by Solo & Jo
"You really don't have to stay." Meisa slips into her
peach-colored coat and looks guilty. "I thought you wouldn't have time
because of your new job now and I really needed someone..."
"It's fine," Jin says for the third time, keeping his
voice low too.
"Don't worry about it, okay? I don't think they're paying you to be
She laughs. "They're paying me to look like I know about
She's the face of a Nissan show-room opening, four days noon to night,
and she's really happy about it.
"You look amazing," he says.
"They've got the clothes and the stylist waiting for me
grins, hunting for her car keys in the ever messy key drawer in the
"Still," he says, but leaves it at that.
Then Meisa is ready to go, pushing back her shoulders.
"Don't let her..." She makes a face again.
"I'm fine," Jin says. "Now don't be
He watches her beautiful legs as she walks down the
There's a kick in her step that wasn't there last week, and it makes
his heart lighter. It's been a while since she's had a good gig like
Then he steps back inside and steels himself.
"Did mom find her keys?" Sara-chan says from the dining
table where she's drawing things.
Akira is doing his homework as Meisa told him, and there
wasn't even any wheedling that it could wait till Sunday. "She always
looks for them for ages," he contributes.
It used to be Jin always searching for shit but they're
too young to
remember; it hasn't been his car in five years. "She's on her way," he
says. On her way and ready to kick some ass. Okay, he doesn't say that.
"So, Jin-san, will you be staying for lunch then?" his
says, perfect polite smile on her lipstick mouth and the sweet tone
that triggers Jin's guilt reflex without her even trying.
"If you don't mind," he says with a little bow. "I
thought I'd spend the day with the kids."
"Dad can check my homework," Akira says. "I have lots of
"Of course I don't mind," she says. "As long as it's not
keeping you from your work."
"My work doesn't start till late," he says meekly.
"I drew a guitar, dad," Sara says, and waves him over.
Jin gives a
small apologetic bow, but it seems his visitor's pass for today has
been granted, and Kuroki-san turns back towards the kitchen, where she
likes to spend most of her time.
Sara's guitar has three strings and looks like a legless
"Very good, princess," Jin says.
"What should I have next?" she asks him. Clearly she
aims to start a band here.
"Drums," Jin says. "That's important. But it might be a
bit difficult to draw."
"I can do it," Sara declares, and starts with a bold
He checks on Akira while she is doing her thing. Turns
homework is math at the moment and Akira's getting on quite well.
Bright boy. "I have to memorize a text for English," he says, peering
up. "Can you test me later?"
"Yes, of course," Jin says, and Akira only squirms a
little when he ruffles his hair.
"Daaaaad," Sara complains. "My drum sucks."
"Sara-chan," comes a voice from the kitchen. "Don't say
Sara rolls her eyes and Jin has to bite his cheek as he
nods. "Listen to your grandma."
"It looks stupid, though," she says. "It's hard." Jin
tilts his head
and tries to gauge which way round she drew it. "It would be easier at
"You have a desk now?" Of course, she's that age.
"Not really," she pouts. "It's just a mess, in my room,
so I can't play."
"IKEA," Akira supplies, looking up from his math. "Mom
started to put it together and then she got busy."
"Oh," Jin says. This sort of thing normally gets left to
him. But of course, Meisa thought he was busy. Oh.
"Okay," he says to Sara. "So let's clear the mess up together, huh?"
"YES!" she squeals, loud enough that there's a clatter
of something in the kitchen.
"Not so loud," he admonishes her.
"Sorry," she says, grinning. "I'll help you, okay?"
"Sure, it's your desk. You have to help."
She wants to bounce away immediately but he reminds her
to put her
colors back into the box and the half-finished band into the drawer for
Akira is giving them a longing look over his shoulder.
"How much more math have you got?" Jin asks him.
"Two more equations," Akira says. "Five minutes, if I'm
"Don't rush it, and we'll walk slowly," Jin says.
