The First Time He Hurt Her
Kyoko Mogami crouched in the corner of the nearly silent elevator, Tsuruga Ren crouching in front of her, his eyes soft and full of an emotion she was too afraid to name. This couldn't be happening. It had to be a dream. In what world would Tsuruga Ren return her feelings? And why? Out of all the women he could choose, and surely there were plenty, why her? But she couldn't argue with that look...or the fact that he'd literally just chased her through a building to confess to her. And now he was waiting for an answer.
She felt her cheeks turn red as she nodded, unable to meet his eyes, but she wrapped her fingers around the ones that held hers, squeezing. It was a quick, oddly intimate gesture that made her cheeks even redder.
The hand clasping her fingers pulled, and she felt an electric jolt spread throughout her entire body when his lips touched her little finger, making her cheeks hotter, which felt impossible. She couldn't even bring herself to look at him...couldn't force her eyes to watch. She felt like a tiny chipmunk cowering in front of a lion, just like when she'd first met Cain Heel. Only this was nothing like Cain Heel, because Tsuruga-san returned her feelings and she didn't know if her heart had ever felt so full and it felt impossible but here he was, holding her fingers to his lips for the barest, lightest kiss with a smile that she was sure would kill her on the spot if she dared look directly at it.
Had she ever seen him so happy? How could she be the one that made him happy?
"I'm so glad."
His forehead came to rest against hers then, and she closed her eyes, the only sound in the enclosed space their soft breathing, and for just a moment, everything felt as though it had clicked into place...like she was finally exactly where she was supposed to be. Tsuruga-san felt the same way...her feelings weren't unrequited. She didn't have to be so afraid of him finding out...because he felt the same way!
And then there was another noise. A soft, mechanical groan that had Kyoko forgetting all about her embarrassment as she looked up at the man crouching in front of her. He looked as puzzled as she felt, his hand still holding hers as whatever spell she'd been under broke, before his eyes darted to the ceiling a split second before the lights flickered.
They seemed to reach the same conclusion instantaneously and he tugged her upright, reaching for the button that would open the doors right before the floor dropped out from under them.
Kyoko gasped, a scream trapped in her throat as the lights went out and the world dropped away, and before she could even begin to process what was happening, the hand holding hers yanked her closer, an arm reaching for her. But before he could wrap it around her, they were jerked to an abrupt half, the floor tilting and throwing them against the wall in a tangle of ungainly limbs and involuntary cries. Something slammed into her face so hard that she saw stars, her head hitting the wall with a painful 'crack,' and the next thing she knew, the two of them were laying in a heap in the corner of the elevator in the pitch black, their gasps for air the only sound once more.
"Mogami-san?" the man slowly pulling himself off of her asked. Her head was throbbing and by the sound of his voice, he wasn't doing too much better. Still, he climbed off of her, his fingers still intertwined with hers as though grasping a lifeline. "Mogami-san? Are you alright?"
She blinked in the darkness, trying to remember how to make words happen. The pain in her head was very sudden and she closed her eyes, waiting for it to pass.
"Kyoko! Say something," he urged, panic clear in his voice.
"Ouch." Despite the faint smile she was trying for, her voice still came out pained.
He gave a breathless, relieved chuckle, the fingers still wrapped around hers squeezing gently. "Are you alright?"
"I think so," she murmured, touching her tongue to her lip and tasting blood. "Are you?"
"I'm fine," he assured her, and even if she didn't quite believe him, it was so dark that she couldn't even see her own hand in front of her face, much less the man in front of her. He tugged on her hand and she sat up, bringing her free hand up to her aching head. Her limbs all seemed to work, thankfully.
Tsuruga-san let go of her hand for the first time then, and she heard him shifting, probably checking to make sure all of his limbs were still attached, just like she was. Then she heard him move around more, and heard a soft clicking.
"The emergency call button isn't working," he told her with a sigh.
