They're at Jin's place, a bit tipsy after sharing a few shots.
It's well past midnight and both are exhausted but they need this. They need to unwind after yet another day full of fighting scenes.
Filming Gokusen is amazing. Spending the day with their best friend, becoming friends with other awesome people - it's a lot of fun.
Having to share smouldering gazes with their best friend is a bit embarrassing at first. But they end up getting used to their characters'ambiguous friendship and just laugh it off. Jin tries to ignore how protective he actually feels for Kame... and how pretty the latter looks. It's hard though...
Sometimes he wonders if Hayato got into his head to make him stare at Ryu like that. Because when he read the script for the first episodes, it was obvious to him that Hayato has a crush on Ryu. Why else would the director make him say he has no feelings while looking brokenhearted at the loss of the redhead's friendship.
Kame always gets way too much into character when he's filming. Too much, because Jin wishes he could know if Kazuya's silent stares are Ryu's or his own.
Off set, their relationship is mostly normal though. Jin just feels his skin tingle a bit more when Kazuya is near. Maybe he's getting too much into character himself... or maybe...
Then he says a dumb joke to make everyone laugh, to stop his brain from voicing confusing thoughts he's better off ignoring.
Kazuya doesn't say anything, but he notices things. Like lingering eyes, slow blinks. Jin thoughtfully biting his lip.
He wonders if Jin sees through his calm façade. The younger did write Kizuna for him after all... and had squirmed more than ever in his life when he told Jin about it.
To which Jin had replied : "I know..."
Kame wasn't sure Jin really knew, though. He probably didn't realise how important this bond actually was to him... how it was getting harder and harder for Kame not to confess.
Staying near Jin looking so gorgeous every day... feeling their bond grow stronger... occasionally having doubts about Jin's own desires. It made it so tempting to just make a move. But the idea of maybe losing Jin's friendship over it was terrifying.
Despite all this, they've mostly managed to prevent any uneasiness from settling between them. There's definitely something hanging in the air but they manage to ignore it. The only signs show when they let their guard down, and their shared gazes and smiles are gentler. Until one of them coughs and pretends it's all nothing but bro-feelings.
It usually works and they don't let any awkwardness settle between them. Except last week, when they decided to ditch a Shounen Club filming to go to a massage parlour.
Kame wouldn't ever have accepted it in normal circumstances... but both of them had been unable to move due to filming anyway, so he had been easily convinced.
The massage parlour had felt like heaven.
But upon leaving, Jin had declared he'd never go back - because confessing to the masseuse that he needed a while alone to recollect himself had been way too embarrassing.
Kame had decided it might be best not to let him know that hearing his small whimpers through the parlour's paper-wall hadn't made things much easier for himself either.
And so, after today's filming, when Jin offered to go get a massage again, Kame was a bit surprised.
"I thought you said..."
"Let's do it at my place this time... what do you think?" Jin interrupted and Kame's brain screetched to a halt.
"I've got booze. It will be fun... come on!"
His instincts told him this was a bad idea. But... there were Jin's puppy eyes and his warm smile again. How was he supposed to resist that. So he just shrugged with a "Tsk" and accepted.
And so here he is, drinking another shot and hoping Jin will forget all about getting his massage.
A tipsy Jin is a Jin with no filter. So his eyes keep going back to Kame, taking in his pretty face, his pretty hair ... his questionning arched eyebrow.
"What are you looking at?"
"I'm just thinking."
Kame huffs and looks away. If Jin keeps looking at him like that, his resolve is going to crumble. Especially since alcohol also has a tendancy to make his inhibitions disolve.
He looks up and catches Jin teasing his lower lip with his teeth. He wants to groan in frustration.
"Another shot before we get started?"
Kame nods. Although he knows he should probably try to save the last bit of sanity he's got left. But he doesn't want to think right now.
A few gulps later, his host gets up with an excited twinkle in his eye and beckons Kame to follow him to his room.
"Jin... I'm not sure it's a good idea," he mumbles while crossing the corridor. "I don't even know how this works."
But Jin won't have any of it.
"Oi, don't back out now Ryu. You're the unofficial leader of 4D, you can't be the one to run away."
Kame can't think straight.
"What the fuck does Ryu have to do with this."
Jin stops in his tracks and looks thoughtful. Somehow, his thoughtful face always makes his mouth look even more sensual and Kame wants to hit something for feeling this way.
