Love Hina - Because

Fanfic by Steven Biggs

This story starts on the eve of the next to last day of the school term.

Thursday Night

Another one of Su's "Mecha-Tamas" is chasing Keitaro. After scurrying up the stairs to the third floor, he turns the corner and plows into Shinobu, falling on top of her.

BOMP!

"I'm sorry, Shinobu-chan! Are you alright?"

"Yes! Sempai (blushing). I'm okay."

Shinobu's hand pushes against his chest. Something feels odd, be she doesn't think much about it at the time.

Of course, Naru just happens to come out of her room at this point.

"What are you doing to Shinobu-chan now?"

"NARUSEGAWA! Please, it really was an accident!"

"You dirty pervert!"

Insert one patented "Naru-Punch" here. BAMPH!

Keitaro goes spinning down the hall and flops into Motoko's arms just as she comes out of her room to see what is happening. They make eye contact for a few seconds. Motoko starts to blush.

"H-how dare you sully my innocence with this unprovoked display of your male lust! SHINMEI SCHOOL SECRET ARTS! ROCK SPLITTING SWORD!"

Keitaro hurls back up the hallway and crashes into the railing, where he hangs over it for a few seconds before sliding to the floor. Motoko sees Naru and Shinobu.

"I see that this "man" has been after prey again tonight. I will swear that I will drive his evil presence from Hinata-sou! Naru-sempai, are you and Shinobu all right?"

"Yes. It looks like we stopped him before he got very far. Right, Shinobu- chan?"

"B-b-but Naru-sempai, it really was just an accident!"

"Honestly, Shinobu, how can you make excuses for such a stupid, lazy, pervert like him?"

At this point, Keitaro picks himself up and slowly walks down the stairs.

"There he goes, probably to take his shame to his room to cry again. It seems to be his pattern lately. Naru-sempai, why do you put up with helping this weakling study for Toudai?"

"I honestly don't know why. I-its not as if I like him or anything like that. He has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever!"

"Aaauuuuu! How can you two be so cruel to Sempai?"

Friday Afternoon

The next day, our hero avoids any awkward situations that would cause one of the girls to attack him. Until he comes home from Prep School, of course. As soon as he announces he is back, Kitsune greets him.

"I'm home!"

"Keitaro, did you remember to pick up more sake on your way home?"

"Sorry, Kitsune-san. I forgot to stop by the store."

"Where have you been? We've been waiting for you to bring the rest of the stuff for tonight's party! Naru and Shinobu got back with the sukiyaki and pastry fixings an hour ago."

"I, ah, I had something that I had to do after school."

Kitsune slides up to him and holds his hand, pulling it to her breast.

"What's the matter Keitaro-san? I'm not important to you anymore? Hmm?"

"K-k-k-kitsune! (blood starts to trickle out of one nostril and he thinks, Her breasts are as soft as I remember! ) I-I-I'll go to the store right now!"

"Good! (She pushes him out the door, where he trips and falls down the steps) By the way, that grope was worth another month's rent!"

"WHAT?"

Later, during the party, they are all enjoying the food and playing karaoke songs. Keitaro only receives a small portion of sukiyaki because he was so late getting back.

"Ah! Shinobu-chan, the sukiyaki and tempura are delicious tonight! You sure are going to make someone a wonderful wife."

"T-thank you, Sempai (double-strength blush)."

Naru, crosses her arms and turns her face away from Keitaro.

"Oh? And you don't think my cakes are very good then?"

"I didn't mean that, Narusegawa! Of course they're good!"

"You idiot! You haven't even tried one yet!"

"Okay! Okay! Here I go. (Pops one of the small cakes in his mouth) Hmm, these are, uh, interesting."

"INTERESTING? IS THAT ALL YOU CAN SAY ABOUT MY COOKING?"

"NARUSEGAWA! Please, please don't get upset. It's just that my appetite hasn't been normal lately!"

Keitaro back-pedals and trips over Tama-chan, his head landing in Su's lap. She wraps her arms around his neck.

"Keitaro, how did you know that I wanted to play now?"

"S-su-chan, I'm sorry! (How can she be so provocative and naïve at the same time?)"

He jumps up, plowing face-first into Naru's breasts.

Naru freezes, her whole face turning red.

Time stops, waiting for the inevitable. Motoko obliges.

