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9 Weeks

by Solo & Jo

 

Week 5

 

Monday

"Saturday after next, five o'clock, third floor, very good. And would you like any eggs to go with that?"

Jin stares out his window, caught off guard. "What eggs?"

The lady just bounces on, sounding as cheerful as if Jin was the most interesting client she's spoken to all month. "Depending on the size of the party, you could order some eggs that'll be arranged around the bottom," she suggests. "For a fuller range of our flavors."

Jin considers it, size of the party and size of the party-goers and all. But sure, eggs, why not. "That would be great, thank you. Is there anything we need to do?"

"If you could clear a space large enough for the cooling unit, that would be wonderful. The apartment has regular air-conditioning?"

Jin confirms the aircon, confirms the floor, confirms the name on the door bell and the name on his credit card because it's not like he could send them folded cash in the mail, and then he is the proud owner of a Mandarin duck, to be delivered Saturday after next as a birthday surprise, plus eggs.

 

Tuesday

Sometimes, he wishes he had a dog. A big smart one, one Sara could use for a pony. He'd take it for walks three, four times a day, because you can't keep a dog like that shut up in a little box of an apartment like Jin's, any more than you should keep a sane human shut up in it. Jin doesn't know how he managed to stick it out in there all day during the last few months. It's crazy-making.

Instead of the dog he doesn't have he takes music, finds out how far east an old Rihanna album will get him, if a DaMoppaz one will take him the same distance back. On Tuesday morning, he invents a game where he has to change direction every time Dr Dre says 'fuck' and sees where he ends up at the end of the album.

He cheats once when Dr Dre seems determined to make him fall under the Keiyou line, and eventually ends up in the yard behind a Korean laundry where people give him funny looks.

*~*~*

He walks to the warehouse lot, too. Not for work, since Appendix-san has recovered from his surgery and Jin's back to his weekend box. But he's been invited to lunch with colleagues, as a thank you for his amazing lot-walking at short notice, and for the sake of career-building he didn't dare say no.

Anyway, he walks, it gives him an aim.

They go to a little Chinese place, and Jin gets introduced amidst lots of bowing all around. They're nice guys, all eight of them, wanting to talk mostly about baseball and the qualifiers for the Asian Games. Jin doesn't have to say much, just be the junior colleague with the underemployment problem who's turning his life around, or whatever they think; they don't bug him about it.

Only one guy seems to know he was a Johnny's, because he takes Jin aside and asks hesitantly if he can get his little daughter an autograph of a boy called Morimoto who is ten years old and in KITTY-KISS-ME. Discreet, and Jin is grateful, and he's a little sorry to say no, he can't. Well, he might be able to get one for a blow job, but he's not quite that sorry. And he doesn't say that either.

Besides, he's not sure who runs the pedo idols, he thinks that might be Julie. He's so out of the loop, it's unreal.

"You have children, don't you, Akanishi-kun?" Appendix-san asks him with an inviting smile. He's being kind, finding the thing they have in common, and Jin bows gratefully and tries to be modest about his kids.

Colleagues. A thought to get used to again, over and over, but maybe it'll help that these are all guys, even if they have daughters. Maybe this will last.

 

Wednesday

He walks a Lord Flapjack album's worth west. Past the park of freckled foreigners, past a closing mall, all the way through residential until it gets livelier again and there are things in the shop windows.

It's a sunny afternoon, not too hot today, a fresh breeze from the sea. He checks out the displays as he strides past. He hasn't bought new clothes in forever – no money and he didn't see the point – but suddenly he's thinking a couple new shirts for the summer would be cool.

He flinches when Nakai grins back at him, unwelcome and smarmy like in one of his car commercials.

Exactly like the car commercial, actually; Jin realizes it's the lifesize cut-out from the commercial. Right next to a large poster of Kimura in his latest film, and right. Jin looks at the shop sign. ONLY ONE.

Jin never tried to get the inside info on why they left JE to go independent, or what it cost them, but it did cost them their name. It's been... six years? Seven? Anyway, they're doing just fine. Jin sees them in commercials, charts, everywhere except the Johnny's house channel.

He glances past Nakai into the shop. It looks spacious and empty compared to a JE shop; seems to be designed that way. Wide aisles, chairs. A coffee bar. There are women with kids in there, chatting. And the sign mentions other shops in Shibuya and Osaka. This is headquarters, out of the way of the crowds. The offices are upstairs.

Offices. Less than ten minutes' drive from Jin's apartment.

Jin stares at Kimura, who stares back at him from under some futuristic space uniform cap. His pose looks utterly familiar because Kame copied it when they were teenagers and Jin got it up close and next to him for over ten years.

*~*~*

The kids smile like the sun's coming up the moment they see him waiting outside the gate, Sara breaking into a gallop that makes her skirt throw waves.

"What are you doing here, dad?" She beams up at him and he takes it as an invitation to sweep her up on his shoulders.

"Taking you home. I have the day off and wanted to see you."

He called Meisa first, of course, even for just this. Even though the delay of a phone call seemed too much in his claustrophobic apartment. And of course it was fine, it's always fine when he's not owing her months' worth of money, and he walked his restlessness off on the way here.

"Are you taking the bus with us, dad?" Akira has arrived at a more leisurely pace; no overexcited running in front of the classmates.

"If you like," Jin replies. "But if we walk, we'll come past the new taiyaki place. I'd fancy one with peanut butter filling. What do you think?"

