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Love Hina: Once Again
There was a quiet bustle to the hotsprings town, the sense of things moving forward as people began to arrive for the summer season. Up at the Cafe Hinata things were picking up, too, with more people coming in for the good food as well as visiting the lovely young ladies who ran the place.
Mitsune Konno smiled as she set the order down in front of Ema. "So, there's a new fortune teller in town?" Kitsune asked.
Ema Maeda nodded, her long brown hair flowing down her back, her pet lizard perched on her shoulder. Possessed of a unusual interest in the supernatural, conspiracies and other similar things she was a reliable source of info. "Apparently she's quite good," Ema said, "using tea leaves and astrology, I've heard."
"Huh," Kitsune looked thoughtful as she mused, "wonder if I could get some good numbers from her for the races?"
"Somehow, I just knew you were going to say that," Shinobu Maehara noted as she took off her Cafe Hinata apron and sat down by Ema. She looked at the other woman thoughtfully, "Have you been down to see her, yet?"
"Not yet," Ema admitted, "I was a bit too nervous to go on my own."
"You were looking for some of us to come down with you?" Kitsune asked shrewdly. She smiled slightly, "What the hell, sounds interesting."
Not long after Kitsune, Ema and Shinobu were heading into town, walking down the flight of steps from the dorm. Both Ema and Shinobu wore summer dresses, skirts flowing around them while Kitsune had chosen simple slacks, her t-shirt tucked into her pants.
"Did Mitsumi mind closing up the cafe?" Ema asked curiously.
"No," Kitsune shook her head, "she could use a afternoon off." She grinned, "Besides, we're doing well enough we can afford to take a day off or two."
"Does that mean I get a raise, Kitsune-sempai?" Shinobu asked impishly, then both she and Ema laughed at the startled look on her face.
"Very funny," Kitsune shook her head with a smile, "remind me to sick Su on you when she's feeling really needy."
Seeing Ema's faintly confused expression Shinobu explained, "Koalla Su is a very nice girl, but occasionally she gets a bit lonely for home. She tends to fixate on certain people, and can get a bit... enthusiastic playing with them."
"Ah," Ema nodded.
The trio wove through the shops and people, nodding greetings to the people they knew. Eventually they reached a shop that had closed down last year, now reopened with a sign advertising fortune telling. It was all decorated fairly simply, newly painted walls and door, the only unusual element being the lovely roses that someone had painted.
"All right," Kitsune led the way, "let's check this out."
A bell rang as they pushed the door open, the shadowed room beyond lit by small lights. The violet haired young woman looked up then chuckled, "Welcome."
"Anthy-san?" Ema blinked, recognizing the new resident of the Hinata Dorm.
"I'll be..." Kitsune smiled slightly, studying Anthy thoughtfully. Boldly she asked, "Are you the real thing?"
Anthy looked more amused than anything else, "Actually, yes."
"Kitsune!" Shinobu scolded then turned to Anthy, "I'm sorry Miss Himemiya, I don't know what she was thinking..."
"It's all right," Anthy reassured her, "I'm well aware of how many fake fortune tellers there are." She took a teapot and poured carefully into two cups, "Who would like to go first?"
"Could I?" Ema looked at the others, then when they nodded she took a seat in front of the table Anthy sat at.
"Drink your tea," Anthy smiled at her as she sipped from her own cup, "then we'll begin."
The tea itself had a odd strawberry tinge, smoothly going down as the candles flickered around them. Putting her cup down she smiled, "I'm done."
Anthy took the cup from her with an oddly serene expression, gazing into the cup contemplatively. "You arrived at the Hinata Dorm hoping to enter Tokyo University," she murmured, "because of the stories you heard about it's powers." Softly Ema gasped as Anthy continued, "You intend to apply your research skills as a librarian."
"How did you...?" Ema blurted. She knew her research about the Hinata Dorm was known there, she had mentioned it to Shinobu for instance, but she hadn't told anyone about her interest in being a librarian.
Quietly Anthy continued, "I can't foresee if you'll succeed in achieving that goal, but you will make it into Tokyo U."
"Me next," Kitsune said firmly once Ema had gotten up. She sat down and drank her tea from a fresh cup, wondering about this oddly enigmatic woman across from her.
Taking the cup Anthy smiled, studying the remains thoughtfully. "In business you've largely been successful," she finally said seriously, "but love has been more difficult. Your first true love you gave up to someone who was like a sister to you, while the other you have never spoken of."
Kitsune blinked, "I'll be damned. There's no way that you could have learned that from talking to anyone at the dorm."
Shinobu took her turn, then the four of them left the shop after Anthy decided to close up. "I'm sorry if I said anything inappropriate," she said quietly, "I don't always control what I say."
"Are you psychic?" Ema asked eagerly.
"Something like that," Anthy said as she pushed her hair back nervously, "I don't know all the details myself."
'Now why do I get the feeling she's lying?' Kitsune wondered.
Shinobu had a faintly.. disturbed look on her face. "I didn't like what I heard," she finally said to Anthy softly.
"I'm sorry," Anthy said. Taking a breath, "I could be wrong, and a person's fate is unwritten until it happens. You can make other choices."
"Still," Shinobu sighed, "I think I always knew I couldn't have sempai, but having it spelled out that way hurt."
Ema reached out to gently squeeze Shinobu's shoulder. "And it doesn't mean you won't fall in love with someone else," she said softly.
Shinobu brightened a bit, "True."
Kitsune looked down at Anthy, studying the young woman in her almost archaic dress. "Would you be interested in a business opportunity?" Kitsune asked with a grin.
"Oh?" Anthy looked up at her curiously.
"What?" Motoko Aoyama blinked in surprise, reaching up to feed her bird Shippu, currently perched on her shoulder.
"A ghost busting company," Kitsune continued, "or maybe even more." Anthy sat beside her, looking on with bemused interest more than anything else.
"Why would I want to...?" Motoko trailed off.
"You yourself mentioned to me that you wanted to use your God's Cry training to help people," Kitsune said patiently, "this could be a excellent way to do so."
Motoko looked at Anthy, "And you're involved in this?"
"More waiting to see," Anthy smiled, "I have certain gifts that Kitsune thinks might come in handy." A thoughtful pause, "I think an old friend of mine would be very amused to find me involved in something like this."
'Interesting,' Motoko blinked.
"I already have a name in mind and can have business cards printed by the end of the week," Kitsune said eagerly.
"What would you call this little venture?" Motoko blinked.
A smile from Kitsune, "I was talking to an associate, she says we can be a branch of the Phantom Quest Corp."
To be continued...
Love Hina: Once Again
Interlude: Unexpected Gifts
Shinobu Maehara hummed to herself happily as she worked away in the kitchen of the Hinata Inn, the scent of chocolate wafting on the air. The black haired young woman worked away with cheerful efficiency, finishing up breakfast even as she made up the chocolate she intended to give away with the meal.
"What're you doing?" Koalla Su asked curiously, the dusky skinned blonde looking over her shoulder curiously.
"Breakfast," Shinobu smiled at her friend and said, "and I'm making up some chocolate for everyone, too."
"It's Valentine's Day," Su remembered the occasion, "but with Keitaro gone, it's going to be kind of boring."
Shinobu smiled a little sadly as she said, "It is going to be different this year, yes."
"Good morning," Mutsumi Otohime smiled cheerfully, the busty graduate student entering the kitchen and smoothly heading to the fridge. "Shinobu, should I set the table?" she asked, twin antenna like strands of hair sticking up sweetly.
"Thank you," Shinobu beamed, checking the rice then beginning to fill plates as one by one the residents came down.
Kitsune yawned as she sat at the table, smiling a bit sleepily at the others. While no longer a resident, she often got her meals here and paid for her share of food. Once a notorious gambler and drinker she had settled down allot, in part from running the Cafe Hinata next door. She grinned, "I see that Motoko had chocolate left at her door again."
