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The Same Deep Water As You

by Solo & Jo

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Chapter 32

 

Ginza, Sunday 21 December

Jin leaves the client with a double brandy and in blissful stupor, and doesn't roll his eyes and shrug to himself until he's out the door.

Insurance banker, short and pretty bald for his age, who'd been aiming for Jun but hadn't made it into the chosen circle. Maybe for the best. Jun gets really pissy when he invests hours of flirting and charm and then the guy only springs for a blow job.

Jin hadn't exactly expected that, either.

It's Sunday, not late yet, but business is slowing down. Yesterday was crazy. Jin is alone in the elevator and slouches against the wall, trying to do the math for the week, decide if he can go home without feeling like a slacker. But his brain feels kind of empty. This one talked a lot.

Also hard to calculate, with the cut he gets from the suite. He's never had to wonder about that before.

Ootomo's door is closed. Behind it, Jin can hear him talking to someone.

The break room looks busy, but it turns out that all the guys present seem just as ready to call it a night and are only hanging around for an excuse. It smells of tea and lemon cookies. Masaki waves at Jin silently, and Tadayoshi blinks his eyes open from a nap on the couch. It's quiet. Ryuuhei is in one of the armchairs, reading a manga.

"Who's in with him?" Jin asks, vaguely indicating Ootomo's office.

"Satoshi," Ryuuhei says. "Rotation."

His voice still sounds lazy. Verbal hangover, he called it last night.

Jin's not sure if it's Christmas coming up, everybody needing to get in some fucking before they have to make nice with their wives, but Friday and Saturday were a bustle like he hasn't seen in all his months here. Takahisa got so drunk they had to escort him home at three in the morning, and there was a big to-do on Saturday when Nakamaru accidentally hit the panic button while he chased Yuu-chan across the room.

Jin grabs a coke from the fridge and gets out of his jacket. Only the hard folding chairs are left, but he can sit close to the cookies. He gives Jaejoong a look, because they're the kind he's brought before, and Jaejoong nods invitingly from his armchair.

Christmas. For Jin it's going to be a day like any other, and if he's in here or stays at home, he won't even see too much of the sappy decorations and all the romance stuff around. The club's not going to be very busy, but still, no reason not to go to work.

The cookies are nice. He drinks his coke and thinks he might shower at home; the guy didn't get come on him or anything.

The door opens when Satoshi comes back, and Jin can tell right away it's not good, though a sulk is better than panic.

Masaki asks first. "What's going on?"

Satoshi is standing between the couch and their lockers like he can't quite decide what'll make a better outlet for his frustration. In the end he starts yanking out his shower stuff. "He booked me for some party on Christmas. And now he's pissed off because I told him I have plans."

Sheiks, Jin remembers. Nino; New York and Paris and five star hotels. Ootomo should have remembered.

"I got the day off," Tadayoshi says. "Didn't give me any trouble."

"I think it's because you are dating a girl," Jaejoong says. "She would be very upset."

"That is so sexist," Satoshi says. "Also I bought plane tickets."

"Is it for Hashimoto's room party?" Masaki asks. "You know… nothing personal, but anybody can do that. I wouldn't worry. He'll get over it."

"He's been kind of… high strung," Tadayoshi says meaningfully. "It was a tough weekend for him too."

"His problem," Satoshi says curtly. "I just left. I'm not in the mood."

There's a pause, only interrupted by Satoshi stripping out of his shirt and pants with more noise than cotton should make. Jin drinks up his coke and tries to recall how many weeks it's been.

"I thought he's been eyeing you," Tadayoshi says to Ryuuhei with a blinding bright whore smile.

"Fuck you, not a chance," Ryuuhei says. "I did it last week. And I don't know what he ate, but it was bad."

Jin puts his second cookie back in the box. "I'll do it," he says. "I have to talk to him anyway."

He leaves the jacket. He'll have to come back for his stuff anyway.

"Thanks, man," Satoshi says when he passes. He looks calmer already. Jin doesn't really believe Ootomo's going to make him return plane tickets and cancel hotel reservations, either. He just gets like that when he's fucked something up and gets reminded.

"No problem," he says.

