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The Same Deep Water As You

by Solo & Jo

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Chapter 51


Saturday 14 March, 14:05

It's a creaky little elevator, with sickly green metal panelling and worn buttons, but scrubbed clean all the way into the corners. Jin is wearing his most harmless fixed smile and ignoring the rose perfume filling the air.

The landlady is wiping at the deformed cats scratched into the metal next to the buttons with her very white handkerchief. "That was those children from downstairs," she says apologetically. Jin's not sure the lines get any softer from a handkerchief but he just nods and smiles and concentrates on looking very respectable.

"I hope they're not still giving you grief, Kuwabara-san," Tomo says, which makes her smile turn shiny and fluttery.

"Oh, they've grown all out of that now," she says and tucks the cloth back into her bag. "This is a very quiet house."

Jin nods. And smiles. He hasn't slept enough.

The apartment is on the fourth floor again. He decides to take it as a good sign. "Here we are," Kuwabara-san announces in a bright busy voice.

The floor smells of old linoleum, but there are a few pictures on the walls, of waves and bonsai trees. Jin counts three doors.

The empty apartment is on the far left – good for noise, bad for heat, Jin thinks automatically. When the door swings open, it's on a tiny, immaculately clean room, which is empty except for a small beige kitchen unit along one wall. A slice of sunshine is just starting to creep in through the window.

Afternoon sun. Nice.

"Please, do step in," the landlady says, so they kick off their shoes and wander inside.

"We had the walls repainted and the floors cleaned by a special company after dear Tanaka-san departed." She's addressing herself to Tomo, whom she clearly expects to know about dear Tanaka-san, and who nods with a smile.

"It's very nice," Jin says. The floor is a decent wood imitation, the kitchen unit plain and only a little old-fashioned. He can cross the room in five steps, but that's big enough. From the window, he has a view of a bus stop, a conbini, and a little park with a fountain.

"Yamashita-kun said you were looking for a quiet environment," Kuwabara-san says with a watchful little smile.

"Yes," Jin says instantly. "I work a lot so I rely on being able to sleep peacefully when I get home." Regular income, check. Quiet neighbour, check. She'll ask about his job now.

"Oh yes," she says brightly. "That's very important. There are many elderly people on this floor, and they used to get very upset when the families downstairs were noisy. What sort of work do you do?"

"I work as a waiter at the Park Hyatt." Plausible job, check; classy workplace, check. Tomo looks secretly satisfied. They practiced that in the bar on Thursday.

"Oh, so you must have to work late quite a lot?" Kuwabara-san asks sympathetically.

"Yes," Jin says, because there's no way around that. "Like Yamashita-kun, I guess." They both smile at her. She likes Yamashita-kun. "I can shower at work, though, which is very convenient." No late-night plumbing noises. Check.

"Ah, that's good, isn't it," she says, before she invites him to check the drawer and doors on the cupboard below the gleaming sink. Jin takes that as a good sign, too. He tries hard not to yawn when she explains the cooker was replaced just three years ago.

"This is a very pretty place," he says.

"The bathroom is over there," she says. "If you'd like to take a look."

They both look, Tomo just a step behind; it's tiny and spotless and in a horrible pastel yellow. There is even a small bath with a familiar-looking handrail.

"Not bad," Tomo mutters. "That's about the only thing that's larger than in yours." He smirks, too, probably at the colour.

"I like it," Jin says, and then they stand there, and Jin doesn't know what else to ask or inspect that wouldn't be too nosy. Not much more to look at, either.

"Now," Kuwabara-san says brightly, "I was going to check in on Yamada-san, she mentioned a little issue with her radiators, and my husband and I like to take care of things right away. So if you'd like to talk amongst yourselves for a moment… excuse me for a few." She gives them another warm smile, like she's sure they won't have anything bad to say about this apartment.

"Please give Yamada-san my regards," Tomo says with a little bow which is totally shameless and makes Kuwabara-san very happy.

"I bring her stuff, too," Tomo explains when the landlady has bustled away, leaving the door just ajar.

"I guessed," Jin grins. Tomo knows everybody.

Tomo is inspecting the windows, wrinkling his nose when the handle of the left needs a bit more pull. "So, what do you think?" he asks in a lowered voice.

"I like it," Jin repeats; shrugs. "It's local, it's clean. Nice bonsai pictures."

Tomo laughs. "Yeah. You shouldn't pay more than two months' rent in key money, by the way."

