Love Hina – Forgotten

Fanfic by Steven Biggs

Chapter One – Sword Nightmare

Friday Evening

While the girls are out watching a movie, the manager decides to catch up on some of his chores. Keitaro walks down the stairs as he pulls on his work coat. He enters the changing room for the hot spring and picks up the cleaning brush leaning in the corner. Whistling to himself, he slides open the door and walks onto the paving stones surrounding the water. Briskly, he scrubs at the rocks, pausing occasionally to pick up leaves and other debris to place in the sack tied to his belt. As he works his way to the left side of the water, he looks at the hot spring.

"Oh, hello Motoko-chan."

He continues scrubbing for a few moments before slowly turning back to the water.

"M-m-motoko-chan! What are y-you doing here? It was an accident! I d-didn't know you w-were in there!"

Reaching onto a nearby rock to grab her sword, Motoko tightens her towel and stares at Keitaro.

"Urashima! How dare you violate my privacy? You vile, lecherous, immoral, perverted male!"

"EEEEK!"

Keitaro drops the brush and spins around, dashing back through the changing room.

"I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die!"

Exiting the changing room, he turns and runs until he enters the kitchen. Looking around, he dives under the sink and pulls the cabinet doors closed. A minute later, he hears Motoko slide the door to the changing room open. Dressed in her gi, she looks around.

"Urashima! Face me like a warrior, you cowardly, wasted excuse for a male! Or, are you hiding under the sink again?"

Keitaro bolts from his hiding place and runs up the stairs to the laundry platform.

"Oh heck! That spot's no good anymore! I've gotta do something or she'll kill me!"

Hearing footsteps rushing up the stairs, Keitaro climbs over the roof and leaps down to the second floor, barely grabbing the railing in time to stop his fall. Pulling himself into the hallway, he sprints to his room and closes the door. He looks around and picks up the plastic cover to his wastebasket.

"Yeah, right. Like that will stop her."

He tosses the cover aside and pulls open drawer after drawer, desperate to find anything to protect himself. He pushes the last drawer closed, but halts when something buried under the papers catches his attention. Shoving the papers aside, he lifts the sword and stares at it.

"I remember this. Granny Hina left me a note to make sure that I take care of it. This isn't any good. I need a shield, a really big one!"

At that moment, his door explodes inward. Motoko leaps through the debris and raises her sword.

"Prepare to fall, Urashima! SHINMEI SCHOOL SECRET ARTS! AIR SPLITTING SWORD!"

The vortex flies off her blade and crashes through the room. Keitaro pitches to the side and rolls under the kotatsu table. Slashing with her blade, the sword master slices the table in half. Keitaro screams and scrambles out the door. He runs down the hallway, bouncing off the walls as he looks behind him. Motoko charges through the door, flames leaping from her eyes.

"Urashima!"

Keitaro rounds the corner, slamming into the opposite wall. The impact loosens the scabbard of the sword in his hand and it slides off the blade. He stares at the sword, mesmerized by the dark glow of power. Pressing back against the inner wall, he kneels and waits. As the sound of running feet draws closer, he unconsciously slides his left hand against the pommel and braces his right palm on the end of the hilt. As Motoko rounds the corner, Keitaro pushes off the wall so that he blocks her path. Thrusting with all his strength, he drives the blade forward. The force of the impact sends Keitaro crashing to the floor, knocking him unconscious.

Motoko, her momentum stopped by the impact, looks down at the blade impaling her. She grips the hilt of the sword and screams as tendrils of darkness flow from the blade and wrap around her. Suddenly, her screams are mangled as her body is violently sucked into the blade. The Hina Sword drops to the floor, the wisps of darkness swirling around it slowly fading as if it has been satiated. The scabbard spins around and slips itself back over the blade.

Far away, in Kyoto at the Shinmei School, Aoyama Tsuruko looks up from her meditation.

"Motoko!"

