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It Can Always Get Worse

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It's harder when they aren't speaking.

Jin has to be sneaky, to pretend he has no reason at all for being near Kame, just an accident, he didn't even notice. Oh, someone's there? Oops, didn't see you.

A lie, of course, because even when they're fighting Jin knows exactly where Kame is, a presence nearly tangible whether he's looking or not.

He doesn't have to look, though, he can be totally oblivious to the way their shoulders bump as he brushes past Kame, the heat of his skin as their arms touch briefly, the cool metal of the charm on one of his bracelets snagging Jin's finger for a moment, just a second, really he didn't even notice.

Certainly it wasn't the reason he was there in the first place, angling just right to get just that contact without ever appearing to feel it.

Maybe if he tells himself that often enough he'll start believing it too.

It's important, though, too important to forget, certainly too important to neglect, and he doesn't let himself think about all the reasons why. Maybe he doesn't even know all the reasons why.

The reasons might have changed a bit, too, not that he's ever thought about them.

In the beginning it was just for fun, only jokingly for luck, but their luck held good and Jin has always been a little superstitious - okay, sometimes kind of a lot - and he doesn't dare stop or something might go wrong.

He doesn't know if Kame even remembers anymore, that one of his bracelets, the braided leather with a little turtle charm on it that used to be painted red, came from Jin. So long ago, back when everything was a lot simpler - and Jin thinks, a lot more fun.

Being in KAT-TUN isn't all fun anymore, or even mostly. It's a lot of hard work, and when he's fighting with Kame, well. It's just not much fun at all. Except on stage, out under the lights, when he can forget for a little while everything except the audience and the performance and the music.

That's probably one of the reasons why this little ritual is so important to him, even more important now than it used to be. He needs them to be good, needs them to be awesome, needs their fans to keep loving them and the lights to stay bright and dazzling.

Dazzling enough to blind him to things like Kame being too quiet, too thin, too often unhappy. It's not his fault, Jin thinks a little sulkily, if Kame can't ever admit that he's wrong and Jin was right, just once.

Jin doesn't even remember anymore what they were fighting about this time, but Kame always wins and he's tired of it. He should get to win at least once in awhile.

But Kame kind of wins anyway when Jin has to fight the urge to be near him all the time, to pretend he's not looking or noticing, to brush right up against him as if Kame were nothing but a stranger.

Okay, all of that is a lie, but Jin thinks - he's almost sure - Kame doesn't know it.

He hopes Kame doesn't remember that Jin gave him that bracelet, because if he did, he might stop wearing it, and then Jin would be screwed. He's not quite sure what he would do if he couldn't have that tiny little comfort of the same familiar charm, just for luck, to brush the tiny metal turtle with his finger and wish hard for good luck, right before they go on stage or on camera, right before they have to perform.

He thinks he might panic, and he knows it's stupid, he really does, but he can't help it, because... it's important. Too important to miss. So he keeps taking the risk, knowing that he's not nearly as good of an actor as Kame, knowing that Kame has always been able to see right through him but crossing his fingers anyway that he can pull it off, just one more time, because if he doesn't... he's not sure what will happen, and he doesn't want to find out.

Jin doesn't realise that Kame has been watching him back, not for a long time, because Kame is a lot more sneaky than he is and well... sometimes Jin forgets these things when he is trying so hard not to think about Kame in general.

So he's not expecting it, at all, pretending very hard that he's not even paying attention as he lets his fingers brush just there...he's not ready at all when Kame's wrist flicks, lightning fast, hand snapping around Jin's wrist and holding tight before Jin even knows what's going on.

He jerks to a halt and stares at Kame and it takes him ten full seconds to remember why he's even this close to Kame in the first place, what exactly he was doing.

Okay okay, don't panic. Kame is probably just tired of Jin being clumsy and bumping into him all the time. Right.

"What the hell, Kamenashi?" he says, frowning, trying hard for a bored tone but dammit, Kame can probably feel the way his pulse is racing.

"What," Kame says evenly, staring at him with those eyes that seem so dark sometimes, and yeah Kame is totally looking right through him but he can't possibly know... "Are you doing?"

Jin stares back at him, bites the inside of his lip and tries not to look nervous. He manages a sulk. "Nothing?" It comes out way too much like a question. Dammit.

Kame stares at him for a just a minute longer, eyes narrowing in something that looks dangerously like speculation, and then he lets go, smirking. "Right," he says softly. "Nothing. Let's go, Akanishi."