"He probably gives great massages." Jin says.
"But!" Jin continues, and raises his index to make a point - slightly staggering. "Hayato would probably return the favour and know how to do it just right for Ryu."
"...Jin... sometimes your imagination goes too far."
The older one just shrugs and walks to his room where he takes massage oils from his bedside table. His sleeves rolled up, he walks back out to the bathroom to fetch some towels and Kame starts to panic.
If Jin's got all the material ready, it means he's thought about it over the past week... just like Kame himself.
The younger's eyes dart around the room : the shutters are closed, and only a small bedside light is on, leaving most of the room in a soft orange glow.
Kame hears the door close before he sees Jin return.
"Why are you still dressed?"
Kame's head starts to spin. He's not sure whether it's because of the alcohol or because Jin is asking him to undress. It just feels surreal.
"Hurry up if you don't want oil all over your shirt."
Kame glares at him.
"It's Prada, don't you dare."
Slipping into bitchy mode is safe and familiar. It's also easier than dealing with his unwanted feelings.
At that, Jin just giggles.
Moments later, Kame's face is buried in Jin's cushions.
It's anything but relaxing, because his panicked thoughts are all over the place.
He feels like the bed is rocking beneath him. Maybe that last shot was one too many.
But then he feels Jin's hands on his shoulders, at the base of his neck. Then they go down, down the curve of his back. It's slow, it's slippery, and Kame breathes deeply.
Jin's hands are back at his neck, gently pushing his hair out of the way.
"How is it?" he murmurs.
Kame's only remaining thought is that if Jin keeps talking to him in that deep voice while touching him, things might quickly get out of hand.
"It's fine." he mumbles into the pillow.
Jin's fingers are back to sliding down his back. Kame's not too experienced with massages but he swears that feels more like a carress than anything else.
It's so slow and gentle that if it weren't Jin doing this, he would've been tempted to just doze off. Fingers glide over his shoulders, over his arms.
"You hide your muscles well..." the older one mumbles while appreciatively caressing his biceps.
"Don't act like you haven't already seen them all." Kame answers.
"Yeah but..." his movements stop. "Seeing and touching is different. You feel nice..."
Then his hands start moving again, as if what he's just said is nothing out of the ordinary.
Kame is grinning into the pillow, the late hour and the few drinks he's had taking down a few brain-mouth filters
"You feel pretty good on me too... your hands, I mean."
Jin stops and Kame thinks maybe he should've thought twice beforr speaking.
But then some more pressure is applied to his shoulders and Jin presses down harder. A gentle caress follows-up to soothe his muscles.
"I'm glad you like it."
Jin's voice is so low Kame barely hears it.
His touch disappears again and then is back, this time on his leg.
"I keep forgetting how hairy your legs are."
That snaps Kame back to semi-consciousness.
"Hey, I didn't say it was a bad thing..."
Kame closes his eyes and lets Jin's touch soothe him some more.
His fingers are now drawing circles over the back of his thighs. Up, up, and Kame prays that he doesn't intend to go any higher. He starts getting tense at the thoughts his imagination are providing him with, but Jin stops just where the towel is covering him.
That sultry voice again.
"...yeah." Kame breathes, not trusting his voice.
"Great. Do you wanna turn around?"
By some miracle, Kame has no reason to feel embarrassed. Maybe his body is slower at reacting to all these touches due to the booze.
Still, turning around means Jin seeing his face, and Kame's not sure he can pretend not to feel anything.
Well, fuck it. This is maybe his once-in-a-lifetime chance to be touched by Jin like this so he ignores his apprehension and rolls over.
It turns out it's not his own face he should've been scared of. Jin's expression, concentrated on making him feel good, is one of hottest things he's ever seen.
"Hi again~" the older says with a smile to diffuse the tension. but all Kame feels is butterflies.
He hates himself right now. Of course putting himself in this position would just make him fall for Jin even harder. How could he not fall in love with a best friend like him. Fuck, fuck, fuck everything. And his tipsy mind is of course probably making this all feel more dramatic than it ought to be.
"Kame are you okay?"
Kame bites his lip and tries to give his friend a reassuring smile. "I'm fine."
In spite of his efforts, his smile is quivering.
"I'm not gonna tickle you if that's what you're worried about."
