Skip Beat Fan Fiction

An Eggcellent Interlude

By: Noelani-chan

Note: This story takes place after the On-Location Arc but before the Natsu arc. (I originally wrote this story a few years back before the Natsu arc began. So, in the manga, up to that point, Bridge Rock had not been shown to know what Kyoko's identity is. The first time they call her by name and mention her Mio role is during the Natsu arc.)

PART ONE

"No, no, no! This is bad. This is really, really bad!" Kyoko Mogami said, pacing the hallway outside of Takenori Sawara-san's office as she waited for him to return from a meeting with LME's president. Kyoko brought her hands up to her recently re-bleached hair, and screamed in silent agony, little black demons floating around her shoulders warily trying to counsel her.

"Ah! . . . Mogami-san? Why are you crouched there in the corner?"

Kyoko slowly turned around to stare at the speaker, gloomily and teary-eyed.

"Oh, Sawara-san!" she exclaimed, worriedly. "Please tell me that you were able to—"

He interrupted her with a big grin and a thumbs up.

"The President says it is A-Okay. In fact, he gives his full approval for you to go ahead and guest star on the show. Isn't that great?"

Kyoko's hopeful face suddenly transformed into a silent scream of horror.

"No, no, no! That is definitely what I did not want!"

"Whoa, wait, I thought you'd be happy about that," he said, opening the door to his office and showing her inside. He walked around to sit in his desk chair and Kyoko slumped into the chair in front of the desk, looking dejectedly down at the white tiled floor. "After all, you would get to promote two of your previous works at the same time, right?"

"But I'm being asked along with Tsuruga-san and Momose-san of Dark Moon to guest star on Bridge Rock! How can I do that, and still play Bo without anyone finding out?"

Kyoko looking up to him desperately, clutching tightly onto the purse on her lap.

Sawara-san gave Kyoko a hesitant and trying smile, showing that he didn't really understand why she was so against it.

"There's nothing wrong with playing Bo, Mogami-san. You shouldn't be ashamed of that role, especially when you've made Bo such a beloved character on Bridge Rock."

"Is there no way I could not perform Bo the night I guest star?" she said suddenly, hopeful stars fluttering around her, creating a warm and fanciful atmosphere.

Sawara-san leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes, and brought his hand up to rub his temple, tiredly.

"I'm afraid not. We really can't have the show without Bo at least making an appearance at the beginning, and also we have Bo's special skit at the end. You would only need to be 'Kyoko-san' for the middle part, though the other guest stars will be on for the whole show. We could also get someone else to replace you for the night, though what if they end up doing a better job than you and steal 'Bo' away? If, on the show, you would only reveal your identity as Bo as well—"

"No, no! Absolutely not!" she said, waving her hands in the air.

"Why not?" he said suddenly. "You deserve the credit you know."

Kyoko averted her eyes down to the tiled floor again, biting her lip. There were two big reasons why she didn't want anyone to know she was Bo. First of all, acting in a chicken suit, was to her, rather humiliating, and secondly, Tsuruga-san must ABSOLUTELY NOT know she was Bo. There was no way she could tell him now.

"If you don't want to tell me, then that's fine," Sawara-san said, getting up from his chair and walking over to a filing cabinet in the corner and pulling out a file with papers stuck in it. "These are the instructions Bridge Rock is sending out to their guests. It lists what time to arrive and sort of a layout for what will happen on the show, since they can't coordinate a rehearsal ahead of time because of all the guest stars' busy schedules. And also, because they want to film it in front of the hugest audience Bridge Rock will have gathered to date."

Kyoko took the file, still looking dejected, as Sawara-san showed her out the door.

"Listen, cheer up, okay? Only the Bridge Rock director and two of his assistants know your real identity, right? They'll help you to coordinate getting into your costume and back into your guest star outfit. Make good use of this opportunity as a guest star, by promoting your two previous works."

Kyoko's head looked up quickly from the floor, her ears catching on a particular word. She spun around to him.

"Two previous works? You said that earlier too," she asked, confused. "Aren't we only promoting Dark Moon along with Tsuruga-san and Momose-san as guest stars? Why would I promote another work at the same time?"

Sawara-san looked blankly at her, holding the door open.

"Didn't . . . I . . . tell you?" he said, blankly, and slightly confused.

