I’ll Still Be Here In The Morning
Once upon a time, there was a man who must not fall in love.
Katsuki watches Jin get dressed. High-priced Italian suit, designer shoes, a silk tie that likely cost more than Katsuki’s entire outfit. Maybe his entire wardrobe. If this was a romantic movie, he thinks, he’d be tying Jin’s tie for him, a little ritual before sending his man off to work. But Katsuki wasn’t into ties, he could barely tie one on himself, much less do it for another person. Still, he tries.
“Which watch do you want?” he asks. Jin literally has dozens of designer watches. Presents, no doubt, from happy grateful clients through the years. He tries to guess which one Jin would want to use with this suit. Jin plays no favorites, even among accessories. His choices are never sentimental; they are always precise, calculated, chosen for effect. “The Patek?” he suggests, and is rewarded by a slight smile.
“You’re learning,” Jin says. Katsuki doesn’t really care; he’s not the type for expensive trinkets and Jin looks good in everything, but it had been (and continues to be) part of Jin’s training, one of the thousand and one things Katsuki has to learn if he wants to stay at the Blue Boy. If he wants to stay with Jin.
He brings the watch to Jin, who proffers his hand expectantly. Katsuki feels uncharacteristically shy at these moments. The act is strangely intimate: sliding the heavy band around Jin’s wrist, making sure it is secure. The metal is cold, but it would warm soon enough. How could it not, held against Jin’s skin like that.
He always holds on too long, Katsuki knows this.
“If you keep doing that I’ll miss my plane,” Jin drawls. “And you’ll have to explain to Owner. We can’t all be kept men of leisure, you know. Some of us have to work.”
For Jin, ‘work’ is an euphemism, Katsuki knows this, too. Katsuki doesn't let himself think about it. He’ll go insane if he does.
“How long’re you gonna be away this time?” It’s the only question he’ll let himself ask.
Where are you going?
Who will you be with?
What will you be doing?
“A week, maybe two,” Jin says. He smirks. He raises Katsuki’s head to look into his eyes. ”Will you miss me?”
Katsuki snorts at the question. It should have ruined the moment. Instead, Jin laughs, and leans down to kiss him.
It’s amazing how Katsuki is always ready for this, always starving for this. As bristly and sulky he gets, he becomes pliant and warm at Jin’s touch. Jin’s lips are softer than they look, and his tongue, always so caustic, is sweet. We’re going to get in trouble, he thinks, distantly, but can’t really bring himself to care. It’s amazing, really, how much he doesn’t care about anything else. This is what he wants, this is all he wants.
They’re on the bed before Katsuki realizes it, Jin already unbuttoning Katsuki’s jeans. “This is going to have to be fast,” Jin says. “You okay with that?”
“Your suit,” Katsuki breathes. A token protest. He purposely doesn’t mention Jin’s flight.
“I’ve got others.”
Jin is true to his word. It’s fast, hard, and unbearably hot. Just like how they found each other, Katsuki thinks.
Just like how he fell.
Rin doesn’t knock, he never does. Why should he, he’d snapped when Katsuki complained. This is his home. Who knocks in their own home?
Truth be told he has hated Rin from the moment they met. Bad enough, he thinks, that he has to deal with Rin, who is presumably Blue Boy’s Number 1 (the other kind) before he’d accepted a carte blanche with Ian Sanders, the supermodel, on a daily basis. Bad enough that his love nest with Jin (oh yes, he called it that) has been invaded by this first-class brat and his equally bratty (and yet admittedly very cool) boyfriend. Bad enough that he has to watch Jin and Rin (and really, whose idea was those names? They even sounded like they belonged together!) being mutually adoring. He’d almost died of shock the day Rin had return from Milan and he’d jumped into Jin’s arms and Jin had swung him around, laughing. Laughing. Katsuki’s heart had stopped for a full minute, terrified that this beautiful fey (hateful) creature was his worst nightmare (a pretty prince with purple eyes) before he realized that he had to be wrong, that this boy was far too young (he only learned later that Rin was, in fact, older than he was). And bad enough that he is constantly ordered around by Rin. When all is said and done, Rin is a host and Katsuki is merely a lowly page.
He hates the way Rin always clings to Jin, so adoringly, and the way Jin always lets him. He grits his teeth each time Jin smiles at Rin softly, touches him tenderly, the way he has never smiled at or touched Katsuki.
Still, Jin has never done this with Rin, so Katsuki figures he has a fair enough deal. That doesn’t stop him from wishing, though. That doesn’t stop him from wanting more.
