The Same Deep Water As You
by Solo & Jo
chapter(s) | Story notes, disclaimers, warnings]
Saturday 7 February
There's sunlight in Kame's head when he wakes in cool
morning darkness; sunlight and peace and a warm clingy body.
He's been dreaming, a dream that makes him want to turn
over and find what he's missing, wrap himself around it and whisper
He doesn't, of course. He's much too careful. Midori is
in insistent slumber when he tiptoes out of their bedroom half an hour
before his alarm.
He likes the quiet in the bathroom. His head is still
full with some hazy sensation, and this way he can keep it in for a
bit, keep it close.
In the shower he turns on warm and gentle water, smiles
when he thinks of Jin's careful settings. He's still hard from the
night, and when he touches there the memories swim into focus, less
easily shaken and maybe he doesn't have to, maybe he doesn't want to.
It feels good. Slow, and drowsy, secret enough with the
touches in his mind and the warmth he woke up to. Jin's in the middle
of it, smiling and squirming. Talking with his hands about whatever
makes him happy, so happy, and the urge goes so
fast, so deep Kame stops the guilt and goes with it.
He's awake enough to know it's kind of funny that Jin's
not even got his clothes off but then he's at the point where he
doesn't care and he holds on to it, and it's not long before he comes,
braced against the shower wall, panting under the spray. He can still
see Jin, a real memory, the smile at something Kame did; the fuzzy glow
in him shivery as it gets alone.
He should maybe not do that.
They have time for breakfast together, he and his wife,
and he feels fresh and relaxed with his skin still tingling, the images
fading but then catching up with him in sudden pulses.
It's rare for him to do this at home at all, two doors
and a shout away from her. He's always felt it's more like cheating
than his carefully arranged dates with men who don't take anything away
So now Midori is smiling at him, and maybe he'd feel
just as guilty if it had been generic thoughts about hard thrusting
bodies and sweat and heat.
He pours them both more coffee and eats his toast.
"I may stay in town again next week," he says. "I have
TV days on Tuesday and Wednesday, they could run long. And I kind of
suspect Hamaguchi has something cooked up for me too."
He doesn't yet know if he'll have time to see Jin, but
it would be nice. Also good if it stops him having odd fantasies in the
shower. Not that he can complain about the gaps; he sees Jin a lot.
Last week he adjusted the limit on that credit card, just in case.
"They're keeping you pretty busy," Midori says. "And
you're not even promoting yet."
Kame stops, and stares; belatedly remembers to swallow
and be cool because this is Midori, and she's probably just worrying
about his workload or his feng shui, those kinds of things. He stayed
at the apartment a lot long before he ever knew Jin.
"I could also come home," he says calmly, slowly. "I
could come home more at night. The apartment is just convenient, that's
all. Would you like that?"
Midori makes a face like he's suggested an evening of
Noh theatre. "No, please don't worry. I know how you get. Just order
decent food for yourself sometimes, okay?"
"I do," he says, "I promise," and when his next thought
is of Jin kissing down his ribs it's even worse.
"Besides, when you were out on Wednesday I took the
opportunity to introduce Enoki-chan and Watanabe-san to your home
cinema equipment," she confesses. "That they in turn introduced me to a
very fine-looking young actor in a pretty boring movie is totally
incidental." She wriggles innocently, hiding her grin behind her coffee
Kame smiles back. "So that's what the wine bottles were
about?" A better husband might have asked sooner.
Midori gives him a quiet little look. "Yes. Well, we had
great fun. And you should thank me for protecting your liquor cabinet
with my life."
"Thank you," he says.
Midori laughs at him. Somehow it's never bad when she
does that; never has been.
It's that he and Jin have all this catching up to do.
That's how Kame explains it, how it makes perfect sense.
He's in his car on the way to the agency, relaxed
because he knows Midori meant it. His only nervousness is the low level
kind he always gets when he goes into the agency, and he knows how to
deal with that. He'll be back home later, maybe take Midori out to
Just three days ago he had breakfast with Jin and a
hamster. An early breakfast, because Kame had appointments. Jin
buttered his toast like a sleepwalker and was utterly endearing.
