Our Story (Wedding Bell Mix feat. Meisa Kuroki)
by Solo & Jo
"I could do with something like that for my bedroom," Josh says, pointing at a tentacled liana-type thing in a fake-cavern corner. It was interesting to look at for the first three minutes.
"Perv," Jin says because it's more or less expected.
Josh rolls his eyes at him. "Look who's talking."
That's more or less expected, too. Kusano kicks at Josh's sneaker because he's as bored with Jin and Josh's sexual exploits as with queuing, and that's that topic exhausted. Plus Kusano's date is new. Again.
They all shuffle another half meter forward as the line moves up.
"What's the point of getting fast-track passes when you end up waiting for half an hour anyway?" Kusano's date sighs. She's a pretty blonde with slightly slanted eyes, and Jin's forgotten her name. He blames the turnover in Kusano's bed, but it's embarrassing anyway.
"ROMANCE," Josh is saying. "Underground cavern, all secret and sweaty—"
"Green tentacles," Jin throws in, and everyone laughs.
Except for Meisa, he notices. Meisa isn't even listening.
"Green tentacles," Josh says enthusiastically. "That's romance, right? Like Tarzan." He pulls Lou the French girl to him and she giggles.
She came with Meisa, but she was on the seat next to Josh on the 20.000 Miles ride, and she's stuck close to him since then. Explains Josh bringing out the jungle charm, at least.
"Ignore the savages," Kusano says to his date. "Tell me more about yourself. Do you like flesh-eating plants?"
She grins, and says something about huge rainforest things that eat mice, or maybe guinea pigs, and Jin shudders and everybody laughs at him.
"Hey," he says when they've moved forward a bit more, when the rest of the gang are inspecting some 'sunken treasure with skeletons' in the next cabinet. "Are you okay?"
Meisa's eyes are a little too wide. "What? Oh. I'm fine."
"You're pretty quiet," he says.
"Just, distracted. Sorry." She smiles very suddenly but Jin's not an idiot.
"You've got trouble with... anything going on?"
But Meisa's face is still blank when Kusano comes back from the skeleton. "What, who's got trouble? Meisa and her secret boyfriend?"
Meisa rolls her eyes.
"Aww, come on, girl," Josh says, slinging his arms around Meisa's shoulder. "It hurts, you know? You know you could tell us. We're the best, like, secret... people... in Japan."
"Fuck off," Jin says, shoving at Josh's elbow. "Meisa's just worried she'll get photographed with your ugly face around."
"I like Jin's hair," Meisa says with a real smile. "It's so fluffy."
"Don't start," Jin threatens, and grabs her hand. "Or I won't protect you from the ugly jerk."
Someone behind them coughs politely. Right.
"Idols holding up the fast-track lane," Lou whispers as they march a good bit forward, and as they argue over whether Kusano still half-counts, Jin notices Meisa's quiet again.
It's hot down here, with his beanie on and his hair itching by his neck. He and Meisa are wearing their glasses to help them stay at least a bit incognito – the others don't bother. He's looking forward to being on the ride, to some movement and a breeze in his face. Can't be more than ten minutes now.
When they're finally at the front of the line, the other four get to go in the car that's just leaving and it's just him and Meisa, a still little island among all the excited voices.
The next car empties, a poor little kid bawling his eyes out and his dad jollying him along on the far side. Who takes a kid on a ride with monsters, Jin wonders. He's done this one before, but the creepy sudden snake...
He and Meisa get in the front row, lucky break. She sits with her shoulders hunched, like she's trying to disappear.
"You're not scared, right?" Jin knows she's braver than him with creepy sudden snakes and kind of expects her to whump him with her teensy handbag.
But she just looks tired as she shakes her head.
"Hey," he says. "What's up?"
The car jolts into motion, and the cheesy soundtrack starts playing.
"I can't tell you here," she says, surprising him over the noise.
"Tell me later," he says just as loud. She squeezes his hand, and then nods. Her face eases like it helps already.
She doesn't let go for the rest of the ride.
They take a table in Arabia, the nearest family two tables away. Meisa said she got queasy from Indiana Jones and the others are off on the older rollercoaster, and Jin bought them caramel popcorn that smelled too tempting and comforting to resist.
Now Meisa takes a deep look at the bag and makes a face. "Sorry. I don't think I want any. Sorry."
Jin puts both bags on the table. "What's going on?" he says, in English to be safe.
She looks at him. And looks. And laughs a little hesitantly before hiding her face in both hands. "God. Do you ever wonder why you always get the girls with the drama whining to you?"
He pats her knee, discreetly under the table. "Because I got all my drama done and settled and now I've got to live vicariously?"
"That is smug, Akanishi," she says, but Jin likes it better when she can smile at something. "Damn." She blinks. "Now I've got fat smears on my glasses."
