The Same Deep Water As You
by Solo & Jo
chapter(s) | Story notes, disclaimers, warnings]
Friday 26 June
Kame gets divorced on a Friday in late June. The
paperwork comes in
the mail between a DIY catalogue and a Hakone postcard from his mother.
His seal on it is the last thing that's missing, three years of his
life and the biggest lie he ever told.
"What's… oh," Jin says, leaning over Kame's shoulder.
He's warm and near and he smells of Jin, of home.
"Yeah," Kame says. "The paperwork always takes a while."
Kame turns his head, smiles at Jin. He's got nothing to
"Absolutely okay." He puts his name and his seal on it, and then it's
Saturday 27 June
They got the line-up right for the All Star Games, Kame
weeks to go, and Kame wonders if he should try to get them tickets and
fly them out there, take advantage this summer while work is still slow.
The window by the bed is wide open and so's the balcony
door in the
kitchen. Summer has arrived, but the mild draft tickles Kame's ears and
his bare toes and makes the heat bearable.
"Hm, I don't know." Jin has his phone stuck between his
his ear, frowning at his laptop where he was last trying to look for an
e-mail. "Have you asked him?"
Kame stretches up from his sprawl on the couch and
fishes for the remote to turn down the music.
"Well, yeah, but. You're kind of in a band. He might be,
I don't know. Shy about it."
Kame leafs through the magazine and smiles at the little
the music pages that mentions new releases. No picture, but at least
the name's transliterated right. According to Jin, Tanaka wasn't too
happy with Young Song when they introduced Akanishi
"No, god, I meant kind of as in,
we're not Mr. Children." Then Jin hums and nods again, the e-mails
ignored for the time being.
Kame was allowed to get him the laptop as an early
to use here and in Jin's own apartment, though half the time Jin
forgets it wherever he had it last, and then complains. Kame didn't
dare suggest he could simply get him two.
"I don't know… I thought he liked you. Yes. No. Well,
just mail him,
that can't hurt?" There's a longer silence on Jin's side. Then he makes
a face. "Yeah… tonight. Thanks. I'll try. Okay, see you on Monday."
When he's hung up, he doesn't go back to what he was
doing; just looks into space with a little pouting frown.
Kame pushes the bowl with the chocolates closer towards
him. "Something wrong?"
"No," Jin says, then grins. "Depends. Misa, she's got
"Yeah, some guy from the pamphlet shoot. Lots of
glances." Jin waggles his eyebrows just as meaningfully, and Kame
laughs. "Also she wants me to say something about the single tonight."
Kame nods. "You should."
Jin gives him a narrow look but doesn't follow up, just
for the stack of t-shirts he threw over the other end of the sofa.
They're a colourful mess. "I'm going to fold these up," he says
manfully. "Do you have anything?"
"That's from the dryer, isn't it? There's a few of mine
Kame is sure he sees the pink one. "But you don't have to do that, it
can wait till Wednesday."
He gets up and pulls the pink one out, anyway. It's
that he has something to sort out with his most scarily deferential
Jin grins when Kame strips off his dark dress shirt and
pulls on the wrinkled t-shirt. "Kondou-san's bathroom?"
"Yeah. Almost forgot." Early afternoon on a Saturday is
a good time for these visits. "Won't be long."
He spends the next twenty minutes hearing apologetic
about the mold that even in June just won't stay out of one particular
corner of the bathroom, and promises to send somebody around to treat
the wall and have a look at the ventilation. He also learns about the
progress of two daughters and five grandchildren and finally comes away
with a bag of bean cakes and earnest instructions to share them with
When he returns, the t-shirts are in two neatly folded
piles, and Jin is heating water for tea.
"Brought you something," Kame says, swinging the bag
gently before dumping it on the counter. "Rewards of honest labour."
Jin eyes the bean cakes and Kame in turn. He snatches
Kame by the
pink shirt and plants a kiss on him. "Being cute doesn't count as
honest labour." He tastes vaguely of the chocolates.
