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How to hook a fish (banner)

How to Hook Your Fish (and not kill a dolphin)

by Solo & Jo 

"Here," Jin says, thrusting out his present the moment the big nose pokes out the door. "Hi." A surge of noise comes from inside.

Nakamaru blinks. It's a bottle of Courvoisier wearing a black square hat with a dangly thing. Meisa put a pink ribbon on it so you can tell it's a present.

"You know I didn't get a PhD, right?" Nakamaru says. "That's when you get those."

"And in America it's for surviving high school," Jin grins. "You got me beat on both. Can I come in? I washed my hair just for you."

"Of course, of course," Nakamaru gestures sweatily. His pants are way too tight to look comfortable. "You just caught me by surprise, didn't think you'd come."

"I'm a father, not a monk," Jin says. "Also, Meisa said it would do me good to say something other than goo-goo-goo and gii-gii-gii and 'who's Daddy's girl then' for a night. She thinks it's making me retarded." Well, Meisa's more polite about it. But god, he hasn't been to a party in ages. You'd think he was an alcoholic the way he's craving a drink.

The room Nakamaru ushers him into is full of people and almost bare of furniture.

"I moved stuff," Nakamaru says, "there were just so many who wanted to come."

So many girls, Jin notices. Going by their phones and handbags, they aren't KAT-TUN fangirls. You get an eye for that quickly.

"Uni people?" he asks.

"Yeah, and some others." Nakamaru knows what he likes and hands him a tequila shot. "How's the little one getting on?"

"She's amazing," Jin says. "Only wakes up once in the night now!"

"I haven't seen pictures since your first e-mail."

Jin doesn't care how Nakamaru knows to say all the right things, just whips out his cell and shows him the screen, which is from yesterday. She's sleeping.

Nakamaru purses those lips of his like he wants to kiss her. "Oh, she's sweet."

Damn right she is.

"She's opening anything she can reach," Jin says, which is honestly a pain in the ass so he has no idea why he always ends up sounding like she invented penicillin. "Once we found her gnawing on a candle, we took the knobs off all the low cupboards."

Nakamaru laughs. "That sounds like what Choco was like."

Then a woman walks up to him with a camera and demands a picture. Nakamaru doesn't even hesitate. He must trust these people. Jin moves a bit to the side because he doesn't even know them, grateful when nobody sulks.

He waves at Nakamaru and finds the bar, a long dining table with lots of bottles on it. It warms his heart. The guy behind it is wearing a waiter's uniform and holding a menu from recycled paper under Jin's nose. "I'll mix you what you like," the guy says, and while Jin's still making up his mind if he feels ready to take it to the next level, the waiter guy shakes the cocktail mixer for a girl who asked for a Long Island Iced Tea.

"I'll have what she's having," Jin smiles, and the girl smiles back. She's in a black simple skirt with hardly any make-up on, a handbag that wants to be a briefcase when it grows up dangling from her arm.

"Saitou-kun's really good at this," the girl says, toasting them both with her glass.

"You're a real waiter?" Jin asks, curiosity getting the better of him as the guy scoops ice out of a bucket.

"I'm a part-time real waiter," the guy grins. "I graduated with Nakamaru-kun. Volunteering my professional experience. He did beatbox at my graduation party."

"Oh my god," the girl beams, "that was amazing, wasn't it? When he worked in that barking dog outside?"

She laughs and the waiter laughs and Jin says, "Sounds cool."

The waiter hands him his drink. "What are you studying?"

The girl laughs again. "He's not a student, dumbo. He used to be in Nakamaru-kun's band. Akanishi-kun, right?"

Nakamaru's band. Jin tries not to grin when he imagines the others' reaction to that.

"Yeah, Akanishi," he says. "I've gone solo. What's your name?"

Her name's Matsuda but she says he can call her Macchan, and she studies something to do with bugs.

Jin doesn't quite say 'brrrr' but he says, "What made you want to do that?"

"Oh, I'm just really interested in the environment," she says. "And it's good for jobs in multi-nationals, if I want to go abroad for a few years."

Jin smiles at her. He gets that. Saitou-kun the waiter has moved on to mixing Jager Bombs for some other guys. "And you're almost done?"

"One more year," she says determinedly. "I hope to get on my professor's research group for a PhD, I want to work on alternatives to pesticide, keeping the Japanese ecosystem in balance, you know? And there's a huge market for organic foods these days."

"Oh, yeah," Jin nods. "I've seen those, there's lots of organic baby foods."

"Oh yes, that's totally expanding," Macchan says wisely. "And it'll just become more normal from there that people start paying attention to the chemicals they're putting into their bodies."

"We thought about that too," Jin says, "now that we're giving the baby some solids. It's really changed how I'm shopping."

"Oh, that's right," Macchan says thoughtfully. "You have a baby, don't you? Was it a boy or a girl?"

"A girl," Jin boasts. "Six months now, she can already stand on her own."

"Aw, how sweet."

"She's been having solids for a few weeks now. Not much, of course, just as an addition. She really likes bananas. And pureed tofu, which, trust me, looks like yuck, but she loves it. We get that organic too."

"Oh, see? That's excellent." Macchan is swirling her drink around and nodding in understanding.

"And she's really interested in pizza crust. Can you imagine that?"

"Wow," Macchan says, and sips at her drink.

"Yeah, she always wants to suck on it. Actually," Jin says proudly, "I think she's starting to grow a tooth. Just to get at the pizza." She takes after him in that respect.

"That's… early?" Macchan says tentatively. She looks a little shy, or maybe concerned, and Jin reassures her quickly.

"We make sure there's nothing but the crust, really, you can't give a baby salami or onions or anything. Or, well, you really don't want to, it plays hell with their digestion."

"Yeah," Macchan says. She's got really pretty eyes, though they're a little wide right now. "I bet."

"Yeah, and—"

"Oh, gosh, I'm sorry. There's my classmate, I need to talk to him about his... notes. Excuse me, please, it was lovely talking to you! Good luck with the tofu!"

"Nice to talk to—"

But she's already gone; Jin watches her press through the crowd. She must be desperate for those notes, or... well. Maybe not every bug-loving party girl likes kids. Or hearing about kids.

Quite so much, anyway.

Okay, he blew that one. He tries to look like he didn't and finishes his drink. Anyway, no big deal. So many girls here, he can't manage to screw it up with all of them.

His Long Island Iced Tea helps him get over himself, and he chats with Saitou about Crystal's new album, which they both love, and drifts onwards; stands next to two chicks in mini skirts and one guy in a preppy sweater who are talking about whales.

"Oh no," he says about the abandoned Orca baby, because it sounds pretty sad, and they're nice enough; even when he gets bored by the Norway problem he still kind of enjoys just being back in the swing of things, with drinks and grown-ups, who talk about... dead dolphins, too.

Looking around over the heads of the girls, he sees that Kame has arrived, casual in blue jeans and a shirt with lots of reds. How Jin missed his entrance, he has no idea, since Kame tends to bring out the screams or at least muffled squeaks. But there he is, Jin has no idea since when, talking to a guy with round glasses.

Jin watches their gestures for a moment. Looks like sports, looks like... yeah, baseball. There's a surprise. Maybe that's why he's lost his entourage of fangirls.

And then Kame looks up and sees him, and gives him a wave. He's wearing glasses too, his favourite pair which makes him look studious. Jin smiles and waves back, makes a nice-party-nice-booze sort of face and nods towards Nakamaru, which makes Kame grin, before his attention is taken up by his Harry Potter buddy again.

Jin leaves the whales and joins the largest group, the one that has Nakamaru at the center of it, and simply says, "Hi," to the fake redhead he lands besides.

"Hi too," she says, and doesn't seem to mind. She's pretty in an Office Lady kind of way, and as tall as Jin on her heels.

"Exciting talk about global warming over here?"

"Actually, Yucchi's defense," she says. "He did really well, we want all the tips we can get."

It reminds Jin of an MC, for a moment, and university's done nothing to shorten Nakamaru's sentences. But then a girl chimes in with stuff about bibliographies and there are page counts and citation rules and... energy drinks. Yeah, Jin knows something about energy drinks.

"He had Ichihara-sensei on his panel," the girl whispers to Jin. "She's a dragon if you look like you aren't taking things seriously."

Not much danger of that, with Nakamaru. He was born serious. "I'm Jin, by the way," he says.

"Yeah, I know," she says. "I'm Miki."

