Deep Water As You story
by Solo & Jo
18 months post epilogue: January
Kame stops with the car door still open. "Did you pack
"What? Yeah." Jin dumps his sports bag in the back and
himself into the front seat. "Of course."
Kame gets in the other side and buckles up. They're
running a little late because Jin's iPad hadn't finished charging, and
Kame was too chicken to hurry them.
"Well, you sometimes forget it," he points out while
getting his shades out of their case and checking himself in the visor
mirror. When he's done, he finds himself the focus of a benevolent
"Well, I didn't," Jin says. "You're fussing."
Kame flicks the switch that makes the garage door slide
upwards, to reveal gloomy January drizzle outside. "You're not," he
says. Jin can probably hear the bemusement.
Jin slouches in his seat, the way that is like all his
bones disappearing at once. "I'm going on vacation."
Kame takes them up the ramp and out of the gate.
"You were a lot more nervous when we fixed this thing,"
he says quietly when they're on the road. He feels Jin's gaze, but
Jin's slump doesn't change.
"That was three months ago and I was a man who hadn't
lived on a tour bus for four weeks on the peanut diet," he says. "Now
I'm a man in need of a break."
Right. Break. That's the idea. Breaks are good for all
of them. Nobody can disagree with that.
"I love you," Jin says, and Kame shoots him a glance.
Jin's smiling. "Mostly because you've always got a toothbrush."
"One toothbrush," Kame says.
Jin stretches his arms over his head as far as the Lexus
lets him and, impossibly, goes even more liquid. "Well, you love me
They hit the first flurries of snow halfway along the
Joshin-etsu Expressway. It'll get worse as they hit the smaller roads.
Kame checked the weather forecast as if it was his new hobby over the
last few days. He's not used to driving in snow, not comfortable with
An appropriate start to the weekend, then.
Jin wakes up when his phone bleeps. "Hey," Kame says.
Jin stares around, but there's not much to be seen. Then
he checks the screen. "How far away are we now?" he asks in a sleepy
"Maybe forty-five minutes?" Kame says. "Less than an
hour anyway, I'd say."
Jin nods and types his reply.
The snow gets stronger.
The place is down a dirt road, by a small stream on a
clearing as big as three baseball fields, surrounded by hills. The sun
is sinking but they can still see. There's snow on everything: the
boulders which look like they were dropped from the sky by an
art-conscious alien, the small groves of trees, the wooden buildings of
various sizes in various corners, connected by well-kept paths. Icicles
are hanging over the crack in the ground where the stream is, fog
rising around them. It's postcard pretty.
The driveway could double as a runway. There's a figure
standing there, waving a maniacal arm.
"I think we were spotted," Jin grins, sitting up
straighter. Kame lets the car come to a halt and braces himself, but
doesn't let the bracing take too long because Jin would only make fun
They get out. Tanaka is wearing a thick sweater and a
woolly hat. "What took you so long, guys?" he grins, and to Jin, "Oh
man, you let him drive?"
"Don't start," Kame says with raised eyebrows, then
ducks his head when a cold gust blows into his collar. Damn, it's cold.
"Come on in, come on in," Tanaka waves. "Heating's all
up and running, food's there, we'll be cozy as kittens. If I ever buy
myself one of these, it'll come with staff too."
Kame stops in the middle of pulling out his suitcase.
"There's staff?" It's an old reflex.
"Nah, not now." Tanaka rolls his eyes and grabs Jin's
bag, which leaves Jin with his hands in the air looking awkward. "Came
and left. Didn't think you'd want to start out scrubbing the pool
"That was thoughtful." Kame feels a guilty blush coming
on but you probably can't see in this light, in this cold.
"Okay, I think we have everything?" Jin says with a
shivery bounce, which makes Tanaka wave him inside.
The hallway is an odd mix of thick wooden beams and
marble floors. The archway to the living room is open, and there's
music playing, not JUNGLELOW but something else from the label. They
toe off their shoes and leave their bags, and Jin gives Kame an
encouraging look before he gets intrigued by the sprawl of the living
room and the wide window front.
Yuuya is standing at the long dining table, dusting
cocoa powder onto four tall latte glasses. "Hey, you made it," he says,
smiling brightly. Kame can't make out whether it's professional, for
him, or genuine, for Jin.
So, here it goes.
"Hey," Jin says. "When did you get here?"
"This morning, we got told how everything works," Yuuya
says, picking up two glasses and holding them out. "I made Irish
Coffee, would you like some?"
"Good evening, Yuuya-san," Kame says. "Thank you."
He wears dark, simple clothes that make him look almost
like an adult.
"Yes, please," Jin says, but instead of drinking he just
wraps his hands around the glass to warm them up. Five minutes in the
driveway was all it took. Kame smiles, and when he looks away again, he
finds a similar expression on Yuuya's face.
It's unsettling. But, all right, he resigned himself to
a weekend of chronic unsettlement when he agreed to come.
"Driving in all that snow must have been horrible,"
Yuuya says to him now with a perfectly sympathetic look, sipping at his
own Irish coffee. He turned twenty last summer, Kame knows because Jin
took him out to Disneyland with Yamashita-kun and his brother. He
doubts the booze was that new to him, though, despite all the jailbait
"It was all right, just slow going," Kame says.
