A/N: Here is part two. I still don't own Skip Beat! or the inspired song. This part is inspired by Greatest by Lady Gaga. Enjoy!
It was close to 8 before she opened her eyes. She blinked into the early morning light and her thoughts started rushing to the front. She pulled out the sheets and half ran out the door. She peaked inside of Ren's room and he was still asleep. She smiled and then prayed that this would work.
She went back into the guest room and dialed Yashiro.
"You want to what?" He exclaimed.
"Take him camping. Just for the weekend. I just need you to pick up a few things for me and maybe you can make traveling arrangements. I don't think he will want to drive the six hours to Kyoto." She was pinning her phone between her ear and shoulder while she started making breakfast. She would first make breakfast and then start prepping food for the trip.
"But, Ren is a city boy. I mean. I just can't see him roughing it." Yashiro paused, "To be honest, I really can't see you doing it either."
Kyoko laughed, "Well see there you go, I love the outdoors. I think it's wonderful to just go out and be with the… be with nature." She was about to say fairies but caught herself.
"I think this will be good for him. No one will be around but me. He can just yell and scream or cry and wallow and just let it all out. Anything that he needs to do, he can do freely because no one is there to judge him. No one will reprimand him if he does something unprofessional. Here, it can still feel like he is being watched so he has shut himself down. Please let me do this. Please help me. If it doesn't work then we will come back the next day." She paused and no one said anything for a moment.
"It's all I can think of right now." She whispered.
"Okay. I'll arrange everything and get you what you need. Don't worry about anything and I'll see you in an hour."
"An hour? Um, I need more than an hour but I want to get there quickly. Okay just give me two hours and we will be ready."
Kyoko started to relay everything she needed for the trip but Yashrio quickly stopped her.
"Don't worry, I'll get you everything you need. Are you sure you want to camp there though? Won't it bring up some bad memories for you?" He didn't want her to be upset just as Ren was.
"There are no bad memories where I'm taking him, just my favorites. Thank you, Yashiro-san." They hung up and Kyoko went into overtime. She made a very quick breakfast of miso soup and rice. She wasn't sure if he would eat the rice but it wasn't going to go to waste if he didn't eat it. She was planning on taking a bunch with them. First thing first, was to get him up.
She filled up a glass of water and got more aspirin. She walked into his room and he was still asleep and she really didn't want to wake him up. Still she had to get him ready and she wanted him to have enough time for his long showers and his slow eating.
"Ren." She whispered. It was the only thing he responded to, his first name and she didn't want to waste time trying different things. He didn't move.
"Ren, wake up. We are going on a trip, just us, no one else." She paused. He didn't open his eyes but then his breathing changed. He was awake but didn't want to get up. She set the glass down and she reached out for him.
"Ren, I know you are awake." She brushed back the hair from his face and let her fingers run down the side of his face. He blinked red eyes to her and she offered a small smile.
"Good morning. I'm sorry to wake you up so early but I need you to get up so we can leave. Breakfast is ready and you can shower after we eat. Then I want to take you somewhere special." She smiled sweetly as she said the last line. She blinked in a little bit of shock as he sat up without complaint or her assistance. She stood up and picked up the glass and aspirin and held it out to him. He took the items and took them quickly. He didn't empty the glass though.
"Drink it all." She commanded and he did. She was so happy but he still didn't speak to her. He still looked so crushed.
"Okay, let's go eat and then you can shower and change." She reached for his hand but he stood up and started walking out the door. Her excitement wilted a little but he was listening to her, doing things of his own will now. This was progress but she didn't know if it was good progress.
She followed him out and he went to the small table and sat down on the floor while she went to the kitchen. She poured the soup into two bowls, less for him than herself and then placed them on the table. She returned and scooped out two bowls of rice, turned around and then froze.
He was eating it or drinking it. He picked it up and just started to drink the soup impatiently. She walked up and set the rice bowl down and he kept drinking it down. She saw a drip fall from the corner of his mouth, down his chin and drip onto his t-shirt but he didn't seem to care. She left for a moment to get utensils and then she sat next to him. He finished the soup and set the bowl down then he picked up the rice bowl.
