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The Same Deep Water As You

by Solo & Jo

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Chapter 55


Sunday 26 April

Jin gets to the club at seven, after a listless subway ride and an even more listless lack of Kame e-mails. It's tough when he has to tell Kame about specific assignments. He spends half the time imagining Kame imagining it, and it's not good.

At least the guy liked him. Jin dumps his stuff in the empty break room and grabs a towel, to go wash off all that appreciation. Nobody else on the floor, just a few muffled sounds from the gym. Seven is prime time for the lounge.

Back from the shower he realizes he needs a new suit, this one got all crumpled. And he's got mail, he finds when he empties the pockets. Not Kame. He's not too disappointed it's Tomo, that's also good. He smiles.

Tomo's bitching about his accountancy homework, some thing with spreadsheets Jin doesn't even understand. Jin laughs at the exclamation marks meant to convey Tomo's despair. But don't tell Emi-chan I whined about it, followed by a smiley with its hairs on end. Jin remembers they just told her parents about the engagement.

He's just about to hit reply when a second mail comes in. From Yuuya. Who ought to be working.

Heard u got in, r u okay? Gummy's hands down my pants but if u need to talk, let me know!!!

There are quite a few typos in it. Jin frowns. He didn't think the guy from this afternoon had a reputation.

He's just sending off his reply to Tomo, Ask your little brother, sure he knows what it means!, when the door opens, Danny with a damp towel around his neck and his curls plastered to his face.

"Oh god," he says. "Jin."

"Hi to you too," Jin says. "You're pretty late for the gym."

"Yeah…" Danny is frowning, looking around as if he's hoping to find some other colleagues hiding under the bench or in one of the lockers. "You… has anybody talked to you?"

What? "No, I just got here."

He's sure Danny is swearing under his breath, and now it's getting spooky. Is there some STD pandemic going around? Have they all been sacked?

"Okay," Danny says, wiping his face erratically with his towel. "Okay, don't freak, okay?"

"Okay," Jin says, and thinks this has to be a little freaky for Danny to… oh god journalists, or something, something with Kame…

"It's just," Danny says, "Junno told me he was talking to Jiro, and he heard from Jun that Jaejoong saw your… your boyfriend here earlier."

Jin blinks. "Here? Kame?"

"I only heard it from Junno," Danny says. "But, uh, yeah. He was talking to Kimura-senpai in the lounge. And he says that Jaejoong said to Jun that they went upstairs."

No journalists. No sacking, either. Right.

"Uh-huh," Jin says.

Danny holds up his hands. "Sorry, man. I thought I'd warn you, just passing it on."

Seems like everyone's joined in that effort. "Sure," Jin says. "Thanks." He turns back to his locker to get some clothes on.

Weird. But, well. Kame and Kimura-senpai go back a bit, maybe they had some unfinished business. And Kame hasn't been out much, with how safe they're playing it.

When he's ready to go down, Danny is still postponing his shower, apparently just so he can eye Jin warily.

"See you later," Jin says, trying not to frown. And off he goes.

*~*~*

It's a Sunday crowd, just thinning out with people getting down to business. One relaxation, Jin thinks. That's not too much to ask. Then he can get out of here.

He doesn't know if he'll go to Kame's. It can get weird when Kame knows he's had a client and for what. They can talk on the phone, maybe. Jin will think harder about some club stories where not even Kame can think of other guys' cocks anywhere near Jin.

He tries to catch some client's eye, but nobody seems unattached at the moment. The drunk businessmen in the Chrysanthemum corner don't pay him a single glance, but Takahisa looks up at him, his face freezing in a desperate kind of half-smile.

Time to join somewhere, where to join…

Jun is entertaining a small crowd, but when their eyes meet he gets a weird look on his face. Right, not sitting there. Then he sees Yuuya with Snapping-Dentures-Guy and waves. No problem here, he hopes his smile says, no urgent need to talk. Definitely no urgent need to talk.

He gets it, totally gets it, that Kame didn't want to come here when he might see Jin at work. It's hard enough on him at a distance.

Jaejoong and Tadayoshi are conferring in low whispers, their glances slipping in Jin's direction. Jin thinks they're debating something.

