DISCLAIMER: Love Hina belongs to Ken Akamatsu. Other characters belong to their respective owners. This story however, belongs to me. Feel free to repost it anywhere, as long as you give due credit.
Here is my take on a Motoko/Keitaro story. Instead of Keitaro meeting all the girls at the dorm on his first visit there, I've decided to let him be engaged to Motoko from the beginning and have everyone else take up residence gradually. This means fleshing out a lot of backstory for the cast and from my notes it's obvious that we're heading towards an Alternate Universe plotline.
Motoko is a bit older here than in canon while Keitaro is already a university student. There will be more focus on the friendship side of things for this fic and you can expect many divergences (as well as similarities) from canon. Hopefully, it will still be an interesting and enjoyable read.
From chapter-5 onwards I've added a "story so far" section right near the beginning before the actual chapter. Feel free to skip ahead if you don't feel like reading everything. Kanako first appears in chapter-8 while Naru pops up in chapter-9.
My writing appears to have changed (improved?) considerably since I first started this story. I came back to make a few minor corrections to this opening chapter and found it so repulsive that I rewrote the entire thing (including this AN, obviously!). The plot is essentially the same, just presented in a more polished manner (I hope).
The two dates below my signature are to reflect that. 'Original' is when I first published the chapter and 'Remake' is when I came back to do the rewrite.
Please adjust the size of your window so that this sentence will fit in two lines (including the full-stop).
Ronin & Sophomore
(chapter - 01)
Motoko's room, Aoyama house
Motoko was pacing up and down her room in a very nervous manner. She was wearing her training hakama and had her hair trailing loosely down her back. She had her hands clasped behind said back and was barefoot. Her room was spotlessly clean and she didn't have to fear about stepping on any sharp objects. Her gaze shifted towards one of the walls. She had framed her sword there. It was held in a beautiful red and green colored sheath.
The katana was called 'Shisui' and was her pride and joy. It was given to her by her sister when she became a master of the Shinmei-ryu (a.k.a. God's-Cry School). That was the name of their family kenjutsu of which her sister was it's current grandmaster. Motoko prided herself on how dedicated she was to the sword. She considered herself a devout follower of the traditional Japanese warrior class, which meant that she had to follow the path of obligation, politeness and duty.
Right now, all she had at her side was her bokken (wooden practise sword). It was held at her waist and within easy reach should she need to defend herself. Not that she expected anyone to attack her in her house, let alone her own room. She frowned as she turned to face the window. It was late afternoon and she could see a few animals and birds scurry around the inside of their house. A few clouds were in the sky, but it didn't look like it would rain.
Motoko let out a long sigh of depression as she thought back to when she discovered the uncomfortable situation she was in.
Some hours ago, near Tokyo University
Motoko got off the bus and stepped into a crowd of people in their late teens. She was wearing a pair of blue jeans and a red T-shirt. Her hair was tied back in a ponytail and she had a pair of green sneakers on. It was the day the results of the Tokyo University Entrance Exam would be out.
She looked around at the people surrounding her. Most of them were student aspirants like herself. Well, in a few more hours she wouldn't be an 'aspirant' any longer. She would be a full fledged Tokyo University student! She smiled as she recalled the hardships she had to endure to reach this stage in her life.
Motoko's schooling finished a year ago. In most countries the next logical step would be to proceed onto some university/college or even a job. Japan however, was a bit different. To get admitted into a university the potential student had to participate in a series of difficult entrance exams. Then depending on how well one performed, the student hopeful could be admitted into the college of his/her choice. Competition for the top colleges was fierce and many student hopefuls would take a year off from their education and exclusively prepare for the entrance exams. To assist in this kind of endeavour, the pre-university student would join a preparatory school.