Jin takes the glasses off her and starts polishing them on his sweater.
"You know, that guy," she says. "The secret one I was seeing?"
"Was?" He keeps polishing.
She lets out a huffy breath. "Yeah. He's... well. Good riddance. But there was... I'm... there was an accident."
They don't go on any more rides that night, though as they're walking about, watching two fat Western tourists having to go into separate cars on the kiddie rollercoaster, Meisa insists she'd be up for at least that.
"November," Jin says. "I'll take you, I'll make sure I'm in the country. But not now."
Her lips twist unhappily. "Or next week. You in the country next week?"
Her agency. Jin knows how that goes. She said it once, and he wonders if it's going around her head as it is around his.
He fields the good-natured ribbing from their crowd for both of them, and they only leave when the park closes and it's long dark, a cold January night. "Call me if you need anything," he says. "Anytime. And don't... you know you shouldn't drink, right?"
She grimaces but doesn't call him a pest again. "You saw me with the lemonade. But that's all..." She shrugs, painfully.
Yeah. Still. "I'll call you tomorrow. Morning, I'll call you in the morning. Okay?"
She nods and there's a little smile. "Okay."
"Why are you setting your alarm for seven?"
He woke Kame when he got in, the first decent sleep Kame's had in the last two weeks and Jin was careful, but not careful enough.
"Sssshh," he says, "go back to sleep."
It's not like he knows what he'd say, yet.
He lies in the dark, awake, his mind full of evil agency goons and eviller abortion devices, and thinks he'll never get to sleep.
And then he is shaken, hard, and there's a sharp sound in his ears. He flails and hits something meaty and Kame says, "Fuck, what— what, you wanted to wake up, right?"
Shit. God. Yes. It's seven. In the fucking morning.
"Uh, yeah," Jin croaks. "Thanks."
Kame grunts as he disappears in the bathroom. Jin's so tired he'd probably drown in the shower.
Then he rolls over and sees his phone, and fuck. Right.
He'd better wake up.
He goes and makes coffee, putting Kame's in a thermal because he's not sure how long Kame will be.
He knows it's early. Meisa might still be asleep. He also knows it's a little bit nuts, to be this worried about someone else's baby... but then this is Meisa, who's pregnant with a beautiful wonderful Meisa baby, and who should get to give her grief about that? Who should give anyone grief, about a baby?
Maybe this is like jetlag and his brain is funny, but he actually dials, before Kame can come out of the shower and ask what's going on.
Meisa picks up on the third ring. "Hello?" She doesn't sound sad. That's the first thing he thinks, she doesn't sound sad.
"It's Jin. Sorry. I, um. Said I'd call. Is this too early?"
"No," she says.
"I didn't wake you?"
There's a pause. "I'm not sleeping so well." And suddenly her voice gets a little squished. "Thank you for calling."
"How are you?" he says, wincing when he thinks she sniffles.
But then she sounds very together. "Okay. Could be better. The not-sleeping's not helping. But I'm okay."
"That's good," Jin says, thinking hard, when the door opens and Kame comes in, saying a quiet, "hey," as he scoops up his coffee.
It must have carried, because Meisa goes, "Oh god," in that squished tone again. "Did I wake Kame, too?"
"What? No. You know he doesn't sleep, he's a freak. And anyway, I called you," Jin points out. Kame makes a Who's that? face at him. Jin shakes his head, Later.
"Oh," she says. It would be funny if it weren't... like it is. "That's true. God, I'm being so stupid. I can't even think anymore."
Yeah. Round and round. "So have you... have you told anyone?" He doesn't know if her parents would be helpful, or go on about careers when she's worried about her baby, but it would be good to know.
"Not really. I told... well, him. But nobody else. My parents... I don't want them to be disappointed if..." She sighs. "I should go in today, and tell... get it over with."
"But they might help you? If... if it all goes okay?"
"They're in Okinawa," Meisa says with a doomful voice. "And I'm not going to go back there and sit around..."
"This sucks," he says, and Meisa snorts feebly, and then they are silent at each other.
"Well, uh," Jin says. It's not really... there's not much he can say, or do, but she did tell him when she told nobody else so he's got a right to— "After you've talked to the agency, call me? Like, don't do anything. Just, I can come out and we can have coffee, you can have decaf, and you can tell me how it went?"
Like they both don't already know.
By the time Jin presses the button on his mystery phone call, Kame is dressed. Jin sits on the couch and stares at it, bottom lip between his teeth.
"Who's in trouble?" Kame asks, and he gets concerned when Jin blinks up at him like he forgot he was even there.
"Meisa," Jin says.
Kame winces. He doesn't see her as often as Jin, but Meisa's great fun, great to film with, nice all round. "What did she do?" From what he picked up, he can't make out if it's a nudity scandal or yakuza trouble, could be anything.