Jin finally has a drink too and makes a very happy
noise. He nudges Kame's foot. "But we can relax now," he says. "Right?"
"I'm looking forward to it."
"You should get Tanaka-san to give you a tour of the
house," Yuuya suggests. "And you should see the onsen. It's so cute and
beautiful. Perfect for relaxing."
Oh, yeah. Kame's just going to love it.
The view from their room goes out over the little stream
and a scraggly bit of mountain, the onsen just shielded below. Inviting
and secret at the same time.
The room's not big, but it feels cozy; heavy furniture,
old or at least it pretends to be, a fake fireplace and thick warm
rugs. And then this view. Kame admits he finds it a little romantic.
Something pokes him in the back, something hard— what?
It's white and wrapped in plastic. "Toothbrushes," Jin
grins, balancing it under Kame's nose with two fingers.
Right. "You didn't pack one after all?"
Jin rolls his eyes. "Of course I did. But if I hadn't,
it would have been just fine, because look here."
"It's a private cottage, you can't count on getting
toothbrushes," Kame argues, but Jin has dropped himself on the huge
four-poster bed, sinking deep into a sea of cushions.
"Whatever," he says with his hair over his face and his
arms spread out.
He's a living picture of temptation. Makes it hard to
argue with him. Almost makes you want to... well, if they were alone.
They are, mostly. It's their room, Kame knows that.
Nobody's going to come barging in, nobody's going to come check if
Jin's okay here, with him, because everything's okay now. They're meant
to… use… this room. But still. They never do anything when they stay
with Kame's parents, either.
He sits down on the edge of the bed. The softness could
almost make him sleepy too. He brushes Jin's hair back and hears Jin's
"This is nice," Jin says, smiling up at him. It's been a
long tour, and Jin's not used to the hours or that kind of
round-the-clock stress. The shadows under his eyes have gotten so dark
that he's been complaining about the 'eye goo' they started putting on
him at work.
"It's nice to get a break," Kame says, and Jin turns his
face into Kame's palm.
"Just try to relax, too, okay?" Jin mumbles. "He doesn't
hate you at all anymore, honest."
Kame snorts. "Thanks, I'll keep it in mind."
"Great." Jin's head flops down closer to Kame in the
clear expectation that Kame will provide more hair fondling services.
"God, I should get a coffee, anything but Irish."
Kame could do with one too. For now, though, Jin makes
no move to get up, and Kame is fine combing his fingers through Jin's
hair and letting him be as lazy as he wants.
Kame washes his hands, flings the towel over his
shoulder and surveys his domain.
The groceries the come-and-gone staff left them made
Kame decide on Indian curry for dinner. The kitchen's well-stocked with
all the basics, Hiromoto knives, Le Creuset cookware. He has a lovely
low view of the valley through the kitchen window, and he's early
enough that he doesn't have to rush.
Yuuya and Jin are in the living room, and he can hear
their voices, mentions of coffee and booze and some of the clubs Jin
played at last month. He starts peeling carrots. It's peaceful.
"Trust you to find the work part of this outfit," Tanaka
says from the kitchen door. "We have frozen stuff, you know?"
"Well, this will be better," Kame smiles.
Tanaka leans one hip against the counter, nursing a beer
and looking sceptical.
"You told me to come here to relax," Kame says. He
gestures with his carrot peeler. "This relaxes me."
"All right, all right." Tanaka pushes off and grabs a
bottle of white from the fridge. He finds the wine glasses on the first
try, and Kame watches while Tanaka opens the bottle and pours, then
pushes the glass at him. "Here. Will also relax you."
Kame shakes his head but takes the glass anyway. It
tastes great, just what he likes.
"Don't ask me to, like, help or anything," Tanaka says
This time Kame laughs. "Really, I'm fine. This is fun
for me." He has another sip and gets started on the onion. "This house
is really great, by the way. Please give our thanks to your friend."
"Will do," Tanaka grins and finds himself a comfortable
corner to stand in where he and his beer won't get in Kame's way.
"Funakoshi-san's just glad it's getting some use. I never know what
board guys actually but apparently they're very busy."
"To all our benefit," Kame says with a smile, and
ignores the very knowing look Tanaka gives him.
"I pretty much had to badger you to come."
"Well, it's complicated," Kame says carefully. "You know
it is." He considers, then picks up another carrot.
"Yeah, but... this isn't Johnny's. It's just a weekend.
And Yuuya's a nice guy and completely discreet."
"Sure," Kame says. Tanaka has no idea of the things
Yuuya is being completely discreet about. He'd laugh if it was at all
"And Jin knows this isn't business either," Tanaka says.
For a moment Kame's so disoriented, the peeler slips and
he's about to snap, 'Of course not', until he realizes what Tanaka
means. God, Yuuya is affecting his brain. "He'll be glad to know that,"
he says a little sheepishly.
"He already knows, man. I talked to him."
