Love Hina – Memories

Based on an idea by Victor Knight

Fanfic by Steven Biggs

Chapter One

Wednesday Evening

Keitaro and Naru are climbing the steps to Hinata-sou. They went to a movie, followed by a walk in the park.

Her arm in his, Naru has a serene smile upon her face.

"(This has been a wonderful evening. Keitaro can be really charming when he tries.)"

"Thanks for going out with me, Narusegawa."

"Thank you, Keitaro. I had a wonderful time!"

Keitaro scratches his head.

"I'm glad. I was afraid that I spoiled it when I asked you to dance with me in the park."

"Well, I was a little surprised, since there wasn't any music. But when you held out your hands and started humming, I just, uh, that is . . . . ."

A tear of joy in her eyes, she rests her head on his shoulder and whispers.

"That was so sweet. No one has ever done that for me."

"Ha ha! I'm afraid that I was a little off-key!"

"No, not at all. You have a wonderful voice. That was the first time that I ever heard you sing. What was that song?"

"I don't know really. I just remember my father singing it to my mom all the time when I was younger."

"It seems that you have wonderful parents. I'd like to meet them, someday."

Keitaro blushes.

"Well, uh, I, I've never brought a girl home b-before. What am I saying? I've never even had a girlfriend!"

Just before the end of the steps, Naru stops walking. Keitaro, on the top step, turns around.

"What is it, Narusegawa?"

She shyly crosses her arms in front of her and wraps her fingers together.

"You could t-tell them that I'm your girlfriend."

"M-m-my g-g-girlfriend?"

Naru lowers her head slightly and looks up at him.

"I, I l-love you, Keitaro. I don't know exactly when it happened, but I really like being with you. You make me feel, oh words aren't enough! I know that I enjoy this feeling I have inside and I want it more and more everyday!"

Keitaro gently places his hands on her arms just below her shoulders.

"Narusegawa, you mean more to me than anything I have ever dreamed or desired."

She drops her gaze.

"Even your promise of fifteen years ago?"

He gently squeezes her arms. Naru shudders slightly.

"Even though there is no proof, I want to believe that you are the girl of that promise."

Naru leans against him.

"Oh, Keitaro! In my heart I want to be that girl."

He slides a hand up to her cheek.

"Then let's make a new promise, together."

She gives him a quick kiss. Then, smiling playfully, she pushes him back and runs around him.

"If you can catch me!"

Keitaro grins and raises his fist.

"All right!"

Laughing, Naru runs to the right, heading for the corner of Hinata-sou's main building. Keitaro dashes after her.

Just as Naru rounds the corner, Keitaro reaches out.

"Ha ha! I've got you Narusegawa!"

He slips, and as he falls, his hand grasps some fabric.

The fabric of Naru's skirt.

Keitaro hits the ground, skidding to a stop.

Naru falls to her hands and knees.

Keitaro looks up and sees pink panties covering her heart-shaped derrière, framed by her sweater.


Blood gushes from both his nostrils.


Naru pulls up her skirt and kicks him, lofting him in a perfect volleyball set-up. Spinning full-circle, she delivers a "Naru-Punch".


Keitaro arcs upwards, arms and legs flailing. As he passes the corner of the building, his head crashes into the wooden trim, shaking the whole building and causing him to continue on, spinning wildly.

Inside, Kitsune looks over her sake glass at Motoko.

"Naru and Keitaro are home."

Motoko nods her head in agreement.

Outside, Naru straightens her skirt and walks to the back of the inn.

"Hmph! That stupid jerk!"

As she passes out of sight, Keitaro plummets back to earth, landing in a heap near Hinata-sou's entrance.

Groaning, he reaches up and grabs the railing.

He takes two steps and falls face-first just before the doors.

Wednesday Night

Shinobu carries the rest of the trays to the table.

"Dinner is ready!"

Kitsune bangs her chopsticks on the table.

"Food! Food! I'm so hungry I could even eat Naru's cooking!"

"Kitsune! My cooking isn't that bad!"

Su jumps up on her chair.

"I like it!"

Motoko sits down, leaning her sword against a table leg.

"Su, you could eat a komodo lizard boiled in pine oil."

"Only if I had some ketchup to smother it with!"

Shinobu turns a little green.

"Eeeeewww! I don't think I want to make that!"

Naru laughs at her.

"Don't worry; there aren't any komodo lizards anywhere near here."

"(Though, knowing what Su's room is like, there just may be some in there.)"

Naru sits down and reaches for some rice. Motoko interrupts her.

"Should not we wait for Urashima?"

"Oh! Sorry, I'll go get him."

Shinobu heads for the door.

"You're already seated, I'll go!"

"Thank you, Shinobu-chan."

A little later, Shinobu returns.

"Sempai isn't in his room, and he's not taking a bath either."

Kitsune pushes her chair back.

"I'll see if he's cleaning the hot springs. Keitaro-san had better not be goofing around, I'm starving already!"

A minute later, Kitsune comes back in the dining room.

"He's not out there. All of the work tools are still in the shed. Naru, didn't he come back with you?"

"Yes, we both came home together."

Motoko looks at her.

"Where did you last see him?"

Naru clenches her fists.

"We were out front. That pervert chased me around the corner and tried to strip me."

Kitsune grins and leans over the table.

"And? And? Don't leave out the details!"

"I slapped him and walked around to the back door."

"Slapped? I think you probably did more than slap him, if I know you."

Naru laughs.

"Well, it was a pretty good shot, if I do say so myself. The last I saw, he was headed for the front entrance. He's probably still sitting there, too afraid to come in."

Naru stands up and sighs.

"I guess it really was just an accident. I'll go apologize and bring him in so that we can start to eat."

Naru smiles as she walks through the common room to the front door.

"(I'll make it up to him. He can have my dessert, and maybe another kiss later.)"

She slides open the door and steps outside.

"Keitaro, are you still out here? Come on in, dinner is ready."

She looks around. As she moves to the stairs, she trips over something, landing hard on it.

"What? Who put some stuff in front of the doors?"

She rubs her head and looks down.

"Keitaro? Why are you sleeping on the porch?

She shakes him.

"Wake up, Keitaro. Let's go inside. It's time for dinner."

"Keitaro? It's all right, I apologize. I know that you were just being clumsy again."

She rolls him over, seeing his shattered glasses.


