Skip-Beat: The Morning After

What Happens in Kyoto

She knew she would regret her decision. Not only because of the incident that happened back at the river, but also because simply expecting the unexpected wasn't enough to be safe around him, and she knew it. Simply being who he was, that in itself was already enough to drive Kyoko insane. And now that she knew he was Kuon, the infinite rivers of questions swirling around her mind were sure to pose for an interesting night.

So now, as the lethargic elevator doors pulled open unto the 5th floor, Kyoko simply looked straight ahead, desperately avoiding any direct eye contact.

Just pretend he is Cain, and you are Setsu. But without the weird incestuous relationship…

She shook her head, clearing any arising mental images from her mind.

"What room number is it?"

Kyoko looked over at Ren.

He looked down at her with a strangely indecipherable gaze.

"Um, Room 523." She replied, retrieving the small rectangular key card from her front pocket.

The hallway was long and extremely narrow, so by the time they got to her room, they were standing so close together that she could almost could practically feel his breath on her head.

Snap out of it! She told herself. Focus on getting through the night smoothly...

Assuring herself the night would end quickly and quietly, she retrieved the rectangular key card and swiped the door open.

Unlike the hallways, the room proved spacious and open, the windows pouring an extravagant view over the quiet city. The time was now around 2 a.m.., so you could see the chilly air crystalize droplets of mist on the glass. The trees and bushes swayed in a synchronized dance with every echoing howl of wind, and the crescent moon peeked through monochrome gray clouds.

The room had two queen sized beds, a detail overlooked the first time Kyoko had been in there. She mentally sighed with joy as she came to realize this.

"Big room." Ren noted.

Kyoko nodded. "The President reserved it." She sat down on the bed next to the colossal windows, staring out at the beautiful scenery.

"Can I ask you something?" He asked, sitting on the empty bed.

Kyoko nodded, her gaze locked on the dancing trees.

"Why did you come for me? Why not someone else?"

She thought about it for a moment, struggling to find an answer for herself. Why had she gone? Well, because he wouldn't have come back by himself, obviously. But was there more to it? Probably. Nevertheless, she was glad she did. He even put up a fight against her; imagine if the police or someone else had come.

"I just wanted to make sure you were O.K." she answered. "I knew if I wasn't the first one to see you, you would have probably covered up how you really felt."

They were both silent for a moment. Kyoko laid down on the bed, grateful for the much needed support. She removed her arm sling carefully, and as soon as her head hit the pillow, she smiled. For the first time in weeks, she felt at easy, no worries or regrets. Ren was here, beside her and she was out of the uncomfortable hospital bed. She had no rehearsals or acting jobs to tend to, or the press to be worried about. She could have stayed there forever.

Frozen in time with blissful sleep.


It was after about 15 minutes later when Ren actually had the will power to get up. He wobbled over to the bathroom mirror and took off his watch, then lethargically brushed his teeth.

He wondered what the next couple of days held for them. He wondered if, tomorrow, when they got back to Tokyo, everything would be okay. However, he knew that it wouldn't be. Mostly on his part. He knew he would be pestered by paparazzi nonstop, and surely the President wouldn't give him an easy time either.

Ren sighed, looking up at his reflection.

He wondered if Kyoko had noticed his eyes; noted that Kuon had blue eyes, and that 'Ren' has hazel. He highly doubted it though. Why would she remember such a small detail?

Slowly, Ren removed the small, circular lens from his eye. Every time he did that, it would always take him aback. It was as if he was staring at his past while standing in the future. He examined his gunmetal blue iris one last time before removing the second lens.

Even if she notices something, she'll ask about it. And I will tell her; she already knows the truth anyway.

Besides, it was kind of a bother to sleep with them on, not to mention dangerous.

With another lethargic sigh, he turned off the bathroom light and wobbled back into the main room.

"Mogami-san, do you have a brush?" He asked, looking around the room.

Actually, she didn't even seem to have any luggage with her.

He turned toward her. "Mogami-san? Daijobu? (Are you O.K.?)"

She stayed silent, her calm, peaceful breathing making him smile.

"So, you're sleeping, huh?"

He leaned over to look at her face, and surely, her eyes were gracefully shut.

Once again, he found himself smiling while carefully covering her with a beige fleece blanket.

It's really no surprise she's so tired.


"Would you have rather someone else come for you?" Kyoko asked, using her last bit of strength to open her eyes.

After a few moments, Ren cleared his throat.

"No, of course not. They wouldn't have been very nice, don't you think? But I do feel guilty for making you travel with your injuries."

Kyoko closed her eyes and snuggled against the soft blanket.

"No, It's O.K. I needed to leave Tokyo for a while….even for a day."

Ren smiled, nodding.

"I know the feeling," he said, turning off the light.

"Where do you usually go when you feel like that?" she asked.

"Here." He answered nonchalantly, lying down on the bed. "But I usually can't stay that long. Too many appointments to get back to."

"Doesn't it tire you?"

"Does it tire you?"

She was silent for a moment, thinking. "Well, sure. But I like acting too much to give up too long."


What she said was true. Acting was hard. It was tedious. It was both mentally and physically draining, but, in the end, she loved it.

"I guess you're right." He said.


Even though the lights where off, the room was almost entirely lit by the moon light. So, he could clearly see her as she turned around toward him.

Her face had taken a sudden seriousness to it, her gaze right on his.

"Tsugura-san?"

"Hmm?"

"I also have a secret to tell you." She said, her gaze stern.

Ren blinked, intrigued. "Okay. Say it."


Kyoko thought it was the least she could do. Now that she knows he is Kuon…she felt bad keeping the dirty little secret all to herself.

