Disclaimer: I love Skip Beat!, but that doesn't mean I own it. Pure fan love here.
Story: Kijima was just looking for a little fun. And somehow, it all turned into a learning experience and he wasn't quite sure he qualified as a teacher. And yet, Kyoko on the other hand, seems to be an eager student.
Set somewhere after chapter 101?
Spoilers: Yeeeessss. Yes, yes, yes. Beware?
Warnings: Cursing and violence for now…hm, just in case since I'm usually writing it, bit of crazy humor, perverted humor, morbid or sarcastic humor, and maybe some sexual situations…
Pairings: Kijima/Kyoko, side-Kyoren, side-(very downplayed XD) Kyosho, one-sided Hikaru/Kyoko….and we can't ignore one-sidedness from strange Reino, eh?

An Education
Chapter One: A Most Capricious Meeting

Kijima yawned as he blearily looked around. He was bored and getting sleepy. It was about time to wrap up shop and he was already mentally scrolling down his contacts list for a girl he was thinking of spending the night with. It wasn't too late, so he could take some time and sweet her up with a dinner…

Yuriko was nice. Maybe Reina. He could always go with Junko…though she was a little clingy. He shouldn't chance her.

Kijima groaned and went over his contacts again, thinking about each women and then the pros and cons for each one. He had just been carefully considering Junko hesitantly (she had a great mouth), when his eyes alighted on one Mogami Kyoko speaking to Momose Itsumi and Oohara Airi from some distance away from him. The teen laughed vibrantly and scratched the back of her head in embarrassment.

He had Itsumi and Oohara's numbers. He briefly considered them, but just as quickly dismissed the thought. They weren't his type (physically, yes –and though he wasn't too picky and had slept and gone out with women that weren't his type, these two just seemed a 'no'). On the other hand, he gazed in interest on Kyoko, watching her avidly illustrate her point.

She sure was lively, he mused. And adorably expressive.

Initially, he hadn't thought much of her, except that she was cute and pretty in a normal way. Amongst celebrities that didn't mean much, but he'd thought it made her a little more unique in that world. And he was a little envious too, as it allowed her to be able to walk around peacefully in the "normal" world without being troubled or recognized. She had the ability to flitter between both worlds, be a normal person and yet also act and be known for her roles.

Kijima would have liked to have been able to be like that. It would be nicer and easier on him to pick a girl out there that wouldn't come after him or be with him just for his fame, or to move up in the world.

He saw Kyoko move away from the other two females and start in the direction of the exit. He took that as his queue and looked around quickly before making his way after her. He'd caught up to her once they were practically out of the building and it looked like she was walking home.

"Eh, Kyoko-chan, are you walking home tonight?" he called out.

She paused and looked at him quizzically, though still smiling.

"K-Kijima-san! Good evening. Yes, I'm walking home right now."

He frowned. "But it's late and dark. It's dangerous to be walking out, especially for young girls." He caught up to her and gave her a sincere smile. "How about I give you a ride? I know we don't talk a lot or interact much, but I would still prefer to drive you home than to let you walk alone at this time of night."

He saw her still hesitating, so he gave her one more gentle push. "Please, Kyoko-chan? It'll make me feel better and sure that you're not going out in danger."

Of course, he had his ulterior motive and all…but he genuinely was concerned about her walking alone at night like this. He could, at least, give her a ride home. He was the kind of man that tried his best to be a gentleman and had always done his best to treat his woman well and give her the best. He also was the kind who still believed in chivalry.

Those things were partly why he was so successful with women after all.

"Thank you, Kijima-san. It's very kind of you. I would be grateful to accept your offer," she said politely, bowing as well.

He waved it off nonchalantly, still smiling. He offered his arm and then led the way around the building to where his car was.

"Are you hungry? We could stop by somewhere. I haven't had dinner yet, so I am," he asked her casually as he drove out of the garage lot.

"Ah, if Kijima-san is, then okay. I don't want to keep you from eating," her voice turned to worry and he thought it was sweet and cute of her. "And I am…Just a bit." She blushed slightly at that and that made it all the more cuter to him.

