"Nothing troubles you for which you do not yearn." — Cicero, Cato Maior de Senectute.
After a while, it gets easy to eyeball the guys who come in and identify their types. Some come in all wide-eyed and trying not to let on that they're nervous by acting too confident; these are the tourists, usually, the ones who've never been inside a gay bar before and don't quite know what to do about it now that they are. Some of them come back; others do not. Then there are the guys who do know what they're doing, whether they're coming on the prowl or just to dance—there's an easiness in the way they move, a kind of relaxation that says they feel at home here. The married guys are easy to pick out, too; they're always on guard, afraid to look anyone else in the eye lest they be recognized. Some of them look relieved, like they've just set something heavy down.
Kazunari never quite knows what he thinks about the married guys, whether he feels sorry for them or just sort of contemptuous. Shou-chan says that's because he's never felt the need to hide what he is and so it's easy for him to judge. He's right, of course, which is probably Shou-chan's most obnoxious feature, but that doesn't keep Kazunari from feeling any less judgmental sometimes. He's never claimed to be perfect.
It's a slow night when the guy comes in for the first time. Kazunari's sitting at the bar when he does, sipping something that looks like a screwdriver but isn't and kibitzing with Shou-chan, so he gets a good look at the guy when he pauses on the steps down into the club proper and looks out across the dance floor. It's definitely his first time in a place like this. He looks it over like he doesn't know what to think of it, or maybe it's not anything like he expected it to be.
"Fresh meat," Shou-chan says as the guy gets over his moment of hesitation and descends the rest of the way. "What do you think?"
Kazunari studies the guy, watches him skirt the edge of the dance floor and realize what the guys in the alcoves are getting up to, and purses his lips. "First-timer for sure," he decides, squinting at the tense line of his shoulders. "Probably married."
Shou-chan hums over his drink and shakes his head. "Not yet," he says. "Engaged, maybe."
"That's what you think."
The guy's tall, broad-shouldered, and definitely not dressed for clubbing—he could be fresh from the office if only he had a jacket to go with his tie and button-down, and the creases in his slacks are knife-sharp. He's also making a beeline straight for the bar, which perks everyone up. It's been a really slow night, but then, Mondays usually are.
Kazunari sits up straighter and crosses his legs, the better to show them off and flash a little thigh while he's at it, and is rewarded for his pains when the guy takes the empty stool next to his. Close up he's not hard on the eyes; Kazunari watches him more or less covertly as he orders some liquid courage. He's got a stern mouth and glasses that obscure long eyelashes, and bafflingly, he's carrying a small plastic lizard.
(Kazunari only wishes that this was the strangest thing he's ever seen while working this job.)
He's not sure, but he feels like he's seen this guy before—not here in the club, but somewhere else. He can't recall where, though, so he just gives the guy some time to get his cocktail down and then strikes up a conversation while Shou-chan grumbles under his breath and turns his attention to harassing Nijimura. "I don't think I've ever seen anyone go out drinking with a lizard before."
That nets him a startled look and what, in Kazunari's professional opinion, is a flash of panic before the guy presses his lips together tightly. "It's today's lucky item for Cancers," he says, stiff, and Kazunari would bet a week's take that he has this conversation all the damn time.
"Oh, no kidding." He leans and smiles up at the guy. "What's the lucky item for Scorpios?"
"I have no idea," the guy says, still stiff. "I'm not a Scorpio."
Kazunari allows his mouth to run on autopilot while he regroups; either this guy is so nervous that he's all frozen up, he's just not used to flirting, or he's not interested. Or all three. "Too bad. I could probably use a little extra luck in my life." He props his chin up on his hand and smiles again, friendly. "Are you new around here? I don't think I've seen you here before."
"I am." The guy stares down at his drink and Kazunari is just about to give him up as not interested when he adds, abrupt, "You should listen to Oha-Asa. If you want to know your lucky item."
