I don't own Skip Beat! This is probably the most OTT and OOC Skip Beat! fanfic I've ever written. I just wanted to write about Yashiro that delicious hunka ball of megane goodness. Don't expect canon facts, I've played around and twisted them around to suit the story.
Rating changed from M to T because fellow ff writers have assured me that there's nothing in this fic that warrants it to be posted as an M. (i.e. has no explicit adult themes, violence or coarse language) So there. - Sorry, zoofreak, I cannot fulfill your wish.
Acknowledgment: Bloody_Rose021 for beta-reading, encouraging me to write this since I told her about it. Now, two chapters of Ren's Birthday get! But study first. :D
Dedication: To the FH SB FF Forum people (specifically, TohkoXKetsuki and El Scribe) - nobody ever made a Yashiro is an alien fanfiction when we talked about it months ago.
Two Months Ago (Act 114)
President Takarada stared blankly at Ren after he finished what he just said.
"You've decided then?"
"Yes," Ren nodded in a determined manner.
The President didn't look convinced at all. "I won't help you out, whatever happens!" he crossed his arms over his chest.
Ren let out a chuckle. "I know." He really didn't expect any from the President.
Then the President sighed. "Well... I guess it's OK." He looked Ren in the eye, full of admiration and respect. "That just means, that you've gotten stronger..."
Present (Imaginary Chapter)
Tsuruga Ren turned to Director Ogata. The director nodded, ready for the scene that took weeks of careful planning to finally play out. Ren took a deep breath and got into the car.
You won't let yourself get put into danger...
'Of course not, Mogami-san,' Ren smiled. Everything that was about to happened has been carefully planned and well-orchestrated. He just wished she could have been there to see it, he thought as he revved up the car.
Please, be careful, at least.
With the call, Ren let the car tires squeal and released the pedal.
"LME released a statement that said that at 2:13 in the afternoon today, actor Tsuruga Ren died in a fatal car crash in a stunt gone bad for the drama Dark Moon. The body has been burned beyond recognition... His co-stars, Momose Itsumi and Kijima Hidehito, who were in another car for the stunt, escaped with their lives... Right now, mourners have gathered in the thousands at the site..."
"Kyoko-chan still hasn't come down since she got home this afternoon, dear," the okami of Daruma-ya commented. "Something bad may have happened..."
Her husband continued preparing the meal for the evening's dinner service, which opened in half an hour. When he didn't answer, the okami sighed. She turned to the television set and exclaimed, "That boy was on one of the posters in Kyoko-chan's room!"
For the first time since they started talking, her husband finally looked up.
"...Tsuruga Ren was 21 years old and was at the peak of his career..."
"He was so young," he gruffly commented.
Suddenly, the door opened, startling the couple. The restaurant wasn't open for business yet so the okami stood up and said, "I'm sorry. We won't be open until thirty minutes from now. If you like, you can wait and have a drink, but food won't be available unti-"
"Pardon the intrusion, ma'am," the man in an elegant suit and briefcase interrupted. Salarymen in suits would often come in for dinner service, but this one looked too elegant and high-class to be part of the same crowd that often come in. He also looked vaguely familiar, but the okami can't remember from where. "I've been sent here by LME for Mogami Kyoko-san."
"Kyoko-chan?" the okami asked in wonder. "Who should I tell her is here?"
"The President of our company sent me for her," the bespectacled man answered. "The name is Yashiro. Yashiro Yukihito."
Tsuruga-san died at 2:13 in the afternoon, Kyoko thought as she sat at the center of her room, looking up at the poster that hung on the wall.
She was supposed to be his protective charm, wasn't she? she thought as she stared at his face as his hair blew in wind on the poster. She should have sensed it coming. That something ominous and weird was coming when she saw the watch in the bathroom of the hotel. She'd failed terribly.
Why wasn't the pain going away? she wondered, as she gripped the Corn Stone tighter. It was supposed to absorb all her bad feelings, wasn't it? So why wasn't the pain going away?
She didn't even get to see him...