"Then what do you feel like eating?" he ran through the closest restaurants in his head, though he wasn't excluding out of the way ones.

"Hmm, it's been awhile since I've eaten there, so how about Moz Burgers?"

He nearly braked abruptly in shock, but stopped himself in time. He was treating her out and she was okay with fast food. Most women would be clamoring to get into starred restaurants and having eaten expensive meals.

"A-are you sure? Wouldn't you like to eat somewhere nicer? A restaurant nearby? Cantina's?" he asked weakly, still rather unsure.

"No, no! Moz Burgers is fine. I don't want to trouble Kijima-san or make him spend so much on me. Thank you so much for the consideration, Kijima-san!" she beamed at him and he caved.

He reached out and ruffled her hair, sighing inwardly to himself.

"Kyoko-chan is the one who's considerate. And very cute!" he said rather fondly, noting her darkening blush.

He found one quickly and went through the drive through, ordering and then waiting in line. He fiddled with the radio, skipping over a station playing some Fuwa Sho song and finding one he liked, letting the music lazily trail through his car peacefully.

"Ah, sorry, Kyoko-chan –did you like Fuwa Sho? I can put it back if you like?" he asked as an afterthought, though he was reluctant to.

"Tch, no thanks. I'm not a fan at all…What Kijima-san is listening to is much better!" she praised, though he had to wonder about the venom in her voice when she talked about Fuwa.

"Thank goodness. I dislike him and was worried you'd be a fan," he cringed, winking at her straight after to show he was teasing.

She smiled slightly, staring out her window. "No…I hate him."

His head whipped around towards her and he slightly gaped. He actually hadn't really thought that Kyoko was capable of that emotion, but though she was smiling there was a dark look to her eyes and her voice was sincerely hateful.

He blinked before putting on a smile, still inwardly confused and amazed. The way she sounded and looked though…it wasn't just someone who disliked an artist or whatever. It sounded personal. He wondered about the connection she must have with Fuwa, though since it seemed taboo he didn't push for answers. He especially didn't want to ruin the great night they were having so far, or the pleasant mood and atmosphere they were in.

"Well, we have something in common, huh?" he joked instead and could immediately see her relax slightly.

They were finally at the window when the next thing happened that had him learning something else about his passenger. He'd just handed over his card when the cashier blinked in surprise and in recognition. He sighed, getting ready to deal with it, when he was surprised that the cashier focused on Kyoko instead.

"Mogami-san? Is that you, Mogami-san? I know you look really different, but I'm pretty sure it's you!"

The girl by his side winced and gave a feeble smile to the cashier.

"Ah, yes. It's me, Izumi-san. How are you?'

"I'm doing great! But never mind me, how about you? You left so abruptly last time! Are you still a Fuwa Sho fan?"

Kijima flinched and quickly glanced furtively at Kyoko, whose face seemed to have frozen in its smiling state.

"Ahah…hahahaha…fan…I'm still very focused on him," Kyoko briefly growled low under her breath, not enough to be heard by anyone other than Kijima, but still rather frightening.

Kijima cleared his throat and smiled politely at the cashier. "Sorry, but we're a little in a hurry."

"Oh, I'm so sorry. Let me just run this through," and the cashier handed back his card after. "You look…familiar," she commented, staring at him. "Ah, how do you two know each other?"

"I work with her," Kijima let his smile grow wider.

The cashier smiled back, nodding. She left to get their food, but he could tell that she was still thinking about it closely, trying to figure out who he was. And when she came back, her eyes were wide and staring at him in awe. He just kept on smiling as he accepted the food, before balancing the bags on his lap and driving away.

"Thank you, Kijima-san," Kyoko said quietly, and he had a feeling it was a thanks meant more for than just the food but for the block in conversation about Fuwa he'd provided.

"No problem," he declared steadily, ruffling her hair again. "Let's park over here and watch the stars while we eat, huh? It's nice out and we can get to know each other."

"That…that would be nice," Kyoko seemed suddenly shy.

