AN: This is the 2015 revised version of the one-shot I wrote in 2007. Hope the edits will make this a better read. Enjoy!
Please be aware that this one-shot is part of my Motoko/Keitaro series and takes place during the time skip between Another Promise and Forgotten Promise. The series deviates from canon from the point when Naru was accepted into Toudai, but here, Keitaro still failed. As of this point in the fanfic storyline, Motoko and Keitaro are already in a relationship. Naru no longer lives at Hinatasou.
Disclaimer: I do not own Love Hina, Naruto, Bleach, or Taming of the Shrew and other Shakespearean works I've made references to.
To wound thy lord, thy king, thy governor:
It blots thy beauty as frosts do bite the meads,
She clenched her left fist and grunted, her right vigorously jabbing her pencil into the page where it read "lord," "king," and "governor."
Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper,
Thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee,
She parted her quivering lips just enough to show her sharp canines, tearing into the page where it read "lord," "life," "keeper," "head," and "sovereign." She hissed and growled. The student on the opposite carrel looked up from her homework.
But love, fair looks and true obedience;
Too little payment for so great a debt.
The scratch of her nails made deep scars on the wooden table. The student jumped at the screeching sound. She paid no heed though, proceeding to black out the two lines with pencil lead.
I am ashamed that women are so simple
To offer war where they should kneel for peace;
Or seek for rule, supremacy and sway,
When they are bound to serve, love and obey.
"Serve your ass! I'll serve your head on a silver platter!" she yelled. The library couldn't have been more silent. Even the computers seemed to have stopped humming in hopes of quelling her anger.
Why are our bodies soft and weak and smooth,
Unapt to toil and trouble in the world,
But that our soft conditions and our hearts
Should well agree with our external parts?
She had had enough. Every muscle on her trained body contracted with scrunching sounds. The librarians started evacuating everyone. This was going to be a record-breaking earthquake.
"Son of a sucker, you can slurp my shit, Shakespeare!"
She punched the ground and the library crumbled to dust. Aoyama Motoko, age 20, would never realize she had just made brilliant use of the literary device: alliteration.
Then vail your stomachs, for it is no boot,
And place your hands below your husband's foot:
In token of which duty, if he please,
My hand is ready; may it do him ease.
But so be it. At least the last four lines of Katharina Minola's speech never managed to reach her eyes...
Summer Special: The Shrew's Promise of Revenge
"Motoko-han, how could you do something like that?" Tsuruko asked as she took Motoko out of the police station. The head librarian and the policewoman were sympathetic towards Motoko's anger and decided not to lay charges on her if she agreed to be confined to her home for a month and pay for the damages. Tsuruko, of course, gladly accepted the offer in her sister's stead and paid a five million yen deposit before taking her home.
"It was only natural for a respectable woman as myself to be angered over something as despicable as what I read, Ane-ue," Motoko reasoned. Tsuruko sighed.
"I mean…you don't have to vaporize a library and knock half of Tokyo's buildings off its foundations because of that," Tsuruko answered. For once, she was glad they were on the Rim of Fire. It made an excellent excuse for shaking structures.
"I apologize," Motoko stated plainly. Tsuruko sighed again.
Because during the incident, Urashima Keitaro was knocked unconscious by the fall of a dozen Motoko's rock-hard mochi attempts, it was decided that he would be unable to take care of her for the time being. So, it was only natural for Motoko to be under house arrest at the Shinmeiryuu Dojo. Besides, Tsuruko was certain her sister wasn't in the best of mood to deal with men - she wasn't about to waste all her life savings on bail should Motoko destroy the Japanese capital.
Speaking of which, where would she find the money to rebuild a library?
"Where's the newspaper, Ane-ue?" Motoko asked on a bright, summer morning. She just came back from training in the woods and decided it was about time to keep herself updated with current events.
"Why are you so interested, Motoko-han?" Tsuruko asked, hiding the masses of newspaper in her white gi.
"It's not about interest. It's a routine. Like kendo practise."
To say Motoko wasn't getting frustrated was a lie. It had been the fifth morning in a row her sister had asked such bizarre questions when she tried to read the newspaper. Was there something on it that her sister was trying to hide?
"Are you saying kendo is not your interest?" Tsuruko queried, her eyes glowing red with tremendous ki whirling about her.
Kami-sama…why is this happening to me again? I just want to read the newspaper, goddamnit! And why isn't there internet at this godforsaken place!?