Kame pauses with the peeling and gives Tanaka a curious
look. With all his Yuuya concerns, he never fully appreciated that
"What? Of course I talked to him. It's a bonus, not a
business session. Last thing need is some dude stressing
over whether the boss wants to talk job performance with him after the
twelfth tequila." He mimes shooting himself in the head, which makes
Kame laugh after all.
"Yes, okay. Fair point." He listens for a moment, but
right now it's quiet out there, low voices covered by the background
music. "He's been pretty exhausted."
"It's been rough on him," Tanaka says, leaning back
thoughtfully. "The others are more used to it. A bit at least. Was good
for getting his feet wet, though."
"The show I saw was really good," Kame smiles. He went
to one of the Yokohama ones, bundled up to his ears. Jin was great.
They drink their drinks and Kame starts to wash the
rice. Jin is laughing about something, and a moment later the music
"See, he's having fun," Tanaka says. "I wouldn't just
ask some random dude along. Yuuya told me Jin looked after his hamster
the other month."
No, Yuuya is very much not random.
But Tanaka is looking a little defensive, and it's not
fair to make him feel like that. "I know, you're right. They're
friends." And Yuuya is the only one Jin stayed in touch with; Tanaka
might know that too. This was, in theory, all very thoughtful.
"Yeah, and they get to spend some time together, and I
get some quality time with you," Tanaka says, "and I've got nice
company and won't be all third wheel when you two petals shack up and
lock the door for the afternoon. What's not to love?"
"Yes, I know," Kame says. He breathes quietly and
decides to get a refill. "Thank you again for the invitation."
"You're welcome," Tanaka grins. "And your sense of
modesty and decorum will be quite safe, I don't think Yuuya's got a
strip show planned."
Kame keeps his eyes averted from Yuuya's naked form,
even though Yuuya is just telling them all about an incident with
"They can get quite territorial, then?" he asks, to show
that he's listening anyway. He's lost the sweater, and now he's
fiddling with the hem of his t-shirt. He's dawdling and it's probably
"At minus five degrees, definitely!" Kame feels rather
than sees Yuuya leaning against a door jamb, waiting for the rest of
them to get ready. Tanaka is down to his underpants. Even Jin is
wearing less than Kame by now, though he's taking his time folding
things into the basket.
Oh the hell with it. Kame strips out of the shirt, takes
a breath and starts on his belt.
Tanaka grabs a towel. "Right," he says, "let's go hop in
and get territorial."
There's a waft of cold air and then he and Yuuya are
Jin is quickly losing his pants and grabbing one of the
thin little towels. He gives Kame a funny smile and nods towards the
exit. Yeah, all right.
Steam is rising from the pool, Yuuya and Tanaka's heads
dark shapes with little white squares on top. Kame keeps his towel
strategically held in front of him, never mind that Yuuya and Tanaka
have demonstrated that nobody is standing on formality here. A look
tells him Jin's doing the same. He doesn't know which of them looks
It's not far, but the ground is cold and Jin is already
shivering when they get to the edge. Kame steps into the pool and feels
the heat bite into his skin; but that's not going to kill him,
probably, unlike standing there for ages. He sinks down with a breath.
Jin's got that face when he just wants something over with, and steps
into the pool without another glance at anyone, not dropping the towel
until he's well and truly in.
Okay, good. All good.
He scoots over towards Jin, not so they're touching
but... closer. Jin gives him a rueful smile and leans his head back,
soaking up the heat.
Jin's not squeamish around Yuuya, but he's naked in a
tub with his boss, and Kame can tell from the way he chose the seat
furthest from Tanaka he's not quite over it yet, either. "Right,
somebody bring the monkeys now," Tanaka says comfortably.
"They get everything full of... well, dirty." Yuuya
makes a guilty face and then lets his gaze wander. "This is really
nice, it's more beautiful than the monkey place."
"I'll pass it on to my pal," Tanaka says with a grin.
Then he freezes, struck by tragedy. "Crap. We didn't bring drinks. How
come you all forgot?" He looks around as if a pitcher is going to
materialise somewhere. "Why is there never staff when you want them?
Kame's pretty sure he only feels the twinge of guilt
because he's stressed already. But there is no way he is getting out
again, guilt or no.
"I'll get it!" Yuuya levers himself easily up on the rim
and stands tall against the soft lantern light, water dripping off him.
"Poolside drinks, coming right up. What does everybody want?"
Kame asks for a glass of wine, Tanaka for more beer. Jin
says, "A glass of wine for me, too, if that's okay?" and looks
uncomfortable. Yuuya just gives him a broad grin and wanders off to
grab a towel in the changing hut.
"Good kid," Tanaka says.
Jin looks at his feet, or where they'd be under the
Tanaka spreads out his arms against the rim and turns
his head up. The tub is half covered by a wooden roof, half under the
sky. Kame moves his foot to briefly touch Jin's, and eventually they
smile at each other. Yuuya is right that the place is beautiful, with
the lanterns and the rocks and the steam rising, hiding them. Jin's
hair starts to stick to his face, and he gives Kame a long, warm look.
He's beautiful too.
"So, you glad the tour's over, and all's well that ends
well?" Tanaka says with a one-eyed blink at them.
Jin rallies. "Uh. I, um. A bit?"