Jin looks like it's worse than either. "She's pregnant."
Oh, boy. At least nudity is just a scandal. This is messy. "That's going to piss some people off."
Kame thinks it through. She's still young, she's... Okay, he doesn't have to think long to guess how it will go. "And..."
"She doesn't know."
Kame checks the clock and tries to remember what Jin had on today. "Come to work with me?" he says. "Nakamaru's missed you." And Jin will be around him and not here alone.
Jin makes a face because that means he has to hurry in the shower, but his heart isn't in it. Maybe, Kame thinks as he gets their coats ready, it was obvious when Jin set an alarm for seven that there's a baby involved.
"Oh, look what the turtle dragged in," Junno says when Jin slinks into the meeting room behind Kame.
"Hey, I work here too," Jin says.
"Here?" Ueda asks pointedly, while Koki grins and goes, "You work?" Kame thinks he'd feel better Jin came up with something bitchier than a lackluster middle finger.
On the other hand, well, they have work to do. The table is already covered with dozens of sheets of paper for stage layouts, cues, final decisions to be made about blocking and the order of the last few songs.
Jin even offers to get them all coffee. Letting him roam the halls alone wasn't the point of the exercise, but at least he comes back quickly and has only gotten Nakamaru's wrong.
Then he sits there. Distracted, Kame can tell. Hunching in on himself, like he's vulnerable while thinking about Meisa's problem.
Kame almost wishes she hadn't told Jin about it. All Jin needs to bond with a baby is to hear it exists. Or could exist, and even Jin knows that's silly, but that doesn't mean he can stop it.
This is going to be one depressing week.
But Kame can't dwell, because this is work, and the guys are wanting his input. They're going to put on a fabulous show for the fans and he's determined to give them his best; that's the Kamenashi he switches on, and he forces himself not to glance sideways at Jin too often, to ignore how he stares through the table rather than at the papers on it, how he's started to shred his paper coffee cup into ragged pieces which he then balls together.
They all jump when Jin's phone explodes in some fuck bitch fuck rap snarl and Jin starts up, his chair falling over as he dashes into the nearest corner for some fake privacy.
"Yes," Kame hears him say, "how was it?"
Kame can't catch the rest, and he doesn't even try; better to keep everyone's attention on useful things, so he takes out the list of product placements for the MC again and tries to suggest how that can best be tied together.
Jin comes back, snatches his coat off the chair, and leaves without a word. Kame is after him before the echo of the door has died.
"What?" he says, though he can guess.
Jin's already halfway down the corridor, but he stops and turns, and his eyes are too shiny.
"She's crying," he says, his voice wobbly too. "Later, okay?"
Kame sighs. "Good luck," he says, and it sounds lame in his ears.
"They can't do that," Jin says flatly.
Meisa shrugs into her decaf. "You know what it's like. You know the rules. They don't even have to say it, they can just bench me for however long even when... if it were born."
Shit. This all fucking sucks. People having meetings over Meisa's baby, a baby that isn't even theirs and which only needs somebody to love it. He wants to march in there and tell them they can't do that. But he's more help to her when he's not an idiot.
"I don't even get why I feel like this." Her face looks all tired and awful, not like she's a hot young model at all. She hides her mouth. "It's true, right? I can have kids later. And this one has a douchebag for a dad, so I don't know why I care so... god."
Jin knows why. He couldn't explain it and still it's totally reasonable to him. Totally obvious. "It's not fair," he says, and he doesn't yet know who he's being stubborn against but he can feel stubborn coming like a big fat... thing.
He ought to watch it. Meisa doesn't need grief from him either.
"And they have... I mean, I know I'd be out of my depth, with my schedule and stuff, even if they let me work again. How would I fit a baby in there?" She shakes her head, like it's all crazy, like maybe she's crazy for wanting a perfectly reasonable thing, a great thing.
"You've got lots of friends," Jin says. "We'd all babysit. Kame and I would love to babysit."
That even makes her laugh. "Why are you so nice?" she asks suddenly. "Why are you so..."
He shrugs. "I love kids. And... you know. Gonna be difficult." He means it to sound light, but the way Meisa nods goes to that heavy place he doesn't like to think about. "And this is your baby and you want it and it's just not fair."
Meisa clears her throat and wipes cautiously under her eyes. "I guess not." She takes a deep breath. Closes her hands around the mug and looks into it. "But can you imagine Friday? How selfish I'd look? I even get that. The agency worries about my endorsements."
"Fuck them," Jin bursts out, and then he's embarrassed. But only a bit. Yeah, he's being stubborn and stupid but what else is he going to do when everybody else is being stupid around him?
Meisa pets his hand, though, and at least it makes her crack a smile.