"That happens every year?" Ema asked, the thin young woman looking curious. She had her laptop open by her seat, scrolling through documents as she absentmindedly pursued her hobby of studying the supernatural.
"Pretty much," Kitsune agreed, "Motoko is popular."
"Kitsune," Motoko scolded, the tall black haired young woman giving her a frown. She carefully set her bird Shippu on a stand nearby before sitting down, then looked around worriedly. "Where is that damned turtle?" she asked coldly.
"Safely in my room," Mutsumi smiled reassuringly as she and Shinobu set the plates of food out for everyone.
"Thank you," Anthy smiled up at Shinobu, her eyes faintly amused as violet hair fell into her face. Beside her Kanako nodded her agreement, the rest of the table repeating similar sentiments. "So what's wrong with the turtle?" Anthy asked.
"Motoko has a phobia about 'em," Su explained cheerfully. "I keep offering to eat her," she added, "but nobody will let me,"
"Su!" Shinobu scolded.
"See what I mean?" Su smiled impishly.
Shinobu ignored that, setting out little packets of chocolate beside everyone's meal. "Happy Valentine's day, everyone," she beamed at them.
"Homemade chocolate from Shinobu?" Kitsune smiled slightly as she said, "then I know it's going to be delicious. Thank you."
Shinobu blushed charmingly at the compliment. "I thought we could all exchange chocolate today," she explained, "since we don't have any boys here this year."
"What a good idea," Mutsumi clapped her hands happily.
Kanako frowned just slightly as she briskly said, "None for me, thanks." A faint smile, "Considering my family, I've had enough candy to last a life time."
"Eh?" Ema blinked.
"Kanako and Keitaro's parents ran a candy store," Su explained to her calmly, eating away at her meal happily.
"Then I'll be hittin' the stores later," Kitsune excused herself, "I'm not that good of a cook. But I do plan on giving everybody chocolate."
Everyone left not long after, each with jobs to do today not to mention plans to hand out chocolate to each other, too. From up in Su's rooms a loud clanging was soon heard, then a sudden explosion. Thankfully that was pretty much normal, so everyone just left that alone.
"Oh me oh my," Mutsumi murmured to herself as she walked to her room, thinking about what to make for her many friends. Chocolate hearts seemed to be a good bet, but she didn't really know about Ema or Anthy's tastes just yet. 'I could always ask them,' she thought, detouring to walk towards Anthy's room. Moving to open the door she noticed it was open a crack, and slightly guiltily she peeked it... only to freeze.
Anthy looked completely different than the casually dressed girl who had been sitting at the breakfast table only minutes ago. Instead she wore a lovely gown in red and white, almost like that a princess might wear and a simple crown on her brow. She held a single rose in her hand, her expression oddly sad.
"Power of Dios that sleeps within me," she murmured over the rose, "heed your mistress." As Anthy spoke the rose shimmered, petals falling free only to thump softly on the table as pieces of fine chocolate. She continued until she had enough to give two to each of the residents, then stopped with a weary sigh.
'The others aren't going to believe this,' Mutsumi thought in awe.
Anthy looked down at the red rose as the gown and ornaments simply faded away, finally murmuring sadly, "Utena..."
Mutsumi turned away, firmly deciding that it would be better to ask her later. 'Besides,' she thought, 'now I know the name of who she was looking for.'
Meanwhile, Motoko went back to her room, releasing Shippu to fly freely over the Hinata Inn. She bowed to the small altar in her room then hesitated in front of her katana waiting in it's stand. Part of her wanted to take up the blade and practice, but she also knew she was badly distracted.
The chocolates were sitting on her desk, the ones that Motoko had found that morning waiting for her. No note, nothing to indicate where they were from, and home made so she couldn't identify the store. 'Just like the last year,' Motoko mused as she took a piece of chocolate, savoring it as it melted in her mouth.
There was a soft knock then Kanako called out, "Can I come in?"
'At least I know it wasn't her, she wasn't here last year,' Motoko thought. "Come in," she answered stiffly.
Kanako moved gracefully, almost like the cat she usually carried, and she was dressed in her usual dark colors. "Good morning," she said softly, "how are you?"
"Fine," Motoko said flatly. She still didn't much like Kanako for what she had pulled back when she first arrived at the Hinata Inn, and she was determined not to change her mind. Oddly, over the past few months the woman had seemed almost saint-like by comparison, running the dorm with smooth efficiency, but that didn't change anything.
"I was thinking of bringing you something," Kanako softly admitted, surprising Motoko a little, "but I couldn't figure out what you'd like."
"But why?" Motoko blinked, feeling faintly surprised. The idea of Kanako giving Valentine's chocolate out was shocking, especially considering her usually dour personality.
Kanako made a face, "I've been considering what you said, Motoko. I'm beginning to think you might have a point."
"And what did you intend to do about it?" Motoko sounded decidedly wary. Considering that Kanako had nearly ravished her disguised as Naru, it was just a little worrisome.
"It's all right," Kanako smiled faintly, "I don't have dishonorable designs on you." She looked almost amused, "I just wanted to thank you for your help, I suppose."
"You're welcome," common courtesy made Motoko answer. Before the conversation could limp forward some more a knock sounded on the door, "Come in."
A small, turtle designed robot soared in, making both women jump. From it's belly chocolate dropped out, floating to the top of Motoko's desk via a little parachute, then it swept out in a burst of jet-propelled power.
"Su?" Kanako asked as Motoko looked at the card attached to the candy.
"Su," Motoko agreed wryly.
To be continued...
Love Hina: Once Again
"Eeeek!" Ema squealed as the young woman grabbed hold of the dashboard, her face pale. "Kitsune, please!" she whimpered.
Kitsune grinned from where she sat behind the wheel, her eyes narrowed intently. "Are we catching up to it?" she yelled to the passengers in back while they barreled down the road in the Hinata Inn's old van.
"Yes," Anthy answered, "we're getting close." The violet haired young woman seemed oddly composed, even with Kitsune's wild driving, the expression on her dusky face mostly serene.
"Ema, I sensed the beast was a demon when we first fought it," Motoko said, long black hair falling down her back as she held her sword at the ready, "can you narrow that down at all?"
Ema flipped open her laptop and went to work, running through her database on the supernatural. Part of why Kitsune had recruited Ema for this venture was because of that knowledge, the information that Ema had accumulated over the years studying such things. That, and how her skills as a hopeful librarian let her sort and access the information.
"I think it's some kind of water sprite," Ema said after a moment, her long brown hair falling into her face from the wild ride, "probably angry over the damming up of it's spring."
"That fits," Kitsune agreed, "the owners of the house started having trouble after they started draining the pond."
"But where is it running?" Anthy asked seriously.
"There's a fountain up ahead, I think," Motoko offered.
Kitsune whipped them around a corner, nearly sending the van over onto it's side. "Then let's figure on that," she said, "everyone ready?"
"No," Ema squeaked.
Anthy gave her a sympathetic look, "I can try to distract it."
"And I should be able to banish it using the God's Cry techniques," Motoko answered firmly.
They bounced over a hill and the fountain finally came into view... and they saw a pitched battle going on. The water sprite, a creature now swelled up to nearly six feet tall and covered with spotted green skin was striking out at a miko, a black haired young woman in the traditional red and white garb of her calling.
The van squealed to a stop and the doors slid open, Motoko drawing her sword and leaping forward as the young woman blocked a punch with a flaming spell scroll. With a flash of silver she swept it backward, the miko looking at her in surprise as the other companions moved into position.
A rose was in Anthy's hand then she tossed it with unearthly precision, driving it into the beast's shoulder like a knife. It went to strike a her, roaring with pain then the miko attacked, slapping a charm on it's back that exploded into flames. Weakened and staggering it tried to jump into the water, but Motoko was ready.
