Disclaimer: I don't own Love Hina or its characters, they are the intellectual property of Ken Akamatsu. I also do not own Weezer, or their music (though this geek lovin' fangirl sure wishes she did!).
Dedicated to: Shinju Meg Uchuno - thanks for helping me fit all the puzzle pieces together. Yes, Keitaro's love life is in worse shape than Rivers Cuomo's. ^_^
Author's Notes: Have any of you ever looked at Keitaro, and just from his
look and demeanour, you thought, "He could be an emo-kid?" For those that don't know,
an emo-kid is someone who's into emo-rock. The only specific example of
emo-rock and its distinct look that I can think of is Weezer.
Anyways, this story takes place immediately after the ending of Love Hina Again, but there will be changes made. Ah... just read on to see what kind of changes. ^_^
In the middle of the inn manager's room, Keitaro laid in his futon, looking up at the ceiling and wallowing about the mess he made this time. Only for few times did his gaze wander to his left leg, which he had broken again. He must've landed on it wrong when he fell...
The doctors weren't surprised to see him again, and they shook their heads at his misfortune. This was his third visit for the very same fracture!
It was ironic that he could end up in compromising situations by accident, receive a beating that would normally break one's bones, but the one time that he did something of his own volition, he was paid back with a broken limb.
Dancing on the rooftops out his own pure joy, and the end result, he'd been given pain. Just a cruel little joke the fates decided that he couldn't be happy.
And he made that one desperate grab to be happy with Naru. He had broken the hold that the ancient abandoned annex of Hinatasou had on him and Kanako. He didn't want to be linked to his sister... it would be wrong! Even if they weren't related by blood!
Naru fought tooth and nail to get to him, she jumped after him, and when the building fell apart, all around them... he held her even more tightly as they fell. He thought this would be it!
Sitting on that ramshackle cushion, just moments away from her, he moved close to speak to her, to give her the ring and say what he always felt...
And instead he got slapped. Hard. Didn't have the same effect as the usual Naru-punch. But he remembered her next words hurt more than any abuse she could give.
"Baka baka baka!" Naru ranted as she flailed her arms, her face growing flush and red.
"Don't think I did all this because I love you! I did this because... because... it would be wrong for you to be forced to be bound to someone! You should be free to choose! Not even you deserve to be tied up in a relationship, and with your twisted sister of all people! How could you let yourself be taken away? Don't you know that I- we all care for you?! We want you to be happy with us... with all of us!"
"Narusegawa..." he said softly, ignoring the familiar pain shooting through his left leg. He held his hand out, with the ring nestled in his palm.
"Baka!" she cried again, snatching the ring and throwing it back at him. "You and your promises!"
She pounded her fists against his chest, trying her best to hold back her tears, covering her desperation with anger. Keitaro closed his eyes and grit his teeth, focusing on the throbbing hurt in his leg than the one in his heart.
She made excuses for her actions, again.
Keitaro sighed. When he thought he was close, she pushed him away, denying to herself what she felt. It wasn't like he was so dense that he didn't know what was going on. It was better if he played innocent, pushed aside the notions that all these girls could show interest in him. No matter how much they wanted him to know, he wouldn't let on. To know would in some small way take advantage of them... and he couldn't hurt them like that.
But Naru... He could just pretend, make himself believe that he didn't know she liked him, that he could hope and act like a schoolboy, to wish that she had an inkling to like him back. And the more aware part of him wanted her to overcome her own insecurities and say she liked him too. Maybe she played the same game as he did. Just be oblivious to how the other felt... and how they themselves felt. It'd be easier that way until circumstance or their own sheer bullheadedness forced them to blurt it out.
And it was easier for Naru to take it all back.
He put himself and his feelings out there, letting it hang between the two of them, hoping to move on past this masquerade. He was tired of being stopped by emotional barrier after emotional barrier.
Naru's ways had softened a little, between Pararakerus and this little debacle, but after overcoming this hurdle, she avoided him like the plague.
"Maybe it's better if I just gave up."
It was no use to lie back and wallow now. Goodness knows how many times he'd done that before. He was going to give up on those old ways and do something. He still had three other perfectly good, working limbs.
Struggling to get up, he reached for the cane beside him to bring him upright. On his foot, keeping pressure off the broken one, he hobbled out into the hall to resume his duties as kanrinin. That was when he was stopped by Shinobu, Motoko, and Kanako.