"Damn," Kame says. "Must stick with the acting then,
they always let me get away with it."
Jin smiles; stands back and ruffles his hair. "You going
"I showered this morning. Do you think I smell?"
"No." He smoothes the t-shirt down Kame's front in a
pretty futile gesture. "But I know you'll wash your hair again anyway."
That's true, he will. But he can worry about hair later.
"Thought you were making tea," he says.
"Yeah." A little frown passes over Jin's face, and he
turns to get
cups, measures out the leaves carefully. He watches the steam rise
after he's poured.
They have four hours yet before they need to get going.
a light dinner in two and get ready after that, and not even Kame needs
longer in the bathroom, not even for this. Until then they will relax.
When the tea is ready, Kame settles back where he was
with his cup
and grabs the sports section of Asahi Shinbun, while Jin flips open the
magazine at the music pages and looks adorable reading a review he
seems to be disagreeing with.
The regional Summer Koushien tournaments are well
there aren't any big surprises yet, no underdogs to get excited about.
Still, that may come. Some promising players in third year, and as
always Kame gets that little tug inside, wondering what if he hadn't
been in his seventh drama by then, if he hadn't been too busy to even
train by the time he was eighteen…
"Are you sure you're sure about this?"
Kame looks up. He hadn't noticed how Jin went quiet
until now, but
he must have been brooding over his tea cup silently for minutes.
He doesn't have to ask what it's about, of course.
"Don't do this to me. I thought we settled it last week."
"Yeah," Jin says. "Just… you don't think it's too early?"
Kame knows all the arguments, knows them well. They
touch a nerve
deep down and give him the jitters. But it's also time, and it's other
"It's time," he says. "So stop being me."
Jin grins suddenly and looks Kame up and down in a way
that can only
spell trouble. Kame balls up a flyer for last-minute July vacations and
pitches it at him.
"Ow," Jin says obediently when it hits him on the head.
It's been almost two months since Jin quit his job, and
they have nothing to be ashamed of.
Kame got married on a sweltering June day, three years,
and three days ago. Midori joked with him that her traditional
brideswear was like carrying around a personal sauna. He let his
parents throw them a party, not too flashy but big enough that people
got to see him and his beautiful wife, and the picture they made
There were photographers, official ones invited by the
some less official ones, invited less officially, and the way the news
trickled into all corners of the business was just right. The biggest
lie he ever told, and then some.
He didn't have the house yet, so they went to his
night, the one where he'd fought with Souji, and lived with him, and
missed him. Midori was tipsy and happy, and Kame sat on the bed waiting
for her to finish in the bathroom, tired from a long, flawless day but
ready for all the others to come. His mind was clear, and quite, quite
calm. He did it all quite well.
The car slows down on the last curve of the driveway,
just a glimpse of the roped-off entrance, a moment to get ready.
Kame's face is set in square blankness. If he pulled out
a sword to
march off to a duel, it wouldn't come as a surprise. Well, the samurai
would find the tux interesting.
Jin bites his lip hard enough to hurt, trying not to
giggle. It's not funny. It's just his nerves.
Then the limousine before them takes off, and they slow
to a halt. "Think I'll get my own door," Jin says without moving.
Kame nods quickly before pushing the door on his side
open. "Come on," he simply says.
There's noise. Bright lights; cameras. Lots of people
someone a few steps ahead giving quick interviews. A lady nearer the
hotel door is showing off her shoes for a photographer.
Kame has stepped around the car and is giving Jin a
"You should get used to this," he says in a conversational voice. "Good
practice for after your first album."
The album is so far from Jin's mind, Kame might be
talking about their future dog. First they need to survive this.
The reporters stay behind the ropes, trying to catch their eyes, and
Jin thinks he can feel the glare of attention
focusing on Kame.
