Thank you for the reviews. There is no better feeling than sharing this fanfic with all of you. It makes me warm and fuzzy from the tip of my frizzy hair to the tip of my toenails. Thank you so much for your reviews. I promise the next chapter will be filled with TCP goodness. I hope you enjoy. - Mel
Ren was not the type of man who understood what "fear for ones life" meant. He had felt fear for Kyouko's life before, but for his own, never. He had faith in himself to overcome what ever obstacle that appeared in front of him. That was until today. This moment, Ren realized as he looked towards the woman he loved, could very likely be his last. He replayed the scene in his head one more time as he desperately tried to find the words that would smooth over this situation.
"You see, Ren has asked me to move in with him. It seems I'm in a bit of trouble and Ren feels this is the best way to keep this situation under wraps," explained Kyouko with a blush to her landlords. Toshi-sans knife hit the table unexpectedly hard as he glared at Ren.
"You got my Kyouko into trouble?" he growled as he yanked the knife from the cutting board. Ren's jaw dropped. Too much was going on at once. The man took a step closer to him.
"It's my fault!" cried Kyouko. "Ren is just doing what he thinks is best for me."
"Shh... Kyouko," cried Ren as he tried to hush the girl that was making a bad situation worse.
"Don't hush my Kyouko," growled the man as he stepped closer to Ren. Finally snapping back to reality Ren spit out his thoughts.
"She's not in that kind of trouble," stated Ren cooly. His Kyouko was still as innocent as the day she was born. No one was going to think otherwise. "Her safety is what I'm concerned about. She has a stalker."
"I see, and you think you can keep her safer that I can," said the man still fuming, but not homicidal.
"Damn straight," smiled Ren as he regained his strength. He was only one who could keep her safe. This building was private and secure enough to be a bank. They worked similar schedules and he could be with her until the whole thing smoothed over. "I know all the circumstances that Kyouko is not comfortable revealing. I've met the man before and made sure he was terrified of me. I have complete faith in myself to keep Kyouko safe from him and any other man who would try to harm her."
"Toshi," cooed the man's wife. "Tsuruga-san and Kyouko-chan have been friends for years. I'm sure he has her best interest at heart. Anyway, it's not like she can stay here forever. We have reporters coming in all the time asking about her and you never know who else is watching. She's getting too famous to stay. I'm sure she'll visit us all the time though."
"Of course," cried Kyouko. "I'll visit so much you won't even notice I'm gone."
"Fine," mumbled Toshi as he stomped out of the room.
"He just so old fashioned," laughed the older woman. "I don't think he thought Kyouko would move out until she got married. Kyouko sweetheart, lets go collect some of your things. It will be a few days until you can get all of your belonging right?"
"Yes," she stammered as she disappeared up the stairs with the woman. Ren stared at the kitchen door as he remembered the warning his own father had given him about the man Kyouko lived with. He knew he couldn't have that man hating him. He had to try again to make peace with him. Ren clenched his fist as he headed through the door.
"I know you would rather Kyouko be married before she lives with a man," stated Ren with his eyes closed he bowed down to his senior. "So would I, but she's not ready. She won't kiss me, she won't do anything outside the boundaries of friendship. I respect that. That being said, I still plan on taking responsibility for her. I will not let anyone hurt. Not now and not ever."
"I see," said the man as he went back to chopping pork. He never turned to look at Ren he just kept chopping. Ren stood there bent over waiting for something else. When nothing else came he straightened his back and walked out of the kitchen to wait for Kyouko.
Ren quickly put her luggage in the trunk before climbing into the driver seat. Life seemed a little too surreal as he stole a glance at the girl in his passenger seat. She looked at him a blushed slightly.
"Well, let's go home," she laughed as he shut the door. His eyebrow raised involuntarily as he started to car. That was a phrase he never thought she would say to him.
"Buckle your seatbelt," he murmured as he pulled out. "I think he'll kill me if anything happens to you."
Kyouko snickered as she latched her seatbelt into place.
"Toshi-san likes you," she explained.
"Heh," smirked Ren. If that was true he sure had a weird way of showing it.
"If he didn't like you he would have never let me leave," she explained. "You see, they don't have any children of their own and I think they feel very responsible for me. Since I don't really have any parents."
