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04 August 2009 @ 01:31 am
Deadpan Humor [Shou x Kyoko] [Ren x Kyouko]  
Title: Deadpan Humor
Pairing: Shou x Kyouko, Ren x Kyouko
Fandom: Skip Beat!
Genre: Romance, Angst
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2,208


Deadpan Humor

and he had said: she was so plain and boring…

i. commencement thus begins as misfortune

Shouko-san clasped on the last of the frivolous straps to her ridiculously high-high-teetering stilettos. Shou looked back at her in annoyance and grumbled that she made them late. She laughed at his petty-boy antics and fluttered past him (left him the mull-mead, headed wake of her champagne-flower perfume).

Dressed in a skimpy golden dress, Shouko-san looked divine. He reached to cusp her around the waist, not thinking straight, not seeing clear and…

“Stop. Otherwise, we’re going to be late.”

—and flung his retort back at him—

He shook his head, dusted out the lusty cobwebs of raging teenage youth, and followed her out of the door. New Year’s Eve party. Tonight was simply disaster in the making, and like any sane man, Shou’s only solace was the promising booze (and busty babes).

-

Moko-san was a hard to please woman. Kyouko had deduced that years ago but was still startled—sometimes. She aimed for perfection the first time around and demanded that Kyouko did too.

“Suck it in.”

Kyouko obeyed.

“Have you been sneaking chocolates again?”

Kyouko balked, shaking, petrified at Moko-san’s accusatory gaze (appropriately captious).

“You just got this dress a month ago. So either you were pigging out on sweets again or the dress shrunk magically.”

But Moko-san was wonderfully kind behind her hard-nailed exterior and ordered Kyouko to suck it in again—tight—and laced up the rest. Long, flowing black lace corseted halfway up her back with silver-blonde hair (dyed just for the occasion) sleeked and parted to the side.

Kyouko looked like a sex-vixen angel, hell-bent on devastation (that was a bonus free of charge).

Even Moko-san had to sigh in amazement.

-

On the opposite side of Tokyo, underneath the last glowing embers of city lights and a sky-lined sea, Tsuruga Ren fixed his Italian silk tie and adjusted his suit cuffs. He halfheartedly examined his appearance in the window, spanning an entire wall, and sighed in exasperation. It was the same now and forever.

Itchy, Ren cleared his throat, stupid formal events, and flicked off the switch.

Applause and bow, he practiced the art of standing ovations: it was time for judgment (the president was known to detest tardiness). Outside a woodenly fragile partition, Ren could hear his manager’s thin and cautious voice whispering—seething (something must have went awry)—into the phone. And with one quick stride, Ren was out the door.

ii. “born on new year’s eve!” rising action was always trite

“Shou, you are twenty-years-old now. It’s time for you to grow up.”

He brushed over her thigh, devilish and flippant from merry optimism (and inebriation of the finest liquor). Shouko-san pushed him away and straightened her dress, pulling up straps (not another incidence like Madame X and J.S. Sargent).

“Did you hear me, Shou?”

“Yeah, I did.”

“Then you should know that the life of a rock star is very short-lived. If you’re not careful, you could be peaking already.”

“I know, I know.”

“I’m only mentioning this for your own good.”

“Shouko-san, I do take my career seriously. I can’t let that girl beat me!”

“Is that all you think it is? Some sort of domination game with Mogami-san?”

“No, but—”

He stopped short. The limousine swung into a dead halt, and they thudded against the leather back—hard. Shou growled in displeasure and exited in poorly disguised irritation. Shouko-san followed, gliding past him, not saying a word. Two could play at that game.

-

Kyouko had doubts immediately when she learned Fuwa Shou would be attending.

It was an LME hosted event (they were rival agencies) and sending him an invitation did not make sense.

The president disliked Shou and all shows of florid arrogance and bombast (said so in verbose, laureate terms).

Kyouko just happened to be seated in between him and Tsuruga-san (the president had a sick-soul sense of humor).

“Something wrong?”

“Nothing, Mo-ko-san!”

“I wish you would stop calling me that.”

“Why? It fits you perfectly.”

And that was all: they had arrived.

-

Only three hours. Three heavenly short hours.

Then, he would be home free, able to leave (dreadful migraine, terribly sorry) and the president won’t have an excuse to tan his hide.

Ren smiled despite himself, sending Yashiro into a pale shiver the next seat over. Tonight was going to be a piece of cake, just grin and endure it.

iii. lackluster as comfort the tables turn

He must have murdered and raped an entire village of adolescent girls in a previous life. Otherwise, there was no logical explanation for his ill-fortune.

To his left was Shouko-san (Shou nearly cried, rejoicing at that small but palpable reassurance), and to his right was the she-demon herself. Kyouko smiled at him pleasantly and proceeded to chat away exuberantly with Tsuruga Ren. That bastard.