In the hall, he smoothes back his hair once and wipes his face for cookie crumbs before he knocks on Ootomo's office door, and gives it three seconds before he cautiously pushes it open.

"Ah," Ootomo says without any particular enthusiasm. "Jin." The computer is on and the desk is messy, the room hot from the equipment or a heating malfunction, or the nuclear power of Ootomo's green shirt. Finance stuff, from the looks of it, with a bunch of grubby receipts making Jin curious, only not really curious enough.

He closes the door. "I'm about to go home for the night," he says blandly. "I was wondering if there was anything else you needed."

"Oh." Ootomo draws himself up, like he needs a moment to catch on. "Indeed. I think… I could probably do with a break too."

Fortunately it usually doesn't take more fudge talk than that. Ootomo rolls his chair a bit further back from the desk and moves the paper bin out of the way. That's considerate.

After, Jin is offered a seat; maybe because Ootomo's not really thinking clearly, with all that blood in his face. It's not like Jin plans to stick around for tea and a chat.

"So, Jin," Ootomo says again, and again takes a deep huffy breath.

"Yeah," Jin says. He kind of wishes Ootomo had some water around for these things, or gum.

"Do you have plans for Christmas?"

It only sounds funny. It's probably totally reasonable.

"No," Jin says. "I was going to come in."

"Ah, very good. Then, if it's all right with you, I'd like to send you out to Honda. Rest; does that every year for Christmas. He picked you from the catalogue."

If it's all right with him. Not that Ootomo's got any reason to think he'll turn down a rest, but that sounds different from what Satoshi got only fifteen minutes ago. Jin doubts it's just his technique. More likely all the nice money he's bringing in from Kame.

Which reminds him why he came here in the first place…

"No, I don't mind," he says. "Thank you very much."

"Not at all, not at all…" Ootomo smiles. "It's at six on Christmas Eve. But I'll e-mail you again, update your calendar."

"Thanks." There is a pause. Jin takes a breath. "Actually… there's something else I wanted to tell you."

In the middle of all the sweaty colour, Ootomo's eyes go uncomfortably perceptive.

"Something wrong?" he asks harmlessly.

"No, not at all." Jin makes sure to look as cool as he can. "I exchanged phone numbers with Kamenashi-san. I know this is allowed with regulars and he seemed more comfortable, and I wanted to make him comfortable and…"

Ootomo hasn't moved; is just staring. And Jin's losing his nerve.

"…and so we did. And I wanted to tell you." God, how lame. He reminds himself he's doing well these days, that he has no reason to get all nervous in this office anymore, but somehow knowing he's getting better at whoring doesn't really do the trick either.

"Kamenashi-sama," Ootomo says. "Your phone number?"

"Well, it's my work phone." Not that he has any other phone. But this is about work. He's just being good interacting with the client. He nods in confirmation. "It fit the situation. He worried about being late to a date." He doesn't like telling Ootomo what they discussed, but he feels… maybe this is one Ootomo should hear. For Kame's sake too.

"Very well," Ootomo says, and doesn't even try to hide the watchfulness. "If you think it's best. Just keep me posted of what dates you agree on."

"Of course. I know the rules."

"I know you do," Ootomo says; sounding quite kind, actually. "So does that mean you think we don't need to have security calls anymore?"

Jin doesn't fidget, he guessed this would come. "I think it's okay, I think… we've worked something out. I don't need the calls. But if you want me to make them, I will."

Ootomo gives him a long look. "I'm glad to hear that. I think we should keep them for another appointment or two, it's not much hardship after all."

Jin nods. It is no hardship. And he can't really argue that's not fair.

 

Roppongi, Wednesday 24 December

Kame sits patiently and waits for Mizuno-san from make-up to remove his fake samurai topknot, while Anbiru-kun urges her to come see a movie with him "and maybe have a drink after." Kame thinks she'll probably go with Hagiwara from the camera team who has been giving her a ride home every night since shooting started.

It's six and they've finished shooting even though the first scene took longer than expected. Most of them have plans for Christmas Eve and the producers appreciate that people can get distracted.