"No . . . Oh, it's Moko-san, isn't it? We'll be able to promote our commercial some—"

"Ah, no, Mogami-san," he said, his face lighting up with a smile. "It's even better than that! It's the guy that you like! Somehow, I guess he must have heard that you were going to be interviewed on Bridge Rock, along with Tsuruga-san, and so . . . He wanted to come back to the show, and have his work be interviewed alongside Dark Moon. Since, that particular episode will be a special one, it will be longer than normal, so Bridge Rock said that they'll be able to handle the two interviews at once, since, after all, you link them together with your performances. Won't that be great, you can promote Dark Moon and—"

Kyoko's thoughts were racing through her mind, only half listening to what Sawara-san was saying. The guy I like? Wanted to come back to the show? Link them together?

A dark light lit up in Kyoko's head. No, no, that's not what I think it is!

"—Sho Fuwa's PV!"

"NOOO!" Kyoko screamed, running as fast as she could down the hall, her hands pulling at her hair, her feet stamping on the ground. She ran so fast, it seemed to Sawara-san that she, 'vanished in a puff of smoke with the trail continuing down the hall'.

Sawara-san gave a half bewildered-half amused smile, "Is she really that. . . . excited?"

Kyoko had managed to get down to the lobby, after somehow scaring off all the people who tried to join her inside the elevator with her bad vibes. She felt weak in her knees and wafted over to a big cushy chair in the corner of the lobby surrounded by ferns, with a coffee table in front of it, littered with magazines.

The situation is even worse than before, she said to herself, with her fingers laced together in dark contemplation.

"Stupid, stupid Sho!" she whispered out loud, clutching her purse in frustration. "Why did he have to find out? Why does he want to come? To torment me?"

His presence will only make Tsuruga-san very angry. And, although I don't think Sho realized I was Bo last time, still, if there's the possibility he'll find out . . . he will know it was me playing Bo from last time and he'll laugh. That would be . . . so humiliating!

"Maybe, he wants to keep the promise he made, and will try to promote his new song, and try to outdo those Beagles? No—I definitely cannot see that as the reason—that idiot with the broken promises! Maybe—oh no—he wants to upstage Dark Moon?"

Kyoko leapt up from her chair, startling the very tall man passing by on the other side of the ferns.

"I won't let you do that! I won't let you defeat me in Dark Moon. I see now, this is a challenge! Oh ho ho ho!"

Kyoko's dark aura swarmed around her, her little demons fired up and ready to fight, when suddenly they sensed the presence of someone behind them . . .

"Um . . . Mogami-san? We're going to be on a talk-show, right? Not a game-show? (I don't think they're going to challenge us to anything)."

Kyoko spun around, surprised, one hand clutched to her heart, her demons fading away.

A very tall man with dark hair and eyes stood in front of her, dressed in long dark blue pants with an even darker blue shirt loose and unbuttoned at the neck, clutching a tan tote bag swung around one shoulder. His dark brown eyes stared down at her surprised, and questioningly.

"Tsu—Tsuruga-san! You—you scared me!"

Ren Tsuruga turned away slightly, and tried to cover up a little laugh with a cough. Her surprised expression was extremely amusing.

"S—so," she said, trying to catch her breath, "you've also heard about appearing on Bridge Rock?"

"Ah, yes," he said, smiling slightly, scratching the side of his head a bit embarrassed. "I actually heard a few days ago after Bridge Rock's managing assistant contacted Yashiro-san about it. Sorry, I didn't tell you about it before when I saw you the other day. I'd forgotten about it. I just met Sawara-san right now, and he said he told you about it yesterday, but that you came in today to learn the full details."

"Yes, that's right," Kyoko said quietly, looking down at her feet.

Ren's dark eyes sharpened, ready to search for any emotion she might display when he asked the question he was dreading to ask.

"You know . . . that Fuwa will be there, also right?"

She nodded, but refused to look up from the floor. She could feel Ren's dark gaze bore into her. Her demonic-anger meter floated above her head, whispering to itself, "Ah, I feel such nice waves of anger coming from him!"

"Are you . . . still going to go, Mogami-san?" he said, in that same quiet voice.

Kyoko glanced up surprised, frowning, yet with a determined look on her face.

She clenched her hands into fists, and said fiercely, "I have to, Tsuruga-san! I can't let you deal with that idiot alone—"

"I'm perfectly fine with it if you don't—"

"—and I have to do it for Dark Moon and Mio! (Though I couldn't care less about promoting that idiot's PV!)"

"(Well, you actually should care about that, seeing as you're in it)," Ren interjected, though he knew she was no longer paying attention.