She was shocked that he was going to eat that much. He didn't eat anything yesterday so then maybe that is why he is eating now. As he picked up the rice bowl, she was a little curious if he was going to eat it with his hands. Nope, but he didn't go for the chopsticks either. Instead, he took her spoon from her bowl. She didn't bring him one well because he was drinking the soup.
She smiled at him as he ate large spoonfuls of rice. Even in his depressed state he is cute. She thought to herself and blushed. He is in this horrible state and she thought he was cute. So wrong, Kyoko. She stood up and got another spoon and ripped off a paper towel for him. He ate the rice slower this time, since it involved chewing. When he was done, he set his bowl down, stood up and started walking back to his bedroom. She hoped he wouldn't go back to sleep. She smiled softly at the unused paper towel. He didn't even clean his face.
After she was done eating, she went in to see what he was doing. The room was empty but the bathroom door was closed and she heard water running. She smiled pleased with his efforts. She went to the kitchen and cleaned up. Then she started to make onigiri for the trip. She prepared other things but most would have to be made there on site. She packaged away easy to make things and little things that would be needed in tupperware. She hoped that Yashiro did bring a cooler… with wheels.
Kyoko did all she could do in the kitchen and started to go back for Ren. He was still showering when she entered his room. It's only been about 25 minutes so she wasn't worried. Today was Friday. That means she had two nights and two days to pack for if they returned Sunday. She opened the closet and looked through his clothes. The pants were easy as were his underwear and socks but then she looked at his shirts. He had so many very nice shirts. She couldn't decide which would be best for camping. All of them she couldn't imagine dirtying.
Finally she found something in cotton after passing all the silks and other assorted cloth blends unsuitable for the outdoors. She pulled out a few tanks and then a couple of light button ups, some short sleeved and others long. She was probably over packing but she wanted to be prepared for the weather. It wouldn't do to get him sick over cold weather. She was folding everything up when the door opened. She turned to him with a smile and then quickly looked away. He was still drying off and didn't really bother with covering himself up. She felt her face heat up as he approached her.
"I'm so sorry. I'll leave you to change." She saw his arm reach for the clothes she pulled and tossed on the bed which meant that he blocked her exit out as he dressed behind her. So instead of leaving, she simply sat on the bed with her back to him and closed her eyes. She could hear the cloth slip over his body. Once she heard his zipper she thought it safe to wonder the room.
"Um, we'll be gone for a few days. Yashiro-san is getting everything for us and then you will be free from everything here." She spoke as she pulled out another set of clothes for him. She turned and he sat on the bed, fully clothed and waiting.
"Free from the stress and pressure. Free from the expectation of others. It will be nice. The moment you leave the city, you'll feel so much better." She picked out all his clothes but then she couldn't find his suitcase or a travel bag of some sort. She knew he had to have something since he always traveled.
"Now if I could only find your suitcases, I can pack your things." She was going through his closet and then stopped as she noticed him stand. He walked out of the bedroom and then returned with a duffle bag. She smiled and took the bag from him.
"Thank you." She smiled up at him and he just looked at her. She turned and started to put his clothes into the bag. He sat back down beside her and just watched her. She wanted to ask what he was thinking about but she worried that he wouldn't tell her. She wondered what was going through his mind this whole time and the only clear thought he has said to her was "go home".
Well it was too bad for him. She was going see this through to the end. He was always there for her. It could be the middle of the night and he still helped her. He helped her with so much and she wanted to help him. She disappeared into the bathroom and found his personal items. She was thankful she was already pretty much packed. All she had to worry about was him.
Yashiro came by as promised, right on time. Ren was sitting on the couch looking sad but no longer in a daze, just upset.
"How is he?" Yashiro whispered and Kyoko looked back at Ren momentarily.
"Um, well. He is doing things if I tell him to but he hasn't spoken since yesterday. He is still really upset with whatever it is that is going through his mind."
"He spoke?" Yashiro finally turned to look at her and she nodded with a small smile. He frowned and noticed the marks on her skin. He turned to her left with concern on his face, "Did he do this to you?" His fingers hesitated by her neck.
She blushed and covered her neck with her hand, "Uh, yeah. You were right about him trying to get me to leave."
"He didn't…" He couldn't finish his sentence and she shook her head.
"No. No, I said stop and he stopped and then he gave up fighting me." She said timidly.
