Co-written with the incredible Aikori Ichjouji! We had a blast writing this, despite owning nothing. We hope you enjoy!

It all started with the shirt. That stupid, beautiful shirt.

He'd bought it on a whim one night. Just a shirt of his favorite chicken, posed from behind with silly little feathery buttcheeks. He'd worn it when running errands one day, and the internet had exploded over it. Within a matter of minutes, the question of who the chicken was, was answered. Bo was popular enough, by mascot standards.

But, soon, everyone wanted to know who the chicken was. Fans needed to know the face behind the chicken suit. If it was someone Ren felt comfortable enough wearing merchandise for, they had to be important. No one knew; it was, apparently, the best kept secret in showbiz. But it wouldn't be for long.

What started as curiosity turned into a full manhunt (chicken hunt?). The public cried out for the true name of their mystery chicken. And, as the cries grew louder, so did Kyoko's unease. She said as much, from inside the spacious mascot suit one day with Ren sitting beside her.

"Is it really that important for people to know my identity?" she asked, painfully aware of how reversed their situations were in that moment. Usually it's Ren who is in dire need of counsel. How the turns had tabled.

"They're just curious," Ren defended. "It'll probably be forgotten in a week's time."

Granted, he also wanted to know his friend better, to know who had helped him through several difficult situations. Plus, the fact that a chicken's identity was being treated like a government secret that required security clearance to access was a bit funny. It was really funny. He may have giggled a little in private over it.

"None of this would've been a problem if you hadn't worn that idiotic shirt," she groused. "Where did you even find that anyway?"

"That is official Yappa Kimagure merchandise, I'll have you know," he scoffed. "It was silly and it reminded me of you, so I bought it."

Kyoko was very thankful for the full coverage of the suit so that he couldn't see the ridiculous color her cheeks turned at that last part. It almost made her forget her complaints. But not quite. She tried another angle.

"I just think we should be allowed some secrets in this industry. We don't get that many as it is," she reasoned. "Haven't you ever been in a situation where you wanted to keep your identity hidden?"

There was, she knew, though Bo wouldn't; a certain dangerous mission that took her from hotel rooms to movie sets and even to another country. But, what she didn't know was she'd touched on a more personal concern of Ren's with all the grace of a horse in rain boots. Thinking of his own hidden identity, Ren drew his lips tight and nodded once.

Were anyone keeping score, that was game, set, and match to Bo. Kyoko did her best to keep the smugness of her victory from leaking out of the suit.

Though that victory would be short-lived as YKR's producer followed the siren call of cold, hard cash and decided Bo's identity was a revenue opportunity that couldn't be missed. And, over the course of one panic-filled meeting, Kyoko was set on the path to ruin without so much as a packed bag or a map. Honestly, rude. Now she had to find Ren and tell him first before he found out in the worst way possible.

Ren, of course, was blissfully unaware of his beloved's turmoil in the days leading up to the big reveal. He packed his schedule full to bursting so that he'd have ample free time to attend the special filming of Yappa Kimagure Rock. While he understood his friend's trepidation about the whole thing, he hoped that showing up in support would lend them at least a little strength on such an important day. To say nothing of his burning curiosity that rivaled even the largest bonfire.

His tickets waited excitedly in his phone and he made sure to take screenshots of the confirmation email and tickets. You know, as one does. Just in case. Once he was inside the studio and seated, he made sure to turn his phone off. There would be no distractions today.

This was all about Bo.


"Come on, pick up!" Kyoko whined, pressing her phone to her ear. This was the fifth time she had tried to call Ren. There was only about an hour remaining before she had to face her doom and the one person she needed right then would not answer his damned phone.

"No, I will not leave a voice message," she growled when she snapped her phone shut, tempted to throw the thing across the room before remembering how expensive it would be to replace.

Shinichi leaned closer to his brother, Hikaru, and whispered, "What's eating her?"

Hikaru shrugged, making a noncommittal noise. He hadn't the first clue. Sure, Kyoko had some… strange moods on occasion but this display was unprecedented. The dark muttering to herself was pretty par for the course, but the feral scrabbling at her own hair while making fruitless phone calls was new.

"Kyoko-chan, are you okay?" he asked. "Is there something we can do to help?"

"You can tell your producer that I still do not want to do this," Kyoko snarled. "Maybe he'll listen to you."

