That's right, the Keitaro / Motoko continues. This is yet another sequel story to the previous stories I wrote which are 'Compassionate Swordplay', 'Love's Sharp Blade' and 'Moving Foreward'. This story will take more of a darker turn than the previous stories. So be forewarned: Angst alert. Never the less, I hope you enjoy the story. Love Hina is owned by Ken Akamatsu, Xebec, Bandai, Etc. Enjoy and please let me know what you think.
You Have Me
Keitaro ran down the hallways of the Hinata apartments in excitement. In his hand was a letter from Seta, asking him if he would join him for two weeks in Kyoto to be his assistant on a new dig. Outside, the warm August wind blew strong through the many trees that surround the apartments. It was late afternoon, about to cross over into early evening.
Stopping at Motoko's door, Keitaro gave a quick knock before entering. To his disappointment, the room was empty. Behind him he heard the sound of Su's singing coming closer.
"When you can't fall asleep at night, let's just have fun till morning, make everything merry then laugh, laugh away…"
She danced by him, stopped, turned and looked up at Keitaro with her bright green eyes and wide smile. "Oh, Keitaro! If you are looking for Motoko, she said she was going to take a bath in the hot springs." Su then continued her eccentric, but cheerful song and dance down the hallway.
'Hmm. Well, I may get creamed for this, but it'll be worth it to tell her the great news. Hot springs? Hey, wait a minute. Why am I getting déjà vu? Oh well, it doesn't matter.' On towards the hot springs he ran. Arriving at the entrance of the women's bath, Keitaro closed his eyes and threw open the doors.
"Motoko, guess what! Seta sent me a letter and he wants me to join him on a dig in Kyoto! This is a great opportunity to earn some field study credits for Tokyo U!" The strange silence caused him to peak open one eye and then open the other. What he saw wasn't quite what he'd expected. Motoko, standing in the water, body wrapped in a towel…with a sweet smile on her face?
'I'm…not going to get pile-drived?' he thought in confusion.
"Keitaro, that's excellent news. I'm so happy for you." She said, continuing to hold the sweet smile.
'Oh, phew.' He thought with a sigh of relief.
"However," She said, grabbing her sword.
"Huh?" Keitaro said, before catching sight of the sword she seemingly brought out from nowhere.
Still holding the smile, she said,
"Even though we are engaged and I love you very much…" Keitaro knew what was coming, so he prepared himself accordingly. Her eyes now glowing with anger like that of a demon, she continued, "…that still does not give you the right to walk in on a woman while she is bathing!"
'Here it comes.' He thought.
"Wind Force Devastating Blade!"
The incredible technique sent Keitaro flying back into the building, screaming, "I'm sorry, Motoko!" Motoko let out a sigh as she eased herself back into the warm and soothing waters.
She smiled to herself and said, "I love that man to death, but he can be such an idiot sometimes."
She placed her sword on the stone next to her.
"I am really glad that he's starting to bring his dreams of being an archaeologist into reality. Hmm…dreams."
Motoko then became uneasy as she remembered a dream she had had the night before. She hadn't told Keitaro of the dream's details, for fear it might worry him.
In her dream, she and Keitaro were running happily together through a large grassy field with the warm sun shining down from the blue skies above them. The tall and full trees of the forest surrounding the field rang with the songs of bluebirds. Joyfully, they ran on, until Keitaro took Motoko in his arms and they both fell against the soft, tall grass. They laughed loudly as they've never felt the happiness they share more strongly than this.
As their laughter slowly came to a stop, Keitaro ran the back of his fingers over the fair skin of Motoko's cheek. Gently, Motoko removed Keitaro's glasses so she could look into his beautiful brown eyes. They closed the distance between their lips and kissed deeply, passionately. They laid there, blissful in eachother's embrace. The emotion they felt. 'Joy' did the feeling no justice, but they experienced it none the less. Soft kisses and sensual caresses had brought them both to the point of ecstasy. They gently whispered sweet little nothings in eachother's ear.
Then they felt a small quake come from the ground beneath them. They both stood up, confused as they looked around. The quake came again. Suddenly, the ground under Keitaro's feet started to loosen and give away until two gray, horrid looking hands sprang up from the dirt and grabbed hold of Keitaro's ankles. Before Motoko could act, the hands pulled Keitaro underneath the ground. "Keitaro! No!" She screamed as she threw herself to the ground and dug desperately at the place where he went under.
