Disclaimer: As always I own nothing but the original characters and the situations I put all the characters in. Everything else belongs to somebody else and that's just the way it is. Thanks so much for reading, hope you enjoy and review!
Stand By Me
Every truly bad thing to happen in Kyoko's life was because of Sho Fuwa. Okay, so maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration, but more than anyone else in her life, Sho had had the most negative impact on it. It was his fault she had emotional and relationship issues; that she hadn't ever had a girl friend until the age of sixteen, that she'd been bullied most of her life, and he was even indirectly responsible for getting her a crazy ass stalker. Yes, Kyoko felt it was safe to say that Sho was her own personal demon from hell.
He was also the reason she was currently facing her potentially fatal demise. Sure, he would probably argue, since this was Sho after all, that she'd chosen to take the job in the first place, and therefore he wasn't responsible for her present situation. Bull shit. He'd tailor made this job for her, knowing that she wouldn't be able to resist it even if she wanted to. And since her goal in life was to become a bigger star than Sho, any opportunity, especially one he presented that could further her career, was a must grab. So she'd agreed to appear in his latest promo clip, one that had her playing a rich young lady helplessly in love with a man who would do her wrong. It was tailor made for her all right. She even got to shoot him in the end for using and discarding her. Not that she would get her chance to, seeing as she was going to die without ever getting the satisfaction of pointing that prop gun at the bastard and pulling the trigger. And she'd been really, really looking forward to that. But no, it was not to be. No, she was fated to fall to her death, impaled by the wreckage beneath her that had once been stage equipment and the balcony she'd been standing on prior to the accident. She certainly wasn't standing on it now. The wood, which must have been rotted, had given out from under her and she was now frantically holding onto the side of the newly created hole, which was creaking and widening as she watched in resigned horror. Her hands were screaming with pain, blood dripping and sliding down her arms from where wood shards had imbedded themselves into her skin but she held on, too stubborn to go to her death so easily. They'd already tried to come up the steps and onto the balcony to pull her up, but that idea had been abandoned when one of the beefier stage hands went through the stairs he'd been attempting to climb to get to her. The stairs were now a no go. Now all they could do was watch from below as she hung there, hoping that the men dispatched to find something for her to land on would come through in time. Kyoko wasn't counting on it.
Kyoko was sorry that Director Ogata would see her die. He was so delicate after all and he really was fond of her. This was definitely going to give him nightmares. Plus, he was there because she was supposed to be going with him to meet Tsuruga san at a nearby restaurant, to discuss possibly teaming up again on a new drama he was directing. Now she'd never hear about the plot, much less get to star in it. Maybe she should call down to him to give the part to Moko, a sort of final present to her very best friend in the whole wide world. Surely Moko would be appreciative. Then again, she and Moko were rarely offered the same sort of roles, so maybe the role Ogata had said was made for her would be something Moko wouldn't want to do. Then she'd be leaving her best friend with a present Moko wouldn't want. That just wouldn't do. And she was in just too much pain to pay proper attention if she were to ask Director Ogata to summarize the plot for her now, especially since he may or may not have passed out already from the shock of her imminent demise.
Below her she could hear Sho again loudly ordering her to let go and let him catch her, but Kyoko ignored him as easily as he'd once done to her. No way in hell was she putting her fate in his hands. She'd rather be literally impaled than owe him her very life. The things he'd make her do were far worse than anything Hell had to offer her. Besides, he would probably drop her even if she did let go, unable to take her weight and the force of the fall, the pansy ass. Then, knowing her luck, he'd end up impaled too and blame it all on her. She'd never rise to the top of the entertainment industry if she was responsible for his untimely death. He was just too damn popular, the bastard. Besides, no way was she letting him be the Japanese version of James Dean. No way in hell. She was going to outshine him, and she couldn't do that if he was dead and she wasn't. Was there an entertainment industry in the afterlife? It was something to think about.
Now Producer Asami was joining in, begging her to let go so that Sho could catch her. Kyoko was sorry to ignore her, but her prior decision to die first still held. She knew that the woman would blame herself, and Kyoko felt awful about that but saw no way to change that. She was the producer after all, which made her in charge of everything, including the sets. Kyoko figured that it was at least something, to know that Asami would go after the set people like a hound on a fox. She was only sorry she'd miss it and could join in. Maybe she could though, since she could always come back as a ghost and haunt their asses. Boy, then they'd be sorry. She'd definitely go Mio on all their asses. Slightly cheered at the thought, Kyoko paused her thoughts to once again call down to Asami that she wasn't letting Sho catch her and that she didn't blame her in the least.