They walk, at the pace of Sara's short legs. Akira shuffles along close to the buildings, trying to stay in the shade.

"Are you hot?" Jin finds it pleasant, but he's not the one in a school uniform.

Akira gives him a pained look. "It is hot."

"It's summer!" Sara skips happily, and Jin smiles. Someone in the family got his genes, all right.

"Anticipating your trip to Okinawa?" he says to Akira, and laughs when Akira groans.

"You're an adult, you're not supposed to make fun of a child," Akira complains.

"But I look forward to it all day," Jin grins back, though he stops them at the next vending machine and gets cold drinks for everybody. It takes him a moment to realize the guy holding a Pepsi at him from the machine's glossy surface is Ueda.

Right, yeah. He knew that. Ueda was all over Tokyo when that campaign started. Dark hair, green eyes. He looks older, and almost as cold as Kame. But extravagant; slick in black and studs and the latest chunky leather shoes.

Kame and his suits. Not a single girl's bag or bizarrely fashionable coat in all their meetings. Is that growing up, or a little sad?

"Are we doing something on Saturday?" Akira asks.

"Doing?" Jin's not following.

"Anything special, like, complicated?"

Jin was thinking of nothing more complicated than a trip across to Odaiba. He's glad he gets the day with them, with Akira off on his school trip on Sunday. "I don't think so," he says, "but if you want me to complicate your life, I'll see what I can do."

But Akira is biting his lip, so something's up.

"Spit it out," Jin says. "What do you want?"

Akira squirms. "If we're not doing anything special, would it be okay if Minjun-kun comes along?"

"Minjun-kun?"

Akira flushes. "Park-kun. It's his name. Only he's not doing anything on Saturday and he asked if I had time."

"Sure he can come along, if his mom says it's okay. I thought maybe we'd go to Odaiba. But we can also stay closer to home."

"Can I bring Yumi along then?" Sara is jumping up and down, tugging at his hand. "Yuuumiiii!"

"Yes, you can bring Yumi, if her mom will let her come."

Akira rolls his eyes. Jin nudges him. "You can protect Park-kun from her."

Yumi is a year older than Sara and has what Meisa calls a forceful personality. Jin doesn't mind Sara hanging out with her because it'll teach his princess valuable life skills, such as standing your ground against a formidable opponent.

"Yeah," Akira says darkly.

"How's the thing with your homeroom teacher going?" Jin remembers.

"Huh," Akira says.

Like that, then.

"Does Mom know there are still problems? Like... if the teacher decides to complain about you, will Mom know what's going on?"

Akira kicks a tiny stone Jin can't see off the pavement and slouches deeper into the shade. "We'll handle it, okay?" he says, and Jin's pretty sure he's not talking about his mother.

"Okay," he says. "Just try not to give her stuff to use against you." Better not to make it too easy when people are gunning for you.

And he'll have a quiet word with Meisa himself.

*~*~*

"Yeah," Meisa says, brushing her hair out of her face impatiently. "I don't know how the woman ever got a job as a teacher, but Akira insists that I should stay out of it."

Akira is inside, having 'an ice cold bath'. Sara is lurking somewhere beyond the genkan and Jin's sure she's listening in to every single word.

"What does Park-san say about it?"

Meisa shrugs. "What can she say? She doesn't have much recourse. That's what drives me crazy. If I said something, they'd have to take it seriously, but I can't because Akira won't let me, because he and Park-kun have this kind of... this... this thing." She scowls at Jin as if it's his fault. "Men."

Jin brings his hands up. "Hey, don't look at me. I'm one of the girls."

At least that makes her laugh. She's beautiful when she laughs.

"What about Park-san, would she like you to—"

"Good grief, no." Meisa wrinkles her nose. "Not on her behalf, anyway. When that would help." She rolls her eyes in the direction of the bathroom with the ice cold bath. "I think he'd understand that, if I said my friend Park-san asked me to. I'm just not allowed to be a good mommy and fight the battles he's picked."

At least they're the right battles. "I didn't think that could still get so ugly," Jin says. "Not in schools. Not… nowadays." Wasn't all that supposed to get better?

Meisa laughs again. She's closer to the school politics, and this is not a happy laugh. "I bet some Korean actor won a prize from her favorite when she was in high school and she's still bearing a grudge, or something like that. God, this pisses me off so much."

He's known people in the business who hated Koreans, for the music thing and the drama successes, and suddenly he's thinking of Kame, Kame and rumors about Koreans, rumors about bad business years. He caught Taguchi's experimental Korean look, watching from the sidelines, figuring this was about attracting the Hallyu demographic. The year before Jin got fired, Johnny launched an all-Korean group, but they ran such lukewarm numbers Jin's even forgotten their name.

Meisa is looking at him; Meisa still works in the business, and Jin hesitates because this is this and that is… something else. "Hey, you've done work at Asahi right? I mean after I got, after we… after 2018?"

Meisa's frown gets puzzled. "Yes. Not much. Why?"

"Nothing, I wondered about… Kamenashi, I was thinking of those rumors."

"Kamenashi?" The frown deepens, a shadowed line he wants to smooth away. "What's he got to do with this?"

"I just… the Korean thing reminded me. That I heard he had something to do with Music Station going under. I'd wondered if you'd heard about it."

