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 ©1999-2006 Ken Akamatsu/Mixx Entertainment Inc. Love Hina is a trademark of TOKYOPOP®. All rights reserved.
Note: This series takes after the "Love Hina" manga. It's an AU from the very beginning so some of the characters may act a bit OOC here and there, please bear with me. Things have been tough, but I am resilient and I will continue to pump out great-quality stories for this and my other fics. I promise.
A Month and a Half Before Recent Events…
A pretty young sixteen-year-old woman grasped the rails on each side of her as she pushed her slowly strengthening body to take another step forward. Her arms shook in fatigue and she gasped in each breath, her body covered in perspiration from her efforts. Her parents stood on either side of her, both cheered her on and told her that she's doing a wonderful job while her tiny old grandmother and her physical therapist were just a short distance in front of her and beckoned her forward with wide, inviting smiles. The metal bars she was holding were shiny and cold, but they were sturdy and more than strong enough to keep her holding up her petite body. She wanted to stop, she was hurting and wanted to lie down but her mommy and daddy told her that she needed to do this to get stronger…and that once she got strong enough they would take her to see her onii-chan. That was more than enough motivation to keep her going without complaint.
The recently awakened coma victim took another step when suddenly her legs gave way under her and the strength in her arms failed. She fell to the floor in a heap and a strangled sob escaped her as her right leg folded uncomfortably under her. In an instant her daddy was at her side and gently pickws her up in his arms. "I'm sorry Daddy," she meekly said while silent tears rolled down her cheeks, "I tried, I tried really hard."
"I know you did honey," he softly replied, "and you did great. We're all so proud of you." The older man placed his daughter in her wheelchair and kissed her forehead, her legs then getting a much-deserved rest.
Kiki the physical therapist, a kind and overly energetic woman in her early thirties, checked the charts on her clipboard and smiled brightly, her bright white and perfectly even teeth almost painful to look at directly. "Your daughter is progressing wonderfully Mr. and Mrs. Urashima!" she said in a pumped up way, her squeaky, almost childish voice got both parents to wince slightly. "She is getting stronger everyday and I'm ever so confident that she will be back to normal and walking around in no time!"
"Well that's good news," the diminutive elder woman responded while she patted the hand of the now sleeping girl in the wheelchair. "Poor Kanako's been asleep over half of her life and I don't want anything holding her back from leading a healthy normal life now that she's awake."
Her daughter-in-law moved next to her adopted daughter and squeezed her shoulder gently. "I agree. This family has gone through enough heartache for the last ten years from that tragedy. Now we can finally move forward."
Mr. Urashima rubbed the back of his head in a move that was already quite regularly mirrored by his son. "One thing that does worry me is how both my little sister and Keitaro are going to take this news. They both thought Kanako died in the accident and we never said anything to them to make them believe otherwise."
"Well back then we thought letting them think she was gone was the best," Granny Hina sighed while she shook her head. "I still remember it like it was yesterday…"
Ten Years Ago…
In the middle of a growing and very somber crowd, Mrs. Urashima sobbed uncontrollably into her adopted daughter's still and lifeless little body as an ambulance rushed to the scene. Young Keitaro stood just outside the gathered group of neighbors with tears running relentlessly down his face. His eyes were red and puffy from crying yet they were also filled with a strong fierce determination that was quite an uncommon sight in the normally happy-go-lucky boy.
The ambulance came to a stop a few feet from the crowd who all parted as two paramedics came rushing out with a stretcher. They halted in front of her and both held in their gasps at the state of the young girl in the crying woman's arms. Acting quickly, they gently grabbed Kanako, put her on the stretcher and got both her and her mother into the ambulance and drove of in a rush. Just as the ambulance left their sight a police car came into sight. The officer walked out and did his job, taking everybody's eyewitness report of what happened while his partner made her way over to the driver of the vehicle that struck Kanako who was sitting on the pavement next to his car, a completely stunned look on his face.
