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Double Date

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Kikuchi supposed he should feel lucky that he'd been cast in Mochimune's latest movie--the young director was the current In Thing, and it would help Kikuchi regain some of the ground he'd lost after being forced to quit Katou's film. And there was also the fact that the movie had led to him meeting his beautiful co-star (and current lover), Onozuka Yuu.

In spite of all that, working with Mochimune was a royal pain in the ass. Kikuchi scowled as he waited on the sidelines for his cue as Mochimune stopped filming to tinker with the scene yet again. The director was a notorious perfectionist, which was bad enough, but Kikuchi suspected that Mochimune was deliberately messing with him.

The movie was about an idealistic young police detective (played by Onozuka's friend Miyasaka) and his jaded older partner (Yoshizumi Naotaka) who became embroiled in a complicated scheme of police corruption and yakuza warfare. Kikuchi was playing the lieutenant to a yakuza boss, and Onozuka was the boss's illegitimate son. Kikuchi's character became the son's bodyguard after the legitimate heir was murdered, and resented having to baby-sit the new heir. Both men aspired to become the next leader of the gang, so they regarded each other as rivals, and they both loathed and secretly lusted after each other with equal passion.

In this scene, Onozuka was supposed to come out of the shower, hear a noise, and then lunge for his gun, only to discover that the supposed "intruder" was Kikuchi. Simple enough, but Mochimune kept stopping to make minor adjustments, mainly to Onozuka's entrance. The scene had originally been scripted with Onozuka emerging from the bathroom in a robe, drying off his hair with a towel, but Mochimune stopped the action and said, "Let's put him in a towel instead--loosely tied so that it looks like it might fall off any second. It'll heighten the sexual tension between Tohru and Maki."

"Whatever Mochimune-kantoku wants," Onozuka said meekly, although Kikuchi was chafing at the frequent interruptions. They hadn't been lovers for long, but Kikuchi still knew that there was absolutely no meekness in Onozuka despite his angelic appearance, so he was probably just as impatient as Kikuchi but did a better job of hiding it.

Onozuka took off his robe, looking calm and completely unselfconscious despite the fact that he was clad only in a pair of skimpy briefs. Kikuchi couldn't stop himself from licking his lips at that sight, and the young assistant that Onozuka handed the robe to blushed a deep scarlet. Then Kikuchi glanced over at Mochimune and frowned when he saw the director's gaze traveling up and down Onozuka's body appreciatively.

The red-faced assistant took the towel and started to wrap it around Onozuka's waist, but Mochimune got up and walked onto the set, saying, "No, I want it riding lower on his hips--like this."

Mochimune adjusted the towel, and while his movements were brisk and efficient, Kikuchi still scowled at the director for daring to lay hands on his lover. And Mochimune, the bastard, glanced over and smirked at Kikuchi before turning his attention back to Onozuka. The assistant had to re-wrap the towel around Onozuka first because Mochimune thought that it was too securely knotted and wanted it to drape more precariously on Onozuka's body, and then because the knot turned out to be a little too loose and started to come undone. A safety pin, hidden beneath the folds of the cloth, sufficed to keep the towel in place, but then it turned out that a glimpse of Onozuka's briefs was peeking out where the towel rested a little too low on one hip.

The assistant started to adjust the towel yet again, but Onozuka waved her off impatiently and said, "Wouldn't it be easier if I just did this?" Then he reached under the towel and with one smooth motion, pulled down his briefs and stepped out of them. He managed to do it without flashing the crew, but the assistant turned beet-red again and Mochimune let out a startled laugh as he gave Onozuka another appreciative look.

Of course Kikuchi had seen Onozuka completely nude many times, but somehow seeing him wrapped in a flimsy towel that just barely preserved his modesty was even more titillating than if he'd actually been naked. Kikuchi drew in a deep breath and had to concentrate very hard on keeping his body from responding to the sight of Onozuka's.

"Spray him down; he's supposed to look like he just came out of the shower," Mochimune ordered, and the assistant picked up a spray bottle and spritzed Onozuka with water until beads of moisture were glistening on his skin.

Kikuchi bit down hard on his lower lip to suppress a moan, wishing that they were alone so that he could lick those droplets off Onozuka's body. His lover shot him a sly, mischievous smile, and Kikuchi thought darkly to himself that both Mochimune and Onozuka were conspiring to torture him. But finally, the director was ready to begin shooting and called for everyone to take their places.

"Action!" Mochimune shouted, and Onozuka walked out of the bathroom and headed for the bedroom, casually running a hand through his damp hair. A small noise from offstage caused him to look up in alarm and he lunged for the gun that he'd left on the nightstand.

That was Kikuchi's cue to enter with his own weapon raised as Onozuka whirled around to face him. They stood frozen in place for a moment, guns pointed at each other, before Onozuka slowly lowered his arm and said, "You stupid son of a bitch, I almost shot you!"

"Just testing your reflexes, Junior," Kikuchi drawled in a condescending voice as he holstered his gun. "If I'd been a real assassin, you'd be dead by now."

"I bet you'd love that," Onozuka sneered as he placed the gun back on the nightstand.

"I wouldn't shed any tears over you," Kikuchi retorted. "But it's my job to protect you whether I like you or not--fortunately for you." He frowned at Onozuka and added, "Put some clothes on."

"Why Tohru-san, does the sight of my body turn you on that much?" Onozuka asked, striking a pose like a fashion model, which incidentally caused the towel to slip a fraction of an inch lower. Kikuchi's breath caught in his throat and he stared at Onozuka in unwilling fascination--something that didn't require much acting, except for the "unwilling" part. Onozuka blinked, then laughed with both surprise and malice in his voice. "It does, doesn't it?" he crowed triumphantly.

Kikuchi abruptly grabbed Onozuka and slammed him against the wall. Onozuka let out a startled yelp of pain and gazed at Kikuchi with both fear and desire in his eyes.

"If you want to run the gang someday, you need to learn how to think before you act, Maki-kun," Kikuchi snarled. "Someday you're going to provoke the wrong person."

"I'm not afraid of you," Onozuka said defiantly.

"Maybe you should be," Kikuchi whispered in a low, hoarse voice as he leaned in closer.

***

There was a long pause as Kikuchi and Onozuka stared at each other hungrily, their faces only a few inches apart and the silence broken only by the harsh, ragged sound of their breathing. The tension in the air was almost thick enough to cut with a knife, and the pair looked as though they were about a second away from tearing off each other's clothes (or towel) and having sex right up against the wall. Even the very experienced crew, who had filmed numerous explicit love scenes in the past, seemed spellbound by the performance, and Mochimune smiled in satisfaction.

The sound of a phone ringing broke the spell, and Kikuchi jumped away from Onozuka as if he'd just been hit by an electric shock. He picked up the phone and snapped, "What?!" while Onozuka slumped back against the wall, looking shaken and confused.

Kikuchi exchanged a few terse words with the person on the phone, then hung up and told Onozuka, "That was your cop friend, Hiro-kun. He claims to have information about the attempt on your father's life."

"Like I care what happens to the old man," Onozuka muttered bitterly.

"You should care," Kikuchi said sharply. "If only because the same person trying to kill him is out to get you as well. Anyway, we're meeting Hiro-kun in half an hour." He glanced at Onozuka and said gruffly, "So go put some damned clothes on!"

"Don't you prefer me like this?" Onozuka asked, twitching his hips and causing the towel to flutter, flashing a bit of skin--but not so much that the film would require editing later. The move was unscripted, but Onozuka performed it as if he'd rehearsed it a dozen times, and Mochimune smiled in amusement. The boy was a natural tease, and Mochimune wasn't sure whether to envy Kikuchi or feel sorry for him.

Kikuchi cursed out loud and punched the wall--another improvised gesture, but it expressed Tohru's frustration and thwarted lust perfectly, so Mochimune didn't object. Then Kikuchi stalked out of the room, slamming the door behind him as Onozuka laughed mockingly.

"Cut!" Mochimune cried. He didn't hand out praise lightly, but this time the actors had earned it, so he nodded at Kikuchi and Onozuka and said, "Excellent work! That's the kind of intensity that I want for your characters--make sure you keep that up through the rest of the film. You can go take a break while the crew prepares for the next scene."

