Jesters & Kings

BY : Salmon
Category: Manga G to L > Love Mode
Dragon prints: 980
Disclaimer: I don't own Lovemode, but you knew that. I don't make money off of writing these fics. (Boy, I wish I did)

Jesters & Kings Part 1
A Love Mode Fanfic

"He with his mature attitude, me with my bratty pride...the atmosphere between us hasn't changed at all..."


Katsuki awoke to silken sheets against his naked skin, the familiar aches of the morning after with his male lover, and an opulent - but empty - hotel bedroom. Why was it he was never drawn to lovers who stayed to wake with him? He wondered briefly before shaking off the question. The answer was simple enough. Such things were for true romances, and had no place in relationships based on convenience.

There was a letter addressed to him on the nightstand, but he left it until he'd showered and dressed in the clothes left out for him. He opened the envelope and pulled out the letter inside. Taped to the bottom was a large pendant necklace made of white gold and diamonds. Katsuki sighed heavily as he removed it from the paper and fastened it around his neck. "Tossing me aside so soon...ne, Noe?"


Not long ago his life could have taken a very different turn. He'd abandoned being a gigolo for a wealthy businesswomen when he'd met Jinnai Kuniaki - the number 2 seme host at the B&B - a high class men-only date club. For the first time in his entire life he'd fallen head over heels in love. He thought he'd been accepted into the B&B to be trained by Jin to be a host, but it all turned out to be a lie. A punishment for breaking into the B&B set up by Jin and the Owner's brother.

Somehow, though, it had led to him spending a single night of passion in the arms of none other than Jinnai Kuniaki himself. That was something he still couldn't explain. Why had he slept with him? Had it been no more than a whim? Or - even worse - pity?

A part of him had wanted to believe - and perhaps to some extent did believe - that it meant the other man did care for him in some capacity. So when the next morning he'd offered him a position at the B&B - as a pageboy - he'd been tempted. Sorely tempted. He'd be around Jin everyday. See him; hear him. For so little he'd been willing to be a host and sleep with other men. But that had been before he'd known his 'training' had been a lie. A cruel joke he'd been fool enough to fall for. Was this offer no more than another joke?

"So do you really love me?" He'd demanded. And when Jin had not replied, he'd walked.

Pride.

His damn bratty pride.


His 'training' turned out to be rather useful. Apparently now that his manners were no longer so "common" - as Jin had once called them - his ability to win wealthy lovers had improved. No longer caring if those lovers were female or male opened new venues as well. He was climbing to the heights of the consort world. Noe was his latest conquest. A wealthy politician with a love of wine and rich food, his gifts were usually pragmatic. Clothes, food; furniture. He only sent trinkets when he felt guilty. If he missed dinner, or a planned event, or forgot to call. He'd done none of those things. He'd overheard snippets of conversations, lately, about Noe's family pressuring him to marry. He'd thought he'd had a few more months left, but with the sudden gift of the necklace he had a feeling his time was much shorter. He had to find a new prospect soon. Perhaps even at the party Noe had promised to take him to the next night. He may as well spare Noe the need to ask him to leave by finding someone to leave with. Quickly.


"Isn't it hurting you're neck? It must weigh a ton." Touma teased him when he sat down to get a drink at the bar.

Katsuki flushed, realizing he'd forgotten to hide the pendant inside his shirt. "No, it's fine." He muttered.

"What did Noe do now?" Touma asked him, turning to fill Amagai's drink.

If there was one thing you couldn't claim, it was that Touma was a bad listener. "Ah...nothing. That's the problem."

Touma ached an eyebrow. "Too bad. I figured he'd be good for atleast six months."

Katsuki's lowered his eyes to his drink, swirling the liquid about in it's cup. "So did I."

"So, what are you going to do?" Amagai asked him.

He found himself unable to meet Amagai's gaze as he answered. "Find someone else. Soon. At the party at Royal Gates tomorrow night, perhaps."

Though he'd never said it, Katsuki had always had the feeling Amagai had been displeased by his return to the consort world. That he'd have preferred to see him working as a pageboy for the B&B rather than flittering through high-class lovers. Yet his relationship with Eiko had never been a point between them. A part of him wanted to ask why, but figured he'd never give him a real answer. Only say that it was his life. Another part of him worried he would answer - and if he did, he didn't know what he'd say.

"I see..." Amagai replied, and let the subject drop.


