Title: Pinky Promise 4: She Said... (1/2)
Pairing: Akame, hints of Jin x other (again...^^;)
Disclaimer: In my dreams I can own anything... otherwise they belong to each other
Summary: They made a promise. But as time goes by will they be able to keep it?
N/A1: Well, I'm not sure how these categories and labels work but I think this chapter can be described in a very few words... angst?.....feeling of the world crushing down?... no tomorrow? Or something like that..
4. She Said…
The message you left for me went like this:
"If you look back, I won't forgive you"
So that these feet can go on ahead
So that these hands can hold on
Beginning of June 2005, Filming Minna no Terebi TV Show
“… and after that it will be your turn, Kamenashi-kun.” A man with his dark hair bound to a brushy bunch and with small eyes behind the glasses, who happened to be the director of the show, stopped talking when he noticed that one of his listeners wasn’t actually listening to him at all. He cleared his throat with unmistakable intention to get Kamenashi’s attention again.
One of the hosts of the show, and Kame’s sempai in addition, dark haired Matsumoto Jun chuckled wickedly at the younger boy’s blushing as Kame realized who the man’s hint was intended to.
Kame turned to the director immediately, shrunk by the sound. “Sumimasen,” he mumbled. He tried to ignore the director’s inquiring look, and his sempai’s mischievous amusement as well, and focused on what was going to occur next. “My turn, right. The Kimi to Itsumademo part with brides, I know.” His eyes kept peeping to the other side of the studio where Jin was sitting on his seat, obviously being absorbed in something as his gaze was locked with the door to the backstage.
But Kame had no time to bother with Jin or his evident lack of concentration, which Kame could watch all day since they had entered the studio that morning, because the sign on announced the end of the commercial break and everybody were said to shift to their seats.
After a brief chit-chat with today’s guests the moderator advertised next segment of chart songs and the first tones of Kame’s cover could be heard at the same time. The door into backstage was opening, really slowly as it was the intention of that to prolong the moment of expectation and not to show what was hidden in the bright light behind it until two beautiful young women in bridal gown showed up.
Kame was so concentrated on his performance, with another of those stupid jokes to entertain the audience at the end, which as Jin once had said sure-footed, had to be Matsumoto’s idea, that he didn’t noticed any of those steady gazes Jin was giving to one of the models.
The girl, on the other hand, did, though, and for a moment she slowed her steps while walking by Jin, and she slightly beckoned him with a shy smile.
Kame was walking down the hallway, aiming to get himself a soda from the drink machine. He was inclining his head from side to side as the captivating melody of the song from before was still on his mind. He frowned a bit realizing it but then smiled and shrugged his shoulders. The hallway was all empty as everyone was still occupied with the running show. KAT-TUN weren’t a part of this segment so he could mizzle for a moment unnoticed. With no one being around Kame wittingly lightened his steps and mumbled the song aloud.
Lost in the melody and supposed privacy Kame jumped up when another voice joined his in the refrain.
He spun around and saw widely grinning Jin who was standing only a few steps from him. The older one waved his hand and his dark eyes were shining happily like Kame had never witnessed before. Something was definitely odd about Jin today.
“Yo!” Jin yelled and made two more steps towards Kame.
Kame overcame the embarrassing feeling of being caught while singing that oldschool song not because he had to but because he actually liked it, somehow. But if it was only Jin who heard him Kame didn’t bother so much because Jin had seen him doing much more embarrassing things the way so far.
“How it comes you are not alluring the girls?” Kame jibbed at his friend trying to prevent himself from being taunted.
“They are changing the clothes now and girls’ dressing room is a forbidden place,” Jin sighed cunningly, joining Kame on his way to the drink machine. “Believe me, I tried to get there.”
“I can imagine that.”
They were walking in silence but it didn’t take long and Jin started to talk, all happy and shiny even more than before.
“Um?” The smaller boy was fishing for some coins in his pocket.