Jin is glad for the advice, though he's not sure he's got much negotiating skill. And he really does like the place. "I'll have to buy furniture, too."

"Yeah." Tomo sticks his hands in his pockets, tapping the floor; it cushions the noise. "I saw your guy on TV yesterday."

Jin's guy. Jin has to smile. Tomo doesn't know yet how right he is.

"Yeah," he says. "I guess it was hard to miss."

"So his wife's ditched him?" Tomo seems curious. Not sympathetic, but at least he doesn't look like he wants to add 'serves him right' or anything like that. "That was pretty quick, wasn't it."

Jin turns and leans against the windowsill, so he can have the door in view. "He's found himself a boyfriend," he says quietly. He lasts for about three seconds before he breaks into a grin.

"Boyfriend." Tomo is staring at him, and Jin can't stop grinning. "You're not…"

"I am," Jin says. "But don't tell anybody."

Tomo's stare turns into a frown. "Are you sure you know what you're doing?"

"Pretty sure. I'm not being stupid, okay? I mean, here I am looking for an apartment. And he's left his wife."

"So… he'll pay for this?" Tomo gives a little wave around the empty apartment. "What if he suddenly… stops?"

Dumps you, Jin can read into the pauses of that.

"I pay for it. I have a job."

"What job— you're not keeping that job?" Tomo hisses under his breath. Now they're both watching the door like hawks. "You hate it."

"It's the only one I have. It makes me money. Money to pay for my own apartment."

Kame saw the point of that, over a fragile cup of coffee this morning. Jin's glad he didn't have to fight about it more.

"And he lets you?"

"Not his decision to make," Jin says. It sounds harsh, like that, but, well. Can't be helped. He shoves his hands in his pockets, too. His nice black Kame jacket. "I can't just drop everything. I've been stupid over a guy before. Didn't end well."

There are voices in the hallway, the two women saying polite goodbyes. Tomo is weighing this and that in his head, looking conflicted.

"What if anybody finds out?" he asks then. "Doesn't he worry about that? I mean, it's bad enough now, but if people know he's dating an escort…"

"They won't find out," Jin says. "All the people who know are under some sort of confidentiality rule, except one."

"You just told me."

"Yeah, that's what I'm saying." Jin nudges him just as the door starts to edge open again. "Don't pass it on."

*~*~* 18:38

Seven more hours.

Jin fidgets around on the barstool, willing his foot to stop twitching whenever he takes his mind off it for a moment. He has a sip, makes a face; catches Jiro's sympathetic look, Weird night for everyone.

He's getting really sick of the taste of coffee. Kame takes his with three sugars, and Jin's starting to consider it. Second cup from the bar, sixth one since this morning with Kame, and it's not helping anymore.

Seven more hours of this. The night's barely started.

He scans the thin crowd; people are just trickling in. No use being in a hurry, he's got Yamatani later, and right now he's waiting. But he'll try harder today.

He just hopes he won't fall asleep with some guy trying to get his dick into places. That could turn awkward.

The TV screen above the bar is off again today, but he still catches Kame's name in conversations here and there. He's staying out of them. He'll find something fascinating to say about motorsports. Or the cherry blossom season.

He stops his foot twitching again. He needs more coffee, and he also has to pee.

The phone at the concierge desk rings and the duty concierge answers. It's brief; Jin only notices because he's been watching. The guy hangs up and then heads towards him. Right.

"Ootomo-san will see you now."

Jin nods, professionally cool. "Thanks."

He gulps down the rest of the coffee, stops by the toilet on the way. It's only in the elevator that his legs go a little wobbly, and it's probably not the caffeine.

But he's rehearsed this.

The room is about three degrees above freezing as usual, and Jin resists the urge to stuff his hands in his trouser pockets. Ootomo's shirt is short-sleeved, with a swirl of green leaves and yellow parrots. He's hung the respectable jacket for clients up in a corner.

"Thank you for seeing me so quickly," Jin says. Only made him wait half an hour. Ootomo grunts and waves him to sit.

"About Kamenashi, you said?" There's a put-upon sigh. "I hope there's not more now. We didn't need this." Jin's guess is the club didn't do too well last night either.

He doesn't point out that Kame needed it even less. It's not what he's here for.

"So what's it about him now? He hasn't contacted us…" There's a bit of an implication in Ootomo's look that if it was important, surely Kamenashi-sama would have spoken to management, not to his whore of the day, but Jin doesn't care about that, either.