Tanaka laughs. "It's not a test, man. You held up really
well. I'm proud of you."
The water is too hot for anyone to see Jin's flush but
Kame knows it's there. "I really loved it," Jin says, surprising him
with the intensity. "Like, the travel, the stage, the music. It was
great. But I feel like I could sleep for a month."
"Yeah." Tanaka nods wisely.
"And that bus sucks."
"Awww." Tanaka opens both eyes. "That bad?"
Jin is biting his lip, but he no longer looks nervous.
"I think I'm allowed to say that both Misa and Jiro-kun got car sick,
it's that rattly. I tweaked the suspension somewhere between Toyama and
Kanazawa, but it really needs an expert. And the toilet doesn't work."
Tanaka wrinkles his nose. "Ooh, yeah, I heard something
"Saku-chan felt strongly."
"I started out like that myself, you know," Tanaka says.
"Small places, old bus, shitty ryokans. Caught fleas in one of them
once." He thinks. "Your hotels were okay, yeah?"
"Yeah, they were fine, we went cheap business hotel
mostly," Jin says. "Except that place which was like a cross between a
youth hostel and a prison, out in the wilds of... was it Wakayama? It
"Keep a note," Tanaka advises. "Good places, bad places,
always useful to— Ah, here come the drinks."
Yuuya has a tray with a bottle of white, a bottle of
red, two bottles of beer and three wine glasses. Kame ignores the
nudity with just as much determination while Yuuya serves them their
Yuuya leaves everything within convenient reach and then
slips back into the water. "Chilly," he says, and moves closer towards
"You went to one of Jin's concerts too, didn't you?"
Tanaka says to him.
"Two," Yuuya corrects him. "One in Yokohama and one in
Shizuoka. It was great." He grins widely at Jin, then back at Tanaka.
"That dark song in the encore was cool. Is that going to be a single?"
Kame knows the one he means. There's red background
smoke and Jin looks amazing.
"It'll go on our album," Jin says. "We're still
fine-tuning the version we want to record, though." He's smiling,
finally comfortable, and Yuuya asks something else and for a fuzzy
moment Kame becomes all too aware of what Jin looks like here, with his
wet hair swept out of his face, broad shoulders just peeking out of the
water, and he thinks nobody can be immune to that. Can they?
Would he even want to know? Yuuya is looking straight at
Jin, happily absorbed in Jin's explanations about the recording
process. Tanaka listens with a smile and the occasional glance over
Yuuya. If he ever noticed that Jin is seduction come to life, he's
never let on.
Okay, detour over. It's a stupid detour too. Kame takes
a deep breath, watching Jin lean his head back with a heavy sigh, his
eyes blinking drowsily.
He thinks there are movie plans for when they get out of
the pool, though he's starting to wonder if he should just shoo Jin off
to bed. To sleep.
"Sssh, stop arguing, I'm missing the bit about the
dinosaurs," Jin says, legs stretched out along the couch, a sleepy curl
in his red fluffy socks.
"I think these dinosaurs are too big to miss," Yuuya
points out, but he takes the shot from Tanaka and knocks it back,
letting the thing with the lemons go.
"I don't know, this screen's so tiny," Jin giggles,
flailing with his arm until a helpful Yuuya presses a shot into his
hand. "Your buddy doesn't watch much TV, Joker-sama, huh?"
The flatscreen is bigger than Kame's and Kame wasn't so
sure about watching HD dinosaurs eat people with Jin so late at night,
but Jin seemed to be intrigued, and is only using Kame's leg for a
pillow so far.
They all got dressed again, comfortable and casual. Kame
wondered if there'd just be bathrobes, might have fretted a little, but
maybe Tanaka and Yuuya found that too much like the club as well.
Yuuya is wearing pink pants from some stretchy fleece
material and a wide-necked sweater, which makes him look relaxed and
accessible at the same time. He sits with his arms around his knees,
glancing from the screen to Tanaka and back and sometimes at Jin too.
And at Kame. He seems to have seen this movie a few times before.
Jin makes an adoring sound when some dino eggs are
hatching. "They're cute." He watches the dino baby growl at the world
and adds, "Nothing will eat them, right?"
Yuuya is grinning. "You missed the velociraptor part,"
he says. "They can take care of themselves."
"Tough little cuties?" Jin turns his head on Kame's leg
and smiles at Yuuya. "I know some of those."
"I even had teeth like that once," Yuuya muses, which
makes Jin break into a giggle fit.
"Are you trying to scare me?" Tanaka nudges Yuuya with
his knee. "I didn't count on growling carnivores for this weekend."
"No growling," Yuuya promises. "And my teeth are all
fixed." He presumably shows them to Tanaka, because Tanaka is laughing.
"Yuu-chan's one of the nice velociraptors," Jin
"Uh," Yuuya says, like that's not a compliment.
"Shhh, now you're making me miss the bit with the
dinosaurs," Tanaka interferes, though what he's really doing is pouring
them all tequila refills.
Kame brushes Jin's hair back and looks up briefly at the
screen, feeling Jin's head get heavier. He stuck with wine, and Tanaka
only rolled his eyes once.