"Shall I get us another drink?"

She glances across to Nakamaru and the people arguing with him.

"I think I'm okay, thanks. I have to write my thesis proposal soon, and Yucchi's done so much reading about it."

"Yeah, that makes sense," Jin says.

But she's no longer really listening to him.

Jin watches the show a bit longer, listens as Nakamaru settles an argument about the uni bindery like a medieval shogun; watches as his empty glass keeps getting replaced with full ones by various smiling girls, an alcoholic flush starting to spread down his throat and into the daringly unbuttoned top ten centimeters.

There are at least ten women hanging on every word he says, and Jin can't even keep one talking to him for more than five minutes.

Something is wrong with this picture. He looks around unobtrusively. There's one lone a woman at the bar, in a very short, very sexy dress and very high heels. She's gesticulating and pointing at various bottles, and she's got that lively, fun look Jin likes. Okay!

When gets closer, he realizes she's explaining some arcane cocktail trick to Saitou.

"Hi there," he says, and she gives him a bright smile.

"Hi!" She turns back to Saitou, who's a little flushed in the cheeks. "Yucchi likes a bit more of the syrup." She's watching operations with eagle eyes.

"Do you study the environment too?" Jin asks. She doesn't look like a student, but it's a good conversation starter.

"Oh god no!" She grins. "I'm a librarian."

She doesn't look like a librarian either. "Wow," he says. "You must be the hottest librarian I ever met."

That gets him a quizzical look. "Do you meet many?"

He laughs. "Okay, no. Not in my line of work."

"Didn't think so."

So she knows who he is. She seems pretty unbothered by it.

"So you know Yucchi through the library?"

"Yeah, I help him with computer stuff a lot. He's so sweet." She gazes across dreamily to where Nakamaru is taking a step back from a brunette who instantly takes a step to follow him. "So hot," the librarian says.

Nakamaru takes another step back, shielding himself with his drink. Soon he'll be at the wall.

"Hot?" It's not how Jin would have classfied how Nakamaru gets around chicks. "Isn't he more like, awkward?"

The librarian laughs. "Sweetie, that makes it so hot. Body of a god, and that deer-in-the-headlights look."

They watch together as a blonde cuts off Nakamaru's escape to the left.

"Better go stage an intervention," the librarian says. "Bye now."

And Jin is alone again.

This is just not fair. And just like that he's three drinks down, and he wants to get another, because the last few months have been pretty dry, but he can also feel it, and right now the happy part of happily fuzzy is not showing up to party.

There's a table with nibbles - organic fairtrade nibbles, he guesses by now - which looked tasty when he arrived, but the anti-baby girl and half a dozen of her friends are hanging out around it, and he doesn't feel up to trying another conversation about dying wildlife, academic smartiepantsness, or how hot Nakamaru is.

There'll be more food in the kitchen. And maybe a bit of breathing space. He never realized he was so off his game.

Then the first thing he sees when he gets through the door is... Kame.

He blinks. Kame. In the kitchen. At a party?

"Hey," Jin says weakly. "You here for the nibbles too?"

Kame gives him a smile and a curious once-over at the same time. "Just washing my hands. I spilled my drink. The nibbles are out there, actually?" He gestures vaguely.

Jin ignores it, snatches a teriyaki stick from the supplies on the counter. "So, how's it going?" he asks. He doesn't ask if Kame's enjoying the party because right now he wouldn't want to know.

"Good. Keeping busy." Kame is drying his hands, slowly. Puts the dish cloth back, and done.

"You got here late," Jin says, skimming the teriyaki and the satay sticks. He picks out the most delish-looking one and holds it out. "Want?"

There's a moment's pause before Kame takes the stick, a smile twitching around his mouth. "Sure. And how are you?"

"Fine. You know, baby's keeping me busy. Work's okay, too." He's recording, three days a week, meant to be dead secret except, well.

Kame nibbles on the teriyaki in a nibbly way. He looks relaxed; happy, actually, the smile still around his eyes. "Making inroads on the mountain of material?" He knows Jin was writing all the time during the ban, whenever the baby let him.

"Slowly. I might have enough to last me a couple of years."

Kame laughs and leans against the fridge. Sounds of beatboxing are coming through the half-open door.

"He's having a great time," Jin says, and tries not to sound grudging.

"He deserves it," Kame says. "He's worked hard for this, studying with all of the regular stuff going on. Drafting essays on the tour bus." He shakes his head. "I tried to quiz him before his last midterm but just reading about those circles of sustainability broke my brain."

Jin has to smile too. "His fan club out there seems to be all over that." Or rather, all over him. "Since when are all the hot chicks into Nakamaru?"

Kame just gives him an odd look. "You know, if you'd come to any of his other parties over the last two years, that wouldn't be such news to you."

"Hey, I was busy. With..." Better parties, or a number of other things he preferred to the quiet, girl-and-fun-challenged snoozers he expected from Nakamaru. "...work, and stuff."

Kame doesn't even pretend he credits that. "I was surprised to see you tonight, actually."

"Well, it's his graduation party," Jin says, and then he thinks, why pretend. "Okay, and I wanted to get out for a change. Maybe find some nice lady, you know. I love spending time with the baby and work is great, but sometimes I need a break." And some sex. Kame will understand.

"The ladies here seem pretty nice to me," Kame says generously, not that he'd be looking to score with any of them.

Jin hmphfs and ditches his empty teriyaki stick. "They don't find me so nice, I think."

Kame's eyebrows twitch. "No luck?"

Jin shakes his head. "Tried a few, but nothing. Doesn't help that I don't know my ecological pyramid from my food chain, I guess."

Kame looks at him with arch eyebrows as he goes for satay this time. "Jin, you're a married man with a baby. They're not going to guess at your particular arrangement."

"But they could at least flirt with me!" Honestly, do dads just turn into sexless blobs? "They could at least want to bang me. I can hardly wear a sign, married-for-baby-and-tax-purposes, and besides, some don't know who I am or that I'm supposed to be taken." He even took the ring off.

Kame is laughing. At him. Which is annoying and somehow reassuring, and makes the whole thing suck less.

He sighs, and doesn't care if Kame sees all his pain and suffering. "I haven't got laid in over a year."

The laughing stops. Jin gets the impression he just scared him. "So... you and Meisa don't even..."

Jin shrugs. "We figured we'd keep it straightforward. Didn't want to get stuff all muddled up. And, well, she was sick and then she was huge and then she was exhausted and now we never get enough sleep, so I don't think she's been missing it."

"Yes, okay," Kame says cautiously. "That makes sense."

"And I don't know where I'd pick anybody up, anyway. I mean, I haven't even been to a real party since Reio's birthday. I'm barely used to booze anymore because I don't drink at home, either."

Kame lowers his food stick and looks intrigued. "Why not?"

"Because Meisa can't," Jin says. He stands by it, though every once in a while it's a pain in the ass. "She's breastfeeding. It can get passed on, not good for the baby. Well, there's studies that say you can time it in between feedings so it's okay, and she's pumping anyway so I guess she could do it earlier and then have a drink, but it all seemed a bit dodgy to us." Weirdly, he feels calmer already. So he doesn't get why Kame is breaking out into wide grin.

"Okay, if you talk to the girls like that, I'm not surprised they run away."

Jin feels a flush coming on, and a touch of indignation, but Kame's eyes are dancing, so in the end he laughs. "That was just one," he admits. "I stopped doing that."

"Wise choice," Kame grins.

Jin shakes his head again. "I swear, they didn't even notice I was hitting on them."

"Well, they're Nakamaru's crowd. Maybe they don't expect to get hit on by you."

"Dude, there are constants." It's weird when he has to explain the ways of the world to Kame, familiar from very long ago. "What does Nakamaru have to do with it? I'm sure you can save the whales and still see when a guy's trying to get you a drink."

Kame looks him up and down, almost like he wants to measure how much he wants to make fun of Jin, only not quite. "Aren't the drinks free?"

"Fuck off. It's the thought that counts. It's a technique."

Kame's mouth twitches, and his eyes seem bright and too clever behind the dark-rimmed glasses. Jin doesn't even know if he wants to ask.

But then Kame melts into an easy smile. "Well, at least come back in there with me," he says. "You never know."

That sounds better. And there's only so long you can hide in the kitchen without setting off loser alerts. "Who's that guy you were talking to?" he says, taking point because it looks better than trailing out of there behind Kame. "The one with the glasses?"

