Disclaimer: As always I own nothing but the original characters and the situations I put all the poor characters in. Everything else, like the lyrics, belongs to somebody else and unfortunately that's the way its gonna stay. Thanks so much for reading, please review so I know what you think!

Because You Live

Staring out at the rain with a heavy heart
It's the end of the world in my mind
Then your voice pulls me back like a wake up call
I've been looking for the answer
I couldn't see that it was right there
But now I know what I didn't know

Trudging off the set Kyoko was ready to keel over and let herself be breaded, fried, and placed in a stove to cook. She was cooking already in her Bo suit, sweat soaking her sweatband and the clothes she wore underneath the costume. Stupid lights everywhere, Kyoko thought darkly, not even listening to Bridge as they gave their final good byes to their last guest from the stage. She was going to her changing area, getting out of this damn costume, and than she was going to pray with everything she had that it was still raining outside. A good drenching on the way home would be the perfect end to a supremely sucky day.

"Bo san?"

Pausing Kyoko turned her head, blinking in surprise as she watched Mr. Tsuruga's manager, , walk towards her, a hesitant smile on his face. How had he found her? Why had he found her? Did he know who she truly was? Was THAT why Mr. Tsuruga was so mad at her?

"Hello, we've never really been formally introduced, have we? You are the..uh..chicken that's friends with Ren, right? I'm , his manager." After all, for all he knew there were several people who wore chicken suits for a living. All he'd had to go on was the place where he'd first seen Ren with the chicken and the fact that he was pretty sure Ren had called the chicken Bo once, which was the name of the chicken in this particular talk show apparently.

Thank God he doesn't know it's me; otherwise I'd be dead meat, Kyoko thought as she gave a bow in return. "Hello. What can I do for you?"

"Oh good, I was so afraid it wouldn't be you." Heaving a big sigh of relief it was clear how thankful he really was. "I didn't know what I'd do if I couldn't find you. You were the only one I could think of that could help me. Please tell me this is your last gig for the night."

"It is..but what is it you need?" Mr. Yashiro didn't know anything about her as Bo. What did he need with an animal mascot? Did he need a babysitter for some kids or something? Now was not the day to ask her, even if the pay was unbelievably good. She just wanted to go home and bury herself under her covers for a week.

"It's Ren, actually. He had a really big fight with someone important to him today...and there's something else that's bothering him too but he won't tell me what that is. He won't even tell me what he and Kyoko chan fought about. I tried to talk to him but he just shut me out and when I called him an hour ago to remind him about a schedule change tomorrow...well I think he's been drinking."

"Drinking?" Kyoko tried to imagine a drunk Ren and just couldn't pull it off.

"Yes, and I've never known him to overindulge...I've never known him to drink more than a glass of anything! We have a very important meeting tomorrow at ten a.m. and if he's not up for it..and to be drinking despite that...we'll I'm worried that something big has happened, to push him to that. That's why I came to see you. You're his friend, the only friend I know of that he really seems to trust. I came here to ask..to plead with you...would you, if I took you there...go to see him at his apartment? Talk to him and see if you can help him? Please?"

"I don't know how much help I could be, I mean..."

"Please, just try to talk to him? Just try?"

Because you live and breathe
Because you make me believe in myself when nobody else can help
Because you live, girl
My world has twice as many stars in the sky

It's alright, I survived, I'm alive again
Cuz of you, made it through every storm
What is life, what's the use if you're killing time
I'm so glad I found an angel
Who was there when all my hopes fell
I wanna fly, looking in your eyes

And that's how she ended up outside Ren Tsuruga's apartment with Mr. Yashiro, still wearing the chicken suit she'd pretty much stolen from the set. Mr. Yashiro had said she could leave it behind, but Kyoko had quickly explained that it was the anonymity of the suit that helped Tsuruga open up to her in the first place. She wasn't a real person to him, she was a chicken who acted as his own personal Dr. Phil when needed. Besides, she'd rather step into oncoming traffic than let either man know who was behind the suit. Watching Mr. Yashiro use his own keycard to unlock the door Kyoko couldn't shake the feeling that this was going to end very, very badly. A real capper to a truly crappy day. Possibly her last day on earth, knowing her luck and Mr. Tsuruga's temper.