She pats him gently on the cheek.

"Wake up. Please wake up!"

Naru gently lifts Keitaro's head. She feels a large bump behind his left ear. She pulls her hand away, seeing his blood covering her fingers.

"Oh my god! Oh my dear god!"

Naru cries out for the other girls, but can only make a strangle gasp. She takes a deep breath.


The girls come scrambling through the rooms and rush onto the porch. Kitsune spots the blood on Naru's hand and drops down next to her.

"Is he okay?"

Kitsune looks at her.

Turning to Kitsune, eyes wide, Naru tries to speak, but only gasps escape her throat. She shakes her head from side to side, as tears start pouring down her cheeks.

Motoko moves around to Keitaro's other side.

"Help me bring him inside."

Kitsune and Motoko carefully place their arms under his back and legs. Naru cradles his head as they lift him.

They lay Keitaro on the couch, placing his hands on his stomach.

Shinobu crouches in the corner.

"Is he, is S-s-sempai, d-d-dead?"

Motoko runs over and grabs her shoulders.

"No! Shinobu, look at him yourself. He lives, he is still breathing!"

She brings Shinobu next to him. Shinobu places a hand on his chest and feels it rise and fall. She falls to the floor.

Su catches her head before it hits.

"Medic! Another one down!"

Kitsune jumps for the phone.

"I'm calling Dr. Hikari!"

She dials the number.

"C'mon answer, answer the darned phone!"

Naru runs to the kitchen. As she brings back a damp towel, she hears Kitsune talking to the doctor.

Naru places the towel gently behind his left ear.

"Keitaro! Oh god I am so sorry! Please wake up!"

Su lifts his left arm. It flops down when she lets it go.

"Man, he's really out this time."

Motoko runs for the door. Naru jerks her head around.

"Where are you going?"

"I am going to bring Haruka-san here! This looks to be very serious this time!"

She springs out the doors. Su walks outside and looks around.

Shinobu sits up and looks around. She moves to the end of the couch and watches Keitaro breathing.


Kitsune kneels next to Naru.

"Dr. Hikari is on her way! She'll be here in a few minutes!"

Naru removes Keitaro's broken glasses and places them in her pocket.

"Thank you Kitsune."

Naru hugs her.

"What happened? Keitaro is stronger than this! He should have bounced right back after I hit him!"

Kitsune rubs Naru on the back.

"Don't worry. He'll be okay. Keitaro's nearly indestructible, remember?"

"But, I didn't hit him there. How did it happen?"

Su comes back inside and kneels behind Naru.

"I think I know."

Naru and Kitsune turn towards her. Su places a crescent shaped piece of wood on the floor.

"There's a big chunk knocked off the corner of the wall. He must've clipped it on the way up."

Kitsune rubs her chin.

"I thought I could feel the inn shake, earlier."

Naru picks up the object. A few strands of dark hair are stuck in the splinters. She hurriedly tosses it away and puts her hand against her lips.

"Oh no!"

The wood tumbles and lands near the door just as Motoko and Haruka enter. Motoko picks it up with a puzzled expression on her face. Haruka spots Keitaro on the couch and rushes over. Naru makes room for her.

"Naru, what happened?"

"I didn't mean t-to, to hurt him, Haruka-san! I s-s-swear I d-didn't! Please believe me!"

Haruka places a firm hand on her arm. They hear Motoko welcoming Dr. Hikari.

"I believe you, Naru. Has he said anything?"

"No, he's been unconscious since we found him."

Hikari moves next to the couch.

"Found him? Did not anyone witness what happened? Naru-san, what can you tell me?"

"Well, about two hours ago, we came home from our date and . . . . ."

All of the Hinata-sou girls, as one:


Naru swings her head around.

"Yes, it was a date! And it was, it was, the most wonderful date of my life!"

Hikari touches her arm to get her attention.


"Well, he accidentally grabbed my skirt and I hit him. That piece of wood that Motoko's holding was broken off when his head hit the wall."

Motoko drops the wood as if it were possessed.

"And how long was it before one of you discovered that he was injured?"

"About five minutes ago."

Hikari shakes her head.

"Why do all of you torment Keitaro so? Wasn't breaking his rib enough for you?"

All of the girls are silent as they remember the time that Keitaro hid his injury from them, until one of his ribs finally broke under the strain, lacerating his lung.

Hikari sighs.

"As often as he sees me for medical attention, I should invite him to move into the clinic."

Naru looks at her.

"Do you mean that he's been to you for other injuries?"

"Yes, at least four times during the last year."

Naru falls back against the coffee table.

"Four times? I never knew. Oh god, Keitaro!"

Hikari gently looks behind Keitaro's ear. She takes out a light and checks his eyes.

"Hmm, pupils are responsive and even."

She lifts his hair and checks the color around his eyes and along the hairline.

"No outward signs of hemorrhaging."

She feels both of his ears.

"They're the same temperature. That is good."

She takes a wooden dowel from her bag. Su leans over.

"What's the stick for?"

"I will use it to test the reflexes in his extremities."


"Just watch and see if he reacts."

She places the slim end of the dowel against Keitaro's left wrist and drags it towards his palm. Su scratches her head.

"His fingers twitched. Is that bad?"

"No, it is a good sign. Now watch as I do his other hand."

His fingers twitch. Su claps her hands.

"Go Keitaro!"

Hikari presses the thick end between his collarbone and shoulder. Each time, Keitaro's shoulder muscles contract.

"That is good; he does not seem to have any nerve damage in his upper body."

Haruka looks at her.

"Do you think he might be paralyzed?"

"I hope that is not the case. It would be an easy thing to check if he was conscious, but this technique works well in its place."

Hikari starts to loosen his belt, and then stops.

"I must ask everyone but Haruka-san to leave. I must disrobe him to continue."

Naru grabs her arm.

"I won't leave him! I have to know if, if . . . . ."

Hikari turns to Haruka. Haruka nods.

"Then you may stay with us. All others should leave now, for his privacy."

Kitsune, Motoko, Shinobu and Su slowly walk to the dining room.

Hikari removes his pants.

"Naru-san, please assist me. Move down to his feet."

Naru kneels at the end of the couch.

"What should I do?"

""Press gently, but firmly, on his right foot, keeping it upright. Hold his knee to keep the leg straight."

"Okay, I'm ready."