The truth was, Amagai was displeased with the way Katsuki was running his life now. His relationship with Eiko - though just as much a relationship of convenience as the ones he was in now - had been far more innocent in many ways. Eiko had sought him out, accepted him as he was. Had put him up in her flat. A live-in lover.

Katsuki had sought out Noe, who kept Katsuki in hotel rooms far away from where he lived. Who gave him gifts and presents, and expected him to behave in certain ways. Like a consort...and he was a consort. A far better one than he could have been before - thanks to Jin.

And what had happened between Jin and Katsuki? They'd shared a bed, he knew that. Knew he'd even offered him a job as a pageboy at the B&B. Yet, inspite of his professed love for the host, Katsuki had turned it down. In a sense, he'd rejected Jin. Though he wasn't sure Katsuki realized it.

He had a feeling it was a rejection Jin had not expected - why would he get Aoe's signature if he had? The host's feeling for his Kohai were a mystery to Amagai. What few questions or comments about Katsuki he's made in Jin's presence were met with non-committal replies.

"Hey, King." Jin greeted him when he showed up at the B&B.

"Jin..." He sighed, always having hated that title.

"Owner wants to see you. Seems there's a schedule conflict tomorrow night. One of your regular's events got moved up, and it conflicts with the party at the Royal Gates."

Amagai froze. "I take it you'll be taking up whatever one I decide against?"

"Only fair, right?" Jin arched an eyebrow.

He couldn't help but think of Katsuki going to the Royal Gates party with Noe, and with the intention of finding a new lover. How would he feel seeing Jin there? What would Jin think, seeing Katsuki on Noe's arm? In the role he'd unwittingly groomed him for? "...I wouldn't want to disappoint a regular..." The words were out of his mouth before he'd thought them through.

"Well, I guess that means I'll be going to the party at the Royal Gates. I'm sure it'll be as boring as ever."

"You might be surprised." Amagai told him, escaping into the staff elevator. He wasn't sure whether what he'd just done was a stroke of genius, or something he'd come to regret.


Katsuki studied the suit Noe had left out for him. He'd promised to meet him there, claiming his meeting had gone late. He was going to be late leaving himself if he didn't hurry and dress, but still he found himself lingering, staring at the suit hanging on the closet. He didn't like it. Not that that mattered, given his situation. Noe had given it to him for him to wear, and usually he didn't question that. It was part of the game. But if he planned on finding someone else tonight...

He opened up his suitcase, going through his clothes, trying to find something good enough for the party. He hesitated when he came across a carefully kept clothing box, then slowly opened it. Inside, folded neatly, was the suit Jin had given him as a gift - supposedly for completing his training. A suit for him to wear for his first job. Of course, none of that had been real, so he still wasn't sure about the meaning of the gift. Like the reason Jin had slept with him, it was a mystery. He began to close the lid, then stopped.

He hadn't worn it once since the first time. Had even thought of leaving it behind in his room when he left. But at the last moment he found himself unable to give it up and had placed it in his bag. He eyed the suit critically. If it was good enough for Jin's tastes...


Jin sat bored, sipping from his champagne glass. The party was about as exciting as watching paint dry, but a job was a job. His customer stood nearby, chatting away with a group of other guests at the party. He scanned the room one last time, in a vain attempt to find something interesting to watch. He found his eyes pausing on a familiar suit, clothing an even more familiar body.

Katsuki didn't see him at first, he was on the arm of a slightly pudgy man in a suit who was greeting a group of other guests. He only introduced him to his companions briefly before returning to whatever the point of the conversation was. Katsuki seemed to be paying very little attention to it, though he nodded at intervals. His eyes were scanning the room carefully, looking for something.

That was when their eyes met, and Katsuki froze, obviously missing one of his timed nods, because his companion turned to him, asking a question. Yanking his eyes from Jin's he turned back, obviously apologizing and nodding his agreement to the next few questions. Even from a distance, Jin could see the embarrassed blush coloring his cheeks. Having satisfied the group that he was sorry and agreed with them, Katsuki spared one more nervous glance his way. Jin smirked, watching him as he moved off from the group with his companion. "Well...perhaps tonight won't be so boring after all..."


To Be Continued...

Salmon


What started me thinking was the fact that all of us who write them as a pairing - me included - always take for granted that Katsuki takes Jin's offer of being a pageboy for the B&B and the two remain lovers. I thought - what if Katsuki didn't take the offer? And the story evolved from there.


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