Kattun kizuna

Keywords: fanfiction, transformative works, otw, fair use, archive
Description: An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works

They've always had a bond underneath everything, more important than any of it, but now it's a little bit broken and Jin doesn't know why, but he's determined to fix it.

I know the title is cliche, shhh. 3 So, this is set early 2006 sometime, just before debut, like while they're in rehearsals before the Real Face vid maybe. It's canon, but with a slight AU twist. I wish that I had more time and more words to explore this idea properly, and maybe I will at some point, but for now, I have been assured that it is appropriately fluffy and happy at least (possibly too sappy) and I hope you enjoy it very much. ♥

Jin was watching Kame, again. He wasn't supposed to be, but right now that was all of Kame that he had, and he really couldn't help it.

The expression on his face, however, was probably helping to sell the 'Akame had a fight and aren't speaking to each other' thing. Because Kame seemed to be taking it far too seriously - like everything, but this was worse, this was stupid. and it hurt and Jin was frustrated beyond belief.

He managed to catch Kame's eye every now and then, and there was a flicker of - something, but then it was gone again and Kame would turn away as if Jin didn't exist, and really it was making him crazy. He could not understand why Kame was reacting this way; they'd been inseparable for years, they'd been perfect, everything was fine. and then this. nothing.

Of course they were meant to be acting cold for the cameras, management wanted to split them up for some reason (Kame had tried to explain it to him, back when this all started, but Jin didn't actually care, he thought it was all stupid and if he thought about any of it very much it made him too mad - but not at Kame, never at Kame), and that was just acting - as far as Jin knew they hadn't actually had a fight, or. he hadn't done anything for Kame to be mad at him about. Right?

Even if they were supposed to be pretending to have a falling out while in public, and Kame was taking it to extremes like not hanging out in private, either, there was no reason for Kame to completely shut him out like this.

It wasn't that Kame refused to speak to him at all, because if Jin went up to him to talk when they were away from the cameras somewhere then Kame would actually hold a pleasant, polite conversation with him, but. distant. Weirdly, jarringly, wrenchingly distant.

He wasn't there like he'd always been before, and he wouldn't talk about. this. about why or what the hell or anything about them. He avoided Jin unless other people were around, didn't want to hang out no matter how safe the location if it was going to be just the two of them, and shied away from any kind of touching, no matter how casual or friendly.

Compared to what they'd had, what they'd been. before, it was almost worse than nothing at all. Jin was missing him with a sharp, fierce desperation, as if he were missing more than a limb, more like missing vital organs, his heart, his soul.

It was time for drastic measures, in Jin's opinion. So he watched, and he waited until Kame was leaving for the day, one of their very late days when hardly anyone else was left in the building, and followed him out. He caught up to Kame once they were a safe distance away from anyone that might overhear even if there were raised voices, and called his name.

Kame whirled around, looking wide-eyed at him, and froze just long enough for Jin to grab his wrist.

The electric spark and tingle and hum of connection felt the same as it always had, which was a minor relief, and Kame's sharp intake of breath told Jin that he was feeling it, too. So far so good.

"What - what are you doing? " Kame hissed at him, but his eyes were still wide and the look in them wasn't anger; he looked suddenly very young, and vulnerable, and afraid and that. That was almost enough to make Jin let go of him and back off, because Kame being afraid of him was like a punch in the gut - but only almost.

"We need to talk," Jin informed him with all the determination and stubbornness he could muster, and dragged him into a nearby empty office, locking the door behind them. He let Kame go once they were inside, and watched with a feeling he couldn't identify as Kame held his wrist where Jin had touched him and rubbed it carefully, as if it might have been broken or sprained and he was checking for damage. His face was once again blank, except for the eyes, which looked rather stormy.

"Shut the hell up and listen to me," Jin said fiercely, several months worth of frustration boiling over. "I have no idea what is going on with you or why the fuck you're suddenly actually mad at me or what the fuck ever, but this is - I can't. " His voice caught a little in his throat and he bit his lip, hurt and desperation washing out the frustrated anger as if it had never been.

"I can't do this, Kame, not without you," he pleaded, well past caring how broken he sounded. He moved closer, crowding Kame up against a nearby wall with a hand placed on either side of him, and watched his face with desperate intensity, though Kame refused to meet his eyes, looking down and turning his head to the side.

"You've been in my head for years ," Jin reminded him in a shaken voice, pouring his emotion into that because Kame couldn't feel it, not anymore. "You've been right beside me and with me and I could always hear you, no matter what, even when we weren't together I could still talk to you and feel you, and I knew you were happy. we were, we were so good together, Kazuya, you were the other half of me and now you're just. gone --" His voice broke entirely that time, and Kame's eyes snapped up to meet his, finally, but they looked guarded still, wary and uncertain.

