This is a fanfiction written for the exclusive twin purposes of my own amusement and the amusement of other fans of either of the title universes. insert all the usual crap that people say to quell their fears of overzealous copyright infringement hunters here
I've done my best not to contradict any Underworld lore that was actually set forth by the movies, but I have of course added my own elements that I do not feel are at odds with the movies.
This story begins immediately after Episode 25 and disregards the events of the Christmas Special, the Spring Special, and Love Hina Again.
It does not refer to any specific point in the Underworld timeline.
Motoko awoke feeling better than she had in a very long time. Even before Keitaro's arrival at Hinata, the event that had shaken her world down to the core and changed so many things, though she had given the impression to all the other residents that she was the very picture of calm and collection, she had always been troubled by those uncomfortable issues of her past. Her sister marrying. Leaving her sword behind. Her own feelings of inadequacy towards her sister. Tsuruko ... yes, this person so dear to Motoko was also the root of the troubles that had haunted her mind so for so many years. But all of this, years worth of stewing, fretting, worrying, fearing ... had all been swept away in 3 epic days.
With only a same-day dream for a warning, Tsuruko had arrived otherwise totally unannounced and unexpectedly. Keitaro had been a part of her world for some time by then, and despite her best efforts his influence had begun to tell upon her. She often now wore clothing more or less typical of an average female citizen as opposed to a single-minded swordswoman. Her tone, her demeanor, her attitude, and her amiability had all been noticeably softened by the tender (if not rather clumsy) hands of Keitaro, and although Motoko was able to hide both the nature and origin of the latter four of those changes from most people, her sister saw through Motoko's game as though it were a wafer-thin sheet of the finest glass.
But what Tsuruko saw was not entirely the truth either. She thought she saw a Motoko who had allowed herself and her skills to decline in favor of adopting the live of a normal woman. She was wrong. She overestimated the degree to which Motoko's divergence from the traditional path that the women of their ilk were expected to follow had degraded her capabilities. Motoko within those 3 days emerged from her darkest hour and had redeemed herself to her sister and to herself. Keitaro, the man whom she had at first thought she hated, had been at the base of the whole thing. Despite the terrible treatment that she had wrought upon him, he had given her that small lift out of the dark hole into which she had fallen, and had fought valiantly at her side, unskilled though he was, to defeat Tsuruko within the 3 short days that they had been given to do so. Against this, Keitaro had wagered the future that he so desperately wanted and had suffered through so much just to get as far as he was. For while defeating Tsuruko within those 3 days offered redemption, failure to do so meant marriage between Motoko and Keitaro, and while Motoko knew that Keitaro was prepared to pay the price of their defeat, she knew that was not what he wanted. Not for himself, not for her. Indeed, though she was still very modest about revealing this fact, she had finally come to respect Keitaro, and she knew that she was not the one for whom Keitaro's heart longed. Strangest of all, she found herself feeling the slightest twinges of sadness for that fact.
Anyhow, Motoko and Keitaro had emerged victorious from Tsuruko's challenge. In that single moment a near-lifetime's worth of sorrow, regret, remorse, fear, and uncertainty had been torn away from Motoko's psyche. She sprung herself out of bed this morning with a sense of emotional liberation that filled her with a bliss that she could not recall ever having felt before.
Keitaro Urashima awoke much as he did just about every other morning. Naturally his memories of the events of the previous day, and his appreciation of the significance thereof, were no less vivid than they were for Motoko. However, if there was one lesson that he'd had to quickly learn in order to survive the bizarre and extreme situations that seemed to grow out of Hinata like weeds, it was to take things in stride. Indeed, although he certainly stood much to lose if the events of yesterday had gone the other way, the battle itself had really been Motoko's. In terms of physical and mental abuse, he had endured far worse than that. There had been far less benevolent spirit behind Motoko's early attacks upon him than had been behind those from her sister, he had come to appreciate the aerial beauty of Hinata courtesy of Naru's gravity-defying punches and kicks, and Suu, though completely innocent in intention, suffered from the "400 pound kitten" syndrome; the irrepressible young girl's extraordinary strength and limitless energy, her apparent failure to understand the dangerousness of the of the products of her equally extraordinary mechanical genius, and her total lack of any sort of inhibition, meant that, whether it was all in play or not, Suu was quite a force to be reckoned with. Topped off with the constant and near-unsupportable drain on his wallet brought on by Kitsune's incessant trickery, extortion, and outright theft, the one-time, short-lived battle with the formidable but still well-meaning swordsmaster did not leave the same impression on Keitaro that it would have most people. For him, it was little more than another crazy day at the Hinata Inn. In his typical, rather ungraceful way, he hauled himself out of bed, not bothering to change out of his pajamas, and followed his nose to the kitchen, where Shinobu was preparing to open the day with her customary breakfast of champions.
"Good morning sempai," piped Shinobu. However unpresentable he sometimes would appear, Keitaro was always a welcome sight to her.
"Good morning Shinobu-chan," replied Keitaro, Shinobu's voice snapping him out of his auto-pilot. "How are you feeling today?"
Shinobu gave a cheerful smile. "I'm very happy that everything worked out yesterday and that everybody is OK"
Keitaro smiled back at her. "No matter how bad they first seem, things always do seem to turn out for the best around here, don't they?"