"Oh, that. No, I don't know the whole story," Meisa says. "But I hear they think he's a right bastard."

Something flutters nervously in his stomach. Maybe because he's not sure he's meant to know this. "Yeah?"

"It's what I picked up over the years. I was third fiddle on some Asahi talk show, and apparently he played hardball over the quotas."

"But they're only exclusive on NuCC these days," Jin frowns. NuCool Channel, if ever there was a dumb name. But even the company had to compromise on the other networks if they still wanted their promotions.

"Yeah, I don't know." She narrows her eyes when she thinks. "I think he just got really pissed at them? I didn't pay attention because I had other things on my mind, but I've also heard guys at NHK say that Johnny was a pussycat in comparison."

 

Thursday

He's never been keen on tidying up. Most of his life he got out of it, his mom coming round to his apartment when he was alone, and then there was Meisa who was great at organizing the non-disclosure cleaning ladies, and it's really only been since... later, that he's had to do anything himself. Just as well the apartment is small.

But it's one of those things. He lets it slide, he knows it's a bad week, and then it's another bad week. He's done that. Weeks when old bento boxes on all surfaces and layers of dust on the clothes in the corners didn't matter because he didn't have to get dressed and he didn't have to move to go anywhere.

But this is a good week, this has been a good month, and he's vacuuming the tatami, earbuds in and LaLOLA on. No huge job, easy under the table where he's stashed most of the small junk that normally lies around. With the chair folded away and his guitar hung up on the coat rack, that's all the space clear.

So people can't stand good little Kazuya-kun. Inconceivable.

More hardass than Johnny, but he wouldn't have kicked Jin to the curb, he says.

No, Jin's not going to think about that.

LaLOLA gets to the end of her rap and he turns the vacuum off, gets the bowl and the cloth and starts to wipe. That's the step he skips most often, but he's got time today. No kids, no shift, no Kame.

He wants to know what happened. What is happening.

He doesn't like that, it's better if he's not even curious, about any of them. It's got nothing to do with him, and all his friends...

Yeah, he thinks, all those friends. All those friends he talks to these days. Like it still matters what he does or knows or says, to whom. No-one to protect now except his family and he can't even do that.

His laundry's finished running, and he hangs it up in the neat way he's learned, the only way that works when there's not much space.

Dishes, sink, toilet. He wipes the front of his two kitchen cabinets and then he wipes on top of them, discovering a whole new world where crap gathers. Do girls get taught this stuff?

His knee is twitching when he sits down with the last of his beers, his hands dry from cleaning foam. He hates thinking of Pi out of the blue.

He's used to not having anyone to call, to talk about shit. Most days he doesn't have shit to talk about, and even Kame and his quotas and his sharks... if he could call Pi, now, he wouldn't waste time on any of that.

It's like some pulse behind his eyes, suddenly. He even turns on his tab, goes into the e-mails from yesterfuck and glitterdays, scrolling down and down the screen.

Pi still sent him his first two addresses and cell numbers in the States. The first message is short and confused, in almost formal Japanese that makes Jin bite his lip and blink the sting away. The second's just a group mailing.

Jin's got five-year-old numbers, and he was trying to do the right thing, and it sucks.

So, no calling people. No asking what the hell is going on. Just a quiet Thursday, and Jin drinks his beer and stares at a wall.

 

Friday

He's absorbed in his composing software, fiddling with fiddly bits, when the phone rings. Jin nearly drops it when he lunges for it. "Yeah?"

"I'll be there in an hour," Kame says.

"An hour, huh," Jin says, because... because. "Not in the neighborhood today?"

There's a pause. Something rustling. Maybe it's Kame's brain. Maybe not.

"No," Kame says at long last. "One hour. See you then."

Jin takes a breath, but Kame beats him to it; to anything. The line's dead. Jin lets the phone sink and looks at the screen. 14:07.

He lets the air out again. Right, one hour. What does he do.

He makes tea for starters and then he grabs his wallet. Also his phone. A few minutes won't be a problem.

He walks along the landing, up one flight of metal stairs. Good thing he remembered where Imamura-san lives, because this is something he can take care of in the meantime. It's June now and less than a thousand yen.

He rings the bell, trying to smile when he hears shuffling and the clink of a chain, but his face can't be bothered to get with the program.

"Oh, Akanishi-san," Imamura-san says brightly with that perfect housewife face, and then her eyes skim over him. "Oh..." She blinks.

Oh. Yeah. The shirt and black jeans he put on after his shower. She's not used to seeing him in anything above 'slightly not homeless'.

"Good afternoon," he says, because somebody should say something. "I hope I'm not disturbing..."

"Not at all," she says quickly, "so nice to see you."

"I've brought my contribution for this month." He holds out the envelope and she takes it with thanks, gives him a neatly written receipt. Then she comments on the rainy season and how dear old Takahashi-san from 1D so helpfully keeps the landings wiped dry, and isn't it sad what happened to his wife.

Jin nods and agrees for about five minutes, the heat sneaking under his clothes, then he makes his excuses. He doesn't want to end up having to shower again, or with his hair sagging like dough. Anyway, he's paid his dues.

Then he's back in his badly air conditioned apartment and has something like forty minutes left, and what do you do with those. Two hours, he could take out the tablet and see where he could get to with that new song, but forty minutes is—

Song. He hasn't got one, didn't think of it. No song, no practice, not even just in case. But last time was special, right, and the time before that they agreed to do without, so...