"Kamenashi-san," says a bright cheerful voice; a young
cook's love interest. Jin's liked her ever since she threw chicken guts
Kame is smiling at her, ignoring the cameras for now.
good evening. Congratulations on your award," he says, making her
blush. Then Kame introduces Akanishi Jin, friend, and the girl
introduces her mother.
"Morioka had his sister at the movie premiere," Kame had
home, convincing himself more than Jin. "A guy I once knew brought his
eighty-six year old granny when he won Best Newcomer."
Kame and Kumasaka chat for a bit, with Jin and the
hanging in the background, and it keeps them occupied away from the
reporters. Still they're both smiling in a totally camera-ready
fashion. Jin thinks he'll probably never learn that, not that he has
to, no matter what Kame's fantasizing about the album.
Oh god they're out here, being photographed.
And his stomach should stop doing that.
Kame gives him a smile over his shoulder, another
confident one that
says he's not trying to pretend Jin's not here. The girl and her mother
are at the door, where the rope lines get narrower and suddenly Kame is
talking to a reporter.
Jin nearly stops, right there on the red carpet. He
feels like he's
lurking, stuck behind Kame's back like that. If you can lurk in plain
"Nice to see you again, Maemi-san," Kame is saying. "Did
you get to cover the World Series again this year?"
"I did, it was extremely interesting," the woman says.
She's just a
little older than they, her tone friendly, her eyes hungry anyway.
"Will you be accepting the Best Drama award on behalf of Served
"Yes. Unfortunately our director couldn't make it, so I
feel very honoured."
The director was busy. Kame is not busy these days, he
a summer drama. But at least the auditions are serious again, they
think. Kame's agent thinks.
Kame takes half a step back, and the reporter stops
not staring at Jin. "Let me introduce you to Akanishi Jin. He's a
friend of mine, and he's releasing his first single next week."
"Oh, how interesting!" the reporter says in the same
busy voice. Kame nods subtly.
"Good evening," Jin says with a little bow. His ears are
with blood like they haven't since he stopped chatting up guys in dark
street corners, but he can still keep it together. "I have joined
JUNGLELOW, and we have a single next week. Tiger's Tale."
"Oh, congratulations!" She whips around and turns bright
on Kame. "Kamenashi-san, did you choose to come with a friend because
bringing another woman this soon would hurt your wife?"
Kame stays totally still. Jin is confused; this is such
a generous interpretation, what does she want…
"I hope you'll forgive me, Maemi-san," Kame says, polite but not even
trying to flirt. "I still don't comment on my private life, or on that
of my wife."
She blushes, and looks almost like she means it when she
lets them go saying, "Enjoy the ceremony, please!"
It's easy to follow Kame. Then they're inside.
"You learn to pick the friendlier ones," Kame says
quietly. "It's easier than trying to avoid them."
Jin nods and makes a mental note he hopes he'll never
It's a glitzy lobby, polished marble and dark wood
Silently moving waiters that offer Champagne, tiny little snacks. In
another life he might take the glass elevator to the top floor now and
somebody there would pay for two hours…
"Relax," Kame says with a smile, but he doesn't know
what it's about.
Jin is glad he has a new tux.
No reporters in here. Just more people in really fancy
colour than Jin would have seen at the club. More women, of course.
Kame swipes Champagne for them off a tray, says thanks to the bland
waiter, and next thing their glasses are both half empty and they're
smiling at each other.
"It starts in ten minutes," Kame says. Jin can tell he's
be productive and organized. They agreed not to come too early, and
that they could leave as soon as they wanted to afterwards.
They take a sharp left – away from those elevators,
courteous staff along a red-carpeted corridor to a second room that is
not quite as tall and grand as the lobby, but tries to make up for it
with red and white garlands draped along the walls and the podium, the
lights just the right kind of low to give everything a shine. The plush
red chairs have little notes on them with people's names. Jin is
They don't try to involve themselves in conversations,
says a friendly hello to one or two men going past. There's a gaggle of
people looking even more organized and productive than Kame, and— oh
god there's Sakurai Sho, and Jin knew he was hosting this thing but his
stomach flips anyway, and he wouldn't mind finding a table to hide
under or… something.
