Hope you all had a nice 4th of the July vacation, if you're American, otherwise I hope you had a good day regardless. Still trying to think of a good fantasy story to write, anime based mind you (my original work is all horror). I've also been trying to figure out a good Asobi Ni Ikuyo! Idea…think I have one.
Epilogue – Like Steel
"Alright girls, grab a partner and practice what we've just shown you," Keitaro ordered politely. Pulling his unfortunate victim off the ground, an eighteen year old Yomiko Kazuma, Keitaro gave the girl a brief smile. Girl had talent, and after three years of living at Hinata she had gotten over her self esteem issues. Keitaro was proud of her, which was why he didn't instantly yank his hand away when she kept holding it. "S-something you needed Kazuma-kun?" five years of instructing martial arts hadn't hardened his heart a single iota.
Blushing profusely, another of the cult of Keitaro, was having a great morning. "A-Aoyama-san, t-t-thank you for letting me help you today," Yomiko gushed as her long black bangs covered her eyes. "Is-is Motoko-sempai going to be here this morning too?" she asked a little too harshly.
Freeing his hand, Keitaro saw his morning group, ten girls from age twelve to nineteen, gazing at him with expectant eyes. Seriously, he had no idea how it happened, but over time they started liking him more than the matriarch of the dojo. "Motoko-chan is sleeping in this morning. Her graduation ceremony took a lot out of her. Trip to Kyoto is a long one. And she wants to get rest for the party tonight," he gently pushed Yomiko back to the waiting through of girls. "You're all invited, provided you do good enough on your throws this morning," he gave them a mock evil eye, they knew they weren't going to be denied.
"YES AOYAMA-SENSEI!" the girls all chorused exuberantly. With extra zeal the paired up girls started duteously going over the days lesson. They ranged from novices like Chiyo to skilled like Yomiko, but all were welcome regardless of talent. Keitaro insisted that if he must teach he only teach self defense. Soon Keitaro's small wing of the annex turned dojo was full of the sounds of bodies hitting mats and confident women shouting out their fears.
Walking amongst his pupils, Keitaro corrected when needed and congratulated as he felt appropriate. Maybe that was the difference between Motoko and his style. He was the positive enforcer while she was perfection was meet with a nod, everything else could be better.
Upon seeing a sixteen year old Kurumi Mizuno standing at a bad angle, Keitaro came up behind the girl and placed his hands on her shoulders. "Kurumi-kun, I warned you about standing like this before haven't I?" he chided the girl that leapt at the contact. Firmly but not condescendingly, "You'll hurt your ankle if you put much weight on this. Remember, all of you, that safety is priority. Avoid confrontation if you can, and it is not a coward but a fool fights when they can avoid it."
Missing the admiration and adoration on the young blonds face, the girl corrected her stance. "T-thank you sensei!" she bellowed to mask her swell of affection.
Nodding at seeing her improved, Keitaro went to the back of the room and just watched. How five years had changed things. He wasn't afraid of his family's arts hurting anybody anymore. Kanako took care of training the advanced students in the family's hand-to-hand combat, while Motoko took care of the Aoyama-style. He was there just to keep his girls safe and sound.
"Morning Kanako, good run?" he asked upon seeing his sister. Waving at her to join him, he spotting a few sour looks of his pupils upon the invader, he'd have to ask Kanako about that later. He was worried about how Kanako was going to take the changes when they were poised, but she didn't care as long as they both still ran the dorm like an inn.
While the tenants were now pupils of the Shinmei-ryū all, the particular girls (and it was all girls still) had personal issues that required a more tender hand. Tsuruko hand picked the girls for the stay at Hinata who lived in the dorm or a few sparse rooms at the dojo. Keitaro did double duty as introductory instructor and self defense in the morning, and manager and handy man in the afternoon and night.
Strolling up to Keitaro, Kanako proudly wrapped her arm around his and held it in more than a sisterly way. "Run would have been better if you had accompanied me. You're troupe…could have come as well," Kanako sneered at the angry faces aimed at her. "Is your barbarian still sleeping off events of her trip home?" the black Gi melded perfectly to Kanako's form.
Kanako was so silly with how she clung to him, Keitaro had hoped she'd grow out of that clingy phase but he guessed girls would be girls. Having never realized Kanako loved him like a man, Keitaro was still dense to many matters of the female mind. "The girls do better at their own pace. As for Motoko-chan," Keitaro grinned dopily as he ran his fingers over his wedding ring. "She's sleeping off her night. But she'll be here for her classes after lunch. I think she's ready to get out some of the energy so had building up from all her finals study," he sounded just a little bit too happy.
Releasing her hold on Keitaro, Kanako opted to do a few stretches and motion exercises instead. Grumpily she added, "You sound as if you've helped her with some of that nii-sama." With her legs facing the man, Kanako leaned backwards and fell over making a perfect arch…and pointing something very special at her brother. "And who else might we expect to need to find space for tonight?" her annoyance was quite evident.
Scratching his nose, Keitaro didn't find it necessary to speak about Motoko's late night return. "Well Naru said she'd be in if she didn't have to work late, you know office work. I sent an invitation to Kitsune, but a celebrity might find it hard to make time. Shinobu…well she's sent a card saying she'd like to come back but doesn't have the money to fly from France. Suu…well she might be here," he shrugged with his dopy grin.
As for Motoko's late night return from her ancestral home, well Keitaro was anything but wanting in the loving department. Motoko took to lovemaking like a fish to water, literally. She was neigh insatiable at times, and Keitaro was more than willing to oblige her. She claimed it was due to her side project of writing her stories. One of which Keitaro was proud to know was going to be published under an alias.
Lifting her left leg high into the air, Kanako proved as spry of body as of mind. "Great, all we need is that watermelon freak to show up and we have the full group of…" Kanako fell to the ground with a thump. Rubbing at her head, Kanako quickly sprawled forward and pressed her head to the ground. "Sorry! Sorry…nii-san, I shouldn't have mentioned her. I…I wasn't thinking," a think air of regret spilled out of the girl.
