I do not own Skip Beat!
For one golden moment, it had all been perfect, but perfection never lasts. Almost as quickly as they had become official, they broke up. There were still articles about the hot new relationship on newsstands when they announced their breakup, and soon, the titles like "Tsuruga Ren Off The Market" and "Katsuki Loves Mio?" were replaced by speculation about their breakup, what was the reason for it? had it been a publicity stunt? was it really over?
"I have nothing but tremendous respect for Ren," Kyouko was quoted in one article, "but it seems we're better as friends."
"Kyouko is still extremely important to me," Ren said in another article, "and precisely because she is such an important person, I want only the best for her. Being in a relationship doesn't seem to be what's best at this time."
Who broke up with whom and why seemed to be the question of the hour. After all, it wasn't everyday that Japan's number one actor announced his new relationship and breakup within the space of two weeks.
As the rumor that their relationship and breakup was all a publicity stunt went wild, so did the ratings for any show that either Ren or Kyouko took part in, and as the ratings spiked, in turn, the rumors became even stronger.
"I'm so sorry to have involved you in this," Kyouko said, doing a dogeza on the LoveMe room floor, a gesture Ren couldn't see over the phone.
"It's not your fault, Mogami-san," Ren said. "I was the one who started it."
"But I was the one who ended it and made you look bad," she said woefully. "They're saying things like you got dumped by a newbie actress and you're obviously still in love and some others are saying that you're a playboy and that you—"
"Mogami-san, really it's ok," he stopped her.
"But it's all my fault!" she said
Kyouko hadn't meant for things to turn out the way that they had. But it seemed that once the course of events had been set in motion, she had been powerless to stop it. She never would have imagined that one evening could change things so much.
"Kyouko, you really should come have a drink with me," the costar from her new drama insisted for the nth time.
"Thank you for the offer, Matsutomo-san" she said, "but I'm afraid I'm waiting for my ride and I would hate to inconvenience him."
"Your boyfriend?" he asked.
Kyouko blushed. "No—"
"Then it shouldn't be a problem," he said. "I can take you home after. Just call him and tell him you've got a date."
Kyouko blushed again. "I couldn't."
"You're cute when you're shy, Kyouko-chan," he said. "But you know, they say girls in love get even cuter. I think I'd like to see that. Come on, one drink? I promise I'll take you home right after."
"That won't be necessary," Ren said, drawing up beside Kyouko and placing an arm around her shoulder. "She's already got a ride."
Kyouko cringed. She could feel the brightness of his smile without even looking. She wanted to get out of there fast.
"When did you get here, Tsuruga-san? Have you been waiting? I'm so sorry! I'll get my bag right away and we can leave," Kyouko said.
"Don't take too long," he said, the brightness of his smile increasing, "I can't always be getting you home so late. Taisho and Okami-san will worry."
Kyouko nodded and rushed to get her things. When she came back, Ren took her bag and she called a quick goodbye to her flirtatious costar before heading to the car with Ren.
"So, how do you like your new drama?" he asked from the relative privacy of the car.
"It seems like it's going to be a wonderful experience," she said. "We're just starting, so we're all still getting to know each other, but the cast is really fun to work with...most of the time."
"I see what you mean," Ren said, pulling out of the parking lot. "Is that Matsutomo-san always so…friendly?"
"How much did you hear?" she asked miserably.
"Enough," Ren chuckled.
"I don't know what to do," Kyouko bemoaned. "No one has ever been that persistent before."
"Just tell him you have a boyfriend," Ren said.
"But I already told him I didn't have one," she said.
"I could stand in," Ren said, a hint of the emperor peeking though for just a moment, "He already thinks we're dating anyway."
"Eh? He thinks you're my boyfriend, Tsuruga-san?" Kyouko asked in disbelief, her eyes wide as saucers.
"So it would seem," he said.
"But, why?" Kyouko asked.
"Well, I came to pick you tonight…" he said, glossing over his possessive actions and familiar language.
"You've given me rides before and other people don't think we're dating."
