TsuKei. Deviates from Chapter 72 in the Burning Blades Arc. Tsuruko comes to take Motoko. But her own troubles lead to her sleeping with Keitaro, and the consequences are not pretty.
Most Kei/Tsu fics have it where Tsuruko's husband is dead for one reason or another. What if, he was alive instead?
If you've read a story that had a similar idea to this, than there is a reason for it. "Ships in the Night", by Hawker 748 is based on this story idea. Great story BTW and for those who haven't read it, go read it! And chances are, it will be better than this story anyways. Still, I hope to make this 'halfway decent' compared to "Ships". Also, Grey Wolf4 and VoidHawk have their own variation of the husband is alive fic, "Ends and Beginnings". Check out that one too.
This story, unlike "Ships", takes place during the "Burning Blades Arc", Chapter 72 to be exact, and deviates from there.
Standard Disclaimer, I do not own Love Hina or its characters. I am just doing this for fun, and NO PROFIT AT ALL!
As I have said, takes place during Chapter 72 and deviates from there.
Streets of Tokyo outside Hospital
Keitaro sighed as he contemplated his situation. After years of trying to get into Tokyo University, the most unlikely event had happened. Due to a leg injury during the Tokyo University "Welcoming Ceremony", something that was nearly unheard of for the man who can somehow survive a punch into Low Earth Orbit, he couldn't attend any classes for three months while his leg healed. What's worse, on this day, he had finally caught up to Naru in the hopes of clearing a few things up with her. Like, the unresolved issue of his confession that he made to her in the hospital. Instead, he simply watched her off as she left on a trip to Kyoto. This left the issue wide open and the gulf between him and Naru seemed to widen. 'It's like what Mutsumi said. My luck has really ran out, and my happiness along with it.' Keitaro, with the aid of his crutches, hobbled across the street after the light changed with Tama-chan flying closely behind him.
Tears were streaming down Keitaro's face. "Ah, I think she used her charm and refused me." He reflected out loud as he tried to contemplate exactly where everything went wrong in his life. He thought all the bad luck would have ended once he got into Tokyo University. Instead, everything seemed to have gotten worse once he finally got in. Especially when it concerned Naru. Seeing that Tama-chan was the only companion he could talk to about this issue, he decided to ask Tama-chan about it as he walked, crutch assisted, down the street crossing. "Tama-chan, will I still have a chance..."
"Myuh!" The little hot spring turtle sounded, interrupting Keitaro.
Slightly concerned, Keitaro eyed Tama-chan. "Tama-chan? What's up?"
As he looked up however, he saw a woman dressed in a traditional kimono and wearing a traditional conical straw hat. In fact, the woman looked vaguely familiar.
"Huh? Isn't that Motoko?" Keitaro said out loud as the woman walked by. At the moment, that was the only woman he knew that wore traditional clothing like this. As he looked at the woman more closely, she seemed to be a bit older than Motoko. Still, he couldn't get the thought that she was similar to her in some way. Either way, there was one thing he had to admit. "But...she's so beautiful!"
Tama-chan's eyes widened considerably as she saw something approaching. "Myuh, Myuh, Myuh, Myuh, MYUH!!!!!" The panic-stricken turtle sounded. He frantically pointed at the direction of the oncoming danger.
Keitaro, hearing Tama-chan's frantic 'Myuhs', had to see exactly what she got her so worked up. "What is it now Tama-chan?" Seeing Tama-chan's flipper, Keitaro peered up at the direction she was pointing to. "Huh?" Keitaro's eyes nearly bulged out as he saw what was coming.
An oncoming delivery truck, occupied by a driver, whose eyes drearily moved from side to side, that seem to be following the movements of his head, which was also seemingly following the movements of the truck he was driving. A truck that just so happened to be heading straight for him!
"Oh no! A drunk driver!" Keitaro screamed in panic at the swerving truck in front of him. He was paralyzed in fear as the erratic drunk driver in front of him. Even if he was able to dive out of the way, something he could not easily do due to his bad leg, the drunk driver could swerve right into his path in the last second. His life was flashing before his eyes. Which he would later admit, was pretty pathetic life for the most part. Granted, it was an exciting pathetic life with sword battles, plenty of naked women, being stranded in the middle of the ocean, and even a miraculous ending with him finally getting into Todai. But still, pathetic considering he didn't get the girl in the end, a girl that still beats him up but still, the girl that he...loved right? "I'm dead! I can't get away from this!"
Unbeknownst to Keitaro, in nearly an instant, the same woman he focused on earlier stood behind him. He was too preoccupied with his pending doom that he didn't hear the cling of a sword being removed from its sheath.
He also missed the swish accompanied by the massive delivery truck splitting in two as the sections traveled in opposite directions. He was only aware of the wind that that truck pieces made as it traveled by him. "Waaaaaaaaaaa!!!" After recovering from the massive shock he was in, realization finally dawned on him about that attack. "Isn't this the Zanmaken attack?" The only reason why he would know this attack was due to the fact that a certain swordswoman always used it...against him. A massive sweat drop appeared on his face as he watched the stupefied driver stagger out of what was left of his truck. While he wasn't happy that said man almost nearly ended his life, he also didn't want to see him hurt at the same time. "Good thing that driver isn't harmed." He said as his thoughts returned to the attack. 'That woman must have done it! Than that means that she's definitely...'
A yellow-feathered bird swooped in front of his face, seemingly coming out of nowhere.
"Wah!" Keitaro nearly tripped backwards at the second surprise to hit him in just the last few minutes.
"Mister." Said woman spoke to him in a calm voice. This despite the awesome display of force that she had just given to the city just a few short seconds before. The bird from earlier lightly landed on her shoulder. The woman dropped her head and held her hat before she continued. "I want to ask you..."
Keitaro turned to the woman who just saved his life. With the last of the shock dissipating from the initial incident, he nearly gasped at the vision of grace and beauty that he saw in front him. A graceful beauty that just so happened to be addressing him.
Seeing that she had received the stranger's attention, she continued what she wanted to say. "Do you know Hinata Sou...the...inn's location? Can you tell me where it is?" The woman smiled brightly at Keitaro as she spoke.
"Wha..." Keitaro blinked in amazement. "The Hinata...Hinata Sou?" 'Did she come all the way here to stay at the Hinata Sou?' As Keitaro's mind tried to process what was happening, a few things clicked in his mind. 'The fight style, the traditional clothing, she must be related to Motoko somehow.' As Keitaro was thinking this, he noticed something amiss about the woman's smile though. It seemed, forced somehow. As if she was deeply troubled by something. Her eyes, when she had them open, also troubled him. They seem to be, sad in a way? 'Maybe this is related to Motoko. I hope nothing bad happens to her.'
"Mister?" The woman asked again as it seemed the man was preoccupied with something.
"Huh?" Keitaro said as he was snapped out of his thoughts. "Oh, oh yeah! I know where Hinata Sou is! Hehehe!" Keitaro cautiously scratched the back of his head with one hand, still rattled by the recent near death experience.
"I see." The woman nodded as she examined the man in front of her with curiosity. "Do you mind telling me where it is?"
"Um, actually I'm going there myself!" Keitaro shakily smiled back at the older woman.
"Oh?" The woman cocked her head and looked at Keitaro curiously. "From what I can gather, the Hinata Sou had been turned into an all female dormitory. Why would you be going there?" A slight mischievous grin appeared on her face. "You have a girlfriend there?"
"Yes! I mean...no! I mean..." Keitaro shakily bowed his head. "I'm...the manager of the place."
"Manager?" The woman again, looked at him oddly. "But like I said, it's now an all female dormitory. Why would it have a male manager?"
"It's a long story." Keitaro said as he leaned on his crutches. "A very long story." He sighed nearly melancholically as he thought back to the time when he first came to the Hinata Sou.
"I see." The woman gave a little smirk as the bird on her shoulder flapped its wings a bit as it tried to maintain its balance. "Ho Ho Ho! I take it my sister took an issue to the idea of a male manager huh?"
"Sister?" Keitaro blinked again as realization dawned on him. "Oh, you mean Motoko? So you're Motoko's sister."
"Oh I'm sorry. I haven't properly introduced myself?" The woman smiled as she lifted her conical stray hat to meet his eyes. "My name is Tsuruko Aoyama. And yes, the resident you know as Motoko Aoyama is my younger sister."
"I see." Keitaro nodded, and then proceeded to introduce himself to her. "And I'm Keitaro Urashima! Manager of the Hinata Sou!" Keitaro said with a bit of trepidation in his voice. While it appeared that she was nothing like Motoko, since he wasn't in LEO at the moment, he still had to be careful of what he would say for who knows what she was capable of.
"Now that we have introduced ourselves, shall we head to the Hinata Sou now...Manager-san? You don't mind if I call you that do you?"
"Huh oh nonono!" Keitaro was frantically waving his arms in front of him. "You can call me whatever you want!" 'After all, I don't want to offend anyone with the same capabilities of Motoko! One crazed swordswoman attacking me is enough!' Keitaro thought before he continued. "Um, anyways...the Hinata Sou is this way." Keitaro said as he pointed in one direction with one his crutch. "It's a few kilometers from here so I suggest taking the number..."
Tsuruko quickly interrupted Keitaro. "Aren't you going there anyways? I can just follow you there."
"Um, yeah." Kietaro nodded. "But um, you see, with this leg and all..."
"Do not concern yourself about that for I am in no hurry." Tsuruko reassured.