The assistant reappeared to help Onozuka slip into a robe--and blushing deeply, to hand him his discarded briefs. Onozuka grinned and winked at her as he tucked the briefs into his pocket, causing the poor girl to turn even redder, then sauntered off in the direction of the dressing rooms, whistling cheerfully. Kikuchi shot a glare at Mochimune, who smiled back at him blandly. Kikuchi glared at him a bit longer, muttered something in English that was no doubt uncomplimentary, then stalked off after Onozuka, looking every bit as irritated as his character had been.

"If you're done drooling over Onozuka-kun, would you mind telling Miyasaka-kun that we'll need him on the set for the next scene?" Mochimune said dryly to the assistant, more for the pleasure of watching her blush and squirm in mortification than because he was really annoyed. The girl mumbled an apology, then scurried off in search of Miyasaka while the other crew members hastened to perform their own tasks, not wanting to be the next to earn Mochimune's censure.

Mochimune heard a faint, barely audible sigh from behind him, and turned to face Yoshizumi, who had been observing filming from the sidelines. "Is something wrong, Yoshizumi-kun?" he asked coolly, deliberately being a bit rude. As the director, Mochimune technically ranked above the actors, but Yoshizumi was a few years older than him, so to be polite, he should have addressed the actor as "Yoshizumi-san." However, politeness was one thing that Mochimune had never been accused of, and he liked keeping his actors off-balance with a little rudeness.

One of the actors on his last movie had reacted with a hissy fit in a similar situation, but Yoshizumi's face remained calm and composed, save for a slight raising of one eyebrow. Mochimune wasn't surprised--Yoshizumi wasn't the type to lose his temper over something so trivial--but Mochimune was still a little disappointed not to have provoked a reaction, and he repressed the urge to say, "Yes, Mr. Spock?" But sarcasm at this point would only make him look petty, and besides, Yoshizumi probably wouldn't get the joke. Then again, for all Mochimune knew, Yoshizumi could be a closet sci-fi buff in spite of his long-running career in historical dramas.

"It is not my place to question the director's methods--or his motives," Yoshizumi said, his tone of voice perfectly courteous and respectful, although Mochimune thought he detected a gleam of irony in the actor's eyes.

"But?" Mochimune prompted, with a slightly mocking smile. "Please feel free to speak your mind, Yoshizumi-kun."

"Kikuchi-san has won many acting awards both here and in America," Yoshizumi replied. "Begging the director's pardon, I think he has enough skill to portray jealousy without you needing to bait him into it."

"It's true that he's won many awards--and even that he deserves most of them," Mochimune retorted. "But he's so good that he's become a little complacent." Yoshizumi raised another eyebrow, and Mochimune explained, "He can coast on his talent without exerting himself, and for most directors, that's good enough. But a merely 'good' performance isn't good enough for me--I expect greatness from my actors. Yes, I've been baiting him, but only to shake him out of his complacency and make him give me his full effort."

Yoshizumi smiled and said, "And of course you aren't getting any personal enjoyment out of all this..."

"Yes, I am," Mochimune admitted frankly. "But that's just an added bonus for me."

This time Yoshizumi laughed openly, shaking his head as he said, "Well, I can't deny that Kikuchi-san gave a brilliant performance just now, so I guess your methods are working."

He started to turn away, but Mochimune grabbed him by the arm and said, "By the way, Yoshizumi-kun, when I said that I expected greatness out of my actors, that includes you, too. My producers questioned whether you could really carry off a lead role, and I intend to prove them wrong no matter how hard I have to push you."

"I always give a one-hundred percent effort in all my roles, no matter how big or small," Yoshizumi replied coldly.

"Then I may demand one-hundred and ten percent from you!" Mochimune snapped. "I won't deny that you're a dedicated and hard-working actor, but somehow you haven't reached your full potential yet."

"Push me as hard as you want," Yoshizumi shot back. "I won't complain. I'll give it my all because that's my job as an actor, and you don't need to bait or manipulate me, as you did with Iwaki-kun and Kikuchi-san." Then he pushed Mochimune's hand away and walked off the set--not stalking off in a huff, but walking in a slow and dignified manner.

Mochimune grinned at the glimpse of passion that was normally hidden beneath Yoshizumi's cool, collected exterior. Yoshizumi was a consummate professional, never quarreling with his co-stars or throwing tantrums over the size of his dressing room. And as a supporting actor, he did his job a little too well for his own good, using his performance to help the leading actor shine instead of trying to steal the spotlight. Some people in the industry mistook that professionalism for a lack of talent or charisma, but Mochimune knew better, of course. He had watched Yoshizumi's previous movies and TV shows, seeing the carefully controlled passion in his performances--a little too controlled, actually, which was his only flaw. Yoshizumi needed to cut loose and give up some control in order to unleash the full force of that passion in his acting. When he could do that, he would be a formidable rival, ranking right up there alongside Iwaki and Katou...but he wasn't quite there yet.

Ironically, Miyasaka had the opposite problem--he was filled with a raw passion that had captivated Mochimune at his first audition, but he didn't know how to properly channel it yet. As a result, his performances lacked subtlety and he'd been typecast in brash, hotheaded roles, but Mochimune was confident that he could bring out both Miyasaka's and Yoshizumi's full potential--and Kikuchi's and Onozuka's, too.

Mochimune's grin widened as he recalled the murderous glare Kikuchi had just given him. If looks could kill, Mochimune would be dead a hundred times over, but Kikuchi didn't really have anything to worry about. Yes, Mochimune took pleasure in gazing at Onozuka's lovely body--who wouldn't? However, he was far more drawn to Miyasaka's fiery passion than Onozuka's cool, polished beauty. At present, Onozuka was probably the better actor simply because he had more subtlety and control than his friend, but Mochimune sensed that there were depths in Miyasaka that were as yet untapped--he simply required the right director to bring them out.

And Mochimune was that director, of course.

The assistant returned with Miyasaka in tow, and the young actor bowed respectfully towards Mochimune, his eyes bright and eager as a puppy's. He might not be as clever as Onozuka, but he was smart enough to recognize the opportunity he'd been given. Mochimune's films always generated both critical acclaim and controversy--the latter would result in extra publicity and ticket sales, and the former would earn a rising star like Miyasaka additional respect in the industry. (And perhaps a bit of sympathy for having to put up with a notoriously temperamental and difficult director, although Mochimune felt that his reputation was somewhat undeserved. Was it asking too much to expect his actors to be well-prepared, hard-working, and willing to invest themselves emotionally in a role? Apparently, judging by all the whining and complaining most of his actors did.)

"Ah, Miyasaka-kun," Mochimune purred as he slipped an arm around the young actor's shoulders. "I'd like to go over the next scene with you before we start filming."

"Of course," Miyasaka replied, looking both flattered and a little nervous. "I am at your disposal, Mochimune-kantoku."

"Yes," Mochimune said with satisfaction, "you are."

***

Onozuka noted with amusement that Kikuchi was still fuming when they reached the privacy of the dressing room that they shared. (The fact that Kikuchi didn't rate a dressing room of his own had initially pricked the former star's ego, until they had grown a little closer and Onozuka had demonstrated that there were some advantages to sharing a room.)

Before Onozuka had a chance to cajole Kikuchi out of his bad mood, he found himself shoved up against the wall for the second time that day. This time there were no interruptions, and Kikuchi crushed his mouth against Onozuka's in an almost brutal kiss. His body also pressed up against Onozuka's, and Onozuka could feel just how much their earlier scene had aroused his lover.

Truth be told, Onozuka had found the scene stimulating as well, and he returned the kiss enthusiastically. He moaned softly, first in protest when Kikuchi broke off the kiss, and then with pleasure when he felt Kikuchi's lips brush against his throat. But when Kikuchi began nipping at his neck, Onozuka reluctantly shoved his lover away, saying, "Stop that! You know Mochimune will get upset if you leave any visible marks on me."

"Fuck Mochimune!" Kikuchi snarled.

"I'm hurt, Kikuchi-san--I thought I was the only one you wanted," Onozuka quipped, but Kikuchi didn't laugh at the joke as he normally would have.

"I mean it," Kikuchi growled. "I swear, I came this close to punching that bastard right in his smug face!" He swung his fist at the wall in frustration, but Onozuka caught it before he could do any damage--to himself or to the wall.

