Title: Pinky Promise 6: Precious One (2/2)
November 2006, L.A.
“Have you known about it, Pi?” Jin asked into the phone he was holding while his other hand pressed the button of remote control to rewind the record. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me?”
“Tell you what?” came from the receiver after a moment of silence. Yamapi’s voice was drowsy and a bit perplexed. “What are you talking – hell, Jin,” Yamapi muttered frowning at the alarm clock on his bedside table then slowly realized that with his best friend being on the other side of the world or not some things never changed. Jin had always had to disturb his hard-earned and precious sleep. “So you’ve already seen it, I suppose…”
Jin heaved. “Hell yeah, Pi! I’ve seen it. Or actually I’ve been watching it over and over for more than two damn hours now! You should have told me!”
“Jin, it was a live broadcast and no, I hadn’t known before they did it.”
“But you should have called me once you saw it!”
Yamapi yawned, not sure why they should argue about something that was actually nice and thoughtful and moreover why they had to argue about it at damn 2 am?
“It took me off-guard and I swear I wanted nothing but get on the very first plane to Japan. And you know I can’t do that, Pi. You know that!”
Jin pressed the play button and watched the television. And when the first tones of the song sounded the five boys on the screen formed heart shapes of their fingers pulling the hands in front of their chests then slowly moved their hands to write into the air the three lines of Jin’s name. Jin stopped the image and looked at Kame’s face. The boy was smiling yet Jin could clearly see the sadness written into his beautiful eyes.
“How is he doing, Pi?”
“Jin,” Yamapi whined, “you asked me two days ago. You really think something has changed since then, baka?”
Jin tried not to stare at the television. “No,” he sighed after a while.
“That’s what I thought,” the other confirmed yawning again but this time he tried to suppress any louder sound. He wasn’t tired anymore since those midnight calls with Jin were actually something he was looking forward to. But as he opened mouth to say something again he heard an indistinct voice calling Jin’s name on the other side of the line. Then Jin presumably covered the phone with his hand and answered to the causer of the voice.
A few moments later Jin’s voice was clear again. “Sorry, roommates are idiots who don’t get that no means really no.”
Jin breathed out shaking his head. “Not now, the serious part always starts after a few drinks,” he sighed. “Don’t mind it, just another wild night. I told them I’m not interested.”
“You are not –?” It was more than hard to believe for Yamapi. “Are you sick?”
“You’ve just shuffled off a party, should I be worried?” And though Pi tried hard his voice to sound nonchalantly, a hint of an anxiety could be heard nevertheless. “It doesn’t sound like the Akanishi Jin I know.”
“I know,” Jin assented. “But night life is not the same without you and Ryo. Can you imagine that I kinda miss even his stupid untimely remarks on anything around?”
Yamapi chuckled as he imagined saying what he had just heard to his band mate as soon as he saw him. “Believe me, Jin, he misses your baka ideas as well.”
Beginning of December 2006, Filming of Utawara TV Show
“I thought we agreed on that you can’t do something like this on your own,” Koki raised his voice yet he still wasn’t shouting. Shouting was something he was saving as the last eventuality of everything. And especially when Kame was contained as the reason for Koki’s upset state of mind.
Kame bit his lower lip, shamed and guilty, looking anywhere but at Koki. They were alone in the dressing room but he was sure the others would come in every minute.
“I’m sorry,” the younger one mumbled.
“I’m afraid sorry is not enough this time, Kame-chan,” Koki shook his head. “I know you miss him, you don’t have to tell me since I can see it, but you have to stop. You know, writing Jin’s name on your fingers just a few weeks after his leaving was one thing and we understood it, really, but sending airy kisses through the screen now, two months afterwards? What’s wrong with you? Stop acting like a stupid smitten schoolgirl!”
“It wasn’t –” Kame blurted out in attempt to defend himself but Koki’s pinning look was inexorable. The boy just sighed forgetting his rush answer on the instant. “Koki, it’s a love song and we are doing this kind of things on the stage all the time, why should anyone think it was different this time? You are just being over-suspicious and see a problem behind everything I do just because you know. That’s not fair. And I’m NOT a stupid schoolgirl!” Kame gave Koki a blaming sharp look. “Likewise I’m sure no one will notice it, it was nothing more but a tiny gesture…almost nothing…”
“I noticed it and those crazy so called Akame fangirls will notice it, too! You can bet on that!”
Without even noticing it Kame started shaking. He was just helplessly standing there facing Koki’s imputations and his heart quickened with every other word being said. Because Koki was right. He shouldn’t have done it. He promised he wouldn’t do anything on his own… And no matter how many reasonable explanations he could think up the truth was Koki was right. He had been sending airy kisses and he hadn’t been doing it as a part of the performance.
