Divided Attentions
A Love Hina fanfic
By Exar

Love Hina belongs to Ken Akamatsu, not me. I'm just playing around with his characters a bit. I promise I'll take care of them and put them back when I'm done.

Chapter Six

Keitaro sighed contentedly as he eased himself into the tub. The last six days had been an emotional roller coaster for the young landlord. He'd seen his dream end with Naru leaving, but he'd seen a new beginning with Kitsune.

As if summoned by his thoughts, a pair of white arms slipped around his shoulders as he leaned against the side of the tub. Twin mounds of warm flesh pushed into the back of his head and he felt soft lips touch his cheek.

"Morning, lover. It's not very nice of you to sneak out of bed and bathe without me."

He tilted his head back and captured her lips with his own. They shared a friendly kiss, warm and welcoming.

"Sorry, you just looked so cute sprawled out there that I couldn't bring myself to disturb you."

she smirked at his compliment as she climbed into the tub beside him.

"So instead you just took away my bedwarmer. So cruel."

He grabbed a washcloth and started scrubbing her back.

"That's me. Pure evil. I eat babies, you know."

Kitsune threw back her head and laughed. She leaned her weight into Keitaro's hands as he washed her back, enjoying the feel of them rubbing her skin.

"Well, I'll keep that in mind."

"You do that"

Later that day, Keitaro was working on the next month's budget for Hinata House. With Naru gone, things were going to be a little tight. Perhaps he should try advertising for more tenants, or just getting a part-time job.

A timid knocking was heard from the door, and Keitaro called out, "Come in."

Shinobu walked in and set a tray down on Keitaro's table. "Would you like some tea?"

"Sure thing, Shinobu, that sounds great."

They sat down at the kotatsu to drink the tea, and Keitaro asked Shinobu how her day was going.

"Everything's fine for me, but I was wondering how you were doing, Sempai. I've been so worried about you since Naru came back."

Keitaro reached across the table and took Shinobu's hand in his own.

"I'm holding up okay, Shinobu. Everyone here has been a big help to me. I'm really grateful for the wonderful friends I have. I know you aren't old enough to really get everything that's going on, but you've been here for me when I needed you."

"Oh Sempai, I'll always be here for you."

Keitaro scratched the back of his head in embarrassment, not yet noticing that he was still holding Shinobu's hand or that she was now holding his hand with both of hers.

"Don't say that, Shinobu. Someday you'll go off to school somewhere and find a great guy that you will fall in love with, and you'll run away with him and never want to come back. And we'll all be happy for you."

"Sempai, I've already found a great guy, but I won't run away with him."

"You have? Well, I'm glad for you, Shinobu. And I suppose it is a little early for you to be running away with anyone, so that's good. Who is it, one of your classmates at school?"

Shinobu looked down at her hands wrapped around Keitaro's. He followed her gaze, belatedly realizing he was still touching her. As she began speaking in a very small voice, he got a sinking feeling in his gut.

"Sempai, I won't run away with him because he's right here with me. It's you I love."

Keitaro turned beet red. He tried hard to remain calm and gently pulled on his hand to extract it from hers.

She noticed and instead pulled his hand closer to her, pressing it against her chest.

"I know I am young, Sempai, but I know what I feel. I really do love you and I have for a long time."

"Shinobu, I-I don't know what to say. This is so surprising. I'm flattered, but I've never really even thought about you that way."

"Please start thinking of me this way. I am no longer a child. I want to be an adult. I want to be with you, Sempai."

A single tear ran down her cheek as she stared him straight in the eye. He desperately wracked his brain to find something, anything to say to her that would make her feel better and not commit him in some way. Lost in thought as he was, he didn't hear the door slide open.

"You know, Kei, even though we haven't really made a commitment of any kind, I'd thought you would give me a heads up before you moved on."

Keitaro's head rotated slowly to face the door, horror etched into his features as he saw Kitsune standing in the opening.

"Kit! This really isn't what it looks like! Really! I swear!"

She sauntered in and slid the door shut before plopping down at the table.

"Really? Shinobu didn't just confess to you and you're not desperately trying to let her down easy?"

"Well, I. Uh, Yeah. That is it. How'd you know?"

"Mitsune, I'm sorry, I just wanted to try, to act on my dream."

