Disclaimer: Love Hina and all related is property of its creators…this is just a Fanfiction!
Hinata Sou, 11:45pm.
Shinobu should be sleeping by now...but she was not sleepy…and she was actually feeling a strange sensation…an unrest which makes her not ready for sleep.
She is at the kitchen, drinking a glass of water when she listened to the sound of the front door opening, quite brusquely in fact. She grabs the clothing chest she was carrying to the laundry. As she was not sleepy, she decided to take the clothing there to the laundry.
Hum, maybe Tsuruko, Motoko and Keitaro Sempai are already back! Good I get to say goodnight to Sempai…this could make me more at easy to sleep. Shinobu thinks. She always feels better after talking to Keitaro. Her love may be impossible, but she enjoyed every moment she shared with him.
She runs to the hall, chest in ands…and stops, deadpanned with the scene she witnesses. The clothing basket sprawls to the floor.
Tsuruko was laying down Keitaro in the middle of the common hall…She was with a big bloodstain on her bared back…she was without her Gi…only the chest binds covering her upper torso. Motoko is at her side…she is strange…and Shinobu immediately feels that something wrong…terribly wrong was happening.
Motoko looks with dead eyes to Shinobu, who is paralyzed, unable to get closer.
"Shinobu Chan! You should be sleeping by now…Urashima Sempai is already very tired; you see…he is sleeping. Ne, Aneue?" She says, on a strange, soundless voice.
Shinobu vaguely notices that Motoko is treating Keitaro with respect, calling him her Sempai…appropriate as he was senior to them, but strange coming from the proud swordswoman.
Tsuruko turns to Shinobu, and her eyes were full of sadness, and she looks like carrying a heavy weight upon her shoulders. She turns to Motoko. Shinobu could also notice that her clothing was covered with blood. But she seems not harmed. "So much blood…why?" Shinobu looks to the floor near Keitaro's limp form, and she can see blood oozing from the spot his head was. Without noticing, she backs to the wall behind her…yelling.
"Motoko anata…please go get Konno-san for me. I need to talk to her. Can you do that for me?" Tsuruko says to Motoko, holding her shoulders.
"But why, Aneue? Party? But Urashima Sempai needs to rest! You know that he is very tired, he already did so much…" Tears start to come down Motoko's stained face…her eyes still dead. "Shinobu! Please be quiet…Sempai needs to rest!" Motoko pleads to Shinobu, who strangely obeys at once, frozen to the wall.
"Please Imouto-han…I need to ask her a favor. Go get Konno-san. I promise to not disturb Keitaro here.
Tsuruko is strangely calm. Detached. Her training was back into motion. She needed to be calm…she needed to do something, after her enormous mistake during that night. There will be time to confront myself on all this later…not now. And I need help here!
She turns to Shinobu, who can see she is hurt as well…thorn clothing denoting they were on some kind of fight. Did she battle? Was it with Sempai! Shinobu starts to tremble, she is scared. Keitaro was bleeding on the floor…she could not even get near him.
Tsuruko lowers herself to Shinobu, who has her eyes shut now, silently denying the scene she was seeing. She puts her hands on the little girl's arms, holding her firmly. "Shinobu-chan! Please I need help…Keitaro is hurt, and I cannot help him. We need help HE needs help…" She inhales sharply, while Shinobu opens her scared eyes to Tsuruko.
"Shinobu, I know you love Keitaro very much, right?" Shinobu nods her head, blinking fast. "Good. Then I need you now. I know you are a brave and strong girl! Please I need a favor, and I need it now." Tsuruko looks to her eyes, trying to impart as much assurance as she could muster. Reassurance Tsuruko herself was not feeling.
"Go to Haruka's Tea Shop. Call her and ask for medical emergency assistance. We need to take Keitaro to a Hospital immediately. Ask her to call the medics, and then to come here help me. I need her here with me. Can you do this for me?" She asks to the scared little girl.