Kuroki-san steps into the kitchen doorframe, a towel in
her hands. "Everything all right?"
"We're just going into Sara's room, to put the desk
together," Jin explains, almost bowing again.
"Are you sure you're supposed to do that? My daughter
didn't mention it."
"I'm sure she just forgot. She usually leaves this sort
of thing for
me when I visit." When he's not barred from visiting because he's
behind on the money.
It's a weird feeling, asking for permission to put his
daughter's desk together. And he catches Kuroki-san's look, too, the
one that skims the kids and says, All right, I'm not going to
argue in front of them.
"Come on, dad, let's go," Sara says,
pulling at him.
"Well, be careful," Kuroki-san says. It would be easier
if he could be mad at her.
Sara's room is the smallest, a little smaller than Jin's
and much more purple. Meisa has stacked the desk intestines in one
corner and pulled a blanket over it. The desk, Jin finds, is white and
It's still the same place they moved into when Akira was
Meisa pregnant again, not realising that Jin's career was really over,
or what Sara's timing would do to Meisa's. It's bigger than Meisa can
really afford on her current income, and Jin's current income, but they
weren't ready to make the kids feel poor and pull them out of their
It's in Jin's drawer of regrets that they didn't buy. He
bought her a house, back when he still had money, before the year they
spent hoping for Jin to make it with another label and burning through
the rest of his savings; before the two that followed when any job in a
music company would have done as they burned through hers.
"I can do the little ones!" Sara has darted forward and
pulling the smaller pieces of painted plywood out of the pile. Jin
stops her quickly.
"Wait. We need to see first if it's lying like that for
And might fall on her if anything moves. Also, whether there are
Meisa has tossed all screws and bolts into an old ice
with the tools wrapped up in an old towel. "Oookay," Jin says when he
finds the instructions. "Let's have a look at this."
Sara has a look with him as he spreads the large sheet
out on the
floor, but she starts shifting on her feet, impatient with the
instructions. "Okay, I think we need to make a space for the big part,"
Jin says. "And put the blanket under it. Can we do that?"
The fact that Sara's been barred from playing in here
helps with the
space. Sara conscientiously smooths out the blanket on the floor and
Jin lifts the desk top and puts it there, purple-side down.
Akira is just slinking through the door.
"Hey!" Jin says. "More hands, excellent."
"Do we have to use the drill?" Akira says. "Maybe I
could hold it."
There was no drill in the towel. "Not sure," Jin says.
"But there's a big hammer?"
Akira takes it, looking dubious.
"What do I get?" Sara wants to know.
"You get this." Jin hands her the screwdriver. "Now
let's see what we do with all this stuff."
Turns out the hammer isn't needed, it's all about
screws. He sets
Akira to start on drawers, and holds pieces together so Sara can screw
them together. She pouts when she concentrates; Jin could stare at her
cute frown forever.
"Everything all right in here?" Kuroki-san is standing
in the door,
smiling as always. Jin, as always, feels caught, though he's not sure
at what. At… drawers?
"We're making progress," he reports. He peers across
work, which, yeah, also slow, but as perfect as it gets with these
"I'm putting the drawer together," Sara says, trying to
hold it up
for grandma to see, and Jin makes a quick lunge so it doesn't all fall
apart and break the wood.
Kuroki-san's face shows a fleeting frown. "Watch you
don't hurt yourself with that screwdriver, little one."
"I'm careful," she says. "I'm almost as good as Akira,
Jin gives her a wide smile. "When you're as old as he,
you'll be just as good."
"I'm sure when you're ten you'll be much more interested
in making nice omurice," Kuroki-san says brightly.
"Omurice is good, too, right?" Jin says, holding two of
wooden planks at right angles and pointing where the screw should go.
Sara nods, and starts poking at things with the screwdriver. Her own
fingers were never in danger.
