Despite having done everything possible (short of snuggling and sex) to calm himself down and put his mind at ease, Kuon still had that nightmare that plagued him for the past six years. The entire evening, he and Kyoko talked, played, and laughed, much like how 'Corn' and she did the other day and eleven years ago. She found a deck of cards where she creamed him in gin and he taught her the finer points of poker. He told her a few Russian fairy tales that made her so giddy he thought she was on crack, and she told him of Shoutaro's most embarrassing moments, which he didn't mind hearing about. They talked about different things that happened on set, laughing at blunders and awkward situations like there was no tomorrow. They especially had fun laughing over Yashiro's antics and the president's bizarre actions. After those two, they discussed how to make Maria's next birthday just as good as her last one. They were interrupted a few times by the director or a few cast and crew members that were actually worried about them (Manaka was particularly irksome to both of them), forcing Kyoko to hurry and put on her wig a few times, but other than that, they spent the evening joyfully enjoying each other's company.

Yet, even after what could easily be described as one of the best nights in his life, Kuon woke up shivering somewhere around 1am, Tina's screams in his ears. Breathing hard, he tried to clear his head to get some rest. He wasn't about to go on a rampage, but the guilt of that night was hard to erase. He understood that events of his past were what gave him the life he had now. It gave him that night of joy with the woman he loved and a career he could proudly call his own. Everything was necessary to make him who he was now.

And after seeing his behavior, just being himself for the past six hours, he wasn't that bad of a person. His real self was somewhere between Tsuruga Ren and the Kuon he grew to hate so much back then. Kyoko brought him out and showed him how much he had changed. He really liked the changes.

Still the nightmare's images plagued his mind, mingling with the near collision of the day before. Scared he'd find an empty bed again, Kuon looked over to where Kyoko should be. Relief flooded him when he saw her sleeping face not that far away. She was there. She was alright. She wouldn't leave him. She even bravely offered to be used as a pillow earlier if it would help him sleep. Just the fact she offered was enough for him. He told her he was alright and declined, remembering the president's words earlier.

Now he wished he had ignored the old man and took her up on the offer. Still she had forced herself to give it so that was another deterrent. She was already asleep now so there was no chance to change his choices now.

But he wanted to be with her so much...

Slowly, without really realizing it, Kuon pulled out of his bed with a sheet hanging on his shoulders. Softly he made his way to her bedside and knelt down, just watching her adorable face. She shifted slightly in her sleep, her hand not too far from her head. Just watching her, sleeping without a care in the world, put his heart at ease. Everything would be alright, he knew it.

Carefully he leaned forward and pressed his lips on her forehead, giving it a butterfly kiss like he had as Cain, comforting each other in their mere presence. A soft whisper came out as he started to pull back.

"I love you."

No subconscious response came from the girl but it didn't matter. He said it in English anyway, as his true self. No act, no formalities, just a simple truth from his heart. Gently he brushed her hair out of her face, then settled down kneeling besides her bed. His head found its way to the mattress, still watching her with a smile on his lips. His right hand, now free of the shackle he had there for years, took hers nearby and just held it closely where it was. How he loved this woman sleeping before him.

Warmth filling him where the cold had chained him for so long, Kuon finally fell back asleep. He didn't know that in the morning Kyoko would wake up before him, and instead of freaking out like she had every time someone was too close while sleeping, she would smile and hold his hand a little tighter. He didn't know she too would kiss his forehead while he slept and whisper the same phrase in Japanese. And he especially didn't know she'd let him sleep like that a little longer, pretending she didn't know what happened the next day.

No, all he knew was that right then, everything was perfect. Right then he was happy, and that was all that mattered.


A/N: so how did you like it? Seriously I started writing this three weeks ago and finally got it completed. Anywho, I talked it over with a friend and we both noted that it's usually the people around a minor accident that freak out more than the actual victim. I've been hit twice on my bike going to work and my arm hurt like mad each time. I still finished my job for those days without a problem, but my main issue was that no one stopped to help me out! Especially the driver. B[

I could go on about that for a while, but the main point is that once I got out of shock and told people, they were more freaked out about it than I was. Ren being him, and being so deeply scarred by Rick's accident, completely lost it at the near collision. Until Kyoko got out of shock though, she wouldn't be able to notice how badly he's shaken up. I got angry once I settled down with my accidents and needed to work in order to move on. I imagine Kyoko would hate being pampered after that so I had her freak out a little.

Thing is, she needs to realize that to Ren, she is very important. He has so very few friends, and she doesn't seem to realize that he really cares about her. It doesn't have to be a romantic realization, but she does need to know that she's important to him and that losing her would devastate him. Thus her call to Lory, who made it clear that she is special to him. He only told her what she needed to now and that was it. He also warned Kuon to calm down (seriously, how can anyone keep up an act, let alone two, under these circumstances?) so she didn't flee. Then came their reconciliation because both realized that they were being a bit foolish. The rest is sweet fluff.

I really loved how she teased him about bathing suits at the beginning. I think something like that should happen because it is so in their characters. Ren both does and doesn't want to get her a swimsuit, desire battling reason. I also wanted them to end up the way I left them, sleeping peacefully like that without either being scared. So much fun!

Well hope you've liked! It was fun to write. Please comment and tell me what you think. I need a good distraction from homework. XP