"Urashima, you scoundrel! Attacking a junior high school student AND Naru- sempai! Prepare to feel the wrath of my blade!"

Keitaro backs into the corner and drops to his knees. He raises his right hand pleadingly out to Motoko, while placing his other hand protectively over his chest. Shinobu takes a quick breath as this reminds her of something.

"Please, Motoko, please! I beg you not to hurt me. I'm sorry! Please Motoko!"

"Aaauuuuu! Motoko-sempai. DON'T HIT HIM!"

"Weakling male! SHINMEI SCHOOL SECRET ARTS! AIR SPLITTING SWORD!"

Keitaro is thrown through the doors and lands on one of the rocks before sliding into the hot spring. Shinobu runs out to help him. Naru, still blushing, sits down and grabs her Oolong tea.

"Hmph! That idiot. Why can't we have just one party without his perverted antics?"

"Naru, why didn't you hit him this time?"

"Eh? W-w-what do you mean, Kitsune?"

"Kitsune hugs Naru around the neck."

"You're so cute when you're like this!"

AAAAIIIIEEEE!!!!

Everyone rushes outside when Shinobu screams. Naru sees her in the hot spring holding Keitaro.

"Shinobu-chan, what's wrong?"

Shinobu, all color drained from her face and stuttering just one word, turns around while holding Keitaro.

"B-b-b-blood!"

She opens his shirt so they all could see the bandages wrapped around his chest. Naru leaps into the water and takes him from Shinobu's arms.

"Keitaro! What's wrong? Where are you hurt?"

In obvious pain, with a stream of blood trickling from his lips, he opens his eyes.

"Narusega-ga-ga-AAAAHHHH!"

Grabbing his chest, he coughs; water and blood spray from his mouth. In a painful whisper, he tries to speak again.

"Na-narusega-gawa. Please h-help . . ."

His head falling to Naru's shoulder, Keitaro shudders and goes limp.

Naru, unable to move or speak, holds Keitaro.

"Naru. Naru! NARU!"

She looks up at Kitsune. Her lips move, but no sound comes out.

Motoko, her eyes only seeing the bandages wrapped around his chest, staggers into the water; one hand is reaching towards him.

"Urashima! (What have I done? He was trying to protect some kind of injury. I should have seen that.)"

Kitsune jumps into the pool.

"Shinobu, go and call Dr. Hikari! Hurry!"

"Y-y-yes!"

"Naru, we've got to get him out of the water. Naru?"

Naru looks down at Keitaro then back to Kitsune, still unable to speak.

"(She's going into shock!) Motoko, help me get him to his room! Su, take Naru inside, and then go get Haruka-san."

They carry Keitaro to his room. Dr. Hikari arrives a few minutes later. While she tends to Keitaro, everyone waits downstairs. No one has anything to say, the shock of seeing Keitaro in this condition is too unbelievable.

Naru stands in the corner, staring at Keitaro's blood still on her hands and shirt. Haruka tries to get her to cleanup and change.

"Naru, you have to change your clothes."

"(Keitaro.)"

"Please, you have to wash his, wash the blood off."

"(Keitaro. Keitaro's blood.)"

Naru refuses to move, so they bring some water and towels, clean her, and help her change into dry clothes.

After about an hour, Dr. Hikari comes down. She reassures everyone that Keitaro's life is not in danger, but her next comment shocks everyone even more.

"I have been treating him for bruised ribs for the past month, but he would not tell me how he received his injuries. It seems that instead of improving, his condition gets worse every week. I prescribed medication because he is in constant pain. I am afraid that now he has a broken rib and most likely it has lacerated his lung, which explains why he is coughing blood. And, making matters worse, he had water in there too. I have reset his rib and bound his chest in stronger wraps than he was wearing. I also gave him a strong medication and he is sleeping. Now, I am asking you, do any of you know what has caused his injuries?"

No one answers the doctor directly, but they all speak quietly.

Haruka takes her cigarette holder out of her mouth.

"I was making my nephew work even harder than ever around Hinata-sou lately, but he never complained. Why?"

Kitsune, a glass of sake un-drunk in her hands, says softly.

"I didn't know. I didn't know. Even after all I do to him, he still treats me kindly. Why?"

Shinobu stands there, holding a plate full of the best sukiyaki from the party.

"Sempai! Why did this have to happen to you? Why?"