He takes a gulp of his lukewarm unloved tea, shrugs to himself. He's got some Hot Dogs in cold storage for emergencies. He's good.

And he's got thirty-eight minutes.

He spends them browsing for random shit, some reviews of singles TuneShop thinks he's just going to love and Jason's remastered Best Of e-album, which his mom might get him for his birthday. Some reviews for new movies his kids might ask him to see, because he likes to check out warnings for gory or otherwise upsetting stuff. Then he just generally clicks around, to see what's new.

Not much. Not much at all. Same old, scrolling on.

The doorbell rings.

Jin rises. His phone says it's 15:08.

He opens the door, to a gust of warmer air and Kame standing there.

White shirt, no jacket. Plastic bag, no briefcase. He's wearing sunglasses. "Hi."

One hour, one minute. Friday.

"Hi," Jin says. He steps back, his naked feet not making a sound. Kame follows and the door falls shut.

"Here," Kame says, holding out the bag. "You can put those in the fridge."

Yeah. Sure. Jin takes the bag. Jin will do that.

Behind him, he hears the soft drop of Kame's shoes, Kame stepping up. When he turns, Kame is looking around; looking everything over. Shielded.

It's quiet and still, and Jin says, "Where did you park?" because he never asked before.

Kame is blank, clean as glass. "Car park, three streets away. It's secure." Three streets, that's a walk, humid heat Jin thinks he can feel, and Kame pulls his sunglasses off, looks around again, and the room is so much smaller.

Jin could say other things. About the beer, about Kame's precious precise timing. Or he could just shut up.

Kame puts the glasses on a shelf, skims the floor as if he can see more than Jin, and then looks straight at him. "You didn't take the bed out."

No. He's flushing, he put it away this morning, and he didn't think of it. Didn't think of it at all. "It gets in the way."

Kame's eyebrows twitch. "You think?"

"It's a small apartment," he says. He doesn't know why he sounds like he's lying.

"Big enough for our purposes," Kame says, not that Jin is hearing much, catching up with five days to here and Kame's dark stare. "Go take the bed out."

Take the bed out. Because Kame has a plan, he gave Jin notice, and now it's time for that. All very tidy.

Kame thinks so too. It's in the set of his shoulders and half a smile; patience, and expectation. At home and at ease, perfect in his shirt and soft hair, and this isn't what Jin should notice. He should be angry, maybe. Nurse his pride and hate his unfair life.

He feels like he's moving through water when he turns to the wardrobe. Take the bed out.

He rolls out the futon, and just bending down for the task makes him feel naked, drives the sweat to his neck.

Progression. One step after the other, and this is that.

"Good."

Through water, and it goes over him like another wave. Kame is still watching him, no smile now. But Jin hasn't seen him this open and intent since he started taking detours to has-been and miss-you-not. Does this mean Kame's won?

Jin doesn't feel lost. Even though he's got nothing to say, doesn't know where to move.

"Will you take your clothes off?"

Jin slows. Everything's slow, and it seems a strange question. "That would help. Wouldn't it."

There's heat in Kame's eyes. "Very."

Shirt first, Jin thinks, and his hand is halfway there when he considers. "You'll take your clothes off, too?"

"Yes," Kame says. He doesn't move, but he wouldn't lie. Not about this.

Buttons, one by one. He could just pull the shirt over his head, but something tells him not to, something about the way Kame seems to want to burn through the shirt with his eyes.

They've seen each other topless, even naked, so often. Just not on Jin's futon, with Kame's plan. The thought raises goosebumps on his skin when he puts his hands on his belt buckle.

Kame is staring at him with his lips parted and with utterly undivided attention. When Jin pulls down the zipper, Kame swallows.

Jin pushes all the fabric down together. Has to take his eyes off Kame to step out of his jeans, has time to feel a chill on his skin, in his mind.

But Kame moves, Kame is there. Small apartment.

His hands come down on Jin's hips. Small, smooth office hands, and Jin swallows hard and he blinks, feels like they're pulling him to a stop, or holding him here, or something.

Kame looks Jin over, unembarrassed. Jin's chest and his stomach and his cock and his thighs, and his hand sketches the direction after. It feels free, touching wherever, however, just because. Kame's hand lingers just below Jin's ribs, and then there's a light squeeze and he lets go.

Kame undresses silently and like it doesn't matter, not taking that focus away. But he's doing it, like he said. Jin breathes and lets Kame look his fill, watching Kame's buttons and everything else in turn.

He still works out, has settled into some muscle. Just a bit of flesh on his hips, like they never had as teenagers. He's never felt the years on Kame more, strong years. Kame's no kid.

When Kame pushes his briefs down his hard-on is right there, and Jin breathes through a shudder. Knows it's dumb; he's seen it, he's sucked it, and he's old and knows shit and he made his choice... when? When did he do that. Interesting question.

Then Kame kicks those elegant pants to the side like a balled-up paper bag and Jin bites his lip, doesn't know why he likes that so much.

"Turn around for me?"

The water shifts, pulls at him. Turn around, what for? He turns, slowly, feeling clumsy and unsure what do to with his hands, and then he stands still. He feels Kame's breath behind him, and it makes him flush, zig-zag jolts through all his limbs. He doesn't know how to take that attention, he's not used to it.

"You're really something," Kame says, a whisper trickling down Jin's back.

