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The Camera Eye: Beauty is Truth

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Since he came to PSC Productions, Hayato had enjoyed great success as a filmmaker. Well, the whole Codomo Dragon collective did, given that they all had a hand in writing, producing, directing, filming and acting in their movies. But every member had a behind-the-camera specialty, and they all knew that Hayato’s specialty was directing.

He’d been the main guidance behind Viper, the short film that had won the Aoi Presents contest and gotten them their contract with PSC. He’d done the same for their official debut, Sodom, which had won them the Newcomers of the Year JAVA Award. And he was doing it again for the video they were writing and directing for Ruiza – a remake of a straight porno in which the star was to play an alien collecting data on what human sexual experiences were like.

He had a secret folder on his computer where he saved all the positive reviews their work had gotten. When he felt his enthusiasm or confidence flagging, he’d open them and read phrases like, “New visionaries in Japanese gay porn,” “A breath of fresh air like the industry hasn’t seen in a long time,” and “This isn’t porn – it’s a real film that just happens to have a lot of hot sex.”

At first glance, he really was a major success story in every possible way. But that wasn’t entirely accurate. There was still one area where he felt unappreciated – and that was as an actor. No, not quite that, people did seem to like his acting chops. It was more like he felt unappreciated as a STAR.

Porn, of course, was a looks-oriented business. And Hayato always tried to make the most of what nature had given him. He learned how to use makeup, he went running, he made full use of skincare products.

And yet, he seemed to get remarks from bloggers that he was un-starlike. There was the one who said she loved Viper “precisely because the cast is refreshingly ugly after so many airbrushed super-pretty boys,” the critic who said he “looked like the kid who always got shoved face-first into lockers, tarted up with punk gear to make himself look cool . . .”

He tried to tell himself that the words didn’t matter. Fans seemed to like him as much as his behind-the-camera work, right? That was really what mattered, wasn’t it? And so, he tried to ignore it . . .

Until a high-profile article appeared, and then, he couldn’t ignore it any more.

* * *

“M-San has finally gotten around to writing about us,” Kana told him one morning over breakfast. M-San was a prominent blogger and columnist in the adult video industry. Usually, he covered the “mainstream” side of the business – meaning, actress-oriented porn targeted at straight men – but he did occasionally cover the gay side.

“He has?” Hayato looked up from his own iPad. “What did he say?”

“Well, he said it’s no surprise that Ruiza chose us to make his new video, because we’re at the forefront of the ‘Next Wave’ of Japanese gay porn. He also had some very nice things to say about the screenplay of Viper.”

“That’s all you, baby,” Hayato said.

“Not ALL me,” Kana said. “meN had a hand in writing it too, remember.”

“I’m gonna look this up.” Hayato quickly went to his saved links – as a fanboy-turned-director, he had M-san’s blog bookmarked. Sure enough, there was a link to the piece at the top. “Whoa, it’s a big publication, too! One of the biggest! Hey, they even monitor that site in America. They might even pick up on it and translate it and we’ll get famous over there! Well, porn-famous, anyway. But that would mean having our videos distributed in . . .”

His eyes skimmed over the piece as he was talking. Sure enough, there was high praise for the work they’d done so far, and for the way they’d presented Subaru and Mahiro in Sodom – “They somehow managed to make the overexposed Subaru seem fresh and vibrant again, and that says a lot.” He winced at that one – it was a backhanded compliment toward Subaru, to be sure.

But then, he hit a phrase that made him stop in his tracks.

“Just hoping that when they do the Ruiza video, they cast men of equal attractiveness opposite him,” M-San wrote. “They have the clout to do that now, they don’t have to keep appearing on-camera themselves. Hayato is game for action in all his scenes, of course, and he goes at his partners with enthusiasm, but he looks like ‘the weird kid’ in every high school. He’s pretty much the Ron Jeremy of Japanese gay porn.”

The words stung. They stung HARD. Because it wasn’t the first time something like that had been said about him – and now, said by someone like M-San, it was like shouting it from the rooftops. He might be a fanboy of gay porn, but he knew damn well who Ron Jeremy was – a hugely successful American straight porn star of “the Golden Age,” despite the fact that he looked like a walrus.

