"Noriyasu-san"
"Hai, Sensei"
"What kind of person is Urashima-senpai"
"Well… he's more or less like the rest of us, really. The folks here at Hinata Sou seem to get along with him well enough. Why do you ask"
"Just curious, I guess"
"Nervous"
"Quite"
"Just keep your eye on your cousin's ear then. You wouldn't want to hit a wrong chakra point letting your mind wander"
"I… I suppose your right."

URASHIMA UNLIMITED By Omniskriba A fanfic based on Love Hina by Ken Akumatsu

Episode I: A Visitor Arrives! The Mystery Ear Surgery!

chapter begins

Apart from the gentle hush of the soft spring rain, there was silence in the Hinata Sou that afternoon. The manager's room has been bolted shut for the last three hours now and none of the Hinata girls felt too comfortable about what was being done to their manager.

Earlier this morning, shortly after Naru left for an errand downtown, Seta crashed into the Inn's courtyard, bringing along with him a young man in his late-teens or early-twenties claiming to be both Keitaro's cousin and family doctor. While it appear that the stranger and their manager did have some vague, distant semblance (both, at least, had the same color hair and wore glasses), even Kitsune voiced out her doubts, citing how the young man seemed too young to be a doctor and certainly too graceful and refined to be of any relation to their lecherous landlord. Motoko, however, was less enthused to contradict, mindful of Seta's formidable chi as well as their guest's even more volatile aura.

Nevertheless, it was still Seta's impeccably genial demeanor and his reputation as a generally good-hearted person that led them to trust him that time. His companion didn't seem like the type that would lie either – regardless of how farfetched his claim was, placed on an American accelerated degree program as a medical prodigy. They said they would be treating Keitaro of the inner-ear condition that was supposedly behind their manager's numerous "accidents". Perfectly clueless about what was going on exactly, Keitaro was easily coaxed by Seta to go under his "cousin's" treatment.

It has been three hours since the three men entered the manager's bedroom. The tension was thick enough to keep them from talking amongst themselves so they contented themselves with waiting.

xxx

Naru Narusegawa approached Hinata Sou tired, cold and wet. Kentaro's car was totalled in the edge of an eight-car pile-up a few blocks away and she had to walk all the way back to Hinata Sou, in the rain, carrying two bags bursting with groceries.

Upon entering the front door, she came across a tall young man with pony-tailed black hair wearing glasses. He flashed her a polite smile, bowed slightly and continued to exit as if their meeting had not actually happened. Naru was about to turn back to force an explaination out of him when Seta stepped out as well.

"Seta… san"
"Ah, Naru-chan! We just came by to help Keitaro out with something. You might want to see him. He's resting in his room."

Naru gave him a puzzled look and he replied with nothing more than a "Ja ne" and his trademark smile. He walked passed her but Naru didn't care to extend their conversation. She went in without turning back and made her way into Keitaro's room. Haruka sat beside her sleeping nephew, his left ear dressed with a thick pillow of lightly blood-speckled bandages.

"What happened?" Naru asked, almost whispering as not to disturb the boy.
"Seta dropped by and had one of my doctor relatives in here to treat Keitaro's congenital inner-ear condition. Apparently, they only found a proper treatment recently so they wanted to place Keitaro under the knife as soon as possible"
"Keitaro has an inner ear condition?" Naru replied, taking a seat beside Kei's Oba-chan.
"Ever since he was a child. That's actually why he's so clumsy all the time. I remember Seta also having that kind of condition back when we were younger. He went through something like this too but they botched it somehow. Seta might be a bit better on his feet now but you know how the guy drives, right?"

Naru nodded, watching Keitaro as the dim, amber light from out the window-blinds striped across his gentle features. She had forgotten how uncomfortable she felt or how tired she was or how she would make puddles on the floor sitting there, wet as she was. Keitaro still be more pathetic than she ever would and that sorry fact always did make her feel better about herself.