"He'll call you tomorrow," he says instead. "He just wanted to give me a chance to talk to you first."

Now Ootomo's look grows wary. "Talk… well, here you are. So what do you have to talk to me about?"

"Kamenashi-san and I have agreed that we want to have a private relationship, not a professional one. We are going to be boyfriends."

Ootomo studies him owlishly for a while. Then he shakes himself. "Oh boy."

Jin sits very straight and very tight. Look confident and respectful, just like with the landlady. At least he's awake again.

"So I thought I should inform you that Kamenashi-san and I won't be having club dates any more and no money will change hands."

That dumbfounded look really isn't good on him. Eventually he's leaning back in his chair, very slowly. "How much is he giving you, boy?"

"I told you…"

"Just expenses? Allowance? It's no crime to quit," Ootomo says, though he looks nothing like it. "I'm just curious."

Jin catches himself licking his lips. He's fidgeting again. "I'm not quitting. I mean, I don't want to." And suddenly his mouth is dry because for all that he told Kame and Tomo, if he gets fired the whole thing about being safe and independent is kind of moot. He tries a smile, for confidence, but stops when it doesn't come out right. "I just want to have a boyfriend. Like… there's other people here. With boyfriends."

Ootomo is digesting that. It's a longer process. "And you're asking me to believe…" He's staring so hard Jin thinks he might need eye drops. Then he wipes his hand over his face. "Right. It's you. Never mind."

Jin's not sure what that means, but Ootomo's frown has turned into the usual management hassle annoyance, and the relief is like little cool trickles down his back.

"All right," Ootomo huffs. "So we'll enjoy your company for a while longer. Good to know you haven't gone completely insane."

Yeah. He's glad he's got the Ootomo seal of approval for his life plans.

"Pays to be cautious," Ootomo adds, scratching his gel-slicked hair. "Not everybody's a Takizawa, you know?"

"No," Jin says tamely, and resigns himself to the fact that he's going to hear about that story a lot from now. But if it helps Ootomo relax, whatever.

"So. If you want to drop your best client, that's your choice."

"Yes." What do you say to that? "Thank you."

"But what goes for the others goes for you too," Ootomo reminds him. "I don't want you moping around on a Friday night and scampering home at nine because you want to cuddle with your boyfriend, understood?"

"Yes, of course." He stops himself from fidgeting again, makes himself focus because with every concession won, the fatigue is nipping at his concentration more. "I— I was wondering. If I could sometimes take one extra early night. During the week, when there's not much going on. Because…" Because Kame has a tight schedule, and Ootomo stopped caring about Kame's tight schedule the minute Kame stopped paying his employees for sex. Right. "You know. Um. Maybe Tuesdays."

Ootomo weighs that weightily. "Your money, your call," he concludes, with narrowed eyes. "Fine. Occasionally. Don't let it get out of hand."

"Thank you."

"But weekends, holidays, high traffic days, you're here, are we clear? And I don't want complaints from the clients that you can't get it up, either."

"Yes," Jin says. "I'll be there. And I'll totally get it up. I promise."

Ootomo frowns at him for another moment, but his lips are twitching weirdly. "Well," he says in the end, "you better get back down there, then. Find yourself some new regulars."

"Yes," Jin says readily. "I'll do that. Except, I mean, I have a comfort later, but in general. I'll do that."

Ootomo nods. "Get out of here."

Jin bows and bows again as he walks backwards towards the door.

"Oh," Ootomo says, "and go put some make-up on. You look like death warmed over. Tell your boyfriend he's not allowed to wear you out."

That, Jin thinks, probably counts as 'please convey my respects to Kamenashi-sama'.

"He's planning to call you tomorrow," Jin says politely. "No doubt he'll be grateful for any advice you can give him."

 

Sunday 15 March

He's more awake on Sunday. Sleep's good, his own bed useful, even if he missed Kame. They talk on the phone a lot now. Well, call each other. Sometimes there are silences. But those are nice, too.

He sleeps past noon; talks to Kame, talks to the landlady, tells her he hasn't changed his mind. Then he goes to the club, where he gives Yuuya his shirt back, says hi to Yamatani, and fucks some fifty-something executive who likes to have his hair pulled. He even scores a relaxation after, and that feels good, second day in a row he didn't suck at his job, he's making the money he told Kame he has to make. He's pleased with himself when he decides he's done, shortly after eleven.

