Chapter 2: It Hears

"This is it!" Kyoko hummed to herself as she cleaned an already nearly spotless room. "Father's going to be coming into town! And to think that I thought the calm was a lead up to bad news. How foolish of me!" She picked up her picture of her late uncle and wiped all the fingerprints off the glass of the picture frame, before replacing it on her dresser, among dozens of other pictures and souvenirs she'd collected over the years. She lightly brushed her fingers over the tops of all the wood frames.

There was a knock at the door and Kyoko's heart came to a complete standstill, leaving a cold feeling of dread in her chest cavity. She clambered over her odd objects strewn about her dresser and grabbed a few pictures of her and Shou as children, to throw them into her desk drawer.

"Are you hiding photos?" Kanae complained through the door. "Whose picture do you not want me to see?"

"Moko-San!" Kyoko exclaimed, throwing the pictures onto her well made bed. She swung the door open

to face her best friend.

Kanae braced for the impact of a violent tackle-hug and was surprised when several seconds of contact free silence went by, even though they hadn't seen each other in almost three weeks. Something was definitely wrong. She looked back up at her friend to see she was pouting, with large, overexaggerated tears threatening to escape the confines of her lower eyelids.

"Doesn't Moko-San know that I have nothing to hide from her" Kyoko's voice was softer than usual and took on a slightly higher tone, but it had an underlying heaviness that could drown any normal human being in synesthesia. "I'd never keep a secret from my Moko-San" 'except for the fact that I'm in love with Japan's number one bachelor that will never love me back, but that's beside the point,'

"Mo! Stop making that face, I was just poking fun!" Kanae's cheeks flushed, ever so slightly. "If you didn't wanna hide the pictures from me, who did you think was at the door?"

Now it was Kyoko's turn to turn pink, but her blush was more prominent, spreading all the the way from her hairline to the tips of her fingers. When she saw Kanae's suspicious expression she immediately denied any implications her reaction could've lead to. "That's not what I meant!" her light pink darkened to a deep red, bordering red-violet. "H-he's coming over to help with a scene, that's all. He's just helping a kouhai as any responsible senpai would do!"

Kanae picked up one of the stray photographs from the hot pink covers that adorned Kyoko's mattress. Kanae smiled as she realised that they matched her Love-Me uniform and, at the moment, her face. "If he's just a 'responsible senpai' then why do you need to hide photos of your ex-lover when he comes over"

Kanae heard a subtle thunderclap that she would have bet her life savings would have been louder had she had an ear pressed to Kyoko's chest.

"Ex-lover?" She growled ominously."I don't appreciate you implying that I would ever stoop so low as to do such unsavory things with a heartless bastard like that!" As quickly as the menacing aura came, it left, leaving a hurt feeling of disgust in its wake. "I think you should go," Kyoko said, almost in a whisper.

"What?" Kanae didn't actually believe that she misheard, she just hoped.

"Leave!" She didn't shout, but it felt like it. She had that same sore, dry feeling left in her throat like she had screamed at the top of her lungs the way she wanted to.

Kanae didn't know what to do. She was used to Kyoko's odd mood swings, they were just a part of who she was. But Kyoko had never been so upset with her before, she'd never been upset with her at all. Not angry, certainly not, whatever that was. It looked, to Kanae, like a strange mixture of betrayal, anger, sadness, and... guilt? 'Why are you guilty?' The question burned the tip of her tongue, trying to make an escape, to be out in the open and heard. She wouldn't let that happen. She did as she was told and left the way she came. "Good luck" Kanae said on her way out, wondering if Kyoko would be equipt to handle that uncomfortable scene she had to film the next day for "Box R"

"Thanks," Kyoko replied, too quietly for Kanae too hear her. She stood in the doorway for a few seconds before closing the door with finality. She pressed her back to the wall, knowing her light, flowy shirt wouldn't guard her against the sensation of a thousand tiny needles of ice pricking her skin. She went to finish putting her photos in the drawer, but this time her movements were slow and painful. Just as she was closing up the drawer of the vanity that was near the foot of her bed, there was another knock. She took a few deep breaths with her hand on the doorknob, mentally preparing herself, before she opened the door.