Okay, he'll get himself a drink first. Find his newly honed skill of not giving a fuck, and just sit down somewhere. Just one blow job, and he can get home.

"Jin," Jaejoong says. He's followed him to the bar and his face is full of worry. Oh man. "Do you have a moment?" His frown looks like there is some major gearing up going on behind it.

"Is this about Kamenashi-san and Kimura-senpai?"

Jaejoong nods doomfully. "You have heard?"

"Yeah. Danny told me that… Danny told me. Thanks for the concern, but it's cool."

"You knew?"

Jin shrugs. Can somebody come hit on him, please? "He can talk to whom he wants," he says.

There aren't many people Kame talks to right now. Kimura-senpai is a great guy. Sure he could have said something, but, well.

"I think they went upstairs together."

Yeah, well, if everybody keeps badgering you downstairs, that's not where you want to be. "Thanks," Jin says, and reminds himself Jaejoong means well. They're just looking out for him. But he's not going to discuss Kame with them either. "Really, it's cool."

Jaejoong gives him a suspicious look, but all he says is, "If you say so."

"Thanks," Jin says again, and looks around. "Not much of a selection here tonight…"

"I saw Eda-san a short while ago," Jaejoong offers helpfully.

For once, a story that didn't make it to everyone and their little hamster. "I'm no longer dealing with him," Jin says. "If you want to go after him…"

Jaejoong says, "Maybe," but it sounds doubtful. And then the concierge comes up to them.

"Jin-san, Ootomo-san would like to talk to you in his office."

For a moment Jin's heart skips. Ootomo too?

*~*~*

"…quite pleased, quite pleased with you, they were."

Well, yay. It's not about Kame. It's about that stupid party. Jin's not really keen on a play-by-play, but at least… it's not about Kame. And he's so not going to blush. He's been up here for worse than having his fucking praised.

"Especially one of them… I believe the two of you met on the morning?"

Oh, him. "Yeah."

"He's not a member, but, well, he has excellent connections, and he's quite the important business partner for Sato-sama. I was wondering if he might be an interesting addition to our club members, were he given the chance…"

"Uh," Jin says. He got called up here to be a character witness?

"Well, you have first-hand experience with the man, it would be a shame not to use that!" Ootomo says greedily.

"I don't know…" Who really knows. Maybe it's a longer phase. But if he doesn't say anything, and later it's an issue, well. "Not sure it'll be his thing, longterm."

Ootomo looks concerned. "Not solvent?"

"No, he's just, kind of… straight."

Ootomo makes an 'oh' face, blinks a few times, and seems to embark on some complicated mental readjustments.

Jin waits it out, pretends he's somewhere warm.

"But he did spend time with you?" Ootomo asks eventually.

That's a new phrase for it. "Yeah," Jin shrugs. "Seemed to feel like experimenting." He shrugs again. He doesn't like the way Ootomo's eyes are crawling over him, with a weird sort of curiosity. It reminds Jin of when Ootomo first stumbled across him in Shinjuku, and Jin didn't know if it was his mouth or the state of his clothes.

"And it went all right?" Ootomo asks, which is totally unnecessary, really. "He knew… what he was doing?"

"He was fine," Jin says. "But, well, I don't know. About a membership."

Ootomo finally stops studying Jin as if he's seeing him for the first time all over again. "Hm, you may be right. But he did ask for you again. For a whole night. Sato-sama passed on the request. Are you interested?"

Sure Jin's interested. Who turns down a rest? Not Jin, certainly; it's his first after Kame, if you don't count the party.

"Excellent," Ootomo says. "I'll get back to you about the time. Was there anything else?"

Jin thinks. It might be the best opportunity he'll get. "Actually, I was wondering… could I get one Saturday or Sunday off? Just once," he adds quickly. "In the next few weeks? I have to go somewhere and it won't work during the week…"

Ootomo gives a sigh, but it looks more token than heartfelt. "Yeah, okay. Just warn me, all right?" Okay, Straightboy and his friends really must have liked him.

He bows gratefully, and finally gets to go somewhere it's not twenty below.

He finds Kame's voice-mail when he goes to the toilet. Jin, I was hoping… but anyway, I know you're busy, I just called to… well I should have called sooner… I had some time and met up with Takuya-san today, to talk a bit. I hope you don't mind. I missed you last night.

