Disclaimer: Skip Beat belongs to Nakamura Yoshiki. This is fan-fiction for entertainment purposes only. Big thank you to Chrissor, Claraowl, Silk(Black?)Handkerchief, dreamerkins, and the rest of the discord.
The first thing to change was her skin. Kyoko had always been fair, but day by day the color bled away until she almost matched the bone-white porcelain of the Daruma-ya tableware. At first the actress thought she had the flu— it would explain the headache and chills. The chills eventually went away, but every morning as the sun came in through her window, Kyoko would wake with a terrible migraine. She chalked it up to just being tired.
Next had been her diet. Kyoko found herself unable to keep down most foods. The teen told herself she had a stomach bug. Or maybe she had developed an allergy. She eliminated whole food groups, anything she could think of that was known to cause gastrointestinal distress. But even plain white rice made her vomit. At most, she could manage a few bites of incredibly rare steak or raw tuna. Nothing else stayed down. Kyoko began drinking green tea almost non-stop, hoping the caffeine would help with the gnawing hunger inside her. She thanked her lucky stars for her upbringing at the ryokan and pushed the hunger down. After all, she had work to do. Kyoko convinced herself it was fine. But the hunger was always lurking, easily roused, like a vicious guard dog she had to keep on a short leash.
It was inevitable that she would lose weight. Kyoko went from a slim but healthy teen girl to waifishly thin in a matter of weeks. People noticed. The head of the modelling section at LME requested a meeting and immediately got her booked. Combined with her new glowing white skin, she was suddenly getting requests from designer brands for photoshoots and commercials. At least the gigs were mostly in the evening, so Kyoko didn't have to worry about her morning headaches ruining her workday or outdoor photoshoots at noon. She now sunburned almost immediately, in a painful way that Kyoko had never experienced before. She started wearing baseball caps, oversize dark glasses, and voluminous scarves: anything to keep the sun off her skin. She made a few discreet inquiries and spent a fair amount of money to get herself a custom sunshade like Ruriko had. None of the models or photographers she met thought it was strange at all. After all, white skin was in.
Who wouldn't want to suddenly, almost overnight, become one of the most desired fashion models in Japan? For any other girl, it would have been a dream. But for Kyoko, it was a waking nightmare. As a child, she had believed in magic and wanted nothing more than to meet some magical creatures: fairy godmothers, pixies, elves, wind fairies, forest spirits. But she hadn't thought about other sorts of magical beings. Evil spirits. Monsters. Dark shadows in the night. Now Kyoko understood why people said to be careful what you wish for. She should have known better.
When her fangs started to develop, it was almost a relief. At least she wasn't going crazy. That was something, right? Kyoko examined her teeth in the mirror, running over the sharp points with her tongue. She watched them grow every day, or at least tried to. Her reflection began to shimmer and ripple, as though it was an image deep under running water instead of on the other side of the glass. One day when she was squinting at the mirror, Kyoko was positive she saw her reflection wink at her and wave before disappearing out of the frame.
She started to wear all black. It was much easier than spending fifteen minutes trying to catch her own reflection out of the corner of her eye when getting dressed. At least with only one color, she never had to worry about everything matching. Besides, she was a model now, so she had to be fashionable. Black was stylish, right?
Kyoko learned how to retract her fangs. They were definitely still there, but smaller. She made a mental note never to smile in public, suddenly grateful that every photographer seemed to want the same bored, closed-mouth pouting expression. None of the makeup artists or wardrobe assistants seemed to notice Kyoko's strange, warbly reflection. The photographers and commercial directors would marvel at her ethereal, other-worldly glow on camera, crediting the lighting, or photoshop, or simply their own artistic genius. Kyoko would politely agree, pretending that she saw whatever they did instead of the strange whitish blur that was her photo. It was a bit odd not to know how her work was coming out, but Kyoko shrugged it off. Everyone seemed satisfied, and as long as she could still work, that was all that mattered to her.
If Kanae was surprised by the sudden pivot in Kyoko's career, she didn't show it. But she was a little worried (not that Kanae would ever admit it). She hadn't seen her best friend in weeks. Kyoko still texted, but if Kanae asked if she was free for ice cream or a quick lunch, the orange-haired teen was suddenly busy. Despite the long, colorful, over-the-top, completely on-brand apology message Kanae would receive, she could tell something was up. And she was going to find out.