Kana had seen it, too. He came over to Hayato’s side of the table and hugged him. “Baby . . .” he said.

“It’s okay,” Hayato said, trying to keep his usual cheerful face. “Really, it is. He loved my work as a director and that’s what matters, right? And, like, the whole world knows that now.”

The disappointment sat him his gut like a bitter pill, though. Okay, it wasn’t the first time for these kind of remarks, to be sure. But the fanboy in him was hurting because it was M-San, THE M-San, saying this. The previous online insults were like someone stepping on his toes. This was a full-out gut punch.

* * *

When the group had a meeting later that day, to review and coordinate what they had for their new video – because they wanted to be able to leap into action as soon as Ruiza was done shooting the “erotic miniseries” that Uruha was currently filming – the M-San column inevitably came up.

“He said a LOT of good things about everything we did,” meN said. “Writing, directing, even the camerawork. We haven’t been reviewed in detail like that before.”

“Yeah, but what he said about Hayato . . .” Chamu said.

“He said I was a great director with an eye that sees what ninety percent of filmmakers would miss,” Hayato said, loudly. “That’s good, isn’t it? I mean, this guy knows what he’s talking about. He was the one who pretty much made Kobe’s career. Did you know that? Kobe was thrown like two or three minor products a year by Hard Candy for a long time, and then M-San reviewed one of his films, and suddenly everyone in the industry wanted to work with him, and then he did A Mirror for the Modern Man and his career exploded . . .”

But even as Hayato’s usual stream of fanboy babble poured forth, his head was cycling through not only M-San’s comment, but also previous things that had been said about him. It’s not like I don’t try to make myself look the part, he thought. I’ve tried to make myself look as attractive as possible, and it seems my efforts are for nothing . . .

“ . . . and hey, if the article gets translated into English? Because M-San’s stuff HAS been translated into English, you know. It gets carried all the time by that American trade publication – what was that, Adult Video Monthly? Yep, that’s the one!”

Usually, his babble came from the heart. Right now, it was trying to drown out the noise in his head.

* * *

Later on, he buried himself in plans for the new video, opening his screenplay in Adobe Acrobat Professional so that he could mark notes on various scenes. Kana, on the other side of the room, looked a bit worried about him.

“Hayato,” he said, “if you need to talk about it – you know, the M-San thing . . .”

“I’m good,” he lied. “Really, I am. Look, a director is always what I wanted to be, right? And my directing is what he liked.”

“But nobody likes to be told they’re unattractive,” Kana said, softly. “Especially when it isn’t true.”

“You thinking I’m attractive is all that matters to me,” Hayato said. “And, hey, Subaru and Mahiro think I’m worth it too, right? I mean, they could have told me they wanted me to cast someone else opposite them. They didn’t. So hey, I’m considering that a vote of confidence!”

Kana sat on the couch beside Hayato and hugged him, tightly. “You ARE a star,” he said. “Never forget that, no matter what anyone says.”

Hayato just hugged back. Kana was being a good boyfriend, of course. He was saying the right thing at the right time. And his words were helping, in a way. So why did he still feel unappreciated?

* * *

Uruha was busy as hell right now. The crew for their fairy tale miniseries – about a prince forced to choose his mate by eliminating a harem of men one by one – was now in Kyoto, shooting around some traditional-style locations. (As usual, he wasn’t a hundred percent upfront with the property owners about what was being filmed – although everything being shot in these locations was worksafe).

That didn’t mean, however, that he wasn’t aware of the M-San piece. It had been brought to his attention by Subaru, who’d spotted it first. “Who’s Ron Jeremy?” he asked Uruha between takes.

“Why do you ask?”

“Because M-San compared Hayato to him.”

Crap, Uruha thought. He figured it probably was a comment on his looks. “He’s an actor and director who’s been very successful for a long time,” Uruha said. “I can think of worse people for someone in our industry to be compared to.” (But not looks-wise, he thought. The man is fabled for his ugliness.)

