Group/Pairing: KAT-TUN; Akame
Notes: My first foray into writing KAT-TUN. Thanks to littlealex for making sure I didn't assassinate anyone's character.
Link to Original Story: three a.m.
Link to Original Writer: lonelyxlovers
I can’t sleep. There's too much white noise: the rattle of the refrigerator pipes, the echoing drip of the bathtub faucet, the drunkards on the corner whistling at the working girls on the corner—or maybe someone’s hailing a taxi. I can't tell; this isn’t my apartment.
The company owns this complex. It’s a non-descript grey building tucked away in an old neighbourhood of Tokyo—the last place you would look for celebrity. When there’s a deadline barrelling down on us, they send us here so we can get away. So we can focus.
I think back on the day I've had (meeting, rehearsal, briefing, interview) and irritation flares up.
I’m not like Jin. I can’t sit back and relax, practicing until it’s good enough. His finely-crafted persona has people expecting him to half-ass things and take shortcuts. He works just hard enough. Maybe it’s innate talent, maybe it’s devil-may-care. But I’m not like him.
Do I wish I was?
Sometimes. It takes a lot of effort to make nonchalance look easy.
Do I wish he worked harder?
Not anymore, I’m used to it. It pushes me—makes me reach further to make up for his short-comings.
Somehow he makes me better because he’s not as much as he could be.
But no matter how much I try, how much I practice, how much I give, neither am I.
I used to say, “It’s not fair.” It's not fair that Jin always comes in last to shoot his scenes for a video and is the first to leave. I used to think it was old Johnny’s end of the bargain in getting Jin to come back. I think we all knew that if he could have, Jin would have stayed in L.A. I know why he left. I would be lying if I said I’d never thought of what it would be like to live somewhere no one knows your face. Somewhere you could walk down the street in broad daylight, whenever you felt the urge. I forget how that feels.
And I used to wonder what would have become of KT-TUN. Where would we be now if Jin hadn’t come back?
It used to hurt to say, “We need him.” It still hurts to think we aren’t perfect without him.
My body aches. It always does now, but my muscles are sore from dancing too hard this afternoon. But I just can't get the steps. It’s not difficult choreography and that makes it all the more frustrating. I shouldn’t have a problem with this. This apartment has hardwood floors—the building is so old they groan under every step, but there’s spring in the wood. Good for dancing. I put on a pair of socks to muffle the sound of my feet; Jin’s asleep next door.
There’s a large mirror in my room, hazy with a thick coating of dust. The closet is empty and the bed is old and squeaks when you sit on it. The table is pushed into a corner, piled high with old magazines and junk mail. The only other furniture in the room are half a dozen worn out cushions. The pinnacle of luxury.
The CD player is still plugged into the lone socket, sitting on the floor. The disc inside has "KAT-TUN - new single" scrawled on it in permanent marker. I make sure the volume is down low and press play. I can’t sleep so I might as well practice. Maybe the shadows and orange street lights will help, rather than over-bright fluorescents and wall-length mirrors.
People think I can’t be idle. If I have a free moment, I'm memorizing a script, looking over lyric sheets, spinning new answers to old questions. There are twenty-four usable hours in a day. But it’s not like that. I hate rehearsing as much as I hate going to the dentist, but I hate screwing up more.
I know each of the steps. They've been drilled into me since I was twelve. They're in me, so why can't I string them together like I'm supposed to? It's a simple eight-count, just two bars of music, but I keep missing it. I watch my shadow on the walls: the doppelgänger leaps and spins so effortlessly. Why can't I look like that? My thighs burn with each jump, each stretch makes my stomach and shoulders scream. But it's just eight more counts...
Jin makes it look so simple. He looks like he choreographed it himself. If he screws up, it still looks flawless. Like it was supposed to be that way and the rest of us are all doing it wrong. He's slick and graceful, clean lines and perfect tension. Feline, vulpine, serpentine. The music is tangible and he feels it out with his fingertips and the sway of his hips. It looks so natural.
I close my eyes and try to mimic the fluid gyrations, the sensual revolutions of the Jin in my head. I see him stalking across the floor, quiet and dangerous. Jin keeps his eye on his target and I keep mine on him: step, step, cross, spin—hit hit hit—roll, hold. I feel my body's crude immitation of the dance. I don't miss a beat this time; I just let go.
The music is quiet but the beat pounds in my ears, the tempo quick like—
I'm not alone anymore. It could only be one person. I shouldn't be as surprised as I am. Jin's the only one here with me. It's only ever been him.
My heart thumps with the bass line of the song and the feel of Jin behind me, against me, with me: smooth, liquid, infinite. We are in tandem but each move of his is an antithesis to mine. There's synthesis in the difference between us. Action and reaction.
His hands are on me—my waist, my hips, my shoulders—he's so close I can smell him. Loose and languid. He pulls me in (emotionally, physically) and I don't have the energy to resist. I'm afraid to open my eyes; this feels too intimate to watch, even if it is myself. What if this is all a dream and when I open my eyes, I'll be back in the rehearsal studio, tripping over my own feet and falling to the floor?
Jin circles and encircles me. His breath is warm and moist against the side of my face, ragged and uneven. His arms hold me tightly but I think I'm clinging to him more. I can't tell which is up or down anymore. I'm tired. My muscles feel leaden so I rest my forehead against Jin's shoudler. I'm not ready to stop yet, though my body is pleading.
"Come to bed." Jin's voice is gravelly, exhausted. He leans into me as I comb my fingers through his hair; the kiss on my palm begs me to rest. I look at the bed in the corner and the fatigue deepens.
Jin bites my ear and purrs, "My bed." His hands travel from my waist up, lifting my thin t-shirt as they go. My baser side has taken over: my instincts tell me to moan and I do. My head lolls as Jin kisses my neck and bare shoulder. My body wants to submit.
"I can't. I'm not finished. I have to—" I reach for the play button on the CD player. Now that Jin's here, if I go through it just once more I think I'll get it right. Jin grabs my wrist and pulls me against him. His fingers plunge into my hair and pull, not hard enough to hurt but I can't look anywhere else but into his dark eyes.
"You're perfect," he says. He stares me down, willing me to believe him.
I struggle in Jin's grasp but he just tightens his hold on me. How can anyone stand up next to Jin? Johnny's golden boy who gets chance after chance, no matter how far he steps over the line. He doesn't even have to try.
"You are perfect," he murmurs fiercely. "You don't see yourself. You are perfect." Over and over again: an exhaltation, a litany. There's awe in his voice, wonder at an absolute truth. Simple and undeniable. He pauses for a breath and his words ring in my ears. You are perfect.
The whole is more than the sum of its parts: melody and harmony, ebony and ivory, presence and absence. I watch my shadow on the wall, how it moves when I lift my arm: defined and precise. I am my shadow and my shadow is me. I can't have one without the other.
And we aren't KAT-TUN without Jin. I'm not me without Jin.