He glances at the level of the bottle, just curious, and
there is Yuuya, looking at him. His hands go still in Jin's hair, and
he almost pulls them back but then he doesn't.
Yuuya doesn't even blink away, pretend he wasn't
watching. Maybe that's the booze. He just looks them over, calmly, from
Jin's head and Kame's hands to the red thick socks on Jin's feet, and
then back at the screen.
Where the huge long-necked whatevers are chomping on
"I wonder if they're like pandas," Jin says. "Eat and
eat and eat and never stop?"
"Would take quite a few leaves to fill up one of them,"
"I guess they don't want to do much else," Yuuya says.
"I got told once that they have really tiny brains."
"Perfect raptor prey," Tanaka says. "Meaty and dumb."
Jin is wrinkling his nose, and Kame says, "Hey. Not so
much with the raptoring." He leans forward over Jin's face and
sort-of-whispers, "Don't worry, the big dumb dinos will be fine."
Jin makes a 'What? Worry? Me?' face and tries to poke
Kame, but only manages to knock over his empty shot glass.
This time it's Yuuya doing the refills, and Kame is all
too conscious of hovering over Jin. But he meets Yuuya's eyes briefly,
normally, and goes back to patting Jin's arm.
When everything goes dark in the movie and the first
doomed guy meets his grim death by dinosaur, Jin's hand sneaks into
his. It stays there, through people screaming and being eaten, and
Yuuya keeping an eye on things.
"I'm never going on a dinosaur cruise," Jin says as they
make it to their room, through the fully-lit staircase and hall.
"Remind me, if I ever get tempted."
"I wouldn't let you go anyway," Kame says. He waits
patiently while Jin stumbles into the bathroom to brush his teeth and
take a pre-emptive aspirin, and stumbles back out in boxers and a
t-shirt. He falls onto the bed, and then starts squirming around
because he forgot to pull the covers back.
"Hurry up," he says to Kame. "The sheets are cold."
"Should have let me go first then," Kame says, but he
only makes a quick stop in the bathroom before killing the lights and
sneaking in with Jin. Jin's body feels warm and Kame has no idea why
"I had a really good time today," Jin says, sneaking
himself under and around Kame. "Thanks for not freaking out too much."
Yeah. "You're welcome."
But he's over it, he thinks, and the dark is cozy
privacy, and he's breathing the scent of Jin's skin. All is good. Jin
seems too have forgotten the dinosaurs, is just comfortably sticking to
him. Minutes tick by with Jin's breath slowing, his warm body all along
"I should move off," he mumbles after a while, though he
makes nothing resembling a move at all. "You can't sleep like this."
"I'd bet you money you'll fall asleep faster than I'll
get bored," Kame smiles.
"I wouldn't," Jin sighs, snuggling closer. "But y'know
I'm more responsible with money than you."
"Jerk," Kame says. Jin still snorts, but less than a
minute later he's heavy and dead to the world.
He wakes up and the room is dark, Jin curled in more
tightly to him than normal. Softer bed, he thinks fuzzily. Nothing's
moving, Jin quiet, the house quiet. He tries to go to sleep again.
After a while of that, he stretches carefully for his
Almost nine. Early, by party standards. Early for Jin.
But Kame's awake, and he enjoys the cozy feeling for another ten
minutes, when he hits a boredom threshold.
He extricates himself slowly, pausing a couple of times
when Jin stirs. Locates his slippers and bathrobe using the phone as a
torch, and closes the door quietly on Jin's slumber and warm tequila
Outside the kitchen window it's just getting light. It
snowed more overnight, a fresh coat of white on the grass, their cars,
hanging heavy on the pine branches. He sets the water heater to boil
and looks out at the peaceful landscape with birds hopping around in
it. Wonders if anyone feeds them.
The water heater gets noisy as it gets close to the
boil. He doesn't hear the door. He just knows, suddenly, that he's no
longer alone, and he turns.
"Good morning," Yuuya says.
"Good morning." Kame takes a random step to indicate
Yuuya's free to get at whatever he wants to get at in the kitchen.
"You're up early."
Yuuya is back in the pink fleece pants, but with a
warmer sweater that closes all the way to the neck. He gives Kame a
polite early morning smile. "I don't need that much sleep."
"I was making coffee," Kame says. "Should I make it
enough for two?"
Yuuya hesitates a moment. He could of course prefer tea,
who knows. "That would be great, thank you."
Right. It's not awkward at all. Kame has things to do,
like get a spoon, find the coffee, measure coffee, pour water on the
coffee, watch the coffee very carefully so it doesn't try to escape
while it steeps. Coffee's a serious business with no room for amateurs.
"I hope you slept well," Yuuya says. He hasn't come
"Very well, thank you," Kame says. "And you?" Okay, dumb
"Excellent, thank you," Yuuya says with a smile; and
what else is he going to say, 'Tanaka kept me awake half the night with
his raging libido'?
Move on, move on. "It's very quiet out here, isn't it."
"Yes, very," Yuuya agrees. "If I was out here alone, I'd
worry about being murdered and nobody ever knowing."
Okay, that... Kame looks, but Yuuya is merely smiling
pleasantly. Good that Kame's not really feeling threatened by a guy in
pink fleece pants.