Kame has plans, too. He's booked the restaurant already – one of the nicest in town and worth even the rather formal evening wear they require. He's brought a good suit along, carefully hung first in the back of the car and then at the end of his small wardrobe stall.

They only have one stage assigned to them in the studio, since so much of the movie will be shot outdoors on location, or on special sets created in the fake village. But there are enough scenes which can be shot in Tokyo to make it worth having two separate locations and save the expense of having everybody out north even longer.

He heads into the shower with his villainous counterpart and the prospective first victim, Shikama-san, who is complaining about what Christmas cake will do to his diet.

His shower is quick; the hair takes longer since it's at a tricky length again. It would be easier if he could ask Mizuno-san for help but she's got a right to get away, too, and eventually he manages something he's happy with. There's good camaraderie in the dressing room where he's not the only one to change into something more upmarket than he came in wearing this morning.

Kame checks his watch and moves faster. They aren't meeting until seven-thirty, but the restaurant is halfway across town and traffic on Christmas eve is a frantic mess. Never mind that he knows his apology would be accepted without a problem, he doesn't want to keep Midori waiting.

*~*~*

She arrives later than he does, in the end, her cheeks rosy as she steps through the tinted doors into the reception lounge where he's waiting with a small martini.

"Sorry, sorry," she breathes while the attendant takes her coat. "Did you get my mail?"

Kame got it in the taxi half an hour ago. "Christmas cake crisis," he says with a smile, rising from the armchair. "It sounds intriguing."

"Ito-chan had brought in a cake and put it on a stack of letters which wasn't as stable as it seemed," Midori says as they take their seats. "Gocho banged his chair against the desk when he tried to toss some paper into the basket by the door, and…" She makes a face of woe.

A waiter brings the champagne Kame ordered while waiting and pours their first glasses. Kame doesn't pretend to taste it for quality – Midori knows well that he doesn't have a clue. She takes a sip and smiles and nods, and Kame sends the waiter away.

"And…?" Kame says after they've each taken another gulp.

"And well, there was cake on the desk and the annual report draft and the floor, and Ito-chan was sniffling, and I couldn't just leave. Really, I didn't even want to get changed until it was clear that I wouldn't have to hug and comfort cream-covered people or rescue important documentation from strawberry sauce."

She's looking elegant in her low-cut purple dress, just respectable enough for this restaurant but flirty already, just right for the party they're invited to later. With her hair up and long silver and diamond earrings dangling by her neck, she's pretty; sexy.

"That's a nice dress," Kame says.

She gives him a quizzical look. "You didn't seem that impressed with it when you saw it last."

He feels heat rise in him, uncertainty, he's not sure what he said and when, or when he even saw… oh. It was then, it was before…

He takes another drink of champagne and focuses, focuses like he does at work, because he wants to have a nice evening with Midori and not spoil it for both of them with his with his shame and mistakes.

"I do like it," he says. "I'm sorry I didn't say so and made you think I didn't. It goes really nicely with the highlights you've put in your hair."

They're faint burgundy in a dark shade of brown, and the light which shines off them also twinkles in her eyes as she regards him.

"I know you've been distracted," she says. "But things seem better. Maybe the new year will be better still."

Kame nods, glad to have a prompt for moving to a different topic. "Have you spoken to my mother about New Year?"

Midori laughs. "I need more alcohol for this."

But it's a fond laugh – Midori and Kame's parents get on very well; so well they can get extremely stubborn with each other.

"The hotel, right?" Kame says as he pours more champagne for her.

"The hotel. And the food delivery. And if we aren't careful, she won't let us take Ran-chan for a walk, either.

"You did point out that it's just around the corner and they don't see us when we're all asleep, anyway…"

"I pointed out that, and that moving all her crafts stuff out of your old room for just two nights is ridiculous, and so is trying to stuff in a futon that's too big for it, and that everybody will be happier if four people don't have to share one bathroom and that she's the one who refused to let you buy her a huge mansion in which she can put up a small army."

"She let you get through all that?"

"I had to take several runs at it."

He has to laugh. "And who won?"

"Who do you think?"

