Somewhere, fate must be having a great time. No, not just having a good time - fate must be laughing. Fate, or Lory Takarada. Probably both.

There was no other reason for Kyoko to be acting opposite him in this commercial. She hadn't been part of the original cast - he'd checked. Not that he didn't want to act with her; he did! He was thrilled for any opportunity to act with her. Just… not like this. He wasn't ready.

And boy, was he aware of how ironic that was.

Kyoko had looked up at him with eyes full of burning determination when the director had introduced her, explaining that she was a last-minute replacement for the actress who had originally been cast. He could practically hear her thoughts then - how they were going to act together, how she would learn from him, and how she would fight to not let him rule the scene. To not let him guide her along like he had all that time ago on Ring Doh.

And for any other role, he would've felt exactly the same way. He would have been thrilled to test himself against her, to see how much she had grown. To see how they could play off of each other to create something brilliant. Any other role, but this one.

Because in this role, they were lovers.

And boy did he not know how to handle that. Kyoko, meanwhile, seemed to be perfectly fine. If anything, she seemed excited, like this was just another role and not deliberate psychological torture.

Okay, maybe he was being a bit dramatic. But putting the girl whom he loved - the girl who loved him back - in front of him and saying that he had to hold her, to pretend to be her lover, without actually being able to be with her? It was just cruel. Especially since they had already agreed not to be together, not yet. Because they both had goals to achieve - because he had secrets to keep.

So yes, fate was definitely laughing somewhere. Especially when Kyoko stepped onto the set wearing little more than a smile.

Okay, he was definitely exaggerating. She was wearing one of those fur-trimmed, rich-lady robes - you know, the type that a woman would wear to hear that her rich husband had mysteriously vanished, except in white. Also, heels. The part of his brain that wasn't desperately trying not to stare at her vaguely registered the click of heels as she moved.

The director was talking, and he should have been paying attention. He shook himself, trying to be the professional that she thought he was. He knew how this was supposed to go; he had memorized his role already. He had planned to pretend the woman acting against him was Kyoko - but now that she was Kyoko, he didn't know what to do.

On one hand, he could take advantage of this opportunity to show Kyoko, full force, just how strongly he felt about her. Any discomfort could be waved away as acting; they were playing lovers, after all. But on the other hand, he didn't want to come on too strong and scare her. He'd done too much in the past and terrified her - Valentine's day came strongly to mind. But that hadn't been acting, had it?

This was acting. This wasn't real, however hard he wished for it to be. But he could pretend it was.

So when the director called "Action," he was ready. He watched her slink towards him, the white robe contrasting beautifully against the dark set. She glowed in it, looking ethereal - looking more like a fairy than he could ever dream.

He said his line, an almost cruel smirk playing around his lips.

Her eyes met his, lidded and sultry. Where had she learned to look like that? She bit her lip, and he wished he could instead. Her line curled out between her lips like she was speaking in cursive.

This is where Fate truly started laughing, because he, Tsuruga Ren, #1 gorgeous star, was left staring at her lips.

And completely forgot his line.

Still in character, she raised a questioning eyebrow.

Since we're going off script anyway…. The emperor emerged. A look of pure sin crossed his face, and he reached out to her.

Kyoko's grip on her character shattered. She turned bright pink and buried her face in her hands.

"CUT!" the director called. "What are you doing?"

Kyoko was immediately babbling out apologies and begging for a chance to do it over.

He waved her off. "Yes, yes, Tsuruga-san's handsome. Pull yourself together. But I was talking to him!" He gestured at Ren. "She's supposed to be the one in charge here, you know that. She's supposed to be the one seducing you!"

He stole a glance at her. Mission accomplished. "My apologies." He gave a shallow bow. "May we try again?"

They reset the shot. They made it all the way through their dialogue this time. It wasn't until Kyoko had to sexily kiss a truffle that the director called cut a second time.

"Tsuruga-san, you're supposed to look like you want to eat the chocolate, not her!"

Whose bright idea had it been to cast him in a candy commercial, anyway? And how was he supposed to focus on chocolate when her lips were right there, made up to look like they'd just been kissed?

"Honestly," the director muttered as they reset the shot. "Some one-take king."

It was lucky that Kyoko was too far into her character to hear him. He could just imagine her jumping to his defense, or worse - blaming herself for messing up the take. When it was, of course, his fault that he was too damn in love to focus.

It was unlucky that Kyoko was so far into her character that she was able to give him a look that distracted him even further.

"Alright, action!"

They started over from the truffle kiss. Kyoko closed her eyes as she kissed the chocolate, then slowly opened them as she came away, looking up at him through her lashes. "Taste the impossible," she whispered; it was the commercial's slogan.

"I plan to," he growled his line back, and strode over to her. Maintaining eye contact with her, he slowly, deliberately, ate the just-kissed chocolate out of her fingers, taking the time to suck each of her fingers clean.

It was not the chocolate he was savoring.

"CUT! Good work." The director didn't comment on the way that Ren took a moment too long to release Kyoko's hand. "Alright, I'd like one final shot. I know it wasn't in the original script, but we'd like a last silhouette of a kiss to have the slogan over."

Ren kept his face carefully blank. He couldn't. He had to. He shouldn't. He must. He wanted to. He would.

Because being able to kiss her, right here, right now - that would be a hell so blissful he may never recover. Taste the impossible, indeed.

"Alright," Kyoko said, surprising him. He looked down at her, and she had that blazing look again - the one so full of determination that it took everything in him not to take her in his arms.

Which he would, in a few moments. Just not in the way he wished he could. "Yes, director."

The director nodded approvingly, then gave a quick overview of the blocking. "And remember, it needs to be tempting!"

"That won't be a problem," he said, before he could stop himself. Fortunately, Kyoko just assumed he was talking about his ability to lead the scene. He wondered how she felt about all this, since it was - to his knowledge - her first on-screen kiss. If she was nervous. If she was glad it was him. God, he hoped she was.

The selfish part of him wished that he could be the only one to ever kiss her again, even on screen, but he knew that was not to be.

He sat down in the plush chair. When the director called action, Kyoko slinked towards him, coming to a stop between his legs. She settled her arms around his neck, and he knew she was nervous - her arms looked relaxed, but he could feel the tension in them. Still, this time, she did not flinch when he turned on the Emperor.

She gave as good as she got, and the Empress was born. He half-wished he was on his knees before her.

His hand came up to cup the side of her face away from the camera, and he brushed his thumb over her bottom lip in an all-too-familiar gesture. Something flickered in her eyes.

He guided her gently to him, and their lips met.

A spark passed between them, and he realized that this was their first kiss as them, acting be damned.

Perhaps, then, it couldn't be helped that he slipped his tongue into her mouth.

Or that she sank her hands into his hair.

Or that they kissed for far longer than they should have, until the director yelled, "CUT!"

Or that Kyoko followed him when he pulled away, her lids heavy with something he didn't let himself identify as lust.

Or the way that she caught herself, turned pink, and bolted a good ten feet away in a second.

Kuon didn't let himself look at her while the director wrapped things up. He knew that after this, he would have to seek her out. To talk to her - to figure out a way to smooth things over. To speak with her without kissing her senseless. To remind himself that he couldn't be with her, not yet.

To pretend that for a moment, they hadn't both had a taste of the impossible.