I obviously do not own SkipBeat! I am also not a writer, but I had this idea that I just had to get out...
It has been a year since she disappeared. He was on location for a month they exchanged a few friendly calls during that time. She never said good-bye, never hunted that she was leaving. She simply finished her projects left. No one knew where she went, or if they did, they wouldn't tell him. He's hadn't seen her much the last few weeks before he left... yet she was a rising star so of course she would be busier as time went on.
One Year Ago
When he returned from location, he got the shock of a lifetime. He entered the 'LoveMe' office hoping to catch a glimpse of her, or at least leave a letter in her locker. He had not been able to reach her by phone the last week of filming. He missed her voice and leaving her a message to ask her to cook for him is one way she will surly talk to him.
when he entered the office Kanae, and Chiori were discussing their inability to reach the golden eyed actress. When they noticed him, Kanae was in his face, "Where is she? Why won't she call us back? Her landlady said she left 2 weeks ago."
Ren was shocked, he was trying to hold his facade... it was crumbling fast. "She didn't say anything to me. What are her current projects?" His mind was racing, she always derailed the conversation when he asked about her work. "Apparently she stopped accepting new work 2 months ago. All of her projects finished over a week ago. Tsuruga-san, what did you do, or say to her?"
He was at a loss. Why did they think her disappearance was his fault? "I assure you Katonami-san I have no idea what is going on. I was on location for the last month. The reception was not great, but we talked a few times. She never said or hinted at any issue."
There was one man he just knew would have answers. "I'm going to the president. He has to know, there is no way he couldn't know." He stormed out of the room, the dark aura gathering around him. He couldn't think of any reason the president wouldn't say something to him, warn him. Unless... She hated him and told the president to keep him away...
Chiori Kanae had followed, certain if anyone could make the president talk it would be this man. Yet they were confused as the dark angry aura became depressed suffocating. They burst out of the elevator as it stopped, exchanging a look. When Ren noticed them his anger was reignited, they didn't know either... So, it wasn't just him, he couldn't be the reason. He squared his shoulders made his way to the President's office.
They didn't wait to be announced, heck they didn't even knock. Ren in his all his dark fury flung the doors wide and entered. They found Lory dressed as a detective with an interrogation light on Sawara-san. If it wasn't such a serious situation the ever stoic Ruto would be tempted to laugh.
The confusion on everyone's faces was highlighted by the unusual collection of people. The papers fluttering to the ground in disarray like snow due to the dramatic entrance of the latest three. In unison they yelled, "Where is she?" As their minds slowly gathered the details of the room. There was a board with Kyoko's picture listing all her jobs. There was what appeared to be a list of jobs she rejected...
Lory sat down, he was hoping to have answered before he faced these three... He pinched the bridge of his nose let out a sigh..."I don't know... Apparently she finished all her jobs, was refusing any offers. I guess she didn't tell any of you anything?"
The dark aura gathering again around all three. Kuon narrowed his eyes at the president. "No, she didn't. He could you of all people not know she was refusing work... boss?" Yes, Lory was sure this is Kuon in all his fury he is now facing. He even asked in English, the boy is pissed... Lory was dreading telling Kuu as well but at least he is half a world away. This temper the boy gets from both his parents...
Kuon strode forward, "Boss, all things considered... How do you not know?" The cloud of darkness was building, the two LoveMe members were almost worried for Lory. They are not totally proficient in English, but they understood the question and the implied threat.
"Sit, all of you." Lory was hoping by responding in Japanese including the others 'Ren' would surface. He gave the boy a pointed look. Ruto pushed him down into a seat murmured in his ear, "Unless you want to share all your secrets with those present, sit and listen." Yashiro had just walked in, he got a call from Ruto. He was to come immediately as the was an emergency meeting about Kyoko.
Lory then told all gathered. "It seems she made the decision to leave a few months ago. She started turning down any movie or drama offer. 'Sacred Lotus in the Mire' was her last long-term project. When offered a role she told Sawara she would think in it inform the directors directly. As she acted like her normal self, we were unaware of her plan."
Lory sighed again, "Did any of you notice anything? Did she make any slip we can use to find her?" They all looked down, in guilt. They were the people closest to her they didn't notice anything. Ren desperately grasping at straws, "What about her letter of resignation, did it have any clues?"
Lory looked pained, "All we got was a gift box for Maria delivered via post... She was with her father until yesterday… we just opened it last night. It was filled Ren dolls occult items... There were a couple letters, one for Maria. She said goodbye, that she is always thinking of her will send her messages when she can... My letter said she was sorry, she..." Lory burst into tears Ruto passed out letters to Kanae, Chiori, Sawara, Yashiro, finally one to Ren...