Turns out coffee's a surprisingly great invention. Now
he gets to look for milk and sugar. "So Jin told me..." It makes
perfect sense to talk about Jin, when Jin is the only reason why
they're even in the same kitchen together, but out loud it still sounds
dangerous. But Yuuya is paying attention now. "Jin told me you're going
to night school," he says, tilting his head in apology in case he
wasn't supposed to know.
"Oh," Yuuya says. "Yeah."
"Is it fun?" Not that he knows if it's supposed to be
Yuuya takes milk, two spoonfuls of sugar and a stir to
think it over. Then he says, "Yeah," sounding surprised. "It's an
Kame can imagine that it's a far cry from the club
clientele. "I'd find it hard to get used to it again," he says.
"Learning from books and all that."
Yuuya has a sip of his coffee and shrugs. "I never did
much of it when I was the right age, so I wouldn't know the
difference." His voice, Kame notices, is a good deal lower to what his
bright bubbly evening persona sounds like.
"Ah," he says. Right. "And how long will it take you to
get... it's your high school degree, isn't it?"
"Yeah," Yuuya nods. "Probably three years. I suppose
night classes are more convenient for people who don't actually work
Yes, there's that. A slightly uncomfortable but factual
fact. This is probably the longest conversation they ever had, after he
turned into... something that's not flirting material. "But you managed
to work something out?"
"Ootomo has an interest in keeping me around," Yuuya
says without any false modesty. "So we decided some mutual flexibility
was in order." He takes the cup across to the large dining table and
Kame hesitates, but then follows. It a
large table, and he sits down at the other end. Not too
wannabe-friendly. "Do you already know what you want to do with it
afterwards?" Yuuya can pick whether that's about the night school or
the night work.
"I want to get a university degree," Yuuya says.
"Marketing. And psychology." There's a faint smile on his lips. "I
figure I've got some practical experience there, might as well put it
Marketing. Psychology. Yes, Kame can see that. Nice
velociraptor. "Yes," he says, "that makes sense." And he stirs his well
stirred coffee again.
"Jin told me you're going to be in a theater play next,"
Yuuya says, holding Kame's eyes for a moment.
Kame nods. "Yes. In February. It's an old English play.
I've never done theater like that."
"Must be interesting," Yuuya muses. "Different if
"Yes, true," Kame says. He's honestly a little
intimidated, never mind that he's done live entertainment shows and the
kind of low-budget dramas where he was expected to get it in the can in
"I've sometimes wondered what it's like if you're a good
actor," Yuuya says, looking at him evenly. "If you end up doing that in
real life too. If it's easier to get someone to like you, because you
can just play someone who is nice."
Kame's hands only sweat a little. There's a cool, open
curiosity there; an edge but not hostility.
"It doesn't work that way for me," he says. He has to
clear away the tightness in his throat, but then he just says it like a
logical conclusion, or professional assessment, or whatever it is.
"Constructing a character is a lot of work. It would be pretty hard to
keep up in the long run. I wouldn't want that in my private life."
Yuuya holds his eyes for a moment longer, but there's a
small nod over his coffee mug. "That's true. That's what I figured too."
The longest and most honest conversation they ever had.
Kame thinks of Tanaka and his 'relaxing weekend' and wants to shake his
head at it all.
"I knew some guys who could act nice," Yuuya says. It
sounds detached and analytical, and Kame knows better than to make a
horrified face at the implications. "But a year, or two... You'd always
know what they were really like." He lets that stand.
Kame nods vaguely and drinks his coffee. Time's all he's
It's quiet in the house, their coffees dwindling. No
sound from upstairs. Yuuya makes the second batch, and when he brings
their mugs back, it's quiet again.
"How long's he going to sleep?" Yuuya asks after a
while. The affection in his voice makes it clear he's talking about Jin.
"No idea," Kame says. It's weird to be talking about
Jin's habits with Yuuya, but weirdly good, too. "Could be eleven. Could
be later. He's been pretty exhausted." He really hopes Jin gets to
sleep off the shadows under his eyes this weekend. He has to smile when
he thinks of Jin curled up in heaps of bedding while Kame's having
relationship talks with Yuuya.
Not the most common assignment for Yuuya, either. Jin
always worries when he goes off with... oh, wait. "Who's watching your
"I mean with Jin here. Who's watching your hamster?"
"Oh." Yuuya looks a little guilty. "I actually just left
her. It's just two nights? She's got plenty of food and the new
tunnels, and she's not all that used to me yet anyway, so I figured she
might not feel too lonely."
"I was very sorry to hear about Taka-chan," Kame says.
He and that hamster had a bond.
"It was sad," Yuuya says. "But she hung in there for a
long time for a hamster who got sick so often."
"She was a very special hamster," Kame agrees. "I look
forward to meeting this new young lady. Have you finally settled on a
name?" When Jin's on tour, Kame misses crucial developments. "Maria,"
Yuuya says with a grin. "I thought it sounded nice. But Jin calls her
Kame laughs. "Does she respond to it yet?"
"Hmmmm not yet," Yuuya admits. "That'll take some time."