"Um, okay." Keitaro nodded quickly. "I guess we should be going!" Keitaro said as he headed towards the Hinata Sou, with Tsuruko in tow. "Oh yeah, and thanks for saving me! I really thought I was a goner back there!"
"Think nothing of it." Tsuruko cheerfully said, almost dismissing her own actions. "You were in need of help and I was there to provide it."
"But still, if it wasn't for you, I'd be a goner! Hehehe." Keitaro chuckled a bit as he tried to calm down his nerves. Reason, well obviously due to the near accident that nearly caught into, and the fact that he was now walking with Motoko's sister, woman known to send him into crashing into walls certainly didn't help his stress level. And if he said anything bad about Motoko, he was certain that she would try out her new techniques on him. Seeing that Tsuruko was not going to respond to that, he decided to change the subject. "So Aoyama-san, what brings you to the Hinata Sou? Are you here to help Motoko train?"
"Not quite. But I do have some, business to attend with her." Tsuruko responded very carefully.
"I see." Keitaro replied. "Well, I'm sure she will be happy to see you!"
"I'm sure of that. It's been a while since I have last seen her." Tsuruko replied coolly.
"Yeah!" Keitaro said with a nervous smile on his face.
After few moments of silence since Keitaro couldn't think of anything else to say to the older Kendo woman, Tsuruko decided to strike up the conversation this time.
"So Manager-san, do you have a girlfriend there?" Tsuruko asked point blank. "You weren't quite clear about that earlier."
"WHA?!" Keitaro blinked in amazement.
"I mean you do live in an all girls dormitory." Tsuruko whimsically continued as a mischievous smile appeared on her face. "I'm sure you've been attracted to at least one of them, am I right?"
"Well, uh..." Keitaro looked around nervously. 'Why is she asking this? Isn't she married?' Keitaro thought as he quickly shook his head in dismay. 'What am I thinking? Of course, her sister lives there too! I mean she's attractive and all but um... Maybe she's just, curious. I'll just give her a straight answer!' "Yes! I MEAN, um, NO! I mean...um..." Keitaro obviously failed in that respect.
Tsuruko raised an eyebrow as Keitaro continued to stutter out his answer. "Is something the matter Manager-san?"
"It's kind of complicated!" Keitaro finally evasively said. "I mean, you know women. They are complicated and um, I mean of course you know since you're a woman and uh..."
"What does that have to do with you having a girlfriend or not Manager-san?" Tsuruko's grin grew a bit wider. "Does it have to do with 'who' your girlfriend is?"
"Eh, nonono! That's not it at all!" Keitaro stopped and frantically waved as best as he could at Tsuruko while trying to hold on to his crutches. He of course, was thinking about Naru. Unfortunately, while he would like to say that she was his girlfriend, given the situation after his confession, this left his love life very much in doubt at this point. And he wasn't sure if lying to Tsuruko, Motoko's sister, over something like was right. "It's just that, um, well, I just...don't know if it um..." Keitaro scratched the back of his head as he racked his brain trying to figure out what words he wanted to say. "You know about having a successful marriage and all right? So maybe you could..."
"I don't want to discuss that." Tsuruko curtly shot back.
Keitaro blinked in amazement. In nearly an instant, the playful attitude from Tsuruko completely disappeared and replaced with a cold stare. Keitaro gulped at Tsuruko's response. "O...okay."
Neither Keitaro nor Tsuruko said a word after that as they headed for the streetcar that would take them to the Hinata Sou. Only Tama-Chan and Tsuruko's bird were making any sort of conversation during this time.
"Here's some tea Aoyama-san." Shinobu placed the cup in front of Tsuruko and lightly bowed. She had already placed a plate full of buns in front of Tsuruko that she had gladly accepted.
"Thank you little one." Tsuruko brightly smiled at the young girl. "You're such a sweet thing you know that! You're going to make a fine wife to a well deserving husband I'm sure of it!"
Shinobu faced turned bright red at those words. For a split second, she imagined the 'deserving husband' as Keitaro. "Th...th...thank you Aoyama-san!" Shinobu then quickly darted out the room before anyone could notice.
"So, are you planning on staying for a while?" Haruka, who was sitting across from Tsuruko, asked nonchalantly. Her cigarette was hanging from her mouth. "We have plenty of rooms here that you could stay in."
"Thanks for the offer. But I do not plan to stay for very long." Tsuruko replied as she took a sip from her tea.
"Hmm. So this is Motoko's sister." Kitsune said with a grin. "Well, I guess we know what Motoko would look like in a few years. And if she stops wearing those chest binds." She then looked closer at Tsuruko as realization struck her. "At least loosen then up." At that moment, Kitsune frowned, as she felt a little inadequate.
"Is she as fun as Motoko?" Su asked as she bounced into the room.
"I wouldn't risk it Su. I don't know what she would do with someone like you." Kitsune said winking at the younger girl. "However, she seems more...playful than Motoko at least!"
"Oooooooooo." Su awed as she did cartwheels.
Sarah had her arms extended and ran around in circles behind Su. As she caught Keitaro's eyes, a mischievous grin appeared on her face. "Hey dork?"
Keitaro sighed, as he knew who 'dork' was. "What do you want Sarah?"
"You should watch where you're going!" Sarah said as she purposefully crashed into one of Keitaro's crutches, causing him to fall face first to the ground.
"You little brat!" Keitaro said as he struggled to get up and limped towards Sarah. "I'm going to get you...!" At that moment, an artifact, possibly some pagan idol, crashed into Keitaro's forehead. Which in turn, caused him to crash face down in the ground again.
"Hahahahahahahaha!" Sarah laughed as she attempted to leave the scene of the crime.
"Little girl..." Tsuruko said, causing Sarah to stop dead in her tracks. "That wasn't a nice thing you did to Manager-san now was it?"
Sarah's eyes widened. "Eh? Um..."
"Answer me please." Tsuruko calmly said without looking up from her tea.
Sarah gulped. "No I guess not..."
"Then you should apologize to Manager-san at this instant. And you should clean up the mess that you caused." Tsuruko continued in a slightly stern voice.
Sarah was shaking a bit. While Tsuruko didn't seem all that threatening, her words still chilled her to the bone. "Okay!" She quickly got a broom and started to picking up all the shattered pieces of the idol. She then turned to address Keitaro. "Sorry Dork!"
"Sorry Keitaro!" Sarah quickly corrected.
After hearing the crash, Shinobu decided to return to the main room to help Sarah. "Um I can do it..."
"No." Tsuruko said in a stern, but caring voice. "She must do it herself. It was her actions that has caused all this, and so she should be the one to clean it up."
Keitaro shook the last vestiges of the attack from Sarah. As he focused on what Sarah was doing, Keitaro could only blink in wonder at what he was seeing. "Um, thanks again Aoyama-san but um, you really didn't have to do that you know! I'm used to it by now!"
"Does that mean you find that behavior acceptable?" Tsuruko pointedly asked at Keitaro.
Keitaro backed down a bit at the question. "Um, no...but..."
"Then there is nothing that you should be concerned about Manager-san." Tsuruko said in a nearly cheery voice. "I'm just giving her some much needed discipline!"
Haruka stared at Tsuruko with her unemotional face. However, she was very much in deep thought over this. 'Hmm. And she didn't even look back at her and already she has Sarah doing what she wanted. I think Seta should learn a thing or two from Tsuruko.'
Kitsune blinked at the turn of events that just transpired. "I think it might be a good idea not to get on her bad side eh?"
"I don't think I should play with Motoko's sister." Su lightly added.
"By the way Manager-san, you don't happen to know when Motoko should arrive do you?" Tsuruko said as she took another sip from her tea.
"Hmm." Keitaro thought as he looked at his watch. "Well, I know her class ended a half an hour ago. Supposing that she caught the first streetcar...she should be home..."
At that moment, the front door of the Hinata Sou began to open.
"Now," Keitaro finished when the door swung open revealing the schoolgirl uniformed wearing person standing on the other side.
Tsuruko smiled as she saw Motoko's face. "Motoko, long time no see..."
Motoko's face went from calm a few seconds ago, to complete and utter terror. "WAAAAAAAA!!!" Her body began to tremble as she instantly recalled the nightmare she had while she was sleeping on the streetcar. "Aneue, why are you here?"
Keitaro sweat dropped, as he was just slightly confused at Motoko's reaction. Then again, he had his reasons to be glad that her sister was here. "What's wrong with you? To tell you the truth, I was almost killed by a speeding vehicle a while ago." Keitaro then proudly raised one his crutches as he recalled the moment he was saved. "It's a good thing that your sister came and helped me out! That's why I'm still alive! She's so good!"
"Ho Ho Ho." Tsuruko brought a hand close to her mouth as she began to laugh a bit. "Tokyo really is a scary place to be. Suddenly there is a vehicle out to kill someone..."
"I don't think that's how it really is..." Keitaro said somewhat unsure of himself. 'I mean, I've been living near here for a while. And this was the only time I was really in danger. Beyond the usual craziness associated with the Hinata Sou at least. It's like any big city that has lots of traffic...and most people follow the rules. I'm sure Kyoto had its few law breakers that are a danger too.'
"But still Keitaro, you're so unlucky!" Kitsune added. 'I mean, what were the chances that at that very moment, a drunk driver would be swerving into his path, while he had a broken leg to boot?'
"Yup! Unlucky!" Su said as she bounced up and down.
"Ahahahahahahahahaha!" While Keitaro would argue otherwise, Sarah somehow found that to be quite funny.
"Ano..." Shinobu quietly said as she heard what Keitaro had been through.