Eyes closed tight, Keitaro forced himself to remained composed before his pupils. Wouldn't do them good to see a misty eyed sensei, never did. On the rare occasion Keitaro did feel bad, and the incident four years ago had the girls up in arms to help him. Two years after making his choice, one year before his marriage, Keitaro nearly lost it all. He only had himself to blame, well Tsuruko had her hand in the pot too since it did take two to tango.
Reaching blindly downward for Kanako, Keitaro felt that firm and strong hand grab hold of his. "You didn't mean it. And Mu-chan…Mu-chan made her choices a little poorly. I did invite her, but I don't know if she can get off work or afford a sitter for the girls," he gave his sister a yank up. His little sister's heat was billowing out from her as she remained close gripping his Gi. Great he was making her worried, "It's alright Kana-chan. I know that it wasn't my fault what happened. But if I ever find that guy that knocked her up and ran." Keitaro showed something he rarely ever did, his anger. Slamming his first to his palm, the room was filled with a loud clap.
"Nii-sama," Kanako mewed weekly as she pressed her head to his chest. "You'd have to stand in line before the queen barbarian first," Kanako kept her little nickname for Naru alive and well. "Want me to finish watching the trainees? You could use a bath and I bet your wife is up by now making a mess in the kitchen," Kanako started pushing her brother towards the door.
He hated it! He could have done more, kept closer tabs on his absent minded friend. But he had been so wrapped up with the whole Tsuruko/Motoko fall out that he had not been there. Keitaro did, despite all he said, blame himself for Mutsumi being the mother of two without a father to help raise them. He blamed himself for Mutsumi having to stop going to school to be a mother, her dreams changed, her life now spent as a wage slave to give the girls all she could. Mutsumi…he should have been a better friend to her.
Bracing himself against the doorframe as Kanako pushed, he held firm. "No, Kana-chan, I won't run from my responsibilities here. The girls are relying on me to get them good and strong so they can survive Motoko or you," he ruffled Kanako's head. Spotting her face flush, "You catch a cold from your run? Maybe you should take the bath." The ever ignorant brother fought against his wealth of regret and succeeded. "I'll finish off here," he patted her on the back as he headed back to the front of the dojo.
Things had gotten better between the Aoyama girls and himself after a very painful time for him. Motoko trusted him again, he trusted her, and he wasn't going to risk failing to live up to her expectations. Standing before the girls, he saw the fruit of his labor in their tireless efforts and constant improvement.
Clapping his hands together, Keitaro felt like rewarding them a little. With Kanako's tiny form out of sight he had to hope she took his advice. "Alright girls, who is up for a spar. All of you against me," he declared. Shifting his weight to his back leg he turned to face them with his left shoulder pointing at them. "Don't hold back! Motoko-chan or Kana-chan sure won't do the same if you wish to progress to there level," he saw the elated faces.
Clueless man had no idea the girls in his class just wanted to be close to him, either as a father figure or dreams of defeating the matriarch and stealing her husband in a duel. So as a conformed unit sent on getting Keitaro they attacked. And as a team they failed miserably. Oh, Keitaro didn't hurt a single one of them, he was far to skilled for that. He flipped them on there backs, swept them off their feet (both physically and mentally), and left all ten dazed yet happy.
"Good job today girls! Get changed, take a bath or shower, and I'll have food on the table when you get done," Keitaro dried what little sweat he had accrued. A nice easy spare in the morning was fun. Maybe he'd get Motoko to have a spar to show the advanced students something fun. He'd lose of course, he'd never be able to beat Motoko, but that wasn't the point. It would be fun to try, and well…he hoped it tire her out a little. He admitted his wife wasn't very visual in her affection, but when she did it was just do darling.
Smoothing her hat with one hand, Kitsune pushed her sunglasses closer to her face with her right. It had taken some finagling to get the time off for this party, and she didn't want it ruined by the damn paparazzi. Jogging up the stairs she felt herself giddy for the first time in ages. Oh and she was going to get to see Keitaro, dear sweet life saving Keitaro again.
Spotting some girls heading down from the dorm, Kitsune wished it wasn't so blasted hot so she could have worn a coat to mask her face. Two years ago she was just moderately famous for her books, but now she was an up and coming star. Sure her glasses cost over twenty thousand yen, her cream sleeveless top was imported from Italy, and her slacks were from a famous designer so she showed out regardless. Maybe dressing to impress her old friends wasn't such a good idea.
"I still think Keitaro-sensei could take Aoyama-sensei if he really tried," the girl, a tall black haired teen, stated to her companions. Using nothing but the edge of the step the girl all but danced as she flew down. Clasping her hands lovingly before her chest she turned starry eyed, "But he's not the type to hit a woman…well not hard anyway."
Nodding as she overcame the lead girl, a shorter yet older looking blond biffed the other girl on the back of the head. "Tell that to my butt, he flipped me so hard this morning I think I bruised," she patted her jeans clad rump. Giggling she amended, "Not that I minded when he had his arms on me. Aoyama-sensei got lucky with her husband."
Coming to a stop, the afternoon sun was burning hot, Kitsune watched the gaggle of teens approaching. Of course Keitaro was making more girls fall for him, and she'd wager he had no idea of it too. "So they're teaching that stuff here now," she could easily picture it. Keitaro wasn't the type to deny anybody anything if he could help it, so all Motoko had to do was snap her fingers and bam, the dorm was permanently changed. Her palm went to her cheek however, "But he would hit a girl, but only if she's too stupid to see the truth."
The third of the descending trio, a burly yet queerly refined short black haired girl, pointed at Kitsune. "Isn't that…oh my goodness it is! Mitsune 'Kitsune' Konno! Aoyama-sensei did say there was a chance she'd be coming to the party! Anybody have something I can use for an autograph?" the girl's exuberance clashed with her savage demeanor.