Jin is quiet at night. When he doesn't burst out with the loud anger Kame expected, Kame decides to leave him be. Just feeds him and tidies beer bottles away and doesn't remind him there's better places for his discarded clothing than 'everywhere'.
He goes to bed around midnight with something to read, and Jin follows distractedly, just throws himself down next to Kame.
"You know, this has been going around my head." Jin props his head up on his hand, still on top of the bedsheet with his sweatpants on.
Kame lowers his magazine. "You look like it's been going round your head."
Jin sighs. Twice. Run-up. "What if we asked to adopt her baby?"
Wait. That... Not really the next logical step in Kame's mind here. "Meisa's baby?"
"Yeah," Jin says. "She, well. She doesn't have anybody, she's not married."
"Yes," Kame agrees. "But that doesn't mean she'll want to give it away. I thought the whole point was that she wanted to keep it?"
Jin rolls onto his back. He's frowning, up into nothing.
Kame watches him, the long thoughts he can follow from the lines on Jin's forehead, his slow blinks. A baby. Meisa's baby. Which she's not looking to ditch anyway. And somehow now it's Jin's... something.
"This is too early," Kame says quietly. "We said in six years."
"I know." Jin makes a face. "It's just, she's pregnant. They'll never let her be a single mother, at her age."
Their ever-powerful agencies. Kame takes it in stride most days, doesn't chafe against it the way Jin does. He usually feels the logic in it. Only this logic, this particular shudder, was always only other people's concern. "What exactly did they say to her?"
"Stupid mistake. Bad image, distraction. Career, duty, blah blah," Jin says to the ceiling. "Lose it." The wheels are turning, Kame can practically watch them.
Eventually Jin looks at him, soft frown and dark eyes. "Do you think I'm nuts?"
"Yes," Kame says, and bends to kiss him on his nutty head. Where the wheels are still turning.
It's a reckless, silly idea. Even where it clicks together, it's reckless. They have an agency too.
"This isn't what we planned, Jin."
Jin doesn't flinch. Just breathes softly. "I know."
The next day it's in the papers that Jin is dating Meisa. Awesome, because the last thing they need is an actual scandal, the last thing Meisa needs is any more reasons to get chewed out by her agency.
My guys are asking if you're the father, Meisa mails him while he's in the car with Kame on the way to work.
Tell them I am and don't they dare make you hurt it, Jin writes back, and a minute later, Sorry, that wasn't supposed to sound like that. Are you okay?
She says she is, but, well, it's e-mail, and what could Jin do anyway?
At the jimusho they're being asses about it, putting out a spiteful release about a publicity stunt. The only reason Jin doesn't tell them to shove it is because Kame sits on him and talks him into being reasonable. They're alone in KAT-TUN's break room, Kame drinking coffee and Jin ignoring his cup, and Kame speculates the denial's so harsh because someone's noticed Jin's phone calls and the emergency decaf meeting, and is sending a message. He doesn't suggest Jin should stop calling her, though, and Jin says, "I love you, you know that, right?" because suddenly it's all he can think.
Kame would never act like that stupid-ass ex boyfriend of Meisa's, either.
Later on there's even a picture, but Jin can't bring himself to care.
He goes to Meisa's in the evening, after some tour planning and a meeting at Warner. Meisa went to work, too; trying, she said on the phone, not to mope and demonstrate she's a reliable employee.
"I'm surprised you're not sick of all this yet," she says when they're sitting in her small, tidy apartment. They're drinking tea. Jin would love a beer but he's showing solidarity.
"Oh," Jin says. "I am, kind of." Angry, furious, sure, but mostly there's this desperate queasy feeling at what he can't change. "Just not how you mean."
He looks around. Just one room, but nicer-looking than any of Jin's rooms ever did. Probably a girl thing. If she had the baby, she'd have to move. Then again, how much space does a tiny adorable baby really need?
She made the appointment today; her manager scheduled it for her. Friday, after a fashion shoot. "So I can have the weekend to rest and get over it and be fresh for work on Monday."
"Did you tell the father?"
She shakes her head, her gorgeous long hair curtaining her face. "It's what works best for him anyway. I'm too pissed off with him to put his mind at rest just yet."
Jin feels himself smiling, a weird feeling when it's the first time that day.
"And I'm pissed off with myself more, for going with such an ass." She never says who it was, which lets Jin draw his own conclusions. He doesn't want to know more. Bitchfights with fellow idols are frowned upon.
"I just don't get that guy," he says. "If that were my baby..."
He wonders how many people now think it is.
"I think if that were your baby, life would be a lot easier for me." Her smile is cute and a bit guilty. "Admittedly not for you."
"Well, I wouldn't care," Jin says, and knows he means it. Then he thinks of last night and what Kame said, smart Kame who makes smart observations, and he gets embarrassed.
"What? What's wrong?"
