Title: And the world is our stage
Summary: Kame needs to take Jin back. Jin wants to stay.
The curtains closed and his heart stopped beating.
For a moment he felt time stood still.
“Kazu?” He whispered at the person standing in front of him.
“Bakanishi.” The other guy nodded his hello. “May I sit down?”
Jin blinked. Then moved to make room for his old friend. “Sure. But what are you doing here in LA?”
“I’m here to take you back.” Kame answered as he sat down on the park bench and crossed his legs, “So? Shall we return home?”
“No one’s called me that in years.”
“Bakanishi? You’ll always be Bakanishi to me.”
Jin’s brow furrowed, stared at the person beside him. There was something different about Kazuya Kamenashi. Oh he looked the same, pale, skinny, beautiful.
Kame was always beautiful.
“You changed.” Jin finally responded, “I mean..You look exactly the same like when I last saw you..Only…relaxed?”
“Well. I don’t have much to do now.” His friend replied, smiling his real smile. The Kazuya smile Jin rarely saw, even before. “You look well.” He added, eyeing Jin’s designer jeans and jacket. “You always were suited for fame.”
“You were the one who left.” Jin accused.
Kame nodded. “I was the one who left.”
They sat side by side. Jin watched his surroundings, in front of him; he can see parents play with their children in the grassy open space in the middle of the park. He can feel the wind whoosh as the spring air blew past him and Kame; he can smell the taste of hotdogs being served to the customers waiting in line.
He felt right at home.
Jin wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans.
He can feel everything but the beating of his own heart.
“A-aaah.” He groaned. “I’m nervous for some reason.” He faced Kamenashi. “You’re making me nervous for a reason!”
He stared as one perfectly plucked eyebrow rose in question. “I make you nervous?”
“Is there something you should be nervous about?”
“I don’t know. You see, you left us 3 years ago. I haven’t seen you in three years. And now, suddenly, from out of nowhere you appear and decide that you want to take me home.” Jin stood up and started pacing, Kame silently looked on. “Why the sudden interest? Did the agency call you and begged you to come get me? Why now? You didn’t care before. You don’t even talk to me unless you have to. You don’t return my calls. You don’t accept my peace offerings and one day you were just…Gone. We never expected it. I didn’t even know what happened to you, you just simply disappeared and the rest of us disbanded. That’s that. End of KATTUN. Kamenashi is a bastard who didn’t give a shit. And now you want to take me back home?” He kicked his friends’ left boot. “I demand to know why!”
Kame smirked. “You haven’t changed at all. You’re still a child at 28.”
“Am not!” Jin stuck out his tongue, and then collapsed on his knees on the pavement. “Ow!”
“Are you alright?” Kame immediately wrapped an arm around him and helped him up.
He rubbed his chest as he tried to stand. Painful, so very painful. It was as if someone stuck a thousand needles in his naked heart and started stabbing it one after the other. He fisted Kame’s white shirt. “Ow. It hurts. Everything hurts. I hate you Kazuya. Whenever I’m with you I get this pain in my heart and it gets worse every time I see you. It gets worse and worse until I can’t feel anymore. You hurt me just by being here.” Jin took a deep breath and wiped the tears falling from his eyes. “You hurt me just by being here.” He whispered again, burying his face in Kamenashi’s neck. He relaxed as he felt his friends’ hand rubbing circles in his back. Strangely enough, he suddenly felt better the moment Kame touched him.
“Hush.” Kame brushed his bangs away from his face. “You’ll be fine. And that’s a really insulting thing to say to someone you haven’t seen in three years.”
Jin closed his eyes. It was hurting again, this time worse, and a lot stronger. He was already shaking from the pain. His heart felt bruised, like someone threw it in the middle of the street and everyone just started stepping on it. He took deep breaths, his hands unintentionally wrapping themselves around his friend’s body. He had to keep himself from biting Kame’s neck in pain. “I think I’m experiencing withdrawal symptoms of some sort.” He moaned in pain at the constant piercing. “Maybe I need to get away from you.”
“What you need to do is go home back to your life.” Kazuya answered and pushed Jin away so that he can place a warm hand on his heart. The pain immediately ceased. “Escaping here won’t make a difference. Everyone’s looking for you, you know. They want you back. You have duties to fulfill, fan girls to please, friends and families to go back to. They’re all waiting for you to return, Bakanishi. You can’t stay and hide here forever.” Kame clasped their hands together and pulled him close. “We are not the same people we were three years ago. I have my own life now and while it’s not ideal, I am happier than I have ever been in my life. You have your solo career to return to, you can’t just leave the people counting on you the way I did. I was stupid Jin. I regret that. I regret a lot of things. But past is past and even if I want to change the stupid decisions I’ve made, it’s too late now. I waited too long and even if I could, I don’t have the right to face the rest anymore.”