One evening, past when most LME employees had already gone home for the evening, Kanae stayed late, sitting in the empty Love Me locker room. Eventually, Kyoko stumbled in, seemingly oblivious to her friend's presence. Kanae sucked in a breath at the girl's emaciated form— Kyoko's prominent cheekbones, the uncomfortable sharpness of her elbows and knees. It hurt to look at. Kanae cleared her throat.
"Moko-san! You startled me!" Kyoko whirled in surprise, almost knocking herself off-balance.
Kyoko's normally cheerful grin looked creepily out of proportion on her skeletal face. She leaped to give the dark-haired actress a hug, but it lacked Kyoko's usual vigor. Kanae let herself be hugged, worried that if she dodged, Kyoko would shatter if she hit the floor. The older girl delicately wrapped an arm around Kyoko's thin shoulders, feeling the ridges of her friend's spine through her sweater. Kanae stepped back.
"Okay, tell me. What's wrong?" She tried to keep her tone neutral.
"What do you mean?" Kyoko cocked her head, confused but not unhappy that Moko-san had let herself be hugged. She smiled at her friend, but Kanae remained somber.
"Have you seen yourself recently?" She asked pointedly.
Kyoko gave an awkward laugh, rubbing the back of her head. "Is it that bad?"
"It's…" Kanae's usual bluntness failed her. She didn't want to say it out loud, afraid that even the words would somehow crush the wisp that used to be her best friend. "What's going on?"
"Ah, well, you know…"
"No, I don't know." Kanae said firmly. "It's been weeks and I've barely seen you! And when I do, you look like this." Kanae gestured. "Something's up. I thought we were friends, and all the sudden you're pursuing a modelling career and always busy. It's like you're trying to run away from our friendship."
"No! It's not that!" Kyoko said desperately. She was lightheaded from the constant hunger, and the room spun. Kyoko stumbled over her own feet. Kanae reached out and grabbed her arm to steady her friend, biting back a yell as her hand wrapped entirely around Kyoko's bicep. The dark-haired actress managed to steer them both onto a bench, where she could examine her friend more closely. Up close, Kyoko looked even worse. She didn't just look hungry, she looked sick. Kanae fought back a rising panic.
"Please, Kyoko," Kanae said, fear bleeding into her voice. "Please tell me what's wrong."
Kyoko shifted uncomfortably beside her. The room had finally stopped spinning, which was good news. The bad news was the hunger was back, so fierce and thick it made it hard to think straight. So instead of trying to come up with some lie that Kanae might swallow, Kyoko gave up.
"I'm starving." Kyoko said weakly. She gave Kanae a rueful smile.
"Let's go get some dinner, then," Kanae said, biting back her instinctive sarcastic response. The actress checked her phone. "LA Hearts is still open—"
"What, you have work?"
"No. Well, yes, later, but… it's not…" Kyoko forced herself to speak. "I can't go to LA Hearts." She wanted to say more, to explain, to pour her heart out to her best friend. But she couldn't. Kyoko could barely control herself. Kanae was too close. Even two feet away, she could feel the heat coming off her friend's skin. And some sort of intoxicating scent. It wasn't perfume. Well, a little of it was. But more than that, Kyoko's nose detected some lovely, enticing, delectable scene that she hadn't noticed before. Moko-san smelled delicious. Kyoko stole a sideways glance at her friend, finding herself captivated by the healthy flush of Kanae's cheeks, her dark, serious eyes, the perfect shine of her hair. Kyoko's mouth watered. She clenched her jaw, pointedly aware of her lengthened fangs grinding into the base of her gums painfully. God, she was hungry. Kyoko was so hungry, she couldn't process what Kanae was saying. She heard her friend's voice, but the meaning of the words was lost before Kyoko could catch it. Her eyes were too busy drinking in the way she could see Kanae's rich veins almost glowing underneath her skin, spiderwebbed across her face, her hands, the flow of blood in her long, elegant, slender neck—
Kyoko bit down on her own tongue, hard. She screwed her eyes shut, begging her brain to think of anything besides how much she wanted to sink her teeth into her best friend. The hunger swelled up in her, but Kyoko fought. She didn't care if she starved to death, she would never, ever, ever hurt Kanae.
"I'm so sorry, Moko-san, I have to go." Kyoko pushed off the bench to stand up, but Kanae yanked the girl firmly back down.
