The sky was on fire by the mercy of the setting sun when he and Mira pulled into the jimusho’s complex - the last scarlet harbingers of dusk staining the lowest reaches of Japan’s softening horizon as the star it belonged to, set in their mother country and dawned in another.
Noticing this, took Jin all of seven minutes because it was only by the time he’d turned around in the elevator armed with his grocery that he made note of the scarlet sky through the glass of his agency building - night already?
And vaguely realized that wow, he’d spent half the day with Suzuha-
- Suzuha, who was apparently, a powerful figurehead of sorts in her division of the mafia.
Jin frowned. His mouth twisted awkwardly as he glanced at the faux marble beneath his feet, at the cheap plastic bags hanging just above them.
No - he ended up thinking.
Much like how he still couldn’t get over the fact that Yamapi was some blood-crazed monster of godly proportions; he still couldn’t make sense of this - and not just because it boggled his wrecked mind, rather - because it didn’t really make sense on a literal level.
Like, why would someone so very fucking important waste time on the likes of him? An ignorant nobody, the son of the notoriously mediocre Third Syndicate’s consigliere at most? He held no value, other than that the Don wanted him dead for whatever reasons (were unknown mafia targets actually valuable in this strange alternate world then?) - but that was about it; and now that he actually thought about it, even if the Syndicates were never actually on particularly ‘good’ terms at any given time of any century ever, wasn’t the Don’s word law?
Wouldn’t Suzuha, as an underling in Sumiyoshi-kai be obligated to kill him on sight - if that’s what the Don had ordered to begin with? - Like, what in the world was this - why wasn’t he bleeding out in one of Belizerey’s backrooms right now?
Jin frowned - wondered very vaguely at the very back of his head, if maybe just maybe - she'd poisoned the beers she'd treated him to...
- Was it because he was an old friend of hers? Someone she couldn’t bring herself to kill? - No. They hadn’t even been that close to begin with. She’d just been a senpai and he, a kouhai. The Yakuza didn’t value those kinds of relationships unless they were productive in some manner - so, why wasn’t he dead?
Why hadn’t she killed him? Or, was that the state to which the pecking order between the syndicates regressed to now?
Had the Don’s word become worthless? So weightless that his orders didn’t matter anymore?
The man tilted his head slowly, spaced out and staring into the elevator floor as it rose - maybe his assassination wasn’t an officially made request? Maybe his name was in a personal black book as opposed to a flier with his face and bounty pinned onto the job request board at what? - Assassination central?
That kind of made sense though now that he thought about it like that, because if it were public Underworld news, God knew he’d have black op squads and lone mercenaries flying at him from every which way - maybe Aoi had kept news of Jin being a target of his to himself and his sons…?
But then if he had, why did Suzuha know about it?
Was it because she was an informant? Because she was supposedly someone powerful within the ranks? - Aaah, so many question with no answers to - Kouji’s entire spiel above it all - “yo.”
“What-,” he glanced up, only just then noticing Koki.
And the elevator doors he had his foot in front of to keep from sliding shut.
“Koki-,” he stated blankly then stopped -, ‘you might’ve noticed that the rest of your band members are working, yes - but they aren’t completely into the reunion are they? For some reason, the focus is on you and Kazuya, isn’t it?’ Kouji droned in his head and Jin promptly checked out staring at this band member’s face.
Koki blinked at that, studious for a moment as he met the blank stare before he snorted and lifted a hand to wave it in his face.
“You okay, man?” he prompted as he leaned into the elevator, bending down to stick his hands into the bags Jin held at his sides now, “you’ve been a missing person all day, you know? Ossan was having a fit - Jin this, Bakanishi that-," he laughed quietly, cracking his neck as he searched Jin's loot, "no one said nothing though - we heard you were out with Meisa?" He added as he inspected a bag of Chex Mix with a wrinkled nose, "you two getting back together or something?”