Tsuruko's katana flashed in the sunlight and sliced the air where Motoko had been standing a split second ago. Motoko scurried away as quickly as she could while Tsuruko chopped right through the table standing between them. Drawing the Hina Blade, Motoko managed to block an incoming slash, but Tsuruko's ki was so strong it sent her flying back into the wall. Motoko had hardly enough time to wipe the blood off the corner of her mouth when a perfectly-aimed "Raimeiken" sent her crashing through the wall onto hard ground outside the dojo.
"Amateurish as usual, Motoko-han," Tsuruko commented when she walked through the hole that Motoko's body had made.
"P-P-Please spare me, Ane-ue!" Motoko begged, backing up against a tree as if Tsuruko were some super-pervert from an alternate universe called Naruto.
Jiraiya sneezed. Was Tsunade cursing his talent in analyzing the female anatomy again?
"Spare you? Sure, but you must stop your unfeminine ways."
"Because you are too weak to be a shrew!" Tsuruko screamed into the skies to the almighty Kami-sama who roared in approval, accompanied by flashes of lighting that appeared out of nowhere to defy the laws of meteorology.
Motoko's life flashed before her eyes - harsh training under the waterfalls of doom, putting up with great beasts as turtles and males and male turtles, and those words - Shakespeare's words. Shakespeare was her test! Shakespeare was the gate to her power! A strong sense of feminism swelled in her soul accompanied by ki that rushed to every inch of her body like never before.
"Too weak to be a shrew, huh?" Motoko howled.
It was Tsuruko's time to cower as if Motoko were some super-pervert.
Jiraiya sneezed again. Damn Tsunade.
"Kyahhhhhhhhhhhhh!" Motoko screamed a deafening battle cry while charging towards Tsuruko, her hands clasping the Hina Blade as if possessed by its powers. The land ripped apart under her steps, rocks squashed and splattered like tofu upon impact with her ki. Debris rose into the atmosphere to turn the otherwise nice day into hell when a "Hiken Zankuusen" blasted half the forest away. Tsuruko thanked the heavens for her agility.
"Err…" Tsuruko muttered, trying to come up with something cool to say, "just…chillax, would you?"
"I don't give a damn about merging words together!" Motoko slammed her katana down with a "Hiken Fuujin Ranbu" that swept the other half of the forest away.
"How about rechill then?" Tsuruko asked instead with a cold sweatdrop running down the side of her cheek.
"How can I rechill when I haven't chilled yet!?" Motoko screamed above the echo of her previous statement. A well-aimed "Zantetsusan" travelling beyond the speed of light was all it took for Tsuruko to fall, muttering her curses about how Einstein's laws never worked in fanfictions.
"I think I've calmed down. Where was I again?" Motoko asked, poking a very black Tsuruko.
"In the process of freezing yourself with the Sode no Shirayuki," Tsuruko answered. It was obvious she read too much Bleach.
Rukia could hear her zanpakutou's complaining, but she was too busy watching Chappy the Rabbit on her (ie. Ichigo's) television set to care.
Keitaro stared at the refrigerator, a few lumps adorning the top of his head. It had been several nights since the disaster of Motoko cooking. The poor residents of Hinatasou already had to last through the blandness of Motoko's samurai meal, but worse yet, she decided to make mochi as compensation, which they swore nearly cracked their teeth. If only they could just throw the mochi away, except Motoko demanded (with her katana) that they finish their food to show gratefulness towards Kami-sama's blessings. Seriously, the blessing of rock-hard mochi was probably worse than starving to death. It was only after Keitaro claimed that they were full (when they really weren't) and used the excuse to stuff the food into the fridge that they were saved from Motoko's wrath. Luckily, an earthquake (or so they thought) came the next day and for some reason, Motoko vanished after the event, so they could finally get rid of the mochi at Keitaro's expense.
That said, the fridge looked rather empty. Keitaro dug around for any remaining edibles that might've been stashed in a secret compartment somewhere...
While he was doing that, Kaolla kicked his head into a bowl of natto. "What was that - gurgle gurgle - for?" Keitaro asked while struggling to take the sticky bowl off his face. Kaolla helped by pulling on his arm, causing him to tumble to the ground with the bowl still stuck. He wondered why he never got a spinal injury in situations as these.
Giving up on the bowl, Kaolla just turned back to the article in her hand and shouted, "Motoko is on the newspaper!" Hearing that, Kitsune and Shinobu came into the kitchen to see what was going on.
"Isn't this the ad section?" Shinobu asked. Kitsune read the title above Motoko's picture.
"Become-Aoyama-Motoko's-Husband-Contest?" Kitsune read. That shocked Keitaro so much he exerted superhuman strength to pry the bowl off so he could read the paper with natto slime still dripping off his skin.