“Uehara-chan is pretty, isn’t she?”
Kame found some change right when they reached the machine, standing at the very end of a long corridor. “Sure she is,” he answered, but it was obviously more an automatic reply than a prudent one. Just to show Jin he was listening. He had no chance to get a load of the models since he cared about the work more than girls.
“You like her?”
Kame put the first coin into the slot and waited for a sign to put the other ones in as well. Then he pressed the button and hearing the noise of his ordered plastic bottle of soda was falling down to the takeout slot he turned to Jin. “What do you want me to say? I don’t know her, Jin. She is pretty and she seems to be nice, too, but I don’t like judging a book by its cover, that’s all.”
Jin was watching as Kame withdrew his soda, opened it and took a deep sip. Then Kame smiled at him, believing that the previous uneasy topic was over.
“Shall we go back now? Or do you want something to drink, too?”
“Um, no.” Jin scratched his hair leaving them even messier than they already had been. He definitely needed to think up a hairstyle that would eventually look like a hairstyle and not like he only raked his hair after getting up.
“Then I’m going.” Kame made a step or two when he noticed Jin was standing still. A curious frown wrinkled on his forehead. “Jin?”
“Wanna know a secret, Kazu?”
“You wanna tell me?” Kame repaid brightly, giggling because Jin used his name and that indicated nothing else than that they once again had entered their own little world where no one else was allowed to enter.
Jin rolled his eyes. “Otherwise I didn’t ask.”
“She’s my girlfriend.” A sound of aloofness could be heard in Jin’s more than surprising statement.
“Who are we talking about this whole time?” Jin got a bit annoyed because that wasn’t exactly the reaction he had been expecting from his best friend. “Taka-chan.”
The simple observation made Kame dumbfounded for a moment but then he realized it could be nothing more than one of Jin’s jokes.
Jin could see disbelief in Kame’s look but he didn’t mind and nodded with an idiotic smile.
“She can’t be!”
“I’m tellin’ you, we have been dating for like ages now!” Jin blurted out, happy for finally being able to share his biggest secret with Kame after that long time of keeping it only by himself. At first he wanted to wait whether his relationship with Uehara would be a serious one and when he became sure about it all he needed was the right moment to tell Kazuya. But it turned out to be hard to find the best instant.
And now he said it and it was such a relief.
But Kame didn’t seem to believe him.
“You can ask her then. Taka-chan wants to meet you. So I was thinking about dinner with the three of us tonight. Are you in?”
“Nice try,” Kame still wasn’t convinced of Jin’s words. Actually he was searching the older one’s face for any sign of familiar twitch of his lips which would appear just before Jin would burst into laughing. But there was nothing like that. “You don’t really expect me to rise to the bait, do you?” Kame tried again.
“You don’t believe me.” Jin pretended he was completely shocked and to say the truth it wasn’t too far from how he actually felt.
“Of course I don’t believe you. I know you! And Uehara-chan doesn’t seem like your type at all. She is too nice for you!”
“But Taka-chan –”
“And could you please stop calling her like that!? It’s impolite!” Kame lectured him a bit too hastily.
Jin intertwined arms on his chest and took a deep breath. “It’s not,” he pouted, “she allowed me to call her Taka-chan a long time ago. And you know what? I can be nice too so we definitely fit together. If you believed me, you would see by yourself tonight. She is really looking forward to getting to know you. She will be disappointed…”
“But…it’s…” Something in Jin’s voice made Kame believe him eventually. As he knew there were only a few things that could make Jin react intensely like this, and he would have never been so resolute if it was only for his jokes, moreover. Kame found Jin’s eyes and locked their looks. “You remember we are not allowed to date, Jin…? The contract…”
“Fuck the contract!” Jin breathed out. “I like her, Kazu, I really do. I’ve never felt anything at least nearly alike this.”
