A/N: Inspired by a certain piece of Ren fanart I saw on deviant art, plus my own observations from the manga. No spoilers, unless you didn't know that the Heel siblings exist.
"Tsuruga-kun, Yashiro-san, won't you join us for drinks?"
"Ah, no, thank you, Director. I have an early photoshoot tomorrow…"
"We won't stay out that late, will we, Kijima-kun?"
"Of course not! Just a couple of drinks and maybe some karaoke."
Ren smiled politely, but shouldered his bag and angled his body toward the corridor opposite of the group of male actors and crewmembers were heading. "No, thank you. Maybe next time."
"Your photoshoot isn't until nine o'clock," Yashiro said quietly, so only Ren could hear. "You never sleep in anyway."
"President Takarada!" Director Ogata said, making both of them turn their heads.
The President, arrayed in sweeping golden-orange tunic and sash of a maharajah, complete with jeweled turban and a small, live monkey that perched on his shoulder, suddenly appeared at the other end of Ogata's small group of pleasure seekers. The President's all-too knowing gaze took in the small group of men and then Ren and Yashiro conspicuously separate from them. Ren and Yashiro were far enough away that they couldn't hear the low-voiced conversation that preceded to take place between the President and the Director, but the shorter man glanced at Ren with such a guilty expression that it wasn't hard to guess what the conversation was about.
"Ren," the President said, coming toward them with a grin that had Yashiro shrinking away in fear. Ren held his ground, his own smile firmly in place.
"President," Ren said with a slight bow.
"This is Momo-chan," the president said, giving a peanut to the little monkey who ate it, keeping its bright little eyes on Ren.
"So," the president continued, "I couldn't help but overhear that once again you're neglecting your social duties. Ogata-kun says—reluctantly—that this is the fifth time you've declined to go out with the cast and crew after a hard day's work."
"Sir," Ren said in his politest tone of voice, "Yashiro-san can show you my schedule right now if you wish. In fact, I have Tragic Marker shooting soon—"
"In two hours," Yashiro muttered.
"—so if you're concerned about my social life, I will be with Mogami-san for the rest of the evening."
"I'm not speaking of Mogami-san," the President said, giving Momo-chan another peanut. "She fulfills one aspect of your education in love—"
Yashiro started to giggle then turned it into an abrupt cough as he caught the stiffness of the actor's shoulders.
"... but I am afraid your lessons in philos haven't borne as much fruit as I would have hoped in your time as… a member of my agency."
Ren refrained from glaring at the President with difficulty. The older man had been on the verge of revealing that Tsuruga Ren was not in fact a real person. It wasn't that he didn't trust Yashiro to keep secrets - heaven only knew the stories he could take to the tabloids about him and Kyoko - but the story of Hizuri Kuon was long and not one that he wanted to delve into, especially not to his manager who might be a little upset that he wasn't trusted with the information from the start.
"What's philos?" asked Yashiro, looking from Ren to the President.
"Ah! My second-favorite word, Yashrio-kun!" The President beamed. "Philos, a Greek word meaning the love that exists between friends and family. There's an American city called Philadelphia. It means the 'city of brotherly love.' Then, of course, there's the English word 'philosophy,' which means 'love of wisdom.' Isn't it a marvelous word?"
"Ah, yes, sir…" Yashiro said, his expression a little mystified. "What does this have to do with Ren again?"
The President plucked a tangerine from a tray that suddenly appeared at his side by the ninja-esque Sebastian and began to peel it. Momo-chan started chattering again, staring down at the fruit.
"Ren, I want you to cultivate some male friendships. It will be good for your growth as an actor and as a person."
"What if you were given a role for a movie that portrays deep male friendships like… Shichinin no Samurai or the American movie, The Hangover?"
"Surely you're joking, sir…"
"I've never been more serious in my life," said the President, pretending to be hurt. "You've always been given lone wolf-type roles, or roles that have only light friendship elements to them. If you're ever placed in a movie or drama with a deep friendship role, I don't think you would know what to do. You'd flounder, just as you did with Katsuki. Yes, I think I want you to go out and seek new friends, Ren..."
"Sir," Ren tried, his smile now a little strained, "I am really too busy right now to add an extra project…"
"... Or I might be inclined to make you the first male member of the Love Me section. I have had more of the coveralls made, did you know?" The President's voice was perfectly calm and he made little noises to Momo-chan as he started feeding the fruit to her, but Yashiro felt the atmosphere in the room change as if a cold winter wind had blown through the hallways of the building.
"You… would…take me out… of the acting section… and put me there?" Ren's voice was glacial, his gentleman's smile an angry slash across his face.
Yashiro was astonished that the President could be so calm in the face of that expression. If that had been turned on him… Yashiro shuddered at the thought.
"No, nothing so drastic as that," the President continued calmly. "You would be an… associate member, picking up Love Me duties where your schedule allows." He gave Ren a serious look. "Ren, this can all be avoided if you can prove to me you are capable of sustaining friendship with at least one or two other men that aren't Yashiro-kun." He turned to Yashiro. "My apologies, Yashiro-kun. You spend so much time with him already that it really wouldn't be fair to count it."
"No offense taken," Yashiro laughed nervously. "After all, Ren still refuses to call me by my first name, so I don't know if I can be counted."
Ren glared at him. "Et tu, Brute?"
The president grinned.
Ren sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Just how am I supposed to prove to you that I've cultivated male friendship?"
"I'll know," the President said with a mischievous gleam in his eyes.
Yashiro heard a chirp on his phone and tapped Ren's shoulder. "We really do have to be going, Ren. Sir," he said to the President, bowing.
As they left, Ren still bearing a rather petulant pout, Yashiro couldn't help but feel sorry for the tall actor. Ren was friendly enough to everyone, but he did seem to keep people at arm's length. Except for Kyoko, but even with her, Yashiro sometimes sensed a certain reserve, a withholding on his part. Then again, he had no idea what Kyoko and Ren were like in private… That thought made him giggle.
Perhaps the President's little challenge would be good for him.