Su, holding Tama-chan.

"He never said no when I wanted to play. Why didn't he tell someone that he was hurt? Why?"

Motoko drops her training sword.

"I struck him. Even when he was on his knees begging me not to, I struck him. Why?"

Naru, tears spilling from her eyes, falls to her knees.

"Keitaro! You always try to apologize, but I never give you the chance. Why?"

Hikari nods her head.

"I see. I thought as much. I asked him why he stayed here, even though it was causing him so much pain. Before he fell asleep, he gave me an answer that I do not really understand."

Everyone looks at the doctor, waiting to hear what Keitaro said.

"As he closed his eyes, he said "Because". Well, I have done everything that I can do for him. I am afraid that he has started to have a fever and must rest as much as possible. I will leave this medicine for him. He must take some three times a day, or else the pain will make it hard for him to rest. Under no circumstances is he to do any work around Hinata-sou for at least a week. Please call me if there are any more problems. I bid a good night to everyone."

Everyone quietly walks up to Keitaro's room. Haruka slides open the door and they go inside.

"He looks so vulnerable like this. Someone should stay with him tonight. Naru, will you?"

Naru is still outside his door. Even though they cleaned her up she is wiping her hands on her shirt. She looks up at Haruka.

"Keitaro's blood. KEITARO!"

Naru runs up to her room and throws the door shut.

Haruka sighs. Kitsune starts to go after Naru, but Haruka grabs her arm.

"Its okay, she will watch over him."

"What do you mean? Shouldn't she be down here?"

"You are forgetting, she has the perfect place from which to watch over him."

"Oh, that's right! But do you think she will?"

"I trust her. I think that she won't be able to do anything but watch him."

Motoko starts to go upstairs also.

"I will stay with her for a little while, just to make sure that she will be all right."

Friday Midnight

Motoko is standing in Naru's room. Naru is sitting with her arms wrapped around her knees rocking back and forth.

"Naru-sempai, please speak to me."

". . . . ."

"Naru-sempai, we must talk."

". . . . ."

"Very well, I shall speak then. I have shamed myself. I struck out at a person who was injured and begged for my mercy. The Shinmei School teaches us that we must show mercy to any foe that requests it. For one of us to do otherwise is unacceptable. Yet, I have violated this most basic principle. I have shown myself unworthy to carry on as a Shinmei sword-master. I will g-give up the sword and l-leave Hinata-sou. I will send a message to the school in the morning informing them of my actions. I must ask this one favor of you. Will you take my sword and return it to my sister? I-I cannot bear to face her myself. She expected more from me than this, and I have failed her."

"No."

"What?"

"I can't take your sword, I don't have the right."

"Naru-sempai?"

"It's not your fault. I'm even more to blame for this than you."

"But, it was my strike that caused this!"

"No, it was both of us."

"Naru-sempai?"

"Did you ever intend to hurt him when you used your sword?"

"N-no. I admit that I have always held back from using my full technique."

"Why?"

"Huh?"

"Why?"

"I'm not s-sure that I understand what you are asking."

"You care for him."

Motoko and Naru just look at each other.

"You care for him too, Naru-sempai."

". . . . ."

"I have seen you smiling at him when he compliments Shinobu's cooking."

"Bu-bu-bu-but. . ."

"I have seen you stop studying and watch him cleaning the pool. You stand there for minutes just watching him."

"Motoko, do you really want to give up your sword and leave?"

"No, but I must. For him."

"Is that what he would want?"

"But what I have done is unforgivable!"

"He will forgive you."

"Why? Why would Urashima ever forgive me?"

"Because. He is Keitaro."

Motoko bows her head. A single tear spills down her cheek.

"Yes, he is. He is gifted with such nobility of spirit and kindness of heart."

"Motoko, will you stay with me to watch over him tonight?"

"For a little while, yes I will. However, I will go rest later so that I may take over his duties until he is well again."

"So, you won't give up the sword and leave Hinata-sou?"

Motoko smiles.

"I will stay. Moreover, I promise to Urashima that I will be worthy of carrying my sword."

Saturday Morning

None of the girls slept much last night. Naru did not sleep at all. She kept moving Liddo-kun out of the way to look at Keitaro. He seemed comfortable, but around daybreak, she could tell that he indeed has a fever. He kept whispering something, but she was too frightened to drop down into his room, so she did not know what he was saying. About that time, Shinobu brings some breakfast in for Keitaro.