Now Kame was sure Jin wasn’t lying as it wasn’t typical for him to talk about his feelings straightforward like this.
“But if they found out…” Kame bit his lip afraid of finishing that thought.
Jin shook his head. “They won’t. We are discreet. Look, even you hadn’t had any suspicion until I told you.”
Kame wanted to believe Jin was right, for his own sake and happiness, but still he couldn’t shake off the bad feeling that was telling him something was going to happen for sure.
“I’m not telling they actually will find out, what I’m trying to say is that if they did you would be in a really big trouble. They could suspend you, Jin…or…or….worst…” The last word stuck in Kame’s throat and his whole body shook while he spoke it aloud.
“Oh Kame…” Jin unexpectedly took the boy’s hand and drew him into a tight hug, comforting him. “This is not going to happen, I promise.”
Kame sniffed as the comfortable and save grip of Jin’s hands intensified. He buried his face into his friend’s shoulder, inhaling his scent and slowly recognizing there was also another one, sweet and girlish. He had never realized it before but now he could clearly recollect that it had been there for quite a long time…
When Kame pulled himself out of the embrace Jin was smiling. “We should go back before they start looking for us, ne?”
And letting his hand settle peacefully around Kame’s shoulders Jin slowly led them back to the studio.
“Ne, Jin?” Kame said after a while of silence.
“She is really pretty.”
Jin turned his head and his eyes were filled with love. “I think so.”
Beginning of October 2006, the day after Ueda’s late birthday party
Not following his usual manner Jin got to Jimusho before 9 o’clock though his first rehearsal of that day should start three hours later.
But he knew Kame would be already there, overworking himself as always, first by working out in the gym and then taking a voice lesson as he did every Wednesday. An anxious smile spread on Jin’s face when he imagined how would Kame react seeing him there, especially after what had happened last night.
Jin wasn’t quite sure how he got home, his mind was dazed by alcohol and a lot more by the make out session he and Kame had in the alley. Suddenly his heart skipped a beat just because he thought about the kiss.
He so needed to talk to Kame.
At night Jin didn’t sleep even for an hour, his imagination running wild every time he closed his eyes.
To distract himself he tried to remember when he felt like this for the last time and to his big surprise Jin realized, lying on his bed and watching the dim light of the daybreak slowly filling the room, that he had never felt like that before. Yes, he was in love once, he was so in love he couldn’t have imagined his life without her back then, but when the time of making the decision came up, he gave up letting her go, anyway…just because…
…and that was all for the distracting part because right at that point his mind was back to Kazuya.
After a few more flop attempts to fall asleep Jin eventually ended up having a long cold shower. Then he dressed up and went to work. He knew he wouldn’t be able to focus on anything until he saw Kame.
Or – more probably – until they finished what had started in the alley.
Jin tried to convince himself the affection between them was more a physical one than emotional, with their bodies being like strong magnets gravitating one towards the other. But all his tries went idle as he realized it was only Kazuya who he wanted so badly, not any other man…
For god sake Akanishi Jin was straight!
And he could have brought dozens of more than satisfied female approvers… if he had ever bothered to take their phone numbers. Or names. Or something…
No, the attraction couldn’t be only physical.
They shared everything. Once Kame said he felt like he was missing an important part of himself when Jin wasn’t around, and although Jin didn’t admit it aloud he felt the same.
Jin always thought it was because they were best friends… but now he wasn’t sure.
He rounded the corner heading to the door where he knew was Kame’s lesson but was stopped by a voice calling his name. A quick thought of pretending he didn’t hear crossed his mind but it was late.
“Akanishi-san, we didn’t expect you this early today,” the assistant said with a fake professional smile. “But it doesn’t matter. If you don’t mind I’m directed to take you to the Johnny-san’s office as soon as you show up.” The man bowed and with a slight movement of his arm waved the direction, exactly the opposite one Jin was pointing to.