Broken from the petty squabble, the other two girls' gapped at the stalled fox. Squealing and clasping their hands together, "Oh my god it is!" Followed by the third, the girls rushed the new found celebrity.
Holding up her hands, much like a crook, Kitsune surrendered to her exposure. "Yup, the prodigal daughter returns to her roost," she held out her hand to shake theirs. It was an odd custom she picked up in the United States on an extended shoot, but kept doing it. Funny how despite her warm smile and happy words, Kitsune felt so cold inside. "Don't worry about the autograph yet girls, I'll be at the dorm till tomorrow so you can talk to me all you want when you get back," she quickly cut them off.
Marveling at the expensive cloths and star struck, the trio quickly nodded, "Think you Konno-san!" The squealed again as the rushed past the girl talking about Kitsune's great taste in fashion and the last movie she was in.
Hosting her overnight bag, Kitsune sighed hard and continued her ascent. Fame wasn't worth this…her friends' lives all but unknown, nobody to share her successes. All she had was money and the fake relationship with a man she knew was actually gay. But it was good PR and if a star didn't shine it faded. But she chose this life, and compared to the life she could have had if she hadn't ran into Keitaro…Kitsune shuddered to think of her old self and what could have happened.
"I admit I didn't expect you to come, but some how Kei-chan just knew it," Motoko stood stoically at the top of the stairs. Her Gi was fluttering in the wind and her long and flowing hair billowed. Time had done nothing but make Motoko more beautiful, much like it had done her sister. Arms stretched out wide, Motoko reached for her long ago rival, "Kei-chan and I welcome you to our home and the Aoyama dojo."
A warm and meaning welcome…Kitsune felt her heart lurch in her chest. But ever the trained actress she kept her true emotions hidden. "I can't believe you got him to take your name," she joked. Her bag fell from her hands as Motoko lunged and hugged her tight. For a brief moment Kitsune was shell shocked at the forward nature of the ex-man-hater. Coughing due to the force of the hug, "Y-you are Motoko Aoyama correct and not Tsuruko…cause you're way to grabby for the old anti-touch girl I remember."
Having moved out of the dorm a year after Keitaro and Motoko started dating, Kitsune hadn't seen much of the changes in the girl. No, Kitsune had dreams of writing fame which blossomed into acting. Her old manager, Kenta Sagawa, hadn't put much faith in her outside of a pretty face and a one-hit wonder. Well that just meant the man kept her boozed and drugged up, bringing her out of the rat hole he kept her and fucked her in until she was needed for a public appearance. That all changed the day she accidentally ran into Keitaro.
She was strung out on something and headed out to buy some booze to drink. Well he didn't take kindly to sitting by while she self destructed. Kitsune either didn't realize or care what Keitaro said. Being the man that he was, Keitaro got a room for them at a hotel. She had thought he was going to make love to her…he didn't. He proved that despite a year of silence he still cared. He locked her in that room with him until she went through the most painful detox in her life. She beat him, hit him, demoralized him, and through it all he supported her…and called Motoko to inform her of his actions.
After a week of pure pain, he smacked her one time, nice and firm like she needed. Then, well, then the tears started. Soon after, once that door was opened, she left Sagawa and got her new manager and swore off drugs. Booze…well she would have a nip now and again to chase the sadness away and the loneness. She owed her life, and her sanity, to that damn man.
Back on the front yard of the dojo and dorm, Motoko remembered all of Kitsune's near slip. Hugging the girl, "I have come to change many things of myself that I have found unpleasant. Kei-chan has helped me see that I was wrong about some things." Despite the voluminous levels of heavy cotton on, Motoko appeared cool and refined. Picking up Kitsune's bag, "Come, we have much to catch up on before Kei-chan returns with the food for the party."
Sniffing back hard, Kitsune nodded and again fought to maintain her façade of control. "You'll always be the stone cold swords woman to me. I don't care if you have a degree in law," Kitsune laughed when Motoko stopped and turned back to face her. Rolling her hand over Kitsune smirked, "Did you think I wasn't going to come without doing some research, Sakura Daisuke?" Color Kitsune impressed when she found out the writer of the novel her upcoming romance film was none other than Motoko.
Shushing Kitsune, Motoko spied the empty expanse of yard for any of her girls. Very uncomfortable looking, "Don't say that aloud, Kitsune. I don't want the trainee's to know about that. I doubt they'd respect me as much as they do if they knew of my…side hobby." Walking briskly into the dorm and its air conditioning, Motoko was rail stiff.
Unable to keep herself from teasing, "Bet Keitaro benefits a lot from having a wife that writes some of the hottest scenes in current literature." Kitsune had enjoyed Motoko's last book on multiple levels. With no man in her life, Kitsune was on the motorized train when it came to her sex-life. "As for your students, they seem to have a thing for the lug. I'd be careful if I were you. They might try and steal him," she wrapped an arm around Motoko's side and gave a squeeze. Man it felt good to be with actual people, and not fakes that just wanted to ride on her coattails or use her.
Tossing Kitsune's bag into a pile of other bags, one a travel suitcase and the other a collection of leaves, Motoko tittered. "Oh I know of their desire for Kei-chan. I get a challenge at least once a year by a student. They think I care nothing for him, due to my lack of public affection for him. They claim they'd make him happier or the silly ones that I could find better. They learn quickly that we are clearly off the market," Motoko gave Kitsune a firm and evil eye.
Examining the names on the bags next to hers, Kitsune snorted as she read Suu's name on the grass bag. "She never grew up did she?" she pointed at the childish collection of gadgets that were spilling out of the top. "And I get it, you're not going to let Turtle-Girl or me umph" Kitsune wasn't expecting a hand to clasp hard over her mouth. What was this then, had Mutsumi tried her hand at breaking up the party?
