Author apologizes: Hey... Hello there. Here is Choko. Life's been full of so many bad and good thing it was tricky to write again. I sincerely apologize and thank you, readers, with all my heart. Everyone of you who reviewed was a reminder. I do plan to finish this story, do not fear. It may take me some times, but I will do it. Rest assured, dear dear readers. So, here we go. A twist I didn't see coming. I love when the story has a mind on its own! Hope you'll enjoy as much as I did while writing. As usual, forgive the grammatical horrors. Thank you again!
Dedicated to you, who are still reading this crazy thought of mine.
Disclaimer: same as always
A little summary:
1° request: call me by my name
2° request: take pictures together
3° request: text me messages
4° request: a model job with me
5° request: shopping with me
6° request: hold my hand
7° request: a self defense lesson
8° request: camp outdoor
Ch. 14th: Inside out
She wasn't in the real world anymore. She knew it.
Kyoko knew during the night a mischievous fairy flipped her in another dimension.
Before that morning she didn't quite believe in the multiversum theory. Now she had proofs not only a parallel world existed near her, but that she fall in the middle of it. Because of a mischievous fairy. There couldn't be another explanation for what she was seeing.
In this world Tsuruga Ren was another person. He was still Tsuruga Ren, but he wasn't him anymore. First his hair were blond, not the fake blond BakaSho bleached his, no. It was a rich, shining blonde, real out of this country blonde. His eyes were that green-brownish she already saw.
She knew that appearance. It belong to a grown up Corn. That's why she knew she was in other world. It wasn't possible Tsuruga Ren was Corn. It wasn't.
The second reason why she was certain all of this was happening somewhere else, to someone else, was the familiar path through the forest they were walking.
She couldn't believe she was there again. With the grown up version of Corn.
It wasn't simply unbelievable, it was mind blowing.
She had two choices: she believed what was happening was really happening or she simply fainted.
She tried to summon a faint, the black numbness of relief, but nothing.
She cursed her healthy being, that prevented her to escape reality.
She tried to convince herself once more she was in an alternative universe.
But the feeling of the grass under her shoes, the warming sun on her skin, the busy sounds of the forest didn't let her escape for too long.
Since the moment he asked her to meet at the forest she loved so much an hour later after breakfast, everything seemed out of ordinary. A weekend with him was already an event she never expected.
She didn't trust herself to think about it, so she ignored the impending Saturday with all her force.
And now here she was. Walking the path she loved so much, with the man she loved even more, looking like the fairy prince from her childhood. Something was clearly wrong with her head.
When he arrived looking like that, she wasn't able to utter a sound. Not only because he was Corn-like, but because he pleaded silently with his eyes to not ask any question yet.
They stared at each other for while. Then he slowly and with hesitation, like she was a startled puppy, grabbed gently her hand, asking: "Can I?"
She was so dazed, she didn't understand what he was asking until he squeezed again her hand.
Her speech ability still lost somewhere, she nodded slightly.
More than anything else, it was the feeling of his hand in hers, skin to skin, that kept her anchored to the moment. When they arrived at the clearing, she understood.
How did he know where the clearing was? There was just one explanation. He'd been there before.
He left her hand, turn around and faced her. He never left her eyes.
"My real name is Kuon Hizuri. If an American child would pronounce it, it would sound more like... Corn." He breathed deeply. He had to carry on.
"When I was ten years old, I met here this amazing Japanese girl, that gave me hope and self confidence. I was a child star, but my parents were too amazing, and I couldn't keep up with the expectation the adult world placed on me, as I was branded a genius, but I wasn't. I become more and more closed off and depressed, that's why meeting that girl was my salvation."
Each word broke a brick of the last wall she placed around her heart, but she wouldn't say anything until he finished.
"After that meeting I went back to my country, full of hopes and determination. I wouldn't let them crash my dreams to be an actor. Then again it is a world full of sharks. They bite me again and again, until I lost again my resolution. But I lost others thing too. I lost control over the dark part of me that kept growing with every failure, with every mocking, with every bitter remark I was given. That's when, around fifteen years, I became an apathetic, violent teen. And that's when a special person appeared."
Kyoko heart constricted, but she shut it up. It wasn't the moment to feel jealousy.
"This person was the first one who didn't approached me for ulterior motives, he approached me because he saw something in me he thought was worth saving. His name was Rick. And he is dead because of me and my selfishness" He stopped abruptly. His ragged breath was painful to hear.
Her hands twitched to reach his head, now hanged low, but the waves of shock washed over her so furiously she couldn't move. He was trapped again in that dark, cold place.
The usual voice was shouting at him he was a murdered. He didn't deserve to live. He didn't deserve happiness. That's why no more words could come out from his mouth. Because he knew. He knew if he talked to her, then he would be freed. Did he really deserve to be free?