"Banishing evil, second form!" Motoko cried, lashing out with a wave of chi energy along with her sword strike, the combination wiping the creature out.
The miko frowned at them even as a blue haired woman rushed over to her side, looking her over worriedly. "Are you all right, Rei?" the blue haired woman asked.
"I'm fine, Ami," Rei reassured her. She looked at the four young woman walking towards them, "Wonder if the rose thrower knows Mamoru?"
Ami chuckled softly, "Maybe."
"Thank you for your help," Kitsune said once she reached them, studying the two young ladies thoughtfully.
"I take it you were trying to catch that thing?" Rei asked curiously.
"We drove it from the spring it was haunting and chased it here," Motoko agreed, "how did you get involved?"
"We were going to our new residence," Ami waved to the suitcases sitting nearby, "and stumbled across it by accident."
"New residence?" Anthy asked mildly, her casual dress swirling around her legs.
"Yes, the Hinata Inn," Rei agreed.
The four young woman looked at each other in surprise, clearly not knowing what to say. "Is there a problem?" Ami asked curiously.
"Would you like a ride?" Kitsune laughed softly, "We're heading back there ourselves."
"You're all residents there?" Rei blinked.
"Welcome to the Hinata Inn," Ema smiled shyly, clutching her laptop under her arm.
After a short detour where Ema showed their customers a webcam film of the defeat of the monster and Kitsune collected their pay they headed up to the Inn itself. Kanako greeted them at the door, the black clad young woman raising a single eyebrow at seeing Kitsune and the others escorting the new arrivals.
"Ami Mizuno, Rei Hino," Kanako bowing to both gravely, "welcome to the Hinata Inn. I understand you're going to be attending Tokyo U, Miss Mizuno?"
"Ami, please," she smiled, "yes, I'm pursuing my medical degree there." She reached out to take Rei's hand, "And Rei is training at a shrine in the area."
"Good luck to you both," Kanako said with her typical seriousness, "we've prepared a room as you requested. Now, you wanted to share a room, correct?"
"Yes, please," Rei answered, "we've bee close friends for a long time. Is that going to be any problem?"
"Not at all," Kanako said, "we can move two futons in or..."
"That would be fine," Ami smiled, the two women picking up their bags and heading inside behind Kanako.
"New arrivals?" Su asked curiously layer, the dusky skinned blonde bouncing eagerly. She, along with Mutsumi and Shinobu were being briefed on them as well as the four's successful battle with the water sprite.
"Yes, they're moving in to the large corner suite," Shinobu confirmed. She frowned, "I wonder why they want to share, though?"
"Splitting costs?" Kitsune asked reasonably.
"Maybe they're a couple?" Mutsumi clapped her hands cheerfully.
"Ehhh?" Ema blinked at her in surprise.
"People do that a lot where I come from," Su volunteered, "it's part of why I was thinking of keeping Motoko as my bodyguard and love slave."
"Su!" Motoko scolded, blushing red.
"I.. I.. I think you're jumping to conclusions," Shinobu stammered, blushing brightly.
"We could always find out," Kitsune offered impishly, "maybe sent one of Su's little robots in with a camera..."
"Don't even think about it," Motoko said firmly. She gave the rest of them a frown, "We don't even know them yet, it's not fair to speculate on their personal lives."
"Aww!" Su pouted, a half assembled Tama-robo with a built in spy-camera already sitting there at her feet.
"A-hem," Kanako cleared her throat loudly, giving everyone a thoughtful look. "Shinobu, would you mind starting diner soon? I'd like something special for our new residents."
"I'll get started," Shinobu smiled happily.
"As for the rest of you," Kanako continued, "don't you have better things to do?"
"We'll get going," Mutsumi smiled gently, "I know that Kitsune and I need to get the cafe open for the lunch crowd."
"Minds if I join you for dinner?" Kitsune grinned, "I'm still curious about the newcomers."
"As long as you're polite," Kanako agreed.
"Always," Kitsune reassured her.
To be continued...
Love Hina: Once Again
The meeting up at the shinto shrine was quiet, the talk hesitant before Rei Hino finally took charge. "This isn't a wake everyone," the black haired woman said to them firmly, "hell, we aren't even going that far away."
"Maybe, but this is the first time one of us has left," Makoto Kino said wryly, the tall brown haired woman sitting by the table that was loaded with food and snacks she had cooked, "it's going to take some time to adjust."
"I'm sorry," Ami Mizuno said faintly, the blue haired woman sitting beside Rei, "if I hadn't been accepted in Tokyo University this never would have happened."
"Don't apologize, Ami," Usagi Tsukino said with a smile, the blonde wiping at teary eyes, "we're all happy for you."
"And if anyone here deserves to go to Tokyo U, it's you," Minako Aino said, the blonde bombshell reaching out to squeeze Ami's shoulder.
"Besides," Rei said after a moment, "we'll keep in touch. Ami and I have email, there's phones, and if there's an emergency we'll come running."
"Yes," Ami nodded, "Tokyo U is important to me, but not more important than all of you."
Usagi reached out to squeeze both their hands, "Thank you."
"So," Makoto asked after a moment, "what's this place you're staying at?"
"The Hinata Dorms and Inn," Rei answered promptly, "it's a combination of dorm in the main building an a inn using new building added to the property. It was also a hotspring resort at one time, so we'll have access to that, too."
"And you two are planning to share a room there?" Minako asked impishly.
Ami blushed faintly as she answered, "Yes. The manager, Kanako Urashima, seems to have no problem with it."
"Really?" Usagi blurted, "I wonder if that means she's..."
"Usagi," Rei gave her a look, "we've barely met her, meatball head."
"You're so mean," Usagi's eyes welled with tears.
Ami had to fight back a laugh, watching her friends falling back on their familiar patterns of behavior, a comforting thing knowing that they'd all be parted soon enough. Makoto busied herself with setting up more of the food, Minako casually flipped through a few of Rei's manga and Usagi and Rei argued affectionately.
"So how are your mother and Rei's grandfather taking news of your relationship?" Makoto asked softly after a few moments.
"Grandfather's taken it very well," Ami answered promptly, "he seems to be content if Rei's happy." A frown, "My mother on the other hand..."
"Not good?" Makoto asked sympathetically.
Ami smiled wryly as she sighed, "I'm hoping she'll respond to an email once I'm away from home for awhile."
"She'll come around," Makoto said firmly, "you're her only daughter, after all."
"And grandfather is working on her, too," Rei noted before adding, "though I can't quite decided if that's a good thing or not."
Everyone laughed at that.
Some weeks later and I another city Ami hummed to herself softly as she finished unpacking her clothes from the bags on the low table. "Your turn Rei," she called to her, "and do you mind if I do the email?"
Rei smiled from where she had finished setting up their household shrine. "No problem," she lugged her bag over, "I'm sure Usagi and the others are dying of curiosity at this point."
Setting up her laptop Ami sat by the window, her expression thoughtful as she tried to organize the impressions of the last few days. Opening up her email account she typed in the address "bunnycrystaltokyo.jpn" then began to write.
To Usagi, Makoto, Minako, Haruka, Michiru, Setsuna and Hotaru.
We've been at Hinata Inn for a day or so, and already we feel surprisingly at home. I think that Makoto was feeling a bit worried that a self-described medical nerd and a shinto priestess might not fit in well, but we blend in quite well with the unusual characters here. What follows are my initial impressions of them...
Motoko Aoyama is a tall young woman, rivaling Makoto, and she almost looks like she wandered out of a samurai drama with her archaic clothes. The black haired woman carries a sword and is remarkably skilled, I suspect she could even match Tuxedo Kamen. Yet she is pleasant and almost serene, though I suspect a temper lurks beneath that.
