Author's Notes: I'm in front of my PC, slumped on my chair. I'm bored and my mind's not working . . .

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Love Hina.

Shinobu scurried away to her room before Keitaro could react. His mind was almost always too slow to react to these things. He wanted to explain what happened, afraid that anybody else might find out.

"Naru would surely be pissed if she finds out." Keitaro thought. "She might even leave me. . . I can't let that happen!" Keitaro cried. He tried to catch the young girl, arms outstretched, but tripped on the tray of food that Shinobu brought in. The young kanrinin crashed and saw nothing behind his open door except for a view of the landscape outside Hinata Sou.

Shinobu ran up the stairs to her room and changed into more appropriate clothes. She knew what she saw last night but it didn't really bother her at the moment. She was excited about her forthcoming trip to the market with her sempai and that was all that mattered to her.

"Shinobu! Do 'ya wanna play?" Su called from outside. In a matter of seconds, she was right outside Shinobu's door . "Hey, 'ya wanna play? Let's play, Shinobu!!!" Kaolla poked her head from behind the door.

Shinobu didn't respond. She was busy rummaging through her closet, trying to find something appropriate to wear.

"Sheeeenobooooo!!!" Su screamed.

"Oh. . . what is it Su?" Shinobu absent-mindedly responded.

"I was asking if you wanna play."

"Uhm. . . I have to help sempai with the groceries today. . . we can play when I get back." Shinobu answered.

"Okay!" Su turned and fled down the corridor.

Keitaro opened his drawer and pulled out an envelope neatly tucked in one of his old textbooks. He had to do this to make sure Kitsune doesn't get her hands on the Inn's rent or it will all be blown away on sake and liquor. He slowly unfolded the paper envelope and pulled out a couple of bills.

"This should be enough for a week. . . I better head off to the lobby now. Shinobu must be. . ."

"I'm ready, sempai!" Shinobu waved from Keitaro's door.

Keitaro instinctively slammed the drawer shut, trying to make sure nobody knows where he keeps the rent. He slammed the drawer on his pinky finger in the process and started jumping around it the room in pain.

"Are you okay sempai? I better go get you a bandage or something." Shinobu said, out of concern for the clumsy manager. She then sped off to the kitchen where she got hold of a bandage and an ice cube and promptly returned to Keitaro's room where she found the young man, sitting on the floor with his finger inside his mouth.

"What are you doing, sempai? Here, give me your hand . . .This should ease the pain a little bit." She placed the ice cube on the reddened finger while Keitaro grimaced in pain.

A few minutes more and Keitaro seemed much better.

"I guess I'm okay now. . . Thanks for taking care of my finger Shinobu. I'm sorry I caused us some delay. . ."

"Don't mention it, sempai. Let me put this bandage around your finger just to make sure you don't hurt it again. Not right away, at least. . ." Shinobu said. "Well, we better get going. Today is a Saturday and I'm expecting a lot of people going to the market. We don't want to wait in line at the cashier, don't we?"

"Right, we should get going." Keitaro agreed.

Shinobu walked beside Keitaro as they left Hinata Sou. The market was around fifteen minutes away by foot and ten minutes faster if they took the public transport system but they decided to kill time by walking to their destination.

"Sempai. . ."

"Yes, Shinobu?" Keitaro replied. He feared this moment. He never liked explaining himself but it seems he had no choice.

"Is there. . . something going on. . . between you and Motoko-chan?"

Keitaro turned red. He wasn't actually sure how to answer the young woman.

"I . . . but . . . it's not what you think, Shinobu." Keitaro bowed his head in despair. "I'm sorry you had to see that. I don't want to expose you to those kind of things. And really, there's nothing going on between me and Motoko-chan. . ."

"Well. . . if that's how it is. . . can I. . . can I. . . can I ask for a kiss too?" Shinobu blushed.

"WHAAA!" Keitaro cried, blood dripping out of his nose. "It's not like that!" Keitaro panicked, waving his hands in the air.

Shinobu fell silent, tears streaming down her cheeks. "Does that mean. . . you don't. . ."

"NO! NO! It's not like that! It's not what you think! Shinobu, please listen. Please let me explain. . ." Keitaro held her shoulders and looked her in the face. ". . . please let me explain, Shinobu. . ."

Shinobu looked up to Keitaro and nodded slightly, expressing her approval.

"What happened last night . . . whatever it is that you saw . . . wasn't supposed to happen. . . I don't even know why I let it happen. . ."

"Sempai, I don't understand . . . please stop talking to yourself."

"Sorry Shinobu-chan. After you saw us kissing, I spoke to Motoko-chan and explained to her a few things . . . Please don't misunderstand everything. My heart is with Narusegawa and what happened last night will never happen again. I hope it doesn't change the way you look at me as a person. . ."

