A/N: Hello, SecondSeraphim here to tell everyone about my new fanfiction, Tea Among Friends. Yes I know it's a stupid title, but sadly thinking up titles has never been my strong point when it came to writing. Anyway, this is a Keitaro/Kitsune fic set right after Keitaro told Naru that he loved her after breaking his leg. For the most part it uses manga continuity, but if I make any mistakes please point them out me ok? Enjoy.
Some Tea Between Friends
A Keitaro/Kitsune fanfiction
Contrary to popular belief, Kitsune didn't enjoy being a drunk. It consumed all her money, it lessoned people's image of her, and it caused fights between her and her best friend who was only concerned about her health. On the upside it made her forget that she didn't have any money, made her not care what people thought about her, and helped her ignore arguments had with best friends.
This was the reason why she had drunkenly stumbled up the steps and through the front door of Hinata-Su at nearly two in the morning. She was about to make her way up the stairs to her room when she heard a noise coming from the kitchen. A moment later a head popped out.
"Kitsune? Is that you?" Keitaro asked. Giving her a once over he frowned and asked if she was ok. Embarrassed at being caught, she glanced down at herself. Dressed in a skimpy grey top and tight fitting jeans, she looked like she was out for a good time.
Ironically enough she had gone out looking for a good time, just not the same kind most people would assume from looking at her.
Even though she had looked her best going out, she suspected that the excessive drink she had consumed that night had done its part in making her look even more like the slut everyone thought her to be. Ironically, the only reason she had gone out that night was because of accusations of that very nature, from someone she had thought to be her friend (and knew, deep down, still was). And yet now, here she was drunk as whistle, with that very person's love interest asking her if she was ok after she stumbled in at two in the morning.
Realizing how she must look and smell, she suddenly found herself wishing he wouldn't looking at her. The thought of what she must look like to him made her sick to her stomach.
No wait...that was the alcohol...
Pushing by him she made a run for the nearest bathroom, making it just in time to vomit in the toilet instead of all over the floor. Letting loose, she emptied her stomach of most of the night's toxin, plus that day's dinner.
It was several minutes before she was able to stand, and it was then that she noticed that Keitaro had been standing behind her, holding her hair.
"You..you don't need to hold my hair for me. It's why I keep it so short in the first place." she told him. As one who often came home drunk, she had realized that having short hair was just plain practical for someone who spent as much time as she did bent over a toilet seat.
Letting go of her and stepping back, he asked if she was ok.
"Yeah," she answered, standing up. This proved the be a mistake however as another bout of queasiness hit her causing her to drop back to the ground and empty out the rest of her dinner and drink. Keitaro didn't hold her hair this time, but instead placed his hand on her shoulder for support, and when she was done helped her stand slowly.
"Can you walk on your own?" Keitaro asked her. Glancing at him out of the corner of her eye, Kitsune nodded. "I think so."
And so he let her go. She must have been more out of it than she thought, because almost immediately after he had let go of her she began falling down. Rather then the hard floor hitting her though, a pair of arms wrapped themselves around her stopping her midfall. "I gotcha." he grunted out, pulling her to her feet. Kitsune knew better then to argue. The two began making their way out into the hallway; a feat complicated by her intoxication and his broken leg. Still, they managed to make it out into the hallway. Kitsune was about to insist that he allow her to make her way to her room alone when he started pulling her toward the kitchen instead. When she pointed this out to him he smiled at her.
"You need to get some liquids into your system after all that vomiting Kitsune. Otherwise you'll get sick."
Grunting in acknowledgement, she allowed him to guide her to the kitchen table, where he turned to get her a cup for her tea. Glancing at the table as she sat down, she saw that it was covered with various papers and an open book.
"You were studying this late?" Kitsune asked her landlord.
"Yeah," he replied without looking up, "Couldn't sleep." he turned and set the cup in front of her before sitting back down in front of his books.
"I should leave then." she said, ignoring the cup and standing up the best she could. She was stopped from moving by Keitaro's hand on her sleeve.
"Please, stay." He begged. "I could use the company. Plus you really need to drink something before you go to bed."
"But you need to study..."
"I can finish tomorrow," was his reply.
"I don't want your pity" Kitsune said weakly. Keitaro looked at her in surprise.