And he pulls away, heading for the stage and the lights and Jin stands there for another fifteen seconds before he realises that the dazzle that just hit him wasn't the stage lights, not yet, and he totally needs to move.

He runs, cursing Kame and trying not to worry. It's going to be alright. It has to be.

By the time the concert is over, a smashing success as usual, he's almost convinced himself that it's fine, everything's fine, Kame totally doesn't know anything and nothing has changed.

He's even more sure of it later, after everything is over, when Kame ignores him with perfect equanimity and everything is normal again, or what passes for normal with them these days.

He doesn't let himself think about it, worry about it, doesn't think about Kame at all if he can help it because that just never ends well.

It makes him angry again, even if he doesn't remember why, makes him sulky and irritable and makes him all too aware that the fight is stupid, silly, all his fault and dammit - he misses Kame, even when he doesn't want to.

He's determined not to give in this time, he's not going to let Kame win again, and when their next performance comes around he is cockily sure that his secret is safe, that he can pull it off one more time without Kame being any the wiser.

When Kame twists and jerks his arm just out of reach right when Jin was absently brushing against him, fingers reaching and almost there, Jin is stunned, hissing in frustration before he remembers that he's not supposed to be paying attention to Kame at all.

He swears and very nearly stomps his foot, glaring at Kame in rather petulant annoyance and trying very hard not to panic. He missed it this time, missed his good luck moment and now he can feel the bad luck towering above him, just waiting to strike.

Epically bad luck, he is sure.

"Dammit, Kame," he growls, because Kame is not playing along and this is not how things are supposed to go, and can't Kame see that the bad luck will come down on all of them if he doesn't thwart it?

"What's the matter, Akanishi," Kame drawls, giving him a rather lazy, satisfied look, and Jin has never hated the sound of his own name quite so much.

"You're ruining it," Jin snaps at him, equal parts worry and annoyance, and Kame's eyes widen innocently.

"Ruining...what, exactly?" Kame says, and Jin really kind of wants to hit him right now.

"Everything," he hisses, but he is not going to stand there and explain himself to Kame, he's not, not when everything is Kame's fault to begin with.

He stomps off and heads for the set they are filming on today, but he's distracted and worried and he's completely forgotten how stupid it is, he just knows things are going to go terribly, horribly wrong.

Of course, they do, because Jin is missing steps left and right and messing up his lyrics and every time he catches sight of Kame he knows Kame is laughing at him, and it just makes him all the more furious - and, possibly, all the more panicked, because things can't possibly go right again after this.

Kame has ruined everything forever.

He's in such a bad mood by the end of the shoot that he stalks off the set without even looking at anyone, much less Kame, heading straight for the dressing room and finding something satisfyingly heavy to throw.

It helps that it's a jar of Kame's makeup.

The sound of Kame's voice behind him has him turning around, breathing hard and glaring and frustrated...so damn frustrated. He will not admit to being hurt, not even to himself.

"Nice, Akanishi, very nice," Kame tells him in that infuriating drawl. "You just broke a mirror. Way to make it even worse."

Jin really, really hates him right then, chest aching with fury and despair because Kame is right, and fucking hell, he doesn't have to look so smug about it.

"It can't get worse," he says bitterly. It's all ruined, and nothing will ever be right again.

Kame laughs, and Jin seethes in silence, hating the way the sound makes something uncurl inside of him, yearning and reaching and leaning toward Kame - it's such a warm, familiar sound, too rare these days.

Jin remembers when it used to be affectionate, and okay, he admits it. It hurts.

"Are you happy now?" he asks resentfully, turning and kicking at a chair.

"Happy?" Kame asks musingly, coming further into the room, and Jin can't decide if he's grateful that T-TUN have had the sense to stay out of this, or if he wishes like hell they would come barging in to interrupt.

"I think I should be asking you that question," Kame goes on in the same thoughtful tone of voice. "And you should know, Jin - it can always get worse."

"Really," Jin tosses back at him. "How?" He really should know better, he thinks dimly as he sees Kame's smile widen, than to dare Kame about anything by now.

"I was hoping you'd ask," Kame fairly purrs at him, stalking closer and backing him up against a wall - Jin's never sure why he lets Kame get away with that, not when Jin is taller and probably weighs twice as much.

Maybe it's just that dark, dangerous intensity in Kame's eyes - Kame's always so damn intense about everything, and damn him, it's still sexy.