Is he, still? He doesn't know what he is, or what he's doing, except turning for Kame, naked. Waiting.

Kame's hand is on his shoulder. Dry heat. Kame guides him back around. His eyes are holding nothing back and if there was ever a moment Jin should have been afraid, it's this.

"Get down now."

The only thing that drops is Jin's stomach. Jin stands and blinks at Kame and he's too slow, this is too slow.

Kame's hand is back on his hip. More guidance. He's staring at his blue sheets and then his knees are on the futon, and Kame's touch is just there, on his shoulder from high. He leans forward, and he closes his eyes.

Too slow. He can't think, he can't hear and where is Kame?

Kame takes a moment, and then there's just the smallest pull in the sheets under him, Kame on the futon. Jin breathes, he's so naked and what is he doing, and his skin shakes inside out when he pictures himself.

Too slow.

Kame's hand high between his shoulders, light touch, calming. "You look gorgeous."

Mindreading now. Jin bites his lip. Tenses when Kame's hand moves, long slow strokes down his back, and up and further down.

Relax.

"Relax," Kame says, and this is freaky.

But it works. Works better when Kame tells him. The next sweep goes all the way to his ass and lingers there, hot curious fingers on cool skin, and he breathes through it. It doesn't feel bad or anything.

Then Kame's hands are gone, and this isn't steady, Jin's not, this bed is not, until Kame shifts between his legs, skin against his thighs, what is he doing, and the touch is back and it's cool, slick and wet, slipping... between.

He almost jumps away. Holds his breath instead.

It feels so weird, and nothing's even... Kame's slicking him up, that's all. Knows what he's doing, unlike some. He hears the sound of Kame's strained breathing, and he keeps listening to that, and then there's a slippery hand on his hip.

"Spread wider," Kame says. "Tilt up." The hand guides him. "Hold still."

He holds still. Ass in the air, waiting.

"Get with it," he grates when a second later still nothing has happened, and then it's there, big, slick and opening him up.

His breath just stops.

Kame doesn't. Slow, hardly moving except Jin feels it, more of it every moment, more of the burn. Kame's slow, and Jin's head runs through everything, Kame on his doorstep and songs and suits and hands in his hair.

"Breathe," Kame says, and all the air leaves him in a rush, and he sucks in more, and feels Kame from the shudder.

It helps. He breathes again when he remembers, and it goes easier. Bit by bit and it can't be slow enough, and it's keen and alien, pinning him right on an edge. But it's nothing he can't do. For however long it needs.

"How is it?" Kame asks on a pause, his hands hard on Jin's hips. The strain in his voice tells him there's a way to go.

How? It's strange, really strange. "Go deeper," Jin says, because he can take this. Bury his face and let Kame in until they're as close as they can be, and maybe he was waiting for this.

Kame goes deeper, a little sharper and Jin bites back a sound. But he remembers to breathe, and it lasts and lasts and then Kame is there, close as it gets. Stilling with a sigh, his hands warm around Jin's hips. His thumbs are light, stroking. Kame hasn't touched him like this.

He can feel the long, slow breath Kame takes. It's like he can feel everything. He wonders if he's expected to do something now.

"You're doing well."

Is he? Jin squeezes his eyes shut, tries not to shudder. Silly. Stupid. He's doing nothing, just holding still.

But he's sweating, breaking out all over.

Kame pets him; his sides, just a bit, everything a little sticky. "You're perfect," he says, a rasp like dead leaves.

And Jin's flush spreads worse, he doesn't know why, why he's listening, so much. "Good for—"

"Shh," Kame cuts him off. "Stop that."

So he does.

"I'll move now," Kame tells him.

Jin nods, to himself; to the sheets, maybe. Exhales and the sweat prickles, and then Kame pulls back and oh fuck what is this, stop.

His arms are wobbling, he wants up or down and he's inside out and trapped and just a mess, a shaking mess.

Kame grips his hips, hard. Sharp through the blur.

"You're fine," Kame says, and the burn comes back, Kame pushes back, up close, "just fine," and same again, double-time, and oh fuck, "breathe," and he does, and okay... okay. Fast, hard and full, but slippery smooth as well and somehow, sometime it clicks, there's not going to be any pain.

"Good," Kame says, and Jin agrees, not that it's needed. Nothing's needed.

Just Kame and what he wants, moving him the way he wants. That's all. That's enough, full in his head, and Kame pulls him higher and it's the easiest thing, the clearest thing to go with it. Go, take him in, take wet slapping sounds and Jin spreads wider, to get more of each thrust, the strength of Kame's legs and the roughness that pins him, puts him right here, he knows where he is and what and he feels himself right to his curling fingertips, no stranger's skin numb to the world.

He makes a plaintive noise when it stops.

He hears Kame, too, his breaths like aftershocks against him. It's over? Kame is done?

The moment just passes, the grip on him still firm, there's still that. And Kame slipping out of him, strange too and Jin doesn't stop the shudder that goes through him, just puts his head down. Nothing needed. Kame is stroking him with sticky hot hands and Jin's got his ass spread out for him and that's just the way it is.

"Turn over," Kame says, and shows him, too. It's easy. He feels how wet he is back there, how strange it is to move. Somehow he likes it. He's on his back, Kame still kneeling, his hair sagging and his chest slick with sweat.