"You just wait and see, Tsuruga-san! We will use this opportunity to make Dark Moon shine! I can't back out on this opportunity just because I don't want to meet that idiot who somehow invited himself as a guest star!"

Ren sighed, but he knew it would be no use to try and talk her out of it. She was too fired up and he hid a smile from her as she began to tell him all the good things they could tell Bridge Rock about Dark Moon, and she was reminding him not to let the 'stupid idiot' show him up.

"Are you going to be fine with this, then?" he asked her seriously, as they began walking across the lobby towards Yashiro-san who was waving to them from the other side.

"I'll be just fine, Tsuruga-san! Bridge Rock won't know what hit them!"

Ren paused in mid-step as Kyoko ran over to join Yashiro-san and the two began to talk about the upcoming guest appearance.

Bridge . . . Rock? Didn't they have a rooster for a mascot? Could it be that guy who helped me out before? Ren thought to himself. Nah! That would be too much of a coincidence, wouldn't it?

He dragged one hand to brush away his long dark bangs, and stared over at Kyoko talking excitedly with Yashiro. Ren's eyes hardened into a sharp, glinting expression. Fuwa . . . What are you planning?

"Achoo!"

The young man who was sitting on the window seat, suddenly clutched his nose to prevent a second sneeze, scattering the music sheets he had been holding in his hands. He sighed at the mess he had made and ran his other hand through his smooth blonde hair, irritated.

"Sho!" a woman said, worriedly from the next room. She appeared in the doorway, strands of her long blonde hair falling out of her professional bun, finally letting gravity pull it down after a long hard day's of work. "Are you catching a cold? You should go home already, and leave me to finish up things in the office here."

"Ah!" the seventeen year-old boy replied. "No. Don't worry about it, Shoko-san. It was probably just one of my fans talking about how wonderful I am again."

He smiled at her mischievously, before turning away to look back out through the window at the sun that was sinking low in the sky. It was already late afternoon.

"(Though if that were really the case,)" Shoko-san said under her breath as she walked back into the office where she was managing Sho's papers and schedule, "(you would be sneezing all the time.)"

Shoko-san spotted a green folder piled underneath scattered cassette tapes and CD's that Sho had been listening to earlier. He had given that to her earlier, but this was the first chance she'd had to look at it. She opened it up, and immediately a hand shot up to her mouth.

"Sho?" she called out, rushing back into the other room. "What is this? You scheduled another interview with that three guy talk show? Even after what happened last time when that crazed rooster tried to attack you? What will you do if that happens again? Do we even have time—"

Sho brushed his bangs away from his face, and pulled his feet away from the window seat where he was lounging, and placed them on the floor, turning around to face Shoko-san. He flashed her a side-smile.

"Don't worry, Shoko-san. That won't happen again. I'm sure they fired the person in that rooster-suit.. And we have time. I made time."

"But Sho," she said, confused, and a bit irritated. "Why do you want to go back to a talk-show you were just on not too long ago? We still have to finish editing your new song, and we haven't even started making the music video that will go with it."

"Is that what you're worried about?" he said, leaning over to pick up the scattering music sheets. "It's really almost done. Besides, I don't really have any part in dealing with that, other than just being there to make sure the spy doesn't attack us again. And this will give me another good chance to promote my last PV, before releasing and concentrating on my new song."

Shoko-san sighed, tossing the green folder onto a nearby table. She unraveled her long blonde hair, and then swiftly swept it back up again into a bun, fastening it with a pin.

"I understand, but why at the last minute? Why didn't you tell me before?"

Sho glanced up at her, and then stood up, the music papers in his hands. He turned towards the window, the sun now beginning to disappear behind the neighboring building.

"Because . . . I wanted to have some time to think about what I want to do. You see, Shoko-san, the cast from Dark Moon will also be there at the same time."

Shoko-san gasped, surprised.

"From Dark Moon? That mean's Kyoko-chan'll—"

"—Be there? Yeah. Since, she'll be there, promoting 'Mio', if we can associate her as the same actress who played the 'Dark Angel' in my PV, it might help to give my up-and-coming song more publicity as well."

"But, Sho. Are you okay with that? Won't it also give Kyoko-chan herself, more publicity? Isn't she the childhood friend you dumped? Why do you want to help her out so badly now?" Shoko asked, completely bewildered.

Sho kept his back to her and didn't reply, although she could tell he had reverted his gaze away from the window and was staring off at the floor, lost in thought.

Shoko-san smiled suddenly, very softly.