He was wondering how they were going to do damage control on this one. It wasn’t as if M-San had said anything about the Codomo Dragon collective’s filmmaking abilities. Quite the opposite. But something like this . . .

“Excuse me,” a voice said above him. “Are you Uruha?”

The director was startled. Oh, crap, he thought, they figured out what we’re filming here today. We’re being chased out. And he couldn’t blame them, really. If he were the caretaker of a shrine, he’d be upset too if he found out the seemingly innocent “date” scene being shot there was part of a gay porno.

He looked up, fully expecting to see a guy in priestly garb – and instead, beheld a young man who could only be described as a bombshell.

He had long, waving, lavender hair, piercing eyes, and beautifully soft and well-formed lips. The shorts and T-shirt he was wearing hugged a slim, porn-ready body. He was the kind of person who made straight men immediately question their sexuality.

In short, he was a porn director’s dream come true.

“I am,” Uruha said, getting up from his director’s chair and bowing. “How can I help you?”

“I’m interested in getting into your industry,” the bombshell said, fidgeting with a strand of hair. “I’ve been in modeling, but they’re starting to make me feel, well, unappreciated.”

No way in hell could Uruha imagine anyone not appreciating this creature. “What do you mean?”

“I mean the photographers keep passing me over for shoots,” the newcomer said. “I get told all the time that I don’t have the right look for the product. They want someone a little more ‘traditional.’”

Meaning, more masculine-looking, Uruha thought. A lot of photographers liked pretty boys, but not TOO pretty. “I can’t see anything wrong with your looks at all,” he said. “Tell me, are you familiar with our work?”

“Oh, yes, I’ve been a fan for awhile,” the other said. “That’s why I approached you. I haven’t introduced myself yet, by the way. I’m Sena.” The young man bowed.

“Hello, Sena.” Uruha said. “Tell me, other than being a fan of ours, what made you decide to seek us out, rather than try to get a job in, say, mainstream film?”

“Because you’re doing great things,” Sena said. “Your company . . . some of the writing in your productions is better than what’s being produced by the mainstream. Better than some of the stuff in America, even. And besides – I’ve always had a strong sex drive and I like being on display. I am what I am, and I want the entire world to know it.”

He fit the profile of the ideal performer through and through. “We’re definitely going to give you a screen test,” Uruha said. “If that works out? We’ll see that you’re cast in a production in the near future.” He was already envisioning a role for this guy in Swashbucklers 2 – not a huge one, but one that would emphatically let the world know he’d arrived.

“Thank you so much,” Sena said. “I’ll give you my contact info – just give me an E-mail address.” He opened his phone.

Uruha gave his general business E-mail, then said, “By the way, is there any one of our performers you might be interested in working with?” He imagined he’d have no problems getting any of his guys to be attracted to this man.

“Oh, yes,” Sena said, while typing into his phone. “Hayato.”

Well, that wasn’t what Uruha was expecting to hear. He was expecting Subaru, or Yo-ka, or, if the newbie was extremely ambitious, even Aoi. “Oh, really?” he said, trying to conceal the surprise in his voice. “Why him, if I may ask?”

“Because there’s something really appealing about a guy who’s smart and can do it all,” Sena said. “I mean, I really admire the fact that he’s got a hand in all aspects of their productions. Plus, he goes all-out on-camera. You can tell he’s focused entirely on his partner, not on how he looks onscreen. The scene with him and Subaru in Sodom was one of the hottest I’ve ever seen.” He paused. “I can appreciate someone like that a lot more than a vapid pretty boy.”

And here’s our counteraction to the remarks about Hayato’s appearance, Uruha thought. This guy is just what the doctor ordered – both for the public and for Hayato himself. “I’m going to contact him and see if he’d be interested in doing the screen test,” Uruha said. “His group can make the entire thing – shoot it, direct it and make sure it gets to me.”

Sena seemed to light up. “You mean it?” he said. “You’d cast me opposite Hayato?”

“Of course,” Uruha said. “I always make sure my performers are on-camera with people they actually want to be with.” He looked at his own phone. “You can be in Tokyo in the next few days, right?”