Eiko-san used to say, whenever she’d buy a new car or new designer handbag, that people had the right to want more. “Just because you’re not naked,” she’d say, “doesn’t mean you don’t deserve prettier clothes.”
He just wants a little tenderness in between the mind-blowing sex, is that so wrong? He just wants a few sweet words interjected among the dirty ones.
He just wants to stop being a freaking girl about everything all the time.
“Jin! Here you are! Dammit, Kashimi-san’s looking for you.” He spares Katsuki an annoyed glare. “He says Owner says to get to work. And he says Owner says if you miss your flight he’ll have your Karumangia keyed.”
Obviously, the usual threats didn’t work with the hosts of Blue Boy.
It annoys Katsuki how smoothly Jin rolls out of bed, how freaking fast he gets redressed.
He nearly hisses as Rin automatically steps up to Jin to help: buttoning up the silk dress shirt, tying the perfect half-Windsor, and smoothing out imaginary wrinkles from the breadth of Jin's shoulders. The scene is so sweet, he wants to scream.
“You better get up, too,” Rin tells him. “Kashima says Owner wants to see you.”
“Me?” Katsuki asks. “Why me?” He’s never really been called in by Owner before.
Rin shrugs, then frowns. “He wants to see both of us, actually. You didn’t tell him about–“ He catches himself just in time.
Katsuki honestly has no idea what Rin is talking about. There’s way too many incidents to chose from. He reluctantly sits up and reaches for his jeans.
“Are you children playing nice?” Jin drawls.
“I’ll say,” Ian pipes in from the doorway. “Practically best friends, those two. The good thing is Rin isn’t torturing me so much anymore.”
He sends Katsuki a half-apologetic/half-greeting smile. Katsuki blushes, partly because he hadn’t realized someone else is there, but mostly because he’d just given Ian Sanders, freaking supermodel, an eyeful of his naked glory. Oh crap. Katsuki has always considered himself quite good-looking, his looks had been his bread and butter for years, after all, but living at the Blue Boy could give anyone body image issues. Seriously, where does Owner find all these gorgeous guys? He hurriedly reaches for his shirt.
Jin laughs and ruffles Rin’s hair. Katsuki fumes again.
“Well, then, you children better run along. I’ll see you when I get back.”
“Okay,” Rin says, rising on tiptoe to kiss Jin on the cheek. “Have a good trip. Don’t forget my–“
“Your Amandes princesse from Auer,” finishes Jin. “When have I ever forgotten?”
Rin gives Jin another quick hug, then pulls Ian quickly out of the room. “You better not make Owner wait too long!” He shouts back at Katsuki.
Katsuki starts to follow them but Jin pulls him back.
“What, no goodbye kiss?”
Jin barely makes it to his flight on time and Katsuki is sentenced to a week of window-cleaning duty for making Aoe Reiji wait.
Once upon a time, there was a man who must not fall in love.
Katsuki enters the VIP suite just as Rin begins his story. Katsuki tries not to listen. After all, he’s heard this story before.
He chooses instead to concentrate on his task, proffering the bottle of Champagne Krug he’d carried oh-so-carefully to the guest for approval. Clos du Ambonnay, he thinks, the 1995 vintage. Sinfully expensive, but far from being the best (or even most expensive) wine they had in the cellar. Very impressive, nonetheless. An approving nod from the guest, he serves the perfectly chilled champagne to the other guests – businessmen, from the looks of them, celebrating the success of a deal. Katsuki counts quite a few foreigners among them.
He does not speak to Rin, merely leaves a glass of the champagne within the host’s reach. He knows better than to interrupt.
Rin doesn’t look at him either. This is work and they are both professionals. And if there is anything Jin has taught him, it’s that work is work.
His name was Jin.
Katsuki bites the inside of his cheek and sets his jaw, wills his face to remain passive and emotionless. Pages are furniture, he tells himself, silently, remembering his training. Pages are unobtrusive, are invisible unless needed. Pages never call attention to themselves.
Most of the time, he’s grateful for this job. It lets him stay at the Blue Boy, stay with Jin, and it keeps him from going insane when Jin isn’t around, when he’s out 'working.' He’s a good worker, he’s found, given proper motivation, and he actually enjoys his sommelier training. That he’d stumble into a possible life career here, of all places, who knew? But there are these moments, inevitably when Jin isn’t around, that the Blue Boy seems intent on slapping his face with the past, on reminding him he doesn’t really belong here. And that Jin isn’t really his.