Watching him, suits and shoes and sharks and cash folded in over a twenty-year-old stare. Jin looks back and hides nothing. Not that he's waiting. Not that he's sweaty, too. Not that he spread for it. It's that same feeling, being right where he is. No questions and no whispers. His mind is so clear.

"Pull your feet in more," Kame says, pushes a bit to show what he means. Then one of his hands strokes down the inside of Jin's thigh, slow and right down, round, and a finger probes the wetness... there. Jin swallows hard but it's already stopped again, and Kame strokes up the other thigh, lays his other hand on Jin's belly. Wherever he touches Jin's skin starts to shimmer.

His eyes come to rest on Jin's face. Studying him; taking his measure, and Jin wonders what Kame sees, if he can look as deep as Jin feels him. If he can that's okay. Kame is sweaty and he's still flushed, and Jin had a part in that.

Is he waiting for Jin to protest? Or just waiting to get his second wind? Do they have to wait in silence?

Kame shows him a slow smile. "Let's do something about you now."

What?

Kame's hand slides down to Jin's cock and lifts it, squeezes softly. And a familiar low curl stirs in Jin's belly, muddies the calm.

Kame is watching. Always watching, and giving one slow tug. "Come on," he says, eyes fixed on Jin's, and the curl turns to a glow.

Yes, okay. He can come on, if that's what happens. He can come.

Kame strokes him, and Jin keeps breathing. He wants to close his eyes but Kame is holding his gaze.

It's strange, someone else's hand after so long. Someone new, and he feels that, but more than anything he feels Kame urging him on. Closer.

Then Kame shifts and his head goes down. Down. A strong, warm wet lick across his cock, and Jin shakes, in all directions at once. He never thought... but who knows how it all works for Kame, what he might want.

Kame's head moves, his hair in Jin's groin, his mouth making Jin hold still, with a hard squeeze and soft warmth.

He bites his tongue when the sucking starts.

Suddenly Kame raises his head, a little frown on his face. "If I wanted you quiet, I'd gag you with your underpants," he says. "Give it up."

It tears a whimper from him and he digs his heels into the sheets. When Kame goes down on him again the breath hitches in his throat. "God, Kame..."

Better; Kame lets him know that's better, sucking him harder, and he gasps, "please," and there's fingers digging into his hips and even that, everything winds him higher. Kame's hair lifting and trailing on his skin, up, down and it's the last thing he sees before he closes his eyes and just feels, Kame being good at this, oh god of course he is, and Jin shakes and makes thick little noises, and he says, "I'll come," and Kame lets him.

He hears his own voice, drowned in relief that goes through everything, and Kame's holding his ass and Jin's mind just goes flat and black.

Then he's done, and breathing. That's enough. And that heat under his skin won't fade. Kame pulls off slowly. Sitting up between Jin's legs, still damp, his lips kind of... red.

He's quiet. Quiet but pleased.

Good.

It would be normal to say something, now. But Jin doesn't want to; feels for once he doesn't need to. If Kame had a problem, he wouldn't be feeling up Jin's legs or tickling his knee.

Then Kame shifts. "Stay," he says. "I'll be right back."

Hands gone, Kame gone. Jin flat on his back and all fucked out. He just stays. It's so easy.

Kame's in the bathroom, running water. Jin watches him walk back, how lean he looks, and dishevelled, and he doesn't even look away when Kame kneels back between his legs, washcloth in hand. Warm and wet at his ass, and Jin flinches, because that's embarrassing, and then it's just warm and wet. Kame wipes him down conscientiously and Jin keeps his legs apart and his eyes on whatever.

Then Kame folds the cloth away and moves aside, comes to rest with his back against the bookcase. Jin closes his eyes again because he's feeling just that drifty.

"That was excellent," Kame considers. And then, as if it's important that Jin should know, "You were excellent."

Good, Jin thinks, that's good. "You weren't bad, either," he says. Though Kame probably doesn't need that reassurance.

There's an odd silence. But Jin's too comfortable to do anything about it, and eventually Kame says, "Are you okay," sounding like it's not really a question because he'd much rather not ask.

"Peachy," Jin says. He turns on his side, slow with limbs giddy and drunk. Kame's hairy square knees are right in his vision, and Jin doesn't follow them up, though he half wants to. A lube bottle is capped on the other side of the futon. "You used a lot of that," he says.

"Well," Kame says, with a glance from high above. "Hurting you's not the idea."

"Hm." Jin settles down with his head in the crook of his elbow. Kame's skin is pale; hasn't been out of those suits in years, Jin guesses, and he sighs. "I'd like one of those beers," he says. "But I don't want to move."

He can feel Kame thinking. Thinking the right things, because after a moment he pushes off. "Don't get used to it," he says, but no more. Jin sighs again, just imagining the cool taste.

Kame walks without shame of being naked, gets the beers, pops them open. Jin watches his thighs as he comes back, remembers how powerful they felt against him. It makes him shiver a little and he imagines it some more.

Kame folds himself down against the bookshelf again, holding the beer out. Jin curls the bottle out of his hand, and one of them gets their fingers tangled. Jin's not sure if it's him.

Kame's short fingers. His perfect manicure, the whiff of stress and smoking breaks. Jin turns his hand over, the only part of Kame that is tan.

"You smoke too much," he says quietly. "I can smell it on you."

Kame jerks his hand away, hides it in his lap. "Is that so."