"We don't…talk about Otohime around Keitaro," Motoko's tone was final and icy. Leading Kitsune to the kitchen, a collection of drinks already on the table, she gestured to the offerings of soda to spirits. "I had no need to warn Narusegawa, but I have Suu-chan. Later, I shall inform you if you wish to know. Just know this, if you mention her to my husband it will make him sad. If you make my husband sad, you make me mad. If you make me mad…" she just trailed off and ascended the stairs.
That was unexpected, but Kitsune got the message loud and clear. It wasn't like Kitsune wanted to talk to Keitaro about Mutsumi anyway. No, Kitsune wanted to bask in this feeling of family as long as she could. Making Keitaro upset was the furthest thing on her mind. Hell Kitsune was wondering if he'd want her to help buy them anything for the dorm. If Kitsune had anything it was money now, all the money she could ever want. Just nobody to enjoy it with her.
"KITSUNE!" Naru gushed as she nearly fell down the stairs in her rush. Clad in a cream colored skirt and a white button up business shirt, Naru was having issues with moving fast. "You came! Keitaro said you would, but…aren't you supposed to be doing a movie or something?" Naru gushed as she assaulted her friend. Lifting Kitsune in the air, Naru twirled about smiling and laughing.
Yes…maybe Kitsune was wrong. Money couldn't buy happiness. She just kept her eyes closed and let that warmth wash over her. She learned as Naru spoke that her old friend became a big name at a marketing company. Learned that Naru dated a little, but hadn't settled down yet. But when Kitsune pointed at a picture of Tama…Naru clammed up. No premature hints it seemed. No matter, it was time to live it up and enjoy her one day this year of true happiness.
Holding her glass from the top, Motoko clinked it against the others joining her on the roof. Naru, Kitsune, Keitaro, and Suu had all opted out of the little binge of night bathing like the students that stayed for the party or actually lived at the dorm. It was a wonderful night, cool breeze to stave off the heat, nice company, and her husband's arm around her waist. All her dreams of the future, none of them included this moment, which just reminded her that her younger self hadn't known what true happiness was.
"Aside from Naru and Kei-chan, the rest of you need to visit the dorm more often," Motoko nodded slightly. Knocking back some of her drink in toast to the assembled, Motoko let her head lay on Keitaro's shoulder. He wasn't perfect, she knew that very well, but he made her so happy. "Perhaps we can plan on a welcome back event of Shinobu-chan upon her graduation," Motoko set her glass between her legs.
Sitting cross legged on the roof over looking the onsen, Keitaro had every inkling of a nervous father. Giving Motoko a squeeze, "Might be harder for Kitsune to visit with her schedule. But I think a nice party for her shouldn't be too hard to plan. We just have to make sure she doesn't try to cook for us." He got a few laughs from the truth of the wayward chef. Sipping his drink he spied the ledge of the roof down at the rabblerousing students below. "Are you sure Kanako is enough to keep them from hurting themselves?" he pointed with one of the fingers holding his glass.
"Don't look down there you pervert!" Naru half joked as she gave Keitaro a slug in the side. Tossing back some of her own sake, "And that sister of yours can handle more than you can imagine. So, yeah you're precious students are safe." Grabbing Keitaro's collar, Naru gave the man a tug causing him to topple into his wife's waiting embrace.
Keitaro a pervert? No, her husband wasn't a degenerate, she was if only for him. "Naru is correct, Kei-chan. But if things go as I expect," Motoko pressed her head against his. The pupils, her students…Motoko could hardly get over that. They didn't come as the best, but when they left they were in the upper echelon. But, the title of master was not what Motoko wanted from life anymore. No, she was going to keep going to school, and become a lawyer. Protect the style in ways it needed in the new age. Clearing her head of the growing fog of booze, "So tell us, Kitsune, about that man we see in pictures with you. Is it serious?"
Well into her third glass, Kitsune let out a huge whooping laugh. "Tetsuya-chan is gay, Motoko. We're only together for the publicity of it all. My manager even has our official break up day planned," she laughed harder. Grabbing the oddly somber Suu's sides, the drunken celebrity tickled the girl's ribs. "And what about you Suu-chan? Haven't heard any wars declared against your nation yet. I would have thought you'd have created weapons of super mass destruction by now? Or did you get hooked up with somebody and change your plans?" Kitsune swayed a little to close to the edge.
Foregoing the booze, Suu had a tankard of banana smoothie. Keeping a grip on Kitsune, more to keep the drunk from falling, Suu shook her funk off. "Daddy is setting up marriage meetings for me. I'll be married almost as soon as I graduate and I'll be moving back to Mol-Mol. Nice guys, but I had always hoped Keitaro would marry all of us instead," Suu gave Keitaro a large set of puppy-dog eyes. But her more mature form didn't do cute well, it did alluring.
With Suu moving out after the rather unfortunate events prior to her marriage to Keitaro, Motoko hadn't seen nearly enough of the foreigner. "Well Suu-chan, just remember to visit as oft as you're allowed," the sword maiden offered. Taking another drink of her half empty glass, Motoko heard the growing clatter down below. It was almost time to tell the girls the tale they were waiting for. "Just pick well is all I might suggest. Do not go for looks, skill, or charm alone. Kei-chan has such but in more general ways as compared to more specialized men," she had learned how to tease thanks to Tsuruko's influence.
"Ouch, honey, you do know I'm sitting right here right?" Keitaro turned to his wife with his patented dopy smile. "Anyway, Kitsune, I know that Naru is seeing somebody," Keitaro believed the lie, "Are you seeing somebody on the side of your…fake boyfriend?" The landlord looked only a trifle uncomfortable talking about his one-time potential wife's love life.
Spying both Naru and Motoko nodding fiercely behind Keitaro's back, Kitsune's head started bobbing too. "Uh, y-yeah I am. Good guy, work with him a lot on my movies. He couldn't come due to…visa problems?" she cringed as she ended. Thankfully a call from the onsen interrupted the small gathering.