Kame is just worried that Jin's smiling face is doing things to his heart he can't control anymore and all his energy is focused on trying not to babble about his feelings.
Because he's 100% sure it's not just physical attraction by now.
Jin's hands are back on him and Kame closes his eyes.
None of them know a thing about massages, but going to each other's place after late night filming turns into a habit. Living on the same metro line makes it even easier to give in to temptation. Kame would've sworn a moan or two of his gave him away once, but if Jin noticed he didn't say anything. It's not like he hasn't been making a few noises of his own when Kame returns the favour. He keeps saying "You're so good at this" but Kame knows he's rubbish.
The drama season goes on, and with every episode that brings them closer to the end, a feeling of dread starts settling over them. Kame has a feeling that when they'll finish filming, these evenings together will stop too.
Despite no words having been exchanged about the slow shift in their friendship, it's obvious that something has changed. Some kind of tension between them is building up and Kame just knows that something will have to happen to make it break.
He's now jittery even just when he greets Jin in the morning... luckily, he's still good at keeping his cool façade. Jin looks calm. But his greeting smiles look a bit shy sometimes.
These days, Kame doesn't need to be drunk to feel huge urges to tell Jin everything.
Like when Jin is laughing with the others... or when he's thoughtfully looking at Kame playing Ryu, when Ryu shows absolutely no interest in girls.
Jin thinks Hayato is just loud about girls to make Ryu jealous. Jin thinks Hayato should just confess to Ryu already... because like that, maybe the script would give him a chance to do things he'd never dare try in real life.
He doesn't avoid those thoughts anymore these days. He wonders what kissing Kame would feel like when he sees his copper-coloured hair blown accross his enigmatic smiles. He wonders what kissing his shoulder and neck would feel like when he's carressing them in the evening. Because he's not even pretending that it's a massage anymore. When his hands glide down his curvy spine again, he can't stop tempting images from sneaking into his mind.
All too soon, the last day on set arrives. A camera crew comes over just to film backstage footage and Jin feels anxious. Anxious because they're stealing these last moments together from them.
As they dress up in their uniforms in the morning, Kame lingers back despite being the first one ready. He's sipping his coffee when the last actor finally leaves, leaving Jin and him alone.
Jin steps up close and Kame's heart starts hammering like crazy. But Jin just takes his cup to steal a sip from it before returning it.
"Thanks~" he smiles. It's that shy smile again. He never smiled like that at him before this... thing started. It makes Jin look a little bit vulnerable. And very heart-warming.
Jin blinks. His tongue is wetting his lips.
"We should go on set" Kame blurts out. "Everyone is probably waiting."
Is that disappointment he sees in Jin's eyes? But the other one is soon smiling again.
All day, Kame can't stop thinking about Jin. He keeps sneaking glances at him and doesn't even properly try to hide it anymore. When the camera crew asks them to hug, it's the most awkward hug they've ever shared.
Before their last few scenes, they're both sent to the makeup artists. The girls keep interrogating them about who they intend to give their second button to.
Kame huffs and replies in Ryu-mode. There are no girls he wants to give his button to. The girls giggle and say he just hasn't met the right person yet. Jin doesn't comment on it but he can't help the smug smile tugging at his lips.
When their makeup is done, Kame asks Jin if he'd like some more coffee.
They're probably not supposed to drink anything now that their lips are all glossed up but Kame needs to see him alone.
They walk back to the deserted changing rooms, back to the same coffee machine.
But instead of heading towards it, Kame heads for his personal belongings.
"Oi Kazu what are you doing?!"
"Just a sec."
Kame is digging into his bag. When he's finally back, he looks the most uncomfortable Jin has seen him since... since the Kizuna conversation.
It's that strange mix of awkwardness and determination.
"I, um. I've got something for you."
"A gift?! Kame you shouldn't have... honestly?"
"It's not..." he stammers. "I... thought it would be a nice memory of filming this drama with you."
Kame takes a breath. And his determination seems to finally start overbalancing the rest.
"I wanted to give you this... as a memory of the bond we strengthened here."
He opens his palm and there lies a button of his Gokusen uniform. He takes another deep breath.
"I'd intended to give it to you at the end of the day but... after what those make-up girls said...I didn't want my button to be just another button among all those you might get."
"You know you wouldn't be just another button to me..." Jin interrupts.
Kame pauses and smiles.
"...I know I'm not a button."