Producer Asami didn't like that one bit, but Kyoko tuned out most of her arguments as to why she should do as she was told. The truth of the matter was that there were very few people in this world who she would trust to catch her. She trusted Moko enough, but would be too afraid of hurting her friend to actually attempt it. Her Taisho was strong enough, she might let him, if she was sure there was a good chance neither of them would sustain any real injury. Yashiro san too, would be another pick for her, though she wasn't entirely sure he'd be up to the task. Her pick of choice would be Tsuruga san of course. Yes, if he were at the bottom she'd most definitely trust him to save them both. He was a man a woman could depend on. She was sorry now she hadn't told him more often how much she appreciated having him in her life. In fact, she regretted that even more than she regretted not saying proper good byes to Moko, Maria, her guardians and all her other friends at LME. Tears welling up in her eyes Kyoko acknowledged that what she'd really regret is that she'd never told Tsuruga san how much she loved him. She'd never told him that she knew he was Corn and Kuon; that she'd never told him because actually telling him would mean admitting to herself that the one man she might have entrusted her heart to was actually accessible instead of a fairy tale character. So she would die, Kyoko thought, and he would never know that there was someone who loved him as much as she did. Not Ren Tsuruga, but the real man, Kuon, with all his Demon Lord and King of the Night powers. He would never know that she knew all about his past and didn't care a wit. Yeah, she was definitely going to die with regrets.
"Dammit, what's taking them so long?" Chewing on her nail Haruki Asami stared up at the gapping hole, where Kyoko's lower body hung, while workers worked overtime trying to clear the debris from the ground below her. Not that it mattered, the fall alone would be fatal, at the very least destructive. There was no way she'd survive it intact. Her other hand in Hiroaki's, Asami had never felt so helpless.
Standing below her, the men working around him, Sho yelled at her at the top of his lungs, ordering her in the voice of a drill sergeant to let him catch her. Only someone who knew him well would have heard the outrageous terror behind his barked orders.
And then there was the sound of doors being flung open and Haruki had a moment to hope, as she turned around, that the men had returned with some sort of stretcher or devise to soften her landing. What she saw instead was a dark blur, a single individual running at full speed in the direction of Sho.
All eyes turning in that direction they watched as the legendary king of the entertainment industry, Ren Tsuruga, push Sho back and than turn his attention to Kyoko with a fierce aura that had even Sho taking a step back.
"I'm here now, Kyoko. Let go now."
And just like that, to everyone's amazement, Kyoko let go.
All eyes were on her as she came down in blur of blue silk, the color of her dress for the scene. She landed in Tsuruga's arms with a thud, the man barely buckling under the force of her ascent. As soon as she was safely in his arms he was hurrying away from the wreckage, ignoring everyone's shouts and cheers as he headed in the direction of the chairs set aside for the actors. Taking a seat with her still in his lap he demanded a First Aid kit immediately.
Everyone crowded in to get a better look while Director Ogata hurried off to follow Tsuruga's demand.
Ignoring the people crowding in around them Ren had eyes only for Kyoko. "Let me see your hands." He demanded softly, having already noticed the lines of blood running down her bare arms. Hissing in response, Ren took in the blood and shards of wood sticking out of her skin like they were piercing him as well. Cradling her close against his chest he again issued his command for a First Aid kit, all the while rocking her slightly as you would a child, whispering nonsense words of comfort for both their sakes.
Staring over a tech's shoulder Sho felt sick over the damage, wanting to say something but unable to. She must be in so much pain he thought, dreading the thought of looking into her face and knowing he was responsible for the pain he'd see there. But he forced himself to look and was shocked all over again. Her face was resting against Tsuruga's shoulder, but what was visible suggested she wasn't in pain at all. There was a faint blush to her cheeks, but she looked...content. At peace somehow in a way he'd never seen before. Was she in shock?
Kyoko barely felt the water the was poured onto her hands to clean the blood off, or the prick as Tsuruga san cradled her right hand with one hand while using the tweezers with the other to pull out the slivers imbedded in her bloodied hand. In some part of her mind she was screaming at the pain, but she was so glad to be alive and in his arms that she couldn't even acknowledge the part of her that was in complete agony. No, as long as she remained where she was, safe and secure in his arms, Kyoko couldn't imagine being anything but deliriously grateful with the world in general.
Having finally caught up with Ren, who'd left the restaurant like a bat out of hell after receiving a phone call from Director Ogata, Yashiro took instant stock of the situation, got a pair of tweezers from one of the make up girls, and went to work on her other hand, loudly apologizing every time he had to touch her.
Watching over Ren's shoulder Ogata finally felt able to draw a proper breath. She was going to be all right. "Thank God you got here in time."
"I owe you big." Was Ren's response, briefly turning his head to meet Ogata's gaze before he turned back to what he was doing.
"You called him?" Haruki asked, remembering briefly seeing him with a phone in his hand when she'd been busy trying to help Sho talk some sense into Kyoko.
Nodding the director gave her a big smile. "I knew she'd trust him to catch her."
Around that time the medics finally got there, having been held up by a bar traffic snarl right by Queen Records. Kyoko's hands were soon expertly bandaged and the medics announced her fit to leave, with the condition that she see a doctor and get a prescription for the pain they were sure would arise once the actress got over her ordeal.