"Aoyama-sensei! Can your husband come down and play with us!" one of the teenage girls asked aloud. Several other girls chimed in, Kanako's voice could plainly be heard in the mix egging them on.
Getting up on shaky legs, Keitaro's hand in hers steadying her as he did in both mind and body, Motoko stood proudly above her throng. "You wish me to give you my beloved on this the day of my celebration?" her tone cut through the heavy air. Lifting Keitaro up, her arm lowered to his back. "This, the man I would kill for, you want me to just hand him too you to play with?" married life had not softened Motoko. Pushing Keitaro hard off the roof, she knew he could easily right himself and land unhurt, Motoko proclaimed, "Don't break him or you'll answer to me!"
Hopping to the edge, Suu looked down with a finger to her lip. Amid the cheers, squeals, and splashes, "Aw, I want to play with Keitaro too. But I don't have a swimsuit like they have." A moment latter a wicked smile crested Suu's lips and she leapt off the roof. Her clothing going to the four winds, Suu appeared to have no qualm if Keitaro saw her in the buff.
Pointing at the edge, Naru cringed, "You sure you should have done that? I mean Keitaro is…" Naru sagely shut her mouth as Motoko sat back down heavily next to her. "Can't explain why you have such confidence in him. I'd be worried that those younger girls would tempt him. They're all over him during his classes, and yet you…"
"Does this have anything to do with Turtle-girl?" Kitsune added with a slur. Leaning heavily onto Naru, Kitsune kept the glass dangerously close to tipping over. "I-I kept seeing every body avoiding duh issue wheneva Kei-chan came ba," her accent started popping out as the drink loosened her tongue. "So girl…tell us what happened or tell us bout Kei-chan in the sack. Cause I've been without a man so long I might ask to buy him from ya if he's good," Kitsune was ever the classy lady when intoxicated.
Tossing the remainder of her glass down her throat, the heat permeated her stomach and went straight to her face, Motoko's smile was icy and devoid of warmth. "Well I did say I'd let you know didn't I. As for Kei-chan's prowess, well I've never gone wanting in the realm of passion," Motoko poured herself some more sake. When it came to lovemaking, Motoko was an addict. Her mother and sister had told her that for those of their clan it was normal. And since it didn't impact her life, Keitaro seemed to like it, she reveled in all the wondrous ways she could please and be pleased by her husband.
Holding the glass in her hand, examining how the lights from below illuminated and danced amid the fluid, Motoko stalled. "As for Otohime, I should begin with a question to both of you. Kitsune you might not have even known, but Naru would. Do you recall how our initial wedding got postponed six months?" Motoko felt that chill worm into her. How close she had gotten to throwing away her happiness due to her own ignorance of her sister's suffering.
Pulling in closer to Motoko as the woman's words were getting fainter, Naru nodded fiercely. "Of course I remember, I was pissed off!" she pounded her chest. Spilling her drink as she did, Naru tossed her hair back over her shoulder. "I had to take vacation time to get ready, and right when I'm about to go man hunting at your reception it got pushed back," Naru's hot breath puffed out in a noxious cloud of alcohol and ordered food.
To tell or not to tell, Motoko had never warred harder with herself about this moment. While Keitaro was obvious with his feelings of guilt, Motoko kept hers hidden. Perhaps talking could help, "That was because we almost didn't get married. I stumbled upon Kei-chan and my sister intimately involved on one of her monthly visits." Looking back on it, Motoko had to admit she had blinded herself to Tsuruko's pain, and her own blinded anger.
Waving her hand to keep her audiences voices down, Motoko didn't want to be interrupted now that she had started. "Immediately I swore that the wedding was off, that I wanted nothing to do with him. At the time we were just starting the dojo and I was starting university so I couldn't have just up and left. For four months, Kei-chan tended his classes in the morning, and tended the dorm at night, then slept in the guest rooms in the dojo. All because I refused to let him be in my sight, all because I was so angry at him," she peeked over the edge at Keitaro who was hiding behind a rock from Suu.
With a mighty sigh Motoko continued. "I had known of Otohime's calls for Keitaro at that time, but I refused to let him know of them. I wanted to hurt him as I was hurt, as I suspected he'd have moved to her from me," she did wonder if it would have happened. "But after four months of avoiding each other, my sister arrived one day and asked for me," Motoko's voice was filled with reverence when she said 'sister'. Clearing her throat, "Tsuruko set her blade at my feet and said plainly 'Kill me before you hurt him further. If you hurt him more I'll be forced to take revenge for his death.'"
Chuckling at the rapt attention she was getting from her dear friends, Motoko shook her head. "I was shocked as you are now. But then Tsuruko told me about the events that lead up to her seducing my Kei-chan. My sister, my dear sister, was living in abject hell. Her husband had a mistress who was pregnant while he denied her a child. Nobody spoke to her that knew of her inner self. Years of loneliness and pain, but then she came to Hinata when we were having our fight for Kei-chan. You'll be surprised to know that my sister took his virginity while we waited for him to make his choice," Motoko squinted at Kitsune.
"That cheating lil bastard," Kitsune shot off but was smiling all the same. "But what does any of this have to do with Turtle-girl?" she took the bottle they were sharing and took a swig right from the bottle.
Swiping the bottle, Motoko shared an indirect kiss with the fox in a moment of camaraderie. "I am approaching that moment, but a little more must be said of my sister and Kei-chan," she handed the bottle to Naru. "As it was, my sister was near her breaking point if you can belief her capable. Seeking the only light her life had known in years, she came to Keitaro. Being the man he is, he was unable to hurt her, and so…" Motoko rolled her hand from back to front.
For a moment she just sat there and let it all sink in, for Naru and Kitsune as well as herself. She had missed such horrible loneliness in her sister all these years. After hearing the whole tale of her bastard ex-husband (he had been slain by another of his mistresses callers) Motoko felt dishonored by her actions. While Keitaro saw her first in all things, he had tried to make Tsuruko's life more bearable. And because of it…because of her want to hurt Keitaro for the pain in her heart she crippled Keitaro's for life.