Onozuka examined Kikuchi's hand and saw that his knuckles were reddened from the earlier punch--a few minor scrapes, but no bleeding. Pressing a gentle kiss to Kikuchi's hand, Onozuka said, "Mochimune will get angry if you hurt yourself, too--if only because it might delay shooting."

"I hate that bastard," Kikuchi said, but in a calmer voice. "When I see him leering at you, or worse, putting his hands on you, it's all I can do to keep myself from wringing his scrawny little neck. Shouldn't you be angrier at him, considering that you're the one he's sexually harassing?"

"Come on, Kikuchi-san," Onozuka laughed. "You know he's just yanking your chain, right? He probably thinks it will improve your performance or something. He's not really interested in me."

"I know he's doing it on purpose, but I can't help myself--it still pisses me off," Kikuchi grumbled. "And I'm not so sure that he's not interested in you." He gazed at Onozuka with a possessive look that sent Onozuka's blood racing. "You might act modest, but I know that you're perfectly aware of just how beautiful you are."

"You flatter me, Kikuchi-san," Onozuka said with a shy, modest smile, and Kikuchi snorted with amusement. While Onozuka was pleased that Kikuchi liked him for his real self and not just his public persona, it still offended his pride a little that Kikuchi could see through him so easily. Therefore, to punish his lover--and perhaps to provoke him--Onozuka cast aside his robe, then yawned and casually stretched, raising his arms above his head and arching his back, displaying his body to maximum effect. He noted with satisfaction the way that Kikuchi's tongue darted out to lick his lips, and the way that Kikuchi's eyes seemed fascinated by the way that the towel shifted with Onozuka's movements.

"You realize that you've just proved my point, don't you?" Kikuchi asked huskily, then pushed Onozuka against the wall again and claimed his mouth in a deep kiss before he could reply. Onozuka felt Kikuchi's hands sliding beneath the towel, and Kikuchi removed his mouth from Onozuka's long enough to groan, "I've got to have you now!"

"Wait," Onozuka gasped.

"What now?" Kikuchi asked irritably.

"You'll get scolded if you get any stains on your costume, not to mention that it might be a little embarrassing for me as well if people figure out where the stains came from," Onozuka replied.

"Fine!" Kikuchi snapped, taking off his clothes with impressive speed and tossing them on the floor. Onozuka admired his lover's naked body and decided not to test Kikuchi's patience further by pointing out that the clothes were going to get wrinkled.

'Now let's get this off of you," Kikuchi growled, impatiently tugging at Onozuka's towel.

"Hey, watch out for the--" Onozuka started to protest, then yelped in pain as the safety pin popped open and pricked him.

"I'm sorry," Kikuchi said contritely as he removed the towel and pin more carefully. Then he dropped to his knees and gently licked away the tiny dot of blood that had formed on Onozuka's hip.

"Mmm, that's nice," Onozuka sighed as Kikuchi continued to shower the miniscule wound with soothing licks and kisses. "But I think your mouth could be put to better use someplace else."

Kikuchi laughed--a delightfully wicked sound--and kissed his way down Onozuka's hip, nipped playfully at Onozuka's inner thigh, and then finally closed his mouth around Onozuka's growing erection. Onozuka moaned softly as Kikuchi's lips and tongue teased and caressed him, then glared at his lover when Kikuchi suddenly pulled away.

"Why are you stopping?" Onozuka demanded.

"Only for a moment," Kikuchi said placatingly, and rummaged through the make-up supplies left scattered on the dressing room table until he found a small bottle of lotion. "Don't worry," Kikuchi whispered into Onozuka's ear. "I promise that I'll make you feel good."

Onozuka moaned again as he felt Kikuchi's fingers slide inside him. He had to admit that Kikuchi was a man of his word, because those talented fingers soon had him writhing in pleasure and begging for more. "What are you waiting for?" he groaned. "Hurry up and put it in me before Mochimune calls us back to the set!"

"Good point," Kikuchi agreed. He withdrew his fingers and then his hands were pushing Onozuka up against the wall again--though a bit more gently this time--and lifting him up as Onozuka wrapped his legs around Kikuchi's waist. "I've been wanting to do this ever since we started rehearsing that last scene," Kikuchi growled, thrusting hard into Onozuka.

"Me too," Onozuka managed to gasp before he had to press his hand to his mouth to muffle his cries and moans. Most of the cast and crew knew, or at least suspected, that he was sleeping with Kikuchi, but he still preferred to maintain the official fiction that they were merely coworkers, if only to preserve his princely image.

Kikuchi grinned smugly and purred, "I want to hear your voice, Yuu."

The man was absolutely incorrigible, but that was part of what Onozuka liked about him. "Do you want everyone else to hear us?" Onozuka asked breathlessly, although he suspected that he knew the answer.

"Yes," Kikuchi replied fiercely. "I want everyone to know that you're mine!"

Onozuka was about to accuse him of being an exhibitionist, but Kikuchi resumed thrusting into him with such force that Onozuka's back struck the wall with a bruising thud, but Onozuka didn't care because the pleasure was so overwhelming that he barely noticed the pain.

"More," Onozuka moaned, his voice first pleading and then demanding, "More!"

Kikuchi obliged by almost literally pounding him into the wall, thrusting so hard and fast that Onozuka needed to wrap both arms around Kikuchi to keep his balance. Unable to cover his mouth, Onozuka bit down hard on his lower lip in an only partially effective attempt to stifle his moans.

"Let them hear us," Kikuchi coaxed. "There's nothing to be ashamed of." He settled into a much less frantic rhythm, his cock sliding slowly in and out of Onozuka in a way that Onozuka knew was meant to deliberately torment him. "I love to hear your voice crying out so passionately," Kikuchi whispered in a silky, enticing voice. "Let me hear you, Yuu."

Onozuka whimpered desperately, but stubbornly shook his head, his teeth biting into his lower lip nearly hard enough to draw blood. Kikuchi sighed and smiled ruefully as he murmured, "I can never win against you." He tenderly kissed Onozuka and said, "Please stop that before you hurt yourself." With a wry half-smile he added, "Besides, Mochimune will be angry if you show up on the set with your lip all swollen and bloody."

Onozuka relaxed and parted his lips with a sense of relief and triumph, because despite what Kikuchi had just said, it was difficult to gain the upper hand over him. Kikuchi kissed Onozuka, slowly at first with his tongue licking Onozuka's lower lip soothingly, and then sliding into his mouth as the kiss grew more heated. With Kikuchi's mouth and tongue now muffling the noises in a much more delightful manner, Onozuka allowed himself to moan without reservation.

That seemed to excite Kikuchi, who responded in kind, and Onozuka could feel Kikuchi's moans vibrating in his mouth like a low, sensual hum. Onozuka whimpered, a needy, desperate sound, and that hum turned into more of a growl as Kikuchi answered that wordless plea, thrusting into him harder and deeper until Onozuka was dizzy with pleasure, and he cried out into Kikuchi's mouth as he came.

Onozuka sighed, relaxing as that wave of ecstasy ebbed, while at the same time, Kikuchi's body tensed as he neared his own climax. "Yuu!" Kikuchi groaned in a guttural voice, thrusting hard enough that Onozuka hit the wall with another jarring thud, and then his body stilled, trembling slightly as they leaned against the wall for support.

"You are amazing," Kikuchi said breathlessly, pressing a kiss against Onozuka's neck.

"You're not so bad yourself," Onozuka replied, and Kikuchi gave him a mock glare.

"I hope that I'm a little better than 'not so bad'!" Kikuchi said indignantly, and Onozuka laughed.

"You're the best I've ever had," Onozuka assured Kikuchi with a placating kiss. "I just didn't want it to go to your head."

"I'll forgive you, then," Kikuchi said, seeming mollified. "Although there's not much chance of me getting a swelled head with Mochimune around to cut my ego down to size." Mochimune didn't hold back in rebuking his actors when they didn't meet his almost impossibly high standards, which was most of the time.

"Let me down," Onozuka said, unwinding himself from his lover's body as Kikuchi lowered him back down to the floor. As they cleaned up and got dressed, Onozuka said, "You worry too much about Mochimune, if you're still thinking about him right after we just had amazing sex."