But he remains cool and Kame doesn't notice, and they
There are more cameras. Kame's wearing that smile again. Jin makes sure
he looks interested and not at all misplaced, then nearly jumps out of
his skin when someone leans in from behind them and says, "Hi
Kamenashi-san, I didn't see you earlier."
They both turn round. Kame's smile gets deeper and more
real. "We just got here."
It's Morioka, Kame's antagonist from the cook drama and
Best Supporting Actor, but someone better behaved shushes them as the
lights dim further. "Later," Morioka whispers.
Kame is on pretty early, and Jin is too nervous to think
how good he looks and how smoothly he handles everything. He accepts
the award for the drama with much gratitude and gets in a lot of
flattering comments to everybody on the team, and it's flawless to the
end. There's polite applause and then that's that, and Jin breathes a
sigh of relief. Kame doesn't do even that, he's that good. To anyone
else, he probably didn't look nervous at all.
Jin has never heard of the guy who gets Best Actor but
he's incredibly talented and played an excellent dying salaryman in
some NTV drama. Morioka gets his shiny golden plaque, and the love
interest woman gets Best Supporting Actress.
The whole thing takes half an hour, tops, and most of
that is people
posing with awards and flowers for the cameras. Then they break up and
it's back to the grandiose lobby, where a buffet has been set up and
more Champagne produced.
Jin lets Kame get them the drinks again, and then Kame
and his date by one of the giant floral displays. Morioka is smiling in
their direction but not moving.
"Come on," Kame says. "I want to introduce you properly."
This is the friendly guy who got photographed going to a
with Kame. Who behaved decently to Kame when stuff was going on.
There's no reason to feel nervous.
"I see you both still got some Champagne despite our
there," Morioka says, holding up his own glass and grinning. He looks
nice, not at all fierce and haunted like in the drama.
Kame is smiling easily, and Jin has to look very hard to
determination underneath. "This is my friend Akanishi Jin. Jin, this is
Morioka Akihito, former student then employer."
Morioka laughs, and there are the appropriate bows.
"It's nice to meet you, Akanishi-san."
"Now don't tell me you have another beautiful sister,"
Kame adds, and the girl blushes and tries to cover her smile.
"I'm Yamada Yumie," she says, to which Kame makes a
noise of recognition.
"Of course," he says. "Uemura, right?"
"Last year," the girl says, still blushing. "Though this
year I would like to work more in fashion."
Jin keeps smiling and hopes nobody expects him to know
the difference between Uemura and the suits Kame was supposed to model.
The girl bows at him politely before her eyes flicker
back to Kame,
and there's a weird little pause. Who knows what she's heard, what
"I thought the spring lines were very interesting this
says to her, and it turns out Yamada-san doesn't just model dresses but
has opinions about them too, and they both agree that surgical masks
were a bold aesthetic choice on some week of fashion.
"Somehow I can follow more when he talks about
baseball," Morioka says to Jin.
"Hm, yeah," Jin says cautiously.
"Though there was that one time he tried to explain to
me how to
pitch a good 12-6 curve…" Yamada-san is saying something about
sexualized clowns, and Morioka shares a look with Jin that says the
throwing lesson was still better.
"I wouldn't know a 12-6 curve if it hit me on the head,
either," Jin admits. "But I'm learning."
"You're not a fan?"
Jin makes a face to show he has to be tactful about
baseball. "Soccer's really my thing."
"And music, right? Kamenashi-san said you're in a band
"Yeah," Jin says quickly, before his brain has even
caught up. "JUNGLELOW. He told you about— it?"
"It came up. Congratulations, too. When's the release?"
Jin can't help throwing a glance at Kame, who is still
discussion, and who mentions Jin's band at work. Mentions Jin. "Next
week," he answers at last. "I'm a bit nervous, to be honest."