He felt like an idiot. Jin hadn’t given him even a single reason to believe there was a place for gestures like this yet Kame couldn’t help himself.
Loud laughing from behind the door and then even in the room when the door opened and the others came in was like a rescue. Kame heaved in relief. He quickly crossed the room to his locker and started stripping himself and changing his clothes. All he wanted at the moment was to say good bye and leave.
And then he heard Maru’s voice. “Ne, Kame, we are going for a drink or two, you wanna join us?”
The question seemed to be miles away from even a slightest hint of insidiousness or a ruse but Kame felt his throat clamped noticing the growing heaviness that was slowly filling the room. His band mates were waiting for his answer though he was sure all of them had already put two and two together and figured out what he was about to say because in the past weeks his answer was always the same.
Kame took his bag and slung it over his shoulder avoiding looking at anybody. “I’m sorry but I’ve already arranged something and I’m late now so…” He made a few steps towards the door when Ueda blocked the way folding his arms in front of his chest and his narrowed eyes burning Kame through.
“And that something has surely what to do with Yamashita and Nishikido as always,” Ueda remarked tartly.
“Uepi stop it,” Maru made an attempt to stop the boxer but to no purpose.
“Sorry but it’s high time one of us did this and none of you seems to have balls for that so I’m going to be the bad guy here.” Ueda took a deep breath then gave Kame a sharp pinning look. “Admit the facts, Kame. Jin is gone and we don’t know when – or actually if – he’ll come back. But Jin is not the whole KAT-TUN! There are five other people including you. But if you think this group has no future without Akanishi and rather spend time with his best friend and that asshole Nishikido then feel free to do it. Leave us and join NewS, whatever, I don’t care, but say it aloud and make things clear once and for all!”
“Ueda!” That was Maru again, terrified by the latter’s outburst this time.
“Tat-chan, that’s enough!” Koki shrieked. Within a second he brisked up to Kame, putting his hand on the younger boy’s shoulder and caressing his upper arm, seriously worried what could Ueda’s words cause and how Kame could react. “Kame, are you alright?” Koki asked in a low voice full of uneasiness and anxiety. “Don’t listen to him, Kame-chan, no one thinks you should leave the band. That’s nonsense.” Koki shot a look of reproach to Ueda whose face hadn’t changed. “Right, guys?”
Junno startled by what was going on just nodded, too dumbfounded to speak.
“Of course!” Maru stated shaking his head. He still couldn’t believe Ueda said it. Yeah, they had been talking about how much Kame’s current condition could affect KAT-TUN but Maru thought they agreed not to do anything rash.
Kame sank back onto the couch behind him, his bag falling down to the floor as his inert hands lost the grip on it. The world started spinning around. Ueda’s words kept repeating over and over inside his head breaking his already wrecked heart once again. He felt Koki sat down next to him and Maru from the other side, both of them were slowly and carefully rubbing his shaking arms but he had no strength to look up and actually even move anyhow.
This was something he hadn’t been expecting even in his worst nightmares.
It had been a long day, a long week actually, and he was jaded and tired and right after all what Koki had told him a few moments ago Ueda’s words were just too much for Kame. He leaned closer to the nearest body and wrapping his arms around Koki’s neck and burying his face into Koki’s shoulder Kame started crying, desperately searching for understanding and sympathy or actually anything he could have got, even if it had been only a slight pat on his back.
“And you are calling Nishikido an asshole?” Maru raised his eyebrows in disbelief looking at Ueda. “Have you ever listened to yourself?”
“I haven’t said anything what is not true,” Ueda pouted. Well, perhaps he might have chosen more moderate words. But then again, the stronger effect his words would have on Kame the better because no way could they continue like this. What they needed now was to prove KAT-TUN could exist even without unreliable Akanishi. He might have been the best singer among them, he might have been the winner of various public polls for being the most sexy and most popular or whatever… but he wasn’t the center of the universe. And he wasn’t here in the first place! Ueda was sure they could be good – great actually – even without him. He just needed the others to realize it as well, especially Kame.
Kame tightened the grip around Koki’s neck. The heat coming from the other body was comforting and the hand slowly circling about his back was soothing. His cry turned into sobs and then stopped completely, leaving his eyes red and Koki’s t-shirt wet from tears.
“You should find a better place for your raging temper, Uepi,” Maru sighed.
“No, you two had better stop acting like he was a child. He is not! And he needed to hear this.” Ueda looked at Kame who slowly turned to face him.