"I don't pity you Mitsune" he said, using her real name in place of her nickname. Kitsune let out a short laugh, stopping when it sent a wave of pain through he head. Seeing this, Keitaro pushed the cup of tea closer to her. Glaring at him slightly, she nonetheless returned to her seat and accepted the cup, downing it in almost one gulp. Without missing a beat Keitaro moved to refill it for her.
"Sure you do", she said after taking a sip of the second cup. "Why wouldn't you?" she asked bitterly, "Everyone does. I'm a drunk after all." She took another sip. "Good tea by the way."
"And I'm a clumsy pervert who's flunked the Todai enterence exams three times. Nobody's perfect." he replied, ignoring her attempt to change the topic. He took a sip of his own cup, then glanced at it in amusement before setting it down.
"What's so funny?'
"Not as good as Shinobu's" he replied, gesturing toward his cup. Kitsune stared at him for a moment before breaking out into a laugh, a real one this time. One that surprisingly didn't leave her feeling as if she had been hit in the head with a hammer.
"What's so funny?" Keitaro asked, looking slightly hurt for a moment, before splitting into a grin a moment later.
"Sorry, sorry," she managed to get out, "It's just that...I've never known anyone able to avoid a change in topic and flow with it at the same time. You surprised me. Not many people can."
"I've noticed that" he answered dryly, before breaking into another grin. A moment later the grin left his face to be replaced by a look of seriousness.
"I might not pity you Kitsune, but I do worry about you. All that alcohol can't be good for you."
"Probably not," Kitsune replied shrugging, "We each gotta die someday, I'm just choosing the way I go out."
"Personally I'd rather go out running from the cops then stepping into the hangman's noose." Keitaro replied back to her. "Not that I intend to go anytime soon mind you. And you shouldn't either.
"Keitaro please," Kitsune interrupted, "I hear enough of this from Naru and Motoko. I don't need to hear it from you too."
"They only do it because they care about you." Keitaro said, standing up to wash the now empty tea cups and pot, "And I do too. I'm not asking you to stop drinking. I'm just asking you to be careful, maybe cut down a little." Giving her a brief hug as he passed her, he was just about to turn the water on to do the dishes when she spoke.
Keitaro paused, his hand halfway to the faucet. "Why what?"
"Why do you care about me?"
Keitaro put another pot on to boil and sat back down.
"Because you're my friend and a good person." He answered, placing his hands over hers and looking her in the eye. Kitsune tried her best to find a hint of a lie or an ulterior motive in his face, but found none.
"How can you so that? How can you believe something like that? On what basis could you possibly say that I'm a good person?"
"Am I wrong?" he asked?
"Yes!" she yelled at him, slamming her hands on the table and standing up quickly. She immediately regretted it as a wave of nausea passed over her. Sitting back down she rubbed her head. A moment later she looked back up at Keitaro.
"I'm a drunk, a trickster and a thief. I spend all my money of sake and horses, and most of yours for that matter. In the whole time you've been here I haven't once paid my rent on time, instead opting to spend it on more cheap, useless sake!" Totally spent, she waited for his response, positive that he would agree with her. So it was to her surprise when instead of yelling at her he stood and walked over to the sick to get a paper towel, pausing to take the new batch of tea off the stove. Returning to the table he sat in the chair next to hers and took her face into his hands, wiping the tears off her face.
She hadn't even known she's been crying.
By the time he was finished wiping her eyes she had calmed down somewhat from the previous outbreak. Pouring herself a cup from the new pot, she took a sip and was about to apologize for it when Keitaro spoke first.
"Your not wrong," he began, making her freeze as his words hit her heart. "But..." he continued, making her look up, "you're not right either."
"What?" she asked, her voice cracking. "What are you talking about?"
"You are a drunk." he stated simply, "You are a trickster. And you are a thief," he said. "But!" he said on seeing her face, "you forgot one thing."
"What?" Kitsune asked, not sure if she wanted to hear the answer or not. Keitaro leaned in closer to her, causing her to subconsciously lean in as well.
"You admit it."
"You admit it. You admit to being a drunk. You admit to being a trickster. And you admit to being a thief." He leaned back in his seat. "And as long as you can acknowledge it, admit to it, you can change it. You can stop being a drunk, a trickster, and a thief." He smiled and gave her a V for victory sign. Kitsune ignored it though and merely stared at him. After a few he started getting worried, but his fears were laid to rest as she finally spoke.
"You...you really think I can change?"
