Skip-Beat: The Morning After

The Path To Recovery

The kiss was sweet, brief, but complete and utter bliss. Her heart tore, those immensely repressed emotions and feelings pouring out into the open, completely controlling her. She slid her hand behind his neck, cradling him closer, and he did as well, hugging her. Ren's lips were soft as velvet and warm as a mid-summer's day, the complete opposite to Sho's. His had been icy, rough and demanding, whereas Ren was gentle, as if savoring every possible moment.

The wind blew harder, chilling them to the bone and unintentionally urging them closer. Kyoko sank deeper and deeper into the fantasy, forgetting everything.

What are you doing? Something whispered in the corner of her mind. Look at what you are doing.

She furrowed her brows, shifting sides.

Shhhh…Kyoko whispered back.

Open your eyes. Does this seem right?

She tightened her grip, intertwining her fingers through his hair.

Does it? Her reasoning continued.

Of course it didn't, however, no one said it had to. No one said she had to have a reason to be happy. Reasonless actions mirror ones true feelings and intentions, and no matter how much she had hidden it, there was no use in keeping her Pandora's Box closed any longer. It would be of no use and would bring most probably bring the same outcome in the end.

So no. Kissing Ren was not the proper thing to do. But it was what she needed. She needed a sign that he cared. And it was more than enough.


Ren knew it was wrong, but it only made him stick to her more. He knew she was in high school, and that she was his junior; he knew that. But it didn't matter. The fact that she was who she was didn't erase from the reality that he had been in love with her for years, even if he masked the feeling as something else.

He wrapped his arms around her waist, supporting her broken arm against his chest.

She cupped his cool cheek in her hand, shutting her eyes harder.

He knew if they didn't stop soon, it would escalate way too quickly. But he couldn't stop; that was the problem. Her lips, they were mesmerizing, making him lose sanity more and more with every loving exhale.

Kuon: Ren…snap out of it, this isn't good for us right now. It's not right.

Ren ignored the warning voice.

The wing blew harder and harder, both of them shivering closer.

And for that moment, everything was perfect. No paparazzi to spoil it. No judging glares to stare. Just peaceful bliss.

But then that moment ended.


Kyoko jumped back and let out an alarmed yelp as her phone rang through the night sky.

Oh my god.

Awkwardly, and sure to avoid Ren's gaze, she slip it out of her pocket and answered it.

"H--Hello?"

"Kyoko-chan! How's everything?" the president's loud and peppy voice exploded from the other side.

Kyoko inched it away from her ear.

"President-sama, it's the middle of the night…"


Ren couldn't help but turn away. Not because it was awkward or because he was mad. He just didn't her to see him smile. He hadn't seen her so flustered in quite a while, so naturally, it was quite entertaining. He chuckled to himself as she turned away.

Strangely, he wasn't upset or disappointed with what had happened. If anything, he was relieved something stopped them. It might have turned out difficultly if not.


"Yes.." she repeated into the phone.

"So you two will be coming back together, right?"

"Yes."

"Great! I will arrange a press conference for Ren then. I swear, when I get my hands on him, he's never gonna hear the end of it! Well, Good night, Kyoko-chan!"

She bowed her head out of habit, quickly reciting her goodbyes.


It was completely silent for minutes. Kyoko just sat there, staring the floor as Ren examined the bushes with a hidden smile.

She is probably deteriorating on the inside, he thought to himself.

Kuon: Nah. She totally kissed you first, so it's all cool.


Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Oh my gosh.

I can't believe I did that.

An insidious baby blue demon squeezed her heart accusingly. "Neither can we!" it choked out.

One of them, assuming the head of them all wrapped itself around her neck and sat on her shoulder.

"No, worries, though. He totally kissed you first. We forgive you." It said, inching its head toward Ren.

His back was to her, and he was standing, looking straight ahead.

Kyoko wondered what he was thinking, how he felt. But she didn't have the courage to ask, or even move. She just wanted to crawl into a hole and repent.