There was a preparatory school near Motoko's home and she spent a good portion of the last year there. Now that she thought about it, she didn't really have much of a social life last year either. Her nose was always in one of her textbooks. She had incorporated her studies into her usual exercise routine. At one point, she caused a disturbance by reciting modern japanese history from memory during their meditation hours. While an impressive academic feat, it was not appreciated by the others present and Tsuruko had insisted she meditate in her room from them on.
Some of the other students had looked at her with funny expressions when they saw her holding a textbook in one hand and practising katana swings with the other. Some of the braver students had even tried challenging her thinking that she was mocking them with that display. A few bruises later, they all learned to leave her alone. And as far as the grandmaster was concerned, as long as Motoko kept in good physical shape, she was free to conduce her exercises as she saw fit. It was one of the perks of attaining the rank of master.
Motoko grew a bit unhappy when she saw the crowd of students that had formed around the result notice board. The register numbers of the students who passed the exam would be posted there. She was sure that after all the effort she put into the exam, her name would surely be there! Still, it proved difficult to get near the board.
As a martial arts practitioner she could have elbowed her way through, but Motoko didn't feel like pushing through the crowd. She wanted it to be a day of celebration! Why spoil the mood by jumping into a mass of people who would push against you in uncomfortable ways? They would disperse soon enough anyway and she wasn't in any hurry at the time.
Looking around Motoko spotted an ice cream vendor nearby. She was a bit tired after the long bus ride and a cool ice cream sounded really nice. She walked up to the vendor and bought an ice cream cone for herself. Enjoying the sweet taste of vanilla in her mouth she made her way to the entrance of a nearby park.
As she stepped on the lawn she took a deep breath. The air felt good and spotting an empty bench she approached it and sat down. The ice cream half done she smiled as she gazed idly around her. A few children were running around and seeing them, brought back a few old memories for Motoko.
She was about 5 or 7 years old, back in those days. Her parents were still around too. The family had just lost a big court case involving the ownership of much of their ancestral property. It was a complicated case and Motoko didn't understand anything back then. She regretted not being able to help. In spite of all the effort they all put into training their bodies physically, it wasn't much use in a modern court. Motoko went to her sister's room a few nights later and asked if there was anything she could have done to help. Tsuruko just looked blankly out the window at the night sky and replied,
"Perhaps if we had a better lawyer working for us, this might have gone differently …"
It was from then on that Motoko decided to that she would become that 'better lawyer'. She looked up in the school library what a 'lawyer' was and learned that they were the people who defended their clients in court. They fought for their clients as well. But it wasn't with swords that they would fight. It would be with words. And rules. And the law.
She soon learned that it wasn't an easy job. It would be very difficult and would require years of study, practise and dedication. In some ways she was fortunate. She wasn't the oldest and didn't need to become the next clan head. She found out that most of the best lawyers in the country were the ones who studied in Tokyo University. It was just after breakfast a few weeks later that she suddenly announced to the rest of the family,
"I swear upon my name as Motoko Aoyama that I will graduate from Tokyo University and become one of the best lawyers this country has ever known!"
Honestly speaking she was shocked at herself too. But it was something she had decided for herself. It took some time to convince the rest of the family, but thanks to her sister's support she got their approval. Her parents were the easiest to convince. It was the rest of the clan that proved far more difficult. Motoko smiled a bit as she recollected those days. She had a lot to thank Aneue (older sister) for.
Deciding that she had spent enough time in the park, Motoko got up and made her way back to the result noticeboard.
Entrance exam noticeboard, Tokyo University
Motoko was relieved to notice that the crowd had lessened considerably since earlier. There were still a few people around, but it was a simple matter to maneuver between them. She soon found herself in front of her objective.
No names were printed on the noticeboard. It was to protect the identity of the students as well as to prevent malpractice. Motoko had her exam hall-ticket with her and looked at it. Her face stared back at her from the paper and she noted her exam number next to it. She looked up on the noticeboard. The registration numbers of the students who passed was listed in numerical order. That would mean her number should be listed somewhere between these two rows of numbers …
The world suddenly turned black and white for Motoko. All color vanished from her surroundings. Only the noticeboard and herself retained their coloring. She looked at the noticeboard with a visibly shocked expression. The pupils of her eyes grew wide and her brown iris narrowed in them. She held her breath and was stunned to the spot.