Ema Maeda and I may have a great deal in common, if the laptop she was carrying with her is ant indication. The brown haired girl appears quite shy, too, much like I was when I first met Usagi. The other residents here look out for her like a little sister, apparently.
Mitsune Konno has the nickname Kitsune, and from what I've seen calling her a trickster fits. She reminds me of Haruka in her looks as well as sharing Haruka's occasionally impish nature, and Kitsune appears to be quite reckless. Still, she runs a successful cafe and employs two of the residents here, so she can't be all that wild.
Anthy Himemiya is a harder one to read on several levels. The dusky skinned, violet haired girl stands slightly apart from the others, but there is a gentleness about her too. Oddly she flings roses much like Tuxedo Kamen, a gift I'm determined to ask her about. Rei has mentioned she feels power around Anthy, but not a dark force.
Su Koalla is the most energetic girl that I've met, rivaling even a sugar-filled Chibi-Usa, and she seems to be a technical genius if all the inventions I've seen around her are any indication. The dusky skinned blonde teen has been quite friendly, though she asked us some remarkably blunt questions about Rei and I.
Rei read that bit over her shoulder and chuckled. "I don't think I've seen you blush like that in a while," she purred into Ami's ear.
"Hush," Ami blushed faintly as she continued.
Kanako Urashima and Hotaru must both shop at the same stores, since the young lady has, so far, worn only a variety of black outfits. She's remarkably deadpan, calmly accepting details of my and Rei's relationship without a flicker in her expression. Still, I get the sense that there's amusement and compassion beneath her calm gaze.
Shinobu Maehara is the 'mother' of the inn, despite her relative youth. She cooks and cleans like a wizard, and the taste of her food rivals Makoto's. She, like many of the residents here, is a sophomore student at Tokyo U ad I hope to receive guidance from her.
"She sure doesn't look it, does she?" Rei remarked. "Still, I think you'd be asking the graduate student instead."
"Just getting to her," Ami agreed.
I only met Mutsumi Otohime a short while before she went over to her job at the Cafe Hinata next door, but she comes across as remarkably easy going.
"Not to mention having enormous melons," Rei commented.
She's quite statuesque, but seems largely unaware of her physical beauty. Her oddest habit seems to be kissing people when she's happy... she laid a good one on both Rei and I and no one else here seemed to bat an eye.
In conclusion it looks like we'll fit in here quite well, and we're settling in nicely. We miss you and home, and look forward to your next visit.
Love, Ami and Rei.
Rei read it over completely, hugging Ami from behind as she did so. "You didn't mention that ghost busting thing," she noted, "or that Kitsune wants to hire me for it."
"I think we'll save that for the next letter," Ami laughed. She turned, cuddling into Rei's arms, "you know, you haven't kissed me since we got here."
"Then I'd better fix that right now," Rei murmured before kissing her.
In another room Su reached out, turning off the monitor that she had been using to spy on them. She knew the others had forbidden her to do this, but she just couldn't resist... "Still," Su murmured, "I wasn't expecting them to really be lovers."
To be continued...
Notes: Ami, Rei and their friends are all from Sailor Moon, and this story also ties in with my ficcy "Ice on Fire." Anthy is from Revolutionary Girl Utena and this series of stories is set before "Echoes of a final Duel."
Love Hina: Once Again
Splash! With a happy little sigh Kitsune Konno settled into the water, the sandy blonde haired woman relaxing in the hot springs after a long day's work in and around the Hinata Cafe. She was faintly surprised not to see anyone else out here in the water, but she expected that the others would be coming soon.
"And the turtle really flies?" Ami Mizuno said as she emerged from the mists, her short blue hair giving her a boyish look.
Anthy Himemiya chuckled softly, the dusky skinned woman saying, "Yes, it surprised me too." Her violet hair was tied up, a few strands falling into her eyes, and she looked comfortable in her nudity. "Hello Kitsune," she nodded in greeting.
"Yo," Kitsune raised a saucer of sake in greeting, her bottles sitting in a little wooden bucket that floated beside her.
"Hello," Rei Hino said, the black haired girl standing protectively by Ami's side.
"I see you haven't gambled away the cafe's profits yet," Anthy teased gently as she settled in the water, her breasts bobbing gently.
"Oh?" Ami looked startled from where she and Rei were easing into the steaming water.
Kitsune gave Anthy a scolding look, "Don't be giving them ideas, I've mostly given that up."
"And we were quite surprised by that," Motoko said, her long black hair flowing around her, her full breasts hidden behind a modest towel. Oddly she still carried her katana even into the baths, setting it beside her as she shed her towel and sat in the water nearby.
"You all seem to know each other fairly well," Rei noted quietly.
"I've only been here a few months," Anthy sat back, sighing softly in contentment as the heat eased sore muscles. In addition to her fortune telling in town she had helped clean up at the new inn, and she felt pretty tired. "But I understand Motoko and Kitsune are full time residents."
"Well, I was until I moved over to the cafe full time," Kitsune corrected.
"Kitsune and I," Motoko nodded, "Su, Mutsumi and Shinobu have all lived here for awhile. Ema moved in recently, and Kanako lived here for awhile, left, and then came back."
"There's a very," Ami gave them all a thoughtful look, "family like feel to this women's dorm, it's very pleasant."
Kitsune laughed softly, "Somehow I can't quite see any of us as father figures."
"Oh I don't know," Anthy stretched gracefully, "Motoko comes across as quite manly."
"What!" Motoko blurted, blushing.
"That might have been a bit much," Rei noted, seeing the look on Motoko's face. Oddly Kitsune looked almost as upset as her, but with more of a... jealous expression.
"No insult intended," Anthy said to them gently, "in fact you remind me of someone I once liked... a great deal."
Motoko relaxed a bit at that, "Of course, I understand." A little smile quirked her lips, "It seems I still have some issues with my femininity."
Oddly Kitsune still had a faintly antagonistic look on her face as she studied Anthy. "So," she waved her sake bottle for emphasis, "it was a girl you liked?"
"Kitsune," Shinobu scolded as the black haired young woman said as she emerged from the mists, Su and Ema behind her. Her long black hair swirled as she hit the water, sliding beneath the steaming fluid.
Kitsune subsided a bit, "All right, that might have been a bit much."
"It was a woman," Anthy surprised them by saying, "her name is Tenjou Utena."
Su looked at Anthy eagerly, the dusky skinned blonde leaning forward a bit. "So were you dating?" she asked.
Anthy smiled slightly, "Something like that, yes."
"And.. you two are separated?" Ema asked, the youngest girl's antenna like strands of hair bouncing a bit.
"Yes, we went out separate ways several years ago," Anthy said, aware that the whole group of women were watching her intently. With a sigh she added, "We left things between us frustratingly unresolved... and I want to see her again."
Kitsune and Motoko exchanged a silent look of communication then Kitsune asked, "You want some help?"
"I bet I could come up with something," Su nodded.
Timidly Ema continued, "I could start a net search, maybe..."
"You'd do that for me?" Anthy said, feeling just a bit surprised.
Shinobu smiled back, "What are friends for?"
"Thank you," Anthy smiled, reaching up to wipe at her eyes.
With a surprising degree of tact Su changed the subject. "I saw someone with Kanako," she said, "do you think we might have a new resident?"
Earlier that day Kanako Urashima lead a woman along the hall, the black haired young woman looking like a shadow in her all black clothes. "Welcome to our dorm, Miss Masaki," she said as she lead her to the manager's room.
Tennyo Masaki wore a comfortable off-gray skirt and white blouse, looking much like a active business woman. "Thank you," she said, "it looks like a comfortable place."
"We like to think so," Kanako opened the door and they went inside, her pet cat leaping up to her shoulder with the ease of long practice.
"So who's the new blood?' Kuro the black cat asked Kanako, peering at Tennyo curiously from his usual perch.
