True Prince: The hours after

First off I'm so happy with the amount of reviews this story has gotten thus far ! I'm surprised how many of you blame the Beagle ;). Well I can't confirm or deny who it is, but maybe you'll learn a bit more about the grandmaster plan in this chapter :3 or maybe not…fu fu fu. In the meantime…

I don't own Skip Beat, bottomline -.-

By the way, for Crazygeekweirdo (sorry I didn't reply, as a guest I can't) but I wanted to give you a shout out anyway. (along with all the other guests and people who reviewed for me) I thought about your review and I agree. Kyoko was probably a little OOC in that chapter, and I'll certainly see if I can fix that. I wanted the relationship of them to progress at least a little so she was semi-conscious of his feelings before she was taken (thought that would have much more of an impact) but I'll see what I can do in this chapter to work with it. I can't change her now, but I can see what I can do.

Thanks for all your reviews! I really appreciate them!

Enjoy!

-Kate

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Huff huff huff huff

Kyoko ran through the woods at full speed, her legs screaming out for rest as she leaped over another small stump,

'moving, have to keep moving.'

She thought stubbornly to herself, as her breath hitched. She didn't remember how long she'd been running for exactly. She didn't remember where she was or what she was doing. All she remembered was that the moment she woke up, she had found the scariest sight of her life.

"good evening Kyoko,"

She heard a voice say as the harsh light greeted her. She rubbed her eye and stretched, thinking that she was in the Darumya. The vision around her was hazy and vague as she swung her head to the sound,

"ello'"

She slurred, her mouth still not up to speed with the rest of her.

"did you sleep well?"

She heard the strange voice ask again. She nodded and began to doze off when she heard a low chuckle that chilled her to the bone,

"good evening little bird."

She woke with a start. Standing in front of her was the familiar figure of Reino, the lead singer of Vie Ghoul.

"You!"

She cried out, waving out her hand in defense. That's when she noticed the room around her…wasn't the Darumya. It's was not Tsuruga-sans…not Cain's and Setsu's….this room…belonged to someone else. Her face lit up like a fire

'I've slept in someone elses room! what if it's the Beagle's?!'

She tried to knock that unpleasant thought away but found it pointless as she noticed the Beagle had dropped himself to her gaze,

"so…did you enjoy the sleep we had together for a few hours.?"

Steam rushed out of her ears in hot anger and embarrassment as she replied loudly,

"WHAT?!"

Reino pulled back and gave a smirk,

"I'm just joking little bird. You were here, in your own room, by yourself…the whole time."

He gave a little grin and reached down to pat her head. She moved herself away, hitting the wall on the side of the bed that wasn't barred up. A loud smack resounded through the room, and the wall finally cleared all remaining clouds in Kyoko's sleep-drunken head. She saw the bars that lined her bed and on the windows. She saw the wooden door with the steel medieval lock.

'prisoner?'

Was the first thing that came to her mind. Reino could see it written on her face and smirked,

"you're not a prisoner…it's more like…we're retraining you."

This time, Kyoko didn't bother to keep her thoughts to herself,

"retraining?! I'm not a dog like you! What the hell do I need retraining for?!'

A dark figure that stood in the shadows replied,

"we've decided to collect you Kyoko-chan. But before we can, you must be properly prepared."

Reino reached out for her again, before she slapped his hand away,

"SCREW THAT!"

She shouted,

"TAKE ME HOME!"

She demanded, swallowing the tears of fear she could feel welling up. Reino turned to the figure, who gave a solemn nod. He sighed and opened the door,

"of course."

Kyoko, being completely wary of the two kidnappers, stealthily climbed from the bed. She suppressed the shivers in her body, and dug deep for Mio's soul as Kyoko's fearful face faded and Mio's cold hard anger surfaced,

"thank you."

She turned to walk out, when she felt an arm grasp hers,

"silly little bird. You honestly think we'd let you walk out of here after planning this for so long?"

Reino growled, his canines hitched in his mouth like a ravenous wolf. Kyoko unconsciously sent a shiver down her spine as Reino continued,

"I propose a contest. I will give you a thirty second headstart. That's enough to get you into the forest. If you can navigate your way through it and get out…before I catch you, I'll take you the rest of the way, no questions asked."

Kyoko narrowed her eyes,

"what's the catch?"

She asked, the suspicion evident in her voice. Reino smiled as he released her, the predatory grin on his face growing cold,

"don't you know little bird? It's you."

Kyoko's face went pale as her heart dropped to her stomach. Reino glanced up at the clock with a vicious smile,

"the clocks ticking little bird. Run."