He parked off to the side of the park and the both of them got out. He carelessly used a hand to jump onto the hood of his car, casually folding his legs Indian style. He patted the spot next to him as he grinned cheekily at his sort of 'date'.

"Eh, Kyoko-chan, hop on."

"A-are you sure?" she was obviously hesitant and her eyes were almost as wide as the cashier's. "I mean…your car…and it's expensive…And I don't want to dirty it or mess it up or something, Kijima-san!"

"It's fine, it's fine! Come on," he encouraged her, offering his hand to help her up. "I'm a spontaneous kind of guy, so I don't mind. It's good."

Still hesitant, she grabbed onto his hand and used her other hand to balance herself on his hood, before pushing herself up and trying to scramble on. He helped her onto it and soon enough, she was sitting next to him, her legs laid out in front of her.

"So, Kyoko-chan, how'd you know that lady cashier?" he asked to start conversation.

"Oh. Um, I used to work there with her," Kyoko's voice was tinged in embarrassment.

Kijima stopped short of taking a bite from his burger in favor of staring at her. She started turning red after a while of it and Kijima snapped out of it.

"I'm sorry. I just have trouble picturing you working there, or thinking of you working in a place like that at all," he smiled sheepishly.

"Really?" Kyoko asked in surprise. "I only worked there not too long ago."

"What? Really?" he was incredulous about that. With how fast Kyoko seemed to be gaining recognition, and how amazing her transformation into Mio was, it was hard to picture her as anything but an actress.

"Yes," Kyoko bashfully grinned. "Let's see…the Kurara commercial was the first thing I've ever done in showbiz, and really auditioned for…and that wasn't too long ago was it? And…I think that it was only maybe a few months or even less that I even got into LME or anything in showbiz, and before that I worked at Moz Burgers and Darumaya part-time each. I wanted full-time, but since I was only 16 and only finished junior high, I could only get that."

"Wow, that's really impressive," he complimented her. "When did you work at Moz Burgers and Darumaya?"

"I had 10 hours at Moz Burgers, from 7 to 4, and then I went straight to Darumaya and worked 4:15 to 11 for around 7 hours, I think?" she mused aloud.

He nearly choked on the fry he was eating. He hadn't actually thought she was working both places the same day –more that she worked one place for a while before quitting and going to another, or something of the like.

"Ah. I-I see. I wasn't thinking you were working both part-time jobs," he commented dazedly. "Why would you need to?"

"I was…I was living in an expensive apartment. The person I was living with wanted to live in somewhere nice, but was only starting out in his job so he wasn't being paid well at first. I was paying the rent and for groceries and stuff," she started mumbling near the end.

"What happened to that person? Are you still with him?" he asked, curious and a little worried. If she had someone, he was more reticent to pursue (he wasn't one for cheating, thank you very much). On the other hand, if it was a girl he truly liked or wanted, he'd shake off that issue and come after her anyways (like he was leaning towards for Kyoko). Besides, the guy sounded like a jerk anyhow. Or that was the feel he was getting…

All of a sudden, he was getting chills though. He looked over at Kyoko in alarm, seeing her head hanging depressingly and an aura of gloom and hate surrounding her.

'Taboo! Tabootabootaboo –switch subject, switch subject!'

Damn, he hit a landmine straight on. He had to do something and recover fast, or else the night (and his progress) was ruined. At least he didn't have another guy standing in the way…

"Never mind, he's just old news, huh, Kyoko-chan?" he forced out a grin, reaching out to ruffle her hair. He changed his mind and instead moved his hand to brush a piece of her hair behind her ears, his words and action startling her.

"Yeah…y-yeah, he's…old news," she gave a small smile.

Nice recovery.

"Anyways, what jobs do you have lined up after Dark Moon?" he changed it to something that should be safer to talk about.

Her smile faltered and he thought that maybe that might not be the case.

"Um, I have a lot of roles in drama coming up…they're just…" she trailed off and his curiosity grew.

"They're just?" he prompted gently.