But Jin props himself up, pulls it back against tension and Kame thinking so noisily. "It's not good for you," he says. Puts his nose against Kame's palm. Breathes in, sex and cigarettes and come.

Kame's fingers are twitching, the tension never fading. After a moment he winds his wrist out of Jin's touch. "Never thought you'd even have a nose for it," he says, drinking his beer. "When did you quit?"

Jin looks up at him for the first time and finds his face a little red. "Three months after my son was born." He remembers it a bit ruefully. "I meant to as soon as he was there. But he was fussy, I hardly slept those first few months." He remembers some half-hysterical breaks on the balcony, sucking down a cigarette wondering if his baby would ever go to sleep.

"Good times," Kame remarks, and Jin just nods.

"Yeah."

They have a few more companionable gulps of beer. The sun's trying its best to push through the curtains, it's a lazy and warm afternoon, and Jin just got fucked. He's still wrapping his woozy head around that. He sets down his bottle and lets his eyes wander along Kame's naked body.

"So how long have you been going without?"

Kame's look sharpens on him. "What makes you think I've been going without?"

Touchy, is he. Jin raises an eyebrow. "You didn't use a condom."

"Oh," Kame says, and flushes. "Yeah."

"So?"

Kame hesitates. Weighs. "About five years, I would guess," he says flatly. "If it's any of your business."

Wow. That's a long time. For someone who's so... Who's not like Jin, divorced and broke, and who's... "That's pretty long," he says.

Kame shrugs, but Jin's no fool. He's known that defensive body language half his life.

"Do you want to go again?"

Piercing focus, instantly, a wash of a reminder of all the ways Kame touched him today. Then Kame pulls back. He might as well be putting on sunglasses.

"I think I can restrain myself until next week, thanks," he says tersely.

"Suit yourself," Jin says, pleased that his voice is smooth. "So why did that last guy dump you? And was he serious?"

"Not serious enough that I care all that much," Kame snaps. Yes, totally. Kame does really well on not getting any.

"So what happened?"

"You're fucking nosy today."

"I have a boring life." Jin takes a long swig, gives Kame time to make up his mind how intruded-upon he wants to feel.

"Buy yourself a TV."

"I have a TV, but it doesn't bring me beer."

Kame looks from him to his beer as if the beer is now being nosy too. But then he takes a breath, a smooth one that Jin wouldn't notice if Kame weren't naked. "Must be an old model," he judges. "It's sad when poor people can't keep up with the times."

"Yeah," Jin says. "Sucks." He shifts a little, his body finally cooling down. "Why'd you take an hour to get here today?" he asks then. "Where were you?"

Kame blinks at him like Jin is a reporter and the Q&A was technically finished two questions ago. "I came from home," he says slowly, like he's weighing every word. "I wanted to shower."

"Hm." So Kame thought about it. Didn't do what Jin did. Kame in the shower, thinking about fucking Jin. Jin has a drink, his dry mouth wants it. Moves on quickly. "So no secret meeting with SMAP today?"

"What do you mean by that." Now, Jin is a sleazy hack for Tokyo Sports caught lurking in a dark car park, and Kame's voice could cut glass.

"Their headquarters is the right distance from here," Jin says easily. It feels a bit like talking down a skittish tiger. Shark, Jin's brain supplies unhelpfully. "There's not much else around here that would be relevant to you, so unless you were fibbing all the time about being in the area anyway and just came because I'm so pretty..."

The tiger shark on his futon is regarding him like he's just turned into a problem that needs solving. Jin feels kind of naked and like he should have gone for clothes. But Kame is naked too, and this is crazy.

"You know I won't tell anyone," he says. He thinks he could use more beer. Maybe Kame could use more beer too, to lighten the fuck up.

Kame's shoulders sag after a moment. Okay. Better. "I'll appreciate it if you keep that quiet, yes." Kame sets his bottle down at some distance, like he's never going to touch it again.

"What's it about?"

Kame shakes his head. "Sorry, confidential. You shouldn't even know there's anything to know."

Jin rolls his eyes at him. "What's so terrible about you negotiating with them?" he asks, and catches the flash in Kame's eyes. "I mean, if that's what you're doing. What would be oh so horrible about that?"

"It would be horrible because it's premature and I'm not ready. My enemies are watching for me to be not ready."

Oh boy. "Aren't you being a bit extreme?"

"Am I?" Kame says sharply.

Jin feels a little less comfortable, a little more like he's treading water above the tiger shark's shadow. "It sounds kind of... I mean, enemies?"

Kame stares at him with a thin frown and a flat, tight mouth. And then he says very lightly, "Do you know what the best-paid job in the company outside of music is right now?"

"Um," Jin says. "No?"

"The three guys I'm paying to stick around Johnny and make sure he's never alone with a Junior."

"Johnny?" Jin doesn't follow. "What's he got to do with... why?"

Kame takes a deep breath. Maybe he even sighs. "Johnny's old, Jin. He's really old, and he's not... he's pretty confused these days. We don't tell the media just how confused. Hell, we don't tell most of the agency just how confused."

Johnny... he would be old now, yes. Confused? It's such a weird concept. Johnny runs the world.