Huff huff, puff, pant, huff

Kyoko continued to run as her lungs screamed for oxygen. She didn't know how long she'd been running now, but the trees betrayed her as every sound in the forest echoed back with another footstep. She knew they were probably hers, but she couldn't help but tremble as she thought of the Beagle,

'he could be anywhere. In Karaizawa, he was able to find me even though I was far gone. That twisted denizen Beagle has a nose from hell!'

She leaped over another stump trying to keep herself from slowing down. All the while she went over the information she remembered learning in school,

'remember your directions. North, south, east, west. If I head north I'm bound to find my way out. Keep going north Kyoko.'

But that plan came to a halt as a voice resounded through the woods,

"north little bird? I'm sorry, but north won't get you out."

'shoot! He's already here!'

She gave a sharp turn and started going west. She took a sharp intake of breath to quiet her heart,

"keep going Kyoko. Keep moving!"

She chanted to herself as she ran through the twisted branches of oaks and pine. She pushed aside a branch, disregarding the sharp stab of pain she felt on her arm.

"little bird…I can hear you moving…am I getting close?"

The voice of Reino taunted her as her heart leapt up to her throat. She gasped for air and realized that her body was just too exhausted to run anymore. She heaved and swallowed the lump of bile growing in her throat. Quickly she used her last burst of energy to slip behind a tree. She tried to quiet her breathing as she slid down the bark of the tree, her strength giving out at last. Sweat poured down her face and she wiped it with the back of her hand,

'stay quiet Kyoko. Just stay quiet.'

The footsteps silenced themselves. Though it should've reassured her, it only caused her already racing heart to quicken. It beat painfully upon her chest and she looked around frantically with her golden eyes. The close knit trees cut off most light in the woods where she was, and each shadow morphed and changed into Reino, reaching out with his claws and taking her in his grip, using his demon powers from hell to freeze her.

She felt a cold breeze on the back of her neck though there was no wind. It was as if someone just…breathed down her…

Her eyes shot open with fear and she leaped back in surprise and saw the grinning visage of Reino.

"you!"

He chuckled and smiled,

"that shocked face of yours when I do that is always so cute little bird. But it's time to go back now."

Before she could blink she was tied up and slung over his shoulder like a piece of meat. She kicked with all her might, but the ropes around her ankles refused to let her go. her hands were tied closely together and she struggled against Reino's strong grip. She tried elbowing him and throwing her shoulder into his face, but Reino remained unmoved. He jostled her and repositioned her before smiling,

"hey do you remember the story of Red Riding Hood?"

He didn't wait for an answer as he continued,

"you know they lied right? Red Riding Hood never made it to Grandma's house."

He turned to Kyoko with that same predatory grin that made her face go pale, and her blood run cold,

"she was captured by the wolf before she could even get there."

He brought her back to the house and shut the door, cutting off her route to the outside.

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Reino placed her back on the bed gently before turning to her. Kyoko gave him a glare, her chest heaving from her long run. Reino smiled and got up,

"you must be thirsty right?"

He left and quickly came back with a bottle of water. Kyoko never ceased her glare, her golden eyes potraying all the hatred she held for him since her voice couldn't work because it was focusing on breathing. Reino smiled and took a sip of the water,

"it's not poisoned."

He sat back down and leaned Kyoko's head up gently pressing the bottle to her lips. She looked at him with repulsion but he just smiled and knelt down close to her ear,

"you need to drink Kyoko. If you don't, you'll get sick. Can't have that. And you can't drink by yourself, you're far too tired and besides…"

He gave a small smile and nudged her hands,

"you're all tied up."

She moved her head trying to get it out of reach before hearing another voice say gently,

"come on Kyoko-chan. Just drink the water."

She looked in surprise as her golden eyes locked on soft blue ones. His blonde hair was tousled and messy and he was taller than he was ten years ago…but there was no doubt that it was him…

"Corn?"

She muttered weakly before the bottle pushed past her lips and cold water flowed down her throat. She relished in the taste, but regretted the hands that held her under the watchful eye of her old childhood "fairy prince." Finally the bottle was drained and Corn was gone. Kyoko could speak with her strength returned.

"why are you doing this to me?"

She asked as Corn returned, a sandwich in his hands,

"You let your heart open up, and don't you remember?"

Reinos eyes turned cold as Corn gave the sandwich to Reino to feed her,

"nobody could understand a strange girl like you."

Kyoko's eyes perked with tears before Corn knelt down and caressed her face,

"Me and Reino are the only ones that could understand the world that we live in Kyoko-chan. Once you're ready, you can be a part of it."

He kissed her forehead gently as Reino placed a bite of the sandwich in her mouth. Tears coursed down her face as Reino fed her the sandwich bit by bit until there was no more. When her stomach was full, Reino knelt down and kissed her forehead like Corn had done.