"I can't help it," Kikuchi grumbled. "The insults, the snide remarks, and the constant demands for re-takes are bad enough, but if he keeps putting his hands on you--"

"If Mochimune steps out of line, I'll be the one to deal with him," Onozuka said firmly. "But I keep telling you that Mochi's not interested me in that way."

"I've heard rumors about him," Kikuchi argued. "People say that he sleeps with both men and women."

"That may be so, but he doesn't want to sleep with me," Onozuka replied. "Believe me, I've met plenty of women and a few men who've wanted me, whether for my looks or my fame or both--"

"Or your considerable modesty," Kikuchi interjected sarcastically.

"I'm just stating a fact," Onozuka retorted. "Don't interrupt. Anyway, as I was saying, I can tell when people are looking at me with desire, and Mochimune is not one of them. He isn't interested in me for anything but my acting skills." Onozuka paused, then admitted, "And my chemistry with you, to be perfectly honest. I'm sure it had a lot to do with why I was selected for this role. But my body? No. If anything, Miyasaka is the one he has his eye on."

Onozuka frowned and Kikuchi asked sharply, "Are you jealous?"

"Not because I want to be in Mochi-san's bed," Onozuka reassured his lover. "But sure, I'm jealous that Miyasaka got the leading role while I'm playing a supporting character."

"You don't like playing my lover?" Kikuchi demanded, pretending to be hurt--or maybe the pretense was the real act. Kikuchi came off as confident to the point of arrogance, but Onozuka had noticed that Mochimune was able to bruise his ego pretty easily. He still wasn't sure whether Kikuchi was more sensitive than he appeared or if it was just that Mochimune had a knack for honing in on people's weak points with razor sharp precision.

"Of course I do, but I can still sleep with you without playing your lover," Onozuka replied. "And anyway, Maki and Tohru are rivals for most of the movie and don't become lovers until nearly the end."

"I suppose you're right," Kikuchi conceded, a bit grudgingly. "But regardless, I'd still like to get Mochimune off our backs. If he's so enchanted with your little Miya-chan, then maybe we should set him and Mochimune up on a date."

Onozuka stared at him incredulously and said, "First of all, Miyasaka would kill you if he heard you calling him 'little Miya-chan,' and second, I'm not sure that I want to set up my best friend with a cold-blooded shark like Mochimune."

"I never thought I'd find myself defending the bastard," Kikuchi said with a wry smile, "but Mochimune isn't really cold-blooded. He has a burning passion for his movies, and I see some of that same passion in his eyes when he looks at Miyasaka. After all, he wouldn't have cast someone he was indifferent to in the starring role of one of his masterpieces."

"True, but that still doesn't mean that I think Mochimune would be a good match for Miyasaka--if Miyasaka is even interested in him," Onozuka replied doubtfully. Miyasaka seemed flattered that the great Mochimune had chosen him for the co-leading role along with Yoshizumi, but Onozuka wasn't sure if that translated into a romantic or even just sexual interest in the director.

"It will get Mochimune out of our hair, and will be good for Miyasaka-kun, too," Kikuchi argued. "Getting laid will help him get over his obsession with Iwaki and make him realize that having sex with a man is no big deal." Onozuka hadn't confided the entire story behind Miyasaka's obsession with Iwaki to his lover, and he certainly hadn't mentioned the attempted rape, but it didn't take a genius to see that Miyasaka always spoke of Iwaki in an almost worshipful tone, and Kikuchi was a very perceptive man. Which meant that Mochimune had probably picked up on it as well--which was a disturbing thought.

"How nice of you to be concerned about Miyasaka's welfare," Onozuka said dryly. "I know you're just rationalizing because you want to sic Mochi-san on someone else."

"What does it matter as long as everyone's happy?" Kikuchi asked unrepentantly.

Onozuka frowned again. "Let's say for the sake of argument that your scheme actually works and the two of them start dating. I'm worried about what will happen if Miyasaka actually gets serious about Mochimune."

"I don't really see it getting more than physical," Kikuchi replied with a shrug. "But even if it does...I think Miyasaka-kun will be able to handle him." When Onozuka gave him a skeptical look, Kikuchi explained, "Of course in a battle of wits, Miyasaka-kun would be outmatched, but he isn't really the type to try and out-scheme Mochimune, anyway. Your friend is a pretty straightforward type of guy, and he'll deal with any problems by plowing forward and tackling them head-on. Mochimune won't be expecting that and he'll be caught off-guard, so if you look at it that way, they're a perfect match--the whole opposites attract thing."

"You're still rationalizing," Onozuka said, unconvinced. "And if opposites attract, why are we together?"

Kikuchi grinned and replied, "We're more of a 'two of a kind' type of couple." Onozuka laughed, and Kikuchi said, "Seriously, with the way Mochimune has been eyeing Miyasaka, he's going to get him into bed sooner or later. Isn't it better if they start off on an equal footing than if Mochimune cons or manipulates Miyasaka into having sex?"

"I hate it when you're right," Onozuka sighed. "Fine, let's set them up on a date. How do you want to arrange it?"

"Well, first of all, they can't realize that it's a date or they won't go along with it," Kikuchi said, and he and Onozuka began to scheme in earnest.

***

Onozuka and Kikuchi put their plan into motion, enlisting the aid of their fellow cast members. In order to keep Mochimune from getting suspicious, they had come up with the idea of getting Mochimune to go out with the cast for a drink after work one night. Onozuka told the cast members that he wanted to play a joke on Mochimune and Miyasaka, and since Mochimune had insulted and aggravated all of them to some degree, they were willing enough to help get a little revenge on the director.

All of them except for Yoshizumi, who was too noble to desire revenge when Mochimune's primary goal was to make a great film--in some ways, they were two of a kind. Still, Onozuka managed to coax Yoshizumi into going along with his scheme, or at least to look the other way and not reveal it to Mochimune.

"I hope you know what you're doing, Onozuka-kun," Yoshizumi sighed, shaking his head.

"If it doesn't work out, then I'll blame it on Kikuchi-san," Onozuka replied cheerfully, and Yoshizumi laughed although Onozuka wasn't really joking.

Mochimune was not one for socializing, so Onozuka also needed the help of Aihara, Mochimune's long-suffering personal assistant. Aihara had the thankless job of constantly having to smooth over things with the actors and studio executives that his employer had offended, most recently the actor who was playing Onozuka's father. Nagao was a well-respected veteran of numerous gangster films who had been coaxed out of retirement by Mochimune for this one project, which meant that Mochimune valued his skills very highly. In spite of this, Mochimune showed no reverence for Nagao when the actor failed to deliver his lines with the level of intensity that Mochimune desired.

"If you were just going to re-hash your old performances, I could have hired any half-competent hack," Mochimune had sneered after an unsatisfactory take.

Nagao had stormed off the set, shouting that he didn't need some punk kid telling him how to act, and it had taken all of Aihara's persuasiveness and many abject apologies in order to calm the man down and convince him that Mochimune's insult was a compliment of sorts. "The director was unforgivably rude, of course," Aihara had said earnestly. "But what he meant was that he believes you have the ability to exceed even your award-winning performances of the past."

In the end, Nagao had returned to work, but it had been a very near thing. Onozuka, of course, was more than willing to lend a sympathetic ear to the frazzled assistant, and commiserated when Aihara bemoaned Mochimune's lack of people skills.

"He's a brilliant director, of course," Aihara said glumly.

"Which is why you put up with all of the...ah...difficulties that he creates," Onozuka said tactfully.

Aihara nodded in agreement, then sighed, "Right now, people overlook his rudeness because of his brilliance and the fact that his movies are box office hits. But one day he's going to go too far and the lead actor really will quit, or the head of the studio will pull the plug on his project. But no matter how many times I try to explain it to him, he just doesn't get it!"

It was more likely that Mochimune believed that his brilliance would outweigh any offense that he caused--the man's ego knew no bounds. Aloud, Onozuka said, "That's why I was thinking of arranging a little get-together between Mochimune-kantoku and the main cast, to sort of smooth things over. You know, a few drinks after work to help ease the tension. Saturday night would be ideal, since we have the next day off."

"That's a wonderful idea, Onozuka-san!" Aihara exclaimed, his expression brightening.

"The only problem is that he's always brushed us off when we've asked him to join us for a drink before," Onozuka replied.