"Stop that all of you!" Keitaro meekly ordered to the best of his abilities. Though given that he was Keitaro, well, they obviously didn't stop at that. He certainly wasn't able to bring himself to be mad at them.
Tsuruko smiled at the scene that was transpiring. "All of you are so happy. It makes me feel so relaxed...! Motoko is so lucky to spend her student life here with you people."
Keitaro, Shinobu, Kitsune, Su, and even Sarah all blushed at the compliment. "Ahhhhhhhhhh."
"I wasn't careful, and I was bewitched by her." Kitsune commented. 'Just a few minutes ago, Sarah was too. Dang this woman is good!'
"Sister, you're so beautiful!" Su playfully added, also uplifted by Tsuruko.
"She's a beauty." Keitaro added. Though why he would comment on her beauty was another question that at the moment, he couldn't exactly answer. 'Maybe I meant beauty both on the inside and outside? I mean, I'm sure that's what Su meant when she said it.'
"She's really beautiful." Shinobu commented as well. 'I'm sure she can get anyone she wants! Wait didn't Motoko say that she was married? That means she did!' Images of Keitaro in a tuxedo holding her arm appeared in her head. 'Why can't I be like her? Wah!'
Motoko, while also blushing by the compliments Tsuruko gave to the others, was also trembling since she knew that her sister was here for a reason, and it probably wasn't good for her. "Aneue, why are you here?"
'I see you want to get this over with Motoko.' Tsuruko thought as she brought her tea to her mouth. Her bird was flapping in the air behind her. "In that case, as I expected, I...came to take you back."
"So that's it..." Kitsune smiled at that thought.
Keitaro, Shinobu, Su and even Sarah sighed in relief. 'I thought it was something major like...'
Realization hit them like a ton of brinks falling from the sky as Tsuruko's words hit home. "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!"
With her bird landing on her shoulder, Tsuruko approached Motoko. "Based on our agreement, this is the time when you will receive the dojo."
Keitaro was still confused about what had transpired. He had a feeling that Motoko can't stay here forever, but now?! She hasn't even graduated yet! "What?! You're taking Motoko back?"
Motoko was sweating. She knew she was not ready for this. Not only did she feel that she was too young, but she was also too unskilled to be given the responsibilities of running the dojo. 'Why did aneue have to marry and give the inheritance of the dojo to me? Why couldn't she have given it to Yukari? I mean, she had other responsibilities and that, she was our cousin, but... I'm just not ready yet!' "But aneue..." Motoko weakly raised her hand in the hope that this would, in a way, stop her sister from advancing. "The assignment date hasn't arrived yet?"
Tsuruko only narrowed her eyes and grinned at Motoko.
Motoko knew what this mean. Her mouth flew open as absolute fear set in.
Tsuruko placed a hand on her mouth and lightly laughed at the scene. With her other hand, she grabbed Motoko by her shirt and started dragging her. "Let's go."
"Aneue wait!" Motoko said in a vain attempt to stop her older sister. "Aneue, please wait a minute?!" No good. Her sister continued dragging Motoko towards the exit. "Why are you saying this so suddenly?"
Motoko's mind started to work on overdrive. Thoughts of her taking over the dojo at this stage haunted her. First, she didn't plan on taking over the dojo yet since she intended to finish her schooling first. Second, she would forever ruin the Aoyama name with her current skill level. Even Yukari, her cousin and one of the most respected members of the clan, might be shamed when she finds out about it. 'It's over! My sister is not one you could argue with!' There was only one thing she could do. It was a risk, but in her mind, it was a risk that she had to take. 'Darn it! I don't have a choice now...'
"Kei...Keitaro?" Motoko weakly called out.
Motoko calling to him caught Keitaro off guard. "What?"
"Come here!" Motoko quietly whispered to him.
Keitaro, not knowing what to do, slowly approached Motoko.
Tsuruko stared back with a questioning glance.
Motoko grabbed Keitaro's shirt as she started to address her sister. "Aneue, I..." Motoko then got on her feet and wrapped an arm around Keitaro. "Keitaro and me...we're going to get married!" Motoko proudly proclaimed.
Everyone's mouths flew open at the announcement. Shinobu, Kitsune, Su, Sarah, and even Keitaro. After all, it was certainly news to him that he was marrying Motoko.
Well, everyone's mouth was wide open, except Haruka who just stared at the scene with her stone face.
"Huh?" Shinobu, Kitsune, Su, and Sarah said in unison. "What's going on here?"
Tsuruko stared back, a little disbelieving of this. Something was not sitting well with this announcement. It was all too...sudden. She was sure that it was a spur of the moment thing in an attempt for Motoko to stay here. Not to mention Keitaro's evasive comments earlier when she was talking to him on the way to the Hinata Sou. 'Maybe this was why he was evasive? No that can't be it.' But that wasn't the only reason why it bothered her she would later admit. However, that reason would be quickly disregarded for the moment since this should be about Motoko and not her. For now, she'll play along until she can bust them when they are confronted with hard evidence. "Is that so..." Tsuruko said as sat back down, and picked up her cup of tea. 'Looks like I will be staying here for a while after all.' After taking a sip from it, she raised her hand and gave a thumb up to Motoko. "I know! Then I wouldn't bring you home with me!"
Everyone behind Motoko fainted at that point. Including Keitaro. After they all recovered, they all knelt down and huddled around Motoko to hear an explanation for her sudden announcement.
"What's this all about?" Keitaro whispered to Motoko.
"Sorry Keitaro. I didn't expect her to come this early." Motoko said as she glanced back at Tsuruko.
"Here, do you want some buns?" Haruka offered as she held the plate in front of Tsuruko.
Tsuruko lightly smiled at Haruka. "Hahahaha. Don't treat me like some sort of VIP!" After grabbing a bun, she turned back to address Haruka again. "You said that I could stay if I wanted to? Looks like I'll have to take up your offer for now. Though just for the night. After all, I have to properly thank the... happy couple."
"Of course. I'll get everything ready for you." Haruka said and left to get the necessary paper work and room key.
'Damn. This will have to last until at least tonight.' Motoko returned her attention to Keitaro. "But the day will come when I will return to Kyoto to receive the dojo..."
"So she came to take you back to Kyoto?" Keitaro surmised out loud.
Motoko lightly nodded as she gave a little frown. "But my technique is still not that good. And..." Motoko paused.
"What?" Keitaro said as he waited for Motoko to continue.
Motoko clasped her hands together. "If we members of Shinmei Ryu get married, we don't have to receive the dojo!"
"So that's why..." Keitaro quietly said to himself.
'I see.' Kitsune thought. A grin appeared on her face however. 'But I can still tease them later about this.'
'Ano...' Shinobu thought as she heard this. On one hand, she was actually relieved. Granted, she did not believe she had any possibility of being with Keitaro since he saw her as nothing more than a little sister. Still, it gave her heart some hope that there was still a small chance to be with him.
'Dork to the rescue.' Sarah thought and shook her head. 'I have a feeling THIS won't end well.'
'Bananas. I like Bananas.' Su thought throughout this.
"Just for these two days or so...I am asking you to please help me with my lie!" Motoko 'loudly' whispered, hoping that Keitaro sees her situation and understands.
Tsuruko eyed Motoko behind her for a second. Afterwards, she returned her attention to the bun she was eating.
An image of Naru flashed in Keitaro's mind. "But..." 'But so what? Motoko needs my help, and I'm going to give it to her! Besides, this is only until Tsuruko leaves! And by that time, Naru should be back and maybe I can finally get the chance to clear up the confusion between us!' "Ok, I understand. I'll do everything I can to help you!"
A relived Motoko smiled at this. "Thank you Keitaro."
"Before I forget..." Tsuruko said, loud enough to get the attention of the others, as she wiped her mouth. This caused both Motoko and Keitaro to spring up from their position and face Tsuruko.
"Yes?" Motoko and Keitaro said in unison.
Tsuruko gave a warm smile as she peered at the two through the corner of her eyes. "Keitaro, how is your relationship with Motoko?"
Keitaro gulped as he tried to think of what to say. He finally decided on going the extra mile, to make sure that she was convinced of their love. "That question is very appropriate to ask before marriage...of course we're getting along very well... Every night we..." At that moment, Motoko whacked Keitaro with her hands, sending said man, still recovering from an injured leg, straight to the ground.
"Huh?" Tsuruko said as she witnessed this. A sweat drop appeared as her suspicions about this whole 'marriage' thing grew.
"I'm sorry I hit you!" Motoko quietly said as she shook Keitaro back to consciousness. She then quickly turned back to Tsuruko in an attempt to reassure her standing in the lie. "It's nothing... Really it's nothing!"
Tsuruko replayed Keitaro's earlier words in her head. 'I guess his reaction could be justified. It was possible that he was worried if I would accept him as Motoko's boyfriend but...' She then thought about Motoko hitting Keitaro. 'That's not exactly something you'd do to your boyfriend. Even if...' She shook that last thought out as she returned her attention to Motoko and Keitaro. "Keitaro, I know it's probably not respectful of me to ask you this, but are you really Motoko's boyfriend?"
"Ah..." Motoko's face drained of color. 'She suspects! I knew this wouldn't be easy...'
Color also drained from Keitaro's face as well. 'Have to think of something! Um...I know! I'll...I'll tell a half-truth at least. "This...It's like this... Yes...of course! Even though I'm younger than Motoko, I will make Motoko happy, just relax! Your sister's in good hands!" Keitaro pounded his chest to show effect. Well maybe not quite a half-truth. 'It was, um, still partly true. Sure, not the younger part since I'm was 20 and she was 17, not the good hands part since he wasn't exactly um, good with that part as well...and maybe not even the happy part either since he just seemed to be a burden to everyone. BUT, um, if this works she'd be happy...right?'