He fell on his knees. He didn't deserve it. He didn't deserve her.
Kyoko watched in horror the man she knew was kind, unselfish and loving, broke down in front of her. Because of him she was able for the first time to really understand and accept herself. He gave back her heart, but then he stole it one second later. She still believed she was unworthy, but the she saw him fell on his knee. He chose to tell her the truth. He chose her to really know him. Why?
She didn't know. She want to know. Not for a second she believed he was a murderer. The only thing she believed was his desperation for the loss of his best friend.
She didn't know if she could be of any help, but she wanted so much to hug him and tell him everything was alright, she would always love him, that she started silently crying. She fell on the ground with him, incapable to restrain herself. With a trembling hand, she stroked his hair. His ragged breath stilled and slowly reached her hand. They were both trembling, but they didn't care.
He met again her eyes, afraid to see her expression. She wasn't disgusted or horrified. She was crying sad. She was crying for him. He didn't deserve her, so he had to tell her. He forced himself to speak.
"Rick taught me to not give up, to not succumb to my dark thoughts. But sometimes I was still caught up in this trap of murderous intent, when people tried to bully me. B.J... B.J is born from those feeling, I guess you already figured out" She nodded slightly and he forced himself to continue.
"That night Rick voice didn't reach me. So I started hunting down those who pushed me over the edge. And Rick tried to follow me, to stop me. He didn't see the car coming, because he was too focused on me... He is dead because of me. I'm a murder, Kyoko. That's why I don't deserve happiness. I stole Rick's happiness, I can't ignore it."
Silence fell in the clearing. Almost as everyone, even the nature, was holding their breath to hear Kyoko answer to Ren confession. She breathed deeply. Than she shouted.
"This is the most stupid thing in the world I ever heard!"
Ren was startled and shocked. He looked at her getting up and fold her arms stubborn. He didn't expect her scowl. His mouth was wide open, while she paced in front of him like she was angry.
"You are the most deserving person I know. You are kind and caring. And that's why people and fan love you. Your parents love you. Rick loved you, or he wouldn't believe in you. Even someone as broken as me is able to love you, because I can see how good are you. Not because you are famous, rich and handsome. So cut the crap!"
Her words sink in, but he was so shocked he couldn't understood them for a moment. Her expression softened a little.
"You are hurting everyone and yourself with this stupid blindness. Everyone has a dark side. That doesn't mean you are just that. You are many things, Tsuruga Ren or Hizuri Kuon or Corn, but you aren't a murder. You are a bully, a sempai I respect, my target in this industry, the man who thought me how to act, you are kind, scary, a liar, you like to make fun of people, sometimes you are dark, sometimes the Emperor of the night. You are so much more things, but you are not a murder."
Her words did really free him. In an instant he was able to really breath again. He was able to really see again. And then her words sank. The moment he realized what she said, he stood in front of her.
His energy almost scared her, so she kept talking.
"I'm mad because you lied to me. Was everything you said about being a fairy a lie?"
That was what she was angry? He almost laughed, but her hurt expression sobered him.
"I didn't want to disappoint you...I'm sorry, Kyoko."
She started to crying again. He made a step toward her, but she made a step back. He froze.
"Hizuri... Kuu-otosan... Is your father?"
"Both of you lied to me... You made fun of me..." She made another step back.
She was going to run away in seconds, he sensed it. He couldn't lose her now. He grabbed her hand and she froze.
"I couldn't tell anyone he is my father. And what happened between you is real, I can tell just by looking. I had a chat with him, before he went back, and he told me so. But if you need confirmation, just call him. He will be angry you doubted him."
She didn't know what to do or to think. She was so confused, her eyes started to spin.
"I need some time, please..."
He understood. He stepped back and unpacked their bags.
"If you don't want to stay here anymore, I understand. I'll call the president and..."
She shook her head and sit down on the large rock, observing him. He didn't mind.
She had to adjust all those new and disturbing information about him to the image she already had. Even if she was probably the only one who knew the real him. His mask slipped away so many time when she was with her, it wasn't a surprise.
Kyoko watched Ren unpack and build their little camp, while sorting out the mess in her head.
He was Hizuri Kuon. He was Corn. He was Ren Tsuruga. He was the man who stole her everything and give her much more. Herself, for an instance. Her self respect, a path to follow proudly, a purpose.
Love. He was the one she loved. And she told him. In the spur of the moment, she blurt it out, too focused on him to realize what her mouth was saying. She told him, holy...!
She wanted to run so bad, her legs were trembling. But he opened with her and Kyoko still didn't understood why. Why her? Maybe because they were childhood friend. It hit her then. He was Corn. He was her fairy prince. She had a major meltdown then. He was Corn. Corn was well. Corn has been near her this whole time.