"You know, now that I thought about it, Seta and Keitaro did have a lot in common back when Seta was a teenager"
"You're kidding!" Naru blurted out, smiling almost mockingly.
"You'd think so, wouldn't you. I know my nephew really isn't as tall as Seta or as strong or as good a fighter as he is but neither was Seta back then. I used to love beating him up around campus during high school"
"What happened?" Naru asked eagerly.
"I guess Seta simply grew up"
Naru looked at Haruka puzzledly. "What do you mean"
"Hmm, let's see… how do I put it? Well, Seta used to be this goofy kid my friends and I loved poking fun of. Then he suddenly becomes this totally different guy and he's not that goofy kid anymore. I guess those girls who totally ignored him before really liked him and all but my friends and I – we didn't know what to do with him. He was just as nice a guy as he always was but there was something about him we never really did come into terms with"
"You always liked Seta, didn't you"
"Perhaps. I've never been sure which one, though."

xxx

"Hello Keitaro"
There was a sensation of slight poking in his left ear when Keitaro decided to wake up. Kaolla's eyes looked down on him as she perched precariously on his head board.
"Oh… um… Hello Su-chan. What time is it"
"It's exactly nineteen minutes past nine"
Keitaro just realized he's been out cold all afternoon. Looking around, he saw Shinobu enter the door with a bowl of steamy soup on a platter.
"Shinobu-chan"
"It's good to see you're awake now senpai"
"Yeah! So Keitaro can play with the new toy I made for him today!"

Both Keitaro and Shinobu had their insides spasm slightly in hearing the words "new toy". This never did bode well for any of them – except for Kaolla who has a seemingly close disposition to chaos.

"New Toy?" Keitaro asked apprehensively.
"Yes! Since Keitaro is going to transform into a man soon, I made him an exact copy of Nii-chan's Mol-mol guitar so he can use it when the red moon arrives"
"What are you talking about, Su?" Shinobu asked, confused as heck. Keitaro himself was frozen in mid-sweatdrop.
"I sensed it earlier. Well, me and Motoko did. Keitaro is releasing chi the same way we do in Mol-mol when it is time for us to grow up"
"Motoko sensed it?" Keitaro asked, aware that if the samurai girl sensed it, there really must be something going on with him.
"Yup! Although I still don't get it – I thought you can only do that if you're from Mol-mol"
"Yeah… so did I…"

xxx

Steel met steel at the courtyard of an abandoned shrine, ringing in the darkness of a moonless night. On one end was Motoko, her warrior's garb flying violently in the wind. On the other was the doctor wearing a pair of faded jeans and a loose white t-shirst bearing the logo "Otakon 2003".

"I know you are not a Doctor so you might as well tell me the truth"
"Miss Aoyama, I assure you. I'm a licensed neurologist. I have a residency in New York City. Keitaro's my grand-aunt's daughter's son. I'm his second degree cousin"
"How old are you? Twenty one? Twenty two"
"I'm nineteen"
"You are not making yourself any more convincing, you know"
"As much as I would want to tell you a convincing lie, Miss Aoyama, I'd rather tell you the absurd truth."

Motoko studied her opponent. She was reduced to conversing with him. Until then, he had taken a purely defensive stance but still – she was cut and bruised by the sheer force of his blocking. A powerful aura was lapping at him like a none-consuming flame, one reminiscent to Seta's chi, only more powerful and better focused. His eyes glowed from behind gilt-framed spectacles. He could read her every move.

"What kind of demon are you"
"The kind that doesn't appreciate being forced to duel in the middle of the night when I finally get to watch the anime I'm missing in the States"
Motoko disregarded his reply and called out again. "What did you do to Urashima"
"I dealt with some blockage in his inner ear. It was impeding in his sense of balance"
"You're lying! Urashima's chi has increased a hundredfold since this afternoon. If the alignment of his chakra points are uneven"
"…Then Keitaro will be consumed by his own chi. Have you found the alignment less than perfect"
"N… No… But that is beside the point"
"Miss Aoyama. I guarantee you that this will all be to Keitaro's benefit. If you need to understand what kind of blockage it was that I removed from my cousin, perhaps you can pay Tsuriko a visit. Do ask her about the Enryo-no-Hanko Curse. Oh, and if you need to check on my credentials, I left my card with Haruka Oba-chan."

chapter ends

Author's note: The doctor is not a self-insert folks. There are a number of subtle and not-so-subtle cross-overs in this fic so keep an eye out for cameo guest appearances ôô.