"I think I understand, maybe a little," she said quietly. "I don't know what kind of a life you lived when you were with her. But even I can see how much she has been able to help you, with this whole Vie-Ghoul problem, even if she didn't want to."

Even if she did it without trying to. Shoko-san thought to herself, still smiling softly. I wonder, how does he see her now? Have his thoughts toward her really changed that much?

Shoko-san left him alone, closing the door to her office behind her.

Sho glanced up at the window again, his free hand forming into a determined fist, the other clinging on to the music sheets which were his life and soul.

It's not that I want to go out of my way to help Kyoko, he thought to himself, staring down at his fist. It's just that I can't stand to see her on that show. Not with him! I will use this opportunity to separate the two of them, and make sure he knows that she IS mine. I will not allow Ren Tsuruga to have a moment of peace on that show. With us side by side for comparison, I will make sure that he looks stupid, and that I will be the one to come out on top in show-biz. And I will make Kyoko see it too!

"Just you wait, Kyoko," he said quietly, so Shoko-san in the other room couldn't hear. "I will make you see me, and only me. Heh, this will be fun . . ."

Kyoko Mogami paced nervously around in Bo's dressing room, her rooster feet squeaking against the tiled floor. Her bulky rooster head covered her face, and it was hard to see through the eyeholes, but she was so use to it by now that it hardly bothered her.

All week she had been nervous. So nervous and distracted that she had messed up in all her Love-Me assignments and had to apologize for being so clumsy and inattentive. She had also been subtly avoiding meeting Ren and Yashiro-san, and when she would see them coming down the hall or the lobby after a job, she would freak out, run away, and hide, all trying to do so without letting them see her first.

Kyoko paused in the middle of her pacing and stared into the mirror above her dressing table. She felt ashamed that she had been avoiding Tsuruga-san all week, especially when it was hard enough to get a chance to see him as it was with his busy schedule, but she wanted to avoid talking about Bridge Rock if at all possible. And talking about Bridge Rock was all Yashiro-san wanted to do.

Yashiro-san had been doing some research on the show and had learned that the rooster on the show was the same one who had visited Ren when he was having trouble with his Katsuki-character. Kyoko had listened in horror as Yashiro had been telling her how he wanted to get to know the rooster as well, and to find out who Ren's secret friend really was. And so, to avoid the discussion, Kyoko had kept away from both of them all week.

Kyoko brought her feathered wings up to readjust her head, looking very dark and gloomy. The day she had been dreading had finally come. She had arrived at Studio B two hours ago, even before most of the staff had already arrived. She did not want to be late and she wanted to be ready and waiting in her rooster costume in order to start off the show.

Tsuruga-san had even called her last night to see if she needed a ride to the studio but she had hurriedly and evasively told him it was not necessary, and terrified, she accidentally hung up before she realized what she had done. She tried to call him back about twenty times, but she did not have the courage to finish dialing. Kyoko was not looking forward to facing his wrath today.

In the mirror she saw her Mio costume sticking out from the half-open closet door. She turned around hurriedly and stuffed it to the back of the closet where no one could find it, and firmly shut the door. She would have to come here later during the show to secretly change into Mio.

Kyoko heard a knock at the door, and she spun around, her heart in her throat. The door opened and a bored assistant with a clipboard said to her, "The guests are beginning to arrive, Bo! You need to go out with Bridge Rock and greet them before the show starts. We've still got a half hour before it begins, so the guests can dress and do makeup."

Kyoko quickly checked herself in the mirror again. Her costume was intact and ready to go. She cautiously peered out the open door, and shut it discretely behind her and began walking down the hall to the reception room.

Since there was no actual rehearsal for this particular showing, the guest stars had agreed to show up as early as they could so Bridge Rock could go over a quick outline and do what they could to prepare everyone. Since Bo was part of the cast, Bo, and not Mio, needed to be there for this.

Kyoko's rooster feet squished, squashed, and squeaked down the hall. A dark and moody aura lingered around the rooster as she approached the end of the hall near the reception room. Because Mio wouldn't show up early for the 'outline' she knew she would be scolded by both Sho and Tsuruga-san as being 'unprofessional' for being late. But she couldn't help it.

She turned the corner and immediately spotted the three members of Bridge Rock entering from a side hall off to her left, ready to greet the guests who had just arrived. They stopped when they saw her and came over to greet her so they could make their descent down the hall together. Hikaru Ishibashi, aged twenty, and the leader of Bridge Rock, had turned when he saw her, a big smile on his face.

"Bo!" he said, excitedly, clapping her on the back. "Good, you're here!"