"Please watch your little sister," Kuroki-san says to
"Yes, grandma, I'll look out for her," Akira says with
his head low, and screws another screw.
Jin gently nudges Sara's flailing arm closer to some
actual wood and
tries to give Meisa's mother a smile. But there's nothing in her gaze
that says it even makes a difference, so he turns back to Sara, to the
wood on the floor.
It could be worse. His children could know how much he's
bowing and scraping, and how grateful he is he even gets to be here.
His children, by the way, are awesome at furniture
They talk weekend plans while their drawers progress. Grandma might
take them to a pool, Akira says, which is something neither Jin nor
Meisa can do with them, even after all these years. He sounds excited
and Jin is happy for them, because he's in Meisa's good graces and
there's still Monday and Tuesday, all sorts of time because of
Eventually Sara gets bored. She bounces on her knees and
knobs on the drawers, so that Jin starts to fear for fingers and
polished plywood alike. "Hey, Sara," he says. "Think you want to go
check what grandma is doing? It's not fair I'm getting all the help."
Sara considers this offer. "Think she'll let me put the
"I don't know," Jin says earnestly. "How about we go ask
stands and scoops her up to relatively little protest, and asks Akira,
"Think I can leave you alone with these dangerous tools for five
Akira weighs that, and the screwdriver, carefully. "I'll
try not to
poke out my eyes or slash off my head," he says. "But I'm a boy, so I'm
safe, you know?"
Jin nods. "It's steam irons you've got to watch out for.
Lethal to our kind."
Akira snorts. Jin feels like a very well-behaved dad for
not ruffling his hair again.
Kuroki-san is surprised to find them in her kitchen
were thinking," Jin says, in an even more conciliatory voice than
usual, "that it's really not fair if I get all the help, and we were
wondering if there was anything this young lady could do to be of
"I'm not a lady, I'm just a girl, dad," Sara complains.
"You make me sound like I'm a yakuza."
Jin swallows down the grin. Meisa also has views, and
she seems to be passing them on well.
"But soon you'll grow up and be a lady, right?"
Kuroki-san takes her
small hand and leads her to a little footstool which allows her to use
the working surface. "Well, you know how clever ladies make a rice ball
so it's got a really nice shape?"
Jin watches for a few seconds. Sara is happy; the trick
water and very, very clean hands, and Kuroki-san is a kind teacher.
She's a good grandma. She loves Meisa, and Jin doesn't even know how
often they chipped in with money.
He goes back to make sure that his son hasn't
disemboweled himself with a screwdriver.
"Everything okay, yeah?" Akira says when Jin comes back
to the room
which smells of plastic and of woodchip. He's perceptive, he notices
things. Jin sometimes wishes he didn't.
"Yeah, cool," he says and sits down across from him.
"Rice ball making for little ladies. How about you?"
"Yeah," Akira says. "But I need your help with those,
the holes are weird."
Jin is happy to assist.
"My friend Maya's parents are divorced," Akira says as
he tightens the screw that seals the parts properly.
"Yeah. That's three now, in my class." It sounds just
like a report
about any random school thing. Jin didn't know he was counting.
"Maya's dad never visits, she says. Not even on Sundays.
And Yamada-kun's dad moved to Hiroshima and he has new kids now."
"Well, you'll have to be extra nice to Maya then,
terrible when you have a dad who's an asshole," Jin says. "And don't
use that word when grandma can hear you, okay?"
That helps; that gets a little grin.
"What about Yamada-kun, does he get to go on trips to
Hiroshima to see his dad? Go to the island with the tame deer?"
"I... don't know," Akira says. "Well, I guess he visits,
says the new kids are weird and stuck up, but the girl's kind of
pretty." He gives the finished drawer a thump before he puts it down.
"But his dad lives with them now."
"I don't think that means he likes them better," Jin
probably misses Yamada-kun. It'll be good if they can spend nice
"Yeah, okay," Akira says, and gives Jin a sneaky look.