"Hush," Kanako scolded as she reached up to scratch behind his ears.
Tennyo seemed quite unfazed by a talking cat, calmly taking her seat by the low table with a unusual degree of grace. "The place looks fine for my needs," she said gravely then flashed a smile, "and the rent is cheap."
"I was surprised a older woman wanted to move here," Kanako noted, though in truth it was hard to guess her age. On one hand she seemed mature, coming across like a dignified older lady, but her body seemed to glow with youth.
"I only recently returned to Japan," Tennyo explained, "after living abroad and gaining my engineering degree. I wanted to live away from my family, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable enough to live on my own."
"And the dorm will be a nice middle ground," Kanako nodded slightly.
"Exactly," Tennyo smiled.
Kanako gracefully poured them both some tea. "And you mentioned that you're trained as an engineer?" she asked curiously.
Tennyo looked faintly amused by the shameless probing. "Yes I am," she nodded, "I've made arrangements with a firm to work from home. I'll be using my laptop and modem mostly, with occasional visits to the office."
They shared their tea, talking about minor things for a few more minutes. "If this dorm suits you," Kanako said gravely, "I can have the papers ready for you to sign today."
"You think I'm suitable, then?" Tennyo asked teasingly.
"Very much so," Kanako answered calmly.
"Then yes, I'd like to become a resident," Tennyo nodded.
To be continued...
Notes: Tennyo Masaki is the big sister of Tenchi Masaki of Tenchi Muyo, a new character introduced in the latest OVAs. In her case "living abroad" means outer space, having spent time on Jurai and several other worlds.
Love Hina: Once Again
“Ami sempai,” Ema said, the long brown haired girl smiling as she hurried to catch up. “Going to another mock test?” she asked curiously.
“Not exactly,” Ami smiled back, her short blue hair ruffled a little by the breeze, “I’m going to a advanced study group for med students.”
Ema felt her heart skip a beat as she looked up at the handsome older girl, then forced herself to calm down. ‘Remember,’ she reminded herself, ‘you don’t know what sort of relationship she has with her roommate.’ Taking a steadying breath she said, “It must be hard, studying to be a doctor.”
“It’s been a ambition of mine for a long time,” Ami said, her blue skirt fluttering around her legs. Gently she asked, “How about you?”
“Huh?” Ema blushed.
“I mean,” Ami asked, “what do you want to do? Why are you working so hard to get into Tokyo University?”
“I’ve been told that getting into Tokyo University can make your dreams come true,” Ema shyly admitted as they walked. She looked embarrassed, “To be honest, I think I’d like to be a librarian.”
“Then I think you’ll be a good one,” Ami offered.
Ema mentally gave a fan-girl squeal, but in reality offered a soft, “Thank you.”
Rei Hino watched from the roof of the Hinata Inn as she saw Ami walking, Ema looking up at her in more than a bit of awe. ‘I hope that Ami lets the kid down easy,’ the black haired miko thought, ‘Ema’s a nice kid, and I don’t think Ami wants to see her hurt.’
“Good morning,” A amused voice came from behind her.
“Morning,” Rei called as Mitsune Konno, also known as Kitsune walked along the peak of the roof towards where Rei was perched.
“May I?” Kitsune gestured to the open space beside Rei on the edge of the roof. When Rei nodded she sat down, the sandy blonde haired woman looking entirely relaxed.
“You look a little under the weather,” Rei noted diplomatically. In fact Kitsune’s eyes were a bit bloodshot and she was visibly bedraggled. If Rei knew her better she’d have guessed Kitsune had been out drinking, or something.
“Oh yeah,” Kitsune winced. “I still do some freelance writing and a few of my work associates got together at the Café for a party last night,” she explained. “I sent Mutsumi and Shinobu home, but I never got to bed till three am.”
“Ouch,” Rei winced. Her grandfather had a similar party nature, and she had been the one to take care of him then.
Kitsune drank from the cup of steaming coffee she carried, her shorts and t-shirt clinging to her shapely body. “Have you had a chance to think about my offer?” she asked.
“To join that ghost busting thing you’re doing?’ Rei asked.
“Yeah,” Kitsune smiled.
“I’ve committed to train part-time at the Higurashu shrine by my Grandfather,” Rei said as the breeze made her long hair swirl about, “that’ll take a lot of my time.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Kitsune admitted.
“But,” Rei said after a moment, “I’d be willing to help where I can.”
Kitsune grinned suddenly, “Good.”
“For a reasonable cut of the profits, of course,” Rei added with a smile.
“Of course,” Kitsune nodded. She paused, “The Higurashu shrine?”
“Yes?” Rei blinked.
“I think you’re going to have a interesting time there,” Kitsune said thoughtfully, “at least if the stories I’ve heard are right.”
“The demon of Higurashu Shrine?” Rei nodded knowingly. She looked away, lips twitching with amusement, “I’ve met him.”
“Seriously?” Kitsune looked at her in surprise.
“Yeah,” Rei smiled, remembering the meeting a few days ago...
Checking the address on the sheet of paper her Grandfather gave her Rei saw the aura of the place before she even saw the shrine, feeling the faint crackle of power. Pausing by the front gate she hesitated a moment, then Rei continued on.
A black haired young woman was sweeping the yard, dressed in a green and white school girl’s uniform from the region. “Hello,” she looked up.
“Hello,” Rei nodded politely, “my name is Rei Hino. I’m here looking for the priest of the Higurashu shrine.”
“You’re looking for gramps?” the girl looked surprised. “My name is Kagome,” she offered her hand, “nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you,” Rei took her hand then visibly stiffened as she felt the power simmering within the girl. Not only was this a miko, but she was a wondrously powerful one, maybe even Rei’s match as Sailor Mars.
“Ahhh,” Kagome cried out in surprise, jerking backwards.
“Kagome!” a boys voice cried out in alarm.
“Oh no,” Kagome muttered, “wait!”
Bursting from a nearby building the white haired boy swept towards Rei with a hand extended, fingers curved like claws. “Get away from Kagome,” he yelled, swinging as his red Hitoe coat shifted in the breeze.
Rei ducked under the first strike, reaching into her coat for a paper charm as she chanted softly. “Whoop,” she side stepped another strike even as she slapped the charm on his forehead and finished the spell.
“Urk.” the white haired boy froze even as unearthly power swirled around him. Suddenly the power flared around him and he shook off the charm, giving Rei a deadly glare as he growled, “Why you...”
“InuYasha,” Kagome said forcefully, “SIT!”
In a burst of spiritual energy InuYasha’s face hit the ground with a thump, the boy stunned for a moment by the impact. His rage at Rei forgotten for a moment he rounded on Kagome, “What the hell’d you do that for?”
“You were going to hurt her,” Kagome shot back, “and she hadn’t done anything!”
“So why’d you yell?” InuYasha demanded.
“I was startled,” Kagome said a bit defensively, “I’ve never run into a modern person with that kind of spiritual power before.”
“So I had to rush out here for nothing?” InuYasha looked disgusted. “You’ve got to be kidding me...” he shook his head.
Kagome scowled, “SIT boy!”
WHAM! Another face plant.
Rei blinked, taking in the whole odd situation. “What?” she asked mildly, “is going on here, exactly?”
“It’s a long story,” Kagome sighed.
Sitting on the roof of the Hinata Inn Kitsune finished off her coffee as Rei finished a edited version of that meeting. “So this Kagome has a half-demon servant?” she blinked then chuckled, “Poor guy.”
Rei chuckled, “I think get along pretty well.”
To be continued...
Notes: I’m putting Rei and Kagome’s powers at the same level arbitrarily, since it makes it easier to write them. InuYasha doesn’t kill Rei immediately because he’s holding back a bit, as well as Rei having experience fighting demons.
