Love Hina

Disclaimer: This episode of Love Hina is of my own creation. I do not own any portion of Love Hina. "Love Hina" and all related characters, names, etc. are ©1999-2004 Ken Akamatsu/Mixx Entertainment Inc. Love Hina is a trademark of TOKYOPOP®. All rights reserved.

Note: This series takes after the "Love Hina" manga, since I haven't watched any of the anime, though I will watch them all…soon. What? Why are you giving me that look? I will watch them! I promise.

Different Promises
Chapter 1:
The Tragedy of Youth

A ten-year-old boy and his six-year-old adopted sister are playing outside their home, having the time of their lives without a care in the world at the moment. The young girl is smiling and laughing like a normal child her age should, something only her 'oniichan' has ever had the fortune of witnessing. She is normally very quiet and reserved and has a great dislike for sweets, but when she is around her dear Keitaro, she opens herself up and shows him the real Kanako underneath.

"Catch it Kanako!" Keitaro shouts as he tosses a large red ball at her. She spreads out her arms and easily catches the ball. "Alright!" he cheers, "good job!" he claps and smiles warmly, causing the young girl's heart to melt. For as long as she has known Keitaro, she has been in love with him, and with a deeper and much more prominent way than just plain sibling love. Her oniichan has always been kind hearted and honest with her and, in her eyes, he is the only person who truly cares about her and will always be there for her.

"Okay oniichan, now your turn!" Kanako pulls back and tosses the ball back towards her older brother. Keitaro gets his hands around it when the ball slips out of his grasp and smacks him straight on his face, knocking the young boy onto his back. In the blink of an eye, his adopted sister is at his side, helping to pull him up to his feet. "Oh I'm so sorry oniichan! Are you okay?"

Keitaro rubs the back of his head and chuckles embarrassedly, a bandage mysteriously appearing on his forehead where the ball hit him. "I'm fine, the ball just slipped." He looks behind him, where the big red ball is still rolling along their front yard. "Don't worry about the ball, I got it!" The young boy turns around and chases after the ball, which is about to go onto the street ahead.

Kanako lets out a genuine smile at her brother, but it is quickly replaced by a look of pure horror as she sees the swerving and speeding car that is rapidly approaching her beloved oniichan, who is too busy trying to grab the elusive ball to notice it. As fast as her small legs can carry her, Kanako rushes over to Keitaro, shouting, "Oniichan! Noooo!"

The young boy smiles triumphantly as he finally manages to pick up the ball. "Gotcha!" He turns around towards his adopted sister, just in time to see her rushing towards him, tears pouring from her eyes, and the car about to hit him to his right. His eyes widen as Kanako pushes him out of the way, and then she disappears as the car hits her full on. He is completely speechless as the vehicle comes screeching to a halt several feet ahead and the red ball rolls to a stop right at his feet. Time seems to slow down as a crumpled figure falls onto the ground in front of him. Before Keitaro knows what is going on, his is suddenly rushing over and lifting up the small and bloody figure that is his younger sister. "" Tears come rushing out as he takes in all the major cuts and bruises on her tiny body.

The young girl slowly opens her eyes, her vision blurred and her body racked with pain. She raises her right arm, her left arm being broken and gently places it on his cheek. "Please...don't cry oniichan," she turns her head and coughs violently, a little bit of blood dribbling off of her lips. By now, a small crowd has formed, all of them realizing that there isn't much life left in the young girl and respectfully letting her say her last words.

"Kanako," the young Keitaro cries, "why? Why did you do that?"

The dark haired girl breathes in deeply, wincing mildly in pain. "I didn't want you to die oniichan," she weakly answers. "I didn't want to be alone."

"But I don't want you to die Kanako. I love you, I don't want you to go away."

The young girl's eyes shine in happiness at his words. Though she knows he meant that he loves her as his sister, it is still heartening to hear those words coming from his mouth and directed towards her. "Please...can you do one thing for me Keitaro?"

His breath catches in his throat. That is the first time she has called him by his name. She has always called him 'oniichan'. "Yes. Anything Kanako. I'll do anything you want."

"I..." she pauses as she starts to cough again. "I want you to get into Tokyo University...for me. I want you to get in just for me, and not that other girl."

Keitaro is momentarily stunned. Five years ago he made a promise to a girl at his grandmother's inn that they would get into Tokyo University together. The promise and the girl have always been on his mind, something that has been a source of great jealousy for Kanako. As the young boy looks at his adopted sister's face, the whole memory of the girl and the promise fade away. "Yes," he replied firmly, taking her good hand into his free one. "I'll do it for you Kanako. I'll make it into Tokyo University for you."