"Don't worry," Aihara said firmly. "I'll make sure that he accompanies you this time. Aside from smoothing things over, he could use a break from work--he spends all day at the studio and all night in the editing room. He's going to collapse from exhaustion if he keeps that up!"

Onozuka wasn't a witness to it, but Aihara had a private meeting with Mochimune in which he informed his boss in no uncertain terms that Mochimune was going to go out drinking with the actors whether he liked it or not. And while Mochimune was as high-handed with his assistant as he was with everyone else, Aihara was able to force him to comply--if only because it would be impossible for Mochimune to find a replacement if he quit. Mochimune had gone through numerous assistants before he'd hired Aihara two years ago, and none of them had lasted longer than a month; a few hadn't even made it through a single day. Finding another assistant would probably be much harder than finding a replacement actor--the actors at least got fame and money as compensation, while the assistants reaped only abuse and a meager salary.

So Mochimune agreed to Onozuka and Kikuchi's "little get-together," even though he made it clear that he considered it a complete waste of time. That left only Miyasaka, who was always up for a night of drinking. However, before Onozuka threw his friend to the wolves, figuratively speaking, he thought that he ought to sound Miyasaka out and see what he really thought of Mochimune.

During a break between scenes on Saturday, Onozuka went to hang out with Miyasaka in his dressing room, cracking a few jokes and gossiping about the other cast members. Once Miyasaka was relaxed and his guard was down, Onozuka asked, "So what do you think of Mochimune, Miya-chan?"

Miyasaka seemed surprised by the question, and paused to think it over with uncharacteristic seriousness before answering. "Well, he's not easy to work with," Miyasaka finally said. "He's certainly not shy about letting someone know when they've screwed up, and I think he's harsher than he needs to be, like yelling at poor Mai-chan when she missed her cue in that earlier scene." He was referring to the actress who was playing his wife in the movie--she was young and inexperienced, and she had burst into tears when Mochimune had chewed her out over a minor error that had required a re-take of the scene.

"Actually, it would have been more efficient if he'd scolded her more gently and just moved on with the re-take," Miyasaka continued. "It took so long to calm her down that we wasted a lot of time. On the other hand, you can't survive in this business if you're too sensitive."

"She'll toughen up," Onozuka predicted. "She's new to the business and not used to dealing with people like him, but she seems determined to stick with this job in spite of Mochimune being a jackass."

Miyasaka snickered at Onozuka's description of the director, then said, "He acts like a jerk sometimes, but in his defense, I don't think he's deliberately being cruel when he yells at the cast and crew. It's just that he's so passionate about his work that he gets angry and impatient when he thinks that other people aren't as dedicated to his vision as he is. I kind of admire that passion, even though I don't like it when I'm the one getting yelled at. Besides, he's fair in his own way: he works us like dogs, but he drives himself just as hard, too. And while he doesn't hold back with the insults when he's criticizing you, if you do a good job, he'll praise you for it. So I respect him even though there are times when I'd like to slug him--or crawl under a rock in humiliation when I'm the one that he's cutting to shreds with his tongue."

It was Onozuka's turn to give his friend a startled look. "That was very insightful, Miya-chan," he said, genuinely impressed. Miyasaka wasn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, but he had just summed up Mochimune perfectly. Maybe Kikuchi was right and Mochi and Miya really were a good match.

"That sounds like it's supposed to be a compliment," Miyasaka said, gazing at Onozuka suspiciously. "But somehow when you say it like that, it sounds more like an insult."

"Would I ever insult you, Miya-chan?" Onozuka asked, pretending to be shocked and a little hurt.

"Yes," Miyasaka replied bluntly.

"I meant it as a compliment, really," Onozuka laughed. Then he cocked his head to one side and smiled slyly, saying, "You seem to like Mochi-san."

"Eh?" Miyasaka asked, looking puzzled by the question. "I guess so, though I'm not sure 'like' is the right word. He can be a pain in the ass, but I admire him--he really is a brilliant director, like Iwaki-san said."

Onozuka thought that there was a certain irony in the phrase "pain in the ass," since Mochimune clearly had designs upon Miyasaka's ass, though he would find it difficult to get Miyasaka to give up his virtue, given Miyasaka's aversion to "being the woman." But all Onozuka said was, "The admiration seems to be mutual."

"You think so?" Miyasaka asked skeptically. "I mean...I know that he cast me in the lead role, but it seems to me that he pays more attention to you--enough to make Kikuchi-san angry, anyway!" Interestingly enough, he pouted slightly, seeming offended by the idea that Mochimune preferred Onozuka to him.

Onozuka repressed a sigh; insight went only so far, it seemed, because Miyasaka obviously had no clue that Mochimune was interested in him as more than an actor, and in spite of the hint of jealousy Miyasaka had just shown, he didn't seem to be aware of Mochimune as a man and not just a director.

"Mochimune's not interested in me," Onozuka assured his friend. "He only acts that way to provoke Kikuchi because he thinks it will enhance Kikuchi's performance. And believe me, he would never have cast you in the lead role if he didn't think you were worthy of carrying out his vision."

"Yeah, I guess you're right," Miyasaka said, cheering up. "It's nice to have you playing second fiddle to me for a change!"

"Don't get too cocky," Onozuka retorted, giving Miyasaka a (mostly) affection smack to the back of his head. "Next time I'll win the starring role and we'll see who's laughing then!"

"Bring it on," Miyasaka said with a grin.

Before Onozuka could respond, there was a knock at the door and a voice called out, "Miyasaka-san, Onozuka-san, the director wants you on the set."

"We'll be right there," Miyasaka replied, then turned to Onozuka and said, "Looks like we've got to get back to work. But I'm really looking forward to tonight--it's been a long time since we've gone out drinking!"

"Yeah, it'll be fun," Onozuka said casually. "And also a good chance to bond with the cast and director, too."

"I guess," Miyasaka said, a bit doubtfully. "It would be interesting to see Mochimune get drunk and cut loose. He's such a workaholic...sometimes I wonder if the guy even knows how to have fun!"

"You'll get the answer to your question tonight," Onozuka said with a mischievous grin, causing Miyasaka to give him another suspicious look.

"You're up to something, aren't you, Onozuka?" Miyasaka asked as they hurried to the set.

"Who, me?" Onozuka replied innocently, batting his lashes.

"Yes, you," Miyasaka said accusingly, giving him a look that said, "You don't fool me with that sweet and innocent act." However, they arrived at the set shortly after that, and Mochimune kept them much too busy for Miyasaka to have any time to think about what scheme Onozuka had cooked up this time.

***

When filming finally wrapped up that evening, Mochimune asked sullenly, "So where are we going for this night of drunken emotional bonding?"

"To a nice little club in Shinjuku," Onozuka replied pleasantly, while Aihara shot a stern glare at his employer. "I'm sure that you'll like it, Mochimune-kantoku."

"That remains to be seen," Mochimune growled irritably. "And what's the name of this nice little club?"

"It's a surprise," Onozuka said with an impish smile that usually charmed whomever he was smiling at.

Mochimune, however, remained unimpressed. "I hate surprises," he grumbled.

"You promised that you would try to get along with everyone and have a good time, Mochimune-kantoku," Aihara reminded him.

"Onozuka always finds the greatest places," Miyasaka said brightly. "Lime is a hot spot now because the media reported that Katou hangs out there, but it was Onozuka who first brought us there."

"Well then, the club will be surely be spectacular since Onozuka-kun chose it," Mochimune said in a voice dripping with sarcasm. Miyasaka smiled at him nervously, while Aihara sighed heavily.

Kikuchi glared at Mochimune, but Onozuka just smiled and feigned a look of wide-eyed innocence, as if the insult had passed right over his head. "Oh, you flatter me too much, Mochimune-kantoku," he said sweetly.

Mochimune began grinding his teeth, and Aihara hastily said, "I've arranged for a car to take the four of you to the club. The others are coming on their own and will meet you there." He glanced at Onozuka for confirmation, and Onozuka nodded.

"You aren't coming with us?" Mochimune asked, frowning slightly. Aihara usually served as his driver, and more importantly, Mochimune usually brought his assistant with him to social events because he would inevitably get an idea and want to start working in the middle of the dinner or party he was attending, which meant that he needed Aihara on hand to take notes, make phone calls, and run errands for him.

