Original Story Title: Unthinkable
Original Story Link: http://archiveofourown.org/works/170102
Original Story Pairings: Gen
Original Story Rating: Teen
Original Story Warnings: Sexual assault, rape, and human trafficking
Remix Story Title: The Meaning Of It
Remix Author: mazarin221b
Remix Beta: sc010f, thisprettywren
Remix Britpicker: thesmallhobbit
Remix Story Pairings: Nicky Winston/OMC
Remix Story Rating: R
Remix Story Warnings: mild sexual situations, stalking
"The Meaning Of It"
"What is the meaning of it, Watson?" said Holmes solemnly as he laid down the paper. "What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? There is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever." --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Cardboard Box.
Nicky Winston frowns at his bowl, pokes the tofu around the broth. He knows he needs to eat, he really should, but ramen and tofu are starting to get a little old.
That’s what happens when you’re flat broke, though.
He sighs, takes a bite, tries hard not to think of crisp duck and seared vegetables, his dad’s Bakewell tart, perfected after his mum died and Nicky had burst into tears the week after the funeral when he was served the last piece his mother had ever made. His dad always had tried to make things just that bit easier, even if his first Bakewell was still a bit runny in the middle and burnt on the edges.
Homesickness is a bit of a bitch, too. Especially when you’d only slipped away from home on a lie.
Not that he really needed to lie; well, he sort of did, his dad really was chuffed when he graduated university, but he’d expected Nicky to get a job right away, settle down. Live a straightforward, solid, responsible life. Problem was, he’d always dreamed of seeing the world, taking in everything it had to offer. He couldn’t tell his dad, his dad who’d been so wonderful after his mum died, so loving, but setting such high expectations that Nicky felt crushed, penned in. So he’d told his dad he’d found a job teaching English to Japanese kids, and before his dad could ask too many details, Nicky had been on the next aeroplane to Tokyo.
Nicky shakes himself, pulls on his jacket and is about to head back to his flat when the door to the shop opens and the first familiar face Nicky has seen in the two weeks he’d been there walks in.
“Aaron!” he calls, waving his hand. “Aaron Vass!”
“Look, I’m telling you,” Aaron says, leaning forward, “Eight hundred, free and clear. And all the bits and bobs they give! Look at this watch, this lady’s been coming in for two weeks, she gave that to me. Worth a grand, easy.”
Nicky Winston eyes his friend, skeptical and wary. “Look, you know,” and he drops his voice to keep from being overheard, “you know I’m into guys. Not women. I’d never pull it off. What if they wanted to sleep with me?”
Aaron shrugs, throws a dumpling into his mouth. “Won’t happen. You know that. You going to eat that yakitori?” At Nicky’s shake of the head, Aaron pulls the meat from the skewer piece by piece and continues to lecture, pointing the skewer at Nicky for emphasis.
“You’re broke; you’re not even legal. If you get thrown in jail here you’ll be deported, but how long will you stay in jail first? Come work in the club with me, make some serious cash, be a little bit safer. Yamamoto pays off most of the police so they don’t ask too many questions about visas, and almost everyone has money. Come on.” Aaron quirks a smile and Nicky rolls his eyes. Living on rice and noodles is getting a bit old, and if any of what Aaron says is true, he could have plenty enough to fly home by Christmas. And he’s never had a problem talking to anyone, really; it’s not something that’s ever given him pause.
“Just chatting them up, yeah? Give them a bit of an ego boost?” Nicky says.
Aaron beams. “Absolutely. It’s perfectly safe. Trust me.”
The first night at Avec Amour goes better than Nicky ever thought it would.
His first customer is a beautiful, dark-haired American woman in her late forties, and Nicky finds to his surprise that he barely needs to pretend to be even a little interested in her. She laughs at his jokes, doesn’t even try to touch him, and they get along so well the evening flies by. She loves cricket, he finds out, and scuba diving, and all in all is one of the more fascinating people he’s met in his life. He tries to throw in a few compliments here and there in a coy attempt at flirtation but the laughter at the back of her eyes always makes him feel sheepish. She buys them three ridiculously overpriced drinks each, pats him on the arm, and leaves him a 15,000 yen tip. “Well done,” she whispers on the way out the do. “Not bad for your first time.” He looks up sharply and finds Mr. Yamamoto frowning at him from behind the bar.