"I'm not moving anywhere," Jin says, swiping dust off
He can do sneaky looks too, and he catches Akira rolling his eyes.
"Okay," his son says again, a bit flushed.
Right, change of topic. "I think we're almost done," Jin
top and the sides are connected up, the drawers waiting to be fitted
in. "Help me turn it over?"
They set it up carefully, and end up looking at the
shows specks of sawdust and dust and sweaty fingerprints. And is very
"I think the girls should clean it," Akira grins, and
Jin grabs him
to tickle him. He doesn't even fight all that hard when Jin takes a
while to let go.
"Don't say that to your sister," Jin says, though, and
Akira rolls his eyes again. But then he peers up at Jin.
"Do you mind if we go to the pool with grandma tomorrow?"
"No, of course not! Why would I mind?"
Akira shrugs. "I don't know."
"I'll see you on Monday after school. You'll have a
great time tomorrow," Jin promises.
They're done just in time for lunch, too. There's
omurice, and Sara
has drawn faces on them with the ketchup. Jin and Grandma get hearts
beside the faces, and Akira a spider web.
"Soccer ball!" Sara protests, and Jin quickly says that
he knew that
straight away. Akira says it's beautiful, and he eats carefully around
it, and when they're almost done, his phone beeps.
"That's e-mail from mom," Akira says, and looks first at
Jin, then his grandmother, uncertain. It's Kuroki-san who nods.
The e-mail is a picture of Meisa in an amazing blue
dress, making a funny face in front of the latest hydrogen Roadster.
"She says she is enjoying the show and all the guests
are great and we should behave, and, um," Akira reads.
"And what? And what?"
"She'll give us a kiss when we're asleep," Akira
concludes, making a face like Meisa asked him to read out loud about girls.
"Your mother works hard," Kuroki-san says without
looking at Jin.
"Mom's so pretty," Sara says, but Akira says, "Dad works
hard too, he gets really busy."
Kuroki-san glances at Jin, then meticulously scoops up a
of rice, balancing them on her spoon. "Well, let's just hope that he
continues to find work which allows him to come visit you more often,
For a moment, Jin's stomach flips. That bitch. That
bitch and her... her grammar. But she didn't do it,
she didn't give him away, just showed him that she could.
And he nods. "I hope so too, Kuroki-san, thank you."
His appetite has disappeared even though this is better
anything he manages for himself. He finishes mostly because the kids
might notice, and Sara helped make it. At least it gives him something
to do while his blood settles.
Such a good boy these days; a good little boy with his
and apologies. And isn't that a joke. Maybe someone's even laughing.
"May I ask what it is you are currently doing?" she asks
is finished, when the kids are washing their hands in the bathroom.
Sara's voice carries from there.
"I'm singing at some private functions." He thought
about this, what
he'd say, to anybody. It's a legitimate question. "It looks like it'll
continue for a while. I'm looking for additional work too, though."
"Good," she says. "That would be appreciated."
"Yes," he says. "I know."
She stacks the plates together and doesn't look at him,
knows it's not his job to interfere. "She could have had a great life,"
she says, but it's an old cut, because Jin already knows it's true.
"I thought I'd ask because my papers didn't come back
for a month. I
hope I'm not inconveniencing you." Jin bows into the phone again.
"We're a small business, right?" Komine-san at the other
end says. "Papers, that takes time. I'm sorry, right?"
"Yes, of course. I understand completely."
"So you need them back urgently?"
"No," Jin says quickly. "No, I just meant to ask if you
kept them because... if the position was still—"
"Oh," Komine-san says, "I see, I see, but I'm afraid no,
it quickly, needed hands for the job, right? Got filled the first week.
Just, we're a small business and haven't gotten round to the papers,
"Right," Jin says. "Of course. I'm sorry I bothered you."
He combed his hair before calling, felt like an idiot
even then, feels like a bigger one now.
"So, we'll send them back," Komine says. "Next week,
I'll make sure."