Maybe Jin is still sleeping now. Fridays are… Jin has
He still wonders if he's asking things of Jin that make
Jin uncomfortable. If later, when he's by himself, Jin thinks with
distaste about how Kame behaves with him.
Because Kame forgets. Because the money happens
somewhere else and when Jin is happy like that, it's hard to remember
he shouldn't pet him in passing, or kiss him goodbye when Kame goes to
Though Jin started that one. Kame just didn't give it up
again. It makes the whole day different.
So maybe next week, Tuesday or Wednesday. Right now he's
worried about Midori feeling neglected but that's just the way the
question surprised him, he'll have more perspective tomorrow.
And here he is, at work, which he does a lot and always
did, and if he sees Jin more often… it's that they're catching up.
He has to wait for Hamaguchi, who is in a conference. He
accepts coffee from the receptionist and asks her about the new pieces
of Western art hanging on the light blue walls.
The receptionist is a tiny woman in her forties, and
Kame has seen her chew out messengers and cheeky interns, but she's
melted into smiling bliss by the time Hamaguchi shows up and he's let
into the lair of austerity. Kame isn't sure if it's his flirting or
that he noticed the picture of her new grandchild, but it's nicely
reassuring either way. It's a cute baby too, as babies go.
"I'm sorry for the wait," Hamaguchi starts. "A Saturday
morning shouldn't be this busy." She smiles, though, like the idea that
she'd rather be in some mall or at a beautician's is a funny joke.
"I haven't been waiting long, it's not a problem," Kame
says as he sits down. "And it's always nice to have a straightforward
"I wasn't sure if you wanted to take a break after all
these sword lessons. But I thought this one might interest you."
It's a revenge drama, she tells him. The character he's
meant to play is older again, about to turn thirty, and he has been a
cook for fourteen years. Now he wants to go after the son of his
"It's not a villain," she concedes with a thoughtful
tilt of her head. "But I thought a layered character like that might
It certainly does. He skims lines and flips through
pivotal scenes while she sits and just gives him the time. There's the
love interest, of course, and maybe three episodes down the road she'll
turn out to be his nemesis's sister. The nemesis has good stuff, too.
Somewhere in the third act there's a scene so
potentially gory and unsettling, he just knows Jin would hide behind
"It looks promising," Hamaguchi remarks, leaning back in
her bossy chair in that way that made him feel dismissed when he was
younger, until he figured out it was just her version of a fistpump.
"You'll like the producer."
Kame flips back for the note on top; Haga Jirou. They've
never worked together, but Kame has heard of him, he's got a whole
string of successful productions to his name.
"I'm definitely interested," he says, and she actually
"I'm very glad. I had to wrestle KE's Nakano for it."
"Oh, is that how it works?" he asks, though he has no
idea whose agent she's talking about.
"Yes, they make us all get in a cage and throw the
spring dramas down from the top."
"I was wondering." He doesn't add he wouldn't want to
get between her and something she wants. With cage wrestling in the mix
it would probably insult her femininity. "Anyone else they have in mind
She shakes her head slowly and tells him the first focus
is, naturally, the lead.
He flips through the pages again and gets stuck on a
scene involving scallops and white wine. Even in plain writing it
Poor guy, giving up a happy cook existence. Fourteen
years of scallops and he trades it in for things with knives.
"Well, it's not like people just forget something like
that," Hamaguchi shrugs when he wonders out loud. She'd probably know.
They never do in dramas.
So that was a good start to the weekend. He's got his
photocopy of the script and he'll show it to Midori later, he's sure
she'll like it too. And on the way home he goes shopping.
He picks the kind of place where he doesn't have to
worry about keeping his collar up and his sunglasses on. It's fun like
it hasn't been in a while, trying on different shirts and coats he
doesn't really need and letting an excited shop assistant with excited
fluttery hands fuss over him.
What he buys is always on the safe side, of course, but
that doesn't keep him from enjoying nice fabrics and understated
designer accents; cuts that make him look taller than he is and colours
that contrast with the dark hair.
He likes looking good, and when he's got someone he
likes to please he feels a little less vain and a little less silly.
He picks up a novelty designer tie that has little
soccer balls on it and smiles when he imagines Jin laughing. He knows
he'd wimp out on wearing it in the end even if he bought it, but it's a
pleasant thought anyway.