"S-Sempai? Sempai? I have some sukiyaki and cakes from the party for you. Sempai, are you awake?"

"Oh, S-shinobu-chan. What happened? It hurts so much!"

"Don't move Sempai! I will get your medicine. Aaauuuuu! Where is it? Where is it?"

Shinobu frantically checks the room, but she can't find the medicine.

"I thought Naru-sempai would have put it in here! Where is it?"

Naru looks at her hand, the medicine still clutched tightly in it.

"(I was too afraid to go in his room last night! He needs this now.) Shinobu, I'm up here! Here it is!"

"Thank you!"

Shinobu catches the bottle of medicine. Naru slides Liddo-kun back over the hole.

"Here you are Sempai!"

"Thank you, Shinobu-chan."

"D-d-do you want me to feed you? (triple blush) I mean, are you hungry? Aaauuuuu!"

"That would be very nice, Shinobu-chan. If it isn't too much trouble."

"Yes! I have always wanted to feed you like this. I-I m-m-mean here's your food! Aaauuuuu! (I cant believe that I am feeding him like this! Even though he is hurt, it makes me happy to take care of him!)"

After breakfast, Keitaro falls asleep again. Whispering something to him, Shinobu places a cold towel on his forehead and takes the tray to the kitchen. Naru slides Liddo-kun a little to peek down into Keitaro's room. As Shinobu leaves the room, Naru hears her say.

"Be well . . . Keitaro-kun."

Naru falls backwards, completely shocked.

Saturday Noon

Naru comes back from the market where she bought one of Keitaro's favorite "beef bowls". However, when she opens his door, she sees that Shinobu has already fed him his lunch and given him his medicine. Keitaro is almost asleep and Shinobu is bending over him looking down at his face.

"Ah, uh, Shinobu-chan. How is our patient doing?"

"Aaauuuuu! I-I wasn't going to k-k-kiss, I mean I was just checking his cold towel! Aaauuuuu!"

Shinobu picks up the tray and runs past Naru.

"(I thought that I was hearing things this morning. But could it be that Shinobu . . . NO! She, uh, she is just concerned for him. That's it! She is just returning the kindness that Keitaro always shows her.)"

Things continue like this for the rest of the weekend. Shinobu is always the first to feed Keitaro and give him his medicine. Naru, from her room, tries to listen to what Shinobu is whispering to him as he falls asleep, but she cannot make out the words.

Monday Morning

Before going shopping, Shinobu makes her usual visit to Keitaro. This time, Naru finds herself hiding in Keitaro's room, behind his winter jacket on the coat rack of all places.

"(What am I doing here? I can't believe that I'm doing this. Why?)"

Shinobu gives Keitaro his medicine and finishes cleaning up. After a few minutes, just as he is drifting off, she kneels down next to him and begins to whisper. Naru catches a few words this time.

"Keitaro, its ***** here. I am ***** ***** I ***** you so much *****. Please ***** ***** ***** I ***** ***** ***** care for ***** very *****. ***** will always ***** ***** ***** take care ***** *****, Keitaro-kun. I ***** you; I love ***** with all ***** ***** heart."

Keitaro, as sleep takes him, smiles lovingly and gently whispers one word that Naru can't hear. At this, Shinobu smiles. Then she leans down and kisses him gently on the lips. As she leaves the room, she says, yet again, what Naru can't believe.

"Be well . . . Keitaro-kun."

Back in her room, Naru thinks about what has just happened.

"(Shinobu! What are you doing? How can you betray me like this?)"

"(Huh? Betray me? Why do I feel like she is betraying me?)"

"(After all, it's just Keitaro we're talking about. Huh? We?)"

"(Why is my heart beating this fast? Is it because I'm jealous? NO! It's because I'm worried that Shinobu doesn't know what she is getting into. Isn't it? Isn't it? What is it? Why?)"

"(I have to protect Shinobu from that per.., uh from Keitaro. But how can I do that? Why should I do that?)"

"(Well, really. If that los.., uh if Keitaro and Shinobu are, uh, um. . .)"

"(I DON'T CARE! I REALLY DON'T CARE!)"

Monday Noon

Shinobu is preparing Keitaro some lunch in the kitchen when Naru enters.