"So… I'll be packing my respectable pyjamas then…"

"I confess I'm looking forward to being woken by Ran-chan bouncing up and down on the bed," Midori says fondly. "It's a cherished ritual."

"You can talk," Kame says. "You don't have vulnerable assets to worry about."

She grins. "Would you like me to find you a codpiece? – Oh." She looks up, and Kame, too, finally notices the waiter who has been standing two feet away waiting patiently with the menus.

*~*~*

The party venue is close enough to walk, a mere ten minutes, and after a heavy meal Kame thinks it's worth the unlikely risk of running into fans. Everybody will be preoccupied with their dates tonight. It's dry and not too cold on their way there; only a breeze makes them both wrap their scarves more tightly around their necks and pull their shoulders up. The streets are busy and it's as if every couple has determined to navigate without ever letting go of each other's hands. It's not as easy as it looks.

They have to stop at a light along with dozens of others. There are hushed, giggly conversations all around them, every couple occupied only with themselves, and Kame enjoys feeling unobserved, just one of many.

The party is in a cafe they cleared out for the occasion. Behind the bar is a young man with very bright and spiky hair.

Ando-san likes being single and unlike many single women has plenty of couples in her circle of friends. She also likes parties, and has somehow convinced everybody she knows that a couple of hours of dancing are just right between a romantic Christmas dinner and… other romantic Christmas activities.

Kame wonders what Jin is doing tonight. He didn't say anything on Monday; not that Kame asked. They met at the club, when Kame got out of a photoshoot early and gave him a nervous first call to see if Jin was free. In his phone, Jin is now an investment manager for Kitagawa Financial Services.

No boyfriend. Maybe he's working. Maybe he's at some party, too; paid to be at some party with some client.

Kame stops wondering and focuses on the dancing. He likes dancing with Midori – they dance well together. He likes that it works between them, that they suit each other. It gives him hope that they can be okay without passion, that friendship and how their lives fit each other will be enough, for both of them.

If Jin dances, too… it would be interesting, to dance with Jin. He's never danced with Souji.

He has to cut this out.

And he manages to, once they join back in the bustle of people and chat. It's a good evening. Kame gets asked about his films and about being famous, but in a way that isn't different from doctors being consulted about aches and pains, or from the way he got that IT guy at some party last year to explain to him why his laptop was running so slowly. There is a big democratic cake for singles and couples alike and Kame laughs out loud when Midori carries back her slice with pointed caution.

"Cake and I are on bad terms today," she says, but nothing happens. He gets her strawberry. Enoki-san's husband has an oddly shaped green fruit on top of his cocktail, and they spend ten minutes trying to decide what it could be.

Kame spots a few couples kissing unobtrusively when it strikes midnight, and he thinks he should probably do that, too.

Midori's lips are pink and pretty and taste faintly sweet. He tries not to think of fuller, lightly glossed ones.

They had a quiet night, spent hardly any time in the lounge and had room service dinner. It's getting easier between them; any tense moments, Kame usually does to himself. It helps to be sure what Jin likes. Jin likes kissing.

"Kisses at midnight always make me expect that something dramatic is going to happen," Midori says, sneaking a hand around his waist. "Like pumpkins turning into mice. People turning into frogs."

"Frogs turning into people?" Kame says. He tries to match her smile, thinking that a spell like that wouldn't be a bad idea, at all.

Midori doesn't know she got the frog.

"I think you're supposed to fling them against a wall for that," Midori says. She up-ends the glass of champagne she was holding and puts it down. "I always thought that was a bit cruel. I bet the JSPCA would have something to say about that."

Maybe sometimes the frog deserves it. Maybe sometimes it helps.

"Foreigners feel differently about their frogs," Kame says; but that was a bad call, too, and he tries to think of something else to say quickly before Yuuya and frog steaks and that entire night can become too vivid in his mind for where he is now. "Can I get you another drink?"

"Hmm…" Midori purses her lips thoughtfully. Pink, pretty. Kame puts another quick kiss on them and she smiles. "I thought maybe we should get going. It's a long cab ride back."

True. "Tell you what," Kame says. "You call for a cab and I get us a bottle and two glasses so we can party in the back seat."