"I said a stupid thing to Kame last night."
Now she looks worried in a totally different way. "Are you fighting?"
"No! Not stupid like that, stupid like..." It feels even stupider now, with her sitting there looking at him. "I said we should ask to adopt your baby. Which was stupid! I just feel so..."
She gives him a puzzled blink. "You're looking to adopt?"
Okay, at least she's not throwing her tea in his face for having ideas about her baby.
"Not now. In a few years? We talked about it ages ago. It was just, there's this baby now..."
Meisa looks down, with a weird sort of smile that twists into something else. This baby. With an appointment. Because everyone's being reasonable.
When she starts crying for real, he just pulls her close to him and holds on, and tries to be discreet about his own sniffles. This is so fucking unfair, so fucking unfair.
He's at the jimusho again the next day, with stuff to do, but also stuff on his mind. It's Wednesday, which is two days to go, which is not long at all and still a horribly long wait. He's angry and sick at heart, and probably not listening too well.
Definitely not listening well. His manager is starting to look worried. Maybe that he's dating Meisa now and ready to settle down and no longer interested in—
Shit. That's it. That's fucking it.
He claims he needs a cigarette to kick his artistic groove in gear, and withdraws to one of the sneaky smoking spots they used when they still needed them.
The first two times, Meisa's cell rings forever and eventually clicks out. Finally, she answers. "Hello?"
"Sorry," he starts, "sorry if I'm interrupting you."
"It's okay, I—"
"What if it was my baby?"
There's silence. Jin draws on his cigarette desperately, only to realize he never lit it.
"But it's not," she says.
"Yes, but what if it was? You said it would be easier. I wouldn't care about any of that crap. If all that's keeping this from getting to be okay is that it's some asshole's baby... what if it was my baby?"
There's a sigh at the other end. "Jin..."
"It could be," he says, which he knows is the crazy part here but he doesn't care.
"No it couldn't. You're with Kame."
"Yeah, but. Apart from that. It could be. Even if we're not together, it could be, and I'd help and you wouldn't be all alone with it." It's totally cracked but it still makes so much sense, more sense than anything anyone else has come up with.
There's a long silence, though. Long.
"This is totally crazy," she says at last, somewhere between crying and laughing, and he almost wishes he'd taken a cab over there. "I mean, I must be totally crazy..."
"Let's talk," he says quickly. "Let's talk tonight, okay?"
"I don't want Kame to kill me if he finds out we even talked about..."
"Kame doesn't kill people," Jin says. "Much. Only when they're incompetent. He's okay with crazy. He's dating me. Let's talk tonight, okay?"
The silence is long again, and grows longer. But in the end she says, "Okay."
When they've hung up, Jin takes a deep breath. Remembers to light the cigarette just in case before he hits speed dial one.
Ever since he was fourteen, Kame thinks, Jin got him to do weird, crazy things. It's one of the things he loves about him. This may be the craziest yet.
There's a public car park two blocks from Meisa's apartment, and this late at night it's almost empty. Kame didn't get off work until after eleven, and he wasn't going to drop in on his... the potential future mother of his boyfriend's fake baby... without showering first.
He likes Meisa. She's practical, reliable, and they got a lot of mileage out of making fun of her nun dress together. He liked working with her, and was glad she never dropped off his radar again.
But they'd made plans already, he and Jin, and they were about later, and safer, and only involving them. This isn't what Kame expected. It's not even what Jin expected, he knows. Everything Jin admits to when he's drunk and dreamy is sweet and neat, an ordinary fairy tale where the wife just happens to be a boyfriend and famous.
They sneak into Meisa's apartment building separately, though they're wearing more camouflage than they have in years. Jin normally doesn't bother at all these days, and Kame saves it for the more career-endangering outings in Ni-Chome.
Jin's waiting for him at the foot of the elevator when he gets in. He raises his eyebrows: a question. Kame nods wordlessly: nobody saw them. It's an old, comfortable spy routine and it makes him feel warm inside.
Sneaking in earlier in the day might not be quite so easy, he thinks. And they might have to take a cab in case parking is difficult. They can't keep visiting the baby at midnight.
This baby they're only going to talk about now. Because they have gone collectively round the bend.
Meisa is waiting at the open door, and they hurry inside. She's wearing a comfortable leisure suit and has her hair back in a braid. No make-up, and she looks tired.
"Sorry it got so late," Kame says.
She smiles a little weakly. "Thanks for coming." She doesn't look pregnant, or different... but that's a silly expectation.
There's tea, and then lots of awkward silence. Meisa is fidgeting with her cup and Jin has that guilty-excited look that makes Kame want to pet him.
"So," Kame starts when he realizes it has to be him. "Jin and I talked."
"You're not mad, are you?"
"No. Please don't worry."
