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9½ Weeks

by Solo & Jo

 

Week 9

 

Sunday

He sleeps a lot on Sunday. He dreams of police lights and grey breathless fog. When he's awake, he has the news on low and a restless itch under his skin. He wants Kame's hands, soft and cigarettes and all, to smooth it away, and knows Kame wouldn't have time to even stand still.

He keeps the curtains half-closed, the phone within reach, and sometimes he starts at his own shadow. The idea that the worst is over is still new.

He speaks to his kids, annoys Sara by getting sappy and tongue-tied in the middle of her story about flopsybunny's ride in the washing machine.

"I'll have HR draw up your contract tomorrow," Kame says the fourth time he calls, every word stiff, filtered through lawyers and sharks.

The sixth time it's, "We've chosen a funeral home."

Jin thinks about ghosts and haunting and sleeps with the light on.

 

Monday

He parks the car, mindful of its size and shiny edges. He was embarrassed when Koto-san in the box buzzed him through, making an impressed face.

His manager is in today. Former manager. They spoke on the phone, but Jin still had the uniform.

He bows deeply when he hands it back. "I really appreciated this opportunity," he says, and means it. Maybe he's the only person who ever felt this way about stepping out of a dead-end night watch job. "I'm so sorry I didn't give you more notice."

"Ah, don't worry," his mananger waves. "We've got applications. And Takeshi-kun was happy to take double shifts last weekend. His mom's operation, you know."

He knows. He knows about their moms and kids and dogs; what teams they support and how they take their coffee.

He'll miss them.

Then he gets a keyring with the company logo as a souvenir.

 

Tuesday

The building is so new. Jin feels like a thief sneaking around, learning the corridors, learning to ignore the stares.

New building and all around shine, yet they still tape the names of the groups to the doors with sticky tape. He blinks at it with a twisting sense of familiarity.

"You here to submit an application?"

He flinches like a thief too. Ueda, jeans, blue contacts; an expression that says Jin's application wouldn't get him very far.

"I came in to sign stuff," he says; shrugs. "But he's busy."

Ueda looks Jin over, slowly, twice. "I stayed out of your shit," he says calmly. "I stayed out of his shit. Don't bring it to our door now just because he's decided he needs a lapdog. Got it?"

"Loud and clear," Jin says, and Ueda steps past him, into the KAT-TUN dressing room, the door falling shut in Jin's face.

   
 

Week 9½

 

Wednesday

Jin goes in last.

A measured walk down the aisle, towards the mountain of flowers. It's enormous. Anyone who's anything in the business sent something, rivalries played out in bouquet sizes. Jin's head is dizzy, sweet scents and candles and beautiful music. He bows, counts out the seconds, and tries not to feel anything.

She looks happy on the picture, smiling. Now she's gone.

Outside in the large hall, it's a press of dark suits and bright idol hair, and more flowers. Hushed voices. Jin's silence fits in, is safe and appropriate. He nods at Kame in passing, and Kame nods back from across the room. Beside him, Johnny is leaning heavily on his stick and occasionally sniffing at the orchid in his buttonhole.

Jin went in last and alone. They thought it was fitting for a lost sheep. The reporters have seen him anyway, and the whispers are everywhere.

 

Thursday

Nakamaru is turning his teacup, slowly. Shaking his head, slowly. "So, she lied to me from the start. And Kamenashi was willing to get me arrested."

Jin squirms. Damn couch. "Basically, yeah. I thought you deserved to know."

"Well. Thank you."

"And I think you two should…" Jin shrugs. "I mean, you and Kame." He's not sure who should apologize to whom more; not sure they know either.

He remembers the look Nakamaru gives him. The look which says that Jin has a lot to learn and perhaps not enough brain to learn it with, but Nakamaru kind of likes him anyway. A long look down a big nose.

"You'll run into each other at my housewarming at the latest," he states boldly.

"You are moving?"

Jin shrugs. "I have to. I'm looking."

More slow turning of the teacup. "Well," Nakamaru says eventually. "Then I shall look forward to it."

~

Week 9½

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