Love Hina – Inheritance

Fanfic by Hikari Ishido

Chapter One – Endings and Beginnings

This story takes place a few years after the anime and manga. Motoko returns home to Hinata-sou after her graduation ceremony from Toudai.

Tuesday Afternoon.

Aoyama Motoko, now twenty-four years of age, enters the inn and places her umbrella in the stand by the door. Her diploma in hand, she turns and walks into the common room. Hinata-sou is quiet except for the soft sound of the rain falling on the roof and rafters.

She places her diploma and other papers upon the coffee table and then unrolls her degree. Proclaiming in bold letters the degree announces her mastery of the Literary Arts. Her first novel, already published before she graduated, has been well received by many teen-aged girls and single, older women. It is the story of a warrior princess and her love for the man she must forever pursue. Already, she has received offers from some of Japan's most well-known and prestigious magazines and publishers, offering her an entry position in their respective companies. Knowing her true calling, though, she gracefully declined all the offers.

Motoko smiles, pleased that she has completed such an arduous journey to master her knowledge as well as her sword. The smile quickly fades, reflecting her loneliness in not being able to share this moment with her friends. She leans back in the chair and sighs.

"Why has fate demanded that they all be away at this time? My pleas seemed to have fallen upon deaf ears. Konno-san insisted on another journey to Hokkaido for her own writing project, saying that her publisher demanded that she complete her current work. Shinobu-chan had to travel to Tokyo to be with her newly reunited mother and father. Su-chan still has much to do in her homeland and could not release herself from her duties. Emma-san, still as shy as when she first arrived, left without saying where she would go or when she would return. Haruka-san and her family still work abroad on Seta-san's digging project, and could not leave."

The sword master looks towards the ceiling.

"Naru-sempai and Urashima. No one had heard from them in over a year since they journeyed on his first sponsored expedition. Oh spirits, why on this day have you deemed it necessary to strip me of all my friends? It was my dearest wish to thank them for all of their support over these past few years. Without them, I would never have been able to achieve the success I now have. Without them, my success seems empty and meaningless."

Motoko leaps to her feet as a voice calls from behind the door to the dining room.

"If ya'll is feeling empty, them haul it in here and let's start eating! It's time we got this party started!"

The new graduate turns quickly towards the dining room.

"K-konno-san? Is that you?"

"Aaauuuuu! Kitsune-san, we were supposed to wait until Motoko-san came through the door!"

"Sh-sh-shinobu-chan! Are you also there?"

As Motoko staggers towards the door, the newest resident of Hinata-sou peeks through.

"She's coming! She's coming!"

"Emma-san, settle down or you'll get so excited that you may pee your panties! Crazy kid!"

Motoko touches the door.

"Emma-san and Haruka-san, you returned also!"

The door flings open, revealing a distinguished man in a white lab coat wearing glass.

"Don't forget me, Motoko-chan!"

Motoko blinks her eyes.

"Ura-Urashima?"

Haruka reaches out and pats Motoko on the head.

"I know that they look and act a lot alike, but anyone can tell that this is just Seta."

The archeologist looks at his wife.

"How can you refer to me as just Seta, Haruka-san?"

Sara looks over from the table.

"But Papa, she's been saying that for five years. I'd think that you'd be used to it by now."

Suddenly, from behind, a grip like steel wraps around Motoko's neck. The sword master smiles with joy.

"Su! You came back!"

Su leans over her head and looks into Motoko's eyes.

"Darn! I thought for sure that I'd get the drops on ya! Congratulations, Graduation Lady!"

Motoko looks around the decorated and food-filled room. A tear falls down her cheek as she smiles.

"Thank you all for being here! This is a most wondrous day! The only thing that could make it better would be the presence of Naru-sempai and Urashima!"

From the kitchen, a voice calls.

"Well, at least you'll get half of your wish."

Naru walks through the door carrying another tray of snacks.