A bit to Ueda’s surprise, and actually to Maru’s and Koki’s as well, Kame nodded, He rubbed his face wiping the tears away. “I don’t want to leave KAT-TUN,” he whispered sniffing.
“Me neither!” Junno joined in as if they did nothing more but played some poll game.
Maru chuckled but seeing Junno’s innocent enthusiasm he couldn’t help it but raise his hand. “I want to stay, too.”
“I’m not leaving Kame-chan,” Koki said with his hand still on Kame.
Maru looked up to the last person who hadn’t said anything and Ueda only rolled his eyes. “Do I seem like I want to go anywhere? Hell, let’s make it worldwide finally!”
End of January 2007, L.A.
“Yamashita Tomohisa…he-e-y old buddy!” A low thick voice groaned into the phone but was interfered with a loud noise coming from the background. “What’s up?”
Yamapi frowned, not completely sure if he didn’t dial a wrong number but then recognized the unmistakable high pitched giggling of his best friend. The very same kind of laugh that was driving Ryo crazy every time Jin started to laugh like that. Yamapi wrinkled his forehead even more as he slowly realized the underlying sounds.
“I’ll call you later, Jin,” Yamapi almost apologized. “You…seem to be busy now…”
“Noooo! Pi…..” Jin whined. “I’ve already picked the damn phone anyway. And I might lose it before you call again. Or someone could steeaaal it, you know. America is fucking dangerous…heh…”
“Jin? Are you…”Yamapi’s eyes narrowed as he needed only a moment to understand what was going on. “You are drunk, Jin?”
“Noo,” the response came and then there was a moment of silence as Jin downed his shot of vodka and flushed it down with a deep sip of beer. Then he giggled again. “Better wording would be that I’m pretty wasted, actually… or I’m trying to be…” He shouted something in English and grumbled into the phone. “Sooooo…you wanna something, Ya-ma-shi-ta?” Jin played with the last word articulating every syllable which turned out to be a bit difficult as his tongue didn’t seem to follow the will of its owner.
Yamapi sighed. No way could he talk to the other one being in state like this. “I’ll call you tomorrow, Jin.”
“If you want something talk to me NOW!” Jin jerked out getting upset and peevish as all the alcohol he had drunk tonight was fogging his senses making him impatient. “Tomorrow will be late.”
“You haven’t called for more than two weeks.”
“I thought you would like to know that Kame –”
But Pi hadn’t a chance to finish what he had started as Jin suddenly broke in blasting. “Fuck you, Yamashita!”
“Don’t you think I would ask if I wanted to know?”
Jin heaved suppressing his emotions. Just a moment ago he felt the alcohol circulating in his veins and getting into his head and the world looked a million times better back then. Now with Yamapi on the phone and Kame’s name being repeated over and over again in a nearly endless loop Jin realized he wasn’t drunk enough not to mind it. And the awareness of that was pretty shitty.
“STOP IT!” Jin shouted not minding all his new friends sitting around him and hearing him since most of them couldn’t understand a word he was saying. “I.Don’t.Care! Okay? Get it? Stop nagging me with a forth about him, Yamashita. I don’t want to hear it.” Jin waved at the waitress ordering another drink and as the girl smiled at him he added second finger to show her he wanted better two drinks.
“Baka,” Pi dropped shaking his head in disbelief.
“I’m hanging up…”
“Pi, please… I can’t…I can’t hear it anymore. It’s too much…”
Jin hid the phone into his pocket right at the moment when the waitress appeared with his drinks. He smiled at her and she gave him one of those looks saying they could meet after her shift was over. Jin tossed off the shots one by one and licked his lips, his sensuously narrowed eyes telling the girl he would wait.
He needed his mind to become completely numb and white and this pretty blonde chick seemed she could help him when alcohol let him down this time.
Beginning of March 2007, Shounen Club Premium
It took a while. Maybe more than that and maybe it wasn’t completely over yet but at some point Kame finally understood that Ueda was right back then. It had to stop. No more drowning in thoughts about Jin. No more longing for Jin being here with him. Because nothing he did or would do could change the fact that Jin was gone. And Kame knew he couldn’t spend his days vainly thinking about things that hadn’t happened and never would.
Deep down, under all the sadness and fear of being without the older one, Kame had known it from the very beginning, somehow. He just hadn’t wanted to see it until Ueda’s words opened his eyes.
Since the moment they had met Akanishi Jin had been the center of Kame’s life, his limelight to guide him and show him the way. And throughout the years Kame had got used to following Jin’s words. Because Jin had never let him down, being here, caring, understanding… Yet Jin had never even tried to force Kame into something, Kame had been following him because he wanted to.