Jin swallowed hard, trying to get his voice back and not just break down and cry. This was important, he had to get it all out, make Kame listen, in actual words because it was all he had left.

"This whole stupid fight thing we're supposed to be doing, I don't know if you're just taking it too seriously or I - I did something, to make you mad or what, whatever it is, I'm sorry, just please, let me fix it, please," he begged. "I'll do anything, I don't care, but I can't do this without that - that. " Jin didn't have words for it, they'd never really talked about it, they'd never had to.

They hadn't needed words with the connection they had - the way they could feel what each other was feeling, sense each other's presence, hear each other's mind-voices in their heads, no matter how far apart they were. Until the day that Kame had slammed down walls to shut it off, shut it down cold, without ever explaining why.

Kame was just watching him now, silently, still shutting him out but Jin could see conflicting emotions warring in his eyes, his expression cracking a little to show doubt and stubbornness and some maybe-wistfulness, all with an edge still of something like fear.

Most apparent was the stubbornness, although he shifted a little, hunching his shoulders in a way that Jin knew meant he felt like he should apologise, but wouldn't or couldn't. He didn't say anything though, seemed to be just. almost waiting or watching for something, and he wasn't trying to shove Jin away so Jin kept talking, relieved that he was getting at least that much.

"I need you in my head, and - and - wherever," he stumbled out haltingly, aching but determined, not really sure where a soul was meant to be, or if that was where the things he sensed and felt were located, if any of this had a location at all, but - "I need to feel you there and you're shutting me out and I don't know why but I can't do this. any of this without feeling - I need you back like we've always been, even if we're not, you know, literally side by side, we can still put on the act for everyone but I need this if we're going to - no," he cut himself off, shaking his head.

It was the combination of outward separation and inward silence that was making him crazy, but Jin knew that whatever the circumstances, he was never going to be okay without having that link, not anymore after so many years of being that warm and close and there. burning steady inside him like a small sun.

"Even if we weren't doing the act, even if we're the best of friends I would still feel like my heart got cut out to not have that. that connection thing," he admitted painfully, the rest of him trembling along with his voice now. "It's killing me not to feel you and hear you like that, please, Kazuya, please tell me how to fix it, what I need to do, anything, because I will, I will, for you I'd do anything, just. I need you and I'm dying here, please. "

The words tumbled over each other, nearly incoherent as Jin tried vainly to put into words things he'd never had to voice before, because Kame had always been able to feel them; not that he'd had these particular feelings before, because he'd never imagined he could hurt this badly. Or that Kame could do this to him, that either of them could shut down that link so completely, much less any reason why they would.

This was the first time they'd ever been truly separated since they met, and they didn't have to be, no matter what management had them playing at there was no reason that Jin knew of that they couldn't still use their inward connection, even if they were outwardly supposedly at odds; no one else knew about it, it couldn't give them away. But one day soon after this whole thing had begun, Kame had been away and busy with his drama filming and Shuuji to Akira things for a few weeks and he had suddenly just. shut down, blocking Jin out like he hadn't known was possible, until Jin couldn't feel him or sense him or hear him at all, just. nothing.

There was a faint, low level hum like static that was the only evidence the connection still existed, that it wasn't the link itself which had vanished, just Kame's presence within it. Occasionally some vague echoes of emotion would trickle through whatever block he'd thrown up, but they were so faint that Jin had trouble even telling what they were. It was a crippling absence in the wake of everything they'd had before.

Trying to read Kame's face without having the extra-sensory input felt like being suddenly deaf and blind, it was painful, some vital part of him wrenchingly severed until he felt like a shade, hollow and half-real, flat and muted and lifeless - but even without that, Jin had been able to tell whenever he saw him that Kame was not happy, was exhausted and clearly not getting enough sleep, too thin and tired and whenever he let the performing mask drop (which was rarely, even off camera but Jin had been watching for it, watching so close and constantly), then he looked downright miserable.

Just now he was shrinking against the wall like he wanted to disappear through it, to get away from Jin's words or possibly Jin himself, he didn't even know anymore, but whatever, Kame was plastered back against it and still looking at Jin with those eyes, those bright fascinating expressive eyes that just now were heartbreakingly dark and wary, doubtful, and a little. dismayed, or something.

"I. can't," Kame whispered finally, responding at last, sounding haunted as his eyes darted away and then back again, flickering with emotions that Jin could not read except for, strangely, pain and longing and regret. "I can't, Jin, I can't, I'm sorry. I just. " His voice died and he took a deep, shuddering breath.

Jin was starting to feel alarmed now, because something was really very wrong, and Kame was hurting and miserable and Jin's own misery suddenly paled in comparison. He moved closer, tucking Kame in against him between his body and the wall, feeling an odd fierce surge of protectiveness, an entirely different sort of desperation to help and soothe and take that pain and misery away.

