LOVE HINA: CHANGING HEARTS
Disclaimer: Ken Akamatsu owns Love Hina, amongst others. I do not. In any way whatsoever. I'm just fiddling with it on my own time, for my own pleasure. No harm done or meant.
Notes: This is my first published attempt at a Love Hina fic. I actually started reading the fics on this site before I watched the anime. And I had literally just finished watching the anime series five minutes before I sat down to write this. Now I know that there are three movies out there somewhere as well, ('Christmas, Spring and Again' I believe), but I haven't seen them at the time of writing. Therefore, this will only deal with the 24 episodes that I have seen. Hopefully, it won't suck TOO much. May contain OOCness, mild violence, drama, angst, and occasional moments of WAFF as well. You have been warned…
-this story is set about six months after the series ended-
CHAPTER ONE: Safe harbour.
A young woman was walking through a park near her apartment block, enjoying the sunlight on her skin, when an oddly familiar whistling sound came to her ears. Turning on her heel, she attempted to zero in on which direction it was coming from, when it suddenly stopped along with the flight of one Keitaro Urashima not too far from her. Sighing in resignation at the polite argument they would undoubtedly have before the end of the afternoon, the young woman walked over to check on the status of her boyfriend.
"Hey you. What happened this time?" She enquired sympathetically as he picked himself up out of the slight crater he had created with his landing. She blushed slightly as she realised that he was wearing nothing more than the tattered remains of a bathing towel.
"Oh, uh, hi!" He smiled sheepishly at her. Noting her expression, he followed her line of sight to just below his waist. "ACK!!!" He squeaked and hunched down in embarrassment. "Tell you later."
Putting her hand to her mouth to cover the giggle threatening to erupt at his predicament, she removed her jacket and threw it at him. Mouthing a grateful "thank you", he tied the arms of it around his torso and stepped over to her. "Um, how far away are we from your place?" He asked as he returned the curious stares he was getting from passers-by. While just about everyone who lives in the area could lay claim to seeing at least one of his impromptu flights across the skyline, not many have seen him land. The dispensers of 'justice' in Hinata-Sou seem to have an internal map of all the deserted areas in the surrounding county, and rarely missed them when sending Keitaro skyward.
"Not far. You can finish your, um, wash there if you want?" She replied as she took his hand and led him away. Keitaro's face warmed slightly at the appreciative look she was giving his barely-covered body, but otherwise made no comment as he allowed her to guide him to her apartment.
"I uh think I used up the last of your soap. Sorry!" He called through the door as he stepped out of the shower drying his hair. Hanging up the towel, he reached for a folded pile of his clothes on a chair next to the sink. At her suggestion, he had bought and left a few sets of outfits at her place for occasions such as this.
"That's fine, I have some more under the sink." She assured him. "So Motoko burst into your bathing area suddenly. Why did she hit you?"
Having finished dressing, he opened the door and stepped into the room with her. "Well, I happened to be getting out of the barrel as she came in. So naturally, the towel was hiked up a bit."
Her face went red at the thought of that sight. "Oh my! And then?"
"We stared at each other for a bit, before she closed her eyes and shook her head violently. Then she screamed 'PERVERT' at me and nailed me with one of her techniques."
"Ouch! Which one?"
He scratched his head in thought. "I think it was the 'Air Cutting' one."
"Oh! And that sent you on your way?"
"No, actually. I only went as far as the hot springs." He shrugged. "I guess she was still recovering from the sight of me mostly naked and in all my pathetic glory."
She put two fingers over his lips to shush him. "Now don't put yourself down. I won't have that kind of talk in my presence." She scolded gently.
Keitaro captured her hand in his and kissed the fingertips lightly. "Yes ma'am."
Smiling, she continued her questioning. "So if you landed in the hot springs, then…"
He returned the smile ruefully. "Remember, it's me you're talking about. Me! Hot Springs! Me!"
"…right." She frowned. "Naru was in there."