She broke into sobs that startled Ren. He approached her.
"You are fine. You are fine."
"I am, Kyoko... What..."
He didn't finish the sentence. She grabbed him with all her mighty and strength. He hugged her back.
"You have years to explain, Corn. I was so worried. Now I'm angry. I don't know if I should trust you or not."
"I'll tell you everything, Kyoko. Please, let me explain..."
And he did. He explained, he apologized, he asked for forgiveness, he made her laugh, he teased her. The night burn away and they were still talking. Talking for real. He didn't want to ask her about her previous words. He was still afraid he misheard. He was afraid it was a dream.
And she had just changed her behavior around him, he didn't want to revert back to their sempai-kohai relationship. He didn't want to be pushed away again.
He could see sometimes she still reversed to her polite speech. Other times she talked to him freely, like they knew each other for years. Well, they knew each other for years.
At some point he even told her she was one of the few people who knew the real him.
She could see trough his many masks, his many lies, his many secret. And at some point Kyoko realized that indeed he was the one who could follow her strange brain, when she slipped in the Lala Land, or understood the strange twist of the situation she always thought.
He knew her, the real Kyoko. And she knew him, the real Kuon. Realizing that was somehow so reassuring, she started to yawn. After all they talked all night.
They finally slept a little. Whey they opened their eyes, everything was so familiar, yet stranger.
What a mysterious feeling, she thought. I know him. But there are still thing I don't know. I want to. When did I become so greedy?
Kuon was thinking the same things. That's why it wasn't a surprise when they went strolling to their childhood path in the forest, even if neither of them suggested it.
They both needed that time to think, feel and breath for real, for the first time in a while. A long while.
It was the end of the second day, when she suggested if he wanted to take a walk to the Ryokan.
He had mixed feeling about it. It was Fuwa Ryokan, after all.
They had reserved rooms in a hotel, but he understood her desire to let him know that part of her past. It was a huge step for her. So he accepted, a little reluctant. They stopped at the hotel to let the Muse bleach his hair again. Kyoko kept stealing glance at Ren in his Tsuruga appearance.
They were walking few feet away from each other, because she wasn't conformable holding his hand. It was still too confusing, too much information. Kyoko need more time to process everything.
That's why she suggested the Ryokan. And she need to saw the Fuwas, if she was this close to them. She had to explain her behavior. It was one other step in the climb to the bottom of the mountain, where she would find herself.
And she admitted to herself, the ryokan was her home. She had happy memories there. She felt the need to stop by, after all the emotional roller coaster of the past days. She felt it was the right thing to do, to finally reconcile with herself.
So she stepped in the hall, followed by Ren in disguise. He had a hat and glasses, so it wasn't really a disguise. They didn't think much about it. It was likely he would be recognized, but they were so wrapped in their thoughts and emotions, they didn't pay attention to those stupid details.
No wonder things became downright crazy in the next hour.
As soon as the girl in the reception heard her name, she looked up.
"Two years ago there was a girl with the same name working here."
Kyoko smiled. "That's right. I'm glad you are well, Miwa-san."
Miwa gaped at her. She was really Kyoko. She was like a total different person. Her hair, her dress, her make up. She had little shadows under her eyes, but she sparkled with joy and wonder. Miwa didn't want to admit that she was indeed beautiful.
At first she thought she was there to see Sho-kun. Then she looked at her companion. Holy crap in a shell! She was with a man. A man different from Sho-kun. Her friends will not believe it in a million of years. Her companion was too handsome to be her boyfriend. Kyoko couldn't be with a guy like that. No way in the hell.
"Miwa-san, I'd like to have a word with the Missus. When will she be free?"
Miwa, like every girl in town, despised Kyoko because she run with Sho, stealing their idol. So she tried to resume the way she used to talk with her, not caring about the handsome man she was with.
"Don't know, Kyoko. Maybe a day or two. We have a big event planned this evening".
The worried expression on her face was not satisfying enough. Ren didn't like this girl. So he step forward.
"We can always ask for more days off, if you want, Kyoko. I bet the President will be delighted to hear it."
She smiled amused at him, in a way she never did when she was there. Not even to Sho-kun. Miwa rage went up a notch.
"I bet he'll be, too. But I don' t want to mess with your schedule or Yashiro-san will probably kill me, you and then commit harakiri."
He chuckled a little. Miwa looked at him. She had the strangest feeling she was familiar, but that couldn't be true. She would have recognizer such an eye candy, if she saw him before.
"Yashiro would never kill you. He regard you as a holy presence in my life."
Kyoko looked at him in disbelief and whacked him on his arm. She stopped for a second, still caught up in their interaction, now more free than ever. She relaxed as she saw his lips stretch further into a smirk.