Yashiro was fuming. He recognized those marks. Those could only be caused by his mouth and with a lot of force. They probably hurt her every time she moved her neck. He used sex to try and drive her out? What was he thinking? To touch her in any forceful way was just not him. He thought he would get angry and yell at her, not force himself on the girl. He even claims to love her!
"Yashrio-san, did you just buy a cooler?" Her words brought his attention back to her. She was looking into the hall and was acting normal. Well she seems to have gotten over what he did. When he came out of this little snit he is going through, he was going to have a long and hard lecture on how to treat the woman he loves.
"No, everything is the car waiting for you downstairs. I just thought you would want to pack this up. Are you ready?" He noticed two bags sitting next to the door, the one that he got from her landlords and then one of Ren's smaller bags.
"Yes, let me just fill this up then." She took the cooler and while it didn't have wheels it wasn't very big. She pulled it into the kitchen and she watched Yashiro walk over to Ren. He smiled gently at his charge and then kneeled down in front of him. He was talking to him but she couldn't hear his words. It was probably something private so she continued to pack. Once she was done, she closed it up and found it a little heavier than she thought it would be. She dragged it over to the door and then looked around.
Yashiro stood up and looked at Ren with a sympathetic worried look. He turned back to Kyoko and smiled for her. "All set then?" He asked and she nodded. Both looked over to Ren, who didn't move. Kyoko walked over to him.
"Let's go, Ren. I'm going to take you to a nice quiet place." She took his hand and he looked up at her. He was masked. She couldn't see anything in his eyes or face that could clue her in to what he was thinking. She tugged gently on his arm and he pushed himself off the couch.
Yashiro was stunned and ecstatic at the same time. She was calling him Ren and touching him so easily. She was taking him into the woods; just the two of them for two days and it was her idea. Ren, the Ren he knew would be in high heaven right now, but right now he wasn't feeling anything. He just followed her words with a blank face. He hoped this worked. He wanted his friend back.
"Yashiro-san, could you help me…" Kyoko started asking and had her hand on the handle of the cooler then was interrupted as Ren bent down and lifted the cooler without being asked to do so. He hiked it up on his right shoulder and then bent down and lifted both his and her bag.
"I can get…" She spoke again and he just walked out. "those." She finished and looked at Yashiro who sort of just watched Ren.
"He never did like me carrying his stuff but why would he take mine too." She whispered. She locked up the apartment and they trekked down stairs.
They were to take the Tokaido Shinkansen straight to Kyoto. They even booked the nozomi train which had only like three stops total, one at Nagoya, then Kyoto and finally Osaka. This was the most expensive ticket and it would only take 2 hours to get there. She remembered going to Tokyo with Sho, it took them about 8 hours with all the different stops they were force to take on the cheapest ticket there was.
"We got you a private room in the train and there will be a car waiting for you at the station when you arrive. They will drive you to the closest hiking trail where you are going to camp." Yashiro handed her a card, "Call this number when you want to head back and they will pick you up back in that spot." He handed her another envelope, "These are your return tickets and they are good till Monday, so you can return whenever you like till then."
"I wasn't really expecting all this. Thank you, Yashiro-san." She was a little overwhelmed with how this last minute trip all worked out.
"I would not have provided anything less. You shouldn't have anything to worry about but…" he paused and looked at Ren. He was staring out the window completely ignoring the things around him. He turned back to Kyoko and repeated his thought, "nothing to worry about."
"Be careful and call if you need anything. Even in Kyoto. Take care of him." Yashiro smiled and left with the car after they checked in their luggage. The train would board in ten minutes or so.
When they arrived she disguised Ren in his cap and sunglasses. She was more than worried about someone recognizing him during this time. It wasn't that she was worried about his fans. She just didn't want anyone making him feel worse. They wouldn't understand what was happening and they could make things worse for him. She kept him hidden in the corner of the station. If anyone approached them, she instantly attacked, Mio glaring at them. There was a large circle of empty chairs around them that no one dared approach.
Their train was finally ready to board. She picked up Ren's hand and he followed her obediently. He was looking down, his face was hidden and very few looked their way. She hugged his arm as she led him through the crowd making sure he kept up. She handed the tickets to the checker.