*~*~*

"About those frogs," Midori says when the bottle is almost empty and they are almost home.

Kame blinks. "Yes?"

"And about the foreigners. I signed that anti-whaling petition that was going around the other day. I thought you should know."

"Oh. Right, okay," he says. "Thanks." Sometimes he gets asked about things his wife does, particularly if they are social or political things. He'd never stop her from doing what she thinks is right, but it's good to know when questions might come up.

And Midori is always ready to put her name and money where her beliefs are – it's one of the things he likes about her. Sometimes he helps out, other times he stays out of it.

"Is there anything you'd like me to do there, too?" he asks. He doesn't feel that strongly, and it's a controversial cause, not like helping orphans or cancer patients. But suddenly he wants to help.

She gives him a thoughtful look. "Only if you really want to. I don't think a signature is going to make all that much difference, and they don't seem to be well enough organized to take proper advantage of high-profile support."

"Well," he says as the cab turns off into residential streets at last. "Let me know if there is anything."

"I will," she smiles, and clinks her glass against his before draining it.

When they have arrived, he hurries around the car to help her as she unfolds herself from the seat in a flurry of scarves and coatfolds and, of course, that long dress. It earns him another smile and he doesn't know if it makes him happy or sad.

She leans into him as they rush up the path against the breeze that has turned chilly, laughing and a little unsteady on her heels. Her hand is warmer than his.

Inside the door, she turns and presses cool lips and a cold nose to the skin behind his ear, and he shivers a little and laughs.

It's been less than two weeks since the last time, when his alarm had to remind him. He's glad that he isn't too useless to realize that now would be a good moment, that it's the right thing for the mood.

At least tonight he can try to be a prince for her.

 

Roppongi, Wednesday 24 December

Jin has to wait for the elevator for what feels like forever. It's a tall building, all steel and glass and marble. Even the uniform of the girl at reception looks stylish somehow.

She's watching him, trying to catch his eye with the sort of focus he knows how to read, but she's got Christmas wistfulness all over her, in her eyes and how they linger on what he's brought with him. She'll have no idea who he's going to see. They never dawdle in lobbies; part of not looking like a whore on assignment is breezing past the staff.

Jin's long past appreciating fancy hotel lobbies, prefers anonymous ones. Would be nice if they all looked like banks.

Then at last the elevator pings, releasing three men in suits who look like they're from a high level business meeting. One of them stares at Jin's mouth for just a second too long. Right.

He's not sure why, but he gives the receptionist a little smile when he gets going, and she smiles back sadly. He kind of hopes she's just bummed out she had to work tonight, that she's got a boyfriend she can celebrate with later. Jin is glad he doesn't care about Christmas.

Floor 25, room 2. There are few doors when he gets off the elevator, so it's easy to find. He stands still for a moment and takes a deep breath; stops himself from biting his lip because he doesn't like the taste of the gloss. Tadayoshi had this gig last year, and Jin's had a chat with him.

Then he knocks, and gets his smile ready, and when the guy opens he feels like a bad actor.

"Good evening," he says. "I'm Jin."

From the guy's stare, he did pretty okay.

His name is Honda; nothing to do with the cars, he adds as he takes Jin's coat. He's shorter, just a bit, but he must have known that from Jin's profile on the website.

"Excuse me," Honda says, looking straight into Jin's eyes like he's not at all diffident. "You look even more lovely than I expected."

Well, okay. Jin smiles at the guy, slouching a bit in that way that makes him smaller. "Thank you. I…" Honda is old but not too old, not really attractive but not hideous either, and he's wearing a pretty slick casual suit. That usually bodes well for hygiene. "I was very honoured by the invitation," he says.

Honda looks pleased. "Come in, come in," he gestures.

Jin saw at first glance that this is no ordinary room, but now he's taking the time to appreciate it properly. The style is slightly modern, but with some plush thrown in here and there for coziness, and Jin suspects the red-and-white colour scheme isn't just for Christmas. Honda's spent some money.

"This looks amazing," he says at Honda's expectant face. "What an impressive room." He looks around a little more, because Honda won't mind that.