"There you go." Holding the door open for her Mr. Yashiro rustled around in his pocket with his free hand, finally pulling out an expensive looking money clip. Peeling off a few bills he held them out towards her. "Here, for a car ride home."

"Thank you." Opening her backpack Kyoko held it out to him to put the bills in, since it wasn't like she had any pockets in her suit or fingers to put the bills in the pack herself.

"Well good luck then. Thanks so much for doing this." Giving her a thumbs up Ren's manager smiled at her as she stepped into the front hallway, closing the door behind her before she had time to question the level of stupidity she was displaying by coming at all.

Now that she was in, there was really no choice but to go forward and at least make sure that Mr. Tsuruga was okay. After all, maybe Mr. Yashiro was wrong and this trip was really all for nothing? Maybe he had just mistaken a sleepy voice for a drunken one, and jumped to conclusions? Yeah, she'd probably find him already fast asleep, completely unaware that anything was going on around him. It was nearly eleven after all. Feeling much better about the whole thing Kyoko headed down the hallway, his bedroom her destination to confirm that all was as it should be. Sounds coming from the living room changed those plans, and before she knew it she was standing in the doorway of the room in question, staring at the sight of Japan's number one leading man, shirtless and mussed, with three empty liquor bottles around him and another in his head, tipped up as she'd caught him in mid drink. Now his eyes looked over the green tinted bottle to stare at her unblinking.

"I'm hallucinating already. I used to be able to hold my booze so much better than this." Looking rather regretful Ren heaved a sigh. "Damn, am I that old already?"

Watching him go back to sipping from the bottle, still watching her, Kyoko didn't know what to say. Her brain had given out on her like a popped balloon.

"You'd think though...if I was going to hallucinate...I could have come up with something better than you. No offense."

"None taken." As careful as a mouse scurrying past a sleeping cat, Kyoko approached the famous media star, gingerly kneeling down on the floor while keeping a good ten feet away from him, just in case. "But I really am here. Your manager was worried about you, and asked me to come see you. He tracked me all the way to my job, just for you."

Raising an eyebrow Ren cocked his head to the side. "Did he now...huh. Good to know that I still have it then. I'd hate to waste the rest of the liquor because I had to stop after only four bottles."

"May I ask..why are you drinking so much?" That seemed like the safest question to ask.

"Why? Because it's that or think."

"Mr. Yashiro...said you got into a fight today?"

The sound Ren made was too harsh and brittle to be called laughter. "No more than she and I usually do. No one gets me like she does. She sees right through me, let me tell you. Which is really ironic, if you think about it."

She was pretty sure this was her they were talking about, but Kyoko didn't see what was ironic about her ability to know when Tsuruga was upset. "Do you mean it's ironic because you see through her just as easily?" After all, there was probably nobody in this world who saw through her the way he did, or understood her motivation for things. He was rarely as surprised as others by some of the stupid, embarrassing things she'd done in the past.

"No. What's so ironic is she knows when I'm mad, or annoyed, or ready to strangle her, but she can't see that I'm stupid in love with her. No wonder she's number one in the Love Me section. I swear to God, I'm friggin cursed." Shaking his head Ren finished off the rest of the bottle in several long, greedy gulps. "Well that one's gone, time for another. You want one, Bo? Feel like getting a little marinated?"

Taking the lack of response for a no Ren got to his feet and stumbled slightly out of the room towards the kitchen, the fridge his destination.

Because you live and breathe
Because you make me believe in myself when nobody else can help
Because you live, girl
My world has twice as many stars in the sky
Because you live, I live

Because you live there's a reason why
I carry on when I lose the fight
I want to give what you've given me always

Staring off into space Kyoko didn't even hear his question or notice his disappearance from the room. She felt as though a bomb had just gone off in her brain, obliterating every thought she'd ever had in her head so that she could just barely remain upright and conscious. When he came back into the room she hadn't moved, hadn't formed a coherent thought, and took the bottle he offered mechanically, an automatic reflex.

Taking his seat once more Ren opened his bottle and saluted Bo. "Here's to Kyoko Mogami, the only woman in this f#ked up world that could drive me to retake the bottle." Taking a sip Ren grimaced slightly. "God I miss Molson Canadian beer. Ever had any?"