"Eh?" He set to putting a cheerful front right away. "Ah! Shinobu-chan, Motoko, Kana-chan! What brings you three here? I was on my way to get back to work-"
Kanako gently pushed him back. "Onii-chan, please, you must rest... Let me tuck you back into bed..."
Motoko cleared her throat, trying to bring the situation back to some sense of normalcy. "*ahem* Urashima, we cannot allow you to do that."
"Hai! Sempai... we thought we'd help out a little more around the inn. We wanted to help clean up for you! I... I, ah, did the laundry. I know it isn't much, since I always do it..."
Keitaro flashed a smile to the young schoolgirl. "I'm glad that you're helping out more. Thank you for being so dutiful, Shinobu-chan. What else did you three do?"
"We did your regular duties, cleaning the halls and windows, the bathrooms and bedrooms, and especially the hot spring," the kendo girl recited the chore roster.
"We helped too!" cried two childish voices.
Sarah and Su popped up, both of them looking dirty from dust.
"We cleaned out all the secret passages! Or... at least the ones we could remember!" Kaolla beamed, brandishing their latest acquisition from their search. It was an old guitar case.
Unsurely, Keitaro took it. "Thank you... Thank you all, but I really should get out of here and get some fresh air..."
"Let me go walking with you nii-chan." Quickly, she flashed that gothic trench coat he had worn on one of their previous walks on the grounds of Hinatasou. "It's not good to be left alone when you're in a dark mood."
Keitaro inwardly blanched. Kanako was always perceptive of such feelings. "A... A dark mood? Now, what makes you think that, Kana-chan? Inside and out, I feel fine. I'm fine! See?" He demonstrated, keeping an open stance and a smile on his face, forcing some sparkle into his eyes.
"But Na-" started Shinobu, who quickly quieted herself.
Still forcing that grin on his face, he waved his hand dismissively. "Don't worry about me. All I need is some fresh air, and I promise I won't take too long outside!"
Taking the coat from Kanako's hands, he threw it over his lanky frame. Holding his old man cane and still hauling the guitar case, he brushed past the girls and moved for the outside.
He found his way outside, into the slightly warm afternoon sun. There really was no where else for him to go, but he let his clear mind and meandering feet take him to the back hills behind Hinatasou. He found a nice high spot, giving him a good view of the inn, and sat down for some idle lazing about in the sun. He must've looked ridiculous, wearing such a dark bad-ass trench coat over his bright green pajamas, but he didn't care about it.
Setting the case beside him, that's when he realized he was still in possession of the recovered instrument. He wasn't really surprised that it was found. Hinatasou was old, and who knew how many miscellaneous pieces of memorabilia were stored in its many rooms. Hell, he did find Moe-chan in one of those abandoned rooms, and then there was the Hinata sword...
Carefully taking it out and handling it, Keitaro found the polished wood instrument to be in good shape. Letting the dust clear from it, he could imagine the potential music it could play. A test strum told him that it was tightly wound and tuned relatively well. Gazing around himself, he plucked at the strings, just putting together notes and making random melodies that went no where.
He tried to remember some easy song tunes, and how the idols on TV held their fingers to make chords. Getting the hang of how to make some music, the former ronin played idly as his mind wandered over his memories and feelings roiling and stirred up from each scene in his mind.
He wished that he had his sketchpad with him. He could've drawn something... But instead he had a guitar. Thinking of every single song he could remember, something that could reflect his mood... Not that he could play it, but he sure could try. It wasn't like he had anything to do at the moment.
Trying to find that song, his mind drifted to his dig in America. Some of the other American archeological assistants were his age, and they had such outgoing personalities. He couldn't remember their names, or really their faces... he usually kept to himself during the time, even on and off the sites.
The sun was sweltering down on him, but he continued to brush at his little patch of dirt, delicate with each swift stroke, so not to inadvertently ruin whatever was underneath. Closer... closer... Drat. Fruitless. Just another stupid rock. He would have to get the hang of how to separate a rock from a buried piece of pottery or an arrowhead.
Distant conversation alerted Keitaro, and he saw some of the young assistants on their break. Nice American kids who were quite outgoing. Invited him a couple of times to go out, but he politely refused. He didn't want to step too far out of his comfort zone. They were pretty friendly... And it seemed that they were talking about him at the moment. He could hear his name being dropped a few times, along with the word "emo-kid."