"Please don't rush, it's not that urgent. You can also
keep them and
if you need somebody else, you could... I'd be very happy to work in a
small company. I've worked in a bento company before, I really enjoyed
There's a pause at the other end, and Jin knows
knows it doesn't make a difference— "Yes, we got that, just, not that
many jobs here, okay? There's other companies, right? Good luck."
Jin drops on the chair and runs a hand through his hair,
fistful. "Thank you very much. I appreciate you taking the time..."
Blah blah blah, polite polite polite, whatever whatever
a few minutes later he is off the phone, and carefully not flinging it
at the opposite wall because he can't afford a new one.
It's just a job. One of a dozen he's tried for, nothing
special. The hourly rate was low anyway. A small business, right?
Except for once he actually had experience,
as close as it gets to qualifications, and it's not
like he's swimming in those. For filling fucking bento boxes. And still
it didn't matter.
He's too old for this shit.
He gets up, then throws himself back down. Not even room
enough to pace.
His guitar's right there, because he does practice, he
was a good
boy again. Here, he can do something useful. He lunges right into it.
It takes the focus off the bentos, and phone calls, and another
interview he wore the suit to.
That's a very angry hot dog.
The thought makes him snort. Maybe this is some giant
all. Jin gets more free time to wait around and Kamenashi gets
rampaging hot dogs for his enjoyment.
He takes it slower on the next round. It's a cute little
works even without the electronics. He wasn't bad at his job, not
always. Not at the music.
He liked that bento job, it was quiet. Until they hired
a new girl
who knew who Jin Akanishi was and his presence 'created a disturbance.'
His life right there, creating disturbances all over the place. Making
So now he's singing easy dance tunes in acoustic for
Kamenashi, Johnny's drama handler and shining idol.
He wonders if Kamenashi even vaguely knows these songs.
Did he still
listen to Jin's albums? The first one? The second one, or maybe the
last, desperate one, when Jin learned what it costs to rent his own
studio and band? Jin didn't keep up with KAT-TUN but that was
different, that started to hurt.
He hums along with the melody on the next pass, but even
words feel shallow. Maybe it's petty to go for something meaningless
like this. Cheating. Last time wasn't safe, but when were they last
safe with each other?
The hot dogs fade out and Care is
back just like that, Care
and Kamenashi measuring Jin's haircut and maybe the quality of Jin's
t-shirts. The song nothing but background. He wonders what Kamenashi
did to prepare.
Jin lets it run to the end. It's funny. Of all the
people who now
get to fuck him around, Kamenashi is the only one where he doesn't have
to act all polite and grateful for it. It might even creep Kame out if
That thought cracks him up. Maybe that's why he's not
about it all, and why he's sitting here wondering about cheating.
Jin runs his hand over his chin, wondering. He shaved
and now it's four, and Kamenashi said 'around five', and... hell, he
might as well just give it another quick runaround with the razor, save
the time fretting about it stupidly.
It's a warm day and he's got the window as far open as
it will go,
the curtains drawn. The aircon's too feeble to make any real
difference, and Jin knows better than to complain until his rent is
bang up to date again. Not that he thinks it'll do much good even then.
At least his room is tidier than it has been in a long
imagines there's even less dust dancing about in the sunbeams sneaking
past either side of the curtains.
The bathroom has no window but feels even hotter.
musty. He shaves quickly, dabs on the lotion, checks his hair. Needs
some attention. But he's got time.
It's been six days. Yesterday was Meisa's last day at
the show room
and Jin watched the kids, and today he dropped off an application and
still had plenty of time to clear away clutter and iron a shirt.
He's humming to himself. Practice, of course. It worked
out quite nicely.
He worms out of his t-shirt carefully, no use getting
his hair in a
mess again, then takes the black shirt from the hanger. Nothing too
fancy, not like a suit. Just setting the stage properly for Kamenashi's
five minutes, the sing and stare edition. Kamenashi's holding up his
end of the deal, and, well.