"We're not finished here. You're going to explain why—"
"Please," Kyoko begged. The desperation in her voice caught Kanae off-guard. "You don't understand— I can't— it's not safe—"
"What does that even mean!?" Kanae gestured wildly. "You're not making any sense!"
"I can't! I just can't, okay?! It will never make sense!" Kyoko yelled, jumping to her feet and scrambling back from the other actress.
"No! It's not okay! Wait! Where are you going?!" Kanae reached out to grab her friend, but Kyoko slapped her hand away, her sharp fingernails scratching Kanae's arm. "OUCH! Watch it!" Kanae barked, now truly worked up, trying to check if she was bleeding. She couldn't believe Kyoko had just scratched her. "What is wrong with you!?" Kanae glared. But instead of the frantically apologizing, tearful, cowering Kyoko that the actress expected, Kyoko suddenly was leaning in, staring intently at Kanae's arm where a thin red line marked her skin from Kyoko's nails. Kyoko unconsciously licked her lips, her eyes growing unfocused.
"Kyoko?" Kanae took a tiny step back, but Kyoko continued to loom forward, apparently not hearing. Kanae felt a chill run up her spine. Something was wrong. "Kyoko?... Kyoko?!"
"Kanae… I'm so sorry." Kyoko's voice broke. Then her golden eyes flashed red. With sudden, superhuman strength she pulled Kanae's wrist to her mouth and bit down.
The good news was that Kyoko was back to her old self. The bad news was that she was a puddle of shame, screaming her tears into the floor as she flailed back and forth. Kanae watched, amused, for ten more seconds before she decided she was done with the tantrum. But before Kanae had to try to coax Kyoko out of her self-flagellation, someone knocked sharply on the Love Me Room door. Both actresses sprang up instantly, scrambling to cover the evidence of what had just passed, Kanae yanking her sleeve down over her arm and Kyoko furiously wiping her crimson mouth.
"Mogami-san, Kotonami-san," a toneless voice came through the door, "The President would like to see you in his office."
The friends locked eyes. A complete telepathic conversation passed between them in the span of a second. Kanae came to her senses first. She walked casually over to the door, where the President's aide was waiting.
"Now. Please follow me." Sebastian turned silently and began to walk down the hallway. After a moment, Kyoko scrambled to stand up and followed out the Love Me room door.
The President's office had a marvelous view of the Tokyo skyline. The sky was dark, but many of the skyscrapers still sparkled with lights. Above the bustle of the streets, it was almost calming. Kyoko let herself gaze out the window, willing herself to be like those buildings she could see— calm. Still. Definitely not freaking out about the fact that she had just bit her best friend and drank her blood.
"Are you okay?" Kyoko whispered, looking at Kanae's arm for the first time. The older girl had both hands in her lap, one hand clasped around her wrist.
"I'm fine." Kanae whispered back through gritted teeth. "Don't worry about it."
"Don't worry about it?!" Kyoko's whisper rose several octaves. "How can I not worry about it?! I'm so sorry, Moko-san!" Her eyes began to fill with tears. "I didn't mean to! I swear! If you, if you don't want to be friends anymore, I—" Kyoko sniffled bravely.
"We'll talk about it later." was Kanae's clipped response.
"Why don't we talk about it now." Lory said easily, startling both actresses as he sat down across from them. He leaned forward to pour himself some tea, an elegant motion that was somewhat hampered by the extra arms dangling off his teal caterpillar costume. The older man reclined, the long sack-like costume that covered his legs dangling off the other end of the sofa.
Lory was, first and foremost, a believer in love. But he was also a believer in many other things. Or rather, he was simply an incredibly open-minded man. And show business was full of all kinds of interesting people with all kinds of interesting secrets. So the President's calm demeanor shouldn't have been quite so surprising to both the Love Me girls. But it was. Of course, Kyoko had never stopped believing in things that most people scoffed at. She knew fairies and magic were real — after all, she had met a fairy prince. But just because Kyoko believed didn't make the President's acceptance of such things any less strange. It was one thing to know in her heart that magic was real, and quite another for Takarada Lory to admit such things out loud as fact, as easily as if he was talking about the weather. But it was a relief. She wasn't going crazy. And she wasn't dying. Okay, well, she was dying, rather slowly, of hunger, but there was apparently a solution. Most importantly, she wasn't going to lose her job, and she wasn't going to lose her best friend.