The bed is let into a cozy corner, so low it might be a challenge for the more senior Johnny's clients. It looks like an alcove, the way it's right in front of the room's tallest window. There is a giant, vaguely heart-shaped bathtub in one corner, also with a view, and flower and stone arrangements that skate just past utterly horrible.

"I'm glad you like it," Honda says. "I was hoping…"

"I don't think I've ever been invited to this sort of room," Jin says. He feels fake and obvious, but maybe it's because it's true that Honda seems delighted. Not many guys ordering out would feel the need to book the honeymoon suite.

He blinks and puts on another smile. "I… brought us something too," he says, holding up his little parcel. "I hope you don't mind…"

Honda make a face of pleased surprise and takes the bag off Jin; he laughs when he's got the cake unwrapped. Takahisa recommended the bakery.

"I wanted to bring something too," Jin adds, smiling just enough. "Since we're celebrating Christmas together…" Someone better at this would probably do the whole feet-shuffling flirting better, too. Jin just looks at the ground, and hopes he hit the right tone there. It felt odd to spend money on a client, and slightly wrong, but with a date like this he also wanted to do a good job. It's a rest, after all. A bit of cake is well covered.

"How thoughtful of you," Honda says, beaming. "Of course we could have got some from room service, but this is much nicer." He holds on to the box and bows just a little, Jin bowing appropriately deeper. When they move along to the table, which is small for a room this fancy but set intimately for two, he's still looking at Jin like Jin is his best Christmas present.

*~*~*

Honda is a very polite client. The food is light and thoughtful, and chosen with the same spare-no-expense attitude as the room. He drinks moderately, is forthcoming about conversational topics and doesn't think he's funnier than he is. He's even good about cues.

He likes looking into Jin's eyes. He likes for Jin to comment on things like candles and wine and the gentle Christmas music, and his hand is working its shy way up to Jin's so obviously next to their long-stemmed wine glasses that Jin catches that one before it even happens, and can show some initiative. On a regular club date, these things are great; solid footing.

Jin feels not quite settled with Honda holding his hand over the table and tracing his fingers admiringly. But he doesn't feel as clumsy as he could have; it's good to know he's picking up the cues.

"I should let you eat," Honda apologizes, ducking his head and not looking as cute as he probably hopes as he disentangles their fingers, putting Jin's hand down as if it were a delicate thing.

Jin brushes his pinky against Honda's just so, not enough to seem bold. "Well," he tries, "I didn't come for the food."

Honda also likes it when Jin gets uncertain enough to blush. That's kind of useful.

"I don't… date a lot," Honda says after they've picked their way through a French dinner that Honda doesn't seem to find very interesting and that Jin can't have too much of before sex. "But I like to have a nice evening. On a night like this." Honda is smiling nervously, like it was another cue. Jin lowers his gaze and does the shy thing again; that seemed to work.

So he's literally the Christmas present. Good to know.

"I'm glad you asked for me," he says. He's said that one before. The key is not to listen to himself. "It's a very nice date."

Honda blinks, still smiling but without much expression. Okay, not that brilliant. But it shows Honda's not some jerk who's looking to be offended. Jin puts more feeling into his smile, and the moment passes.

They first kiss after Honda has shown him the spectacle of lights at Odaiba outside their window. Well, pointed them out, not like Jin couldn't see them perfectly well all through dinner, but Jin's not surprised; what Honda is going for is pretty obvious. And there's worse than some sad guy wanting some romance on Christmas. Jin reminds himself he's letting people fuck him for a living so he probably doesn't get to judge.

They both taste of wine and the kiss is okay. Jin's had a lot worse. The guy is happy when Jin initiates the second one.

Jin gets them on the couch too, because it's less work than standing up and trying to be shorter than he is, and Honda is shy, almost painfully shy the first time he touches Jin below the neck. If he touched a boyfriend like that, it would be sweet.

"I'm glad you're here," Honda whispers against his neck, and Jin says the appropriate thing back. His urge is to move them towards hot and sweaty faster, just to get a move on, but he reins that in.

They move apart almost primly. Honda is really not a pushy guy.