He calls Kame before he even showers, from outside behind the dumpsters with a cigarette, just in case Kame needs an early night. Kame picks up with a smile in his voice. "Hey there."

"Hi." God, he's so lame. But he's grinning from ear to ear. "How's it going? Any new developments since four thirty?" Kame was on a break from filming at four thirty.

"I played with fake jellyfish," Kame reports. "They felt weird." There's a pause. "And you?"

"All good," Jin says easily. "Jun fell over on the treadmill and has a giant shiner." He banked that one when it happened; it's useful.

Kame laughs. "Poor man."

"Yes, it's all very sad." He has a few quick puffs on the cigarette when he realizes he totally forgot about it. "So… you're at home? Getting some rest?"

"I got in two hours ago…" And there's another pause, and Jin is wondering, and then Kame asks first, "Would you like to come over?"

Jin's heart does a ridiculous little skip; they're boyfriends, it's not unexpected. But he stays calm. "I'd like that," he says. "But… I've been at work, right? You know that?"

He barely gets time to finish the sentence. "That's how it's going to be," Kame says, in the sort of upbeat voice that makes Jin instantly suspicious. "We knew that. So, might as well start, right?"

"Right."

"I've been at work, too. I want to see you. I'd rather see you after work than not at all."

Jin feels a silly grin on his face. It's working. They're working it out. "I'll be quick," he promises.

And so he ends up at Kame's in record time, shower and change and subway, at least he is smart enough to have spare clothes with him now.

Kame is waiting at the door. He looks wonderful.

"Hi," Jin says, and wonders again if touching will be okay today.

He has his answer ten seconds later, when Kame has locked the door and turned to him and slid his hands inside Jin's half-open coat and is pulling him close.

Okay! That is very good.

It's much easier to feel Kame, under the light shirt he's wearing where Jin has a thick sweater, and Jin has just started wondering how Kame might feel about kissing when Kame starts to nibble at his neck and chin with an unmistakable hint.

Kissing is very good, too.

Eventually, Kame breaks free again. "Would you like to take off your shoes and come in properly?" he says with a breathless smile.

He gives Jin space to get rid of the coat, and that's when Jin can see beyond him into the apartment, see that the dining table is cluttered with papers and that the couch table has on it an ice bucket with Champagne, two Champagne flutes and a candle.

He shoots Kame a glance.

"I thought… well, I know you get Champagne a lot, and I'm not even that keen on it but it seemed appropriate somehow," Kame says. "I hope you don't mind. You don't have to drink any if you've had enough booze, I haven't opened it yet just in case."

"I'd like some," Jin says. It fits.

When he gets there he drops himself on the couch and leaves the work to Kame. Kame seems to enjoy doing it. He's cautious when he opens the bottle, though, doesn't make a show of it. There's something sweet about the soft rush of the Champagne into their glasses.

"Not that you'll go and do that every time now," he says when Kame hands him one, which makes Kame laugh.

"No." Kame sits down very properly, focused, holding up the glass. That's when Jin decides to kiss him some more before they can even clink their glasses together. "Not every time," Kame breathes eventually, and then they sit back, and drink, some soft poppy music of Kame's tinkling on in the background.

"It would be weird if there was a fuss whenever I went to see my boyfriend," Jin says, feeling the Champagne drive colour into his face.

Kame nods wisely. "Yes, that would be weird."

It's odd to sit here and not be on a date. Not that Jin's complaining. Kame looks tired but so much better than on Friday, and he's wearing the red shirt Jin likes, and he likes Kame's hands, too, and if Jin's days weren't full of sex and he wanted to, he could reach for Kame, and it would just be that; what he wants, what Kame wants. Nothing else.

"What are you smiling about?" Kame asks, smiling right along but being nosy anyway.

"Hm," Jin says. "That we can do whatever we like now. You know, for real."

Kame raises an eyebrow. "Now?"

Jin laughs. "Maybe not now, now."

Kame looks highly amused as he lets himself sink comfortably against the backrest. "Later now, then."

"Now, now I should really shower," Jin says.

"Oh. You didn't get a chance?"

"I did!" Does Kame really think he'd come here without… "Just, I don't know, it's different." It's getting clean by layers. And he doesn't want Kame to feel the club on him, ever again.

Kame leans his head back; his eyes are low. "Yeah, I get that. I'll be here."