When Director Annaka let everyone have a break so that they could satisfy their curiosity over the Dark Moon shooting area, she rushed over only to be held back by Yashiro-san, Kijima-san, Amamiya-san and a Box "R" crew member when she tried to get closer to the burning car.
After that, the Box "R" shoot was cancelled because so many on-lookers, reporters, fire fighters, and emergency service crews came to the site and made shooting impossible.
She couldn't remember anything that happened after that. She didn't even know how she got home.
"Kyoko-chan," the okami-san's voices filtered through the door. "You have a guest."
"Kyoko-chan," A familiar voice filled with urgency came through the door. "It's Yashiro. Please open the door."
Yashiro-san? She perked up and started to crawl to the door. Why was he here? Did he have news? Was Tsuruga-san going to be...?
"This is a very nice room, Kyoko-chan," Yukihito let out a small laugh as his eyes landed on a huge poster of Fuwa Sho with the words "Kill Shotaro" right beside a smaller one of Ren's. It was a very unusual shrine in an otherwise neat room of a girl.
"Thank you," Kyoko-chan set a tray of tea on the low table. "Is there any news? Will Tsuruga-san be alri-"
"Kyoko-chan," Yukihito didn't meet her eyes. "Ren's gone. You were there," he shifted uncomfortably. He wasn't used to such things and the girl looked devastated. "He's not coming back anymore."
Kyoko-chan quieted and looked down to her cup. "Then why are you here?"
"Everyone's busy with the preparations for the service," Yashiro-san explained.
"Then, you should be there to help out too," Kyoko-chan urgently said. "As his manager-"
"As his FORMER manager," Yukihito cut her off. "I'm here to fulfill his will."
"His will?" she tilted her head to side.
"Ren told me one thing before he got into that car," Yukihito said after taking a sip. "'Please take care of Mogami-san.'"
"Of me?" she asked cluelessly.
"President Takarada told me the same thing too," Yukihito said after taking a sip. "When he told me that I'm going to be your new manager."
"M-manager?" Kyoko-chan repeated incredously. "I only have three roles right now." Then, angrily, she raised her voice. "And you're Tsuruga-san's mana-"
"Do you think," Yukihito interrupted, "that after Box 'R' airs, you're not going to get any more offers? Heck, even I know that you're being offered lots of roles, but the President and Sawara-san have only been encouraging you to take one role at a time so that you won't get overwhelmed by the workload. You've been working steadily since your Kyurara CM. I guarantee you. You're going to be very, very busy as long as you're willing to work."
"H-how can you say a thing like that?" Kyoko-chan asked in a highly emotional voice. "Now? At a time like this when we should be mourning?"
"Because we're professionals," Yukihito bluntly answered.
She stopped and looked at him.
"Remember what Ren said before?" Yukihito continued. Now he finally understood why he was asked to look after Kyoko-chan. She never said it out, and Ren had never received any signs of the sort, but it was very obvious that Ren had been very important to her. His death had been a terrible blow to her. She might have even been in love with him. "Show business is cruel. Even if a parent died, you have to keep smiling as though nothing happened to entertain your public. It's not going to stop even for someone like Ren. Dark Moon will continue shooting as scheduled and you will be there when it's your turn to shoot. You'll be expected to work on Box 'R' tomorrow to act the scenes at the same park where all of this happened since it was cancelled for today. Everyone will move on. Even Ren's replacement for BJ had already been decided and will be arriving in Tokyo in a few days." Then he added, "Even I need to move on after this."
"BJ?" Kyoko-chan's face became a mask of pain. Yukihito stopped talking. Kyoko-chan was very affected because she was the person who was with Ren on his last days. She still talked about Setsuka Heel as her third role.
Yukihito look at her curiously.
"Can I ask..." she quietly asked as she look at her tea. "Who will be replacing Tsuruga-san as Cain Heel? Will I still be asked to play his little sister? Because I don't think I can, if it isn't..."
Yes, definitely sad. "Cain Heel is going to withdraw from the movie due to unexplained circumstances," Yukihito stated on the upcoming announcement to the movie's cast. "The new actor is scheduled to arrive in a few days, just in time for the shoot."