“I actually live there,” Sena said. “I’m just here for a photoshoot.”

“Even better,” Uruha said. “All right, someone will be in touch with you.”

He smiled to himself as the young man left. Bingo, he thought. We get to develop our own new star – something we haven’t done in awhile – and we solve the Hayato problem in one fell swoop. Once M-San found out Sena had chosen Hayato? He would, hopefully, take his narrow-minded opinions and choke on them.

* * *

Hayato had been a bit surprised when he got the E-mail from Uruha with the young man’s contact info. “He wants to talk to you about a screen test,” the boss wrote. “Do it, and send it to me.”

So he wants us to shoot it, Hayato thought. A strange request, but not unreasonable, given that all of the company’s other directors were busy with other projects now. He just wondered who he could get to co-star in the test, given that most PSC-affiliated actors were filming at the moment.

He agreed to meet with the new star at a bar. Soon as he walked in, Hayato knew that Sena had star quality. He was sensuality on two legs. He was the kind of drop-dead gorgeous creature who could have any woman or man he wanted in two seconds.

Exactly the kind of person that guys like me can’t score, he thought.

“You’re Hayato,” the beauty said, approaching the table. “I’m Sena. I’m thrilled to meet you.”

“Hello, Sena,” Hayato said, standing up and bowing. “So, you want to be a perfomer?”

“Oh, hell, yes,” Sena said. “I’m ready, willing and able. I’ve been watching your company’s videos for a long time.”

“Good,” Hayato said. “That’s how I got started – we were launched through the Aoi Presents contest, but I wouldn’t have known about that if I wasn’t a fan. PSC Productions videos were just so well-done, you know? As a filmmaker, I can appreciate that. I mean, I could appreciate the erotic aspects as well, because those were always hot, but the way the scenes were shot? I knew they were on the same page that I was. So, yeah, I couldn’t imagine doing this kind of thing for anyone else.”

“Neither could I,” Sena said. “And it was because of your video that I decided to take the plunge.” He paused. “I couldn’t imagine myself doing this with anyone else, either.”

Hayato couldn’t take his eyes off this man. He would look so, so good on camera. Just the face alone was going to photograph like a dream. He found himself wishing that he would be the one in front of the camera with him, not behind it. Yeah, and he’d better stop that line of thought NOW and say something to him. “So what were you doing before you came to us?”

“Being unappreciated,” Sena said. “I was a model – and photographers would always tell me they loved my look, and then pass me over. I never understood it. I had pictures taken in every possible kind of clothes and setting. I had video clips as well as still pictures. Nothing worked. I’d get told I was TOO pretty.”

“There’s no such thing as too pretty,” Hayato said. “Not in this business.” As opposed to me, he thought. Not pretty enough. The Ron Jeremy of Japanese gay porn. Those damn words were stuck in an endless loop in his head, and he wished he could get rid of them. “And I can’t see how anyone couldn’t appreciate you.”

“That’s sweet,” Sena replied. “I just hope I’m worthy of the work that you guys do.”

“You’ll be worthy, all right,” Hayato said. He signaled the waiter to come over and take their drink orders. “Directors love guys who look like you. I mean, just looking at your face? You have the kind of face that catches the light, as we say. The kind of angles that are very photogenic. And the way you move? Yeah, we’re not going to have to get you to exaggerate your walk, it’s very natural and very stylized at the same time. Plus, I think we’ll be able to put you in a bunch of different kinds of lighting. Like, we could do something with neon, like we did for Viper. Neon is always very sexy. Of course, I’d also have to hear you talk on-camera, to get a sense of your voice, and . . .” He checked himself, a rare occurrence. “Sorry. I sound like a filmmaking wonk.”

“It’s okay,” Sena said. “Your filmmaking wonkiness is one of the most attractive things about you.”

Hayato nearly fell face-first on the table. Did he say . . . attractive? As in, sexually attractive? No, he heard that wrong, right? He . . .

“Sir? Sir?” a voice above him said. Oh, right, the waiter. They were getting drinks, weren’t they?