Kotonami Kanae was having a much harder time accepting and adjusting to the reality before her. Sure, the President of LME was eccentric. But there was no denying that President Takarada knew things that other people didn't. Maybe he was insane. Maybe he was a genius. Kanae wasn't sure there was much of a difference. And so if he was telling her, in very serious tones, that vampires did exist, so to speak, and that her best friend, Mogami Kyoko, had a very rare, perhaps unfortunate, genetic variation, Kanae felt she had very little choice but to accept that the world was not what she thought it was. But that didn't mean it was easy.
"But how did you know?" Kanae pressed, flabbergasted.
"You're not the only one with eyes, Kotonami-kun," Lory said seriously, although his eyes twinkled over his teacup. "Besides, I know what to look for." Kanae gave up asking questions after that. The rest of the meeting was Kyoko and Lory going over the actress's options and how best to navigate her 'condition'. Kanae felt her mind reel. It was both out-of-this-world fantastical and incredibly mundane, as Lory went from explaining the genetic intricacies of methylation patterns to the necessity of finding Kyoko a discreet manager who was willing to work nights.
The ride back down the elevator to the garage was silent. Kyoko kept glancing nervously at Kanae, who looked straight ahead. Kyoko bit her lip. She could still taste some of Kanae's blood in her mouth, but for the moment her hunger was satisfied. She felt the best she had in weeks. The only thing that kept Kyoko from being over the moon was the gauze pad taped on the inside of Kanae's wrist. As if reading her mind, Kanae sighed.
"Just say it."
"I'M SO SORRY MOKO-SAN!" Kyoko wailed, throwing herself on the elevator floor in front of Kanae's shoes. "I AM SO ASHAMED! I AM THE WORST FRIEND IN THE WORLD! I AM SO SOR—"
"Yeah, yeah, you're sorry. I get it." Kanae cut her friend off. "Are you feeling better now?"
"Yes," Kyoko admitted in a small voice full of guilt and shame. She couldn't look Kanae in the eyes as she stood. Kanae looked her friend over. Kyoko definitely did look better. She was still pale, and very thin, but she seemed sturdier, more lively. Like a plant that perks up after watering, instead of a dried-out reed swaying in the wind.
"I'm glad you're okay." Kanae said finally, picking some lint off her sleeve, feigning indifference. "But next time, don't use my right arm, alright?"
Kyoko's eyes were wide. She wasn't following. "...next time?"
"Mo!" Kanae smacked Kyoko's shoulder. "I'm not going to let you starve to death! What kind of friend do you think I am?!"
"MOKO-SAN I LOVE YOU!" Kyoko pounced. But this time Kanae was ready, and much less worried about Kyoko's frailty. She sidestepped the teen's attempt with ease, letting Kyoko almost crash face-first into the elevator wall as she stepped through the doors and into the parking lot, where Lory's stretch hummer was waiting to take them both home.
The very next day, a surprisingly affordable steak tartare was added to the LA Hearts menu. Following the President's advice, Kyoko hung a dark curtain over her window in the Daruma-ya, which greatly helped with her morning headaches. She told her landlords she had a mild sleep disorder and used a combination of food allergies and her new work as a model to explain her dietary changes. The Taisho and Okami-san had been worried about their young tenant, but Kyoko claimed she was getting treatment for her medical condition, and seemed to improve. And if she had some new habits that were a little odd, well, the couple was pretty used to Kyoko's eccentric behavior by now. Kanae and Kyoko both started taking an iron supplement, and Kyoko bought a very large travel mug that was always full of herbal tea, and she brought it with her everywhere. She was still hungry a lot of the time, but it was no longer consuming her. Kyoko could work through it. And when the hunger got very, very bad, she could text Kanae, and they would arrange to meet at LME to 'grab a bite' together, as Kyoko grew very fond of saying.
They had decided together to let Kyoko bite Kanae's neck. Partly because Kanae's long hair could cover up any marks, and also partly because Kyoko had decided that if she had to be a vampire, she would at least be a proper one. The first time was a little bit messier than expected, and Kanae quickly learned to wear black whenever she was meeting Kyoko for 'lunch'. Kyoko felt awful, and vowed to never make such a mistake again. She spent several days taking a crash course in human anatomy online, where she quickly memorized the names, functions, and precise locations of the main arteries in the body. Kyoko was a lot more efficient after that, but Kanae still wore black, just in case. Kyoko didn't mind— she liked that they matched.