"Stop teasing me." She looked at Miwa. Her face was almost funny, while she tried not to gape at them.
"Miwa-san, are there rooms available? Maybe I can meet Fuwa-san later?"
Miwa was dying to know who the man was. She never, ever, saw Kyoko behave like that. Never.
She faked to type in the computer, lying to them. "I don't have a spare room. I told you, a big event will begin in few hours."
Kyoko redoubled expression satisfied her a little more. "You can always come back in few days." Her tone implied Kyoko hadn't have anything better to do, or that her work, whatever it was, wasn't important.
She shook her head, disappointed. Sawara-san called her. First thing in the afternoon tomorrow, she had to meet him for new offers she received. And the evening the President told her she wanted to speak with her, probably about her outdoor weekend with Ren.
Ren saw trough the not so good facade the receptionist put on. He was really displeased.
"Remember that we still have two rooms reserved in the Kyohara Hotel, Kyoko. We can always come back later, if Fuwa-san is free."
Miwa couldn't stop this time and gaped at him. The Kyohara Hotel? The six stars hotel, where idols and famous people stayed all the time? What in hell did Kyoko do to have such special treatment?
Before she could think of all evil ideas, Fuwa-san passed in the corridor, stopping dead in her track upon seeing her expression. Damn Kyoko, she lost her cool and now the Missus would reprimand her.
Kyoko looked at the woman and smiled politely and collected, bowing in that perfect way the Okami taught her. Miwa cursed again. Now the missus would know she even lied.
Fuwa-san didn't recognize her at first. She approached and bowed.
"I'm sorry if my employer mistreated you, dear guests. I'm the Okami of this Ryokan, how can I help you?"
Kyoko looked at her embarrassed, not knowing what to say. Ren stepped behind her. His presence reassured her.
"Fuwa -san, I'm sorry to disturb you when you are so busy. I was in the neighborhood and I thought to stop by and apologize..."
Her voice... The okami stared at her in disbelief, then surprising Miwa and Kyoko she hugged her.
"Kyoko... Welcome back. I didn't recognize you, I 'm so sorry..." She regained her composure, in the presence of a strange man. She looked at him, wondering who he was to Kyoko.
"You didn't disturb me at all. Why no one informed me you were here? Will you stay for the night?"
Kyoko was shocked by her reaction. She didn't expected to be welcomed back in the inn.
"Miwa-san told me there aren't any room available. And we do have a reservation in another hotel, actually. I'm sorry."
The okami glared at the stupid girl she hired recently. "We must have some rooms available, Kyoko. Let Miwa check again."
Miwa typed the keyboard as she was possessed. She was lucky. They really didn't have rooms.
"Just one, ma'am. It is one of the double room suit."
Kyoko looked troubled. She didn't want to cause anyone discomfort.
"It's fine, okami-san. I can always can back later."
"You looked tired. At last let rest for a while in the room, so that I can have the pleasure to serve tea to you and your friend."
Kyoko looked back at Ren. "Is it fine?"
"Of course. I'd love to meet with the one who took care of you when you was a child and turn you in such amazing lady."
Kyoko blushed hard. She wanted to smack him again, but wouldn't dare in front of the okami she respected so much. The okami looked at him, waiting to be introduced. He took away his glasses and hat. And then Miwa wished to kill herself. Because just now she had been rude to The Man.
"I'm Tsuruga Ren, it's an honor to meet you, madam." He bowed politely at her.
The okami recovered enough to bow in response.
"I'm the one who is honored, Tsuruga-sama. I'm sorry to offer such a bad service."
"oh no, Miss, don't worry. We don't mind to be in the same room, especially one of the biggest suite. I'm the one who's sorry for all the trouble when you are so busy.."
Kyoko was almost bowing, ashamed when she saw the okami smile with fondness.
"Please Kyoko. I'm happy to see you. The taisho will be, too, I'm sure."
She still doubted, but didn't say anything. The the miss said them. The forbidden, hellish words.
"And that stupid son of mine too, I believe."
The actors froze like they were drowned in the North Ocean. Miwa and the okami looked at them surprised by their reaction.
Kyoko babbled. "Sho... Is Sho here?"
"Yes. It is his birthday, after all."
Their expression grew aggravated. The okami asked, too innocent. "My... Aren't you here for his birthday, Kyoko?"
And that was his cue, even if he didn't know yet. Sho strode in the hall in that moment. He glanced around and froze too.
Far away some evil being kicked the ring bell again. And another match began.
A/N: The funny thing is that I didn't know BakaSho birthday until today. I found out it is on 29 of May, perfect for the time line I thought. That's creepy. XD
See you soon, I hope. Thank you again for reading!