“I’ll have a skin and tonic,” Hayato said. “Sin and tonic. Gin and tonic, dammit!” Crap, crap, he’d just spazzed out and admitted to Sena that he found him hot as hell. Hayato might have a loving boyfriend at home, but it was still a porn industry relationship – meaning, open as hell, especially when professional stuff was concerned.

Sena laughed. “I’ll have whatever he’s having,” he said. When the waiter left, he leaned over toward the other man. “I liked your first idea better.”

Hayato felt his breath catch in his throat. His brain had to be playing tricks on him. This gorgeous creature couldn’t be hitting on him! “Tell me more about your modeling career,” he said, quickly.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time?” Sena said. “I had a boyfriend in high school who wanted to get into photography. We agreed he’d take pictures for me and make a portfolio for both of us. And I ended up getting an agency and he didn’t, so that was the end of the relationship. I did find out that I’m turned on by being on-camera, though. He’d hook up his camera with a remove and take pictures of us fucking and it was the hottest experience of my life.”

As the waiter brought the drinks, he went on to describe his first few shoots, for a punkish clothing brand, and it looked like he was going to gain traction, but he couldn’t move BEYOND punkish clothing brands, and then he got the lack of appreciation from more mainstream photographers, and he started thinking more and more about getting into porn . . .

“And then, I saw Sodom, and that did it. I knew that was what I wanted to do, and I went for it. I got an assignment that was shooting in Kyoto - FINALLY, after a ton of rejection. I knew Uruha was filming there from the actors’ Instagram posts, and I approached him.”

“So our film made you take the plunge, huh?” Hayato said. “I’m flattered.”

“Your film was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen,” Sena said. “Beautiful and sexy, and the script made you think as well as get hot. Plus, that scene with you and Subaru? Holy fuck. That made me hotter than anything ever.”

“Subaru’s a hot guy,” Hayato said. And now I know who he wants to be with on-camera, he thought. Everyone wants to be with Subaru. It’s no surprise.

“Oh, it wasn’t Subaru I was getting hot for. It was you.”

Hayato spluttered, his drink nearly getting spat across the table. “M-ME?”

“Yes, you,” Sena said. “You’re why I got into this business. You’re the first person I want a shot at.”

“But . . . but . . . you could have anyone!”

“Precisely why I want you,” Sena said. “You make your partner feel appreciated like nobody I’ve ever seen on camera. You worship him like a god. And knowing you’re the one in control of the scene, that you’re the director? That makes it all the hotter.”

“You . . . mean that?” Hayato’s mind was blown. Absolutely fried. For once, he wasn’t babbling. He couldn’t. He’d just about lost the power of speech. “But . . . I’m not a pretty boy like Yo-ka, or Aoi, or . . .”

“I’ve been a model. I’m surrounded by pretty, vapid men all the time. They have no depth. Someone like you has depth. And to me, that’s sexier than having a pretty face and no brain.” He leaned over toward Hayato. “So . . . do you want to audition me, then? Uruha wants me to make a screen test video. And for that, I need a co-star.”

This isn’t happening, Hayato thought. This isn’t happening, this is too good to be true, this isn’t happening . . . The words swirled around and around in his brain, completely drowning the little voice that had kept repeating “Ron Jeremy of Japanese gay porn.”

“I . . . need to set up a studio, I think one of the apartments we use is available, I’ll just do a basic light and camera setup so we don’t need a crew, that will be enough for an audition video . . .”

He paused and waited for Sena to laugh and say, “Just kidding.” Instead, he said, “Wonderful! So when can we do it?”

“As soon as possible.” Hayato fumbled for his phone. Some TV comedian was going to come running into the bar and announce it was all a practical joke for his show, right? Or he was going to wake up. Or . . .

None of the above was happening. He got the studio. He made another quick call for the equipment. Reality still failed to intrude.

He picked me, he thought. He could have anyone, and he picked ME.

The insults that had haunted him before suddenly seemed far, far away.

* * *

He set up the shoot with two cameras aimed at the bed. He calibrated the lights and the sound as if it were just any other shoot. On the surface, he was being every inch the professional director.