"Give him back! Give my Keitaro back to me!" She cried.
Dark clouds filled the sky above her, blocking out the sun as she futily clawed at the dirt.
Motoko stood up with tears pouring down her face. She turned around and to her surprise, saw Keitaro standing there with his back facing her. She started to run to him.
"Keitaro! I thought I'd lost you!" She said, but then suddenly she stopped.
Something about him was different, frighteningly different. Cautiously, she walked up and placed her hand on his shoulder. "Keitaro?"
Keitaro quickly took Motoko's hand and turned around. He had a strange grin on his face and an evil look in his eyes.
"You're mine…" he said.
"What's wrong with you, Keitaro? You're frightening me." She said, trying to free herself from his grip but couldn't. His face began to change and transform.
"You're mine, last descendent of Aoyama!" He said, pulling her closer. His face had become like that of the demons depicted in Japan's early history. His hands now had long claws. Sharp teeth had curled out from underneath his lips.
"No! You're not Keitaro! Let me go!" She yelled.
"Mine forever. Hahahahah!" He said, laughing in a warped and distorted voice that sent paralyzing chills down Motoko's spine. Closer and closer he pulled her to him. Motoko, going insane with terror, screamed "Noooooooooooooooooooooo!"
That was the moment Motoko sat up in her futon as her scream echoed back at her from the walls of her room. She immediately threw the covers off of her and ran down the hall, down the stairs and into Keitaro's room. She laid down next to him underneath his covers and put her arms around him, burying her head in his chest. Keitaro, being wakened from his sleep said,
"Motoko? Is everything okay?" he said groggily. Then he felt her trembling as she clung to him.
"You're shaking. What's wrong, sweetheart?" He said, sitting up and holding her.
"I…I just had a bad dream. Can I sleep here for the rest of the night, Keitaro?" She asked, her voice shaky.
"Of course, Motoko." He said, placing his hands on both sides of her face to help calm her down.
Keitaro then slowly laid back on the futon and Motoko rested her head on his chest. He pulled the covers up to her shoulders and began to gently stroke her hair until she fell back asleep.
A quick gust of wind blow over the steamy waters of the open-air bath, bringing Motoko's thoughts back to the here and now. But the images of the dream still haunted her.
'It was nothing. Just a dream, nothing more.' She kept trying to reassure herself.
Then she looked down at the ring on her finger. She let out a content sigh as she formed a little smile.
'Such a ridiculous dream. Nothing will ever take my dearest from me. Ever.' She thought, gripping the hilt of her sword tightly. Then her grip loosened.
'After all, we made a promise to one another. Soon, I am to be his bride. And he is to be my husband.'
She then looked up to the sky with a bright smile.
"I can't wait."
The sun went down and Keitaro found himself leaning against the wooden railing, looking out over the back courtyard. He could smell the sun baked wood from the long day. The clothes rustled in the wind behind him. Then he looked at the horizon, which was painted with reds and purples. Remembering the incident in the hot spring that he'd just experienced, he was now able to recall a dream he had the night before.
In the dream, he walked into the woman's bath with several cleaning supplies, ready to scrub the bathing area. As he set his bucket and brushes down he looked up and was shocked to see Motoko there. Bathing in the springs, she was holding up a towel that covered her front.
"Oh! I-I'm sorry, Motoko! I didn't know anyone else was in here!" He said, averting his eyes. He quickly turned and started toward the doorway.
"It's okay, Keitaro. I'm the only one here after all." She said, softly as she formed a seductive smile.
"Huh?" He said, turning around in disbelief.
"Why don't you join me?" She extended her hand to him, beckoning him to come near.
Keitaro swallowed with a nervous 'Gulp' "J-Join you?"
"Yes, I could use some company. Besides, I don't mind if it's you who sees me." She said, letting the towel drop to the water, exposing her…assets.
With small, seductive steps, she slowly moved closer to him. Blood now dripping from Keitaro's nose, he was speechless. His wide eyes beheld a sight he'd never imagined in his wildest dreams. Then he quickly covered his eyes and said,
"U-Um, Motoko? Are you feeling alright?"
"Ooooooooh, don't be that way, Keitaro." She whined playfully, taking his hands from his face.
'This can't possibly be happening. Motoko would never act this way. Unless…it's a dream! Yeah, that's right!' he thought.