When Jin was around it didn’t matter. He’d take anything the Blue Boy threw at him.
Without him, it was lonely, as simple as that.
Meanwhile, in another land, there lived a lonely, purple-eyed prince, longing for love, trapped in a marble castle since childhood. Some say he was really angel, captured by some demon. Some say he was a saint. They say he was pure, a sacrifice to God. The stories are unclear on the detail, save one: he was beautiful beyond all imaginings. His name was Shareef.
He has heard this story before. He has heard it a thousand times, in a thousand different ways. The ending is always the same.
Jin and his purple-eyed prince. Hell, those simple words were a story all on their own. Scheherazade herself could have penned this tale.
In this story, it seems, Scheherazade would be played by Rin. Despite their mutual animosity, Rin doubts Scheherazade herself could ever have held a candle to the Blue Boy’s Number 1 Uke.
Katsuki barely recognizes him. Hard to believe this beautiful, ethereal, soft-spoken creature is the same spoiled ill-tempered brat who had been making Katsuki’s life a living hell the last couple of months. The guests are mesmerized, and Katsuki doesn’t blame them. He’d be mesmerized, too, except he has heard this story before.
Rin isn’t often trotted out to receive guests, his carte blanche with Ian prohibiting (protecting, Katsuki thinks) him from the more tawdry side of life at the Blue Boy. But Rin is still a host, after all, and there are some men, it would seem, to whom even Aoe Reiji has difficulty saying no. “Dinner entertainment only,” Owner had reassured an outraged Ian. “Itoyama-san is 66 years old and finds Rin sweet and charming.” The last three words had not been without irony. Katsuki couldn’t hold back an amused snicker. A big mistake, as Owner had turned his attention on Katsuki. “You,” he says, “Jin tells me you’re training to be a sommelier. You’ll act as page for the group.”
“What? Why me? No–”
“Reiji, you’re kidding, right? These two in the same room together? I mean–”
“If Jin were here, he'd–”
One glare stopped them all cold. Katsuki may protest, Rin may pout, and Ian may glare, but in the end, in the Blue Boy, Aoe Reiji is God.
In Arabia, there are supernatural creatures called the Jinn, beings made of fire, of scorching wind. Surely, Shareef must have thought so, the day Jin breached the walls of his prison, appearing before him, as sudden and as unstoppable as lightning. Shareef must have thought Jin was sent by God Himself. Jinn can grant wishes, legends say, and give you your heart’s desire. And so, our prince made a wish. For freedom. For love.
Katsuki has heard this story a thousand times, from everyone he has ever met at the Blue Boy. It’s almost instinctive. He would introduce himself and people’s eyes would widen in surprise. At the fact that Katsuki was with Jin. At the fact that Jin was with Katsuki. At Katsuki himself.
Even Izumi-san, who was one of the kindest, gentlest people Katsuki had ever met, had been unable to hide his surprise.
“We thought he would never open his heart again,” Izumi had explained, apologetically, “Not after–“
Katsuki has heard this story a thousand times, and each and every one of those times he has hated it. He'd wept the first time, pretending the tears came from drunkenness, rather than heartbreak. A prince. Jin had loved a prince. What chance did he, the so-called wild boar, have in the face of that? A prince with purple eyes and a foul-mouthed stray who would have been on the streets had he not learned early on how to act cute so that lonely women would want to bring him home. A prince versus a street cat. Royalty versus a kept pet. There was no way for a happy ever after.
They had one night together. One perfect night. But then he came, Fai, demanding the prince be returned. Some say Fai was a warlock. Some say he was some beast; half-human, half monster. Some say he was the Devil himself. Some say he had stolen Shareef as a child from his family, whereas some say Shareef was a willing sacrifice. These details vary with each retelling. Jin fought, oh he fought like a lion, and fled with his prince. But as wicked as he was, as strong as he was, he was, after all, still a man. And what could a man do against the Devil himself? They were found. They say Jin was left broken and bleeding. They say the prince went willingly, to save Jin’s life. One detail is the same. Jin’s prince is taken away.
They say he tried to find Shareef. They say he promised to wait. For ten thousand and one nights if necessary, for what is time to two hearts in love?
They say it broke Jin to lose Shareef.
They say Jin loves him still.
Katsuki has heard this story a thousand times and each time he has hated it. But never more so than when it was Rin telling the story. Because with Rin telling the story, even he could see it. Even he could see how ridiculous his being here was, how pathetic he must seem.