"Is Tsuruko-san selling Motoko-chan?" Keitaro asked, pointing shakily at the tiny text below the picture.
"Seems like it…" Kitsune replied. What was she to think when the text read:
Any male is welcome to compete upon paying a registration fee of one million yen.
That was exactly what Motoko thought too when she finally got hold of the newspaper stuck up Tsuruko's gi.
"Are you trying to sell me, Ane-ue!?" Motoko yelled. Tsuruko remained speechless while sipping her tea until Motoko's spirit pressure blasted her cup apart without even touching it.
Tsuruko put up her hands in surrender, cold sweat soaking her back.
"Of course I wasn't trying to do something like that, Motoko-han. I was only trying to get you a good husband!"
"Then what's with this contest that any male can enter as long as they pay a one million yen registration fee? That is clearly selling me!"
"Well, I didn't really say that, did I?"
"What do you mean? It is right on the page!"
"I don't see the verb 'to sell'…"
Motoko refused to look at her sister who ignored her cries about not wanting to get married months after her coming-of-age ceremony. Sure, she was dating "someone" at the moment, but she wasn't really thinking about marriage just yet. Besides, if there were to be a freaking contest, then "he" would definitely lose.
Okay, what was "he" good at again? Tumbling into women's baths, slipping on everything and anything, landing on female breasts then getting sent on lower earth orbits?
Add failing Toudai entrance exams to that list.
If she could make a contest on how to fail in life, then maybe he'd win top prize. But if the contest were really structured that way, she'd imagine the other contestants wouldn't be too happy. I mean, who would be, after paying a million yen to enter a contest like that? Besides, she wasn't going to let "him" off that easily, even if she did like him.
"Don't worry about it. He would do well in the contest, I promise," Tsuruko reassured.
"I don't want to hear it from you, Sister-seller!"
Back at Hinatasou. Keitaro was staring at the newspaper article with large, watery eyes while Shinobu tried her best to comfort him.
"I can lend you money, Keitaro," Kaolla said too, patting his head.
"Thank you!" Keitaro screamed his gratitude, only to find later that Kaolla's money was all in foreign bills. "What is the exchange rate for these?"
"They can't be exchanged for Japanese currency, Idiot," Kitsune stated plainly, "Wouldn't you have thought I would've stolen them to buy alcohol long ago if they could?"
That might be true, but you didn't have to say it out loud, right? Kitsune...
"How could you be so mean to me when I'm already emotionally scarred, Kitsune-san!?" Keitaro cried, tears falling out his eyes to fill the inn like a hose. Kitsune was definitely getting scared when the water reached chest-deep.
"Okay, I'll lend you money. Just stop trying to murder us!" Kitsune shouted.
Shinobu and Kaolla nodded their heads in unison.
Keitaro paused. "Really?"
"Yeah, yeah, as long as you return it to me with 3000 percent interest, compounded by second."
That got Keitaro crying again. In the end, Kitsune had to beg him to believe she was just joking, that she would even help him come up with a confession speech so that he would stop crying with the water level a millimetre below Kitsune's nose. Yes, Shinobu and Kaolla sank, but Love Hina characters can't exactly die, right?
The days passed quickly, and the end of the month finally came. Released from house arrest, Motoko joined her sister at the front entrance of the dojo where the Become-Aoyama-Motoko's-Husband-Contest was to take place. Unfortunately for Tsuruko, this was the day she had to pay the compensation fee to the library, so she prayed that enough stupid men would show up...
And a bunch of them did! A million yen registration fee didn't seem to be much of a deterrence. There were old perverts (ie. Jiraiya), middle-aged perverts (ie. Ebisu), young perverts (ie. Keigo) and even perverted modified souls (ie. Kon). All in all, there were a lot of perverted men in the line-up, which made Motoko's fan club very unhappy because as females, they were not allowed to enter the contest. What was this misogyny!? What was this heteronormativity!? This was the twenty-first century yo dumb fucks!
Motoko sighed. It wasn't as though killing Tsuruko would help, but honestly, she wasn't sure whether she could hold onto her sanity by the end of all this.
Soon enough, the first round began! What was the first round about again? It was a quiz show, complete with shiny buttons and buzzers, just as advertised on TV! The men's hands shook from where they hovered above the buttons, ready to press on them.
"Question One," Tsuruko started, "Where…"
She was cut short by Shirai's buzzer and his response, "Hinatasou!"
"Why the hell are you here? Aren't you infatuated by Haruka-obasan?" Keitaro shouted at his friend.