"Go to the front and give these to that man over there." He pointed at another man about four carts up. She smiled and thanked the worker. She looked up at Ren who was just solemn and then squeezed his hand. There were less people as she went up but that didn't stop the few that were there from looking at the tall handsome man.
"Is that Tsuruga Ren?" Kyoko's demons heard his name and went on high alert. She turned to the sound of two girls whispering to each other.
"But who is she?" The friend whispered back callously.
"Who cares, let's go meet him! It's Tsuruga Ren!" As soon as the first girl took a step, a cold ghostly embrace gripped the girl's ankles. She stumbled over onto the floor and her friend rushed to her side.
"Yumi! Yumi, what's wrong?" The friend panicked as Yumi coughed and choked on some unknown thing.
Kyoko and Ren walked up to the man waiting at their cart and she smiled sweetly at him as she handed the tickets.
"Yumi! Breath!" People rushed over to the girl hacking behind them.
"You are in room 2 the first on your right. Enjoy your trip." The man said and looked worried behind them.
Kyoko bowed as she took back her tickets and then bowed, "Thank you." She stepped on first; her fingers still intertwined with Ren's. He followed suit stepping up and as soon as he was out of line of sight, Yumi started gasping for breath, suddenly able to breathe again.
Kyoko had never been in a private anything really. While they did have a private room, the room was still very, very small. It was just a small room with two benches facing each other. There were overhanging racks where people could put their things and that was it. It was difficult for her to imagine four people actually sitting in this little room but she was thankful that she didn't have to. She slipped in and she heard Ren close the door behind them.
She turned towards him in the tight quarters just as he sat down. She turned to sit across from him and was slipping her hand from his but he stopped her. She looked at her hand and his fingers tightened between hers. She looked to him and he was looking at her. He had removed his hat and shades. He pulled her arm gently and looked to the seat next to him.
She didn't move. Her heart was pounding, he was opening up again and she sort of froze up in excitement. She felt him slipping away. He was pulling his hand back and she just knew he thought she rejected him. She quickly gripped his falling fingers and took his hand in both of hers. She turned and sat down next to him. She tucked her arm under his and slipped her hand back into his.
The train started after a little bit. She didn't think to bring any entertainment for the ride over. Everything was packed with her clothes. She looked up at him and he had his head tilted back and his eyes closed. Perhaps he wanted to sleep. She did wake him up rather early. She looked at their hands and blushed.
She never thought to be so bold with him in the past. Perhaps playing Setsu convinced herself that it was okay. That if he was in need, she could do this for him, at least this much for him. She idly ran her thumb across his forefinger. She smiled as he did the same to her hand. She leaned towards him, resting her head on his shoulder as he continued to lightly caress her.
Kyoko felt gravity disappear as if she was flying. She looked around and found a man holding her. She couldn't truly see him but she knew deep down it was Corn. He was grown up and flying. He was flying with her. She smiled at him as he finally escaped his father's grasp and he came back for her.
She opened her eyes and found Ren holding her gently in his arms. Her whole body came aware and awake and she pushed at his shoulder gently. He looked down at her and set her down. She blushed.
"I guess I fell asleep huh. I'm sorry, Ren." She bowed slightly and then she felt his hand on her arm. She looked up at him and he looked like he was in need. His hand slipped down her arm and his fingers lightly touched her hand. He was asking permission. She smiled. After all the times where she just took his hand, he was the one to ask permission. She took his hand and brightly smiled up at him. She could have sworn she saw his lip twitch but he looked away and was stoic again.
She sighed and started to look around. "We need to pick up our luggage and then find the car Yashiro booked for us. I wonder if I have to call them first." She was reaching for her pocket when she felt Ren move. She looked up and saw him looking in the distance. Looking over she saw a well dressed driver holding a sign with her name, Mogami, written on it. He started to walk towards him but Kyoko held still bring his attention back at her.
"Ren, talk to me, please." She pleaded with him. She never thought she would miss his voice so much. She has spent days, weeks without hearing from him yet right now; being with him like this and with him not speaking was tearing her apart. He licked his lips and she eagerly awaited his words but nothing came out. He turned away and started walking, his hand slipping from hers.
"Ren." She whispered her voice thick with the threatening tears. She half ran and caught up to him. She hooked her arm with his and kept up with his pace.