Closing her eyes once more she concentrates for a few moments, waiting as if for some unseen sign. Her chi, tuned keenly to Motoko's vibrations, senses only emptiness. Grabbing her sword, she leaps for the door.

Friday Night.

A few hours later, Naru kneels next to Keitaro and shakes his shoulder.

"Keitaro, wake up. Why are you sleeping in the hallway?"

He opens his eyes and looks up at her.

"Huh? What am I doing here? I was just outside cleaning the hot spring."

She smiles at him.

"You've been working too hard. Get up and clean yourself off. Shinobu-chan will have dinner ready in thirty minutes. Kitsune and Su-chan are in the hot spring, so you'd better stay inside."

With Naru's assistance the manager stands up.

"Where is Motoko-chan?"

Naru looks at him.

"Who's Motoko? Don't tell me you had a girl over while the rest of us were watching the movie! Are you going to introduce her to us?"

Keitaro stares at her.

"What are you talking about? I'm just wondering where Motoko-chan is."

"There you go again. Who is this Motoko that you're talking about?"

"Motoko, Aoyama Motoko! Room 302, swords and stuff! Motoko-chan."

Naru raises her hand and places her palm on Keitaro's forehead.

"Did you hurt yourself or something? No one lives in 302. It's been empty ever since I moved here."

Keitaro pushes her hand away.

"Empty? You're nuts! Motoko-chan's lived here almost as long as you have!"

Naru crosses her arms.

"I'm telling you that there's no Motoko here! Just go look for yourself!"

The manager rushes up to the third floor and slides open the door to room 302. A chill runs through him as he stands in the empty room.

"No, this isn't right."

He runs downstairs to his room, skidding to a halt at the door. He slides it open, but in the back of his mind, wonders if it should be intact.

"I, I thought for a minute that this door was broken. Or, was it?"

He shakes his head and walks over to his desk. He sits down and pulls out the inn diary. Flipping through the pages, he reads the profiles of all the current residents. There is no listing for an Aoyama Motoko. He goes to the old ledgers, but nowhere is Motoko mentioned. He leans back in his chair and looks out the window.

"I remember Motoko-chan! I know she lives here! I'm not imagining that she exists!"

He leaps from his chair and runs out to the hot spring. Kitsune and Su look up at him as he slides to a stop.

"Keitaro-san! What the heck are ya'll doing out here?"

He looks at Kitsune.

"Where's Motoko-chan?"

The fox tilts her head.

"Motoko? Who's that?"

Su jumps up on a boulder.

"There aint no Motoko's around here. It's just us lovely ladies!"

Tama-chan flies over and lands on her head. Su grabs the turtle.

"Us, and dinner!"

"Mew!"

"KEITARO!"

He turns around, only to meet a Naru-punch that sends him tumbling over the hot spring. He crashes into the bamboo wall and slides into the water. Su jumps over and pulls him up.

"That looked like fun! I bets ya could even see your house from up there!"

Kitsune adjusts her towel and steps out of the water.

"Of course he could! Keitaro-san lives here after all."

Su blinks her eyes.

"That's right."

She shakes Keitaro.

"Hey! Could ya see my house from up there?"

A few minutes later, the residents sit at the dining room table. Keitaro looks around the room. Six chairs are placed around the table. He points at the empty chair.

"That's Motoko-chan's chair!"

A voice at the door interrupts him.

"No, that's my chair."

Keitaro turns around and watches as his aunt walks in and sits at the table.

"Haruka-san! The girls are acting like they don't know Motoko-chan! Someone even took all of her stuff from her room. And she's not in the ledger!"

Haruka looks at her nephew.

"Who's Motoko? Did we get a new boarder that you didn't tell me about?"

The manager slaps his hands on the table.

"This joke is getting old really fast! Where is Motoko-chan?"

The door slides open again and a tall, beautiful woman rushes into the room. She looks around and locks her gaze on Keitaro.

"You! I must speak with you immediately! It is of a most urgent matter!"