Ren was silent.
"Do they?" Kyouko shrieked.
"Let them think what they want," he said.
"But it's not true! What about your reputation? How could someone like you go out with a newbie talent like me? Doesn't it bother you? What should we do? I'll tell everyone immediately! I'm so sorry, Tsuruga-san!"
"Mogami-san, don't worry about it. It's fine," he said.
"But your reputation!"
"If dating the girl I love spoils my reputation, then I don't need my reputation," he said.
"That's right!" Kyouko said. Her heart felt momentarily tight as she remembered. "What about the girl you love? Wouldn't she feel bad hearing that you're dating me?"
"There's no one to feel bad," he said.
"Would dating me be so horrible?" Ren asked, glancing at Kyouko. She barely managed to survive the puppy-dog eyes due to Ren being mostly in profile as he drove.
"N-no," she said. Dating Ren wouldn't be horrible at all, and that was what she was afraid of.
"Then it's settled, we're dating from now on. If Matsutomo-san asks you out again, tell him that I don't want you going out with other men."
The next time Matsutomo asked her out, Kyouko somehow managed to squeak out the much rehearsed line, the one Ren had drilled her on over and over.
"R-ren doesn't want me dating other guys."
"So you are dating him," Matsutomo said. "You should have just told me, Kyouko-chan. You could have saved me from a broken heart."
"Eh? I'm so sorry!" Kyouko exclaimed, ready to prostrate herself.
"Relax, Kyouko-chan. I'm just kidding. I'm happy for you."
Kyouko should have known better than to trust her luck with the god of love. She had counted it as a simple plan to keep Matsutomo-san from his constant flirting, but he too was a member of LME, and the President's information network was extensive. Before she knew it, she found herself in the President's office with Ren answering "Yes" to the president's question of, "Are you really dating?"
The President had shed a tear of joy, had hugged her, and called for a press conference. She couldn't have exactly taken it all back, but the more interviews they had together, the more talk shows, the more she heard Ren's affectionate words, the guiltier she felt. Ren deserved someone better. Someone capable of love.
"I'm sorry," she told him. "I know you were just trying to help me, but I can't lie anymore. As long as you're with someone like me, you'll never find someone who really deserves you."
"What if it wasn't a lie?" he asked. "Then would it be ok?"
"I'm sorry," she said. "I can't."
"It's ok, Kyouko," he said, "I'll take care of it."
Ren confessed everything to the President, they issued a statement about their breakup and it was over. Aside from the press, everything was back to normal between the two of them, or it should have been, but it was different now. Kyouko somehow couldn't shake the feeling that she had done something terrible to Ren, something worse than sullying his name by linking it with her own, and yet, she missed their brief time as a couple, which made her feel even guiltier.
"Mogami-san, it is not your fault," he said, sighing into the phone.
"Mogami-san, do you want to know the truth?" he asked.
"Yes," he said. "The truth. The truth is, I didn't ask you out for your benefit. I asked you out for mine."
"I'm not sure I understand," Kyouko said.
"I— I can't do this over the phone, just a minute," he said.
"Eh? Do what over the phone?"
"Ask you out properly," came the dual sound of his voice through the earpiece and through the door.
She looked up to see Ren flipping his phone shut as he made his way into the room.
"Tsuruga-san? When did you get here?" she asked.
"Just now," he said. "I wanted to do it right this time."
She drew her brows together in a silent question.
"Mogami-san, Kyouko, I love you and I want to date you. For real this time."
"Together Again!" read one headline, "Japan's New Golden Couple" read another.
The magazine racks that had been full of scintillating details of their emotional breakup, were replaced by details of their touching reunion. None of the magazines had it quite right, but they didn't need perfection. Being together was perfection enough.
AN: I haven't written anything, well any fanfiction, in a reeeeeeeeeally long time, so I'm a bit rusty. This didn't exactly turn out as I'd planned, but at least this proves I'm alive, if anyone was wondering... Thank you for reading! Leave me a review if you'd like to let me know what you think.