He has heard this story a thousand times, in a thousand different ways.
The ending never changes.
They say Jin loves him still.
“You must be parched, Rin-kun,” says Itoyama, handing Rin the glass Katsuki had left.
“Thank you, Itoyama-sama,” Rin answers, demurely, taking a delicate sip.
“I hope you enjoy the wine, it's a particular favorite of mine.”
“It’s divine,” Rin replies, then smiles. “Though I much prefer their Magnum 1990 vintage.”
Itoyama laughs. “I had hoped to impress you with the more expensive vintage,” he says, seemingly oddly pleased, “but I agree. You have impeccable taste, Rin-kun.” He gestures to Katsuki, who bows and retreats, glad for the excuse to leave.
He informs the wine steward of Itoyama’s request, and lies, 'confessesing' that he may have made a mistake in serving the Clos du Ambonnay. The steward is naturally outraged, and insists on bringing the Magnum himself.
Katsuki is excused for the rest of the day.
The suite is much too empty without Jin, and Katsuki doesn’t want to be found if Rin decides to tell on him to Owner. He goes to his sanctuary, Touma-san’s bar and the company of Amagai-senpai, and proceeds to drown his sorrows.
“You need to stop doing this to yourself,” Seiichi says, gruffly, but strokes Katsuki's hair in sympathy.
“I’m sorry,” Katsuki says, leaning his forehead on Seiichi’s shoulder. “I’m sorry.” He used to whine a lot more, he used to cry. It was only lately that he has noticed his senpai always looked so wistful, whenever he complained about Jin not loving him back. “I just want him to love me.” He looks at Seiichi reproachfully. “This would have never happened if you’d let me be a host. Then I wouldn’t have to take this shit from Rin.” He grunts. “Frankly, I don’t see why everyone dotes on him so much.”
“Rin practically grew up in Blue Boy,” Seiichi answers. “And he’s really very sweet. Besides, wanting someone’s attention is a terrible reason to become a host. You’re not really suited.”
“Because you’re in love.”
“What?” he demands. “That doesn’t make any sense.”
“A host can’t fall in love,” Seiichi answers. “You know what we do. Do you really think you can do it?”
He has an answer this time. “But Rin’s a host and he doesn’t sleep with clients,” he points out. “Well, except for Ian. And he’s in love with Ian. Why can't I be like that?”
“Rin’s special. He’s always been special.”
“I don’t see it. I want to be a host,” he insists. Maybe they’d take him seriously then.
“It wouldn’t work.”
“Why?” The question is practically a wail.
Seiichi sighs. “Rin is different,” he says. Kasuki continies to look doubtful. “Listen, Katsuki. Rin appeals to a particular sort of client. His clients are mostly older men who long for bygone, simpler days. Tea ceremonies and poetry. Hanami and hanabi watching. Fine kimonos and kokufukabu. These are what most of his clients want from Rin. Rin is the Blue Boy equivalent of a geisha. He doesn’t need to go to bed with his clients.”
“I could be like that!” Katsuki says. “Eiko-san said I was very charming. I can sing, too.”
“You couldn’t be a host,” Seiichi says, his tone flat and final. “You’re different from Rin.”
“You keep saying that!” Katsuki growls. “Why? Why can’t I be a host?”
“Because they’ll want to fuck you,” Seiichi snaps. Despite his drunkenness, Katsuki is startled at the anger in Seiichi ’s voice. "They'll take one look at you and they'll want to fuck you. And can you really do that? Can you let someone else fuck you when what you really want is Jin? And only Jin?”
“What makes you think he doesn’t love you?” Touma chimes in, running interference. “I can tell you for a fact that he has never brought anyone back to his suite, that he has never had anything more than one night stands.”
“He’s still at the Blue Boy,” Katsuki says. To him, this explains it all.
A host can’t fall in love.
When a host falls in love, he quits being a host.
“You’re young,” Seiichi snorts. He can’t stay angry at Katsuki long. “You don’t know love when you see it. You don’t know you’re loved because you think love should look a certain way. You think your idea of love is the only real love. You demand so much, and you don’t even realize it. But I suppose that’s part of your personality. I suppose it’s part of what makes you you.”
Katsuki protests, mosly in sheer reflex, and orders another drink, despite the fact that he’s nearly falling off his chair already. Master and Amagai-senpai both cut him off.
“Come,” Seiichi says. “It’s time I took you home.”