"Motoko-chan, I'm so proud of you! Even though you didn't make it into Toudai until your second try, you still graduated at the top of your class! I'm sure that Keitaro would have been very proud of you."

Motoko carefully lowers Su from her shoulders and looks at Naru.

"I do not understand. Why do you speak of Urashima in that manner? Where is he?"

Naru places the tray on the table and wipes her hands.

"I divorced him almost a year ago. I decided that traveling around the world and following a man digging up old artifacts was not for me. I gave him an ultimatum. Either choose me or choose his work."

Motoko looks sadly at Naru.

"I cannot believe that he would forsake you for his work."

Kitsune shakes her head.

"Nah, you know Keitaro-san. He couldn't choose to give up on either Naru or his life's dream. But, Naru didn't want to share him with his work. So in a final act of selfishness, she left him."

Naru scowls at her old friend.

"Kitsune, that's a little harsh, don't you think?"

The fox smiles and lifts a glass of sake.

"If I'm wrong, I'll give up drinking right now! So, do I put this glass down or not?"

Naru looks at her for a few seconds and then hangs her head.

"Bottoms up, Kitsune-san. I guess you're right, after all."

Motoko walks over and hugs Naru.

"Naru-sempai, I am so sorry for both of you. Does he still keep in touch?"

A tear rolls down Naru's cheek and she shakes her head.

"Except for one letter he sent me ten months ago, I haven't seen or heard from him since the divorce. No one I've asked knows where he is or if he's okay. I just returned from a job overseas last weekend and haven't been able to check with the university to see if they have any new information."

"Did this letter have any clue to his whereabouts?"

Naru shakes her head.

"No, there wasn't a return address and the postmark was too smeared to read. The letter was too short to give any real information either."

Shinobu rubs Naru's shoulder.

"What did Sempai say?"

Naru reaches into her pocket and pulls out the letter. She carefully opens the envelope and hands the single page to Shinobu. The young woman reads the letter aloud.

"Narusegawa, I'm sorry. Keitaro."

She refolds the letter and gently returns it.

"Aaauuuuu! Poor Sempai!"

Sara slaps the back of a chair.

"I kinda feel really sorry for that loser too."

A knock at the front door catches their attention. They all go out to see who it is and as they reach the foyer, a woman slides the door open and carefully shakes the rain off her coat.

"I'm sorry, but I seem to be lost. Can you tell me where I am? Oh my! Are all of you lost too?"

Motoko stares at the melon girl.

"Otohime-san! You are at Hinata-sou! How can you be lost?"

Mutsumi places a hand against her head.

"Oh my! How silly of me! I guess that I'm right where I was supposed to be after all!"

The front door slides open again and Mutsumi crashes to the floor as another person, their arms full of packages, runs into her. Su jumps up and claps her hands.

"Horray! The manager is back with more food!"

Kanako looks up and wipes a strand of wet hair away from her eyes.

"Have you forgotten the rule about loitering in the foyer? It can be dangerous for people entering the inn."

Naru helps Kanako to her feet as Motoko assists Mutsumi. Kitsune scratches her chin and looks at the woman from Okinawa.

"Ya'll have been out of touch for quite a while. Where ya been for the last year and a half?"

Mutsumi taps her cheek and looks out the door.

"Well, I've been busy with my teaching job in Okinawa. All of my brothers and sisters wanted me to teach them all about what I learned at Toudai, so my town hired me as the new schoolteacher. Oh my, but it has been so exciting! Did you know that there are over twenty types of watermelon growing in our school garden?"

Su walks over and shakes Mutsumi's hand.

"Do ya got any bananas growing down there? I mean, melons are okay, buts ya gotta have variety!"

Sara nods her head in agreement.

"You got to have bananas."

Mutsumi claps her hands.

"Oh yes! We grow a lot more than just watermelons! We started growing passion fruit last month."

She looks at Naru.