With a final exhale, Ren turned around, making Kyoko flinch a little.

"Was that the President?" he asked as gently as he could.

Kyoko nodded. "He said he would schedule a press conference for you when we get back."

He nodded.

"We are going back, right?" she asked hesitantly.

Ren shrugged, extending down a hand. After looking at it for a few seconds, she looked down and stood without its assistance.

"Well, thinking about it, I can't just leave it all how it is. That would be irresponsible of me. Oh, and I am sorry, Mogami-san. For making you come all this way while you were injured."


Kyoko blinked at him, a little perplexed. The way he spoke, and the tone he used…she recognized it. He seldom used it, but when he did, she knew it right off the bat.

He was trying to act like everything was okay.

Trying.

Sort of that old gentlemanly smile of his, the one he would swing out when he was extremely mad. But this time he wasn't mad. Kyoko couldn't tell exactly how he felt; just that he was struggling to mask it.

"T..thank you." she bowed.

He looked down at her. "So, are you staying at a hotel or something?"

Kyoko nodded, perking up. "Yep! It's really pretty there!"


Ren repressed a smile.

"Oh?" he said as they began walking. "What hotel?"

Kyoko stopped, looking perplexed. "Uh. I'm not sure."'

He blinked at her. "You don't remember the hotel where you are staying?"

"I was in a hurry!"

This time, he couldn't help but chuckle.


Kyoko had no idea how it had slipped her mind. She had just given the paper with the hotel name on it to the taxi driver, so she didn't have much need to remember it. And she certainly didn't stop and admire its colourful name, since she was battling with the sunlight as she looked for him.

She sighed, upset.

And now he's laughing at me, she frowned. I'm such a scatter brain!

After a few moments of laughter, Ren straightened out, smiling a blinding smile.

Kyoko looked down as an uninvited blush spread throughout her cheeks.

"Well, do you remember how it looked?" he asked.

She thought about it for a moment. "It's big. And has a big pool."

He nodded, obviously trying not to laugh again. "Then it's probably somewhere downtown."

Kyoko nodded. "So we should go-ah!"

Suddenly, she felt a sharp pain. It slithered through her forehead, and into her temples, pounding and pulsating in short, painful jolts.

"Kyoko-chan! What's wrong?" Ren was immediately at her side, steading her.

She sunk down to the floor, her head in her hands.

"Kyoko-chan?" He sunk down with her, holding her shoulders.

Kyoko breathed in and out, hoping, praying the pain would leave. The doctor did warn her about this, but she didn't think it would happen so often or be so painful. She was to the point of tears before Ren laid a hand on her cheek. He gently pushed her face out of her hands, making her look up at him.

She could feel tears streaming down her eyes as the pain continued, though not as potent. It slowly died down, Ren's gaze never leaving her's.

"Where does it hurt?" he asked her.

She slowly touched her head. "Here." She managed to whisper.

Slowly, Ren carried her up and place her on his back.

"Uh, what are you doing?" she protested, lifting her head up.

He stood up, hooking his arms around the back of her knees.

"I don't want to risk you getting more hurt." he began walking down the street. "Besides, who knows how much we have to walk if we don't even know where we are going."


He thought she would have put up more of a fight, but she was in obvious pain, so instead she just rested her head on his shoulder.

"Didn't you say downtown?" She asked, stretching her arm over his shoulder for support.

"Yes." He answered. "But I have no idea where that is."


He was right, though. Even if Kyoko knew where the hotel was, the scattered street lights where doing a poor job of lighting up the path.

She shifted arm, not quite knowing where to put it. But if she kept it under herself like her broken one was, it would be uncomfortable, not only for her but for Ren as well.

Suddenly, Ren grabbed her arm, crossed forward around his neck, and placed it on his opposite shoulder. Since he wore a scarf, she had to hide her arm beneath it, but, in the end, the position was quite comfy.

I feel like I'm giving him a really awkward hug, Kyoko thought to herself, blushing. She was just happy he couldn't see it.

"New bracelet?" he asked her.