Motoko happily trotted back into the waters and started forming sexy poses.
"If this is a dream, then I don't wanna wake up!" He said, taking off his clothes as fast as he could.
As he did this, everything went dark. When the light came back, he realized that he was somewhere else. The hotsprings were gone and he found himself in the vast, nighttime forest. The wind that blew against him was cold as if it were January. He looked down to see white powdery snow covering the ground at his feet and that his clothes had changed. He was wearing the traditional samurai robes of over two hundred years past. Two samurai swords hung at his left side.
'Where am I now? The dream was just getting good.'
Keitaro stood there confused as he looked all around him, seeing no lights that suggested any surrounding buildings. Then he heard the sound of twigs snapping from the forest behind him. It was from footsteps and they were fast. First the sounds came from behind him, then from the darkness before him, then his left. Someone or something was circling him. Keitaro grew impatient. He yelled out,
"Who are you! What do you want!"
The swift steps on the forest floor stopped. Then Keitaro heard a voice from the darkness.
"What does any prisoner want? Freedom is what I desire, Keitaro."
"How do you know my name! Who are you!" Keitaro yelled back.
Then Keitaro heard the footsteps coming toward him and then he could see someone emerging from the darkness of the woods in front of him. It was the golden eyed, black creature from Keitaro's dreams.
"No…" Keitaro said, shrinking back in fear as the creature walked toward him.
"Freedom is what you're going to give me." The creature said. "For you are the key that will open my cage." The creature then dashed at Keitaro.
When Keitaro was awoken, he found that he was not being held tightly by the creature, but by his beloved Motoko. Her sweet scent relaxed him instantly. She told him that she had had a bad dream and asked if she could sleep with him. As she said this, the memory of Keitaro's dream had evaporated.
The sound of footsteps came from the stairs to his right. He looked to see Motoko. Her eyes lit up as they met his.
"There you are. I've been looking everywhere for you." She said as she joined him in watching the horizon.
Keitaro wrapped his arm around her waist and held her close. "Yeah, I was just up here thinking."
"What were you thinking about?" she said, leaning her head against his.
"Just a…bad dream I had last night."
"You had a bad dream too? Why didn't you tell me?" She said, turning to him.
"I actually forgot it as soon as I woke up and found you holding on to me. It was…" Keitaro shuttered as he remembered the fear he felt in that cold forest.
"It was him, wasn't it? The golden eyed creature." She said.
"Yes." He said softly as his eyes fell.
"Listen, my dearest." She said, taking his face in her hands. "The bad dreams will fade away. I'll always stay by your side and protect you. Do you understand?"
Keitaro nodded with a tender smile and said, "And I promise to stay with you and protect you no matter what."
The two shared a sweet embrace. "I love you, Motoko." "I love you, Keitaro."
Motoko turned back to the horizon with her arms still wrapped around the back of his neck.
"You know, Keitaro…we still haven't set a date yet."
"I know and I'm sorry. Everything's just been so hectic this summer. I mean with summer classes and that whole thing that happened with all of us and Su in the Kingdom of Molmol."
"Yeah, it has been crazy." She said with a sigh.
Keitaro looked over and saw a troubled look on her face.
"How about this? Let's set it for May. How does that sound?" He said, giving her a kiss on the cheek.
"That sounds perfect." She said softly as she smiled.
"Oh, by the way. According to Seta's letter, I'll be away for about two weeks. Are you going to be okay while I'm gone?" He said.
"Sure. As long as we get to talk on the phone, I'll be fine." She said as she moved back and held onto his arm. She looked back out at the horizon.
"No problem. I'll call you every day." He said.
"Promise?" She said, looking over to him.
"I promise." Keitaro proudly said.
They shared a quiet moment together as they watched the horizon get darker and darker. Then Motoko patted Keitaro's arm and said,
"Come on, we have to get up early tomorrow." She took his hand and led him toward the steps.
"Early? Why?" he said, puzzled as he walked with her.
"Someone has been slacking off on their Kendo practice, lately. I want you in the courtyard with me at 6:30am sharp!" She said as they walked down the steps and into the main house.
"Alright, alright. 6:30am it is. It's only been a few weeks. My skills haven't dulled that much." He said.
"We'll see about that." She said, with a smile.