"H-hai, Tsuruko-San…I will call Haruka and tell her all!" Shinobu clean her eyes with the back of her right hand, and looks Tsuruko in the eyes, pleading. "Tsuruko-San…you will not let him die, yes? Please, do not let anything happen with Sempai!" She turns, and runs to the Hinata Tea Shop, to get Haruka and call the medics.
Tsuruko sighs, and turns to Keitaro's limp form in the floor. He is breathing shallowly, but breathing still…gotta do something! Please Keitaro, stand! She searches her surroundings, to find something to help her now.
She spots the clothing basket, and fetches some of them, to make a pillow for Keitaro. She was not concerned with infection now…not really a big concern at this moment. She was more worried with his blood loss…He seemed to be in trauma…but she was no medic. She needs them here though.
She fleetingly notices that she is wearing only her waist binds…and as she spots one of Keitaro's shirts on the downed basket, she snatches it and put it on…size and length does not fit well, as Keitaro was overall smaller than Tsuruko, making the shirt tight…but it would have to be enough now…
At this moment Tsuruko hears a loud ghasp at her back, and as she turns she sees Konno Mitsune alongside Motoko. Kitsune, always the cheery one, looks wide-eyed to Keitaro, and a questioning eye is directed to Tsuruko, now wearing one of Keitaro's shirts.
"Konno-San, please…I will answer all questions later…now I really need help." She nears Kitsune, while Motoko goes to Keitaro's side, and starts to whisper at his side. Tsuruko's heart goes sinking like a rock. Oh God, Motoko Han…I know you will get out of this…but you have been through so much…My…what have I done! And she turns to Kitsune, who is trying to cope with all that is happening around her.
"Konno-san, I need you to take my sister to the bath…please help her bath herself and change those closes…she has been through a very traumatic experience. She needs resting…but I can't leave Keitaro right now…his needs are more urgent." She looks to Kitsune, who stares at her in disbelief.
"Tsuruko, what a hell is GOING ON! That is Keitaro…and he is …is…" Her words faltering, she is confused. Keitaro did go through bad situations here and there…but he was always pulling out safely…not even a serious scratch, even though the viciousness of Narusegawa's punchs.
But there laid him…blood all over…
"My God!" she brings her hands to her mouth…
"Please Konno-san…I just can't hold all this by myself…I need help!" Tsuruko says, now pleading for Kitsune's help.
That alone was enough to startle Kitsune out f her reverie. The Elder Aoyama was a proud woman…and she was in a dire situation here. She could notice how Motoko was out of herself…she was at Keitaro's side, like talking to his limp form.
"Sorry…ah…I will take her with me…sorry Tsuruko san" Kitsune goes to Motoko, calling her softly.
While she does this, Tsuruko goes to the bathroom…she is not well…and she throws a basin…
I must hold on…must! She looks in the mirror, not recognizing the image there. Thank you Konno-san… She looks to Kitsune, talking to Motoko.
Kitsune approaches Motoko, lowering herself. "Come Motoko-chan…you need to rest as well, it is not so?" she says to Motoko.
Motoko looks to Kitsune, her dead eyes scaring Kitsune. "Kitsune, Urashima Sempai needs to go to his room…this floor is cold. And he needs to rest on a proper place."
Kitsune is broken…Motoko's voice is strange…sad.
"Now Motoko-chan, come with me. Your sister will take care of Keitaro here…now you need to take care of yourself." She beckons to Motoko, extending her hand to take her katana scabbard at her side.
Seeing her katana being taken, Motoko freaks out. "NOOOOO! Give it here!" She snatches the sword back, faced full of rage. "I ALREADY LET THIS KATANA OUT OF MY REACH ONCE! NEVER MORE!" She looks at the sword on her hands, and slumps to the floor. "Keitaro…sorry…I let you down"
Kitsune held Motoko's arm, who now follows her lead, devoid of any resistance. "Ok, Motoko-chan…all right. Bring it. But come with me…lets take a bath, and then bed. You must be rested to be alert, right?" Kitsune looks at her, soft eyes trying to sooth Motoko.