Hardly - and the elder just watched as Koki rooted around in his bags, no doubt searching for either really sweet, or obnoxiously spicy.
“Right bag, second one - sushi and hot Cheetos,” he mumbled off-handedly having watched the man whine to himself about the food he was scavenging up from the other bags and being disappointed for about thirty seconds.
“Thaaaaaank you, sugar daddy,” - “ughhhh,” Jin groaned - and Koki grinned, immediately switching sides and snatching up his booty, “drinks?” he added as he straightened back up.
“Tsk,” Jin sniffed - but rolling his eyes, he lifted up his left hand nevertheless, letting one of the bag handles go so that it fell open in the younger’s face. “Coke,” he offered while Koki dove for it before leaning in to thump him on the back in another set of thanks.
“Dinner in Kazu’s room,” he called as he stepped into the elevator beside Jin, pushing the elder out into the floor lobby as he did, “onigiri and stuff - oh, and yeah-!” - Jin glanced back as the blonde quickly flung a leg out between the elevator doors just as it began closing again, “he says to leave all your Okinawa bags in the hallway outside the rooms, ‘cause the mover guys are going to come around early tomorrow - to load our stuff up on Ossan’s private jet or ship it off to Tokoro-san's or something.”
“Priva- we’re not going to the airport?” Jin hitched a brow.
Koki shrugged, “old man’s orders - probably worried about paparazzi and publicity - ‘cause its’ supposed to be a private vacation and all - eh,” he paused to take a sip of his freshly popped coke, “you know the deal - s’all the usual,” he continued easily, before jerking his chin up -, “got a photoshoot ‘till eleven-ish, tell Maru, yeah?” he requested as he drew his foot back and finally let the elevator doors slide shut - yelling a fading ‘seeeee yaaaaaaaaa~’ on his way down.
Had he been in the rights of his sane mind Jin probably would’ve yelled back at him to shut up before he woke up the senpai bands an incurred their wraths; but seeing as how he wasn’t, he stared at the elevator, and then turned around slowly to stare at the furthest room at the end on the center corridor stretching in front of him.
From where it stood - all the way back there - about ten million miles away by Jin’s perception, the room seemed intimidating. The black bedsheets Kazuya had hung over the open doorway - courtesy of Yuichiro who’d kicked down the damn door early that morning - only seemed to make it worse; like the fact that the person Suzuha had cautioned him against staying in that room wasn’t bad enough; the blackness of the sheet making it seem like an empty void, made it worse.
“Tsk,” Jin groaned again, rolling his eyes at what he hoped was just his head over exaggerating every little detail that probably, didn’t even exist. “Come on, get it together…,” he sighed to himself instead, and gave his head a hurried shake, like in doing so quick enough, he would physically dislodge the constant loop of ’stay away from Kamenashi, Jin. He’s dangerous, Jin. My little brother is heartless, Jin. He’s not kind, Jin.’
Not that it did much - but the oncoming migraine he’d just caused himself was a good enough distraction if any.
Hopefully he’d end up downing a concoction of pain meds, advil, and an overdose of sleeping pills that would make him sleep so hard, he’d forget that this nightmare had even happened, various other nightmares included.
Yup. Sounded like a plan.
“MARU!” he barked as he trekked through their hallway, dragging his groceries with.
“WHAAAT?” came his first answer from the room on his left.
“I’M TRYING TO SLEEP, BAKANISHI!” - Junno howled loudly from the room on his right, and for the millionth time Jin was yet again reminded that Junno wasn’t the sweet Junno he remembered.
Again, Kouji’s words rumbled through his head and again he thought, I’m surrounded by lies and liars, for no particular reason at all.
He tried not to sigh.
“MY BAAAADDDD!” - he hollered back instead, and louder - for good measure, managing to earn himself a laugh from Maru when he stuck his head out his open room door.
“What’s up?” he prompted as they both listened to the irritated litany of whiny groans Junno succumbed to next as Jin came up beside the elder.