"Name's Watanabe. He was at Nakamaru's last party, likes baseball."

"Great," Jin mutters. "You're his hero?"

"His hero is Shun Tono," Kame says reprovingly. "He just wanted to hear about hitting that home run."

"Behind the times, is he?"

"Just catching up at a party," Kame says, clearly above such finicky details, and makes a steering sort of gesture that Jin could object to, only he doesn't feel like it, and it probably means Kame's not going to ditch him for the next Giants fan right away.

They find a spot by the windows, next to the closed bedroom door, between a group of nerdy guys and the not very loud stereo. Kame doesn't look awkward at all. It's easy. Much less need to hide.

"So can I get you anything to drink?" Kame asks.

Jin eyes the bar, where Satou is decorating a paper cup with a piece of fruit and a biodegradable umbrella. "Yeah," he says. Best if he sticks to the safe spots. "Thanks. I'll have..." Hm, tequila? Won't last long. But he's not allowed beer...

"I'll find something you like," Kame says smoothly, and winds his way through the party, a little spot of familiarity among a bunch of strangers.

And Nakamaru. Who is in a very deep, meaningful conversation with one of his kouhais.

Jin waits and leans his ass against the window sill. Not a single chick pays him any mind, which surprises absolutely no one at his point.

He's kind of glad Kame is here. Uni crowds are just not for him.

Kame returns and holds out a tall glass, their fingers touching as Jin takes it from him.

"Thanks." It's a G&T, their old classic, and, yum, just as strong as he likes it. Though Jin should have told him to go for the diet version. "What's yours?"

"Mai Tai." Kame swirls the orange liquid to make the ice cubes clatter. "Probably my last, though."

"You on a diet too?" Jin tries to think of anything coming up that means Kame needs to get his waify look on.

"Just wanting to keep my wits about me," Kame says with a little smile, and then, "Oh, wait, they put you on a diet?"

Jin grimaces. "Five kilos. They want a proper idol look for when we get to promotion."

Kame's eyes flick over him. "You look fine." He pauses. "You look great."

It's amazingly reassuring to hear Kame say that. So reassuring that it's easier to admit, "Well, I'm a bit cushier than I used to be." All that sitting at home and no reason to starve. "And you know what they want for the photos."

"Yeah, I know," Kame admits. "Shame, though." His eyes trail Jin's cheekbones and his shoulders, like it really is. "You look hot with a bit of baby weight."

Jin tilts his head over his G&T and ignores the spread of heat in his face. "Yeah, well. Not buying me much here, is it?"

"Forget them," Kame says with a dismissive wave. So Jin has another sip and doesn't list his points of failure all over again. He's still kind of glad he cleaned up for the party.

"So how is the little one doing?" Kame asks. "Beyond the breastfeeding."

Jin blinks at him. "Is that a trick question?"

Kame laughs, poking him in the shoulder.

"Just, if this is a set-up..."

"No set-up," Kame says. It sounds almost sweet. "Last time I saw her was two months ago, I'm sure she's a lawyer or a doctor by now."

"Well," Jin says wryly, "she did dissect her first mackerel last week when we weren't looking." They're still finding scales and tiny bones on the furniture. Fish is sticky.

Kame laughs again. "Inquisitive, huh?"

"You have no idea. And no sense of fear. She tried to make friends with some huge dog, you know, like Ueda's, in the park. Bigger than her." He shudders.

"That's good, though," Kame says, "that you're raising her to be like that."

"Not sure how much we have to do with it," Jin confesses. "She's pretty strong willed."

"Now there's a surprise." Kame is giving him a sneaky grin.

"She's also getting pretty good at sleeping, which, believe me, you learn to appreciate."

"Definitely familiar." Kame's smile is one of those that brighten up the whole place.

Jin's deciding he likes the party after all.

Kame really knows a lot about kids; maybe all the nieces and nephews, maybe that he always pays attention when people talk. There aren't many single guys with whom Jin could have a chat about allergens in nappies. It's fun. Next Kame asks how they're going to deal when Jin is back at work, they talk about non-disclosure contracts for babysitters, and finally Jin's promotion campaign, and his new songs.

It's like at a party where he hangs with Pi and the gang, and no matter how loud the party or how many strangers there are, it's totally easy. Warm. Only he's never gone to a lot of parties with Kame.

Meisa will be pleased. Jin's only said gii-gii-gii once, and that was for illustration, and Kame laughed. He hasn't lost the knack for adult conversation and Kame keeps asking him more, doesn't seem bored for a minute.

He's even fine when some guy needs to get at the window and stops when he recognises Kame, and there's a second helping of baseball appreciation. Kame talks more to Jin than to the guy, and with the shine of the Kamenashi fire, not even baseball is dull.

When Kame offers to get him another drink, he doesn't turn it down, and it's diet soda this time. They chat about work, about San Francisco and New York; Jin is still a little jealous that Kame will go to Cannes, but when Kame talks about it he almost makes it sound as if he'd prefer to take Jin along. Feels better.

It's half past midnight when he checks his watch again. Huh.

Kame noticed. "Late for you?" he asks, full of concern.

"Hm," Jin says. It's late for a dad who's changing morning diapers at seven; not so late for a guy at a fun party, on a fun windowsill, with a perfect diet G&T. "Nah. I'll catch up some time."

Kame looks at him knowingly, and smiles again. "You really don't look like you've got a kid keeping you up all night."

"Well, it's not all night." He feels he has to defend his daughter's honour.

"I'm glad you're not leaving me just yet," Kame says, without a hint of irony.

The truth is that Kame doesn't have trouble chatting anybody up here, but Jin doesn't need to poke at that.

"Sorry, guys," says a girl; oh, one from the whale group. "Mind if I open that window?"

Kame gives Jin and his comfortably parked ass a glance; raises an eyebrow at her.

"Hi again," Jin says, and her slighty daunted look changes to bemusement when she looks at Jin.

"Oh. Hi."

She returns his smile vaguely, in a way that makes Jin want to insist 'We talked about whales. Orca babies.'

"All the other windows are packed," she explains, "and Yucchi needs some fresh air because people have been smoking."

"Sure," Jin says gallantly, and shifts himself. It's pretty warm in here, some fresh air will be nice. "Let me do it for you."

"Thanks, that's okay." She flips the handle and tilts the pane, letting a flow of night air in.

"Feels better, doesn't it?" Jin says to her, and she smiles and says yes and leaves.

Right. He didn't even want to pick her up, not really. Actually, really not. But still.

"You okay there now?" Kame asks, putting a hand on Jin's shoulder. "You won't get cold?"

"I'm okay," Jin huffs. "But see? This is what I've been dealing with. I talked to her earlier. It's like I'm not there."

"Well," Kame says. It sounds contemplating, but there's a strange undertone. "She's probably preoccupied. Preoccupied people can miss signals sometimes." He sounds like that's funny somehow.

"Those were blatant, universal signals. Just how preoccupied can you be?"

And now Kame is looking straight at him. Jin notices that he never let go of his shoulder. "I don't know." There's a grin he's trying, and failing, to keep from breaking out on his face. "But I've been hitting on you for the last two hours, and you kept missing it too."

Jin takes a breath, old reflex, deny everything, until the words run through the filter in his brain where words work and say wordy things like, what?


Kame's focus feels different, not at all like that mellow thing they had going, and something pulls tight in Jin's shoulder, the cold draft and Kame's warm hand. "Two hours, Jin. I wasn't too subtle."

Kame's enjoying this.

"But I'm a guy."

Kame raises an eyebrow.

"I mean. You're a guy. And I'm..." Okay. One thing that happened as he got older? He learned to stop the really dumb shit before it comes out of his mouth. "It doesn't count if the hitting-on happens outside of someone's normal sexual preference." There, that's a legit complaint.

Kame lets him go. Gently. "Maybe these girls are all Marusexuals," he suggests.

That thought right there? Is freakier than the thought that Kame was hitting on him.

Wait, Kame was hitting on him. God.

"So all the stuff... all that..." Brain, engage brain. "So you weren't really interested in what I said, it was all a scam because you want in my pants?" He tries to sit on his voice, stop it from going high.

But there's no grin on Kame's face any more. "You are an idiot. I'm always interested in what you say. If I wasn't, I wouldn't want in your pants. Get it?"

Okay, okay, breathe. Yes, better, until he remembers that they are discussing pants, the getting into thereof, in a room full of Marusexuals.