"Kitsune, do you think Keitaro will let me train him? I feel so ashamed for my late performance…" She asks, looking for Kitsune's support.
"Sure darling…he admires your skills. He will be happy if you train him." Kitsune pulls Motoko, taking her to the bathroom area.
She looks to Tsuruko, who is coming back from the bathroom. "Ok Tsuruko-san…please help my friend there. I will take care of your sister for now. She is a dear friend as well" She says, carrying Motoko away.
"Thanks you Konno-san" Tsuruko bows, hurrying back to Keitaro.
Oh my…I need a water basin, and some clean clothes…gotta clean a bit of his wounds. She goes to the kitchen, and fetching a water basin, she puts a big water filled pan on the stove, and start warming some water.
While the water warms, she goes back and starts to take Keitaro's shirt off…the rags left actually.
She gasps at the sight of his abdomen…he has a big gash, running from his chest plate, down to his left hip…it was deep.
He could attack the lycan after this? She looks in amazement and horror…he was literally holding himself shut with his hands when she last talked to him coherently.
BLAM! The door flies open, and Haruka comes charging madly, Shinobu in tow.
"Tsuruko! What happened with…KEITARO!" Haruka looks at her nephew, and ran to his side…her cigar already left behind.
"Shinobu, please…Kitsune is with Motoko at the hot spring…help Kitsune, as Motoko needs to sleep. She needs to rest in order to regain herself again." Tsuruko asks Shinobu, who is looking now at the gash on Keitaro's body.
Haruka perceives this, and turns to Shinobu, looking her in the eyes. "Shinobu! You did a great job here, calling me fast. Help is on the way. Now, there are two of our friends back there needing help as well. Go help Kitsune…I bet she could use some help with Motoko." Haruka pats Shinobu, who runs to the hot springs.
Haruka turns to Tsuruko, addressing the warrior. "Ok Tsuruko…time for explanations will come later. Now we need to take care of him. How can I help?" Haruka tries to stay calm, keeping her mind focused. Her nephew needed help here, not hot-head women over him.
"I am warming some water at the kitchen. See if it is already enough warmed, and help me clean out Keitaro's wounds…we might be able to help a bit while the medic team arrives. But he needs to be transferred to a hospital immediately!" She has a very concerned tone to her voice.
"The ambulance will arrive in 10 min. tops, so they informed me." Says Haruka, going to see the water pan.
"And how about yourself…are you injured?" Haruka looks at the woman, on her way back, carrying the water.
"Aside some smaller scratches and bruises I am fine. Keitaro is the one we need to be concerned about now." Tsuruko's eyes are heavy and haunted…but she would stay firm, until Keitaro could be transported to a Hospital…
After 10 min, both women, who were already trying to clean as much as possible of Keitaro's wounds, are able to listen to the ambulance siren.
They both sigh in relief.
As the medic team arrives, they ask quick questions, and then bring a stretch to take Keitaro to the Hospital.
As they stabilize him as much as possible and put him ready to be taken to the hospital, they address both women.
"Now, lady, you seem to also need some attention…you better come with us." Declares one of the medics there to Tsuruko.
"I will go…I wanna know about my friend's condition there as well." She says.
"I will go with you." States Haruka, no argument left on the matter.
While they start tending Keitaro, readying him for transportation to the ambulance, Tsuruko goes to the girls at the bath, while Haruka runs to her house to fetch her documents, and a few personal items, as she did not intend to leave Keitaro's side.
As Motoko sees Tsuruko, she asks. "Aneue, is Urashima Sempai already sleeping on his room? I will start early tomorrow!" She asks, eagerly.
"Yes, Motoko han…He is resting now. So you must as well after finish here. Go and sleep. We all talk tomorrow, ok?" Tsuruko says as firm as possible.
"Kitsune, Shinobu listen…me and Haruka, we will need to talk over some things now…we will be back later, ok?" Tsuruko turns, thanking both girls while doing so.