A lone tear tracked down Motoko's majestic features. "As it turns out, Otohime-san was calling Keitaro out of extreme depression. The man she was seeing at the time broke up with her leaving her alone to pay a rent she couldn't afford. She was seeking help, in mind but not in body. I, in my strive to hurt him, kept him from being there for her. As a result she met the man that sired a pair of twin girls and then left her with them the moment he learned of her pregnancy," her voice caught in her throat on the spike of bitterness. "Perhaps it was fated to happen, but Kei-chan blames himself for Otohime dropping out of college, defaulting on her loans, and now working as a mere clerk to pay for her children alone. And…and all of this while I live like a queen here with him," Motoko openly broke down.
It was Naru that rushed to Motoko's side and hugged the girl. Cradling Motoko's head, Naru smoothing out the girl's hair and cooing, "Its ok, Mo-chan, its ok. Get it out, it all out." Naru rocked back and forth as the proud and noble Motoko came to terms with her biggest regret in life.
Sobered up from the shocking truth, Kitsune's eyes were wide open. "Fuck that! Turtle-Girl is family! I'll have her work as a live in housekeeper in my summer home in Okinawa! Hell I never go there anyway!" Kitsune was already up on her feet pulling out her phone.
Odd how the tears made her feel cleaner as they were shed. For a good ten minutes Motoko just let herself be pampered and coddled by Naru. She couldn't go to Keitaro for it, how could she when he suffered more from it? But, a deep and dark part of her still reminded her that Mutsumi had made the choice herself and wasn't forced. Keitaro had chosen her, and while she almost threw it out due to Tsuruko's pain, she hadn't. No, Motoko mastered that pain, accepted her failings and Keitaro's failings.
After the crying was finished, and the talks turned to more genial things, Naru couldn't help but ask, "So I take it your sister doesn't have her monthly visits anymore?"
Laying on the roof, Motoko toyed with her wedding ring. "Oneesan's next visit if next week. I have no problem sharing my beloved with my other beloved…though Keitaro does have to satisfy me first and after," he had the stamina for it. Motoko didn't see Naru and Kitsune falling over in shock, but she felt the roof tremble. Perhaps she shouldn't have said that one…oh well.
Shutting the door to there room, Keitaro leaned heavily against it. He felt a little to tipsy at the moment thanks to the larger than normal booze intake. Not a puritan when it came to alcohol by any stretch, but today's party was a little excessive. But it was great to see Motoko relax a little. That was one of Keitaro's big concerns, Motoko taking just about everything to seriously and not having fun.
Burping out a rather tasty belch, Keitaro untucked his shirt as he shuffled to the futon. "I still can't believe you threw me off the roof into the onsen, and you let Suu-chan go down too," he slurred. Grabbing a pair of shorts he slept in, he found Motoko unrolling he futon. She had that look in her eyes, the look that spoke of not really being ready for sleep. Swallowing hard he whimpered, "S-spent most of the time dodging her attempts to play with me. The girls had a blast with that."
Long ago discarding the idea of sleeping in a yukata, Motoko was wearing a very sensible oversized navy blue t-shirt that when down to her knees. "See, I am capable of allowing them to have fun, despite what you oft say," she gnashed her teeth jokingly at him. Rolling onto the futon on her back, she prepped herself up with her arms. Light heartedly, "It was a marvelous party you threw Kei-chan, thank you for it."
A warm spark wormed down his back, she was using that voice again. Keitaro was a simple man, and for him sounds trumped visuals for getting the libido working. Flipping the light off, he set his glasses on the table as he stumbled back to the futon. "I never said you're incapable of letting them have fun. I said you can be too hard on them when they don't meet your expectations. Makes me wonder what you think about me," his tongue was loosened a little too much by drink.
Opening her arms to him, Motoko's desirous gaze was lost in the dark, "You've always met my expectations." Pulling Keitaro against her body, she toyed with the back of his neck with her fingers. "Kei-chan, I want to make the night complete. I want your endowment now," she teased. Pressing herself against him she traced his lips with her other hand.
Blinking rapidly, his heart rate skyrocketing, Keitaro's vision finally got attuned to the moonlight. Lovely full moon was offering a very clear vision of his wife, and she didn't look like she was joking. "M-Mo-chan, Kitsune is sleeping above us! We-we haven't…she'd hear us," he stammered. With Motoko being so vocal during sex, part of why sound played so heavily into Keitaro's libido, they had the walls sound proofed. They left the room above theirs for storage so they hadn't bothered with the ceiling. But with so many guests they put Kitsune up in it.
Sucking on his lower lip for a few moments, she pulled away and let her captured piece of Keitaro pop back. Eyes half laden, she twirled her finger on top of the comforter, "But Kei-chan, you promised you'd help me get the experience I need for my next story. And it's all I want for my graduation." The wife knew the husband well enough to push all the right buttons.
BING! Keitaro, with his sleeping shorts in hand, felt his body leap up to attention. "I-I did…but what about?" he pointed at the ceiling. He didn't want others to really know about what he and his wife did. They did a lot, more than most couples did, experimentation was the spice of life and Motoko could be a scientist in the field. Keitaro however…was shyer about such things. He enjoyed a lot of it, but sometimes it made him squeamish. "If," he gulped, "if you really want to…we'll need to be quiet."
Fingers working the zipper of Keitaro's slacks, Motoko gave him the 'to bad' look. "We could try the ball-gag again if you're concerned," her eyebrows raised momentarily. Once her job was done with Keitaro she pulled her shirt off to reveal nothing under it. "Oh my, I seem to have forgotten my underwear, Kei-chan," her mock shock caused both to break out into a few laughs.