The next day came swiftly. The thick early morning fog covered the ground of the back courtyard, so much so that the land was barely visible. The sky above was overcast, making it look as if it were made simply of whites and grays with its former blue being merely a fallacy. Somewhere a clock rang 6:45.
Wandering in the courtyard was Keitaro, holding his Kendo sword in front of him. Stepping softly and keeping his senses open to the area around him, he took long and quiet deep breaths. He took one step, then another, looking to his right and to his left. He squinted his eyes to see farther into the foggy mist. Then, the rising sun peeked through a hole in the white and gray marble of the horizon, casting long shadows across the fog.
One of these shadows, Keitaro noticed, moved very swiftly around him. Quickly, the shadow disappeared from his sight. Then he heard a loud battle-cry come from directly above him.
Keitaro performed a back flip and landed several feet away. Motoko struck the ground where he stood, both with her sword and the power of her chi, causing chunks of earth to fly out all around her.
"Nice move." She said, recovering quickly.
"Thanks. Now prepare yourself!" Keitaro yelled, making a dash toward Motoko.
He raised his sword up high and then swung down at Motoko to which she quickly dodged to the side. Seeing this, Keitaro immediately swung to his side at Motoko to which she ducked, parried his sword, spun around behind him and swung her sword down at him. With great speed, Keitaro moved his sword up and over his back, blocking the strike and quickly moved his elbow back and struck her chest, catching her off guard. Welcoming the challenge, Motoko grinned and let out a devilish "Heh".
As Keitaro turned around to face her, she spun around and sent Keitaro flying backwards with a roundhouse kick. Keitaro, now sliding backwards on his back, reached his hands into the moving ground behind him and flipped over, regaining his stance. His sword, having fallen from his hand, was lost in the fog. This made no difference to Motoko, who now made the mad dash toward him! Keitaro, eyes wide and forming a sneer, decided to gung-ho it and run towards her.
Lets slow time down here for a few seconds. Motoko, moving closer to Keitaro, pushes her sword out in front of her in a thrusting motion. Keitaro, running at full speed, strafes to the side of the blade, allowing her to move past him. Seeing this, she quickly stops, spins around and swings her sword down in a chopping motion at Keitaro. Keitaro raises his hands up and catches the blade in his palms. He spins around 180 degrees and puts quick pressure on her wrists with his elbow, causing her to let go of the sword.
Tossing the sword aside, he turns another 180 degrees, grabs her wrists and raises them up, sweeps her feet out from under her and lowers her to the ground.
Now Keitaro holds her hands at her sides, straddling her. Both of them breathing deep and trying to catch their breath. As he held her there, he said
She simply glared at him. Then Keitaro slowly let go of her wrists, formed a smile and moved his fingers to the sides of her ribs. Then he started tickling her.
Motoko let out a squeal. "No! Stop! Stop! Nooooooooo! Hahahahahahaha!"
"Surrender." Keitaro said, his smile growing ever wider.
"Never! Hahahahaha!" She yelled.
As their faces drew closer, the tickling stopped. They began to kiss deeply. After a moment, Motoko decided to take advantage of this situation. She reached up and started tickling Keitaro. Catching him off guard she turns Keitaro over and straddles him, continuing to tickle him.
"Surrender." She said with a big smile.
"No! Hahahahah! I can't!" he said, laughing uncontrollably.
"Surrender." She said.
"Okay, Okay! I surrender! Hahaha!" he yelled, giving up.
The two looked lovingly at eachother as they smiled.
"So, huff huff I figured you like to be on top of things." He said with a blush as she still straddled him.
Forming a blush also, she laid her hands on his chest and said,
"Well, I do like the view from up here. Besides, I like to be in control."
At those words she showed a devious smile, then slowly leaned down and continued their kiss. Keitaro wrapped his arms around her waist, holding her ever closer. The sun's rays heated the air, causing the fog to rise and clear.
Shinobu walked through the halls singing a song to herself, as she made her way to the doorway leading out to the courtyard.
"Wind. Oh, warm wind that slowly blows over my heart. Please bring my love to hiiiiiiiiiiiim."
She opened the doors and walked outside. Anticipating Keitaro and Motoko being out there somewhere, she raised her hands to the sides of her mouth and called out.
"Hey, guys! Breakfast is ready!"
Shinobu then looked over and saw the two and the position they were in. Her eyes grew big and shiny as her mouth fell open.
"Oh! Uh, Shinobu!" Keitaro said, waving his hands at the stunned blue-haired girl.