"Ok Tsuruko san…we take care of things here, right Shinobu?"
"Right….just please…call later, ok?" Shinobu pleads to Tsuruko, who looks at the little girl, and lowering herself, she embraces her, whispering at her ear. "Do not worry. We call soon. Till later, dear ...and thanks for taking care of my sister."
Tsuruko leaves the girls, worried but confident that the elder Aoyama would do whatever was possible to help their friend.
Both women go with the medics, the ambulance speeding to the hospital, Tsuruko's eyes riveted on Keitaro at her side on the ambulance.
Hold on brave one! Hold firm! She thinks while looking at Keitaro, tubes and bandages covering the young man.
At the hospital, everything happened blindingly fast, medics hurrying Keitaro to the Intensive Care, while others asked Tsuruko to tend her own wounds, making questions about the reason of the young man's wounds.
After some makeshift information over a wild animal attack, and the filling of some forms, Keitaro is being tended, while Tsuruko is with Haruka on a room, after the medic tending to Tsuruko was sure she was physically ok…though he could see that she needed rest and some kind of sustenance. She was pale, and visibly shaken.
Haruka looks at the woman on the chair in front of her, and as they were for now reduced to wait for the news, she needs to know what was happening.
"Tsuruko, I know it may be painful now…but I need to know what really happened." Haruka is concerned over the elder Aoyama, but she was concerned over Keitaro as well… the boy never got in to such a bad situation, not even with all the abuse he usually suffered at the girls' hands.
"Haruka….I did a terrible mistake tonight…and both Keitaro and Motoko paid the price for my error and arrogance!" She says, pain visible on her eyes.
"A terrible mistake you say…why? What could have you done to cause this?" Haruka was confused.
Tsuruko explains to Haruka all that happened that night…
Haruka, after listening to the woman, now crying softly in front of her, feels sadness inside her. The Aoyamas are a prideful, valiant family. And this woman was one of the finest examples of that family.
But she was only human…and Haruka could clearly see how shaken Tsuruko was.
She approaches Tsuruko, holding her hand. "Tsuruko, how could you have foreseen that? Lycans are supposedly extint…and for a long time now…You were just performing a search for possible clues over its presence, but you were never intending to actually find one. You said that right now."
"But this does not warrant me to have an inexperienced warrior with me, nor a lovely and brave young man, who is now on the brink of death due my arrogance on prejudging I could handle any problem that could fall over us!" She says between soft sobs, her head down.
"Look, Keitaro was there due his own choice. And he would never let you both out alone anyway. Not knowing what you were up looking up anyway!" Haruka says firmly. "And you thought it was just a reconnaissance mission…you could never have foreseen this!" Haruka tried to give some support to the battered woman.
"Motoko is in shock…Keitaro tried ...and saved us…charging a nightmare beast, weaponless." Tsuruko looks at Haruka, eyes red. "Listen Haruka san, I've never ever seenw such bravery and determination…if your nephew dies…I will never forgive myself!"
They both wait in silence now…worried, and sad.
At 0430am, four hours after arriving at the hospital, both women see the medic entering their room. They bolt upright, to listen to his news.
"I need to be very sincere with you." The medic says, Dr. Kaneshima being his name, by the ID he carries on his white garment. "His condition is beyond serious. He has a punctured lung, several internal organs were ruptured, and he also had 3 broken ribs. The blood loss was massive as well." And the medic sighs. "It is already a miracle that he arrived here alive. Do that, we were able to give him blood, and the emergency surgery took care of his immediate wounds. But he is on critical yet…the next 24 hours being the critical ones."
Tsuruko slumps back to the chair she was in, burying her face on her hands.