“Nothing much,” he shrugged, leaning back as the man immediately went for his grocery bags the minute he saw them, grabby hands searching quickly through them the way his last bandmate had - “Koki says his shoot’s going to run ‘till midnight, told me to tell you - and what. The hell. You guys starved or something?” he added irritably when Maru drew back his hands with a selection of healthy junk food and more junk food.
“Meh, close enough,” the man shrugged, turning to fling his stolen food into the dorm behind him before turning back, “Kazu says our suitcases should be-.”
“-Be out in the hallway so the mover guys can deal with it tomorrow or something - I know, Koki told me,” Jin waved him off before shaking his bags. “Done looting?”
“For now,” Maru grinned.
And the younger rolled his eyes, turning back and meaning to head off into his own room - “gah-!”
“Hallllllt, loser,” Junno muttered dully from behind him - having come out of his own room at some point.
“Jun - what-?” Jin immediately started whining.
“Cheetos, gimme gimmie-,” the younger demanded, earning himself Jin’s second roll of the eyes that hour, “no, the poofy ones-,” he added, just as Jin loosened his hold on the hot Cheetos bag.
“Tsk - picky,” he grunted, but lifted his right hand all the same.
“Thaaaanks,” - but Junno paid him no mind, reaching for the lifted bag snatching up his own snacks and getting away with two Fanta and Sprite bottles while he was at it.
“Done,” he declared when he was finished, giving Jin a whack in the shoulder and wiggling back into his room leaving the latter to stare skeptically at his door, before turning to his own substitution of one.
“Thieves…,” he sighed to himself, and ignored the indignant ‘I heard that!’s from either sides of himself as he headed off into his own room.
Staring at the bedsheets before him for a few seconds, he touched them gingerly like he was worried it’d truly suck him into eternal darkness if he came any closer-
‘Idiot,’ he chastised himself a moment later when he realized what he was doing and pushed the sheet aside before his paranoia got the better of him - stepping in and - “oh.”
He blinked at the stranger sitting crouched near the door Kazuya’s brother had so graciously toppled that morning.
“Oh,” the youngster parroted back, before popping back up after a second, while Jin was stuck in midstep. “Hi, I’m Kou - you’re carpenter,” he quickly explained, dropping the hand he’d stuck out and nodding understandably when he saw that Jin’s hand were full.
“Oh…,” the idol just repeated, eyes wandering back to the destroyed door on the floor.
“Yeah that -,” Kou glanced down, “Kamenashi-sama hired me to fix it before tomorrow -,” he paused, thumbing over his shoulder, “he’s in the kitchen if you need him,” he added, then sank back to the floor with another nod and got back to tinkering with the mutated excuse of wood.
Jin watched on for a second - wondering why Johnny wouldn’t just let them replace broken dorm things with new things the way normal people actually did - before snapping out of it and slipping out of his shoes and heading off to the kitchen.
To his wildly immense relief, Kazuya was standing at the counter near the fridge, back turned to him - chopping something up on the cutting board and immersed, quite deeply at that, into the conversation he was having on his cell phone.
Meaning Jin wouldn’t have to deal with him - not really, anyway.
And so he didn’t.
Just quietly slid over to the fridge, where he began arranging the slightly not-so-dangerous junk food with the actual healthy stuff in the fridge, leaving all the actual junk food on the island behind himself and his roommate - “Jin.”
He jumped. “Hn?” he glanced up from he sat in front of the fridge - judging how much KAT-TUN could finish up in what little time they had left before they headed for Okinawa.
‘Dinner. Table,’ Kazuya mouthed, phone caught between his ear and shoulder and he waved to the dining table just outside their kitchen - before turning his attention back to whoever was on the line - Julie, judging from the ‘no, no - those are the concert REHEARSAL dates. Wha-no, we’re coming back on the first week of April - I’m SORRY, I FORGOT to tell you-.’