After some helpful tips from the President about what to search (and how), Kyoko found out that apparently her saliva could heal a bite mark fast, and without any scars. She was thrilled by the knowledge. She had been incredibly worried about scarring Kanae's perfect skin. However, when she told the dark-haired actress, Kanae seemed less enthused.
"I don't know…" the dark haired actress eyed Kyoko's hopeful face with suspicion. "Are you sure it works?" She examined her neck in the mirror, where the mark of Kyoko's fangs was still faintly visible from their last session.
"Well, I haven't tried it yet, but we could today!" Kyoko did her best imitation of Cain's puppy face. "Please, Moko-san? I feel so guilty every time I see your…" Kyoko gestured, not quite willing to say 'bite marks' out loud. "Besides, aren't you worried about scars? You haven't gotten any yet, but…"
"Mo! Fine!" Kanae said, plopping herself down on the bench and pulling her hair back from her neck. "Try it." Kanae scrunched up her face. Although she had gotten used to the sensation, it was still odd. It wasn't bad, Kanae certainly didn't hate it, and it didn't hurt nearly as much as it had in the beginning. But there was something about the idea of Kyoko licking her neck that made Kanae squirm.
That was how Ren and Yashiro entered the Love Me room one afternoon to find both actresses, eyes closed, with Kyoko's tongue pressed to the side of Kanae's neck.
"WHA—! E-EXCUSE US!" Yashiro screeched, immediately turning and yanking the door closed behind them. Kanae leapt to her feet, shoving Kyoko off her, but it was too late — they had been seen. Kyoko, busy savoring the last taste of her meal, took another second to process what had just occurred. Then it hit her.
"Oh my god. No. Oh no. No no no. Oh my god. Ohnoohmigodohmigo—" Kyoko began to panic, rocking back and forth on the floor.
"BE QUIET!" Kanae yelled, absolutely mortified. She pressed her ear to the door.
Outside the Love Me room, Yashiro was doubled over, one hand clutching his heart, the other still on the doorknob, keeping the door firmly shut as though he was afraid of what might try and come through the other side.
"Ren! Oh my god! Did you know? I knew they were close, but!" Yashiro couldn't stop himself, the words tumbling out. "Oh Ren! I'm so sorry! Kyoko-chan! Who would have thought?! I never!...Ren? Ren? Are you alright?" Yashiro asked, suddenly worried.
"Hrn…" The tall actor managed to respond, although it was slightly muffled, as his face was buried in his hands. He rubbed his forehead, trying both to burn the image into his memory and simultaneously forget that he ever saw it. They stood there for moments, each wrapped in their own thoughts. Eventually, there was a shy knock on the door from inside the Love Me room. Ren and Yashiro both jumped. The door swung partly open to reveal Kotonami-san, looking slightly embarrassed but managing to pass most of it off with her usual brusque manner.
"I'll see you around, Kyoko," Kanae called over her shoulder, before ignoring both men and brushing past them down the hall. They watched her go, until a very nervous cough brought their attention back. Kyoko stood in the doorframe, looking pink and mortified.
"Um, did you need something?" Kyoko asked politely, but without looking either of them in the eye.
"I wanted to…" Ren cleared his throat. "I wanted to see if you were free for dinner tonight."
"Oh." said Kyoko.
"Huh?" Ren said stupidly.
"I mean, I'm free."
"Yeah. Um, if… that is, if you still want to." Kyoko said, mostly to the floor.
"Yes." Ren finally found his voice, ignoring the pitiful look that Yashiro was shooting him. "Dinner. Let's do that."
Dinner was quiet. At first, it was uncomfortably silent, so Kyoko filled the silence. She talked about everything she could think of: her new modeling roles, Maria helping her with her new all-black wardrobe, the Daruma-ya, the weather, President Takarada's recent confusingly long furry beaked costume that had Kyoko very perplexed about what he was supposed to be. She kept up a steady stream of chatter, pushing three forkfuls of food around on her plate and occasionally taking a sip of tea. Ren ate without speaking. He finished his meal and patiently waited another five minutes as Kyoko continued to play with her dinner, suddenly nervous under his gaze. The stream of chatter died off.
"You aren't going to eat?" Ren glanced pointedly at her plate. It hadn't escaped his notice that when she served dinner that she had given herself the smallest possible portion of food, and hadn't so much as taken a bite.