"I like doing something special, too," Jin says, and maybe that was the magic word, because Honda looks practically enchanted. Jin leans back a bit, in that way that seems to work for a lot of guys, and tries to put some suggestion into his gaze to say it's still okay with the romance thing if Honda is interested in fucking soon.

He is; Jin can tell, he's learned those looks, and a few kisses in Honda pulls back again to ask, "Would you… would you like to take a shower?"

Jin's fine with that.

It gives him five minutes alone; not that he needs them, but it feels good to stop smiling and move without acting. He rinses off and wraps himself in a red-and-white bathrobe. Puts some gloss back on before he goes out again, and doesn't wrap the robe too tightly over his chest.

Honda wears that transfixed smile again when Jin head straights towards him, and he's still got a hard-on.

"You were quick," he says in a shaky voice.

Jin just smiles back, and steps close. "What about you?" he asks, and lets his fingers trail up Honda's arms. He doesn't have to wonder or be cautious here, doesn't have to ask; he got what's expected. He makes it a soft kiss above the man's collar, closes his eyes and breathes more cautiously when there's an intimate scent of cologne.

Honda makes it look like it's hard to tear himself away from Jin, but he's an all around traditionalist. Good; it's always better when they shower even if they're not horrible.

Jin sits on the bed to wait, and stares off into space a little. Then he's ready when the door opens, and does his best to give the guy the sort of happy look he's hoping for as he rises.

At least it's easy from there, and the sex is just the normal kind of lie.

*~*~*

Afterwards, they take a bath together. Turns out Honda doesn't go to bed at ten when he's paid for all-night fun. That's fair enough. Jin makes sure their legs are touching; his client is still smiling and pleased with the romance notions, but there's a moment when he leans back, waiting, like something's supposed… oh, okay.

Jin smiles again when he rearranges himself, it's a misunderstanding easily sorted out. He ends up with his head on the guy's chest. It's damp, or maybe sweaty, but there's nothing but the milky rose scent of the water in his nose. Honda seems happy.

At least it's okay to be quiet. Just the water rippling softly, Honda's hands trickling water over his shoulder now and then. Jin might even like that, it's nice when things are quiet and he can spend some time with his own thoughts, and he can even like being more than just a random body to someone, if it weren't for the romance stuff.

Eventually Honda's hands start to travel. Jin becomes aware of more desire floating around him, just as one of them brushes over his cock.

God. Some dates once is a struggle. Most guys Jin knows don't expect you to get off again even if they have two rounds, know what's realistic when you're not as sex-starved as they are in their closets.

Jin turns his face down against Honda's chest and gives a sigh that will sound pleased.

It takes a while for anything to happen. Rest, Jin thinks. This guy's once-a-year treat.

So he moves in the way that helps and closes his eyes, and in the end when he's spread out on his back in front of Honda he manages to think of nothing, nothing in his head but his own breathing and the splash of the water; manages to shiver for the guy, and hold on to him when he finally comes.

He gets some woozy minutes to recover, but they're part of the romantic fiction and it's worse than usual; he's exhausted, and he wants to be home. Honda is petting him like it was nothing short of perfection.

They fuck again on the bed later, dried off and hot from the water, with Honda taking his time, enjoying each minute. Jin remembers he once liked it this lazy, the slow times with Naoki when Jin was done and just watching, feeling, and he knows that's a fucking stupid thought to have and he doesn't remember why he's even thinking it.

Eventually they're done, and Jin almost gets his body back to himself. There's more of the cuddling and Jin wonders if the man is about to fall asleep, but then it turns out he has to go to work tomorrow, and doesn't need a whore around for breakfast and distractions.

He's very wistful about it, and the goodbyes are long and apologetic and full of gratitude. Jin's not sure what he feels when Honda is leaning in the doorway in his bathrobe, watching Jin put on shoes and coat with longing and contentment.

He'll be glad to get home.

It's cold in the elevator. Jin stares at the lights snapping past with an empty head.

There's an older woman who pays him no mind behind the reception desk now; the girl from before is gone. Somehow that's a shame. Jin wonders if she'd have felt better seeing that he's leaving even though he had cake and a costume and a guy who bought him champagne; that it was all just someone's delusion anyway.

~

Chapter 33

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