Love Hina: Once Again
Tennyo Masaki smiled slightly as she strode up the stone steps, the white haired woman looking oddly ageless dressed in her business wear. She might be as young as twenty or as old as forty, it was difficult to tell from her mostly unmarked face and body. Of course the truth would have shocked her dorm mates a great deal.
The youthful looking Tennyo was in fact a hundred year old half alien, her mother human while her father was born on the planet Jurai. Raised on Earth in her youth she had left home for Jurai, sending decades among alien civilizations as a designer of star ships. Off and on she had returned home, but only recently had she decided to stay for a while.
‘Just like home,’ Tennyo thought fondly as she climbed up the steps that were so like those at the Masaki shrine where she had been born so long ago. If she was going to be honest walking these stairs had been one of the deciding factors in deciding on moving to the Hinata Inn, that and it’s convenience to her job.
“Tennyo-san,” a voice called out to her cheerfully as she reached the top of the stairs. Mutsumi Otohime smiled as she walked over to the white haired woman as the busty woman asked, “Back so soon?”
“Just had to go into town to check in on a client,” Tennyo explained as they casually fell into step. She smiled slightly as she added, “We can do a lot online, but occasionally face to face meetings are a must.”
“I suppose so,” Mutsumi agreed.
Tennyo smiled over at the young woman as she asked, “Is the café open? It occurs to me I missed breakfast.”
“Come on then,” Mutsumi impulsively took Tennyo’s hand as she pulled her towards the side of the inn complex, “let’s get you fed.”
The Hinata Café was beside the Inn, formerly run by the owner’s aunt before she got married. Now, it was run by Kitsune, Mutsumi and Shinobu, and had become very popular, in no small part to the attractive qualities of the three ladies. Shinobu had a youthful innocence, Mutsumi brought a motherly quality while Kitsune seemed almost dangerously experienced. Add in Kitsune’s sharp business skills and they were doing very well.
“Yo, Tennyo,” Kitsune nodded as she hurried to serve a table of young men, “you want your usual today?”
“Yes, please,” Tennyo agreed as she and Mutsumi walked over to the front counter.
“Shinobu,” Kitsune called, “lunch special number one!”
“Yes, Kitsune,” Shinobu called from the kitchen. A few moments later the younger black haired girl hurried up with the plate, “Hello, Tennyo-san.”
“Hi Shinobu,” Tennyo smiled.
Reluctantly Mutsumi moved away as she said, “I’d better get back to work.”
“Thank you,” Tennyo said as Mutsumi moved off, receiving a bright smile in return.
Kitsune took off her apron as she said, “I’m on break, okay?” Receiving a affirmative from her coworkers she sat on the seat by Tennyo’s, “You mind?”
“Be my guest,“ Tennyo smiled.
Getting a cup of sake from Shinobu Kitsune sipped politely, her expression thoughtful. “You’ve made quite a hit with our Mutsumi.” she noted.
“She’s very sweet,” Tennyo agreed.
Kitsune smiled wryly, “But I have to say, Mutsumi isn’t too worldly. I’d really hate to see her get hurt.”
Tennyo fought back a smile. “I have no intention of leading her on,” she promised. A moment’s hesitation, “I’ve never...”
“Hmm,” Kitsune nodded. She swirled her sake in the glass, “Mutsumi was very close to one of our former roommates, and while she was happy for her friend’s marriage, it also left her pretty lonely. Just be careful, all right?”
“I will,” Tennyo promised.
Meanwhile, up at the Inn itself there was a smaller meeting taking place in a room crowded by electronics. “You mean you found her?” Anthy blinked, the dusky skinned woman sitting down on the bed with a thump.
“I think so,” Su corrected cheerfully as the blonde haired girl sat beside her partner in crime and computer hacker.
Ema nodded gravely, her long brown hair flowing down her back. “I did some poking around,” she said, “and tracked down several bank accounts for a ‘Tenjou Utena.’ Someone using those accounts has purchased a plane ticket from Great Britain to Japan, and she’ll be arriving tonight.”
“I didn’t expect you two to be this quick.” Anthy noted weakly, her violet colored hair flowing around her face.
“You want the bad news?” Su said.
“Hmm?” Anthy looked at her curiously.
“She’s got a room booked in Tokyo, a Shinjuku hotel,” Su passed the print out over, “can you get out there in time?”
“Oh yes,” Anthy said, a dangerous glitter in her eyes.
“Otherwise, I can lend you the Tama-robo,” Su added.
Ema paled, “Not that. Kitsune gets very upset when you do that.”
Anthy smiled slightly at the girls’ antics as she got up. “I’d better get going,” she said, “I need to back a bag if I’m going to Tokyo.”
“Good luck,” Su nodded.
“Tell us how it goes,” Ema added as Anthy left the room and headed back to her own.
“Come on,” Su grabbed Ema by the hand after giving Anthy a moment to walk off, “let’s go tell the others.”
“But why...?” Ema managed as Su dragged her off.
“So we can follow her.”
“No way,” Motoko Aoyama said seriously a short time later, the tall black haired women crossing her arms over her chest.
“But Motoko...” Su started.
“It’s tempting,” Rei Hino admitted, still dressed in her miko garb from her part time job at the shrine, “if only to figure out why she’s so mysterious.”
“I’m a bit surprised at you,” Kanako admitted, the whole group having gathered in the manager’s quarters. Privately she was even more surprised to be included, though she supposed most of the inn’s residents had gotten over their grudges.
“There’s a unusual vibe I get from Anthy,” Rei admitted, “not a sinister feeling, but...”
“Ah hem,” Ami cleared her throat and Rei decided to stop there.
“Well, a little trip into Tokyo could be fun,” Kitsune tossed it, her boyish haircut giving her a impish look.
“Wouldn’t it be rude to intrude on Anthy-san’s reunion?” Shinobu offered.
“She’s got a point,” Kanako agreed.
“Awww,” Su pouted.
“I hate to agree with the Evil One,” Motoko gave Kanako a frown, “but she’s right. We shouldn’t intrude.”
“Besides,” Ema added quietly, “I’m sure we can get most of the details out of her once she comes back.”
“Heh,” Tennyo smiled slightly, “good point.”
To be continued...
Love Hina: Once Again
"So," Usagi Tsukino puffed tiredly as they walked up the stone steps, "how much farther is it to the dorm now?"
"It shouldn't be too much farther," Makoto Kino said with barely concealed amusement, her brown hair flowing in a long ponytail. She wore a simple green dress and carried their lunch, a large cooler with snacks, drinks and a few treats, just in case.
"If I knew it was going to be this bad," the blonde haired Minako Aino noted, her blue eyes twinkling, "I would have suggested we meet Ami and Rei somewhere else."
"Somehow, I can't imagine Ami walking this every day," Usagi noted, her twin ponytails glittering golden in the sun.
"I suppose you get used to it?" Minako guessed.
"Do you see the top of a building up there?" Usagi asked, shading her eyes from the sun.
Makoto nodded, her green eyes laughing a bit as she said, "Yes, I think we've made it."
With a burst of energy all three women hurried up the next secion of steps, reaching the top of the hill where the Hinata Inn perched with a view of the town below it. The old fashioned building was three stories tall and well maintained, giving it a bright and cheerful air, almost vibrant with the life within.
"You know, I think I can see why Ami might have chosen this place," Minako said as they stopped by the main gate to take in the view, the beauty of the place and a odd feeling of serenity around them...
"What in the..." Usagi nearly jumped as foot as they heard the explosion coming from inside the building.
With instincts they had honed from fighting youma for years Usagi, Minako and Makoto raced up to the Inn and hurried inside, sweeping the place with their eyes as they tried to find the source of the disturbance.
"Su!" they heard the distinctive voice of Rei Hino yell, "Turn that robot off and get the fire extinguisher!"
Minako, Usagi and Makoto exchanged looks. "Should we go up or...?" Minako asked.