Jin's throat works and his mouth opens and closes but he can't think of a damn thing when Kame is that close, staring at him with those eyes, warm breath ghosting across Jin's cheek as he leans even closer.

"See, Jin, you have two choices here," Kame tells him in a voice that Jin knows he uses in the bedroom, and that is just so. not. fair.

"You can keep being a stubborn idiot," Kame continues, and Jin shivers because it might be an insult but it sounds like a caress. "And I'll never wear this again." He holds up his wrist, turning it until the little turtle charm catches the light, winking mockingly at Jin.

"Did you think I forgot, Jin?" he murmurs, and Jin shudders then, bites his lip to stop a whimper because that voice is rich and dark as chocolate, and just as sinful. "Did you think I don't know what this is? You are really...painfully... pathetically easy to figure out sometimes," he finishes, and Jin lets out a moan and several curses because Kame is licking him in between each word, his ear, his cheek, the corner of his mouth.

He turns his head, lunging desperately after that teasing almost-kiss, but Kame pulls back, just out of reach, smirking at him again.

"Or," he goes on relentlessly, "you can... have... everything... back." And with each word he moves closer again, pressing Jin hard against the wall, grinding their hips together until Jin is groaning, panting out loud and Kame stops, like the cruel tease that he is, just a breath away from kissing.

Jin stares at him, wild eyed and dazed, only barely comprehending what Kame is saying anymore but somehow, gratefully, pathetically gratefully aware that Kame is dangling a thread of hope, and okay, he's not that big of a fool. Really.

"Okay," he gasps out, not daring to close that last little distance because they're playing by Kame's rules now, and Jin isn't sure what they are but if he breaks them, he knows what will happen.

Kame will pull back again, all the way back, and turn around and walk away and Jin will never, ever get that little sliver of hope back. Everything will stay ruined, forever.

Jin doesn't want that, terribly desperately doesn't want that. He wants Kame, right now he wants Kame with every fiber of his being.

"Kame, please," he chokes out in a tortured whisper, and apparently that was the right answer.

Kame's smile grows again, a wide curve of cat-with-cream satisfaction, and he hums in the back of his throat, a little pleased sound that threatens to liquefy Jin's knees, even before their lips touch and scorch him clear to the bone.

Jin's mouth opens hungrily, needy, automatically surrendering to whatever Kame wants, because he got way too close to disaster tonight and he's delirious with escaping it.

Kame's mouth is hot and hard, demanding, and perfect. Jin lets the heat wash through him and sweep everything away, all the stupid pride and anger and hurt, the fear and the despair and everything, everything but this.

He's drowning in it, blissfully dazed and blinks confusedly at Kame when he pulls away, realising belatedly that oh yeah, he needs to breathe.

Kame's still smiling, just a little contented quirk of his mouth, and he rests his forehead against Jin's, smiling into his eyes as they both catch their breath.

"There," he murmurs finally. "That wasn't so hard after all, was it?"

Jin doesn't have enough left of his scattered brain to pull together an answer in actual words, so he just drapes his arms around Kame's waist and holds on tight, listening to the thunder of his heartbeat gradually slowing down.

"You're still going to wear it, right?" he asks finally, his voice sounding rusty and he winces a little because it is the lamest question ever at this point.

"I mean," he adds hurriedly, "just in case. For luck?" he says hopefully, widening his eyes at Kame in the puppy dog look that he knows Kame can't resist.

Kame just chuckles, soft and dry, and slowly straightens, brushing Jin's disheveled hair back with an affectionate touch that brings sudden stinging moisture to Jin's eyes, and he looks away, swallowing hard.

Kame isn't going to answer, maybe the answer is no, but he still cares, and Jin still has something, has this, after all - and he thinks now, maybe, this could be enough.

He lets Kame pull away, fighting the sinking feeling and telling himself sternly how stupid it is to be so afraid of bad luck, watching as Kame absently tugs his clothing back into place and heads for the door to let T-TUN know it's safe to come in now.

At the last minute Kame pauses, looking back at Jin. "Of course I will," he says carelessly over his shoulder. "I said everything, didn't I?" His eyes are warm, brown, laughing and maybe there is a wink before he is out the door, calling the others, and Jin just sags against the wall, feeling drained and limp with absolute relief.

Kame is totally going to be the death of him someday. And he's going to love every minute of it.