Love Hina – Defeated

Fanfic by Steven Biggs

Chapter One – Retribution

Friday Morning.

Motoko bows to Keitaro as she leaves for a kendo tournament.

"Please continue maintaining the facilities while I am away."

Shinobu hugs Keitaro and then pulls Su off his shoulders.

"We'll be back from visiting my family on Tuesday, Sempai! Take care of yourself!"

"Bye-bye Keitaro! I left a bunch of bananas for ya!"

Tama-chan raises her flipper to Keitaro as she lands on Su's head.

"Mew!"

Kitsune grabs her backpack and blows a kiss to Keitaro.

"Ya'll take care of the place while we're gone! I think I'll spend a few days writing in Osaka."

Naru looks over her shoulder as she walks to the steps.

"Keitaro, you'd better not go in my room while I'm gone! And, uh, call me if you want someone to talk to."

Keitaro watches the girls leave and then turns back to the inn.

"This is going to be a long four days without anyone around."

Friday Afternoon.

Motoko looks at the bottom level of the elimination chart.

Tokyo Regional Kendo Tournament Quarterfinals: First Session Eliminations – Round One:

First Match: Aoyama Motoko – defeated by Otama Kikuchi – Time: 0 minutes 32 seconds.

Second Match: Yamada Yumie – defeated by Taira Sumiko – Time: 5 minutes 17 seconds.

Third Match: Katoh Yuki – defeated by Morimoto Noriko – Time: 3 minutes 22 seconds.

Fourth Match: Inoue Hikaru – defeated by Ishida Chi – Time: 6 minutes 5 seconds.

Her pack over her shoulder and her head high, Motoko turns and walks away from the scene of her defeat.

Friday Evening.

Motoko slowly opens the door and enters the foyer of Hinata-sou. She removes her coat and hangs it on a hook.

"I was defeated by a novice. I cannot believe that I have allowed my training to falter because of that vile, lecherous male."

She makes her way to the kitchen to prepare a glass of tea. As she walks through the dining room, Keitaro looks up from the table and smiles.

"Motoko-chan! Why are you back so soon? Did you win the tournament already?"

Motoko stands silently and looks at the manager. Seconds slowly pass. Her hand drops to the hilt of her wooden training sword.

"This is your fault! Your vile presence has caused me to neglect my training! I should not have lost so easily to, to a novice! I hate you! I HATE YOU!"

Keitaro pushes his chair back and stands up.

"I'm sorry. I should have thought before I said that. It is a shame that you lost. Is there anything that I can do for you?"

Flames leap from Motoko's eyes as she raises her sword.

"Do not attempt to console me! I have restrained myself far too long for the benefit of the others. That facade ends now!"

"Motoko-chan, you're still too upset. Talk to me, let me help!"

"Silence! I will not listen to your words any longer! Prepare to fall, Urashima!"

"Motoko-chan, please!"

Unable to bear the sound of his concern, something inside Motoko snaps. She leaps over the table and brings her sword down.

"Shinmei-ryu no Zanganken! God's Cry Attack of The Stone Cleaving Sword!"

Chi swirls from her blade and hurls towards him. Unable to move in time, Keitaro is engulfed by the vortex and slammed into the far wall. Before he slides to the floor, Motoko sends another blast at him.

"Shinmei-ryu no Zanganken! God's Cry Attack of The Stone Cleaving Sword!"

The wall shatters and Keitaro is flung outside, tumbling to a stop near the hot spring. Motoko leaps through the opening and raises her sword once more. Keitaro tries to lift his left arm but screams out as pain erupts from his elbow. Motoko stands over him and launches another attack.

"Shinmei-ryu no Raimeiken! God's Cry Attack of The Thundering Blade!"

Keitaro's legs crumple as he crashes into the rocks on the far side of the water. He falls to the ground and curls into a ball, using his good arm to clutch at his legs. Motoko leaps over the hot spring and lashes out with her wooden sword. After a few blows, the stick shatters. Tossing it aside, she drops next to Keitaro and begins striking him with her fists.