Only now he has to convince the shop assistant he's
really not into the golf and sailing versions.
Making the fans happy is a different exercise. He cares
about dressing well, of course, likes it when the pictures turn out
satisfactory. But that's work, and part of what he's good at. Nothing
at all like a slow look from Jin, that sharp little moment when Jin
realizes that Kame looks good for him.
Jin wouldn't have to find him attractive. Not with all
the chances for comparison, and when Jin is so good-looking himself,
and certainly not after what happened between them.
It's there, while he's facing a mirror blazing red with
a ridiculously priced shirt, that it comes back from somewhere deep
down, under the smiles and the dreams, under stolen moments that
couldn't get any better or closer, and he sees Jin going blank and dead
beneath his anger, Jin's shoulders pressed low into the bed, Jin wet—
No. That part is over. It's over.
Jin wouldn't be with him like this if it weren't.
Kame takes two shirts he liked and a black jacket with…
pockets he thinks. Says he is done, smiles for the shop assistant and
thanks him, as he always would. Buy, smile, go home. Don't think of it.
How can Jin be like that with him? Let Kame indulge
himself and act like they are boyfriends?
He never managed to reach an answer, but then he never
liked the questions, either.
So he pays. The jacket is expensive. Could maybe pay a
normal person's rent, if Kame knew anything about normal people anymore.
Jin is… what Kame pays, it could pay for a lot.
Kame grabs his bags and fumbles his sunglasses on,
pulling in his head.
There's nothing dangerous about being flattered. Nothing
underhanded about an escort perfecting his service with ego stroking
and guessing that a client will like personal truths and teasing rib
counts. It doesn't even have to be some sort of joke.
Nothing one needs to worry about. At worst it's a job. A
job well done, maybe weirdly so, with so much history there and plenty
of room for a grudge.
Kame would carry a grudge. Most people would. Why Jin
doesn't, why Jin would let him—
Why would he even like him?
It takes him all the way back to his car to remember
that Jin's a crappy liar. That Jin turned down all the money from a
golden shower. That Jin brought him a hamster.
And even if he doesn't know and can't ask and can't
demand an answer, there's no reason to be hiding in a parking garage
with his chest tight and his heart thumping like he's jumped out of the
way of a subway car.
Monday 9 February
Jin lights a cigarette as he leaves the hotel. There's
something about Ishida's come… he doesn't want to speculate. At any
rate, the sharp nicotine burn down his throat deals with it quickly.
And at least Ishida picked a hotel closer to home this
time. On his last trip, he was inspecting shops all the way out in
Akabane and that's where his hotel was, but this one is only a dozen
bus stops from Jin's part of town, no changes, and somewhere during the
afterglow chit-chat Jin realized that if he rushed a little, he'd still
manage to catch the nine-fifty-five.
Two blocks down, and he can see the queue, and he made
it. The bus pulls up just as he gets there, and he stubs out the
cigarette, smiles to himself.
Easy money, easy night, and he'll have time for a nice
bath before he tries to write some music.
It's not his normal bus stop; different line, different
street, but still less than ten minutes from his apartment and the
streets are well lit. It's not too cold a night. He walks fast but
there's no reason to rush.
It's been a light day and still profitable, just the way
he likes it. He had a relaxation at the club earlier, the usual Monday
husbands showing up right on time. Then he got Shota to help him with
the make-up because he's still not great at that. Ishida himself is
quick and to the point and Jin's used to the way he likes to watch him,
just switches off.
Tomorrow he's seeing Kame again, where he doesn't even
want to switch off; where it gives him a funny buzz to know Kame likes
what he sees. Where he gets paid to have a nice evening.
Taka-chan is back with Yuuya, and Jin's not going to
ever tell him where she hung out.
And then it's going to be Wednesday and the banker, and
an early knock-off if he wants, and then his day off. Until Friday, he
knows exactly what's waiting for him.
He doesn't care about where he is in the ranking, but
having things all under control like the top guys is kind of cool.
Is that Tomo? He stops and looks left down the
intersection, the bar's that way, and yeah, it's Tomo all right, waving
a bit, and Jin stops and waves back. "Hey there."
It's okay, he tells himself, he's wearing the suit but
he's coming from work, waiters have to be well-dressed, too, and he did
say it was a classy place.