"No, I have a lot of paperwork to do," Aihara replied. "Besides, this isn't a business meeting, so I'd just be in the way. Go out and have some fun tonight--that's an order!" Then he turned and walked off without staying to hear any further protests that Mochimune might make.

"Just who's working for whom here?" Mochimune muttered, but under his breath.

"A good assistant is worth his or her weight in gold, Mochimune-kun," Kikuchi said with a grin, slapping the younger man on the back.

Mochimune gave him a baleful look and said haughtily, "I prefer to be addressed as 'kantoku' or at least 'san,' if you must."

"Oh, don't mind me," Kikuchi laughed good-naturedly, although his eyes glittered with satisfaction at being able to needle Mochimune. "I got used to being more casual in America--I was on a first name basis with most of my directors."

"Very nice for them, I'm sure," Mochimune said sourly. "Can we please go and get this over with?"

"By all means, let's go," Onozuka said with another sweet smile. As they headed to the car, he whispered to Kikuchi, "Try not to get him so mad that he bails out before we even get to the club."

"Sorry," Kikuchi whispered back. "I just couldn't resist."

Onozuka sat up front with the driver to give him directions, and Kikuchi sat in the back with Mochimune and Miyasaka. Naturally, they managed to arrange that Miyasaka sat next to Mochimune without it seeming deliberate.

"It's really cool that the studio gives you a private car and driver," Miyasaka said admiringly to Mochimune, who finally relaxed slightly and smiled at the flattery.

"Only when Aihara-kun isn't available," Mochimune said with obviously false modesty.

"You don't like to drive, Mochimune-san?" Kikuchi asked, and Onozuka turned to give him a look of warning.

"Aihara-kun feels that the streets are safer without me behind the wheel," Mochimune replied dryly. "I tend to get annoyed at all the idiots who are driving below the speed limit while traffic backs up behind them, or conversely, the ones who drive too recklessly, putting their lives--and more importantly, my own--in danger. Along with all the idiots who never use their turn signals, or are too busy yapping on their cell phones to notice that the light has changed, and...well, the list is endless. Aihara-kun was mortified when I leaned out the window to give one of those idiots a piece of my mind, but really, the other driver was the one at fault."

"Ah, I heard about that," Onozuka said. "Didn't the driver jump out of his car and threaten to beat you up?"

"I heard that he was a gangster," Miyasaka chimed in.

"Please, that guy was just some wannabe punk--he'd piss his pants if he ever met a real yakuza," Mochimune said, sniffing disdainfully. "I could have taken him."

"In America they call that 'road rage,' Mochimune-san," Kikuchi chuckled.

"An appropriate term," Mochimune conceded. "In any case, Aihara-kun prefers that I keep my rage on the movie set, so he always drives me or arranges for a taxi or car service. Which is fine with me, since I can focus on my work instead of the road. I've written many of my scripts during a long drive or plane ride, or while waiting at the airport for a delayed flight." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small notebook with a rather battered, scuffed black leather cover. "That's why I always carry this with me, in case the muse strikes unexpectedly."

"Well, don't forget you promised Aihara-san that you wouldn't work tonight," Onozuka reminded him.

Mochimune scowled at him, but Miyasaka gave the director a charming smile and said, "Everyone needs to have a little fun once in awhile. You'll feel refreshed when you go back to work, and maybe by taking a break, you'll be able to see things from a new perspective."

You may be right, Miyasaka-kun," Mochimune said slowly, gazing at Miyasaka with new respect in his eyes. While the pair's attention was diverted, Kikuchi grinned at Onozuka and flashed him a thumbs-up.

Onozuka instructed the driver to drop them off at the service entrance of the club, explaining to the others, "I've arranged for them to let us in the back and take us to a private room in order to avoid the media."

Mochimune shrugged indifferently. "I don't care what the media prints about me, and anyway, it's hardly scandalous to have a few drinks with my cast." Then he smiled slyly at Onozuka and Kikuchi and said, "But I suppose that you two want to keep your romance under wraps."

Onozuka smiled sweetly back at him and replied, "I'm not ashamed of our relationship, though I prefer to keep my private life private. I just thought that it would be easier for us to relax without being interrupted by fans and reporters."

He knocked on the door, which immediately swung open to reveal a handsome young man with bleached-blond hair dressed in an expensive suit. "Welcome to Rusty Nail," he said, bowing low. "We've been expecting you, and we have your room prepared." The name of the bar didn't register with either Mochimune or Miyasaka, and Onozuka had to repress a smirk--tonight really would be a surprise for them, in more ways than one!

The young man, who introduced himself as "Ren," led them to a private room with a low table flanked by two couches, dimly lit enough to seem intimate and romantic, but not so dim as to seem seedy or cause eyestrain.

"Would you like to order something to drink?" Ren asked, and when Onozuka ordered a bottle of champagne, Mochimune raised his eyebrows in surprise.

"Is tonight a special occasion?" he asked.

"We're celebrating working on this movie together," Onozuka replied innocently. "Isn't that reason enough?"

"Just what are you up to, Onozuka-kun?" Mochimune asked suspiciously.

"Don't worry, Mochi-san," Kikuchi said with a broad grin. "It's our treat tonight!"

"I'm not worried about the expense," Mochimune retorted indignantly, apparently offended by the implication that he was a cheapskate. "And don't call me 'Mochi'!"

"So sensitive," Kikuchi said with a hint of mockery in his voice, but subsided when Onozuka elbowed him in the side.

"So where are the others?" Mochimune asked grumpily.

"Well, it turned out that Yoshizumi-kun had a prior engagement, but the rest should be here shortly."

Right on cue, Onozuka's phone rang with a message that he had pre-programmed. "Oh dear," he said, feigning dismay as he checked his e-mails. "It seems that Nagao-san isn't feeling well and had to cancel. And Mai-chan got called in by her agency--a guest pulled out of a game show appearance at the last minute, and the spot was offered to Mai-chan. She's very sorry, but the agency doesn't want her to pass up an opportunity like that."

"So much for bonding," Mochimune sneered and started to rise from his seat. "Can I go home now?"

"The four of us can still have fun!" Miyasaka protested, unwittingly playing along with Onozuka's plan perfectly. "Besides, the champagne has already been ordered--we shouldn't let it go to waste!"

Mochimune hesitated as he glanced at Miyasaka's earnest face, then settled back down on the couch. "Oh, very well," he said, as if he were conferring a huge favor on the rest of them. "I suppose I can't pass up the opportunity to drink on Kikuchi-san's tab."

Ren returned with the champagne, and as he poured out their drinks, he said, "Kenzaki-san will be with you shortly, and in the meantime, I'll have the privilege of waiting on you."

"Who's Kenzaki-san?" a puzzled Miyasaka asked.

"Why, our number one host, of course," Ren replied, smiling flirtatiously as he handed Miyasaka a glass of champagne. "Onozuka-san requested his services for the evening."

Miyasaka still looked confused, but Mochimune's eyes lit up with comprehension. "This is a host club!" he exclaimed, looking as though he didn't know whether to be outraged or amused.

"A host club?!" Miyasaka exclaimed, his eyes going wide.

"Yes," Ren replied. "You didn't know?" He winked at Onozuka and said, "You have a much more mischievous sense of humor than I realized, Onozuka-san."

"You're ruining your princely image, Onozuka-kun," Mochimune said wryly, apparently having decided to be amused about the whole thing.

"I told you that you'd be surprised," Onozuka replied with a grin.

"Indeed I was," Mochimune admitted, then smiled at Onozuka condescendingly. "But if you were trying to shock or scandalize me, then you failed miserably. I have no personal or moral objections to homosexuality." He affected a jaded air and said casually, "I don't discriminate, and several of my past lovers were men."

"Really?" Miyasaka asked, still wide-eyed.

"Does that really come as a surprise, after the way he's ogled Onozuka-kun on the set?" Kikuchi muttered, and Onozuka elbowed him again.

"Really," Mochimune said, flashing a wide, predatory grin at Miyasaka, who squirmed nervously, looking rather like a lamb who was only just now realizing that his companion was a hungry wolf.

