A Friend in Need…
Disclaimer: I do not own 'Love Hina'. I don't know who does, but it's safe to say it's not me. How do I know this? Easy! Because you don't see MY name written about here on every fic, do you. If the real owners have an issue with me borrowing their idea and using it in a non-profit kinda way, all they have to do is ask and it shall be deleted. Simple as that!
Notes: I started writing this before I had ever seen the anime, so it might be a little weird for the first few chapters. I have since discovered that it fits pretty well within cannon, so I am going to leave it as is. The basic idea of 'what if Kitsune decides to take an active interest in Keitaro' has been doing the rounds lately, so if this seems similar to anyone else's fic, my apologies. I started this late in '06, so any similarities are purely coincidental. Thanks! Also, I have no idea where a scenario like this would fit into cannon, so pick your own spot. In fact, just assume that the whole thing takes place in an alternate dimension, a heartbeat away from what's considered cannon. And just so you know, this story will contain swearing, shouting, WAFFiness, drama, romance, the odd chuckle and occasional beat-down on everyone's favourite Kanrinin at random moments throughout the fic. Enjoy!
CHAPTER 1: Understanding
Mitsune Konno, A.K.A. 'Kitsune', was reclining on the couch in the common room, resting up after a hard day of incorrectly guessing which horses were going to cross the line first when she spied the Kanrinin of the Hinata-Sou girls' dorm, Keitaro Urashima, entering via the front door. Taking in the limp, his rumpled clothes and the foliage attached to various parts of his body, she correctly guessed that he had once again managed to trip and land inappropriately upon one of the other girls in his care. 'Damn, Naru's punch is really getting stronger as she gets older!', she thought to herself as she recognised some of the flowers adorning his head as only occurring in two of the city's parks, both of which were situated on the other side of town from where the hotel is located.
As he staggered up the stairs towards his room/office, she decided that now might be a good time to try and flirt her way out of paying a weeks rent while he was still groggy, seeing as she had just blown most of it on some very slow nags. Opening some buttons on her shirt and giving the 'twins' a lift, she followed him at a discreet distance so that she would reach his door just as he was about to close it. "Hi, Kei!" She announced brightly, fighting to keep the sly gleam out of her eyes until she had what she wanted. Her nickname was not 'The Fox' for nothing.
"Who? Oh. Hi, Kitsune." He said in a flat voice. "Whatever it is, can it wait for a few minutes? I just need to get cleaned up." He pulled out his shirt and gave it a shake for effect.
"So I can see!" She smirked. "What'd you do to piss them off this time?"
He glared at her. "Does it matter? The result was the same. POW! Whoosh! Keitaro go bye-bye in that direction." He replied in the same dull monotone as he pointed over his shoulder out the window.
'Is he like this every time he gets back?' Kitsune mused to herself. 'Why haven't I noticed it before?' The first, faint stirrings of sympathy were making themselves known at the back of her mind. Shaking them away for the moment, she concentrated on her purpose for being here. "Well, you're back now, safe and sound. Anyway, can I come in and have a chat?" She presented him with her best puppy-dog eyes look.
Unable to resist a request by ANY of the women in his care, he shrugged and turned to go further into his room. "Sure. Come on in. But not too long, okay? I still have things to do."
Stepping in and locking the door behind her, Kitsune pounced on him and pressed herself into his back while rubbing her hands over him. "The reason I'm here is that I've kinda come up short in the Yen department this week and I need an extension." She breathed into his ear as she continued to draw circles on his chest with her fingers. "Just for a week. Or two." As she felt him tremble slightly in her embrace, she grinned to herself. 'Same old Keitaro! I wonder if his nose is bleeding yet.' She reached up to pick out some of the twigs stuck in his hair absently as she waited for his expected capitulation. Thus distracted, she did not notice his head twist and follow the path of her hand along the side of his face. However, she did notice that something was not going according to the established script when his hands came up and gently stroked the arm still wrapped around his body. 'What the…'
Coming back to the here-and-now, Kitsune watched with fascination as he leant his face into the hand that was sliding through his hair, combing out the flora trapped there. Repeating the gesture, she was shocked to see him press a bit more forcefully into her palm. Her curiosity fully aroused now, she slid her fingers across his cheek, under his chin and slowly turned him around. As he faced her, she noticed that his eyes were shut and a peaceful expression graced his features. Grabbing his chin between her thumb and forefinger, Kitsune gently shook his head to gain his attention.
"Kei-Keitaro?" She stammered.