"Shinmei-ryu no Gurenken! God's Cry Attack of The Crimson Lotus Fist!"

After a few minutes, the exhausted sword master stands and walks back into the inn. Grabbing her backpack, she heads up to her room and slams the door closed. She falls to her futon and is soon fast asleep.

Saturday Morning.

A crack of thunder awakens Motoko. She sits up and rubs her eyes.

"Spirits, what a horrific dream. I would never wish to strike another in such a manner, even if it were Urashima."

As she pulls the blanket off, her eyes are drawn to her scraped and bruised knuckles. She stares at them for a few seconds and then leaps to her feet.

"This cannot be. Was that not just a dream?"

The events of the previous evening flood refreshed into her mind.

"Urashima!"

Leaping to her feet, she races downstairs and to the hot spring.

"Urashima! Where are you?"

Looking around, she finds her shattered training sword and sees the hole in the wall. Heedless of the rain, she searches around the hot spring until she finally notices some blood on the handle of the door to the changing room. She opens the door and follows the trail of red droplets up to the manager's room. She raps lightly on his door.

"Urashima! I am so sorry! Please, may I enter? I swear that I will not attempt any further harm upon you."

She slides open the door and spots Keitaro's unmade futon on the floor. Small drops of dried blood are next to the kotatsu table. She moves over and sees an open first aid kit on the floor. Bloodied fingerprints stain the box.

"Oh spirits no."

After searching the room, Motoko moves back into the hallway and begins to search every room in the inn. Finding no trace of Keitaro, she moves through the foyer and out the front door. If Keitaro had left Hinata-sou, the rain has erased all signs. Motoko drops to her knees as rain runs down her hair.

"Spirits forgive me. Urashima, what have I done?"

Flashback. Friday Night.

Keitaro opens one eye as a light rain begins to fall. His left eyelid is swollen shut. Carefully, he uses his right arm and pushes himself up. Finding a cleaning brush nearby, he uses it for support and staggers to the door, holding his right foot off the ground. As he struggles through the common room, he looks up at the clock. Four hours had passed since Motoko's return.

Sweat drips down his face as he pulls himself up the stairs and to the second floor. After entering his room, he pulls a first aid box from his desk and begins cleaning his wounds. He ties a sling around his neck and gingerly places his left arm into it. He turns his attention to his right foot. It is bent at an odd angle, so he carefully wraps it in place, using strips from a towel to help pad it.

"Motoko-chan was really mad at me. I hope that she cools down some overnight. I don't think I'd survive another attack like that."

He moves to his futon and lies down.

"I really need to call Doctor Hikari, but I think I'll rest a bit first, I still feel so weak."

After placing a cold towel on his bruised eyelid, an exhausted Keitaro quickly falls asleep.

Saturday Morning.

A crack of thunder awakens him. He opens his right eye and looks around as morning slowly brightens the room.

"I must have fallen asleep. I'd better go call Hikari-san."

From upstairs, he hears Motoko's voice.

"Urashima!"

"Oh heck! That doesn't sound good! I've got to get out of here before Motoko-chan finds me!"

As he makes his way to the stairs, he hears Motoko running down the back steps. When he reaches the common room, he hears Motoko shout again from the hot spring.

"Urashima! Where are you?"

Knowing that he cannot make it out the front door before the sword master finds him, Keitaro moves a panel aside and crawls into one of the hidden passages that run through the inn. He moves the panel back in place just before Motoko runs through the common room and upstairs. Using the opportunity, he crawls deeper into the tunnel. Keitaro can hear footsteps echoing through the building and understands that Motoko is making a room-by-room search for him.

"I hope she doesn't find this tunnel. As far as I know, Su-chan is the only one that knows about it."