"Of course." he answered smiling. Then he signed and leaned back in. "I didn't say it will be easy. It will be very hard, and there will be slip-ups. But I think you can do it, as long as you have friends there to support you."
Upon hearing this Kitsune looked at his face, searching, almost desperate to find some hint of an ulterior motive, some proof that he didn't really believe what he was saying.
She found none.
He had looked at her, and seen not the sex object or lazy bum that most people see but had seen her. Not Kitsune, the fox. Mitsune Konno, the person.
He had seen her flaws, her imperfection. But they didn't matter to him, they were impertinent. How she was didn't matter, what mattered was that she could change.
And he had used reverse psychology, the oldest trick in the book, to get her, the trickster, to admit it.
"...how the hell did you get so smart?"
"Hey, you're looking at a Todai student remember." he answered, beaming proudly.
"One who hasn't even attended classes yet if I recall." she shot back at him. She regretted it instantly however as she saw the look that crossed his face.
"Oh honey, I'm sorry I shouldn't have said anything." She apologized to him, "I know how important getting in to Todai was for you, and I'm sorry you haven't been able to attend classes yet." She said sincerely. Caught of guard at her apology, Keitaro laughed.
"No, it's ok. I mean I can deal with taking a little break from studying anyway, so it's not the end of the world."
"Oh?" Kitsune asked, amused at the way Keitaro was rubbing the back of his head. "Well, you wouldn't think so with the way you and Naru have been...acting lately..." she finished as she noticed the look on Keitaro's face when she said Naru's name. It had only been for a fraction of a second before the mask was firmly back in place. Anyone else would have missed it, but Kitsune had experience with this sort of thing and had seen it at once.
"Keitaro..." Kitstune spoke slowly and carefully, "Did something happen between you and Naru?"
For a brief moment Keitaro froze, then he lowered his arms with a sigh and picked up his tea as if he was going to take a drink, but instead just held it. With another sigh, he put the cup back down and covered his face with his hands.
"I told her that I loved her."
Kitsune froze, unsure if she had heard right. "You what?"
"I told her that I loved her." he repeated, sitting up again and looking at her. He expected to be laughed at by the foxlady, or hit even though he had never known her to hit him before. He certainly didn't expect the reaction that he did get.
"Well about time!" Kitsune exclaimed leaning over and slapping him on the back. "I was worried you'd never get around to it. Where'd you do it? When'd you do it. What did she say?"
"At the hospital on the day I broke my leg." he answered, hoping she wouldn't notice that he had neglected to answer the last question. As usual luck wasn't with him.
"Keitaro...what did she say?" Kitsune asked him, a look of worry crossing her face. "She didn't...she didn't reject you did she?" she asked, wondering if her friend could possibly be that stupid. As Keitaro shook his head no, Kitsune let out a sigh of relief before realizing that she still didn't know what had happened.
"But...if she didn't say no...she said yes?" Kitsune asked, confused over why this would be bad news. When Keitaro shook his head no again it only served to confuse her further.
"Well, what did she say?"
"Nothing?" she asked, not understanding.
"Nothing." he repeated. "Not a thing. She just left."
Suddenly, understanding hit Kitsune. And with it, anger. "She...she didn't..."she mumbled, but inside she knew that she did. Her friend, Naru Narusegawa had had a kind loving man open his heart to her and instead of dignifying it with a yes or a no had simply walked away, as if what he had done didn't even matter.
Kitsune didn't want to call her friend that. But there were no other words for what she had done.
"That BITCH." she practically snarled, perhaps a little too loudly as Keitaro clamped his hands over her mouth. "Shhh! Quiet, you'll wake everybody up!" he explained, letting her go. She was half tempted to do just that, bringing them all downstairs so that she could reveal to the other girls just what their friend had down to their manger's heart, dragging Naru downstairs by her hair if she had to. She could just imagine the look of disgust that would have been their faces as they heard what she had done.
But she knew that Keitaro would never forgive her for doing something like that to her, plus there was always the likelihood that either Naru or Motoko would come down to investigate her scream, see her and Keitaro in the same room together, and jump to the wrong conclusion before sending their kanrinin skyward once again.
No. She won't let that happen to him ever again. No more calling him a pervert either. He was much to nice a guy to go through the crap that those two put him through. Not that she and Su were that innocent either. Sure, Su meant well, but she still needed a talking to, and she herself had taken advantage of their kanrinin's kindness too often.