"Shhh!" he says.

Kame breaks out laughing.

Then Jin's brain finds the right gear and bam, caught up. "You want in my pants?"

"Relax," Kame says, his eyes softening. "You just made it too easy. Temptation." He slides a look up and down Jin's side, but it's too pointed, it's teasing.

Jin laughs, and it's only a little breathless. "You're a fucking troll."

"Sometimes," Kame smirks. "Not that there's anything wrong with your pants, or what's in them."

"That," Jin says, "is a lousy pickup-line."

"Would you like me to try harder?" Kame's eyes are sparkling. Jin's getting into the mood of this now.

"I'm not easy like your baseball boys or those guys who want to see your Leica," he says primly. "You'd at least have to take me out for dinner."

Kame's eyebrows are amused and way too noisy. "Well, no, I don't really take them out to restaurants."

"See? Not classy, that."

"I do cook for them, though. How's Monday?"

Eh? "Monday?"

"Dinner," Kame says kindly. "My place. I'll cook. Classiest I can be."

"What is this— why do you want to cook for me?"

"You said I should try harder." There's something in Kame's eyes, something amused and delighted and... waiting. Challenging. "Besides, it'll be fun. We can catch up. You'll have more baby pics."

Jin doesn't trust him. Or, well he does, but that mischievous look, he knows that look.

"I won't put out," he says, and it sounds bizarre in his ears. "You... you do know that, right?"

"Sure I know," Kame says. "But I'll have a lot of fun trying to get you to, anyway."


"Thank you so much for coming!" Nakamaru is holding on to the door with drunken determination. He sort of glows at Jin and Jin feels old, leaving a party before two in the morning while the girls keep giggling, but the baby hours finally caught up with him. T-TU arrived just after one, so colleagues will still be adequately represented.

Kame is putting on his shoes, too, looking just a bit steadier than Jin. "Our pleasure," Kame says, which, huh, but Nakamaru's grin broadens impossibly.

"It was good seeing you two catch up! Such a shame that life is so busy these days, for all of us of course, and our extracurricular obligations, so to speak, make it even harder, don't they. It's so difficult with a baby and with baseball, you can't let it, you know, there's, it's hard." He seems to be mixing up who's got the baby and who's got the baseball, moving his head slowly like his nose is creating too much air resistance.

Jin nods at him. "Great party," he says, and it's maybe true that the last few hours of it didn't suck, but mostly it's that Nakamaru really didn't need to send him another invitation after he'd ignored them for so long, and Jin's suddenly very glad he still did.

"So make sure Jin gets home all right," Nakamaru says, and waves at them sloshily, and Jin shows him his favourite finger and doesn't think Nakamaru's grin is that drunk.

"I will," Kame says, opening the door, and Jin says, "Hey!" but steps out anyway. There's a light touch at the small of his back.

Okay, whatever. "You didn't help me into my coat," Jin says as they wait for the elevator.

"You're not a girl," Kame says, and then considers. "But I can if you want me to."

"Too late now, isn't it?" Jin smirks. But now his brain has latched on to it, he's starting to wonder just what Kame does when he's flirting with guys. With girls, you know the rules. How did Kame even learn what to do with guys?

"My apologies," Kame says, peering up from a rueful bow of his head, "Next time you need help dressing and undressing, I'll make sure to lend a hand."

Jin's almost sure that is a threat.


Kame calls him when he's in the middle of mashing an organic potato.

He scrambles before the ring can upset the baby. "Uh, hi," he says. There are potato bits on his forearms and starch smears on his touch screen.

"Hey," Kame says, and for all Jin knows he could be straight from mud-wrestling but his voice is smooth and cool. Definitely without potato bits. "How are you?"

"Uh, fine."

"I just wanted to check that you got home okay last night," Kame says, sounding as serious as any of this drama roles.

"What?" He stops with the potato. "I was in a cab, you put me... you saw me get in." Kame was adamant Jin should take the first one, and in his baby-fatigue stupor, Jin grabbed at the chance.

"Yes, but cabs can be dangerous. A pretty thing like you..."

"Fuck off," Jin says, giving the baby chair a guilty look. She hasn't noticed, he thinks. "Thought we'd agreed that I'm not a girl." Then he ducks his head and looks around when he remembers Meisa's already back from the conbini.

"I'm also calling to ask if half past eight on Monday will be okay, and if you prefer Bordeaux or Burgundy," Kame says, and then falls silent, the kind of loaded silence that makes Jin think more quickly.

Yeah, Monday. You can always blame the baby if you don't have time.

"Yeah," he says slowly. "I've got the night off. Eight thirty is fine." He traded Meisa two days of nappy changing for it, not that he's going to say that.

The silence holds for another beat, until Kame says breezily, "Great, I'm pleased to hear it. What about the wine?"

"What wine?"

"Never mind." There's a smile there. "I'll see you on Monday."

"Yeah," Jin says. "I won't be late."


It's quarter to nine by the time he gets to Kame's door. Literally the baby's fault. Jin's face is flaming when he rings the bell, as if he didn't have enough to worry about.

Like how his daughter wiped her nose on his favoured outfit as he was leaving. Or the fact that he's thinking about it in terms of outfits.

At least she didn't get his best jeans.

"Hey," Kame says. Original. And Jin remembers that smile, the one that is deep and really happy. It always made him feel like he was the coolest guy in the world.

"Sorry I'm late," he says, stepping in and kicking off his shoes.

"You're right on time," Kame says.

"Here, I brought this." Jin gives him a bottle of Sauternes. This one doesn't have a ribbon on it, and Meisa didn't see it either.

"Oh, you shouldn't have." Kame seems delighted anyway. "Well, come in properly."

Jin figured this wouldn't be so weird. It's Kame's apartment, he's known the place forever, he carried half of Kame's feed-your-own-army dishes in here, for crying out loud. And Kame's going to pull back Jin's chair and shit, and make some joke about his girly hips and pretty hair, and there's free food in it.

Except the apartment looks different. Nothing major, just… the light's different; not the dim glow for passing out drunk on the carpet, but soft somehow. There are flickering candles on one windowsill, sparkling in the glass.

He could probably start with the seduction jokes. You don't have to feel on firm ground to crack a joke.

Kame looks pretty normal. He's wearing jeans, and a crisp shirt with two buttons undone and the sleeves rolled up. Idol off the clock. Jin can't figure out if he's wearing makeup, but he looks… well. Good.

"You didn't drive here, did you?" he asks, sliding a long-necked bottle from the fridge. It's an orange-amber liquid, and Kame looks at him hopefully.

"Nah, cab," Jin says. Now that Nakamaru gave him some booze practice, he figured he'd at least not be disabled-by-car. And drink sounds good.

The bottle glows in the warm light as Kame pours them both appetizers. There's music, too. Some film Jin thinks he should recognise.

Jin wraps his hand around the martini glass like he'd grab a bottle neck, and suddenly has this swelling urge to make sure Kame got it about the no putting out and all that. Instead he has a gulp and his glass is half-empty.

Woah, tasty.

Kame looks pleased. "Good, isn't it?"

"Yeah," Jin admits. "Very."

"A friend recommended it. There's a specialty store in Ginza." Kame tilts the bottle towards him. "Top you up?"

He'll be drunk in no time. "Not right now, thanks."

Kame's eyes twinkle like he knows what Jin is thinking. But then he simply gestures towards the table, which is set with the dishware Kame doesn't bring out for the unfed masses of juniors. "Sit down. I hope you're hungry."

He thought he was, though he seems to have forgotten. But he makes a you know me kind of face and watches Kame whisk two carefully arranged salads from the fridge.

"Don't worry, it's just starters," he smiles.

Aperitif. Starters. "How many courses are there?"

"Three, very standard," Kame says, settling down. "I hope you enjoy."

The salad is good. Very good. Kame observes Jin and, Jin figures, his appetite, and smiles again.

"So which magazines are you scheduled for?"

Jin rattles off the list, and yeah, he knew the ban's done a number on him when he realised he actually has the list in his head, but whatever. Kame has everything in his head all the time.

So he tells Kame, and Kame wants to know where Jin's getting input and if he's got concepts for the shoots.

"Something sharp for GQ," Jin says. "You know, spin off the family man thing. Suits, but intense."

"The hidden passion of the salaryman," Kame grins and pours them wine.

It goes on like this. Kame nods and listens. Jin hasn't had this much undivided attention since... okay, Nakamaru's party.

