Title: Skipholic

Fandom: Skip Beat, with some xxxHolic xover

Pairing: Kyouko/Ren
Rating: T
Length: 6 chapters.

Summary: Karma has always been better at extracting revenge than humans.

DISC: I do not own Skip Beat or any of the characters. These belong to Nakamura Yoshiki and were originally published in Hana to Yume, and licensed through Viz Media in North America.

I also do not own xxxHolic or any of the characters. These belong to Clamp – those crazy mangaka who make us all practically faint for the shonen-ai and then YANK it out from under us. Clamp, if I can have one request, it's to give us some DouWata love by the end of this series! PLEASE!

Chapter 6

Looking in the mirror, Kyouko knew she'd be a nervous wreck right now if it hadn't been for the phone call from Yashiro. Ren wasn't coming to pick her up. So she didn't have to face him.

He hadn't known that she was Bo. Otherwise, he never would have come to talk to her. But, he knew now. Stupid set manager!

And all those things she'd said to him as Bo.

What had she been thinking? Of course she didn't understand love. She'd never been in love before.

God, what a mess.

"I just want to kiss her senseless, carry her to my bed and never let her leave…"

Those words kept running through her mind, making her heart feel like a bird trapped in a too-tight cage, flapping its wings madly.

The dress she was wearing was lovely. The skirt was full, with a ragged edged hem in multiple layers, each in a different shade of green. The princess neckline suited her well, hugging her modest curves, yet making them seem more feminine. The braided trim decorating the neckline and running down the princess seams, then into the skirt where it added a tassel effect, was the perfect finishing touch, making it seem as if she were the fairy princess now.

Stupid. I'm no fairy and I'm no princess.

But she hadn't bought the dress – it had been a gift from the LME president and his granddaughter as congratulations for successful completion of her first drama. Maria had specifically said she should wear it to the wrap party, and even though the little girl wouldn't be there, she didn't want to disappoint her.

Looking in the mirror, she began to apply makeup. Such a pretty makeup set. Moko was such a good friend to have given it to her for her birthday. Somehow when she was done, she felt like her eyes looked much more romantic, and her lips… they seemed fuller somehow.

"I just want to kiss her senseless, carry her to my bed and never let her leave…"

GEH! She was just going to have to avoid him.

After donning her expensive shoes, she grasped the magic blue stone, rubbing it and thinking hard, "Please, take care of me tonight." Then it went back in its case, and she was headed downstairs to meet Yoshiro.

XX

In his tuxedo, Tsuruga Ren's hand couldn't help grasping the small box, turning it over and over, flicking open the lid just a hair and then letting it click shut. He was standing by the bar, letting the gentle conversation of the director and his co-star from the show just wash over him. Already two drinks were in him, and he knew that if he had any more, he wouldn't be physically capable of doing what he'd decided to do.

It was probably stupid. Probably the stupidest thing he'd ever even considered doing. And, he was convinced, the best.

An arrival at the main entrance caused him to look up. And then freeze in place.

She'd bleached her hair back to the color it was when he first saw her at the studio. And in the dress she was in, she looked like a tree sprite. No. Like the queen of the dryads.

He wouldn't be surprised if wings suddenly appeared and she was able to fly. She caught his eye, and quickly looked away, turning toward the other side of the room, where she quickly engaged the woman who had played Mio previously in animated conversation.

It was clear she was going to try to avoid him. Well, that wasn't to be allowed. Not tonight. He would talk to her.

The things she'd said this afternoon. She knew. She knew he was Corn.

Gulping down the rest of his third drink in a single swallow, Ren excused himself from his present company, and strode across the room, setting his empty glass on the bar along the way.

Standing directly behind his little elf, he gazed over her head into the eyes of the older actress and smiled his most charming smile. "Excuse me, but may I borrow my kouhai for a few moments?" he inquired.

The lady smiled and nodded graciously, "Oh, of course." She turned to Kyouko, who was trying to protest and said, "It's okay, dear. We'll just continue where we left off later." Then back to Ren, another nod before she turned to go socialize with other cast members.

"That was a bit rude," Kyouko stated, pouting just a bit. Her heart was racing.

With the Emperor of the Night smile in full force, he replied, "Was it? I apologize. I just need a few minutes of your time. Let's go talk somewhere private."