A short while later Mrs. Urashima nervously paced back and forth inside the Tokyo General Hospital's waiting room. She was in complete hysterics upon entering the hospital with the paramedics, mainly due to the fact that Kanako's little heart stopped it's frail beating just moments before arriving at their destination. Several nurses and orderlies had to physically restrain her from entering the O.R. to get to her little girl. They stayed by her side as she broke down into never-ending tears and collapsed onto the floor. As she regained her composure she had begun to pace back and forth frantically, the nurses and orderlies watching her with regret.
After around ten minutes or so, Mr. Urashima and Granny Hina barged in after leaving a seventeen-year-old Haruka to watch over Keitaro. Mrs. Urashima rushed into her husband's arms for some much needed comfort. She tried to explain the situation to both her husband and mother-in-law, but all that had come out was her sobs and ragged breaths…though there was no need. Their neighbors and a police officer had informed them of everything that occurred.
Soon a doctor walked out into the waiting room to tell the parents the news. "Mr. and Mrs. Urashima?" he calmly began. When aforementioned people nodded, the doctor continued on, "The good news is that your daughter Kanako has miraculously survived her terrible accident and will make a full recovery in due time." Mrs. Urashima burst into tears once more, these being tears of joy, and buried her face into her husband's chest while he let out a sigh of relief, silent tears coming from the corners of his eyes.
Granny Hina however was not quite satisfied at the doctor. "I have a feeling that there is also some bad news here." As the doctor nodded the old woman impatiently begun to tap her foot on the ground. "Well out with it sonny."
With a sigh, he said, "The bad news is that because of the combination of her extensive injuries and head trauma…your daughter has slipped into a coma."
Mrs. Urashima sat down in a chair next to her daughter's hospital bed and gazed down at the sleeping child. She reached out and grasped the heavily bandaged girl's tiny hand in her own. The uneasy silence was only broken by the monotone beeping of Kanako's heart monitor that showed that her heartbeat was slightly weak but was holding steady.
The little girl's mother leaned forward to kiss her forehead with trembling lips. The woman's eyes were red and puffy but she did not cry. No…she was too grief stricken to even let out a single tear. "My baby girl," she muttered, "my poor little Kanako."
Outside the room Mr. Urashima sat down in a chair with his hands covering his face. His mother sat next to him and looked like her age was starting to catch up to her. Though she too was hurting terribly inside, she was probably the only one there who was still thinking clearly. The old woman absentmindedly patted her first-born child on the shoulder. "I don't care what that doctor said son," she slowly began, carefully thinking of what she was saying, "I believe in happy endings and I know my granddaughter will wake up someday. It might take days, weeks and maybe even years but I know Kanako will open her eyes again, mark my words, and I will be here to help her get back on her feet and live the life she deserves to live."
"And…and I'll help too," Mrs. Urashima suddenly said from her place in the doorway, startling the two in front of her.
Mr. Urashima stood up and took his wife in his arms again, who gratefully fell into his arms. "I'm in too of course," he muttered out loud. He suddenly frowned as a sudden thought came to him. "What will we tell Haruka and Keritaro?" He felt his dear wife tense up as she remembered her sister-in-law and son.
"I have also been thinking about those two," Granny Hina said while looking grave. "My idea, though I despise to say it, is that we lead them to believe that Kanako did not survive the accident."
"WHAT?" Mrs. Urashima shouted in a sudden rage. "You want us to tell them she died!" Her husband seemed too outraged for words at the moment.
The old woman calmly shook her head. "No, no, you misinterpreted me dear. I could never lie to those two about this and I know you would never be able to either. I would only make them think that she did. Trust me, I am thinking about this more than you think. Haruka is about to graduate soon and has several colleges set in mind to possibly attend and I don't want her to have this holding her back. You know she's a lot more caring of a person than she lets on and I know she'll never stray far from here if she knew the truth. She loves her niece and she'd visit her all the time in hopes of seeing her wake up and completely brush her future aside."
She paused to let out a sigh. "Keitaro…well I'm sure you know what he is like and what he would do. That little boy is probably the most caring and compassionate child I have ever laid eyes on. He would spend day and night by his sister's side and there would be nothing we could to stop him. I've sensed such great potential in him and it would pain me too much to see him waste away next to Kanako. He's got too much going for him just to simply toss it all away."