Shinobu looked frantic as she tried to explain herself.

Kitsune smirked, then patted Shinobu's should reassuringly.

"We'll talk about this, but it will go better if you let go of Keitaro's hand."

Shinobu blushed even more than she already was and quickly released the young man.

Shinobu blushed even more than she already was and quickly released the young man.

He pulled his hand back and pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, stalling for time.

"Shinobu, I love you too, but not the way you want me to. I can't think about you that way. It isn't right and it wouldn't be fair to you. You have high school ahead of you still. Tying you down to a boring older man like me would be a crime. With your looks and cooking skills, you'll have all the boys in town lining up for a chance to date you."

"I don't want them, Sempai. I want you. You treat me like I'm special, and you told me I could do anything if I tried hard enough. You're the only one who believes in me."

"Shinobu, I say those things because they are true, and I think any one of the friends you have here at Hinata House would say the same thing, given the chance. I want you to be happy, Shinobu, but I can't make you happy myself. I'm sorry."

Tears were pouring down the young girl's cheeks. A lump formed in Kitsune's throat. She'd never been rejected this nicely, this gently, but she still knew what Shinobu was going through.

She reached out and scooped the smaller girl into a hug, which Shinobu returned instantly, borrowing her head into Kitsune's shoulder and sobbing softly. Keitaro stood and walked around the table to them, then kneeled. He pulled both of them into a warm embrace, stroking Shinobu's hair and drying her tears. Kitsune made soothing noises and held the young girl close until her sobs subsided.

"Sempai and Mitsune make good parents." The red-eyed Shinobu let out a cute snort as she tried to keep her nose from running.

Looking at each other over Shinobu's head, The couple's faces blazed a brilliant crimson.

"Shinobu, why do ya say that? I'm not anybody's mom."

The smaller girl looked Kitsune in the eye.

"You and Sempai worked together to make me feel better. You work together to love people. That's what parents do."

Keitaro chuckled nervously.

"I guess they do, at that. I never thought of it that way."

He cupped Shinobu's cheek and looked her honestly in the eye.

"Now Shinobu, are you going to be okay? I don't want you to be sad because of me."

"I think so, Sempai."

"Good. Now scoot, I need to talk to Keitaro."

"Okay, Mitsune. Sorry to be so much trouble, Sempai."

"No trouble, Shinobu. I'll see you later, all right?"

"All right."

The shorthaired girl walked out, shutting the door behind her.

Kitsune leaned back into Keitaro's body, molding herself to his side.

"Um. What did you want to talk about?"

"Not too much, just thought I'd see how you're holding up. How you're handling everything. It's been a busy week. And it seems like it's not over yet, if little Shinobu's confession is anything to judge from."

Keitaro rested his chin on her shoulder and tightened his arms about her waist.

"I'm still having a little trouble believing it's all real. That Naru's really gone and living with Seta now, and that you and I are... well, whatever we are."

"Heh. It did seem like everything changed in the blink of an eye."

She turned to place a gentle kiss on his cheek.

"I'm not such a bad consolation prize, now am I?"

He twisted his head to give her a quick kiss before returning it to its place on her collarbone.

"Of course not. Honestly, I think I came out ahead, if you look at it in those terms. Naru would be hitting me for trying to hold her like this. And I really like holding you like this."

"And I really like being held like this."

"Lucky me."

"Yes, very."

Conversation ceased for a moment as the two young lovers lost themselves in each other. They kissed deeply, reveling in the sensations of closeness and desire.

When they came up for air, Kitsune spoke slowly, as if choosing her words carefully.

"Kei, you should know. She's not the only one."

"Who's not the only what?"

"Shinobu. She's not the only girl here who loves you."

"Really? Who else?"

"Motoko and Mutsumi."

Keitaro pulled out of their embrace for a moment to better stare at Kitsune with incredulity.

"Mutsumi said she liked me a long time ago, but Motoko?"

"Haven't you noticed the 'Rock-Cutting Sword' frequency going down? She's been listening to you more and lashing out less. She has fallen for you, Keitaro. She told me herself."

"And why are you telling me this?"

"Just to give you a heads up, so it doesn't hit you as hard when she finally works up the courage to tell you. You've taken enough hits for a while."

Keitaro forced air out through his teeth, making a soft whistling sound.