"I'm sorry." She said without looking up at him. He bent his arm up, making hers link with his as if he was escorting her. They reached the man and she bowed.
"I'm Mogami Kyoko. Yashiro Yukihito hired you for us?"
"Yes, Mogami-sama. I have your things in the car and we can depart when you are ready." He bowed.
"Oh, really? Um okay. Well we can go now." They started to walk and then suddenly her stomach made a loud grumbling sound.
She blushed, "I guess we should eat first." She thought about where to go while they walked. Then she bounced excited, "Oh! We can go to Daitokuji Ikkyu. It's a shojin-ryori restaurant. It's really good even without the meat."
The driver was a local and knew what she was talking about. She offered him to join them but he decline. She didn't want him to wait but he told her he would take his break and not to worry. The place wasn't busy since most people were still at work at this time. She was thankful. Their lunch was quiet with fast service. She actually ordered for him since he didn't even look at the menu. He didn't complain with what she got him and ate quietly.
It was around 1:30 when the diver arrived at the hiking trail they were going to take. She popped out of the car while Ren slowly eased out and it was exactly the way she hoped, peaceful and completely void of anyone but them. The driver popped the trunk and started to pull out their things. In all honesty, she didn't look at the equipment that was bought for them until now. He pulled out the cooler, their two bags and then two massive backpacks.
"What in the world did he buy?" She stepped up to them. One was obviously smaller than the other but that didn't make it any lighter. She turned it over and saw that each of them had a sleeping bag with a mat, then an additional blanket. Then it looked like Ren's had the tent strapped to the side along while hers had the small shovel and rope. They both had a flashlight to the other side of the bag along. Then hers had a small frying pan hanging from it while his looked like it had a dismantled fishing pole. That was all she saw on the outside of it. She was really curious to see what was inside but that would cause the day to be wasted.
The last thing that was pulled from the trunk was four gallons of water. She knew the water here was drinkable but it was still thoughtful. She looked around to find Ren missing.
"Ren?" She started to walk but then remembered the driver. She turned back to him and said her thanks. She told him they were fine and that she would call when they were ready to go home. He smiled at her and tilted his hat then drove off. When she turned around again he was there as if he appeared like mist.
She half laughed, "Alright! Let's go. It shouldn't be a long walk, maybe thirty minutes or so." She bent down and hauled her new backpack onto her bag. There were about three different placed that were used to strap the sucker on. Once it was all connected it was actually easier to carry than pick up. She smiled as she walked around with the weight. She thought about the other items.
"Hmm. Maybe if we carry the cooler between the both of us and then each take two waters and our bags we can carry it all." She watched him lift his bag, slip his head and right arm through the longer strap and settled on top of his backpack. She thought it was brilliant so she did the same. He seemed to agree on everything but one thing. He took two gallons of water in one hand but he picked up the cooler and settled it on his shoulder again.
She didn't argue with him since it was pointless. They walked down the trail with a few breaks since she was worried about his shoulder. If it hurt, he never complained. About 45 minutes into it they found a grassy open spot and they settled there. She thought she was going to have to do everything. Not because he would be moping in a corner but because she didn't think he would know how to pitch a tent or that they had to dig a hole in the distance for Mother Nature to occur. He seemed to have embraced the trip. He fixed the tent… yes one tent but it was huge compared to the single person ones she was thinking of. He took the small shovel from her bag and a flashlight just in case and left. Ten minutes later he returned dumping the shovel to the side.
Kyoko went to collect firewood and was clearing out the area from anything that could catch a spark. She took the shovel and started to dig a shallow round area. She took some rocks and put it all together in a cute little teepee style. She started looking through her bag now.
There were several kits, first aid, sewing and a small tool kit along with a multifunctional knife. There was aspirin and antibacterial gel, tweezers, a small comb set, and a small compact mirror. There were several little bottles, bug repellent, hand soap, and sun block. Then there were extra batteries and waterproof matches along with a lighter and a fire starter. She found that there was a small foldable metal grill that she could put over the fire to cook with along with a small kit with basic seasonings like salt and pepper and sugar along with a can opener.
She laughed. There was even a single serving metal cup with instant coffee packages. There were several small packages of toilet paper and other wipes. She pulled out a small case with silverware, a fork, spoon and a dull knife and then they had some plastic covers if it rained.