It sucks when Kame's calls go to voice-mail. More imagining, Jin in the middle of seducing some guy, or sucking some guy, or whatever. But he must have been worried about what Jin might hear.

Just because he went and talked to somebody for a change. Like he can do anything about Kimura-senpai's job any more than he can do anything about Jin's.

He writes an e-mail back that it's cool, and that he doesn't know yet when he'll get out, things are slow. It means they probably won't meet or talk tonight, but Kame will like hearing it anyway. Slow, no clients, maybe none at all for the rest of the evening.

For an hour after he's back on the lounge floor it totally seems like it, and maybe he's lost his new-found mojo or maybe it's the way the other escorts are still looking at him suspiciously, that's got to unnerve the shyer sort of client. But eventually he ends up engaging in hilarious sign language with some short, perfumed French ambassador guy whom Tsukada has brought along and suddenly finds himself booked for three hours in a superior, where he finds out that the little guy has a cock that would make Shota with his famous deep-throating skills blink. Thankfully, he's not so interested in Jin's mouth.

"Still slow, having to stay late," he mails Kame while Monsieur Big Cock is in the bathroom between sessions. "Please go sleep? See you tomorrow night for sure!"

 

Monday 27 April

He does okay on Monday, too. Less of foreign and hilarious, more domestic and demanding, but hey. Money.

The last guy was a little unpleasant. Liked taking Jin to the edge, and then waiting again, over and over with his unpleasant hand and his unpleasant smile. Makes it hard to shut off.

But Jin bowed and said thank you, said he'd like to do it again. Now he gets to go home. He's exhausted and fed up, and he misses Kame.

"Hey," Tadayoshi says when Jin gets into the break room, showered but still looking forward to the next one, being in Kame's shower, getting this all off, right down to the air from this place. "Nice catch for a Monday. You taking off early?"

"Yeah," Jin says.

"Was he new?"

"No." Just new enough nobody else had dibs, new enough he doesn't know about whore schedules, the luxury guys not wasting their time on Mondays. "Think Jun's had him."

Satoshi and Jaejoong are watching him too, but he tries not to let it bother him as he crams his stuff into his bag, it's not his problem if they're nosy and spinning theories.

He watched some TV last night, some silly drama to wind down from the cheese and the French words and a bit too much wine. Kame likes French stuff. He wouldn't like French ambassadors with their hands all over Jin.

Right, he's going home.

"Night, guys," he says, and all but runs out of there.

It's just eleven when he marches down the driveway to Kame's apartment building. He had the cuddle guy for a relaxation early, and this one of Jun's for a comfort soon after, and when it's a Monday he can let that be enough. Fuck and run. Sometimes he wonders why he didn't figure this out sooner, instead of hanging around listlessly putting it off as long as possible.

Of course, he didn't have anybody to go back to then. Waiting for him. It does focus the mind.

Kame is at the dining table with a script, smiling brightly at Jin as he comes through the door.

"Hey. Early." He folds a page over and stands.

"I ran away," Jin says.

"I approve." Kame is close now, smelling of honey shampoo. His lips are warm and dry on Jin's. It helps put those intrusive wet kisses out of his mind. "You hungry?"

"Do we have any of those tortellini you froze?"

Kame laughs. "I unfroze them for you. Won't take a second."

Jin gets spoiled when he gets home from work. Kame makes him tea, heats his food, opens bottles of cold beer for him. By the time Jin gets out of the shower, the steaming plate is set on the table for him.

He wonders sometimes if he should ask Kame to stop waiting on him like that. But it's hard, when he gets the impression sometimes that it's the highlight of Kame's day.

"How was your day?" Kame asks, predictably enough.

"Uh," Jin says, and tries the first mouthful of pasta. Between the cuddling and the unpleasant one, he forgot to think of something. "Just the usual, you know? Filled my quota, ran home quick." He stuffs more tortellini into his mouth.

"Good," Kame says, his smile the familiar mix of pained and encouraging.

It's the one drawback of getting home early. Kame knows Jin scored, a comfort at least, or multiple guys. Maybe he should do it like last night more; Kame could imagine that he failed to get a client at all. But then Kame won't sleep enough, and they'd see even less of each other.