"Early night?" he asks Tomo, and Tomo nods with a little
frown. He's hunched up in his much-loved denim jacket, hands stuffed
into the pockets.
"The volleyball team didn't show up, and Monday's so
dead otherwise, there was no point staying open. You?"
"Yeah," Jin says, "Got out early, too. Light night."
And he falls silent because Tomo's looked at him
properly for the first time and hasn't stopped looking and he's not
looking at the suit.
"Wow," Tomo says. "You… uh." He raises a hand and Jin's
not sure where it's going but he can't move; but after a helpless
little twirl of his finger, Tomo drops it again. "It's pretty—"
Jin bites his lip.
"It's pretty," Tomo says, almost
like he doesn't want to. It could be the streetlights, but Jin thinks
he's blushing. Jin isn't, he knows that, too, can feel it in the way he
can't breathe. Can't talk, either, and Tomo's giving him a look like
he's just noticed that, stops staring at him and takes a step back.
"It's none of my business," he says, with that quick smile Jin knows.
Jin can just about stop himself from grabbing his arm so
he doesn't move further away.
"Can we talk?" he manages.
"It's no big deal," Tomo says, "really. It's… some host
club, right? Don't worry, I'm not freaking."
Host club. He could say that. Tomo would probably like
him to, and he'd trust him, and wouldn't freak.
Jin's so sick of this.
"Not a host club," he says. "Can we talk somewhere not
"Okay," Tomo says quickly, "sure, okay. Your place?"
Jin nods. "If that's okay. I have beer."
"Beer," Tomo says, "sounds good."
They talk about the weather on the endless five-minute
walk to Jin's apartment, and it's one of the most bizarre things Jin's
ever done. Somehow chaos theory and butterflies in the tropics have
been mentioned by the time Jin unlocks his door, and then he is
grateful to Tomo for holding up both sides of their weird conversation
while Jin manages not to run into the bathroom and scrub it all off,
and instead gets the beers and opens them and hands over a bottle, and
Jin makes himself unthreatening in his corner of the
couch. "Not a host club," he says. "A sex club." And then, because he
really doesn't want to leave room for misunderstandings and he doesn't
want to say it more than once, he adds, "I have sex with guys. For
Tomo is chewing on his bottom lip, mulling that over. No
doubt he knows the word for people like Jin.
"So that's… your job?" he says in the end.
"Yeah. Not a waiter. I'm sorry."
He can move out of this area. He wanted to move anyway.
It can't be that hard to find a place.
"So the…" Tomo moves his bottle in a vague circle to
indicate Jin's outfit, Jin's appearance. "You were working earlier?"
"Yeah." So many things he could say, like how he doesn't
always wear make-up, or washes it off, and this was just bad luck, but
he knows none of that's important. What's important is how Tomo is
sitting there with his untouched beer, looking at him with this little
frown, and thinking. Jin wonders what he's seeing when he looks at him
now; if he's picturing him with a cock in his mouth, or with his ass up
for some guy, or if he's running through all the possibilities one by
one because this seems to take forever, and Jin's beer starts to feel
sweaty and warm in his hands.
"Right, okay," Tomo says. And he finally drinks from his
Jin doesn't quite dare yet.
"I'm sorry," he says. "I didn't mean to lie, just…
well, okay, I meant to lie about it. Sorry."
"No, that's… that's okay, I get that," Tomo says. "I
guess I'd lie, too."
"Yeah…" Who wouldn't, after all.
"I won't tell anyone," Tomo offers. "If you're worried
"Yeah, thank you," Jin says stupidly. He didn't think
Tomo would do that, anyway. But it's polite to say thank you. "But—"
Are we cool? He doesn't know how to
ask that or whether, if he asks, the answer will mean much.
Tomo is looking at him again. Looking at his mouth with
the lip gloss Jin had forgotten about, and who knows where it takes him
in his head. And everything else still seems so normal, Tomo in one of
his faded bar t-shirts on Jin's couch, with beer.
Tomo starts. "Oh god, I'm sorry."
"It's okay. It's probably normal."
"It's fucking rude."
Jin shrugs. He's used to it. Part of the job, and the
job caught up with him tonight.
"Drink your beer," Tomo says.
