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Sunday, December 20th, 2009 03:28 am
tretton: (bleeding all over you)
[personal profile] tretton
Title: Big in Japan
Pairing: Akame
Rating: PG-13
Word count: 4 702
Disclaimer: No money has or will be made from the production of the following text. Apart from quotes, all situations and dialogues within the story are purely fictional.
Disclaimer II: Some of the quotes in the story have been slightly altered for strictly grammatical or structural purposes but should in no way be seen as attempts to distort their true meaning. For clarification, a list of their original sources can be found here.
Summary: Things are easy when you're big in Japan.
A/N: With endless gratitude to Ian for beta, honesty and encouragement. And the soothing of my frazzled nerves.



no illusions (1998)

Nobody talks to you in your first dance class. Coming straight from the last lesson of the day you were forced to run the last bit and your right shoulder is still sore from the extra weight of your bag, packed chock full: the history quiz you nearly flunked this morning, the baseball glove you insist on bringing everywhere, an introduction to stardom in the afternoon. In school you haven’t told anyone yet.

The basics are easy when you’re at the very back row, following all the bolder boys’ moves. Even if you’re copying mistakes it matters less when nobody sees you and not just because dancing isn’t baseball. You manage to get scolded for languidness anyway.

The boy from your audition is there, wide-eyed and full of life, surrounded by new friends already. During break they stand in a half-circle around him, raising their voices at regular intervals, fighting for his attention. He’s a star already, you think. It almost makes you walk out of this room, stinking of teenage sweat, the air thick with hope and pomposity. You’re nothing like him and some people were just meant to shine. It doesn’t matter. You have your eyes set on different glories. Then the boy catches sight of you sitting in the corner, drinking water. Your eyes meet by accident and you notice it takes him a second to place you, then he gives a half-wave which you scramble to return, the tips of your ears burning. After that you feel like you have no choice but to stay.




“Nakamaru’s mom, Nakamaru and me, the three of us ran from Shiba Park to Kamiya Cho. We just ran.”

Kamenashi Kazuya (March 18, 2007)



things will happen while they can (1998)

His name is Nakamaru. He’s got long, soft fingers and skin not used to the pinch of brothers or cousins by the dozen and his mother is a sprinter. She’s a decisive, tall woman with a subdued sort of beauty that genes never bothered modelling themselves after in the case of her son. After the first introduction full of adrenaline and no room for the usual hesitation, you forget what it is you’re running towards, what it is you’re both supposed to do when the three of you reach your destination. The only motions your body has yet to memorise is the swing of the bat, the right angle of your elbow, the blaze in your arm as the ball leaves your hand and the burst of instinctual tension in your thighs before you take off from base. Still, somebody has decided you deserve to be let out of the practise rooms and onto the glittering stage. The list was posted outside the door after your latest rehearsal. Nobody had told you that you were on trial from the moment you stepped inside the building. You don’t know yourself why you’d qualify for any performance involving the sharp eye of a camera to spot the hesitation in your movements. A Johnny! a girl in your class had exclaimed with awestruck excitement. She’d known more about this world than you do.

Nakamaru’s mother leads the way, and the thrill of your heart beating to keep your legs and exhilaration running surprises you for a moment. This morning when you woke up, you weren’t even sure you wanted to come here.




“When I was little, I was always a troublemaker. [...] I really disliked being bound to things, but on the other hand, for things that I liked, you couldn't stop me if you tried.”

Akanishi Jin (June 2006)

“Even if he himself wants to be an adult, I think in KAT-TUN he’s the number one ‘kid’. I don’t know whether someday that side of him will be gone or not. But if it will… it’ll be lonely.”

Taguchi Junnosuke (circa 2005-2006)



where the eastern sea is so blue (2003)

“That guy,” Jin tells you on the way to the shop, “I can’t believe he went and got one the same week I told him about it. We could have at least gone together, he just wanted to beat me to it. But it was my idea, you know!”