Jin can only examine himself in pieces in the tiny
bathroom mirror, but he thinks that's looking okay.
Closer to five, he shuts the window again. Not
performing for the
neighborhood here. Then he considers making himself a cup of tea, and
laughs when he rejects the idea for fear of messing up his outfit, and
then the bell rings.
Jin stands. God he is an idiot. This isn't like the
lights coming on
across a stadium. He clears his throat and opens the door. "You're on
time," he says. He can do approval too.
Kamenashi steps in with all the confidence in the world.
His suit is
dark grey and his tie has tiny silver turtles on it. Whimsical. "I'm
ever so relieved," he says.
"Just don't want you running into the guy who comes for
my six o'clock song," Jin says. "He likes to feel special."
Kamenashi gives him a sharp stare, but toes off his
second shoe too.
"Whatever," Jin says.
Kamenashi steps in and holds up the plastic bag is
carrrying. "Here. It's beer. Try to find room in your overflowing
Jin takes it. It's heavy. Six bottles, the distinctive
Koshihikari summer ale. Kind of a lot for a special slum performance?
"You want one now?" Jin asks belatedly, but Kamenashi
shakes his head.
"No. Thank you."
"Nice beer," Jin comments as he straightens from the
"There was a display, I didn't exactly look around for
Kamenashi sounds a little testy. That's right, no comparison shopping
for the busy bees.
"Nice tie," Jin nods at him.
Kamenashi's stare goes even testier. "It's a promotion."
He looks Jin up and down, too, but says nothing.
Okay, great, Kamenashi's a wanted man. With a turtle tie
and a tied tongue.
"Well, I'm glad you could find the time between all your
work," Jin says generously.
"Actually I had business in the area again," Kamenashi
it's always good to see you still have a roof over your head. Your
landlord's happier with you now, I take it?"
"A meeting. Not exactly here, but close enough." He
the shelf from where he usually listens. Starts listening. Nothing
awkward about his stare now, just a flat reminder.
Jin bows his head sarcastically. "My landlord is very
you for asking. I'll tell him you asked after his mother and his
"I bought your last album the other day," Kamenashi
actually manages to surprise him. "The last one Johnny paid for,
anyway. I wouldn't know where to find your homebaked little gem."
What fucking ever, Kamenashi, Jin thinks through a weird
spike of nervousness. But, hey. There's his answer about whether
Kamenashi knows the hot dogs. "Great," he says. "Delicious royalties."
"Do you still get any worth mentioning?"
"Well, every once in a while they buy me a
Frappucchino." It's true,
too. Now and then tiny sums appear in his bank account, and then he can
wonder if Eternal got played somewhere. It's usually Eternal. "But I'm
sure you know that, seeing as you know everything and everybody."
"You know, it hadn't occurred to me to ask," Kamenashi
That's why he turns up out here in the sticks week after week, regular
as clockwork, leaving his minions to get themselves in trouble—
"I see the Tegoshi thing blew over," Jin says, and
Kamenashi's head comes up at once.
"How would you know that."
"Dude." Jin rolls his eyes. "No screaming headlines?"
"I see," Kamenashi says, sounding very controlled, very
measured. And then nothing.
"And?" Jin prompts. "Is that a yes? A no? How many more
people did you have to schmooze?"
But Kamenashi's face has shut down.
"What do you care, Akanishi? It was last week, it's not
hundreds of things have happened since, and what do you care anyway?
The answer sticks in Jin's throat, when he's not sure if
that was insult or accusation. He's not sure Kamenashi knows either.
"So I'm afraid you'll have to buy the gossip in hardcopy
like everyone else," Kamenashi says tensely. "If you can afford it."
For a moment they lock eyes. Then Jin turns.
"Well," he says, and picks up the guitar. "Let me get to
work on that then."