Kanako sighs happily upon hearing this. "Thank you...thank you so much." The normal shine in her eyes begins to fade as her breathing becomes very shallow. It is time. Kanako, with her last breath, kisses Keitaro's hand and whispers, " you onii...chan..." and then her body goes limp, her short life leaving her.

Sobs and tears filter through the crowd, everyone deeply saddened at the child's death. Ambulance sirens are heard in the distance as Keitaro and Kanako's mother comes rushing out of their house, having been in the basement cleaning and not knowing of the tragedy that has just occurred. The woman shrieks in terror as she realizes that the crumpled lifeless form that her son is holding is her adopted daughter. She falls to her knees and takes her from Keitaro, tears silently escaping her.

The young boy stands up and wipes the tears from his eyes, a fierce determination appearing in them. He looks down at his bloodstained hands and whispers, "I promise."

Ten Years Later...

A twenty-year-old man is busy digging into the hard earth on a secluded island in the Pacific Ocean. Sweat drips off his body as the bright early morning sun beams its powerful rays down on him. He pauses for a moment to wipe his brow and take a quick drink from the water bottle next to him. He takes off his small, brand new rectangular frame glasses and wipes them clean on his shirt. He picks up his pickaxe and is about to go back to digging when a voice from behind interrupts him. "Hey! Part-timer!"

Keitaro turns around and sees his mentor/good friend/archaeology instructor running up to him. "Hello Seta." He notices that the older man is holding a piece of paper. "What's that?"

Seta smiles his good-natured smile and hands it over to the somewhat younger version of himself. "It's a fax I just got from Granny Hina, addressed to you." He pauses for a moment to observe him. "You trying to copy me or something part-timer?"

The young Urashima looks up with a confused expression. "What do you mean?" Seta reaches up and taps his glasses. "Oh! These? I...uh, well I tripped over one of those pots and my other glasses...broke." He rubs the back of his head as his mentor chuckles. "I went to get them repaired, but I saw these and I always thought yours were cool so..." he trails off, looking away.

The Tokyo U instructor pats his student on the shoulder. "Don't worry about it Urashima, I don't mind at all." He nods down at the paper in Keitaro's hands. "I think you should read that, it might be important."

"Wha...oh yeah!" Keitaro quickly reads the short note and frowns. "Grandma wants me to come back to Japan and go to her old inn. She says it's urgent." His thoughts are interrupted by Seta grabbing his arm and dragging him away from the dig site. "Huh? Hey! Seta...what are you doing?"

Seta stops for a moment to smile at his favorite 'part-timer'. "Well the old lady wants you back home, so I think you should get moving."

"B...but what about the dig? I can't just leave it now!"

The older man shakes his head. "Don't worry about it. Besides, you're going back Japan in a little over a week any way. And you've got classes in Tokyo U starting soon. You're going to start your third year, a really pivotal year, and I want you to get that degree in archaeology so I can make you my assistant."

Keitaro sighs deeply. "Yeah, you're right. I just really like it here and I'm having loads of fun!"

Seta looks off into the distance, at the endless desert. "We have been having fun, and things have been going along rather smoothly...but we're almost done here for now. Me and Sarah will be back in a few months so I can get back to teaching at the University, though I will admit it won't be the same here without you."

"Heh, I feel so loved!" Both men share a good laugh at this. The young Urashima sighs again. "Well I guess I should go to the airport, I don't want to keep Grandma waiting too long for me." He takes a glance at his wristwatch. "And the only plane leaving today is leaving in a couple of hours."

The archaeology instructor grabs his protégé and drags him off again. "Well then let's get moving! It'll take about an hour to make it to town so if we leave now, we'll have some extra time to make sure you're all packed up and say goodbye."

"Alright, let's go!"

A little over an hour later, Keitaro, Seta, his young 'daughter' Sarah and a young local teenage girl named Nyamo who has occasionally helped with translating some of the ancient ruins, are all at the departure gate at the local airport, three of the four members wishing goodbye and good luck to the fourth member. Nyamo rushes up to Keitaro, gives him a small gift, then bows hurriedly before turning around and hiding behind Seta, blushing deeply.

The Tokyo U student chuckles slightly. "Thank you Nyamo. I will miss you," he tells her in rather good English. The young Pararakelsian girl blushes even deeper and tries unsuccessfully to hide her face.

Seta walks up to Keitaro and the two shake hands. "See you around part-timer."

"Yeah," Sarah adds from on top of her papa's shoulders, "and don't get beat up too badly by girls dork."

Keitaro shakes his head slightly, but still smiling. Sarah has, for some odd reason, constantly called him a dork. But since she's just a little eight-year-old girl, he doesn't let it bother him. "I'll try not to Sarah. Bye Seta." He turns around and walks into the airplane, waving to his three friends.