Motoko blinked as she could feel her face turn red. Even though she knew this was all just a rouse, she was still touched by what he said. 'Kei...Keitaro? Maybe...this could work after all.'
Tsuruko however, was still not buying it. Her eyes narrowed a bit as she disseminated Keitaro's words. 'Younger you say? You seem...older than Motoko somehow. Sure, maybe not in maturity, but you don't look younger than Motoko. Though I have to admit, those are some flattering words.' Another voice called out to her saying that it was something she'd like to hear more often herself. But back to Keitaro and Motoko... 'Well, let's see how well they do in their first test as a couple.' "This way then..." Tsuruko touched her cheek as a warm smile came across it. "Since you already have plans for the future, then you should have kissed each other by now... can I see how you kiss?"
Keitaro and Motoko's mouth fell open as terror reentered their system. "What?! Wha kiss?!"
Shinobu eyes widened in fear. 'If they kiss...than Keitaro and Motoko...Keitaro and Motoko...' Her little fantasy of getting together with Keitaro was slowly slipping away. 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!' Shinobu mentally screamed.
"Wha...Kiss?! Aneue! How can we kiss in public?" Motoko pleaded to Tsuruko, hoping that she would listen to reason that, if past experience was anything to look at, that wasn't possible.
"Nooo!" Keitaro yelled. 'I mean, doesn't she know its taboo to kiss in public?'
'Now what's wrong with wanting to kiss your future hus...um, your current boyfriend? Unless it's a LIE!' Tsuruko narrowed her eyes. "So you cannot kiss?"
"It's not that!" Motoko raised her hands in the air. She knew she was defeated. If her sister was to even believe an inch of this, she had to do it. Or else... she turned to Keitaro. 'There's no other way... I think we should kiss each other now...!!'
Sweat began to poor down Keitaro's face. 'We're finished.' Keitaro thought in fear. 'There's no way we can pull this off!' Keitaro gulped, as he got a little closer to Motoko. "Okay, since you put it that way..."
'Sheesh, my first kiss will be with him. But I can't do anything about it now...' Motoko thought as she too neared Keitaro.
"I'll do it." Keitaro said as he looked at the closed eyed Motoko. 'She's so lovely.' He thought as he prepared for the kiss.
Motoko slowed her breathing, while her heart began to beat faster as she felt a tickling sensation on her upper lip. 'His breath...'
Kitsune, Su, Sarah, and Shinobu watched in awe and in fear. "Ooooooooooooooh?!"
'I don't think this is going to work.' Keitaro thought as his lips moved just a bit closer to Motoko's.
'This...isn't going to work!' Kitsune contemplated. 'Time for some intervention!' She quickly got behind Tsuruko, plugged her ears and covered her eyes.
And for added reassurance, Tama-chan covered Tsuruko's bird's eyes too just in case they were ever to 'share' a conversation together on the matter. Well, it was possible between him and Mutsumi, why not between Tsuruko and her bird?
"I still can't do it!" Motoko said as she bashed Keitaro into the sky.
"You said it!" Lucky for Keitaro, since Motoko wasn't using her sword, and since she wasn't Naru, he didn't travel as far as he normally would.
"Huh?" Tsuruko said as her sense were being blocked.
After Keitaro crashed back to Earth, and Motoko picked him back up, Kitsune uncovered Tsuruko's eyes and unplugged her ears and began clapping. The other residence soon caught on and followed suit.
"What a romantic kiss!" Kitsune said, cheering them on. 'Please let this work!' She then leaned in close to Tsuruko. "Sister, give them a hand too!"
Tsuruko was still confused about what had transpired. She was certain one of the other residences had made sure she didn't see or hear 'the kiss', and this certainly made her even more suspicious then before. BUT, since she didn't have... hard evidence again, she'd still have to play along with this. "Okay!" Tsuruko gave a big smile and started clapping. "Hahaha." Tsuruko gave what sounded like warm laughed.
Even her bird began clapping too.
'One more test...' Tsuruko smile widened. "Now you should take a bath together!"
"What?!" Motoko eyes widened.
"A bath?!" Keitaro followed suit.
"You two are getting...married." Tsuruko said, her smile wavering as she finished her sentence. "A bath shouldn't be a problem!" She quickly added as if she wanted this conversation to be finished as soon as possible.
Motoko raised an eyebrow. Tsuruko's wavering did not go unnoticed by her. "Aneue?"
Tsuruko narrowed her eyes her voice no longer as cheerful as before. "Is there a problem?"
"AH!" Motoko quickly backed up. "No, no problem! I'll...we'll take a bath together!"
"Um..." Keitaro said as he thought about protesting.
"Come on!" Motoko grabbed Keitaro in a flash and rushed him towards the outdoor bath's changing room. She then leaned in close to Keitaro's ear and whispered. "And you BETTER not peek on me!"
Tsuruko watched as the two headed off to the bath before moving. She nearly chided herself for almost dropping her mask that she had worn since she decided to bring Motoko back now. 'This is about Motoko, the future of the dojo, and the Aoyama clan. I can't let personal issues get in the way.' Of course, the reason why she chose now instead of sometime later to get Motoko was due to personal issues. But, she figured, that this could be drowned out while she was here. 'Maybe it was a good idea to stay here for the night even if this whole...marriage thing is suspicious.'
Haruka came back into the room and showed Tsuruko some paper work and her keys. "Here you are, your room key. Your room would be on the third floor, room 305. It's an empty room next to Narusegawa's. I can show you the way if you like. Or take your belongings there..."
"That's okay, I'll find it myself. And, I didn't bring a lot of belongings on this trip. I wasn't exactly planning on staying for very long in the first place." Tsuruko admitted. "Though I would like a bathrobe if that's okay with you?"
Haruka smiled. "I'll get one for you. Oh, and enjoy your stay at the Hinata Sou." Haruka bowed, and then walked off to find a bathrobe for Tsuruko to use.
Tsuruko took another drink from her tea before sighing. 'This isn't enough.' She then eyed Kitsune. 'I wonder...' She got up from the couch and walked over to her.
Kitsune was deep in thought at the moment. 'Well, that's one crisis down. All they have to do is survive the bath and...'
"Konno... san was it?" Tsuruko asked interrupting Kitsune's self-brooding.
"Eep!" Kitsune nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard the Kendo woman acknowledge her.
"I'm sorry, was I interrupting something?" Tsuruko said in an apologetic tone.
Kitsune quickly shook her head as she held her heart, which was beating rapidly at the moment. "Nonono! Nothing major! Hehehe!" After somewhat recovering from her shock, she looked up to Tsuruko in a questioning gaze. "So, um, what do you want with me? Um, you want more questions about Motoko and Keitaro? Well believe me those two are..."
Tsuruko lightly shook her head, causing the fox girl to stop in her tracks. "No, that's not it. I was just wondering if you could, do me a favor."
Kitsune blinked confused. 'A favor... from her?' "What do you want?"
Tsuruko lightly nodded. "I was wondering if...if you can get me some sake." She smiled after she made her request.
"Wha..." Kitsune didn't quite believe her ears. She was asking her to give her some... sake? Some thing about this request didn't sit right with her. Then again, maybe it had to do with Motoko and Keitaro? Maybe Motoko's sister was more of a party animal than she appeared. "Um, yeah I can get some.... Oh, this is to celebrate Motoko's and Keitaro's engagement right?"
Tsuruko shook her head. "No, just...for me."
Now she was seriously uneasy about this. 'Why would she be asking for sake? She's only staying the night right?' "Okay. I have plenty in my room. How many bottles do you want?"
"Three or four." Tsuruko said nonchalantly.
"Three or four?" Kitsune raised an eyebrow. "Well, if you're talking about the small ones, um...I guess that's not too bad..." Kitsune said as she thought about it. 'Granted, that's still more than what most people drink, but I'm sure Motoko's sister could...'
Tsuruko shook her head. "No, the big ones. If that's possible."
"Wha..." Kitsune's mouth nearly dropped to the floor.
"If you don't have that many I understand..." Tsuruko added.
Kitsune shook her head. "Nonono! I...I can give you that many! But um..."
Tsuruko could see the fox girl continue to hesitate. "Oh don't worry. If you're worried about replacing them, I can easily pay you the price for replacements..."
"Um, no! That's not it at all!" Kitsune said as she waved at the older girl. "I'm just, wondering what the occasion is that's all!"
Tsuruko's eyes started to waver, as she cast them down to the floor. "Just, something I have to deal with. That's all."
Kitsune stared at Tsuruko's face. Something was DEFINITELY troubling the older woman that's for sure. However, she wasn't sure if it was her place to probe any further for fear of unintentionally acquiring the older woman's wrath. Sure she didn't seem like the type, but who knows what she's hiding under that mask of hers? Kitsune took a deep sigh before answering her. "I...I'll get them for you! After all, you're an honored guest here at the Hinata Sou!"
"Thank you." Tsuruko said as she lightly bowed to the fox girl. "Just send them to my room when you're ready."
Hinata Sou - Outdoor Bath
Motoko was naked, and washing herself in one of the hot springs that Hinata Sou was known for. Well, it was known for that before the occasional flying man followed by the call for repairs started two years ago. And speaking of repairs, this made the now booming local construction industry very happy. As for Keitaro himself, well, at the moment it seemed that they were safe from Tsuruko, so he just sat nearby in a chair, fully clothed. No reason to get his cast wet when he didn't have to. After all, once they survive this, they should be fine, right? Though Keitaro did have a question to ask Motoko...