Okay then, not uninterested, just very awkward. It's a good thing for this guy that Kazunari is fairly shameless. "I'll have to remember that." He hits the guy with another smile and reaches over to trail a fingertip along the plastic lizard's head. "Hopefully Scorpios will get lucky items that are just as cute as this one."
On the other side of him, Shou-chan breaks into a fit of laughter that is poorly disguised as a coughing fit. Kazunari ignores him with the ease born of practice. Meanwhile, his Cancer goes rather adorably wide-eyed for a moment, which is progress. It's very clear that he doesn't have the slightest idea what to say. Kazunari grins at him. "I'm Kazunari," he says. "What's your name?"
The answer is so long in coming that it's almost certainly an alias. "Shintarou," he says, slow. "I'm—you're—Kazunari?" He's looking at Kazunari now, or more specifically, at his dress.
Ah. "That's me." He flicks long hair over his shoulder while he uncrosses and recrosses his legs; his hem creeps a little farther up his thigh, and Shintarou swallows. "A pleasure to meet you, Shin-chan."
That gets Shintarou's attention instantly. "What did you just call me?"
Kazunari grins at him. "Shin-chan," he repeats, relishing the expression on Shintarou's face. "I think we're going to be good friends, you and me. Scorpios and Cancers are very compatible, you know." Not that he really buys into astrology, but a working boy has to use whatever tools he's got.
Shintarou stares at him some more and Shou-chan breaks into another of those nasty coughing fits. Kazunari smiles and drinks the last of his orange juice. "Would you like to dance, Shin-chan?"
That gives the guy something new to react to, anyway. Shintarou immediately frowns. "I don't dance."
Kazunari allows himself to slip off his stool, which is a maneuver that he's practiced enough times to perfect. Done right, it's a move so sinuous that it makes it look like he's made of liquid rather than flesh and bone. It rarely fails him and certainly seems to be effective now; Shintarou looks like he's been stunned. "Don't worry, it's easy." He slips his arm around Shintarou's and draws him to his feet. "Come on, I'll teach you."
The most action in the place tonight is on the dance floor, which gives Kazunari all the excuse he needs to insinuate himself into Shintarou's personal space while he falls into the rhythm of the music. Shintarou has gone wide-eyed again and is all but vibrating with how tense he is, and that's before Kazunari sets his hands on the guy's hips and pulls him even closer. Kazunari pays no attention to this. "Dancing's easy, Shin-chan. All you've got to do is let yourself feel the beat and move with it, like I'm doing." He executes a shimmy in demonstration, and if that happens to mean that he grinds up against Shintarou, well, he does have bills to pay.
Shintarou utters a sound not unlike a squawk and flushes pink; his confusion is honestly kind of endearing, and so is the awkward way he completely fails to move in time to the music. Kazunari tugs on his hips, trying to coax him into a nice, easy movement or at least to loosen him up a little. He's only sort of successful in this; Shintarou is much too stiff under his hands, all his movements halting and jerky, and he looks completely at sea. At least he is moving; that's a start.
Kazunari smiles up at him. "Yeah, just like that. All you've got to do is follow the beat, and that's easy."
"That's easy for you to say," Shintarou mutters. He doesn't seem to know what to do with his hands, so Kazunari catches one and sets it on his hip as Shintarou begins to move a little more easily with him. He doesn't miss the way it makes Shintarou swallow hard, either. He shimmies again, rubbing up against Shintarou again as the song changes, and helps him find the new tempo. As they go on, Shintarou doesn't exactly relax, but he does pick up the trick of bouncing in time to the music. He's not going to be winning any dance competitions with that, but that's not what they're here for. That has more to do with the way Kazunari can feel Shintarou starting to get hard whenever he happens to grind against the guy, which is a positive sign.
When the song changes again, Kazunari smiles up at Shintarou, peeking at him through his eyelashes. "You see? It comes naturally, just like breathing. Or sex." Shintarou loses track of the beat completely and flushes red as he sputters. Kazunari represses the urge to laugh and grins instead. "Well, it is, don't you think?" Shintarou's too tall for him to be able to line their hips up properly, but he makes do and achieves pressure in the right places anyway. Shintarou is definitely getting hard.
