It's probably early in the morning since Jin's slumber is slowly growing more and more agitated. At that time of the night, dreams always feel more real, more urgent. And although he knows he ought to wake up any minute, he feels trapped in this figment of his imagination... if that's what this is.
It all starts with Jin sitting at the back of a taxi with Kame. A skinny and much younger-looking Kame.
"Please try to remember your dance steps next time... don't make me kick you on stage again," he says with a smirk, but there's no venom in his words.
A sense of déjà-vu overcomes the dreamer. He remembers that conversation. That evening. And so it seems that this dream has decided to take him on a trip down memory lane.
"The hosts loved it..." he hears himself reply. "We won't be having any other appearance together for a while so... at least the fans will have something funny to remember us by."
Kame's smile fades.
"I wonder why though. Why isn't management telling us..."
Jin bites his tongue. He knows why... he'd begged management for a longer delay. For an extra day so that he could tell Kame the news in person. But in the end, he never found the right time or right way to explain himself. Was this dream replaying that memory to punish him?
"They'll probably tell us soon." He replies miserably while looking away.
He nearly jumps out of his skin when Kame gently lays a hand on his knee.
"Hey..." he says, "It's gonna be alright. We've been through so much shit to get to debut... whatever this is, we'll make it alright too."
Jin feels sick. He'd forgotten how confident Kame had been. How warm and reassuring.
"So." The hand is gone, and Kame's voice is back to sounding happy. "where are you taking me?"
Something urges Jin to just wake up already and avoid the discomfort of going through this all over again. But reliving this also makes him somewhat nostalgic... maybe he's dreaming about this for a reason. Maybe this is happening to help him learn from his mistakes or something. So Jin dreams on.
"You'll see..." he replies with a wink.
Moments later, they're at Pi's place, where Ryo is already half drunk.
"Glad you're joining us tonight Shuuji-kun~" says Pi before going to the kitchen to fetch more ice, and Jin follows him.
Pi raises his eyebrows but says nothing.
Jin takes a sip from his heavily dosed cocktail. Liquid courage... he's definitely going to need it.
"So." Pi turns to him as soon as they're out of earshot. "Did you tell him?"
Jin shakes his head, which only makes his friend look exasperated.
"When did you say your manager is going to tell them?"
Akanishi feels himself start to panic. Which is stupid really, because this is a dream, and he knows how it's going to end anyway.
"Jin. You. have. to. talk to him."
"I know... I know!!" Even with the knowledge of how this is going to end, his voice is desperate.
"Do you guys need any help?" Kame's voice echoes through the corridor and Jin almost has a heart attack.
This isn't a dream. It's a nightmare.
Kazuya comes in and Jin finishes his drink so that he won't have to look at him.
Pi gives them bottles of coke and vodka before heading back to the living room.
The more they drink, the more Kame turns into a giggling mess and ...it's a strange sight. Jin is used to calm, collected, adult Kazuya. They've seen each other a few times after that Bruno Mars gig, and Kame is still nice nowadays, his smiles are still warm, but... this isn't the same. This Kame is ungarded. There's something more... raw about his smiles, the way his eyes look at Jin and Jin had forgotten what that felt like. Did it feel weird like this back then too? Because Jin can't remember ever thinking anything of it. Except that they really, really cared about each other a lot at the time.
And he still does now. Just... in a more adult way?
Jin's mind never makes a lot of sense when he's drunk, and it's not much better when he's dreaming about being drunk.
Kame is leaning into his shoulder and stealing his glass to drink from it.
But Kazuya just smirks and keeps drinking.
"You weren't drinking it anyway."
His weight on his shoulder, his hair tickling his neck. All that used to feel so natural, but right now Jin can't help noticing things. Like the way Ryo is rolling his eyes at them. But... it feels nice and he's drunk and he doesn't want to think about it, so he lets it be. When Kame gets up to use the bathroom he even feels a bit sad at the loss of warmth.
Vodka. More vodka is necessary. For dream-Jin as well as for the dreamer.
"Enjoy Kame while you can..." says Ryo philosophically while giving him a re-fill.
Jin hurriedly hushes him and checks that the bathroom's door is still closed.
"How are you gonna survive without him for so long." Ryo drawls on.
"Shut up. America has... other things. Girls. Cheerleaders... boobs."
Dreamer Jin wants kick himself. Had he really said that?
"Care to explain why you talk about boobs to proove that you'll get over missing your best friend?"
Jin hears the bathroom door unlock and freezes but Kame doesn't look like he's heard anything when he comes back. Jin almost wants to tell him about his upcoming hiatus right then, for the sake of putting himself out of his misery. But he knows that's not fair to Kame.