Underneath, though, he was like a teenage boy who was about to get laid for the first time. He kept seeing Sena out of the corner of his eye, looking up from his phone and giving him a smile.

Oh, my God, he thought. This is really happening. It’s really, really happening.

When all was set, he said, “Okay, the cameras are operated by this remote, when we’re ready, I can click this. Uruha is mainly interested in seeing how comfortable you are on-camera and how you photograph, so . . .” He looked at the other man. “Whenever you’re ready.”

Sena stood up, stripped his shirt off and dropped it on the floor. His pants and underwear landed moments afterward.

“I’m ready,” he said in a silky voice. “Are you?”

Hayato swallowed hard, his eyes wandering over the other man’s body. Oh, God, he was beautiful. Even more beautiful than he was expecting. His belly was flat, his skin smooth, his nipples stood out invitingly . . .

“I . . .” He fumbled with his own shirt. Somehow, he managed to get it off. “I . . .” His fingers tangled with each other trying to get his belt unfastened and his zipper down. He realized he was trembling all over when he pulled his pants and underwear down.

I’m more like a character in a porno than a porn director at this point, he thought.

He got the last of his clothes off and sat on the bed, putting lube within reach, grabbing the remote. And then Sena was on the bed next to him, pulling him close and kissing him hard. Hayato gripped the remote, turning on the cameras, and then dropped it, pulling Sena closer.

Sena pushed his tongue into his new lover’s mouth, pulling it out slowly and moving along his lips, brushing around the piercings, then pushing in, plunging deep. Hayato let out a small moan, letting his hands run along the other man’s silky hair.

He let Sena tumble him down to the bed, somehow keeping in the back of his mind that they had to stay within camera range, but how the hell could he think like a director when Sena’s tongue was slowly moving down his neck, his teeth scraping at him. When he sucked hard at a spot along his pulse line, Hayato made a sound that was barely human.

He feels good, he thought. He feels so fucking good . . . Sena’s skin was every bit as soft and smooth as it had looked, and Hayato found himself writhing against him, trying to rub himself against as much of the other man as possible. Sena rubbed back, thrusting and writhing against his lover, his tongue against his collarbone now.

“Sena, oh, fuck . . .” Hayato had forgotten about the camera and the fact that this was supposed to be an audition. He just cared that Sena was licking down toward his nipple, raising his head just a moment to give him a sly, teasing smile . . .

Then his head lowered, and his lips and tongue were on sensitive flesh, sucking, then licking, then sucking again. Hayato was nearly insane with passion by this point, his whole body writhing as he moaned and panted and grabbed at the lavender hair.

Fuck, he hasn’t even touched my cock yet and I feel like I’m going to explode, he thought.

Sena raised his head, licked his lips, then lowered it again, stroking his tongue slowly across the nipple. Looking at Hayato again, he said, “Want me to suck your cock like that?”

The sound of his voice was a velvety purr that sent shudders through Hayato’s body. “Yes,” he murmured. “Please . . .”

He shifted a bit to make sure Sena’s technique would be caught by the camera. He opened his legs, breathing heavily, his cock rock-hard in anticipation. He was totally in this man’s hands now.

Sena moved down until he could kiss the erection, running his tongue over the head, surrounding it with his lips but not sucking yet, letting him feel the wet heat. He waited a long moment . . . and then, plunged downward, enveloping it, sucking it quickly.

Hayato cried out. He was great, he was amazing, he seemed to know instinctively just how fast to move, how hard to suck . . . Sena varied his speed, just holding the head in his lips first, then plunging down deep, so deep, until Hayato thought he was fucking his throat . . .

Sena lifted his head, the cock sliding out of those beautiful lips, only to grab a handful of that beautiful hair and rub it up and down the erection, the silken strands brushing over already sensitive flesh, back and forth over the head, just another sensation to make Hayato moan loudly.

“I want to ride this,” Sena said. “I want it inside me.”

“God, yes,” Hayato murmured. “I want to fuck you so bad . . .”