"endure it Kyoko. When you're ready we'll let you out and reenter the world, the strong magical woman you were meant to be."

He closed the door and Kyoko glared towards it, summoning up every hate demon she owned. But they fell with lackluster. There was just no motivation now. She had lost.

She began to cry and sob,

"its not fair. I know I'm plain. I know I'm strange. I know nobody could love me…why do you have to remind me?"

The locks were beginning to return to the box. They were beginning to lock in all the emotions she thought for a moment she had regained. Bitter tears coursed down her face in endless streams as she felt each lock return.

But they were all shattered once more when the kind visage of her sempai emerged in the darkness. He stood over her and gently gathered her in his arms. He gently kissed her forehead, removing any stench of the previous two kidnappers,

"someone does Kyoko. Stay strong and I'll find you. I promise you I'll find you."

Kyoko didn't know whether it was a dream or not, but she nodded and responded,

"okay. I'll be strong and fight back…but…hurry please…Ren…I'm waiting for you. And I hope you know who it is that could love a strange, plain, and weird girl like me."

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Sometimes, when God sees our suffering, He sends ways to help us, even when we don't know it. And sometimes, when we're fighting for those we care about, He sends them messages as well. at that moment, in the darkness of the house where Kyoko was captured, her message to Ren was carried through the breath of the wind by the angels of God, to where a man was sitting on his couch at his home, fretting about the woman he loved.

"Kyoko…where are you?"

He said aloud to the darkness of his house, the images from the security camera haunting his every vision.

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Ren didn't think much of it when he burst into the President's office, his hair in shambles from running and his eyes wide with fear,

"Boss!"

He called out, gaining the attention of the elder man sitting at his desk,

"where is she?"

Lory looked at him, confusion etched on his face. He placed a hand on his chin in thought…did he do something with Kyoko that would anger Ren this much? (of course, Lory already knew that if it was a "she" it was Kyoko.)

"I'm sorry Ren."

He finally said,

"I didn't send her on any Love Me assignments yet, so I don't know where she is."

That last strand of hope that Ren held snapped. The last comforting thought that "Corn" was just a guise of a Love Me assignment to get Ren and her together fled from his body in an instant, drenching it in a cold chill.

"Boss…"

He said slowly, trying to keep control on his temper,

"please pull up the security cameras from this morning."

Lory stared at the young man strangely and narrowed his eyes,

"Ren, your father and I are close friends. I took you in and you are the best talent I've got. But I can't let you see the security cameras. It's protocol."

Ren clenched his fists and growled,

"screw protocol, Kyoko was kidnapped this morning, I want to see a face so I can find them."

Lory's face went pale.

"kidnapped?"

He whispered, his body beginning to quiver as he thought of his favorite actress. Ren nodded,

"this morning, by someone who goes by the name of Corn."

Out of this world only two people that is currently known, knew that Ren was Corn. Ren, and the President who found out when he asked Ren what his fascination with the actress was. Lory knew now the situation was much more dire than he previously thought. He waved a hand to his employees to get out and looked at Ren,

"I'm sorry Ren, but I can't just give up on…"

The door shut, locking the two men inside the soundblocked room. Lory smiled and turned to Ren,

"and they're gone. Get over here and I'll pull up the cameras."

Ren had no time to be relieved as he hurried over to the monitors, examining the footage closely.

"pull up the Love Me room, at about 9:00 this morning."

Lory tapped on a few keys and a black and white image of the Love Me room appeared. Ren watched carefully as Kyoko entered the room, her shoulders hunched and slumped, as though defeated. She slowly peeled off her clothes and Ren turned away with a blush, trying to respect, even video Kyoko. Lory stifled a chuckle and redirected Ren's attention back to the screen. Kanae had come in the room and began chatting with Kyoko, the two women sitting opposite of each other. Ren noticed that it seemed like even though Kyoko was doing most of the talking, Kanae was the one who seemed to be in control of the conversation. Then just as Kanae was about to say something, the two swiveled their heads toward the direction of the door.

Ren could guess this was where "Corn" came into play. He focused his attention on another monitor as Kyoko walked out of frame to the door. He saw the young man imitating him begin to talk to Kyoko. She looked shocked, like it was all a dream…Ren growled with selfish frustration,

'that was supposed to be me today!'

Then he watched in helpless anger as Corn took the young woman by the hand and led her outside, after leaving a note on the door, (the same note that was being repeatedly crumpled in Ren's hand). Ren shifted his gaze one more time to a new camera that waved an old gray rag in front of Kyoko's face. she fell into the arms of Corn, was put into the car, and driven off.