Eyes wide, she stared at him – his fake smile had never glowed quite so brightly before. He must be absolutely furious. Well, of course that made sense. He had thought he was in love and then found out that she had lied to him about Bo. Okay, it wasn't really lying, but she let him think she was a stranger, let him confess his innermost thoughts… Oh, god. What was he going to do to her? Most of her grudges were swirling protectively – except the ten who were just hanging batch and watching to see what happened next.

Like a lamb to the slaughter, she followed. Not like she had a choice, he had clasped his hand around her wrist and if she hadn't willingly gone, he'd have probably dragged her. Where he touched her skin tingled. She wanted… more? This was terrifying.

He led her to an empty room in the reception hall where the party was taking place, and gestured for her to sit on the sofa there. Looking down, he could see she had her "Ren is scary" face on, and his own expression softened.

"Sorry," he said. "But I didn't think you'd come with me if I just asked. I…" He sat on the chair across from her. "I just wanted to talk with you. I…" Brushing his hair back with one hand, Ren looked at the unhappy girl on the sofa, then looked at the floor. "I know you overheard me talking to Yoshiro yesterday."

She nodded once.

"I didn't know you were Bo," he continued.

She looked up and began rambling, "I didn't mean to keep it from you – it's just at first, I was just so happy to help you when you needed it because you never let anyone help you ever, and then, I didn't know how to tell you and I thought that it would be better if you didn't ever know because then you'd at least have Bo to talk to when you needed him so you'd at least have someone, and…"

His hand on her arm cut off her ranting.

"I was going to say, I didn't know you were Bo, but maybe that was good because I got to tell you how I feel about you without you running away." He reached into his pocket to play with the box again. "I hadn't planned on ever telling you, you know. Not just because of Sho, and not just because I. But…

"You're a great actress, Kyouko. You may just be starting out, but you're going to reach the top. And I know you want to do it on your own. If people found out how I feel about you, you'd get lots of media attention, but it would be for all the wrong reasons. And I don't want to do anything that would prevent you from doing what you want, being who you are.

"I just wanted you to know that you don't have to worry about anything. I'll support you if you need it, but I will give you room to spread your own wings and fly." He smiled. "You know, if anyone in this room was ever magical enough to be a fairy, it would be you."

His hand was on the box in his pocket. Should he give it to her? He caressed the box one more time, then pulled his hand out, empty. He was chickening out, afraid that his own name would get in the way of her success, and even more scared that his name wouldn't get the chance, because she'd just turn him down flat. "I'll be here if you ever need me, Mogami-san, but I won't stand in your way. I know you don't feel that way about me. You may have loved Corn enough to treasure that stone all these years, but I'm not Corn any more.

And I'm still not ready, not good enough to be Kuon."

Her expression displayed confusion, tension, fear, anger, all mixed together. "What do you mean you're not Corn? Of course you are. Who else? There is no one else good enough to be Corn.

"I… You ki-… ARGH!" She stood up from the couch. "You know, I wish you could have told me who you were before I… I mean, it must have been so funny, so strange for you…" She wandered over to look at a painting on the wall, so that she wouldn't have to look at him. "I wonder. Did you hate me when I was acting as Kuon… as you? Hugging on to your father when you couldn't anymore. Even though you probably missed him terribly." Her voice was timid.

He shook his head. "No. I… you were able to make father happy. Say what I never… That's why I can't be Kuon yet. I only make the people I love miserable. It's always been that way. I tried so hard to get away from myself – to become a better man – so I could make up for all the trouble I've caused. But it's no good, is it? You can't get away from who you really are." His hand was in his pocket again, almost crushing the box in his grasp. "All the people I love are better off without me. Father. Mother." He turned toward her and took a deep breath before continuing. "You."

She turned to face him. "So you're just going to leave me alone. You're not going to do anything?" Striding toward him she looked up at him like she wanted to slap his face. "What if I don't want you to… What if… What if that damned Beagle comes back and tries to take me away again?"

His face tightened, but he said nothing.

Anger drained from her expression and her eyes pleaded. "Are you really going to leave me again, Corn?"

There was no thought involved. His arms involuntarily reached out, grabbed her, pulled her into an embrace.

"Kyouko," he sighed her name into her hair. And as her arms wrapped around him, holding him as tightly as he was holding her, his heartbeat quickly went into double time.

He closed his eyes, smelling the clean herbal scent of her shampoo. "Kyouko."