Nothing was said with enmity or derisiveness, but just curiosity and speculation. He had a very good grasp of English, but unfortunately, not of the slang. The word "emo-kid" was mentioned quite a few times in their conversation, followed by glances at him, and then murmurs of general agreement.
One of them decided to play a little bit of music on their portable stereos. Still working while they were taking their break, he listened. It was pretty good. A little bit loud and abrasive on the guitars, but it fit the music and lyrics well. He thought he'd compliment whoever it was that brought it. He'd had enough of the sweltering and punishing sun, so he approached the shade of the tent, getting closer to the little group.
"Konnichiwa!" one of the kids addressed him, heavily accented.
Not that Keitaro himself was faring any better. "Ie... I mean, no need to use Japanese around me. I know some English," he spoke, quite accented himself. He gave them a friendly grin. "I, ah, I like the music you have. Who is it?"
"Weezer!" the kid replied in surprise. "Never heard of them? I heard that they're big in Japan. We thought you might be a big emo-kid from the way you look."
"Oh... Obviously, I haven't heard of them. But they've got a very good... sound. Very powerful- ie, I mean, very rough and flowing," he could piece together.
The group laughed, quite amused at his description of their music.
"I guess that's one way to put it... What about the lyrics?"
"Their words are... deep, as you could say. Fun loving and deep."
"Heck, that's just their first album! The Blue Album. Personally, I think their best work is Pinkerton."
Keitaro looked a little lost at that.
"Oh, right... You haven't really heard of them... Well, stick around, we'll play some more! Trust us, you'll love their rough and flowing sound."
Keitaro smiled to himself. They were very friendly people, and they were nice enough to give him a stash of all the Weezer albums (plus some copied disks of unreleased B-sides) before he left. He liked their songs, and especially those from their second album, Pinkerton; it was a little surprising to pick out the singer's fascination with the Japanese.
Putting his fingers in some semblance of order, he kept rearranging them and then strumming until he got the right note, the right chord. Playing the notes again and again until he got the underlying line to this one catchy tune. The opening words just grabbed him from no where, and feeling secure in being alone outside, he started to sing along to what he could remember.
"Goddamn! You half-Japanese girls- do it to me every time..."
From the sunroof, Shinobu hung the laundry out to dry. She could hear distant music from the hills, and she looked out to see the figure of her sempai cradling that guitar on his lap and in his arms. The bluenette didn't really know much English, but she could tell from the words that her sempai was singing in it. He was smoothing out his accent, and it was a quite pleasing effect.
He had taken to going out like that lately, waking up early and heading for the hills to play on that guitar, wrapped in nothing but his trench coat and pajamas.
Oh, good thing sempai is so mindful of the grass stains, she tittered to herself. She paused to strain her ears to the sound.
From what she could tell, he was improving. He had taken with him his notepad and personal CD player in the past week, trying to imitate the music he heard. That was what she could deduce between the long pauses in playing on the instrument. He was currently getting over his fingers stumbling as he sang, to multitask easily. The long hours out in the sun, from morning to evening were being invested into cultivating whatever musical talent he had, and they were paying off. Every day brought a new leap in every song he imitated, trying to pull it off perfectly.
"Oh, Motoko-sempai... Isn't the music just lovely?" Shinobu asked.
The wooshing of air answered her for a few seconds. "Hmph. I only hope that Urashima doesn't neglect his duties when he's fully recovered," Motoko commented as she practiced a few swings.
Lying back in a deck chair, Kitsune held up her glass of sake. "Eh, whatever keeps the boy's hands busy. Can only imagine what he could do, cooped up in his room in nothing but his pajamas... Know what I mean?" A mischievous snicker cut through the air.
"Waaaaai!" Shinobu squealed in embarrassment at the scandalous inference.
The kendo girl shot a look of annoyance to the fox and tut-tuted her. "Don't tease her so mercilessly."
"Alright, alright. Spoilsport. But yeah, he's getting good Shinobu. And don't you worry about him getting lazy, or turning out like me. No sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll for him!" She snickered again, deciding now to clamp down on the innuendos. "He still sticks with his chores, even if his good ol' sis won't let him. How long is she going to be with us?"
"Until onii-chan recovers," was the stern reply.
"Gah! K-Kanako... Heh... I've got... I've got some chores to help out with! What's that Shinobu? You need to me bring up another load for you? Sure thing!" And Kitsune high-tailed it out of there.
Kanako shook her head in disdain. "No responsibility, such questionable character."