"Yes they do."
"Let me tell you, no small part of the reason for that is that we all know that if we manage to survive the day, then we have another of your breakfasts to look forward to the next morning," said Keitaro as he deeply sniffed the delightful aroma filling the kitchen.
Shinobu blushed at the compliment. "I'm glad you like my cooking, sempai. I do my best."
Keitaro laughed. "Shinobu-chan, you are to the skillet what Motoko is to the sword. Your worst is better than most people's best." The mention of another person suddenly cued Keitaro into the fact that he and Shinobu were alone downstairs. "Hey, where is everybody?"
"You're the first one up, sempai."
"Wow. When was the last time that happened?"
"Not since I've been here," Shinobu said, never losing her smile. As if to minimize the moment, both Shinobu and Keitaro simultaneously became aware of Motoko's approach. She entered the room with an aura of peace positively radiating about her.
"Shinobu, Keitaro," she said, nodding to each of them in turn.
"How are you feeling today Motoko?" asked Keitaro
In what was still a rare occurrence, Motoko smiled at Keitaro. "Better than I've felt in a long time, Keitaro. Thanks largely to you."
"Aww Motoko, it was you who won the day yesterday. I had little to do with it," replied Keitaro, grabbing a chair at the table.
"But without your encouragement, I might not have ever challenged my sister in the first place."
"I think you would have, in your own good time."
"Perhaps. But please just accept my sincerest gratitude for everything that you've done for me. I hope I can return the favor to you someday."
"I'll keep that in mind. If I ever need some demon or monster defeated, you'll be the first person I come to."
Motoko smiled again at Keitaro's words and took her seat at the table.
Breakfast and the rest of the morning passed rather without exception, the most remarkable happenstance perhaps was the fact that Keitaro went the whole time without receiving so much as a hostile glance from anyone, even Naru. Like much else that happened around Hinata, he had come to regard a daily dose of abuse from Naru (among others) as a matter of fact and rarely thought much of it these days. But today, instead of throwing his some sour glare or finding some excuse to batter him across the complex, Naru had simply shot Keitaro a suppressed smile, grabbed her breakfast, bid him good morning, and had taken her meal back up to her room. Suu, though she had bounded through the kitchen like a human pinball as usual, had spared Keitaro her usual flying kick or mechanical attack that were her typical greetings, instead subjecting him to a slam-tackle bear hug and some embarrassing comment about him being Motoko's hero. This drew a hearty laugh from everyone but the awkwardly smiling Keitaro and the flustered Motoko, who quickly then finished her breakfast and retreated to her own room. Afterwards, against a meek protest from Shinobu, Keitaro had stuck around to help clean up the breakfast mess while everyone else went about their daily business.
Later that afternoon, Keitaro headed over to Naru's room for their usual study session. Knocking softly on the door, a nondescript "come in" resounded from within. Keitaro opened the door to find Naru sitting in the corner, wearing an expression that Keitaro read as one of confusion, and .. was it a trace of fear? Naru looked up at Keitaro and started, as though he was the last person in the world she expected to see.
"Umm ... are we still on for studying?"
Naru simply stared up at him, her eyes bearing down upon him without a trace of the reservation that was usually the best Keitaro could hope for when initiating contact with Naru. Instead, her eyes shone with such powerful emotion that put the butterflies in Keitaro's stomach and he broke eye contact with her. By change, he had shifted his gaze to the table where they were supposed to be doing their studying. No books or papers were on the table, however. Naru's breakfast sat there, totally untouched.
"Naru, your breakfast ... are you feeling alright?"
"No, you idiot ... you almost ... with Motoko ... what if ... how would you feel? ... if someone you love ..." ran Naru's thoughts. However, " umm ... yes, I'm fine, I'm just ... not feeling well today," were the words that came out.
"So ... do you want to study right now?" asked Keitaro, catching the contradiction in what Naru had just said but choosing not to make mention of it.
"You'd better study without me today ..." said Naru detachedly and looking away.
Keitaro took a good look at Naru and felt compelled not to pursue the issue right then. He bowed himself out and left the room, closing the door softly behind him. He went to his room and pulled out his study materials. Hunkering down, he did his best to focus on his studies, although his wondering about what was wrong with Naru never left the top of his mind. After a short while, he had abandoned his studies altogether and drifted off into sleep to the image of Naru sitting in the corner ...
As Hinata slept, a small plane came in to land at the nearby airport. Pulling up to the tarmac in under the dull light of a gibbous moon, the door opened and four pale figures exited the aircraft. They walked over to the terminal where they quickly located the rental car booths, exchanged short and concise words with the employee there, and tossed him a small bundle of cash. Moving outside the airport, a large SUV pulled up to them after a few minutes. The driver got out to hand the lead figure the keys, but they were snatched from his hand before he had even fully extended it. The driver looked up in surprise to find four sets of eerily blue eyes piercing his own like a set of icicles.
"What the hell are you looking at? Get lost!" Said the lead figure to the driver in a very hostile tone that was even more frightening coming out of such an intimidating persona. The driver offered neither back-talk nor delay in following his customer's order.