He crawls until he reaches a ledge that he cannot climb because of his injuries. He sits against the wall and waits, fearing that at any moment Motoko will discover the panel and his hiding place. Motoko walks back inside the inn and sits on the couch. She lays the broken remains of her practice sword on the coffee table and sighs.

"I cannot let this happen. I must find Urashima before the others return."

In his hiding place, Keitaro hears only part of what Motoko says. To his ears, he thinks she said:

(I must find Urashima for the other's turn.)

Keitaro places his right hand on top of his head.

"What? Did they plan this all along? First Motoko-chan beats me almost to death, and then the others come back while I'm incapacitated! God, they're really planning to kill me!"

Saturday Noon.

Unable to find any sign of the manager, Motoko finally walks through the rain to the Tea Shop.

"Haruka-san, excuse me, but have you seen Urashima?"

Haruka looks up from the counter and adjusts her cigarette holder.

"No, I haven't seen Keitaro since yesterday afternoon. He dropped this when he was here, but I guess he wanted you to have it."

She hands her an envelope and Motoko carefully opens it.

(Motoko-chan. No matter if you win or lose, just be proud if you did your best! Urashima Keitaro)

Motoko places the card in the envelope and hands it back to Haruka.

"I do not deserve this. I lost the first match and blamed him for my failure. When I returned last evening I, I struck him. No, that is not correct. I viciously attacked Urashima. I kept hitting him even when he was down, even after he could no longer defend himself."

Tears spill from her eyes and form small pools on the table.

"It was as if I had become an animal. I had no feelings in my soul. No desire except to hurt him, and to keep hurting him until the disgrace of my defeat was expunged."

Haruka sits next to her.

"So, he ran away again? He left to get away from you."

Motoko shakes her head.

"I do not know what has become of him. None of his possessions are missing. If he left, he took nothing with him. Judging by what I found in his room, he must still be in pain."

Haruka places her hand on Motoko's.

"I'm sure that he'll contact me, he always does when he leaves. You should wait up there in case he calls. I'll contact Naru, she usually knows where to find him."

"He is injured. Perhaps he has gone to seek Hikari-sensei's help?"

Haruka picks up the telephone and dials Hinata Clinic. A minute later, she replaces the receiver.

"Hikari-san hasn't heard from him, but she'll let us know if he shows up."

Motoko stands and walks to the door.

"I am sorry, Haruka-san. I know that you have told me to be more patient with your nephew, and now it has come to this."

Haruka smiles at the sword master.

"Everything will be okay. Keitaro always manages to bounce back."

Motoko walks up the steps and enters the inn. She continues into the dining room and begins to repair the damage caused by her attack. In the passage, Keitaro hears the noise and relaxes, knowing that Motoko will not be searching for him for some time. Still weak from his injuries, he slides to the floor and closes his eye. Months of practice allow him to ignore the pain enough to let sleep overtake him.

Saturday Evening.

Naru shakes off her umbrella and places it next to the front door. Motoko stands as she walks into the common room.

"Naru-sempai, thank you for returning. I am sorry that I caused you to cut short your visit with your family."

Naru sits down and takes the glass of hot tea Motoko offers her.

"I'm sorry to hear you lost at the tournament. When did Keitaro leave?"

"I do not know for certain. It was sometime between last night and this morning.

Keitaro is awakened by the sound of voices in the common room. He quickly identifies Naru and Motoko talking, though he cannot make out what they are saying. He pushes himself up and leans against the wall. The pain from his wrecked elbow and ankle has subsided to a dull, yet constant throb. Of a more immediate concern to him is the fact that he has not had anything to eat or drink since before Motoko's attack. Hunger almost causes him to leave his hiding place, but the fear of being attacked by both Naru and Motoko prevents him from seeking sustenance. As he carefully rubs his elbow to ease the pain, he hears more voices.

Su and Shinobu quickly remove their raincoats and join Naru and Motoko in the common room.

"Aaauuuuu! Haruka-san said that Sempai ran away again. We hurried back as soon as she called."