His eyes fluttered open.
"What just happened?" She asked in a soft voice, her cheeks slightly flushed at his reactions to her touch.
Reality returned as Keitaro became fully aware of how he had just acted towards her. With a strangled gasp, he pulled away from her while he frantically wrapped his arms around his head in a defensive posture and stumbled backwards. "Sorrysorrysorrysorry" He yelled repeatedly as he tripped over the corner of his sleeping futon and scrambled backwards until he reached the corner of the room. Unable to retreat any further, he curled up into a ball and waited for the inevitable beating.
Kitsune watched his actions with a look of fascinated horror. 'What's he panicking for? He didn't do anything wrong?' As soon as this thought appeared, another followed it almost immediately. 'Since when has THAT ever mattered!' Shame began to bloom in her mind as she realised the truth of that statement. The tiny part of her that wondered if she could use this to her advantage was quickly stuffed in the smallest, most uncomfortable sake bottle she could find, sealed, and thrown deep into the Pacific Ocean by the rest of her mind.
"Keitaro?" She whispered as she knelt down beside him and reached out tentatively. She nearly burst into tears when he flinched at her touch. 'Oh, Kami-sama! What have we done to you?' "Kei? Kei please. Look at me." He shook his head violently, as if doing such a thing would only increase his punishment. "Kei, its Mitsune. Have I ever raised my hand at you?" His head stopped shaking, although the trembling continued.
"Have I ever attacked you physically, in any way?"
"That's right, I haven't. Nor am I going to start." 'Especially after what I've just seen!' "So please, look at me."
Slowly, fearfully, Keitaro did as he was asked.
"That's better." She gave him a reassuring smile. "I'm sorry if I frightened you with my question, Keitaro. I didn't mean to. Do you believe me?"
He nodded slightly.
"Good." She sighed with relief. "I was just curious about your reaction to me glomping you. That's all. You've never done that before."
Seeing him start to withdraw mentally again, she let out another slow breath. Suddenly, the words she had to say to get him to respond came to her. Buttoning her shirt up to the collar to remove her 'distractions' from the conversation, she spoke in a firm yet sympathetic manner.
"Keitaro, what you say will not leave this room. Nor will I ever use it against you, in any way. 'The Fox' is locked outside. The only person in this room with you right now is Mitsune Konno, your friend." Once again, she reached out and rested a hand on his arm lightly. To her relief, he did not flinch this time.
"You promise? " He asked, looking at her hopefully.
"I promise." She answered solemnly, looking him in the eye as she responded.
"Alright." Sitting up a bit straighter, he leant his head back until it rested on the wall. Drawing in a shuddering breath, he cast about for the words to explain his actions. "Well, I sort of knew what you were after the moment you attached yourself to my back." He gave her a brief, shy smile. "You're not very subtle when you want something from me." Closing his eyes, he continued hesitantly. "But, while you were rubbing yourself against me, I realised something."
"What?" She prompted, becoming increasingly curious as to where this was going.
"You're soft." Mitsune blushed a bit, partly at his words, partly at the way he was again resting his head on his arms and gazing at her.
"Not only soft, but warm, and silky, and gentle. Which led to another thought: you don't hit me. You flirt with me when you want something, you occasionally get me into trouble, but you don't hurt me over nothing. And you always give me a chance to explain. Even if you still tease the crap out of me for it later." A look of regret at talking so much crossed his face briefly, followed by an air of resignation, as if he was thinking, 'well, I can't get beat up any more for what I've said. May as well keep going!' "And it felt so nice to be just held by someone for once, without being launched into orbit two seconds later when they realised what they were doing and come to their senses. So I just…gave into the sensation." He stopped talking, put his head down and awaited his fate at making such an admission aloud.
Mitsune sat back on her haunches, rocked by the young man's admission. 'Wow! What does this-? Does that mean-?' Shaking her head to clear some of the confusion out of it, she leans in again. "So what are you trying to say, Keitato? That you like me. THAT way?" There was an undercurrent of something in her voice, too subtle for Keitaro to hear in his present mental state.
"Yes…no…I don't know…I mean, I like all of the tenants here. You're all special to me. I just-" He shook his head, trying to get the thoughts out in a coherent way. "After being double-teamed by Motoko and Naru, again, it was nice to be held, even if you had an ulterior motive in mind." Scratching the back of his head nervously, he looked at her again. "So, thank-you for the hug, Mitsune. I kinda needed it. And not in a perverted way, either." He stood up slowly.