She had been planning this all along, why wasn't he surprised by that fact? "I don't like the gag. I'm worried you'll get hurt with it," it was an evil device. The stories of bondage, and they were very few, put Keitaro really at odds with his wants to help his wife's creativity. They tried a few things, but Keitaro just couldn't strike his wife even if it was wanted. To be fair, Motoko didn't care much for it either, but she wanted authenticity. Looking down at his wife's shaved…damn she really was expecting this, flower Keitaro's objections were lost. "Still as beautiful as the first time I saw you," he meant every syllable.
"And you've grown on me as well," Motoko had taken a few to many lessons from her sister. "Do I get my reward now," she spread her legs open wide. Shivering in anticipation she threw her head back when Keitaro, wrapping his arms around her thighs, buried his tongue into the honey pot. "D-Danna-sama, t-thank you," she moaned lightly.
How she never got any less sensitive over time, Keitaro would never question. He hardly had to do anything to get Motoko's engine going and cross line. Tsuruko mentioned something about warriors only relaxing when in the arms of a lover, but he didn't know if it covered this. Using his tongue to please her, darting in and around the folds, he had gotten much better over time. Darting circles around her bud, he felt her thighs crushing his head in closer. Bad taste, but his was no lollipop either.
Her hands clutching at Keitaro's head, Motoko kept the man steady. "S-slow down, Danna-sama," her pet name during the act. "I-I want us to…ohh," she moved one hand to her unbinded chest. Not as large as Tsuruko had grown too, Motoko did have a lot to wrap up before training. "I-I-I'm ready," she grabbed Keitaro's ear and gave it a tug.
Damn if he wasn't ready too, her mews, pants, and little moans goaded him into full attention. Kitsune had drunk a lot she had to be asleep by now. "This is rare for us, its so…" he didn't dare say simple lest she change her mind. With a hand at her side, he readied himself with his right. Teasing slightly he rubbed himself against her flower. "Honey, I love you," his heart on his sleeve. He said it a lot to her, not always in language, but he just wanted her to always remember.
Typical of Motoko, she didn't answer in words, she leaned up, arms wrapping around his head, she smothered his mouth with hers. Their tongues danced a duet as Keitaro stopped teasing and entered the well oiled machine. Groaning her approval into his mouth, she didn't break the seal.
It never got old, repetitive, or boring. With the amount that they did it, Keitaro still loved every moment of it. Slow and steady, he buried himself into her honey dripped pot. Tricky wife, keeping herself silent but pouring all her lovely sounds directly into his mouth. Building up steam, his pace increased, her body rubbed gloriously against his. Losing himself into the act, Keitaro was gone amidst a sea of tightness, heat, and angelic sounds reverberating in his mouth.
So lost in the rhythm of life he hadn't realized that they had stopped kissing. Motoko's powerful voice filled the room with its regal charms. "D-D-Danna, I'm…are…y-you?" she clawed at his back as she ground her head against the pillow. A primordial scream bellowed out from her lungs as Keitaro replied by pouring his essence into her. No need for condoms when you had an ancient Aoyama brewed contraceptive. "Leave it in," she hugged Keitaro as he lay on her.
Rolling over, keeping true to his wife's wishes, Keitaro didn't want to smother her with his mass. Quite despite her looks, Motoko was feather light. "You're the best thing that ever happened to me," he smoothed out her hair as it drifted off her sweaty back. "All the dumb things I did, you…" he felt Motoko's finger touch his lips. She was telling him to shut up. He hadn't wanted to stew on the bad, she forgave him and then some. He wouldn't question why Motoko was so giving…she let Tsuruko and him…encouraged it even! Blood was thicker than water, and Keitaro did have strong feelings for Tsuruko, but damn Motoko was cut from a different cloth.
"Not tonight, Danna-sama, tonight is my night," she laid her head on his chest. "All the bad of the past is gone. Punishment already dealt out for all, so let us…just enjoy ourselves," she closed her eyes and smiled. "Ready for round two?" she asked as she started wiggling.
"Damn right I am! I just put in new batteries!" Kitsune called through the ceiling.
Eyes popping open wide, Keitaro was about to shout, but Motoko again silenced him with her finger. She couldn't possibly…no…Motoko wasn't going to…yep she was. Kinky wife, she defiantly wasn't what he expected her to be in the bedroom. Outside they were eccentric, going about their relationship how they wanted and loving every minute of it. But behind closed doors, the wild girl came out of Motoko and…well…
"Let her listen to what she can only dream of," Motoko whispered before sitting up. Round two was beginning and this time she was going to be on top.
Walking the grounds of her cherished sister's home, Tsuruko held her wooden sandals in hand. The feel of grass through her socks was marvelous in its simple joy. Several pupils walked by, paying her proper respect as they did, on their way from the dorm to the dojo. Not all of them lived at the dorm of course, many commuted, but Tsuruko could tell they visited often. She'd have visited more if she hadn't taken up a more prominent role in the style again. Motoko would be the head after her schooling ended, and then maybe Tsuruko might move from Kyoto.
"Keitaro-sensei and Aoyama-sensei are going to spar again, hurry up!" a young teen yelled at her companion. Running past Tsuruko, her white Gi was fluttering in its half assembled state. "We're going to miss it if you keep walking!" the girl yelled again only to stop at Tsuruko's side. Babbling incoherently for a few moments the young lass's brain finally kick started, "S-sorry Tsuruko-sama. I…I'm just very excited. I meant no disrespect."
Waving her hand dismissively, Tsuruko just fluttered her eyes and played off the incursion. "No disrespect in wishing to see your peers' demonstration. Now off with the two of you," she shooed the girls off. Compared to the ancestral home and dojo, the Hinata branch was positively vibrant and alive. It truly was a breath of fresh air to not be suffocated with tradition and the constant need for appearance. Motoko had made something here with Keitaro that Tsuruko found magical. "They created what is needed for the style to continue in the new times," she accepted.
Crossing the yard, Tsuruko climbed the few steps up to the converted annex. She could hear them already fighting inside. "The children might not see it, but I see the truth in these battles," she hid her smile. Sliding the door adorned with the Aoyama family seal, Tsuruko was greeted by her beloved sister and her savior. "Manager-san, still letting her win are you?" she asked softly. Leaning against the wall she just let herself watch the show.