"An up-and-coming actor from America," Yukihito was forced to answer. He wasn't supposed to, but he couldn't take from the look of desperation on her face. "He has Japanese roots and will be working with Date Hirotaka and Uesugi Kotetsu in an American film after he shoots BJ's scenes. His name is Kuon. Kuon Hizuri."
It was about one in the morning.
After his meeting with Kyoko-chan, a car from LME came to pick Yukihito up outside the restaurant where Kyoko-chan lived to take him to the Takarada mansion.
Yukihito marched up the stairs and stepped into President Takarada's study where the key players waited for him to come back.
Yukihito turned to the person who called and was startled at the sight. "What's that on your head?" he asked.
"My natural hair color," Kuon Hizuri-san answered as he patted his white blond hair. "Jelly had it done while you were away." Then he looked at him straight in the eye. "How is Mogami-san?"
"Coping, devastated..." Yukihito let out a breath. "She thinks you're dead."
"Everyone's supposed to think I'm dead," Hizuri-san sighed.
"Kyoko-chan still thinks that Tsuruga Ren will magically pop out on some random channel to announce to the world that he isn't really dead," Yukihito sighed. "However, she thinks that Kuon Hizuri is dead because her sensei told her that he was."
Hizuri-san sighed again and turned to his father who sat there on the angle couch, eating. "Did you kill me off before when you talked to Mogami-san about me?"
"What are you talking about?" Kuu Hizuri-shi defensively answered in between chews. "I would never say anything of the sort!"
"Then you must have said something to give her that idea." Kuon sighed. "Forget it, you don't know how Mogami-san tends to misunderstand things."
Yukihito was still baffled as he watched the scene playing out before him. It was still hard to believe that something like this was actually happening. He knew Ren was a man full of mysteries, but he never thought that Ren had faked his own death so that he could come out as Kuon Hizuri, the son of Japan's Most Beloved Export Kuu Hizuri-shi and the one of Hollywood's most beautiful actresses Juliena Hizuri-san. And he did it with much more flare than Hizuri-shi - literally, with a bang.
It seemed so calculated too. Dark Moon was scheduled to end. And since Ren had a lead role, he had been working on all the scenes that required close-ups and a lot of his acting. Afterwards, Tsuruga Ren was supposed to take a long vacation so he could work as Cain Heel, which explained why he never took on any other work.
To think Director Ogata, his father - Director Date Hirotaka, and the director of the BJ movie were in on it. A conspiracy of international proportions. Even little Maria-chan was informed because Ren was afraid since she had traumas with transportation. Kyoko-chan really didn't have any role in this whole thing! The role of Setsuka Heel was really nothing more than Ren's protective charm to have everything go well.
"Anyways," Yukihito caught the attention of one of the bickering men. He pointed an accusing finger at the man who used to be Ren."I still can't believe you went ahead and planned all this without me. I'm your manager for crying out loud! I seriously cried when I thought you died."
Hizuri-san looked at him apologetically. "I'm sorry, Yashiro-san. But we couldn't tell you until after it happened. You're not an actor and what we did was quite extreme. You may not have been able to pull it off convincingly if you'd known beforehand."
"And what's more..." Yukihito finally felt the brunt of the roller coaster of emotions he'd been through that day. "You can tell me these things, but not to the girl you love. Then, you expect me to pick up the frickin' pieces for you. I'm glad you told me as a friend and colleague, but to leave her out of it is just... Unforgiveable! You really don't deserve her!"
Juliena Hizuri looked at her son curiously. "You have a girlfriend, Kuon?"
"She's not my girlfriend."
"We can't have that!" Kuu Hizuri-shi stood up from where he sat.
"I said she's not my girlfriend!"
"Kuon," the elder Hizuri stood up and walked up to his son. He put his hand on the younger man's shoulder. "How will you pull off this grand act if you have emotional baggage left behind? You'll always think back to this girl and hesitate. And what if you had the urge to see her again suddenly? Will you end up being a ghost and haunt her? Because that would be really creepy. And it's not like it's ideal that Kuon Hizuri become some kind of stalker fanboy."