Just then the wind blew and lifted her hair. Color returned back to the world and she let out the breath she was holding and began to breath normally again. Or at least as normal as she could while in shock.
'Im-impossible! T-The-This cannot be! … But I cannot deny the truth right before me.' she thought to herself as she slowly began to shiver.
"My number is not listed here." she said out loud to no-one in particular. The wind blew some paper in the background and Motoko felt a little part of her die inside.
Back in Motoko's room
The hair on the back of her head stood up straight as Motoko heard the bell ring. Her elder sister had just returned home! She audibly gulped.
'Aneue's home already! What should I do now?' she asked herself in a fit of panic. She didn't notice, but her hair had gotten messed up and was flying all over her shoulders. She paced around her room even faster thinking to herself, 'This is not happening! This is not happening!'
The bell rang again. Without a pause, Motoko impulsively shouted back, "Please wait, I'm coming!"
The next thing she knew, she was running towards the front door.
Outside the Aoyama compound
Tsuruko was standing outside the house waiting for her sister to come and open the door. She had just returned from the post office after sending a package to her husband. 'I wonder how imouto (younger sister) fared in the exam?' she thought to herself. 'She was so sure that she would pass that I'm a bit worried if she was overconfident.' she paused to take a deep breath.
'What is taking her so long to open the door?' she asked herself as she raised her hand to ring the bell for the second time. This time she heard Motoko shout a reply from inside. 'On the good side, overconfidence is something I can teach her about. But first -' was all she got in her musing when the door opened to reveal her younger sister standing in front with small smile on her face.
Tsuruko looked at Motoko and observed that she had her hair combed back and was in a relaxed pose. She took that as a good sign and stepped into the house.
"Welcome home Aneue! How did your trip go?" asked Motoko as soon as she closed the front door.
"Ano … it went well" Tsuruko replied. She continued, "The postage rates have gone up again, but considering how often I use them, our post-office has begun offering me it's volume-discount package!"
She then looked up and thought silently before saying, "Though some of the clerks were worried that I might switch over to a private courier service. They didn't tell me directly, but I could hear them whispering behind my back."
She turned to look at her sister and said with a smile, "But let's leave all that aside for now! Come with me to the main room and you can tell me all about how your wonderful day went imouto!"
Sitting room, Aoyama house
Motoko found herself sitting in front of the table across her sister with two cups of tea before them. She idly noticed the steam rising from the cups. Strangely enough she was feeling calm. A bit too calm. She wondered if this was how condemned criminals felt during their last few minutes alive.
Tsuruko mixed a bit of sugar into her cup and began stirring it. Satisfied that it had dissolved well, she brought the cup to her lips and took a small sip. She enjoyed the feel of the warm liquid wash down her throat. Looking up to her sister she queried, "So imouto, tell me. How did you fare in the Toudai entrance exam? Did everything go as you expected this morning?"
Motoko stiffened on hearing that. She wondered if her sister had already know from the morning how things would turn out. 'But that should not be possible.' she thought to herself. Motoko found that she had trouble looking at her sister in her eyes. Her eyes darted left and then right. Giving up, she took a deep breath and just opted to bend her head down and stare at her knees.
Tsuruko raised one of her eyebrows and said, "Ano … what are you doing imouto?" With a neutral tone she continued, "Come on then, you know you will have to tell me sooner or later. So out with it!"
Motoko raised her face and looked back at her sister. Her mouth was in a frown and she was whimpering, "Aneue … I … I …" Her eyes started to water.