Yeah. Sometimes time's all you've got.
"Are they coming out too?" Jin asks, sticking his foot
in the onsen pool with much less strategic washcloth artistry, now that
they're on their own.
"I think they're busy," Kame says, and on seeing the way
Jin's lips press together, he amends quickly, "Not together!"
"It's okay," Jin says, also quickly. "I didn't mean...
it's just, the... thing. You know. Reminds me. But they should do what
they want, I know Yuuya likes being with him."
That's more than Kame expected to hear so... bluntly.
"I think Yuuya's doing laps in the real pool," he
offers. It's funny how they still get tripped up. Also good how they
always get past it. Jin drops in all in one go, squeaking at the heat,
and floats over to harass Kame's feet.
"You mean the cold pool," he says. "Don't know why
anyone would do that, it's perverted."
"Well, you know Yuuya," Kame replies, feeling very
Jin makes a face and splashes Kame, but Kame pulls him
in to lie against his chest. He blows a warm breath against Jin's ear
and strokes his skin through the water, warm curves and loops.
"Don't go giving me a boner in the onsen," Jin says. "'S
not polite." Somehow he can talk about boners and still sound innocent.
"Just warming you up," Kame says quietly, and wraps his
arms around him. Jin lets his legs float, his head on Kame's shoulder,
his nipples dark against his pale skin. Everything feels calm, nothing
but the little ripples of water. They are in a steaming tub in the
middle of a gorgeous white landscape. The lanterns make the broken
"Tanaka's got a sort of warped idea of what will relax
you and me," Jin says. "But I gotta say, his heart's in the right
"His heart and his rich friends," Kame smiles.
"His rich friends' houses." Jin links his fingers with
Kame's under the surface and sighs. "This place is great."
"I think I'm going to go take a nap," Jin announces. His
sweater rides up as he stretches, before he swipes another cheese stick
from the lunch snacks table.
Kame looks up from his card game with Tanaka. He was
reading his Shakespeare script earlier but he got ganged-up on and
banned from doing work things, so now he's royally losing at some kids'
game because Tanaka knows all the secret strategies. "Do that," he
Jin comes over and tickles the nape of Kame's neck.
"Don't let me sleep through dinner, okay?"
Kame turns into the touch and doesn't even feel
self-conscious. "I'll come wake you before I start chopping things,
Jin nods, waves at Yuuya in the corner, and trudges out
the living room. They hear his tired footsteps up the first part of the
When Kame picks up his cards again, he finds himself
scrutinized by Tanaka.
"What?" he says. "Aces were high, right? "
"Aren't you going with him?" Tanaka says, his eyebrows
ruder than boners in onsens. Kame can just feel Yuuya's stare on him
He shrugs. "He means nap. The onsen makes him tired."
"If you're sure," Tanaka says teasingly. "I'm not the
one who'll get in trouble..."
Kame rolls his eyes. "I'd know, okay? I'm sure."
He loses another two rounds; the second time his hand's
hopeless form the start. Yuuya has come to sit with Tanaka and offer
him whispered advice, which you'd think is technically unfair, but at
least Kame doesn't start losing any higher.
It's peaceful, a sense of truce all around. Even with
the flirting, Yuuya and Tanaka seem more like buddies, no club vibes
anywhere. Yuuya laughs at Kame when he just misses a win, and that's
when throws up his hands and demands a different game. So they play Uno
for a bit, and then it's an hour and a half that Jin's been gone and
Kame makes his excuses to go wake his boyfriend.
He pads up the stairs quietly and is careful opening the
door. It's warm in the room, the last of the sun still poking over the
hills. Jin's a rolled-up lump in the middle of the bed, one foot
sticking out at the bottom, his hair all over his face.
Kame wants to hug him and never let go. But he just
stands and looks, for a moment longer. Then he closes the door behind
him and the lump stirs.
"Hey," Kame says softly, sitting on the side of the bed.
There are some compressed noises, something Kame guesses
is, "You coming to get me?" though it might as well be, "The cows have
run away." Jin rolls on his back, blinking up fuzzily.
He used to wake up with a snap, back in the first months
after they'd started spending nights together. Kame only noticed the
change recently; only realised how Jin always had that moment of alert
now that it's gone.
"I'll start cooking in an hour," he says. "Also you need
to save me from losing our house at cards."
Jin's smile widens. "That bad, huh?" He pushes up and
rubs his face with both hands.
"It was a massacre." Kame gets up and out of the way,
and Jin sort of fall-stands out of the bed and stumbles toward the
Kame smiles after him and sits down at the ornate desk
where he parked his laptop. He checks his e-mail quickly while there is
the sound of water, downloads some documents Hamaguchi sent him and
acknowledges receipt. When there's a sound of flushing, he closes the
work stuff which will just get him scolded, and checks the weather
report for the drive back instead. More water sounds, and when the door
opens he pushes his chair back and turns to see Jin come back out,
still in t-shirt and boxers and with a lot more coordination.
"Hey," he says, looking nosily at Kame's laptop. Weather,
Kame smiles, nothing to see here. Jin leans against the desk and bends
down for a kiss. His lips are cool and taste of mint, and Kame feels a
faint pull in his stomach. "That was nice."