"Hello," a young woman looked at them timidly and all three realized they'd barged right in without permission.
"Ah, hi," Usagi smiled winningly art the girl as she said, "we're looking for Ami and Rei. Are they home?"
"I'll go get them," the black haired girl said, seemingly charmed by Usagi's sweet manner as she hurried off.
A few moments later a visibly singed looking Rei Hino arrived, her simple clothes covered with soot and a bit of smoke curling off of her. "What in the...?" Makoto blinked.
"Don't ask," Rei sighed.
"Rei," Usagi quickly stepped forward, throwing her arms around her friend and utterly unmindful of the mess.
"Damn it, you'll stain your dresses," Rei tried to sound gruff as she was hugged by all three of them, but she hugged them back fiercely.
"Looking good," Minako teased as she used a finger to wipe off some of the black ash from Rei's cheek.
"Oh shut up," Rei shook her head. Leading them down the hall she said, "Ami and I have a corner suite, just up this way."
Ami hurried up the hall, the blue haired girl much less messy than Rei. "Good to see you," she laughed as she too was engulfed in hugs.
"I see your guests have arrived," a calm woman's voice mentioned. The black haired woman had a matching cat perched on her shoulder, her clothes blending into the shadows to almost make her seem ghost-like.
"Kanako Urashima," Ami made the introductions, "these are our friends Usagi, Minako and Makoto."
"Sisters?" Kanako asked, nodding towards Minako and Usagi.
"Sorry, no," Rei fought back a smile, "though they do act like it at times."
"Rei!" Usagi protested, stamping her foot.
Kanako hid a smile as she said, "Well, I hope you have a nice visit." With that she left, only pausing a moment to give Makoto a lingering, questioning look.
"What was that about?" Minako asked as they entered into the corner room Ami and Rei shared, a large window looking out over the city below them.
"I'm not totally sure," Ami admitted as she pushed Rei into the next room to clean up, "but I think Makoto is the type she likes."
"Should I tell her I'm married?" Makoto asked, eyes twinkling, "because I'm pretty sure Haruna would be pretty upset if she tried something."
"She's not quite that bold," Ami chuckled. She smiled, "You made quite a impression on Shinobu, by the way."
"The girl that met us?" Usagi smiled, "She seems nice."
"She's actually a bit older than I," Ami sounded amused as she explained, "but she's small for her age, I guess."
"I thought she was still a high schooler," Minako blinked, surprised.
"Don't tell her that," Rei returned, looking much neater than before, "she get's mistaken enough for a kid as it is."
Makoto grinned at her impishly as she asked, "So, what happened to you?"
Rei groaned softly. "Su is our local tech wizard," she explained, "she built a new robot with a flame thrower."
"Inside?" Usagi squeaked.
"Su doesn't always think little details like that through," Ami explained.
"I can imagine," Minako blinked. "How old is she, by the way?"
"Old enough to know better," Rei grumbled.
"This from the woman who got in a drinking match with Kitsune," Ami teased.
"Really?" Usagi looked surprised even as Rei blushed. "Oooh, I wanna hear about this," she said eagerly.
"Ami," Rei whimpered.
"We were over at the café next door, in which Miss Kitsune runs," Ami impishly explained, "and drinking and Rei's grandfather came up. Then, Rei's occassional drinking with him was mentioned and..."
"Things kind of went from there?" Minako guessed.
"Exactly," Rei sighed. She winced, "I swear, I have never had such a headache as I had the morning after that."
After a bit of light conversation Usagi looked at both girls searchingly a moment. "So you're happy here, so far?" she asked the two of them.
Ami took Rei's hand, squeezing it gently, "I think so."
"Yes," Rei agreed.
To be continued...
Love Hina: Once Again
"So how did it go?" Shinobu asked gently, the group that had gathered in the café Hinata listening eagerly. The younger girl delivered their drinks, her short black hair gleaming as she sat down to join them.
Anthy Himemiya gave her friends a wry look. "Not bad, actually," the purple haired young woman confessed, "Utena was surprised to see me, but we talked about what happened between us."
"And are you going to see her again?" Kitsune asked, grinning as she brought over some breakfast orders for them. With her sandy hair and boyish look she was quite handsome, but she seemed to rarely notice others' interest.
Anthy actually blushed faintly. "She's promised to visit me here," she explained, "and I have her phone number too."
Motoko nodded, the black haired swords woman looking thoughtful. "Good, I'd like to meet her," she said, "to determine if she's worthy of you."
"Playing big brother again?" Kitsune teased.
"Something like that," Motoko agreed.
Kanako Urashima sighed softly, studying the intense warrior for a moment. 'She's lovely,' she admitted, pulling her eyes away reluctantly.
Anthy gave her a sympathetic smile, pausing to drink some of her tea. "Thank you," she addressed Motoko, "but I doubt that'll be needed."
As the chime above the door rang out Tennyo Masaki entered, her silvery white hair flowing gracefully. "Morning all," she smiled, heading by them to the main counter, "good morning, Mutsumi."
Mutsumi Otohime beamed as Tennyo walked up, the busty brown haired woman calling out, "Morning, Tennyo-san. What can I get you?"
"My regular, thanks," Tennyo answered. She found herself thinking of Kitsune's comment earlier and had to agree, it did look like Mitsumi had a crush on her. 'I just wish I knew what to do about it,' she mused.
"Here you go," Mutsumi said as she cheerfully dropped off the food then lingered to talk.
"What happened?" Tennyo asked as she nodded towards where their fellow inn residents were gently grilling Anthy.
"It seems Anthy finally met her long lost sweetheart," Mutsumi revealed excitedly, "and it went pretty well."
"I'm glad for her," Tennyo nodded as drank a bit then munched through her breakfast. Looking at the other girl curiously she asked, "Has anyone else met this paragon of virtue?"
Mutsumi giggled, "According to Su, she's no paragon."
"Oh?" Tennyo asked. Koalla Su was their resident mad scientist and techno whiz, so it wasn't surprising she'd be able to find out a great deal about someone if she wanted to. 'Besides, she's the type who'd want to look into a mystery like this,' she mused.
"It seems Miss Utena is quite the crusader, having been arrested several times helping other people," Mutsumi revealed, "her file reads like a adventure novel."
"Remind me to ask Su if I can borrow it," Tennyo chuckled.
Mutsumi hesitated a moment, "I have it back at my room," she said, "you could stop by later to read it."
Tennyo blinked, wondering if this was a pass or a friendly offer. "I'd like that," she said, smiling slightly.
"I'll have it ready for you," Mutsumi said cheerfully, only reluctantly moving off to help out another customer.
Meanwhile, two young women tiredly made their way up the steps to the Hinata Inn. "I wonder how long it'll take us to get used to this?" Ami Mizuno puffed, the blue haired girl pausing to rest.
Rei Hino took a deep breath, the black haired miko looking nearly as tired as her companion. "I don't think you do get used to it," she grumbled tiredly, "you just learn not to show it to others."
"Maybe," Ami admitted as they made themselves go up the final set of stairs. "How did training at the shrine go?" she asked curiously.
"The old coots a fake," Rei admitted, "but Kagome is the real thing. We've been exchanging demon fighting methods for the last few days."
"Oh really?" Ami asked, a slightly dangerous tone in her voice.
Rei reached out to squeeze Ami's shoulder once they began to walk across the flat top of the hill and towards the Inn itself. "Yeah, too bad her boyfriend hangs around all the time." A bit teasingly she added, "You'd think he didn't trust having a lesbian around his girlfriend."
Ami blushed, "Sorry."
"It's all right," Rei admitted, "I felt a few twinges when I met your professor and found out she was a babe."
"But she's married," Ami blinked as they walked through the main entrance and slipped out of their shoes.
"Jealousy does not understand logic," Rei answered, passing Ami her slippers and putting her own on.