Her forehead felt as though it had taken some kind of blow...if she had to guess, she'd say his skull was the culprit. "I knew you were hard-headed," she muttered, the words slipping out before she could think them through, and she practically felt Tsuruga-san stiffen across from her. Immediately, her hand slapped over her mouth and she cursed herself for speaking to him like that.
He didn't seem mad though, and, apparently ignoring her brain-damage induced rudeness, he shifted closer, his hand touched her shoulder, then her hair, and finally slid down her rapidly-heating cheek, obviously searching. His thumb brushed against something on her face that felt wet and he froze. "Are you bleeding?"
"I'm fine," she assured him again, waving her hands in the air as if he could see. "I think I just hit my face on your...head?"
He sighed, shifting in the silence of the elevator, then placed something that felt like cloth against her cheek. "Here," he offered, and she brought up a hand that he caught and guided to hold the cloth. "See if that helps."
They sat together in silence for a long, awkward moment as she tried to process what he'd said and what had happened to them and the throbbing in her head. Finally, Tsuruga-san shifted to sit beside her, and she heard him slide down the wall and stretch out his legs. They were at an angle, the elevator lower on one side than the other, and she followed suit, sitting on her knees and tucking her feet up beside her, leaning back against the wall.
It was him that broke the silence. "The maintenance staff should realize what's happened soon, and they can get us out." He sounded more resigned than worried and she nodded, even though he couldn't see her. "The elevator must have gone up at some point...I didn't even notice," he admitted.
He huffed out a laugh then, and she heard him moving beside her. "I didn't even think…" he started, then a bright light made her flinch, eyes shutting automatically against the phone in his hand. "No service," he muttered. She blinked, trying to let her eyes adjust to the light. With the cellphone lighting up the immediate area, she could see a ghostly version of him, his eyes immediately turning to seek her out, then widening. She followed his gaze down to the handkerchief she had pressed to her nose, which seemed to be the source of the blood, and grimaced when she saw that it was nearly saturated.
"I'm sorry...I can have it cleaned…"
Tsuruga-san shook his head, putting the cellphone down between them and leaning over, his eyes soft and worried. "I don't care about the handkerchief," he muttered, taking it out of her hand and wiping gently at her face, probably trying to get the blood off. Despite his words, he looked upset.
"No, really...I can clean it. I'm good at getting blood out of things!" As soon as the words were out of her mouth she wanted to smack herself, and he met her eyes once more, startled. "I just mean...with cold water you…" She sighed, giving up and closing her eyes, and he let out a chuckle that surprised her.
"I'll keep that in mind just in case I ever piss you off."
Her lips curved into an involuntary smile and she found herself laughing along with him, then pressing a hand to her head when that just made it throb worse.
"I don't care about the handkerchief," he told her again. "I care that you look like a victim in a horror movie." He sighed, and the screen of his cellphone switched of, plunging them back into darkness. He didn't turn it back on, most likely hoping to save the battery "Do you have to be anywhere soon?"
"No...I'm done for the day." She was glad she'd already finished with Bridge Rock, but her landlords would start to worry if she wasn't home soon.
"Good. Hopefully it doesn't take them too long to find us. I'm sure Yashiro will worry when he can't find me." He gave up on the handkerchief. "I think the bleeding stopped. How's your head?"
"It's okay," she lied, closing her eyes and leaning it gingerly against the elevator wall. For a moment, there was silence, but she never was good at letting silence stretch between them, especially not now after what they'd each confessed. So she said the first words that came to mind. "So how was your day?"
He barked out a laugh at the question, and she found herself smiling, her heart strangely light. She loved his laugh.
"It was perfectly average until I had to chase you through a building in public to try and get you to talk to me."
"I didn't know what you wanted to talk about," she muttered with a blush.
"But you thought it would be so bad that you'd rather make a break for it."
Kyoko sighed. He sounded amused, but she knew he wanted an answer, and her filter seemed to have been muddled thanks to the brain trauma. Besides, it was somehow easier to talk to him in the dark. Almost like...like he was just a person. Just the person who had unlocked her heart. "I thought you were going to tell me that you were going to confess to Morizumi-san."