The younger slumps back down on the floor next to him and steals his glass once again.
"What's the long face for?"
"We're talking about Jin's love for American boobs"
Ryo says and Jin wants to kill him.
Kame sniggers and puts Jin's vodka back on the table.
"Why American though?"
"Can we please talk about something else?" Jin angrily interrupts and Kazuya looks slightly taken aback.
"Sorry." He adds, more softly. "It's just... boobs aren't everything." and for some reason, that seems to make his then-best friend happy again. Maybe drunk Kame is just a very happy person.
Seeing him like this makes Jin painfully aware of the closeness they've lost. But that's what growing up does to people sometimes. Well... growing up, leaving bands, having different lives and dreams... but this Kame doesn't know this yet.
When Kame and Ryo leave them for a few minutes to go buy more drinks at a conbini, Pi urges Jin once again to just tell Kame before it's too late.
He suggests writing it down if he can't bring himself to say it, but Jin still can't find the right words.
They end up going to some club and it's probably not a very wise decision.
At least, the club Yamapi chooses mostly has a foreigner crowd so no-one bothers them.
Ryo orders them a bucket of drinks and Jin cheers while holding up the sparkler the waiter lit up for them. Kame hasn't often had occasions to enjoy the clubbing life until now, and although the others don't notice it, Jin can see the way his eyes dart curiously towards the ice, redbulls and huge bottles of Vodka. He's going to get all the nightlife experience he needs in the years to come, Akanishi knows it... hell, Kame now knows more clubs in Singapore than Jin does.
Dream-Kame is trying to read some French Champagne name on the bucket but Jin interrupts him by handing him yet another drink.
A couple of foreigner girls show up at Ryo's side and the rest of the evening is a blur.
Akanishi remembers drunkenly singing along to famous songs, saving Kame from some very persistant guy, and leading a very drunk Kame back to their table.
He remembers Kazuya not leaving their side after that and looking gorgeous for their eyes only.
Jin remembers arms around his neck, Kame drinking from his glass again and again... Kame being very close...
Kame's breath on his neck while he shouts "I'm glad we're sharing this" in his ear just before hugging him and suddenly Jin remembers why he got drunk in the first place and wants to cry.
Kame looks so happy and carefree, he can't bring himself to ruin that.
Minutes later, Pi calls Kazuya over to tell him something while giving Jin a pointed look and Ryo introduces the youngest of them to the girls.
Akanishi suddenly feels alone... why did they take Kame away from him. They were having so much fun. And it feels lonely without his warmth in his arms ... dreamer-Jin realises he was probably more touchy-feely back then. Because he doesn't remember feeling this way about his friends during more recent years.
"What the fuck are you doing."
Jin snaps out of his thoughts.
Yamashita's grip around his wrist fucking hurts.
Why the hell does he look so mad?
"You're supposed to tell Kame you're leaving, not ... not... not let him grind against you!"
He sounds furious. And Jin suddenly feels less drunk. Not let him what?
"I... I didn't !"
"You totally did. Now get out of here and tell him. And don't make this more difficult for both of you by leading him on."
"I'm not, Pi I swear!!" And he looks so panicked that Pi's mad expression seems to falter. Is that pity in his eyes?
Meanwhile, Jin wonders how the hell he'd managed to forget all about this...had he been so drunk that even this reminiscent dream couldn't show him everything clearly?
He feels pissed at Pi for ruining the mood. But more than anything, pissed at himself for not remembering. For letting Kame do that, if he really did do it.
Unaware of their conversation, Kazuya is still having a great time when Jin tells him they should be going.
At first he protests, but when his best friend admits he really needs to talk to him in private, his curiosity gets the best of him.
When the fresh air hits his face, Jin realises it was about time they left. At first, everything looks fine, but after a few steps he notices that Kame keeps closing his eyes for a few moments. He looks a bit pale.
"...Are you alright?"
Except that's what Kame always says.
He doesn't look fine, and while they're walking away from the crowd in front of the club, Jin hears Kame take deep breaths.
"Kame are you sure you..."
"I'm 100% sure, can we please move away from everyone more quickly?"
Jin starts to panic. If Kame feels unwell in public, the scandal will follow him to the grave and he'll never, ever forgive Jin for letting that happen.
"Follow me." he says, and he leads Kame through a small side-alley.
Once they're alone, Kame stops walking and leans against a wall, breathing quickly. Jin feels horribly guilty when he sees him grimace. He shouldn't have let him drink so much.
"...you know... if you make yourself puke, you'll feel better."
Life comes back to Kame's eyes. They're sending daggers Jin's way.
"It's true!!" he says defensively. "Better out than in."