Shaking her head Kyoko was pleased to note that her motor skills were returning, a good sign.

"I'll buy you a case. Least I can do since you came all the way out here to try and cheer me up." Setting down the bottle for a moment Ren stared at it thoughtfully, gently pushing it back and forth between his hands, careful not to spill a drop. After a good two minutes of entertaining himself with that he finally looked up, giving Bo a questioning look. "You must be thinking how ironic this all is, especially since every time you told me to make a move on her I told you I wouldn't. Still wont, even if she starts talking to me again in the next decade. Man she was pissed today." Switching to English without even noticing, Ren's face took on a contemplative look. "What's worse is, I know it would be better if she did stop talking to me, better for her I mean. I'm one tough son of a bitch, Bo, but I swear, I'm just going to tell her how I feel one of these days and then wham, watch that one blow up in my face so fast my head will spin."

"You're...in love with Kyoko Mogami?"

"I'm afraid so. It's ironic...a lot of things are ironic tonight, did you notice that? Anyway, what I mean is, she's sworn off love see, says she doesn't understand it and doesn't want to feel it for anyone again. But she does know how and she does love people. She's convinced she's closed off her heart when I bet she loves more people now than she ever did when she was a kid. Kuu, Maria, the couple she stays with, that friend of hers, Moko...she loves them, and she at least cares about Yashiro and Director Date and the President. Here's a girl who attracts people to her, but because her damn mother and Sho are emotionally stunted asses she believes she can't be lovable. When she's so lovable. She's so damn lovable." Raking a hand through his hair Ren's fingers mussed it even further, so that it was standing out in odd angles as he lifted his drink once more for another swallow.

"You said...before...that you..wouldn't let yourself love her..."

"Yeah...that plan crashed and burned." Chuckling Ren's lips curved into a faint grin. "I never stood a chance."

Taking the silence to mean Bo didn't understand what he meant Ren elaborated. "Basically, I planned to..plan to never tell her because even if by some miracle she didn't run screaming in the other direction, I don't deserve someone like her. I destroy or hurt anyone that gets near me. The more they love me...the more I end up hurting them. I wont hurt her. I'd rather go back to the way I was in L.A. than hurt her."

"The way you were?"

Tipping his head back Ren stared up at the ceiling, his thoughts a miles away. "Back then, when I was Miss. Mogami's age, I was this dark, introverted prick who was either off in my own, dark little world or acting out at whoever was handy at the time. I didn't go to school, I didn't have friends, I lashed out like a wounded animal at anyone who even tried to get near me. My parents...thought that what I needed was space..so that's what they gave me. I drank, smoked, picked fights, stayed out at all hours of the night, basically doing my damnest to become as different from my father as possible. I wanted to be him so much that when I couldn't reach that level..well I went the other way and hard. I did things..things I can't forgive, much less ask anyone else to forgive me for. There's so much darkness twisting around in side of me..how could anyone live with someone like that? I can barely live in my own skin knowing what's under it all. Who I really am under Ren Tsuruga. Who could love that? Who would want to?"

Abruptly getting to his feet Ren tottered back and forth a couple steps before gaining some semblance of balance. "I'm going to bed now. Thanks for coming, sorry to worry you."

Watching him leave the room as quickly as a drunk man could, Kyoko could practically see his personal demons follow him out, weighing down every step he took so that he could only stumble blindly on his way.

Because you live and breathe
Because you make me believe in myself when nobody else can help
Because you live, girl
My world has twice as many stars in the sky

Because you live and breathe
Because you make me believe in myself when nobody else can help
Because you live, girl
My world has everything I need to survive

Waking up the next morning Ren blinked, staring up at his wall while his head pounded, his stomach rolled, and his nose smelling breakfast. What the hell? The first two was perfectly understandable but the third... Sitting up carefully Ren looked around him, mentally breathing a sigh of relief when he saw nothing to indicate that he'd somehow forgotten he'd brought a woman home with him who might have stayed and was now making him food in the hopes of starting something more than a one night stand. But no, he'd come straight home last night, deliberately avoiding the clubs and bars for that very reason. There was only one woman he wanted, and picking up some other woman in his pain and loneliness would be..well something the old him would have done. Wincing at that Ren rubbed the back of his head, as though he could rub the thought and the memories attached to it from his mind.