"I'll try to remember that," Ami agreed.
"Rei, Ami!" Koalla Su exclaimed, the dusky skinned blonde haired girl bounding down the hall, "Anthy's back!"
"Did her trip to Tokyo go well?" Rei asked, fighting back a smile at the young girl's nearly infinite amounts of energy.
"I think so," Su agreed, "the others have her over at the café, questioning her about it."
"Poor Anthy," Ami looked amused.
Rei looked at Su curiously, "So why aren't you over there?"
"Akiko Taichi is over," Su explained, "we're playing deathmatch games for fun."
"Well, I hope you enjoy yourselves," Ami said as Su scampered off to get some snacks for her and her friend.
"That girl scares me at times," Rei confessed as she slid open the door to their room, waving Ami through first then following her in.
"Was that before or after she tried to burn us with the blowtorch?" Ami wondered, setting her bags on the desk.
"Both," Rei chuckled, moving up behind Ami and wrapping her arms around her.
"Oooh, Rei..." Ami murmured as she kissed the back of Ami's neck.
"I've been waiting all day for this," Rei murmured as she squeezed gently, then nibbled Ami's ear.
"What if someone comes by...?" Ami gasped softly.
"I bet questioning Anthy should keep most of them busy," Rei slid her hands up to caress Ami's breasts.
Ami purred, arching her back. "You are a bad girl, Rei..." she murmured happily.
Rei grinned, "And you wouldn't want me any other way."
"Should we really be watching this?" Akiko asked as they watched the feed from the spy camera Su had planted on them. The brown haired girl's twin ponytails bounced as she munched on the crackers Si had brought them.
"When are we going to have the chance to otherwise?" Su asked cheerfully.
"Wow," Akiko blinked, "I didn't know you could bend like that."
"Really," Su agreed, making notes.
To be continued...
Love Hina: Once Again
Ema Maeda's long brown hair fell around the young woman's shoulders as she sat outside in the sun and used her laptop to update her webpage. 'News of the weird' was actually becoming fairly popular, containing stories she found on the web, her personal blog and stuff from Kitsune's ghost busting operation.
'Demons walk among us!' one title screamed. In a otherwise seemingly normal shrine a mysterious being was haunting the inhabitants, popping up without warning. A slim, white haired boy with dog's ears and clawed fingers has terrorized the neighborhood, tho reports of his activities vary. While most say it's a monster, several witnesses claim to have been rescused by the mysterious boy.
Ema smiled in satisfaction as she noted how many hits that article had gotten. 'The blurred photo helps,' she noted, 'though I wish I got a better shot.'
Scrolling down a bit she clicked on another story. 'Sailor Senshi seen in Kanagawa Prefecture! The famous heroes of love and justice were seen fighting alongside our own local band of heroes, the Phantom Quest Corp!'
Ema winced a bit at that blatant ad. Kitsune could be really forceful, and it didn't help that she was paying part of the costs for the site. 'Well,' she mused, 'at least I tried to be objective, mostly.'
The article continued, 'The Sailor Senshi successfully defeated the steam creature, primarily assisted by the sword work of Motoko. Along with Sailor Mars they banished the creature, generating mild flooding amid the hot springs shops. A lawsuit is pending against PQC, but management are confident they will prevail.'
'Motoko-sama,' Ema sighed dreamily. If she was going to crush on anyone it would be the striking, black haired swordswoman. Sadly, she didn't seem to be inclined that way. 'If only Motoko was a boy,' she thought.
Saving her files Ema closed her laptop and stretched, the slim girl sighing happily. "Come on Leon," she picked up her chameleon and headed inside.
The typical morning bustle of the Hinata Inn was a little different this morning as a guest followed Anthy to the kitchen. She was about Anthy's height with bright pink hair and laughing blue eyes along with a gentle but warm smile. Introduced to them as Utena Tenjou Ema noticed a mysterious aura about her, a strange feeling of nobility like some long lost prince.
"Hello Shinobu," Ema smiled as she walked by the two older girls, "is there anything I can do to help?"
Shinobu smiled cheerfully, the black haired girl rinsing the cooked rice. "Everything's nearly ready," she answered, "could you help set the table?"
"Sure," Ema agreed.
Now theoretically they were all supposed to be sharing kitchen duties... well, except for Anthy as she couldn't cook food, period. But Shinobu was so good and eager to cook that they all just let her do that, and in return everyone else tackled most of the other household duties. As Ema and Anthy readied the table Ema snuck glances at the new woman, wondering what her story might be.
"So you're Ema?" Utena asked as she carried cups and plates over, "Anthy told me a bit about you."
"Nice to meet you," Ema nodded. She smiled as she added, "I'm glad to see you and Anthy have been reunited."
"Thank you," Utena actually blushed faintly.
Within short order the rest of the residents trickled in, coming in ones or twos to the table. TEnnyo Masaki entered talking to Mutsumi Otohime, the white haired woman gesturing animatedly as they went to sit. Kitsune staggered in, probably hung over, and smiled greatfully as Ema poured her some tea.
"Thanks," Kitsune admitted as she sat down, her short brown hair spiky from how she had been sleeping.
Kanako Urashima stalked in, the girl dressed all in black at usual. She had a intensity that could be off putting, but Ema had been pleasantly surprised by her humor. The black cat perched on her shoulder looked at Ema's Leon and purred, "Hmm, food on the hoof."
Ema jumped a bit. Now, according to rational thinking the cat couldn't talk, and therefore must be just Kanako throwing her voice. But somehow the cat sounded very different from Kanaki, almost like a separate person. To be safe she addressed the cat as she clutched Leon, "Don't even think about it."
Kero just snickered softly.
"Myah!" Tama-chan commented as the turtle flapped by.
"Damn turtle," Motoko visibly shuddered.
'I forget some times that she doesn't like them,' Ema noted as she watched Koalla Su easily scoop the turtle out of midair.
"Can I make Tama soup?" Su asked perkilly, the dusky skinned blonde looking a bit like a overgrown monkey.
"No," Shinobu said forcefully, "just put her outside."
"Interesting place," Utena commented to Anthy softly as they settled down.
"I like it," Anthy nodded as Rei and Ami hurried in. Rei Hino was dressed in her miko uniform, the red and white garb suiting the black haired woman, while Ami Mizuno was in more casual school wear.
"Morning," Tennyo said, the older woman's eyes sympathetic as she addressed Ami, "long night?"
"Studying for a quiz on gastric disease," Ami grimaced, "trust me, the less you know the better off you are."
"I can imagine," Kitsune winced.
Kanako said firmly, "No discussion of gastric disease at the table." She smiled slightly, letting everyone know she was joking.
"Breakfast is ready," Shinobu announced as she carefully carried the rice in first, then the rest of the breakfast dishes. With skills that would impress any mother she dished up the food, humming to herself cheerfully.
"This is great," Rei smiled, eating quickly but still neatly.
Anthy looked over at her, "Heading over to the shrine today?"
"Actually, Kitsune has a job for us," Rei noted wryly.
"Oh?" Utena said, looking over at Kitsune as she nibbled toast.
Kitsune drank some tea, "There's a haunted house the owner wants us to look into. I don't expect serious trouble, but I want all the bases covered."
"We do ghost busting," Anthy explained to her girlfriend softly, "as a extension on Phantom Quest Corp."
Utena nodded thoughtfully as she looked over at Kitsune, "Do you mind if I tag along?"
Kitsune raised her eyebrows, "Is that safe?"
Utena smiled back, but her eyes were haunted. "I have certain... talents," she finally said with a shrug.
Kitsune looked at her a moment then decided just to accept it. "All right," she said, "but if anything goes wrong I'm not responsible."
"Worried about another lawsuit?" Ema teased.
"Oh shut up," Kitsune sighed.
To be continued!
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