"They love you Kyouko," sighed Ren. "Plain and simple."
"Ren," sighed Kyouko. "Do you really think Reino would try and come after me? Even if he did, with all the martial arts I've been taking I could probably beat the crap out of him myself."
"You probably could," laughed Ren. "The idea of him coming after you scares me. Just try to trust me on this. I'll keep you safe."
"I do Ren," whispered Kyouko as she closed her eyes and drifted off to dream land.
Almost a week had passed since Kyouko had officially moved in with Ren. The two decided it was best not to mention it to anyone else, lest they get the wrong idea. Filming was going better than ever. Kyouko had more spunk on set than anyone thought humanly possible. While Ren had a cool confidence that made it seem like he was king of the world. Everyone commented on how the two had captured their characters completely. The scenes finishing the school arc had been a huge success. Kyouko nailed each and every take on her first try.
"Tsukasa is my hero," whispered Maria as she drank a bottle of water sitting sweetly in the directors chair. "The part where she heroically jumps in front of Ryuji and deflects those imposter Kurygumi's bullets was amazing. It was almost like nee-chan was protecting nii-san. They end up tied together with her chain with his arms wrapped around her. I thought my heart would stop beating there for a minute."
"Tell me more," laughed the voice on the other end of the line. "I wish I could come down and watch."
"Grandpa, you'd cause too much of a scene," laughed Maria. "Let's see. Well the school arc ended with Tsukasa finding the letter Ryuji wrote to explain himself. Nee-chans face looked so soft was Nii-san narrated what the letter said. It seems that Ryuji had never apologized before, but he wanted to make sure Tsukasa understood that Kurygumi had nothing to do with drugs. The principal of Tsukasa's school is completely cleared while the other school's principal is taken into police custody. Let's see what else happened. Um Nee-san beat the crap out of a bunch of people, but her shirt gets torn so Ryuji gives her his jacket. That's where she finds the letter... and …. um my favorite line is where the guys who were assaulting Tsukasa are scared of the fake Kurygumi guys and she yells at them, 'If you can only step on the weaker than you're no different then those guys who are shooting the innocent. Didn't you want to change yourself?" It sounds like something Nee-chan would say right?"
"It does," laughed Lory. "Remember to keep up with your notes."
"I will," sighed Maria. "Things should be getting more interesting tonight. Their going over the PV for the first time. All the main characters will be there."
"Does anyone seem to know about project papa lion or lion's den?" asked Lory.
"No and it seems Daniel is safe in the lion's den," said Yashiro as he chimed in our their three way call. "There's been no progress on that front."
"Oh, Nee-san and Nii-chan are coming over," squealed Maria as she snapped the phone shut.
"Maria-chan, are you sure you want to spend ever day after school as my assistant?" sighed Kyouko.
"Of course Nee-chan," sighed Maria as she pushed up her fake glasses. "Your schedule is far too busy to be without help. A manager would be more appropriate I know, but since someday I will be taking over here Grandfather thought this would give me a chance to understand the business."
"I think you're doing a wonderful job," laughed Ren as he tussled the little girls hair. "Kyouko is lucky to have you."
"Ren's right," laughed Kyouko as she took the water bottle Maria handed her. "Honestly I think you could give Yashiro a run for his money in a manager competition."
Yashiro coughed loudly and Maria beamed at the complement.
"It looks like we have two more scenes to shoot in the kidnap arc," said Yashiro as he smiled inwardly at his own skills as a manager. "I believe we are almost two days a head of schedule. If we get through the PV quickly, then I might be able to request a day off for both of you."
"It's been a while since I've had a full day off," nodded Ren.
"Everyone who is participating in the PV please meet on set in 5 minutes," called the stage manager.
"Let's get this over with," growled Kyouko as she headed towards the set. Ren quickly caught up to her and rested his arm causally over her shoulder. They stood their chatting animatedly with Moko and Rumiko while the rest of the cast slowly filed in. Shou sat quietly on a stool while tuning his acoustic guitar. Kyouko glanced over at him and smiled. It was good to see him taking the job seriously. The last person to crowd around was Reino. He stood in the shadows waiting until the time he could leave.