“I thought you were into guys,” Aaron says as they get their coats from the back.
Nicky counts his cash, tucks a few yen into his pocket and the rest into his wallet. Wouldn’t do to have it flashed out in the open on the way home. “I am. What’s the problem?”
“Yamamoto was pretty happy, but she was there too long and didn’t buy more than three. You did almost too well for your first time.”
“Oh,” Nicky says. “Should I have got rid of her?”
“Nah, just buy a few more drinks, maybe excuse yourself if she’s monopolizing your time.” Aaron pulls on his coat and gives Nicky a sly look. “She was pretty hot. Maybe show her my way next time?”
Nicky shoves Aaron playfully against the wall on their way down the hall. “Lay off my customers, you tosser. She’s nice.”
They push open the door and step out into a blast of cold wind that takes Nicky’s breath away. Its spring, damn it, it should be warmer than this. “Jesus, let’s get a cab,” he says, teeth chattering. He turns toward the street, ready to flag down a passing car when he notices a silver Lexus idling near the curb with its lights on. Just as he’s leaning over to point it out to Aaron, the driver’s side door opens and a tall man wrapped in an elegant grey coat steps out.
“You look as though you could use a ride,” he says, and the smile he flashes melts Nicky’s stomach. Nicky smiles back. The man is handsome and oddly compelling, and obviously there looking for company of the male persuasion. Nicky hadn’t had a decent date since he got to Japan, only had it off once with a guy at a club, and this man is gorgeous, and rich, and charming.
“Fuck off,” Aaron says, before Nicky can even get a word in.
The man gives him a sour look. “Wasn’t talking to you. Your friend, on the other hand…”
“He’s not interested.” Aaron pulls on his sleeve and hustles him along the pavement.
“What’s the problem?” Nicky complains, going along with it, because Aaron has a firm hold on his sleeve and he doesn’t want to make a scene.
Aaron strides down the street, Nicky still in tow. “Look, he’s a creep, I’m sure of it. People … well, there are stories.”
Nicky looks back over his shoulder. The man is still watching them. “Stories like…” he prompts.
“Like he’s not exactly one that’ll listen to you if you say no.”
“Yeah. Let’s go get dinner.”
Nicky takes one more look at the man still staring at them over the top of the Lexus glinting under the streetlamps, pulls his coat collar closer around his neck, and steers Aaron toward the lights of the all-night noodle shop on the corner.
Everything almost ends in disaster the night he locks eyes with a tall, broad-shouldered man at the other end of the bar and the air in the club suddenly feels close, stifling, and crackling with electricity.
He’s beautiful, young, fit, and obviously works there by the way he’s leaning toward the woman sitting on the barstool next to him, but the coy smile he flashes is meant for Nicky all the same and Nicky’s stomach goes tight with nerves and arousal. He doesn’t have a customer, so he sits and drinks and stares until he feels a broad hand on his shoulder.
“I don’t pay you to pick up dates,” Mr. Yamamoto says in his ear. “I expect you to look available. To be available. Always. You’re really good but have it off in your own time or there won’t be any of my time to have, understand?”
Nicky blushes. “Yes, sir,” he says, and bobs his head quickly. When he looks again, the man at the bar is across the room at a table with a blonde.
Nicky takes the opportunity of the woman’s turned back to stare, willing him to look up just once. The man finally does, brown eyes warm under floppy dark fringe and a bright white smile that makes Nicky’s heart skip a beat.
“After,” Nicky mouths silently, and the man lifts a finger from the table in acknowledgement.
His name is Jun, he’s 27, and his lips are sweet with sake and cherries and Nicky’s pretty sure that in the whole wide world he’s never kissed a man as lovely as this.