And watching him like that for a moment as he frantically monologued - Jin let his eyes wander.
Down, down, down they went - to Kazuya’s legs, to where they were encased in a set of faded sweatpants. To where Kei’s tattoo was hidden behind a set of - “stop,” he murmured to himself. Turned away - abruptly stood up and swung the fridge door shut harder than he meant to, surprising Kazuya enough to make him turn while he was at it.
He ignored it though, selectively so - the iffy stare his roommate probably had pinned to his back - as he headed out of the kitchen and into their dorm to snatch up a rice ball.
“Have you eaten?” he called over to the handyman - Kou, was it? - at the door. Last thing he needed was a starved worker studying questionable Akame dynamics in this shitty room.
“Yessir, thanks,” the younger yelled back, hammering something into place as Jin watched on for a moment before turning and heading towards the bathroom as he chowed down.
The bath he took after that lasted him all of pointless forty-something minutes - which, for him, considering that he was a bachelor again, currenlty active parent no more - was about way too long of a shower to take.
Then again, Kazuya was in the room outside - and way too long of a shower suddenly seemed to be about way too short when he remembered that.
Either way, getting dehydrated and wrinkly in wasted water in the latter half of those forty-something minutes was just about outrageous enough to get him to quit showering by the time he started thinking about starving children in Syria and started berating himself for taking water as granted.
“Aaaah~,” he sighed out loud, stretching wide and yawning as he idled out of the bathroom heading off to hunt for night clothes.
Kou - standing in front of the door he’d leant against the wall beside the doorframe at some point - was whining about something or the other now; probably about why he had to spend more money fixing this piece of shit, when he could’ve always just bought a fresh new one to replace it with. Then again Johnny’s rules were Johnny’s rules; and if ratty doors were meant to be preserved, they’d better damn well be preserved - so Jin left him to it.
Kazuya was still on the phone - with Yuichiro this time, on speaker - yelling at him, ‘track Kou-nii the fuck down, will you?’ - or something of the likes, from which Jin figured that Kouji had probably hijacked Mira’s car from her chauffeur and gone off on an adventure of his own. It made him want to smile because - that was just so typically Kouji; like it would be atypical of him not to do so.
He sighed instead, tried not to think of what that typical Kouji had chosen to reveal to him just a few hours ago - and headed off to his bedside once he'd found the first pair of pjs lying about.
Throwing back his mix of pills, he flumped into bed and willed his mind to calm itself enough to allow him slumber.
But Kou kept hammering.
And Kazuya kept yelling.
And Jin kept thinking, ‘I’m living with Kei’s dangerous geisha.’
So, he and sleep - the relationship didn’t work.
He tried. God, he tried - until he heard Koki’s loud voice through the hallway, the farway ding of an opening elevator to match - and he knew right then, he’d tried his hand at resting for about two hours now - except right now, it was midnightish and this shit was obviously not going to work out for him.
And so he gave up.
“Tsk,” - he snarled, and ignored the frightened look Kou heeded him with for it.
Snatching another rice ball off the table, he headed back into the kitchen, slammed the door shut and seated himself cross-legged on the island top.
Before him, Kazuya glanced back and over his shoulder - brows raised in question - what do you want?
But Jin shrugged, ate, and stared at his legs - like if he stared hard enough he’d be able to see the tattoo through his pants.
The younger just sighed back, eyes rolling no doubt, as he turned back to doing whatever it was he was he’d been doing since Jin had come back. “No, he isn’t back - yes, I tried calling, he just isn’t answering,” he continued, talking to someone - either Yuichiro, or Julie, or neither, or both - as he walked around the kitchen island Jin was sitting on with his cutting board in hand to empty whatever chopped up vegetables he had on it into the steaming pot sitting on on the stove.
