Love Hina: Deserted

I hope you enjoy this FanFic. If you do, please comment; constructive criticism is also welcome. All writers have egos the size of the sun, so please help me out!

Oh, and Insert Disclaimer Here.

So, on the upside, it's only been about 6 months. Big improvement over last time. As I've always said, I intend to finish this, even if it takes a really long time, and if I have to leave it unfinished, I will write up a note and let you know, not just abandon it silently (but there are no plans to do that). I'm still amazed at the number of hits I get for this story. Remember to review if you want to spur me on to write more – often the reason I remember to get some writing in is getting a message about a review.

Anyway, this is a bit of a turning point, we are hitting the beginning of the second main story arc (the first, named Motoko, ended at 15). My current plan for the story runs it in at 3 main arcs, which would put this up to 45 chapters, 120,000 words, and 21 years if we presumed I went at the same rate as the first arc – I guarantee you that won't be the case XD. The two coming arcs will probably be shorter and hopefully will be produced at a better rate.

I'm also going to aim for more consistent chapter sizes. My chapters started bloating a bit around the end of the last arc ("On the Island" was ~5k words), and I'm going to be aiming for something close to ~2k words a chapter in the future.

In any case, here is the latest chapter. I hope you enjoy it and, as always, I'm sorry for the wait.

Chapter 17:

Peace and quiet...

Hinata House was quiet, or rather, as quiet as it ever got. The place was alive, and not just during the day when the residents caused constant mayhem. The whole building had a constant background noise as the people inside moved slightly and the building settled. The whole building glowed with stray light creeping under doors and through cracks. It never became truly quiet or dark, but Keitaro found this oddly comforting - it was impossible to feel truly alone in such an environment.

Keitaro and Shinobu were leaning on each other on the sofa, covered by a blanket, lazily watching TV. Keitaro realised that he wasn't actually watching the TV any more – he was simply avoiding leaving the warmth and comfort of the sofa and Shinobu. It struck Keitaro that it had been a very long time since he had truly had nothing to do. Since Shinobu had taken him from the streets, he had been so busy – not with important things, but with little things that managed to make his time evaporate. His life bared no resemblance to how it was when he was homeless. The contrast shocked him – it had been some time since he had thought about it. Holding Shinobu in his arms as he currently was, her small frame tightly pressed against his own, it was easy to forget that she was not only supporting him, but everyone else in the house. It was an odd thought, and he felt bad taking her money and living without paying rent – but at the same time, he was amazed at Shinbou's ability to do so much and yet still remain the kind, loving person she had always been. It was an amazing thing to behold.

Keitaro gently squeezed Shinbou and she looked up at him. "Let's get to sleep." Keitaro said simply, lifting the blanket and letting the cold air stir them both from the comfort of the sofa. Flicking the TV off, they walked through the dim light of the house. Shinobu quickly got changed in her room then crossed back to Keitaro's, slipping into bed next to him.

Shinobu was not a little girl anymore in a great number of ways. She had been through a lot – her work at the business, her accident, the island. She was older – and not just in years. She had truly matured in a way Keitaro had to admit he hadn't. While his time as a homeless man without anyone to turn to had been hard and he squarely put the blame for that hardship on Naru, he had also come to look at himself differently. Keitaro was a good person at heart and, while he had his academic shortcomings, he was not stupid – but he had not been able to do anything. Keitaro had, until then, had a relatively easy life – full of problems, but problems that, in the big picture, were very small. Upon coming face to face with an issue as big as he had, he crumbled. While it would have been hard, he had to admit to himself that he could have avoided homelessness if he had put in the effort. At the time, he simply didn't have the willpower to do so.

Keitaro in part expected to feel bad. He had, as most men do, always thought of himself as the protector of his girl – the classic image of man. Even surrounded by the strong women that made up the residents, he still thought he would feel small when admitting that Shinobu was a stronger person than him, but in the end the reality was Shinobu was the person he respected most in the world; to be inferior to her was something he could handle.

Shinobu stared into Keitaro's eyes as they peered back at her. It was an odd thing to be so comfortable with one person that you can just soak up their very existence and not feel even the slightest hesitation or embarrassment. Keitaro kissed her lightly and closed his eyes.

Shinobu followed suit, slightly disappointed. Shinobu and Keitaro had been sleeping together for some time but, while she loved the closeness they had, she wanted more.

She blushed to herself in the dark as she thought it, but she held her resolve. Shinobu had grown in a great many ways and she knew what she wanted. She truly and completely loved Keitaro and she knew with complete certainty that he felt the same way. She just didn't know why they hadn't moved on. They had been sleeping together for so long that she didn't know how to show Keitaro she wanted them to sleep together.

Motoko decided to take a walk in the morning. Normally she would just train, meditate, or something similar, but she needed something to move her mind from the thoughts it clung to. Motoko had to find a way to deal with Keitaro and Shinobu. She loved them both as close friends and never wanted to jeopardise that again. She continued her introspection as she walked further into town and then paused, realising she was doing the very thing she'd taken a walk to get a break from.

Sighing, she looked around to see where she was, having walked aimlessly. She found herself in a small area of shops and picked one at random, walking over to see what was on offer. Halfway there, her attention was caught by Mutsumi, who was stood by another shop, talking to a man Motoko didn't know.

Motoko didn't really know how to react – she moved aside and tried to make herself less noticeable. Hiding would have been a strong term, but she didn't want to be seen and disturb Mutsumi's... "Date?" Motoko asked herself silently. They definitely looked like something was going on; nothing obvious, but just the way they interacted seemed closer than just friends. While Motoko couldn't deny she was interested, she didn't want to follow them around, so she quickly headed off the other way, happy at least for a little distraction and something else to think about.