"I don't want to make this difficult for you guys, just because Jin's been so nice to me." Now she looks guilty too.
This may be the most bizarre evening of Kame's life, and in his line of work, that's saying a lot.
"You're not," Kame says. "We're okay, really."
"Also, we talked but we're not..." Jin gives Kame an uncertain look.
"Jin wants you to know that he's not trying to steal your baby," Kame says, which suddenly makes them all laugh, and then it's easier.
"Right now I feel like I'm letting other people steal my baby," she confesses, which makes Jin reach out and pat her hand awkwardly.
"They're not giving you much choice," he says. "But we'll work on that."
She nods. "I know I should be finding this weirder, but now I can't get it out of my head."
"It is pretty weird," Kame admits, but when Jin looks alarmed Kame soothes him with a smile. "Like, I know what Jin means, but I wouldn't even know what to call it."
"I know, I've been breaking my brain. A half adoption..." Meisa's mouth is tugging upwards.
"A half sort-of-adoption," Jin says, cautious as ever about baby theft.
"A babyshare," Meisa tries next, like there's maybe champagne in the tea after all.
"A common-law stepdad," Jin suggests.
"Stepdads," Kame says, and suddenly it's real. Brings everyone up short and a little shaky.
They're talking about making a family. Out of an accident, a friendship, the obscene side of their business and Jin's big, wide-open heart.
"What Jin is saying," Kame says, clearing his throat, "is that if it's his baby, he'll support you and back you up, and help you raise it. You could split time, just like if you were a separated couple, and Jin will also raise the baby. With me. We want kids. We wanted them later but... you know. Life. So for us, this... I'd be up for it. Jin's practically adopted your baby already even if he doesn't want to admit it, and that makes me involved. But I'm not as close to you as Jin and... this is serious, and you should think about it."
There, now it's all out there, in actual words. Before he could trip over the craziness.
Jin takes his hand. They're not usually demonstrative with other people around but suddenly Kame thinks that is a very good idea.
Meisa smiles at them both. "That sounds like something I could handle."
They smile at each other. It's sinking in. Possibilities.
"I remember the day you brought your niece to the set," Meisa is smiling. "You'd make a great babyshare partner."
Meisa gave her all the egg from her bento. It's a good memory.
"But what about your agency," Meisa says then. "Won't Jin get in trouble, too? I mean, wouldn't they just... can't they just turn around and tell him to get rid of me, the baby..."
"They'll probably send me on remedial classes where I practice putting condoms on bananas," Jin says.
Kame takes a deep breath. "It'll look good if Jin takes responsibility." There's more, of course. It's awful timing for Jin, with his career in the balance anyway and a tour coming up. But it's not relevant in the end. Jin's a great believer in muddling through.
"And your fans?" Meisa is saying. "Won't they—"
"I've been going around saying I want kids since fucking always," Jin declares. "If they're really my fans, they'll have been paying attention."
"But," Kame says, leaving the fans aside, "I agree..." Another deep breath. It feels a little like inching forward on a ledge. "Even if Jin helps out with the baby, if we help out with the baby, it's not going to get the agency off your back. Even if Jin is the baby's father, it doesn't mean they won't pressure you… tell you to put your career first."
"I'll tell them to fuck off," Jin says.
Kame looks straight at him. "So I think it would need to be more official."
The car park is dark, for Tokyo. Jin slips the car keys to Kame and lets himself drop into the passenger seat. Kame's ears are full of cotton when they close the doors and the car is just silent. And dark.
"I feel too weird to drive," Jin says, and Kame reaches over for his hand but ends up with a knee instead.
It's past three in the morning. They're going to have a baby. Kame's not sure where his head is, only maybe it's elsewhere, not attached to his body.
He wants to start the car, but suddenly he can't focus. Crushed by responsibility. It's funny.
Jin is squeezing his fingers. "It was intense. Wasn't it."
But the responsibility is good, brings him back. "Let me take a moment, okay?" Kame says. Nobody's going to see them here. Especially not under those hats. They talked for hours, up there, and that was good, but now he wants to sit with Jin.
"We said we'd all sleep on it," Jin mumbles, twiddling Kame's pinky. "You can still change your mind."
"I don't want to change my mind," Kame says. "But I do want to know... You know this could go wrong for you. Don't you?"
Jin nods with his eyes downcast.
"They could take the tour away," Kame says, clearly and without any threat. "Your album could tank."
"They won't take the tour," Jin says. He's calm too, and sounding very adult. "Warner's invested too much. But yeah. I know."
"It's not a good stage in your career to be pissing company people off. Or fans."
"I know." Jin gives him a lopsided smile. "I spent the last three days obsessing over this, Kazuya."
"Okay," Kame nods. He's okay with that. "I just want you to be happy. And that you know what you're doing."