Each letter was written in her very neat handwriting.
Thank you for all of your support guidance during my time with LME. In many ways you have been family to me. It took me some time to realize why you were so resistant to me initially attempting to join the industry. I truly had no idea what I was doing. My motives of revenge had no place in this world. Once I understood the joy of acting, it was clear how wrong my reason was. I will forever be grateful for the chance you gave me. Without you none of my happy memories in Tokyo would exist. From the bottom of my heart I thank you, for teaching me this joy. Please continue watching over & guiding the LoveMe Department. Without you & that Department I would still be wrapped in nothing but hate & fury. Now there were happy memories as well.
Always gratefully yours,
Sawara was crying. So, in the audition she wanted revenge on Fuwa not to be close to him. If he had known she had issues with him, he never would have given her number to his manager. Though note he wonders what the boy did to garner her desire for revenge. He couldn't believe how wrong he was about her.
I will never be able to fully thank you for everything I have learned from you. You are an amazing talented actress. I will always be your fan, supporting cheering for your success. Keep aiming for the top you will get there and will stun the world. I am sorry I couldn't tell you I was going. In the end I guess I will always be a coward. I failed, now I have to keep a promise. I knew if you, Mouko-san, Maria, Tsuruga-san, or the others knew you would try to stop me. I couldn't let you because this was something I have to do. Please don't hate me for being so weak. I will write you when I can, however you won't be able to write back. I just want you to know how much your friendship meant for me. I will cherish it always. Goodbye my friend.
Always your friend,
Chiori was crying, that Kyoko thought they would be satisfied with a letter. How could she possibly think of herself as a failure? They must get to the bottom of this & get her back. Kyoko's talent is what made this industry special. She was the reason everyone in this room was here.
Yashiro-san, thank you for being the big brother I never had. You have always been there watching out for me. You have been there thru my journey in the world of entertainment, supporting me. I knew I could always count on you if I ever needed any help. I am sorry I made a stupid mistake & it has cost me everything. I know you won't understand why, but I have to go. Please do your best to look after Tsuruga-san I know he can be difficult with his eating. I will look for glimpses of you when I have a chance to see the entertainment news. Don't let yourself & Tsuruga-san work to much. You both need plenty of rest & proper meals. I will be worrying about you if you don't promise to take care of your health. It might be presumptuous of me, but you are one of my dear friends. I would like to let you in on a secret. When he is caught up in his own head, he would talk to Bo the chicken mascot. I am not sure why he found it more comfortable discussing things with a chicken. Perhaps it was the anonymity the suit provided. I have never shared the secrets he told me & I never will, please rest assured. Yet, it might be a way for you to get him to open up & talk with you about his problems. I am not sure why... Help him with what you can... I wish you well even when it seems difficult. I'll always be thinking of you all.
Yashiro just realized Ren's chicken friend has always been Kyoko-chan. It seems he shared several secrets with her & never realized it. The fates truly are cruel to bind them so tightly & yet separate them. Now... he must find a chicken suite to get his charge to talk… Or at least keep him from talking to the new Bo…
Mouko-san you are my best & first friend. I know it is awful of me to have left this way. I hope you one day forgive me. I screwed up more then I ever thought I would. I don't know why I always let him get under my skin & cause me to run my mouth. I now have to face the consequences… I know you are going to be the best actress in no time. I will always be cheering for you & watch everything you do. You should continue working hard & take those family roles. Learn to love them… I have learned from you just how valuable a sister can be. To me you have been like a sister trying to show me the proper way to be. I never had a family… You & Maria were the only ones that treated me like a sister. I now understand why your siblings cling to you. I wish I could continue to as well. Yet, that is not something I can do. Please look after Maria-chan for me. She needs a strong big sister like you. I will forever support you & watch everything you are in. I will send letters when I can. I just hope one day you forgive me.
Love always your sister your friend,
Kanae wanted to scream. She never wanted a friend in the first place… Now this girl is tearing her heart out. How can she say she is like a sister & will support her then leave? That isn't how family works… She will hunt everywhere until she finds her again. She will take every job that requires her to travel to find her. Doesn't she know if she isn't here to challenger she can never excel. She needs her to challenge & drive her to be better… She will find her no matter how long it takes….