Before Miyasaka could make up his mind whether or not to run for cover, a dark-haired man opened the door and walked into the room. Ren was certainly handsome enough, but his beauty paled next to the newcomer's. It wasn't just that the new arrival was better-looking (although he was indeed stunningly beautiful), but he carried himself with an air of self-assurance that the other host lacked, and he had a magnetic sort of charisma that automatically drew one's eyes towards him. It was what Onozuka's manager referred to as the "it" factor, as in you either had it or you didn't, and no amount of acting lessons and makeovers would ever compensate for the lack of "it."

But it wasn't just looks and charisma that had Miyasaka staring at the new host in rapt fascination. Onozuka had deliberately chosen this club and this host after seeing him on a TV game show, because Kenzaki bore a striking resemblance to a young Iwaki.

"I'm sorry to have kept you waiting," the host said with a dazzling smile that more than made up for the wait. "I'm Kenzaki, and I'm honored to meet all of you."

"I'm...uh...Miyasaka," said a dazed-looking Miyasaka, stumbling a bit over his own name. He held out his hand and added, "Nice to, um, meet you."

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Miyasaka-san," Kenzaki replied, shaking his hand and holding on to it a bit longer than common courtesy required. "And of course I recognize all of you. I remember the drama that you and Onozuka-san starred in together, and I was very impressed by your appearance on the 'Muscle Ranking' show."

"Oh, that was just a silly game show," Miyasaka mumbled, blushing slightly.

Kikuchi leaned over and whispered to Onozuka, "Are you sure you know what you're doing? I thought we were going to fix him up with Mochi, not some host."

"Trust me," Onozuka replied serenely; everything was going according to his plan.

"It may have been 'just' a game show, but you competed as fiercely as if you were a professional athlete at a major competition," Kenzaki disagreed politely. "I was really impressed by your dedication as an entertainer, that you would go all out for a game show contest."

"Oh, I remember that!" Ren exclaimed. "You were competing against Katou Youji, and it was neck and neck right down till the final contest--it was so exciting!"

Actually, it hadn't been Miyasaka's dedication as an actor that had motivated him, but rather the bet he had made with Katou, that he would claim a kiss from Iwaki if he won and would never come near Iwaki again if he lost. But that was all in the past now, and the hosts didn't need to know that. All that mattered was the way Miyasaka was flushing and stammering out a slightly incoherent thanks for Kenzaki's compliment--Ren's comments barely registered with him.

Mochimune scowled jealously as Kenzaki sat next to Miyasaka and refilled his champagne glass, and Kikuchi murmured knowingly, "Ah, I see. Forgive me for doubting you, Yuu."

Onozuka just sipped his champagne and smiled modestly. When he had seen Kenzaki on that TV show awhile back, he had noted the host's resemblance to Iwaki. At the time, it had merely been an interesting coincidence, but when Kikuchi had come up with the plan to play matchmaker, Onozuka had immediately thought of Kenzaki. It couldn't hurt for Miyasaka to realize that he could be attracted to men other than Iwaki, and a little jealousy might be exactly what was needed to spur Mochimune on into making his move. It also wouldn't hurt for Mochimune to think that he had a little competition and that Miyasaka wouldn't be an easy conquest--the director was the type not to value a prize that was won too easily.

Onozuka had told Kikuchi in advance about the host club, but hadn't mentioned anything about Kenzaki's resemblance to Iwaki. He enjoyed catching his own lover off-balance at times, too.

Kenzaki focused most of his attention on Miyasaka, as Onozuka had requested beforehand when he had first arranged this little outing. That left Ren to entertain the rest of them, and he did his best to charm Mochimune out of his increasing annoyance, but those attempts proved futile. When Mochimune slapped Ren's hand away as he laid it flirtatiously on Mochimune's arm, Onozuka patted the couch and said, "Come sit next to me, Ren-san."

The young host obeyed with obvious relief, and Onozuka whispered, "Don't mind Mochimune-kantoku. It's nothing personal against you; he's just in a bad mood tonight."

"It's my job to make the customer forget his or her worries," Ren said diplomatically. "Which means that I still have a long way to go as a host, but I'm glad that I haven't done anything to offend Mochimune-kantoku." He smiled at Onozuka and added, "May I refill your glass, Onozuka-san?"

Onozuka's glass was still half-full, but he returned the smile and said, "Why, thank you," allowing Ren to top off the glass. And now it was Kikuchi's turn to scowl, and he possessively slung his arm around Onozuka's shoulders. Ren took the new situation in stride, turning his smile on Kikuchi as he offered to fill Kikuchi's glass as well.

"I'm good, thanks," Kikuchi replied curtly.

"I can't wait to see your new movie," Ren said smoothly, ignoring the curtness of Kikuchi's reply. "You and Onozuka-san have such great chemistry together that I'm sure it will be amazing."

Kikuchi stopped scowling and allowed himself to be drawn into some small talk about the movie, although he still kept his arm around Onozuka. Meanwhile, Onozuka was keeping his eye on Miyasaka and Mochimune, watching the latter grow more and more frustrated as Kenzaki lavished flattery and flirtation on Miyasaka.

Just as Mochimune's temper was nearing the boiling point (at least according to Onozuka's calculations), there was a knock at the door. Kenzaki got up to answer it and had a brief, hushed conversation with another host.

"Please excuse me for a few minutes," Kenzaki apologized with a charming smile. "There's another client I must see to, but I'll be back shortly. Ren will look after you in the meantime."

"Hurry back," Onozuka sang out, and both Mochimune and Kikuchi turned to glare at him.

"I will," Kenzaki promised with a flirtatious smile and wink before he left, closing the door behind him.

Ren dutifully attempted to make up for Kenzaki's absence, and he got up to refill Mochimune's glass, saying, "I loved your movie 'Lost Heart,' Mochimune-kantoku. It was really amazing how you had Iwaki Kyousuke play completely against type--"

"Buzz off," Mochimune growled, and Ren hastily retreated back to his seat next to Onozuka.

"I've failed as a host," Ren said glumly.

"Oh, not at all," Onozuka assured him, patting his arm consolingly; Kikuchi responded by wrapping his own arm a little more tightly around Onozuka. "Trust me, even Kenzaki-san wouldn't be able to charm Mochimune-kantoku."

"Especially not Kenzaki-san," Kikuchi muttered under his breath.

Meanwhile, Mochimune was paying no attention to them because Miyasaka was demanding, "Why do you have to be so rude? Ren-san was just trying to do his job."

"I don't need to pay anyone to kiss my ass," Mochimune sneered. "If I were into that sort of thing, there are plenty of people willing to do it for free."

Miyasaka frowned at him disapprovingly. "You may be a brilliant director, but you can be kind of a jerk at times."

"Only 'kind of' and 'at times'?" Mochimune retorted. "I must be slacking off!"

Miyasaka normally wouldn't have insulted a director to his face no matter how big a jerk he was, but Kenzaki had refilled his glass several times and Miyasaka had been too dazzled by the host to be aware of how much he was drinking. Fueled by liquid courage, his naturally hot temper overcame what little prudence he possessed.

"I don't care if you're a famous, big-shot director--it doesn't give you the right to be an asshole!" Miyasaka snapped.

"Are you kidding?" Mochimune scoffed. "That's the best part of being rich and famous, that I can do as I please and people can't tell me to fuck off!"

"Iwaki-san is rich and famous, but he'd never take advantage of his position to lord it over someone else," Miyasaka said, rather sanctimoniously. Almost as an afterthought, he added, "And Katou, too."

"It's always 'Iwaki-san' this and 'Iwaki-san' that with you, Miyasaka-kun," Mochimune sneered. "It's rather pathetic to lust after someone else's husband--and even more pathetic to lust after a host who looks like that husband!"

Miyasaka flushed and blustered, "I don't know what the hell you're talking about!"

By now, Ren had forgotten his alleged shortcomings as a host and was staring at Miyasaka and Mochimune, enthralled by their argument. "Wow!" he exclaimed. "This is better than watching TV!"

"Too bad we don't have any popcorn," Kikuchi joked, seeming friendlier to the young host now that his attention was focused on someone other than Onozuka.

"Your infatuation with Iwaki is obvious to anyone with eyes and ears," Mochimune snarled. "And it was made even more blatant by the way you were drooling and fawning over that host just now!"