Shinobu kept silent. She somehow understood and she knew she couldn't look at Keitaro differently, even after seeing what she did. Deep inside, she knew that her sorrow was caused by the fact that her sempai had admitted to her his feelings for Naru and she couldn't bring herself to let him know what she felt inside.

Keitaro cringed as Shinobu gave him a tight hug. She had her arms wrapped around his midsection, head pressed against his chest and he was completely clueless as to why.

"Eh . . . Shinobu-chan, you really don't have to do that . . . but thanks for understanding me anyway." Keitaro placed his hand on her head and smiled at her. "We better get going. If any of the girls see us like this, I'd be in big trouble again."

Shinobu released her grip on the young man. She wished she didn't have to but knew better.

Shinobu and Keitaro pressed on with their journey towards the supermarket and arrived a few minutes later.

"I brought a list of things to buy for the kitchen, sempai. Would you like me to get these already?" Shinobu asked.

"No, that's okay, Shinobu. We'll go get everything together."

Shinobu smiled. "I'll go get the basket. Wait for me here!" She then ran off and quickly returned, shopping basket in hand.

Keitaro and Shinobu combed every aisle of the supermarket, filling the basket with stuff for the Inn.

"Hmm. . . do you want anything for yourself, Shinobu-chan?" Keitaro asked.

"Well. . ." Shinobu blushed. "I don't think it's appropriate to ask. . ."

"It's okay. . . why don't you go get something for yourself?"

"There is something. . ."

"What is it?" Ketaro asked.

"I was saving up for this baking set that I saw here two weeks ago. It's pretty expensive but if it's okay with you, I'll pay for half of it. . . if it's okay. . ."

"Sure!" Keitaro replied. "Go get it."

Shinobu quickly turned around and went to get her baking set while Keitaro pushed on towards the check out counter. He looked back to find Shinobu skipping away, her happiness very evident in her stride.

Keitaro was next in line when Shinobu came back. She was carrying a package that contained a few baking pans, some animal shaped cookie cutters and a few more other stuff.

"is this it?" Keitaro asked.

"Yup!" Shinobu smiled, handing him the package and a couple of bills to cover her share.

Keitaro took the package but gave back Shinobu her bills. "You hold on to that for me." He told her. "I'll just ask for it when I need it." Shinobu's smile was wider now. "Are you buying that for me, sempai." Shinobu shyly asked.

"Think of it as a token for your kindness." Keitaro answered.

"Wow! Thank you so much sempai!" Shinobu replied with glee.

The kanrinin and head cook of Hinata Sou headed back home carrying bags of groceries and supplies. Without these two, Hinata Sou would've been a very different place.

"Would you like me to bake some cookies for you tonight, sempai?"

"That sounds good Shinobu-chan." Keitaro replied with a smile. "I'm starting to feel hungry again. Do you want to eat? My favorite beef bowl place is just around the corner."

"You never seem to grow tired of your beef bowls, huh sempai? I heard you and Motoko-chan went there last night."

"Aaah. . . nothing really gets past you guys eh?"

"Kitsune-san asked all the questions this morning. It sounded like a talk show."

"I'm surprised you're still not used to it. . . Kitsune's mouth is as fast as Naru's fist. . . if you know what I mean. . ."

"I get the idea." Shinobu agreed.

"So, do you want to eat?"

"Okay."

Keitaro's favorite restaurant was two minutes away. It took them a minute to order, three for the food to arrive and fifteen to finish the meal.

"If both you and I are out here, then who's cooking lunch for the rest of the girls?" Keitaro asked.

"Oh, don't worry. Kitsune went out to visit an old friend, Motoko went out, I don't know where but I thought I heard her say she was going to go shopping for clothes."

"Shopping?! For clothes?!!!" Keitaro replied, almost in protest.

"Su went to the school library to research on some new project she plans to build. They'll all be back right after lunch so don't worry about them." Shinobu added.

Keitaro paid the bill and the two continued on their journey back home. They find the other girls going about their routine. Motoko was on the roof deck as usual, Su was I her room and Kitsune was on the phone.

"Just in time!" Kitsune yelled. "Hey, Keitaro! I'm on the phone with Naru, she wants to talk to you!"

Keitaro felt a rush of cold sweat on the back of his neck.

"Kitsune was talking to Motoko this morning . . . Kitsune in now talking to Naru . . . Naru wants to talk to me. . ."

Keitaro slowly approached the phone and placed the receiver on his ear.

"He. . . hello?"

"Hello, honey."

"Honey?!"

"What have you been up to? I've heard a few things about you. . ."