"Wh-who are you?"

"I am Aoyama Tsuruko, of the Shinmei School."

"Aoyama? Are you Motoko-chan's sister?"

Tsuruko grabs Keitaro's arm and pulls him into the common room. Her gaze makes it clear that the others are not to follow. She motions for him to sit at the couch and she takes the chair across the coffee table from him. He leans over the table.

"What's this about? Do you know what happened to Motoko-chan?"

She looks steadily at him.

"I have indeed come to speak upon matters pertaining to Motoko. However, you must know this. She is not my sister. I am an only child."

Keitaro shakes his head.

"That's not right. Motoko-chan told me once that she had an older sister."

Tsuruko sighs.

"This is a complicated matter. Motoko is my sister, and yet, she is not my sister."

She holds up her hand.

"Please, hear me out. This Aoyama Motoko that you know was created from the spirit of the Hina Sword a few years ago. She was accidentally released and created an existence for herself, choosing to play the role of my sister. For all intents and purposes, she was indeed real. Even my mother and I obtained memories of a past that included her. But, we saw through that deception relatively quickly."

Keitaro stares at her.

"What? Are you saying that Motoko-chan is a fake? That she's some kind of ghost or something?"

Tsuruko nods her head.

"The spirit of the Hina Sword, upon its release, desired freedom, and chose a form that would allow her to exist in our reality."

"But, where is Motoko-chan now?"

She looks up at the ceiling.

"Earlier this evening, you confronted Motoko with the Hina Sword, did you not?"

Keitaro shakes his head.

"I don't, uh, it's kind of hazy. I was cleaning the hot spring, but I woke up on the second floor. Something happened, but I'm not sure what."

Tsuruko nods her head.

"Where is the Hina Sword? I would like to see it."

Keitaro leads her up to his room. The sword, now back in its place, rests in the bottom of the drawer. He pulls it out and hands it to her. Keeping it in its scabbard, she concentrates on the blade.

"Yes, it is as I felt. The spirit has partially been restored to the sword. In being re-imprisoned, all that it created has disappeared with her."

Keitaro looks at the sword.

"But, why do I remember her?"

"Because you were the one to cause her to return. Your contact with the sword allowed you to keep your memories of that reality."

He looks up at Tsuruko.

"How come you can remember her too?"

"This blade has a long history connected to our school. Our training allows us to pierce the veil of its spells."

Keitaro reaches out and touches the hilt of the sword.

"Are you here to bring Motoko-chan back?"

Tsuruko shakes her head.

"No, I have come to ensure that the spirit of the sword is expunged forever. But the task cannot yet be completed."

"What? You mean that Motoko-chan has to be destroyed?"

She nods her head and looks at him.

"It is necessary. The spirit would effect great destruction if it were allowed to escape, now that its true form is known. You would be the first to fall, because you were the one to entrap it."

Keitaro runs a hand across his face.

"This is too much. But, you said that you couldn't complete what you have to do. How are you going to stop it?"

"As I mentioned, the spirit was partially restored to its prison. When it was released, it actually took two forms. One of darkness and one of light. The Motoko you know was the darkness. As the master of the Hina Sword, you must slay the physical form of the lightness half of the spirit to return it to the blade. This is a task that only you can perform. Only then, can the entire spirit be destroyed."

"Destroy Motoko-chan? But, I'm her manager; I have to take care of her and everyone here."

"I am sorry. But the Shinmei School cannot risk allowing this evil to run wild. It must be stopped at any cost. You must confront the light and defeat it so that it returns to the sword."

Keitaro looks around and backs away from the lamp on his desk

"Where is the light part? Do you mean it might be my, my lamp?"

Tsuruko looks sadly at him.

"I am sorry, but it is one that is dear to you also."

"Where?"

The door slides open.

"Aaauuuuu! I brought you and your guest some tea, Sempai."

Tsuruko points at Shinobu.

"She is the light."

End of Chapter One.