Keitaro, that man blossomed into something whole heartedly different in Tsuruko's mind and body. At the start he was just an outlet for her own needs and desires denied her by a poor choice. In the beginning that had been enough, but he had committed the offense of worming his way into her affections. But when Motoko was made his chosen she had sealed off that part of her, akin to severing her arm. She could live without it, but it made life harder.
Then her husband met his end yet his mistress lived to keep the child she would be forever denied. Depression so foul, so dark, that the welcoming embrace of death was all she wished for. But the tiny light, that almost diminished spark of life called out for one last taste of love. She knew it wrong, but in her self-loathing went about it anyway. Knowing how kind Keitaro was, it wasn't hard to get him where she wanted. Only she hadn't expected her last taste of living to be the end of Keitaro and Motoko's pairing.
It became her all consuming passion to put right what her moment of weakness created. And in her act of recompense, she salvaged not only the relationship but her own soul and honor. Motoko married, started the dorm, and much to Tsuruko's bewilderment and utter gratitude forgave her…and allowed her to continue visiting. Tsuruko had wondered if Motoko feared she'd attempt to seduce her husband again upon her first trip back. What she found moved her to tears at the time…Motoko was gone yet Keitaro was waiting for her. An odd arrangement indeed, but it gave her reason to live and by happy again.
As Tsuruko reminisced of the past and her new found joy in life, Motoko and Keitaro danced. To the unenlightened the pair were demonstrating advanced forms of the Shinmei-ryu style, but others knew better. The smiles on Keitaro and Motoko's faces were broad and wide. They had sparred so much it wasn't a match anymore, just a man and woman elegantly swaying to and fro. Their marriage and life together was best symbolized as a sword forged from strongest steel. It might chip, it might go dull, but it would always be sharpened again and made whole. It would not break.
"I-I yield," Keitaro was down on one knee panting. His face dripping with perspiration, Tsuruko and Motoko would know it as how he looked after an intense session between the sheets. Reaching out to Motoko, he gripped her hand and stood tall. "Now who can tell us what I did wrong?" he asked, ever the teacher Keitaro was.
Stepping through the gaggle of afternoon students, Tsuruko could see the admiration on their faces. The girls envied Motoko and adored Keitaro, which was another difference from Kyoto and here. Back in Kyoto the girls feared the male instructors, it didn't help that a few took their titles as free reign to take the student. "I would say the problem was that rather than press your advantage when you had it, you relented, Manager-san," she'd never call him anything else in public.
Unfastening the cloth around her bound hair, Motoko shook it free of sweat. "Oneesan is correct Kei-chan," she sounded condescending and harsh. "We strive to teach total mastery of the craft, yet your inability to attack when necessary is why you are not teaching the advanced classes," Motoko was earnest. Shocking her students however, Motoko quickly wrapped an arm around Keitaro, dipped him over and openly kissed him.
"As your sensei is showing you," Tsuruko felt obligated to talk for the occupied teachers, "Is that one can love somebody they perceive as weaker in one way or another. Manager-san is too soft to be a warrior, but as a defender…would you want anybody else?" Several of the girls, their jealous or angry expressions softened as the came to understand. Motoko was the sword, Keitaro was the shield, and together they worked together. Tsuruko was, as she often teased the couple, the sheath for Keitaro's sword.
Watching as Keitaro and Motoko continued to embrace, Tsuruko was unhinged at how the students weren't leaving the dojo. Shouldn't they take the hint and leave them in peace, or did they want to watch? The blushing faces yet rapt attention was the queue for Tsuruko to start herding the girls out. She was going to take control of the lesson for a while as her most important two took care of their needs.
Later that night, over a lovely meal crafted by Keitaro, Motoko dropped a bomb on the tranquil mind of Tsuruko. An heir to the style was needed, but Motoko wasn't ready to be a mother. The pair had decided to wait until Motoko finished law school before trying for one of their own. But if Tsuruko wanted…well Motoko was willing to share her happiness with her cherished sister. A year later, Tsuruko had a daughter. Official word was it was from an artificial inception using a deposit of her late husband. Keitaro was named the child's protector. Four years later Motoko added another healthy daughter to the cause. Tsuruko moved in to the dorm to help Motoko care for the child and never moved out.
The trio, never let it be known of the parentage of Tsuruko's daughter, it looked like the mother as did Motoko's child. But it didn't matter. What mattered was they were loved and cared for. Students came and went, Motoko's writing and skill with law fully bloomed, and Keitaro supported both of the Aoyama sisters. It was odd at times, it was impossible not to be, but they made it work. Never for a moment did any of them regret what they had become, only the darkness that was necessary for them to open their eyes. But that darkness brought them to light, and the light was brilliant.
Sword of Steel – The End
Little darker, but again I tried to make this semi-realistic in regards to things. Yeah some of you will say 'no wife would let her husband sleep with her sister' but I always got the impression that Tsuruko and Motoko were close enough to actually do that. Maybe I'm just being silly, but in this story I think it works.
As for more endings…there won't be any more. Sorry. My intention always was to have an ending for all three of the possible girls I implied in the story proper.
Some of you wanted a harem ending, but I can't really think of one that would be believable. To much bad blood between some of them to get it to work out.
If you wanted one…well you can make your own based on what I created here. You might have noticed in each of the endings somebody got the really good, somebody got the ok, and somebody got the bad ending. If I did make a harem it would basically be all three good endings lined together. Kitsune happy actor, Motoko training at Hinata, and rich watermelon selling Mutsumi…and one vitamin C deprived Keitaro.
Anyway, thank you for reading and supporting this odd little story of mine from start to finish. It was an odd write at times, but enjoyable.
Now to write the Asobi or possibly a Queen's Blade/? Cross over just for shits and giggles.