Love Hina – Separation

Fanfic by Steven Biggs

Chapter Three – Cut Ups

Saturday Morning.

Urashima, wearing a heavy coat, scrubs the rocks around the hot spring. Of course, he had to sweep the snow away before he could begin, even though new snow continues falling, covering the area again.

"I must be crazy. Who in their right mind would want to work outside in this kind of weather? And why did I ever volunteer to help Motoko-chan train? Simple, because I'm as stupid as I've always been. Maybe I'll get lucky and she'll decide that it's too cold to come out here and help me. The last thing I need is to be a stationary target for that kendo-girl."

He stops pushing the brush and slowly turns around. His instincts are as sharp as ever, because he sees Motoko standing near the doorway watching him.

"Oh heck."

"So, you still refer to me as a kendo-girl. I shall ensure that your misconceptions are removed when we meet for training later. But first, I shall honor my part of the bargain and assist you. SHINMEI SCHOOL SECRET ARTS! AIR SPLITTING SWORD!"

The vortex rolls off her blade and sweeps all of the snow from the rocks. Motoko replaces her sword and looks at Urashima with a smugly satisfied expression. Urashima scratches his head.

"You grew up near Kyoto, but did you ever spend time in the mountains during the winter?"

"Not particularly. Why do you ask?"

He points to the roof above her head.

"Avalanche!"

Motoko looks up in time to see a wave of snow falling off the roof directly towards her. The mound of fluffy snow completely covers her and, after it settles, the only sign that she is under the pile is her scabbard sticking out the right side. Su, attracted by the noise, looks out the door.

"Wow, a snowyman!"

She jumps over, jabs a small branch in the left side, and places some rocks and a carrot for the face.

"Waits here while I gets the camera from Kitsune!"

She stares at the snowman for a few seconds.

"Ya know, for some reason it kinda looks like Motoko. Go figure!"

As Su dashes back inside, Urashima walks over and brushes some of the snow away, exposing Motoko's scowling face. He picks up the carrot and takes a bite out of it. He points the end of the vegetable at her and laughs.

"You know, you'd be a lot cuter if you could smile once in a while."

"Urashima! When I extricate myself from this, I shall make you pay for that remark!"

He tilts his head as he watches her struggle.

"Then, you can't get out right away?"

"I shall be free momentarily, and then you shall face the wrath of my blade!"

"Well, I guess there's only one thing I can do."

Urashima leans over and quickly kisses Motoko on the cheek.

"Motoko-chan, I apologize."

Motoko's face blushes bright red and the pile of snow quickly melts. She slowly raises her hand and touches her cheek as Urashima turns and continues scrubbing the rocks.

"Ura-ura-urashima! Wh-why? Why did y-you do that?"

He turns and looks back at her. He tilts his head and adjusts his glasses.

"I don't know. It just seemed the right thing to do, I think."

"But, but what would Naru-sempai say if, if she found out what you have done?"

"Why should I be concerned about that?"

"B-because of how you feel towards her. We all know of that."

Urashima looks off into the distance and contemplates the falling snow.

"No, I don't think that's true. I admit that I like her, but it's the same affection that I would feel for Shinobu-chan or my sister Kanako-chan."

Motoko shakes her head and walks over to him.

"Obviously, this separation has affected your emotional state."

He raises his brush over his shoulder and looks at her.

"Well, there wasn't as much to do out here as I thought. Your sword trick managed to scrape a lot of the dirt away."

Su leaps out the door and skids to a halt next to the puddle of melted snow.

"Kitsune's busy with the camera. Where did ya go Mister Snowyman?"

She gets down on her hands and knees, pulls out a magnifying glass, and starts moving in a search pattern.

"Hmm, snowman twacks!"

As she crawls past Motoko and Urashima, she raises a finger to her lips.

"Be vewy, vewy qwiet. I'm hunting snowbunnies!"

Su crawls off and around the end of the building. Urashima looks at Motoko and scratches his head.

"I thought Su-chan was bad when she was hooked on American action movies. I think that classical American anime is an even worse influence on her."

"Indeed. It is most annoying when she runs up and down the halls going 'Beep! Beep!'."

Urashima nods his head.

"And that stupid coyote has given her some strange ideas for her inventions lately."

Urashima places his brush in the storeroom and turns to Motoko.

"Well, I guess it's time for practice. We might as well get it over with."

"Is the thought of being my training partner that distasteful to you, Urashima?"

He waves his hands at her.

"I, I didn't mean it like that! I'm just worried that I bit off more than I can chew!"

Motoko tilts her head and smiles at him as she raises her sword.

"Do not become overly concerned. I am sure that your remarkable ability to recover from punishment will serve you well. I admit that I have always been curious as to your limits."