"Oh my! That reminds me. I am so sorry to hear that you and Kei-kun broke up. You made such a sweet couple."

Naru smiles at her.

"Thank you, it's nice to know you still care about us. . . . Wait a minute! How did you know that we were divorced? We haven't been in contact with you for over a year!"

"Oh my! Kei-kun told me about it a few weeks ago. My school was on a field trip to the shipping port to see how they load the vegetables and I saw him on one of the ships docked there. We had such fun talking about old times! We saw each other for a few days before he had to leave. He was so sad that he wouldn't be able to come to Motoko-san's graduation today, he said that it would bring back too many memories to see everyone again."

Motoko bows her head.

"He, Urashima promised that he would be there for my graduation. I cannot believe that he would fail to keep such a promise. It is most unlike him. He has been faithful to us beyond the ability of words to describe."

Shinobu wrings her hands.

"Did Sempai say where he was going? What ship was he on? Is he eating enough? Are his shirts clean?"

Mutsumi touches a finger to her lips and thinks for a few moments.

"No. I don't remember. Not really. And yes."

Kanako grabs Mutsumi by the arm.

"Are you sure that Oni-chan is not hiding out in Okinawa? I seem to remember that you gave him shelter the last time he had trouble deciding what to do."

Mutsumi sadly shakes her head.

"I offered to let him stay with me as long as he wanted to, but he said that he had to return to his work. He said that it was the only thing he had left and he would not abandon it."

Shinobu blushes and asks another question.

"Did, did you k-kiss him again?"

She folds her hands in front of her skirt and shakes her head.

"I don't think that Kei-kun wanted me to kiss him. He seemed so lonely and tired. He said the Naru-sempai kept him on such a short leash that he wasn't able to even write to you. And he said that she even threatened to punch him if he kept talking about any of you."

Kitsune looks at Naru and crosses her arms.

"So that's why Keitaro-san stopped writing to us. You were so jealous that you wouldn't let him stay in contact with his old friends. Naru, I'm ashamed of ya'll!"

Naru bows her head.

"I'm sorry, but I was worried because he was always talking about all the fun he had as our manager. I guess that I was afraid that he was beginning to have second thoughts about marrying me. I know now that it was just my imagination, and self-doubt."

Motoko rests a hand on her shoulder.

"Did we not say to never doubt Urashima, or yourself?"

"Yes, I guess I didn't listen to what all of you were trying to tell me."

Haruka looks at her husband.

"I told you that they were crazy kids."

Seta adjusts his glasses and looks at Haruka.

"I hope that my old part-timer is okay. It can be dangerous when exploring. Especially when you're lonely."

Haruka leans over and kisses Seta on the cheek.

"Sometimes, just sometimes mind you, you come out and say something amazing."

They move back into the dining room and start to celebrate Motoko's graduation.

Tuesday Evening.

Kitsune, on her second bottle of sake and fifth round of karaoke, is entertaining the group when the dining room door slides open. A tall, beautiful woman enters the room. Motoko leaps to her feet.

"Tsuruko-san! Thank the spirits that you could come to the party. I was afraid that you would not make it from Toudai to Kyoto and back to Hinata-sou today!"

Motoko's older sister runs over and hugs her.

"The trains were running late because of all the graduation ceremonies today, but I would not miss this party for anything. I hope that you were surprised when everyone actually showed up. We made this plan many months ago."

Emma bows to Tsuruko.

"Thank you for all of your help. Motoko-chan was very surprised when she got home. Do you have the pictures of her graduation ceremony?"

She reaches out and takes the package from Tsuruko. All of the others gather around and look at the photographs. They all laugh and point at the pictures, especially the one when Motoko tripped walking up the steps to receive the honor student award. Motoko blushes.

"I truly had not expected such an honor. I thought that I would faint from the shock of it all."

Shinobu stops laughing and grabs one of the photographs. She stares at it for long moments before running into the kitchen. She returns carrying a magnifying glass and holds it over the photo.