Morioka surprises him by grinning. "Yeah. That gets
easier, but it doesn't really go away."
"Thanks," Jin grins. "That's cheerful."
Morioka laughs guiltily. "You'll get first-class lessons
it, though." He nods at Kame, with a respect that lets Jin knows it's
about more than dealing with awards shows.
Yes, Jin thinks, to a wild burst of pride. He will.
"I heard that they want to turn our teacher movie into a
series," Morioka adds thoughtfully. "Is he going to take it?"
He just assumes Jin will know, and… Jin needs a moment
for his mind
to stop reeling from that, and when it does he's still not sure what
Kame would want him to say.
But this guy knows about them, and he seems to care
about Kame, and
so Jin says, "He's not sure, it depends. He auditioned for a movie with
a boxer in it, too, and he'd rather take that. He seems pretty
Morioka looks pleased. "Well, knowing him, he could
probably do both."
But then he'd never be home, Jin thinks, and he almost
says it, but catches himself in time. There's candid and there's stupid.
"Yeah, I guess," he says when he finds nothing else
Morioka just smiles and wonders aloud how much actual boxing training
there will be.
"You do boxing?" the model says, with a very funny look
at Kame's face.
"Not yet," Kame says. "I managed the nose all by myself."
And she's off blushing again, while Jin and Morioka
and suddenly there's a voice Jin knows behind him and he sees Kame's
eyes widen and his face fall into the polite film-star persona, and
it's Sakurai Sho, who says, "I see half our winners are congregating
right by the Champagne."
Jin had started to hope they'd get out of here without
this. But surely Sakurai can't want to talk about club things, either.
It's Morioka who replies first, even if it's merely a
more thanks for the award. Jin says nothing while Kame says hello,
while Morioka's date is introduced and Sakurai compliments her. When
Kame says, "And this is my friend Akanishi," in that firmly pleasant
voice Jin knows, Sakurai finally looks at him, and Jin thinks maybe
he's been putting this off as long as he could, too.
"I'm Akanishi," he says, "pleased to meet you."
"Yes," Sakurai says, "very pleased." But the look that
flickers back to Kame has uncertainty behind the professional face.
"Akanishi is part of JUNGLELOW," Kame says. "You might
have heard of
them, they play rock music which is quite popular in some circles."
Sakurai nods agreeably. "I see. That's very good."
What he sees is that Kame is making up a good story for
his escort. Four months ago he'd have been right.
Four months ago Kame wouldn't have done this.
What does Sakurai think Kame is doing?
Jin finds a smile, one of those old ones he doesn't have
He'll never like this, it feels like bragging all the time, but just
for now it's… necessary. "We are releasing a new single next week," he
says. "I was fortunate enough to be taken on by Jokertown Records and
join the band earlier this year."
Sakurai nods with an attractive little smile, thinking
thoughts, possibly about Tanaka too, now. "So this is your first
"The first since I joined the band," Jin says smoothly.
"If we do well, maybe you'll catch us on TV sometime."
"I'll definitely look out for that," Sakurai says. He
shoots Kame a wry glance which makes Kame give a little bow.
"Me too!" Morioka's date chimes in, and Jin thanks them
both, a belated flush taking over his face.
Sakurai moves on shortly after that, to be a good host
and catch up
with everybody else. Yamada-san confesses how much she likes his
programs, and Morioka says he is terribly wounded and will have to
learn about curve balls after all.
The conversation happens without Jin for a while, as he
lets it all
settle and watches Kame with his friendly smile and his untouched
So now they've done that too. Kame's colleagues, people
from before. It'll get easier.
Kame is holding on to his glass a little tightly, but
his eyes are clear and he's not afraid to look at Jin.
Soon they can go home.
