My take on the what-if Mot.Kei lost to Tsuruko. Enjoy.

"abc" – spoken words

Thoughts – kinda' self explanatory

Abc - loud noises, etc.

------- scene change

Chapter 1

Echoes of Blades

They say that when your life is at its edge, its entirety will pass before your eyes in a final, somber farewell.

This was the process that Aoyama Motoko was going through as she watched her sister's blade go in a large arc towards her in slow motion.

This is the end.

No more hope.

No more chances for anything.

Happiness.

Success.

Love…

Goodbye…

Keitaro.

Fate, however, had something else in mind.

"NO!"

Urashima Keitaro thought absolutely nothing more than one thing as he rushed forward. In his mind, he thought not of danger, nor of death, nor of the blade swinging towards him. He only thought of the protection of the woman in front of him.

Motoko had by then closed her eyes. She had not felt the mass that now hugged her for protection. Nor did she hear the groan of her protector. She did however, feel the warm blood which slid down her leg.

Mine I suppose. I never thought ane-ue would take it this far…

She opened her eyes, expecting to see, hopefully, a bright light, and the end of all things, but was instead met with a gruesome vision.

"You …can't die… like this… Motoko-chan…" Each segment of the words spoken were done so with great physical strain on the speaker, especially with the blade clenched deeply in his fist. The blood from his wounded palm permeated through his fingers as a cold trickle on Motoko's out-stretched arm.

"Urashima-san!" Motoko immediately, through some previously unknown strength, wrenched the blade out of both Keitaro's grasp and pushed it into Tsuruko's grasp. Unfortunately, Tsuruko caught it, so it didn't count as disarmament. This was a trifling fact in Motoko's mind, however, because she was tending to her wounded partner.

I can't loose you!

I won't loose you!

"Sister… No more…"

"Nani… Motoko-chan?..." A dazed Keitaro asked the figure who now stood facing her sister, but still holding him protectively.

"No more! Ane-ue, can't you see! He can't take anymore of this physical abuse! He's not the swordsman that we are, whether or not you believe it! Even knowing that, he threw himself in front of your blade to defend me! I can't allow him to be in this much pain anymore! It was a low, underhanded, dirty, cheap, honor-less trick to force him into battle with us! I will not stand for it any longer!"

I wasn't forced…

Tsuruko, upon hearing her sister's words, grinned inwardly and thought about her plans, which seem to already be taking effect.

Hmmm. It seems that I was right Motoko-chan. You do harbor feelings for him. You would never defend another man, regardless of his condition. Hehe. I will make you see. Love is not a weakness, but a source of strength. This man will lead you to your full potential. And I feel that you will do the same for him…

"Do you understand then, the full consequences of your forfeiture? Do you understand that you will be married to him? That from that point on, you will be known as Urashima Motoko?"

It is my bushido, my way of the warrior, to protect those who are weaker than I am. I have been neglectful to my duties before, but now, I will protect Keitaro. It is my duty. My honor-bound duty. And… as long as I am being forced to marry… at least… with Keitaro… Only training born of seventeen years of hardship could keep her blush in check.

"Hai. I completely understand, Ane-ue."

Keitaro was completely awe-struck upon hearing the words that the young swordswoman had spoken. His thoughts were comprised of a typhoon of emotions, each carrying immense feelings. Sadness, however impossibly it seemed at the moment, did not reign supreme over all else. Hints of happiness, joy, even what some would translate as ecstasy seemed to rise a bit above the rest of his feelings. All of the processes of his thoughts, however, were cut off when he felt Motoko gingerly place a hand on his shoulder and help him up on his feet. They were then led to the ceremony by Tsuruko. They knew that the ceremony would change their lives, but they did not anticipate that events afterwards would lead them into changing their two souls into one.

&!&!&!&!&!&!&!&!&! Three Hours Later &!&!&!&!&!&!&!&!

The ceremony began with them being led into a large room with, surprisingly, all of Hinata-sou's residents, and Grandma Hina, Kanako, Tsuruko, Motoko's and Keitaro's parents, Mutsumi, Haruka, staring at them with looks that ranged from happiness for the couple (Hina, Motoko & Keitaro's parents), to looks of absolute venom(Kanako).