He was silent for a moment, and when he spoke, he sounded utterly baffled. "Why would I do that? Also...why would you think that?"
She thought fast, rolling her eyes at the lie she came up with. "Um...she figured out that I...that I really respected you when we were auditioning together, and she started messing with me. She wanted to exchange emails and...well I don't really have many friends, so I did."
"What? Delete it! You shouldn't be talking to her!" he cried, and she bit back a snort at the urgency in his voice. She wasn't even sorry. Morizumi-san deserved it after all the trouble she'd caused.
"I will," she assured him, smiling into the darkness. "I just...I wasn't sure what else you'd want to talk about so desperately."
"Did you ever think I wanted to apologize?"
She blinked. "Apologize?"
His voice went quiet. "For the way I acted. In the car."
Kyoko was silent. She'd almost forgotten about that with everything else that had happened. Earlier, he'd said that he had said those things to her because he was jealous, but that was still hard for her to process. Once more, the darkness made the words come easier somehow. "I should apologize for that too," she murmured, staring into the pitch black of the elevator. "For yelling at you."
"You don't have anything to apologize for," he started, but she went on.
"I didn't mean...I was just trying to tell you that you shouldn't assume things. I wasn't...I don't love Sho."
"It's just...for so long...for most of my life, he was my only friend," she told him, her voice hesitant.
Kyoko shook her head, biting down hard on her lip. "No...I mean...he was my only friend. The only person I had. The kids at school hated me and my mother didn't want me and his parents were…" her voice caught and she swallowed hard. "He was all that I had. So even when he didn't stop the other kids from bullying me and even when he was so useless when I cried that I just found a place to cry alone, he was still...everything. And sometimes, he was nice to me."
She practically heard Tsuruga-san swallow beside her, but when he spoke, he was hesitant, not angry. "What about Corn?"
She smiled a little, her voice soft and shaky. "I only knew him for a week. He...he never came back. Even when I called for him…"
His hand found hers then, and it made her jump, but he didn't let go. "I'm sorry," he whispered, sounding as though he were in actual pain. "I'm so sorry, Mogami-san." His thumb rubbed over the back of her knuckles and she heard him swallow. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay," she murmured, finding herself gripping his hand just as tightly, her own thumb brushing against the back of his hand. "I just...even if I don't hate Sho anymore, and even if I'm grateful to him for...for being the person that brought me here…" She trailed off. Even in the dark these words were almost impossible. But she needed him to understand. "Even then, you never need to be jealous of Sho. Because...even when I was in love with him…" Her face felt like it was glowing, it was so hot, and she wondered if he could see her in the dark like a torch. "Even when I was in love with him, it was nothing like...like this. With you." Her voice was practically a whisper, and the hand holding hers was practically shaking.
She was about to ask if he was okay when his hand slipped out of hers and wound around her shoulders, his other arm wrapping around her, and she found herself pressed to his chest, her burning face hidden in his shirt.
One of his hands pressed gently against the back of her head, and immediately she was flooded with the scent of him and the feeling that always came with it. Safe. She was safe. So, letting herself give in to the feeling and trying not to think about the blood she was probably getting on his shirt, she wrapped her arms around him, and for a long moment, they held each other in the dark, oblivious to the rest of the world.
"I feel so selfish," he murmured, his cheek resting on the top of her head. "But...I never thought you returned my feelings. I...I thought I could just get it off my chest and…I'm afraid this is a dream," he admitted with a little laugh that she felt against her ear.
The sound of him stammering made her smile a little, and she took another deep breath of him, remembering his words to Bo from before. He wasn't ready to move forward in any way. And neither was she. "Can I ask you a favor?" she asked his shirt.
He nodded against her head. "Of course. Anything."