As Motoko returned, she felt pathetic. Here Mutsumi was finding a man of her own, while Motoko herself had been chasing after a man who was already involved. It was a harsh realisation, and Motoko hated herself for it.

Motoko found herself at Kitsune's door. Kitsune opened it before Motoko had asked to be let in, and Motoko walked in and sat down. Kitsune raised an eyebrow.

"You do remember what happened the last time you asked me for advice?" Kitsune pointed out, half-jokingly.

Motoko winced slightly, ignoring the comment. "I just saw Mutsumi with a man in town; I think they were on a date." she stated simply.

"And here was me thinking we'd never get you gossiping." said Kitsune with an interested smile, pouring herself a drink.

"It's not like that!" objected Motoko, "It's just... I don't even know any men besides Keitaro, and here is Mutsumi dating, Keitaro and Shinobu have each other... I just..." she trailed off.

"Great, so it's just you and me, the sad old drunk and the mistress, eh?" Kitsune said before cutting Motoko off before she could deny the implication, "I know you didn't mean it like that."

"We have all spent time away. Shinobu did a lot in that time, and apparently Mutsumi did enough to meet a guy." Kitsune pointed out, looking thoughtful as she mentioned Mutsumi's new man. "Without school and Hinata House your life consisted of meditation and practising swordsmanship without any men around, am I right?"

Motoko looked down at the floor and realised that it was a valid point – how was she meant to have a life, to know people when she didn't do anything that allowed her to meet people.

"You are right." Motoko said. "I don't have a social life."

Kitsune shrugged a little. "Pretty much, but it's not the end of the world; it's just something to work on."

Motoko stood up and left, thanking Kitsune as she went.

Kitsune looked down at her drink and relaxed a little more, hoping she hadn't unintentionally created a monster again, but she reassured herself that this was probably the right direction for Motoko. Probably.

Shinobu sat in Su's room, looking around at the vast array of wild inventions and wildlife that surrounded her as she waited for the younger girl to come out. Su had always been quick to greet people enthusiastically, but as she had grown older, she had generated a little more ability to focus on a task and consequentially often became wrapped up in ever-more-impressive engineering projects.

Su appeared and quickly came over to greet her. Shinobu had always been a close friend to Su, and the same was true in reverse. It had partly just been their similar ages in the house, but also that Su's enthusiasm and wild behaviour worked well with Shinobu's more sensible outlook on life – together they came to a middle ground where they could have a lot of fun without going too far. Most of the time. As they say, opposites attract.

Shinobu sat and looked at her feet while Su chatted without any real topic. Shinobu's inability to get to the point annoyed her, making her feel more like her younger self again. She was unable to speak even though she knew exactly what she wanted to talk about. That pushed her to look up; she was older now and wasn't about to be as timid as she once was. Su finished her sentence, cocking her head slightly as she realised Shinobu wanted to say something.

"I want to sleep with Keitaro." Shinobu said, looking away slightly as she said it, blushing. Su laughed a little and looked confused.

"But you two both sleep in his room." she said, "I just presumed you guys already..." she trailed off.

"Not yet." Shinobu admitted. "We just... we just never have." And after a small pause, she added, "I do want to, though." with a small blush.

There was an awkward silence for a moment, which Su broke with a short laugh. "Well, I don't really see it being a problem." she said with a devilish smile, glancing down at Shinobu's body as she said it.

Shinobu waved off the compliment, "I didn't mean like that... just... I don't know how to... start." she ended, trying to get Su to see her problem, "I get what to do, just not how to... show him I want to." she clarified, before Su could jump in with another smart comment.

Su laughed again and shrugged. "Well, what do you do normally when you go to bed?" she asked.

Shinobu stalled for a second. It felt odd to her to talk about her and Keitaro's routine. While she wasn't embarrassed exactly, it was intensely personal. That said, it was Su, and Shinobu didn't feel a need to keep secrets from her, so she slowly explained. As she did, she noticed Su had an odd look – one Shinobu hadn't seen in her before, but it was definitely a look of longing. While Su had never made any note of wanting a relationship, Shinobu realised it was almost a universal want for most people, and Su, like her, had matured over time.

When she finished, Su contemplated for a second, then simply said: "I think your answer is just to get naked." Without a hint of humour in her tone, she clarified, "In front of him."

While it was hardly the answer Shinobu was looking for to allow her to subtly advance on Keitaro, she couldn't argue the strategy for effect. Su had always been a fan of going in all-guns-blazing in all situations, so Shinbou told herself she should hardly have been surprised. Either way, they laughed and continued to chat idly for some time.

Shinobu eventually left to begin preparing dinner and, while she cooked, she tried not to focus too much on today's events – whatever happened, she knew there was no need to rush with Keitaro and herself. Patience, as they say, is a virtue.

Keitaro looked through job adverts, trying to find something he could do. It felt hopeless. His area of expertise – archaeology – was not exactly an easy field to get work in, especially when he really didn't want to leave Hinata House. There just wasn't anything in the local area. Even if there was, he doubted he had much chance with a giant black hole in his employment history – homelessness was not something employers liked to hear about.

Keitaro lay back and rubbed his temples with frustration. Manual labour was not what he had in mind when he thought about a job, but it looked like it might come to that. He didn't want to remain this jobless man, leeching off of the girl he loved. More than that, he wanted to have that feeling of being productive again. As much as he enjoyed being able to spend time doing things he loved and being with his friends, Keitaro wanted actual work to do.

Keitaro sat back up to see his door opening as Shinobu made her way into his room. He quickly hid the evidence of his job hunting, resigning himself to dealing with it later. The prospect of spending some time with Shinobu was a pleasant relief from it all.

He sat back and smiled as Shinobu began to speak to him, happy to relax.

Hope you enjoyed it. Please review if you have any comments at all.