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...