“You’re shaking, Shou,” Shouko-san remarked, offhanded and sympathetic.

He glanced down and saw his fingers tapping, skidding (knuckles whitening), around and around his fingers did a miniature gavotte. There was no justice in the world (only poetic justice) and he was condemned to wander in limbo forever and ever and—

“Congratulations on sweeping the charts for number one,” Kyouko said and erupted the bumbling, buzzing silence that pounded his head.

She actually spoke to him and smiled. Shou stared in open astonishment, not knowing how to respond, thinking this must be a ruse—foul play—a flagrant lie. She would never be nice to him, not anymore.

“Did you hear me?” she continued beaming (thousand-kilo-watt smile) at him.

Impossible. Perhaps this was all a hallucination (he pinched himself awake). Damn.

“Yeah, thanks, I think,” Shou muttered back.

And in a second, she turned from him, engrossed in conversation once more with that man. Perfect: that man and that girl. Just perfect.

Inches away, Shouko-san squeezed his shoulder in worry, knowing of catastrophe and denial and how the two always discharged a glorious shower of sulfur and retribution.

-

There was no need for hostility, for the months-stewing, blood-demanding bellicose desires she had buried.

She was going to be pleasant and civilized, and that alone would shock him so horribly he would wish himself dead. Kyouko smiled, lovely and beautiful. Moko-san and Tsuruga Ren were there, and that was enough. They held her in check, done so unwittingly.

—self-control and a poker face—

Deep breath and shackled loathing. She was not going to launch into a tirade, a barrage of hate, a—she was not going to strangle the idiot now. There were witnesses.

And so, Kyouko turned towards him, and began a conversation.

—Texas hold ‘em down the furies—

-

Dinner was always a tedious affair, particularly these annual ones, heralding a new year of cheer of wealth of health of…he lost track.

But Ren was a methodical philosopher and understood that if he left too soon, sans sound pretenses, the president would be livid. And he could not afford that. It’s just not good for business, and that was an important aspect to be noted.

So, he will wait and joke with Kyouko (tease her to pass the time) and observe her obvious suffering—she tried so hard to stifle her anger. She was edgy and rigid, spine completely straight, unnatural, and her eyes emanated pure venom.

If anything, she looked deranged and gorgeous and—

Ren refused to contemplate that. Nonchalant and impassive, he sipped the wine, acid draining his throat-cells as they slithered down. Kyouko was an adult and an actress. She could feign whatever emotion and persona she wanted, aiming straight at Fuwa Shou. And Ren wouldn’t care.

He would simply watch (like a vulture) and detect in advance her maladroit masquerades (burning the maddening urge to laugh).

—except, maybe, she wasn’t—

“Quiet please, Yashiro-san.”

“Ren?”

“I need to concentrate on this moment.”

All ears perked. Something—someone—was misheard, was mistaken.

iv. winter sonata if Beethoven were still alive

Towards the end of the nightmarish night, the president announced (so jolly and pink and punkishly drunk) that there would be one final dance.

Most of the guests gasped in delighted surprise, a dance! Imagine that. Shou shuddered and fought the craving to fly into ferocity, weaponry unsheathed and unhindered, ready to strike the enemy down. And then—“bane of all miracles!”—the president paired him up with Kyouko.

Suddenly, the atmosphere transformed. It became pleasant, became endurable. And Shou dismissed his mysical barriers and talisman spells and even offered his hand. He could counteract her powers manifold in damage.

“A dance?”

Kyouko smiled (that was unprecedented) and took it with grace, stepping out onto the marble platform floor with natural ease.

“I thought you would never ask.”

Shou nearly fainted from the alarm.

“Are you…feeling all right?”

“Yes, thank you. I am quite well.”

They moved in unison, never falling astray or missing a step or a beat. She stared right at him, iris lustrous and cunning (dipped brown amber into black tar), pupils dilated and manic (widened to capture light like lunar seas). She kept on smiling, because nothing is wrong, Shou.

It perturbed him, like she was aiming a curse directly towards him, targeting all his vulnerabilities, and rendering him blank and wasted.

“You seem tense,” she broke the silence.

“No, just…thinking.”

And he still couldn’t meet her in the eye.

-

Revenge was a difficult lover to pin down, to coerce out a sweet commitment. But after years of practice and bad luck, Kyouko finally mastered it.

The key to revenge was: not hoping, not caring, not trying. And soon, the victim will waft—drifting eagerly—into her palm.

(Because indifference was worse than hate.)

And when that happened, all she had to do was wait a bit longer, just until the opportune moment. And then, he will suffer. And he won’t even know it at first, still thinking that it was all okay and fine, and everything was beautiful again. The lesser man thought more of hate.

(Because hate equaled love, and indifference equaled nothing.)