"Don't worry about a thing." Haruki assured Kyoko, trying not to stare at the girl and Tsuruga. Now that she and everyone was getting over the shock of the accident, they were all consumed with questions about the nature of the relationship between the two. She'd thought the girl was, if not involved with Sho, at least a potential love interest. She was sure Sho felt so anyway. Apparently that wasn't the case at all for Kyoko though. The girl was, without question, head over heels in love with Tsuruga. And if she wasn't very much mistake, Hiroaki was right in thinking Tsuruga cared about Kyoko deeply. To her eyes, they looked very much like a couple in love. Looking over at Sho, Haruki saw that Sho was thinking the same thing. It was a testament to the scope of Sho's pain, that the younger man wasn't confronting either of them.
Standing off to the side as he watched the pair leaving, Sho knew that his worst fears had been realized. He'd known about Tsuruga's feelings for Kyoko, but had felt safe in the knowledge that she either didn't return the feelings or were unaware of them. She was definitely returning them now. She had never looked at anyone, even him, with that kind of love and devotion. He'd had that, and thrown it away. He had no doubt that that would prove his greatest regret.
Loading Kyoko up in the ambulance the look on Ren's face stopped any of the medics from asking for an autograph. The ride there was completely silence except for the traffic, everyone lost in their own thoughts or too in awe of Tsuruga to dare to speak a word that might possibly offend. Once they got in the doctor took a look at the hands, agreed with the medics prognosis and proscribed her some pain killers with instructions to take them until the bottle was empty. She was also given extra bandages and instructions to come back if there was any sign of infection or excess bleeding.
Wisely the doctor made no comment about the fact that Ren hadn't let Kyoko leave his lap once since she'd been brought in, or that Kyoko had allowed it. Wising the couple a good day he headed out to give them some privacy.
As soon as the door closed, leaving them alone, Ren dropped his head into the crook of her neck, breathing in her scent as he let a shaky sigh of relief and fear. He hadn't been able to breath easy since he'd gotten the call, and it was only now that he let himself acknowledge the fear and terror he hadn't let himself acknowledge before, fearing it would slow him down. He'd almost lost her. He'd almost lost her and now he wanted nothing more than to stay right where he was and remind himself that he hadn't.
Reaching up Kyoko had intended to stroke his head, only to realize her hands were in no condition to do that. Instead she wrapped it awkwardly around his neck, in a weird half, backwards hug which was the best she could do in her present position.
"Don't ever scare me like that again." He finally managed to say.
"I'll do my best."
Lifting his head Ren asked her the question that had been bugging him in the back of his mind since he'd entered that damn set. "Why didn't you let Fuwa catch you?" Not that he liked the idea, not at all, but her life had been at stake and it was a miracle that he'd been close enough to get there in time. She definitely wouldn't have been able to hang on much longer, given how much pain she must have been in.
Looking up at him, she gave him an 'are you serious?' look. "Like I'd ever trust him to catch me." Smiling at him shyly, her cheeks going red, Kyoko forced herself to say the next words. "I wouldn't have let go for just anyone…you're probably the only one…I'd have trusted to catch me."
Smiling down at her tenderly Ren could feel his emotions bubbling to the surface without a thought to trying to hide them. "Thank you."
"And you know what?"
"I….I was thinking about you just before you came in. For a minute I thought I'd wish you there."
Amused Ren lifted his right hand to stroke her hair as he sought to lighten the mood. "Maybe Corn was watching and used his fairy magic to get me there faster. I know I've never run faster in my life."
"Yeah, my fairy prince definitely saved me." Before common sense played in and the pain killers she'd been given wore off Kyoko slid off his lap and than turning to face him leaned forward to place a kiss on his startled lips. "You're always saving me..Kuon."
Eyes widening Ren could only stare at her. "Mogami san?"
"Did you really think I wouldn't look up what my new adoptive brother looks like?" She asked with a small, somewhat teasing smile, doing her best not to stammer or choke on her explanation. She could pass out from embarrassment over what she'd just done after. "As soon as Father left I looked you up online…there were pictures of you as a kid…and as a teenager. I recognized you as Corn…and as Ren Tsuruga."
If she'd done all that, she must know all about him. He should have realized that after playing him as a kid she'd want to know more about him. She knew all about him and still…and she still stood before him, looking like she'd pass out from nerves at any moment, painfully unsure but meeting his gaze squarely. She knew..and she'd kissed him anyway. She knew and she'd trusted him to catch, catch her when she'd trust nobody else. Getting to his own feet Ren pulled her against him, cradling her in his arms, needing the contact and the reassurance that this all just wasn't a dream.
"You won't leave me?" He finally asked, needing to ask.
"I'll stand by you forever." Was her firm, if very embarrassed response.
At her choice in words Ren had to chuckle, the phrasing taking him back to his childhood. When she asked him what was funny, Ren explained. "You made me think of a song I used to love as a kid."
Bending down so that they were eye level Ren pressed his forehead against hers as he sang the words.
"If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountain they should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry
No I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me"