Sampi this is probably the hardest letter I have ever written… You have been so many things in my life. I never wanted to disappoint you. When we met, I was sure all the awful things I said were true about you. Then, I got to watch you act & interact with others. I learned how serious you are about acting. I then faced you on the set of Ring-Doh, that is where I realized just how wrong I was about you. Your acting was my inspiration, it was the first time I forgot my revenge. I lived in the moment of your act, I decided I wanted to learn to do that too. I wanted to act, not for anyone else but for myself. I give much credit to the president & Sawara-san yet you are truly who changed me the most. As more time went on & I worked with you I learned skills to help me create a version of myself I could be proud of. Working with you I learned just how good of an actor you are. You live totally behind a mask & never let anyone in to help you. I think over time I learned you are just as broken as the rest of us, just better at hiding it. I know it is presumptuous of me, but I like to think you saw me as a friend. That you allowed me to see the jagged edges so I could have hope that I could be okay too. I just hope you will allow Yahsiro-san to help you in my place. He truly cares & worries about you. Whatever trouble you once had, you are worth the effort to get to know. You deserve so much happiness & you should go after it. Stop living in the broken past & chase your shining future. You will take the world with your talent even Kuu-sama will have a tough time competing with you. I will forever be your loyal fan & supporter. I wish you all the happiness you can grasp, you deserve it & so much more.
Always your friend & fan,
Ren was a broken mess after reading her letter. He had tears streaming down his face… Grab his happiness, huh? Well when he finds her, he will grab her & make her see his love. She really saw thru his act & said he inspired her? As if he could have been Katsuki or Cain let alone BJ without her. She is his everything, he doesn't want her as a fan he wants her as his wife. He will start making it clear from now on. She is all he really wants.
Kanae, Chiori, Yashiro, looked at the broken man they knew as Ren. Any doubt about his love were instantly eradicated. They wondered how he will take this… Only being able to get occasional letters might kill him… He wiped his eyes looked Lory directly in the eye. "So what clues do we have for where she might be. I have one idea & I will fly to Kyoto tonight to verify it… Are there any other leads, thoughts?" The girls looked at him, he was determined. Yashiro said, "Ren, you have an interview this evening & a photoshoot first thing tomorrow morning. I am not sure how you can make it to Kyoto & back while still having time to investigate. Wouldn't it be better for one of us to go?" "I don't care what was in my schedule I have to go… I can't give you all the details until I know something… I have to hear from her…"
Lory stood up, "Boy, I think if we are going to cancel jobs we need some answers." Kanae walked over, "I would like to know exactly what you could know that I don't. Also, I think we all deserve to know what exactly she means to you." Ren gave a sparkly smile, "Well, she is the love of my life. There is nothing I won't do for her even throw away the career I have been working so long for." Lory asked, "Are you willing to reveal all the details to everyone in this room? They are her closest friends & the group she trusts thought I should add Maria & Kuu to this group."
Ren sighed dejectedly… "Yeah I guess they are & I know they can keep secrets… You should all probably get a drink, maybe a snack… This is a long story…" He gave the reason for his move to Japan, his dark past of violence. He told them of the death of his best friend… Then he told them his birthname & who his parents were. He had waited for Yashiro to take a drink before he let that out. He had not predicted Kanae throwing her drink in his face & standing in rage. "So, you & your father were playing some game with her. How dare you use her like he did." Kuon sat there… "I never used her like that. My father genuinely loves her & cares about her regardless of me. I would never use her like the piece of some game. She is the only one that brought lightness into my dark world. Don't you understand haven't told her my name because I don't want to hurt her. I haven't told her I love her for fear of her running away. The truth is me telling her my name is what is likely to destroy any hop I have of having her in my life." Chiori asked, "What you think she would see you as a brother?"
Ren deflated again, "No I will be the one who destroys her fairytales. I will kill her innocence with that admission." Lory was shocked, how could just knowing who he was shatter her belief in fairytales? "Boy, there is something else you haven't told us isn't there?" Kuon just nodded, "Yeah, it was my worst crime… Boss do you recall when I was ten & dad brought me with him to promote one of his movies?" Lory nodded, as the others all sat on the edge of their seat to hear. "Well, we stopped in Kyoto as dad was visiting family in the area, we stayed for two weeks there. All the adults all so busy & I didn't want to be in the way… I went to play in the woods… I came across the beautiful clearing by a little stream. It was the best memory I had of my whole visit. I was sitting there when this little pig tailed girl burst into the clearing bawling her golden eyes out. When she saw me… she stopped crying & asked if I was a fairy. She was so adorable, yet so sad… So, I decided to play along she mispronounced my name, so I was Corn her fairy prince for two weeks. She told me of the troubles with her mom, the kids at school everything… I did flips & told her stories to make her happy. Then I had to leave… That is where I messed up… I should have told her the truth then… gave her some way to contact me… I didn't want to destroy her dream & I never expected to see her again… So, I didn't…"
Lory was in tears, "I should have known. You both are so connected of course you fell in love with each other. Go… If you find her in Kyoto bring her back son. I am sure if you find her you can." Ren left straight for the airport. Kanae was holding onto Chiori as they both cried.