Jin followed him with his eyes, and wondered vaguely - if he was talking about Tatsuya who’d been missing for the last couple of days, allegedly away on business - as he ate his rice ball. Then again, Kouji was currently a MIA as well…
“What?” Kazuya turned to his side, stretching over to slide the cutting board and its knife back onto the counter to his left as he steadied his phone with his free hand. “No - I just figured he was busy - wh-? - No, said he was going over stocks a few days ago - he didn’t tell me what he had to do today, he never does -,” - definitely Tatsuya, Jin thought as he licked his fingers - “Hikami, if he told me everything ever about his business with them, he’d never get anything done and neither would I, so quit it-,” - ah, he was talking to his butler/ manager/ steward/ whatever in the hell Hikaru Kamitaira was to Kazuya, “- yes, he’s probably going to be late is all - yeah, hm…no, for God’s sake - yes, fine - I’ll ask him when he gets back-,” - and after that it was just a series of ‘hm’s’ and ‘yeah’s’ after which Kazuya hung up, pocketing his phone in his sweats.
“You aren’t tired?” he spoke up, asking his roommate now.
“Hm~m,” Jin hummed back.
“In the fridge.”
Kazuya glanced over his shoulder, eyeing the mini packs of Cheetos, chips, Doritos and whatnot. “And that?” he judged.
Jin shrugged - he’d only realized Mira had left half her junk food in his bags after she’d dropped him off at the jimusho, speaking of whom-
“Our dietician’s going to kill us, you know-.”
“You had me followed,” Jin interrupted.
And Kazuya barely flinched. “You lied to me about Meisa, did you think I wouldn’t?” he sighed.
“I didn’t lie-,” Jin tried his hand at managing his bullshit.
“She’s in Kyoto, Jin,” the younger retorted before he could even try, “shooting a drama. Think before you lie to me, will you?”
And the latter winced. “You knew about that?”
“Just like I know where Junno and Maru’s girlfriends are right now,” Kazuya returned, walking back around the island, to fish out some spices from some cupboard before heading back.
“Why?” - though Jin was just wasting time right now, trying to figure how to ask Kazuya what he knew about Suzuha and he.
“You know why,” - Jin groaned, “why are you stalling now?” - sometimes he regretted that Kazuya knew him better than he knew Kazuya. “If you want to ask something, ask it - or go to sleep, Ossan wants us up by five tomorrow-.”
“You know about Suzuha.”
Kazuya’s hands stopped just as he was beginning to stir the vegetable soup.
“Yes,” he stated after a moment, going back into motion - but slowly. Carefully.
Jin swallowed; licked his lips. Kazuya didn’t tell truths because it was the right thing to do, he did it because he had an agenda that required it - this he knew very well.
“You know what she’s told me.”
“Not really, no-.”
Kazuya shrugged, tilted his head backwards to eye him. “I’ve got a general idea of what she might’ve.”
“And you aren’t worried?”
“Should I be?”
Jin perked. This was new. “Why aren’t you worried?” he demanded immediately - because, frankly - he’d expected a tiny bit more tension, a tiny bit of a freak out.
Kazuya turned, “what did she tell you?”
Jin’s mouth shut. Twisted. He opened it again - took a breath, then shut it again and turned away. “About the guy we saw the other night - the one who drugged me - with Sanae,” he finally deciding on saying.
“You would’ve found out about Kei anyway,” Kazuya shrugged, “he’s subtle, but he’s still in the newspapers,” he tilted his head, “you would’ve found that out if you’d searched a little.”
Okay then. The elder turned back. “-About The True King, about Tenshi and the others - the Don’s kids - Hikifune history-,” he continued.
And the younger waved him, turning back to the stove -, “textbook info - all stuff you would’ve eventually found out,” he insisted.
“About Kei’s doubles - about…,” he paused, glanced off to the side, “…who raped you-,” - he looked up when the loud clang of Kazuya’s ladle and the copper pot slamming together rang through the kitchen.
He tensed - had he crossed a line-?
“Lower your voice,” his roommate chided quietly, “we have a guest-,” - and went back to stirring.