Shinobu made a quick dash for the apartments and said, "I'm so sorry for disturbing you!" before she disappeared inside.
"Wait, Shinobu! It's not what it looks like!" Keitaro yelled in vain.
"Well, actually Keitaro, it kinda is." She said, playfully.
Keitaro smiled up at her and let out a modest "heh"
She gave him a quick kiss, raised herself off of him and stood up.
"Come on, Keitaro. We'd better get to breakfast before we make Shinobu upset." She said, holding her hand out to him and helping him up.
"Yeah. I think I've worked up quite an appetite." He said, wiping the sweat from his forehead.
"I'm really impressed Keitaro. That's the first time you managed to pin me down. Your adaptation and coordination are greatly improving." She said as they walked inside with their arms around eachother's waist.
"I didn't hurt you at all, did I?" He said, looking her over.
"No, I'm fine." She said.
"That was a good workout."
"Yeah, we should practice improvisation techniques more often."
Finding towels and throwing them around their necks, the two sat down at the dining room table with everyone else. All the residents now together, they all put their hands together and said,
"Thanks for the food!" and began to eat. After taking a sip from her miso soup, Kitsune set down her bowl and looked over to Keitaro.
"Say, Keitaro. When did you say you were leaving for that dig with Seta?" Kitsune said.
"Oh, in three days." He said.
"And you'll be gone for two weeks, huh?" Naru said from next to Kitsune.
"Mmm-hm" Keitaro nodded as he ate his rice.
"Make sure you come back with some really good food. Okay, Keitaro?" Kaolla Su said with her usual cheerfulness.
"You got it, Su." He said, to which Su replied, "Yeaaaa! Kyoto Cuisine!"
Putting down her cup of tea, Haruka turned to Keitaro and said,
"Be careful out there, Keitaro. Don't be exhausting yourself in the summer heat."
"Don't worry Aunt Haruka, I'll be fine."
At the mentioning of the word 'Aunt', Haruka grabbed her empty rice bowl and flung it at Keitaro's head, making contact with a loud 'THWAP'.
"It's Miss Haruka." She said, calmly.
"Right, Sorry." Keitaro groaned, a little disoriented.
"Are you okay, Keitaro?" Motoko said, kissing the spot on his forehead where the bowl hit.
"I'm good, thanks." He said with a short laugh.
"That means we're not going to see you for a while, Keitaro." Shinobu said.
"Don't worry, Shinobu. It's only two weeks. Then I'll be back home. Maybe even sooner than that, depending on what we find out there." He said, reassuring her.
"Hey, Keitaro. Be sure to bring back some Sake, now." Kitsune said, with a smile.
"Don't you have enough, Kitsune?" He said with a wince.
"Yes, but I don't have any Kyoto Sake." She said with a wave of her finger in the air. "Now, pick up at least two bottles."
"(Sigh) It's hopeless." He said to himself.
"So which part of Kyoto is Seta doing this Dig, Keitaro?" Motoko asked.
"I'm not really sure. He didn't say." Keitaro said, scratching his head, remembering as much as he could from the letter.
"Knowing him, it could be anywhere." Motoko said.
"Ain't that the truth." Haruka said.
"One time, Daddy got in trouble for digging in the White House front lawn. He claimed George Washington's secret set of ivory dentures were buried there." Sara said from across the table.
"Did he actually find anything?" Kitsune asked.
"He did, but it wasn't exactly what he was looking for. Instead, he found John Quincy Adams' secret stash of Louisiana Red Pepper sauce." Sara said.
"Heh heh heh, well isn't that interesting." Keitaro said, as everyone formed a sweat drop.
Breakfast was finished and everyone went off to their daily routines. Shinobu quickly cleared the table and brought everything into the kitchen. There she began to take her time washing all the dishes.
'Sempai,' she thought. 'He'll be gone for two whole weeks.' Then the vision of Keitaro being straddled by Motoko came into her mind. She gasped and with a red face she quickly waved her hands and dissipated the provocative thought cloud.
'I'm very happy for Keitaro and Motoko, I really am. But still…'
The expression on her face grew sad.
'…still, that doesn't change the fact that I…I love him so much.'
Shinobu continued to wash the dishes in silence. Outside the window above the sink, the wind began to blow through the courtyard, causing waves to form in the tall grasses behind the property.