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Boy or Girl
by Jo Lasalle
Kame picks Jin up at his apartment. It's Jin's peace offering; the shopping trip was Kame's.
He bets three minutes. It's two and a half when Jin thrusts his hands into his pockets and says, "I don't know how Johnny could let this happen."
Kame thinks of Tegoshi being glowier than ever and Yamapi hugging a bottle of vodka and declaring with big eyes that he will never walk out on anybody.
"I... don't actually see how he could have stopped it. Seeing as nobody knew how it all went." The details. God, the details. Kame's not squeamish but there are things a guy's better off not knowing anyway.
"Seriously, I leave the country for a month and everyone goes crazy. What's next? Nakamaru singing about sex?"
"We talked about that. Decided the world's not that crazy."
"Pretty crazy enough," Jin sulks.
"Like?" Kame asks. He can guess, but it's one of those scabs he can't leave alone. One of those Jin scabs. Morons who can't drive populating the roads don't help.
"Why did he ask you?" Jin blurts out. "I'm his best friend, and I like kids."
Kame stares straight ahead at the other cars and reminds himself that Jin being Jin is no reason to tailgate people or honk even when they fucking well deserve it. "I never said I don't like kids. I don't go shopping around for them in twelve different interviews, is all."
Jin says nothing.
"And he asked me after I pulled his head out of a toilet and put him to bed. Think he'd take it back?"
Jin still says nothing.
Kame keeps an old lady from killing them all. He switches the air conditioning higher. Maybe that'll help. Maybe he should have kept one of Jin's CDs in here.
"Why are you being such a bitch anyway? You're not really jealous of Pi, I'm not buying it."
"I'm not!" Jin's voice goes really girly when he lies. It has a way of distracting Kame from wanting to kill people. "It's nothing."
"Just saying," Kame shrugs. "You weren't like this when you left."
He leaves it there; it stays there until they're in the parking garage, and parked, and Kame is giving his sunglasses and hat a last check.
Jin whips around. The way he's glaring, probably Kame's luck they're still in the car.
"You got engaged to a porn actress."
Kame doesn't blink. "You dated California dancers."
"Like that's totally the same thing."
"I'd say it is," Kame says, reaching for the door. "You're always talking about marrying too."
Things are more peaceful when they start their stroll around the mall. Jin tells him about the song he's recording. Kame gets drawn to a pair of extremely cool jeans with leather appliqués and Jin doesn't even roll his eyes.
When they walk past the wedding shop, Kame stays decidedly silent.
But Jin stops.
They'll look weird, two young guys stopping in front of a bridal display, but nobody seems to notice.
"Do you think they would... if they could." Jin jerks his head. "Get married." He draws in his shoulders and looks very little like a cool guy, and very much like Jin. All weird angles and big pouty mouth.
Kame wonders if he should congratulate Jin for being able to wrap his head around the concept.
Only that's not really fair. Jin's not that kind of idiot, and he doesn't have a problem if it's other people.
"I think Pi would in a heartbeat," he answers honestly. "Not sure about Tego. He might be the type who finds that too cliché." Or too straight. For two guys having a baby together.
Jin's face clouds over. "Yeah," he says, like Kame proved again the earth is round and Johnny knows everything. "Tegoshi."
They decide to get the baby something nice to wear. Kame knows which sizes to look at, figures it'll be best to pick something she can wear six months from now when she'll actually get interesting. Jin shows a grudging respect for Kame's baby knowledge and even asks him to pick the onesies and other basic stuff they decide to equip Pi with in case Pi doesn't know which end of a baby is which or he has to go release a single and the baby will freeze to death. They don't mention the other one.
Then they look at the fancier dresses. Jin doesn't say it, but he wants her to look like a star, Kame just knows.
He's eyeing the tiny dress with the cutest little Burberry pattern.
Jin snatches it away. "Knew it. You have, like, no taste," he mutters, shooting Kame dirty looks as he rummages on.
"I think the miniskirts are over there," Kame says, gesturing generously. "Next to the see-through onesies and the suspenders."
"Hey! That's gross! That's Pi's kid you're talking about." Jin is satisfiedly outraged.
"And Tegoshi's," Kame points out mildly.
Jin stops in his tracks. He puts the colourful happy dress back on the rack and steps back as if it'll follow and attack him. "Right. I'll buy her something... something nice. In black maybe. Or brown."
Dark colours are all the rage these days, Jin insists, which is funny if you know he hasn't looked at a fashion magazine since he stopped lounging on Kame's sofa on bored Sunday mornings, complaining about how long Kame took in the bathroom.
"Can't be too careful," he mumbles, considering what would be an excellent fit for those church women Kame had in his drama, only he's not sure they're born that way.
"You know what," he says after imagining the poor kid in a black potato sack and quite possibly a chastity belt. "How about we get her some toys?"
Jin looks up from the black cloth; Kame can tell he likes the idea right away. "That's a good idea, actually. We want to be the cool godfathers anyway, right? What sort of kid wants a useful present?"