"Like I said, she-"
"Baby," Juliena-san interrupted. "Had Hozu Shuuhei done the same thing to me like what you're doing to this girl right now when he faked his own death so that he could come out as Kuu Hizuri, I wouldn't be here right now. In fact, I would have probably ran off with my old agent when he declared his undying love for me even though I'm married and had a newborn."
"What?" Kuu Hizuri-shi looked shocked. "I liked that guy! I was really sad when he resigned." He turned to his wife and cried out, "Juli, Honey, you never told me about this!"
"You have your secrets, I have mine," she huffed.
"What! Juliena-san, you succubus!"
"Oh, it's Juliena-san now, is it?"
"So you're going to start listening to your parents now?' President Takarada stood up from where he sat. "I've been trying to tell you that from the very beginning... Up until this morning, I've been trying to convince you to take Mogami-kun along with us."
Hizuri-san's shoulders slumped. "She's not my girlfriend."
When everything settled down and the talk continued about the plans to debut Kuon Hizuri ended, Kuon walked his manager to the car. It was the last time he was going to be seeing Yashiro-san as a colleague. Tomorrow, he and his parents were going to the family home in Kyoto to lie low until the funeral service for the name Tsuruga Ren was done.
"What is it?"
"Thank you for everything you've done for me all these years," Kuon quietly said. "I really don't know how to express my gratitude."
"Your car will do," he joked.
"I like that car," Kuon chuckled. "I'm having it shipped to America when I move there. Besides, you can't even drive."
"There you go again," Yashiro-san sighed. "Telling me important things and bringing your favorite toys along, but not telling Kyoko-chan squat."
Kuon ignored what he said. What everyone inside said about Mogami-san was starting to be true. He really didn't want to have her involved. He was going to fight his demons and everything he did in the past as his real self. Either way, now that he'd done the deed, he had no other option but to go along as planned. Still, he felt a gaping hole inside him that he wouldn't be able to fill.
"When things start picking up in Hollywood..." he started. "Would you go there and be my manager again?"
"Why?" Yashiro-san asked. "I'm already Kyoko-chan's manager. You know what kind of actress she is. By the time you scrounge up enough work in Hollywood to need a manager, I'm going to be a very busy man."
Ren let out a chuckle. It was true. He left Mogami-san in Yashiro-san's capable hands because of that very reason.
When they reached the door, Yashiro-san stopped and turned to him. Kuon suddenly felt sad. he was going to be saying good-bye to a good friend and trusted ally.
"Why are you being so formal?" Kuon let out an uneasy smile. "Kuon is fine."
"When I ran over Kyoko-chan's schedule with her this evening," Yashiro-san began. "There are three things you might be interested to know."
"First," he recited. "Tomorrow, she's going to be appearing in Yappa Kimagure Rock..."
"And the week after that and the week after that and the week after that," he chanted. "And... well, you get the idea."
"No..." Kuon looked at him questioningly. It was strange that she was going to be appearing multiple times in consecutive weeks and it didn't make sense. "Not really."
"Remember that chicken who visited you at Fuji when you had an acting slump for Dark Moon?"
"That chicken," Yashiro-san paused, "was Kyoko-chan. I'm not sure if you already know that, but I just find it strange because she's been hiding it from everyone. She never hides anything from you when it comes to work."
"What?" Kuon felt something inside him shake uncontrollably. Part fear, part anger, part nervousness. The chicken was her?
"Second," Yashiro-san raised to fingers. "In the middle of our meeting, Fuwa Sho called up Kyoko-chan, wanting to see her."
Fuwa? Kuon felt his fist clench.
"At first, I thought it was to be a disrespectful brat, but from the way Kyoko-chan changed the tone of her voice, it seems like he was genuinely concerned about her and wanted to see her so that he could comfort her." Kuon looked up at him, not knowing what to say or what to do. At the position that he was in right now, he couldn't do anything without destroying everything they'd planned for the last two months. "Don't worry," Yashiro-san fidgeted with his glasses. "I interrupted the call before he managed to convince her."
That calmed Kuon down. But not so much.
"Didn't I tell you before? Kyoko-chan is going to grow up and become more beautiful soon enough. Remember how she looked the last time the two of you saw each other?" Yashiro-san pointedly said. "Which leads me to the third thing you'd want to know..."