"Any work news?" Jin asks in return, slowing down on the food.

"I had chicken innards thrown at me. Got to kiss a girl while covered in guts and slime." Kame cracks a grin. "It was fun."

"Oh, the sister?"

"Yeah. We had to re-take one scene seven times, the poor girl just can't aim. Morioka got sent away because he couldn't stop laughing."

That sounds like fun. Jin's glad that work is getting better for Kame.

"About my message," Kame says after Jin has made some headway on both his food and his beer. "Thanks for your answer. I hope you didn't take it the wrong way…"

"No, I didn't. Don't worry."

"It was just to talk. You know, catch up."

"Yeah."

"And I don't know if you heard, but we did go upstairs to a room, but, well, it was just for privacy. And it didn't seem fair to take up his time without… you know."

On impulse, Jin reaches over to mess up his hair. "I know," he smiles. "That's what I figured. It can be hard to catch up in the lounge."

Kame breathes out slowly. "Good." He looks adorable with his hair sticking up, the relief still painted all over his face.

Stupid Kame, being worried again. And poor Kame. Jin never stopped to think that there was more for Kame to miss about the club than sex.

"Have you been in touch with Tanaka?" he asks, against his own inclination to avoid the topic. And, right, there's a confused little blink, and Jin feels the sting of impossible things. "I mean, the two of you. You haven't hung out in ages. I think— that might be a good idea?" He can almost watch Kame's face get very controlled.

"No, I haven't. But you may be right, I really should." He nods. "He's been…"

"He's a good friend," Jin says.

"Yeah." Kame nods again, quite resolved. He doesn't bring up the contract. Kame hasn't brought up the contract ever again.

"I'm sorry I didn't come over last night," he says suddenly. Maybe it would have helped even with Kame knowing about the appointment, just to have someone there.

Kame shakes his head with a smile. "You can't help the hours," he says. "And you're really good about keeping me updated, so I got to sleep." He says that like it's a great achievement. Then he clinks his wine against Jin's beer bottle. "One day I'll be working late again, and then you'll have to be understanding too."

Jin finishes the rest of his pasta, not that it was much, and Kame beats him to clearing the table. Jin takes his beer over to the coffee table, knowing it's appreciated when he doesn't get in the way.

The closed script on the table has a sticky note on top, with very feminine handwriting and quite rough phrasing. 'Two hours in the cage, amigo. Do me proud.'

"Are you coming over tomorrow?" Kame asks in an offhand sort of voice, like it's not about the Wednesday regular and whether Jin is up for the awkward breakfast.

"I could…" Jin tries to catch Kame's eye, but Kame is dealing with dishes. "But I don't have to."

"I'd like it," Kame says. "I didn't see you all weekend." He smiles over his shoulder. Then there's a triple buzz from the bathroom.

"That's the dryer," Kame says. "Let me just get stuff organized." He nods at Jin in passing, and Jin sits back to wait, has his beer.

It's when Kame is gone a while that he goes up to check.

There are little piles of dried washing everywhere. Jin's t-shirts neatly folded on the top of the cabinet, Kame's in a tidy pile next to them. Socks paired up on the towel stack. Why isn't Kame doing this in the lounge where there's more room? On the washing machine, stacks of underwear – Jin's boxers, the ones he likes for just hanging around. Jin's other ones, the ones for business. Kame's which look very much like Jin's business ones and—

Kame tidily folds another pair and puts it on Jin's escort stack, and his movements are economical and contained, and almost robotic, and this is wrong.

"Hey," Jin says.

Kame looks up. His eyes are just a little dark. "Hey. Sorry, I'll be right out, I'm almost done." He smiles briefly; it looks entirely fake. "Still new to this laundry thing."

"You don't need to do that," Jin says. "You shouldn't do that. Leave the escort stuff. Why is that even in there?" He keeps it separate, in a holdall he takes to a laundry ever so often.

"That would be silly," Kame says. "It's here, you're here." The little line is back between his brows. His character in the creepy schoolboy drama looked like it all the time, in the first four episodes, before he hung himself and became a ghost. "I want you here." He takes a very cautious breath, blinks and drops his eyes again to the black pair of underpants he's folding.

"Kazuya, stop."