You know. After several years of practise, gradually getting used to Jin’s sudden whims, you ought to know. The tirade stings less than you expect, partly because Jin seldom means anything by being self-absorbed and tactless, partly because the turn of events now means you’re the one who gets to accompany him. Not Yamapi. It doesn’t even matter that Yamapi had to head off to Stand Up! filming right after Shounen Club recording today. You should be embarrassed the way a meagre offhand invite from Jin manages to bring you such delight. But the anticipation rubs off. Jin’s mum doesn’t know, the jimusho has yet to decide about Yamapi’s earlier stunt and Jin’s still worried about the pain, despite stubborn determination and Yamapi’s smug assertion that it hurts for less than a second.

“You’ve checked it out beforehand, right?” you can’t help saying when Jin pushes the door open, a small clink of a bell announcing your entrance. “That they have the right equipments and so on, properly licensed or whatever?”

Jin gives you a look that tells you you’re being precisely as much of a bore as you suspect you are. “It’s the same place Pi got his,” Jin says. So that’s that.

You’re right by his shoulder when he stands bent over the glass counter, your eyes following the rows of stones and designs. “I can get exactly what I want,” he brags. “I’ve been saving the entire month.” And you can picture his mother’s face when she realises what it is she’s been funding for the past couple of weeks. The silver gleam of a small skull seizes your attention and when Jin catches you looking he laughs. “You’re so predictable,” he says and the surge of an impulse dies in the same instant it was formed. He’s right - this was his idea.

Jin’s bare chest makes your cheeks shimmer with heat for reasons you’re not particularly clear on yourself. At the recording hall you’d hardly notice the lack of a shirt on any of the juniors backstage. But in the bland fluorescent light in the room behind the curtain at the back of the shop, your eyes keep getting drawn to the urgent rise and fall of Jin’s stomach and the way that at this point in time Jin’s exposure is out of place. It doesn’t fit with anything else but the anxious way he shifts on the seat when the tawny shopkeeper, his arms covered in tattoos, a cigarette at the edge of his mouth, lifts the needle and Jin’s eyes widen. This isn’t the version Jin will tell to the world once it’s over. In Jin’s version he wasn’t scared at all, he merely hoisted up his shirt and told the guy to get on with it, as if this were some sort of masculine ritual only the selected few go through and he’s not about to attach a glittering gem to his stomach, skin still as soft as silk even after nineteen years of it being in his casual care. You want to reach out to take his hand, to reassure him, but it doesn’t matter which version, Jin’s or yours – a thing like that isn’t meant to occur, ever. So instead you hit him on the head.

“You said you weren’t scared.”

“It’s a big needle!” he exclaims, his eyes still transfixed.

“How else is it supposed to get right through?” you point out.

“Kame!” he yelps, throws you a slightly panicked glance and then urgently adds: “Wait!” in a hollering tone when the shopkeeper reaches for his skin. Jin sinks down further on the seat and takes a deep breath, his eyes closed. He opens his eyes and looks at the needle once more and then he does what he always does, what you’ve been watching him do from the day you met him – he nods his assertion and plunges headfirst into life.




Q: [They] said that Koki-kun really did not want to be a part of KAT-TUN.
A: I hated it.


Tanaka Koki (June 15, 2008)



crystal bits of snowflakes all around my head and in the wind (2001)

You’re fifteen years old on the first day of the rest of your life.

The cramped room at the studio where you’ve been assigned to change clothes is oppressive in its silence despite, or maybe as a consequence of how small the space is between the six of you. The first thing Tanaka Koki said when he barged in, still in his school uniform (the same one as Yamapi and Toma, and you’re sure Koki’s aware of the significance) was: “Just to make this clear – there’s nobody in this room who I’ve ever backdanced for.” That particular modification of the truth hadn’t gone over very well with Jin and after a heated argument about the total sum of their respective screen time and when and where they’d last gotten to hold a microphone they’d ended up at opposite corners of the room, Jin angrily turning pages in his manga, sitting on the floor behind the clothes rack and Koki by the makeup table with his back to the rest of you, staring at his own face with a rage you’re surprised fails to scorch a hole in the mirror and the wall behind it. You have to admit you’re a bit in awe of Ueda Tatsuya when he pulls the headphones from his ears and calmly asks if Koki knows the routine.

