The sky was darkening by the minute, the deep blue changing into a steady night black. Thankfully, this neighbourhood was of the fancier kind, meaning the lights attached to the building dutifully lit up even the backside of the apartment complex.
His apartment complex.
Kyoko stood there with her phone in her hand; her thumb hovering above the 'send'-button.
She had sped off from the Daruma-ya as soon as she saw the message. Not a single thread of fear or hesitation in either step, thought or breath.
"He is afraid to put pressure on you, so I don't know when he will tell you of his arrival. Somehow I think I am doing you both a service by telling you I just dropped him off at his apartment
But as she stood here, panting from the hurried bicycle ride through Tokyo, she trembled as she understood what she was about to do.
What if she was wrong? What if she had misunderstood? What if it had only been wishful thinking?
She loosened her grip on the phone slightly.
She gritted her teeth and forcefully pressed 'send', then quickly pocketed her phone and let loose a shaky sigh.
No. She had enough of doubting. She was done with pretending and misjudging and assuming the worst in everything.
Her phone had not made a sound indicating any sort of reply, but she still wasn't surprised when she heard the door opening further away down the building.
It didn't stop her heart from thundering violently in her chest, though.
"I got your message." He said softly, no comment on how she knew he was back already, his breathing a bit heavy. Had he been rushing down here?
"Thank you for coming to see me." Kyoko bowed, her hands gently clasped together.
She lightly bit her lip and looked up at him where he had stopped about ten feet away from her, noticing the hood that framed his face. The street lights cast deep shadows over his features and hair, but she could still see that cautious smile and worried brow.
"Uhm…" She licked her lips. She could feel her adrenaline fueled resolve being challenged by nerves. In an attempt to get her courage back she asked "How was your flight back to Japan?"
He paused, then chuckled. He had probably not expected that kind of casual question.
"It went rather smoothly, thank you. I didn't sleep much, though. Too much to think about, coming back..."
He let the sentence drift.
It had not really been that long since they last saw each other. Even though he'd been working with the movie project in the States, he had regularly flown back to Japan a couple of days at a time for other work related projects. Even though he was on a tight schedule, he had always made sure to invite her for a late dinner.
Or, as he had done the last time about a month ago, shown up behind the Daruma-ya late the evening before the latest trip.
"I am not very original, copying your strategy." she laughed nervously
"It sure is very effectful, though" He said in a whisper.
Kyoko swallowed. Searching for those perfect words she wanted to use, but seemed so far away.
"Mogami-san," He said her name with that kind voice and those gentle eyes steady on her face. "Can you tell me what… why…"
Those eyes, although shadowed by his hoodie, still glowed.
Those eyes that made the world around her stop. It was all that she needed.
"I know." She said, abrupting him. "I get it."
With that his entire being seemed to come to a complete halt. The pure puzzlement in his face would have made her laugh had it been during any other circumstances.
"You know? You know… what?"
She continued with her newly found fire.
"When you showed up outside my home the last time, I did not know what to do or what to say. You just came and told me that you were ready. You said you would give me the time that I needed."
She took a step closer to him and asked
"You really meant that? You still… mean it?"
"Yes" He said hoarsely, licking his lips, his brows furrowed - face cautious.
"This last year I have seen you. I have seen you at your best and I have seen you at your worst. When Tina came here… when you asked me to come along I saw your grief and pain. But I also saw your strength and your growth. That growth and progress and truth that you have shared and continue to share with me since we first met… it's incredible and invaluable."
She took a couple more steps towards him. Her hands pressed to her heart.
"So when you came to me that night and said that you are ready… I believed you." It looked as if he suddenly stopped breathing all together. "It also made me think about my own road. Where am I? How far have I come? Where… am I going?"
She shook her head with a shaky laugh and looked toward the ground.
"I have made my own career. I have found success. I have found sure steps toward a future that looks shiny and bright and like my own. But my past. That past that caused so much damage to me and my heart..."
"You have come so far." She looked up to see that now he had made steps toward her.
"Yes…" She swallowed. "Yes, I have. I have faced my mother, Sho and many other demons that have tormented me for such a long time. I did that and you…"
She reached a hand to her neck, where she pulled at the thin chain hanging around her neck. The silver pendant hanging from the chain glimmered slightly in the lamp light.
"You saw that. You saw all that. From the start, you were with me and did not hesitate to support and comfort me at my lowest and always gave me praise at my best. You saw me… you see me."
She studied the symbols on the pendant.
"Apart from the initial shock about your real identity all those months ago, I now feel it more symbolic than ever. The final act of trust. Also, I got my final puzzle piece as to who the person I know really is versus the persona that is presented to the world."