The long plane ride back to Japan goes along smoothly, a pretty young flight attendant even compliments Keitaro on his nice light tan. The young Tokyo U student blushes deeply, not used to being complimented, especially by a woman. Ever since that tragic day ten years ago, Keitaro has felt uncomfortable getting close to women. He has gotten close to two girls on his life, one left him fifteen years ago and he hasn't seen or heard from her since and the other died terribly ten years ago, and that has affected him on a deep emotional level.

Before that day ten years ago, Keitaro was very clumsy and used to trip and fall onto girls, usually touching something he shouldn't or just land in a compromising situation, but he changed after that sorrowful day. He still is slightly clumsy, but not to the extent he once was. After he made the promise to his dearly departed sister, he became more focused and driven, almost like an obsession. He never spoke much to others in school, and because of that he didn't have many friends, save for Haitani and Shirai, and he has never had a girlfriend, his level of discomfort around them also coming into affect. His fear of loosing them if he gets too close completely and utterly terrifies him.

Some time later, the plane has landed in Tokyo International Airport and Keitaro makes his way out over to the baggage claim. After grabbing his suitcase, he leaves the airport and gets a cab to the Hinata District. Soon familiar sights from his childhood appear all around him. A soft smile spreads on his face as the cab nears his first destination, The Café Hinata, owned and run by his Aunt Haruka.

After getting out of the cab and paying the fare, Keitaro walks into his aunt's café, the bell above the door ringing as he enters. It is exactly as he remembered it, tidy and quaint. There are a few customers inside, drinking tea and calmly reading the daily newspaper. The door to the kitchen opens and Haruka Urashima comes walking out, carrying a tray of drinks and snacks. She hasn't changed either: still wearing her usual Café Hinata garb, complete with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth.

Haruka looks over at the entrance and sees her nephew standing there, a small smile on his face and a suitcase and a large duffel bag at his side. She calmly gives the customers their orders then makes her way over to Keitaro. "Well aren't you a sight for sore eyes?" she says, a hint of amusement on her face. "I wasn't expecting you to come home so soon."

"Well what can I say? Grandma's message seemed urgent so I got on the first flight back." He shrugs his shoulders nonchalantly. He takes another look around. "So how's business been doing Aunt Haruka?" He goes in for a hug, but she swiftly moves aside and whacks him over the head with a fan that appeared in her hands.

"What did I tell you about that word?" she sternly warns. "Just call me Haruka."

Keitaro shakes his head defiantly. "Sorry, but that wouldn't be proper or polite." He tries to smile sinisterly, but it comes out looking awkward, seeing as how his aunt knows all too well of his kind-hearted nature. "Okay, I won't call you that word." Keitaro taps his chin in thought. "How about I just call you old lady?" He chuckles heartedly at Haruka and just manages to dodge the punch that was aimed for the top of his head.

"Watch your step wise guy." The slightly older woman tries to give her nephew a stern look, but he just deflects it with a goofy smile. She sighs slightly, closing her eyes in agitation. She opens one eye after a second, smiling again. "So tell me Keitaro, how are Sarah and that big jerk doing?"

The young Urashima male sits down at a nearby table. "Sarah's fine, but she still insists on calling me a dork." At this, Haruka snorts in amusement while taking a puff from her cigarette. "Seta's...well...he's just Seta." Keitaro leans back on the chair. "He wanted me to take with me some lingerie he bought and give it to you, but I didn't want to carry any of those things with my stuff," he finishes with a blush.

Haruka sits down opposite her nephew, shaking her head. "That lug will never learn." She looks at the door as several people enter. "Oh, sorry to cut this chat short, but I have customers to attend to." She stands up and walks over to where the customers have just taken their seats, getting back to work.

Keitaro smiles as he stands up and grabs his bags. He exits the café and makes the short trek to his grandmother's old inn, where she should be waiting for him. "Well, now it's time to find out why Granny Hina wants me here so much," he mutters out loud to himself.

Back inside the Café Hinata, Haruka has just finished serving the customers. She turns to where her nephew is sitting, only to discover that he has left. She shakes her head while holding out her cigarette. "Damn, I should've told him that Grandma Hina hasn't been here for nearly a year and old inn is now a girls dormitory. Oh well, I just hope there's still something left of him when those girls get their hands on him."

Kietaro smiles as he gazes on at the grand old building he used to visit when he was just a child. He drops his suitcase and duffel bag and spreads his arms open, as if he is trying to hug the very large building. "Here it is! The hotel grandma runs, The Hinata House!"

To be continued…

Author's notes: Well this is my first Love Hina fanfic, and I think it's starting off well. I just hope you feel the same way. In later chapters, I'm going to incorporate a lot of the manga into the story, with a slight twist here and there due to Keitaro's different personality. See how the girls react to a more mellow and successful Keitaro - lighthawkdemon

Questions or comments? E-mail me at: lighthawkdemon(at)Y!