Story: Once Again (chapter 10)

Authors: Shanejayell

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Chapter 10

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...

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