Urashima hangs his head.

"That is exactly what worries me."

Up on the laundry platform Urashima, holding a training sword, faces Motoko. She instructs him for the first session.

"To keep things simple, all of my attacks will come from your right side, Urashima. All you need do is keep the sword in a position to guard that area. Other than that, feel free to improvise as you see fit."

"I'm gonna die."

She looks up at him.

"What did you say?"

"Uh, ah, I'm gonna try!"

"Very good. Let us begin. Guard!"

Urashima raises the sword to his right as Motoko rushes at him and prepares her attack. At the last moment, something about the way she plants her feet catches his eye. Quickly, he slides his right hand to the end of the stick and moves it to his left. He slides his right foot backwards and braces for the impact. His arms shake as Motoko's sword connects with his own. Using the force of the impact, he spins counter-clockwise and swings out with his own sword. The tip stops only an inch from Motoko's head. She turns her eyes and looks at the stick for a moment before jumping backwards.

"Urashima! How did you know that I would attack from your left? And, h-how were you able to perform that counter-move so smoothly?"

He scratches his head.

"Did I do it wrong?"

"Not at all. If fact, you execution of that maneuver was nearly flawless. I am quite impressed. However, I suppose that even a novice could be granted a modicum of luck. Let us try another tactic."

Urashima smiles.

"If we're going to have a real contest, why don't we up the stakes?"

She tilts her head.

"What do you suggest?"

"Well, whoever loses owes the winner one favor. Anything is fair game, as long as it's legal, of course."

Motoko smiles.

"I accept your terms. And, to be fair, the winner shall be the first to touch the other with their training sword. I shall not use any of my special techniques."

Urashima nods his head.

"Okay, let's go."

Motoko smiles deviously and whispers.

"This shall indeed be a sweet victory. I can finally practice my new technique on a stationary target."

They face off again on the platform. Motoko tilts her head and Urashima nods in return. Sword raised, she rushes forward. At the last instant, she flips up and over him, prepared to touch his back with her sword. She lands and swings backwards, but she is not rewarded with an impact. She looks behind her, but there is no sign of Urashima. Looking forward again does not reveal his location.

"Where?"

She feels something tap the inside of her thigh and the sword master leaps backwards. Lying on the ground is Urashima, sword raised and he is blushing slightly. He reaches up and scratches his head.

"Sorry, I tripped and fell down. But, I guess I win, Motoko-chan."

Motoko grips her sword tightly.

"You vile, treacherous, deceiving male!"

She lowers her sword and sighs.

"I recognize your victory. What favor do you wish me to grant?"

Urashima stands up and walks over to Motoko. Leaning close, he whispers in her ear. Her face turns bright red and she stares at him.

"I could not do that! It, it is . . ."

Urashima smiles.

"We had an agreement, didn't we?"

"But, but would the others think if they discovered us? I, I could not face them!"

He tilts his head.

"Oh come on, Motoko-chan. It isn't that bad. And, it's not like you don't know how!"

He grabs her hand.

"Let's go! I want to do it right now!"

Motoko struggles weakly as he leads her to the steps.

"Where, where are you taking me?"

He looks over his shoulder.

I want to do it in the hot spring. It'll be more fun that way!"

She shakes her head as they reach the steps.

"I cannot do it in the hot spring! Please Urashima, anywhere but there. The others will see us!"

"Let's stop by my room first! I have something that will make it even more fun!"

Tears run down Motoko's cheeks.

"Spirits, save me from this immoral act!"

A few minutes later, Urashima's laughter attracts the other residents of Hinata-sou. They follow the sounds outside to the hot spring. The girls stare in shock at the sight. The duplicates all smile. Keitaro slaps his hands together.

"I always wanted to do it with Motoko-chan in the hot spring!"

Urashima smiles as he kneels in the steaming water, eyes closed in contentment. Motoko, tears still running down her cheeks looks over at the others.

"Someone, please rescue me from this humiliation!"

Shinobu smiles and claps her hands.

"Motoko-sempai! Your so lucky! I wish that I could be washing Sempai's back in the hot spring like that.

Naru and Kitsune fall against each other, laughter echoing across the grounds. Kitsune points at the sword master.

"Ya'll look so adorable in that bunny-suit, Motoko!"

Su does a back flip.

"Horray! Urashima caught him a snow bunny!"

Motoko wipes her tears with the back of her hand, leaving a fluffy ball of soap bubbles on her nose. Naru stares at her for a moment and then falls to the ground, holding her stomach as peels of laughter ring out. Motoko hangs her head.

"I wish Urashima had picked the maid outfit instead. This is so humiliating."

End of Chapter Three.