Tsuruko looked back at her sister with a bit of trepidation. She thought to herself, 'Ano … This looks worse than I fear-'
"I FAILED!", bawled Motoko with a small fountain of tears coming out of her eyes. She then buried her face in her hands and shook herself saying, "I will never become a Tokyo University graduate!"
Tsuruko just looked back at her with a lost expression on her face. Inwardly she thought to herself, 'Somehow, I had a feeling that it would turn out this way. She was a bit too confident today morning for things to go smoothly.' She gave a long sigh and looked back at her sister who had bent over the table. The tears were still flowing. 'Times like this, I wonder if we promoted her to a master a bit too soon...' she thought to herself.
"I have brought SHAME upon our proud name!" cried out Motoko from her bent position on the table. "I can never hold my head up high ever again!" she continued.
Then rising from her position, she looked back at her sister and said with tears continuing to flow down her cheeks, "I understand the situation I am placing you in Aneue. Do not worry. I will move away from here and leave the house for good."
She then closed her eyes and began sniffing even more as she imagined how life would be for her from now on. With tears still coming out of her closed eyes and a leaking nose she said, "You must pretend to never have had a sister Aneue! I will banish myself from the clan and move away to the remote mountains …"
Motoko didn't notice in her tirade that her sister had gotten up from the table and had stepped up right next to her. Tsuruko rolled her eyes as she thought to herself, 'I know she's my younger sister and 19 years old, but at times like this I wonder if she might be my long lost 3 year old daughter instead.'
"I will learn to forage food for myself from the wilderness and wear the minimal amount of clothing - " was how far Motoko got in her ramblings before she was interrupted.
Motoko suddenly went quiet and looked up at her sister. Her left cheek was paining and from Tsuruko's hand position it was obvious that she had just slapped her. Before Motoko could speak another word Tsuruko grabbed her from under her chin and turned her head to face her in the eyes. Motoko was forced to look back at her sister's level stare.
"Listen to me and listen well, my imouto." said Tsuruko with an even tone. Motoko recognized that tone. It meant that they were no longer grandmaster or master but just two sisters. And that the younger sister had to obey her elder sister. As strange as the situation was, Motoko found herself blindly trusting her older sister and lowered her defenses. Tsuruko continued, "You are NOT going to be banished from our house over something as insignificant as this! Do I make myself clear?!"
Her sister had her chin caught in an iron grip. Motoko couldn't even nod her head or open her mouth so she just blinked her eyes to mean 'Yes'.
Tsuruko smiled and let her go. She stepped back and allowed Motoko to get up from the table. She asked, "I trust you know what you should do now?"
Motoko nodded her head and turned away from her sister. She took a step towards the exit and softly replied, "With banishment forbidden, I must commit seppuku to restore our family honor -"
Motoko jumped up in surprise and fell on the floor. As she picked herself up, she began to rub the right side of her bottom which was feeling unusually sore for such a simple fall. She looked back to her sister and found her holding out her right hand in a very interesting manner.
Tsuruko smiled and said, "It has been quite a while since I've needed to spank you, hasn't it imouto? Ano … I miss the times when I had to do this daily." She had a really odd expression on her face when she said that. Motoko widened her eyes in alarm. Before she could even move her sister quickly came up to her and -
Now Motoko had to use both her hands to rub her rear end. Tsuruko just smiled back and said, "There. It's even now, right? Much better I should think."
Motoko just grimaced in humiliation while Tsuruko continued, "I want you to go to your room and spend some time meditating on what you should do next. Do you understand me?"
Motoko turned and blinked back at her sister. Tsuruko quickly came up to her, and using just her left hand effortlessly grabbed both of Motoko's hands and held them out in front of her. With her right hand she -
She then released Motoko and stepped back to say, "I need a faster response imouto. Now, lets try this again. What are you going to do now?"
This time Motoko quickly replied, "I will go to my room and meditate on what I should do next."
Tsuruko smiled back and said, "Good, good. You can answer quickly when you get sufficiently … motivated. Now go. I will see you again tomorrow morning. You may skip tonight's dinner while you meditate."
