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Katou rushed at him with everything he’d got, when they made love. On camera; off. Always the same. He came at Iwaki like a freight train of emotion, all honesty and awkwardness. He said things that made Iwaki wish he weren’t an icy and dissatisfied man.

Iwaki had always been hollow.

He’d become an actor at first to fill himself up with other people’s attention. But popularity is fleeting. Then, he did it because he wanted to be someone else, anyone else, even if it was just for a while. But he could only land AV roles.

He continued acting because he couldn’t bear to admit he’d failed.

Then there was that audition. And Katou.

Young, brilliant, unabashed Katou. He was never embarrassed. Never flinched from the media. From scandal. He was as reckless as a child.

Iwaki didn’t know whether to slap him or kiss him, half the time.

So sometimes he did both.

He drank and stared out his lonely window, watching the Tokyo skyline twinkle. He waited, and when he couldn’t wait any longer, he picked up the phone.

Katou came, arriving late, of course. There were harsh words, bitter whispers. An open palm, smacking his cheek red-warm.

They fucked on his couch, the light from his elaborate fish tank casting oddly shaped shadows on the wall. Katou made him come in a matter of moments.

Afterward, he’d felt a little less faded.

They went to Sawa’s house. Katou challenged him. He’d ended up on the sofa with Yukihito, who trembled like a virgin and smelled like baby powder. He was deliberately cruel—to Katou.

Iwaki was tender and gentle, romantic almost, with Yukihito. Every caress was meant to be a keen blade, aimed straight at Katou’s big, bleeding heart.

But when Katou grabbed his wrist, and yanked him down to the floor, and held him tight . . . Iwaki felt a little less brittle.

Katou told him to lose himself in his role, and then made him moan and pant and beg, naked and wanton, on Sawa’s hardwood floor. Later, he stared at the sunset and for the first time in forever, felt its warmth.

During filming, Katou never missed a chance to slip off their underwear. He’d fuck Iwaki in front of the crew, a thin sheet the only thing between him and utter mortification. And then, Katou would have the gall to apologize for being a bad actor, for being unable to stop himself from falling in love with Iwaki . . . He even acted like a whore, when Iwaki dared him.

It was unnerving, that kind of thoughtless commitment. Iwaki thought it had all been a dream, when Katou didn’t show up at the wrap party. The walk home had been long and lonely.

But there Katou was—opening his front door—having broken into his apartment and moved all his belongings in without stopping to ask Iwaki for permission.

Katou rushed at him with everything he’d got, and Iwaki wasn’t empty anymore.