Jin bit his lip. “Return with me? Maybe Johnny will allow us to re-establish KATTUN once you’re back. Maybe we can be AKAME again. May— Why are you laughing?” He pouted, “I’m serious!”
Kame started walking, still holding Jin’s hand with his own. People ignored them as they strolled the pavement, a few joggers were doing their usual pace and a couple of teenagers were feeding the pigeons scattered around the park.
Jin thinks that maybe he can get used to this kind of life.
“What are you thinking?” Kame asked him, slowing his pace and matching Jin’s stride.
“That I could live here with you. We can be happy.”
The other guy shook his head no.
His eyes widen in realization. “Oh my God. You married? Did you marry? You impregnated someone and had a family? Is that why you left?!”
“….You…Are you sick with some incurable disease?”
“Are you living with someone? Like,…Are you gay?”
“No to the first and I don’t know to the second.”
A cough. “How can you not know?”
A smirk. “We never tried.”
“I missed that scandalous shriek.” Kame smiled at Jin, “I missed you.”
Jin looked down as he walked, licked his suddenly dry lips. “I missed you too.” He mumbled. “I mean, you know…everyone misses you.”
“I miss them too.”
“So how come we never tried?” Jin asked quietly, dreading the answer. He clutched Kame’s hand tighter, he was going to force an answer out of him, and this might be his only chance. “You knew, I know you knew.”
He poked Kamenashi’s cheek. “Stop doing that!”
“Sorry.” Kame took a deep breath and let it out, “I got used to repeating what anyone says because everyone here usually understand even without explanations. I forgot that you’re the Bakanishi.” He poked Jin’s cheek back. “It was my fault I guess, I was scared, young, you were old enough and maybe you already know yourself at that time.” He faced his old friend, “I was confused and it didn’t help that the company was forcing us to do the whole fan service thing. When you returned from here, I couldn’t bear to be around you so much, everyday, every hour, every minute. You were everything I wasn’t, you reminded me of the kind of person I wanted to be. I was jealous. Jealous of your popularity, of your talent, of your charisma, Sheesh Jin, you only need to smile and people immediately love you.” He shrugged, rubbed his neck with his free hand. “I work hard. I’ve been working hard since I entered Jimusho and I haven’t stopped working until the very day I left. Yet you, everything comes easy to you. You can sing well, dance well, compose well, and you have the face, the market value, you didn’t need to work for it like the rest of us. You were a natural at everything, and to top it off, you aren’t as dumb as the others make you out to be. You have street smarts and you use it to your advantage, you play the whole dumb blond game yet you probably have more common sense than the rest of K-TTUN combined.” Kame laughed, not a derisive laugh, laugh, but a sheepish, sort of embarrassed laugh. “Mah, we shouldn’t be talking about this anymore. It’s not relevant to the current situation.”
“Yes it is.” Jin murmured softly, touching Kame’s hand to his cheek. “I’ve always wondered why you hate me.”
“I never hated you. If anything, it was the complete opposite.” Kame answered, slowly stroking the soft pale skin with the back of his hand. “I was just…Smarting?”
Jin eyed the soft, pink lips in front of him, “Why don’t we try now?”
“It’s not that easy you know.”
“You love me, and I’ve always made it clear that I love you. You’re free, I’m free, and we are here, just the two of us. Alone. Together. So why can’t we try now? When we still can? Isn’t this a second chance? Aren’t we supposed to take advantage of second chances?”
Kame released Jin’s hand and faced him until they’re eye to eye. “Did it ever occur to you that we are not meant to be in this lifetime?”
“We are meant to be, even our former fan girls agree.”
“You know, I do believe we are. Just not today and not here.”
“Why? Do you have somewhere else to be?” Jin questioned incredulously.
Kame winked. “I need to get you home before everyone else decides that it’s no use waiting for you.”
“But I want to stay here with you!”
“You can’t stay here Jin. You don’t belong here. I don’t belong here. We both have somewhere else we need to be.”
Jin stared at him, “What are you talking about?! This is LA! I’ve lived here! I can stay here! Jimusho will just have to find another talent to build! I’m not that hard to replace you know!”
“And Yamapi? Yuu? Toma? Reio? Your parents? What about them? Are you going to leave them behind?”
“I can visit them anytime!”