She drags the dowel against the inside of his thigh. His knee tightens and then relaxes. They repeat this on his left leg with the same result.

The doctor moves to his feet. Naru stands behind her.

She rubs the dowel against the bottom of his feet. Both times, his toes twitch. Hikari moves back to his head.

Naru looks pleadingly at Haruka. Haruka asks the question.

"Well, Hikari-san?"

She looks from Haruka to Naru.

"Please relax. Keitaro does not seem to have lost the function of his limbs. I will need to stitch his injury now. It would be best if neither of you watch."

"What do you think Hikari-san?"

"He seems to have a slight concussion. When I have completed treating him, I will inform you how to care for him."

"Thank you very much, Hikari-san."

Haruka touches Naru's arm and guides her away from Keitaro.

"Let's wait in the dining room with the others. I could use some hot tea right now."

As they enter, the rest of the girls crowd around them. Motoko grabs Haruka's shoulders.

"Is Urashima going to be well? Tell us!"

Haruka puts her cigarette holder in her mouth and smiles at her.

"At this rate, Naru is gonna have to keep you away from Keitaro with a stick."

Motoko drops her hands and blushes.

"I, uh, we are concerned . . . . ."

"Shinobu, please bring us some hot tea."

Haruka sits next to Naru.

"Hikari-san says that Keitaro has a concussion. Her tests showed that he isn't paralyzed, and she's stitching him up now. She thinks that he will be okay."

Everyone visibly relaxes. Shinobu starts to cry.

"Aaauuuuu! Sempai! I'm glad that he's going to be okay!"

Su leaps onto her chair.

"I told ya'll that Keitaro's tough as a tank!"

Kitsune pokes at her food, still uneaten.

"I'll go first."

Naru looks at her.

"You'll go first for what?"

"For staying with Keitaro tonight."

"But I should be the one . . . . ."

Kitsune grins at her.

"Fat chance! You got to see him with his pants off already!"

Naru blushes.

"I guess that I can wait. I can always watch from my room anyways."

"Great! That saves time, especially since we already made a list."

"When do I take care of him?"

Kitsune hands her a piece of paper. Everyone has a four-hour shift. Kitsune will stay with Keitaro until midnight. Naru has from midnight until four, followed by Motoko, Haruka, Shinobu and then Su.

Haruka glances at the list.

"Thank you for including me. I sometimes feel left out on what goes on here."

Dr. Hikari walks into the room. Shinobu hands her a glass of tea.

"Thank you Shinobu-chan."

Shinobu returns to the kitchen while the doctor sits down and sips her tea.

"Ah! You must tell me where you obtain this blend. It is an excellent tea, especially hot like this."

Naru goes into the kitchen. She comes back holding a large can.

"Here is a fresh can for you. Granny Hina set it up so that the store sends us some every month."

"Why thank you! I think that I will let this cover my house call fee."

Taking the tea, she notices Naru gazing at her.

"Keitaro should recover nicely. I did not find anything significant other than the injury behind his ear. There is some slight swelling of his left wrist and I have wrapped it, just to be safe."

Sipping her tea again, she peeks over the cup at Naru and Motoko.

"I even checked to make sure that he has not re-injured his ribs."

Naru and Motoko lower their heads.

"He needs rest, of course. Feed him as often as possible when he is awake. Liquids are most important. Even though he will occasionally regain consciousness over the next twenty-four hours or so, he will probably be quite disoriented."

She takes some medicine from her bag and hands it to Haruka.

"Give him one tablet at each meal and two at night. If there are any problems call me right away."

"Should he stay on the couch?"

"Yes, for now. However, when he awakens, you may move him to his room only if he appears able to stand with someone supporting him."

"Is there anything that we should watch for?"

"Not until he awakens enough to be aware of his surroundings. Until then, just bear with him and keep him calm."

"What do you mean, 'until he awakens'."

"That is standard procedure. We must wait for him to let us know if there are any further problems."

"Problems, such as what?"

"He may experience temporary blurred vision or extreme headaches. I do not expect much else. These are typical effects of such an injury and usually subside within a day or so."

Haruka invites her to stay for dinner. Naru takes a plate and goes to sit by Keitaro.

She places his dinner on the coffee table and kneels by the couch. She holds his right hand, careful not to disturb his wrapped left wrist. Keitaro's head moves slightly.

"Keitaro, can you hear me?"

He continues breathing slowly, showing no signs of awareness.

"Keitaro, I'm sorry. It's my fault that you are hurt again. I hate myself for the way that I treat you. You never complain, and you always forgive me before I find the courage to apologize."

"Maybe that's the reason why I fell in love with you. Because of your kindness and how you always seem to see things so clearly. I, no, all of us are fortunate to have you here."

Naru reaches up and straightens a lock of his hair. His head rolls slightly to the right.

Naru can see the stitches behind his ear.

"Oh, Keitaro!"

She lays her head on his chest to block the sight of his injury. Her tears fall softly onto his shirt. Naru closes her eyes and whispers.


A hand gently touches her shoulder and shakes her. She opens her eyes.


"No Naru, it's just me. It looks like you fell asleep."

Naru rubs her eyes and sits back then looks up at Kitsune.

"How long?"

"Oh, for about an hour and a half. You looked so sweet. I'll sell you a copy of the pictures when I get them developed!"

"You didn't!"

Kitsune waves a camera.

"Wanna bet?"

"I'll take all of them, and the negatives!"

"That'll cost you extra!"

Kitsune sits next to her.

"Why don't you go rest? I'll call for you at midnight."

Naru looks at Keitaro.

"He looks so peaceful, so vulnerable. I wish that I could protect him from the world."

Tears in her eyes, she turns to Kitsune.

"But, he really needs to be protected from me!"

Kitsune wraps her arms around her.

"Naru, I don't know what to tell you other than he needs you."

"But I, I . . . . ."

"Don't think about that! You'll never be able to sleep if you do. And he's gonna need all of us to take care of him."

"You're right, thank you Kitsune."

"You're welcome. Now, get out of here so I can have him to myself."

Naru smiles and pokes her arm.

"Okay. But, if he has even a single hair out of place when I take over, burning in hell will be the least of your worries!"

"Oooh! The she-lion protects her mate! Goodnight Naru."


Kitsune pulls a chair next to the couch. Occasionally, she dips the towel into a bowl of water and places it back against Keitaro's head.