"Please, don't call me that." She interrupted and looked up at him with fierce eyes. He was now only an arms' reach away. "We both know that is not who I really am to you, as little as Tsuruga Ren really is to me."
His eyes widened with her bold statement, his mouth slowly opening as he finally said
"Yes?" Even though she felt more determined than ever, her face heated with the sound of her name on his lips, a thrill going through her entire body.
"Kyoko," He said again, as if tasting it on his tongue.
She smiled and took a final step toward him. She reached out her hands to pull the hood off his face, the blond curls gently falling freely around his handsome face. The green of his eyes was hard to see in the dim light, but she could still tell it was his real eyes glowing at her.
"There you are." She said with a sigh. "You. All of you. Way better than I remember back when we met in Guam."
He reached for her hand and placed it carefully upon his chest, upon his beating heart.
"Kyoko," He said again "What do you know?"
She took a deep, steadying breath.
"There was one more thing you said to me in that alley. You put something into words that I had not been able to completely put in its' rightful context until very recently. Please tell me those words again."
His eyes softened and in a single breath he said
"I love you"
She pulled her hand free from his chest and put both of hers on each side of his face. She gently pulled him toward her, making him bend down. He gripped a fire ladder beside her with his right hand. She stopped their noses from touching by a hair's breadth.
"Kuon, I know that I am no longer afraid to love you. Love you truly and deeply."
Stepping up on her tippy toes she closed the final distance between them and pressed her lips to his. Her eyes fluttered closed.
Not a second passed before Kuon wrapped his left arm around her back, pulling her tightly to him. He released the ladder to cradle her face.
His lips were so soft and all she could think about was how good it felt. How right. She caressed his face with her left thumb, her right fingers daring a venture into his hair.
Kuon used his right hand to gently tilt her face to the side, immediately deepening the kiss. Kyoko let out a small gasp which he took immediate advantage of and gently pulled her lower lip into his mouth - but only for a brief moment.
The sensation made another lightning bolt shoot throughout her entire body and with hooded eyes she gazed up upon him.
The pure love and fierce adoration she found in his eyes made her feel drunk with euphoria.
It emboldened her.
She opened up her mouth, wrapped her arms around his neck and took his lower lip into her mouth, tasting it gently with the tip of her tongue. It was pure divinity.
Suddenly both his warm hand and lips left her face and with a dull metallic sound she realized he gripped the fire ladder once again.
"Kyoko…" He breathed into her neck with a smile. "I swear to you I have never been happier in my life, but your boldness is making my knees give out."
"Oh!" Kyoko blushed deeply, suddenly realizing with a shock what kind of effect she was having on this man in front of her. She had not really considered that it was a possibility. "I'm… sorry?"
"No. Don't you dare." He pulled his face back to look at her. Carefully releasing the ladder once again he gently took her chin between his fingers, caressing her lower lip with his thumb. "I will have none of that. The way you are touching me right now, physically and emotionally… it is more than I ever dreamt of. I can't believe it is real and that it is happening. I never want you, or this, to stop."
He placed a kiss to her forehead and sighed as he seemed to take in every single feature of her face.
"You are so beautiful. Your soul, your entire being. I feel as if I will explode of happiness simply by looking at you."
Lacking the right words, Kyoko shyly kissed his thumb in reply, earning a low groan from the man holding her. Her eyes widened in surprise.
"Did I do something wr-"
He pulled her into another long, heated kiss. When the need for air forced them to at last pull away, they were both flushed and breathing heavily.
"I believe-" Kyoko said in between breaths "I need to sit down for a bit."
Kuon chuckled, his breath tickling her face.
"I believe we both do, love." Kuon pulled away from her, releasing her from his embrace and took her gently by the hand. "Come, let's go inside and have a cup of tea together."
"I would love that." She whispered.
"And I love you" He said with a crooked smile as he opened the door he had stepped out from earlier.
Kyoko's blush blossomed up once again and she stumbled a bit as they went inside.
"Now we are shy again?" He laughed. "Isn't it a bit late for that?"
"W-well no, or yes, or no it is just now-"
"I am just teasing you." He chuckled and put an arm around her waist. "But I am curious to see where that boldness will lead you."
She gave him a gentle push but laughed.
As they stepped into the elevator, Kyoko leaned her head to his side.
Yes. Being bold had brought her here. Being bold would bring her, and Kuon, forward.
He kissed the top of her head and she smiled.
Yes. She was curious too.
Alright. There we go! This entire fic has been written to fit a scene I have had stuck in my head where Ren/Kuon gets weak in his knees because of Kyoko initiating the kiss. It be like that sometimes.
I hope you enjoyed this fluffy one-shot!