"Just tell me," he pleaded. "Tell me what's wrong, let me help, let me in, please. " Kame was trembling against him, fine shivers wracking his body and Jin moved helplessly to slide a hand into his hair, stroking it soothingly and kissing his forehead. "Shh," he murmured against it, "shh, I got you, you're okay, we're okay, I'm here, it's all going to be okay. " He wasn't even aware of what he was saying or doing, only focused on reaching out with all of his senses, pushing against that damned block and trying to overwhelm it, to surround Kame with reassurance and affection and god knew what else, all the crazy feelings that Kame always gave him which he had never really analysed before, had never needed to because Kame was always there and knew without Jin having to say anything.

But just now Kame was shuddering, breath catching in something like a sob that tore at Jin's heart, twisting in his gut and something broke inside of him that felt almost like a dam bursting. He moved without conscious thought, pulling Kame fully into his arms and hugging him tightly, tucking Kame's head against his shoulder and pressing a kiss on top of his head, rocking him back and forth and murmuring soothing nonsense as he struggled to make sense of the flood of emotion that was sweeping him away.

As if a dam had broken in Kame too, the mental block he'd put up suddenly wavered and fell, an equally incoherent flood of emotion crashing through their link like a tidal wave, and Jin made an involuntary sound that was half a groan, half a sob of his own. Relief joined the chaotic mix of feelings, and they were both shaking now, clinging to each other hard enough to leave bruises, though they were hardly aware of it as their link blazed up hot and fierce and electric, with everything that had been held back and shut down or shut out over the last few months flooding through them both, reconnecting them on that deepest level.

They sank to the floor as their knees gave out, settling in a heap of tangled limbs as they stayed wrapped around each other, Kame's face buried in Jin's shoulder as if he were hiding, and with the link wide open again Jin could tell that he was. But he still wasn't sure why, or what the hell had caused Kame to shut him out in the first place, and his bewildered confusion and hurt and desperate need to understand poured through in a single intense sense of questioning that was not quite the word why .

<I'm sorry >, Kame's thought came back, tinged with desperation and misery and a little fear even yet. <I'm sorry I hurt you but I couldn't. even with the link I still missed you so bad, hardly ever seeing you and having to pretend we were fighting when I did and it hurt so - god, so much and I realised that I - I love you, okay, > and he shivered in Jin's arms, anxiety spiking through their link, along with a touch of defiance. <I'm - I'm in love with you, and I know that you aren't - you're not - so I didn't want you to know, but I knew you would know if I didn't. I had to shut everything down, to hide it. >

He was curled up miserably against Jin, hunching in on himself and tense as if he were bracing for the rejection, as Jin's shock and further bewilderment and confusion echoed across the bond.

<You're. you're. that's what this is all about? > Jin asked, feeling more than a little dazed. Kame was in love with him. Kame was in love with him. and hiding because he didn't want Jin to know, as if Jin was going to be upset or angry or mock him for it, and Jin felt a little insulted but mostly relieved, because Kame wasn't mad at him at all, he hadn't done anything, they were good, they were fine. Good. Kame wasn't going to keep shutting him out, as long as Jin didn't mind that - holy shit, Kame was in love with him .

And suddenly a myriad of little things he'd thought or felt or done in the last few years, but especially the things he'd said and done in last few minutes, culminating in that fierce surge of protectiveness and affection which had prompted him to pull Kame into his arms a minute ago, all clicked into place. Oh. Oh. Jin felt even more dazed with the realisation, but moved automatically to drag Kame all the way into his lap, wrapping around him fiercely tight and kissing his hair, his forehead, his shoulder, shaking with something that was more elation than shock, but a little of both.

<I'm in love with you >, Jin sent back, both the feeling and actual words for emphasis, fervent and thrilled, wondering with the newness of the discovery but not taking time to ponder on it now. His heart was racing with excitement and joy and relief because wow, they were better than good now, they were amazing. And Kame's own relief and disbelieving joy echoed back at him, his breath sobbing a little in his chest but Jin thought they both had a few tears right now and that was okay, considering. The last few months had been hell on both of them.

For a few minutes they just revelled in the restored connection and the intensity of their shared emotions, finally sharing a soft, searching, achingly tender kiss somewhere in there but mainly just holding on, both mostly focused on the renewed flood of input from their other senses, overwhelming the physical ones for now. The energy and emotion spilled back and forth between them, building up a feedback loop of love and hope and joy and relief and a dozen other things, shared and intensified over and over until the link was open wider than it had ever been, deeper and fuller and more vibrant, stronger and sharper, almost unbearably heartwrenchingly good.

It felt more like they were one soul than it ever had, as if they could neither of them tell where one of them ended and the other began. This time, they determined, not even needing to put the thoughts into words, this time it would be for good, forever, never shutting each other out again, no matter what separated them in the physical world, this link would always keep them close.

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