“What do you think?” Koki spits back, looking at Ueda in the mirror.

“I think the rest of us just spent the past week rehearsing five different numbers that we finally managed to not mix up in the end and that you weren’t there when it happened. And then I’m thinking if we’ve just gone through all that work only to have you mess it up at the last minute it would sort of be a big waste of time.”

“Now-” Nakamaru starts nervously, when he sees the outrage on Koki’s face. Maru’s still the nicest person you’ve met in the jimusho. It’s impossible this is a trait that will ever work to his advantage.

“I can’t believe this!” Koki exclaims and stands up, the chair falling backwards. “I get put in a unit full of complete nobodies and then you’re trying to imply that I’d be the one to drag us down?”

“You think anybody else is honoured by your presence?” Jin mutters darkly from the floor.

It’s two hours until recording and you decide, then and there, as Koki storms out and Taguchi Junnosuke says, “Well I think it’s exciting!” with a daunting sort of smile, that you’re going to keep your head low. You’re going to get through this without making a fuss because Pop Jam won’t last forever. And neither will KAT-TUN.




“I suppose we’re all looking for something like a challenge to ourselves. As if we’re walking in the dark and searching for something.”

Kamenashi Kazuya (May 2005)



things are easy when you’re (2005)

Happiness is the brief flash of a roar of screams and the pound of the bass, going right into your body to keep your limbs in time to the music. Bright lights and flickering penlights in the dark. The inside of your costumes stink and yet each day you shrug into them with a sigh of content. “This is it,” Koki keeps saying in the changing room backstage, even when he’s exhausted. “This is it,” and you all know it is. The bus keeps shipping you from town to town and you wake up sore and confused and for a second you forget why you’re here and not being scouted for a pro baseball contract, the calluses on your palms long gone by now. But all it takes is slipping in through the backdoor of whatever arena or hall you’re currently in the process of conquering and you remember what it is. Happiness is the soaring of your emotions and the high notes you force out of your throat and the all consuming grin of Jin’s mouth before he covers it with yours, his hands at the back of your neck. Jin, Jin, Jin. His idiocy must be contagious because you find yourself letting him inside. You keep ending up in the same hotel room and he keeps ending up in the same bed as the one you’re trying to sleep in. Sometimes when you were younger and you realised with the horror of reality pounding in your head that you wanted to kiss him, you imagined him finding out to be the end of the world. But the burning touch of his clumsy hands on your skin nearly brought you undone the first time, you could feel the seams supposed to hold your emotions in check shrivel up and disappear into thin air from the moment that whatever this is started.

This is it, this is everything you’ve yearned for these past years, everything at the same time and you know for sure nobody should be happier or more grateful and you’ve never been so scared before in your life. You master the art of compartmentalising; you feel like you’re splitting yourself in two sometimes. The smiling idol on stage who vows to give all of himself to the fans in direct conflict with the awkward young man who’s lucky enough to get to watch Akanishi Jin blissfully sleep in the early hours of dawn. And who desperately tries to regret ever letting him prolong that first hesitant brush of your lips if only because he knows there’s no comparing to this person. There’s no comparing to this moment in time.




Q: How do you feel? Are you a little sad or…?
A: I’m 100% sure of my decision.


Akanishi Jin (October 13, 2006)



shall I stay here at the zoo? (2006)

The heavy silver cutlery connects with the china with a clatter, sending creamy mushroom sauce in a messy fountain around your plate, some of it getting on your shirt. Jin’s not looking at you. Jin hasn’t looked at you for a long time, months even, if you bothered counting. You don’t.

“We-” you choke. “We’re just getting started.”

“Some of us are,” he mutters with the stubborn contempt that didn’t use to intimidate you like it does these days. This dinner, the offhand way he’d asked you out after finishing the last of the Utawara filming for the day; it had taken you fifteen minutes to get to the restaurant but hope springs so fucking eternal you’d been lightheaded by the time you stepped out of the cab.