"Yashiro-san truly did think of everything." She was putting things back when Ren sat down beside her. She looked around and the area was getting darker. It really was surprising how much time it took to set up camp. She smiled at him as he started to rearrange the fire wood. He was lazy about it, just taking each stick and moving it with one hand. She dug out the magnesium fire starter and held on while he rearranged everything. It looked like a little cabin.
She never seen it built like that before and was curious why he built it like that. She later found out that it was because it would burn slower that way. Once he was done he took the fire starter from her hands and sparked the flame. He fed it like a pro, never giving it too much and he blew on it lightly to give it just enough air. She smiled. She made the right choice. He wasn't a city boy. He was simply stuck living there like she was.
She stretched out and went to the cooler. She pulled out the food she made and then took some of the curry powder she packed. It would be vegetarian since she couldn't pack meat but she could make it work. He was hugging his knees as he watched her. She pulled and unfolded the metal rack or grill and set it over the flames. Then she started to cook the curry.
"I figured this would be nice. The rice will only be good for tonight and I wanted our first night to be special. I'm sorry it doesn't have any meat in it. I guess I shouldn't have taken you to a vegetarian place for lunch too." She blushed and glanced at him. He didn't respond, his eyes glancing at her and to the fire and back.
"I promise you will like it. I brought lots of things to put into it and your favorite." She pulled over a tupperware container and she scooted over to him while she opened it. "Onigiri!" She looked at his face and he looked inside the container. Inside were little triangles of rice with nori. Her smile softened and she set the container down in front of him and then went back to making the curry.
As she cooked her eyes flickered to him. He untucked one of his arms from his grip and lightly touched the edge of the plastic container. His finger lightly glided along the edge and then fell to the ground.
"You can eat one now if you like. It will be a just a few more minutes for this to come together." She offered and he took his hand back. She looked up at him and he was staring at her with this odd look on his face. It was blank as usual but there was something alive in his eyes.
"I wish you'd tell me what you were thinking." She half asked him, hoping he would answer and expecting him not to. He looked at her for a little bit longer as she stirred the curry. He stood up, walked behind her and then hesitated. She twisted to look up at him and then his hand rested on top of her head. After a moment he started to walk off with a flashlight in hand.
"Where…" He didn't stop walking and disappeared into the darkness. She let her sentence remain incomplete. He wasn't heading to the hole he dug and he wasn't heading down the trail. She felt her heart sink. Well this was what she wanted, for him to be able to do what he pleased without interference or someone judging him. She stayed where she was and finished cooking dinner. She ate but found that she didn't have much of an appetite. She packed things away and waited. She fed the fire to keep it from dying. She knew he had the flashlight but she wanted to keep this beacon up for him.
She peaked into the tent he setup and found that he setup both of their sleeping bags. The tent was so large it could fit four people comfortably, six if they squished together. That made their sleeping arrangements about as close as they were in the hotel room as the Heel siblings. She smiled sadly. Did he do this for her benefit or his? She couldn't tell.
She found the folded blanket to the side and pulled it out so she could lie next to the fire. She spread it out and rested her head on her folded arm. The fire danced in front of her face and her mind wondered.
What happened? Why is he feeling like this? What about it made him lapse into this deep state of depression? Was he in a car accident? He never speaks about his family. Perhaps he lost them in a horrible car accident. He debut when he was around my age and there was never any mention of his family.
Her eyes grew heavy and she could feel her body relax. She fell asleep with speculations and a heavy heart.
When she woke up she was in the tent. She didn't even remember a shift in gravity or if she dreamed that night. She turned slowly, trying to minimize the rustling of the sleeping bag and looked over to him. He wasn't there. She started to panic. The bag didn't even look slept in. She quickly scrambled outside and half fell in relief. He was casually sitting by a fresh fire and he already changed his clothes. He turned alert and concerned towards the tent at all the noise she caused.
She blushed lightly, "Good Morning, Ren." She paused wondering if she should even ask, "Um, did you sleep last night?"
He nodded. She smiled and crawled out eagerly towards him. She noticed that he had reheated the curry and all the onigiri was gone.
