Disclaimer: I do not own Skip Beat!
Kyoko sighed one more time. She stared at the huge white canvas at her feet, lost in her thoughts and oblivious to her surroundings. Not long ago, she had laid it on the floor, searching for inspiration by establishing a different point of view, with no success. The deadline was approaching dangerously fast, and she wasn't able to finish her painting, or even start it. But she knew why: somehow it was lacking.
She had an idea, and piles of sketches developing it, but she knew they were all wrong. So there she was, at her studio at nighttime, the day before the delay, feeling completely drained of inspiration. And while she was in this state of mind, most people in the LMAA building left on their way home. How she wished she could be between them.
Meanwhile, Ren Tsuruga slowly paced through the halls of the academy. He had spent most of his afternoon presenting his newest exposition in a prestigious art gallery, and had come to pick up a few things. When he saw the light on Kyoko's studio, he thought it would be a nice idea to see her home. He knew she would be nervous for her presentation the following day, and thought his duty to be ensuring she rested well.
However, he never expected to find her as he did. When he opened the door, its cracking sound revealing his presence, she hadn't even looked up. She was sitting on the floor, surrounded by discarded sketches and unfinished drawings.
"Is everything alright?" Ren asked with a worried tone. The answer was a little too obvious seeing the state of things, but he blurted out his concern without thinking.
From the floor, Kyoko glanced up, her big golden eyes full of concern. At her stare, Ren suddenly felt teleported to his early years, when she had come to him crying. He felt the urge to lift her up, like he had done then, trying to console her. But he couldn't let his feelings get the best of him.
"I think I should resign" she said, interrupting his train of thoughts. "I can't meet the standards, so I guess someone should take my place at the exposition".
He knew those thoughts of insecurity very well. He had often asked himself if he was good enough. But he also knew that great achievements came from pushing the boundaries of your possibilities.
"And what's that idea of yours?" He asked, while sitting next to her. He smiled gently encouraging her to speak.
"Well, as the exposition revolves around music, I thought I would like to explore how people interact with it" Kyoko started explaining. He nodded, assessing the idea.
"But I don't want just to show it, I want for the spectator to remember similar experiences, to submerge in them, in a whirlwind of colour and music. However, I've reached a dead end. I've been discarding ideas, and can't come up with new ones"
Ren rested silent for a minute. Then he started to speak slowly.
"Well, if you want to paint something as complex as that, shouldn't you experience it yourself?" He asked. She tilted her head in interest, welcoming the idea.
Ren got up and scanned the room, looking for the music player every studio had. When he found it, he turned it on, letting whatever song popped up first play. It was a lively song, at the sound of which Kyoko's face lighted.
"It brings back memories…" She started to say but, while doing so, she tried to stand up. Unluckly she stomped on one of her paint pots, this falling and covering most of the canvas with cyan blue. Her eyes opened wide.
"Are you all right?" Ren's question went ignored, as a sudden resolution had filled Kyoko's face. She shook off her shoes and went looking for magenta.
"I've got it" she said full of enthusiasm while searching on the cabinet, which was on the far corner of the room. While doing so, she told him to look out for the yellow. Ren complied and also took off his shoes; he had a feeling that he knew what was this all about.
"Shall we?" He asked when she reached him, the music on the background fading.
"We shall" Both of them covered their feet with paint, and stepped on the canvas on the floor, Ren's footsteps painted yellow, while Kyoko's one's magenta.
Then, the next song started sweetly playing on the background. It was an old fashioned waltz to which's sound Kyoko's face flushed with embarrassment. Ren offered his hand and Kyoko took it, a little hesitant. She had been expecting a more casual dance… but the music commanded. The steps where chary and slow at first, Kyoko tried not to meet his eyes while she concentrated on the sensation of cold paint at her feet.
"Relax. Let the music lead the way" Suggested Ren. She nodded with seriousness, her body still stiff. He knew that was no good, so he decided to make her.
He leaded her across the canvas, altering the pace while following the music. He made her twirl and she smiled, their moves matching easily. He also pretended to miss his step, earning an honest chuckle from his companion. Little by little, the grip on his shoulder started to relax, as Kyoko got submerged on the dance. He too started forgetting all around him, all his bothers seemed to fly away, leaving only the music and Kyoko.
She made some quick steps and he copied them, bringing another smile to their faces. She was losing any weariness. He gathered some courage and lifted her briefly, while she jumped. They weren't expert dancers: there was no such thing as elaborated steps, but that didn't matter.
If he could freeze time, Ren would have done so. Kyoko's eyes shone with laughter and her cheeks where deliciously red from the dancing. Dressed with her old stained jeans and a white painter's smock, her hair all messy tucked up with clips of all sorts and colour, she was just beautiful. Ren didn't need more.
She spun once more, as the music reached its climax. At their feet, the stains of paint intertwined and blended in new colours, creating a vast symphony of colour.
As the song reached its last notes, their surroundings seemed to materialize. Ren stared down at Kyoko's face, taken in with the sight, as if trying to memorize it forever. But, a few seconds later, the magic broke, and Kyoko realized how close they were. Her cheeks flushed crimson red and she pulled apart, to which Ren reluctantly complied.
She went looking for some water and cloth to wash their feet, while Ren helplessly watched her escape.
Even after they had left the studio, when they were on his car riding home, she hadn't been able to calm her beating heart.
A/N: This one shot intends to be a scene in a major AU story I want to write, in which Kyoko is an aspiring painter and LME is an art academy/emprise. However, I don't think I'll be able to go on with it. But I needed to write at least this scene.
Tell me what you think about it!
Thank you for reading this one shot. As I'm not an English native speaker, there might be some grammar or spelling mistakes. If you happen to notice any, please do tell me! I'm trying to improve my English so this would be a great help. I hope you liked it!
31/07/2017: Revised (thanks to CarolinaEirasSa)