"Ah good," said Director Shinkai as he clapped his hand. "I want everyone to listen to Fuwa-san's song and envision their character. Go for it,"
Sho sheepishly cleared his throat before looking at Kyouko.
"I hope you like it," he said as his hand started to strum the cords.
(Geraldine – Glasvegas (with some reworking to fit the story) )
"When your sparkle evades your soul
I'll be at your side to console
When your standing on the window ledge
I'll talk you back, back from the edge
I will be by your side
Be your Shepard and your guide
When your lost in the deep and darkest place around
May my light walk you home safe and sound
When you say that it's no good and we have no way out
I keep you safe we'll find our way of that I have no doubt
If you fall upon the stairs and down the downward slide
I will, I will turn your tide
Do all that I can to heal you inside
When your body soul is marred
I'll be your light, I'll be your guard ."
Sho's gaze never left Kyouko as he sang. His voice was so soft and sincere that even Ren left slightly awed. He had never considered that the jerk actually had talent.
"That was beautiful," stuttered Kyouko as she wiped a tear from her eye. "Sho, that was perfect. I think you captured exactly what I feel towards, Re – Ryuji. I mean what Tsukasa feels."
"It's perfect for all the love stories in this," sighed Director Shinkai. "You've really impressed me with the Fuwa-san. Anyway so the idea is to keep this acoustic maybe and have Sho singing the exact same way he is now center stage with a single light on him. Then we'll flash to different clips of all of you. I really don't want to give away too much of the show, so it's all pretty abstract. The first scene is going to be with Kijima-san and Ruriko-san. Next will be Reino-san and Kotonami-san and lastly will be Tsuruga-san and Kyouko-san. All of your wardrobes should be ready. Please get changed and come back to the set."
Kyouko came back in a thin white sun dress that wisped around her thighs. The kind of thing that Ryuji could only imagine Tsukasa in. While Ruriko had on a simple black dress and Moko was wearing a blue skirt A cut skirt with a white top. Ren wore all gray with his shirt collar flipped up, while Reino wore a black suit and Kijima wore blue jeans and a white tea shirt.
"Great everyone looks perfect," said Shinkai as he looked the cast up and down. "Asago is going to be standing on a ledge of a building in the first shot. I want Munakata to reach his arm out to her. Asago will slowly take it. Once she does I want Munakata to yank her into him and hold her to his chest. The next scene will be with Shiva and Wakasa. He is visiting her grave and resting a bouquet of roses on it. When he kneels down at the grave I want Wakasa to come over and rest her hand on his shoulder. The last scene will be with Ryuji sitting at the bottom of the stairs in darkness. Kyouko will open the door at the top and reach her arms out to him. He stands up and takes them as she pulls him into the light. The song ends with the two sharing a kiss."
"Kiss?!" squeaked Kyouko.
"Is that really necessary?" asked Ren as he rest his hand on Kyouko's shoulder. "It's Kyouko's first kiss, I was hoping we could give her some more time to...."
"To what get some practice?" laughed Shinkai. "You two must to kiss. You do later in the story anyway. It's easier to just get it over with, like ripping off a bandage."
"Kyouko, if you don't want your first kiss to be with that loser, I'd be more than happy to assist you," offered Kijima-san with a laugh.
"If anyone should get to take Kyouko's first kiss it's me. I knew her first!" yelled Sho as he headed for Kyouko.
"Since we get so close later in the story I think it makes sense for me to..." sighed Reino before he caught Ren's death stare.
"Kyouko," yelled Moko as she stepped in front of the dazed girl. The looked in each others eyes momentary before Moko sent her a wink scooped the shy girl into her arms and kissed thoroughly. At least that's what it look like to everyone watching. Moko strategically placed her hands on either side of Kyouko's face hiding their secret. Normally in a group of such seasoned actors someone would have noticed the fake kiss, but everyone including the director just stood their shocked.
"No more worries about first kisses," said Moko as she hugged Kyouko and whispered. "You owe me for this."
"Well, thank you Kotonami-san," stammered Director Shinkai. "I'm glad that you're so... committed to this PV."
Everyone took there places as Kyouko quietly pulled Moko to the side.