"Did you just eat this?" She asked and he nodded again. She pressed her lips together. She wasn't really sure if that was safe to eat anymore. Well it was gone, so there was no point in fussing with it. If worse came to worse they could end the weekend sooner. There was a cup on the fire at the moment with water slowly starting to boil. Then she noticed that there were already two empty coffee wrappers beside him. So this was his third cup.
"Thank you for putting me in the tent. I'm sorry for the trouble." She paused for a response but he didn't move. "Did you have a nice walk last night? It was very nice last night, not too cold or too hot." She was starting to make a simple hot cereal for herself as she spoke. He still didn't say anything.
"I hope today will be nice as well." She looked up, "There doesn't seem to be a cloud in the sky. As soon as I eat and change we can go for a walk. I want to take you to a very special place of mine."
She was heating up a cup of water as well and his was done. He took a thick but small pot holder and pulled it out. He poured the hot water into another cup and then held it out to her. She looked at it then at him.
"For me?" She asked in wonderment. He nodded softly. She blushed lightly and took the cup. "Thank you." As soon she took it he twisted beside him and then held out packages of sugar and there was even powdered creamer that she didn't notice before. Her smile widened as she took the little packages. She started to dump the extra things in her coffee as he watched her. She felt him move towards her and his hand brushed into her hair. She stilled for a moment and he continued. She didn't realize what he was doing until he started to move around her head.
He was combing down her hair. Blood flushed to her face as she realized that her hair was probably a mess. She laughed and kicked off the floor to rush to her bag. She pulled out her brush and then went to the other bag and pulled out the small mirror. She quickly brushed it down. She looked over her face and was tempted to brush her teeth but she thought to eat first.
She sat back beside him with a smile, "Better?" He didn't reply. It probably wasn't her best but she didn't have her hair products to style it like she would normally. Still it was better than before. She ate her breakfast and drank the coffee he made for her. She cleaned up, changed and she started to gather a few things for the hike.
"We are going east just a little bit. It shouldn't be far so we don't need to pack much food. We will come back and eat when we or I get hungry. Still I'll bring a few things if we need it." She took a few apples and some granola bars. She also grabbed a book that she packed. She wanted to give him his space, this time to do what he wanted, so she brought a book so he didn't think she was watching.
Well she would try not to, but she couldn't help but be concerned. She lifted the bag and a gallon of water. She had to admit this was handy. He stepped up beside her and took the water and then his fingers lingered on her hand. She smiled and lightly held it. She led the way since Ren hadn't been here before. She was thankful that he didn't stray far last night, these woods were large.
She spent enough time here to know her way around. They walked for about thirty minutes and then she found the clearing. She smiled up at him and ran into it.
"We're here! Isn't it beautiful?" She twirled around brightly. "This is where I meet Corn. He was standing right here." She stood by the stream. "And I came out over here." She ran to the now overgrown bushes that hid her little passage way. She kicked off her shoes and ran into the little stream. She shivered lightly, "It's a little cold." She laughed. She turned to Ren who was staring at the clearing with an aching look. Her heart thumped painfully. Almost as if she touched another bad memory.
"Ren?" She picked up her shoes and walked over to him, "I'm sorry. I didn't know and I thought maybe this would be nice. It's just like Karuizawa and I thought…. I'm sorry." She slipped on her shoes and took his hand as he just stared in front of him. "Let's go back. We can leave if you want."
She started to pull him but he stayed still. "Ren?"
He started to walk forward and his hand touched the large boulder that Corn sat on. She watched him look around and then sit on the large rock. He made it look so much smaller than she remembered. Corn had to crawl on top of it while Ren just sat on it. She tentatively walked over and kneeled down in front of him. She looked up at his face and he looked down at hers.
His hand came up and lightly touched the side of her face. She smiled slightly and tilted her head towards his hand. She lifted her hand and cupped his hand against her. She wanted to cry. She didn't understand what was wrong or how he was feeling. She closed her eyes trying not to let the tears drop. She didn't want him worrying about her when he had to deal with his own pain.
"Why?" He whispered and she jerked up at him. He was looking at her confused and sad.
"Why what?" Why did his past have to happen? She didn't know. Why is life sometimes cruel to good people like him? She couldn't tell him. He was wonderful and something in his life caused him this much pain. It wasn't fair.