He needs a moment, to concentrate. This one needs to be right.
It's two chords, slow ones, before he knows, knows
that Kame got it. Four when he hears Kame exhale, and misses a note.
"Interesting choice," Kame says into the silence.
Jin shrugs at him. Hardest part was not making it sound
like Real Face, the funeral version. But he put in
the work, he's ready. "Do you want to talk or should I play?"
"Play," Kame says, and now he's watching Jin's fingers,
Jin can feel
that look all through the intro lines, and nothing else is moving. Only
the rhythm of the first verse breaks the spell – the look stays where
it is but Kame doesn't, slow steps all the way until he's in front of
Jin. Well, good to have that dealt with. Jin wouldn't want him to miss
And there it is, the touch in his hair, a slow glide of
through fingers. Tidying and rearranging, tucking some wisps behind his
ear. If Jin had left it longer Kamenashi could braid it, that would
keep him busy.
But maybe he doesn't want to be kept busy with Jin's
those fingers find his face more quickly this time; temples, pausing
for his pulse, and cheekbones, and down to his jaw. Makes it hard to
sing. Giri giri.
Faint smoke hangs in Kamenashi's clothes. Jin has to
because this is what he does in Kamenashi's five minutes, sing.
Kamenashi strokes the base of his neck and Jin's skin feels thin, and
for a moment Kamenashi's fingertips skim just inside Jin's shirt. More,
when Jin shifts and the shirt falls that way. Five minutes.
He slows down, he feels it getting tricky. Feels
Kamenashi in his
space and on his neck, making the most of it. Five minutes. Not done
yet. The air between them is hot, and Jin's starting to struggle with
the lyrics, he never had a head for lyrics.
Kamenashi touches his chin. Not hard enough to mess up
the song, but
Jin's voice wavers anyway. He keeps on track though, lets Kamenashi's
fingers wander over his cheeks, hits the first bar of the chorus
gratefully because it gets easier again, and Kame's fingers touch his
lips and Jin's voice dies.
The guitar fades at the end of the line. He can see
tie, sharp silver glitter. The only thing he can feel is that touch on
He should be out of that chair, demanding explanations, making
a fuss. Five minutes are up, are up plenty.
He shouldn't be sitting here waiting.
Kame's fingers start to move again. They trace the
outline of his
upper lip and Jin holds himself so still, he almost trembles. It's
quiet. He looks up.
Kame doesn't notice, is absorbed in his study of Jin's
hasn't felt so much focus in... he doesn't know. A decade. A shiver
works itself up his back, despite the heat. Kame's fingers finish a
slow circle, and his thumb comes to rest on Jin's bottom lip.
A pause, Kame thinking. A little swipe, pressing down.
Jin's not breathing.
And Kame is aroused again, it's blindingly clear. Why
wouldn't he be, watching Jin open up for him.
And finally, he meets Jin's eyes.
"That's two weeks," Jin says. He won't be finishing the
song with that voice anyway.
Kame thinks it over, his eyes dark and a flush working
up his neck.
Jin can smell him, familiar Kame under the different cologne, and that
he wants Jin. At least there's that.
"Would have been more a few years ago," Kame says.
That's no singing
voice either. He trails his thumb down Jin's chin, then wipes the spit
off. "But good. Two weeks." He's moving slowly, undoing his belt.
There's a weird moment when Jin thinks the film's going
to stop or
they're going to disappear in a flash of light, but it passes and
they're still there. Kame takes his guitar away, and turns back, and
god, he's hard. And right there, and Jin doesn't
think and doesn't blink and takes him in.
A bit, at least; feels like a lot. The sharp noise Kame
gives sounds like it's plenty for now.