Great, Jin sneered. The old man couldn’t choose better day for another of his lectures… and his assistant surely couldn’t choose better moment for finding Jin as the clock on the wall was showing almost nine and Jin knew it was the time when Kame’s lesson would be over.
Before he regretful yet submissively followed the man Jin could hear Kame’s voice singing the music scale from behind the door of the music studio and he felt like he wanted to sing it too, though he had always considered this part of singing boring and uninteresting, often doubting whether it was a singing at all.
As Jin entered the Johnny-san’s office, the assistant closed the door behind him, leaving his boss and the singer alone.
Johnny Kitagawa, the founder and president of the production company Johnny & Associates was calmly sitting behind his desk, which was actually an old and rare-looking table made of dark ebon wood, with both his hands resting on the almost empty desk. On the wall by his left side, being hanged around the always closed door leading to the contiguous room, there were numerous framed photos of boys the agency produced and managed over the years of its existence, boys of different faces and ages, many of them had to be grown-up men by now. Across from there on the other wall there was a scroll with kanji symbols painted on it hanging there.
Ame futte ji katamaru.
The ground becomes firm after the rain.
Jin gazed on the scroll for a moment, wondering for uptenth time in his life what was the true reason for the old man to put there just this proverb and not another. But soon he ended up, as usually, thinking it had to be just a plain gesture, only another artificial scene to impress those who came here, because Jin knew this wasn’t the actual Johnny-san’s office. That was behind the closed door under the picture of the brightly smiling Arashi boys.
“Akanishi Jin,” Johnny finally started up, his eyes contemplating Jin from behind the big glasses. “How long it has been since we had an opportunity to talk like this, only the two of us face to face?”
Jin didn’t answer though he knew it was quite impolite. But the old man asking like this… that could have been tricky if Jin hadn’t been careful.
“Well,” the man behind the desk ignored Jin’s silence, “if my memory doesn’t deceive me too much, last time we were talking about mistakes. About how only a single mistake can destroy everything, am I right?”
You are always right, Jin sarcastically answered to himself. He remembered that talk pretty well. The feeling of being scared off. The awareness of that his world was breaking down into bits. The press to make a decision he wasn’t ready to make. The inability to do something… anything…
“I thought you had understood what I had told you back then.”
Jin painfully bit his lip to prevent himself from saying something rush and slowly nodded. “Absolutely, sir.”
“Well…” At that moment Johnny moved, for the very first time since Jin entered the room, opened the drawer by his right side and pulled out some papers putting them on the table. “I’m glad to hear that, really. But if you understood, as you’ve confirmed just now, then tell me, Akanishi,” his voice was slowly raising up in growing anger, “why don’t you obey?” And with that final question his wrinkled yet firm open palm hit the papers.
Jin blinked at that abrupt action in surprise.
“Come here and take a look,” Johnny exhorted him, pushing those papers forward.
Jin slowly came near and all he needed was a single glance at the printed photos to know what it was. A dumpling bigger than what he could swallow started to form in his throat. The picture was dark and shady and not being it him who was captured on the photo he wouldn’t have been probably able to distinguish the persons on it –
He gulped heavily
“You have talent, Akanishi.” Johnny’s voice was calm and steady again but his eyes stuck to the photos were sparkling in rage. “I have known it from the very first time I met you. That’s the reason you are here despite of the audition outcome saying you actually don’t fit to the concept of this company. I know what people say, that my company is nothing more than a factory producing cute pin-up boys, more or less competent singers whose pictures decorate the bedrooms of teenage girls. And who am I to deny it?” Johnny looked up at Jin with a half amiable smile. “But if I see a real talent, I recognize it.”
“Johnny-san, this whole thing… I can explain –”
“I’ve not finished yet!” Johnny stopped him brusquely. Then his voice returned to the previous moderate tone. “Kamenashi has also talent, of course he has. But it’s different in his case. Your talent was given, his skills, on the other hand, are a product of hard work. And he still has a long way to come.” His piercing eyes were observing Jin and reading the boys expression to find out what was going on on his mind at the very moment. “And I can’t let anything to distract him. Are we at one, Akanishi?”