Kame's not wearing his glasses tonight. But for the first time Jin notices that he's put on eyeliner.

It throws him. Because he's dumb. Because it reminds him. Part of the theme, isn't it? Kame making a point.

Though now he's also noticing that Kame did not, in fact, pull Jin's chair out. Or comment on Jin's hips.

"What?" Kame asks. "Something wrong?"

Don't say it. Just sit on it. Sit on the stupid until it has outstupided itself. Practice some brain-mouth control.

"Nothing," he says. "Salad was good."

Kame smiles kindly. "Give me a moment, please?"

A moment is about a minute and a half; Kame needs to clear the salad plates and arrange two plates. Jin spends that long moment getting the eyeliner out of his head.

At the end Kame serves him teeny tiny potatoes, a delicious-looking steak, and an a tower of vegetables with a thin bamboo stick through it. There's a tomato on Jin's steak.

Tower of vegetables. When did that happen to him?

"It's a French recipe, and the meat's very lean," Kame says. "I made sure." Keeping Jin's diet in mind.

"Thanks," Jin says. It's thoughtful. And the smell would send starving men straight to heaven.

Jin can sort of empathize with them.

"Go on," Kame says. "It's not for decoration."

He's almost normal. Almost. Just nice, and watchful, and not...

"What?" Kame asks again.

Just sit on it.

"You're not treating me like a girl anymore," he says. Well, at least he sounded cool.

Kame doesn't move, and doesn't laugh. There's just something in his eyes. "Well," he says. "If you were a girl, I wouldn't be as interested in you."

There, that. It sounds true. Sounds like a fact of life and Kame likes guys, so, Kame is serious, Kame likes Jin.

Kame is fucking with him. Has to be. But it would really be less unnerving if Kame just called him a pretty little thing again and Jin could roll his eyes. "You're going to a lot of trouble for someone who's not going to put out," he says, spearing a potato that turns out to be outrageously delicious.

"It's nice just to have you here," Kame replies, and it sounds also true, and warm. "And you do look hot in black."

Hot. Jin turns from the smile in Kame's eyes to the steak, and finds it coincidental and also totally unfair that his ears are burning.


The dinner is light and delicious and the dessert is white and fluffy and Kame is smooth and kind of a cool bastard.

Because he's totally done this before, and doesn't pretend Jin doesn't know it.

Jin loves the food. He loves hearing Kame tell him funny stories from his photography club and he enjoys Kame's interest in his life and he's noticing that he doesn't have to do a damn thing to keep the conversation going. He can go home tonight and know he had an awesome night with an old friend who was just really happy to see him.

Uh. Maybe not like that.

Or maybe exactly like that.

Oh, fuck.

"Something wrong?" Kame asks, light smile, and Jin gets stuck on the eyeliner again. Kame's fingers around his wine glass, one gothy skull ring and two gleaming silver ones. He didn't even butch it up.

"Nope, fine," Jin says, knocking back the rest of his wine. And because it's actually worth repeating, "That was some really good food."

Kame's smile turns deep and happy. "I'm very pleased you liked it."

Jin's not sure why he's relaxed one moment and then totally unnerved the next. It's not like Kame is... sleazy or gross or whatever. He's just nice. And interested.

And it's one thing to hear Kame talk about the occasional dude and where he picked him up, and another to be the hapless understudy in the Kamenashi Romance Dinner and know this is really how he picks them up.

Unnerving. It probably works, too.

"More wine?" Kame holds the decanter up, a tasty wine, too, and he looks like someone perfect enough to be an idol but he's chosen to hide out here with you because he likes that better.

Yeah. Definitely works. Imagine the gay dude sitting here, turning that down.

"Sure," Jin says, and has more wine.

He insists on helping with clean-up when they're done. Kame goes all but you're my guest on him and Jin says, "Never thought I'd ever get turned down on housework," and Kame throws a towel at him. So there.

"Besides," he says, applying the towel to wet pots, "if we were really dating, you'd get fed up so fast and complain to everybody I'm never helping, so." He feels quite pleased with that.

"If we were really dating," Kame says, letting his eyes skim Jin's drying work, and then the rest of Jin, "this would be the magical early days when I'd let you get away with anything."

Jin holds still for all the skimming, and is pretty pleased anyway. They work well and quickly together, always have when Jin didn't wheedle or obstruct his way out of it. It's familiar, and Kame looks cute with his apron, which he wears for doing the dishes, probably because he doesn't want to ruin his shirt while on a date, though his other dates probably don't get to see him in an apron, even if he's checking out their asses too.

"Besides, I know where everything is," Jin says, because that suddenly seems important. Magical first days, ha. Kame's club boys don't even know where Kame keeps his dish soap.

But Kame doesn't comment. Just smiles like he knows a secret Jin doesn't. He could really comment.

When they're as done as is sufficient in the Kamenashi household, Kame tops up both their wines and takes the glasses over to the couch table.

"Please, make yourself comfortable," he says, and Jin sits well behaved on one half of the couch, doesn't take over the whole thing like he normally does.

Kame normally takes the armchair. Tonight, after lighting three low candles and doing something cinammonish with his aroma burner, he sits on the other half and raises his glass. "To pleasant company."

Jin can agree with that, in general terms. They sip, and there's a weird moment when Kame looks at him over the rim of his glass, eyes dark and intent.

"So this is where I get to see your Leica?" he says, before he can blush too much.

Kame gives a little laugh. "If you insist. I could also show you some photos I've taken with it. I took a couple of hours off when we were shooting in Tokushima the other week. The light was amazing."

When Kame started out taking his camera everywhere, his pictures were pretty standard, silly shots from sets, a sunset here and there; once a deep and meaningful picture of shoes that Jin made fun of for hours. But that was before his photography club and before a few years of dogged Kamenashi self-improvement.

Kame brings a stack of large prints from the bedroom and sits back down next to Jin, closer, and spreads out a few for Jin to see. They look like a pro took them, with framing and angles and intriguing colours. There's a beach that looks bled-out and comforting at the same time.

Kame shuffles through the stack. "Wait, there's one you'll find interesting."

Jin laughs when he sees it. A pair of shoes floating at the edge of the surf. Sneakers, and they look funny, like mysterious travellers. "Nice shot," he says.

The rest is nature, ocean, patterns in the sand and seagulls overhead. There's a peace to it all which makes it seem like a vacation, not two hours snatched out of a hectic schedule.

"I like those," he says. "It's a beautiful place."

"We could go sometime," Kame says. "Take a car, a blanket, some food..."

Jin notices how close he is. Close enough that he can smell his perfume, vanilla and sambucca stronger than the cinnamon, but matching it nicely.

That's a date, there. Beach, blankets, check. Kame makes it sound perfect. His hands on the prints are delicate and sure at the same time, as sure as he's been all night. Suddenly Jin wonders what the other guys who see him like this look at. What they think then.

"Yeah, food," Jin says, staring hard at the shoreline. "Important."

"I know what you like," Kame replies, and Jin's skin is like those ripples in the sand and his ears are being embarrassing again.

"That's evil," he hears himself say. It sounds plaintive.

Kame smiles at him and looks pleased. "It's true, though," he says simply.

"You can't know that."

Kame looks like he has said the cutest thing ever. "Well," he says then, "right now you might like a cigarette?"

God yes, he would. Something to do with his hands, something to settle his brain.

Kame leads the way, holds the door open. Of course.

The fresh air is good. A breeze dispelling the strange, close heat that had wrapped him up. Kame holds a pack out to him, and Jin braces himself for their fingers touching, but they don't; holds his breath when Kame leans in to light Jin's cigarette and it almost doesn't work, until the scratch of the lighter rattles him awake.

He breathes in deeply, narrows his eyes at Kame through the smoke. Kame props himself up against the balustrade and smokes like he's modelling the cigarette, only it's not even silly.

It's not Jin's fault.

Kame is magnetic. It can be thousands, wrapped around his little finger. Or some bedazzled guy allowed up here for dinner who won't know what hit him and can't believe his luck. Or a kid of fifteen dashing out of Tackey's dressing room with stolen underwear because Kame paints the brightest, best ideas ever.

He's like a cheeky, bossy little sun. Jin's always known that.

"Better?" Kame asks.

Jin shrugs and taps Kame's fake lawn ground with his toes. "It's nice after a meal," he says, has a drag. He knows how beside the point he sounds.

