Love Hina: Once Again
Kanako Urashima looked at her elder brother, her brown eyes gently worried. "Are you sure about this, Oniisama?" she asked him, black ponytail falling down her back. She wore a white vest over her usual black dress, her clothes as neat as if she was going to a business meeting.
Keitaro Urashima smiled fondly as his little sister, his brown hair falling in a unruly mess before his glasses. He looked good dressed in his labcoat over school clothes, kneeling in the manager's room of the Hinata girl's dorm. "I think so," he answered seriously, "my being a part time manager isn't good for the dorm."
"But I'm not sure I'm the best person to replace you," Kanako pointed out seriously, "I kind of made a mess of things before."
"That's an understatement," Kuro the black cat muttered, flicking his long ears.
"Hush," Kanako chided him.
"Oh I don't know," the quiet voice said as she entered the room, "I think you did a pretty good job, considering." Naru Narusegawa smiled as she slid the door shut behind her, carrying in the tray of drinks. She knelt beside Keitaro as she added, "I haven't seen you since the wedding."
"Grandmother has had me busy with my training," Kanako said just a bit stiffly. In truth she had been trying to adjust to the idea of her brother and Naru's marriage, as well as letting go of her own dreams on the subject.
Naru's smiled was gently sympathetic, "I'm sure." She took a deep breath, "I'm going into full time teaching this fall, so I can't run the dorm, either."
"You've always dreamed of running the dorm," Keitaro pointed out, "here's your chance."
"No," Kanako corrected firmly, "I dreamed of running the Hinata Inn."
"I think there's a way you can run both the dorm for the girls and have a inn here, too," Keitaro said to her enthusiastically.
"Oh?" Kanako looked curious.
"With the destruction of the annex we suddenly have a whole new section to build in," Naru offered with a grin, "and the insurance would cover the cost of building a separate Inn, and even opening up the rest of the vacant rooms in the dorm."
"That could work..." Kanako blinked.
"How would you do it?" Keitaro asked curiously, taking a drink.
"Like I did earlier I'd offer reduced rents to any residents who want to work in the new inn," Kanako offered promptly before adding a bit sheepishly, "though I think I'll run the dorm a bit more loosely than last time."
Naru fought back a laugh even as Keitaro looked mildly confused, the young man still largely unaware of the reign of terror Kanako had instituted last time.
Meanwhile over at the Cafe Hinata there was a conference going on, several young women gathered around the table. Mitsune Konno smiled as the sandy blonde served the drinks, then Kitsune asked, "So how much trouble are we in?"
Shinobu Maehara looked worried, the black haired younger woman flushing slightly, "But Sempai wouldn't let anything happen."
"Still," Motoko Aoyama said as she drank her tea, her shrine maiden's garb crisply neat, "I have my misgivings about the evil one's return."
"Calling her the Evil One is a bit much," Kitsune sat down with a smile, her Cafe Hinata apron a bit messy. Since she and Mutsumi Otohime being given the cafe Kitsune had really blossomed, becoming a capable manager of the business.
"I thought she was fun," Koalla Su noted cheerfully, the dusky skinned blonde grinning.
"You think that everyone is fun," Shinobu teased.
"So who is she again?" Ema Maeda asked them tentatively, her long brown hair flowing. The newest resident of Hinata Inn was still getting used to the place, even a few months after her arrival just before Keitaro and Naru's wedding, but she seemed to be settling in nicely.
"Kanako is Keitaro's younger sister by adoption," Kitsune cheerfully explained, "who ran the dorm for awhile after Keitaro went to study abroad. She tried to convert the place back into a Inn and we resisted, sorta."
"Sort of? I seem to remember armed conflict," Mutsumi reminded them as she sent the last few lunch customers out. The busty graduate student settled down with a happy sigh, her brown hair flowing in waves, two antenna sticking up from the front.
"Armed conflict?" Ema squeaked.
"Thankfully Keitaro returned before Kanako could go through with her attempt to destroy the Inn with explosives," Motoko noted, drinking a bit more tea.
"And she tried to burn Kitsune at the stake," Su added eagerly.
"Now you're scaring her," Shinobu scolded, seeing the look on Ema's face.
"Kanako settled down quite a bit before she left," Kitsune noted.
"I think we should giver her a chance," Mutsumi said, looking around and meeting everyone's eyes. "A lot of what happened before was our fault, too," she reminded them.
"Hmph," Motoko smoothly rose, collecting her sword from nearby then walking out of the cafe without another word.
"Guess she's still carrying a grudge," Su blinked.
"I don't think I've ever seen her do that, just leave without a word," Ema looked to where the law student and sword master had gone.
"She and Kanako..." Kitsune hesitated, "she won't talk about it but something happened just after Kanako arrived." She looked over at Mutsumi, "But yeah, I think you're right."
"We'll give Kanako a chance and see what happens," Shinobu agreed.
"Besides we can always gang up on her if something bad happens," Su added cheerfully.
"Su!" everyone scolded.
Motoko strode away from the cafe and up the sidewalk, her own thoughts in turmoil behind her cool expression. The Gods Cry School taught her to focus to seek inner calm, but she found it difficult even under the blue skies of the Hinata Dorm.
Flinging up a arm Motoko caught Shippu, the phoenix-like bird that she had inherited from her sister Tsuruko along with the leadership of the Gods Cry School. She always seemed to know when Motoko needed her, the bird returning to provide comfort and a bit of peace.
"I wish things were that easy," Motoko murmured as she stroked the bird's head absentmindedly as she returned to the dorms and headed to her room... only to stop in surprise as she saw who waited there.
Kanako stood by the door, fidgeting a bit as she waited. Her face was grave as she saw Motoko approach, "Hello."
"What do you want?" Motoko coldly asked, knowing that she was being rude but still unable to help herself.
Kanako hesitated, then she knelt on the floor before the startled Motoko. " Aoyama-sama," she said formally, "I committed a great wrong when I met you, and humbly wish to beg your forgiveness." Then she bowed, pressing her head to the floor.
"Get up," Motoko said, deeply uncomfortable.
Kanako rose, dusting off her skirt, her expression serious. "I took gross advantage of you when we first met, an act I deeply regret. More so now, since I've gotten to know what kind of person you are. I don't expect you to forget what happened," she finished, "but I hope you might forgive."
Motoko hesitated, studying Kanako thoughtfully for a moment. "So," she said softly, "the rumor is true, you are coming back to manage the dorms?"
"Hopefully doing a better job than last time," Kanako nodded.
Her cat Kuro bounded up on her shoulder as he remarked, "Couldn't do much worse."
"Hush," Kanako frowned at him.
"You're right that I won't forget," Motoko agreed, "but... I will give you a chance." She met Kanako's eyes, "But if anything like that happens to someone else at the dorms, I will show no mercy."
"You have my word," Kanako nodded, "besides, I'm not a lesbian."
A grim little smile appeared on Motoko's lips, "Kanako, you are the one who jumped me." With that she slid the door open and went into her room, leaving a very thoughtful Kanako standing out in the hallway.
To be continued...
Authors Notes: This is the first chapter of a Love Hina based crossover series, set shortly after the end of the manga and the anime Love Hina Again. By the way Ema is a new character from the final manga, not my creation.