"Beer. Meant for drinking," Tomo says patiently. "Yours
is getting warm and flat."
Jin has to laugh, but it doesn't last. He takes a sip to
appease the guy who knows about beer. "Better?"
Tomo's smiling. "Watch me." He tilts the bottle over his
mouth and takes three… five… six deep gulps. Then he points at Jin.
Okay. If that's what Tomo wants right now… okay. Jin
empties his bottle and raises his eyebrows pointedly.
Tomo grins. "Be like that." He drains the last of his
bottle, too. "I just think sometimes… beer helps," he says more
seriously. "Like… me, I'm not really sure what to say right now. It's
all kind of unexpected. And you – you're not saying much of anything at
all. So that's not helpful. Therefore, beer."
"I don't know what I can say, really. There's not much
to say, and I don't want to make it worse." It feels good to admit at
least that much.
Tomo gives him a long look. "I bet there's a lot to
say." But then he frowns. "I feel like I need an etiquette book,
though. I mean, I… want to ask stuff, but do you just not want to talk
about it? And I don't know how to ask anything without sounding like a
"You're still here," Jin says. His voice is off pitch
suddenly and embarrassing. "So you're not a jerk. Ask what you like."
He's slowly starting to feel things again, in a blurry
sort of way. And he's grateful, and nervous, and ashamed, and maybe
nuts because he kind of wants the questions.
"Okay, right," Tomo says, and Jin gets them more beer.
"So it's… what kind of place is it, where you work? Is it okay?"
"It's pretty exclusive. Not everybody can get in, and
it's expensive, and people come for a good night out, not just sex. So
the wh— workers get treated pretty well, and we have to be okay just
talking and making the clients feel relaxed. For the first couple of
months I was afraid I'd get sacked because I wasn't good enough."
Weird, how that's just a memory now, how it seems so long ago since he
last worried about that.
Tomo's smiling, like the universe has become familiar
again. "Yeah," he says, as he seems to remember the many ways Jin sucks
at small talk, "I didn't think that would be your kind of thing." He
picks at a frayed end at the toe of his sock. "So it's a bit like a
host club after all?"
"Yeah, only eventually the guys want sex, anyway." Jin
only thinks for a moment before he decides to add, "That can be the
"You don't mind it?" The sock is forgotten, Tomo's
looking straight at Jin, looking like he wants to know.
"I mean, you don't have to say you do, it's okay if you don't. It's
better if you don't. Just, you know."
"I mind." That's important, no matter what Tomo thinks.
"Just, it becomes kind of normal after a while, and then it just kind
of… is. I've learned not to let it get to me much."
Tomo seems not exactly reassured. Maybe Jin said it
wrong; maybe Tomo's wondering now how many guys you can do it with in a
day, one after the other until it is normal, and Jin holds his breath
so he doesn't panic and babble and say things Tomo wouldn't want to
"How did you end up there, anyway?"
"The manager picked me up in Shinjuku." He catches
Tomo's puzzled look and adds, "I was sleeping rough, doing street. My
folks kicked me out and my boyfriend left and I didn't have a job or a
place to stay. Long story."
There's a pause. Tomo's picking at his sock again, but
he's looking at Jin. "That sounds horrible," he says.
Jin shrugs again. It's neither here nor there now.
"And this… it pays well, at least?"
"Depends a bit on how much people like you, and what you
do. If you're up for anything or if you have limits. But yeah, it pays
"Probably better than my three jobs taken together."
"I'm afraid so." Jin feels a bit guilty about that.
"Hey, but that's only fair," Tomo says instantly. "Not a
lot of guys would even do that, so it makes sense it's expensive." He
stops with a blink. "Sorry. That sounded weird. I didn't mean it like—"
"It's okay," Jin says quickly. "I know, okay? I think
you're right." He doesn't mention the street, and how little it took.
In general Tomo's right. Because Tomo's thinking and he's trying to
"Shitty jobs, all shitty in different ways," Tomo
concludes, and that… that sounds almost cool to Jin. "And I guess those
rich guys wouldn't want just any plain old guy."
"They're pretty plain old guys themselves, mostly." Jin
doesn't know why that suddenly seems funny. Maybe it's the beer.
Tomo scrunches up his face. "I don't think I needed that
picture," he says. "Is it pretty disgusting?"