The teasing seems to help him relax.
"...Well you know what I mean."
Jin reaches out and takes it.
It's just a button.
But it's the thought Kame put into it that touches him.
"You probably think it's some dumb tradition."
Jin wants to interrupt but Kame looks like he needs to finish talking, so he lets him.
"But I thought it was fitting... buttons are what keep things close. And this drama...I like what it's done to us."
Jin feels his heartbeat quicken. Are they going to talk about this now?
"I..." he's so bad at putting words on his feelings. He wishes he'd thought about what he'd say to Kame beforehand. "I'm also glad we shared this experience."
But just saying that feels like it's not enough to express what he wants to say - and before he can think about it, more words tumble out. "I care for you too...I really do."
It's almost scary how just saying those words feels loaded with meaning. He feels a lot of things - and "Caring" seemed to encompass everything from their close friendship to... something more.
He tries to go back to something light. Any minute they'll have to go back to the others and he'd rather have this conversation when they're not in a hurry.
"I'd been wondering why your second button was different from the others... I thought you'd changed it just to be cool"
Kame recollects himself quickly and smirks, sinking his hands back in his pockets.
"I don't need that to be cool."
His smirk doesn't reach his eyes., though. Because his eyes still just show how much he also cares for his best friend. A lot.
As they leave the set for the last time, Jin starts to feel anxious again. He's a bit tense when he says goodbye to the rest of the crew. He's going to miss them all so much...
But above all, he's worried about how Kame will behave now that he's been a bit more open about his growing fondness.
The last scenes of filming and the last backstage moments were no exceptions. Their gazes often met by accident, but despite feeling caught in the act, they didn't look away. It felt exhilarating to see that Kame seemed to accept his stares. That he seemed to return the same interest. But still... it also felt a bit scary.
Now that they're on the metro on their way home, Jin wonders if what happened today changes anything. Maybe Kame won't want to come home with him and play pretend with those innocent touches.
Truth be told, Jin doesn't want them to be innocent anymore.
They both have baseball caps low on their faces and jackets zipped up to their noses. Gokusen hasn't just changed their relationship. It's also taken away what was left of their anonymity. But their line isn't that crowded at that time of the night, and no-one pays them much attention.
They're two stops away from his place when Kame leans in and mutters:
"Your place or mine?"
Jin turns to look at him and breaks into a smile.
Kame looks a bit scared and a bit reckless and yet still cool... just like before all the other crazy things they've done together while growing up. Though people who don't know him well usually don't see the scared part.
Kame gently bumps his shoulder against his and laughs nervously before looking ahead.
The walk from the station to the appartment goes quickly. Kame makes fun of Jin when he keeps getting his building's code wrong.
In the elevator, he stops laughing though - pinning Jin to the wall with his stare. When he takes two steps closer to slowly take off Jin's cap and unzip his jacket, the older makes a small sound. Just a few more seconds and they'll be there.
It turns out kissing Kame is even better than in his fantasies. Jin just can't get enough... they've entered his appartment a while ago, but he still can't bring himself to step back from Kame, who's pressed up against the closed door. Breaths mingling, content sighs.
Soft hair gently tugged for a better kissing angle.
Hips gripped to pull each other closer.
Meanwhile Kame is discovering new kinks with every new sound Jin makes. And with every brush of Jin's lips against his skin.
They break a few buttons from Jin's shirt in their haste. To Kame's surprise and slight disappointment, the older one interrupts his trail of kisses down his neck to stoop down and pick up the lost items. At least Kazuya now has a nice view of Jin's nipples... and he still can't quite wrap his head around the idea that this is really happening.
He's even more confused when Jin takes his hand and solemnly puts all the buttons he picked up in it. As solemn as he can be, with messy hair and swollen lips.
"As a memory of how closely I intend to get acquainted with every part of you in a few minutes... " he declares, "please accept this gift..."
"Are you making fun of me?"
Jin looks scandalised.
"No! The first button is for your mouth... the second for... your abs. The third..."
Jin snakes his arms back around his slender waist, sensually caressing every area he mentions, one after the other.
Kame gives in. If Jin wants to play that game...
"Okay, okay," he smiles. "How about... you show me."
And so, Jin leads the familiar way too his room. And although he doesn't say it, Jin mentally sets a button aside for a place he intends to particularly get close to - Kame's heart.