Yeah, totally right.
They still get the basic baby survival kit, just in case.
Jin is good with toys. He's collected a water gun and an inflatable dolphin and a dark-haired baby doll before he zeroes in on the real prize.
"Every kid needs a soccerball," he decides, his eye on the league-certified one with all the official stickers. "It's healthy, and good for team spirit."
Kame likes stuff for building things and solving puzzles, but he finds it hard to resist a lightsaber that really glows and makes swish-swooshy sounds.
"Baseball," he says. "We should get her a glove. That's a real present. It's great for coordination and precision."
Jin looks at him so eye-rolly and impatient that Kame considers mentioning football and a certain other father. But no, okay, that would be playing dirty.
That's when they're found by a shop assistant, who gives their loot a bright smile. "How old is the boy, if I may ask?"
"It's a girl," Jin says proudly. "And she'll be a great soccer player."
"She's due next month," Kame says.
The smile never wavers.
There are better toys to be had for newborn babies, it turns out. Things that are softer and brighter and considerably... well, smaller. They both put away the swords and guns, and Kame feels the unspoken pact not to mock each other.
It doesn't take Jin long to find a soft soccerball pram chain, which jingles when he waves it under Kame's nose. Baseballs are sadly less distinctive at the squishy jingly stage, or else this shop sucks and they just don't stock them; Kame finds a plush turtle instead, staggeringly expensive and pretty realistic. Kame shows it to Jin, though; he may know about baby sizes but Jin sort of gets kids in that way he has, and somehow he wants Jin to sign off on the turtle.
"It's cute," Jin says, squeezing it but not too hard. "Nicely cuddly. She'll like that." When he looks up he smiles.
They get loads of other stuff because Jin thinks he can't just show up with one pram chain, and they end up with two bulky bags, the turtle on top. So it doesn't get squished; Jin doesn't say it but he's the one who makes sure.
They get coffee after everything. Kame's buying. It feels like more peace.
Jin has a gulp and then stares gloomily into the froth. "Pi will have a slutty baby, Kame."
Kame ponders that. Probably can't be helped. "But it will have excellent skin."
Jin sighs. "We'll just have to keep an eye out. For the wrong sorts of boys."
"Maybe it just means she can like us both," Kame says. He swirls the sugar at the bottom of his paper cup around and clarifies, "In an appropriately goddaughterly way, obviously."
"Hm," Jin says. He's intrigued, and Kame knows sometimes he's a sucker for happy endings. "That could be nice," he says eventually.
Kame thinks he secretly hopes the baby will like him just a little more, but that's okay. Kame doesn't mind, when it's Jin.
They take their paper cups and start to stroll towards the car. Somehow Kame can't tell which one of them is slowing them down more.
And Jin doesn't stop this time, though Kame feels him circle in on his question for five uncertain steps before he picks up the courage. "Did you really get engaged?"
Yeah, that. The evening is fuzzy in his head, but there were some fun days after. "We fooled around. One thing led to another. It seemed like a fun idea at the time." He doesn't want to add that it meant nothing; it's not his job to unruffle Jin's feathers anymore.
They've passed the elevator they'd have to take to get to the garage. Maybe that's why Jin's staring at him now.
"You don't even like women."
Kame shrugs and finishes his coffee. "She was interesting." He meets Jin's bewildered stare; focuses. Shrugs more slowly. "And you don't like men."
Jin flinches. "That..." He's out of coffee, but pretending not to be. "That was different."
"Sure." Kame gestures. "Car's that way."
They get in the elevator. Kame's glad they got the squeezy toy-laden run out of the way already. That way they can just stare at the lights, be quiet like normal people.
"Is different," Jin says, mumbly.
The drop is clearly the elevator. Or the coffee.
"I know," he says quietly. "I knew that."
Jin sighs, but in that impatient kind of way that's always directed at him. "I think it kind of stinks that Pi suddenly turns gay and for him it's all roses and flowers. And he gets a baby."
"He also gets Tegoshi," Kame tries to ease the wound.
Jin makes a face. "I think he likes that little shit." And lower, "I think they're pretty happy."
The car park is full of weird echoes. Kame feels better once they drop into the car, close the doors.
Three seconds. Three and a half if you squint. "I want to be happy too," Jin says, first to the glove compartment but then he turns it around into one of those blunt looks that make Kame swallow dry.
Four seconds. He's stupid no longer than that. "With me?" he asks.
"Well, since that little whore stole Pi away already, gotta be," Jin says, and Kame thumps him in the shoulder and wishes he'd bought that light saber, Jin would deserve it.
Jin is giggling high in his throat, slumped against the window, before he pulls up and goes really sober. "Yes."
Be happy. Kame breathes calmly, quietly, while the world changes under his feet yet stays absolutely the same. It's only a little more unexpected than the toys in the trunk and Tegoshi and Pi's baby. "So let's," he says. He kind of thinks they will.