“That’s unfair,” you say, trying to swallow down the betrayal you feel every time he looks at you and doesn’t understand how important he is, how much it hurts that he thinks his absence in your life was something you chose willingly. “You’ve turned down offers,” you say, your throat burning. “You-”

“I know it’s pointless,” he interrupts with a carefully arranged air of arrogance, “but I sort of miss the Kamenashi who could hold a conversation completely void of shoptalk. It’s not like I don’t get fed this bullshit every time I’m in a meeting.”

“Then why even tell me in advance?” you bite out. “If I’m such a useless friend to you, why not wait and tell me with the rest of them?”

His eyes are black when he looks up. “You’re not my friend,” he says and the moment you hear it you realise that, to him, that’s the simple truth. It’s not a cruel jibe, not a defensive lash-out, carelessly constructed to cause as much pain as possible; to him it’s a conclusion. And some things never change. His honesty’s always been the thing that can damage you the most. It’s almost cruel the way that, even in this helpless moment, you can’t help admiring him for it.




“Doing a job like this means that I’m not like a normal person. I think big lies are wrong. I wouldn’t say I liked something if I didn’t. But I think there are times when it’s best to keep my mouth shut.”

Kamenashi Kazuya (June 6, 2009)



passing silhouettes (2007)

The minute Masami-san takes you aside at the airport you’re struck with the sudden notion that she knows. The lines of her face are subtly disrupt, her eyes deep and the bulging planner she’s never seen without is left somewhere in the VIP lounge with the rest of the staff, Johnny-san and the other members and the only conclusion that you can draw during the one minute walk to the benches by the panorama window overlooking the runway is that she knows. She knows everything.

Masami-san hasn’t been with you all from the start. But she’s the most competent of all the managers you’ve seen come and go during the years. She catches on quickly, gets things done rapidly and knows precisely when it’s best to bluntly offer her opinion and when it’s time to keep her mouth respectfully shut. She’s fair in a way you know not everybody can appreciate due to the ever-present forthrightness in her words and manners. You’ve never seen her back down from a challenge, never even seen her flinch in the face of an unexpected conflict. More than once have you heard words like ‘calculating’ and ‘cold’ mentioned in association with her name. And out of all the managers you’ve had since debuting – she’s your favourite.

After several long seconds of tense silence with the palms of her hands restlessly sweeping over the smooth surface of her suit trousers, she lets out an unexpected laugh which startles you into meeting her eyes.

“This is harder than I expected,” she admits with a leniency in her voice you seldom hear.

“Well, whatever it is, I’m sure it’s better to say it directly rather than making it sound pretty,” you say, trying to sound like you mean it. Trying to feel like you do.

She nods her agreement and with a decisive straightening of her spine, she’s ‘Mrs. manager-san’ in an instant. Opening with the subject you’ve been expecting and dreading.

“Regarding Akanishi-san,” she says, your heartbeat skipping at the familiar resonance of it. “I know this is usually something only Johnny-san talks to you about. But just this once he asked me to bring it up before we left.”

You nod, trying to will yourself into curious sincerity, telling yourself it’s just another meeting, just another layout of the strategies.

“Well,” she says calmly, “like you said. Putting it frankly: we need for the two of you to get along.”

“Get along,” you repeat numbly, more to yourself than anyone else.

“Yes,” Masami-san says. “I know you think it’s important that all matters concerning the group gets discussed strictly within the group with all members present, but seeing as this is a matter restricted to the two of you-”

“But Akanishi isn’t,” you interrupt, not certain where you’re going with this. The stress getting to your composure. “Akanishi-san and me aren’t.... Well, I’m not the one who’s been talking about giving people black eyes,” you say pointedly.

“And you’d never say such a thing in the first place,” Masami-san agrees with a smile more polite than indulgent now. “You’re smarter than that, aren’t you Kamenashi-san?”

You look out the window to get away from her searching eyes. “I’m not smarter than anybody else,” you say quietly.