He made it to Kyoto, yet no one had seen her. He went to the Fuwa Inn & begged that is she show up to please let LME know she is safe. Yayoi thought if Kyoko was running from them it was best not to share any news. Afterall, they were getting their dutiful daughter back. So, she didn't even mention that the famous actor had come when Kyoko showed up a week later. They kept her so busy she missed the entertainment news that talked of the ever Professional Tsuruga Ren dropping all his jobs for a week. She missed the next few interviews where Kanae talked about her inspiration & how she missed the greatest actress in her opinion of the generation. She missed the interview where Ren stated his heart belonged to someone special, yet they were separated by distance. As he stated he would wait forever for her return if he must yet only, she would claim his heart.
She did get a call from Sho to confirm she was at the Inn working for the rest of her life. He told her if she married him, he would allow her to come back to Tokyo to act. She told him to choke on his pudding. He called once ever few days with the same offer. Yayoi had heard Kyoko muttering how she hatted Sho every few days. The days soon became weeks, weeks months… Then a year had passed. She wrote them all letters she never had the nerve to send… Time passed on with her working diligently & ignoring anything she heard of the entertainment gossip… Just watching the films & dramas her friends appeared in.
It had been a Year
Every month Ren would try to get to Kyoto to go to the clearing. Yet, he didn't see her & she didn't see him. He had a film shooting in Kyoto so he could spend more then a short time at the fairy clearing. After filming each day, he would go & sit until dark thinking of his lot love. One night he had fallen asleep just drifted off leaning against a tree on the edge of the clearing. He had bought the land when he had finished filming in Guam. He wanted to have it preserved undeveloped. As he sat there, he awoke to the sounds of crying. He looked up & like a dream there was Kyoko sitting on the bolder crying holding her Corn Stone. She took his breath away she was so ethereal even with tears in her eyes.
He sat in silence unable to move as she started to cry & fume about how she hated Sho for tricking her into that awful bet. How she missed him, Ren… he could hardly believe his ears she missed him? Then she berated herself for allowing Sho to destroy what little happiness she had… At that his anger flared, Sho was the reason they were all suffering… That was enough to get him moving. He quietly approached her, wrapped his arms around her & whispered the words he wanted to say for over a year. "I love you Kyoko & I am never letting you go again."
Kyoko started to panic but she then recognized the arms around her & the voice… Then his words registered in her brain. "Tsuruga-san?! How?! Why?! Tsuruga-san did… did you just say…You can't possibly, there is no way." Kuon stopped her complaint & self-defamation with a kiss. He poured all of his pent-up feelings, love, longing, need into that kiss. Her legs gave way. She was only able to stay upright due to the strong arms wrapped around her.
"Kyoko, there are some things I need to tell you. I also would like the details of how Sho tricked you into leaving those of us that love you. We have been searching all over Japan for you." Kyoko was in tears again, they were looking for her & hard as it was to believe she couldn't deny that kiss he loved her. "Oh, I am so foolish. He tricked me into making a bet that I would never fall in love with Tsuruga Ren." At this he started to laugh deep & heartily. "Oh, my princess you love me? Truly? Then you are safe for I was never able to keep the façade of 'Ren' with you. You always saw thru to the real me… You might hate me when I tell you all I must… So. You are safe to return to Tokyo & LME whenever you wish."