"But I also say…he is an impressive young man. His will to live is simple enormous. He is fighting! And now what we can do is give him support by fighting as well! Being strong!" The medic says softly to both women. "Be strong. He may pull out of this! Hope and faith can help us here!" He turns to leave the room and stops at the door, addressing both women. "Be as it may, he is a fighter. And has my respect, and confidence. If it is possible, he will make it! Now you both should take care of yourselves. He will be on IC for the next 24 hours, and no visits will be allowed. Go home, eat something and refresh yourselves. Afterwards, come here if you want, but not before 24 hours, ok?" And then Dr. Kaneshima leaves them.
Haruka sees that both she and Tsuruko need t be ready, whatever happens up ahead.
She looks to Tsuruko, and addresses her. "Tsuruko, we both need to rest. You need to more than me anyway. You have not closed your eyes up to this moment." And Haruka also sees the shirt she was wearing, and her thorn Hakama.
"You need to bath, and change this clothing anyway. Let's head home for now, refresh ourselves and also give the girls some of the news on this." She also thinks. Good that Kaolla is with Sarah on a trip alongside Seta. And Narusegawa was with her boyfriend, which means she would not be returning soon.
Tsuruko looks at Haruka. At the beginning she was going to refuse, and stay in the hospital. But she would not be able to see her young savior. And Motoko also needed her attention. This took her younger sister hard. She would also make good use of a bathroom and a good shower.
"Ok, Haruka. Let's head back…but I will be back here soon. I will be here as soon as we can enter to see him." She says, standing from the coach she was in.
"Ok! So will I. But for now the best thing we do is caring for ourselves a bit. Then we can be strong for him." And she adds with a weak smile. "And he would feel terrible if he knew we were here all this time, without caring for us just because he was asleep." She adds, looking into Tsuruko's eyes.
"Yes… Let's go."
Both girls stop at the reception desk, to make sure the hospital had Hinata Sou's telephone number in case Dr. Kaneshima needs to contact them, and then they both leave, asking for a cab to take them back to Hinata Sou. The night was still dark outside…and cold. Tsuruko looked to the night sky…the moon was not to be seen, only the stars, and some clouds. She shudders while looking up.
The ride was fast.
Haruka pays the cab, and says goodbye to Tsuruko, going to her Tea House. "Tsuruko, let's rest for at least 4 hours. You need to rest anyway!" She looks at the determined warrior, eyes firm. "Do not try and sneak without me back to the hospital, understood! We go back together!" She holds Tsuruko's shoulder, making her look at her face. "I thank you for your concern Aoyama, Tsuruko. And I am sure Keitaro does to! Cheer up! He needs our support, not sadness." And she looks up, to Hinata Sou. "besides, you have someone up there who also needs support. Go now. We meet again in 4 hours."
Haruka goes to her Tea House, and Tsuruko goes to Hinata Sou…to whatever rest she could have. If it was all possible anyway.
At Hinata Sou, everything was quiet.
After trying to make Motoko sleep, Kitsune and Shinobu where exhausted…and worried with Keitaro as well. But Motoko took their whole attention.
One time she was making nonsense, saying that she and Keitaro would be training soon, for him to be ready to whatever fight he needed to face…then she would start crying, holding her Katana.
After 2 hours from Tsuruko and Haruka departure, the girls made her promise not to leave her room and they were able to rest.
Motoko on the other hand, had nightmares while trying to sleep.
Motoko was on a dark forest…Tsuruko was being attacked by a wild beast. Oh, My! Where is Hina Blade! She thinks in horror, trying to find her katana.
Suddenly Urashima Keitaro runs towards the beast. He is unarmed…but seems unstoppable, distracting the beast for a moment.
"Urashima! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" She screams…
And she wakes up, sweating and scared. Where Am I? Oh, my room…what time is it? She looks to the clock, eyes tired, but not fogged as the before. Oh, 0430am!
But she is confused yet.
And she remembers a request, made by Urashima Keitaro. And what does he think he will accomplish? He is weak, and infocused! But I will train with him. Might help me hone my own skills!
At 0500am, she put her training clothing, and waited till 0530am, her usual training time. She then left silently her room, and went to Keitaro's door, in order to call him for practicing.