And he says, "I'm sure I couldn't say."
Two things occur to Kazunari in rapid succession: Shintarou probably wanted that to sound sarcastic, but it doesn't. It sounds like it cost him something to say. In turn, that suggests that it might actually be true. Huh.
"That's too bad," Kazunari says, "you're missing out." He pulls Shintarou back into the rhythm and casts another glance up at him. "I could help you rectify that, if you want."
It takes all the dexterity Kazunari possesses to keep Shintarou from tripping over his own two feet then. While he's still trying to recover, either because he didn't expect to be propositioned that bluntly or because he doesn't know what to say, or both, Kazunari adds, conscientiously, "For a modest fee, of course."
Shintarou freezes—absolutely freezes—and that panicked expression shows in his eyes again. Damn, he's moved too fast with the guy and he's going to run screaming into the night. Kazunari is in the middle of scolding himself for his own impatience when Shintarou says, "How much?"
Or maybe not. Kazunari glances up at the set line of Shintarou's mouth as he names his going rate, wondering a little about how determined the man seems to be. He's seen all kinds of guys since he started working this job, but he's never seen someone look so grim about hiring himself a hooker.
Shintarou doesn't try to negotiate or anything; he just nods. "Fine." He's lost any trace of the hard-won ease from dancing, maybe from nerves or maybe from something else.
Kazunari just smiles at him, though, and catches his hand so he can lace their fingers together. "Then just follow me, Shin-chan."
He guides them off the dance floor and puts some extra swing in his hips as he leads Shintarou to the back of the bar and the flight of steps up to the next floor. It's a lot shabbier up here, but most of the customers who come this way don't actually mind, being more concerned with other things. Kazunari personally suspects that Shintarou doesn't miss the water stains in the ceiling or the places where the plaster is cracked, but he doesn't say anything even though he frowns at them. He doesn't say anything about Kazunari's room, either, which is just as utilitarian as everything else on this floor.
Kazunari ushers him inside and closes the door behind them before he clears his throat. "I hate to spoil the mood, Shin-chan, but I do like to take payment up front." He grins and tosses his head. "Don't worry, satisfaction is guaranteed."
Shintarou is definitely one of the strangest guys Kazunari has ever encountered to date, because the joke doesn't seem to relax him and he doesn't really seem all that excited by the prospect of getting laid—and he doesn't act much like the usual sort of nervous virgin, either. He simply pulls his wallet out and counts off the appropriate number of bills into Kazunari's hand.
Kazunari tucks them into his bra—not like he has any better use for it—and smiles. "Now that we have that out of the way…"
He can't help feeling that Shintarou is holding his ground when he goes to him and slides his hands up the crisp fabric of his shirt and slips them around the back of his neck, but he allows Kazunari to kiss him, and… huh. The way Shintarou holds still and is slow to respond to the way Kazunari kisses him—slow to change the angle of his head so that their mouths will fit together better, slow to respond to the invitation when Kazunari parts his lips, slow to slip his tongue into Kazunari's mouth—is enough to make him wonder whether Shintarou has had any kind of sex before. It seems unlikely—it's not like the guy is unattractive—but Kazunari has to wonder.
Not that it matters. Shintarou may be slow to respond, but he does respond and even gets into the spirit of things after a little time to acclimate. Kazunari watches him from beneath his lashes—Shintarou has closed his eyes and has furrowed his brow in his concentration—and sucks on Shintarou's tongue encouragingly.
Chalk another bit of strangeness up to Shintarou's account: he doesn't make any move to grab Kazunari, which is unusual in his experience. Hell, it's practically unheralded. It's kind of nice, really. Kazunari doesn't even have to think about smiling when he draws back from Shintarou's mouth once Shintarou has begun to make soft, hungry noises against his lips. "Why don't you come over here and sit down?"