“If it were that easy I would have visited you a long, long time ago.” Kame looked at him seriously, “Do you know why I’m here? Because you’re here, because everyone knows that you’re looking for me and that you want me to be here. Do you know why I willingly went here? Because I want you to go back home, I don’t want you to follow me Bakanishi, we can’t be together, I live a different life now and I can’t be selfish. Taking you with me means leaving a lot of people behind. I don’t want you to sacrifice anything because you have a choice.” Kame closed his eyes, whispered, “A choice I never had.”
Jin memorized his friends’ face. That angular jaw which can open into a wide smile, those ridiculously perfectly shaped eyebrows, that moist pink kissable lips, those big soft brown eyes. He will always remember Kazuya’s face. He might forget a lot of things from time to time but Kame’s face is something that will forever be imprinted in his memory.
“I love you. I never had a chance to personally tell you that.” Jin bit his lower lip, trying to prevent the tears slowly trailing down his cheeks. “I will always love you.”
Kazuya raised Jin’s chin, “I know Bakanishi.” He whispered softly against his best friend’s cheek, “I love you too. When you need me, find me here.” He tapped Jin’s heart.
Then kissed him.
A warm, fluffy, addicting kiss, making Jin dizzy.
He can hear his heart beat again.
The air felt stale.
His moaned, “My throat hurts.” He tried to speak.
There was a moment of silence before he felt everything happen all at once.
He opened his eyes to two faces he recognized, “Uh.”
“Someone give him water.” His mother raised his bed and slowly placed a glass of water under his lip.
He took a sip.
“Are you alright?” His father asked, looking relieved.
“You scared us for a moment there.” His mother said, Jin noticed that her eyes were red.
“Reio?” his voice was scratchy.
“Asleep.” His father answered, “He’s been crying the whole afternoon.”
“Outside. Do you want to talk to him? He and the rest have been here since 4AM.”
He nodded. “I need to ask something from him.”
His mother fluffed his pillows and soothed his hair, “We’ll just be outside okay honey?”
“Thanks.” He whispered as his parents opened the door to leave the room. He watched Yamapi enter and sat beside his bed. His best friend looked nervous, confused.
“You scared us.”
“I’m sorry.” Jin looked at him. “What happened?”
Yamapi’s brow furrowed, “Don’t you remember? You were speeding and hit a van at around 4 in the morning.” He looked at Jin, “They say you were trying to kill yourself.”
“Was I?” He asked, “Was I trying to kill myself?”
“Why don’t you tell me?”
“I’m tired. I don’t want this life anymore.”
Yamapi gripped his hand. “So you thought you can solve that by ending your life?! Did you even think about us?! Jin you were dead!”
“Calm down. I wasn’t trying to commit suicide. It was an accident. I’m here! I’m alive!”
“No. You were dead. You were pronounced dead when I arrived here in the hospital.” Yamapi stood up and looked at his friend and colleague, “You were already dead when they tried to use CPR on you.”
Jin’s mouth opened his shock. Electric. It was electric, not needles. He swallowed, “I was…dead?”
“We were already mourning you, they covered your body with white sheet and we were all crying, then you suddenly moaned and called out Kame’s name.” He slapped Jin’s arm. “What the fuck Bakanishi?! You scared us shitless! Your mother was in shock for hours! Reio literally had a break down and your dad thought he was going crazy! Heck, I though I was going crazy! No one knew what to do, thank God a nurse was there and had the presence of mind to call a doctor.”
“I see.” He said, “I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine.” Pi shook his head at him, “You can be so …”
“Why did you stop calling me Bakanishi?”
Yamapi blinked, “Did you hit your head that bad?”
“You haven’t called me Bakanishi in 3 years, why now?”
“You stopped being an idiot for 3 years, until now.”
They stared at each other.
“How’s Kame?” Pi walked toward the door and twisted the knob open. “Well?”
Jin stared out the glass window of his room and studied the city lights. It was already dark out and the tall buildings surrounding the hospital are slowly starting to glow with brightness. It looked calm to Jin, peaceful.
He can feel his heart beat faster.
“Then you should be happy too.” Yamapi told him before killing the lights and shutting the door.
Jin smiled and closed his eyes.
Tomorrow, the curtains will rise again. He won’t be Bakanishi anymore. He’ll be Akanishi Jin, the number one Johnny’s idol in Japan. He will be made to face the media and apologize to his fans for causing them alarm over the accident. He will smile, say “I’m fine and on the road to recovery.” He’ll pose for the cameras and give his fans what they always wanted, a shy smile, a naughty wink, a flying kiss.
And he’ll keep on doing those same things over and over and over again every chance he gets and every lifetime he has. He’ll continue to do it until he meets Kazuya again, and when that day comes, they will live the greatest love story ever told and the world will be their stage.