But when Jin gets up Kame grabs him by the arm and pulls him down for another kiss, all awkward with Jin standing and aware of club layers, and Kame ruffling his hair. "I'll be here very alone," he says with big eyes and a duck mouth, and Jin has to laugh.

"Poor sweet baby." But he hurries anyway.

There's more stuff in the bathroom. Not much; a larger bottle of Kame's shampoo, a plain little jewelry box, an electric toothbrush Jin's never seen. Kame said he'd gotten some things from the house.

He rinses off quickly with his usual settings. His boyfriend's place. Not a date, not a money deal. It still feels so new.

New enough that he's badly organized, he realizes after towelling off. He bought new jeans for after work, but they're not really comfortable when he's tired and scrubbed to a warm glow, and he feels a little ridiculous putting outside clothes back on with his hair out of order.

But that's the other thing. No doing his hair at midnight just because that's the rules. He combs it back a bit, he's pretty sure Kame likes his face that way too, and then he's out again and can rescue the poor turtle boy from crushing loneliness.

Turtle boy is sitting hunch-backed on the sofa, playing with the candle. Jin is almost surprised Kame didn't go back to dealing with the paper things on the table, they look messy enough to be urgent.

He pulls his fingers away from the candle when Jin comes closer, and smiles. "Hey. You look beautiful."

Jin makes a face. His jeans pull tight when he sits down. "I should have brought something more comfortable. Um. Not that I'll just hang around in sweatpants now."

"I have sweatpants," Kame says. "You want? You look beautiful in sweatpants, too. Nobody should have to dress up at home after nine at night."

"You should talk," Jin says, nudging Kame's Prada-clad knee as he sits back down, closer than before.

Kame hunches in a little more, then nudges him back. "I want to look nice for you too."

He could make a joke, easily. About clothes, or being naked. But somehow he doesn't want to.

"But, I was wondering," Kame says. "Things like sweatpants and… that lotion you use… do you want to leave some things here?"

Jin thinks. He doesn't have a double set of everything like Kame does for the house and the apartment— did. But it's a good thought. Practical. And sweet. "That might be useful."

"You could have some closet space?" Kame sounds doubtful, though, and Jin briefly pictures a wardrobe swollen with Kame's fashion acquisitions and exploding if Jin adds as much as a sock. "I mean, if you like. I don't know if that's too fast. I don't really know how this works."

Oh… right. Rules for boyfriends. Kame should know, at least he was married, but maybe that was different. "I don't know if it's fast," Jin says, with a slow shrug. "The last guy I liked, I ran away with him, so. I don't really know how this stuff works either."

Kame looks at him weirdly, almost worried, which is stupid because that's all in the past.

"Anyway, I'd like the space," Jin says. "And if we both like it, it should be okay, right?"

Kame smiles as if Jin said a really clever thing. "Yeah, that should be okay."

"I'll make you some space too," Jin says, feeling daring. "Like, half a drawer, given the size of the new place. But enough for some underwear."

"So… I get invited to your new place?"

Turtle boy, master of dumb questions. Jin thumps him. What else are you going to do with that. "Of course you're invited. Hey, you can help me move, too."

"Yes." The idea seems to make Kame surprisingly happy. He's gorgeous when he looks happy. "I can totally do that."

"You're a bit scrawny for a mover, but, hmmm. You've got those nice strong arms."

"My new career," Kame says with a little snort.

"Did you hear anything more?" Jin asks.

Kame's mouth twitches. "I kept the yoghurt ad."

The suits, the shaving thing… Jin doesn't like what his stomach is doing. "What about the assassin movie?"

Kame licks his lips, shakes his head. "The bright side is, I'll have more time with you."

"Shit." The bright side can wait. This wasn't meant to happen. Kame wanted that movie. Kame talked about it all the time and he was so excited…

Kame shrugs. "It wasn't really surprising. Nobody wants their production associated with an ongoing scandal. It'll be different in a year."

"Right." But in a year, it won't be that movie, it'll be… whatever.

But Kame knows that. So Jin doesn't say it, he just reaches for Kame's hand, and Kame presses back quietly.

"I guess there's some profound meaning in there somewhere. People of dubious moral standards, still able to promote healthy bacteria."

Jin's not interested in meanings. Those stupid fucking idiots and their stupid fucking ideas, it's all so… fucking stupid. "I'm so sorry," he says, feeling useless.