"Yup! She spotted me coming down and nailed me with a nice overhand punch. I didn't even lose any momentum with the change of direction. I guess that 'A' in motion and dynamics she got in the last practice test came in handy for her, huh."
(sigh) "Come and sit down. I'll pour us some tea while you rest." With that, she led him to the low set study table and pushed him onto one of the sitting pillows.
"Yes, ma'am." Keitaro lay back and watched the attractive form of his girlfriend sway into the kitchen. 'Definitely made the right choice! I just hope I continue to be worthy of her.' He thought to himself for the umpteenth time since she said had yes to him. Tucking his arms behind his head, he closed his eyes and inhaled the ambient scent of the woman who had captured his heart.
A scent that suddenly became more intense about the same time he felt a warm pressure on his hips. 'Wha?' His eyes flew open in surprise as a curtain of chestnut hair tickled the sides of his face while she straddled his torso. Gentle hands reached down and removed his glasses. Setting them aside out of the way, she cupped his face and leant in to claim her prize. Soft lips met and parted. While it was not a deep kiss, it was passionate, adoring, and ongoing.
Once he got over the initial surprise at the boldness of her actions, Keitaro relaxed and brought his arms up. Tenderly wrapping them around her, he lightly stroked every part of her he could reach as he returned the kiss. 'I am really getting used to this. To…her. Finally!'
In due course, she reluctantly raised her head and looked at him. Licking her lips, she began to nibble on the bottom one, as if hesitant to say what was on her mind. Finally, her face grew determined. "Kei, we need to talk. About us."
He was about to ask why, when her expression changed. As her eyelids fluttered, she mumbled "Oh damn! Not now.", and slumped onto his chest in a dead faint.
Having had this happen to him before, Keitaro moved her down his body a bit and turned her head to the side so she could breathe freely. Stroking her hair absently while he waited for her to come out of it, he thought about her 'parting' statement. Being nowhere near as clueless as he used to be, the young man had a good idea what the topic would be. There were really only two things she got serious about lately.
Eventually, she stirred and propped herself up on her arms. Gathering some of her hair between his fingers, he brushed it across his own face as he waited for her to gather herself together. Determinedly ignoring the adoring look he was giving her, she started again.
"Kei, I want to tell them about us."
'Thought so.' he sighed. "Why?"
"Because I can no longer stand to see you being treated this way!" She fumed. "Sooner or later, one of them is going to hurt you permanently." She tried and failed to keep the pleading tone from her voice. "If they knew we were together, they might-"
"If they knew we were together, I would be accused of even more outlandish things, and you would lose your friends." Keitaro interrupted firmly. "I can live with the abuse sweetness. What I don't want is you getting hurt because of me." He stated in what he hoped was a reasonable tone.
"You don't get it, do you?" She shut her eyes tight, willing the tears not to come. "Every time I see you fly overhead. Every time you show up on my doorstep looking like you've been through a tree grinder. Every time you look over your shoulder in fear while we are out together, because you think you saw one of your tenants across the street." Salty drops were running down her face, dropping off her chin and spotting his shirt. "It hurts me! Deep inside. The fear. The hiding." She sobbed. "I won't do it anymore!"
Keitaro looked up at her as she sat up and wiped the tears from her face with a sleeve. Closing his own eyes and putting an arm over his brow, he fought back his own tears as he listened to her bring her emotions back under control. While he knew she was unhappy with the current state of affairs, he had not realised just how deep her feelings went on the subject. For the first time, he began to consider the situation from her perspective.
When she looked at him again, she recognised the signs of him being in deep thought. Despite the mess her emotions were in right now, she smiled inside with relief. The hardest part about being with Keitaro is getting him to step outside a situation and consider it from another angle. Patiently, she watched and waited for him to sift through his thoughts and come to a decision as the shadows crept over the floor.