He means the nap, not the kiss, though Kame thinks the
kiss was nice too. "Well, you're a man in need of a break," he says,
stroking up Jin's side, feeling lingering sleepy warmth under the thin
"Hmmmm." Jin smiles again, with a lot more focus in his
eyes. "I was," he admits, surprising Kame when he moves to straddle
Kame on the chair, settling on Kame's thighs.
The warmth is a shock, and Kame tenses to balance for
Jin's weight. Jin's no help, leaning forward to nuzzle the back of
Kame's neck. "Now I'm a man who's well-rested," he says, his tongue
curling up behind Kame's ear. "And who would really like a blow job.
Think that can be arranged?"
Kame blinks against the swoosh of waves in his ears.
"Uh," he says, is still groping for words when his dick is giving Jin
clear answers. "Here?" he hears himself say, feebly.
Jin laughs, a hot little puff that makes Kame's fingers
clench on Jin's ass. "Wasn't going to take it to the living room, if
that's all right with you." He's mocking Kame.
"Fair point," Kame manages, while Jin's fingers sink
into his hair and Jin squirms on his lap, his boxers tented, and he
smells good, feels good...
Kame lets his arms go tight and holds him still for a
moment; breathes him in, holds on. Jin's head comes up and he's just
smiling, waiting. "Well," Kame says, "then I guess you'd better get on
the bed. Unless you need me to arrange that too."
Jin is up in a flurry, bouncing backwards on the bed
with a happy hoot. Kame takes a detour to lock the door, and then
there's Jin with his smile going deep, wriggling out of his underpants,
and the mattress gives softly when Kame joins him.
"I think I ate too much." Yuuya makes a deeply
thoughtful face at his Cosmopolitan, as if he's not sure it'll find
"That was some good stuff, man," Tanaka says, and Kame
can't help smiling.
They remembered booze this time, in fact Tanaka brought
half the bar, and so nobody has to make Jin uncomfortable by doing
"I've trained him up well," Jin boasts, and Kame pokes
him in the ribs under the water. He doesn't even mind the other two
seeing. Maybe he's tipsy too.
Jin squeaks dutifully, managing not to spill his
tequila, and Tanaka gives him a look.
"You know, if you could produce those sorts of sounds on
a stage, the girls would just..." He rolls his eyes in his head and
clutches his wet chest. "...swoon."
"I'm sure I can do that if you get Kame to poke me on
stage," Jin says; then flushes bright red as Yuuya and Tanaka burst
Kame is flushing too, but somehow he's not even truly
"I'm sure it would only help with the swooning," Yuuya
says, grinning softly, but before that's truly registered, Jin is
pulling at Kame's arm and looking at him woefully.
"Do something. They're dirty bastards. I didn't mean it
Kame holds up his hands. "I'm a victim here too." But
then he squirms around in the water and stretches for the bar line-up.
"We can try to get them drunk and drown them," he decides. "Anyone want
Tanaka asks for a G&T and Kame fixes himself and
Jin more tequila, and they're let off the hook.
"Did you remember to pack your toothbrush?" Jin swings
his bag, twice as big as before from the way he just stuffed all his
crap in, into the back seat of the car and looks at Kame earnestly.
"You're a pest," Kame says, putting his own luggage in
and shutting the door.
"Your toothbrush is very important to me. You forget it,
it'll just... sit there and cry and not get to do any brushing," Jin
explains. "And it'll be like, where are Kazu-chan's teeth, I'm waiting..."
He stops and his shoulders droop. "Now I've depressed myself."
"My toothbrush is fine, the two of you can continue your
romance at home."
"Romance?" Tanaka says from the door. "The two of who?"
"You don't want to know," Kame says, very determined now
not to laugh. Yuuya shows up behind Tanaka in a warm sweater, carrying
two thermal mugs and a paper bag. They're packed up, too, but Tanaka
will stay to settle things with the staff, give back the keys, that
sort of thing.
"Supplies for the road," Yuuya says, and they get a
coffee each. Once they're sitting in the car, Yuuya hands the bag to
Jin. "Onigiri. Made them myself. So if you get stranded in the
mountains in the snow, you won't starve."
"Great," Jin says, and Kame adds, "Thank you very much.
It should keep the cannibalism at bay for a while." He turns his head
back to Tanaka. "And thank you for inviting us. It's been good."
Complicated. Fun. Necessary, he now suspects.
"Yeah, no problem." Tanaka bumps the window frame of the
car. "Aren't you glad when I'm right."
"Always," Kame sighs.
"I'll see you at the studio on Wednesday," Tanaka says
past him to Jin. "Make sure you know the lyrics to the emo song."
"It's not emo! It's just got a nice melody."
"Yeah, yeah, just learn the words." Tanaka waves him
off. He nods to Kame. "We'll be in touch."
Yeah. They will be. And Jin will be in touch with Yuuya,
"Yuuya-san," he says. "Please give my regards to
Maria-chan and tell her I'm looking forward to meeting her."
"She's Fluffy," Jin points out, but Yuuya gives him a
short, amused nod, and then it's time to roll the windows up and get
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