(I've been here already for two hours), Kyoko thought dryly.

Hikaru Ishibashi had longish brown hair, and had a serious crush on Kyoko (though she didn't notice), and was always trying to get her attention by asking her out for dinner, and to his dismay, always getting shot down. The other two members of Bridge Rock consisted of eighteen year old Shinichi Ishibashi and Yusei Ishibashi. (None of them are related in any way, of course.)

Shinichi had blonde hair and usually wore a cap on his head, and was the comedian of the bunch. Yusei had black hair that stood straight up and played the 'cool' member of Bridge Rock. All three of them knew Bo was played by a 'very cute girl', but as of yet, none of them had connected her as the same girl who played Mio on Dark Moon. Kyoko had done her very best to make sure they never found out.

"Isn't it great that Fuwa-kun wanted to come back?" Hikaru said, addressing both her and the other two members of Bridge Rock.

"It's probably because he missed playing badminton with Bo," Yusei Ishibashi commented, smiling down at Kyoko.

"Or because he wanted a rematch so he's not shown up by a rooster," Shinichi Ishibashi snickered. The other two members of Bridge Rock frowned at him for teasing the already nervous Kyoko.

"Don't listen to him, Bo," Yusei said, still frowning at Shinichi. "He's just mad because he wanted to play badminton against Fuwa-kun."

"Say WHAT?" Shinichi pouted. "Who says I wanted to play such a girly game? Anyways aren't we suppose to be greeting the guests before the show starts?"

"Oh yeah, that's right!" Hikaru said, hitting his fist into his opened hand in a determined manner. "Let's go, Bo!"

"Who do you think was the first one to arrive?" Yusei said, straightening his black hair out. "Do you think it was the cute girl who played opposite Ren Tsuruga-san? Or will it be one of the guys?" Yusei asked, as the four of them approached the room together, Kyoko's feet squeaking all the while.

(It's probably the never-late-for-anything Tsuruga-san and Yashiro-san), Kyoko thought.

"I hope it's the Mio-girl who showed up first!" Shinichi said, adjusting his red knit cap over his blonde hair and trying his best to look suave.

Kyoko, Hikaru, and Yusei stopped in their tracks and looked at him horrified, frightened dark lines all over their faces.

"W—why M—Mio?" Yusei gasped. "That girl is creepy. Isn't she, Bo?"

Bo switched her glare to him, her rooster eyes beady.

"I don't care what you guys say, I think she's cute," Shinichi huffed out, crossing his arms and walking away.

"Well, she is a good actress. She's really good at the scary parts," Hikaru admitted nodding to Bo and Yusei. "But still . . . "

"He has odd tastes in girls—" Hikaru, Yusei, and Kyoko said at the same time.

"You think so too, Bo?" Yusei asked, surprised.

"Of COURSE!" Kyoko said, waving her rooster wings around. "Who could like that awful Mio, that—that rich bully and mean-type of girl! She is the worst kind of character to play."

Hikaru and Yusei stared at her speechlessly, their jaws dropping as Kyoko squeaked and squawked to catch up with Shinichi who was waiting for them in front the reception room's double doors at the end of the hallway.

"I don't think she got that we weren't talking about Mio-'the character' , but Mio-'the actress', did she?" Hikaru said, dumbly, shaking his head in awe at Kyoko's inability to grasp any form of the concept of love.

"But that's why you like her, isn't that right, Chief?"

Hikaru nodded dejectedly at this, a gloomy air surrounding him, while Yusei clapped his back trying to consul him, as they caught up with Kyoko and Shinichi and prepared to go into to greet the first guest together.

Hikaru opened the reception room door to allow Kyoko to enter first followed by the Bridge Rock members.

Kyoko was so distracted dealing with Bridge Rock that she walked straight into the man standing right in front on the other side of the door.

Kyoko fell backward from the impact, squishing Hikaru with her bulky rooster costume and pinning him, dazed, to the ground, as she futilely struggled to get up. If Hikaru hadn't been suffocating from the heavy costume or so out-of-it from the fall, he probably would have enjoyed the fact that he broke her fall. As the other two Bridge Rock members rushed to each take a wing and pull Kyoko up, the thought that Bo resembled a turtle on its back more than a rooster flashed through their minds, and they both tried to suppress a laugh.

However, the turtle image also flashed through the mind of one other person in the room, and this person was not able to suppress his laugh, even though he tried to hide it by covering his mouth.