Su grabs a banana from the table.

"Motoko, did ya really beat him up? I thought that ya liked playing with Keitaro. I mean sure, it's fun to bounce him off the walls and stuff, but geez, ya didn't have to spoil it for the rest of us by chasing him away!"

In his hiding place, Keitaro can barely make out their conversation. But, he clearly hears the last sentence that Su said. He hangs his head.

"I knew it. They are planning to beat me to death. I've got to do something, but I can't risk leaving while I'm injured. I'd be a sitting duck for them."

He rubs his stomach

"I'm really getting hungry."

He hears the girls welcome Kitsune back home. As he sits in the dark passage, an aroma wafts through the air. Kitsune had picked up some takeout, knowing that the others would be too busy to bother cooking. The sound of them talking over their meal almost drives him crazy. His stomach growls and he falls to his side.

"I'm so hungry!"

Saturday Night.

After some time passes, Keitaro opens his eye and looks up the passage. It is quiet in the inn, so he crawls towards the panel. Listening for any sounds first, he carefully moves the panel. The common room is quiet and empty. Heedless of the danger he believes awaits him, Keitaro hobbles to the kitchen supported by the pole. As he enters the dining room, he spots some plastic takeout trays. Drooling, he lifts the cover of one and peeks inside.

"Pork fried rice! That's my favorite!"

He heads into the kitchen and finds a large thermos on the counter. After filling it with tea from the refrigerator, he returns to the dining room. He takes two trays of fried rice and a small box with egg rolls and places them in his secret lair. He turns back to the common room and sneaks a throw pillow from the end of the couch. Once back in hiding, Keitaro has a meal and settles down for the night. His appetite sated, he quickly falls asleep.

The girls return from the hot spring and prepare to search the town for any sign of Keitaro. As they begin to place their coats on, Shinobu runs in from the dining room.

"Aaauuuuu! We've been robbed. There was a b-b-burglar in here!"

Motoko draws her sword and looks around.

"How dare some shameful, low-life, scoundrel come in our home? I will find this perpetrator and deal out final justice!"

Naru hugs Shinobu to stop her trembling.

"What did the prowler take from us, Shinobu-chan?"

"The, the new thermos I bought last week and some of the food Kitsune-san brought!"

Su leaps on the couch.

"That don't sound too bad! Maybe the criminal was just hungry. I hope that he didn't take all of it though."

Kitsune walks into the dining room. A few seconds later, she returns.

"Well, whoever it was just took the fried rice and some egg rolls. Other than the thermos, nothing seems out of place."

Shinobu wipes her tears.

"Aaauuuuu! I was hoping that we could give that to Sempai when we found him. It was his favorite."

Naru tilts her head.

"Why would a prowler leave the sukiyaki and just take some fried rice? It doesn't make sense. It seems like something that Keitaro would do."

They all look at each other for a few seconds. Motoko's eyes widen.

"Urashima! He must still be nearby! But, how can that be? I searched everywhere and found no trace of him!"

Naru looks a Motoko.

"Keitaro must be afraid of getting hurt again and is hiding from us. Let's look around again. Motoko, You take the first floor. Kitsune, you look around outside. Su-chan and Shinobu-chan can check the third floor and I'll look on the second."

Half an hour later, they all meet in the common room once more. Naru drops onto the couch.

"Wherever Keitaro is, he's found a good hiding spot. But, he has to come out to get food, so we can set a trap to catch him. Shinobu, make an extra large portion for his breakfast and leave it covered on the table. When he takes the bait, we can get him back."

Su leaps up onto Motoko's shoulders.

"I'll set up one of my small Mecha-Tama's to monitor the table. That way, we can catches him in the act. I'll program it to follow him so we can find his hidey-hole in case he's too sneaky!"

Kitsune places a pith helmet on her head and raises her fist.

"Alright! Tomorrow, let operation 'Catch Keitaro' commence!"

End of Chapter One.