Telling himself he was simply imagining the smells in the air Ren headed straight for the shower, deliberately making it colder than usually to fully wake him up and to punish him for the stupidity that was last night. Drowning one's anguish in booze never solved anything. Often, it made it worse. He should know.

When he couldn't take the temperature anymore Ren hastily got out and toweling off made a mental note to call Yashiro and apologize for worrying him. He doubted very much the older man had believed his just sleepy excuse. Yashiro. A vague memory surfacing Ren paused in the middle of rubbing the towel briskly over his wet hair. Had Yashiro sent Bo to see him last night? He had talked to someone..someone big and white...who'd sounded like Bo. Damn, looks like he owed the chicken even more than usual. In fact, he sort of remembered promising his friend to get him some real beer, instead of the Japanese crap he'd had last night. Yet another reason not to drink, Ren thought ruefully. He could only hope he hadn't said anything too revealing or insulting. He had never been a pleasant or quiet drunk. He definitely owed Bo either way.

His mind busy trying to remember the night before, Ren came out of his room dressed in slacks and an open shirt when his nose was again assaulted by the smells of cooking. What the hell? Obviously he hadn't stayed under the shower head long enough. Shaking his aching head Ren headed for the living room with the intent to clean up the mess he'd made before he headed out for the day. Walking in Ren immediately noticed three things. One, there was a chicken suit, Bo's chicken suit, piled up on his couch. Two, beside the costume was a bag he recognized as belonging to Kyoko. Three...someone had cleaned up his mess. Head slowly turning in the direction of the kitchen, Ren moved towards it in a daze, miraculously putting one foot in front of the other until he was staring at his stove and Kyoko, standing in front of it.

"Miss. Mogami?"

"Have a seat. It's almost ready."

Doing as she asked he never took his eyes off her as she worked her culinary genius. "What..what are you doing here?"

"Taking care of you." Was her short, curt reply, still obviously refusing to meet his gaze. "There's aspirin by your cup, take it. The stuff in your cup is a hangover fix...it tastes nasty but it works."

Looking down at the ominous blue liquid in his cup Ren supposed he deserved to have to drink it. "But how did you know...did..." A light finally dawned. "Miss. Mogami...are you Bo?"


Dumbstruck over that Ren quickly realized the most important fact. He didn't remember much of anything he'd said the night before...and everything he might have said would have been to her. Going pale at the thought Ren automatically took a swing of the vile concoction in the cup, making a truly hilarious face over the terrible taste of it.

While he gagged on the stuff Kyoko set the food down on the table, still making an obvious effort not to look at him, even knowing how funny the faces he was making probably were.

Noticing this Ren forgot all about the drink, knowing there had to be a reason for her reaction. Yet if he'd done or said anything terrible or important..surely she still wouldn't be here. "Miss. Mogami." He began gently, using all the considerable charms Ren Tsuruga possessed. "Why won't you look at me? Did I say something to hurt you last night? I'm sorry I don't remember."

"You should be sorry."

With a sinking heart Ren stared at her bowed head with what felt like countless wounds blossoming all over his body. "Will you tell me what I did?" He finally asked quietly, his voice shaking ever so slightly.

"No girl should ever be confessed to that way. You would think someone as smooth as you would know that."

Eyes wide Ren watched as Kyoko lifted her head, her cheeks bright pink and a soft look in eyes that shimmered just faintly from un shed tears.

"Miss. Mogami?" Confessed? He had confessed...his feelings to her? He had told her and she was still THERE?

"You owe me a meal. So...so sometime this week you have to take me out...for hamburger steaks. And no more using your past as an excuse, cause that's stupid. Okay?" Going even redder it was obvious she was struggling to hold his gaze. "Yes, you told me about how you were..in L.A. And..I don't care..okay? I don't care. So you have to..take me out okay?"

A slow smile crossing his face Ren's eyes went soft as he watched her get even redder. "Okay."

Because you live, I live, I live