"But why do you fear your sister so much?" Keitaro said as he wiped sweat off his brow. "Your sister...she looks like a very kind and gentle lady to me..."
"That's because you don't know my sister..." Motoko said, sighing deeply. "She only became like that after she got married..." Motoko stopped herself. She remembered Tsuruko tripping over that word earlier. 'Why is that?'
"Motoko?" Keitaro said concerned after Motoko suddenly stopped talking. He glanced back at her.
"Don't peek!" Motoko snapped at Keitaro, causing Keitaro to whip his head back and his eyes away from her. She pushed that previous thought out of her mind for now and continued her story. "Even though she is not what she used to be... but once she draws her sword... she easily regains her god-like strength." Motoko flashed back to a scene of her sister fighting a demon. "In more than a hundred years history of the Shinmei Ryu, she is considered to be one of the best swordwoman there is. I cannot match her sword technique and abilities."
"What? You're already this good but still you can't match her abilities?" Keitaro remarked as he shot his head back in complete surprise. 'I wonder what training they give you at the dojo...' He wondered as he tried to put his mind into what must be like to be an Aoyama.
"It's true! And don't you look at me!" Motoko chided. She then sank a little bit into the warm water. "Because I don't have any confidence to challenge my sister's abilities, I left and fled Tokyo."
Keitaro watched Motoko in awe. 'So that's why...that's why she doesn't want to go back...' Keitaro concluded after hearing Motoko's story.
"But Keitaro..." Motoko started before standing up, full of self-confidence that she had never felt before. "I never expected it would come to this. I am hoping that one day...I will become a great swordswoman like my sister!"
Of course, realization would dawn on Motoko that, at the moment, she first, didn't have a stitch on, and second, the primary 'pervert' of Hinata Sou, that she had to admit she was growing attached to, just happened to be behind her... watching. "Eh?" She crashed back down into the water, splashing warm water everywhere.
It was also at that moment that Tsuruko was standing at the doorway that separated the hot springs and the dressing room. Her face was only a tint of red since she only had a few cups of sake to warm her up and forget her own troubles for the time being. After those few cups, she felt like having a bath herself, and she was certain the 'couple' wouldn't mind her presence right? Though it was at this moment, that she caught the last of Motoko's words. 'Will become as great of a swordswoman as me Motoko? Will Motoko? Hmm.'
"Relax! I'm sure that you can do it!" Keitaro blurted out, in an attempt to give some added support to Motoko.
"Don't say such things so freely!" Motoko bit back as she made sure most of her body was now under the water.
"Even someone as dumb as me can be accepted into Todai!" Keitaro enthusiastically said, hoping that Motoko could feel it as well. She certainly was feeling something as her whole face turned red by Keitaro's comment.
'Todai?' Tsuruko blinked before her eyes narrowed and grinned. 'You said you were younger than Motoko Manager-san. Unless you're a genius, that you admitting you weren't, there is no way you could be younger than my sister.'
Motoko slowly turned her blushing head towards Keitaro. "Kei...Keitaro?" She then noted that he was a mere few steps away from her. Reflexes set and in a second pushed him back from her. "Don't come near me! This is only a show remember?"
"Ahh! I'm dying!" Keitaro blurted out as he was pushed down to the ground.
'Show? So it was all a lie!' Tsuruko reached out to the doorway, sword in hand, ready to confront Keitaro and Motoko over their lie. "I need to teach them a lesson over this sho...' Suddenly, she found herself stopping. The nagging thoughts that she tried to suppress broke free from the depths of her mind. She looked at her hand, shaking. 'I but I...'
Keitaro crashed to the ground with Motoko unknowingly following suit.
"Ah! I'm sorry Keitaro! I didn't mean to push you so..." Motoko's eyes then widened after she realized where her bare breast was resting on. Which were mainly, Keitaro's legs. "AH!" Motoko flashed back into the safety of the hot springs for protection.
Keitaro, checking to see that he was still on the ground and not a part of the Hinata Sou's wall, sighed in relief as he slowly got up. "Um, it's okay! I mean I'm the one who should be sorry hehehe..." Keitaro was then struck with realization. 'Show...' "Motoko, um, I'm not sure this is appropriate thing to ask you but, um, is it just me or does your sister seem...I don't know...um...sad to you?"
Tsuruko's eyes widened as those words reach her ears. 'Am I really that transparent? No...'
Motoko stopped her own reflection as her own concerns about her sister arose. "I...I noticed it. I wasn't sure at first but, I thought I detected something in her voice."
Keitaro's mouth was in awe. "She seemed so happy and yet..."
Tsuruko's head dropped as those words began to cut through her. The mask she had so carefully constructed began to crumble. 'Damn it! Not now. I can't allow that to affect me when the future of the Shinmei Ryu is at stake!' She then took a few careful steps back into the changing room. 'I'll, I'll just confront them over this afterwards. I can't allow this...lie to continue.'
"We should stop." Motoko said abruptly as she wrapped her towel around her. "I'm sure aneue is fine and we're just interpreting things wrong."
"Right." Keitaro nodded as he got up from his chair. At that moment, he heard a sound coming from the changing room. He zoomed his head back to see what it was.
Motoko heard the sound too. Her heart skipped a beat for fearing that it was a certain person woman that they were trying to fool, and if she had overheard, it wouldn't be good for them.
Instead, all they saw was an empty room. At least, from where they were standing it appeared empty.
Hallway in front of the Changing Room
"So what now?" Keitaro said as he walked out of the changing room with Motoko in tow.
Motoko, now in her kimono, was about to respond when a voice answered for her.
"How about back to your shared room. You two do share a room now that you are a couple right?" Tsuruko said grinning a bit. Though her voice lacked the same teasing tone that she had shown before.
"Ah!" Keitaro and Motoko stopped dead in their tracks. Both of their hearts skipped a beat as they saw the elder swordswoman in front of her.
Keitaro mentally kicked himself for not considering the possibility that she could be just outside the changing room. In fact, he didn't even consider the possibility that she could have walked into the bath while they were in it. Granted, he had the idea that she might 'respect' their privacy since they were supposed to be a couple but... well, if she wanted them to kiss, in PUBLIC, that might be a little too big of a leap of faith. He might actually thank his lucky star for showing up, preventing that unfortunate event from occurring. And maybe even now since he was sure that he might have said something that would've shattered the lie right here and there. He carefully raised his hand as he quickly tried to come up with a plausible protest against that idea. "Share the same room together? But um, well..."
Tsuruko cut him off. "It's okay. You two are probably staying in separate rooms right? I'm sure you two want to save it until you're officially married."
Motoko was completely freaked out about the prospects of staying in the same room with Keitaro. "But aneue! It would be unappro... what?" Motoko's mouth fell open as realization hit her on what her sister's words were just now. 'Did she just... back down? but that can't be... you can't argue with my sister! Then why...'
Keitaro was also stunned by this turn of events. 'Does she believe us now? Is this torment over?'
"It's getting late. We should all retire now." Tsuruko said as she turned her head away from them. Her eyes seemed to be looking off into the distance somewhere.
Motoko did not miss this as she saw her eyes. 'Aneue? It's...it's impossible to argue against her. Why...why this change of events? And why... why does her eyes seem...sad?' Motoko however, tried to suppress the feeling that something was REALLY wrong here and quickly nodded. After all, she should be lucky that she got off of this one order right? "Ri...right. We should be heading to our respected rooms."
"Right!" Keitaro smiled as he started to head towards his room.
"But Keitaro... you're manager correct?" Tsuruko curtly said, causing said man to nearly fall over his bad leg. "Since I am staying the night, I turn to you if I have... any request right? After all, isn't that one of the jobs of being the manager? Fulfilling the needs of your tenants correct?"
"Um well..." Keitaro said in an unsure tone.
"Of course!" Motoko said nearly fervent voice. "That's what Keitaro is for right?" Motoko flashed a menacing stare at Keitaro for a second.
Beads of sweat dripped down Keitaro's face. "Um, yeah! Yeah! That's it! Um, I'll be in the break room if you need me. Just, give me a call on the phone in the room. Hehehe."
"Good!" Motoko smiled. "Well then Keitaro! Make sure you do your duties to your fullest! Night!" Motoko waved as she spun around and quickly walked away from the scene with a smile. A faltering smile since she still couldn't get that nagging suspicion that something was very wrong with her sister's behavior. 'I've never seen aneue like this before. What could it mean?'
Tsuruko eyed Motoko off before she returned her attention to Keitaro. "I'll talk to you later... Keitaro." She too, left and headed to her room.
Keitaro blinked at the usage of his name besides 'Manager-san' like the way she used it when they first met. Granted, she had used it before when she asked if he was Motoko's boyfriend, but that seemed, different then. Casting this off as just a minor thing, he simply sighed about this sudden general turn in his luck. "Well, I guess this should be expected. I mean my luck was amazingly good until now. First, being saved by a speeding truck, and not being caught in the lie yet, keeping Motoko here, it had been quite good until now. Well maybe not all good. I mean the fact that I have to lie isn't that good I guess. But still, given my previous experience with lies, it could've been worse." He hobbled his way down to the break room and waited there. "But now...guess I'll just have to spend the night in the cold break room." Streams of tears rained down his face.
"Zzzzzzzz...oh Naru, I didn't mean it when I ripped off all your clothes...zzzzzzzz." Keitaro mumbled as he slept as peacefully as he could on the couch. Shivering every once in a while as the coat he used as a blanket failed in keeping the cold out.