"Hunh. Well, I guess I'll deal with that when it comes up. How about you, Kitsune?"

"What about me?"

"Well, it seems that every girl here apart from Su and my Aunt is in love with me. You're the one I'm sleeping with, so I'm curious if you do too."

A long silence filled the room as Kitsune stared down at Keitaro's chest.


Keitaro pulled her close, wrapping his arms back around her.

"Good. I don't love you either. At least not the way everyone else means it."

She hugged him back, fiercely.

"You're happy? I was sure you'd be mad at me for teasing you again or something."

"Yeah, I'm happy. I'm tired of being in love. I wasted a lot of time and suffered a lot to be in love. Right now I'm really enjoying being in like with you Kit. I like you. You're fun to be with and make me feel like a god in bed."

She grabbed his head in both hands and kissed him hard.

"I like you too, Keitaro. You're the best friend I've had in a long time. You make me feel special, just like Shinobu said. But what about the future? Do you want us to have a future together?"

Keitaro ran his hands down Kitsune's back, feeling the soft skin underneath her thin shirt.

"I think that right now, I'm here with you, and I'm happy to be. I think the future can worry about itself for a while. When it gets here, if we still like being with each other, we stay that way. If not, we go our own way. Until then, we enjoy what we have and never take it for granted."

Then he leaned in and kissed her.

A knock sounded on Motoko's door. The kendoka looked up from her book and called out. "Come in."

Kitsune slid open the door and came in, shutting it again behind her.

The foxy woman quickly came up in front of Motoko and kneeled before her. Motoko noticed she wasn't making eye contact and got a sinking feeling in her gut.

"Motoko, I need to tell you something."

Motoko frowned. 'Prefacing things instead of coming out and saying it? Not good.'

"What is it, Kitsune?"

"It's about Keitaro," the blonde girl said, still not meeting Motoko's gaze.

"What about him?"

"You should make your move soon. If you are going to make him yours, you need to take action. I said I would step aside for you, but I am starting to get... attached. If you wait much longer, I'm afraid I may not be able to keep my word."

Motoko reached out and put her hand on Kitsune's chin, lifting her head so she could look her in the eye.

"Kitsune, there is nothing to be ashamed of. I cannot hold you at fault for falling for Keitaro. I know how easy it is. I will speak to him this evening."

"And if he says no?"

"Then you have my blessing."

"Thank you, Motoko."

"I suppose this would be the point at which to say, 'May the best woman win.'"

Neither knew they shared the next thought.

'But the advantage is mine'

Motoko slid the door shut as Mutsumi poured tea for three. Keitaro wondered what the heck was going on.

"What can I do for you girls?"

Mutsumi piped up with, "First, you can drink some tea."

Motoko sat down and smiled calmly at Keitaro, trying desperately to mask the frayed bundle of nerves that she felt like.

"We have something we wish to discuss with you, Keitaro."

'She called me Keitaro instead of Urashima. Could this be the confession Kit warned me about? But why would Mutsumi be here?'

"Keitaro, you know how I feel about you, don't you?" The Okinawan girl said.

"You told me a long time ago that you liked me, Mutsumi."

"That's right. I like you a whole lot, Keitaro."

"As do I, Keitaro. I have for some time now, I just haven't had the words to express it."

"While I'm flattered, why did you two come to tell me this together? Are you trying to force me to decide between you?"

"Quite the opposite, Keitaro. Mutsumi and I have discussed the matter and given that we feel a small attraction to each other as well..."

Mutsuni finished for her.

"We want to share you, Keitaro."

"You what?"

"Oh my, I said we want you to join us in a relationship, all three of us together."

Keitaro blushed a deep red.

"You want me to date both of you?"

"While we date each other, yes."

A thin stream of blood began running out of Keitaro's right nostril as he noticed the two girls sitting across from him were holding hands.

"Oh my, Keitaro's thinking perverted thoughts again."

"I suppose, given the situation, that we should not hold it against him."

"I suppose you are right, Motoko."

Mutsumi leaned over and kissed the other girl on the cheek, causing the kendoka to blush prettily. This sight roused Keitaro out of his stupor.

"I-I don't know what to say. I'm interested, of course, it's every man's dream, but do you really mean it? How could this work?"

Mutsumi's head drooped a little.