Ah, right. She had been rather vehement in her refusal to do the reveal. To the point that she suggested literally anyone else do it in her stead. Yet all of her begging-on bended knees, no less-fell on deaf ears. The reveal would happen as planned and Kyoko would just have to deal with it.

Well, she clearly wasn't dealing with it.

In fact, she had tried to not deal with it at all by begging Kanae and Chiori in turn to wear the suit for her, just for the night. Kanae had refused point-blank, saying there was no way in the nine circles of hell she would be the chicken for her. Kyoko's protests that Bo was actually a rooster fell on deaf ears. As had her pleading. So then she'd asked Chiori, who had begged off on account of work.

Leaving Kyoko dialing Ren's phone for the sixth time in as many minutes. This time, she did leave a voicemail: "Goddamn it, Ren!" And then she shoved her phone into her pocket. Or would have, if she'd had decent pockets. The women's clothing industry is cruel. She was so frustrated and panicked that she didn't even notice she'd just called him by his name, sans honorifics.

Just as Kyoko was reaching her full-on meltdown point, she was shoved into hair and makeup. After all, she was going to be revealed tonight - she needed to be camera-ready! Problem was, she wasn't. At all.

Hence, her desperate attempts to escape. The makeup artists were baffled - many of them had worked with Kyoko before, and she'd always been a perfect subject. But now? Now they might as well have been trying to put mascara on a greased-up weasel that had just eaten an entire circus's worth of cotton candy. It must've been all the ninja training.

Eventually, Yuusei, who was in the chair next to her, turned and asked, in the most disappointed voice he could muster, "Kyoko-chan…what would your senpai think?"

And she broke. She began sobbing large, fat Ghibli tears, wailing, "I've been trying not to think about that! He's never going to forgive me!"

"Kyoko-chan, surely it's not that bad," he started, but was washed away in a flood of her tears. They gave her a few minutes to collect herself. The flood she'd created gave them no other choice. They weren't the strongest swimmers, after all.

After she'd sobbed an ocean's worth of tears, she decided to try, one last time, to call Ren.

Only to see that she had. A missed. Call.

"Why didn't I think to call Yashiro-san?" she muttered as she frantically called him back.

"Hi, Kyo-"

She didn't let him say anything else. "If you get Tsuruga-san backstage right now I will owe you forever."

Yashiro glanced sideways at his charge, who was sitting next to him and looking eagerly at the stage. "I can only promise to try. He's super excited about this chicken thing."

"It's ABOUT the chicken thing!"

Smooth Kyoko, real smooth.

Eventually, after a panic-charged ramble and hysterical half-explanations on Kyoko's part, Yashiro managed to piece together that they were, in fact, in the same place and talking about the same stage. He said goodbye to Kyoko and turned to Ren. "I'm not sure how to explain this, but you need to go backstage."

"What? Why?" He looked at his manager as if he'd proposed writing erotic fiction about octopi-men. "No, the show's starting in forty minutes."

Of all the stupid…. "I will save your seat. Just GO."

Very, very reluctantly, Ren stood up and went backstage, where he was met by the Ishibashis. The trio frankly only knew about 5% of what was going on, but they ushered him to Bo's nest nonetheless.

If Kyoko had really been Bo, the room would have been covered in feathers from stress-molting. But if she was really Bo, and not a human pretending to be Bo, she wouldn't have been in this predicament in the first place. As it was, she was practically pulling out her hair when -

Knock, knock.

Ren waited (im)patiently on the other side of the door. On one hand, it was nice of his friend to want to see him beforehand - on the other, he didn't like not being early to events, and if he wasn't in his seat, he wasn't early. After a truly absurd and slightly concerning amount of bangs and rummaging from the other side, the door opened.

Kyoko, in her panic, had shoved Bo's head on over her street clothes. She stood in front of Ren, the world's most absurd bobblehead.

Let it be to his credit that Ren was trying so hard not to laugh.

Kyoko, unaware of how funny she looked, could not help herself. She dove straight into a dogeza, wailing her apologies. Bo's head flew off from the force of her dive. Her hair stuck out at angles that would have had Ren laughing even harder had the force of who the chicken was not hit him like a sack of wet fish.

Words were forming, but they definitely weren't in the right order. "Time this all - you - was - what?!"

This word salad was enough to snap Kyoko out of her sobbing apologies. She peeked up at him with teary, concern-filled eyes. "Are you having a stroke?"