As soon as she was righted, she quickly bowed and apologized with tears in her eyes to Hikaru who was being helped up by Shinichi. He waved it off, laughing, then whispered in awe to Shinichi and Yusei so only they could hear, "I held her in my arms! I actually held her."

"I . . . I don't think that counts, Chief," Yusei said, shaking his head exasperated.

"Maybe next time, Chief," Shinichi added, laughing.

Kyoko turned without looking up to the man she had bumped into and bowed profusely, however he was still desperately trying (and failing) to suppress his laughter.

As soon as Kyoko registered his laugh, she recognized him and froze, dreading to look up.

"So, your name is 'Bo', isn't it?" he finally asked, turning composed and transforming his last laugh into a cough.

Kyoko immediately straightened up her bow. How could she have bowed . . . to him?

The man was dressed in a black outfit, wearing an overcoat that fastened with silver buckles rather than buttons. He wore twisted silver rings on his fingers, and his ears were pierced. He looked like he just walked off a music set, and every strand of blonde hair was in place, or rather, out of place in the manner of trying to capture 'coolness'.

Kyoko didn't need to look any farther than his outfit to tell who he was. She bowed again, as though to excuse herself, and backed away towards the refreshment table in the back of the room set up for the guests.

"If you're going to eat the refreshments, you'll have to take off your mask, won't you?" he called bluntly after her.

Kyoko paused in mid-step. He was right! In order to eat, she'd have to take her rooster head off. She turned grudgingly around to finally stare him in the face. He smirked at her and winked. Sho Fuwa, unexpectedly, was the first guest to arrive.

She gave a silent scream infuriated as the man turned away from her to greet the three members of Bridge Rock.

"And you already know Bo," Hikaru smiled, pointing to Kyoko. "Remember how you asked about her at end of our last show? Well, she wasn't fired after all. The producer really liked how Bo interacted with the guest stars."

Sho Fuwa turned toward Bo, looking down at her with slanted eyes. With a sly smile he said, "So the reason 'Bo' wasn't fired and became so popular was . . . because of me, wasn't it?"

Bridge Rock looked nervously at each other, and Hikaru said, "Um, well, I don't kno—"

Kyoko felt like she was stabbed through the heart. Because of him? Because of Sho? She'd never thought of it like that. Never, ever. No, it couldn't be because of him that she was able to keep her Bo job. It was because of her, herself. Her talents got her the job. If it wasn't the case, then what about the wonderful jobs she did on the shows after Sho? No, it was definitely not because of him. She shook her head vehemently. She didn't want to hate the 'Bo' job even more than she did now.

Kyoko felt like sinking to the ground, but her little demons swarmed around her telling her to 'Fight! Fight!', 'Don't give in!', and kept her from collapsing to the ground, by struggling to hold her up. One little demon said to the others, 'Oh, just give it up. She's not even listening to us.' But he was quickly suppressed and his mouth clamped shut by the others.

Sho Fuwa glanced at Kyoko out of the corner of his eye. He alone, knew that Kyoko was inside the Bo outfit. He could tell when Bo ran into him that Bo was a woman. But he hadn't really been sure it was Kyoko, until Bridge Rock had confirmed that she hadn't been fired. Sho had planned on only seeing her here as 'Mio', but if she was to play 'Bo' as well, this would certainly be interesting . . . Especially if she doesn't want him to know she was Bo then or now.

"Humph!" Sho said, thinking about all the ways he could expose her Bo identity in front of the studio audience. Wouldn't they be surprised to find that 'Mio' was also 'Bo'? Wouldn't that be so demeaning to know that she had to rely on a rooster costume to get into show business?

But his eyes grew more serious as he thought about the consequences of embarrassing her in such a way. Besides, embarrassing her, wasn't his true objective any more. He had a much more serious objective now. And that was to claim Kyoko as his property and tear her away from that stupidly giant-sized (who would like someone so tall you couldn't even see their face hidden in the clouds?) Ren Tsuruga.

But . . . If he did make her hate him more than she already did, it doesn't matter what emotion it is right now (because that can always be changed later), as long as she felt something for him, and felt more for him than Ren, that was all he wanted at this very moment.

Bridge Rock walked Sho over to the refreshment table and started handing out cookies and punch. Tables with chairs were arranged in a U-shape, with the refreshment table behind that, where the four guys gathered around. Kyoko sat down at the end of the U-shape, determined to stay as far away from Sho as possible until Tsuruga-san came and she could cling to his side.

Hikaru excitedly got a plate of cookies and punch, and brought them over to Kyoko, nervously asking her to accept them. Kyoko looked up blankly at his expectant face.