Tsuruko arrives right at this time, and as she is moving towards Motoko's room, to check on her younger sister, she finds Motoko at Keitaro's door.
"Aneue! Good morning! Hey, you could join us on practicing. See, I am ready to start…but Urashima does not answer me…" She looks to Tsuruko …eyes showing exhaustion and concern.
Ah, my dear sister…what has come over us all? She approaches Motoko, who suddenly focuses her eyes at her sister…and she perceives that Tsuruko is still using Keitaro's shirt, something in her eyes change, looking piercingly to her elder sister.
"He is not there, it is not true, Aneue?" She asks Tsuruko…an ominous voice comes out of her lips.
It comes back, like a physical attack. Violent and cruel. Oh my god…it was not a dream…it all happened…KEITARO!
Motoko remembers all. The battle, and her incapacity to fight the beast. The sacrifice made by Urashima Keitaro to save them.
She seems dejected, devoid of will. Tsuruko approaches her…and embraces Motoko, who hold onto Tsuruko, tears rolling her face.
"Aneue…I was there…and did nothing!" She was crying into Tsuruko's embrace. "I was always ready to use my blade, to punish him for the slightest accident…but when he needed my blade to protect him…I DID NOTHING!" Between her sobs, she poured fort her guilt and anguish. "He charged that beast alone…with no weapon. And I simply lost my blade! Aneue, can you forgive me?"
Motoko was falling, weakness and emotional drain overtaking the proud younger Aoyama.
And she whisper, almost too low to be heard. "Can Urashima ever forgive me?"
Tsuruko just held her firm. "Motoko-han, it was not your fault…if anyone is at fault, this person is myself, who took you both into this!" And she lets Motoko cry, taking her to her room.
Tsuruko let Motoko cry until she fall asleep, exhausted…but she would be better later. She was back. Motoko was strong. Her guilt would be there, but soon she would see she was not at fault.
Motoko was young…and strong. She would overtake it. Sorry dear Motoko-han…for taking you both with me… Tsuruko looks to Motoko's face. She seems fast asleep. Her cry, fully conscious, was enough to drain…and sooth her, for now. She needed true rest.
Tsuruko leaves her room, seeking her own, set by Urashima 3 days ago, when she arrived from ShinMei. She opens the door, enters the dark room, and sighs, closing the door behind her.
I was so arrogant to think I could handle all this alone…now two dear ones are paying…What was I thinking…what? She is tired…very tired. Drained from the previous nights events.
She pulls out the shirt she is wearing, feeling its fabric tight around her body.
She looks at it after taking it out. Tight. He is somewhat smaller than me, huh? She scents the fabric of the shirt…it was going to laundry when they arrived. It held Keitaro's scent on it. Not the scent of blood she felt hours before…just his usual cologne. He did not use strong ones. Just a light, agreeable one.
And she notices she does appreciate his scent.
She puts her back on the wall behind her, holding the shirt to her heart.
Nice, like the man that used it…so nice and, my God, so brave! Hard, heartfelt tears come out of her eyes.
Her legs start to fault…she slides to the floor, crying softly and holding the shirt firm to her heart.
The enormity of it all took her at once.
She had to be strong.
She had to be firm.
She tried to help as best as she was capable to.
But now, alone, holding something that had the very presence of someone that just probably gave his life to save her and her sister, she could be just Tsuruko Aoyama…a human being, a woman susceptible to errors, and weaknesses.
And she was alone now.
Sorrowful and tired.
She cried there, at the floor. She held Keitaro's shirt to her chest, curling herself to the wall.
She would be firm later…in front of the others. But now, she was by herself…and just let the tears flow unbidden, hard and freely.
Could you ever forgive the arrogance of this woman here, Urashima Keitaro? Her sobs are soft, tired as she was feeling herself now. And why haven't I ever noticed the man you are? Sorry…
She cries there, too tired to move, to finish undressing. She cries there till her battered body gives out to slumber and sleep.