Welcome back! Today's word is "picture." I own nothing!

It took all of Kanae's acting ability to not openly gape at Ren's apartment. Sure, Kyoko had described it before, but this was absurd. She had thought that the building itself was insane (to say nothing of the fact that Kyoko knew the guards by name), but this? Who needed this much space? And this was all for one person! She rounded on Kyoko and stared at her. Kyoko giggled. "I know, I had the same reaction."

"To what?" Ren asked, setting down the plants in the living room.

Kyoko just smiled in response and pulled on her slippers (and they were her slippers, Kanae noted - they were castle-themed). "What sounds good for dinner? I know you probably don't have groceries, but Kanae and I brought our food."

"I have yogurt," Kuon protested. "You told me yourself that yogurt was a good source of protein."

Her lips twitched. "Yes, it's a good snack or a very light meal. Did you want to have a yogurt dish for dinner?"

"I'm good with whatever you want to make." He set the box of plants to one side, then picked up the cooler. "I can start unpacking this if you ladies want to get settled."

"Okay, thank you!" Kyoko chirped. She turned to the still-baffled Kanae. "C'mon, the guest room is over here."

Kanae followed, shooting Ren an unreadable look. He shot her a sparkly smile in return - the one that Kyoko had warned her about. But she didn't have long to mull this over, as the next moment, she was following Kyoko into the guest room. What kind of apartment had a guest room, much less one with two beds and its own bathroom? And why was that tub so huge? And the beds! They were so luxurious… wait a second. Kanae's eyes swept around the room. This room's style clashed with the modern, minimalist look of the rest of the apartment. It was fancy - princess fancy, she realized, watching Kyoko claim one of the beds and swiftly start unpacking her bag, obviously very familiar with the room. That man must have redecorated this room once he realized how often Kyoko stayed here - she was sure of it. What a sap. Good.

"Moko, I'm going to go start dinner, does anything sound good?" Kyoko asked, tucking her now-empty duffle under the bed. "Ren was kidding about the yogurt."

"How about that rice and chicken dish you made last week? I think we've got everything for that." A thought struck her. "Hey, what was up with you calling me by my first name earlier?"

"I'm sorry!" Kyoko straightened up, just to bow. "I just thought that you wouldn't want me calling you by your nickname in front of Ren."

Kanae rolled her eyes. "It's fine either way. I'm sure he already knows what you call me." And it's not like he has a nickname. "Just don't call me that at work."

"Of course!" Kyoko beamed at her, then skipped out of the room to make dinner.

Kanae sighed and started unpacking her own bag. When she went to hang up a dress in the closet, however, she found something else to confirm her suspicion of Ren's sappiness. Tucked in the back of the closet, hidden unless you looked behind the door's folds, were several outfits. They all had their price tags on them, were in Kyoko's size, and were stupidly expensive. These were either future gifts - or something he just hadn't found an excuse to give her yet. And with Kyoko, you needed an excuse. Or, Kanae thought with a triumphant smirk, he needs an excuse. Kyoko did not protest nearly as much when the gifts were from her best friend. She hung up her dress and returned to unpacking. She would have to talk to him about the outfits later, when Kyoko was distracted.

In the kitchen, Kyoko and Kuon had started dinner. She had been teaching him how to cook since they started dating, with modest progress. Anything he made on his own wasn't quite edible yet, but he was a good mincer. So tonight, he was in charge of mincing the vegetables and cubing the chicken. "Is this okay?"

Kyoko glanced over from where she was working. "Yup, but maybe a little smaller on the onions."

He complied. "So, cockroaches?"

She shuddered. "They came up through the sink this afternoon! I've never seen so many in one place before. I don't know what the neighbors were thinking."

"At least the fumigation will take care of it?" He blinked, eyes stinging from the onions.

"I hope so." She glanced up at him. "Thank you again for letting us stay."

"You know that my apartment is always open to you." He had given her a key not long after they had started dating so she wouldn't have to wait outside if his work ran late. Coming home to her on date night was incredible - and this week was a way for him to picture how their lives would be if they lived together.

"What needs doing?" Kanae asked, striding into the kitchen.

With one exception. His mental picture of their future did not include happy domestic moments being interrupted by her best friend. He shot her another sparkly smile while Kyoko delegated tasks - and when Kyoko's back was turned, Kanae shot him an icy smile of her own. Kyoko looked between them, confused, and Kuon shook his head. Right. He needed to try to get along with Kotonami-san this week. Besides, he was their host. He needed to act like it.