"Zzzzzz... and I don't know how it got in there... zzzzzz."
"Huh wha..." Keitaro's eyes slowly opened. The ringing from the nearby phone continued. He looked up and noticed the clock read 11:14 p.m. "Now? Who could be on the phone?" He then noticed where he was. "Oh yeah." He slowly got up from the couch and shook the last bit of sleepiness away. He picked up his crutches as he tried to hobble his way to the phone.
"But what could she want at this hour?" Keitaro wondered. He was pretty sure that it was Tsuruko. Motoko and the others didn't bother using the phone for request, especially since no one would normally be in the break room in the first place. Heck, all they did if they needed something from him was to contact him in person. And usually that mean finding him in his room since he spent an exorbitant amount of time there when he was studying to get into Todai.
"I got it." Keitaro said annoyed as he picked up the receiver. He then cleared his throat as he tried to sound professional to whoever it was on the other side of the phone. "Manager Keitaro Urashima here. Is there anything I can get you?" Keitaro said in as cheery of a voice as he could muster. Though given that it sounded like Ben Stein on a good day, it wasn't much.
"Hello, Manager-san?" The woman softly spoke on the other side of the line.
"Aoyama-san?" Keitaro blinked fully awake at that moment. 'She sounds so...' He quickly shook off that notion as he tried to get back to his 'professionalism' with his vast inn... well, dormitory management skills. "How can I help you Aoyama-san?"
"You do not need to be so formal... future brother-in-law," Tsuruko emphasized the last bit. Something in the tone made knots in Keitaro's stomach. "Now, I just... I was wondering if you could give me more sake."
"More sake? Sure..." Keitaro than stopped himself as he repeated what she said. "Wait, more sake?" First, it was amazing that Tsuruko was drinking sake in the first place, but 'more' of it?
"I had, acquired a few bottles from Konno-san." Tsuruko clarified.
"I... I... I see." Keitaro said as something dreadful about this slowly entered his mind. 'That explains how she got some sake before but, a few bottles? Why would she be drinking that many in the first place?'
"Manager-san?" Tsuruko softly asked as Keitaro failed to speak for a few seconds.
"Huh?" Keitaro snapped out of his reflecting as he became aware that he was still on the phone. "Oh, yeah, um, let me check to see if I have any left..." Keitaro placed the phone down on the counter as he hobbled towards the cabinets. "Sake? I remember putting eight bottles there. Chances are Kitsune raided them all anyways." He contemptuously said. When he opened the cabinet, a huge shock washed over him.
Three bottles of sake remained.
Keitaro couldn't believe his continued good luck. Kitsune, left a few bottles behind? Even when he attempted to hide them from her, it had been far from successful. "I guess I can get them for her." He then hobbled his way back to the phone. "Yeah, I have three bottles left!"
"Then can you give them all to me?" Tsuruko softly answered. "You don't have to bother getting a cup since I already have one."
"Wha?" Keitaro's mouth dropped. "But, those are the big..."
"That's even better." Tsuruko again, softy replied.
Keitaro's mouth remained open for a few second. 'None of this is right!' He took a deep breath and gulped before he answered Tsuruko. "I, I can do it. Though it will be a little hard with this leg..."
"Oh." Tsuruko responded in a barely audible voice. "Then I'm, sorry to have troubled you..."
"NO!" Keitaro nearly yelled back into the phone. Still probably shocking the woman on the other side. "I mean, um, I... I will do it! As manager of the Hinata Sou, I can't let any of my tenants request go unanswered!"
After the room descended into silence for a couple of seconds, Tsuruko spoke up. "If you insist, then... I do have another request to make."
"Eh?" Keitaro was still trying to figure out how he was going to carry three bottles of sake up to Tsuruko's room. Now she has another request?
"I would like your presence in my room."
"EH?!" Keitaro was now completely weirded out about this turn of events. He had initially planned to just leave the bottles at the door, and knock to get her attention before he jetted back to his room. Or break room to be safe just in case Tsuruko had any more requests late at night. But now, she wants him there?
"I would just like, a little company for a while. That's all." Tsuruko added.
"I... I can do that." Keitaro reluctantly agreed. To an extent, he didn't see any alternative to this. 'Have to do this for Motoko!' "Um, I'll see you in a bit Aoyama-san."
"Thank you Keitaro."
Keitaro heard the click on the other side. He slowly dropped the phone as he tried to decipher why his name was spoken again.
Third Floor Hallway
By some miracle, something that would normally be rare for Keitaro, though this night seemed to be full of them, he was able to get to Tsuruko's room without breaking a single bottle. By having two bottles under his free arm, and one being held in his free hand, this configuration was able to get them up to the third floor with ease. Well, maybe ease is not the right word. Especially with all the close calls, well, MORE than one close call where he was forced to stop as the bottles under his arm started to slip a bit. 'Seems the stars were aligned just right so far.'
He took a deep sighed as he looked ahead to see Tsuruko's room. Room 305. 'Now or never.' He lightly tapped on the door. "Um, I'm here..."
"Come in." Tsuruko softly ordered behind the door.
After seeing that the door was unlocked, he carefully opened it. All the while hoping that he wouldn't catch the woman on the other side in a certain state of undress. This was despite the fact that she called him in anyways. 'Well, I guess I've been trained not to take anything for granted. I have plenty of bruises to remind me of that.'
"If you are concerned about my modesty, don't be. I am fully dressed." Tsuruko assured Keitaro, seemingly reading his mind.
This also caused Keitaro to again almost drop a bottle of sake. 'Dang! How does she do it?!' After recovering the bottle with some quick hand movement, Keitaro sighed and fully opened the door and entered.
In front of him was Tsuruko, sitting at the small table in the middle of the room. Her bird was sitting peacefully on a nearby cabinet. His eyes wondered around the room as he noted how sparse it was. 'Of course, she never intended to stay the night. If everything went as she planned, she should have been in Kyoto by now with Motoko in hand. She also didn't bring a lot of belongings in the first place. Again, due to what she originally planned of course.' He then noted what Tsuruko was doing, and his eyes widened considerably. As unlikely as it had seemed, she was drinking sake. In fact, it appeared that she already had three bottles of it already. Until now, he never saw her as a drinker. Especially if you think of her as a more level headed version of Motoko. 'Of course, even Motoko drank a few times. Though it was due more to peer pressure than anything, especially from Kitsune. Still, I never imagined her sister like this!'
"I apologize for the request when you are in that condition Manager-san." Tsuruko said, downing another cup full of sake. Her face just a little red from what she had already drank.
"Don't worry about that! I am happy to do my job as manager no matter what state I'm in! Hehehe!" Keitaro said in a reassuring, almost playful tone. As his laughter died down, he began to see the condition that Tsuruko was in after three bottles of sake. It appeared that she could hold her own, and, with the exception of a noticeable redness in her cheeks, and a slight, VERY slight slurring, she could almost pass off as sober. 'She could give Kitsune a run for her money in a sake drinking contest!'
"Come and sit Manager-san. Or should I say Keitaro since you're going to be my brother-in-law correct?" Tsuruko menacingly glared at Keitaro.
"Um..." Keitaro slowly placed down the bottles, and slowly sat down on the other end of the table. He leaned his one crutch on the table, as he started to tremble slightly by the accusational tone in her voice. "I guess?"
"Except you're not marrying my sister, are you? Manager-san." Tsuruko said as she downed another cup of sake.
BOOM! Keitaro's mind exploded as realization sank in on what Tsuruko was saying. His mouth was left hanging, as he was unable to come up with a comeback. 'Busted! What am I going to do?'
Tsuruko focused her eyes on Keitaro. Never wavering even with all the alcohol flowing in her system. "Have nothing to say to that Manager-san? I know...it was all a lie! A show as Motoko put it, right?"
Keitaro was trembling. Motoko would have to leave, and it was all because of him! Well, it was possible that when Motoko spilled the beans, she found out that way. But he was still to blame for that right?
"You don't have to concern yourself, I probably won't take her back now." Tsuruko sighed as she opened one of the new bottles Keitaro brought and poured herself a new cup.
Keitaro felt relieved after hearing those words, which would not go unnoticed by Tsuruko. He opened his mouth to thank her when she continued.
"But if she loses to a challenge by me, proving her own words that she was not ready, then I will though, strip her of the sword and make her just a common woman." Tsuruko coolly said as she downed yet another cup of sake. "She will be bared from stepping foot on the school from that point on."
Keitaro's mouth fell open. 'Oh no! What will I do? Her whole life was to be as great of a swordswoman as she can be! What will this do to her?!' As Keitaro's body trembled, he knew he had to do something. Anything! Finally, he rose to his feet as best as he can. "You can't do that! I mean all she needed was a little more time! With a little more time she can prove that she can inherit the dojo! You'll see!"
Tsuruko eyed Keitaro as a smirked appeared across her face. "And what makes you say that a little more time will make her equal to me? If she was truly dedicated to her studies, she should have surpassed me by now!"
"Well..." Keitaro racked his brain as he tried to come up with a retort to that. "You could blame me! If I didn't distract her from her studies, then she could um..."
Tsuruko shook her head. "It was of her own undoing. And you are forgetting the one offense? She lied to me. How could I trust her to run the dojo if she doesn't even trust me?"
"It's not that!" Keitaro, feeling the need to defend Motoko against these attacks, retorted. "It's just that... she was afraid of you." 'I hope Motoko doesn't kill me when she hears about this!'
"Really?" Tsuruko said in a near condescending tone. She placed her cup down and rested held chin on her hand. "Now why would she be afraid of me?"