Jin’s eyes widened. “It’s true then?” he mumbled, “Kai and Kei’s double raped-,” - he stopped when he was heeded with a cautioning glare, but it wasn’t enough to stop him because now he had new questions - the first of which set his eyes alight - “why’d you make me believe the real Kei hurt you?” he immediately demanded, because yes - up until Suzuha had told him so, he hadn’t even fantasized that Aoi’s second born heir might’ve had anything to do with doubles. And his roommate hadn’t even hinted at it.
Everything he’d said and done, the way he’d acted was all in the interest of promoting to Jin that yes, ' the actual twins hurt me'; nothing about this double business. Not even an inkling on info that might have suggested that the real Hikifune Kei was an elusive, camera-shy piece of extraordinary shit that was in Honolulu, Hawaii the night Kai had kidnapped him - “why would you let me believe Kei did that to you?”
Kazuya didn’t answer.
But his silence spoke loud enough for itself - because ah. He’d been stalling hadn’t he? He’d made Jin sincerely believe that Kai and his actual twin had raped him, when it was actually Kai and the respective Kei double had assigned his psychotic brother. Why? Because he’d been stalling on letting Jin find out the truth - for his own reasons sure, maybe he and Tatsuya didn’t want him figuring this out as quickly as Kazuya just telling him everything - but ah. He had been stalling on that note, hadn’t he?
“That day,” he added, “the double acted like the real Kei, why?”
Kazuya shrugged, “all the doubles do? Kai's orders?” he replied vaguely, and continued stirring.
Not that Jin had actually expected him to answer in the first place anyway.
Sighing, he drummed his knuckles on the marble top, looking away. “She told me about Kei - how his first ring works,” he continued, from where he’d left off earlier.
“Mh,” the younger hummed, reaching back and holding his hand out to Jin, “tablespoon,” he requested, and waited until the something cold and hard hit his palm.
“About…,” - he watched for Kazuya’s reaction now as he shut the drawer in the island side he’d pulled the spoon from, “Toi Retsu-,” - a reaction that was a flinch, and a softening touch of sympathetic hazel eyes as the latter turned over his shoulder - because, yes. Both of them knew all too well that Reio was in the hospital because of her.
But that was the extent of the reaction. Kazuya soon turned back to his concoction, and set back to work once Jin had held his eyes for a single, meaningful minute.
“And then about the second syndicate - about,” his eyes wandered to the nape of Kazuya’s neck now where he could the tiniest tendrils of Jaejoong’s tattoo stretching out from beneath his locks - just as he turned, blowing on a spoon full of soup, free hand cupped under it.
“Here-,” he held it out to Jin, waiting for the man to lean forward and drink down whatever soup was in the spoon.
“- The gang signs and colors - Kei’s and Kai’s insignias. Soup needs more salt-,” he threw in quickly as he leaned back, reaching for the salt shaker beside his waist and flinging it at the younger.
“And?” Kazuya caught it, emptied a few shakes into the pot and went back to stirring again.
“That’s about it,” Jin shrugged as he watched and thought to himself that yeah - Kazuya probably wouldn't be worried about his knowing such basic information like that, much less so, actually go and freak out about it.
“My brother?” Kazuya taste tested the soup again after a minute, before holding out the same spoon to his roommate again, “did he say anything? I heard he broke into your car-,” he paused as the elder leaned forward to catch his skinny wrist and pull him forward by it so that he could reach the spoon. It occurred to him as he did, that Kazuya seemed to be far more worried about what Kouji might’ve told him, than what a legit Underworld information broker might have.
“Same stuff Suzuha told me-,” Jin pulled back from the spoon, swallowing down his tidbit, grip still tight on Kazuya’s wrist, “to be wary of you,” he finished, eyeing the irritation taking hold of the younger - intensely enough to keep him lost in thought as Jin tested his grip and pulled him a tiny bit closer - “what’re you doing?”