"Ren?" Kyoko was looking up at him, apparently waiting for him to respond.

"Sorry, love, what was that?" It was so weird to hear his stage name coming from her lips.

Worry wrinkled her brow. "Can you get the plates down, please?"

"Will do." He gave her a reassuring smile, and her forehead smoothed. She reads me so easily.

Kyoko glanced between her two favorite people as she finished preparing dinner. She had never noticed it before, but there was definitely a weird tension between them. It wasn't enough to bring out her grudges, but it was definitely there. She set her grudges and angels to work on figuring it out; for now, there was dinner to serve. As they sat down, she said, "You know, it's really lucky that you two have such similar tastes."

They looked up at her, a bit too startled. "What?" Kanae asked.

"You both like lighter foods - I make a lot of the same recipes for you two. Though Moko does like sweet things more, when it comes to celebrating." She clapped her hands together. "Well, let's eat. Thank you for the food!"

Kanae and Ren locked eyes, amused by Kyoko's obliviousness. They echoed her sentiments, and from there the atmosphere relaxed. Conversation drifted to work. Kanae was pleased to report that the coworker who had been giving her problems had finally gotten the hint, "Thanks in no small part to that cursed thing you made me."

"Which one?" Kyoko asked. She had made Moko several items imbued with energy at this point.

"The blue one."

"Oh, the grudge! I'm glad she's keeping you safe." One of the grudge Kyokos had volunteered to possess the little keychain the boss Kyoko had made in her likeness, for the sake of protecting Moko.

Kanae nodded and swallowed her food. "He's convinced I'm some sort of witch, so the rest of the cast thinks he's gone crazy. Serves him right."

"Do you mind if I ask who the actor is?" Ren asked. When Kanae gave the name, Ren grimaced. "Lovely. He's in the film I start shooting tomorrow. I'll make sure to keep an eye on him."

Kanae nodded approvingly. "Thanks. He's a creep."

"So shooting's going well again?" Kyoko asked. She shot Kuon a pointed look; his plate was still mostly full. He took a bite.

"Yeah. Everyone seems more focused now." She took another bite, then asked, "How's your new drama spot going? That started today, right?"

"It's going really well so far! I love getting to work with Shiro-kun." She beamed, then took another bite.

"Shiro-kun?" Kuon echoed. Who's this guy? And why is she so informal with him, if they just met today? "Ah, is he a kid?"

"No, he's an adult," Kyoko replied, looking at him oddly. Her jealousy grudge (even if Kyoko did not know that was what she was) pulled herself away from the meeting.

Kanae gave Kyoko a sly grin. "Right, you told me about him. He's pretty popular with the ladies, right?"

"Mmhmm," Kyoko hummed around her chopsticks. "He stuck by me today, mostly, though. Which was good because we need to get used to each other for the camera."

What? Kuon stared at Kyoko, baffled by how calm she was about this. Since when does that type of attention not bother her?

"How is he on camera?" Kanae asked. She took a bite. "Gods, your food is good."

"Thank you, but we all made this!" Kyoko smiled. "And he's really good, super professional. And he definitely knows all his lines!"

Kanae laughed, increasing Kuon's confusion. Knowing your lines is the bare minimum. Why is that funny? "I haven't heard of him before. Have I seen anything he's in?" Is he my competition?

Kyoko tilted her head, thinking. "I dunno. Oh, I have a picture we took on set, though!" She dug her phone out of her pocket. A moment later, she held up the screen to show them.

Kuon let out a sigh of relief. Shiro was a dog. A big, fluffy mutt of a dog who was, in the picture, licking Kyoko's cheek. Okay, no need to worry. No need to be jealous of a dog.

"Isn't he cute?" Kyoko asked. "And he's really well-trained. He responds to hand signals!" She swiped her phone (it had been updated to a smartphone recently) screen and showed them another picture, this time of a sheet of commands. "I've never gotten to spend this much time with a dog before, so I'm really enjoying it."

"I thought it was a saying, to not work with animals or kids?" Kanae said. "Though I guess it depends on the individual."

"Yeah, don't let Hio-kun hear you say that," Kyoko giggled.

"Or Maria," Ren added.

"Especially not Maria-chan!" Kyoko laughed, setting her phone down on the table. Her finger hit the back button, causing it to go to the gallery. "Oh, oops." She hurriedly turned off her screen.

"Hiding something?" Kuon teased, and was surprised when Kyoko's cheeks went red. "Wait, seriously?"

"Is it the thing I caught you giggling over?" Kanae raised an eyebrow, and Kyoko's cheeks grew darker. "Or is it something else?"