So, she smiled genuinely at him, allowed him to touch her, and release his guard. A bridge collapsed and led the way into the famished nucleus of his fortress. Enervation was a game of starvation. Hunger was the ultimate punishment. Core torn, gouged out the treasures.

(Because nothing was the worst of all.)

-

Tsuruga Ren scrutinized her moments, deciphering them for some arcane truth, a thing he missed, a…

“Doesn’t she look lovely?” Yashiro asked.

“I suppose she does,” was cordial enough.

“Too bad it’s Fuwa Shou dancing with her.”

“A great sadness.”

“Are you being sarcastic, Ren?”

“Wouldn’t know how to.”

He continued observing them with placid disinterest. In the absence of passion was always guilt. Shou twirled her around, three times running, and she laughed like she honestly enjoyed it. Really now. Kyouko should give him more credit. After all, he was her sempai and knew her like the clarity of crystal.

v. denouement what appears only once an eon

(Suffocation from embarrassment was a panacea-placebo for all ailments involving the heart.)

The music faded, and they ceased their sway.

(Life was a chance of roulette spin. Dumb luck and dumber chaos.)

Shou left with his long-legged, attractive manager, still not believing what occurred—the dance, the desperation to…shut up, not listening!

Kyouko gathered her coat, hand-in-hand with Moko-san—the later nearly dying from humiliation but was also secretly glad and heart-warmed.

Tsuruga Ren stayed behind, spoke with the president on exigent matters, and was finally worn down to wait until the morning—a disillusioned Yashiro drove home alone, snow swirling magnificently against the murky windows.

Neither party glanced back to catch one final take of the other, the nemesis.

(A superlative masochist would always laugh last.)

-

On January 21st, Fuwa Shou’s record broke double platinum. He was to star in an upcoming movie about a handsome, angst-ridden, brooding musician who sank deeply into the dark world of anarchy. The part hit home.

On January 28th, Kyouko landed the leading role for a drama (to become internationally famous within the next year). Her face was plastered across billboards advertising the show, and as a result, a major fashion line even offered her a spot as their new face girl.

On February 4th, Tsuruga Ren earned himself five prestigious awards in the acting community, and gained a title worthy of worldwide acclaim. Hotshot Hollywood producers and directors battled to contact him—frantic les a competitor snatched him first—for future jobs.

-

Sometime later, on a dry, windy spring afternoon, Kyouko received two invitations for dinner. She promptly tossed both out.

There was no time (the first scene would be shot later that evening).

Across the country (in Osaka and Tokyo, respectively) Tsuruga Ren and Fuwa Shou received a laconic message of decline from a girl they both liked in a lifetime ago, and smiled pensively to themselves. It was like they knew all along.

They had all moved on.
 



 
 
 
Bookchanbookchan on August 4th, 2009 01:33 pm (UTC)
Interesting future there. I can see how it could happen and in someways I think that would be the best ending for them. One thing though, if "they had all moved on" as the last line says, then why did they ask Kyoko to dinner?
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on August 4th, 2009 09:08 pm (UTC)
I left it kind of vague in the end. IThe intent was that even though they asked and she rejected them, they all expected it.
treeflamingo: TTGL: swirlytreeflamingo on August 6th, 2009 03:40 am (UTC)
That was... excruciatingly depressing. I *just* got into this fandom (literally just - I watched the anime this past weekend and I caught up with the manga right before I bopped over to my flist - yes, I tend to binge when I find something shiny and new. What of it?), and I have to say that I can't even pretend to enjoy this kind of story at the moment. Right now, the only possible ending that could make me happy is for Ren and Kyouko (ohmigod, every time I try to write "Kyouko," Kyouya's name slips from my fingers first) to end up together, and for Kyouko to eventually get over her unhealthily burning hatred for Shou.

So really, I can't even critique this piece. It's more than my newbie sensibilities can allow. In the back of my mind, a rational reader is saying things like "oh how delicious, to think that Ren actually gave up - how fantastically hollow he must be now," and "Kyouko has really convinced herself never to love romantically again? I would love to see the insides of her dreams..." But then the moe-moe fangirl usurps all judgmental faculties over and cries (spectacular waterfalls, up from the lids, down to the cheeks, rivering down the front of her dress) that such things simply cannot be forgiven.

But I think I'm going to have to read this again later, because I'm fairly certain that I adore the Ren you've written here. Fairly certain indeed.
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on August 6th, 2009 03:47 am (UTC)
It is depressing. :(

I originally intended for Kyouko (I do the same with Kyouko somehow turning to Kyouya!) to end up with Ren, but the story had a mind of its own. And there is nothing wrong with binging on something new and shiny. Hee hee.

sinulatansinulatan on August 9th, 2009 02:12 am (UTC)
I liked how you wrote this, except the end was a bit depressing there, and I didn't expect it! haha.