"It's not easy. You have to trust your partners a lot. And you have to not be jealous. It doesn't work very often. My parents are part of a triangle. That's why I have so many brothers and sisters. I have two moms. But if we can trust each other, and work to communicate our feelings, we can have more love than any normal couple could ever know."

Keitaro got a look of wonder on his face.

"Wow, Mutsumi. I didn't know that. That sounds nice, really."

He lapsed into silence and put his fist on his chin, clearly thinking. After about half a minute, he spoke again.

"I think I'm an idiot for doing this, but I'm going to have to turn you ladies down for now."

Motoko paled, her lips thinning and her eyes growing misty.

Mutsumi's ever-present smile dimmed but remained.

"Why, Keitaro?'

"You said the most important thing about this type of relationship is trust, yeah?"

"Yes, it is."

Keitaro shook his head.

"After what Naru did, I don't feel like trusting anyone right now. I don't want to be hurt like that again. I don't think it would be fair to you two for me to be part of this and not trust you."

Tears rolled down Mutsumi's face.

"Keitaro, you are the most wonderful man I have ever known. even as hurt as you were, you still think of us before yourself. I love you so much for that."

She grabbed him in a tight hug.

"I can't speak for Motoko, but whenever you are willing to open your heart, I will be waiting for you."

Motoko stayed where she was, trying hard to control her emotions.

"I agree. When you are ready, we will be waiting."

Keitaro sat stunned for a moment.

"You two are willing to wait for me? For me to be ready and willing to love you?"

"Yes, Keitaro."

"Why? Why would you do that and not go searching somewhere else for your happiness?"

The kendoka lost control of herself and leapt to his side. She swept him and Mutsumi up in a huge hug and choked out, "Because you are worth it."

They all stayed there for several minutes, taking comfort in each other. Keitaro was reminded of the time with Kitune and Shinobu earlier. 'So much love in this house. Hinata House is truly magical'

Kitsune slipped into the covers next to Keitaro and cuddled up to his side.

"How did it go tonight?"

"With Motoko? How am I not surprised that you know about that?"

"Because you know me. I make it my business to know what's going on. But you're avoiding the question."

"I was seriously tempted. Motoko and Mutsumi wanted me to date them both while they dated each other. It's called a triangle arrangement, I think."

"Sounds like every man's fantasy."

"Exactly. That's why it was so hard to say no."

"Why did you?"

"Because it wouldn't be fair to them. I don't trust anyone right now, and I'm not willing to let anybody hurt me. I won't let myself love them back, and they deserve better than that."

"What, and I don't?"

"That's not what I said."

"But you implied it. You can have a relationship with me just fine, and not love me, but you can't with those two?"

"Kit, you accept me as I am. They wouldn't. They would expect more than I can give right now. You've been understanding of me."

The 'until now' went unspoken.

"I'm sorry Keitaro. I don't mean to be harsh, but I expected you to leave me today for them, and I guess when you didn't, I was hoping it meant more than it did."


Kitsune responded in a very small voice, her face pushed into his shoulder.

"Because I'm starting to get attached to you Keitaro. I like what we've been doing and I don't want it to end. You make me happy, and I like making you happy."

"Kit, we just talked about this."

"I know, but then you had to go and be so nice to Shinobu, and such a gentleman to everyone else. It's not my fault you make me all gooey inside!"

"I don't know what to do now, Kit. I don't want to hurt you, but if you want more than this from me, I don't think I can give it to you."

"This is fine. I like this. Just... don't stop, okay? I hate to sound vulnerable like this, but I don't want to lose you. I've been rejected so many times, just don't leave me, okay? I won't demand anything else from you. Just don't leave me."

"And what about Motoko and Mutsumi?"

"I don't know. If you decide you love them, I won't stop you. I want you to be happy. But I want to be happy too."

"Well, I can tell you this. I'm not going anywhere for a good long while, okay? So calm down and don't fret. I'm right here, and I like you, Kit. You make me happy, too."

He scooped her head up in his hands and kissed her gently. She returned the kiss with desperate passion. They quickly got lost in each other and were busy for some time.

To Be Continued!

Thanks again to everyone who's been reading and double thanks to everyone who's been reviewing. Hope this chapter meets with your approval, and see you next time for chapter seven!