"It could have been worse," Kame says. "My agent hates my guts but she's half on her way to optimistic, just because I kept the drama."

Still. "I guess you were right to be worried about people finding out…"

Kame's eyes go wide, and he sits very still. His hand is lifeless in Jin's. "I…" But he shuts up, and just stares.

"I said worry. Not go paranoid ass on people," Jin admits.

"Yeah," Kame says. "Yeah, I know. Just… that, the things… if I didn't worry so much I'd never have… and all that before." Kame pulls back his hand, and he's all rigid and pale, and fuck no, they didn't need this.

But then Kame sighs, closing his eyes. "Sorry. I won't… I'll get it together."

"Do," Jin says. He doesn't like how this is going. He doesn't need more apologies.

"Maybe I had it coming," Kame says, apparently to the floor. "I've been wondering."

"What coming?" Jin says sharply. "Bigots being bigoted at you? All that hypocritical trash? Bet you half these producers buy handbags for schoolgirls, and you deserve their shit?"

"No," Kame relents. "But… I…" He gives Jin a long, unfocused look, so uncertain it makes Jin reach out, pet him through the ridiculous Prada. Kame doesn't react to it. "I was such an ass. Worse. I did that… I wanted to hurt you. Just like that, just because I thought… and how could I even think… and even if…"

That again. It's pointless, and over. "Well, you weren't entirely with it," he says, and sees Kame open his mouth to protest. "And I wasn't afraid of you. Can you process this, please, somewhere in your stupid head?"

Kame blinks. "I… maybe?"

"And I was right not to be, and now we have an agreement, and you're going to stick to it, and we're going to be fine and once all those stupid people get over themselves, you're going to be a great sane film star and I'll fix cars and we're going to be very happy. Got it?"

Kame's look gets more focused. Searching… but what he finds seems to reassure him, and in the end he nods. "Yeah. Yeah, I got it." There's a bemused little smile, and finally Kame touches him back, with a hand that's all cold and sweaty. Jin squeezes it and doesn't let go.

"Oh, just…" Kame says then, thoughtfully, "…about the cars. I talked to Tanaka, and he'd like to talk to you."

"Hmm." Jin smiles a little; he's good at reasonable tonight. "Okay. Thank you." He draws little circles on the back of Kame's clammy hand. "Just, there's no pressure, right? About my job?"

Kame shakes his head very quickly. "No, honest. I promise. I talked to Ootomo too. So that's all… set."

Oh, right, that. "How did it go?"

"He seemed very reasonable, very polite. Understanding, almost."

Jin manages not to laugh. It's cool, though, it means no hassle. He nods. "Okay, great." And Kame has dropped the guilt trip, and they're planning for their future. It seems a good time to snuggle up closer. "So… Tanaka-san, how will this work, are you giving him my number? Should I write him a letter or something?"

Kame wraps his arm around him and almost unconsciously starts twirling some of Jin's hair around his fingers.

"I'd pass your number on, if that's all right with you."

"Yes, that's f—"

A clatter outside, too close, by the window, and they jerk apart, Kame's face pale, Jin's heart in his throat. Journalists, is what he thinks, and next, but the blinds are down, and then—

There's a creepy ghostly cry, and Kame sags together, blows out a long breath with puffed-up cheeks.

For fuck's sake.

"I'm going to kill her," Jin announces. "One day, when you run out of frozen chicken meals. There'll be a stirfry surprise."

Kame chokes a little laugh and pulls him closer, hugs him tight, so tight.

It's wonderful. Warmth spreading over the fright, and no rush and no urgency. Jin kisses Kame lightly, and when he draws his arms around Kame's shoulders it hits him again how this isn't a job, and he doesn't have to hide what he feels anymore.

The cat continues to make its cat noises outside in the dark, looking for food. It's starting to get to Jin a little.

Eventually he pushes himself off a bit. "I'll just see she's got enough meat on her by the time she hits your frying pan…"

"Hm?" Kame looks part asleep, part aroused. "Oh. She'll bite you."

"She'll know better," Jin says darkly. He stands and looks down at Kame. "And then we should maybe go to bed? It's late…"

Kame smiles, a brilliant smile. "Bed sounds good."

Jin takes first turn in the bathroom, and this time round, he notices that Kame has got him his own mug for his toothbrush – a plain white one with black music notation going around the top. It doesn't match anything else, and Jin smiles.