"It's nothing!" Kyoko squeaked, and went to grab her phone to tuck it away.

Kanae was faster. "Gotcha!" She typed in Kyoko's password.

"Moko, no, please!" Kyoko whimpered, grabbing her best friend's arm. She turned on the puppy eyes, which Kanae resolutely ignored and knew he would not be able to if she turned the full force of it on him.

"Mo, are these really it? There's no reason to be so embarrassed about these."

"But they're my treasures!" Kyoko whined, grip tightening.

She continued to ignore her and scrolled through the pictures, mentally tallying how many Kyoko had of whom (or what). So far, nature shots ("fairie" pictures) were winning. But there are definitely more of us than of her and him. Granted, that's probably because we live together. "These are really - MO, you said you deleted that!"

Kyoko lunged and managed to wrest the phone from Kanae's hands. "But your bed head was too magnificent to delete!"

"I don't care, delete that!" Kanae made another grab for the phone, but Kyoko jerked her hand away. Unfortunately, it slipped out of her hand - and fell into Kuon's. He stood up and held it out of Kyoko's reach so he could scroll through them as well. There were plenty of adorable photos of Kyoko with Kanae, and many candid shots of just Kanae. There were a few with Chiori and a set of silly ones with Maria, presumably from a sleepover. And then there were the ones of him. We really need to take more photos together. But I never realized that she takes sneaky pictures of me, too. Because they were sneaky - a shot of him from the side as he got dishes down from the tall cupboard, a snap of him sleeping on her lap, and even one of him mid-sneeze, from when they had snuck a walk in at a local park and he'd gotten a faceful of pollen.

"Give it back!" Kyoko leapt up and started jumping, trying to reach her phone. "Corn, please!"

Ren froze. Kyoko let out an 'eep' and slapped her hands over her mouth, eyes wide. Kanae looked at them blankly for a moment, then let out a most unladylike snort. "Okay, so I was wrong. You have an embarrassing nickname for him, too."

Kyoko took advantage of the moment and yanked on Kuon's arm, pulling it down low enough for her to retrieve her phone. "Yeah."

"I'm guessing by the look on your face that it's something really sappy, so I'm going to pass on the backstory. Now sit down, your food's getting cold."

Kyoko sent Kuon an apologetic look, to which he shrugged with a slight smile. She plopped down into her chair, embarrassed by her slip but glad that Kanae wasn't pursuing the subject. This wasn't her secret to tell. She was also glad that neither of them had scrolled far enough down to see her folder of extra-secret pictures: like the one where Kuon had his contacts out and was making a silly face - and the shot of a hysterically laughing Kanae. Those pictures were her real treasures, the sides of them that most people didn't get to see. Sure, other people would see them eventually, but for now, she could keep them all to herself.

vVvVvVvVvVvVvVv

After dinner, Kuon insisted on doing the dishes, citing that the girls needed to get settled. So, after they made sure their plants were set up to get plenty of sunlight, they retreated to their room. Kyoko had fully unpacked, but realized that she hadn't remembered to bring toiletries. To their horror, neither had Kanae. They had each meant to pack up the bathroom last, but the cockroaches in the kitchen had distracted them enough that they had forgotten. Kanae groaned. "Great. Now we have to go get some."

Kyoko sighed and popped into the bathroom to at least set out towels. A few moments and some rustling later, Kanae heard an "Oh!"

"What?"

Kyoko came back into the bedroom, trying not to let the embarrassed, ticklish feeling of being cared for show too much on her face. "We don't need to go get anything."

"Seriously?"

She nodded. "I'll need to find a way to thank him."

Kanae peered into the bathroom. Sure enough, there were plenty of toiletries (including a pack of toothbrushes), all things that Kyoko would like. She was fairly certain that the body wash was the exact brand and scent that Kyoko used. I don't know if that's sweet or creepy. What did he do, take a picture of it when she had him over? Or did he go through the body wash section, sniffing things? "Why don't you go do that? I'm just going to relax a bit, maybe go over my offers." Kyoko nodded and slipped out of the room, knowing that Kanae preferred to think over these things in silence. She did not realize that this time, Kanae had other plans.

Kuon was finishing up the dishes when Kyoko entered the kitchen. "Hey, princess. You two settling in okay?"

She nodded and walked up to him, wrapping her arms around him. "Yeah, thanks to you. We both forgot shampoo and stuff, but it looks like you took care of that for us." She hid her face against him. "Thank you for taking such good care of us."

His arms encircled her frame. "Those have been there for a while, actually."