If he thought about it almost his whole life was compounded of following someone and as the years were passing by he was slowly losing the notion of where was the line between the claims of the others and his own wishes. His relatives wanted him to join Johnny’s and Kame obliged doing his best during the audition. And since the moment he had become a Junior everything he had been doing was because he had been said to do it.
So when Ueda said all those things to him Kame just did what he was used to do in similar situations, followed what he was said directing all his might and energy to the dream the six of them once had dreamt together. And with all the work he suddenly had, recording the album, having concerts, preparing the variety show that was supposed to start from the next month… he practically didn’t have time to sleep and when he eventually got to the bed he was so beaten he usually blacked out falling into a dreamless sleep.
Those nights when he used to cry out Jin’s name were gone. As well as his need to send the other one silent and secret messages over the television screen. He stopped hanging out with Yamapi and Ryo. Without seeing them and spending time with them it was easier not to think about Jin.
Koki once said that if Jin really wanted to he would call him. Later that day when Kame arrived home he spent more than two hours just sitting and staring at the phone, hoping for a miracle to happen, waiting because what if that day was the one when Jin would call. But the phone kept silent and Kame gave up. He removed the pinky ring from his finger and put it into the drawer.
This was the turning point and no matter how much it was hurting him Kame had to make a decision. And he had worked too hard until then just to let everything go.
Now it had been almost five months since Jin had left and Kame no more was being woken up by vivid dreams that Jin was touching him, the last stolen kiss behind the closed door turned into a hazy scene and Kame wasn’t trying to refresh it anymore. There was no sense in it. He started to keep away from Yamapi even more, quickening his steps when they were passing by in the corridors of Jimusho and as much as he could he was spending his free time with his band mates instead, gradually realizing they were so much more than that.
First Kame was going out with them just because he didn’t want to be alone and he didn’t want them to think about him wrong. But he learned to like their company, being it in work or during their spare time. And that was something he wouldn’t have a chance for if Jin was here with him...
When they met in New York a few weeks ago for a moment Kame got doubtful about his decision, his heart quickening every second he spent in the same room with Jin, the memories springing up to his mind once again. A small hidden part of him was even hating Koki for everything the rapper told bursting in at Jin for leaving them and making them worried… but the bigger part, the part Kame decided to listen to, was assuring him Koki said all of it to protect him.
Because Koki cared.
And that’s what friends do…
No matter how much he missed what he used to have with Jin he no longer could pretend nothing had changed. Because Jin’s leaving, the way he left, changed everything.
For long time Kame wanted to believe it didn’t. But with every other day without the phone ringing, every other day with his imagination thinking up various reasons for Jin’s sudden decision… Sooner or later Kame had to come to the result that leaving was Jin’s coward way how to tell him what they had done was a mistake…
And maybe, though the way he did it wasn’t the best one, maybe Jin decided right. For both of them.
Kame took the mic, nervously winding the cable around his hands. And when the music started to play he just waited for the right moment and let out the first words of the song, his voice covered and low, silent and soft. No writing Jin’s name into the air, no airy kisses or meaningful glances into the camera. Just the music, he singing the song, and the very last thought that this particular song would be forever tied to Jin and the emptiness his sudden leaving left in Kame’s heart.
And the song still hadn’t ended when Kame’s face changed a bit. That was when he let that thought go away.
“We hold our breaths for the unknown future
Even so, we will continue to live on right now…”
Late April 2007, Sendai Concert, the night of Jin’s return
No one else noticed it, just Koki. Everybody else was too excited and blinded by the moment when the six members once again appeared on the stage.
Jin’s shy smile and a bit worried look, his insecure moves as he stepped out from the wings and faced the audience. Fans screaming his name got even louder and for the very moment it almost seemed Jin was standing there all alone.
That was when Koki saw it.
The fear and panic in his look as his eyes were desperately searching for any fixed point that could give him a support.
And the support came to him in the form of a hand that slipped into his entwining their fingers. Jin stiffened turning his head and saw Kame standing right next to him, smiling and his gentle eyes shining.
Koki didn’t know why or what was going on right then, Koki did know nothing.
The only thing he was sure about was that in the end someone would end up hurt. He just hoped it wouldn’t be Kame because this time there could be no help for him.
“You’ll be good, Jin,” Kame whispered that only Jin could hear it then lifted up their twinned hands and made a step forward not leaving a space for Jin to respond.
And for that very moment Kame allowed himself to be drawn back to the times when feeling Jin’s hand, his mere presence even, was everything he needed.
Because after the night ended he would go back to his present life. The life where Akanishi Jin was no longer the most important person for him.
Next part: Pinky Promise 7: Someday for Somebody