She rubs his cheek with the back of her fingers.

"You are an amazing man, Keitaro-san. Anyone else would have left Hinata-sou months ago. Do you stay here only because of Naru? Or do you really care about taking care of all of us?"

She places a hand on his shoulder.

"I really don't know what I'd do without you, my dear friend."

Wednesday Midnight

The clock chimes. Kitsune looks up and sees that it is midnight. She checks Keitaro before getting Naru.

She slides open the door to Naru's room.

"Are you awake? It's time to baby-sit your patient."

"I'm ready; I just need to get a book."

"Gonna catch up on studying?"

"No, I'm going to read to him."

Kitsune arches her back and yawns.

"Well. Goodnight again, Naru."

"Sleep well."

As Naru reaches the bottom of the stairs, she sees Keitaro sitting up on the couch, holding a hand to his injury. She rushes over to him.

"Keitaro please lay back down!"

He continues sitting in the same position, rubbing his head. Naru gently raises his head to look at him.


He blinks his eyes once, but does not seem to see or hear her.

"(Hikari-san told us that he would be disoriented, that must be what's happening.)"

She takes his arm and gently urges him to stand.

"Let's see if we can make it to your room."

As Keitaro stands there, he raises his head to look at the light on the ceiling.

"(Thank goodness! It looks like he can still see.)"

Something makes a clattering sound behind them. Keitaro groggily turns his head in that direction. Naru looks back and sees Motoko, wearing a nightshirt and shorts, picking up her training sword.

"Motoko. You almost scared the life out of me!"

Motoko moves to help support Keitaro.

"I could not sleep and thought I would look to see how Urashima is doing."

"He's awake, but it almost seems like he is sleepwalking. Only bright lights and loud noises catch his attention."

"It is as Hikari-san said, this is the disorientation. What are your plans?"

"Let's take him to his room. He'll be more comfortable there."

Each supporting an arm, they carefully guide him upstairs. Motoko slides his door open and they enter. They walk him to his chair and make him sit.

"Motoko, bring him some dinner and a thermos with some tea. I'll get his futon laid out."

Motoko rushes out the door.

"Yes, I will be back in a few minutes."

Naru takes his futon out of the closet and spreads it on the floor. She goes back and grabs his pillow. While doing this, she notices that Keitaro just looks out the window with his eyes half closed. Motoko returns.

"I brought his towel and more water, also."

"Thanks, Motoko. Let's see if he will eat something."

Naru takes a spoon and holds some of the curry to his lips. Keitaro seems to smell the food and they can hear his stomach growling. He opens his mouth.

Motoko places a hand to her breast.

"Thank the spirits! He is eating!"

At intervals, Motoko holds the glass of tea so that he can drink.

He finishes almost two full plates before refusing more. Naru takes the dishes to the kitchen while Motoko cleans him up.

Naru returns holding his medication.

"Hikari-san said to give him two tablets at night."

"That is correct."

Naru places the pills into his mouth and makes him drink some tea so that he swallows them.

"Let's put him to bed."

"Naru-sempai, should we leave him in these clothes?"

She thinks for a moment.

"I, I guess not. But, he doesn't seem to be able to change himself."

"What are we to do?"

"We're going to have to help him. There isn't any other choice."

"B-but that means . . . . ."

"It can't be helped. Someone has to do this."

Naru unbuttons his shirt and slides it down his arms. Motoko brings his pajama top. They pull it over his head and slide his arms into the sleeves.

"That wasn't too hard. Help me stand Keitaro up."

After a few seconds hesitation, Naru loosens his belt. As she reaches for the top button, Motoko backs away into the corner. She is blushing, with beads of sweat on her forehead.

"No, I cannot! This is not proper! I would rather face a flock of turtles unarmed than continue!"

"Motoko, I can't do this by myself. What if he loses his balance when his leg is lifted?"

"No! Ask me not!"

Naru looks around. She grabs a towel and tosses it to Motoko.

"Wrap this over your eyes."

Motoko picks up the towel.

"I do not know . . . . ."

"Motoko, please!"

"Very well."

She moves next to Keitaro. Naru releases the button. Motoko blushes again and quickly ties the towel over her eyes.

"I'll kneel down and guide it off his legs. You stand behind Keitaro and hold him steady."

Motoko positions herself being Keitaro.

"Wrap your arms around his chest."

She hesitates briefly, and then slips her hands under his arms and around his chest.

"N-naru-sempai, p-p-please hurry!"

Naru pulls his pants off one leg then the next. She also removes his socks. She moves to the chair to get the pajama bottoms.

Motoko sways slightly. She backs up a step to regain her balance. Keitaro reacts by stepping backwards. Motoko's thighs are press firmly against the back of his legs. She tries to speak, but her voice is a choked whisper that Naru cannot hear.

"M-my legs, my his l-l-legs! They are, touch, he is s-s-so warm!"

Naru starts to put the night pants on Keitaro.

"Motoko, please hold him still."

She gets both feet in correctly and slides the pants up.

"There, that wasn't too bad, was it Motoko?"

"Motoko, you can let go now."


Naru grabs Motoko's hands and pries her fingers apart.

"Motoko, are you alright?"

Arms falling to her sides, Motoko takes a few steps backwards and drops to her knees. The towel falls off her eyes and her nightshirt slips down over her left shoulder.

Naru stares at her.

"Motoko, what's wrong?"

She manages to say four words before gracefully fainting.

"He is so warm!"

Naru blinks at her.


Naru hears a noise behind her. She turns and sees Keitaro on his knees. His head droops forward.


She jumps down next to him.

"(The medicine is starting to make him sleepy.)"

She helps him into his futon and gingerly adjusts the pillow under his head.

Keitaro releases a slight groan and closes his eyes. A few seconds later, he is fast asleep.

Naru leans over and lovingly kisses his lips.

"Get well soon, my dear Keitaro."

She goes to the closet and pulls out an extra blanket and pillow, which she uses to make Motoko comfortable.

Motoko's hands wrap themselves in the blanket and pull it against her cheek. Naru smiles.

"He's really starting to get to you, isn't he?"

Naru goes downstairs to get her book. The book's title identifies it as a compilation of the Japan's most popular haiku from the Edo Period (1603 – 1867).

Back in Keitaro's room, she sits next to him and begins reading to him softly, pausing to adjust his futon or change the towel.