Kuon remained still and quiet. He really didn't know if he'd made the right decision of acting as debuting Kuon Hizuri now.
Yashiro-san paused a long while too. The scene was really quiet, save for the sound of the car door opening. The driver was waiting for Yashiro-san.
"I realized that I haven't given you a farewell gift yet," Yashiro-san cheerfully said, raising his hand and pointing to the car. "Which is why I brought her along with me. Unfortunately for you, she's here to see Tsuruga Ren's remains. Not Kuon Hizuri."
Kuon turned to the direction he was pointing to and there stood, by the open car door, staring up at him as Mogami-san's eyes roved all over his person. She was looking at him so intensely from every inch that Kuon was afraid that she was going to start cheerfully exclaiming things about his bones and muscles again. When their eyes finally met, she looked relieved and on the verge of tears.
Then, before all the 'I can't believe you're alive' followed by 'I hate you' for making her 'worry beyond belief that I'm an unsuitable protective charm' and how he 'didn't tell me something important,' Mogami-san smiled and said, "You really didn't do anything dangerous, did you?"
Kuon Hizuri-san looked up at her from across the coffee table. "Kuon is fine. I'm an American, remember? We're not so formal when it comes to names." Then he sighed. "And you've already played me once before so I think you're familiar enough to address me casually, Kyoko."
"Uh, O-OK," Kyoko shifted uncomfortably. "I'm just wondering... why would you guys let me in this important secret?"
Then at the back of her mind, she was in agony. What the hell was going on? How on earth was she dragged along in this conspiracy? Secret ? Act? All she wanted was to see Tsuruga-san! When Yashiro-san asked her if she did, she was expecting his ashes in a box so she could pay her respects.
She wasn't expecting that she would end up sitting in a one-hour meeting being overwhelmed with all the information by a cheerful president, a semi-shocked Kuu-otou-sama, a curious Juli-san and a murderous Kuon Hizuri towards a smug-looking Yashiro-san. Everyone who was involved were three directors - a world-famous director who begged his son and Dark Moon director to go along with the plan and a movie director who was more thrilled about giving the role of BJ a cursed role atmosphere. Compared to everyone, she was a nobody with no real credentials. So, why was she here? she thought in agony.
"Do you feel like you were forced into this whole thing?" Hizuri-san asked in a quiet voice.
"Just a little," Kyoko answered honestly. "I mean, I'm really happy that you're alive and OK." Then she let out a resigned laugh. "Everything about this whole thing is on such a grandiose scale that took weeks of planning. All I was really worried about was how I was going to walk around in teeny-tiny erokawa underwear at the hotel room tonight."
"Extremely tiny!" Kyoko repeated. "I bought some this afternoon because I thought the ones Ten-san provided me with was too indecent." She raised her hands and tried to illustrate with her hands. "One of them was this small! And the whole thing was made of black lace with little ribbons! It made me look- Aah!" Then she stood up as she pulled a handkerchief from her pocket. "Hizuri-san, your nose is bleeding! Didn't the doctor look after you properly after you did the stunt?"
"No, no, no! Don't come near me," Hizuri-san raised his hand to stop her and wiped his nose with his own handkerchief.
"Um... K-Ku...on?" Kyoko looked at him. "-san."
"Will I ever see you again?" Kyoko asked uneasily. Probably not. Everyone she counted on to stay in her life never did.
"Sure, you will," he looked at her with eyes she'd known for a long time. "I'll come back from America just to see you in that teeny-tiny erokawa underwear."
There was no way she could take him seriously, not with that smudge of blood on his face.
- The intro with Chapter 114 is so vague that it seemed to suit the plot. Obviously, we know Ren was talking about the role of BJ, but the vagueness of the dialogue seem to fit.
- Please don't expect a second chapter. I don't know how to go about Kuon Hizuri courting to win the heart of Mogami Kyoko now that he's no longer her respected senpai, Tsuruga Ren. Besides, this story's full of plotholes as it is.
- The omake was written at the request of the beta-reader. Because she's full of WIN, I couldn't say no.