"Why did you bring me here? Why are you doing all this?" His voice was so soft. He sounded so lost and her heart wept for him. She looked down and then back up into his eyes. Her heart was beating painfully in her chest and she could only say what was true.
"Because I can't stand seeing you this way." She brought his hand down and she held it in both of hers.
She pressed their hands to her chest, "It hurts seeing you in pain like this." She felt her eyes start to water again.
"I don't know why you are hurting. I don't know what caused it and you don't ever have to tell me but I want to help you through this. I don't want you to lose your way, to waste another day like this." She paused and took a shaky breath. She couldn't hold her tears anymore.
"Ren" She spoke softly and looked away. "You mean so much to me. You don't know how much you've helped me this year. I would have never lasted as long as I did in your world if you weren't there. I would have gotten lost in this cruel careless world."
She looked up to him through watery eyes, "You're the best thing in my life."
Quicker than her thoughts, Ren slipped off the rocks and embraced her. He sat on the ground with her and hugged her to him, wrapping his body around her. She was more than willing to return the embrace. He buried his face into her hair and then moved down to the crook of her neck.
He hugged her so tightly and his body shook. After what felt like hours, he pulled back, his eyes shinning with unshed tears. His fingers moved from the back of her head to the left side of her face, they traced to her ear and then down her neck.
"I'm sorry." He paused indicating the marks he did. She shook her head.
"Don't be." She whispered and moved his hand to cup her face. She didn't care about who he was the days before. She knew that wasn't him.
"Kyoko…" He whispered but didn't continue.
"What? Do you need something? I'll get it. Do you want to run? I'll run with you. I brought you here so you can escape. Do what you want. I'll be there with you if you want me to."
He leaned in and kissed her. She froze for a moment and he pulled back with a small smile.
"Was that another thank you?" She was blushing as he gently held her.
"No." He whispered to her.
"Then why?" She couldn't feel her heart anymore. It was beating so fast that it was almost nonexistent.
"Because you are here with me, even after everything I did to you." He leaned in and kissed her again.
"Because I love you." He felt her stiffen in his arms. He knew she would but he wouldn't let her leave, though he didn't feel her try and get up. He hugged her against him again just enjoying her there. The pressure in his heart was lifted as he said those words. He never knew that him hiding those feelings were so heavy on him until he longer hand to bear it anymore. She didn't stay anything so he felt like he had to.
"Your mind must be racing. Please don't misunderstand. I truly do love you." He felt her hands tightened against him. "You don't have to respond. I know you are hurting too and I was always willing to wait. I still am. I'll wait until you tell me yes or no."
With everything that she did for him, everything she confessed, he knew that he would wait forever for her. He will tell her everything, from when they first met to his downfall and his love for her, but not now.
"Right now, I just want to spend this weekend with you like you planned." He let her go with a soft smile. "I promise I won't touch you or kiss you. Don't be frightened. Everything will stay the same. I just had to tell you how I felt."
He watched her, stiff and confused. He was elated that she didn't flat out say no to him. Logically, he knew she wouldn't but his heart still feared it. She didn't move from her spot between his legs and he sat back and just let her think things through. He felt like he should leave but he didn't want to. If she wanted to go then they would leave just like the option she gave to him.
Kyoko wanted to leave and stay at the same time, to say yes and no, to scream "I love you" and "I can't". She didn't know what to do with this new knowledge but she knew that she missed his warmth.
She turned around and he thought she was going to get up and walk back to camp. He started to get up but she instead leaned back pressing her back against his chest. He froze in shock and she looked up at him shyly.
"Is this okay?" She asked with that cutey honey face of hers and he couldn't help his smile.
"More than." He wrapped his arms around her, squeezing her waist bringing her closer to him.
"What do you want to do then? I brought a book, I can read out loud. Or we can talk or go for a hike."
"I don't care. Let's do them all as long as I'm with you." The words slipped out so much easier now. He smiled and nuzzled his nose into her hair. She smelled wonderful.
She blushed and snuggled up against him then started to talk about Corn, about this special place. He listened, smiling as she recalled their childhood memories together.
Later he would tell her and they would add this memory to the other happy ones in this place. Right now, everything was perfect just the way it is.
A/N: If only the manga would have a break through like this. Ah but then what would we all have to write about then? Cheers!