"Spring rain
conveyed under the trees
in drops."

"A green willow,
dripping down into the mud,
at low tide."

"By the old temple,
peach blossoms;
a man treading rice."

"With every gust of wind,
the butterfly changes its place
on the willow."

"All the day long-
yet not long enough for the skylark,
singing, singing."

"The old pond:
a frog jumps in, -
the sound of water."

"Husking rice,
a child squints up
to view the moon."

"Cedar umbrellas, off
to Mount Yoshimo for
the cherry blossoms."

"Octopus traps –
summer's moon-spun dreams,
soon ended."

"Winter downpour –
even the monkey
needs a raincoat."

"Year's end, all
corners of this
floating world, swept."

Naru looks up and notices that Motoko is awake, with her arms on the pillow cradling her head.

"That is by the master Basho, is it not?"

"Yes. I didn't know that you were a fan of haiku."

She sits up.

"His writings are part of the training that I received at the Shinmei School. It is widely believed that he has captured the true spirit of Japanese philosophy."

"I was never really interested in haiku until a few months ago."

"What prompted your desire to begin its study?"

Naru blushes.

"One morning, I dropped through the hole to wake Keitaro. He had already left to go clean the hot springs. On this table, one of his sketchbooks was open."

Naru looks back at his collection of drawings and notes.

"I couldn't resist taking a peek. On one page was a drawing of the hot spring. He wrote a poem on the facing page."

"What topic did it describe?"

Naru crawls over to the small shelf.

"Let me see if I can find it."

She searches the books, picking one with a green cover. She flips through the pages and hands it to Motoko.

Motoko reads it in a soft voice.

"Soft white mists
floating amongst the stones
silver fog."

"An angel comes,
whiteness wrapped around her form,
enter thus."

"My mortal heart beats,
blood from nostrils flow."

"Graceful into the water,
heaven closer to me comes
through the soft mists."

"Sit by my side
gentle hand touching against my own,
my world, my life."

"A whisper
in voice so soft, -
doth my bosom grow?"

"Eyes searching,
the angel spies me
I am revealed."

"The wrath of heaven
unleashed on my form
to the sky I soar."

"Mortal man flees –
pursued by angels,
I am caught."

"The aunt saves me –
but trapped in lies
I cannot live."

"Angel to me
saves my soul
my love, heart, life."

Wiping tears from her eyes, Motoko hands to book back to Naru.

"My god, that is so beautiful."

Naru replaces the book.

"I didn't understand it at first. But, when I went back up to my room it struck me like a bolt of lightning and almost broke my heart."

"I would have never believed that Urashima's first meeting with you could be described in such exquisite detail with so few words. This is a masterpiece!"

Naru picks up a box of tissues, handing a few to Motoko.

"Ever since I read that, I wanted to learn more about haiku."

"Has he written another?"

"Not that I've seen. I think that was the only one that meant enough to him to write. His soul shines through it so clearly."

Naru wipes her cheek with a tissue.

"Even in his poetry, he doesn't blame me for what happened that day. I never thought that I would meet someone whose heart was so completely filled with kindness."

Motoko places her tissue in a small bucket near the table.

"I am humbled by the nobility which lies under the surface of his ineptitude. I begin to understand why he is so driven to overcome tasks which should be impossible for him."

"He isn't a quitter."

"No, though he may stumble or lose track of an objective, he always finds some hidden strength to draw upon with which to prevail."

Naru looks at Keitaro.

"Motoko, sometimes I think that I'm not good enough for him."

"Yet, he desires to be with you."

Naru cannot answer.

"Naru-sempai, I know almost nothing about love, but I know that he chooses you."

"Thanks, Motoko."

There is a knock on the door. Haruka enters.

"Have you both been with him all night?"

They look at the clock. It is just before eight o'clock. Naru and Motoko grab their things and head out the door, each pausing for another look at Keitaro.

Thursday Morning

Shinobu brings some breakfast for Haruka and Keitaro.

"How is Sempai?"

"He's resting comfortably. Naru and Motoko said that he was able to eat some food last night, but was too confused to recognize anything."

"At least he seems to be getting better. I'd better go and finish making breakfast for everyone else."

"Thanks Shinobu."

Haruka sits at his desk and eats her meal. As she is finishing, Keitaro rolls over.

"Hey, Keitaro, are you awake?"

His eyes open and he stares at the ceiling. Haruka sets his tray next to the futon. Using the extra pillow, she props him up so he can eat.

He eats the soup when she puts the spoon to his mouth. After a few minutes, she places the empty bowl on the tray and gives him some juice.

Keitaro stops drinking and shakily raises a hand to his head. Haruka gently pushes his arm down and makes him take the medicine. As she removes the extra pillow so that he can rest, Keitaro whispers.


Haruka leans over him.

"Keitaro, can you hear me?"

His eyes seem to focus on her for a second, before slowly closing.

Taking the fresh towel off the tray, she dips it in a bowl of water and gently presses it behind his ear.

The muscles on his forehead relax as the coolness from the towel eases some of the pain.

As his breathing slows, he opens his eyes slightly, obviously starting to react to the medicine.


"Keitaro, do you understand what I'm saying?"

He closes his eyes and whispers.

"Phone . . . . . Hinata . . . . . Toudai . . . . .stay."

She places a hand on his chest.

"Sleep now."

Naru voice comes through the hole.

"He's talking!"

Haruka looks up.

"Yes, but he seems to be just throwing words together, not making any sense."

"It's a little improvement, right?"

"Yes, I think that he's starting to come back to us. You'd better try to get some sleep too."

"I think I'll be able to sleep, now that I'm sure he's getting better."

Naru covers the hole.

Haruka sits down at the desk and props her chin on one hand. She gazes out the window.

"Granny Hina never meant for it to be like this for you, Keitaro. She's proud of you. I hope that you'll stay here, the girls have all been happier since you arrived. You're a good manager."

At about half past eleven, Shinobu opens the door.

"Hello, Haruka-san."

"Oh, come in Shinobu. Is it noon already?"

"Not yet. How is Sempai?"

"He finished all of his breakfast, and he said a few words before going back to sleep."

A tear rolls down Shinobu's cheek.

"Thank goodness! It looks like he'll be alright!"

Haruka stands up and stretches.

"I think we should try to wake him up now."