"Oh, I'm um… I'm not hungry." Kyoko said with a cheerful smile. "Are you finished?" She stood up to clear the dishes, clearly itching to get away from the table.
"You shouldn't skip meals, Mogami-san," Ren teased gently. "Hasn't anyone told you that?" She looked uncomfortable. Ren continued. "You should have a bite."
"No thank you." Kyoko looked down at her lap.
"It's not going to kill you." Ren continued, smiling. "It's quite good."
"No, thank you." Kyoko said, firmer this time.
"Are you feeling unwell?" Ren stood up, thinking he should do something but not at all certain what that something should be. "Are you sick?"
"No, well…" Kyoko met his gaze, then looked away. "Kinda. It's complicated."
"Won't you explain it to me?" Ren sat down next to her, pushing her untouched dish away. He leaned in and Kyoko suddenly stood.
"Could we… go to the couch?" Kyoko asked, a nervous tremor in her voice. Ren complied, letting her lead the way to the living room. He sat down on one end of the leather sofa, waiting for Kyoko to join him. Instead, she paced back and forth in front of the coffee table. Kyoko was too nervous to sit down. The truth was, she was hungry. But she shouldn't be. Usually Kyoko could survive for a week before the hunger pangs set in. But watching Ren eat dinner had been torture. She had always loved the smell of his cologne, but now she could smell his blood, too, and the sensation was so heady it almost made her feel drunk. Her eyes flicked to the couch, where his neck was calling to her, taunting her from a few feet away. Kyoko could practically see the steady pulse of his heartbeat, and it roused a bloodlust in her so strong that she would have been physically afraid for Tsuruga Ren's safety if she hadn't seen him in a fight before. She swallowed. How could she tell him? How was she supposed to tell her senpai, her acting mentor, that right now it was taking Kyoko every ounce of willpower not to throw herself over the coffee table and directly onto him?
He saw the fear flash across her face.
"Kyoko-chan, it's okay." Ren said softly. "Please. Just tell me— what happened?"
He didn't have to specify. Kyoko knew what Ren really wanted to know. What he had been thinking about since witnessing it that afternoon, in the Love Me room. She swallowed. "You know what happened. You were there. You saw it." She avoided his gaze.
"I saw," Ren agreed, "but I don't understand why you did it." The earnestness in his tone broke something inside of her.
And so Kyoko told him. The whole truth poured out of her. The symptoms. The fever, the chills, the headaches. How she had been afraid she was dying. How she couldn't keep any food down. How hungry she had been. How Kanae had confronted her, and in a moment of weakness, she had pounced on her friend. How Lory had found out and explained. Her medical diagnosis. Kyoko continued to speak, like a wind-up toy finally let loose. She was lost in her own thoughts, switching rapidly mid-sentence between how amazing of a best friend Kanae was and how much she hated herself for relying on her friend's blood to keep her alive, then to how kind Lory had been, and how she was enjoying modeling, and how Kanae was pretty enough to be a model, wasn't she? Ren tried to keep up. He sat on the couch, nodding occasionally, trying to look sympathetic. But really, all he could think about was how incredibly, irrationally jealous he was that Kyoko had bitten Kanae and not him. About how good her lips would feel on his neck. He had caught her glance at him earlier, before she started speaking. She had looked at him the way he had always hoped she would: possessive and hungry and full of open desire. For his blood, Ren had to remind himself. Not for other things. But still, what he wouldn't give to have Kyoko in his lap, her mouth on his neck, her tongue on his skin. And then it occurred to him.
"Are you hungry now?"
"What?" Kyoko looked up with surprise, almost as if she had forgotten he was there. But of course she hadn't, it was impossible. It was like trying to forget what a brownie was when you could smell them baking in the oven. Fruitless. Frustrating. Tantalizing. Kyoko felt the involuntary descent of her fangs. Her jaw twitched. Ren smiled.
"That looks like a yes." He practically purred.
"What?! No!" Kyoko backpedaled, completely thrown off. "Why? That's— It's not—" Kyoko struggled not to choke on her words. "That's what you want to talk about?" She asked, completely baffled. She had just confessed to having one of the rarest medical conditions ever, something almost out of a fairytale, and all he wanted to know was if she wanted dinner?
