They hadn't worked out. He'd come back from the USA, and they'd dated - briefly. Beautifully. It hadn't lasted.

There were just too many other factors, pulling them away from each other. Their jobs, mainly. It's hard to date when one of you is always on another continent. But there was also the public - scrutinizing, nitpicking, and generally shredding Kyoko's confidence to bits.

"I'm not good enough," she'd said, finally, when she'd pulled the plug. "Standing next to you makes me feel small."

And he hadn't known what to say. You're more than enough. It fell on deaf ears. Please don't go. She had. I love you. Said to an empty room.

So they'd parted ways with parted hearts.


They saw each other now and then. The Japanese acting scene was a small one, comparatively. It was all furtive, pained looks and strained, sparkling smiles. Her armor was up in a way he'd never known it to be, even back when she'd hated him. Try as he might, he couldn't see behind her mask.

So he'd stopped trying.

And eventually, he'd moved on. Or at least that's what he told himself.

He'd gone back to America, fully stepping out of his father's shadow and into the light. Yet with every award, with every glistening prize, he remembered the one who had shown him the way out of the darkness.


She had thought she was used to heartbreak. Hadn't Sho destroyed her heart? But this… this was different. With Sho, her rage had transformed all of her adoration into hatred. But with Ren - no, with Kuon… She wished she could hate him.

It would be easier than loving someone she now knew for certain that she could never have. After all, she'd had him - for one vivid, sparkling moment, he'd been hers. But he wasn't, not really. Could never be, not with the eyes of the public on them. Judging her, pointing out everything that her mind knew to be true.

Still, she followed in his footsteps, and found herself in California.


They met again at a party of some Hollywood bigwig. He froze when he saw her, forgetting the woman on his arm - but Kyoko never would.

The woman was a tall, buxom blonde. Glistening, beaming, perfect - everything that she would never be.

"I've missed you," he admitted, later that night, when he finally had the chance, the courage to talk to her.

She'd just shaken her head with a laugh. "I don't think you've had the time."

He'd gone home with the blonde that night and seen golden eyes in his mind. He'd broken up with her the next morning. The gossip rags had a field day.


Oh, she'd tried dating - Hikaru had been first, back in Japan. Sweet and gentle, the perfect boy next door. She'd had to leave him because he wasn't him.

That happened in Hollywood, too. Eventually, she'd stopped trying. Gotten a cat, manicured a persona of an untouchable star. Most gossip rags called her a spinster. Her fans called her an icon. No one called her "mine."


They met again at an awards ceremony. She'd almost told him then, when she accepted the golden figurine from him, that she thought of him in the moments between breathing. But they were on stage, always on stage, ever performing - so she'd just smiled her best and given her acceptance speech.

She didn't know that he'd almost kissed her in that moment, when he'd seen something familiar in those now-foreign eyes. Had almost forgotten where they were - who they were.

Had almost forgotten the way she looked walking away, until she turned her back and did just that.


It all came to a head when they were finally cast opposite one another in a film. A romance, of course, because what else could it be? What else would it be?

They'd been doing well, pretending to be friends again. Acting, always acting, that it was just like old times. Just like when they were on Dark Moon. And in a way, it was. Because that Valentine's day, he'd kissed her - this time, on film.

And she'd frozen.

They'd called for a break, and the director had sent them away to talk - to practice.

And they had, and had, and had, until they were very glad Kuon's dressing room had a lock. They'd practiced until both sets of their clothes were lying discarded on the floor, and Kyoko's manager was pounding on the door. Because her manager didn't know, hadn't known them. Didn't know that this was more than a decade in the making.

They'd eloped the next day, infuriating everyone who knew them and setting the gossip rags ablaze. It had been a long time coming, most of it when they were apart.

They would laugh, and at times cry, about the time they'd wasted. About the times they'd met up, still loving one another, and not known it.

But in the end, they could laugh, because they were together.