"Come up here," Kame says, tilting his head. Always the invitations. Jin wonders how many of those some beefy sports guy needs before he gets his greedy hands under Kame's shirt. How many Kame hands out, how often. "You know you can see the Tokyo Tower from here?"

"No, you can't," Jin says. He knows. He's smoked a hundred cigarettes out here, and Kame could stop pretending that he hasn't.

Kame leans back with a stretch. It shows off everything and any guy with a pulse is going to go mad, and Jin thinks it's fucking unfair. "No, really, it's back there." He raises his chin in some angle past the building.

Jin steps up, because... because. Streets; lights. He follows the angle, and more lights, and houses, and no damn Tokyo Tower.

"Well, right now the houses are in the way." Kame's voice is velvety, and he's really close. "But in theory, you could see it."

Well, isn't that grand.

And he's not supposed to care about the houses, he knows that, nobody else up here in this corner with Kame's heat close like this would care about the houses, or about stupid Tokyo Tower.

And he doesn't care either, but that's different, and for two drags he tries to sit on it while he glares at the houses, and then he decides no, he's not being petulant, he's just got rights.

"Okay, this was great fun, awesome dinner, love the view. But can you stop treating me like I'm some random guy now?"

Kame actually looks taken aback. "I'm doing what?"

"You're being... like you're with those guys. You can go back to being like you are with me."

There's a pause. The city is noisy and gone at the same time, just not there.

"I see," Kame says carefully. He turns for the ash tray, god he always wastes half the cig, looks at Jin from over there.

His shoulders settle softly, easy Kame casual, and when he smiles, it's nothing like before, it's like every day they've known each other, and safe. Friendly like beers and birthday cards. "Sorry," Kame says.

Jin shakes his head. "It's okay." He's not sure what else to say. "I just..." Well.

"You want to go back in?" Kame asks. "We could watch a movie, make the most of your night off. Anyway, don't you owe me some baby pictures?"

It's normal. Perfectly normal. Just that someone threw a damper on the sun, and everything's a little cold.

And this isn't right either, Jin knows it's not. Kame doesn't wear casual like it's for protection with Jin, he doesn't... slip in and out of a role. He doesn't. It's creepy.

"Are you acting now?"

"No," Kame smiles; laughs almost. "It's okay. We're back on the same page."

"This is how you want to be with me?" Because, no. It can't be being one of a bunch of guys or... or this distance Kame's put on.

Distance, and a slow focus. "That's not what you said."

Jin's throat goes dry. "It's what I meant." He thinks, anyway. Is pretty sure. Because what's the difference?

Kame seems to know the difference. Because his eyes go dark, never mind the night and the grey, and he takes a step; takes another. He takes Jin's cigarette, too, and Jin doesn't breathe, and then he can't, because Kame's hand slides to the back of his neck, and pulls, and Kame kisses him.

It's… lips, and warm, familiar smell, and strength and a lick and it's, holy fuck he's kissing Kame, Kame is kissing him, fuck.

He blinks, a jolt like a clue bus hitting him in the head, and the kissing stops, and what, that's... That's Kame not freezing, Kame's breath by his ear. His hand stays curled around the base of Jin's neck. "That's what I want to be like with you."

Yeah. Got that now. Jin turns his head, just to see, Kame's hair sliding against his cheek, and then there's Kame's mouth again, soft and sure, drawing Jin's breath from so deep it leaves a tight knot in his belly.

He doesn't know what to do. He asked for this, and it's... he never thought... just a kiss something says inside him, something hot and slithering, just a kiss and Kame's tongue in his mouth, and his neck sweaty.

Then Kame stands back on his heels, solid as rock; looks up at him. Jin feels the breeze on his wet lips. He could never think fast enough when Kame has ideas. He lets go of Kame's shoulders.

"Come inside," Kame says, taking Jin's hand just like that, hot and cold again. There's a pull.

Jin needs to get with the program. Inside the air is much stiller and Jin should really think now, should make up his mind, not... wait until Kame has closed the door, and pulls-and-pushes and the cold glass is at Jin's back, and Kame's hot in front of him.

The kiss again, and Kame's hand slipping back behind his neck. And then up, into his hair, while Jin tastes Kame's tongue and there's heat everywhere, and a rough sort of gasp and what do you expect, one fucking year. And Kame lets him breathe and then not, because his mouth is just as bad on Jin's cheek, under his ear, a wet plain thing Jin feels down to his toes.

And somehow Kame's hands... they're over or under, can probably feel Jin's goosebumps. Another step and Kame's brushing against him, all along, and Jin's hands clutch the back of Kame's shirt because that feels more solid than the rest of the world.


It makes Kame look. But he doesn't step away, and Jin's never felt this held. Is that the guy thing? The strength thing.

"How long have you wanted to..."

Dumb. Dangerous. Jin feels it in the way everything goes tight, right inside him, and in Kame's dark stare.

His smile is soft, though. "How long's forever?" Soft, and... okay, teasing, so... maybe Jin... he.... oh, shit, he needs to do something.

But he does nothing, because Kame wraps an arm around his waist, kisses him like other people give you booze and get you high, and moves him away from the wall.

Keeps moving, and Jin's so wrapped up with tongue and good… and oh hell literally wrapped up because they reach the couch and Kame's grip tightens and moves him on, and, bedroom what?

The door falls closed. And Kame's right in his face, and the bed's right at his knees, and shit what's he going to do?

He says yes and it could go weird, could turn too much, could be... and if he says...

Kame pushes his hands under Jin's shirt, definitely under now, and Jin shivers. Skin, touch up his back, gentle and meandering, and everything slows down, way the fuck down, Jin can feel every curl of Kame's tongue, every exhale.

Fuck. Oh fuck. This is happening. Right?

Maybe he leans. Or Kame just moves again, moving everything, holding on around Jin's waist, and they go down, Kame right on top and catching himself and that's some skilled move, no awkward knees and bumped noses.

Kame settles with a knee between Jin's legs. His hair falls into his face and he smiles down, with that mouth, because they were kissing. Wow.

"I got your hair all messed up," Kame says. "I'd say I'm sorry but... you have no idea how hot that looks."

Yeah? His hair now?

Maybe. Kame brushes it back, tangles his fingers, and yeah, hot, somehow, Kame's palm on his cheek or the fact that he's on Kame's bed.

Jin sucks in a breath and opens his mouth, maybe to say something, just maybe. But it's just as well, because Kame comes down and his tongue slips right inside again.

Oh fuck.

Jumping heat, his mouth and a lick, his legs Kame's knee, his hips Kame's hands, and Kame just a little heavier. Jin finally does something too and ends with his hands on Kame's waist, thick and solid, belt and muscle and moving. It's fine, it helps, lets him know where everything is and what Kame's doing.

Buttons. Falling fabric. That's what Kame's doing.

Air on his chest, kisses and sighs and that knee, there, and Jin can't help it, his hips move on their own.

Kame's hips move right back, and, um. Right. Turned on guy on top of him there, no problem.

A guy who's kissing him in all the sweet spots, possibly conjuring up new sweet spots by sheer power of the Kamenashi, and if they were still teenagers Jin would never hear the end of this.

He tries to undo his cuffs without getting in the way, but Kame pauses, watches in freakish fascination, before he sits up and straddles Jin and helps him drag the shirt off his arms.

They both still. Jin, arms up above, Kame with Jin's shirt in his hands and something bright-dark in his eyes. The shirt sails to the ground.

Jin takes a breath, sees Kame watch his stomach dip and go tight. Kame's hands brush up Jin's sides and it almost tickles.

Then Kame's weight shifts. Kame sitting straight, unbuttoning his own shirt. One of his eyebrows is maybe trying to say something, but Jin's kind of preoccupied, because Kame's getting undressed on top of him.

It's to the point, not for show, but that doesn't make the least bit of difference; Jin can't look away. Kame's confident, and his body has muscles from boxing, from acrobatics, from baseball. Perfect male shape.

They used to tease him for his nipples.

They're dark now and pointy, turned-on Kame, and Jin feels a drunk sense of pride. He's doing that. That bulge, too, right where Jin... they're so close, and it's right in front of his eyes and a slide show in his blushing brain, what Kame might have in store for him.

Then Kame's done getting rid of the shirt, and his hands come back.

On Jin's belt. Jin shudders, but it doesn't stop the little tug, Kame unlooping the leather.

"You're not asking me if I'm sure."