Music. Subliminal messages, or just because Kame knows what he likes. Either way, it's cute.

It's a different kind of new, to slip between the sheets this time and wait for Kame to finish in the bathroom. Friday was… there was too much stuff in their heads, they were too tired, too everything, and Kame was untouchable in his guilt. This is the real thing for the first time.

He wonders what Kame expects. That's one thing they haven't talked about yet – all that talking, and still stuff to clear up, not like anything can ever be easy.

Kame is damp and a little cool when he joins him, and Jin shudders before insisting nobly that boyfriends are for warming people up. Kame switches the light off and turns his nose into Jin's neck, dots kisses here and there and lets Jin play octopus.

Jin doesn't think he's hard. But he can't help wondering if he'd like to be. Isn't that what one does, first time in bed with a boyfriend? When one is normal?

Kame's hand starts moving, stroking gently down his side. Soothing, sweet. Not suggesting anything. Jin wonders if he's holding back, if he's thinking about Jin's job. Or if he's just enjoying this, just like Jin would be enjoying it if he could stop wondering so fucking much.

"What are you thinking about?" Kame says, and that's when he realizes he's been silent since they got into bed.

"Whoops, sorry," he says with a little smile.

"It's okay," Kame says. "Just wondering what that whirring sound was."

Jin laughs and somehow that helps him admit, "I was wondering if you wanted to do anything."

Kame is still stroking his skin, still lightly, his hands only hesitating a moment. "Do you?"

He had a comfort at eight. If he had to, he could… but he's not sure that's the right way to think about it, either. "I don't know… it's just, first night, and all…" Friday doesn't count.

Kame doesn't bring up Friday either. There's a rustle, a slide of something on the bedside table, and then the lights come on, soft and dimmed, and Kame looks at him. "I don't think there's rules that say we have to," he says gently. "And I thought you might be… tired."

… tired. As far as code goes, it could be worse.

And Kame makes himself comfortable again, his head on his outflung arm, and his smile is warm, reassuring.

Jin traces his eyebrows with the pad of his thumb. When Kame's not wearing TV make-up you can sometimes see where they'd grow wild if Kame let them. "We could," he says. "It's been a while for you too… "

"That doesn't matter."

"It matters to me. I want to be a proper boyfriend."

"Proper boyfriends get to sleep when they're tired," Kame points out. "That matters to me." His eyes are much more awake now, and Jin is glad for the light, glad he can see Kame and know it's okay even as they're… figuring things out.

That's what they're doing. They are not having an argument over sex.

"And you're going to be here lots more nights," Kame adds. "We have lots of time. Lots of other first nights. So this is that kind of first night, just like this, and I'm really happy."

Jin never really thought about that; he doesn't even know how often Kame likes it when he sees someone a lot, doesn't have to hide from a wife. The thought of every night, or every other night, with all the clients in the mix…

But this, here, is great, lying here with Kame, and knowing they can when they want to and it's nobody's business but theirs, and he wishes he could be all for Kame—

"That whirring sound? It'll freak out the cat."

"Serves her right," Jin says automatically, and then Kame is kissing his forehead, and his nose, and his eyes, and it's weird how it calms his brain down, makes his heart feel drowsy.

And still they don't know about normal first nights or how Kame feels about still not getting any.

But Kame isn't the one who can know how many— how tired Jin is. And Jin thinks about what if the tables were turned, as weird a thought as that is, and what he would want.

"What if I just told you?" he suggests. "Like, when I'm really too tired."

Kame looks thoughtful, like he's not quite happy with the metaphor any more.

"Or when I just don't feel like it," Jin adds, and Kame seems to like that slant on it better, or maybe it deals with his worries better, worries he shouldn't have.

"Would you? Promise?"

"Yes. But then you have to tell me what you want too, I don't want to worry all the time that you're not even asking because you're— worried."

They're really a pair.

"I think," Kame says, his hand sliding down Jin's arms, finding his fingers, "that sounds like a good plan. Let's do it like that."

"Good." Jin squeezes back, and Kame's hand is hot and strong. "So."

"I really don't need anything else," Kame says without even hesitating, or wondering what Jin means. "I just want to be with you. Close to you. It's perfect."

Okay then. The new rule says to believe him, and Jin thinks the rule is right. They can be like this, and just sleep.

"Get the light," Jin says, and Kame grins as if getting orders from Jin is a fun and pleasing adventure.

~

Chapter 52

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