"Why should we do that?"

"Well, he's had two meals since last night and hasn't left this room."


Haruka smiles.

"I don't know about you, but after that much time I'd need to go to the little girl's room."

Shinobu's eyes go wide as she realizes what Haruka means.

"Aaauuuuu! Are y-y-you asking m-me to help . . . . ."

"No, not that. I just want you to set up his bath. We should be there in a few minutes."

Shinobu heads for the door.

"It'll be ready, I promise!"

Haruka rubs his arms to help Keitaro wake up. After a few minutes, she helps him walk down the hallway. She stops and looks at the sign outside the door.

[Keitaro, you use this one only! Narusegawa]

She laughs.

"(I thought they would have taken this down by now!)"

She takes him inside and places him in the stall. He reaches out to the wall and seems to understand where he is. She closes the door and waits for him to finish.

She hears him tapping on the wall.

"How could you get lost in there?"

She leads him out and walks him to the bath.

Shinobu looks out the door just as they arrive.

"It's ready!"

"Could you go and get him some fresh clothes? Another set of pajamas would be fine. Just leave them next to the door."

Shinobu goes to fetch his clothes.

Haruka sits him next to his barrel and helps him prepare. Soon, she showers him off and guides him into the bath.

"It's been a long time since I gave you a bath, Keitaro. About fifteen years, in fact."

As she scrubs his back, she notices Kitsune and Su. Tama-chan is resting on Su's head. They are looking up from the hot spring and Kitsune waves up at her.

"Can I help?"

"Not on your life!"

"Well, you can't blame me for trying."

Su yells to her.

"Is tama up there?"

Kitsune shoves her under the water. Haruka looks at her.

"What's she mean? Wasn't that Tama-chan on her head?"

"Uh, I think the water's too hot for her this morning!"

Kitsune drags Su back up and heads out of the water. Su's eyes are spinning.

"Tama, tama, tama, Merry Christmas, tama."

Haruka tilts her head.

"Crazy kids."

After dressing him, she takes Keitaro back to his room. Shinobu looks up from the table where she just placed his lunch.

"Sempai looks a lot better."

"He seemed to enjoy soaking in the hot water, though I had to scrub his back twice."

"Why'd you have to do that?"

"Well, after the first time, he kept leaning forward like he wanted more. He really seems to enjoy having someone scrub his back. I'll let you give him his lunch. Remember to give him one pill. See you later, Shinobu."

"Bye bye, Haruka-san!"

Thursday Noon

Shinobu takes Keitaro's hand and leads him to the chair at the desk.

"Sempai, sit down and I'll bring your lunch."

Keitaro turns towards her. He remains standing.

"Sempai, d-do you understand me?"

He blinks at her slowly.

"Hinata . . . . . school . . . . . train."

"Aaauuuuu! What are you trying to say, Sempai?"

He turns his gaze back to the window. Shinobu pushes the chair behind him and slowly helps him sit.

She holds a spoonful of rice to his mouth and he starts to eat. Shinobu alternates between the rice and his soup. As he finishes, she gives him a pill and some tea.

As she places the dishes back on the tray, she sees Keitaro moving his hands on the top of the desk as though looking for something.

"(I wonder what he's looking for.)"

Keitaro raises a hand and touches his nose with two fingers. His other hand still moves across the surface of the desk.

"(His glasses! He is trying to find his glasses! Oh no, they were broken yesterday!)"

Shinobu searches through the drawers, looking for another pair of glasses.

"(I don't know if he has another pair. I've never seen him wear another.)"

Unable to find any glasses, she touches Keitaro's arm.

"Sempai, if you can understand me, your glasses aren't here. Naru-sempai put them in her pocket!"

Shinobu thinks for a moment.

"(Naru-sempai wears glasses too. I wonder if they will help him.)"

"Naru-sempai! Can you hear me?"

After a few moments, she can hear someone walking towards the hole in the ceiling. The cover slides back and Naru looks down.

"Shinobu-chan! Did something happen to Keitaro?"

"He looks like he's trying to f-f-find his glasses, but they're broken. Can he use yours?"

"My glasses? Oh, you're right! He can't see anything clearly more than a foot away without his. Wait, I'll bring you mine. Then I'll take his to the shop to have the lenses replaced. I completely forgot about it!"

A few seconds later, Naru drops through the hole, holding her sweater and glasses. She stands next to Keitaro.

"I hope that they fit, let's see."

She places her glasses on him and stands back. Keitaro looks around.

"Hinata . . . . . walk . . . . . bench."

"Shinobu-chan, do you know what he's trying to say?"

"I don't know, but he repeats 'Hinata'."

"Well, keep listening to him; he might be trying to tell us something."

Naru leans over and gently kisses Keitaro.

"Take care, Keitaro. Please hurry and get well."

"Aaauuuuu! A k-k-kiss!"

Naru shakes her shoulders.

"Shinobu-chan, don't faint on me."

"I, I will be okay."

"That's a good girl."

As Naru leaves the room, she looks back at Keitaro.

"My goodness, I wonder if I look that silly with those glasses on!"

Shinobu moves to get a good look at him and starts giggling.

"Sempai, you look like an owl!"

Keitaro yawns.

"Oh, you're getting sleepy again. Come and lie down."

She helps him to the futon. As he rests his head, she takes the glasses and sets them on the desk.

Shinobu lies on the floor near him and rests her head on her arms so she can watch him. She can't understand why she is so fascinated just watching his chest rise and fall as he breathes.

After about thirty minutes, Shinobu moves and rests her head on his chest.

"(I can hear his heart beating.)"

She closes her eyes and just listens.

She feels a hand touch her shoulder. She whispers.


The hand then moves a lock of her hair back behind her ear.

"Oh, Sempai."

She listens for his heartbeat.

"Click . . . . . click . . . . . click."

"(What? That's not right.)"

"Move her skirt up past her knee."

When she feels a hand touch her leg, Shinobu lifts her head and looks around. Su, with a big grin, lets go of her dress and scratches her head.

"Uh oh, I think we're busted!"

Shinobu sits up and sees the rest of the girls sitting around the room smiling at her.


Kitsune snap another picture.

"Wow, look at those eyes!"


Everyone starts to laugh. Naru falls on her side.

"Oh that was so cute!"


Motoko, struggling to maintain a look of seriousness, points her sword at Shinobu.