Mr. and Mrs. Urashima thought hard about this for several moments. They didn't want Haruka and Keitaro to believe a false truth about Kanako's fate but then again what Granny Hina had said that they would do was something most likely to happen. Steeling themselves they looked down at the old woman in front of them. They looked into her eyes and firmly nodded once.
"Alright," Granny Hina replied, "it is settled then. Let me go and say goodbye to Kanako and then I will return to your house and set this into motion. You two can stay here as long as you like…I'll bring Keitaro back to the Hinata House with Haruka and me for the night." Her son and daughter-in-law both leaned down and fiercely embraced her. She whispered, "Don't worry, we will get through this."
"I know," Mr. Urashima muttered, his eyes tearing up, "and thank you mom."
The Near Present…
Kanako's eyes fluttered open and she let out a soft moan as she woke up after her short nap. She let out a small smile at the sound of soft purring on her left. The young Urashima reached over and petted the small black kitten next to her and whispered out, "Hi there Kuro." The little cat responded by leaning into the pet and purring even louder which got a slight giggle from her owner.
Two days after awakening, Kanako's grandmother came in to visit her with a gift. The young woman didn't know what to expect seeing as how her granny was always full of surprises, but she never expected to see the tiny old woman come walking in her hospital room with a tiny little kitty in her arms. "Here you go Kanako," her grandmother said with a warm smile, handing the animal to her stunned granddaughter, "this is for you. Since your mommy and daddy and I can't be around here all the time, the doctors gave you special permission and said you can keep a pet in your room to keep you company. Isn't that really nice of them?"
The youngest Urashima sibling looked up from her pet with a brilliant smile on her face that warmed the old woman's heart to no end. "Yes granny," she agreed, cradling the tiny animal in her arms while it slept peacefully. After a few moments of silently petting it, she muttered something out.
"What did you say dear?" Granny Hina kindly asked.
"Kuro," she replied a little louder. The young woman lifted the kitten up above her head and looked it up and down. The tiny black animal opened its eyes and cried out a small 'Meow' while Kanako smiled. "Her name is Kuro."
Back to the near present, Kanako scooted herself up in her hospital bed while Kuro made her way onto her owner's lap. The door in her hospital room opened and her grandmother entered carrying several school textbooks. "Ah, I see you're awake," the old woman said with a smile. "I hope your feeling better dear because I have another present for you." She handed the young woman an envelope. "There…open it."
Kanako did as she was told and pulled out a photograph from inside. Her eyes widened in surprise at who was in the picture. Though he was much older looking, there was no doubt in her mind who the man in the picture was. Keitaro, her dear onii-chan was sitting on a large rock in the photo while leaning forward slightly with a shovel keeping him from falling down. He was wearing black pants, a dark shirt and a white lab coat His head was tilted to the side and he was smiling softly. The young woman traced a finger around her older brother's head and muttered, "Onii-chan."
"I thought you'd like that," her grandmother replied with a chuckle. "That picture was taken several months ago when your brother was doing some excavating on a little island somewhere very far from here. He has quite a knack for archaeology."
The young woman listened with rapt attention as she always did whenever someone talked about her onii-chan, but for some reason they would not talk too much about him or her auntie Haruka…and she hasn't seen them since she's woken up either. They just would mainly tell her that they have both been doing very good and that she would see them once she got stronger to walk around.
Her granny had been visiting her every day since she woke up and would have her read books to both help give her a good education and to learn about a lot of things that have happened in the world while she was asleep. The old woman quickly discovered that Kanako was a brilliantly gifted young woman and absorbed information like a sponge. In the little over two weeks that she had been awake, the youngest Urashima sibling jumped up several grade levels in every subject she was being taught.
"Granny," she hesitantly began, "could you…could you tell me about onii-chan? I really want to know more."