Presently, he removed the arm and smiled at her reassuringly. "I'm so sorry. I didn't realise how deeply all this was affecting you." He reached out and captured her hands in his. "Please forgive me." He begged softly.
"There is nothing to forgive, my love." She raised the tangled hands to her face and rubbed them against her cheek. "You thought you were doing it for me. I can't be angry at you for that." She gave him a tired smile. "What now, then?"
"Now, I tread very carefully." He grinned in return. "First, I have a chat to aunt Haruka. She'll have a few ideas on how to go about breaking the news. Then we both have to have a talk to Shinobu privately. From what you've told me, she will take it the hardest." He frowned, still unwilling to accept the fact that the young girl has been nursing a crush on him since she arrived at Hinata-Sou.
She nodded. "Indeed. And then?"
"I double my medical insurance and start wearing body armour for the next few months." He joked.
Leaning in, she captured his mouth briefly with her own. Pulling back, she knitted her brow. "You are joking, aren't you?" She asked uncertainly.
"Mostly." He answered in an ambiguous tone.
"Oh dear! Are you sure you can't move in here?"
"Unfortunately, no. I am still the manager, despite my lack of any real authority there." He frowned for a moment. "Tell you what! After we spring the news on them, if it gets too bad I'll stay here for a night every now and again." He hesitated. "If you're okay with it, that is?"
"Sure!" She answered enthusiastically. "Just remember to bring your own rope, okay?" She teased.
"How the…" He started, and then rolled his eyes. "Tama-chan told you." He stated.
"Yup!" She giggled. "She overheard Naru telling Kitsune about it. And that was very noble of you, I might add. I'm sure Naru appreciated it, deep down."
"Yeah, yeah. Stick the boot in, why don't you." He groused.
She leaned in until their noses were touching. "You won't need that here."
Keitaro gulped and began to twitch uncomfortably. "Right." He squeaked.
Smiling seductively, she leant over further towards his ear, crushing her chest onto his. "And with that thought, I think it's time you made your way home before it gets too late and they send out the search parties." Brushing her lips against his cheek, she stood up quickly and moved to the side so he could rise.
Grumbling about beautiful girls who tease him just for the heck of it, Keitaro grabbed his glasses and picked himself up. Glancing at the clock on the wall, he realised she was right. Preceding her to the door, he waited for her to open it so he could reluctantly leave.
"Keitaro?" He turned at the mention of his name and found himself being pushed roughly against the wall with her arms around his neck and her tongue thrusting its way into his mouth. "MMMPPH!!!"
After a few minutes of that, she released him breathlessly. "Woah!" He panted.
"I am NOT a tease, Keitaro Urashima!" She declared passionately. "I merely have not had the chance to make good on a promise." The fiery blush spreading all over her body offset her bold statement. Keitaro still got the hint, though.
"Yeah, I know. I guess all this sneaking around is getting to me as well." Drawing her in for one last kiss before he opens the door, he steps outside into the setting sun. "Are we still on for Sunday in the park?"
"Of course. See you then. Love you Keitaro."
"Love you Mutsumi." With a final wave, he started down the stairs and back to Hinata-Sou.
She watched him until he turned the corner before going back inside. 'Finally' she giggled and danced around the tiny unit. 'Finally, we can be open about…us!' Twirling around a few more times, she settled down and went to bed early, perchance to dream about how things will be between them now.
Notes: Yes, I agree it was very childish of me not to mention her name until the end. Just my pathetic attempt at introducing some anticipation into an otherwise straightforward chapter. Had the idea for this whilst toiling away at work and couldn't resist posting it. Like many others, I just can't see Keitaro hooking up with Naru. Strangely enough, I haven't found many with him dating Mutsumi either. So here's my take on what might happen if he did. There is more coming, so if any of you are actually bored enough to be still reading this, by all means come back for more. I won't complain. Oh, and the rope reference is to something that happened when Keitaro and Naru had to share a hotel room once during the series. He tied himself up so she would feel safe while asleep, or some such.