"Tsuruga-san, please come in" She greeted, the polite, matronly smile she'd spent years perfecting plastered all over her face. She gestured to the small bench that was pressed to the back of her headboard.

Ren followed the movement and took a seat. "So, what is it you needed help with?" He managed to keep his cool but his emotions were raging inside of him. He was sort of glad that the show had become so popular with it's second season, or he would've never had the chance to guest star alongside Kyoko. 'But did it have to be a flirt scene?' he wondered. Somewhere deep inside of him Kuon was telling him that, yes, it absolutely had to be a flirt scene.

"Well, I'm not really worried about the whole 'flirting' thing, actually" Kyoko waved a hand dismissively, barely even blushing. "But I keep stumbling over a couple of my lines, and I've finally been able to say them without stuttering. I'm just worried that I'll mess up again when I have to do it in time with other people"

'Wait, she knows how to flirt?' Kuon asked. 'Where did she learn to do that?' Ren bit back his anger and smiled wide."I'd be glad to help"

Kyoko froze. 'he's mad at me! I knew he'd be mad; I shouldn't have asked his help over something so silly!' Kyoko thought back to their conversation earlier that week.

"Don't worry about it, Tsuruga-san" She begged. "It's not even that big of a deal. I'll totally have it down by filming, no help needed. Besides, it's embarrassing to ask a favor over something so insignificant"

"Mogami -san" Ren said, almost threateningly. He took on a more professional tone as he continued, "It's rather unprofessional of you to refuse help and, potentially, hold up production, just for the sake of your pride"

Kyoko remembered the conversation well, as she was emotionally wounded by the event. 'Hr doesn't have any right to be ad at me,' she assured herself. 'he insisted, on helping and even reprimanded me for not wanting it, it's his fault!' She looked back at Ren with a newfound confidence, only to find him staring at her expectantly, with a script open in his lap. 'Or maybe he isn't always angry when he smiles' Kyoko felt stupid for believing she could have a lasting impression on Japan's number one bachelor. She settled down next to him, and tried not to think about how close they were, how easy it would be to steal a kiss if she just leaned a little closer. She shook the thoughts away and turned all of her attention to her work.

Before they knew it, it was already ten o'clock at night, so Ren bid her a goodnight and left.

Kyoko flopped down on her bed, hoping that, since she was so exhausted, she wouldn't need to take her sleeping pills. She had no such luck. As the medication put her to sleep she stared at her blank ceiling. She loved having a blank ceiling. Back at the apartment she shared with Sho the ceiling was textured. Textured ceilings were not relaxing, they were a task. When you stare at a textured ceiling you just can't help but pick out all the patterns, the faces, the monsters, but with a blank ceiling she didn't need to close her eyes to clear her mind, she could just let the soft lavender calm her nerves. Kyoko couldn't pinpoint exactly when, but at some point or another the medicine kicked in and she slowly drifted into a deep sleep.

Kyoko was slinking through the halls, a strange mix of apprehension and guilt mixing in her stomach. 'I wish I didn't yell at Moko-san, I really wanna talk to her. I wonder if she'd get angry at me if I called, or she'd just ignore my call. I could try, but she's probably too busy with work. Maybe-' her train of thought was thrown from its rails as she heard two familiar voices arguing. She groaned internally.

"I'm going to win!" Shou was cocky as ever, talking loud enough that he was almost shouting but not loud enough to be called out on it.

"You seem a little too sure of yourself" Ren, on the other hand, was calm, cool, and collected, not ready to let some brat get the best of him.

"There's a prize to be won, and it will be mine!" Shou rested his fists arrogantly on his hips.

Ren's gentlemanly facade faltered, if only for a moment, but he still didn't shout as he replied "No. It. Won't"

The mistake may have only lasted a moment, but that moment was enough for Kyoko. Somehow the oblivious Kyoko Mogami managed to notice the implications of their words. She was dumbstruck as she realised that the "It" they had been referring to was supposed to be her.


A/N: A pig fell on my head while I was writing this. Only the left half, though.