"She..." Keitaro slowly dropped down and sat down. "She just wanted to live up to your expectations. To be, just like you. To match your skill level! When she... when it seemed like she couldn't live up to that expectation, she ran away." Keitaro broke eye contact with Tsuruko and looked to the side. "But... she continued to train in order to live up to that dream. To be the best swordswoman that you would find worthy."
For a few seconds, neither party spoke. Tsuruko didn't change positions throughout this as she contemplated Keitaro's word.
Finally, Tsuruko broke the silence by switching subjects a little. "Tell me Keitaro, if you had to marry my sister in order for her own 'dream' to continue, would you do it? Even at the expense of your own dream?"
"What?" Keitaro looked up, caught off guard by that question.
"There is one way that this 'lie' can be rectified." Tsuruko sat back up, and started drinking again. "And that... and that is to marry my sister correct?"
Keitaro's mind went into overdrive. A picture of Naru flashed before him. 'But what about... but she was never really my girlfriend when I made the confession was she? And I already fulfilled the promise to get into Todai together. Heh.'
"Is your hesitation a no?" Tsuruko added as she downed another cup of sake.
Keitaro's head dropped, before he looked up, full of self-confidence and zeal. "Yes! I will marry her. Even if... even if I had to put my own dreams on hold, or even if those dreams will be forever unfulfilled, I will do it!"
Tsuruko swallowed the amount of sake, before she looked up into his eyes. Keitaro would note that they appeared to be, warm. "Keitaro... you'd do that even at the expense of your own happiness. You're a better man than you give yourself credit. Better than most men I know."
"Eh?" Keitaro eyes widened. He then sank his head down a bit and chuckled. "Well, I guess that's just the way I am. Even if I have to, I won't let any of my tenants down. Including Motoko. No matter what. But I'm not sure I'm better than most men! I mean... your husband..."
Tsuruko's face instantly hardens as she poured another cup of sake. "Keitaro, let me tell you a secret..."
Keitaro's eyes widened as realization struck. 'Wait! Is this why she's drinking this much?'
"But first..." After pouring another cup of sake, she slid it across the table towards Keitaro. "Have a drink! I can't be the only one drinking here!" Tsuruko said in a nearly cheery tone.
"EH?!" Keitaro said as he sees the sake cup in front of him. He can now guess the current maximum limit for Tsuruko before she becomes noticeably drunk. Three bottles and a half of sake. He also had the sneaking suspicion that this won't end well for him if he stayed. "Um, maybe tomorrow! You see, I have to go and..."
Tsuruko in a flash, whipped her sword out of its sheath, and pointed the blade at Keitaro's neck. "I insist you stay!"
Keitaro could feel the cold steel centimeters from his neck. This was enough for him to change his prerogative. "You know, I think I could stay for a while! Hehehe." He slowly reached for the cup as the blade withdrew from his neck.
Tsuruko placed down the sword and smiled at him. "Great! Now hurry up and drink!"
Keitaro was a little worried about this sudden change in Tsuruko. Of course, he was more worried about his own life. After all, a sword wielding drunk woman was not a pretty sight. So, he did the only thing he could do at the moment. Smile and endure. Or, in this case, smile, and down a cup of sake.
Tsuruko grinned as she grabbed the bottle from the table. "Now, you need another cup Maaaaaannnnaaagggeeeer-san!"
"Another one?" Keitaro asked hoping for it not to be the case.
Tsuruko narrowed her eyes as her free hand slowly made its way to the hilt of her sword.
"Another one sounds great!" Keitaro smiled brightly. As soon Tsuruko refilled the cup, he quickly downed it, much to the delight of the swordswoman.
"Now you should have another..." Tsuruko grin deepened.
"Um..." Keitaro was afraid that this could go on all night. Something he was most certainly afraid of. "But what about you? Don't you want some more?" Keitaro shakily offered the cup to her. He would normally not encourage drinking, especially to someone who certainly appeared to have had enough. But in this one case, he was going to chance it for his own sake.
"Cup?" Tsuruko lightly shook her head. "I don't need no cup when I have this!" Tsuruko began drinking straight from the bottle. While her motor skills have definitely deteriorated, she was still able to sit upright and not waver from side to side much. She even held some semblance of coherent thought. Although now doesn't seem to be the case.
'Shit.' Keitaro thought as he realized, his idea of trying to defuse the situation, might have actually made it worse. "Um, wait wait wait! I want more I want more I want more! Hehehe!"
Tsuruko removed the bottle from her mouth. "You have a long way to go Manager...san!" She quickly refilled the cup Keitaro was holding.
And Keitaro drank it down just as quickly. This continued for a few more cups, and Keitaro was starting to feel the affects of it. 'I need to come up with something fast before I get too drunk myself.' Then, he remembered what Tsuruko wanted to say before this deviation. Before Tsuruko poured him another drink, Keitaro spoke. "Um, Aoyama-san, about that um, secret you wanted to tell me?" In reality, given that she was like this, he really did not want to hear it. He suspected that she might regret doing so in the morning. But, if it gets her to stop pouring him drink, this could stop the situation from getting too out of control. Heck, if he was lucky, he could quickly escape before she noticed!
Which given Tsuruko's next action proves once again why Keitaro was the unluckiest guy in Tokyo. Tsuruko stopped her pouring and met Keitaro's eyes. The smile that she had developed during this slowly faded. "Very well. I'll tell you..." She then leaned across the table, shattering the sake bottle as she threw it across the room, and wound up over Keitaro, pinning him down. She leaned in close to Keitaro's face, causing said man to blush. "I'm not only here because I wanted to bring Motoko back."
"Uh... you're not?" Keitaro said a little surprised by this. All the while, trying to move his arms away. However, as intoxicated as Tsuruko was, she apparently did not lose any of her strength. And this meant Keitaro was trapped under the older woman.
Tsuruko shook her head. "You see... Manager-san, my marriage... isn't at all what it seemed."
"What?" Keitaro said, though he had suspected as much. Still, he wanted to be anywhere but here.
"Yes." Tsuruko said as her eyes noticeably shimmered as tears threatened to fall. "My husband... he isn't... he wasn't... the man I had fallen in love with had changed since our wedding."
Keitaro could feel a pit of sadness welling up in him after hearing this. A part of him said that this was all the information he needed, wanted to know. But he couldn't help but probe a little more. "Do you mind telling me about him?"
"No, I don't mind." Tsuruko said sadly. She momentarily looked away from Keitaro. "He was a wonderful man when we first met. He was kind, sweet, and caring." She then chuckled a bit as a memory came back to her. "He could never properly hold a sword, but I never cared about that. I loved him all the same."
Keitaro cast his eyes down. "What happened?"
"I don't know." Tsuruko said as a single tear fell from her eye. "After a year, he... changed. He wasn't the warm man that I had married. He... we became distant. He would go off on long business trips, and when he returned, we could barely hold conversation. I don't know what I've done wrong!" Tears began to freely flow down her face.
'I hate seeing a woman cry.' Keitaro thought, as the only thing he wanted to do now more than ever was to comfort the woman in front of him. Hold her in his arms if... well, if he could get a hand free of course. But right now, he tried the next best thing. "Don't worry! I think everything in the end will turn out right! I'm sure your husband is just busy! I'm sure you two will be able to work it out!"
"Hehehe..." Tsuruko slightly chuckled through her tears. "You have more hope for my marriage than I do."
"Don't... don't say that..." Keitaro frantically said as for some odd reason, Tsuruko's grip seemed to tighten at that point. "I'm sure your husband is still the man you married! I'm sure that he's just... busy that's all! After all, no one would intentionally hurt someone as beautiful and... and wonderful as you!"
"Manager...san?" Tsuruko's wiped the tears from her eyes. Her eyes warmed at those words.
'I'm free!' Keitaro said as he could feel the weight against his left arm disappear. 'Now I can...' Suddenly, he noticed something about Tsuruko's eyes. Once, they seemed to be filled with great sadness. But now...
At that moment, Tsuruko gently caressed Keitaro's face.
This caused said man to blush as he tried to assess what Tsuruko was doing. "Aoyama-san?"
"You're a good man Keitaro." Tsuruko said as she started to lean her tear stained face down to his. "A good man."
At that moment their lips met.
Keitaro's eyes nearly bulged out of his sockets, too stunned to move. Once the gears in his head started moving again, he noted a few things. How wonderful her soft lips were to his. How warm he felt being with her at that moment. How the world seemed to stop rotating by this action.
And how incredibly WRONG this was.
With his free hand, Keitaro frantically started pushing at Tsuruko, even with her strength, he was able to break the kiss. After a few pants, he tried to take command. "What are you..."
He didn't get to finish his sentence as Tsuruko crashed her lips against his again. Keitaro again tried wildly to push the older and stronger woman off of him, but she suddenly pinned his free arm down. He could feel Tsuruko's tongue probing his mouth. Fearing what would happen if he allowed entry, he kept his mouth completely shut. He could still smell the alcohol that was all over her breath. 'This is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong!'
After what seemed like an eternity, Tsuruko broke the kiss again, allowing said man to breath.
He looked back at Tsuruko. His eyes widened as he saw her eyes. They were full of lust and desire. And her target was him! Tsuruko was definitely not herself. Shutting up the part that wanted this to continue, Keitaro spoke in a stern voice. "Aoyama-san...this isn't right! You know..."
Tsuruko placed her hand on his mouth. "I need you!" She then consumed his lips again, and rolled him over a few times. In the process, they knocked over the table and shattering a few of the bottles behind her.