He wraps his hands around Shintarou's wrists and draws him over to the bed step by uncertain step until he can persuade Shintarou to sit. Even then, Shintarou perches on the edge of the mattress, maybe from nerves and maybe just because he's not sure what happens next. Engaged or married or whatever, the guy still deserves a good first time, and anyway, Kazunari finds his awkwardness charming. He leans over and cups Shintarou's face between his palms, tipping it up so he can bestow another kiss on Shintarou, one that's as slow and filthy as he can manage, and he doesn't let him up for air until he's coaxed a muffled groan out of Shintarou's throat.
The guy looks dazed when Kazunari lets him go, his gaze gone unfocused, and he doesn't seem to understand what's happening when Kazunari nudges his knees apart and kneels between them. "What…?" he says while Kazunari gets busy undoing his belt and fly, taking pride in the bulge that Shintarou is sporting.
Kazunari glances up at him, smiling. "Just lean back and relax, Shin-chan. I've got you now." He watches Shintarou from beneath his lashes while he folds his clothes out of the way and draws his cock out.
Shintarou's eyes have gone wide; he gasps when Kazunari first touches him. "You…"
"Shh," Kazunari tells him, running his fingers up and down Shintarou's cock—not all the way hard yet, but filling rapidly beneath his touch. "Enjoy yourself."
He leans forward and drags his tongue up the length of Shintarou's cock, root to tip, and is hard-pressed not to grin at the strangled, startled sound Shintarou makes when he swirls his tongue over the head, coaxing the foreskin back with his lips and tonguing the slit as he slides his mouth down around him.
Shintarou stares down at him, his mouth hanging a little ajar and his breathing turning faster. Kazunari sucks and Shintarou groans; if Kazunari's any judge at all, it's a heartfelt sound.
He hums back to Shintarou and kneads his hands against the insides of his thighs as he works his tongue over Shintarou's head. That seems to work okay, because Shintarou stares down at him, hectic color rising in his cheeks, but he doesn't make any more noise until Kazunari begins to slide his mouth down his cock, letting it move over his tongue. Then Shintarou gasps again, and Kazunari would bet a night's take that he's hanging onto the mattress with white knuckles. He slides his mouth up and strokes his tongue over Shintarou's head while he checks (he's right) and then slides back down again.
Shintarou groans, low and almost helpless, but he doesn't try to move. The muscles in his thighs feel rock hard beneath Kazunari's palms, tight with the same strain Kazunari can see in his shoulders. It's certainly polite of him, but unnecessary. Kazunari draws back and grins. "It's all right if you want to fuck my mouth," he tells Shintarou. "That's kind of the idea, you know?"
To prove the point, he swallows Shintarou down, which elicits a new sound from him, strangled and disbelieving. Shintarou shudders when he hums around him and lifts a hand. Kazunari catches on a second too late—Shintarou's already sliding his fingers into what he probably assumes to be Kazunari's hair even as Kazunari is pulling off.
The wig comes off in Shintarou's hand and his cock jumps against Kazunari's tongue, filling his mouth with the flat taste of precome.
This isn't a job for anyone who can't cope with the unexpected. Kazunari lifts his head and reaches up to untangle Shintarou's fingers from the wig so he can take it off and set it safely aside, and he watches Shintarou covertly while he's ruffling his fingers through his own, much shorter, hair. Shintarou watches him do it, wetting his lips. Kazunari shakes his head, letting his hair settle into place, and slants a smile up at him. "Why don't we try that again, Shin-chan?"
He waits until Shintarou reaches for him again and touches his hair, almost tentative about it, and he doesn't think it's a coincidence that Shintarou moans, all low and hungry, when he slides his mouth down his cock again. This is definitely working for him; he curls his fingers in Kazunari's hair, groaning softly while Kazunari strokes his mouth up and down, sucking gently and humming to him until he says, hoarse, "Please—please, I'm going to—"
Kazunari swallows him down again, and that's all it takes. Shintarou jerks, grunting as he comes and looking stunned by the way it feels. Kazunari hums to him and swallows, letting his throat work around Shintarou's cock until he sags, slumping over and breathing hard. He groans again as Kazunari lets him slip out of his mouth and straightens up. If he didn't know better, he'd almost say that Shintarou looks lost. Well, maybe that's to be expected.