"I know...I know that you are struggling against something. I...I'm sorry. I never meant to keep it a secret. But I could see it when you were acting as BJ and I asked the President hoping that I could help in some way." He stiffened but didn't let her go, so she continued. "He didn't tell me much...just that you were fighting a battle with yourself. And I think that you are focusing only on work right now. I'm doing the same. I want to be a great actress, and I have to focus on working as hard as I can to achieve that goal. If things were to change too much right now...I don't think I could do that. I think that would make it hard on both of us."
"I think you're right," he murmured, his hand stroking her hair so gently that she wanted to go to sleep. Or maybe that was the traumatic head injury she'd suffered thanks to his skull and the elevator wall. He shifted across from her, and she felt him pull away, then place something over her head, his hands resting on her shoulders. "I want you to know that even though I have no idea how long it will take me to achieve my goals and finally be in a place where I can tell you everything I need to tell you, you are the one that has my heart."
She reached up, her fingers finding the chain, then following it down to the pendant that hung at her chest. "Is...is this…?"
"The president had me make this when I was creating 'Tsuruga Ren.'"
Immediately she knew what he meant...and how expensive it must be. The blood drained from her face and she shook her head. "I...I can't take this! It's…"
"You can." His hands rested on her shoulders, his touch making her light-headed. Or maybe the head injury was making her light-headed. "I want you to. Keep it safe for me?"
She ran the words over in her muddled mind. She had his heart. She, Mogami Kyoko, had his heart. She was the one he loved.
She twisted, feeling around blindly on the floor until she found her purse, then opened it.
"Hold on," she murmured, focusing on the feeling of the items in her bag until her fingers closed around the little coin purse she was looking for. Snapping it open, she pulled Corn out, then turned back in the direction of him. He'd dropped his hands from her arms, so she reached up, her hand landing on his chest, then moving to his shoulder. He jumped a little at the contact and she bit back an apology, her face flaming red once more. She was just looking for his hand, she told herself as her fingers ran down his arm that seemed to tremble a little before finally finding his hand. She took it, flipping it over until he was holding it palm up.
Placing Corn in his palm, she gently closed his fingers around it so he wouldn't drop it in the dark. "Um...this...will you keep it safe for me too? I mean...I know it's not expensive or...or valuable but..."
He clenched his fingers a little more tightly around Corn, and she could hear his smile when he spoke, cutting her off before she could go on. "I'll guard it with my life."
Kyoko blamed the tears that sprang to her eyes on her head injury, blinking them away as quickly as she could, and when that didn't work, she wiped at her face, hoping she wasn't smearing the blood. It had been a very long day, and now that the adrenaline was wearing off, she found herself wishing that she could crawl into her futon and go to sleep. Tsuruga-san moved to sit beside her again, an arm lifting hesitantly around her shoulders as if asking permission, and she dropped her head on his chest, figuring she could be shocked at her own forwardness later.
But was it forwardness if he invited it?
The thought brought her up short. He didn't seem to mind her putting her head on him. In fact, he seemed to be perfectly relaxed despite the fact that they were trapped in an elevator, his thumb rubbing slow circles on her upper arm. She wanted to ask if this was really okay...if her head wasn't heavy or if he was uncomfortable with her practically laying on him. Plus she was getting blood on his shirt. But she was tired and she didn't even know how to ask any of that without sounding dumb, so she just rested against him, figuring that if he really wanted her to move, he wouldn't have wrapped an arm around her.
The screech of metal made Kyoko jump, and she realized she must have dozed off for a second as she blinked herself awake. To her surprise, Tsuruga-san didn't jerk away from her, even though there was a chance that someone might see them. Instead, he squeezed her shoulder and sat up as best he could considering they were on a slope. "Hello!" he called, his voice echoing through the enclosed space.
"Is someone in there?"
The voice was incredulous and Kyoko couldn't help rolling her eyes. Wasn't that question kind of redundant considering Tsuruga-san had just called out to them?
"Yes! We're trapped!" he shouted back. "Tsuruga Ren and Mogami Kyoko."
"I told you! I saw Tsuruga-san get on the elevator!" someone cried.