"Shinobu, I'll help you take Keitaro's lunch to him today. Okay?"

"Yes, Naru-sempai! Thank you!"

They enter Keitaro's room.

"Good afternoon, Sempai! Here is you're lunch!"

"Hello Shinobu-chan! I could smell your wonderful cooking from here. Uh, Narusegawa. H-hello!"

"(Why did he start acting so nervous when he noticed me? Can there really be something between him and . . .?)"

"Uh, H-hello Keitaro! How are you feeling today?"

"I-it still hurts a little when I breathe deeply, but I think most of my fever is gone."

"Sempai has been such a good patient! Naru-sempai even brought you a treat today!"

"(Huh? What treat? I didn't bring anything.)"

Shinobu uncovers a dish on the corner of the tray.

"Here you are Sempai! Your favorite "beef bowl"!"

"(How did Shinobu know that is his favorite? I thought that I was the only one he ever took there.)"

"Naru-sempai, I want to get the laundry on the poles quickly in case it rains. Can you feed this to Sempai, please?"

Shinobu pushes the "beef bowl" into Naru's hands and trots out of the room.

"Uh, okay. Here you go Keitaro (triple blush) say "Ahh"."

Keitaro, with his own triple blush, opens his mouth.

'Ahh!"

"Umm, that sure tastes good. It's even better than usual."

"Huh? Why? It seems the same to me!"

"It m-m-must be the wonderful service."

Naru and Keitaro look at each other for what seems like hours but is only a few seconds. Naru, looking up at the ceiling, asks the same question that the doctor asked of him.

"Keitaro, why do you stay here at Hinata-sou, even when it has been causing you so much pain?"

"Because . . ."

"Because I love you, Narusegawa."

Naru's tears start to spill uncontrollably as she realizes that Keitaro has taken her hand in his. Feeling a knot loosening in her chest and all of her emotions becoming clear, she lets her heart speak the truth of her life.

"Keitaro, I am sorry that I cause you so much pain. Please believe me when I say that I care for you very much. I will always be here to take care of you, Keitaro-kun."

And in a whisper meant only for Keitaro:

"I love you; I love you with all of my heart."

Keitaro, smiles lovingly, and gently whispers one word that speaks his whole world.

"Narusegawa."

At this, Naru smiles. Then she leans down and kisses him gently on the lips.

In the distance, someone yells.

"BINGO!"

However, the only thing in their world is each other, which explains why they don't see Motoko, Su, and Shinobu pull Kitsune back down behind the roof outside Keitaro's window.

"Kitsune-san, you must be more careful, or they may see us all."

"Lighten up Motoko! This calls for a real party! Yay!"

Su is holding Tama-chan to keep her from flying into Keitaro's room.

"Shinobu, how did you know that your plan would work this well?"

"Well, I just thought that if I kept acting as if I were Naru-sempai when Sempai was falling asleep, he wouldn't be afraid to tell her that he loved her when they finally had the chance to be alone."

Kitsune smiles at Shinobu.

"Shinobu, you're a genius! But did you have to kiss him this morning?"

"K-k-kitsune-san! You know about that? Aaauuuuu!"

"Of course I do. We were all out here watching. We even saw Naru hiding in Keitaro's room when you kissed him."

"N-n-n-naru-sempai saw me k-k-kiss Sempai? And I'm still alive! Aaauuuuu!"

Shinobu faints.

Monday Night

Everyone gathers in Keitaro's room for the big party. Kitsune keeps winking at and elbowing Naru (she still does not know that everyone saw them earlier). As midnight approaches, Kitsune grabs one of the sake bottles she emptied and, dancing in place, announces:

"Everyone except Keitaro, close your eyes!"

"Now, raise your hand if you want to play spin the bottle with Keitaro!"

Kitsune stops dancing.

The room goes dead quiet. After a few seconds, each girl peeks with one eye and looks around. This is what they see:

Kitsune standing there with her mouth open and an empty sake bottle in one hand and the other hand raised high.

Shinobu (triple blushing) has both hands up.

Su, with Tama-chan on her head, both of them have a hand (or flipper) above their heads.

Motoko sitting serenely with her sword in her lap and one hand lifted in front of her.

Naru has one hand lifted up and is looking at Keitaro.

And Keitaro fell backwards on his futon with blood starting to trickle out of one nostril.

End of Chapter 1