Kame cocks his head. The belt slides all the way off. "I figure you're a grown man." He leans forward and Jin sucks in a breath just from the weight. "You're not drunk, you've got ten kilos on me, you can walk away if you want to." Yeah, like Jin wants to, when Kame is licking his nipple and... considering. "Or fifteen, maybe."

"Hey, that is rude!"

"You're lovely." Kame shifts, nuzzling his stomach, a wet ticklish trail down to where Jin's hair starts. "I love everything about you."

That's… it curls into him, hot like Kame's kisses, and Jin wishes he didn't blush so easily. So much.

Kame doesn't comment, just nips at his hip bone and fiddles with his zipper, and puts his hand down Jin's underpants.

Jin jerks, and Kame laughs a little. But there's no time to wonder or be embarrassed because Kame is like some tentacle monster, some black mamba who moves like lightning and oh fuck looks hot with it, and he's got their mouths back together.

"Your dick feels great," Kame smiles against his lips.

Right. His dick, Kame's hand. On his dick. Feeling it. "Um," Jin says. "That's good?" Then he remembers his manners. "Your hand feels good too."

It really does, and the way Kame doesn't burst into laughter or tell him not to be a, well, dick, means that he can feel that, right there. Right there in his hand.

Oh god. Jin is so fucked.

He exhales with a fucking lot of noise, and Kame gives him some nice steady strokes, and elsewhere a whole lot of tongue, and then some evil sadistic strokes.

"You're going to get me off?" It tumbles out, maybe his brain wanted to play too. Dumb brain, tighter hand. He swallows. "We're going to get off?"

Another little laugh. It's low and sexy and Jin's got sweat breaking out all over him. "I think it would be a bit rude to send you home now, wouldn't it?"

"Definitely rude," Jin says, sinking his hand into Kame's hair. Kame huffs out a noise too, which, yes. Jin kisses him back and grinds into Kame's grip, against the pressure on his thighs, Kame rocking himself there.

"Let me take off your pants," Kame says, which sounds scary and sensible and Jin's nodding into a kiss, and then finding some coordination to help when Kame starts tugging.

He lifts up his hips. Kame's hands slide over them, over his... his ass, taking pants and underwear away completely and Jin bites his lip, feeling naked until Kame pushes his own pants down and off, just like that, and there's another guy's erection. A very erect erection.

Kame climbs back on top of him. All that skin. Jin's body knows how long it's been, decides to go wired and flushed. Strong thighs, straddling him, and Kame's shoulders seem wider from this angle. His dick right there.

"That's much better," Kame muses, running his hands from Jin's hips all the way up to his arms.

"Yeah," Jin gasps, distracted because that dick is now pressing against Jin's own and then into his stomach, and that squirming nudge from Kame is slow and purposeful and freaky with the dick, and totally what you do when you're naked and getting off together.

A needy little noise escapes him and his arms push past Kame's grip when he holds on to Kame, hot Kame skin under his palms, hot Kame dick brushing his crotch, and Jin tilts his head up.

Kame doesn't miss a beat, kisses him deep and deliberately, and his hand lands back on Jin's hard-on. That hand, the one that feels good, teasing him with a tug, a skim of Kame's thumb. Kame grins like the cat that got the cream, even licks his lips... god, what if... what are they doing?

Kame raises an eyebrow like he's asking the same question. Only Kame's not nervous. He raises himself a bit, enough space Jin actually sees, Kame's grip around him and Kame's dark-flushed... oh god. And Jin's hands, twitching nervously at Kame's hips.

He's... they're...

Kame takes Jin's hand and guides it between them, where his cock is waiting. Puts it there. "Won't break if you touch it," he says, friendly information, and fuck.

It's hot, thick, wanting, and when he swallows and decides to do the thumb thing, too, it pulses in his hand and there's a touch of wet.

"You, uh..." he says, and quickly stops his mouth. You just leaked on me. He doesn't know why it's so weird, so threatening, it's what guys do when they're— Jin breathes, needs a moment to deal, or not to deal if absolutely necessary. There's pre-come on his hand and it isn't his own.

Kame jerks him again and leans in, kisses his mouth, says, "just like that," and Jin moves his hand, just like that, and the wet weird slide makes him just a little dizzy.

They're having sex. It clicks in his head, a shift that lifts him up, Kame's scary strength and the smooth chest and the hard cock in his hand, and it puts him down shivering, feeling for the pulse and the twitch of Kame's hips when he does it right. It's hot.

Kame's mouth is back on Jin, air and sighs and sucking, of course Kame can do more than one thing at a time, and he keeps saying how hot Jin is and how perfect, and Jin doesn't know what to blush about more, the words or how he's soaking them all up.

The kisses wander down, his neck and his shoulders, his breastbone, nibbles at his nipples and all the time Kame keeps the push-pull on his dick steady, warm and only a little teasing. Jin's fingers flounder, Kame's kissing his belly now and slipping out of...

"I can't—"

"I'll come back," Kame says, "Just let me..." His tongue dips into Jin's navel, soft ticklish curl, Kame's fingers strong on his hips and holding him down when Kame kisses and sucks down the side. Tongue lips kisses, nip of teeth at his hip, everywhere.... He's let go of Jin's cock but Jin can feel his breath on it now, feathery and tantalizing and making his stomach go tight, and then a long lick hello.

Jin sucks in some desperate air. Don't think. Kame just wants...

Kame's lips close around him and soft heat descends. His dick Kame's mouth.

He hears himself sigh, or something, some other desperate sound. Kame sucks him and lifts off, laps around the tip and does it all again, and Jin's toes are curling and he can't keep his hips still. Kame makes a happy sound down there, Jin the favourite strawberry lollipop, and when his hand closes back around Jin it's wetter and slicker and stronger.

Jin thrusts up, perfect grip and a last lick across the tip, and Kame settling back on top of him and the weight is wonderful.

"Please," Jin says, "oh god you're so hot." He'd be embarrassed except he doesn't care anymore.

"You don't see what I'm seeing," Kame says, smile on his face but he's sharp, not teasing now, perfect tight pulls and Jin reaches too, for whatever, finds Kame's ass and pulls him in, wants him close. Close, and everything, the hard-on against his side and the slippery smears, and Kame's breaths coming shallow from his own steady thrusts, sweat and arousal in thick air and oh god, that, with someone, with Kame, and Jin closes his eyes when it's all too much and he just needs, and Kame gives it to him.

He jerks all over when he comes, pulsing in Kame's hand, and it's long, and he's noisy, and it leaves him so, so limp.

He drifts. Kame's hand's still on him, wrapped gently around, unmoving. Tiny prickles of sensation each time Jin shrinks a little more inside his palm; not too much, just someone there.

Kame. Who could be terribly smug now, but even that's okay.

He takes a moment to breathe through the up and down, rush and shiver, before he opens his eyes.

Okay. Not smug. "That was hot," Kame says, happy and rough.

Jin would blush again, but maybe he's out of... blood, or whatever. "Yeah?"

Kame's smile just deepens. Red to the roots of his hair, and glowing. He lets his fingers drift with a dreamy sort of sigh. "You'll spoil me for other guys."

Other guys. Because yeah, sure, Kame collects and compares, or whatever. Gives them really nice handjobs, and Jin's what, ruined the view now?

It's more stupid, and he bites his lip; he'd kind of like not being so naked, but here he is, very naked and flat on his back, Kame feeling his way around his sweaty skin, admiring. Jin's stomach is still fluttering, and it's not for any stupid hotness comparison. "Okay, can you stop it with the other guys?"

Kame stops; his hand stops and his smile falters. "Oh," he says. "I..." Then a very guilty shadow crosses his face. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that."

Right. "How did you mean it?"

The admiring stops; Kame just comes closer. "I meant that you're really beautiful," he says. It reminds Jin of that girl stuff, but Kame kisses him, lightly, and still looks sorry. "You always have been and I never thought... I never saw you like this. And it came out wrong. I'm sorry." He slips a lot of soft apology into that kiss, and the fingers at Jin's temple are soothing, and Jin feels his pulse get over that ugly embarrassed twist.

"Bakakame," he says, half-resigned, and that glimmer inside when Kame breathes kisses on his neck doesn't totally hurt either.

"What can I say," Kame says with a wide, much less guilty grin. "Your hotness makes me stupid."

"You're pretty hot yourself," Jin concedes. And only realises then that he's never tried that thought on before.

That's... new.