Granny Hina smiled softly at her granddaughter. 'I might as well let her know now,' the thought to herself. 'She's been pushing herself pretty hard to get better and we've been quite unfair to keep her in the dark about the one person she's dying to see again.' The old woman sat down next to Kanako. "Well to start off he has become quite an exceptional young man. He is a lot like you remembered him years ago. He's still very kind and caring though he closed himself of after your accident." At the young woman's confused look, Hina elaborated, "he acted like normal around family but he distanced himself from his friends and he developed a slight fear of women. From what I was told he blamed himself for what happened to you and saw a little bit of you in every woman he met." She paused for a moment to sigh sadly. "It was very sad to see such a happy and outgoing kid become so down and depressed."
Kanako gazed down at the picture in her hands and felt her own depression start to settle in. "Onii-chan…I'm sorry." She lookd up as her granny placed a hand on her cheek.
"Don't feel sorry child, he may have been a little lonely and sad but that did help him to reach the one goal he strived to accomplish…he passed his tests and got accepted into Tokyo University."
The young woman's eyes widened in shock at that last part. "O-Onii-chan made it?"
Granny Hina nodded with a wondrous smile. "Yes he did and it was the happiest moment of his life. Your parents and I were there when he found his name on the 'Accepted List'. I did not think I could have been more proud of him until he turned around to us and said with tears in his eyes 'I did it…I did it all for Kanako'." She pauses to wipe a stray tear from her eye. "Now that was when I could not have been more proud of him."
Kanako looks down at the picture in her hands, tears dropping onto it from her eyes. "I'm…I'm so happy onii-chan," she mutters, "you made it in…you got in for me."
A week later the youngest Urashima sibling was back strengthening her body with the aid of her physical therapist. Ever since she saw what a handsome young man her onii-chan had become and heard of all of his accomplishments all in her name, she had found a new vigor in her that even she did not know she had. The young woman continued on with her lessons and learning everything at an incredible rate and put all her strength and willpower forth during her exercise sessions. It was becoming easier and easier to walk further and further though she would still need assistance from time to time when she lost her balance. She had also developed an interest in gymnastics from watching them on the television and also her family's style of martial arts. She had just started to do very light upper body cardio workouts to build up strength and endurance in her upper torso and would begin in lower body cardio once she could walk properly without assistance. Her progression was astonishing to say the least.
While she was sitting in her wheelchair, her father pushed her all the way to one end of the physical recuperation room and turned her around. Kanako looked up at the other end of the room where her mother and the physical therapist were waiting for her. It was roughly thirty-three feet from end to end, quite a distance for her to walk unaided when the best she had managed so far was only a little over ten feet
Mr. Urashima kneels down in front of his little girl and took her hands in his own. "Are you sure you want to do this so soon Ka-chan?" he calmly asked her. "You've been doing wonderful so far but your mother and I agree that this might be too much too soon."
She looked her daddy dead in the eyes, her resolve did not falter for even the slightest moment. "I want to do this daddy," she says confidently. "I don't want you or mommy to help me either. Only if I ask for it…okay?"
With a sigh, her father nodded. "Alright sweetie." He leans forward to kiss his baby girl on the forehead. "Good luck…I believe in you." He gets to his feet and moves to the side.
"I don't need luck daddy," she replied while placing her hands on the sides of her wheelchair and pushing herself up to her feet, "I'm doing this for onii-chan." She stands to her full petite height and takes the first step forward. 'I can do this,' she thinks to herself, 'I know I can.' Kanako moved slowly as usual and let her body adjust to the height she has grown since her long slumber and keep its balance properly. She had been getting better and her balance had been improving in the last few days.
The young woman continued onward while she ignored the cheering and encouragements from her parents since they would distract her and she needed to focus everything she had on her goal. Kanako continued on step-by-step and would stop from time to time if she felt her balance start to sway. She had taken thirteen slow steps and gone nearly a third of the distance when she felt her body begin to sweat from the excursion. After the next step her legs had begun to shake slightly. Kanako stood straight and closed her eyes, thinking to herself, 'I can do this. I can do this. Please just hold on a little longer. Onii-chan I can do this.' She opened her eyes back up and continued.
Her mommy and daddy watched on with bated breaths. Granny Hina had some very important business to attend to, something about her all girls dormitory the Hinata House, and could not attend. "C'mon Kanako," Mr. Urashima muttered, "you can do it."
"Come here baby," his wife whispered, "come over here to mommy. I believe in you."