"Really?" She looked up at him, eyes wide. "Why?"

"Because sometimes we talk late into the night on date night, and I wanted to make sure you could take a bath here if you wanted to. Or maybe," his voice took on a teasing tone, "it's part of my evil plan to convince you to move in with me."

"Corn, you know I'm not making enough yet to pay half the rent," she pouted, misinterpreting his teasing.

"And you know that I have no intentions of making you pay half. We've had this conversation before. Your quality of cooking and the cooking lessons are seriously worth more than that, since you're so focused on paying your own way." His hand came up to rest in her hair, playing with the strands. "And as eager as I am, I can wait until you're ready for that step."

"I know, I just…." her voice trailed off, and she tucked her face into a fold in his shirt.

"Just?" he echoed, trying to keep his fear out of his voice. Not that it mattered - she could read his moods far too well.

"What if you get tired of me? What if you realize that you'd rather have someone else, someone better?" Her grip on the back of his shirt tightened. "Someone more your equal?"

He was stunned into silence for a long moment. At last, he said, "Kyoko, I don't think I could ever get tired of you. And we are equals."

"Not in showbiz," she replied, a bit muffled against his chest.

"That's just because you're newer. Talent-wise, we're equal - honestly, I think you're more talented than I am." His fingers played with her hair. "And as for someone better… Kyoko, I really can't picture going through life with anyone but you."

"What about Moko?"

"What about her?"

"Moko's really wonderful, and she's also a fantastic cook, and she's so beautiful. You two would look really good together." I hate this. Why do I have to bring this up again? I already talked about this with Moko. But…. "And there was - there was that weird tension between you two before dinner. And then you ganged up on me. And if you get to know her better this week, wouldn't you - wouldn't anyone choose her instead?"

He couldn't help it; he laughed. She looked up at him, furious and teary-eyed, and tried to pull away, but he held her to him. "Kyoko - no. God, no. There's not a person on this planet I would choose over you. That weird tension is our rivalry."

She stopped trying to pull away, and looked up at him, confused. "Rivalry? But you two don't compete for the same awards. Moko's my rival!"

"Not in acting." He grinned down at her, the hand in her hair sliding down to her jaw. "Wanna guess?"

Kyoko blinked up at him. What else could they compete in? Both of their lives revolve around acting. "Give me a hint?"

"It's the only way, aside from acting, that Kotonami-san and I have anything in common." His thumb stroked her cheek. Sometimes I forget that she doesn't know how amazing she is.

Her grudges and angels, having been working on this problem since dinner, swarmed around him, eager for any other hint he might give. An angel whispered to a grudge that it seemed like they might be competing for the boss Kyoko's attention, and the grudge agreed - but the boss Kyoko brushed this off as ridiculous. There was no way they would compete for her; they were both so important to her, there was no need to!

Kuon's thumb traced her lip the way it had in that same kitchen years before, effectively distracting Kyoko. Her eyelids fluttered shut and she raised herself onto her tiptoes in anticipation; Kuon lowered his head-

"Hey, Kyoko?"

Kyoko jumped away with a squeak, and the next moment, Kanae entered the room. "Er - yes, Moko?"

"I'm going to take my bath soon. Do you want to go in first, or...?" She let her sentence trail off, knowing exactly where Kyoko's mind would go.

"Oh! The tub is big enough, do you want to take a bath together? I could wash your back!" Kyoko's eyes shone at the prospect. The bath in their apartment was too small to share. But bathing with Moko! A bath with her best friend! The ultimate best friend bonding experience! "Please?"

"Yeah, yeah, fine. Hurry up, then, you know how long it takes to dry my hair." She shot Ren a triumphant look (which Kyoko missed), turned, and walked back down the hall.

"Okay!" Kyoko beamed. She turned back to Kuon, who was still leaning down, and pressed a kiss to his cheek. "Thank you again. For - everything." I needed to hear it from both of you. Now I'll be okay. Grudges, angels - back to puzzling out their mystery rivalry!

"Have a good bath, princess," he replied. Time to go take a cold, cold shower and not think about Kyoko bathing in my apartment. And try to control my jealousy.

"Yes!" She scurried off, leaving Kuon to wonder if she would ever be that eager to bathe with him.

Kanae, for her part, sent a picture to Kyoko's phone - the one she had taken right before her perfectly timed interruption. But Kyoko, too eager for her bath, missed the message.

That was day 2! What do you guys think so far? What would be a funny way for Kanae to test Ren/Kuon? What do you want to see them get really petty over? XD