“You know what to do, then.” Sena reached for the lube and handed it to him, then moved so he was stradding Hayato’s upper torso, leaning over, that ass pointed right at him.

Hayato just stared. It was as exquisite as the rest of him. Fuck, if he had a dental dam, he’d have his tongue in there in two seconds. Note to self, he thought, next time you’re with him, bring the plastic. As it was, he parted the firm cheeks, pushing a lubed finger inside, wondering why he was so tight when it was obvious he loved to fuck. He wondered how many guys Sena had been with, how many lucky, lucky guys . . .

He moved the finger in and out, then pushed in a second, Sena’s ass starting to thrust, fucking himself on the things in his body. It was hard to tell who was more eager at this point, Hayato pushing in a third finger, trying to open his lover up as fast as possible, or Sena, murmuring, “I need it, fuck me hard, I want to be so full of your cock . . .”

When Sena was ready, Hayato slid the fingers out, fumbling for the tissues he’d put on the bed to wipe them off, and Sena was moving down again, grabbing the lube bottle and pouring it on Hayato.

Hayato’s eyes were wide open as the other man straddled him, moving down on his hardness slowly. Look at this beautiful man, he thought. The gorgeous face, eyes closed and soft, well-shaped lips pouted in anticipation, the tumbling hair, spilling over his shoulders and back, those luscious nipples . . . Hayato’s hand moved up Sena’s chest, finding one of the buds and rubbing it firmly, hearing Sena’s sharp intake of breath as he paused, adjusting to having the hardness in him.

Then, Sena was moving, thrusting, fucking himself on Hayato, and Hayato brought the second hand up to join the first, both of them caressing the nipples, feeling the hard buds under his fingertips as he watched him move, somehow looking graceful even as he was thrusting up and down on a man’s cock.

“You’re beautiful,” Hayato murmured, “so fucking beautiful . . .” His hips moved upward as Sena’s moved downward, thrusting harder and deeper into that channel that was surrounding him, caressing him, making him shudder and moan.

“So are you,” Sena murmured. “Oh, fuck, you feel so good, your cock is so hard . . .” He moved faster, leaning his head backward, the hair spilling backward, and Hayato thrust upward harder, his hand moving from the nipples to Sena’s cock, just resting his hand on it at first, touching it, feeling its shape, how hot it was . . .

He started to stroke, watching Sena shudder in response, feeling a surge of heat in his own body. His fingers explored the length, rubbing the shaft, caressing the tip – at which point Sena let out a moan that was almost a wail, thrusting down hard on him.

“Fuck,” Sena moaned, “I’m close, oh, baby . . .”

Hayato stroked faster as he felt the other man thrust down harder, feeling precome run over his fingers, and it made the heat rise faster and harder in his own body, he wasn’t going to last much longer, he was gasping and moaning and thrusting and . . .

Sena cried out, and Hayato was treated to the sight of him leaning back, crying out loudly in ultimate ecstasy, the come pouring on Hayato’s hand as he shuddered over and over . . .

But Sena didn’t stop moving. He kept thrusting on Hayato’s cock, over and over, and then Hayato let out his own ecstatic cry, raising his hips as the ecstasy burst and he poured himself into the beauty’s body, coming and coming until he felt utterly drained.

Sena collapsed atop him, the two of them kissing, Hayato utterly dazed with post-orgasmic bliss. It was a long moment before he realized the cameras were still rolling, and he reached over for the remote with what felt like his last ounce of strength, clicking it to turn it off.

“You’re amazing,” Sena purred. “More than I thought you’d be. When I’m on camera for the first time for real, I so want you for my co-star.”

“God, yes,” Hayato murmured. His mind was already running through ways they could use him in a Codomo Dragon production. Hell, if he had anything to say about it, Sena was going to become the sixth member of the group.

Even in his post-orgasmic state, his head was filling with fantasies. He wanted to rim him, he wanted to come all over that beautiful face, he wanted to bring him into his bed with Kana . . . oh, yes, Sena could handle two men easily, maybe even more than two . . .

“And to me? You’re beautiful,” Sena said. “Beautiful all the way through.”