All secrets eventually come to light, after all.

"Do you remember that chicken? That…ahem…Bo something or other…"

Ren's eyes instantly lit up. "Yeah! Bo the chicken." Then slowly faded again. "How do you know him?"

Kyoko swallowed back the forming lump in her throat. "Umm…"

"Does he talk to you too?" he asked, eyes lighting up again. "I swear I thought I was the only one that saw him. I thought I was insa-"

"Well, not exactly."

Ren blinked at her. "Oh?"

"I—Uh.." Kyoko could feel herself getting more and more anxious by the moment. Not because of the secret itself, but because of what they had talked about. What the girl he told Bo the chicken about her? After tonight, her judgment led to yes.

Kyoko no Baka! (Kyoko, you idiot!) she thought to herself silently.

"I am Bo the chicken." She said finally.


Ren looked at her, completely serious, and she did too, staring right back.

If she was serious, then she knew all about his deepest darkest secrets. Well, they weren't too dark, but they were secrets. They again, she knew them now too after the whole thing down by the river.

He stared at her.

And couldn't help but burst out with laughter.


Kyoko sighed, the weight of a million daggers lifted off her shoulders.

Ren shook and almost cried with laughter, after a while sitting up to prevent from choking.

Within a few minutes, Kyoko couldn't help but join in, his innocent laughter acting as a major temptation.

So, for about 10 minutes, they both laughed and looked at each other, almost reminded her of when they were kids. The small scene reminded her of their innocent chats and childish ways, a memory happily remembered.


After what seemed like a life time, Ren finally settled down, though still produced random giggles as he spoke.

"I..I don't know what makes me laugh more." He said through heavy breaths. "The fact I didn't notice, or the fact that top actress Mogami Kyoko has a part time job as a ..as a …" before he could finish the sentence, he was once again over come with laughter.

"I have never seen you laugh like this, Tsugura-san," she joked. "I guess I should get more ridiculous jobs and not tell you about them."

"How did this even happen?" he asked, facing her.

"Well, as a Love Me assignment, I was asked to fill in for the original mascot. And they liked me."

Ren nodded, his face returning to its natural way.

"Makes sense." He said, lying back down.

After a few moments, Kyoko laid back down as well.

"You aren't mad?" she asked.

"Nah." He said. "I guess we were both entitled to keep our secrets."

"Tsugura-san?" she asked.

"Hmm?"


Kyoko bit her lip.

The next few sentences she would say, she knew she wouldn't be able to take them back. She knew once she went down this road, there would be no path back. But she had to.

She had to climb out of the abyss she dug by kissing him back there, and the path she was about to take…that path would be the only way to let her heart heal some more.

Even for a few more months. Or weeks. Or years, however long she could last.

She still had too many unresolved issues to let it go on.

"Once we get back to Tokyo," she said. "We should forget about all this."


Ren looked straight at the ceiling, examining the rotating fan. He knew that it would have come down to this. Just as he wasn't ready to accept the facts, neither was she.

He knew he loved her, She knew he loved her, He knew she loved him and she knew he loved her. But those realistic facts were still hard to accept. Maybe too hard.

But he still, just as she did, needed time to heal. Needed time to forgive himself and forget his past.

" We should." He echoed. "But before that…"

He got up, walking over to her bed.


Kyoko stared straight up at him, keeping her stance.

"Before that what?"

Suddenly, Ren climbed on top of her, his face parallel to her's.

Completely taken aback, Kyoko's eyes widened and she pushed him back.

"What are you doing!" she yelled.

Naturally, she couldn't even move him an inch.

She could feel her breathing speed as his sapphire gaze pierced through her's.

Sapphire…

"You..Your eyes…" she whispered, bringing her hand to his cheek involuntarily.

He sighed, leaning against it before they both quickly drew back.

She thought he would get off, but instead, he just got closer, inches away.

But Kyoko noticed something. Past those sapphire-blue eyes, there was something else, something dark and demanding.

It was the same gaze Cain possessed.

"Setsu." He said. "I need to talk to Setsu."

She looked at him, completely and utterly perplexed.

"What?"

"I need to talk to Setsu, are you deaf?"

Cain.

She was about to complain on his remark, but then she remembered that Mr. Cain wasn't a fan of women. Well, none except her sister.

"Um, Setsu isn't here right now?"

Cain inched closer, making Kyoko turn her head in discomfort.

"Setsuka Heel. Now."

Kyoko closed her eyes.

Well, might as well.

After a few moments of inner preparation, Kyoko allowed herself to sink into full Setsu mode.

She looked up at him, eyes fierce as daggers. "Why are you climbing on top of other women?"

He leaned closer. "You know what I was thinking, Setsu?"

She cocked her head. "What, Nii-san?"

"That it really wasn't fair."

Setsu blinked. "What wasn't fair?"

"The fact that You marked me as yours but that you didn't let me do the same…"

Setsu looked at him with a complete poker face.

Kyoko: OH NO. OH NO. NOT THIS AGAIN. NO,SETSU, PLEASE OH GOD NO.

" I told you I didn't want you to do those filthy habits you practiced with other women on me."

"True," Cain said, leaning back a little. "But I am not going to allow you to go unmarked after this trip."

"And why is that?" Setsu asked.

"Because," he responded casually. "I don't know when I'll get to see you again."

His response might have been very Cain-like in appearance, but very Ren-like in tone.

Don't break character, Tsugura-san.

"And if I say no?" Setsu teased.

Kyoko: YOU DAMN BETTER SAY NO.

"Then I just won't give you a choice." He said, hesitantly, carefully, leaning down closer and closer.

And closer…and closer…



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