"I'm almost done," Kame says, and his voice goes high, wild. "Really, it's fine."

Laundry. It's just laundry and Kame is…

It's not working. This isn't working. Layers on layers of not working and they can't go on like this, Kame with his jaw locked and his eyes all dead, it's not worth it.

"It will be," Jin says, and he pulls Kame into a hug, a crushing one that he needs for strength because god, he only just got a new apartment. "It will be fine. Come out of here."

He lets go enough to drag Kame away, back into the living room, and maybe he's dragging a bit too vehemently but Kame doesn't even resist, just follows, stays where Jin lets go of him.

"Jin…" His voice is shaky.

"Give me one minute," Jin says, and grabs the phone. "Well. Three. Just three minutes, okay?"

"It was just laundry," Kame says. "It still needs to be folded…"

Jin might argue that whole underwear folding point if he didn't have bigger, scarier, crazier things on his mind, and maybe Jin can get an underwear-folding job, oh god oh shit.

Kame is still holding on to that pair of underpants like some safety blanket, just standing there, and Jin needs to do this right and he needs to do it now. He's not ready but he needs to be ready.

So his first call is Yuu-chan.

"Jin?" Jin thinks he can hear the voices of Ryuuhei and Takahisa behind him, arguing, and Jin gestures at Kame to sit, to drop that thing, to…

"Yeah. Hey, sorry, I need a favour. Can you take my comfort tomorrow, Kudara-san, six to nine?"

"Uh, yeah, sure," Yuuya says. "My booking with Nishikido-san isn't till ten. Anything special?"

"Nope, nothing special, you know me." Jin is boring, Jin is vanilla, Jin is done. "I'll let Ootomo know. Thanks for this. Kazuya, could you please… could you sit down? Thanks, Yuuya. I'll call you. Thanks."

He hangs up and this is it, he closes his eyes and takes a deep shaky breath and hits speed dial. His number one speed dial.

He watches Kame while it rings.

"Yes?" Ootomo sounds curt and annoyed. Normal.

"Ootomo-san. I'm sorry to bother you but I'm quitting." Then he holds his breath. Kame is holding his breath, everything is, and if Ootomo is saying something…

Ootomo was saying something, and what Jin catches of it is, "…really sure?"

"Yes," he says, not taking his eyes off Kame. Kame looks like he's trapped somewhere between disbelief and hope, desperate hope, and that's when it settles. "I'm really sure." He remembers his manners just in time. "I'm very sorry for the inconvenience."

"I bet you are," Ootomo says, but he sounds resigned, not angry.

Kame's unfreezing, he's blinking, then frowns. He whispers, "Jin, you don't…"

Jin covers the mouthpiece. "I'm on the phone." To Ootomo he says, "Yuuya is taking my comfort tomorrow. I can come in later to discuss the formalities. Whenever suits you. I'm sorry."

"Yeah, yeah," Ootomo grumbles. "You're hardly irreplaceable. Come in tomorrow at two, I'll need signatures."

"Sure," Jin says. "I'll be there." The earlier the better, before he has too much time to think.

Oh god.

"Fucking romantics." And Ootomo hangs up.

Kame has discarded the underpants of horror and is sitting on the arm of his armchair, looking like he's afraid to relax anywhere, like something might go terribly wrong if he did.

"There," Jin says. "Yuuya's got my last client, I'll sort admin with Ootomo tomorrow, it's fine now, it's done."

Done. He's feeling wobbly, the thoughts rushing through his head, Yuuya and the numbers in his bank account and the rent and crazy bottles of wine, and then never having to do this ever again.

"I'm not… I'm not asking you to," Kame says, and his voice is scratchy but there's please in it, oh god please.

"Yeah, I know," Jin says, a little short of breath, he thinks he scared himself a bit. "I appreciate it. I do. I'm doing it anyway." He tries a smile; he'll figure out the rest later. "No way am I asking Ootomo to let me come back after that." Ootomo, and his apartment, and the money

Kame is up, flings both arms around his neck, desperate like never before. "You'll be okay," he mumbles. "I promise."

Jin laughs a little, and he's the one holding Kame up but he thinks it's all that keeps him steady, all he's got while the ground is shifting.

~

Chapter 56

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