“That aside,” Masami-san goes on, somehow gently relentless. “I think you’re well aware that either you and Akanishi find a way to coexist without any more consequences like the one we’re currently stranded in - or there exists no such thing as even an outline for Akanishi Jin’s comeback to KAT-TUN.”

Her gaze does not waver when you’re distressed into jerking your head back in her direction.

“You can’t be serious,” you say, aware of how your gaze is now stripped of all of its layers. “This isn’t my decision.”

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be,” she answers curtly, dismissive of your indignation on the other members’ behalf. “Like I said: what we need is for you two to sort things out again. Do you think that’s something attainable?”

Is that attainable? you ask yourself when you allow his face to drift to the surface of your mind, the details of his features as clear as if you’d seen him yesterday: at a photo shoot, in a tour preparation meeting, in any of the corridors you’ve walked for the last four months he’s been absent, in your bed, contently sprawled out and exposed for the benefit of your appreciative eyes, on the mattress you used to own before you moved to a bigger place and his visits became few and far between. Is that attainable? you ask the sting of recalling his carefree face.

“I miss the food,” he’d complained the last time you called. Informing you, “I miss Tokyo. I miss my mum,” and giving you a clear indication as to what it was he wanted out of this meeting, this reunion of the six. His hopes and expectations. Getting them placed in the palm of your hand almost makes you smile at the irony.

“I know we always demand a lot from you,” Masami-san suddenly says. Interrupting your drawn-out reflections, the expression on your face self-conscious as you force it once more back in her direction.

“I demand the same things of myself,” you press out on routine. “It’s reasonable-”

“The company thinks it’s reasonable,” she cuts you off. “I don’t always agree with it.” The flicker of empathy in the darkness of her eyes calling your first instinct to mind. As a person, you respect her on many levels. And the moment of vertigo when you consider the option of taking this foolish risk, this idiocy of even allowing the thought of, for once, just speaking frankly about it, is endless. Then you smile. You let it fill up your face and smooth over the cracks in your facade. The light in your eyes that you know distracts even the most stoic of professionals. Even the people who know you better than that.

“Masami-san shouldn’t worry so much,” you admonish, almost playfully. “I understand. I’ll talk to him. No,” you insist when she tries to speak, “even better, I’ll be nice to him.”

If she suspects there’s any difference between this Kamenashi and the one she startled into candour just a few moments ago, she doesn’t let it on. She graciously lets you keep on playing your part. And whether that makes her cruel or kind, you’d have a hard time trying to decide the answer.




“Frankly speaking it felt like this half year, I was working with a thorn stuck somewhere, but now it’s finally gone.”

Kamenashi Kazuya (April 20, 2007)



here’s my comeback on the road again (2007-2008)

For months on end you exist in the wavering, elevated state of not knowing where you stand with Jin. You’ve been in this situation before, unaware and prickly without the assurance of his approval. Somehow, when you were kids and you grew up working by his side, always seeking his eyes when you forgot your dance moves on stage and trailing in his footsteps when he decided to bring you to Yamapi’s without asking for permission, you became used to the idea that he’d be a constant in your life. Even the dread of the years you spent, shifting from not comprehending a debut without KAT-TUN and realising that the only thing your success meant to management was money in their pockets and demographics to take an interest in; on the other side of your debut you understood that losing them all would have been something akin to tearing off a limb – that losing his friendship would have been to bring a part of you outside of your body for the distinct sensation of slowly suffocating the life from it.

“I don’t understand,” Koki frowned in the changing room one night. “Didn’t he give you a lift home yesterday?” Koki taking perverse pleasure, you’re convinced, in making you suffer through the implication of what he really means by that. “Didn’t you talk?”

You’re not sure. Talking being such a complicated process when it’s just the two of you. Jin spoke, you’re positive, but you were too busy trying to read him to really listen to his words. You used to hang to them, thinking they were prophesies of the success he was bound to head into, the future written somewhere in the starry sky behind his eyes. These days you’re afraid to listen to him sometimes, knowing how capable he is of cutting through your defences. He used to do it without understanding or intention. Now he does it because he’s aware of the strings still connected to his fingers, your heartache one tug away.