Kame fell in love over peanut bars and hamsters and
when he didn't even know. He falls in love again over a hundred little
things, over e-mails about dinner and weird sauces in his fridge and
Jin coming home high and happy from lives, the heartbreak of Jin
missing his brothers, his key to Jin's apartment, sixty volumes of One
Piece Jin buys with his second salary, and Jin's hideous
thick socks when he concedes the time has come to put the aircon on.
It trips him every time it happens, that little plunge
when he knows
here's a thing it would kill him to lose. So many of them, all the
right things now, and that makes it worse and more frightening than
before but also better. So much better, he can't even say.
Though sometimes he tries. It makes Jin blush, or poke
him, or kiss him into silence. That's one of those things too.
The ceiling is a friendly orange. Kame is glad for his
sofa, the safely locked door, the sounds Jin is making in the kitchen.
Jin has put the lights on low with the remote, a soft
foreign tune playing that Kame doesn't understand the words to.
There's music so much more often now. He even likes a
lot of it.
He's not ashamed of still quivering on the inside. Jin
gets it. Kame
can see in the wry smiles and in the full glasses of Montrachet Jin
pours that he gets it.
He puts the glass in Kame's hands, then sits down,
making Kame pull his feet in.
The wine goes down well. This is one part where Jin
still lets him
splurge, though Kame has stopped buying the imported Italian water and
they rent the BluRays from an online video store now.
"That was interesting," Jin observes, staring into space
first gulps of the wine do their thing. "You know, when people…
actually care what you do. Want to write about it."
"You'll get used to it," Kame says. Easing Jin's mind
about his new career is still a reflex.
Jin looks him over, eyebrows rising ever so slowly.
"I'll get used to it too."
They don't know what's going to be in the papers
tomorrow. Not everybody is like Maemi-san.
But Tanaka gave his okay, and Kumasaka-san had her
mother there, and all evening they didn't come close enough to touch.
Kame shifts towards Jin. Time to make up for that.
Jin pulls him against himself, cautious because of the
wine, and for
a while they sit quietly and sip their drink, and wait for the evening
to fall off them. Cozy.
Jin's still wearing the formal shirt, half undone, but
on thin drawstring pants underneath. It's still warm outside, and the
blinds are now holding off the breeze.
He has a view of Jin's guitar from here, next to the
Jin's mangas, which are dog-eared already like Kame's would never be.
Kame's tiny unloved CD collection and the demos Jin brings home from
"I like this place much better with your stuff here,"
Kame says. "Don't take too much back to yours, okay?"
"You like it messy?" Jin says, a smile in his voice. "I
Kame has more of the wine and closes his eyes. He feels
he's up somewhere high, but always anchored. "Just… living here, you
know? When I bought this… I wasn't here much." It was just a place he
ran away to. "It's more real, like this, with your things."
Jin laughs softly. "Boy, can I make it real for you."
"Do your worst," Kame smiles. "I like keeping it real."
Jin squints at him like he's puzzling something out.
"You know not
everything has to be a statement, right? Sometimes my crap is just
crap. I mean, you can tell me if it gets in your way."
"I know," Kame says. "But you know what I mean. I like…
the way this feels." Real over fake. Truth over lies.
Jin leans in and kisses him briefly. "Yeah, I know."
Then he sits
back and pulls Kame into a steely hug. "So, about today. Are you
feeling okay about it?"
"Yes," Kame says instantly. He lets himself slide down
until his shoulders are in Jin's lap.
Jin snorts. "I mean, not how you mean
to feel about it or how you think you should feel
"No," Kame says. "For real." He draws a little circle on
cotton-clad knee. "You were there. The sky didn't fall on us. We drank
Champagne together and talked to my colleagues together and you were
there. And now you are here. I think today is perfect."
He closes his eyes again and feels Jin's fingers
starting to move in his hair.
"And tomorrow?" Jin asks.
Tomorrow will have songwriting and laundry and dishes,
and drama auditions, hard work and coming home and reading manga and
folding shirts, and Jin will be there.
The truth has never been so easy.
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