He pulls away, brushes the fringe from Jun’s forehead, glances around to be sure they’re still alone. The dim yellow of the streetlights shines across Jun’s skin, turns him golden. “Will you come home with me?” Nicky asks, and Jun nods with a dazed little smile. Nicky takes his hand and they make a run for it to Nicky’s tiny little flat in the gentle drizzle that’s beginning to fall in the early, early morning light.
“I don’t usually do—“ he starts to say before Jun’s lips are on his again, pushing him past the tiny kitchen and toward his bed, unmade and messy, but at least he changed the sheets yesterday. He sits, pulls Jun between his knees and nuzzles at his stomach while sneaking fingertips under the edge of Jun’s now untucked shirt.
“I’ve wanted you for days,” Jun says, and impatiently strips his shirt entirely off before climbing onto Nicky’s lap. “So beautiful, and your eyes…” Jun kisses Nicky’s cheeks, his forehead, his lips.
“I’d not seen you until tonight. If I had, we’d have been here long before this.”
“Then let’s make up for your ridiculous oversight,” Jun says, and presses Nicky against the bed.
The sounds Jun makes as Nicky sinks into his body are exquisite, twisting a kaleidoscope of pleasure that quickly pulls Nicky down into oblivion.
“Wake up, you ridiculous man, it’s almost one in the afternoon.”
Nicky groans, stretches, turns to find Jun grinning at him. “Why the hell are you so awake?” he complains, leans over to kiss him. “If you’re that chipper I must not have done it right. I feel like I’ve been run over.”
“Poor darling.” Jun clambers over to sit on Nicky’s bare arse, massages his shoulders a bit before tickling him under the arms until Nicky squirms and flips them over. Jun is gorgeous in the afternoon sun, his skin smooth and pale with a tiny mole under his belly button that really could use some attention. Nicky nips and kisses at it until his arousal gets the better of him and he pulls Jun, laughing and coy, toward the shower.
“I’m not going to let you out of here, you know,” Nicky says, nuzzling Jun’s neck under the warm spray. “Yamamoto will fire me on the spot as soon as we’re both back at the club. I won’t be able to keep my hands off of you, much less my eyes.”
Jun arches back, offers himself to Nicky’s hungry mouth. “Constant exposure will help with that,” he says.
Nicky’s more than happy to comply and eagerly sinks to his knees. Jun’s amazing and sweet, gentle and a little silly, and despite knowing him for less than twelve hours, Nicky’s comfortable and happy in his company.
This really could be the start of something incredible. Good job, good money, lovely potential boyfriend. Maybe even a new flat, if he continues to rake in the tips. Definitely at least trip home to see his Dad, who he misses more than the thinks he should.
Yes, he thinks as he feels Jun shiver against his tongue, things are finally starting to look up.
That morning turns into a week of mornings, a month of mornings of him and Jun waking up together. They spend their time at Jun’s flat or out at clubs, Nicky mesmerized by the dip and sway of Jun’s hips under shifting colored lights, the heat and music and smell of sweat and alcohol driving him to take Jun home where they can spend the rest of the night burning off their adrenaline in the slide of skin against skin.
Nicky’s more than half-way into being in love, hard and deep and sure. Jun is warm, loving, affectionate, funny and wry, worldly and wise. He doesn’t know what to do now, as the autumn closes in and Christmas is approaching. He’d talked to his Dad just last week, and the unspoken expectation that he come home was there between every word they’d said. Nicky’s pretty sure his dad knows that he’s not teaching, but there’s no way on God’s green Earth he’ll tell him what really is bringing in the money while he’s here.
“You’re going to leave me, aren’t you,” Jun says, leaning over his shoulder one evening. “I heard you talking to your father, and my English is perfect, as you well know.”
“Not forever,” Nicky says, taking an upside down kiss. “Not at all, maybe.”
“But at least a visit. That’s all fine, Nicky, really. I’ve been meaning to tell you – I do have to go home as well, for at least a few weeks. My father broke his leg and my mother has found that she isn’t quite able to help him as she would like. I’ll just be in Sakata, north, on the coast. A few weeks, then I’ll be home.”
Nicky smiles. “Is it your home, Jun? Here, with me?”