"She's freaking married! Don't bring out my old scars!"
And so Motoko sighed again.
"Question Two," Tsuruko started once more, "How old…"
"20!" came the answer from Haitani.
"Traitor!" Keitaro screamed.
Motoko sighed another time.
"Question Three," Tsuruko said, "What fears…"
"Turtles and my beautiful Tsuruko-sama," Kentaro answered.
"I guess that is…somewhat correct," Tsuruko nodded, though not without first glaring at the guy who was hitting on her while at the same time fighting to be her sister's husband. What has become of the world these days? She felt awfully old all of a sudden.
Motoko swore she was tired of sighing.
"Last question," Tsuruko yelled, causing the men's hands to quiver more, "How much taller…"
"Four cm taller than me!" Keitaro shouted, earning him a thrown shinai on the head in addition to a place on the second round of the contest.
Consequently, Shirai, Haitani, Kentaro and Keitaro stood there dumbly for the second round to start.
"This round, you have to get something edible for Motoko-han. You have half an hour. Get ready, my Iron Chefs...Begin!"
"How can we cook without anything?" they all asked bewilderedly. Not that Tsuruko cared, seeing as she was already counting the money from their entrance fees.
Shirai and Haitani sat there staring at each other, Kentaro praised himself for having brought mint candy, and Keitaro frantically ran in circles. He finally disappeared into the forest and came back with a leaf-wrapped object.
"So, what do you have, Shirai?" Tsuruko asked.
"And you, Haitani?"
"Myself. I'm taller than Shirai so more bones."
"I'm fatter that Haitani, so more meat!"
"And you, Kentaro?" Tsuruko asked when she turned to the rich guy.
"At least that's edible," came Motoko's angry murmur.
"And you, Keitaro?" Tsuruko asked, pointing at the object in his hand, "What's that?"
Keitaro opened the leaf and Tsuruko picked up the object, or animal rather.
Motoko nearly fainted seeing her two greatest fears standing side by side.
Anyway, Keitaro and Kentaro advanced to the third and final round because they were the only ones to produce something edible (though Motoko attested that she'd rather eat Shirai or Haitani over Keitaro's choice).
Well, so what was the final round? Because the author, I, am too tired and running out of ideas, it would be a sappy confession. Let's see how Kentaro does it!
"Journeys end in lovers meeting, every wise man's son doth know!" Kentaro starts.
"Twelfth Night, Act two, Scene three, Lines 44-45," Motoko mumbled in frustration.
"Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind..."
"A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act one, Scene one, Line 234." Motoko's mumble was growing in the amplitude of its sound.
"That man that hath a tongue, I say is no man," Kentaro proceeds to say while pointing at Keitaro with a raging finger, "If with his tongue he cannot win a woman!"
"The Two Gentlemen from Verona, Act three, Scene one, Lines 104-105," Motoko yelled. Kentaro stumbled backwards and tripped on Keitaro's turtle, "Canst thou do me well by shutting up?"
That shut him up well.
It was then Keitaro's turn. His hand shook as he stared at Kitsune's speech. It was Shakespeare…except much worse than Kentaro's selections. It was no other than Katharina Minola's words from the last scene of Taming of the Shrew.
"Fie, fie! Unknit that threatening unkind brow," Keitaro commenced. Motoko could recognize that line anywhere, anytime, but she decided to let him continue. She never reached the last four lines of the speech anyways, so perhaps if she let him continue, she would gain a new attack "Kessen Ouji - Shin Shinmeiken" that would sweep the entirety of Kyoto off the world map.
"In token of which duty, if he please, my hand is ready; may it do him ease," Keitaro finished Katharina's speech with sweat dropping profusely from the rising ki. Already, the rocks were levitated into the air as though they were light as feathers!
"What are you trying to hint at, Urashima!?" Motoko hissed, her hand at the hilt of her katana. Keitaro thanked God that Kitsune's speech still had several lines to go.
"These are Katharina Minola's opinions on how women should act," Keitaro began, gulping as Motoko's blade became unsheathed and ki lashed uncontrollably from its shining edge, "b-b-but if this were how the world worked…I would willingly be the wife if you were my husband!"
Silence, followed by an eruption of laughter.
At least Motoko sheathed her katana.
"I want this husband!"
And so Tsuruko couldn't get any happier as she forced the two into traditional wedding clothes and sat them down in front of the little shrine she had prepared.
"Do you really want to get rid of me so desperately?" Motoko asked.
Tsuruko's smile looked somewhat artificial.
- End -