Motoko was almost to the door when she felt her sister grab both her hands again. She felt her body shudder when -
She found her hands were free and looked back at her sister. Her rear was feeling very sensitive. She pleaded, "Aneue..." while silently asking 'Why?'
Tsuruko got the implied message and simply replied, "It just doesn't feel right if I don't do each side three times."
Her imouto just blinked back at her.
Tsuruko raised one of her eyebrows and continued in a certain tone, "We can start again from zero if you wish to remain here."
Motoko wasn't in the room any longer.
The next day
It was very early in the morning and Motoko found herself in the middle of the training hall sitting across her sister. They were both sitting cross-legged on the floor facing each other. The silence lasted for about 5 minutes before Tsuruko asked in a neutral tone,
"Have you given thought to your situation?"
Motoko nodded her head and replied, "Yes, Aneue."
Her sister took a deep breath and slowly asked, "Briefly explain."
She slowly nodded and replied with a sad face, "I've failed my Entrance exam and have not been accepted into Tokyo University as a student this year."
Tsuruko calmly asked, "So is this the end of your dreams of graduating from that university?"
Motoko shook her head rejecting the suggestion and replied, "I want to try again next year."
"So you wish to become a ronin?" asked her elder sister. It felt more like a statement than a question but Motoko replied anyway,
Tsuruko took a deep breath and closed her eyes in deep thought. Motoko wondered if her sister would try ordering her around as clan head. It wasn't unusual and Tsuruko had done it a few times before. But Motoko knew her sister very well. Tsuruko was the kind of person who would rather let Motoko figure out the reasonings herself first than to give out orders. She would only resort to the latter option if Motoko was being stubborn. Reluctantly Motoko had to admit that in the end, her Aneue usually made the right choice.
After a brief moment of silence Tsuruko opened her eyes and said,
"I have no problem with you repeating the exam for however long you wish. But, you still have responsibilities to fulfill towards this household."
Motoko closed her eyes as she let out the breath she was holding. She looked back at her sister and slowly replied, "I understand."
Tsuruko shook her head in dismissal and answered back, "I do not think you do. Tell me Motoko, how old are you today?"
Motoko blinked her eyes in confusion and replied, "I am 19 years old. But how is that relevant?"
Her sister replied, "And assuming the college accepts you next year, how long will the course take?"
Motoko raised a hand under her chin and thought about it. She answered, "About 3 or 5 years, I think. It will depend on my performance during that time."
"Which means that by the time you graduate you will be around 23 or 25 years old, correct?" asked Tsuruko with a knowing look.
Motoko nodded her head in agreement saying, "Yes, that sounds about right …" she trailed off as she realized what her sister was trying to say.
"Aneue, it … it can't be time yet for me, can it?" Motoko asked in a hesitant voice.
"Be honest with me imouto. Do you think you will be able to afford any large distractions once you join the course?" her sister asked back with a concerned voice.
Motoko replied in a resigned tone, "No, that would just make things impossible for me. But can't we wait till I finish the course?"
Tsuruko looked sadly back at her and replied, "Imouto I overlooked this last year, but cannot do so again. It is our family tradition and you are stretching things too much as it is."
Motoko was unhappy and whined back, "But Aneue, last year you said it could wait till I finished my course."
Tsuruko's eyebrows bent closer together and her mouth became a frown. She answered back, "And last year you said that you would become a university student by now!"
Motoko closed her eyes and bent her head downwards, ashamed of herself. Before she could say anything else her sister said,
"Imouto, look up at me. Look at me in the eyes."
Motoko looked back up at her sister and saw worry in her eyes. Tsuruko continued once she had her attention, "Tell me honestly, do you want me to go around introducing you as some old maid? You are in the prime of your youth and some would say even the best years of your womanly life! Are you really telling me to let you waste it?"
