glass makes a soft little clink against Jin's and Jin jerks his head up; it shakes some hair into his face and he brushes it back, and something about that long hand obscuring… or maybe just the hair, and it's not like it matters, it's just some hair for god's sake, and Kame doesn't even know how that guy can be so annoying and out of place just sitting there, looking…

He reaches over and tugs that strand back to where it was, and Jin holds his breath but then it's taken care of and it calms Kame down.

Jin swaps water for whisky, nods his thanks again. Of course. Kame should know by now, the man just needs to be taken in hand, whether it's basic polite appreciation or what to do with his mouth around Kame's cock. "Or would you like to try some wine, too? They have an excellent selection here."

"I don't think—" Jin starts but Kame has already caught a waiter's attention.

"Do you prefer red or white?"

There is a pause. Jin looks at him… through him, Kame thinks, and something shifts. And then he… simpers. Badly; it doesn't even reach his eyes, his eyes which are holding Kame's now when he says, loud enough for all to hear, "Oooh, Kamenashi-sama, you wouldn't be trying to get me drunk, now would you!"

Not even trying to sound genuine, flat-out challenge, and so unexpected that Kame doesn't even… he has no ready answer, none that wouldn't embarrass him, all he can do is play along, say, "No, no, of course not," and look sorry and sheepish and sincere for this little audience of four while inside he is furious, how dare he, and that escort had better be ready to deal with the consequences of spoiling every last bit of Kame's relaxed mood and—

The escort flinches, and Kame wants to laugh, but it's nothing to do with him, it's a hand that came onto his shoulder from behind, an intrusive hand which belongs to the Public Prosecutor, and Jin turns around to face the guy, and when he sees who it is he smiles.

Nishikido. Yamatani. Now Kato.

Kame takes a gulp of whisky, starts counting to ten.

At four, he gets interrupted by the cultured voice he has often heard on television. "Kamenashi-san," Kato says politely and a little diffidently, "I wonder if I might speak to Jin for a few minutes."

And never mind that this is preposterous, whatever happened to this club that you can't even sit in peace with your escort anymore, it's at least a chance for Kame to show that he's not unreasonable, that wine thing didn't mean anything, Jin was just being silly, and incompetently silly at that, a flirtation gone wrong. "Of course," he says, rising a little to return Kato's bow. "No problem at all, please, do take your time."

It's only Jin's face at the last few words that makes him realize how they could be misinterpreted, and he quickly adds, "I can wait a little," to make it clear that he isn't giving up all of his rights.

Not that he's even wanting him again. Not that he did want him again an hour ago, anyway, he didn't want him again, ever. But he won't escape that easily, either.

Kato leads the way, to a quiet set of tables and he doesn't sit down, no drinks— not yet anyway, but Kato can see what he'll get for trying to be nice if he goes there, if he keeps Jin there standing around awkwardly, but at least that's something Jin excels at and… Jin is bowing now at whatever Kato said to him and all deferential, and Kame has no idea what sort of game he's playing, what the hell this is supposed to be.

"What would you recommend, Kamenashi-san?" Yamatani asks, and it takes Kame a moment, and too much staring at Yamatani's interested smile, his slightly tilted wine glass, to even find his way back here, all because Jin had to… Jin is just…

"You're a fan of French wines, I seem to recall?"

Nishikido looks at him attentively, eager for another story, and sure, he can be charming and relaxed, he's got his night sorted out and his entertainment is staying put by his side…

"Yes," Kame says finally, and tries to ignore… everything. Because everyone is watching him again. "I am," he nods, and makes himself smile.

~

Chapter 8

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