As she raised her head, he opened his eyes briefly again to capture hers before his lips descended upon her own. She closed her eyes and met him halfway.

An army of grudges swirled around them, giving the appearance of fireworks at a festival.

It was as if she was melting, she collapsed in his arms. Only his support kept her knees from giving out entirely. As they broke from the kiss, she fell against his chest.

Reaching into his pocket, he decided again, and pulled the box out. "I brought this for you," he said and she looked up to see him holding a box with a beautiful ring in it. The center stone was an oval-cut sapphire, framed by two trillion-cut emeralds. It looked like her magic stone, on a bed of leaves.

She gasped as he pulled it out of the box and held it out to her, at an angle so she could see it was inscribed.

"For Princess Kyouko, with love forever, Corn," her voice reading the inscription was barely a breath. "I…"

He placed it on the finger of her right hand. "This ring is a promise. That I will always, always love you. I'll wait. I'll wait until you love me like I love you. I'll wait if it takes forever... And once you have your wings, if you say yes at that time, we'll go together, and I'll introduce to my father and mother their new daughter." One hand stroked her cheek as she stared up at him, stunned.

Slowly, he bent down to kiss her again. As his lips touched hers, the fire from the previous night's dream rekindled in her belly, and she wrapped her arms around his neck. As the kiss continued, the floodgates within her were released and the most important task seemed to be to embrace him. First one leg, then the other wrapped around his hips as she held on. He stumbled then pressed forward til her back was against the wall, holding her up. His hips were aligned and he could feel himself growing hard against her.

Moaning, he released her from the kiss. "Stop. We have," he gasped, "to stop."

As he looked at the vixen in his arms, she pouted up at him. "Don't wanna," she said, before kissing his neck again. "I want Ren to kiss me more. Like you do in my dreams."

In her dreams? His heart tripped in his chest. She dreamed about him! Oh, god! Another moan ripped out of him and she ground her hips against his firmness. It felt so good.

"We… have to stop. The… party." He gathered himself, grasped her shoulders and pushed her back. "If we don't stop now, I'm going to end up losing my mind. God, I…" He panted. "I just want you so much."

She sighed and dropped her legs to the ground. Then, reality struck her – what had she just done? – and her face turned bright red. "Sorry. I… Oh, god. I've never… I'm…"

He chuckled and said, "Maybe we can try this again another time?"

Her blush grew brighter. But she looked up, and captured his eyes. Biting her lower lip, she asked quietly, "Maybe I could… cook dinner for you… sometime?"

Smiling kindly, he replied, "You don't have to worry. I can wait until you're my wife."

She scowled at him. He was making fun of her, wasn't he? "What if I don't want to wait?"

He blinked. Then a lascivious grin split his face and she backtracked. "What if when you propose, I say no?"

He frowned. "You won't. You love me."

"You're pretty sure of that."

"Yes. I am. Now."

"What if you change your mind about me?"

"Not going to happen."

She looked down at her hand. "Can… I wear this out in public? Even though we're going to have to pretend to be nothing more than Sempai and Kouhai?"

He smiled. "No one but you, the President, and Jelly know that I'm Corn. Even if someone read the inscription, it should be okay. And with the way you're going, you'll be more famous than me by the time you graduate high school. By the time you're 20 at the absolute latest. Do you think we can keep this secret for one to three years?"

She smiled her determined smile and nodded once.

"Hey, um… Are we… dating now?" She looked up at him so earnestly that he felt his resolve to be a gentleman start to cumble. With great feeling, he groaned. "What? We're not?"

"You are a serious strain on my self-restraint. If you keep looking at me like that, we're never going to make it back to the party."

"Oh." She looked surprised. Then nodded, and turned toward the door. "I guess… I should go first, huh?"

"Kyouko?" he called and she stopped. He crossed to her, leaned down and whispered in her ear. "Don't ever forget: I love you."

Cheeks red, she entered into the party. He waited a good 10 minutes before following. There were, after all, some issues that needed to relax first.

XX

In another part of Tokyo, a crimson-eyed witch sighed. "More waiting 'til we get to the good stuff, huh? I'm going to have to rehabilitate every single one of her grudges, so I can get a surround scope going for when those two finally do act on that sexual tension."

She sighed again, watching as if through the eyes of a small creature flying around Kyouko, who was paying special attention to a tall actor across the room. "Sometimes I hate hitsuzen."