"Aaauuuuu! It's Sempai!"

They all lean over and study the photo. It shows Motoko holding her diploma and honor award while standing under a cherry tree. In the background a single figure stands, apparently clapping his hands together. Without any doubt, they all recognize it as Keitaro. After searching carefully through the rest of the photos, they find two more that have captured him. In one he appears in the third row applauding as Motoko receives her diploma. The other shows him walking alone and leaving the campus after the ceremony. Motoko's tears fall freely onto the table as she touches the photos.

"Urashima, you kept your promise! I am so happy that you were there to see me. To you, above all else, I have to thank for my success. Thank you, thank you Urashima."

Motoko leans back and looks at the ceiling.

"Oh spirits, I miss you. You lousy, deceiving, perverted, wonderful male!"

Naru picks up the last photo.

"He is still so handsome, even more than I remember. But, he does look thinner. How could I have ever let you go, Keitaro?"

After they talk about him for a while, Tsuruko looks to Motoko and speaks.

"Motoko-chan. I assume that your plans have not changed and you will return to Kyoto within a few days to take over the Shinmei School."

Motoko nods her head.

"Yes, I am now prepared to assume my place at the head of the Council. I talked to mother today and the reception ceremony will take place on Saturday. I thank you again for believing in me all those years ago and not letting me give up."

Tsuruko smiles at her sister.

"As I remember, it was Urashima-san that gave you the support and courage to confront me and prove yourself. Though I still think it might have been fruitful if you had lost. He would have made a fine brother-in-law."

"I wonder if I shall ever truly know the full extent of what he has done for me."

She looks around the room.

"For all of us."

Six weeks pass.

Thursday Evening.

Aoyama Motoko, Master of the Shinmei School, walks down the hallways of one of the shrines that are upon the grounds. She nods her head in satisfaction as she watches other young trainees practice their arts. The youngest Master in the history of the School, she understands and accepts the great responsibilities that she now upholds. She still devotes many hours of the day to her own training, drawing whispers of respect and awe from the trainees. Thanks to her mother's guidance, the tasks of managing the School do not overburden her. She even finds the time to continue her writings; already, the first two chapters of her next book are completed. As she enters the entryway of the shrine, her sister rises and greets her.

"Greetings, Master Motoko."

"Tsuruko-san, I did not know that you were here. It is nice to see you again."

Tsuruko smiles briefly and lowers her head. Motoko senses something troubling her.

"Sister, what is wrong? Something disturbs you."

Tsuruko looks up and hugs her sister. Motoko is surprised to hear Tsuruko softly sobbing against her shoulder.

"Tsuruko-san, what had happened?"

Wiping away her tears, she stands back and looks sadly at Motoko.

"I, I met with a doctor today. It seems, oh spirits, that I cannot bear children."

"Tsuruko-san, oh dear sister I am so sorry for you."

From a doorway, their mother enters the room.

"Yes, it is a great burden of sadness. We thought it best to inform you as soon as possible. I have been blessed with two wonderful offspring and my heart aches whenever you are in pain."

Aoyama looks at Motoko intently.

"Mother, what is it? Is there something that you two have not spoken to me about?"

Tsuruko looks at Motoko and manages a smile.

"You do not grasp the implications of this, Motoko-san."

She shakes her head.

"I truly do not understand what you mean."

Aoyama smiles at her youngest daughter.

"The Shinmei School requires an heir each generation to pass on our teachings."

Motoko nods her head.

"Yes mother, I know that."

Tsuruko raises a kendo stick and lightly raps the top of Motoko's head.

"Mother means that you are now the one that must provide that heir."

Motoko's mouth drops open and her mother smiles again.

"Ah, now you begin to understand. You must find a husband and bear a child."

Motoko closes her mouth and gracefully falls to the floor. Tsuruko looks at Aoyama.

"You had better get the cold towel, mother."

End of Chapter One.