Ren was livid with anger. Kuon, BJ, and Cain were all fighting for control. Lory looked angry in his own way as well, to the point where the façade of the strange love obsessed President was gone, placed by the cold dark underbelly of the Demon President.

"how could the guards just let this happen?!"

Ren was thinking differently,

'how could I let this happen?!'

The night where Kyoko had laid in bed with him, she had cried as she told him that Sho had captured her at school and dragged her off.

"I didn't want to be there Tsuruga-san!"

He remembered her sobbing. Ren had been angry then too. The fact that he had just let that happen to Kyoko was enough to make him tremble. He had sworn that he was going to protect her from then on.

'nice work Kuon. I'm impressed by your protection.'

A cold voice mocked him. His heart dropped lower as he watched "Corn" holding Kyoko and putting her in a car, repeatedly like a sick cycle in his head. Once again, he had failed her.

'so you're just going to do nothing?'

A voice called out to him. It sounded oddly familiar,

'are you that much of a chicken Kuon?'

Ren could see the smirking grin but cold eyes of his best friend and mentor Rick staring at him from in front of the desk. Ren went pale. He spun around looking for the President, but in his absence of thought, The President had left by now; on his way to the security office to see if they could get an image match on the computer, so it was just Ren in the room on his own. There was no doubt though that the vision in front of him, was his mentor. Rick stared at him and observed the computers. He gave a slow whistle,

"that girl's in a lot of trouble Kuon. So what are you still doing here?"

Ren turned to Rick who was still staring at the computers. Ren didn't know how to reply (how do you reply when your dead friend starts speaking to you?) so settled for raising his eyebrows in sheer panic. Rick noticed this and gave a laugh,

"don't worry. I'm not here to haunt you. I want to know, why are you here?"

Ren was confused,

"what are you talking about?"

Rick zoomed in on a picture of Kyoko and pointed to her,

"isn't this the girl you gave me up for?"

It sounded weird when it was said like that, but Ren knew what he was talking about.

"yes. That's her."

Rick continued, his face closer to Ren's challenging him,

"so why are you still here when she's been taken away from you? She's yours isn't she?!"

Ren's eyes fell.

"no. as much as I want her to be…she's not."

Rick grew silent but heaved a sigh and plopped down on the Presidents couch.

"alright Kuon. Spill it out for me."

And Kuon sat and told him of Kyoko and all he knew about her. Rick listened intently, nodding and putting together the pieces. Finally he gave a nod, his dark eyes never leaving Ren's.

"okay. I understand. One question Kuon."

Rick leaned closely, his dark eyes narrowing,

"if she means that much to you…even if she doesn't know it…why are you here? And not trying to get this girl back to your arms?"

Ren stood up in a rage,

"if I knew where she was do you think I'd still be here?!"

Rick didn't seem fazed by his friends anger and cuffed his shoulder,

"just wanted to make sure you still had some fight left for this girl. Think about what you know about her. You'll find her."

He disappeared, leaving Ren alone with the monitors.

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Ren placed his head in his hands in frustration,

"what did Rick mean by that?! Where could Kyoko be? Who could've taken her?!"

As he sat there on the couch, tears beginning to pool in his eyes after who knows how many years,

"Kyoko. Tell me where you are. Give me a hint. Please."

But there was no sound to be heard. Ren's imagination betrayed him as all sorts of pictures of what could be happening to Kyoko taunted him. He could imagine them tying her up and making her strip her clothes, or worse, they would all take turns playing with her! In every picture Kyoko's agonized face tormented him and he knelt down and cried gently,

"be strong Kyoko. I'll find you, I promise you, I'll find you."

At that point, the message that Kyoko had uttered in the darkness of her capture had reached Ren's ears,

"I'll be strong and fight back…but…please hurry Ren…I'm waiting for you. And I hope you know who could love a strange, plain and weird girl like me."

His resolve steeled with those words. He instinctively knew that there was no other way it could be anything other than Kyoko's voice. That meant, that she was okay. She was fighting back.

"Kyoko. You're waiting for me? I'll find you. I promise. And I'll show you how much the real Corn loves you…how much I love you."

He reiterated, now with more angry conviction rather than sadness.

He held Kyoko's cell phone in her hand and opened up the recent calls. 18 from a withheld number…

"Sho…"

He growled. Tomorrow morning, he was taking a trip to Akatoki Agency, to see a certain childhood ex-friend.

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So I like all the guesses you all had for "Corn" you all thought it was Reino ^v^ kind of makes me laugh (poor Reino's always accused) ;) so leave a review and I'll get back to you

So who is "Corn?"

-Kate