"Like I said," he says while he begins to set Shintarou's clothing back into order. "Satisfaction is guaranteed."
He stretches out his shoulders and back, but Shintarou speaks up before he can rise and send the guy on his way. "Wait."
Kazunari pauses and raises his eyebrows. "Need something else, Shin-chan?"
"You—didn't." Shintarou gestures vaguely, not quite managing to meet his eyes.
"It's usually not the point," Kazunari says, amused and maybe a little charmed.
Shintarou flushes, still avoiding his eyes. "Can you? I want to—I want to see."
It's not the first time a client has asked for a show, but it's the first time one has asked for a show after getting off. Kazunari resists the urge to point this out to Shintarou and settles back on his heels. "All right, if that's what you want."
He chooses his working clothes as much for convenience as appearance. It's easy to hike his skirt up past his hips and to shove the silky panties down his thighs. Shintarou's attention is riveted to him. Kazunari can see the muscles work in his throat when he swallows, and he wets his lips again when Kazunari cups his own cock, lifting it and showing it off. If what Shintarou wants is to see, then he can see all he likes.
He touches himself slowly, blanking his mind deliberately to keep himself from getting hard too quickly, and Shintarou stares openly at the way his cock fills and lengthens against his palm. He passes his tongue over his lips again when Kazunari raises his hand and licks a wet stripe across his palm and begins to jerk himself off, nice and easy, just in case Shintarou decides he wants to go again. He's going to have to spend a little more if he does. Kazunari's generous but not that generous.
When he strokes his fingers over the head of his cock, he moans, nice and breathy. It's enough to make Shintarou look up, eyes gone wide behind the lenses of his glasses. Kazunari smiles at him. "Like what you're seeing?" It's a damn good thing Shou-chan isn't here to laugh at how sultry he's making himself sound. Shou-chan would make him crack up, too, and that wouldn't be any good at all. Clients never seem to believe that the laughter isn't aimed at them.
"Yes," Shintarou says. The raw edge in his voice, something like despair, kills any urge to laugh that Kazunari feels. "I do."
Definitely married or going-to-be-married, Kazunari concludes. Poor bastard.
He drops his other hand to cup his balls and gives Shintarou a smile even though his heart isn't really in it. "Good. I'd hate for you to tell me to stop when it feels this good." He works himself slowly, giving Shintarou a good show, making more noise and rolling his hips more than the knot of heat building at the base of his spine really warrants. Shintarou watches avidly, as though he's trying to memorize every ripple of Kazunari's fingers and every moan he utters. He's breathing almost as fast as Kazunari is when he finally comes, arching his back and groaning while his cock pulses over his fingers, sticky and hot. He draws it out for as long as he can, and then licks his fingers clean for good measure right before Shintarou's transfixed eyes.
"There anything else I can do for you tonight?" he asks when he's done.
Shintarou hesitates, opens his mouth, closes it, and shakes his head. "No… no. I should be going."
This is such a manifest lie that Kazunari considers calling him on it. He decides not to and rises to his feet, shaking his skirt back into place and stepping out of the panties. It startles Shintarou to be kissed again, which is part of the reason Kazunari chooses to do it. "Well, if you change your mind about that, you come back and see me." He pats Shintarou's cheek gently. "Last door on the left is the back way out."
It's the right call; Shintarou looks relieved not to have to go back through the club to leave. He nods as he rises. "Thanks."
"Any time, Shin-chan."
Kazunari watches him go and doesn't shake his head until he's safely alone. "You poor bastard," he mutters under his breath. He shakes his head again, and then gets busy cleaning up and getting back to work.