"How dare you attempt to defile that young maiden, uh I mean that young man?"


Naru moves next to her and pats her on the head.

"Well, Shinobu-chan, what do you have to say for yourself?"

Trembling, Shinobu whispers three words as she faints.

"I just . . . . . pee'd!"

Thursday Afternoon

The other girls take Shinobu to her room. Su sits on the floor next to Keitaro.

"Hey, Keitaro, you still asleep?"

She reaches out and touches his arm.

"Get better quick. Remember that you promised to play with me on Saturday."

Keitaro, still asleep, rolls to his right.

"Book . . . . . Hinata steps . . . . .gonna run."

Su looks at the stitches and notices that the swelling has started to go down. She picks up the towel and dips it in the water.

"I'll go easy on you this week. We will just play some video games downstairs, okay?"

She lays the towel on his head, a single tear forming in her eye.

"As guys go, you're my bestest friend, and I want you to stay here forever."

Su closes her eyes and concentrates.

Lovely, grown-up Su reaches out and touches Keitaro's cheek.

"I'll be waiting for you to be getting better, Keitaro."

She leans over and kisses his bandaged left wrist.

The cover over the hole slides away.

"That's enough of that, Su. Or do you want me to send for Amalla?"

She gazes up at Naru.

"He will be mine . . . . ."

There is a quick flash, and Su returns to normal.

". . . . . to play with on Saturday!"

"Hmm, okay then. However, I'll be hanging around. Just in case!"

"Staking your claim on him again?"


The cover slides back into place.

Su calls up to the hole.

"Made you blush! Made you blush!"

Su reaches behind her back and pulls out Mr. Virtual and a mini tool kit.

"(Man, I still ain't been able to fix this thing. The back-up memory is fragmented, and the input buffers are fried.)"

She works on it for a while, and then hooks it up to a portable display.

"Let's see if I can get anything out of MV now."

The screen shows mostly static, but after a few adjustments, scattered images flash across.

"What's this?"

The screen shows five repeating still images.

"Darn, just snapshots, no video!"

The images show a wedding dress; a hand holding a shopping bag; a tree covered with vines; and a beach. When the fifth image comes up, Su freezes it.

"Hokey cows! That's Motoko."

The screen shows Motoko in a low-cut, blue, Chinese style dress, with a slit running up one side to her hip.

"I gotta ask her what her trip with Keitaro was about!"

Su keeps tinkering with MV, but cannot get anything more out of it.

Thursday Night

Kitsune enters carrying dinner for Keitaro. She sees him sitting up with Su massaging his shoulders.

"How's he doing?"

"Keitaro woke up a little while ago. He kept stretching his neck and arms, so I thought I'd help him out a bit."

"Good thinking, Su. We need to keep him relaxed and comfortable."

Kitsune sets the tray on the desk.

"Since he's up, let's give him dinner."

Keitaro raises his head.

"Hinata . . . . . dinner."

Kitsune and Su help him move to the chair. He sits down and starts to eat. Su snaps her fingers.

"Ata'boy Keitaro! Go! Go!"

Kitsune smiles.

"He's getting better quickly. Hey, Keitaro-san, how is it?"

He keeps eating.

"At least he's starting to do things on his own. Su, take his futon to the laundry and bring up a fresh one."

She pulls a baseball cap on her head, and then rolls up the futon and heads for the door.

"Ten-four, foxy-momma! Gotcha six and watching out for Smokey! Delta Company is on the move!"

Kitsune shakes her head.

"(She's been watching WAY too many American action movies!)"

She opens the bottle and shakes it over his spoon. Two pills fall out and Keitaro puts the spoon into his mouth before she can stop him.

"(Oh well, he's supposed to have one now and two later, so it shouldn't make much difference.)"

As he finishes, Su drops off the new futon and pillow. Kitsune gives her the tray to take back to the kitchen.

While she is spreading out the futon, Keitaro lays his head on his arms. She stands up and looks at him.

"Those pills really work fast. C'mon Keitaro-san, beddy-time!"

As soon as he lies down, he falls fast asleep. Kitsune pulls his blanket up.

"Darn, I thought that I was gonna have a little fun too."

"I heard that, Kitsune!"

She pulls some photos out of her pocket and looks up.

"I knew you were listening. I got the pictures developed if you still want them!"

Naru scrambles out of view for a few seconds. She comes back and holds two 1,000-yen bills through the hole.

"Hand them over."

Kitsune exchanges the photos for the money. Naru slides Liddo-kun's cover back.

"Nice doin' business with ya!"

She stuffs the cash in her pocket and rubs her hands.

"Sake! Sake!"

Moving to the head of Keitaro's futon, she sits down with a bottle of sake, a pitcher of water and some ice. Mixing a drink, she raises a toast to him.

"Strength to you, my friend. Get well soon."

Kitsune places the glass on the tray and picks up the voice actress magazine 'Seiyuu Super-Spotlight'. She flips through the pages.

"I wonder what Noda Junko is working on next? Looks like something to do with a girl's hotel. Aw, who would want to watch something like that?"

Lying on her stomach, she spreads the magazine in front of her and rocks her feet in the air.

A few hours later, Naru slides open the door. Her friend, an empty sake bottle in her hand, is curled up next to Keitaro. Naru reaches down and unbuttons Kitsune's shirt, and then pulls out a camera. Smiling, she snaps a roll of pictures.

"(Ha ha! Got you! Revenge is mine!)"

Naru retreats to the hall and closes the door. A few minutes later, she moves Liddo-kun away from the hole and looks down.

"Kitsune, wake up! It's almost midnight!"

Kitsune sits up and rubs her eyes.

"Huh? What? Oh Naru, I musta fallen asleep."

Stretching her arms and arching her back, Kitsune suddenly notices her unbuttoned shirt.

"Oh! My! God!"

She buttons her shirt as Naru drops through the hole.

"Naru! I didn't . . . . . I was just . . . . . My shirt wasn't . . . . . Keitaro and I didn't . . . . . I'm innocent!"

Naru looms over her, hands held like claws.


Arms stretched in front of her, Kitsune runs. Naru chases her around the futon for ten laps before spinning around. Kitsune skids to a halt, her neck falling into the grasp of Naru's hands.

"Naru! I was framed! I didn't do anything!"

Naru smiles at her and releases her neck.