"He must have had a hard grip on himself all these years," Kame says with a cold look off into nothing. "But he's confused now, and he doesn't have a grip on anything, and she's watching him. She'd sell out her own uncle to swallow up the company, never mind the Juniors, that's what I'm dealing with. That's why nobody knows what I'm doing or not doing with SMAP and why I come out here to—"

Kame cuts off, but Jin's blinking at him as it finally filters through the static. "Johnny... is looking at Juniors?"

Kame's expression is clear, and Jin imagines Kame paying guys, guys to watch Johnny, and the Kame in his head is no shark, just a neurotic stick with spiky hair who told Jin of his dreams, and Jin thinks he's sinking, somewhere, through the bed.

"Don't look at me like that. I've aged out of his interest range."

Still. Kids, Johnny and kids, some Juniors are ten. "You're protecting him?"

Kame gives a short laugh. "I like to think I'm also protecting the Juniors. But sure I'm protecting him. He's a confused old man, Jin. He's also my ticket to doing whatever I think is best for the bands she'd just as soon toss to the dogs, and I'm also protecting KAT-TUN when they're not off getting themselves caught swinging, and Tackey and his lovechild and Tsubasa and the guys from Sexy Zone. You think I should let them all go to hell?"

But... he's not even taking all that in. He's just looking at Kame, thinks that Johnny likes Kame, and feels queasy.

"I've got three guys watching out," Kame says, all heat fading. "And he signs whatever I put in front of him."

He wants to say that none of that makes it better. But okay. Old, confused. Kame's game. Kame's looking out for people. "I bet I'm not supposed to know any of that, either," he says, and tries to make it light. It doesn't work that well.

Kame raises an eyebrow. "Sometimes I think you and 'supposed to' don't coexist in the same universe."

Jin laughs around the lump in his stomach. "Yeah, I've heard that before."

There's a long, deep breath, Kame closing his eyes and leaning his head back.

What now? What do you fit in after... that, about Johnny? Oh. "Who was caught swinging?"

Kame's turn to laugh, and Jin's almost surprised it sounds real. "Taguchi. And his girlfriend. Happy as clams, those two. And they meant nothing by it, they were just having some fun. Cleaning that one up took two exclusives for the reporter, and a hooker for his editor."

Just another day at the office. Jin blinks at the easy tone of it all, wondering what else Kame's done, and where he wants to go. But he doesn't even know what he wants to know most, so he says, "So they're still together?"

Kame nods, not without a touch of surprise. "Yes. Fancy that."

Lucky, Jin thinks, or maybe just more determination and suddenly he has to swallow. So little has lasted for Jin from that time. And maybe he shouldn't admit it; stick to prodding Kame and not feel more exposed than from any fucking. But then it sort of slips out. "Are you in touch with Pi?"

"Sometimes," Kame says. "Rarely. He's stable over there and she can't touch him. Why?"

"I don't have his email address. Or anything else." Kame gives him a curious look. "That's not confidential, is it?" Jin adds.

"I'll send you the address and his cell number," Kame says. "You think he'll talk to you?"

"I can try, right?" How much does Kame know about it?

"Sure," Kame says, and then, "He never said what happened. Did you fight?"

That's probably his answer right there. Jin wouldn't mind feeling woozy now, everything's way too sharp. "No," he says. "I thought it could hurt him to be... associated with me." The lump is in his throat now, great. "You know, with America and all."

He doesn't like the thing that shows in Kame's face, it looks too much like pity. "That was maybe the one good instinct you had back then."

Well, great. At least it wasn't for nothing. "He's doing okay, though, right?"

Kame doesn't ask him why he doesn't just google it. "Yes, he's fine. Like I said, stable. He's found his niche."

"The Asian market?" Jin never wanted it, and now he wonders if that was arrogance too.

That seems to wake Kame from his calm. There's a curious smile around his mouth. "You don't know?"

"Oh god," Jin says, because he knows that look on Kame's face, the 'let's have fun watching Jin freak out' look. "Just tell me."

"Our friend Yamapi is the darling of the gay community in the US."

Oh yes, Kame is relishing this. Jin closes his mouth quickly just to deny him the satisfaction.

"Pi is gay?" Okay, that sounded squeakier than intended.

"Not that I know of," Kame says. "It doesn't seem to bother anybody. He picked up a gay following on his first tour and a few years in he decided to run with it. He plays Texas and roundabouts a lot, they like him in a cowboy hat."

Jin always wanted it on his own terms. Now Pi went and became a gay icon, and he's still there, in America, doing shows. In cowboy hats.

"I'm glad he's doing well," Jin mumbles. Then his bottle is empty, and his head spinning from... all this.

"I should have some time Tuesday afternoon," Kame says.

"More meetings not happening in places I don't know of," Jin nods understandingly.

"Fuck you," Kame says.

"That's the idea, isn't it." Jin gets up when Kame does, meets his eyes.

Kame looks a little caught off guard but quickly recovers. "Correct. And the rest doesn't concern you." He gathers his clothes together. If he's got a meeting now, he'll still have the sweat on him, he'll smell the sex when he takes his clothes off at night.

Jin won't stare, and won't get distracted. He throws on his clothes, too.

When he's done, Kame has his wallet in his hand, is pulling out notes. Jin's glad one of them remembered about that; he needs that cash.

"Is it enough?" Kame says when Jin takes the money.

It's the usual amount. "Yeah." Kame has no idea about normal people's rent.

"I'll call then," Kame says, and Jin agrees that he will, and then he steps out into a bright Friday afternoon.

~

Week 6

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