The ritual proceeded relatively quietly. No tears were shed, neither by happiness and joy, nor of sadness and sorrow. As it seemed, if an outsider were asked to try and judge the emotions of the people partaking in the holy rite just by ear, he or she would most probably say that everyone is just… content.

Motoko could not look at Keitaro in his eyes throughout the majority of the procedure. Even as the sake was drunk and Keitaro placed the ring on her finger, and she on his, her eyes remained fixated upon a single spot, about five feet to Keitaro's left.

Keitaro was sad to see that the passion and fire that had graced her every previous move had been lost indefinitely. It was as if the flame in her eyes had been doused with the icy cold torture of the reality that had now made its home in their lives.

However, Tsuruko had noticed this, and planned to change it, even for the small amount of time that she really had control over it.

As it turned out, the next six words that she spoke, her playing the role of the minister in their ceremony, abruptly brought the newly made couple out of their thoughts and contemplations and ripped their sense back to the present. Its effect on the guests had been making them open their eyes in realization of Tsuruko's ideas. Well, for the most part anyway.

Some people will never waver from their thoughts coughKanakocough.

"You may now kiss the bride."

Nani!!!!

It was only through extreme mental prowess that the two did not scream that thought throughout the halls of the procession room.

Ehh… I'm nearly definite this is not how these weddings are supposed to go…

They looked at each other, though not quite into each others eyes, and were mutually amused at the shocked expressions on the other's face.

I guess that this is it…

He's kind of cute when he's flustered…

She's kind of cute when she's flustered…

Time to bite the bullet I guess…

This might not be SO bad…

Ahhh, he's cute I guess…

They stared at each other, brown eyes meeting green this time. Slowly, and to Tsuruko's thoughts, blissfully, the two leaned towards each other. Keitaro, praying to God that it wasn't inappropriate, placed one arm around her waist, and another at her shoulder. Motoko, noticing the unexpected contact, hastily mimicked his motions, except with one hand at his neck, instead of his shoulder. Keitaro moved his hand behind her neck and drew himself in. They leaned together for their first, nervous, and surprisingly, they both thought, though they would not admit it at the time, sadly light kiss.

Even at this small token of affection, their faces became flushed.

Tsuruko enjoyed that.

"I now pronounce you man and wife. May you carry out the trials of your life in peace and harmony."

No confetti was tossed. No rice thrown. No bouquet lobbed over the shoulder as a blessing. Just bride and groom, walking down an aisle, to await the wedding feast Tsuruko had decided to throw them an hour after the wedding.

Neither looked forward to it.

It would be a time of explanations.

It would be a time of tears.

And most of all, it would be a time of change.

Whew, that's the first chapter.

Please don't be too upset with me for ditching my previous fic.

Basically I noticed what the people who control the XBOX 360 should be noticing right about now, that it what I created was a sinking ship. Mot and Kei 's relationship was moving way too fast. Oh and to the person that thought that two or more days had passed, and to the people who have absolutely no idea what I am talking about; one day passed before he proposed, just to give you an idea of how fast I forced it. I realized that I was trying to portray their reaction as a married couple without showing the transformation that is needed to take place first. They're both way too stubborn to admit any feelings they could have for the other without being pushed into it. sighs Why Ken? Why? Why did you make the main character suck and a doomed supporting character completely kick ass? Well feel the wrath of my pen! errr… keyboard!

Yeah I know that it's a little short (SHUT THE F UP AND GET YOUR MINDS OUT OF THE GUTTER, I WAS TALKING ABOUT THE CHAPTER PERVERTS!!!)

Just by prediction, someone's going to ask about Naru.

My answer- wait for the next chapter

Again by prediction, someone's going to ask about Mutsumi and Kanako.

My answer – wait until a couple of chapters for these, sorry (ara, ara)

Personally, what I'd be asking about is their parents' reactions…

Not to mention their own thoughts…

Ja ne !