"Um, Chief. I don't think Bo's hungry," Shinichi pointed out, sitting down at the table across from Kyoko which was closer to the refreshment table.

"W—well, I'll just leave it here," Hikaru said, a bit disappointed as he placed the punch and plate of cookies in front of Kyoko.

"(Actually I think it's more like she can't eat while in that costume)," Shinichi said bluntly to Yusei.

Yusei added, "(I don't think the Chief is listening, he's too depressed that he was turned down by her. Again.)"

Sho had been ladling out punch into a glass, and his ears perked up jealously at this. He shot a dark and furious glance at the lead member of Bridge Rock. How dare he ask Kyoko out? Where were all these guys coming from and hitting on her? Really, what was so special about her? Why don't they all just back off? Because she was mine, is mine, and will always be MINE!

The three members of Bridge Rock had taken their seats and left a spot between Yusei and Shinichi for Sho. Hikaru had taken the seat next to Kyoko, and leaving the one on her other side empty. Sho ignored Yusei and Shinichi pointing to the empty chair, and determinedly dark sat on Kyoko's empty side, slamming his plate and punch down on the table, as though to say he would not move from that spot. Kyoko looked at him surprised, and horrified. She tried to pull her chair out and move away, but her chair wouldn't budge. She looked down, bewildered. Maybe her costume had got stuck under the table? Then she saw what it was.

Sho's foot was pressing against the back of the foot of the chair, keeping her from moving it away from the table and pinning her in. Her rooster head swung up at him, and he shot her a smug smile.

"I'm gonna sit next to Bo and not let her get away, all right? After all the stunts she pulled last time, she has to at least endure my company."

"Um . . . Okay?" Hikaru said, a strand of hair sticking out, as he looked at Sho confused. For some reason Hikaru couldn't understand, he felt this strong animosity directed towards him, though he didn't know where it came from. (A big red arrow points at Sho). "So, I guess we just have to wait for Tsuruga-kun and Momose-san to show up. Is your manager here yet, Fuwa-kun?"

"Yes, she left something in the car so she had to go back. She'll be here in a little while. But anyways . . . Let's get on to more important things . . ." Sho said, disinterestedly

"Like what . . .?" Shinichi asked confused, taking his red knit cap off to run his hand through his spiky blonde hair.

"Like finishing the introductions," Sho said quietly, a glint in his eyes as he stared down at Kyoko on his left.

"I thought we did that we already did that? Both this time and last? Don't say you've already forgotten us?" Hikaru kidded, nervously scratching his chin, and checking the clock on the wall wondering when someone else was going to show up and break the tension that had descended on the room.

"But I haven't heard the name of the woman who plays Bo yet, have I?" Sho asked, averting his eyes away from Kyoko to Bridge Rock.

"Um, well," Hikaru said, trying to laugh off the sense of doom he felt coming from Bo, "It's—"

In that moment, Kyoko, with one big squeak of her foot, kicked Sho's leg away from her chair, and pushed back the chair so fast it zoomed without her against the wall. She turned and clamped one wing against Hikaru's mouth and shook her head 'no—No—NO!'

"Sorry, Fuwa-kun. After what happened last time, it looks like she's too embarrassed for you to know, so we can't tell you. We just call her 'Bo', anyway. She must have been a pretty big fan of yours to have gone all out to play badminton with you last time," Yusei said.

NOOOO! Kyoko silently yelled. They are giving the wrong impression! It was the opposite! Not because I was a fan, but because I hated him!

"A fan, huh?" Sho said, wryly with a snicker.

Kyoko let Hikaru go, and turned back to Sho. This was the last straw. She'd had it. Her wings reached out to strangle him once again (though to everyone except her and Sho it appeared as if she was ready to embrace him), when suddenly the door opened up and the last two guests walked in with their managers.

Kyoko looked up and suddenly her whole demeanor changed as she spotted Tsuruga-san who was now greeting Bridge Rock. All of her demons melted away, and the heavy burden on her back vanished and her footsteps suddenly became light and airy as if she had entered a fairy realm. She completely abandoned Sho, leaving him alone in the corner of the room as she practically raced over to Ren so Bridge Rock could officially introduce her to Momose-san and her manager, and to Ren and Yashiro-san.

Sho, who had been watching Kyoko closely the whole time, clenched his fists with fury, his eyes dark with jealously and rage. He swung his head away from Ren, disgusted and angry.

