Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
(This is set between Chapters 140 and 147 of the manga.)
"He couldn't always control what went on inside his head, despite his best efforts."

He doesn't like to show his emotion often. He's reserved, withdrawn and utterly fake. He's fake because the smile he allows to be seen by the public — that beautiful, dazzling smile — means not a thing to him. He's unmoved by the scores of people proclaiming their love for him, and the mounds of gifts he receives on Valentine's Day. Ren Tsuruga only grows casts away his reticence when confronted with his roles and a certain fiercely passionate (and dense) female. He also has the inkling that his manager is busy trying to scope him out and gain a better understanding of him. He must stop this at once.

Ren sighs, leaning back on his couch. He stretches his lean body, tired out with the day's work. He runs his hands through his hair, feeling mildly frustrated with Kyouko. With her sharp, glinting eyes, and her soft, silken hair, the curve of her lips—

No, no. What is he thinking? He can't let his mind wander so far down Suicide Lane. He cannot begin to see Kyouko as a potential partner. Even worse (or better, depending on your outlook), as a potential lover. Things like that shouldn't be allowed. Thoughts like that shouldn't be allowed. Ren feels strangely trapped, like a bird in a cage. No matter how far he spreads his wings, something is always holding him down. He can't escape this, regardless of what he may try.

For a brief, shining moment, a scintillation in time, he sees a far-off future with her. Being able to caress her hand, hold her, kiss her. Just to be with her, that's more than enough for him. He could be that 'prince' she's always imagined. (He knows she imagines these things on a daily basis — she even has a set time, during lunch breaks.) He picks up the bottle of water on the coffee table and takes a long, deep drink. The water cools his body, as well as his mind. For some reason, he imagines small beads of water dotting her body, as he peppers her abdomen with light, butterfly kisses—

Ren nearly spits out the water in his mouth as he tries to stem his thoughts. He wants to push them into a box in his mind, fasten them with chains and lock them up. Then he wants to throw them into the sea, and wish them 'bon voyage.' (It seems he has lost his composure briefly, please stand by.)

He runs his fingers across his lips gently, feeling self-conscious even if there is no one around to witness his state of mental disarray. Not only did it impede his thoughts, it reeks havoc in his body. He's sick of reaching out to twine his fingers in her hair, mere inches away, only to restrain himself nanoseconds later, and then whip his hand out of sight. He's not allowed, he's aware, he understands.

But if he knows this, if he can comprehend the situation, then why do his thoughts go off on their own tangent?

Ren can't control his emotions around her, his actions and his words. He grows impatient with her when she treats him with nothing but reverence and respect, just like any other girl. He's vexed by the fact that while she can take the time to make a miniature Ren Tsuruga doll (and even a life-sized one), she can't seem to simply be with the real thing. (He does consent to the fact that they are surprisingly life-like, which makes him feel a tiny bit better.)

He feels his thoughts to be petty when he thinks about every single one of her actions, turning them over in his head, and not really grasping what she meant by them. Ren knows she is innocent in some senses, someone completely unaware of who he is, but it doesn't seem to quell anything inside of him. His 'heart,' he supposes.

He raises his hand to cover it. He feels it beating beneath his palm, steady and rhythmically.

Can he honestly tell her? That he is 'Corn.'

As soon as the thought enters his mind, he eliminates it. He extinguishes it like a flame, ignoring the very idea completely. He can never tell her. He will not allow himself to. With Kyouko, he has to be content just watching her. Her every blink, the shadows cast across her cheeks by her eyelashes. Her every breath, the rise and fall of her chest. Her every word, the way in which her lips form around each sound. Her every smile, the way he feels an odd sense of tranquility every time he sees it. They may be little things, trivial things, but they fulfill him. They satisfy the thirst for the love he shall never drink, the heart he shall never hold.

He runs his fingers around the mouth of the bottle distractedly. The hard plastic slides under them, and he has the strange feeling of loneliness settled somewhere inside him.

Maybe.. maybe one day, in the distant future..

Pictures flash by in his head, of what could be (of what should be, in his mind), all of them entirely gratifying and filling him with serenity.

He especially appreciates her school uniform, now that he thinks of it. He wonders, every now and then, just how far those legs go, under that skirt. Her hands curled in her lap, her shirt opened at the neck. He could so easily undress her, just to see if her skin felt as soft as it looked. Like rich, soft velvet, warm to the touch, melting like butter at his fingertips, she would purr into his ear, gently, as his hand slipped under that (far too short to not arouse) skirt—

Once again, Ren cuts his thoughts off completely. He stands up abruptly, turns on the TV, the radio, his surround sound, laptop and prepares to make as much noise as possible. He's about to find one million ways to distract his thoughts from Mogami Kyouko, even if it takes all night.

She just seems to consume every minute of his every day.

(Mogami Kyouko is presently at her home, sleeping contently. She is evidently not running into the same problems as Ren.)

- - - Fin.