"Not as bad as street," Jin says quickly. "I mean,
they're usually clean and stuff. And some are even fairly young. Just
And then there's Kame who seems as young as Jin
sometimes, and other times so much more older, until the next crazy
idea chases the mood away or Jin manages to make him stop thinking.
"Is that how you know those two guys at the bar?" Tomo
says, and Jin sprays his mouthful of beer over the couch between them.
He's coughing, and waving 'No' with his hand, and he
can't talk and maybe that's a good thing because that gives him time to
think. Tomo has dashed to the kitchen for some paper towels. Jin stands
licking beer off his hands and tries not to touch his suit and tries to
think, damn it. And then he laughs.
"Look at me," he says, and he stands still for Tomo to
take it all in again, the suit and the hair and the eyeshadow and lip
gloss. "This is how I dress for clients. Grubby jeans don't really cut
it. And no sane whore lets a client in his private space."
He waits. Half a lie, for Kame's sake, and he hopes
it'll work and he won't have to tell a whole one.
Tomo nods, wet paper towels bunched up in his hand until
Jin takes them off him. "Yeah, that makes sense. I guess you don't
really want to make friends with those sorts of people."
They wash their hands one after the other at the sink,
and Tomo says he knows some miracle stuff to spray on the stains on the
"It's not like that," Jin finally says. He needed to
think about it, about what to say, whether to say anything. "Not
always, anyway. These guys, they have their reasons too. And some are
really okay. Even nice. It's just dangerous, letting them get too
And knowing that it's dangerous doesn't make a blind bit
Tomo nods like he gets it, frowns like he finds it all
kind of sad.
"It's all about the money," Jin says. "That's the whole
point, getting the money and getting out. The rest isn't important."
"You've got a plan?"
"I didn't when I got into it, I just worked enough to
get by, but I've got one now. I'm saving up, and at the club I can make
enough in a year or two that I'll be able to get out, pay my way
through an apprenticeship, keep a cheap apartment, and still have
fallback money if a real job doesn't work out right away. I'm not going
on the street again."
Tomo's looking around; eyes travelling over the shiny
furniture, the soft clean carpet, the tone-in-tone concept. "That why
you want out of here and into something cheaper? To save money?"
"That, and also, this belongs to the club. When I quit,
I can't stay here."
"Right." Tomo looks around with this new knowledge just
like Kame did. Then he nods solemnly. "I'll remind those people I
asked. I didn't realize it was that urgent, with this being a nice
place and all."
Jin has to smile. He's glad he can. "Soon would be
great," he confesses.
Tomo tells him he delivered groceries for a family who
had moved and the wife tried to talk him into taking back the produce
because somehow they'd managed to forget their fridge. Just a story
from his job, like always. "But their apartment would be too big for
you, even if it was too small for them."
He's got deliveries early tomorrow too, not that he
shows any sign of moving. "Lots of little loads," he says, "and then
I'm hitting the METRO for the bar, we're running low on paper towels
and stuff again." He gives Jin a speculating sideways look. "You know,
I should take you there next time. You can get your instant ramen even
cheaper, and some other stuff, too." He grins. "Save up money faster."
Jin grins back. "That would be extra cool."
Tomo seems very pleased with that plan.
Jin's body feels like a bag of rice when he slumps back
in the corner and thinks giddily how he called this a light day. "You
know what?" he says. Tomo waggles his eyebrows at him, only he kind of
sucks at that, which is also funny. "Nobody knows this," Jin says.
"Knows… what your work is?"
"That I'm a whore." He giggles when Tomo frowns. Maybe
he should stop drinking.
"You should stop calling yourself that. It's not a nice
word," Tomo says.
"Not a nice job," Jin shrugs. "But anyway, not my point.
Nobody knows except you. Well, and the clients, but they don't know me,
my real life. Most of them only know the… me when I work. And nobody
who knew me first knows about the work. Just you."
"Really?" Tomo thinks for a moment, and laughs a little.
"And I think I even would have bought the host thing, until you went
all big secret on me."
"But I'm glad," Jin says. "I'm glad somebody knows, and
I'm glad it's you."
Tomo smiles. "I'm glad, too. And I won't be weird about
it. Can I have more beer?"
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