This startled her, she thought back & suddenly recalled the incident with the Beagle… "Tsuruga is a stage name… I… I forgot that…" "Kyoko I am not the gentleman Ren. I am jealous, possessive, teasing, and manipulative So very far from the perfect "Ren"… I also met you when we were little in this very clearing…" At that Kyoko looked around & realized they were in the fairy clearing & she had never told him how to find it… "Corn… are you really Corn?! Why didn't you tell me, I missed you so much?" "Kyoko, don't you hate me? Your fairy prince was just a broken boy?" "Corn how could I hate you? I am mad at you for not telling me. I am just glad you are alive & well. I can not hate the boy who put aside his troubles to cheer up a crybaby like me & act as my fairy prince… You really have always looked out for me. Even when I was sure you hated me you protected me as your temporary manager…"
Ren took the chain that has been around his neck for the last year off. Kyoko saw the glint of metal as he slipped a ring around her finger. "Marry Me? I can't live without you any longer." Tears welled up in her eyes, "You still want me after the way I left?" He sat down & pulled her into his lap. "Have you not seen any of my interviews for the last year? Do you realize Kanae, Chiori, & I are taking jobs all over the country so we could look for you? We don't just want you, we need you. Come back with me… Marry me & never leave us again." She simply nodded & he kissed her again letting her feel the relief he felt. She returned to the Inn to talk with the Fuwa Yayoi & Riku. She would be leaving again this time for good. She didn't want to tell them exactly what their son had done, but she knew it was the only way they would understand.
As she sat them down to a late dinner, she had prepared she steeled herself for what she needed to say. She didn't want to hurt them, but they deserve to know the truth. Once they were seated, she then brought Ren in to sit beside her. Ren bowed & explained that he was in love with Kyoko & would do anything to make her his wife. Yayoi noticed the ring on Kyoko's finger & recalled that he had come looking for her just before she arrived. She had never told Kyoko & had kept her busy & distracted so she wouldn't see the interviews. She was wondering if she had caused some to the pain she saw in the girl for the last year.
Kyoko bowed low, "Fuwa-san, I am truly grateful for all you both have done for me over the years. I love you as parents I didn't have. I know I broke your hearts when I left with Sho at fifteen. I am sorry I caused you that pain. I do not wish to cause you more, yet I know I have to be honest. I know you asked when I came back & I wouldn't say. I am not sure what Sho has said, yet it is likely not the truth." "He said you came back to train to take over as his wife." The look of horror & anger on Kyoko's face was enough to convince them the story was worse then they imagined. "I am truly sorry Fuwa-san, I will never marry your son. I doubt I will ever see him as the friend I once thought he was. He took me to Tokyo to be his maid & cash dispenser. When he got some fame, he threw me way like a used tissue. I found friends for the first time in my life I was doing something to make me happy. I was so angry at the time I thought I could never love again. He got me into an argument & made a bet with me that I would never fall in love with Tsuruga-san. When I did, I came back here as part of the bet to work as a maid you your family inn for the rest of my life." At this Riku was gathering his own angry aura, "He did, did he?" Yayoi had dropped her tea & was covering her mouth. They couldn't believe their son would do this to her. She then bowed low to Kyoko & Ren. "I am so sorry. I didn't know if I had I would have said something. Oh, please forgive me Kyoko-chan. Tsuruga-san came looking for you before you arrived. I thought you were running from him, I never told you. I thought I was protecting you." Kyoko was crying, "You thought you were protecting me? You wanted to protect me? "Kyoko practically leapt across the table to hug Yayoi. "Of course, Kyoko-chan I have always thought of you as a daughter. Why wouldn't I want to protect you from pain."
At this Yayoi looked at Ren to see him with a heavenly smile. "You both are not angry with me?" At this Ren's smile became so gentle, "How could I be mad at you for protecting her? If I had given you more details or if she had, you would likely have made a different choice. You did what you thought was best for her. In the end it was out fault for not telling you." At his he bowed low, "Please forgive me for making you worry." At this she was crying as well. Her husband as taciturn as he was known to be pulled out a bottle of sake. Poured for each of the four of them & "Kanpi, Kyoko-chan I wish you happiness. Tsuruga-san take care of her!" At this they all drank "Kanpi".
The next morning Kyoko packed her meager belongings & took some photos with the Fuwa couple. The loaded her stuff into his rented vehicle & drove to Tokyo. Ren had sent a text to get everyone to meet at Lory's in six hours. They were not sure what he might have found out in Kyoto, but they would look to add it to their search. As they pulled up everyone was in an office going over what they had on their search. Ruto was at the door when they arrived & saw for himself. Even he could not suppress the tears completely as saw her. Yet, he understood it was a surprise for everyone. He simply said they were all in the 'Kyoko room'. He left to prepare snacks & drinks, after all there was a story to hear & he wanted to be ready.
As they entered to room Kyoko froze the pictures & maps were all over the room. They really were looking for her all over the country. They really did miss her & she was so happy to see each of them. Even little Maria was there making updates to lists. When she froze, she dropped her bag startling everyone. They looked to the door & saw her they were all frozen. It was as if they were trapped in a spell. Kuon, stepped forward, "I have brought back my fiancée."
The room erupted into a chaos storm of hugs & tears.