As if she heard them, Kanako let out the briefest of smiles as she took another step. She had gone over a third of the way and was making her way to the halfway point when her right leg started to tighten up. She stopped again, her shirt clinging to her skin due to all the sweat that was pouring from her petite body. 'Don't do this now, don't give up on me.' Ignoring the pain in her leg she went on again.
After a few more steps her right leg had begun to cramp up as well. "No," she hissed through clenched teeth, "I can keep going." The young woman reached down and gingerly rubbed her thighs for a moment. She stood back up and progressed onward though the pain was starting to get worse and she was feeling dizzy.
A few more minutes passed and Kanako had passed the halfway point and was still going despite the terrible pain in her legs. Her eyes were watering and she was exhausted but she kept on walking…she kept on going. With each step of her left foot she would whisper out, "Onii," and with each step of her right she would finish, "chan." If her big brother could sacrifice his childhood for her then she could endure this pain…she could do anything.
Mrs. Urashima held in a breath as her daughter got closer and closer to her. 'She's going to do it,' she thinks in wonder, 'she can do this!'
The young woman, despite all her struggling and current physical pain, managed to muster out a small smile as she saw her goal just several meters away. Her breathing had become deeper and more haggard as she kept on. She raised her right foot and took yet another step but as her foot hit the floor, it buckled under the strain and she started to fall down. Her parents and physical trainer gasped and were about to rush forwards when Kanako managed to catch herself before she completely fell to the floor. "N-No," she stammered out loud enough for them to hear, "don't h-help me. I…I can do this."
Mr. Urashima looked across the room to his wife and could clearly see her distress even from this distance. He shouted, "You heard her dear, and we promised her. You know how we Urashima's are with promises." He chuckled as his wife slapped her forehead with a loud groan.
Kanako wiped the sweat from her eyes and gasped in several breaths while practically kneeling down. She took in a deep breath and braced herself as she pushed herself to her feet, the muscles in her legs screamed in protest. She tried to life her right leg up but was very upset to discover that both her right and left legs were pushed to their limit and the only thing keeping her up was sheer determination and willpower. 'Just a little more,' Kanako thought, 'please just keep up a little longer.' With a squeak of pain, the young woman shuffled her feet towards her mother with her arms spread out to keep what little balance she had left.
Mrs. Urashima watched her baby girl as she inched her way to her, her fingers twitched as she yearned to rush forward and take her daughter into her arms for doing so incredibly well. Even the physical therapist next to her was stunned silent at how well young Kanako was doing…and her not opening her mouth was quite a welcome thing.
The young Urashima woman kept shuffling forward, tears poured freely from her eyes and her face was quite flushed from pushing herself farther than she had ever gone before. With a strangled cry Kanako pushed her petite body across the ending point and collapsed into her mommy's awaiting arms. Her mother bust into tears and gushed out praises and congratulations to her little girl while her father ran across the length of the recuperation room to also praise his daughter.
Kanako had enough strength left in her to let out a small smile and whisper, "I did it," before slipping into a blissful sleep, her last thoughts being, 'Just wait onii-chan…I'm coming for you soon!'
To be continued…
Author's notes: Wow! This is the fasted I've updated a story in a long time! After the positive response I received after posting my 'The Rogue, the Witch and the Nightcrawler' X-Men: Evolution initial chapter I found more faith in myself and had more inspiration to do work on all of my fics. Since then I've added at least a page of material to almost all of my current stories and still have more ideas coming for all of them. I would like to thank you the loyal readers out there for staying so patient and faithful in me. It is you guys that drive me to keep up the quality of my fics and make them enjoyable to read.
I decided right after posting Chapter 13 of 'Different Promises' that I would make Chapter 14 more of a side-story that would focus on Kanako and her recuperation and a few of the things that have been happening to her since she awoke from her ten year long coma. I'm a bit worried that I overdid the end with her making the impressive walk across the large room. I wasn't planning on making it that long and I hope I didn't stretch it a bit too far. If you guys don't enjoy it I could cut it down a bit. – lighthawkdemon
Questions or comments? E-mail me at: lighthawkdemon (at) Y!