She was about to ask him what he was talking about, when she remembered. Kyohei's father had given it to her at the airport.

"Oh, yeah, someone gave it to me." She answered nonchalantly. Then quickly regretted it.

"Oh?"

"I..I don't remember who though." She quickly added.


Unintentionally, he tightened his grip around her.

I wonder just who would go giving you bracelets.

Kuon: Chill. Do you really want to start something right now?

Ren tightened his jaw before releasing any hidden anger through a long sigh.

"Oh!" Kyoko exclaimed, pointing ahead of them.

"My earphones!" she touched her hair. Yep, they were gone.

"Your earphones?" Ren asked.

"Yea, I had my hair tied up with them. This means we are going the right way."


She felt Ren chuckle. "Creative."

"I know."

So, for the next 20 minutes or so, they walked around, chatting and laughing about nonsense. Ren kept saying they were going the wrong way, while Kyoko insisted they weren't which just made them both laugh. It was nice, and it made Kyoko feel a lot better, physically, and emotionally.

"Look!" she pointed ahead of them. "That's it, that's where I'm staying!"

"'Kyoto's luxury inn.' The name is quite complex, I forgive you for forgetting it," Ren joked.

Kyoko frowned. "Hey, we found it, didn't we?"

They walked up to the entrance, Ren gently easing her off. She sighed as her feet touched the ground. "Thank you." She bowed.

Ren smiled. "No problem." He began opening the door, but Kyoko quickly stopped him.

"No, I'll go. You want to keep a low profile for now."

"And what about you?" he asked, releasing the door.

She shrugged. "I'm not even half as popular as you are. I'll be fine."


He grabbed her arm. "Wait."

Kyoko looked at him waiting.

The night was getting colder and colder, warning it was probably close to midnight, if not past.

Ren unwrapped his scarf from his neck and tied it around her head.

As he did so, Kyoko looked down, obviously embarrassed.

Ren smiled to himself.

I'm glad you're back, Kyoko-chan.

"Well, I'll be back, then. Stay, okay?" she looked at him with questioning eyes before dashing inside.


The lobby was elegantly lit with expensive chandeliers and prestigious looking ornaments, giving the multiply rest areas a perfect view. Kyoko shuffled past them and finally arrived at the front desk.

"Hello! How can I help you?" Asked the cheerful woman.

"Um, can I just have a room please? Preferably in the 5th floor." Kyoko asked, keeping her gaze lowered. She didn't really like being picky with anything, but her room was in the 5th floor, and having Ren too far away will make her antsy. She really didn't need any more unnecessary stress.

"I'm sorry, ma'am. We are all booked for the night."

"Excuse me?" Kyoko said, looking up. "Did you say there are no more rooms?"

The lady shook her head with a sad smile. "I'm sorry."

"Okay...thanks anyway!" Kyoko bowed politely while walking away.

Dang it. What to do now.

She hadn't really taken the time to ask Ren if he was even staying anywhere, though she highly doubted it. He would have said something, right?

Kyoko lethargically opened the front doors.

Judging by the frown on her face, Ren knew it was probably bad news.

"Are you by any chance staying somewhere?" she asked him.

Ren shook his head. "Iie. (no.)"

Kyoko sighed. "There are no more rooms here. So, um…" she tugged at her hair, a nervous habit.

"It's okay." He assured her. "There's a ton of other hotels around here, don't worry."

"No!" she exclaimed. "We..we can just share a room."

Kyoko wasn't going to let him out of her sight. Not again. Not ever. Even if it meant sharing a room. Grant it though, they've technically shared a room many times as Setsu and Cain. But being 'Kyoko and Ren,' not 'Setsu and Cain,' maid her even more anxious. Then again, she had slept at his house quite a few times too. When he was sick and after Saena came to town.

N..N..No biggy.

"As long as you're okay with it." He said, watching her reaction closely.

Kyoko smiled, anxiety boiling at the pit of her stomach. "Why wouldn't I be, Tsuruga-san?"



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