Disclaimer: I hold no rights to any Love Hina character. However, this story, as well as any original characters, belongs to me. Any dissemination of this story without expressed written consent will result in the carpet-bombing of your residence. Thanks, and enjoy!

It has long been said people should treat others as they treat themselves. It is rather surprising to see how true this is. Those that hate themselves hate others. Those that hurt inside hurt others. Those that love themselves find it much easier to love another. However, what if two people totally incapable of loving themselves due to their dark pasts suddenly fell in love with each other? Could that budding love survive a single cold day, let alone a harsh winter? Would the fire burn hot enough to melt their frozen hearts? Can they forgive each other for their faults, when they cannot forgive themselves?

Love's Redemption: Prologue

It has been nearly a year since I have seen their faces. Or at least, seeing them in person. I have more pictures of them than I can count using every digit on my limbs. More than that, I speak to them nearly every week on the phone. My phone bills are astronomical, but it is an expense I can afford now. I miss them all dearly. They are my extended family.

But it is she that I miss the most. I think I started missing her about five minutes after I boarded the plane to Los Angeles. I have kept her picture taped to my locker door all season, just like when I was in Japan. In my line of work, focus is the key to success. And it is significantly easier to concentrate when you can eliminate distractions. She has been my heart and my mind's respite for quite some time now. She has given me a peace beyond my own understanding, and I will be forever grateful to her, both professionally and personally.

I wonder if she still thinks of me. Does she still share even half of the feelings that I harbor for her to this day? Has my absence made her heart grow fonder of me, or has she moved on to a new life with someone else? I could hardly blame her if she did. It would only be natural for her to find another man able to fulfill her desires. After all, we only shared that one, solitary intimate moment.

I received their invitation in the mail last week. I remember thinking something along the lines of "it's about damn time you two" when I saw it. I decided not to RSVP. Not because I do not want to be there, but rather, it will be well worth it to surprise them with an unexpected appearance. I can see the looks on their faces now! Just thinking about it makes me chuckle.

That day is today. In just a few hours, I will be boarding a plan to Tokyo again. I should arrive at Hinata Inn just in time for the ceremony. The first time I stepped through those doors, I had no idea what to expect, nor in my wildest dreams did I anticipate discovering love again. This time, I know exactly what to expect, and I know precisely what I want.

That desire is the love of one woman. A woman who saved my life without even knowing it. A woman who helped me to realize all of my hopes and dreams. A woman who released my heart from the chains of loneliness and despair, and allowed it to shine with a light all its own. The love she gave to me…was my redemption.

A/N: Forgive the lack of length for this, but remember this is a prologue! Previous readers of this story may be disappointed that I have restarted this project, but I think you will be pleased with the results. It will be much improved over the last version, but will still retain many of the story elements. Hope to see some reviews from you readers, whether they are positive or negative. Thanks for reading, anyway!