Motoko decided to try a different approach and pleaded, "But Aneue, I am not ready for it yet! I have no idea what to do!"
Tsuruko looked back at her with a dead-panned expression. She said, "My husband would be shocked to hear that my imouto just said that. You are going to embarrass me in front of him. You are a woman, are you not? You have not undergone some kind of secret surgery or transformation without my knowledge, have you?"
Motoko just blinked back in disbelief and replied with a bit of shock in her voice, "W-What?"
Her sister just shook her head in disappointment and said, "What kind of a response is that?" She looked back at Motoko with a peculiar expression on her face. Before Motoko could even realize it, her sister had moved closer to herself and with both hands grabbed both sides of Motoko's chest.
Motoko's eyes went wide and she quickly jumped back saying, "EEEK!" She hugged herself and covered her bosom with her arms. She looked back at her sister crossly and demanded, "What was that for?"
Tsuruko just raised one her eyebrows and returned the look with disbelief written over her face. She answered, "You took so long to reply that I decided to check for myself. On top at least, you still appear to be a grown woman … " As she trailed off her gaze fell on Motoko's lap. She continued, "Your delay in answering leaves me with doubts. I still need to resume my inspection …"
A deep red blush quickly grew on Motoko's face and she quickly brought her hands between her legs to protect herself. With her eyes closed she exclaimed with embarrassment, "You do not need to inspect me anymore Aneue! I can assure that I am still a pure woman!"
Tsuruko let out a long sigh and pouted while saying, "Pity. I really wanted to check for myself …"
Motoko glared back at her and nearly screamed, "ANEUE!"
Tsuruko just smiled back and waited for Motoko to calm herself down. After that she continued with a worried tone, "That is something that really makes me worried about your future imouto. My husband took my purity from me when I was at least 3 years younger than you are now."
This time it was Motoko who looked back at her sister with a dead-panned look. She replied, "I feel that you married too early."
Tsuruko just quirked one of her eyebrows towards her head and replied, "Regardless, it is getting too late for you." she continued in a more serious tone, "I did not like postponing it last year and I most certainly do not want to do it this year. You will never know the real joys of being a woman if you keep delaying it like this imouto."
Motoko just grew a frown on her face and folded her arms under her chest while she replied in a defiant tone, "In that case, I do not want to learn the joys of being a woman!"
Tsuruko just closed her eyes and shook her head sadly saying, "And now you are just being stubborn imouto." She suddenly widened her eyes as she realized something and sat up straight. She demanded in a much different tone, "Listen to me, Motoko Aoyama!"
Motoko just looked back at her sister with worry. She knew that tone. It was the one her sister used as Head of the family to force Motoko to do something. Tsuruko continued,
"I believe the reason why you are being evasive is because you feel that it is alright to wait till you are 25! That is only allowed under special circumstances. Circumstances which you most certainly do not fulfill!"
Motoko just grimaced as she listened to the Head of her family speak.
"We will NOT delay this any further. It's the middle of February now. Before the next academic term starts in April, you are getting married. And that is my final decision!" finished Tsuruko.
They sat in silence for a few minutes before Motoko just whined in defeat saying, "I am not going to like this."
With a much calmer tone Tsuruko replied, "Do not worry imouto. We will begin our search for your husband immediately after breakfast today!"
With a hesitant voice, Motoko slowly asked, "I won't be forced to marry someone repulsive, will I?"
Surprised her sister answered, "What would be the point of it then? I will see to it that the man we find is someone who is at least capable of stealing your heart away from you."
Motoko just grumbled back saying, "I can tolerate most of them, but I've never met a male who has even come close to likeable." She added skeptically, "Let alone stealing my heart."
Tsuruko just looked back with a glint in her eye. She replied in a confident tone, "Then I will take it as a challenge to find a suitable male such that you will beg me to prepone the wedding night!"
Coming Up Next "The Sophomore"
Before you leave this page, please leave me a review! It will help improve future chapters.