Here we go! I own nothing, as always.

It was supposed to be a good night.

It was supposed to be a night for them to laugh and dance and mingle.

It wasn't supposed to end like this.

She wasn't supposed to be crying as she walked away.

Kuon had invited her to this party as his official plus-one. It was a good way to start easing people into the idea of them dating, he'd explained, to have it be at a private event. Kana and her girlfriend, Yuri, would be there, too, so she would know someone other than him. They would dance and mingle, and maybe even make new friends. He had insisted on buying her a new dress for the occasion, one that looked like Ariel's when she walks out of the ocean at the end of The Little Mermaid. She loved it. The hem was dirty now, and her fairy-tale makeup was running. Waterproof mascara, it said. It lied.

She sniffled. It had started so well. The car had picked her up from the apartment she shared with Moko, and she had felt like a rich young lady. The driver was taciturn, but that did not bother her. She had stared out the window as Tokyo whizzed by, clutching her little purse so she did not scrunch up her dress. The driver had opened the door for her when they had arrived, and she had slid out of the car with a practiced ease. She had walked towards the door, a smile ready on her face for the doorman.

"Identification?" he had asked.

She had handed him her ID from her purse and said, "I'm Tsuruga Ren's plus-one."

He had looked her up and down for a moment, then squinted at her card again. Then, slowly, he had begun laughing. Laughing. "Nice try, little girl," he had said. "But you've got to come up with a better lie if you want to get in."

She had blinked up at him, bewildered and a little offended. "No, really. Do you want me to call him?"

"Suuuuure," he had said with a grin. "Go ahead."

She had dug her phone out of her clutch and dialed, but he had not picked up; it must have been too loud inside for him to hear it. "C'mon, Ren," she had muttered, trying again.

On her third call, he had stopped her by clapping. "Very good performance, girlie. Now go back to wherever you came from. You're not getting in here and that's that."

"Sir, if you just get him, he'll tell you -"

"He'll tell me that I dragged him out here for a random fan. There's no way that you're his plus-one. Now go." He had made a big show of pulling out his phone and ignoring her.

So she had turned and walked away, sending Kuon a text as she went. I'll see you tomorrow. I'm sorry. She should have known better, she thought as tears of embarrassment and frustration slipped down her face, than to try and stand next to him. Of course the doorman had not let her in; who would? Who would believe a little thing like her being the Tsuruga Ren's plus-one? He never had plus-ones, anyway. That was well-known. So of course the doorman had not believed her.

Maybe if she had been better-known, maybe if she did not blend in so well, maybe if she weren't so plain, maybe then he would have believed her. Maybe then she wouldn't be walking out into Tokyo in her too-tall heels. Maybe if, for once in her life, she was good enough, she would not be in this situation.

She should try to get a ride. There was no way she could walk home in these heels, and her dress would drag on the ground without them. The hem was already getting dirty. She would have to apologize to Kuon; he had gotten her this dress, and she had already ruined it. Maybe she could get the grit out somehow. Focus, Kyoko.

Who could she call? Kuon was out; he had not answered her calls earlier. She could try Yashiro-san, but it was his day off. The car that had brought her had already left, since she had planned to ask Kuon for a ride home. Kanae did not drive. Taisho and okami-san had an old truck, but the restaurant was open tonight; she could not interrupt them. Maybe she should just go wait by Ren's car. Her feet would be killing her by the time the party was over, but she did not really see another choice. She did not have enough money for a cab.

So she stood there in the parking lot, her toes being pinched by her shoes. Tears rolled down her cheeks. Why was she never enough? This type of thing kept happening. She had been late to work more than once because a closed set had not believed that she was supposed to be inside. Sho had gotten her thrown out of the building that time he hit her. And now this. She was not allowed inside of the party because she wasn't right somehow. It was middle school all over again.

Her phone vibrated, but she just thought she was shivering. It was a little chilly, after all, and crying always made her cold. She wiped her cheeks and her makeup came off on her hands. "It was supposed to be waterproof," she whispered, and for some reason this just made her cry harder. Just for the night, she had been supposed to be a princess. She did feel like Cinderella - all dolled up, only to be denied access to the ball. Left crying outside while everyone else had fun. Except she did not have a fairy godmother coming to make it all better.


But she did have a prince. "Kuon?" she croaked, looking up. He was running towards her from across the parking lot.

He skidded to a stop in front of her and bent down slightly to help her wipe her face. "What happened?"

"It's nothing, really," she hiccupped, suddenly feeling very stupid. "I just - he wouldn't let me in. He didn't believe me when I said I was your plus-one. He laughed at me," she whispered. "And then I tried calling you, but you didn't pick up. And I don't have the money for a taxi, and I couldn't think of anyone to call for a ride." She kicked one of her feet out miserably. "And I got the hem of my dress dirty. I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault," he said, trying to wipe away a tear and just smearing her mascara further. He winced. "Oops."

"It said it was waterproof," Kyoko grumbled. "Lying lie-tube."

He laughed, which made her smile. "I have some makeup wipes in my car."

"You're the best."

Once they had gotten her cleaned up and Kyoko had done what touch-ups she could with what was in her clutch, he asked, "Do you still want to go, or should we head back?"

"Let's go in. I want to dance."

"So we shall." He offered her his arm, which she took. He led her back to the party and past the dumbfounded doorman (Kyoko did not stick her tongue out at him, no matter how badly she wanted to; Kuon gave him a severe look). They met up with Kana and Yuri inside, who fussed over her and glared in the general direction of the doorman. Then the four of them hit the dance floor. Kyoko loved dancing, though she did not often have the chance to do it. So when she had the chance, she did not want to do anything else.

Kuon spun her, making her dress twirl around her and sparkle in the club lighting. She beamed up at him, not minding the way her eyes still hurt a little. No one could tell that they were red in the dim lighting, anyway. She could hear people whispering about them, but found that she did not care. Let them talk. It was better for them to gossip about this, about dancing with the man she loved, than about anything else. She knew that together, they were strong enough to face anything from a snooty doorman to the press. And they would, but not now. Right now, they were dancing, and he was laughing as he twirled her away from him and then tugged her back against his chest. His eyes sparkled like starlight when he looked at her, and for once she could believe that it wasn't just a trick of the light.

Then they were sitting in a booth with Kana and Yuri, her legs and aching feet swung up over Kuon's lap. His fingers danced on her ankles as they talked, making her giggle from time to time. Kana pointed out different people she knew to Kyoko, telling her about each of them. Yuri and Kuon were talking about frogs, for some reason.

Then they were dancing again, this time in a group. Kyoko was passed from Kuon to Yuri to Kana and back to Kuon, each spinning her until she was dizzy. She spun the other way to counteract it, and almost tripped over her heels. Kuon caught her and made it look like an intentional dip. So she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him there, dipped down, not caring who saw. Because that was the whole point of being seen together, to start letting people know they were together. She heard the hush and then the chatter redouble, and found that it did not matter. Let them talk, let them say that it was not a fair match. Kuon thought she was enough for him, and that was all that mattered. As long as they were happy, no one else's opinion on their relationship held any value.

She did make some new friends that night, in (where else) the women's bathroom. After a fun conversation, she exchanged numbers with two girls named Hiro and Sae, with promises to chat more in the future. When she told Kuon, he was just baffled by the power of women's restrooms. Kana and Yuri just laughed.

He dropped her off that night, and she gave him a long, sweet kiss goodnight.

(The grit did come out of her dress, by the way.)

Alright, I hope you enjoyed that! :)