Seiichi brings him back to the Blue Boy and dumps him on Jin’s bed. Katsuki hears voices, distant and hushed. He opens his eyes, hoping to see Jin, but it’s Rin standing there, his expression a mixture of exasperation and guilt. Maybe a bit of worry mixed in. But not worried enough to be nice.
“I’m going to tell Owner you abandoned me in the middle of a job,” he threatens. “Jin, too.”
Katsuki grunts. Right now, he’s too drunk and depressed to care.
“You didn’t come back,” Katsuki says. “Why didn’t you come back?”
“Go away,” Katsuki says. “Your precious Jin isn’t here.”
“You’re an idiot, you know that? Just like Ian.”
“Hey!” protests Ian, again eavesdropping from outside the bedroom door.
“You didn’t listen to the end of my story,” Rin complains. “The end is always the best part.”
“I already know how it ends,” Katsuki mumbles. “It always ends the same.”
“How do you know when you didn’t wait to hear it? Did you hear me say ‘the end’? Next time, wait for me to say ‘the end’.”
Katsuki ignores Rin, burrowing his head under the pillow. It smells of Jin. Despite Rin’s continuous prattling, he manages to fall asleep.
He’s sentenced to three more days of window-cleaning, and the wine steward doubles his training hours as punishment for his ‘mistake’ with such a fine wine. Katsuki’s actually grateful. The work makes him too tired to miss Jin, or to dwell on the fact that Amagai-senpai seems to be angry at him and avoiding him. He doesn’t really remember much of that night, but resolves to apologize to him and to Master as soon as he has the opportunity. At night, he simply falls into Jin’s bed, lulled to sleep by Jin’s lingering scent.
He wakes up one morning, deliciously warm.
“I hear you’ve been getting into trouble again,” Jin says, against his ear.
“You’re back,” he says. “Welcome home.” He won’t ask about 'work,' he never asks. He settles for wrapping his arms around Jin tightly and initiating a kiss. Fortunately, lately, he’d been too tired to do more than his nightly ablutions and take off his clothes before falling into bed. Jin seems to appreciate this as well.
“There you are, Jin,” the Owner says, walking into the room, nonplussed at their disarray. Katsuki will never get used to the lack of modesty of the Blue Boy residents. “Didn’t I give instructions to see me as soon as you got back?”
Jin doesn’t even bother to cover up. “I got sidetracked,” he says, no apology in his voice.
“So I heard,” Owner says, sending Katsuki a wry look. “You weren’t exactly quiet.”
Katsuki blushes. And here he’d been thinking it was fortunate Owner hadn’t entered ninety seconds earlier than he had.
“How did the meeting go?” Owner asks.
“Meeting?” Katsuki says, confused. Is that another euphemism?
Owner frowns at him. “Yes, the meeting with Jorg Wyss. Did he agree to our offer?”
“Of course,” Jin says. “He knows the consequences if he doesn’t.”
“The man is worth billions, I doubt being banned from our club holds much of a threat.”
“You’d be surprised,” Jin grins. “In any case, he’s agreed to send us a hundred bottles each of Oenotheque 1959 and 1998 6 Litre Mathuselah.”
“Good. You’ll arrange for the transport?”
Jin nods. “Now, if you’ll excuse us, Owner, you interrupted my welcome home party.”
Reiji leaves. Katsuki turns to Jin, confused. “That’s what you’ve been doing? Buying wine?”
“Yes," Jin answers. "You’ll be running that cellar someday," he continues, to Katsuki's further confusion. "I want it to be a fairly decent one."
I'll be running that cellar someday?
But Katsuki's far more interested in the other part of the conversation.
“And this Jorg Wyss isnt a client?”
“Of course he is," says Jin. "Oh, one of mine? No, he isn’t. The man is 74, for heaven’s sake. At that age, they like them young.”
A strange suspicion grows in Katsuki, a strange warm glow.
“So all these trips for ‘work’ you’ve been taking lately. They’ve been trips like these?”
“Buying trips? Not all of them.”
“But you weren’t seeing clients?” Katsuki presses. "I mean, your clients?"
“No,” Jin smirks.
“Since when?” Katsuki asks, afraid to hope.
Jin’s smirk grows even more wicked. “Since when do you think?”
Katsuki grabs Jin tightly around the neck, he’s grinning so widely his cheeks hurt. “You really do love me. You do.”
“Hosts don’t fall in love,” Jin says.
It’s enough for now. “Oh, yes, they do,” Katsuki replies. “Hosts fall in love all the time.”
And then they stop being hosts.
“The end,” says Rin.