The music in the air changed in its tune. No longer sure of itself, not trying to duplicate a song, but imitating its style. An original composition. The melody itself was straining and desperate, straddling the line between a major and minor key. It was run through again and again, with jarring stop-starts to make the slightest changes until the music itself was fit for the composer himself.
"Contrary to what you might guess,
when I'm nestled in your chest,
a guilty pleasure's what I get
when my face and your fist have met.
I have this feeling in my crotch
when you kick it up a notch.
Slap me, send me on the fly,
launch me clear across the sky.
Use your tongue as a whip,
chew me out an' gimme lip.
Say you love me with your fist
cause baby, I'm a masochist."
Even Keitaro's voice was straining, the words and tone filled with pent up resentment and dripping with a sarcasm. The waver in his voice sanded out and softened the caustic edge as he changed chords, leading into the bridge.
"With every single kick and punch,
mistress declares her love.
Her idea of tenderness
is usin' padded boxing gloves...
He broke through, the music strumming madly, belting out his frustrations with the fast paced riffs he was butchering.
"I can't be your whipping boy!
Enough as your punching toy!
But I'll come back 'n beg for more,
that's cause all the pleasure's yours.
Baby, use your tongue as a whip,
chew me out an' gimme lip!
Say you love me with your fist
cause baby, I'm a masochist!
I'm tired of this S&M parody."
His final wailing and drawn out moaning were left ringing in their ears. The three girls knew full well who that song was about. It frustrated Shinobu and Motoko that Naru had hurt him so deeply like that. Kanako herself understood his pain, but her next thoughts inside were the kind of calculations all the girls wanted to deny. Any approach towards Keitaro now had the ulterior motive to ease him to get over Naru.
Trying to suppress such thoughts, the sword and flower caught themselves at pause, and immediately went back to their own business.
The dark one simply turned away, keeping in mind some way to subtly bring him happiness. It was a truly revealing song, if a little weak on the poetry... that simple acoustic did not do his pain justice.
With their attention taken away from the boy on the hill, he sighed. Not that he knew he had a distant audience, but in that the song didn't sound right. He needed the harshness that an electric guitar could offer. He had done the best he could with what he had, and the vivid auditory hallucinations of accompanying drums and bass rattled in his head.
He didn't know whether to credit it to an overactive imagination, his budding musical creativity, or even the guitar itself for all of the above! He did feel a bit of a refreshing charge when he held it in his hands - an intense calm subduing the brewing creative energy. Maybe this was what true musicians felt whenever they played or composed their own music, or was this some kind of entrancing rapture, a magical allure?
Keitaro gave his head a thorough shake.
He was good at drawing, and did excel in the literary portion of the entrance exam... that kind of intelligence, what was it called? A right-brain thinker. That's it. They were the naturally creative types, moving effortlessly through the arts. Music was an art, along with visual art itself.
Comforted in some kind of rational explanation for his latest growth in musical skill, Keitaro pulled up his notepad. That was where he had been writing his random thoughts and present and past feelings, trying to piece them together into some kind of cohesive form. With all that listening to Weezer, he had taken to using English, for he was impressed by the way it was, as he had described, rough and flowing.
A childish giddiness filled him as he realized he was like some poor fanboy, trying to imitate his idol. He smiled sheepishly to himself as he remembered that he even went so far as to go on-line and find out what he could about the lead singer, the man who had crafted these lyrics. It was a shame that he, Rivers (what a very unusual first name, even for an American), didn't like his most personal and intimate feeling album: Pinkerton. Keitaro liked it very much for one thing; he felt he could connect with it more.
"Ah... But I don't need to be so dark all the time..."
Placing the notebook aside, he picked up the wooden instrument again when another fanciful idea struck him.
"I must be crazy, but maybe I could ask Su to make me an electric guitar... But knowing her, she'll probably make me a fully functioning one man band..."
Tuning the guitar, trying to emulate the key, he started to strum away again to one of the other happier songs that caught his fancy. A funny little nonsense bit song that was their debut single. He had enough from this mind work, draining of thoughts onto page and note; it was now his time to play.
Additional Author's Notes: I don't know where I want to go with this... I feel that I should leave it as Keitaro finding a new outlet through music and being left alone, but I've written some more poetry/song lyrics to showcase with each chapter I could write. Maybe I could do some kind of role reversed idol episode: Keitaro's rise to fame, finding romance, and then fading off into obscurity with the girl of his choosing.