She blinked in surprise at the level of sincerity he was directing at her. "Um, you're welcome." Following him into a standing position, she thought furiously for a moment, before reaching out impulsively and embracing him again. As he froze in her arms, she whispered in his ear.
"Relax! It's okay. It's just a friendly hug, that's all. Between you and me." She soothed. "I know about your promise to your promised girl and I'm not trying to come between you and her, I promise." She felt him relax and joined him in a smile at all the 'promising' going on. "In fact, I will make a promise of my own to you Keitaro. If you need a break from the insanity of this place, or just a quiet harbour, come to my room. Or invite me into yours. Okay? No strings attached." Sensing the suspicious expression starting to form, Mitsune reassures him. "And I won't try anything. We'll just sit and talk. Or share sake and do nothing. Consider it…an oasis from the madness." Leaning back, she looked at him.
"I…um…" He struggled, trying to gauge the level of sincerety in her words. "Yeah, I'd like that. Thanks."
Mitsune beamed at him in delight. "Excellent!" Giving him another brief squeeze, she let him go. "Now, I think I had better leave, before the pervert patrol shows up! Can't have you being put into orbit for being alone with me so soon after your last flight, can we?" Stepping back, she straightens out the wrinkles in her shirt and gives her slacks a brush before turning to the door. Sliding it open, she comes face to face with a startled Naru and Motoko. 'Of course! Speak the devils name, and they appear.' "Hi guys!" Mitsune says brightly. Keitaro whimpers somewhere behind her left shoulder.
"Hey, what are you doing in-" Naru starts.
"Have you seen-" Motoko adds just before they catch sight of the kanrinin.
"KEITARO! YOU PERVERT! WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH KITSUNE TRAPPED IN YOUR ROOM?"
"URUSHIMA! TODAY, YOUR PERVERTED WAYS COME TO AN END! PREPARE TO DIE!!!"
Both girls give out their respective battle cry's as they charge into the room, only to be stopped at the entrance by Mitsune putting an arm firmly across the doorway.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa. Settle down, ladies. Nothing untoward happened in here, just a tennant having a chat with her Kanrinin." Mitsune looked on amused as they both processed her words.
Naru looked from her best friend to the manager, trying to figure out how he was controlling her thoughts. "Yeah, right! What did he do to you? Where'd he touch?"
Mitsune gave her a lecherous smirk. "Why? Jealous?" She raised an eyebrow.
A look of disgust crossed both faces. "Ew! Get your mind out of the gutter, Kitsune!"
"And please stand aside, so we may dispence justice upon the pervert." Hinata-sou's resident samurai-in-training demanded, trying to push her way past Mitsune and into the room. Keitaro saw this and began seriously considering jumping out of the window. All movement halted with Mitsune's next question.
"Are you calling me a liar?" She said softly. They all looked at her in confusion. Naru recovered first.
"Huh? What? No! How could you say that?" She demanded, shocked that her best friend could even think such a thing.
"What else can I think, when I've told both of you that nothing bad happened in this room between Keitaro and myself, and you still want to beat the crap out of him. Where's the honour in attacking an innocent man?" She asked, looking straight at Motoko. Seeing the swordswoman lower her head, she returned her gaze to her friend. "Or maybe…you want to hurt him for no reason, other than to inflict pain on someone who won't fight back."
Naru looked at her friend as if she had slapped her across the face. "Why…where's this coming from, Kitsune?"
"I told you nothing happened. You chose not to believe me." Mitsune fixed her with an angry glare. "That hurt, lots!" Stepping towards them suddenly to force them away from the door, she turned and smiled at Keitaro. "What I said before still stands, Kei-kun." Reaching out, she plucked out a flower still tangled in his hair. Twirling it by the stem between her fingers, she gave him a coy smile. "You should get cleaned up before dinner. You look like crap!" Closing the door on his bemused expression, she turned and made her way towards her own room, giving the other girls a significant glance as she passed them. "See you two at the dinner table. Don't do anything rash, now." Just as she turned the corner, she heard one of them say, "Kei-kun?" Smiling, she began to think of ways to help Keitaro. 'After all, getting him into trouble has become way too easy. Finding ways to stop him being launched across the city, now THAT will be a challenge!'
Grinning as her mind began working the angles on this new test of her abilities, she was easily able to ignore the small thought that was wondering about her true motives in this venture.
Notes: Yay, first chapter out of the way! I am intending this to begin as a friendship fic. Not sure if it will stay that way. Let me know what you think, one way or the other. T