"I am. I do." Jin is still holding on to him, and that adult thoughtfulness is still there. "What about you?"
"I think it's a good plan."
Jin turns big eyes on him in the dark. "I'll have a wife."
"That was my idea," Kame says. "That's just practical." It sounds different, here in a dark car with the excitement gone and the baby two blocks and five floors away. Jin's getting married to someone else.
And then Kame nods. Yes, Jin's getting married. That's the plan. "It's not like we were going to drop our papers off any time soon."
"Yes, but... I always thought, maybe one day... or somewhere else..." There's the other story, the neat, sweet one. They just messed it up. With a baby.
"We can cross that bridge when we come to it," Kame says, and gives Jin a smile. "For now, we're going to have a baby."
Jin stares at him, and then his whole face changes. "We are, right? We're going to have a baby."
They're cutting it close. Traffic is bad and Kame worries every time they have to stop at a light that someone will look in and recognize them, take a picture. Maybe he shouldn't have come. But he needed to. He thinks Jin needed him to. It's so quiet in the car it would be hilarious, if they weren't cutting it so damn close.
"Good luck," he says when they've finally made it and Jin and Meisa get out, disguised the usual way. He waits in the parking garage, which has just a hint of 007 to it, or maybe of hired help. He's a bit nervous, but mostly okay.
"Okay, done," Jin says when they're back. "We were still five minutes early."
"Congratulations," Kame grins, to the five minutes and the other thing. As he drives off again, it's a different sort of silence.
Suddenly Meisa is giggling, and then Jin is, too, and she reaches forward to first ruffle Jin's hair then Kame's. "This is the craziest thing I've ever done," she says, sounding as if she's getting a bit fond of crazy.
"We need to call our parents tonight," Jin says. "I don't want them to get confirmation from the papers."
"We should tell Johnny," Kame says. "You should tell Johnny."
Jin looks at him with the intimidated puppy face Kame hasn't seen in all of this.
"You have to tell him," Kame repeats.
"Have you ever managed to lie to Johnny?" Jin asks. Okay, fair point. "He'll know exactly what we're up to. I know it. But if it's public first, nobody can do anything." He sounds almost sulky.
"My mom is very happy about the baby," Meisa says with a smile. Her parents got a watered down, less crazy version of all this, one that won't put Kame at risk if a worried dad or an angry aunt find all this too outrageous.
"Yeah, let's give ourselves two days to get everybody in the picture who needs to be in the picture," Kame says. Except Johnny. He winces in anticipation.
"And then?" Meisa asks.
Jin looks at a list of names on his phone, and nods. "Then we're going to leak it."
"... so I cancelled." Meisa is sitting comfortably on their couch, her legs folded sideways. She's so pretty and so much happier, nothing to cry about anymore. "No offense, but Nakai-kun is like the last guy I want to get in my face right now."
Jin nods, and catches himself smiling widely. Nothing to cry about at all. He's even made his peace with the fact that he's leaving for LA in three days and is practically a deadbeat dad right out the gate.
"I get that," Kame says as he sits down. He slips Jin a look and grins, then leans over to ruffle his hair.
Okay, so Jin's maybe looking a bit infatuated. With them all, with the world, with the baby. He has a sip from his beer, which Meisa reassured him didn't make her envious.
"I feel good about it, though," Meisa is saying. She got shit about the wedding just like Jin, and a few things are still up in the air, but nobody's talking about sinister appointments anymore. Sometimes, Jin thinks with satisfaction, it is way better to act first and say sorry later, than wait for idiots to allow you the perfectly obvious.
Meisa meets his eyes with a question but Jin subtly shakes his head. Kame's barely in the door.
"How were things at the jimusho?" he says, and passes Kame the beer because Kame's undersupplied.
"As expected," Kame reports. "Lots of people being jumpy around me, and I'm not sure Koki's buying the slip-and-forgive version, but nothing dramatic."
"Good," Jin nods. Nobody can prove he didn't sleep with Meisa, after all.
Kame sighs after a deep draught from the bottle, and Jin can read the long day in his face. "And Yoko found me. He was very depressed."
"Aww," Jin grimaces. They have to explain that to Meisa, and as Kame gets drawn into stories of embarrassing radio broadcasts and supportive surprise e-mails, Jin looks at it all with a secret, resounding feeling that this... is working. The three of them, here together, sharing their day, sharing history. The second awesome picture of the day.
"He still likes you," Kame tells him. "But thinks you need to shape up. Sorry."
"And right he is," Jin says, nudging Kame with his sock. "As a dad, I have to become responsible."
Meisa coughs subtly and catches his eye again. Jin's not even sure why he's having so much fun drawing it out. Anticipation, he guesses. But yeah, Kame is settled now, he has beer... Jin nods.