Jun turns sober, climbs over the chair to sit in Nicky’s lap, curls into Nicky’s shoulder. “Yes. It never felt quite home without you. I should tell you that I love you, my Nicky. And if you don’t move out of this horrible flat by the time I get home, I’ll set it on fire.”
Nicky kisses him, long and sweet and soft. “And I love you. So how about you pick out my flat for me.”
Jun grins. “Really? You’d let me do that?”
“Only if you move into it as well.”
The look of shock on Jun’s face makes Nicky wonder if he’s just miscalculated.
“I … I think we should discuss it when I get home.” Jun fiddles with Nicky’s shirt buttons, eyes downcast.
Nicky’s crushed. He’d been so sure. “Why?” he manages. “Did…is there something I’ve done?”
“No! Nothing, I promise. It’s just…I worked very hard to have my own place, my independence from my family. I just don’t know that I could give it up so easily.”
“Not even for me?”
“Not like that Nicky, you know that. But your father wants you to go home. And you will give in, someday.”
Nicky frowns. “I won’t, if you’re with me. Please, Jun.”
“Let’s give it three weeks, all right? Then I’ll be back, and we’ll discuss it.”
“Tell me what to do to make you reconsider.” Nicky wraps Jun in his arms more tightly, desperate to hold on as long as he can.
“Give me a palace, and I just might change my mind,” he teases, and kisses Nicky on the nose.
It feels strange, the first day, walking to Avec Amour without Jun. He’d seen Jun off at the train station just the day before, but he already feels a bit lonesome. Slightly pathetic. But it’s only three weeks or so, and Nicky figures his time off will be good for lining up some flats to let Jun pick from.
Despite the fact that Jun swears he won’t move into it with him, Nicky is determined that it be everything Jun wants. Nicky has pretty simple tastes and only a few requirements, so as long as he can have excellent television, WiFi, and a good shower, he’s fine. A balcony. It has to have a balcony for Jun to sit and smoke in the sun, preferably without his shirt on.
As Nicky nears the club, a silver Lexus pulls up against the curb and the window lowers.
“Ah, I see you’re alone tonight,” a voice says. Nicky backs up a step, looks into the car. It’s the man Aaron warned him about, the one that has a hard time taking no for an answer. It certainly seems he does because he steps out of the car and walks around the front, ready to intercept Nicky on the pavement.
Nicky’s at least three inches taller, perhaps two stone heavier, and he tenses, ready for a confrontation. “Not your business,” he says, and starts walking, hands fisted in his jacket pockets.
The man laughs, holds his hands out. “No, perhaps not. But I have 50,000 yen that I’d like to spend, and I thought I could spend it on you.”
Nicky looks at him sharply. That’s an awful lot of money for a tip. “I’m not a whore,” he snaps.
“Of course not. Just a little of your time, some company. Nothing more than you’d like. I have a yacht and I hate sailing alone. I’d love to have you with me. If you like.” The man slowly walks toward Nicky with measured steps; stops close and dips his head in a sketch of a bow. “Ken Nakano.”
Nicky bows automatically but keeps his eyes on Ken. He really isn’t interested but 50,000 yen would get him a bigger flat in a nicer neighborhood than he can afford even now. Maybe…maybe if Jun had his own room, his own space to maintain the independence he wanted, he would reconsider. And it is difficult to find the sort of experience you can get in the club if you’re gay. There does, however, have to be the same ground rules. “No sex,” he says emphatically. He really would be a whore, then, and the thought of someone else other than Jun touching him makes his skin crawl.
“Not at all. Just like in the club.” Ken’s mouth stretches into a slow, hopeful smile. “Does this mean you’ll go to the boat with me?”
Well, really, what harm can it do? “Sure,” Nicky says, “Let me call work and let them know.” Nicky dials Aaron’s number but gets his voicemail. He doesn’t want to tell him about the money, at least not yet, so he makes up a lie about a new iphone and hangs up. He puts his phone in his jacket, gives Ken a nod and a smile, and slips into the Lexus’ open passenger door. Ken climbs back in, puts the car in gear and pulls out into traffic.
“I think we’re going to have a wonderful time together,” he says.
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