"The show's about to start," warns Ren as he wraps his arms around Kyoko who sits writing out a list at his dining room table. The actor drops a kiss on the top of the actress' head as he looks at the paperwork.
"I thought you were doing homework," he comments as she finishes the list.
"Oh, I finished that already," Kyoko replies as she waves her hand towards a large pile of school books. She hands that list to Ren as she stands. "This is your New Years list for the grocery store."
As the actor trails his sweetheart to the couch, he scans the list. "Isn't this a bit, um, a bit long?"
Kyoko settles onto the soft leather couch and snuggles against Ren when he sits. She giggles and replies that it should be just right for their little get together. The couple has been planning a small gathering at Ren's home to celebrate the new year with the many members of their very unique extended family.
"There's enough food on this list to feed a small army," Ren complains good-naturally as he pulls Kyoko tighter against him and turns on the television set.
"Small army or one father," she replies as she rests her head on Ren's shoulder.
On the television, Sepia Images starts. The couple watches in companionable silence. At the end of the last episode, Namada Ko had just arrived at the Hamada home and broken open the door in confrontation with Aya's father. Her father had shown up at the Namada home and dragged Aya away. When Ryuu had attempted to intervene, the father had shoved over Ryuu's wheelchair before forcing Aya into his car.
In this episode, Ko confronts Aya's father and protects the teen. Enraged further, Aya's father attacks Ko which proves to be a mistake. The much younger and more fit man knocks the older man to the ground and stands over him. He warns him that he is not a young girl and that he would delight in returning just a fraction of the pain he has inflicted on Aya to him but that he has more important things to do. Ko then scoops the badly beaten teenager into his arms and storms out of the house.
After a visit to an emergency clinic where the doctor and Ko both make statements for the police, Ko brings Aya back to his home where his brother waits.
As Ko places the battered teen on the couch beside his brother, Ren shifts to face Kyoko. The actress is sobbing. Tenderly, Ren kisses her tears from her cheeks and pulls her into a tight embrace.
"Shhh, it's okay," he murmurs. "You've read the script. It has a happy ending."
Kyoko takes an unsteady breath as she cries, "it's not the story; its the end. I love Aya so much and the story is almost over. I only have one more episode to film and it's like a part of me is dying. I've never felt this way with any other character before. I was always sad when a part ends but it's like a part of me is going to die too."
Ren smiles tenderly at the woman in his arms as he soothes her. "You and Aya both grew up during this drama and a lot of the new experiences your character had were the same ones you had too. So of course she would resound in her heart more than any character before now."
"Aya is a strong and intelligent girl who has found a new family and a new driving force for her dream. She has inspired Ryuu to embrace a new dream for himself, and given Ko a chance to recapture the feelings he had lost after the responsibility of caring for his brother was forced upon him."
"She is almost as impressive as you are," Ren states as he wipes the last of Kyoko's tears away.
Kyoko glows with the praise. Her expression clenches at the actor's heart and Ren decides he doesn't want to wait to share his surprise.
Extracting himself from the couch, Ren heads towards the bedroom as he offers a preamble.
"When you let me watch the filming of your last episode, I was actually a bit jealous," he explains. "I didn't like seeing Oshiro-san offering you that necklace with the "N" on it as an invitation to be part of his family."
Kyoko laughs softly. "That was Aya being invited to be a Namada instead of a Hamada not Kyoko being invited into the Oshiro family."
"Anyway, I am already a part of your family," the actress states as Ren comes back out of his bedroom.
"Yeah, I know. You already talk with mom and dad more than I do."
Kyoko grins sheepishly. "You've had them all your life but I have a lot of time to make up."
Ren sits back down on the couch.
"Well, I actually had three very long conversations with all three of your fathers this past week," explains Ren with a slight shiver. Each one had been a conversation with its own type of terror for the actor and not a single one of the fathers had made it any easier on the poor man.
"And having laid out that ground work, I was hoping that you would be willing to take a more permanent position in my family."
Kyoko frowns for a moment as she shuffles through Ren's statement. Suddenly, she glances down at the small box in Ren's hand before rapidly raising her eyes to meet his.
A blush rushes up the actor's cheeks as his voice cracks when he whispers "Kyoko, will you be my wife?"
Kyoko laughs and flings her arms around the startled actor as the only reply she could make to that statement rushes from her mouth.
"YES, Kuon, YES!"
A/N Thank you so much for reading this story. I hope that you have enjoyed it. I look forward to sharing more with you in the future. - Jhiz