"Thank you for helping me back there, but I'm not sure I can do this," whispered Kyouko as her eyes grew so large they looked like they were about the slip from their sockets.
"You may not be ready to kiss Ren, but I'm sure Tsukasa can kiss Ryuji," she said as she squeezed her friend. "Just be the actress I know you are. If you don't rock this scene, Sho will have one upped you."
Kyouko's jaw dropped as she processed what Moko had said. Before she new it music was playing and she was standing behind a door preparing to open it. As she opened the door and stepped through it she saw Ren sitting at the bottom of the stairs in darkness.
He looked so heart broken she couldn't breath. She knew in a second he wasn't acting. Something was wrong. Without think both arms flew open to him as she mouthed his name. He looked up startled to see his angel calling from him. Ren stood up and grabbed on to her as she pulled him into a tight embrace. He held her face in one hand and clenched her back with the other.
"I ... you," he whispered before meeting her lips. Kyouko wrapped her arms around him as she felt his tongue slip inside her mouth. His hand slipped behind her head and tangled itself into her hair. She moaned softly as she lost her breath and the world froze. The warmth from his body spread throughout her like a fire. They both sank to theirs knees still holding each other. He nuzzled into her neck and she weaved her fingers through his arm and held his head in place. She could feel him shaking in her arms, not one tear fell from his eyes, but his whole body silently cried out in pain.
"What's wrong?" she whispered into his ear.
"My mom," he croaked not finishing his statement as the director yelled cut.
"Shh..." cooed Kyouko as she stroked his hair. "Everything will be okay."
"That's a wrap everybody. Kyouko, Ren there's a car from LME waiting to pick you up. There's been some sort of emergency with your mother," explained Director Shinkai as everyone just stared at the two on stage.
"With Julie?" squeaked Kyouko as she was shocked back to reality.
"I'm afraid so, please hurry don't worry about changing," said the director as Kyouko leapt up. "Come on Ren, let's go."
She pulled him behind her as she ran to the alley where the car was waiting. Everyone just watched them go with open mouths.
"Did she say Ren or Ryuji when she called his name?" asked Ruriko.
"Did he just tell her he loved her?" asked Moko.
"What the hell was up with that kiss?" yelled Sho as he stormed over to the group.
"I thought everything went perfectly," smiled Director Shinkai. "Shall we watch it again? I have camera's positioned from pretty much every angle."
Kyouko and Ren road in silence to the hospital Julie was at. They held each others hands tightly. As buildings flew past them. Ren relived the horrid phone call in his mind over and over as he clasped Kyouko's hand tighter.
He had been sitting at the bottom of the stairs stewing over the fact that he lost Kyouko's first kiss when he felt his pocket vibrate. He pulled out his cell phone. It was Tokyo Regional Hospital. He answered quickly.
"Hello," he stammered.
"Is this Hirzui Koun?" asked a stoic female voice.
"Speaking," he replied.
"You're mother's been involved in an accident," said the voice. "Her passport listed you as one of her emergency contacts. Her husband is on his way now."
"What happened?" he replied.
"She was hit by a drunk driver, I'm sorry sir, I have to go. Please come to Tokyo Regional Hospital ER as soon as possible," she replied before he heard the line go dead. He stuffed his phone back into his pocket and buried his head into his hands.
As the car pulled in front of the door Ren flew out of it dragging Kyouko behind him. "Hirzui Julie room please?" he stammered at the front desk.
"Room 305, just around the corner," stuttered the nurse.
Ren stopped right before the door and squeezed Kyouko's hand.
He opened the door slowly almost too scared to find out what was behind it.
"Mom," he whispered as he stepped into the room. Kuu pulled back the curtain to reveal Julie sipping on some apple juice.
"Mom," he gasped as he sunk to his knees. "You're alright."
"I'm fine," she said as she reached out for him. "Get over here with my favorite daughter."
Both Kyouko and Ren took one side of the bed as the three of them shared a long hug. "I have a concussion. They're going to keep me here over night. I was able to dodge the car that almost hit me, but I lost my balance and hit my head. I was unconscious when the medics arrived. I'm so sorry they scared you like that. Kuu said they made it sound like the worst had happened."
"Corn," stammered Kyouko as she took a step back from the bed.