If Ren was a mood ring, he'd have been every color of the rainbow just then. He was confused - so confused - but also happy that it was her. Proud of her acting that she'd been able to fool him. Horrifically, horrifically embarrassed that dear god he'd confessed being in love with her to her and -

Before they had any time to talk anything out, the hair and makeup team bustled into the room. Ren found himself being (politely) forced out and escorted back to his seat.

After all, as the special guest, Kyoko needed to look her best, and the chicken head had done some serious damage. It was close, but the stylists managed to get her camera-ready in the nick of time.

Yashiro couldn't get a word out of the poker-faced Ren that returned from backstage. Oh, well. At least there was the show! He'd already arranged to have a digital copy of it sent to his email, considering what a big fan of it Ren was. Poor thing didn't even know what he was about to see.

Neither did Kyoko, even after the show. The whole experience was white static for her. Ren didn't really remember it either; his one functioning brain cell had several cork boards with notes on them, and had somehow gotten all tangled in the yarn it was using to make the connections. He just stared with a polite expression on his face the entire show, including when the camera lingered on him (and his Bo Booty shirt, which he had worn to show his support).

That shirt would go on to sell out within minutes of the show airing, eBay resellers tacking a cool 500% markup on the price. Bo would go on to become a national treasure overnight. Everyone wanted the shirt and, once Bo's identity was public knowledge, everyone wanted the details behind the shirt. If the hunt for the face beneath the chicken head was bad, this would be worse by several chicken-shaped orders of magnitude.

Internet forums would be on fire with discourse and overrun with questions. Why was Ren in the front row? What is with that SHIRT? Did he know who was in the suit the whole time? Was he just showing his support for a friend?

Most importantly: "Are they dating?"

There would be fancams and fan theories (some of them even correct!) and really blurry, zoomed-in publicity photos that have less pixels than the wild speculations formed around them. Kyoko would find herself at the center of a romantic whirlwind years ahead of schedule. People would form tightly knit factions and start low-stakes online wars. "No, he's with Kana-san!" one side would say. "But, Bo butt!" the other would profess, and the whole exchange would start again, the typed equivalent of smacking each other with foam batons.

But, before the wanton t-shirt hocking and the conjecture gladiators could have their time in the sun, there were still two people in desperate need of closure. After filming had wrapped and the majority of the crowd had dispersed-most likely to swarm the merchandise table-Ren's remaining brain cell submitted its leave request and departed for an exotic destination where pina coladas are served on demand to any spot along a white, sandy beach. While it deserved a vacation, its sudden absence left the actor vaulting over the stage in pursuit of Kyoko.

Kyoko, also missing her own brain cell as she and Ren often shared when they could, was trying to hide in a rack of costumes until her brain had a chance to reboot. It would have worked had Ren not seen her duck in there moments before. The reboot wasn't going well, clearly. There were too many startup errors.

To Ren's credit, he eschewed asking her to come out from her hiding spot in favor of taking a seat on the floor next to it. The ground was cold and the errant sequins scattered across it would probably be stuck to his pants for a while. Oh well, at least it's not glitter. He tilted his head back against the mountain of clothes, keeping his back turned to give her some form of privacy, and waited.

The rack shifted a little as Kyoko tried to get comfortable, sending a white feather boa floating down to land on Ren's head. Kyoko laughed. It broke the tension and he turned around to look at her. And she laughed a little harder because the feathers fluffed down onto his shoulders as he turned, the absurd crown becoming an absurd collar.

Finally, she looked him in the eyes and apologized. "I'm sorry," she began. "I never meant for it to get so out of hand. I just-I wanted to help."

And, given everything he's hiding and how well it worked out for him, he couldn't find it in himself to be angry with her. Perhaps if he wasn't intimately acquainted with the acrobatics her mind can perform at the best of times, he could. He knew she'd never figure out he was talking about her the entire time (because the brain cell made a cameo appearance between drinks). Not without actually saying her name.

"When did you realize?" he asked. "That you were the high school girl in question."

"Um." He could see it click into place behind her eyes. "Um, right now."

They looked at each other and started to laugh. And that was how Yashiro found them a few minutes later, laughing hysterically on the floor together, half-inside a clothes rack. He shook his head with a fond smile and shut the door to Bo's nest, posting up outside as a guard.

Tomorrow, there would be hell to pay and a mountain of issues to deal with. But for now, they could have this moment to themselves.