"I'm not infatuated with Iwaki-san!" Miyasaka shouted, although his deepening blush and a guilty look in his eyes belied his words. "And I was not drooling over Kenzaki-san! Not that it's any business of yours even if I was. I'll put up with all your crap on the set without complaint, but what I do on my own time is my own business--you don't own me!"

"Oh, yes I do, Miyasaka-kun!" Mochimune shouted back at him. "For the duration of the film at least, you're mine!" However, the fiery and jealous look in his eyes implied that he might want Miyasaka even after the movie was over.

"I know that you made Iwaki-san live apart from Katou in order to help him get into character," Miyasaka said, still looking angry but also a little confused now. "But I thought you were pleased with the way I was playing Hiro. Do you have any complaints about my performance?"

"Not yet," Mochimune grudgingly admitted.

"Then what is your problem?!" Miyasaka demanded in exasperation. "Why do you even care whether I'm fawning over a host or not?!"

Mochimune stared at him in consternation, looking both furious and at the same time, slightly sheepish--an expression that Onozuka couldn't recall ever having seen on the director's face before. After a moment, Mochimune barked out a harsh laugh and said, "Miyasaka-kun, you have to be the most clueless idiot that I've ever had the misfortune to work with, but oddly enough, that's part of your charm."

"Huh?" Miyasaka blurted out, clearly unsure whether or not he was being insulted.

"Do you really want me to answer your question?" Mochimune purred with that predatory grin back on his face.

"Er...yes?" Miyasaka replied uncertainly, and without waiting for further permission, Mochimune pulled Miyasaka into his arms and kissed him.

Looking astonished but not exactly displeased, Miyasaka let out a muffled, startled exclamation that sounded something like "Mrmph?!"

"Yes!" Kikuchi hissed in triumph, holding one hand up in the air so that Onozuka could give him a high-five.

"Way better than television," Ren said to no one in particular.

Meanwhile, Mochimune continued to kiss Miyasaka the same way that he directed his films: with ruthless, relentless passion, giving Miyasaka no opportunity to object--not that Miyasaka was trying very hard to escape. He remained frozen in shock for a few moments, neither resisting nor cooperating, then tentatively began returning the kiss. Never one to let an opportunity pass, Mochimune very obviously deepened the kiss with a bit of tongue--well, a lot of tongue, actually. Miyasaka seemed to find this to his liking, because he moaned and kissed Mochimune with more enthusiasm. Mochimune began groping Miyasaka, sliding one hand under his shirt while the other hand stroked his back and slowly made its way down to his ass. Miyasaka seemed to like that, too, and more moaning ensued--this time from both men.

The door opened and Kenzaki walked through it and started to say, "I'm sorry for the interruption," before breaking off to stare at the two men making out on the couch.

Mochimune and Miyasaka seemed oblivious to Kenzaki's return, but Onozuka whispered tactfully, "Perhaps we should give them some privacy?"

To his credit, Kenzaki recovered his composure quickly and replied smoothly, "Of course." The four of them quietly exited the room--not that Miyasaka and Mochimune noticed--and Kenzaki closed the door behind them. Out in the hall, the lovebirds' moaning was still audible, though slightly muted by the door.

"Would the two of you care to move to another room?" Kenzaki asked Onozuka and Kikuchi.

"No, I believe that our work here is complete," Kikuchi replied smugly.

"We had a great time, but I think we'll call it a night," Onozuka said politely. "Is it all right if those two...ah...continue the evening on their own?"

Kenzaki chuckled and said, "You reserved the room for the entire night, so it's fine. It's our duty to make our customers happy, after all."

"And they seemed pretty happy," Ren said mischievously, and Onozuka laughed.

"Yes, they certainly did!"

They left the happy couple behind and went to settle the bill. Onozuka winced slightly at the amount as he handed over his credit card, but he supposed that the price was well worth it as long as Miyasaka was happy. Besides, Kikuchi had promised to split the cost with him, since the matchmaking scheme had originally been his idea. More importantly, this new turn of events gave him something to hold over Mochimune, and that held a value that couldn't be measured in yen. All in all, Onozuka thought that he'd come out ahead in this bargain.

Like good hosts, Kenzaki and Ren called a taxi for Onozuka and Kikuchi, then saw their guests off. "Will you come and visit us again?" Ren asked hopefully.

"Perhaps," Onozuka purred, although he'd only arranged the host club visit for the sole purpose of getting Miya-chan and Mochi together. But as he watched Kikuchi scowl at Ren, Onozuka thought that it might come in useful for keeping his own lover in line. It couldn't hurt to remind Kikuchi every now and then that other people found Onozuka desirable. In fact, Kikuchi's blatant jealousy tonight had secretly tickled Onozuka. In spite of being waited on by two very handsome and charming hosts, Kikuchi had paid them scant attention except to get jealous of Ren--he'd had eyes only for Onozuka all evening.

Onozuka climbed into the back seat next to Kikuchi, and as the taxi drove off, Kikuchi wrapped his arms around Onozuka and pulled him so close that Onozuka was practically sitting on his lap.

"Don't forget that you belong to me," Kikuchi growled into his ear.

"Yes, Kikuchi-san," Onozuka said meekly, but he was inwardly gloating, And now you belong to me!

***

Miyasaka was swept away in a wave of uncontrollable desire, barely noticing when Onozuka and the others left. He felt as if his mouth was not being kissed so much as it was devoured by Mochimune--rough, deep kisses that stole his breath away, with Mochimune's tongue filling his mouth and Mochimune's teeth biting at his lower lip. One of Mochimune's hands was pinching his nipples, harder than Miyasaka normally cared for, but somehow each sharp little jolt of pain shot straight to his crotch, turning into lust somewhere along the way.

Mochimune's other hand groped Miyasaka's butt, stroked his thigh, and finally made its way down the front of Miyasaka's jeans, which had somehow gotten unzipped without him even noticing. Miyasaka cried out, breaking off the kiss as Mochimune's fingers wrapped around his cock.

That broke through the fog of lust that had clouded over his mind, and Miyasaka suddenly came to his senses and realized that this was more than just a few drunken kisses that could be laughed off as a joke later--he was letting himself be jerked off by another man.

He nearly pulled away from Mochimune, but the director seemed to sense his panic and leaned in closer, his lips brushing against Miyasaka's ear as he purred seductively, "Don't think, Miyasaka-kun. Just don't think." As an added incentive, Mochimune's tongue darted out to lick playfully at Miyasaka's ear.

As Onozuka often liked to point out, not thinking was Miyasaka's strong suit. And it was so incredibly hot to have Mochimune's hand moving on him with the same fervor as those devouring kisses. So Miyasaka groaned and gave in, allowing--as usual, Onozuka would say--his cock to do his thinking for him.

"Good," Miyasaka whimpered. "That feels so good..."

Mochimune grinned smugly, looking quite pleased by his response. "You have no idea how good I can make you feel, Miyasaka-kun," he purred.

Miyasaka shuddered, the sound of Mochimune's voice exciting him even more. He glanced down and noticed that Mochimune had opened his own trousers and was stroking his own cock while his other hand continued to minister to Miyasaka.

"Should I...um...er...?" Miyasaka blurted out, lust and nervousness rendering him less than coherent. He felt as if he ought to be helping Mochimune to get off, but still felt hesitant about touching another man (who wasn't Iwaki-san), although his body didn't seem to mind being touched by one.

"Don't worry, Miyasaka-kun," Mochimune reassured him, correctly interpreting Miyasaka's stammerings, which was strangely gratifying. "I'll do all the work--you don't have to worry about anything."

Miyasaka relaxed and surrendered completely, allowing himself to sink back into that fog of lust. And although Mochimune had told him not to think, Miyasaka found his mind drifting back to his earlier conversation with Onozuka, when Onozuka had asked him how he felt about Mochimune. In a sudden flash of insight, Miyasaka realized that his devious friend had set this whole thing up, probably with Kikuchi's help, in order to get this very result. He wasn't quite sure whether he wanted to kill Onozuka or kiss him in gratitude.

Mochimune's hand suddenly released him, and Miyasaka whimpered in protest, then moaned loudly when he saw Mochimune's head bending down towards his lap. Miyasaka had one last coherent thought--that there was no use fighting Onozuka's scheming because Onozuka was always right--before Mochimune's mouth engulfed him and devoured him, and all Miyasaka's thoughts shattered in an explosion of ecstasy.