He tries again, a little more. Kame holds still. That's
doesn't flinch when Kame's hands come down on his shoulders. His lips
He pulls back and Kame lets him, enough. Spit, he needs
Then he goes again, goes deeper. Sucks; that's what he's doing. It's a
strange taste but not bad. Somewhere he is spinning but this is tight
"You got the idea?" Kame sounds like he's the one with
his mouth. It should be funny. Jin makes a sound, does it again, the up
and down, or back and forth, best answer he's got, and then Kame's hand
comes down lightly on his head.
Oh. So that was Kame really holding
back. And he's not now.
It's fast it's— how do you even suck when— he's scared
from how much, too much. Until he gets that this is it, it's not worse.
He gives up on sucking, just gives up, keeps it tight,
holds it there, lets Kame... lets him. Is there.
Kame's hands slip into his hair. Not harsh, they could
Just hot and he's sweating and the air is never cool enough, and maybe
that's why he doesn't think, maybe this fog makes him dizzy and not
scared and trapped.
And then the fog goes shaky, Kame's hands jerking
against him and it
gets faster and bigger and once or twice too deep, he almost gags, and
then there's Kame's muffled voice and the taste too strong in his
mouth, Jin shivering as he swallows it down.
The heat is still there, Kame all but bent over him. Jin
lets Kame's dick shrink in his mouth, lets it disappear, lets Kame
straighten and put it away.
He watches Kame buckle his belt. Wipes his hand over his
mouth. His face is burning.
What do you say now? That's unexpected
but when he looks back, only if he's a naive idiot. I'm not
gay but they both know that and what difference does that
make. I've never done this before and why is that
even in his head?
"Can I have a beer?" Kame asks, his voice still as
"It's your beer," Jin says. His hands grip the side of
the chair, he wants to get up. But Kame is already at the fridge.
He comes back with two bottles. "Here," he says. That's
So they drink. It's strong despite the light color,
"I haven't had Koshihikari in years," Jin says.
"I don't normally drink it either," Kame says,
shrugging. "It was there."
Sure. Jin guesses he was there, too.
Kame drinks more; looks at Jin, looks at Jin's mouth. He
in Jin's mouth. And what does Jin even know about him, when did they
last know each other? For a moment Jin stares at a stranger, and his
stomach twists and drops.
"I don't like the cover art," Kame says. "On your last
"What?" They both sound like they've been yelling
themselves hoarse on a stage.
"It isn't good," Kame says. Kame, who bought his album.
"They didn't want to spend money anymore," Jin shrugs.
"Even then I'm sure they could
afford something that didn't
make you look like the neighborhood creep," Kame says with a hint of
"It was urban. Hip-Hop. What do you know about it?"
Kame doesn't lash out. He's thinking, maybe getting his
brain back after... "So that was still you. I
thought at some point they stopped letting you make decisions."
"I guess it didn't make much of a fucking difference."
fuck-all about his artistic choices but he does know the important
shit. "You know I wasn't getting promotion anymore. The cover was
really the least of my problems, but, hey, thanks for your concern. And
Kame's anger flares cold between them, and then it's
hidden just as
quickly. "Speaking of tardiness," he says. "I have to leave." He puts
his bottle down, the same empty stretch of shelf as last time.
Jin watches him. He moves slowly for a tardy guy. "You
haven't even finished that."
"I'm driving, and I have more meetings." He fishes for
his wallet, starts to fold bills on top of each other.
Don't think. Don't think now. It'll
just show on his stupid flaming face. Whatever he'll end up thinking.
"Same time next week?" he says, and only looks at the
Kame hands it over. There's a tiny hesitation before Kame lets go.
"Thereabouts," he says. "I'll call ahead."
Jin hides the money in his pocket and nods. "Cool."
Kame bends to put on his shoes, then casts a vague
glance at the kitchen. "I'll bring beer. No need to let that go flat."
"Gotcha," Jin says. He stands as Kame lets himself out,
straightened, suit immaculate, not a hair out of place. No sign of
sweat, no sign of... anything. As if it hadn't happened. Jin feels
Sharp, precise footsteps echoing along the landing, and
then they're gone.
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