"It's you! It really is you!" Ren Tsuruga said, extending a hand out to hold Bo's feathered wing. He shot Bo a heavenly-smile, thanking him for all the help Bo had given him during their last talk. "You've helped me out three times already. All I can say is 'thank you'. Because of your help and the help of a few others, I've been able to do justice to the character of Katsuki in Dark Moon."

"You're welcome," Kyoko said, trying to deepen her voice a little so Ren would still think Bo was played by a guy. Though she couldn't deepen it as much as before because Bridge Rock, and now Sho knew Bo was a girl. "But I really didn't do all that much—"

"Yes, you really did!" Yashiro-san said, jumping in and profusely shaking Bo's wing. "Thank you for being there for Ren all those times. He never confides in me and he needs all the help and support he can get!"

"Yashiro-san," Ren warned, embarrassed and irritated, "that's a little much, isn't it?"

"Just ignore Ren, and keep doing what you're doing, Mister Bo," Yashiro said, in a mock whisper, trying to hide his conversation from Ren with a hand.

Then Hikaru placed his hand on Kyoko's back and led her over to be introduced to Momose-san and her manager.

"Well, looks like we're ready to begin the prepping up the outline. We've got about fifteen minutes to go over everything and about another ten minutes to touch up make-up and other last minute stuff," Yusei said, drawing everyone over to the tables. As he did this, he spotted Fuwa still in the corner. Shoko-san had entered the room as well and finally joined him. "You all know Fuwa-kun, don't you?"

"Actually we've met before both on set and at location," Momose-san spoke up, taking a seat beside Sho. She turned to him and said, "It's nice to see you again!"

Sho only nodded, bored and moody, and Shoko took the other empty seat by him. Sho purposely ignored Ren's dazzling greeting towards him, as Kyoko determinedly sat down next to Ren, while Yashiro sat on Ren's other side.

As Ren saw Bridge Rock were really about to proceed, because they started passing around sheets with the line-up on them, he spoke up, surprised and asked, "Aren't we going to wait for Mogami-san?"

These words crashed down on and sunk deep into the heads of two of the room's inhabitants, one of which was Kyoko Mogami. Kyoko became nervous. He's going to be mad. He's going to think I'm unprofessional because I'm late! If only he knew I showed up two hours early!

These words of Ren also struck deep into the heart of one other occupant in the room. Sho Fuwa was stunned. The next second, a wave a dark joy swept from his body, but he fiercely suppressed the urge to laugh out loud in victory. He had found a way to defeat Ren Tsuruga, because Ren . . . Ren did not know Kyoko was Bo. And she was clearly hiding it from him.

"Mio! We have to wait for Mio! I want to see Mio!" Shinichi said, squealing like a little kid with tears in his eyes and tugging on Hikaru's shirt.

"A—actually, Mio will be arriving a little later," Hikaru told them all, apologizing. "It seems she had something else to do. Another job or something. But if she comes later, it'll make for a more dramatic and scary entrance."

"What? Why wasn't I told about this?" Shinichi whined, acting like a little baby and wringing the scheduling papers in his hands. "I want to see Mio! MIO!"

"Um . . ." Yusei said, "Please ignore him. (We already told him Mio wasn't supposed to be here early but he wouldn't listen.)"

"Another . . . job?" Yashiro-san asked hesitantly to Ren. "Why didn't Kyoko-chan mention this earlier when she saw us?"

Kyoko twisted in her seat, longing to explain. But it wasn't her nor Ren who answered.

"Maybe she has something she's hiding from you?" a voice said idly from the table directly across from them.

Ren looked up, with piercing eyes, glaring into the speaker's smirking ones. Fuwa smiled, slyly.

"Is it that you don't know what that 'something' is, even though I do?" Sho continued.

Ren's face darkened, instantly. But he covered it up, because in the next moment he shot Sho a dazzling, piercing bright and blinding smile, only saying, "I'm not exactly sure what you mean, Fuwa-kun. But if Mogami-san is late, I am sure she has a very good reason for it." A reason she'd better tell me, Ren thought darkly, wondering why she hadn't told him when he called last night and asked to pick her up and take her to the studio.

Kyoko sat trembling in her seat, wishing that she could shout to Tsuruga-san that Sho did not know what he was talking about. That Sho did not know what she was doing or where she was at that moment. Because . . . because Sho couldn't know she was Bo . . . Or, could he?

Kyoko glanced discreetly over towards Sho, but she felt as though a knife had just stabbed her through the heart. He was staring at her. He had been staring at her. And he was smiling.