“You really mean it?” Hayato said.

“Hell, yes,” Sena said. “You’re even more beautiful now.”

Hayato closed his eyes. A slow warmth spread through his heart. Sena not only knew how to make a man feel good physically, he knew how to treat him mentally. And Sena had delivered it precisely when he needed it most. He’d never felt more beautiful in his life. Critics, he thought, could go to hell. As far as he was concerned, their words were now bouncing off him without impact.

He was truly and completely appreciated.

* * *

Sena’s audition video got an immediate response from Uruha, which was an emphatic yes. In fact, he not only decided to put him into Swashbucklers, he decided to have the Codomo Dragon team develop his first starring video.

The group accepted the assignment eagerly – and it bought out the avant-garde in meN-meN, who proposed a rather unusual idea.

“Okay, so how is this going to work?” Hayato said. “I just shack up with him for 24 hours and we keep filming?”

“That’s the idea,” meN said. “An ero-documentary. Totally unscripted and unfiltered. We put the two of you in a room together for a day. You talk about what you want, when you want. You fuck how you want, when you want. Totally natural. And then we just edit the best parts – sex and dialogue – together into a one-to-two-hour film.”

“It’s a bit insane, isn’t it?” said Kana. He wasn’t bothered by the fact that Sena wanted Hayato for a co-star – and that they seemed rather enthusiastic about each other. It was the industry, these things happened – and he knew Hayato was just as open to Kana having a favorite co-star of his own. (Not to mention the idea of Sena doing three-way scenes with them. Quite frankly? Kana was open to that, too.) No, what was bothering was that the concept seemed, well . . . unorthodox. They wanted to be artistic, but at the same time, they also wanted to, you know, sell videos.

“But that’s what’s so great about it!” meN said. “It’s crazy! It’s avant-garde! It’s what nobody else is doing! And it’s going to introduce Sena with a bang – literally and figuratively – because it’ll have all the critics wondering what the fuck we’re doing! In short – we’re building on our brand as the Next Wave of Japanese gay porn. What do you think?”

“I am SO IN!” Chamu punched his fist in the air. “And you guys should be in, too! This is going to put our name EVERYWHERE! And it’s gonna shut up any critics, too!”

“I like the idea,” Yume said, quietly. “It really is unique.”

“All right, then,” Kana said, sighing reluctantly. He still didn’t think it had commercial potential, but he couldn’t compete with the enthusiasm of the others. “If you guys are in, so am I.”

“AWESOME!” meN said. “Okay, Hayato, you contact Sena and have him come in so we can talk about it.”

“Okay!” Hayato pulled out his phone – to see a text message from Subaru. “What the . . .”

“What is it?” Kana said.

“It says, ‘Check Twitter. I launched the hashtag #isupporthayato. I looked up who Ron Jeremy is and it’s totally unfair that your looks were compared to him! The fans are picking up on the tag, too! Good luck with the new co-star!’”

Kana opened his own Twitter feed. “He’s right,” he said. “The tag’s being used all over the place. Fans, bloggers, other performers . . .”

“Really?” Hayato leaned over his shoulder.

“Whoa,” Kana said. “Kamijo used it! He said you’re the kind of new voice and new face this industry needs!”

“HE DID? OH, MY GOD! THAT’S UNBELIEVABLE!” Hayato’s eyes seemed to turn to hearts, then stars, then back to hearts again. “KAMIJO? I CAN’T BELIEVE IT! HE ACTUALLY WATCHES OUR VIDEOS?”

“Down, boy,” meN said. “I guess you don’t have to wonder about whether you’re appreciated anymore, do you? That bastard who said that shit about you in that article can fuck off and die in a fire.”

Hayato continued to watch Kana scroll through the Twitter feed, loudly remarking any time an industry bigwig came out in support of him. Yes, he was feeling appreciated now – in a big way.

But the time he’d spent with Sena, the encounter that made him feel truly beautiful? That meant more than all of it. That was the biggest and best appreciation he’d ever had in his life. One Sena was worth a million critics.

And thanks to Sena, he was feeling that he was worth it, too.