**** The Light From Ashes ****

Andrew Joshua Talon

DISCLAIMER: Love Hina is owned by TV Tokyo. I am not making any profit off this writing.

I freely admit, I was inspired by Crossover Maniac's "The Reconstruction of Keitaro Urashima" in writing this story. This is my first attempt at a serious Love Hina fanfiction, so please bear with me.

*A/N: This takes place around in LH Manga Volume 4-5. It is a slight AU, in that the timeline is altered slightly, but not enough to throw off the entire LH continuum.


The horrific darkness of the closet came to Urashima, the walls closing in around him. He couldn't see, he couldn't breathe. A weak scream made it past the blockade of his lips.

"KASSAN! OKASSAN! HELP!" A deafening silence, and then a harsh rapping on the door by a masculine fist.

"Shut up, you little bastard! This is what you deserve, got it?!" Still, Keitaro wailed.

"KASSAN! PLEASE! I'll be good! I'll be good!" Keitaro felt himself squished into a fetal position as his cries were stifled.

"I'll be good... I'll be good..."

Another loop in the rollercoaster of Keitaro Urashima's mind, and the young man finds himself watching from the doorway of his home. His parents and numerous other adults are clustered about the table, where there once was a roaring party. Now, the adults were konked out, snoring in druken slumber. A tug at his arm jerks Keitaro's head to the left.

His little sister, Kanako, anxiously looks out with her large, beautiful eyes. Fear is written on her face, as well as on her back in the form of bruises.

"Nii-san? Will kassan and okassan be alright?" Keitaro sighs. She's asked him this question many times before. He gazes out into the wreckage of their home with a despondent expression on his face.

"I don't know," he says helplessly. Kanako clutches his hand tighter, pressing her face against his shoulder. She begins to cry, as Keitaro carefully herds his little sister away, lest his parents awaken early. Her quiet sobbing gradually descends as the fog of sleep lifts gingerly from Keitaro's mind. The three-year ronin opens his eyes, staring at the blurry ceiling.

A sigh escapes Keitaro's lips as he pushes himself out of bed. He turns to his left, and leans his elbows against the surface of his desk. He steals a glance at his alarm clock: He's awake an hour early, damn. The ronin groans, and begins to consider his right hand as the dream returns to him, haunting snap shots of his childhood.

Kanako-chan had forgotten about those events, she'd been too little after all. But they were burned into his subconcious, gouges in the framework of his mind.

Keitaro had hoped... That he too had forgotten completely about all that. That the promise, the memory of the promise had prevailed and made sure that he never had to recall those awful days of neglect and abuse. But, a realization had edged into his thoughts, finally pushing into the light with the indignancy of being ignored.

When one lies, one first lies to themselves. And this proverb of an obscure philosopher had finally taken it's revenge. Keitaro could no longer lie to himself:

"There never was a promise, was there?" His mind taunted,"It was a fantasy you created in order to mask your sad life, wasn't it?"

"I... Don't know," Keitaro thought back.

"Bullshit," sneered his mind, "you know very well that it was a lie. You just don't have the guts to admit it!"

"NO! It... I mean, how could I-" Keitaro stammered to himself, but was caught off by the truth.

"You had an active imagination. You needed one, to survive those asshole parents of yours," his mind continued, betraying his searing bitterness,"but why keep lying to yourself? Why do you keep up this charade?" Keitaro gripped his desk, the strain starting to flow into anger, then hatred, and finally self-loathing.

"It's... Become a habit."

"An addiction! You use it to feel good, and that's what you do with drugs, right? So it's an addiction!" Keitaro's eyes flooded with pent-up tears he'd hidden, even from himself.

"It's true," he wailed, pounding the desk with his fist,"it IS true!" Keitaro cried into his pajama sleeve, choking and halting sobs blasting warm, moist air into the fabric. His teeth ground, stirring up the blood vessels in his cheek. He felt like throwing up as he instinctively swallowed his tears.

His cries sputtered slowly to a stop, as he looked above the wall of his arm with a sudden question.

"Wait a minute... Why am I feeling this now?" His mind growled at him in annoyance.

"You hit the breaking point, Kei. I decided that enough was frigging enough. After all," this part of Urashima's mind continued,"you've been wasting your time here." Keitaro blinked.

"What? I have not!"

"Well, let's look at the pros first, hm? Pros: Shinobu, Seta and Tama-chan. Nuff said. Con: Everyone else!" Keitaro's concious self struggled to swallow this, like a white hole fighting to escape a black hole.

"But, Naru-"

"Hit you at LEAST 759 times. Motoko blasted you 598 times, Kitsune emptied your account for booze, Suu and Sarah attacked you with one of their damn inventions about 400 times, and they've all collectively insulted you about 8,237 times. Shinobu's the ONLY one who's shown you even a meager amount of compassion." Keitaro blinked in shock.

"Man, I've got a good memory."

"Yeah, that we do. And skip any arguments, I AM you, after all." A bittersweet smile appeared on his face.

"Point taken. So... What should we do?" This emergent part of his brain was silent for a moment. Keitaro narrowed his eyes.


"Oh, right! Sorry, lost track there..." Keitaro sighed.

"Guess we're more alike than we'd admit, huh?"

"I have no comment on that," his mind shot back, inciting a sweatdrop to appear at the back of Keitaro's head.

"Anyway, since we're both you, and both of us don't know what in Hell we're doing here, and both of us don't want to stay here as you any longer, why don't you, being us, take us somewhere else?"

Keitaro and his subconcious self both blinked in confusion.

"I have no idea what I just thought," Keitaro muttered, standing up and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.


Shinobu Maehara was an early riser by both need and instinct: She was the only truly qualified cook at the Hinata, and she'd been getting up early for years to the point she didn't need to set her alarm. And now, finishing up with getting dressed, the lithe beauty opened her door and started for the kitchen, shivering slightly in the brisk morning air. She was rounding the bend of the face of the ancient building when she noticed a figure walking across the yard and headed for the steps leading down to the street.

Shinobu stared. The figure was Keitaro. Why was he headed away at such an early hour? The shopping was done for the week, and there were no chores to speak of...

"Must be... Going for a walk," she murmured, still half-asleep. She headed to the kitchen as Keitaro faded from veiw...


All I can think of right now! R&R, please!