"Wait...is Kyoko-chan in there?" That was Hikaru! Peering up through the darkness Kyoko could just make out a sliver of light that was slowly growing. They were opening the doors!
"Tsuruga-san, Mogami-san, my name is Daigo Jiro. I'm with the fire department, and I'm here to get you out. We're going to get these doors open first, and then my men are going to help you climb out. One of the cables snapped, so do your best to stay still until we can get you out of there." The man spoke calmly, projecting so that they could hear, and not a minute later, there was another screech of metal, and the doors were pried open, the light from the room beyond the elevator shaft so bright that Kyoko brought a hand up to her face, grimacing at the sharp spike of pain that lanced through her head. She really wanted to lay down, preferably on her futon in the dark, and maybe with an ice pack on her head. Despite the fact that the firemen peering down into the elevator car could clearly see them, Tsuruga-san kept his arm around her, his thumb stroking her upper arm.
"Alright, Tsuruga-san, we want to get you out first since you're heavier. Can you stand? Are either of you hurt?
"Mogami-san hit her head, but I'm not hurt," Tsuruga-san told them, finally pulling his arm back and standing slowly. Somehow, he made practically climbing his way to the front of the car and being extracted by two firemen look almost graceful, and Kyoko felt a prick of envy. Was he really just good at everything? She dismissed the silly thought, clutching her purse when the elevator car shifted a little. Then the arms were reaching for her and she was following the firemen's directions, standing on shaky legs that nearly refused to take her weight and taking the hands that gripped hers. In seconds, her feet were once more firmly on the floor, and Tsuruga-san's arm was around her, holding her up, and her knees were weak and she felt oddly light headed and he really was holding her up.
"Mogami-san!" He wasn't yelling at her, but his voice was loud and worried and firemen surrounded them and she thought she saw a camera flash.
"Hm?" she asked, letting him guide her head to his chest.
"Here, have her sit down," someone ordered, and Tsuruga-san lowered her into a chair as the world spun.
"I'm okay," she murmured, blinking and trying to get her eyes to focus despite the painful brightness. "I'm fine. I don't know what…"
"You hit your head," Tsuruga-san told her as someone shined a light in her eye. A doctor? Had a doctor been here the whole time?
"Mogami-san? How are you feeling?" the person who might have been a doctor asked, and she tried to focus on the woman.
"Um...I'm dizzy," she admitted, aware of the firemen and Tsuruga-san all surrounding her. "But I'm okay."
"Alright. That's good to hear. Why don't you drink this?"
Kyoko took the bottle of tea and drank it, nearly finishing it, surprised at how thirsty she'd been. "Thank you," she murmured when she was done, swaying a little in her seat, and Tsuruga-san's hand clamped down on her shoulder to steady her. "Your shirt," she murmured, gesturing to the front of his now bloody shirt.
"It's fine," he waved her off. "Don't worry about the shirt."
"I think we should get her to a hospital just in case." That was the voice of the doctor? Maybe?
"I'm okay," she murmured again, trying to insist, but the light hurt her eyes and she found herself slumped against Tsuruga-San somehow.
"I know you are," Tsuruga-San assured her. "But why don't you get checked out just in case?" He was crouching beside her, his hand holding her upright, and she couldn't argue with him when he was looking at her like that.
He drove her, talking softly to keep her awake as he told her about the rest of filming and Guam. He also asked about her audition for Momiji and she told him about nearly being dismissed and admitted that she'd gotten distracted because of Morizumi-san, but how Moko-san had helped her.
And then she told him about what had happened to the last girl who had been chosen to play Momiji and he went very quiet beside her for a long moment.
"Did anything happen during your audition?"
They were pulling up to the hospital at that point, so Kyoko looked at him pleadingly, hoping to put this off. "Yes...but I was fine. Can I tell you about it later?"
He sighed before nodding, grabbing his cap and pulling it over his face and then climbing out of the car and making his way over to her door, opening it for her. "Of course. Let's get you inside."