'No more...' she told herself, 'we all need to stop. Pretty much the only one of us who never took advantage of him was young Shinobu,' she mused. If their resident cook had only been a bit older she would have given Naru a run for her money. Sadly, time was against her. She knew that if Keitaro had confessed his love to her, Shinobu would have said "yes" immediately.
It was then, to her shock, that Kitsune realized that she might have as well.
She shook herself out of her musings to notice Keitaro sitting there looking at her with a worried look on her face. Realizing that he must have had asked her a question, he shook herself again before asking him to repeat himself.
"I asked if you were ok." he explained.
"I'm alright. Just...kinda angry at Naru right now," she said,thinking something else. 'Downright pissed is more like it'.
"You shouldn't be. It's my fault for saying anything in the first place and-"
"NO! This was not, I repeat NOT your fault Keitaro, do you understand me?" she demanded, grabbing hold of his shirt. All he could let out as a response was an "epp!" Letting him go, she sat back in her chair and leaned back for a moment before leaning forward to look at him again. "Listen to me. You did nothing wrong. You love Naru. You told her so. She ignored you. It was HER who messed up this time, NOT you. You got that?" To her relief, he nodded.
"Keitaro, despite what you and everyone else tells you around here you are a very bright, very handsome young man. You are allowed to have feelings without being called a pervert."
"You, you think I'm handsome?" he asked, not sure he had heard her right. Kitsune inwardly frowned; she had said handsome hadn't she? Still, she stood by it.
"Yes, you are. And if you had told any of the other girls here that you loved them, each and everyone of them - and me - would have at least had the decency to give you an answer, whether it be yes or no or even I don't know. And I know for a fact that several of the girls here would have answered yes."
By the time she had finished her rant, Kitsune was panting. Moving to take a sip of her tea, she realized that it had gotten cold. Worse, to her horror she realized that she had become sober, and the hangover was beginning to set it. Glancing at the clock, she was horrified to see that they had been talking well into the morning.
Seeing her put her cup back down without taking a sip, Keitaro realized that it must have had gone cold and moved to heat it up. Before he had even left the table though Kitsune had stopped him with her hand on his shoulder
"It's alright, I need to get to bed anyway. And you need your rest as well if you want that leg healed up." She said to him. He nodded. "Just let me wash the dishes real quick, then I can walk you up to your room ok Kitsune?" he asked.
Kitsune almost snorted. Here he was, with a broken leg, offering to walk her to her room. He truly was one of a kind. And, to be honest not that bad looking either. Suddenly the image of a muscle-bound, shirtless Keitaro popped into her head, causing her to blush.
'Naru honey, you really are an idiot'
"Sure thing." she said out loud, standing up and helping him carry the cup to the sink. While he washed them she stood alongside the sink leaning on the counter, deep in thought.
After a few moments Keitaro cleared his throat, breaking her from her concentration. "Er, Kitsune?"
"Um, remember when you said that all of the girls here would give me a yes or no answer?" He asked nervously. Kitsune didn't catch the nervousness in his voice, so involved in her little fantasy was she.
"Sure, what about it?"
"Well, uh, I was just wondering...what you would have answered."
Her eyes snapped open, the fantasy gone.
"What would I have said? Um...I don't really know." she admitted after a moment. Sure, she liked the landlord well enough, and there had certainly been the occasional fantasy, but did she love him? She just didn't know.
If he was unsatisfied with the answer she gave he didn't show it. Instead he simply finished washing the dishes and laying them out to dry over night. Turning toward Kitsune, he held her arm out to her and the two of them began to slowly make their ways to their rooms.
Pausing in the hallway in front of their respective rooms, Keitaro was about to enter his when Kitsune stopped him.
"Yes?" he asked, turning toward her, one foot already in his door.
'Would you like to come into my room for a bit?" she wanted to ask. Instead she asked a different question. "Do you really think I can stop drinking? That I can change?"
He smiled at her. "Only if you do." And with that he stepped inside and closed his door.
A/N: Well, he begins my first Love Hina fanfiction. In all the Kitsune/Keitaro fics I've read so far it usually has her noticing his problems and deciding to take in interest in his life, so I thought I'd do it the other way around. Well, that's what I intended anyway but it seems that it turned around on me mid chapter. Oh well. Drop me a review and tell me what you think. By the by, could someone tell me how old Shinobu would be during this time?
Also, I do not have a beta. I need one.