Kame purses his lips.
"I'm not doing that in front of you."
Jin offers to hold his jacket and moves towards the end of the alley to make sure no one is coming their way.
"It's alright, no-one's coming." He says, and he keeps talking, hoping that it will help ease the tension. This wasn't how he'd pictured their talk about America to go.
When Kame comes back to him, he's shirtless and is throwing his shirt in the bin.
"You fucking love that shirt what are you doing?!!"
"Not after I used it as a face-towel" says an irritated Kame while snatching his jacket back and zipping it up.
They walk in silence for a while. Jin offers to go buy him a bottle of water at a conbini and Kame seems to brighten up a bit after that.
"Sorry..." he ends up saying, after gulping some water and emptying the rest of the bottle over his face and hair.
"You've got nothing to be sorry about. You feel better ?"
Jin on the other hand feels worse. Every step is taking him closer to when he won't have any choice but to spit out the truth, whether he's ready or not.
Kame almost misses a step and Jin realises he's still drunk.
This really wasn't how he'd hoped to breach the topic of him leaving, and he feels like shit for not saying anything earlier, when they were sober.
But if he had, they wouldn't have had so much fun tonight.
Kame links an arm in his.
"Sorry for not being nice earlier." he murmurs, "I just... I hate being disgusting. I don't want you to think I'm disgusting."
He's babbling and he sounds nervous. Kame looks so young like this... It hurts Jin to know everything that he's going to have to face through the years... and it hurts that he has to be the one to give the first blow. But he has to do this. He has to go to LA.
"You're not disgusting, I've seen worse. Pi couldn't even make himsel..." Jin belately realises it's not a great topic and says. "Let's talk about something else."
Kame makes a face and nods.
They end up climbing in a taxi and Jin gives the driver Kame's address.
"You wanted to talk about something?" the younger asks, sleepily.
"Oh right. I ... I forgot."
Jin wants to bang his head on the window. This is too hard.
"Okay... well thank you for tonight. I really had fun."
His smile is so happy Jin wants to groan, but that would give him away.
Once they arrive, Jin asks the driver to wait for him and walks his friend to his appartment.
"You wanna come up?" Kazuya asks, a bit surprised.
"Just a minute" Jin says nervously.
For some reason, his nervousness makes Kame smile.
As soon as they step in, Kazuya takes his jacket off again.
"I'll just go change into something clean" he says.
Jin follows him to his room... He'd never do that today.
"Kame... I have to tell you something."
"...there's no right way to say this." His throat feels dry. But he forces the last words out. "I'm leaving."
To Jin's surprise, Kame laughs.
"I know, the driver is waiting. I didn't expect you to spend the n..."
"No, you don't get it." Jin interrupts. His desperate tone seems to make Kazuya realise something is wrong. "I'm... I'm going to LA. I'm leaving KAT-TUN. For 6 months."
He leaves out the "maybe more." and the "I'm not sure they'll let me come back to you." because Kame's eyes are suddenly nowhere near friendly anymore.
"Is this a joke Jin ?" Kame falters.
"It's not ...I'm sorry. I have to do this..."
Kame's expression morphs from disbelief to shock... to anger.
"Wait." His voice escalates. "Is this why you made me drink ?!"
Somewhere in his glaring eyes, Jin sees something worse. Betrayal.
Kame walks up to Jin and Jin walks backwards.
"What the fuck Jin?!" He looks like he wants nothing more than to slap him.
He's not screaming, but his voice is so icy the older one shudders. He knew this would come, but it doesn't make it any easier.
"Do you even fucking care about KAT-TUN?"
"I DO! You know I do, better than anyone!" he replies defensively.
Kame is shaking. His hand is flexing, and if they'd been a couple years younger, they'd probably be fighting.
"Get the fuck out of my appartment." he whispers.
Jin has never seen Kame that angry.
"I hate you" Kame hisses. His eyes are suspiciously shiny.
"You what, Jin? What part of 'get out' don't you understand?!"
The alcohol is probably making Kame more aggressive and more emotional than he'd usually be.
"I'll call you tomorrow... to talk things through." Jin says helplessly. But he already knows Kame won't be answering his calls the next day.
Even after all these years, it still hurts. Jin reluctantly leaves and gets ready to wake up... because what's the point of the dream making him relive more of this. But the dream goes on until Jin gets back to Pi and Ryo to drink some more.
Just when Jin expects to open his eyes to his room, to the familiar view of a sleeping Meisa, he finds himself instead once again at the back of a taxi.
"Please try to remember your dance steps next time... don't make me kick you on stage again," says Kame with a smirk.
And Jin wants to scream. Not again.