"Well, it seems pertinent." Ren's gaze locked onto hers. "You certainly look like you want to eat me."
Kyoko blushed furiously and tore her gaze away. She stared at the carpet. "I'm sorry." She mumbled, thoroughly mortified. Ren smirked.
"I wouldn't mind." His voice was barely more than a growl.
Kyoko was aghast. Her head shot up, and she found herself looking at the Emperor of the Night. Despite her best intentions, Kyoko felt herself stepping slowly towards the couch.
"You don't mean that," she whispered.
"But I do." Ren held out his hand, threading his fingers through hers to pull Kyoko closer, until she was standing in front of him, between his legs. He felt her gaze as it traveled down is face to linger on the base of his throat. Unaware, Kyoko licked her lips and Ren caught a glimpse of white fang. But then she shook her head. She couldn't.
"It's alright. I'm offering myself, of my own free will." Ren tried to keep the excitement out of his voice. He wanted to sound detached. "I don't mind. Besides, don't you want to give Kotonami-san a chance to recover?"
A look of guilt flashed across Kyoko's face, and Ren felt a pang of regret. He didn't want her to feel guilty. Kyoko was only doing what she had to do to keep herself alive. There was nothing wrong with that. And he wanted to help her. He told her as much, watching Kyoko's face carefully, trying to see if he was convincing her. She still wavered.
"But… you're my senpai!" Kyoko bit her fingernails, trying to distract herself from her growing hunger. But Ren told her he didn't care. In fact, because he was her senpai, it was his duty to look out for her. Although he made it clear he wasn't offering just out of obligation. Kyoko's stomach clenched. He had a point. Ren was so much bigger than Kanae. He probably had more blood, right? Kyoko looked down at Ren. Yes, he definitely had more. So much more that he could give her. Kyoko felt the last bits of her self-restraint crumble.
"Are you sure?" She asked, suddenly feeling shy. In response, Ren merely pulled her down into his lap, her legs straddling his. Kyoko ran her hand up his chest. Her fingers raked through the hair at the base of his skull, making Ren swallow. She watched the motion of his throat hungrily, and all hesitation left her. She tugged, turning Ren's head away and exposing his neck in a way the actor found painfully erotic. He felt the soft puff of her breath on his skin as her lips hovered just above his neck.
"Do it. Kyoko, please," Ren's voice was strained, his pulse was hammering. Kyoko couldn't resist. She sank her teeth into his neck, making Ren gasp. But Kyoko didn't hear. She barely registered Ren's arms wrapping around her waist, his hands running up and down her back, his hips shifting underneath hers, the press of something hard against her stomach. She sighed in pleasure, unaware of anything besides the hot flow of Ren's blood as it filled her mouth. She wasn't sure how long she drank, the rapid pounding in Ren's veins urging her to continue. Eventually, Kyoko was sated. She released her grip on him, pulling back an inch, just enough to run her tongue thoroughly over the side of his neck, healing the bite wound. Ren groaned.
Kyoko immediately sat up, alarmed. Or as alarmed as she could be, in a blood-food coma.
"Are you alright?" He looked a little pale. Kyoko winced. Had she drank too much? Was he hurt? She searched his face. Ren looked back at her hazily, watching as her irises went from crimson back to their usual golden color.
"I'm fine." He lied. Ren felt a tiny bit lightheaded. He wondered how much she had taken. Not that it mattered. For that experience, Ren would happily let her suck him dry. Kyoko looked so incredibly content, a satisfied, bloody smile on her lips. Ren forced his head to clear. He reassured her; he was fine. He meant it.
Kyoko yawned. She was full, and suddenly so sleepy. She hadn't been this comfortable in weeks. Her head felt too heavy to keep up any longer. Kyoko slumped forward onto Ren's chest, her face resting in the crook of his neck. She breathed in deeply, the familiar scent of him exciting and warm and comforting all at once. Ren seemed content to simply sit on the couch, Kyoko in his lap, his arms wrapped around her and his lips pressed to her hair.
"It's late," Ren remarked after a while. She didn't respond.
"Kyoko?" He asked, turning to look at her face. She was out cold, snuggled up against him. He scooped her sleeping form up in his arms and she snuggled closer. Ren managed to stumble down the hall to his bedroom without waking her. He made a very token effort to try and unclasp Kyoko's arms from around his neck before giving up and laying them both down. She was still snuggled on top of him as he drifted off to sleep.