Still, he’s not cruel, you think, you hope, needing it to be true. If he were you’d certainly have a role to play in the alteration. But there’s one thing you’re certain of – his heart has always been bigger than yours. The things you’ve put him through, even the ones he imagined, you’re not convinced you’d have been so forgiving, so repeatedly willing to approach someone who can promise you nothing but disappointment. And still he’s not cruel, he’s not callous. He waits one month after your heartbreak with Kyoko, one round in her apartment, coming face to face with your own inadequacy, then another round in the press, being taken aside after group meetings, scraping your heels and bowing your head to their disappointment, the letdown of how much better you could have handled this. How much less emotional you could have been. One month of bearing with his tender kindness before he tucks a wisp of hair behind your ear one evening in his apartment, giving you a moment’s worth of warning before gently guiding your mouth towards his, pressing his palm to your thundering heartbeat.

It’s not such a good idea. It might even be a bad one and the words you try to press out with the oxygen slipping through your lips between kisses start out as objections. However, you’re so sore with sensations by then, weeks of his attention turning your head around and the still aching wound of rejection and betrayal that you’re utterly helpless to the recognition that he still wants you. You’re a wreck, a sliver of the star you’re supposed to be, watery eyed and embarrassing. But he still wants you.




Q: You talked on the phone yesterday?
A: Yes, we did. […] We talked about a lot of things. I said, ‘Ittekuruyo’.


Akanishi Jin (October 13, 2006)



you did what you did to me – now it’s history I see (2006)

Jin’s apartment is located in a quiet area, full of decent families and proper office workers. At night there’s hardly any traffic, no neon signs or spotlights reaching into Jin’s bedroom. Tonight it’s only the moonlight laying claim to your naked skin.

To be honest, you wanted to strangle him the moment he appeared next to you outside the studio back entrance a few hours ago, suggesting a joint cab with his eyes alight, still in the yellow t-shirt with Maru’s logo and running on the sort of energy you knew had long since abandoned your own body after twenty-four hours of tear jerking and the constant importance of good spirit. Am I supposed to be grateful? you had the sudden urge to ask him. Five years of scrambling for your attention and now all you have left to give me is a goodbye quickie? Here was a man who had, only hours before, taken what had once been the most important connection in your life and displayed it on national television as a simple association with a colleague. And in return you had, as usual, made a fool of yourself. But you assume it takes years to perfect the sort of expertise it requires to say no to him. You’ve hardly had any practise.

Now his body is spooned up along your backside, your head pillowed on an arm that must have long since fallen asleep and his thumb stroking slow possessive circles on the jut of your hipbone. A year ago he’d have told you it was dangerous bringing sharp objects into bed (and you’d have laughed too, his sense of humour has never been any more refined than yours), tonight you’ll have to settle for listening to him thinking it.

“This isn’t what friends do, right?” you say into a silence almost a half an hour old. You expect him to pull away, disappointed in your lack of respect for banned subjects but you can’t help yourself. There’s no spell left to break. Only the foreign concept of the merciless truth that he’s leaving. He’s leaving.

Instead his thumb stops moving and a sigh whispers across your neck. “I don’t even want to be your friend,” he says. You feel his forehead pressing into the back of your head. “I want...” he mumbles and then his hand covers your hip with renewed strength, his digits pressing into your skin. “I always want what I can’t have.”

You wait until you’re sure whatever howl of emotion it is that tears at your insides subsides enough for you to be certain it’s not going to come pouring out as soon as you open your mouth. You wait so long you’re not sure he’s still awake by the time you reach for his hand and bring it to your mouth for one desperate kiss. Into his palm you whisper: “I want you to come back to me,” and then you quickly close it around your confession, covering his fist full of secrets with both of your hands.

He doesn’t say anything. You think maybe he has fallen asleep. But when you turn your head around to look at him he meets your eyes, brings the closed fist to his mouth, opens it and swallows your words.




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