"Speaking of dads," Meisa says, and fishes her handbag up from the floor in front of her. "And mothers. We wanted to show you something."
Jin bounces forward on the sofa. It's like giving someone an awesome birthday present and watching them unwrap.
Meisa is biting her lip as she hands Kame the black-and-grey picture. She told Jin there are much fancier ultrasounds these days but her doc doesn't have one of those machines. Jin will investigate.
"Ah," Kame says.
And suddenly Jin is holding his breath. Because this is Kame, and the baby, and Kame was never nuts like Jin, and here they are, with a wife and ultrasound pictures because Jin is nuts and Kame loves him.
"Is that the baby?" Kame asks, pointing at the little light blob.
"That's the thing the baby is in," Jin explains knowledgably. He's spent hours following wikipedia links. "But it's five millimeters big already. Well, it should be. If it takes after Meisa."
Meisa grins at Kame. "If it takes after you, maybe smaller."
Kame snorts and turns the picture upside down. "The thing the baby is in, huh," he says quietly.
Jin can't get enough of looking at Kame looking at the picture. All soft and curious, trying to think how big five millimeters is, thinking practical Kame thoughts. "The tiny black thing," Jin says. "That's it." Kame has been so fantastic about this. Kame is just... fantastic.
"Thank you," Kame says, nodding at the picture; at Meisa; at Jin. "This is... thank you for showing me."
Their tiny black thing.
"I can't wait for her to have arms and legs," Jin declares, which makes Meisa giggle. "Or him!"
"Glad you're not picky," she says. "Except for the arms and legs. I'm feeling performance pressure now..."
"What, you've got hidden mermaid genes?" Jin asks. "Okay, though, explains why you're so pretty."
"I keep trying to tell people, but they keep mishearing it as 'Brazil'..."
Jin's feeling giddy, and he looks at... Kame hasn't moved. Kame is still staring at the picture.
"... Kame?" They didn't get carried away, did they? "Are you okay?"
"I'm okay," Kame says, in a weird husky voice. "I just..." He looks up at them both, and his eyes are shiny. "I just thought... this is going to work. That's a baby, that's..." Then he clears his throat and tries to look all practical and dignified but it's way, way too late. He's practically glowing.
"That's our baby," Jin says. His voice is no better. He nudges Kame again, and wants to do much more than that. "She's going to be lovely."
"Okay, shut up, you guys," Meisa says, her hand over her mouth. "Don't make the pregnant woman cry."
"Sorry, sorry," Kame laughs, though he still has that shine when he carefully puts the picture on the coffee table so they can all see it.
"At the drop of a hat, too!" Meisa fans her face with her hands rather desperately.
"We'll behave," Jin swears, and then he's staring at Kame again.
"I'm going to go to the toilet now," Meisa announces. "So I can find my dignity and you guys can make out or something."
Meisa is not only pregnant with a wonderful baby, but she also has great ideas.
Jin leaves for LA with a backpack of absent-dad guilt and a promise from Kame to look after Meisa and the baby in his absence.
He also leaves with a fully-charged, paid-up phone, which Kame tells him is much more important than the guilt, and between them, Kame and Meisa agree that Meisa is pregnant, not an eighty-year-old coma patient. So looking after Meisa and the baby involves meeting for coffee-and-decaf, being there when a sponsor deal starts to look shaky, being in each other's lives. Like any family.
"We should consider moving," Kame says to her the night he comes back from Niigata, after they've come off Skype with Jin. Kame got in alcohol-free beer for her, and they're both sprawling from a long day. "Either you, or us. We should be closer together, maybe even in the same building, if you're comfortable with that. Or, well, what we can find."
"Phew, not easy," she says. "But I like the idea, that's good thinking." She leans back and stares at the ceiling dreamily. "Would it be too early to paint the baby's room before Jin comes back?"
"Yeah, we could draw pictures on the walls..."
She eyes him suspiciously down her nose. "I've heard about your drawing skills."
"Damn," Kame says, and laughs.
They're good at this, though, being practical together. "Let's do something, anyway," she says. "Let's look into it."
They're getting ready.
"Did you know about Akanishi-san's marriage? Have you heard from him?"
It's in the middle of shower attachments. Panasonic. Work.
Kame doesn't flinch. He doesn't even smile, not in that way that would be a comment. He hears from Akanishi-san and from his wife before breakfast most days. Certainly before lunch.
He feels all the cameras and stares and the satisfaction of being professional, of work.
It turned out he likes it even more now, knowing he has responsibilities, has people to support if they need it.
When he goes backstage, he'll have a voice-mail from Meisa or an e-mail from Jin. Hearing from Akanishi-san. Akanishi-san's marriage is working out fine. Akanishi-san's boyfriend is enjoying work. The baby, their baby, will be about twice as big now as it was last week.
Jin's not the only one who can't wait.