She sighed. "They're all mean roles. The main role I have coming up is a bully in school, and the director told me to just make it 'Mio-like'. I'm very grateful for all the roles…I just wanted to play a role different from Mio. I don't know what I should do, Kijima-san. You're…you're a veteran actor like Tsuruga-san, right? What would you do? Should I accept all of them? Or refuse them? Or maybe some of them?"

He didn't usually talk work during a date or when he was trying to work a girl or pick one up, but looking at her face (which was adorably scrunching up and slightly tearing), he couldn't really say no to her when she looked like that.

He pushed aside his food and lay back on his car, crossing his ankles as he laid them out and cushioning his head on his arms as he thought about her dilemma.

"Hmm, well, when I just started out I was just a bachelor living in Tokyo in a small, kind of crowded apartment. I had bills to pay –and rent –so I wasn't stingy about any roles. I took whatever roles were offered to me and auditioned for any roles that were available. In fact, if I remember right, I tried to audition for a role that needed a black person to play it…and I was kicked out pretty much the moment I entered, but hey –what can you do? I think rent was coming up and I hadn't had any roles for a while, so I really needed a job."

Kyoko giggled and the sound of it and her cheering up brought a light smile onto his lips.

"Actually, I should have gotten something part-time, like you, so I could have done something to make sure I could actually live on my own and have a fallback until I was able to make it big," he mused, knowing it might have made life easier, especially financially-wise.

"Eh," Kyoko scrunched up her nose. "It's hard to picture Kijima-san as a struggling actor. It would have been a waste for you to do anything but acting! Kijima-san is such a great actor after all."

Kijima laughed, slightly embarrassed but flattered and surprised she thought so.

"So anyways, it'll be a good idea to try all of them. At least you could show and build a reputation about being a hard worker and stave off any rumors of being snobbish. Plus, you end up building connections this way, and also build a repertoire with a bunch of different directors and actors, who might keep you in mind for future projects or even recommend you to other directors and for other roles."

"Oh! I never thought about it like that," Kyoko grinned wryly.

He waved it off. "It's industry stuff. Mostly behind the scene kind of things you learn as you grow in the showbiz world. It has less to do with acting and talent, and more to do with social ladders and connections. Some people are genuine and some are just snakes and suck up to everyone to try to beat out other better-skilled actors."

"Does that make me a snake or genuine then?" she asked wide-eyed.

He stared at her, unable to believe she'd actually asked that. He poked her forehead harshly, inciting a yell and then a pout.

"You are one of, if not the most, genuine people I know, silly girl. When I say you should try to build connections and try to make yourself look good, it's for your own good, not for greediness or selfishness. Snakes are greedy little shits, who think only about themselves. In showbiz –or any type of workplace, really –it's one thing to try to build yourself up. Then there's crossing the line. And you're being sincere. It's an entirely different thing when you're sincere, honest, and being true to yourself, as opposed to faking it to only look good in front of others."

"Oh, I see," she mumbled, still rubbing her forehead.

"What? You want me to kiss it better?" he smirked at her teasingly.

"K-Kijima-san!" she squeaked and he started laughing.

She hit his shoulder and he was amazed that she was already comfortable enough with him to do so.

"Hurry it up. It's getting late and I've got to bring Cinderella home," he sat up, grabbing his garbage and balling it up.

"C-Cinderella," he heard her mumbling and he turned to see her picking up her stuff with her face bright red and a happy smile on her lips.

He did actually bring her straight home after that, noting in surprise that it seemed she lived at Darumaya, the place she mentioned she'd previously worked at.

It was, after all, he decided a bit too early to go in for the kill.

He'd have to take his time with this one, and work hard and patiently, but he didn't really mind that at all. Kyoko seemed like she was one of a kind. She was quite worth it.

Kijima was looking forward to it.

Started 11/6/1 – Completed 11/8/12

A/n: Yes, where's my repeat readers saying "There's that idiot again, doing yet another oddball pairing. Why can't she ever write something normal?" Sorry? Hahaha, my fault, my fault, really. I'm just obsessed with crazy pairings. Just shake your head at me. MERRY CHRISTMAS!