Jin wasn’t quite sure when exactly did the conversation switch from the talent one back to the one about the photos again… or maybe Johnny had never left the main topic of the day only camouflaging it for a moment into his much-favored words about talent and such a crap.
“So?” Jin raised his eyebrow in anticipation.
“This,” Johnny pointed on the picture lying on the top, “is not going to happen again. No fanservis from now on, not any involving you and Kamenashi.”
“But it was you who wanted us –”
Johnny nodded an unwilling approval. “I know. But that was to promote Gokusen and that time is over. Without exceptions. But even if it wasn’t…”
Jin shrugged under the old man’s gaze as Johnny blindly opened the drawer again, his dark eyes never leaving Jin’s face, and pulled out another paper. “You are very lucky that we were able to put down this one before it overran the internet. Personally I don’t think you want to see it because it’s rather disgusting…”
Jin didn’t need to take a look, he closed his eyes instead. He was feeling dizzy even more than before and his heart was beating like crazy.
Once again he knew, though he surely wouldn’t have used the word disgusting to describe what was on the picture. Unexpected. Surprising. Thrilling. Hot.
Perfect. He realized.
“That’s what I thought,” Johnny said and hid the paper into the drawer again. “Now we can end this conversation with the words that Kamenashi’s tongue in your mouth is far beyond the borders of any fanservice, do you agree?”
Jin blankly nodded giving a sign of assent as he was pretty sure at the moment he wouldn’t be able to put anything into words.
“Great. Then we have finished, you can go now. Kamenashi should show up in every minute. And the last thing I can bear now is you two in the same room.”
Wanting nothing more than to run as far as possible from this cursed room Jin yet hesitated. He needed to get some air into his lungs before he took his courage into both hands and spoke again. “Does it mean we are not allowed to talk to each other or something?”
“No, no need to be so strict, of course. – In fact, there will be no one for you to talk to.”
“Eh?” Jin didn’t get it. His mind was still too mazy to proceed what Johnny had said.
“I’m not going to put anything at risk,” Johnny made his intentions clear for the boy in front of him. “Until this madness is over, I’m sending Kamenashi away. To America, strictly speaking.”
“What the…..” Jin’s eyes widened, “…the fuck?” He felt his knees were about to betray him. What was the old man talking about? Sending Kame….to America?
Now he could clearly see the picture of Kame as he remembered him during their trip to New York three years ago. His Kazu, all lost in the middle of a big foreign city, on the other side of the world. Torn from home and work and everything he loved and needed…
“Your talent was given, his skills, on the other hand, are a product of hard work. And he still has a long way to come.”
He heard Johnny’s previous strict words and realized that once the punishment would be over there could be a chance Kame wouldn’t be allowed to return to the group…
And, furthermore, there was also another voice in Jin’s numb head, softer and warmer than Johnny’s. The voice belonging to Kame from three or four years ago…
“Now it’s official, Jin. KAT-TUN is the only thing left for me.”
“I’m sending Kame to America.”
NO! NO! NO!
And Jin knew he couldn’t let that picture of his best friend in foreign country become real.
“Wait!” Jin shrieked. “It was my fault! All of it. I kissed him first!” He waited a second for the old man’s attention. “And I can easily kiss Ueda or Nakamaru tomorrow. I could kiss Koki at the scramble crossing in front of Hachiko exit if I wanted to…a lot of people around to see me! It’s me! I’m the one who is dangerous for the unblemished façade of this company! I’ll go…” Jin was panting heavily as his abrupt burst ended as suddenly as it had started.
Johnny didn’t utter a word after hearing it, instead he rang up his assistant to tell him there was no need for Kamenashi to come into his office anymore.
(to be continued...)