All the while, Keitaro was doing everything in his power to push her away. But each time he tried to break free from Tsuruko's grip, she only tighten her hold on him. Keitaro was afraid that he might find himself with two broken arms at the end of this. He even tried kicking her a few times, but that only seemed to increase Tsuruko's determination in confining him. And it didn't help matters that he had a broken leg to deal with. Thinking of a different strategy, Keitaro reluctantly stopped putting up a struggle.
This had the intended results as Tsuruko loosened her grip. She then broke her lustful kiss and rose to a near sitting position above him.
Keitaro was panting hard. "Ao... Aoya... Tsuruko!"
Tsuruko cocked her head as she began to scrutinize Keitaro's face. Her head moving ever so slightly from side to side as the affects of the sake remained greatly in effect. "So you know my name! I'm so happy!"
"Uh..." Keitaro's words were caught in his mouth momentarily.
"I'm going to make you happy... Keiiiiiitaro." Tsuruko's kimono slowly opened up, and began to fall from her shoulders.
Keitaro's eyes widened as he took in the sight in front of him. While he had seen a lot of naked flesh before, this was... different! Well, first, she wasn't quite naked yet since she still had the wraps covering her breast. But still, her form was most clearly showing, as well as a significant amount of skin exposed, it was one of the few times Keitaro was able to fully take in the sight without getting sent flying. It was a truly erotic view he would admit. At the moment, he felt like he was in heaven since Tsuruko was truly a gorgeous woman...
And a very MARRIED and DRUNK woman at that!
Keitaro knew he was on a collision course with disaster! And what's worse, his body was responding to it! 'Not only her marriage, and what Motoko would do to me when she finds out but, what about Naru?! Oh god! I have to do something!' What he considered his next course of action he hated. He really hated to do it. But so far, nothing he did worked. And if the others hear it, it might be a blessing in disguise. He would be in extreme pain if that happened, but if this is what's going to stop this from turning into a truely inescapable nightmare, then so be it. Keitaro prepared to raise his voice. "TSURUKO! STOP! YOU DON..."
Tsuruko forcibly covered Keitaro's mouth and leaned in close. "Now now nowwwwwww. You don't want others to find out do you?" She then leaned in close to him. "Or do you?" She quickly removed her hand and kissed him hard. His shocked expression didn't help for her tongue was able to find entry. She moaned passionately into Keitaro's mouth.
In a twisted sense, this felt good to Keitaro. TOO good! Keitaro was becoming desperate. He has to stop this immediately! He certainly wasn't drunk enough to think this was right in any circumstance. He decided to do another thing he never did to woman. In his desperation, with his free hand, Keitaro grabbed Tsuruko's hair and pulled it back hard.
"Oh." Tsuruko said as she only moved her head slightly, just enough to break the kiss. A grin appeared on her face. "So, that's the way you like it." She then grabbed the offending hand and started to squeeze. "Don't worry, there will be plenty of that!"
"N...nmph!" Keitaro protest was muffled as Tsuruko forcibly kissed him again.
-Later... The next morning...
As the sun shined through the window, Keitaro slowly opened his eyes. As his mind eliminated the last bit of the haze of sleepiness, the memories of last night filled in the void, his eyes shot open.
While he was now fully awake, he knew the nightmare has just begun.
His mind was torn in two as he tried to assess what to do. 'I... I had sex with Motoko's sister! I tried to stop it but she... she was all over me!' Keitaro examined the room he was in. Somehow, they were able to make it to the futon that was set out for her. In the next room, he could see parts of the sake bottles and the overturned table there. At the foot of the bed, he could see his torn shirt and what remained of his boxers after Tsuruko's frantic attempt to get them off. Keitaro then noticed a soft rhythmic sound that coincided with a slight ticking feeling on his chest. That was also when he noticed where his right arm was resting on. Or more like, whom it was embracing. He looked down and saw a mass of long soft black hair. Tsuruko! Resting completely over him, and naked as the day she was born. 'Oh god! What now?' Suddenly, realization hit him. 'Wait! If I didn't want to do it than... was it... was it... ra... ra... NO! It was all my fault! I was the sober one! Well not quite sober, but... but... I wasn't...'
Suddenly, the woman he was embracing slowly started to murmur. "Mmmph."
Keitaro froze after the movement. Sweat began to pour down his face. 'Oh god oh god oh god! What am I going to do? What can I say? What?!'
Tsuruko's eyes fluttered open. "Uh. What... happened?" Her head was spinning due to the massive headache she was now experiencing. "What happened last night? Oh my head." 'That's the last time I'm drinking that much.' Tsuruko thought as realization struck her about where her head was currently resting on. "And why does this... pillow feel... different..." Suddenly, she noted that the pillow's surface had a very, skin like feel to it. It even had bumps, and... hair? "What... what...Tetsuo?" As she cautiously looked up, the man she was looking at wasn't her husband, but someone else. Her eyes widened in horror at the sight she saw. "Man... Man... Manager-san?!"
Keitaro was trembling in absolute fear. Tears threatened to fall as he forcibly nodded his head.
"AGGGGH!!!" Tusruko gave a horrified yelp, and leaped off Keitaro and scrambled backwards. She then noticed her current state of undress, and grabbed the blanket off of Keitaro to preserve some modesty.
Keitaro, who himself was naked, scrambled to the nearest corner, pushing off with his good leg, and grabbed what remained of his clothes to cover up his own modesty. He grabbed his now cracked glasses as tears began to flow freely down his checks.
Tsuruko was trembling. "Why? What does this..." Suddenly, bits and pieces of the memories from last night began to surface. Her eyes widen in horror. 'WHAT HAVE I DONE?!' She then focused on the trembling boy in the corner. She began to feel sick to her stomach as the nightmare took root. Tears started to well up in her eyes. "Man... Keitaro..."
"I'M SO SORRY!" Keitaro yelled through his tears.
"Keitaro... no..." Tsuruko's face was now streaked in tears as she reached a hand out to him.
At that moment, the sound of feet pounding on the wooden floors outside the room could be heard. And a voice, a voice that will solidify this nightmare in stone, called out from there as the footsteps neared. "Aneue! What happened?! I'm here!"
Keitaro knew what this meant. 'Oh god...'
Motoko breaks down the door, sword in hand. "Aneue! Are you al..." Her eyes widened at the horror that she sees in front of her. There was an overturned table, broken sake bottles. The strong smell of sake permeated through the air. In the corner was Keitaro Urashima, naked and crying. 'What? What is he...' She than saw her sister...
Tsuruko looked back at Motoko, naked and her face streaked with tears.
A horrified expression washed over Motoko. "No... it can't be..." The sake, their state of dress, her sister's expression, Keitaro, it was all adding up to a sickening conclusion. Her hand started to tremble as fury began to take over. "Urashima-san... you... you did all this did you? This... HOW COULD YOU... YOU MONSTER!!!" Motoko unsheathed her sword as her eyes burned with tears.
Kitsune strolled right into the room. "Whoa! What's all the commotion..." Her words died in her throat as she saw the state of the room, as well as the current occupants in it.
"It's not what..." Keitaro could only lower his head. 'No. It's exactly what you think!' Keitaro wailed as he awaited his fate. "I'm so sorry!"
"You got my sister drunk, and you took advantage of her!" Motoko took a step forward. Her eyes were now cold as she gripped her sword tightly. She was not holding back now. "Urashima... I WILL ERASE YOUR EXISTENCE!!!"
Keitaro could only shut his eyes as he prepared to be skewered. All he could hope for now was that she showed some mercy and did it quickly. But maybe, he didn't deserve that much.
Keitaro winced at the loud sound of the sword making contact with... wait, another sword? Keitaro slowly opened his eye and was shocked to see what was in front of him.
Tsuruko's sword immobilized Motoko's, which were only mere inches from his head.
Tsuruko, now naked with the exception of her sword, glared down at Motoko.
Motoko's face, once washed with pure rage, was now showing signs of confusion. "Aneue! Why did you stop me?! You know what this man did to..."
"The one you should be striking is me." Tsuruko coolly said.
"What? I don't understand! What do you..." Motoko's mouth started to quiver as a new thought, a much more ominous one, entered her mind. "Aneue! No! He... Urashima... Kietaro..."
Tsuruko's cold stare gave way as more tears started to fall.
"No... it's a lie." Motoko said as the rage she once felt was dissipating. Now replaced with horrid realization. "It's a LIE!" Motoko yelled at the top of her lungs. The sword fell from her hands as they lost its hold. She sank to her knees as she tried in vain to deny this new reality. "This isn't happening...THIS ISN'T HAPPENING!"
The Hinata Sou will never be the same.
End of Chapter 1
Whoa. That was long. As it stands, this is the longest individual chapter I have ever made! Even longer than any of my "Fullmetal Evangelion" chapters (and that one had those really excessively long Author's Notes to boot)! Because of that, this story might have fewer chapters then those if I keep up this length (it's also going to be shorter since I'm not trying to rewrite a series like previously mentioned stories).
Now that I'm done with this first chapter, I can finally get moving on my Eva fics (except Valliant Shinji since that one got an update recently)! LONG delayed! Those expecting updates from those fics, sorry but I've been very busy lately. And since I wanted to finish this chapter before working on them again, I also didn't intend this chapter to be so long too. I also have plans for an OMG/Love Hina crossover fic, but I intend to get that one out after my Eva fics are updated.
Next Chapter... the consequences have been exposed. What becomes of Keitaro and Tsuruko? What about Motoko? When Haruka is confronts Tsuruko, what will her actions be against her? Until then... later!