Kame seems to mull that over and Jin blinks, he thinks Kame is hot now. Kame on him, touching him, wanting him... he's not been this turned on in forever. And it was Kame.

Who hasn't even got off yet and can't blame his stupid on that. Because Jin's left him hanging to have a little crisis.

He presses up his hips. Kame's dick still here, less poky than it was before, but, hey, Jin's hot, right? That should help there.

"Yeah, so, stop thinking about guys now," he says, running a hand down Kame's back, pleased when Kame arches into it. "And come here."

Which, Kame's here already, but Kame's not too stupid, and he lets Jin get his hand back to basics, is nice and closes his eyes while Jin finds his way with a few fumbling strokes.

Then Jin pushes up, rolls them over, Kame exhaling slowly as he gives in. It's nice, being the one measuring out kisses and feeling Kame twitch and his dick come back to that thick scary state, Kame's hips starting to move, his little cut-off breaths.

Yeah, good. He stops trying to do all that Kame did, needs his focus. Takes a good look too, Kame's cock coming through his fist again and again and suddenly...

"Don't get excited," he warns because he's never going to… well, not today, he's not going to… but he's curious, so he bends over and swipes his tongue across it just once. Lightly. And Kame's gasp makes him do it again with more confidence, but then that's enough, really, he'll need to get his head used to that first.

Hand, he can do. So he does.

He likes. It burns in his belly and at the back of his spine, Kame getting tense and sweaty, his cute little mouth turning red from teeth and sex, and he's never watched a guy this way; Kame gasping, bucking, fighting to keep his eyes on Jin and losing, losing it all when Jin tightens more and speeds up, Jin Jin Jin and this is not a sexy magazine face, this is different, this is raw. Kame goes stiff all over, clutching at Jin and Jin wants to let him have everything, just everything, and then it's done.

All over Jin's hand, and a bit on his belly. Jin breathes, and smiles to himself. Talk about new.

He watches Kame come down, the long moments it takes him to open his eyes. He keeps them low when he does, shaded. Jin pats his hip and gives him an awkward, pleased smile, and Kame's hands roam up his shoulders and down his arm, tracing whatever, bone and muscle.

"That was really... thank you."

Jin shrugs. "Fair's fair." This is all a little awkward. "You're fun." His arm is still slippery, and his belly too, when he flops down on the bed next to Kame. Maybe he should be more weirded out by the come, most guys probably would, but he just likes to think he gave as good as he got.

Give and take. Sex. With Kame. How funny is that. How hot was that. He's not going to pretend.

Kame's hands have stopped, except for one thumb still stroking his thigh leisurely. He looks and finds Kame studying him. There's a far-too-awake spark in his eyes.

"What?" he asks suspiciously.

"Nothing," Kame lies.


Kame props himself up on an elbow and gives him a cheeky look all over. "Hmmm. I kind of want to gloat how I totally got into your pants. But I don't want to hurt your feelings again."

"Hey, you're a jerk," Jin says, hitting him in the shoulder and making him fall on his back. "That wasn't funny. And I got into your pants too."

"Yeah, but I'm easy and you're hot. To anyone who's not a Marusexual, anyway."

Jin giggles. He sees Kame's got that dreamy look again and it makes him blush a little.

"Okay, so," he says, clearing his throat. "What now? What was your afterpants plan?" Since Kame had his seduction routine all mapped out and everything.

"Hmm, various options." Kame thinks thoughtfully. "We could watch TV, but then we'd have to get up. I have more booze. And I have ice cream."

"You'd let me eat ice cream in your bed?"

"You would be careful," Kame says. "And I could lick off any spills." He gives Jin a meaningful that says Jin's just as tasty as the ice cream, and waits for a reaction.

"Dude, you just watched me get off and I have your jizz on my stomach, I don't think you can embarrass me anymore."

Kame raises both eyebrows. Okay, why does Jin's brain have a hibernation mode?

"Okay, okay," he says and tries to hold up his hands, which makes him look like he's in a physio back exercise. "You could embarrass me in many horrible and humiliating ways. Got anything else?"

"Do you want to spend the night?"

Oh. Not what he was expecting. But, oh. "I can't," he says. "I've got a curfew. Baby curfew. You know. I have to be back by one."

Kame nods understandingly. "Sure, I get that."

Jin knows he'd say that no matter what. "Really, that's the deal with Meisa. I'd totally want to stay."

"Yes. I get it," Kame says, with a smile that's definitely real.

Jin reaches out, across Kame's chest. Kame holds himself still and says nothing as Jin cups his face, props himself up, and kisses him. Slow lips and shy tongue, just a try.

Yeah, still a guy. Still pretty hot.

"Maybe you'll stay over some other time," Kame says quietly, almost nose to nose.

Some other time.

Well, of course; who is he kidding. "Yeah." He props himself up better and with no intention of letting Kame up. "So, what do we do until my curfew?"

"Making out sounds good to me," Kame says. "You know what a romantic guy I am."

"You're a smug little twerp," Jin says.

"Who got you naked in his bed."

"Who got me naked in his bed," Jin says. "I guess I don't mind."


"I thought we could have the Montrachet this time," Kame says. He pulls the bottle from an elegant bag and finds a spot for it on the table. "If wine is okay."

"Wine's great," Jin says. He figures a date gives you special dispensation, and, truth, he's looking forward to it. It's been a kind of rough baby day. Kame still caught the cranky wailing end of it upon his arrival. But she's sleeping now, and Jin tries to hide the half-eaten mashed banana dish under a newspaper. "It'll go well with dinner, too."

Kame leans against the doorframe, probably because it's the only clean thing to lean against. He's got a really hot purple shirt on, and, also truth, Jin's looking forward to... that too. "What's dinner?"

Jin pulls the pizza boxes from the freezer. "I bought it myself," he says sincerely. From the fancy place, too. "I got five kinds, one's seafood."

"Awww." Kame looks touched. "I think you like me."

Ha. "Wouldn't want word to get around I don't try to show a guy a good time," he says, and kind of blushes, and blushes a bit more when Kame's eyes trail over him like that. "Anyway..."

"Pizza's great," Kame says. "We can split a couple." He watches as Jin tries to find room on the counter for the pizzas and unobtrusively push Meisa's milk pump behind the coffee machine. In the end he just gives up.

"I'm sorry it's a mess," he sighs. "I thought I'd get around to cleaning, but..." He managed his own room, and half the living room. Being a dating dad is hard.

"Give me a towel," Kame says with a grin. "You helped me too, didn't you?"

Yeah, after being served a three-course dinner. But who's counting. So Jin pops in the pizza, and Kame helps him clear dishes and tidy toys, and he only looks at Kame's ass once, honest.

"And Meisa's really okay with... me staying over?" Kame asks as he finishes up with the lunch dishes.

"You heard her," Jin points out. "Better you staying over than me staying out. She's getting an onsen night out of this."

"This is the most unusual second date I've ever been on," Kame says, towel slung over his shoulder, inspecting a pink teddy with long embroidered eyelashes.

"Oh, am I getting ranked again?" Jin asks, and grins when Kame sort of freezes for a moment. "Pour me a glass, why don't you."

The wine hits just the right spot. Something in Jin just melts, gives, and it feels good.

"Do I have to wait till after pizza to kiss you?" he asks.

Kame lowers his glass from his mouth. "Don't ever wait."

Well, that's clear. Second date, you can mix it up a bit. Mess around a bit, too. Jin doesn't even put the wine down, just steps in, a little peck first but Kame's lips part and, well.

The wine tastes of peaches and Kame tastes of toothpaste and hot things and happy things, and Jin couldn't back off if he wanted to. Which, really, truth, he doesn't.

"You're off the chart, Akanishi Jin," Kame mumbles, fingers curling at the nape of Jin's neck. "Always have been."

The warm little curl in Jin's stomach has nothing to do with food, but what do you say to that? He tries the non-verbal way some more, until they need air and there's the smell of Jin's lovingly bought pizzas, nearly ready.

Jin tells Kame to sit, he can at least do that the correct way.

"This is also my favourite second date I've ever been on," Kame says as he watches Jin divide up the pizza. Jin wonders if he's already imagining where Jin's hands will go later.

"You should know that none of the other guys have ever complained either," Jin says, and this time Kame grins and is probably thinking something rude. Yeah, they'll get there. Meanwhile Jin puts the pizza on newly clean plates and makes sure that Kame gets the side with most of the squid.



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