"I know, and the pictures will cost you 500 yen each!"

"You didn't!"

She waves the camera in front of Kitsune's face.

"Wanna bet?"

Kitsune steps back and wipes her forehead.

"I thought I was dead meat!"

"How has Keitaro been doing?"

"Keitaro-san was fantastic!"


"Calm down! He actually ate his dinner on his own. He's coming back to us."

"Thank goodness! Thanks for watching him."

"Hey, what's to thank? The guy has more than earned our help. It's the least we can do for our friend."

Naru rubs Kitsune's arm.

"Why don't you go to bed, I'll take it from here."

"Okay, but I need a glass of sake first after the way you nearly scared me to death. Goodnight, Naru."

"Night, Kitsune."

In the hall, Kitsune slides the door closed. Reaching into her back pocket, she pulls out copies of the pictures she took of Naru sleeping on Keitaro the night before.

"(Ha ha! Didn't you ever hear of double-prints?)"

Thursday Midnight

After placing his repaired glasses on the desk, Naru kneels next to Keitaro. Gently, she places a hand upon his cheek.

"When you get better, I still want to meet your parents. I want to tell them how kind and thoughtful you are. I will tell them that you are doing a wonderful job taking care of Hinata-sou and us."

She leans down and softly kisses him.

"And I will tell them that I love you."

Taking out her book, Naru spends the rest of the time reading poetry to him. He sleeps soundly the entire time.

A little before four o'clock, Motoko enters his room.

"Good morning, Naru-sempai."

"Good morning, Motoko. Did you sleep well?"

"Yes, it was a most restful evening. Hearing that Urashima is improving is very reassuring."

Naru reaches out and straightens his hair.

"The swelling has completely gone down and I can see that the cut is healing rapidly."

"His recuperative powers are indeed amazing."

Naru starts to cry.

"What is wrong, Naru-sempai?"

"What about his heart? I told him about my feelings, and less than a minute later, I hit him. It makes me afraid to think that this might move us apart."

"Do not fear. Remember, he is Keitaro. Does he not always forgive us?"

"Yes, but everyone has a limit. What if this is it?"

"I do not believe that he has reached the end of his compassion for others. He treats every day like it is the first."

"Maybe it's just my own self-doubt, but still . . . . ."

Motoko ponders her words.

"Naru-sempai, place your hand upon his heart."


"Please, do this."

Naru rests her hand on Keitaro's chest. She can feel the slow, steady beat of his heart.

"Do you feel it, Naru-sempai?"

Naru closes her eyes.

"Yes, and it makes me feel warm inside."

"Then doubt not how he feels for you. It is only in your mind that you doubt, not your heart."

Naru smiles at her.

"Thank you. I never realized that you had such an understanding of love."

Motoko lowers her head and blushes.

"In truth, I saw this on last week's episode of '101 Favors'."

Naru crashes to the floor.

"I should have known."

Naru places her books back in her bag and yawns as she reaches the door.

"Well, good night, or rather morning, Motoko."

"Rest well, Naru-sempai."

Motoko watches Keitaro for a few minutes, and then moves to kneel at the head of his futon.

Closing her eyes, she relaxes and centers her concentration on his sleeping form.

"(Yes, I feel his chi. It is there. Its flow is almost at its normal state.)"

Taking a deep breath, she smiles, still sensing his chi.

"Soon, it will be soon that you regain your normal self."

She changes position slightly, resting her hands on her thighs. Though outwardly relaxed, one can sense that she may spring into motion in an instant, a mighty guardian protecting a cherished prize.

Two hours later, if one were to look, they would find her fast asleep, and resting her head on Keitaro's out-stretched hand.

Friday Morning

Haruka slides the door open and stands there for a few moments looking at the scene.

"Why am I not surprised?"

She returns a few minutes later. Kneeling next to Motoko, she holds Tama-chan a few inches from her face. Motoko whispers and begins to stir.

"Turtles, turtles, turtles everywhere."

She opens her eyes.


". . . . ."

". . . . ."


In one fluid motion, Motoko leaps up and backwards, ties a headband to hold her hair, and draws her sword to an attack position in front of her.

And lands on the edge of the kotatsu table.

Motoko sprawls backwards, sword and headband falling to the side. She notices Haruka for the first time.

"Haruka-san! W-was that not a bit extreme?"

Tama-chan leaps up and flies out the window, raising a flipper to Motoko as she glides by.


Haruka adjusts her cigarette holder.

"You gotta admit she makes one heck of an alarm clock!"

Motoko picks up her sword and stands, beads of sweat on her forehead.

"I swear that, one day, I will make that audacious, high-roller of a turtle meet its doom!"

"Whatever. How is Keitaro?"

"It has been a peaceful evening."

"Shinobu is a little late making breakfast this morning. Could you bring some up for us when it's ready?"

"Of course, Haruka-san."

Motoko heads for the door, casting glances over her shoulder to make sure that Tama-chan is not pursuing her.

Haruka looks down at Keitaro.

"If this goes on much longer, I may have to put a lock on the door and hire a full-time guard for you."

Keitaro opens his eyes.

"Is that you, Aunt Haruka?"

She quickly kneels by his side.

"Hey, Keitaro, can you hear me?"

"Yes, what happened? My head feels like a wall fell on it."

"That would be close enough to the truth."

"The last thing I remember was walking up the steps to Hinata-sou. Is that where I am now?

"Yes, this is the manager's room. Let me get your glasses."

She takes the glasses off the desk and hands them to Keitaro. He places them on and looks around.

"How long was I out?"

"About a day and a half."

He touches behind his ear.

"Really? I hope that I haven't been any trouble."

"Not at all."

Motoko enters carrying a tray with their breakfast.

"Here is your breakfa . . . . ."

Keitaro looks up at her.

"Good morning."

"Urashima! Haruka-san, is he?"

"I think that he's fine now. Bring that over here so he can eat."

Motoko places the tray next to him and hands him a pair of chopsticks.

"I hope that you enjoy your meal."

He flashes his smile at her.

"Thank you very much. That's very kind of you."

Motoko blushes.

"Y-you are very w-w-welcome, Urashima."

Motoko, tripping once, heads out the door. She closes it and runs to tell the other girls the good news.

Back in his room, Keitaro looks at Haruka.

"That girl was very beautiful. Who is she?"

End of Chapter One.